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Villanelle: Never political but spiritual the ancient Indo-Chinese pilgrim ties

Villanelle : Never political but spiritual the ancient Indo-Chinese pilgrim ties

       In Memory of the late pathologist (and amateur Astronomer) 
Associate Professor CHONG Siew Meng, National University of Singapore*


Never political but spiritual the ancient Indo-Chinese pilgrim ties
Which pierce through skin and bone and the cryptic genetic code
Friends hatched from the same mould needn’t rely on vice nor lies 

Wu Ch’eng-en’s « Monkey » didn’t waft down Monsoon winds for spice
But to imbibe Siddhartha* Truth : the Golden Mean* at Nalanda* abode
Never political but spiritual the ancient Indo-Chinese pilgrim ties

And took back to the Middle Kingdom « Eight-Fold Path* » wise
That neither « ancestral worship » nor Taoist logic sought to exclude
Friends hatched from the same mould needn’t rely on vice nor lies
 
Then the fierce Boddhidharma* stared down the Emperor Chinese
And from « Four Noble Truths* » sprang Chan/Zen in enigmatic mode
Never political but spiritual the ancient Indo-Chinese pilgrim ties

Whilst in deserts iconoclast prophets tore down the sacred edifice
The Essenic Tribe traced the descent from Tusita Heaven to Mary mode
Friends hatched from the same mould needn’t rely on vice nor lies
  
The Dead Sea Scrolls lie buried in some hidden vault full of lice and mice
While Crusaders drive Saracens from the Holy Land onto the migrant road
Never political but spiritual the ancient Indo-Chinese pilgrim ties
Friends hatched from the same mould needn’t rely on vice nor lies 



Notes

•	An ex-Victoria Institution pupil from Kuala Lumpur. In Malaysia and Singapore, it is not uncommon to find many Chinese and Tamils forming quite close relationships, the most renowned of such friendships thrived between the late Prime Minister LEE KUAN YEW and the late Senior Vice-Premier S. RAJARATNAM, the latter born and raised in Malay(si)a. Lee Kuan Yew shed tears in public at Rajaratnam’s funeral.

•	Siddhartha : « he who achieves his aim »

•	Golden Mean (the Middle Way) : « away from all self-indulgence and self-mortification » 

•	Nalanda : ancient university (in the present-day State of Bihar) to which several Chinese pilgrims like the renowned Yi-jing or I-tsing (635-713 CE) made their way to learn Sanskrit and Pali in order to translate Buddhist works to take back home. On the way, they stopped at SriVijaya in Sumatra for the very same reason.

•	Eight-Fold Path : right view ; right intention ; right speech ; right action ; right livelihood ; right effort ; right mindfulness ; right concentration.

•	Bhodhidharma : a Tamil « Brahmin » who took the Buddha’s teaching to China and there meditated for years facing a wall in a cave until followers sought his knowledge which gave birth to Chan in China and Zen in Japan. It is also said that he initiated the martial arts at Shao-lin.

•	Four Noble Truths : « Suffering as part and parcel of Life » ; « Sensual craving as the cause of suffering » ; « Acquisition of identity » ; « Suffering can be eradicated by following the Eight-Fold Path »

© T. Wignesan – Paris, October 10, 2019

Copyright © T Wignesan | Year Posted 2019

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  1. Date: 11/13/2019 12:54:00 AM

    ##Never political but spiritual the ancient Indo-Chinese pilgrim ties## True.. I like it..

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