True Greatness

A Poem Dedicated to Tulsi Gabbard

To Tulsi

According to the Buddha,
A woman may turn out better than a man.1
She may become the better parent or the better person,
The mother of a great leader
Or the mother of a great nation.

Like the earth, upholding the many,
She who would become a mother
Thinks only of the unborn child
That she carries in her womb.

Freely, she gives the gift of life,
Asking nothing in return,
Begrudging nothing but the small-mindedness of a hardened heart.

The Buddha proclaimed:
“Just as a mother would risk her own life
To protect her only child,
Even so toward all living beings,
One should cultivate a boundless heart.

“One should cultivate for all the world
A heart of boundless loving kindness,
Above, below, and all around,
Unobstructed, without hatred or resentment.

“Whether standing, walking, or sitting
Lying down or whenever awake,
One should develop this mindfulness:
This is called divinely dwelling here.”2

Blessed is she who takes these words to heart,
For her light grows ever brighter.
Blessed is she who gives to the hungry,
The homeless, the sick, and the destitute,
Who surrenders herself through serving others.

Blessed is she, who goes forth out of compassion for the world
And the happiness of the many3
She, who would become the mother of a greater truth,
Giving birth to what she would become,
For in that truth,
The message and the messenger are one.

Bhikkhu Moneyya
Sanur, Bali
June 2019

1A quote from the Samyutta Nikāya 3.16
2A quote from the Karanīyametta Sutta, Sutta Nipāta 1.8
3Go forth for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world”:a quote from the Buddha, found in the Khandhaka, Vinaya Pitaka 1.8


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