'The Buddha's Last Instruction' by Mary Oliver
AI and Tech Aggregator
Download Mp3s Free
Tears of the Kingdom Roleplay
Best Free University Courses Online
House of Light"Make of yourself a light"
said the Buddha,before he died.
I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal-a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
An old man, he lay downbetween two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.
The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.
Even before the sun itself
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.
No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.
And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire-
clearly I'm not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.
Slowly, beneath the branches,he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Buddha's Last Instruction by Mary Oliver: A Masterpiece of Spiritual Poetry
As a literary critic and poetry enthusiast, I have read countless poems in my lifetime. But few have touched me as deeply as Mary Oliver's "The Buddha's Last Instruction." This beautiful and profound work of art is a masterpiece of spiritual poetry that captures the essence of Buddhism and offers a timeless message of compassion, mindfulness, and enlightenment.
At its core, "The Buddha's Last Instruction" is a poem about the impermanence of life and the importance of living in the present moment. It is based on a story about the Buddha's final moments on earth, when he gathered his disciples around him and gave them one last teaching before passing away. According to the legend, his final words were: "Make of yourself a light."
Oliver's poem expands on this simple yet profound message, weaving together elements of nature, spirituality, and human experience to create a tapestry of meaning and insight. Her use of language is exquisite, with each word carefully chosen to convey a sense of wonder and awe at the beauty of the world and the mystery of existence.
One of the most striking aspects of the poem is its use of imagery. Oliver has a gift for describing natural scenes in a way that is both vivid and transcendent. Consider, for example, these lines:
"The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness comprehends it not.
Trees stand in the rain all day
saying, 'Redemption, redemption.'
What could be more generous than a tree
that gives itself to the earth and asks for nothing in return?"
Here, Oliver uses the image of a tree standing in the rain to evoke a sense of selfless giving and spiritual devotion. The tree, like the Buddha, is a symbol of unwavering commitment to the greater good, even in the face of adversity. And the rain, which can be seen as a metaphor for the hardships and challenges of life, only serves to strengthen the tree's resolve and deepen its roots.
Another powerful image in the poem is that of the "animal of the body," which Oliver describes as "a lion / who doesn't know how to roar." This metaphorical creature represents the often-overlooked physical aspect of human existence, the primal instincts and desires that can sometimes lead us astray. But even in this animalistic part of ourselves, Oliver sees the potential for transcendence and enlightenment. As she writes:
"And I saw the animal of my own soul
hold up her paw
as if to ask, 'What about me?'
So I petted her
Here, Oliver suggests that by acknowledging and accepting our own animal nature, we can find a sense of peace and harmony within ourselves. Rather than denying or repressing these instincts, we can learn to embrace them and channel them in a positive direction.
Of course, no discussion of "The Buddha's Last Instruction" would be complete without mentioning the role of mindfulness and awareness in the poem. Throughout the work, Oliver emphasizes the importance of living in the present moment and being fully present to the world around us. As she writes:
"Every day I see or hear
something that more or less
kills me with delight,
that leaves me like a needle
in the haystack of light."
Here, Oliver is expressing her own sense of wonder and amazement at the world, and her desire to savor every moment of it. She encourages her readers to do the same, to cultivate a sense of mindfulness and appreciation for the world around them.
At the same time, however, Oliver is also keenly aware of the impermanence of life and the inevitability of death. As she writes:
"Soon enough the nights will
be long and cold again,
the leaves will be lying
in the streets,
brown and brittle and torn."
This sense of impermanence is a central theme of the poem, and it underscores the importance of making the most of our time on earth. As the Buddha himself said, "All that is born, all that is created, all that is formed must decay and die." But even in the face of this impermanence, Oliver finds hope and beauty. As she writes:
"So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,
though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed."
In these lines, Oliver is reminding us that even in the face of death and decay, there is still beauty and goodness to be found in the world. The sun may be setting, but it is still shining, and the sweetness of life is still there to be savored.
In conclusion, "The Buddha's Last Instruction" is a remarkable work of spiritual poetry that speaks to the heart and soul of all who read it. Through its beautiful language, powerful imagery, and timeless wisdom, it offers a profound message of hope and enlightenment, reminding us of the beauty and mystery of existence and encouraging us to make the most of our time on earth. Mary Oliver has truly created a masterpiece of poetry that will inspire and uplift generations to come.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Buddha's Last Instruction: A Poetic Masterpiece by Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver's "The Buddha's Last Instruction" is a poem that captures the essence of Buddhism in a few short lines. The poem is a beautiful and powerful reminder of the importance of living in the present moment and letting go of attachment to the past and future. In this analysis, we will explore the themes and literary devices used in the poem and how they contribute to its overall message.
The poem begins with the Buddha's last instruction to his followers before he dies. He tells them to "make of yourself a light," which is a metaphor for enlightenment. The Buddha is urging his followers to become enlightened beings, to let go of their attachments and desires, and to live in the present moment. This is the central theme of the poem, and it is one that is echoed throughout Buddhist teachings.
Oliver then goes on to describe the world around us, with its beauty and its pain. She writes, "I think of the woman in Palestine / in the rubble of her house / with her child in her lap," and "I think of the man who in his diamond / suit and his chair / gazed proudly at his estate." These lines are a reminder that life is full of both joy and suffering, and that we must learn to accept both if we are to find peace.
The poem then takes a turn, as Oliver describes her own struggles with letting go of the past and living in the present. She writes, "I want to be the bride / to every kindness / I want to be the bride to every kindness." This line is a powerful metaphor for the human desire to hold onto the past and to cling to the things that bring us comfort. Oliver is acknowledging that this is a difficult thing to do, but that it is necessary if we are to find true happiness.
Oliver then returns to the central theme of the poem, as she writes, "For everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing; / though sometimes it is necessary / to reteach a thing its loveliness." This is a beautiful reminder that everything we need to be happy is already within us, and that we must learn to recognize and appreciate it. It is also a reminder that sometimes we need to be reminded of our own beauty and worth, especially when we are struggling.
The poem ends with a call to action, as Oliver writes, "Go softly / among the noise and the haste / and remember what peace there may be in silence." This is a reminder that we must learn to live in the present moment, to let go of our attachments and desires, and to find peace in the silence. It is a call to action for all of us to become enlightened beings, to become the light that the Buddha urged his followers to become.
In terms of literary devices, Oliver uses metaphor and imagery to great effect in this poem. The metaphor of the light is a powerful one, as it represents enlightenment and the idea that we must become the light in order to find true happiness. The imagery of the woman in Palestine and the man in his diamond suit are also powerful, as they remind us of the beauty and pain that exists in the world.
Oliver also uses repetition to great effect in this poem. The repetition of the line "I want to be the bride to every kindness" is a powerful reminder of the human desire to hold onto the past and to cling to the things that bring us comfort. It is a reminder that this is a difficult thing to do, but that it is necessary if we are to find true happiness.
In conclusion, "The Buddha's Last Instruction" is a beautiful and powerful poem that captures the essence of Buddhism in a few short lines. It is a reminder that we must learn to live in the present moment, to let go of our attachments and desires, and to find peace in the silence. It is a call to action for all of us to become enlightened beings, to become the light that the Buddha urged his followers to become. Mary Oliver has created a masterpiece of poetry that will inspire and uplift readers for generations to come.
Editor Recommended SitesDeclarative: Declaratively manage your infrastructure as code
Deploy Code: Learn how to deploy code on the cloud using various services. The tradeoffs. AWS / GCP
Dev Asset Catalog - Enterprise Asset Management & Content Management Systems : Manager all the pdfs, images and documents. Unstructured data catalog & Searchable data management systems
Developer Key Takeaways: Key takeaways from the best books, lectures, youtube videos and deep dives
Developer Recipes: The best code snippets for completing common tasks across programming frameworks and languages
Recommended Similar AnalysisLiving In Sin by Adrienne Rich analysis
Epic by Patrick Kavanagh analysis
Mr . Apollinax by Thomas Stearns Eliot analysis
Vita Nuova by Oscar Wilde analysis
Best Thing in the World, The by Elizabeth Barrett Browning analysis
Heaven is what I cannot reach! by Emily Dickinson analysis
THE DIRGE OF JEPHTHAH'S DAUGHTER:SUNG BY THE VIRGINS by Robert Herrick analysis
Our Bog Is Dood by Stevie Smith analysis
The Truce of the Bear by Rudyard Kipling analysis
Unknown Girl In A Maternity Ward by Anne Sexton analysis