Fire & Tao


The longer the night lasts, the more ghosts will come.


The temple is still for the ghosts
The helpers stand silent in awe
The nobles who assist the dead
Have been purified and purged.

Heaven displays its answering spirits
They flit through the temple so fast
As bright and glorious as the sun
Showing no disdain for we mortals.


The past is not a foreign country, 
as some would say – 
it is what helps us shape our present life and our future.
But China has always taught
 – despite the oftenseeming fatalism of Buddism – 
that we are ulitmately in control 
of how we use what has happend to us to determine our future. 
This poem and proverb ask us to look hard at the past and, 
through reflection, to make the right decisions 
in order that the ghosts of the past fade away 
and we can create for ourselves lives 
cleared of the errors of past actions.

©Loes Raaphorst 10/2005