The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry

The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry

by Stephen Mitchell
     
 

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An anthology of poetry chosen from the world's great religious and literary traditions—the perfect companion to the bestselling Tao Te Ching.

• The Upanishads • The Book of Psalms • Lao-tzu • The Bhagavad Gita • Chuang-tzu • The Odes of Solomon • Seng-ts'an • Han-shan • Li Po • Tu Fu

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Overview

An anthology of poetry chosen from the world's great religious and literary traditions—the perfect companion to the bestselling Tao Te Ching.

• The Upanishads • The Book of Psalms • Lao-tzu • The Bhagavad Gita • Chuang-tzu • The Odes of Solomon • Seng-ts'an • Han-shan • Li Po • Tu Fu • Layman P'ang • Kukai • Tung-shan • Symeon the New Theologian • Izumi Shikibu • Su Tung-p'o • Hildegard of Bingen • Francis of Assisi • Wu-men • Dõgen • Rumi • Mechthild of Magdeburg • Dante • Kabir Mirabai • William Shakespeare • George Herbert • Bunan • Gensei • Angelus Silesius • Thomas Traherne • Basho • William Blake • Ryõkan • Issa • Ghalib • Bibi Hayati • Wait Whitman • Emily Dickinson • Gerard Manley Hopkins • Uvavnuk • Anonymous Navaho • W. B. Yeats • Antonio Machado • Rainer Maria Rilke • Wallace Stevens • D.H. Lawrence • Robinson Jeffers •

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062041524
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/25/2011
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
716,373
File size:
0 MB

Meet the Author

Stephen Mitchell's many books include the bestselling Tao Te Ching, Gilgamesh, and The Second Book of the Tao, as well as The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, The Gospel According to Jesus, Bhagavad Gita, The Book of Job, and Meetings with the Archangel.

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Foreword

"We dance round in a ring and suppose, / But the Secret sits in the middle and knows, ' Robert Frost wrote, looking in from the outside. Looking out from the inside, Chuang-tzu wrote, "When we understand, we are at the center of the circle, and there we sit while Yes and No chase each other around the circumference." This anonymous center--which is called God in Jewish, Christian, and Moslem cultures, and Tao, Self, or Buddha in the great Eastern traditions--is the realest of realities.


Self is everywhere, shining forth from all beings,
vaster than the vast, subtler than the most subtle,
unreachable, yet nearer than breath, than heartbeat.
Eye cannot see it, ear cannot hear it nor tongue
utter it; only in deep absorption can the mind,
grown pure and silent, merge with the formless truth.
As soon as you find it, you are free; you have found yourself;
you have solved the great riddle; your heart forever is at peace.
Whole, you enter the Whole. Your personal self
returns to its radiant, intimate, deathless source.

Mundaka Upanishad

Most of what we call religious poetry is the poetry of longing: for God, for the mother's face. But the poems in The Enlightened Heart are poems of fulfillment. They were written by the Secret, who has many aliases. Sitting or dancing, all these poets have found themselves inside the circle--some of them a step within the circumference, some far in, some at dead center. Looking out from the center, you can talk about the circumference. But really, there is no circumference. Everyone,everything, is joyfully included.


The Enlightened Heart

THE UPANISHADS (8TH?-5TH? CENTURY B.C.E)


The Golden God, the Self, the immortal Swan
leaves the small nest of the body, goes where He wants.
He moves through the realm of dreams; makes numberless
        forms;
delights in sex; eats, drinks, laughs with His friends;
frightens Himself with scenes of heart-chilling terror.
But He is not attached to anything that He sees;
and after He has wandered in the realms of dream and
        awakeness,
has tasted pleasures and experienced good and evil,
He returns to the blissful state from which He began.
As a fish swims forward to one riverbank then the other,
Self alternates between awakeness and dreaming.
As an eagle, weary from long flight, folds its wings,
gliding down to its nest, Self hurries to the realm
of dreamless sleep, free of desires, fear, pain.
As a man in sexual union with his beloved
is unaware of anything outside or inside,
so a man in union with Self knows nothing, wants nothing,
has found his heart's fulfillment and is free of sorrow.
Father disappears, mother disappears, gods
and scriptures disappear, thief disappears, murderer,
rich man, beggar disappear, world disappears,
good and evil disappear; he has passed beyond sorrow.


Two birds, one of them mortal, the other immortal,
live in the same tree. The first one pecks at the fruit,
sweet or bitter; the second looks on without eating.
Thus the personal self pecks at the fruit of this world,
bewildered by suffering, always hungry for more.
But when he meets the True Self, the resplendent God,
the source of creation, all his cravings are stilled.
Perceiving Self in all creatures, he forgets himself
in the service of all; good and evil both vanish;
delighting in Self, playing like a child with Self,
he does whatever is called for, whatever the result.

Self is everywhere, shining forth from all beings,
vaster than the vast, subtler than the most subtle,
unreachable, yet nearer than breath, than heartbeat.
Eye cannot see it, ear cannot hear it not tongue
utter it; only in deep absorption can the mind,
grown pure and silent, merge with the formless truth.
He who finds it is free; he has found himself;
he has solved the great riddle; his heart forever is at peace.
Whole, he enters the Whole. His personal self
returns to its radiant, intimate, deathless source.
As rivers lose name and form when they disappear
into the sea, the sage leaves behind all traces
when he disappears into the light. Perceiving the truth,
he becomes the truth; he passes beyond all suffering,
beyond death; all the knots of his heart are loosed.

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