a song for February2022

It’s still cold here this year, but I’m relieved to see the sky softening with the occasional glimpse of sunshine. The plum trees, with their stiff buds, have a kind of peachy air around their branches, as if the particles are playing back and forth in and out of the branches before they settle into flower form. The cherry blossom trees are starting to look like this too, and it’s so lovely to see the season moving little by little.

Today we are going to sing a nostalgic song, “Chaitio’s Star”.

Chaitio is deep in the mountains of Myanmar. It is a small Buddhist city in the middle of the cliffs with the image of a hermit living in the narrow towering mountains. It is famous for a large stone in the cliff which seems to fall but does not. People believe that it is due to the power of Buddha, so they put gold leaf on the stone, so it looks like a gold stone floating in the air.
If you climb up the cliff a little, the stars seem so close that you can really grab them. Maybe it’s because the air is so clear and there are no other lights that it’s a bit dizzying.
It’s like a Mahayana Mecca where people gather at 4am to chant on the cliffs to watch the sunrise.

I often wonder how the people in Myanmar who took me there are doing these days.
I wonder if the starry sky is still as clear as I remeber. I wonder if they are still so beautiful, still under that starry sky, still fighting against the military regime.
Whenever I find myself worrying, or at a loss, I try to calm my mind with the mantra they taught me, and look at that beautiful, wild country from a place bigger than worry.

Such is the song of the beautiful stars of Myanmar. Next month it will be springtime in Chaitio, as well!