Rudyard Kipling

Buddha At Kamakura

O ye who tread the Narrow Way By Tophet-flare to Judgment Day, Be gentle when "the heathen" pray To Buddha at Kamakura! To him the Way, the Law, apart, Whom Maya held beneath her heart, Ananda's Lord, the Bodhisat, The Buddha of Kamakura. For though he neither burns nor sees, Nor hears ye thank your Deities, Ye have not sinned with such as these, His children at Kamakura, Yet spare us still the Western joke When joss-sticks turn to scented smoke The little sins of little folk That worship at Kamakura -- The grey-robed, gay-sashed butterflies That flit beneath the Master's eyes. He is beyond the Mysteries But loves them at Kamakura. And whoso will, from Pride released, Contemning neither creed nor priest, May feel the Soul of all the East About him at Kamakura. Yea, every tale Ananda heard, Of birth as fish or beast or bird, While yet in lives the Master stirred, The warm wind brings Kamakura. Till drowsy eyelids seem to see A-flower 'neath her golden htee The Shwe-Dagon flare easterly From Burmah to Kamakura, And down the loaded air there comes The thunder of Thibetan drums, And droned -- "Om mane padme hums" -- A world's-width from Kamakura. Yet Brahmans rule Benares still, Buddh-Gaya's ruins pit the hill, And beef-fed zealots threaten ill To Buddha and Kamakura. A tourist-show, a legend told, A rusting bulk of bronze and gold, So much, and scarce so much, ye hold The meaning of Kamakura? But when the morning prayer is prayed, Think, ere ye pass to strife and trade, Is God in human image made No nearer than Kamakura?

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