Buddhist Poem | Verse of Great Buddha in Seokguram Grotto

Verse of Great Buddha in Seokguram Grotto

by Shin Seok-jeong

Eyes opened upon sunrise,
Your spirited, discerning eyes
Embrace the deep blue sky of Seorabeol for a thousand years.

Seated on a simple pedestal beyond time and space,
The sun, moon, stars and other heavenly bodies pass by you like the wind,
I look up to your heart and wonder,
How can it pound so much?

I can feel your vibrant warmth
Even down to your comforting hands.
My beloved!
Before you, even nature is but a speck of dust.

Listening to your beginningless and endless heartbeat,
Oh! In the midst of sprouting brilliant wisdom,
In my heart, in my heart
I recite in an immensely quiet voice
Homage to Amitabha Buddha!
Homage to Amitabha Buddha!

 

This poem expresses the poet’s bliss after seeing the Buddha enshrined in Seokguram Grotto. It condenses the whole of the universe, nature, humanity and the awakened ones. The poet’s deep faith in Buddhism is palpable.
Born in 1907 in Buan, Jeonbuk Province, poet Shin Seok-jeong researched Buddhist scriptures at Jungang Buddhist Special College and was taught by Ven. Park Han-yeong. He also visited Ven. Han Yong-un frequently and received teachings on literature.
Shin Seok-jeong stressed “principles.” He said, “The foundation of the spirit of poetry lies in beliefs, and beliefs lead directly to principles.” He added, “On days when one aims for high mountains and flowing waters, one can firmly uphold to their principles as spiritual pillars with a mind like a crystal-clear mirror and calm water.” He praised the principles of Ven. Han Yong-un and described them as “a triangular tower of armored principles.” Shin Seok-jeong saw bamboo as a representation of principles and as the epitome of the spirit, “It is empty without being exhausted.”

 

Explanation by Mun Tae-jun (Poet)

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