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jisei (death poem)

Updated: Sep 14

orange moon

came to the river to watch the boats

light begins to turn

time to prepare for fall

love of summer

your glitters

down you go to the sea

Jisei, or death poem, is a genre of poetry established since the early days of Zen where the author, usually a monk or practitioner, would offer their reflection on death when the encounter with it seemed imminent but more broadly would express an understanding or worldview informed by Buddhist teachings; a sentiment deeply imbued with the sense of the the transience of world. It's the realization of the inevitability of death that prompted Buddha's long search for liberation from conditioned and limited human existence that bears the seal of suffering.

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