The Dharmagiri Dragon

We’d seen her fire, heard her thunderous roar
And then, one night, we saw
The dragon, flying through the sky.
Backlit by moonlight, she appeared
For just five breaths, then gone.
As clouds dispersed, she hid again
Inside the Sacred Mountain.

The valley is her entrance hall,
Baboons her sentry guards,
And while we hold the name ‘Kuan Yin’
She listens on, at ease
And sends out emissaries.
The eagle, snake and dragonflies circle and survey,
Then go on their own way.

At times, her forceful breath began to swirl
As we gathered in the meditation hall.
It whistled wildly round, bending trees
And whisking up our minds.
But we repented and renewed our vows
Again, again, to start
To sit, to soften, connecting to the stillness of the heart.

Our dragon left no footprints in the sky
But in her wake she blazed a rainbow trail
Guiding us to treasures deep inside.
She reminded me of fairy tales and stories rarely told
Of deities and devas, and the wish-fulfilling gems they hold.
Or a princess, beautifully adorned,
Not just with radiant face and lustrous hair,
But a clear mind too, kind heart and wisdom, when her people feel despair.

I may be a restless Bodhisattva, 
Still somewhat under-cooked,
But a month of being slowly baked, 
And glazed and fired in the dragon’s kiln,
Leaves me ready to return, with intention pure and commitment strong,
To listen, like Kuan Yin.

I’d like to thank wonderful teachers, Thanissara and Kittisaro, for an inspiring one month retreat at Dharmagiri near Underberg, South Africa. We explored Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist practices, notably the four foundations of mindfulness and the Kuan Yin dharmas. It was a magical month and I offer this poem with a deep bow of appreciation.

Lucy Draper-Clarke

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