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One City

by Paul Griffin

In honor of Jessica Rasp‘s new four-week-long course on the 14th century mystic poet Hafiz, I’d like to share a Hafiz poem today on the ol’ blog.  Hafiz is similar to the more well-know Sufi poet Rumi.  But he is also quite different.  As Jessica puts it on her IDP course page, “Hafiz is like an R-rated Rumi!”

Hafiz often sings of love and intoxication, and of his own personal brand of cosmic consciousness. 

I’m not going to comment on the poem, but I will say that what I love about Buddhism is that it is a living spiritual path, it is in its own way–or at least in the way that I am trying to practice it–an opportunity to practice a particular brand of mysticism. 

From the Large Jug, Drink
by Hafiz

From the large jug, drink the wine of Unity,
So that from your heart you can wash away the futility of life’s grief.

But like this large jug, still keep the heart expansive.
Why would you want to keep the heart captive, like an unopened bottle
   of wine?

With your mouth full of wine, you are selfless
And will never boast of your own abilities again.

Be like the humble stone at your feet rather than striving to be like a
Sublime cloud: the more you mix colors of deceit, the more colorless
   your ragged wet coat will get.

Connect the heart to the wine, so that it has body,
Then cut off the neck of hypocrisy and piety of this new man.

Be like Hafiz: Get up and make an effort.  Don’t lie around like a bum.
He who throws himself at the Beloved’s feet is like a workhorse and will
   be rewarded with boundless pastures and eternal rest.

translated by Thomas Rain Crowe

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