Bending neither to the rain

bending neither to the rain
nor to the wind
nor to the snow nor summer heat
firm in body, yet
unfettered by desire
never losing one’s temper
and always quietly smiling
eating four cups of brown rice
with miso soup and a few vegetables each day
in all maters
putting oneself last
watching and listening, and understanding
and never forgetting
in the shade of a pine grove
living in a small thatch hut
if there is a sick child in the east
he goes and tends him
if there is a tired mother in the west
he goes and shoulders her load
if someone is dying in the south,
he goes and calms their fears
if there is a quarrel to the north,
he goes and demands they put an end to their pettiness
during times of drought, he sheds tears
in cool summers, fearing for the harvest, he walks nervously
considered a fool by all
neither praised
nor blamed
such a person
I long to be
                    --Miyazawa Kenji (1896-1933)

After Miyazawa Kenji's death, a black notebook was found in the lid of his trunk.  It was filled with the repeated copy of a Buddhist prayer, "namu myoho renge kyo", a verse from the Lotus Sutra. Amongst the repeated mantra, the above poem was written.  It dates, November 6, 1931, a time in Miyazawa Kenji's life when he was quite ill.
Miyazawa Kenji was a social activist, writer and teacher who dedicated his life to rural farmers.

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