Treasure Island

Brian Taylor



The Venerable Luang Pu Soh
is a famous teacher of meditation.
He is eighty-seven years old.

In the second year after his ordination,
while he was sitting in his kuti,
a large golden snake, six metres long
and as thick as a house post,
entered the hut, slithered straight towards him
and lifted him up so that he was seated on its coils.
It pushed its head into his body, but he felt no pain,
and seemed to push it out again
between his shoulder blades.
When he reached up carefully with his left hand,
he could feel its head above his own,
just as it is shown
in images of the Buddha.
After a while it crawled out and away
and he could feel his bottom touch the floor again.

In his sixth year, while walking in the Temple grounds,
he heard a loud voice inside him,
“In your eighth year
your symbol will appear
through the air,
on the ninth waxing day
of the ninth lunar month.
He who has it now will come.”

When this day came,
he sat meditating as usual
in the early morning.
There was the loud rushing and roaring sound
of a great wind
which caused the branches of the trees around
to sway and beat against the ground
and a helicopter landed in front of the hut.
The pilot got out.
His clothes were green,
as was the cloth across his shoulders.
He had green armlets.
He had green skin
and carried a three-stringed violin.
The monk recognised him as Indra
and the violin as the instrument he had played
before the Buddha.
(Though he was not as beautifully arrayed
as in Temple paintings.)

Indra walked towards the kuti
and went straight underneath.

Twenty minutes later,
the monk climbed down
to look under the hut
but Indra was gone
and, when he looked, the helicopter had gone too.

After breakfast,
he was reflecting on this,
when a voice said, “It’s coming! ”

At eight o’clock, a white van arrived
and a couple got out, carrying something
wrapped in a white cloth
which they presented to the monk.
It was an image fifteen inches high
of Buddha seated on the coils of seven nagas,
their seven heads arching protectively over his.
He named it Venerable Father of Seven Kings.

The image is famous and venerated throughout the country.
Copies of it and tear-dropp amulets are widely sold.
From this image the monk has received
Dhamma instruction and practical advice
by means of an inner voice.
According to the voice, the image is eight hundred years old
and the voice entered it at its casting.

When asked, “Who are you? ”
The voice will not particularise.

(From 'Bamboo Leaves')

Submitted: Thursday, January 28, 2010
Edited: Thursday, April 18, 2013

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Comments about this poem (BIG SNAKE by Brian Taylor )

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  • Krishnarasa Seshadri (1/28/2010 7:43:00 AM)

    Its a beautiful narrative poem! the last two lines 'When asked, “Who are you? ”
    The voice will not particularise.' says a lot to me tho' makes me think of the antaryami or immanence! :) (Report) Reply

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