FLESH BODY BODHISATTVA
For the first one thousand days, I eat nothing
But seeds and berries, yet every morning
I uphold monastery duties.
Chop wood, wash robes, break stones—
This strips the fat from my body, so after
I am gone, there is less to rot.
For the next one thousand days, I eat less.
Pine needles, bark, roots.
Strip the body of moisture. Drink
Tea from the sap of the urushi tree—normally for lacquer—
Highly poisonous, this induces vomiting, and kills all those—
Maggots, bacteria, worms—
Who wither flesh.
Some days I swallow river stones.
Everything to preserve this
From the ravages of
Pray. Chant. Raise the bell every
Day, until one day, no bell.
Then the stone tomb,
Just big enough for the lotus position,
For the last one thousand days.
Hundreds upon hundreds of monks starved
For years, died encased and alone.
Precious few tombs opened
To reveal preserved corpses, worthy
Flesh body bodhisattvas.