Thursday, 5 April 2018

Blue Moon Nirvana

A few days ago, on my way to evening meditation at Dong Shan (link to Shadows of Cave Mountain), I was captivated by the moon. It was a “blue moon”, a rare event in the Gregorian calendar, happening only once in a blue moon, golden in colour. 

It was also the 15th day of the second moon according to the Chinese lunar calendar — Buddha’s Nirvana Day, and the 31st of April 2018, Easter Saturday, the only Christian holiday which follows the lunar cycle. Jesus had just been hammered into his passionate version of Nirvana about two millennia ago, holding his breath until Monday. Coincidence never fails to intrigue.

I meditated on the moon, hypnotised by the chirpy chirrups of late spring insects. A wordless lunar ode began to form. But the right words had long been exhausted by poets, storytellers, religionists, and lovers moonstruck by the only heavenly object reachable from a tall mountain. Just keep climbing, and reach out.

The moon makes us tides, and calms the Earth’s spin. Without it, our planet would be very different. Humans probably won’t exist. Or, if we did, we might look like scorpions, or unicorns, or cockroaches. Now that we think we understand 5% of the universe, now that we have catalogues, our lunar mother, the ultimate Tai Yin, is only a notch or two above roaming space debris in the astronomical hierarchy, a celestial pet on a tight orbital leash.

We no longer have time for the moon. In the cities, it’s blocked by buildings, overwhelmed by artificial lights. Up there is just a piece of lonely rock: barren, scorching, freezing, with a mysterious dark-side which we harass like bullies. “Hey honey, show me your face!”

“The Moon Represents My Heart,” sang Teresa Tang. Lovers are over the moon about the senseless lyrics, refusing to recognise the cold dark side, out of sight but always there. My heart is like the moon. Don’t say you haven’t been warned, my love. Werewolves still howl at the full moon. Nobody hears them anymore. Nobody except the lunatics.

The only honest words left for my lunar ode were big, round, bright and low, words poets disdain. I went for my camera instead, before the golden blue moon too entered Nirvana.

The gibbous moon a few nights before

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