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Beneath the snow-capped mountains cold by Sagar Rao

A little background before you read from the author, Sagar Rao...

"A little while ago I learned that Tolkien's poem Far over the misty mountains cold from The Hobbit was set to music in both the 1977 and the 2012 films with the same melody, which I had not heard before. I really liked the melody and over the course of a few days of humming it I started randomly composing a Buddhist devotional poem to go along with it, mostly copying the meter of Tolkien's verses but using an aabb rhyme scheme instead of aaba. Initially it was just about Śākymuni Buddha, but then about halfway through I decided to incorporate the famous story of Doṇa meeting the Buddha for the first time into the poem, so that's what it ended up being about. I thought I would share it here; it is pretty simple just like Tolkien's because I based it more on fitting the music used for that poem rather than actually producing nice verse, but maybe it will be appreciated anyway. For reference, the melody I'm talking about is this one:

This is a mashup of the 1977 and 2012 versions from the movie adaptations of The Hobbit.

Also yes, I know Śākyamuni Buddha's bodhi tree was not a banyan, it just sounded right! "

Beneath the snow-capped mountains cold

walks him of whom Asita told.

Within his footprints at the heel

there lies the eight-spoked holy wheel.

The gods and spirits see him pass

and press their heads upon the grass.

Behind him stands a banyan tall

where Māra's arrows could not fall.

Among its roots there shined a star

that scattered darkness near and far,

where one whom all the wise revere

beheld the sight that shatters fear:

the truths that put down every foe,

the void that marks all things to know,

and that which slays all cause to mourn,

the womb from which the light is born.

The victor walks to men who strive,

the prince's old companions five,

to call them to the further shore

and let them hear his lion's roar.

Not far behind, the brahmin Doṇa stands

with widened eyes and shaking hands.

He stares ahead down at the trail,

his awestruck voice calls out to hail.

"What might you be?" asks Doṇa on his knees.

"To leave such footprints amid the trees?

Are you a god, to shine so bright?

Or else a spirit filled with light?"

To him turns that lion among men

and speaks these words again and again.

"Not even gods could shine like me.

One gone beyond them, I am he."

"Oh Brahmin Doṇa, hear my word.

Though born within it, I am beyond the world.

Just as the lotus from the mire,

or as the smothered, quiet fire."

The lord of peace goes on his way,

a guide for wand'rers gone astray,

where sages land, where five await,

to open wide saṃsāra's gate.


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