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Neem Karoli Baba
by Ronald Lee Johnson
This is not fancy, I know-
but listen carefully:
something is there.

My friends have their houses
and I guess that’s okay.
But this is an eternal house.
Never needs painting.
Roof never leaks.

Why did Neem Karoli Baba
lie there naked on a blanket
smiling like a walrus
while Ram Dass took his photo?

What were his clothes and belongings?
What was his roof and awning?
What was his porch and railing?
If it wasn’t This,
what was it?

That’s what this poem is like-
unadorned by figures of speech,
not costumed by poetic diction-
plain speech and metaphor
wrapped only in a light skin,
no ego world to cloud
the natural shining effulgence.

I myself have flopped out here
with a long-toothed grin,
nothing of myself but listener and scribe-
no erudition or wit-
Mind at the service
of the great Creator.

As Sixth Zen Patriarch Hui-Neng said:
The bottom of a pail
is broken through.
Personal contents have gone out.