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Variations on a Theme Nembutsu

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Temple Cat

The incense smoke rises,
in the summer heat –

our eyes half closed, chanting
sutras while the temple cat’s paw

touches each cheek gently in turn.
Then she leaves us to find some

shade, and the youngest of us
will find her starring

at the garden flowers
her eyes half open

like Honen seeing the Pure Land,
or in the Hall perpetual nembutsu

stretched out asleep,