Dharma Poem: The Five Skandas

My husband was dying.  But we didn’t know it–not yet.
Daily I drove to the hospital. Walking the parking lot
I focused on breathing until I turned into five streams:
form and feelings, perceptions, volition and consciousness.
The Buddha called them skandas.  

I knew them as streams pouring from me,
shifting, subtle, nothing to sort one from another.
By the time I entered his room, I forgot who I was.  
Hi, my name’s Skanda.
On the bed he lay, apparati in abundance, 
five streams rushing toward me,
stream meeting stream.  

No birth, no death, Buddha said.  
Only streams.  
What else is there to say?  

© February 8, 2014 | Carolyn White


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