Poem for Mankind

Thanks Lee for forwarding this translated poem by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu – seems very appropriate right now

Poem for Humankind

by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

(Late Abbott of Wat Suan Mok)


Translated by Susan F. Kepner


We should behave toward our fellow human beings as if they…

Were born, and will grow old, suffer and die, like us

Enduring the wheel of existence, of samsara

Living under the power of attachments, like us

Subject to desire, rage, and delusion, and

Careless in their ways, like us

Having no idea why they were born, as we have no idea

Stupid in some things, as we are sometimes stupid

Indulging their own whims, as we indulge ours

Wanting to be good, perhaps prominent, even famous

Taking advantage of opportunities to take advantage of others, like us.


They have the right to be crazy, to get drunk, to become obsessed

They are ordinary people who cling to this or that, as we do

They are under no obligation to suffer or die in our place

They are our fellow citizens, in secular and spiritual realms

They behave sometimes in haste, carelessly, like us

They have the duty to be responsible for their families, not for ours

The have the right to their own tastes, their own definition of well-being

They have the right to choose (even their religion) to suit themselves

They have the right to a share of public resources equal to our share

The right to be insane, in the world’s opinion, as do we

The right to seek our help, and pity, and compassion

The right to our forgiveness, depending upon the merits of the case

The right to be socialists, or liberals,

To think of themselves before they think of others

They have the right to every right we claim, to live in this world.

Could we all but think this way, conflict and discord would not arise.