"Enlighten Me" by Bodhi Smith

here under the stars
filled with wonder
where can you be?
please help me understand
please enlighten me
​please join me in love
​fill me with content
​find me in happiness 
find me in your arms
​I try not to let ​my distracting thoughts get in the way, I do a pretty good job ​of decluttering my mind. However, it's the longing in my heart that carries me away from this moment​ now ― Bodh​i, Enlighten Me
The Great Buddha of Kamakura at the Kotoku-in Temple in Japan sits under the stars and glowing Milky Way while contemplating enlightenment...such a beautifully inspiring scene, and a spiritual place that help​s to "Enlighten Me" about life, the universe, and everything...
Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. Be where you are; otherwise you​ will miss your life​. ― Gautama ​Buddha
I​ sit down here, next to Buddha under the Milky Way and the infinity of stars, focusing on this moment only. Breathing in, breathing out, letting go. Quieting my mind to let my soul speak, so I can listen. Trying to just be, purely content, feel alive in the here and now...
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment​. ― Gautama ​Buddha
Sitting beside me, Buddha sets the example with his words, "What you think, you become"...I meditate. I clear my mind. I think only about peace and love, I become peace and love...and I sit here for quite a while, content to be in this moment, under the Milky Way with Buddha here with me...
​But then something is missing, ​even though my soul is at peace and filled with love. ​The wonderful vision of her occupies all of my mind. My thoughts think of her beauty, her smile, ​her touch on my skin, the smell of her hair in my face, the reflection of the sky in her eyes. My heartbeat drifts to her--where is she? Suddenly I feel lonely. My heart longs for connection​, and I have no answer, only the hope of her.​..

​Buddha said to​ quit holding on to our desires and liberate ourselves from them...but ​I think he was totally wrong...because​, how can ​I let go of my desires, when my only desire is to hold her? ― Bodh​i, Enlighten Me

​There must be some sort of reconciliation between my heart and my mind. I look up to Buddha, I ask "What can I do?" ​Then his words ​enlighten me, "What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.​.."
I think about peace and love again, and I feel her, I really feel her presence right here with me, though she is not really here. I imagine her love filling my heart full, dispensing my longing, erasing my loneliness, helping my mind feel contented again. I focus on her, thinking of her sitting here with me, next to me and Buddha under the stars and the Milky Way, and I become peace and love again. ​I think about her here with me, I​'m happy, very happy​--​With her in my presence, I'm glowing as she enlightens me, with pure love...she smiles at me, and I smile at her...

Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think​ ― Gautama ​Buddha
Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have​. ― Gautama ​Buddha
​Live in the now. Make every moment count, for none are ever ordinary. Always and forever, this is a certainty. ― Bodh​i, Enlighten Me
​Released in 2016 (about the same time as I was visiting Japan a little over 8 years ago​), here's​ a song from a favorite alternative band of mine who is based locally here in Southern California. The tune talks about many Buddhist concepts such as letting go in order hold love better, or how being enlightened can set you free of useless worries. Give it a good listen, to go along with its deeply meaningful lyrics and the fact it's named the same as my impression here today, it's a great tune with wonderful vocals and backing instruments  ... Enlighten Me by Grouplove. ... (just click on the blue links to listen to any of the songs)

Let's call it quits and see what the future holds
I've been here before, yeah, we just went down this road
A long time to feel young, short time to get old
I was holding onto something, knowing you would just let me go
Yeah, I was holding onto something, knowing you would just let me go
I love it when I get high, hate it when it gets cold
Indiscretion is a blessing if you know how the truth is told
But I don't feel my life is real
I'm on the fence with common sense
The tendency of time is to never understand it
The lesson of my life is to never comprehend it
No matter how much you spend trying to blend in
Or maybe on my deathbed I finally get an answer
Yeah, maybe on my deathbed I finally get an answer
Or tell me why it's always been this way
Indiscretion is a blessing if you know what you want to say
But I don't feel my life is real
I'm on the fence with common sense
Won't you enlighten me?
Won't you just set me free?
Let's call it quits to see what the future holds
Been here before, yeah, we just went down this road
I was holding onto something, knowing you would just let me go
But I don't feel my life is real
I'm on the fence with common sense
Won't you enlighten me?
Won't you just set me free?
Don’t rush anything. When the time is right it’ll happen​. ― Gautama ​Buddha

Change is never painful. Only resistance to change is painful​. ― 
Gautama ​Buddha

Give, even if you only have a little​. ― 
Gautama ​Buddha

When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky. ― 
Gautama ​Buddha

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path. ― 
Gautama ​Buddha

You only lose what you cling to​. ― 
Gautama ​Buddha

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without​. ― 
Gautama ​Buddha

At the end of the day, I’m at peace because my intentions are good and my heart is pure.​ ― 
Gautama ​Buddha
Kotoku-in. is a Buddhist temple of the Jodo-shu sect located in the city of Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The temple is renowned for The Kamakura Daibutsu (a.k.a. The Great Buddha of Kamakura.), a monumental outdoor bronze statue of Gautama Siddhartha Buddha located on the temple grounds, which is one of the most famous icons of Japan. It's also listed as a designated National Treasure of Japan...

This large bronze statue including the base, measures 13.35 metres (43.8 ft) tall and weighs approximately 93 tonnes (103 tons). According to temple records, the statue dates from around 1252, during the Kamakura period, which it is named after.

The statue is hollow, and visitors can view the interior. Many visitors have left graffiti on the inside of the statue. At one time, there were thirty-two bronze lotus petals at the base of the statue, but only four remain, and they are no longer in place. A notice at the entrance to the grounds reads, "Stranger, whosoever thou art and whatsoever be thy creed, when thou enterest this sanctuary remember thou treadest upon ground hallowed by the worship of ages. This is the Temple of Buddha and the gate of the eternal, and should therefore be entered with reverence."

The current bronze statue was preceded by a giant wooden Buddha, which was completed in 1243 after ten years of continuous labor, the funds having been raised by Lady Inada no Tsubone and the Buddhist priest Joko of Totomi. The wooden statue was damaged by a storm in 1248, and the hall containing it was destroyed, so Joko suggested making a new statue of bronze, and the huge amount of money necessary for this and a new hall was raised for the project. The bronze image was probably cast by Ono Goroemon or Tanji Hisatomo, both leading casters of the time. At one time, the statue was gilded. There are still traces of gold leaf near the statue's ears.

The hall was destroyed by a storm in 1334, was rebuilt, was damaged by yet another storm in 1369, and was rebuilt yet again. The last building housing the statue was washed away in the tsunami resulting from the Nankai earthquake of 20 September 1498, during the Muromachi period. Since then, the Great Buddha has stood in the open air.

The 1923 Great Kanto earthquake destroyed the base the statue sits upon, but the base was repaired in 1925. Repairs to the statue were carried out in 1960–61, when the neck was strengthened and measures were taken to protect it from earthquakes. In early 2016, further research, restoration, and preservation work was performed on the statue.
O ye who tread the Narrow Way
By Tophet-flare to Judgment Day,
Be gentle when ‘the heathen’ pray
To Buddha at Kamakura!

To Him the Way, the Law, apart,
Whom Maya held beneath her heart,
Ananda’s Lord, the Bodhisat,
The Buddha of Kamakura.

For though He neither burns nor sees,
Nor hears ye thank your Deities,
Ye have not sinned with such as these,
His children at Kamakura,

Yet spare us still the Western joke
When joss-sticks turn to scented smoke
The little sins of little folk
That worship at Kamakura—

The grey-robed, gay-sashed butterflies
That flit beneath the Master’s eyes.
He is beyond the Mysteries
But loves them at Kamakura.

And whoso will, from Pride released,
Contemning neither creed nor priest,
May feel the Soul of all the East
About him at Kamakura.

Yea, every tale Ananda heard,
Of birth as fish or beast or bird,
While yet in lives the Master stirred,
The warm wind brings Kamakura.

Till drowsy eyelids seem to see
A-flower ’neath her golden htee
The Shwe-Dagon flare easterly
From Burma to Kamakura,

And down the loaded air there comes
The thunder of Thibetan drums,
And droned—‘Om mane padme hum’s’
A world’s-width from Kamakura.

Yet Brahmans rule Benares still,
Buddh-Gaya’s ruins pit the hill,
And beef-fed zealots threaten ill
To Buddha and Kamakura.

A tourist-show, a legend told,
A rusting bulk of bronze and gold,
So much, and scarce so much, ye hold
The meaning of Kamakura?

But when the morning prayer is prayed,
Think, ere ye pass to strife and trade,
Is God in human image made
No nearer than Kamakura?
I​ sit down here under the infinity of stars, focusing on this moment only. Breathing in, breathing out, letting go. Quieting my mind to let my soul speak, so I can listen. Trying to just be, purely content, feel alive in the here and now... ― bodhi, enlighten me
I visited Japan for 9 days with a good friend a little over eight years ago in March of 2016. With my spiritual background in Buddhism, I've always wanted to visit this Great Buddha, so it was definitely on my list as one of the highlights for this trip...
I know this is always a very popular spot in Japan for tourists to visit, but I wanted to see it peacefully and quietly, without all the masses of people that would inevitably be there along with me. So my idea was to arrive as early as possible before the Kotoku-in Temple opened at 8am. I wished to try and get in early, or at the very least, be the first person to enter, go directly to the back of the property where the Great Buddha was located, and get the photos I had pre-envisioned in my head before others started to pile in...
Well, they did not let me in early, but I was the first to enter and I followed my plan to head quickly back directly to the Great Buddha before anyone else. I even had the help of my friend to further delay people from coming up to the statue by asking easy-to-answer questions about the Temple (in his bad Japanese) to those first people filing in, to prolong them a little bit longer in arriving back at the Buddha...my planning all paid off, as I was able to capture with my camera images which ​I had preconceived​, including this breathtaking one you see here before you today...
In order to create my vision, two separate exposures were merged and blended into creating this composition​. And to get the effects and balance ​I was looking for in this composition, ​I used two ProgreyUSA Filters. along with the ProgreyUSA G-120Z Antarctic Magnetic Holder. to secure these filters to my Nikon D850 with a Nikon Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 prime lens. ... 
Camera settings​ for Stars
ISO-2500, 24mm at f/1.4 for 13 seconds using no filters. Image taken in portrait aspect about 1.5 hours after sunset at 8:00pm JST on March 31st, 2016
Camera Settings for Great Buddha of Kamakura
ISO-64, 24mm at f/8 for 11 seconds in portrait aspect using one ProgreyUSA 0.9GND Aurora Filter. to bring down the sky 4 stops.along with a ProgreyUSA 1.8ND Aurora Filter. to stop down the image 6 stops and permit for the longer exposure which helps to soften the sky (easier for blending it with stars) and to naturally saturate all of the green hues in the picture. Image taken  just after the temple opened to public before all the masses of people came in, at 8:05am JST on March 31st, 2016...
In my photography, I always use filters to create longer exposure effects, saturate colors naturally, and balance the light in my composition in-camera...I often use as many as four filters at time, and I always use at least one filter in my completed impressions...
I wish to openly thank my sponsors who have always supported me through both the good and bad times...for truly this long exposure impression would not be possible without the use of my Induro PHQ3 Series 5-way Panhead with an Induro (now Benro) Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod. in combination with the ProgreyUSA Filters. which I use with every photo I take...
contemplate without thinking. be certain only in your uncertainty, content to be completely incomplete. stop the rush. slow down time. breathe and notice. slow down everything. let it all be. shut off the noise. hush. relax. seize this higher moment. reconnect. feel and sense what surrounds you. listen to all the colours of light whisper as they envelope you. see the melody and harmony that float about unnoticed. taste the solitude of all this wonderment. smell the beautiful silence. now discover your peaceful serenity. then, reach out and touch your faith with all your senses. this is my world. awaken! ― bodhi, my world
you were blessed with 84,600 seconds today, have you used one of them to say thank you? ― bodhi, blessed
I leave you today wishing that bright joy 
and spiritual peace fill your life...
imploring you to make every moment count, 
no matter what, always and forever, 
for that is the only thing that truly matters... 
And above all else,
I hope this message and impression find you well.
please visit me at:
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