Friday, October 31, 2003

from Emptiness: Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (23)

the obstacles
forations on tongue
form pain on ear consciousness
there on tongue
highest parasumgate
prajnaparamita mantra
present on tongue
destroyed empty and

Thursday, October 30, 2003

from Emptiness: Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (22)

emptiness is
mantra is form or sound
deep ear consciousness
bodhisattva hear
them while gate gate
and sound mind found
perfect gate gate
this mind found
them listen

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

from Emptiness: Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (21)
equally arrive on path past
dharmas or five are marked
immaculate nor
decreasing from moving past
listen to them moving on
or dharmas on the path

Danger, Danger, Will Robinson!

Things That Really Frighten Me

At the top of the list: perverting the Dharma.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Nude Bodhisattva

this is pain
that wells
that rises like tide
this is and
green apples
by the armload
when she suffers
pain is shared
as taught skin
in California

Too bad, too sad

All day I've been thinking about the fires. I grew up out there, north of LA, near the Simi fire. We used to watch them, almost every Fall when the Santa Ana's would whip things up. Fires a tenth or less the size of these. From twenty or thirty miles away, at night, you could see the fronts on the hills and watch masses of flame detach themselves from the line and lift off. They must have been enormous, given how they looked even from that distance. And the smoke would fill the air and ash cover the sidewalks. Then I moved to San Diego where the other fires are. One year a small one started and climbed up the canyon behind my house on top of the mesa. It was like being at the top of a vast chimney. It died in the ice plant, but it was plenty impressive and plenty scary. It was like a life form unto itself - a uncaring, destructive, violent beast. That fire was an acre or two with a front 50 to 100 feet wide. It took my eyebrows from quite a distance as I tried to slow it with a pathetic garden hose. These things out there now are tens of thousands of acres in size with fronts 40 or 50 miles long and at least an order of magnitude beyond anything one could call "normal". The hot Santa Ana just keeps blowing out of the desert and down the hills like hell's own bellows. These aren't trees. This is practically a whole state of six to nine foot high, dense, impenetrable, dry "hedge" going up like a bomb in terrain that is folded up like a wad of paper. It hasn't rained since March or April, probably, and the thing just propagates with amazing speed by radiation and wind to where the fuel remains and the supply of oxygen is most ample . It isn't just the houses and the people. There are dogs and cats and horses. And mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, skunks, possum, cougar, racoons, rabbits, foxes, chipmunks, probably a few bears here and there, rodents, lizards, horned toads, ground toads, snakes, ground birds, bugs of all description, etc. and etc. They aren't all getting away, and for most those that do, the food supply is gone or disrupted. Probably most aren't. Too much smoke and heat and confusion. And how does one escape a fire fifty miles wide? Like the people, they wait too long and then are unsure where to go. And then it and the panic is on them. OM AMI DEWA HRI. OM AMI DEWA HRI. OM AMI DEWA HRI.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

The Guru Yoga of Padmasambhava

Having read Marks post on Calling The Lama From Afar earlier, this morning when I awoke I spent the morning doing that practice. It blew me away. I think this is why we have sangha. Just when the mind is swept up, a fine mist settles you. Here is a link to calling the lama from the Dudjom lineage. The Guru Yoga of Padmasambhava

Walkie Talkie Meditation

Trying to get ready, for the possible appearance of an unepected guest, we all clean in a flurry. Our Lama's Lama, may arrive today. We're all busy trying to prepare. Ethan, is down-mountian trying to get the shrine ready. I am with rinpoche building furnature, and moving furnature. Everything being a climb or a drive up or down mountain we use walkie-talkies to reach each other. It saves time and steps and sweat. Turning my right hand clockwise, twisting a phillips head screw, I here white noise static from the table, and then Ethans voice, "Calling the lama from afar, come in lama,...... Calling the Lama from afar ....."

from Emptiness: Fifty Poems FromThe Heart Sutra

Emptiness (20)

the know
five themselved realms
pain is
shed is this
is one and them that
does is there

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Calling the Lama

There is a wonderful Tibetan tradition of practitioners calling the lama from afar. There are many beautiful chants and I've posted quotes from one of my favorites on this blog. However, I usually have to choose between chanting in Tibetan with only partial comprehension of what I am saying or reading the translation in English without any melody. So I borrowed a western song to sing on occasion. It has no lineage behind it and I don't know whether it is really the right thing to do, but I was able to generate a lot of heart felt devotion while I sang it and thought of my lama. Here it is, you'll recognize it.

A Borrowed Song Sung to the Lama

The long and winding road
That leads to your door,
Will never disappear,
I've seen that road before.
It always leads me here,
Leads me to your door.

The wild and windy night
That the rain washed away,
Has left a pool of tears
Crying for the day.
Why leave me standing here?
Let me know the way.

Many times I've been alone
And many times I've cried.
Anyway you'll never know
The many ways I've tried.
But still they lead me back
To the long, winding road.

You left me standing here
A long, long time ago.
Don't leave me waiting here,
Lead me to your door.

But still they lead me back
To the long, winding road.
You left me standing here
A long, long time ago.
Don't keep me waiting here,
Lead me to your door.

Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah

giving up god

A friend recently mentioned a movie she'd seen, and that it dealt with the 'big question' of God's injustice. I thought, hmmm, how nice to have given up that 'big question' when i gave up my notion of a God "out there."

Friday, October 24, 2003

from Dzogchen Interferon: By Peter Marti

My Stigmata

In the few weeks after my successful chemotherapy
with headaches, dizziness & lethargy all but gone
I continued to have a bright red chest rash
like a bad case of acne and one
bright pink itchy spot
in the middle of my right palm
I scratch sometimes drawing blood…

my wife said it’s excema
the acupuncturist suggested fish oil in diet
that my overheated liver
after years of stress and bad “lifestyle choices”
would take time to heal…

but today, sitting alone beside a swift stream
in the Sierras I recall Maria Von Franz,
Jung’s pupil, who wrote of the puer eternus complex
—eternal youth—and how the skin of puers
speaks to the world in just such strange spots
and rashes, psychic wishes or fears
not expressed but longed after.
Unconscious I stayed
on the surface with drink
with drugs many jobs and partners
whose echoes haunted not just these last months
but veneered my life so far.

Now, at 50,
this sagging boundary of skin
exists only to be gone beyond.

a slim tan colored ground squirrel stands up
in the tall drying grasses & strips seeds
into its mouth
at the campsite across the meadow
as a grandfather catches his trout
and prepares to clean it
I want to call out: “wait, stop
don’t kill this living thing”
but the wind and river catch hold
move my thoughts past this moment
and all my failures to the thumping
churning blood that visits my skin

returns me to my heart
where all longing beats its diminished drum
past mewling birth and recent ills
this crimson wound, like dawn
breaking slow over these mountains,
unsought after, inevitable
—sunlight bouncing off water
the flash of rainbow scales
before the knife.

from Emptiness: Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (19)

object to differ this
thanks to know and dharmas
differ to this or dharmas
decreasing this or path or true dharmas
neither know nor not know
one smell or death immaculate
to shed death and age of dharmas

The World

I am no scholar, but I think I have found that the Tibetan word for the world or the universe is "jig ten". It seems to be composed of two parts. Jig ('jig pa) means to disintegrate and when coupled to other words, as it is here, means transitory and subject to decay. Ten (rTen) means to rely or depend on, in the sense that something is supported by something else. World is such a non-descript term, at least to me - just a nice sound. Although I am not sure I have rendered the term correctly, I like to imagine nonetheless how I would feel if every time I reached for the word "world" I had say something like "the transitory support that is subject to decay and disintegration" instead. Now, that is a mouthful, to be sure, but it also conveys a lot more information than our word "world" and it is the kind of information I need to be reminded of daily. How different it feels to say "Someday I'd like to rule the transitory support that is subject to decay and disintegration!" rather than "Someday I'd like to rule the world". It just takes the wax right out of your twisted mustache. Nyah ah ah!

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Around and around

It's not that easy to undo limitless lifetimes of conditioning, grasping and aversion, and to penetrate our ignorance and obscurations. Our samsaric minds are complex and dynamic, in the extreme, and the scans, quarantines and file deletions we rely on to purge our impurities seem to be almost overwhelmed by our habit of simultaneously surfing infected sites and opening random attachments impulsively. The mindfulness virus protection software that can identify and immediately extinguish defilements the moment they arise requires overhead and does not always execute automatically when rebooting in the morning. Sometimes it runs and sometimes not. The firewall of retreat where we could seek shelter long enough to establish better practices is poorly distributed and unavailable to most. Finally, as we've demonstrated endlessly, the adventitious defilements can emerge again reliably even after the "reformatting" process following death when our composition has dissolved and we are plunged into dharmata. Like a perverse phoenix we've "succeeded" limitless times in arising once again as deluded beings from the ashheap of the bardo. Out of habit, we read old ROM and reject the very recognition that would liberate us.

May we all cultivate devotion and flash with the purity, insight and transcendant wisdom that is the mind of the lama.

from Emptiness: Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (18)

overcome obstacles
shed them eyes or five
avalokita proclaimed nor
is destroyed them
sound shariputra hear
find them on sound mind
age death eyes or five
bodhisattva bodhi mind
past them

Nothing But Emptiness

They're all gone. Thus gone. Thus emptiness.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003


Sah dah tah dah shahb kyue due gah - DOOK
Bah oh sah ngah tah ngah lah - NGEL
Lah shahb kyue lue sah - LOO
Bah oh dah gah - DAHK
Bah oh dah dreng bue - DAY
Ah oh dah nah roe doe dah - DOO
Lah sah - LAY
Bah yah tah jah shahb kyue jue ngah - JYOONG

Dook ngel - mah loo - dahk day - doo lay jyoong.

All suffering comes from the wish
For your own happiness;

Rah dzah tah dzah nah roe dzoe gah sah - DZOK
Pah ah gee gue - PAY
Sah ngah sah - SANG
Rah gah tah gah yah tah gyah sah - GYAY
Gah oh zhah nah - ZHEN
Phah nah - PHEN
Sah dreng bue say mah sah - SEM
Lah sah - LAY
Ah oh kah rah tah trah shahb kyue true ngah sah - THROONG

Dzok pay - sang gyay - zhen phen - sem lay throong.

Perfect Buddhas are born from
The thought to help others.

Joe Joe was a man who thought he was a loner,

But he knew it couldn't last.

Day cheer - dahk day - zhen gyee - dook ngel dahk.

Yahng dahk - jay wah - gyel say - lahk len yin.

Therefore, exhange your own happiness
For the suffering of others -

This is the practice of bodhisattvas.

Get back.
Get back.

Get back to where you once belonged.

Get back, Joe Joe.

Go home.

Get back, Joe!

Your mama's waitin'.


This day is full of distraction. Family visits. No empty rooms for writing or meditation. The whole house full of chit-chat and people on the move.

.....Still, there is dharmakaya...

from Dzogchen Interferon: By Peter Marti

Spring Liver

Zero Viral Load, March 2003

My country is at war
and I fight with my body
an irritability that rears up
hydra headed as this spring—
a pushing insistent shattering
wind and gusts of rain squalling across
these forests and coastal mountains.

“Spring is the Liver’s season,” my
acupuncturist explains when I complain
that my mood has worsened
after a near month of relative calm
of balmy days and starry jasmine nights
that my headaches lay me down for hours
that my skin is even more cranky and red
prone to mysterious itchy bumps which appear
and vanish like the moon behind clouds.

Blood tests show the Hepatitis C virus
which multiplied silently 20 years into 2 million cells
is undetectable—contained for now by chemotherapy—
half way through my 6 month course.
I should feel better, cleared of the angry liver
cells which helped forge my adult nature, but don’t.

“Spring itself is hepatic,” she continues
“it brings energy and the agony of new life
—irritability is a boundary dispute,
a skirmish between civility and Self’s imagined territory.”

My kind wife and I quarrel often because of me
our words tear like those wild rose thorns ripping my jacket as I tried to fix the water pipe
back on the heaving, green hill.
Our young cat feels the season too

races around and around through open doors.
Baseball’s opening day, my team on TV,
the cat marches proudly in
a black thing dangling from his maw
I grab the hunter to get him to drop the creature
it’s not a mouse that skitters out
but a bat who flaps up into the canvas roof, circles my Buddhist shrine, past the Boddhisattvas and my face
into the dusk…

* * *

The General, May 2003

“Think of your heart as the Emperor,” she says
“the pericardium his Minister…but your liver
is the General.”
For now though, the General is in retreat,
I think during the treatment
She burns moxa near my feet to draw the heat
away from my head.

Spring has worsened.
The sky is wild and the headaches have turned migraine
sensitive to lights, dizzy, weak
I rarely venture outside
Analgesics Relpax &Butalbital no longer helping
(even hydrocodeine!)
I’m given Tizanidine to ease neck/ shoulder tension
restless without energy, impatient without cause

Insomnia treated with Ambien which slaps me out
like a movie mickey for a few hours.
A bright red blossoming rash, like the flowering weeds
out front, keeps me itching chest, legs, arms, belly
for which Hydroxyzine is prescribed by the kindly
psychopharmacologist to whom I turn for possible
alternative to the antidepressant Effexor.
He asks questions & listens well
increases dose by 50% and encourages
my Buddhist Practice…
I polish offering bowls every morning,
visualize heat passing through me liberating
Virus Cells into No Body Dharmakaya…

Despite all efforts, my mood darkens.
My wife is losing patience with my constant grouch
for the world
despairing: Don’t wanna be a Grumpy
Old Man constantly
complaining of Body’s Ills!
I’ve grown insular, like an ingrown hair
worried over unto Death itself
by my own mind
visions of perfect pussy
and fried chicken haunt me like a hangover.
There is no doctor other than the Lama
no medicine but Dharma…

“Your liver has incredible, positive attributes”
she begins our next visit.
“Yes it purifies the blood,” I mumble
“…more than that: Your eyes, the very Vision
of who-you-are-in-the-world and the work you’ve longed
to be doing but haven’t done—is Liver’s Domain.
It teaches us through ailments
that we haven’t reached our goal.”

Just weeks before I turn 50 years old
I realize I’ve chiseled away for 20 years
at high stress “careers” instead of finding
simple passage
to the Emperor’s gently beating chambers.

from Emptiness: Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (17)

course interdependent
origins attainment gate or
not produced while or not
and them and on
arrive overcome arrive
deep elements and know this
or five fear feeling
nor shed their minds
to highest understanding

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Bit of conversation

"Oh! You still believe in that time thing"

From a conversation with Lama Tharchin Rinpoche

From: Counsels from my Heart - HH Dudjom Rinpoche

So don’t go around claiming to be some great Dzogchen meditator when in fact you are nothing but a farting lout, stinking of alcohol and rank with lust!

Pure Motivation - Has Anyone Ever Heard this Enough?

No matter how many times I hear it, I need to hear it again, and again, until it someday becomes the very fibre or fabric of my existence.

Excerpt from a transcript on Pure Motivation, in his own words:

See, this is the best way, which we are doing now, try to help other beings. Better than this, nothing. This is the best way to help other beings.

We have many different kind methods, how to think and how to do. We have great knowledge. Without this great method, even you like to help someone, but you can't. If you have some condition, economic, you are giving few people who need it, then is finished, you can't reach many people. Limitless sentient beings, you can't reach. If you try to help with your hand, there, whatever they have suffering, try to rid out, still, you have not enough time.

See, this is the way: through the special primordial wisdom. Through this ways we can help other beings. When we are thinking about the positive thought, yeah, this really help for other being. See, our motivation, positive thinking, very powerful, we can reach everywhere. This makes really different. Yeah, for this purpose, first we have to do pure motivation.

Pure motivation, which I mentioned, all those sentient beings, our parents, sky is no end, like this way all those sentient beings also, no limit. All those sentient beings, our parents, they are suffering. Buddha which he mentioned, this six realms samsara place is like the suffering ocean. That is really true.

Which we can little bit something happiness, bliss, this by the illusion. Through the illusion we can feel something, but this is not reality, happiness, and not real bliss. Reality bliss, happiness, when we are recognized one's buddha nature, clearly, and then we practice on this, work on this. That time real bliss, happiness, that moment we can feel very clear. That bliss, happiness, always increase, as much you do practice, never change, never decrease, always it will be increase. Yeah, this is the only real happiness, bliss.

Yeah, other things Buddha which he mentioned, even tip of the needle, even that much, in this six realms samsara place, real happiness they don't have, even that much, Buddha, he mentioned. Like this, see, most sentient beings they are suffering, they are our parents. Why they suffering? For us, they are suffering. For this purpose, we are automatic connection. If we will think positive thought, it will be reach there. We can reach for them. This helpful for them.

Yeah for this purpose, whatever we do positive deed, we have to think, all those sentient beings, my parents they are suffering. When you think they are suffering, this makes in your mind compassion. If you don't think they are suffering, compassion not easily come up. For this purpose in Buddha's teaching, very detailed different six realms place, those different beings, how they suffering. For the compassion increase, for this purpose Buddha he give all this, all those sentient beings suffering. And then, we are thinking about those sentient beings suffering and then, automatic, in your mind, coming compassion strongly.

And just compassion is not enough, we have to do something. What we do? For this purpose, I will take this teaching. After I receive this teaching, I will do perfect practice on this. Through this practice, I will lead all those sentient beings, lead to the enlightenment state. For this purpose I have to take, now, teaching. Yeah, we have to think like this. This is the pure motivation. Why we have to do pure motivation with all the sentient beings I already talked in detail.

Yeah, everybody do pure motivation, this moment, most important, pure motivation. Without pure motivation, even you did virtuous deed, positive deed many kalpas, still, almost no meaning. Those virtues can be destroyed by the negative thought, very easy. With the pure motivation, whatever we did positive deed, that virtues always increase, stable, never decrease. Even you did positive deed small thing, but your motivation is perfect pure, that small, your good deed, it will be increase, great merit. Large virtues coming like this. For this purpose, motivation is most important.

Okay, this much is enough. Now everyone do good pure motivation, this the most important.

Cho Je Ayang Rinpoche, 1996, Rochester, NY


Like everything metaphysical the harmony between thought and reality is to be found in the grammar of the language.

Wittgenstein, Zettel, 55

Originally quoted in The Transitive Vampire by Karen Elizabeth Gordon and included in Introduction to Tibetan Language, Level II by David Curtis of the Tibetan Language Institute.

The Six Vajra Verses

The nature of the variety of phenomena is non-dual
Yet each phenomena is beyond the limits of the mind
The authentic condition as it is does not become a concept
Yet it manifests totally in form, always good
All being already perfect, overcome the sickness of effort
And remain naturally in self-perfection: this is contemplation.

FromKeith Dowman's page. A quote from Namkai Norbu from "The Supreme Source" Thanks Keith!

Pitch Black Jet Morning

            breathing .... 

rain water down spout gurgle

from Emptiness : Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (16)

perception of five
attainment and truth is
pain is
right on
defiled unequalled this
elements nor origins
produced this
perceptions neither
does one

Monday, October 20, 2003

from Emptiness : Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (15)


Great Tibetan Software

The Software produced by the Tibetan Software Company is so great I can not believe it. It just does everything right and is so inexpensive it is hard to believe. You can find Tibetan fonts, word processors, dictionaries etc.

Thanks Tony!

Sunday, October 19, 2003

2 am

Two in the morning, guru thanka, guru manifestations, heart guru, body guru mind guru. Infinitesimal threads dissipate ..... all falling away

from Dzogchen Interferon: By Peter Marti

Weeping Over “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

While convalescing
6 month course Chemotherapy for Hepatitis C
I’ve watched nearly all episodes of this fin de siècle
update of Stoker’s Victorian morality tale
first viewed as kicky film with poet buddha buddy
Marc Olmsted after his 3 year retreat.
I resisted the TV series for years—no cable
in Mountain Dharma Center isolation—
but now have Satellite Dish with Hi-tech Computer
recording episodes while I sleep
So, when lethargy and migraines
send me prone,
it is Buffy’s heroic Dakini ascent
her battles with demons
compassion for all beings and fierce loyalty
—like Yeshe Tsogyal
Tibet’s female wisdom embodiment and possessor of highest Tantric Buddhist teachings—
which comforts like fireside fables.

But Heroes are always lonely
isolate in journeys and redemptive search
the first to embrace dark longings
to love their vampire shadow—even bed the Demon
to teach it Love—
willing to die in battle during kali yuga dark age
to return from Death with all the news
like a Tibetan delog
reborn through our beseeching prayers
to lead us again to our Hearts…

Buffy arrives late for her high school Prom.
She has vanquished the slathering Hell Hounds
who clawed at the door while everyone danced.
Given unexpected special “class protector” award
—auspicious golden parasol for saving the World—

she beams from the stage as everyone applauds.
Her dark Angel, his own hungry ghost realm calling, arrives in tux
& dances her to momentary Bliss.

Tomorrow they’ll join again to vanquish Demons
and there will be suffering
but tonight
everything in samsara shines.

from Emptiness : fifty poems from The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (14)

perception and liberation
from obstacles
proclaimed five
highest one on this
light this nirvana and on
deep penetration
taste one
moving past

Friday, October 17, 2003

scrolling the blog

leaf blowers
leaf collecters
in an old din
indian techno fusion
wafts thru
too blurred
from ...
pseudophedrine ...
the blog


This A.M: What arises from the basic space of phenomena? ... Phlegm

Three days sick as a dog. This dawn my dog, reminds me that body heat also rises from the basic space. Curls up around my neck. No meditation last night. Quick prayer to Guru Padmasambava, then sheets and blankets. The world swirls in a lemon menthol haze.

from Emptiness : fifty poems from The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (13)

supported light
realms moving
produced sound
neither gate nor paragate

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Quiet Today

All "written out". Not so much to say.

The other night a friend read a note from a wonderful lama. The lama was describing about how sometimes students have difficulty practicing and need encouragement and how some older practitioners can't understand why anyone would need to be encouraged to do something so joyful. I guess I feel a little of that sometimes, but maybe what I feel is just a hollow echo of what they feel. Who knows? Then when I do, it is tricky not to go looking for it next time, which is a little frightening - the prospect of getting hung up in your meditation on some cool feeling that you quickly learn to contrive and then substitute for real meditation, like watching an old, favorite movie. Lost in your own comfortable, but artificial, theatre where you are simultaneously actor, audience and in the projection booth.

Letting go, letting go. Always more letting go, relaxing, opening, alert, but not expecting or looking for anything definite. Watching and seeking, but not synthesizing. Balanced on that razor's edge.

A teacher in an article I read the other day relayed an exchange between Marpa and Milarepa. Marpa looked in on Mila and said something like, "You have been meditating very diligently. Maybe you should take a little break." Mila replied, "Meditation is a break."

Time for more quiet. Nothing to say.

from Dzogchen Interferon: By Peter Marti

Fifteen Years Sober

street drugs 20 years ago
brought me here
infected with a virus
I must kill with different drugs
—a chemo cocktail that wears me out
makes me grouchy
and fatalistic
gives me bad headaches
for which I take drug Acetaminophen.

I’ve OD’d on sugar
and been told “knock it off”
but grab handfuls of candy
when I can sneak it.

I love to cook, plan days
around food
growing up, we never had butter
except for company
now I’m never far from it
melted over popcorn
with garlic & lemon
for sauces, roux, toast, pureed with roasted garlic
on fresh baked bread.

I crave what I don’t need
for a shot of morphine when the headaches worsen
want everything to taste & feel good but
The Buddha said: “this is the Desire Realm”
so Want itself must not be wrong
the beautiful woman desired is perfect
the strange soft flower laden air, this January
somehow appearing
several valleys over from my Lama
is to be enjoyed with clear senses
is preferable to cleaning the cat box
—but no better and maybe worse

if I become unhappy when the breeze shifts
and I no longer possess
the things of this world
I want.
I loved drugs and I love food
but if they kill me sooner than I was meant
and I can’t even help one being escape the Wheel
of endless suffering realms
then I must stop
create new recipes and disciplines
which harm none
and somehow manage
to taste good too.

from Emptiness : fifty poems from The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (12)

taste tongue penetration
mental formation
deep course
future perfect
defiled parasumgate this or
unequalled and same
shed light
universal enlightenment

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

From "Devotion That Moves the Heart - A Prayer Calling the Lama From Afar"

by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye

Our own mind is the Buddha, but we do not recognize it.
All concepts are the dharmakaya, but we do not realize it.
This is the uncontrived natural state, but we cannot sustain it.
This is the true nature of the mind, settled into itself, but we are unable to believe it.
Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.
Bless us that self-awareness be liberated into its ground.

From "The Great Perfection Prayer of Kuntuzangpo"

The original ground of everything is uncompounded.
It is the self-originating infinite expanse, beyond expression,
Where not even the name of samsara or nirvana exists.
When realizing just this, you are a Buddha.
When not realizing this, you are a sentient being wandering in samsara.
May all sentient beings of the three realms realize
The true meaning of this inexpressible original ground!

from Emptiness: fifty poems from The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (11)

course the light
from moving bodhi
taste pain or
hear them
bodhIsattva avalokita
nor light and five
perceptoins truth

from Dzogchen Interferon: By Peter Marti

The following is a poem by my friend Peter. His work is powerful, personal, and influenced by deep practice in the dharma.

Dzogchen/ Interferon

Candle light for Dzogchen “Great Perfection” teachings by Lama
—no power at Dharma Center in Redwood Forest night.

* * *

Hepatic irritability direct result of Hepatitis C and
side effect of the cocktail RIBAVIRON & PEG-INTRON
this Palace of Deities has not a strong foundation if
after an hour’s practice
I can’t make my liver a feast of kindness
instead, yell at wife for interrupting my writing

* * *

My injection for this infection
Kicks me in the head.
I wake with pain that lasts all day
relentless throbbing
the sunlight blinding
I bow my head & rub it
massage it like my father used to his, in church
sometimes I was embarrassed ‘cause he
seemed oblivious to stares: elaborately pawing his temples like some animal grooming, same way his face
just before he died.

* * *

Suicidal ideation, Impotence
Depression and Psychoses
Alopecia and ubiquitous “flu-like symptoms”
possible side effects. So far,
more irritable than anything…
fatalistic about love I sit to meditate
—these virus demons
in my liver want for Love—
I make offerings
the chemo feeds my guests.

* * *

Kid-screams down creek
nearby Christian retreat center has 6th grade school
science camp in for four days
to study coastal range flora and fauna.
I went nearly 40 years ago
these same woods
saw salamanders mating in creeks
like the two outside our front door just now
male on top, 8 legs drifting in the current.

* * *

eyes burn, dry skin
and purple blotches where I inject
the Interferon.
Skin itch
sensitive to touch
like the rest of me
brief gap
in headache

sitting down again.

January, 2003

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Boddhicitta: The Opening

...Of course there have been innumerable teachings on Boddhicitta. In particular by HH The Dalai Lama. Every teacher that I have heard has taught extensively on this subject. But His Holiness the Dalai Lama has struck me with his teachings and by his daily life as the embodiment of compassion. I received beautiful teachings on the subject by HH Chetsang Rinpoche and Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen, and took the Bodhisattva vows during those teachings. Of course my main personal experience has been through those Lamas with whom I have had the most direct contact, in particular Lama Tharchin Rinpoche. However the most clear experience of the awakening of Bodhicitta within myself happened during teachings on the subject by Garchen Rinpoche. It was the first time that I ever met or heard him. I attended his teachings and during his teachings, I had a vision of a lotus opening within my own heart, and on the lotus a nine faceted jewel with one top facet and 8 facets around the top edge and drawing to a point at the bottom. On each of the eight facets was a manifestation of Guru Rinpoche and on the top facet was Milarepa. Because of this vision and deep feeling, I asked Garchen Rinpoche to give me advice on practicing Milarepa Guru Yoga. He asked if I had ever had the Mliarepa empowerment, and when I replied that I had not, he gave a spontaneous empowerment (for a few hours) to the entire sangha. Although I do not perform the Milarepa Practice daily, the awakening of Bodhicitta within my heart has never faded, and arises often in the practices I do from my main lineage (Dujom Tersar). Each year I see Garchen Rinpoche return to my home sangha, and I see how his compassion opens up the hearts of each practitioner.....

from Emptiness: fifty poems from The Heart Sutra

Emptyness (10)

emptiness and not
overcome their listen
deep course does
bodhisattvas nor one
be right avalokita
origination and not on
eye ear age them death
course deep moving and not
or sound

Sky Burial - Part 3 of 3

I mentioned the vultures to a friend and he mentioned it to Rinpoche. He said very directly and without hesitation that they were dakinis and that I would be okay if I did a lot of Tara mantra. That was reassuring! I had never thought of them as a threat. I did some mantra, but probably not as many as I should have. I've been an undisciplined, easily distracted, practitioner.

I don't know what Rinpoche saw in the vultures besides their dakini identity. He didn't make a big deal of it. But for me, they were sad mourners. Feeling his presence in the area, but finding him absent from the room, they appeared to watch and wait, silently. They seemed disappointed and a little disoriented, as if someone had forgotten to tell them about the changed location. They were also an admonition to me to respect and appreciate the wonderful gift that had been Rinpoche's spontaneous appearance on the land four years in a row, a sign that it was still a special place and a very vivid reminder of impermanence. Dew drops on blades of grass are probably a little too subtle for my coarse mind. Looming vultures appearing suddenly a few feet overhead are a little harder to ignore and I am grateful for the dramatic emphasis.

An instant can change your life. It was never the same after spontaneously telling Rinpoche that my teacher in India would want me to offer him the space. Looking back, it appears to have been a milestone. One thing led to another and my life has since changed in many ways, mostly wonderful, but also some that are sad. Now I have moved and almost completely disassembled the beautiful mandala that was both my home and the hub of our four summer retreats on the land with Rinpoche. The house is vacant and it is a silent, lonesome place. Only the memories of Rinpoche, the wind, an empty throne, a partial shrine and some fluttering prayer flags remain. It is a bardo, hanging suspended between what was and whatever is next. The vultures have not returned and I miss my old life, Rinpoche, my teacher in California and my karmic lama in India.

Though unlikely to happen, I would like to be buried in the sky with the three vultures and their friends in a final Chod. But now I must stop thinking of the past and speculating about the future and focus instead on preparing for death, whatever its uncertain timing may be and regardless of how I might be buried. Like the advice given long ago by Pa Dampa Sangye in Ding Ri that I quoted on the blog a few days ago, "The vulture of mind definitely will fly away anyway. Train yourself immediately in the ability to soar in the vast expanse of the sky, oh people of Ding Ri".

We are all residents of a Ding Ri. Some seem stable; others can be seen to change suddenly from one Ding Ri to another. It is easy to worry about the state and direction of your life and miss the vulture on the roof. Then one day without warning, you hear from above and behind you the sound of claws on shingles and you immediately realize, as the mind spreads its wings and prepares to fly off into the burial sky, you will discover very soon whether or not you can soar.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Bodhicitta Teachings

The Bodhicitta Teachings Site is a wonderful site containing Vajrayana teachings on compassion and prayers that pertain to compassion.

Sky Burial - Part 2 of 3

After four of these retreats Rinpoche began visiting in May/June rather than August and we moved the retreat indoors and off-site to other locations. By this time the house and land had been transferred to the dharma center, but I was still living there. Many wonderful things had taken place while Rinpoche was there including stunning rainbows that appeared at precisely the right moment, as if on cue, visions, fantastic storms, lightning strikes followed by prolonged power outages and Rinpoche dancing and waving a sword on the green grass in the Mahakala mask and garb as sacred horns played for him. The place was never the same after that.

During Rinpoche's visit this past year I would drive back to the country from our retreat up in the city and spend the night downstairs in the house on the land. I was never comfortable staying upstairs after Rinpoche and it was unoccupied. It was "his" room, despite the absence of the little towel, the thangkas and all the flowers. As I walked out the lower door one morning to get in my car and drive back up to the retreat in the city I heard an unfamiliar scrabbling noise and sensed a movement in the air not more than ten feet above my head. As I started to look up a huge bird soared only a few feet overhead, losing elevation, wings outstretched, not flapping, gliding along the ground silently and then off towards the hedge row. At the last moment he, or she, pulled up, gained a little altitude and settled in a large tree maybe a hundred yards away.

I was shocked and struggled to absorb what had happened. It was so unexpected, so unusual, so large and near, yet so quiet, and it had come so suddenly from behind and just above me. Just as I caught my breath and began to regain my wits, I heard the same noise again, now recognized as clawed feet on shingles, and sensed a single powerful flap as another bird launched, soared and joined the first. Then, at an identical interval, a third left the rooftop, passed over and joined the others. It seemed to have both transpired in an instant and to have taken forever: a slow, graceful, synchronous movement in a symphony played miraculously somehow in a fractional second.

The vultures had been perched on the peak, immediately over Rinpoche's unoccupied room and precisely above where he always sat to meditate. They remained perching there for another three days or so, the three of them. I'd find them sitting atop the roof like eerie sentinels when I returned at the end of the day and they would continue to react with alarm when I'd suddenly, and absent mindedly, walk out the door below to get into the car the next morning. I became unsettled too. It took me a couple days to adjust and then, just as I began to expect them, they were gone.

--------- (To be concluded).

Kayaking Irondequoit Creek

I took Friday off and paddled my kayak up and then down Irondequoit Creek. Reeds bent in the soft breeze. Early fall colors melted in the water. Silence and gliding brought me close to a blue heron. King Fishers here and there greeted me around various bends in the creek on my way upstream. It was generously warm in the afternoon. Sunny and balmy. With everbody else at work, or in school, there was only quiet reflections and the flowing current. At points as the attention settled and silence set in there was only empty drifiting.Then a splash or a flutter would show how things arise in the mind. Rupakaya bursting out of the basic space of phenomena.

from Emptiness: fifty poems from The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (9)

therefore one should know
dharmas and no dharmas
nor produced them
avalokita hear
know dharmas and no dharmas
shed truth and ignorance
no origins or origination
no nose or extinction of them

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Sky Burial - Part 1 of 3

I read the accounts of sky burials posted on the blog. I have never seen one, but many of my close friends, including my fourteen year old son and his mother, were presumably at the Drikung Thil burial described by Dave and watched the vultures too. As I read, it was easy to imagine being there myself. The experience made me think of my own less exotic vulture encounter.

For four years running we had fairly large summer retreats with Rinpoche out behind my house in the country. We would put up a large tent for the throne, a shrine and 75 to 125 participants. A second tent provided shelter for cooking, dining and a small store selling dharma goods. Rinpoche stayed in my upstairs bedroom and his attendants in a small room immediately adjoining it. Our translator and some others stayed in the downstairs bedrooms. Most of the rest of us were scattered outside around the property, in woods or on the hill, in small camping tents.

Rinpoche's room was always filled with flowers and thangkas. When he wasn't teaching or giving interviews, he seemed to meditate in his room constantly. I don't think he slept much, if at all. Although we went to great pains to have the best of everything for him and would have given him anything, he was a very low-impact guest. The first year he argued with me for a full twenty minutes that I should be in my bedroom and that he should be out in a tent. He relented only when I responded in desperation that my karmic lama, in India, would want me to do it this way. Then it was suddenly okay and he never mentioned it again. Still, every year he carefully spread a small non-descript towel over the lovely comforter and refused to get under the covers.

Whenever Rinpoche left, other than small changes you'd only find days later, the lovely smell and the left-behind flowers, it was hard to tell he had ever been there. He would leave a small picture on the shrine, a beautiful tsa tsa from the batch used to fill his stupa standing in front of my offering mandala, or a small picture of Chenrezig in the corner of the portrait of my karmic lama. He showed me that small picture after placing it and said, "You have to understand. For me there is absolutely no difference whatsoever between this small picture and the actual bodhisattva." One year we'd left a dharma calendar on the wall in his room. The way it was designed, the picture of HH Dalai Lama on the front cover hung upside down and against the wall when the calendar was hanging open to display the month. When Rinpoche left I found it closed and rehung so that the image of His Holiness was upright and facing out into the room. Even a calendar can't stop the inexorable progression of time; taking refuge in His Holiness is timeless.

from Emptiness: fifty poems from The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (8)

no realizing
no attainment
shed nor produced
this gate
ear paragate
on smell no gate
on taste tongue gate

Tong Len Moon

Last night was so beautiful, warm breeze, bright autumnal moon filtered by the maples, falling through the window. Breath flowing in is black smoke, the black smoke fragments into sharp triangular pain. Breathing in the suffering of children, of dead fathers, of tearful mothers in dark africa. How long? Breathing out is the gentle moonlight, radiating calm to all suffering beings. How long? When compassionate is tapped out, breathing in the suffering of life replenishes. When suffering is overfull, breathing out compassion brings release. Om Vajra Sattva Hoong.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Tibetan Script On My Eyelids

All day long, thirty consonants, five vowels. Gi-Gu, Shab-Kyu, Dreng-Bu, Na-Ro
"Dhee" in my throat and heart. "Om" on the inside of my eyelids.

Practice of Bodhisattvas

Whatever appears is your own mind.
Your mind from the start was free from fabricated extremes.
Understanding this, do not take to mind
[Inherent] signs of subject and object—
This is the practice of Bodhisattvas.

From "The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas"
by Gyelsay Togme Zangpo

from Emptiness: fifty poems from the Heart Sutra

Emptiness (7)


Friday, October 10, 2003

Calling the Lama

Although we have attained a precious human rebirth with leisure and resources, we waste it in vain,
Constantly distracted by the activities of this hollow life.
When it comes to accomplishing the great goal of liberation, we are overcome by laziness
And return empty-handed from a land filled with jewels.
Lama, think of us, behold us swiftly with compassion.
Bless us that we may make this life meaningful.

from Devotion that Moves the Heart - A Prayer Calling the Lama From Afar
by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, the great Ri Me master

John's Dharma Path

A site containing a daily buddhist blog. Johns site is well worth the look. Contains short quotes, personal views, etc. from a Zen perspective.

Very enriching. Thanks John

Vultures and Voyeurs: A Tibetan Sky Burial

This link contains another account of Tibetan Sky Burial. A more personal account more akin to my own. Thanks Kelly.

Other Tibetan Sky Burial Accounts

This site contains several accounts of sky burials. These accounts are more academic, and may be of interest to those who wish to read more on the subject from a less "personal" perspective. Further, this page contains some links of a more political flavor. In addition this page contains several links to accademic resources with related material.

Thanks do Dr. T. Matthiew Ciolek for this page. And in particular to Mondo Sector for his account.

from Emptiness: fifty poems from the Heart Sutra

Emptiness (6)

neither nor
on mental formations
deep forever dharmas
sound elements form gate gate
nor defiled does immaculate
nirvana mantra sound
formations mental
highest enlightenment

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Sky Burial

I open my eyes to gray light. It is almost sunrise, and the stone slab walls lighten in the pre-dawn. Outside, gray clouds hover, shrouding the mountain top, which is perhaps seven hundred or a thousand feet above Drikung Til monastery in central Tibet. This monastery is built into the side of the mountain, at fourteen thousand five hundred feet, and looks out over the valley from sheer walls.
Last night we arrived shortly before sunset. We were informed that in the morning there was to be a burial. Some nomads had carried three dead up the mountain so that they might be treated according to their wishes. The deceased were to receive a sky-burial, a ceremony where the dead are fed to vultures as a last act of compassion. Being Buddhist, my companions and I had heard of sky burrials, but none of us had ever witnessed one.

My friends and I had come to Tibet on a Buddhist pilgrimage, being lead by a Lama that we knew and that was known by the monks at Drikung Til. Our trip had been planned to include this two day stop at Drikung Til where the Lama had studied as a young monk. It was because of his status that we were allowed to stay more than just the day, and to witness the sky burial which is a sacred and private ceremony, normally prohibited to tourists.

After being offered butter-tea (a salty, yak butter tea served hot no matter what the temperature outside), we were invited to attend the Phowa ceremony (in which the mind stream of the deceased is transferred out of the body to the realm of the Buddha), which is performed before a sky burial.
During the Phowa ceremony, family members of the deceased kept the semi-wild dogs of the monastery at bay with sticks, for these dogs had learned to fend for themselves, eating anything that they could find. Dogs are not treated in the same domesticated way that we treat them in the united states. There is no such thing as dog food, or a rabies shot in Tibet. Although the monks of the monastery do not “raise” dogs, they are driven to treat them with compassion. And yet, in order to treat the deceased with respect, and compassion, the dogs were kept away all night until. The sky burial was scheduled for early morning.

Now in the gray morning, we are informed that the corpses are already up mountain, and being prepared for the days ceremony. We climb quickly, sweat breaking out even in the chill mist of the clouds. We arrive after a steep climb puffing steam breath into the air above the stone “table-top”. We circumambulate the area, silently watching the preparations and listening to chants that rise with the huge puffs of incense that rise and mingle with the low clouds. The large swath of stone that covers the broad mountain top is perhaps 200 feet in diameter. Around this is a make-shift fence to keep the dogs and vultures out. In the center of the stone are the three corpses. In actuality they are now skeletons, all of the meat has been stripped, and placed in a circle around them. All other parts have been chopped/ground up with ceremonial substances including barley, which looks to be a white powder, defining the edge of the mandala.

Because the fences are low, the vultures are actually capable of landing and are kept away by guards with sticks. At just the right moment the guards walk away, allowing the vultures to enter the feast.
As the birds (huge gray brown beings with wing spans of around seven feet) land, the first are drawn to the skeletons and are surrounded by their co-diners. The circle keeps increasing until the entire scene is covered in their color. From the edge of the circle we stand, silent, stunned, and grateful for the opportunity to witness this great ceremonial feast of compassion. I look into the center and see the frenzy, the wild eyes of the vultures, the hook beak entering the human eye socket, the jiggle of an ankle in the struggle of multiple birds vying for the same skeleton. Then and there I find my own mortality. Then and there I find my own humanity.

Adamantine Heart

Opening her throat, alcohol flowed and the mind dimmed. Still, her adamantine heart, inseparable from the dharmakaya, remained as pure as ever.

Recognition of multiple manifistations

As practitioners we are called to pure vision. Seeing the purity in each being, how could they not be the Buddha? Being the Buddha, how could their intentions not be pure? There intentions being pure, how could their actions not be benificial? Seeing the purity of each being then is the key. If one Buddha is drawn to create pure art and another to write pure software and another to manage a pure hostpital, are they on different paths? Can not the pure software make the pure hospital run smoothly? Can not the pure art hanging in the pure hospital benifit the Buddha-patients? Should the Manager tell the artist how to paint? Should the programmer tell the manager how to run the hospital? Should artist tell the programmer about Java and XML? Even three Buddhas who never met, doing unrelated activity, never comming in contact with anyone, are truely benificial. Even pissing, all three benifit of all beings.

khandroclouds: A Great Site

The following link is a beautiful site, dedicated to Vajrayana and Dzogchen. The photos and sounds and clips are so unique and the person that created the site has put so much into it. What a wonderful site full of info that is beneficial to new practitioners and so wonderful for those who have spent some time on the path (perhaps like myself, trudging and flying) Main: "Cloudbanks of Dakas and Dakinis
Homage to the Ancient Ones (Nyingma): A Buddhist Lineage from Tibet
Limitless, Timeless, Vast"

Advice from Padampa Sangye

The vulture of mind will definitely fly away anyway. Train yourself immediately in the ability to soar in the vast expanse of the sky, oh people of Ding Ri

-The One Hundred Ding Ri Pas, An instruction given to the people of Ding Ri by the Venerable Pa Dampa Sangye

from Emptines: fifty poems from The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (5)

eye perception
same taste ear consciousness
deep course
moving thanks perfect
bodhisattva gate gate
paragate tongue nor mind
deep penetration
penetration decreasing mind
decreasing illusion

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Guru Rinpoche: Available at Walmart!

Lama Ngawangs book on Guru Rinpoche is now available at Walmart. Has buddhism become so main stream? Now don't that beat all. - Eastern: " Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times
Zangpo, Ngawang
Hardcover, Snow Lion Publications, 2002, ISBN # 155939174X

from Emptines: fifty poems from The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (4)
after while
proclaimed immaculate
therefore shed formations
and defiled
shed past and future

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

from Emptines: fifty poems from The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (3)

smell this
listen same taste
one proclaimed
light realms
defiled realms
same nor bodhisattvas nor
parasumgate or
meditation last night was so brief. Too tired to keep going. Did not start till near 1 am.

Colts beat Tampa Bay 38-35 in overtime.

Now thats right motivation.

Monday, October 06, 2003

even a blog arises from the basic space of phenomena

from Emptiness: fifty poems from The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (2)

after gate
proclaimed no mind
great empty
differ empty gate
thanks bodhisattva
no eye
nor sound mantra
Sitting post midnight
breathing in her black pain, tonglen
mind is always changing

Sunday, October 05, 2003

from Emptiness: fifty poems from The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (1)

overcame pain
no pain
nor empty same
shed defiled eye ear smell
found nor touch this
proclaimed same eye
of course overcame
should be
Welcome to Dharma Crumbs. This is my first venture into blogging so be gentle. The intent of this blog is to have a place where people can read and write about their experience in the Buddhist path. The hope is that this may help those interested in the path find the information they need and to get a peek into the world to see if they are not alone.