Saturday, November 22, 2003

Smoke Offering

Burning, burning:
Debris from the back room,
Leaves from the back lawn,
Defilements and obscurations from the back of my mind.
Smoke billows in the blue autumn sky.
Fourteen year olds dance at night
And throw fire crackers in the fire.
I wake the next morning early
Rekindle and burn some more.
In the early morning light
Smoke billows and expands
Mushroom clouds of fluid grey cotton
Rising, gushing, pulsing, pushing,
Like something alive.
Limitless clouds of offerings
To Buddhas and bodhisattvas
In the ten directions and three times.
Bless me with the fire of recognition
That purifies the obscurations and defilements
And consumes this dualistic habit mind.

Morning Jet

your hair
as I awaken
in the sunrise

the coffee steaming
in the streaming sun

your eyes later
coming down
our stairs

Back to back

..frost on the villiage lawns
bare branches and sunrise
framed in bedroom windows
back to back under quilts
breathing dawn...

Prairie Wind

Looking for poetry on the dharma I came across Prairie Wind, a publication put out on the web by Prairie Wind Zen. This beautiful, newsletter contains poetry and prose. Very clean in stile. Issues are available in PDF and are worth the read.

....rain yesterday
rain today
alone in my bus..... my bus
chewing on a toothpick
rain runs down the window...

nonin chowaney

Thanks Nonin!

from Emptiness: Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (32)

liberating their minds
perceptions are empty
minds are marked

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

What Book!?

Just started reading What Book!?. What a find, given to me by someone I barely know after reading at an open mike this past summer. This is a fabulous find. A wonderful mix of people writing about dharma. Short takes in a zen way and Kerouacs stile. Thanks Gary for putting it out.


not long
hear wet
pulling themselves

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

north coast (again)

too much
slipping past
a dream
in a tent
too far

Monday, November 17, 2003

Morning Drizzle

it's grey north coast
up here
one can feel the cold
sliding it's tongue
upon the earth
red rock
layered clay

eyes keep... ....closing

....keep trying for the great opening..

even the vast miles of

Sunday, November 16, 2003

from Emptiness: Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (31)
smell and on the
from having
proclaimed eyes and ears
there or on
theIr eyes and ears
moving past
death and age
present truth of origins
minds overcome themselves

Saturday, November 15, 2003

A Little Afghanistan

....before bed last nigt, I caught a little bbc news and nightline. Nightline talked about current Afghanistan. What it's like now. We have forgotten them it seems. Moved on. Nothing left to bomb so whats a poor boy to do. Meanwhile, the taliban creep back. Lights off, now for the scurry. The women afraid again or still.... education, hardly any women can read. There, girls schools keep getting burnt down by taliban. One girl tells the reporter that she wants to read so she can be a minister in the government or a policewoman. When is the last time you heard an american chald say that they want to learn to read so that they can serve. That before they had school life was so boring......

.....pan back against the broken village, the mountains, the vast wind swept dirt ...women in their birkas girl, her green birka and pink garments..... one face and piercing eyes............

Friday, November 14, 2003

My Away Message

My kids keep me a little up to date. Not a lot, but a little. So I listen to Radiohead (How to Disappear Completely - That there, that's not me . . . I walk through walls . . . I'm not here . . . This isn't happening . . . In a little while, I'll be gone . . . The moment's already passed . . . Yeah, it's gone . . . Strobe lights and blown speakers . . . Fireworks and hurricanes . . . I'm not here) and communicate with them using Instant Messaging. They leave away messages for friends to find when they are away from the computer and scold me for leaving my account logged in with no away message. When I come back my screen is sometimes littered with their vain attempts to rouse me every fifteen minutes because it looks like I am there even though I am not. "Pop? Are you there?" "Dably? Where are you?"

My life is a lot like that IM thing. I suspect that most, if not all, of the time, were enlightened beings to try and get a hold of me, there'd be no response cause I'd be off somewhere with no away message. "Hello?" "Hello?" But if I were to leave one, I know what it would have to be: "Sorry. Not here right now. Off trying to fix samsara."

Every once in a while I think I start to actually experience a sliver of the real samsara. That dissatisfactory realm of hopelessness which can only result in suffering and in which there is no real happiness. The kind of samsara that would lead me to immediately run shrieking to the three jewels and the three roots for refuge. Real refuge, not just some prayer. "Please, please, please. Oh god. Hello, hello. Are you there. Please protect me till I can figure somethin' out. Oh, oh, oh! Hello. Hello. Ohhhh, please let me in. Quick, quick, quick. Hurry! Aiiieeee!" That kind of refuge. A nice blend of blinding confusion, gut wrenching panic and abject hopelessness, very appropriate given where we are. But that kind of scares me. So I quickly get my act together, pretend it is not really like that and happily go off to try and fix samsara once more. That is the really scary part. There I go, off trying to fix samsara, when all the time these enlightened beings actually are trying to connect with my distracted mind stream. "Hello. Hello?" No answer. Logged on, but not really there. Too busy elsewhere. Maybe later.

from Emptiness: Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (30)

realms of dharmas deep
nor pain
bodhisattva eyes
and this
present this present
perceptions of present mind

Take Mine

We’re past the grey line when the slab groans down over the lake from Ontario. White grass reflects the tail lights at the end of the street and everything goes mechanical for six months or so. This is when I look. Look within, to the flesh heart and hope to find something warm and true to carry me through. But what can carry a person through Iraq? Ice covered paranoia still creaks threateningly “remember viet nam. It swallowed so many, they can take yours”. And mine just left for school and I wonder will they take mine. Send them off to be killed as occupiers. Drinking coffee on a cold snow morning, consciousness hovers just below the surface. Rising to mix with steam, sometimes tasting like rational fear, sometimes like paranoia, sometimes like dream mixed with Columbia.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Deva Rose

- When devas (beings in the god realm) die, their agony is in having wasted their gifts and in seeing what is to come.

Sad rose
a deva dying.
Her petals fall,
her sweet felt
flesh to ground,
where aphids
(black dots on red-brown)
or mites or other crawlers
other cancers
eat her still breathing skins.
She weeps, knowing she owes them
from so many lives.

Rose, a deva dying
knows now
beauty does not fly between lives,
how she, like others
like grubs, must fly between
and rise (where?) again.

O black earth,
the rose hangs up her eyelids
her deva cries
her dying
her self-lies
that beauty caresses the infinite sky.

Precious breath of late summer,
her tears, her weeping
her watery eyes see bleary imperfections
rising on red lips inviting
lids to close
to dull pain with sleep.

Sleep O rose,
and sleep Death,
her flesh whispers falling.

Coyote Poets

in gray light
coyotes down

They’re in a circle
lonely together

They hunger for bones together
the only way they know

Heads thrown back
Throats tight

One cold rainy dawn on a mountain in Eureka Canyon, walking down a path from my cabin to start breakfast for the retreat at Pema Osel Ling I heard a pack of coyotes down below my cabin...

Sacred And Profane

"Sacred and profane are two modes of being in the world, two existential situations assumed by man in the course of his history."

From The Sacred and Profane: The Nature of Religion,
Mircea Eliade

Is this the truth! Encounters seem both. Tonight, I can attest to the stupidity of man/woman [this woman] and the compassion that cements the bones back together again.
Two encounters...the Lama who sees and doesn't judge...who cares and counsels...who listens and listens....
The very dear warm blooded friend who calls from a long distance...who assures that I can be alive and happy...

While all this profanity on my part seeps out, so much pain and hurt surrounds those on the small blue globe. Restrain yourself child, look outside, shake away the smallness. Recognize mind wherever you are. Be still...

So a firm mind that works for others turns
The poison of sense-objects into nectar.


Offering Bowls

This is from Clare Dygert, a dharma sister, good friend and all around wonderful person. I don't know what kind of boots she wears or how they cut the mud, but when she speaks she has a beautiful ability to say what needs to be said, cutting through the fog, but still sounding clear and melodious, like a bell interrupting nonsense and announcing meditation. I always try to listen when Clare has something to say. She sent this to me spontaneously today and, when I asked, said it was okay to share here.

Offering Bowls

The first offering is drinking water. I think about how dry my throat felt when I worked on a limestone parking lot when I was 17 in Central Texas and then Mr. Teague brought me a drink of water. Water coming out of a cold well. The water pitcher in my mother's refridge. The sound of the ice cubes when the are half melted and the condensation is dribbling down the side of the glass. My daughter taking the cup for the first time. Ice chips on my tongue when I was in the hospital. Holding my grandmother in my arms and offering her a cool drink on the hot July day when she died. I offer all these to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

The second offering is washing water. I think about my shower this morning. Bathing my daughter the first time. The wonderful feeling of a shower after a long camping trip. The cold shower on our retreat land, the feel of the pine boards under my feet, the shivering cold wet plastic that brushes against me as I go out. The different feelings of ocean water and lake water. The amniotic fluid rushing out of me as they ruptured my membranes. I offer all these to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

The third offering is flowers. I think about the strong smell of lilies in my lily garden. The flowers in my bridal bouquet. The thousands of small bunches of iris my ex husband gave me. The flowers in the wreath for my daughter's First Holy Communion. The wreath of wild flowers Eva wove for Garchen Rinpoche and how delighted he was and how wonderfully silly he looked. I offer all these to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

The fourth offering is incense. I think about the incense in my childhood church, which was a wonderful maple syrup smell. I think about the sensor clanging against the metal chain, the smoke rising. I think about the smoke of hundreds of campfires, as a child and as an adult. I think about fireplace fires. I think about the strange smells of the incense that the monks used on retreat last summer. I offer all these to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

The fifth offering is light. I think about the light of my kitchen window when I drive home on a snowy night. I think about my bathroom night-light, the flashlight I dropped down the "unflushable" at camp, of lying on the ground and watching the zillion stars in a summer Texas sky, not being able to sleep because of the unbearable beauty of it, total eclipses and sunburns, the meteor shower. I think about the Advent wreath, Christmas tree, and a romantic candlelit table. I offer all these to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

The sixth offering is perfumed water. I think about my mother's perfume (Channel #5), I think about the smell of my daughter when she was a baby, the smells of cinnamon rolls, sauteed onions, fresh mown grass, the smell of rain, the smell of gin and tonic and lime. I offer all these to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

The seventh offering is food. I think about what I had for breakfast. I think of the tastes of Altoids, of thanksgiving turkey and dressing, of chocolate cake, of Popsicle. I remember my favorite meal and offer that. I offer all these to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

The eight and last offering is sound. I think of the chirping of crickets, of the sound of birds at dawn, my daughter's first words, of church bells, the no sound when Grandma died, the sound of my Vajra brothers and sisters singing long life prayers, the rattle of my gau, the sounds of lovemaking, the sound of the Chod trumpet. The sound of my own voice. I offer all these to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

By the merit of these offerings, by the merit of samsara and nirvana, may all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

Anecdotal Antidote to Pride

This is an excerpt of a story about the Three Khampas, Dorje Gyalpo, U Se and Saltong Shogum. They were pre-eminent among Gampopa's disciples and, though they were yogis, gathered with 50,000 others around Gampopa in a strict Kadampa monastic setting. Dorje Gyalpo, from Dege, was an emanation of Buddha Shakyamuni himself, coming in fulfillment of the Buddha's promise to support Gampopa in spreading the dharma. Dorje Gyalpo later came to be known as Phagmo Drupa, from who sprang the Phagmo Kagyu and eight later Kagyu schools. Kyopba Jigten Sumgon, founder of the Drikung Kagyu, was Phagmo Drupa's primary disciple. U Se, from Do Kham, was an emanation of Chenrezig and later came to be known as the great Dusum Khyenpa (Knower of the Three Times), the first Karmapa, from whom sprang the Karma Kagyu. Saltong Shogum was from Nangchen.

This story appeared in The Life of Gampopa by Jampa MacKenzie Stewart.

In order to practice the tantric ceremony of the ganachakra feast properly, they requested of Gampopa over and over again to be allowed to drink alcohol. . . . They continued to make their request of Gampopa, until finally the guru relented and gave them each permission to make a chang offering from three skull cups of barley. Together they took their nine skull cups full of barley and brewed up some very delicious beer.

On Dakini Day they took the beer up to a beautiful spot on a nearby mountain. They also brought with them all of the other sacred substances necessary for the ganachakra. Then they demonstrated their siddhis and performed miraculous acts to show that the beer could not affect them. Dorgyal of Dege herded and chased logs for the fire as if they were animals, driving them up the hill with his slingshot and the logs ran from him as if in terror. U Se of Do Kham carried water for their meal up the hill in a fish net. Saltong Shogum of Nangchen started their cooking fire by sending forth wind from the fingertips of one hand and fire from the tips of the other.

They had a great day on top of the mountain. In the evening they performed the Vajrayogini sadhana in a spirit of exhilaration and bliss. They drank beer, performed miracles, sang many doha songs and danced the sacred offering dances. . . . They were still very excited and in high spirits, singing doha songs and dancing as they entered the monastery compound. The head disciplinary monk heard them and he was greatly annoyed. . . . He came out and beat the three Khampas with a stick, saying, "You three have broken the law of the sangha! You cannot stay here anymore. You must leave this monastery immediately!" So, before dawn broke the next morning, the three yogis of Kham left the monastery. . . . They were ushered out so early and so brusquely that they did not even have time to prostrate to their guru, Gampopa, nor to ask his permission to leave. . . .

Gampopa, further above the monastery in retreat had a vision and saw that the dakas and dakinis surrounding Dakla Gampo were preparing to leave and asked his attendant, Gomtsul, to look outside. Looking down the mountain, Gomtsul saw the three yogis of Kham down the valley making their final prostrations of respect to Gampopa as they left. Lord Gomtsul then noticed that . . . all the birds were flying away from the mountain toward the valley where the three yogis were. Not only were the dakas and dakinis leaving, not only were the birds leaving, but Gomtsul saw that even all the grass and trees were bending in the direction of the yogis, as if they wanted to uproot themselves and leave the mountain too!

The story ends with Gampopa going out to spontaneously sing out a song inviting the three yogis to "Come back up" and the yogis responding in the distance with a joyful doha song and sacred dance "Going back up."

I find this helpful to kind of maintain a little perspective on my encounter with the dharma when I inexplicably start puffing up or thinking I am entitled to something Although I need even more than this, I think it helps some. lol

If you like Buddhist poetry

Then you might like to check out The Golden Lantern. There is a nice collection there and maybe a bit different from the norm. Not a totally zen bent (much as I just LOVE bent zen).

Marc Olmsteads work

When I first met Marc Olmstead, he was walking around on a mountain in a long coat, and black boots that cut through the mud better than anybody's. The boots were dirt cheep he said, couldn't live without them. His long hair and beard gave him that rogue look. Gotten to know him a bit over the years. Can't tell you where he lives. But I have seen the core of his heart, up on a mountain, far from anyplace. You can find some of his work here. You gotta read more than just this poem I have listed here. His poetry comes from life, no glossing over.

Teacher Sky

leaves of maple
...tree, courtyard
noon light -
...a breeze
pushing waves
...of branch,
doing prostrations,
...rippling now
.across the ivy concrete
.ring beyond the
.black lacquered
metal picnic tables
- thinking of lama
..- vast sky of

By Marc Olmstead

from Emptiness: Fifty Poems Form The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (29)

marked they are
dharmas marked and forever deep
proclaimed of and on
universal five
skandas and
parasumgate forever
increasing marked with
origins with forever

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Not sure

Spent the morning meditation looking at mind. Peering back. Not sure what was there.
I think I spent the whole day at work, caught up in it. Planning. Writing. Achieving the goal. Looking back on it now, really, I am not sure what was there.

from Emptiness: Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (28)

their fear of one great
pain or pain from
the five of them
having fear of them
realizing elements
are supported eyes ears nose
taste touch eyes are marked with emptiness

Monday, November 10, 2003

Being again....still

How can I not believe in reincarnation?
This morning I said goodbye
to the reincarnation of my youth
Same skin.
Same hair, nose lips, kin.
Walking out the door
to catch the bus he said magically "bye".

I drove my once again grandfather
to school this morning.
He slept on the couch first. Same
He wiggles his feet. Same
As I dropped him off he magically said "Bye"

As I write, my sister (somewhere down state now)
is reborn in a bed upstairs
home (sick) from school today.

Getting up now to let the cat out
I lift my fathers body.

Being and non-being

We are all provisional,
temporarily here,
no Buddhist thought required for that.

Birth is birth
death is death
any slob can tell you.

Some days I feel older.
This month my dad hits 75.
I've realized that I became old
as soon as my kids were born.

Think you're not old?
Just ask your kids.

How long does the moon appear in the sky
before it wanes,
then disappears?

Seventy five, for him.
the moon wanes now
making him all the more precious to me.

We are all rainbows.
Not separate from the sky we arise.

Who wouldn't laugh in the autumn sun?

Sunday, November 09, 2003

things fall apart

I want them to stay
those 'things' that fell apart
those loves in my life
those wonders

he cant see inside me
he has discarded the love
is it the eclipse that happened
long ago
or something else

tonight is too quiet
all children long gone
and is love too

A Bodhisattva Stranger

A first encounter, she gives me a yellow flowered plant that blooms and blooms before my altar. A bright gift of kindness.

I hear she has cancer... How does this happen? Soon, this week an operation.

We all meet on the night of the eclipse-the earth's shadow moves slowly over the bright moon as we pray for her. The healing hands of others move slowly to give solace and comfort.
The words pour forth,
"Purifying rays of light pour down from the Guru Medicine Buddha's heart and holy body, eliminating your sickness and afflictions due to spirit and their causes, all your negative karma and mental obscurations.
Your body is completely filled with light and becomes clean-clear like crystal. Then the rays radiate out in all directions, purifying the sicknesses and afflictions of all mother sentient beings."
"Om Namo Bhagawate Bekhanze ........[speaking softly and on ].......Sumungate Soha."

Suddenly a Bodhisattva cat comes and nestles on her, giving warmth and comfort. We're told this one never comes close. So this chance moment presents another remedy? We continue until all is different.

The mirror lake takes the moonlight and swallows it all, as Tonglen swallows the sickness in breath.
She is the strong, the best of us.

from Emptiness: Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (27)

they are marked eyes ears nose
tongue from universal
deep forever gate
therefor skandas and
highest extinction moving past same truth
smell and moving on dharmas path
proclaimed svaha avalokita
and parasumgate

Activism (n.)

to be pessimistic about the problem...but optimistic about the solution.

People say to me all the time, "What does it matter what I think/say/do? It won't make a difference."
Then they go on and on about democracy.

So, to all of you who feel that cool is THIS???
"After the vote on the $87 billion was delayed -- itself a sign of the stronger-than-expected opposition -- Win Without War partners pulled together citizen visits to all 100 Senate offices in under a week. Over 2,000 people participated in the visits -- some driving for hours to deliver a clear message to their Senator."
"Members of True Majority, Working Assets, and MoveOn sent a whopping 326,671 messages to Congress in the last 48 hours before the vote. MoveOn members alone made over 64,092 phone calls to Congress between Wednesday and Friday -- over 100 per member of Congress. The volume was so heavy that we got calls from Congressional offices asking us to "turn it off." This was in addition to over 28,000 calls MoveOn members had already made on the issue. "
(from an email from Move On-one of the many list servers to which I subscribe. Also check out True Majority (started by Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's fame-as if inventing Chubby Hubby wasn't enough of a contribution to the world!!))
Yeah, the $87 billion got approved. But does that mean we shouldn't speak our minds and hearts? On the contrary, I think it means we need to speak them more, and louder.
Because if we don't...someone may have to spend a lot of money to come HERE and force democracy ( a sort of oxymoron to begin with) on US.
From that beat zenchick

My comment: Not only did it get passed, but it passed in the senate with a secret ballot to give the might scum a way to hide who voted yes and who voted no. Y'all know it was to give the DEMS cover. The REPS are already well known for what they are. The DEMS are still pretenting.
But now all of them are the worst kind. Secret ballot was never intended for the senate. It lets them get away with anything without transparancy !

Crazed Fall

Been a crazed fall weekend. Lisa is away with friends, leaving me and the kids. It's an old routine. We've been doing it for many years now. We both need our breaks to be who we are and grow. One of the neat things about us. Everytime one of returns we meet again. Remembering a new person. The suns been shining the whole time she's been gone. Cold as can be without snow. Autumn leaves down mostly and bright morning squirrel alarming sun. There's one up in the neighbors gutter. Two of the kids have had sleep over last night. Two teenage girls and two adolescent boys. It's all family now. The eldest boy is still upstairs sleeping. More independent. Driving now. I feel like a reincarnation of my dad. It's like drops falling off an icecicle in the sun, my grandfather, my father, myself, my son...

My Dad

My Dad
has been gone a long time now.
Died when he was only 52 but
loved me and my sibs through and through.
There was nothing, literally,
he wouldn't have done for us.

I was his oldest.
Don't think of him so much now,
it has been a long time.
But just now I did
after thinking of my own kids,
young adults
and beautiful.

I miss all the times I could
have explored my dad's mind.
An indian boy from Oklahoma
a scrapper, a lover.
Bright, tender, tolerant, but explosive,
he would have told me

He was in the WWII Navy,
when he was only seventeen.
And was never exposed
to anything like the dharma.

But in his forties, I remember,
he used to rise an hour early
and sit on the couch
in the dark,
in our living room.
silent for an hour,
his legs folded up and behind him.
Then he'd go to work.

I would sometimes walk through
forgetting, at 4:30 am,
and be surprised to see
in the pitch black
and the silence as he sat,
the ember on the end
of his cigarette
from across the room.

What was he thinking
and doing
for so long?
in the dark.
That indian boy of the 30's,
that father and provider?

But I couldn’t ask.
Too busy with my own life
and figuring out who
I was going to pretend to be.
He was too great a force.
I was afraid,
And distracted.

Like my kids now.
Wonderful, but they don't ask.
Like kids everywhere.
Like I was.
Distracted by their need
to find a place, their time,
their friends, an identity.

I missed my dad
and the opportunity,
distracted by my life
just the same way
I miss the moment now,
distracted by the past and the future.

Saturday, November 08, 2003


..........all day looking at....
.............(my own mind)......
....that ground...base.
within the ground
......... sometimes i feel like a terton

Lunar Eclipse

Body of bliss
Rising through
the night sky-mind
Pool of milk
From the great mother
Who wouldn't
lay their head on her breast

Full Moon

Full moon
Red and White
Mother and father
Meeting at the heart
Things fall apart
the guest
the guest house
Limitless light

Lapis for Iowa

Blue buddha
lapis heart of great emptiness
radiant emanation of great perfection
how could one not say Thadyathe om bekanze bekanze maha bekanze bekanze
radya samungate soha ?

if blue radiance pours forth
streamingly interconnecting our (hearts)
our (blue horizons, and oceans)
how could I not sit within your lapis (being within lapis)
how could I not benefit all beings (radiate peace to she who carries green apples of pain)
how could I not find even the lonely (one so isolated she might be named Iowa)
ever wishing for medicine peace

(ever wishing) I radiate peace
from the medicine herb in my bowl
I radiate blue peace medicine
Buddha mind bodhi bodhi bodhi
streaming out in all pervasive
searching (for Iowa)
or Cleveland

Maltose Junky

been on the South Beach
diet for days
maltose it seems is high on the GI
spikes the blood (sugar)
speeds desire for more
so no brew for me now seeking to avoid suffering
through South Beach

but she (the one who carries green apples in my dreams)
suffers somewhere in downstate ny
suffers trying to gain her life back
her electronic anklet
her poverty
her sitting in the corner bar nights (looking for what?)
now she sits all day in rehab
hoping to avoid suffering
hoping to get out
to again look for (what?)

so without beer and the maltose spike
or those salty carbs I crave
I'll sit in the dark up stairs
in this warm white house and children sleeping
breathing in her black
exhaling my rainbows

from Emptiness: Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (26)
immaculate not differ
pain nor from
bodhisattva hear dharmas
on or marked
hear marked with on or in
the same immaculate pain
from dharmas does not differ

Friday, November 07, 2003

white envelopes

A year ago I attended a weekend of teachings on Medicine Buddha in Ithaca given by the Abbot from Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala. It was explained we would dream that night. I didn't believe that [ it happens rarely, foe me,I think] but it happened, just as the Abbot said it would. During my dream that night, I thought I sat up and looked out at a white light [ Where? I later disovered there was none].....and did I really sit up at all.... but, it was clear, I did see ten white envelopes. Whatever did they mean?
Today, I think I opened the first white envelope. In my sorrow asking for a healing of hearts...this must be the meaning I wondered about all this opening of some sort.

Open the feelings.
He brings understanding to the sufferers.
Seal the moment with the hidden mantra in the envelope.
Reveal what the teacher knows.
It is the precious dream moment.

Impermanence: A Sad Re-mix


…..molten illusion… (that nowhere eyelash flashing out)

being being

broken hard-on
tip passing through….

hard-on-eye, broken heart of being
eye, eye-tip, eyelash flashing

(being: clinging to itself)

arrives arrives that water being constantly arrives
being passing being
cling-instant passing through (being)
into the light


heart of nowhere
in an instant

the tip


From Emptiness: Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (25)

parasumgate and no
deep mind of five
bodhi mind of on them
the one path moving
eyes find

My Mother

Though I am in my 50's, I was born in August of 1986. My birth announcement was a yellow poster hung on a university wall. The midwife was my best friend who brought the poster home and kept bugging me to go, finally scheduling an interview for me whether I wanted one or not. My father is impossible to describe, scary to some, magnetic to me, speaking in a whisper, robed in maroon with eyes that open back into space folded on itself and a body that perturbs the local gravitational field. My mother was a community: people who fed my father, printed the poster and let me into their house to be born. Though I am coarse and awkward, my father gave me a name that means clear light. It is good to have something to aspire to. I was scared and almost didn't show up for my own birth. I was so late all the cards were gone and my name is written on a piece of simple letterhead signed by my father.

My father's work takes him on the road a lot and I don't see him much. But he has arranged for me to meet many of his brothers and they have taken good care of me over the years. Now my uncles and my father seem like the same person to me, like one of those funny deities with multiple heads.

My mother has always been there, quietly in the background. She arranges for my father and uncles to visit. She feeds them when they come and has a place where I can listen to them talk and then visit privately with them. Over the years my father and uncles have sired lots of other children by my mother. My mother's house can be very quiet or it can be a riot of activity when a lot of my brothers and sisters show up. Many of my brothers and sisters are growing up and doing wonderful things. They practice and do retreat and other things that make my father and uncles smile. Now my mother and my brothers and sisters seem like the same person to me, like one of those funny deities with multiple heads and arms and legs.

Though she has always been resilient, it seems to me that my mother is not feeling well right now. I can't tell how serious it is and I don't know if my father or my uncles even know. She has lots of aches and pains and seems unsteady on her feet. Now I am thinking of my mother all the time and praying for her. And I am hoping that anyone else who knows my mother knows to pray for her too. Though she seems unwell, my mother is actually quite young. And she still knows many lamas with whom she hopes to bring many more children into the world.


even in those
aspects of "dharma"
I cling to the most.

The moment,
the past dissolved
like a distraction thought;
an instant
constantly remaking itself:
the tip of a pin.

An ocean
of beings,
all of them me,
me all of them.

The heart
in my chest:
the wind passing through.

The future:
an illusion,
water on a desert highway
that never arrives.

The nature
of being:
an eyelash,
hard to find
with ego's eye.

The light,
radiating out
with nowhere
to go.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Seeing oneself

When we check our motivation we can see what is false and discard it through simply seeing.

The seeing, itself, is the energy of Bodhicitta mind, of love and compassion.

Awareness is unconfined, universal love.

The intellect, the ego, is limited to selfishness and does not have the capacity to see itself.

From a Tulku Thubten Rinpoche teaching on Tonglen and the Bodhisattva Way of Life

Wednesday, November 05, 2003


sitting with the laptop, hands splayed on the keyboard, they seem the same. The black keys, the flesh hands, the indio-techno playing on the stereo

no real problems today, no great realizations either, sat through meetings, cruised with the sun roof open, kissed my youngest good night. Not many more of those left.

tabalas and some saxaphone in a techno groove

They're Out There!

I talk more than I should, especially on paper, and I engage in a lot of useless discursive thinking. I try not to, but I lack the insight and recognition that would purify these habits and so it becomes a matter of discipline for me - something I am not very good at. Sometimes I am struck by something very beautiful, very magical, very special and a bunch of gibberish comes pouring out, like a carbonated beverage that's had one too many shakes. I received a special picture today and this is one of those times.

I am a samsaric being: bewildered, distracted, uncomprehending, living in the past, living in the future, dissatisfied, full of lust, easily angered, undisciplined and so laden with negative karma that I can't even drive to the store without plastering hundreds of beings on the front of my car or find something to wear that hasn't resulted in the death of thousands of beings in its production. Things pop up in my mind, unbeckoned, and immediately take over. Other thoughts seem like wonderful ideas or discoveries only to fade into unremarkable nonsense hours later. I no sooner commit to something than I am immediately attracted by some inconsistent alternative.

And yet, in my life, I have met enlightened beings. There really isn't language adequate to describe how incredibly fortunate and unlikely this is or how astounded I am to find that I am so certain. I mean, I can't even decide for sure what I ought to do from minute to minute and yet, amidst all this, arises the absolute certainty that I have not just encountered, but sat across from, made eye contact with, laughed with, and talked to enlightened beings.

It is unexplainable and incomprehensible to me. I have looked and looked for my error and to see where I have become carried away or how I have managed to contrive a fantasy about these "people" I have met. Because I am suspicious I have turned my conviction every way but loose. Nevertheless, I find that I cannot escape it.

I don't know how to respond. I am left in awe and feeling completely incapable of anything the encounter should call for. I feel awkward and embarrassed and worry that I have been completely overtaken by arrogance because it doesn't seem that I should be able to recognize how they are. I don't even know how I know.

The more I look at these beings, the more pure they appear. I can find no stains and I actually begin to see that their every activity, every movement, every word, every thought is for others. At first they can even seem like ordinary people, and they will say that they are. But there is something about looking in their eyes, the sound of their voice and the space around them. Something palpable and undeniable, even to me in the midst of all my craziness and nonsense. The more I watch and examine, the stronger it gets. Somehow they effortlessly and passively reach through all the garbage and static and obscuration and pluck some resonant chord in my chest. There is a molten, golden butter-like orb in my heart center that throbs in response to them and then begins to radiate and diffuse through the rest of my being practically standing my hair on end.

I know I am not special and so others must also be experiencing this or some variation of it. I don't have the wisdom to know if I should be talking about it and I wish I knew better how to account for it, how to describe and share it and how to adequately express my gratitude. If I am truly mistaken, then at least this is the most sublime delusion one could ever imagine.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Hot and Cold

....Getting hotter, Getting Colder..if you can search that way [inside of you] getting hotter..
if you can search for buddha outside of you..COLD. More than cold, it's freezing!

Lama Tharchin Rinpoche

Postcard from the sublime

What we should realize is we keep following and swimming in the ocean of suffering and not getting anything. That's called silly.

Lama Tharchin Rinpoche

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Wafting in from the Napalm Health Spa

I could well have the elegant robes of a monk

And well gain reverence from devotees

And have people praise me as a holy man or saint,

But that would not satisfy the desires of my beloved.

by Tulku Thubten Rinpoche

Excerpt - Advice from Me to Myself by Patrul Rinpoche

Vajrasattva, sole deity, Master,
You sit on a full-moon lotus-cushion of white light
In the hundred-petalled full bloom of youth.

Think of me, Vajrasattva,
You who remain unmoved within the manifest display
That is Mahamudra, pure bliss-emptiness.

Listen up, old bad-karma Patrul,
You dweller-in-distraction.

For ages now you've been
Beguiled, entranced, and fooled by appearances.
Are you aware of that? Are you?
Right this very instant, when you're
Under the spell of mistaken perception
You've got to watch out.
Don't let yourself get carried away by this fake and empty life.

Your mind is spinning around
About carrying out a lot of useless projects:
It's a waste! Give it up!
Thinking about the hundred plans you want to accomplish,
With never enough time to finish them,
Just weighs down your mind.
You're completely distracted
By all these projects, which never come to an end,
But keep spreading out more, like ripples in water.
Don't be a fool: for once, just sit tight. . . . . "

Patrul Rinpoche (1808-1887) was the wandering turn-of-the-century Dzogchen master of Eastern Tibet, beloved by the people. He was renowned as the enlightened vagabond.

Translation by Constance Wilkinson

Sounds easy!

You must realize that this life is impermanent.

You do not want to have attachment for what is impermanent.

When you do not have attachment for samsara, then living in samsara is like an illusion. One is like a lotus flower: Even though the body is in samsara, the mind is not tainted by that imperfection.

- HE Garchen Rinpoche, August, 2003

from Emptiness: Fifty Poems From The Heart Sutra

Emptiness (24)

death illusion of age
imacculate age of dharmas
that unequalled mental
dharmas differ in age and same
moving on
highest path past death and dharmas
shed perception of age or death
this age of dharmas