week of August 20-26, 2001
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Tulku Thubten Rinpoche
Bio (submitted by Marc Olmsted)
Tulku Thubten Rinpoche, born in Tibet, began his formal Buddhist studies at 13 and was recognized as the incarnation of Ahnam Lama, a chief disciple of Kunkhyen Dudjom Lingpa He currently lives and teaches at Pema Osel Ling in Santa Cruz, California as a guest of Lama Tharchin Rinpoche
The following work is Copyright © 2001, and owned by Tulku Thubten Rinpoche and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.
Confessions of an Ulterior Monk
I’ve been trapped in the shack of concepts;
I’ve slept well in the bed of vice;
But after a glimpse of the beautiful Dharmata’s face,
The dramas of this floating world have lost their attraction.
He perceives all pleasures as an enemy,
Acting so virtuous in the eyes of the world;
Yet, secretly tormented by the fires of lust,
Oh Lord, have mercy on this stubborn monk.
I’m already in my forties, fifties
I never remember touching a woman’s breast;
I thought about you, O Death,
And went out to lose my virginity.
In those early days of my life
I went to great monasteries,
Studied scriptures, gained reputation;
Now I hang with the crazy women,
And write hundreds of thousands of meaningless poems.
Early this morning, I dreamt
Of a woman lavishly attired I pray to you, Lord,
Let her come naked into my dreams tonight.
The heavenly daughter from the deathless city,
Half hidden, revealed from her white clouds;
If I overcome my fear, reach out with confidence,
We shall dance!
Last evening I slept with my beloved Without her passion and warmth
This spiritual notion of bliss
Is nothing but idle prattle.
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.
Wandering everywhere like a lost dog,
Lacking shelter and companion for so long,
My heart bled with longing and grief;
This made me remember my loved one, over and over.
I used to have altruism,
And do great things for others;
No one was ever pleased with that Now that I have nothing to lose or gain,
I shall enjoy various pleasures as much as possible.
He never believed in a doctrine,
And is dismissed as a nonbeliever He never belonged to a race, and is dismissed as a heretic He never confined himself to a culture,
And is ostracized from the human family.
Sometime ago I was truly disillusioned with this world,
Any true happiness, I haven’t found;
I’m not deluded, not undeluded,
But stuck in the middle of the spiritual path,
Deities and visions came into my head;
I’ve never been blissed out and content like this before;
I dance and sing spontaneously;
Yet the mediocre ones see a lunatic.
My umbilical blood dripped on the ground;
I’ve never fit into anyone’s ideas;
All-compassionate Goddess, take me there!
If there is another world.
I have been suffering for many lifetimes,
Exhausted even of seeking liberation,
In this life I want nothing,
Only spiritual magic!
I was born in the Northern desert;
A herdsman most of my life ’til thirty;
Never saw what my face looked like Yesterday, a guest gave a Chinese mirror,
And I saw one hundred beautiful expressions A new courage was born in my heart;
Now, I’ll ask the Princess to marry.
She said she’s just a human My neighbor said she’s just a bitch;
I saw her as an angel;
O Lord, tell me what is right.
I told my housekeeper,
“Do not move my pillow,
Because there’re countless secret letters there “
But I can tell you that
The first one is a hate letter
And last one, a love letter.
A noise woke us up –
The black cat chasing a mouse –
My lover looked at me,
“Don’t be like that!”
I nodded my head three hundred times.
In my life I have two things to worship;
Perhaps you know the first Another one: the girl from the village behind the bridge God punishes me;
She pleases me.
I’ve been so afraid of the Lord of Death’s wrath,
And so have done great virtues The old and withered prophet from the cave told me,
“Unless you see your mind as the Highest Heaven, you shall die in great fear “
Is it true? He just disregarded all my merit?
I saw tears from Buddha’s statue in the temple,
I went home, found my talking parrot dead I prayed for something, nothing has been answered I put my lover’s tears onto him,
He came to life once again So marvelous,
But remained silent after that,
Until yesterday, which was his funeral,
With one hundred good-looking ghosts.
My friend whispered to me
“This is only for you I have two penises and three asses What should I do, dear one?”
Of course I didn’t have an answer Then last night I had a dream The Lord smiled and told me,
“From now on you are my messenger Tell him, “Live in the land of two penises
and three asses “
A yogi lives on the right side of my house,
A monk lives on the left, what difference?
I’ll tell you The monk goes to temple and worships the Buddha;
The yogi goes out to the market to buy rotten shoes
From a beggar woman with 3000 coins,
Worships them in his closet from morn ’til dusk;
The monk cries every midnight out of his sexual pain;
The yogi laughs every night out of his bliss.
There’s a deep philosophical question,
Which gives unresolved pain to many philosophers, thinkers and mystics “Why did the chicken cross the road?”
I asked that question to my neighbor couple
And they started quarreling, pushing and beating each other;
I was afraid and ran back to my room and closed the door After an hour I peeked through the window
And saw them madly making love in the yard.
Felix Fojas is a member of PEN International and the Philippine Literary Arts Council M.A and B.A degrees in English & Comparative Literature and Linguistics & Literature, respectively Creative writing fellowship, Cambridge University, England Former advertising creative director and university professor Has lectured at the University of California at Davis, Sacramento State University and Sacramento City College on metaphysics, shamanism & witchcraft Won numerous advertising and literary awards Published in Brown River, Blue Ocean: An Anthology of Twentieth Century Philippine Literature, Rutgers University press, New Jersey; in A Habit of Shores: Philippine Verse in English 1970s-90s, University of the Philippines Press; in American Dissident and in The Lucid Stone, among others
The following work is Copyright © 2001, and owned by Felix Fojas and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.
Long I’ve mastered the secret
Art of levitation
And invisibility But if you would glimpse at
My blurry, speeding shadow
On a full moon, you’d mistake
Me for Marc Chagall’s “rabbi”
Floating above a chalet
In the canvas of midnight,
Or Hermes, the god with
Winged feet I am a
I hop and hop from
Rooftop to rooftop on
My feather-light, nimble feet
Like a high-wire artist,
Making nary a sound,
Except for a muffled thud
Or a scratching noise
That one hears and is gone
While the unsuspecting
Householders below would
Conclude that I am some
Harmless bird or creeper
Night after night I pursue
With rage and passion my
Melancholic task as if
I am relentlessly
Tracking my fate’s ominous
Line Each time my feet land,
I scan my never-ending
Empire of slippery tiles
And splintered shingles I must
Trail my absent muse to
The edge of this blighted earth I must perform and dance
My subtle ritual alone–
Like a necromancer
In the womb of darkness–
Without pomp and ceremony,
Without a single witness
While the cold wind shakes my bones
I am a bipolar ghost
Sandwiched betweeen heaven
And earth Alas, below
Me is a couple sleeping
In the same warm room but
On separate beds Above
Me, the gaping chasm
Of an indifferent sky
Waiting for me to lose
My balance, slip and fall up,
Defying gravity’s law,
Into its night-fanged maw.
Suicide Ridge in Paradise
(for Rick Ditmanson)
Winding our way up in a car on that
Road in Northern California one
Sunny but chilly Sunday afternoon,
My poet-friend, Rick, casually pointed
To a vacant spot towards the right side
Of our field of vision I gazed at
The grassy lot, which ended in a sheer
Drop of about two hundred feet below “It’s quite famous in these parts,”
Rick stressed “Do you mean to say “
“Yep,” he interrupted “Its name means
Exactly what it says ” At that point I
Imagined someone, engulfed by
The dark, grizzly fog of desperation,
Reevving up his V-8 engine,
Then shifting gear from neutral to first and
Kicking the gas pedal until it sinks
In the floor, sending the damned machine
Hurtling over the ridge Suddenly, in
My mind’s-eye, I saw thousands of other
Cars in similar ridges all over
The planet crashing down and exploding
In a blaze of mangled flesh and twisted
Chrome Perhaps there is an omnipotent
Car wrecker who has carved all these sheer drops
To afford all those who are too tired to
Linger here on earth the chance of their lives
By taking a dramatic plunge down there
“I better step on the gas,” Rick said “We’re late for our date in Paradise “
Lovesong For My Trashcan
Trash can of mine I love you:
Your vinyl lips so thin,
Smooth and red; your seductive
Gaping mouth, a warm abyss
With an insatiable
Passion for reams of crumpled
Hope scrawled with stillborn lines
Trash can of mine I love you:
Paragon of openness
Whose supple, spacious breast is
A vanity museum
That flaunts like diamond tears
All my rubbish thoughts and
Trash can of mine I love you:
Muse of desperation who
Recycles visions and
Of rejection slips into
Crisp, blank, snow-white sheets of
Silence and oblivion sweet.