Trikaya Ruminations #3 All experience involves primordial mind

“If you believe there is a thing called mind, it is just a thought. If you believe there is no thing called mind, it’s just another thought. Your natural state, free of any kind of thought is buddhanature.”  Tulku Ugyen

Preface: The following is a short piece attempting to express a few things about where we all come from as it were, or the inseparable trinity of dharmakaya sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya. It might also be the basis for a playful non-materialist ‘nature of reality proclamation.’ And perhaps this will become a work in progress….

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

All experience involves primordial mind which is more a field, or space, than a thing per se.
Any notion of experience beyond mind, so-called objective reality, is only a hypothetical concept which can never be verified by anyone other than someone with a mind. A reality without mind can be imagined but cannot be verified as such.
Primordial, knowing mind is behind all and every experience so every experience is inseparable from primordial mind.
Confusion is the process whereby we believe that mental events, beings and phenomena are independent from this primordial field even though such confusion is a part of and not apart from it.

Confusion is a made-up contrivance, a fold temporarily concealing writing revealed when the paper is unfolded back to its original state. Put another way: thoughts are mind made of Mind.
All the realms of samsara including all beings and terrains in which they dwell are created by confused minds mistakenly believing that all forms they perceive, including thoughts, are separate from the universal ground of primordial wakefulness, the three kayas of dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya – or mind, energetic expression and body.

Meditation involves resting in the nature of whatever is happening and allowing the experience to reveal the presence of underlying primordial mind which is not a definable entity with a beginning, middle and end.
Because it is always there, always present beyond past or future and always with a sense of knowing awareness it cannot be said either to exist (since it has no beginning or end or spatial form or boundary) or not to exist (because it is experienced) and the same is true for all beings and realms in which they dwell.


Primordial awareness has three qualities:
It is clear like a mirror whose surface can reflect no end of forms without being in the slightest effected by any of them.
It is bright like the sun for awareness is a type of self-existing illumination like bio-luminescence.
It has a knowing-sentient quality like a wise grandparent or ancestral god, a vast, fathomlessly deep ocean unchanged by though inseparable from any of the endless parade of particular wave actions above.

In a sense, what confusion-samsara does is split the endless variety of particularities on the nirmanakaya surface into seemingly separate, autonomous entities in so doing ignoring that they are inseparable from the all-pervasive, formless continuum of dharmakaya. This splitting is called ‘dualism.’ When the dharmakaya primordial mind nature of reality is being experienced at the same time as nirmanakaya particularities with all their sambhogakaya qualitative displays, this is no longer dualism but rather a liberated, open perception-awareness known as ‘realization.’

When realization develops from being an occasional glimpse to non-stop 24/7 state, this is known as ‘enlightenment.’

So there you go.

Two Truths Ruminations #1: Experiencing the Absolute

It is said that absolute power corrupts absolutely, so perhaps we should be careful but the saying itself reveals something important: the absolute can be experienced in the here and now and is not merely an abstract principle.

In the Two Truths post it was mentioned how the teachings have a two-way street structure, namely either starting from the fruition (enlightenment) and working back as it were, or starting from confusion and working forward from there. Not mentioned but also of course one can do both at the same time depending on what pops up at any given moment.

But if we are not enlightened already how can we start from that? Because as already explained in the Trikaya post, there are many things going on at once in our experiential continuum, the analogy given being that of how waves which have a seemingly separate and distinct identity as such, each wave being unique and different and in a unique place each time, are nevertheless continuously inseparable from the ocean of what they are a part and not apart from. This is more than just logic; it is truth.

Similarly, in meditation we often experience thoughts. Different traditions have different ways of dealing with them. Simply put there are three main approaches:

  1. Eliminate them: this involves developing the skill to enter various trance states in which no thought arises, no pain or pleasure either.
  2. Similar to 1) but instead of eliminating them channel them into a stream-like experience which doesn’t change and which usually involves experiencing intense bliss, clarity-luminosity and/or emptiness-transparency. Ancient Hindus mastered this millennia ago – indeed the Buddha for a while mastered this – and there are many adepts in this style of samadhi-generation to this day.
  3. Become aware of the nature of one’s being as it is all the time, thoughts just being part of that ongoing process. This latter is the approach of most Buddhist schools.

This brings to mind the old saying: “first there is a mountain then there is no mountain then there is.” First, a little background from Tricycle Magazine: “During the Tang Dynasty, the Chinese Ch’an [Zen in Japanese] master Qingyuan Weixin famously wrote: “Before I had studied Ch’an for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and rivers as rivers. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and rivers are not rivers. But now that I have got its very substance, I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and rivers once again as rivers.” First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.”

To unpack this a little: first we see things as we habitually see them in the relative truth world, with waves and ripples and foam and spray all being separate, unique phenomena, and ourselves as well witnessing them, and each moment this happens different from other moments which have happened before or will happen later as we sit on the beach observing such things.


Later though, we might realize that everything we are seeing, being it outer or inner phenomena, is filtered through mind. A fly does not see the table the same way we see the table. Furthermore, we might not see the table the same way our family member does because a table is more than the object alone, it has an emotional context bringing up certain memories and feelings some to do with the past some with the present. For example, to the son it is a place where later on he has to do homework instead of running around outside with his friends; to the wife it is where dinner will soon happen and the family will get together; to the husband it is where he gets to talk to his family all together, the only time that happens every day. And so on.

But it’s more than that: if you go deeper you can learn to see how we have constructed the notion of ‘table’ in order to see it as such. Is the table its legs, or its surface, or the wood pieces its made of or the polish or the stain or the grain or the location or the function? It is none of those things but without any of those particulars it would not be this table. So the table is actually a conceptual overlay bundling all its different constituent parts into a cognitively recognizable whole which we label ‘table.’

“First there is a table then there is no table.”

But this idea that there is ‘no table’ is yet another label because of course there IS a table – it’s right there and we can all see it and sit around it together, clearly. Before we dismiss the whole thing, though, let’s pause to consider: we are not just discussing tables and how we perceive them, but actually our whole world and ourselves and everyone we know in it. Put more directly, this involves how we see ‘I’ and ‘you.’ But let’s stick with just ‘I’ or ‘me.’ Just as with the table, the notion of ‘I’ inside is a cognitive construct. There is no ‘I’ apart from that construct or rather even if there is we are not able to see it unless we drop the habitual cognitive and emotional patterning (aka ‘habits’) we have in observing and experiencing them. We have to see through our habitual cognitive labelling process – ‘no mountain, no table, no ‘I.’

Once we do so, then we can see the mountain, see the table and also see the ‘I’ again albeit now freshly, without the habitual, self-centered cognitive overlays.

The point here is that this can be done. In fact it is happening moment after (illusory) moment all the time anyway. This can be likened to how no matter the drama of the particular, ever-changing displays of wave action on the surface, the ocean underneath remains always and forever essentially the same. Clouds form, move around and then dissolve back into the sky. Clouds and the sky are not two. Waves and the ocean are not two. Mind and thoughts – including the habitual patternings that create the sense of solid ‘I’ and solid others – similarly are not two.

This means that the nature of mind is not apart from the nature of thoughts even if those thoughts give us the deluded sense that they are separate from mind. Perhaps to be clear let us use two different spellings for mind, namely Mind and mind or Big Mind and little mind. Big Mind, or Mind, is the fundamental nature of Mind which is there all the time throughout our waking and sleeping experiences, aka ‘life.’ Little mind, or mind, is the individual thinking mind throwing up thoughts of this, that and the other all the time. Even though the nature of little mind is the same as the nature of Big Mind, it appears to us that they are different because it seems like we are separate, independent, continuous, solid beings apart from and not a part of our surroundings. That is the cognitive construct of the self that we begin to see through when we tune into the underlying nature of those habitual thought patterns and start to directly experience Mind.

As we do so – first with occasional glimpses, later more continuously as those initial glimpses ‘take’ – the seemingly solid projection of me and my mind are seen as not be separate from the overall field, or continuum, of Mind and thus are somewhat transparent. This is exactly the same as when you contemplate waves on the ocean seeing both their unique and particular characteristic whilst at the same time also seeing how they are one with the ocean, they and all their neighbouring waves which are coming and going moment by moment.

First there are waves; then there are no waves; then there are waves.

Once you see the waves as being not different from the ocean, then you can see the waves as they are free from the labelling process. Once you see ‘me and my mind’ as not different from the nature of Mind then you can work with ‘me’ and ‘mine’ without grasping and attachment at which point there is an experience of being free which is called ‘liberation’ in the Buddhist jargon.*

In the terminology of the previous post, Big Mind is Absolute Truth or Absolute Dharma. Dharma means ‘that which is’ or ‘suchness’ or ‘a fact, a truth.’ Big Mind is the dharma, the underlying actual nature, of both Big Mind and little mind, aka ‘my mind’ or ‘your mind.’ This absolute nature doesn’t change no matter what my mind’s thought and feeling patterns are throwing up just like the ocean doesn’t change with different wave actions and the nature of the sky doesn’t change with different cloud formations. Because such natures do not change – mind, ocean, sky – they are absolute in the sense that they are always there throughout any arising, dwelling and ceasing of related phenomena all of which happen transparently within them.

There is no experience in our life without the medium of mind. At first we think of it as the medium of ‘me’ with me being some sort of solid, continuous, separate entity walking around a solid, continuous world with different objects, creatures and locations. But then we realize all such phenomena – objects, creatures and locations – happen within the sphere of experiential mind which itself happens within the sphere of Big Mind. All phenomena take place within the realm of experience and all experience is part of the continuum of Big Mind which can be likened to ocean or sky.

This Big Mind continuum – or ‘field’ in quantum theory language – can be experienced directly. So absolute truth can be experienced directly as the nature of mind. And you can begin with that or rather make that the founding premise of your spiritual path and practice. Or you can deconstruct the relative and habit-maintained constructs engendering our habitual perceptions of self and other so that, by showing they lack the substance and continuity we collectively ascribe to them, we can poke holes in the clouds, so to speak, letting the sky of our underlying nature and the underlying nature of reality show through until at some point those clouds dissolve back into the sky from whence they arose and we see that the nature of phenomena and the nature of mind are not two, are all part of the same overall continuum.

So both paths lead to the same end which is the inseparability of relative and absolute, of waves and ocean, of clouds and sky, of self, other and Mind.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

* jargon: 1: the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jargon)

Haiku #104: Cosmic Copulation

all mind into mind

in our intertangled

intertangling continuum

#104 2022/02/15

earth into roots

roots into trunk

trunk into branches

branches into air

air into clouds

clouds into sky

sky into space

such marvellous primordial joy

our universal birthright

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

After composing the haiku, the second poem arose which is more free-form verse. Two for the price of one!


(marvellous: ‘being or having the character of a miracle’ (freedictionary.com))

Buddhism 101 #5 – The Two Truths, Relative and Absolute

adamhallart.com

According to the Buddhist tradition, it seems the spiritual path is a two-way street. This doesn’t mean that either you are going one way in the right direction or another way in the wrong direction (though that can often be the case). This has to do with perspective, or view.

There is absolute truth and relative truth. First of all, as with all Buddhadharma we are dealing with experienced realities so ‘truth’ here doesn’t refer to some theoretical ‘objective’ truth. From the Buddhist point of view there is no such thing for such a notion can only be cooked up in the kitchen of conceptual mind. We imagine a self-existing objective world out there but have no way of verifying if it exists outside our subjective perception of it or any data we might evaluate about it. With that in mind:

Absolute truth, often described as ‘the basic nature of mind,’ is nondual. Relative truth, which is the way we usually experience mind, is dual. Dual here means a view which perceives a fundamental separation – and thus a duality – between self and other, one person and another, one place and another, one moment and another, one wave on the ocean and another.

In the Trikaya ocean analogy, the absolute truth is how the entire thing is essentially one in that each ripple, wave or sparkle is a part of and not apart from that all-containing ocean. Similarly, in meditator’s terms, our thoughts are not apart from underlying, primordial mind even though each thought has various particular and unique characteristics and is seemingly taking place at a unique, particular time.

So nondual perception is aware that there is no fundamental difference between thought and underlying mind, or being, whereas duality mode sees no end of mental, emotional and physical experiences as unique, independent, continuous, irreducible and so on.

The reason it is called ‘absolute’ truth is because there is no beginning or end to it. No matter what thoughts arise on the surface of the mind, the underlying ocean of its primordial nature remains unchanged. It was there before any such occurrence, is unaffected by its presence and remains afterwards unaffected by its absence. Whether stormy or placid on the surface, with huge waves or none at all, the vast and fathomless ocean beneath is entirely unaffected, remaining essentially the same. The waves on the surface have a beginning, a middle and and end like all life forms such as ourselves,but our underlying nature – beingness as it were – remains unchanged. We can learn to experience this in meditation and daily life by simply becoming aware of what is always aware, some sort of sense of consciousness, of primordial wakefulness.

Whether we are happy or sad, calm or upset, distracted or paying attention – seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching or thinking – our underlying aliveness, which has fundamental qualities of being awake and aware, remains unchanged, always there. Furthermore, if you learn to tune into it, you can feel directly for yourself that it has no dimension or duration and therefore no beginning or end. Because there is no dimension in space or duration in time therefore it is called ‘absolute’ and it is called ‘truth’ (or ‘dharma’) because it just is so and we can experience it thusly, we can know it directly.

The two-way street notion: some approaches begin with the perspective of absolute truth whilst others start from the point of view of relative truth which tends to regard absolute truth as a philosophical abstraction or fantasy. (Meanwhile, from the point of view of absolute truth, relative truth is a confused perspective that needs to be seen through.) So some approaches begin by deconstructing relative truth and others begin with absolute truth experience – often called ‘the nature of mind’ – thereby orienting the practitioner to tune into that as much as possible whilst navigating through the world of relative truth which we all, having been born into it, share even though its nature isn’t actually as solid and permanent as we think.

In a comment following the Buddhism 101 #3 Karma post, I expressed distrust of institutions. This holds for national governments and multinational corporations generally speaking but also more specifically regarding spiritual institutions. This post’s subject matter, the Two Truths, is a main part of the reason why.

To function efficiently over time institutions must invest heavily in relative truth operations. Properties, rented or purchased, have to be managed along with complex interpersonal and institutional dynamics of the ever-changing populations involved. Good relations have to be maintained with local communities and related institutions including where necessary various regional and national governments. A great deal of money and influencing may be in the mix. Most major religions, for example, end up with vast property holdings and no end of fingers in no end of governmental, royal, military and cultural pies not to mention enjoying significant regular presence on the local community, or parish, level including in the school systems.

All of this has little to do with either deconstructing the seeming solidity of relative truth or tuning into transcendentally primordial absolute truth meaning that the priorities and agendas of any given institution, including a spiritual one like a Buddhist Sangha, are at odds with the spiritual path it is purportedly there to promulgate.

This does not mean that no such institutions, or Sanghas, should ever exist but it does imply that such endeavours are no easy things and they can often go wrong. Sometimes this unfolds in obvious ways – if they devolve into little better than brainwashing cults or collapse from lack of funds or congregants for example – but often although they may seem to be flourishing in relative truth frames of reference meanwhile any spiritual heart inside has been broken though members and leadership are unaware of this or in denial.

Future posts can tackle traditional Buddhadharma material like suffering and samsara by examining them from the perspectives of both relative and absolute truth. Doing so in this way will make it easier to place them in personal context, i.e. why they are important and what issues they are discussing that relate to everyday experience.

Poem: Voice of Madness – complete

Here follow all three-as-one Voices of Madness: self, other & the gods.

(pdf without images at the end of this post.)

VOICES OF MADNESS

dedicated to Axel Neumann
a leading European clinical psychiatrist
who became a structured psychotic
(one who can transmit that state to another)
and died of the drugs they gave him after each
increasingly frequent episode
and which he knew would eventually kill him

Voices of madness I: Self

(a series of related quasi haiku)

Esther Hannah 1858 Chronic mania with delusions

when the chattering mouth inside
engollops the whole world
now so many tongues
screaming back at you!

The union of
all and everything with
Mighty Me and
Mini Me

the wastrel candy wrapper
scudding across the ocean of bedraggled pavement
talks in sign language
only I can understand
and so we are friends

gazing into my dog’s soft eyes
drowning in kindness
we long for the oblivion
of everlasting life

suffering so extreme
I am King
of the charnel ground
I survey
in ostracized isolation

Woe is me!
Alone at last!
Alone again!
Alone forever!
Alone alas!

I have dug deep into hell
where you can’t see
flowers
sunlight
fresh air
green fields

now worship my many manias
which you good people
with your many conventional insanities
have driven me screaming into!

once I jumped off the mountain peak
and started gliding far above
and you all down there far below
there was no turning back
so here we are
alone together again!

Captain George Johnson 1848, homicidal maniac

I screamed…
and the other person
in here with me
jumped almost out of their skin
and into mine!

you people are all so dumb
and sanctimonious about it
you’ve driven me
out of my wits
and into the arms of demons

I know a little devil
she’s right here
do you want to see her…
now?

don’t ask me how
but I know
for certain
this nightmare will never
end


I could cry
all the tears
for all the girls
and it would never
be enough
to slake the thirst of this anger

Harriet Jordan 1858, acute mania

teeth and nails are my claws
my gaze lightning
my speech a bloody knife
my body a writhing sex crazed she devil!

when I see you
I feel the urge
to squash that banana!

how many years ago
was I a happy child?
that life has left me…

the apples are falling
falling, falling
I will soon drown
in that well

if only you could touch me
you might see me
if only you might see me
you could touch me

I am the veritable Queen of Ireland
but you FOOLS
have put me in a straightjacket
though one not nearly as restricting
as the ones you wear yourselves
over your taut middle class heads

I yearned so much to fly
that after I leapt
I simply refused to come back down
to earth

on the ride home
after our time together
after reading Kafka’s trial together
the train kept
telling me, telling me, telling me, telling me
you’re mad, you’re mad, you’re mad, you’re mad
you’ll die, you’ll die, you’ll die, you’ll die,
you know it don’t you, you know it don’t you,
you know it don’t you, you know it don’t you
you’ve always been mad and you’ll never get better
you’ve always been mad and you’ll never get better
you’ve always been mad and you’ll never get better
you’ve always been mad and you’ll never get better
then tears flowed down
uncontrollably
but somehow I made it home
through the mist of sadness and madness
and slept for a day and a night
and woke up
blessed and
clean.

Voices of Madness II: other

(to be read with urgency)

housewife clutching her handbag
banker grasping his hat
cyclist grabbing the lamp post
sixteen wheeler squealing his brakes
bridge groaning and cracking under the load
wind whistling Dixie blowing away souls….

pistol-whipped deputy
terrorized step daughter
Mumbai street beggar
Sri Lankan leper
Madagascar pirates
East End slave traders
Wall Street raiders
DC rapists
City of London warmongers
Zurich mass murderers
crestfallen gang bait
heart absent crack zombies
genetically suicided farmers
thumbless hitchhikers
selfish greedy meditators
rotten teethed politicians

mouldy constitutions
historical documents wormwooded powder
fleas in the palace sheets
ticks on royal arses
donkeys braying in the storm
genders flotsam and jetsam
masts upended and shredded in coral below
frogmen marching
geese straying
clouds mustering
storms gathering
whales bemoaning
rats scampering…

who’s last to leave this stinking ship?
who’s last in line for the universal basic dole out?
who’s giving vegetables to the soup kitchen?
who even cares?
where does the Pygmy get his next meal?
who’s killing the next sheep in Himalchal Pradesh?
who’s next in line to the throne in Bhutan?

Do we even keep track of collective sanity?
Do parliaments legislate it wisely or not?
Do Judges have it hidden in their undergarments?
Do gurus transmit it by tapping our head?
Do wives give it nightly to husbands in bed?
Do bakers transform it as soft daily bread?
Do young lovers dance it to being when they wed?
Do priests now invoke it when prayers are well said?
Do street chiefs impose it once they’ve earned street cred?
Do sheriffs arrest it with stopping power of lead?
Do scriptures impart it when ever they’re read?
Do blue, green and yellow surrender it to red?

world spinning into oblivion
axis tilting out of control
wave patterns cloud forms and gaseous eruptions
sending all animals into conniptions
humans abandoning human emotions
demons despairing of being fought against bravely
abandon the currency of mutual respect
and wallow in wanton lower realm scorn
spinning the wheel of samsara as idle indulgence
grown fat and happy with complacency’s sinecure
a cushy job nowadays
dime a dozen
no resistance
people are sheeple, people don’t care
herded and huddled, by fear in the air
demons in airwaves in food in the water
demons in herds being led to the slaughter
demons in cartoons with twisted cold laughter
demons in front of us, demons in back
demons defending, demons attack
demons inside of us, demons all around
demons in music, in all kinds of sound
airplanes in airports and rockets in space
chemical deodorants makeup on face
cancer run rampant tumors to spare
pathogens raging we’ve trillions to share
shoe leather waning, testosterone dim
down to mansplaining, denegrating him
she is no longer the one who bears child
she is no longer so kind and who smiles
she is a he is an it is a him
and if we don’t sink then we better all swim
swim now together
swim in the pool
swim in the ocean, let swimming be cool
swim in the court room, swim in the yard
swim into sanity, swim upstream hard
swim like the salmon come in from the sea
swim past the billions of you’s and of me’s
swim ’til were tired and beaten and broken
swim ’til the last line the ending is spoken.

Voices of Madness III: the gods

A broad river of cream
changing colours slowly
and slowly flowing forward, inexorable
thick, heavy, primordial, meaningful
deepening glory, deepening content
then suddenly!
black sticks shoot up in all directions like angry stiff fingers
harmony and wisdom broken in shards…
the dreamer awakes
into the everyday world
of this and that
and bric a brac.

Clouds know
from whence they come and where they go
Do you know
from whence you come and where you go?
‘Do you see my cloud dragons?’ asks a sky god
‘Do you see my coat of many colours?’ asks Jacob
‘Do you remember your past lives?’ asks the psychic

Zeus wields his thunderbolt, its searing flash
piercing the veil twixt knowing and unknowing;

Thor’s kaleidoscopic crash of thunder
echoes throughout the three times
into the deep beyond thought

Mercury’s mercurial messengering
mumbles unmistaken murmers of muttered moonshine magnificence

Kali minds her manners trampling on second thoughts
oblivionizing them nonchalantly
as she grinds the pestle and mortar of birth and death

Yama spits out the bones of every corpse he’s ever ground
between his molars of destiny
his subliminal indifference

Persephone, queen of the night, consort of Dark
glides from his loins, seductress of stimulation
sad beyond any measure of joy or sorrow

Ekajati, the one-eyed red one with one breast
breathes her majesty of mayhem
into the twisted bones of all her shattered enemies

HRIH! cries the Red Lady
the original dakini
born of the unborn
nourished in Ur and Swat
and now sojourning in international climes
where the modern world takes up her chant of
‘form is emptiness and emptiness is form
form is not different from emptiness; emptiness not different than form.
That which appears as emptiness is form –
and that which appears as form is emptiness.
The psychology of duality, sensation, sense connections, thought and consciousness – these are also emptiness and form.
So Shariputra’ she continues
‘you can only characterize form in terms of emptiness
and emptiness in terms of form.’

Exit Vajrayogini Stage Right.
Exit Vajrayogini Stage Left.
Lions to the right of us
Tigers to the left
Dragons in the sky above
Nagas in the lakes below
Demons in the rocks
Gods in the clouds
The taste of the sea in the mouth
The taste of the sea, the smell of clean
the remembrance of all knowing
held in the palm
of the god’s hand
a drop of liquid glory
known as water
small cells struggling
small appendages waving and wriggling
small microbial galaxies teeming into proliferate being
beyond counting, self birthing, self mothering, self engendering
the world of form a continuous kaleidoscope of extraordinary imagination
shot through with light
leavened with fantasy
the unbearable light-ness of Reality
a piercing sword
a fathomless mirror
a heart rending lament
in a world where hearts
now wander
lonely as clouds
between being and knowing and forgetting
between curses and blessings
between this and that
between feeling and destroying
between loving and hating
between agony and ecstasy
between enlightenment and confusion
between primitive and hopelessly civilized
between this and that
between self and other
between this and that
between self and other

each moment the Red One’s empty full-hearted challenge
to arise
like fish leaping from water
like bird leaving imprint in the sky
like letters written on the lake
like the horns on a rabbit
to arise
and remember

that we are all of the same elements
all of the same form
all of the same emptiness.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Spontaneously composed February 8-10 2022

© Baron of Bras D’Or 2022

Poem: Voices of Madness – III – the gods

Voices of Madness III: the gods

A broad river of cream
changing colours slowly
and slowly flowing forward, inexorable
thick, heavy, primordial, meaningful
deepening glory, deepening content
then suddenly!
black sticks shoot up in all directions like angry stiff fingers
harmony and wisdom broken in shards…
the dreamer awakes
into the everyday world
of this and that
and bric a brac.

Clouds know
from whence they come and where they go
Do you know
from whence you come and where you go?
‘Do you see my cloud dragons?’ asks a sky god
‘Do you see my coat of many colours?’ asks Jacob
‘Do you remember your past lives?’ asks the psychic

Zeus wields his thunderbolt, its searing flash
piercing the veil twixt knowing and unknowing;

Thor’s kaleidoscopic crash of thunder
echoes throughout the three times
into the deep beyond thought

Mercury’s mercurial messengering
mumbles unmistaken murmers of muttered moonshine magnificence

Kali minds her manners trampling on second thoughts
oblivionizing them nonchalantly
as she grinds the pestle and mortar of birth and death

Yama spits out the bones of every corpse he’s ever ground
between his molars of destiny
his subliminal indifference

Persephone, queen of the night, consort of Dark
glides from his loins, seductress of stimulation
sad beyond any measure of joy or sorrow

Ekajati, the one-eyed red one with one breast
breathes her majesty of mayhem
into the twisted bones of all her shattered enemies

HRIH! cries the Red Lady
the original dakini
born of the unborn
nourished in Ur and Swat
and now sojourning in international climes
where the modern world takes up her chant of
‘form is emptiness and emptiness is form
form is not different from emptiness; emptiness not different than form.
That which appears as emptiness is form –
and that which appears as form is emptiness.
The psychology of duality, sensation, sense connections, thought and consciousness – these are also emptiness and form.
So Shariputra’ she continues
‘you can only characterize form in terms of emptiness
and emptiness in terms of form.’

Exit Vajrayogini Stage Right.
Exit Vajrayogini Stage Left.
Lions to the right of us
Tigers to the left
Dragons in the sky above
Nagas in the lakes below
Demons in the rocks
Gods in the clouds
The taste of the sea in the mouth
The taste of the sea, the smell of clean
the remembrance of all knowing
held in the palm
of the god’s hand
a drop of liquid glory
known as water
small cells struggling
small appendages waving and wriggling
small microbial galaxies teeming into proliferate being
beyond counting, self birthing, self mothering, self engendering
the world of form a continuous kaleidoscope of extraordinary imagination
shot through with light
leavened with fantasy
the unbearable light-ness of Reality
a piercing sword
a fathomless mirror
a heart rending lament
in a world where hearts
now wander
lonely as clouds
between being and knowing and forgetting
between curses and blessings
between this and that
between feeling and destroying
between loving and hating
between agony and ecstasy
between enlightenment and confusion
between primitive and hopelessly civilized
between this and that
between self and other
between this and that
between self and other

each moment the Red One’s empty full-hearted challenge
to arise
like fish leaping from water
like bird leaving imprint in the sky
like letters written on the lake
like the horns on a rabbit
to arise
and remember

that we are all of the same elements
all of the same form
all of the same emptiness.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Spontaneous composition 2022-02-10

Dramatic Verse – speech by Naked Woman

From an (understandably) unpublished play written in 2001. This speech in Act One Scene I has some nifty passages spoken by Naked Woman, the lead character in a surreal drama written in somewhat Shakespearean style. The play ends up in a trial presided over by Judge Bottombulger with Mozart and Van Gogh as witnesses for the defense. Naked Woman’s partner is called Misfit.

Naked Woman

[ Misfit grabs jacket and exits. After he leaves, Naked Woman muses, still naked on pedestal facing the audience.]

NW
Here I am
On top of the world
Beloved of he whom I most adore
A gentle soul who,
Though lost inside like each of us who finds ourselves in
Oceanic vastness, with its
Random, powerful seethings,
And he a pilot often too incompetent, or so it seems, to
Guide himself steady into safe harbour of dependability;
Yet he inspires deep love in me for him
For him as him and no one other.

And yet, I often wonder whether
He loves me, as me, as simply me,
Not queen, not deity, not forever-young pinup,
Not saint, – and no great sinner either, it’s true –
Or even sacred temple of being – or whatever such –
Such notions which take wing and soar high above our
Kitchen Sink day-to-day goodness, our oatmeal goodness,
Our world where ordinary traffic with trucks, and taxis
Vans, pollution, merchants, bills, crooks and all the rest of it –
Is all the time passing by,
the flickering cinema of our little victories and defeats.

And also I myself, right now so young and lovely
– yes, I can confess to that –
But even now, as the sun of youth shines bright
On my no less dazzling and radiant loveliness
So also its journey across the landscape of my outer features
Casts lengthening shadows, which
Projecting out the revealed profiles of increasingly minute and yet more obvious mounds and folds of worry and circumspection
Thus naturally reveal the living landscape and history of my
Defeats, failures, sorrow
All telling their tales in my unfolding form,
Which becomes increasingly a form of many folds
And bulges, and over them all an ever finer network of
Interlinking wrinkles, a living raku coated in cracks all over the surface of my inner character as well as outer beauty
In ways unwelcome wherein well-worn trails of hope and fear
Are etched as livid, visible wrinkles that, in the
Timeless language of Mother Nature
Tell their own too literal a tale,
Chiselling first letters, then longer words, sentences, paragraphs
– no, entire biographies – into this my living skin,
This outer billboard of my inner womanhood
My femininity, softness, and fecundity,
Thereby adding chapters to my living tale,
One wrinkling, parchment page at a time, as
Time, with his twin consorts of
Age and Rapidly Approaching Death,
Manifests minutely in the very
Cells and hormonal synergies of my being.

So how can I meld my character to my current beauty
Saying: “I am beautiful” or “I am a woman?”
Because it all so soon passes and will be no more!
For such is progress, in reality.
The child grows forward each day, waxing stronger
But we adults go forward in time becoming weaker.
And as we add to our experience and wisdom
So does our skin reflect this greater accumulation
In the form of such unwelcome, though inevitable hieroglyphs
Which no amount of cream can smooth away
And no amount of other tricks eliminate or, truth be told,
Even do a halfway decent job at hiding.
Like all such simple truths, this one as true as it is simple;
And thus my beauty, like all seeming fancies,
No more than that, a passing phase
A day, a month, a season, a fantastic summer holiday
That climaxes and wanes, along with the myriad, mellowing falls of autumn, followed in the end by the inevitable
Chill winter of stiff-fingered, frozen-boned death.

So the simple truth is that this splendid, life-giving and
Literally life-inspiring warm force of the
Very brightness which now dazzles you,
This my tender beauty and grace,
this same light now illumining and delighting us all will,
like any flaming candle at any summer banquet,
soon burn down until at last, flickering,
finally disappear forever until
Only dark night remains.

Thus my current youth and beauty
are simply virgin parchment on which Old Man Time is
even now scratching out his wrinkled, tortuous tales.
And all the more glaring they shall be
Because they have been carved on one like me.
And knowing this, in heart as well as head,
And knowing this, even as I am worshipped
As archetype, if you will, on this my pedestal,
I find myself in truth not full equipped
To serve as goddess to a blundering mortal
Rather as partner, groping in darkness for the same portal
Leading to peace and plain fresh air
Where we can lay down our burdens, relax our cares
And worries and simply be that font of all true contentment,
Namely he with she, and she with he,
As ordinary folks,
Who are born, live for a while, do their best,
Share a laugh or two, and then,
More wrinkled on the outside
But hopefully smoothed on the inside
By their many rough and ready lifetime passages
They retire and fade away
And then like stars at dawn,
Are no more visible on this plane.

Thus my beauty, which now shines upon you bright as any sun

Is also shone upon in turn,
and as this sun of passing time burns its wrinkles into me
It tells the tale of passing youth and glory
Until the passage of time, and care, and natural changes that have nothing to do necessarily with stress worry, or wickedness

– though they too can find themselves writ large
Even billboarded on face and other parts –
Until that passage is literally written into me in the form of wrinkles
So that my skin,
Now a soft treasure-trove of succulent feasts for touching, and tasting and smelling, for dancing with and caressing and so on,
This self-same multi-purpose canvas of celebration and so on
Becomes an increasingly more self-contained,
Specialist, dry form
Of wrinkled and wrinkling prose
For all to read in passing
On my no longer fascinating visage and womanly presence.

So look at me now,
Good ladies, and good gentlemen.
Look in wonder.
For you see a miracle of living life, and breath, and body
A natural marvel of this wonderful world of ours
Grown from we know not really what combination
Of science and art and karma and intention
Whether genetic or psychic, biological or essentially purely spiritual.
We know not.
But we see, we hear, we feel, we touch, we taste
And I am here for all of that,
I and my many sisters, we are here right now.
But just as I can turn here for your pleasure [ turns ]
And show little apparent momentary change,
So is the seeming solidity of my being
Constantly turning and evolving and meanwhile in fact
Passing and dissolving bit by bit;
And soon I will be young no more
And will have faded along with so many others,
Including all of us who are here right now together
In this place and time.

As such, I am a living dream.
Only as such am I a living woman.
As such I am real, and also
As such I am living fantasy.
Am I real and solid
Or truly no more real than imagination
Emotion, mental and psychophysical
Flashes in the dark
Of moments of joy and sadness?
Is this all I am,
A fleeting moment?
Is my beauty me, or am I simply beautiful?

And so again: am I fantasy or reality?
This is not for any man or woman to say,
Only that I must learn to be both,
And if I pick sides, I will not be true to myself,
Or others. This is our living riddle,
No more or less profound and fathomless
Then the process by which
My wrinkles are being drawn on me
Even as I stand here speaking, and you sit there gawking!!

In such spirit of suspended imagination
That lingers vividly between asleep and awake
Between so-called imagination or fantasy
And so-called reality or physical solidity,
Even so I beg you to remain for the duration
Or at least, if that is asking too much,
For the duration of this play,
This whimsical, fanciful fiction,
Yet played before you by people
As alive as any others, or any who have ever been
And witnessed by the same, yourselves.

Please, let us all relax into the simple and simplistic sanity
Of enjoying that, for now at least, we are all just living dreams.
We are in a place and time, peopled by all of us real folk,
And yet, without either date or place, or any real people,
As such transcending all local limitations.
With this in mind, and some of the other more daily stuff out of mind
In short, let’s see how life goes on;
for it always does, and thus:
Play On!

[Curtain. End of Scene I ]

Poem: Voices of Madness – II – other

to be read in urgently passionate voice:

Voices of Madness II: other

housewife clutching her handbag
banker grasping his hat
cyclist grabbing the lamp post
sixteen wheeler squealing his brakes
bridge groaning and cracking under the load
wind whistling Dixie blowing away souls….

pistol-whipped deputy
terrorized step daughter
Mumbai street beggar
Sri Lankan leper
Madagascar pirates
East End slave traders
Wall Street raiders
DC rapists
City of London warmongers
Zurich mass murderers
crestfallen gang bait
heart absent crack zombies
genetically suicided farmers
thumbless hitchhikers
selfish greedy meditators
rotten teethed politicians

mouldy constitutions
historical documents wormwooded powder
fleas in the palace sheets
ticks on royal arses
donkeys braying in the storm
genders flotsam and jetsam
masts upended and shredded in coral below
frogmen marching
geese straying
clouds mustering
storms gathering
whales bemoaning
rats scampering…

who’s last to leave this stinking ship?
who’s last in line for the universal basic dole out?
who’s giving vegetables to the soup kitchen?
who even cares?
where does the Pygmy get his next meal?
who’s killing the next sheep in Himalchal Pradesh?
who’s next in line to the throne in Bhutan?

Do we even keep track of collective sanity?
Do parliaments legislate it wisely or not?
Do Judges have it hidden in their undergarments?
Do gurus transmit it by tapping our head?
Do wives give it nightly to husbands in bed?
Do bakers transform it as soft daily bread?
Do young lovers dance it to being when they wed?
Do priests now invoke it when prayers are well said?
Do street chiefs impose it once they’ve earned street cred?
Do sheriffs arrest it with stopping power of lead?
Do scriptures impart it when ever they’re read?
Do blue, green and yellow surrender it to red?

world spinning into oblivion
axis tilting out of control
wave patterns cloud forms and gaseous eruptions
sending all animals into conniptions
humans abandoning human emotions
demons despairing of being fought against bravely
abandon the currency of mutual respect
and wallow in wanton lower realm scorn
spinning the wheel of samsara as idle indulgence
grown fat and happy with complacency’s sinecure
a cushy job nowadays
dime a dozen
no resistance
people are sheeple, people don’t care
herded and huddled by fear in the air
demons in airwaves in food in the water
demons in herds being led to the slaughter
demons in cartoons with twisted cold laughter
demons in front of us, demons in back
demons defending, demons attack
demons inside of us, demons all around
demons in music, in all kinds of sound
airplanes in airports and rockets in space
chemical deodorants makeup on face
cancer run rampant tumors to spare
pathogens raging we’ve trillions to share
shoe leather waning, testosterone dim
down to mansplaining, denegrating him
she is no longer the one who bears child
she is no longer so kind and who smiles
she is a he is an it is a him
and if we don’t sink then we better all swim
swim now together
swim in the pool
swim in the ocean, let swimming be cool
swim in the court room, swim in the yard
swim into sanity, swim upstream hard
swim like the salmon come in from the sea
swim past the billions of you’s and of me’s
swim ’til were tired and beaten and broken
swim ’til the last line the ending is spoken.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Spontaneous composition 2022-02-09