XIII. Putting Up Half-Way Houses

Finding vantage points to put up half-way houses for potential spirits seeking Buddhahood, I ascend across the plateau from Rileys peak toward the trail I’ve named the Vanishing Pagoda Trail. Uttering prayers along a set of beads for all sentient beings as I go, I have started a sort of pilgrimage here in the forest, marking parts of the trail as tiny temples made of living trees. I utter the name before each marker and imagine this forest as my own Japanese or Chinese misty mountain, forming my own Jizo sculptures to represent the nameless and the many Buddhas still left in transition, and the Bodhisattvas still booming in the realms of karma and the endless cycles of birth and death. They, when they gather here to look after these half-way houses, will ensure that the pureland can be grasped in this realm. They will be the ones to preach the Dharma over the forest and put its spirits at peace. I envision enlightenment like lightning bolts, striking one dead tree and igniting sparks with no mind to grasp it is the fire and not on fire. Fanning oneself out with the ego, what is enlightenment as I am fettering the obtainment of it constantly with my seeking of it? Unknown substances, I’ll never mention nirvana again and none will understand this pilgrimage. My bliss extending with every genuine insight, I clap in echo down the valley.


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