XXXIV. The Turtle And The Warrior

So it would seem that I have been issued a series of Karmic tests to prove both my merits and my practice to all potential Buddhas looking onward from the trees, or from the heavens, or from the hells, or from the suburbs, it doesn’t matter. I am certain of my evaluation, of my present failings in this rebirth to contribute to the causation without clinging to any of the vices that starve out this ones Buddha-nature and makes it resemble more a mangled hungry ghost. I can hear my own chains rattling in the hallway outside it all. I, who have never been liberated, cannot liberate. I, so oppressed by living and dying in all the other births and deaths that I have experienced, have forgotten all the theories of emancipation for this birth. A live turtle wading in an aquarium in search of the perfect swamp, now a dead turtle twitching to the embers of a quickly made funeral pyre. No liberation, only this suffering on my behalf, and a ritual smudge of sage, ceder and tobacco blesses both the turtle and the warrior. Here, I am standing on the edges of the swamp, throwing chunks of hair I’ve cut off at the waters edge into both the fire and the trickling waterfall that is beside me. Both the turtle and the warrior are donned with war paint. Their souls transfuse, transpire. Have I begun to disassociate with permanence? Is Amidas pureland one of impermanence? Have I not seen it rebuilt in every blissful day and torn down in every challenge to it? I’m still reeking of ignorance, and now the burnt flesh of a painted turtle. Am I bold enough to ask for the strength of his shell for protection as I go to war like an exorcist, trying to expel all the ignorance from Turtle Island, like one would a demon or an unwanted house guest


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