Of his owners shouts
Down the path
A poodle strolls-
Prettier then its owner
“Why the leash”
Says the Black Lab
We are living in an era where the One True Dharma is in decline, moreover we are living an existence that is fraught with worldly desires and material satisfactions. It is hard enough to hear and listen to the Dharma and its teachings, let alone develop a firm faith within the Dharma. Within the ever-evolving world of our experience, we have become too busy for the Dharma, in favor of our worldly desires, and because of this we suffer greatly at the hands of our delusion and our karmic weight. When we can develop a firm faith within the Dharma however, we can begin to understand the conditions which bring about our suffering, and the sufferings of all sentient beings, and work towards eliminating them.
When we say the name of Amitabha Buddha, for example, not only are we relying on the boundless compassion of Amitabha, and his dedication to have all sentient beings, regardless of their class, race, gender or affluence, reborn into his Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss, we are in fact generating within ourselves, a firm faith within the Vows of Amitabha, that allows us to be reborn into that pure land. Because of Amitabha’s boundless love, and compassion for us, defiled and worldly beings, there IS a Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss, but without any sort of faith within the Dharma, our ability to be reborn there is impossible. By simply saying the Nembutsu, “NAMU AMIDA BUTSU”, with a firm resolve, even once, we can discover within ourselves the firm and unshakable faith of Amitabha himself.
Knowing of such a land
Where all beings are a golden hue
Where no classes, gender or race exist to discriminate,
Why not settle to be reborn there,
Instead of this world of afflictions
Its layers of dust covering everything?
A firm faith
In the unlimited compassion of Amitabha
Shrivels this world of afflictions
Into a gateway to the Pure Land
Where birth, death, sickness and old age
Have no room to sqeeze through
Nor any desire, a foothold to grasp
Only the unshakable resolve of liberation
Giving numberless offerings to numberless Buddhas
In this Dharma ending age, the number of deluded beings is many, myself included. There is much confusion, and karmic weight holds down many beings to unfavorable births or painful deaths. Slaughterhouses kill millions of animals each year who never have the opportunity to hear, let alone practice the Dharma. Some of this meat might even go to practitioners of the Dharma in order to sustain them: how sad, not that these animals die, but rather that they had to have such a cruel birth in the first place, and have either disgraced or have never heard the Dharma in any of their previous rebirths. Their karmic weight is so heavy that it is best not to eat meat or any animal products at all, and instead offer the Nembutsu to every animal that one encounters, so they at least have an opportunity to hear the Dharma in their lowly state.
If animals can develop a faith to be reborn into the Pure Land, how much more so can humans, who are of a higher birth and the most adaptable to the Dharma? In the west, where Buddhism is scarce, let alone a faith in the vows of Amitabha, those who do have faith, must offer their faith to all beings, no matter of their birth, class, beliefs, or any other discrimination. We must be like Amitabha, who has compassion for all beings and wishes for them to generate a faith to be reborn into his Pure Land. We must say the name of Amitabha, not just for us then, but for each and every deluded being suffering in Samsara alongside us. Our Nembutsu must have no discrimination.
Self blends to other
While saying the Nembutsu
Silent or aloud
With the weight of karmic misdeeds;
Whether born a human or an animal
That which is flesh must also be allowed to rot
Spoiled-yet still loved by Amitabha
Whose compassion urges vegetables
And a firm faith within his Pure Land!
The day brings with it many things. These things all share the state of passenger, only am I, in passing, the passenger of my own making, my own unmaking, this eventual entirety. Must this discourse dwell further, or has it met its mark, totality and total disentegration? Excuse me for living, a Homeless drunken Buddha transmission in a bus terminal. Is it with a little charity, or with a little poison that I buy a meal for someone begging, and then feel compelled to give in to their askings for more, from a Burger King Whopper, to the whole shebang, french fries and a Coca-Cola. Now is it I, who am in need of charity, mentally starving, physically poor and I can hear my own stomach grumbling out its own discontents. Rotted out today by too much black coffee and swallowed tobacco smoke, and remainents of cheap chinese noodles that felt satisfactory upon entering, but now, feel empty. Life of the passenger, knowing the destination without knowing the momentums. All stationary while traversing to the finite. The end and the credits, or the credits and then the end? What signals all this motion to a ceasing mechanism, and is this ceasing mechanism anything other then a readjustment, with no stopping inbetween? Something like a railway switch, train forever barreling forward, east, west, north or south, passing, avoiding, determining opposing trains on the opposite track going forward none the less, and all the more. After passing, after phasing, after rearranging, nothing. The destination, mind going forward, but where does it move? The body being held back in decay, but where does it go? Memories and thoughts, with each piece of rotting flesh that falls from the scab, notice it as it falls, is it dirtier in the soil or on the wound? Life, love, and compassion in the ants that carry these scabs away to their colony and their queen. No longer bitter over causation. I’ve become it and then detached, being constantly nibbled away, A nimble passenger in passing.
Namu Amida Butsu
How many overturned passages must this pen exhibit, extinguish in the curvature of letters. How loathsome this night has become, how ministerly. In the crevice of this great cave, question the longings for jungles, mosquitos and malaria, sierras instead of mountains. How mystic, where I can lend myself out as anyone’s pack-mule. How I long for that wine drunk vision, passages to Mexico with sober breath. I am simple-minded enough to head south with no direction, stopped at no borders with my flagged passport, but let through every border, a criminal. Am I done contending with this Northern solitude. I inherit theories set in place about the sun from Arthur Rimbaud.
Elle est retrouvée,
Quoi? — L’Éternité.
C’est la mer allée
Avec le soleil
I best translate it into Spanish, and learn to speak it with a thick and heavy accent. Tan myself like leather and forget this gringo getup. Who is it that is on board for happiness? I want a mudhouse and a clay oven where my brown-eyed, brown-haired senorita stetches out tortillas. Full of indegenous features, little Mayans, Tibetans, in this worldly of worlds, does the tribe matter. I’m stuck in a world of appearances and associations. Diamond cutting fingers planting corn and mashing maize, little Buddhas wearing masks in the Lacandon Jungle, and forever foreign to me is the smell of growing coffee. What I drink here is the spit of second-rate, still paying homage however to the unnamed farmer. The twinkling, tequilla or rum Buddha, a couple pesos, drinks his shrine and yells out a Mexican Katsu! Spilling his rice and beans in front of starving street dogs, never more possesed of any wrong doings, walks and wanders all alone, but is known throughout al the tiny villages as Little Prajna.
Namu Amida Butsu
(translated from the French )It is found again.What? Eternity.
It is the sea
Gone with the sun.
Can a hermitage begin on an escalator or an elevator? Can man-made structures serve as associations to the self? Conversations of the mystic. Do they fill up lobby halls or penthouse suites, rented office space? All this human conservation. Our deficiency of the Greco-Roman stage, calls forth a visit to the public bathes. Can a skyscraper serve one as a mountain? Do the pillars? No nature. Is it confusing to state that this practice is already underway, successful, blossoming. Is a toilet bowl a lotus throne? Infinite swirling, flushing dharma. Porcelain meditation. Free pipes, and clogged pipes, roots of this mountain and extensions to the sewer following the square spiralling stairway down. As I write, a heart-attack in my neighbourhood, and a death, brings out the sun, brings out the community. As death connects us all to the impermanence of this obscurity. Be neighbourly and say hello. The dimensions of this prison, trees, glass, flesh, encase us in their 3-D prisms. The decorations on the window sill, and how they cause a limited perception. I have been seen grimacing in the twilight. No more habitual clingings, is there a need to be limited but ordained? This creaking steal mountain answers. A flush. Retreat from holy names to discover holy reasonings. No more escalations.
How similar two very different Buddhas appear, dressed in different ancient garb, walking and freely associating among us ignorant man and beasts, and looking out for the purity of the Western world. Beyond any compensating horizon, the setting sun as it is drifting in and out of focus. A great confederation of the Sanghas gather, with no words about the other to disgust, co-exist. A great peace, the solidified way, with the beating of drums and the swirl of dancers to maintain this equilibrium, Amida Buddha and Deganawida the Great Peacekeeper, exchange sentiments. Everything in this Saha realm becomes a projection of this procession, and I am just a paddle for Deganawida’s stone canoe, and a lotus handle for a golden palanquin. At the point where two rivers become one, then haven’t all bodies of water become connected as one? This doing away with duality. The great fire at the centre of all things is this peace of unification, the longhouse as it extends to every pureland, unrestrained by its own structural limitations, and composed of a a multitude of material. Can one hold it down to a prophesy or a well-worn fable? Have not all the signs been met prior to my knowledge of them? I alone am not worthy to receive these merits of a future projection. So finite and coarse, I haven’t yet aged these bliss-bestowing hands long enough to hold it. I on the outside, am an outsider in every culture that I claim, but on the inside, the many are but one. The outside then, like the mighty Hiawatha, still cannibalistic, still waiting for his conversion, waiting for the great peace to take him and accept him. Here is he, stumbling on his footing in the first few steps in the pureland, holding his breath and thinking it all one great dream, wakes up still there, always haunted before he is enlightened.