--a final poem in memory of my late teacher--


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"The heart-mind is boundless.

Once you've become true allies,

there is no distinction between

arrival and departure."

--Kuma-sensei

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The Mizong mystics down in town talk about Great Surrender.

Fools in the tavern overhear this and think this means: "Go mindless."

Those vagabonds have even cooked up elaborate philosophies

to justify "tying their boat" to any ol' shimmering thing passing by.

 

The real wayfarers, though, have sampled it all, and handed it back.

They can tell you to your face without blinking:

It's all empty. Taste every morsel to your heart's content.

Just know: It still leads you right back to where you started.

 

This isn't a knock on emptiness; the Ten Thousand Things arise from it.

But as old Hui-Neng used to say:

You can catalog every blooming thing

or get to know the Source that causes everything to sing.

 

I'm not telling you not to enjoy yourself

as you move through this House of Smoke and Mirrors.

Even Crazy Cloud used to say: Have a drink, get laid; you're only human.

 

But two-legged dragons from the mountains

and peacocks down in the jungle

are masters because they're free from impulsive supping.

They've imbibed all the poisons of forgetfulness

and transmuted them from solids into tasteless vapors

through the luminous mesh of the Dharma Body.

 

You'll know such a one because they don't enter anything lightly.

No matter the sweetness of the honey dripping from the hook,

they by-pass 'the dangling'

and go straight for the heart of things.

 

Having drunk from the Deep Draught of Memory,

and seen back to the time when you and I were known by names

like Autumn Traveling Coat and Bright-Integrity Radiance Mountain,

there's no turning back for me.

But I can tell you this.

 

If you have the chance to cross paths with such a one,

and sit knee-to-knee,

you'll start asking questions of your whole life, like:

Am I really 'in' my life?

What am I inhabiting?

Are my days about new vistas of understanding

or am I being vanquished by illusions I've taken to be reality?


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) / purelandpoetry.com

To learn more about the music of Jeffrey Ericson Allen and the Chronotope Project, visit the Bandcamp Page for the album Dharma Rain.

 

 

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