In the Setting-Sun World
the food is dripping with fat
and burns the roof of your mouth.

In the Setting-Sun World
people drink themselves into a stupor
until they forget where and who they are.

Though I gave up such fare
and customs of violence against the self long ago,
I have been no better in some years.

Like an assassin sent undercover
required to assume the dress and tongue
of a province not his own

for years I wandered between days, nights, and shadows
uncertain if anything would be waiting
when I stepped across the boundary of each.

But today...

Today I laid down in the sun, shirtless,
and thought to myself:
'No one has held my face
or warmed my heart like this in years.'

And then, there at the roof-edge, Raven,
the one who tried to steal the sun that day,
gave something back to me that was once taken away.

And I could see again
with the Hidden Eye behind the eyes
that the Great Eastern Sun 

had been placed back inside my heart again.

It is not a rare forged sword
hammered and folded twenty times
that finally cuts through
the cocoon woven from fears.

It is a kind word
perhaps from one
who knew the same wound
that first drove you inward.

May you meet such a one, if one is needed.
May your cocoon be split open with a sword so sharp

its light brushing-by can only be taken for kindness and care.

And if you drink in the new nectars of light
that pour in on your Liberation Day,
don't plant a flag in that ground and say:
"This is it! I found The Way!"

Take a witness who sees your heart as precious.

Tie a simple prayer flag to the branch of a hidden tree,

that no one will ever see, and give quiet thanks.


Then, re-enter the troubled world of the Setting-Sun mind

and be just like Raven, reminding people of the Great Sun inside themselves.

What greater faith is there than 'Just Being'?


LINER NOTE: In the Shambhala traditions (a pre-Buddhist animistic tradition that influenced Tibetan Buddhism and which holds a vision of sacred warriorship and uplifted, enlightened society), the images of the Setting-Sun and the Great Eastern Sun are pivotal.  The Setting-Sun World is any attitude, thought or action that leads one to degraded behavior. It is a diminished, calloused, and sarcastic view. It is addiction run amok. It is lazy slouching into obsessiveness that doesn't aspire to a greater vision of life and living. The Great Eastern Sun represents a vision of wakefulness, a daily practice of orienting oneself to an archetype of the "tender-hearted warrior"; a sacred warrior who conquers the world not through violence or aggression but through gentleness, courage, and self-knowledge. "The way of the Great Eastern Sun is based on seeing that there is a natural source of radiance and brilliance in this world, which is the innate wakefulness of human beings."--Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Waning Crescent / Scenes from a Ghost Train / Forrest Fang