- Posted in Refuge No Comments

28.  Tandem Desire
(C.W. 143 The Wild Swans at Coole)

With Jeanne, in conversion
9 November 2009

The leaves turn in their autumn beauty,
The beachside paths are clear,
November’s sky mirrors the sea
and keeps its silence near.
Along the low and lapping shore
Glide tandem swans in love.

The untimed moment now arrives
Beyond all count or measure,
The seer who reveres this love
Counts it the highest treasure,
Returned from gyres of fate sublime,
He spins with her toward wintertime.

This mystic who has looked into night
As if into his mother’s heart,
Now emanates the glow of bardo light,
And so commands the rainbow to impart
Transcendent warmth unto wild desire:
Adornment of her hips, soft yoni fire.

Unwearied swans, lovers in void,
Who navigate by look and voice
On mystic currents take their leave
in freedom: their choice the love of choice.
To wander and be safe at last
In passion that admits no past.

They are the drift that draws them on,
Consorting, mysterious and strong,
In pulsing hues that rise and melt,
To emptiness they will belong.
Tandem desire, delight in liberation,
Stillness, far-drifting consecration.


29.  The Terton Forestalls Death
(C. W. 145 An Irish Airman Forsees His Death)

I know the fate a terton can entrain
by treasure-hunting in the clouds.
What I reveal I do not entertain
What I discard does not entail a loss.
My territory is so deep and vast,
My allies flash and dance in diamond light,
I know the entry moment of the past,
I read the passing fluent of each night.
No law, no master of this human world,
No teacher but the fateful play of gyres
directs my pure intent, my longing lured
by cadencing tumult of astral fires.
I divinize the mind that conjures its own trance,
endlessly amazed, to gain an edge on death:
nectar distilled upon a glass, my life in balance
with its end accepts no moment for the last.

the fate a terton can entrain According to the secret lore of Tibetan Tantra, a terton responsible for retrieving precious treasures and acrane instruction can gain certain allowances from fate, especially extension of the life-span or, more often, certain avoidance of untimely death

treasure-hunting in the clouds Tertons find treasues that have been concealed in the clouds and reappear there upon the moment deemed right for their discovery. Cloudbound termas usually preserve sacred instructions regarding the stars, planets, and patterns of cosmic order, perhaps including specifics of human destiny


30.  Redhats
(C.W. 154 The Scholars)

Red hats with pointed tops
on heads that claim to mean no harm,
these learned lamas dressed like fops
proclaim a dharma without charm
in lessons meted out by rote
or mantrum murmured, note for note.

They shuffle where the prayer wheels spin
declaring that a jewel must dwell
inside the lotus, without sin,
as if their lot alone can tell
what miracles the mind can trade
the other side of this charade.

Redhats The principle sects of Tibetan Buddhism are distinguished by the color of their ceremonial hats, red (comparable to the red of the Pope and Catholic cardinals) being the color of the Nyingma Pa, regarded to be the elder sect

a jewel must dwell inside a lotus Allusion to the most pronounced mantra of Tibetan Buddhism, om mani padme hum, “the jewel is in the lotus,” routinely recited by monks and lay persons making the rounds of the prayer wheels


31. After Rejection
(C.W.157, Lines Written In Rejection)

When I last looked upon
those pale eyes aching blue, that supple body
of a cheetah, tawny, lithe and long,
I saw a lovely witch, an uncut jewel of woman;
but for her sexcraft and her fears,
those fears denied, I saw her gone.
The satyr she inspired has now departed,
and nothing but a hollow ache remains.
Heroic love goes back to where it started,
lest her discretion improve with the years,
she’ll not find his like again—not that it pains.


32. The Dawn
(C.W. 158, The Dawn)

I would be luminous as the dawn
that has withdrawn
those starry images that span
the measure of the breathing earth,
and in the swelling light of now
invites a blind convention:
the course of planets all unseen
except this one, earthbound khandroma,
spinning a light fantastic, samsaric drama.
I would be luminous as she
who, standing firm, affirms illusion
and holds beclouded banks of light
up to my mind beholding what cannot be known:
luminous awakening of dawn.

starry images Constellations

a blind convention As astronomy is taught, we are expected to follow the course of all the planets except the one we travel on

she / who, standing firm Allusion to the Sanskrit name for the earth, Sthavara, “steadfast,” the earth goddess said to have witnessed, enabled, and endorsed, the moment of enlightenment of Siddharta under the bodhi tree (Miranda Shaw, Buddhist Goddesses of India, p 156 ff)


33.  The Dugpa and the Moon
(C.W. 184, The Cat and the Moon)

Spun off the descanting moon
kalas surge and mount
and the mopa from his terrace
squarely keeps the count.

Black Swan divined the moon
by mantra and by sign,
by the oyster-shell of light
he reckoned on its cold design.

Black Swan danced with the stars,
stamping his feet in measure
to the circling avatars
and animals of treasure.

What better way to dance
than as the kalas stream,
in regal robe and gesture,
adorn the living dream.

Black Swan slides between
rays of the shivering moon,
and holds the sacred orb
against an owl plume.

He wonders if his divination
will change the things divined,
with kalas streaming over time
and time pictured across his mind.

Black Swan slides again
‘twixt solitude and skies,
invoking kalas as they change
like colors in his eyes.

dugpa Tibetan ‘drug pa dug-pa, a pre-Buddhist shaman of the type whose rituals and instructions are preserved in the “Black Hat” sects

kalas Intervals of the lunar cycle

mopa Tibetan, “diviner, sky-reader”

Black Swan Adept of Tantra for whom mystical and sensorial impressions are identical

animals of treasure Constellations of the Mahamudra Sky read by tertons in the course of retrieving mind treasures

against the owl plume Allusion to the four-day ritual of divination with the sunrise cresent using an owl feather, an arcane method of investigating personal fate and mortality


34.  The Lama and the Dugpa
(C.W. 185, The Saint and the Hunchback)

Dugpa. Stand up to dance and exorcise
the folly of paternal lies,
the arrogance of power held
behind the dorje and the bell
under a high red cap.

Lama. To Vajradhara I defer
according to an ancient ter’
I will not cease to copulate
alone, and contemplate
both day and night how I may
be sovereign over all decay,
a chrysallis that will endure
impermanence, empty, secure.

Dugpa. Whatever in your flesh resides
is there for bliss that non-abides.
This sovereign truth you cannot own
until the last tulku is gone.

Vajradhara Sanskrit, “holder of the thunderbolt,” a tantric diety imagined to coner authority on lamas and their monastic system

ter’ Short for terma, “treasure, secret instruction,” often cited as the basis of the authority for spiritual teachings—although the authority, or authenticity, of tertons who retrieve ( “channel”) such teachings is a matter of much debate in Vajrayanist circles

sovereign over all decay Allusion to the belief that some realized lamas attain a state of physical incorruptability comparable to that claimed for Catholic saints

tulku Literally, “altar.” A serially reincarnated lama

March 25, 2009