Friday, December 07, 2007

Peacock Town

I'm visiting the wonderful city of Arcadia, California today. I used to live here quite happily and, in fact, once died here-- on an operating table in the local hospital, only to be immediately brought back. The town symbol is the peacock, because peacocks strut freely about the streets. They center around the Los Angeles County Arboretum: one of my favorite places in the world. Every time I see a peacock it brings to mind Dharmarakshita's Wheel of Sharp Weapons. There is both a literal and a poetic translation on line, which you can see here.

In jungles of poisonous plants strut the peacocks,
Though medicine gardens of beauty lie near.
The masses of peacocks don’t find gardens pleasant,
But thrive on the essence of poisonous plants.

In similar fashion, the brave bodhisattvas
Remain in the jungle of worldly concern.
No matter how joyful this world’s pleasure gardens,
These brave ones are never attracted to pleasures,
But thrive in the jungle of suffering and pain.

UPDATED: Well, the thing is, I missed the place so much that I moved back, just to be near the peacocks.

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