Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Masks for the Retinue

I enjoyed a rare and auspicious birth, and an ocean of extraordinary fortune, but I squandered my opportunities. Despite early contact with the Dharma, and effortless access to many great masters, my life has come to nothing less than a mountain of sharp mistakes. Now, that Yamantaka's messengers have been sighted, it is too late to try anything fancy. Now, the only measure of usefulness rests in simplicity, like a child's A-B-C.

The teachings did not fail me, but I failed the teachings. Clinging to suffering and enlightenment, I  authored enduring future tragedy. In my bewilderment, I reckoned that if I did thus and such, then thus and such must surely happen. I hankered after this, and rebelled against that, churning mindlessly in the addicting stream of dichotomous rationalizations. There is naught but poison water in that stream. If you drink it, you will fall into a deep sleep. 

You will dream.

There is nothing worse for a magician than to believe in his own illusions. Should I feign surprise? The strong spirits and  agreeable companions that I used to conjure have all disappeared. Even to call them dreams is to give them undeserved dimension. They are less than vapor in the night. Yet, what precious time I wasted upon them. 

A dream of time that cannot be replaced.

Moths have eaten my beautiful cloth, rats have chewed the woven leather; money is all spent now,  friends are all gone, and even great gulps of air do not satisfy the thirst of breath upon mild exertion. 

The lovely ladies who reflected exhausted dawn in perfumed perspiration are like a thousand murders. Truly, all friends and family have become armed robbers and deceiving clowns. The gold that I wasted to put rouge on exquisite lips has become blood that I spit between broken teeth. 

The poems I wasted on absent lovers would have made better prayers to the ever-present deity had I managed to erase all distinctions of self and others. Why could I not liberate the imputation of true and false? You must know: every poem is an unborn prayer. You must suspect: ultimate truth is revealed as the after-effect of relative lies. Lying prayers about fictitious beings, in the hope of getting somewhere or the fear of going somewhere else, are no better or worse than whorehouse curses.

Whorehouse curses are mantras arriving from space.

Since whatever happens here is theater, maybe things aren't so sticky. Maybe we have skilfully painted ourselves into a corner, from which natural liberation is the only escape. Maybe... just maybe... if we stop trying to escape, and just let the paint dry, we can walk in all directions. That is the generous thing to do. The patient thing. The joyous thing. The numberless playwrights script no villain in the play entitled Hero of Awareness.

If the natural deity is indeed the unfabricated character of beginningless mind, then why bother waiting? Why not step into the paint, and leave footprints all over the stage?

There comes a time when practicing Dharma must finally transcend hope and fear.  Where all things are pure, what needs to be purified? Where phenomena are exhausted, can we measure phenomena? Or should we instead just arrive here, with masks for the retinue, on the wave of a loving heart?

Some audiences want a tragedy. Others want a comedy. 

Let the bawd holler her head off, and call it as you will.

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10 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

Please never stop writing like this!

dorjejaguar said...

Thank you.

Rulief said...


Anonymous said...

At first I wondered, "who wrote this" and then by the end I knew it was I.

Yeshe Dorje said...


Anonymous said...

Thank you for helping me to acknowledge a similar tragedy playing out in my personal theatre. I fear it's searing truth arrived too late, my dénouement has been inked and sent to press, but do rejoice for others and you.

TENPA said...

Well, maybe it isn't "too late." Just be kind. That is the most important thing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your kindness in offering a ray of hope. Once with my teacher I opened a fortune cookie that read "There is no greater wisdom than kindness." But kindness without understanding the nature of reality is like one hand trying to clap.

J.Crow said...

Magician's never tell their tricks_Reality leaves a lot to the imagination_(_J.Lennon)_
Tenpa rings a victory bell!

Anonymous said...

Blessings come unasked. The Guru will never abandon you.