The Borderlands Sutra: Part One ~ The Bodhisattva Remembers

The Borderlands Sutra is a series of stories and legends related to an asynchronous rebirth of the Buddha.  It was originally recited to a traveling spiritual salesman, Norman Pigmallion, by the Roshi Raven.  Roshi Raven took no active role in the proceeding events (as was and is her way) but stayed aloft on the winds or perched upon upper echelon branches of Ponderossa Pines; listening and watching.  Ravens are known to be holders of great wisdom but are prone to hyperbole and exageration – Do read with care.


There was one time aways back that the Buddha took to the Bodhisattva Path again and entered the realm of Birth and Death (had he ever left?  Hard to say…next question.) and was reborn as an Indian on the Great Plains.  The Bodhisattva realized the irony of this, as he was once (at least the older stories are fairly sure) born as an Indian prince an eye blink or two ago.  But as with all things to do with rebirth and women; irony has no part to play in it and both time and place blur into a seamless reality.  Either way, the Bodhisattva, now in the form of a Brave, recalled many things about his past lives.


He remembered a Great Urge and unborn stags flying over expanses of a European Wood; stories of Bears and Crows; Monkeys and Kings; the Ghost Dance and the scent of burning of incense and sage; of whisky bottles and rifle fire; of cannons and the screaming of stars.  Of burning flesh and stinging tears, Samsara ensnares even the enlightened mind and radiant body. 

He remembers tribes of tourists in busses snapping photos, the grizzled miners staking claims and diverting the creeks.  He remembered the Pawnee, Kiowa, Crow and Cheyenne, then the Arikara and nameless ancient wandering tribes before them from the North.

He recalled scars that have long since healed and disappeared; mammoths and cave-bears.

He recalled his birth and death,

birth and death…

     birth and death…

           birth and death.

The deafening cycle echoes like a war-drum into the folds of eternity or passes as gently as wind through hair.

Reclining slightly in his chair to scratch an itch on his foot, this Bodhisattva Brave, he recalled one of the most important things.  He remembered the importance of walking: The effortless placing one foot in front of the other and a conscious moving from comfort and compliancy into unknown and uncertainty – An urge to undertake a path to stare the Great Matter in the eye.

So the Bodhisattva Brave stood up, dusted off his jeans and pulled on his boots.  This itch will just not do.  He began to walk out of the trailer home in which he was residing in with his cousins when he paused.  He liked his cousins but they were so deeply ensnared in this reality that he could not speak to them.  The cousins care little of elephants and jackals or of the Great Coyote trickster or Odin’s two crow companions.  All the knowledge of endless kalpas of experience lost in the tendrils of cigarette smoke, blank stares, laughter and stale lives.

“A six pack is wonderful but I prefer bourbon when I drink…” his cousin’s final words last night.

Placing the keys of his car on the table next to a slumbering cousin, the Bodhisattva Brave took his cousin’s pack of cigarettes and walked out the door.

Lighting a cigarette, he looked to the West and began walking.