I spent ten summers alone exploring the mandala of the bad-lands
The sutra of dried river-beds and abandoned cabins
The shastra of fence-posts and the poetry of carrion-crows.
Impermanent in appearance but immutable in essence,
I walked in lands littered with the garbage
Nothing left but the notations of past shamans;
long dead stares of rancher monks;
remnants of old hermits and remains of rock huts;
dharma transmission from mind to mind,
from rock to rock
from valley to valley.
The Bodhi-Mind of the basin.
Flakes left by generations of ancient craft and error unearthed in one cloudburst;
torrents dig deep ruts and flowed into a valley of sage.
Silence broken by sound becoming silence again after days alone.
Water flows over shattered clay pigeons
and beer cans.
Dried, dusky-white bones of indescriminate cattle and bison,
tan remnants of older beasts
specters haunt the sand,
ghosts float in the rocks.
Sacred gaps are filled with the energy and intensity
slow and meticulous stupa builders
fragments of teeth
a glass bead on an anthill
Moments of revelry when coyotes met from the six directions;
Sacrificed a rabbit, took my boots in offering and ran off, yipping.
The night punctuated with the mantra of a screech owl, cut off abruptly by the rebellion of nightjars –
the Ikkyu of Aves.
We mimic the irreverence and trade the nervous glances of lost children.
No-Mind wasn’t created out of esoteric need. It was a practical tool lost; the ability to be aware of surroundings and exist as predator and prey – a tool that aided gathering and planting, protecting and hunting, thought and magic. Our bodies and mind were once wild; loose and tough, reflective and graceful, finely honed, sharp – now spinning wildly and out of breath. It is a constant state of controlled slippage – hands gripped tight on a wheel. Sliding and then steering hard…losing control through effort wasted. We remember the howl of wolves and the rustle of leaves; lost in the roar of an engine, the ringing of the zendo bell, the morning buzzer or the *ding* of a microwave. Each bringing us abruptly in or out of the moment.
no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue,
no body, no mind; no sight, no sound,
no smell, no taste, no touch.
no object of mind; no realm of sight,
no realm of mind consciousness.
We used to read fields and grass,
shit and scent,
Now we read sutras and pretend it is the sound of nature.
We are off the reservation.