Taking Refuge

My mind searches and searches

… as I try to find words

For my incessant search

What words to use?

River flow flowing chasing pleasure satisfaction fame respect identity bonds culture meaning life intimacy beer food consumption happiness the mind never stops chasing

Until I hit a dot

         o

Small, simple yet beyond powerful

Like a massive cliff

Here

Death

Stares me right in the face

At this point in time

I lay in bed

Old age or not

Diseased

Unable to move

Perhaps I am alone

Perhaps my family and friends are with me

Yet what can they do?

Sooner or later they will be snatched too

So they sit immobile and agonized

Watching me

Fearful for their own inevitable Fate

In whom do I take refuge?

Mother?

Father?

Brothers?

Sisters?

Friends?

A beautiful partner?

Wealth?

Memories?

Will the memories of a life I once had keep me happy?

Will I be ready to face Death?

No!

Memories are ephemeral moments long gone

And I am about to go too

When I see those shadows sneaking up to me

.

In whom do I take refuge?

In agony I scream to myself

In whom do I take refuge?

In whom do I take refuge?

.

Crying tears and snot

A sweet voice reminds me

Of the teachings

Expounded by the messengers of the Creator

All Paths lead to the One destination

.

I take refuge in the teachings of Love and Compassion

In the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha

Fearless

I throw myself upon the cliff

Free-Falling

Finally Free

The Waterfall opens

The River of Life flows within as I write this sentence

Flowing free freedom wind caressing a birds feathers chasing fish gliding in rhythmic waves splashing into the golden sand crabs dance the dance of mating fisherman picking crabs taking home cooking a warm delicious crab soup for his beloved partner and children enjoying meal together going to the market selling crabs to roaming people shoppers from all classes and social statuses they go home cook eat fresh crab dishes enjoy life as the river flows people flow towards the cliff and .

Death

Should I Stop?

No the energy continues never dies only transforms itself returning to mother earth memories temporarily erased rebirth following its causes and conditions karma life continues suffering taking the path until its ultimate liberation

Nibanna

(Re)telling the tale of the white parrot

Oh little parrot

Why do you cry?

Asked the Bodhisattva

Although (she/he) already knew the answer

.

Dear Bodhisattva

While searching for healing fruits

For my sick mother

I have been poached by

By vicious hunters

Now here I am

Prisoner of this golden cage

Forced to sing poetry

And entertain

Officials and the Tang Emperor

When I sing well

They throw me a bowl of cherries

I used to enjoy it

But now I feel like

Vomiting

All the cherries I’ve eaten

.

I’m sick of this

Please help me Bodhisattva

I want to go home

And see my mother

.

Oh little parrot

Your filial devotion

Touches my Heart

I’ll free you

Go home

But be ready

.

I’m home

But where is everyone?

Why?

Where is my parrot mother?

Where is she?

Oh no, why?

Why am I

So unfortunate

Not fated to meet my mother again

Death seems less painful

Than my present suffering

So much pain

Stabbing me

I wish I was the one dead

Instead of my beloved ma

.

Help me Bodhisattva

Please help me

Compassionate One

Please guide me

Ease me from my terrible suffering

Save my mother’s soul

.

I’m here for you

Little parrot

I’ll assist your parents to Pure Land

Let go of your pain

Worries and worldly desires

And become my disciple

.

Come to the South Sea

And follow me

Cultivate the Dharma

Dwell in the Prajna-Paramita

Sing if you feel like

Little parrot

Listen with your Heart

Can’t you hear peoples’ cries of suffering?

Your work has just begun

Let go of all

Fly, little parrot, fly

Fly and go ease peoples’ sufferings!

.

.

ps. If you would like to read the actual tale just search for “Tale of the Filial Parrot”, it’s an inspiring old Buddhist tale.

Reflections on dying

I am dying

Every word I write

I am dying

Every breath I take

I am dying

I am dying right now dear

.

A ‘natural’ death

Some say

Hair falling

Teeth falling

Skin falling

Others say

Particles coming and going

At infinite speed

Is time real?

If linear time

Is the mind’s construction

Then at this moment

I am dying and dead

I exist and don’t exist

I am form and Emptiness

.

Returning to linear

Time

I have to say

That I am at that critical point

I’m dying

But not dead yet

I’m climbing the mountain

But not there yet

I’m flying home

But haven’t reached yet

Will I die, trying?

Will Yama’s (Lord of Death) messengers

Come get me soon?

I’ll never know

The only thing I am sure is

I am doomed to Death

But I won’t die without a good fight

No I won’t

I’ll fight for my beloved sisters and brothers

Fearless

I’m going to kick and punch

The dirty guts of this System

Rooted in my Mind

Where the Oppressor stands waiting

To meet me face-to-face

I know I’m close

I’m almost there

I know, I know

My Heart tells me so

.

Death of a writer

Oh writer

Why don’t you die?

Your imperfect words

Symbolizing sounds symbolizing experiences

Can’t touch me

Plain characters

Boring dialogue

Used up plots

Silenced voice

Dull settings

Makes me want to vomit

All the words you are trying to force-feed me

Why don’t you die?

You would save me lots of time

Lots of trouble

Lots of pens

Lots of ink

Lots of hard generated electricity

Running in your energy sucking computer

Stop wasting your time

And Mine

Why don’t you die?

Your mountain high ego

Annoys me

I can’t take it anymore

I’m going to blast you into little little pieces

The Earth is going to shake

Are you ready to die?

Die!

Oh stupid writer

Nothing you write is yours

No, your writing is NOT yours

The topics you write about

Are not yours but gifts from the people you’ve met

Places you’ve been

Things you’ve read or seen

Your imagination which is not yours only mixes them up

Creating mutant like monsters

Nothing is yours, writer

Your hands that write are not yours

Your body that sits crouched writing is not yours

Your mind that thinks and thinks is not yours

Your consciousness that is conscious of itself is not yours

Die!

You are the product and its creator

You are the world stupid

You are your parents and grandparents who brought you up

You are the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas who taught you the Dharma

You are the Earth in which you were born, the mountains, the rivers, the trees and all its sentient beings

You are all your loved ones

You are all those who have made you suffer

You are the stream of manifestations of divine Love

Was I able to kill you?

No? What?

Die writer, die!

Truth is that only by dying you become Alive

So fear not and Die

Let go of your shitty writing

And Die for your own personal Salvation

Just let yourself go and d..

Before You Leave Come Say Bye

“Before you leave come say bye,”

Said the old man

To the young boy.

Good friends they became

Just like the Little Prince visiting the plane-wrecked Antoine Saint Exupery.

Was it accident that this young boy

Landed on the 3rd Planet in the Solar System?

Gravity has its own ways to pull people together,

And separating them.

The young boy learned that he had to leave soon

So hurriedly he rushed to say bye to the village community

And the old man in it.

But just as Gravity pulls people together,

It also pulls them apart

Making it hard to say bye.

Adding to this challenge,

People decomposed fast in this world

Like old ‘mushed’ paper

People got old and decomposed.

It was hard to say goodbye,

Somehow gravity was pulling them apart,

And the old man was decomposing like paper.

 

Paper like people

In a paper like world.

At first we stand straight and young

But soon we become old and curled.

Like balls of ‘mushed’ paper,

People and planets spin around

Joined and separated by the force of gravity.

 

Oh world,

Impermanent world,

You throw us together

And separate us

We are born,

We age,

We die,

Not having time to say a proper goodbye.

 

Remember as the body dies,

The soul lives on forever with God.

(So light up the spark of Love right here, right now, and Be with God.)

Short Story: The Old Lady In The Market

This is a fictional short story. All characters and situations are imaginary. Only the locations are inspired by real places visited when travelling around the world.

“If you marry well, you will be happy,” said an old lady to a young unmarried lady savoring a homemade glutinous rice ball filled with pork, also called “zong zi” in Chinese. The old lady made this dish with love in her small room near the ‘Old’ Chinatown in Kolkata, a historical place near Tiretta Bazaar, famous for its early morning Chinese breakfast served in food stands.

The old lady owned of these small food stands. Every day, the old lady would come to the remnants of this ‘Old’ Chinatown in Kolkata and set up her own little food stand. She would place a chair and a bamboo basket on the floor and voila! She was now an independent business owner and this was her small food shop in the small busy street where the famous Chinese breakfast was served every morning. Other local Chinese Indians would also set up food stalls serving traditional Chinese breakfast foods. There were food shops selling fish and meatball soups, dumplings, steamed buns, spring rolls, sesame balls filled with red bean paste, pickled cabbage and many other traditional Chinese foods. This old lady made her special delicacies in her house, brought them to the market, and sold them to all the people visiting her stand: local Chinese Indians living in the area, Bengalis with a taste for Chinese food, migrants and tourists from other states in India or the ‘foreigner’ tourists who had heard about this exquisite place in a travel magazine or travel show. The old lady was happy to sell her delicacies to any passerby curious and brave enough to try the ‘goodies’ inside the bamboo basket. This bamboo basket showcased plastic bags filled with bamboo leaf wrapped “zong zi”, salted duck eggs, and tofu.*

*For those who haven’t heard of these foods before: “zong zi”(glutinous rice balls filled with pork and wrapped in bamboo leaves), salted duck eggs (a very salty type of preserved eggs), tofu (curd made from soybeans).

As the young lady was eating and chatting with the old lady, a middle aged man stepped in and whispered an intruding remark to the young lady, “One time I bought some eggs and tofu from this lady. The salted eggs were rotten and the tofu was sour! Be careful with what you buy from this lady.” The young lady quickly replied, “Thanks for the information but I can figure it out by myself. If you don’t mind, we were having a nice talk before you stepped in.” The man, stung by the power of the young lady’s response, backed off and went on his way. He wasn’t going to get lucky with this girl.

The old lady had very bad hearing and sight yet she fully understood what just had happened. Slowly and with a gentle smile, she leaned her wrinkled face towards the young lady’s delicate face and said with a soft voice, “These men are the worst. Never marry these kind of men.” She paused for a second. “If you marry well, you will be happy.”

The young lady nodded in agreement. In an attempt to change the topic, the young lady asked, “Do you have any sons or daughters?” The old lady replied, “Yes, I had a son and a daughter.” She glanced down and said, “My son died very young. He was only ten years old when he died of typhoid. It happened during the onset of the Sino-Indian War in 1962. Life was terrible for the Chinese living in India…” Then she looked up, and added, “My daughter moved to Hong Kong and got married there. My daughter married well, she is happy now.”

From the darkened sky above, it started raining. The old lady reached for a dark blue umbrella near the bamboo basket. She opened it and sheltered herself from the rain. Seeing the young lady without an umbrella, the old lady kindly made a gesture for the young lady to step into her blue shelter. While the old lady sat in her chair holding the umbrella, the young lady stood next to her, semi-curled, trying to dodge the incoming rain. There was a moment of silence. For a few minutes, both the old and the young lady contemplated the gently falling monsoon rain. Looking around, everything made sense, people seeking shelter from the rain, food vendors hurrying to close their shops, people eating, chatting, laughing, all under the falling rain, all in one moment, the present moment.

Once the rain slowed down, the old lady reached for her bag and from there she took out her wallet and showed an old black and white passport sized photo of a young woman. “She is my daughter”, she said. “My daughter married well, she is happy now.”

The rain stopped. The old lady started packing up her food shop. The Chinese breakfast was over. There was no fixed time for the start and ending of Chinese breakfast but generally it started very early around 5.30am and ended around 8.30am. It flowed accordingly to the temporary transactions between the food vendors, customers, weather and other unseen factors. Or a better way to explain this would be, it just flowed. Some food vendors had already packed and left while others were staying a little longer in order to sell all their perishable foods before going home or to other jobs. Especially the middle aged men and women had to rush to other places where they held other jobs. Life was tough; only selling Chinese breakfast in the morning can’t really feed their children and parents who lived with them, all under the same roof. On the other hand, many elderly Chinese Indian food sellers could return to their lonely homes and rest because most of them didn’t do it for the money; they did for the pure joy of it, to socialize with people and to keep alive their Chinese culture and presence in Kolkata. Of course, nobody could complain about the extra income from it. The old lady was satisfied with her sales. She had managed to sell all the “zong zi” though she still had leftover salted eggs and tofu. In a slow and careful motion, she packed them up. “Will these go bad?” asked the young lady innocently. The old lady slowly turned her head up, looked into the young lady’s eyes and replied as follows:

Everything goes bad, my dear.

Eggs will root,

Tofu will turn sour.

Children die,

Hearts will turn sour.

Only Hope remains

That I will meet them again in Heaven.

My sight is blurring,

My hearing is deafening,

My Death is approaching.

Life is like the monsoon rain,

It comes quickly and disappears swiftly.

Flooding our senses

And receding into emptiness.

My advice to you my dear,

Is just Being in Love.

Not to men

But to God.

You can find Him everywhere.

Remember if you marry well, you will be happy my dear.

 

Saying this, the old lady bid farewell and disappeared into the busy streets of Kolkata. The young lady looked around and slowly started to realize the beauty of God in everything.

 

 

Tale: The False Prince Has Died

The False Prince has died.

An Everest like mountain he tried to climb

But he fell and died.

Tall and mighty was this mountain of Five Elements.

Difficult was its climb.

Dear reader,

Open your Heart and listen to the story of how the False Prince has died.

 

Once upon a time,

There was a False Prince

Who decided to climb up a mystical mountain.

A famous mountain this was;

Praised by many but known by few.

Few travelers returned to tell how they climbed it

Or whether they actually climbed it or died along the way.

This mountain was named The Divine Mountain of the Five Elements.

 

This False Prince was tired of his lifestyle,

Surrounded by luxuries,

He longed for adventure and excitement.

Thus he decided to climb it.

Worried about his fragile body,

His relatives and subjects tried to stop him.

But how stubborn he was!

He wouldn’t listen!

So the False Prince bid farewell to them

And he started his climb up this mystical mountain.

He climbed and climbed,

Slowly he became tired,

Exhausted actually,

As he was about to give up his journey,

A compassionate monk appeared and taught him the Buddha Dharma.

Soon the False Prince started to realize his True Self.

Suddenly, the Mountain of Five Elements erupted like a volcano

Sending hot lava everywhere,

While bursting open an ice cold waterfall,

Throwing all Elements out of balance.

 

This mighty explosion threw the False Prince off the mountain,

Free falling,

As all the elements disintegrated,

The False Prince’s body also disintegrated.

The False Prince has died.

The False Prince has died.

The False Prince has died.

 

Dear reader, remember how all things are impermanent in this life.

Like the False Prince,

You will soon die and your body disintegrate.

One hard to swallow reality this is

But sooner or later you will have to accept this.

 

Remember that compassionate monk in the story?

Yes, his Dharma teachings indeed saved the Prince’s soul.

And placed it in a new body.

This is no longer the body of the False Prince

But the body of the One.

The False Prince has died

Yet his True Self has been freed.