Victory

That time we knew might come has now arrived:

reading the obituaries of our contemporaries
has become a regular occurrence, nor do they
surprise or shock us like they once did.

It was a victory to appear here, a victory
to leave — a “win-win” proposition.

From the point of view of eternity, what happens
in-between the two is neither victory nor defeat —
just another pearl strung on Kali’s necklace
as she dances in and out of time.

Dance, Kali, dance, flashing that mysterious smile!
Dance, Kali Ma, with the darkness in your eyes!

Within your deathly goddess gaze, all the dearly dead
are dancing — you’ve graciously taken their heads
and replaced them with the endless night sky.

Every beaming star is a soul, headless and happy.
Such glorious celestial happiness is your play.

Everything and everyone combines to be you,
and so you just get brighter and brighter —
infinitely, joyously expanding!

The open transparent space in which your play
transpires is not other than my own mind,
so I do not fear that virtual death.

I bow down to you for your divine compassion,
that everything can shed its skin and become
something even more magnificent, more alive
in the midst of its death, in the terrible
gaze of your holy darkness.

Great are you, great we are, and great
beyond great is your victory!

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Sampling Shri Dasbodh

The one named “Lord of the Universe” drives
a neon bus, maneuvering through the star clusters.

Its garish side panels are filled with hot flashing
advertisements for the latest liberation technology.

Just as a sudden wind appears out of nowhere,
so should the inception of the Prototype be
regarded, the prime illusion, God.

This type of understanding is not possible
without keeping the company of the mad.

The claim that illusion itself is the Basis
is not easily understood by sober minds.

The brilliant sky is empty, then all of a sudden
clouds appear — that should sum things up,
but still we have doubts, so consider this:

it may seem as if something has happened,
but in essence, the sky remains the same.

Likewise, if you lay down and gaze at the sky,
what you’ll see is the miracle of your own mind.

It will appear to be blue, or it will appear to be
empty or clouded, it will appear to reach down
and kiss you, it will reach down and kiss you!

What an amazing mind, and utterly free of attributes!
If you try to say something, no words are enough,
but if you remain silent, it will kiss you again.

You’ll fall in love, but you won’t know with whom,
nor will it matter, because love is enough.

Reality hasn’t changed, but the primary illusion
never rests, and thus is the basis of big bangs, birds,
and beautiful beasts who fall in love beneath heaven.

Illusion arises like this. Within the still and nameless
expanse of Reality, the notion “I Am” appears.

That itself is the illusion. Everything issues forth
from here, no other love can hope to compare!

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Plans and Maps

We studied the maps, we all agreed on a plan,
and as soon as we embarked on the mission
we immediately forgot everything.

Here, nothing seemed to make sense, the signs
pointed in every possible direction, we were
on our own without guide or compass.

How were we to know that this was the plan,
to be left like a small gift from the light
at the gates of the oncoming night?

Darkness is infinitely alive, delicious, ominous,
and yet by itself, it is completely meaningless.

It relies on us to give it purpose. Without the actors,
it is merely an abandoned stage in an empty theater.

It needs our light so that it can know what it truly is,
behind the shadows, behind the ebony facade.

Likewise, light may illuminate the darkness,
but to itself, what is it? Is it even light?

Often, our words are symbols standing between
us and the reality to which they were meant to point.

As much as we may identify ourselves with light,
what a revelation to discover the darkness is also us —
we are the whole thing, that one and only thing.

There is nothing separate from anything else,
nothing outside of ourselves that we can enter
or leave, no object apart from the subject.

Empty and lucid — the mission is simply to be
nothing other than that, the plan is its recognition,
the map is the appearance of the totality, the totality
is nothing but the engaging play of emptiness and lucidity.

One may hear a lot of talk about the essence of things,
but it is really nothing other than this transparency —
this empty and luminous present awareness.

Just so, if I were to exhale, leave this body now,
and rise upward, I imagine that the whole Milky Way —
light and darkness both — would make a little shimmer,
a brief laughing ripple on the ocean of present awareness.

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Alive

When she opened her door at dawn, he saw
that the light behind her was her own light

He hadn’t seen her before then, even though
he had always known her, thousands of years
are really nothing, time is a lie

He was standing, frozen in place, until she
put her mouth against his heart and breathed

It was then that the tiny invisible creatures
who had been accompanying him flew up
and made a singing circle around her

It was like a halo in an icon of Oriental Orthodoxy
a lush luminous embrace that made her own light
expand to take him in, and she took him in

If anyone was standing near, they would not have heard
any word, and when the peacocks called from their perch
in the old oak, the fortunate bystanders would slowly
emerge from their trance and for a timeless moment
not know where they were, who they were —
that is real love, to be that lost

This is how we are now, sweetly entranced or not,
we are completely innocent, we can hold our hands up
we can look at each other and not turn away

The light which flows from our hands is pure
the light which spools out from our eyes
covers the whole earth in blessings

Whatever we hear is our own song come back to us
it is filled with care and comfort, for our way
is sometimes very difficult

Every brimming tear is a wistful sort of story,
how wonderful it is to be able to cry

Whether it seems so or not, whatever we touch
is smiling within itself, is happy right now —
happy just to be touched, to be alive, alive

If you ask us, this is what we will say

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I See You

If I should seek to know the thought-free state
all I need do is gaze into your eyes
every being who ever was, is, or will be
gazes back; I am gazing back, even though
I am not a being, not a thought, not conceivable
or perceivable, not even a secret godly whisper
shimmering in the stillness, nor anything
I thought I was, you were, we are.

I cannot see myself except through you,
you who live to share this same silent vision,
this eternal gaze expanding, always becoming
more than sight, more than any kind of knowing —
a fluid wordless epiphany emerging from nowhere,
the same place we inhabit now in our loving, this
exquisite loving without location or circumference,
and even though we never move, yet forever we are
circling in lazy liquid orbits around each other,
never once allowing our gaze to falter,
never even blinking

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Little Fishes

Today I am a school of little darting fishes
I go this way, then that way for no reason
just enjoying the feeling of movement
the cool transparency of watery bliss
to be alive, to swim in syncopation

A light above is shining over the surface
I love the way it shimmers, filters down
illuminates the mystery, this life
what astonishment!

The terrible burdens —
belief, memory, identity —
shake them off, wash clean
wash clear, be free

Empty of any willfulness, the energy
which moves me moves the wind,
the wave, everything

I am all desire, surging vital current
restless surface, silent depth
unfathomable depth, unfathomable
power, power without point or purpose,
only this, only this — to be

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Night Lilies

When we first came together again in this life, my Beloved
shared a vision with me: she saw us standing in moonlight,
surrounded by a field of blooming white lilies, our faces lit
by that supernal bliss which elevates human love to divinity.

The unbearable poignancy of how things come together,
only to inevitably fall apart, will forever impress me
with the exquisite truth of impermanence, regardless
of whatever fate may befall us in this realm or any other.

Even so, back at home in my darkened front yard garden,
dozens of white oriental lilies are quietly blossoming open
in the heat of a mid-summer night, mindlessly transmitting
their divine fragrance to vibrating beings in every direction.

The intensity of the ardor I feel for my Darling obliterates
any sense of what has been or what shall be — there is only
this timeless moment of lily perfume and midnight moonshine,
appearing in the very place we stand together now, as always:

one twined thread of clear light, arched across the firmament.

 

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