A work in progress

by Yeshe Dorje

© Copyright, Yeshe Dorje, March 17, 2003


Tony and the War

I think I may have been avoiding Tony Peru, if the truth be told. My girlfriend came from San Francisco for the weekend, which was great. Rehearsals for Barrio Hollywood have been going well and Elaine and I meet each day to discuss rewrites and lighting issues here in the Epic Café. I see Tony sitting writing over there at his table each day and I don’t really have time to read his stuff, so I don’t know what to say to him and notice my sense awkwardness as Eileen calls him over. Why is he making me uncomfortable, what is it I don’t want to hear?

"Hey Tony, how is the manifesto coming?"

Elaine is so kind and I can see she really likes this guy, she told me they used to belong to a Buddhist group together. He seems kind of forlorn this morning.

"Man, I just started crying this morning reading the paper and seeing this picture of a marine holding a four year old little girl whose mother had just died. Just read the caption under the picture and started sobbing…"

Elaine puts her hand on Tony’s and looks at him. Are those tears? God they’re not going to start crying are they?

"Oh I know it’s so horrible, just awful, they sent some missiles into a market and killed all these civilians, and the administration has this disgusting hubris…"

Elaine says this and Tony Peru looks at me. He’s asking me what I think about the war and the administration and if I have been following the stories about some guy named Perle. I’m trying to think of a way not to get drawn in. I read the paper here in the café each day but I don’t really feel like getting into the details. I feel numb about this war now that’s its begun. Tony on the other hand seems on fire about the whole thing, especially Perle.

"He’s chairman of the Defense Policy Board, he’s evil… you know they called him the prince of darkness when Reagan was president. Now here he is again, I mean he seems to have just been waiting for this war to happen, wanting to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Look, what people don’t seem to realize is that Richard Perle is an incredibly influential architect of the Bush's Iraq policy and war plans and at the same time, it turns out, he has signed on to represent Global Crossing, this huge telecommunications company that has a strong financial interest in lobbying the Defense Department."

I’m wondering where he’s going with this.

"Tony, there’s all kind of people doing business and making money with the war, isn’t that what the war is about, what’s the surprise? What’s the issue with Perle?"

"Global Crossing is a telecommunications giant, but it’s in bankruptcy and it has retained Perle to help persuade the Defense Department to drop its objections to this proposed sale to foreign buyers in Hong Kong and Singapore. Now get this…" he lowers his voice as if he doesn’t want anyone else to hear.

"…the deal is being opposed by the Defense Department and the FBI, these people are saying it’s a bad deal because it’s a threat to national security, because it would put Global Crossing's fiber optics network, which is used by the government by the way, and now the network would be under foreign control. I think Perle goes around making these kinds of deals to create enemies and set up problems, and we’re seeing it happen right now in real time, just like Iran Contra back when he was with Reagan and you know they created Osama and Saddam, set them up. Perle stands to make up to $725,000 from his work for Global Crossing, so that’s ostensibly why people are taking notice of him, but I think there’s a lot more to it than the money."

I hate conspiracy theory stuff, I’ve got no time for it and frankly I couldn’t give a shit about Perle.

"Tony, why do you think there is a conspiracy? Isn’t it obvious that Saddam Hussein has to go?"

"Kent, don’t you see the real reasons for this war are being hidden from the public, I mean people just put their blind faith in the government and the military but they’ve been manipulating people and events for a long time. For example, do you know who was behind getting Richard Nixon started in politics?"

Man, this guy is way out there, and I’m incredulous.

"Jesus Tony what does Nixon have to do with any of this?"

"Prescott Bush was behind Nixon, there’s this whole invisible elite that have been manipulating US politics and foreign policy for decades man. Haven’t you been reading my stuff? Look I want you to read this."

He pushes another pile of his words at me across the table. Elaine looks at me, I can see in her eyes she’s asking me to be nice to this guy.

"OK Tony, I’ll take it back to my hotel and read it after rehearsal." The stories in the paper are getting depressing, the war is worse than I thought it would be, worse than anyone thought it would be. I read this article in the Times magazine about an older British man who was in Baghdad as a human shield and befriended an Islamic man who was trying to convert him. I found myself becoming touched by their desire to connect with each other. The Iraqi asked the British man to continue reciting his Christian prayers but at the end of each prayer add the line, "And Muhammad is his prophet." By doing this, the Iraqi believed they would meet each other in heaven. There’s a lot going on.

When I get back from rehearsal I pick up where Tony Peru left off.

The Photonic Dialectic

Consciousness is leaping, these are the days of leaps and if I look into the haze above me as I stand in the Santa Catalina mountains, now as I write to you, the infinite pale blue sky goes on down to meet the desert over a hundred miles or so to the south, touching the earth there on the Mexican horizon. The sly blue demons touching the earth in Mexico seventy years ago come to mind, and I think of the great messenger Leon Trotsky again and how he was stabbed in the back by a blue jacket because he had a fire in his belly, he felt driven to create a new world. He was part of the unfolding revealing, a casualty of the emerging new empire and his life ended struggling to free the truth in opposition to the spreading darkness. And I know that despite his setbacks and struggles, and the difficult radical karma that made violence his life and death, he was eventually successful in creating light, as his example and beacon of truth still shine today.

We seek the shining ones to learn: we are the ones we have been waiting for. This is the photonic dialectic. As photonic revolutionaries we choose an end to duality. There is no OTHER – the dream of men clubbing each other must end – this nightmare world of violence is the struggle of the mind to free itself from the concept of the other. We struggle with ourselves and see other as responsible for our suffering sadness sobbing, but everyone who is other becomes our mother in the end. This is the voice of the stones on which this notebook rests, here above Tucson. It is the voice of the blood returning from my feet to my heart, the voice rising from Mount Lemon. It is the voice that loves each of you and is so impressed by your courage to seek these words. May your eyes gaze upon the shining ones and may your heart recognize itself. Sat Nam.

"You who are the source of all power, whose rays illuminate the earth, illuminate my heart also, so that it too can do your work."

Cultivate mindful awareness
The wisdom of awareness
Non-grasping after thought forms
Understanding this opens the door to all knowledge

The ultimate happiness is the absence of thought

In creating the space free of thought
We merge our mind with the minds of all the Buddhas

Through this practice we become some one. We seek the wisdom that overcomes the conventional notions of who we are. We think therefore we are has become a weighty embedded axiom that anchors false awareness. Einstein was a revolutionary because he challenged conventions, his awareness arrived at relativity by ignoring axioms, and his heart knew that imagination is more important than knowledge. Many cultures have recognized the divinity of the sun, and have received the sun’s wisdom, maybe it’s the sun that throws the dice... This is within our imagination. Thought is the thinker, I am not thought. I am cosmic rays as much as I am flesh and blood, the truth is beyond conceptual thought. When I open to an expanding awareness and overcome the interference patterns of fear, my heart feels the guidance of the subtle waves and variations in energy, and I am becoming more familiar sensing beyond the surface physical world.

In the subtle underworld beyond the surface of appearances, my awareness moves forward in every direction discovering an electro-magnetic environment complete with weather, storm systems and so on. The perception and awareness of the interconnectedness of all things is clearer in this state of mind. My awareness is the causes and conditions of the new world I am choosing with my imagination, and it is influenced by the fluctuations of energy all around us. It is the energy all about us. Here we can see that there is an opening of the central channel and touch the fluorescent tendrils of my amoeba consciousness, my rippling astral body is becoming ever more luminous with eternal light. Fully in three bodies I am one.

If you are full of preconceived ideas
You cannot receive wisdom
We are full of preconceived ideas and afflictive emotions
As we purify we create the space
For wisdom to pour in
The view, conduct and contemplation
are the three most important aspects of practice
Seeing the suffering of sentient beings
And developing compassion and motivation
Experiencing loving kindness
Nurturing appreciation of the quality of life
This creates Bodhicitta
Wanting others to have an improved quality of life
The more we appreciate the gift of Bodhicitta
The more trust and faith we have in our teachers

This Guide to the Perplexed is an observation the dance of the luminaries and how it transforms the world, for we truly live in exciting times. In these times, by developing Bodhicitta you begin to see reflections of Bodhisattvas everywhere. We are here to fight for the victory of compassion and an end to war. For me this sense of being a warrior is especially true when I gaze into the stars, for Bodhisattvas travel the spaceways from planet to planet establishing peace. A recent extended improvisatory performance of my imagination dancing with the luminaries is the following words made eventful with the passage of two comets in February. The shining ones have come to shift the planet in these times of rumors before war. Bodhisattvas transform suffering into wisdom.


The Dance of the Luminaries

The human oral and written history across the planet shows that for millennia comets portend some challenging transformation of the fabric we observe. So my mind considers what will happen to us as part of the causes and condition communicated by comets? What do these comets have to say to us before the war and rumors of war? Why the names ‘X-5’ and ‘NEAT’? What will happen as the enigmatic celestial messenger comes as close as the moon in March? Mars approaches closest ever this year it’s on the way and bigger than we thought Mercury passes before the sun in May? We forget that everything is in motion as we live in an illusion that imprisons truth with immobility. Just the thought of gravity brings us down. The photonic manifesto reveals the ghosts dancing within this stillness. This is the dance of the luminaries.

The chart below reflects the passage of comet X as it dances with the sun, it is a scientific representation of the electro-magnetic weather that influence our behavior in ways beyond imagining. This chart is a running thirty-six hour plot of the readings taken from the fluxgate magnetometer, built by the University of Alaska, Geophysical Institute, operating at the HAARP ionospheric observatory in Gakona, Alaska. The three traces represent mutually orthogonal components of the earth's magnetic field as follows:

Geomagnetic storminess is usually indicated in oscillatory variations in the earth's magnetic field. Additional detail concerning the nature and severity of the ionospheric disturbance can be found through analysis of the three components of the field. Before the tide started rising, these looked like sine waves. There is a storm brewing that will blow our minds.

The Revolution is Televised in Outer Space

Of course it is much later now in the Epic Café that I type these words written in the road notebook, capturing images from the front lines of the revolution. I just downloaded an mpeg movie file from the SOHO satellite halfway between the earth and the sun as it observed the spooky comet X5 pass 0.19 Astronomical Units from the sun, so close that it was halfway between the sun and Mercury at .38 AU. They must have noticed this passage throughout the solar system and here in this Café where the waitresses do not like me, and I think about them all the time. I see all of that massed energy lighting emptiness. And it makes me contemplate the interplanetary magnetic field, observing the dances of X5 and the sun somehow leads to knowing that this dance embraces all of us… Through the wisdom exchange within light, as ions and photons exchange information, there is an energetic evolution underworld in what we think of as a molecular level, though the truth is beyond conceptual thought we are beginning to understand DNA now for a reason, it is part of the photonic revolution of mind and the old patterns will die as they no longer resonate with the new world. New science is in a photonic revolution as many technical advances are being made through applications of light. This is the dawning of the photonic age and the dance is part of the best entertainment we will ever see with our eyes.

The comet we think of as X5 is not snow and ice, it is sensate and comes to remind us that just as Trotsky was imprisoned and the Tibetan Lamas have been tortured we live in an impermanent universe – only mind is resilient and wisdom is indestructible, the comets dance to show us our minds are evolving and we will be freed from the prisons of our thoughts to become wisdom incarnate. We will be freed by embracing incomprehension and ignoring axioms, as the wisest know the truth is inconceivable. This is surrendering to the dream and is another aspect of the photonic dialectic. We will recognize through surrender, that we are enslaved by attachment, and we will release all our grasping and yearning caused by the alienation born of ignorance, the true dragon. We are in chains my brothers and sisters, and our bondage is thoughts and how we use them. The Dharma is the map you will find in these pages, the artifice in between is the the wisdom I discover and that which I create, while driving across the great American frontier with Balthazar as our guide. What distracts us when we should keep our eyes on the road?

Speaking of Dakinis, have I mentioned desire? Or meeting Gabrielle? I thought not, she just happened to sit here at the back of the café, although I have seen her here in the Epic Café and Time Market for years, just now as I am writing to you is the first time I have spoken to her as she borrowed my newspaper. So I took the opportunity to show her the comet X5 movie file I downloaded, and as she is watching my notebook, I describe the dance.

"This is news few people choose to learn about."

She looks at the screen and seems bemused, but doesn’t look up at me. I continue.

"Watch that mass ejection reach out from the sun… see it? Jupiter’s at opposition, its the closest it will be to the Earth this week, and there’s a solar proton storm coming our way from some coronal mass ejections and so I’m wondering if it’s a good idea to try and land the space shuttle under these energetic conditions. I think we dance in the discontinuities of time and space…."

Gabrielle has the prettiest brown eyes and they glisten as she smiles a small polite smile and says:

"Thanks for the paper."

I realize she has no interest in what I’m saying, as I suppose the interplanetary magnetic field must be considered too esoteric for strangers to discuss. God I’m strange. You know I’ve learned that if one looks for faults, one will find faults, and if one seeks wisdom one will find wisdom. The more one seeks wisdom the more wisdom grows within. The utility of seeing wisdom is in subduing afflictive emotions. We see everything as a manifestation of the Buddha. This is correct view.

So this moment Gabrielle is sitting facing me here at the back of the Epic, reading my copy of the Times and I have had enough of ignorance and attachment, but my heart still races and I feel desire. Though I say to myself - I only want to be mindful - remaining in the present - until I recognize the true nature of mind - I get distracted by these juicy dakinis. I try to see everyone’s Buddha nature, but when I look into a woman’s eyes I often become confused by desire. Observe the nature of Samsara, peace and happiness are fleeting. Enlightenment is possible because negative thoughts are temporary, this is what she teaches me.

When I meet with dakinis I remember that we suffer because we don’t know who we are, and we unwittingly put each other in prison with words and deeds, thoughts and emotions, and I want to escape, but she is a fabulous woman, really… With a beautiful smile and those friendly large brown eyes, raven shiny black hair halfway down her back. I’m looking at her out of the corner of my eye, my mind filled with memory of at least three years of unrequited desire as we used to sit silently in Time Market together too, and here in the Epic my mind is imprisoned by desire. I am imprisoned here by desire, and all that saves me is telling you about it my sisters, you save me with your beauty.

The cause of suffering is deeply rooted in our own perception. I find it hard to live without my sisters coming close to say hello and allow me to know their warmth. It occurs to me that Gabrielle is the comet made manifest now speeding through the universe and effervescing here beside me, reading the Times that I will read later when I take a break from speaking to you, and of course she returns the paper just as I write this. Will I say another word to her? Will I find the courage to tell her about all of this silent time that has passed between us - just now we finally speak for the first time and this must be remarkable - these things just don’t happen by accident… how can I continue the conversation… why do I want to?

I could create the scene where I decide to get another coffee and as I get up I ask Gabrielle if she’d ‘proof’ the last couple of paragraphs just to create together the Veronica, the true image of what happened between us, and thereby have her enter the story by her choice. She could have decided not to read it, but curiosity got the better of her and so now she has read this far, she is reading what you’re reading, wow! Surely there will be more to say and learn about this alone? But what would she think of Balthazar? And doesn’t it take a great deal of effort and energy to explain this theory of evolution, and how it is interwoven with the interplanetary magnetic dance of the luminaries? Maybe she likes the new science but will she be interested in the ancient wisdom?

Then there is the matter of attraction, strange attractors in time and motion being what they are, before I can insert myself into her life a tall young guy walks to the back of the Café putting his pack on her table whilst speaking of playing old Irish pieces last night - a musician – I like musicians - and as I think this mysteriously another man appears and they all embrace warmly. Now that my desire for her is here, the comet Gabrielle is gone.

But now the least she and I can do is wave to each other, as somehow we have come to know each other in the passage of a few old Smoky Robinson tunes on the stereo and remarking on the music that has been playing is my way of creating distance, finding another love and if there’s a smile on my face its only here just to fool the public, and when it comes down to loving you... A few weeks from now I join the Old Soul Singers and Gabrielle is the choir’s director, but she doesn’t remember our conversation. Which is surprising really, as the morning after this meeting in the Epic Café the space shuttle crashed. And I had mentioned this possibility hadn’t I? Is she part of the great revealing?

The following is a chart of energetic space weather the Shuttle was encountering as it attempted to dance with the earth’s gravity.

On February 13, eleven days after writing the above, I read a story published in the New York Times - ‘Scientists seek clues in solar storm that enveloped shuttle’:

The disturbance was detected by at least two NASA space probes as it passed from deep space toward Earth on Feb. 1, said Dr. Devrie S. Intriligator, director of the space plasma laboratory at the Carmel Research Center, a private laboratory in Santa Monica, Calif., who discovered the event by examining data from the probes. Experts in this complex area of space science, often referred to as "space weather," said the possibility that the disturbance contributed to the loss of the Columbia could not be dismissed. But they cautioned that the Feb. 1 storm was milder than the powerful outbursts that have previously damaged equipment in space. Dr. Intriligator and other scientists who have seen the data describe the phenomenon as a sort of gigantic wave of electrically charged particles, magnetic fields and radiation that was moving toward Earth at roughly 400 miles a second. "It is a disturbance, a discontinuity, and it did deliver a punch," Dr. Intriligator said.

But of course the story in the Times contains no mention of the passing of the comet and the interaction between the comet and the sun, because science says comets are ‘dirty snowballs’. The comet doesn’t enter into it, does it? How could dust and ice interact with the sun? Wouldn’t it simply melt? How could the comet’s passing have any effect on the Earth? Why does the comet have so much light? If you watch the video from the SOHO satellite, it is obvious there is some interaction from the sun to the comet, a billowing cloud of plasma from the sun is sent out into space as the comet and sun move through space and briefly caress. I believe that more comets are coming from the Oort cloud of asteroids, pushed here by tides of energy that are coming to transform everything in their wake. This is the karma of luminaries.

NASA scientists have warned of the dangers that storms in space pose for spacecraft under some circumstances. An August 1996 … two Canadian communications satellites suddenly began to "spin out of control" because "the gyroscopic guidance system on both satellites had mysteriously failed" during a space storm. The problem was traced back to an electrical charge picked up by the spacecraft from the electrically charged gas of space itself, the report said.

Dr. Intriligator said this kind of "charging" was one of at least three possible ways the Columbia could theoretically have been damaged by the storm. Other spacecraft have been damaged by fast-moving particles, which can strike delicate electronics like microscopic bullets, or by changes in Earth's upper atmosphere that occur when the Sun generates this kind of disturbance.

As above, so below. The Guide to the Perplexed is meant to illumine, and some of what is important to think about are the changes taking place in our solar system and how they affect us. What axioms can you choose to ignore? The energetic shifts taking place contribute to the spread of fear as a dreadful contagion of misunderstanding, where people cower in corners of confusion. To avoid the fear and its interference patterns one must disregard certain axioms. Many of us on this spiritual journey find ourselves ever more perplexed in the rapid flow of events and dramatic transitions. It is hoped that the experiences and memes included in this Guide will trigger thoughts that assist you in these times of transformation. The Moloch and its minions are aware of the shift that is taking place and grasp after control because that is what they do, and to control us they keep us in fear and create patterns and thoughts with the media. But they don’t tell us the truth because they are concerned the truth would cause the kind of panic that seeks reason. Their efforts at control use fear to create unreasonable prisons of the mind.

How does one escape? When I left the small prison of my job in Canada, I allowed the dream to guide me and drove across the Sates to Arizona in 1997. It was only a matter of three weeks and I was unexpectedly sitting at the feet of the great Drikung Kagyu master HE Garchen Rinpoche. I had been traveling through countless lifetimes reliving the moment he introduces me to Mahamudra. Mahamudra will set me free, I must practice diligently. I didn’t work for a wage for two years after I met my teacher, I had more important things to do.

In 1917 it was Leon Trotsky who came to Balthazar in the dilapidated old iron foundry of Amherst, to impart some wisdom that in the course of time would find its way to you dear reader. The basic nature of capitalism is to exploit. The basic nature of mind is free from elaboration. Freedom begins with understanding the illusion, and teachers come to prison to help us escape. HE Garchen Rinpoche met his root lama and several important teachers in a Chinese prison camp. Garchen Rinpoche used this opportunity to transform suffering into wisdom. For some reason I apply his experience to my greatest difficulties and these have mostly to do with marriage and work. I’ve come to think major life relationships are prisons where attachment is glazed upon our consciousness by human heat, just as I have come to understand descriptions of hell realms and the Bardos from the teachings of the great Tibetan masters as maps to freedom. I wanted to use my marriage as a crucible for transformation and couldn’t stand the heat. These pages are scenes from the prisons and gardens of the American frontier intended to help you escape. I feel such a keen desire to find the truth and travel the frontiers of the imperial consciousness. We all love being on the road because we go to get away.

In my first teaching with His Eminence, Garchen Rinpoche taught me that we suffer because we do not know who we are. Trotsky taught Balthazar that we suffer because we don’t know who each other are. I say its all alienation, and say it from the mind that forgives, and think that after all forgiveness is a benign forgetting, whilst anger always remembers.

Today Tucson marched for peace and now I drive up into the sky island out east of town rising up from the vast desert floor witnessing the brilliant tangerine wisps evaporating just above our heads in turquoise space. The colors are smeared in patches across the high clouds by the last light of the sun like a luminous Apache blanket hovering over the sacred western lands. The mind that forgives drives in the desert to feel expansiveness and quell the restless heart with silence. The blood orange mountains reflect the sky as day pauses on the horizon and time expands brightly, the land and sky bleeding into each other until the sun is finally gone and night rises up the mountainside cloaking the light with sleep as we go back down the mountain into town…

The Little White Dog

Later, it’s late night Tucson downtown and before we get back to Leon this is the brief scene of the little white dog and some of the truth revelated in Hotel Congress. Never refuse the dream, but follow the clues in dreams, to reveal the hermeneutics of this multidimensional world. Never refuse the dream, that’s the main thing I got out of this Hotel tonight, and here are all the bits that made the dream I can’t refuse, but choose and live to tell you about it.

Of course it’s important that you’re listening to the voice that spent the morning protesting against a war in Iraq that may have happened already. It is the voice of the afternoon on Mt. Lemon sky island writing and loving the western desert spaciousness. It is the voice of Epic Café hunger eating the mountains and the city and the desert the day and its night, consuming the early twenty-first century sunshine like some Spanish solera brandy. The bar here at the Congress doesn’t have any, as I just checked after thinking I’d like some in consideration of the words just written. Now we watch the full-lipped waitress smile as she passes me by, out into the cool downtown night patio bar life. This town has fabulous women, it is dakini town and the night it is that brings them near, or at least closer to possibility. Like the comets, they transform me.

This is the truth of human proximity, when chance is alive and throbbing to house music, feminine proximity unleashes all probability from its many prisons. The women are here to set the truth free, this is why it is they who give birth. The drums crash, and the little white dog pants beneath the sound system speakers. Out in the lobby a small white dog is leashed to a spunky woman wearing jeans and a baseball cap while sitting forward on a barstool. So that if you were to walk up behind her to check out the bar and its brandy, you’d see she’s wearing pink satin panties because they are right there, rising out of her red pants. And it is Sunday night now, it’s the end of the week or the beginning of the next depending upon whether you’re here tonight with all of the hipsters… its an in between kind of night and I realize while looking at this dog and wondering why she brought it, I realize the epiphany that I have never met a lover on a Sunday. Maybe tonight’s the night. Did I mention desire? Or that slaves don’t go fishing on Sundays so their masters will not think to make them work that day?

The fluffy white dog gazes up at his master and wags his shaggy tail hoping for a morsel of food, and the dog is here, it is the truth, I’m not making it up… each word that I write is a wag of its tail, the words are speeding down into this hand, another day gone and some of the truth of the western land is revelated from the Hotel Congress. My small world is a one-mile radius of this lobby, the Epic Café and Time Market, the avenue is filled with the dogs of desire.

So I see the little white dog as this spooky revelator, and of course now as part of the energetic exchange coming from comet X5 – you know I think she keeps looking over this way, could it have something to do with the fact that I keep looking over at her when I am not writing these words to you? Its old jazz now in the speakers above the dog and the women syncopating the dreams and aspirations of Tucson’s hipsters come to the rooms where John Dillinger once hid out and now its haunted by the sound of Fletcher Henderson and his orchestra.

Flying Home yeah man… and in the desert expanse this afternoon where the lure of the sky island silently calls my name, I felt stillness and gazed into a welcoming light – I saw the home within me there in the emptiness of the Sonoran sky. I am vast – to feel small is to know the prison of the great Lie.

Without conviction you are stranded in doubt, and doubt is the supreme obstacle. Doubt is the maze of small prisons.

Like maybe I am not attracted to the woman and her dog though she looks fetching in red culottes and black Betty Page bangs clutching a pack of cloves that she begins to thwack against the back of her hand – as we watch she greets the many lounge lizards who approach, they know she’s not nearly as tough as she appears, nor as she’d like them to think, she’s tough enough… A tenor sax wails in the café night, all the action is out there and we’re in here waiting to join the woman and her dog and her friends and the cook will soon go home and rest his weary legs laughing his way into inky Tucson streets – I swear the dog is staring at me now as I write this, the panting little white collie barks and its beady black eyes watch me sitting there in that smaller room through the door over there where all the smells are coming from, and he wants to go there, over to that nice man sitting at his table alone waiting for me to come so he can pet me… Can one begin to doubt that this is what the dog is thinking and if one can, what does this say about the insubstantial nature of all appearances? I am mentioning desire.

Yes you are there so many days from now, reading the past and your life is connected to this night because you want to overcome doubt and desire and you have a vague idea that there might be some truth in these pages and so you travel to my table on the slenderest of threads – it is the desire to know the continuing thought, the one after this one that you’re thinking, that’s the desire we choose to lose – what if he actually stumbles upon something remotely valuable, what if he allows the dog to metamorphose into a goddess or better yet somehow make the dog ride the comet or do a little dance… We love stories of dancing dogs…

Instead a couple of dakinis walk in and sit at the table next to mine to create a scene unfolding across the American frontier – women dissing the men who cause trouble. It takes little time at all to observe that the cuter one has a bad relationship. The tribulations of desire sit before me.

The really cute one leans towards her friend saying:

"I’ve been through this before and I’m going through it again."

Her friend looks sympathetic but determined, which kind of makes her attractive now that I think about it.

"…he isn’t just a friend…"

They seem to be nailing things down here, fixing the truth in place so she’ll know what to do. Isn’t this what friends are for.

"… he hasn’t left his girlfriend…"

"Get out!" Her friend gasps.

"I said…didn’t you tell her about me?"

She assumes a dumb jock kind of voice:

" ‘I tell her about all of my friends’… can you believe he said that?"

They are two very attractive women, wearing expensive clothes and it occurs to me that they have taken the time before they left the house to get together just the right look for this discussion.

"I wasn’t his special friend, he was just bleeding me down and I was a fresh rag… once he came over and I was watching TV and he put me down like I was a stranger standing in line waiting to get into a movie."

Her friend pauses and sighs and then with a look of concern says:

"He’s got serious issues."

This gets the distressed friend even more agitated and she continues angrily:

"And not only did he stab me in the back, you know he never stopped…"

"He doesn’t realize he’s so dysfunctional…" the good friend dismisses the once wonderful boyfriend and gives courage to this now recharged and reenergized being. She waltzes out the door with the confidence of a woman who is going to leave that loser behind. Mama’s got a brand new bag full of the small prisons, a sack full of powerful thoughts, and this is some of the evidence I present dear reader, of hell being other people, but you also see seeking truth sets us free…

The little white dog is lying down now and it occurs to me I should get up and ask its name, now that its calm and has ceased its panting and I have the courage to go over and begin a new chapter. The cool jazz organ is giving me a swinging kind of courage and I know you would all like to know the dog’s name, as it is all about overcoming doubt and getting to the naming of things, how we create this field of possibility by giving it names and if we seek the truth we mustn’t overlook the dog’s name… suddenly another man rushes in wearing a porkpie hat and sweeps she who holds the leash up in his arms with a kiss so that the dog leaps up and barks and snaps my mind back to Sunday night and Leon. Lets go to the Epic.


Epic Prison Realms

Just as Trotsky was imprisoned along with those German immigrants and sailors back in 1917, our minds continue to be enslaved by materialism and the stream of thoughts that cause our suffering. We are in chains my sisters and brothers and I write to take us to the words of the perfect teachers, to illumine the map of the Dharma and find our way out of Samsara. While Trotsky was in the old iron foundry in Amherst he taught the men who would listen, accepted that many of the officers would not, and he met a rather reluctant slow burning revolutionary in Balthazar Babinsky. In a few extraordinary days of their long lives, the two strangers became fast friends with the peculiar subtle energies such circumstances give to people who influence others.

And you know there is an old Second World War internment camp here on the mountain outside of Tucson, you can find it a few miles up the Catalina highway, just past the fee station if you take a left on Prison Camp Road. Given that I have been asked to write this Guide, was it coincidence that as I was driving up Mt. Lemon after the protest today, I listened to the voices of people just freed from the Jewish extermination camps? – Their voices had been recorded in 1945-6 and then forgotten in a box full of human recordings until this broadcast on ‘This American Life’. So I am lost in Samsara, imprisoned by attachment and guided by voices, some of them secret until now, and these voices include that of a woman describing the conditions of the long march through the winter snow and ice, when the fallen would not rise, as they would be shot rather than carried, that is until the German soldiers realized they wasted the bullets and instead left the poor men, women and children to freeze to death during the long bitter night.

Japanese families were imprisoned here on this mountain, a sky island rising out of the desert as undulating granite boulders and mesquite trees with scrub oak and pinon juniper burnt heather and deep greens that must have appeared to these bewildered and dispossessed Americans an unanticipated beauty under the passing sun and swimming stars. We just left behind a century of bloodshed and human degradation that has been well documented and accepted by the human family of the planet as the undesirable ancient pattern of inhumanity – we know that we cause our own suffering and we choose to continue – this is the nub of our choice my brothers and sisters and this is the point of this radical call for a spiritual revolution of the mind – the Photonic Dialectic is the strength within each of us to confront ignorance, it is a cri de coeur on behalf of the spirits of the fallen – the Manifesto is the ballad of the fallen - it is an acknowledgement of the suffering that continues in all of the beauty that surrounds us – this Guide is an agreement between us dear readers that we hold this fundamental truth as a beacon for all those beings we seek to help: the human spirit is indomitable.

Despite the revelation of this wisdom here I am in the heart of the great white empire recreating my own suffering, still slightly numb with the concept of people causing each other such suffering – especially the lover who knows best where to thrust the knife and when. Our karma leads us again and again to an ancient acquaintance who may be a master of unkindness – friend and lover, our husband our wife the knife and your life and what choice do we really have in these circumstances? Love splinters on the shoals of vicissitude.

For example, now I am getting divorced, again, despite my best efforts to open my heart, and… well… love is complicated. The truth is I chose to be with women who taught me that no person can ever satisfactorily love me, and how more fortunate could I have been for this is the best marriage wisdom I can pass along to you. This wisdom came in accepting responsibility for my dissatisfaction, but the price was the creation of suffering and our karma. Inside the fairytale, we found the darkest nights of our souls…

"Hi, its me…"

I was driving here to the Epic Café with my NYT, missing my wife and warm breakfast together then walking the dogs and the cell rings – it is she! Oh joy! And surprise as she rarely calls, my heart leaps because I miss her so and so we begin:

‘I’m OK… you know, kind of sad, missing you and the dogs… what’s up?’

‘I’m just completing the divorce papers and I was wanting to open your mail to see how much the credit card balances are…’

A sinking feeling pulls me into the undercarriage and I feel the road take whatever happiness I had in me…

"Sorry I’m all business… you know me..."

Yes I do know you, I think, and while she says this to be cheerful and explain the familiar indifference to my feelings, I find myself thinking her lack of compassion comes as no surprise. I get out of the car shaken because divorce is becoming real in these moments. I sit down at my table and want to cry as I feel the emotions rise through every cell of my being. I watch the center of the table dissolve as the feelings cease and the ideas to write these words to you enter the emptiness of my mind. I have had enough of this ignorance, for it is ignorance, we suffer because we don’t know who we are. If we saw the truth within each of our hearts, we would cease to cause each other suffering and we would truly love… we would cease to put each other in prison, and the beginning is to recognize our teachers within the small prisons of our thoughts and accept the wisdom they offer.

So I say that I seek to be mindful and I reject the fear and the impulse to grasp at vengeful unkind thoughts, I choose not to attach to this experience but keep moving forward – all attachment is unreliable – all suffering is inevitable… the result of causes and conditions created throughout many lifetimes – it is best not to dwell, it is best not to blame, it is best not to judge. So getting over the loss, letting go of my attachment, feeling gratitude for the opportunity to overcome my small prison and walk in the vast open spaces – ‘Please Tara help me to overcome my anger and develop compassion and transform these afflictive emotions into wisdom’.

These are the offerings of a sad man hoping for your release from Samsara my sisters and strangers, or at least the great fortune to discover a teacher in your life who helps you to open your heart again and again. I think of Emelline and Balthazar who must have had a few great teachers along their way besides the soldiers that separated them and sent them into the great American wilderness. I think of the time when I came into this wilderness and in an instant I was sitting at the scarred ankles of HE Garchen Rinpoche, the evidence there on his flesh of the chains that bound him and the conditions that contributed to his enlightenment. In the most difficult conditions, if we find a way to open our hearts, we set ourselves free from the illusion of appearances…

A distant relative of a childhood friend once said, ‘never trust the artist, trust the tale…’ and so I ask you my brothers and sisters to persevere, look where I point not at my finger and have patience for my failings and lack. Recognize my perseverance as your own and make your way through the thoughts that inevitably arise from these words and experience them as sky islands of freedom. For it is said that there are portals into new frontiers of consciousness contained herein – and I can assure you that I am not responsible for having them here on these pages, I stumbled upon these words and did my best to surrender to their self-manifesting sunshine nature, allowing them into my mind through my veins and down my arm as dakini letters guiding the perplexed.