Eye of Delusion


Good sir—you claim there is no “I”.
Your Buddha says it’s just a sham;
that all is one, and that is why
we ought to merge,
repress the urge
and give a damn.

You say desire upholds the ego
(selfish bully, source of sin)
but void of self-hood where can we go?
Scale the mountains,
flow in fountains,
gaze within?

OK; let’s cultivate the glow.
We’ll sit and let Samsara roll.
(Be careful lest your aura show!)
Then still the spin
and glimpse within
the Oversoul . . .

I find a catch in this your theory.
True, it sounds quite mystical . . .
in practice, though, it makes me leery.
Cynical jeers
give way to fears

without an “I”, who pays my rent?
Why learn, why sing, why plant or reap?
Why should the criminal repent
if there’s no he
who wronged the me
with no harm meant?


image: Tales of the Buddha Before He Got Enlightened
Writer: Alan Grant
Artist: Jon Haward
Colorist and Letterer: Jamie Grant

The Jewel in the Center of the Lotus (Eaters)

There is not a single aspect of the eighty-four thousand sections of the Buddha’s teachings
which is not contained in Avalokiteshvara’s six syllable mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum”… 
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

 No more western Buddhists, please—
I’ve had it up to here.
your grimly earnest souls aren’t saved;
your doctrines: very queer.

That lotus incense makes me sick.
It mingles with the fumes
of Subarus and passing schemes
in tofu-scented rooms.

Come off it, all you dilettantes;
your chanting is off-key.
The Zen is Sham; and God will damn
your choice to simply BE.

The books you offer me are full
of theravada shambala.
The Dalai WHAT? You babble on . . .
Ascetic sands you’re building on.

A bourgeois dalliance at best
this turning toward the Mystic East.
Those jasmine smells, and gongs, and bells,
proclaim a saffron beast.

By Trungpa Rin-Po’s holy yak—
you’ve swallowed sinker, line and hook.
(Along with way too much green tea
and words from some Buddhist book.)

Celebrities that flap about
this form of Dhammapada – Lite
are mere proverbial flitting moths
and dwell in irrelevant night.

Your shaven sensei’s DVDs,
the Pali scarf, the trademark beads
should be compared to junk-food sweets:
what bald hypocrisy it feeds.

Contemplatives in SUVs
(like boiled carp in lacquered bowls)
are pseudo-karma-yankee-sake
poured into empty souls.

So trade your cushions for some Truth.
Unlock your legs. Uncross your mind.
Return to words that can make you see
—or meditate yourselves blind.

Before this cultural rot began,
before your symptoms were full-blown,
our ancestors did cultivate
the gospel’s seed, once sown . . .

Marching April’s Road

I am re-posting previous work during March.
Since 2014, I’ve published 30 original poems
for National Poetry Writing Month every April.
You can read more by clicking the NaPoWriMo widgets to the right

Reply to a Bumpersticker

the number of sentient beings being great, evil karma powerful, obscurations dense,
propensities o too long standing, the Wheel of Ignorance and Illusion
becometh neither exhausted nor accelerated.
 The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Free Tibet your sticker tells me . . .
Yes, I think, perhaps I should—
and the noble thought compels me,
uninformed, half-understood.

Will their freedom help my Karma?
Upgrade my reincarnation?
(Soul who could not dare to harm a
fly . . .  much less a Buddhist nation.)

Not to justify aggression
by the ever-brutal Commies,
let us grant no glib concession
to the Maoists or their mommies.

Slogans echo in the void,
shining in bardos of the dead;
stopped by the light, I am annoyed
impatient for the change from red.

A bumper crop of human woe
beams forth a mandate to my brain
while red Dakinis circle slow
in Buddhist hells of karmic pain.

The eastern concepts here diverge
and bow before brutality.
They make this driver long to merge
with incorporeality.

Then I glimpse a monkish fellow
swathed in saffron, calmly seated.
His, the cloud-borne sage’s pillow;
mine the traffic; stalled, defeated.

In his gaze of stern displeasure
I perceive the orient stars
calculating man’s mismeasure
trapped, exhausted, among the cars.

Flanked by Spirits wreathed in fire
he extends an accusing hand:
Western slave of base desire:
come and  liberate my land !

I meditate before the stop light:
am I ready for the task ?
Should I just refuse it outright
Can’t it be someone else ?  I ask.

Must I free this mountain nation
from the Buddha, demons and Reds?
Shall your sticker’s declaration
shatter the yoke and raise their heads ?

Somebody ought to free Tibet,
and heed this Himalayan cry.
Maybe we should get upset . . .
The red light changes. Cars pass by,

predestined for benign events
and unconcerned for persecution;
oblivious to dissidents
awaiting execution.

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