touching it

In the Lankavatara Sutra, translated by Red Pine
Mahamati asks the Buddha:
what does ‘mere designation’ mean?

Pine writes: the Sanskrit is prajnapti-matra. This Yogacara concept means that whatever we might say exists only exists as a verbal convention or designation. What is real cannot be designated or indicated because it includes the finger and the one doing the pointing.

Hmm: A finger can’t point at itself.
Everything outside the finger and everything inside the finger is
not only the finger but reality
and reality points at nothing, names nothing, loves nothing,
including itself
But simply is the loved one and the lover, the hater and the hated.

Bodhi’s last words to his beloveds
Now I’ll go on as you–
without this old body to encumber us.

What I see now is that
reality does not seek rebirth because
what was never born can never be reborn
and what never dies has no fear of death.

Now I understand that, for a while at least. I have touched it.
I guess I thought there would be fireworks
but it’s just like this.

Tuesday February 23, 2021 around noon

The Tingle

A dharma is an arc of contact
between the almost touching spheres
of This and That.

A dharma is the briefest moment of impact
between this mind-constructed world
and That.

A stroke immeasurably light
splits the moment into then and now
and dies

into the skin that instantly absorbs
the photon’s energy
the whisper of one leaf of grass
the faintest tingle
of the Other
then another
as like rain they fall

until it feels like Something that
surrounds your flesh
in the vast deep where it is swimming
toward the tunnel and the light
where all that are dying
are also being born.

the next thought

If consciousness could see itself
maybe it could see how it goes wrong
but an eye can’t see itself
and consciousness can only discern its reflection
in the consequences of its errors and successes.

Of course it’s safer to look at those
before we speak or act
if we can manage an unhurried life.
Some slackers even find time to construct
intricate models of the inner stream
with diagrams, words and the wondrous power
of imagination.

But accurately modelling consciousness was not easy
for the ancients because they didn’t know
whether bodies actually existed
outside of the senses, thinking the world perhaps
a necessary fiction
tho consciousness is self-evidently real
but so is imagination and that’s another reason
why the task is still hard.

And modelling consciousness is still not easy
because so much of it is shaped by energies
hidden in the darkness of past events partly or
completely forgotten, some of them so painful
our systems had to neutralize them
within zones of numbness automatically ignored
by selective attention which ignores all that is not
illumined by the warm light of desire
or the cold light of hate.

But if you still wish to imagine a consciousness
in an imagined world, let’s imagine
that this world has a dimension of parallel timelines
generated by brief meteors of sensation, memory or
thoughts that brightly flare
just long enough to share their qualities,
the fading with the growing, in a vast river
of parallel moments like firefish swimming
thru the light and height, breadth and breath
of now

so the fading fade into the growing again
life after life, thought after thought.
Like the very next thought–
do you know what it will be?

After Satori

finally got thru

so now I know something
that cannot be explained

but the treasure is always hidden
in plain sight

for anyone who wants it more
than all the other things
we are told we really need
all the cures
for loneliness, homelessness and boredom

the path is simple
turn off the noise and
let the music in

patiently consider the suchness of
what is near and now
before it flows away
as all things do
including you

as for loneliness
the world is full of unknown friends
including you

as for homelessness
neither cabins nor mansions serve
if you are not at home in your own skin

and boredom is an unlocked door
that only you can open

Suchness at Garland Bay

standing on a small promontory of stone
the first part of the east shore to receive the sun
seeking the exact words for
the garment light lays on the wide lake

a waving net of shifting reflections of
the light green of the western range
interweaving with dazzles of sky blue
on the vast dim depth below

my lover comes down from a nearby perch
and says she forgot her pen so
just let the waves roll over her mind
we chat a little then I stop
struck dumb

by the silent mass of a great black stone
rising from a sea of pebbles like an island
glinting with sparks of mica
like stars in a black stone night

then I stumble across the smooth, shifting pebbles
to kiss its rough, black crown
almost in tears

pure suchness I say

finally knowing what that word means

Refusing Heaven

Bodhidharma tried heaven until he understood
that heaven is a mind enclosed by exclusive
concentration on the pleasures and woes
of its imaginary self. Ignorant and uncaring
about the servants or the victims
of its perfect world.

Zen is a mind that lives nowhere but
wherever you are at this particular moment
of your night or day and obviously it is
not confined to any particular social position
being a come as you are occasion.

Zen does not exclude itself from suffering,
heartbreak or death. Nor does it separate
from the bliss of remembering
how one funny, wise and imperfect soul once loved
your crooked heart.

If there is one primary choice to make
at any moment of your life on this circle of
dark moments and flashing days,
it is
whether to remember love
or not.

A Parallel Earth

Gebtu was the most important religious center in the area. Its principal male deity was Min, a sky-god whose symbol was a thunderbolt. He became a male fertility deity, and also was regarded as the male deity of the desert region to the east.

The gods inhabit a parallel Earth

imagined by collectives of submissive minds,

an Earth abstracted from reality,

an Earth populated by imaginary species

including the one that imagines it is wise.

A collective dream puts the world to sleep

as it entertains us passengers on our unsinkable ship

serenely plowing thru the plasticated sea, the band playing

to distract us from thinking about the wretched

lifeboats overfilled with refugees

from smoking villages and sinking coast cities.

To distract us from asking why

this world of dreams and lies?

What is their source?

Our real brains of course

floating here in real heads atop real bodies

in our separate lifeboats, cabins and deck chairs.

But now we know

that the gods only think

if we think their thoughts

instead of our own,

only speak if we speak their words

instead of our own,

only have bodies if we embody them

instead of our own unique, unfolding natures,

yours and mine.




The Master Frequency

Page Two

All stories begin with a blank page

To remind us of the physical papyrus, palm leaves, paper, wax,

or digital circuitry of elements and electrons that

mediate the flow of language that carries thought

from mind to mind.


And page two always starts in the middle of the book

because that’s where the real story is actually unfolding

on both sides of the page you’re reading now

one side is memory, following right behind the next word

or the silence which follows the last word that vanishes

in fire, ink fade or dust.


One side is you and one is me.

I probably don’t know who you are, unless you are one of the physical few

who find their way to the Clear Light Cafe, but let us be of good cheer,

dogs can’t do this and neither can butterflies

but we can.

And neither of us knows what will follow the last word, possibly

in the middle of this particular moment of


the effect of different strings, voices, minds singing

on the same frequency.


Like the frequency I share with those who know

something of the Great Moment we call by many names.

The Red Monk calls it zen mind, I call it the master frequency

because the Red Monk tells me that when he enters zen mind

he feels like the Master is walking in his shoes.


The Red Monk tells me now that in their nightly meetings in Tushita he has begun to receive detailed notes of the master’s journey through China and India, which he calls his rahnāmag, a pilgrim’s guide to zen. We have been thinking about publishing it here in Dysutopia and, if you are actually reading or hearing this then we have not worked in vain. He tells me stories of visiting the master in his cave in Tunhuang, in an oasis in the great northwestern desert. He thinks it happens in a kind of dream because the Master has been gone for fifteen centuries. He thinks the Master is an eternal possibility that wakes in various situations, like dreams and roadside diners, laundromats and hospitals, anywhere a mind happens to let him in. Wherever there is an open door or a crack in the wall he passes thru, like an ocean. I tell him not to worry about the metaphysics, I just want to hear about the latest part of the adventure.


Selene and Dahma were in Egypt, he says, about 430 AD. They got out of Hippo just before the Vandals seized the harbour and burned or captured all the Roman warships, for their own fleet which would become a force of desolation around the Middle Sea. Such was all the talk in Alexandria where everyone was asking if Alexandria would also fall, the Roman garrison being so small. Now they were travelling south, up the Nile road in a small camel caravan. He had acquired some delicate objects of Etruscan gold and Selena had saved a little from her casual labour as a travelling scribe, a writer of other people’s letters in formal or elegant Greek script so, richer than they looked, they chose the relative safety in numbers and travelled with others in small caravans. They were taking the slow road to their spring rendezvous with The Captain at the Red Sea port of Berenike. Winter was warm but people were tired of the dull, sometimes sandy sky. Such is the weary world until the first flowers peek from the dead gardens and the dream of spring wakes to the dawn of its reality.

In each caravanserai they would rent a humble room then he would mind their stuff while she bought food or she would stay in while he went for a bath. They would trade information in the inn or bath house where a hookah might be passed around. Dahma found the effects of cannabis comparable to the entheogen the magi imbibed, the wondrous hom. Pounded into a liquor and drunk in rituals, the first haoma plant, created by Ohrmazd, the purest form so to speak, is a shining white tree that grows on a mountain in paradise and, being also a god, gifted the world with her seeds, carried to Earth by sacred birds.

Do you like this shit? asked a dark woman with long white hair who sat in the wide circular tub, between several other bathers who were also sharing the hookah, pouring water on their heads or sitting in deep appreciation of existence itself.

It’s fine, said Dahma, but it’s not hom.

Not soma either, said the other.

I have heard the Magi use something called hom, said the elder.

I’ve heard the Hindus like something called soma, said Dahma.

The elder poured a handful of water on her head and recited the following:

We have drunk Soma and become immortal; we have attained the light, the Gods discovered.

Now what may foeman’s malice do to harm us? What, O Immortal, mortal man’s deception?

Dahma smiled and in his crooked Greek said, this sounds a little Gnostic. They claim that somewhere in their scripture Jesus says, you are all Gods if you believe that I too am God.

We all God! laughed the elder. Our hands and minds in a world, Our sentient bodies, every word we sing, speak or write, every brain and each thought that informs each language. Where does a thought come from?

Maybe it’s a kind of flatulence, said Dahma, mental indigestion. From eating uncooked lentils. Or smoking hom.

They smoke it? In a hookah?

Sometimes they drink it, sometimes they burn it in a ceremonial brazier, said Dahma, and everyone leans to breathe it in.

Haha! laughed the dark bright elder, here’s another verse from the Rigveda:

Heaven above does not equal one half of me.

Have I been drinking Soma?

In my glory I have passed beyond earth and sky.

Have I been smoking Soma?

That about which nothing can be said

Mom and Dad gave birth to someone like you.

From Mom that someone received the nature of Eve

as a unique unfolding articulation of That

about which nothing can be said.

From Dad they received the nature of Adam

as a similar unique unfolding emanation of That

about which nothing can be said.

When that someone dies the dance they are

will divide

into an unbounded sea of particles and waves and

a fading sequence of physical and mental intimations

of That

about which nothing can be said.