Two days ago I picked up the book Re-Enchantment: Tibetan Buddhism Comes to the West by Jeffery Paine. Good friend and people's poetry biographer Terry Barker had earlier bought a copy at a Toronto used book store. Terry recommended I also read it to facilitate our ongoing dialogue on spirituality. As the "guru" of Canadian People's Poetry, Terry and his close friend, poet James Deahl, have organized several "controversies" on people's poetry, the most recent having been held in Marmora, the village where I live on the edge of the Canadian Shield.
Terry's interest in poets and poetry is based on his belief that poets aren't bullshitters - that there has to be close to 100% of truth in what poets write and believe, as there is little chance for financial gain or fame in Canada as a poet. Terry is also a lifelong investigator of the esoteric, and at the Marmora controversy, held in the summer of 2007, he asked participants to examine the sources of our poetic truths. My basis is Buddhism, and Terry and I initially found little common ground, or even a common vocabulary, to continue our dialogue.
I haven't been reading much since forced into early retirement by a rural Ontario witch hunt, but last night I read until my 63-year-old eyes could read no more. Half the book has been absorbed. Re-enchantment is re-opening and extending my 'Buddhist' consciousness, and today my little dog familiar, Chase, and I visited my retreat, ZenRiver Gardens.
My ostensible reason for the visit was to check on the pines I've planted at ZRG, which were dangerously snow-bent. Several days ago I carefully dug out the pines, many bent double with their tips looking like snow-bound ostriches. On our inspection today I was pleased that most have returned almost upright. So after 'weeziling and wooziling' around ZRG, Chase and I followed the trail to the sacred cedar grove.
small dog sniffs
wild pee scents:
fox den entrance
Chase wandered off, attracted by the scents of a fox den. I collected him from his dangerous explorations, and floundered through drifts, while old Chase, much lighter and operating with 4-wheel drive like my Subaru, danced like a puppy over the cold white drifts.
After an hour's exploring we returned to the car, where I hesitated, wishing to prolong our visit. From the Sube's trunk I retrieved a bottle of Zywiec beer. We were now on the south bank of ZRG, and I sat on the narrow green seat facing the river, sipping away. This is the seat where Thay, the venerated master monk of nearby Zen Forest Monastery, had first sat on his visit two summers ago. I felt honoured to share this seat and vista with such a bodhisattva (Thay would undoubtedly reproach me for calling him this).
same seat, same thoughts
Chase begged biscuit after biscuit while I sipped my strong beer. The sun had finally decided to shine, and I congratulated myself on the decision to linger by the icy banks of the river.
The rippling river sounds began to mesmerize, and I felt myself slipping into a state between reverie and meditation. Memories floated of earlier meditations and sittings on this spot.
I focused on the beautiful other-worldly sounds the rippling river was creating, and recalled last night's readings about dakinis, discarnate female spirits. And suddenly I understood and realized:
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Firstly Chris, that haiku is WONDERFUL.
Like Terry I have always been interested in the esoterica of all we experience.
I suspect Celtic thought, myth and inspiration, fuels my muse. I also pulsate with the inner discoveries of Buddhism. We are blessed Chris. So great to see with a poet's other-dimension vision.
Yesterday was St. Bridget day, ancient Celtic mother goddess and patron of poets. Today is Candlemas day, the ancients always consulted animals to forecast the weather of the season, hence our poor imitation: Groundhog day. Just the same only 6 weeks till spring.
We have a bush wolf coming close to the barn. Bigger than Jessie but Jessie barks it away. Old lore teaches that urinating around the place will keep him away. Your beer would help. Love from Katherine (Gordon).