Monday, September 19, 2016

Small Vajra Song on September 19, 2016 Thinking about my Community of Friends and Family

We are the flame that melts conceptual mind
We are the flame that protects the indestructible mandala 
We are the flame that dances in the fire
We are the flame that kindles endless compassion
one candle at a time


Photo Courtesy of Rosemary Rawcliff 
and Frame of Mind Films

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Glimpses of Mahamudra: An Online Course on the Tantric Teachings of Chogyam Trungpa

Chogyam Trungpa's introduction to classical Shamatha/Vipaassana or Mindfulness/Awareness practice, presented here in this online course is the gold standard for creating a base for more advanced experiences in Mahamudra/Dzogchen. I highly recommend it especially for beginners.  Judy Lief, in particular, is excellent. This is her trailer to the upcoming course beginning November 1, 2016. Years ago in my youth, one had to travel great distances, live in rustic conditions, and spend a great deal of money difficult to fund when not working in order to receive these teachings. Today it is a click away thanks to the internet. 

There's a huge marketplace out there and a great deal of confusion emerging around the numerous secularized mindfulness training programs. Trungpa's first major publication Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism remains one of the first and foremost introductions to the Buddhadharma in the West and after over forty years is as relevant now as then. 

An uncommon poet, brilliant visionary and Tibetan master of meditation, Trungpa Rinpoche founded an accredited American college Naropa University, before his untimely death at the age of 47. His Teaching on "First Thought, Best Thought" is the cornerstone for my personal poetics.  

Monday, August 29, 2016

What's Next

Coming Up Our Next Meditation and Poetry Group Meets on Saturday, October 1 at the Shelburne Falls Shambhala Center from 11:00AM - 2:00 PM

This morning I am thinking of poet Philip Whalen. If there is indeed a poetry realm on the other side, I would want to meet his mind again. Reading this review by Andrew Schelling of David Schneider's biography of Whalen, Crowded  By Beauty, I am reminded just how ephemeral the coming and goings of such beings are.

Somewhere in my archive of photos, there is a photo I took of Philip some thirty years ago in my then office at Naropa Institute that I  shared with a marvelous co-worker, Jane Faigao. Jane and I briefly together ran the Naropa Summer Institute - a dazzling display of creative synergy informed by the many poets, dancers, musicians and artists who convened there each year. Philip was a mainstay along with other so called "Beat" luminaries, Diane DiPrima, Gary Snyder, Joanne Kyger, and of course Allen Ginsberg and company, among so many others. 

Philip Whalen was the real deal and someone whose brief moments of interaction I had with him during a month-long sojourn I shared living in a house  with him and Ginsberg still resonates decades later.  A true master, he stopped my mind on numerous occasions. Somewhere the memory of that picture I took of him on the funky Naugahyde couch opposite my desk reminds me of the time when two phones rang simultaneously and I froze in his gaze as he softly said, "Breathe."

Visit TRICYCLE'S review of Crowded by Beauty, here

We'll breathe together, then share our gibberish on October 1. 

Impossible gibberish no one
Can understand, let alone believe;
Still, I try, I insist, I can
Say it and persuade you
That the knowledge is there that the
Is yours.  --Philip Whalen


A motion of sensors
To what is unsay able
All ears to penetrate
The vagaries
Such auguries of mystery
For which there is no name
Sounds sprung
A reaching out
A coming home
Never too late
This discovery

Jacqueline Gens

Saturday, August 06, 2016

A New Poem by Louise Landes Levi

in the aura of the other,
slow the rivers dwell,
where your illumination brings my
head to swell in vision , in the
of the others

wet winds & water pure 
all the pain I did I
endure, 4 You
4 you 4 you, 

in the aura of the other,
where all things good & evil
grow, in the aura of the other
where the river Lythe
does moan & flow,

in the aura of the other,
where I meet you
fresh again, in the aura
of the other, bed no lo no lo.

in the aura of the other mask
the death the taste of rain

in th aura of the other, bright
the friend whose sun doth
shine on my desire, in
the aura of fire, in
the aura of

Visit a Review of CRAZY LOUISE at Big Bridge

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Next Meditation and Writing Group Meeting on Saturday, August 6, 2016 in Shelburne Fall, MA

 [June writing group participants at the Shambhala 
Center meditating, photo by Jacqueline Gens]

This month we will be meeting on the first Saturday, August 6, 2016 at our usual Shambhala Center in Shelburne Falls for our meditation and writing group at 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM. Later on August 13,  I will facilitate a day-long workshop in Guilford, VT description listed here--Ordinary Mind, Sacred World.

The emphasis I encourage is a non-conceptual approach to the writing process based on my many years training at the Naropa Jack Kerouac  School of Disembodied Poetics and my working for the late poet Allen Ginsberg. Over the years as my own poetry craft has evolved, I've developed a number of tried and true methods that allow both beginner and seasoned writers to enter fully into what I call Poetrymind. Drawing on decades of resources I share with participants, we explore the various entres into the creative process that encourage a fresh perspective for our writing. 

For our July meeting, we gathered at our usual green market for lunch while we read our poems. It always amazes me that a particular theme emerges among all the different poems brought to the table. Listening to poems, I distinctly recollected Louis Zukovsky's slogan quoted by Ginsberg in his Mind Writing Slogans--"Only Emotion Objectified Endures." This slogan is a spin off on Pound's "only emotion endures."

Naturally, there are all sorts of discussion about what this means. In Barbara's 4/13 American Sentence below, one senses the pure objective declaration of externals that nonetheless show a deeply personal experience of lonliness. While, on the other hand, Donna's poem indicates a deeply personal catalog of internal observations. In any case, some interesting  considerations to regard as both caught us in their equally "vivifying" contents. 

Here is Donna D'fini's  poem she brought to us...(written in 1968!)


Looking on a thawing river in bright afternoon sun


The cat did not know how to lick tears, not gazed,
meowpurring (her sigh) into my face.

The Spring day pretended to be real, when really
the only reality is abstract, uncontained by time or place.

All the ideas of the day ebbed and flowed through my
mind's sieve, searching for gold particles of meaning.

People forget, people remember and it is all the same, as history
will tell you.....and why os the reality of alone so demeaning.

So hard to accept, that all public and secret western rituals conspire
to hide        the empty space.

Sometimes I can fill it with flowers or stars, both face in cycles
and the little cracks of emptiness show through my face.

It's not blue but colorless,
not black but colorless, 
not transparent but colorless
Hell is no color.

Whatever Sartre said - who lives in classrooms, stages
and dusty shelves  - no longer in deBeauvoir's memory...
now only memories of a dead lover. 

And then two more works from Barbara Paparazzo

April snow flurries, the fire gone out, by myself eating tangerines

Bushel basket empty
                        but with presence
just sitting there in the grass.