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goldenlangur

Bardo

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goldenlangur

Bardo (Prose Poem)

 

 

In the precinct of the monastery you raised your eyes as I looked up and we felt a karmic link of minds and hearts. Through the juniper smoke and to the chime of the bronze votive bells, I blessed and touched the heads of devotees who prostrated before my seat. But all the while, Oh! Buddhas of the Five Directions! My thoughts kept flitting back to the shy crease of your dark eyes.

 

This burgundy robe, my monastic oath, shaven head and begging bowl bind me to this august throne of the Speech Incarnate of the late Guru. You are betrothed to another, with his fortresses, attendants and donations to monasteries across the land. I, have only youth and this hunger, which these years of retreats, rituals, prayers and metaphysics, have not assuaged.

 

A precinct beyond the monastery divides our destiny. Why do you keep sending me gifts of fresh fruits and sandalwood incense? These vermilion persimmon globules and crimson pomegranate seeds you have laid out in this black lacquer bowl glisten in the butter lamps. I rattle my prayer beads at the mosquitoes and my thoughts. Dawn comes before sleep.

 

I'm in the bardo between you and my destined office. Can I take a chance?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

Buddhas of the Five Directions: One of the many representations of the Historical Buddha.

 

Speech Incarnate: The practice of incarnation of the great gurus of Tibetan Buddhism has three forms - Mind, Body, Speech. Three different people are identified as these various incarnations of the lineage.

 

Bardo: an in-between state between death and rebirth; also meaning a state of suspension.

 

Guru: Sanskrit term for Learned Master/Teacher.

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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Aleksandra

Wow how rich prose text. Goldenlangur I loved this one. Some expressions here sounds as a poem to me. How wonderful is written. Very deep and rich text. There is treasure of one culture and traditions. I was reading about bardo a little before too, and now I remembered, so how to take this, to which bardo is the narrator? I think in the second one - the Bardo of Meditation.

I'm in the bardo between you and my destined office.

 

Also I love it how sounds this, the last part:

 

A precinct beyond the monastery divides our destiny.
Why do you keep sending me gifts of fresh fruits and sandalwood incense?
These vermilion persimmon globules and crimson pomegranate seeds you have laid out in this black lacquer bowl glisten in the butter lamps.
I rattle my prayer beads at the mosquitoes and my thoughts. Dawn comes before sleep
.

 

Wonderful expression my friend. I love all of it.

 

Thank you so much for share it. You have nice sense for description.

Keep writing

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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goldenlangur

I'm very grateful Aleksandra that you enjoyed the descriptions in this prose poem.

 

Yes, you're quite right - there are 3 stages in the bardo 1. immediately after death (recognizing the physical form/body is dead/finished), 2. The dead person's consciousness then enters the second stage, where he /she confronts his/her karma - here the dead is said to have encounters with the wrathful and peaceful deities, which are really configurations of one's mind according to one's actions or karma during one's life time. 3. The final stage is when the dead then passes into a new rebirth.

 

But here by bardo, I meant a state of suspension - between two destinies.

 

 

Yes, you observe well that this refers to the culture of how the main Tibetan Buddhist traditions have lineages through which the teachings are passed down and the institution of the incarnation - Body, Mind and Spirit - is a way by which the lineage continues.

 

I appreciate your thoughts.

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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Aleksandra

Golden exactly as you say. I was talking about traditional bardo states but they are six and known as six bardos: the Bardo of This Life; the Bardo of Meditation; the Bardo of Dream; the Bardo of Dying; the Bardo of Dharmata; and the Bardo of Existence.

 

Maybe I am little bit lost now, and I hope I didn't ruined your prose with my thoughts about bardo.

I enjoyed again with this lovely piece of prose Goldenlangur.

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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goldenlangur

Hello again Aleksandra

 

Thank you for getting back about the bardo. Yes, you're absolutely right that there are 6 different kinds of bardo. Of the six, which you have mentioned, the bardo of dying, the bardo after death and the bardo of rebirth are the ones most commonly referred to and used by ordinary people in Bhutan. So that is why I referred to these 3.

 

The first three bardo - Life, Meditation and Dream- are mostly used as yogic (pratitioners of meditation) meditation techniques and texts. To undertake these meditation techniques in the bardo texts would need immense time, special initiation by a guru who specializes in this and dedication. It is a specialized practice, if you like.

 

I'm very grateful that you mentioned these 6 bardo which are part of the Vajrayana Tradition of Buddhism, under which Tibetan Buddhism is classified, because I'm never sure how much of details one should give in a small piece. But it's wonderful that you read about these and share you knowledge here.

 

In my piece by bardo I meant a state of suspension, intermediate state, which is common to all 6 bardo but culturally the bardo of death, after death and rebirth are most commonly talked about and practised in the funeral rites in our society. I hope this makes sense and I'm sorry that you felt lost with my reference to what is commonly practised in Bhutan.

 

 

 

I appreciate your interest and your enriching exchange very much.

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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Aleksandra

It is very interesting my friend to share all of this. Every culture have own beauty and treasures. So always I am hungry to know more and more about all different cultures and traditions. And I am not lost in your references golden, I am lost in my own knowledge, because always I feel that I don't know enough as I wanna know icon_rolleyes.gif

 

Still I love how you managed the end of this text and thank you for introducing with all of this thru your writing.

 

It is well done. Thank you again for share.

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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goldenlangur

Hello again Aleksandra,

 

You highlight a very important point here, my friend:

aleksandra wrote:

... And I am not lost in your references golden, I am lost in my own knowledge, because always I feel that I don't know enough as I wanna know
icon_rolleyes.gif

Aleksandra

 

Sometimes, because a certain tradition is so familiar to oneself we forget how another from a different culture/country might want more details/information to appreciate what is happening in a poem or prose. So your pointing out about the other 3 states of bardo, was a very good thing to do. It made me realize that what is so evident to people here is not obvious to someone outside the culture and society.

 

So it's not your lack of knowledge, Aleksandra in this respect, but rather my inability to make accessible what is familiar to my society to someone outside it, who is trying to make connections and understand how the whole tradition/principle work. In fact, quite the contrary, it's admirable that you have read these esoteric doctrines and practices.

 

 

The Life, Meditation and Dream bardo are taught by special gurus and my father who was a monk for a while used to talk about two gurus - Dudjom Rinpoche and Kalu Rimpoche - both sadly deceased now, but their incarnations are alive and probably undergoing these bardo practices!

 

 

Thank you for taking so much time and trouble to post your thoughts. I'm very grateful.

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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Aleksandra

Not at all goldenlangur, I am glad because we can talk about all of this. And thank you so much for your kind words. It is never a trouble to learn or to read something more.

Thank you so much for your help here.

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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tonyv

Hi Golden,

 

Although I admit that, for lack of knowledge, I am left in the dust with respect to your scholarly discussion with Aleksandra, I will say that I approached this fine prose poem the way Alek has said that she reads poetry: with my "soul eyes." I enjoyed the blend of simple monastic life and ritual:

... I blessed and touched the heads of devotees who prostrated before my seat....This burgundy robe, my monastic oath, shaven head and begging bowl bind me to this august throne of the Speech Incarnate of the late Guru.

 

I wonder if em-dashes could be employed in the last sentence of the first paragraph, like this:

But all the while -- Oh! Buddhas of the Five Directions! -- my thoughts kept flitting back to the shy crease of your dark eyes.

I know their use with certain punctuation (like exclamation points) works according to most style manuals.

 

 

I like these lines a lot:

These vermilion persimmon globules and crimson pomegranate seeds you have laid out in this black lacquer bowl glisten in the butter lamps. I rattle my prayer beads at the mosquitoes and my thoughts. Dawn comes before sleep.

Thank you for a fascinating read, and thank you, as always, for including the notes.

 

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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goldenlangur

Hi Tony,

 

Thank you so much for your most generous words about my "discussions with Aleksandra" - not from any false modesty but I'm not really sure how "scholarly" my discussion is! But your support for my writing is very welcome.

 

The suggestion you make about using "em-dashes" is a very good one and I shall gratefully use this in the rewrite of this prose poem. Punctuation is quite a tricky issue for me and I learn so much from exchanges with you and others here.

 

I'm glad that you enjoyed the images you've highlighted and my appreciation for reading this with your "soul's eyes" - a beautiful expression

indeed from Aleksandra.

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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