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I am a 60 something Californian, former world traveler of the back packing variety, a Buddhist, a writer, photographer, and teacher.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Twelve Links

Out of the dark
we come circling,
blind and reaching
the monkey mind, waking.
There in the dark, a light,
slick wet
and the potter’s wheel spinning,
black river flowing,  and we reach,
and find we have hands
look, and find we have eyes,
stand within a house with six windows
and see a world out there,
birdsong and zephyr
lovers embracing,
and we cannot stay quiet,
with spring in the air.
We run to meet it.
We hope we love we wrap
ourselves in sunlight and
too late learn shadows
for we are caught now, devoted to tomorrow and tomorrow and…
we can have it, 
so near, just there, beyond, soon,
try again, drink life dry,  hurl the bottle, tear away the fruit,
fight for it!
There is no stopping now.
Now we must come again.
A womb will carry us back
to be born in blood and yearning,
and then we are here,
existence required,
aging with each breath,
death stamped on our passports,
and dread dark at every exit.

**The Twelve Links of Dependent Origination and their associated imagery on thangkas depicting the Buddhist Wheel of Life.

1.     Ignorance – a blind person
2.     Volitional formation (impulse  due to past karma) – a potter making pots
3.     Consciousness – monkey leaping
4.     Name and form – body and mind come together in individual existence – people in a boat
5.     Faculties and objects  - the sense organs and their objects – a house with six  windows
6.     Contact – an embracing couple
7.     Sensations, pleasurable and painful leading to desire and aversion – an arrow piercing an eye
8.     Craving or desire – a man drinking beer, surrounded by bottles
9.     Clinging or grasping to self and to pleasures    and to a womb leading to rebirth – monkey or person reaching for a fruit
10. Becoming – forming the next life – a pregnant woman or a couple making love
11. Birth – a woman in childbirth
12. Old age and death  

Dedicated to those who died yesterday in Norway, and all those who now 
live with the pain of it.