Five things I never told my Rōshi
I seek my
but for the
My first visit to a zen-dō was a mistake. I saw the sign & misread it as Zeno; but, since I was seeking infinite pleasure, I entered. I thought it was a bit strange being asked to seat myself in what I now know to be the position of zazen, but went along with it, thinking kinky thoughts about auto-erotic asphyxiation of the groin area.
Was more puzzled when the Rōshi asked me What is the Buddha Mind? I suspected it might be some aspect of tantric sex, & so, determined to heighten my pleasure but still conserve my seed, I began by imagining a point on the perimeter of my conscious mind beyond which lay the unconscious. Then I mentally covered half the distance to it, then half the remaining distance, then half the remaining . . . . .
I was brought out of it by the Rōshi’s staff falling across my back. You were drifting, he said. But you may have been making progress so finish up for the time being & come back in two or three days.
Puzzled by it all, feeling some sort of inner calm but no sexual satisfaction, gratification, or even titillation after I left, I googled the question the Rōshi had asked me & discovered just what a difference a “d” makes. I was more than a little embarrassed. Still, some good had come from it, so I returned as the Rōshi had suggested.
Once again he pointed me to the raised zazen platform, &, as I settled myself, he asked another of those paradoxical questions that are designed to help the neophyte find enlightenment. What would you rather be: the tortoise or the hare?
think satori was
just another brand
When I sit crosslegged during zazen in the zen-dō, I seek to find, as the precursor to clearing my mind of all thoughts, that single point of equilibrium for what Alan Watts called “the woman in man” — &, obviously, the opposite / the same, “the man in woman.” But as I draw nearer to it, I am distracted by the conflict of those gender stereotypes that have imprinted themselves on me over the years. Even now, when I have resolved most of the physical issues, they flutter, like trapped moths, at the edges of the empty plain I seek to surround myself with.
I see myself wearing workman’s boots & a tutu. When I dance, I dance alone. Nobody wants to catch me in my jetés because I have been known to draw blood from my partners when I accidently land on them on the points of my steel caps.
& I am reluctant to climb ladders. It is not the height that frightens me, simply that the other firemen look up my skirt.
My navel is pierced with a five-carat diamond.
It is an impediment to meditation.
Seek the light, find it, & the facets start strobing.
Epilepsy not epiphany.
Mark Young‘s most recent books are a chapbook of visual poems, Arachnid Nebula, from Luna Bisonte Prods, HOTUS POTUS from Meritage Press in California, & the ebook A Small Compendium of Bats, from Swirl press in Sweden.