Leaving Home

Apologies for the delay of this post. Much has been weighing on my mind of late.

As my fellow Reedies are probably aware, a complement of Tibetan monks have been on campus this week constructing one of their remarkable sand mandalas. Apparently they've visited Reed once in the past, before I was a student. They also came to Bainbridge Island once while I was living there, and built their mandala in the public library. Unfortunately I didn't witness it at that time either.

Unfortunate indeed, for if I had perhaps I should have earlier known my present peace. You see, dear readers, yesterday while gazing upon the mandala in progress in the foyer of Kaul Auditorium, I achieved something I had never known before. It was as if I had fallen through the sand, but it was not the sand of the mandala, but the sand of this world of illusions blowing by as I apprehended the reality of the mandala. I walked its halls, marveled at the treasures of its teaching, paid obeisance to the many enlightened beings who dwelt there. At last, I came before Avalokitesvara himself, and received a prediction that I shall attain buddhahood within this lifetime.

To pursue this calling, I have already begun to cast away the trappings of this benighted life of suffering. With the little money I had left, I have bought as much incense as possible, to make a fragrant offering as I depart Portland. I have broken the swords with which I so long foolishly practiced an art of violence. I have cut off the braided hair which I so long grew out of foolish pride. I have thrown out the boots and hat made of beasts' flesh with which I so long foolishly defiled myself. I have smashed the bottles of liquor which I foolishly believed could bring me happiness amongst deluded friends. And finally, now, I will discontinue this ill-wrought endeavor to foolishly make discernments about illusion, saying 'It is this, but not that' of that which has no substance, no existence. I will cease playing with toys while the house burns around me.

Farewell, dear readers, and may you too soon see through the falsehood of the world.


  1. Even the hair and skin received from one's parent must not be harmed; the ancestral offerings should not be cast aside, even for an instant! If you were to pay attention to the teachings of the generations, and alter your far-flung aspirations so as to let shine your stature of lofty brilliance in the world of fulsome brightness, in the distance the spirits of your ancestors would flourish and nearby the wishes of human nature would be fulfilled.

    The great Way is endless;
    Heaven and earth extend and endure.
    Massive boulders thus will not dissolve;
    Mustard seeds are also innumerable.
    A human life is but one generation;
    Passing as swiftly as a steed before a window.
    Are the flowers at fullness not lush?
    Yet at close of day, they wither and stiffen.
    While mournful chants yet linger over the river,
    In the slanting rays you think of "drumming on a pot".

    Pure sounds can delight the ear,
    Luscious flavours may suit the mouth;
    Leather and silk can adorn the body,
    and the cap of buffalo may adorn the head.
    For what reason, then, do you shave your hair and whiskers,
    Indulging in emptiness to the detriment of what exists?

    Do not say that I am insignificant---
    If only I bring you to pity posterity.

  2. Is this truth?
    Have you cast aside the black, the leather, the long hair and the cynicism?
    Have you seen Avalokitesvara and vowed to attain liberation?
    Will you now only be found in some Buddhist monastery in Asia?

  3. Are we supposed to take this literally? Excuse my shallowness (it's probably just Values Dissonance), but this feels kinda creepy. How far are you willing to go in this road? Are you certain you have the mental strength to endure such deprivations?