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Byang Chub (in Fibonacci) [Jan. 27th, 2008|05:08 pm]
piiopah
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pinch

kill
thought binge

extinguish
feral ignorance

compulsive, reactionary

starve it, emaciate it, choke and suffocate it

like toxins expelled through sweat glands
tumor to scalpel

corpse and pyre

purge it

ex

it

________________________________________________________________________

gain

birth
stillness

awaken
dormant awareness

liberated, intractable

cherish it, guard it, cultivate, strengthen, and share it

like the healing hands of Jesus
water to parched land

fuel and fire

take in

en

ter
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The History of Myous [Jan. 27th, 2008|04:47 pm]
piiopah



A Brief History of Myous


approaching

puffed-chest confidence, bronze statue bravado
but mostly naïve imprudence
(later I will fall asleep cradling her guitar)
fearless fighter-pilot moth, I
wide arcs; Spiral in, Spiral down

scorching center, Blue like picasso’s best
soft incinerating center
(she says she’s from NYC; she’s a writer)
letting gravity coax me
funny to think I will credit my volition

enbrambled

feral frame, propping up pliable skin
blessedly susceptible, these moth-paper permissions
(the witching hour has never been so aptly named)
architect I, swallowing the Residue
tear strips; give It, give In

engulfing threshold, Red like king’s best
stolen boundless limit
(perfect awareness and perfect denial)
letting the riptides baptize me
and to think I used to Be such a strong swimmer

coated

melted wax ministrations, bleeding color chemists
broken but emboldened, these proud-badge contusions
(pith the pith, sacrifice so sweet)
limp doppelganger Lucidity, I
broad strokes; start Again, over Again

precious skin-peels that contrition can’t recant
untimely epidermal demise
(offering up my eyes to stare into this sun)
let the sensitive plane shine through
to pull myself off of this pyre would mean giving up my blisters
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glutton for punishment [Jan. 30th, 2007|05:58 pm]
piiopah

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Don't you just love when people post pictures of their pets? (Yes, yes, we are all so happy that you care so much for your little such and such) Oh well, I promise never to do it again!



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This one is 'Monkey' (Biu in Tibetan).

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This one is 'Baloo' (hindi for Bear).

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what Nangpa means to you [Nov. 5th, 2006|04:13 pm]
piiopah
Please watch the video below before reading today's entry.










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Science and Sprituality [Oct. 22nd, 2006|04:41 pm]
piiopah

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Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.

-Albert Einstein




Our minds are everything. While in our daily lives we feel like and act as if we have direct perception of the world around us, this is simply not the case. Our senses relay information to our mind and our mind interprets it. Our mind determines reality.

Sometimes our minds misinterpret reality. This is fun when watching a magician perform his tricks. It is not as fun when we accidentally harm ourselves. This happens because we use our minds not only to perceive reality but also to weigh the information. Based on our assessment of reality, we act in the world.

We are the cause of our own suffering. We suffer needlessly because we have a distorted view of reality. In our lives, we misinterpret reality the vast majority of the time. Thus our actions are based on false information. It is as if we are standing on the side of a busy highway. Cars are zipping past. We are looking for a safe gap through which we can cross to the other side. But, though we do not know it, we are watching the action through the bottom of a Coke bottle. Since the images being relayed to us are distorted, we act on bad information. And we wonder why we suffer so many injuries while just trying to make our way through life!

Ignorance is the key. We all want happiness. We all want to limit the amount we suffer as much as possible. This is true of everyone in the world. This is the basic instinct of all creatures. If happiness eludes us and we suffer on account of bad choices and we make bad choices because we have distorted perceptions – that is, because we are ignorant of reality – then ignorance is key. Eradicating ignorance and thus cultivating an untainted view of reality should be our primary goal.

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the road here [Oct. 19th, 2006|10:32 pm]
piiopah
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In the United States’ final year as a legitimate democracy, which coincidentally enough was the same year that we hosted the Olympic Games, I jettisoned the life of the starving artist in favor of that of a starving student. My circumstances had contributed not to my compulsion. Poverty has never been able to get much of a rise out of me. Indeed, there were no glittering images of becoming a made man in one of the nefarious corporate crime families. Nor did I harbor any longing to paint a mock-up of self worth by way of prominent medical or judicial status. Instead, I would ride into the wilderness of academia on a horse named Purpose. I was parched. I was driven.

I am fortunate in that I have never (yet) had to struggle with the anxiety that pings around your stomach when you are plagued with milky vision at a crossroads. I had opted out of the pandemonium of the average life, trading one coast for its counterpart, because I had become a dilettante in the realm of seekers. As such, I knew before ever splaying my gaze across the inside of a college classroom exactly which subject to dedicate myself to pursuing: the Truth. Yes, the elusive kind with a capital ‘T’. Wielding my number-two pencil like a rapier, I made my declaration in bold graphite circles. Physics. Philosophy. Religion.

Two and a half years in little league and three and a half in big league would pass before I was to get the official stamp of approval for my various efforts. It was to be a labyrinthine odyssey that would bestow the blessings of countless mentors upon me. 99 days after the Twins were brought down, in the final month of my eleven-year fairy tale, I wrapped up my stint in the Physics Department at Emory University with an honor’s thesis titled 4-Maleimido Spin-Labeling of Cysteine Side-Chains in Ethanolamine Deaminase. Perhaps owing to the title alone, I was awarded highest honors for the work. One down with two to go. Fast-forwarding through one year of perpetual fog, on the day after 10 million people gathered in various major cities across the globe to protest the United States’ cavalier disregard for facts and foreign relations, I set off to India to wrap up my Philosophy and Religion studies. During this sojourn I would meet the Dalai Lama for the first time, learn to speak rudimentary and broken Tibetan, organize my first war protest, become aware for the first time of the other side of the world – its people, it’s struggles, and its gifts, and begin my foray into the formidable world of Buddhism.

When I first ventured into this land of Babas, Sadhus, and Walas, there was no real culture shock to speak of. I had anticipated a whole different world. And that is mostly what I found. As it turns out, the culture shock was biding its time, building up its strength. I would be crushed by it only later, upon my return to America. Unable to cope with the level of detachment I felt upon returning home, I lost myself in menial work and inebriation. Summer, Fall, and part of Winter slipped by before I caught a glimpse of my bug-eyed reflection in a stainless steel vat of chicken wings. That was essentially all that was needed. Sloughing off the vestiges of my stupor, I enlisted the help of a kindred spirit and delved into filmmaking with the intention of making a documentary in India. My first film award ensued. My second trip to India also ensued. The two events were not, however and despite my original intentions, entangled. I disappeared into the great subcontinent for another reason altogether…

(to be continued)
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On the Eve of the Birth of the Mahatma [Oct. 1st, 2006|05:54 pm]
piiopah
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting As I lay on my bed in my little concrete room in the corner of India that is pushed up against the Himalayan mountain range, and which subsequently nuzzles Kashmir, I listen to the celebratory cacophony of exploding fireworks and crudely tuned instruments. Tomorrow is the national holiday that was created to mark the birth of Mohandas Gandhi. Tomorrow nearly a billion people will celebrate one of the world’s rarest treasures – a truly great individual. Tomorrow a mass of people equal to nearly four times the entire population of the U.S. will pay tribute to the founder of Ahimsa – non-violent resistance. Yet, just today I learned that over 80,000 people have been killed in Kashmir since 1989. Most of them were Muslims, most of them killed by Indian security forces. This contradiction has occupied my mind for the better part of the day. As I pondered one question, ten more would arise. The process has culled from me the small piece of writing below. It is an offering made out of reverence for a man that showed the potential of an individual. It is an offering to you on this the eve of his birthday. Since my talents are limited, I hope that the universe is a conniving one and that something valuable has made its way into the passage below.

Sincerely,

pii

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Life Amongst the Refugees from Shangri-La (Part II) [Sep. 13th, 2006|02:36 pm]
piiopah

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There are certain spots on this earth where, by sheer virtue of the environs, all of the drab gravity of our mundane adult lives dries up and falls off giving way to fresh and sensitive skin. Within Nature there are many such locations and I have even been to a few cities capable of evoking such wonder. At these moments and in these places we are able to sense the wide-eyed child that resides in us still, an echo of a long forgotten world. Under these, the rarest of conditions, we can almost believe in magic again.

Gazing out the window of my office, I am struck by the vision of a mythic looking valley splayed out before me. It is preternaturally lit by the heavens like the Promised Land in the Torah. All of the various greens are so vibrant and the vista so sweeping that I feel like a child who has been plopped down in the middle of a toy train set that has been so cleverly constructed by Lucas’ crew that it appears seamless.

Behind the valley is the jagged maw of the highest mountains in the world. And situated far above the valley and underneath, above, and all around the little concrete room where I write these words, is this little village that used to be an escape for British officers who couldn’t take the heat of the Indian plains. Now it is home to a people who have also used it to escape; to escape persecution, assimilation, and worse.

It is a bit strange that these people, these heartrending stories that pass by me on the street and serve me chai, are also primary contributing factors to what a friend recently referred to as the “specialness” of this place. But paradox or not, the magic in this place is as palpable as the salty scent of the ocean breeze when you first arrive at the beach. Every week I meet travelers from every corner of the globe. In the midst of the typical banal conversation, questions about the length of one’s stay inevitably arise. And time and again the answer is the same. Despite having precious little time allotted for traveling throughout this vast country and despite their original intention to stay in this little village for a matter of days, they find themselves unable to leave. Days turn into weeks and it is not uncommon for people to expend the better part of their days in India in “Little Lhasa”.

For my part, I am happy to confess that I have found a small way to contribute to the enchanting spell of McLeod Ganj. Every Monday evening, in a little café built especially for travelers to this area, I host a talent show of sorts called an “open mic” night. There is no actual microphone, nor is there alcohol, a stage, or other accoutrements typical of similar events in America. But people show up in droves and the talent that comes through the door every week is downright uncanny. For about two and a half hours, every Monday night, I am steeped in a festive milieu of international cultural exchange as people do everything from sing and dance to share personal poetry to perform recitals of traditional folk songs or folk lore. There have been South African tribal hymns, Hindu dirges, and Israeli, British, American, Australian, German, and Russian rock songs. There have been Gaelic myths, African tales, and spiritual sermons. There have been cheeky poems and dodgy jokes. And there has been music and music and more music.

It is a real joy to witness these events and I am extraordinarily fortunate to find myself in the position of Master of Ceremonies for the third time in three years. Countless people have approached me with raw gratitude and expressed how much these Monday nights have contributed to their experience here. It is something of a special night in something of a magical land. Oblivious to our differences, we all leave the café as wide-eyed children who might just dare to believe that anything is possible.


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So What's it Like Out There...? [Aug. 31st, 2006|12:09 pm]
piiopah

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Roads lined with little rivulets of red robe
Monks and nuns
Cafés stuffed with broken and heavily accented English
Travelers and tourists

Earthy incense mixes with masala spice while
Nauseating sewage mixes with gritty exhaust
Rambunctious stray dogs chastise mischievous monkeys while
Lunatic taxis dodge obdurate cows

Prayer wheels, prayer beads, prayer halls, and prayer flags
Buddhist life
Bhindi dots, roadside shrines, colorful gods, and bearded Babas
Hindu life


It rains. Before it rains it rains a little.
And then after it rains the rain really comes down!


Roads dotted with lepers and cripples and beggars
The destitute in the land of the needy
Cafés stuffed with hand-drawn flyers
Everyone's a masseuse!

Ancient shrines intimidate newly cobbled shanties while
Water tank sentinels guard concrete rooftops
Hypnotic songs and chants float lazily over horn blasts and ringing bells while
Emphysemic mopeds swallow dog-barks and the catcalls of shopkeepers

Butter tea, butter lamps, butter sculptures, and more butter tea
Tibetan life
Bobble heads, bright saris, unspoken castes, and mustaches galore
Indian life


It rains.
And rains.


It’s beautiful.
It’s heartbreaking. It’s enlightening. It’s maddening.


It's beautiful.

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LIFE AMONGST THE REFUGEES FROM SHANGRI-LA (Part I) [Aug. 15th, 2006|08:20 pm]
piiopah

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This is where I work. This is the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. This building houses thousands of sacred texts, some of which date back to the 12th century. It also houses some of the few religious artifacts to survive the initial invasion in 1950 and then the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1980’s. As a result this is one of the holiest sites on the mountain. Many Tibetans come here everyday and walk clockwise around the building in prayer as part of their spiritual practice. This is where I work.


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