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Buddhadharma : Fall 2015
fall 2 0 1 5 buDDhaDharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 83 We put the urn on the altar and a bag of bones in the bottom drawer. Later I remember to call the sacristan and warn her about the bottom drawer. In the weeks to come, I will bake a cake in the middle of the afternoon and leave out the sugar. I will go to the gym at odd hours, filled with nervous energy, and then feel too tired to walk home. I will watch a lot of television and read until very late at night and have many strange dreams that evaporate in the morning light. I will wake each morn- ing to the shock, and take a deep breath, and reset my compass to this new world. We do a memorial on a muddy corner of the land, pockmarked with construc- tion debris and trailers, and a great blue heron rises out of the long grass beside us and flaps away, slow as a cloud. I lead the death and dying study group, having changed the syllabus so we talk about grief sooner than I’d planned. In the weeks to come, I look sometimes at the last email he sent me, his last communi- cation, the day before he died: Jiko, what say you? I think about what I shall say. But that afternoon, after we sorted the bones, I was happy. I felt my no dissolve like cloud and smoke into a great spa- ciousness, warm and deep and calm—a slow wave, bright and quiet. A wave of happiness. What a luminous world. That night, in the strange, pleasant, hypnagogic stillness, I had a waking dream, Kyogen’s life in a flickering rush: his face, young and then old, laughing, serious, silent, thoughtful; his slow, nodding attention while I talked; his dead body; the decaying leftovers; the coffin sliding into the furnace; the tray of bones, the bag of bits in the bottom drawer. All this flashed past me, disap- pearing as I watched. We are a loose collection glued briefly into a provisional thing called self, and all such things are bound to dissolution. How could this be otherwise? I can hear him chuckling beside me. What did you expect? he asks. And I laugh. This little bag, these bits of bone. How obvious and whole. HIS HOLINESS OF BÖN GYALWA MENRI TRIZIN 33rd A Tri Dzogchen Retreat Teachings with Chongtul Rinpoche: September 24-27, 2015 SOUND HEALING, Bloomfield, CT November 14-15, 2015 RED GARUDA TEACHING, Hanover, IN More: www.bonshenling.org / bonstore.org (917) 300–9254 May 27–30, 2016 WHIPPANY, NEW JERSEY Meditation cushions Buddhist statues Incense & altar supplies Dharma books & audio Mountain Record Journal monasterystore.org 845.688.7993 Supporting Your Spiritual Practice The Monastery Store