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  • Lama Jigme Gyatso

"Saber Form" and Six other Spiritual Poems

Updated: Mar 1



I discovered the music

of Simon and Garfunkel

during a family road trip

while I was still in junior high school.


Recall some of the lyrics

from their song I am a rock:


“Hiding in my room,

safe within my womb

I touch no one

and no one touches me


I am a rock

I am an island!

And a rock feels no pain

and an island never cries.”


The majority of human cultures

laud the sociopathic tendencies

to put no stock in the validation

that comes from others.


But such fairytales of so-called strength

are rooted

in abject ignorance of neuroscience.


As healthy mammals, no less primates,

evolution has selected

that our mid brain’s anterior gyrate

and mirror neurons


hard-wire us for empathy,

and cooperation, and respect.


In days of yore,

top-heavy, big-brained, hominids:

slow and weak of form

lacking prolific claw and fang


could only survive

in mutual cooperation

reinforced by empathy and respect.


These feelings

are not a symptom of weakness

they are a symptom

of being a great ape.


And as such we have the perceptual acuity

to notice what we feel,

and what we emote,

and how others treat us.


And we can do all this

in harmony with each inhalation.

We can notice the pleasure, and the pain,

and the glory, and the grotesquery.


And because of the wiring of our under-brain

we have the ability to physically relax

and thus mentally let go

with every exhalation.


And because of the wiring of our mid-brain,

we can ride our IN-breath’s momentum of centeredness

and our OUT-breath’s momentum of spontaneity

and love others: effortlessly and without contrivance.


The liberation that the Buddha offers us

is NOT freedom from needing others


it is the liberation from the neurosis

that denatures love

into greed, and hate, and resentment.


I have never seen a Buddha statue

holding hacksaw,

nor ice cream scoop,


nor in any way hinting

that we are to emotionally

lobotomize ourselves.


The Buddha’s techniques

give us the freedom to feel what we feel

and think what we think

without being controlled by them.


To perceive

in the absence of slavery,

is the freedom

that meditation could give us.


But only if we are taught it properly,

and we apply it consistently.


Like a youngling

practicing their lightsaber form

until it becomes

as natural as breathing.


Today’s second poem:

“Yaddle’s Compassion”


Behold the petty-ones-up-man’s-ship

of toxic masculinity

for patriarchy is less about the shape of one’s genitalia

and more about the orientation of one’s mind.


The drives of toxic masculinity

have their seat in our brain-stem

and, like a silly sith lord,


it concerns itself

with the pettiness of power

and prestige.


Whereas the impulses of healing femininity

have their seat in our mid-brain

and like Jedi master Yaddle

seek the welfare of others.


Today’s third poem

“Gastronomic”


His belch entered the room

before him

like a kind of gastronomic fanfare.


Today’s fourth poem

“Fortunate Circumstances”


I was recently asked:

Is it better to do good deeds

or think good thoughts?


I reject the premise of the question

for we do not have to choose

between the two.


In Tibet, it is taught

that the highest form of compassion

is spontaneous and uncontrived.


Therefore if we cultivate centered spontaneity

our intentions and actions

could take care of themselves.


But wait,

how do we cultivate this centered spontaneity

of which I speak?


By practicing Buddha’s contemplation,

and meditation, and compassion.


In Tibet, they are known as

view, meditation, and action.


The easiest way to practice VIEW

is to blend certain rhetorical questions

with mantra recitation.


The easiest way to practice MEDITATION

is to passively watch the play of mind

in coordination with one’s inhalation


and then to relax into the non-graspable

nature of mind

in harmony with one’s exhalation.


After having sat in meditation

the easiest way to train in ACTION

is to first briefly recall how although


the minds, communication,

bodies, and circumstances

of all beings everywhere


conventionally seem to be lucid, and resounding,

and sensual, and appearing,


ultimately they are each as non-graspable

as a vast, empty void,

like a beautiful cloudless sky

the color of Kun-tu-zang-po’s body.


Secondly one practices the love

that wishes that for all beings:


their minds would be joyful,

and their speech would be peaceful,

and their bodies would be blissful,

and their circumstances would be fortunate.


Training thusly, every morning and every evening

we could condition ourselves to love and let-go

spontaneously, and habitually, and easily, and effectively.


Today’s fifth poem:

“Mind itself”


When teachers explain

that the mind is “clear light”

what do they mean?


The mind is lucid,

the mind is aware.

It is aware of the five senses

of sensation, and flavor, and scent, and sound, and sight.


Mind is also aware of its sixth sense,

the awareness of its own

emotions, and intentions, and reasoning,

and recollection, and imagination.


So during our meditation’s IN-breath

we could spontaneously notice

any of these aspects, or functions, of mind


and during our meditation’s OUT-breath

we could physically relax


and as we do

we could mentally experience the non-graspability

of that which we notice


as well as the non-graspability of the mind itself

that perceives all the above.


Thus “clear” is a metaphor of mind's perception

and “light” is a metaphor of its non-graspability,

inferring that mind is as non-graspable as the full moon,

reflected upon the surface of a placid lake.


Today’s sixth poem

“Member of the Sith”


I once knew a petty, cruel man

who although had promised

to pay for his son’s college education

looked for a way out of his pledge.


So he added a proviso

that if his son’s grade point average

dipped below an arbitrary level


he would cease to support his son’s education

and the son would have to move out

and seek gainful employment.


To ensure his son’s failure

that father selected the classes

loading the freshman with an inappropriate number

of overly demanding classes.


When the inevitable happened

and the unsatisfactory grades were issued

the father wasted no time


in cutting his son off

and kicking him out.


As if that was not enough

he strove to convince himself and his son

that what he had done

was in his son’s best interest.


But it really was not.

Jim did not succeed in convincing his son.

And his son never got over it.


This sad tale

of cruelty, and betrayal,

and deceit, and self-righteousness

is not uncommon nor unheard of.


That father had no lightsaber

nor midichlorians

but make no mistake


he was as self-serving and cruel,

as any member of the sith.


Today’s seventh poem:

“Define”


I have encountered

self-help gurus

who insisted they were enlightened


yet could not define what that term meant

no less how the buddha used it.


Let us conclude

with a simple

call to action


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These spiritual poems are also available on

the “Meditate Like a Jedi” podcast.

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