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  • Lama Jigme Gyatso

"Sith" and Six other Spiritual Poems

Updated: Mar 1




Even though he was my junior high school teacher

and I was his student

I considered him my friend.


When he invited my sister to his wedding

but not myself

I was crushed.


When I was tasked with picking her up

from the wedding reception

the pain, and betrayal, and injustice

were more than I could bear


and in my pubescent, eighteen-year-old,

high school, half baked brain

rage was my only coping mechanism.


I am happy I was not

a midichlorian-gifted, force user

for that evening could have turned me Sith.


Today’s Second poem:

“Court”


They cared not for homosexuals

at his high school


and after members of the football team

found him making out with his boyfriend

they beat him bloody.


From his hospital bed

he learned of his suspension.


Over the phone

the principal explained this was due

to his fighting on school grounds.


“I did not fight.”

He explained through swollen lips,

“Are you suspending me for being assaulted?”


“I was not there,

I did not see what happened.”

countered the principal.


With great effort he explained,

“I am in this hospital

because you failed to create a safe environment

for the children entrusted to your care.


Perhaps the next principal will do a better job;

you, I shall see in court!”


“Today’s third poem:

“Since Evolved”


As the two of us ate dinner

at an upscale Mexican restaurant

my heart felt heavy


and so I confided in my high school girlfriend

how I hated my stepfather.


Quicker than thought

she slapped me in the face;

the influence of the steady stream of soap operas

she wallowed in, all summer break.


She had witnessed step father’s

overbearing, and domineering,

and demeaning manner towards me;

was she too dazzled by his affluence to care?


She did not know

how he had sexually assaulted me;

how could she?


But she could have given me

the benefit of the doubt.

She could have,

but she did not.


That is not who she was back then.

I hope the years have been kind to her

and that she has since evolved.


Today’s fourth poem:

“Low Brow”


One of the many lies of patriarchy

is that it is only the ignorance

of occult metaphysical truths


that separate us, like a chasm,

from enlightenment.


But the tyranny of physical impulses

and intellectual story

that exacerbate all our stresses


can not be healed

by philosophical gymnastics

but only by the mastery of noticing

and letting-go


the twin strategies of Buddha;

low brow, but profoundly effective.


Let us NOT like sith

forever chase after

lost holocrons of arcane knowledge


but rather like Qui Gon Jinn

listen to the force’s

fresh whispers of wisdom


best suited for the needs

of the present moment.


Today’s fifth poem:

“Often Graze”


Live Aid aired the summer between

my first and second year of college.

I owned neither car, nor motorcycle

and relied upon bicycle for all transportation.


I do NOT remember what urgent need

prompted me to leave the sofa

but when I returned


I discovered that I had missed Led Zeppelin’s

reunion concert.


Even today, thirty five years later,

the thought of that

makes me feel a little sick.


That was such a very difficult period

of my life


and the very great irony

was that I do NOT even like concerts;

I very much prefer studio recordings.


But something was at work in my life,

during that period.

Something huge, and massive,

and surprisingly subtle.


Something was divorcing me

from the world around me

separating me from the people I loved

and the dreams I cherished.


Something that had been in motion

for many years,

working secretly, and quietly

behind the scenes.


But now like a whale

breaching the ocean surface

something was at play


and seemed to be unzipping me

from the world around me,

against my wishes

and against my efforts.


It very much was

as if I was being extracted

from the life

I had intended for myself,


like a reluctant piece

upon an enormous chess board.


Looking back

I am glad that I did not know

the decades that lay before me


and the great sea of fear, and sorrow,

and rage, and bewilderment, and abandonment,

and disappointment they had in store for me.


Now, as I sit in the pre-dawn hours

curled upon the couch

with my computer in my lap

clicking away,


the body I have spent a lifetime

training and feeding only the healthiest

and ethical foods I could conceive of,


is quite sickly, and disabled,

and hobbled, and weak.


Supported by disability,

as well as the generosity of two relatives,

and housed and fed

by a kind-hearted tantric partner


I find myself a Dzogchen Lama

dressed like one of Tibet’s

wild mountain yogi’s

with but a handful of gratis students.


By most metrics

this life could be considered

a bit of a train wreck.


But here is the irony:

I am happy.


My tragic past has been neither

rewritten nor forgotten


but I am no longer driven by survivor’s rage

like a tall ship

tossed in a violent storm.


I am happy.

I have surpassed my teachers,

the minions of patriarchy,


and have continued upon a much broader path

harkening to the whispers of the eithers


like the mystics: Lao Tzu, and Gautama,

and Saraha, and Prahe Vajra, and Chandrakirti,

and Chandragomin, and Mila, and Atisha,


and Jigme Lingpa, and Karma Chakme and Dudjom Lingpa,

and Patrul Rinpoche, and Dudjom Rinpoche

who have come before me.


And although I am disabled,

and poor, and have very few students


I find myself rich in intellectual realizations

and visceral masteries

of the spiritual path.


This is a life

profoundly different

than what I had imagined


in all my creative visualizations,

except for one.


In high school I awoke one morning

recalling a dream

where I was running.


I had been wearing tattered tights

and running in the morning,

my favorite time of day,

is a beautiful and unfamiliar bit of nature.


But what struck me most powerfully,

was during this run

the familiar pains,


of a lifetime of health challenges, were absent.

And in the dream

my heart sang

with peace, and joy, and contentment.


I awoke from the dream

as moved as I was puzzled.


Could this have been a metaphor

of the spiritual path

upon which I would sprint


or merely the fruit

of randomly firing neurons

and a belly full of food?


For as a teenager

I would often graze before the open refrigerator

like a greedy sarlacc in the sands of Tatooine.


Today’s sixth poem:

“Advantages”


When preparing to take formal ordination

I was told to get my parent’s permission.


Father was dead of brain cancer

stepfather was dead of suicide

so I had only one parent to contact.


Mother responded, “Oh God,

do what you want,

I don’t care what you do!”


Ah, the advantages

of being disowned.


Today’s seventh and final poem:

“Her Tool”


One of the many lies of patriarchy

is that authority

assigns identity


that one is not a lama

unless an authority figure

says they are a lama.


On the other hand

one of the truths of matriarchy

is that we are defined

by what we do.


Who, therefore,

is a fully qualified lama?


One whose teaching and techniques

can evolve us

in less than a week

of twice daily practice.


Let us learn from these life examples:

Anakin was consumed by rage

by his frustrated attempts

to win the approval of the Jedi counsel;


whereas Qui Gon Jinn

was concerned with neither

the counsel’s approval nor condemnation

and sought only the guidance of the force.


May we, like Qui Gon Jinn

flow with the force

like Sa-man-ta-bha-dri

in tantric union


whose nudity reminds us

to be vulnerable in our mindfulness

who, being comprised of light reminds us

to let go as if all things were non-graspable,


whose beauty reminds us

of compassion’s transformative effect,

and whose sport in wild abandon

with Sa-man-ta-bha-dra,


who functions as her Vaj-ra throne,

or, in other words, her tool,

reminds us of spontaneity.


Let us conclude

with a simple

call to action


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These spiritual poems are also available on

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