“THE GREATEST OF ALL THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF 20TH-CENTURY SCIENCE has been the discovery of human ignorance.” Lewis Thomas, Lives of a Cell. “OUR IGNORANCE, OF COURSE, HAS ALWAYS BEEN WITH US, AND ALWAYS WILL BE. What is new is our awareness of it, our awakening to its fathomless dimensions, and it is this, more than anything else, that marks the coming of age of our species.” Timothy Ferris, Coming of Age in the Milky Way.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Very Short Sutra on the Meeting of Buddha and the Goddess

By Rick Fields

Thus I have made up:
Once the Buddha was walking along the
forest path in the Oak Grove at Ojai, walking without arriving anywhere 

or having any thought of arriving or not arriving

and lotuses shining with morning dew
miraculously appeared under every step
soft as silk beneath the toes of the Buddha


When suddenly, out of the turquoise sky,
dancing in front of his half-shut inward-looking eyes, shimmering like a rainbow
or a spider’s web,
transparent as the dew on a lotus flower,



–the Goddess appeared quivering like a hummingbird in the air before him

She, for she was surely a she
as the Buddha could clearly see
with his eye of discriminating awareness wisdom,


was mostly red in color
though when the light shifted
she flashed like a rainbow.


She was naked except
for the usual flower ornaments
Goddesses wear


Her long hair
was deep blue, her two eyes fathomless pits of space
and her third eye a bloodshot
ring of fire


The Buddha folded his hands together
and greeted the Goddess thus:


“O Goddess, why are you blocking my path.
Before I saw you I was happily going nowhere.
Now I’m not sure where to go.”


“You can go around me,”
said the Goddess, twirling on her heels like a bird
darting away, but just a little way away,
“or you can come after me.
This is my forest too,
you can’t pretend I’m not here.”


With that the Buddha sat
supple as a snake
solid as a rock
beneath a Bo tree
that sprang full-leaved
to shade him.


“Perhaps we should have a chat,” he said.
“After years of arduous practice
at the time of the morning star
I penetrated reality, and now…”


“Not so fast, Buddha.
am reality."


The Earth stood still,
the oceans paused,


the wind itself listened
–a thousand arhats, bodhisattvas, and dakinis
magically appeared to hear
what would happen in the conversation.


“I know I take my life in my hands.”
said the Buddha.
“But I am known as the Fearless One
– so here goes.”


And he and the Goddess
without further words
exchanged glances.


Light rays like sunbeams
shot forth
so bright that even
Sariputra, the All-Seeing One,
had to turn away.


And then they exchanged thoughts
and the illumination was as bright as a diamond candle.


And then they exchanged mind
And there was a great silence as vast as the universe
that contains everything


And then they exchanged bodies

And clothes

And the Buddha arose
as the Goddess
and the Goddess
arose as the Buddha


and so on back and forth
for a thousand hundred thousand kalpas.


If you meet the Buddha
you meet the Goddess.
If you meet the Goddess
you meet the Buddha.


Not only that. This:
The Buddha is the Goddess,
the Goddess is the Buddha.


And not only that. This:
The Buddha is emptiness
the Goddess is bliss,
the Goddess is emptiness
the Buddha is bliss.


And that is what
and what-not you are
It’s true.


So here comes the mantra of the Goddess and the Buddha, 
the unsurpassed dual-mantra. 
Just to say this mantra, just to hear this mantra once, 
just to hear one word of this mantra once 
makes everything the way it truly is: OK.

Earth-walker/sky-walker
Hey, silent one, Hey, great talker
Not two/Not one
Not separate/Not apart
This is the heart
Bliss is emptiness
Emptiness is bliss
Be your breath, Ah
Smile, Hey
And relax, Ho
And remember this: You can’t miss.



(NOTE: Rick Fields started his journalism career at the Whole Earth Catalog in 1969 and was a co-founder of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review magazine. Later, he was editor of Yoga Journal and a contributing editor of New Age Journal, and finally editor-in-chief of Vajradhatu Sun magazine, which became Shambhala Sun. He died of lung cancer at 57.)

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