Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Weekly Round-Up - 210



[Allen Ginsberg - Allen Ginsberg Nude Self-Portrait, Portland, Seattle, 1991 - Photograph via the University of Toronto Collection, Gift of the Larry and Cookie Rossy Family Foundation, 2014]

Opening last week (Feb 20) and up till early April (April 5), it's the University of Toronto's Ginsberg photo show, "We Are Continually Exposed to the Flashbulb of Death  - The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg (1953-1996) curated by Barbara Fischer and John Shoesmith - currently at the Presentation House Gallery in Vancouver

"Essential viewing" - Burroughs: The Movie moves from the New York Film Festival to the Glasgow Film Festival.  Read Rob Dickie's review (for Sound on Sight) here

Kerouac news - coming soon (March 7 and 8) - the annual Lowell Celebrates Kerouac celebrations

Still time (March 26 is the closing date) to help support The Whole Shot: Collected Interviews with Gregory Corso. The Kickstarter page regarding the book can be found here

More on Annalisa Mari Pegrum's  bilingual anthology of Beat women, Beat Attitude - Antologia de mujeres poetas de la generación beat - here 

"Selfies" - since we lead off this week with one of Allen's "pre-selfie-selfies", here's some others





Here's a very different vision of Allen - San Francisco Assemblage artist, Bruce Conner's classic work of 1960 - wood, fabric, wax, tin-can, glass, feathers, metal, string and spray paint, "Portrait of Allen Ginsberg" - Recognize him?



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Meditation and Poetics - 54 (Bodhisattva Vows - 4)


   ["..the Buddha path is endless, I vow to follow through")

And the last of them (Bodhisattva vows) is “Buddha path is endless, I vow to follow through”. Or, “wakened mind”  (“Buddha” just means wakefulness) - “Wakefulness is infinite, (or the path of wakefulness is endless), I vow to go right through to the end”
Same thing as “Sentient beings are endless..numberless, I vow to enlighten all.” So it’s a statement of vastness, you realize, it’s a statement of vastness. It’s also a statement of your occupation of this vastness, your… the vastness is our kingdom. We don’t have to shrink from the vast. We are the vast actually. So it’s a statement of endlessness. And nothing could be more…from a poetic point of view, nothing could be more romantic, nothing could be more delightful, nothing could be more poetical, nothing could be more Wordsworthian-vast, nothing could be more Shelley-an, Blake would cream!  In other words, it satisfies everything, it satisfies every poetic ambition, except its basis is cold, clear, dis-illusioned materialistic no-mind, no soul, no ego, no self, nothing but phenomena at once real and empty (simultaneously real and empty). 

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately thirty-one-and-three-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately thirty-three-and-three-quarters minutes in] 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Meditation and Poetics - 53 (Bodhisattva Vows - 3)

[Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, here depicted with thousand arms and eleven heads]

AG: The next (Bodhisattvavow) is “Dharma gates are endless”. The gates of dharmas are endless, “I vow to enter every gate”, I vow to enter all. By “dharma gate”, that means situations are infinite. There are an infinite number of situations – this classroom, the question you asked me, each is a dharma or a “thing”  (dharma means really a “thing”, not just the law, the whole Buddha dharma or the dharma, the law of nature but dharma, in a technical sense, means just a thing - like this microphone is a dharma, my voice is a dharma, my notes are a dharma (or dharmas) – this book is a thing – “thingies” – “thingies are numberless, I vow to enter every one” (“thingie” is the local terminology around here for dharma, actually, that’s the way (Chogyam) Trungpa uses the word “thingie” - dharmas. It also means law of nature, or nature of things. So it also means that situations are endless, or every single psychological situation, every single mental situation, is a gate to enter to explore and turn to enlightened advantage.”Dharma gates are endless, I vow to enter every one”. In other words, if the mad man comes up to you, then you have to deal with him, rather than run away. He’s a dharma gate. So there is some element of an attempt to enlighten the madman or dis-illusion the madman


And as a corollary to that there is a bodhisattva understanding that you never cut off contact with anybody by saying, “I’ll never talk to him again, he’s a shit.” That common human reaction of "I’ll never (want to see him again)" is forbidden henceforth, because you’re plunged into the thick of life, (where everything is) all inter-related, all sentient beings are of your own  nature related, and so, actually, that.. that cut-off point no longer applies. You’re actually doomed to go on forever talking with madmen, throughout the endless length of the universe, until you yourself wake up, or they all wake up, or simultaneously there’s a wakening. In other words, you can’t get away from it anymore, you can’t get away from suffering anymore. Suffering then becomes a dharma gate. Suffering then becomes a gate into which you enter to understand something new. So every situation, every pain, every broken leg is a lesson (or, that’s how it can be interpreted) – “Dharma gates are endless, I vow to enter every one" .

[Audio for the above may be heard here, starting at approximately twenty-nine-and-a-quarter minutes in and continuing to approximately thirty-one-and-three-quarter minutes in] 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Meditation and Poetics - 52 (Bodhisattva Vows - 2)

    [...'though passions are numberless, I vow to cut them all down"] 

AG: The next one [of the Bodhisattva vows] is a little more fishy (and) difficult. Something sticks in the craw with that, which is often translated as “Passions are endless, I vow to cut them all down” – Well, that’s pretty tough! It means you’ve got to cut off your balls - or what?

Student: (Are you talking about (Walt) Whitman?)

AG: Now, wait a minute, wait a minute, I’m not talking about Whitman yet. I’m just talking about laying out a general theory (Whitman does it, actually. At a certain point, yes. He does. He has to stand back from himself and say, “Now, wait a minute, I’ve fallen to the usual mistake”). I’m not talking about Whitman (though). I’m going to use Whitman as a text after, but I want to lay down some ground rules and some ground understandings.


Actually, it’s not so much that passions are numberless, it’s that attachments to passions are numberless. It ain’t the passions that are so bad, it’s our obsessive attachment to them. In other words, like in (William) Blake - “He who kisses the joy as it flies/Lives in eternity’s sunrise" - He who binds to himself a joy/ Does the winged life destroy”. It’s better translated, I’m told by Gary Snyder, as “Obscurations", or "coverings", or "illusions", or "delusions", are numberless, I vow to cut through them all”.
 As Reggie (Ray) might have suggested to you, the Vajrayana style is actually plunging into the passions and using them, without attachment. Riding the passions. Just as you might say you have your thoughts – you ride your thoughts -  “Thoughts are numberless, I vow to cut them all down” doesn’t mean you stop thinking. It means you recognize them all. So, in the same way, “Passions are numberless. I vow to cut through them all” doesn’t mean that you stop the passions with a dam or a wall, puritanical, but, rather, by recognizing and riding them, they become more transparent, less obsessive, less of a nightmare-dream in which you’re trapped. So, (the) second Bodhisattva vow – “Passions” (or “obscurations”, or...actually, I think the literal translation is “coverings”  - coverings-over of awareness) - are infinite, I vow to cut then all down”.

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately twenty-six-and-three-quarter minutes in and continuing to approximately twenty-nine-and-a-quarter minutes in]