My Buddhist teacher is cloaked in mystery
I have never met her — yes, I do know her gender — or heard her voice. We correspond via email, an annoyingly modern means that seems inappropriate for such an ancient form of enlightenment. But as she would say, and in fact did say: It is what it is.
I am new to this game so I looked up a couple of things online, notably this:
A female embodiment of enlightenment is called a dakini — the Tibetan word for which is khandro, meaning ‘sky-goer’ or ‘space-dancer,’ indicating that these women have left the confines of earth and inhabit the vastness of space.*
A sky-goer! A space-dancer! I’ll buy a ticket to that!
I emailed her the other day saying I was planning to move away from the house my wife and I shared until her death one year, seven months and six days ago. (But who’s counting?)
Ever since she died I have had hopes of finding something as simple and yet as difficult as peace of mind, but my mind is as besieged by ghosts and grief and guilt as it ever was. If I could have one wish it would be to have Beowulf leap into my brain and slay the demons inside. What’s the alternative, a bullet?
COUREUR DU BOIS
But failing both options, as I told my teacher, I’m going to get the hell out of this house and this town and try and put the demons behind me.
“Those smoked beef strips you sent me in your ‘care package’ will come in handy,” I wrote to her, “like the beef jerky that sustained the explorers and coureurs du bois of centuries past. (I’ve eaten the chocolates and the chocolate cookies and the hand-cooked potato chips.)”
The move, I told her, will finally take me away from this wretched house. I will walk away from it like Bashō setting out on ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North.’ Except I will drive away in my Jeep.
DON’T DO IT, BILLY!
“Please,” she wrote back to me, “don’t drive off in a state of boredom and disappointment to seek new adventure. If you can’t find comfort at home in your own company, you won’t find comfort anywhere else you go — loneliness and emptiness will follow you everywhere. Ultimately nothing external (not even Beowulf) would be able to slay the demons. We have to accept whatever reality we are dealt with and make peace with it by ourselves.”
Clearly, good sound dakini advice, and advice that I will follow. I will stay put (after all, the house is fully furnished with memories) and keep plugging away at that elusive peace-of-mind thing.