People talk about me.
What they say may be true.
But just three short steps
Take me to the winehouse of my lover.
—Sixth Dalai Lama, The Turquoise Bee: The Lovesongs of the Sixth Dalai Lama (#51 p. 99)
At a bookfair some weeks ago, I randomly opened to this page and read the line—”But just three short steps / Take me to the winehouse of my lover.” I simply closed the book and purchased it on the spot. The fact that these achingly sweet lovesongs were written by the sixth Dalai Lama (Tsangyang Tshomo Gyatso) is fascinating. He wrote of himself as the “Turquoise Bee” in his small collection compiled and translated by Rick Fields and Brian Cutillo. Fields writes a brief history of the first five Dalai Lamas and then we come to the unique and sensual sixth: Tsanayang Gyatso, meaning Ocean of Melodious Song. He was, needlesstosay, a controversial figure.
By drawing diagrams on the ground
The stars of space can be measured.
Though familiar with the soft flesh
Of my lover’s body
I cannot measure her depths. (#13 p. 49)
There is such longing and passion in his melodious songs, and such innocence that touches the heart of spiritual reverence. The joining of the sacred with the profane in the face of a disapproving society is lovely, brave and profound.
Face of frost on grass,
Icy north wind’s messenger—
Robber of the bond
Between the bees and the flower. (#40, p. 85)
I have neglected my blog. It has been a long many weeks for me: life throwing all sorts of joys and traumas my way. Reading these lovesongs is a sweet salve, a confirmation of what gets me through hard days and deep fears. I’ve never understood religions or philosophies that insist on removing one from one’s own physical presence. I can’t make sense of a dogma that would require the renunciation of that which is our experience: our bodies, our emotions, our sensual phenomenological being. When one loves, the door to a world of pain opens. But I would rather walk through that open door than live without giving my heart to those I love.