Saturday, January 12, 2008

words in the dust

Australian sandstorm
photo courtesy

The earth remembers a time when its full soft heart bore the imprint of all that could be, when the textures and colors of present and past were not fixed. Perhaps that time is now, the moment of every moment.
I realize I know so little and understand even less. I have witnessed a footprint embedded in rock, the dance of potential reflected in the shape of the clouds and the stone at my feet. Who says it is not possible to bear witness to the unfathomable. We do it every day.
I received a letter from a friend I have not seen for many years, written in a language I no longer speak very often, yet is still in my dreams. We met in a city encased by a wall, carved out of time, where the buildings and people still remembered a war, bullet holes freckling the sides of the streets. It was a long time ago. Or perhaps not at all. Now the history of war has been replaced not just once, and new enemies shaped out of hatred and fear. The past and present reflect the same pain. Shaping a future of sorrow.
My friend and I have aged, though a decade still separates us, as does the ocean. But the sky has held us together, despite time and space.
My eyes softened, moist, as I read her words and she shared a glimpse of her life and family, other friends, still in that city, knowing that although paths can shift and separate and lives reflect a thousand facets we may never see, we all share a heart, we all share a birth. And we will all share a death. There is so much the same in our differences. This is what we offer each other. As solace, as support. For courage.
I am not sure I know what friendship is, as perhaps I once did. Perhaps it doesn't matter. Our lives collide, and we share our days with people we may not call friends, and yet they populate the space in which we define ourselves. And others, removed from that daily sphere, still send ripples across the stillness of our hearts.
My hair was bleached white, or dyed scalding scarlet. Now I wear a shaved head. Really it shows that appearance is all in the blink of an eye, even as I cling to it as a definition of self.
Memory is a room filled with shadows, that I try to recall, to sharpen. And I do. Is there yearning? For what? For nothing but a remembered fiction of what I believed was fixed. My life has proven that to be untrue. Nothing is. Even the idea of peace is elusive.
I write because it is an expression of that which I cannot define, the words are the sound of the swollen creek, relentless in movement. Never still. Sometimes a person, a moment, evokes in me the wish - the need - to be that stream, the sky, the cloud, reflected on paper.
Yet the paper will age and crumble and be swept by the wind and dissolve in the earth with the pounding of rain. And there will be nothing. Just the stillness of potential, future and past, and the shape of the earth as it clings to the sky, defining each moment through the eyes of all who behold it.


Anonymous said...

Kunzang la this is beautiful... The dance of life.

Hugs from afar, Jenny

Anonymous said...

Hello Kunzang,
My attention has been drawn to your site through reading Tenpa Tulku's blog this morning. I had a thought about getting you a laptop.
Why not ask the Khyenste Foundation?
This is a philanthropic foundation set up by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche and can be accessed through

I am quite serious in suggesting this as something for you to do. In the past year the Khyentse Foundation gave a million dollars to the University of California at Berkeley. I imagine they could spare a few hundred dollars for a solitary nun living in the desert who relies on the internet for sangha connections. Just a little gentle teasing there. ;)

Asking for things I need is not something I am accustomed to doing either so if you are hesitant I can understand that. Maybe it's an opportunity to go beyond your limitations...

I am putting your blog on my regular reading list. Can you tell me - will Jetsunma be visiting Sedona anytime soon? I have been thinking of a trip through the southwest for a while and it might be good to do it at a time when she will be there.

All the best to you.


Anonymous said...

This is some of the finest work I have ever seen.

Lulu said...

Well g'day! Our paths cross again. I found you through the comments on Tenpa Rinpoche's blog- I met you at retreat last summer in NY- it's Elizabeth, the girl who was pregnant (or one of them)!

I hope you are well.

kunzang said...

Thank you to everyone...
Jenny: is that Jenny Taylor, from the heart of Alice Springs?
Cheryl: Thank you...I will look into that. A kind young monk from Australia also made a suggestion. In the meantime, I unearthed an older laptop someone lent me years ago, and had proved erratic, but seems so far to function for doing word documents at least!
I do not know when Jetsunma will next teach in Sedona. I will be sure to post it on the blog when I hear.
Elizabeth: of course I remember you!!: we talked cats. I hope you are well; i was sorry not to have gotten your email before you left retreat. Hope our paths continue to intersect.

Lulu said...

Send me email at

So glad to find you again!

Anonymous said...

hallo jenni,deine texte sind traurig und schön zugleich,möchte dich festhalten und dir kraft geben--nun das tue ich jetzt einfach mal so,von hier----denke an dich,küsschen,gabi