Monday, December 26, 2011

diary of dying

Song: I once had a dream, or should I say – it once had me. You shimmered – gave me your sake bowl:
Referenceless white receptacle, jet-stream cirrus skull-bowl glowing in burning mi-lam bardo. You said:
“This is for you. I will not be needing it any more.” With cheer you pronounced “Long live the Queen!”
Then—on waking—telephone call from somewhere in Redland, Bristol, informs me of your parinirvana.
Some fire—almost like loneliness—plays in space like a Garuda that plays as spaced, with space, in space.

Imagery arises – diary of dying: in ‘Far-out Ati space’; in ‘ambiguous circumstances’; in ‘renal failure coma’;
In, Nova Scotia funeral arrangements; in riotous river of rainbow rifling and observatory ramifications,
Which lure themselves from nowhere. In life—as in death—enigmatic with immaculate enigmatic variations:
Tomorrow never knows. Yesterday was not certain about anything in particular – especially obituaries;
Opaque double mirrors, book reviews, opaque personages with so many ideas they ‘needed’ to express.

People generate such endless subjectivity, that subjectivity appears objective but—Chögyam wonders—
Why Did no one ever guess you were the direct mind Incarnation of Drukpa Künlegs – Dragon of Bumthang?
Memories—apparently—were diverted by London traffic; trafficing—it would seem—in one way systems
That either have you circling North and South or driving into Rene Magritte M25 spillages of frozen pea fog.
They came. They heard. They returned. Sat like pea pods in respective domiciles; projecting their illusions.

Dharma illusion. Illusory illusion. Duality illusion. Nondual illusion, duelling with nondual duality illusion:
Bad illusion; double-bind illusion; double entendre illusion, resentment illusion; disappointment illusion;
Entente cordiale illusion, sincere illusion, disingenuous illusion, grim masturbatory journalist illusion – but
Alf Vial (smiling sparkle eyed, white hair, cockney chuckling ruddy complexion) disciple of the Rigden King
Talks vajra turkey—quotes Myth of Freedom and wins the day– says: “Yer gotta dance with the situation.”

But – elsewhere: in shoulder bags; on buses; in cars; on book shelves; and, in the privacy of certain homes:
Attentive intellects—according to bank balance—attempt to research furtive applications of basic sanity;
In their traumatised love-lives; in the florid counterpoint of their domestic pain; in conceptual malfunction;
In, the somewhat chintzy decor of jaded collaborative confusion where they—almost—remember to sit;
In the ruptured vermillion bubble of their cunningly disguised appropriation of cosmetic contradictions.

Beneath marsh mallow acres of quilting, where conveyor belt garters of magnanimous perpendicular rain;
The bifurcation of dramatic irony secretes misconstrued deliberations concerning the glorious rising sun.
Leaving only déjà vu pâté de fois gras coup de’état, where every semblance of sense simpers ceaselessly.
Anyhow – Chögyam says: “Cheers! Here’s to you good and revered friend – even though I never met you!
Thank you for the sake bowl. I may well drink the poison, but I may only display a dung splattered tail.”



I wrote 'Diary of Dying - for the Rigden King' in Spring 1987 on the morning that I heard Rig-chen Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche had passed into parinirvana. The night before I had a dream about him - which is alluded to in the piece. This piece will probably only make sense to those who know ofChögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and who wish he was still here amongst us.

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About Doc Togden (Ngakpa Chögyam)

As the caption on the author-designed cover of Doc Togden's (Ngakpa Chögyam) upcoming collection of poetry ravings of a mild mannered maniac reads:

Tantra is Art - and a tantrika explores the sense-fields through the Arts. This work paints with the cadences of language - because the poet is both a painter and musician. He marvels at existence whilst lampooning the prevalent sociopathy of spirituality. As semantic Jazz - linguistic density jives with space, taking readers into realms where linear logic is only one possible vector amongst many. Comedy and tragedy dance, provoking a cascade of surreal impressions that change with each reading. Rock & Roll lyrics sung by dakinis erupt in counterpoint to the paradoxical hymns of a 'vicar or vajrayana' - a trans-Atlantic Englishman who raves, tongue-in-cheek, on the nature of reality. This is the first volume to be published in the contemporary genre of 'Critical Mass Poetics' as defined by the author and his students.

On the phenomenon of having two names, he writes:

"I appeared on FaceBook as Doc Togden because I wanted a fresh start in terms of the Arts. I have often found a dual prejudice to exist. If one presents as a musician / artist one is not taken seriously by Buddhists. If one presents as a Buddhist one is not taken seriously by musicians / artists. This is obviously a generalisation – and as such, probably meaningless for anyone apart from myself. It is true however, that Captain Beefheart had to give up his Rock musician persona to be taken seriously as a painter. A few Tibetan Lamas—such a Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche—have managed to evade the censorious radar of common opinion – but the same largesse of view would not seem available to the inconsequential eccentric yogi and yogini. Doc Togden is as much my name as Ngakpa Chögyam because the name on my passport—and other legal documents—is Dr Chögyam Togden. The Tibetan designation ‘ngakpa’ is hard to pronounce for most people and so, as I have a doctorate in Vajrayana Psychology I use that in everyday association outside my rôle as Lama. The title doctor releases me from having to designate myself by gender and appeals to my sense of humour vis-à-vis my fondness for Doc Holliday and a variety of musicians who have ‘Doc’ as their first name. I have five FaceBook friends called Doc and they are all musicians.

The time has now arrived to merge Doc Togden and Ngakpa Chögyam – and to allow them to be as they have always been. Hopefully those who may have looked askance at either will feel reconciled to the fact that they can talk with me as an artist and Buddhist teacher without feeling wary on the one hand or fearful of potential religious polemic on the other. I have no desire to convert anyone to Buddhism – but I do have a desire to offer aspects of Buddhism to the world of Art and Art to those who practise Buddhism. I believe there to be a common language – an essential language that speaks of the timeless efflorescence of the elements. The Arts arise from vision—from the empty space of primal creativity—and that space is the space everyone can access. Buddhists say that everyone is essentially a Buddha. I take from that that everyone is essentially an Artist. Now . . . did Ngakpa Chögyam say that, or did Doc Togden say that? Who ever said it, he’d also like to say that there is essentially no difference."

On Facebook, Doc Togden (Ngakpa Chögyam) describes himself as a "Teacher / Artist: painter; poet; author; life-style choreographer, and musician (vocalist, harp, rhythm bass, and 12 string / resophonic guitars)."

In reference to the roles of "Teacher" and "life-style choreographer", the informed reader will notice the uncanny resemblance of Doc Togden (Ngakpa Chögyam) to Ngak'chang Rinpoche, whom together with Khandro Déchen are the lineage holders of the Aro gTér. The Aro gTér is a stream of Vajrayana Buddhism in which ordination is congruous with romance, marriage, and family life that focuses on the teaching and practice of the Inner Tantras from the point of view of Dzogchen, an essential non-dual teaching.

As a writer, Doc Togden's (Ngakpa Chögyam) most recent books include an odd boy and wisdom eccentrics.