Monday, December 26, 2011


Presidio Park, turning right onto Fulton from 19th insinuates something about trousers: Red and black.
They way whey fit? Cold afternoon sunshine? Loose or ‘spray-on’? Their respective quaint quotidianism
Rolling knee against inches of crescendo crashing Pacific (keeping a safe distance from severe under-tow).
Water hardly ever drowns in surf—fragrance of Eucalyptus trees—Chinese pines: implicit maze directions
Park benches meandering colours in the wind. Englishman’s pocketed hands make walking quite sprightly.
Conversation is exactly the right length - fits walk and smiles exactly, with no misleading terms left over.
She asks: “What happens . . . when you throw the Scrabble board in the air? Isn’t it very complicated?”
Chögyam says: “No, It’s simple. The letters fly just fly and land where ever they land.” She continues:
“How d’you get words you want?” Chögyam says: “You don’t. You get whatever - and it’s always poetry.”

When letters fly, they sing their own songs; they experience their own destiny in space: in chaos, in pattern.
They spell: ‘auf wiedersehen’ and ‘auf widdershins’. They spell affection/remoteness; reciprocity/alienation;
Mutuality/disconnection; passion/inertia; this/that; abandon/abandonment; love/hate; Haight/Ashbury
Loveliness/lifelessness; relaxation/tension; praise/blame; meeting/parting; embracement/embarrassment;
Hope/fear; gain/loss; inner-form/outer-emptiness, inner-emptiness/outer-form; seamless tights/earmuffs;
Heliotrope helicopters on patrol / pink panties surviving force-eight gale; Captain Kirk/the final front ear
Cantaloupe melons vying for ascendancy in constricted latex / Fredrick Chopin’s private collection of keys;
Pomegranate orchids in persimmon profusion / antebellum columns and imported sanguinaries of Georgia.
In random order they spell emptiness and form: “Hello, hello, I don’t know—why—you say goodbye I say hello.”

They spell: something and nothing; impressive and impassive; here and there – and, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Wherefore art thou, sleeping sea-wall wrapped snugly in American Graffiti - cosmic cognoscenti confetti concerti
Offering mercurial metamorphoria of the 1960s – in trampoline memoirs of messianic exuberance: on stage now!
The Dakinis sing: ‘Here she comes just a walking down the street – singing doo—wha—diddy—diddy—dum—diddy-doo.’
Chögyam opines: “Perplexity is only problematic if one is devoutly committed to the dreary art of sense-making.”
And who gives a damn if the wires are not connected and the fuse box is lying in ruins? Who needs it anyway?
Puissance reviews remarkable collections of confiscated ribaldry – saturated with the glory the moment’s glee.
Vajra nostalgia is only there in fabulously infinite figments of timeless space – circling so high and lonesome:
Chögyam sighs contentedly: “There are beautiful trees in this woodland park – beautiful waves arise in this specific sea.”

2nd of February 1989

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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.