Monday, December 26, 2011

Silk Blancmange Rotweiler

Silk blancmange Rotweiler stands—diffidently poised—at the transition between: emptiness and form;
Form and emptiness; mind and nature of Mind; cloud and sky; waves and ocean; presence and Purple Haze;
Some, say it’s God—they really do—and some, say it’s Devil. Some people enquire “Are you experienced?”
Whilst some would have you believe: God and Devil arm-wrestle to while away the long—long—years,
Between: creation and destruction, between: flood and fire-storm, between hello and goodbye, between:
Arising and dissolving, between: heaven and hell; between rapture and rupture; between: this and that;
Between: Late breakfast and brunch, between: lunch and the occasional secretive afternoon snackette,
Between breakfast and elevenses, between brunch and burlesque lunch, between high tea and dinner,
Between: aperitifs and port, between Armagnac and Armageddon, between: impertifs and exposé.

Devil sure looks—sharp—in his crimson leotard. Devil sure drapes barbed tail with—grand—insolence;
Devil sure unfurls crisp silk satin cloak with demonic devotion to detail; sure has sleek widows peek . . .
Though . . . lingering suspicion informs me that he uses black hair dye to gain that diabolonian effect
Muscles swell luminous red with air-brush tinge of crimson and carmine from obsessive work-out schedule
In privileged lunch-time expense-account barbecue-play-ground of sensual-suffrage and perilous-pleasure;
It’s whispered—in certain providential circles—that Devil increases work-factors when you’re not looking!
Devil sure has radical razor-gleam gimlet-eye, taking in most prestigious opportunisms in a lucrative flash
And rolling consequent suggestive soliloquies over velvet-tongue as he slips you the once-only contract
Dripping with designer-label-lust and all pertinent acquisitions. You have to admit – the guy’s got style.

God—on the other hand—looks kind of stupefied: heavy-lidded somnolent eyes peering at the wreckage.
God sits sedate—perhaps a little passé—in Nobel Prize pastel-coloured Hindu-temple Hare Krishna raincoat
Mother Theresa badge—and lightly sublime expression—betray hearing too many New Age music CDs.
He looks kind of staid—jaded, enervated, fatigued, and world-weary—from having knuckles rapped back
On infinite marble table top Of his own devising; time—and time—and time—and time—and time again.
He’s thinking “What was it that I had in mind, when I devised heavenly genetic engineering for Lucifer?”
Then: Ouch! Yikes! Hell! Ouch! There he goes again! Whap! Whap-whap-whap! The knuckles go back -
Whap: Spanish inquisition; Whap: Amritsar massacre; Whap: Lincoln, Grant, Custer, Mead, and Sherman;
Whap: Global warming: Whap: eight hour Pabongka and Frank Sinatra All Star Late Night Chat Show.

Argh! Yaroo! Jeez! He keep coming on! Whap! The red arm is raised! Whap! The pink nuckles go down
Whap: Auschwitz; Whap: Dresden; Ike Clanton, Curly Bill, John Ringgold, and the McLaury Boys;
Whap: Curly Bill Brocius and Johnny Ringo propaganda; Whap: premature death of Doc Holliday
Whap: easy listening music; Whap: hairdressers and baleful beauticians; Whap: sans serif type faces;
Whap: Beetroot, liquorice, olive, and anchovy pizza; Whap: diminished noses and Velcro eyebrows;
Whap: Lentil, brown rice, buck-wheat and tofu pie – encased in whole-wheat pastry (with extra bran);
Whap: Socks that work their way to the ends of boots in unbeguiling long-distance London foot-slog;
Whap: British cuisine and milky puddings; Whap: Cornbread and glutinous gravy; Whap: moral majority;
Whap: Hidden-agenda mixed-metaphor muesli-burger mind-set and fantasy factory Atlantis teachings.

Ow—but this time like James Brown—Ow! God’s knuckles hit the Formica decorative laminate
Whap: funny-little-furry-animal Valentine cards; Whap: Eastern European pop music on Radio 3;
Whap: Tricycle Magazine; Whap: sports clothing Whap: vanilla favoured coffee. Whap: cinnamon bagels.
Whap: Compassion Cards; Whap: Channelled muzak. Whap: Political Correctness. Whap-whap-whap!
Chögyam – If pushed for a comment – if stretched for an opinion; might possibly be inclined to say:
“Really? But why ask me – it’s not my remit? I really never went for this ‘God’ number in the first place.”
No use blaming Devil – no use reviling or disparaging samsara; as if nirvana could exist on its own . . .
No use polarising personal phenomena, as if nice and nasty were menu options at ‘Restaurant Reality’
Chögyam would say: “It’s that Silk Blancmange Rotweiler! You gotta stare that—thang—in the eye!”

12th of February 1994

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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.