Thursday, May 17, 2007

"equally a coming Buddha"

I just wanted to share this excerpt from Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums, one of my favorite books in high school and at every reread. These two fella's are buddies throughout and represent Kerouac himself and one of his ramblin' beatnik pals; all of his books are chokked fulla brief meaningful and not-so-meaningful-but-still-so-meaningful interactions with people in his life.

Try reciting the prayer he mentions, like a mantra, over and over, and picture everyone around you...equally a coming Buddha

'That's the glacier what's left of it. Either that or this rock tumbled here from inconceivable prehistoric mountains we can't understand, or maybe it just landed here when the friggin mountain range itself burst out of the ground in the Jurassic upheaval. Ray when you're up here you're not sittin in a Berkeley tea room. This is the beginning and the end of the world right here. Look at all those patient Buddhas lookin at us saying nothing.'

'And you come out here by yourself ...'

'For weeks on end, just like John Muir, climb around all by myself following quartzite veins or making posies of flowers for my camp, or just walking around naked singing, and cook my supper and laugh.'

'Japhy I gotta hand it to you, you're the happiest little cat in the world and the greatest by God you are. I'm sure glad I'm learning all this. This place makes me feel devoted, too, I mean, you know I have a prayer, did you know the prayer I use?'


'I sit down and say, and I run all my friends and relatives and enemies one by one in this, without entertaining any angers or gratitudes or anything, and I say, like 'Japhy Ryder, equally empty, equally to be loved, equally a coming Buddha,' then I run on, say to 'David O. Selznick, equally empty, equally to be loved, equally a coming Buddha' though I don't use names like David O. Selznick, just people I know because when I say the words 'equally a coming Buddha' I want to be thinking of their eyes, like you take Morley, his blue eyes behind those glasses, when you think 'equally a coming Buddha' you think of those eyes and you really do suddenly see the true secret serenity and the truth of his coming Buddhahood. Then you think of your enemy's eyes.'

'That's great, Ray,' and Japhy took out his notebook and wrote down the prayer, and shook his head in wonder. 'That's really really great. I'm going to teach this prayer to the monks I meet in Japan. There's nothing wrong with you Ray, your only trouble is you never learned to get out to spots like this, you've let the world drown you in its horseshit and you've been vexed ... though as I say comparisons are odious, but what we're sayin now is true.'

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