Greetings, friends and fans from around the world. It is with a joyous heart and a clear mind that I welcome you back to my column for usounds: le internacional. Life at the monastery has been exceptionally exciting and special lately, and it all happened in a most roundabout way.
My life has been newly devoted to studying the works of the ancient masters. My new Yogi has decided that what he calls my “almost unsettling enthusiasm” for Buddhism needs to be tempered by a more solid foundation in traditional thought. I quickly agreed with him, even though I didn’t really have a clue what he was talking about.
The next day Yogi Luu surprised me by waking me before dawn and leading me to the Ki Lo, a spartan, stone room located in the farthest corner of the monastery’s grounds. Many of the other monks don’t even know the decrepit building exists; my masters always seem to bring me there after a while, usually after I have somehow made a fool of myself. In the room Master Luu had prepared a single wooden desk and seat, upon which rested close to a dozen clothbound volumes.
Yogi Luu didn’t say a word, but his departing stare told me what he expected. I vowed to become a true scholar, and to reform myself. It was time to stop listening to international pop, and quit smoking the tender, soothing and loving flowers of the cannabis plant that my readers often send me from around the world.
I tore into the reading, finding instant delight in these words by Bashi:
even at horses
this morn of snow
Yes, I nodded to myself sagely, yes, indeed. The Prajna (the true nature of reality) is simple, yet complex.
Unfortunately, my initial sartori quickly faded into an endless blur of either obscure of oblique alliterative analogies that my feeble brain could not absorb. I felt like a fisherman without rod, reel, or even river.
Soon my thoughts drifted to the hurried rucksack I’d prepared in the scant time Yogi Luu has provided. I had only been able to grab one album, Catskills by Kittycraft The album is a poem to itself and the cozy spot it occupies under the covers in the bedroom of sampled music. This album makes me close my eyes in the bright sunshine and rock my hips under my voluminous orange robe.
Sweetly voiced and adroitly produced, Catskills comes in slowly but lingers for a long time, mostly thanks to the time-release hypnotic qualities of the keyboards and beats… I found myself particularly drawn to the darker, heavier songs such as the title track, and the sing-along multilayered uptempo tracks such as How Long Can This Go On.
After the first few listens the sun started to go down. In my state I could feel the creeping hum of nature as it transitioned from late sun to early dark. The buzzing of flies and bees gave way to the crackles of delicious, sweet scented cannabis being burned in a large glass bong I had managed to conceal in my robe on my way out the door. Smoke drifted out to join the sunset and Peace was upon me.
I put Sony Digital Headphones back on, and the warm throb of Kittycraft gently nursed me back inside the sartori.
The next morning I emerged, mind clear, approaching total nothingness. Master Luu greeted me with a terse nod, but as I bowed to him I could feel his approval. He knew I was down with Buddha, and that Zen was the center of my Hara (belly or gut, a monk’s spiritual center). “Even a Good thing, isn’t as good as nothing” I quoted. Master Luu had never before smiled in my presence.
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