I have told you many times that life is suffering. I have told you that the pleasures of cannabis sativa have no interest for a Buddhist monk such as myself, even if the fragrant odors of a Swiss white widow tingles the inside of my nose and sets me adrift on a sea of tranquility. I have told you many times that an American Buddhist has no need to “blaze the pipe” or take repeated bong hits from a smooth, glass 4-footer, even if it is full with “fluffy nodge”. I have told you that suffering lies in desire, and when I have no desire, I do not suffer.
But you do not listen. Day after day your gifts of fine weeds arrive in my post-office box, along with various bowls, papers, and other instruments.
Even more disturbingly, recently 2 of my fans sought me out in person because they wanted to “smoke me up”. These two local ‘dudes’ accosted me during a meditative walk around my property and were overcome with joy. I cannot blame them, as I am a very joyful person and seem to inspire this happiness wherever I go, especially if I bring harvests from my personal crop. Although I was a bit annoyed, I indulged in the idea of entertaining them at my mountainside retreat, offering them some barley and seeds and a day or two of quiet, contemplative meditation followed by a cold bath and a reading from Basho. But of course they were not interested in the activities of a simple Buddhist– they wanted to ‘jam to some tunes’ and ‘puff all niiiiiiiight!’
Hospitality is important to me, so even though I would have to decline their offer of luscious, resin-encrusted nodules of chronic, I invited them to my shack atop my property for a quick listening session.
They handed me a CD with a most interesting title “pleasure forever”. I was immediately reminded of Lord Byron (one of the most Zen poets in the Western World):
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.
Intrigued, I pushed the volume louder and began to listen to Pleasure Forever’s new album ‘Alter’. I was immediately struck by the excellent tone achieved by the group’s guitarist, which lay somewhere between the classic and the modern. Waves of guitar sounds were overlaid by leads which managed to be subtle yet hinted at epic importance. Organ tones both classical and modern filled the gaps, and created an interplay that I had not heard in a guitar-based band in a long time, if ever. It seemed that what the two fans lacked in subtlety, they more than made up for in musical choice.
The singer’s distorted vocals blended with the fuzzed guitar, but at times broke free, as a sea-porpoise breaks the surface of an ocean. For a brief, gleaming moment there is a frozen image of clarity and truth, and then with a giant splash you are submerged in Pleasure Forever’s sea of sound again. The album moves from gothic-tinged to pop-colored, but always remains anchored in melody and distortion, two of my favorite things.
I began to approach the satori, as the wonderful music drew me down to the depths of romantic dissolution, then back up to the clarity of nothingness. I had no desires, no needs, I was the music, I was the air, I was nothing. And then it all shattered by the sound of one of the two fans:
“dude, Terrence, dude, you have to hit this.”
“yeah dude this is for you, special for you, it’s premium bubblegum indica, mixed with some Lebanese blonde, all rolled in a Cuban tobacco leaf. We made it for you, man!”
Of course good manners meant I was obligated to accept their gift, and smoke it down to a nub within a matter of minutes. I smiled and closed my eyes again, ready to fall into the dark and textured world of Pleasure Forever. I vaguely heard one of the dudes say “dude I guess Terrence never heard of puff, puff give,” but I didn’t really hear him, I just smiled and allowed my mind to move with the breeze, enjoying pleasure, forever, and the music too.
Visit Pleasure Forever’s webpage here.