From the Archives: First Ever Review from Terrence, American Buddhist: Catpower

Terrence became a part of the usounds family sometime in 1998, and published his first review, of Cat Power, in 1999. He went on to become our most popular reviewer.

I have told you many times now that life is suffering. Thus, I would appreciate not receiving anymore marijuana leaves and find buds in the mail from some of my fans. As delicious and soothing as the sacred herb is, Buddhists do not attempt to quelch their pains and suffering with any kind of drug. We do not attempt to satisfy any of our desires by “blazing the pipe,” or rolling a nice, clean joint full of resin-soaked tight nodulated buds.

I have told you many times now that life is suffering. Thus, I would appreciate not receiving anymore marijuana leaves and find buds in the mail from some of my fans. As delicious and soothing as the sacred herb is, Buddhists do not attempt to quelch their pains and suffering with any kind of drug. We do not attempt to satisfy any of our desires by “blazing the pipe,” or rolling a nice, clean joint full of resin-soaked tight nodulated buds. We do not indulge in smoky, lovely Moroccan hashish, or Tibetan Finger Hashish, even though they are readily available from a friend of mine who also sells fruit in the village.

As my readers know, my daily regimen usually includes some early stretching and lengthy mediation exercises in the morning, followed by a light breakfast of grains, rice and tea. Then I might take a walk in the garden for a time and contemplate nothingness, and then study until dusk, at which point I might log on to the internet and buy some CD’s on my i-mac.

catpower–moonpix

I must say however, that my routine was thrown all out of sorts this past week. I could barely concentrate on my meditation and my walks in the garden drove me to a turbulent state of mind. Even though I knew I should have, I could not bring myself to remove my Sony Cordless Headphones as I was listening to some powerful music by a group called Cat Power. As I strode through the garden, listening to the eerie and bewitching lyrics of Chan Marshall, and the sparing and bare use of guitar and flutes, my thinking became skewed– as it has, regrettably, many times before.

Checking carefully to see that none of my fellow Buddhists were around, I packed a small smoking pipe concealed within the folds of my robes with a marijuana bud that I had grown behind one of the larger apple trees in the far corner of the garden. I carefully tried to light the bowl by striking some flint and pyrite. It didn’t work so I used a Bic lighter. One of the older monks was doing some sort of print ad campaign for them, so we got them for free.

It was a nice day out, the sun shined slowly. Inhaling deeply of the magnificent medicinal plant, I felt the wandering piano line and magnificently dry singing voice of Marshall tremble through my body. The tenth song, “Cross Bones Style,” is guaranteed to penetrate and probe your soul. Her voice moves in waves over layers of percussion and sharp guitar lines.

I put my pipe back into a deep fold in my robe and continued to walk, which was a good thing because just then the Chief Buddha rounded the corner. I wondered if he could smell the herb hanging around me, or see it dancing in my eyes. He was a very perceptive man, Thydoka, and the rumor was that he once recited the Bhagavad Gita page by page from memory. After around 15 hours all but the most dedicated of scholars fell asleep or left, but it is assumed that he eventually finished. He is a fascinating man indeed, but if you get into a conversation with him, you often feel the need to leave after half an hour or so. I know that this is my bodily failure, and not his fault, but still I avoid him, especially when baked at 9 am on a Tuesday.

But he just nodded and walked by. Ever since he started hanging out with a local rock band called “Java Jones,” he’s changed. Now it’s hip this, hop that, rock this, roll that. In fact as he passed by, his headphones were blasting rap so loud, I didn’t even get a chance to ask him if his i-mac ever got fixed. Oh well. Just another day honoring the fulfillment of the Godhead.

–Terrence, American Buddhist

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USOUNDS || 1999

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