While a Buddhist such as myself prefers to abstain from the earthly pleasures that are so tempting to an ordinary man, occasional situations arise when such pleasures need to be explored, and indeed delighted in.
One such pleasure is the music of the wonderful French musician St. Germain. Life may be suffering, but to listen to the smooth, jazz inflected moderne sounds of St. Germain is to attain a small version of the sartori. The dance producer’s latest album, Tourist, transcends the often brilliant but occasionally gimmicky work of his first highly acclaimed record.
The new album mixes the beats of house, disco, and hip-hop with the organic guitar and vocals of American blues and jazz to produce something that is more special than it is new. But this is the work’s strength rather than its weakness. Unlike the background music of Moby’s Play, which also mined American Black music to good effect, the Tourist tracks demand attention– the hooks are subtle and uniquely composed, but they are hooks that trap rather than catch your attention. Slowly you will find yourself needing this album as if it were a sweet nugget of crystallized, high grade marijuana– the kind that goes so perfectly with my hand-blown triple-bubble glass bong that a friend of mine from the village made for me at a very reasonable price.
But I forget myself! Hello, and welcome. I am Terrence, American Buddhist. I write these words on my shiny i-Mac from a remote monastery in Northern Japan, where I have dedicated my mind and soul to the pursuit of perfection. My life here is full– of nothingness, as I prepare my ascension to the godhead. However, as Master Liu often tells me, I have a wandering mind.
Just this past week, for example, my mind was wandering substantially during a 6 hour meditation session in our Eastern garden. It seemed that all I could think of were earthly delights, especially those that have arrived in mailbox lately.
I have told you many times now that life is suffering, and that I, as a practicing Buddhist, have no need for your gifts of marijuana buds, seeds, and various smoking apparatus. Yet my mail box is still deluged with such items from my many fans around the world! While I could turn a tidy profit on your gifts by selling them to a friend of mine in the village, instead I do the noble thing and dispose of them discreetly when I get a chance.
But lately there have been no such opportunities. The weeks have consisted only of my usual routine: long meditation, breathing exercises, and hours spent studying holy books. This weekend, however, was special. Most of the other Yogis and Masters were attending a conference in Hokkaido, and I was to be left alone at the Monastery for the first time. While I bowed my head solemnly as everyone left, inside I was exploding with 1001 earthly desires. As he passed by me, Master Liu raised my shaven head with his hand, looked me in the eye, and said “I am proud of you, son. You are slowly but surely learning to love the Buddha.”
If only he knew what kind of Buddha I had on my mind at that moment! In the folds of my robe I had concealed an excellent supply of Lebanese hash, along with 5 or 6 choice hydroponic Silver Haze buds which a friend from Holland had kindly sent me. For a second I felt remorse, but that feeling vanished as soon as the other monks pulled away in their SUVs.
Quickly the product appeared from the folds of my voluminous orange robe, and I was transported into the realm of St. Germain– disconnected vocals, jazzy sounds and beat driven rhythms that echoed my head as if I had been in a Western-style late night lounge the night before. My masters may not have approved, but I was again finding nothingness in my own way. So stoned I could barely lift the pipe, I experienced a beat heavy bliss under the stars, silence wrapped around me like a childhood blanket. I was alone in the world, but the Godhead had made for me the herb, and St. Germain had made the jazzy house beats.