Monday, September 17, 2012

Into the Dragon's Jaws

One, seven, three, five—
Nothing to rely on in this or any world;
Nighttime falls and the water is flooded with moonlight.
Here in the Dragon’s jaws:
Many exquisite jewels.
~Setcho Juken (980—1052)

I was looking for the Year of the Dragon stamp from the US post office and discovered a world of charming stamps.  These are Vietnamese - I didn't know there was a year of the cat.  There is a legend that the cat was the only animal that refused to honor the Buddha ( I wouldn't be surprised), and I thought it didn't have a place in Eastern astrology.

Anyway, the poem.

I woke up to a hard day, getting ready for a funeral.  I have become attached to the many things that make me comfortable, so I think, Don't forget the heating pad! (which I use on my back twice a day).  I remember times throughout my life of sitting in funeral homes, everyone determined to "be strong" and show no grief because now his suffering is over and he's with the Lord.  That kind of thing.  Long before I got on a path to awakening, I felt surely that was not right.  I suppose I was picking up on the contained grief.  And, to be truthful, these long hours of doing nothing, not grieving, were very boring to me, and I hate to be bored.  Maybe I can pick up on it now as the "cool boredom" Chogyam Trungpa writes about, just be there as if in meditation, just sit there.

I wonder what jewels there are in this nighttime of a great loss, in the very Dragon's jaws.  I can't help it, that makes me imagine a dragon wearing grillz.  I can't find an image of that, so here is my favorite dragon, Skosh, who has befriended an artist I know. It wouldn't surprise me if he had grillz.

[Thanks to the How To Be Sick website for the poem.]


  1. The problem with "being strong" and showing no grief is that it will lead to all kinds of physical and mental problems. I'm sure if I hadn't grieved when the unthinkable happened in my life, if I had let those who tried to shush me, stop me from weeping, telling me to be strong etc., I would have had a heart attack or a delayed reaction years later which would have led to a full-blown nervous breakdown.
    Grieving actually made me stronger.

    1. I know you're right. It's a matter of feeling your feelings that applies all over your life.

      Too many people feel they have to say something in situations in which no words are going to help.