Tuesday, December 12, 2006
A Postcard From Tibet
I was beginning to feel abandoned. Left out. Left Behind, in a non-Christian Fundamentalist way. I was beginning to pout and reduce my Christmas list by one. Until today. At long last,I received a postcard from Tibet. It was signed by Pope Innocent the 3rd, my 6" tall side-kick and traveling companion. The postcard was tattered and slightly smeared from its lengthy journey, but the teeny-tiny handwriting was still legible. And the excitement was palpable.
After Pope Innocent's encounter with his Homey Lama, aka Dalai, back in September at the University of Buffalo, he made immediate plans to go on an extended Buddhist retreat in Tibet. To expand his mind, enlighten his soul, and spend time in the company of other men who live their lives in dresses. Innocent confided in me before I dropped him off at the airport back in October, that he hoped to find out the Buddhist Monks went commando under their robes. He felt his own choice of hanging free in the breeze would surely get him a ticket into the sacred Buddhist Brotherhood, where "comfort and simplicity" are the wardrobe mantras. Judging by the length of time he's been gone, the Brotherhood buys no stock in Fruit of the Loom.
The Pope wrote to me about learning Qigong, the power of concentrated awareness. About sitting in meditation for 1/2 days and full days. About chanting the Heart Sutra with its emphasis on selflessness and impermanence. About walking the path of the Bodhisattvas, those enlightened, genderless Beings.
I sensed great enthusiasm from the Pope's postcard about the wealth of spiritual knowledge he's gained from the Brotherhood. But to my secret delight, I also sensed homesickness. He plans to be home for Christmas, with a sack full of colorful presents from Tibet. His postcard postscript asked me to clear some space in the creche for his new-found lady love, Kuan-yin. Evidently, he wants his Goddess of Mercy to sit in contemplation beside the manger. He claims she's a good friend of his Beloved Mary. (I might have to put a cow or two out to pasture to accomodate another guest in the creche.)
Now that the Pope will be back in residence for the holidays, I find myself chanting the universal mantra of love and compassion, OM MANI PADME HUNG, to the tune of Bing Crosby's "White Christmas". And I can finish the last of my Christmas shopping. A gift certificate, for the Pope, to the Tatoo and Piercing Parlor on Elmwood Avenue. I'm placing bets he chooses the snow lion, symbol of fearless joy, for his bicep and an OM for his butt cheek. As for the piercing, I won't even venture a guess as to where he wants to dangle Kuan-yin.