Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Odyssey to the Pure Land

i'm getting ready to go to Aoetearoa (A-oh,te,ah,row,uh) the Land of the Long White Cloud,
today known as New Zealand. As a practicing Buddhist, I hear much about the "Pure Land"
which enlightened devotees reach, after samsara ceases.
Sutras aside, Aoetearoa was a pure land for 460 million years until man reached her shores about 800AD. It was the last land mass to be "discovered" by man. Of course it had resplendent bird life and the sounds of its forests, (imagine several million bells of all shapes and sizes ringing) were amazing! Even though the Maori extinctified the Moa (the 9 and 1/2 foot tall flightless bird) and several others for the capes of their chiefs, and the Scots who've settled their since have made it sheep heaven, there is still something unmistakably alluring about its dramatic landscapes far from the drudgery of industrialization.
And, as astonishingly beautiful as "Lord of the Rings" made it (with some CGI assistance!), it is important to reflect on the patient majesty of its lands and seas.

I go there as a "saunterer" (from the French, "saint" & "terre" -- holy land), with pure reverance for its presence. I hope to spend many special moments in total silence beholding this living, breathing sanctuary, to remember the indiginous intelligence of the Earth, to shape such life over eons.

I live in Seattle, near the last fringes of wild lands and waters, where you can still walk among
ancient trees, with quiet dappled light your only companion, but only after the expensive lifestyle is paid for, laboring amidst the noise, the harsh lights, the bellowing traffic, the belligerent upstart country that is showering the world with attitude and retribution.

I want out for a little while, to catch my breath, to see what truly might be. I will bring with me my retinue, Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau, John Muir, Gary Snyder, the voices that sung of an enduring beauty that is also at the edge of extinction (or as John Nichols frames so vividly as, "pizzification")

I will pray as hard as one man can. To Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, to you and your children's
children. The time for living light is at hand. Om shanti Om

Listen for strains of my flute whispering across the Pacific.
Listen to your own heart crying for a Pure Land, where we may leap and twirl and soar with the same relish and abandon as Orcas and Dolphins and tireless Albatross.

Ke Orana -- may heaven be with you always.


At 1:15 PM, Blogger Chandira said...

Aaron, if you are ANYWHERE near Auckland on your travels, please, please, get in touch with Kip Mazuy, in Piha. I think you'll really enjoy him, and he you. He is a very talented musician, and very definitely Awake!


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