Marcia Binder Schmidt

(Rangjung Yeshe)
At the little farm I rent in the winter down there on the border, there are beesties aplenty. I try to grow mangoes, oranges, satsumas, but I am not so successful because of the bichos. Indeed, one of my friends calls the farm El Paraíso de Zancudos, because the only thing that prospers are the mosquitoes. We grow them big and mean.

Other things grow there, too. There are little stinky ants that bite the shit out of you if you step on their nest, as I often do. You learn why people from the Dark Ages called them "pismires."

When I get up in the morning, it is to inhale the fresh air, look out at the sun kissing the hills of dawn, and to search out the plants that have been brutalized overnight by the leaf-cutters. According to Cap't. Wimbey's Tropical Ant Atlas, leaf-cutters live in huge subterranean chambers in which they distill all my begonias, flowering-plum and fig leaves into a simple brew which keeps them drunk and falling down for weeks.

I do have a few friends in BugWorld, though. In that fecund place we might call my office, pale pink skinks hang out around my desk and snap up any of the stink bugs that pass through attracted to the light. I am trying to work up a review of the latest edition of August Kotzebue's Die beiden Klingsberge and in comes a dung beetle bang into the wall and in a moment the skink has him, as Pete Seeger once sang, "wriggling and tiggling and jiggling all over."

And then there are the comijones, your common Central American termite. Those guys are invincible. And disgusting. I wake up in the morning and not only are my zinnias defoliated by the leaf-cutters, but, inside, there are a half-dozen little tracks breaking out of the light-sockets, worm-tracks crawling up the wall, hunting lunch. One army of comijones got in behind my bed and before I discovered them reduced the wooden bed-frame to dust in two weeks.

The reason I tell you all this while I am supposed to be telling you about the thirty-two essays on Dzogchen --- The Path that Clarifies Confusion is that the little buggers sprouted out of an electric socket hidden behind my bookcase and in a matter of days had eaten most of one of my Nabokov first editions (Pale Fire), gutted my signed copy of Winesburg, Ohio, eviscerated my friendly old Etymological Dictionary by W. W. Skeat, and were well through Dzogchen Essentials before I caught up with them. They are welcome to the freshest volumes from Franz Wright or Richard Wilbur or Louis Auchincloss. But when they start chowing down on my first editions or my Buddha-books, they've got a fight on their hands.

Perhaps Jamgön Kongtrül and Padmasambhava will forgive them their taste in Eastern Philosophy, eating up much of "Sowing the Seeds" and "Awareness-Display Empowerment." But the hardest hit was poor old Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. One of the pages of "Capturing the Life Force of all Deities" now reads:

    For example, if you want to touch space with your finger, no need to move your finger in order to touch space? Doesn't moment you first stretch your finger out? In the same way, recognize, you come in contact with the completion stage --- cognizant nature of mind. It is recognized immediately. the nature or mind, you can carry on chanting the mantra.

Rinpoche concludes, in true oriental mystic fashion,

    If you don't look in the mirror, the face is not

    the deity means the mind mirror is allowed to think, "I"

    It is all right to remind yourself that you are the deity

    aggregates and five elements from the very beginning are the


I suspect that Rinpoche or Padmasambhava would not be so put out by the little creatures searching voraciously for the food of the divine. And if I really try, I can see that If you don't look in the mirror, the face is not may indeed have a few lessons for me.

--- Carlos Amantea
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