Oscar No More

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Priorities, eh?
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Notes from a Kalachakra*

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If I be distilled, I discover that I am no more distinct from you as you are from your eyes, hair and bones; as the moon is to the earth; the planets to the stars—I remain a part of you; forever in flux and in rhythm; where space and emptiness prevails not because of the lack of anything, but because the pervasive being, the basis for us and every other particle around us, is beyond the conception of any boundaries and originations; and so we gradually and thoughtlessly diffuse the superficial “us” and flow seamlessly from one matter to another; one being to another; one thought to the next; and so on in the vast and minute and timeless nature of our reality, I we us become nothing; not in the sense of discovery or ability, but because it is inextricably who we are; so that we become nature; we become laws; we become truths; and thusly we were never distinct or together; for how can we begin to imagine that which is irreducible, and how can anything that is within us be within just me; this is the fundamental unlaw, untruth; it is no truth just as a mountain is no truism—we do not understand, discover or unravel; it is no disease that needs diagnosis; no treasure that needs discovering; it is not a mystery that needs solving. It simply is.

*Shit I wrote while trying not to fall asleep inside an arena in Washington, D.C.

A Lot Not Happening

I needed to read this note again.

Something about the blunt acceptance of death, that there is nothing to look forward to from this point on, and yet, the sense of wonder and warmth that remains.

Many things happening. A lot not happening.

I needed to read this note again.

The world, indeed the whole universe, is a beautiful, astonishing, wondrous place. There is always more to find out. I don’t look back and regret anything, and I hope my family can find a way to do the same.

What is true is that I loved them. Lauren and Marina, as you mature and become yourselves over the years, know that I loved you and did my best to be a good father.

Airdrie, you were my best friend and my closest connection. I don’t know what we’d have been like without each other, but I think the world would be a poorer place. I loved you deeply, I loved you, I loved you, I loved you.

That last sentence.

I have to go run now.

Seventy two and counting + Toronto Protest on Nov 14

Everything that’s needed to be said has been said.

The searing clarion call from Tibet. The ripples of anguish across the communities in exile. The amoral handwave by the Chinese ruling class. The deafening silence from its detractors in the mainland and beyond.

Everything that’s needed to be said has been said, and yet we find ourselves unable to confront the malignancy of the situation. For those of us outside Tibet, we do our part in going to protests. We write impassioned essays. We get arrested. We get into online arguments.

We pray.

And yet the simple fact of the matter—the skin of the truth—is that we don’t know. We shout a lot, but at the core, within that gauze of work and life and shit, we are at a loss for words. We wonder how the picture of a charred body pricks us, reminds us of our injustice and insecurity, and of our connection to a piece of land many of us have never stepped foot on.

We think we know what drives a young teenage monk to pour fuel on himself and strike a matchstick. We hope we can relate to a mother of three children when she abandons them for the Cause.

What is it that binds us together?

Where is that mischievous, irrepressible smile?

How deep is our well?

My days are ordered with quiet streets and bulbous figures wrapped from head to toe against the November cold. They are insulated within walls and windows, muffling the clinks of streetcars and the wayward songbird. They are filled with breaks of coffee and tea from the computer screen. They are chores pushed back and messages to be returned.

They are not this.

But every week, they become closer. Bit by bit.

There is a protest happening tomorrow, Wednesday, in downtown Toronto. At Richmond St. and Yonge St. In front of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. It has to do with the pending sale of Canada’s natural resources to a group of investors in China who have financed the forced resettlement of Tibetan nomads. Tibetans nomads who have now resorted to burning their bodies in order to express their defiance.

It will happen at 10 am in the morning. I know it can be inconvenient, but please try.

We may not know who we are or what we ought to do. But we know this much: our righteous condemnation against a transaction that facilitates the destruction of the Tibetan people, culture and land must be felt and heard.

Especially if it is inconvenient.

A Tibetan Perspective on an American Election

Here’s the thing about us Tibetans in the diaspora: we are crazy conservative.

More often than not, you’ll find us railing against taxes, gay marriages and the scourge of women ruining men’s lives.

Make of it what you will, but the conversations I’ve been having these past few weeks with other Tibetans about the Presidential election in America have revealed an annoying, persistent pattern. A pattern that congeals on a foundation of parochialism, delusion, and above all else, selfishness.

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The Ethics of Hospice Caregiving and Black Dictators

It’s a crisp, Fall evening—the kind that followed an overcast day but still feels strangely invigorating. If it weren’t for the fact that you have a training workshop to attend, you would be running on the lakeshore, putting in kilometres on a trail that is crowded mostly by fallen leaves, many of them disintegrating in dark puddles of rainwater. The nippy gusts of wind would have added a kick to your stride, would have brought upon a pleasant equipoise to your rising core body temperature.

But instead you are biking purposefully, dodging cars and pedestrians, angling your handlebar across streetcar tracks and passing slow cyclists on the road. You are cutting it close to this evening’s workshop, the fifth in a series of sessions that you have to attend in order to qualify as a hospice volunteer caregiver. You rue the time it took for you to select the colour for the walls of your study room, which came to naught anyway because you decided to go with the leftover paint.

You make it to the location on time with seconds to spare—in one piece, thank god; struck only by tiny pangs of wistfulness upon seeing the steaming joggers on the sidewalk.

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Michael Chabon and Junot Díaz at IFOA 2012, and How I Nearly Missed It

I have it bad for Junot Díaz.1 It all started with an article on Grantland about him walking around his neighbourhood in New York City. I had no idea who he was, but his profile intrigued me, and there was mention of cops at sold-out readings, which is noteworthy for any type of artist, let alone a novelist. So I looked him up. His short story “How to Date a Brown Girl…” hit me with such a potent blend of sensibility and honesty that I had to dust out one of my old articles from my previous blog and completely destroy it. And then rewrite it, in some sad attempt at approximating his style. It’s one of those things I have to get rid of, or it weighs on my head and disturbs my reverie whenever I’m washing dishes or trying to sleep.

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