Turning matter into light

I burst in on my daughter and said, “how do I turn matter in to light?”

She starts laughing.

I continue, “I googled it and all I can find is stuff about turning light into matter. But that’s not what I want to do. There are these Buddhist gurus who when they die turn into rainbows. Their body disappears and they become rainbow light. I want to know how to do that.”

She tells me that turning light into matter is easy. That’s what plants do when they convert sunlight into plant matter. She then proposed that since humans do the opposite of plants when they breathe oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide, that humans should be able to convert matter into light. But then she admitted that none of this made any sense scientifically.  And that when matter changes, it never just disappears.

I told her that I’m a poet not a scientist.

And then I found this video, which talks about acupuncture meridians and sound. The plot thickens!


The three worlds are impermanent as the clouds of autumn.
The births and deaths of beings are like watching a dance.
The speed of human life is like lightening in the sky.
It passes swiftly as a stream down a steep mountain.*


*From the “Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind Toward the Dharma.”

Lightening in a bottle


My husband gave me this lightening in a bottle: sand that has been struck by lightening. It’s as if the sand has been frozen in time, from the moment of its electrification.

We do this all the time, mentally, with ourselves and everything around us. We try to cling to happy times, relationships we care about it, things we enjoy, and expectations around health and longevity. But like lightening, we are here in a flash and gone. I find this oddly comforting.






Indonesia was amazing 5: Temples Aplenty

It wouldn’t be “pilgrimage” without a visit to some temples (“candi” in Indonesian). We mostly saw the Buddhist temples in the area of Borobodur and Prambanan. Of the two, Prambanan was a much mellower experience with less people trying to sell us stuff.

In front of Prambanan, a Hindu temple.

Since I have already taken the trouble to review and post photos of these temples on another site, I will just direct you to my reviews on Trip Advisor, if you want to see (last I looked, my reviews were at the top of the list…Alyssa M is my name there):

Sewu Temple

Kalasan Temple

Prambanan Temples

Borobodur Temple

Pawon Temple

Our whole group at Borobodur

Guru Rinpoche film

I’m excited about this film which Triptych Journey has been working on for years: the story of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava). They need funds to finish up the project, but have released a number of clips so far if you want to see how it is shaping up. Right now there really isn’t any Guru Rinpoche biography type movie in English that I am aware of so I look forward to the completion of this project.

Evangelicals Advocate Irresponsibility

In the wake of POTUS 45’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, I have been seeing some stories about how conservative evangelical Christians agree with this decision, due to some notion that “God will take care of it.”

As a Buddhist, I’ve been told that the goal of realizing the enlightened mind is up to us. There is no savior, just Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to inspire us with their example, and Teachers, who can point the way.

I have never professed Christianity as my religion, but from what I can see,  Christians are also supposed to take some responsibility for their own salvation. Some Christians have a notion of being a steward of the Earth. Most Christians I know, as far as I can tell, do not abdicate their responsibilities toward the earth and its living beings. They don’t assume that just because Jesus died for their sins, now they can just sin as much as they want and they will be forgiven.

The attitude of the evangelical branch strikes me as dangerously lazy. I have heard that many of them believe that what happens on earth doesn’t matter because they will be raptured off to heaven, and even that they should try to hasten the End Times.

I think it is important to note that in the USA, one-third of registered voters are evangelicals. That leaves the rest of us to do the work of ensuring the survival of the human race and the planet we inhabit, since millions of Americans have indicated that they have no interest in bothering with that task.

It’s ironic that the folks who tend to decry the government as a “nanny state” are the ones most likely to expect some one else to take care of cleaning up their messes for them. It’s also ironic that the folks who complain about wanting more jobs in the USA reject the huge job potential of the alternative energy industry. But that’s another post, for sure.

NaPoWriMo 2017, poem 13

Nangahar —

the largest non-nuclear bomb just hit

between Mes Aynak and Swat Valley.


Mes Aynak is full of Buddhist relics

archeologists have been racing to save

before a Chinese mining company comes in.


Swat Valley was once known as the land of Oddiyana,

a Buddhist sacred place, home of Guru Rinpoche,

a sort of Jesus for Tibetan Buddhists.


Time will tell

what has been wrought

but for now,

all I can think of is holy lands

being destroyed

by a yellow-haired toddler

released from his giant playpen

to play with a 21,000 pound toy.