No Deception

June 19, 2009 by     Print This Post Print This Post

Poem by Madeline Schreiber

CAUTION: This poem is not about birds and bunnies; reader discretion is advised. Also, it is not timed to any current events in Shambhala, America or anywhere. It took a long time to write and I only just finished it and gladly hit *send*.


No Deception

It begins with me, a look in the mirror
Do I know her or do I not
No I don’t, and I hope
I do not think I do
Her expression is reassuringly neutral
She’ll treat me fairly if I just don’t lie

It’s a shock to notice that I am naked
Do I look nude to everyone else
Or do I only feel this way
Nothing but crazy life a’dancin’
To beats of its own defenseless pulse

Why do we even bother to lie
Why does naked truth give us a fright
No need to fear; the truth won’t bite
Or maybe it will, but only a love bite

Shifting sands and stories of the past
Good intentions, desires and projections
Imaginary futures and hungry hopes
So painfully shy and full of fear
Making excuses about then and now
While imitating the hard earned skill
To sculpt what is in a formless realm

Rewrites of the past
Delusions of the future
No patience for the eternal now
No wonder words come out all crooked
20th century values on 21st century skids

Singing false tunes with tinny sounds
Slippery words whose meanings slide
To meet with all and any occasions
Never seeming to have lied
Always fitting yet so soon gone

Words of truth are light and sweet
Swift moving rainbows, sometimes clear
By faith we follow an empty path
Clear and empty, not heavy with lies
Where bogus voices raise no warnings
Of pot holes and boulders strewn about
Which make the empty path a common road

Casual deceivers are always around
We can sense their presence
They hold their breath, pressed flat to the walls
Wrapped in their invisibility cloaks
Half formed fragments of unhappy thoughts
Camouflaged in shadow and light
Just out of range, swift and silent
They give us all a chilly fright

But if we stay and simply breathe
We may hear meanings under the lies
And may find ways to sever the bonds that hold them
How plain we are without our lies, without the kinks and curly cues
That make us all feel that we are so special
We can’t pretend that we don’t see fools fooling fools

All our secret little tricks to help us self deceive
That when we reach the bottom line it won’t add up to zero
How much softer our little life feels, ensconced among its cushions
Stuffed with cheap deceptions that buffer our soft bottoms

How sad we feel alone in the dark
Even within our lover’s dream
When all the thoughts that we have collected
Are all just lies about ourselves


Halifax June 2009

Madeline has been a Zen student in the Rinzai tradition since 1966.  When she met formally with VCTR in 1975 and requested to be accepted as one of his students he suggested that it would be good if she stayed with her Zen practice as well as study and practice Vajrayana.  She has done this and still goes to sit Zen Sesshin whenever possible as well as ongoing practice in the mainstream of the Vidyadhara’s Kagyu Nyingma Shambhala teachings.  She has also received the Rigden Abhisheka and will attend Scorpion Seal this Summer.  She accepted the Vidyahara’s invitation to move to Nova Scotia in 1982 and now lives part time in Halifax and part time on Cape Breton Island.


9 Responses to “No Deception”

  1. Mark Szpakowski on June 19th, 2009 11:53 pm

    illusory body of figments
    viewing themselves in itselves
    sometimes touches the earth,

  2. Chris on June 20th, 2009 1:47 pm

    All “religious groups” eventually will lead us astray. We waste all our precious time in them trying to censor ourselves with “bad faith” trying to improve, trying to be “good” within the group. We are already good. That is the pith instruction of Shambhala teachings. We confuse taking refuge in sangha as taking refuge in the group of other confused beings, like ourselves, instead of the “Noble Sangha”, those with realization. Letting us mistakenly take refuge in a group of other confused beings, is a deception used by religious organizations to keep us conforming, and in line.. This will not protect us, but lead us astray. Group mind is always binding.

    Poem reminds me of another profound teaching of Patrul Rinpoche:

    . As Patrul Rinpoche said in Words of my Perfect teacher, if you put 3 people together, there will be trouble and discordance. How much more is this so with 3000? So why are people surprised that there is an expression of discordance? Everything is impermanent , you cant put a lid on the energetic expression of the phenomenal world. Faux harmony never works.

    .”Even if explanation is given, others misinterpret and will not accept it as truth.
    Even if intention is beneficial candid and from the heart, they keep their misconceptions
    Behold this age when crooked minded people see honest ones as crooked
    The rope of hope and expectation must be cut, since it cannot benefit anyone.

    The Victorious One said: “All phenomena are like magic
    But what greater magic is there than the present age?
    Enticing magicians are performing.
    fear the beguiling, hypnotising phantoms of the Kali Yuga.

    The Victorious One said: ” All speech is like an echo:,
    But now a much greater echo
    is hypocritical speech.
    Shun these luring words.

    Whoever is seen are not human beings, they are deceivers,
    Whoever speaks, this is not speech, it is just luring words,
    Now there is no longer anyone to trust,
    So remain content alone.

    If bodily action is in accordance with Dharma, then most people object.
    If speech is honest, then most people get angry.
    If pure from the heart, then most people consider it a fault. Now it is time to hide the self-nature.

    Hide body and stay in a solitary place.
    Hide speech and disengage from conversation.
    Hide mind and only watch your own faults.
    Therefore be called a hidden yogi.

    No one can be trusted, so have aversion.
    Nothing has essence so be sorrowful.
    Whatever is wished for, there isn’t time to accomplish, so stop wishing.
    To be a companion of these three is most beneficial.

    Now happiness is exhausted, there is no time for happiness.
    Not desiring sorrow, end the age of sorrow by practicing Dharma.
    Whether happy or unhappy, know that it comes from karmic force.
    Now, have no doubt or expectation in anyone.

    Hoping in others with false smiles,
    the self pretends with expectation,
    doing this and that with hopes and doubts,
    Now , when this occurs, do nothing”.

    from Patrul Rinpoche’s: The Practic of the Essence of the Sublime Heart Jewel, View Mediation and Acti

  3. madeline schreiber on July 29th, 2009 5:19 pm


    This house has been
    Where happiness resides
    Where happiness lies
    Where happiness hides
    A window sill in an urban flat
    The habitat of an orderly yogini

    The silk road of the daily sun
    Crossing walls the colour of sand
    Shadow plays and varieties of lights
    Rainbows through prisms on sunny days
    Sunlight on shiny scraps of street ore
    For one brief moment they catch the glint
    And seem to hold the glamour
    Then twilight brings its own romance
    Dark matter moves at night

    Hundred year old weathered wood
    A ledge, a stopping place in space
    Where starlings come for tasty treats
    Up the side of this mountain of life
    Solid enough to support a vision
    Empty enough set me free

    Friendly security made a warm place
    But I must tell myself, Yogini!
    Don’t forget they fade, they must
    They have to go to space

    Once I sat outside a cave
    On a ledge awash in twilight
    A ledge to sit and lean on a rock
    A micro bardo for this life

    Our beloved sage once said
    Let this world be your cave
    So let this window sill be my ledge
    Where once an outrageous garuda landed
    And never flew away

    Sad is good our old sage said
    Bye Bye CH, our affair must end
    I can’t express how much I’ll miss you
    But the love will never die

    July 2009
    Coburg House

  4. madeline schreiber on July 29th, 2009 6:37 pm

    sorry everybody.
    i think i posted this in the wrong category.
    i was aiming for poetry.

  5. Jake on July 29th, 2009 7:25 pm

    I don’t know, I have learned a lot by being in a sangha with “confused” beings such as myself, as well as a few pretty wonderful I guess you’d say “intermediate” practitioners. And some good teachers.

    I think bitching about sangha is usually just an excuse to not deal with your shit. I know when I get angry or embarassed or nervous about being with my community, it’s usually not that someone is being SO awful to me, it’s that they pushed my buttons. Sangha can, I’m sure, have big problems, abuse, fraud, herd mentality, but I’ve been lucky to be able to avoid this, and benefit from the container, the gentle pressure cooker. I highly recommend it.

  6. Jake on July 29th, 2009 7:26 pm

    Which is not to say that I don’t qualms about Shambhala International and various dharmic projects, but I will defend my sangha as good in many many ways, and sangha in general.

  7. Jake on July 29th, 2009 7:26 pm

    have qualms, I meant have qualms

  8. Tara Lyn Carreon on September 29th, 2009 6:54 pm

    by Tara Carreon

    Come with me to my jurisdiction
    Flying through space
    With bird-play at his command
    I backed off from it
    Politeness and double politeness
    Leave us alone to whirl my witch
    2,500 damsels
    There is nothing on my pages
    There will be more
    There will be bite
    Dominicus darling
    I held you as I led you
    He was a nice boy
    Caught between two pincers
    This isn’t Sherman Oaks
    This isn’t catty-corner
    Let me kiss you

    Madness and secret service
    Trying to find secrets
    What you see is what you get
    Falling inward
    I actually had to stop doing that for a living
    Theatre tickets canceled
    Fish eyes
    What can be hanged in earnest
    Kick it aside
    Leave the van intact
    Dreams are the potential
    I’ve always been a back to the front kind of guy

    Are you going to listen, dear flesh and blood?
    So let me look at my compassionate and skillful remedy
    We would even try to kill an illusion
    Just like I said
    And if you divide to accept this offer I’ve made you
    Key positions of power
    It’s been a long long healing
    You in the grey house
    I seem to dress out of vanity
    It’s broken; it’s a scandal
    The demon woman’s red
    Do you have to kill the middle?
    Yes, I have to kill the middle.
    Who do you look for, darkest Andrew?
    What do you mean?
    I just have to ask you,
    Is there any benefit from this whole fucking arriette?
    Man, you’re not a fucking physicist!
    Will you leave your doctor at home?
    I could give dirt on everyone I see
    Did you hear of the medicine girl?
    If what you have is more like a war mag
    Than what you have in private
    His Majesty’s sleeve.

    The special advancement seekers
    It’s a matter of icy let-go
    A babe of an effigy
    Do I keep screwing around with crude puissant corn?
    No one can get between a 25 billion dollar fake
    With the stars light at night
    Peace rain
    We were very very sure of ourselves
    Even without some convenient movie heads

    He has the courage to see us
    Reptilian beasting a schneeze
    The language that runs undercover
    Within the lungs
    The battle of wills
    Color joy
    Color of dreams
    Emphasize it
    Advertise it
    Friggery mason
    Did they read about you, Tibetan sovereign
    In front of the hot, bright sun?
    I believe that the prophet stays at home

    Speaking of Chinese creatures
    In the grand tradition
    Out of this franchise Switzerland
    Think with the birds of paradise
    You’re always an outsider
    Learn with irritated breath
    Separation across the land
    You have the right to be screaming
    It looks like a lady’s heart
    Caress my sides buster burger
    I tell you what
    I have to go.

  9. Rob Graffis on November 19th, 2009 1:04 am

    Though my faults are as great as a mountain, I keep them to myself.

    Though other faults are as small as a sesame seed, I proclaim them far and wide.
    Though I have the least of qualities, , I boast how great I am.
    I call my self a Dharma practioner, but behave to the contrary.

    Guru. Think of me. Regard me with compassion…
    Bless me to pacify my selfish pride.
    Within, I conceal my nemesis_the demon of ego clinging……….
    From Calling Your Gurus From Afar.
    A Supplication To Pierce Your Heart With Devotion.
    By Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye
    Those Kaygu teachers sure can be humble