First Meditation: Tamo

A book review by C.M. Darensbourg

A review like no other. I received a series of written meditations from a reader of A Tiger’s Tale volume 1. Receiving them has been an inspiration, keeping me motivated to continue the work of riding this year of the water tiger. It is with their permission that I’m sharing the first in a series of three meditations, with you now.

Beyond time is a place that few have seen — 
Eternity. I hail to you for love, 
For discipleship, and for the Truth that 
Often goes unknown by students 
Remarkable in their own ways, and yet 
Earnestly missing real satisfaction. 

Think again before thinking that I was 
Always a Hero right from the start of Matters. 
I learned to crawl, walk, and run 
On two purely human legs like you did. 

Crime and punishment could have been my lot — 
All the way to execution — had not 
My Holy Guardian Angel taken 
Extreme measures to reform my poor life. 

To see through walls is easy, but darkness 
Obscures most hearts from very conception. 

Some overcome this quite young (and I thank 
Heaven this is so!) and those brave souls go 
About fixing reality, bringing 
Orderliness, and ensuring all 
Live their lives knowing they matter to the 
Infinite Source of All Good that has a 
Name and calls us His Own family 

There may be great structures of stone, with jade 
Edifices, but don’t be fooled. Those are 
Mere reminders of more noble structures. 
People’s hearts are what matter — beautiful 
Living, virtuous, prayerfully humble — 
Easy enough to overlook each day. 

How wonderful the world, when seen by the 
Enlightened mind — otherwise a dark trap! 

Without wisdom, even life itself is 
A devious ensnarement, open to loss. 
Nothing is more grievous than to hear the 
Dreaded words, “You have not done well — you are 
Exiled for the rest of Eternity.” 
Rest assured, that was far from my outcome! 
“Enter, my son!” I was told, and with my 
Divinely assigned Guardian, I did. 

Things haven’t calmed down since. 
Do you think me Happy? I am! 
Young? I am! Relaxing? 
Really! What do you think the life of a Saint 
Ought to be like, when there are students still 
Underfoot, wondering with passage of 
Great and small events if I even lived! 
Hah! Now I walk through walls of foolishness. 

Children run from ghosts, men run from much worse. 
Hidden guilts and selfishness lead to war, 
Inside at first, then spilling into the 
Neighborhood, village, town, city, Kingdom. 
All because of horrific, growing lies. 

The desire to do wrong, we are born with. 
Each of us must conquer the serpent that 
Advises, “Pride!” and “Forget your honor!” 
Caught unawares were our parents, and they 
Heeded false promises, until sorry 
Ignorance ruled their existences and 
Now it is left to Saints like me under 
Good’s Guidance to rebalance the whole world. 

The Earthly life I lived, adventurous 
(Heaven knows it to have been!) pales beside 
Each moment I exist now that I’m here. 

Power I have in abundance, and yet 
A gentle spirit resides in me now. 

Remembering how I paced day to day, 
All I do is consider swift eons, 
Drinking in Blessing, sharing only pure 
Oneness with the Divine vision, perceiving 
X times better than anything someone 
In their mortal frame could joyfully stand. 
Children run from ghosts — cold, clammy things that 
Are nothing like me, for I still live, and 
Love, and give the unwary much advice. 

So many people don’t ask for my help! 
Call out, “Send good Saint Tamo down! We do 
Have need of his laughter! Our wells are dry — 
Our lessons are, too! Our heads nod in sleep! 
Our Abbot dispairs! How will we ever 
Learn to work wonders like he did ourselves?” 

Oh! So you want to know how to see through walls? 
First, you must look into your living heart! 

“But, Tamo, that’s unfair! We are not you!” 
Understood — but didn’t I say at the 
Dawn of our brief conversation that I 
Didn’t start out a Hero? What do you 
Have for ears? Spread them wide! I will repeat: 
I would have gone the way of true darkness 
Should not my own Heavenly Guardian 
Made me aware of Holiness’ Path. 

“That’s boring!” “Cut to the chase!” “Talk about — ” 
Hah! I just told you everything you need! 
And yet you now still want me to explain 
That great holiness comes with adventure! 

Why? Because it’s easy to swim with the 
Other fish in the stream, lured into the 
Ultimate trap through current and lazy 
Living, drawn by every eddy, then 
Dragged hard into the next world unprepared. 

Everything has consequences and 
Very few people grasp this truth in time. 

Either they wrongfully think in short terms — 
Nothing they do matters in the long run 
To the people yet to come — or they want 
Understanding from the ages as theirs 
At the drop of a hat, with fame to boot! 
Look through the walls of your hearts, and then try 
Listening to the different calling. 
You will advance — not be disappointed. 

“But Tamo! What do you see with your gaze?” 
Everything worth looking at right now. 

Kindly refrain from rolling bored eyes and 
Nodding back off to worldly slumber, while 
One such as I tries to impart certain 
Wisdom into your waking dreams, and then 
Notice what I tried saying from the start: 

Adventure begins with Holiness, and 
Simply put, Holiness is forged in Love. 

Zen can teach many things to students. 
Enough to turn worthless lives to legends. 
Not the least of which was mine

— Saint Tamo. 

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