Today is a great celebration, the harvest full moon, the fall equinox tonite and the night we say goodbye to a beloved famous dharma friend from Shambhala, Jack Niland. This morning we did some Chenrezig mantra prayers for him at Vajra Vidya retreat center in Crestone, and the Khenpos graciously mentioned him by name and sent him blessings and well wishes.
Dear Jack on the magic moon night we say goodbye,
You’d be the first person to call when something like a close friend had passed, and now I can’t call you anymore. You were a true friend to me, to so many, I can see just how many lives you touched. When I was down, you always offered a compassionate ear, and reminded me of often forgotten joy and innocence, that was such a precious quality in a world that oftentimes can seem bitter. Someone once said “my religion is kindness” and to us, to me to my family, you were always that. We will miss you so indescribably much.
You were a quintessential hidden yogi, I can see why Trungpa loved you so, and trusted you with this lineage, your mind a living terma that we have yet to really uncover. I have seen children, even my own, grow up in the magic-pageant mandala you so colorfully-cupcake-crafted where at rights of passage- they offer a chrysanthemum of kindness and a simple dot in space that makes an entire kingdom of light and play, eternally child-like, eternal theater, eternal mind-heart who’s wisdom activity will never cease.
You loved so many with eyes of wonder, made a tall skinny red-head give birth to no less than Ziggy Stardust, and may the unceasing magic and play of Stara, Tara, Sara, all of us without exception celebrate all living geometry, perception and form, and may we all live and love well, and meet again.
I’m not quite sure how I can make it without your friendship and wisdom, you kind of take things for granted until they are gone. You once told me:
“The universe creates consciousness in order to experience itself” Jack Niland
May we all fully relish each moment of five colored display. Profound holder of a precious lineage, one that will and can surely magnetize the next generation and beyond, may your heart, mind, tiny dot in space and Stara-glitter-lineage of magic and grace, endure for generations to come. All my love, Dawn and… us all~ ★★★
More Kitten Sacred Art-
Jack would send me these kitten drawings every morning. You can see more here. He would often talk about sacred geometry, sacred world, negative and positive space and what he called the thangka (Tibetan sacred art) in the background. He received some teachings directly from Trungpa on perception and memory, and thought that the background and principles such as symmetry actually affected the viewer as much as the central figure. Each one of these kitten drawings represents a complex Dharma teaching which always unmistakably points to a living sacred world. I find it fun to browse through them and let a picture say thousand words, his Dharma Art lineage has the powerful capacity to inspire, unify and remind of the natural quality of the human heart, pristine and stainless. That’s how you were Jack.