The Bunnysattva Sangha



Master of the Month

His Early Life

by Aerna Otatop

The Master we are studying this month is Tajuddin Muhammad Badruddin, who is known in India as Tajuddin Baba Nagpuri.

He is revered by people of all communities around Nagpur, but particularly by Sufis, as he had been born into the religion of Islam. Sufism is the mystical strain of Islam, although many who call themselves Sufis today are not true esoteric seekers -- just as many Christians do not actually follow the teachings of Christ, and many Buddhists do not really take the path laid out by Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.

I am only telling the story of Tajuddin's early life. Maybe later I will be able to write the rest. He passed on August 17, 1925.

Anyone who would like to join the Masters study group, we meet Wednesdays at 6 p. m. on Mandy's roof. See me if you're interested, and I'll give you the details on what to read to prepare and on the meditation for that week. We are studying, one by one, the lives and teachings of about fifty Masters, as recorded in 'The Secret Teachings of the Masters of All the Ages,' the volume Patra brought with him in January. We are only studying the Realized Masters, not the masters of the higher planes (who have not yet reached the Goal).

TAJUDDIN MUHAMMAD BADRUDDIN was born dead January 17, 1861 at 5.15 am, in the town of Kamptee, outside Nagpur, in central India.

His mother Mariambi, and his father Muhammad Badruddin, had probably given up hope because, immediately after birth, the baby did not move at all for several hours.

An elder in the family took a hot iron rod and touched the baby's temple and forehead. The flesh sizzled, and the baby cried out, and began to look around and move about.

The father, Muhammad Badruddin, was a professional soldier, a batallion commander in the British army. He had just been transferred to Kamptee from Madras. He died when Tajuddin was one year old. And Tajuddin's mother died when he was nine. From that time his mother's mother took care of him.

Tajuddin attended school along with the other children in his town. When he was eighteen, a man visiting the school noticed him. The man's name was Abdullah Shah, and he was revered as a holy man by the local Muslim community.

Abdullah Shah said, 'Why is this boy in school? Why does he need to study? What has he left to learn? He has Gnosis -- divine knowledge.'

Abdullah Shah took a biscuit, ate half, and gave the rest to Tajuddin to eat. He told the boy, 'Eat less, sleep less, and study Al-Quran as if the Prophet Muhammad is watching you.'*

*Al-Quran is the most important Sutra of Islam, believed to have been dictated by Allah, and given through the medium of the Angel Jibraeel to Muhammad. Jibraeel is a powerful Mahadeva, revered in all religious traditions by different names. The Christians call him Archangel Gabriel. Muhammad, revered as a Rasool or Prophet by Muslims, was the Buddha of Arabia, and the greatest spiritual Master of his time.

Meeting Abdullah Shah affected Tajuddin very much. He stayed out of school for three days, continually in tears. He began to spend more time alone, and read often from the Diwan, or collected writings, of Hafez.*

*Shamuddin Muhammad Hafez of Shiraz, Persia, is known as a great poet, whose songs are popular to this day -- but he was also one of the incarnate Buddhas (Qutubs or Perfect Masters) of his time.

There was too much rain, and the Kanhan River flooded. Many people in Kamptee drowned; others lost their homes. Tajuddin enlisted in the army in order to earn money to help his grandmother.

Tajuddin's regiment was transferred from Kamptee to Sagar. One night, when Tajuddin was on guard duty, he heard a voice in the woods. He walked into the thick forest, and came upon an old man sitting beneath a tree. The old man did not look at him, but said, 'Bring me a cup of tea.'

Tajuddin went back to the barracks, made tea, and brought it to the man beneath the tree. The man took a little tea, and gave the rest to Tajuddin, saying, 'Drink this.'

Tajuddin did as he was told, and experienced the highest state of consciousness, complete Enlightenment. The old man, whose name was Daood Chisti, was a Realized Master, and well known in the district. Tajuddin, who was eighteen, became a Majzoob -- what we call a Pratekya Buddha -- a Realized soul with no consciousness of the illusion we call the creation.

Like every other Majzoob, Tajuddin was now completely unaware of his physical body or his surroundings. He experienced infinite bliss, power and knowledge. But to those around him, he appeared insane. He went every night into the woods to sit for hours with Daood Chisti.

Tajuddin was discharged from the army. His grandmother came to take him back to Kamptee. His marriage to a young woman had already been arranged, but her family did not want a madman to marry their daughter, so the engagement was broken.

Tajuddin's grandmother tried to have him treated by doctors, but no doctor was of any help. She died not long after, and Tajuddin lived by himself in her house. He stayed there for four years.

When he was 22, Tajuddin's uncle, Abdur Rehman, came and took him to Chanda to live with him. Abdur Rehman also got Tajuddin medical treatment, but he remained 'insane.'

Before long he was back in Kamptee. Tajuddin wandered the streets alone, and was attacked by gangs of children, who threw stones at him. He would not hurt them, but collected the rocks they threw at him. He spent much of his time in the hills.

Tajuddin was gradually coming down from his state of Majzoobiyat. After several severe stonings, Tajuddin began to act normal again. He had become a Master, what the Sufis call a Qutub, and what we know as a Buddha.

Tajuddin Muhammad Badruddin


for My Students
Patra Chosnyid Skybamedpa

I'd like each of you who are studying with me to follow these guidelines until September 20th.
Those who are not my students should not follow these instructions.

1. Meditate and/or pray for one hour daily. I'd prefer if you do this all in one sitting, if you can. But if you cannot (for instance, if you have small children) the hour can be divided into several parts.

Those of you I've given individual meditation instructions should follow them. If for some reason you can't follow the instructions, please get in touch with me right away.

Those who have not been given individual instructions can pray to or meditate on the Master of their choice. Choose from among the Realised souls, who have attained infinite consciousness. Though they may have lived in former times, they are not limited by time and space. Being spiritually Perfect, they can help you in a way that ordinary mortals can't.

Meditating on an imperfect master leads to the faults of that person percolating into your mind. So meditate on and pray only to one who has no faults.

Do NOT meditate on me or pray to me. I'm not advanced enough to for that. Students like to think their teacher is very advanced, but actually, I am an aspirant like each of you. Maybe a little more advanced -- but who can say for sure?

Choose a quiet spot where you won't be disturbed. Turn off the lights, or close the shades, so the room is as dark as possible -- but not so dark that it makes you uncomfortable. If you still see light, try tying a cotton cloth lightly around your eyes. If you meditate outdoors, find a place you won't be disturbed and where there's as little noise as possible. The sound of birds or of a stream is fine -- but not jackhammers. If you live on a truck route or near an airport, buy a pair of high decibel earplugs.

If you're meditating on or praying to a Master, it helps to have a picture or photograph. Choose one you like. Photographs are available for most of the Masters who lived in this century. If you have trouble finding a picture, tell me.

It's also helpful for some people to use a mala or prayer beads. I use a mala blessed by Miryam of Nazareth, at Medjugorje, Bosnia.

You can, if you prefer, pray to and meditate on God in his/her formless aspect. Some Buddhists don't believe in God. I do. You can also meditate on the Adi-Buddha, or any of the celestial Buddhas like Amitabha, Chenresig and Manjushri.

It's better to pick one Master and stick with him or her. If you feel uncomfortable with the one you've picked, switch. But it helps to focus on the same being regularly, even though all Realised beings are one internally. Gradually you build up a connection with the Master, and he or she may even speak to you and appear to you to guide you spiritually.

2. The present confused weather patterns are only the beginning. The world is a mess, and physically it is getting worse. Do not expect external harmony in your life, or in the world around you. Stick with your spiritual practice even if everything around you falls apart. This is a hard time for worldly enjoyment, but the best time for spiritual advancement.

If you are meditating on and praying to a real Master, you will be protected. Protection does not necessarily mean you will be safe physically. I am talking about spiritual protection -- that's what's really important.

I want each of you to put aside two weeks' worth of food and water for an emergency. The food need not be fancy -- just enough for your physical survival. Don't spend a lot of money on it. I recommend you get a small camp-stove and sufficient fuel for two weeks. Being able to make tea and coffee, or hot soup, can make an difficult situation a lot easier. And it's a way you can help others if things get tough.

Those of you who can afford to, please help those who can't afford to put aside food and water. And if you can swing it, store extra food and water for other people who haven't prepared.

Make sure you change your provisions regularly so they aren't spoiled when you need them.

There's a chance that electricity and telephone communication will be down. That means no computers. Make hard copies of any picture or text you need. Get batteries. If you have a car, keep your gas tank full, and if you can safely store a few cans of gas, it may come in handy. When the power goes out, gas stations can't pump their gas. Pick up a battery radio or a little portable TV so you can find out what's happening if there's no electricity. Make sure you have lots of candles, or lamps with oil, and flashlights with new batteries.

Do your best to stay centered and peaceful. Remember it is your right to be happy, even in the most trying circumstances. Nothing can happen to us that we did not ourselves create in our last life. Things may appear chaotic, but there is a master plan, and the world is guided by very advanced, compassionate beings. All these difficulties and disturbances are for our spiritual upliftment -- and will result in a new and enlightened civilization on Earth. It will be a period of peace and harmony where spiritual aspiration will be the rule rather than the exception. This new era will be worth any pain we have to go through in giving it birth.

This is a very recent message said to be from Miryam of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus Christ. Annie Kirkwood, a woman in Oklahoma, has been receiving and distributing these messages for several years. I have not met her, but I have read about her and her work, and I think it could very well be for real. This is the same woman who put out the book 'Mary's Message to the World.' Those of you who are online can read more at this address:

There is always a chance that a spiritual source is not what it seems. Follow your intuition about these things. Go with your gut feeling -- but not without first investigating fully. Don't be too credible or too narrow-minded.

Here's the message:

July 4, 1998

I call each of you to prayer. Many people are getting the inner message of major changes which are coming your way. These changes will not be as expected, but will be just as crippling as the direst predictions. They will come about through government, banking institutions, and telecommunications. Your power sources will be interrupted and your life will change drastically. Again, not as you envision it, but in other ways that will gain your complete attention.

All change is good, keep this in mind. All change will eventually lead to good when you look for the good in every situation and circumstance. These changes will not linger for a long time, but they will be an interruption of your life as you know it now. What will happen is that people will find other things to entertain them, and other things that are of value. During this time, you (mankind) will reevaluate your life, assets, and what you consider of value.

Pray for the west, for from the west will come the major changes. It will begin at the line of demarcation between west and east, but will encompass the whole world. Many different kinds of changes will take place during this time. The earth will move and shake. Large cities will feel the movement. In some there will be devastation and in other only a huge amount of fear will be felt among the population. The earth will spew forth its inner core in many areas of the world. In other areas you will have floods, and in many areas there will be drought. You will wonder that we are in a grace period.

You are in a period of grace. You are not experiencing the worst. You can delay and minimize future events, if you will continue to live in love instead of fear. You who hear this message will bring about a healing to the people of earth if you pray and if you concentrate on peacefulness and compassion. This then is my request, that you ask people to pray for a peaceful heart and for a compassionate nature. You will bring about greater changes than you imagine with prayer. Pray for the west.

This country's western coastal waters are stirring up and will generate more than you can imagine. The land will tremble with tremors and spewing of volcanic gasses. Pray for your fellow citizens.

People will know what to do. Just as people know what to do in any major change in their lives. People who have never been parents know innately how to love and guide their children. People who had never been married know how to live a life of dual partnership after they become marital partners and parents. This is how it will work during these changes.

Listen my children, listen to your soul. Listen to your heart and listen to your guidance. Have confidence in your inner connection to God, our Creator. He will guide each of you to your right place. I am loving you, as I pray with you for the world and the children of the world.

Mary, Mother of Jesus.

(via Annie Kirkwood, July 4, 1998)


Patra continues:

About the references to God: some Buddhists have a strong prejudice against any talk of God. Often this is because of their past painful experiences. Don't allow this prejudice or negativity to damage your relationship with God, or with those who believe in God.

The higher understanding within Buddhism is that God and the Enlightened mind, or Buddha mind, are one and the same thing. Those who have attained Nirvana can equally be said to have become one with divinity, or one with God. God is just another word for the Truth that is our real being.

Don't be taken in by the limited conceptions of God held by fundamentalists and religious bigots. They are not talking about God, but about fantasy projections of their own hatred and violence. The gods they believe in exist only in their imagination.

It usually isn't harmful for people to personalize Truth as an all-powerful, all-knowing being. The Realized Souls really are all-powerful and all-knowing, and they live in a realm of bliss we can barely imagine. All Perfected beings are one.

The exoteric religions teach that God created the universes. But the higher teaching, generally taught only in the mystical schools, is that we have created this illusion by our own imagination. Everything we experience has projected out of our own minds. We cannot blame God for anything; we ourselves are responsible.

A sincere belief in God often helps one's faith, and encourages one's spiritual practice. Western Buddhists sometimes don't understand about faith, and how important it is. You can't do anything without faith. You can't cross the street without the faith that you will reach the other side safely. You can't follow a teacher or Master without living faith in him or her. And you can't attain Enlightenment without faith in the Truth.

The religions of faith -- Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and the Buddhist faith sects, all have their place. Different paths have been opened for men and women of different temperaments. Never think that our group has a monopoly on the truth. Even those who have no faith and no spiritual path or practice can advance a lot through honesty, integrity, and a life of unselfish service to others. By believing in themselves and in the power of goodness, they can do a great deal. If you find yourself criticizing other faiths, remember, we follow a Rabbit. Think how silly that must sound to outsiders.

3. Please DON'T bring new people to the meetings. At this point, it's just too difficult for newcomers to understand what's going on. If you have a friend who wants to come, tell Mandy, and she'll arrange an interview or a beginner's class.

4. DON"T keep going back and forth between the different study groups. This is very unsettling to the others in the groups. Find a group you like, and stick with it. What's most important is not which text you study, but your own work to uncover the Truth, which is within you, not outside you.

5. If everything goes as planned, the Bunnysattva will be with us for three or four days in August. Those of you who have not met her will finally get your chance. But there will be NO public meetings -- just gatherings for students and for members of the Order. If you want to bring friends who are not studying with us, make sure to talk to Mandy first.

I'll post the schedule here as soon as I know it. I expect there will be at least one big dinner, and maybe two or three group trips out of the city. If you need to sleep over at Mandy's, let her know now. There's only so much room on the floor.

6. The Bunnysattva Sangha web pages are private; they are not listed with any search engine and can't be found by wandering around online. None of the material here is secret, but it can be quite confusing to those who have no previous preparation. So DON'T give out the addresses to anyone who has no background in these teachings. Don't make a link from your home-page to the Sangha pages. We have to change the address fairly regularly -- if you can't find the pages, get the address from Mandy (

Don't expect people to understand what we're doing. They usually can't. I've been told that there are people online who've read sections of the Sutra and yet think we are fictional characters in a sort of story. Unbelievable -- but that's the way people are. If you meet someone like this, don't feel you have to correct them. Maybe they would rather it be fiction. Only those who are sincerely seeking, with their backs to the wall, can benefit much from these teachings. Those who want wealth and comforts would do better elsewhere.

7. Remember the Bunnysattva mantra:


or if you prefer the Tibetan version


If you repeat this mantra silently to yourself -- or out loud when you are alone -- it will help still the mind, and make you more receptive to the teachings.

PLEASE remember the first rule of the Sangha: Never teach what you yourself have not already put into practice.

Patra Skybamedpa
Sunday 19th July
Broome Street



PATRA will be speaking every Monday night at seven at the Samantha's restaurant. If you can't make it, get a transcript from Aerna. They are usually ready by Wednesday afternoon.

There's no need to order anything at Samantha's: the owner is herself a student. But if you do order, don't forget to tip the waitresses -- they live on tips, not salary.

Anyone who can stay after, please help us clean up. It only takes a few minutes. -- Thanks, Mandy

FRENCH TRANSLATION TEAM meets Wednesdays at 9 p. m. in the back room at Gran Cafe Degli Artisti on Greenwich Avenue (between 6th and 7th Avenues, on the north side). If you are fluent in French we need you. We are in the middle of Book Two.

BILBERRY: Anyone with eye problems who wants to go in on a big order of Bilberry, see Rafe after Monday's class.
GOD SPEAKS Study Group meets Tuesdays at six at Dean & Deluca Cafe on Prince (a block east of West Broadway, next to Whole Foods). This is not an easy read. Bring a copy if you've got one.

MACDONALD'S on West Third Street has agreed to cook vegetarian burgers for anyone who says 'Bunnysattva.' They're the same price as the cow burgers, and they have agreed to use a separate griddle (so no meat fat). Gassho to Zoltan for beating them into submission.

PARIS IN SUMMER? Three students from Paris want to come to New York in August. Anyone who wants to trade apartments (nothing fancy), write Jacques Lupiere, 19, Rue Jacob, 75006 Paris.

HOSPITALIANS: Want to join us visiting sick people at St. Vincent's Hospital? All you need to know is how to smile. We meet at Bagel And on the east side of Sixth Avenue between 8th and 9th Streets at six p.m. Thursdays.

CAFFE REGGIO on MacDougal just south of 3rd Street is sponsoring the first and maybe only TELL YOUR MOM ABOUT BUDDHISM night. Bring your mother, or anyone who could pass for your mother, to Reggio Friday, August 6th, at 8 p. m. Capuccinos are free, and Keight will talk about the Four Truths and the Eightfold way. In case you missed dinner, we have permission to bring falafel sandwiches in from next door.

SWIMMING TEAM: No, there isn't any swimming team. Just wanted to get your attention. We will be sweeping Prince Street from Hudson to Broadway Monday nights after class. Anyone who wants to clean up Soho, BYOB (bring your own broom) to Samantha's.

SILENCE DAY STORIES: Did you goof up? Share your story next Wednesday (the 22nd) at 6 p. m. on the Roof.

VISIONS OF THE BUNNYSATTVA (the new book by Oscar Luft-hansa) should be back from the printer the first week in September. If you have room to store boxes of books, tell Toof at Mandy's.

RENT: Found, a black silk jacket, medium, with 'Rent' embroidered on the back. It's in the closet by the door at the loft.

CHEESE: Someone left a big block of Gouda in the refrigerator at Mandy's. Come get it before its too late (mmmm). Suzi

WHEELS: I need a car for around $200 . Please. Call Jeremy (my number's on the board by the door at the loft).

Anyone with an extra ticket to see His Holiness the Dalai lama, anywhere in the country, at any time, please see Malcom D. after the Monday class.

WHERE'S MY ZAFU? It's blue, and very heavy, cause it's stuffed with old cotton sweaters. If you come across it please call me at Mandy's. Toof Otatop

911: In an emergency, you can e-mail Patra, care of Mandy, at Please DON'T IM -- it makes her computer crash.


The following is reprinted, with permission, from 'Gassho Station: Buddhist Teachers in America,' by Francis Janson, published last month by Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch


HAVING DABBLED in the Zen, Shin, Vipassana and Tibetan traditions, and feeling a bit burnt, I was ready for a break. An old bartender in Chapel Hill told me about a spiritual retreat on the Carolina coast.

He said the place was quiet, non-denominational, inexpensive, and most important, he said, 'they leave you alone.'

It had been founded in the 1940s by two society matrons, one an imperious, wealthy heiress, the other a former actress who always wore a turban, and was clairvoyant. Both women had studied with a mysterious yogi in India.

I made a reservation by telephone. All they wanted to know was who had told me about the retreat, and whether I smoked marijuana. The lady assigned me a small cabin with a tiny kitchen for two weeks. It would set me back $220 dollars.

I arrived about sunset, having driven through fields and farmland for several hours, and then through the tackiest beach resort I have ever seen. Hidden away in a first-growth forest, beneath a dense cover of trees, was the retreat center.

I signed the guest register in a little house just inside the gate of the retreat. A young man gave me a sheet of rules and took me to my cabin.

I loved it. I could hear nothing but the sounds of birds and squirrels, and the faint roar of the ocean a mile to the east. There were about twenty of these cabins built on the edge of a fresh water lake -- and a meditation hall, a prayer room, a communal kitchen, even a small library full of murder mysteries. Pictures of the guru who founded the place were everywhere -- a sad-looking man with a hooked nose and a pirate's mustache. Strangely, no one ever mentioned him. I gathered that most of the people at the retreat thought him to be some sort of god. But I never asked, and no one volunteered anything.

I spent the first week lying on the beach and meditating in my cabin. I began to unwind. My body clock slowed down and reset by the rise and set of the sun. I drank herbal teas and ate fresh fruit. I felt a lot better.

On the eighth day, soon after a great swim, I noticed an incredibly beautiful woman on a towel a hundred feet me. She smiled at me, and I smiled back. She was wearing next to nothing. I turned over and tried to go to sleep. An hour later, I had almost succeeded, when I heard a soft voice near my ear.

'Excuse me.'

I looked up. It was her. 'Are you staying in the center?'

'Uh -- yeah.'

'Are you going back any time soon? I need someone to walk with?'

'To walk with?'

'We're not allowed to walk the trails alone.'

'Are you sure? No one told me that.'

'Will you be going back?'

'I am a bit hungry. Why not?'

I rolled up my blanket and put on my shirt and sneakers. It was a twenty minute walk along a fairly narrow trail.

'Is this your first time?' I asked her.

'My first time?'

'I mean here, at this retreat.'

'No. I've been coming since I was a baby.'

'Really? How did that happen?'

'My parents are ___________.'

I forget the word, but it meant followers of the Indian yogi.

'And you?'

She shrugged her shoulders. 'I don't belong to any group.'

'Me either.'

'Then why are you here?'

I told her about my book. How I had been so disillusioned by the teachers I had met that I was thinking of throwing in the towel. That I had come there to rethink the whole thing, and decide what to do next.

'Have you met the Master PCS?' she asked casually.'


'PCS. In New York. Or at least he was last month.'

'I've never heard of him.'

'He's the highest teacher in America. And an incredible guy.'

'You've met him?'

'He's my uncle.'

'Your uncle is a guru?'

'Well, a spiritual teacher. He's a Buddhist master, in the lineage of Padmasambhava. You've heard of him, haven't you?'

I told her I wasn't sure. It turned out, after she filled me in, that I had. Padmasambhava was one of three founders of Tibetan Buddhism, back in the seventh or eight century after Christ. He was a miracle worker and a tantric yogi, a teacher whose exploits were legendary.

'So this master, your uncle, he lives in New York?'

'He's my great-uncle, my mother's mother's brother. I think.'

'You think?'

'Well they don't like to talk about him much. I've had to piece it together. But believe me...' She turned to me and looked me in the eye. 'He is the greatest teacher, and a very, very advanced being.'

'Tell me more. And how do I meet him?

'Well, you have to go to New York. Then you find him. First of all, never tell him you are writing a book. He won't see you at all then. He hates publicity. Second, you have to be very, uh, shy with him. If you act like you revere him, he'll make you leave. And third, you have to need help. Like a place to stay, or food. The best way is to ask for food or money.'

'That is really strange.'

'I guess. But trust me, whatever you have to do, it's worth it.'

'If he's so great, why aren't you following him?'

'Well, I wanted to. He said I already have a Master. I don't, though.'

'Then why did he say that? I mean, if it isn't true.'

'He had a far-away look. I think he was looking into the future.'

'What else did he tell you?'

'To follow my heart. He said, if you follow your heart, all the spiritual secrets will be revealed to you.'

'Isn't that a little simplistic?'

'Well, maybe, but it made sense at the time. He told me a few books to read, and to stay away from drugs, and not to get... involved... with anyone.'

'You mean sex?'

'Yes. He said it would tangle me up and set me back a lifetime.'

'And have you... done what he said?'

'So far. But I'm pretty young yet. I haven't really been tempted.'

'Did he say why?'

'Why what?'

'Why you shouldn't have... intercourse.'

'Oh, it wasn't just intercourse. He told me not to kiss, or make out, or let someone... touch me... he went through a whole list of things. The reason was something called red shankaras.'

'Red shankaras?'

'Uh-huh. They're imprints on your mind. They make you crazy. He said you get them if you have sex with someone you don' t love with all your heart and soul. You can get them other ways too -- by lying, doing acts of violence, by being a false teacher... And there was another way I've forgot.'

We had reached her cabin.

'I'm gonna go take a shower. Thanks for walking me back. And come by later if you want.'

'I will,' I told her.

THAT EVENING, AFTER SUNSET, I knocked on her door.

'Who is it?'

I said my name.

'Oh, hi. Come on in.'

'Her room was dark, except for a single candle in the center of the room. The walls were paneled in dark maple, sweet incense clung to the air, and, as my eyes adjusted, I saw she was sitting naked on a pillow in the farthest corner.

'Sorry,' she told me. 'I like to meditate without my clothes on. Are you okay, or should I get dressed?'

I told her I was fine either way. She was, far and away, the best looking woman I had ever seen. Which, strangely, didn't make me uncomfortable. She didn't project sexuality at all. I did my best not to stare.

She stood and took a towel off a small hotplate.

'Don't tell anyone. You can't have a hotplate here. Or incense, or candles. You can't even visit people in their cabins. They're a bit strict. The rules were made up by old ladies.'

'Tell me more about this master --- PCB.'

'PCS. It stands for a Tibetan name. I don't remember the Tibetan. But he's an American. He lived awhile in... I think Iceland, but he grew up here, and he's living in New York now.'

Who did he study with?'

'I don' t know her name. She's a Buddhist teacher, and very wise. I've never met her, just heard stories.'

'Where does she live?'

'I don't know. I asked once, and the fellow told me, 'on the moon.' I figured it must be a secret, so I didn't press him.'

'Well, how do I meet this PCS?'

'Here's what I would do. This is the best way, I think. They don't advertise, they have no public classes, there's nothing you can join. Totally secret. So... you go to New York, and you get rid of any money you have. You have to really get rid of it, not fake it, cause he'll be able to tell right away. And don't eat that day before you see him. Find him and go up to him and ask him if he knows a place you can stay the night, and where you can maybe get a decent meal.'

'That's wild. Where do I find him?'

'Every day at 3 p. m. he goes to a cafe on MacDougal Street (she told me the name of the cafe) and he sits there for about an hour. Sometimes he is by himself, other times with friends or some of his students. He's real easy to identify because (she told me two things that would help me recognize him). You go up and introduce yourself. Don't, whatever you do, give out that you know who he is. Ask him for help, for a place to sleep and some food. Most likely he'll buy you something then and there, and then he'll take you back to the loft.'

'The loft?'

'Yeah, that's where they all live. I don't know how many. Maybe twenty? Thirty?'

'And then what?'

'Well, just stay, be quiet, and listen and look. They won't ask you to leave. Believe me, you won't be disappointed. He's... incredible.'

'This is so out there,' I told her, 'I might even try it. It would make some story.'

'Whatever you do, don't say you're a writer. He'll throw you out on the spot. And don't be nosy. Just blend in.'

'How old is he, do you know?'

'Well, they say he's in his nineties, but I don't believe it. He looks about sixty to me. How old are you?'

I told her.

'Wow. You're old. And you're still looking for a teacher? You must have terrible karma.'

I told her some stories about teachers I had met, and she cooked us chai, a very hot Indian drink made with tea, soymilk, honey and spices. It was delicious. We talked till almost midnight, and I went back to my cabin, determined to go to New York in the morning. On the road again.

I DID EXACTLY what she told me. I fasted, parked my car in an overnight lot, gave away the small amount of cash I had brought with me, and found the cafe a little before three. It was a very dark place, with a tin ceiling and many old paintings on the walls. The tables were marble or wood, and most of the chairs were wrought iron.

I had only been there a few minutes when a man exactly fitting her description came in. With him was a blonde-haired boy, maybe eighteen, and an interesting looking well-dressed woman in her fifties. I waited till they had sat down and ordered, and then approached their table.

'Excuse me,' I began. 'I was wondering if... I don't want to bother you or anything, but it occurred to me that you might know...'

The teacher looked at me carefully with big glowing blue eyes. He smiled slightly, and said, 'Yes?'

'If you know of a place I could stay and maybe have a shower, and perhaps get something to eat.'

'You're not from here, are you?' asked the boy.

'I've just come from Carolina.'

The woman looked at the Master PCS. He nodded.

She said, 'Why don't you have something to eat,' and handed me her menu. 'On us.'

The Master spoke. 'If you wish, you can stay the night with us. We are guests ourselves, about ten blocks from here.'

I was unsteady on my feet. You might think it was due to my brief fast, but I have fasted a lot without any faintness. It was as if a wave of purity had washed over and through me. And those eyes. He could see into me. I knew that he knew everything about me. There could be no secrets from this man. My not eating and having no money didn't fool him for a moment.

But he acted as if he didn't know. I knew he knew, and he knew I knew he knew, but the charade just went on.

I HAVE NO WORDS to describe those first few hours in the company of the Master PCS. I felt like I had entired a heavenly realm, a place so unbelievable that I knew I could never write about it properly. I felt such peace and happiness and security and... excitement, that I could hardly speak. No one seemed to care that I was in such a state. I felt accepted and... loved, in a way I don't think I have ever felt before. I knew that all my searching had paid off, that finally I had found a genuine teacher, one who could live what he taught.

'THE SAD PART,' the Master explained, 'is I can't really take them where they want to go. I don't have those kinds of powers.'

He was telling me that he really wasn't advanced enough to have students.

'Can anyone take them? Don't they have to do the work themselves?'

'There are souls who can take you from here to there -- just like that. They are called Buddhas, or in Sufism, Qutubs, or in Vedanta, Sadgurus.'

'Are there many like that?'

'At any one time, there are five or six of them on Earth.'

'How do you find them?'

'Ah, that's it exactly. You can't. You have to have earned the connection with one over many past lives. Just to meet one, you must have a connection. And to recognize him, or her... it's very difficult. They have the most incredible disguises.'

'But surely, not every teacher needs to be a... Buddha.'

'No. Not every one. But being a teacher and only being able to do so little for my students... you have no idea. It's depressing.'

'Then why do you do it?'

'It's the order of my Master.'

'The order. You mean you don't have any say?'

'Well, you do have a say. But on this path, the Master's world is sacred. She can ask you to do anything. It is a test.'

'Who exactly is your Master?'

'I'm sorry, I can't really tell you more. If you weren't a writer...'

'How did you know I'm a writer?'

'By your hands. Writer's hands.'

I looked at my hands. They look like any other hands. I asked him, 'Why don't you want to be written about?'

'If I minded you writing, I wouldn't have invited you here. But I can only tell you a little. Not everything is for publication. Some things are better left unsaid.'

'I would like to stay with you and learn from you.'

'Maybe later. For now, I have a request to make of you.'

'What is it?'

'I would like you to take this book to _______.' He said the name of the woman I had met at the forest retreat. The book, a rather large reddish-brown hardback, sat on the table between us.

'You mean you want me to go back to North Carolina?'

'Would you?'

'I... I guess so. Couldn't you mail it to her?'

'This is a very sacred and rare book. I wouldn't trust it to the mails.'

'But you would trust me with it?'

'Shouldn't I?'

'You hardly know me.'

'Maybe I am mistaken.'

'No, I will be happy to carry it for you. When shall I go?'

'Tomorrow, after dinner. Of course, I will pay your way.


NOTE FROM PATRA: 'This fellow was a bit carried away by his own enthusiasm. I am not a Master, I cannot perform miracles or read minds, and I am not the most advanced teacher in the United States. Several people asked that we post this chapter here so they wouldn't have to buy the book to read it. Don't take it for anything but what it is -- a bit of creative exaggeration and spiritual hyperbole.' -- Patra

All the text on this page is copyright the Order of the Golden Hand, 1998, except the message from Mother Mary, which is copyright 1998 Annie Kirkland, and the excerpt from 'Gassho Station,' which is copyright 1998 Francis Janson. To reproduce anything here, get written permission (on paper!) from Toof Otatop, Copyright Secretary, Order of the Golden Hand.


Come now:
I invite you to Buddha-nature,
and by the way,
to happiness.


Guardian of the
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