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January 2014, vol 9, no 4

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Matthew Caretti


for Japhy

The lanterns had been hung. Lighted. Midnight of the full moon was fast approaching as we chanted in the great hall. I sat in the cushioned row most distant from the altar with the other young disciples.

A tap on the shoulder, the guru’s attendant. “He will see you now.”

A surprise, but there would be no questioning. Certainly no arguing. I followed close at his slippered heels, down the central stairwell and across the courtyard. A narrow path led up the mountainside away from the temple to a small hermitage. Here the guru spent most of his time. Deep in Samadhi. Advising visitors. Guiding disciples in their practice.

His wisdom was deep, but known only in small circles. I had considered myself lucky to gain an audience those many years ago. The guru spoke no English, so a translator had been called in. His words were few, questions mainly. About my origins, my practice, my intentions. His eyes looked deeply into my own, probing the depths. I refused to turn away, to lower my eyes. My tarnished soul laid bare.

Now, though, I would meet him within his own language. The attendant slid the door closed behind him, the guru fingering his beads on his high cushion. I offered three prostrations then knelt before him. Candles and incense burned below a thangka hung on the far wall. Closer though, a shadow slid across an interior door.

“Everything returns to the one; where to the one?” Still, no answer for him.

He sighed, glassy eyed. Then smiled his loving smile. “You progress slowly. But tonight your practice will enter new realms. Open your mind. Offer your whole heart.”

The trace in the back room moved into the main chamber. A goddess. Ivory skinned with dark lips and nipples, gliding to my side.

our human flesh