Back in December I said farewell to my oldest friend Rinchen, who was taking off for 3.5 years of total seclusion at a Buddhist monastery. Since his pursuit calls for a more-or-less total disconnection from the outside world, he hasn’t been reading the paper or hearing the news, not to mention corresponding with friends.
But apparently, he did get a short break as the first segment of seclusion ended recently and he prepared for the next, even more intensive segment. Delighted to receive a letter from him recently. Wonder what kind of news seeps through into such an environment? I think he’ll forgive me sharing a couple of snippets. Rinchen writes:
The only other news that filtered thru beyond the sinking of New Orleans + horrible aftermath was discovered in a junk catalogue — a commemorative coin of the new pope – Cardinal Ratzinger! Truly bizarre. Same guy who excommunicated a Sri Lankan theologian for writing that the Virgin Mary is symbolic of Fecundity in the 3rd world. “Nein! She is totally dry and barren. Apostate!”
Wonder how many in the world knew this about Ratzinger (or would care if they did). Wasn’t hard to find confirmation of the story. Rinchen also sold every scrap of his incredible LP/CD collection before heading into seclusion.
You really don’t know what your desert island discs are until you go to such a place. So let’s see: Albert Ayler w/Beaver Harris on drums; Art Ensemble “Fanfare for the Warriors” + “Full Force”; Cecil Taylor “Dark to Themselves” + “For Olim” (side 2); T. Heads “Remain in Light”; Fela Kuti “Colonial Mentality / Sorrow Tears + Blood”; James Browwwwn; “The White Album”; R.L. Burnside’s “Sound Machinegroove” are some of what plays thru my mind.
We miss you Rinchen!