For a long time, I’ve been committed to work that might help renew a culture of inwardness, particularly in reflecting on the relationship between society and nature. To this end, I worked on Emilio Ambasz’ visionary Universitas Project at MOMA in NY (which explored new alignments within the forces capable of re-designing the man-made environment). I then withdrew from that arena to study, practice and later teach Buddhism in the Karma Kagyu/Nyingma traditions. After twenty years, this evolved into making, with composer, Peter Lieberson, new pieces invoking various Central Asian epic traditions of spiritual and cultural renewal. The results were: King Gesar, premiered at the Munich Biennale (Sony CD), and Ashoka’s Dream about the Emperor Ashoka at the Santa Fe Opera. I’ve worked at presenting the nexus of loss and re-birth in a number of written and theater pieces centering on the Tibetan Book of the Dead (a series for the National Film Board of Canada -Leonard Cohen,Narrator), a piece at the Asia Society with Music by Philip Glass and a later one with Butoh master, Katsura Kan).
I then wrote two novels: A Journey of The North Star, an account, told by a eunuch-slave, of the third Ming Emperor’s struggle to re-create traditional Chinese culture (Publerati in 2012), and Dreamers and Their Shadows, about a revolutionary spiritual teacher, his erratic students, and their strange if lingering fate (2013-Mountain Treasury Press). In 2015, Hammer and Anvil Press published From The Empire of Fragments, a collection focused on the lives of the culturally displaced. This spring, Wakefield Press will bring out Charles Ré and my translation of Pascal Quignard’s A Terrace in Rome.
Shorter work has appeared in Cahiers de L’Herne, Agni, Chicago Quarterly, New England Quarterly, Parabola, Tricycle and Kyoto Journal among many others .
The Warrior Song of King Gesar
The Gesar epic encompasses a vast range of ancient Central Asian cultural and spiritual traditions. At its center, Gesar, King of Ling battles tirelessly in a world riven by greed, confusion, fear, and religious ambition to open pathways to an enlightened society. The Warrior Song of King Gesar follows the unbroken heritage of that warrior tradition and presents the saga of Gesar’s life, from the hardships of his youth through his great battles against the demonic enemies of the four directions.
Crossings on a Bridge of Light: The Songs and Deeds of KING GESAR
CROSSINGS ON A BRIDGE OF LIGHT is a tale of boundless compassion as it inspires the journey through the joys and sorrows of life and death. Tibet’s great warrior hero, Gesar of Ling discovers that his mother has lost her way and fallen into the torments of hell. Riding his magic horse, the primordial power of mind itself, he then travels though all the hallucinations of existence to liberate her.
The Brilliance of Naked Mind: Secret Visions of Gesar, King of Ling
THE BRILLIANCE OF NAKED MIND tells of the secret visions of the legendary warrior, Gesar, King of Ling. It is a collection of stories and invocations that are the ground for Gesar, King of Ling’s pursuit of enlightened society. The texts include vivid biographies of Tilopa, embodiment of lineage; Kukkuripa, embodiment of compassion; the sisters Mehkhala and Kanhala, essence of unified devotion and prajna; and King Indrabhuti, exemplar of enlightened sovereignty.
Journey of the North Star
This fascinating historical novel brings to life the Chinese court of Zhu Di, the Yong Le Emperor, who reigned from 1403-1424 and made China a world power. The story is narrated by the fictional eunuch Ma Yun, who served in the emperor’s court. Replete with military campaigns, religious ceremonies and the philosophical foundation that informs the Emperor’s decisions through times good and bad, Journey of the North Star will appeal to readers interested in Eastern religions, history, philosophy and the political outlook that still influences China today.
Dreamers and their Shadows
Two ancient scrolls, The Secret Annals, are discovered in the 1950’s in a Tokyo bombsite. They purport to be the history of an unknown 15th-Century Japanese spiritual teacher who, in a time of social chaos, sets out to establish enlightened society. He begins his teaching saying: “Abstinence is no path at all. We are gambling on true love. It is an untested path.” In documents from students and spies, the Annals then give an intimate portrait of a charismatic leader, his teachings and the transformative journey he shares with his eccentric band of followers.
Wishes and longings to the contrary, the wanderer does not find lasting rest. Movement is continuous.
Worlds, words, experiences coalesce. A moment engulfs.
In such landings, in such intensities, all is now intimately real. Duration of such inadvertent residing is not in the wanderer’s control.
The wanderer waits, is attentive, and surrenders in chance encounters, tales and songs.
From the Empire of Fragments
The sheer immensity of slaughter and dispossession has paralyzed the minds of us all. It has made amnesia a world necessity. How else could anyone have endured the loss of so much that we have loved? To find continuity, to preserve sanity, this has been the heroic struggle of our ignorant murderous age. FROM THE EMPIRE OF FRAGMENTS is a collection of four short stories and a novella recounting the lives of a Cambodian dancer, a West Indian indigent, an Indian sitar player, an Albanian professor, and an Amazonian native.
Punch in His Time - The Monstrous Eschaton
Punch and Judy, the deeply beloved English children’s comedy is, at heart, a relentless account of a mass murderer’s happy exploits. In PUNCH IN HIS TIME – The Monstrous Eschaton, Punch’s innate, jolly madness is re-imagined to its homicidal apotheosis within the outwardly comforting scaffolds of friendship, family, fatherhood, and, ultimately, justice
A Terrace in Rome (Translation)
A Terrace in Rome describes the tormented life of Geoffroy Meaume, a 17th-century engraver of encrypted shadows and erotic prints. After a passionate affair in his youth concludes with his face being burned by acid thrown by his lover’s jealous fiancé, Meaume undertakes a lifetime of wandering, his psyche forever engraved by the memory of the woman who spurned him. With a face of boiled leather and a mind haunted by a nightmare of desire, he devotes himself to the black-and-white world of etchings and mezzotints, forsaking the paradise of color to engage in a science of shadows.