The devoted gathered 'round the lama's bed,
The nurses came and went in scrubs attire,
A nun adjusted a pillow under his head,
In the hallway, everyone was quiet,
Though he could not eat, he had the perfect diet.
The morphine pump, his dearest companion,
Kept pumping, bless it,
The monitors measuring pulse and breath,
Marked the line between life and death.
It was all the best it could be.
The lama had been a media sensation,
To read his book on Living and Dying
Was as good as performing many prostrations,
It dispelled fears of the afterlife
And anxieties about the present.
So many were inspired by his expressions
Thousands followed him,
Temples rose up like magic under his hand,
And all this in a foreign land,
Far from the place of his birth on the roof of the world.
The great lamas knew he had his faults,
Some wise-guys said they had their doubts,
But captains of industry can't be wrong,
And to make their donations,
They gathered in throngs.
Those with initials after their names,
Therapists, philosophers, psychologists and knaves,
Lauded him in print and on screen,
They were all so delighted to be seen
With a bona-fide spiritual money machine.
He was a thought-leader, a paradigm-shifter,
A brother to all, especially the sisters,
His compassionate speeches caused women to quiver,
And though sometimes he raged, it was all to good purpose,
Heavens knew his intention was always to help us.
His followers grew in numbers and wealth,
His kingdom on earth was in excellent health.
What money could buy, he bought,
And what it could not, he demanded and got.
But the sands of the hourglass ever were falling,
The hands of the clock never stopped turning,
The candle of his life always was burning,
Like it burns for us all, till at last comes the call.
When he heard the word that freezes every man's heart,
He sat up in his sick-bed with a noticeable start,
He reached out a hand to the nun sitting there,
Fixed her with a terrified, anxious stare.
"Bring a notepad," he said, "I've something to say
I have spent my life lying, but there's no point in that now,
The truth has been waiting too many a day,
I must make my confession, and you write it down."
When the nun fetched a notebook and readied her pen,
He steadied himself and in earnest confessed,
Relieving himself of all in his breast.
He named all his victims, all he could remember,
From earliest January to the latest December.
Tears fell from his eyes, and sobs burst from his chest,
His life not quite wasted, he was doing his best.
He apologized deeply to those he'd deceived,
And swore that his teachings could not be believed.
He was ignorant, proud, and vain, he admitted.
Since the world was a fool, he simply bullshitted.
When they bought it, he couldn't say no to their needs,
He redoubled his lying, screamed his misdeeds,
But they just adored it, called his sins crazy wisdom,
Called him the enlightened one.
"Don't you understand?" he begged someone to see,
"Fame and wealth were torturing me!"
But the room remained silent.
The eyes were all dry.
He had no friends anywhere,
So he just had to die.
When the monitors went silent,
They all left the room,
As silent and desolate as an empty tomb.
Friendless he came, friendless he went,
A life of mad indulgence
An authoritative prelate approached the nun
Who'd written all the words down
As Sogyal had requested.
"You did well to record them,
But they must not be published,
The lineage would be blemished,
The Buddha's teachings tarnished."
"But," replied the nun, clutching still the pad,
"These were the only honest things he ever said,
And surely we should honor the wishes of the dead."
The wiser man snatched the book from her hand,
"You clearly do not understand the gravity of what you're saying.
These last ravings have no meaning
Compared with his lifetime of marvelous teaching.
I will dispose of them appropriately.
You will thank me for it ultimately."
But still she persisted, "It doesn't seem right.
He confessed on his deathbed,
They should see the light!"
"Nonsense, child," the wise one demurred,
"I'm not sure you're right about what you think you heard.
He was a man of perfect demeanor,
Without flaw or stain on his sacred honor.
Why, you must be high on marijuana --
Our great Bodhisattva has passed into nirvana."
August 29, 2019
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