Poems from the Sangha

In Homage

I feel sluggish
my mouth
mouthing words
that can’t say
the sadness I feel
As Lama Tsultrim
is my spiritual mom
so you were
my spiritual dad
And like a son
though older than you
Scorpio and Leo
we’d bump heads
then work it out
and be friends
Not an easy friendship
but if anything can be
real, that was real
You could be
a tough taskmaster
but when the work
was done and when you
said it was good
I’d know it was good
You set the standard
on horseback or
with a chöd drum
And you could dance\
a soft side of self
you seemed reticent
to show, but you
moved with winged feet
Go, now, liberated
as they say
but come back

-Jampa Dorje, July 2010

For David Petit

My heart against Her ground
Radiant ash
cloaks my skin
A sound of Fire
deep within
You rise
and I rise with You
Radiant Body
Empty Smoke
I breathe You in
and I become You
Mother, Father, Child
the One who offers and the Offering
Surrounded by the Wisdom Beings
Gone beyond.

-Josephine Doig, July 2010

David performing Sang (Fragrant Juniper Smoke Offering)
Prayer Flag Ridge, Summer 2009

How like the sun
He was.
Hair framing his face
Like a corona.
At once rugged and elegant.
How we took joy
when bathed in the warmth of his attention.
Or even
By his glare.
His light
Gave us life.

-David Laufer, July 2010

A Song of Liberation:

Gone, Gone, Gone Beyond
Death is the final liberation
Death is our greatest teacher
David’s passing is his greatest teaching
He is everywhere and nowhere
Meet him in the space of the Dharmadatu
The space of awareness beyond duality, he is there!
Let’s meet in the dancing ground of the dakinis
Where we dance the divine dance
Of creation and destruction
Of hope and fear
Of existence and nonexistence
And we move beyond duality and rest in bliss emptiness
And we too feel our bodies dissolve
Dissolve back into the five elements
Returning home is the greatest liberation
May we rejoice in his grand finale, his final performance!
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Swaha!

-Chandra Easton, July 2010


Sharp mind
Warm Eyes.
Smiling Tenderness.
May your mind hold and protect
Lama Tsultrim and Tara Mandala

-Gudrun Binder, July 2010

Wind Horse Haiku

“I think we were probably the last people to leave after the Chod retreat, & we were camping up in the trees on the edge of the meadow, when David flew by on a large horse, at full gallop. It was very impressive. We went, “wow.” I wrote this little haiku for him on the spot, at the time. I hope you like it.”

Wind man on wind horse,
turning earth to sky.
three jewels flaming on his back

-Preston Chase, July 12, 2009

I see you in the spring planting trees.
I see you in the summer garden.
I see you in the autumn at sunrise sang.
I see you in the falling snow.
Body, speech and mind lithesome and working hard,
Intent on liberation for all.
Planting trees, conserving the land, building fires, pulling everyone’s cars out of the snow banks,
Riding horses in boundless presence and joy.
Lama Tsultrim’s beloved husband,
I miss you so much.
Meeting us all now in the Dharmata,
Thank you for this parting gift that will never cease.
by your vast generosity,
May all beings be free.

-Carol Hoy, Gendun Drolma, July 2010

For David Petit

Dear Man
Arrow Man
Valiant Man
Easy in the saddle Man
Horse Man whose animals crop the grass at dawn
Hat Man whose broad brim slices light and shade
Builder Man who alcoves relics of the Dharma
Fire Man who tends the sacred, now be tended by it
Rainbow Man, arch on the walking rain
Seeing Man, offering the body: sound, light, rays

-Mary Gilliland, July 2010

Thank you David for your bright light

Thank you David for your bright light… When I heard of your death I closed my eyes and felt your strong presence immediately, radiant and full of joy.  there was no reason to be sad for you; there was no doubt that you had found liberation. I saw you riding your horse like a warrior, your white hair blazing, sounding PHET and dispelling all darkness and liberating many beings in the bardo.  You were traveling down the tunnel toward the Great Luminosity, like a river to the great ocean… I am reminded of these beautiful words by Longchenpa. Many blessings to you…

In a cloudless night sky, the full moon,
“The Lord of Stars,” is about to ride…
The face of my compassionate lord, Padmasambhava,
Draws me on, radiating its tender welcome.
My delight in death is far, far greater than
The delight of traders at making vast fortunes at sea,
Or lords of the gods who vaunt their victory in battle;
Or of those sages who have entered the rapture of perfect absorption.
So just as a traveler who sets out on the road when the time has come to go,
I will not remain in this world any longer,
But will go to dwell in the stronghold of the great bliss of deathlessness.
This my life, is finished, my karma is exhausted, what benefit prayers could
        bring has worn out,
All worldly things are done with, this life’s show is over.
In one instant, I will recognize the very essence of the manifestation of my being
In the pure, vast realms of the bardo states;
I am close now to taking up my seat in the ground of primordial perfection.
The riches found in myself have made the minds of others happy,
I have used the blessing of this life to realize all the benefits of the island of
Having been with you, my noble disciples, through all this time,

The joy of sharing the truth has filled me and satisfied me.
Now all the connections in this life between us are ending,
I am an aimless beggar who is going to die as he likes,
Do not feel sad for me, but go on praying always.
These words are my heart talking, talking to help you;
Think of them as a cloud of lotus-blossoms, and you in your devotion
        as bees plunging into them to suck from their transcendent joy.
Through the great good of these words
May all beings of all the realms of samsara,
In the ground of primordial perfection, attain nirvana.

David, you are in my heart and prayers.  Much love to you…. Jessica Stevens

for david – 22 july 2011

by charlotte

there is so much space now
where you were

and though I seem to see you everywhere
a straw hat waiting by the door
blue jeans and a white shirt out the corner of my eye
a black backpack stuffed with letters to be mailed
you are gone

there is a silence that fills this land
a waiting
as though you should return
the maroon Toyota Tundra winding up the dusty road
or a sweat-glistened horse breathlessly
delivering you to the front door

those days are closed
iron door without a hinge
my mind strains against
the permanence
of your impermanence

forever the smell of rosemary
elicits roasting chicken
the ease with which you conduct
symphonies of meals
effortless grace
of the primordial magician

you dance
sinews swaying
to the rhythms of some sweet beat
the chodpa’s chant

or perhaps, when no one was looking,
to the delicate whisper of flowers
who sang your praises in hues of gold and vibrant pink

even now
you walk this land
an ancestor
your bones the twisted arms of the hardy scrub oak
your sweat the cool exhale of rocks
your heart the pulsing throb of life that will not stop

and though we may look
we will not find you
and though we may not find you
you are there

until we are left
speechless in our searching
stopped by the determinacy of what is no longer
in the simple presence
of space
that is

and finally
with you
we rest