The following is a parody of the Kan Ro Mon or “Gate of Sweet Dew”; a poem often chanted in Zen centers around this time of year for Segaki (click here for the actual version via the San Fransisco Zen Center). But first some information from someone who knows what they are actually talking about…
Then we chant the preface to the Kan Ro Mon, or “Gate of Sweet Dew.” “Sweet dew” is amrta or nectar, the elixir of life. So Gate of Sweet Dew means the actual opening of the possibility of nourishment, even for the part of being that usually lacks the capacity to be fed. [Senior Dharma Teacher] Tenshin Anderson taught that this chant is offered in the context of the Bodhisattva vow, and of everyone’s inmost request to release suffering through perfect wisdom and compassion. During the Kan Ro Mon, the Doshi says the mantras of the Buddhas and makes offerings of food and water to the ghosts, while praying that all the hungry and thirsty will be satisfied. The chant encompasses the entire range of experience, from profound suffering to profound samadhi. The Doshi says mantras that acknowledge food and water as the Dharma, that open the throats of the hungry ghosts, and that invite the spirits to return from whence they came, now satisfied. ~ From smart people at the SFZC
In that vein, I think this is the perfect Dharma toast for all us Hungry Ghosts that find ourselves at the wrong end of the bar in the bad section of town…enjoy this offering from a Buddhist drunk from South Dakota.
Stumbling forward to the fully realized mind, I offer up another round of Bodhisattva Drinks and Buddha Ale to all the hungry ghosts that gather at my barstool from each of the ten glorious directions. Shunyata is vast and all encompassing and while surviving hells is most certainly thirsty work; I wish to wet my whistle and not gargle with salt-water.
I invite all my ancient Dharma ancestors, fallen Bodhisattvas, Zen clowns and all manner of friendly and unfriendly spirits dwelling in the untamed and lonely wilderness of the Great Plains to come and gather here. With deep respect and sympathy I offer shots, fancy umbrella drinks and frosty brew to all of you, with the sincere hope that you will drink a precious moment with me.
Through the offering of a joyous mind, we make this dedication to the Buddhas and Mahasattvas to aid all sentient beings throughout this vast echoing emptiness, so that we all may be content and satisfied with this moment and this life. May we realize in this lifetime and not over endless series of kalpas that this body is indeed the body of Buddha and this land is indeed the Pure Land. Infinite bliss fills me as I take in a breath and compassion is exhaled…even to my last.
May your practice be beneficial along the way.
May you realize liberation tonight before our last call.
May your self drop away like a soiled napkin to the bar-room floor.
May all of our maritinis be dry, garnished with an olive and served with bodhichitta.
May, as I drain this last glass, I see the 32 signs etched at the botton.
At the end, whatever merit is left in this dried husk of a body – whatever value is left in this old sack of dung – let it completely transfer to others and be dedicated to an awakening of complete and utter clarity to those that frequent Samsara. Let this whole Dharma world ring with the sound of my glass, empty, hitting the polished surface of this true reality.
Go as you will. May you travel freely throughout these endless Buddha fields and arouse your own awakened mind.