Total Pageviews

Monday, 27 October 2014


It has been nearly three years since I left Traditional Theravada and embarked on my journey that has become Metta Tantra. I will admit here and now that I am nowhere near what I want to look like. The photo above was taken just minutes ago....(why can't I take a decent selfie?).

As I wrote in Renunciation, I struggle with a sugar addiction. This has resulted in repeated binges on sugar. I've also struggled with the quantities I eat. I still stuff myself beyond being simply full. In effect I've been my own worst enemy. I feel a clear obligation as founder of Metta Tantra to be in effect its poster boy. To be proof that it works as a Dhamma. And this proof exists. As a poster boy for Metta Tantra I have to honestly label myself "a work in progress".

There is abundant evidence that I have changed significantly. I bumped into Siobhan Kilmartin, someone who had known me for about 10 years last week....I hadn't seen her in at least three years. I had to take my sunglasses off for her to recognise me. Two weeks before that at the Newbury Buddhist Monastery I happened to meet Cora Thomas who is currently the President of the Buddhist Society of Victoria. I knew Cora for quite a while before I left the BSV. Yet she had to ask me if I was who she thought I was.Whilst there has been precious little weight loss...I flatlined at 105 kg 2 years ago, there has been noticeable leaning out and toning.

The changes to my diet, with the exception of periodic binges on sugar, have been permanent and even the sugar addiction is being worked on. The intolerance-allergy to flavour enhances or non-natural MSG makes this a necessity. It may make buying food for camping trips and long walks a challenge, but I have no option but to eat "clean & green". I eat a high fibre diet which I think is helping the leaning out. A high fibre diet results in some spectacular craps, it also has resulted in very low cholesterol. It is part of the ongoing leaning out. There is a list of foods I don't digest....they emerge from my bowels in the same condition they went in and because of this are perfect for me: kibbled wheat, black currants, maize, poppy seeds, pepita are the ones I eat the most of. I can binge on these, feel disgustingly full and actually lose fat.

Given that the physical change apparently has been serious. The mental change is based on observations made during contact with members of the BSV is of a similar nature. In meeting both Siobhan and Cora I have had my Forgiveness confirmed. There is simply no anger present. The BSV and Traditional Theravada is my past. I have had contact with it enough to confirm that it isn't something that interests me all that much. At the time of writing I'm very much Meh! in regards to Traditional Theravada. I can see where it floats some peoples boats and I can see why some Guru like Brahmavamso Bhikkhu are so popular, but it isn't for me.

My other relationships are prospering. The practice of Metta helps. Indeed it can be argued that is the practice of Metta that fuels the growth and stability in my life. I'm happier and calmer practising a Dhamma that questions Traditional Theravada and its interpretation of the Third Training. I have freedom to explore Dhamma in a wholistic manner that is free of denial and repression and this freedom leads to happiness and peace.

So I can see where things are working for me. I'm not where I want and need to be, but there is enough data to suggest that Metta Tantra works as Dhamma.


 Renuciation comes in a number of different forms. There is the traditional form whose concept is best displayed in the drawing above and then there are other forms that are every bit as challenging as starving yourself or self flagellating with a cat o' nine tails.

The renunciation I personally find the hardest is that of sugar. I have an incredible sweet tooth. If it's sweet I'm in. It has taken a lot of discipline to reduce the amount of sugar in my diet. At one point in the early 2000's when I was 140 kg I was eating anything up to 6 tablespoons or in other measurements...almost 100 grams (4 oz) of sugar a day in my coffee alone.


Our housemate has taken to stocking our freezer with icecreams. Most industrially made icecream is incredibly sweet....I can literally taste the white sugar in it. I feel like an alcoholic with a Gold Amex card near a liquor shop, renunciation is very hard.

I am dealing with this temptation by concentrating, reflecting on just how toxic white sugar is.
Also having worked my ass off to make it to the toned condition I am in and the work I have to do in order to get where I want to be gives me enough reason to view white sugar as being akin to cyanide. Eating white sugar in the amount I used to and still want to will kill my progress towards what I want to be. Now all I have to do is to gag the voices coming from my freezer.

True Failure

There is one absolute way to fail in life. It is 100% guaranteed. It's easy and addictive.
Have self pity.

Yep, that's the secret to failure.

Self pity kills success like a shotgun blast to the face. The moment you fire up "the Oh God I've had it tough!!!" recitation in your head, success is dead and your utter failure in life has arrived. Believing that the planet actually owes you something, despite abundant evidence that it overwhelmingly doesn't know who you are and simply couldn't give a fuck about you, is the first step towards having every other swinging dick achieving the things you wanted to in life.

Self pity is a close friend of that other fucking loser: Denial. In this case it's denying that you are a self pitying dickwad. Denying that you have been a lazy shit who has expected the planet to wait on you hand and foot and to treat you just like the special munchkin your Mummy always told you that you are. In your case special doesn't mean unique or means retarded as in "Dickwad is special which is why we send it to Special School along with all the other bib wearing, furniture chewing special people". You aren't special, you're a lazy, self pitying fucking shit who thinks the planet owes them something just because you have the irritating habit of breathing and occupying space that could be better used by someone else which is a clear denial of reality.
And this is how self pity leads to failure.

Sunday, 26 October 2014


The orgasm is an intensely personal event. It is when we are at our most vulerable, our most open. My ex-wife took to laughing at the faces I made when ejaculating. Needless to say this didn't add spice to our sex life. I had to tell her that laughing at me at this point was incredibly off putting precisely because of the fact that at the point of ejaculation or orgasm I was at my most vulnerable emotionally. Like I Ex-wife.

The orgasm is often the most enjoyable event in our lives. Even if we enjoy our activities intensely, the orgasm occupies a space of its own when it comes to pleasure. Orgasm is intense, violent, often short in duration when compared to other events, yet has the ability to give us a glow that will literally last all day and is clearly recognisable for what it is.

Having established that the orgasm is both intensely personal and enjoyable in a unique way, we can move to a point where we can accept that orgasm is the highest gift short of organ donation that can be given in a relationship, no matter how brief that relationship may be. A sexual relationship that has a high number of orgasms in it is likely to be a happy one....I don't think I've made any quantum leaps in logic there. I tend to have only happy thoughts towards my wife when she turns my brain to the cerebral equivalent of baby food and I know that if she spends two or more minutes on a regular basis looking and sounding like she's expelling a demon then a lot more of life is negotiable.

Also reasonable people when they've regained their composure following  orgasm are going to want to return the favour. The gift of orgasm as part of foreplay often leads to better sex afterwards. Women in particular are known to find orgasm an intensely wakening event and are more awake and inclined towards vigorous intercourse post orgasm, they are also more inclined to view requests more favourably.

The gift of orgasm is a two way event. There is the gift of orgasm by the person providing the sexual stimulation and then there is the gift of seeing the pleasure given. It makes sense if we actually enjoy seeing our sexual partners orgasm that we are going to want to do it more often. I can't remember the last time an orgasm was declined....either in my love life or by rumour. Thus the circle of giving is brought into existence.

Given that orgasm enhances relationship/sexual harmony it isn't all that hard to understand that it is a serious gift. I think that we are better off from a kammic stand point giving intense pleasure that enhances the goodwill in our intimate lives than we are in giving a member of a celibate religious order something. I have seen members of the Classical Theravadin Monastic Sangha be swamped with more "requisites" than they know what to do with and still have clear sense of self entitlement. Likewise I have been a husband and seen other husbands and wives who are simply not having their sexual needs met and are utterly miserable as a result. So I know which gift I want to make.....

Monday, 13 October 2014

A Lost Brother

My brother is dying.
There, I've said it. He's dying.
He has had two heart attacks in 6 months, has emphysema, a shadow in his left lung and isn't staging the fight for his life. My brother is dying.
I want to call down the Banshee, raise the lightning and dare the Gods to come and do their worst, I want to shriek my defiance of death so loud the entire planet will sit up and take notice...and my brother doesn't.
When I was faced with the very real prospect of dying from Salmonella in the May of 2012 I saw it as an opportunity to recreate my life. I threw myself into getting well. I saw the new rules in terms of what I could and could not eat as an opportunity to improve on what I had been. I emerged from the depths of Salmonella a new person. I drove my healing to the limit. Six months after Salmonella I was on The Great South West Walk carrying a 30 kg pack. I wanted my health back and little or nothing was going to stop me.
My diet became "lean, clean and green". Unwilling and unable to eat junkfood courtesy of a Salmonella derived allergy to artificial MSG, I embraced farmers markets like they were the long lost billionaire uncle we all dream about.
Likewise with exercise.
My brother had his first heart attack in March 2014 and has done not one jot more than he has been compelled to by his doctors. I screamed at him then for an entirely self inflicted and preventable heart attack. It has been death by lifestyle and a willing disregard of the advice given to him by myself and health professionals. A pack a day smoker, an eater of the worst diet I have ever fibre, no leafy green vegetables or fruit, at least 2 litres of Coca-Cola a day and his protein entirely derived from red meat.
Now he does what he is told to. Not daring to cross me he eats oats and dates. He still eats a lot of red meat. He does the exercises his doctors advise....and not a step more.
My brother has sat. The lightning bolt of owning his healing simply hasn't struck him. There has been no blinding ecstacy of needing to furiously kick his Bucket List. He has issued no dare to his mortality, no ululating war cry has rushed from his lips as he has ripped up the limits given to him by himself and others. He has not for a moment expressed the rage of Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The fire of need hasn't consumed him. He has no need to prove people wrong, to prove that he isn't the family joke, that he is worthy of respect, that the long missing and only rumoured spine does exist and is in place. He has looked Death in the face and done nothing. It is said that nothing focuses the mind like death, this is no doubt true of everyone but my brother. He has looked his Last Chance to fix everything in the face and then decided he had something better to do with his remaining days. There has been no overwhelming and undeniable desire to die on his feet.
I simply cannot understand this.
He has panicked, he has self harmed after a second heart attack in late September. The last thing he has done is something constructive. Why won't he DO something? Why won't he scream FUCK IT!!! and then rewrite what everyone expects him to be and to do.
My family, the Bowaters of Mackay and Beaudesert, are, in my experience a menagerie of failed, self interested, self obsessed shit eating, cock sucking nobodies who never for a moment deserve the right to have their opinions validated. Yet this is precisely what my brother does. He sits and prooves them right.
I struggle with this. I never liked my family enough to accept their judgements.
I will die with a life bloated with achievement. When I know my days are numbered, I will scream, shout, throw tantrums and exit in a shower of glory.
For my brother...I think I said it best over 20 years ago:
A lost brother(early 1992)
I look at you,
Timeless in the photograph.
So at peace,
So guileless.
Can this be the man I call brother?
I remember you so different,
So young,
It must be another!
So much you have lost.
There is so much that you might have been.
A world awaited you.
On the edge of unlimited possibilities you stood.
What was it that intrigued you so much as to lead you away,
From what might have been?
A broken heart?
Could it simply be that you never cared for greatness?
The questions are endless,
For I cannot conceive,
That the last person in which you’d choose to believe ,
Would be yourself.
No absolute certainty entered your night,
Nothing encouraged you to challenge the gods,
And all their apparent might.
Some of us can never leave well enough alone,
Striving to make everything known.
Yet you stumbled almost accidentally,
Into a far greater unknown,
One I’d never call home.
For what did you search?
An easy way in a world that only knows hardship.
If I could, gladly I would give you the strength,
To challenge the gods,
And all their apparent might.
To cry out loud and really make a fight.
To shame them, to call their bluff.
To show at last that you have the right stuff.
You know I would Mark.
If only I could….
If only I could….


I have been dreaming. The dreams are regular and monotopical. They involve, in one way or the other the Buddhist Society of Victoria. As the links below show, not quite three years ago I left Traditional Theravada in a blaze of anger.

The dreams have been nudging me in the direction of a reconciliation with Traditional Theravada. Or perhaps, more precisely with the BSV and the past I have with it. Not surprisingly the need for reconciliation has been taking up increasing amounts of space in my meditation. So I have begun to explore what it is that I want to do with this growing need to put a past at ease.

I mean, in no way shape or form am I suited to Traditional Theravada. I'm too loud, too large a personality and my preference for wearing fire engine red jumpers certainly makes me stand out. Then there are the facts of my personal life: Selina and our age difference being perhaps the single largest cause of blanching by the good folk at the BSV. I'm also anything but sexually buttoned up.

There have been immense changes in me emotionally and intellectually. At the time of writing this I am just months away from completing a BA. I will be studying for Honours next year. In 2012, I came perilously close to death from Salmonella. Finally there has been being Ariels Dad.

The BA has completely rearranged how I think. And that seems to be the point of Tertiary education...they change how you think. I would say that because of this and because I have met every challenge that has been thrown at me and now know beyond doubt that I am at least as good as I have liked to think I am, there is now a lot less noise out of me and a lot more quiet confidence. I no longer need to be so noisy because where once I doubted myself, there is now knowledge. I really am amongst the best intellectually.

The screeching, shrieking Sidhe of not knowing what I am, are now silent. Aspergers has provided knowledge and a great deal of power as a result. I know there are things that are simply beyond my comprehension and a good deal of them involve social interactions. Where the compensation is is in the inherent love of routine which manifests itself as discipline. There is the fact that like it or not, I do approach life differently and this enables me to see things that others don't. It is a truism that Aspergians see things that NeuroTypicals don't and the reverse is also true. Because I know what I am, I can be a lot less in peoples faces. A likely outcome of this is that I am a lot less challenging to be near because I'm not forever pushing boundaries in search of answers as to why I am so different from those around me.

Salmonella I think needs no exploration. Having the shit kicked out of you health wise is pretty easy to understand.

Being Ariels Dad is more complex. It has involved a lot of personal growth. It has caused me to place myself in 2nd place in my life for the first time. It is also true that I have known what I think is described in the Metta Sutta as being "True Love". And then there are the million little things that make being a Dad so utterly fulfilling and so completely  life changing.

What is it I want from contact?
I think I'm seeking to touch base with just how deeply my life has changed. It is only in returning to where we come from that we can fully understand just how far we have come. The BSV was the centre of my social life for almost 20 years. And it was where I learnt my Traditional Theravada. I am not ready to apologise or otherwise make amends for the insult and outrage I caused...and which led me to possibly being the only person being expelled. Nor do I want to return to being a member. As I wrote at the beginning of this entry, I'm not a natural fit for Traditional Theravada. I also simply lack the time and or interest to become involved.

I have moved to the point where I can appreciate that the BSV, its membership and the majority of Theravadin monastics are, at least, trying to be nice people and to make a difference in the world. This may not sound like much, but as you can read, it is a major step from where I was 3 years ago.

So contact will be about me placing people inside my head, contextualising them. I have rehearsed first contact endlessly in my head. I feel it is important that I know exactly what I want and what my own rules of engagement will be. So I can see questions being asked about my personal life including my ex-wife, Seesee. My personal life is the one area I simply won't answer questions on. I can see assumptions being made over what I have been doing with myself and that I am still a gardener. I must remember that this is natural for them and that it was a response to someone who is now simply a memory. The other version of me, the one they last met, had a need for their approval, their affirmation. This version doesn't.

It will be interesting to see the reaction to how I've changed. I'm told that everything including my accent has changed. Apparently I now have an "educated accent" and mumble a lot less.

Contact has been interesting. I have found a willingness to contribute my gardening skills at the Newbury Monastery...and that is as far as it goes. Next year I will be insanely busy with the birth of twins in April and an Honours year. The need to do much more than help reforest the property and to fireproof the gardens isn't there.

I had contact with Cora Thomas and found her simply weird. She confirmed the changes in me by needing to ask if I was who she thought I was.

For now, the contact has lessened the dreams.