OLD NOTEBOOKS: DELHI: I just remembered this expression: “a bull with a headache.” It comes from Scotland, where large Men drink whisky all night, then one staggers through to the breakfast room in the morning and is demonstrably angry with everything, then one goes off to work in the wild, wet, wooly Northern landscapes of my distant memory.
Now I live in Asia which is really nice, gentle and warm and I’m a Buddhist and all is well in my world, except I’ve got a headache – all the time. A Buddhist with a headache? What to do, I have wondered many times. For me it’s an opportunity to be conscious and aware of what I’m doing all the time, because the headache is likely to get bad at any time. And I’ve thought too about what we’re doing here in the blogging world… our consciousness/awareness of our ‘world’, in a sense, is what we’re writing about, really, one way or another. Even if a lot of space may be taken up with trying to express how we get to that point. Even so, it’s an all-inclusive thing, isn’t it? And sometimes what we write is not as important as the spaces left where there’s nothing written. No point in asking why the ‘world’ should be (or shouldn’t be) like this. Or even try to identify it and analyze it – as you’ll see if you keep reading this – I’m just trying to make friends with my headache, in a round-about way, not too direct… see how that goes. I’m not expecting it ‘to be’ anything, at times I try to anticipate what it’s likely to do next, wondering how it’s getting on.
The headache arrived last September as a result of shingles on the right side of the head, here’s the link: PHN, but it might give you a headache reading about that, so why don’t I just introduce you to the headache itself? Think of a motorbike helmet that holds your head tightly, a snug fit … that’s it. Now there’s this cloud of intense feeling that, as yet, doesn’t have a name, it’s just energy. As long as it remains anonymous, things are okay – reasonably okay, the only thing is that what you have is this hair-trigger-sawn-off-shotgun-crash-helmet of a headache, minding its own business and nobody’d even know it was there.
So, the lesson is, be careful about what you think! Now, in some foolish un-mindful moment, I might say to myself: Do I have a headache? I can’t feel it now… and BOOM it demolishes my head. So naturally I get to know not to do that, not to ‘name’ it, identify it, or try to make it into something. And, important, I have to learn about this mechanism that can be held in the default STOP position. It’s the: please-don’t-go-there thought; that split-second, small, even tiny, space before the thinking process is engaged and what was really, absolutely, going to happen, by some miracle, doesn’t.
It cannot be stopped sometimes, of course, and you find that the forewarned intuitive snap feeling it’s about to happen means it just happens anyway and there’s devastation all around as you reach for the meds that are opiates anyway so you’re kinda hovering on the edge of a Edgar Allan Poe nightmare most of the time when you overdose on them.
This is how it is, predictably unpredictable so you have to be ready for it to happen any time. If it takes place at night, probably the best way of explaining the feeling of it, when dosed up to the eyeballs with sleeping pills, but still the headache remains and you’re awake for hours, it’s this: pillows appear cruel – have you ever thought of pillows being cruel? Probably not, well I know everything there is to know about pillows, in my research since this headache came to stay with me last September. Really, what I don’t know about pillows is just not worth knowing.
But that’s a whole different story…. [See: part two]
About this picture: This is the missing head, a screenshot taken from a YouTube video, which shows the head briefly at the end of the clip: https://youtu.be/MjRf-b8Ezis
The whole story is, it’s an ancient Buddhist sculpture, which at the time of the top photo, was at the Beijing World Art Museum and being made ready to be sent to Kaohsiung in Taiwan where it will be reunited with its head.
Its head was stolen in 1996 from the Youju Temple in Hebei Province. The sculpture, made of white marble, is around 1,400 years old. The body is 1.59 meters tall. The head was obtained and offered by a private collector in 2014. Repairs will be made before it is put on public display in 2016. Twenty years after it was removed. The museum has selected another 77 relics for the exhibition in Taiwan.
The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council approved the body be sent to Kaohsiung for a three-month Buddhist Cultural Relic Exhibition jointly held by the administration and the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Hall, before the complete statue is sent back to Hebei. It symbolizes the possible reunification of Taiwan with China.