Windhorse Warrior

The synopsis for a manuscript I have completed is below:

Windhorse Warrior

by Richard Friedericks

wangdu_horse1 film

One sweltering summer morning in Shanghai, China in 1947,  a young student named Chuang Wei Ming discovers his girlfriend taking part in a communist protest march against the Nationalists.  He watches horrified as she is murdered by a squad of Nationalist soldiers.  Her martyrdom nudges him to find out about her passion for communism.

Three years later Chuang volunteers to take communism to Tibet.  Coincidentally assigned to Lithang on the Eastern Tibetan Plateau, he finds the Tibetan relatives of his Shanghai girlfriend.  He persuades the family to turn over their ancestral land to the farmers working on their land.  Together they form a successful cooperative that captures the imagination of several surrounding communities.  The Chinese Communist Party is not appreciative of Chuang’s methods which honors the will of the local people and upholds their traditional culture and religion.  Management of the cooperative is, instead, given to Tenzin, a young Tibetan eager to do the will of the Party.

Chuang turns his attention to another community and meets a lama with a dream of reviving the ‘enlightened society’ of the legendary King Gesar.  Chuang jumps at the chance to use the lama’s clout with the people to further his own mission.  But Chuang’s ideals are challenged by the lama’s apprentice Dechen, the twin sister of his Shanghai girlfriend.  As their relationship develops, Dechen’s ideas, rooted in Tibetan Buddhism, enrich Chuang’s understanding of a truly enlightened society and help him to recognize the spiritual purpose of life.

Tenzin, who wants to marry Dechen, is jealous of Chuang and has him arrested for kidnapping Dechen.  Chuang’s rescue leads to injuries that nearly kill him.  During his convalescence he enters the world of King Gesar through a shamanic trance.  When he recovers, Chuang is able to recite the story of Gesar which marks him as a fully integrated member of Tibetan culture.  Chuang, Dechen and the lama now implement a plan to promote an enlightened society through spiritual renewal, social reforms and non-violent resistance to the Party’s dictatorial control of the people.

Deng, the local Commander of the People’s Liberation Army and Communist Party representative, issues an ultimatum: the people must voluntarily choose the ‘Red Road’ of Communism or the ‘Black Road’ will result.  Chuang suggests another road; the Golden Way of an enlightened society.  In keeping with the legend of King Gesar, a horse race is proposed to which Commander Deng agrees.  The winner will choose which road the people will follow and marry Dechen.  Deng believes he can rig the race in Tenzin’s favor and impose the Red Road.  But Chuang enters the race in disguise and wins.  His mission and dreams fulfilled, Chuang takes Dechen’s hand and together they invite the people to unite and walk the Golden Way to an enlightened society that honors spiritual as well as material abundance.

Tenzin, recovering from defeat and pressured to please Commander Deng, takes aim at Chuang with a pistol.  Dechen is shot instead and dies in Chuang’s arms just as her sister died in Shanghai.

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I am currently seeking a publisher.  The manuscript is 120,000 words with maps, character list and translations of Tibetan words.

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Does Meditation have a Goal?

What are we dealing with in meditation and what is the ‘goal’?

The goal of meditation is happiness. What we are dealing with are the obstacles we buy into that prevent us from finding happiness. Actually, there is a very thin film separating us from happiness but we seldom pierce it to experience the bliss described by mystics of all religious traditions.

Through identification with thoughts and feelings, with the constructs of the ego, we shield ourselves from the happiness we so desperately want. We believe this constantly changing, insubstantial person formed by our interaction with other constantly changing, insubstantial people is where we will find happiness. We believe that this person I have become and will continue becoming is the real me and that other people are just as real as I am.

Trungpa

Chogyam Trungpa, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who came to the West in the 1960’s, describes the defenses we put up to resist finding our true happiness.

“Consciousness consists of emotions and irregular thought patterns, all of which taken together form the different fantasy worlds with which we occupy ourselves. These fantasy worlds are referred to in the scriptures as the “six realms”. The emotions are the highlights of ego, the generals of ego’s army; subconscious thought, day-dreams and other thoughts connect one highlight to another. So thoughts form ego’s army and are constantly in motion, constantly busy. Our thoughts are neurotic in the sense that they are irregular, changing direction all the time and overlapping one another. We continually jump from one thought to the next, from spiritual thoughts to sexual fantasies to money matters to domestic thoughts and so on. The whole development of the five skandhas –ignorance/form, feeling, impulse/perception, concept and consciousness–is an attempt on our part to shield ourselves from the truth of our insubstantiality.”

Trungpa describes our situation further:

airplane-above-the-clouds-hd-wallpaper-placecom-a-e-ibackgroundz

“When we fly in an airplane above the clouds, we realize that the sun is always shining even when it is cloudy and rainy below. In the same way, when we cease to hold on to our identity, our ego, we begin to see that the nonexistence of ego is a powerful, real, and indestructible state of being. We realize that, like the sun, it is a continuous situation which does not wax or wane. That state of being is called vajra nature.”

Like rising above the clouds into the brightness of sunshine there are people who have ‘parted the veil’ or ‘pierced the film’ into that realm of happiness, that state of everlasting bliss. Trungpa calls it our vajra (diamond) nature because it is our indestructible, eternal nature. It is always there above the cloud-covering of our thoughts and emotions. The surprisingly few people who have experienced their vajra nature, also called Buddha nature or Christ consciousness, belong to every religious tradition; there are the Christian mystics, Hindu mahayogis, Buddhist bodhisattvas, Moslem sufis, realized souls, and enlightened beings of every part of the world and every age.

Through meditation we learn to see how insubstantial our thoughts and emotions really are. By practicing the simple action of letting go, of returning to the experience of being in the present moment without drifting along with the programs of the ego, we prepare and make ourselves available for the experience of happiness. And, as the mystics have repeatedly discovered, it is possible to not only glimpse but to enter into and even constantly maintain the experience of happiness. What they have discovered is love; that happiness is to love and to experience love.

If it is love, something we already know gives us happiness, then why don’t we practice love? Why do we allow our egos to confuse and cloud our lives? Why can’t we love and be in love all the time? Good question!

So, meditate and find out; ask the question, live the answer. Love all!