Sunday, March 15, 2009

Issan Dorsey's impossible portrait

Issan Dorsey, sometime in 1933- September 6,1990, was a gay zen priest and teacher and ex-prostitute, drug addict and female impersonator. He established the Maitri Hospice  at Hartford Stret Zen Center for people dying of AIDS during the first spread of the epidemics in the 80s. He was not a saint and never  pretented to be anything but what he was that was ungraspable, beyong thinking. A fucked up life sitting as  a living Buddha. Both and none of them.  A traditionnal koan presents two oxes fighting and disappearing as they enter the flowing stream of a river.Wasn't he smashing as a drag queen?

Issan had two faces
but I cannot choose any
the drag queen in a soapy bath
or the floating cloud
neither one  nor the other
will tell you the whole story

Boddhistvas and destitutes
are made of the same stuff
in close embrace
they dance
and twirl and turn
the single flower


Blogger msrabbits said...

Wow, THANK YOU!! for posting these wonderful pics and bio of Issan!! What a bright light he was. I volunteered in the hospice before Issan's passing, and he and the community were so awesome and embracing!!

8:06 AM  
Blogger msrabbits said...

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8:07 AM  

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