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2006-01-07 - 8:10 p.m.

Went to Coney Island today, because a winter ocean is a fine thing to be near, particularly with vestigial amusements hibernating in the background.

Had to check out the aquarium, cuz it had been a while.

Now, the last time I went to an aquarium, I'd discovered the very hip-hop sounding Lookdown fish.

Today, as I rode the train to Coney, I read a (dry, academic, blech, can't recommend it) translation of the Heart Sutra, and dang if Avalokiteshvara--the name of the bodhisattva who "narrates"--doesn't translate to "one who looks down."

MC Lookdown! No gills, no fins, no purity, no impurity!

The aquarium wasn't crowded--in fact the sea mammals seemed a little needy for attention. One walrus kept giving me full, head-on eye contact, and the otters were squooshing up against the plexiglass for virtual petting. Hi guys.

As always, the jellyfish stopped me in my tracks, delicate billows of pure menace, floating in their stark blue tanks.

The heart sutra contains one of the most hypnotic chants the mouth can say: "gate, gate, paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha." It might not look like much, but the sound hits you right where you live...and it basically means "Gone, gone...real gone...totally fucking gone...folks, I'm outta here..."

But in a good way.

R.I.P. Hugh Thompson

Oh, and speaking of aquariums!

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