The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
As fog rolls through the Golden Gate, jewel green birds pluck cherry blossoms from trees on Telegraph Hill, their red heads emerging from the foliage as the birds chatter to each other and take flight. As awestruck tourists watch, Mark Bittner holds up a palm full of sunflower seeds to the eager, noisy birds. Wearing Levis and a ponytail, surrounded by the jostling flock, Bittner is a Bohemian Saint Francis.
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, tells the story of who Mark Bittner is, how he was drawn to North Beach by the music scene of the 50’s and eventually how and why he became the close with a wild and beautiful flock of birds.
In his Siksasamuccaya, Shantideva delivers a beautiful teaching on the significance of the Buddha having reached Enlightenment. He comments that, metaphorically, we should all be dwelling in a quiet and serene place in our hearts and minds, even if we do not have the opportunity be in such as place physically. In this respect, we see how Mark Bittner has so well achieved this goal in the face of huge personal and public obstacles. In addition, Mark takes this precious kind of solitude and uses it to care for a group of beings that otherwise would have no help in a large and very inhospitable city.