The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perks

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:15 pm

Chapter 7: The Court


According to the Great Commentary on the Kalachakra by the renowned Buddhist teacher Mipham, the land of Shambhala was north of the river Sita in a country divided by eight mountain ranges. The Palace of the Imperial Rulers was built on top of a cir­cular mountain. The palace was called Kalapa and it consisted of buildings stretching out over several miles with a park in the center.

Our Kalapa Court was more modest, but vast in terms of enterprise. It consisted of a house on Pine Street in Boulder, Colorado. The building had four bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, dining room, kitchen, two sitting rooms, a sun porch, and a small garden. Into this dwelling we stuffed nine adults, five children, and one large dog. Described another way, this was two families of four (Mukpos and Riches), one family of three (Voglers) assisting as servants, an adult couple employed as nannies, and myself as the Master of the House.

I had a twelve-by-seven-foot former storage room in the basement next to the boiler. When the boiler turned on it would blow open my door. On my first inspection I decided that the room was the size of a ship's cabin-a small ship at that. It had two casement windows through which I could see people's feet as they walked past on the garden path. I became an expert on identifying people by their shoes. Into this room I built a single cabin bed. I also had a chair, side table, closet, and a large bell that was connected to push-buttons in Rinpoche's sitting room and also his bedroom.

Not that I spent much time in that room. I was up early and back to bed late. I was happily energized, creating this important part of Shambhala, the enlightened society. We purchased a copy of Debrett's Correct Form, an inclusive guide to everything from drafting a wedding invitation to addressing an archbishop. Also, of course, we obtained Emily Post's and Amy Vanderbilt's books on etiquette. A set of silver was donated, as were place mats, table linen, china, crystal, candlesticks, silver tea sets, napkins, serving trays, salt-and-pepper sets, place-card holders, oyster forks, and butter knives.

Hippies and beatniks, who one week earlier had been seen in jeans and tie-dyed shirts and sporting long hair and beards, were now outfitted in charcoal pinstriped three-piece suits or blue blazers with gray flannels for the afternoon. Evening wear was a tuxedo or evening gown, with hair trimmed, nails cleaned, and shoes polished.

In afternoon tea lessons we learned that a servant never enters the room at tea time unless rung for and that the hostess asks, preferably with an Oxford accent, "How do you like your tea, one lump or two?" We learned to serve tea sandwiches, pastries, slices of layer cake, pate de foie gras, gingerbread, and biscuits.

Just two weeks earlier, any one of us might have been discovered lying nude on the beach, smoking pot and stoned out of his or her mind. Now we remembered our grandparents' trunk in the attic and out came the forgotten string of pearls, the diamond ring, the gold pocket watch, and the silver teapot. Truly a gracious tea!

The Prince let it be known that smoking pot was out. Drinking wine and knowing when to use red, white, rose, or brandy was in, along with cigars and cigarettes with jewel-encrusted holders. Two weeks earlier you might have been at an orgy, drunk out of your mind, copulating under a table to the sound of rock music. Now you were dancing to a Strauss waltz in a room where servants carried trays of hors d'oeuvres and champagne in fluted glasses.

You bowed before asking for your name to be added to a young lady's dance card. Invitations and thank-you cards were always sent by hand or at least by post. Your personal card was dropped in the silver basket on the Hapsburg table in the front hall. Drapes were always drawn at 6 p.m. in the winter and at 8 p.m. in the summer. The staff lined the walkway when the Prince left on any extended trip and were there in the same formation upon his return.

Sometimes you were a guest; sometimes you were the servant. A small elite always retained their status of either guest or servant. Servants entered the house through the back, family and guests by way of the front entrance. Family only used the front stairs and servants the back hallway stairs. I, as head servant, was exempt from the rule and passed through the front entrance and used the front stairs.

In the heat of this social etiquette passion I sent to London for a military dress mess uniform of scarlet and bum-freezer black pants with gold stripes. Pips on the epaulets showed my rank as Major and chalk-white. gloves were upon my hands. Later, an ivory-handled, gold-hilted sword hung at my side.

I wrote at that time "In His Majesty's Service." In Rinpoche's capacity as Sakyong of Shambhala, I used the honorific English term "His Majesty," which referred to his kingship capacity in the formation of the Kingdom of Shambhala. Unlike the British monarchy, the Shambhala system for kingship was based on the premise that the monarch was responsible for joining heaven, earth, and man in union. This was one of the first times that Rinpoche asked me to write about how we worked together. This writing fixed the way that I thought about my service to him at that time. The text follows:

In His Majesty's Service
Major John A Perks, O.L.K.
The Master of His Majesty's Household

I am writing this essay because I was commanded to by His Majesty the Sakyong. His exact words last night in the kitchen were, "You should write about how we work together. It would help."

My reply was "Yes, Sir."

I do not plan to conjecture about the original command too much, but a little would be amusing: "What does he mean, 'It would help'? Help what? Help my life? Or help me get into trouble? I'm in enough of that already. Is he planning another cliff-jumping party for me, or am I planning it myself? Was he smiling when he asked? Was there that slight, mischievous glint in his eye? Do I have doubts? Yes. But I do know that in the maze of too much conjecture a big fat Minotaur is waiting to breakfast on me, so I had better get on with this latest task."

I am a servant. I am the head servant of His Majesty's household. I serve him directly as his personal valet and in turn, in various capacities, I serve His Majesty's family, the guests, the sangha, the postman, the bank clerk, the bank, the neighbor's dog, the tree he pisses on, the front lawn, my shoes -- endless service. George III was riding through a park one day when he commanded the coachman to stop before a large oak tree. His Majesty got out of the carriage, walked up to the tree, bowed politely and began a long conversation with it.

I think that George III initially had the right idea -- the idea of service to the tree. His problem, of course, was that the tree began talking back to him; and George III was well on his way to insanity. In the book Emperor of China, K'ang-hai, China's emperor from 1661 to 1722, discussed the idea of service.

Chu-ko Liang said: 'I shall bow down in service and wear myself out until death comes,' but among all the officials only Chu-ko Liang acted this way. Whereas the emperor's responsibilities are terribly heavy, there is no way he can evade them. How can this be compared with being an official? If an official wants to serve, then he serves; if he wants to stop, then he stops. When he grows old he resigns and returns home, to look after his sons and play with his grand­sons; he still has the chance to relax and enjoy himself. Whereas the ruler in all his hard-working life finds no place to rest. Thus, though the Emperor Shun said, "Through non-action one governs," he died in Ts-ang-wu (while on a tour of inspection); and after four years on the throne Emperor Yu had blistered hands and feet and found death in K'uai-ch'i. To work as hard at government as these men, to travel on inspection, to have never a leisure moment­ how can this be called the valuing of 'non-action' or tranquilly looking after oneself? In the I Ching26 hexagram "Retreat" not one of the six lines deals with a ruler's concerns -- from this we can see that there is no place for rulers to rest, and no resting place to which they can retreat. "Bowing down in service and wearing oneself out" indeed applies to this situation.

Certainly the idea and practice of "bowing down and wearing oneself out" is not alien to our own Kagyu lineage, nor is it reserved for rulers alone. Likewise, although one might say that the position I hold in His Majesty's service is basically groundless, I do have as a constant reference point the idea of relentless service, of eternally bowing down in service and wearing myself out.

The way His Majesty and I work together is rather like performing a dance, the tune of which may change at any moment. Because of this His Majesty is most insistent that I pay attention, and in particular that I pay attention to the small details. In the early days of my service His Majesty would ask me questions such as, "What's the guard's name?" "Who is in the house?" "Where is so-and-so?" And in order to avoid being constantly embarrassed, I began to explore those small details and take great pride in answering all his probing questions.

In those days we also played the pill game. In the morning and at night before retiring His Majesty took his medication. I would place a small pill on his hand; then, with one quick movement he would pitch the pill into his mouth and take a glass of water that I handed him. In order that this small act take place with smoothness and grace -- and it was indeed a delight when it did -- I found it necessary to pay attention to a very precise set of related details. I had to have in constant readiness a supply of pills and a tray with a napkin and a dean glass of cold water. I had to pick up the pill between my thumb and first finger and place it in exactly the right spot on His Majesty's hand, then be ready to pass him the water at the right moment.

Of course, this is not exactly the way it always worked. If I became too rigid about the whole thing I somehow wound up searching for the pill in the dust under the bed. His Majesty would then playfully bounce up and down on the bed, banging my head alternately on the bed and the floor. If I could overcome my embarrassment, that became a great joke and a source of inspiration as well. So it gave me as great a joy to drop the pill on the floor flawlessly as it gave me to pass the pill flawlessly. Gradually I was able to expand the lesson of the pill game to include other service situations. Gradually everything became a service situation.

Of course, I do still suffer. I am subject to resentment, stupidity, laziness, depression, anger, whatever. There is at least democracy in that, and I have my own fair share. The late nights can be particularly interesting. Instead of paying attention, I am perhaps thinking of how nice it would be if I could sneak away to my own little bed. The time drags on ... 12:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m. I watch His Majesty just sitting, drinking his sake. I start my resentment game: "Will he never go to bed? I've been yawning and nodding off for an hour. Can he not see that I'm tired? He's so selfish. How come he never thinks of me?" I sit there. He smiles at me and I smile weakly back. I know that he knows that I know. There is a small switch and I refuse to follow George III. Suddenly I am interested and paying attention to what is going on. In two seconds I am awake and we continue with laughter, writing poetry until 6:00 a.m.

Then I help His Majesty up the narrow stairs and we play the falling-down-stairs game. The object of this game is for him to crush me beneath his weight by falling on top of me -- the greater the height of the fall, the better. As I roll him into bed he is still giggling.

Now, it may seem from these descriptions that His Majesty and I are great buddies, that we are the best of pals. In fact, we are not. I am the servant and he is the Master. I, remembering the Minotaur, have no wish to be his buddy. I am grateful to have the reference point of being his servant. I take pleasure in observing the correct form. I enjoy calling His Majesty "Sir"; and when I am moving with speed to execute my Majesty's commands I may even use the more salty "Aye, Aye, Sir." I am intensely proud of my Master and his ability to handle himself in both public and private matters. His skill as a swordsman is indeed great; and his compassion boundless. Even when he has won the falling-down-stairs game the formality of our roles does not cease. I might say, "I beg your pardon, Sir, but I believe you are on top of me"; and of course he is.

The important point in all of this is, of course, to observe the correct form with a sense of humour and a sense of playfulness; and to push beyond yourself, really wear yourself out. (Actually, the latter is impossible because you find yourself getting stronger with each wear.)

The Americans seem to have some problem understanding what "correct form'' is. His Majesty was once invited to the house of a very important official for dinner. I was in attendance as his driver and guard. I left His Majesty at the front door and proceeded to the kitchen and servant's quarters. There was no butler in the house, but there was a cook and several young girls, hired, I think, from the local Howard Johnson's. In charge of the household was a hostess-secretary, who, on being introduced to me, insisted that I "come in and have dinner with the folks." I was quite shocked and replied, "A butler never dines socially with his Master." (I was at that time the butler of His Majesty's household. In fact, in the early days I was cook, butler, housekeeper, laundry man and gardener all rolled into one.)

It was not that I did not want to dine with His Majesty. But it is only on special occasions that his Majesty dines with the staff. As Master of His Majesty's Household I would dine at His Majesty's table at official functions and would also dine with the family on some special occasions. But the fact is that one does not dine socially with one's butler, or indeed with any servant. It simply is not done.

I always make it a point to watch carefully what is going on, and to try to "get in stride" with His Majesty, so that there will be a sense of rhythm in the working relationship. At the house on 7th and Aurora there was a large mirror in the hallway. It was arranged so that I could see into the drawing room and yet remain hidden from the view of the guests. When His Majesty had guests for tea and needed to summon me, he had only to look towards the mirror and raise his eyebrows. In this way he could signal for me to come into the room without even having to ring his bell. Needless to say, the guests were most impressed.

There is also a strong sense of rhythm in the shower­taking ritual. I set up the bathroom in a certain way with the two kinds of soap, the shampoo and the towels. I pass everything to His Majesty in the correct order and dry him in the same way each time. This is also a good time of day for me to discuss any household business there might be with him, and the rhythm continues while we talk It's the same pattern day after day. Of course, this pattern could change and another totally different one take its place.

There is no point in getting sentimental about an existing structure if the context changes and a new structure is needed. What is important is that I continually pay attention so that the rhythm will continue in whatever we might be doing together.

As His Majesty's servant I feel I have an obligation to keep private any family business that may come to my attention. I certainly never intend to write a popular book about my life with His Majesty and his family.

His Majesty has said, "If the warrior-statesman has enlightened confidence, he could even employ an idiot servant." While I do not wish to give anyone too much hope, such was the case with me. I am especially grateful to the subjects of Shambhala for their patience and tolerance in allowing me to serve my King and his Kingdom.

THE VISION WAS SMALL AND VAST at the same time. While our vision was great, our cash supply was small. We opened a second house on University Hill in the intellectual section of Boulder. At a Goodwill store in Denver the Regent purchased some old arm chairs from a long closed movie theater. These were reupholstered in blue silk brocade and the wood frames were gold leafed. Blue rugs were made and embroidered with motifs of the tiger, lion, garuda, and dragon. The Prince noted that they looked like giant bath mats.

The vision of Shambhala spread outward, embracing all aspects of life in the sangha. By now everyone had a uniform and an order of precedence was established. Every year on Shambhala Day this order was amended with new titles, orders, medals, awards, and proclamations being presented. The Regent set up golf tournaments. He walked with his entourage humming the theme music from the Godfather movie or danced in the halls to music from Saturday Night Fever and let the music blare out the open office windows.

Beneath the gold-roofed shrine hall in downtown Boulder the silent meditators stirred under their constantly flickering minds. Lady Diana rode white Lipizzaner horses in Vienna or black Hanoverians at dressage competitions. Dyslexic Osel went to study at Oxford and became a tulku prince. Everyone could say in Oxonian English, "Kathy's hair is black." The Prince's talks were transcribed into books and published by Shambhala Books. Once a hippie hangout, this publisher now had offices in Boulder, Boston, and London. Poetry was written by all, calligraphy was practiced with badger-, sable- or camel-hair brushes soaked in sumi ink. Plays were performed with robed samurai warriors caught in tragic love affairs, willing to die for love.

Love was everywhere -- in beds, in closets, under the stairs, under the stars, in the woods, in the fields, in hot or cold tubs, in numbers of twos, threes, fours, fives, or sixes. On returning from a seminary Walter noted with some surprise that he had slept with twenty-six women during the three-month retreat. I counted and beat him by two. We both figured that with all that energy we could easily have finished our prostrations. Next year we did.

People were married in Shambhala weddings in full dress. Rose petals floated in the summer air, humming birds drank nectar from the centers of purple passionflowers, water lilies suspended in still, dear ice blue breathed out thick heavy-scented musk. We became drunk. Boulder ran dry of sake. We drank rum and gin.

Babies were conceived and born with Shambhala names, as were businesses. There were fabulous names like Gold Lake Oil, Three Jewels, Great Eastern Sun Trading, Trident Books, Monk's Cafe, Churchill's Pub, Ziji, Tara, and Sharchen. Some failed and some stayed. The Shambhala Military shot bows, rifles, and pistols in marksmanship competitions. They had encampments, did maneuvers, and played war games. The Prince in a field marshall's uniform with black polished riding boots rode the white stallion. We saluted, cannons boomed, bagpipes played, bugles sounded, and drums beat the time. Everywhere was the glitter of brass, gold, and white.

It was a flowering such as had never been seen before. Naropa University opened its doors. Every major city in the United States and Europe had a Vajradhatu meditation center and ambassadors were sent out from the Court of Shambhala. When the Prince gripped my arm for support he guided me through the halls, streets, and airports. His step was sure and firm. It was as if I were the crippled one instead of him. The Court was filled with activity.

In one week I had a schedule of over 150 volunteer servants: guards, drivers, cooks, cleaners, nannies, gardeners, servers, secretaries, shoppers, and waiters. All were wanting to participate in the flowering energy that filled the Court, which made it indeed seem to stretch over several miles with a park in the center on the top of a great circular mountain. What had been created was an openness where everything could be explored. We were encouraged to practice, study, and investigate our inner and outer worlds and examine any resulting pain or pleasure.

In the midst of this creative turmoil the Prince challenged me on my military propensities with a casual remark made into the bathroom mirror one morning.

"When we take over Nova Scotia, Johnny, you will need to attack some of the small military bases there."

''Attack military bases!" I said with surprise. "Me?"

"Well, not alone," smiled the Prince, still looking into the mirror examining his freshly brushed teeth. "You could have a commando unit of Jeeps and halftracks." He was looking at me in the mirror as he continued, "You had a halftrack once, didn't you?"

"Yes," I replied, remembering the olive drab army vehicle I owned at the farming school I once ran, seemingly a hundred years ago.

"Well?" the Prince's voice sounded.

My mind activated like a World War II movie as our intrepid band in Jeeps and halftracks raced along the curved snake-like back roads of Nova Scotia toward the unsuspecting enemy. My khaki wool uniform blended with the green countryside, I gripped the metal frame of the Thompson machine gun in my capable hands. On my head was the red beret bearing the Trident badge and the motto "Victory Over War." I smelled the engine oil fumes mixing with the flower perfumes of the country lane as we whipped along on our desperate mission. The sun glinted on our bayonets, or wait, perhaps it was night ...

"Well?" asked the Prince again.

"Oh, oh," was the reply, as I returned from the battle to the bathroom. "Yes, yes, Sir," I said. "We could do that."

"Good," continued the Prince. "You might have to kill one or two.

Kill one or two? What's that mean-kill one or two? was my silent response.

"But I thought we are not supposed to kill," I said, somewhat alarmed.

"Just a few resisters," said the Prince.

Resister, what the fuck is a resister? ran through my mind. Out loud I asked, "Resister? What kind of a resister?"

"Someone may resist enlightenment," stated the Prince.

"Oh, those. Well, yes, we could take care of them," I reassured him.

"Good, good," said the Prince, turning to leave the bath­room. As he opened the door he concluded with, "Well, Major Perks, perhaps you could put all of that together."

I spent the next several hours studying Army surplus catalogs and The Shotgun News. At the local gun store I picked up copies of Commando and SAS Training Manuals. I made a list of equipment and concluded that this "invasion" was going to be costly. I went to the Prince.

"Where will we get the money to organize this armed com­mando force, Sir?" I said, almost saluting.

"Perhaps we could steal the equipment," he suggested.

"Wow," I exclaimed. "You mean like a covert operation." The words and idea thrilled me.

"Exactly," said the Prince. ''And we need a code name for it." He contemplated for a moment and then said, "How about Operation Deep Cut?" As I turned the words over in my mind he continued, "Yes, what is needed here is a surgical strike."

I excitedly repeated the code name, "Operation Deep Cut, covert operation Surgical Strike." This was going to be worth killing just one or two!

"Yes," said the Prince with delight. "Buy some books on tactics and strategy. We should all study them. And you, Major Perks, will be in command." I could hardly wait to take my leave and get started on the campaign. I put on my military hat, saluted the Prince, and ran out of the room, tripping and falling down half the stairs in my haste. The Prince's head popped out of his sitting room doorway. ''Are you okay, Major?" he called down to me.

"Yes, Sir, fine, Sir. I just missed a step," I replied, pulling my uniform straight.

"Good," he said. "Jolly good, jolly, jolly good. Carry on, Major." I saluted again and rushed down the remaining stairs.

I could not wait to tell the other officers in the military about my secret mission. They were all amazed. "Have you told David yet?" was Jim's response. "Not yet," I replied. David was the Head of the Military, now that Jerry had dropped out. I could not fathom why the Prince had chosen David for this position. David was a very unmilitary, slight of build, a Jewish intellectual. He looked more like Mr. Peepers in a uniform-nothing like Montgomery or Patton.

"I bet his balls shrivel up like raisins when I tell him about this," I scoffed. Indeed, David was quite alarmed at my description of "killing one or two resisters."

"Let me talk to Rinpoche before you do anything," he said anxiously, falling back in his chair.

"Okay," I said, adding with a tone of command, "go ahead, but it's all set. The Prince said so."

Later the Prince called me into his sitting room. I explained that David seemed hesitant about killing a few resisters.

"Oh, he's such a Jewish intellectual," said the Prince.

"Why, that's exactly what I think," I agreed.

"Really?" said the Prince, looking at me with curiosity. "Good, jolly good. You carry on, Major. I'll take care of David and tell him you have a free hand." I left hurriedly to tell the other officers the latest news on my secret commando operation.

I had no idea that this new development was being mirrored throughout the Boulder Buddhist community. People were beginning to bring their secret desires and wishes to life and starting to act on them. Through the Prince's vision it was all available: to be an actor, artist, businessman, military man, whore, doctor, teacher, dancer, or poet. In my self-centered world I only noticed this energy affecting me and thought I was the only one. I had no ego, I told myself. I just wanted to kill a few resisters to an Enlightened World in a military takeover, and I had the commando group to do it. (Although a little fame would not hurt!)

I remembered once hearing the Prince saying, "You do it, but you don't do it.

What the hell did that mean? How could you do it but not do it? It made no sense. He was talking crazy again. You either did it or you didn't, I concluded, and I was all for doing it all.

Lady Diana, the Prince's wife, had confiscated his Scottish Eliot Clan kilt some months back because she felt he did not look good in Scottish regalia. It was rumored that the missing kilt was hidden at the mother-in-law's house.

"What we need is a practice run," said the Prince to me one morning. "Major, here's a job for your new commando group. We will invite Diana and my in-laws to the Court for dinner and while everyone is here your group will retrieve my kilt."

I saluted with a very big "Yes, Sir" and ran off to inform my comrades-in-arms.

The mother-in-law's house was situated in a small field near the edge of town. On the night in question we waited in our darkened limousine on a side road by the Court. There were four of us, dressed in black. We watched in nervous excitement as the mother-in-law's car pulled up to the Court. and the occupants entered the building. "Let's go," I commanded in a hushed military tone, and the driver sped toward our goal. Near the house he shut off the headlights and silently rolled to a stop in the shadows. We rolled out into the grass ditch and crawled on our bellies across the lawn. I pushed at one of the dining room windows. It opened and I was halfway through when Walter hissed, "The front door is open."

It was too late, however, as I was already pinned in the open window frame by the top window which had slid down on my back. My legs were dangling outside and my arms and head were inside the dining room. The others entered the dark house in a more upright fashion and hauled me through by yanking on my arms. We spent the next hour avidly searching for the kilt everywhere, even in the most unlikely places. Nothing.

We regrouped in the living room, feeling at a loss. I passed around a flask of rum after taking a big swallow myself. "Our first mission can not be a failure," I sturdily declared. The others seemed dejected. Walter, sitting on a wooden trunk, took a larger swig from the flask than the others. (I noticed these small details.) "What's that you're sitting on?" asked Ron, pointing to the trunk. Walter looked down between his legs. "Some kind of storage chest, I guess." We all had the same reaction. Four pairs of hands opened the lid and there on the top of neatly folded clothes was the kilt.

Triumphantly we returned to the Court. Dinner was finished and dessert was about to be served. I placed the kilt on a silver tray and presented it to the Prince and the seated guests. Lady Diana cried out laughingly "Oh no, Darling" to the Prince, who beamed and gave me the thumbs up sign. The other guests were delightedly amused.

In the following weeks we undertook other commando operations with odd code names: Operation Awake, Operation Blue Pancake, Operation Secret Mind, and Operation Snow White. "Why Snow White?" I asked the Prince. "Because she has to be woken up," was the reply. That made no sense to me. Why did you need to wake up a military operation when we were already totally awake and combat ready? I labeled the answer as crazy and added it to the collection.

During this time I started to have flashbacks to my childhood during the war. I had dreams of the bombing, the bodies in the yellow shrouds, the news footage of concentration camps. I began to feel confused about which was real, my remembrances of things past, the present military operations and the Court, or the future takeover of Nova Scotia. My uneasy feelings returned as did the panic attacks.

I did the same old stuff to avoid confronting any of it. I immersed myself in work, sex, entertainment, alcohol, and food. I knew I was okay, if only I could get myself together. I poured out my woes to the Prince, who was no help. In fact, he did not seem to understand at all and was quite unsympathetic. The more I freaked out the more demands he made on me. He seemed to have forgotten I was here to get enlightened, and finally I decided that my best course was to pursue my Buddhist studies. This would surely be the best way to build some kind of foundation under my shifting world.

"Sir," I said to his image in the bathroom mirror "I would like to study Buddhism at Naropa Institute."

There was a pregnant silence which I filled with my hope of hearing a positive response. He picked up his toothbrush and stated, "Too late for that." My hope for salvation instantly vanished and I felt groundless panic welling up in me.

"How are things going for the military encampment?" he asked, ignoring my devastation.

"I don't know," I said glumly. "I feel like quitting the whole thing.

Again ignoring my answer he continued, "You know, the Kingdom of Shambhala needs a navy." In the silence, broken only by the soft sounds of the Prince brushing his teeth, a glimmer of light grew my dull brain. ''A navy," I repeated, coming out of my daze.

"Yes," he smiled. "What do you call the head of the navy?"

"The admiral," I recollected.

''And under the admiral is what?" he probed. "Commodore," I replied, Hornblower filling my mind.

"Well," declared the Prince, ''I'll be the admiral and you will head up the navy as the commodore. We will announce it at the Shambhala Day Investiture. Also, Major," he added, "we need to make your knighthood official. 'Commodore Major Sir John Perks, Lion of Kalapa.' How does that sound?"

I had been liberated from the groundless hell of not knowing. Tears came to my eyes as I thanked him with humble gratefulness. "Thank you so much, Sir.''

"You are more than welcome," graciously responded the Prince. "You have earned it. Congratulations."

I could hardly wait to tell the others of my good fortune. That night we celebrated long into the morning. Walter and I drank an entire case of wine together. I had an uneasy feeling that I was trying to drown something out but it was hard to put a finger on what it was. I had been given everything by the Prince, but somehow my images of what I was and what I should be kept shifting.

It was like I was tormenting myself, unable to settle on any of my projections as being real. I was being tossed between being desperate and being lulled into stupefied meditation. My arrogance imprisoned me. Success or failure brought only joy or depression. Spirituality had just become self-confirmation. I wanted to vomit out the whole mess, spew it across the kitchen floor. But even that reality seemed futile. It was like living inside a kaleidoscope. Whichever way it was shaken another set of projections formed that felt like a solid glass imprisonment. Unable to find liberation I collapsed upon my bed in a drunken state. Ananda27 leans against the door lintel and weeps.



26 The I Ching or Book of Changes, the Richard Wilhelm Translation, Princeton University Press, 1977.

27 Ananda, Cousin of Shakyamuni Buddha, who became the Buddha's close personal attendant and disciple. He's credited with convincing the Buddha to allow women to practice the Buddha's teachings.
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:17 pm


Author (middle), with Gregory Bateson (left) and Jim Herndon (right), at an education workshop at Naropa Institute. Photo: George Holmes

It was at UCSC that Bandler met John Grinder, a radical young professor of linguistics. In the laid-back university community, Grinder cultivated an iconoclastic mystique, boasting that he had been a Green Beret. He collected a small, devoted group of followers, the most prominent of whom was Richard Bandler. Together they began using linguistics to study psychology. Even before it had a name, their work was controversial: some students referred to Grinder's class, in which Bandler taught, as Mindfucking 101. In March 1973, Bandler earned his bachelor's degree, and two years later a master's in theoretical psychology from Lone Mountain College in San Francisco.

First Bandler, then Grinder, had moved to a commune in the Santa Cruz Mountains owned by Robert Spitzer, who envisioned it as a self-sustained artistic and intellectual community. Among those who lived at the former nudist colony were Raven Lang, whose Birth Book had helped spawn a home birth movement; and Gregory Bateson, the British anthropologist who conceived the double-bind theory of schizophrenia.

A lean, wiry man with a goatee and piercing brown eyes, Bandler did not get along with many residents of the Alba Road community. He was intense and temperamental, one remembers, and did not participate in communal life. Within a few weeks of his arrival, members of the commune asked Spitzer to evict him. Spitzer refused.

While living on Alba Road, Bandler bragged about using large amounts of cocaine.

For Grinder and Bandler it was a fertile time. They sat for hours in the sun room of Bateson's house, listening to Bateson discuss his innovative ideas, which became the intellectual foundation of NLP. (As described by one student, Bateson taught that "[Human beings] create the world that we perceive ... because we select and edit the reality we see to conform to our beliefs about what sort of world we live in.") Working with films and tape recordings, Bandler and Grinder dissected the work of Satir and Perls, hoping to understand the techniques -- linguistic and nonverbal -- that caused seemingly magical changes in their clients. Through Bateson, they met and studied with Milton Erickson, the famed psychiatrist-hypnotist, and began using hypnosis to treat clients.

Confusion technique

In all my techniques, almost all, there is a confusion.[9]

A confused person has their conscious mind busy and occupied, and is very much inclined to draw upon unconscious learnings to make sense of things. A confused person is in a trance of their own making - and therefore goes readily into that trance without resistance. Confusion might be created by ambiguous words, complex or endless sentences, pattern interruption or a myriad of other techniques to incite transderivational searches.

Scottish surgeon James Braid, who coined the term "hypnotism", claimed that focused attention was essential for creating hypnotic trances; indeed, his thesis was that hypnosis was in essence a state of extreme focus. But it can be difficult for people racked by pain, fear or suspicion to focus on anything at all. Thus other techniques for inducing trance become important, or as Erickson explained:

... long and frequent use of the confusion technique has many times effected exceedingly rapid hypnotic inductions under unfavourable conditions such as acute pain of terminal malignant disease and in persons interested but hostile, aggressive, and resistant ...

Handshake induction

Among Erickson's best-known innovations is the hypnotic handshake induction, which is a type of confusion technique. The induction is done by the hypnotist going to shake hands with the subject, then interrupting the flow of the handshake in some way, such as by grabbing the subject's wrist instead. If the handshake continues to develop in a way which is out-of-keeping with expectations, a simple, non-verbal trance is created, which may then be reinforced or utilized by the hypnotist. All these responses happen naturally and automatically without telling the subject to consciously focus on an idea.

Richard Bandler told people that Erickson had taught him this handshake technique. However, it is clear that Bandler embedded some parts in it that were, in fact, impossible for Erickson such as "gradually lessening the pressure with his right hand", which of course was impossible for Erickson since he was almost completely paralysed in his right hand. Bandler talks about this in one of his videos Creating Therapeutic Change.[dubious – discuss]

This induction works because shaking hands is one of the actions learned and operated as a single "chunk" of behavior; tying shoelaces is another classic example. If the behavior is diverted or frozen midway, the person literally has no mental space for this - he is stopped in the middle of unconsciously executing a behavior that hasn't got a "middle". The mind responds by suspending itself in trance until either something happens to give a new direction, or it "snaps out". A skilled hypnotist can often use that momentary confusion and suspension of normal processes to induce trance quickly and easily.

The various descriptions of Erickson's hypnotic handshake, including his own very detailed accounts, indicate that a certain amount of improvisation is involved, and that watching and acting upon the subject's responses is the key to a successful outcome.

Erickson described the routine as follows:

• Initiation: When I begin by shaking hands, I do so normally. The "hypnotic touch" then begins when I let loose. The letting loose becomes transformed from a firm grip into a gentle touch by the thumb, a lingering drawing away of the little finger, a faint brushing of the subject's hand with the middle finger - just enough vague sensation to attract the attention. As the subject gives attention to the touch of your thumb, you shift to a touch with your little finger. As your subject's attention follows that, you shift to a touch with your middle finger and then again to the thumb.
• This arousal of attention is merely an arousal without constituting a stimulus for a response.
• The subject's withdrawal from the handshake is arrested by this attention arousal, which establishes a waiting set, and expectancy.
• Then almost, but not quite simultaneously (to ensure separate neural recognition), you touch the undersurface of the hand (wrist) so gently that it barely suggests an upward push. This is followed by a similar utterly slight downward touch, and then I sever contact so gently that the subject does not know exactly when - and the subject's hand is left going neither up nor down, but cataleptic.
• Termination: If you don't want your subject to know what you are doing, you simply distract their attention, usually by some appropriate remark, and casually terminate. Sometimes they remark, "What did you say? I got absentminded there for a moment and wasn't paying attention to anything." This is slightly distressing to the subjects and indicative of the fact that their attention was so focused and fixated on the peculiar hand stimuli that they were momentarily entranced so they did not hear what was said.
• Utilisation: Any utilisation leads to increasing trance depth. All utilisation should proceed as a continuation of extension of the initial procedure. Much can be done nonverbally; for example, if any subjects are just looking blankly at me, I may slowly shift my gaze downward, causing them to look at their hand, which I touch and say "look at this spot.". This intensifies the trance state. Then, whether the subjects are looking at you or at their hand or just staring blankly, you can use your left hand to touch their elevated right hand from above or the side - so long as you merely give the suggestion of downward movement. Occasionally a downward nudge or push is required. If a strong push or nudge is required, check for anaesthesia.[9]

Richard Bandler was a keen proponent of the handshake induction, and developed his own variant, which is commonly taught in NLP workshops.

Any habitual pattern which is interrupted unexpectedly will cause sudden and light trance. The handshake is a particularly good pattern to interrupt because the formality of a handshake is a widely understood set of social rules. Since everyone knows that it would be impolite to comment on the quality of a handshake, regardless of how strange it may be, the subject is obliged to embark on an inner search (known as a transderivational search, a universal and compelling type of trance) to identify the meaning or purpose of the subverted pattern.

-- Milton H. Erickson, by Wikipedia

Bandler was only 25 when his first book, The Structure of Magic, was published in 1975. Written with Grinder, it attempted to codify and describe their analysis of Satir's and Perls's therapies. In separate introductions, Satir and Bateson expressed excitement about this research, for it seemed to hold potential for developing better therapists: if effective therapy, like all "magic," had discernible structure, then anyone could learn to perform it.

-- The Bandler Method, by Frank Clancy and Heidi Yorkshire

THE WICCA CULT: The WICCA cult came to the surface early during the post-war period, as a legalized association for the promotion of witchcraft. It is the leading publicly known international association of witches in the world today. In the United States, WICCA's outstanding sponsor is the New York Anglican (Episcopal) diocese, under Bishop Paul Moore. Officially, New York's Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Divine has promoted the spread of WICCA witchery through its Lindisfarne center. The late Gregory Bateson conducted such an operation out of the Lindisfarne center during the 1970s. No later than the 1970s, and perhaps still today, the crypt of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, is the headquarters for solemn ceremonies of the British (Venerable) Order of Malta. Key figures, such as Gregory Bateson's former spouse, Dame Margaret Mead, associated with that British order, have been associated with projects in support of the Satanist "Age of Aquarius" cause.

-- Real History of Satanism, by Lyndon LaRouche

"If you put God outside," Gregory Bateson warns, "and set him vis-a-vis his creation and if you have the idea that you are created in his image, you will logically and naturally see yourself as outside and against the things around you.

[Gozer] Are you a God?
-- Ghostbusters, directed by Ivan Reitman

And as you arrogate all mind to yourself, you will see the world around you as mindless and therefore not entitled to moral or ethical consideration. The environment will seem to be yours to exploit. Your survival unit will be you and your folks or conspecifics against the environment of other social units, other races, and the brutes and vegetables."

-- Green Paradise Lost, by Elizabeth Dodson Gray

The philosopher Gregory Bateson expressed this agnosticism in his own special way:

The individual mind is immanent but not only in the body. It is immanent also in pathways and messages outside the body; and there is a larger mind of which the individual mind is only a sub-system. This larger mind is comparable to God and is perhaps what some people mean by God, but it is still immanent in the total interconnected social systems and planetary ecology.

-- The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth, by James Lovelock

Dr. Gregory Bateson, anthropologist with the OSS, and the former husband of anthropologist Margaret Mead, became the director of a hallucinogenic drug experimental clinic at the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Hospital. Through drug experimentation on patients, already hospitalized for psychological problems, Bateson established a core of “initiates” into the nest of Isis Cults, which Huxley had founded in southern California and in San Francisco. Foremost among his Palo Alto recruits was Ken Kesey. By 1967, through Kesey’s efforts in disseminating the drug, they created the “Summer of Love”, in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.

-- Terrorism and the Illuminati -- A Three Thousand Year History, by David Livingston

For the unprepared mind, however, LSD can be a nightmare. When the drug is administered in a sterile laboratory under fluorescent lights by white-coated physicians who attach electrodes and nonchalantly warn the subject that he will go crazy for a while, the odds favor a psychotomimetic reaction, or "bummer." This became apparent to poet Allen Ginsberg when he took LSD for the first time at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, in 1959. Ginsberg was already familiar with psychedelic substances, having experimented with peyote on a number of occasions. As yet, however, there was no underground supply of LSD, and it was virtually impossible for layfolk to procure samples of the drug. Thus he was pleased when Gregory Bateson, [Formerly a member of the Research and Analysis Branch of the OSS, Bateson was the husband and co-worker of anthropologist Margaret Mead. An exceptional intellect, he was turned on to acid by Dr. Harold Abramson, one of the CIA's chief LSD specialists] the anthropologist, put him in touch with a team of doctors in Palo Alto. Ginsberg had no way of knowing that one of the researchers associated with the institute, Dr. Charles Savage, had conducted hallucinogenic drug experiments for the US Navy in the early 1950s.

-- Acid Dreams, The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, The Sixties, And Beyond, by Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain

After Oklahoma City, the potential of the right-wing anti-government evangelical fanatics for terrorism and violence was re-affirmed by an armed standoff between police and "Republic of Texas" activists demanding the secession of Texas in April 1997. This insurrection was led by Richard Otto, alias "White Eagle," who put out a call inviting members of militias around the country to come to the site, armed for a shootout. The agent provocateur Otto turned out to have been "trained and set into motion by an Air Force officer who toured the world practicing New Age pagan rituals, in consultation with senior British intelligence drug-rock-sex gurus such as Gregory Bateson." Otto finally surrendered on May 3, 1997. (Tony Chaitkin, "The Militias and Pentecostalism")

-- 9/11 Synthetic Terrorism Made in USA, by Webster Griffin Tarpley

Harold Abramson apparently got a great kick out of getting his learned friends high on LSD. He first turned on Frank Fremont-Smith, head of the Macy Foundation which passed CIA money to Abramson. In this cozy little world where everyone knew everybody, Fremont-Smith organized the conferences that spread the word about LSD to the academic hinterlands. Abramson also gave Gregory Bateson, Margaret Mead's former husband, his first LSD. In 1959 Bateson, in turn, helped arrange for a beat poet friend of his named Allen Ginsberg to take the drug at a research program located off the Stanford campus. No stranger to the hallucinogenic effects of peyote, Ginsberg reacted badly to what he describes as "the closed little doctor's room full of instruments," where he took the drug. Although he was allowed to listen to records of his choice (he chose a Gertrude Stein reading, a Tibetan mandala, and Wagner), Ginsberg felt he "was being connected to Big Brother's brain." He says that the experience resulted in "a slight paranoia that hung on all my acid experiences through the mid-1960s until I learned from meditation how to disperse that."

Anthropologist and philosopher Gregory Bateson then worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Palo Alto. From 1959 on, Dr. Leo Hollister was testing LSD at that same hospital. Hollister says he entered the hallucinogenic field reluctantly because of the "unscientific" work of the early LSD researchers. He refers specifically to most of the people who attended Macy conferences. Thus, hoping to improve on CIA- and military-funded work, Hollister tried drugs out on student volunteers, including a certain Ken Kesey, in 1960. Kesey said he was a jock who had only been drunk once before, but on three successive Tuesdays, he tried different psychedelics. "Six weeks later I'd bought my first ounce of grass," Kesey later wrote, adding, "Six months later I had a job at that hospital as a psychiatric aide." Out of that experience, using drugs while he wrote, Kesey turned out One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. He went on to become the counterculture's second most famous LSD visionary, spreading the creed throughout the land, as Tom Wolfe would chronicle in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

-- The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate": The CIA and Mind Control, by John Marks

In preparation for the writing of The Mind Possessed, Dr. Sargant and his team had conducted exhaustive field research, profiling modern-day primitive religious cults, including a wide range of irrationalist, nominally Christian, denominations that particularly proliferated in the most backward rural areas of the American Deep South. This was the America of Elmer Gantry, of "barking dog" convulsions and circus-tent revival meetings.

The Sargant book drew the parallel between such primitive people under the influence of witch doctors, fundamentalist preachers and pagan gods, and the victims of the 1960s drug/rock/sex counterculture. Describing the historical accounts of the celebrations of the ancient Greek pagan god Dionysus, Dr. Sargant wrote:

"Many of the other dancers approached very near trance, and showed states of increased suggestibility at the end of a long and intensive period of repetitive and monotonous dancing. They looked very much like fans of the Beatles or other 'pop groups' after a long session of dancing."

Indeed, a concluding chapter of The Mind Possessed had profiled the newest form of fundamentalist religious irrationalism, "Beatlemania."

One of the clear lessons to come out of the Sargant studies, and other similar profiling work by such Cybernetics Group/CCF players as Dr. Margaret Mead and her husband, LSD-experimenter Dr. Gregory Bateson, was that the most efficient means of promoting irrationalist cults was to exploit existing movements and subcultures.

-- The CCF and the God of Thunder Cult: British Promotion of Irrational Belief Systems in America, by Stanley Ezrol & Jeffrey Steinberg

The retreat in Charlemonte. The Prince tries on his military cap. He instructed the author to outline a m oustache with magic marker to see what it would look like. Photo: Author

Rinpoche sleeping out in the garden of the house at 7th and Aurora. Photographer unknown.

Gold Lake Oil safari to Texas on the search for black gold. Author and Trungpa Rinpoche at site. Photographer unknown.

Rinpoche answering the phone at the Kalapa Court. Photographer unknown.

A strategic military conference between Major John Perks and Major James Gimian. Photographer unknown.

He said, "Let's put on our uniforms and go and have our pictures taken together."
"Why?" I asked.
"It will help later on," he replied.

Rinpoche in his Scottish Highland regalia with the Eliot Clan kilt. Photo: George Holmes/Blair Hansen

Commodore Major Sir John Perks inspecting the troops before a raid. Photographer unknown.

Rev. Bill Burns and author performing a Celtic Buddhist marriage. Photo: T. McCarthy, 2002.

Author and Ven. Margaret Junge, Celtic Buddhist Lineage Holder, drinking Guinness in Ireland. Photo: Bill Burns, 2001.
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:17 pm

Chapter 7: Commentary  

It is probably impossible for me to fix an exact time in my mind when the idea came to me of a Court. But if I was asked to fix a time, it would be that time at Tail of the Tiger when George I Marshall and I were assigned to repair a door and doorframe leading into Rinpoche's bedroom. While working on that doorway, I was continually thinking about how I could be close to Trungpa Rinpoche, wondering what service I could provide. And it was then and there that I realized that he needed a butler, someone who could take care of him and his household.

In a burst of inspiration, I said to George, "I'm going to be his butler."

And George, without any surprise at all said, "Well if anybody can do it, you're the one."

Later, at the first seminary, I asked Rinpoche about being his butler. And, somewhat noncommittally, he said, "Well, we shall have to see."

I'm sure that I probably exaggerated my experience and knowledge of domestic service. But I had been a footman in England and a waiter at the Savoy Hotel in London, as well as bar boy at the University Club. Plus, I was well-versed in the P. G. Wodehouse sagas of Jeeves, the indispensable man-servant. While I admired Horatio Hornblower, the person who seemed to me to be the star in the novels was Brown, Hornblower's coxswain, someone who was self reliant, who could put together anything out of nothing.

There was never any doubt in my mind about Rinpoche being the master or imperial figure. He was in all senses an enlightened ruler of beings. Even though at the time I had no understanding of enlightenment, I could still spot a ruler of men and women when I saw one. I remember, first as a boy and then as a teenager and a young man, a feeling that I was waiting for something, for some service. And in my mind, meeting Rinpoche was the answer to that search. It was unnecessary for me to search further. He was the captain and I was his coxswain, period.

Even though my understanding was completely fictitious from any point of view, as a teacher Rinpoche was able to see the individual creativity, why the fiction was invented, and have compassion and complete appreciation for its individual manifestation and brilliance. He was this way with all his students.

When I arrived on the scene, in 1973 just before the seminary at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I found the etiquette around Rinpoche to be somewhat relaxed and informal. Some students referred to him as "Rimp"; hence his nickname, "Rimp, the Gimp," referring to his paralyzed left side. Some students with doctorates in philosophy and others with advanced university education considered themselves his equal. I remember once when Rinpoche was going to the refrigerator to get himself a sandwich, one of the students said, "Hey, Rinpoche, while you're up, could you make me one too?" which he readily did without any comment. Quite often when he would stay at somebody$ house they would put a mattress and sleeping bag on the floor while they retired to their comfortable bedrooms. He never complained about this.

In group meetings and otherwise, I began to address him as "Sir." Some people felt this was somewhat strange. But gradually it caught on. Not that anyone's attitude was any different from anybody else's. They may have been stuck on their relaxed American etiquette, but I was equally stuck on my somewhat uptight British etiquette. However, some type of change to a more formal etiquette concerning Rinpoche was timely. At Naropa Institute, I co-taught several workshops with Gregory Bateson and Jim Herndon, which were residential workshops. It gave me a chance to work on the aspects of running a dormitory house and arranging dinners.

I was asked by Rinpoche to run the household for Khyentse Rinpoche's first visit to the West. Physically, Khyentse Rinpoche was quite tall and psychologically, his radiation was very large. I lived in the basement of the house and would wake at 4:00 in the morning to prepare tea for him and take it upstairs to his bedroom. After I served the tea and did prostrations he would bless me by placing his enormous hand gently on my head. It was the highlight of starting the day. How could anything become an obstacle after such a complete blessing?

One evening Khyentse Rinpoche was to give a talk at the Vajradhatu Buddhist Center. I asked him if he would like me to bring a thermos of tea for him to drink during the talk.

He said, "No, that is not necessary."

Trungpa Rinpoche arrived to escort Khyentse Rinpoche to the Center. We were just about to leave when Trungpa Rinpoche said to me, "John, where's Khyentse Rinpoche's tea?"

I explained to Trungpa Rinpoche that Khyentse Rinpoche had said he didn't want to have tea.

Trungpa Rinpoche said, "Never mind that, just bring it."

So I hastily made the tea and put it in a thermos and brought along Khyentse Rinpoche's teacup. When we arrived at the Center Khyentse Rinpoche took his seat on the throne, next to the shrine. I walked forward to place the teacup on his table and he waved me away. So I retreated and stood in the doorway of the shrine room.

Trungpa Rinpoche came up to me and said, "You haven't given Khyentse Rinpoche his tea."

I replied, "He doesn't want any, Sir."

Rinpoche placed his hand in the middle of my back and gave me a push into the shrine room, saying, "Give him tea."

With some trepidation I approached the throne, and without looking at Khyentse Rinpoche I placed the cup on the table and poured the tea. I then looked up and he looked furious. I practically ran back to the doorway of the shrine room where Trungpa Rinpoche was standing.

Some minutes passed and Trungpa Rinpoche said, "Go and pour him some more tea."

I made some ineffectual and vain protest but was again pushed into the shrine room. As I crossed the floor toward the throne I looked up and Khyentse Rinpoche glared at me in a threatening, angry way. My hand literally shook as I poured the tea into the cup, whereupon I dared look up again and found Khyentse Rinpoche collapsing in laughter. I looked back across the room and Trungpa Rinpoche was also holding himself up against the doorpost laughing. Feeling myself caught in the open ground between them, I laughed too.

Khyentse Rinpoche asked me through an interpreter if I would like to come and be a monk at his monastery. I was extremely tempted to do that. But then I said, "I really feel I must stay with Trungpa Rinpoche, and I thanked him profusely.

He smiled and said, "You made the right choice."

Love and compassion generated by Khyentse Rinpoche came to an abrupt end when he left the house in Boulder to continue his tour of other centers in the west. I was left alone in that house which had been the center of so much activity and all that remained were glasses, tea cups with the remains of dead leaves, and the ashtray with the half-smoked Dunhill Red cigarettes left by Trungpa Rinpoche. I felt completely desolate without his presence. I had not yet learned how to fix that presence within my heart. However, when I did learn how to do that it made the desolation much more acute and sharper.

Sometime after Khyentse Rinpoche's visit, Trungpa Rinpoche asked me to organize his household in a small house at 7th Street and Aurora, which had also been the home of Scott Carpenter, the astronaut. This house was rented for a year by Vajradhatu, the Buddhist church. In residence would be Trungpa Rinpoche; his young son, Osel Mukpo; David Rome, Rinpoche's secretary; and myself. Max King would be the chef, but he would live elsewhere with his wife. When I asked Rinpoche about how formal he wanted this household to be, he replied, "As formal as you can make it."

He also added, "You should open it up and invite other people to serve. You can train them in how to do that." In the sangha, there were several people working as waiters and waitresses in different area restaurants and I approached these people to help me start some kind of service for Rinpoche. Among them were Joanne and Walter Fordham, who were destined to become valued members of the Kalapa Court staff. I took care of Rinpoche: dressing him, bathing him, and washing his hair.

He said to me, "You should become very intimate with my body."

I cut and filed his nails, combed his hair, washed and ironed his shirts, polished his boots, put sage leaves under his pillow, cooked and served his meals-leaving the evening meal for Max King-awoke in the middle of the night to make him corned beef sandwiches, and covered him with a Scottish blanket when he fell asleep in a chair after a hard day's work at his Vajradhatu office. I vacuumed, I polished, I washed, I served in a creative atmosphere unhindered by any comment except, "Thank you. Thank you so much. Some nights, we would take Rinpoche's bed outside into the garden and he would sleep out there, at times alone and at times with a consort. At Rocky Mountain Dharma Center, in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, Rinpoche had a small one-bedroom trailer and we would cook outside. The smell of wood smoke permeated our clothes, mixed with the smell of fresh earth after a rain, mixed with sage. I soon found that I could cook and serve just as well from a campfire as I could at the Court. We even carved chopsticks from birch branches and made chopstick rests. I slept in a tent next to Rinpoche's trailer. We did target practice with crossbows and longbows.

Previously there had been just the Kasung Guards. Now Rinpoche instituted the Kusung Guards, who would be the Court, or household, guards. I thought it was somewhat like when ancient Celtic kings had their households and relied on their most closely related family to be guards and servers. It also reminded me of the relationship between Buddha and Ananda. The others, The Kasung guards, made fun of us and called us "the chamber pot boys," as we would empty Rinpoche's chamber pots, placed under his bed every evening. The first of the Kusung guards were the rejects from the Kasung: Mipham Halpern, Ron Barnstone, and Neil Greenberg. They may have been rejects but they fit into our small Court Mandala with perfection.

Mipham Halpern had been a close student of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. He was the one who told me that when Suzuki Roshi died, Trungpa Rinpoche cried for a week until blood ran from his eyes. Ron Barnstone had been born in Mexico. He consumed, regularly, large amounts of liquor, seemingly without effect. He was the only one I know to have drunk water from the Ganges River without getting sick. Neil Greenberg was so clumsy he would fall over anything while serving, but he was persistent in his devotion. I soon found that the reason these three had been rejected by the Kusung was that they couldn't follow orders. So rather than burdening them with unneeded direction, I made a loose outline in which each could find his own way. So our service, including mine, had a very fluid elegance.

Within that fluid structure Trungpa Rinpoche could operate. It was rather like we were the container out of which he could join heaven, earth, and man. It was interesting that many years later when I started to work as a butler to Bill Cosby, the comedian, I asked him how he wanted me to run his household. And he replied, "I want to be a guest at a small, exclusive hotel. I don't want to know about the electricity bill or where the toilet paper is. I just want you to do the whole thing and I'll live there." The difference was, perhaps, that Rinpoche wanted to know about all the details, but at the same time he was our guest.

During this time Lady Diana, Rinpoche's wife, was in California pursuing her dressage riding and therefore was not involved in a direct way with the 7th and Aurora Court. I think it's important here to mention something about Diana's role in Rinpoche's life from my own point of view. I have never met anyone else that I thought might be able to fulfill the duties and devotion that were required by a wife of Trungpa Rinpoche. She was the only one. I personally have no idea what expectations she might have had in becoming Rinpoche's wife. Perhaps there were none. But then, even small flickers of expectation might have existed. Whatever they were, they were exposed, and by her transcended. To say that living with Rinpoche was inconvenient would be a completely British understatement. Living with Rinpoche was totally inconvenient. But Diana's devotion, love, and faith in Rinpoche completely overcame whatever obstacles her mind created. I have not in this narrative mentioned her to any great degree. That is because I know she has her own story, which will be far more interesting than anything that I might write. Perhaps I might say that Rinpoche felt complete and total trust in and devotion to her as his wife and as the Empress in the Kalapa Court mandala.
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:48 pm

Chapter 8: Dreaming Reality


-- The Kalapa Court, January 10, 1982  

Sometime during the day or night I awoke in a state of panic. My heart was pounding and I began to hyperventilate and gasp for air. I rushed to the toilet and vomited up the half case of red wine consumed the night before and other indescribable objects. I felt like living death. Crawling back to bed I fell asleep immediately. Dream, reality, hallucination merged into one.

There is a house, painted blue, three stories high, on a hillside overlooking a river with a green forest beyond. Trungpa Rinpoche, Khyentse Rinpoche, and His Holiness the Karmapa are arranging symbols on the floor of one of the rooms. They ask me if I can read them. Some seem familiar, but I realize I won't be able to read them using words. These symbols can only be read with some type of inexpressible intuition and even then cannot be pronounced verbally. This realization makes me very anxious and Rinpoche tells the others, "He's freaking out again." A radiant green light fills the room.

I am lying on my back in moorland. I can hear the insects and birds busy in the gorse and the heather. The sky is brilliant blue with occasional small, white, puffy clouds. The full sun illuminates the whole countryside. Sitting on a central mound of soft moss and small flowers are three figures. I recognize one as the Indian yogini Laksminkara. Her brown sensuous form shows through the rain­bow silk robes. She has golden bands around her wrists and anklets around her ankles. Her eyes are deep brown and her jet black hair is done up in a topknot. She smells of heavy jasmine.

Sitting very close to her, wearing purple robes embroidered with golden Celtic designs, is the Goddess Brigid. Her skin is brilliant white, like porcelain, her eyes are blue, and her black hair hangs loosely down to her waist. She smells of tulips, heather, and wet earth. Both women turn their eyes toward me and smile. There is some kind of recognition, but of what I don't know.

Then I notice that below them, resting in the long, warm grass, is a large white cow with red ears. Her eyes are closed, showing long lashes. Her udder is full of milk and she is chewing slowly on her cud and resting contentedly. A warm wind blows gently across the landscape, playing amongst the beings on the moss knoll. It wafts across me, drifting around my body. I can smell, hear, see, and feel the vision in front of me, and my being fills with joy. The cow transforms and turns into the deity Cernunnos. He is young, sixteen, with the velvet horns of a stag upon his head. He says, "Realize constant, intuitive, mystical experience." He repeats slowly, "Constant, intuitive, mystical experience." Laksminkara speaks: "When you look for mind there is no mind, its essence is emptiness. When you look for mind and emptiness, duality becomes self-liberated." Then Brigid adds, "May you realize the clear nature of mind, which is Buddha." "Do you remember that?" they ask me, looking at me curiously.

Time seems to stop in expectation, waiting for an answer. My nauseated mind struggles to answer. And then the whole vision fades and is replaced in an instant by a small island in the vastness of a great blue lake. I seem to be floating in the air, translucent and light like a feather. Below, the island is covered with an abundance of wildflowers and fruit trees. Two human figures appear sitting in the summer grass. To the right I recognize Cartimandua, Chieftaness of the North British people. She is tall and fair, with blue eyes and long, braided red hair. Cartimandua is regal in her purple robes, golden twisted neck ring, and golden wrist cuffs. She has the bearing of a true empress.

On her left is seated the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin. She has loosely draped white robes and wears a necklace and crown. Her black hair is in a topknot. Leaning on one arm with her other arm draped across a bent knee, Kuan-yin is seated next to a small wil­low tree. Above the clear lake, dragonflies with transparent wings play across the surface of the water. A large, silver-pink fish swims idly, now and then leaping from the water and creating a splash on the calm surface.

I am engulfed in a cloud of dragonflies. Their translucent wings beat upon my body like the hands of many lovers. They have the eyes of Avalokitesvara. All of my hair pores become mirrors of the great void. My I-ness goes endlessly, constantly displaying only radiant compassion as it disintegrates.

The voice of Trungpa Rinpoche brings me back with the question, "Well?"

In irritation, I'm about to say, "Well, what?" when behind me out of a great white light arises a huge, meteoric iron mountain. Wild animals of all kinds, along with multitudes of demons, roam around its base. Trapped and unable to climb, they just howl and snarl and fight constantly amongst themselves. I am filled with a sense of fear. Then on the mountain peak dances Machig Labdron. Dressed in the skins of demons and wild animals, she holds a hand drum and a thighbone trumpet. She is completely terrifying, capable of striking fear into anyone attached to an illusion of any kind.

Next to her is the Morrigan, the great Phantom Queen. She has the power of prophecy and she can also change herself in an instant from a beautiful maiden to a. hag. She is dancing also. Around them circles a flock of crows, cawing loudly in alarm. In the sky, thunder and lightning punctuate the scene with sound and flash. The figures are dancing and sing loudly above the din the song of Machig Labdron:28

Attachment to any phenomenon whatsoever,
From coarse form to omniscience,
Should be understood as the play of a demon.
Form is neither white, red, blue, nor green.
Form is devoid of presence,
Devoid of appearance,
Devoid of cessation.
All phenomena are equanimity.
The perfection of wisdom herself is equanimity.
When you are meditating on non-dual Paramita
The local gods and demons cannot stand it,
And in despair cause magical interference of all kinds,
Real imaginary, or in dreams.
Recognize them as the miraculous display of your own mind.
Do not concentrate your awareness on these obstacles.
Remain at ease, serene in the very nature of this recognition.
When you are absorbed in a natural serene state
These miraculous displays will be naturally pacified,
And once appeased in the essence of phenomena
They will appear as friendly to you.

As the vision dream shifts, Rinpoche's voice sounds in my ear, "No hope for you."

I am bathed in an intense yellow light. From it all around arises a tropical rainforest, alive with beings singing, humming, and calling. Myriad flowers of all shapes and colors hang on vines and grow out of trees or the earth. On a small mound illuminated by shafts of yellow light sits Marguerite Porete, the Christian Beguine teacher. "How did I know her?" I ask myself, but can not answer. I see she is dressed in the habit of a Christian renunciate and holds a mirror in one hand and a Christian cross in the other. I feel very connected to her but I don't know why.

Then I see next to her Danu, the Goddess, smiling broadly at me. We are so familiar, she and I. Her eyes of hazel with flecks of green and gold fix on mine. I notice her teeth are very white. She is completely nude and is full-figured with large breasts. Her areolas are prominent with succulent nipples. Her skin is shining mahogany and her long black hair falls in a braid down her ample back. She has massive hands with long, webbed fingers and ivory nails. In the ferns around these women scampers a small dog. It ceases its play now and then and jumps on one, then the other, of the two women to be fondled and petted. Together, they sing to me from the lotus sutra:

All Buddhas with bodies of a golden hue,
Splendidly adorned with a hundred auspicious marks
Hear the Dharma and expound it for others.
Such is the fine dream that ever occurs.
In the dream you are made Empress, or Emperor.
Then forsake that palace and household entourage
Along with the utmost satisfaction of the five sense desires,
And travel to the site of practice under the Bodhi tree.
On the lion's seat, in search of the way,
After seven days you attain the wisdom of all the Buddhas
Completing the unsurpassable way.
Arising and turning the Dharma Wheel
You expound the Dharma for the four groups of practitioners
Throughout thousands of millions of Kalpas
Expressing the wondrous Dharma free of flaws
And liberating innumerable sentient beings.
Finally, you enter Paranirvana,
Like smoke dispersing as a lamp is extinguished.
If later, in the samsaric world, one expounds this foremost dharma,
One will produce great benefit like the merit just described.
That is the dream within a dream.

In the roar of a tornado all the visions and all the inhabitants dissolve into brilliant copper color, green, blue, white, and yellow. The colors form a rainbow that whirls about me in a clockwise direction. A brilliant red light appears in front of me, joining with all the colors in a swirling rainbow as large as myself It crackles with electricity and serpent tongues of fire.

Then, in a flash, it forms a deity. She has bright, deep green eyes and crimson, flowing, wild hair. She is nude and her skin is light spun gold. She is translucent.

A strong, almost overpowering hypnotic smell of flowers, like hyacinth or honeysuckle or lilac, fills my nostrils. She is surrounded by flames and smoke, rather like the Cosmic Fire. Her arms are now draped about my neck and her legs entwine my waist. She has no weight but I can feel slight energy where she touches me. With great intensity she looks directly into my eyes. I hear the chanting sounds of the familiar Heart Sutra:

("Go, go, go beyond, go totally beyond, be rooted in the ground of enlightenment.")29

The sounds of the mantra reverberate in my mind over and over and over again. The gold skin of the deity begins to blaze with the intensity of the mantra's resonance. The five colors begin to swirl in the deity's heart center. The illusion disintegrates into my whole body and my mind which have become one. The swirling wheel of colors then streams into my heart. Bliss and joy arise. I hear the words from a song of Machig Labdron:

The roots of anxiety are embedded in the delusion
That every one of us is an island unto ourselves,
Alone and separate from each other.
If you would be free of this suffering
See the workings of your mind as but a single thought­
A retinue of Goddesses that vanish into the sound "AH"
As the rainbow vanishes into the heavens
All enlightened beings past, present, and future
Have but a single essence.
To intuit this essence, learn the true nature of your own mind.
Then, let go and dissolve into unstructured reality--
This tensionless state is the yogin's life.

"Wake up now, Johnny," says Rinpoche gently.

Still in the dream I awoke, and hearing sounds, made my way to the kitchen. Shari was preparing Rinpoche's breakfast. I focused my eyes on the kitchen clock, which gradually registered in my thought as 4 o'clock. Glancing then to the outdoors I ascertained it was afternoon. Shari had the radio on and the words came out with the music. It sounded like The Beach Boys. The words floated in the air ... a girl in an Eastern dress wanting rescue for old time's sake. Her heart was breaking, could somebody throw her a lifeline ...

I turned to walk out into the garden when the space abruptly became very solid. My glasses broke as my face hit the unopened patio door. Shari turned around from her cooking.

"Hey, John, are you okay?" What's John? I thought. The music continued. Now I'm adrift in the China Sea.

Something managed to organize Rinpoche's breakfast tray and something managed to tape together the broken glasses and also managed to ascend the stairs to Rinpoche's bedroom. I set the tray down next to the bed and looked at him. Our eyes met and the space between us seemed to grow small and then large. My mind reeled with the words "somewhere near Japan."

''Are you okay, Major?" softly inquired the Prince.

I struggled to put things together into a coherent statement and then blurted out, "I have absolutely no idea."

He looked at me intently and said, "Maybe you should become a teacher."

And at last finding solid ground, I muttered to myself, "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" He continued to look at me, waiting.

"Well, I don't know anything," I responded finally. "How could I be a teacher?"

"On the spot," came the reply.

"What is that?" I asked.

"Unborn," came the answer.

"Unborn? Unborn?" I struggled to make meaning out of the words. "That does not make any sense," I said.

"Exactly," came back to me.

Up to this point neither one of us had actually spoken a word. It was just a quick series of flashes.

Then Rinpoche said, out loud, "Exactly."

Everything fell away into the seeming reality of the room. I looked past his head into the window and the street beyond. It had started to rain. I came back again to his face. He said again, "Exactly."

I waited. Nothing happened. He reached for his teacup. I reached for the teapot and feeling the weight in my hand I poured the tea into the waiting cup. Our eyes met and when he smiled I felt my body warm up with the radiation.

After his death, years later, I visit Rinpoche near Gantock. He is staying in a house with tall arches, aglow from inside with a yellow light. He is dressed only in a translucent gold shawl draped across his shoulders. He has many attendants. I prostrate and touch his feet. He says he is happy to see me and asks if I need anything. I reply that at this time in my life I am continuing to join with the energies that arise. "That's good," he says. Turning to his companion he asks if she has any advice for me. She answers, "He has such a wonderful voice. He should use it more often." I thank them both and receive the radiating warmth of their smiles. The now-ness quality of the situation is transparently real.  



28 Machig Labdron and the Foundations of Chod, Jerome Edou, Snow Lion Publications, 1996, p. 162.

29 The Dalai Lama explains, "We can interpret this mantra metaphorically to read, 'Go to the other shore,' which is to say, abandon this shore of samsara, unenlightened existence, which has been our home since beginningless time, and cross to the other shore to final nirvana and complete liberation." © Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, 2002. Reprinted from Essence of the Heart Sutra: The Dalai Lama's Heart of Wisdom Teachings, with permission of Wisdom Publications, 199 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144 U.SA.,
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:08 pm

Chapter 8: Commentary

I completed my ngondro practice by doing Guru Yoga-one million recitations of a three-syllable mantra -- whereupon, with a group of students, I took Vajrayogini Abhisheka given by Trungpa Rinpoche. This empowered me to do the Vajrayogini Sadhana.

I had begun to realize that there was little or no difference between my dreaming state and my so-called awake state during daylight hours. This created a certain amount of confusion in which I had difficulty in returning to old and safe images of myself I also began to question my reality as a male or female or, for that matter, my reality as anything at all.

In the act of making love with someone I was unsure as to who was making love to whom and began to think of the whole thing as some sort of mutual dance of energies, sometimes tender, sometimes fierce. The passion of my partner stayed with me for a long time after our lovemaking. Lovemaking seems to be an inadequate word. It was much more primordial than that. While the understanding seemed to come and go at that time, it was more like the ocean crashing against the shore, pulling back on the sand, returning, and doing it again, foaming, salty, hot, steamy, sweaty, sensuous, open, union of mutual surrender. That is what I longed for, but this brought up the question of whether there was the "other" or whether it was always continually all me.

I could not identify myself in that situation as being solidly male or solidly female. I consciously practiced both of what I considered a male position or attitude in lovemaking and a female attitude -- which at that time meant the male was aggressive and the female submissive. Aggressive in my mind meant active and submissive meant openness. I longed for the union of opposites, like positive and negative energies joining while my body longed for union. I longed to surrender totally, to give up totally to my I-ness, give it away, dissolve it as I transformed myself into the deity.

I also was beginning to question what the words "human being" meant. That is to say, why did I see myself as being a human being? What was "human being" in relationship to other entities or being and how was that whole pattern activated in its interdependency? I began to feel that I was a multitude of basic energies. I began to feel that humans were innately sensitive and that they covered up the openness of their sensitivity by various methods to avoid feeling pain. I experienced overwhelming sadness for myself and others. At the same time I had intense feelings of love without object.

I began to realize, without panicking, that Rinpoche's mind and my mind were somehow mixing. I experienced him speaking to me or forming words in my mind without verbally saying them. They just appeared, as it were, somewhat intermixed with short verbal confirmations.

The deities that appeared in my dreaming-waking state were all feminine. This was due, I think, to my relationship with Vajrayogini. The essence of what was related in this state was closest to the songs that I have included, but it did not appear in these written forms. I added these later to match the essence.

The world of duality was becoming infinitely less solid. When that happened, my mind sought refuge in confusion. The action was back and forth but I was able to stay with the situations as they presented themselves for longer periods of time. I developed the obstacle of being attracted to exotic illusions which were not fantasy but actual visions. The obstacle was that I wanted to stay in that state because it was pleasurable. I was attracted to the nirvanic aspect. But this was a stage which one could call the dance of the dakini, where one was introduced to the world that one had not seen before. I began to realize that I was not walking on the path but that the path was moving under my feet. The idea of giving up enlightenment for the sake of all beings was just a phrase that I had heard but had no experience of yet.

I had not particularly thought of myself as Celtic. Rinpoche kept bringing this up, and of course, in my predictable way, I was bewildered by his suggestions that I was Celtic and labeled it with my usual response as being crazy. In the visionary displays, something was activated that was definitely Celtic in origin. I began to investigate, somewhat timidly, that Celticness, and of course was horrified by the fact that the warriors cut of each other's heads and tied them to their horses' saddles. This brought up an interesting dilemma. Where was my mind -- in my head or in my heart ... or for that matter outside of me completely? I had form, I had emptiness, but I did not have "form is emptiness, emptiness also is form, emptiness is no other than form, form is no other than emptiness."

"Interestingly, Johnny doesn't know anything," he said, "but alot. Contradictory wisdom of Johnny is a lot and little. I would like to express my complete Tibetan dedication and devotion as much as he is devoted to me. I am devoted to him as my best savior in America." He raised his glass and toasted, "To Johnny the Savior."

The ship of enlightenment was victorious over the troops of Mara, I thought.
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:35 pm

Chapter 9: Images


"Making love to humans is like fucking pigs and chickens," said Rinpoche. "Until you have made love to the deity, your experience will remain the same." I looked across at the painting of Vajrayogini. Well, she looks pretty pissed off to me, I thought. Besides, she's utterly shameless. The only one I know who even seems like that is Sara Coleman, but she's always crying these days because you, Rinpoche, are dying and her husband has run off with another woman.

"His Holiness, Karmapa, is not well. You should go and see him, Johnny," said Rinpoche, breaking into my inner discussion on sex. "Find him a white bird. That would be very auspicious."

"You mean a canary?" I inquired.

"Yes," he said slowly. I called canary breeders in Denver and located a white canary, a singing male, which I took to Marpa House where His Holiness Karmapa was staying. To my surprise, the monks ushered me into His Holiness's sitting room. He was sitting on the floor writing on a small table. He looked up and smiled as I entered. Before I could do my customary prostrations he waved me to sit opposite him at the table. I settled cross­legged on a cushion offered by his attending monk.

"I hope so," he said to me in his limited English. Then for the next hour he talked to me in Tibetan. I had no idea what he was saying, but I became mesmerized by the sound of his voice. For a while he held my hand. At the end of our time together he patted me on the head and said, "I hope so." I left him with the white bird and walked back to the Court, falling in love with leaf­-waving aspen trees. A dragonfly landed on my arm, rode for a while, then flew off into the warm blue space.

"What did His Holiness say?" asked Rinpoche upon my return.

"I've no idea," I replied laughing.

"His Holiness said you had a good exchange," said Rinpoche.

I was going to ask if they had conversed by phone, but I knew it was pointless to relate on that level. I heard the Shambhala flag flapping in the Court garden. I stopped asking "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"

The problem with meeting a Mahasiddha is one of reference point, which does not exist. And you are not aware of that. You are doing your thing, being John Perks, Susie Smith, Billy Burns, Ella-Mae Gray, whomever. A Mahasiddha dances out of no reference point. There is no way to deal with that because there is no deal. Rinpoche would sit in a talk and yell "Fuck you!" And we were like the person in the film Life of Brian who asked Brian, "How do you mean, 'Fuck you'?" While you are doing that, you are still caught up. in your "fucking" reference point. The Mahasiddha cuts you down at every turn. That is why you freak out. Nobody wants to deal with the real quality of emptiness, because there is not even "quality."

We were in Boston, where Rinpoche had finished a teaching weekend on Tilopa. Our plane to Denver was leaving at 10:20 a.m. I was frantically trying to get everything packed and in order. I had gotten Rinpoche dressed in one of his Savile Row suits and seated in a chair with his glass of sake. We needed to leave for the airport at about 9 a.m. We dragged all the bags and trunks to the hall and I glanced at the clock; it was ten to nine. I bounded up the stairs to get Rinpoche, but when I reached the bedroom floor his chair was empty. I checked the bathroom, the closets, the other bedrooms -- no Rinpoche. I leaned over the banister and yelled down to the guards in the hall, "Has anyone seen Lord Mukpo?"

Andy, one of the Boston Kusung,30 came up the stairs and whispered to me, "Ella and Sue took him into the back bedroom."

"Oh, Lord!" I exclaimed, and ran down the hall to the back bedroom where I discreetly knocked on the door.

Rinpoche's high-pitched voice said, "Come in." I opened the door. All three of them were in the bed naked. Ella was clutching his penis and guiding it into her as she moved up and down. Sue was straddling Rinpoche's neck and pushing his head into her curly mound of black pubic hair. Her bottom wiggled in seeming delight.

I stood there frozen and somewhat amazed. I was completely at a loss. Suddenly, I remembered the airport and our impending flight.

"Sir, are you coming?"

Rinpoche managed to free his mouth to say, "Any moment, Johnny. Any moment now."

We all laughed and a question flashed into my mind. "Did the Buddha eat pussy?" Well, he always had that smile on his face. Perhaps, I thought.

"Is Rinpoche coming?" a guard hollered from downstairs. "Oh yes, yes." I walked downstairs and a moment later the girls pulled a disheveled and laughing Rinpoche down to where we were waiting. We kissed goodbye, hugged, and bundled Rinpoche into the waiting car: As we pulled out, students were waving or holding their hands together m the Buddhist anjali,31 with bowed heads.

Did the Buddha eat pussy? I wondered to myself again.

I poured Rinpoche a glass of sake. He was seated between Sue and Ella. They were all holding hands and smiling. Rinpoche waved to the crowd of students and hummed, "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Oh what a relief it is." There was an air of pain and gentleness in the car -- the gentleness of being in love and the pain of parting, all mingled with the smell of sex, wet hair, and sake. I was overwhelmed by a feeling. I felt totally in love with anything and everything. A mental image of Tilopa eating fish heads entered my thoughts and I wondered again, Does Buddha eat pussy?

I, myself, had practiced eating vaginas by sucking on cans of sardines. Somehow vaginas were more sophisticated than sardines. It's really difficult to describe the individual taste or mustiness or wetness because you're dealing with a live entity on the end of your tongue, which is very electric.

Rinpoche looked at me inquiringly and said, "Major, are you okay?"

"Yes, Sir," I replied, snapping back to my organizational role. I ran through a mental list to be sure I hadn't forgotten anything.

"Great," Rinpoche said. "Then let's sing the Shambhala anthem." We sang to the tune of "Let Erin Remember" while dragons thundered in the sky around us.

The vagina is the gateway into the human realm. We are all born with the taste of our mother's vaginal juice in our mouths. Unless, of course, you are Caesarian, an interesting name! Sex is such a primordial act. It is so powerful, the joining of two to make a third, or just experiencing the act. Rinpoche says it's like death -- apart from sneezing, the only other time we experience death is at orgasm. Try keeping eye contact with your partner up to and through orgasm. It's an interesting experience.

Something is very wrong. Millions of human beings and other beings are copulating right now. But everywhere people are pretending that it isn't happening. What is the secret that we are all keeping from each other? Is copulation the ultimate spirituality­ -- even beyond such an idea of spirituality -- or is it just an event, totally in tune with the cosmos, in which ideas of anything don't exist in any form?

I look out of the car window and in its sun-reflected transparency I see my mother and father copulating-making love to produce me. They are locked in passion like two frogs. Am I in the spirit world looking on? I have a great feeling of compassion for my parents' copulation, for their mutual passion, their willingness to share passion, their willingness to feel what we all experience, ordinary, extraordinary, known, but unknown as to its source or origin, beyond conceptualization. But at the same time, conception occurs. "Thank you so much," I whisper to the reflection and it disappears into the sunlight and Boston streets. We all have that connection.

So I have answered my question. "Yes, of course, the Buddha ate pussy all the time." When he spoke it was from the ground, the ground of the compassionate vagina willing to give birth, willing to nurture, willing to be totally open, willing to be totally invitingly wet, constantly, willing to be Rinpoche.

We pulled into the airport with plenty of time to spare. I had no idea how this was possible.

For the Dorje Kasung, who are the Vajra guards, Rinpoche has made the "eight slogans," which they keep in small pocket-size books, like the pocket books of the Red Guard of Mao Tse Tung. However, these are more revolutionary than the Red Guards', or, for that matter, more revolutionary than the Art of War.32 Rinpoche's motto is "Victory over war."

Number one slogan is "Have confidence to go beyond hesitation."

We were all very concerned with Rinpoche's health and at one point Doctor Mike said we should find a way to cut down on Rinpoche's sake drinking. To my surprise, and Mike's relief, Rinpoche was cooperative. It was suggested that we remove the alcohol from the sake by means of boiling. This went on for some weeks with attendants and servants boiling gallons of sake in the Court kitchen and reboiling the finished product for Rinpoche's consumption.

Now, in Rinpoche's sitting room there was a service closet with a refrigerator, glasses, and trays. It had a curtain across the doorway operated by a pull string. I went upstairs to the sitting room with a new batch of boiled sake. I crossed to the closet and pulled the cord. The curtain opened to reveal a naked Rinpoche with a bottle of real sake at his lips. He just said, "Whoops!" I wordlessly closed the curtain and left him chuckling in the closet.

Number two slogan is ''Alert before you daydream."

One evening, about nine, I went to Rinpoche's bedroom. He was lying on the bed in his kimono groaning softly. "Sir, are you ill?" I asked.

"I don't feel well, Johnny," he murmured.

"What are your symptoms, Sir?" I asked.

"Well, I have this tight pain in my chest and pain in my arm. I also feel like I might have to throw up."

I did not have to hear any more. "Call Dr. Mike," I yelled down to the guard. I felt for Rinpoche's pulse, which was hard to find. "Sir, I think we should go to the hospital."

"It seems to have gone now. I feel fine," Rinpoche said, sitting up. He walked to the sitting room unaided and sat in his chair. "Pour me some sake, Johnny." I started to protest. He smiled and said, "No, no. It was just something I ate. I'm fine, don't worry."

I gave him his sake in the stemmed crystal glass and heard Dr. Mike come bounding up the stairs. He burst into the room, looked at Rinpoche and then at me, and asked what happened. I explained briefly and related what Rinpoche had told me. Mike went down on his knees next to Rinpoche. "Sir," he said softly, "how are you?"

He took out his stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. We took off Rinpoche's kimono and Mike listened to his heart and took his blood pressure. Rinpoche was so quiet and docile. I was beginning to think he might really be ill. Mike made a call and sent for an EKG machine. After it arrived, Mike attached the electrodes to Rinpoche and ran several test tapes. He studied them intently. He sent for a magnifying glass and studied them again. He rose from the table where he had been working. I could see the concern on his face as he turned to Rinpoche and said, "Sir, I think we should take you to the hospital. How are you feeling now?"

"My stomach feels upset and I have a pain in my chest and down my arm," came the reply.

Mike pulled me aside. "I'm going to call the emergency room. Get the car around front." He turned back to Rinpoche.

"Sir, we have to take you to the hospital. Your heart has an irregular rhythm on the EKG tape."

"Oh?" said Rinpoche. "How interesting."

Greatly concerned, we rushed Rinpoche to the emergency room, where he was placed on a gurney. Dr. Shelley, Rinpoche's former doctor, had been sent for, and she arrived shortly. Mike met her at the door with the EKG tapes in his hand. I heard them talking and then noticed her voice rise a little louder. "Well, Mike, didn't you know that Rinpoche has a normal skip in his EKG trace?" Mike stood there frozen to the spot.

Dr. Shelley came over to Rinpoche lying on the gurney. "Hello, Rinpoche, how do you feel?"

"Fine," he replied. "But I have an upset stomach."

''Any pains in the chest, neck, or arms?" she asked.

"No," said the innocent Rinpoche. She looked suspiciously at the stunned, open-mouthed Dr. Mike.

Rinpoche was given some Pepto-Bismol and sent home to his waiting glass of sake. Mike threw his hands in the air and exclaimed, "I can never show my face in that hospital again!"

Rinpoche the Trickster is what the Regent called him. All of Rinpoche's tricks carried with them the message "Wake up! Pay attention!" One particular trick he would do that freaked me out was to run his tongue down the edge of a razor-sharp samurai sword. Not only that, but his tongue would actually curl over the edge. It gave me shivers. Rinpoche would say, "You see, Johnny, you do it, but you don't do it."

Number three slogan is "Mindful of all details. Be resourceful in performing your duties."

While walking down a street in San Francisco, we passed a strip joint. Rinpoche insisted that we go in. It had theater-type seats with a small circular stage and colored strobe lights flashing. Two girls with G-strings were doing the bump-and-grind to loud rock music. We had been sitting there for perhaps only five minutes when one of the girls gave a scream and shouted, "Rinpoche! Rinpoche! I took Level One Shambhala Training!" She jumped off the stage and ran over to Rinpoche and plopped herself onto his lap. Rinpoche was delighted and cordially greeted the other girls as they came over to be introduced. The other patrons didn't seem to mind the disruption of the stage show. Perhaps they thought it was part of the act.

Number four slogan is "Fearless beyond idiot compassion."

During that same visit to San Francisco I pointed out to Rinpoche that there were visiting British warships in the harbor.

"Great," said Rinpoche excitedly. "Let's put on our uniforms and visit them, Major. Call them and say the Prince of Bhutan and his party would like to tour the vessel."

"Oh, God," I thought, "We'll all end up in jail."

When we were all dressed in our khaki cotton uniforms with Sam Brown belts and Shambhala medals, we actually looked quite authentic in our smartly tailored Gieves and Hawkes naval uniforms. We ordered two taxis and drove off to the docks. When we arrived at the end of the pier I could see at the gates a large crowd carrying placards. They were cordoned off by police and U.S. Naval Shore patrol. I wanted to turn back from the mayhem but Rinpoche would have none of it. We pulled up to the shouting, shoving, screaming crowd, where we could read the signs that said "Get Out of Ireland."

With Rinpoche leading the way, we got out of the cabs. The crowd looked at us and grew silent. They parted before us as we made our way toward the boat. The gate was opened and we walked through. No one asked any questions. As we went up the gangplank we were greeted by the cheery sound of the boatswain's pipes. We saluted in return. Rinpoche presented a traditional white scarf to the officer of the watch. The British naval personnel were very polite and showed us around the three war ships with Rinpoche asking questions about armament, engine speeds, crew comforts, and pay scales.

Next he'll want us to buy one of the damn things, I thought. As we left, I noted the name of the first ship we had boarded. It was called the Sheffield. Years later, in the Falkland war, it took a direct hit from an Exocet missile.

Number five slogan is "Warrior without anger."

Another time in California we were standing on a large cliff overlooking the ocean. We were dressed in our naval uniforms. A large, rolling, drunken Indian arrived. He asked for a handout, which someone gave him. Then he spotted Rinpoche.

"What are you doing with these white men?" he slurred. "Come on, brother, I want to talk to you." He put his arm around Rinpoche and started to tell him about the glories of the earth and the harmony with nature. Rinpoche didn't seem to mind, but we wanted to get rid of this guy. He was dirty, stunk of cheap whiskey, and was starting to get belligerent, pushing us away as we tried to reclaim Rinpoche. Luckily, his girlfriend showed up and coaxed him away so we could escape with Rinpoche back to our cars.

Driving back, we were congratulating ourselves on how we managed to get away from this guy and his drunken violence. Then Rinpoche, who had been silent through all this, said to me, "You know, Johnny, that Indian reminded me of you when we first met." I was shocked, and it wasn't until much later that I could mentally entertain our similarity.

Number six slogan is "Not afraid to be a fool."

We went into Mexico. Rinpoche was writing The Shambhala Kingdom Epics. "Let's put on our uniforms and go to the pyramids," he said. "Bring some wood, Johnny."

Up we climbed to the local pyramid ruins. Rinpoche lit a fire, put on the evergreen boughs, and did a Lasung ceremony. As we all chanted, the sky turned black. The thunder and lightning crashed around us and the downpour splattered red earth up on my uniform. The wind shrieked and, despite the rain, the fire flamed higher. It was like the rain was gasoline. Afterwards, we slipped and fell down the mountain. What a great war, I thought. We were bloodied by the elements. We carried the drunken Rinpoche home, down the blood-red mountain with the firestorm raging, pierced through with rainbow colors.

Barnstone was waiting with a pulque, a milk-white drink made by the Indians out of cactus.

"Want to go to a real whore house?" he asked. We jumped into the car and drove back up the same mountain. In the steaming heat, he pulled up to a cinder block building with a bar outside. The rooms inside were square with iron beds and a plain light bulb hanging down. The bathroom door was open and a woman in a greasy blue dress was sitting on the toilet pissing. Another woman with a short brown dress approached us. She had stringy black hair and amber eyes. She smiled. I could taste the blood-red earth. She smiled at me and said something in Spanish.

Barnstone translated, "She says, 'Do you want to fuck?"'

I was so shocked by the whole situation I almost fainted. I turned around and staggered toward the open door and vomited alcoholic cactus juice against the wall. An Indian wrapped in a shawl next to the building offered me something. I looked closely and saw it was a large green lizard.

"They are good to eat," said Barnstone.

I looked around to try to find some bearings. Where am I? Who am I? The most shocking thing was that this was all somehow so familiar.

We went to a bullfight, all of us in our uniforms. I was in naval white. We were seated in the balcony watching the show. In this particular bullfight the bull did not get killed. The crowd of people around us began looking over and whispering, and then somebody threw an apple core in our direction. Other missiles flew through the air-bags, Dixie cups, whatever they picked up. We collected Rinpoche and moved quickly up toward the exit and down the cement steps. Five or six Indians ran down after us. I turned to face them. The fellow in front looked at me, freaked out, turned around, and ran back up the steps. The others remained frozen. I had no explanation for their reaction, except that perhaps I looked like someone else, someone they recognized. Twice I made trips with Rinpoche to central Mexico and each time I was freaked out, not by the strangeness but by the familiarity. It was like living in a constant deja-vu.

I am in the bathroom with Rinpoche. We are both looking into the mirror. Our images are distorted into rainbow colors. Then there is only blue.

"How do you do that?" I ask.

"You just do it," he says.

Number seven slogan is "Invisible heavy hand."

The translucent couple is copulating on my head. From their heart centers glowing fluid runs down into their vagina and penis union, mixing. The fluid runs into the top of my head, washes into my whole body, flushing out all of my clingings, uptightness, pissed-off-ness, depression, anger, and jealousy, turning the blackness into light. I can't believe they care about me.

The fact is they don't care about Me. They care about Non­ Me, if you could call it "care." They have the energy of a newly born star, primordial care without pre-intention. It's so frustrating because I am so ME. How could I become non-me? It's taken all these years to build me, all the protection and strategies. I have to keep me safe, me, me, me. I'm sick of me.

I hear Rinpoche saying to a guest, "Do you know Johnny only speaks to me when I'm not, thinking?"

I feel like I'm looking into the rear view mirror of a car speeding forward. Where does that statement come from? Where is non-me hiding? I keep feeling like I'm moving forward and backward at the same moment -- walking through the door, watching myself move in the space, the ghost shadow of self, trying to keep up with the memory of movement, trying to keep the solidness of me. It's hopeless.

I scrub the kitchen floor to find relief, watching the soap bubbles burst, the air inside escaping into space. I pretend I'm holy­ stoning the deck of a ship, moving a stone the size of a Bible back and forth across the wooden planks. I feel the vessel move beneath my heavy body. I put my hand out to steady myself on the kitchen floor. The constant copulators on my head won't go away. I thought I had left them in the shrine room. Now they keep turning up in my daily and nightly endeavors. We are falling in love. Sometimes I miss them and call them back. Most often they just show up, washing me out, sending me back and forth scrubbing the eternal floor.

Number eight slogan is "Be precise without creating a scene."

Rinpoche was slated to give a talk in the auditorium of a West Coast city. That day he kept complaining about receiving constant radio messages in his head.

"What's it like?" I asked him.

In agony he held his head in his hands. "It's like having twenty different radio stations playing all at once in my head," he answered.

"Would you like an aspirin?" I asked with concern.

He looked at me intently for some time before gently answering, "No, thank you, dear." I felt helpless but I had my own problems with the couple on my head. They had taken to fighting about who should be the consort, him or her. Who's the fucker and who's the fuckee? I wanted to get them back on track. They were ruining my sex life. "Should I be on top or should she? Who's in control here?"

Dr. Mike and I escorted Rinpoche up the long steps to the Greek-style auditorium. He was moving like a zombie as we took him to the waiting chair on the stage. I repositioned the micro­phone toward his lips, placed the glass of sake on his side table, and took my seat in the audience. Rinpoche began his talk. His lips moved but no sound came to our ears. The event organizers rushed over to the audio equipment, methodically checking the cords and connections. Rinpoche's lips kept moving, but still no sound. The tech people started to panic, twisting knobs and banging consoles. I went to where Rinpoche was sitting and tapped on the microphone. The tap resounded through the speaker system. I looked down at Rinpoche. His lips were forming words, but there was simply no sound! I signaled over to Dr. Mike and together we carried the silent speaking Rinpoche out of the hall, down the long steps of the Greek theater, and into the waiting limousine, leaving behind a confused and concerned audience. Two miles down the highway Rinpoche's sound returned.

"What happened?" he asked.

An idea began to form and take root in my mind. Rinpoche was not crazy or a trickster at all. His actions seemed like he was simply playing tricks on people. But they all had the effect of making you look at things from a different angle or a different view, which was somewhat frightening and threatening to one's sense of self. He was meticulous and relentless in this catching the self off guard, which created anything from a wobble to an earth­quake in the seemingly solid reality of self. I was beginning to feel that I was living in a dream world. Waking and sleeping drifted into one another. The only thing that kept me grounded was Rinpoche's insistence on attention to small details: making tea in the correct sequence, tying his shoelaces the same way every morning, dressing or undressing him in the correct form. My fuzzy, foggy mind still could relate to putting his socks in the bottom drawer of the bureau, his underwear in the next drawer, shirts, then pants, then ties, and finally hats at the top.

A small thing occurred at encampment. Rinpoche, Max, and I had taken a shower together. Rinpoche pointed out to Max that Tibetan penises were bigger than Chinese ones. I dressed Rinpoche after drying him off, then I dressed myself. He looked at me across the room. I looked down at my shirt and saw I had forgotten to button up one button. I did it up and looked back at him and he smiled. We walked together across the field. I was holding his arm. I had the strange feeling we would be and had always been together. "Yes," he said to my thought. I also knew that his thought about the unbuttoned button had been transmit­ted in a similar fashion. In our talks together we decided to call these instances "messages." At the time it did not seem unusual.

In Woodstock, New York, I escorted Rinpoche to a meeting with about seven other Tibetan lamas. I was seated on a meditation cushion next to Rinpoche's chair. Everyone was speaking in Tibetan. After about an hour Rinpoche looked down at me and said, "Do you know what they are saying?"

"No, Sir," I answered. "You know I don't understand Tibetan."

"Well," Rinpoche explained in English, loudly and distinctly, "they are saying they don't want to give the real teachings to their Western students because then the students will take over."

There was complete silence in the room. I looked around, not meeting any eyes, and responded to Rinpoche. "Well, we don't do that, do we?"

"You bet we don't!" came his reply.

We left soon after that and on the way out I kept a sharp eye out in case I had to whack one of those monkeys. But as usual, everyone was very polite. In the car I asked Rinpoche, "Does that happen very often? Not wanting to give students the real teachings?"

Rinpoche took a sip of sake from a Dixie cup and said, "Quite often."

I realized again how fortunate we all were to be his students and how the dance of the slogans was victory over war.



30 Buddhist military attendants (Bodhisattvas) in Shambhala training.

31 A greeting with palms of the hands pressed together.

32 Art of War, Sun Tzu, Oxford University Press, 1963.
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:01 pm

Chapter 9: Commentary

In the book The Practice of Dzogchen by Longchen Rabjam, translated by Tulku Thondup,33 there is a story of how "Patrul Attained Realization Through the Teacher's Yogic Power."

Sometimes great yogis give the high transmissions such as that of the realization of ''Dzogpa Chenpo" through various means and indications, and the disciple who is ready receives the introduction miraculously. There are no logical and intellectual reasonings or ceremonial performances, but just a skillful display of whatever is appropriate. Dodrup Chen Jigmed Tenpa'i Nyima writes about how Patrul Rinpoche was introduced to ''Dzogpa Chenpo" realization by Khyentse Yeshe Dorje (1800-?).

When Jigmed Yeshe Dorje, the Precious Excellent Incarnation of the Omniscient One (Jigmed Lingpa), was wandering to perform ascetic disciplines, he arrived one day where the Lord Patrul Rinpoche was staying and shouted: "O Palge (Patrul Rinpoche's lineage name)! Are you brave? If you are, come here!" When Patrul Rinpoche went to him, he held Patrul by the hair, threw him on the ground and dragged him around. After a while, an odor of alcohol was suddenly emitted and Patrul Rinpoche thought: "Oh, he is drunk. Even a great adept like him is capable of this kind of behavior because of his drinking. This is the fault of alcohol as discoursed upon by the Blessed One (Buddha). "At that very moment, Khyentse Yeshe Dorje freed Patrul from his grip and shouted: "Alas! you who are called intellectuals, how could such an evil thought arise (in you)? You old dog. "He spat on Patrul's face and showed him his little finger (sign of the worst insult) and then he left. Immediately Patrul realized, "Oh! I have been deluded." It was an introduction. And he resumed the (meditative) posture. (At that moment) Patrul realized the unhindered intrinsic awareness, (clear) like the cloudless sky. The dawn-like (clear) introduction (to the realization) given by Jigmed Gyalwa'i Nyugu had become (bright) like the rising sun. Later on, Patrul Rinpoche would say jokingly, "'Old Dog' is my esoteric name given by Kushog Khyentse."

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche was renowned for his ability to consume large amounts of sake, which we would buy by the magnum bottle. He particularly liked Kiku Masamume brand with the large white chrysanthemum flower on the label. we had a number of Irish Waterford crystal glasses that he used. Generally, he would have a glass after breakfast and then continue throughout the day toward bedtime. At the height of his consumption we would go through three or four magnums of sake in a twelve-hour period.

This was more toward the end of his life, whereas when we were on retreat he would drink only in the evening. we were always invited to join him. However, one had to watch one's mind and not lose it in drunkenness. Rinpoche would give explicit instructions on how to drink without becoming confused, inebriated, or falling into sleep, which he also writes about in The Heart of the Buddha.34 I, myself, had the tendency to fall asleep. So I developed a method of sitting up straight in the chair to keep myself awake and also staying mindful to filling Rinpoche's glass when it was two-thirds empty. By concentrating on those tasks I was able to consume a relatively large amount of sake without becoming unaware.

I had never seen Rinpoche displaying the loss of attention that ordinary people display when they become drunk. And I was quite surprised one evening at a gathering of people when he started to roll around in a drunken stupor. As I half carried him upstairs he was laughing as usual and rolling around the stairs trying to throw me off balance when all of a sudden he stopped, stood up straight -- quite normally -- and said to me, ''Don't worry, I am never drunk." Then he went back to laughing and rolling around.

On another similar occasion, when his outrageous actions became of concern to me, he did the same thing. On the way to the bathroom, he stopped and said, ''Don't worry, I won't go crazy. "And then he resumed his outrageousness. In both these instances, of course, I was concerned and fearful not for Rinpoche, but for myself I was actually more concerned that I would lose my reference point. I had thought that I was taking care of him, when actually it was the other way around. He was taking care of me.

Rinpoche said, "When the master is more into samsara he can teach more. If he's into non-samsara then he can't teach anymore because he's into a blind kind of other world. Seduction plays a very important part. The master has to be seduced into teaching. Masters are recommended to completely enjoy sense perception, sense pleasure. Any high Maha Ati35 teachers, if they are high Maha Ati teachers, must be sybaritic. The more sybaritic they are the more love and compassion they have for their students. That's the whole point: they sort of bring themselves down instead of taking off to the whatever."

Rinpoche's use of "couldn't care less," which he used constantly in the later years, was the old dog quality of noncaring, which is the style of the Maha Ati path, in which you care but you don't care.

It is well known that Trungpa Rinpoche engaged in sexual activity with some of his students. When asked about this by a local reporter from the Boulder, Colorado paper, he replied simply that it was a good way to get to know people. This was on the very ordinary level, where sleeping with students involved no sexual activity, but perhaps talking, making up stories, reading Tin Tin or Asterisk comic books, and general laughter and play. There were other students who received more advanced Karmamudra instruction, leading to the possible realization of coemergent wisdom. Trungpa Rinpoche was always insistent on using one's passion as part of the path. He was also insistent that it not become diluted into frivolity or lust.

Sexual practice between people has become a great problem in Western society. Even more alarmingly, in America it has become associated with violence. The lust and pleasure of sex portrayed in pornography of all kinds is used in the worst materialistic way, degrading human beings below the intelligence of animals or insects. Children are constantly bombarded by the exponents of sex and violence. On the other end of the stick, the haters of love condemn any form of passion as evil. When a person who is a leading justice minister for the society spends a large amount of money to cover the naked breasts of a statue of the goddess, something is very wrong. Ignorance on both sides of the issue perpetuates a war against each other. And the flame of any real enlightenment is extinguished.

Before one rushes into any practice of Karmamudra, one has to have a solid basis and understanding of shamatha vipashyana36 meditation and especially tonglen practice.37 There must be a foundation of compassion firmly fixed within the heart. And one must seek a teacher for such endeavors.

Many of us, in search of salvation, peace, love, joy, gratification, or release from pain and suffering, may jump from bed to bed trying to find the ultimate partner, the ultimate "other" who will unite with us and solve all of our problems. I am sad to say, no such partner exists. Even the most gorgeous and magnificent body that you might think of could not do this. But it is possible that the union of two could be realized.

On a simple level, one has to see the other from the heart; that is to say, one thinks through the heart. One actually puts one's mind into one's heart. Then one might speak unashamedly with the voice drawn not from one's experience of oneself but from the vision of the other. One pulls into one's heart center the complete aspects of the other and feels the other very directly in all its display. One then generates love and continually sends it out toward the other. If doubt and discord arise because of past or present actions, one uses these as further inspiration to generate love. All beings respond to love. Therefore, the generation of love becomes one's path.

We could also consider this story, which is actually a commentary about primordial energy and, as such, is extremely powerful, extremely beneficial, and extremely dangerous, rather like holding nuclear fission in one's hand. When I was a young boy a girl in our primary school, Shirley Way, offered to let the boys see her vagina for various sums of money. I had a pencil sharpener and she agreed to let me see her vagina at the back of the house where the toilets were located by the playground. At playtime in the morning I gave her the pencil sharpener, as arranged, but I was too scared to actually show up for the viewing.

When I was a young man, in my teens, I had a job at night repairing restaurant gas stoves in New York City. My two coworkers were African Americans and we would wander through the Manhattan streets at night from restaurant to restaurant repairing gas stoves. Since I was somewhat younger than they, they would tease me about my limited sexual experience. One night one of them said, "Have you ever eaten pussy?" Seeing my shocked surprise, he continued, "I bet you ain't."

The other chimed in, "Oh, you have to eat pussy, man. You ain't never gonna get nowhere unless you have your face in it." They continued their dialog of the benefits and wonders of this practice, much to my shock, excitement, and horror, as an attack on my spiritual and moral purity.

In my early twenties, I acquired a position as a house manager of an apartment in the west Seventies owned by three business women in their forties. I was to keep the apartment clean, make the beds, do the laundry, and shop and cook for them when they came into town on business. Sometimes they would arrive all together and sometimes separately. Through unmistakable sexual advances, I began to realize that part of the job was also making love to them, which I was inclined to do, even though my manner in the art of lovemaking was somewhat clumsy because of my inexperience and immature passion. That is, I considered only my own sexual gratification.

But, gradually, they taught me very patiently how to make love to them, which included sucking their vaginas and clitorises. At first I was somewhat apprehensive and even terrified, but through their gentleness I learned to overcome my fear and I progressed quite well. However, after many months, my spiritual and moral fear arose. I felt ashamed of being like a prostitute, so, in a fit of moral righteousness, I rejected the whole situation and left, which was my habitual reaction to situations in which my personal ego was challenged. For, in order for John Perks to survive as John Perks, the character formation which I had invented, or which had been created out of my experience of good or bad, had to remain in tact.

It was not until my contact with Trungpa Rinpoche that I was able to see sexual encounters as being both ordinary and extraordinary, from the primordial point of view. I began to realize with my tongue that the clitoris was as sensitive as my penis, if not more so. I began to realize that the energy was directed into my mouth -- first from the stomach becoming like a valley and then expanding into a mountain before rushing in a river of great force into my body. I began to realize that I was dealing with energy that was beyond self­-attachment, that it was primal and existed in the universe everywhere; that it did not belong to a self; that it was rather like electricity, which does not have a self; that in order to experience it, self had to be surrendered.

Then there was this vision. We were in a prisoner camp, imprisoned by our own conceptual minds. An extremely old man appeared, dressed rather like a native of Tibet. He tried to wake up his son, who was asleep, but he was unable to do this. He explained to me that he had to take the top of a mountain back to the mountain. He held the object in his hands. There were marks on it like it had been chipped away, and it was gold, bronze, or brass and yellow. The top side was in the form of a bowl which was fluid, which meant that when you touched it, it changed shape in ripples although it remained round. One could see quite plainly that it was a living object. He asked me to go with him. Also going with us on the journey were a young girl and a young boy. Rather than taking a path we walked up a river. The girl became nervous of the depth of the water. So the old man placed the bowl in the river, whereupon the river became less deep so the girl could walk more easily. However, that action created many lights in the sky, with thunder and lightning and earthquakes which toppled the front of many churches and temples that we passed. I saw the monks and clergy falling out of the churches and temples.

I said, "So this energy is so powerful that it could topple buildings, institutions, and societies?"

And he said, "Yes, that's correct."

So I said to him, nd the prerequisite for using this energy is that you don't know anything?"

And he said, "Yes, that's correct, you know nothing. And from that, self-love arises."

I said, "You mean, love of self?"

And he said, ''No, love of non-self which arises like primordial energy and it exists that way. And that energy can be experienced. It is self-existing-primordial and without end. From it all things are created and all things are destroyed. The primordialness of the energy, which all beings have, is greatly feared and therefore covered up in myth, secret, and ritual. Nevertheless, it can be accessed by those who are fearless enough to seek it."

The vision and the story are one. It means all beings have the potential of becoming enlightened or realized! One has to have a fearless approach to working with this energy. Fearlessness means going ahead or going beyond one's own fear, going beyond one's own present realization. One doesn't create the situation; the situation is presented and one just steps into it somehow. It becomes obvious and one can see the expanse. One might withdraw because of fear of that expansion, but then life is such that an opportunity will arise again.

One's ideas of spirituality and morality could in themselves become obstacles, from both personal and societal perspectives. Even the Buddha must be transcended. By moving toward the pain, compassion, from which there is no reference point, remains. By experiencing the immense pain of personal open heart surgery, compassion for all beings arises. There is no returning. One becomes a nonreturner. The image of warriorship is your willingness to continue on the path.



33 The Practice of Dzogchen, Longchen Rabjam, translated by Tulku Thondop, Snow Lion Publications, 2002, p. 129-130.

34 Written about in "Alcohol as Medicine or Poison," Chapter 10, The Heart of the Buddha, Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1991, p. 190.

35 "The Ati Yoga Yana -- 'ati' means 'ultimate' (Tibetan word, dzongpa chenpo); a notion of transcending any philosophy; a sense of openness and a sense of non-caring. Logical reasoning doesn't make any sense at this point. (The experience of final fruition.)" Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's talk, 1973.

36 Shamatha -- dwelling in tranquility; Vipashyana -- special insight. Basic Buddhist meditation technique.

37 Tonglen -- meditative practice designed to experience compassion for others.  
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:42 pm

Chapter 10: The Last Journey


News reached us in the late summer that His Holiness, Karmapa, the lineage holder, was leaving the monastery at Rumtek in Northern India. He was going to a hospital in Hong Kong for exploratory surgery. Liver cancer was suspected. Doctor Mike would go on ahead to the hospital. I was to travel with Rinpoche if and when Mike sent back word that the situation was serious. Several days later Mike called from Hong Kong. I spoke to him briefly.

"Well, it looks like he's dying, Johnny," he said. Feeling uncomfortable discussing His Holiness's death and keeping my British stiff upper lip, I asked about the weather.

"It's damn hot and humid," came the answer from Mike.

''I'll pack summer stuff for Rinpoche and myself," I said.

"Say, Johnny, there are some great-looking girls over here," continued Mike.

"You get laid yet?" I asked. "No, but I'm staying at this house with some beautiful Philippino and Chinese girls."

"Right, right," I said, enviously picturing Doctor Mike in a steaming house with Asian girls, all naked and fucking. You could send this guy to the Arctic and within twenty-four hours he'd end up with pussy in his bed. "See you in a few days, then." I finished and handed the phone to Rinpoche so he could hear the news firsthand.

"Let's fly Japan Air first class," Rinpoche said to me as I headed off to pack the uniforms, medals, and suits.

This is going to be a great trip, I thought. There will be Japan Airlines first class, the best hotel rooms in Hong Kong, beautiful Asian women, and the great food. Wow! I'll be like a soldier on furlough from the frontline of Rinpoche's unceasing barrages. This time Mike and I will escape from Rinpoche and have a glorious time.

It was decided that Carl, one of the ministers, and Bob, a Kusung at the Court, would also go along. I was glad to have Bob along. He had been with Rinpoche for a long time. He was a wonderful schemer, extremely bright, and a talented man of the world. I knew that I could depend on him, like Mike, to help manage Rinpoche.

We left Boulder amid tears and sadness over the impending death of His Holiness. I was sad and tearful too, but also excited about the exotic trip ahead. We stayed several days in San Francisco before boarding the Japan Air Boeing 747 for the ten-­hour flight to Japan, to be followed by the flight to Hong Kong. Rinpoche and I were seated in first class. He wore one of his Savile Row suits and was traveling as the Prince of Bhutan. I was in the uniform of an army major, English style, but with the Shambhala insignia. Mike had given me Rinpoche's medication and some sleeping pills to keep him quiet. As we winged over the Pacific we were served Japanese sushi and lots of sake.

Rinpoche wanted to go to the bathroom and as always I went with him. We both went inside the aircraft bathroom so I could help him take down his trousers and raise them again after he was done. On returning to our seats Rinpoche loudly demanded my aisle seat and more sake. I became a bit alarmed. I had to get him to sleep before he began sending me to the pilots with messages about meeting with some head of government in Hong Kong. It had happened to me before!

"Time for pills, Sir," I said smoothly, as I handed Rinpoche two sleeping pills. Rinpoche took them easily and swallowed them with a big glass of sake.

"More," he said.

"More sake, Sir?" I asked.

"No. More sleeping pills."

"Well, Sir, Mike said ..."

"More," he commanded.

I gave him two more, twice the prescribed dose. He flushed them down with the last of the sake.

"Wheee!" exclaimed Rinpoche, as he took the empty sake bottle and threw it down the floor toward the front of the aircraft. It bounced off the feet of the formally attired Japanese stewardess. She came over and I half stood up in the seat.

"Sorry," I said. "The Prince would like some more sake."

The stewardess politely did a half bow and went to get the ordered sake. As she left, Rinpoche moved past me and out into the aisle with remarkable swiftness to the main exit door of the aircraft. I reached him just as he had taken hold of the door handle and was beginning to turn it.

"Sir," I hissed under my breath.

"What do you want?" He looked at me like I was crazy. "Let's go for a walk," he said brightly.

"Sir, Sir!" I exclaimed near panic. "We are at thirty thousand feet over the ocean in an airplane!"

"Oh," he said innocently. "I thought we were at the Court."

As I steered him back to our seats he noticed the stairs leading to the top deck of the airplane. "Let's go to bed, then," he suggested as he started up the steps. "Sir," I quietly explained. "Those beds have been reserved for other passengers." I finally got him back to the seat and sat him next to the window to prevent further escapes.

"More sake," he said. I rationed out another glassful and I tried to get him settled down. I was praying that the sleeping pills would finally kick in. He seemed to nod off. For the first time in hours I relaxed in my seat and stretched my legs.

"Major," he suddenly said, startling me, "tell the pilots to radio ahead and let the Emperor know that I will be one hour late for our meeting." There I was, back on the front line in an instant. I reluctantly got up out of my seat and walked toward the pilot's cabin, as if on my way to the electric chair. I hated having to do this. A stewardess intercepted me at the entrance.

"Can I help you, sir?"

I thought quickly. "Could I have a pillow?"

She found a pillow and I returned to Rinpoche, who seemed to be sleeping. I had only just sat down when he asked, "Did you send the message, Johnny?"

"Yes," I lied.

"Good. Then go ahead and also tell them to notify the High Commissioner in Hong Kong that we will meet on Wednesday."

Up I got again. I went over to the stewardess and told her that the Prince of Bhutan would appreciate it if the pilot would radio the British High Commissioner and let him know that the Prince would be unable to meet with him next week. To my surprise she just said, "Of course, sir."

When I returned to my seat Rinpoche was banging his head against the side of the plane. Bang, bang, bang. He would hit his head and then grind his teeth.

"Sir, Sir. Can I put a pillow under your head?"

He growled as I stuffed the pillow between his head and the wall. The gentleman in the seat behind us leaned over and asked, "Is the Prince all right?"

"Fine, fine," I answered testily. I was suddenly aware of the other first class passengers looking over at me, looking like they thought I was crazy. I felt totally paranoid in my uniform. An elderly woman was eyeing me suspiciously. Did they think Rinpoche was a real Prince? Ugly thoughts entered my mind. Has Rinpoche been talking to them while I was up front with the stewardess? He could have told them anything! Perhaps he intimated I was planning to hijack the plane or even that I was planning to overthrow the Bhutanese government! I was outraged. Why do these people think I am crazy? He's the crazy one!

I stabbed a look at him in the seat next to me. There he was, sleeping like an innocent child. Or more like a well-fed tiger, I thought sarcastically. At least things seemed to have finally settled down. The pills were working and he was sleeping with a soft rhythmic snore. Relieved, I switched off the overhead lights and waited a few more minutes before heading to the back of the aircraft to take a break with the boys.

Carl saw me coming down the aisle. He must have noticed my haggard look because right away he asked how things had been going up front.

"Jesus, I need a break. He's acting crazy again." And I detailed all the things I had been dealing with since the flight began.

"Here, have some coffee," said Carl.

"Here, have a drink," Bob offered. I took both and we sat chatting for about ten minutes. Then Carl volunteered to sit with Rinpoche for a while, which I readily accepted. I walked him up the aisle to the first class section and pulled back the dividing cur­tain. There was Rinpoche, upright in the aisle, supported on either side by a passenger and from the rear by a stewardess and smiling broadly.

"The Prince wants to make a speech to the passengers," declared the man on his left.

"It's okay, it's okay," I said hurriedly. "We'll take him now."

They looked at Carl and me suspiciously. Yeah, I thought, let them think we're going to assassinate the gentle Prince. "It's not a bad idea at that," I muttered to myself.

"That's it," I said to Carl in a peeved tone, as we dragged Rinpoche to the back of the aircraft. "That's it for his tricks." I was taking charge of this situation!

We reached a row of empty seats, where I pushed up the arms to make a bed for Rinpoche. Bob got a blanket and pillows. The gentle Prince settled down and snuggled into the makeshift bed, delighted by all the attention. He seemed to be getting to sleep right away this time, which satisfied me immensely. I'd done it. It had been six hours of this stuff and now he would sleep. Bob, Carl, and I would be able to stand in the aisle and talk, drink, and enjoy the rest of the flight. I silently congratulated myself on my fortitude and prowess in handling a difficult situation.

I glanced over to check on Rinpoche one last time. Something was not right. His stomach was bouncing up and down like Jell-o. I realized he was laughing! I looked more closely and saw he was winding a small ball of yarn. With disbelief my eyes followed the yarn from Rinpoche's hand to the sweater of the sleeping passenger in the seat in front of him. I made a clumsy dive to snatch the ball of yarn away from Rinpoche, waking up the passenger in all the commotion. He looked blearily down at the ball of yarn in my hand and then at his partially dismantled sweater, slowly recognizing the connection.

"Sorry," I said lamely. "I found this on the floor." I dropped the small ball of yarn into his hand. He looked at my uniform and said nothing, but he did move to another seat farther away.

"Let's have breakfast," piped up Rinpoche cheerily. Wondering about the time, I looked at my watch, but couldn't see the hands. I looked again, but it seemed like a foreign object. I peered out the aircraft window to assess the position of the sun and it took me a full minute to realize the window shade was closed. Finally, I raised the shade, only to find it was pitch black.

"Is it breakfast time?" asked Rinpoche with a touch of sarcasm.

I flushed with anger. "Yes, Sir, perhaps we could get the Emperor to serve it."

Bob ran off to get breakfast and Rinpoche called Carl over to him.

"I want you to get the first class stewardess back here so I can fuck her," Rinpoche said to him. Poor Carl began to protest, but Rinpoche wouldn't stand for it and so off Carl went on his mission. I was delighted to be off the hook and have Carl take my place. I was almost joyful. Rinpoche looked at me sharply.

"Get some sake," he growled, grinding his teeth.

I brought Rinpoche a full bottle and he drank it down as if it were water.

Down the aisle toward us came Carl with the demure stewardess in tow. Another helpless victim, I was thinking.

Carl came near and drawing himself up formally said, "Your Royal Highness, may I present Ms. Yamomuch. Ms. Yamomuch, his Royal Highness, the Prince of Bhutan." During this gracious introduction the Prince sat on the edge of his seat like Quasimodo about to leap from the bell tower of Notre Dame. He was swinging his arm back and forth, sake was dripping from his mouth, and his red eyes were rolling like a Mahakala.38 He ground his teeth and gave a primordial growl. We were all frozen in fear, including Ms. Yamomuch. I noticed his swinging hand was moving ever closer to Ms. Yamomuch's kimono. The next instant Rinpoche turned his head and looked at me with the piercing eye of a hawk. I was so bewildered by the look I could not even be sure he had turned his head.

The buzz of a thousand flies fills the space around me. I see us all frozen in place and Rinpoche is running around us in a counterclockwise direction. His hair is long and streaming out behind him as he runs. There we are, standing in the middle of a desert. I can see the sky, the sand, and the rocks quite clearly. Rinpoche is running around yelling crazily.

He made a move to reach up Ms. Yamomuch's kimono. I snapped out of it and the others jumped to pull him back. Carl stopped Ms. Yamomuch from falling backward into the plane aisle.

"Very nice to meet you," she said in a high, meek voice as she retreated back to her station. I flopped down in a seat, totally exhausted. This had been going on nonstop for hours. I had had enough, and I just passed out into sleep.

Carl woke me about a half an hour before we were to land in Japan.

"Where is he?" I asked, a bit anxiously.

"He's asleep," Carl reassured me. "He went to sleep right away after he met the stewardess. Is it always like this?"

"Most of the time," I answered.

"God help us," he stated.

We all walked off the plane in Japan like zombies, except the Prince. He was delighted by the prospect of having some real Japanese sake. We were at the Tokyo airport only a few hours until our flight left for Hong Kong. Mercifully, Rinpoche slept the entire way of the second leg of the trip and I began to relax and look forward to seeing Mike in Hong Kong.

I was physically exhausted, but elated also as I thought back to the vision I had seen during the flight. We were all frozen and Rinpoche was running around in this desert trying to pull us out of that. What had it felt like? He had a different body, younger, athletic, and with no sign of his paralyzed left side. He was naked and was running in a clockwise direction, or was it counterclockwise? (My dyslexia was causing me to become more confused as I thought about it longer, so I dropped the inquiry.) We were all in the center of Rinpoche's circle. At least I could see myself clearly. Carl, Bob, and others I only sensed as shadows or transformations. I thought about that: If I "saw" myself, then something (myself?) must have been observing me. That thought confused me even more. I switched to remembering the desert. It was flat with rocks scattered about. We were facing toward the horizon. On the left was a range of mountains. There were no plants. The sky was very blue. It looked like early dawn. I had a feeling that someone was watching me. I looked over to Rinpoche, but he was still sleeping. That's what started it! His look of piercing emptiness. The whole thing could have lasted only for a second of time. I would have to ask him about it. I began to feel jumpy and thought about having some coffee or sake. I chose sake.

We flew into Hong Kong between the mountains and down through the night mist and fog. Where the hell did the day go? It must have been day at some time. I tried to figure out the time sequence but could not. I only had a feeling that America was somewhere behind me. The Hong Kong airport was like a movie set in its sense of unreality. I just walked with Rinpoche. His right hand was holding on to my left hand. It was like I was supporting a moving rock. I was supposed to be helping him, the cripple, but everything seemed too weird and crazy. People were crowding, moving about in unknown •directions, and making sounds that didn't fully mesh with the movement. of their mouths. I was happy to be holding his hand, as I was freaking out again. I saw Mike standing in front of us, wearing his military uniform stained with sweat. I was so delighted to see him. While the others retrieved the bags, Mike and I stuffed Rinpoche into a waiting taxi. Rinpoche dozed off and I asked Mike about His Holiness.

"We'll see him tomorrow. It's not looking good, Johnny," said Mike. "How was the trip?"

I started to answer, to try and get my thoughts organized into words to describe the last (what was it) days? I just shook my head and answered, "Crazy."

"Ha, one of those," exclaimed Mike.

"Yes, one of those," I replied.

We pulled into the hotel and hauled the sleeping Rinpoche out of the cab. As we crossed the lobby of the hotel I had an image of what we must look like. Two military officers with English tropical uniforms and Sam Browne belts carrying between them a drunk or drugged ... what does Rinpoche look like to the people standing by? Maybe they think we are taking him up to a room to interrogate him.

We got Rinpoche upstairs to our room, which was actually two rooms with a pull-out bed for me. Rinpoche woke up for a few minutes to ask for a glass of sake. Carl asked him what name he would like the hotel to print on his matches. Apparently, this hotel offered the courtesy of printing your name in gold on their red matchbooks. Without hesitation he answered, "Lord Mukpo." Thank God, the Prince of Bhutan is dead, I thought. I tucked Rinpoche into bed. He giggled and I tensed up. Now what is he laughing about? Who is kidding whom here?

Carl and Bob were all excited about being in Hong Kong and Mike volunteered to take them out to some hot spots. I was glad to remain with Rinpoche, most of all because he was sleeping and I desperately wanted to sleep too. I no sooner got my tattered body into bed and was drifting off than I heard a thump in the next room. I knew what it was. Rinpoche had fallen out of bed. I ran in and found him sitting on the floor next to his bed.

"Where are we, Johnny?" he asked sleepily.

"Hong Kong," I said. He did not believe me, so I drew open the curtain on the window. It was dawn, and in the park across the way hundreds of people were standing and doing windmill type motions with their arms. It took me a few seconds to realize they were practicing Kung Fu or one of those Asian martial arts.

"See, Sir, it's Hong Kong," I said in triumph.

Rinpoche peeked out, looking frail. He was nude and bent over with his hands clasped modestly in front of him. It seemed slightly strange because we were way up on the twenty-first floor.

"Oh," he said, "look at all the people. I thought we were still at the Court and you had changed all the furniture around to play a trick on me."

I was totally amazed by his statement. Shocked, I began to protest, "Sir, me, play a trick on you?" Then I looked at his innocent round face and I started to laugh at getting caught yet again.
''Are you okay, Johnny?" he asked, looking at me in a queer way.

"Yes, Sir, yes, Sir," I replied.

"Then let's have some breakfast," he sang out joyfully.

Dip me in boiling blood, I mentally despaired. When am I going to get to rest? I ordered room service for Lord Mukpo and Major Perks. Rinpoche switched from sake to Chinese beer --­ four bottles. As we ate and drank I asked him about my vision on the plane. "Just think of it as gap," he said.

The unconscious mind responds to openings, opportunities, metaphors, symbols, and contradictions. Effective hypnotic suggestion, then, should be "artfully vague", leaving space for the subject to fill in the gaps with their own unconscious understandings -- even if they do not consciously grasp what is happening. The skilled hypnotherapist constructs these gaps of meaning in a way most suited to the individual subject -- in a way which is most likely to produce the desired change.

-- Milton H. Erickson, by Wikipedia

Later that day we drove up the hill to the hospital where His Holiness was staying. It was steaming hot and even hotter in the hospital, which was like the movie set of Back to Bataan. There were slow-moving ceiling fans that ineffectively shifted the hot air around. In the halls were rickety old beds holding all kinds of bodies. The rooms were jammed with patients. It all smelled like disinfectant and death.

When I was a surgical technician at St. Luke's Hospital in New York, we had to cut the leg off an old man because of gangrene. The leg was a mass of puss, blood, and oozing green stuff. The smell of rotting human flesh was so strong we had to spray our surgical masks with perfume so as not to throw up. After the operation we could not find the rotten leg. Eventually, we got a panicked call from the laundry that one of the women had fainted. It seemed our orderly had unwittingly picked up the leg with the surgical sheets and bloody gowns. The bundle had been thrown down the chute into the laundry carts where the poor woman had picked up the rotten leg. I was sent down to retrieve it and take it to the morgue.

This hospital was like that leg in its blatant assault on the senses. Not. much was hidden, and it had none of the comforts of American hospitals. Mike explained to us that His Holiness had had exploratory surgery about two hours earlier. The surgeon had felt around the liver, found it covered with cancerous nodules, and had simply sewn him back up. Nothing could be done for him.

I prepared myself as I entered his room to be looking at His Holiness's near-dead body. From behind Mike I could see the Tibetan thangkas on the walls. There were the pungent smell of incense and the usual chanting monks. And there was His Holiness, sitting up in bed, smiling at us. It was decidedly more shocking than seeing his dead body. I stood in the corner of the room, trying to keep out of the way while His Holiness and Rinpoche conversed in Tibetan. I took up my reverent stance with hands held together in front of me and head slightly bowed. I looked up and Rinpoche and His Holiness were laughing at me. I flushed red with embarrassment. They both smiled and His Holiness beckoned me over. I walked over in. front of him and bent down my head in the usual manner. As His Holiness's hand gently touched my head I started to sob uncontrollably.

"I hope so," His Holiness said in broken English. I continued weeping and backed away to my corner. I wanted more than anything to get out of that unbearable realm of death. It was only the dignity of my military uniform that kept me from running away.

We were all crying in the taxi on the way back to the hotel. Rinpoche was crying harder than any of us. He was so loud that he was drowning out the rest of us. Suddenly he stopped short and we looked at him.

"Well, it is traditional to cry, you know," he said, grinding his teeth.

Peter, a rich actor from New York, was over in Hong Kong at this same time. He was a student of Rinpoche, although I was not really sure because Peter was always buying his way into things he wanted. I, being very critical of his behavior, decided he couldn't really be Rinpoche's student. I once asked him what kind of skull cup he would buy if he ever took the Vajrayogini Abhisheka. His response was "chocolate," which I thought was a great answer. I remember at Seminary we were all eating mush and Peter had a stash of frozen steaks. At the time, I asked him if I could have the bones to chew on. He wouldn't let me. He might have thought I was kidding, but the fucker was so cheap he wouldn't even give me a bone. Rinpoche said that in order to get money out of Peter you would have to be enlightened. Rinpoche took pride in the fact that nobody could get bucks out of this guy. Even when Rinpoche was sick and we needed to get him a hospital bed, Peter wanted to sell one to us.

Anyway, he was here in Hong Kong with his father, where they had a business enterprise. Peter had invited Rinpoche to a party to meet his dad. He really just wanted Rinpoche, but he knew the rest of us would be tagging along. The party was in Kowloon, on the other side of the bay from where we were staying.

Rinpoche wanted us all to wear our uniforms for this occasion. It took me about two hours to dress him and get all his medals pinned on straight. All the while he was drinking some sort of Chinese liquor and saying "fucking Chinese" between sips. I knew he was thinking of how they forced him out of Tibet. Mike came in, dressed in a crisp uniform. I don't think I had taken mine off since leaving America, and it must have looked like I had been through the trenches of World War I.

Mike and I had to carry Rinpoche down the stairs because he was quite drunk and seemingly unconscious. We piled into the waiting cab and off we set for Kowloon. We were somewhere along in the tunnel under the river when Rinpoche abruptly yelled out, "Turn back!"

"Sir, we are in a one-way tunnel. We can't."

"Turn back!" he hollered at me.

Mike spoke up. "We'll turn back at the next exit." That seemed to calm him down and we eventually turned around and made our way back to the hotel. As we carried his prone body into the hotel Rinpoche came to, looked at us, and said, "How did this happen?" Mike and I just shrugged to each other and took him up to his room and put him to bed. Mike and Bob headed out to see the sights again while I stayed to watch over the sleeping Rinpoche.

Some time later there was loud knocking on the door. Bob and Mike were back, quite drunk, with two Chinese whores in tow. The girls were really rough-looking and I was not at all sure about I letting them in. Nonetheless, the whole group came in and woke up Rinpoche with their loud talk. He was delightful and sweet, like I a great welcoming host. He gave both the girls meditation instruction and they soon lost interest in Bob and Mike. They were in love with Rinpoche! He gave them money, all he had in his pockets, and eventually sent them off again with Bob and Mike.

Later that night I received a call from Peter.

"Sorry we weren't able to get to your party," I apologized.

"Well, it was called off at the last minute," said Peter. "We had to cancel because my father had a heart attack at 8:00 p.m."

That was just about the time we were in the tunnel, I realized with a jolt. I looked over in wonderment at Riripoche who was snoring peacefully in bed.

We returned to America several days later. It was decided that I would fly alone with Rinpoche on the leg from Seattle, Washington, to Halifax, Nova Scotia. In my paranoia, I felt the others were being nice to me, treating me like this because it was my last journey. They knew the I in me wouldn't survive. I was freaked out, but grateful that the end was near. I romantically saw myself being carried off, like Hamlet carried on his shield to the ramparts, with the solemn background music of muffled drums and booming guns.

I was getting Rinpoche ready to go to the airport for this last flight. While he washed and combed his hair I picked up the newspaper and read the headline "Sadat Assassinated."

"Sir," I blurted out. ''Anwar Sadat has been killed!"

I looked at Rinpoche in the mirror. ''I'll be next," he said, grinding his teeth.

"You're not going to die, Sir," I said, my panic rising.

"Oh, yes, I am," he smiled at me.

On this trip back to Halifax, Rinpoche was like a normal person. I was able to talk to him and ask him all sorts of dumb questions about Buddhism, which he answered with great patience. We chatted for hours, just like regular people. He discussed everything I brought up: politics, sex, women, Vajradhatu, Tibet, hunting, war, Celts, Druids, movies, America, the military, sake, Japan, England, the Court, horses ... anything! I was in the full bloom of simply chatting with Rinpoche. Some of the time we just sat and held hands. I had never done this before with him and I was in love with Rinpoche.

"Take me," said Rinpoche. ''I'm yours."

"I love you, Rinpoche."

"Could not care less," came the reply.

It was bleak, wintry, and cold in Halifax upon our return. We were waiting day to day for news of the death of His Holiness. Rinpoche was drinking almost nonstop. In fact, it became difficult to get sake in Halifax because we had drunk most of it. Rinpoche got up one night to vomit up blood in the sink. I called Dr. Jim, who was also the Vajradhatu ambassador in Halifax, to come over right away. I saved some of the vomit, which he took to have tested at the hospital. We got a phone call from Hong Kong.

"This is it," I thought. Rinpoche spoke in Tibetan, hung up the phone, and turned to me.

"We had better get packed, Johnny. His Holiness is being moved to a hospital m a place called Zion. It's in Illinois near Chicago.

On our arrival in Chicago we drove directly to Zion. Mike was already there with His Holiness. I entered the room and took my customary position in the corner. Mike helped the nurse change His Holiness's sheets. His body was frail and his back was covered with bedsores. He winced in pain as he was moved and then smiled at the nurse. His Holiness pointed to me and I thought maybe he wanted me to leave the room. But he smiled and one of the monks pushed me toward him. I couldn't help myself as I began to cry. His Holiness touched my hand and radiated warmth. He smiled at me as our eyes met. "Kusung Dapon," he said gently, then added in his broken English, "Nothing is happening." As I left the room I looked back at him. I was crying because he was so magnificent.

We stayed in Chicago only a few days. It was not clear how long His Holiness would live. The Tibetans talked as if he would not die. Mike just shrugged his shoulders in disbelief. Rinpoche was not well as we traveled back to Halifax and I was in a pretty freaked-out, disoriented state. A few weeks later Mike called to tell us the end was near. Rinpoche asked me to pack for the trip.

"Sir," I said despondently, "I can't go through this all again."

He looked at me and smiled.

"Okay, Johnny," he said. "I'll give His Holiness your love."

I turned away and choked, tears streaming down my face. Barnstone, another of the Kusungs, went in my place with Rinpoche. Several days later we heard that His Holiness had died.

"The mala is broken and the beads scattered," pronounced Rinpoche. I walked down the city street in the rain. I felt myself dissolving into emptiness with a broken heart.

I asked Rinpoche, "Why did His Holiness get cancer?"

And he answered, "Once, while the monks were setting up His Holiness's tent, someone trod on it."

I did not understand his explanation. But later, one night at the Court, I was out at dinner, and when I got back to the Court I learned that Rinpoche had been taken to the hospital in Denver. I rushed down to Denver to be with him and slept with him in his hospital room. I asked the Kusung on duty what had happened. He explained that Rinpoche had thrown himself headlong down a flight of stairs. In asking for further details, I found that the Kusung, rather than following the established procedure of walking behind Rinpoche up the stairs so that if Rinpoche fell he would fall on the Kusung, had instead taken Rinpoche's arm and pulled him up the stairs. At the top of the stairs, Rinpoche twisted himself around out of the Kusung's grasp and threw himself headlong down the stairs.

I then had some realization of why treading on His Holiness's tent could cause irreparable damage. It seemed as if in enlightened society, there is little room for mindlessness.



38 One of the most important benefactors and protectors in Buddhism who appears in an extremely wrathful form.
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:53 pm

Chapter 10: Commentary

The Prince of Bhutan and his aide, Major Perks, made many journeys together. Most often the prince was dressed in an expensive three-piece suit and his aide in a military uniform tailored in the English tradition, although sometimes the Prince would wear a military uniform with the insignias of a field marshall. And, then again, we might be seen in naval uniforms, that of Admiral of the Fleet and his aide, a commodore.

It is rather puzzling to me that over all those years nobody questioned our authenticity or even asked for documentation. It was certainly true in a country like India that a uniform created an air of authority and as we walked through an airport the crowds of people would part before us. Other, genuine, military or naval officers would salute. I even remember an instance where we entered an elevator in a plush hotel in Delhi which was full of Russian naval officers. There was a moment's hesitation on both sides. Then they stood to attention and saluted our apparent superior rank and said in broken English, "British navy," even though the Admiral was clearly of Asian extraction.

There was something about wearing a uniform that inspired in me a sense of confidence and purpose, and I took great care in making sure that everything was polished and ship-shape. Many times, while traveling in America, people would ask to what military we belonged. Rinpoche would always answer, "Guess." Whatever they guessed is what we'd be, and it ranged from Israeli army to Taiwanese navy. It became so ordinary that I began to believe the whole thing myself. It was somewhat like being an actor in a very large play with a totally intuitive script.

What I really got hung up on was having to go to the cockpit and ask the pilots or senior stewardesses to radio ahead to some person like the queen or the prime minister or the emperor to cancel a tea or arrange a dinner party for the Prince. These tasks caught me between the illusion and the reality of the situation. It was not until much later that I realized the illusion not only of our game but of the whole game. From that point of view, one could see the actors working with a very predictable script.

Rinpoche talked often about the energy that a uniform created, not only in the human realm, but also in the realm of Drala energy, which became attracted to the quality of the uniform. (Drala is the god of war and patron of warlords and warriors in the Bon tradition, the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet.) I began to see many mythologies entering the reality of what I thought was my existence. It created a very groundless situation in which I could be walking somewhat normally down a street and within seconds be engulfed in this groundlessness, so much so that I was not sure how to move my legs or how to walk.

The same kind of groundless situation manifested in circumstances where Rinpoche created what seemed to be a field of energy around himself, in which one was engulfed. It felt rather like being caught in a whirlwind of unexplained origin and then all of a sudden it would stop and leave you dazed and reeling in space. I would always look around because I was surprised that no one else but our immediate party seemed to notice that anything had happened.

On this particular journey that play of energy continued almost without a break other than when I would fall asleep from total exhaustion. There was no refuge place. I could not even take refuge in my confusion, because the energy created seemed to go beyond something that Rinpoche himself had organized. It seemed an immutable natural force, rather like he was stirring a pot which would continue to move under its own energy. I knew I was being shown something that I could not explain. And certainly, by this time, I had almost stopped panicking at every situation.

The hospital in Hong Kong was like a charnel ground. It had all the smells, sounds, and sights of the suffering of pain and death. The most shocking thing was to see His Holiness sitting in the middle of all of this, himself in the throes of pain and death, but sitting there smiling and being concerned with others around him. That was completely shocking. It was like entering a realm that I had never experienced or did not believe could exist on this planet. And yet, it was more real than any illusion of reality that I carried around with me.

With the death of His Holiness, I began to feel that I had to do something to perpetuate his and Rinpoche's world. I had no idea what to do or how to organize anything. I just had an overpowering feeling that I must do something to repay the enormous amount of love and compassion that had been given to me so generously and that I, out of ignorance and confusion, had almost taken for granted. Now there grew in my heart the determination never to give up on the visions, messages, experiences and love that I had received.
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:02 am

Chapter 11: Hello, Goodbye, Hello


With the death of His Holiness, our world changed. From this time on Rinpoche began to manifest completely as Dorje Trolo. Dorje Trolo is a deity who is extremely fierce, riding on a pregnant tigress surrounded by flames. In Rinpoche's words, "There is no room for interpretations. There is no room for making a home out of this. There is just spiritual energy going on that is real dynamite. If you distort it you are destroyed on the spot. If you are actually able to see it, then you are right there with it. It is ruthless. At the same time it is compassionate, because it has all this energy in it."

I realized that Rinpoche had manifested as one deity or another during most of our relationship together. Dealing with the manifestation of a deity is dealing with a mind arising from space -- not attached to whatever we think of as good or bad. There is no way to manage such energy. One cannot organize it or placate it in any way. It just exists like a natural force. I picked up on Trungpa Rinpoche's energy as Dorje Trolo and realized that "yes or no" was not an option.

I was also still hanging on to vestiges of my ego that Rinpoche consistently undermined, short-circuited, or directly commented on. The effect on a personal level was that Rinpoche, the Admiral of the Fleet, set fire to the conceptual ship I had built. There were no lifeboats, no life jackets, and no way to control the blaze. The ocean was vast and there were signs of storm everywhere. A red, nude sixteen-year-old girl, Vajrayogini, danced around pouring gasoline on the flames. If one helped by jumping into the fire, one felt open, vast, and blissful. If one went against the energy, it felt like being encased in solid, hot glass. The whole situation was very electric and basically uncontrollable.

I passionately felt that I owed a great debt to His Holiness and in order to repay it I would have to do something that would directly help all beings. But I also felt that I had no ability to do such a thing. Adding to the emotional squeeze of being close to the energy of Dorje Trolo was the fact that Rinpoche's physical body was beginning to deteriorate. He often threw up blood. I would hold him bending over the sink while the blood splashed red in the white sink. I felt as if it were coming from me. My body reacted to the spectacle by retching. Against all odds we tried to limit his intake of alcohol. But as Dorje Trolo, he just used more, seemingly as fuel for energy.

A teaching tour was planned for Europe and we flew to Ireland on the first leg of that trip. Dr. Mike and I were able to keep his consumption down during the flight, even as he kept remarking how he was looking forward to a real glass of Guinness once we had landed. On our arrival in Dublin we went to the lounge to buy our first pints. Dr. Mike, dressed in his best clean uniform, sat opposite Dorje Trolo. As ordered, I served Dorje Trolo a large glass. of fresh Guinness. Holding it up he toasted with the slogan, "Guinness is good for you!" and downed the entire beer in one gulp. Dr. Mike and I exchanged glances of concern. Everything seemed fine until, suddenly, Dorje Trolo opened his mouth wide and expelled a geyser of Guinness all over Dr. Mike.

"Thanks a lot, Rinpoche," said Dr. Mike.

"Must be a blessing," I joked.

"Next time you can get blessed," he retorted. Off Dr. Mike went to the men's room to clean up.

Dorje Trolo just growled, "Give me another."

I did as he ordered, but stayed out of range of any further blessings.

We visited Newgrange, the prehistoric Irish mound. We made our way through its snake-like passage into the central chamber. Someone asked, "Do you feel any presence here, Rinpoche?" He looked at me, but I declined to offer an answer. He waited and, still looking at me, answered, "I guess not." During our travels, there was quite a bit of talk about Celtic influence and culture. I decided to remain silent, mainly because I was wary of getting caught up in another crazy scheme. Of course, I was fighting a losing battle. During another conversation in a pub someone asked about the Trungpa lineage and how it had begun.

"Well," Rinpoche began, "there were three idiots sitting by a river. One of them started the Trungpa lineage." There was a pause, then turning his eyes on me Rinpoche said pointedly, "You're an idiot, Johnny. Why don't you start a lineage?"

"Thanks a lot, Rinpoche," I replied.

"It must be a blessing!" piped up Dr. Mike.

I looked at him coolly as I went off to the men's room.

Behind me Dorje Trolo growled, "Give me another Guinness," passing the empty glass.

His Holiness's body had been returned to the monastery in Sikkim. Rinpoche announced that we would be going to India and then to Sikkim for a prefuneral visit.

"Why," I asked, "are we going to visit before the funeral?" It just didn't make any sense to me.

"It's an obligation I have," replied Rinpoche.

''An obligation?" I questioned.

"Yes," came the reply. "The lineage."

I still did not understand, hut was excited to be going to India and went off to pack.

There were about fifteen in our group and another five traveling with the Regent. We flew Air India from London. On this flight Rinpoche sat with the Regent in first class and I was seated in the rear with the other sangha members. I felt quite alone and resentful, as it had always been my custom to sit with Rinpoche on these flights. I was becoming more and more upset when I noticed a stewardess come down the aisle bearing a tray with a bottle of wine and a glass.

"Major Perks?" she asked.

"Yes," I replied, expecting almost anything.

"Mr. Mukpo in first class says you should drink this," she said, setting down the tray and pouring the wine into the empty glass. I was in love again!

We landed in the New Delhi airport and I went up to first class to help Rinpoche off the plane. The crew opened the door and Rinpoche peered out. "Look, Johnny," he exclaimed excitedly, "India!" Hot air rushed over me, carrying with it the sweat and excrement of a million bodies.

"Wow," was all I could manage as my body wilted and I grew faint. Rinpoche placed his hand on my elbow to steady me. He seemed delighted to be in India.

Once we were at the hotel he told me to put on my naval uni­form. He wanted to take me to the Red Fort where he used to buy desserts. "They are quite delicious." It was dose to 10 p.m. and dark by the time the taxi driver let us out at the Red Fort. I was sweating in my wool naval uniform while Rinpoche looked quite comfortable in his light grey suit. Rinpoche said a few last words of instructions in Hindi to the driver to have him wait for us.

We found the stall in the crowded market. Rinpoche ordered the desserts and asked me to wait for them to be prepared. I stood by the stall, trying to isolate myself from the teeming crowd flowing by. The smiling vendor eventually handed me the tray of round sugar balls and I turned to offer them to Rinpoche. He was not there! Not only was he nowhere in sight, the taxi was gone also! I looked through and across the billions of bodies moving like a human river and that old familiar panic rose in my breast.

Here I was, a tall white man in a foreign naval uniform in a sea of Indians. I couldn't speak a single word of Hindi. I couldn't even remember which hotel we were staying at. A few Indians were starting to look at me with curiosity, and there was still no Rinpoche. I felt in my pocket. I had a few English pounds in my wallet. In desperation I started to walk, without any sense of direction. Then a taxi pulled up beside me and Rinpoche rolled down the window and leaned his head out.

"Great, Johnny," he said, smiling broadly. "You have the dessert." He opened the door and I jumped in. As we ate the sticky dough balls in the backseat he asked, "Did you think we would leave you?"

"Yes," I answered a bit sullenly. "What would I have done?"

"Why, you could have started a dharma center," he replied with a laugh.

Dorje Trolo is back again, I thought to myself.

"It never went away," said Rinpoche, looking at me directly.

We took another flight to the foot of the mountains and then a long eight-hour taxi ride over winding dirt roads through jungles and up into the hills. Monkeys played by the dusty tracks. It was late at night before we finally arrived at the small hotel in Gantok. Some in our party were sick from the potent combination of Indian food and the dizzying ride. I felt strangely disconnected. I sensed a change was in the atmosphere surrounding Rinpoche.

This feeling had grown in me since the death of His Holiness, coupled with Rinpoche's recurring pronouncements of his own imminent demise. The awful impermanence that I could accept in concept but not in its stark reality was forcing my mind to freeze as it looked for a way out. To be in love is painful. To be in unconditional love with the ever-changing impermanence, always saying hello and then goodbye, always being in transformation, was more than I could bear any longer.

To protect myself I retreated to the safety of whatever illusion John Perks was. After all, I had done this throughout my life -­ returned to the safety of self. When Peter was asked if he knew Christ, he denied the fact to save himself. Now that Dorje Trolo was pushing me out into the open I was running for shelter into myself. Even my intellectual compassion for others went out like a match in a windstorm. I became sick and lay in the small, unheated, bare hotel room for three days, throwing up bile and not eating.

Rinpoche visited but it offered little solace. He himself was throwing up blood. It didn't help that he would drink chang, the fermented barley beer, or, even worse, the Sikkimese brandy that tasted like yellow turpentine. I wanted to save myself. He was involved in showing the way, willing to continue beyond what I saw as the end, even to the end of impermanence. I had some understanding but no realization, so like Peter I said "I don't know him." The Regent suggested that I go live in Nova Scotia, that I had served enough. This was at least a way out for me and I mentioned the idea to Rinpoche, who was noncommittal, just growling, "We will see."

The Indian ambassador to Sikkim visited Rinpoche. He was dressed like a character out of a Victorian novel, with a cape and an ivory-handled walking stick. He flourished a lace handkerchief with waves of the hand to accent his points of rhetoric during his conversation.

Rinpoche spoke to him in English. "I'm thinking of leaving my attendant here to start a dharma group."

The ambassador looked at me. I was horrified and before he. could speak I burst out with, "No, no it's just Rinpoche's joke."

To my alarm the ambassador said, "You would be most welcome."

I was silent and sullen when we left Gantok. On the long drive back I sat in the rear seat with Rinpoche for the first four hours. He was drinking and rolling around saying, "We should stay in India and help the people. You should stay here." The very thought paralyzed me with fear. He grabbed my case and took out our passports and the money. "Here," he said matter-of-factly, "we don't need these any more." With that, he threw everything, money and all, out of the car window as we sped along. Then he reached for the airline tickets, which I had snatched from his hand. I yelled to the driver to stop and we screeched to a halt on the dusty road. I jumped out and waved down the other cars in the party. We searched the roadside and finally found the passports. The money, about three hundred dollars' worth, had blown out over the ledge to a river that flowed below. I went back to the car where Rinpoche had returned to drinking.

"I'm really worried about you, Sir," I announced, feigning concern.

He looked at me for some time and then said deliberately, ''And I am worried about you."

I needed to save myself and asked Carl to take my place in the backseat with Rinpoche. I retreated to Carl's car. Later I asked Carl how Rinpoche behaved for the rest of the ride.

"Fine," was his tired answer.

"Did he say anything?" I asked, guilty about my desertion of post.

"Oh, yes," said Carl. "He made a point of saying over and over again, 'When students get fat like big ticks you have to pop them out into space'."

"Great," I thought, "fucking great."

During the long return to Boulder I became immersed in my own thoughts about moving to Nova Scotia. I was ready for almost anything different and I entertained numerous plans of escape. Halfheartedly I returned to the duties of the Court.

BACK IN BOULDER THERE WAS a lady whom Rinpoche loved very much. There was also a young man who had never slept with a woman. Both of these people were very close students of Rinpoche. In talking, Rinpoche expressed his interest in having this young man's first sexual encounter be a very positive one. It seemed to me quite normal when he proposed that his own con­sort spend the night with the young man. So it was arranged and came to pass. The following day I went into Rinpoche's bedroom to find him sitting on the edge of the bed, his head hung down. Sensing he might be sick, I inquired gently if everything was all right. I put my hand on his shoulder and his body lacked any energy or vitality. I looked into his face and saw that he had been crying, tears still rolling silently down his cheeks. Very concerned, I asked him what was the matter. He turned his deep brown watery eyes upon me and quietly said, "They spent the night together."

"But, Sir," I said in mild protest, "you set it up like that." He did not answer, but the tears continued. I managed to get him dressed, his body limp and unresponsive. He would not eat or drink. It was all tears. I called Michael Root, who lived close by, and explained that Rinpoche seemed brokenhearted and that I could not understand why, since he himself had suggested the rendezvous. Acting upon Michael's suggestion I drove Rinpoche over to Michael's house where we finally managed to give him a warm bath, washing his back with a sponge. Rinpoche still would not eat or even have his usual glass of sake.

Following a phone call Michael reported that the young couple had arrived back at the Court. Hearing that, Rinpoche perked up and said, "We must welcome them." Life returned to his body. He drank his waiting glass of sake and we drove back to the Court to prepare a welcoming meal. Rinpoche played the kind and gracious host to his lover and the young man. I did not fully realize at the time his enormous pain. In an act of compassion and kindness he gave up someone with whom he was truly in love to benefit another person. The fact was that he loved both of them and for their hap­ piness unhesitatingly took upon himself the resulting pain.

My plans for moving to Nova Scotia proceeded. Some friends purchased an inn on the shore of the Bay of Fundy which I was to run as innkeeper. Rinpoche hosted a going away party for us at the Court. He gave a toast to "Johnny, the Pioneer" who was going to Nova Scotia to set up the Court and the Kingdom all by himself. I was happy to be going and sad to be leaving.

In Nova Scotia I had to deal with the reality of the poor economic prospect of running an inn in a remote area far from the tourist routes. While others were successful at running small businesses I was not, and earning a living became quite a struggle. During this time I was invited by the San Francisco and Los Angeles dharmadhatus to come and give talks on "The Kalapa Court." A tour was planned where I would start in Los Angeles and then proceed to San Francisco. Afterwards, I would go on to Boulder to be in attendance to Rinpoche at the Sakyong Abhisheka that Khyentse Rinpoche was to give to Rinpoche. Then I would go on to the military encampment before returning to Nova Scotia.

My first performance in Los Angeles went fairly smoothly but in San Francisco I began to have visions. The first one occurred while I was shopping for a pair of Highland dancing shoes to wear with my kilt. I began to notice points of light sparkling over everything. I put on my sunglasses but they were still there. I relaxed and began to enjoy the display while I waited for my companions to finish their meanderings. I sat down on a bench with a friend.

As we sit in silence a wind begins to blow around us in a circle, coming from a great blue lake off in the distance. As if we are looking at a movie screen, images of people climbing a mist-­shrouded mountain appear. They are dressed in ancient clothing and carrying weapons: bows and swords. They are involved in some sort of struggle against materialism. I recognize myself as "Dancer at the Gates of Dawn." Voices give messages. A crystal city of light appears across a great ocean and immense longing overcomes me. Other voices speak and in a flash I understand the whole of the Vajrayogini Sadhana. I understand that I have completely invented everything: my persona, my life, the pain, the pleasure, the good, the bad. The whole thing has been an illusion, something I have made up, completely fiction. The "I" never existed except in the self-created ghost. Then, suddenly, the vision ends and I am again sitting on the bench. The wind stops also.

I turned to my friend and said, "What the fuck was that?" Tears were streaming down her face.

She said, "I saw you with two women dressed in red. One was quite old and one was quite young and they were standing right next to you. The whole thing seemed so loving I just started to cry."

What was immediate was the realization that I had caused immense pain to others through the propagation of my projection of myself. This self had been formed in the interaction of birth, mother, father, family, friends, and environment. Included in this realization was the painful truth that this "I" had done and would do anything to maintain the facade of that solid body of illusion. It would love, hate, fight, lie, flatter, conceal, be joyful, feign compassion, or anything else to confirm its existence. I was stunned by my recognition of this-felt not on an intellectual level but as total realization beyond logic.

Over the next few days, unexpectedly, other visions would spontaneously create displays. Many were of past life situations. These were particularly painful to experience because the amount of suffering was condensed. It was like eating or taking into one's body both the visual and emotional experience of a Nazi death camp. When the visions seemed to be unending I became con­cerned that I was indeed going crazy. I had no control over these visionary events and my few attempts to relate them to my friends brought only alarm and concern to their faces: In secret places I cried a lot. I was alarmed at this world I had entered, in which I had no control or direction and no role except as a spectator.

I followed my original itinerary and traveled to the military encampment in Colorado. I went as the Lord Chamberlain Dapon, Sir John Perks, knowing there was nothing that existed in any reality. I was more than pleased to see Rinpoche, to whom I related the entire experience, along with the voice messages that were addressed to him. I asked him directly, "Doesn't one have to be careful when traveling in this world?"

He replied, "No, being careful is hanging on. Just let go." He continued, "The visions are our connection, your connection to me and the lineage."

"People think I am going crazy," I protested.

"Johnny," he said, "some people will love what you do. Others will hate what you do and others couldn't care less. Don't pay any attention to any of it."

It was shocking to see the illusion of the reality of myself. While this had a lasting effect, I still experienced periods of my past reality. That is, I would still become attached to the reality of my ego for periods of time. For years Rinpoche had often asked me about other people in the sangha and how they were doing. In the beginning I would just say "Oh, fine." By saying that, I was of course also saying that I wasn't willing to get involved in the work of finding out what was truly happening to others. When Rinpoche's queries continued I realized I had to start to find out how people were faring and what was going on in their lives. That meant I had to have a relationship with someone else other than myself. Our talks about different people and their emotional and domestic situations expanded into having me act directly. I started to pay attention to others and I started to give up the safety net of self. My ability to do this was directly influenced by my revelation about the insubstantiality of my own self.

For the next few days I had no idea what to think or expect. At encampment I was not assigned any specific role and was left to myself for most of the month. The last event was to be a skirmish, the idea for which had in some strange way evolved from a story I had told Rinpoche.

In the Second World War my father was in the Home Guard, which was a British military organization made up of men who were either too old or too young to be in the regular service. He and his company staged a mock battle in the streets of Sidcup, where they "fought" a detachment of the Royal West Kents. Both sides threw bags of chalk as ammunition and anyone who was hit was out of the game.

Rinpoche had developed this "game" into a fine art at the Shambhala military encampments. During this particular skirmish messengers ran to and fro across the battlefield, passing orders from Rinpoche himself to both of the opposing groups. Rinpoche, attired in his field marshall's uniform, sat under an awning high up in the pine fields next to a large outcropping of stones. The runners would run up to Rinpoche, bow, and report information concerning the troop movements. Rinpoche would give orders to be relayed back to each side. To me, standing next to him, the highland fields felt very vast. It rained on us for a short time and out of the thunderstorm a rainbow appeared. Everything was an extraordinary display, yet normal. Another messenger approached and Rinpoche turned his head toward me. I bent down to listen to his instructions. He said, "Wilcox should win." Without comment I took over the command, issuing orders to the messengers from that point forward. Wilcox's group did win and it all happened very precisely.

After the encampment Rinpoche returned to Boulder and I returned to my faltering attempts at inn-keeping in Nova Scotia. Some months later he came for a visit. A group of us were sitting around him drinking Scotch and sake. We were dressed splendidly in Scottish kilts, jackets, sporrans, shoes, and the socks with red swatches. I was thinking about the Celtic issue and how Rinpoche continually brought up the idea that he wanted me to do something with Celtic people. Every time, I had brushed it off as a trick Rinpoche was trying to play on me. Suddenly, in the midst of my reverie, he jumped up, pointed at me, and said, "That's it!"

In confusion at having my train of thought cut through in that way I said, "You mean we should all wear kilts?"

"No," he prompted, "larger, bigger vision."

I thought of the largest thing I could. "Lineage," I said. He nodded, smiled, and sat down. He intended to stay longer at our inn but was overtaken by sickness and so returned to Halifax and then to Boulder.
Later, I realized that he had picked the Celtic Buddhist lineage for me to work on. It was not something I would have picked for myself. But somehow, quite skillfully, he had nailed me to a course of action which I had no choice but to follow. It was like holding a hot potato that I couldn't drop. I still held on to aspirations of sitting up high on a throne and being a famous teacher -- perhaps seeing people swoon at the pearls of wisdom that dropped from my lips. I had no idea then of the real work and relationships and concern for people that one is required to maintain in order to teach. Teaching is an experiential learning relationship that involves teacher and student -- each learning from the other. I had no idea about taking on the pain of others. All of this I was to learn later on.

During my months of living in Nova Scotia I had begun to act like a teacher, in a puffed-up sort of way. I liked the idea of guruhood, being served and cared for by one's students. Not that I had any students of my own! But that did not prevent me from beginning to create the illusion and mystique of being a guru. Because of this I received a letter from the Vajradhatu administration telling me to cool it and instructing me to pay attention to my meditative practice. It also informed me that I would no longer be involved in Court functions. I felt that I had been fired, sacked, kicked out. I traveled to Boulder to see Rinpoche. My life, my marriage, my job, and my station in life were all in disarray. In deep distress I cried, "What shall I do?"

Rinpoche looked me over and said, "You should become a servant."

I was shocked. Me? An important person relegated to servitude? "How?" I sputtered.

He repeated very clearly, "You should go out on your own and become a servant."

"But, Rinpoche," I protested, "I am the center of your life, and you are the center of my life."

He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "I adore you forever." I had an anguished feeling that he was saying goodbye. And walking away from the Court the old familiar cloud of aloneness settled over me.

In a numb daze I left Nova Scotia for Boston and found a job as a butler to a widowed lady on Beacon Hill. My family's bedroom window in the back of the apartment faced a brick wall only twenty feet away. That symbolized how I felt -- a solid structure facing me in my search for enlightenment. Working for ordinary people with their likes and dislikes was challenging, and my own resentments made things even more difficult.

I longed to be back at the Court and I telephoned Rinpoche several times requesting to be allowed to return. Finally, he sent a message to me via a sangha member that he wanted me to come to encampment as an ordinary trainee. I was shocked and upset by the news. I, who had been a director, a somebody, was being asked to be a nobody, nonexistent, and banished from the physical presence of my teacher. It was so painful I developed psoriasis with oozing sores all over my body. Even terminating my life seemed like a useless repetitive endeavor with no release. At last, Rinpoche called me himself and said, "Come home Johnny."

I rushed to move back to Boulder. Within a few weeks I had set myself up with a job in Denver and rushed to the Court, only to find I had been assigned a job as a trainee in service. I was utterly beside myself and spoke to Rinpoche in person about my anguish. He said clearly, "You have to go out and be on your own." I finally got the point and dejectedly turned to leave. As I reached the door he reminded me, "Keep it simple. Let the phenomena play." I returned to Boston and found a new job as manager of one of the Harvard clubs. I rented a house in the suburbs and started life all over again with my wife and son.

Within the year, news reached me that Rinpoche's physical health was deteriorating rapidly and I flew to Halifax to see him. By then he was in the hospital. He raised his arm in a fist salute as I entered the room but did not speak. After he was released from the hospital I returned to Boston, but within weeks I received an urgent call to return to Halifax. I flew in on a small Air Canada aircraft, which landed at the Halifax airport at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, April 4, 1987. As the wheels of the aircraft touched the runway I sang under my breath the Shambhala anthem. After passing through customs I was met by a friend. I asked him, "How's Rinpoche?" He replied tearfully that he had just been on the phone to the hospital and Rinpoche had died fifteen minutes ago.

We went to the Court where his body was already dressed and seated on a throne. He had his glasses on. As I looked up at him I was overwhelmed by the energy of his presence. My heart rushed toward him and I was so elated to see him it did not actually occur to me that he was dead. It wasn't until hours later that my aloneness hit me. I felt like an iceberg in a vast ocean. It was my innate habit when presented with traumatic events to shield myself from the pain at the very moment of the trauma. That habit was also destined to become obsolete.

Then I dreamt he had played a trick on all of us and was hiding out somewhere and was not really dead. It. was as if he had shown us all a glimpse of an enlightened world within which we could all exist. And then he had left and we remained with an intense yearning to live in such a world. I was again having to give up personal attainment, personal enlightenment -- which was meaningless anyhow because there was no personal enlightenment. Enlightenment had to benefit all beings. Out of that intense yearning and sadness, one had to begin again to establish an enlightened world -- the world that Trungpa Rinpoche had shown us.

Many students expressed relief at the final death of Trungpa Rinpoche. I was somewhat surprised at this. However, it was understandable from some point of view because Rinpoche did not let anyone off the hook during the last years before his death. And the intensity of the attacks on one's personal ego and reference points was constant and enormously personally traumatic. Ironically, his death changed nothing, because the very thought of him would bring back the intensity of his teachings. Nobody was going anywhere because there was nowhere to go back to -­ unless, of course, one was able to opt out of one's devotion and commitment by becoming engrossed in the material world or thinking that the teachings are based on personality and self­-aggrandizement.

Khyentse Rinpoche came to help the sangha and I was able to speak to him. I asked him about the visions I still continued to have. "Oh, that," he said. "I do that between 2:00 and 4:00 every afternoon." I laughed and was relieved. He had made it ordinary for me.

A few days later I was waiting to bid Khyentse farewell as he left to return to India. It was a drizzly, foggy Nova Scotia day. I was part of a large crowd of students on the street across from his house. Harold, the monk, stood next to me. Together we watched as Khyentse Rinpoche came out of the house, large and brilliant like the sun and radiating warmth. A host of attendants fussed about him. Harold looked at me and said, "You used to be such a part of that inner circle. Do you miss it?" A sense of desolation swept over me as I watched Khyentse Rinpoche waving from his departing car. Then I felt joy. I said to Harold, "Happy and sad." He nodded in understanding.
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