The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

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.

The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

Postby admin » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:30 pm

The Great Naropa Poetry Wars
With a Copious Collection of Germane Documents Assembled by the Author
by Tom Clark
1980
© Text Copyright 1980 by Tom Clark

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Table of Contents:

Introduction
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Appendix
To Avoid the Name, Shed the Disguise: Editorial in Boulder Daily Camera, Jan. 20, 1979
Letter from Sam Maddox, editor of Boulder Monthly, to Ed Sanders, December 19, 1978
Letter from Ed Dorn to Bob Callahan, 4 March 1979
Letter from Anne Waldman to Ed Dorn, April 2, 1979
An Open Letter to American Artists, Bob Callahan's Petition
Letter from Anne Waldman to Bob Callahan, April 2, 1979
When the Party's Over, An Interview with Alan Ginsberg, February, 1979
Letter from Allen Ginsberg to WS Merwin, March 10, 1979
Letter from Peter Marin to Tom Clark, May 29, 1979
Buddha-Gate Revisited: Letter from Sam Spaed to the Berkeley Barb, Apr. 12, 1979
More Naropa Flack: Letter from Jim Hartz to the Berkeley Barb, May 10, 1979
I Regained My Brain: Interview with Floy van den Berg by Sam Maddox, May, 1979
View from the Market Pace: Naropa Student Newsletter, July 9, 1979: Philippe Ricard
Buddha with His Hand Out: Westword, by Tom Clark, Aug. 3, 1979
Naropa Responds, Westword, by William McKeever, Aug. 17, 1979
Religion and Politics Again: Letter from Glenn H. Mullin to Tibetan Review, Aug. 17, 1979
Letter from Lud Kramer to Tom Clark: Accompanying (1) excerpts from The Tibetan Review and (2) notices from the Office of Tibet indicating a change in the Dalai Lama's American tour schedule -- leaving out Boulder, September 13, 1979
The Big Payoff

Allen Ginsberg. I feel culpable. It's my paranoia that I'm expressing.

Q. I don't think that you personally were ever accused by anybody of anything in this regard.

A. I accuse myself all the time, of seducing the entire poetry scene and Merwin into this impossible submission to some spiritual dictatorship which they'll never get out of again and which will ruin American culture forever. Anything might happen. We might get taken over and eaten by the Tibetan monsters. All the monsters of the Tibetan Book of the Dead might come out and get everybody to take L.S.D.! Actually that's what's happening. All the horrific hallucinations of the Tibetan Book of the Dead are going to come true now. Right in Boulder! And the face of one of them is Merwin -- you see the face and it goes, graahr! That's one level on which you see what's happening, and I think it's actually true.

-- The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, With a Copious Collection of German Documents Assembled by the Author, by Tom Clark
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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

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Introduction
by Kenneth Rexroth

THE Jataka Tales, stories of the previous incarnations of Shakyamuni Buddha, as men, women, animals, in the long climb of the Bodhisattva to Buddha, are usually considered simply folk stories. They are more than that, they are a philosophy of history. They always end, "Monks, the wicked hunter was Devadatta, the helpless child was Ananda, and the kindly tiger, monks, was no other than myself."

Devadatta is the counter Buddha, sometimes considered his brother, who always goes about seeking whom he may devour with ignorance and trying to destroy the Buddha word. In some texts he is the actual leader of an anti-Buddha sect in the days of the historic Shakyamuni. He is always with us, spokesman for illusion.

Many believe Chogyam Trungpa has unquestionably done more harm to Buddhism in the United States than any man living. He has identified the Buddha Word with a gospel of illusions.
But he will pass, as Devadatta passes, always a failure, through the Jataka Tales.

I do not believe in invoking the State, a deity of illusion, least of all against its own hallucinations. The CIA giveth, the CIA taketh away. But the powers that be would be well advised, to deport Trungpa to his native land, where after due reprocessing he might be given a hoe and sent to a commune in Northwest Tibet. One Aleister Crowley was enough for the Twentieth century. No matter, all passes. The Buddha Dharma alone endures.

KENNETH REXROTH
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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

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Chapter 1

Why did the Dalai Lama, touring America for the first time, cancel from his itinerary a visit to the acknowledged capital of Tibetan Buddhist religion in America, Boulder, Colorado?

The local lama, Chogyam Trungpa, had extended the invitation through his Vajradhatu organization. A Boulder stop on October 5 appeared in the Dalai Lama's early tour schedule. Then in mid-tour the schedule was changed without explanation. Extra days in Seattle were added, followed by a direct trip to Ann Arbor, leaving out Boulder.

Would a Frenchman tour Canada and leave out Montreal?

What were the Dalai Lama's reasons?

The word from the Buddhist community here is that there's bad blood between the big lamas. Karl Springer, an officer in Chogyam Trungpa's organization, last year charged the Dalai Lama with conspiring to assassinate the Karmapa, another exiled high lama, originator of Trungpa's power. Assassination talk is common in the Trungpa camp.

All through this period, the imposing sixteenth Karmapa served as the highly visible rallying point for the Fourteen Settlements' opposition to the United Party. In the wake of the plan's defeat, the Tibetan exile community ended up deeply divided, just the opposite of what the Dalai Lama and Gyalo Thondup were trying to achieve. And against the Tibetan leader's pleas to forget old quarrels, apparently some officials in his exile administration in Dharamsala developed a resentment of the dissenting leaders.

On March 13, 1977, Fourteen Settlements political head Gungthang Tsultrim was shot several times at point-blank range while walking in his backyard in Clement Town, in the northwestern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Simultaneously, the electricity was cut to the local area, allowing the shooter to escape. When apprehended in Kathmandu, the murderer, Amdo Rekhang Tenzin, told the Royal Nepalese Police that the Tibetan exile government had paid him three hundred thousand rupees (about thirty-five thousand dollars) to assassinate Gungthang. [4]

Even more shocking, the hit man claimed that Dharamsala offered him a larger bounty to kill the sixteenth Karmapa. Nepali authorities handed the murderer over to India, and he repeated his story under interrogation there at a maximum-security prison in Lucknow.


When news of this assassination and the plot against the sixteenth Karmapa came out, large groups of angry demonstrators from the Fourteen Settlements group filled the streets of Dharamsala to protest against the exile administration's potential involvement. Meanwhile, back in the still quasi-independent kingdom of Sikkim, the location of the sixteenth Karmapa's seat at Rumtek monastery, the royal government provided the Karmapa with eleven armed bodyguards.

It is unclear what role the Dalai Lama himself played in the resurrection of the rivalry between his government and the Karma Kagyu school in India. Only twenty-four years old when the Tibetans fled to India in 1959, he relied heavily on the counsel of his advisors. The experienced ministers of his administration had their own views on how best to preserve Tibetan institutions in exile, and their counsel must have carried weight with the inexperienced lama-leader. Many of these ministers continued to see the religious schools outside their own Gelug as rivals, and sought ways to defend against them.

Perhaps as a peace offering to lamas of schools outside the Gelug, shortly after Gungthang's murder, the Dalai Lama invited Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, a leading lama in the Fourteen Settlements group, to become one of his teachers. After this, Dilgo Khyentse became closely associated with the Tibetan leader, and later went on to teach in Southeast Asia and in the West.

-- Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart of Tibetan Buddhism Today, by Erik D. Curren


The Boulder guru keeps a household protection squad, known as the Vajra Guard. They are the Beefeaters of Buddhism. When the guru goes out in public, so do they. (In between times, they meditate.) The rumor is, they're armed with M-16's. Others say it's submachine guns.

After the Karmapa's visit in 1974, Rinpoche kept certain organizational features of that visit intact. For one thing, he felt that the students who had provided security for the Karmapa's visit and had been his drivers were both benefiting from this discipline and also creating a strong container in which the teachings of the Buddha could be presented with proper respect for and recognition of their power. Rinpoche originally gave the name Dorje Kusung, or "vajra body protectors," to this group. Later, they became known as the Dorje Kasung, which means the "protectors or guardians of the command or the sacred word" -- which refers to the Buddhist teachings. He asked several people to assume leadership roles within this new organization in Boulder, and he charged them with protecting the physical space at Dorje Dzong (the name he gave our national headquarters in Boulder) and with protecting and serving himself and his family, as well as visiting teachers. He also began to develop local chapters of the Dorje Kasung in other centers. Wherever Rinpoche taught, after His Holiness Karmapa's visit, members of the Dorje Kasung were present as his personal guards, or guardians, and they also created a sense of boundary when he taught, positioning themselves in various parts of the shrine room where he was speaking. Some people found the presence of the Dorje Kasung threatening, and they mistakenly thought that either these people were armed, which was ridiculous, or that they were trained to be aggressors. In fact, their function was much more as peacekeepers.

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian




This year of building the kingdom:
Dealing with the four seasons,
Studying how millet grows
And how the birds form their eggs;
Interested in studying how Tampax are made,
And how furniture can be gold-leafed;
Studying the construction of my home,
How the whitewash of the plain wood can be dignified,
How we could develop terry cloth on our floor,
How my dapons can shoot accurately

-- First Thought Best Thought, 108 Poems, by Chogyam Trungpa


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....

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....

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....

"How are things going for the military encampment?" he asked....

-- The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perks


Last year the Karmapa, Trungpa's old benefactor, started an American organization of his own, which now has a dozen or so local branches, challenging Trungpa's chain of 50 pay-as-you-go spiritual outlets. Trungpa's is the most recent Oriental sect to capture the Yankee carriage trade. What he doesn't need is competition from back home.

This summer, when Trungpa attended a show of Japanese floral arrangement at a university art gallery in Denver, he was attended by six guards.

You never know whose hit men are liable to be hiding out in the Ikebana.

Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, is in his early 40's, as is Trungpa. He's got a nice life provided by his followers in India and Switzerland.

No wonder the Dalai Lama is steering clear of the Rockies. Trungpa's army carries guns that shoot poems. To a Tibetan paraphysician, those are more dangerous than bullets.

As recently as 1960, the year after a mass exodus from Tibet of that country's religious moguls -- including the Dalai Lama and Vajracarya the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa -- there were still 2,400 Buddhist monasteries and 106,000 practicing clergy in the Chinese-occupied mountain kingdom. Today only ten monasteries remain physically intact and open to the faithful. The total of Buddhist priests has dwindled to about 2000.

Under Chinese rule, the religious life of Tibet has been severely diminished but by no means extinguished. A recent visitor to one of Lhasa's remaining monasteries, reporting in the Manchester Guardian, told of flocks of pilgrims and penitents -- many of them in modern Chinese-style proletarian clothing -- flinging themselves to the ground in deep prostrations, mumbling fervent prayers, kissing the hands of statues, rubbing their faces in the cloth drapes behind holy images, and gluing offerings of coins and cash to the walls with gobs of yak butter.

The people of this remote, mysterious, and primitive land still take their religion seriously, despite two decades of active attempts by the Chinese colonial government to discourage, if not extirpate it.

Literacy in both Tibetan and Chinese languages is on the rise in Tibet. Public health standards, which previously did not exist, are improving rapidly. The population is increasing. There is now a guest house in Lhasa for foreign tourists. And there is even that trademark of the contemporary, inflation: a shared single room in the guest house will set you back $136.

The Chinese have shown an interest in improving living conditions in Tibet. The Tibetan people, however, seem to prefer their old religion to their new living conditions, if we can believe reports like the one in the Guardian. The Chinese governors would be glad to oblige them, except for one thing: religion in Tibet is very closely related to politics.

This year the Chinese made the news wires by saying Come on home to the Dalai Lama, his 20,000 followers in India, and the rest of the 85,000 religious refugees who fled Tibet in 1959.

"We welcome them and will receive them cordially," Peking says.

"Nice words are not sufficient," replies the Dalai Lama, and leaves for a summer vacation in Switzerland, where he has 1200 followers, to be followed by a fall tour of the U.S., where he now has several times that many.

Who wants to leave a nice quiet contemplative life in Switzerland or America to take a chance on getting thrown off a Himalaya by a bunch of goons from the Red Guard?

The Chinese Parliament recently approved new laws guaranteeing religious freedom in Tibet.

"Let's wait and see," says the Dalai Lama from his Alp, as he plans his coast-to-coast U.S. itinerary.

The Chinese are inviting the monks back, but nobody's promising them a return to the days when they got to make up the laws, act as the national police force, and run the country. Still-fresh memories of life during the Chinese invasion in the fifties have convinced Tibet's emigre clergy to stay put in exile for the time being.

Remnants of their spiritualistic hegemony over the homeland drew the eye of Alain Jacob, the Guardian's Peking correspondent. Visiting the Lhasa Museum, he saw "dried and tanned children's skins, various amputated human limbs, either dried or preserved, and numerous instruments of torture that were in use until a few decades ago ... "

These were the souvenirs and instruments of the vanished lamas, proof, Jacob notes, that under the Buddhist religious rule in Tibet "there survived into the middle of the 20th century feudal practices which, while serving a well-established purpose, were nonetheless chillingly cruel."

The "well-established purpose"? Maintaining social order in a church-state.


Old habits die hard. The dream of a harmonious religious kingdom under the rule of a stern but compassionate guru-monarch survives in Tibetan Buddhism to this day -- but not in Lhasa. Nor elsewhere in Tibet. The kingdom is something in the minds of the exiled clergy, who are working in the "outside world" -- for in their hearts none of them can ever really leave the homeland -- to obtain it.

Of them, the Chinese unconvincingly claim to know nothing. Even the Tibetan tour guide Alain Jacob met in Lhasa professed to be "unable to say whether any of the spiritual leaders of Tibet had ever gone to a country other than China." Jacob points out the guide was Chinese-trained. Peking doesn't wish to publicly acknowledge what its recent behavior so clearly shows: the exiled religious government, as long as it thrives in exile, remains a threat to Chinese rule in Tibet.
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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

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Chapter 2

In 1938 the supreme abbot of Surmang, a district of Eastern Tibet, sat down one day, said "This is the end of action," closed his eyes and went into Samadhi, the standard yogic trance that signals the death of a Tibetan holy man.

The abbot was the tenth Trungpa Tulku -- tenth reincarnation of the Trungpas, an 800-year-old succession in the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

The monks of Surmang badly needed a new abbot, so they sent somebody to see the head man of the Kagyu school in Lhasa, the sixteenth Gwalya Karmapa.

"Where can we look for the eleventh reincarnation of Trungpa, Holiness, and we mean quick?"

"I'll work on it," said the sixteenth Karmapa. "Gimme two, three weeks."

Before long it came to the sixteenth Karmapa in a vision that the monks could find the eleventh Trungpa by traveling five days north from their monastery to a certain village where in a south-facing hut there dwelt a farmer with a red dog and a year-old son ... the sixteenth Karmapa supplied every detail but the farmer's phone number.

The monks made their way to the high plateau country, where, under the 18,000 foot spire of a mountain known as the "home of the king of spirits," they stepped into a tent made of yak's hair, which housed a considerable stench, and saw by the light of a smoky yak-butter lamp the diminutive eleventh Trungpa, who as he relates in his autobiography, waved his little hand and gave them a smile as wide as a Hammond organ.

A month later, the young eleventh Trungpa was taken in a formal procession to the Surmang monastery and deposited on the "lion throne," a gold chair with white lions carved on the sides. In front of him was placed a table piled up with his formal seals of office. Sitting in a monk's lap, the eleventh Trungpa received robes and gifts and homages from incarnate lamas, heads of monasteries and simple monks of the district. At the climax of the ceremony, the sixteenth Karmapa gave the baby a ceremonial haircut, the first snip-snips of which caused a sudden thunderstorm, followed by a brilliant rainbow, regarded without dispute among the gathered lamas as an auspicious sign.

At the age of five American kids are in kindergarten. At five, the young Trungpa had already been separated from his parents and from all children of his own age; had learned to think of himself as part of his country's spiritual royalty; and was receiving training from the monks in reading and writing, the recitation of the Tibetan alphabet and mantras. The monks saw to it that the young supreme abbot stayed too busy to remember it's lonely at the top. After a hard night of Buddhist scripture study, however, the eleventh Trungpa dreamed restlessly of airplanes, trucks and cowboy boots.

"Forget that nonsense," the monks advised when the boy confessed his dreams.

One day when the young Trungpa was prostrating himself, some Chinese soldiers marched past the monastery. The boy was eleven years old.

It was 1950. The Dalai Lama was for a time allowed by the invading Chinese Communists to stay on his throne in Lhasa. The monasteries remained largely untouched. But native resistance grew over the years, especially in the Kham Territory of Eastern Tibet, where the Dalai Lama's loyal swordsmen were being supported by CIA airlifts. The swordsmen were flown out to Colorado, trained in modern warfare, then flown back into Tibet. Their guerrilla activity accelerated the conflict, which turned the eleventh Trungpa's throne into a hot seat by the late 1950's.

In 1959, the Chinese advanced into Tibet in force. Helped by his CIA-trained guards as well as by actual CIA case officers, the Dalai Lama slipped away from his palace in Lhasa and out of the country.


The eleventh Trungpa, now twenty, survived an arduous trek across the Himalayas into India. On the way, finding himself stranded briefly by seasonal floods, he spent several days playing around with plans for a millenial kingdom called "Shambhala," whose ruler would liberate mankind from the Dark Age. This imaginary kingdom is of some importance in the eleventh Trungpa's story, since it later came to be a corporate reality in the United States -- under the names Vajradhatu, Nalanda, Naropa.
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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

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Chapter 3

In India the eleventh Trungpa received political asylum from the government, personal greetings from Nehru and Radhakrishnan, and a job from the Dalai Lama -- as spiritual adviser to the Home School for young lamas in exile.

Perhaps even more important than any of these other gifts and homages, however, was the English language tutoring he received in India. It prepared him for Oxford, where he matriculated on a Spalding scholarship in 1963.

(In his autobiography, Trungpa credits his English teacher, a welfare worker, and the Tibet Society of the United Kingdom for procuring the scholarship. Al Santoli, a later student of Trungpa and currently a researcher of things Tibetan, suggests that the CIA may have had a hand in getting the eleventh Trungpa into Oxford. The CIA, however, has declined to release to Mr. Santoli any files their Tibetan office may hold on Trungpa, and Trungpa himself does not communicate with journalists, so this is a difficult point to clarify.)

In the thin, pure mountain air of his home, the eleventh Trungpa had lived the discreet, ascetic life that befits a young abbot. At Oxford he encountered a different life. Young English gentlemen of his age were not discouraged from tasting alcohol. In his Buddhist robes, women found the eleventh Trungpa appetizingly exotic. He also discovered Western art, literature and philosophy -- inhaling a whole culture in gulps.

But you can't learn your way into a millenial kingdom.

With Akong Tulku, a monk of his own age who'd helped him escape from Tibet, Trungpa now founded the Samye-Ling Meditation Center at a former English Buddhist retreat house in Scotland. Among the disciples who consulted him at Samye-Ling were several artists and writers, including the American poet Robert Bly, who made the pilgrimage in 1971.

The eleventh Trungpa was now called Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. "Rinpoche" is Tibetan for "precious one" -- a title given to lamas, abbots and kings.

He published his autobiography, Born In Tibet, in an English translation. With the help of Bly and others, he prepared a series of lectures for publication under the title Meditation In Action.

In 1968, Trungpa returned to the East. The high point of his trip was the ten days he spent on retreat as a guest of the royal family of Bhutan. On retreat he determined to expose the materialism of the modern world. At the age of 29, the materialism of the modern world can seem like a problem, especially if you're being comfortably put up by royal families all over the globe.

Returning to the British Isles, the eleventh Trungpa became the first Tibetan ever to receive British citizenship, which he maintains to this day.

But even as a British citizen and resident of Scotland, Trungpa continued to find the spreading of the Dharma in the West to be slow going. The materialism of the modern world proved as infectious as it was condemnable. Trungpa speaks in his autobiography of a period of "ambivalence," and then of "blacking out" at the wheel of a car -- had he been drinking? -- and of the car smashing through the window of a joke shop, leaving his left side partially paralyzed.

After the accident -- "it was a message that I wasn't serious enough about what I was doing," he said years later -- the eleventh Trungpa renounced his monastic vows and married an aristocratic and virginal 16-year-old Englishwoman who had been one of his students.

The marriage provoked the displeasure of Trungpa's longtime friend and colleague, Akong Tulku. Akong opined that for a guru to drop his pose of inscrutability and mystery would be a serious lapse in "conmanship." How can you ever make Occidentals serve you properly, Akong asked, if you are overly familiar with them?

Faced with an internal revolt at Samye-Ling, led by Akong, the eleventh Trungpa consulted the I Ching, which told him to cross the big water. America had been bothering the eleventh Trungpa's dreams for years. With his wife, he now fulfilled an eighth century Buddhist prophecy which said that when the metal bird flew in the sky, the teachings would be carried over the Western Ocean.
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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

Postby admin » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:25 pm

Chapter 4

It was March, 1970, when Trungpa and his bride stepped off the metal bird in Canada. They spent the next six weeks obtaining U.S. visas, and finally entered this country in May.

In the mountains of Northern Vermont, an advance contingent of Trungpa's students had taken over a 500-acre farm, which they now called Tail of the Tiger. There Trungpa quickly established the first Tibetan Meditation Center on this continent. Tail of the Tiger was incorporated as a non-profit, tax-exempt church where disciples of Trungpa could meditate, study and reside.

The town clerk of the nearest village, Barnet, estimated the value of the farm and land at $350,000. Trungpa explained that the purchase price had been raised through dues and donations from the members of his church.

The construction of new buildings at Tail of the Tiger -- the name was later changed to Karme-Choling -- took six years. The Meditation Center was built almost entirely by students, one of whom estimates that a million dollars in labor costs were saved by avoiding outside contractors. Over $600,000 was spent on construction materials. That money was raised from dues, donations, and loans from students. (The practice of borrowing money from students has gone on to become a tradition in Trungpa's educational system.) Once the extent and seriousness of the project had been demonstrated, loans were also obtained from local banks.

The Center was completed in time for the December, 1976 visit to the U.S. of the sixteenth Gwalya Karmapa -- the man who'd conjured the eleventh Trungpa out of a yak-hair tent and into the lion throne of Surmang.

(In keeping with Trungpa's sense of the occasion, Karmapa was received as visiting royalty, with the maximum pomp and circumstance. He pulled up at Karme-Choling at the head of a caravan of snowmobiles containing his retinue of a dozen red-robed monks, plus personal appurtanances that included 50 singing canaries. A red carpet longer than several end-to-end football fields was unrolled to keep "His Holiness'" feet from touching the snow. Prostrate disciples lined both sides of the red carpet as the visiting holy man made his way to the Center, where he was regaled with a banquet fit for a king, in a setting of poinsettas and birds of paradise. Later, Karmapa continued on to Boulder, where the town's most impressive mansion was rented to provide him with a rest stop.)

But Trungpa's first set of students at Tail of the Tiger possessed neither the discipline of Tibet nor the decorum of Oxford, both of which he expected of them.

"You look silly," Trungpa told one student. "Get a haircut."

The student obediently did so; he also put on a suit. Today he is an executive director of Trungpa's Naropa Institute, where the administration always sports neat suits and fresh haircuts.

The brand of philosophy Trungpa dispensed at Tail of the Tiger and elsewhere was a weird blend of aristocratic decorum, monastic stringency and personal eccentricity. "Crazy wisdom" was a tradition in the Trungpa line. Depending on the time of day, it could include anything but the kitchen sink.

Trungpa soon established a name for himself on the East Coast. The poet Anne Waldman made a pilgrimage from New York to meet him in the fall of 1970. (The same week, she had been planning a trip to Cuba which fell through for financial reasons -- though Waldman later admitted she has "often thought Trungpa jinxed it.") Waldman told the guru she was exhausted by her work at the St. Marks Poetry Project. Should she give it all up?

"New York City is a holy city," Trungpa told her. "Go back to New York City and be a warrior."

Waldman, later to become an important soldier in Trungpa's American poetry army, has never forgotten the concept of spiritual warfare to which the Tibetan master introduced her in 1970. "What I like about the situation (at Naropa Institute)," she told an interviewer years later, "is everybody coming here specifically to be a warrior."

There was a search for orientation models for the construction of a pedagogy in which the values ​​of the warrior caste stood in the foreground together with the subordination under the "leader". Japan proved to be a treasure house in this regard.

-- Karlfried Graf Dürckheim: A quarter Jew and Zen student serving the Nazi regime, by Victor & Victoria Trimondi


The idea of ongoing universal metaphysical combat is as ingrained in Trungpa's version of Tantric Buddhism as it was in Milton's vision of warring angels in Paradise Lost. It found early expression in his American teachings. His lectures of 1971-1973 overflow with images of battle, swords, crushing, cutting, decapitating ... uneasy symbolism, indeed, but apparently not totally unattractive to Trungpa's American disciples.

"In the Vajrayana (Tantric Buddhism)," he told them in one lecture, "war is regarded as an occupation. You need to learn from a master warrior." The crazy-wisdom guru, Trungpa explained, is like a "wild doctor or surgeon" -- the Great Warrior, whose function is to hack your ego into little pieces. "We do not want to trust a wild doctor or surgeon," Trungpa pointed out. "But we must."


"Cutting through" became a Trungpa touchstone. "Cutting through spiritual materialism" was his working slogan. He ridiculed his students to their faces: the wild doctor has to cut through all attachments. In a culture where a very popular song by The Crystals once carried the message "He hit me ... it felt like a kiss," it isn't totally surprising that religious students should take to the image of the wild doctor who "cuts you into pieces" and "throws darts at you." If Trungpa's description doesn't exactly make you want to bump into the crazy-wisdom guru on a dark night, then maybe you've got a lot of squeamishness to "cut through."

"Trungpa is like a doctor," Anne Waldman said in 1977. "The situation in this country is so sick, so neurotic-materialistic, spiritually materialistic, general insanity -- things are so out of hand that he is coming into a situation that needs doctoring."

Trungpa's crazy-wisdom doctor is at least a spiritual cousin of Dr. Benway, the apocalyptic junkie surgeon of William S. Burroughs. Dr. Benway enters the operating room raving and flings his scalpel into the patient from 15 paces.


Dr Benway Operates - William S Burroughs


In 1966, in the Massachusetts Supreme Court, poet Allen Ginsberg testified that Naked Lunch, the book in which Dr. Benway made his American debut, was not obscene. The book, said Ginsberg, was a serious work, treating the serious national problem of multiple addictions -- "addiction to materialistic goods and properties . . . and most of all, an addiction to power or addiction to controlling other people by having power over them ... throughout the book there are dramatic illustrations of people whose obsession or lust is for control over the minds and hearts and souls of other people."

Naked Lunch, said its creator, "treats a health problem."

Chogyam Trungpa, the wild doctor of Buddhism, was treating a national spiritual health problem in his new country. How else could you found a Shambhala Kingdom in a nation of neurotic materialists?

With a few drinks of sake under his belt, the gentle, playful "Rinpoche" became Dr. Benway.

"When in the mood to crack the whip," an ex-disciple later recalled, "the prince does so with heavy-lidded wrath, taking a minimum of shit, his retainers looking on with sneering awe. I remember a night in Vermont. It got ugly."

That fall while Rinpoche was away, after one particularly difficult week, I phoned him to ask again for his help. He was at the 1975 seminary in Snowmass, Colorado, a program that lasted three months, and wouldn't be back for at least another month. The seminary that year in Snowmass ended up being quite difficult in certain respects. Against his better judgment, Rinpoche had allowed the American poet W S. Merwin, who had spent the summer at Naropa, and his girlfriend, Dana, to attend the seminary, although they were extremely new to our community. As the Vajrayana section of the seminary approached, Bill (Merwin) and Dana remained isolated from the rest of the participants, and Rinpoche felt they weren't connecting with him or with what he was trying to teach.

On Halloween things turned ugly. There was a costume party that night, which Bill and Dana tried to duck out of. From what I heard, the situation got quite extreme. Rinpoche had suggested that rather than using costumes to disguise themselves, people should unmask and expose themselves. He told people that they should literally unmask by taking their clothes off. Everybody got naked. Rinpoche noticed that Bill and Dana weren't there. He insisted that they should come to the party too and sent students to rouse them from their room at the hotel. When they didn't answer the door, the messengers broke in through the balcony. Bill became alarmed and fearful, and he cut one of them with a jagged piece of broken glass. He and Dana were eventually brought down to the ballroom, where they were stripped of their clothing. It was pretty shocking.

A day or two later, Rinpoche told Merwin and Dana, as well as all the other participants, that they could leave the seminary or they could stay. They remained, but after the program ended, they left for good. The story filtered out of the seminary -- in fact, nobody was trying to hide what had happened. Investigating the incident actually became a class project in the poetics department at Naropa Institute a year or two later, and the story made its way into an article in Harper's magazine in 1979. Although I wasn't there when these events transpired, I was with Rinpoche in situations that were probably as extreme as that. If he felt that the elements of a situation were ripe to puncture delusion or self-deception, he never held back -- though I don't expect people to understand or accept this at face value.

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian


Trungpa did not take up permanent residence in Vermont. Instead, like an important lama making the rounds of his spiritual wards, he traveled quite a bit -- to Berkeley, where Shambhala Publications was bringing out his books, to Boulder, where his students were part of a considerable local religious ferment, and anywhere else the Buddhist free-dinner circuit took him.

On his first visit to Boulder in 1970, the nearby mountains stirred in the eleventh Trungpa's memory treasured scenes of his native land. He soon rented a house in the mountains,

When Rinpoche arrived in Colorado in the fall, his students rented a small cabin for him in the mountains above Boulder, near an old mining town called Gold Hill. It was quite spartan, almost what you would call a stone hut. There was no indoor plumbing, just an outhouse. Rinpoche hadn't lived in a place like this since he'd left Tibet more than ten years ago. People may have thought a Tibetan lama would be more comfortable in a simple mountain setting. This might have been more a reflection of his students' hippie aspirations than an accurate reading of who he was at this point. On the other hand, it was by no. means a hovel, and he told me that he enjoyed himself there. The house was on a beautiful piece of property, with a view of the Continental Divide in the distance. It was owned by a family that had spent years in the foreign service in Asia. This was their summerhouse, which they named Gunung Mas, which is Burmese, I believe.

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian


then later several buildings in town, including one that had housed the former Satchidananda Yoga Institute. In 1971, he established a formal meditation center, Karma Dzong, in a large older building downtown. Three floors of the building were eventually put to administrative use, with the fourth reserved for sitting meditation.

Working out of this building, a new corporate organization called Vajradhatu controlled a rapidly growing coast-to-coast network of "dharma centers," or Dharmadhatu. (There are now 50 such centers in American cities.)

Trungpa purchased 360 acres of land west of Fort Collins, to found the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center.

In the late 1960s a group of friends from various parts of the country met in San Francisco and (when one of them happened to find a cheap farm for rent) moved to Boulder where they evolved into a communal family in the style of the day. By the time Rinpoche arrived in the fall of 1970, the Pygmies (as they became known) were well established in the hippy-American dream: They had a garden, made and sold leather goods, dabbled in yoga and meditation, and their numbers where growing....

Soon after he arrived in Boulder, Rinpoche accepted an invitation to dinner at the Pygmy Farm. He sat on the floor with the tribe as they all held hands and chanted OM (very loudly) before dinner. Most of the Pygmies became early students and Rinpoche put their youthful communal energy to good use. When they lost their lease on the farm, he helped them look for a new home — a search that ended with the purchase of a remote mountain valley, now known as Shambhala Mountain Center.

-- The Pygmy Farm, by The Chronicles


He also bought land in Southern Colorado and in half a dozen other states. The Shambhala Kingdom, with landholdings approaching $1 million in value, was growing like Topsy.


During a 1971 visit to the Tassajara Zen retreat center south of San Francisco, Trungpa established an informal alliance with Suzuki-roshi, the West Coast's most respected Zen master. After Suzuki-roshi's death in December, 1971, many of his followers abandoned Zen practice and joined Trungpa.

Trungpa's avowed intention at the time was to establish not only a Tibetan Buddhist church but a Tibetan Buddhist culture in America. To this end, he held a conference on Tibetan dance in Boulder in 1973. Out of this developed the Mudra Theatre Group. Concurrently, the Maitri therapy project was formed, based on a 90-acre farm outside New York City.

Rinpoche was so moved by Roshi's life and example and so saddened by his death. I believe that it spurred him on to implement the plans that they had made. He pushed forward the Maitri Project, which involved starting a therapeutic community for people with mental problems. Maitri means "loving kindness" in Sanskrit. The Maitri facility opened in Elizabethtown, New York, in the fall of 1973, and moved to land in Wingdale, New York, donated by Lex and Sheila Hixon in early 1974. The Naropa Institute, based on another of their joint inspirations, was inaugurated in the summer of 1974.

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian


In 1973 Trungpa inaugurated his Vajradhatu seminary, an annual 3-month intensive retreat for selected advanced students. Seminaries since 1973 have taken place at resort centers of Tibetan-type beauty all across the northern part of the continent -- from Lake Louise to Snowmass to Land O' Lakes.

The first seminary was held in the shadow of the Grand Tetons at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Among the eighty students Trungpa guided through the "three yanas" (hinayana, mahayana, vajrayana) was the famous poet Allen Ginsberg, already a meditation student of the master.

Freda was now free to concentrate on reestablishing the Young Lamas Home School in Dalhousie. With the Dalai Lama's permission, she put her spiritual son, Chogyam Trungpa, in charge of Spiritual Studies, and when he left, another eminent tulku, Ato Rinpoche (Dilgo Khyentse's nephew), took over. The school had about thirty pupils at any one time.

Freda, who was utterly nonsectarian in all religious paths, encouraged her pupils to stay true to their respective traditions, but she did want to introduce them to the formal studies of Geography, History, and the English language, through which, she envisioned, they would transmit the Buddha's message to the outside world. Certainly most of the young tulkus were not particularly interested in taking on such foreign subjects, and they approached their lessons in a somewhat desultory fashion. But Freda persisted.

In Dalhousie a colorful band of Westerners also encountered Freda (including the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg) as they made their way to the Young Lamas Home School to volunteer their services....

Following one Tara initiation she gave in America, Freda revealed that the Karmapa had told her she was named after an eighth-century nun in India, a Sister Palmo, who was associated with Tara and who was bestowed with exceptional caring skills. Freda had translated a text about this original Sister Palmo, which she now made available. One of the attendees read it out as a tribute to Freda:

"One should imagine the form of a woman with yellow robe who lived in a hermitage, following the path of the yogi, dwelling in a forest, living a life of seclusion and meditation. Gelongma Palmo showed herself in her outer form as the bikshuni -- a fully ordained nun with an ushnisha mound on her head, like the Buddha. In her inner form she manifested as Tara, green in color, removing obstacles and hindrances (to enlightenment). Thinking of Gelongma Palmo in this form, we should recollect the very beautiful initiation of the Green Mother, which we experienced this morning."


The references and allusions were obvious. Freda clearly identified with the eight-century nun, and she wanted others to see her that way as well.

On her last trip to the United States, exhausted, she managed to find time for a solitary two-week meditation retreat at Mount Shasta. Eyewitnesses reported that she emerged quite radiant. The retreat coincided with her tenth anniversary as a nun, after which she was regaled with a large party, complete with cake, candles, and musicians. Allen Ginsberg and Lama Karma Thinley were among the guests.

-- The Revolutionary Life of Freda Bedi, by Vicki Mackenzie


By 1974, the eleventh Trungpa was one of the most prosperous of America's new religious leaders, with followers numbering in the thousands. The only major component missing from his American organization was a school of arts, letters and religious studies -- an institute that would not only educate but draw national attention and respect -- and even, why not, financial support -- to his burgeoning kingdom.
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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

Postby admin » Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:05 am

Chapter 5

Naropa Institute, founded in Boulder in 1974, became that component.

The Institute was formed by Chogyam Trungpa as a non-profit educational institution, subsidiary to the Nalanda Foundation, a "secular wing" of Vajradhatu. While legally distinct, Naropa and Vajradhatu maintained common officers and boards of directors.

Trungpa's directors and officers included several men with excellent minds for law and business. The careful division of Trungpa's holdings into separate corporate entities served at least two important purposes. Tax money could be saved, and the reputation of Naropa as a Civilian institution could be protected by "the water-tight compartment argument" -- an appeal to the original corporate legal divisions.

Trungpa's own stated plan for Naropa makes it clear the school was never meant to be "secular" at all. "The purpose of Naropa," he proclaimed, "is, first of all, to provide a vessel for the development of Bodhisattva activity."

(Loyalists in the administration -- who make up the whole administration -- have in recent years argued with Naropa faculty over whether to require Buddhist "sitting" discipline in the new degree programs; the outcome of this struggle is still in doubt, but the fact that it's even going on invalidates Naropa's claims to "secular" status. Daily sitting meditation, says the current Naropa catalog, is "highly encouraged" for all students; "six credits of study in a meditative discipline" is a B.A. requirement.)


A Naropa student once interrupted Trungpa during a crazy-wisdom lecture called "The Blue Pancake," which is about having the sky fall on your head. "What's so hot about having a pancake fall on your head?" the student asked. "Well," replied Trungpa, laughing, I think it is a big joke, a big message."

Crazy-wisdom-wise, Naropa has always been a big joke, like Trungpa's blue pancake. Before looking into the circumstances of its founding, let us first briefly consider two prior episodes that occurred on the "Trungpa scene" in Boulder. They will help us understand Trungpa better.

The first was a benefit poetry reading for Trungpa's Karma Dzong Meditation Center, held at Macky Auditorium on the University of Colorado campus, May 6, 1972. Poets on hand included Ginsberg, Robert Bly, and Gary Snyder. Trungpa, acting as self-appointed emcee, was in his cups. During the reading, he upstaged the poets with his humorous antics, and at the end, he "apologized" for the poets in a muddled, patronizing speech ("I'm sure they don't mean what they said.") The evening ended with Trungpa drunk and truculent, yelling and beating on a big gong.

"If you think I'm doing this because I'm drunk," Trungpa told Ginsberg during the evening, "you're making a big mistake."


Ginsberg, already a great admirer of the young Tibetan master, was genuinely puzzled. "Is this just you," he asked, "or is this a traditional manner, or what?"

"I come from a long line of eccentric Buddhists," the eleventh Trungpa explained.

Ginsberg subsequently defended Trungpa for taking over the poetry reading.

But Gary Snyder, a longtime student of Zen, and Robert Bly, once a crazy-wisdom disciple at Samye-Ling, were offended by Trungpa's behavior -- Bly, as it was to turn out, quite seriously.

Earlier that year, Allen had invited several poets to Boulder for a poetry reading. Gary Snyder, Robert Bly, and Nanao Sasaki were invited to read poetry with Allen Ginsberg and Rinpoche. In addition to his own poetry, Allen read some of Rinpoche's poems from a recently published book, Mudra, which included many of the early poems Rinpoche had written, in England in the sixties. The evening ended rather disastrously after Rinpoche put a large Japanese gong over his head while Robert Bly was reading a serious and significant poem. Rinpoche did a number of things to disrupt Bly's reading, actually. Gary Snyder and Robert Bly interpreted Rinpoche's behavior as rude and drunken. I guess it was, but from his point of view, their behavior was arrogant and bombastic, and he felt that humor was needed to lighten up the space. Allen took this controversy remarkably in stride, and managed to remain friends with all involved. Snyder and Bly, however, wanted nothing further to do with Rinpoche, and as far as I know, he had no regrets on his side.

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian


The Macky Auditorium incident adduces the tension that already existed between Trungpa, the spiritual king, and those secular artists he envisaged as his laureates. Of this more later.

By this time, Trungpa's claim to authority over his students' personal lives had increased dramatically. "Privacy," when applied to the students, had become a dirty word, like "ego." The guru warned them that by themselves they could never wash "the sticky glue of Karma" out of their hair. "Let me mind your business for you," he advised. Rumors of the eleventh Trungpa doing just that, sometimes on a very intimate level, began to circulate around Boulder.

One of these students, who calls herself Floy Van Den Berg, attended the guru's 34th birthday party (February, 1973), and received there a "telepathic transmission of thoughts" from him which indicated to her that she should allow a certain man from the Buddhist community to impregnate her. Ignoring the guru's drunken state, she quickly followed his "order." Shortly thereafter, the father-to-be obtained an interview with Trungpa, who instructed him to leave for Canada. Floy was told to go on welfare.

Before the father of her child left for Canada, Floy, in a fit of rage, dumped a bottle of glue in his hair, to symbolize "the sticky glue of Karma." She was subsequently ostracized by the Boulder Buddhist community, beaten up by several women of the community, and left to shift for herself and her out-of-wedlock child, she claims.

In her final confrontation with Trungpa, she told him she was leaving his community, but that she would continue to honor the teachings of the Buddha.

"They will be of no help to you," Trungpa told her emphatically. "The lions will come to devour you."

His ferocity made Floy break down in tears.

"No one has been able to hold their own with him," Floy muses today -- years after her departure from Trungpa's "scene." "People have shown very little ability to think critically or act in a reasonable manner towards the man. They seem to lose the sense of themselves that is capable of functioning at a critical level, and they become emotionally blown-out."

Floy Van Den Berg appears to feel that this is what happened to her -- and that she has not yet recovered.

Floy also charges, from personal evidence, that Trungpa became a "spiritual stud" soon after coming to the U.S. "I personally found that I was punished when I didn't want to go to bed with Trungpa after he asked me to," she says. The "punishment," apparently, comes in the from of psychological rejection. A number of other women students of Trungpa have echoed Floy's testimony on this point. (Trungpa's wife, however, told a reporter this year that Trungpa has been a loyal and supportive husband throughout their 10 years of marriage.)

One middle-period Trungpa, remembered by a Boulder citizen, was "a guy in a lumberjack shirt who showed up at parties with a shit-eating grin on his face. Nobody knew who he was. I thought he was some drunken Filipino."

With time came changes. As Trungpa grew more and more powerful and recognizable, the crazy-wisdom guru began to dress in expensive business suits, to ride around in the back of a chauffeur-driven Mercedes, attended at all times by a personal "vajra guard" composed of young, muscular Buddhist students in blue blazers. He guzzled sake and Rainier Ale ("green death," they call it), and chain-smoked American cigarettes. His wife, Diana, who had given birth to three sons between 1969 and 1973, had lately renewed an early interest in riding, and was becoming one of Boulder's premier female equestrians. (She was later to become the first woman from America to attend the famous Spanish Riding School of Vienna.)

While we were in France, I convinced Rinpoche that we should go to Vienna so that I could visit the Spanish Riding School. Now that I was riding regularly again, I had started to develop a great interest in the discipline of dressage, a classic form of horsemanship whose pinnacle was achieved at the school.

We visited a number of places in Vienna, including Schonbrunn Palace. Rinpoche liked to spend long hours in the restaurants in Vienna, and Taggie was very difficult to manage throughout all of this.

Luckily, we were able to obtain tickets for one of the dressage performances at the Spanish Riding School, known as "the Spanish." The day of the performance, we stood outside the Winter Palace in Vienna, where the Spanish is located. We waited in line a long time to get m to see the performance. When they finally opened the doors, people started pushing and shoving all around us. We finally made our way through the crowd and into the building. To get to our seats, we had to walk up a narrow flight of wooden stairs to the balcony overlooking the arena. The hall is magnificent, with enormous crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The arena can hold several thousand spectators. It's an extraordinary environment.

We settled ourselves in our seats, and then classical music began to play over the speakers, signaling the beginning of the performance. In rode the most majestic white horses in formation, their bridles inlaid with gold and the saddle pads trimmed in gold braid. The riders rode impeccably in their brown uniforms and become hats. It was like watching a completely synchronized ballet performed by horses and riders. Five or ten minutes into the performance, Rinpoche started sobbing. I couldn't imagine why, and I said to him, "What's the matter with you? Is something wrong?" He answered, "There's nothing wrong. It's so beautiful. It's a magnificent expression of windhorse." (Windhorse is the uplifted expression of dignity that is described in the Shambhala teachings.) Rinpoche wept throughout the performance. I also was moved by this display of horse and rider so nobly joined in the art of dressage.

Afterward, when we discussed our experience, I told Rinpoche that the fulfillment of my dreams as a rider would be to study the classical approach to dressage with one of the teachers from the Spanish Riding School. Although I was still very new to this discipline, Rinpoche took me quite seriously. He said to me, "You know, it's too soon right now, but I would imagine that within a couple of years you're going to find a way to come here and study."

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian


The Trungpa who founded the Naropa Institute had gone a long way beyond what his old colleague Akong Tulku had regarded as "the limits of familiarity" with Occidentals and Occidental ways.

He expected 800 students to attend his first Naropa summer session in 1974. Himself aside, the big attraction of the eleventh Trungpa's show was Richard Alpert, aka Ram Dass. The staged guru-shootout between Trungpa and Ram Dass ("delightfully humorous," Trungpa later called it) attracted nearly two thousand spiritual-journey fans from all parts of the country.



Then in the summer of 1974 I was at Naropa Institute teaching a course in the Bhagavad Gita, a course for which I felt Maharaj-ji was giving his blessings. There at Naropa I was part of a whole other scene, because Trungpa Rinpoche represents a different lineage. I found myself floundering a little bit because my own tradition was so amorphous compared to the tightness of the Tibetan tradition. Trungpa and I did a few television shows together. We did one about lineages and I felt bankrupt. I had Maharaj-ji's transmission of love and service but I knew nothing about his history. I didn't know how to talk about what came through me in terms of a formal lineage. I was also getting caught in more worldly play, and I felt more and more depressed and hypocritical. So by the end of the summer I decided to return to India. I didn't know what I'd find, but I'd go anyway. I knew I was different than I was ten years before, but I was still not cooked, and what we owe each other is to get cooked.

-- Grist for the Mill, by Ram Dass


The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics was founded under Naropa auspices in that same wild summer of 74 by Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, who were invited by Trungpa to read and give workshops. Sharing an apartment in Boulder, Ginsberg and Waldman tossed around ideas for the name of their new Buddhist-American poetry school. Waldman wanted to call it the Gertrude Stein School.

Image

"And when she saw it was she who said what it was she had seen she was filled with a feeling.
A feeling a rose within her when she saw what it was she had seen.
What she had seen was a rose and what she felt was a feeling.
And when she saw what it was she was feeling she was filled with sadness.
What she had seen was a rose and what she had felt was a feeling.
A rose and her feelings for a rose."

-- "Waiting for the Moon," directed by Jill Godmilow


Ginsberg preferred the Zen-hipster-poetic associations of "Kerouac." His preference won out. (Why "Disembodied"? "It was just a flash," explains Michael Brownstein, another Naropa poet.)

Allen Ginsberg happens to subscribe to the star system of eternity. Allen has long believed there are certain immortal heroes of art and thought whose genius ought to be religiously revered. He has made a quite literal point of kissing such personages' feet on first meeting.

Suddenly there is a hush. The rinpoche is carried in by a couple of robust bodyguards. Years ago he got paralyzed after a car accident, so he walks with great difficulty. His body is misshapen, but on top of that is a genuine smiling Buddha head. They put him in a high seat and his guards remain standing behind him. Ginsberg introduces us to Trungpa one by one. Two of the Dutch writers refuse to shake hands with the Tibetan, as they consider the guru a dangerous fraud.

When my turn comes, we exchange a few superficial remarks about India, where I've spent the past winters. He has a high, almost whistling voice and I must bend my knee to come close enough to his face to hear him. I think he whistles into my ear "we will not sink," which I happily agree with. But it's quite possible he said, "we will not think," or even "stink."

In the background I hear the Dutch writer Remco Campert cry out: "It's a shame Plomp, you are kneeling for the mafia!"...

Ginsberg plays a key role in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, which Lawrence Ferlinghetti scornfully refers to as "an institute for Buddhist Roman Catholics." "They are doing nothing for poetry," he says, "...'cause poetry can't be taught." This may be true, but I think the school is doing a lot for the Embodied Poets, creating teaching jobs for them and various other poetic activities, such as our grand reception.

As the masters are daubing, sounds of dissent come from a group of guests who acclaim Campert's attack on the "spiritual mafia." Ed Dorn and Michael Brownstein, both teachers at the School of Disembodied Poets, disagree with the Buddhist influence and jeer at the devotees: "Come on people, try to be spontaneous!" "I think those bodyguards are carrying guns under their armpits!" Campert shouts.

-- Milk, Volume One, by Hans Plomp


He has done this, for example, with (or to?) Lester Young, Indian swamis, Andrei Vosznesensky, Basil Bunting. (A story comes to mind of Christopher Isherwood recoiling in horror from the prospect of Allen groveling around his shoes.) Such a disposition to submissive reverence was just what the spiritual doctor of Boulder ordered. By 1975, Allen was sitting, performing prostrations, and receiving direct spiritual counseling from Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. Along with Allen, into the mainstream of crazy wisdom swam a whole poetic school.

"Chogyam Trungpa said to me, 'Why are you always wearing black shirts?''' Ginsberg recalls.

"I said, 'Well, they're easier to wash, and I travel a lot.'

"'Why don't you try some white shirts and see how they feel,'" suggested the eleventh Trungpa.

"So I went to the Salvation Army and bought about 20 white shirts for 15 or 30 cents each," remembers the author of Howl. "And I noticed that people actually were less scared of me. Less anxiety. Then I got a whole bunch of suits, tuxedos and everything ... "

The back-to-society movement Trungpa was fostering hit Ginsberg hard. Trungpa now taught that it was escapism to oppose the basic materialism of American society. He inculcated in his followers good business principles, and aided them in business endeavors where possible. Although certain ventures of doubtful legitimacy allegedly initiated by his followers -- like the smuggling of hot gems from Asia -- can't be directly connected with Trungpa, it's clear he never advocated the extinction of the profit motive in any context. One of the most impressive of his disciples' publications is The Community Yellow Pages, a full-scale business and skills directory representing every sphere of economic activity in Boulder, including eight real estate agencies.

Along with Allen, Trungpa was to discover, would come many poets who would prove far less pliable in behavior, and far less respectful of the teachings.

Unlike other Naropa faculty members, many Kerouac School poets have showed resentment when their paychecks were "loaned" back to the Institute without their having been asked.

In 1978, Ginsberg's pal, Gregory Corso, took out his resentment against the conservative Naropa administration by trashing his faculty apartment at the end of the summer session. This demonstration of Corso's own brand of crazy wisdom proved to be too much for the administration, which hasn't invited him back.


But since 1975, the Kerouac School has been a prime attraction, annually drawing hundreds of students to the Institute. For this reason alone have its excesses and irregularities been tolerated by Trungpa and his executive officers.

The Kerouac School was a prominent feature of the Naropa curriculum in the summer of 1975. Along with co-founders Ginsberg and Waldman, there were at least a half dozen well-known poets on hand, including National Book Award-winner W.S. Merwin.

Merwin, like Ginsberg and many other poets, was a spiritual yearner, who had spent a good deal of time looking for the true way -- in his case, in Catholic socialism rather than in the disciplines of the East.

After the 1975 summer session, Merwin requested permission to attend Trungpa's annual fall "Vajra" seminary for advanced students.

Those who had attended the two previous seminaries had brought back harrowing reports.
The only poets to have attended were Ginsberg and his companion, Peter Orlovsky, both of whom had practiced meditation previously.

Merwin had no experience in the teaching style of tantric Buddhist masters. He asked to bring along his attractive Hawaiian girlfriend, who was equally inexperienced.

Going through the Tantric teachings, Trungpa has said, is like riding a burning razor. Why then would he admit a pair of uncommitted novices?

For reasons that his administrative officers and board of directors still can't explain, Trungpa said yes. William Merwin and Dana Naone paid the $550 fee and joined the seminary group assembling at a remote ski lodge in Snowmass, high in the Colorado Rockies.
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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

Postby admin » Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:15 am

Chapter 6

From almost the beginning of the seminary, Merwin's presence created a problem. A pacifist, he first of all refused to participate in the prescribed chanting of poems addressed to horrific deities. So did Dana Naone.

I later asked Allen Ginsberg to describe these poems. He read several aloud. They had lines like "as night falls you cut the aorta of the perverter of the teachings," and "you enjoy drinking the hot blood of the ego." An RX straight out of the prescription book of Dr. Benway!


From the hearts of the hosts of deities of the self-visualization and front visualization, shine rays of razor-sharp mantra light like showers of meteors and forks of wild lightning. These set upon all the dualistic forces of harm and sever their aortas.

-- The Miraculous Activity Sadhana of Vajrakilaya, the Razor Which Destroys at a Touch, by His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdrel Yeshe Dorje


"The poems are very un-American to say the least," Ginsberg didn't have to explain to me. "From the point of view of somebody who hasn't been a poet, they're really off the wall."

"Did they bother you, when you were at the seminary?"

"Oh, sure. They bug everybody. They're supposed to. That's what they're there for."

Merwin, who'd been a serious peacefreak for his entire adult life, couldn't swallow the blood-drinking poems, and clammed up when they came up. Later, he was involved in a snowball fight against the Vajra guards, and attempted to inspire further insurgency against the master, Trungpa -- including a scheme involving zapping the guru with laughing gas. Finally, he aroused Trungpa's Vajra ire by departing early with Dana from a Halloween party which the guru had thrown to inaugurate the dread final month of teachings, in which "heavy" tantric matters were to be broached.

It had been a wild party. Trungpa, who'd arrived late and drunk in jeans and lumberjack shirt, had slipped quickly into something more comfortable -- his birthday suit. Borne naked on the shoulders of obedient guards, he circled the room in bawdy triumph, ordering the stripping of selected celebrants. Later, he danced with one student who afterwards was left with a souvenir you wouldn't file away with your senior prom corsage -- i.e., teeth marks on her face from where he bit her. ("It was very nonverbal, direct, intense, brutal communication," this apparently intelligent young woman recalled.)

Midway through his party, it came to the guru's attention that his star pupils, Merwin and Dana, had escaped to their room.

"Bring them down," Trungpa told his guards.

"They don't want to come," said the guards.

"Bring them anyway!" the master commanded. "Break down the door."

The guards finally had to smash a plate glass door to gain entry to Merwin's room, making for a Crystalnacht scene that reminded many present of Night Porter -- a film the seminarians had seen the week before. The angry poet sliced several guards with broken beer bottles before submitting to being dragged down with Dana to the "party", where the drunken Trungpa entertained them with his special brand of heavy comedy.

While Merwin and Dana were being fetched, Trungpa had been instructing the other partygoers on "exposing your neurosis". He continued the theme when the captives were brought in, accusing them of neurotic violence and aggression. When they had the gall to argue, the master blew a gasket. He threw a glass of sake in Merwin's face, and made a series of racial remarks to Dana that will probably never be recorded in the Annals of the Lamas.


Rinpoche talking to Dana, said, 'You're oriental; you're smarter than this. You might be playing slave to this white man but you and I know where it's at.'

-- Interview with Jack Niland (Santoli) 6/23/77

-- Behind the Veil of Boulder Buddhism: Ed Sanders, The Party, by Ed Sanders


Librarian's Translation:

"You're a hot Asian Babe. What are you doing fucking this white boy? Asian dick not good enough for you? I've got some you can have. Ditch this asshole and become my hot disciple."


"We're both Oriental," the guru advised the young woman. "The Communists ripped off my country. Only another Oriental can understand that."

"You're a Nazi," Dana responded.

Soon thereafter, Trungpa "invited" Merwin and Dana to take off their clothes. When they refused, he had them both stripped in front of the gaping eyes of a shocked, but compliant roomful of seminarians.

"Guards dragged me off and pinned me to the floor," Dana Naone recalls. "I could see William struggling a few feet away from me. I fought, and called to friends, men and women, whose faces I saw in the crowd -- to call the police. No one did. Only one man, Bill King, broke through to where I was lying at Trungpa's feet, shouting 'Leave her alone' and 'Stop it.' Trungpa rose above me, from his chair, and knocked Bill King down with a punch, swearing at him, and ordering that no one interfere. He was dragged away ... Richard Assally was stripping me, while others held me down. Trungpa began punching Assally in the head, and urging him to do it faster. The rest of my clothes were torn off..."


Merwin and Dana stood there -- "gorgeous bodies, very beautiful, like Adam and Eve," laughed the woman whose face Trungpa had earlier lunched on -- and then, on Merwin's angry challenge, everybody in the room stripped. Trungpa said, "Let's dance." Everybody danced. Merwin and Dana slipped away to their room.

The following morning, Trungpa had a letter placed in the seminarians' mail boxes. "You must offer your neuroses as a feast to celebrate your entrance into the vajra teachings," he told them. "Those of you who wish to leave will not be given a refund/but your Karmic debt will continue as the vividness of your memory cannot be forgotten."

Merwin and Dana requested an interview with Trungpa. Trungpa urged them to stay on for the tantric teachings. He did not apologize. They stayed on for more teachings, three weeks' worth, then -- faced with the prospect of another seminary party -- high-tailed it back to civilization.

Presumably W.S. Merwin will be more careful in selecting his gurus in the future. And Trungpa has definitely been forced as a result of this episode to be a lot more careful about how he conducts himself around Occidentals.

But then, that must be an awful strain, since these days Occidentals are the only people Trungpa ever sees.

Could Akong Tulku have been right?
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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

Postby admin » Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:29 am

Chapter 7

L' affaire Merwin quickly became a hot gossip item on the coast-to-coast literary scene.

Its first effect was to create a wave of poetry-politics backlash against the Kerouac School. Robert Bly, who'd already been quietly criticizing Ginsberg for inviting only his friends to teach poetry at Naropa, now opened fire, discussing the "Merwin episode" (whose facts he had a very fuzzy idea of) in public at every opportunity.

Ginsberg, fearing the loss of a $4000 grant to the Kerouac School from the National Endowment for the Arts, responded by initiating the "Merwin cover-up" (later known as "Buddha-gate"). He contacted both Bly and Merwin and asked them to inform the NEA that there was no connection between Trungpa's alleged misbehavior and Naropa or the Kerouac School.

David Rome, Trungpa's private secretary, now wrote a letter to the Karma Dzong community of Boulder from the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center, where Trungpa was on retreat. According to one source, the letter warned the community against "enemies of the dharma" -- like, by inference, Robert Bly.

Bly returned to Boulder in May, 1977, and in the guise of a poetry reading presented his audience with a long harangue about the Merwin matter.

"I told Allen Ginsberg he is sacrificing the community of poets for his teacher," Bly is reported to have said on this occasion. "This Kerouac School is doomed."

At the intermission of Bly's "reading," a woman student of Trungpa rose and called the poet" not a warrior -- a coward."

Bly left town mumbling about "Buddhist fascism" -- the term, he claimed, which W.S. Merwin was now using to apply to the activities of Chogyam Trungpa.

The Ginsberg/Kerouac School grant application was turned down by the NEA.

Naropa and the Kerouac School had other grants to protect, like a $35,000 bundle from the Rockefeller foundation, and further applications on the fire. In order to seal these important projects off from the corrosive effects of gossip about the Merwin episode, Ginsberg, as principal media spokesman and cultural proselytiser of the Institute, sought to prevent further "leakage" of the story.

This was to prove impossible. In the summer of 1977, detective-poet Ed (The Family) Sanders was asked by Ginsberg to teach at the Kerouac School. Sanders brought in his doctrine of "Investigative Poetics" (with its motto that "poetry should again assume responsibility for the description of history") and offered his students total freedom in selecting a subject to which to apply it. They selected the Merwin affair. The ensuing class report exhumed the entire matter, sending an odor of raw anxiety through the halls of Naropa.

In the class report, the whole episode was spelled out in cold black-and-white testimony taken from principals and participants -- from everyone, in fact, except the star of the show. The eleventh Trungpa refused to cooperate in any way with the class project. Questions put to him went unanswered.

The class report was quietly circulated in xerox between September, 1977 and August, 1978, principally by the poet Ed Dorn, who distributed about 50 copies in and from Boulder. A copy that had somehow survived for six months in the Naropa Institute Library disappeared mysteriously in the summer of 1978.

There was by now considerable national interest in publishing the class report. Lawrence Ferlinghetti asked Allen Ginsberg for a copy so that he could consider it for publication by City Lights Books. Ginsberg turned down his old friend and publisher's request.

Other publishers and publications were appealing to Sanders for permission to publish. Sanders, who had carefully copyrighted the report (which was titled The Party), had begun to poll the members of his class by mail for their views on the issue of publication.

One of the first serious proposals came in August, 1978, from Boulder Monthly, a Boulder city magazine. As senior writer of the magazine, I made the proposal myself.
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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

Postby admin » Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:55 am

Chapter 8

At the summer, 1978 session of the Kerouac School, the Merwin episode was constantly under discussion. Few, if any, of the poets on the summer faculty had seen the class report, but all had an opinion. Robert Duncan, for instance, compared the stripped lovers, Merwin and Dana, with Adam and Eve, expelled from the Garden. (Which made Trungpa into -- God?)

Toward the end of that summer there appeared in the Rocky Mountain News a very interesting story about Naropa. Tibetan Brings Buddhism to Boulder, the headline announced. Inside the story, a scene at a Trungpa lecture was described. A student asked a question about why classes already paid for are constantly being interrupted by requests from the administration for more money. Trungpa dismissed the question by telling the student to be patient, then, snapping his fingers for a glass of water, continued to speak, telling his listeners they were "nothings," that their lives were like "flat Coca-Cola -- full of yukiness, and yukiness has no personality."

At the end of the News story, the Naropa/Vajradhatu finance officer was asked some dollar questions.

"It's not so important where we get our money or what we do with it," the finance officer replied.
"The important thing is what we are trying to do."

What, I wondered, is that?

I showed the Sanders class report to the publisher and editor of the magazine I worked for. They agreed to publish it. Then I wrote to Ed Sanders.

"The Investigative Poetry class at Naropa, that is, those who wrote The Party," Sanders replied on August 17, "voted by mail earlier this year on whether or not to publish the investigation. There was a majority not to publish."


Ed Sanders bumped into Anne Waldman in New York and mentioned to her that I had written to him. I soon received a phone call from a Naropa faculty poet. Was Boulder Monthly publishing The Party? No, I said. Relieved, the poet -- an old friend, by the way -- then advised me that both Anne and Allen felt any further circulation, distribution, or even mention of the Sanders class report would be "bad for everybody."

"I'm still shooting my mouth off all the time," Allen Ginsberg told a San Francisco Chronicle reporter on August 31.

On September 2, Ed Sanders reported to Ed Dorn that the latest result of the ongoing poll of the group was a 50-50 split on whether or not to print.

That same week, Anne Waldman and another faculty poet, Michael Brownstein, approached Ed Dorn with inquiries about how many xerox copies of The Party he had distributed. Brownstein then "weighed in with a piss-off notice" by way of a letter to Sanders protesting Dorn's circulation of the document. (Sanders had given Dorn express permission to distribute copies as he saw fit.)

On September 13, Ed Sanders wrote again to Ed Dorn, "there's been certain amount of pressure to print The Party, and now there is a two-vote margin in the class, not counting me, to do so. Report came in yesterday that the Vajra guards were recently training wearing Canadian Mountie uniforms, and that the word 'democracy' is now being used apparently at Naropa as a catch-all word for the ills of the world ..."

Image
R.C.M.P. Mounties (Royal Canadian Mounted Policemen)


But Sanders went on to say that he was still hesitant to allow the class report to be printed
, because (1) to do so would mean a "sure or probable break" with old poet colleagues, and (2) he still approved the "summer camp aspect of Naropa, that genuine city-bound poets and writers can get an almost free summer in a beautiful context, whatever the underpinnings of Trungpaic hype and moolahocracy."

On September 23, Sanders wrote to me again. The vote had shifted, he said, but some class members still hadn't responded to the latest poll, which was being conducted by a member of the class, Al Santoli. "The issue is democracy, as I see it," Sanders said.

One day in October, Stan Brakhage, the filmmaker, told me of how he'd been asked in 1977 to show his work at a benefit for Naropa poets whose salaries hadn't been paid. "I told them I'd do it, but only on condition the proceeds went absolutely to the poets, and not to buy a golden pillow to grace the buttocks of the guru," Brakhage said. "They said fine, I showed my films, and later found out that the poets' salaries still hadn't been paid, but that $200,000 had been spent to bring in a New York public relations consultant to do a PR campaign for Trungpa."

The aspens in the mountains turned yellow, snow came, and then one day in November, Jim Jones threw a sudden KoolAid party in Jonestown.

Two days after the Big Event in Guyana, the Village Voice brought out an embarrassing puff on Naropa by an ex-student, Robert Coe -- Dharma Mater." Under the story's lead photo, it was explained that Trungpa delights in making Americans "suck egg."

The following week, Allen Ginsberg wrote in to the Voice, complaining myopically that Anne Waldman had been left out of the story. Al Santoli also wrote in, calling "the puckish Mr. Trungpa" a "power-hungry ex-monarch whose practice involves something beyond 'crazy wisdom.'"

In his letter, ex-student Santoli describes a party to celebrate Naropa's conditional accreditation: "Trungpa arrived dressed in a British grenadier's uniform, complete with riding crop, as a group of his guards sang the anthem of his Shambhala Kingdom (which includes the U.S.).

"It's easy for a man to giggle about suffering when he is chauffeured in a Mercedes," Santoli suggests, "protected by guards in three-piece suits who hold him up when sake has wobbled his balance, and at home is waited on hand-and-foot by students working as butlers and maids, in black formal English servant outfits, who call him and his wife Your Highness and work for no pay, but rather pay monetary dues to the organization for the honor of servitude."

Jonestown caused a lot of talk among Trungpa's followers. The close-in devotees, the prostrations experts, the core faculty, all agreed that the Trungpa-Jones comparison couldn't be made. Casual students, curious outsiders not part of "the community" (i.e. the 800 dues-paying Boulder members) were not so sure. To them, "it can happen here" appeared to be a less implausible proposition.

Jonestown evidently swayed the Investigative Poetry class also. On December 3, Ed Sanders reported that the group had "voted overwhelmingly (12-4) (me not voting) to print The Party. The question is now, where? And, how many?"

Sanders mentioned continuing interest in The Party from Ferlinghetti, from John Giorno in New York, from The Coach House Press in Toronto, and also expressed interest in publishing an edition himself. On December 19, Sam Maddox, editor of Boulder Monthly, wrote to Sanders to reiterate my earlier offer. Ed Sanders accepted.
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