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.

Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

Postby admin » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:38 pm

More Naropa Flack: Letter from Jim Hartz to the Berkeley Barb, May 10, 1979

Dear Barb:

As to the "Woods" article -- originally, both Naropa and Vajradhatu staff endorsed Sanders investigation of the Seminary incident because they felt assured. (After all, they're on the side of infallible truth: the man never makes mistakes.) The "investigation" was put on ice -- minus some of the suggested topics for investigation.

The idea being -- if Trungpa gets in hot water, it'll put Allen and the Kerouac Poetry trip in hot water vicariously -- so, it was on ice not to protect Trungpa, but Allen and the Naropa Poetry trip.

Then, due to a number of factors (some revelations about Trungpa on his retreat) they changed their mind and decided to publish the thing -- still leaving out some certain topics recommended for investigation -- and, of course, filled with all the animosity and righteousness of hardcore Trungpa students -- some investigation!

I think Allen's quote in the Barb is incredible -- about Dana. And Trungpa never said that -- it's Allen's twisted interpretation of what Trungpa was getting at. His psychological fingerprints are all over it and have more to do with his attitude about Dana and Merwin than Trungpa's attitude -- after all, Trungpa has hoped Merwin would share the helm of the Naropa Poetry trip -- but Merwin didn't want to. And, of course, Trungpa would've fucked Dana given the chance. Among the courtesan circuit it's a truism never to turn down the master, any of his whims, sexual or otherwise.

Allen's become a sort of lapdog and apologist for a Tibetan monarchist who loathes anything that smacks of democracy
-- no wonder they push Thomas Hobbes in the "Vajra Politics" courses at the seminaries -- particularly Hobbes Leviathan. Frankly, as Trungpa gleefully did a couple of years ago at Naropa, proclaiming the "death of Hippiedom" (Trungpa encouraged his students to vote for Nixon vs. McGovern, Ford vs. Carter -- and if invited, would've had one of his Guards burn the tires of his Mercedes to get to dinner at Nixon's White House, but he wouldn't have been caught dead at an anti-Viet war poetry reading).

I think the Beat trip is dead. For the cover of the investigation, as far as I'm concerned, they ought to have a picture of Allen, in his Uncle Sam hat, wrapped in the Shambhala flag, pissing on Walt Whitman's grave -- and Neruda's, too!!! At least, Allen as a "Beat" is dead.
Ironic twist, to say the least.

I also think it's much to Merwin's credit the way he's dealt with this incredible desire to grind him up -- and Dana, too: a person has to be working overtime to generate such nastiness and resentment to Naropa -- what a crock: he knows they wouldn't set foot in there for a trillion dollars -- pure media hype appeal, that one -- evidently displaying his newfound "meekness and emptiness" now that he's in such hot water. And sending out these letters to Dana and Bill, to Callahan, to me, asking us to go easy on the poor little thing -- pathetic. Anyway, whatever Merwin has to say, and I'm proud to provide the space for him to say it, will be in his poems, be in his reading.

With best wishes -- sorry I got so carried away -- the Woods article was good, and don't be intimated or cajoled into submission.

Jim Hartz
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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

Postby admin » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:56 pm

I Regained My Brain: Interview with Floy van den Berg by Sam Maddox, May, 1979

The following is an interview with Floy van den Berg, a former member of the Dharmadhatu Buddhist community. This community is led by Chogyam Trungpa, who also heads the Naropa Institute. Speaking with Boulder writer Sam Maddox, Floy has explained that she once considered Trungpa a god, a beacon of truth; today, she considers him a fraud, a bastion of conceit and confusion.

Floy first met Trungpa in Vermont in 1971, shortly after he arrived in this country
. He had set up a monastery on a farm, and was conducting seminars and retreats. Recently out of college and searching for a substitute for lifelong Catholicism, Floy was swept off her feet by Trungpa and his Tibetan version of "crazy wisdom." She stayed with "the scene" when it moved to Boulder six years ago. But shortly after Trungpa settled here, Floy began to note changes -- in style and content -- of the teachings. Trungpa surrounded himself with a monarchic entourage, including his version of a palace guard, the Vajra Guards. The style of the membership changed, too. Three-piece suits replaced jeans and shirts, and cocktails at five became de riguer.

Floy began questioning her relationship to her guru, but at first found it psychologically impossible to stand on her own. She says she was kept off balance emotionally and could not assert her own personality. It was not until it became clear to Floy that Trungpa's scene had less to do with Buddhism than with affirming middle class notions of power, status and material wealth that she was able to gain the courage to tell her story.

It has not been easy to break away. Floy has endured the indignity of having a man (himself a member of the Dharmadhatu) leave her to raise their child with only the help of welfare. Floy claims the man was acting on Trungpa's advice, and that Trungpa further advises the local Buddhists not to help her in any way. Floy was thereafter emotionally -- and on several occasions, physically -- abused, she says.

Partly because of recent publicity regarding an incident at a Trungpa seminary, in which a National Book Award winning poet and his girlfriend were stripped in front of a large crowd on Trungpa's orders, Floy van den Berg feels she can no longer keep her story to herself.

Sam Maddox

Q. As far as you know, is the incident described in Ed Sanders' report, "The Party," (see Boulder Monthly, March 1979) a typical incident, or is it just an isolated occurrence?

A. It is a typical incident, it is not an isolated example. At every seminary, as far as I know, there was a confrontation involving violence. At an earlier Seminary, Bagwan Das had a drinking bout with Trungpa; Bagwan Das had his hair to his waist, tied in holy-man knots by Hari Das Baba. Trungpa drank him under the table and with a knife cut off his hair to his neck.

Q. Then the type of behavior described in "The Party" shouldn't have come as a shock to the Buddhist community?

A. In Trungpa's case, the taking of vows is a plugging-in to Trungpa and Trungpa's authority. And there are people who have been very upset by "The Party," but there is no outlet for them. It's just their personal pathos as far as Trungpa is concerned. Trungpa's scene is the only form of Buddhism today that has the disciples working for the sake of the guru -- they're sort of servants to the guru. I had an interview with Trungpa about leaving, but for a long time I was not able to leave.

Q. How do you mean that you were not able to leave?

A. I mean psychologically. All the time was taken up meditating, trying to learn to meditate, talking with people, fixing meals, or reading books. I would go visit old college friends, but I was in a different space, and unable to relate to them. I would feel forced to come back to Trungpa.

Q. Did Trungpa provide a structure, like a family structure, for you?

A. Not a family structure, but I didn't have a lot of money -- I was on welfare by then and I couldn't find a place to live. It was more just a psychological structure of people that I knew. And I was not willing to submit to that, yet I could not find any other place to be. I was pregnant, I felt emotionally traumatized by the pregnancy and emotionally traumatized by Trungpa's group, but I could not find the courage or the stamina or the personal resourcefulness to get another place. And that's very a-typical of me.

Q. So would you say that people that are into Trungpa's scene are similar to you in so far as the psychology of need or the inability to break away from it are concerned?

A. I would say that no one that I know has broken away from Trungpa, except for one woman that I know of -- that's one exception. I'm told that this is simply what I've experienced but that it doesn't happen that way for everyone, and that people are free to come and go. But I know that for anyone who has been with Trungpa a long time, it will become extraordinarily psychologically difficult to re-enter the real world. They will be dealing with a sense of self that has been broken down.

I think in all cases in Trungpa's scene you have personalities that are becoming psychologically dependent. One of the clues to that came up in Peter Marin's article in the February issue of Harper's. Marin asked Jeremy Hayward, the head of Naropa Institute, whether or not Trungpa actually did what was best for him. And Jeremy said, "But I have to think that Trungpa is doing the best."

In my thinking, what I have come to understand is that -- and I've read a lot, talked to a lot of people and spent six years in that scene in the past -- the Buddhist teachings are quite simple, easy to comprehend, and clear. But in Trungpa's scene it becomes very, very involved. Very elusive. Very difficult to communicate. And I don't think this is happening in other Buddhist situations. I have not experienced it in other Buddhist situations that I've been around.

I think that the meditation environment around Trungpa is very confused. And meditation is there to help you get clarity.

I also think people are being drawn to Trungpa not just through middle-class wanting to run away from middle-class America, and not just middle-class mindlessness, but through a very strong sociological current in America: the desire for power. I think that it is this strong underlying desire for power that keeps them there. It's "Well, if pappa can't give it to me, man, I can't get it anyplace else. This is the candy store, the IT store." This kind of greedy thinking brings them in and holds them. Buddhism is supposedly based on the lack of greed, but Tantric teachings are something else. The Tantric teachings involve the attainment of power. Many people are coming to Trungpa from many paths of life and for many reasons, most of which are based on guilt, emotional delusions, or the desire for power. All of which are negative.

I think Trungpa is sucking these people in and using that and sending it back to them. Which is what he should be doing, mirroring back people's confusion. But then, too, they shouldn't be sitting there meditating in confusion. Most of these people have spent years with him. And after all these years, they are still sitting there meditating in complete metaphysical gossip.

Trungpa Rinpoche has been in the country for nine years. People have shown very little ability to think critically or act in a reasonable manner towards the man, or hold their own with him. I know no one who has become involved with Trungpa who have been able to hold their own, and say they feel he is wrong. This is not the case with the scene around Kalu Rinpoche, in Vancouver, who is of the same sect as Trungpa. It is not the case with GoMeng Keng who came here from the Gaylupa [Gelugpa] sect.

It seems to be singularly the case that happens to people when they are around Trungpa Rinpoche. They seem to lose a sense of themselves that is capable of functioning at a critical level, and they become emotionally blown-out. It's like a bad acid trip that you don't come back from.

Q. Do women in the Buddhist scene here find it difficult to refuse Trungpa if he asks them for sexual favors?

A. Now that's a matter of ego, as they tell it. Some find it difficult and some are proud of the fact that they don't find it difficult and they do refuse him, but he stays "warm" with them. I've personally found that I was punished. I didn't want to go to bed with Trungpa.

Q. Did he ask you to?

A. Oh, yes. By my first interview he told me I could stay at the monastery in Vermont. It became clear after that that what he was asking me to do was to become one of his concubines. When he told me I could stay, the terms were not clear to me. I was just out of college, an American girl. I was looking for purity. I was looking for contact with someone I loved. I was looking for exalted states of consciousness. I wasn't looking for being the bed-partner of a guru whom I considered to be a Buddha. It didn't enter my mind. But it became clear I could stay there if I wanted to become his mistress.

And then at my second interview during the Naropa seminar in New York City, he leaned over and kissed me strongly in the middle of an interview when there was no signalling that this was about to come about.

I think the real sociological problem comes when you take Trungpa and his sexual behavior out of the context of his disciples. I personally have experienced other disciples saying, "What do you have against sex? Why can't sex be part of your teachings? What's wrong with you?"

Then you take Trungpa away from his disciples -- who are perhaps willing to undergo this on their path -- and you put Trungpa up in front of Naropa Institute for his evening lectures with an audience containing many young girls who have happened into this naively -- like I did -- and one of the guards comes up to one of them after the lecture, and she's just had this heavy experience where she feels like she's "letting-go" or "opening-up," the first time she has emotional contact with something other than what she's grown up with. And the guard comes up and says, "He wants you, tonight." What does that girl do? It's a tremendous moment for her. And there is no space for her to say "no," unless she's fairly mature, which she isn't at that time.

I think that that's when Trungpa's behavior becomes something for people in the world to know.

Q. So he's become sort of a spiritual stud?

A. Well, "sort of" wouldn't be necessary to say.

Q. What about the guards? What kind of an organization is that?

A. Once again the situation has become too solid and has lost the Buddhist content and become something else. It's at the point where, if you're going to have an intellectual analysis of Trungpa, the question of the guards is where you start questioning how he's handling his reality and why it's no longer a Buddhist reality, or a teaching reality.

I think if I went back to the myth of Radha Krishna, we could understand this a bit. Radha was guarded by bulls because she was so precious. Trungpa is not supposed to be guarded in a Buddhist world. He is a participating lineage-holder of the Karma Karmapa lineage, which is the lineage of action because supposedly all thoughts are known. The lineage is empowered to transmit a situation by thought, releasing you into action. And action is where you overcome all things. So there should be no need for the guards, because by knowing all thoughts Trungpa should be able to overcome any harm prior to its taking place.

What we're dealing with now, we're no longer dealing with a man who's giving teachings. We're dealing with a blatant pigishness or something. The presence of the guards, the way they are, the way they handle things, the elaborate things one has to go through to see Trungpa anymore -- it's all very strange, very obscure.

Trungpa was the head of a monastery in Tibet. He ran away when the Communists took over and he's successful in living but, as the head of a monastery in Tibet, he was the head of many monks, not householders. It's not the same as it is here -- he wasn't making tons of money. He wasn't going through all this psychological bowing and scraping of Westerners at his feet. He had few temptations there. There may have been women brought to the monastery; there is a son that was born to him in Tibet by a nun. It's a whole different world from what you have here. I think what you have is a macho on the rampage, in our terms.

Q. Three-piece suits weren't always the style of dress for Boulder Buddhist, were they?

A. Peter Marin said in Harper's that to him as a visitor to Naropa Institute it seemed that Trungpa was no longer taking in the drop-outs from the '60s. It being 1971 when I met Trungpa, we were all wearing blue jeans. People who are now wearing three-piece suits were then the blue-jeans '60s crew. Someone called them a motley crew and by looks they were.

Q. You're considered an enemy.

A. Yes.

Q. A Dharma enemy?

A. Yes.

Q. After the Halloween party did the community here in Boulder know about it?

A. Yes. Before people got back there were letters coming back. And then after that I was really afraid to leave, now the world was awash. If he can do this, what is he going to do?

Q. Was there any critical discussion about the party?

A. People actually questioned, "Am I" -- as Ginsberg pointed out, the question recurred to him -- "following some sort of satanic monster? Is this the Book of the Dead coming alive in some sort of LSD fantasy?"

It is. Trungpa is some sort of monster and that's why it's so hard to talk about it. He's a selfish, prudish little brat. According to Buddhist teachings he has absolutely no right acting out like that. He's doing it and he's getting away with it. And he's highly criticized by other Buddhists. His name is "mud" in Buddhist society.

Q. Describe how you denounced the lineage and the reaction of the Guru.

A. I denounced my vows and took refuge after a series of incidents including a confrontation with Trungpa Rinpoche and a public audience with his Holiness Karmapa, head of the lineage.

Q. What was Trungpa's response? What was the incident with Trungpa?

A. I had wanted to go to Seminary because I talked with John Steinbeck IV and I remembered that keeping up with America was not why I wanted to be a Buddhist. An emissary came to my house with a message from Trungpa: if I wanted to go to seminary, the child's father couldn't go. I felt Trungpa was trying to run my life, so I decided not to go.

Then I had a confrontation with him at a wedding party. Trungpa's sister-in-law was getting married. The party was a lawn party at the couple's new house. I talked to the newlyweds when I came in, and they went to a table at the back. I wanted to be at the wedding, but I did not want to be with the rest of the people there. I was planning to renounce my vows. But I felt it should be a hands-off scene at the wedding, with no confrontation.

I got comfortable talking with the groom and some friends, and then I noticed that one of the heads of Naropa Institute walked to the table, gave a slight nod of the head to me and sat down. I thought, you don't dare, but assumed that nothing would happen at a wedding.

Q. Why did you think that? Did you feel they would want to confront you?

A. I felt nervous. The matter of denouncing the vows was a serious matter and everyone I knew objected to it.

Q. What happened then?

A. More and more heads of Trungpa organizations came to the table. It looked sinister, but I still felt that nothing would happen. Then Trungpa arrived at the party. He came to the table and looked at me. I managed a bland smile. I figured they could sit at the table; it was my friend's wedding and they wouldn't dare be after me -- that here, socially, live-and-let-live could happen.

Suddenly he, Trungpa, was sitting beside me. I don't remember seeing him walk around that table; with his leg brace, I think I would have remembered. But all of a sudden he was beside me. I turned and there he was, and I went "Gulp. My Goodness."

I knew he had come to sit beside me, and I knew it was going to be difficult not to talk to him. But I figured he would follow some ethical manner of conduct. I don't know why I thought that.

Anyhow, we did talk. The conversation, as much as I remember, went as follows:

"Oh, you're not going to seminary?"

"No, I'm not."

"Are you leaving the scene?"

"Yes, in my ignorance, that is what I'm doing."

Then he leaned his head down and pulled his glasses to the middle of his nose and looked over them. It is the same gesture my father, who was a colonel in the Air Force, used when he was going to have his way.

And he said, "Well, I must say I'm disappointed in you."

I was furious: if this was the last time we're going to talk, and he said something like that, I didn't see any point in it. So I wasn't going to let it go by without trying to gain a human moment.

I said, ''I'm disappointed in you." He turned his head away. The whole atmosphere had become quite intense. Everyone at the table was staring at us and I was very nervous.

Then I said, "But I honor the teachings of the Buddha and I want you to know that."

He said, "They will be of no help to you. The lions will come and devour you. You are without my protection and I want you to know that I reject you as my student."

The way he said it was so fierce and so involved in himself. I felt so hurt by his choice of involvement in himself and his authority and lack of understanding of my naivete, my feelings and my struggle.

I said, "If the lions come and devour me, I will tell them to go and talk it over with you."

Q. What is motivating you to do this interview? What is giving you the courage to become public about these incidents?

A. It may appear that I should be motivated by the beatings and abuse I received, out of a sense of revenge. I was beaten and abused. But this story is not an attack. It is the telling of the truth.
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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

Postby admin » Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:27 am

View from the Market Pace: Naropa Student Newsletter, July 9, 1979: Philippe Ricard

Boulder Co., middle American paradise, the land of instant sunshine, where everybody smiles to everybody else. At the center you find a philosophical kingdom, but, as in all kingdoms you never get to see the king's castle. A hierarchial organisation with a body-guarded philosopher/sovereign, councillors and retinue keeps the inner palace alien to you.

Without the gates lies the market place, where the people gather, where each and every one can speak his mind, do business, buy and sell, play and dance, learn and teach; where new and old ideas interact, opening possibilities of growth. It's a meeting of pathways, where you and I get acquainted, get involved, into friendships and love, creating links that, I hope, may endure. The master of this philosophical kingdom is benevolent, let's you play your own game but when the king goes by, the people must rise, in homage? Or, just to watch the parade go by?

Naropa is just space in time, is where most of us are passing through but the barriers are there between the kingdom devotees and those who are passing through.
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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

Postby admin » Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:57 am

Buddha with His Hand Out: Westword, by Tom Clark, Aug. 3, 1979

In what is a time of crisis for higher education here in Colorado and elsewhere, a glimmer of hope has appeared out of the general darkness. From Boulder comes a suggestion on how to cope with the accelerating costs of learning. Let the state legislature take a tip from Naropa Institute on how to solve the fundraising problem. Get those lazy students off their butts and make them go out and raise the money themselves!

The financial minds at Naropa are way out ahead of the pack on this issue. While their academic peers on the Hill are busy writing off students as so much fiscal dead weight, the canny administrators of this Tibetan Buddhist-oriented institution have learned that the student body can be a school's most important resource. Tin-cuppers from Naropa's administration regularly show up at classes, soliciting cash donations and encouraging students to hit up their parents for same. According to William McKeever of the Institute, the goal of this summer's first one-month session was to raise $14,000 for the school (and the religious organization of which it is a component). A student-directed fundraising "Cabaret Night" in June raised $650 in pledges, $325 in cash donations, $350 from a raffle, $500 from the bar, and $1500 from pre-sold raffle tickets. The proceeds from the cash bar, raffle, concessions and a softball game totaled $3,700, according to the Naropa Student Newsletter.

The cabaret night "embodied the spirit of our Institute, enormous richness, energy and shared inspiration," quoth chief fundraiser McKeever.

Still, the cabaret haul left the Institute $7,870 short of its "goal" for the session. William McKeever's admonitions about eliminating this shortfall grace the pages of the latest Student Newsletter. "Here are a few reminders," McKeever begins: "$40 per student is the median figure (for donations per student per session). You can donate your housing deposit. Pledge for later in the summer, or fall, if you must. Write or call friends, parents for support (you may use the office phones) ... "

"You can donate your housing deposit." Are you listening, Roland Rautenstraus? Think what this idea could do for our state educational system!

Naropa's second-session plans call for more of the same kind of hawking and shilling that have made it the state's most progressive educational institution, cadging-wise. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, high mogul of the school, is delivering lectures on aesthetics and psychology, at $15 a hit (not included in tuition).

August 12 is the date of the all-day Fundraising Auction, and on August 17 there's the big wind-up fundraising Cabaret Night II. The following two days are designated as "Parents Weekend." Moms and dads arriving to chauffeur their newly-enlightened kids home from summer school will be given the opportunity to deposit coins and cash in huge bins placed at strategic points on Boulder's downtown mall.

Trungpa, the fellow who runs Naropa, has stated in one of his books that "the real function of the guru is to insult you."

Dean Briggs, sit up and take notice.

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

Postby admin » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:02 am

Naropa Responds, Westword, Aug. 17, 1979

To the Editor:

I would like to clarify some facts regarding your article "Buddha With His Hand Out" in your August 3 edition, concerning Naropa Institute's summer fundraising drive. All money donated to the Institute goes directly and only to the Institute for the support of its educational and artistic programs. It does not go to any religious organization, nor is Naropa "a component" of any religious organization. Legally and financially Naropa Institute is an independent, private, not for profit educational corporation. Secondly, the fee of $15.00 a night for Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche's class is not in addition to tuition. It is a prorated figure for individuals attending on a lecture by lecture basis. Visitors and press can always arrange for guest passes in advance for this or any of our classes and events.

It should be noted that this Institute began with no advance financial support, has no large alumni body, and still makes 80% of its budget through student tuition and fees, which are moderate. We are able to do this primarily because of the salary range ($5,000-$8,000 for a year-round, full-time employee or faculty member). Many of our visiting faculty teach here at their own expense, waiving their salaries ($500 for a five-week course) and making donations as well. Nevertheless, the remainder always has to be met through fund raising, and calling on the students to join in the extremely generous financial support consistently offered by the Institute's faculty, staff and friends is one necessary segment of the continuation of this new school. The personal commitment and generosity demonstrated by hundreds of our students, faculty, staff and friends over the years has been quite moving. It is this spirited involvement which created this school to begin with and continues to provide for its existence and growth, educationally, artistically, as well as financially.

William McKeever
Executive Director
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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

Postby admin » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:08 am

Religion and Politics Again: Letter from Glenn H. Mullin to Tibetan Review, Aug. 17, 1979

As documented in the last issue of the Tibetan Review, the actions of Karl G. Springer, so-called Director for External Affairs of the Vajradhatu meditation centres of Chogyam Trungpa Tulku, in sending out notices to all Vajradhatu centres slandering His Holiness the Dalai Lama and generally badmouthing the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, are irresponsible beyond belief; but they are no surprise. Throughout Buddhist groups and Tibetan sympathizers in America, there is a near-universal recognition that most movements associated with Trungpa are both politically naive and spiritually bigoted. I state this openly because I would not like the actions of Trungpa's 'Director of External Affairs' to be interpreted by the refugee community in India as representative of the work done in the names of all lamas in the west. This type of sectatrian bigotry is not associated with the centres of great teachers like the Sakyapa Lama Dezhun Rinpoche of Seattle, the Nyingma Getrul [Gyatrul] Rinpoche of California, or of Gelukpa Lamas such as Geshe Rabten, Geshe Zopa or Kyongla Tulku. Nor is it representative of Kargyu teachers such as Kalu Rinpoche, or, for that matter, of the Karmapa. It is difficult to know whether the general sectarian vibration associated with Trungpa's groups are reflective of the attitude of Trungpa himself; but, if not, he should be informed that by working in the West he is placing himself within Western ethics, meaning that a leader is responsible for the actions of his underlings.

The murder of Gungthang Tsultrim, will perhaps never be solved; but as with every sensitive event in the history of the refugee community in India, it was obviously manipulated by the Chinese anti-Tibetan agencies as a weapon to weaken the internal unity of the Tibetans. That Tsultrim's own associates were aware of this is evidenced by the fact that immediately following the incident a large number of them travelled to Dharamsala, spoke to His Holiness and the government there, and then offered long life prayers for His Holiness.

I sincerely hope that Springer's claim is untrue that, unlike His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Karmapa takes no interest in the Tibetan movement working to free Tibet from Chinese occupation; but Springer's views that if this were true it would somehow prove the latter's superior saintliness is half-witted. But he is correct on one point: he himself is in dire need of some key by which to be able to conduct himself and his work sanely.

Also, the motivation of His Holiness and many other Lamas in contributing to the Tibetan resistance movement is deeper than mere concern for the six million Tibetans who are placing their hope in them. The real reason for their concern was succinctly put by the Bhutanese delegates to the International Buddhist Conference in New Delhi last year: "Until the 1950's all of our Lamas, as well as those of other Himalayan Buddhist regions such as Sikkim and Laddakh always looked to Tibet for their training. Now that Tibet is destroyed it is hard to say how secure these Buddhist traditions will remain." Also, the former Health Minister of the Janata Government, Mr. Raj Narain, hit the nail on the head when at the same conference he stated: "You might as well face facts: unless Tibet gains her freedom, the Buddhist traditions of central Asia are bound to perish." The level of training that monks of any of the four sects presently receive in comparison to the training in old Tibet is mere primary school. For centuries Tibet has been the seat of Vajrayana Buddhism and the reservoir from which large sections of the populations of Mongolia, Laddakh, Siberia, Turkestan, Bhutan, Sikkim, etc. drew their spiritual inspiration and learning; which is, of course, why Mao was so keen to destroy Tibet as a country and as culture. The effect, he conjectured, would have the same effect on central Asia as the Roman destruction of the Druids had on Europe. It is not that the Lamas in India take time off from teachings in order to fight for Tibetan freedom; rather, it is merely a matter of their making a show of their direction from time to time. Springer may think that it is more important to convert a few Americans to weekend Buddhism than for the Lamas to try and hold together the rapidly fading splinters of their spiritual legacy here in India; but not everyone would agree with him. In Tibet not only every sect leader but also every abbot and Rpoche had a certain political as well as spiritual authority, which generally worked out more as a privilege than a burden; now that the hourglass has been turned it would hardly be a demonstration of religious qualities to turn their backs on that aspect of their trip. Perhaps some lamas do not have time at the moment to give any energy to the Tibet issue, but time will tell whether or not they will have time for Tibet when her independence has been won by the sweat of others.

As stated above, the Chinese are always looking for an opportunity to manipulate the situation in India. It could be that they will see Springer's letter as an opportunity to rid themselves of Karmapa, who has always been a pillar in the refugee community. Normally they do not like to harm the lamas, as it has the effect of creating a martyr, which strengthens the spirits of the refugees. But here Springer has built a bit of a different situation.

To rub salt into the wound he has made, Springer's supposed letter of apology to the Representative of the Tibetan Government in New York in actual fact is no apology. A look between the lines will show that all he was really doing was patting himself on the back for "having shaken up the boys at the top."

Moreover, his wild theory that Tibetan Government-in-Exile wishes to secularize the Tibetan community in India and therefore see the sect leaders as obstructive to their work is absurd beyond conception. All Tibetans are fully aware that the Lamas are the principal upholders of the Tibetan culture; without their influence, Tibetan culture is basically tukpa and momos, with the occasional Agu Tonpa joke. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama stated in an interview published by the AAP in America a few years ago, "Here in India we have had three main objectives: to settle the various groups of refugees, to establish monasteries of the different spiritual traditions in order to preserve our cultural heritage, and to do anything possible in the direction of freeing Tibet from the Chinese." I think there was wisdom in both the choice of objectives here mentioned and the order in which His Holiness mentioned them.

Springer's accusation that the Tibetan Government is sectarian is also completely off the wall. Not only do they partronize all Buddhist sects, His Holiness has made large personal donations to the Tibetan Muslims in Kashmir who are no longer even refugees. Perhaps in his few weeks in India Springer may have heard the occasional grumble about this and that, but he should have looked a bit deeper at the complexity of the refugee situation before leaping into absurdity. Having spent almost a decade in various refugee communities in India and known intimate friends from all the sects, I have no doubt that the general level of morale of the communities is high. As in any system there are squabbles and dissension, but these are a sign of healthy community, not of internal chaos. As Abe Lincoln put it, you can't satisfy all the people all the time.

Glenn H. Mullin
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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

Postby admin » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:19 am

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 attached with reference to yesterday's conversation. I ignore the specific reasons for the scheduling change, but surmise that Mr. Springer's apology was found unsatisfactory.

The Karmapa established his numerous centers in this country so as to give his lineage proper, authoritative representation, which he may feel is not transmitted by Trungpa's centers. Since the Karmapa discovered and confirmed the present Trungpa's Tulku status and accepted on two occasions Trungpa's lavish hospitality, the Karmapa's present non-recognition of Trungpa is a harsh step, which Trungpa's inability to curb his outrageous womanizing and boozing probably precipitated.

Trungpa's preoccupation with assassination, never appearing without his retinue of armed (?) guards, his heavily guarded (against whom?) residence, his community's feudal structure with it's deadly court intrigues makes good copy: I hope you will publish a sequel to your excellent earlier coverage of the Boulder Buddhist scene!

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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

Postby admin » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:23 am

The Big Payoff

The National Endowment for the Arts, according to its letterhead "a federal agency advised by the National Council on the Arts," announced the results of its most recent two-year fellowship sweepstakes in early November, 1979. The following writers, all of whom are presently or have in the past been salaried staff instructors or "core faculty" members of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute (and who therefore are at least implicit proponents of what Allen Ginsberg has called the "experiment in monarchy" of Chogyam Trungpa) received federal grants of $10,000:

Allen Ginsberg
Peter Orlovsky
Anne Waldman
Michael Brownstein
Larry Fagin
Richard Gallup
Ted Berrigan
Alice Notley Berrigan
Lewis Warsh
Bernadette Mayer Warsh
Diane Di Prima
Bobbie L. Creeley
Carl Rakosi
Bill Berkson
Tom Veitch

The Literature Advisory Panel which participated in the 1979 fellowship recommendation process included Ron Padgett, a former Naropa poetics instructor. ("The luck was that Ron was on the board, for them," commented Steve Katz, another member of the Panel).

It was suggested by Tom Clark to David Wilk, Literature Program Director of the NEA, that the awarding of $150,000 in fellowships to one small, identifiable group of writers amounts to the wholesale federal subsidy of an avowedly anti-democratic literary movement.

"Personally, I'm upset about it," Wilk responded, "but publicly I can't say a word. I can't disagree with what you're saying about where the money went; all I can tell you is that I had no inkling that this could happen. I'm just an administrator. It's out of my control."
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Re: The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, by Tom Clark

Postby admin » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:26 am

THE PARTY / A CHRONOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE ON A CONFRONTATION AT A BUDDHIST SEMINARY, prepared and written by members of the Investigative Poetry Group under the direction of Ed Sanders, investigative coordinator, will be available in February, 1980 from:

Box 729
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