Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexually as

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: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:39 am

A Nabob’s return: the Pybus conversation piece by Nathaniel Dance
by Emma Lauze
Art Journal 43
June 2, 2014



I was born Diana Judith Pybus at Queen Charlotte's Hospital in London, England, on October 8, 1953, at midnight on the new moon. My great-great grandfather was the first British ambassador to Ceylon and a member of the Council of Madras. When he returned to England, the king honored him by adding an elephant to the family coat of arms, which is also part of the Pybus seal on the family signet ring.

David Humphrey Pybus, my father, grew up in a large country house in the village of Hexham in Northumberland in the north of England. The house was close to Hadrian's Wall and in fact was made out of stones from the wall, so it had enormously thick walls. Denton Hall, as it was called, is one of the famous haunted houses in England.

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

N. B. The following oath was tendered to, and taken by Mr. Holwell in Council the 24th of December, 1759.

"I John Zephaniah Holwell, one of the Council of Fort William, 1756, when Kissendass, the son of Rajah Bullob, received the protection of this presidency, do solemnly swear that I never did, directly or indirectly, receive from the said Kissendass, or from anyone on his behalf, any the least reward or gratuity, either in money, jewels, or merchandise, for such protection granted the said Kissendass, and that I never did, on any other pretence or consideration whatsoever, benefit myself by the said Kissendass to the amount or value of one rupee. So help me God.

J. Z. Holwell."


The scrutiny ordered in the before-recited 132d paragraph, was made by Colonel Clive at Moorshadabad, (where Kissendass then resided) at the time the Colonel went to take leave of the Nabob, on his departure for Europe. On his return to Fort William, he wrote the following letter to the Board, on the subject of his enquiry.

To the Gentlemen of Council.

22d January, 1760.


"The justice I owe to my own reputation, as well as my duty to the Company, obliged me, prior to the resignation of this Government, to use my utmost endeavors in coming at the truth of the heavy charge, seemingly contained against Mr. Holwell, in the 132d paragraph of the general letter. Enclosed is the solemn attestation of Kissendass; and I make no doubt but that gentleman's innocence will appear as clear to the Court of Directors, as it did to us who were present at, and witnessed the said attestation."

N. B. The gentlemen who witnessed the attestation were,

Col. Clive,
Col. Ford,
Major Caillaud,
Mr. Pybus,
Capt. Carnac.

-- Important Facts regarding the East India Company's Affairs in Bengal, from the Year 1752 to 1760. This Treatise Contains an Exact State of the Company's Revenues in that Settlement; With Copies of several very interesting Letters Showing Particularly, The Real Causes Which Drew on the Presidency of Bengal the Dreadful Catastrophe of the Year 1767; and Vindicating the Character of Mr. Holwell From Many Scandalous Aspersions Unjustly Thrown Out Against Him, in an Anonymous Pamphlet, Published March 6th, 1764, Entitled, "Reflections on the Present State of Our East-India Affairs." by J.Z. Holwell


The National Gallery of Victoria has recently acquired a magnificent conversation piece of The Pybus family, c.1769, by the British artist Nathaniel Dance (1735–1811). The painting will complement the NGV’s already impressive holdings in the area of eighteenth-century British art and will be the first work by Dance on display in a public collection in Australia (fig. 1).

The picture represents John Pybus Senior (1727–1789), a retired East India Company servant, and his wife Martha, née Small, (1733–1802), with their children identified, from left to right as: Martha (1758–1788), Anne (1756–1791), John Junior (1754–1808), and Charles Small (1766–1810). The family is depicted full-length, exquisitely dressed in tones of pink and grey, in an idyllic English-landscape setting. The painting was brought to Australia in 1897 by descendants of the sitters and, from that point on, escaped the notice of scholars of both Nathaniel Dance and eighteenth-century British art. It is a source, therefore, of great excitement that this beautiful work has now emerged, newly cleaned, into the public sphere.

John Pybus Senior was born into modest circumstances on 22 November 1727, the only child of Bryan Pybus (1690–1747) of Dover and Mary Kempster of Harwich.1 His father came from Thirsk in Yorkshire but worked as an agent on the packet boats at Dover.2 Aged fifteen, on 15 December 1742, John was sent as a writer to Fort St George, Madras, by the East India Company. The post was clerical but it did at least offer the opportunity for advancement. At the very same meeting, Robert Clive – known to posterity as Clive of India – was also appointed as a writer.3

In March 1752 John Pybus received his first promotion when he was sent to oversee the company factory at Deve Cotah; when he returned at the end of that year he was a junior-merchant on £30 per annum.4 In view of his improved circumstances and future prospects, aged twenty-eight, he married Martha Small of Lewisham on 20 October 1753 in Madras. The young couple must have left immediately for Fort Marlborough in Sumatra where Pybus was appointed as deputy governor on a salary of £40 per annum.5 It was here on 1 January 1755 that the first of their eight children (and the oldest boy in the painting), was baptised John. Another child was born later that year but died shortly after. Their daughter Anne was born on 16 November 1756, presumably in Sumatra as well, but this is not documented; she stands second from the left in the painting.6 On the family’s return to Madras in 1757, a further daughter, Martha, was born on 30 June 1758; she is the younger girl in the painting. Pybus was to write mournfully to Robert Clive on the eve of the birth of his fifth child in March 1764, ‘If a fortune had been as easy to have got as children, I should have been a very rich fellow long ago but this I was certainly never intended to be’.7 The child died shortly after.

Immediately on his return to Madras, Pybus was engaged as assay master, followed by his appointment in October to the council who ran the Presidency of Madras. The following year he was made land customer.8 However, the same directors who only shortly before had declared themselves satisfied, started to question his actions in Sumatra, so much so that he felt compelled to return to London to defend his reputation. He resigned from the council and wrote to them explaining his sudden departure was due to ‘[t]he justification of my character, which to my great uneasiness and concern … has been most basely traduced and misrepresented to my employers’ who he had served ‘with zeal and fidelity’ for sixteen years.9

His wife and family were already in England having left India in September 1758.10 During their reunion in England, a further child was born and named Margaret Clive after his friend, but she died soon afterwards.11 Presumably having cleared his name and justified his actions, Pybus returned again to Madras in October 1761.
While he was in England his brother-in-law, Mr Fairfield, had been appointed to the chieftainship of Masulipatan. Pybus, who wanted the post himself, wrote indignantly to Clive:

I have been deprived of my Right, nay I may say my rank in the service by it for what other benefit arises from Rank but that of succeeding to those Places of Profit which the service affords and very few these are of them God knows.12

Perhaps to mollify him, the council sent him as the ambassador to the King of Kandy in Ceylon. The ostensible purpose was to establish exclusive trading rights with the king over the Dutch. The embassy failed but Pybus’s report and diary survive and have been published.13 Despite the physical discomfort of the embassy, clearly it was something of which he was proud as it is commemorated on his funerary epitaph where it states that he was ‘the first Englishman received in a public character at that Prince’s court’.14 Meanwhile, his wife and family had joined him again in Madras from England, he reasoned frugally ‘I think I shall be able to support her here at as little expense as in England’.15

From November 1762, perhaps due to the intervention of Clive, he was finally appointed as the new chieftain of Masulipatan.16 Pybus must have made the fortune he had so longed for at Masulipatan as he was subsequently able to leave India and the East India Company for good.
There was one further addition to the family during this period, Charles Small Pybus, who was born in November 1766 in Madras and who stands on his mother’s lap in the painting. The following November John Pybus, his wife and three17 children are documented leaving Madras for the last time to a gun salute on the Hector. The family changed boats at St Helena on to the Northumberland and arrived back in England in May 1768. Pybus’s epitaph proclaims:

Having during a period of twenty-five years filled these and other public situations in India, with fidelity to his honourable employers and credit to himself, he returned to his native country.18


On their return to England the family seem to have settled in London at Brudley Street, Berkeley Square.19 Shortly afterwards, in August 1768, John Pybus bought the ancient property of Pricklers in East Barnet, Hertfordshire, just outside London, from Thomas Brand MP, in whose family the property had been since 1558. In true nabob fashion, the Pybus family were establishing themselves with their Indian-made money both in town and country.20 There could be no better way to advertise their new wealth and prosperity than to commission a family portrait by one of the most fashionable artists of the time, Nathaniel Dance (fig. 2). The artist had run a successful portrait practice from 13 Tavistock Row, Covent Garden, since returning from Italy in the mid 1760s. While in Italy he had made a name for himself as a painter of conversation pieces of Grand Tourists, that peculiarly English genre of informal group portraiture. In order to improve his style and his clientele, from 1762 Dance worked alongside Pompeo Batoni (1708–1787) the pre-eminent portraitist in Rome, renowned for his elegant and refined conversation pieces of English travellers (fig. 3). The prominence of Dance’s recent sitters cannot have been unimportant in Pybus’s choice of the artist for a family portrait. In 1768, commissioned by George III, Dance painted the king’s brother-in-law, Christian VII of Denmark. It was Dance alone who exhibited portraits of the king and queen at the first Royal Academy Exhibition in 1769 where he had chosen to exclusively exhibit portraits.21 On the Pybus family’s return from India, Dance’s profile as a portrait painter was particularly high.


No account books or sitters’ books of Nathaniel Dance’s survive from this period and it is therefore not possible to confirm the attribution or date of the painting through this means. However, as the age of the Pybus children is well documented, it is possible to establish the date of the painting within a period of eighteen months. On the family’s return from India in May 1768, John was thirteen and a half; Ann, eleven and a half; Martha, ten; and Charles, one and a half. In the painting their childish features and appearance makes it extremely unlikely that they are any more than, at most, a year and a half older than these ages, dating the painting to no later than the end of 1769 (figs 4 & 5). Tantalisingly, we know that there was a conversation piece exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1770 which is as yet unidentified and may well prove in time to be this painting.22 Although the painting is unsigned and until now has been attributed to Dance on stylistic grounds and the family tradition of the former owners, John Pybus’s will of 1787 clearly refers to the family pictures by Dance’.23



The fine clothes, elegant poses and English countryside speak volumes about the status and aspirations of the family on their return. However, the painting can be viewed more poignantly as commemorating the family’s survival. Collectively they had survived war, disease and separation. John’s beloved wife Martha had given birth to seven children, three of whom had died soon after their birth, all but one having been born in the heat and disease-ridden conditions of the East. The family had been divided between Europe and the Indian subcontinent on several occasions and even when they were together in India, it seems that Martha and the children lived at Fort St George while John Pybus lived at Masulipatan. Finally the family were reunited and were looking forward to a new life in their native country and it is this, as much as their wealth, that Dance captures for posterity.

The Landscape in which the family stands appears to be idealised and is similar to the background of other portraits by Dance, in particular the treatment of the tree with creepers climbing up the trunk (fig. 6). However, if, for argument’s sake, it does represent a location that is associated with the family, one must look to the Pricklers estate in Hertfordshire and not to Cheam, Surrey, where the family is buried, as this land was not acquired until 1788.

The Pybus conversation piece was not the only painting by Dance that John Pybus commissioned; it seems he was a good client of the artist. The use of the plural in John Pybus’s will when he mentions the family pictures by Dance makes clear that there was more than one family picture by the artist. In addition to this, a further half-length portrait of John Pybus by Dance is specifically mentioned in the will.24 In total, therefore, there were at least three paintings commissioned of the family from the painter, all of which must have been painted before the closure of his practice in 1782 and most likely predate the mid 1770s tailing off of that practice. Fascinatingly, we also know that Pybus commissioned a portrait of Robert Clive, as in 1780 Francis Fowke, resident of Benares and a school friend of John Pybus Junior, was sent by his uncle, John Walsh, ‘a large picture of Lord Clive … It is a copy of that done by Dance for Mr Pybus’.25 It is quite probable that Pybus’s painting is the prototype half-length of Clive with the Battle of Plassey in the background at Powis Castle, Wales, of which there are eight copies, one of which is in the National Portrait Gallery, London.26

Major-General the Right Honourable The Lord Clive KB FRS. Lord Clive in military uniform. The Battle of Plassey is shown behind him. By Nathaniel Dance. National Portrait Gallery, London.


The Pybus conversation piece should be viewed not only in the context of other commissions by John Pybus from Dance but also in the wider context of a number of other portraits of East India Company servants dating from a similar period by the artist. Dance received a commission from John Pybus’s friend Robert Palk, governor of Madras, for a portrait of his wife and children which was exhibited at the Royal Academy Exhibition in 1771.27 He also painted Lady Clive and a further full-length portrait of Lord Clive, both dated to c.1772–73 and at Powis Castle, Wales.28 It can be no coincidence that these three close associates all commissioned portraits by Dance during the same period. In addition there is a cryptic note in John Pybus’s papers for ‘Cash paid Dance the Limner for the frame of a Picture’ under the account of his son-in-law Sir Robert Fletcher who was on the military side of the company – was he too painted by the artist?29

The subsequent history of the painting can be traced through the wills of the family. In his own will John Pybus requested that:

I also will and direct that my said wife shall have the possession of our family pictures by Dance … during her life and after her demise I give the said family pictures and all my other pictures and paintings of whatsoever kind not herein before or herein after specifically disposed of, to my son John Pybus’.30

His wife Martha died on 4 November 1802 in her sixty-ninth year; the painting must then have passed to John Pybus Junior. In his will of 1808 it is written: ‘I give to my dear son John Bryan Pybus all my family pictures’.31 He died in the same year and the painting must then have passed to his only son, who, like his grandfather, had returned to Madras as a writer in 1807. It is possible that the painting travelled out to India at this point. John Bryan Pybus married Catherine Wilson in Madras in 1818, but he died shortly afterwards and was buried in Madras on 27 January 1820.32 His widow and son John, who had been born in 1819, probably returned to England at this point. We certainly know that the painting passed to the son in later life, as on 18 May 1885 a John Pybus of 33 Spring Gardens, London, wrote to the National Portrait Gallery offering the painting on loan, describing it in a letter as

a fine picture by ‘Dance’ with a landscape by ‘Wilson’ a family group of the late John Pybus and his wife and children about 120 years old and in very fine preservation.33

I believe the mention of the landscape being by Wilson must be discounted, the two artists are not known to have collaborated.

At the trustees meeting on 6 June 1885 the offer was turned down on the basis that loans were not accepted on principle. This John Pybus (1819–1886) and his wife Charlotte Coventry had ten children. Their eldest daughter was Martha, who married William Cooke. On her father’s death the painting seems to have passed to her brother Cecil who sold it in 1897 for £500 to Martha’s Australian grandson, Samuel Winter Cooke, the son of Cecil Pybus Cooke and Arabella Winter. The painting has then passed by descent (fig. 7).34


We know little of the Pybus family’s life on their return from India until in 1773, perhaps because his fortune had dwindled, John Pybus set up a bank, Pybus, Hyde, Dorsett & Cockell, at 148 New Bond Street.35 Mr Russell, John Pybus Junior’s former tutor, wrote in 1778

Mr Pybus & son are partners in a Bankers shop in Bond Street. The former struggles incessantly with an asthma and other disorders, which frequently renders his life doubtful for four and twenty hours. His son John finds full employment in the shop and has but little leisure for literary pursuits or any other pleasure.36

John Pybus Junior became a partner in the bank in 1779, replacing Mr Hyde. In 1785 a new bank was founded, Pybus, Cockell, Pybus & Call, and moved premises to Old Bond Street.37 In a letter to Warren Hastings, John Pybus Senior asked if he

might assist in promoting the interests of our house by recommending it to any of your friends who may not already have appointed attorneys to the management of their money concerns in this country.38

The records of the bank do not survive although it seems to have been deliberately aimed at the niche market of absentee East India men.

In 1774 Ann made an impressive marriage to Brigadier-General Sir Robert Fletcher, Commander in Chief of the British Forces, and returned with him to India. She was followed in 1776 by her younger sister, Martha, who shortly after her arrival married Lieutenant Arthur Lysaght.39 Soon after, Sir Robert died on Mauritius on 24 December 1776 and Ann returned as a wealthy widow to live with her family in England who had by now moved to Harley Street.40 At about this time the eighth child of John and Martha Pybus was born, Catherine Amelia; she was the only child who lived to adulthood and who is not in the painting. Charles Small Pybus qualified to the Bar and went on to became MP for Dover and a lord of the Admiralty.41

By the time of his will in 1787 John Pybus was no longer living in Harley Street but in Old Bond Street above the banking house. He had sold his country estate, Pricklers, in 1781 to General Provost for £9000.42 In a codicil to his will, in the knowledge that he was dying, John Pybus bought Cheam House, Cheam, Surrey, just outside London, from the trustees of the late Edmund Saxnay for £1500 at Carraway’s Coffee House in 1788. He bought the property as a security for his wife from which she might live after his demise. The house was pulled down in 1922 but is recorded in photographs prior to this.43

John Pybus died on 22 June 1789 and was buried on 29 June in the Church of St Dunstan’s, Cheam. His wife Martha, sons John and Charles and daughter Ann were also all buried there. It is only his daughter Martha who is not buried at Cheam; she died in 1788, most probably in India, having remarried a company surgeon on her first husband’s death.44 Three Pybus wall monuments were saved from destruction when the church was rebuilt in 1864 and can be seen in the Lumley Chapel – the remaining part of the medieval church.45 Cheam House was sold by John Pybus Junior in 1803 following his mother’s death.

The reappearance of the Pybus conversation piece has cast a refreshing new light on Nathaniel Dance and his portrait practice. As a Dance portrait in a good state of preservation, it highlights the quality of the artist’s work on his return to London. This has not previously been studied in any great depth, his work in Italy and as a history painter having always attracted more attention. Through research on John Pybus’s patronage of Dance it has also become clear that he was not alone as an East India Company servant in favouring the artist. Pybus, like many other nabobs, returned to England in the 1760s with a large disposable income just when Dance’s star was in the ascendant and it is unsurprising to find the two attracted to each other. John Pybus may have until now only appeared in history books as a footnote to Robert Clive or as the father of his more famous son Charles Small Pybus but he and his family are deserving of greater attention by historians, not least because of Dance’s family portrait.

Emma Lauze, Photographic Activist, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London (in 2004).



In addition to the specific citations that follow, a number of official public records pertaining to Pybus family genealogy, travel and property dealings were used in researching this article. For Pybus family genealogy, see Ecclesiastical Returns, Madras, 1698–1784, N/2/1 f. 279, f. 312, f. 534 & J/1/22 f. 149; Sumatra Proceedings, 1755, G35/10 & 10A; Oriental and India Office Collections, BL; Register of St Dunstan’s, Cheam, Sutton Archives and Local Studies Collection. For travel dates and passenger lists, see Journal of the Hector, L/MAR/B 486F, 4 Nov. 1767 & 19 Feb. 1768; –Northumberland L/MAR/B/141D 22 Mar. & 29 May 1768, Oriental and India Office Collections. For property purchases and sales, see Indenture of Lease, 5 Feb. 1788 and Release, 6 Feb. 1788, Sutton Archives and Local Studies Collection.

Websites: ... tudies.htm

1 See Rev. W. Betham, The Baronetage of England, vol. 3, London, 1801–05, p.399, fn.

2 See R. G. Thorne, History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1790–1820, vol. 4, London, 1986, p. 905.

3 See Court Minute Book, B/67, pp. 177–83, Oriental and India Office Collections, BL, London.

4 See B. S. Baliga, (ed.), Records of Fort St George. Diary and Consultation Book of 1752, Madras, 1939, pp. 51 & 61.

5 ibid., p. 385.

6 Ann Pybus’s birth date appears on her tomb in the Lumley Chapel, Cheam, (see transcription in Rev. O. Manning, The History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey, vol. 2, London, 1804–14, p.477).

7 John Pybus, letter to Robert Clive, 27 March 1764, Clive Papers, MSS Eur/G37, box 32, Oriental and India Office Collections.

8 See Baliga, (ed.), Records of Fort St George, 1758, 1953, pp. 15 & 193.

9 Pybus, letter, 1 January 1760, transcribed in Baliga, (ed.), Records of Fort St George, 1760, p.24.

10 ibid., p. 168.

11 Manning, p. 477.

12 Pybus, letter, 8 April 1762, box 29.

13 See Pybus, Account of Mr Pybus’s Mission to the King of Kandy in 1762, Ceylon, 1862.

14 Manning, p. 476.

15 Pybus, letter, 12 January 1763.

16 See Baliga, (ed.), Records of Fort St George, 1762, 1946, P. 74.

17 It is not clear why three, not four, children are documented; as Charles Small was a baby it is possible he was not documented, it is also possible that John Junior was already in England for his education (see Journal of the Hector, L/MAR/B 486F, entries for 4 Nov. 1767 & 19 Feb. 1768, Oriental and India Office Collections).

18 Epitaph on John Pybus’s wall monument, Lumley Chapel, Cheam, transcribed in Manning, pp. 476–7.

19 Pybus, letter, 22 June 1768, box 53.

20 See J. M. Holzman, The Nabobs in England. A Study of the Returned Anglo-Indian 1760–1785, New York, 1926, pp. 7 & 158.

21 See D. Goudreau, Nathaniel Dance 1735–1811 (exh. cat.), Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, London, 1977, introd., unpaginated.

22 See A. Graves, The Royal Academy of Arts. A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and their Work from its Foundation in 1769 to 1904, vol. 2, London, 1905, p.239, 1770, entry no. 69.

23 Will of John Pybus Senior, 18 August 1787, PROB 11/1184, London.

24 ibid.

25 John Walsh, letter to Francis Fowke, 23 June 1780, Fowke Papers, MSS Eur D11, K25, letter 19, Oriental and India Office Collections.

26 See J. Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, 1977, pp. 56–9.

27 See Graves, p. 239, 1771, entry no. 56. The painting is now unlocated and is known only from photographs.

28 See J. Steegman, A Survey of Portraits in Welsh Houses, vol. 1, Cardiff, 1956–62, p. 266, nos 47 & 50; and Goudreau, nos 32 & 33.

29 Pybus, note in account book, February 20 1775, John Pybus Papers, MSS Eur f. 110/2, Oriental and India Office Collections.

30 Will of John Pybus Senior, PROB 11/1184.

31 Will of John Pybus Junior, 27 May 1808, PROB 11/1480.

32 See C. C. Prinsep, Record of Services of the Honourable East India Company’s Civil Servants in the Madras Presidency from 1741–1858, London, 1885, pp. 117–18. For his marriage and birth of child see Ecclesiastical Returns, Madras, J/1/22 f. 149.

33 Letter with minutes of the NG trustees 176th meeting, National Portrait Gallery archive.

34 Details of the sale to the Australian line of the family have been taken from notes kindly provided by the National Gallery of Victoria, having been compiled from the Winter Cooke Papers at the La Trobe Australian Manuscripts Collection, State Library of Victoria.

35 See F. G. Hilton Price, A Handbook of London Bankers with Some Account of their Predecessors the Early Goldsmiths, London, 1876, p. 21.

36 See S. Russell, letter to Francis Fowke, Marylebone, 14 January 1778, Fowke Papers, MSS Eur D11, K25, letter 8, Oriental and India Office Collections.

37 See Hilton Price, p. 21.

38 John Pybus, letter to Warren Hastings, 8 October 1784, Warren Hastings MSS Add. 29166 f. 254, Manuscript Collection, BL.

39 See Ecclesiastical Returns, Madras, 1698–1784, N2/1 f. 378.

40 See Russell, letter, 14 January 1778.

41 See Thorne, pp. 905–7.

42 See Holzman, pp. 76 & 158.

43 See photographic files, Sutton Archives.

44 See Manning, p. 477.

45 See C. J. Marshall, A History of the Old Villages of Cheam and Sutton, Surrey, 1936, p. 29.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:38 am

Part 1 of 2

Robert Clive
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/14/19



Major-General the Right Honourable The Lord Clive KB FRS. Lord Clive in military uniform. The Battle of Plassey is shown behind him. By Nathaniel Dance. National Portrait Gallery, London.

Fascinatingly, we also know that Pybus commissioned a portrait of Robert Clive, as in 1780 Francis Fowke, resident of Benares and a school friend of John Pybus Junior, was sent by his uncle, John Walsh, ‘a large picture of Lord Clive … It is a copy of that done by Dance for Mr Pybus’.25 It is quite probable that Pybus’s painting is the prototype half-length of Clive with the Battle of Plassey in the background at Powis Castle, Wales, of which there are eight copies, one of which is in the National Portrait Gallery,

-- A Nabob’s return: the Pybus conversation piece by Nathaniel Dance, by Emma Lauze

Governor of the Presidency of Fort William, Bengal
In office
Preceded by Roger Drake
as President
Succeeded by Henry Vansittart
In office
Preceded by Henry Vansittart
Succeeded by Harry Verelst
Personal details
Born 29 September 1725
Styche Hall, Market Drayton, Shropshire, England
Died 22 November 1774 (aged 49)
Berkeley Square, Westminster, London
Nationality British
Alma mater Merchant Taylors' School
Awards KB
Military service
Allegiance Kingdom of Great Britain

Branch/service Flag of the British East India Company (1707).svg Company Army
Years of service 1746–1774
Rank Major-general
Unit British East India Company
Commands Commander-in-Chief of India

Battles/wars War of the Austrian Succession
Battle of Madras
Siege of Cuddalore
Siege of Pondicherry
Tanjore Expedition
Second Carnatic War
Siege of Trichinopoly
Siege of Arcot
Battle of Arnee
Battle of Chingleput
Seven Years' War
Battle of Vijaydurg
Recapture of Calcutta
Battle of Chandannagar
Battle of Plassey

Major-General Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive, KB, FRS (29 September 1725 – 22 November 1774), also known as Clive of India, Commander-in-Chief of British India, was a British military officer and East India Company official who established the military and political supremacy of the East India Company in Bengal. He is credited with securing a large swath of South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan) and the wealth that followed, for the British East India Company. In the process, he also turned himself into a multi-millionaire. Together with Warren Hastings he was one of the key early figures setting in motion what would later become British India. Blocking impending French mastery of India, and eventual British expulsion from the continent, Clive improvised a military expedition that ultimately enabled the East India Company to adopt the French strategy of indirect rule via puppet government. Hired by the company to return a second time to India, Clive conspired to secure the Company's trade interests by overthrowing the locally unpopular heir to the throne of Bengal, the richest state in India, richer than Britain, at the time. Back in England, he used his success to secure an Irish barony, from the then Whig PM, Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle, and again a seat for himself in Parliament, via Henry Herbert, 1st Earl of Powis, representing the Whigs in Shrewsbury, Shropshire (1761–1774), as he had previously in Mitchell, Cornwall (1754–1755).[1][2]

Clive was one of the most controversial figures in all British military history. His achievements included establishing control over much of India, and laying the foundation of the entire British Raj (though he worked only as an agent of the East India Company, not the British government). For his methods and his self-aggrandisement he was vilified by his contemporaries in Britain, and put on trial before Parliament. Of special concern was that he amassed a personal fortune in India. Modern historians have criticised him for atrocities, for high taxes, and for the forced cultivation of crops which exacerbated famines.[3][4][5]

Early life

Robert Clive was born at Styche, the Clive family estate, near Market Drayton in Shropshire, on 29 September 1725 to Richard Clive and Rebecca (née Gaskell) Clive.[6] The family had held the small estate since the time of Henry VII. The family had a lengthy history of public service: members of the family included an Irish chancellor of the exchequer under Henry VIII, and a member of the Long Parliament. Robert's father, who supplemented the estate's modest income as a lawyer, also served in Parliament for many years, representing Montgomeryshire.[7] Robert was their eldest son of thirteen children; he had seven sisters and five brothers, six of whom died in infancy.[8]

St. Mary's in Market Drayton, whose tower Clive is reputed to have climbed

Clive's father was known to have a temper, which the boy apparently inherited. For reasons that are unknown, Clive was sent to live with his mother's sister in Manchester while still a toddler. Biographer Robert Harvey suggests that this move was made because Clive's father was busy in London trying to provide for the family.[9] Daniel Bayley, the sister's husband, reported that the boy was "out of measure addicted to fighting".[10][11] He was a regular troublemaker in the schools he was sent to.[12] When he was older he and a gang of teenagers established a protection racket that vandalised the shops of uncooperative merchants in Market Drayton. Clive also exhibited fearlessness at an early age. He is reputed to have climbed the tower of St Mary's Parish Church in Market Drayton and perched on a gargoyle, frightening those down below.[13]

When Clive was nine his aunt died, and, after a brief stint in his father's cramped London quarters, he returned to Shropshire. There he attended the Market Drayton Grammar School, where his unruly behaviour (and improvement in the family's fortunes) prompted his father to send him to Merchant Taylors' School in London. His bad behaviour continued, and he was then sent to a trade school in Hertfordshire to complete a basic education.[8] Despite his early lack of scholarship, in his later years he devoted himself to improving his education. He eventually developed a distinctive writing style, and a speech in the House of Commons was described by William Pitt as the most eloquent he had ever heard.[7]

First journey to the East (1744–1753)

See also: First Carnatic War

Clive House at Fort St. George, Chennai

Plaque at Clive House

In 1744 Clive's father acquired for him a position as a "factor" or company agent in the service of the East India Company, and Clive set sail for Bombay, (present day Mumbai, India). After running aground on the coast of Brazil, his ship was detained for nine months while repairs were completed. This enabled him to learn some Portuguese,[14] one of the several languages then in use in south India because of the Portuguese center at Goa. At this time the East India Company had a small settlement at Fort St. George near the village of Madraspatnam, later Madras, now the Indian metropolis of Chennai,[15] in addition to others at Calcutta, Bombay, and Cuddalore.[16] Clive arrived at Fort St. George in June 1744, and spent the next two years working as little more than a glorified assistant shopkeeper, tallying books and arguing with suppliers of the East India Company over the quality and quantity of their wares. He was given access to the governor's library, where he became a prolific reader.[17]

Political situation in south India

The land Clive arrived in was divided into a number of successor states to the Mughal Empire. Over the forty years, since the death of the Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707, the power of the emperor had gradually fallen into the hands of his provincial viceroys or Subahdars. The dominant rulers on the Coromandel Coast were the Nizam of Hyderabad, Asaf Jah I, and the Nawab of the Carnatic, Anwaruddin Muhammed Khan. The nawab nominally owed fealty to the nizam, but in many respects acted independently. Fort St. George and the French trading post at Pondicherry were both located in the nawab's territory.[18]

The relationship between the Europeans in the region was influenced by a series of wars and treaties in Europe, and by commercial rivalries for trade on the subcontinent. Through the 17th and early 18th centuries, the French, Dutch, Portuguese, and British had vied for control of various trading posts, and for trading rights and favour with local Indian rulers. The European merchant companies raised bodies of troops to protect their commercial interests and latterly to influence local politics to their advantage. Military power was rapidly becoming as important as commercial acumen in securing India's valuable trade, and increasingly it was used to appropriate territory and to collect land revenue.[19]

First Carnatic War

Further information: Carnatic Wars and War of the Austrian Succession

Portrait by Charles Clive, c. 1764

In 1720 France effectively nationalized the French East India Company, and began using it to expand its imperial interests. This became a source of conflict with the British in India with the entry of Britain into the War of the Austrian Succession in 1744.[16] The Indian theatre of the conflict is also known as the First Carnatic War. Hostilities in India began with a British naval attack on a French fleet in 1745, which led the French Governor-General Dupleix to request additional forces.[20] On 4 September 1746, Madras was attacked by French forces led by La Bourdonnais. After several days of bombardment the British surrendered and the French entered the city.[21] The British leadership was taken prisoner and sent to Pondicherry. It was originally agreed that the town would be restored to the British after negotiation but this was opposed by Dupleix, who sought to annex Madras to French holdings.[22] The remaining British residents were asked to take an oath promising not to take up arms against the French; Clive and a handful of others refused, and were kept under weak guard as the French prepared to destroy the fort. Disguising themselves as natives, Clive and three others eluded their inattentive sentry, slipped out of the fort, and made their way to Fort St. David (the British post at Cuddalore), some 50 miles (80 km) to the south.[23][24] Upon his arrival, Clive decided to enlist in the Company army rather than remain idle; in the hierarchy of the Company, this was seen as a step down.[25] Clive was, however, recognized for his contribution in the defence of Fort St. David, where the French assault on 11 March 1747 was repulsed with the assistance of the Nawab of the Carnatic, and was given a commission as ensign.[26]

In the conflict, Clive's bravery came to the attention of Major Stringer Lawrence, who arrived in 1748 to take command of the British troops at Fort St. David.[26] During the 1748 Siege of Pondicherry Clive distinguished himself in successfully defending a trench against a French sortie: one witness of the action wrote Clive's "platoon, animated by his exhortation, fired again with new courage and great vivacity upon the enemy."[27] The siege was lifted in October 1748 with the arrival of the monsoons, but the war came to a conclusion with the arrival in December of news of the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. Madras was returned to the British as part of the peace agreement in early 1749.[28]

Tanjore expedition

The end of the war between France and Britain did not, however, end hostilities in India. Even before news of the peace arrived in India, the British had sent an expedition to Tanjore on behalf of a claimant to its throne. This expedition, on which Clive, now promoted to lieutenant, served as a volunteer, was a disastrous failure. Monsoons ravaged the land forces, and the local support claimed by their client was not in evidence. The ignominious retreat of the British force (which lost its baggage train to the pursuing Tanjorean army while crossing a swollen river) was a blow to the British reputation.[29] Major Lawrence, seeking to recover British prestige, led the entire Madras garrison to Tanjore in response. At the fort of Devikottai on the Coleroon River the British force was confronted by the much larger Tanjorean army. Lawrence gave Clive command of 30 British soldiers and 700 sepoys, with orders to lead the assault on the fort. Clive led this force rapidly across the river and toward the fort, where the small British unit became separated from the sepoys and were enveloped by the Tanjorean cavalry. Clive was nearly cut down and the beachhead almost lost before reinforcements sent by Lawrence arrived to save the day. The daring move by Clive had an important consequence: the Tanjoreans abandoned the fort, which the British triumphantly occupied. The success prompted the Tanjorean rajah to open peace talks, which resulted in the British being awarded Devikottai and the costs of their expedition, and the British client was awarded a pension in exchange for renouncing his claim. Lawrence wrote of Clive's action that "he behaved in courage and in judgment much beyond what could be expected from his years."[30]

On the expedition's return the process of restoring Madras was completed. Company officials, concerned about the cost of the military, slashed its size, denying Clive a promotion to captain in the process. Lawrence procured for Clive a position as the commissary at Fort St. George, a potentially lucrative posting (its pay included commissions on all supply contracts).[31]

Second Carnatic War

Further information: Second Carnatic War

The death of Asaf Jah I, the Nizam of Hyderabad, in 1748 sparked a struggle to succeed him that is known as the Second Carnatic War, which was also furthered by the expansionist interests of French Governor-General Dupleix. Dupleix had grasped from the first war that small numbers of disciplined European forces (and well-trained sepoys) could be used to tip balances of power between competing interests, and used this idea to greatly expand French influence in southern India. For many years he had been working to negotiate the release of Chanda Sahib, a longtime French ally who had at one time occupied the throne of Tanjore, and sought for himself the throne of the Carnatic. Chanda Sahib had been imprisoned by the Marathas in 1740; by 1748 he had been released from custody and was building an army at Satara.

Upon the death of Asaf Jah I, his son, Nasir Jung, seized the throne of Hyderabad, although Asaf Jah had designated as his successor his grandson, Muzaffar Jung. The grandson, who was ruler of Bijapur, fled west to join Chanda Sahib, whose army was also reinforced by French troops sent by Dupleix. These forces met those of Anwaruddin Mohammed Khan in the Battle of Ambur in August 1749; Anwaruddin was slain, and Chanda Sahib victorious entered the Carnatic capital, Arcot. Anwaruddin's son, Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah, fled to Trichinopoly where he sought the protection and assistance of the British. In thanks for French assistance, the victors awarded them a number of villages, including territory nominally under British sway near Cuddalore and Madras. The British began sending additional arms to Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah and sought to bring Nasir Jung into the fray to oppose Chanda Sahib. Nasir Jung came south to Gingee in 1750, where he requested and received a detachment of British troops. Chanda Sahib's forces advanced to meet them, but retreated after a brief long-range cannonade. Nasir Jung pursued, and was able to capture Arcot and his nephew, Muzaffar Jung. Following a series of fruitless negotiations and intrigues, Nasir Jung was assassinated by a rebellious soldier. This made Muzaffar Jung nizam and confirmed Chanda Sahib as Nawab of the Carnatic, both with French support. Dupleix was rewarded for French assistance with titled nobility and rule of the nizam's territories south of the Kistna River. His territories were "said to yield an annual revenue of over 350,000 rupees".[32]

Robert Clive was not in southern India for many of these events. In 1750 Clive was afflicted with some sort of nervous disorder, and was sent north to Bengal to recuperate.[33] It was there that he met and befriended Robert Orme, who became his principal chronicler and biographer. He returned to Madras in 1751.

Siege of Arcot

Main article: Siege of Arcot

Clive at the siege of Arcot (1751)

In the summer of 1751, Chanda Sahib left Arcot to besiege Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah at Trichinopoly. This placed the British at Madras in a precarious position, since the latter was the last of their major allies in the area. The British company's military was also in some disarray, as Stringer Lawrence had returned to England in 1750 over a pay dispute, and much of the company was apathetic about the dangers the expanding French influence and declining British influence posed. The weakness of the British military command was exposed when a force was sent from Madras to support Muhammed Ali at Trichinopoly, but its commander, a Swiss mercenary, refused to attack an outpost at Valikondapuram. Clive, who accompanied the force as commissary, was outraged at the decision to abandon the siege. He rode to Cuddalore, and offered his services to lead an attack on Arcot if he was given a captain's commission, arguing this would force Chanda Sahib to either abandon the siege of Trichinopoly or significantly reduce the force there.

Madras and Fort St David could supply him with only 200 Europeans, 300 sepoys, and three small cannons; furthermore, of the eight officers who led them, four were civilians like Clive, and six had never been in action. Clive, hoping to surprise the small garrison at Arcot, made a series of forced marches, including some under extremely rainy conditions. Although he did fail to achieve surprise, the garrison, hearing of the march being made under such arduous conditions, opted to abandon the fort and town; Clive occupied Arcot without firing a shot.

The fort was a rambling structure with a dilapidated wall a mile long (too long for his small force to effectively man), and it was surrounded by the densely packed housing of the town. Its moat was shallow or dry, and some of its towers were insufficiently strong to use as artillery mounts. Clive did the best he could to prepare for the onslaught he expected. He made a foray against the fort's former garrison, encamped a few miles away, which had no significant effect. When the former garrison was reinforced by 2,000 men Chanda Sahib sent from Trichinopoly it reoccupied the town on 15 September. That night Clive led most of his force out of the fort and launched a surprise attack on the besiegers. Because of the darkness, the besiegers had no idea how large Clive's force was, and they fled in panic.

The next day Clive learned that heavy guns he had requested from Madras were approaching, so he sent most of his garrison out to escort them into the fort. That night the besiegers, who had spotted the movement, launched an attack on the fort. With only 70 men in the fort, Clive once again was able to disguise his small numbers, and sowed sufficient confusion against his enemies that multiple assaults against the fort were successfully repulsed. That morning the guns arrived, and Chanda Sahib's men again retreated.

Over the next week Clive and his men worked feverishly to improve the defences, aware that another 4,000 men, led by Chanda Sahib's son Raza Sahib and accompanied by a small contingent of French troops, was on its way. (Most of these troops came from Pondicherry, not Trichinopoly, and thus did not have the effect Clive desired of raising that siege.) Clive was forced to reduce his garrison to about 300 men, sending the rest of his force to Madras in case the enemy army decided to go there instead. Raza Sahib arrived at Arcot, and on 23 September occupied the town. That night Clive launched a daring attack against the French artillery, seeking to capture their guns. The attack very nearly succeeded in its object, but was reversed when enemy sniper fire tore into the small British force. Clive himself was targeted on more than one occasion; one man pulled him down and was shot dead. The affair was a serious blow: 15 of Clive's men were killed, and another 15 wounded.

Over the next month the besiegers slowly tightened their grips on the fort. Clive's men were subjected to frequent sniper attacks and disease, lowering the garrison size to 200. He was heartened to learn that some 6,000 Maratha forces had been convinced to come to his relief, but that they were awaiting payment before proceeding. The approach of this force prompted Raza Sahib to demand Clive's surrender; Clive's response was an immediate rejection, and he further insulted Raza Sahib by suggesting that he should reconsider sending his rabble of troops against a British-held position. The siege finally reached critical when Raza Sahib launched an all-out assault against the fort on 14 November. Clive's small force maintained its composure, and established killing fields outside the walls of the fort where the attackers sought to gain entry. Several hundred attackers were killed and many more wounded, while Clive's small force suffered only four British and two sepoy casualties.

The historian Thomas Babington Macaulay wrote a century later of the siege:

... the commander who had to conduct the defence...was a young man of five and twenty, who had been bred as a book-keeper... Clive...had made his arrangements, and, exhausted by fatigue, had thrown himself on his bed. He was awakened by the alarm, and was instantly at his post.... After three desperate onsets, the besiegers retired behind the ditch. The struggle lasted about an hour...the garrison lost only five or six men.[34]

His conduct during the siege made Clive famous in Europe. The Prime Minister William Pitt the Elder described Clive, who had received no formal military training whatsoever, as the "heaven-born general", endorsing the generous appreciation of his early commander, Major Lawrence. The Court of Directors of the East India Company voted him a sword worth £700, which he refused to receive unless Lawrence was similarly honoured.

Clive and Major Lawrence were able to bring the campaign to a successful conclusion. In 1754, the first of the provisional Carnatic treaties was signed between Thomas Saunders, the Company president at Madras, and Charles Godeheu, the French commander who displaced Dupleix. Mohammed Ali Khan Walajah was recognized as Nawab, and both nations agreed to equalize their possessions. When war again broke out in 1756, during Clive's absence in Bengal, the French obtained successes in the northern districts, and it was Mohammed Ali Khan Walajah's efforts which drove them from their settlements. The Treaty of Paris (1763) formally confirmed Mohammed Ali Khan Walajah as Nawab of the Carnatic. It was a result of this action and the increased British influence that in 1765 a firman (decree) came from the Emperor of Delhi, recognizing the British possessions in southern India.

He left Madras for home, after ten years' absence, early in 1753, but not before marrying Margaret Maskelyne, the sister of his friend Nevil Maskelyne who was afterwards well known as Astronomer Royal.

Clive also briefly sat as Member of Parliament for the Cornwall rotten borough of St Michael's, which then returned two Members, from 1754 to 1755.[35] He and his colleague, John Stephenson were later unseated by petition of their defeated opponents, Richard Hussey and Simon Luttrell.[36]

Second journey to India (1755–1760)

Further information: Great Britain in the Seven Years War

In July 1755, Clive returned to India[37] to act as deputy governor of Fort St. David at Cuddalore. He arrived after having lost a considerable fortune en route, as the Doddington, the lead ship of his convoy, was wrecked near Port Elizabeth, losing a chest of gold coins belonging to Clive worth £33,000. Nearly 250 years later in 1998, illegally salvaged coins from Clive's treasure chest were offered for sale,[38] and in 2002 a portion of the coins were given to the South African government after protracted legal wrangling.

Clive, now promoted to lieutenant-colonel in the British Army, took part in the capture of the fortress of Gheriah, a stronghold of the Maratha Admiral Tuloji Angre. The action was led by Admiral James Watson and the British had several ships available, some Royal troops and some Maratha allies. The overwhelming strength of the joint British and Maratha forces ensured that the battle was won with few losses. A fleet surgeon, Edward Ives, noted that Clive refused to take any part of the treasure divided among the victorious forces as was custom at the time.[39]

Fall and recapture of Calcutta (1756–57)

Following this action Clive headed to his post at Fort St. David and it was there he received news of twin disasters for the British. Early in 1756, Siraj Ud Daulah had succeeded his grandfather Alivardi Khan as Nawab of Bengal. In June, Clive received news that the new Nawab had attacked the British at Kasimbazar and shortly afterwards on 20 June he had taken the fort at Calcutta. The losses to the Company because of the fall of Calcutta were estimated by investors at £2,000,000. Those British who were captured were placed in a punishment cell which became infamous as the Black Hole of Calcutta. In stifling summer heat, it was alleged that 123 of the 146 prisoners died as a result of suffocation or heat stroke. While the Black Hole became infamous in Britain, it is debatable whether the Nawab was aware of the incident.[40]

By Christmas 1756, as no response had been received to diplomatic letters to the Nawab, Admiral Charles Watson and Clive were dispatched to attack the Nawab's army and remove him from Calcutta by force. Their first target was the fortress of Baj-Baj which Clive approached by land while Admiral Watson bombarded it from the sea. The fortress was quickly taken with minimal British casualties. Shortly afterwards, on 2 January 1757, Calcutta itself was taken with similar ease.[41]

Approximately a month later, on 3 February 1757, Clive encountered the army of the Nawab itself. For two days, the army marched past Clive's camp to take up a position east of Calcutta. Sir Eyre Coote, serving in the British forces, estimated the enemy's strength as 40,000 cavalry, 60,000 infantry and thirty cannon. Even allowing for overestimation this was considerably more than Clive's force of approximately 540 British infantry, 600 Royal Navy sailors, 800 local sepoys, fourteen field guns and no cavalry. The British forces attacked the Nawab's camp during the early morning hours of 5 February 1757. In this battle, unofficially called the 'Calcutta Gauntlet', Clive marched his small force through the entire Nawab's camp, despite being under heavy fire from all sides. By noon, Clive's force broke through the besieging camp and arrived safely at Fort William. During the assault, around one tenth of the British attackers became casualties. (Clive reported his losses at 57 killed and 137 wounded.) While technically not a victory in military terms, the sudden British assault intimidated the Nawab. He sought to make terms with Clive, and surrendered control of Calcutta on 9 February, promising to compensate the East India Company for damages suffered and to restore its privileges.

War with Siraj Ud Daulah

"9 (Plassey) Battery Royal Artillery" of the British Military.

As Britain and France were once more at war, Clive sent the fleet up the river against the French colony of Chandannagar, while he besieged it by land. There was a strong incentive to capture the colony, as capture of a previous French settlement near Pondicherry had yielded the combined forces prizes valued at £140,000. After consenting to the siege, the Nawab unsuccessfully sought to assist the French. Some officials of the Nawab's court formed a confederacy to depose him. Jafar Ali Khan, also known as Mir Jafar, the Nawab's commander-in-chief, led the conspirators. With Admiral Watson, Governor Drake and Mr. Watts, Clive made a gentlemen's agreement in which it was agreed to give the office of viceroy of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha to Mir Jafar, who was to pay £1,000,000 to the Company for its losses in Calcutta and the cost of its troops, half a million to the British inhabitants of Calcutta, £200,000 to the native inhabitants, and £70,000 to its Armenian merchants.

Clive employed Umichand, a rich Bengali trader, as an agent between Mir Jafar and the British officials. Umichand threatened to betray Clive unless he was guaranteed, in the agreement itself, £300,000. To dupe him a second fictitious agreement was shown to him with a clause to this effect. Admiral Watson refused to sign it. Clive deposed later to the House of Commons that, "to the best of his remembrance, he gave the gentleman who carried it leave to sign his name upon it; his lordship never made any secret of it; he thinks it warrantable in such a case, and would do it again a hundred times; he had no interested motive in doing it, and did it with a design of disappointing the expectations of a rapacious man." It is nevertheless cited as an example of Clive's unscrupulousness.
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Main article: Battle of Plassey

Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive of Plassey, meeting with Mir Jafar after the Battle of Plassey, by Francis Hayman. National Portrait Gallery, London.

The whole hot season of 1757 was spent in negotiations with the Nawab of Bengal. In the middle of June Clive began his march from Chandannagar, with the British in boats and the sepoys along the right bank of the Hooghly River. During the rainy season, the Hooghly is fed by the overflow of the Ganges to the north through three streams, which in the hot months are nearly dry. On the left bank of the Bhagirathi, the most westerly of these, 100 miles (160 km) above Chandernagore, stands Murshidabad, the capital of the Mughal viceroys of Bengal. Some miles farther down is the field of Plassey, then an extensive grove of mango trees.

On 21 June 1757, Clive arrived on the bank opposite Plassey, in the midst of the first outburst of monsoon rain. His whole army amounted to 1,100 Europeans and 2,100 sepoy troops, with nine field-pieces. The Nawab had drawn up 18,000 horse, 50,000-foot and 53 pieces of heavy ordnance, served by French artillerymen. For once in his career Clive hesitated, and called a council of sixteen officers to decide, as he put it, "whether in our present situation, without assistance, and on our own bottom, it would be prudent to attack the Nawab, or whether we should wait till joined by some country (Indian) power." Clive himself headed the nine who voted for delay; Major Eyre Coote led the seven who counselled immediate attack. But, either because his daring asserted itself, or because of a letter received from Mir Jafar, Clive was the first to change his mind and to communicate with Major Eyre Coote. One tradition, followed by Macaulay, represents him as spending an hour in thought under the shade of some trees, while he resolved the issues of what was to prove one of the decisive battles of the world. Another, turned into verse by Sir Alfred Lyall, pictures his resolution as the result of a dream. However that may be, he did well as a soldier to trust to the dash and even rashness that had gained Arcot and triumphed at Calcutta since retreat, or even delay, might have resulted in defeat.

After heavy rain, Clive's 3,200 men and the nine guns crossed the river and took possession of the grove and its tanks of water, while Clive established his headquarters in a hunting lodge. On 23 June, the engagement took place and lasted the whole day, during which remarkably little actual fighting took place. Gunpowder for the cannons of the Nawab were not well protected from rain. That impaired those cannons. Except for the 40 Frenchmen and the guns they worked, the Indian side could do little to reply to the British cannonade (after a spell of rain), which, with the 39th Regiment, scattered the host, inflicting on it a loss of 500 men. Clive had already made a secret agreement with aristocrats in Bengal, including Jagat Seth and Mir Jafar. Clive restrained Major Kilpatrick, for he trusted to Mir Jafar's abstinence, if not desertion to his ranks, and knew the importance of sparing his own small force. He was fully justified in his confidence in Mir Jafar's treachery to his master, for he led a large portion of the Nawab's army away from the battlefield, ensuring his defeat.

Clive lost hardly any European troops; in all 22 sepoys were killed and 50 wounded. It is curious in many ways that Clive is now best-remembered for this battle, which was essentially won by suborning the opposition rather than through fighting or brilliant military tactics. Whilst it established British military supremacy in Bengal, it did not secure the East India Company's control over Upper India, as is sometimes claimed. That would come only seven years later in 1764 at the Battle of Buxar, where Sir Hector Munro defeated the combined forces of the Mughal Emperor and the Nawab of Awadh in a much more closely fought encounter.

Siraj Ud Daulah fled from the field on a camel, securing what wealth he could. He was soon captured by Mir Jafar's forces and later executed by the assassin Mohammadi Beg. Clive entered Murshidabad and established Mir Jafar as Nawab, the price which had been agreed beforehand for his treachery. Clive was taken through the treasury, amid a million and a half sterling's worth of rupees, gold and silver plate, jewels and rich goods, and besought to ask what he would. Clive took £160,000, a vast fortune for the day, while half a million was distributed among the army and navy of the East India Company, and provided gifts of £24,000 to each member of the company's committee, as well as the public compensation stipulated for in the treaty.

In this extraction of wealth Clive followed a usage fully recognized by the company, although this was the source of future corruption which Clive was later sent to India again to correct. The company itself acquired revenue of £100,000 a year, and a contribution towards its losses and military expenditure of a million and a half sterling. Mir Jafar further discharged his debt to Clive by afterwards presenting him with the quit-rent of the company's lands in and around Calcutta, amounting to an annuity of £27,000 for life, and leaving him by will the sum of £70,000, which Clive devoted to the army.

Further campaigns

Battle of Condore

While busy with the civil administration, Clive continued to follow up his military success. He sent Major Coote in pursuit of the French almost as far as Benares. He dispatched Colonel Forde to Vizagapatam and the northern districts of Madras, where Forde won the Battle of Condore (1758), pronounced by Broome "one of the most brilliant actions on military record".


Main article: Treaty of Allahabad

The Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II, as a pensioner of the British East India Company, 1781.

Clive came into direct contact with the Mughal himself, for the first time, a meeting which would prove beneficial in his later career. Prince Ali Gauhar escaped from Delhi after his father, the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II, had been murdered by the usurping Vizier Imad-ul-Mulk and his Maratha associate Sadashivrao Bhau.[42]

Prince Ali Gauhar was welcomed and protected by Shuja-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh. In 1760, after gaining control over Bihar, Odisha and some parts of the Bengal, Ali Gauhar and his Mughal Army of 30,000 intended to overthrow Mir Jafar and the Company in order to reconquer the riches of the Eastern Subah's for the Mughal Empire. Ali Gauhar was accompanied by Muhammad Quli Khan, Hidayat Ali, Mir Afzal, Kadim Husein and Ghulam Husain Tabatabai. Their forces were reinforced by the forces of Shuja-ud-Daula and Najib-ud-Daula. The Mughals were also joined by Jean Law and 200 Frenchmen, and waged a campaign against the British during the Seven Years' War.

Prince Ali Gauhar successfully advanced as far as Patna, which he later besieged with a combined army of over 40,000 in order to capture or kill Ramnarian, a sworn enemy of the Mughals. Mir Jafar was terrified at the near demise of his cohort and sent his own son Miran to relieve Ramnarian and retake Patna. Mir Jafar also implored the aid of Robert Clive, but it was Major John Caillaud, who defeated and dispersed Prince Ali Gauhar's army.

Dutch aggression

Clive also repelled the aggression of the Dutch, and avenged the massacre of Amboyna – the occasion when he wrote his famous letter; "Dear Forde, fight them immediately; I will send you the order of council to-morrow". Meanwhile, Clive improved the organization and drill of the sepoy army, after a European model, and enlisted into it many Muslims from upper regions of the Mughal Empire. He re-fortified Calcutta. In 1760, after four years of hard labour, his health gave way and he returned to England. "It appeared", wrote a contemporary on the spot, "as if the soul was departing from the Government of Bengal". He had been formally made Governor of Bengal by the Court of Directors at a time when his nominal superiors in Madras sought to recall him to their help there. But he had discerned the importance of the province even during his first visit to its rich delta, mighty rivers and teeming population. Clive selected some able subordinates, notably a young Warren Hastings, who, a year after Plassey, was made resident at the Nawab's court.

The long-term outcome of Plassey was to place a very heavy revenue burden upon Bengal. The company sought to extract the maximum revenue possible from the peasantry to fund military campaigns, and corruption was widespread amongst its officials. Mir Jafar was compelled to engage in extortion on a vast scale in order to replenish his treasury, which had been emptied by the company's demand for an indemnity of 2.8 crores of rupees (£3 million).[43]

Return to Great Britain

In 1760, the 35-year-old Clive returned to Great Britain with a fortune of at least £300,000 and the quit-rent of £27,000 a year. He financially supported his parents and sisters, while also providing Major Lawrence, the commanding officer who had early encouraged his military genius, with a stipend of £500 a year. In the five years of his conquests and administration in Bengal, the young man had crowded together a succession of exploits that led Lord Macaulay, in what that historian termed his "flashy" essay on the subject, to compare him to Napoleon Bonaparte, declaring that "[Clive] gave peace, security, prosperity and such liberty as the case allowed of to millions of Indians, who had for centuries been the prey of oppression, while Napoleon's career of conquest was inspired only by personal ambition, and the absolutism he established vanished with his fall." Macaulay's ringing endorsement of Clive seems more controversial today, as some would argue that Clive's ambition and desire for personal gain set the tone for the administration of Bengal until the Permanent Settlement 30 years later. The immediate consequence of Clive's victory at Plassey was an increase in the revenue demand on Bengal by at least 20%, much of which was appropriated by Zamindars and corrupt Company Officials, which led to considerable hardship for the rural population, particularly during the famine of 1770.[43]

During the three years that Clive remained in Great Britain, he sought a political position, chiefly that he might influence the course of events in India, which he had left full of promise. He had been well received at court, had been made Baron Clive of Plassey, County Clare, had bought estates, and had a few friends as well as himself returned to the House of Commons. Clive was MP for Shrewsbury from 1761 until his death. He was allowed to sit in the Commons because his peerage was Irish.[36] He was also elected Mayor of Shrewsbury for 1762–63.[44] The non-graduate Clive received an honorary degree as DCL from Oxford University in 1760, and in 1764 he was appointed Knight of the Order of the Bath.[45]

Clive set himself to reform the home system of the East India Company, and began a bitter dispute with the chairman of the Court of Directors, Laurence Sulivan, whom he defeated in the end. In this he was aided by the news of reverses in Bengal. Mir Jafar had finally rebelled over payments to British officials, and Clive's successor had put Kasim Ali Khan, Mir Jafar's son-in-law upon the musnud (throne). After a brief tenure, Kasim Ali had fled, ordering Walter Reinhardt Sombre (known to the Muslims as Sumru), a Swiss mercenary of his, to butcher the garrison of 150 British at Patna, and had disappeared under the protection of his brother, the Viceroy of Awadh. The whole company's service, civil and military, had become mired in corruption, demoralized by gifts and by the monopoly of inland and export trade, to such an extent that the Indians were pauperised, and the Company was plundered of the revenues Clive had acquired. For this Clive himself must bear much responsibility, as he had set a very poor example during his tenure as Governor. Nevertheless, the Court of Proprietors, forced the Directors to hurry Lord Clive to Bengal with the double powers of Governor and Commander-in-Chief.

Third journey to India

Clive meeting with Emperor Shah Alam II, 1765

On 3 May 1765 Clive landed at Calcutta to learn that Mir Jafar had died, leaving him personally £70,000. Mir Jafar was succeeded by his son-in-law Kasim Ali, though not before the government had been further demoralized by taking £100,000 as a gift from the new Nawab; while Kasim Ali had induced not only the viceroy of Awadh, but the emperor of Delhi himself, to invade Bihar. At this point a mutiny in the Bengal army occurred, which was a grim precursor of the Indian rebellion of 1857, but on this occasion it was quickly suppressed by blowing the sepoy ringleader from a gun. Major Munro, "the Napier of those times", scattered the united armies on the hard-fought field of Buxar. The emperor, Shah Alam II, detached himself from the league, while the Awadh viceroy threw himself on the mercy of the British.

Miniature of Al-Khidr, from the "Small Clive Album" thought to have been given to Clive on his 1765–67 visit to India by Shuja ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh. The Album contains 62 folia of Mughal miniature paintings, drawing and floral pattern studies. The binding is from Indian brocade silk brought home by the 2nd Lord Clive, who served as Governor of Madras, 1799 to 1803. Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1956.

Clive had now an opportunity of repeating in Hindustan, or Upper India, what he had accomplished in Bengal. He might have secured what is now called Uttar Pradesh, and have rendered unnecessary the campaigns of Wellesley and Lake. But he believed he had other work in the exploitation of the revenues and resources of rich Bengal itself, making it a base from which British India would afterwards steadily grow. Hence he returned to the Awadh viceroy all his territory save the provinces of Allahabad and Kora, which he presented to the weak emperor.

Mughal Firman

In return for the Awadhian provinces Clive secured from the emperor one of the most important documents in British history in India, effectively granting title of Bengal to Clive. It appears in the records as "firman from the King Shah Aalum, granting the diwani rights of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha to the Company 1765." The date was 12 August 1765, the place Benares, the throne an English dining-table covered with embroidered cloth and surmounted by a chair in Clive's tent. It is all pictured by a Muslim contemporary, who indignantly exclaims that so great a "transaction was done and finished in less time than would have been taken up in the sale of a jackass". By this deed the company became the real sovereign rulers of thirty million people, yielding a revenue of four millions sterling.

On the same date Clive obtained not only an imperial charter for the company's possessions in the Carnatic, completing the work he began at Arcot, but a third firman for the highest of all the lieutenancies of the empire, that of the Deccan itself. This fact is mentioned in a letter from the secret committee of the court of directors to the Madras government, dated 27 April 1768. The British presence in India was still tiny compared to the number and strength of the princes and people of India, but also compared to the forces of their ambitious French, Dutch and Danish rivals. Clive had this in mind when he penned his last advice to the directors, as he finally left India in 1767:

"We are sensible that, since the acquisition of the dewany, the power formerly belonging to the soubah of those provinces is totally, in fact, vested in the East India Company. Nothing remains to him but the name and shadow of authority. This name, however, this shadow, it is indispensably necessary we should seem to venerate."

Attempts at administrative reform

Having thus founded the Empire of British India, Clive sought to put in place a strong administration. The salaries of civil servants were increased, the acceptance of gifts from Indians was forbidden, and Clive exacted covenants under which participation in the inland trade was stopped. Unfortunately this had very little impact in reducing corruption, which remained widespread until the days of Warren Hastings. Clive's military reforms were more effective. He put down a mutiny of the British officers, who chose to resent the veto against receiving presents and the reduction of batta (extra pay) at a time when two Maratha armies were marching on Bengal. His reorganisation of the army, on the lines of that which he had begun after Plassey, neglected during his absence in Great Britain, subsequently attracted the admiration of Indian officers. He divided the whole army into three brigades, making each a complete force, in itself equal to any single Indian army that could be brought against it.[46][47]

Retirement and death

Clive left India for the last time in February 1767. In 1768, he lived for a time at the Chateau de Larzac in Pézenas in the Hérault département of the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France. Local tradition says that he was responsible for introducing the local pastry makers of Pézenas to a sweet pastry, Le petit pâté de Pézenas, the size and shape of a large cotton reel with a sweet centre, and that he (or, more likely, his chef) had brought the recipe from India as a refined version of the savoury keema naan.[48] Pézenas is now known for these delicacies.

Plaque in memory of Lord Clive in Pézenas (France)

Later in 1768, Clive was made a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).[45]

In 1769, he acquired the house and gardens at Claremont near Esher and commissioned Lancelot "Capability" Brown to remodel the garden and rebuild the house.

In 1772 Parliament opened an inquiry into the Company's practices in India. Clive's political opponents turned these hearings into attacks on Clive. Questioned about some of the large sums of money he had received while in India, Clive pointed out that they were not contrary to accepted company practice, and defended his behaviour by stating "I stand astonished at my own moderation" given opportunities for greater gain. The hearings highlighted the need for reform of the Company, and a vote to censure Clive for his actions failed. Later in 1772, Clive was appointed Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath (eight years after his knighthood had been awarded),[45] and was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire.

There was a great famine in Bengal between 1769 and 1773, which reduced the population of Bengal by a third. It was argued that the activities and aggrandizement of company officials was to blame for the famine, particularly the abuse of monopoly rights on trade and land tax used for the personal benefit of company officials.[49][50] These revelations and the subsequent debates in parliament reduced Clive's political fortunes considerably.

Clive continued to be involved in ongoing Parliamentary discussions on company reforms. During these, in 1773, General John Burgoyne, one of Clive's most vocal enemies, pressed the case that some of Clive's gains were made at the expense of the Company and the government. Clive again made a spirited defence of his actions, and closed his testimony by stating "Take my fortune, but save my honour." The vote that followed completely exonerated Clive, who was commended for the "great and meritorious service" he rendered to the country. Immediately thereafter Parliament began debating the Regulating Act of 1773, which significantly reformed the East India Company's practices.

On 22 November 1774 Clive died, aged forty-nine, at his Berkeley Square home in London. There was no inquest on his death and it was variously alleged he had stabbed himself or cut his throat with a penknife or had taken an overdose of opium, while a few newspapers reported his death as due to an apoplectic fit or stroke.[51] One 20th-century biographer, John Watney, concluded: "He did not die from a self-inflicted wound...He died of a heart attack brought on by an overdose of drugs".[52] Though Clive's demise has been linked to his history of depression and to opium addiction, the likely immediate impetus was excruciating pain resulting from illness (he was known to suffer from gallstones) which he had been attempting to abate with opium. Shortly beforehand, he had been offered command of British forces in North America which he had turned down.[53] He was buried in St Margaret's Parish Church at Moreton Say, near his birthplace in Shropshire.

Clive was awarded an Irish peerage in 1762, being created Baron Clive of Plassey, County Clare; he bought lands in County Limerick and County Clare, Ireland, naming part of his lands near Limerick City, Plassey. Following Irish independence, these lands became state property. In the 1970s a technical college, which later became the University of Limerick, was built at Plassey.


George Clive and his family with an Indian maid, painted by Joshua Reynolds, 1765

Robert Clive married Margaret Maskelyne (d. 28 December 1817[33]) on 18 February 1753,[33] sister of the Rev. Dr Nevil Maskelyne, fifth Astronomer Royal, in Madras. They had nine children:

• Edward Clive, 1st Earl of Powis (b. 7 March 1754 d. 16 May 1839)
• Rebecca Clive (b. 15 September 1760 bapt 10 October 1760 Moreton Say d. December 1795, married in 1780 to Lt-Gen John Robinson of Denston Hall Suffolk, MP (d. 1798.)
• Charlotte Clive (b. 19 January 1762 d. unm 20 October 1795)
• Margaret Clive (bapt 18 September 1763 Condover, Shropshire d. June 1814 married 11 April 1780 Lt-Col Lambert Theodore Walpole (d. in Wexford Rebellion 1798)
• Elizabeth Clive (bapt 18 November 1764 Condover d. young))
• Richard Clive (d. young)
• Robert Clive (d. young)
• Robert Clive Jnr (b. 14 August 1769 d. unm 28 July 1833), Lt-Col.
• Jane Clive (d. young)


While Clive was loyal to his employers, the British East India Company, some of his actions resulted in the plundering of Indian treasures and also in famines caused by policies disastrous to local Indian farm production. The historian William Dalrymple has called Clive an "unstable sociopath", due to these policies and his actions leading to famines and other atrocities towards native populations in Bengal. Changes caused by Clive to the revenue system and existing agricultural practices, to maximize profits for the East India Company, led to the Bengal Famine of 1770 and increased poverty in Bengal.[54]


• Robert Clive's desk from his time at Market Drayton Grammar School is on display at Market Drayton museum complete with his carved initials.
• Robert Clive's pet Aldabra giant tortoise died on 23 March 2006 in the Kolkata zoo. The tortoise, whose name was "Adwaita" (meaning the "One and Only" in Bengali), appeared to be 150–250 years old. Adwaita had been in the zoo since the 1870s and the zoo's documentation showed that he came from Clive's estate in India[55]
• A statue of Clive stands in the main square in the market town of Shrewsbury, as well as a later one in King Charles Street near St James's Park, London.
• Clive is a Senior Girls house at the Duke of York's Royal Military School, where, as at Welbeck college, all houses are named after prominent military figures.
• Clive Road, in West Dulwich, London, commemorates Baron Clive[56] despite being so named close to a century after his death. Following the completion of the relocation of The Crystal Palace from Hyde Park to what is now Upper Norwood in 1854, the West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway was opened on 10 June 1854 to cope with crowds visiting the Crystal Palace. This led to a huge increase in employment in the area and a subsequent increase in the building of residential properties. Many of the new roads were named after eminent figures in Britain's imperial history, such as Robert Clive.
• There is a settlement named after Clive in the Hawke's Bay province of New Zealand.
• A bestselling children's novel of the 1800s, G. A. Henty's With Clive in India: Or, the Beginnings of an Empire celebrated Clive's life and career from a pro-British point of view.
• The film Clive of India was released in 1935, and starred Ronald Colman, Loretta Young, and Colin Clive, his descendant.[57]
• 'Clive' is a house at Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood where he was a student for seven years before his expulsion. Members can be distinguished by their red striped ties.
• Robert Clive established the first slaughterhouse of India in Calcutta in 1760.[58]
• 'Clive of India' is a brand of curry powder manufactured in Australia by McKenzie's Foods.
• Clive is now established as a male first name in English-speaking countries.
• Lord Clive was a ship that was sunk in front of the city of Colonia del Sacramento by Spanish fire during an Anglo-Portuguese attack in the Rio de la Plata in 1763. Its wreck was located in 2004 by diver Ruben Collado.[59]


1. "CLIVE, Robert (1725-74), of Styche Hall, nr. Market Drayton, Salop; subsequently of Walcot Park, Salop; Claremont, Surr.; and Oakley Park, Salop". The History of Parliament.
2. "Robert Clive - Biography, papers and letters written by him". British Onlive Archives. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
3. Charles Messenger, ed., Reader's Guide to Military History (2001) pp 112-13.
4. Dalrymple, William (4 March 2015). "The East India Company: The Original Corporate Raiders". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
5. Moxham, Roy. "Lecture : THE EAST INDIA COMPANY'S SEIZURE OF BENGAL AND HOW THIS LED TO THE GREAT BENGAL FAMINE OF 1770". You Tube. Brick Lane Circle. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
6. Arbuthnot, p. 1
7. Jump up to:a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Clive, Robert Clive, Baron" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 532–536.
8. Harvey (1998), p. 11
9. Harvey (1998), p. 10
10. (Malleson 1893, p. 9)
11. Arbuthnot, p. 2
12. (Malleson 1893, p. 10)
13. Treasure, p. 196
14. Harvey (1998), pp. 18–21
15. Harvey (1998), pp. 23–24
16. Harvey (1998), p. 30
17. Harvey (1998), pp. 24–29
18. (Malleson 1893, pp. 16–32)
19. Harvey (1998), pp. 29–30
20. Harvey (1998), p. 31
21. (Malleson 1893, p. 35)
22. Harvey (1998), pp. 31–34
23. (Malleson 1893, p. 38)
24. Harvey (1998), pp. 35–36
25. Harvey (1998), p. 39
26. Jump up to:a b Harvey (1998), p. 41
27. Harvey (1998), p. 42
28. (Malleson 1893, pp. 40–41)
29. Harvey (1998), p. 46
30. Harvey (1998), pp. 46–47
31. Harvey (1998), pp. 47–48
32. Keay, John, The Honourable Company—A History of the English East India Company, HarperCollins, London, 1991, ISBN 0-00-217515-0 p. 289.
33. Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1887). "Clive, Robert" . Dictionary of National Biography. 11. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
34. Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Lord Clive," Essays (London), 1891, pp.511–13 (First published in the Edinburgh Review, January 1840).
35. Gibbs, Vicary (Editor) (1912). The Complete Peerage, Volume III. St Catherine's Press. p. 325.
36. "CLIVE, Robert (1725-74), of Styche Hall, nr. Market Drayton, Salop; subsequently of Walcot Park, Salop; Claremont, Surr.; and Oakley Park, Salop". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 8 September2017.
37. "Sailing Ship "Dodington" (history)". Dodington Family. Archived from the original on 14 January 2005. Retrieved 10 July 2008.
38. Russell, Alec (9 October 1997). "South Africa seeks its share of Clive's treasure trove". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 November 2008.[dead link]
39. Keay, John, The Honourable Company—A History of the English East India Company, HarperCollins, London, 1991, ISBN 0-00-217515-0 p. 269.
40. H.E. Busteed, Echoes from Old Calcutta (Calcutta), 1908, pp.30–56.
41. Sir William Wilson Hunter (1886). The Indian Empire: Its Peoples, History, and Products. Trübner & Company. pp. 381–. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
42. S.R. Sharma (1 January 1999). Mughal Empire in India: A Systematic Study Including Source Material. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. pp. 767–. ISBN 978-81-7156-819-2. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
43. (P. J. Marshall 1987, pp. 78–83), 144.
44. "Former Mayors of Shrewsbury 1638 to present". Shrewsbury Town Council. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
45. Jump up to:a b c Gibbs, Vicary (Editor) (1912). The Complete Peerage, Volume III. St Catherine's Press. p. 326.
46. Curzon, G.N. Complete book online - British Government in India: The Story of Viceroys and Government Houses. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
47. Douglas, James. Complete book online - Bombay and western India - a series of stray papers, with photos of Ajmer. London: Samson Low Marston & Co. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
48. Domaine de Larzac Archived 11 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine,, accessed 30 January 2012
49. Smith, Adam (1776). The Wealth of Nations, Book 4, Chap. 5, Par. 45.
50. Dirks, Nicholas (2006) The scandal of Empire- India and the creation of Imperial Britain ISBN 978-8178241753
51. Bence-Jones, Mark (1974). Clive of India. Constable. p. 299. ISBN 0-09-459830-4.
52. Watney, John (1974). Clive of India. Saxon House. pp. 216–217. ISBN 0-347-00008-8.
53. Harvey p.160
54. Dalrymple, William (4 March 2015). "The East India Company: The original corporate raiders". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
55. "Clive of India's tortoise dies". BBC News. 23 March 2006. Retrieved 10 July 2008.
56. William Darby (1967). Dulwich: A Place in History. W. Darby. p. 20.
57. "Colin Clive, Actor Dies in Hollywood. Star of Screen and Stage, 37, Scored First Hit as Stanhope in 'Journey's End'. Made Debut Here in 1930. Appeared in 'Clive of India,' a Picture Based on Life of His Ancestor Descendant of Empire Builder Played Frankenstein Role". New York Times. 26 June 1937.
58. Cow Slaughtering | : Official website of Vishw Mangala Gou Gram Yatra (VMGGY) Archived 16 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine. (24 May 2011). Retrieved on 11 July 2012.
59. En Uruguay, un navire coulé depuis 1763 devrait enfin sortir des seen on the web "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 September 2016. Retrieved 2015-05-10. on May 10th, 2015.


Secondary sources

• Mark Bence-Jones (1974). Clive of India. Constable & Robinson Limited. ISBN 978-0-09-459830-0.
• Chaudhuri, Nirad C. Robert Clive of India: A Political and Psychological Essay (1975).
• Faught, C. Brad (2013). Clive: Founder of British India. (Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, Inc.).
• Harrington, Jack (2010), Sir John Malcolm and the Creation of British India, ch. 6, New York: Palgrave Macmillan., ISBN 978-0-230-10885-1
• Harvey, Robert A Few Bloody Noses: The American Revolutionary War. Constable & Robinson, 2004.
• Harvey, Robert. Clive: The life and Death of a British Emperor. Hodder and Stoughton, 1998.
• Alfred Mervyn Davies (1939). Clive of Plassey: A Biography. C. Scribner's sons.
• Michael Edwardes The Battle of Plassey and the Conquest of Bengal (London) 1963
• P. J. Marshall (1987). Bengal, The British Bridgehead: Eastern India 1740-1828. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-25330-7.
• Treasure, Geoffrey (2002). Who's Who in Early Hanoverian Britain, 1714–1789. Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-1643-0.
• Bowen, H. V. "Clive, Robert". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/5697.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
• Arbuthnot, Alexander John (1887). "Clive, Robert" . In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 11. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Clive, Robert Clive, Baron". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 532–536.
• Baynes, T.S., ed. (1875–1889). "Robert Clive" . Encyclopædia Britannica (9th ed.). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:58 am

The Pygmy Farm
by The Chronicles
January 13, 2005



A group of people who called themselves the Pygmies discovered Rinpoche and started to hang out at the house. They had a commune east of Boulder, and their motto was, "We're bodhisattvas, and we live on East Arapahoe." They were long-haired and unkempt, and they lived in tents most of the year, which wasn't all that unusual for those times. There were a lot of people living pseudo-tribal lifestyles in those days. I don't know how the Pygmies lived in the winter, but they seemed quite cheerful in all kinds of weather. Some of them pitched their tents around the house for a while, as I remember [early 1971]. I became good friends with a number of them.....

To me, one particular occasion marks the change in my life that came with the birth of my first child. When Taggie was only two weeks old, Rinpoche left for several days to investigate buying a piece of land in the mountains above Fort Collins.


Before this, I almost always accompanied him when he traveled, and it was quite a shock when I realized that I was going to stay behind. Rinpoche would have welcomed my company, but tramping around in the snow in the Rocky Mountains in March with an infant made no sense. So I decided to stay home with Taggie. However, I felt abandoned and somewhat afraid of being home alone with the baby. When Rinpoche left, I was crying, sobbing actually. The house had been full of people ever since I'd arrived in Boulder. Now, for the first time, it was empty. A few people came by to visit and help out, but I was alone most of the time.

When Rinpoche came back, he said, "We're going to buy some land," and he was really happy about it. I was really happy to see him. I had no idea how significant it was that Rinpoche had located this land. The land he had discovered became the future home of the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center, now renamed Shambhala Mountain Center. In his mind, establishing a rural practice center in Colorado was a crucial step. He wanted a place in the western United States, similar to Tail of the Tiger in the east, where he could teach intensive seminars outside of the speed and confusion of the city. He also wanted a center with a lot of land where his students could do intensive group practice as well as solitary retreats. Later, he talked about the establishment of Rocky Mountain Dharma Center as the key to making meditation the foundation of his students' experience.

Rinpoche had great faith in the students from those early days. He always saw their workability. He invited the Pygmies to move to RMDC and help settle the land, because he could see their strength and their resilience. They were used to difficult living situations without many amenities, so they took to the land quite easily. They built a number of houses there, some of them quite strange, idiosyncratic constructions that are still there. They weren't great meditators at that time, but many of them have become so. In part, this is because he believed in them. He saw so much potential in everyone.

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


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. I found these rare photographs of the Pygmies in Michael McLellan’s photo album when I visited him at his home in Dedham, Massachusetts last week. These shots were taken at the Pygmy Farm east of Boulder in 1969 or 1970, before they met Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

The Pygmy Farm east of Boulder, circa 1969.

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. How this land was found and settled, and how Rinpoche worked with the Pygmies to establish a practice and retreat center is a really interesting story that I’m looking forward to researching further.

Some of the Pygmies at home.

Happily off the road (for now),

PS. If you have a photograph of the Pygmies, please send me a scan or a copy or just let me know you have it. (We can figure out how to copy it later.)
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:32 am

Gold Lake Oil
by Tom Bell
December 12, 2006



CT Business Card for Gold Lake

A sangha-owned oil and gas company

It’s been twenty-five years since Gold Lake Oil folded and Rinpoche said, at the end of our last meeting: “I still have faith that something will happen in the future, but maybe our ambition killed the whole thing.” In this article, I would like to begin to tell the story of Gold Lake Oil. Needless to say, this is my own version of events that took place, and I hope others will chime in, correct any errors and add memories of their own.

Gold Lake Oil started quite simply. At the first Kalapa Assembly, Rinpoche gave a commentary on the Letter of the Golden Key Which Fulfills Desire, one of the root Shambhala texts, which he received as terma. In his talk on October 15, 1978, he introduced the notion of yün or inherent richness. During the question period for this talk he was asked to speak further about yün, and as part of his answer Rinpoche said:

Maybe we should have an expedition to go hunting for yün—and if we dig further, we might find oil. It’s possible, you know. I have already found water at Karme Chöling. That actually was based on the same principle. It’s projecting, looking for yün. Remember the story? Maybe we should tell people. Maybe Bill should tell it.

William McKeever: When we were building the extension at Karme Chöling, and we needed a new water system for the added population, we employed about three well companies in the area to find the proper spot. None of them agreed, but they began digging—at seven dollars a foot. And after three dry holes and several thousand dollars, somebody thought of asking the Vajracarya where we should dig the well. He picked a spot when he was there, and said to go down about two hundred feet, I believe, and that we should get a lot of water. Well, we went down about two hundred feet and hit next to nothing, and thought of stopping. The well drillers had their pride and wanted to find another hole. I happened to be out in Boulder at the time, and the Vajracharya said, “I think you should go a little further,” which sounded like the usual advice. So we decided to give it a try, and went about twenty feet further and hit one of the highest producing wells in the whole county. The well drillers couldn’t quite figure it out: it was about fifteen feet from a site they had drilled previously and hit nothing. But it seemed to have worked quite well. I asked Rinpoche how he picked the spot and he said it was very easy. He said that just as we can see an emotion on somebody’s face, he could just look at the land and see where the water was. It is hard to understand, but it seemed to work quite well.

-- Excerpted from COLLECTED KALAPA ASSMBLIES, page 66. Used here by permission of Vajradhatu Publications and Diana Mukpo. © 2007 by Diana J. Mukpo.

John Roper was in the audience for this talk and called me the next day. I returned his call from a pay phone in South Texas. He knew that I had just found work in the oil business and thought that I might be interested in exploring for oil with Trungpa Rinpoche. I immediately said that I would try to help through my connections with Craig Thompson, who is a fellow sangha member and a friend, and his father, John R. Thompson, who is quite successful in the oil and gas exploration business in Texas. Internally my reaction to making the commitment to explore for oil was something like panic (actually it was panic) as I had just found work that looked like it would provide a good, steady income for my family (which included our son who was born at RMDC and was soon to include a new baby girl) and now I had agreed to start actually exploring for oil instead of simply getting paid to help others explore for oil. Now I had to start thinking in terms of hundreds of thousands of dollars instead of thousands of dollars. Suddenly the risks were much larger.

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

Actually, the oil and gas industry was the last thing I thought would become a part of my life. In 1966, six years before I became a Buddhist, I dropped out of graduate school, rejected an offer from the U.S. State Department to become a Foreign Service Officer, and became a full-time activist—working for peace, civil rights, and the environment. Yet here I was being invited into the oil and gas industry as more than just an employee and hearing myself say “yes” without much hesitation. What had changed? I (like most of my friends in the community) was eager to work more closely with Rinpoche, to be a part of his vast project of bringing dharma to the West. So I suppose you could say it was a mixture of devotion and ambition. In any case, I was already working within the system that I had rejected during my activist days, and now I was about to move much more deeply into that world.

John Roper was my good friend, and also a Vajradhatu board member and the lawyer for the organization. He was willing to help with the legalities of exploring for oil and he was also willing to invest in the idea. He became the attorney for our exploration company, soon to be called Gold Lake Oil, and he did the legal work to set up a limited partnership with a group of investers who wanted to share in the journey, and were willing to take on part of the financial risk.

Within our business activities, Trungpa Rinpoche asked us to refer to him simply as Mr. Mukpo, his family name. He said that this would be in keeping with business tradition. On February 12, 1979, Mr. Mukpo hosted a group of sangha members at his home, the Kalapa Court, in Boulder. These were people who had expressed an interest in investing with Gold Lake. This meeting followed the first Gold Lake exploration trip to West Texas. At that time, Mr. Mukpo said:

Obviously, it is based on, as far as I am concerned, my own intuition and faith and delight in getting into this particular business . . . I would like to say that I feel extremely good about the oil business. Also, I would like to say that I have had my resistance in the past in connection with this kind of project, which seemed to be based on abusing the land and becoming rich quick. All sorts of neurosis could be involved with those kinds of situations. But by visiting the particular land that we have seen, I felt extremely good because I feel that our project and our endeavor is real. We are not particularly abusing anything at all. It is like cutting flowers and putting them in a vase.

There still is that sense of moral question, however. There is still the issue of how much we abuse the land and try to get as much as we could and then just leave pure garbage behind. That is my basic and very, very main concern. A lot of examples of Americana have happened in that way, not only in abusing land but how we abuse people at the same time. When people are useful they are cherished and when they are lacking inspiration and useless we kick them out and they may become unemployed. So there is a big concern overall about the whole thing—how we work with our land, how we work with our particular project connected with the land. It is like when we built retreat huts at Karme Chöling and Rocky Mountain Dharma Center. We tried to build those huts as best we could so that we did not rape the land but rather so that we could somehow balance the situation together with what exists in the environment.

On that particular idea, that you are not abusing the land but you are cherishing and bringing something out of the land, that was one of my passionate feelings when we went to Texas and were looking at these oil fields. The whole thing was extremely good. That particular place we saw with the juniper bush was a very interesting experience. It was very uplifting and felt good. You are making a relationship with earth. However, that may be philosophy. The intuition that is involved with that is not particularly 100% security for your investing in it. I should say that definitely. So please be careful, considerate. Still, the atmosphere when you open your mind to oil and the possibilities of it, instead of aggression and depression, I felt extremely uplifted and fresh, very fresh and extremely good, extremely good.

-- Unpublished remarks by Chögyam Trungpa used by permission of Diana J. Mukpo. Transcribed from recording of Gold Lake investors meeting, February 12, 1979.

Tom Bell and CT Mukpo in Abilene, TX

My wife, Jacquie, had just received a small inheritance from her grandparents and Craig and Karen Thompson had some money available so we decided to pool our resources and start to explore for oil with Rinpoche. We started by showing him maps of drilling prospects in the Abilene area of West Texas that had been leased by John R. Thompson’s company, along with maps showing the location of a drilling prospect that Craig Thompson had identified, without yet securing the drilling rights. Good traditional geologic arguments could be made for the existence of commercial levels of petroleum in the subsurface rock formations of each of these prospects. Rinpoche found the maps to be very interesting and wanted to go to the locations and walk on the land so that he could feel the energy of the place and see the land itself. His approach to finding oil and gas is hard to characterize, but it had a lot to do with relating to the fundamental energies of the land. At one point, he referred to this as invoking and following drala.

Tom Bell and CT Mukpo on an oil prospect in West Texas

We organized the first of what would become a series of oil exploration trips to the Abilene area of West Texas. There was one prospect that particularly interested Rinpoche. His interest was perked initially by the landowner’s name on the map. The name was “Bright”—Icy Bright, as it turned out. When we visited this land, he liked it very much. The land lay between two hills that seemed to make an appropriate formation and there was a juniper bush that was auspiciously placed. He told us, “Drill here.” We placed a stake in the ground at that exact spot, and he said, “Feels good.” He also selected drilling sites on two additional prospects during this first trip, but our initial efforts focused on what became known as the Juniper Bush/Two Hills prospect located on Bright family lands then owned by Mrs. Icy Bright of Tyler, Texas.

Everything seemed very ordinary on our exploration trips. Rinpoche would sometimes doze off in the car as we traveled from one prospect to the other. There did not seem to be any expectation that we would ask dharma questions, or engage in discussions about the teachings. Traveling with Rinpoche in this simple way was completely enjoyable. He made a point of giving a good tip at the diners where we would eat, and of being friendly with the people we would meet, such as the waitresses or the landowners. He talked about the importance of always telling the truth with our investors and in our business relationships generally. He had ideas for uplifted offices and a good logo for the company. It seems that all of these things were part of invoking and following drala, but that was not explicitly stated—these were simply the right ways to do good business.

If I had thought about it . . . if I had even had a glimpse of my own naivete in terms of both dharma and business, I might have been too afraid to even try to find oil in Texas. But at the time, I thought of myself as a good and devoted student. I was halfway through my Vajrayogini practice; I had been the head of practice and study at RMDC; I was a teacher and a meditation instructor. So, full of pride and ambition, with great faith in Mr. Mukpo’s ability to make things work, I found myself sitting on the ground with my stop watch, waiting to confirm the presence of oil thousands of feet below my bum.

At the signal from Rinpoche, Mr. Perks would detonate the explosives

I was sitting there engaged in a particular form of seismic testing that Rinpoche had invented for Gold Lake. After he would select a likely drilling location for oil, he would ask the company managers and investors who were traveling with him to sit with him in a circle on the ground around the possible drilling location. John Perks would place a circle of small explosive charges around the group with an electric wire connecting them so that they could be detonated simultaneously. At the signal from Rinpoche, Mr. Perks would detonate the explosives, creating an experience of instant nonthought for the entire group inside the circle, followed instantly by fear of hearing loss. We would then quickly start our stopwatches, focus on the feeling of our butts pressing against the earth, and wait for the sound vibrations to bounce off the oil reservoir and return to the surface where we could feel them. When these vibrations appeared, we would press the stopwatches again to record the elapsed time. If we mostly had the same elapsed time it would confirm our experience of the vibrations. The idea was that, if the location lacked oil, we would not feel any returning vibrations and that the longer the time it took for the vibrations to return, the deeper the oil reservoir was from the surface.

The Gold Lake exploration crew at work

Rinpoche would have liked us to drill the Juniper Bush/Two Hills prospect first, but it turned out that the lease rights to drill a well on the prospect were not readily available. It took more than two years to put these leases together. In the meantime, we acquired a working interest in several other prospects that were drilled. One of these was completed for production but never produced commercial quantities of petroleum. Gold Lake was not the operator (the company that actually did the drilling) on any of these early prospects.

However, when the leases for the Juniper Bush/Two Hills prospect (later known as the Bright #1 Well) were finally secured, Gold Lake Oil served as the operating company. This gave us control over certain events that were important to us. We were able to make sure that the drilling took place on the exact spot Rinpoche asked us to stake during his first visit to the site. We were able to do a lhasang ceremony at the time when the ground was first being entered by the drill bit, and to put offering rice into the initial hole drilled for the surface casing. With this ceremony, we were formalizing our intentions. We were inviting the dralas to come to this place, to work with our machines, and to help by bringing forth the wealth of the earth for the benefit of all beings. Rinpoche composed a chant for this occasion. [See liturgy below.] The rice we put in the hole was given to Rinpoche by His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa for this express purpose. We were also able to camp on the site while the well was being drilled and to help catch and analyze the geological samples to see how the drilling was progressing, and if the samples contained petroleum.

© 2007 by Diana J. Mukpo, used here with her permission

It was an interesting kind of meditation retreat to live in a tent next to a drilling rig that operates twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The sounds that are associated with keeping the drill bit turning to the right become a way of life. Listening for subtle changes that indicate moving from one rock formation to another—formations with different densities and/or hardness—holds one’s attention like few other objects of meditation in my experience. The routine included watching the process while the drilling crew (commonly known as roughnecks) added another length of drill pipe every thirty feet as the well deepened. Watching this process, I got to know the roughnecks a bit and learned more about the drilling process from them. I learned, for example, that rattlesnakes are naturally attracted to the vibrations created in the earth by the drilling process, and that the roughnecks had a little side business of catching rattlesnakes and selling them for meat.

Our main target was the Gray Sandstone formation with a secondary target of the Morris Sandstone formation. Both of these rock formations were known to be porous and permeable enough to be good reservoir rocks for oil and gas in this area. These formations were also overlain by non-permeable rock formations that provided a good trap for the petroleum, so it could not leak upward out of the reservoir formation. Both of these formations had been found to give good production levels in the area where we were exploring. To get a producing well in these formations one needs to find a place which is like the top of an old hill, now buried under thousands of feet of newer rocks. We had the electronic logs from nearby wells that had been drilled both with and without finding commercial production. These logs showed the depth of the various formations that we would be drilling through and thus provided markers, like a vertical map, so that we could tell if we were running high or low to these marker wells. The samples that we gathered and analyzed helped us to confirm what formation we were drilling through at the time.

” …drill deeper…”

As we came near to the Gray Sand, our anticipation was a solid thing. We collected the samples and noted the change of drilling speed. Analysis of this showed that we were running high to nearby dry holes, but low to nearby producing wells. We had not hit oil or gas in our target formations but we had encouraging signs that we were drilling on the slope of these formations and that there might be “higher ground,” so to speak, if we went deeper. There was a largely unexplored potential below our target zones called the Ellenberger formation. The Ellenberger was starting to create interest in the area and some producing wells had been found there. We had the example of the water well at Karme Chöling where, by going deeper, excellent water had been found. Mr. Mukpo, who we talked with regularly by phone whenever we were drilling, thought it would be a good idea to drill deeper to the Ellenberger, which was right above the granite bedrock and therefore the deepest possible production zone in this area. It was about 4,500 feet below the surface. So we drilled deeper.

It was slow going as there was a conglomerate formation above the Ellenberger that was very difficult to drill through. It was taking at least ten minutes per foot to go through this rock. The drilling is measured on graph paper attached to a rotating drum. A mechanical pen draws a line across the graph each time the drill bit makes it through another foot of rock. There is a distinctive set of sounds associated with the process of the drill bit going deeper. By this time it was impossible for me to not hear that set of sounds standing out in the midst of all the myriad of other sounds of the rig. All of a sudden the rig started to drill at three minutes per foot. This would be the top of the Ellenberger, and it sounded porous. After three feet of this faster drilling I asked the driller to stop so that we could get a proper test of the top of the zone. It takes awhile for the samples to come up from 4,500 feet and it is good to look at them before drilling deep into the formation.

It definitely looked like we had struck it rich.

The samples from the Ellenberger showed petroleum. It was time for a drill stem test. The roughnecks raised the drill pipe and lowered a test chamber down the hole. Before the test chamber was opened, a hose was run from the pipe to a bucket of water so that we could tell if the formation was allowing anything to come into the pipe. As soon as the test chamber was opened, bubbles began to escape from the hose. Then the hose was closed off and the pipe was opened out over the mud pits. Very quickly it blew oil over the pits followed by the screaming sound of natural gas. The testing crew lit the gas, and a very impressive flame roared and lit up the day. It definitely looked like we had struck it rich.

Flaming natural gas from Bright #1 drill stem test

The Bright #1 Well was primarily a natural gas well. We completed the well for production but could not start actually producing the gas until the well was connected to a natural gas pipeline system. It took about eight months to get the pipeline contract and to have the gas gathering company construct the pipeline to our well. The wells in the immediate area were oil wells producing from the Gray Sand so there was no gas pipeline in the immediate vicinity. The pipeline company built the line at their cost because they believed that the Bright #1 Well would produce sufficient quantities of gas to cover their investment. It also appeared that the Bright #1 Well represented a new discovery in the Ellenberger that would result in other gas wells in the area. The construction of this pipeline seemed to confirm the belief that Gold Lake Oil was now a financially successful exploration company. There remained one nagging question mark. There had been a slight draw down in pressure during the drill stem test. Experienced people at John R. Thompson’s operating company cautioned that this often indicates a limited reservoir, meaning that the well might not produce for long, but that there was no way to know for sure except to prepare the well for production and see what happened.

The directors of Gold Lake: CT Mukpo, Craig Thompson, and Tom Bell

It is difficult to make decisions such as whether or not to complete a well for production. There is some objective information, and there are uncertainties. Rinpoche stressed that the key issue in making these decisions is to always tell the truth—both to ourselves, and to the people who would be affected by our decisions. The owners, investors, and employees of Gold Lake Oil went on a journey of exploration together. We did our best to communicate openly and truthfully with each other. We maintained good looking offices and had a beautiful logo. We kept our financial affairs in good order and always paid the bills on time. We were generally kind and caring with each other, at least between klesha attacks of various kinds. Still, I think it is safe to say that everyone involved relied upon Rinpoche to be the one who embodied the dharma, and who invoked and followed drala. To one degree or another, the rest of us thought that we could benefit from his attainments without really doing the hard work of giving up our own self-clinging and personal ambitions.

As we waited for the Bright #1 Well to be connected to the natural gas pipeline there was a kind of muted euphoria within the company. We were confident that we were rich, so during our wait we started to explore further. We looked at prospects in Nova Scotia, Kansas, and Colorado and we designed a major lease play on the Ellenberger formation. We had an important discovery well in the Ellenberger, so it was only sensible for us to gather drilling rights in the area where this formation was known to be present and prospective.

We tried to keep up the production but kept getting more and more salt water.

When the Bright #1 Well was finally brought into production the initial results were positive. We were able to produce 100,000 cubic feet of gas per day. This meant that our well was bringing in about $300 per day for a projected $110,000 per year. This would not be a quick payout of the cost of drilling and completion, but it would eventually provide a good return on investment if it held up and other wells could be added to the field at a lower cost than the initial discovery well. However, the well started to produce some salt water along with the gas after a few weeks. We tried to keep up the production but kept getting more and more salt water. Now we knew that the draw down in pressure during the drill stem test did, in fact, mean that we had discovered a limited reservoir of natural gas. We were no longer rich, at least not in terms of dollars.

Around the time that we had to plug the Bright #1 Well, the price of oil started to drop dramatically. It went from a high of $42 per barrel in 1981 to $30 per barrel in 1982 and to $10 per barrel in 1986. Practically the whole oil and gas industry in North America stopped taking new, unproven drilling leases, and the number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States at any one time dropped from a peak of 4,500 in 1982, to 2,000 in 1983, and to 750 by 1986. The economics of the business changed dramatically in a very short time. Still, Gold Lake did not give up. We went ahead and drilled another well, the Hobbs #1, on leases we had acquired during our efforts to put together prospects in the Ellenberger. We were no longer very interested in the Ellenberger, but the Hobbs leases had other interesting target formations and Rinpoche had found a good location on the Hobbs lease.

While drilling the Hobbs #1 Well we had a good drill stem test that flowed oil and did not draw down in pressure. It did not take long to complete this well as there was no need for a natural gas pipeline connection, but we were very aware of needing a successful well with long-term production. This time we were more skeptical about whether we were really rich, so we waited to see how the production would hold up before we tried to acquire any more leases in the area. The Hobbs #1 went to salt water even more quickly than the Bright #1. By now, both the managers and investors in the company were losing heart, and the drop in oil prices was making it hard for any company to justify further exploration.

“… maybe our ambition killed the whole thing”

At the final meeting of Gold Lake Oil, held in December of 1982, Mr. Mukpo said, “Well, I still have faith that something will happen in the future, but maybe our ambition killed the whole thing.” He only said it once, and he said it reflectively.

These words were a mind stopper when I heard them 25 years ago, and they continue to be a mind stopper when I read them now. It is certainly true that we were ambitious, and in retrospect, it wasn’t just your average garden-variety ambition for wealth and success. We had the added hook of spiritual ambition. To some extent, I think that we were naively drilling for some sort of spiritual goodies that seemed at the time to be inseparable from the promise of oil and gas. But in spite of everything—our financial losses and our foiled personal ambitions—I think it would be shortsighted to see Gold Lake Oil as a failure. He said:

” …I still have faith that something will happen in the future,…”

And it has. Many members of our community, including some of the original Gold Lake owners and employees, have gone on to be successful in the world of business—successful in terms of the bottom line, and successful by less conventional criteria as well. Some have even found oil and gas by applying what they learned from Mr. Mukpo. Personally I feel incredibly grateful to have been in business with Rinpoche—to have witnessed his attention to detail, to have heard his admonition to tell the truth, and to have had my own ambitions exposed so thoroughly by the prospect of sudden wealth.

Many of us—students of Trungpa Rinpoche who have been involved in business—are retired, or nearing retirement age. Perhaps it would be worthwhile at this point to step back and take a look at our collective experience. What do we have to say about being in business and being practitioners? How has this activity contributed to the project of planting dharma in the West? How has it helped and/or hindered the creation of an enlightened society? What are our measures of success? Perhaps we could use the Chronicles as a forum for this discussion.

Yours in the practice of the dharma and commerce,
Tom Bell,
© 2006-2007 Thomas Bell

Tom Bell


Tom Bell joined Trungpa Rinpoche's community of students in 1972. He served as the head of practice and study at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center (now SMC) in the mid-to-late seventies, before entering the oil and gas business in 1978. In addition to Gold Lake Oil, Tom co-founded Colorado Gathering and Processing Corporation, which supplied natural gas to the city of Greeley, Colorado. He also co-founded the Colorado Natural Gas Assistance Foundation, which used profits from natural gas sales to help low income energy consumers pay their heating bills. Tom and his wife, Jacquie, and their children, Wilson and Victoria, moved to Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia in 1988, where he has been involved in a number of business and community projects. Most notably, Tom served as the general manager for the conversion of a former Canadian military base (CFB Cornwallis) into the village of Cornwallis Park. After serving as the Director of Karme Chöling from 2000 through 2003, Tom and Jacquie have returned to Nova Scotia where (recently retired) they study and practice the dharma between visits with their children and grandchildren.

Shastri Tom Bell became a student of the Vidyadhara in 1972, and has been active since then in direct service to both of the Sakyongs and also to the current Sakyong Wangmo. He was on the staff of RMDC (Shambhala Mountain Centre) in the mid,’70’s, was the director of Karme Choling from 2000-2003, and has been an active Shambhala teacher since 1976. He has worked to support his family through a career in business and economic development in Colorado and Nova Scotia. His immediate family now numbers fifteen, including his wife, three children, their spouses, and seven grandchildren. He was appointed as a Shastri for Halifax in 2015.

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Chogyam Trungpa: The Early Years
The Early Years in Colorado

by Clarke Warren
September 8, 2014 – 12:37 am



Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche teaching in North America, circa 1971, photographer unknown

Celebrating a collaboration between Naropa University and the University of Colorado on a Buddhist Studies Lecture Series in honor of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

This is an account of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s early years in Colorado. It is based on interviews with people who were involved with his initial arrival and settling in Colorado and students who were in the initial group, such as myself. It was for me a highly poignant process interviewing people I hadn’t seen since the 1970s, as well as people I had become close with and continued to be close with as fellow students of Trungpa Rinpoche. It was also a timely task, as many of those people from the early days of Trungpa Rinpoche in the West are already gone, and the memories of those of us still living needed to be probed before the mists of aging memory move in. And of course there were somewhat different memories and accounts from different people which needed to be collated.

The accounts of Trungpa Rinpoche in the interviews are varied, some devotedly positive, and some who did not take to Rinpoche’s style. But I met with none who denied the seminal influence of Trungpa Rinpoche in bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the West, or the brilliance of his teachings. Appraising Trungpa Rinpoche is like the fabled seven blind men describing an elephant, each with a decidedly different version depending on which part of the elephant each was feeling. He was perceived and experienced in myriad ways, and he himself was highly diverse in his many expressions of character, pursuits, and talents.

Invitation to Boulder

Karl Usow at his home in Gibsons, BC 2005,photo by Walter Fordham

John Visvader and Karl Usow, University of Colorado professors in the Departments of Philosophy and Math respectively, initiated the idea to invite Trungpa Rinpoche to come to Colorado, then enlisted the support of fellow CU faculty and CU students. They sent an invitation to Trungpa Rinpoche at Samye Ling in Scotland, featuring a postcard of the Rocky Mountains and suggesting he might appreciate the similarity of Colorado to the mountains of Tibet. Meanwhile, Judy Hurley and members of the Zen group, as well as a few others in the CU and Boulder, started to engage the logistics necessary for such a visit.

Effect of diffuser design, diffuser-exit velocity profile and fuel distribution on altitude performance of several afterburner configurations
by E. William Conrad, Frederick W. Schulze, and Karl H. Usow
Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory, Cleveland, Ohio
Description: "An investigation was conducted in the NACA Lewis altitude wind tunnel to improve the altitude performance and operational characteristics of an afterburner primarily by modifying the diffuser-exit velocity profile by changes in diffuser design and by changing the fuel distribution and the flame holder. Twenty configurations, consisting of combinations of six diffuser geometries, six flame-holder types, and twelve fuel systems, were investigated. Data were obtained over a range of afterburner fuel-air ratios at diffuser-inlet total pressures from 2750 to 620 pounds per square foot" (p. 1).
Creation Information: Conrad, E. William; Schultz, Frederick W. & Usow, Karl H. July 9, 1953.
National Advisory Committee for Aeronatics, Washington

There was no response to the invitation for a few months. After a while, people began to lose heart in the project, thinking that Trungpa Rinpoche must not be interested enough even to respond. Then, out of the blue, a response did come. In the interim, Trungpa Rinpoche and his wife Diana had come first to Canada, then to Vermont, where Trungpa Rinpoche was offered land to start a meditation center, to become Tail of the Tiger, then later, Karme Choling. To the surprise of the people in Boulder, Trungpa Rinpoche wrote that he would be coming for a much more extended time than was proposed. He also asked for $500 to get his wife and himself to Boulder. John Visvader and Karl Usow provided the funds, and Trungpa Rinpoche was on his way to Boulder. But first, he spent the summer at Karme Choling, and some time in Los Angeles, presenting talks, introducing meditation practice, and attracting new students.

John Visvader lecturing at the College of the Atlantic, 2012; photographer unknown

A couple of weeks before his arrival in Colorado, Trungpa Rinpoche sent two of his first American students, John Baker and Marvin Casper, whom he had met at Karme Choling, to Boulder with explicit instructions to dispel any preconceived notions of Trungpa Rinpoche as being an exotic spiritual being or pure monk. A meeting was called of all interested people, which by that time consisted of the original CU faculty and students, the Zen group, and a variety of American Hindus, Macrobiotic practitioners, Pygmies, and a few others. John and Marvin proceeded to report to the group that Trungpa Rinpoche drank alcohol, smoked cigarettes, engaged in sexual relations, and so on. Several of the attendees were repelled by these seeming contradictions to their own image of a “spiritual master” and took their leave after the meeting. The rest stayed on and began preparations for Trungpa Rinpoche’s arrival. In the fall of 1970, Trungpa Rinpoche arrived at Stapleton Airport in Denver.

A small cabin had been found available for rent, located at an altitude of about 9,000 feet in the mountains above Boulder. It stood in an alpine meadow with a clear view to the snow peaks of the Front Range of Colorado. It had no running water or indoor plumbing, and was heated with a wood stove. There was a notion that this would be perfect for Trungpa Rinpoche, a retreat remote from the activities of a town, pristine and natural, and a place where his students could then gather around for teachings and meditation.

When Trungpa Rinpoche arrived in Colorado, he did indeed stay at the cabin for a week or so. But it was clear that he would need a much more convenient and modern living situation. He had been severely injured in an automobile accident the year before, and walked only with great effort and usually with help from others. It also became swiftly apparent that his intent in coming to Colorado to teach was not couched in a model of retreat and separation from mainstream society. A house in Four Mile Canyon outside Boulder was found, Trungpa Rinpoche moved into it, and soon he was joined by his wife Diana. The first task he undertook upon entering the house was to mount a large thangka, a Tibetan religious painted scroll, of the Buddha Amitayus, a gift to him from the Queen Mother of Bhutan, on the wall of the living room and set up the living room as a shrine. This became the first center of teaching, meditation, and social activity for his budding community in Boulder.

Teaching at CU Boulder

Trungpa Rinpoche teaching in North America, circa 1970, photographer unknown

Meanwhile, John Visvader and Karl Usow were seeking possibilities for Trungpa Rinpoche to earn a livelihood. They approached the CU Extended Studies office and were able to schedule the first of several classes to be taught by Trungpa Rinpoche in the years to come. The first class convened that fall, held in the basement of the Hellems Arts and Sciences building and attended by twenty to thirty students. Trungpa Rinpoche’s new Buddhist students in Boulder were asked to limit their attendance to one class, so as to honor the enrolled students. Meanwhile Trungpa Rinpoche started to teach to his new community of Buddhist students in Boulder and around the country.

Trungpa Rinpoche taught a number of classes on Tibetan Buddhism at CU between 1971 and 1974, which were recorded and are available to listen to through the Naropa University library and also in the Shambhala Archives. The existence of these taped classes was corroborated by Judith Lief as well as the Naropa University Archives Librarian and Carolyn Gimian of the Trungpa Rinpoche Legacy project. In addition to these early classes, one seminar is recorded as having occurred at CU in 1978, titled the “Open Secret” Seminar and consisting of 3 talks. This seminar also exists in the Naropa University Library and the Shambhala Archives.

Following 1974, for the most part Trungpa Rinpoche stopped teaching classes at CU. Dr. Reginald Ray, a Buddhist Studies scholar and student of Trungpa Rinpoche, was then hired by CU to teach Tibetan Buddhism. Dr. Ray was also involved in the founding of the Naropa Institute at the time, and was to become the Director of Religious Studies at Naropa, a position he filled for many years henceforth.

For the extended version of this article, click here. [DEAD LINK AT CHRONICLEPROJECT.COM]

This history was composed to celebrate a collaboration between Naropa University and the University of Colorado on a Buddhist Studies Lecture Series in honor of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The annual lecture brings scholars of Buddhism to Boulder to give a lecture, free and open to the public, hosted on alternating years by Naropa and CU Boulder.

This year, John Makransky of Boston College will be delivering the second annual Chogyam Trungpa Lecture in Buddhist Studies at Naropa. For more information, visit this website.

Please help endow the Chogyam Trungpa Lecture Series with a donation.



Clarke Warren studied Asian Religions briefly at the University of Colorado before becoming a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1970. He was involved in the founding of Naropa University, as a student, then a teacher. In addition, he has taught Buddhist philosophy, culture and meditation at Naropa, and in Buddhist communities for over 30 years, and was a senior teacher for Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. From 1994-2007, he directed and was lead faculty for the Naropa University Study Abroad Program in Nepal, and then Sikkim, living for 13 years in Tibetan communities. Clarke and his wife Pemba Dolma currently live in Erie, Colorado.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:56 am

National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/20/19



National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
The official seal of NACA, depicting the Wright Flyer and the Wright brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
Agency overview
Formed March 3, 1915
Dissolved October 1, 1958
Superseding agency
Jurisdiction Federal government of the United States

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was a U.S. federal agency founded on March 3, 1915, to undertake, promote, and institutionalize aeronautical research. On October 1, 1958, the agency was dissolved, and its assets and personnel transferred to the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NACA was an initialism, i.e. it was pronounced as individual letters, rather than as a whole word[1] (as was NASA during the early years after being established).[2]

Among other advancements, NACA research and development produced the NACA duct, a type of air intake used in modern automotive applications, the NACA cowling, and several series of NACA airfoils which are still used in aircraft manufacturing.

During World War II, NACA was described as "The Force Behind Our Air Supremacy" due to its key role in producing working superchargers for high altitude bombers, and for producing the laminar wing profiles for the North American P-51 Mustang.[3] NACA was also key in developing the area rule that is used on all modern supersonic aircraft, and conducted the key compressibility research that enabled the Bell X-1 to break the sound barrier.


The inscription on the wall is NACA's mission statement: "...It shall be the duty of the advisory committee for aeronautics to supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight with a view to their practical solution ..." By an Act of Congress Approved March 3, 1915

NACA was established by the federal government through enabling legislation as an emergency measure during World War I to promote industry, academic, and government coordination on war-related projects. It was modeled on similar national agencies found in Europe: the French L'Etablissement Central de l'Aérostation Militaire in Meudon (now Office National d'Etudes et de Recherches Aerospatiales), the German Aerodynamic Laboratory of the University of Göttingen, and the Russian Aerodynamic Institute of Koutchino (replaced in 1918 with the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI), which is still in existence). The most influential agency upon which the NACA was based was the British Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

In December 1912, President William Howard Taft had appointed a National Aerodynamical Laboratory Commission chaired by Robert S. Woodward, president of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Legislation was introduced in both houses of Congress early in January 1913 to approve the commission, but when it came to a vote, the legislation was defeated.

The first meeting of the NACA in 1915

Charles D. Walcott, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution from 1907 to 1927, took up the effort, and in January 1915, Senator Benjamin R. Tillman, and Representative Ernest W. Roberts introduced identical resolutions recommending the creation of an advisory committee as outlined by Walcott. The purpose of the committee was "to supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight with a view to their practical solution, and to determine the problems which should be experimentally attacked and to discuss their solution and their application to practical questions." Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote that he "heartily [endorsed] the principle" on which the legislation was based. Walcott suggested the tactic of adding the resolution to the Naval Appropriations Bill.[4]

According to one source, "The enabling legislation for the NACA slipped through almost unnoticed as a rider attached to the Naval Appropriation Bill, on March 3, 1915."[5] The committee of 12 people, all unpaid, were allocated a budget of $5,000 per year.

President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law the same day, thus formally creating the Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, as it was called in the legislation, on the last day of the 63rd Congress.

The act of Congress creating NACA, approved March 3, 1915, reads, "...It shall be the duty of the advisory committee for aeronautics to supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight with a view to their practical solution. ... "[6]


The NACA Test Force at the High-Speed Flight Station in Edwards, California. The white aircraft in the foreground is a Douglas Skyrocket.

On January 29, 1920, President Wilson appointed pioneering flier and aviation engineer Orville Wright to NACA's board. By the early 1920s, it had adopted a new and more ambitious mission: to promote military and civilian aviation through applied research that looked beyond current needs. NACA researchers pursued this mission through the agency's impressive collection of in-house wind tunnels, engine test stands, and flight test facilities. Commercial and military clients were also permitted to use NACA facilities on a contract basis.


• Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory (Hampton, Virginia)
• Ames Aeronautical Laboratory (Moffett Field)
• Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory (Lewis Research Center)
• Muroc Flight Test Unit (Edwards Air Force Base)

In 1922, NACA had 100 employees. By 1938, it had 426. In addition to formal assignments, staff were encouraged to pursue unauthorized "bootleg" research, provided that it was not too exotic. The result was a long string of fundamental breakthroughs, including "thin airfoil theory" (1920s), "NACA engine cowl" (1930s), the "NACA airfoil" series (1940s), and the "area rule" for supersonic aircraft (1950s). On the other hand, NACA's 1941 refusal to increase airspeed in their wind tunnels set Lockheed back a year in their quest to solve the problem of compressibility encountered in high speed dives made by the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.[7]

An engineer makes final calibrations to a model mounted in the 6-by-6-foot (1.8 m × 1.8 m) supersonic wind tunnel.

The full-size 30-by-60-foot (9.1 m × 18.3 m) Langley wind tunnel operated at no more than 100 mph (87 kn; 160 km/h) and the then-recent 7-by-10-foot (2.1 m × 3.0 m) tunnels at Moffett could only reach 250 mph (220 kn; 400 km/h). These were speeds Lockheed engineers considered useless for their purposes. General Henry H. Arnold took up the matter and overruled NACA objections to higher air speeds. NACA built a handful of new high-speed wind tunnels, and Mach 0.75 (570 mph (495 kn; 917 km/h) was reached at Moffett's 16-foot (4.9 m) wind tunnel late in 1942.[8][9]

Wind tunnels

NACA wind test on a human subject (1946)

Further information: Subsonic and transonic wind tunnel

NACA's first wind tunnel was formally dedicated at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory on June 11, 1920. It was the first of many now-famous NACA and NASA wind tunnels. Although this specific wind tunnel was not unique or advanced, it enabled NACA engineers and scientists to develop and test new and advanced concepts in aerodynamics and to improve future wind tunnel design.

1. Atmospheric 5-ft wind tunnel (1920)
2. Variable Density Tunnel (1922)
3. Propeller research tunnel (1927)
4. High-speed 11-in wind tunnel (1928)
5. Vertical 5-ft wind tunnel (1929)
6. Atmospheric 7- by 10-ft wind tunnel (1930)
7. Full-scale 30- by 60-ft tunnel (1931)

Influence on World War II technology

In the years immediately preceding World War II, NACA was involved in the development of several designs that served key roles in the war effort. When engineers at a major engine manufacturer were having issues producing superchargers that would allow the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress to maintain power at high altitude, a team of engineers from NACA solved the problems and created the standards and testing methods used to produce effective superchargers in the future. This enabled the B-17 to be used as a key aircraft in the war effort. The designs and information gained from NACA research on the B-17 were used in nearly every major U.S. military powerplant of the Second World War. Nearly every aircraft used some form of forced induction that relied on information developed by NACA. Because of this, U.S.-produced aircraft had a significant power advantage above 15,000 feet, which was never fully countered by Axis forces.[citation needed]

After the war had begun, the British government sent a request to North American Aviation for a new fighter. The offered P-40 Tomahawk fighters were considered too outdated to be a feasible front line fighter by European standards, and so North American began development of a new aircraft. The British government chose a NACA-developed airfoil for the fighter, which enabled it to perform dramatically better than previous models. This aircraft became known as the P-51 Mustang.[3]

Supersonic research

The NACA XS-1 (Bell X-1)

The NACA Scientific and Engineering Staff at the Ames Research Center in Mountain View California shortly before the dissolution of NACA and the formation of NASA in 1958.

Although the Bell X-1 was commissioned by the Air Force and flown by Air Force test pilot Chuck Yeager, when it exceeded Mach 1 NACA was officially in charge of the testing and development of the aircraft. NACA ran the experiments and data collection, and the bulk of the research used to develop the aircraft came from NACA engineer John Stack, the head of NACA's compressibility division.[3] Compressibility is a major issue as aircraft approach Mach 1, and research into solving the problem drew heavily on information collected during previous NACA wind tunnel testing to assist Lockheed with the P-38 Lightning.

The X-1 program was first envisioned in 1944 when a former NACA engineer working for Bell Aircraft approached the Army for funding of a supersonic test aircraft. Neither the Army nor Bell had any experience in this area, so the majority of research came from the NACA Compressibility Research Division, which had been operating for more than a year by the time Bell began conceptual designs. The Compressibility Research Division also had years of additional research and data to pull from, as its head engineer was previously head of the high speed wind tunnel division, which itself had nearly a decade of high speed test data by that time. Due to the importance of NACA involvement, Stack was personally awarded the Collier Trophy along with the owner of Bell Aircraft and test pilot Chuck Yeager.[10][11]

In 1951, NACA Engineer Richard Whitcomb determined the area rule that explained transonic flow over an aircraft. The first uses of this theory were on the Convair F-102 project and the F11F Tiger. The F-102 was meant to be a supersonic interceptor, but it was unable to exceed the speed of sound, despite the best effort of Convair engineers. The F-102 had actually already begun production when this was discovered, so NACA engineers were sent to quickly solve the problem at hand. The production line had to be modified to allow the modification of F-102s already in production to allow them to use the area rule. (Aircraft so altered were known as "area ruled" aircraft.) The design changes allowed the aircraft to exceed Mach 1, but only by a small margin, as the rest of the Convair design was not optimized for this. As the F-11F was the first design to incorporate this during initial design, it was able to break the sound barrier without having to use afterburner.[12]

Because the area rule was initially classified, it took several years for Whitcomb to be recognized for his accomplishment. In 1955 he was awarded the Collier Trophy for his work on both the Tiger and the F-102.[13]

The most important design resulting from the area rule was the B-58 Hustler, which was already in development at the time. It was redesigned to take the area rule into effect, allowing greatly improved performance.[14] This was the first US supersonic bomber, and was capable of Mach 2 at a time when Soviet fighters had only just attained that speed months earlier.[15] The area rule concept is now used in designing all transonic and supersonic aircraft.

NACA experience provided a powerful model for World War II research, the postwar government laboratories, and NACA's successor, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

NACA also participated in development of the first aircraft to fly to the "edge of space", North American's X-15. NACA airfoils are still used on modern aircraft.


1. George P. Scriven (United States Army) (1915–1916)
2. William F. Durand (Stanford University) (1916–1918)
3. John R. Freeman (consultant) (1918–1919)
4. Charles Doolittle Walcott (Smithsonian Institution) (1920–1927)
5. Joseph Sweetman Ames (Johns Hopkins University) (1927–1939)
6. Vannevar Bush (Carnegie Institution) (1940–1941)
7. Jerome C. Hunsaker (Navy, MIT) (1941–1956)
8. James H. Doolittle (Shell Oil) (1957–1958)

Transformation into NASA

Main article: Creation of NASA

Special Committee on Space Technology

Special Committee on Space Technology in 1958: Wernher von Braun; fourth from the left, Hendrik Wade Bode
On November 21, 1957, Hugh Dryden, NACA's director, established the Special Committee on Space Technology.[16] The committee, also called the Stever Committee after its chairman, Guyford Stever, was a special steering committee that was formed with the mandate to coordinate various branches of the federal government, private companies as well as universities within the United States with NACA's objectives and also harness their expertise in order to develop a space program.[17]

Wernher von Braun, technical director at the US Army's Ballistic Missile Agency would have a Jupiter C rocket ready to launch a satellite in 1956, only to have it delayed,[18] and the Soviets would launch Sputnik 1 in October 1957.

On January 14, 1958, Dryden published "A National Research Program for Space Technology," which stated:[16]

It is of great urgency and importance to our country both from consideration of our prestige as a nation as well as military necessity that this challenge (Sputnik) be met by an energetic program of research and development for the conquest of space. ...

It is accordingly proposed that the scientific research be the responsibility of a national civilian agency working in close cooperation with the applied research and development groups required for weapon systems development by the military. The pattern to be followed is that already developed by the NACA and the military services. ...

The NACA is capable, by rapid extension and expansion of its effort, of providing leadership in space technology.

On March 5, 1958, James Killian, who chaired the President's Science Advisory Committee, wrote a memorandum to the President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Titled, "Organization for Civil Space Programs," it encouraged the President to sanction the creation of NASA. He wrote that a civil space program should be based on a "strengthened and redesignated" NACA, indicating that NACA was a "going Federal research agency" with 7,500 employees and $300 million worth of facilities, which could expand its research program "with a minimum of delay."[16]


As of their meeting on May 26, 1958, committee members, starting clockwise from the left of the above picture:[17]

Committee member / Title

Edward R. Sharp / Director of the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory
Colonel Norman C Appold / Assistant to the Deputy Commander for Weapons Systems, Air Research and Development Command: US Air Force
Abraham Hyatt / Research and Analysis Officer Bureau of Aeronautics, Department of the Navy
Hendrik Wade Bode / Director of Research Physical Sciences, Bell Telephone Laboratories
William Randolph Lovelace II / Lovelace Foundation for Medication Education and Research
S. K Hoffman / General Manager, Rocketdyne Division, North American Aviation
Milton U Clauser / Director, Aeronautical Research Laboratory, The Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation
H. Julian Allen / Chief, High Speed Flight Research, NACA Ames
Robert R. Gilruth / Assistant Director, NACA Langley
J. R. Dempsey / Manager. Convair-Astronautics (Division of General Dynamics)
Carl B. Palmer / Secretary to Committee, NACA Headquarters
H. Guyford Stever / Chairman, Associate Dean of Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Hugh L. Dryden (ex officio), / Director, NACA, Namesake of future Dryden Research Center
Dale R. Corson / Department of Physics, Cornell University
Abe Silverstein / Associate Director, NACA Lewis
Wernher von Braun / Director, Development Operations Division, Army Ballistic Missile Agency


1. Murray, Charles, and Catherine Bly Cox. Apollo. South Mountain Books, 2004, p. xiii.
2. Jeff Quitney (May 17, 2013). "Creation of NASA: Message to Employees of NACA from T. Keith Glennan 1958 NASA". Archived from the original on November 22, 2016. Retrieved May 8, 2018 – via YouTube.
3. "NASA - WWII & NACA: US Aviation Research Helped Speed Victory". Archived from the original on December 18, 2017. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
4. Roland, Alex. "Model Research - Volume 1". Archived from the original on November 13, 2004.
5. Bilstein, Roger E. "Orders of Magnitude, Chapter 1". Archived from the original on January 14, 2007.
6. Dawson, Virginia P. "Engines and Innovation". Archived from the original on October 31, 2004.
7. Bodie, Warren M. The Lockheed P-38 Lightning: The Definitive Story of Lockheed's P-38 Fighter. Hayesville, North Carolina: Widewing Publications, 2001, 1991, pp. 174–5. ISBN 0-9629359-5-6.
8. Bodie, Warren M. The Lockheed P-38 Lightning. pp. 75-6.
9. "ch3-5". Archived from the original on September 14, 2016. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
10. From Engineering Science to Big Science: The NACA and NASA Collier Trophy Research Project Winners, 1998, P.89
11. "Dryden Flight Research Center historical data". NASA. Archived from the original on October 13, 2006. Retrieved December 10, 2006.
12. From Engineering Science to Big Science: The NACA and NASA Collier Trophy Research Project Winners, 1998, p. 146.
13. From Engineering Science to Big Science: The NACA and NASA Collier Trophy P.147
14. From Engineering Science to Big Science: The NACA and NASA Collier Trophy Research Project Winners, 1998, P.147
15. Haynes, Leland R. "B-58 Hustler Records & 15,000 miles non-stop in the SR-71". Archived from the original on November 2, 2017. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
16. Erickson, Mark. Into the Unknown Together - The DOD, NASA, and Early Spaceflight (PDF). ISBN 1-58566-140-6. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 20, 2009.
17. "ch8". Archived from the original on December 25, 2017. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
18. Schefter, James (1999). The race : the uncensored story of how America beat Russia to the moon. New York: Doubleday. p. 18. ISBN 9780385492539. OCLC 681285276. Retrieved June 9, 2019.

Further reading

• John Henry, et al. Orders of Magnitude: A History of the NACA and NASA, 1915-1990.
• Alex Roland. Model Research: The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, 1915-1958.
• James Hansen. Engineer in Charge: A History of the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, 1917-1958.
• Michael H. Gorn, Expanding the envelope – Flight Research at NACA and NASA.

External links

• U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission: The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)
• The NASA Technical Reports Server provides access to a collection of 14,469 NACA documents dating from 1917.
• Information on NACA airfoil series
• "From Engineering Science to Big Science" — The NACA and NASA Collier Trophy Research Project Winners, edited by Pamela E. Mack.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:17 am

Crawling Back to the Alleged Hell Portal of NASA's Occult Origins: Retracing the homunculus footsteps of Jack Parsons, the eccentric rocketeer, and his partner in magic, L. Ron Hubbard.
by Brian Anderson
September 2012



Depending on whom you ask, I'm about to be sucked into a Hell portal that allegedly sits in caverns somewhere around NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.

The place looks almost calm from here – I'm standing midway across a footbridge over the Arroyo Seco canyon, near La Cañada Flintridge, California, a good quarter-mile southeast of the lab's campus.

The old line is that JPL is really Jack Parsons' Lab. Marvel "John" Whiteside Parsons, the late chemist, rocketeer and high school dropout had a hand in some of the first rocket tests on what would later become the grounds of the JPL, NASA's famous rocket incubator.

It was the dawn of World War II when Parsons, who'd also co-founded the missile manufacturing firm Aerojet around the same time as JPL's inception, took to the Ordo Templi Orientis. The OTO was a Thelema-based, fraternal-religious sex-magick order founded by Aleister Crowley, the British mystic variously known as the Great Beast 666 and the "most evil man who ever lived."

Parsons saw in Crowley a master-mentor figure. The Feds saw suspicious activity. In 1950, the FBI would investigate Parsons over the theft of rocket documents from the Hughes Aircraft Company; after being discovered, Parsons was immediately fired, and would later lose his top secret clearance. "He planned to submit [the documents] with [an] employment application through American Technion Society for employment in the country of Israel," read the original FBI report.

Whether or not Parsons was acting as an Israeli spy or simply being cavalier, his connection to the occult earned him special attention. The U.S. Air Force advised the FBI that the USAF had already collected files on Parsons and his relationship with Crowley, one of which, dated May 17, 1948, stated: "A religious cult, believed to advocate sexual perversion, was organized at subject's home at 1003 South Orange Grove Avenue, Pasadena, California, which has been reported subversive…" "This cult," it continued, "broadly hinted at free love": there had been "several complaints of ''strange goings on at this home,'" and an unnamed source had described the church as "a gathering place of perverts." Furthermore, "…women of loose morals were involved and…the story of Parsons' activities had become fairly common knowledge among scientists in the Pasadena area."

But soon enough the young explosives guru was running with another OTO buck, a young writer named L. Ron. Hubbard. When Parsons, then in his early 30s, wasn't ranging the canyon beneath me, chanting mantras to Pan before field-testing one of NASA's nascent projectiles, there's good chance the guy could've been found with Hubbard, caught up in all manner of weirdo rites in and around the Arroyo Seco and greater San Gabriel Valley. It's stuff you'd expect out of this sort of thing – wearing robes and bejeweled hoods; scheming to conceive a hulking Moonchild with Parsons' mistress, dawning the Aeon of Horus; plotting the overthrow of 4D spacetime; drug-addled anal parties; animal sacrifices. You know. Cult stuff.

Parsons embrace of this seemingly double life is a knotty bit of history, though maybe not impossible to untangle. It could've been that because he wasn't studying at neighboring CalTech – Parsons and only one other of the core of JPL's founders weren't fully immersed in academia, I'm told – the brilliant, if undisciplined Parsons had no qualms in latching onto the OTO. Or maybe it was the occult's general grasp over southern California that pulled Parsons to the dark arts.

The rocket boys, 1936. That's Parsons foregrounded on the right (via JPL / NASA)

Whatever it was, the move drew fire from some of his contemporaries. More poignantly, it triggered Parsons' migration from JPL's founder's circle, a disparate group of aerospace experimentalists, mechanics, and others known as the "rocket boys," and into the folks-y, tragicomic dustbin of national lab heroism. "As I write," Parsons lamented in 1950, "the United States Senate is pursuing a burlesque investigation into the sphere of private sexual morals, which will accomplish nothing except to bring pain and sorrow to many innocent persons." Parsons' contentious modus operandi and his untimely, fiery demise may shed light on just why it is that we Americans choose to canonize some minds and not others. And perhaps it may even point to why popular opinion continually pits science and reason and religi-magic against each other as eternally incompatible forces.

Crowley says it was the sheer force of Parsons and Hubbard's ritualisms around here that opened the portal. Still others say the steady beam of strange vibes over the region was so intensely powerful over Parsons that for him there become simply no other option besides rocketeering here, despite being trolled by the FBI. The Arroyo's dark energies wouldn't only boost rockets' precision, Parsons thought. They'd have them cruising further, faster.

You've maybe been hearing a lot about this place. The brains behind JPL's Mars Science Laboratory not only built and launched the Curiosity rover. They flawlessly parked the $2.5 billion drone on another goddamn planet.

We're off the bridge, now, and back onto trail. A friend, John, guides my way off what I assume is sanctioned path. John's got a monster stride. He breaks only when it's absolutely necessary. He also hardly ever looks back over his shoulder, sparing himself the sad sight of me hobbling all sweaty and pathetically cryptid-like (people claim they've seen those here) because I suck and somehow managed to forget both shorts and hiking shoes. It's bright, maybe 85 degrees, and I'm descending into semi-arid brush – maybe even a portal to Hellfire – in jeans and busted canvas lowtops.

We hop a chain-link fence. A riparian zone rich in massive willows and various wildlife, this area is a magnet for hikers, joggers, paranormal enthusiasts, equestrians, graffitists, young people tripping acid, assorted weirdos. Together their meanderings have carved a network of paths that hit damn near every last bluff, brook, and crevice defining this narrow slice of the Arroyo. Whatever trail we were on certainly wasn't over beginner, either. And from what I see up ahead – an open-air, paved staircase pacing down about 50 yards, then jutting left, out of sight – I probably can't say much different about how it'll be getting to wherever we're going.

But this is still unforgiving land. You'd be an idiot to think that veering out of bounds, as I assume we're doing, isn't without risks. You stress something awful when knowing full well the price tag on getting air-lifted from some ashen gulley after snapping a tibia because your shoes are essentially equivalent to a second pair of socks.

JPL campus and San Gabriel mountains, looking east (via JPL / NASA)

We rest a while. John says we're on course for the bowels of the Devils Gate Dam, a barrier that's defined the land since 1920. But long before then, long before Parsons showed up, the Tongva, an indigenous tribe whose territory once spanned present-day San Gabriel, had been picking up bad vibes from a particular run along the Arroyo Seco River. They could see the devil's face right there in the rockside, so much so that tribe members were apparently forbidden from straying too close to the horned visage. Centuries later, when the county needed a name for its gaudy new flood-control project, the choice was easy: Devil's Gate. So sure enough, as we start again a white sign rises from the brush: County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works – DEVILS GATE DAM.

And that's just it. Forget the natural splendor; I'm struck by a prevailing sense of an immense, crushing infrastructure. This place is testament to an enduring compulsion to tame nature – or overcome Her forces, in the case of Parsons. His explosive fuel studies and pioneering work with solid-state rockets and JATO, or jet-assisted takeoff, have over the years led some, including the late Hungarian-American aerospace engineer Theodore von Kármán, to go so far as crediting him with launching the era of modern space travel.

But others aren't so quick to call Parsons NASA's unsung hero.

"I think that's going far too far," JPL Historian Erik Conway will later tell me. "Very far, too far."

Parsons, middle, and colleagues watch the U.S.'s virgin jet test (via NASA)

Records from the period are scant. Which is unfortunate – being an experimentalist but also tremendously undisciplined, Parsons didn't make strides in a normal, scientific sense. He didn't log the particulars and progress of his trials, as any diligent experimentalist would. He didn't publish papers.

"He didn't contribute to the literature in that way," Conway goes on. "He lacked that kind of rigor."

What he lacked in methodic restraint he might have recouped in auras siphoned off the land. Because this is the place, it seems; this is where the bullheadedness of man – drunk on science, God, sex-magick, or some cocktail thereof – gives the wilds a run for their money. I'm in a page ripped from the book on great American public works and civil engineering. I'm in a fucking cathedral of cement, flanked by the towering underpass of Pasadena's so-called Suicide Bridge (Hwy. 210) and the Devil's Gate itself. Through it all, crusties claim, bores a labyrinth of tunnels. I partly buy this – John and I have been through a few, already. If I were any more conspiratorial or crusty, I would also buy the one about all of this merely being part of a network of tunnels coursing beneath all of LA.

I can't say if any of this explains why I'm trudging down here, exactly. I'm not sure what even to expect. I don't think John knows, either, and it's not like this is his first trip down. John first heard of the spot – the actual, physical Gate in Devil's Gate – and its curiosities from some dude over in Sierra Madre. A cursory search online then turned up the bit about Parsons and Hubbard and the alleged Hell portal, but also how the Gate meets the river at the mouth of a tunnel. And that if you're up for it, there's a way to get there.

John tells me it's little more than a blockade of cell bars, a failed attempt by the county at preventing curious trespassers from entering the tunnel, which bores horizontally back into the rock, back toward the dam itself. I assume it acts as a kind of overflow-relief valve, if in fact it's still functioning. John's not sure. He's never gone in. The one time he gazed into what some folks would tell you is one of just a handful of terrestrial Hell portals, he had to bail before setting foot inside the roughly 10-foot by 10-foot tunnel. Apparently the rest of his crew bummed so hard on a horrific stench eking from the lightless shaft that consensus aborted their mission. John smelled nothing.

The Devil's Gate Dam in 1923

I'm sure it'd be a trip to at least brush the edge of a vortex to the dark side, if such a Hellscape existed. You know, just have a real, "Oh, wow." To think, the gate was unlocked. They could've been how close? Wow.

This holds for pretty much any portal – to Mars, to other dimensions, other times. But at the moment, at least, I'm just starting down these stairs. I can't possibly be slipping into Hell. I just can't be. I don't feel any different. No sudden rush of biting, wicked vibes. No crawling skin. My teeth are noticeably unclenched.

But I'm not looking for Hell, or its chute. I'm not looking for any robed orgy, or the residues of some of NASA's first fuel reserves. I'm definitely not looking for the stains of an end-times infant homunculus à la 2001 (or even Rosemary's Baby), only utterly failing. Of course stumbling on any of those would be a real wow. But just knowing that Parsons' genius – a largely innate, at times feared prowess that however unorthodox helped launch rocket science before "rocket science" became the stuff of household chortling – spellbound him to the dark arts, that exerts a pull of its own.

Parsons once wrote of himself as an "Antichrist loosed in the world," pledging to carry out the word of "the Beast 666." So if he took pains to sink his hands into both pots, as if to shatter what he saw as a bunk dichotomy between the supposedly cool, collected march of science and the maelstrom of esoteric sorcery, I don't want to suck the cursed marrow from the non-existent bones of the OTO's botched Hellchild so much as jaunt through a patch of strange land, the throbbing of which has since left Parsons noticeably absent from both the American subconscious and pop-sci record. Because who were you taught about in grammar school, Enrico Fermi or Jack Parsons?

These stairs, though. They're the kind that if only could've been set just a bit deeper and longer would make getting pulled down into Hell not look like a stutter-step cavort. There's a drop-off ahead. I don't know how I feel about it.

John, descending (via B. Anderson)

The ladder is caged. It's slick iron to the very bottom, years' worth of hand grime rubbed into the 50-some odd rungs I counted off. There's a platform about 20 feet from the top of the rockface, at which point, descending another 30 feet to the river's edge, you realize that the mighty Arroyo is actually shallow-looking and seemingly non-flowing, a chalky-orange standstill of what otherwise cannot be described as sewage. Maybe it's just the season, but I smell nothing particularly rank.

Most likely the water takes its stain from the same mud notorious for plugging the basin in back of the dam, toward JPL's campus. An estimated 1.5 million cubic yards of mud have amassed at the Devils Gate since 2009's Station fire, leaving some to argue that floodwater simply has nowhere to go. Coupled with the 100,000 cubic yards of mud already deposited here, built up between 1994 and 2009, there's now enough of the orange goop to fill a good four Rose Bowl stadiums. The Los Angeles Times even reported that it would take as little as 40 minutes, under a worst case scenario, for torrential rains to send enough mud, rock and water hurtling over the gates to flood all of south Pasadena and northeast LA.

So standing here, face to face, now, with the stone Devil, part of me wants to say JPL's site selection was maybe not the best thinking. Not awful. But, really? Right smack at the head of a floodplain?

What became the Jet Propulsion Lab was actually first an Army outpost. It was only grafted onto NASA a few months after four other research centers scattered around the country were merged to form the agency, which, according to Conway, is a product of the now defunct federal aerospace organization, the National Advisory Committee in Aeronautics, or NACA. Doesn't quite roll off the tongue as easily.

I'm sure for Parsons the Tongva legend may've only added to the Arroyo allure. I, for one, am really not buying the hex thing. The idea that by traipsing down to the Devil's Gate I'm now flirting with the possibility of the cloud of misfortune hanging over the rest of my days stinks of the well-worn trope of the "ancient Indian curse." We've all heard that one before.

True, on Halloween, 1936, the rocket boys did stake their professional reputations on hauling a ramshackle rocket motor out to the Arroyo to try and make a bang. They tested four times that first day. Trials culminated in a blown oxygen line that whipped and cracked in the late-afternoon chill, with untamed, fire-spitting abandon. And while I'm sure that all of this could – and maybe has – made for some seminal urban legends, I just can't bring myself to say that any claims of JPL spells stem from either ancient pagan harvest festivals or celebrations for the dead.

Another rocket-boy Arroyo test gone up in flames, late November, 1936 (via JPL / NASA)

I don't know. And yet there's really no getting fully around the general vibe that something here is almost uncanny. Almost.

On top of the Tongva's claims and all the mud and flood threats, the disappearances of at least four children in the late 1950s adds a particularly grim air to the Devils Gate surroundings.

Bruce Kremen, 6, was out on the trails with a summer camp group. Tommy Bowman, 8, was hiking with his family. Others, like Donald Lee Barker, 13, and Brenda Howell, 11, were out bicycling around the dam. All seemed to vanish into thin air, almost as if vacuumed down some earthly ingress. Here's hoping we don't experience similar fates.

"Ah, fuck," John mutters, shaking the chains that hold the Gate shut. "It's locked."

Only leave it to some bolt-cutting speed freak to have nipped off just enough of a gap in the Gate to slink your body through. We go in. With no flashlight, it's increasing darkness up a slight, maybe 7- or 8-degree incline for about 600 feet. We hit a dead end. How this would relieve dam overflow, as this doesn't appear to be an active valve, is beyond me. It's almost like the thing has been plugged.

But that's it. No wildly shifting temperatures. No crippling stench. Still no crawling skin. Just some amateur graffiti, and the occasional flicker of smashed glass bottles. We turn around, and in relative silence walk out from the maw, and back toward the light.

"Well shit, man," John, after a moment. "Do you feel any bad vibes?"

"Not really?" I admit. "I mean, maybe some weird vibes back at the end, there, but none right here. You know? None right now."

Looking back toward the Gate from the tunnel's approximate midway point (via B. Anderson)

Crossing back over the footbridge, the JPL beams silver across the basin. While I'm fairly certain that I haven't been consigned to living in an underwhelming sort of utero Xenuian Hellscape, I can say that California is still totally fucking weird.

Hubbard, of course, would go on to further establish himself as a pulp sci-fi novelist and eventually found the Church of Scientology. His relationship with Parsons would self-destruct when he absconded with Sarah Northrup, Parsons' mistress, who would become Hubbard's personal auditor and instrumental to his writing of Dianetics. Crowley had warned Parsons that Hubbard was a con man, and indeed, when Hubbard and Cameron eventually abandoned Parsons and their nascent business plan to start a boat dealing company, they absconded for a port in Florida with Parsons' boat and over twenty thousand dollars of Parsons' savings.

Sarah Northrup, Parsons' mistress, absconded with and later divorced Hubbard.

Upon learning of their escape, Parsons retreated to his hotel room and attempted to summon a typhoon in retribution with an evocation of Bartzabel, an intelligence presiding over the astrological forces associated with the planet Mars. A squall at sea ripped the sails from the boat, and Hubbard and Sarah were forced back to port where they were detained by the U.S. Coast Guard. Northrup would later divorce Hubbard, calling him "insane."

In 1969, Caltrans heavy-equipment operator and noted LA County serial killer Mack Ray Edwards admitted to slaying little Donald and Brenda, and to later burying their remains in freshly lain highways. A year later, Edwards would hang himself at San Quentin. The disappearances of Tommy Bowman and Bruce Kremen remain unsolved.

As for the mud, some want to see the orangish glop hauled away, and quick. The LA County Public Works Department stated in an urgent 2011 report that the reservoir "no longer has the capacity to safely contain another major debris event," and warned of "significant" risks of flooding and debris flow "below the dam". Meanwhile, the city, out of concern for the willows and riparian wildlife, is saying hold it, let's carry out a two-year environmental feasibility study into hauling out the muck. Temporary measures – hauling out 25,000 cubic yards of the stuff currently plugging one of the dam's drains, namely – are one thing. The Public Works proposal, which would have 300-400 dump trucks daily hauling in and out of the Arroyo Seco, removing mud, is another.

"The better approach would be to have an ongoing sediment management program," Tim Brick, managing director at the Arroyo Seco Foundation, told the Times. Better taking away only "some [mud] every year," Brick continued, "rather than one big project that was going to amount to 400 trucks a day for three years."

Or, as one morning walker put it: "It's just a beautiful place. It takes a long time to make another tree."

All copyright crashes aside, the Curiosity rover upped its camera not long after sticking its landing, and as of this writing has already found evidence that at one point, likely billions of years ago, steadily-flowing water cut through the JPL drone's Martian stomping grounds, an area known as Gale crater.

"It becomes just an incredible exercise in engineering to make sure that it's all going to work," Jim Adams, NASA's deputy chief technologist, told me on the eve of Curiosity's hellraising touchdown in early August. "And then in a moment, all you can do is sit back and let the computer do its job."

Proof, I'd wager, of a non-curse. Or as others might call it, magic. Weeks later, I asked Adams if he'd ever heard of Parsons. He hadn't.

I don't totally blame him. The JPL has taken pains to "not sanitize anything," according to Conway, who reminds me that Parsons is given ample time in a three-part documentary film on the history of the lab that JPL released a few years back. The trilogy, entitled The American Rocketeer – Explorer 1 – Destination Moon, was subsequently given to every member of the lab's staff. It was screened at CalTech, and also ran on a local television network.

But even still, it's like the Jet Propulsion Lab remains near obscurity across a great swath of the U.S. The lab's bread and butter – let alone the camp double-life of just one of its founders – remain at the margins of American consciousness. Every year, Jack Parsons' Lab hosts an open-house weekend that draws some 3,500 visitors to its campus. Given the open-door vibe, Conway says he's always stunned when he hears about area residents, some living mere blocks away, who have no familiarity whatsoever as to the regular goings on at JPL. I don't totally blame him, either.

But to hear that some folks beyond the Devils Gate, including NASA brass, haven't heard of Jack Parsons? Conway asks. "That doesn't stun me at all."

Officer tours blast site at 1701 S. Orange Grove Ave. in Pasadena. Parsons was said to have been preparing for a trip to Mexico (via)

Parsons held onto both horns 'til the bitter end, quite literally before the flames took him. He died of wounds after setting off an explosion of Mercury (II) fulminate in a basement experiment gone horrifically wrong, on June 17, 1952. He was 37.

The tragic, untimely death has since sparked numerous rumors as to just what, exactly, the eccentric rocketeer was up to in his final hour. Had he actually been keeping detailed records, we'd maybe have some closure. To Conway's knowledge, the OTO, which claims global membership to this day, has never reached out to the JPL. So whether Parsons met his end brewing the next generation of NASA's jet propellant, or cooking up the lifeblood to Crowley's ultimate reveal, is anyone's guess.

Maybe it's best we never know. History may well come to judge Parsons' blaze of glory as the ultimate redemption, a disruptive marrying of science and sorcery. Think about it. Both fields receive equal amounts of flak, and it's no small coincidence that quite often it's the champions of one who wage war on the other. Both stand on the shoulders of what for lack of a far better word can only be deemed as a kind of faith – faith that bold, leading-edge research will overcome the underlying mechanisms of this world to see all our rockets and space drones cruising further, faster, and with freakish precision; faith that the summoning of Pan's good graces will provide that extra boost.

And for Parsons, at least, it was like retaining a moral imperative to embrace both the theoretically explainable and the fog of magic with equal aplomb, to demonstrate a surmounting over that which many others deemed unconquerable, trolls be damned. As he wrote three years before the accident:

It has seemed to me that if I had the genius to found the jet propulsion field in the US, and found a multimillion dollar corporation and a renowned research laboratory, then I should be able to apply the genius in the magical field.

And while he may've never raised that moonbaby, he eventually got there, and in no small way. Twenty years after his passing, the International Astronomical Union named a far-side moon crater (37N 171W) after Parsons, in a nod to his pivotal contributions to solid-fuel rocketeering. If that's one stop along the figurative Hell portal, then we should all be diving in, now.

Parsons stands over unidentified rocket gear, 1936 (via) @thebanderson
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:10 am

My Love for Kunga Dawa [Richard Arthure]
by John Baker
June 29, 2018



Kunga with Rinpoche; Image from Vivian Kurz's On Retreat in Charlemont: Silent Footage from 1972


Last month (May 2018), while I was in Boulder to spend time with my family there, I visited with my old friend, Kunga Dawa (Richard Arthure). I had called ahead from my home in New York, and he had told me that he would love to see me, if he was still alive, as he had already had two heart attacks. He sounded so cheerful and vital, I found it hard to imagine that he would die soon.

We spent the better part of an afternoon, laughing and reminiscing, sharing our mutual devotion to our root teacher and the teachings. He told me again that he expected to die in the near future, and again I found it hard to credit, he seemed so full of happiness, intelligence and humor… life! I believed him with my mind, if not with my heart. I have known Kunga for 48 years now.

In February or so of 1970 I went to hear a Tibetan lama speak in mid-town Manhattan: Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. I had met Ram Dass a couple of years earlier, had set off on my own spiritual quest – Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, Christianity, Sufism, and a bit more – and now I was going to listen to a Tibetan Buddhist teacher. I went with my friend and fellow traveler, Charlie Rokoszak, now passed these many years. We sat in the back of a well-lit room on folding chairs.

At the time I didn’t know that Rinpoche had recently come to this continent from England and Scotland, nor did I know that he had landed in Canada and was stuck in Toronto, waiting for a US visa. So I was surprised when a Caucasian fellow walked through the door – handsome, with curly light brown hair, blue eyes, he seemed to look directly at me across the tops of the heads of the seated audience and flash me a brilliant smile. Of course, it was Kunga.

While I have never forgotten the smile, I no longer remember what he said, but it was enough so that a few months later, when Rinpoche actually did come to New York, I went again. This time the talk took place in a darkened loft somewhere in the southern part of the city. I was seated on the floor, trying my best to maintain full lotus (to impress the teacher?). Rinpoche came in wearing a business suit and tie, accompanied by a blond girl in a mini-skirt, Diana of course. Rinpoche gave a talk on the importance of having a sense of humor. I did not find it funny and left, crossing him off my list of potential teachers.

That summer I purchased a ticket for a charter flight to India. I figured I would go and see if I could find a guru, as Ram Dass had done, or at least have a good adventure and smoke a lot of bang. I had sold the keys to my rent-controlled apartment and all my possessions, and I was camping in my cousins’ Park Avenue apartment while they were in Italy, waiting for my flight in August. It was late June and very hot.

Charlie, more impressed with Trungpa Rinpoche than I, had gone up to Tail of the Tiger (now Karme Chöling) in Vermont to hear him teach. We spoke on the phone, and he suggested I beat the New York heat and join him, hear some dharma (I knew almost nothing about Buddhism, in spite of a course in college), and we would have a good time. I took my Abercrombie and Fitch sleeping bag (they sold sporting equipment in those days), and clothes and caught a bus.

Tail of the Tiger was an old, Vermont woodcutter’s property: about 400 acres then with a ramshackle house, a large, ancient barn, and a falling-down syrup shed. There were already about 30 or 40 people there, living in the house and camped on the grounds, including a few students who had accompanied Rinpoche from England: Kunga (Richard Arthure) was obviously Rinpoche’s closest student, and there were also Fran Lewis and Tania Leontov, who were very close to him and who ran Tail.

The rest of the crew I encountered included “the Brandeis Boys” (Alan Schwartz, Karl Springer, Chuck Lief, and Marty Janowitz), Michael Chender, Michael Kohn, Polly Monner (Flint/Wellenbach), George Samuels, David Wilde, V. Manoukian, William Hanniman (he was eventually the inspiration for the Vajra Guards), Fern, Olive Colón, Jack Niland and Sara Kapp, and a hitchhiker they had picked up on their way named Melanie, and more.
A number of these are now dead.

Within a few days of my arrival I had formed a bond with Rinpoche which has endured and dominated the rest of my life. I think many of those present at that time experienced the same. Kunga, being the heart son, was much respected and held in some awe. One day I walked into the “library,” a small room with bookshelves and a few meditation cushions. There I found Kunga, alone, meditating. “Oh, I’m sorry for interrupting you,” I said, as I stepped through the door and saw him sitting on the floor. He looked up at me with that flashing smile and said, “Interrupted me from what?” I have never forgotten.

Later I encountered Kunga repeatedly, and we became friends. He continued to teach, and in 1971 Rinpoche told me to start teaching as well. But Kunga was the star. Until one day when he had been in San Francisco teaching, we received word that he had had a mental breakdown of some sort. The report was that he had tried to have sex inappropriately with a woman, had somehow gotten himself stabbed in the leg by someone unnamed, had been running down streets naked, and more. Rinpoche sent some students to San Francisco to bring him back, which they did. At that time Marvin Casper and I were living with Rinpoche in a house just outside Boulder, Colorado in Four-Mile Canyon. It was to this house that Kunga was transported, and for a few weeks I watched and participated as Rinpoche worked with Kunga. Eventually, he was committed for a few weeks to Boulder Psychiatric Institute. After that he calmed down and, more or less, recovered, but never again did he hold the position of prominence he had prior to his “break.”

After we got back to Boulder, Rinpoche took off on another teaching tour, and I was left at home. John Baker went with Rinpoche, and Marvin Casper was away somewhere else. At this time, P.D., another senior student, was also staying in the house with us. While Rinpoche was away, P.D. started to lose touch with reality and ultimately had a psychotic episode, which I had to deal with on my own.

When the two of us went to the supermarket together, P.D. picked out a huge raw ham and an industrial-sized package of coffee filters. Nobody in the household drank coffee, so I found this odd, but I didn't think too much about it. That night, after I went to bed, P.D. came into my bedroom in a manic state. I felt threatened by his tone of voice and his erratic movements and comments. I had the baby and I didn't want him in my room, so I got him to leave, and then I put the dresser in front of my bedroom door. He banged on the door for a while and tried to push his way in. This went on for a few nights. Every night he would try to break into the bedroom, and I kept myself barricaded in. Then, one morning when I got up and moved the dresser, I looked around the house but P.D. was nowhere around. I got the baby up and dressed to go out shopping. When I went out to the car, I found P.D. walking naked down the road in front of our house at Four Mile Canyon. I convinced him to come back inside and get some clothes on.

At that point, I phoned Rinpoche and told him that we had to deal with this issue as soon as possible. The night that Rinpoche got home, there was a party at the house to welcome him back. As always, a lot of people showed up to hang out with Rinpoche. During the evening, P.D.'s behavior disintegrated, and it was obvious that he needed help. After observing him for a while, Rinpoche said, "I think we have to take him down to the hospital." So John Baker took our disturbed friend in one car, and I drove Rinpoche in the other. We went down the canyon to Boulder Memorial Hospital at the end of Mapleton Avenue. At this point, it was about two in the morning.

P.D. and John Baker had arrived ahead of us, and we joined them in the waiting room. The psychiatrist on duty came over to where we were all sitting, and before anyone could say anything, P.D. announced, "Here is Mr. Mukpo. I've come to commit him." Rinpoche replied, "Actually, P.D., I've come to commit you." Confusion ensued, with P.D. insisting that Rinpoche was the prospective patient. Finally, the psychiatrist said, "I want everybody to be quiet. I'm going to ask a third party who has come to commit whom." Shordy thereafter" P.D. was admitted to the hospital. There were a lot of wild times, but this one stands out for me because I had to deal with much of the situation alone. To me, it signified how vulnerable and somewhat abandoned I felt at times when Rinpoche was away.

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

That summer Rinpoche gave a seminar on the Bardos in a large camp on the Peak-to-Peak Highway outside Allenspark, Colorado. Many of us were camped out in tents; the lectures took place in a large space with a roof, dirt floor, and no walls. Altitude: about 12,000 feet.

One night we were sitting around a campfire with Rinpoche. The whole business with Kunga was unfolding in Boulder, and everyone at the seminar knew about it. The question in everyone’s mind: How could this happen to Rinpoche’s closest student? If it could happen to Kunga, what about me?

Rinpoche knew what we all were thinking, and finally he addressed the issue directly. Laughing, he said: “Everyone overestimates the importance of a guru. I’m just a clark (clerk) sitting in the booth. You buy the tickets, get on the train, and take the trip!”

Eventually Kunga was released from BPI and began living a more normal life. He held a number of jobs — I remember him selling cars at a local Boulder dealership — but I lost touch with him until some time in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s when he decided to go into 3-year retreat in New Mexico. At that time, one of his sons, Adam Arthure was living in the Boulder and Kunga asked me to visit him from time to time, as he would be in retreat and unavailable. This I did until Adam relocated and I lost touch.

After Trungpa Rinpoche’s death, Kunga studied with Tulku Urgyen and other lamas. Tulku Urgyen told him to spend as much time in retreat as he could, and so he did go into retreat for three years in a cabin remote in the New Mexico chaparral. There he wrote a number of the poems included in his book The Medium of the Breath.
His poem, Remembering the kind root guru Chokyi Gyatso, the 11th Trungpa Tulku, is a product of that time. You may buy the entire book online at (Kunga self-published it), and it is beautiful.

During this time Kunga also taught in various places in the U.S., including a few years ago at the Westchester Buddhist Center, which I and Derek and Jane Kolleeny run in Irvington. There he taught a seminar on … of course, the Sadhana of Mahamudra.

Kunga’s devotion to the dharma and his teachers was profound. Throughout his entire life his devotion never flagged, that I know of. I think it accurate to say that the dharma was his life. He is an inspiration to me and to many others. I and we love him, and I thank him for the example he has set. I remember him with tears of love and gratitude.

Ki Ki So So, Richard, Kunga Dawa. I love you and hope to meet you again. John

John Baker

John Baker

John Baker has been a student Buddhism since July 1970. A close disciple of Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, he co-founded Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, serving as its CEO for the first three years of its existence, teaching Buddhism there for five and later serving on its board of directors. He also co-founded and co-directed the Karma Dzong Meditation Center in Boulder for the first five years of its existence. He is the co-editor of Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism and The Myth of Freedom and author numerous articles. After 23 years in private business, he retired in 2000. During this time he continued teaching Buddhist thought and meditation practice throughout North America, delivering lectures, weekend programs, and multi-month courses. Today he is a senior teacher in the North American Buddhist community at the Westchester Buddhist Center and New York Buddha Dharma in Manhattan, both of which he co-founded. Between 1999 and 2007 he led month-long meditation programs at Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado and Karme Chöling Meditation Center in Vermont and taught at the Vajradhatu Seminary. He is currently on the boards of directors of Light of Berotsana Translation Group, New York Buddha Dharma, and the Westchester Buddhist Center. He has practiced psychotherapy and led Buddhist/Modern Analytic psychotherapy groups for fifteen years in Manhattan. He currently enjoys working as a life and executive coach. You can see his complete bio at John lives in Manhattan where he has a daughter, Olivia, age 13. He also has a grown daughter Cara, son-in-law Vajra Rich, and a granddaughter Stella who live in Boulder, CO
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:53 am

A Report on Trungpa Rinpoche’s Class at CU Boulder, Winter 1971
The Three Bodies of the Buddha

by John Baker
November 1, 2014
Copyright John J. Baker 2014



A recreation of Trungpa Rinpoche's blackboard sketch

In the fall of 1970 Bob Lester, then Chairman of the Religious Studies Department at the University of Colorado, invited Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a highly ranked, Tibetan Buddhist lama, to teach a course on Buddhism to undergraduates. Rinpoche had arrived in the U.S. that spring from Scotland, landing at Tail of the Tiger (now Karme Chöling) in Barnet, Vermont, where he gave summer seminars on the teachings of Milarepa and other subjects. In August some CU professors had invited Rinpoche, then about 31 years old, to come to Boulder, and I and another student, Marvin Casper, both in our mid-twenties, had asked him if we could accompany him. So in October of 1970 the three of us moved to Colorado, initially living together in a stone cabin with a pot-bellied stove and outhouse at 10,000 feet in Gold Hill, but later moving to a modern duplex in Four-Mile Canyon just outside of town. Rinpoche’s wife, Diana, joined us after a couple of months, and they lived together in the first-floor apartment, while Marvin and I inhabited the upstairs.

The CU course was to run in the winter semester of 1971. Rinpoche appointed Marvin and me his teaching assistants, which meant helping him select readings, construct the syllabus, run the class, and conduct discussion groups. He, of course, determined the content and delivered the lectures.

At Tail of the Tiger Rinpoche had given Marvin and me pointing-out-instruction and forged a bond stronger than any I had known in my relatively short lifetime. He had recently asked us to start teaching the students who were coming to him from the coasts and elsewhere, hippies mostly, without much money, adventurous and inspired by the dharma, in general, and Rinpoche, in particular. We knew very little doctrine, but Rinpoche had introduced us to the heart of the teachings. He felt it important for Westerners to connect to the essence of Buddhism first so that they would not be dazzled and seduced by the many exotic forms promising spectacular results, a problem he considered pandemic in America at the time.

The university had a population of about 25,000, including staff and students; this in a town whose total population was about 100,000. In addition, the town had a prominent population of Seventh Day Adventists (no alcohol sold within city limits), there were no malls, and hippies were arriving from the coasts to live in the town and in the communes that constellated around it.

CU in those days had the reputation of being a second-tier school with a few stand-out departments, such as engineering. It was known to be popular with undergraduates who wanted proximity to Colorado’s ski areas, as well as the overall opportunity to play and party. So our expectations for the class were not high, and we were not disappointed. My memory was that 40 or so students sat slumped in their chairs (the kind with an enlarged arm for notepads), giving the impression of sleepiness and apathy. In fact, a few of them later became devoted students of Rinpoche. You just never know.

The room was large, stark, bare, and brightly lit, both by the overhead fluorescents and the Colorado sunlight streaming in through out-sized windows. Rinpoche wore a sport coat and tie, portly with tousled hair. He stood before the class, blackboard behind him, the Flatirons visible through the windows, rising 1,800 feet into the clear blue sky. Marvin and I sat in the front row, to the side.

Rinpoche presented basic Buddhist doctrine, but with an emphasis on the teaching of “spiritual materialism,” which he felt was particularly relevant to his audiences at that time. America was in the throes of the counter-culture revolution, protests against the Vietnam War, and the invasion of Eastern religions from India, Tibet, Southeast Asia and Japan. Think Satguru, Maharishi and the Beatles, Yogi Bhajan, Hare Krishna on street corners and in airports, Zen Beats, macrobiotic diets, of course yoga and meditation and kundalini energy and much more. We were all so naïve, ready to ape the cultures of these imports, hoping that, by adopting their to-us-exotic forms, we would enjoy some benefit or release from unhappiness. Rinpoche spent a lot of his time debunking that notion: he once told an audience, almost apologetically, “If I told you to stand on your heads 24 hours-a-day, you would do it!” A lot of the Hindu teachers preached happiness/bliss/love, etc. Rinpoche called that “love and light.”

The lecture that most stands out in my memory—because it was so revelatory for me personally and so brilliant—was the one he gave on the trikaya, a Sanskrit term that refers to the three (tri) bodies (kaya) of the buddha: the dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya, which are to be understood at various levels. This was not a lecture on spiritual materialism.

Most basically, the term nirmanakaya refers to the actual, physical and mental manifestation of Shakyamuni Buddha, as well as other enlightened individuals. Nirmana is usually translated as “manifestation” or “apparition” or “incarnation.” It is the idea that one has taken rebirth many times—died and been reborn over and over again—and that this current birth is the “nirmana” or current manifestation/incarnation. The Tibetan for this term is tulku, a word applied to reincarnate lamas, so the Dalai Lama is the 14th tulku (or nirmanakaya) in his line, and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was the 11th Trungpa tulku.

In one sense we are all nirmanakayas (tulkus), because we all have been reborn many times, however the term is usually reserved for enlightened teachers who take rebirth deliberately, out of compassion and because they have taken a vow to work for the benefit of confused, sentient beings until there are no more. The rest of us unenlightened individuals take rebirth not deliberately but out of the force of our karma: habit and desire drive us forward in life and in death to continual and uncontrolled rebirth in various realms of suffering. We are fortunate to be human beings in this life—the human realm is the only one in which a being may traverse the path to enlightenment and freedom—but we may not be so fortunate in future lives. Sooner or later we will be reborn in all the realms: god realms, animal, hungry ghost, and hell realms. In fact, we experience this psychologically even during the course of a day, in which we experience the anger and panic of the hell realms, the pride and pleasure of the god realms, the hunger and sense of deprivation of the hungry ghost realms, or the stupidity, sloth, and fear of the animal realms.

Dharma is a Sanskrit word which has a number of different meanings, but here it refers first to the Buddhist teachings: the “truth” about who we are and what confusion and wisdom are, the path to realize enlightenment and release from suffering. In addition, “dharma” refers to the true action of an enlightened individual, a buddha. Dharmakaya, then, from the earliest teachings refers to the “teachings” body of the buddha: the instructions he gave to his students to help them see what is real and tread the path. Additionally, it refers to the buddha’s capacity to act in accord with what is true and real.

Sambhogakaya is a term that appeared in a later period of history and which is usually translated “enjoyment body” of the buddha. It refers to the idea that, when one has the eyes to see, there is a world of celestial beings, buddhas and bodhisattvas, dharma protectors, teachers, and embodiments of energy, enlightened and not. This world is present here, and in truth we are in the midst of the Akanistha (Above All) Heaven, but the Sambhogakaya realm is hidden in plain sight from the unenlightened, who may become aware of it only in glimpses, if at all. It is a world of beauty, power, and meaningfulness and, it is completely available to individuals who have left confusion behind, bodhisattvas on the “grounds” or stages of the path and enlightened beings or “buddhas.”

But there is another subtler way to understand the trikaya, and it is this understanding that Trungpa Rinpoche taught to us that winter day in 1971. He did it in this way.

Stepping to the blackboard, he picked up a piece of chalk and drew the figure on the right: Then he stepped back and asked:

“What is this a picture of?”

Of course, no one wanted to say the obvious, and there was an extended silence, until finally some fellow raised his hand and said, “It’s a picture of a bird.” Rinpoche replied,

“It’s a picture of the sky,”

and in those six words he taught the entire trikaya.

Rinpoche was introducing us to the most profound Buddhist description of reality, as it arises in the only place and time it ever arises: here and now. It is not a metaphysical explanation of reality; it is simply a description of what arises in the moment, now, the only time we ever have.

The past and future are mental constructs. Even the present can be conceptualized, but it can also be experienced. In fact, we choicelessly experience it all the time. It is merely a matter of whether we emerge from our dreams about the past, present, and future long enough to notice and see it clearly, truly.

And in the present the six types of phenomena—sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, and mental events—the six knowables—arise and pass away, a constantly appearing and disappearing display, like a movie, like images passing through a mirror. These “things” do not endure, even for an instant, in the present moment, as we turn our head, as our attention shifts, as the light changes and things move, the display is constantly in motion, changing so completely and continuously that we cannot even point to something that has changed. It is a continual “presencing” as they say in the dzogchen texts, a presencing of what we call phenomena. And this display has three aspects.

First, the dharmakaya aspect. All phenomena seem to arise from and pass back into nothing. Where did that sound go? That precise visual experience with the light and the angle of view? That thought? That odor? They arose from nowhere, appeared in the midst of a concatenation of conditions, and finally disappeared into nowhere. That fertile “nowhere” is, in this first pass at a definition, a meaning of the dharmakaya, absolute reality and the “womb” from which all appearances arise and the charnel ground into which they pass away.

And yet, some thing seems to appear and pass away. This “thing” aspect is the nirmanakaya. There is a “presencing” of phenomena (the six knowables appear). That presencing is the fact of seeming appearance, the “thingness” of appearances, and it is all that confused sentient beings know, because they are not paying attention to the present moment, not noticing that nothing truly exists but is a mere “presencing.”

Confused sentient beings see the phenomenal world through the veil of static thought: one sees a chair, a person, hears a piece of music, and one is consumed with the pastness and futureness of it all, one is in relationship to it, an I/other proposition, fraught with past and future significance for “my” well being. As long as we (literally) think that other things and I exist, life must be experienced as a series of I/other problematic relationships. If the other is antipathetic to us, causes us pain and unhappiness, then we want to push it away from us: hatred. If it promises pleasure, happiness, security, etc., then we wish to pull it to us: desire. And if the other promises neither benefit nor harm, then we don’t care about it: indifference. In Buddhist doctrine, these are called “the three poisons,” and you can find them depicted at the center of the Wheel of Life, a heuristic depiction of confusion, as a snake, rooster, and pig, respectively.

But seen stripped of concept, nakedly in the present moment, in reality beyond even the present moment which can be a concept in itself, then the nirmanakaya is an aspect of the presencing, of the display, its seeming “thingness,” and it is described as the display of compassion, because it can communicate with us in the form of a teacher (an actual human being or simply life experiences which move us along our path).

And finally, there is the sambhogakaya, which refers to the aspect that, as these “things” arise and pass away, they communicate to us what they are: the redness of red, the sweetness of sugar, the cold of ice, the sadness of sorrow. It is precisely because all phenomena are arising out of nowhere and passing away into it again, because they are utterly transitory, that they can and must express their qualities, so vividly and beautifully and meaningfully. This is the sambhogakaya, and it is the realm of magic: not magic in the sense of walking through walls or reading minds (although there may be that, too), but magic in the sense of the extraordinary beauty and meaningfulness and value of this world seen nakedly, stripped of the false, ego-centered and emotion-laden thoughts/dreams through which confused sentient beings see their lives. Sambhogakaya is the world of deity — sacred world. In confused world things are of greater or lesser value in terms of what they can do for or to me. In sacred world things are of value for no reason at all; this life has intrinsic worth.

And so, seen in the present moment, a bird is utterly insubstantial: a constantly changing presentation, a presencing from the ground of nothingness, coming into being and passing away so totally every instant that we cannot even find any “thing” that is coming into being or passing away. In fact, we cannot distinguish between the bird and the nothing (symbolized here by the sky), which is its womb and grave. So when Trungpa Rinpoche said that he had drawn a picture of the sky, there were two ways to take his assertion:

First pass: We are so focused on the thing that we do not pay attention to the background (temporal as well as spatial) from which it arises. Look! The bird is also a picture of the sky! Lost in concept, seeing the world through the veil of discursive thought, we have been ignoring the ground from which phenomena arise and into which they disappear. In fact, this is one meaning of the Sanskrit word avidya (usually translated as “ignorance”), the fundamental error which produces unenlightenment or confusion. Trungpa Rinpoche said that avidya means “ignoring” or not seeing (the literal meaning of a-vidya) the ground, focusing only on the figure and its significance for or against me.

Second pass: the bird and sky seem different and yet we cannot find the dividing line between them. They create each other and are each other. The bird, as it moves through the sky, is merely a recoloring of the sky in an infinite number of locations. The difference between them is merely seeming, just like an image in a mirror. In the highest tantric teachings the word “sky” is often a code word for and interchangeable with “space,” which signifies the unity of the three kayas.

In vajrayana (tantric Buddhist) practice one often recites this two-line formula, or some variation on it: “Things arise, and yet they do not exist; they do not exist, and yet they arise!” The first is what Buddhists call the “absolute truth”; the second is what Buddhists call the “relative truth.”

Finally and always, the three kayas are merely different aspects of the same thing, which is what is meant when in the texts we find the assertion that the three kayas are one. The nirmanakaya and sambhogakaya, often lumped together and called the “rupakaya” or “form body of the buddha,” are in union with the dharmakaya, the absolute body, from which — in the present moment, here and now — everything seems to arise and pass away.

Things arise from and pass back into nothingness: dharmakaya. Things arise from and pass back into nothingness: nirmanakaya. And as those things arise and pass away, they communicate their unique, brilliant, emotionally moving individuality: sambhogakaya.

To quote a line from Trungpa Rinpoche’s Sadhana of Mahamudra, “Good and bad, happy and sad, all thoughts vanish into emptiness like the imprint of a bird in the sky.”

“It’s a picture of the sky.”

This article is presented in celebration of a collaboration between Naropa University and the University of Colorado on a Buddhist Studies Lecture Series in honor of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The annual lecture brings scholars of alternating years by Naropa and CU Boulder.

John Makransky of Boston College delivered the second annual Chögyam Trungpa Lecture in Buddhist Studies at Naropa on September 12, 2014.

John Baker

John Baker has been a student Buddhism since July 1970. A close disciple of Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, he co-founded Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, serving as its CEO for the first three years of its existence, teaching Buddhism there for five and later serving on its board of directors. He also co-founded and co-directed the Karma Dzong Meditation Center in Boulder for the first five years of its existence. He is the co-editor of Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism and The Myth of Freedom and author numerous articles. After 23 years in private business, he retired in 2000. During this time he continued teaching Buddhist thought and meditation practice throughout North America, delivering lectures, weekend programs, and multi-month courses. Today he is a senior teacher in the North American Buddhist community at the Westchester Buddhist Center and New York Buddha Dharma in Manhattan, both of which he co-founded. Between 1999 and 2007 he led month-long meditation programs at Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado and Karme Chöling Meditation Center in Vermont and taught at the Vajradhatu Seminary. He is currently on the boards of directors of Light of Berotsana Translation Group, New York Buddha Dharma, and the Westchester Buddhist Center. He has practiced psychotherapy and led Buddhist/Modern Analytic psychotherapy groups for fifteen years in Manhattan. He currently enjoys working as a life and executive coach. You can see his complete bio at John lives in Manhattan where he has a daughter, Olivia, age 13. He also has a grown daughter Cara, son-in-law Vajra Rich, and a granddaughter Stella who live in Boulder, CO.
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