Thursday, September 9, 2010

Internment of Allen Ginsberg & Peter Orlovsky's Ashes at Shambhala Mountain Center, August 28, 2010

It was Allen's wish that a third of his ashes be buried in his family plot in Elizabeth, New Jersey, one third go to Jewel Heart, Gelek Rinpoche's Sangha, and one third to the Shambhala Sangha to be brought to Shambhala Mountain Center near Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. For quite some time we'd been planning appropriate placement for them with the help of poets Reed Bye, Anne Waldman and the staff at SMC, especially with artist Joshua Mulder, but couldn't quite seem to coordinate something. It took Peter Orlovsky passing away last spring and his similar wish to have his ashes brought to SMC to finally settle the issue. On Sunday August 28 we conducted the traditional Mahayana Buddhist Sukhavati ceremony of burning images of the deceased and aspiration prayers from from the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the Prajnaparamita Sutra as well as a group reading of Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind." Here are some images from that day.

[Peter's marker reads: Ocean of Generosity (Peter's Buddhist refuge name) Peter Orlovsky, July 8, 1933 – May 30, 2010. "Train will tug my grave, my breath hueing gentil vapor
between weel and track" (from 'Snail Poem')]

[Anne Waldman in front of Peter's marker.]

[Peter Orlovsky's marker]

[Allen's marker reads: Dharma Lion (Allen's Buddhist refuge name), Allen Ginsberg, June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997. ~my life work Poesy, transmitting that spontaneous awareness to Mankind (from "Who")]

[Joshua Mulder designed the markers for both Allen & Peter. He is the primary artistic designer and sculptor for iconography within the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya nearby. Here explains how he settled on the design of the headstones and their position in the rest area]

[table set up preparation for the Sukhavati ceremony. Peter's ashes in the blue brocade box and Allen's in the Irish Steel Cut Oats tin on the right]

[images of Peter & Allen before burning during the Sukhavati ceremony]

[Reed Bye & Anne Waldman reading the Prajnaparamita Sutra (Heart Sutra) and aspiration prayers from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. This was followed by a group reading of Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind]

[Joshua Mulder & Anne Waldman]

[Joshua Mulder explains that the bench from where this photo was taken is designed to line up with Allen's marker, the Tibetan syllable for 'AH' behind it, and the notch in Marpa point in the distance, the power center of Marpa point]

[The tip of the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya as seen from the rest area by Allen & Peter's internment markers.]

[The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, Shambhala Mountain Center, Colorado]

[The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, view from the north]


  1. very handsome markers for very handsome hearts. alison burns, naropa 1982

  2. Great photos by Peter Hale....and Anne and Reed performed a wonderful, moving, heartfelt ceremony.

  3. I was lost (but not really lost) in this area just over the weekend, and as it grew dark turned and saw the lights of The Great Stupa a mile or two below, in the distance. I used it as the landmark I needed to easily find my way out of an area which has trails with few markers. But what also brings a smile is to know how close I was to the ashes of Alan Ginsberg, and not even knowing. This shall become a very nice memory for me!

  4. Do you know if this event was captured on film? I took some footage there this summer, and actually ran into Joshua Mulder on my way out. Fascinating hand-built tombstone for Allen. The words on Peter's grave are already beginning to wear off, however. Glad to have this record of the words.

    1. Alas, nothing on film. Several people taking photos but that was it.

    2. Thank you, Peter. Oddly enough, about a month ago, on Yom Kippur, I was at Allen's NJ grave and his aunt and some relatives came at the same time to pay respects and leave stones on all the Ginsberg graves. I told them about this ceremony in 2010, which they did not remember hearing about, and sent them this link. They were pleased to know.