Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's Birthday

["The Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche drove down from his favorite spot on Bear Mountain for rendezvous with me at his secretary Beverly Webster's house in Boulder. He'd been ill, rumor'd to've been ""Visiting the Dakinis."" I asked him where the Dakinis were, once we'd got in the living room, he said ""Right there"" pointing to the window-sill above the sofa. ""What do they say?"" I asked, he replied, ""Sometimes they criticize me for teaching too much Vajrayana, too many secrets. Sometimes they tell me to teach more."" We looked at my photographs, he gave me wise advice on domestic crisis. Uniform'd as head of ideal Shambhala kingdom. April 12, 1985" (Ginsberg caption, slightly expanded from written one above) photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate ]

February 28, 1939, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's birthday.

From Johanna Demetrakas' movie Crazy Wisdom
Trungpa, to Allen: "Why do you need a piece of paper? Don't you trust your own mind?"

From Costanzo Allione's Fried Shoes, Cooked Diamonds
Trungpa, on poetic creation: "..poetry comes from the expression of one's own phenomenal world in the written form. It could be (in) either prose or poetry (form). It's not so much, from (the) Buddhist point of view, that you write good poetry, particularly, but how you.. how your thought patterns become.. elegant.."

Here's Trungpa reading some of his poems, "with a little help from his friends", (vintage footage here and here - and the full audio of the event (at Naropa Institute in August in 1975, only the third time that he'd ever given a public poetry recital) here.

Trungpa acknowledges his immense debt to - "our friends on the left (of me, on the podium)" - Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman - and to David Rome, his translator, and reader of the poems in English (or, to be more accurate, American) translation. David Rome reads "June 5 1972" and "Love's Fool", and ""May 22, 1972 - A Cynical Letter". These and other poems can be found in the two Shambhala editions that he edited - First Thought, Best Thought (1983) and Timely Rain (1998), (both containing a long and lucid introduction by Allen):
"This book [First Thought, Best Thought] is evidence of a Buddha-natured child taking first verbal steps aged 35, in totally other language direction than he spoke aged 10, talking side-of-mouth slang: redneck, hippie, chamber of commerce, good citizen, Oxfordian aesthete slang, like a dream bodhisattva with thousand eyes and mouths talking turkey."

Further Trungpa-on-poetics can be found by the intrepid in this poetry-compilation tape here (starting approximately 27 minutes in, and returning later).

Trungpa's wider legacy can be explored here (Shambhala), here (The Chronicles Project) and here (The Chogyam Trungpa Legacy Project) - as well as elsewhere.

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