H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






I Celebrate Myself notes to Bill Morgan


Whether apocryphal, a number of accounts said that Allen phoned Huncke after the car

crash with Little Jack Melody and surreptitiously said, “Clean the place up.”  He came to

the apartment to find Huncke literally sweeping, and the cops arrived almost immediately



My understanding was only part of Neal’s Joan Anderson letter was lost – and the

remainder is what winds up being printed in Charters’ “Beat Reader.”


Other accounts indicate that yage that was brought back to the States by both Burroughs

and Ginsberg was inert, which would explain why it had no effect on Kerouac, as well as

why Allen would be so eager to travel and sample it.


“Hare Krishna,” is how Allen spells it himself in intro to BHAGAVAD GITA AS IT IS,

rather than “Hari.”  “Boom Boom Shivaya” is probably “Bom Bom Shivaya” as in

Allen’s poem, “Hum Bom.”


This may just be me, but Allen seems to go back and forth on keeping his early poetry

vow re: not reading for $, and since it is just stated without your comment, it is a little



The American flag was actually placed around Kerouac’s shoulders by the Pranksters

before he folded it up – as is documented in footage frame enlargements in the book

Angelheaded Hipster.”


I think one thing that has gotten blurred in your account is that, though Allen was

interested in Buddhism throughout the 60’s, he was in many ways just as interested in

Hinduism.  As a result, as was the case with the Hippies in general, the views were kind

of mixed up.  After his 1968 car accident, Allen gave an Oracle interview where he asked

rhetorically “what happens when you get carcrash instead of cocksuck?”  In other words,

the Leary view of “Stay high and love God” was the essential problem with relating to

Hinduism for Allen – the spiritual materialism of at least his Western approach: ego

trying to stay high by spiritual means.  Allen was drawn to Trungpa for just this reason –

Trungpa was brutal on the subject.  Buddhism values suffering because it can be brought

the path as a way to wake up.  Suffering is not sought after – there is plenty enough to go

around – but it can be used, and is therefore useful.


Still the process of arriving to be Trungpa’s student involved some pilgrimage.  Allen

was with Swami Muktananda for a year and a half around 1970, of whom he said, “I

think he comes from the same or related lineage as the Vajrayana practitioners”

(Shambhala Sun, July 1994).


Happy Traum and Gary Snyder appranetly introduced him to the Tibetan Buddhist so

calledvajra guru” mantra, OM AH HUM VAHRA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUM.

This also led to an association with Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche and a benefit for his

Nyingma Institute.


When he “re-met” Trungpa on the streets of New York (far from that first 1963 India

encounter they’d both forgotten) – rather than a silent meeting, Allen recalled that he

asked “May I borrow your vehicle?” This “accidental” phrasing was later particularly

ironic to Allen, because he in fact later “borrowed” Trungpa’s “Diamond Vehicle”, which

is the literal translation of Vajrayana.  Trungpa’s student recognized Allen and quickly

introduced them.  Allen then said “OM AH HUNG VARJA GURU PADMA SIDDHI

HUNG,” as he relates in the New Age Journal interview “This is Allen Ginsberg?”  The

student arranged for them to meet again on the spot, apparently, so Allen later had the

opportunity to ask Trungpa what he thought when Allen said the “vajra guru” mantra to

him.  Trungpa replied, “I wondered if you knew what you were talking about.”  In fact,

when Trungpa either observed or heard that Allen was using the mantra for public group

chanting, he told him to stop it because “you’re giving them a buzz with nowhere to go

with it.”  This is how AH replaced it, along with the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra mantra


suggested were more grounding.  When Ginsberg visited Trungpa through the student’s

instigation, Trungpa had the student bring out some marijuana, although Trungpa himself

did not smoke it.  “He seduced me with his marijuana,” Allen told me.  Trungpa also

seduced” him by getting poetry advice on his translated Sadhana of Mahamudra.


It helps to place the context Allen was coming out of.  The most prominent guru of the

day was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – Barry Miles was wise to include a huge color photo of

Maharishi with the Beatles in his HIPPIE volume.   Maharishi had tremendous post-acid

cultural impact.  But Trungpa was the antithesis of this – a suit, smoking a cigarette, the

appearance of drunkenness, an impeccable Oxford accent.  This, along with his brilliant

oratory, helps to explain what the attraction was.  Francis Coppola’s City magazine, had

Trungpa on the cover and called him a “Tibetan beatnik” around 1974.  It is hard to see in

your account what made Trungpa so magnetizing to Allen.


As I mentioned in a previous e-mail, you refer too early to Trungpa’s Shambhala training

- “meditation training” would suffice.


Re: Trungpa’s “No nirvana” – ultimately speaking, no enlightenment to be obtained by

somebody” – enlightenment already primordially all-pervasive.  Trungpa was shocking

spiritual materialism by saying this – as with the koan “when you meet the Buddha on

the road, kill him.”


[“Just understand that birth-and-death is itself nirvana. There is nothing such as birth and

death to be avoided; there is nothing such as nirvana to be sought. Only when you realize

this are you free from birth and death.” ––Dogen, "Moon in a Dewdrop"]


Darshan” is a Hindu term, and although not without application, is not used for the

teacher-student transmission in Buddhism.  The Tibetan hand drum is generally

transliterated as “damaru,” not “dameru.”


In terms of the infamous Seminary party with W.S. Merwin and girlfriend, it is said

Trungpa ordered them brought down, then stripped.


Actually, Allen had congestive heart failure and never made it when he was supposed to

readKaddish” at that 1991 San Francisco conference that included Gordon Ball and

Barry Miles.  He was also supposed to do a benefit for my Tibetan teacher’s organization

(which didn’t come together again until 1996). In ’91, I was called by a newspaper man

and thinking I was speaking off the record, I wound up being quoted about Allen’s “fluid

around the lungs” and unwittingly becoming the source for a nationwide wire.  Bob

Rosenthal was mad at me for leaking it, but Allen said my description was “accurate and



Finally, would be nice to be known in yr. book as poet, and that my relationship extended

into Allen’s final days, rather than just weekend-that-failed.  As he had me say in

DEATH & FAME: "He taught me to meditate, now I'm an old veteran of the thousand

day retreat ––" since his shamatha instruction did directly lead to 3-year retreat as

recorded in my book WHAT USE AM I A HUNGRY GHOST? (for which he wrote

“Intro”).  {and for the record, the sexual aspect of our relationship was active over 6




[Bill Morgan appreciatively said he would make these corrections in a second edition, so I purposely left these points out of the review I wrote: (see PoeticDiversity, Nov, 2006––ed.) These notes were originally written for Bill, not publication, but Jim [Cohn] found them of interest, so I agreed to publish - MO]



[Originally published in NHS 2007, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs06/MOlmsted.htm.]