The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perks

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:01 am

Chapter 4: Commentary

I felt my luck was turning. I believed that because I was willing to do anything to be close to Rinpoche -- especially the things that other people didn't want to do, like washing dishes, cleaning house, and ironing clothes -- I had somehow tricked Rinpoche into taking me on the retreat so that he could instruct me in how to become an enlightened siddha.17 It did not occur to me until years later that he was the one who had tricked me by going along with my whole trip. This was also the beginning of seemingly unrelated events that began to undermine my habitual patterns of operating.

It's interesting that Rinpoche was willing to go through my whole gun attachment with me even to the extent of making me his bodyguard. It was the beginning of his helping me create my ultimate fantasy world, with occasional hints that there might be other realities. These other realities had the effect on me of creating extreme anxiety and panic.

My mind could not grasp even intellectually the idea of impermanence or the idea of groundlessness. That challenged the idea of "I" being a solid entity. I was afraid of things I couldn't see and did not understand. And I was terrified of ghosts. Having experienced them in my early childhood they brought terror and panic. Rinpoche had the ability to make seemingly unimportant comments at the exact moment that they became magnified in my mind. It was his timing that terrified me. He seemed to be able to read my mind before the thoughts had been formulated. I began to have the uneasy feeling that I did not know what kind of being he was. And that meant that all my manipulated power over him to whatever end was useless. This brought up the interesting dilemma of how I was going to get what I wanted.  

The acid trip where Rinpoche focused my mind by working with Duncan and the "great turnaround" was my first realization of looking at phenomena as they really are, without logical intellectual or other mental projections. Needless to say, that state didn't last very long -- a matter of hours; then I was thrown back to my ordinary mode of operation very quickly. My aggression in wanting to confront Max Rinpoche turned into playing tricks, so he introduced to my mind an alternative way of dealing with the situation which was more creative and playful. One might call it my early introduction to crazy wisdom, where one uses the energy as it arises then joins with it and presents reality. People say "Be here now. "But for someone lost in illusions this makes no sense unless it can be shown in actual, ordinary, on-the-spot situations. That's what the crazy wisdom teacher does continually. Sometimes the student gets it and sometimes he doesn't. Most of the time, I didn't. But much later there was some realization.

The episode with Myson, the dog, blindfolded sitting on the floor, reflected my basic state. The candles on either side of his head related to aspects of bad and good, or samsara and nirvana. The potato as a representation of the phenomenal world whacking one on the head was initiated by the guru. If one turns one's head one way or the other, one's ears catch on fire. At this point one is still blind. Reacting to the fear and pain by trying to escape, one is overpowered by even more emotional traumas. The conditioning aspect of scraping the chair across the floor formulates how one will react, thus perpetuating how we perceive the world. When the chair is scraped later on, in our confused state of mind we run because we are reminded of our basic pain. The sound of the chair is basic emptiness -- a state that we are most terrified of -- so we run.

The idea of my own death was extremely terrifying to me. It meant not only the termination of my bodily pleasures and delights but also the termination of what I had built up as the image of John Perks. The end of all of that created extreme anxiety, and somewhere within the deep recesses of my mind I panicked as my I-ness began sipping away. I would have run away, but I was in love with Rinpoche and he kept offering me new opportunities related to my fantasies to explore and feel safe in -- which of course he ultimately undermined. Although my devotion was somewhat primitive, it was there to stay forever.

Although I did not realize it at the time there seemed to be connections between the killing of the bird at the retreat and Siddha Vyadhalipa; between the hunting Mahasiddha Savaripa; and between the action with the dog and Mahasiddha Kukkuripa. Later, while practicing the Sadhana of Vajrayogini and meditating on the actions of my guru while in retreat, I found my connection to these three Siddhas to be one of remarkable coincidence, in that I was able to take instruction from other beings such as birds, fishes, and dogs. And as examples, the compassionate lives of these Siddhas are always of great inspiration to me.

The following are condensed outlines of stories of these Siddhas from Masters of Mahamudra by Keith Dowman:18

Siddha Vyadhalipa was a bird-catcher. "His remarkable sadhana consisted of first sharpening his concentration into samadhi19 by contemplating cutting the throats of model birds, and then traveling the villages killing birds in order to provoke compassion and ahimsa (non-violence) in his audience before restoring the creatures to life. Such action is called 'wise penitential activity' . . . and the paradoxical, apparently crazy skillful means of the yogin with mahamudra20-siddhi.

The Mahasiddha Savaripa was a hunter. As a hunter, "he kills to survive and survives to kill." He was a member of the Sahara tribe. "sabaras were a wild, aboriginal, outcast, hunting and gathering tribe from the Vindhya Hills. Sabaras were also 'corpse-workers' in Bengal" . . . and therefore considered as untouchables. On a hunting trip, Savaripa ran into Lokesvara, an emanation of Avalokitesvara, where he is shown the continual cycle of karma of his actions. Realizing his perpetual entrapment, "Lokesvara gave him a fulltime Sadhana to practice ... and for twelve years Savaripa meditated upon undirected and unstructured sublime compassion in a thought-free state and he attained the supreme realization of Mahamudra, whereupon he sang:

In the forest of unknowing there lurks a deer,
The deer called Alienation;
Drawing back the great bow of means and insight,
Letting fly the single arrow of ultimate truth,
The deer dies -- yes, thought dies!
Then the flesh is a feast of non-duality,
The flavor is a taste of pure pleasure,
And the goal, The Magnificent Stance, is accomplished."

The Mahasiddha Kukkuripa was a wandering yogin practicing and begging for his food. He discovered a starving dog. He took her to his cave and fed her. "After twelve years of continuous practice of mantra he attained magical powers -- prescience and divine insight -- and the gods of the Thirty-three Sensual Heavens invited him to their paradise. He accepted their invitation, and set out on a ceaseless round of self-indulgent feasting and pleasure provided by the gods.

Meanwhile, the dog fended for herself in the cave, rooting around for whatever she could find to sustain life. But she was not forgotten. Even while the yogin feasted on the gods' offerings, he told them of his dog, saying that he must return to guard her. "

The gods said, "'Don't be so foolish! Please remain with us here. 'This kind of divine remark persuaded the yogin to postpone his return, but eventually his love for the dog won, and he returned to her.

He found her in the cave where he had left her, and he pat­ted her on the head in greeting. At that moment the dog became a Dakini, and the Dakini spoke to him like this:

Well done! Well done! You have proved your worth.
You have overcome temptation,
Returning to receive supreme power.
The mundane power of the gods is delusory
For they retain a notion of self,
And fallible pleasure is not so great.
Now your Dakini will grant you supreme realization,
The immaculate pure pleasure that has no outflow.

Then she showed him the symbolic union of skillful means and perfect insight, and after an irreversible, infallible vision of immutability had arisen in his mind-stream, he attained supreme realization. "



17 Siddha -- One who has attained success in his practice thereby gaining magical power.

18 Reprinted by permission from Masters of Mahamudra: Songs and Histories of the Eighty-Four Buddhist Siddhas by Keith Dowman, the State University of New York Press © 1985, State University of New York. All rights reserved.

19 Samadhi -- meditative state of total absorption; mind is experienced free from distraction.

20 Mahamudra -- "Great Seal" -the realization of emptiness which affects all experience.
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:08 am

Chapter 5: Dreaming My Reinvention Away


Spring came to the Massachusetts hill country with rain, mud, and peeping frogs. On one of our walks by the farm pond Rinpoche noticed the frog spawn jelly in the water. I explained how we could put it into an aquarium and watch them change into tadpoles. He seemed excited about that and helped me set up the aquarium next to his bed so we could watch the transformation every day. When Rinpoche awakened every morning we would peer into the aquarium and Rinpoche would exclaim, "Breaking out of the egg!" On the way to the bathroom he went, singing, "Breaking out, breaking out of the eggs."

Our bathroom routine was always the same. I would pre­arrange the two kinds of soap, the shampoo, the towels, the toothpaste, toothbrushes, and the hairbrushes. I would follow Rinpoche into the bathroom and help him take off his kimono, which I hung on the door. Then he would peer into the mirror making faces and .singing songs. This time it was the egg hatching song. I looked at my own image in the mirror and then over to his. I started to panic as I realized his image was not in the mirror. For a second I stopped. Then, there it was, smiling and making faces. I was puzzled but I did not say anything, as I thought it was my faulty perception. As this began to happen more often, I felt that somehow he was playing a trick on me, so I paid extreme attention in the morning to the mirror antics. Nothing happened for several weeks, everything was quite normal, and I concluded that it had all been my hallucination. Then, when I was not expect­ing anything, he disappeared from the mirror again.

"How do you do that?" I asked him on the spot.

He chuckled and said, "You just do it."

While he was in the shower I handed him the soap and continued, "Is the trick with the mirror or my mind?"

"Both," he said, washing soap out of his hair. I was struck dumb. My reality was being stretched thin.

"You have a good heart, Johnny." Rinpoche's face is right in my face. His eyes are big and luminous, like two planets in space. "You have a good heart, Johnny," he says again. He smiles and the warmth of the sun washes over me penetrating throughout my body. Somehow I know I am dreaming, but I can't wake up. "You have a good heart, Johnny."

"But, Sir," I protest, "my ancestors were thieves, murderers, rapists, plunderers, enslavers, liars, hedonists, deceivers, destroyers, and I'm just a ghost." The pain of looking is horrendous. It's like a golden spear thrust into my heart.

I fall into the Thames and I am unable to swim. I touch the black mud in the river bottom, the sound of rushing water is in my ears. I enter midnight blue, vast and empty. The next thing I remember, I am sitting on the bank in the sunlight, my clothes muddy and soaked with water. I look around for my savior. There is nobody in sight. I must be a ghost, I think. Will I ever be human again? A living ghost, asleep, unable to wake up.

My mother does abortions. One young girl leaves a baby on the doorstep. It is small and delicate like a white porcelain doll. It has been carefully washed and wrapped in a white lace table­cloth. Its eyes are closed. Mother heats up the coal stove in the kitchen until it glows red hot. Picking up the dead child by the head, she drops it into the open flame and quickly replaces the metal round lid. In a few seconds the baby's head shoots out of the stove with the iron ring as a hat. Looking like a demon it discharges flames out of its eyes and mouth before descending, disintegrating in the heat. It is unnamed. No hands mourn the ashes.

Winnie comes for an abortion in a fur coat. She is always drunk. She stumbles against me, her whiskey breath enters my lungs. She vomits on the floor and my mother cleans it up. I wash down her coat.

"You have to go over to Winnie's house and clean it up. While you are there, go up to the bedroom and under the bed you will find cooking pots filled with money. Take some."

She thrusts Winnie's house keys into my hand. I take the train to Winnie's house, a few stops on the loop line. I open the front door and proceed up the stairs to the bedroom, but there is no doorknob on the door. Someone has taken it away so it can't be opened. But the ghost is clever. With a kitchen knife I open the door and there under the bed are many sizes of saucepans, pots, and kettles. I take the lids off them, one by one. The first is filled with pound notes, another with fives, and another with tens -- all stuffed full. I fill my pockets and rush home. Winnie is still sleeping on the couch, snoring her whiskey breath. I hand my mother the keys and three hundred pounds.

My father stands in the street at night, the searchlights swinging in the sky. Bombs are thudding, whamp. He has his rifle. Someone yells "parachutes." He opens the bolt and pushes a round into the chamber. The streetlights reflect off a white parachute carrying a flare. It floats out of the blackness. My father is wearing my mother's slip in the darkness. He put it on thinking it was his undershirt. He has on his army boots, his khaki wool pants, his tin hat, and he's holding his .303 Enfield rifle. But with my mother's lace-topped slip on his chest, in the flare light he looks like a ghost.

Five of us are living on a hill overlooking a placid pond with ducks and geese swimming in the still water. We are armed with various weapons, shotguns, and rifles. I yell, "Open fire!" The sound is deafening. The pond erupts. Nothing can live beneath the hail of lead missiles. Cordite fills the air. I run up the ridge and bayonet a Zulu. His blood spurts out from the aorta, splash­ing across the operating room wall. My gown and mask are drenched. The patient is dead within seconds, blood oozing over the green tile floor. The ping of the monitor stops. Helen is tied to the bed. Jeff and I are licking her body. Grace is sucking her vagina. Kay pushes me up against the shower wall in Taos. She holds me there, jerking me off into the raining water. Sperm runs down the drain. A chicken burns in the dustbin. I ride my butcher's bike, the basket full of meat, on a Saturday delivery. The "Keep Left" sign disintegrates. I fly through the air before I even hear the explosion. Blood runs from my nose and ears. The V-2 rocket has hit the next street. I vomit. "You have a good heart, Johnny." The pain of suffering is so intense, we all decide to become ghosts, like my father, his father, and their fathers in the mud trenches and the mothers coughing up dead babies, stacking them upon the parapets, fighting, unable to distinguish the living and the dead. Watch the game show as a ghost. Pretend over tea nothing is happening. Let me drink myself into painless ghostliness. The Nazi officer wants to shake hands in the middle of the death camp. The corpses are piled high, waxy skin over wretched bones. He offers his hand to the Allied officer. It is not accepted, as a bulldozer is plowing up the bodies. Jill is leaving Jeff Henry is leaving Marcy and the kids. Chogyam is eating the leg of a dead baby in the charnel ground. The red sow-bitch is drinking pus out of a skull. Vajrasattva is in the mirror. I try to enter but I hit my face on the glass. It breaks my spectacles, cut­ting my face. Nancy is pretending none of this is happening by shopping at Bloomingdale's. William is bending down bare­bottomed waiting for the cane. Jenny is masturbating in the closet. Percy is dancing in Duluth.

Rinpoche says, "Johnny is hard to catch -- he's like a ghost."

Fuck you, I think. It's my right to run from suffering, to cry in the bottom of a hole for a million years, eating and screaming and fucking, trapped in a solid egg. It's my right, it's my ...

"You have a good heart, Johnny."

I cry out in my dream, looking around for my savior. There is no one in sight. Unable to swim I drown and become a ghost on the riverbank. Chogyam taps on the egg. I gasp and wake, dreaming into the day.

I listened to the sounds of the house. I could hear Rinpoche and his dog, Ganesh snoring down the hall. Max was still asleep. I wiped the sweat from my body, readjusted my thoughts, and went down the hall to the bathroom. As I showered I felt thankful it was only a dream. In time I could forget it. Ignoring the pain, I re-collected myself into the collection of images that maintained my self-illusion, dreaming I was awake.

Nevertheless, there remained in the recesses of my mind the paranoia that something was hidden. At unexpected times I was swept with the terror and uncertainty of my reality. My groundedness had begun to slip away and the terror of emptiness found me standing at the edge of an abyss.
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:12 am

Chapter 5: Commentary

I am continually caught up in my past, present, and future. I still have the notion that what is in my mind is reality. When the anxiety of groundlessness becomes intense, I retreat to memories of the past, trying to find some way of dealing with my emotional dilemma. Rinpoche's care and love of me during this time of being tossed between illusion and delusion is my only inspiration to carry on. Aloneness is terrifying. But he keeps saying, "I love you, you have a good heart."

At times I have overwhelming feelings of sadness and feel impenetrably alone. I long for union which I cannot find or define. I take refuge in doing ordinary things -- cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, and making beds. I'm afraid to leave the house, as my panic attacks follow me.

The first people that I blamed for my total dilemma were my mother and father. In fact, in our society we tend to blame our parents for almost anything. Here, I am beginning to relate to the pain of their lives and to see them, like myself, trapped in never-ending cycles of karmic action. The stark reality of the world of pain and suffering is difficult to look at and immensely terrifying. I do not have compassion, but react in fear and numbness.

Rinpoche creates a ground in which I can go through all of this turmoil by providing kindness, generosity, compassion, and love for whatever I do. In response I pay attention to my art of serving him. It is the only way I can say thank you. And this, I know, he understands as well.

The egg theme, which Rinpoche used here, he also used when he sang 'Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again." It's also interesting to note that Garuda, the mythological bird, hatches out of the egg folly formed and is able to travel with a single movement of its wings from one end of the universe to the other.

The disappearing into the mirror is referred to in Rinpoche's poem Memorial in Verse21 lines 19 and 20.



21 "Memorial in Verse" from the book First Thought, Best Thought-JOB Poems, Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1983, p. 152.
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:45 am

Chapter 6: Promised Land


Standing on the wild highland moor, the moss soft underfoot, I look down the heather-covered slope. My gaze rests upon the dear blue lake with its perfect round island in the center. Upon this island stands a single giant tree. In the branches sit all the lineage holders: Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, and all the rest, with Trungpa Rinpoche in the center top. They are all drinking, laughing, and having a great time. I'm stuck on this hillside doing prostrations. My mother is on my left side, my father is on my right, and Max is behind me. They are all prostrating with me.

So here we go. I start to mutter:

"I take refuge in the Buddha,
I take refuge in the dharma,
I take refuge in the sangha."

I'm huffing and puffing away, up and down, down and up, moving the beads in my right hand one at a time, only eighty thousand five hundred to go. Sweat is running down my face and my back is as stiff as a board. I look to each side. My mum and dad are having a hard time as well, so I tell them to sit down and rest. They thank me for my kindness as they rest in the soft moss. But I keep that fucker Max popping up and down behind me. I slip, falling in my haste on my right side.

"Fuck! Fuck the guru. Fuck the Buddha, fuck the Dharma, fuck the Sangha.''

With my eyes still closed I rub my arm, flexing my throbbing wrist. I look over at the tree. Those fuckers are all laughing at me. "Fuck you, you lazy bunch of loafers. Why don't you go out and get a real job at help someone," I exclaim to my mind. "I'll show you. I'm going to finish these fucking prostrations, then I'll be sitting in that fucking tree and I'll have all you fuckers prostrating on this goddamn fucking sonofabitching hillside."

They start laughing so hard some of them are falling out of the tree. I'm getting really mad now, moving up and down as fast as I can. Max can't keep up. Be falls, sobbing, on the ground behind me. "Serves you right; you fucking chink." Up and down, up and down I fly, the beads moving in my hand. The guys in the tree are now looking worried. Their jobs are on the line. Perks is coming. Triumph shines in my mind. "When I get over to that island I'm going to get a chain saw and cut that fucking tree down. Then you'll have to find some other place to hang your lazy asses." At that Tilopa drops his fish, looking shocked. "Ha, Ha, I think I will. I will . . ." Snap. The bead string breaks in my hand. I hear the beads scatter across the floor. I open my eyes to see them running into the shrine room corners. "Shit! Shit!" I bellow.

Sitting in a sweating heap I start to pick them up, putting them carefully into the shrine table bowl. My sacred mala beads were given to me by Rinpoche. Frantically I count them. "Fucking hell, there's three missing." Searching all over I find only one. Now I feel sorry that I yelled at Tilopa. Sadness engulfs me. A tear starts in my eye, then stops. ''Perhaps Tilopa had planned this all along. Remember the stunts he pulled on that sucker Naropa?" Now I'm getting mad again. "Well, I'll be a sonofabitch, I have a realization! Those bastards in the tree had planned this all along to try to get me to stop my prostrations so that I would not get to Bliss Island and have a good time like them. I bet Max is in on this as well, and Rinpoche -- he's the ringleader."

I'm really pissed off at their deception. I feel betrayed. "How could they do this after I have given them all my devotion?" Now I'm sad again. "How could they do this?" Then I'm angry again. "Those sonofabitches, I'll show them. I pick up the bowl with the sacred beads and stomp toward the shrine room door. Turning, I yell at the shrine, "I'll be back, motherfuckers." I open the door and run smack into Rinpoche, who is standing there in his Mrs. Mop cleaning outfit with a broom in his hands. He says, ''Are you okay, Johnny?" Startled, I become very British and exclaim, "Oh fine, Sir, I'm fine. Just practicing, Sir."

I feel his eyes following me as I run up the stairs to change. I push open my bedroom door and put the sacred beads onto the bedside table with great care, then flop onto the bed. I look around the room feeling safe in its familiar order, the way I have set it up with the pictures of Vajradhara,22 His Holiness, and Rinpoche, with the flowers, my revolver under my pillow, the bullets n the drawer wrapped in my girlfriend's underpants, and the Jar of Vaseline for jerking off. I reach down to hold my penis. It gets hard as I think of Sara. "Wow," I think, "Rinpoche is really crazy."

"THE WAY TO GET MONEY from Rinpoche is to ask him as he wakes up," says Osel.23

Rinpoche's twelve-year-old son is visiting from Boulder. He wants to buy a model airplane and needs the money.

"He always says yes to anything as he wakes up," Osel explains to me.

Up we go to the bedroom. Osel stands over the sleeping body of his father.

"Rinpoche, Rinpoche," he calls softly. "Can I have some money to buy a toy airplane?"

"Yes," comes the drowsy answer from the blanket-covered pile in the bed. ''Ask Johnny to take some money from my wallet." Then the blanket goes back to its familiar snore. Osel looks at me with a knowing smile, proud at having outwitted his dad.

Pretty good trick, I think.

Years later, however, the trick worked in reverse. When Osel wanted money for a dirt bike Rinpoche said, ''Okay, I'll give you a hundred dollars for sitting in meditation for one hour." Easy money, thought Osel. He sat for three hours and made three hundred dollars. The next time he wanted something the price went down to fifty dollars an hour, then twenty-five an hour, then ten, then five. In the end he was sitting for a week to get a hundred bucks. Osel would always hide when his Holiness the Karmapa or Khyentse Rinpoche would visit.

"I don't want to be a tulku," he would say to me. "I don't want to be a tulku." To me, it sounded like Brer Rabbit not wanting to be thrown into the brier patch.

"I don't want to be a tulku," he pleaded to me.

"Okay, okay," I said. "Let's hide and go to the movies."

Osel brightened. "Great!" he said. "What's showing?"

I opened the paper. 'The Man Who Would Be King," I read aloud. We went, and on the way home he was Danny and I was Peachy.

"LET'S PLAY A TRICK on our guests tonight," said Rinpoche.

The guests had all gone into Greenfield to do some grocery shopping, which was nice of them. But I suspected they were also glad to escape from our madhouse. A trick on them would seem in perfect order. Rinpoche had my full attention.

"We will pretend that you and I are able to do ESP together." He continued, not waiting for my surprised look of puzzlement, "You will go out of the room and our guests will pick an object. When we call you in, I will say, 'Is it this? Is it this?"' he said, pointing to a candlestick and then an ashtray. "We will go on and I will point and say, 'Is it that?' The second 'Is it that?' will be the object they have chosen. Got it?" he asked.

"Yes, Sir," I said. "You will say, 'Is it this? Is it this?' and so on. When you say the second 'It is that?' I'll know that is the chosen object."

"You got it," he smiled, sipping his sake.

That evening, after supper, I brought in a tray of drinks for the guests and as I was passing them out Rinpoche said, "You know, Johnny and I have developed ESP together, because of his close connection to me."

There was silence, then someone asked, "Really, Rinpoche; how does that work?"

"Well," said Rinpoche, "let's see ... Johnny, shall we give them an example?"

I said, "Sure, we could do that."

"You go out of the room and don't come in until we call you," he directed. I went into the kitchen.

After a while, a voice called out from the sitting room, "Major Perks, you can come in now." Returning to the sitting room, I stood in the center facing Rinpoche, who said, "Johnny, cover your eyes so we can make contact.

I did as I was commanded, covering my eyes, seeing that Rinpoche was covering his eyes also.

"All right," he said, "let's proceed." He pointed to various items in the room and said, "Is it this?" I repeatedly said, "No." When he said, "Is it that?" for the second time, pointing to a picture on the wall, I replied, "Yes, that's it." Everyone was unmistakably impressed.

"Okay," said one of the guests, "how about if Rinpoche leaves the room and Major Perks stays here?"
Rinpoche agreed, going out to the kitchen. One of the guests pointed to the Dupont lighter on Rinpoche's side table. "Let's make it that."

It was agreed. Rinpoche was called in. "Close your eyes, Major," said Rinpoche. I closed my eyes tightly. I could see he had closed his eyes also. Then we went on to do the "Is it this?" and "Is it that?" act. On the second "Is it that?" I pointed to the lighter. Rinpoche said, "Yes, it's that!" The guests were fooled and amazed and I let them think what they would about our ESP capabilities.

The night passed into early morning and we all went off to bed. I went up with Rinpoche and his female friend and tucked them both into bed. They were reading Asterisk comic books with dual laughter as I retired to my room. I jumped into my own bed and soon passed into deep sleep.

A few hours later I sat up in a panic, sweating and with my heart racing. A thought had rushed into my mind. How did I know Rinpoche had closed his eyes during the second demonstration? I went over the sequence of events in my mind. First I had closed my eyes. Then I had seen that he had his eyes closed also. I was sure of this. But how was I able to see this if my eyes were closed? What kind of trick was this being played on me? Was he trying to take over my mind? Then it came to me -- Asian mind control! That must be it! I was in a panic. I ran around to the participants from the previous night asking them if Rinpoche had had his eyes closed. Some could not remember. Others said, "Yes, I think so." It didn't help my freaked-out mind. I decided to ask Rinpoche.

That morning as we were performing our bathroom ritual, trying to hide my agitated state behind British reserve I said, "Sir, did you close your eyes last night after I did?"

Rinpoche peered into the large bathroom mirror, opened his eyes wide, and said, "Two minds become one."

As my confused mind tried to sort that one out he started to brush his teeth with great vigor, his eyes growing larger. Our images reflected in the mirror and the unreality of the situation flooded my vacant mind. It became filled with a thought: Was I the reflection or was I me? I struggled to contain the rising panic.

Moving over to the shower spigots, I involved myself in get­ting the water temperature correct for Rinpoche to enter. It was a relief to feel the water on my hands. At least this was real! As the naked Rinpoche entered, I handed him the Pears soap and closed the glass door. Watching his shadow on the mot led glass and standing ready with the towel, I became myself again. It was some weeks before I could look into a mirror without some feeling of uneasiness returning. In order to escape I busied myself in the household work of cooking, cleaning, and taking care of Rinpoche, whom, to protect myself, I had decided to label as crazy.

I was not alone in thinking Rinpoche was crazy. Other students would ask me if he was acting crazy. The problem seemed to be that we were not dealing with an ordinary type of mind. His mind did not have predictable characteristics. For instance, there were not habitual patterns. He did not get angry or irritable. He did not seem to have passion in the ordinary sense. He was not jealous. None of these things seemed to stick to him. He was very unpredictable, acting without a normal moral code and his energy seemed endless. He was also able to do otherworldly-type things, like change his size, disappear in a mirror, and move with incredible speed, even though he was paralyzed on one side of his body. He could read people and events very accurately. All of this together was very disconcerting and I had a healthy suspicion of it all.

I had it in my mind that he or someone was manipulating and playing tricks on me. It was as though my reality were constantly being shifted, which made my situation very, very uncertain -- almost shocking. Since he seemed to be the instigator of all of this he could only be crazy. But then there was that incredible warmth and love that he generated toward you that you felt throughout your mind and body.

All of this was in my mind as I came down the stairs into the sitting room. Rinpoche was seated in his chair by the field stone fireplace waiting for me to serve him a glass of sake. He looked up as I entered the room. I felt the penetrating warmth of his smile as he said, "Don't worry Johnny, I won't go crazy."

How could I not love him? He seemed to know what I was thinking, what I did, and why I did it without any judgment or criticism. He loved me and the others truly without conditions, which seemed crazy as well! I dropped the whole matter and poured the sake into the glass in his outstretched hand, content to feel the warmth of his energy.

"We will create an enlightened world together, Johnny," he said. "We will grow old together." That also seemed impossibly unrealistic. Days, nights, weeks, and months would go by with Rinpoche just sitting in that chair, steadily drinking sake and occasionally smoking Dunhill Reds.

I never knew beforehand when bedtime would be, at what time of day or night. It mostly depended on when the others would get tired of sitting around playing the Qualities Game. This was a game where one player would mentally pick a person and the others would try to pinpoint who it was by asking what kind of animal, tree, country, etc. he or she would be. The answers would be based on the qualities of the person, which hopefully would indicate to the other players the identity of the person. This game could go on endlessly.

Others would drop off to bed and I would be left with the chair-bound Rinpoche, waiting for my bedtime. Resentment would fill my mind that he did not seem concerned about me. Then he would get on the phone at 4 a.m. to speak with some student, saying, "Sweetheart, how are you?" The first time this happened the student would be delighted. In a year or two, when he might call ten early mornings in a row, the student would unplug the phone. Then we would get in the car and drive around to the house. He would bang on the door and a disheveled student would open it, surprised at the enlightened caller with his resentful attendant. We would then all have afternoon tea at 5 a.m. or breakfast at 11 p.m. This guy was ruining my life!

I was constantly pissed off about not having the life that everyone else seemed to enjoy, with wife, car, children, and money. I got $300 a month plus room and board and no days off. Rinpoche and I were joined at the hip. Every time he wanted to go to the bathroom I was there. Change his socks, tie his shoes, press his pants, cook his food, feed his dog . . . What about me, me, me? After all, I was the one training to "get enlightened." Here I was acting like a servant, sometimes loving it and sometimes hating it. Now I wanted my, my life, life! Even when I went shopping for food I had a beeper on my belt. He would call and I would run to the nearest phone to call back. He would say, "Oh Johnny, are you okay? I just wanted to know where you were."

Where am I, who am I? I had no idea.

"Johnny," said the smiling warmth-generating doll, "I was thinking we need to open up our service situation, have some other people come in and cook, serve, and drive."

Great! I think. After all the work and devotion I have done he wants to replace me.

"Perhaps," he continued, "perhaps, Major Perks, you should become Master of the Kalapa Court."

My stunned brain began to realize the glory of that opportunity, the power, the uniform, the medals, the limelight! Finally I was being lifted up from servitude and I was hooked.

Here I am, the searchlight of enlightenment shining on me in my Master of the Kalapa Court uniform of blue and crimson. The fanfare of bugles is heard and on my breast is a single shining gold medal inscribed "Wounded at the Battle of Ego, the Hero Returns Undefeated."

I turned to Rinpoche and in my very best British accent I said, "Yes, Sir." After all, I reasoned, I would not be any use to enlightened society unless I was myself.

At the end our retreat year in late May it was decided that we would visit the Promised Land, the site chosen for the enlightened society of either the near or far future, depending on whose story you listened to. The land that was chosen was Nova Scotia, Canada's Riviera. I was in favor of establishing enlightened society as soon as possible -- a year or two at the most. Others seemed to be dragging their feet.

Our Grieves and Hawks uniforms from London were ordered but would not be ready in time for the trip. So I contacted a military surplus company in New York which I had located through their advertisement in Shotgun News. I ordered one dark blue naval uniform for Rinpoche and an army khaki uniform for myself. Onto these uniforms I sewed two bars of medal ribbons that Rinpoche had designed. On my uniform I sewed my Rupon of the Red Division insignia. "Rupon'' was Tibetan for a company commander, which was the rank I then held. "Major" was pushing it a bit. Next to that ribbon I added the Iron Wheel medal and the Lion of Kalapa Court of Shambhala. This was jumping the gun somewhat because the Kalapa Court, which was to be located in Boulder, Colorado, had not yet been established. At most there were rumors of a house on Pine Street and an offer to purchase.

Sometime in the early light of morning Rinpoche, his consort, Jane, and I pored over the chart of the Province of Nova Scotia. It was to be a two-pronged attack. The Regent Osel Tendzin with his Group "B" would advance by air to Halifax Airport. The three of us in Group ''A" would go by sea, driving first to Portland and then taking the Nova Scotia Cruise Lines luxury ship up the coast. We would cross the Bay of Fundy to Yarmouth. The secrecy and stealth of our attack would surely take the natives by surprise. Finally, all of my training and reading of the Horatio Hornblower books would become useful information. Rinpoche would go as the Prince of Bhutan and I as his aide-de-camp, Major Perks, Lion of Kalapa. Jane would be Lady Jane, although I preferred to think of her as Lady Jane Gray. We were glad of our passports, which had our cover names of Chogyam Mukpo, John Perks, and Jane Condon.

The limousine that was rented for the ten-day operation was a silver Lincoln Continental. With great care I packed our evening dress tuxedos, as we planned to dine formally every night in the soon-to-be-enlightened province. We drove up to Portland, Maine, the next day to embark for the journey up the coast. Our limo was a bit oversized for the luxury liner, which looked more like a large ferry boat. After parking in the depths of its hull we found we could not open the rear doors more than six inches. Lady Jane could just squeeze through, but the Prince would never pass the gap. I pulled on his arms for a while until we realized the futility. Then the Horatio Hornblower in me became active. "The window!" I exclaimed. Lady Jane let down the rear electric window. The Prince put his arms around my neck and with Lady Jane holding up his pants we extricated him from the silver trap. On the ferry that morning, as the sun rose, the three of us stood on the upper deck and sang the Shambhala anthem. I threw an empty sake bottle overboard with a written copy of the anthem in it.

The Yarmouth dock smelled strongly of fish when we arrived and Rinpoche remarked that it reminded him of Tilopa. A good omen. We drove up to Halifax to meet the Regent's party and begin the expedition. (It had been named KOSFEF, short for Kingdom of Shambhala First Expeditionary Force. Later, there would be a medal ribbon for each member.) The Regent's force was already at the hotel I had chosen from the tourist brochure, the Horatio Nelson Hotel.

We had dressed in our uniforms earlier that morning on the boat, so we arrived at the hotel in style. Michael Root, the Regent's aide-de-camp, had arranged for the Shambhala flag we had hand sewn during retreat to be flown at the hotel entrance alongside the Canadian flag. Somehow I had it in my mind that there would be crowds attending our arrival. Instead, there was only the Regent's small party in their pinstriped suits and formal dresses. That evening we dined in our full evening dress at Fat Frank's, Halifax's only gourmet restaurant. There were speeches and toasts to the formation of enlightened society. We all sang the Shambhala anthem, with Fat Frank and his waiters joining in the end chorus, "Rejoice, the Great Eastern Sun arises."

I felt like the Kingdom had already happened, although Jerry, who was the Dapon, or Head of the Military, looked very glum. Michael and I talked to him on the way back to the hotel. "This is all crazy," he said. "Take over Nova Scotia? Make it Shambhala Kingdom? It's nuts!" This should have been my line, but somehow I had been overtaken by the fantasy. It all seemed real, quite easy, as I explained to Jerry in my enthusiasm. He was looking at me like I was crazy.

"You know," he complained, "you all come into the Nelson Hotel and salute Rinpoche who is pretending to be the Prince of Bhutan. You have that Shambhala flag flying next to the Canadian real flag in the front of the hotel. That's crazy! People will think we're all crazy!"

"Well," I argued, "Fat Frank and his waiters had a good time. Everyone seems quite friendly."

"You just can't come in here and take over," said Jerry.

"Why not?" asked Michael. "No one else seems to be in charge.

Jerry just shook his head. "I don't know. Taking over a Canadian province, making Rinpoche king and then calling it the Kingdom of Shambhala. Doesn't that seem a bit weird to you?"

"No," I replied. To cheer him up I pointed out the good omens: Tilopa at Yarmouth, letting us fly the flag at the hotel, and Fat Frank who wanted to be one of us and seemed to be convinced of our reality.

The next day Michael and I set off ahead of the rest on our tour of Shambhala province. We had the task of locating suitable lodging in each town for our evening stop. The first town we came to was Glasgow, a destination chosen by me. To my surprise there were no inns or hotels, just a place by the name of MacTavish's Tourist Stop. Half the letters on the neon sign were not flashing but Michael and I went in anyway. The worn carpet­ing was a bright red tartan. I began to have serious doubts. Michael asked to see a room and we went up the creaking stairs with MacTavish himself. He opened the door with a key chained to a piece of wood marked with a plastic six. Inside was a blue tartan carpet stained by years of spilled food and beer. In the center was an old iron bed that had once been white and a matching three-drawer bureau. A single bare light bulb hung by a cord from the tin ceiling.

"Where's the bathroom?" I asked. ''Au, down to the end of the 'all," said MacTavish. Michael started to giggle. I was not giving up. If I could arrange to get a bagpiper to greet the Prince at the motel as he drove up, that would at least be something.

"Do you have a piper?" I inquired of MacTavish. "Oh, yer," said he. "We gets all the pipers. The Halifax Herald, The Nova Scotian Week we gets them all." Michael let out a roar of laughter. I slapped my hand to my head and sternly hissed to him, "I am trying to put some pomp and circumstance into this." Michael was collapsing with hilarity. "Yes," he sputtered between gasps of laughter, "but we have too much circumstance and no pomp.

"Let's find a place to get a drink and have dinner," I suggested. We drove around the small bleak town in about ten minutes. There was a fish-and-chip type cafe and a Chinese restaurant. That was it. "No need to dine in tuxedos tonight," I thought.

The main party arrived several hours later and there was quite a bit of joking about the rooms. Rinpoche asked about the dining arrangements and I described what I had found. "Is the fish­ and-chip cafe very Nova Scotian?" asked Rinpoche.

"Yes," I replied. "They have something on the menu called Solom Gundy. Also, cod tongues and cheeks."

"That will be fine," he said.

"What shall we wear?" I asked. No one had brought any jeans.

"Tuxedos without the military ribbons," was the reply. I rolled my eyes up into my head and looked over at Lady Jane for help. None was forthcoming. The Regent made a mild but ineffectual protest. Michael just laughed and Jerry became even gloomier.

We all showed up at the cafe, with its plastic-draped tables an paper napkins, in our best evening dress. "This is crazy," whispered Jerry to me as we went in. I was inclined to agree. To my surprise the Nova Scotians were very hospitable, putting tables together and finding some cotton tablecloths and matching napkins. They were quite excited to have us there and the Prince was more than charming, explaining that we were touring the province. He also intimated that we might be interested in purchasing a large property so that we might spend more time in such a delightful country. The following day MacTavish's one phone in the lobby was ringing off the hook. The whole of Nova Scotia was, it seemed, for sale.

The next morning Michael and I set off again. We had looked at a map, where I had spotted a shortcut to the Annoplis Valley. All we had to do was cross the bridge at Bridgewater. We drove for miles over back roads, past abandoned farms and small towns with empty stores. The blacktop road became dirt. Michael, driving along at high speed, came to a screeching stop at the edge of a cliff. I looked at the map in puzzlement. Michael called out to a man chopping down trees by the cliff. "Where's the bridge to Bridgewater?" he yelled.

"Oh, they ain't going to build that bridge for another four years," came the reply.

"But it's on the map," I protested.

"Oh yes," said the woodsman. "Well, we has to be ready, don't we?" Michael pulled out the bottle of rum stashed behind the backseat. We sat in the car and drank it all, watching the flowing river with its inaccessible further shore.

We were late getting back to the others, who had found a fairly good Best Western. It was the annual Apple Blossom Festival and the selection of the Apple Blossom Beauty Queen was being held in the restaurant at the motel. Dozens of teenage girls at a high level of excitement were running about the motel in white gowns. For once, our tuxedos were the proper attire for the occasion.

Word was spreading that the Prince of Bhutan was staying at the motel. The organizer of the festival approached me and asked if the Prince would like to have the Beauty Queen "presented" to him. "Delighted" was the response from the Prince when I relayed the message. There is a picture in a local Nova Scotian newspaper showing a ring of Apple Blossom girls, and in their white-dressed center, with the Queen on his arm, is the smiling Prince. The caption reads "Prince of Bhutan meets Apple Blossom Queen. The Prince and his party are touring the Province."

Meanwhile, the phone at the Best Western motel was ringing nonstop with offers of property for sale. Jerry was freaking out about the FBI finding out that we were planning to take over Nova Scotia.

"Who else would want it?" asked the Regent.

At the beginning of the expedition I had been full of hope about creating a new society based on British Buddhist morality. Now, after being tossed about between the reality of Nova Scotia, the reality of the Prince, and the reality of the Apple Blossom Queen, I was unhinged again. Our last night was spent at the Pines Hotel in Digby, a town which at one time had been a resort. Jan, the Regent's attendant, came and spent the night with me. We were both too English to have any passion between us. We sat up in bed smoking cigarettes and sipping rum.

"What do you think of Nova Scotia?" she asked.

"I don't know," I answered. Then putting my doubts onto Jerry, I said, "Jerry is dropping out of the plan altogether. I hear he has resigned as Head of the Shambhala Military."

"Yes," murmured Jan. There was silence. I took another sip of the rum, feeling it burning in my mouth.

"Well, I think it's wonderful," she said, feeling my hesitation. "I plan to move up here as soon as possible and join the sangha in Halifax."

Her cheerfulness was infectious. I smiled and said, with all my doubts evaporating, "I am going back to Boulder. We are creating the Kalapa Court, a court for Rinpoche and the Kingdom of Shambhala."

"Yes," she added. "They need us, old chap. We are English. We are the only ones who can do it."



22 Vajradhara, "Bearer of the Vajra." The iconography of this deity is represented as blue, one-­faced, two-armed, holding a vajra and bell. This deity is visualized by the student while doing prostrations.

23 Osel Mukpo was later to become Mipham Rinpoche and the Sakyong of Shambhala Buddhism.
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:16 am

Chapter 6: Commentary

After the first seminary that I attended, I was given permission to do ngondro by Rinpoche. I was, in the future, to attend six other seminaries. My feeling is that I got all my learning by being with Rinpoche and through my practice -- particularly ngondro. The thing about ngondro is that it can't be explained in terms of what happens but only in terms of the mechanics of how it is done. What happens during ngondro is a dynamic interaction between the yidam,24 the guru, and the student. Rinpoche said it was like a sandwich, in which the yidam was on one side, the guru was on the other, and the student was in the middle. And it was a club sandwich, so it had a diamond spike through the middle in which all three were linked for eternity. So ngondro practice is experientially fresh with each individual and each individual's path toward realization. We are not talking about dogma here, but real, intuitive, creative, experiential relationships with the practice of meditation.

In theory, one does 100,000 prostrations in which one physically throws oneself on the ground in a prostrate manner while at the same time reciting a mantra and maintaining a visualization. The visualization is of a lake with an island in the middle. On the island is a tree and in he tree are all the lineage holders. You're standing on a hill overlooking the lake. Behind you is your enemy and on your right is your father and on your left is your mother. All around you are your friends and your sangha members and everyone is prostrating with you.

The effects of this practice can bring up all kinds of emotional display which can be felt directly, intimately, and excruciatingly as painful. But then there are moments of intense devotion, intense love, and intense delight. Where all this energy is coming from is like a great mystery which is yet to be revealed. But even here, one still has the goal in mind, which is to finish -- to do 100,000. I should mention here also that many people start, but because of insurmountable obstacles in their life situations or because of mental turmoil they are unable to finish. This creates an extremely bad situation for the student and the teacher. It's like the student is walking around with a big smelly shit in his or her pants. And for the teacher, as well as the student, it means unfinished karmic connections.

Everyone experiences obstacles and realizations during this practice. My consistent problem was, of course, my mind. But Rinpoche, again, fired my imagination with thoughts of enlightened society because innately I wanted baste goodness, compassion, love, and an enlightened society. At the same time I still felt that this was an impossible dream. I was tossed back and forth between being what I thought I was and what I hoped to be. The reality of that was to fall through the middle which at that time I had no notion of.

It's interesting that at this point I was beginning to give up on my own ambitions of power and was beginning to relate to broader aspects beyond my self-conditioned habitual patterns. My self-reliance and and individualism were transforming into the possibility of enlightenment for all beings. I had difficulty in relating my ngondro practice with my everyday life. I still separated out my practice and my ordinary life, which was an obstacle yet to be overcome.

In the ESP game, Rinpoche introduced the idea of the mind of the student and that of the teacher being one. Again, my reaction was to panic. The panic was based on the fact that I saw my mind as belonging only to myself -- personally mine -- individualistic and inviolate to others. The very idea that Rinpoche's mind and my mind could be linked meant to me that he would have power over me. It did not occur to me that his compassion was far beyond such a trivial pursuit.

I saw an enlightened society as being something futuristic and unobtainable by ordinary means. That is, I saw that the way to create enlightened society was to go out and conquer, subvert, or politically trick others into a quasi-British form of enlightenment based on my own ideas. Rinpoche constantly used the ordinary means and situations in Nova Scotia as being the creative relationship in which one could continually initiate the energy of enlightened society, on the spot, by using things as they were. He continually introduced to me the simplicity of one's personal actions -- such as preparing a cup of tea, brushing one's teeth, cleaning one's room, relating to others. It is the simple care for oneself and others which is the basic ecology of enlightened society. In other words, if one would be a leader, then one has to work on oneself first. In order to serve others one has to be a servant.

Trungpa Rinpoche tells the story of when he confessed to his teacher that he had serious doubts about being an authentic tulku. His teacher, Jamgon Kongtrul25 seemed quite startled at that. He paused for a while and then he said, "Do you have devotion to me?" He caught himself halfway through the sentence and then he said, "Do you love me? Do you have devotion to me, do you love me?" Rinpoche said that the whole thing turned his concepts upside down completely and he realized that he was regarding the teachings as merchandise and never realized that they were a gift of love. When he realized that, he burst into tears, ran out of the room, and cried in the woods outside.
In my own love for Trungpa Rinpoche I had to go through the whole gamut of emotions from wanting to own the object of my affections to, when that foiled, becoming resentful. Of course I had no idea what unconditional love might mean. I could see it displayed in Rinpoche himself. But I still didn't trust it because I couldn't take it, use it, or display it myself.

However, this was the beginning of developing compassion. Out of the pain of the whole situation in which I found myself entrapped, small glimmers of compassion arose. I began to see Rinpoche's teachings as acts of love. Even so, nothing was sticking, everything came and went. It was like one was being tossed upon a stormy sea unable to reach either shore.



24 Yidam -- The chosen deity of a tantric practitioner, representing the practitioner's basic state of mind; the practice enables the student to acquire the qualities of a fully enlightened Buddha through the practice of deity yoga.

25 "Shechen Kongtrul Pema Tri-me Lekpe Lodro ('Stainless Lotus Excellent Intellect,' 1901-1960) was the root guru of Trungpa Rinpoche. He was one of five incarnations of the renowned Rime teacher, Jamgon Kongtrul the Great." Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, authors notes.
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:15 pm

Chapter 7: The Court


According to the Great Commentary on the Kalachakra by the renowned Buddhist teacher Mipham, the land of Shambhala was north of the river Sita in a country divided by eight mountain ranges. The Palace of the Imperial Rulers was built on top of a cir­cular mountain. The palace was called Kalapa and it consisted of buildings stretching out over several miles with a park in the center.

Our Kalapa Court was more modest, but vast in terms of enterprise. It consisted of a house on Pine Street in Boulder, Colorado. The building had four bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, dining room, kitchen, two sitting rooms, a sun porch, and a small garden. Into this dwelling we stuffed nine adults, five children, and one large dog. Described another way, this was two families of four (Mukpos and Riches), one family of three (Voglers) assisting as servants, an adult couple employed as nannies, and myself as the Master of the House.

I had a twelve-by-seven-foot former storage room in the basement next to the boiler. When the boiler turned on it would blow open my door. On my first inspection I decided that the room was the size of a ship's cabin-a small ship at that. It had two casement windows through which I could see people's feet as they walked past on the garden path. I became an expert on identifying people by their shoes. Into this room I built a single cabin bed. I also had a chair, side table, closet, and a large bell that was connected to push-buttons in Rinpoche's sitting room and also his bedroom.

Not that I spent much time in that room. I was up early and back to bed late. I was happily energized, creating this important part of Shambhala, the enlightened society. We purchased a copy of Debrett's Correct Form, an inclusive guide to everything from drafting a wedding invitation to addressing an archbishop. Also, of course, we obtained Emily Post's and Amy Vanderbilt's books on etiquette. A set of silver was donated, as were place mats, table linen, china, crystal, candlesticks, silver tea sets, napkins, serving trays, salt-and-pepper sets, place-card holders, oyster forks, and butter knives.

Hippies and beatniks, who one week earlier had been seen in jeans and tie-dyed shirts and sporting long hair and beards, were now outfitted in charcoal pinstriped three-piece suits or blue blazers with gray flannels for the afternoon. Evening wear was a tuxedo or evening gown, with hair trimmed, nails cleaned, and shoes polished.

In afternoon tea lessons we learned that a servant never enters the room at tea time unless rung for and that the hostess asks, preferably with an Oxford accent, "How do you like your tea, one lump or two?" We learned to serve tea sandwiches, pastries, slices of layer cake, pate de foie gras, gingerbread, and biscuits.

Just two weeks earlier, any one of us might have been discovered lying nude on the beach, smoking pot and stoned out of his or her mind. Now we remembered our grandparents' trunk in the attic and out came the forgotten string of pearls, the diamond ring, the gold pocket watch, and the silver teapot. Truly a gracious tea!

The Prince let it be known that smoking pot was out. Drinking wine and knowing when to use red, white, rose, or brandy was in, along with cigars and cigarettes with jewel-encrusted holders. Two weeks earlier you might have been at an orgy, drunk out of your mind, copulating under a table to the sound of rock music. Now you were dancing to a Strauss waltz in a room where servants carried trays of hors d'oeuvres and champagne in fluted glasses.

You bowed before asking for your name to be added to a young lady's dance card. Invitations and thank-you cards were always sent by hand or at least by post. Your personal card was dropped in the silver basket on the Hapsburg table in the front hall. Drapes were always drawn at 6 p.m. in the winter and at 8 p.m. in the summer. The staff lined the walkway when the Prince left on any extended trip and were there in the same formation upon his return.

Sometimes you were a guest; sometimes you were the servant. A small elite always retained their status of either guest or servant. Servants entered the house through the back, family and guests by way of the front entrance. Family only used the front stairs and servants the back hallway stairs. I, as head servant, was exempt from the rule and passed through the front entrance and used the front stairs.

In the heat of this social etiquette passion I sent to London for a military dress mess uniform of scarlet and bum-freezer black pants with gold stripes. Pips on the epaulets showed my rank as Major and chalk-white. gloves were upon my hands. Later, an ivory-handled, gold-hilted sword hung at my side.

I wrote at that time "In His Majesty's Service." In Rinpoche's capacity as Sakyong of Shambhala, I used the honorific English term "His Majesty," which referred to his kingship capacity in the formation of the Kingdom of Shambhala. Unlike the British monarchy, the Shambhala system for kingship was based on the premise that the monarch was responsible for joining heaven, earth, and man in union. This was one of the first times that Rinpoche asked me to write about how we worked together. This writing fixed the way that I thought about my service to him at that time. The text follows:

In His Majesty's Service
Major John A Perks, O.L.K.
The Master of His Majesty's Household

I am writing this essay because I was commanded to by His Majesty the Sakyong. His exact words last night in the kitchen were, "You should write about how we work together. It would help."

My reply was "Yes, Sir."

I do not plan to conjecture about the original command too much, but a little would be amusing: "What does he mean, 'It would help'? Help what? Help my life? Or help me get into trouble? I'm in enough of that already. Is he planning another cliff-jumping party for me, or am I planning it myself? Was he smiling when he asked? Was there that slight, mischievous glint in his eye? Do I have doubts? Yes. But I do know that in the maze of too much conjecture a big fat Minotaur is waiting to breakfast on me, so I had better get on with this latest task."

I am a servant. I am the head servant of His Majesty's household. I serve him directly as his personal valet and in turn, in various capacities, I serve His Majesty's family, the guests, the sangha, the postman, the bank clerk, the bank, the neighbor's dog, the tree he pisses on, the front lawn, my shoes -- endless service. George III was riding through a park one day when he commanded the coachman to stop before a large oak tree. His Majesty got out of the carriage, walked up to the tree, bowed politely and began a long conversation with it.

I think that George III initially had the right idea -- the idea of service to the tree. His problem, of course, was that the tree began talking back to him; and George III was well on his way to insanity. In the book Emperor of China, K'ang-hai, China's emperor from 1661 to 1722, discussed the idea of service.

Chu-ko Liang said: 'I shall bow down in service and wear myself out until death comes,' but among all the officials only Chu-ko Liang acted this way. Whereas the emperor's responsibilities are terribly heavy, there is no way he can evade them. How can this be compared with being an official? If an official wants to serve, then he serves; if he wants to stop, then he stops. When he grows old he resigns and returns home, to look after his sons and play with his grand­sons; he still has the chance to relax and enjoy himself. Whereas the ruler in all his hard-working life finds no place to rest. Thus, though the Emperor Shun said, "Through non-action one governs," he died in Ts-ang-wu (while on a tour of inspection); and after four years on the throne Emperor Yu had blistered hands and feet and found death in K'uai-ch'i. To work as hard at government as these men, to travel on inspection, to have never a leisure moment­ how can this be called the valuing of 'non-action' or tranquilly looking after oneself? In the I Ching26 hexagram "Retreat" not one of the six lines deals with a ruler's concerns -- from this we can see that there is no place for rulers to rest, and no resting place to which they can retreat. "Bowing down in service and wearing oneself out" indeed applies to this situation.

Certainly the idea and practice of "bowing down and wearing oneself out" is not alien to our own Kagyu lineage, nor is it reserved for rulers alone. Likewise, although one might say that the position I hold in His Majesty's service is basically groundless, I do have as a constant reference point the idea of relentless service, of eternally bowing down in service and wearing myself out.

The way His Majesty and I work together is rather like performing a dance, the tune of which may change at any moment. Because of this His Majesty is most insistent that I pay attention, and in particular that I pay attention to the small details. In the early days of my service His Majesty would ask me questions such as, "What's the guard's name?" "Who is in the house?" "Where is so-and-so?" And in order to avoid being constantly embarrassed, I began to explore those small details and take great pride in answering all his probing questions.

In those days we also played the pill game. In the morning and at night before retiring His Majesty took his medication. I would place a small pill on his hand; then, with one quick movement he would pitch the pill into his mouth and take a glass of water that I handed him. In order that this small act take place with smoothness and grace -- and it was indeed a delight when it did -- I found it necessary to pay attention to a very precise set of related details. I had to have in constant readiness a supply of pills and a tray with a napkin and a dean glass of cold water. I had to pick up the pill between my thumb and first finger and place it in exactly the right spot on His Majesty's hand, then be ready to pass him the water at the right moment.

Of course, this is not exactly the way it always worked. If I became too rigid about the whole thing I somehow wound up searching for the pill in the dust under the bed. His Majesty would then playfully bounce up and down on the bed, banging my head alternately on the bed and the floor. If I could overcome my embarrassment, that became a great joke and a source of inspiration as well. So it gave me as great a joy to drop the pill on the floor flawlessly as it gave me to pass the pill flawlessly. Gradually I was able to expand the lesson of the pill game to include other service situations. Gradually everything became a service situation.

Of course, I do still suffer. I am subject to resentment, stupidity, laziness, depression, anger, whatever. There is at least democracy in that, and I have my own fair share. The late nights can be particularly interesting. Instead of paying attention, I am perhaps thinking of how nice it would be if I could sneak away to my own little bed. The time drags on ... 12:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m. I watch His Majesty just sitting, drinking his sake. I start my resentment game: "Will he never go to bed? I've been yawning and nodding off for an hour. Can he not see that I'm tired? He's so selfish. How come he never thinks of me?" I sit there. He smiles at me and I smile weakly back. I know that he knows that I know. There is a small switch and I refuse to follow George III. Suddenly I am interested and paying attention to what is going on. In two seconds I am awake and we continue with laughter, writing poetry until 6:00 a.m.

Then I help His Majesty up the narrow stairs and we play the falling-down-stairs game. The object of this game is for him to crush me beneath his weight by falling on top of me -- the greater the height of the fall, the better. As I roll him into bed he is still giggling.

Now, it may seem from these descriptions that His Majesty and I are great buddies, that we are the best of pals. In fact, we are not. I am the servant and he is the Master. I, remembering the Minotaur, have no wish to be his buddy. I am grateful to have the reference point of being his servant. I take pleasure in observing the correct form. I enjoy calling His Majesty "Sir"; and when I am moving with speed to execute my Majesty's commands I may even use the more salty "Aye, Aye, Sir." I am intensely proud of my Master and his ability to handle himself in both public and private matters. His skill as a swordsman is indeed great; and his compassion boundless. Even when he has won the falling-down-stairs game the formality of our roles does not cease. I might say, "I beg your pardon, Sir, but I believe you are on top of me"; and of course he is.

The important point in all of this is, of course, to observe the correct form with a sense of humour and a sense of playfulness; and to push beyond yourself, really wear yourself out. (Actually, the latter is impossible because you find yourself getting stronger with each wear.)

The Americans seem to have some problem understanding what "correct form'' is. His Majesty was once invited to the house of a very important official for dinner. I was in attendance as his driver and guard. I left His Majesty at the front door and proceeded to the kitchen and servant's quarters. There was no butler in the house, but there was a cook and several young girls, hired, I think, from the local Howard Johnson's. In charge of the household was a hostess-secretary, who, on being introduced to me, insisted that I "come in and have dinner with the folks." I was quite shocked and replied, "A butler never dines socially with his Master." (I was at that time the butler of His Majesty's household. In fact, in the early days I was cook, butler, housekeeper, laundry man and gardener all rolled into one.)

It was not that I did not want to dine with His Majesty. But it is only on special occasions that his Majesty dines with the staff. As Master of His Majesty's Household I would dine at His Majesty's table at official functions and would also dine with the family on some special occasions. But the fact is that one does not dine socially with one's butler, or indeed with any servant. It simply is not done.

I always make it a point to watch carefully what is going on, and to try to "get in stride" with His Majesty, so that there will be a sense of rhythm in the working relationship. At the house on 7th and Aurora there was a large mirror in the hallway. It was arranged so that I could see into the drawing room and yet remain hidden from the view of the guests. When His Majesty had guests for tea and needed to summon me, he had only to look towards the mirror and raise his eyebrows. In this way he could signal for me to come into the room without even having to ring his bell. Needless to say, the guests were most impressed.

There is also a strong sense of rhythm in the shower­taking ritual. I set up the bathroom in a certain way with the two kinds of soap, the shampoo and the towels. I pass everything to His Majesty in the correct order and dry him in the same way each time. This is also a good time of day for me to discuss any household business there might be with him, and the rhythm continues while we talk It's the same pattern day after day. Of course, this pattern could change and another totally different one take its place.

There is no point in getting sentimental about an existing structure if the context changes and a new structure is needed. What is important is that I continually pay attention so that the rhythm will continue in whatever we might be doing together.

As His Majesty's servant I feel I have an obligation to keep private any family business that may come to my attention. I certainly never intend to write a popular book about my life with His Majesty and his family.

His Majesty has said, "If the warrior-statesman has enlightened confidence, he could even employ an idiot servant." While I do not wish to give anyone too much hope, such was the case with me. I am especially grateful to the subjects of Shambhala for their patience and tolerance in allowing me to serve my King and his Kingdom.

THE VISION WAS SMALL AND VAST at the same time. While our vision was great, our cash supply was small. We opened a second house on University Hill in the intellectual section of Boulder. At a Goodwill store in Denver the Regent purchased some old arm chairs from a long closed movie theater. These were reupholstered in blue silk brocade and the wood frames were gold leafed. Blue rugs were made and embroidered with motifs of the tiger, lion, garuda, and dragon. The Prince noted that they looked like giant bath mats.

The vision of Shambhala spread outward, embracing all aspects of life in the sangha. By now everyone had a uniform and an order of precedence was established. Every year on Shambhala Day this order was amended with new titles, orders, medals, awards, and proclamations being presented. The Regent set up golf tournaments. He walked with his entourage humming the theme music from the Godfather movie or danced in the halls to music from Saturday Night Fever and let the music blare out the open office windows.

Beneath the gold-roofed shrine hall in downtown Boulder the silent meditators stirred under their constantly flickering minds. Lady Diana rode white Lipizzaner horses in Vienna or black Hanoverians at dressage competitions. Dyslexic Osel went to study at Oxford and became a tulku prince. Everyone could say in Oxonian English, "Kathy's hair is black." The Prince's talks were transcribed into books and published by Shambhala Books. Once a hippie hangout, this publisher now had offices in Boulder, Boston, and London. Poetry was written by all, calligraphy was practiced with badger-, sable- or camel-hair brushes soaked in sumi ink. Plays were performed with robed samurai warriors caught in tragic love affairs, willing to die for love.

Love was everywhere -- in beds, in closets, under the stairs, under the stars, in the woods, in the fields, in hot or cold tubs, in numbers of twos, threes, fours, fives, or sixes. On returning from a seminary Walter noted with some surprise that he had slept with twenty-six women during the three-month retreat. I counted and beat him by two. We both figured that with all that energy we could easily have finished our prostrations. Next year we did.

People were married in Shambhala weddings in full dress. Rose petals floated in the summer air, humming birds drank nectar from the centers of purple passionflowers, water lilies suspended in still, dear ice blue breathed out thick heavy-scented musk. We became drunk. Boulder ran dry of sake. We drank rum and gin.

Babies were conceived and born with Shambhala names, as were businesses. There were fabulous names like Gold Lake Oil, Three Jewels, Great Eastern Sun Trading, Trident Books, Monk's Cafe, Churchill's Pub, Ziji, Tara, and Sharchen. Some failed and some stayed. The Shambhala Military shot bows, rifles, and pistols in marksmanship competitions. They had encampments, did maneuvers, and played war games. The Prince in a field marshall's uniform with black polished riding boots rode the white stallion. We saluted, cannons boomed, bagpipes played, bugles sounded, and drums beat the time. Everywhere was the glitter of brass, gold, and white.

It was a flowering such as had never been seen before. Naropa University opened its doors. Every major city in the United States and Europe had a Vajradhatu meditation center and ambassadors were sent out from the Court of Shambhala. When the Prince gripped my arm for support he guided me through the halls, streets, and airports. His step was sure and firm. It was as if I were the crippled one instead of him. The Court was filled with activity.

In one week I had a schedule of over 150 volunteer servants: guards, drivers, cooks, cleaners, nannies, gardeners, servers, secretaries, shoppers, and waiters. All were wanting to participate in the flowering energy that filled the Court, which made it indeed seem to stretch over several miles with a park in the center on the top of a great circular mountain. What had been created was an openness where everything could be explored. We were encouraged to practice, study, and investigate our inner and outer worlds and examine any resulting pain or pleasure.

In the midst of this creative turmoil the Prince challenged me on my military propensities with a casual remark made into the bathroom mirror one morning.

"When we take over Nova Scotia, Johnny, you will need to attack some of the small military bases there."

''Attack military bases!" I said with surprise. "Me?"

"Well, not alone," smiled the Prince, still looking into the mirror examining his freshly brushed teeth. "You could have a commando unit of Jeeps and halftracks." He was looking at me in the mirror as he continued, "You had a halftrack once, didn't you?"

"Yes," I replied, remembering the olive drab army vehicle I owned at the farming school I once ran, seemingly a hundred years ago.

"Well?" the Prince's voice sounded.

My mind activated like a World War II movie as our intrepid band in Jeeps and halftracks raced along the curved snake-like back roads of Nova Scotia toward the unsuspecting enemy. My khaki wool uniform blended with the green countryside, I gripped the metal frame of the Thompson machine gun in my capable hands. On my head was the red beret bearing the Trident badge and the motto "Victory Over War." I smelled the engine oil fumes mixing with the flower perfumes of the country lane as we whipped along on our desperate mission. The sun glinted on our bayonets, or wait, perhaps it was night ...

"Well?" asked the Prince again.

"Oh, oh," was the reply, as I returned from the battle to the bathroom. "Yes, yes, Sir," I said. "We could do that."

"Good," continued the Prince. "You might have to kill one or two.

Kill one or two? What's that mean-kill one or two? was my silent response.

"But I thought we are not supposed to kill," I said, somewhat alarmed.

"Just a few resisters," said the Prince.

Resister, what the fuck is a resister? ran through my mind. Out loud I asked, "Resister? What kind of a resister?"

"Someone may resist enlightenment," stated the Prince.

"Oh, those. Well, yes, we could take care of them," I reassured him.

"Good, good," said the Prince, turning to leave the bath­room. As he opened the door he concluded with, "Well, Major Perks, perhaps you could put all of that together."

I spent the next several hours studying Army surplus catalogs and The Shotgun News. At the local gun store I picked up copies of Commando and SAS Training Manuals. I made a list of equipment and concluded that this "invasion" was going to be costly. I went to the Prince.

"Where will we get the money to organize this armed com­mando force, Sir?" I said, almost saluting.

"Perhaps we could steal the equipment," he suggested.

"Wow," I exclaimed. "You mean like a covert operation." The words and idea thrilled me.

"Exactly," said the Prince. ''And we need a code name for it." He contemplated for a moment and then said, "How about Operation Deep Cut?" As I turned the words over in my mind he continued, "Yes, what is needed here is a surgical strike."

I excitedly repeated the code name, "Operation Deep Cut, covert operation Surgical Strike." This was going to be worth killing just one or two!

"Yes," said the Prince with delight. "Buy some books on tactics and strategy. We should all study them. And you, Major Perks, will be in command." I could hardly wait to take my leave and get started on the campaign. I put on my military hat, saluted the Prince, and ran out of the room, tripping and falling down half the stairs in my haste. The Prince's head popped out of his sitting room doorway. ''Are you okay, Major?" he called down to me.

"Yes, Sir, fine, Sir. I just missed a step," I replied, pulling my uniform straight.

"Good," he said. "Jolly good, jolly, jolly good. Carry on, Major." I saluted again and rushed down the remaining stairs.

I could not wait to tell the other officers in the military about my secret mission. They were all amazed. "Have you told David yet?" was Jim's response. "Not yet," I replied. David was the Head of the Military, now that Jerry had dropped out. I could not fathom why the Prince had chosen David for this position. David was a very unmilitary, slight of build, a Jewish intellectual. He looked more like Mr. Peepers in a uniform-nothing like Montgomery or Patton.

"I bet his balls shrivel up like raisins when I tell him about this," I scoffed. Indeed, David was quite alarmed at my description of "killing one or two resisters."

"Let me talk to Rinpoche before you do anything," he said anxiously, falling back in his chair.

"Okay," I said, adding with a tone of command, "go ahead, but it's all set. The Prince said so."

Later the Prince called me into his sitting room. I explained that David seemed hesitant about killing a few resisters.

"Oh, he's such a Jewish intellectual," said the Prince.

"Why, that's exactly what I think," I agreed.

"Really?" said the Prince, looking at me with curiosity. "Good, jolly good. You carry on, Major. I'll take care of David and tell him you have a free hand." I left hurriedly to tell the other officers the latest news on my secret commando operation.

I had no idea that this new development was being mirrored throughout the Boulder Buddhist community. People were beginning to bring their secret desires and wishes to life and starting to act on them. Through the Prince's vision it was all available: to be an actor, artist, businessman, military man, whore, doctor, teacher, dancer, or poet. In my self-centered world I only noticed this energy affecting me and thought I was the only one. I had no ego, I told myself. I just wanted to kill a few resisters to an Enlightened World in a military takeover, and I had the commando group to do it. (Although a little fame would not hurt!)

I remembered once hearing the Prince saying, "You do it, but you don't do it.

What the hell did that mean? How could you do it but not do it? It made no sense. He was talking crazy again. You either did it or you didn't, I concluded, and I was all for doing it all.

Lady Diana, the Prince's wife, had confiscated his Scottish Eliot Clan kilt some months back because she felt he did not look good in Scottish regalia. It was rumored that the missing kilt was hidden at the mother-in-law's house.

"What we need is a practice run," said the Prince to me one morning. "Major, here's a job for your new commando group. We will invite Diana and my in-laws to the Court for dinner and while everyone is here your group will retrieve my kilt."

I saluted with a very big "Yes, Sir" and ran off to inform my comrades-in-arms.

The mother-in-law's house was situated in a small field near the edge of town. On the night in question we waited in our darkened limousine on a side road by the Court. There were four of us, dressed in black. We watched in nervous excitement as the mother-in-law's car pulled up to the Court. and the occupants entered the building. "Let's go," I commanded in a hushed military tone, and the driver sped toward our goal. Near the house he shut off the headlights and silently rolled to a stop in the shadows. We rolled out into the grass ditch and crawled on our bellies across the lawn. I pushed at one of the dining room windows. It opened and I was halfway through when Walter hissed, "The front door is open."

It was too late, however, as I was already pinned in the open window frame by the top window which had slid down on my back. My legs were dangling outside and my arms and head were inside the dining room. The others entered the dark house in a more upright fashion and hauled me through by yanking on my arms. We spent the next hour avidly searching for the kilt everywhere, even in the most unlikely places. Nothing.

We regrouped in the living room, feeling at a loss. I passed around a flask of rum after taking a big swallow myself. "Our first mission can not be a failure," I sturdily declared. The others seemed dejected. Walter, sitting on a wooden trunk, took a larger swig from the flask than the others. (I noticed these small details.) "What's that you're sitting on?" asked Ron, pointing to the trunk. Walter looked down between his legs. "Some kind of storage chest, I guess." We all had the same reaction. Four pairs of hands opened the lid and there on the top of neatly folded clothes was the kilt.

Triumphantly we returned to the Court. Dinner was finished and dessert was about to be served. I placed the kilt on a silver tray and presented it to the Prince and the seated guests. Lady Diana cried out laughingly "Oh no, Darling" to the Prince, who beamed and gave me the thumbs up sign. The other guests were delightedly amused.

In the following weeks we undertook other commando operations with odd code names: Operation Awake, Operation Blue Pancake, Operation Secret Mind, and Operation Snow White. "Why Snow White?" I asked the Prince. "Because she has to be woken up," was the reply. That made no sense to me. Why did you need to wake up a military operation when we were already totally awake and combat ready? I labeled the answer as crazy and added it to the collection.

During this time I started to have flashbacks to my childhood during the war. I had dreams of the bombing, the bodies in the yellow shrouds, the news footage of concentration camps. I began to feel confused about which was real, my remembrances of things past, the present military operations and the Court, or the future takeover of Nova Scotia. My uneasy feelings returned as did the panic attacks.

I did the same old stuff to avoid confronting any of it. I immersed myself in work, sex, entertainment, alcohol, and food. I knew I was okay, if only I could get myself together. I poured out my woes to the Prince, who was no help. In fact, he did not seem to understand at all and was quite unsympathetic. The more I freaked out the more demands he made on me. He seemed to have forgotten I was here to get enlightened, and finally I decided that my best course was to pursue my Buddhist studies. This would surely be the best way to build some kind of foundation under my shifting world.

"Sir," I said to his image in the bathroom mirror "I would like to study Buddhism at Naropa Institute."

There was a pregnant silence which I filled with my hope of hearing a positive response. He picked up his toothbrush and stated, "Too late for that." My hope for salvation instantly vanished and I felt groundless panic welling up in me.

"How are things going for the military encampment?" he asked, ignoring my devastation.

"I don't know," I said glumly. "I feel like quitting the whole thing.

Again ignoring my answer he continued, "You know, the Kingdom of Shambhala needs a navy." In the silence, broken only by the soft sounds of the Prince brushing his teeth, a glimmer of light grew my dull brain. ''A navy," I repeated, coming out of my daze.

"Yes," he smiled. "What do you call the head of the navy?"

"The admiral," I recollected.

''And under the admiral is what?" he probed. "Commodore," I replied, Hornblower filling my mind.

"Well," declared the Prince, ''I'll be the admiral and you will head up the navy as the commodore. We will announce it at the Shambhala Day Investiture. Also, Major," he added, "we need to make your knighthood official. 'Commodore Major Sir John Perks, Lion of Kalapa.' How does that sound?"

I had been liberated from the groundless hell of not knowing. Tears came to my eyes as I thanked him with humble gratefulness. "Thank you so much, Sir.''

"You are more than welcome," graciously responded the Prince. "You have earned it. Congratulations."

I could hardly wait to tell the others of my good fortune. That night we celebrated long into the morning. Walter and I drank an entire case of wine together. I had an uneasy feeling that I was trying to drown something out but it was hard to put a finger on what it was. I had been given everything by the Prince, but somehow my images of what I was and what I should be kept shifting.

It was like I was tormenting myself, unable to settle on any of my projections as being real. I was being tossed between being desperate and being lulled into stupefied meditation. My arrogance imprisoned me. Success or failure brought only joy or depression. Spirituality had just become self-confirmation. I wanted to vomit out the whole mess, spew it across the kitchen floor. But even that reality seemed futile. It was like living inside a kaleidoscope. Whichever way it was shaken another set of projections formed that felt like a solid glass imprisonment. Unable to find liberation I collapsed upon my bed in a drunken state. Ananda27 leans against the door lintel and weeps.



26 The I Ching or Book of Changes, the Richard Wilhelm Translation, Princeton University Press, 1977.

27 Ananda, Cousin of Shakyamuni Buddha, who became the Buddha's close personal attendant and disciple. He's credited with convincing the Buddha to allow women to practice the Buddha's teachings.
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:17 pm


Author (middle), with Gregory Bateson (left) and Jim Herndon (right), at an education workshop at Naropa Institute. Photo: George Holmes

It was at UCSC that Bandler met John Grinder, a radical young professor of linguistics. In the laid-back university community, Grinder cultivated an iconoclastic mystique, boasting that he had been a Green Beret. He collected a small, devoted group of followers, the most prominent of whom was Richard Bandler. Together they began using linguistics to study psychology. Even before it had a name, their work was controversial: some students referred to Grinder's class, in which Bandler taught, as Mindfucking 101. In March 1973, Bandler earned his bachelor's degree, and two years later a master's in theoretical psychology from Lone Mountain College in San Francisco.

First Bandler, then Grinder, had moved to a commune in the Santa Cruz Mountains owned by Robert Spitzer, who envisioned it as a self-sustained artistic and intellectual community. Among those who lived at the former nudist colony were Raven Lang, whose Birth Book had helped spawn a home birth movement; and Gregory Bateson, the British anthropologist who conceived the double-bind theory of schizophrenia.

A lean, wiry man with a goatee and piercing brown eyes, Bandler did not get along with many residents of the Alba Road community. He was intense and temperamental, one remembers, and did not participate in communal life. Within a few weeks of his arrival, members of the commune asked Spitzer to evict him. Spitzer refused.

While living on Alba Road, Bandler bragged about using large amounts of cocaine.

For Grinder and Bandler it was a fertile time. They sat for hours in the sun room of Bateson's house, listening to Bateson discuss his innovative ideas, which became the intellectual foundation of NLP. (As described by one student, Bateson taught that "[Human beings] create the world that we perceive ... because we select and edit the reality we see to conform to our beliefs about what sort of world we live in.") Working with films and tape recordings, Bandler and Grinder dissected the work of Satir and Perls, hoping to understand the techniques -- linguistic and nonverbal -- that caused seemingly magical changes in their clients. Through Bateson, they met and studied with Milton Erickson, the famed psychiatrist-hypnotist, and began using hypnosis to treat clients.

Confusion technique

In all my techniques, almost all, there is a confusion.[9]

A confused person has their conscious mind busy and occupied, and is very much inclined to draw upon unconscious learnings to make sense of things. A confused person is in a trance of their own making - and therefore goes readily into that trance without resistance. Confusion might be created by ambiguous words, complex or endless sentences, pattern interruption or a myriad of other techniques to incite transderivational searches.

Scottish surgeon James Braid, who coined the term "hypnotism", claimed that focused attention was essential for creating hypnotic trances; indeed, his thesis was that hypnosis was in essence a state of extreme focus. But it can be difficult for people racked by pain, fear or suspicion to focus on anything at all. Thus other techniques for inducing trance become important, or as Erickson explained:

... long and frequent use of the confusion technique has many times effected exceedingly rapid hypnotic inductions under unfavourable conditions such as acute pain of terminal malignant disease and in persons interested but hostile, aggressive, and resistant ...

Handshake induction

Among Erickson's best-known innovations is the hypnotic handshake induction, which is a type of confusion technique. The induction is done by the hypnotist going to shake hands with the subject, then interrupting the flow of the handshake in some way, such as by grabbing the subject's wrist instead. If the handshake continues to develop in a way which is out-of-keeping with expectations, a simple, non-verbal trance is created, which may then be reinforced or utilized by the hypnotist. All these responses happen naturally and automatically without telling the subject to consciously focus on an idea.

Richard Bandler told people that Erickson had taught him this handshake technique. However, it is clear that Bandler embedded some parts in it that were, in fact, impossible for Erickson such as "gradually lessening the pressure with his right hand", which of course was impossible for Erickson since he was almost completely paralysed in his right hand. Bandler talks about this in one of his videos Creating Therapeutic Change.[dubious – discuss]

This induction works because shaking hands is one of the actions learned and operated as a single "chunk" of behavior; tying shoelaces is another classic example. If the behavior is diverted or frozen midway, the person literally has no mental space for this - he is stopped in the middle of unconsciously executing a behavior that hasn't got a "middle". The mind responds by suspending itself in trance until either something happens to give a new direction, or it "snaps out". A skilled hypnotist can often use that momentary confusion and suspension of normal processes to induce trance quickly and easily.

The various descriptions of Erickson's hypnotic handshake, including his own very detailed accounts, indicate that a certain amount of improvisation is involved, and that watching and acting upon the subject's responses is the key to a successful outcome.

Erickson described the routine as follows:

• Initiation: When I begin by shaking hands, I do so normally. The "hypnotic touch" then begins when I let loose. The letting loose becomes transformed from a firm grip into a gentle touch by the thumb, a lingering drawing away of the little finger, a faint brushing of the subject's hand with the middle finger - just enough vague sensation to attract the attention. As the subject gives attention to the touch of your thumb, you shift to a touch with your little finger. As your subject's attention follows that, you shift to a touch with your middle finger and then again to the thumb.
• This arousal of attention is merely an arousal without constituting a stimulus for a response.
• The subject's withdrawal from the handshake is arrested by this attention arousal, which establishes a waiting set, and expectancy.
• Then almost, but not quite simultaneously (to ensure separate neural recognition), you touch the undersurface of the hand (wrist) so gently that it barely suggests an upward push. This is followed by a similar utterly slight downward touch, and then I sever contact so gently that the subject does not know exactly when - and the subject's hand is left going neither up nor down, but cataleptic.
• Termination: If you don't want your subject to know what you are doing, you simply distract their attention, usually by some appropriate remark, and casually terminate. Sometimes they remark, "What did you say? I got absentminded there for a moment and wasn't paying attention to anything." This is slightly distressing to the subjects and indicative of the fact that their attention was so focused and fixated on the peculiar hand stimuli that they were momentarily entranced so they did not hear what was said.
• Utilisation: Any utilisation leads to increasing trance depth. All utilisation should proceed as a continuation of extension of the initial procedure. Much can be done nonverbally; for example, if any subjects are just looking blankly at me, I may slowly shift my gaze downward, causing them to look at their hand, which I touch and say "look at this spot.". This intensifies the trance state. Then, whether the subjects are looking at you or at their hand or just staring blankly, you can use your left hand to touch their elevated right hand from above or the side - so long as you merely give the suggestion of downward movement. Occasionally a downward nudge or push is required. If a strong push or nudge is required, check for anaesthesia.[9]

Richard Bandler was a keen proponent of the handshake induction, and developed his own variant, which is commonly taught in NLP workshops.

Any habitual pattern which is interrupted unexpectedly will cause sudden and light trance. The handshake is a particularly good pattern to interrupt because the formality of a handshake is a widely understood set of social rules. Since everyone knows that it would be impolite to comment on the quality of a handshake, regardless of how strange it may be, the subject is obliged to embark on an inner search (known as a transderivational search, a universal and compelling type of trance) to identify the meaning or purpose of the subverted pattern.

-- Milton H. Erickson, by Wikipedia

Bandler was only 25 when his first book, The Structure of Magic, was published in 1975. Written with Grinder, it attempted to codify and describe their analysis of Satir's and Perls's therapies. In separate introductions, Satir and Bateson expressed excitement about this research, for it seemed to hold potential for developing better therapists: if effective therapy, like all "magic," had discernible structure, then anyone could learn to perform it.

-- The Bandler Method, by Frank Clancy and Heidi Yorkshire

THE WICCA CULT: The WICCA cult came to the surface early during the post-war period, as a legalized association for the promotion of witchcraft. It is the leading publicly known international association of witches in the world today. In the United States, WICCA's outstanding sponsor is the New York Anglican (Episcopal) diocese, under Bishop Paul Moore. Officially, New York's Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Divine has promoted the spread of WICCA witchery through its Lindisfarne center. The late Gregory Bateson conducted such an operation out of the Lindisfarne center during the 1970s. No later than the 1970s, and perhaps still today, the crypt of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, is the headquarters for solemn ceremonies of the British (Venerable) Order of Malta. Key figures, such as Gregory Bateson's former spouse, Dame Margaret Mead, associated with that British order, have been associated with projects in support of the Satanist "Age of Aquarius" cause.

-- Real History of Satanism, by Lyndon LaRouche

"If you put God outside," Gregory Bateson warns, "and set him vis-a-vis his creation and if you have the idea that you are created in his image, you will logically and naturally see yourself as outside and against the things around you.

[Gozer] Are you a God?
-- Ghostbusters, directed by Ivan Reitman

And as you arrogate all mind to yourself, you will see the world around you as mindless and therefore not entitled to moral or ethical consideration. The environment will seem to be yours to exploit. Your survival unit will be you and your folks or conspecifics against the environment of other social units, other races, and the brutes and vegetables."

-- Green Paradise Lost, by Elizabeth Dodson Gray

The philosopher Gregory Bateson expressed this agnosticism in his own special way:

The individual mind is immanent but not only in the body. It is immanent also in pathways and messages outside the body; and there is a larger mind of which the individual mind is only a sub-system. This larger mind is comparable to God and is perhaps what some people mean by God, but it is still immanent in the total interconnected social systems and planetary ecology.

-- The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth, by James Lovelock

Dr. Gregory Bateson, anthropologist with the OSS, and the former husband of anthropologist Margaret Mead, became the director of a hallucinogenic drug experimental clinic at the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Hospital. Through drug experimentation on patients, already hospitalized for psychological problems, Bateson established a core of “initiates” into the nest of Isis Cults, which Huxley had founded in southern California and in San Francisco. Foremost among his Palo Alto recruits was Ken Kesey. By 1967, through Kesey’s efforts in disseminating the drug, they created the “Summer of Love”, in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.

-- Terrorism and the Illuminati -- A Three Thousand Year History, by David Livingston

For the unprepared mind, however, LSD can be a nightmare. When the drug is administered in a sterile laboratory under fluorescent lights by white-coated physicians who attach electrodes and nonchalantly warn the subject that he will go crazy for a while, the odds favor a psychotomimetic reaction, or "bummer." This became apparent to poet Allen Ginsberg when he took LSD for the first time at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, in 1959. Ginsberg was already familiar with psychedelic substances, having experimented with peyote on a number of occasions. As yet, however, there was no underground supply of LSD, and it was virtually impossible for layfolk to procure samples of the drug. Thus he was pleased when Gregory Bateson, [Formerly a member of the Research and Analysis Branch of the OSS, Bateson was the husband and co-worker of anthropologist Margaret Mead. An exceptional intellect, he was turned on to acid by Dr. Harold Abramson, one of the CIA's chief LSD specialists] the anthropologist, put him in touch with a team of doctors in Palo Alto. Ginsberg had no way of knowing that one of the researchers associated with the institute, Dr. Charles Savage, had conducted hallucinogenic drug experiments for the US Navy in the early 1950s.

-- Acid Dreams, The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, The Sixties, And Beyond, by Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain

After Oklahoma City, the potential of the right-wing anti-government evangelical fanatics for terrorism and violence was re-affirmed by an armed standoff between police and "Republic of Texas" activists demanding the secession of Texas in April 1997. This insurrection was led by Richard Otto, alias "White Eagle," who put out a call inviting members of militias around the country to come to the site, armed for a shootout. The agent provocateur Otto turned out to have been "trained and set into motion by an Air Force officer who toured the world practicing New Age pagan rituals, in consultation with senior British intelligence drug-rock-sex gurus such as Gregory Bateson." Otto finally surrendered on May 3, 1997. (Tony Chaitkin, "The Militias and Pentecostalism")

-- 9/11 Synthetic Terrorism Made in USA, by Webster Griffin Tarpley

Harold Abramson apparently got a great kick out of getting his learned friends high on LSD. He first turned on Frank Fremont-Smith, head of the Macy Foundation which passed CIA money to Abramson. In this cozy little world where everyone knew everybody, Fremont-Smith organized the conferences that spread the word about LSD to the academic hinterlands. Abramson also gave Gregory Bateson, Margaret Mead's former husband, his first LSD. In 1959 Bateson, in turn, helped arrange for a beat poet friend of his named Allen Ginsberg to take the drug at a research program located off the Stanford campus. No stranger to the hallucinogenic effects of peyote, Ginsberg reacted badly to what he describes as "the closed little doctor's room full of instruments," where he took the drug. Although he was allowed to listen to records of his choice (he chose a Gertrude Stein reading, a Tibetan mandala, and Wagner), Ginsberg felt he "was being connected to Big Brother's brain." He says that the experience resulted in "a slight paranoia that hung on all my acid experiences through the mid-1960s until I learned from meditation how to disperse that."

Anthropologist and philosopher Gregory Bateson then worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Palo Alto. From 1959 on, Dr. Leo Hollister was testing LSD at that same hospital. Hollister says he entered the hallucinogenic field reluctantly because of the "unscientific" work of the early LSD researchers. He refers specifically to most of the people who attended Macy conferences. Thus, hoping to improve on CIA- and military-funded work, Hollister tried drugs out on student volunteers, including a certain Ken Kesey, in 1960. Kesey said he was a jock who had only been drunk once before, but on three successive Tuesdays, he tried different psychedelics. "Six weeks later I'd bought my first ounce of grass," Kesey later wrote, adding, "Six months later I had a job at that hospital as a psychiatric aide." Out of that experience, using drugs while he wrote, Kesey turned out One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. He went on to become the counterculture's second most famous LSD visionary, spreading the creed throughout the land, as Tom Wolfe would chronicle in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

-- The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate": The CIA and Mind Control, by John Marks

In preparation for the writing of The Mind Possessed, Dr. Sargant and his team had conducted exhaustive field research, profiling modern-day primitive religious cults, including a wide range of irrationalist, nominally Christian, denominations that particularly proliferated in the most backward rural areas of the American Deep South. This was the America of Elmer Gantry, of "barking dog" convulsions and circus-tent revival meetings.

The Sargant book drew the parallel between such primitive people under the influence of witch doctors, fundamentalist preachers and pagan gods, and the victims of the 1960s drug/rock/sex counterculture. Describing the historical accounts of the celebrations of the ancient Greek pagan god Dionysus, Dr. Sargant wrote:

"Many of the other dancers approached very near trance, and showed states of increased suggestibility at the end of a long and intensive period of repetitive and monotonous dancing. They looked very much like fans of the Beatles or other 'pop groups' after a long session of dancing."

Indeed, a concluding chapter of The Mind Possessed had profiled the newest form of fundamentalist religious irrationalism, "Beatlemania."

One of the clear lessons to come out of the Sargant studies, and other similar profiling work by such Cybernetics Group/CCF players as Dr. Margaret Mead and her husband, LSD-experimenter Dr. Gregory Bateson, was that the most efficient means of promoting irrationalist cults was to exploit existing movements and subcultures.

-- The CCF and the God of Thunder Cult: British Promotion of Irrational Belief Systems in America, by Stanley Ezrol & Jeffrey Steinberg

The retreat in Charlemonte. The Prince tries on his military cap. He instructed the author to outline a m oustache with magic marker to see what it would look like. Photo: Author

Rinpoche sleeping out in the garden of the house at 7th and Aurora. Photographer unknown.

Gold Lake Oil safari to Texas on the search for black gold. Author and Trungpa Rinpoche at site. Photographer unknown.

Rinpoche answering the phone at the Kalapa Court. Photographer unknown.

A strategic military conference between Major John Perks and Major James Gimian. Photographer unknown.

He said, "Let's put on our uniforms and go and have our pictures taken together."
"Why?" I asked.
"It will help later on," he replied.

Rinpoche in his Scottish Highland regalia with the Eliot Clan kilt. Photo: George Holmes/Blair Hansen

Commodore Major Sir John Perks inspecting the troops before a raid. Photographer unknown.

Rev. Bill Burns and author performing a Celtic Buddhist marriage. Photo: T. McCarthy, 2002.

Author and Ven. Margaret Junge, Celtic Buddhist Lineage Holder, drinking Guinness in Ireland. Photo: Bill Burns, 2001.
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:17 pm

Chapter 7: Commentary  

It is probably impossible for me to fix an exact time in my mind when the idea came to me of a Court. But if I was asked to fix a time, it would be that time at Tail of the Tiger when George I Marshall and I were assigned to repair a door and doorframe leading into Rinpoche's bedroom. While working on that doorway, I was continually thinking about how I could be close to Trungpa Rinpoche, wondering what service I could provide. And it was then and there that I realized that he needed a butler, someone who could take care of him and his household.

In a burst of inspiration, I said to George, "I'm going to be his butler."

And George, without any surprise at all said, "Well if anybody can do it, you're the one."

Later, at the first seminary, I asked Rinpoche about being his butler. And, somewhat noncommittally, he said, "Well, we shall have to see."

I'm sure that I probably exaggerated my experience and knowledge of domestic service. But I had been a footman in England and a waiter at the Savoy Hotel in London, as well as bar boy at the University Club. Plus, I was well-versed in the P. G. Wodehouse sagas of Jeeves, the indispensable man-servant. While I admired Horatio Hornblower, the person who seemed to me to be the star in the novels was Brown, Hornblower's coxswain, someone who was self reliant, who could put together anything out of nothing.

There was never any doubt in my mind about Rinpoche being the master or imperial figure. He was in all senses an enlightened ruler of beings. Even though at the time I had no understanding of enlightenment, I could still spot a ruler of men and women when I saw one. I remember, first as a boy and then as a teenager and a young man, a feeling that I was waiting for something, for some service. And in my mind, meeting Rinpoche was the answer to that search. It was unnecessary for me to search further. He was the captain and I was his coxswain, period.

Even though my understanding was completely fictitious from any point of view, as a teacher Rinpoche was able to see the individual creativity, why the fiction was invented, and have compassion and complete appreciation for its individual manifestation and brilliance. He was this way with all his students.

When I arrived on the scene, in 1973 just before the seminary at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I found the etiquette around Rinpoche to be somewhat relaxed and informal. Some students referred to him as "Rimp"; hence his nickname, "Rimp, the Gimp," referring to his paralyzed left side. Some students with doctorates in philosophy and others with advanced university education considered themselves his equal. I remember once when Rinpoche was going to the refrigerator to get himself a sandwich, one of the students said, "Hey, Rinpoche, while you're up, could you make me one too?" which he readily did without any comment. Quite often when he would stay at somebody$ house they would put a mattress and sleeping bag on the floor while they retired to their comfortable bedrooms. He never complained about this.

In group meetings and otherwise, I began to address him as "Sir." Some people felt this was somewhat strange. But gradually it caught on. Not that anyone's attitude was any different from anybody else's. They may have been stuck on their relaxed American etiquette, but I was equally stuck on my somewhat uptight British etiquette. However, some type of change to a more formal etiquette concerning Rinpoche was timely. At Naropa Institute, I co-taught several workshops with Gregory Bateson and Jim Herndon, which were residential workshops. It gave me a chance to work on the aspects of running a dormitory house and arranging dinners.

I was asked by Rinpoche to run the household for Khyentse Rinpoche's first visit to the West. Physically, Khyentse Rinpoche was quite tall and psychologically, his radiation was very large. I lived in the basement of the house and would wake at 4:00 in the morning to prepare tea for him and take it upstairs to his bedroom. After I served the tea and did prostrations he would bless me by placing his enormous hand gently on my head. It was the highlight of starting the day. How could anything become an obstacle after such a complete blessing?

One evening Khyentse Rinpoche was to give a talk at the Vajradhatu Buddhist Center. I asked him if he would like me to bring a thermos of tea for him to drink during the talk.

He said, "No, that is not necessary."

Trungpa Rinpoche arrived to escort Khyentse Rinpoche to the Center. We were just about to leave when Trungpa Rinpoche said to me, "John, where's Khyentse Rinpoche's tea?"

I explained to Trungpa Rinpoche that Khyentse Rinpoche had said he didn't want to have tea.

Trungpa Rinpoche said, "Never mind that, just bring it."

So I hastily made the tea and put it in a thermos and brought along Khyentse Rinpoche's teacup. When we arrived at the Center Khyentse Rinpoche took his seat on the throne, next to the shrine. I walked forward to place the teacup on his table and he waved me away. So I retreated and stood in the doorway of the shrine room.

Trungpa Rinpoche came up to me and said, "You haven't given Khyentse Rinpoche his tea."

I replied, "He doesn't want any, Sir."

Rinpoche placed his hand in the middle of my back and gave me a push into the shrine room, saying, "Give him tea."

With some trepidation I approached the throne, and without looking at Khyentse Rinpoche I placed the cup on the table and poured the tea. I then looked up and he looked furious. I practically ran back to the doorway of the shrine room where Trungpa Rinpoche was standing.

Some minutes passed and Trungpa Rinpoche said, "Go and pour him some more tea."

I made some ineffectual and vain protest but was again pushed into the shrine room. As I crossed the floor toward the throne I looked up and Khyentse Rinpoche glared at me in a threatening, angry way. My hand literally shook as I poured the tea into the cup, whereupon I dared look up again and found Khyentse Rinpoche collapsing in laughter. I looked back across the room and Trungpa Rinpoche was also holding himself up against the doorpost laughing. Feeling myself caught in the open ground between them, I laughed too.

Khyentse Rinpoche asked me through an interpreter if I would like to come and be a monk at his monastery. I was extremely tempted to do that. But then I said, "I really feel I must stay with Trungpa Rinpoche, and I thanked him profusely.

He smiled and said, "You made the right choice."

Love and compassion generated by Khyentse Rinpoche came to an abrupt end when he left the house in Boulder to continue his tour of other centers in the west. I was left alone in that house which had been the center of so much activity and all that remained were glasses, tea cups with the remains of dead leaves, and the ashtray with the half-smoked Dunhill Red cigarettes left by Trungpa Rinpoche. I felt completely desolate without his presence. I had not yet learned how to fix that presence within my heart. However, when I did learn how to do that it made the desolation much more acute and sharper.

Sometime after Khyentse Rinpoche's visit, Trungpa Rinpoche asked me to organize his household in a small house at 7th Street and Aurora, which had also been the home of Scott Carpenter, the astronaut. This house was rented for a year by Vajradhatu, the Buddhist church. In residence would be Trungpa Rinpoche; his young son, Osel Mukpo; David Rome, Rinpoche's secretary; and myself. Max King would be the chef, but he would live elsewhere with his wife. When I asked Rinpoche about how formal he wanted this household to be, he replied, "As formal as you can make it."

He also added, "You should open it up and invite other people to serve. You can train them in how to do that." In the sangha, there were several people working as waiters and waitresses in different area restaurants and I approached these people to help me start some kind of service for Rinpoche. Among them were Joanne and Walter Fordham, who were destined to become valued members of the Kalapa Court staff. I took care of Rinpoche: dressing him, bathing him, and washing his hair.

He said to me, "You should become very intimate with my body."

I cut and filed his nails, combed his hair, washed and ironed his shirts, polished his boots, put sage leaves under his pillow, cooked and served his meals-leaving the evening meal for Max King-awoke in the middle of the night to make him corned beef sandwiches, and covered him with a Scottish blanket when he fell asleep in a chair after a hard day's work at his Vajradhatu office. I vacuumed, I polished, I washed, I served in a creative atmosphere unhindered by any comment except, "Thank you. Thank you so much. Some nights, we would take Rinpoche's bed outside into the garden and he would sleep out there, at times alone and at times with a consort. At Rocky Mountain Dharma Center, in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, Rinpoche had a small one-bedroom trailer and we would cook outside. The smell of wood smoke permeated our clothes, mixed with the smell of fresh earth after a rain, mixed with sage. I soon found that I could cook and serve just as well from a campfire as I could at the Court. We even carved chopsticks from birch branches and made chopstick rests. I slept in a tent next to Rinpoche's trailer. We did target practice with crossbows and longbows.

Previously there had been just the Kasung Guards. Now Rinpoche instituted the Kusung Guards, who would be the Court, or household, guards. I thought it was somewhat like when ancient Celtic kings had their households and relied on their most closely related family to be guards and servers. It also reminded me of the relationship between Buddha and Ananda. The others, The Kasung guards, made fun of us and called us "the chamber pot boys," as we would empty Rinpoche's chamber pots, placed under his bed every evening. The first of the Kusung guards were the rejects from the Kasung: Mipham Halpern, Ron Barnstone, and Neil Greenberg. They may have been rejects but they fit into our small Court Mandala with perfection.

Mipham Halpern had been a close student of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. He was the one who told me that when Suzuki Roshi died, Trungpa Rinpoche cried for a week until blood ran from his eyes. Ron Barnstone had been born in Mexico. He consumed, regularly, large amounts of liquor, seemingly without effect. He was the only one I know to have drunk water from the Ganges River without getting sick. Neil Greenberg was so clumsy he would fall over anything while serving, but he was persistent in his devotion. I soon found that the reason these three had been rejected by the Kusung was that they couldn't follow orders. So rather than burdening them with unneeded direction, I made a loose outline in which each could find his own way. So our service, including mine, had a very fluid elegance.

Within that fluid structure Trungpa Rinpoche could operate. It was rather like we were the container out of which he could join heaven, earth, and man. It was interesting that many years later when I started to work as a butler to Bill Cosby, the comedian, I asked him how he wanted me to run his household. And he replied, "I want to be a guest at a small, exclusive hotel. I don't want to know about the electricity bill or where the toilet paper is. I just want you to do the whole thing and I'll live there." The difference was, perhaps, that Rinpoche wanted to know about all the details, but at the same time he was our guest.

During this time Lady Diana, Rinpoche's wife, was in California pursuing her dressage riding and therefore was not involved in a direct way with the 7th and Aurora Court. I think it's important here to mention something about Diana's role in Rinpoche's life from my own point of view. I have never met anyone else that I thought might be able to fulfill the duties and devotion that were required by a wife of Trungpa Rinpoche. She was the only one. I personally have no idea what expectations she might have had in becoming Rinpoche's wife. Perhaps there were none. But then, even small flickers of expectation might have existed. Whatever they were, they were exposed, and by her transcended. To say that living with Rinpoche was inconvenient would be a completely British understatement. Living with Rinpoche was totally inconvenient. But Diana's devotion, love, and faith in Rinpoche completely overcame whatever obstacles her mind created. I have not in this narrative mentioned her to any great degree. That is because I know she has her own story, which will be far more interesting than anything that I might write. Perhaps I might say that Rinpoche felt complete and total trust in and devotion to her as his wife and as the Empress in the Kalapa Court mandala.
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:48 pm

Chapter 8: Dreaming Reality


-- The Kalapa Court, January 10, 1982  

Sometime during the day or night I awoke in a state of panic. My heart was pounding and I began to hyperventilate and gasp for air. I rushed to the toilet and vomited up the half case of red wine consumed the night before and other indescribable objects. I felt like living death. Crawling back to bed I fell asleep immediately. Dream, reality, hallucination merged into one.

There is a house, painted blue, three stories high, on a hillside overlooking a river with a green forest beyond. Trungpa Rinpoche, Khyentse Rinpoche, and His Holiness the Karmapa are arranging symbols on the floor of one of the rooms. They ask me if I can read them. Some seem familiar, but I realize I won't be able to read them using words. These symbols can only be read with some type of inexpressible intuition and even then cannot be pronounced verbally. This realization makes me very anxious and Rinpoche tells the others, "He's freaking out again." A radiant green light fills the room.

I am lying on my back in moorland. I can hear the insects and birds busy in the gorse and the heather. The sky is brilliant blue with occasional small, white, puffy clouds. The full sun illuminates the whole countryside. Sitting on a central mound of soft moss and small flowers are three figures. I recognize one as the Indian yogini Laksminkara. Her brown sensuous form shows through the rain­bow silk robes. She has golden bands around her wrists and anklets around her ankles. Her eyes are deep brown and her jet black hair is done up in a topknot. She smells of heavy jasmine.

Sitting very close to her, wearing purple robes embroidered with golden Celtic designs, is the Goddess Brigid. Her skin is brilliant white, like porcelain, her eyes are blue, and her black hair hangs loosely down to her waist. She smells of tulips, heather, and wet earth. Both women turn their eyes toward me and smile. There is some kind of recognition, but of what I don't know.

Then I notice that below them, resting in the long, warm grass, is a large white cow with red ears. Her eyes are closed, showing long lashes. Her udder is full of milk and she is chewing slowly on her cud and resting contentedly. A warm wind blows gently across the landscape, playing amongst the beings on the moss knoll. It wafts across me, drifting around my body. I can smell, hear, see, and feel the vision in front of me, and my being fills with joy. The cow transforms and turns into the deity Cernunnos. He is young, sixteen, with the velvet horns of a stag upon his head. He says, "Realize constant, intuitive, mystical experience." He repeats slowly, "Constant, intuitive, mystical experience." Laksminkara speaks: "When you look for mind there is no mind, its essence is emptiness. When you look for mind and emptiness, duality becomes self-liberated." Then Brigid adds, "May you realize the clear nature of mind, which is Buddha." "Do you remember that?" they ask me, looking at me curiously.

Time seems to stop in expectation, waiting for an answer. My nauseated mind struggles to answer. And then the whole vision fades and is replaced in an instant by a small island in the vastness of a great blue lake. I seem to be floating in the air, translucent and light like a feather. Below, the island is covered with an abundance of wildflowers and fruit trees. Two human figures appear sitting in the summer grass. To the right I recognize Cartimandua, Chieftaness of the North British people. She is tall and fair, with blue eyes and long, braided red hair. Cartimandua is regal in her purple robes, golden twisted neck ring, and golden wrist cuffs. She has the bearing of a true empress.

On her left is seated the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin. She has loosely draped white robes and wears a necklace and crown. Her black hair is in a topknot. Leaning on one arm with her other arm draped across a bent knee, Kuan-yin is seated next to a small wil­low tree. Above the clear lake, dragonflies with transparent wings play across the surface of the water. A large, silver-pink fish swims idly, now and then leaping from the water and creating a splash on the calm surface.

I am engulfed in a cloud of dragonflies. Their translucent wings beat upon my body like the hands of many lovers. They have the eyes of Avalokitesvara. All of my hair pores become mirrors of the great void. My I-ness goes endlessly, constantly displaying only radiant compassion as it disintegrates.

The voice of Trungpa Rinpoche brings me back with the question, "Well?"

In irritation, I'm about to say, "Well, what?" when behind me out of a great white light arises a huge, meteoric iron mountain. Wild animals of all kinds, along with multitudes of demons, roam around its base. Trapped and unable to climb, they just howl and snarl and fight constantly amongst themselves. I am filled with a sense of fear. Then on the mountain peak dances Machig Labdron. Dressed in the skins of demons and wild animals, she holds a hand drum and a thighbone trumpet. She is completely terrifying, capable of striking fear into anyone attached to an illusion of any kind.

Next to her is the Morrigan, the great Phantom Queen. She has the power of prophecy and she can also change herself in an instant from a beautiful maiden to a. hag. She is dancing also. Around them circles a flock of crows, cawing loudly in alarm. In the sky, thunder and lightning punctuate the scene with sound and flash. The figures are dancing and sing loudly above the din the song of Machig Labdron:28

Attachment to any phenomenon whatsoever,
From coarse form to omniscience,
Should be understood as the play of a demon.
Form is neither white, red, blue, nor green.
Form is devoid of presence,
Devoid of appearance,
Devoid of cessation.
All phenomena are equanimity.
The perfection of wisdom herself is equanimity.
When you are meditating on non-dual Paramita
The local gods and demons cannot stand it,
And in despair cause magical interference of all kinds,
Real imaginary, or in dreams.
Recognize them as the miraculous display of your own mind.
Do not concentrate your awareness on these obstacles.
Remain at ease, serene in the very nature of this recognition.
When you are absorbed in a natural serene state
These miraculous displays will be naturally pacified,
And once appeased in the essence of phenomena
They will appear as friendly to you.

As the vision dream shifts, Rinpoche's voice sounds in my ear, "No hope for you."

I am bathed in an intense yellow light. From it all around arises a tropical rainforest, alive with beings singing, humming, and calling. Myriad flowers of all shapes and colors hang on vines and grow out of trees or the earth. On a small mound illuminated by shafts of yellow light sits Marguerite Porete, the Christian Beguine teacher. "How did I know her?" I ask myself, but can not answer. I see she is dressed in the habit of a Christian renunciate and holds a mirror in one hand and a Christian cross in the other. I feel very connected to her but I don't know why.

Then I see next to her Danu, the Goddess, smiling broadly at me. We are so familiar, she and I. Her eyes of hazel with flecks of green and gold fix on mine. I notice her teeth are very white. She is completely nude and is full-figured with large breasts. Her areolas are prominent with succulent nipples. Her skin is shining mahogany and her long black hair falls in a braid down her ample back. She has massive hands with long, webbed fingers and ivory nails. In the ferns around these women scampers a small dog. It ceases its play now and then and jumps on one, then the other, of the two women to be fondled and petted. Together, they sing to me from the lotus sutra:

All Buddhas with bodies of a golden hue,
Splendidly adorned with a hundred auspicious marks
Hear the Dharma and expound it for others.
Such is the fine dream that ever occurs.
In the dream you are made Empress, or Emperor.
Then forsake that palace and household entourage
Along with the utmost satisfaction of the five sense desires,
And travel to the site of practice under the Bodhi tree.
On the lion's seat, in search of the way,
After seven days you attain the wisdom of all the Buddhas
Completing the unsurpassable way.
Arising and turning the Dharma Wheel
You expound the Dharma for the four groups of practitioners
Throughout thousands of millions of Kalpas
Expressing the wondrous Dharma free of flaws
And liberating innumerable sentient beings.
Finally, you enter Paranirvana,
Like smoke dispersing as a lamp is extinguished.
If later, in the samsaric world, one expounds this foremost dharma,
One will produce great benefit like the merit just described.
That is the dream within a dream.

In the roar of a tornado all the visions and all the inhabitants dissolve into brilliant copper color, green, blue, white, and yellow. The colors form a rainbow that whirls about me in a clockwise direction. A brilliant red light appears in front of me, joining with all the colors in a swirling rainbow as large as myself It crackles with electricity and serpent tongues of fire.

Then, in a flash, it forms a deity. She has bright, deep green eyes and crimson, flowing, wild hair. She is nude and her skin is light spun gold. She is translucent.

A strong, almost overpowering hypnotic smell of flowers, like hyacinth or honeysuckle or lilac, fills my nostrils. She is surrounded by flames and smoke, rather like the Cosmic Fire. Her arms are now draped about my neck and her legs entwine my waist. She has no weight but I can feel slight energy where she touches me. With great intensity she looks directly into my eyes. I hear the chanting sounds of the familiar Heart Sutra:

("Go, go, go beyond, go totally beyond, be rooted in the ground of enlightenment.")29

The sounds of the mantra reverberate in my mind over and over and over again. The gold skin of the deity begins to blaze with the intensity of the mantra's resonance. The five colors begin to swirl in the deity's heart center. The illusion disintegrates into my whole body and my mind which have become one. The swirling wheel of colors then streams into my heart. Bliss and joy arise. I hear the words from a song of Machig Labdron:

The roots of anxiety are embedded in the delusion
That every one of us is an island unto ourselves,
Alone and separate from each other.
If you would be free of this suffering
See the workings of your mind as but a single thought­
A retinue of Goddesses that vanish into the sound "AH"
As the rainbow vanishes into the heavens
All enlightened beings past, present, and future
Have but a single essence.
To intuit this essence, learn the true nature of your own mind.
Then, let go and dissolve into unstructured reality--
This tensionless state is the yogin's life.

"Wake up now, Johnny," says Rinpoche gently.

Still in the dream I awoke, and hearing sounds, made my way to the kitchen. Shari was preparing Rinpoche's breakfast. I focused my eyes on the kitchen clock, which gradually registered in my thought as 4 o'clock. Glancing then to the outdoors I ascertained it was afternoon. Shari had the radio on and the words came out with the music. It sounded like The Beach Boys. The words floated in the air ... a girl in an Eastern dress wanting rescue for old time's sake. Her heart was breaking, could somebody throw her a lifeline ...

I turned to walk out into the garden when the space abruptly became very solid. My glasses broke as my face hit the unopened patio door. Shari turned around from her cooking.

"Hey, John, are you okay?" What's John? I thought. The music continued. Now I'm adrift in the China Sea.

Something managed to organize Rinpoche's breakfast tray and something managed to tape together the broken glasses and also managed to ascend the stairs to Rinpoche's bedroom. I set the tray down next to the bed and looked at him. Our eyes met and the space between us seemed to grow small and then large. My mind reeled with the words "somewhere near Japan."

''Are you okay, Major?" softly inquired the Prince.

I struggled to put things together into a coherent statement and then blurted out, "I have absolutely no idea."

He looked at me intently and said, "Maybe you should become a teacher."

And at last finding solid ground, I muttered to myself, "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" He continued to look at me, waiting.

"Well, I don't know anything," I responded finally. "How could I be a teacher?"

"On the spot," came the reply.

"What is that?" I asked.

"Unborn," came the answer.

"Unborn? Unborn?" I struggled to make meaning out of the words. "That does not make any sense," I said.

"Exactly," came back to me.

Up to this point neither one of us had actually spoken a word. It was just a quick series of flashes.

Then Rinpoche said, out loud, "Exactly."

Everything fell away into the seeming reality of the room. I looked past his head into the window and the street beyond. It had started to rain. I came back again to his face. He said again, "Exactly."

I waited. Nothing happened. He reached for his teacup. I reached for the teapot and feeling the weight in my hand I poured the tea into the waiting cup. Our eyes met and when he smiled I felt my body warm up with the radiation.

After his death, years later, I visit Rinpoche near Gantock. He is staying in a house with tall arches, aglow from inside with a yellow light. He is dressed only in a translucent gold shawl draped across his shoulders. He has many attendants. I prostrate and touch his feet. He says he is happy to see me and asks if I need anything. I reply that at this time in my life I am continuing to join with the energies that arise. "That's good," he says. Turning to his companion he asks if she has any advice for me. She answers, "He has such a wonderful voice. He should use it more often." I thank them both and receive the radiating warmth of their smiles. The now-ness quality of the situation is transparently real.  



28 Machig Labdron and the Foundations of Chod, Jerome Edou, Snow Lion Publications, 1996, p. 162.

29 The Dalai Lama explains, "We can interpret this mantra metaphorically to read, 'Go to the other shore,' which is to say, abandon this shore of samsara, unenlightened existence, which has been our home since beginningless time, and cross to the other shore to final nirvana and complete liberation." © Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, 2002. Reprinted from Essence of the Heart Sutra: The Dalai Lama's Heart of Wisdom Teachings, with permission of Wisdom Publications, 199 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144 U.SA.,
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Re: The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perk

Postby admin » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:08 pm

Chapter 8: Commentary

I completed my ngondro practice by doing Guru Yoga-one million recitations of a three-syllable mantra -- whereupon, with a group of students, I took Vajrayogini Abhisheka given by Trungpa Rinpoche. This empowered me to do the Vajrayogini Sadhana.

I had begun to realize that there was little or no difference between my dreaming state and my so-called awake state during daylight hours. This created a certain amount of confusion in which I had difficulty in returning to old and safe images of myself I also began to question my reality as a male or female or, for that matter, my reality as anything at all.

In the act of making love with someone I was unsure as to who was making love to whom and began to think of the whole thing as some sort of mutual dance of energies, sometimes tender, sometimes fierce. The passion of my partner stayed with me for a long time after our lovemaking. Lovemaking seems to be an inadequate word. It was much more primordial than that. While the understanding seemed to come and go at that time, it was more like the ocean crashing against the shore, pulling back on the sand, returning, and doing it again, foaming, salty, hot, steamy, sweaty, sensuous, open, union of mutual surrender. That is what I longed for, but this brought up the question of whether there was the "other" or whether it was always continually all me.

I could not identify myself in that situation as being solidly male or solidly female. I consciously practiced both of what I considered a male position or attitude in lovemaking and a female attitude -- which at that time meant the male was aggressive and the female submissive. Aggressive in my mind meant active and submissive meant openness. I longed for the union of opposites, like positive and negative energies joining while my body longed for union. I longed to surrender totally, to give up totally to my I-ness, give it away, dissolve it as I transformed myself into the deity.

I also was beginning to question what the words "human being" meant. That is to say, why did I see myself as being a human being? What was "human being" in relationship to other entities or being and how was that whole pattern activated in its interdependency? I began to feel that I was a multitude of basic energies. I began to feel that humans were innately sensitive and that they covered up the openness of their sensitivity by various methods to avoid feeling pain. I experienced overwhelming sadness for myself and others. At the same time I had intense feelings of love without object.

I began to realize, without panicking, that Rinpoche's mind and my mind were somehow mixing. I experienced him speaking to me or forming words in my mind without verbally saying them. They just appeared, as it were, somewhat intermixed with short verbal confirmations.

The deities that appeared in my dreaming-waking state were all feminine. This was due, I think, to my relationship with Vajrayogini. The essence of what was related in this state was closest to the songs that I have included, but it did not appear in these written forms. I added these later to match the essence.

The world of duality was becoming infinitely less solid. When that happened, my mind sought refuge in confusion. The action was back and forth but I was able to stay with the situations as they presented themselves for longer periods of time. I developed the obstacle of being attracted to exotic illusions which were not fantasy but actual visions. The obstacle was that I wanted to stay in that state because it was pleasurable. I was attracted to the nirvanic aspect. But this was a stage which one could call the dance of the dakini, where one was introduced to the world that one had not seen before. I began to realize that I was not walking on the path but that the path was moving under my feet. The idea of giving up enlightenment for the sake of all beings was just a phrase that I had heard but had no experience of yet.

I had not particularly thought of myself as Celtic. Rinpoche kept bringing this up, and of course, in my predictable way, I was bewildered by his suggestions that I was Celtic and labeled it with my usual response as being crazy. In the visionary displays, something was activated that was definitely Celtic in origin. I began to investigate, somewhat timidly, that Celticness, and of course was horrified by the fact that the warriors cut of each other's heads and tied them to their horses' saddles. This brought up an interesting dilemma. Where was my mind -- in my head or in my heart ... or for that matter outside of me completely? I had form, I had emptiness, but I did not have "form is emptiness, emptiness also is form, emptiness is no other than form, form is no other than emptiness."

"Interestingly, Johnny doesn't know anything," he said, "but alot. Contradictory wisdom of Johnny is a lot and little. I would like to express my complete Tibetan dedication and devotion as much as he is devoted to me. I am devoted to him as my best savior in America." He raised his glass and toasted, "To Johnny the Savior."

The ship of enlightenment was victorious over the troops of Mara, I thought.
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