Actually his (Walt Whitman’s) contribution was, well, you could call it generosity. The first virtue, the first paramita – generosity – there. Absolutely totally generous with the display of his feelings. A bodhisattva, in that sense, that he completely opened up his heart and his own mind for inspection – “What I shall assume, you shall assume”
He was the first person in American history to open himself up to … Read More
AG: But still, you see, he (Walt Whitman)’s saying.. this has nothing to do with men or women, (it’s) beyond that. See? It’s a question of “Is he proclaiming a universal soul, (with himself as Person), and universal soul that will cover all empathy and every direction, so to speak, egolessly, where the adhesiveness is a natural emanation of any human being, latent in any human being? He’s representing “I celebrate myself, and sing myself, and what I shall assume you shall assume”. [“I celebrate myself/And what I assumes you shall assume..”] – So he’s saying, “This is universal”.
Carl Solomon and Jack Micheline this weekend on the Allen Ginsberg blog.
The occasion is the 1982 Jack Kerouac Conference at Naropa
These two Beat luminaries were among many notable figures gathered in attendance.
Their reading is available (with introduction by Al Aronowitz and supplementary introductions by Allen) – here
[Al Aronowitz (1928-20050]
Allen Ginsberg: (approximately eighteen minutes in) – “We have the distinguished introducer, Al Aronowitz here, who introduced me to Bob Dylan and introduced Bob Dylan to The Beatles and also introduced The Beatles to grass (this is Al Aronowitz) – as well as introducing the American public … Read More
[Walt Whitman ( 1819-1892)]AG: So how many here have been listening to (Chogyam) Trungpa’s lectures? How many go? He’s just entered into the Mahayana discourse (and his last lecture was on the paramitas, or excellencies of mind, that were by-products of sitting meditation. The excellencies were generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, concentration and intellect, and I’ll be rummaging through (Walt) Whitman to find examples of generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, concentration and intellect).
Somebody at the lecture last night asked how do these schematic Mahayana Buddhist virtues differ from anybody’s Whitmanic ordinary mind generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, concentration and wisdom? What’s the difference?
[Walt Whitman (1819-1892) and William Wordsworth (1770-1850)]
AG: So (to) get right into “Song of Myself”, and I’ll do as much of it as we can (in an hour) So he [Walt Whitman] begins – as we had in (William Carlos) Williams [in “Danse Russe’] – “Who shall say I’m not the happy genius of my household”, (which was really an extension of a kind of Whitmanic empathy) . So on that common ground, Whitman begins, “I…” – (this is page twenty-three of the Modern Library version, or whatever page you have of whatever Whitman you