Trungpa Visits Allen’s Class – 2 (Q & A)

Allen Ginsberg and Chogyam Trungpa at Naropa

AG: Shall we open it up?

CT: Sure

AG: Anybody got any questions on the nature of perception and conception.

CT: Big subject eh?!

AG: Actually we got into a big…  (well), go on…

Student (1) – My question is if the mind…[Ancillary action (proceedings are obviously being filmed)– AG: “You’re blocking his view from the camera!” – Student resumes ]

If the mind desires to work on a poem or the mind desires to think about a poem or think about something which you have done that day or you will want to do, why in meditation would you interrupt your thought-patterns, stopping the mind from doing what the mind wants to do. So the question is, in other words, what’s the purpose of meditation. Why not let the mind do what the mind wants to do, what the mind is inclined to do?

CT: Well, you could have all sorts of possibilities there, the mind wanted to do all sorts of things, but, in a lot of cases, you don’t achieve them. So (the) mind becomes frustrated, and once you begin to feel that you have the freedom to think whatever you want to think and do whatever you want to do, but then realize that you can’t do it, so you end up in square one once more. So therefore meditation practice is to realize that such ambition cannot be achieved. So that you have a.. some kind of perspective and some sense of relaxation so that the meditation practice cuts through the speed of it, or the tremendous ambition of it, which is self-destructive, generally. So the meditation sort of calms down and provides some perspective.

Student (1): Thanks

AG: I had a  sort of chauvinistic answer to that,which was, that for the purposes of poetry, if by returning to the breath you interrupt the speed of thought, you also get by hindsight a profile of the thought that just disappeared.

Student (1) : Yeah but you also stop the thought before it develops. Like, you might begin with a vague idea and you say that’s just a thought. When you say that, some other thought will rise, rather than that original thought progressing and developing and working it out to some conclusion which is of value and which you can remember, you know.

AG: I’ve always found that I couldn’t remember a chain of fifty thoughts. I can only remember the last three, which is why it’s useful to stop.. like waking from a dream, literally waking up from a dream. If you continue sleeping and dreaming, you’ll lose the last dreams (if you were wanting to capture dreams, if you wanted to use them). So it’s like waking up from a dream you can remember it but if you continue dreaming it gets lost in the womb of dreams, they disappear. Just from a chauvinistic point-of-view, poet-chauvanistic point of view, there some advantage to waking up from daydreams. Does that make sense?

CT: I think so

AG: If you’re looking for advantage..?

Student (1): I’m not sure..

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately seventy-four-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately seventy-seven-and-three-quarter minutes in]

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