Trungpa Visits Allen’s Class – 5 (Q & A – 4)

Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg & Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche at Naropa

AG: Gregory (Corso), you got any questions?

GC: No, no questions . Oh yeah, one,

Chogyam Trungpa (to Gregory Corso): What – are you over there (tonight)?


CT: Oh yeah

GC: Big crowd here (at Naropa) –  and I don’t think much of the crowd thought he was in Vajrayana, with his Crazy Wisdom, right?  – (Did you see) Crazy Wisdom, Allen?
[to Allen Ginsberg] – Don’t look at him, look at (me)

AG: Yeah, I would say so.  True.

GC: Alright,  so he was a little smashed, a little drunk and, once, you could not understand it, but he told someone to shut the fuck up, and all that. You might have thought, “Wow! how crude!” or something- Huh? – It was a real funny awkward evening last night. And he held on to one guy who he told to get out, (remove himself), to get out, but then took him back again. This guy didn’t know what was going on (as) he had already told him..first, he’d already told him in his lecture. This only happened in the question period, where he let himself go. The whole lecture was very straight but the question period, a big tumbling act. Did you know about that? He handled it (now that you’re (he’s) here) – did you hear about it?

CT: I don’t know

GC: Is that his first shot at Vajrayana teaching?
(much laughter)
AG: No, No
GC: It’s the first time I saw him like that
AG: No, he’s taught Vajrayana before. He’s experienced.

GC: That’s what I thought, Al

Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman

AG: Anne (Waldman), you’ve got anything on your mind?

AW: I thought Rinpoche could maybe say something about the eleven.. eleven-syllable lines in Tibetan poetics.

CT: (Eighteen-syllables), yeah..

AW: Just talk about the forms, (a little) about the forms ,of the Tibetan poets, just for general interest, or maybe he could read, maybe he could recite some lines so we can hear how it sounds in Tibetan, some formal lines (that) have this structure, syllabic structure

CT: Well, actually, each single line of that type has precisely something we’ve been discussing (by) the Threefold logic

AG: Each line is supposed to have..?

CT: Yes, each line..

AW: So you have three things happening in each line?

CT: Yes, usually three, three situations

AW: It’s almost like a braiding technique, you know, making a braid

AG: Weaving.

CT: Yes, right. If  you have the whole poetry, you might have twenty of them, twenty eighteen-syllable lines  and the first one is three.the very first one is three, obviously, which is preparing the ground for the rest of it, and so, in the middle, in the middle, still, having three for logic, and then, at the end, also, continuing with imagery, (a lot of images), and (the) finish, the final conclusion, is also Threefold logic style, which concludes the line

Student: Is twenty lines a form?
CT: Yes. Sometimes. Yes
Student: First one.
CT: Or thirty? – or each line begins with a letter of the alphabet, (it) could be..

AG: (Have) you written like that?

CT Yeah

AG: Yeah?

CT: Yeah – What’s that..?   We don’t have any translation of it..

AG: Yeah. There’s the long long line. What is that? Twenty-eight syllables? – Is that the longest? I’ve forgotten

CT: That’s very long, That’s usually, actually, translation from the Sanskrit poetry sometimes

AG: What’s the longest line natural in Tibetan (in terms of sound) ?

CT: Naturally, seven ..or eight.
AG: Seven is the standard?

CT: ..Nine.. nine, yeah – da-da da-da  da-da-da da-da

AG: Da-da da-da da-da-da da da

CT: Yeah.

AG: So you get the one extra (for an emphasis) in it?

CT: Yeah.. always, yeah..

AG: Is there a rise in voice? Are there tones? >Tones?

CT (In Tibetan poetry) you make emphasis on the last…

AG: Yeah..

CT: …or sometimes several..

AG: So there would be an up-beat?

CT: Da-da dad-a-da

AG: Are there also different pitches as in Chinese? and Greek?

CT: Sort of.. It’s very hard (to)..

AG: They’re not schematic.

CT: Yeah, not as much as Chinese..

AW: Also I was going to ask you about the puns. Are they sort of ordinary folk speech words and then also dharma words?

CT: Sometimes we have what’s known as synonyms (which comes from the.. our ballad texts, and (in) Indian poetry. Like (the) sun, for instance, has something like twenty synonyms – for sun. So poets use those synonyms instead of saying the real thing, Then you could develop puns out of those too, by using two synonyms together, one word maybe for sun, maybe another for moon. And using the synonyms and also develop(ing the) puns.   And there’s a particular type of poetry which is based on the kind of.. sort of.. what’s the word for it?…sarcastic.

AG: Satire

CT: Satire, yeah (which actually uses more puns because puns are more effective that way). And sometimes also encouragement, like encouragement (of) renunciation, devotion, you have another set of a different kind of puns in which are gentle and which makes you smile, so that it inspires you further. (But) if the message doesn’t become too heavy

AG: Tom Veitch is teaching here. Anything on your mind?
Tom Veitch: Nothing
AG: or Bobbie-Louise (Hawkins)?
Bobbie Louise Hawkins: (No)

[Audio for the above may be heard here, beginning at approximately seven and a half minutes in and concluding at approximately fourteen minutes in]

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