Allen Ginsberg on William Blake continues from here
Student: Excuse me.
Student: Do you think they’re all… just, like, Gnosticism is just as heretical… it’s a heretical belief that’s just as much a heresy as Buddhism was from Hinduism..
AG: Yeah. No, I’m wondering, is there any … because I keep having the impression that you (Allen addresses a specific student), speak (from) some non-heretical modern form of Christianity.
Student (2): Well, I’m just thinking…
Student (2): Doesn’t that kind of….
AG: Maybe I was mistaken. Do you belong to some specific, (or) work within some specific western Christian (tradition)?
Student (2): I go to church.
Student (2): I don’t know if the Episcopal…
AG: Well, within the Episcopal tradition, is this sort of a legitimate theology? I guess it would be in….
Student (2): The vice and virtue of the Episcopal Church is that you’ve always been able to believe in just about anything that you wanted to.
Student (2): It’s not been a very dogmatic sect. And so that within it you’ll find all kinds of….
AG: Yeah. So you find sort of, in a sense, non-theism in the Episcopal….
AG: Um-hmm. He still had that reference point outside, though, from what I understand, and his big moment was when, going to Asia and contacting various Buddhists, (including (Chogyam) Trungpa) there was that little glimpse of the possibility of the entire structure of the divine as being..our own make-up…
Student (2): You asked I think if… I think about the book of his called Contemplative Prayer, which is where he talks about the Christian tradition of sitting meditation, and (anchoring..) and.. quotes his achievement of that, which is kind of touching, which is a direct experience of (that thing)…
Student (2): Of the Godhead, whatever you want to call it.
AG: So, you see, the whole point is….
Student (2): Because I don’t even know its name.
AG: The weird part of the Buddhist thing is it’s a direct experience of no Godhead.
Student (2): Yeah? Well, that’s what….
AG: That’s where the….
Student (2): The famous… the real famous one would be St. John of the Cross….
AG: Would say no….
Student (2): My own favorite would be “The Dark Night of Soul”. My own….
AG: But that’s a preliminary to a breakthrough of the entrance of God – the dark night of the soul. That isn’t the end of it. See, as far as I remember it, the dark night of the soul was an annihilation of willfulness preceding the entrance of the bridegroom.
Student (2): Yeah. Well, except that with their testimony, at least … my own favorite is the one, the English would call it The Cloud of Unknowing
Student (2): Which is a modern …
AG: I know that.
Student (2): … modern … and it’s very painful, apparently, when you get there because you have to give up your dearest religious beliefs, whatever they are…
AG: But isn’t it… I forgot, in The Cloud of Unknowing, is there finally a placebo that comes in and takes over?
Student (2): I don’t think so, no.
AG: In other words, it just completely opens….
Student (2): You have to understand something that (Meister) Eckhart called “ground”, you know.
Student (2): There’s still something there that you wouldn’t name, I think.
AG: Well, “unknowing”. Yeah, name it a “Cloud of Unknowing.” ….
to be continued
Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately sixty-eight-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately seventy-and-a-half minutes in.