1971 Meditation Lesson/Poetry Reading/Discussion -1

Our gratitude to Reelininthyeats.com for placing this on You Tube – Meditation Lesson/Poetry Reading/ Discussion – from Detroit in 1971

Here follows a transcript

Interviewer: Our guest is Allen Ginsberg. Allen, I’d forgotten since last we chatted, what that instrument’s called?

Allen Ginsberg’s harmonium – photo: no land

AG: It’s a harmonium from India. What I was chanting was a Tibetan lama’s mantraOmAhHum –  Body -Speech-Mind – OmAhHum

Vajra – diamond-bolt, lightning-bolt – Vajra,  Guru– teacher,  Padma – Lotus,   Siddhe – Power – Hum –  Body-Speech-Mind Diamond-Teacher Lotus Power – Om

Used in Nyingma-pa Tantric Tibetan Buddhist Dzogchen (No Mind) Meditation. preparatory to sitting, blank-mind sitting

Interviewer: That particular mantra?

AG: That particular mantra is being circulated in the United States quite a bit now by  Tibetan tulkus, or reincarnate lamas who are in the United States

What I thought to do today  to begin with is to show a few meditation procedures like that mantra.

And a few hand gestures, mudras. The mudras are hand gestures that balance up the body and balance up the mind in the time that you’re taking to put them together. And one is a mudra of offering, a hand gesture. These are hand gestures from yoga (Indian, Hindu and Tibetan and Japanese Buddhist) the mudra of offering, if you can see.. (can that be seen clearly?)
Just say yes or no – Can that be seen clearly?  [Allen receives no answer] Can that be seen clearly? – That can be seen clearly?  Hallo- testing – clearly….

AG: Okay. That’s like that. Usually with prayer beads (rose-petals or rice) because you’re offering something. Mount Meru – the center of the universe – or the Phallus – Creation  – And then to purify a scene – the gesture of Purification has been the gesture of offering. Another gesture of Purification is like this (sic) [Allen displays] – See? – that’s in case you’re being attacked by a cop with a club, you just go like that (sic)  – it’s like looking at him through your eye. Those are used also in the same Tibetan Buddhist group of Nygma meditators

The main thing is sitting, which is a useful political weapon, I think, (particularly in light of the recent Weatherman new morning bulletin letter.. Weatherpeople’(s) (sic) – re-evaluation of their own tendency toward heavy macho senseless violence..

What I would recommend would be that anyone who’s going in for revolution now begin preparing themselves by returning into their body first for at least a solid hour a day before going out and throwing any bombs –  It’ll make your aim better, or else it will alter your strategy and may reduce the senselessness of some of the violence and redirect energy to more communal creative patterns.

The main thing in sitting to get inside is a posture so – any comfortable position – either like that (sic) – that position is used in, like, Tibetan sitting – a half-lotus, like this (sic), just one leg over the other (it’s used in America in Zen or Tibetan sitting also).

A problem – what do you do with your hands? – so (Timothy) Leary in jail evolved this (sic) for a convenient place for your hands – I don’t know can you see it?

Interviewer: Yes

AG: The Zen Buddhists say this (sic) is alright – or..that’s the Rinzai Zen, yes?  –  the Soto Zen people go like this (sic) as a convenient light resting place for the hands. [Allen displays the positions] And the other thing that’s important – back straight – like, as if you’re being hung from..
like a puppet from the top. So a straight back is important and a firm seat   (I’m using a pillow to get my legs down like that), a firm seat,

then, depending on the type of sitting you’re doing, you can do it with eyes open, completely blank mind, or eyes closed (sometimes

the Hindus use a mantra, like Hare Krishna mantra, or, if you’re Jewish you can use “Shalom”, or any mantra that you dig or is given to you. One way of doing it is repeating the mantra silently in the heart area and just going out, like into a dark closet for as long as you enjoy being in the dark closet quiet, away from the ringing of telephones, the bursting of bombs, and the surveillance of FBI wire-taps – just blank sitting

Next problem, what do you do with your breath? – stick out your belly – loosen your belt, or loosen your corset if you’re over fifty, so you can relax. Let your belly hang out, and then breathe slowly in your belly, or, like, breathe naturally and relax, sticking out the belly because your back is straight .So the reason for keeping your back straight is that actually, your belly can hang out, and that you can,like, breathe in gently and easily down to the lower abdomen area (same kind of breathing as is done by sopranos when they’re learning to sing opera, or bassoonists, or girls when they’re going to have natural childbirth babies. So…

What I’ve been doing is doing that for an hour a day, generally every morning, and then I go out and scream and rant and shout, and, like, give poetry readings, or write poetry, or milk the cow or take care of the goats, anything I have to do during the day – or write poems, but what it does it gives me a firm quiet base to set out from every morning. Like a place where I have been inside to, where I can explore the space inside my body and explore the full continuum of thoughts in my mind. (the thoughts rise, I just review them and let them drop) till finally, after about half hour to three-quarters of an hour of the straight sitting, quiet breathing I begin to get a buzz throughout my body and I begin to get high (a bit like on grass, or a bit like certain stages, certain early stages, of an acid trip). And so…  With me, at the moment, since I’m just a beginner, the buzz sort of begins in a sort of pressure at the top of the head and a solidity of the body and a slight sensation of buzzing in my extremities, a feeling of complete emptiness of the body as thoughts finally calm down and what there is, is, like, a transparent mind, no particular thoughts, or a few thoughts rising and then just dropping away, without clinging to them, and then, finally, a real peaceful, relaxed relief, entrance into another world inside the body (not transcendental but the actual physiological aethereal, neural sensations of the body that are ignored all the time because they’re like the background noise on a radio when you turn off the.. when the..when the voice is silenced suddenly, you hear all the crackling and the popping of the nerve cells and the brain operating.
So you begin to get into that and realize that the giant machinery that’s going on inside you without your awareness even. So it’s becoming aware of the machinery inside and the silence behind the machinery.
What I’m proposing is this as a political tactic for those who are concerned with a material revolution in the society, a political tactic in that it establishes a firm individual base of calm and power out of which we can operate if we’re going to attempt to change the external appearance of reality

So from that point of view, what I’d like to do is read a poem by Philip Whalen, the subject being Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, where a lot of this meditation is practiced   – “Regalia In Immediate Demand”  (“Necklace of human bones/ Cup a silver-mounted cranium/Thigh-bone trumpets/ A skull drum/   Dear President Nixon,you are welcome in Lhasa/And where is dear Mr Edgar Hoover?”), a poem by Gary Snyder on same themes (like the New Morning Weathermen Pronouncement) – “Spel  Against Demons”  (“The release of Demonic Energies in the name of/ the people/ must cease…”…”He who saved tortured intelligent demons and filth-eating/hungry ghosts, his spel is,/NAMAH SAMANTAH VAJRANAM CHANDA/ MAHAROSHANA/SPHATAYA HUM TRAKA HAM MAM’)

Interviewer: I think we’ll have to take a break at this exciting moment. We’ll return with Allen Ginsberg in a couple of moments but first  a couple of commercial messages

transcript will continue tomorrow

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