A reader that Japhy follows on Google+ posted a photograph of Trungpa at a party which gave him a bit of a start when he saw it.
“This is a total projection on my part, it has absolutely no basis in reality, but I know the moment that this picture captured.”
It isn’t a picture of Trungpa so much as a snapshot of Trungpa at a party, totally shit faced, pointing at the camera.
“None of the other people are looking at either Trungpa or the photographer. There is a young man and a woman in the background, talking to each other behind Rinpoche.”
Japhy can’t see the face of the guy but judging from the haircut, hair off the collar, ears visible, the vibe is definitely late 1970′s.
“As for The young woman in the shot, her haircut, blouse and shorts are typical of the period too. She looks like the character, Donna, in That 70′s Show on Television.”
On the edge of the scene there is part of a guy sitting at a table wearing a tank top which screams disco era. This confirms for Japhy when the picture was taken.
“Trungpa’s loose shirt with tight jeans combo, that pretty much nails the time period for me. I know these people. I hated them.”
“Nobody is drinking in the picture but Trungpa is obviously shit faced among a group of relaxed but otherwise sober people.”
Japhy imagines that the guy at the table is rolling a joint, but this is unlikely, given Trungpa wasn’t a pot smoker. He was know to from upon weed.
“He preferred booze, but he isn’t holding a beverage, so he’s probably coked up with a little Seconal to take the edge off.”
At the time the coke and pills weren’t common knowledge, he kept it on the down low, but in retrospect, hindsight being 20/20, Japhy believes he can see it in Rinpoche, demeanor..
“He’s at cruise altitude, the seatbelt off, in his comfort zone, feeling no pain, but no means out of control. It was good to be Trungpa.”
Japhy was into weed and acid at the time. He would never have been caught dead in a tank top and tight jeans, or any of the people in the picture.
“I had just began shaving my head at the time. I lived in ragged plaid shirts, jeans with holes in them, and my army fatigue jacket. I was known for going barefoot at the time.”
The people in the snapshot would have avoided Japhy like the plague. He definitely wasn’t their kind of people.”
“I was totally too into my head for my own good, my sitting meditation at the time was all about pushing myself to sit longer. I was impossible to be around.”
For Japhy, if it didn’t hurt he wasn’t meditating. He was young, limber, and full of piss and vinegar.
“I was living in Carbondale, IL, an undergraduate at Southern Illinois University. All I knew of Buddhism was from what I had read of in books.”
If you had suggested to him at the time that this wasn’t sufficient, he knew there was more to being a Buddhist than he had read of, but he would have taken offense all the same if you went there with him.
“Today people can insult me, it happens all the time online, and I don’t give it a second thought. It took me ages to get to that point though.”
According to Dzogchen Ponlop we not only have to be who we are, but also where we are. Japhy would add, when we are too.
“Trungpa wasn’t only who he was, and where he was, but Rinpoche also when he was, totally. He nailed it perfectly.”
Japhy respects how Trungpa put himself out like he did for the Buddhist cause, trimmed his sails according to the seas he found himself upon.
“My Rinpoche, Khenpo Karthar, is my rock of Gibraltar, my true north, timeless, steady as can be, regardless of circumstance.”
Too each their own. From Khenpo Kartar’s perspective, as far as Rinpoche is concerned it’s all good. Japhy has never known Rinpoche to judge.”
“Trungpa was the total opposite in this regard. You always knew what Trungpa expected of you. Khenpo Karthar plays his cards closer to his vest by comparison.
Allen Ginsberg knew that Trungpa didn’t want him to smoke pot, yet Rinpoche’s driver would bring weed to his meetings Rinpoche.
“Trungpa had no problem with his driver and Ginsberg lighting up and enjoying their weed. He judged, but without getting hung up on the judgement.”
There is no daylight between Trungpa and Khenpo Karthar in this regard, in terms of the equality of all appearances. Both judged, but without turning their impressions into judgment.
“Trungpa was the head of an alternative religious cult located in Boulder, CO, a bossy father figure to thousands of devoted followers there. It was what it was though, just another circumstance.”
Khenpo Karthar was dispatched to America by Holiness the 16th Karmapa to represent his lineage here, a task from which he has never wavered from. This was his circumstance.
“Both Rinpoches flowed from the same source, both being from Kham, both with the same Khenpo Gangshar mind training flow which defined their Buddhism.”
Khenpo Karthar and Chogyam Trungpa actually knew each other in Tibet. They went their separate ways in India, but that was their circumstances and nothing more.
“Khenpo Karthar was interned by the Indian Government at Buxador. Trungpa was banging the Sakyong’s mum, a nun, while fleeing the Chinese.”
Trungpa was a monk, but also being a Tulku, and Tibetans being hypocrites in this regard, both Rinpoches were simply doing what was expected of them.
“As Western converts to Tibetan Buddhism, the Westerner in us can’t help but judge. Our challenge as Buddhists is to not get hung up on our judgment.”
After Trungpa’s Snowmass debacle Ginsberg freaked, became obsessed with countering the shit storm of bad publicity that came from it.”
“As far as Trungpa was concerned he felt no such need to justify what had happened or its effect on his reputation.”
Rinpoche was a cult leader, not a business man with a Buddhist franchise to protect. It was never about him though, as far as he was concerned, but what his circumstances called for.
“After Snowmass, it was obvious to Trungpa that the party was over, he knew that he couldn’t go on as a leader of an alternative religious cult in 1970′s Boulder, CO.”
Japhy is just riffing here and has to wrap this up. If you have anything to add to this picture, please do. Later.