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Tibetan Buddhists, poetry wars and the Naropa Institute in the People's Republic of Boulder, Colorado

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Tibetan Buddhists, poetry wars and the Naropa Institute in the People's Republic of Boulder, Colorado
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ABSTRACT The city of Boulder, Colorado became an ideal location for the foundation of Naropa Institute, the first Buddhist-inspired academic university in the United States. This thesis follows the formative years of the Naropa Institute, from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, a period following two tumultuous decades of social change in America. The paper examines how this uniquely unorthodox enterprise grew popular by providing a curriculum that addressed the spiritual and educational needs of a changing society and how, despite significant societal and financial challenges, Naropa became an accredited university as well as an honored institution in the Boulder community. This thesis also aims to frame its founder, the exiled Tibetan lama, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche; its co-founders, esteemed Beat poets Alan Ginsberg and Anne Waldman; and other affiliates in the context of the rise of new religious movements in the postwar United States. From their initial embrace by the counter-culture to societal backlash against them in the wake of the Jonestown mass suicide, they are an important factor in the history of Naropa. Indeed, it remains as a tangible legacy of these movements. This broad historical overview makes it apparent that nothing about the creation of a Buddhist university headed by Beat poets and an exiled Tibetan was seamless, even in the new liberal, free-lifestyle bastion of Boulder. First and foremost, the Naropa staff decided to manage its curriculum and budgetary needs in order to gain accreditation and respectability among the American higher education establishment. Trungpa and the Naropa community also had to adapt and become attractive to the new socio-political climate of Boulder dominated by middle-class "lifestyle" liberals rather than its original counter-culture constituency rooted in the Beat Generation and hippie social movements. Also of importance was the need to defend Naropa's legitimacy in the face of its founder's eccentric, even scandalous, behavior to avoid the label of a cult. Through perseverance, cultural malleability and community outreach, Chogyam Trungpa, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman and Naropa faculty and students were able to endure fiscal pressure and historical circumstance to make Naropa University a lasting presence in the city of Boulder.
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Includes bibliographical references.
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by Ross R. Webster.

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TIBETAN BUDDHISTS, POETRY WARS AND THE NAROPA INSTITUTE
IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF BOULDER, COLORADO
By
Ross R. Webster
B.A., University of Colorado Boulder, 2005
A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado, Denver
In partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts Public History
2012


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Ross R. Webster
has been approved
by
Thomas J. Noel
Christopher Agee
Alison Shah
Date


Ross R. Webster( Master of Arts, Public History)
Tibetan Buddhists, Poetry Wars and the Naropa Institute in the People's
Republic of Boulder, Colorado
Thesis directed by Professor Thomas J. Noel and Assistant Professor
Christopher Agee
ABSTRACT
The city of Boulder, Colorado became an ideal location for the foundation
of Naropa Institute, the first Buddhist-inspired academic university in the
United States. This thesis follows the formative years of the Naropa
Institute, from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, a period following two
tumultuous decades of social change in America. The paper examines
how this uniquely unorthodox enterprise grew popular by providing a
curriculum that addressed the spiritual and educational needs of a
changing society and how, despite significant societal and financial
challenges, Naropa became an accredited university as well as an
honored institution in the Boulder community. This thesis also aims to
frame its founder, the exiled Tibetan lama, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche;
its co-founders, esteemed Beat poets Alan Ginsberg and Anne Waldman;
and other affiliates in the context of the rise of new religious movements in
the postwar United States. From their initial embrace by the counter-
culture to societal backlash against them in the wake of the Jonestown


mass suicide, they are an important factor in the history of Naropa.
Indeed, it remains as a tangible legacy of these movements.
This broad historical overview makes it apparent that nothing about
the creation of a Buddhist university headed by Beat poets and an exiled
Tibetan was seamless, even in the new liberal, free-lifestyle bastion of
Boulder. First and foremost, the Naropa staff decided to manage its
curriculum and budgetary needs in order to gain accreditation and
respectability among the American higher education establishment.
Trungpa and the Naropa community also had to adapt and become
attractive to the new socio-political climate of Boulder dominated by
middle-class lifestyle" liberals rather than its original counter-culture
constituency rooted in the Beat Generation and hippie social movements.
Also of importance was the need to defend Naropas legitimacy in the face
of its founders eccentric, even scandalous, behavior to avoid the label of
a cult. Through perseverance, cultural malleability and community
outreach, Chogyam Trungpa, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman and Naropa
faculty and students were able to endure fiscal pressure and historical
circumstance to make Naropa University a lasting presence in the city of
Boulder.
IV


This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I
recommend its publication
Approved:
Approved:
Thomas J. Noel
Christopher Agee
v


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I am grateful to many people for their help and guidance in writing and
plotting the course of this thesis. First on the list are the members of my
committee, Thomas J. Noel, Christopher Agee and Alison Shah, chair, co-
chair and reader, respectively. They were valuable in guiding me to locations
and references for gathering information as well as stylistic guidance in how
to craft the narrative of my thesis. I also appreciate the efforts of Jill
Hutchison, Graduate Coordinator, for assistance in coordinating the
necessary arrangements for completing my thesis.
Thanks also goes to Mark Villey, Nicholas Weiss and April Henson
who are, respectively, directors and library service coordinator of Naropas
Allen Ginsberg Library and its impressive archives. Their assistance and
patience was very valuable to me in my pursuit of information and materials.
I am especially grateful to Anne Waldman, poet, Naropa co-founder
and a national treasure, for her time and willingness to provide me with input
and insight when I interviewed her in 2010. Thanks goes to Corey Drayton,
my dear friend and fellow University of Colorado, Boulder alumni, for getting
me in touch with Anne Waldman.
VI


Finally and most importantly, I want to thank my parents, Jean and
David Webster and my brother, Scott Webster, for their endless support,
suggestions and editing skills.
VII


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
INTRODUCTION.................................1
Purpose of the Study.........................3
Scope of Study...............................3
Limitations of Study.........................5
Arrangement of Thesis........................5
1. "THIS IS THE PLACE": FROM TIBET TO THE
ROCKIES......................................7
2 LIBERAL POLITICS, LIFESTYLES AND EDUCATION
IN POSTWAR BOULDER..........................20
3. CRAZY WISDOM: NAROPA STRUGGLES WHILE
ARTISTS ASSEMBLE............................29
4. NAROPA ADJUSTS AS BOULDER CHANGES..........43
5. "LESS CRAZY, MORE WISDOM": NAROPA'S QUEST
FOR ACCREDITATION AND A LEGACY..............71
CONCLUSION...................................89
viii
BIBLIOGRAPHY
92


INTRODUCTION
"Its impossible to fall off mountains you foot'
From the Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
Six years after the death of the Beat Generation icon, Jack Kerouac,
an experiment in higher education and spiritual awakening was underway on
the front range of the Colorado Rockies. Allen Ginsberg, the venerated beat
poet and close friend of Jack Kerouac, along with fellow poet, Anne
Waldman, created the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. The
poetry school was one of the seminal components of the newly-formed
ambitious Naropa Institute. Co-founded in 1974 with Ginsberg and Waldman,
the Naropa Institute was the brainchild of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, an
exiled Tibetan lama, customarily referred to as The Rinpoche. As the writer of
The Dharma Bums, Kerouac was an ideal choice for Naropas new poetry
school. Based on Kerouacs own mountaineering sojourns on Matterhorn
Peak in the Sierra Nevadas and Desolation Peak in the Washington State
Cascades, The Dharma Bums follows the spiritual journey of his literary
stand-in, Ray Smith, and Japhy Ryder (whose character is based on Beat
poet Gary Snyder) as they seek the essence of Zen Buddhism in America.
Like his most famous book, On the Road and Ginsbergs epic poem, Howl,
The Dharma Bums reflected the discontentment that a growing number of
1


Americans felt with Postwar American society. These Americans were
discontented with mainstream values emphasizing conformity, material
acquisition, active and institutional racism and restrictive sexual and social
mores. The seeds of discontent took root and spread, culminating in the
social movements of the tumultuous 1960s.
The Rinpoches vision was a sort of academic kitchen where the
teachings of Tibetan Buddhism could be shed of their exotic and alien
Eastern trappings to make them more palatable for Westerners craving
spiritual nourishment. However, the path to academic recognition and social
respectability was not an easy one for this unorthodox, religious-based center
of learning. As will be explained in this thesis, the Naropa Institute spent
much of its first two decades struggling to keep afloat financially while building
its reputation as a place of legitimate higher education. Given the counter-
culture nature of its poetic founders and, especially, the well-publicized
eccentric, even scandalous, behavior of the Rinpoche, many believed that
Naropa was a cult. Despite the challenges during its formative years, the
Naropa Institute survived well into the twenty-first century and became the
first accredited Buddhist inspired, nonsectarian university in the United
States.
2


Purpose of Study
This thesis ultimately aims to uncover the mechanisms of Naropas
survival, success and esteem in Boulder and nationwide. A number of
questions informed the course of this thesis. How is the history of Naropa
Institute comparable to the overall history of the emergence of alternative
religious movements in the postwar United States? Is the founder of Naropa,
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche comparable with other contemporary Asian
spiritual figures and charismatic cult leaders? What was the contribution of
Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman and the Beat Generation to shaping Naropas
character? Was there something unique about the culture or politics of the
city of Boulder, Colorado that allowed Naropa to survive and flourish? Did
regional cultural conformity and nationwide academic conformity ultimately
save Naropa from an uncertain future? These questions hint at the
uniqueness of this thesis in that it is a cultural history as well as an
institutional history examining national trends within a specific region of the
postwar American West.
Scope of the Study
This study focuses on a fourteen-year period between 1974 and 1987.
The year 1974 marks the official founding of the Naropa Institute, while 1987
marks the death of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, which occurred a year after
Naropa achieved full accreditation. Within these fourteen years, Naropa
3


faced its most serious set of crises, which were primarily financial. The
exception was a series of the events that became known as the Poetry Wars
which essentially was a scandal that threatened the reputation and credibility
of Naropa. Framing the early history of Naropa Institute in this timeline also
correlates with the political and cultural rise of the lifestyle liberals, that is to
say liberals adhering to sixties ideals while pursuing civic improvement or
commercial enterprise in Boulder. This timeline also correlates with the
nationwide demise of New Left liberalism in as well as the backlash against
alternative religious movements sparked by the Jonestown mass-suicide in
1978. The period from 1984 to 1987 also marks an important transition point
in Naropas formative years. This is the period after Chogyam Trungpa
departed Boulder, Colorado and moved the headquarters of Naropas parent
organization, the Vajradhatu Corporation to Nova Scotia, Canada. Trungpa's
departure lead to a critical new status of independence for the developing
institution.
To a lesser extent, the scope of this study includes the postwar history
of new religions in the United States starting with the Beat Generation and
Zen Buddhism in the 1950s.The study devotes more attention to the late
1960s when the collapse of the sixties social revolutions sends
disenfranchised radicals flocking to new religious movements.
4


Limitations of Study
This study was fortunate to be informed by a diverse number of sources
including newspaper reports, newsletters, symposiums, personal journal
accounts, accreditation reports, meeting minutes, personal correspondence
letters and interviews. Many of these sources such as the accreditation
reports and meeting minutes were accessed at the exceptionally well-
managed archives of Naropa Universitys Allen Ginsberg Library and Naropa
Universitys Nalanda Campus. Other original sources were gathered at the
Denver Public Library and Boulders Carnegie Library specializing in local
history. For reasons unknown, these institutions held few if any articles from
local Boulder publications such as the Boulder Daily Camera pertaining to
Naropa related news. Attempts to contact the Daily Camera by email or
phone yielded no results. Time restrictions also limited any in-depth
examination of the relationship between the Naropa Institute and the
University of Colorado, Boulder. This and other topics are open to
examination in future editions.
Arrangement of the Thesis
Chapter One, This is the Place: From Tibet to the Rockies, follows
Naropas founder Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche from his exile and spiritual
reinvention in Great Britain to his arrival and cultivation of followers and allies
in the United States. Chapter Two, Liberal Politics, Lifestyles and Education
5


in Boulder, examines the impact of environmentalism and lifestyle capitalism
on Boulder politics from the turn of the twentieth century to the postwar era.
Chapter Two also examines the Naropa Institutes relationship to the clash
between academic institutions and religious interests both conservatives and
liberals. Chapter Three, Crazy Wisdom': Naropa Struggles While Artists
Assemble, explains how Naropa's sudden popularity brought an unexpected
influx of students and financial struggles that challenged some the lofty ideals
of the Naropa Institute. This chapter also examines Naropas appeal to
prominent Beat Generation poets, artists and musicians. Chapter Four,
Naropa Adjusts as Boulder Changes, explains the relationship between
Boulder and the Naropa Institute as liberal Boulderites reject counter-culture
lifestyles and grow weary of alternative religious organizations. Chapter Five,
Less Crazy, More Wisdom, Naropas Quest for Accreditation and A
Legacy, explains how the staff of the Naropa Institute gradually formed into a
competent and professional academic administrative body and how it gained
community support in Boulder. This thesis concludes with Naropa in the
twenty-first century as its staff struggles to balance its institutionalization with
its core, idealistic mission.
6


CHAPTER 1
THIS IS THE PLACE: FROM TIBET TO THE ROCKIES
Although the founder of the Naropa Institute, Chogyam Trungpa
Rinpoche, completed intense spiritual training for his vocation in Tibet, his
real education began in the West. Trungpa arrived in England in 1963. He
was one of many refugee lamas escaping Tibet in the wake of the Chinese
Communist takeover. Had his life in Tibet gone uninterrupted, Trungpa would
have become the eleventh incarnation of a lineage of lamas known as the
Trungpa Tulkus. For generations the Tulkus acted as abbots to the Surmang
monasteries which dotted the landscape of Eastern Tibet. In becoming
supreme abbot of Surmang, Trungpa would have ruled as governor of the
Kham region.1 Deprived of their kingdom and faced with uncertainty as to
how long Tibet would remain under Chinese rule, the lamas who received
asylum in India and, later, the West had to adjust their spiritual careers in a
modernized society where they had no established authority.
Trungpas arrival in the West correlated with a surge of interest in
Eastern religious and spiritual practices among students and academics
though often only superficially as Trungpa soon realized. After completing his
studies in comparative religion at Oxford University, Trungpa, along with a
1 Chogyam Trungpa, Born in Tibet, New York: Brace & World Inc., 1968, 54-55.
7


fellow tulku disciple Akong Rinpoche, established the first Tibetan Buddhist
meditation center to be located in the West. Situated in the Lowlands of
Scotland, Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery prospered after its foundation,
drawing in other monks, nuns, and traditional Tibetan artists and craftsmen. In
later years, Samye Ling gained popularity from its celebrity students,
including future musicians David Bowie and Leonard Cohen. Despite the
successful creation of an Eastern religious institution in the heart of Britain,
not all was well with Trungpa. Throughout his time in the United Kingdom,
Trungpa took to heavy drinking and consorted with many of his female
students.2 What distressed him most was the notion that the Tibetan monastic
tradition was an obstacle for his aspiring students. As a lama, he felt that he
was perceived as an exotic higher being incapable of vital communication
with regular humans.3 In 1969, Trungpa met with a severe injury in a car
crash which left him partially paralyzed on the left side of his body. Despite
these injuries, which would complicate his health for the rest of his life, the
2 Tom Clark, The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, Santa Barbara, CA: Cadmus Editions, 1980,
10-11.
3 Marcia Usow interviewed and filmed by Shirley S. Steele, May 18, 23, 2006, The Maria
Rogers Oral History Program, http://boulderlibrary.org/carnegie/index.html (accessed July 11,
2011).
8


Rinpoche did not see his accident as an impediment but rather as a
message.4
Trungpa reasoned that in order to effectively spread Buddhist
teachings in the West, the dharma needed to be taught free from cultural
trappings and religious fascination.5 In order to live his new teachings, the
Rinpoche renounced his vows and demoted himself to a lay teacher. Even
more radical, the monk took a wife. Diana Pybus, a sixteen-year-old disciple
of Trungpas, married the guru and took on the name Diana Mukpo. The
Rinpoche cultivated his new approach. Instead of inviting students into the
trappings of the monastic world, he decided to embrace the world and culture
of the West, starting with his attire.6 Trungpa began his new path to
enlightenment by discarding his robes in favor of expensive suits or leisure
ware.7 This new direction in spiritual expression along with Trungpas recent
marriage deeply troubled his co-founder Akong Rinpoche, who feared that his
rejection of inscrutability and mysticism would result in a serious lapse of
4 Steve Silberman, Married to the Guru. Shambhala Sun, November 2006.
http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2998<emid=
0 (accessed July 24, 2011).
5 Diana Mukpo, Crazy Wisdom, Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, 1991. 187.
6 Silberman, 1
7 Hugh H. Urban, The Cult of Ecstasy: Tantrism, the New Age, and the Spiritual Logic of Late
Capitalism, History of Religions, Vol. 39 No 3. P, 268-304, 282
9


principles amounting to conmanship.8 In 1970, after a final falling out with
Akong Rinpoche and the Samye Ling establishment, Trungpa decided that
the proper place to reinvent himself was in the cultural and spiritual Zeitgeist
of 1970s America. The United States seemed especially ripe for new spiritual
principles.
Most historians see the popular American understanding of the
phenomenon of the emergence of new religions in the postwar era as
distorted generalization. The popular understanding is that many Americans,
particularly those of the baby-boom generation grew disillusioned with the
stodgy conformist tendencies of established Judeo-Christian religions.
Experimenting with psychedelic drugs, communal living and new music, these
boomers became the budding Western acolytes of Eastern religions, most
notably Hinduism and Buddhism. Often these acolytes received their spiritual
guidance from celebrity gurus, the most famous of which was Maharishi
Mahesh Yogi, founder of Transcendental Meditation and spiritual mentor to
The Beatles. When historians such as Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin
observe the religious climate of the postwar era, particularly that of the 1960s,
the most significant religious dialogue and action is from revitalized Judeo-
8 Clark, 13. The exact meaning of conmanship is not clear, and does not appear in the
Mirriam-Websters Dictionary. According to http://wiki.answers.com, it is defined as a created
word meaning corporate scheming.
10


Christian traditions.9 For conservative Protestants, their most celebrated
spiritual leader was Billy Graham with his revival of personal moral values as
the guiding force of personal and political decision making. For liberal
protestant Christians, the most celebrated was Martin Luther King Jr. for his
role in directing the Social Gospel towards the causes of civil rights and the
war on poverty. Catholics and Jews also had equivalently powerful leaders
such as anti-war activist, Friar Daniel Berrigan and the communalist rabbi,
Itzik Lodzer.10
According to Isserman and Kazin, the novelty of the emergence of
non-Western religions belied the limited impact they actually had on American
society. Despite media attention and the endorsement of celebrities such as
Allen Ginsberg, The Beatles and The Grateful Dead (named after the Tibetan
Book of the Dead), the new Hindus, Buddhists, and other adherents of new
9 Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin, America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s (New
York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 242-244. For more information, read Chapter 13 of
Isserman and Kazans book titled "Many Faiths: The 60s Reformation." Isserman and Kazin
also relate the postwar American religious climate to international trends as well such as the
promotion of religious tolerance and integration as a statement against godless Communism
during the Cold War. Isserman and Kazin cite global events such as the liberal reforms of
Vatican II and the growing geopolitical importance of the Middle East in shaping liberal and
conservative Catholicism and Judaism in the United States. Isserman and Kazin state that
perhaps the most significant element of this religious revival is the dissipation of
denominational social divisions in American society and the rise of the divide between
theological conservatives and liberals. There is no assertion of the significance of Black
American Islam as advocated by figures such as Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X in the
account.
10 Ibid, 250-254.
11


religions always constituted a small fraction of the American religious
landscape. Even in the San Francisco Bay Area, only ten percent of the
population took part in these new religions.11 Isserman and Kazin imply that
the reason for the inability of new non-Western religions to significantly alter
the American religious climate lay in the demographics of their new acolytes.
The majority of new American adherents to Hinduism, Buddhism and other
Eastern practices were overwhelmingly white and college-educated youth
who were disenchanted with mainstream Judeo-Christian values they
perceived as tainted by the corporatist West. Since the followers of new
religions were in a minority and did not reflect a broad social, ethnic or
economic spectrum, their impact would be largely confined to their own small
communities.
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche gained followers in the United States
because he was willing to adapt to the ways of his hippie and counter-culture
adherents. The small, unassuming town of Barnet, Vermont is where
Chogyam Trungpas legacy as a forefather of American Buddhism took root.
American students who had received training at Samye Ling assisted
Trungpa and his wife in obtaining visas.12 Trungpa and his students soon
11 Isserman and Kazin, 256-259.
12 Silberman, 2.
12


established a meditation practice center in rural Vermont which became
known as Tail of the Tiger.
Jonathan Eric, one of Trungpas first American students in America,
recalled the early atmosphere of Tail of the Tiger as being extremely informal
and disorganized. Aside from a few brief meditation sessions, there were no
formal programs or classes. Contributing to a sense of disorder was that the
original facility of Tail of the Tiger consisted of a single-floor shrine room,
which held twenty people at most.13 All present, including the former spiritual
autocrat, delighted in the informality and banter. The conduct of meditation
classes between Trungpa and his students took on an egalitarian format.
Diana Mukpo later attributed this approach to Trungpas own engaging
personality. He would engage his students less as a master and more as a
peer, which encouraged deeper communication between them.14 Community
meetings eventually were held Native American style. Trungpa cultivated
loyalty from his students this way and also by participating in their
hippie hijinks and creative pursuits whether it was listening to their guitar
sessions or wearing Erics hippie hat.15
13 Jonathan Eric, Interviewed by William Fordham, March 14 2002, The Chronicles Project,
http://www.chronicleproject.com/stories_17_b.html (accessed July 15, 2011).
14
Mukpo, Crazy Wisdom, 2.
15 Eric, March 14, 2002
13


Trungpas fame grew though his lecture circuits and the publication of
his books on meditation. These tours also resulted in the cultivation of more
friends and allies. In California in 1971 Trungpa met with the much revered
Sunryu Suzuki Roshi, founder of the San Francisco Zen Center and the man
whose Zen teachings fueled the Beat Generation. The Rinpoche and the
Roshi got along very well. In fact, there was an informal exchange of students
between Suzukis students interested in Tibetan meditation practice and
Trungpas students who wanted to experience Japanese Zen practice at the
Tassajara Zen Mountain Center near Carmel, California.16 Most prolific
among his new friends, though, were the Beat writers themselves.
Beat poets and artists were drawn to Trungpa due to his eccentric
personality and his interest in the arts of his new home. In the late 1960s,
Anne Waldman, a recent graduate from Bennington College in Vermont, was
making her name as a rising poet in the New York School of poets and artists.
Basing herself in New York City in 1966, Waldman served as assistant
director of the St Marks Poetry Project in Manhattans East Village. Housed
at historic St Marks Church in-the-Bowery, the Poetry Project embodied the
creative spirit of the East Village, hosting poetry readings, workshops and
publishing magazines. The project also hosted political activities and events.
Waldman had developed an interest in Buddhism in the early 1960s. She met
16 Usow, May 18, 23, 2006.
14


Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in New York City in 1970.17 Waldman found the
monk intriguing. His eccentricities and provocative nature made him more
like her fellow poets than a pious, ethereal teacher. Waldman especially
appreciated Trungpas passion for the arts, noting that when he first came to
the United States he declared '"I want to meet the poets, you know, take me
to your poets.' And who comes here to meet the poets?18 Waldmans
experience in guiding poetry workshops and hosting events at St. Marks
would prove useful in the years to come.
Allen Ginsberg saw Chogyam Trungpa not only as a spiritual mentor,
but as an egalitarian spiritualist like himself. They first met under purely
accidental circumstances. In New York City in 1972, Allen Ginsberg and his
father, Louis, left the Museum of Modern Art and attempted to hail a taxi.
Standing next to them was a rather strange man from Tibet who had
apparently hailed the same taxi as the Ginsbergs. A brief argument over who
would take the taxi ensued but was soon resolved. The accidental encounter
proved to be an auspicious moment for both Ginsberg and Trungpa.19 Just as
17
Anne Waldman, Co-founder of Naropa University, interviewed by Ross R. Webster, April
12, 2010, phone. The interview with Waldman was amicable and yielded useful information
about the formative years of the Naropa Institute; she did not seem willing to talk about the
events relating to the Poetry Wars. She also talked extensively about Naropas legacy
regarding Colorados poetry scene, which albeit informative, was not of primary concern
given the tightly limited timeline and focus of this thesis in its current state.
78 Waldman, April 10, 2010.
15


Anne Waldman did, Ginsberg found a kindred spirit in Trungpa, especially in
regards to his practice of crazy wisdom. Ginsberg had been infatuated with
Eastern religious and spiritual traditions since the early years of his poetry
career, but the spiritual relationship between Ginsberg and Trungpa struck a
much deeper chord than the poets previous dalliances with the Hare
Krishnas and other Eastern spiritual imports. Ginsberg stated that part of the
reason was that, in the past, poets seeking new spirituality had to go through
the likes of dubious characters such as Madame Blavatsky, Alister Crowley or
swami so-and-so who comes over from India.20 He believed that thanks to
authentic lamas like Trungpa, their ancient practices no longer belonged
exclusively to the holy men of the Himalayas. The Tibetan diaspora, he said,
had taken all of their legendary and mystical information, and brought it right
here to be confronted.21
20Clark, 55. Russian-American Madame Blavatsky and the infamous British occultist Alister
Crowley were the respective founders of the Theosophy movement and the Golden Order of
the Hermeneutical Dawn. Both can be considered the Victorian era equivalents to the new
religions of the mid-Twentieth Century. While both figures were revered by a minority on
both sides of the Atlantic, they were usually regarded as cranks, con-artists and in Crowleys
case, a sexual and moral deviant. Theosophy borrowed tenants such as magic, seances and
reincarnation liberally from Eastern religions, and is regarded as the ancestor of the modern
New Age Movement. For information about Madame Blavatskys roll in importing Eastern
religious practices to the West see: Mark Bevil "The West Turns Eastward: Madame
Blavatsky and the Transformation of the Occult Tradition "Journal of the American Academy of
Religion, Vol. 62, No. 3 (Autumn, 1994), pp.747-767
21
Ibid.
16


Colorado moved the Rinpoche more than any other place in the United
States at first for its nostalgic value. However, he may have set his sights
elsewhere if not for Karl and Marcia Usow, two married faculty members at
the University of Colorado at Boulder. The Usows bonded over Trungpas
teachings after reading his book, Meditation in Action. They were inspired to
seek him out in Scotland and invite him to teach at Boulder. By that time,
however, Trungpa had already left Samye Ling Monastery. The couple finally
relayed their invitation through Montreal where Trungpa lived before attaining
his visa. Initially, Trungpa felt no desire to go to Boulder but was persuaded
when the Usows wrote back saying that one hundred potential students
gathered anxious to see him.22 Diana Mukpo later hinted that her husband
was also persuaded by the postcard of Colorado the Usows had sent.
According to Marcia Usow, Diana said that one of the things that he looked
at and he said, Oh, those are cute mountains.having grown up in calm in
eastern Tibet. 23 The Usows and other friends arranged for Trungpas arrival,
and secured him a job teaching Buddhism in the universitys philosophy
department.24
Usow, May 18, 23, 2006.
23
Ibid.
24
Ibid.
17


Barbara Dilley, a former director of the Naropa Institute, believes that it
was not simply nostalgia fueling Trungpas mind when he laid eyes on the
Rocky Mountains. In Colorado he saw the perfect environment to develop
the teaching that he was doing on the traditional Tibetan Buddhist dharma.25
As he did in Scotland and Barnet, Vermont, Trungpa established a meditation
center named Karma Dzong in downtown Boulder in 1971. Later that same
year, he purchased 360 acres of land west of Fort Collins, Colorado at Red
Feather Lakes. This was to become the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center.
Other meditation centers were established in southern Colorado as well as in
six other states including the Mudra Theater Group, which taught traditional
Tibetan dance.26 In 1973 the Vajradhatu Organization was incorporated in
order to better coordinate transmission of the Rinpoches teachings and
consolidate the management of earnings from the centers. In less than four
years, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche had become one of the most prosperous
new religious leaders in the United States with landholdings nearing one
25 Barbara Dilley, interviewed and filmed by Shirley S. Steele, The Maria Rogers Oral History
Program, June 3, 2005, http://boulderlibrary.org/carnegie/index.html (accessed June 21,
2011).
26 Clark, 17 The Rocky Mountain Dharma Center was renamed the Shambhala Mountain
Center shortly after Chogyam Trungpas death.
18


million dollars in value.27 However, it was no longer enough for Trungpa
merely to establish meditation centers.
Clark, 17.
19


CHAPTER 2
LIBERAL POLITICS, LIFSTYLES AND EDUCATION IN
POSTWAR BOULDER
According to Amy L. Scotts Remaking Urban in the American West:
Lifestyle Politics, Micropolitan Urbanism, and Hip Capitalism in Boulder
Colorado, 1958-1978, Boulder was a prime example of the crossroads of two
trends in the postwar American West. The rapid suburbanization of Western
cities and the fledgling environmentalist movement would be a long source of
social and political tension in Boulder. By the 1970s, however, new substrata
of Boulder liberals managed to find an economic compromise between these
two trends.
The roots of Boulders environmentalist movement can be traced back
to 1903 when the Boulder City Improvement Association organized to
improve the living standards of their young city. Frederick Law Olmstead Jr.,
Americas premier landscape architect, and son of the mastermind of New
York Citys Central Park, arrived in 1908 at the invitation of the Boulder City
Improvement Organization. At the end of his two year stay, Olmstead
produced a booklet titled The Improvement of Boulder, Colorado: Report to
City Improvement Association. The master architect was greatly impressed
with the beauty of the city and believed it had great promise if his guidelines
20


were considered. Among the measures he urged Boulderites to take were to
outlaw billboards, bury powerlines and to convert twenty percent more land to
parks. After Olmsteads departure, several city planners upheld the
commitment to open space policies in Boulder. Saco Reink DeBoers, a Dutch
immigrant and Denver city planner pioneered zoning schemes and park
planning in Boulder as well as many other cities and towns in the Mountain
States Region. DeBoer cautioned Boulderites that unchecked residential
growth would destroy the proximity to nature prided by the city. Unfortunately
for DeBoer and like-minded Boulder city council members such as Paul
Danish, most Boulderites favored the expansion of residential space.28
In the 1950s, Boulder as well as the rest of Colorado experienced
unprecedented growth in part due to the establishment of several scientific
research and defense industry complexes in the state, including the federal
government's Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons facility. Meanwhile, many new
residents in Boulder were drawn to its beautiful natural surroundings amidst
growing economic opportunities and the expectation of a fresh, healthy
lifestyle. By the late fifties, a coalition of environmentalists closely associated
with the University of Colorado began to speak out against the infringement of
rapid growth on the natural landscape. It, they argued, was more important to
28 Noel, Thomas J. and Dan W. Corson, Boulder County: An Illustrated History, Boulder, CO:
Historic Boulder, Inc., 1999. P. 140-145.
21


the lives and livelihoods of Boulderites than any benefits of urban sprawl.
Although they faced a steep battle against the pro-development conservatives
and liberals in the city, the environmentalists gained new converts in the form
of new lifestyle liberals.29
The lifestyle liberals did not just advocate restraint on development in
their city. From their experience in the student youth movements, many left-
leaning young Boulderites abandoned street and campus protests in favor of
the political process in order to create laws protecting the freedom to
participate in culturally distinct lifestyles. They proactively worked the system
so successfully that they essentially became it or, more accurately, became a
potent element of it. In 1971, Boulderites elected a new liberal city council that
sought to encourage minority participation in local government, protect
womens reproductive rights through free medical clinics, and prevent social
on
For more information about the social transformation of Boulder from the 1950s to the
1970s, read Amy L.Scotts dissertation, Remaking Urban in the American West: Lifestyle
Politics, Micropolitan Urbanism, and Hip Capitalism in Boulder Colorado, 1958-1978
(Albuquerque, NM: The University of New Mexico, 2007) Scott uses Boulder as an example
of the influence of coalitions of liberal communities including classic mainstream liberals,
radical New Left politicians and newly emerged lifestyle liberals and hip capitalists in
reshaping postwar Western cities in the United States. In her dissertation, Scott
demonstrates how lifestyle liberals, managed to shape Boulders commitment to lifestyle
diversity and environmental politics by winning elections and gaining control of city planning
agencies, p. 108-115.
22


inequalities and intolerance of diverse lifestyles. However, in order to reach
certain municipal goals, the lifestyle liberals did have to make compromises
and concessions to conservative counter-parts. The new liberals in the
government passed city ordinances prohibiting hippies and transients from
occupying public space in Boulder. They also believed it necessary to put the
campaign for gay rights on hold for decades before they could be realized.
Despite these setbacks, the lifestyle liberals achieved remarkable success in
transforming highly politicized social agendas, such as sustainable living, into
sound economic decisions that could improve the livelihoods of Boulder
suburbanites.30 Open Space legislation gained popular support again. In
1972 Mayor Robert Knecht and other civic leaders established Historic
Boulder Inc., a corporation dedicated to preserving historic landmarks and
curbing re-development in the city.31Organic food companies, such as
Celestial Seasonings, Alfalfas Market, and Horizon Organic Dairy, began
their business at this time and rose to national prominence. The new hip
capitalists of Boulder managed to turn their radical life choices, philosophies
and religion into marketable commodities.32
30 Scott, 155-158.
31 Noel and Corson, 155-157, 164-166.
32 Scott, 299-317.
23


Aside from the commercial viability of alternative lifestyles and
religions, the most important aspect of Boulder for Chogyam Trungpa was
that it was a university town; it was a community fueled by the exchange of
ideas. According to Marcia Usow, Trungpas interest in education came from
his time spent at Oxford University where he had conversed with great
thinkers such as the American Trappist monk, Thomas Merton.33 In 1974,
Trungpa established the Nalanda Foundation, which aimed to expand his
teachings beyond meditation and reciting of Buddhist doctrines. Named after
an ancient Buddhist university in India, the Nalanda Foundation coordinated
extra-meditational activities such as Japanese Archery, flower arranging, tea
ceremonies, and health care, psychotherapy, and dance programs. Trungpa
explained that the purpose of these programs was to bring art into everyday
life. That same year, Trungpa set about his most ambitious project to date,
the creation of a home-grown Buddhist university in order to expand on
Nalandas mission of education. Fie named it Naropa Institute after an ancient
Buddhist sage.
When describing his vision for the Naropa Institute, Chogyam Trungpa
was fond of saying that when East meets West, sparks will fly.34 Dramatic as
Usow, May 18, 23, 2006.
34 Reed Bye, The Founding Vision of Naropa, Recalling Chogyam Trungpa, Boston MA:
Shambhala Publications Inc., 2005, 143.
24


it might have sounded, Trungpa did not have Gary Snyders essay Buddhism
and the Coming Revolution in mind. Snyder proposed in that essay, that
instead of trying to salvage the doomed traditional American culture, that a
new culture can be reconstructed from the unconscious, through
meditation.35 In fact, the climate of cynicism and negation of Western
cultural traditions is what Trungpa found most distressing about America in
the 1970s. He told students that to reject their original traditions was to reject
ones self and to deny an important source of human wisdom. 36 What
Trungpa wanted was glue, not a full-on demolition, to improve the values of
his new home. The glue he felt should come from a new educational model.
Trungpa was not the only postwar religious leader to believe that
existing educational institutions were to blame for Americas lapse in ethics
and morality, but he was ambivalent about the relationship between students
and the academic establishment. Both religious conservatives and liberals
believed that vice and existential evil was seeping into academic
establishments and students should be the spiritual vanguard for the
American future. In the 1950s, Bill Bright the founder of the Campus Crusade
Gary Snyder, Buddhism and the Coming Revolution, Arthur Magazine. For more
information about Gary Snyders theories on revolutionary politics and a utopian American
culture based on Buddhist and Native American spirituality, read: Richard Candida Smith,
Utopia and Dissent: Art, Poetry, and Politics in California. University of California Press
(Berkeley CA; 1995).
36 Bye, 145.
25


for Christ lamented that despite the Christian foundations of many American
colleges and universities, most university students were spiritually illiterate,
and spoon-fed skepticism by liberal modernist professors.37 For Bright and
other Evangelical Christian leaders, the postwar American university was a
Trojan horse and made it their mission to re-Christianize university students
to save them from sin and subversive realist ideologies which they believed to
be gateways to Communism and godlessness.38
On the opposite end of the socio-political spectrum, liberal Christians
were committed to the idea that university campuses remain forums for public
expression of free speech no matter how unpopular. Doug Rossinows The
Politics of Authenticity: Liberalism, Christianity, and the New Left in America
documents the influence of the University of Texas YMCA, YWCA and similar
liberal Christian organizations in shaping student activist movements during
the Sixties. For these liberal Christians, the pursuit of authenticity was a
crusade not against subversive philosophies, but against complacency,
apathy and social injustice. Their crusade was to insure that the universities
37 John G. Turner. Bill Bright & Campus Crusade for Christ: The Renewal of Evangelicalism
in Postwar America. The University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill NC: 2008. P. 42. For
more information about Bill Brights crucial role in the rise of conservative Christianity in the
postwar era, read John G. Turners Bill Bright & Campus Crusade for Christ: The Renewal of
Evangelicalism in Postwar America.
38 Ibid, p. 42-45.
26


not concede to the designs of the status quo who insisted on the promotion of
racial inequality and the war economy.39
The vision for the Naropa Institute was ascribed by Chogyam Trungpa
on June 10, 1974 as he addressed students and faculty attending the opening
convocation ceremony for Naropa which was held in an auditorium at
University of Colorado at Boulder. He denounced the partisan nature of
American academic institutions. He announced that his new educational
project, above all, would be students and faculty working together and relating
to each other on the basis of trust which seems to be lacking enormously in
the Western educational tradition.40 The main problem in Western academic
education, Trungpa believed, was inflexibility between notions of the past, the
present and the future which created corruption and drudgery in a society.
Instead, he insisted that his students embrace a concept called newness.
Newness simply implied that one should approach academic disciplines and
cultural traditions with mindfulness and awareness so that wisdom can be
received into the world with fresh life and adaptability. As much as Trungpa
39 Doug Rossinow. The Politics of Authenticity: Liberalism, Christianity and the New Left in
America. Columbia University Press. New York: 1998. P. 83-109. For more information on
the influence of liberal Protestant Christianity, particularly influenced by existential Christian
theologians Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, Dietrich Bonheoffer and Martin Luther King Jr., in
shaping the New Left student movements of the sixties, read Doug Rossinows The Politics of
Authenticity: Liberalism, Christianity and the New Left in America.
27


was concerned about dissolving cultural apathy, he warned his students
against spiritual materialism or false perceptions of enlightenment which
could lead them into ego-centric self-serving spirituality absent of mindfulness
and understanding of others.41 The opening of the Naropa Institute was the
culmination of three decades of education, relocation and adaptation for the
Rinpoche.
Ibid, 146-147.
28


CHAPTER 3
CRAZY WISDOM: NAROPA STRUGGLES WHILE ARTISTS ASSEMBLE
In 1976, Allen Ginsberg wrote a letter to his friend, the iconic folk
musician Bob Dylan. He expressed the high ideals that he, Trungpa and Anne
Waldman hoped would carry their institute into the future and he lamented
realities weighing it down. Ginsberg regaled Dylan with the extraordinary
achievements of the institute from 1974 to 1976, particularly those of the Jack
Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics which Ginsberg and Waldman
named after their departed friend and fellow Beat icon. The institute, he told
Dylan, was a place where poets could meet cross country, fuck students,
open mind actual inside teaching, and receive the wisdom of lamas and Zen
masters.42 The purpose of the letter is clear. Ginsberg, amidst the Naropa
Institute's critical fund raising campaign of 1976, was asking Dylan for money
to help with the expenses of those extraordinary deeds.
He informed Dylan that the total debt for the summer of 1976
amounted to $90,000 for library expenses; taping lectures; rent for buildings;
and airfares for all of the visiting meditation masters, poets, theologians,
42 Allen Ginsberg, The Letters of Allen Ginsberg, edited by Bill Morgan, Philadelphia PA: Da
Capo Press, 2008, 387.
29


classical musicians and even biologists.43 Ginsberg assured Dylan that even
if the whole project collapsed next month, there was nothing to worry about in
the long run. He told Dylan whatever donation he could give provided a
historic opportunity to center refine and speed up the process of benevolent
mindfulness genius near (the) Rockies spinal height.44 Apparently Dylan
never responded to his friends request, but the institute prevailed into 1977
with the same optimistic outlook from its leadership despite its uphill struggle
for survival and credibility.
For Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, the appeal of Trungpas idea
for an experimental Buddhist-inspired university harkened back to the early
years of the Beat movement. In Utopia and Dissent: Art, Poetry and Politics in
California, Richard Candida-Smith examines the role of Beat Generation
poets and writers in shaping some of the ethics and ideals that framed their
spiritual quest. Almost all of the writers of the Beat Generation shared
disenchantment with established Western religion. They were generally more
inclined towards the spiritual practices of Asia, particularly Zen Buddhism.
None of the Beat writers were as immersed in Zen Buddhist practice and
doctrine as the California-based poet and early environmentalist leader, Gary
Snyder. Not only did Snyder study Zen but he also lived in Japan for over a
43 Ginsberg, 388.
44 Ibid, 389. The editor notes at the end of the letter that Dylan never replied.
30


decade. Candida-Smith stresses that the most important aspect about Snyder
was that he presented counterculture as a rational way of being and a force
for social responsibility.45
Unlike many of his peers, Snyder did not believe that the solution to
American societys ills lay in demonizing Western culture and romanticizing
non-Western cultures. Rather he hoped that he could find a balance between
American individualism and the need for cooperation.46 He advocated
education and examination of all the myths, arts, crafts, and methods towards
enlightenment. Snyder hoped that over time the wisdom of seemingly
backwards countries such as Cuba and Vietnam would overcome the
materialism of Western society and foster the values of equitable wealth
distribution and land stewardship. Snyder addressed his message to the
nation at the Human Be-In in San Franciscos Golden Gate Park in 1967
where he told his adherents to reject mainstream American values and take
LSD. However, as Snyder married and became more devoted to his family,
46
Richard Candida-Smith, Utopia and Dissent: Art, Poetry, and Politics in California (Berkley,
CA: University of California Press, 1995), 370.
46 Ibid, 379.
31


his focus localized to their new family home in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
in California.47
Named Kitkidizze, after a native shrub, Snyders new community was
more than a mere hippie commune Snyder hosted poetry workshops which
he hoped would improve his students appreciation of poetry while shaping
their life philosophy and improving their approach to everyday tasks. Snyder
and his neighbors organized a school district for their children, built and
improved roads, and established a Zen meditation center.48 Richard Candida-
Smith assesses that ultimately the grand utopian counterculture societies that
Snyder and other California artists dreamed of could not exist outside the
catastrophe of oppression.49 In other words, utopia could not exist without
the material evils that it defined itself against. Despite this paradox, Candida-
Smith acknowledges the ultimate value of Snyders vision. The workings of
Kitkidizze demonstrated that the dream of utopia allowed Snyder and others
to seek alternatives to existing structures of daily life.50 This is what the
Candida-Smith, 378.
Ibid, 378-379.
Ibid, 398.
Ibid, 398-399.
32


founders of Naropa hoped the aspiring graduates of their school would
accomplish, provided that it would survive past its initial year.
Naropas lack of a permanent campus and a solid financial base
impaired its path towards accreditation and academic legitimacy for most of
its first decade of existence. The institute relied primarily on tuition fees,
private gifts or grants, sales and services of auxiliary enterprises and
whatever federal grants that came its way. Aside from these resources,
friends of the institution gave loans at low interest rates and for long periods
of time. In the summer of 1974, the Naropa Institute had $5,000 in donations
and $5,000 in loans. The meager funds did not trouble the Naropa faculty as
they only expected four hundred students to attend the inaugural summer
quarter.51 After all, even with the inclusion of a few new courses such as
dance, psychology, cognitive science, and poetics, the fledgling institute did
not seem much different from Trungpas small concentrated meditation retreat
in Vermont or his cross-country seminars held in the early seventies.52 As it
turned out, the summer of 1974 was different indeed.
Preparations for that first quarter began in the fall of 1973. Potential
faculty members received invitations from the institute offering room, board,
51 Judith Lief, Naropa Institute Status Study Report to the Commission on Higher Education
of The North Central Association of Colleges & Secondary Schools, 1977, 190.
52
Margarette F. Eby, Guillermina Engelbrecht and Glenn A. Niemeyer" Report of a Visit to
Naropa Institute Boulder Colorado, March 12-14, 1984, Commission on Institutes of Higher
Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, March, 1984, 1.
33


travel expenses and three hundred dollars. Many in the broad list of potential
faculty included members of the Vajradhatu community and friends of the
institute such as Ram Dass, a Hindu spiritual teacher and associate of
Timothy Leary. In the winter of 1973-74 and the spring of 1974, the Naropa
Institutes mostly unpaid volunteer administrative staff sent out 50,000
catalogues, put up posters in cities across the country and ran a modest radio
advertising campaign to promote the new academic project. About the same
time that the first student registration forms arrived, the seven-member staff
received their first salaries of fifty dollars a week.53
The fledgling institute lacked adequate administrative structures. Its
staff had little experience in financial control and found itself grossly
unprepared for Naropas first year. Much to their surprise, 1,700 students
registered for that first term. Although the Naropa staff welcomed them, the
unanticipated influx of students necessitated a rapid increase in staff, facility
rentals and student accommodation. Although the first session of the Naropa
Institute was an amazing success in terms of enrollment, it was also left the
school with its first deficit.54 As the fall semester approached, the financial
weight of the miraculous summer began to set in. The institute had no major
John Baker and Jeremy Hayward, Naropa Institute Status Study Report to The
Commission On Higher Education of The North Central Association of Colleges and
Secondary Schools, June, 1975, 2-3.
54 Lief, 1977, 190.
34


source of regular operational revenue, and the unforeseen growth in student
enrollment meant that budget projections were difficult. The student influx
also meant that large down payments on housing and facilities had to be
made due to a lack of track records with landlords. The lack of managerial
experience among Naropas staff made fundraising difficult.55
According to Barbara Dilley who had just recently arrived as a dance
instructor, all of the Naropa staff that summer was scrambling around to rent
spaces at the university and to rent folding chairs and tables and try to set up
classrooms.56 The first Naropa offices at 1441 Broadway were originally a
bus depot and later an organic grocery store. Its large interior spaces were
ideal for auditorium-size presentations.57
Enrollment kept growing. For its first two years, the Naropa Institute
seemed to be constantly on the move as they continually needed more
space. First they moved to 1111 Pearl Street where the Boulder Bookstore
currently resides. Later that summer, the institute rented space in the Sacred
Heart Catholic School gymnasium and then at 1345 Spruce Street near the
Boulder Theater. Finally in 1976, the institute staff rented the Pick Building, a
55 Ibid, 190-191.
56 Barbara Dilley, interviewed and filmed by Shirley S. Steele, The Maria Rogers Oral History
Program, June 3, 2005, http://boulderlibrary.org/carnegie/index.html (accessed August 28,
2011).
57 Dilly, June 3, 2005.
35


former medical facility which was refurbished to accommodate mediation
rooms on its top floor.58 Despite this improvement, the institute would have no
permanent facilities until 1987.
By the winter of 1975, the institute made slight profits from its small
winter and spring programs while additional cash flow came mostly from
loans. However, in that same winter and spring season student attendance
dropped several hundred below projected figures. The 1977 status study
report to the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools assumed the
cause for this drop was the absence of the Hindu spiritual teacher, Ram Das,
that season. The financial hurdles got higher in the summer and fall of 1975.
The institute spent $12,000 for a seven-week consulting session by the
Academy of Educational Development. Although the institute received nearly
$72,000 from individual donations and 25,000 from an individual loan,
expenses increased due to the initiation of degree and certificate programs
for January 1976.59 Despite financial difficulties throughout the year of 1975,
the institute continued to initiate new modular programs. The modular
programs were designed to allow students and faculty to live together and
share input for the courses, arts and crafts and meditation studies. The
institute also designed a similar program for professional psychologists and
58 Usow, May 18, 23, 2006.
59 Lief, 191-192.
36


psychiatrists. However, the institute staff could not devote as much time to
these new developments as implementing year-round study took priority.60
By the summer of 1976 the institutes finances began to improve. In
1976, the Naropa staff established a fundraising drive which meant that the
institute could expand its financial resources and increase stability. The
institute finally received solid revenues that year. Tuition fees brought in
$385,000. Auxiliary sales and services amounted to $130,000. The National
Endowment for the Arts donated $5,000 for the institutes music program. The
Foundation for the Realization of Man, a non-profit organization in San
Francisco, submitted a 5,000 dollar unrestricted grant. With these substantial
donations and grants, the institute decided that it could award fellowships to
its most prospective students and faculty. Barbara Dilley received a fellowship
of $18,000. Nicolas Calas, a visiting Greek poet invited by Ginsberg, received
a fellowship of $760.61
Improved fundraising was the primary reason that the Naropa Institute
continued in the summer and fall of 1976 without having to temporarily
suspend operations. Without accreditation the institute had to rely on tuition to
meet most of its expenses. This was an extraordinary and dubious position
for a small fledgling institute, especially since most of the short-term loans
60 Naropa Institute Newsletter, Naropa Institute September 1977, 2.
61 Lief,. 192-193.
37


bridging its deficit were due that year. Even without the aid of Bob Dylan,
Naropa succeeded in raising $100,000 in less than ten weeks, mostly through
small donations from a multitude of people. The writers and editors of
Naropas first newsletter interpreted the donations as a sign that the institute
was seen as a valuable venture in American education.62
The presence of iconic Beat Generation poets and writers invited by
Ginsberg and Waldman to either read or teach at the institute's Jack Kerouac
School of Disembodied Poetics was a major draw for aspiring students. In
the Naropa Institutes first, newsletter published in the fall of 1977, the writers
and editors exuded the triumphs and highlights of the summer of 1976. The
Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics hosted classes and readings by
prominent poets and authors, such as John Ashbery, Robert Duncan, Diane
Wakoski, Diane di Prima and William S. Burroughs. 63 Burroughs became a
teaching writer in residence in Boulder. Although Burroughs, the teacher, was
somewhat removed from his dangerous past as Burroughs the provocateur
and tortured heroin junkie, he was no less a compelling and powerful
presence at Naropa.64 While the School of Disembodied Poetics with its
62 Naropa Institute, September 1977, 3.
63 Ibid, 3.
64 Marilyn Webb, Naropa Institute Colorados New Mecca for the Arts, Denver Magazine,
October 1977, 36. For more information about the interactions between Trungpa and the
38


visiting Beat poets was perhaps the most successful attraction for the Naropa
Institute, it was by no means the only one.
Dancers, musicians and psychological health experts, arrived in
Boulder either to teach, learn or both at the Naropa Institute. Barbara Dilley
and other performance-dance theater performers integrated voice movement
and meditation for performance improvisation training. A number of
established and respected psychologists and psychiatrists arrived to help
augment Naropas Buddhist psychology program. The psychologists and
psychoanalysts who offered their expertise ranged from more conventional
practitioners such as Elsa First, a disciple of Anna Freud, to Robert K Flail
from the experimental Gestalt Institute of San Francisco. The Beat writers and
poets, along with the dancers, musicians and psychological health experts,
also drew the attention of Chogyam Trungpas fellow meditation masters from
both Tibetan and Zen traditions.65
Most of the early articles about the Naropa Institute published by The
Denver Post and The Rocky Mountain News focused on the influx of artists,
authors and poets into Boulder. One such student was a young classically
trained musician from New York City named Peter Lieberson. His father,
Beat Generation poets and writers, read Anne Waldman and Laura Wrights Beats At
Naropa: An Anthology. Their collected anthology documents interviews readings and
symposia held at the Naropa Institute.
65 Naropa Institute, September 1977, 2.
39


Goddard Lieberson, was the former president of Columbia Records, and his
mother, Vera Zorina Lieberson, was an accomplished dancer and actress.
Peter Lieberson could have easily remained and made a career for himself in
the New York classical music scene but instead chose the counter-cultural
bastion near the Rocky Mountains.66 In an interview with Arlynn Nellhaus of
The Denver Post, Lieberson stated that his desire to leave New York
stemmed from disillusionment with pointless high pressure career chasing
and hustling. Lieberson also left for financial reasons. He had run out of
unemployment compensation and grants in New York.67
Given his dubious career trajectory, Lieberson was naturally attracted
to the Rinpoches teachings on abandoning material pursuits in favor of
meditation and self-discovery. When the Rinpoche invited Lieberson to teach
a seminar in meditation in the institutes music program, Lieberson moved to
Boulder where he found many like-minded people. When asked by Marjorie
Barrett of The Rocky Mountain News about a rising interest in sitting
meditation, Lieberson stated that American materialism has not been much
help in getting rid of dissatisfaction.68 Like Leiberson, many of the students
66 Arlynn Nelhaus, Musician Discovers Niche in Boulder, The Denver Post,. July 14, 1976,
66.
67 Nelhaus, July 14, 1976, 66.
68 Marjorie Barrett, Composer trades music for Shambhala The Rocky Mountain News,
August 3, 1977, 34.
40


at Naropa were transplants from the East Coast.69 Although delighted to be in
the company of so many poets and musicians from familiar environs,
Lieberson was concerned about the relationship between his newly found arts
mecca and the state hosting them.70 He desired that the Naropa Institute be
a part of Colorado, not a collection of people from other places who dropped
here.71
Meanwhile, the Colorado mainstream press seemed delighted with the
new collection of artists, poets, writers and musicians. What mattered to them
was that the artists were gathering in Boulder and the Naropa Institute
signaled a rebirth of the same creative energy that fueled the San Francisco
beat renaissance and the music of the sixties. One Denver Post headline in
August of 1976 read, Boulder Innovative Music Capital-Because of
Naropa.72 In the article, writer Arlynn Nellhaus highlighted the presence of
jazz musicians Don Cherry, Dan Blackwell, Karl Berger and other lesser-
known musicians. The article emphasized the experimentation by the
musicians such as their ability to master a variety of instruments ranging from
piano to vibraphone to African stringed instruments. Their musical range,
69 Ibid, 38.
70 Nellhaus, July 14, 1976,66.
71 Ibid.
72 Arlynn Nellhaus, Boulder Innovative Music Capital-Because of Naropa, The Denver Post,
August 18, 1976, 41.
41


Nellhaus described, ran the full gamut from mystical to soulful straight-ahead
The Naropa story also came across the airwaves in Colorado. Allen
Ginsberg, a guest on KRNW Radio, emphasized experimentation and
playfulness as part of the atmosphere of the Naropa Institute. On his
broadcast, Ginsberg described one of his courses, Mind, Mouth and Page,
a poetry workshop beginning with the poetry of William Blake and ending in
the twentieth century with the likes of Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, and
himself. He also spoke about the completion of his blues album, First Blues,
Rags, Ballads and Harmonium Songs, which he achieved under the
guidance of Bob Dylan.* 74 Ginsberg expressed optimism that the institute
would last either a hundred years or until there is a totally sparkling poetry
school that will transmit the lyrical minds and diamonds of the past.75
'3 Nellhaus, August 18, 1976, 41.
74 Andrew Cleary, Ginsberg concentrates on Buddhism, blues, The Rocky Mountain News,
April 1, 1977, 6-7.
42


CHAPTER 4
NAROPA ADJUSTS AS BOULDER CHANGES
In the late seventies, the founders and staff of the Naropa Institute
struggled to define their relationship with the city and people of Boulder. As
Naropa was trying to get its bearings as an academic institution, the attitudes
of Boulderites as well as those of many Americans towards sixties idealism
and alternative religions were changing. New hip urban capitalists and
lifestyle liberals in Boulder desired to weave Boulder liberalism into the
political and commercial arena, forsaking those who adhered to the hippie
lifestyle and far counter-culture. Trungpa desired that Naropa also cast off its
hippie roots and make itself and its leaders more attractive to the new lifestyle
liberals and hip capitalists. Although Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman
would participate in a popular demonstration against the Rocky Flats nuclear
arms factory, they would increasingly re-direct their energies towards
individual spiritual pursuits as taste for sixties-style revolution decreased
throughout the country. Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman and other Naropa
Institute associates also struggled to defend Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
from fellow poets and the Boulder mainstream press when he exhibited
disturbing behavior akin to an abusive cult leader.
43


In rebelling against the trappings of his original spiritual vocation,
Trungpa adopted a new Western lifestyle and dress that at times could be
quite conservative and conformist by Western standards. He insisted that his
closest disciples dress conservatively and encouraged them to live well, even
as he lived lavishly. Trungpa even convinced Allen Ginsberg, a quintessential
counter-culture icon, to adopt a mainstream wardrobe. The fashion
breakthrough occurred while shopping one day at a Salvation Army store in
Boulder. After Trungpa simply suggested that he try on white shirts instead of
black ones, Ginsberg bought twenty white shirts.76 Almost instantly Ginsberg
noticed that in his new attire people were less scared of me.77 Soon his
wardrobe included suits, and even tuxedoes. This simple gesture reflected a
profound change occurring within the main student and faculty body of the
institute.
Trungpas concern for the lifestyle choices of his adherents served the
Naropa community well given the deeply contested social and political climate
of Boulder in the seventies. The transformation of Boulder from a quiet
conservative university town into a bastion of liberalism and counterculture
had not been smooth. By 1970 three substrata of postwar Boulder society
found themselves at odds over the character of their community. Boulders
76 Clark, 21.
44


University Hill neighborhood embodied the struggle between conservatives,
lifestyle liberals and hippies. Entrenched conservative merchants on the Hill
deeply distained the influx of hippies accumulating in Boulder since the late
sixties. While they disdained hippies for the latters rejection of mainstream
American society, they were more concerned that the hippies presence on
the Hill decreased sales and frightened away respectable, paying customers.
Their campaign to drive unruly, obnoxious hippies off the Hill galvanized other
conservative community organizations to advocate legislation to ban hippies
and transients from other public spaces, most notably Boulders Central Park.
The park had become unsanitary due to the hippies using Boulder Creek,
which runs through the park, as a source of bathing, waste and drinking
water. Local merchants worsened the problem as they refused to let hippies
use their bathrooms.78
Boulders liberal lifestyle oriented politicians, such as city manager Ted
Tedesco, and hip entrepreneurs favored mutual toleration and
78 For more information about the social transformation of Boulder from the 1950s to the
1970s, read Amy L.Scotts dissertation, Remaking Urban in the American West: Lifestyle
Politics, Micropolitan Urbanism, and Hip Capitalism in Boulder Colorado, 1958-1978. (The
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM, 2007). Scott uses Boulder as an example of the
influence of coalitions of liberal communities including classic mainstream liberals, radical
New Left politicians and newly emerged lifestyle liberals and hip capitalists in reshaping
postwar Western cities in the United States. In her dissertation, Scott demonstrates how
lifestyle liberals, managed to shape Boulders commitment to lifestyle diversity and
environmental politics by winning elections and gaining control of city planning agencies, (p.
108-115)
45


understanding of the needs of hippies and transients. Despite his more
lenient rhetoric, Tedesco found himself at the mercy of conservative
Boulderites who favored running hippies out of town.79 Many liberal politicians
and entrepreneurs acknowledged that conservative Boulderites had legitimate
grievances about the transient problem, though they made clear distinctions
between peaceful flower children and hardcore, violent, drug-abusing
hippies.
Rampant drug use, drug dealing and the violence that accompanied
such activities united liberals and conservatives against the hard-core
hippies and transients. Boulder liberals felt these elements of the hippie
lifestyle were destroying the counterculture ideal. Worst of all were the violent
anarchist radicals and drug gangs formed out of hippie collective
communities, most embodied by the Serenity, Tranquility and Peace Family.
Commonly referred to as the STP Family, they were one of many groups who
created an underground drug economy in Boulder.80
Boulder city officials and business people, liberal and conservative
alike, found common ground on the rise of the hippie drug-gangs. They
adopted stricter law enforcement ordinances and even established a
permanent police sub-station on the Hill. In May 1971 a three-day riot
79 Scott, 119-120.
80 Ibid, 124-128.
46


erupted on the Hill out of a fist-fight between a street person and a police
officer. This event and its subsequent damage to Hill property further
polarized the division of those who championed the full-blown counterculture
revolution, those who wanted to erase its stamp on the community, and those
liberals who relied on the established political system. Even city council
members like Tim Fuller, who was a hip capitalist and gay rights activist, felt
that the counterculture had to reach maturity and embrace civic society.81
As more liberal politicians and hip capitalists distinguished
themselves from the hardcore hippies and transients, they earned less scorn
and criticism of their lifestyle from conservative Boulderites. This protected
fraternity also included Chogyam Trungpa, Allen Ginsberg, Ann Waldman and
the Naropa community.82 In turn, the common profile of the rank and file of
Chogyam Trungpas adherents changed as well. Unlike those wilderness
years in Vermont, fewer freaks and commune dwellers attended either the
Naropa Institute or Trungpas other meditation venues. By the late 1970s,
followers, students and faculty members were more likely to be prosperous
white middle-class Americans who were as career-minded as they were
spiritually minded. In associating more with the lifestyle liberals, the presence
of new Buddhist practitioners was more acceptable and more palatable for
81 Scott, 134-143.
82 Ibid, 134.
47


mainstream Boulderites.83 The classless society that Gary Snyder and other
Beat writers and their adherents dreamed would prevail over mainstream was
still just that, a dream.
Nevertheless, Boulder's fresh class of citizens demonstrated that
returning to mainstream society did not necessarily mean capitulation to old
status quo. If there was anything that provoked sufficient outrage to their
sensibilities and concerns they knew how to revive their tactics of the sixties.
One such outrage could be found just eight miles south. Perhaps no other
establishment in Colorado symbolized all things anathema to the New Left,
Naropa Beats and the fledgling environmentalist movement than the Rocky
Flats Nuclear Plant. Established in 1953, shortly after detonation of the first
hydrogen bomb, the Rocky Flats facility specialized in the production of
components for nuclear weapons, especially plutonium triggers. Managed
now by the Dow Chemical Company, the Rocky Flats facility supplied much of
the nation's Cold War nuclear arsenal. As the plant expanded in its first two
decades, nuclear waste contamination increased. Doctor John Cobb, a
Quaker physician and later activist conducted a study on behalf of the
Environmental Protection Agency regarding the amount of plutonium in
human tissue belonging to people living near Rocky Flats. In autopsies done
83 Sandra Bell, Crazy Wisdom, Charisma, and the Transmission of Buddhism in the United
States Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, Vol. 2, No.
1 (October 1998), 62.
48


on 450 subjects, Cobb found substantial amounts of weapons-grade
plutonium 239 in the lungs and livers of Rocky Flats workers and nearby
denizens.84
While the Beat generation writers and poets shared a general
abhorrence for both the prospects of armed nuclear conflict as well as the
potential environmental devastation that would follow either nuclear war or
disposal of nuclear waste, the faculty of the School of Disembodied Poetics,
particularly Anne Waldman, was motivated all the more poignantly by
concerns specific to their Colorado residency. Waldmans involvement with
Rocky Flats sprung from a visit to a nearby ranch with her son. The rancher
showed her deformed animals that had been born near the Rocky Flats site.85
This prompted here and Ginsberg to join the growing Rocky Flats Action
Force.
The Rocky Flats Action Force was formed in 1974 by a potent coalition
dedicated to shutting down this military-industrial complex. Among the group
were Colorado environmentalists; medical and health officials, such as Doctor
84 Dr. John (Jock) Cobb, interviewed and filmed by Hannah Nordhaus, The Maria Rogers
Oral History Program, December 24 2003 and February 12, 2004 (accessed November 4,
2011) http://www.boulderlibrary.org/oralhistory/OH1180v. For more information on the various
aspects of the history of the Rocky Flats Nuclear Facility, see the Rocky Flats Oral History
Collection compiled by the Rocky Flats Cold War Museum the Boulder Public Library as part
of the Maria Rogers Oral History Program.
85 Rocky Flats Activists, October 28, 2006.
49


John Cobb; and victims of health defects due to radioactive poisoning
including farmers who had lost animals to malignant radioactive mutations. As
the movement against Rocky Flats grew, they were joined by national
dissident figures such as the Beat poets and Daniel Ellsburg, the
whistleblower of the Pentagon Papers. Demonstrations at the site grew
reminiscent of antiwar protests of the sixties. The most substantial action
began in the summer of 1978 when sixty protesters were arrested for
obstructing railway tracks leading to the plant.86 During the course of the
protests, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman and other Naropa Beats sat on the
railways. They were arrested along with 286 other protesters including Daniel
Ellsberg in 1979.87 Ginsberg and Waldman commemorated the protests in
their poetry. The most famous of poems composed during these events is
Allen Ginsbergs Plutonian Ode which directly mentions Rocky Flats in
several verses:
The Bar surveys Plutonian history from midnight
lit with Mercury Vapor streetlamps till in dawn's
early light
he contemplates a tranquil politic spaced out between
Nations' thought-forms proliferating bureaucratic
& horrific arm'd, Satanic industries projected sudden
with Five Hundred Billion Dollar Strength
around the world same time this text is set in Boulder,
Colorado before front range of Rocky Mountains
twelve miles north of Rocky Flats Nuclear Facility in
Rocky Flats Activists, October 28, 2006 http://www.boulderlibrary.org/oralhistory/ OH1530.
50


United States of North America, Western Hemi-
sphere
of planet Earth six months and fourteen days around
our Solar System in a Spiral Galaxy
the local year after Dominion of the last God nineteen
hundred seventy eight
Completed as yellow hazed dawn clouds brighten East,
Denver city white below
Blue sky transparent rising empty deep & spacious to a
morning star high over the balcony
above some autos sat with wheels to curb downhill
from Flatiron's jagged pine ridge,
sunlit mountain meadows sloped to rust-red sandstone
cliffs above brick townhouse roofs
as sparrows waked whistling through Marine Street's
summer green leafed trees88
Chogyam Trungpa was absent from the protests. His rejection of social
protest was symptomatic of collective disenchantment with the legacy of the
sixties social revolutions. Trungpa said although he admired his friend and
student Ginsbergs poetry, he felt that Ginsbergs poems regarding the
Vietnam War and other American crises contributed to the climate of
discontent.89 Trungpa believed that meditation rather than poetry and
individual fulfillment rather than social provocation were better responses to
Americas ills.90 In his landmark study, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and
Revival of American Community, Robert D. Putnam identifies the 1970s as
88 Allen Ginsberg, Plutonian Ode. Collected Poems: 1947-1997. HarperCollins, New York:
2007. Pp. 712-713. For information about the symbolism in Plutonian Ode, read the notes
on pp.803-805 in Allen Ginsberg: Collected Poems: 1947-1997.
89 Stephen A. Kent, From Slogans to Mantras: Social Protest and Religious Conversions in
the late Vietnam War era, Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2001, 178.
51


the point in twentieth century American history where civic and community
engagement among the general populous declines significantly. Putnam
argues that a number of complex factors affected civic disengagement in the
postwar era, the most important being generational change. The Boomer
generation cultivated distaste for political involvement in the wake of the
Vietnam War, the King and Kennedy assassinations, and the Watergate
scandal. This alienation was coupled with more individualistic tendencies and
pursuits of the Boomers meant less engagement in government, religion and
American communal life in general than all previous generations.91 Although
grassroots activism would continue and affect social change, whether from
liberal environmentalist groups or Evangelical Christians, it would never
achieve the mass movements that defined the sixties.92 Even some of the
most ardent devotees of social revolution began to waver.
Q1
Robert D. Putnam. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.
Simon & Schuster Paperbacks. New York: 2000. Pp. 257-259, 283-284.For more information
about the decline of civic engagement in American society from the postwar era into the end
of the Twentieth Century, read Robert D. Putnams Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival
of American Community. Putnams other major factors affecting Postwar civic disengagement
including financial pressures in the wake of inflation after the Vietnam War and the oil shocks
of the 1970s, mass suburbanization and especially the advent of television as a privatized
entertainment venue compared to the more communal act of going to the theatre or the
cinema.
no
Ibid, 153-161. Putnam notes also that even if grassroots environmental movements or
even groups such as the National Rifle Association have popular support, they have difficulty
cultivating membership, participation and social capital from supporters. He also notes that
conservative grassroots vitality is stronger than among liberals, especially from religious
conservatives.
52


Stephen A. Kent, author of From Slogans to Mantras: Social Protest
and Religious Conversion in the Late Vietnam War Era, notes the significance
of the sequence of events that unfolded in the United States and elsewhere in
the world in the late 1960s and early 1970s as factors contributing to
increased membership in new religious movements. The primary example
Kent uses is Rennie Davis, one of the Chicago Seven, who became an avid
devotee of the Divine Light Mission, a new religious movement founded by
the Indian guru, Maharaj Ji. According to Kents research, many New Left
radicals such as Davis felt overcome with frustration, fear and despair at the
failure of their revolution. They witnessed events and social trends which
convinced them that their country was headed into an inescapable cycle of
violence. With the 1968 election of Richard Nixon came expansion of the
Vietnam War into Laos and Cambodia. New Left liberals grieved the
assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. They
lamented the prevalence of figures such as Stokely Carmichael and
organizations such as the Black Panthers who advocated violent resistance in
the cause of civil rights. Their ultimate moment of despair was the gunning
down of anti-war activists at Kent State University in 1972. The tragedy at
Kent State, coupled with the subsequent official withdrawal of American
forces from Vietnam in 1973 and the collapse of the South Vietnamese state
in 1975, left Rennie Davis and other like-minded activists in a sad state of
53


limbo now that their ideals had presumably failed and their primary cause, the
Vietnam War was over.93
Kent argues that the shift from politics to religion was a coping
mechanism for the radicals suffering from the paradox of the end of the war
without their social revolution. However, the shift did not need to be some
shallow withdrawal from society in favor of self-indulgent spiritual fulfillment.
Kent also argues that for many of the New Left acolytes, their conversions
were a means of changing the primary focus of discontent from society to the
individual. By first focusing on their own self-improvement and, hopefully,
inspiring other converts to join and purify themselves, the revolution would
happen through its own accord.94 According to Kent, this is a typical path for
unfulfilled social movements to take by projecting the achievement of their
defeated goals into the apocalyptic future.95 The problem was that there was
no guarantee that these new religions would fully accommodate their radical
belief system.
Stephen A. Kent, From Slogans to Mantras: Social Protest and Religious Conversions in
the late Vietnam War Era,('Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2001), 32-37. For
more information on new religious conversions stemming from Sixties radicalism, read
Stephen Kents From Slogans to Mantras: Social Protest and Religious Conversions in the
late Vietnam War Era. His work focuses on several new religious movements including
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoches organizations. Other examples included are the Hare
Krishnas, the Christian World Liberation Front and L. Ron Hubbards Church of Scientology.
94 Ibid, 41-42.
54


These conversions from political radicalism to religion could deviate in
strange directions. Many radicals joined Reverend Sun Myung Moons
Unification Church. This was an especially odd choice considering the
organizations virulent anticommunism and unwavering support of President
Nixon.96 The conversion of many radicals to Evangelical Christian groups,
such as the Christian World Liberation Front and the Children of God, also
seemed strange. New converts forged a strong identification with Jesus as a
long-haired revolutionary contrary to the conservative nation-supporting Jesus
of the mainstream churches.97 Conversion was not without its risks. Even
though the new radical converts may have found spiritual enlightenment, their
enchantment with their newly found organizations often did not last.
Over time, new radical converts learned that these organizations or
their charismatic leaders expressed devotion to highly rigid dogmatic
principles advocating racism, sexism, belief in a millennial apocalypse and
authoritarian rule. More often than not it was their more steadfast New Left
associates and dissenters in arms who first expressed dismay and horror at
the path taken by their friends, leaders and icons.98 Some converts such as
William S. Burroughs recognized what seemed to him as traits of fascism
96 Kent, 115-116.
97 Ibid, 149.
98 Ibid, 151-152.
55


within the Church of Scientology which he had adhered to since the early
seventies. Disillusioned with its system of ethics and punishment and its
blanket attack on psychiatry, Burroughs left and became one of Scientologys
harshest critics, staying true to his lifelong anti-authoritarianism". Defending
new religious movements and their charismatic leaders was a risky business
as the more dubious side of certain new religious movements became
apparent.
Beginning in 1977, New Left artists and, later, the Boulder mainstream
press brought the Naropa Institute to task for inconsistency with liberal values
and more importantly the egregious behavior of its charismatic founder. In
April 1977 Ishmael Reed, one of the most esteemed Black American poets of
his generation, came to Boulder to observe the new poetry renaissance that
was budding in the Rockies. He wrote his reflections on Boulder and Naropa
a year later in an article for the Black American Literary Forum. When Reed
left Boulder, he was not awestruck and enlightened but deeply skeptical. The
Naropa presence disturbed him. Reed was particularly skeptical of the claim
that Boulder represented a new revolution in poetry.99 100 Along with fellow
visiting Bay Area poets, David Meltzer and Bob Callahan, he felt that Naropa
represented a fad, or as Callahan put it part of a 200 year old American
99 Kent, 173-177.
100 Ishmael Reed, American Poetry: A Buddhist Take-over?, Black American Literature
Forum, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Spring, 1978), 8.
56


tradition the dude ranch.101 By dude ranch the poets meant that Naropa
was merely a retreat for rich cultured East Coast tourists pretending they
represent some local creative tradition. This notion resonated especially with
Reed. Despite the presence of renowned native Hispanic poets in Boulder,
notably Corky Gonzalez and Arturo Rodriguez, not a single Hispanic poet was
mentioned when he interviewed the poets of Naropa. If the guest artists and
poets from the East Coast were idealistic tourists at Trungpas dude ranch,
then the teachers were the ranch hands; seasoned, battered and all too
aware of the ranchs harsh realities. Reed found out that a teachers average
salary at Naropa was about $ 200 a week.102
This greatly contrasted with Chogyam Trungpas opulent lifestyle. He
dubbed his residence at 550 Mapleton Street the Kalapa Court. The Rinpoche
lived at the court with his wife, Diana Mukpo, and his young son, Gesar
Mukpo. Students, required to wear English butler and maid uniforms, cared
for the family. These students received no salary but were expected to make
monetary contributions to Trungpas organizations. Diana Mukpo, an avid
equestrian, spent two years at the elite Spanish Riding School in Vienna,
Reed,8
Ibid, 5
57


Austria.103 Trungpa also had an elder son, Sakyong Mipham, who was the
child of a consort nun named Lady Kunchok Palden in India. When he was
seven years old he studied with his father and eventually became the
successor to the Vajradhatu Organization (renamed Shambhala).104 Outside
of his marital life, the Rinpoche continued to consort with female students.
Remarkably he never kept these relationships secret, not even to his wife.105
Guarding the Rinpoche were Trungpas Vajra Guards, a pseudo-paramilitary
cadre described by some as a bully squad.106
David Meltzer and Bob Callahan criticized the Trungpas corporate
merchandizing. Bob Callahan, who was once the Rinpoches host in San
Francisco, noted that he no longer associated with the guru because the
practice of charging fifty dollars a ticket for transcendental meditation went
against Callahan's communalistic principles. Simon Ortiz, a Native American
poet, told Reed that he wondered if the CIA was actually behind Naropa. Ortiz
103 Lady Diana Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian. The Mapleton Court.: An Excerpt from
Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa Chronicles of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
http://www.chronicleproject.com/stories_61.html9 (accessed March 25, 2012).
104Ted Rose, Sakyong Mipham: King of His World, Beliefnet. November 3, 2005
http://www.beliefnet.eom/Faiths/Buddhism/2005/11/Sakyong-Mipham-King-Of-His-
World.aspx (accessed on April 24, 2012).
105 Steve Silberman, "Married to the Guru," Shambhala Sun, November 2006.
http://www.shambhalasun.com/index. php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2998<emid=
0 (accessed July 24, 2011).
106 Reed, 5.
58


believed that declaring any given location as the center of American poetry
was a conspiracy to deprive ethnic minorities and lower-class people of art.107
Of all the oddities Reed and his poet companions witnessed in
Boulder, perhaps none was as striking or as disappointing as Allen
Ginsbergs complete and near-unwavering deference to his guru. Ginsberg
had said that Trungpa was responsible for bringing forth a practical, visible,
programmatic practice of egolessness and provided a path for other people to
walk on."108 Reed was relieved that Burroughs, although on friendly terms
with Trungpa, was not as sycophantic as Ginsberg and kept a distance from
Trungpas brand of Buddhism. Burroughs take on Buddhism and writing was
show me a good Buddhist novelist.109
Ginsbergs poet colleagues brought him to task for defending his
mentor after Trungpa committed an egregious physical assault on one of their
fellow poets. In 1975, William Stanley Merwin, an esteemed poet who had
become peace activist during the sixties, requested permission for him and
his Native Hawaiian girlfriend, Dana Naone, to attend Trungpas annual Vajra
meditation seminary. Trungpa accepted Merwins request and his admission
fee. Merwin and Naone made their way to the seminary which was held at a
107 Reed, 6-9.
108 Ibid, 10.
109 Reed, 7.
59


remote ski lodge in the resort town of Snowmass near Aspen, Colorado.110
Merwin, like Ginsberg, was a committed pacifist and a practicing Buddhist. As
soon as Merwin and Naone arrived in Snowmass, however, he realized that
Tantric Buddhist practice was not the Buddhism that he had come to
embrace.111
Merwins refusal to comply with the meditations soured his relationship
with Trungpa. In particular Merwin took issue with reading traditional Tibetan
Tantric poetry that praised fierce blood-drinking deities. According to Merwin
and Naone, the trouble began when Chogyam Trungpa entered the party in a
drunken state. He stripped naked, danced and ordered selected attendees to
do likewise. Merwin and Naone refused to do so. The Vajra guards then
wrestled the already traumatized couple to the floor, and stripped them
naked, much to the Rinpoches delight.112
The morning after the bizarre festivities, Merwin and Naone requested
an interview with Trungpa. The Rinpoche did not apologize for his conduct
and urged the couple to stay on for more Tantric exercises. Oddly enough,
Merwin and Naone stayed for three more weeks of training and then left not
110 Clark, 22.
111 Paul L. Berman, "Buddhagate: The Trashing of Allen Ginsberg," The Village Voice, July
23-29, 37.
112 Clark, 22-24.
60


willing to face anymore surprises from the Rinpoche.113 Like melt water on the
Continental Divide, Merwins horrific story began to trickle down the slopes of
the Rockies.
Ginsberg, who had received only sketchy details about what happened
at Snowmass, grew fearful of losing a $4,000 grant to the Kerouac School
from the National Endowment of the Arts. He contacted Merwin and asked
him to tell the NEA that there was no connection between Trungpas behavior
and the Kerouac School. During a poetry reading in Boulder, visiting poet
Robert Bly attacked Ginsberg for sacrificing the community of poets for his
teacher and proclaimed the doom of the Kerouac School.114 In the wake of
the heated discourse between Ginsberg and Bly, Naropa never received the
grant from the NEA.
Eager to preserve an incoming grant from the Rockefeller Foundation
for $35,000, Ginsberg took it upon himself to prevent the Merwin story from
spreading. His efforts came to naught. In that summer of 1977, Ginsberg
made an ill-fated decision to invite Ed Sanders to teach poetry at the Kerouac
School. Sanders was the pioneer of investigative poetics, a type of poetry
designed to interpret historical facts and distinguish them from historical
113 Berman, 37.
114 Clark, 26.
61


myths or lies.115 Sanders had made a name for himself and his investigative
poetry as a witness at the Chicago Seven trial in 1968. He also investigated
the Manson Family Murders in 1971.116
Given his specialty as an investigator, Sanders was certainly one of
the worst guests Ginsberg could have invited to the institute. For his class on
investigative poetics, Sanders invited the students to pick any subject they
wished to apply his method. Naturally, the students picked the Merwin
Incident. A class report exhumed the incident from testimonies given by
almost all the principal actors except for Trungpa. Ed Dorn, another
celebrated poet and a professor of English literature at the University of
Colorado, copied and distributed Sanders class account quietly throughout
Boulder. There was even a copy in the Naropa Institutes library that later
disappeared. Ginsbergs hopes of plugging leaks on the Merwin Incident had
failed miserably as the Sanders' Class Report made its way across the
country. Much to Ginsbergs dismay, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, his friend, fellow
poet and the proprietor of City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, requested
a copy of the report. Several publications across the country appealed to
Sanders for copies of his investigation into the Naropa Institute, now titled,
115 Clark, 26-27.
116
Matt Fink, Ed Sanders: The Last Radical, Paste Magazine.com, September 19, 2003,
http://www.pastemagazine.com/writers/matt-fink.html?p=3 (accessed December 7, 2011).
62


The Party: A Chronological Perspective on a Confrontation at a Buddhist
Seminary.117 One local publication, The Boulder Monthly, made one of the
most serious proposals to run the piece. Especially interested in either
running the piece or conducting his own investigation was the Boulder
Monthlys senior writer, Tom Clark.
The autumn of 1978 was the autumn of discontent within the Naropa
Institute, and for Boulderites who had a score, personal or otherwise, to settle
with Chogyam Trungpa. Ed Dorn and Ed Sanders were under pressure
regarding the circulation of Sanders' The Party. Ann Waldman was very much
irritated by Sanders decision to let Dorn circulate the class report. On the
other end of the spectrum, Sanders felt under increasing pressure by his
students to publish The Party. Sanders conscience was also troubled at the
possibility of falling out with his friends and fellow poets at the institute. He still
personally loved the communal atmosphere of Naropa where writers could
receive an almost free summer in a beautiful context whatever the
underpinnings of Trungpaic hype and moolahocracy.118
Meanwhile in the greater Boulder community, Tom Clark of the Boulder
Monthly conversed with the acclaimed experimental film maker and University
117 Clark, 27. For more information about what became known as the Naropa Poetry Wars,
read Tom Clark, The Great Naropa Poetry Wars. Santa Barbara, CA; Cadmus Editions,
1980..
118 Clark, 28-29.
63


of Colorado professor, Stan Brakhage. Brakhage informed Clark that in 1977
he was asked to showcase his films for a benefit to improve the salaries of
Naropa teachers. Brakhage agreed to do so only on the condition that the
proceeds go to the poets and not to buy a golden pillow to grace the buttocks
of the guru.119 He showed his films at the benefit but later found that not a
single cent of $200,000 made it to the poets. Instead it had gone to a New
York public relations consultant working on a PR campaign for Chogyam
Trungpa.120 Meanwhile, an entirely unrelated but devastating tragedy was
unfolding in the jungles of South America.
On November 18, 1978 the world received news of a horrifying mass
suicide of 918 men, women and children at Jonestown in Guyana. The fact
that the members of the Peoples Temple were lulled by the charismatic and
despotic Reverend Jim Jones, promising them a utopic dream world, made
the happenings even more tragic. The story of Jim Jones descent into
madness and despotism also invoked suspicion in the American collective
mindset towards a number of founders of new religious movements in the
United States, including Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.121
119 Clark, 29.
120
Ibid.
Ibid, 29-30.
64


From the mid-1970s into the 1980s, the general climate of tolerance
towards new religious movements degenerated into suspicion and hostility.
Legitimate grievances mounted as public awareness grew of the inner
workings of some movements. Jonestown was the most egregious and tragic
result of the depravity of a charismatic new religious leader. However, it was
not the only deplorable action sanctified within a new religious movement or
as they pejoratively began to be called, cults. David Berg, leader of the
Children of God, gained infamy by twisting feminist rhetoric so that new
female converts could become sexually submissive to his organizations male
hierarchy.122 Many children who grew up in the Hare Krishna movement later
admitted to being sexually abused by its most prominent gurus.123 According
to George D. Chryssides, a scholar of new religious movements at the
University of Wolverhampton, England, these outrages fueled a growing anti-
cult movement in the United States and elsewhere in the Western world. New
Kent, 163-165.
Ibid, 186-187.
65


religious movements could now be infiltrated by professional de-programmers
and face severe scrutiny from the law.124
The Merwin Incident coupled with the nationwide trauma of Jonestown
created confusion and unease at the Naropa Institute. The founders and core
faculty all knew that there was no valid comparison between the Rinpoche
and Jim Jones. As for the casual students, however, many of them were not
so certain. In December, Ed Sanders reported that his investigative poetics
class again voted overwhelmingly in favor of publishing his account of the
Merwin incident. Many students felt that in doing so they might prevent their
own impending Jonestown.125
Sam Maddox, an editor with Boulder Monthly, stated that the conflict
between Merwin and Trungpa was not a simple brawl but the subject of great
importance and implication to the American Buddhist community and the
American intelligentsia regarding tyranny and abuse within the blind homage
of the enlightenment movement.126 Sanders finally accepted Clark and
194
George D. Chryssides, The Anti-Cult Movement. New Religions A Guide: New Religious
Movements Sects and Alternative Spirituality, ed. Christopher Partridge (New York: Oxford
University Press 2004),75-75. Chryssides is keen to point out that not all anti-cult crusaders
worked in an altruistic spirit. Many deprogrammers could be as domineering and abusive as
the worst cult leaders, with forced physical abduction and faith braking of cult members.
Deprogrammers and cult monitoring organizations could also face criminal charges, or
lawsuits from target organizations.
125 Ibid, 75.
126 Clark, 48.
66


Maddoxs offer, and published The Party. In January 1979 an editorial in The
Boulder Daily Camera expressed the need for Boulders Buddhist community
to purge itself of the trappings of a cult. The editorial praised Naropa
Buddhists for the good they had done in the community by helping individuals
work out mental problems or bringing business and commerce to Boulder
through Trungpas Vajradhatu organization. However, the editorial called for
an end to blind guru worship, especially gurus who needed the protection of
guards, limousines to chauffer them around, and alcohol to induce spiritual
wisdom.127
Allen Ginsberg took it upon himself to defend his spiritual teacher and
redeem their institute. He agreed to an interview with Tom Clark, poet and
journalist for the Boulder Monthly. The interview did not go well for Ginsberg.
When asked about the Merwin incident, Ginsberg reckoned that from what
little he knew about the happenings at Snowmass, Merwin and Naone should
have better prepared themselves for what they were getting into. Ginsberg
also offered his opinion that Trungpa was a better poet than Merwin.
Ginsberg then went on to criticize all poets for their hypocrisy and self-
righteousness in believing they have the right to shit on everybody they want
to."128 He cited some of the more egregious transgressions of his Beat
127 Clark, 47-48.
67


Generation comrades, including Burroughs accidental shooting and killing of
his wife Joan Vollmer and Gregory Corsos heroin addiction. But Trungpa,
Ginsberg continued, whos been suffering since he was two years to teach
the dharma, isnt allowed to wave his frankfurter! And if he does, the poets get
real mad that their territory is being invaded!129 The March issue of Boulder
Monthly featuring the interview between Ginsberg and Clark was a hot sell in
the city.
Ginsberg, horrified at the extent to which his comments on the subject
were published, frantically and continuously contacted Clark in an attempt to
revise the interview or to submit the original tapes so he could recant them.130
Ginsberg also wrote a lengthy letter apologizing to Merwin and Naone
particularly for criticizing Merwins writing and for discussing their situation in
public. But he did not apologize for Trungpas behavior at Snowmass.131
Despite Ginsbergs earnest pleas for reconciliation, the Poetry Wars, as they
came to be known, continued.
In April 1979 Bob Callahan issued a petition titled An Open Letter to
American Artists, calling for the temporary suspension of the Kerouac School
129 Clark, 65.
130 Ibid, 38.
1
Allen Ginsberg, The Letters of Allen Ginsberg, edited by Bill Morgan, Philadelphia PA: Da
Capo Press, 2008, 398-400. Neither the published collection of Ginsbergs letters nor Tom
Clarks account mentions Merwins response to Ginsbergs plea.
68


until its staff issued a statement of explanation for the alleged assault and
humiliation of Merwin and Noane. The petition also called for the disbanding
of the Vajra Guards, referred to as the in-house Naropa police force, and an
end to any harassment of the press or poets investigating the Snowmass
incident.132 Anne Waldman sent Callahan an angry letter calling for
corrections of what she considered gross negligence of the facts of the
Snowmass incident. She also feared that due to this misrepresentation of
facts, this may be life and death for the Naropa Institute.133
In July 1980 the esteemed political writer Paul L. Berman wrote a
piece, titled Buddhagate: The Trashing of Allen Ginsberg, for The Village
Voice. While it was a brief investigation into the Merwin affair and a review of
the accounts of Sanders and Clark, Bermans article was a plea for sanity and
fairness as well. Berman noted that while Clarks interpretation of the Merwin
incident was indeed alarming, it also seemed hysterical. Berman lambasted
Clark for his tendency to label Ginsberg, Waldman and other Naropa
associates as pods and derided his suggestion that the Naropa Institute
somehow represented a cabal bent on destroying American freedom. This
accusation seemed especially absurd considering that while the Poetry Wars
132 Clark, 51.
133 Ibid,51- 52.
69


were going on, Ginsberg was demonstrating outside the Rocky Flats nuclear
facility. 134
Although the Poetry Wars relented, the Boulder mainstream press
made it clear that presence of a secretive alternative religious organization
headed by a charismatic autocrat who hazes poets was deeply against the
values of their community. If Naropa was to remain in Boulder, then it was
better that the Rinpoche disassociate himself with the institute. In the
following years, Chogyam Trungpa, although still revered for his spiritual
leadership, would gradually relinquish his material authority in the Naropa
Institute.
134 Berman, 38.
70


CHAPTER 5
LESS CRAZY, MORE WISDOM: NAROPAS QUEST FOR
ACCREDITATION AND A LEGACY
The most important goal of the Naropa Institute during its early years
was to achieve accreditation. With accreditation, Naropa students could
receive loans from the federal government to further their education in the
form of degrees and certificates. Ultimately, it would mean that the ambitious
Naropa experiment would be recognized as a legitimate academic institution.
For such an unorthodox enterprise, the path to accreditation proved to be
dauntingly uphill with a number of surprises and setbacks along the way. A
crucial first step was just to be formally considered. In the summer of 1978,
representatives of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
visited Naropa and finally awarded the school candidacy status for
accreditation.135
Although the commission members were willing to recommend Naropa
for candidacy, they had a number of serious concerns. There was still no
campus Naropa could claim as its own. By 1980 the institute was still renting
facilities in downtown Boulder and five other locations within Boulder city
1
Barbara Dilley, interviewed and filmed by Shirley S. Steele, The Maria Rogers Oral History
Program, June 3, 2005, http://boulderlibrary.org/carnegie/index.html (accessed January 13,
2012).
71


limits. The need to rent facilities set fundamental limits on Naropas
curriculum. For instance, the institute offered no fall terms but did offer winter
and spring terms as well as a two-session summer school. Due to its limited
year-long programs, Naropa advertised itself as a senior college, meaning
that it only offered junior and senior year courses. The institute did not
feature extensive offerings in general education or distribution requirement
courses. It assumed that degree students had already completed such
studies.136
The nature of student life at Naropa was also cause for concern for the
visiting North Central delegates. The delegates noticed that enrollment in
Naropas summer program dropped steadily for the summers of 1978 and
1979 from 1138 enrolled students to 751. They speculated that low
enrollment affected the limited availability of courses. A Buddhist studies
course had only one new student. The theatre program offered only one
course for first-year students and one for second-year students. The institute
would need to redouble its student recruitment efforts. However, efforts to
advertise for additional enrollment were made more difficult due to the lack of
a definable student demographic.137
136
Dr. Hans H. Jenny and Dr. Frederick J. Crosson, Report of a Visit to Naropa Institute
Boulder CO. February 21-22, 1980. For the Commission on Institutes of Higher Education of
the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, 1-2.
137
Jenny and Crosson, 6-7.
72


The most pressing concern of North Central was Naropa Institutes
long-term financial viability. Although it had been successful in finally
balancing its budget and was making progress in reducing some of its
accumulated deficit, new complications emerged in the institutes financial
trajectory by 1980. Its increasing dependence on government funds for
financial aid was a concern, yet not particularly unusual for a fledgling
educational institution. The most vexing warnings of revenue instability were
based on the institute's need to virtually replace its student body year after
year. North Central stressed in its 1980 report that future delegations would
be better reassured if the Naropa staff were able to provide them with a
sufficiently detailed plan of action, complete with documentation describing
how and when educational and financial goals should be achieved. Without a
well-detailed plan, said the North Central delegates, it was impossible to have
any assurance that there would even be a Naropa Institute in years to
come.138
In the final assessment made by the North Central delegation of 1980,
Naropa had certainly made improvements since 1978, but still was nowhere
near a steady path towards accreditation. The delegates reported pervasive
concerns about the long-term viability and sustainability of the institute.
Although Naropa had an active board of directors, an intelligent and
138 Jenny and Crosson, 8-9.
73


dedicated administrative staff, and dedicated faculty and students, these
assets were overshadowed by the school's institutional weaknesses. Despite
the competence of the board of directors, it was not as an important source of
financial assistance since there were few public members. Faculty salaries
were so low that individual commitment to Naropa was the only motivating
factor in continued faculty retention. North Central cited the heavy reliance on
one-year certificate students and perilously low enrollment for core divisions.
Despite all difficulties that lay ahead for the staff and administration at
Naropa, however, North Central believed that the institutes candidate status
for accreditation should be continued.139
An important, strategic step was to establish an advisory council to
infuse a new level of community involvement and management expertise
aligned to the institute's goals. In the fall of 1980, the Naropa Institutes newly
formed Advisory Council met to discuss how it could fulfill at least some of
North Centrals recommended steps towards full accreditation. The first
orders of business were to assess financial status and facilities. According to
council member Jon Landy, the institute still largely depended on grants.
Council member Judy Lief addressed the need to increase fundraising for
139 Jenny and Crosson, 9-13.
74


Naropas library which North Centrals report had described as grossly
inadequate.140
The greatest concern at this initial meeting of the Advisory Council was
the pressing need to increase enrollment despite understaffing and delays in
publishing printed recruitment materials. Regardless of those difficulties, the
Admissions Office expressed confidence in their strategy which they mapped
out prodigiously. They had accumulated excellent recruitment resources in
the form of alumni, former students, core, general and visiting faculty as well
as potential opportunity by contacting with other schools. Primary recruitment
projects would target junior colleges, usually at college fairs, sister schools
and Dharma study groups. Other recruitment venues included high schools;
exchange student agencies; organizations, such as the Peace Corps; and
some 1,800 other organizations that had requested information from
Naropa.141
The Admissions Office identified certain academic locales as
recruitment targets and defined tactics tailored to its unique attractions and its
specific academic departments. The Admissions Offices recruitment proposal
advised that the institute should mail brochures and posters with a poem
140 Advisory Council Agenda, October 31, 1980. Accessed from the Allen Ginsberg Library
May 21,2011,3-4.
141
Admissions Office Review and Proposal 10/23/80. Accessed from the Allen Ginsberg
Library May 21,2011, 1-2.
75


about the Disembodied School of Poetics written by Allen Ginsberg. The
institute planned special tactics for its dance program by targeting the leaders
of dance departments of schools, colleges and universities. This time, dance
brochures would include a letter from the program director, Barbara Dilley,
inviting dance department heads to attend classes or live lectures and
demonstrations. Psychology departments were also prime grounds for
dedicated recruitment efforts. As with poetry and dance, the institute would
send out posters and brochures to educational department heads with
information about Naropa psychology programs and seminars. The strategy
stressed that Naropa needed to be featured in handbooks of psychology
guidebook programs. Plans for an advertising campaign were presented to
the Advisory Council. It called for placement of ads in Whole Life Times, one
of the most prominent holistic lifestyle magazines in America. Psychology
Today and The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology were among the
scholarly journals indentified for placement of advertising. Another effort
would be to research the means to access university counseling centers. In
regards to recruiting for the Buddhist studies departments, the Admissions
Office did not put as great an emphasis on recruiting tactics because
Buddhist studies were already regarded as a more solid and reliable source
of new students. 142
14?
Admissions Office Review, 2-3.
76


The Admissions Office assessed a timetable for all recruiting projects
and related expenses in 1981. No new projects were to begin until January.
In addition they would focus on revisiting old recruitment projects that were
discarded the previous year and on using the new mailing lists. The timetable
showed that winter could be devoted to placing ads in the various
publications, such as Psychology Today and the Peace Corps newsletter. In
spring the emphasis would be inter-institutional contacts. Over the summer
the admissions office would work closely with visiting faculty members and
consult them in recruiting summer students. Faculty touring, local lectures
and performances were a major area of focus in the fall of 1981 and needed
to be fully coordinated by the admissions office, the information office and the
office of academic affairs. The carefully coordinated information gathering
efforts would hopefully result in a wide array of recruitment contacts and
activities that could be continued through 1982 and beyond.143
At the same meeting on October 31, 1980, the Advisory Council also
discussed the outlook for Naropa to establish its own campus, one of the
major concerns of the North Central delegation. They considered whether to
split the campus between a new location for students and faculty while
maintaining rented administration offices on Pearl Street. The projected cost
for a split campus would be about $1 million including an additional $50,000
143
Admissions Office Review, 3-4.
77


for water installation and $ 50,000 for a leach field. The matter was of such
importance that Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche attended this session of the
Advisory Council meeting. Trungpa said that the project was too urgent to
wait for 1985 or 1986. He thought whatever project the council chose would
be an excellent fundraising opportunity. 144
Council members, John Roeper and Billy McKeever, estimated that
designing and building a new facility would cost approximately $1 million
dollars. Another consideration that they thought might be prudent was to wait
until the institute could spare $2 million dollars to build a unified campus. On
the other hand, splitting the campus would cut design costs. The Rinpoche
found this option preferable. Otherwise, Trungpa said, things will snowball
and we will get involved further.145 Dean Judy Lief suggested moving the
administration offices to Seventeenth and Pine Street in Boulder. She also
suggested a former public school as a possible annex.146 The campus issue
was finally resolved in 1982 when the institute purchased the former Lincoln
Elementary School in Boulder and moved into its own campus in 1983.
In 1982 North Central sent another evaluation team to assess Naropa
Institutes progress towards full accreditation status. The team noted that
144 Advisory Council Meeting with Vajracarya. October 31 1980. P.1-2.
78


Naropa certainly had made progress in analyzing its problems and organizing
to find solutions to those problems. However, Naropa was a long way from
achieving both financial stability and clearly defining an academic program
that fulfilled established academic standards. They summarized the most
imminent tasks Naropa still needed to address. One was to establish regular
payrolls with more competitive salary scales; another was to improve the
library, particularly its cramped quarters. Enrollment was extremely low with
only about 100 students when North Central visited that year. Naropas
viability looked extremely doubtful. The North Central delegates stressed that
while Naropas current support from donations was dependable, the long term
outlook was unclear. Dependence on government support was also deemed
to be a dubious future prospect. The North Central delegation concluded that
although they recommended that Naropa remain a candidate, it was
unrealistic to believe Naropa would be ready for full accreditation in 1984.
Even accreditation by 1986 might be a stretch at the very least.147
Despite the pessimistic diagnosis for 1984 from North Central,
Naropas staff was determined to meet all challenges. In an admissions office
report from June 1983, Peter Hurst, Dean of Admissions, expressed cautious
optimism. He said that the admissions office had strengthened its staff and
the institute's visibility by expanding its advertising and flyer distribution plan.
147
Summary Statement from 1982 NCA Evaluation Team Report.
79


Hurst was confident that the acquisition of the former Lincoln Elementary
School for Naropas new campus would make the institute more attractive.
While Hurst would have liked to invest in enrolling 200 new students, he
considered that such a move would be dangerous to the institutes budget.148
He would give a more conservative estimate a few days later when the
Advisory Council met to discuss Naropas three-year financial plan.
The meeting was held on June 27, 1983. Its record provides insight
into a growing sophistication by Naropa in managing its financial affairs. The
Advisory Council considered a projected budget of $290,000 including the
employment of additional core faculty. Peter Hurst recommended that it was
best to recruit 168 new students for the fall of 1984 and 198 students for the
fall of 1985. Jon Barbieri, the comptroller for the institute, noted that the
budget would have to be adjusted for inflation each year. Barbieri also
cautioned that Naropa would need to anticipate borrowing $64,000 for debt
repayment for the fiscal year of 1984. The year after would be more difficult
due to payroll tax payments.149
The Naropas Advisory Council had clearly become integral
management process in re-structuring the institute to meet the North Central
148 Peter Hurst, Indications of Future Activity towards Fall 1984 and Beyond? Admissions
Office Report June 24, 1983, 1.
149 Three Year Plan Minutes of Advisory Council Meeting June 27, 1982, 1-2.
80


Associations standards. Naropa gained new prestige in the greater Boulder
community for the prominence it was achieving among influential leaders in
the fields of education, psychology and religion. This led to important support
for the institute in its pursuit of accreditation.
A series of interfaith dialogue conferences demonstrated how Naropa
could bring fresh insight and collaboration into the field of religious study. For
two years in 1982 and 1983 the institute sponsored several annual Buddhist-
Christian conferences held at the Dzorje Dzong Shrine Center in downtown
Boulder. According to Father Daniel J. OFlanlon, a visiting Jesuit theologian,
part of the reason for the conferences was to help Naropa establish a school
of meditative and contemplative studies which would examine meditative
techniques from Buddhism, Christianity and other major world religions. Many
venerated Buddhist monks and gurus including Trungpa conversed with
theologians, priests, monks, friars and nuns of the Roman Catholic, Eastern
Orthodox and Protestant (Quaker) traditions on meditation and other
comparative spiritual practices.150
J. Edward Murray, a former editor of The Daily Camera, cited the
Buddhist-Christian Conferences as an example of Naropa Institutes positive
impact on the Boulder community when he campaigned for its full
150
Daniel J. OHanlon S.J. The First Naropa Buddhist-Christian Conference. Buddhist-
Christian Studies, Vol. 3 (1983), pp. 101-117.
81


accreditation.151 Having reported on the Buddhist presence in Boulder for six
years, Murray wrote to Naropa Vice President Jeremy Hayward expressing
his conviction that Boulder Buddhists were one of the most positive
influences in the Boulder community because of their religious philosophy
which they teach and practice.152 The open, amicable dialogue between
religious leaders of different faiths suggested that Naropa was an open forum
for learning rather than a secretive cultish cabal.
Boulders medical care community was greatly impressed and greatly
appreciated graduates from the Naropa Institutes department of Buddhism
and Western psychology. The psychology program, one of Naropas earliest
projects, was based upon the concept of combining Maitri meditation with
conventional psychotherapy techniques. Over time, its offerings were
expanded. In the Naropa Institute course catalog listings for 1983-1985, the
psychology department offered a Master's Intern program directed toward
careers in medical professions such as alcohol and drug abuse counseling,
in-patient and out-patient care.153 Dr. Robert March, a director at the Mental
Health Center of Boulder County, also wrote in support of Naropas
151
J. Edward Murray to Dr. Jeremy Hayward, December 22, 1983
152 Ibid.
153 Naropa Institute Course Catalogue, The Naropa Institute. 1983-1985. 19,
http://www.naropa.edu/naropalibrary/documents/Catalog_1983_1985_missingpp1 -6.PDF
(accessed on April 18, 2012.).
82


accreditation. March believed that graduates from Naropa did as well if not
better than trainees from other programs.154 March noted that Naropa
graduates worked well with the severely disturbed population.155
From Lawrence, Kansas, William S. Burroughs wrote Jeremy Hayward
to add his voice to the chorus. Through his teaching experience at Naropa,
Burroughs had come to believe that Naropa was a unique institution of
learning that offered intellectual, physical and spiritual growth. Burroughs
commented on Naropas backdrop of Buddhist wisdom saying that while
inspiring, it nevertheless does not intrude on artistic and other studies in any
doctrinaire way.156 He also believed that over the years Naropas presence
had been gracefully integrated into the civic and cultural community of
Boulder,157 and he hoped with accreditation that it would continue its growth
and evolution.158
When the NCA visited Naropa in 1984, their assessment proved
predictable with one exceptional surprise. In pattern, the delegations
evaluation concluded that the institute was still not ready for full accreditation
154
155
156
157
158
Robert L. March to Edward Podvoll, November 5, 1983.
Ibid.
William S. Burroughs to Dr. Jeremy Hayward, January 22, 1984.
Ibid.
Ibid.
83


and would probably not be ready until 1986 at the earliest. The delegates
noted that Naropa had made substantial improvements such as the formation
of a funding base, a set of financial plans adequate to its mission and had
successfully made fair and accurate information available to persons
interested in its programs.159 Serious problems remained, however, such as
the ongoing difficulty regarding low salaries to all personnel. Other financial
problems cited in the NCA report were a lack of fringe benefit programs and a
failure to meet payroll obligations for three consecutive fiscal years.160 The
exception was that the 1984 North Central delegation raised a concern
unique to previous visits. It was wary of Naropas leadership.
The teams concern with governance stemmed from the fact that
Chogyam Trungpa, who was the president of Naropa, was absent for their
visit, as was Naropas vice president. The team believed that the unusual
nature of Naropas leadership derived from Trungpas other obligations as
head of the Nalanda Foundation. The NCA team recommended that the
leadership and administration be less informal and that a fully involved faculty
take charge of all elements of the campus.161 Napopas faculty approached
16Q
Maragrette F. Eby, Guillermina Engelbrecht and Glenn A. Niemeyer, Report of a Visit to
Naropa Institute Boulder Colorado, March 12-14, 1984. For the Commission on Institutes of
Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, p. 5.
161
Eby, 7-8
84


this specific criticism with great consternation. In a summary of responses to
the NCA visit, Naropa claimed that its staff was not aware that the president
had to be present for the delegation.162 The concerns the NCA had about
Trungpas less-than full involvement were not unfounded as would soon be
revealed that year.
Between the years of 1984 and 1986, Chogyam Trungpa gradually
relocated the Vajradhatu Organizations headquarters to Halifax, Nova Scotia
in Canada. The reasons for this progressive change in administrative location
were never fully explained. Marcia Usow, a longtime student of the
Rinpoches, speculated that the negative press coverage of his erratic
behavior gave rise to the need to reside in a quieter and more open-minded
community.163 In 1985 Trungpa phoned the dance program director, Barbara
Dilley, inviting her to become chancellor of Naropa Institute. Dilley, despite
having no experience in an academic administrative position, took on her new
position wholeheartedly.164 One of her first acts was to appoint her friend
Lucien Wulsin to Naropas board of directors. Soon thereafter, one of the
board's first acts under Dilley's leadership was to formally separate from
16?
Summary of Naropa Institutes Response to the 1984 NCA Evaluation Report, 1984.
163 Marcia Usow, interviewed and filmed by Shirley S. Steele, May 18, 23, 2006, The Maria
Rogers Oral History Program, http://boulderlibrary.org/carnegie/index.
164 Barbara Dilley, interviewed and filmed by Shirley S. Steele, The Maria Rogers Oral History
Program, June 3, 2005
85


Vajradhatu. The separation was not out of any animosity between Naropa
and its parent organization, but rather financial convenience for the
Vajradhatu organization.165 According to Dilley, it was also the Rinpoches
wish that Naropa be a nonsectarian body. In 1986 Naropa finally achieved full
accreditation.
On September 28, 1986 Chogyam Trungpa suffered a fatal cardiac
arrest. Although the exact causes of death are not fully known, most who
knew him and treated him believe the Rinpoche was done in by injuries from
his car accident in Scotland and from long-term alcohol poisoning. Proving
that Colorado was still dear to him, he requested that his cremated ashes be
returned to the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center in Red Feather Lakes. The
center was founded by Trunpga and later renamed the Shambhala Center.166
It was here that he was honored and memorialized in a manner fitting his
status as a Tibetan lama by being interned in reliquary within a stupa. The
Great Stupa of Dharmakaya which holds his remains can still be seen at the
Shambhala Center. The striking monument stands 108 feet high and is
adorned with traditional Tibetan arts and crafts. Despite the traditional Tibetan
exterior, the stupa is reinforced with an innovative super-strong concrete
165 Usow, May 18, 2006.
166 Jean Torkelson, Colorados Sanctuaries, Retreats and Spiritual Places (Englewood,
Colorado: Westcliffe Publishers, 2001).
86


designed to last for 1,000 years. The Rinpoches cremated remains are
contained in a space-age capsule.167 In this regard, the stupa is a fitting
tribute to a man, who attempted to blend the traditional East with the modern
West.
He remains an enigmatic figure. His widow, Diana Mukpo, said that the
beliefs and actions of her late spiritual mentor and husband were easy to
misunderstand out of context.168 Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche is still revered
by many of his students who feel gratitude towards him as the one who
opened their minds to new ways of being. They revere him in spite of his
eccentricities which would strike many as provocative, abusive or even
lecherous. Many in Boulder and Boulder County praised him for his interfaith
dialogue and his contributions to the medical and mental health community.
Mukpo believes the great irony of the Rinpoches tumultuous life was that
difficult as it was, it almost took Rinpoches death for people to gain a better
grasp of his teachings.169 While it is certainly true that everyone who was a
part of Naropa owed much to their guru and his vision, the shape of the
167 Ross R. Webster, Building a Movement and a Monument: The Rise of Tibetan Buddhism
in America and the Construction of Colorados Great Stupa, Colorado Heritage, March/April
2011,23-31.
168 Steve Silberman, "Married to the Guru," Shambhala Sun, November 2006.
87


institute and university was also determined by the abilities and will of all
involved.
Ultimately, the historical circumstances that shaped the politics and
community of Boulder during the sixties and seventies provided an
opportunity for Naropa to evolve into something more than a meditation
retreat. The institutes local supporters and detractors as well as the growing
liberal entrepreneur community aided in making Naropa more palatable to
Boulderites. Finally Naropas outreach programs proved to many in Boulder
that Naropa was not isolated but followed the high aspirations of its post-
sixties liberal class in investing in social improvement. In the end, Naropa
University may not be a reflection of the mythical kingdom its mentor desired.
Undeniably, it is a reflection of the unique nature of the community of Boulder
and bears the marks of a tumultuous period of social change in America.
88


CONCLUSION
Much like Boulder itself, Naropa Universitys unique character is the
result of perseverance and adaptation to social change. In its current state
Naropa is the result of structural and cultural compromise that transpired in
the pursuit of its long term vitality. In achieving full accreditation in the late
1980s, Naropas staff successfully transformed their struggling institute into a
professionally managed academic institution. However, there was a price to
pay. In order for Naropa to survive as an institution and accommodate growth,
it became increasingly bureaucratized. Naropa Universitys response letter to
an NCA visit in 2010 illustrated how radically different Naropa University is
today from the fledgling institute in 1974. Under the leadership of Stuart C.
Lord, Naropas first Black American president from 2009 to 2011, the
university restructured itself into four administrative areas. The executive
management team had reorganized into a presidential cabinet comprised of
six senior executives. The heads of each administrative division were now
vice presidents. Lord implemented these changes in order to satisfy concerns
from Naropas board of trustees over the management of its budget in the
wake of the economic recession.170 Given that the universitys founders and
170
Naropa Institute, "Response to the Higher Learning Commissions 2010 Comprehensive
Visit," September 1,2010, 1-4.
89


staff had long desired to meet the standards of the NCA, bureaucratization
and system ization were a probable outcome.
Regrettably to some, this outcome means that Naropa University is
now somewhat removed from its free-form roots. John W. Cobb, the current
acting president of Naropa University and a longtime member of its advisory
council, lamented that his beloved Naropa was adopting corporate
administration mechanisms, including what he regarded as the inhumane
layoff of staff members. Cobb hopes that he can restore Naropas core values
in its leadership and regain the trust of its staff and student body.171 Whether
Cobb or his eventual successor can successfully steer Naropa in the direction
he wishes remains to be seen.
Nevertheless, much of Naropas original character prevails despite
bureaucratization. Anne Waldman, the sole-surviving founder of Naropa
(Allen Ginsberg died April 5, 1997), continues to chair the Kerouac Schools
summer writing program.172 The religious studies department at Naropa has
expanded its scope considerably. While it still has a strong Buddhist core,
faculty members now come from Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Islamic and
171 Sarah Upton, Where East Meets West.Shambhala Times, March 15, 2012
http://shambhalatimes.org/2012/03/15/where-east-meets-west/(Accessed on April 25, 2012).
172
Life of Leadership, naropaiMagazine, Spring 2011,1,
http://www.naropa.edu/news/documents/NaropaSpring11.pdf. (Accessed on April 20, 2012).
90


tribalist traditions.173 Their education and interfaith dialogue remain true to
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoches vision that Naropa function as an academic
kitchen where different religious traditions can exchange their ideas with one
another. Naropa still continues to send outstanding graduates into the fields
of psychology and creative arts. Many graduates have devoted themselves to
environmental activism, citizen journalism, and humanitarian relief work
overseas.174 In this regard, Naropa functions as it was originally intended. It
remains an academic institution for students pursuing an education where
spiritual values and the academic curriculum transcend traditional borders,
material pursuits or career paths. Naropas founders and staff managed to
create a viable path for individuals seeking to craft a life centered around their
own spiritual journey, just as its founder did fifty years ago.
17T
Religious Studies At the Heart of Naropa University, naropaiMagazine, Fall 2009, 12-13.
http://www.naropa.edu/news/documents/NaropaSpring11 .pdf (Accessed on April 20, 2012).
174
Naropa University Alumni E-Newsletter, Spring 2010
http://archive.constantcontact.eom/fs074/1102033976102/archive/1103157741266.html
(Accessed on April 26, 2012).
91


BIBLIOGRAPHY
Baker, John and Jeremy Hayward. Naropa Institute Status Study Report to
The Commission On Higher Education of The North Central
Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. June 1975.
Barrett, Marjorie. Composer trades music for Shambhala. The Rocky
Mountain News, August 3, 1977, pp. 34,38.
Bell, Sandra. Crazy Wisdom, Charisma, and the Transmission of Buddhism
in the United States. Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and
Emergent Religions, Vol. 2, No. 1 (October 1998): 55-75.
Berman, Paul L. "Buddhagate: The Trashing of Allen Ginsberg." The Village
Voice, July 23-29 1980.
Bevil, Mark. The West Turns Eastward: Madame Blavatsky and the
Transformation of the Occult Tradition. Journal of the American
Academy of Religion, Vol. 62, No. 3 (Autumn, 1994): 747-767.
Burroughs, William S., to Dr. Jeremy Hayward, January 22, 1984.
Bye, Reed.The Founding Vision of Naropa. In Recalling Chogyam Trungpa,
edited by Fabrice Midal, 143-161. Boston MA: Shambhala
Publications, 2005.
Candida-Smith, Richard. Utopia and Dissent: Art, Poetry and Politics in
California. Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 1995.
Chryssides, George D. The Anti-Cult Movement. Christopher Partridge ed.
New Religions A Guide: New Religious Movements Sects and
Alternative Spiritualities,edited by hristopher Partridge, 75-76. Oxford
University Press: New York, 2004.
Clark, Tom. The Great Naropa Poetry Wars. Santa Barbara, CA: Cadmus
Editions, 1980.
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Full Text

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TIBETAN BUDDHISTS, POETRY WARS AND THE NAROPA INSTI TUTE IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF BOULDER, COLORADO By Ross R. Webster B.A., University of Colorado Boulder, 2005 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado, Denv er In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Public History 2012

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ii This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Ross R. Webster has been approved by Thomas J. Noel Christopher Agee Alison Shah ____________________ Date

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iii Ross R. Webster( Master of Arts, Public History) Tibetan Buddhists, Poetry Wars and the Naropa Institut e in the People's Republic of Boulder, Colorado Thesis directed by Professor Thomas J. Noel and Assistant Pr ofessor Christopher Agee ABSTRACT The city of Boulder, Colorado became an ideal location for the foundation of Naropa Institute, the first Buddhist-inspired academi c university in the United States. This thesis follows the formative years of the Naropa Institute, from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, a peri od following two tumultuous decades of social change in America. The paper examines how this uniquely unorthodox enterprise grew popular by providing a curriculum that addressed the spiritual and educational needs of a changing society and how, despite significant societal and financial challenges, Naropa became an accredited university as well as an honored institution in the Boulder community. This th esis also aims to frame its founder, the exiled Tibetan lama, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche; its co-founders, esteemed Beat poets Alan Ginsberg and An ne Waldman; and other affiliates in the context of the rise of new religious movements in the postwar United States. From their initial embrace by the counterculture to societal backlash against them in the wake of the Jonestown

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iv mass suicide, they are an important factor in the histor y of Naropa. Indeed, it remains as a tangible legacy of these movem ents. This broad historical overview makes it apparent that no thing about the creation of a Buddhist university headed by Beat p oets and an exiled Tibetan was seamless, even in the new liberal, free-lif estyle bastion of Boulder. First and foremost, the Naropa staff decided to manage its curriculum and budgetary needs in order to gain accredit ation and respectability among the American higher education estab lishment. Trungpa and the Naropa community also had to adapt an d become attractive to the new socio-political climate of Boulder dominated by middle-class “lifestyle" liberals rather than its origin al counter-culture constituency rooted in the Beat Generation and hippie social movements. Also of importance was the need to defend Naropa’s leg itimacy in the face of its founder’s eccentric, even scandalous, behavior to avoid the label of a cult. Through perseverance, cultural malleability and community outreach, Chogyam Trungpa, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Wald man and Naropa faculty and students were able to endure fiscal pressure and historical circumstance to make Naropa University a lasting presence i n the city of Boulder.

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v This abstract accurately represents the content of the can didate's thesis. I recommend its publication Approved: Thomas J. Noel Approved: Christopher Agee

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vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I am grateful to many people for their help and gui dance in writing and plotting the course of this thesis. First on the list are the members of my committee, Thomas J. Noel, Christopher Agee and Alison S hah, chair, cochair and reader, respectively. They were valuable in guiding me to locations and references for gathering information as well as sty listic guidance in how to craft the narrative of my thesis. I also appreciate t he efforts of Jill Hutchison, Graduate Coordinator, for assistance in coordin ating the necessary arrangements for completing my thesis. Thanks also goes to Mark Villey, Nicholas Weiss and April He nson who are, respectively, directors and library service coord inator of NaropaÂ’s Allen Ginsberg Library and its impressive archives. The ir assistance and patience was very valuable to me in my pursuit of info rmation and materials. I am especially grateful to Anne Waldman, poet, Narop a co-founder and a national treasure, for her time and willingness to provide me with input and insight when I interviewed her in 2010. Thanks goes to Corey Drayton, my dear friend and fellow University of Colorado, Bo ulder alumni, for getting me in touch with Anne Waldman.

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vii Finally and most importantly, I want to thank my par ents, Jean and David Webster and my brother, Scott Webster, for thei r endless support, suggestions and editing skills.

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viii TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER INTRODUCTION....................................... ..................................1 Purpose of the Study............................... ...............................3 Scope of Study...................................... .................................3 Limitations of Study................................ ................................5 Arrangement of Thesis................................ ...........................5 1. "THIS IS THE PLACE": FROM TIBET TO THE ROCKIES............................................ ...................................7 2 LIBERAL POLITICS, LIFESTYLES AND EDUCATION IN POSTWAR BOULDER................................. ...................20 3. “CRAZY WISDOM”: NAROPA STRUGGLES WHILE ARTISTS ASSEMBLE.................................. .......................29 4. NAROPA ADJUSTS AS BOULDER CHANGES .............. ..43 5. "LESS CRAZY, MORE WISDOM": NAROPA'S QUEST FOR ACCREDITATION AND A LEGACY.................. ........71 CONCLUSION......................................... ..................................89 BIBLIOGRAPHY....................................... .................................92

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1 INTRODUCTION ItÂ’s impossible to fall off mountains you fool From the Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac Six years after the death of the Beat Generation ico n, Jack Kerouac, an experiment in higher education and spiritual awaken ing was underway on the front range of the Colorado Rockies. Allen Ginsberg the venerated beat poet and close friend of Jack Kerouac, along with fello w poet, Anne Waldman, created the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Po etics. The poetry school was one of the seminal components of the ne wly-formed ambitious Naropa Institute. Co-founded in 1974 with G insberg and Waldman, the Naropa Institute was the brainchild of Chogyam Tr ungpa Rinpoche, an exiled Tibetan lama, customarily referred to as The R inpoche. As the writer of The Dharma Bums, Kerouac was an ideal choice for NaropaÂ’s new poetry school. Based on KerouacÂ’s own mountaineering sojourns on Matterhorn Peak in the Sierra Nevadas and Desolation Peak in the W ashington State Cascades, The Dharma Bums follows the spiritual journey of his literary stand-in, Ray Smith, and Japhy Ryder (whose character i s based on Beat poet Gary Snyder) as they seek the essence of Zen Buddhi sm in America. Like his most famous book, On the Road and GinsbergÂ’s epic poem, Howl, The Dharma Bums reflected the discontentment that a growing number of

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2 Americans felt with Postwar American society. These America ns were discontented with mainstream values emphasizing conformi ty, material acquisition, active and institutional racism and restrictiv e sexual and social mores. The seeds of discontent took root and spread, culmi nating in the social movements of the tumultuous 1960s. The RinpocheÂ’s vision was a sort of academic kitchen where the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism could be shed of their e xotic and alien Eastern trappings to make them more palatable for Weste rners craving spiritual nourishment. However, the path to academic re cognition and social respectability was not an easy one for this unorthodox, religious-based center of learning. As will be explained in this thesis, the Naropa Institute spent much of its first two decades struggling to keep afloat financially while building its reputation as a place of legitimate higher educati on. Given the counterculture nature of its poetic founders and, especially, th e well-publicized eccentric, even scandalous, behavior of the Rinpoche, man y believed that Naropa was a cult. Despite the challenges during its fo rmative years, the Naropa Institute survived well into the twenty-first ce ntury and became the first accredited Buddhist inspired, nonsectarian university in the United States.

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3 Purpose of Study This thesis ultimately aims to uncover the mechanisms of NaropaÂ’s survival, success and esteem in Boulder and nationwide. A number of questions informed the course of this thesis. How is the hi story of Naropa Institute comparable to the overall history of the eme rgence of alternative religious movements in the postwar United States? Is th e founder of Naropa, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche comparable with other contemp orary Asian spiritual figures and charismatic cult leaders? What was t he contribution of Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman and the Beat Generatio n to shaping NaropaÂ’s character? Was there something unique about the culture or politics of the city of Boulder, Colorado that allowed Naropa to sur vive and flourish? Did regional cultural conformity and nationwide academic conformity ultimately save Naropa from an uncertain future? These questions hi nt at the uniqueness of this thesis in that it is a cultural histor y as well as an institutional history examining national trends within a specific region of the postwar American West. Scope of the Study This study focuses on a fourteen-year period between 19 74 and 1987. The year 1974 marks the official founding of the Narop a Institute, while 1987 marks the death of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, which occurr ed a year after Naropa achieved full accreditation. Within these fourt een years, Naropa

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4 faced its most serious set of crises, which were primarily f inancial. The exception was a series of the events that became known a s the Poetry Wars which essentially was a scandal that threatened the reput ation and credibility of Naropa. Framing the early history of Naropa Instit ute in this timeline also correlates with the political and cultural rise of the l ifestyle liberals, that is to say liberals adhering to sixties ideals while pursuing civ ic improvement or commercial enterprise in Boulder. This timeline also cor relates with the nationwide demise of New Left liberalism in as well as the backlash against alternative religious movements sparked by the Jonestown mass-suicide in 1978. The period from 1984 to 1987 also marks an impor tant transition point in NaropaÂ’s formative years. This is the period after Ch ogyam Trungpa departed Boulder, Colorado and moved the headquarte rs of NaropaÂ’s parent organization, the Vajradhatu Corporation to Nova Sco tia, Canada. Trungpa's departure lead to a critical new status of independence for the developing institution. To a lesser extent, the scope of this study includes the postwar history of new religions in the United States starting with th e Beat Generation and Zen Buddhism in the 1950s.The study devotes more attent ion to the late 1960s when the collapse of the sixties social revolutions se nds disenfranchised radicals flocking to new religious movement s.

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5 Limitations of Study This study was fortunate to be informed by a diverse nu mber of sources including newspaper reports, newsletters, symposiums, pers onal journal accounts, accreditation reports, meeting minutes, personal correspondence letters and interviews. Many of these sources such as the accreditation reports and meeting minutes were accessed at the exceptio nally wellmanaged archives of Naropa University’s Allen Ginsberg Library and Naropa University’s Nalanda Campus. Other original sources were gathered at the Denver Public Library and Boulder’s Carnegie Library specializing in local history. For reasons unknown, these institutions held fe w if any articles from local Boulder publications such as the Boulder Daily Camera pertaining to Naropa related news. Attempts to contact the Daily Camera by email or phone yielded no results. Time restrictions also limit ed any in-depth examination of the relationship between the Naropa I nstitute and the University of Colorado, Boulder. This and other topics are open to examination in future editions. Arrangement of the Thesis Chapter One, “’This is the Place’: From Tibet to the R ockies,” follows Naropa’s founder Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche from his ex ile and spiritual reinvention in Great Britain to his arrival and culti vation of followers and allies in the United States. Chapter Two, “Liberal Politics, Lifestyles and Education

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6 in Boulder,” examines the impact of environmentalism and lifestyle capitalism on Boulder politics from the turn of the twentieth ce ntury to the postwar era. Chapter Two also examines the Naropa Institute’s relat ionship to the clash between academic institutions and religious interests bo th conservatives and liberals. Chapter Three,” ‘Crazy Wisdom': Naropa Stru ggles While Artists Assemble,” explains how Naropa's sudden popularity broug ht an unexpected influx of students and financial struggles that challen ged some the lofty ideals of the Naropa Institute. This chapter also examines Naro pa’s appeal to prominent Beat Generation poets, artists and musicians. C hapter Four, “Naropa Adjusts as Boulder Changes,” explains the relati onship between Boulder and the Naropa Institute as liberal Boulderit es reject counter-culture lifestyles and grow weary of alternative religious org anizations. Chapter Five, “’Less Crazy, More Wisdom,’ Naropa’s Quest for Accreditatio n and A Legacy,” explains how the staff of the Naropa Institute gradually formed into a competent and professional academic administrative body and how it gained community support in Boulder. This thesis concludes with Naropa in the twenty-first century as its staff struggles to balance its institutionalization with its core, idealistic mission.

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7 CHAPTER 1 “THIS IS THE PLACE”: FROM TIBET TO THE ROCKIES Although the founder of the Naropa Institute, Chogy am Trungpa Rinpoche, completed intense spiritual training for his vocation in Tibet, his real education began in the West. Trungpa arrived in England in 1963. He was one of many refugee lamas escaping Tibet in the wake of the Chinese Communist takeover. Had his life in Tibet gone uninter rupted, Trungpa would have become the eleventh incarnation of a lineage of lamas known as the Trungpa Tulkus For generations the Tulkus acted as abbots to the Surma ng monasteries which dotted the landscape of Eastern Tibet. In becoming supreme abbot of Surmang, Trungpa would have ruled a s governor of the Kham region. 1 Deprived of their kingdom and faced with uncertainty as to how long Tibet would remain under Chinese rule, the lamas who received asylum in India and, later, the West had to adjust the ir spiritual careers in a modernized society where they had no established author ity. Trungpa’s arrival in the West correlated with a surge of interest in Eastern religious and spiritual practices among students and academics though often only superficially as Trungpa soon realize d. After completing his studies in comparative religion at Oxford University, T rungpa, along with a 1 Chogyam Trungpa, Born in Tibet, New York: Brace & World Inc., 1968, 54-55.

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8 fellow tulku disciple Akong Rinpoche, established the first Tibetan Buddhist meditation center to be located in the West. Situated in the Lowlands of Scotland, Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery prospered after its foundation, drawing in other monks, nuns, and traditional Tibetan artists and craftsmen. In later years, Samye Ling gained popularity from its cel ebrity students, including future musicians David Bowie and Leonard Cohe n. Despite the successful creation of an Eastern religious institution in the heart of Britain, not all was well with Trungpa. Throughout his time i n the United Kingdom, Trungpa took to heavy drinking and consorted with many of his female students. 2 What distressed him most was the notion that the Tibet an monastic tradition was an obstacle for his aspiring students. As a lama, he felt that he was perceived as an exotic higher being incapable of vit al communication with regular humans. 3 In 1969, Trungpa met with a severe injury in a car crash which left him partially paralyzed on the left sid e of his body. Despite these injuries, which would complicate his health for th e rest of his life, the 2 Tom Clark, The Great Naropa Poetry Wars, Santa Bar bara, CA: Cadmus Editions, 1980, 10-11. 3 Marcia Usow interviewed and filmed by Shirley S. S teele, May 18, 23, 2006, The Maria Rogers Oral History Program, http://boulderlibrary. org/carnegie/index.html (accessed July 11, 2011).

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9 Rinpoche did not see his accident as an impediment but ra ther as a message. 4 Trungpa reasoned that in order to effectively spread Buddhist teachings in the West, “the dharma needed to be taught free from cultural trappings and religious fascination.” 5 In order to live his new teachings, the Rinpoche renounced his vows and demoted himself to a la y teacher. Even more radical, the monk took a wife. Diana Pybus, a sixt een-year-old disciple of Trungpa’s, married the guru and took on the name Diana Mukpo. The Rinpoche cultivated his new approach. Instead of invitin g students into the trappings of the monastic world, he decided to embrace the world and culture of the West, starting with his attire. 6 Trungpa began his new path to enlightenment by discarding his robes in favor of expen sive suits or leisure ware. 7 This new direction in spiritual expression along with T rungpa’s recent marriage deeply troubled his co-founder Akong Rinpoche who feared that his rejection of inscrutability and mysticism would result in a serious lapse of 4 Steve Silberman, “Married to the Guru.” Shambhala Sun November 2006. http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_co ntent&task=view&id=2998&Itemid= 0 (accessed July 24, 2011). 5 Diana Mukpo, Crazy Wisdom Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, 1991. 187. 6 Silberman, 1 7 Hugh H. Urban, “The Cult of Ecstasy: Tantrism, the New Age, and the Spiritual Logic of Late Capitalism,” History of Religions Vol. 39 No 3. P, 268-304, 282

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10 principles amounting to “conmanship.” 8 In 1970, after a final falling out with Akong Rinpoche and the Samye Ling establishment, Trun gpa decided that the proper place to reinvent himself was in the cultur al and spiritual zeitgeist of 1970s America. The United States seemed especially ri pe for new spiritual principles. Most historians see the popular American understanding o f the phenomenon of the emergence of “new religions” in the postwar era as distorted generalization. The popular understanding i s that many Americans, particularly those of the baby-boom generation grew d isillusioned with the stodgy conformist tendencies of established Judeo-Christia n religions. Experimenting with psychedelic drugs, communal living and new music, these boomers became the budding Western acolytes of Eastern r eligions, most notably Hinduism and Buddhism. Often these acolytes rece ived their spiritual guidance from celebrity gurus, the most famous of which was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of Transcendental Meditation and spiritual mentor to The Beatles. When historians such as Maurice Isserman a nd Michael Kazin observe the religious climate of the postwar era, part icularly that of the 1960s, the most significant religious dialogue and action is fro m revitalized Judeo8 Clark, 13. The exact meaning of “conmanship” is no t clear, and does not appear in the Mirriam-Webster’s Dictionary. According to http://wiki.answers.com, it is define d as “a created word meaning corporate scheming.”

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11 Christian traditions. 9 For conservative Protestants, their most celebrated spiritual leader was Billy Graham with his revival of personal moral values as the guiding force of personal and political decision ma king. For liberal protestant Christians, the most celebrated was Martin Lu ther King Jr. for his role in directing the Social Gospel towards the causes of civil rights and the war on poverty. Catholics and Jews also had equivalently powerful leaders such as anti-war activist, Friar Daniel Berrigan and th e communalist rabbi, Itzik Lodzer. 10 According to Isserman and Kazin, the novelty of the em ergence of non-Western religions belied the limited impact they a ctually had on American society. Despite media attention and the endorsement of celebrities such as Allen Ginsberg, The Beatles and The Grateful Dead (n amed after the Tibetan Book of the Dead), the new Hindus, Buddhists, and other adherents of new 9 Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin, America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 242-244. For more information, read Chapter 13 of Isserman and KazanÂ’s book titled "Many Faiths: The 60s Reformation." Isserman and Kazin also relate the postwar American religious climate to international trends as well such as the promotion of religious tolerance and integration as a statement against godless Communism during the Cold War. Isserman and Kazin cite global events such as the liberal reforms of Vatican II and the growing geopolitical importance of the Middle East in shaping liberal and conservative Catholicism and Judaism in the United States. Isserman and Kazin state that perhaps the most significant element of this religi ous revival is the dissipation of denominational social divisions in American society and the rise of the divide between theological conservatives and liberals. There is no assertion of the significance of Black American Islam as advocated by figures such as Elij ah Muhammad and Malcolm X in the account. 10 Ibid, 250-254

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12 religions always constituted a small fraction of the Am erican religious landscape. Even in the San Francisco Bay Area, only ten percent of the population took part in these new religions. 11 Isserman and Kazin imply that the reason for the inability of new non-Western reli gions to significantly alter the American religious climate lay in the demographics o f their new acolytes. The majority of new American adherents to Hinduism, Bu ddhism and other Eastern practices were overwhelmingly white and colleg e-educated youth who were disenchanted with mainstream Judeo-Christian va lues they perceived as tainted by the corporatist West. Since the f ollowers of new religions were in a minority and did not reflect a br oad social, ethnic or economic spectrum, their impact would be largely confin ed to their own small communities. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche gained followers in the Uni ted States because he was willing to adapt to the ways of his hippi e and counter-culture adherents. The small, unassuming town of Barnet, Vermo nt is where Chogyam TrungpaÂ’s legacy as a forefather of American Bu ddhism took root. American students who had received training at Samye Li ng assisted Trungpa and his wife in obtaining visas. 12 Trungpa and his students soon 11 Isserman and Kazin, 256-259. 12 Silberman, 2.

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13 established a meditation practice center in rural Vermo nt which became known as Tail of the Tiger. Jonathan Eric, one of Trungpa’s first American students in America, recalled the early atmosphere of Tail of the Tiger as being extremely informal and disorganized. Aside from a few brief meditation sessions, there were no formal programs or classes. Contributing to a sense of diso rder was that the original facility of Tail of the Tiger consisted of a si ngle-floor shrine room, which held twenty people at most. 13 All present, including the former spiritual autocrat, delighted in the informality and banter. T he conduct of meditation classes between Trungpa and his students took on an egalita rian format. Diana Mukpo later attributed this approach to Trungpa ’s own engaging personality. He would engage his students less as a maste r and more as a peer, which encouraged deeper communication between th em. 14 Community meetings eventually were held “Native American” style. Trungpa cultivated loyalty from his students this way and also by participa ting in their hippie hijinks and creative pursuits whether it was listen ing to their guitar sessions or wearing Eric’s hippie hat. 15 13 Jonathan Eric, Interviewed by William Fordham, Mar ch 14 2002, The Chronicles Project, http://www.chronicleproject.com/stories_17_b.html ( accessed July 15, 2011). 14 Mukpo, Crazy Wisdom 2. 15 Eric, March 14, 2002

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14 TrungpaÂ’s fame grew though his lecture circuits and the p ublication of his books on meditation. These tours also resulted in th e cultivation of more friends and allies. In California in 1971 Trungpa met with the much revered Sunryu Suzuki Roshi, founder of the San Francisco Zen Ce nter and the man whose Zen teachings fueled the Beat Generation. The Ri npoche and the Roshi got along very well. In fact, there was an infor mal exchange of students between SuzukiÂ’s students interested in Tibetan meditati on practice and TrungpaÂ’s students who wanted to experience Japanese Z en practice at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center near Carmel, Californi a. 16 Most prolific among his new friends, though, were the Beat writers themselves. Beat poets and artists were drawn to Trungpa due to h is eccentric personality and his interest in the arts of his new hom e. In the late 1960s, Anne Waldman, a recent graduate from Bennington Col lege in Vermont, was making her name as a rising poet in the New York School of poets and artists. Basing herself in New York City in 1966, Waldman served as assistant director of the St MarkÂ’s Poetry Project in ManhattanÂ’s East Village. Housed at historic St MarkÂ’s Church in-the-Bowery, the Poetry P roject embodied the creative spirit of the East Village, hosting poetry re adings, workshops and publishing magazines. The project also hosted political activities and events. Waldman had developed an interest in Buddhism in the early 1960s. She met 16 Usow, May 18, 23, 2006.

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15 Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in New York City in 1970. 17 Waldman found the monk intriguing. His eccentricities and provocative nat ure made him more like her fellow poets than a pious, ethereal teacher. Waldman especially appreciated Trungpa’s passion for the arts, noting that when he first came to the United States he declared "'I want to meet the po ets, you know, take me to your poets.' And who comes here to meet the poets? ” 18 Waldman’s experience in guiding poetry workshops and hosting event s at St. Mark’s would prove useful in the years to come. Allen Ginsberg saw Chogyam Trungpa not only as a spi ritual mentor, but as an egalitarian spiritualist like himself. They f irst met under purely accidental circumstances. In New York City in 1972, Alle n Ginsberg and his father, Louis, left the Museum of Modern Art and atte mpted to hail a taxi. Standing next to them was a rather strange man from T ibet who had apparently hailed the same taxi as the Ginsbergs. A brief argument over who would take the taxi ensued but was soon resolved. The accidental encounter proved to be an auspicious moment for both Ginsberg an d Trungpa. 19 Just as 17 Anne Waldman, Co-founder of Naropa University, inte rviewed by Ross R. Webster, April 12, 2010, phone. The interview with Waldman was a micable and yielded useful information about the formative years of the Naropa Institute; she did not seem willing to talk about the events relating to the Poetry Wars. She also talked extensively about Naropa’s legacy regarding Colorado’s poetry scene, which albeit inf ormative, was not of primary concern given the tightly limited timeline and focus of thi s thesis in its current state. 18 Waldman, April 10, 2010. 19 Ibid.

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16 Anne Waldman did, Ginsberg found a kindred spirit in T rungpa, especially in regards to his practice of “crazy wisdom.” Ginsberg had be en infatuated with Eastern religious and spiritual traditions since the ea rly years of his poetry career, but the spiritual relationship between Ginsbe rg and Trungpa struck a much deeper chord than the poet’s previous dalliances wit h the Hare Krishnas and other Eastern spiritual imports. Ginsberg sta ted that part of the reason was that, in the past, poets seeking new spiritual ity had to go through the likes of dubious characters such as Madame Blavatsky, Al ister Crowley or “swami so-and-so who comes over from India.” 20 He believed that thanks to authentic lamas like Trungpa, their ancient practices no l onger belonged exclusively to the holy men of the Himalayas. The Tibe tan diaspora, he said, had taken all of their legendary and mystical informat ion, and brought it “right here to be confronted.” 21 Clark, 55. Russian-American Madame Blavatsky and th e infamous British occultist Alister Crowley were the respective founders of the Theosop hy movement and the Golden Order of the Hermeneutical Dawn. Both can be considered the Victorian era equivalents to the “new religions” of the mid-Twentieth Century. While both figures were revered by a minority on both sides of the Atlantic, they were usually regar ded as cranks, con-artists and in Crowley’s case, a sexual and moral deviant. Theosophy borrowe d tenants such as magic, sances and reincarnation liberally from Eastern religions, and is regarded as the ancestor of the modern New Age Movement. For information about Madame Bla vatsky’s roll in importing Eastern religious practices to the West see: Mark Bevil The West Turns Eastward: Madame Blavatsky and the Transformation of the Occult Trad ition nrr nrn 21 Ibid.

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17 Colorado moved the Rinpoche more than any other pla ce in the United States at first for its nostalgic value. However, he ma y have set his sights elsewhere if not for Karl and Marcia Usow, two married faculty members at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The Usows bonde d over Trungpa’s teachings after reading his book, Meditation in Action. They were inspired to seek him out in Scotland and invite him to teach at Bou lder. By that time, however, Trungpa had already left Samye Ling Monaste ry. The couple finally relayed their invitation through Montreal where Tru ngpa lived before attaining his visa. Initially, Trungpa felt no desire to go to B oulder but was persuaded when the Usows wrote back saying that one hundred poten tial students gathered anxious to see him. 22 Diana Mukpo later hinted that her husband was also persuaded by the postcard of Colorado the Usows had sent. According to Marcia Usow, Diana said that “one of the th ings that he looked at and he said, ‘Oh, those are cute mountains.’—having grown up in calm in eastern Tibet. “ 23 The Usows and other friends arranged for Trungpa’s ar rival, and secured him a job teaching Buddhism in the universi ty’s philosophy department. 24 22 Usow, May 18, 23, 2006. 23 Ibid. 24 Ibid.

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18 Barbara Dilley, a former director of the Naropa Insti tute, believes that it was not simply nostalgia fueling Trungpa’s mind when he laid eyes on the Rocky Mountains. In Colorado he saw the perfect environm ent to develop “the teaching that he was doing on the traditional T ibetan Buddhist dharma.” 25 As he did in Scotland and Barnet, Vermont, Trungpa es tablished a meditation center named Karma Dzong in downtown Boulder in 1971 Later that same year, he purchased 360 acres of land west of Fort Collin s, Colorado at Red Feather Lakes. This was to become the Rocky Mountain Dh arma Center. Other meditation centers were established in southern Co lorado as well as in six other states including the Mudra Theater Group, wh ich taught traditional Tibetan dance. 26 In 1973 the Vajradhatu Organization was incorporated in order to better coordinate transmission of the Rinpoche ’s teachings and consolidate the management of earnings from the centers. In less than four years, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche had become one of the most prosperous new religious leaders in the United States with landh oldings nearing one 25 Barbara Dilley, interviewed and filmed by Shirley S. Steele, The Maria Rogers Oral History Program, June 3, 2005, http://boulderlibrary.org/ca rnegie/index.html (accessed June 21, 2011). 26 Clark, 17 The Rocky Mountain Dharma Center was ren amed the Shambhala Mountain Center shortly after Chogyam Trungpa’s death.

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19 million dollars in value. 27 However, it was no longer enough for Trungpa merely to establish meditation centers. 27 Clark, 17.

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20 CHAPTER 2 LIBERAL POLITICS, LIFSTYLES AND EDUCATION IN POSTWAR BOULDER According to Amy L. Scott’s Remaking Urban in the American West: Lifestyle Politics, Micropolitan Urbanism, and Hip Capita lism in Boulder Colorado, 1958-1978 Boulder was a prime example of the crossroads of two trends in the postwar American West. The rapid suburbani zation of Western cities and the fledgling environmentalist movement wou ld be a long source of social and political tension in Boulder. By the 1970s, h owever, new substrata of Boulder liberals managed to find an economic comprom ise between these two trends. The roots of Boulder’s environmentalist movement can be traced back to 1903 when the Boulder City Improvement Association organized to improve the living standards of their young city. Fred erick Law Olmstead Jr., America’s premier landscape architect, and son of the mast ermind of New York City’s Central Park, arrived in 1908 at the invit ation of the Boulder City Improvement Organization. At the end of his two year stay, Olmstead produced a booklet titled “The Improvement of Boulde r, Colorado: Report to City Improvement Association.” The master architect was greatly impressed with the beauty of the city and believed it had grea t promise if his guidelines

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21 were considered. Among the measures he urged Boulderite s to take were to outlaw billboards, bury powerlines and to convert twe nty percent more land to parks. After OlmsteadÂ’s departure, several city planners u pheld the commitment to open space policies in Boulder. Saco Reink DeBoers, a Dutch immigrant and Denver city planner pioneered zoning sch emes and park planning in Boulder as well as many other cities and t owns in the Mountain States Region. DeBoer cautioned Boulderites that unc hecked residential growth would destroy the proximity to nature prided by the city. Unfortunately for DeBoer and like-minded Boulder city council members such as Paul Danish, most Boulderites favored the expansion of reside ntial space. 28 In the 1950s, Boulder as well as the rest of Colora do experienced unprecedented growth in part due to the establishment of several scientific research and defense industry complexes in the state, incl uding the federal government's Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons facility. Meanwhi le, many new residents in Boulder were drawn to its beautiful natu ral surroundings amidst growing economic opportunities and the expectation of a fresh, healthy lifestyle. By the late fifties, a coalition of enviro nmentalists closely associated with the University of Colorado began to speak out aga inst the infringement of rapid growth on the natural landscape. It, they argu ed, was more important to 28 Noel, Thomas J. and Dan W. Corson, Boulder County: An Illustrated History Boulder, CO: Historic Boulder, Inc., 1999. P. 140-145.

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22 the lives and livelihoods of Boulderites than any bene fits of urban sprawl. Although they faced a steep battle against the pro-de velopment conservatives and liberals in the city, the environmentalists gained new converts in the form of new “lifestyle liberals.” 29 The lifestyle liberals did not just advocate restraint on development in their city. From their experience in the student youth movements, many leftleaning young Boulderites abandoned street and campus protests in favor of the political process in order to create laws protecting the freedom to participate in culturally distinct lifestyles. They pro actively worked the system so successfully that they essentially became it or, more acc urately, became a potent element of it. In 1971, Boulderites elected a new liberal city council that sought to encourage minority participation in local gov ernment, protect women’s reproductive rights through free medical clinics, and prevent social 29 For more information about the social transformati on of Boulder from the 1950s to the 1970s, read Amy L.Scott’s dissertation, Remaking Urban in the American West: Lifestyle Politics, Micropolitan Urbanism, and Hip Capitalism in Boulder Colorado, 1958-1978 (Albuquerque, NM: The University of New Mexico, 200 7) Scott uses Boulder as an example of the influence of coalitions of liberal communiti es including classic mainstream liberals, radical New Left politicians and newly emerged “lif estyle” liberals and “hip” capitalists in reshaping postwar Western cities in the United Stat es. In her dissertation, Scott demonstrates how lifestyle liberals, managed to sha pe Boulder’s commitment to lifestyle diversity and environmental politics by winning ele ctions and gaining control of city planning agencies, p.108-115.

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23 inequalities and intolerance of diverse lifestyles. Howe ver, in order to reach certain municipal goals, the lifestyle liberals did hav e to make compromises and concessions to conservative counter-parts. The new libe rals in the government passed city ordinances prohibiting hippies and transients from occupying public space in Boulder. They also believed i t necessary to put the campaign for gay rights on hold for decades before they could be realized. Despite these setbacks, the lifestyle liberals achieved rem arkable success in transforming highly politicized social agendas, such as su stainable living, into sound economic decisions that could improve the livelihoo ds of Boulder suburbanites. 30 Open Space legislation gained popular support again. In 1972 Mayor Robert Knecht and other civic leaders establi shed Historic Boulder Inc., a corporation dedicated to preserving hist oric landmarks and curbing re-development in the city. 31 Organic food companies, such as Celestial Seasonings, AlfalfaÂ’s Market, and Horizon Org anic Dairy, began their business at this time and rose to national promine nce. The new hip capitalists of Boulder managed to turn their radical li fe choices, philosophies and religion into marketable commodities. 32 30 Scott, 155-158. 31 Noel and Corson, 155-157, 164-166. 32 Scott, 299-317.

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24 Aside from the commercial viability of alternative li festyles and religions, the most important aspect of Boulder for Cho gyam Trungpa was that it was a university town; it was a community fuele d by the exchange of ideas. According to Marcia Usow, Trungpa’s interest in edu cation came from his time spent at Oxford University where he had conve rsed with great thinkers such as the American Trappist monk, Thomas Merto n. 33 In 1974, Trungpa established the Nalanda Foundation, which aime d to expand his teachings beyond meditation and reciting of Buddhist do ctrines. Named after an ancient Buddhist university in India, the Nalanda F oundation coordinated extra-meditational activities such as Japanese Archery, fl ower arranging, tea ceremonies, and health care, psychotherapy, and dance pro grams. Trungpa explained that the purpose of these programs was to bri ng art into everyday life. That same year, Trungpa set about his most ambit ious project to date, the creation of a home-grown Buddhist university in or der to expand on Nalanda’s mission of education. He named it Naropa Insti tute after an ancient Buddhist sage. When describing his vision for the Naropa Institute, Ch ogyam Trungpa was fond of saying that when East meets West, “sparks will fly.” 34 Dramatic as 33 Usow, May 18, 23, 2006. 34 Reed Bye, “The Founding Vision of Naropa,” Recalling Chogyam Trungpa, Boston MA: Shambhala Publications Inc., 2005, 143.

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25 it might have sounded, Trungpa did not have Gary Sny der’s essay “Buddhism and the Coming Revolution” in mind. Snyder proposed in that essay, that instead of trying to salvage the doomed traditional Am erican culture, that a new culture can be “reconstructed from the unconscious, thr ough meditation.” 35 In fact, the climate of cynicism and negation of Weste rn cultural traditions is what Trungpa found most distressing about America in the 1970s. He told students that to reject their orig inal traditions was to reject one’s self and to deny an important source of human w isdom. 36 What Trungpa wanted was glue, not a full-on demolition, t o improve the values of his new home. The glue he felt should come from a new educational model. Trungpa was not the only postwar religious leader to b elieve that existing educational institutions were to blame for Am erica’s lapse in ethics and morality, but he was ambivalent about the relati onship between students and the academic establishment. Both religious conservati ves and liberals believed that vice and existential evil was seeping int o academic establishments and students should be the spiritual vang uard for the American future. In the 1950s, Bill Bright the founde r of the Campus Crusade 35 Gary Snyder, “Buddhism and the Coming Revolution,” Arthur Magazine. For more information about Gary Snyder’s theories on revolut ionary politics and a utopian American culture based on Buddhist and Native American spiri tuality, read: Richard Candida Smith, Utopia and Dissent: Art, Poetry, and Politics in Ca lifornia. University of California Press (Berkeley CA; 1995). 36 Bye, 145.

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26 for Christ lamented that despite the Christian founda tions of many American colleges and universities, most university students were “ spiritually illiterate,” and spoon-fed skepticism by liberal modernist professors. 37 For Bright and other Evangelical Christian leaders, the postwar Ameri can university was a Trojan horse and made it their mission to re-Christiani ze university students to save them from sin and subversive realist ideologies which they believed to be gateways to Communism and godlessness. 38 On the opposite end of the socio-political spectrum, li beral Christians were committed to the idea that university campuses rem ain forums for public expression of free speech no matter how unpopular. Dou g Rossinow’s The Politics of Authenticity: Liberalism, Christianity, and th e New Left in America documents the influence of the University of Texas’ YMCA YWCA and similar liberal Christian organizations in shaping student activ ist movements during the Sixties. For these liberal Christians, the pursuit of “authenticity” was a crusade not against subversive philosophies, but against co mplacency, apathy and social injustice. Their crusade was to insur e that the universities 37 John G. Turner. Bill Bright & Campus Crusade for Christ: The Renewa l of Evangelicalism in Postwar America. The University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill NC: 2008. P. 42. For more information about Bill Bright’s crucial role i n the rise of conservative Christianity in the postwar era, read John G. Turner’s Bill Bright & Campus Crusade for Christ: The Renewa l of Evangelicalism in Postwar America. 38 Ibid, p. 42-45.

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27 not concede to the designs of the status quo who insisted on the promotion of racial inequality and the war economy. 39 The vision for the Naropa Institute was ascribed by Chog yam Trungpa on June 10, 1974 as he addressed students and faculty atte nding the opening convocation ceremony for Naropa which was held in an au ditorium at University of Colorado at Boulder. He denounced the p artisan nature of American academic institutions. He announced that his n ew educational project, above all, would be students and faculty workin g together and relating to each other on the basis of trust “which seems to be la cking enormously in the Western educational tradition.” 40 The main problem in Western academic education, Trungpa believed, was inflexibility betwe en notions of the past, the present and the future which created corruption and dr udgery in a society. Instead, he insisted that his students embrace a concept c alled “newness.” “Newness” simply implied that one should approach academ ic disciplines and cultural traditions with mindfulness and awareness so th at wisdom can be received into the world with fresh life and adaptabil ity. As much as Trungpa 39 Doug Rossinow. The Politics of Authenticity: Liberalism, Christian ity and the New Left in America. Columbia University Press. New York: 1998. P. 83-10 9. For more information on the influence of liberal Protestant Christianity, p articularly influenced by existential Christian theologians Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, Dietric h Bonheoffer and Martin Luther King Jr., in shaping the New Left student movements of the sixti es, read Doug Rossinow’s The Politics of Authenticity: Liberalism, Christianity and the New Left in America. 40 Bye, 145.

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28 was concerned about dissolving cultural apathy, he warned his students against “spiritual materialism” or false perceptions of e nlightenment which could lead them into ego-centric self-serving spirituali ty absent of mindfulness and understanding of others. 41 The opening of the Naropa Institute was the culmination of three decades of education, relocation a nd adaptation for the Rinpoche. 41 Ibid, 146-147.

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29 CHAPTER 3 “CRAZY WISDOM”: NAROPA STRUGGLES WHILE ARTISTS ASSE MBLE In 1976, Allen Ginsberg wrote a letter to his friend, the iconic folk musician Bob Dylan. He expressed the high ideals that he Trungpa and Anne Waldman hoped would carry their institute into the fu ture and he lamented realities weighing it down. Ginsberg regaled Dylan wi th the extraordinary achievements of the institute from 1974 to 1976, parti cularly those of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics which Ginsberg and Waldman named after their departed friend and fellow Beat i con. The institute, he told Dylan, was a place where poets could meet cross country, “fuck students, open mind actual inside teaching,” and receive the wisdo m of lamas and Zen masters. 42 The purpose of the letter is clear. Ginsberg, amidst th e Naropa Institute's critical fund raising campaign of 1976, was aski ng Dylan for money to help with the expenses of those extraordinary dee ds. He informed Dylan that the total debt for the summe r of 1976 amounted to $90,000 for library expenses; taping lectu res; rent for buildings; and airfares for all of the visiting meditation master s, poets, theologians, 42 Allen Ginsberg, The Letters of Allen Ginsberg, edited by Bill Morgan, Philadelphia PA: Da Capo Press, 2008, 387.

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30 classical musicians and even biologists. 43 Ginsberg assured Dylan that even if the whole project collapsed next month, there was n othing to worry about in the long run. He told Dylan whatever donation he co uld give provided “a historic opportunity to center refine and speed up the process of benevolent mindfulness genius near (the) Rockies’ spinal height.” 44 Apparently Dylan never responded to his friend’s request, but the instit ute prevailed into 1977 with the same optimistic outlook from its leadership despi te its uphill struggle for survival and credibility. For Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, the appeal of Trungpa’s idea for an experimental Buddhist-inspired university harken ed back to the early years of the Beat movement. In Utopia and Dissent: Art, Poetry and Politics in California, Richard Candida-Smith examines the role of Beat Gener ation poets and writers in shaping some of the ethics and idea ls that framed their spiritual quest. Almost all of the writers of the Beat Generation shared disenchantment with established Western religion. They w ere generally more inclined towards the spiritual practices of Asia, particul arly Zen Buddhism. None of the Beat writers were as immersed in Zen Buddh ist practice and doctrine as the California-based poet and early enviro nmentalist leader, Gary Snyder. Not only did Snyder study Zen but he also liv ed in Japan for over a 43 Ginsberg, 388. 44 Ibid, 389. The editor notes at the end of the lett er that Dylan never replied.

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31 decade. Candida-Smith stresses that the most important as pect about Snyder was that he presented counterculture as a rational way of being and a force for social responsibility. 45 Unlike many of his peers, Snyder did not believe that the solution to American society’s ills lay in demonizing Western culture and romanticizing non-Western cultures. Rather he hoped that he could fin d a balance “between American individualism and the need for cooperation.” 46 He advocated education and examination of all the myths, arts, craf ts, and methods towards enlightenment. Snyder hoped that over time the wisdo m of seemingly backwards countries such as Cuba and Vietnam would overcom e the materialism of Western society and foster the values of e quitable wealth distribution and land stewardship. Snyder addressed his m essage to the nation at the “Human Be-In” in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in 1967 where he told his adherents to reject mainstream America n values and take LSD. However, as Snyder married and became more devot ed to his family, 45 Richard Candida-Smith, Utopia and Dissent: Art, Poetry, and Politics in Ca lifornia (Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 1995), 370. 46 Ibid, 379.

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32 his focus localized to their new family home in the Si erra Nevada Mountains in California. 47 Named Kitkidizze, after a native shrub, Snyder’s new co mmunity was more than a mere hippie commune Snyder hosted poetry workshops which he hoped would improve his students’ appreciation of p oetry while shaping their life philosophy and improving their approach to everyday tasks. Snyder and his neighbors organized a school district for their ch ildren, built and improved roads, and established a Zen meditation cente r. 48 Richard CandidaSmith assesses that ultimately the grand utopian counter culture societies that Snyder and other California artists dreamed of could not exist “outside the catastrophe of oppression.” 49 In other words, utopia could not exist without the material evils that it defined itself against. De spite this paradox, CandidaSmith acknowledges the ultimate value of Snyder’s vision The workings of Kitkidizze demonstrated that the dream of utopia allow ed Snyder and others to seek alternatives to existing structures of daily life 50 This is what the 47 Candida-Smith, 378. 48 Ibid, 378-379. 49 Ibid, 398. 50 Ibid, 398-399.

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33 founders of Naropa hoped the aspiring graduates of the ir school would accomplish, provided that it would survive past its init ial year. Naropa’s lack of a permanent campus and a solid financial base impaired its path towards accreditation and academic legi timacy for most of its first decade of existence. The institute relied prima rily on tuition fees, private gifts or grants, sales and services of auxiliary e nterprises and whatever federal grants that came its way. Aside from t hese resources, friends of the institution gave loans at low interest r ates and for long periods of time. In the summer of 1974, the Naropa Institute had $5,000 in donations and $5,000 in loans. The meager funds did not troubl e the Naropa faculty as they only expected four hundred students to attend the inaugural summer quarter. 51 After all, even with the inclusion of a few new course s such as dance, psychology, cognitive science, and poetics, the fled gling institute did not seem much different from Trungpa’s small concentrate d meditation retreat in Vermont or his cross-country seminars held in the earl y seventies. 52 As it turned out, the summer of 1974 was different indeed. Preparations for that first quarter began in the fall of 1973. Potential faculty members received invitations from the institute offering room, board, 51 Judith Lief, Naropa Institute Status Study Report to the Commis sion on Higher Education of The North Central Association of Colleges & Seco ndary Schools, 1977, 190. 52 Margarette F. Eby, Guillermina Engelbrecht and Gle nn A. Niemeyer“ Report of a Visit to Naropa Institute Boulder Colorado, March 12-14, 198 4,” Commission on Institutes of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colle ges and Schools, March, 1984, 1.

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34 travel expenses and three hundred dollars. Many in the broad list of potential faculty included members of the Vajradhatu community a nd friends of the institute such as Ram Dass, a Hindu spiritual teacher and associate of Timothy Leary. In the winter of 1973-74 and the spri ng of 1974, the Naropa InstituteÂ’s mostly unpaid volunteer administrative staff sent out 50,000 catalogues, put up posters in cities across the country and ran a modest radio advertising campaign to promote the new academic project About the same time that the first student registration forms arrived the seven-member staff received their first salaries of fifty dollars a week. 53 The fledgling institute lacked adequate administrative structures. Its staff had little experience in financial control and f ound itself grossly unprepared for NaropaÂ’s first year. Much to their surpr ise, 1,700 students registered for that first term. Although the Naropa staff welcomed them, the unanticipated influx of students necessitated a rapid incr ease in staff, facility rentals and student accommodation. Although the first session of the Naropa Institute was an amazing success in terms of enrollment, i t was also left the school with its first deficit. 54 As the fall semester approached, the financial weight of the miraculous summer began to set in. The i nstitute had no major 53 John Baker and Jeremy Hayward, Naropa Institute Status Study Report to The Commission On Higher Education of The North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, June, 1975, 2-3. 54 Lief, 1977, 190.

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35 source of regular operational revenue, and the unfore seen growth in student enrollment meant that budget projections were difficul t. The student influx also meant that large down payments on housing and faci lities had to be made due to a lack of track records with landlords. The la ck of managerial experience among Naropa’s staff made fundraising diffic ult. 55 According to Barbara Dilley who had just recently arri ved as a dance instructor, all of the Naropa staff that summer was “scram bling around to rent spaces at the university and to rent folding chairs and t ables and try to set up classrooms.” 56 The first Naropa offices at 1441 Broadway were origin ally a bus depot and later an organic grocery store. Its large interior spaces were ideal for auditorium-size presentations. 57 Enrollment kept growing. For its first two years, the Naropa Institute seemed to be constantly on the move as they continually needed more space. First they moved to 1111 Pearl Street where th e Boulder Bookstore currently resides. Later that summer, the institute rent ed space in the Sacred Heart Catholic School gymnasium and then at 1345 Spruce Street near the Boulder Theater. Finally in 1976, the institute staff rented the Pick Building, a 55 Ibid, 190-191. 56 Barbara Dilley, interviewed and filmed by Shirley S. Steele, The Maria Rogers Oral History Program, June 3, 2005, http://boulderlibrary.org/ca rnegie/index.html (accessed August 28, 2011). 57 Dilly, June 3, 2005.

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36 former medical facility which was refurbished to accommod ate mediation rooms on its top floor. 58 Despite this improvement, the institute would have no permanent facilities until 1987. By the winter of 1975, the institute made slight prof its from its small winter and spring programs while additional cash flow came mostly from loans. However, in that same winter and spring season st udent attendance dropped several hundred below projected figures. The 1977 status study report to the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools assumed the cause for this drop was the absence of the Hindu spiritu al teacher, Ram Das, that season. The financial hurdles got higher in the summer and fall of 1975. The institute spent $12,000 for a seven-week consulting session by the Academy of Educational Development. Although the inst itute received nearly $72,000 from individual donations and 25,000 from an individual loan, expenses increased due to the initiation of degree and certificate programs for January 1976. 59 Despite financial difficulties throughout the year of 1975, the institute continued to initiate new modular prog rams. The modular programs were designed to allow students and faculty to live together and share input for the courses, arts and crafts and meditatio n studies. The institute also designed a similar program for professiona l psychologists and 58 Usow, May 18, 23, 2006. 59 Lief, 191-192.

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37 psychiatrists. However, the institute staff could not dev ote as much time to these new developments as implementing year-round study took priority. 60 By the summer of 1976 the instituteÂ’s finances began to improve. In 1976, the Naropa staff established a fundraising drive which meant that the institute could expand its financial resources and increase stability. The institute finally received solid revenues that year. Tu ition fees brought in $385,000. Auxiliary sales and services amounted to $130 ,000. The National Endowment for the Arts donated $5,000 for the institu teÂ’s music program. The Foundation for the Realization of Man, a non-profit organization in San Francisco, submitted a 5,000 dollar unrestricted grant. W ith these substantial donations and grants, the institute decided that it coul d award fellowships to its most prospective students and faculty. Barbara Dilley received a fellowship of $18,000. Nicolas Calas, a visiting Greek poet invited by Ginsberg, received a fellowship of $760. 61 Improved fundraising was the primary reason that the N aropa Institute continued in the summer and fall of 1976 without havi ng to temporarily suspend operations. Without accreditation the institute h ad to rely on tuition to meet most of its expenses. This was an extraordinary and dubious position for a small fledgling institute, especially since most of the short-term loans 60 Naropa Institute Newsletter, Naropa Institute September 1977, 2. 61 Lief,. 192-193.

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38 bridging its deficit were due that year. Even without the aid of Bob Dylan, Naropa succeeded in raising $100,000 in less than ten w eeks, mostly through small donations from a multitude of people. The write rs and editors of Naropa’s first newsletter interpreted the donations as a sign that the institute was seen as a valuable venture in American education. 62 The presence of iconic Beat Generation poets and write rs invited by Ginsberg and Waldman to either read or teach at the institute's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics was a major draw for aspir ing students. In the Naropa Institute’s first, newsletter published in th e fall of 1977, the writers and editors exuded the triumphs and highlights of the summer of 1976. The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics hosted classes and r eadings by prominent poets and authors, such as John Ashbery, Robert Duncan, Diane Wakoski, Diane di Prima and William S. Burroughs. 63 Burroughs became a teaching writer in residence in Boulder. Although Burr oughs, the teacher, was somewhat removed from his dangerous past as Burroughs the provocateur and tortured heroin junkie, he was no less a compelling and powerful presence at Naropa. 64 While the School of Disembodied Poetics with its 62 Naropa Institute, September 1977, 3. 63 Ibid, 3. 64 Marilyn Webb, “Naropa Institute Colorado’s New Mec ca for the Arts,” Denver Magazine, October 1977, 36. For more information about the in teractions between Trungpa and the

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39 visiting Beat poets was perhaps the most successful attract ion for the Naropa Institute, it was by no means the only one. Dancers, musicians and psychological health experts, arrive d in Boulder either to teach, learn or both at the Narop a Institute. Barbara Dilley and other performance-dance theater performers integra ted voice movement and meditation for performance improvisation training A number of established and respected psychologists and psychiatrists arri ved to help augment NaropaÂ’s Buddhist psychology program. The psychol ogists and psychoanalysts who offered their expertise ranged from m ore conventional practitioners such as Elsa First, a disciple of Anna Freud, to Robert K Hall from the experimental Gestalt Institute of San Francisco The Beat writers and poets, along with the dancers, musicians and psychological health experts, also drew the attention of Chogyam TrungpaÂ’s fellow m editation masters from both Tibetan and Zen traditions. 65 Most of the early articles about the Naropa Institute p ublished by The Denver Post and The Rocky Mountain News focused on the influx of artists, authors and poets into Boulder. One such student was a young classically trained musician from New York City named Peter Lieber son. His father, Beat Generation poets and writers, read Anne Waldma n and Laura WrightÂ’s Beats At Naropa: An Anthology. Their collected anthology documents interviews read ings and symposia held at the Naropa Institute. 65 Naropa Institute, September 1977, 2.

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40 Goddard Lieberson, was the former president of Columbi a Records, and his mother, Vera Zorina Lieberson, was an accomplished dance r and actress. Peter Lieberson could have easily remained and made a career for himself in the New York classical music scene but instead chose the counte r-cultural bastion near the Rocky Mountains. 66 In an interview with Arlynn Nellhaus of The Denver Post, Lieberson stated that his desire to leave New York stemmed from disillusionment with pointless high pressure career chasing and hustling. Lieberson also left for financial reasons. He had run out of unemployment compensation and grants in New York. 67 Given his dubious career trajectory, Lieberson was natur ally attracted to the Rinpoche’s teachings on abandoning material pur suits in favor of meditation and self-discovery. When the Rinpoche invit ed Lieberson to teach a seminar in meditation in the institute’s music progra m, Lieberson moved to Boulder where he found many like-minded people. When asked by Marjorie Barrett of The Rocky Mountain News about a rising interest in sitting meditation, Lieberson stated that American materialism “has not been much help in getting rid of dissatisfaction.” 68 Like Leiberson, many of the students 66 Arlynn Nelhaus, “Musician Discovers ‘Niche’ in Bou lder,” The Denver Post,. July 14, 1976, 66. 67 Nelhaus, July 14, 1976, 66. 68 Marjorie Barrett, “Composer trades music for Shamb hala” The Rocky Mountain News, August 3, 1977, 34.

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41 at Naropa were transplants from the East Coast. 69 Although delighted to be in the company of so many poets and musicians from familia r environs, Lieberson was concerned about the relationship between his newly found arts “mecca” and the state hosting them. 70 He desired that the Naropa Institute be a part of Colorado, not a “collection of people from other places who dropped here.” 71 Meanwhile, the Colorado mainstream press seemed deligh ted with the new collection of artists, poets, writers and musicians. Wha t mattered to them was that the artists were gathering in Boulder and the Naropa Institute signaled a rebirth of the same creative energy that fu eled the San Francisco beat renaissance and the music of the sixties. One Denver Post headline in August of 1976 read, “Boulder Innovative Music Capita l-Because of Naropa.” 72 In the article, writer Arlynn Nellhaus highlighted t he presence of jazz musicians Don Cherry, Dan Blackwell, Karl Berger and other lesserknown musicians. The article emphasized the experimentati on by the musicians such as their ability to master a variety of i nstruments ranging from piano to vibraphone to African stringed instruments. T heir musical range, 69 Ibid, 38. 70 Nellhaus, July 14, 1976, 66. 71 Ibid. 72 Arlynn Nellhaus, “Boulder Innovative Music Capital -Because of Naropa,” The Denver Post, August 18, 1976, 41.

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42 Nellhaus described, ran the full gamut from “mystical to soulful straight-ahead jazz.” 73 The Naropa story also came across the airwaves in Colorado Allen Ginsberg, a guest on KRNW Radio, emphasized experiment ation and playfulness as part of the atmosphere of the Naropa Inst itute. On his broadcast, Ginsberg described one of his courses, “Mind, M outh and Page,” a poetry workshop beginning with the poetry of Willia m Blake and ending in the twentieth century with the likes of Jack Kerouac, Gre gory Corso, and himself. He also spoke about the completion of his blue s album, “First Blues, Rags, Ballads and Harmonium Songs,” which he achieved u nder the guidance of Bob Dylan. 74 Ginsberg expressed optimism that the institute would last either a hundred years or until “there is a totally sparkling poetry school that will transmit the lyrical minds and diamonds of the past.” 75 73 Nellhaus, August 18, 1976, 41. 74 Andrew Cleary, “Ginsberg concentrates on Buddhism, blues,” The Rocky Mountain News, April 1, 1977, 6-7. 75 Ibid.

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43 CHAPTER 4 NAROPA ADJUSTS AS BOULDER CHANGES In the late seventies, the founders and staff of the Naropa Institute struggled to define their relationship with the city and people of Boulder. As Naropa was trying to get its bearings as an academic insti tution, the attitudes of Boulderites as well as those of many Americans toward s sixties idealism and alternative religions were changing. New “hip” ur ban capitalists and lifestyle liberals in Boulder desired to weave Boulder liberalism into the political and commercial arena, forsaking those who adher ed to the hippie lifestyle and far counter-culture. Trungpa desired that Naropa also cast off its hippie roots and make itself and its leaders more attract ive to the new lifestyle liberals and “hip” capitalists. Although Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman would participate in a popular demonstration against the Rocky Flats nuclear arms factory, they would increasingly re-direct their en ergies towards individual spiritual pursuits as taste for sixties-style r evolution decreased throughout the country. Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman and other Naropa Institute associates also struggled to defend Chogyam T rungpa Rinpoche from fellow poets and the Boulder mainstream press whe n he exhibited disturbing behavior akin to an abusive cult leader.

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44 In rebelling against the trappings of his original spir itual vocation, Trungpa adopted a new Western lifestyle and dress that at times could be quite conservative and conformist by Western standards. He insisted that his closest disciples dress conservatively and encouraged them t o live well, even as he lived lavishly. Trungpa even convinced Allen Gin sberg, a quintessential counter-culture icon, to adopt a mainstream wardrobe. T he fashion breakthrough occurred while shopping one day at a Salv ation Army store in Boulder. After Trungpa simply suggested that he try o n white shirts instead of black ones, Ginsberg bought twenty white shirts. 76 Almost instantly Ginsberg noticed that in his new attire “people were less scared of me.” 77 Soon his wardrobe included suits, and even tuxedoes. This simple g esture reflected a profound change occurring within the main student and faculty body of the institute. Trungpa’s concern for the lifestyle choices of his adhere nts served the Naropa community well given the deeply contested social and political climate of Boulder in the seventies. The transformation of Bo ulder from a quiet conservative university town into a bastion of liberalism and counterculture had not been smooth. By 1970 three substrata of postwa r Boulder society found themselves at odds over the character of their comm unity. Boulder’s 76 Clark, 21. 77 Ibid.

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45 University Hill neighborhood embodied the struggle be tween conservatives, lifestyle liberals and hippies. Entrenched conservative m erchants on the Hill deeply distained the influx of hippies accumulating in Boulder since the late sixties. While they disdained hippies for the latter’s r ejection of mainstream American society, they were more concerned that the hipp ie’s presence on the Hill decreased sales and frightened away respectable, paying customers. Their campaign to drive unruly, obnoxious hippies off the Hill galvanized other conservative community organizations to advocate legislat ion to ban hippies and transients from other public spaces, most notably Bo ulder’s Central Park. The park had become unsanitary due to the hippies using Boulder Creek, which runs through the park, as a source of bathing, wa ste and drinking water. Local merchants worsened the problem as they ref used to let hippies use their bathrooms. 78 Boulder’s liberal lifestyle oriented politicians, such a s city manager Ted Tedesco, and “hip” entrepreneurs favored mutual tolera tion and 78 For more information about the social transformati on of Boulder from the 1950s to the 1970s, read Amy L.Scott’s dissertation, Remaking Urban in the American West: Lifestyle Politics, Micropolitan Urbanism, and Hip Capitalism in Boulder Colorado, 1958-1978. (The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM, 2007). Sc ott uses Boulder as an example of the influence of coalitions of liberal communities incl uding classic mainstream liberals, radical New Left politicians and newly emerged “lifestyle” liberals and “hip” capitalists in reshaping postwar Western cities in the United States. In her dissertation, Scott demonstrates how lifestyle liberals, managed to shape Boulder’s comm itment to lifestyle diversity and environmental politics by winning elections and gai ning control of city planning agencies. (p. 108-115)

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46 understanding of the needs of hippies and transients. De spite his more lenient rhetoric, Tedesco found himself at the mercy o f conservative Boulderites who favored running hippies out of town. 79 Many liberal politicians and entrepreneurs acknowledged that conservative Boulde rites had legitimate grievances about the transient problem, though they ma de clear distinctions between “peaceful flower children” and “hardcore,” vi olent, drug-abusing hippies. Rampant drug use, drug dealing and the violence that accompanied such activities united liberals and conservatives against t he “hard-core” hippies and transients. Boulder liberals felt these elem ents of the hippie lifestyle were destroying the counterculture ideal. Wor st of all were the violent anarchist radicals and drug gangs formed out of hippie c ollective communities, most embodied by the Serenity, Tranquilit y and Peace Family. Commonly referred to as the STP Family, they were on e of many groups who created an underground drug economy in Boulder. 80 Boulder city officials and business people, liberal and c onservative alike, found common ground on the rise of the hippie d rug-gangs. They adopted stricter law enforcement ordinances and even est ablished a permanent police sub-station on the Hill. In May 1971 a three-day riot 79 Scott, 119-120. 80 Ibid, 124-128.

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47 erupted on the Hill out of a fist-fight between a st reet person and a police officer. This event and its subsequent damage to Hill pr operty further polarized the division of those who championed the fu ll-blown counterculture revolution, those who wanted to erase its stamp on the community, and those liberals who relied on the established political system. Even city council members like Tim Fuller, who was a “hip” capitalist and gay rights activist, felt that the counterculture had to reach maturity and embr ace civic society. 81 As more liberal politicians and “hip” capitalists distingu ished themselves from the hardcore hippies and transients, th ey earned less scorn and criticism of their lifestyle from conservative Boulde rites. This protected fraternity also included Chogyam Trungpa, Allen Ginsb erg, Ann Waldman and the Naropa community. 82 In turn, the common profile of the rank and file of Chogyam Trungpa’s adherents changed as well. Unlike those wilderness years in Vermont, fewer “freaks” and commune dwellers at tended either the Naropa Institute or Trungpa’s other meditation venues. By the late 1970s, followers, students and faculty members were more likely to be prosperous white middle-class Americans who were as career-minded as they were spiritually minded. In associating more with the lifest yle liberals, the presence of new Buddhist practitioners was more acceptable and mo re palatable for 81 Scott, 134-143. 82 Ibid, 134.

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48 mainstream Boulderites. 83 The classless society that Gary Snyder and other Beat writers and their adherents dreamed would prevai l over mainstream was still just that, a dream. Nevertheless, Boulder's fresh class of citizens demonstrated that returning to mainstream society did not necessarily mean capitulation to old status quo. If there was anything that provoked sufficie nt outrage to their sensibilities and concerns they knew how to revive their tactics of the sixties. One such outrage could be found just eight miles south. Perhaps no other establishment in Colorado symbolized all things anathem a to the New Left, Naropa Beats and the fledgling environmentalist move ment than the Rocky Flats Nuclear Plant. Established in 1953, shortly afte r detonation of the first hydrogen bomb, the Rocky Flats facility specialized in th e production of components for nuclear weapons, especially plutonium tri ggers. Managed now by the Dow Chemical Company, the Rocky Flats facili ty supplied much of the nation's Cold War nuclear arsenal. As the plant exp anded in its first two decades, nuclear waste contamination increased. Doctor John Cobb, a Quaker physician and later activist conducted a study on be half of the Environmental Protection Agency regarding the amount of plutonium in human tissue belonging to people living near Rocky Flat s. In autopsies done 83 Sandra Bell, “Crazy Wisdom,” Charisma, and the Tra nsmission of Buddhism in the United States” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Re ligions Vol. 2, No. 1(October 1998), 62.

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49 on 450 subjects, Cobb found substantial amounts of weap ons-grade plutonium 239 in the lungs and livers of Rocky Flats wo rkers and nearby denizens. 84 While the Beat generation writers and poets shared a general abhorrence for both the prospects of armed nuclear confli ct as well as the potential environmental devastation that would follo w either nuclear war or disposal of nuclear waste, the faculty of the School of D isembodied Poetics, particularly Anne Waldman, was motivated all the more poignantly by concerns specific to their Colorado residency. WaldmanÂ’s in volvement with Rocky Flats sprung from a visit to a nearby ranch with he r son. The rancher showed her deformed animals that had been born near t he Rocky Flats site. 85 This prompted here and Ginsberg to join the growing R ocky Flats Action Force. The Rocky Flats Action Force was formed in 1974 by a pote nt coalition dedicated to shutting down this military-industrial com plex. Among the group were Colorado environmentalists; medical and health of ficials, such as Doctor 84 Dr. John (Jock) Cobb, interviewed and filmed by Ha nnah Nordhaus, The Maria Rogers Oral History Program, December 24 2003 and February 12, 2004 (accessed November 4, 2011) http://www.boulderlibrary.org/oralhistory/OH1 180v. For more information on the various aspects of the history of the Rocky Flats Nuclear F acility, see the Rocky Flats Oral History Collection compiled by the Rocky Flats Cold War Mus eum the Boulder Public Library as part of the Maria Rogers Oral History Program. 85 Rocky Flats Activists, October 28, 2006.

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50 John Cobb; and victims of health defects due to radioact ive poisoning including farmers who had lost animals to malignant ra dioactive mutations. As the movement against Rocky Flats grew, they were joined by national dissident figures such as the Beat poets and Daniel Ellsbur g, the whistleblower of the Pentagon Papers. Demonstrations at the site grew reminiscent of antiwar protests of the sixties. The most s ubstantial action began in the summer of 1978 when sixty protesters were arrested for obstructing railway tracks leading to the plant. 86 During the course of the protests, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman and other Narop a Beats sat on the railways. They were arrested along with 286 other pro testers including Daniel Ellsberg in 1979. 87 Ginsberg and Waldman commemorated the protests in their poetry. The most famous of poems composed during t hese events is Allen GinsbergÂ’s Plutonian Ode which directly mentions Rocky Flats in several verses: The Bar surveys Plutonian history from midnight lit with Mercury Vapor streetlamps till in d awn's early light he contemplates a tranquil politic spaced out between Nations' thought-forms proliferating bureaucra tic & horrific arm'd, Satanic industries projected sudden with Five Hundred Billion Dollar Strength around the world same time this text is set in Boulder, Colorado before front range of Rocky Mountain s twelve miles north of Rocky Flats Nuclear Facility in 86 Rocky Flats Activists, October 28, 2006 http://www .boulderlibrary.org/oralhistory/ OH1530. 87 Ibid.

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51 United States of North America, Western Hemisphere of planet Earth six months and fourteen days around our Solar System in a Spiral Galaxy the local year after Dominion of the last God ninetee n hundred seventy eight Completed as yellow hazed dawn clouds brighten East, Denver city white below Blue sky transparent rising empty deep & spacious to a morning star high over the balcony above some autos sat with wheels to curb downhill from Flatiron's jagged pine ridge, sunlit mountain meadows sloped to rust-red sandstone cliffs above brick townhouse roofs as sparrows waked whistling through Marine Street's summer green leafed trees. 88 Chogyam Trungpa was absent from the protests. His reject ion of social protest was symptomatic of collective disenchantment with the legacy of the sixties social revolutions. Trungpa said although he ad mired his friend and student Ginsberg’s poetry, he felt that Ginsberg’s poem s regarding the Vietnam War and other American crises contributed to the climate of discontent. 89 Trungpa believed that meditation rather than poetr y and individual fulfillment rather than social provocatio n were better responses to America’s ills. 90 In his landmark study, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, Robert D. Putnam identifies the 1970s as 88 Allen Ginsberg, “Plutonian Ode.” Collected Poems: 1947-1997. HarperCollins, New York: 2007. Pp. 712-713. For information about the symbol ism in “Plutonian Ode,” read the notes on pp.803-805 in Allen Ginsberg: Collected Poems: 1947-1997. 89 Stephen A. Kent, From Slogans to Mantras: Social Protest and Religio us Conversions in the late Vietnam War era, Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2001, 178 90 Ibid.

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52 the point in twentieth century American history where civic and community engagement among the general populous declines significa ntly. Putnam argues that a number of complex factors affected civic dise ngagement in the postwar era, the most important being generational ch ange. The Boomer generation cultivated distaste for political involvemen t in the wake of the Vietnam War, the King and Kennedy assassinations, and th e Watergate scandal. This alienation was coupled with more individua listic tendencies and pursuits of the Boomers meant less engagement in governm ent, religion and American communal life in general than all previous ge nerations. 91 Although grassroots activism would continue and affect social change, whether from liberal environmentalist groups or Evangelical Christia ns, it would never achieve the mass movements that defined the sixties. 92 Even some of the most ardent devotees of social revolution began to wave r. 91 Robert D. Putnam. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks. New York: 2000. Pp. 25 7-259, 283-284.For more information about the decline of civic engagement in American s ociety from the postwar era into the end of the Twentieth Century, read Robert D. PutnamÂ’s Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. PutnamÂ’s other major factors affecting Postwar civi c disengagement including financial pressures in the wake of inflat ion after the Vietnam War and the oil shocks of the 1970s, mass suburbanization and especially t he advent of television as a privatized entertainment venue compared to the more communal a ct of going to the theatre or the cinema. 92 Ibid, 153-161. Putnam notes also that even if gras sroots environmental movements or even groups such as the National Rifle Association have popular support, they have difficulty cultivating membership, participation and social ca pital from supporters. He also notes that conservative grassroots vitality is stronger than a mong liberals, especially from religious conservatives.

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53 Stephen A. Kent, author of From Slogans to Mantras: S ocial Protest and Religious Conversion in the Late Vietnam War Era, notes the significance of the sequence of events that unfolded in the United States and elsewhere in the world in the late 1960s and early 1970s as factors contributing to increased membership in new religious movements. The pri mary example Kent uses is Rennie Davis, one of the Chicago Seven, who became an avid devotee of the Divine Light Mission, a new religious m ovement founded by the Indian guru, Maharaj Ji. According to KentÂ’s research many New Left radicals such as Davis felt overcome with frustration, fea r and despair at the failure of their revolution. They witnessed events and social trends which convinced them that their country was headed into an in escapable cycle of violence. With the 1968 election of Richard Nixon came expansion of the Vietnam War into Laos and Cambodia. New Left libera ls grieved the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Ke nnedy. They lamented the prevalence of figures such as Stokely Carmi chael and organizations such as the Black Panthers who advocated vio lent resistance in the cause of civil rights. Their ultimate moment of d espair was the gunning down of anti-war activists at Kent State University in 1972. The tragedy at Kent State, coupled with the subsequent official withd rawal of American forces from Vietnam in 1973 and the collapse of the S outh Vietnamese state in 1975, left Rennie Davis and other like-minded acti vists in a sad state of

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54 limbo now that their ideals had presumably failed and their primary cause, the Vietnam War was over. 93 Kent argues that the shift from politics to religion was a coping mechanism for the radicals suffering from the paradox o f the end of the war without their social revolution. However, the shift d id not need to be some shallow withdrawal from society in favor of self-indulg ent spiritual fulfillment. Kent also argues that for many of the New Left acolyte s, their conversions were a means of changing the primary focus of discontent from society to the individual. By first focusing on their own self-improve ment and, hopefully, inspiring other converts to join and purify themselves, the revolution would happen through its own accord. 94 According to Kent, this is a typical path for unfulfilled social movements to take by projecting “the achievement of their defeated goals into the apocalyptic future.” 95 The problem was that there was no guarantee that these new religions would fully acco mmodate their radical belief system. 93 Stephen A. Kent, From Slogans to Mantras: Social Protest and Religio us Conversions in the late Vietnam War Era,( Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2001 ), 32-37. For more information on new religious conversions stemm ing from Sixties radicalism, read Stephen Kent’s From Slogans to Mantras: Social Protest and Religio us Conversions in the late Vietnam War Era. His work focuses on several new religious movements including Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s organizations. Other exa mples included are the Hare Krishnas, the Christian World Liberation Front and L. Ron Hubbard’s Church of Scientology. 94 Ibid, 41-42. 95 Ibid.

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55 These conversions from political radicalism to religion could deviate in strange directions. Many radicals joined Reverend Sun My ung MoonÂ’s Unification Church. This was an especially odd choice consi dering the organizationÂ’s virulent anticommunism and unwavering support of President Nixon. 96 The conversion of many radicals to Evangelical Christian groups, such as the Christian World Liberation Front and the C hildren of God, also seemed strange. New converts forged a strong identifica tion with Jesus as a long-haired revolutionary contrary to the conservativ e nation-supporting Jesus of the mainstream churches. 97 Conversion was not without its risks. Even though the new radical converts may have found spiritu al enlightenment, their enchantment with their newly found organizations ofte n did not last. Over time, new radical converts learned that these org anizations or their charismatic leaders expressed devotion to highly r igid dogmatic principles advocating racism, sexism, belief in a millenn ial apocalypse and authoritarian rule. More often than not it was their more steadfast New Left associates and dissenters in arms who first expressed dismay and horror at the path taken by their friends, leaders and icons. 98 Some converts such as William S. Burroughs recognized what seemed to him as t raits of fascism 96 Kent, 115-116. 97 Ibid, 149. 98 Ibid, 151-152.

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56 within the Church of Scientology which he had adhered to since the early seventies. Disillusioned with its system of ethics and punis hment and its blanket attack on psychiatry, Burroughs left and became on e of Scientology’s harshest critics, staying true to his lifelong anti-author itarianism. 99 Defending new religious movements and their charismatic leaders was a risky business as the more dubious side of certain new religious moveme nts became apparent. Beginning in 1977, New Left artists and, later, the B oulder mainstream press brought the Naropa Institute to task for inconsisten cy with liberal values and more importantly the egregious behavior of its cha rismatic founder. In April 1977 Ishmael Reed, one of the most esteemed Bla ck American poets of his generation, came to Boulder to observe the new po etry “renaissance” that was budding in the Rockies. He wrote his reflections on Bo ulder and Naropa a year later in an article for the Black American Literary Forum. When Reed left Boulder, he was not awestruck and enlightened but deeply skeptical. The Naropa presence disturbed him. Reed was particularly ske ptical of the claim that Boulder represented a new revolution in poetry 100 Along with fellow visiting Bay Area poets, David Meltzer and Bob Calla han, he felt that Naropa represented a fad, or as Callahan put it “part of a 2 00 year old American 99 Kent, 173-177. Ishmael Reed, “American Poetry: A Buddhist Take-ove r?,” Black American Literature Forum Vol. 12, No. 1 (Spring, 1978), 8.

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57 tradition ‘the dude ranch.’” 101 By dude ranch the poets meant that Naropa was merely a retreat for rich cultured East Coast tourist s pretending they represent some local creative tradition. This notion re sonated especially with Reed. Despite the presence of renowned native Hispanic poets in Boulder, notably Corky Gonzalez and Arturo Rodriguez, not a si ngle Hispanic poet was mentioned when he interviewed the poets of Naropa. I f the guest artists and poets from the East Coast were idealistic tourists at Tru ngpa’s dude ranch, then the teachers were the ranch hands; seasoned, batte red and all too aware of the ranch’s harsh realities. Reed found out that a teacher’s average salary at Naropa was about $ 200 a week. 102 This greatly contrasted with Chogyam Trungpa’s opulent lifestyle. He dubbed his residence at 550 Mapleton Street the Kalapa Court. The Rinpoche lived at the court with his wife, Diana Mukpo, and his young son, Gesar Mukpo. Students, required to wear English butler and m aid uniforms, cared for the family. These students received no salary but w ere expected to make monetary contributions to Trungpa’s organizations. Dia na Mukpo, an avid equestrian, spent two years at the elite Spanish Ridin g School in Vienna, 101 Reed, 8. 102 Ibid, 5.

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58 Austria. 103 Trungpa also had an elder son, Sakyong Mipham, who w as the child of a consort nun named Lady Kunchok Palden in Indi a. When he was seven years old he studied with his father and eventual ly became the successor to the Vajradhatu Organization (renamed Shambh ala). 104 Outside of his marital life, the Rinpoche continued to consort with female students. Remarkably he never kept these relationships secret, not even to his wife. 105 Guarding the Rinpoche were Trungpa’s Vajra Guards, a p seudo-paramilitary cadre described by some as a bully squad. 106 David Meltzer and Bob Callahan criticized the Trungpa ’s corporate merchandizing. Bob Callahan, who was once the Rinpoche’ s host in San Francisco, noted that he no longer associated with the g uru because the practice of charging fifty dollars a ticket for transcenden tal meditation went against Callahan's communalistic principles. Simon Ortiz, a Native American poet, told Reed that he wondered if the CIA was actua lly behind Naropa. Ortiz 103 Lady Diana Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian. “The Ma pleton Court.”: An Excerpt from Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa Chronicles of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. http://www.chronicleproject.com/stories_61.html9 (a ccessed March 25, 2012). 104 Ted Rose, “Sakyong Mipham: King of His World,” Beliefnet November 3, 2005 http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Buddhism/2005/11/Sa kyong-Mipham-King-Of-HisWorld.aspx (accessed on April 24, 2012). 105 Steve Silberman, "Married to the Guru," Shambhala Sun November 2006. http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_co ntent&task=view&id=2998&Itemid= 0 (accessed July 24, 2011). 106 Reed, 5.

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59 believed that declaring any given location as the center of American poetry was a conspiracy to deprive ethnic minorities and lower-cl ass people of art. 107 Of all the oddities Reed and his poet companions witnesse d in Boulder, perhaps none was as striking or as disappointing as Allen Ginsberg’s complete and near-unwavering deference to hi s guru. Ginsberg had said that Trungpa was responsible for bringing for th “a practical, visible, programmatic practice of egolessness and provided a path for other people to walk on." 108 Reed was relieved that Burroughs, although on frien dly terms with Trungpa, was not as sycophantic as Ginsberg and kept a distance from Trungpa’s brand of Buddhism. Burrough’s take on Buddh ism and writing was “show me a good Buddhist novelist.” 109 Ginsberg’s poet colleagues brought him to task for defend ing his mentor after Trungpa committed an egregious physical assault on one of their fellow poets. In 1975, William Stanley Merwin, an est eemed poet who had become peace activist during the sixties, requested permissi on for him and his Native Hawaiian girlfriend, Dana Naone, to atten d Trungpa’s annual Vajra meditation seminary. Trungpa accepted Merwin’s request and his admission fee. Merwin and Naone made their way to the seminary which was held at a 107 Reed, 6-9. 108 Ibid, 10. 109 Reed, 7.

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60 remote ski lodge in the resort town of Snowmass near Aspe n, Colorado. 110 Merwin, like Ginsberg, was a committed pacifist and a pra cticing Buddhist. As soon as Merwin and Naone arrived in Snowmass, however, he realized that Tantric Buddhist practice was not the Buddhism that he ha d come to embrace. 111 MerwinÂ’s refusal to comply with the meditations soured his relationship with Trungpa. In particular Merwin took issue with rea ding traditional Tibetan Tantric poetry that praised fierce blood-drinking deiti es. According to Merwin and Naone, the trouble began when Chogyam Trungpa e ntered the party in a drunken state. He stripped naked, danced and ordered sel ected attendees to do likewise. Merwin and Naone refused to do so. The Vaj ra guards then wrestled the already traumatized couple to the floor, and stripped them naked, much to the RinpocheÂ’s delight. 112 The morning after the bizarre festivities, Merwin an d Naone requested an interview with Trungpa. The Rinpoche did not apo logize for his conduct and urged the couple to stay on for more Tantric exerci ses. Oddly enough, Merwin and Naone stayed for three more weeks of traini ng and then left not 110 Clark, 22. 111 Paul L. Berman, "Buddhagate: The Trashing of Allen Ginsberg," The Village Voice July 23-29, 37. 112 Clark, 22-24.

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61 willing to face anymore surprises from the Rinpoche. 113 Like melt water on the Continental Divide, Merwin’s horrific story began to t rickle down the slopes of the Rockies. Ginsberg, who had received only sketchy details about w hat happened at Snowmass, grew fearful of losing a $4,000 grant to the Kerouac School from the National Endowment of the Arts. He contacted Merwin and asked him to tell the NEA that there was no connection betw een Trungpa’s behavior and the Kerouac School. During a poetry reading in B oulder, visiting poet Robert Bly attacked Ginsberg for “sacrificing the communit y of poets for his teacher” and proclaimed the doom of the Kerouac School 114 In the wake of the heated discourse between Ginsberg and Bly, Naropa never received the grant from the NEA. Eager to preserve an incoming grant from the Rockefelle r Foundation for $35,000, Ginsberg took it upon himself to prevent the Merwin story from spreading. His efforts came to naught. In that summer o f 1977, Ginsberg made an ill-fated decision to invite Ed Sanders to tea ch poetry at the Kerouac School. Sanders was the pioneer of “investigative poeti cs,” a type of poetry designed to interpret historical facts and distinguish the m from historical 113 Berman, 37. 114 Clark, 26.

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62 myths or lies. 115 Sanders had made a name for himself and his investigat ive poetry as a witness at the Chicago Seven trial in 1968. He also investigated the Manson Family Murders in 1971. 116 Given his specialty as an investigator, Sanders was certain ly one of the worst guests Ginsberg could have invited to the inst itute. For his class on investigative poetics, Sanders invited the students to pi ck any subject they wished to apply his method. Naturally, the students pi cked the Merwin Incident. A class report exhumed the incident from testim onies given by almost all the principal actors except for Trungpa. Ed D orn, another celebrated poet and a professor of English literature a t the University of Colorado, copied and distributed Sanders’ class account qu ietly throughout Boulder. There was even a copy in the Naropa Institute’ s library that later disappeared. Ginsberg’s hopes of plugging leaks on the M erwin Incident had failed miserably as the Sanders' Class Report made its wa y across the country. Much to Ginsberg’s dismay, Lawrence Ferlinghett i, his friend, fellow poet and the proprietor of City Lights Bookstore in S an Francisco, requested a copy of the report. Several publications across the cou ntry appealed to Sanders for copies of his investigation into the Naropa Institute, now titled, 115 Clark, 26-27. 116 Matt Fink, “Ed Sanders: The Last Radical,” Paste Magazine.com, September 19, 2003, http://www.pastemagazine.com/writers/matt-fink.html ?p=3 (accessed December 7, 2011).

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63 The Party: A Chronological Perspective on a Confrontatio n at a Buddhist Seminary. 117 One local publication, The Boulder Monthly, made one of the most serious proposals to run the piece. Especially inter ested in either running the piece or conducting his own investigation was the Boulder Monthly’s senior writer, Tom Clark. The autumn of 1978 was the autumn of discontent within the Naropa Institute, and for Boulderites who had a score, persona l or otherwise, to settle with Chogyam Trungpa. Ed Dorn and Ed Sanders were un der pressure regarding the circulation of Sanders' The Party. Ann Waldman was very much irritated by Sanders’ decision to let Dorn circulate the class report. On the other end of the spectrum, Sanders felt under increasin g pressure by his students to publish The Party. Sanders’ conscience was also troubled at the possibility of falling out with his friends and fellow poets at the institute. He still personally loved the communal atmosphere of Naropa wh ere writers could receive “an almost free summer in a beautiful context w hatever the underpinnings of “Trungpaic hype and moolahocracy.” 118 Meanwhile in the greater Boulder community, Tom Clar k of the Boulder Monthly conversed with the acclaimed experimental film maker and University 117 Clark, 27. For more information about what became known as the Naropa Poetry Wars, read Tom Clark, The Great Naropa Poetry Wars. Santa Barbara, CA; Cadmus Editions, 1980.. 118 Clark, 28-29.

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64 of Colorado professor, Stan Brakhage. Brakhage inform ed Clark that in 1977 he was asked to showcase his films for a benefit to improve the salaries of Naropa teachers. Brakhage agreed to do so only on th e condition that the proceeds go to the poets and not “to buy a golden pill ow to grace the buttocks of the guru.” 119 He showed his films at the benefit but later found t hat not a single cent of $200,000 made it to the poets. Instead i t had gone to a New York public relations consultant working on a PR campaig n for Chogyam Trungpa. 120 Meanwhile, an entirely unrelated but devastating tr agedy was unfolding in the jungles of South America. On November 18, 1978 the world received news of a hor rifying mass suicide of 918 men, women and children at Jonestown in G uyana. The fact that the members of the People’s Temple were lulled b y the charismatic and despotic Reverend Jim Jones, promising them a utopic drea m world, made the happenings even more tragic. The story of Jim Jones’ descent into madness and despotism also invoked suspicion in the American collective mindset towards a number of founders of new religious movements in the United States, including Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. 121 119 Clark, 29. 120 Ibid. 121 Ibid, 29-30.

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65 From the mid-1970s into the 1980s, the general climate of tolerance towards new religious movements degenerated into suspici on and hostility. Legitimate grievances mounted as public awareness grew o f the inner workings of some movements. Jonestown was the most egreg ious and tragic result of the depravity of a charismatic new religious leader. However, it was not the only deplorable action sanctified within a ne w religious movement or as they pejoratively began to be called, cults. David Berg, leader of the Children of God, gained infamy by twisting feminist r hetoric so that new female converts could become sexually submissive to his org anizationÂ’s male hierarchy. 122 Many children who grew up in the Hare Krishna moveme nt later admitted to being sexually abused by its most prominent gurus. 123 According to George D. Chryssides, a scholar of new religious move ments at the University of Wolverhampton, England, these outrages f ueled a growing anticult movement in the United States and elsewhere in th e Western world. New 122 Kent, 163-165. 123 Ibid, 186-187.

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66 religious movements could now be infiltrated by profe ssional de-programmers and face severe scrutiny from the law. 124 The Merwin Incident coupled with the nationwide trau ma of Jonestown created confusion and unease at the Naropa Institute. Th e founders and core faculty all knew that there was no valid comparison betw een the Rinpoche and Jim Jones. As for the casual students, however, many o f them were not so certain. In December, Ed Sanders reported that his in vestigative poetics class again voted overwhelmingly in favor of publishing his account of the Merwin incident. Many students felt that in doing so th ey might prevent their own impending Jonestown. 125 Sam Maddox, an editor with Boulder Monthly, stated that the conflict between Merwin and Trungpa was not a simple brawl but the subject of great importance and implication to the American Buddhist comm unity and the American intelligentsia regarding “tyranny and abuse wi thin the blind homage of the enlightenment movement.” 126 Sanders finally accepted Clark and 124 George D. Chryssides, “The Anti-Cult Movement.” New Religions A Guide: New Religious Movements Sects and Alternative Spirituality, ed. Christopher Partridge (New York: Oxford University Press 2004),75-75. Chryssides is keen to point out that not all anti-cult crusaders worked in an altruistic spirit. Many deprogrammers could be as domineering and abusive as the worst cult leaders, with forced physical abduct ion and faith braking of cult members. Deprogrammers and cult monitoring organizations cou ld also face criminal charges, or lawsuits from target organizations. 125 Ibid, 75. 126 Clark, 48.

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67 Maddox’s offer, and published The Party In January 1979 an editorial in The Boulder Daily Camera expressed the need for Boulder’s Buddhist community to purge itself of the trappings of a cult. The editor ial praised Naropa Buddhists for the good they had done in the community by helping individuals work out mental problems or bringing business and commer ce to Boulder through Trungpa’s Vajradhatu organization. However, the editorial called for an end to blind guru worship, especially gurus who nee ded the protection of guards, limousines to chauffer them around, and alcoho l to induce spiritual wisdom. 127 Allen Ginsberg took it upon himself to defend his spiri tual teacher and redeem their institute. He agreed to an interview wi th Tom Clark, poet and journalist for the Boulder Monthly The interview did not go well for Ginsberg. When asked about the Merwin incident, Ginsberg reckoned that from what little he knew about the happenings at Snowmass, Merwi n and Naone should have better prepared themselves for what they were g etting into. Ginsberg also offered his opinion that Trungpa was a better poe t than Merwin. Ginsberg then went on to criticize all poets for their hypocrisy and selfrighteousness in believing they have “the right to shi t on everybody they want to." 128 He cited some of the more egregious transgressions of hi s Beat 127 Clark, 47-48. 128 Ibid, 65.

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68 Generation comrades, including Burroughs’ accidental sho oting and killing of his wife Joan Vollmer and Gregory Corso’s heroin addicti on. But Trungpa, Ginsberg continued, “who’s been suffering since he was tw o years to teach the dharma, isn’t allowed to wave his frankfurter! An d if he does, the poets get real mad that their territory is being invaded!” 129 The March issue of Boulder Monthly featuring the interview between Ginsberg and Clark was a hot sell in the city. Ginsberg, horrified at the extent to which his comments on the subject were published, frantically and continuously contacted C lark in an attempt to revise the interview or to submit the original tapes s o he could recant them. 130 Ginsberg also wrote a lengthy letter apologizing to M erwin and Naone particularly for criticizing Merwin’s writing and for d iscussing their situation in public. But he did not apologize for Trungpa’s behavi or at Snowmass. 131 Despite Ginsberg’s earnest pleas for reconciliation, the Poetry Wars, as they came to be known, continued. In April 1979 Bob Callahan issued a petition titled “An Open Letter to American Artists,” calling for the temporary suspension o f the Kerouac School 129 Clark, 65. 130 Ibid, 38. 131 Allen Ginsberg, The Letters of Allen Ginsberg, edited by Bill Morgan, Philadelphia PA: Da Capo Press, 2008, 398-400. Neither the published co llection of Ginsberg’s letters nor Tom Clark’s account mentions Merwin’s response to Ginsb erg’s plea.

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69 until its staff issued a statement of explanation for t he alleged assault and humiliation of Merwin and Noane. The petition also ca lled for the disbanding of the Vajra Guards, referred to as the in-house Narop a police force, and an end to any harassment of the press or poets investigatin g the Snowmass incident. 132 Anne Waldman sent Callahan an angry letter calling for corrections of what she considered gross negligence of the f acts of the Snowmass incident. She also feared that due to this misr epresentation of facts, “this may be life and death for the Naropa Insti tute.” 133 In July 1980 the esteemed political writer Paul L. Be rman wrote a piece, titled “Buddhagate: The Trashing of Allen Gins berg,” for The Village Voice. While it was a brief investigation into the Merwin a ffair and a review of the accounts of Sanders and Clark, Berman’s article was a plea for sanity and fairness as well. Berman noted that while Clark’s inter pretation of the Merwin incident was indeed alarming, it also seemed hysterical. Berman lambasted Clark for his tendency to label Ginsberg, Waldman and o ther Naropa associates as “pods” and derided his suggestion that the Nar opa Institute somehow represented a cabal bent on destroying American freedom. This accusation seemed especially absurd considering that while the Poetry Wars 132 Clark, 51. 133 Ibid,5152.

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70 were going on, Ginsberg was demonstrating outside the R ocky Flats nuclear facility. 134 Although the Poetry Wars relented, the Boulder mainst ream press made it clear that presence of a secretive alternative religious organization headed by a charismatic autocrat who hazes poets was dee ply against the values of their community. If Naropa was to remain in Boulder, then it was better that the Rinpoche disassociate himself with the institute. In the following years, Chogyam Trungpa, although still rever ed for his spiritual leadership, would gradually relinquish his material au thority in the Naropa Institute. 134 Berman, 38.

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71 CHAPTER 5 “LESS CRAZY, MORE WISDOM”: NAROPA’S QUEST FOR ACCREDITATION AND A LEGACY The most important goal of the Naropa Institute durin g its early years was to achieve accreditation. With accreditation, Naropa students could receive loans from the federal government to further their education in the form of degrees and certificates. Ultimately, it would mean that the ambitious Naropa experiment would be recognized as a legitimate academic institution. For such an unorthodox enterprise, the path to accredita tion proved to be dauntingly uphill with a number of surprises and setba cks along the way. A crucial first step was just to be formally considered. In the summer of 1978, representatives of the North Central Association of Coll eges and Schools visited Naropa and finally awarded the school candidacy status for accreditation. 135 Although the commission members were willing to recommen d Naropa for candidacy, they had a number of serious concerns. The re was still no campus Naropa could claim as its own. By 1980 the insti tute was still renting facilities in downtown Boulder and five other location s within Boulder city 135 Barbara Dilley, interviewed and filmed by Shirley S. Steele, The Maria Rogers Oral History Program, June 3, 2005, http://boulderlibrary.org/ca rnegie/index.html (accessed January 13, 2012).

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72 limits. The need to rent facilities set fundamental lim its on Naropa’s curriculum. For instance, the institute offered no fall terms but did offer winter and spring terms as well as a two-session summer school. Due to its limited year-long programs, Naropa advertised itself as a “seni or college,” meaning that it only offered junior and senior year courses. T he institute did not feature extensive offerings in general education or di stribution requirement courses. It assumed that degree students had already comp leted such studies. 136 The nature of student life at Naropa was also cause fo r concern for the visiting North Central delegates. The delegates noticed that enrollment in Naropa’s summer program dropped steadily for the summe rs of 1978 and 1979 from 1138 enrolled students to 751. They speculate d that low enrollment affected the limited availability of cou rses. A Buddhist studies course had only one new student. The theatre program o ffered only one course for first-year students and one for second-year st udents. The institute would need to redouble its student recruitment efforts. However, efforts to advertise for additional enrollment were made more d ifficult due to the lack of a definable student demographic. 137 136 Dr. Hans H. Jenny and Dr. Frederick J. Crosson, “R eport of a Visit to Naropa Institute Boulder CO. February 21-22, 1980.” For the Commissi on on Institutes of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schoo ls, 1-2. 137 Jenny and Crosson, 6-7.

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73 The most pressing concern of North Central was Naropa In stituteÂ’s long-term financial viability. Although it had been successful in finally balancing its budget and was making progress in reducing so me of its accumulated deficit, new complications emerged in the inst ituteÂ’s financial trajectory by 1980. Its increasing dependence on governm ent funds for financial aid was a concern, yet not particularly unusual for a fledgling educational institution. The most vexing warnings of r evenue instability were based on the institute's need to virtually replace its student body year after year. North Central stressed in its 1980 report that f uture delegations would be better reassured if the Naropa staff were able to p rovide them with a sufficiently detailed plan of action, complete with d ocumentation describing how and when educational and financial goals should be achieved. Without a well-detailed plan, said the North Central delegates, it was impossible to have any assurance that there would even be a Naropa Instit ute in years to come. 138 In the final assessment made by the North Central del egation of 1980, Naropa had certainly made improvements since 1978, but still was nowhere near a steady path towards accreditation. The delegates reported pervasive concerns about the long-term viability and sustainabili ty of the institute. Although Naropa had an active board of directors, an intelligent and 138 Jenny and Crosson, 8-9.

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74 dedicated administrative staff, and dedicated faculty an d students, these assets were overshadowed by the school's institutional weakn esses. Despite the competence of the board of directors, it was not as an important source of financial assistance since there were few public members. F aculty salaries were so low that individual commitment to Naropa was the only motivating factor in continued faculty retention. North Central cited the heavy reliance on one-year certificate students and perilously low enroll ment for core divisions. Despite all difficulties that lay ahead for the staff and administration at Naropa, however, North Central believed that the in stituteÂ’s candidate status for accreditation should be continued. 139 An important, strategic step was to establish an advisor y council to infuse a new level of community involvement and mana gement expertise aligned to the institute's goals. In the fall of 1980, the Naropa InstituteÂ’s newly formed Advisory Council met to discuss how it could fulfi ll at least some of North CentralÂ’s recommended steps towards full accreditat ion. The first orders of business were to assess financial status and faciliti es. According to council member Jon Landy, the institute still largely depended on grants. Council member Judy Lief addressed the need to increase fundraising for 139 Jenny and Crosson, 9-13.

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75 Naropa’s library which North Central’s report had descri bed as grossly inadequate. 140 The greatest concern at this initial meeting of the Ad visory Council was the pressing need to increase enrollment despite underst affing and delays in publishing printed recruitment materials. Regardless of those difficulties, the Admissions Office expressed confidence in their strategy which they mapped out prodigiously. They had accumulated excellent recruit ment resources in the form of alumni, former students, core, general an d visiting faculty as well as potential opportunity by contacting with other school s. Primary recruitment projects would target junior colleges, usually at college fairs, sister schools and Dharma study groups. Other recruitment venues includ ed high schools; exchange student agencies; organizations, such as the Pea ce Corps; and some 1,800 other organizations that had requested info rmation from Naropa. 141 The Admissions Office identified certain academic locale s as recruitment targets and defined tactics tailored to its unique attractions and its specific academic departments. The Admissions Office’s recruit ment proposal advised that the institute should mail brochures and po sters with a poem 140 “Advisory Council Agenda, October 31, 1980. Access ed from the Allen Ginsberg Library May 21, 2011, 3-4. 141 “Admissions Office Review and Proposal 10/23/80.” Accessed from the Allen Ginsberg Library May 21, 2011, 1-2.

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76 about the Disembodied School of Poetics written by Alle n Ginsberg. The institute planned special tactics for its dance program by targeting the leaders of dance departments of schools, colleges and universities. This time, dance brochures would include a letter from the program dir ector, Barbara Dilley, inviting dance department heads to attend classes or live lectures and demonstrations. Psychology departments were also prime gr ounds for dedicated recruitment efforts. As with poetry and dance the institute would send out posters and brochures to educational department heads with information about Naropa psychology programs and semin ars. The strategy stressed that Naropa needed to be featured in handbooks of psychology guidebook programs. Plans for an advertising campaign w ere presented to the Advisory Council. It called for placement of ads i n Whole Life Times, one of the most prominent holistic lifestyle magazines in Am erica. Psychology Today and The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology were among the scholarly journals indentified for placement of advert ising. Another effort would be to research the means to access university counseli ng centers. In regards to recruiting for the Buddhist studies departmen ts, the Admissions Office did not put as great an emphasis on recruiting t actics because Buddhist studies were already regarded as a more solid and reliable source of new students. 142 142 Admissions Office Review, 2-3.

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77 The Admissions Office assessed a timetable for all recruiti ng projects and related expenses in 1981. No new projects were to begin until January. In addition they would focus on revisiting old recruitm ent projects that were discarded the previous year and on using the new maili ng lists. The timetable showed that winter could be devoted to placing ads in t he various publications, such as Psychology Today and the Peace Corps newsletter. In spring the emphasis would be inter-institutional contact s. Over the summer the admissions office would work closely with visiting facul ty members and consult them in recruiting summer students. Faculty tourin g, local lectures and performances were a major area of focus in the fal l of 1981 and needed to be fully coordinated by the admissions office, the i nformation office and the office of academic affairs. The carefully coordinated in formation gathering efforts would hopefully result in a wide array of recr uitment contacts and activities that could be continued through 1982 and be yond. 143 At the same meeting on October 31, 1980, the Advisory Council also discussed the outlook for Naropa to establish its own campus, one of the major concerns of the North Central delegation. They considered whether to split the campus between a new location for students an d faculty while maintaining rented administration offices on Pearl St reet. The projected cost for a split campus would be about $1 million includin g an additional $50,000 143 Admissions Office Review, 3-4.

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78 for water installation and $ 50,000 for a leach field The matter was of such importance that Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche attended thi s session of the Advisory Council meeting. Trungpa said that the project was too urgent to wait for 1985 or 1986. He thought whatever project the council chose would be an excellent fundraising opportunity. 144 Council members, John Roeper and Billy McKeever, estima ted that designing and building a new facility would cost approx imately $1 million dollars. Another consideration that they thought migh t be prudent was to wait until the institute could spare $2 million dollars to b uild a unified campus. On the other hand, splitting the campus would cut design co sts. The Rinpoche found this option preferable. Otherwise, Trungpa said, “things will snowball and we will get involved further.” 145 Dean Judy Lief suggested moving the administration offices to Seventeenth and Pine Street in Boulder. She also suggested a former public school as a possible annex. 146 The campus issue was finally resolved in 1982 when the institute purchase d the former Lincoln Elementary School in Boulder and moved into its own ca mpus in 1983. In 1982 North Central sent another evaluation team t o assess Naropa Institute’s progress towards full accreditation status. The team noted that 144 Advisory Council Meeting with Vajracarya.” October 31 1980. P.1-2. 145 Ibid, 2. 146 Ibid.

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79 Naropa certainly had made progress in analyzing its pro blems and organizing to find solutions to those problems. However, Naropa w as a long way from achieving both financial stability and clearly defining an academic program that fulfilled established academic standards. They summar ized the most imminent tasks Naropa still needed to address. One was to establish regular payrolls with more competitive salary scales; another wa s to improve the library, particularly its cramped quarters. Enrollment was extremely low with only about 100 students when North Central visited tha t year. Naropa’s viability looked extremely doubtful. The North Centr al delegates stressed that while Naropa’s current support from donations was depen dable, the long term outlook was unclear. Dependence on government support wa s also deemed to be a dubious future prospect. The North Central del egation concluded that although they recommended that Naropa remain a candid ate, it was unrealistic to believe Naropa would be ready for full accreditation in 1984. Even accreditation by 1986 might be a stretch at the v ery least. 147 Despite the pessimistic diagnosis for 1984 from North Cent ral, Naropa’s staff was determined to meet all challenges. In an admissions office report from June 1983, Peter Hurst, Dean of Admissions, expressed cautious optimism. He said that the admissions office had strength ened its staff and the institute's visibility by expanding its advertising and flyer distribution plan. 147 “Summary Statement from 1982 NCA Evaluation Team R eport.”

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80 Hurst was confident that the acquisition of the former L incoln Elementary School for Naropa’s new campus would make the institute m ore attractive. While Hurst would have liked to invest in enrolling 20 0 new students, he considered that such a move would be dangerous to the i nstitute’s budget. 148 He would give a more conservative estimate a few days later when the Advisory Council met to discuss Naropa’s three-year financi al plan. The meeting was held on June 27, 1983. Its record pro vides insight into a growing sophistication by Naropa in managing it s financial affairs. The Advisory Council considered a projected budget of $290,0 00 including the employment of additional core faculty. Peter Hurst reco mmended that it was best to recruit 168 new students for the fall of 1984 a nd 198 students for the fall of 1985. Jon Barbieri, the comptroller for the institute, noted that the budget would have to be adjusted for inflation each year. Barbieri also cautioned that Naropa would need to anticipate borrow ing $64,000 for debt repayment for the fiscal year of 1984. The year afte r would be more difficult due to payroll tax payments. 149 The Naropa’s Advisory Council had clearly become integra l management process in re-structuring the institute to me et the North Central 148 Peter Hurst, “Indications of Future Activity towar ds Fall 1984 and Beyond?” Admissions Office Report June 24, 1983, 1. 149 “Three Year Plan” Minutes of Advisory Council Meet ing June 27, 1982, 1-2.

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81 Association’s standards. Naropa gained new prestige in the greater Boulder community for the prominence it was achieving among in fluential leaders in the fields of education, psychology and religion. This led to important support for the institute in its pursuit of accreditation. A series of interfaith dialogue conferences demonstrated how Naropa could bring fresh insight and collaboration into the field of religious study. For two years in 1982 and 1983 the institute sponsored seve ral annual BuddhistChristian conferences held at the Dzorje Dzong Shrine Center in downtown Boulder. According to Father Daniel J. O’Hanlon, a visi ting Jesuit theologian, part of the reason for the conferences was to help Naro pa establish a school of meditative and contemplative studies which would e xamine meditative techniques from Buddhism, Christianity and other major world religions. Many venerated Buddhist monks and gurus including Trungpa conv ersed with theologians, priests, monks, friars and nuns of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant (Quaker) traditions on medita tion and other comparative spiritual practices. 150 J. Edward Murray, a former editor of The Daily Camera, cited the Buddhist-Christian Conferences as an example of Naropa Institute’s positive impact on the Boulder community when he campaigned for its full 150 Daniel J. O’Hanlon S.J. “The First Naropa Buddhist -Christian Conference.” BuddhistChristian Studies, Vol. 3 (1983), pp. 101-117.

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82 accreditation. 151 Having reported on the Buddhist presence in Boulder f or six years, Murray wrote to Naropa Vice President Jeremy Hay ward expressing his conviction that Boulder Buddhists were “one of the most positive influences in the Boulder community because of their re ligious philosophy which they teach and practice.” 152 The open, amicable dialogue between religious leaders of different faiths suggested that Na ropa was an open forum for learning rather than a secretive cultish cabal. Boulder’s medical care community was greatly impressed and greatly appreciated graduates from the Naropa Institute’s depar tment of Buddhism and Western psychology. The psychology program, one of Naropa’s earliest projects, was based upon the concept of combining Maitri meditation with conventional psychotherapy techniques. Over time, its o fferings were expanded. In the Naropa Institute course catalog listing s for 1983-1985, the psychology department offered a Master's Intern program directed toward careers in medical professions such as alcohol and drug abu se counseling, in-patient and out-patient care. 153 Dr. Robert March, a director at the Mental Health Center of Boulder County, also wrote in suppor t of Naropa’s 151 J. Edward Murray to Dr. Jeremy Hayward, December 2 2, 1983 152 Ibid. 153 Naropa Institute Course Catalogue, The Naropa Inst itute. 1983-1985. 19, http://www.naropa.edu/naropalibrary/documents/Catal og_1983_1985_missingpp1-6.PDF (accessed on April 18, 2012.).

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83 accreditation. March believed that graduates from Naro pa did as well if not better than trainees from other programs. 154 March noted that Naropa graduates worked well “with the severely disturbed pop ulation.” 155 From Lawrence, Kansas, William S. Burroughs wrote Jerem y Hayward to add his voice to the chorus. Through his teaching expe rience at Naropa, Burroughs had come to believe that Naropa was a uniqu e institution of learning that offered intellectual, physical and spirit ual growth. Burroughs commented on Naropa’s backdrop of Buddhist wisdom saying that while inspiring, it “nevertheless does not intrude on artisti c and other studies in any doctrinaire way.” 156 He also believed that over the years Naropa’s presence had been “gracefully integrated into the civic and cul tural community of Boulder,” 157 and he hoped with accreditation that it would continu e its growth and evolution. 158 When the NCA visited Naropa in 1984, their assessment pr oved predictable with one exceptional surprise. In pattern, the delegation’s evaluation concluded that the institute was still not r eady for full accreditation 154 Robert L. March to Edward Podvoll, November 5, 198 3. 155 Ibid. 156 William S. Burroughs to Dr. Jeremy Hayward, Januar y 22, 1984. 157 Ibid. 158 Ibid.

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84 and would probably not be ready until 1986 at the e arliest. The delegates noted that Naropa had made substantial improvements su ch as the formation of a funding base, a set of financial plans adequate to its mission and had successfully made fair and accurate information available to persons interested in its programs. 159 Serious problems remained, however, such as the ongoing difficulty regarding low salaries to all p ersonnel. Other financial problems cited in the NCA report were a lack of fringe benefit programs and a failure to meet payroll obligations for three consecuti ve fiscal years. 160 The exception was that the 1984 North Central delegation raised a concern unique to previous visits. It was wary of Naropa’s leade rship. The team’s concern with governance stemmed from the fa ct that Chogyam Trungpa, who was the president of Naropa, was absent for their visit, as was Naropa’s vice president. The team believed that the unusual nature of Naropa’s leadership derived from Trungpa’s o ther obligations as head of the Nalanda Foundation. The NCA team recomm ended that the leadership and administration be less informal and tha t a fully involved faculty take charge of all elements of the campus. 161 Napopa’s faculty approached 159 Maragrette F. Eby, Guillermina Engelbrecht and Gle nn A. Niemeyer, “Report of a Visit to Naropa Institute Boulder Colorado, March 12-14, 198 4.” For the Commission on Institutes of Higher Education of the North Central Association o f Colleges and Schools, p. 5. 160 Ibid, 24. 161 Eby, 7-8

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85 this specific criticism with great consternation. In a summar y of responses to the NCA visit, Naropa claimed that its staff was not awa re that the president had to be present for the delegation. 162 The concerns the NCA had about Trungpa’s less-than full involvement were not unfound ed as would soon be revealed that year. Between the years of 1984 and 1986, Chogyam Trungpa gradually relocated the Vajradhatu Organization’s headquarters t o Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada. The reasons for this progressive change in adm inistrative location were never fully explained. Marcia Usow, a longtime st udent of the Rinpoche’s, speculated that the negative press coverage o f his erratic behavior gave rise to the need to reside in a quieter and more “open-minded” community. 163 In 1985 Trungpa phoned the dance program director, Barbara Dilley, inviting her to become chancellor of Naropa I nstitute. Dilley, despite having no experience in an academic administrative posi tion, took on her new position wholeheartedly. 164 One of her first acts was to appoint her friend Lucien Wulsin to Naropa’s board of directors. Soon there after, one of the board's first acts under Dilley's leadership was to formal ly separate from 162 “Summary of Naropa Institute’s Response to the 198 4 NCA Evaluation Report,” 1984. 163 Marcia Usow, interviewed and filmed by Shirley S. Steele, May 18, 23, 2006, The Maria Rogers Oral History Program, http://boulderlibrary. org/carnegie/index. 164 Barbara Dilley, interviewed and filmed by Shirley S. Steele, The Maria Rogers Oral History Program, June 3, 2005

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86 Vajradhatu. The separation was not out of any animosit y between Naropa and its parent organization, but rather financial con venience for the Vajradhatu organization. 165 According to Dilley, it was also the RinpocheÂ’s wish that Naropa be a nonsectarian body. In 1986 Naro pa finally achieved full accreditation. On September 28, 1986 Chogyam Trungpa suffered a fa tal cardiac arrest. Although the exact causes of death are not fully known, most who knew him and treated him believe the Rinpoche was don e in by injuries from his car accident in Scotland and from long-term alcohol p oisoning. Proving that Colorado was still dear to him, he requested tha t his cremated ashes be returned to the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center in Red F eather Lakes. The center was founded by Trunpga and later renamed the S hambhala Center. 166 It was here that he was honored and memorialized in a manner fitting his status as a Tibetan lama by being interned in reliquar y within a stupa. The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya which holds his remains can st ill be seen at the Shambhala Center. The striking monument stands 108 feet high and is adorned with traditional Tibetan arts and crafts. Despi te the traditional Tibetan exterior, the stupa is reinforced with an innovative su per-strong concrete 165 Usow, May 18, 2006. 166 Jean Torkelson, ColoradoÂ’s Sanctuaries, Retreats and Spiritual Plac es (Englewood, Colorado: Westcliffe Publishers, 2001).

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87 designed to last for 1,000 years. The Rinpoche’s cremate d remains are contained in a space-age capsule. 167 In this regard, the stupa is a fitting tribute to a man, who attempted to blend the tradit ional East with the modern West. He remains an enigmatic figure. His widow, Diana Mukpo said that the beliefs and actions of her late spiritual mentor and h usband were easy to misunderstand out of context. 168 Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche is still revered by many of his students who feel gratitude towards him as the one who opened their minds to new ways of being. They rever e him in spite of his eccentricities which would strike many as provocative, abusiv e or even lecherous. Many in Boulder and Boulder County praised him for his interfaith dialogue and his contributions to the medical and menta l health community. Mukpo believes the great irony of the Rinpoche’s tumul tuous life was that “difficult as it was, it almost took Rinpoche’s death fo r people to gain a better grasp of his teachings.” 169 While it is certainly true that everyone who was a part of Naropa owed much to their guru and his vision, the shape of the 167 Ross R. Webster, “Building a Movement and a Monum ent: The Rise of Tibetan Buddhism in America and the Construction of Colorado’s Great Stupa,” Colorado Heritage, March/April 2011, 23-31. 168 Steve Silberman, "Married to the Guru," Shambhala Sun November 2006. 169 Ibid.

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88 institute and university was also determined by the ab ilities and will of all involved. Ultimately, the historical circumstances that shaped the politics and community of Boulder during the sixties and seventies p rovided an opportunity for Naropa to evolve into something more than a meditation retreat. The instituteÂ’s local supporters and detractors as well as the growing liberal entrepreneur community aided in making Naropa more palatable to Boulderites. Finally NaropaÂ’s outreach programs proved to many in Boulder that Naropa was not isolated but followed the high a spirations of its postsixties liberal class in investing in social improvement. I n the end, Naropa University may not be a reflection of the mythical king dom its mentor desired. Undeniably, it is a reflection of the unique nature o f the community of Boulder and bears the marks of a tumultuous period of social chang e in America.

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89 CONCLUSION Much like Boulder itself, Naropa UniversityÂ’s unique cha racter is the result of perseverance and adaptation to social change. In its current state Naropa is the result of structural and cultural comprom ise that transpired in the pursuit of its long term vitality. In achieving fu ll accreditation in the late 1980s, NaropaÂ’s staff successfully transformed their strug gling institute into a professionally managed academic institution. However, t here was a price to pay. In order for Naropa to survive as an institution and accommodate growth, it became increasingly bureaucratized. Naropa Universit yÂ’s response letter to an NCA visit in 2010 illustrated how radically differe nt Naropa University is today from the fledgling institute in 1974. Under th e leadership of Stuart C. Lord, NaropaÂ’s first Black American president from 2009 t o 2011, the university restructured itself into four administrative areas. The executive management team had reorganized into a presidential cabinet comprised of six senior executives. The heads of each administrative division were now vice presidents. Lord implemented these changes in order to satisfy concerns from NaropaÂ’s board of trustees over the management o f its budget in the wake of the economic recession. 170 Given that the universityÂ’s founders and 170 Naropa Institute, "Response to the Higher Learnin g CommissionÂ’s 2010 Comprehensive Visit," September 1, 2010, 1-4.

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90 staff had long desired to meet the standards of the NC A, bureaucratization and systemization were a probable outcome. Regrettably to some, this outcome means that Naropa Un iversity is now somewhat removed from its free-form roots. John W. Cobb, the current acting president of Naropa University and a longtime m ember of its advisory council, lamented that his beloved Naropa was adopting corporate administration mechanisms, including what he regarded as the inhumane layoff of staff members. Cobb hopes that he can restore Naropa’s core values in its leadership and regain the trust of its staff and student body. 171 Whether Cobb or his eventual successor can successfully steer Naropa in the direction he wishes remains to be seen. Nevertheless, much of Naropa’s original character prevail s despite bureaucratization. Anne Waldman, the sole-surviving founder of Naropa (Allen Ginsberg died April 5, 1997), continues to cha ir the Kerouac School’s summer writing program. 172 The religious studies department at Naropa has expanded its scope considerably. While it still has a str ong Buddhist core, faculty members now come from Christian, Jewish, Hindu, I slamic and 171 Sarah Lipton, “Where East Meets West.” Shambhala Times, March 15, 2012 http://shambhalatimes.org/2012/03/15/where-east-mee ts-west/(Accessed on April 25, 2012). 172 “Life of Leadership,” naropa!Magazine, Spring 2011, 1, http://www.naropa.edu/news/documents/NaropaSpring11 .pdf. (Accessed on April 20, 2012).

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91 tribalist traditions. 173 Their education and interfaith dialogue remain tru e to Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s vision that Naropa function as an academic kitchen where different religious traditions can exchang e their ideas with one another. Naropa still continues to send outstanding gra duates into the fields of psychology and creative arts. Many graduates have dev oted themselves to environmental activism, citizen journalism, and humani tarian relief work overseas. 174 In this regard, Naropa functions as it was originally intended. It remains an academic institution for students pursuing an education where spiritual values and the academic curriculum transcend tra ditional borders, material pursuits or career paths. Naropa’s founders and staff managed to create a viable path for individuals seeking to craft a life centered around their own spiritual journey, just as its founder did fifty y ears ago. 173 “Religious Studies At the Heart of Naropa Universi ty,” naropa!Magazine, Fall 2009, 12-13. http://www.naropa.edu/news/documents/NaropaSpring11 .pdf (Accessed on April 20, 2012). 174 Naropa University Alumni E-Newsletter Spring 2010 http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs074/1102033976 102/archive/1103157741266.html (Accessed on April 26, 2012).

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92 BIBLIOGRAPHY Baker, John and Jeremy Hayward. Naropa Institute Status Study Report to The Commission On Higher Education of The North Centra l Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. June 1975. Barrett, Marjorie. “Composer trades music for Shambhala .” The Rocky Mountain News, August 3, 1977, pp. 34,38. Bell, Sandra. “Crazy Wisdom,” Charisma, and the Transmi ssion of Buddhism in the United States.” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions Vol. 2, No. 1 (October 1998): 55-75. Berman, Paul L. "Buddhagate: The Trashing of Allen Ginsberg." The Village Voice July 23-29 1980. Bevil, Mark. “The West Turns Eastward: Madame Blavatsky and the Transformation of the Occult Tradition.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion Vol. 62, No. 3 (Autumn, 1994): 747-767. Burroughs, William S., to Dr. Jeremy Hayward, January 2 2, 1984. Bye, Reed.“The Founding Vision of Naropa.” In Recalling Chogyam Trungpa edited by Fabrice Midal, 143-161. Boston MA: Shambha la Publications, 2005. Candida-Smith, Richard. Utopia and Dissent: Art, Poetry and Politics in California Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 1995. Chryssides, George D. “The Anti-Cult Movement.” Christo pher Partridge ed. New Religions A Guide: New Religious Movements Sects and Alternative Spiritualities ,edited by hristopher Partridge, 75-76. Oxford University Press: New York, 2004. Clark, Tom. The Great Naropa Poetry Wars Santa Barbara, CA: Cadmus Editions, 1980.

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93 Cleary, Andrew. "Gisnberg concentrates on Buddhism, blu es." The Rocky Mountain News August 3, 1977. pp. 34, 38. Cobb, John C. Interviewed and filmed by Hannah Nord haus. The Maria Rogers Oral History Program. December 24 2003 and Febr uary 12, 2004. http://nell.boulderlibrary.org/record=b1569201 ~S8 (accessed November 4, 2011). Dilley, Barbara. Interviewed and filmed by Shirley S. Steele, June 3, 2005. The Maria Rogers Oral History Program. http://boulderlibrary.org/carnegie/index.html (accessed April 3, 2011). Eby, Margarette F., Guillermina Engelbrecht and Glen n A. Niemeyer. “Report of a Visit to Naropa Institute Boulder Colorado, Mar ch 12-14, 1984.” Commission on Institutes of Higher Education of the Nort h Central Association of Colleges and Schools. March 1984. Eric, Jonathan. Interviewed by William Fordham, March 14 2002. The Chronicles Project. http://www.chronicleproject.com/storie s_17_b.html (accessed July 15, 2011). Fink, Matt. “Ed Sanders: The Last Radical.” PasteMagazine.com September 19, 2003. http://www.pastemagazine.com/writers/matt-fi nk.html?p=3 (Accessed December 7, 2011). Ginsberg, Allen. The Letters of Allen Ginsberg edited by Bill Morgan. Philadelphia PA: Da Capo Press, 2008. Ginsberg, Allen. “Plutonian Ode.” Collected Poems: 1947-1997 New York: HarperCollins, 2007. Green, Kenneth. Interviewed by William Fordham 2006. The Chronicles Project. http://www.chronicleproject.com/stories_60.html (accessed July 15, 2011.). Hayward, Jeremy, Judy Lief, Jon Barbieri, Peter Hurst, J. Astor, et. All. “Three Year Plan” Minutes of Advisory Council Meeting June 27, 1983. Hurst, Peter. “Admissions Office Review and Proposal 10 /23/80.” Advisory Council Agenda. October 31. 1980.

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94 Hurst, Peter.“Indications of Future Activity towards F all 1984 and Beyond?” Admissions Office Report, June 24, 1983. Isserman, Maurice and Michael Kazin. America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Jenny Hans H., Dr. and Dr. Frederick J. Crosson. “Repor t of a Visit to Naropa Institute Boulder CO. February 21-22, 1980.” For the Commission on Institutes of Higher Education of the Nort h Central Association of Colleges and Schools, February 1980. Kent, Stephen A. From Slogans to Mantras: Social Protest and Religious Conversions in the late Vietnam War Era Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2001. Lief, Judith. Naropa Institute Status Study Report to the Commission on Higher Education of The North Central Association of C olleges and Secondary Schools, November 1977. Life of Leadership." Spring 2011 http://www.naropa.edu/news/documents/NaropaSpring11.pd f (Accessed on April 20, 2012) Lipton, Sarah. “Where East Meets West.” Shambhala Times, March 15, 2012. http://shambhalatimes.org/2012/03/15/where-east-meets-west/(Accessed on April 25, 2012) March, Robert L. to Edward Podvoll, November 5, 1983 Mukpo, Diana. Crazy Wisdom. Boston, MA: Shimbhala Publications, 1991. Mukpo, Diana with Carolyn Rose Gimian. “The Mapleton Court.”: An Excerpt from Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa. Chronicles of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. http://www.chronicleproject.com/stories_61.html (Accessed Ma rch 25, 2012). Naropa Institute, "Response to the Higher Learning Commission’s 2010 Comprehensive Visit," September 1, 2010, 1-4. Murray, J. Edward to Dr. Jeremy Hayward, December 22, 1 983.

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95 Naropa Institute Newsletter Naropa Institute, September 1977. Naropa University Alumni E-Newsletter Spring 2010. http://www.naropa.edu/alumni/events.cfm http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs074/1102033976102/ archive/1103 157741266.html (Accessed on April 26, 2012). Nelhaus, Arlene. “Musician Discovers ‘Niche’ in Boulder.” The Denver Post, July 14, 1976, 66. -“Boulder Innovative Music Capital-Because of Naro pa.” The Denver Post, August 18, 1976, p. 41. Noel, Thomas J., & Dan W. Corson. Boulder County: An Illustrated History Boulder, CO: Historic Boulder, Inc., 1999. O’Hanlon, Daniel J., S.J. “The First Naropa Buddhist-C hristian Conference.” Buddhist-Christian Studies, Vol. 3 (1983), pp. 101-117. Putnam, Robert D. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks. New York: 2000. Reed, Ishmael. “ American Poetry: A Buddhist Take-over? ” Black American Literature Forum Vol. 12, No. 1 (Spring, 1978): 3-11. “ Religious Studies At the Heart of Naropa University, ” naropa!Magazine, Fall 2009. http://www.naropa.edu/news/documents/NaropaSprin g11.pdf (Accessed on April 20, 2012). Rocky Flats Activists filmed by Hannah Nordhaus. The Maria Rogers Oral History Program. October 28, 2006 http://www.boulderlibrary.org/oralhistory/ OH1441v ( Accessed November 5, 2011). Rose, Ted. “Sakyong Mipham: King of His World.” Beliefnet November 3, 2005. http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Buddhism/2005/1 1/SakyongMipham-King-Of-His-World.aspx (Accessed on April 24, 20 12). Rossinow, Doug. The Politics Of Authenticity: Liberalism, Christianity and the New Left in America New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.

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96 Scott, Amy L. "Remaking Urban in the American West: Lif estyle Politics, Micropolitan Urbanism, and Hip Capitalism in Boulder C olorado, 19581978". (Doctoral Dissertation, University of New Mexico 2007) ProQuest Information and Learning Company. UMI No. 3259313 Silberman, Steve. “Married to the Guru.” Shambhala Sun November 2006. http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content &task=v iew&id=2998&Itemid=0 ( Accessed July 24, 2011). Snyder, Gary. “Buddhism and the Coming Revolution.” Arthur Magazine December 25, 2010. http://www.arthurmag.com/2010/12/2 5/buddhismand-the-coming-revolution-by-gary-snyder/ (Accessed August 1, 2011.). Originally published in 1969 in Earth House H old: Technical Notes and Queries to Fellow Dharma Revolutionaries by Gary Snyder. “Summary of Naropa Institute’s Response to the 1984 NCA Evaluation Report.” Naropa Institute, Boulder CO, July 1984. “Summary Statement from 1982 NCA Evaluation Team Re port.” Commission on Institutes of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, 1982. Torkelson, Jean. Colorado’s Sanctuaries, Retreats and Sp iritual Places. Englewood, CO: Westcliffe Publishers, 2001. Trungpa, Chogyam Born in Tibet New York: Brace & World Inc, 1968. Urban, Hugh L. “The Cult of Ecstasy: Tantrism, the New Age, and the Spiritual Logic of Late Capitalism.” History of Religions Vol. 39 No. 3 (February 2000): 268-304. Usow, Marcia. Interviewed and filmed by Shirley S. St eele, May 18, 23, 2006. The Maria Rogers Oral History Program, http://boulderlibrary.org/carnegie/index.html (Accessed April 10, 2011). Vajracarya, Jeremy Hayward, Judy Lief, Billy McKeever, Jo hn Roper, Reginald Ray, Jon Barbieri,Peter Hurst & R. Astor. “Ad visory Council Meeting With Vajracarya.” Naropa Advisory Council. Bo ulder, CO: October 31, 1980.

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97 Waldman, Anne, Co-founder of Naropa University. Inte rview by Ross R. Webster, April 12 2010. Phone. Webb, Marilyn. “Naropa Institute Colorado’s New Mecca f or the Arts.” Denver Magazine October 1977, pp. 34-37, 64-65 Webster, Ross R. "Building a Movement and a Monument: The Rise of Tibetan Buddhism in America and the Construction of Co lorado's Great Stupa." Colorado Heritage March/April 2011.