Of Guns and Gurus

I say nothing of my state to my friend,
 but am terrified to be left alone w. her newborn child,
even w. her.  But as my behavior is perfectly ‘normal’ I don’t think she realizes the degree of my disturbance. We are ALL
disturbed by the situation. She is going to
the Drukpa Kargyu Lama & artist,
dance terton & dancer

& suggests I come along.  I
have never officially met a lama, tho one
of them has previously addressed me, however briefly
in the Oberoi Hotel, when my parents come to visit, &
discovering the train strike are unable to keep
their plans/ they go to the Taj Mahal but
I am sickening w. Hepatitis & stay behind,
only to meet the robed gentleman &
Swami Sachitandana who is holding
court w. Alice Coltrane among
others. He sees that I am not
eating & gives me his food
 most likely this ensures
 my rapid recovery
say his students.

any rate, I 
accompany my friend, the photographer
to the name giving ceremony. I see a large
radiant being, he has but one assistant, unlike the
Hindu masters, there is no trace of pop culture or
outward adoration. I am seated opposite to
the great man – I know NOTHING about
Tibetan Buddhism, but I intuitively
understand that this person
has not taken birth or died
in the ordinary fashion – He
then looks into my mind - he looks at me,
but beyond ‘me’, into my very mental
landscape, he smiles an extremely
benevolent smile. At this point I realize
everything is going to be alright, I don’t know
the teachings of mind, yrs. later, when w. Butoh master

Ishii Mitstutaka, I go to my first Buddhist teaching, & hear that thoughts are like the clouds before the sun (that the sun is, in this teaching the nature of mind) I think, O if only I had
known that, but I do not
 know that.

Khamtruil Rimpoche,
w. his smile, assures me of
a future. I never see him again in
this birth, but I do dream abt. him.
I am now in Paris, I have had a profound 
meeting w. the Drukl pa Kargyu lineage holder & Ati yoga
Master, Namkhai Norbu. I am then working in the home
of the former Afghan Ambassador – My work was outwardly
the cataloging of the family library – inwardly, it was
the nurturing their  LSD casualty son, secretly,
it was the curing of his drug addicted 
sibling w. whom I share a
 magnetic attraction.

dream is of Muktananda, a Indian master
living outside Bombay, who appears
In ebullient manifestation – my first apparition
of enlightened Mind. This vision transforms into
the great Khamtruil Rimpoche, who hands me a scroll
& then into my own
teacher Namkhai Norbu who
kisses me. I realize that Khamtruil Ruimopchel has
given me an artistic empowerment, the Drukpa Kargus are
known for their master painters & poets. A saying in Tibet
is: half of the kargyus are drukpas,

 half of the drukpas are mad men
 & half of the mad men are the
 greatest painters
 & poets in Tibet.

Namkhai Norbu 
has in the dream sealed
my lips w. his, sign of the oral transmission. I
will receive the oral teachings – fr. this
great terton & eventually learn
the dance – the dream of
dance as enlightened ritual –
fr. him. Khantruil Rimpoche the 3rd. was
the first great dance terton, Namkahi Norbu 
has this function
 in our era.


takes many years
for me to understand the
effects of the (so called) war, actually
the first to the CIA covert military initiatives,
so prevalent in our era. Of course the relation to
the boyfriend is ruined & our studies, at
any rate fragment in the mirror of
the family’s musicality,
once in Holland.

am informed of the deeper
meaning of refuge/ for 
Ganesh Puri, then a small Indian ashram,
was not far away, had I taken refuge THERE,
I might not have experienced what I did exper-

ience, Understanding  this, I dedicated
the next decades of my life to
‘spiritual’ discipline



an acid trip,
& not just any trip, but the government
distributed LSD – Orange Sunshine – I later
learn, I see my mother strangling me & am obliged to
end the trip & instead dedicate my energies to
a girl friend who has lost her mind, temporarily,
& her partner. Years later I learn that the
child, object to such brutality, defends 
him or herself by taking on the
persona of the attacker-
was this the root of

my dilemma,
or was it
the kind of depression
reported by Hesse, as he attempted
to navigate the cataclysm of the 2nd 
world war.  I studied w. Namkhai Norbu for
many years, deconstructing the
psyche, slowly nurturing


Mary on the
bus, we were lamenting
the loss of Shyam Das, we were
talking about her film & for the first
time I told this story. 

Note: it may have been that a feeling of guilt, 
following a very early intervention,  I didn’t know
 how to tell my boyfriend I suspected a pregnancy – 
when the test was positive, 
I Had a DMC,  
& did not even know why the nurse,
in the Indian clinic, was so joyful when she
told me ‘they had found nothing’/ just
a drop of blood- but did a feeling
of ‘guilt’ linger, I don’t think
so, I think it was the

psychic identification some
where in infancy, I knew I cld. not
face this, on this acid trip.  This was the
non benign acid which caused many such 
incidents, produced then distributed 
by the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, 
a friend’s boyfriend worked there &
suggested we all take this trip together, I
understood I was not ready for the
information & used my strength
to turn off the effects, help-
ing another woman, who
had succumbed 
to them,

Finally, I did have 
another dream about Khantruil

Rimpoche – I have been working in an 
Oriental book store, again, in London. A very
radiant individual comes to the basement, where I
am making catalogues. He is so radiant, so unusual 
I have to keep myself from bowing to his feet.
 I asked him what he does? A Professor, he says, 
Where he is from, he answers ‘Kham”. The owner’s
wife, who is Swiss, is also in the basement, 
when he leaves, she too is overwhelmed.

I go upstairs, but he has gone, I put my 
hand, casually on the book shelf, to my left
 & pick out a book of photographs
I open the book to a photograph 
of Khamtril Rimpoche, 
taken by the very friend 
who has brought me to him,
 years ago. Afterword, I go home,
 I am living in a squat on Haverstock Hill,
 I sit in my small meditation/ sleeping room
& write a letter to Khamtruil Rinpoche, 
asking him to be my teacher & fall asleep,
I dream of him, he is no longer on the earth, we
speak in high Hindi. I address him, in the dream, in a
form reserved, in that language, for Enlightened Beings
He tells me he is going ‘over there’ & points to a
hill seemingly surrounded by scarves of trans-
parent colors & mist. Suddenly, there

are loud knocks at the door, I
wake, it is my former boyfriend, who
tells me ‘Khamtril Rimpoche has died.’ I know.



Louise Landes Levi

Louise Landes Levi is a poet/translator and musician. Recent works: The Book L (Cool Grove Press 2010), Love Cantos 1-5 (Jack in Your Box Press 2011), Crazy Louise or La Converdazione Sacra (Station Hill 2016), Where I Stand in Angel (Il Bagatto, 2018). Recent recordings: From the Ming Oracle (Sloow Tapes, 2014), Ikiru or the Wanderer (Oaken Palace, 2018) & Colloidal LOVE (Audio.Mer, 2018). Photo by Ira Cohen.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 21:03