Allen Ginsberg & Buddhism: Yet Again

Ron Price

Mr RonPrice
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George Town Tasmania Australia

San Francisco as a literary frontier has been a contentious place....these tensions are worked out within the myth of a "city on a hill" that claims belatedness as a sign of divine largess. Because that community was founded late in the history of a corrupt world, it might serve as a fulfillment of an ancient covenant. -Michael Davidson, The San Francisco Renaissance: Poetics and Community at Mid-Century, Cambridge UP, 1989, pp.217-218.

Haifa as a religious frontier has been part of a contentious place...these tensions will be worked out within the myth of a "city on a hill". Perhaps belatedness is a sign of divine largess here too, a sign of a fulfillment on an ancient covenant. -Ron Price, Comment on the poem below which compares the origins of the Baha’i Administrative Order and a new renaissance in poetry.

We* were born---the Order that is---

amidst the immense panorama

of futility and anarchy

which is contemporary history,

that constellated world

of shattered shibboleths;

by the time the Kingdom of God

really got going with

that manifest Standard**

a renaissance of poetry had begun

amidst vertiginous spirals

of contradictions and restatements,

a babel of noise in bars, cellars,

jazz sounds, cafeterias, readings,

primitive energy, instinctual forces,

hostility to civilization,

mystiques of participation

and an unholy holiness:

It looked like the real thing---

those beatniks, Allen Ginsberg,

Jack Kerouac who searched

for a realm of comfort and vitality

in the great urban brontissaurismus,

Zen Buddhism, poetry, McCarthy,

Eisenhower and a post-war

sleepiness and apathy.

The alternative was being born,

then, amidst his herculean labours,

a miasmal ooze in lounge rooms,

in a thousand homes around

the world, with a healthy terror

where humbling summits

were assulted by men and women

painfully inching their consequential

and necessary way past chasms:

dry-mouthed, ragged semi-circles,

equipollent, in contact with some

unseen kingdom of oneness;

learning about fire, submission,

humility, some supreme angels

and mysterious holy ones.

And still the world slept on

amidst the fiercest conflagration

and that still unobtrusive Order.

Ron Price

21 January 1996

* By the early1920s a new poetry had been born; a second renaissance occurred in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The Baha’i Administrative Order was also born by the early 1920s with a significant thrust taking place in the early 1950s.

** ’Abdu’l-Baha refers to the completed Baha’i temple in Chicago (1953) as, among other things, the ‘manifest Standard’.
Apologies here to the voteries of Buddhism. This poetic intrusion--with its emphasis on Allen Ginsberg and the Baha'i Faith--onto this Buddhist sub-site under "Eastern Thought" at 'Religion, Faith and Theology' has its origins in a lifetime of watching Western religionists and non-religionists become enthused about Buddhist teachings.

I was but a child when those earliest turnings to the fountainhead of Buddhism in the West took place. While I turned to the Baha'i Faith a few I knew turned to Buddhism and the vast majority of people I knew, whom I taught in schools and worked with in mines, mills and factories, turned to sport, gardens, jobs and a plethora of essentially secular enthusiasms. -Ron Price:mad: :eek: