Interview with David Padwa

David Padwa cuke page

Over the phone talked with David maybe in 2008. Made notes which I recorded in 2011 then transcribed in 2016 July in Germany and now am putting on cuke 2016 in August. Also including stuff I remember him saying to me at other times. - DC

David Padwa:

I met Suzuki Roshi a couple of times at Page St. The only personal meeting was when he and Richard came to my place on 86th St. in New York.

DC: This was before Page Street, 66 or 67 when we were fundraising to buy Tassajara.

We went across the street to eat lobster. Suzuki Roshi returned the menu to Richard and said, "Lobster." The lady came out with a bib and a whole red lobster. He'd expected lobster sashimi. It was a source of merriment, surprise to him. Here was the red monster. It was funn

I had recently sold a company to Xerox and was also going to Millbrook. They had a good library.

Richard (Alpert) had had seizures, was dealing on campus, giving money to Owsley. We went to Katmandu. Met Bhagvan Das Just the two of us. I gave the car to Harish (Johari), an Indian friend. Went to Japan in 66 and India for the first time. Took a summer holiday in Japan and then three weeks in India with Harish. Went to Kashmir and Bombay. In Rishkesh met Naga of the extreme cult of Shaivas. "Beat me," he said to Harish. Harish hit him and he said, "Come have tea." He’d been a car dealer. That was 66. Tarthang had Dudjom Rinpoche in the Bay Area and let almost no one see him. Kept him jealously guarded.

I first met Sonam Kazi in Delhi in 1966. Reconnected with him in New York. Wanted a break. I’d moved to Santa Fe in 70. Sonam sent Dudjom here to Santa Fe. I had him all to myself for ten days. Said I want to continue. I bought an Ambassador (the Indian car), went to Lamas College, got robes and a shaved head. Ordained as upasaka (lay ordination).

Went to Kalimpong near Darjeeling on the old approach - Tibet near Bhutan border. Dudjom Rimpoche had a large house there. Had met him in 72 in Santa Fe. He stayed in my house with his wife and son. Through Sonam Kazi met Dudjom. Met Suzuki Roshi, in New York

Traveled to Europe, India went to Kalimpong. Dudjom arranged it and I stayed in a cell. Dudjom saw people every morning, had lunch, a nap, said, You can see me in the afternoon. I’d walk from Zangdo Palri (gompa) to his house. Would ask him questions. One day saw CR Lama granted citizenship by Indera Ghandi. A number of books on yoga one book from (Chester) Carlson. I visited and asked him. Yes can I stay in touch?

I told Dick and Suzuki Roshi I can’t help you but Carlson can. I only went with Ram Das, had a break with Wall Street etc, and wanted to meet Tibetans. Bought vehicle. Richard Alpert was in trouble with drugs, dealing. I bought the Land Rover in England and asked Richard (Alpert). Tim (Leary) had gone to India the year before on his honeymoon with Nenna and brought back tales which inspired Richard who was having a hard time without a good footing. My land rover trip was in the works for months before Richard asked to come along. Richard was looking for a guru but i was merely having an adventure en route to Kyoto where i had an autumn date with Watts.

When practicing with Dudjom met a Lama in a sort of restaurant who asked What are you doing? Studying, dzogchen meditation with Dudjom. The Lama said let me give you a piece of advice. Stop talking. Stop asking about everything. Ask him to meditate with you. I said to Dudjom, Can we meditate today? He raised his index finger, looked directly at me said, Ah  ever since that moment I never asked him a question about dharma again. We talked history, politics, etc. But not my mind. Dudjom came with wife and kids to Santa Fe in 1972 and again in 1976, never wore maroon, was never a monk. Nyingma. He quizzed me about my sex life and all.

Corrections made 4-17 by DC per email from David Padwa. A lot of them.