Lion of Darma

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Lion of Darma

Although the 1950’s were a time of conservatism; nevertheless, Allen Ginsberg challenged conservative ideals through his writing and brought a new perspective on poetry, because he did not want to live by the societal constraints of his time. He did not fit into society, because he was a raving homosexual, drug user, and socialist. With other misfits of society, Ginsberg became the father of the "Beat Generation." These "Beats" were intellects involved in a renaissance of literary and visual arts, as well as. Since a majority of the Beats were middle-class people, they had the ability to travel around the world and returned to incorporate other cultures into America’s. Allen Ginsberg brought ideals and cultures and forever changed American literature and society; he is a forgotten hero.

Allen Ginsberg was born on June 3, 1926 in New Jersey. There he grew up with his father Louis, his mother Naomi, and his older brother Eugene. With both of his parents immigrating from Russia, and strong supporters of socialism, Ginsberg received anti-establishment political views early on.

Naomi Ginsberg was a bright young woman when Louis Ginsberg fell in love with her. She attended some classes at a local college with the hope to teach grammar school. Although she was a strict but good teacher, she suffered from hyper-sensitivity to light and sound. When she would leave work for weeks at a time because of her illness, she would lock herself alone in a completely dark room. This illness put immense stress upon the Ginsberg family. Imagine two boys growing up with an occasional psychotic mother. Before she went completely insane, she wrote song lyrics and published some of them. Though not as successful with poetry...

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... halls, and not huge rallies with tens of thousands of people.

In the fall of 1998, Allen met D.T. Suzuki and gave him a copy of "Howl." After this meeting, Allen stirred his up his Buddhist beliefs and stated talking to Jack Kerouac about Buddhist ways of life. Jack Kerouac prided himself with the knowledge in Buddhism and Taoism he attained over years of study. With this knowledge, he proclaimed himself Allen’s teacher. For Allen this was a role reversal.

As with some people in the 60’s, Allen became a practicing Buddhist. On May 6, 1971, at a reading with Robert Bly and Gary Synder, Allen took an official vow of the Buddhist way of life. He read and took classes on Buddhism at Colombia and practiced Buddhist ways of thought and life, but until then, he was not an official Buddhist. At his induction ceremony, he became known as the Lion of Dharma.

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