Allen Ginsberg: d. April 4, 1997
“After the last breath, the consciousness likes to stay in the body for a while. It is the most quiet, focused place, the best atmosphere for the consciousness to merge with primordial mind. In the case of Allen, it took about twenty-two hours for the consciousness to leave. It happened about 11:30 that night [of April 4]. Up until then you can really see that the person is still there. At one point, I said to Philip [Glass], ‘You know, Philip, Allen is still with us.’ And he said, ‘Rinpoche, even I can see that.’ But then, at about 11:30 p.m., his head dropped down. His lips dried up. There was a huge difference in his body before and after. The area of his temples became hollow. His cheeks went into his face. Generally, when the consciousness leaves, there is liquid—white or red drops—from the nostrils or the penis. I did not find that, but still I felt that the consciousness had left. Then later, Bob [Rosenthal] told me that after Allen was moved, the pillows under his lower body were soaking wet.”
Gelek Rinpoche, is a Tibetan lama trained in the Gelugpa tradition, is the spiritual director of Jewel Heart Tibetan Cultural Institute and Buddhist Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Start your day with a fresh perspective
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.