Joni Mitchell on meeting Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
“He was the bad boy of Zen. I wrote a song about a visit I made to him called ‘Refuge of the Road.’
I consider him one of my great teachers, even though I saw him only three times. Once I had a fifteen-minute audience with him in which we argued. He told me to quit analyzing. I told him I couldn’t — I’m an artist, you know. Then he induced into me a temporary state where the concept of ‘I’ was absent, which lasted for three days.
[Later], at the very end of Trungpa’s life I went to visit him. I wanted to thank him. He was not well. He was green and his eyes had no spirit in them at all, which sort of stunned me, because the previous times I’d seen him he was quite merry and puckish — you know, saying ‘shit’ a lot. I leaned over and looked into his eyes, and I said, ‘How is it in there? What do you see in there?’
And this voice came, like, out of a void, and it said, ‘Nothing.’
So, I went over and whispered in his ear, ‘I just came to tell you that when I left you that time, I had three whole days without self-consciousness, and I wanted to thank you for the experience.’ And he looked up at me, and all the light came back into his face and he goes, ‘Really?’ And then he sank back into this black void again.” - Joni Mitchell