I was going to die a few months ago, but decided it might be more fun to hang around an extra year or two and write a third book. I guarantee it will be different from anything else you have ever read. In an unusual move, I am giving y’all on social media the prepublication version of the Introduction to Voices of Reason from the Ends of the World. I will keep posting a piece of this book now and then as it is being written, until the book is finished or The Reaper says I am.
My name is Tenzin Kharma Trinley. In English that means “The Activity of the Buddha Teaching.” There are only two reasons that I haven't killed you or several people just like you yet—Sergeant Pepper and LSD.
I grew up as the lone Jewish maniac in a Sicilian Mafia neighborhood. At 14 years old I became the only person to ever take Killer Tortorelli’s best punch and not go down, as well as the only person to ever back down a half-dozen Mafia kids at knife point. This earned me enough respect to survive the rest of my childhood, and the nickname “The Crazy Jew.” The neighborhood folks looked at me as a sort of reincarnation of Benjamin “Bugsy" Siegel, the legendary Jewish gangster famous for violent insanity, altruism, and an idea that has since become Las Vegas.
I was surely on the road to becoming a contract killer at about the time puberty kicked into high gear. Non-Sicilians on the fringe of the mob never did well in the long run—not in Brooklyn in the early 1960s. Even the organization's best friend, if not full Sicilian by parentage, could count on eventually being used as a fall guy to take the rap for a Sicilian “family” member. I was saved from this and many other deadly fates by a hallucinogenic drug and a collection of 13 songs.
My diet-pill-and-tranquilizer-addled parents listened for years to their unstable child whine about getting a dog. They finally gave in with the promise that in two weeks we would drive from Brooklyn to the Long Island Bide-A-Wee animal shelter and adopt a canine. I had big plans for the animal. Its name would be Assassin. I immediately built a dummy of old clothes stuffed with newspapers. The plan was to teach the animal how to attack and kill humans. I impatiently waited and planned for the day when Assassin’s training could begin.
As my plans were taking shape, fate kicked the shit out of them. I guess it would be more accurate to say that fate knocked me into a whole new world where plans like mine simply could not exist. Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album was released and I started doing LSD during that two weeks of waiting to adopt what would have been Assassin.
The dog was adopted and named Sgt. Pepper. She became the gentlest, kindest dog in the neighborhood. She was also a big hit with all the neighbors because in the 1960s, my German shepherd/boxer mix was the only female sergeant in existence. She was especially popular with the old folks, who laughed until they near wet themselves at the concept of a female sergeant. Everybody loved her. The dummy was eventually used for a (nearly) harmless Halloween prank and then destroyed. I spent the rest of my life as a wannabe do-gooder instead of a short-lived hitman.
Now, over five decades later, I have almost completely dissolved the personality of that deranged teenager. It took a lot of cross-country travel without ever driving a car, study without classrooms, and do-gooder efforts and charity projects for others while often remaining homeless myself. It also took a consistent faith in no describable thing and a consistent determination to go any place. There was no cell phone full of friends’ numbers and no bank account for backup. This was not always a rewarding modus operandi. Evolution was not a smooth path for me. Mistakes were made. There were several slips, falls, and blatant fuck-ups. There still are some. But they are now a lot fewer and milder than they used to be. The whole process is described in the books Fearless Puppy on American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense. You can also find out something about it in the About Author/Media section’s TV/radio interviews and newspaper articles at https://www.fearlesspuppy.info
The best explanation of how I turned myself from a semi-crazed animal into a more or less decent human being is contained within this old Cherokee legend.
A boy asked his grandmother, “Why are some people so good and some people so bad?” The 80-year-old Cherokee woman answered, “There are two wolves that live inside every person. One is good and one is evil. These two wolves are constantly fighting with each other for possession of the person’s spirit. They may find occasional places to compromise out of necessity, but essentially they are always at war with each other.” The grandson responded, “Which wolf wins, Grandmother?” Grandmother smiled and gently stroked the boy’s face. She powered her gaze right through her grandson's eyes and into his heart as she answered, “Whichever one you feed, my love. Whichever one you feed.”
I am 68 years old. Many folks tell me that I am the happiest person they ever met. I have had a nightmarish childhood, several chronic disabling problems, and a couple of terminal illnesses—so the doctors tell me. But at least three of the doctors who told me I'd be dead by now have died themselves. Many others have just been flat-out wrong with other diagnoses, prescriptions, and predictions. It just goes to show you that a formal education isn't everything these days. Back when medicine was a profession instead of an industry, I may have believed those doctors. I may have been more polite and died out of respect for them.
As a young man I was brought to a hospital supposedly dead of an overdose. They gave me a shot of adrenaline in the heart. It didn’t work. One doctor pronounced me dead. Another said no. He gave me another shot. That one worked. It taught me just how wrong some doctors can be, and just how right some others are.
But nearly 50 years later, now that half of our American doctors have shown a diseased integrity that only used-car salesman and high-level politicians were previously famous for, I usually tell them to go fuck themselves and take care of any problem myself. I recently made a mistake and took a long-term medication given me by a naturopath who didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. It resulted in what looked to be a fatal aggravation to an already problematic liver. Two doctors said I had liver cancer. The “specialist” said I had six months to live. That was in October of 2018. Do the math.
After half a year or more of heavy meditation, highly focused breathing, Rick Simpson oil, apricot seeds (laetrile/B17), Chaga mushrooms, steam rooms and hot tubs, high potency Milk Thistle, lots of vitamins, herbs, raw juices, and of course dietary adjustments and lifestyle changes, I'm still here and having fun. Those vampire pimps for the pharmaceutical industry didn't put this smile on my face. I'm not going to let them take it off. I thank Holy Space for these natural remedies.
I have many friends that are nurses. I am very grateful for them too. Doctors deal with diseases. Nurses deal with people. They can sometimes help to fix what a doctor screws up.
All that being said, and conquered diseases notwithstanding, I still must admit to being an old man. If you have read Fearless Puppy on American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense, you know that my aging bones have a lot of hard miles on them. Logic dictates that I be put out to pasture to enjoy the better memories. But if you have read those books, you know that's not going to happen.
I'm going to make a voyage completely around the world. Everyone tells me that no one my age, and especially no one with a rapidly disintegrating skeletal structure as well as a diagnosed terminal illness, should make such a journey. But we all have to die sooner or later, and I have a mission to accomplish before I do.
Most of my friends who have been abroad lately tell me that there is no place else on Earth as morally bankrupt, lacking integrity, crumbling apart from the inside, and as intimidating and repulsive to its neighbors as America. There is plenty of evidence to support their claims, but I still don't like to believe them. I have to go see for myself. If it is true that no place sucks quite as badly as America does, I want to find out why. What are other places doing that we would benefit from doing ourselves? And more importantly, why are we not doing those things? What things are the other places doing that don’t work for them? Why aren’t they fixing their own messes? What are the ways people keep smiling, laughing, and loving life while fighting to repair a world that is mentally as well as physically ill, often disgusting, and may well have a more severely terminal illness than I do? How do folks keep the fun happening in the midst of all the tragedy?
I’ll report back to you from each location, for your entertainment. But if you find anything within the fun stories that seems even more important than entertainment, feel free to use it.
Don't worry if people look at you like you're crazy while you do that. Remember that the only people who ever change the world are the ones crazy enough to think they can.
Being “crazy,” in our culture, often means that you just have a different way of seeing things. That can be a very good thing just as easily as it can be a very bad thing. Sure, Hitler and Idi Amin were crazy. But Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, and Copernicus were also said to be crazy, by many people who intended the word as an insult. Those critics didn’t realize just how helpful so-called crazy can be if managed with a loving intelligence.
The medicines helped, but the real reason I am not dead yet is the fact that I am a little crazy. That statement itself may seem crazy to you. Maybe I can explain better with this little story from the brilliant Indian mystic, Sadhguru.
“On a certain day, one cow asked another ‘So what is your opinion about the Mad Cow Disease?’ The other cow responded, ‘I don’t give a hoot! I am a helicopter’!”
The ancient Chinese mystic Lao Tse put it this way. “There is no fear of tiger’s tooth, no danger from rhino’s horn. There is no place for death to enter.”
Understand? If not, no problem. I’m pretty sure it will make perfect sense to you by the time you finish this book.