Remembrance by Luick, Constance

The Unicorn's Retreat Studio
440 Post Street #308
San Francisco, CA 94102

September, 1975

Dear Wali Ali,

A mimeographed letter arrived in my mail, which evidently was sent to assorted people.

I knew under a variety of circumstances and quite regularly through the years from 1942 through 1970 the Samuel Lewis your letter gives reference to. I was never a student, disciple or lover of his, but most of his rather sad, deluded and megalomaniac ways I was more than familiar with. Not only that, I was the one person who did and was able to do in 1961/1962 something for Sam no other person would consider/endorse or give him the chance for or which he most desired, namely get him his 2 first male Sufi students—no hippies, drug addicts, or alcoholics, or reformed ones—but above average non-Jewish American men. He soon blew his chance by his usual pattern or operation.

Sam sent me stacks of letters—both original and carbon copies of letters to everyone. He wrote not only full of two faced shenanigans with regard to every spiritual leader in San Francisco who would allow him the courtesy to attend their centers, but he sent many of these copies to others. I got 4 or 5 huge letters a week for 6 or 7 years. Most were incoherent or a rehash of work already published by authorized teachers.

Sam's main gift was in the area of agricultural research of which he would have done better to stick with.

I did not go to Sam's funeral, as I was working at Field's Bookstore at the time.

One of the last times I saw Sam, he brought 2 of his Sufi students into meet me, you may have been one of them. he introduced us and said, pointing at me, "She knows all about me and my past" and my answer, looking at him straight in the eye was, "Yes and what's more I know your future."

As Sam never married and was unable to have children, it was good of The World Honored One, who is compassionate even though self-styled Religious Teachers who advertise the are—aren't—to see that in the last few years of his life he was able to be an inspiration and gather so many lost young people around him and aid them in raising their ideals/standards.

As far as the letters—most of them I destroyed 3 years ago, even though they would have been made an excellent case history study for  a "certain type of psychiatrist."

If the above letter seems harsh—all of this and much more was said to Sam while he was alive and I often gave Sam my first hand objective vein of certain personal situations he came to me and asked for advice; some he followed.

I'm certain you'll be able to get a number of first hand views on Sam—from others—as even those he betrayed in assorted treacherous ways can still be heard to say, "Poor Sam."

I heard you one night on "Clergy on the Line" and you did well—Sam would have been proud of you.

Buddha be with you

Constance Luick, also known as Lee-wah-kali, Chiko Daishi, Miso Tao-shih and Jizo's friend "No-name Bodhisattva"


PS. You'd be well to forget the biography—the whole of Sam's Spiritual Gift/Teaching lies in one area—not his writings or people's rehash of his life. If you have a recording of his "Flute of Krishna"—that's it—without commentary.















The Unicorn's Retreat Studio
440 Post Street #308
San Francisco, CA 94102

October, 1975

Dear Wali Ali,

I'm in receipt of your letter written by you dated October 2, 1975 and my original decision written to you remains the same, namely that if your group is wise (and few of us are) they would forget the biography on Sam L. Lewis, cut one record of his "Flute of Krishna" and leave it at that.

If you wish to open (one or more) Pandora's boxes, that is your choice and problem, not mine.

You are probably in your 30's at most and my age is 53—being neither here nor there. Age doesn't make one wise necessarily anymore than quantity=quality.

As far as your comment Sam L. finally received the fame and recognition before his death, this is quite a revealing—the one he desired for so long.

Evidently you had/have been misled with certain aspects of Sam L.'s life prior to meeting him, namely that none of his contemporaries recognized/respected his genius. I can and will say—over a long period of years —if anything, Sam was consistent in several things. He never acknowledged the patience and love afforded him by others, nor was he loyal as a friend to many who had time-and-again befriended him. He was consistent in inviting himself everywhere, private parties and other places, religious affairs, where no one ever said—point blank—he had not been invited. In appreciation of others' courtesy to him, he proceeded to write endless letters, circulate them through carbon copies to not only private individuals, but, certain Embassies of his being invited here and there where he proceeded to enlighten others his view. The fact that people were speechless or turned their back on his rudeness and non-stop monologues eluded him.

He wrote vicious and untrue, jealous accounts of not only the Old Roshi (Suzuki Shunryu, Zen Master) whose lectures and free festival food he partook of often and considered himself an authority about what was wrong with his way of teaching, even though he never sat in Zazen or attended any Sesshins. The same was true with regards to Sr. Haridas Chaudhuri (Who I've known/knew as he is now deceased since Rudolph Schaeffer sponsored and brought him to America) one of the most enlightened, loving Buddha-like men I've ever known and one of the Senior disciples of Sri Aurobindo,  the Theosophical Society and even Rev. Joe Miller who got a Buddhist robe at the same time Sam did from Abbot Seo, Rev. Iru Price and others. Also Alan Watts whose guts he hated.

This is written directly to you as Sam's "spiritual son" and marked Personal—whether or not you let anyone read it, is your choice.

My old Roshi (Suzuki Shunryu, Zen Master) used to often say, "There are two histories—the written one and the REAL one."

I only met Gavin Arthur twice—once at Sam L.'s Mentorgarten, Precita Ave digs when he first started, so I did not know him nor do I have any knowledge of his views on Sam. His life I only know about through colorful newspaper accounts that could be true or false.

The two original male disciples I mentioned, I did not pull out of this air. Both of them I still know, one I see regularly an fact as I had dinner with him last Friday, asked if he had received notice a biography was being compiled on Sam L. He said, "No." As I saw him again today for lunch, gave him your name and address in case he and the other chap, who now lives in another state, wishes to send you informationit's his decision.

To clarify one point—I believe I said in my letter there were a number of people still living whose views concerning Sam L. were more or less the same as mine—but if you will reread letter I conclude you should be able to get enough testimonials about Sam, so that omitting mine or others would not be noticeable, as I doubt if you/your group are aware of your real reason for wishing to do a biography. I'm certain you think it's because you all "owe him that" for being good to you, or maybe to promote your own work/Sufism etc., or maybe deep down you think it will show the contemporaries of his still alive that if THEY HAD BEEN WISE, they would have become disciples/students of his—only you are the best judge of this, not me.

What I had to say to/about Sam in the way of encouragement or chastisement was said to him while alive and to him privately, NOT BEHIND HIS BACK, through letters, and carbon copies—mailed to others unbeknownst to him he never saw.

Attached you will find a list of names—whether you have them or not I don't know. Whether or not they will contribute to your project is their decision, not mine.

You are at no time to connect my name in any way with Sam L.'s and if it so much as appears in any biography of his, I'll be sue the hell out of you/your group.

Buddha Be With You.

Constance Luick

PS. The classical/traditional way of ANY religion remains the same, no matter what country or age in history. The advertising and Public Relations work promoting one group, or the "Meeting of All Ways" is not kosher. The most sincere, dedicated thing any disciple/student can do, if they respect their TEACHER/TEACHERS  is practice/live the thing with such dedication and awareness, there is no time for writing of books, etc. The announcement of lectures etc. is one thing—promoting/advertising, No!