Ted Reich—April 30 1971
WALI ALI: Could you tell us when you first met Murshid, could you tell of the circumstances?
TED REICH: I can’t remember the first time I met Sam. In 1929 I was president of the Theosophical Society. But before that I was with Senzaki in those days. And in those periods, I came back to San Francisco, in 1925, and ’29, I used to join Senzaki, after that in ‘29, and early ‘30, Sam used to come down to the Theosophical Society for a time and we knew each other very casually, and then we skipped over to about ‘34, ‘35, when I was in N.Y., to the Alice Baileys conferences, and while I was there, I met Sam a couple of times. Then after that, when I came back in the late ‘30,s, ‘36, ‘38, somewhere in there, I used to get down to—Senzaki had moved down to Los Angeles, at the time, on Turner street. This is the Turner Street episode in Senzaki’s life. And there until the war, when they sent him to a camp, or concentration camp, during that period I used to meet Sam continuously, off and on, in Los Angeles and here, but we weren't too friendly. Then after the passing of Senzaki…,
WALI ALI: When did Senzaki pass?
TED REICH: In 1958k and a year after that, Tiesan, who is in New York now, has his own center, Tiesan, and Yasatomi, came to San Francisco, and Los Angeles, and looked me up, and they asked that I contact them with all the information I could about Senzaki. At this time, Sam was corresponding with Winnie Hoffer, whom he knew as Winnie, and Williams, who was a music teacher, whom we both knew in the old Theosophical days, that I mentioned before. While this was going on I asked Sam about his contacts in the early life of Senzaki here in San Francisco. Sam answered Winnie, now I don’t know if you have those copies, but I’m supposed to return those letters to Winnie, but I never did. As a result, I have all these documented letters that he wrote, not only to Winnie, but he also sent to me direct.
WALI ALI: This was ‘59?
TED REICH: No this was ‘61, so when he came back, he looked me up, this is the time when the famous picture of him as a Sufi was done in Cairo, and also the letters from Pakistan, which I have copies of.
WALI ALI: I don’t know what famous picture in Cairo. There are some pictures in India and Pakistan, I’m not sure of the picture in Cairo. Which picture do you mean?
TED REICH: The picture in Cairo when he was younger, with the hat and the robe and the star.
Wa1i Ali: Do you have a copy of that picture?
TED REICH: Yes. I believe that Sam returned to San Francisco in ’62, I’m not sure about this, I gather this from a letter I have written to a Doctor Zerkin, who was teaching in the Asiatic school, Hebrew and stuff, and he was very much interested in the Hebraic tradition, at this time, it was not the time when, I believe he lived on Fulton Street, and it was after this when he contacted Spicks, he was in contact with Spicks, and a man called Carlton Kendall by the way, another man you should meet, he knew Sam all down in the years before, we were talking about, in the early ‘20’s, I’m sure, and also have you gotten Mrs. Casa’s name down?
WALI ALI: No I don’t.
TED REICH: You should have Mrs. Casa’s name. Down there too. Because she knew him, and she also knew Sam’s mother and father quite well. We now skip to ‘64 and I don’t know if he lives on Harriet street, in between two movements between Clementina, or not I don’t know, I know he lived on both streets, because I used to visit him on both Clementina and I think he lived on Clementina before it was the last place he lived before he moved to Precita. After he came out of the hospital. He may have lived in two place in Clementina, I don’t know. But it was during this period, my diary, which I looked at very casually and quickly, showed I must have seen him, anywhere from 50 to a 100 times, in those years, I must have seen him, once or twice a week, and almost constantly, either in person or on the phone.
He was either in my house or I was over, or we’d go out, because he didn’t have a car in these days, and I’d take him please and he’d come over to my apartment when he was in the neighborhood, because, Della Goertz, is another one I just remembered should be contacted, too; she knew him in these early days. It was also about this time, we, Sam and I never had any real fights, we talked a lot, and we didn’t agree on things, and we would respect each other's opinion, but I don’t think he tried to convert me, or I tried to convert him, to my way of thinking. It was about this time that I introduced Sam or made him familiar with Robert Graves, I don’t know whether you folks know Robert Graves, and I think, I gave him Robert Graves’ King Jesus to read, and also Hercules, my ship mate, two of my favorites. When he read King Jesus, he fall for Graves, hook line and sinker, and also his “White Goddess." But he was so enthralled with Graves, he wrote to Graves about some of the Jewish points of view, and Graves wrote him a letter, and if you ever want to see a letter which Sam gave me, I have the correspondence between Graves and Sam. And the funny part about of it is that Sam didn’t like the answer that he got, and I don’t think he wrote to him after that one letter. I guess he thought, in typical Sam’s fashion—it was just an episode and let it go at that. But this Dr. Zarka, that I mentioned before, was quite interested in him, because I know him quite well, too, and it’s past now. Charmey probably knows a lot about Zarka, because he taught at that Asiatic school, that Zarka took over later. It was about this time in 1961, as a matter of fact it was on the death of Kennedy, Howard told me, that he met Howard Mussel, or Howard Mussel met Sam, and he said that, I said, “Was he the first disciple?” He said, “No,” but Sam’s first disciple, he thinks, lives with him now, I can get that name or address very easily.
WALI ALI: I think his first disciple was a fellow named Mir Clark. He’s in the penitentiary.
TED REICH: If it wasn’t Clark, it was a fellow Howard, and you can find that out very easily, yeah, this was on as I say, Howard met Sam on November the 22nd, 1964, that’s when he lived on Clementina Street. That’s when Kennedy was killed.
WALI ALI: That was 63, wasn’t it?
TED REICH: ‘64.
FRED: November l963.
WALI ALI: Sure because he only served 3 years.
TED REICH: It should have been 1963, rather than 64; I got it twisted up, because Evans Wentz passed in ‘64, and I associated the death Evans Wentz, who is a personal friend—I don’t know if Sam ever met him or not, I know he corresponded with him a lot once or twice. But in 1961 I have some correspondence where he contacted Rabbi Fine, and I think Glaser, and it was in this year that Sam met Warwick—no Warwick in ‘65. I’m talking about ‘65, the Grave letters were in ‘64, but Warwick, was in ‘65. The reason I know so well is: Sam and I, we have been down to Walt Batista that night, and he wasn’t feeling well, he had a bad cold or something, and we went up to Warwicks, when he could give him some of his (something). I had talked to Warwick on the phone several times but I had never met him, And this is the first time that I had met Warwick. In ‘65, he first met Dr. Sales. Dr. Sales was here too, when all that famous things went around. It has been a traumatic period in Sam’s life, traumatic I think in Sam's life. I chose ‘66, and ‘67 on purpose, because there are two events that happened in that year that seemed to determine all of the way that you folks came to know him. In November of 1966, Irene Horowitz, phoned us and told us that there would be a Sufi in town. And that we should have a meeting with Warwick. And she arranged, with Dr. Phillips, who was the head of the philosophy department at Temple University and who was bringing this Sufi to town, and that was where we discovered that Warwick was fluent in French, which we never had known before. Anyway, we, Sam was visiting his family and I don’t remember the Sufi’s real name, I don’t have it written down here. Anyway, he met this particular Sufi, he was one-eyed by the way.
WALI ALI: Siddhi.
TED REICH: The Siddhi, and the thing that is funny about this, I didn’t put this down but it just occurred to me now. In April of 1966, I was a tour director, and took a tour around the world, and while I was in Aden, which is just in North Africa there, I was walking in the town there, and I passed some people who were wearing Yarmulkes or Sufi hats, and I saw one, it was terrific, and I went up to the guy, and I said, "Hey, I’d like to buy your hat.” And he said, “I don’t know, come on into my store.” He evidently was a Jew who ran this store, and I bought my electric razor in Aden, at the same time, a Remington there, and he finally, when I bought the razor, he sold me this hat. And when I came back this is the hat I gave him, when he met the Siddhi. And the funny thing about it the minute he came in, the Sufi looked at the hat, and went like this, at Sam, and Sam went … and whether it was the Sufi hat or not, I don’t know.
WALI ALI: Is it like a …
TED REICH: It was like a square Yarmulke. And it’s white, and it had red and gold on the top of it, I only wore it once in Cairo, but Sam wore it, I saw him wear it several times. I always get a big kick out of it, cause I think Sam and the Siddhi recognized each other.
WALI ALI: Tell us also about that evening, you were there that evening?
TED REICH: I’m trying to remember who was all there. Joe and Gwen Miller was there, Sam came and sat, oh he was really hiding and they really gave each other the high sign, but as I say the Siddhi only spoke in French, and he had to have an interpreter, and there was a French woman with him, a French couple, here’s why I remember it so clearly was, and Dr. Phillips and his daughter were there, and there was some hippie, I don’t know, but he and Phillips’s daughter went into the kitchen and broke up the proceedings a couple of times with their laughing, but the Siddhi answered questions and so forth, I don’t know who this was, maybe Warwick will know, but I think Grace Darling was there. By the way Grace Darling is a name you should put down, who knew Sam in the early days, in the days when Sam and Whiteman I think, wrote that book, and she knows that whole trip, but not as well as Sam of course.
WALI ALI: We can get into some of these personalities later on.
TED REICH: I’m just putting them down as they come to mind, and Jeffery was there and I think, there must have been 10 or 12 of us, and we’d ask questions, and later on in the evening, each individual had the right to go in and have interview with him. I didn’t go in, but Sam went in, Sam was in quite a while, and Warwick was in there with him, and I think Joe.
WALI ALI: Joe was because he talked about it.
TED REICH: Yeah, and so I didn't go in but of course he thanked me and all the rest. It’s peculiar, I’m sorry to say in a way, that the Siddhi didn’t impress me, like he impressed the rest of them, through my own ignorance I suppose be that it is, and we might as well make a record of it, that, as I say, we were more impressed with Warwick, joking and being able go to converse with him in French, then most anything else.
WALI ALI: Murshid said one time that the Siddhi spoke in Arabic, and that someone translated from Arabic to French, and from French into English. and he (Murshid), said, that towards the end of the evening he got so high that he was translating directly from Arabic and he didn’t even know it.
TED REICH: Yeah, I don’t know if you remember Warwick's house, or not, it was quite a big room, and we were all sitting around, I think Sam was sitting on top, I think the Siddhi and his two interpreters were sitting in the middle, and Sam was sitting in the middle of a couch like mine right there, and he was having a terrific time, and of course, this is a big year.
WALI ALI: Let me ask you something and see if you remember it about that night. Murshid said that evening there were a lot of people in the audience who were interested in having, say a Siddhi establish a center in the area. Anyway, he was asked a question, "'Will you establish a center?" and the Siddhi replied, "It's not necessary—there is a man in the audience, who has baraka." This is what Sam told many times as the story.
TED REICH: It's quite possible, as I say, because I had the impression…
WALL ALI: Our question, do you remember this remark, made by the Siddhi?
TED REICH: He could have, I don't know. Not being that interested in Sufi itself, it wouldn't stand in my mind, like the Senzaki, Inayat Khan reaction. It could happen, maybe it did happen, maybe it didn't happen, maybe Joe will remember, I don't know. As I say the impression, I wouldn't say yes or no to that particular question. It must have happened, because one of the major impetuses of his whole life was that.
WALI ALI: Yeah he said after that time all his efforts flowered.
TED REICH: He was evidently touched, he had a whole new impetus. It was one of the traumatic moments in his life. And as I say he was only there one night, and I took him up, and when he left he embarrassed me, but he didn't touch me like he could have, or should have, I should say. I didn't get the transmission that Sam and Joe and some of the other ones got.
WALI ALI: How long after this from Murshid went to the hospital?
TED REICH: We'll come to that in just a little while, because there's something else. Oh, before this event—excuse me for digressing—before, that was in November, in the city, in September, Sammy made a lot of particular incidents, I don't know if you folks heard of Almsby and Zara? Almsby and Zara were two people who took the Buddhistic vows from Senzaki san, was back in '31, and they went to Japan, and they had an awfully rough time in Japan, one of them, in fact, I don't know whether he married a Japanese girl, but he had a son from a Japanese woman—Lottie knows all about this, she'll give you the gory details. And whatever happened to him, I don't know, anyway, this child that was born of this union, is a monk now, Soyen is raising him. Anyway, Almsby was the second of these monks, and he came back and called himself a Baba or something, and Sam bumped into him, in this same year, and I think it should be recorded, because he is still floating around here—I never run into him but Carlton Kendall, he will remember Zara too, because he remembers the old days, and I have a clipping in my book, of Senzaki's notes, when they were ordained, and left for Japan, so if you want the details….
WALI ALI: What was the importance of this episode?
TED REICH: The reason I made a deal about is, because he went up and said "Do you remember Almsby, and be pretended he had forgotten this whole episode. And can you imagine that guy not remembering us. And the reason why I remember it so well is: I don't know whether you know it or not, but I have a Hammond typewriter that changes type and so forth and they went nuts about it. I finally found a place where they could buy one, and they went to buy one, and left me down with Senzaki san, and I had a pica, and in fact I'm using that one now, it's a little portable,, that changes type. I don't remember, but it might be that Sam also knew Meredith Starr—I don't know if you know who Meredith Starr is? Meredith Starr was an Englishman who came here and they lived on the sand dunes, the one that will tell you a lot—oh he's the astrologer, Gavin Arthur, lived at the dunes in those days, and he fell in love with this girl friend of mine, she wasn't a girl friend of cline, an artist, and we went down there, this is when I first met Gavin uric and this Meredith Starr came in and lived with a very good friend of mine here in San Francisco, about a week. And while he was here, I think Sam must've been at some of those meetings too. That was in '32, that Starr was here, and this Starr was a' friend of this Bennet whom we were talking about before. He wrote the book that was tied up with Ouspensky and Gurdjieff and Bennet is the fellow who brought Sabu to America, and Starr introduced or told Bennet about Sabu, and then brought him to America. This was also the time Sam and I were going to do a lot about Senzaki's manuscript, until we found out, that there is a Mrs. Chandless who has a legal right to them and we had the idea of publishing some of Sims material, it was also about the time Sam and I were going to study the Kabbalah together—we never got off the first base, we had other things more important, it was about this, let’s see, it was in November of ‘66, that Sam met this Siddhi—in April of ‘67, Sam has his heart attack. So it’s just close enough to link those traumatic experiences. Of course he claimed he never had a heart attack, it was his idea that it was food poisoning or something, the doctor told me and a couple of other ones, that he really did have one, and the first day I saw him he did look pretty sick, he was a pretty sick guy, and this is the first time I met Gina Cerminara, she was up there one night, and she came to see him.
WALI ALI: Let’s go back, unless you have a lot, because.
TED REICH: Just one more thing about ‘67, because it was in ‘67 this picture that Burwick, we used to call him uncle Boris, got a commission from some university in the east and make a survey of Buddhism in America. I wrote him quite a letter about why he couldn’t understand why there were so many of these small cults and he couldn’t understand how Buddhism could grow, and he couldn’t understand the influence of Senzaki, and of course Senzaki had this tremendous import into the U.S., and how this brought about, he just couldn’t understand the psychic influences how great those guys were, that’s all.
WALI ALI: I want to go back, can you give us a picture of Nyogen Senzaki, just sort of what you remember of him, what was his Zendo like?
TED REICH: The Zendo here in San Francisco, he evidently had two Zendos, Sam seems to remember one that I don’t remember; the one that I remember was on Bush Street, just below where there was a Japanese temple, and the reason why I remember it so well, is for two reasons, not only do I remember, you see I don’t think it held over 10 or 15 people at the most, and Senzaki didn’t believe in the westerners sitting cross-legged, he didn’t think it was necessary, just as long as it’s a mental attitude and so forth, and it’s much less important than the Asanas, and, I don’t know if you have ever seen any, but I still have an original, he used to write on 5 by 8 papers.
WALI ALI: I’ve seen some of those yeah.
TED REICH: And then he’d read these lectures, which were afterwards transcribed by some of the other people into the manuscripts scene.
WALI ALI: And was Sam at all of these?
TED REICH: He wasn’t at all of them but he was at a lot. He was in and out of them, he was much more interested in theosophy, but I must interject here, not only was Sam interested in theosophy in those days but he was tied up, this was the era that he must have lived over in Fairfax, before his fire in Fairfax, and—
WALI ALI: from '25 to ‘29?
TED REICH: Yes, from 1926 to 1929, or into the early thirties, Senzaki was still here.
WALI ALI: Now did you ever meet Kirby?
TED REICH: No, I never met Kirby, nor did I meet Wagner's teacher, Robert Clifton; no I didn't meet either one of those. Although Roger Price and Wagner can give you details of that, but this little Zendo on Bush Street that we used to go to and serve tea, my best memories of Senzaki's Zendo, were in L.A., before the second world war. Before the first world war they thought he was a spy, he had trouble with the government in those days.
WALI ALI: How old was Senzaki then?
TED REICH: Oh, he came here in ‘05—you have the details of that don’t you, if not I have some in Sam's letters to me, that he wrote in ‘61, he outlines that Kirby business we talked a lot about it in those days, but I think he recorded most of it in those letters. that I have if you want to see them. I have those—and you can check them against my letters if you want. But as I say, he was very close to Mrs. Cass, and Mrs. Cass’ mother. Something that Sam told me, I don’t know whether I believe it or not, I don’t deny it or confirm it, and that’s this: he claims when he first met Senzaki, he didn’t talk in Pidgin English, that he had a tremendous command of the English language, and he used to lecture over at Cal., that he was fluent in German, cause, that I’m sure of because this I know, because he and Mrs. Cass used to talk German a lot. He wanted to be a doctor, as near as I understand. He went to Germany and studied at Heidelberg, and then the man who helped him, died or something, and that’s when he came back to a monastery, and then he worked with a Mrs. Russel out at the beach.
WALI ALI: Were they using the name Mentorgarten in those days?
TED REICH: No, Mentorgarten was on Bush street, and afterwards down in L.A. In L.A., it was funny, Senzaki was very peculiar about some things, he had a vine growing outside, and it came over the door, and when you came in the house you had to stoop into the house, and we wanted him to cut it, and he said no, this will make you remember that you are Buddhas when you stoop. He had a terrific sense of humor, and another thing I remember that was remarkable about Senzaki was that he loved candy and sweets, and another was that he knew clothes, he’d take the clothes off your back, but he’d never go out and buy clothes, you’d give him money, but he would put it in the pot or something but he would have no money, except if he wanted to go out and buy something, then he’d say, "Let’s go out and buy something, you pay for it." I think I still have his purse somewhere that he gave me. But when he went on the street, and you always hear about the Zen walk and stuff, not Senzaki, his patron saint was Hoti, the happy China-man with the sack over his back, well his great thing was to fill his pockets with candy, and go down the streets, and you couldn’t keep up with him, with his coat tails flying, he was a happy China man—we used to chase him all over L.A., I still have one of the teacups, that he gave me—and he had a terrific sense of humor and he used to used to meditate around 7:00 in the morning, and we used to go down, we used to eat cold rice and those sour pickles, it was the darnedest thing, I still have some pictures, down at L.A., I think most of the things about him in L.A.
WALI ALI: Now was Sam in L.A., too during this period?
TED REICH: No, Sam traveled around a lot, he was always traveling, I met him down in L.A., two or three times; I was always traveling around a lot myself in those days. I would go back and forth and we would bump into each other, and we had quite a session down there, I’m trying to think of her name. She was from Japan, and became a tea-master, a salvomai, or something like that. Quite a gal, I think site is still down there.
WALI ALI: Do you recall a story about a big dinner a breakfast that Senzaki had in an apartment in L.A., bacon and eggs.
TED REICH: Oh yeah, oh sure, in fact I got a picture of one of those, in fact do you know Griffith Park in L.A.,? We used to eat a there all the time. We’d meditate there or go out and walk in that park and go down the hill. Have you ever heard of—in fact I have two very good friends, one is May Macellary, who took care of him when he died, towards the end, and the other one I used to come to his house and he’s very close to Soyen and Tiysan now, who lives in San Bernadino, that I go to see; they used to stay at his house, and we can get al1 kinds of information, because I think Soyen and Tiysan, made quite a detailed study.
WALI ALI: I’m sure they have, we are more interested in walking down the street with his pockets full of candy, you see, that’s more interesting than…
TED REICH: Yeah, I’ll tell you another story as long as you’re interested in looking for those kind of episodes. I was in L.A.—do you know who Mike Gardner is? Dwight Goddard, the Buddhist bible, he was very close to Senzaki-San, he was a retired minister before he went into Buddhism, and he came back and he gave Senzaki one of the most beautifully carved statues—I forget which one it was, Maitreya, or—and he introduced me to Goddard, and in fact Goddard gave me a manuscript, these were all Senzaki, by the way, and after Goddard left he said come on, come on, and he takes the statue, and we went, and the first Buddhist temple we went into, he gave it to them, this was another idiosyncrasy of Senzaki-san, he was the only man I ever met, who had the right to go into any temple he wanted, to preach in that temple, he had full run of it, and nobody was ever jealous of him because they knew he wouldn’t take any of their disciples or anything like that.
And another one, there was a very interesting story that I saw personally, do you know Manly Hall? Manly Hall used to come down and study Japanese with Senzaki-san, Manly Hall doesn’t remember me, but I remember Manly Hall for a number of reasons, but that’s another story. I was down there another time when Manly hall was just finishing up with his Japanese lesson, so after he left Senzaki-san came out and just presented (someone presented it to Senzaki) a book to him, and Senzaki takes the pictures and says, "Anybody who puts their picture in a book isn’t worth talking to." This was the kind of guy, he had a terrific sense of humor. He was fond of Hall, don’t misunderstand me, he just couldn’t understand anyone wanting their picture in a book, but some of the people who knew him even better than I did claim that they didn’t think his enlightenment was quite as high as he made out to be. Now I don’t know, that was when I had the same relationship towards him as you folks have towards Sam. This always happens to your teacher and I don’t think all these things, there are different degrees of illumination spirituality and so forth, that doesn’t make any difference.
WALI ALI: Do you know what Sam’s attitude was towards Senzaki in those days?
TED REICH: Oh, yeah, I think he felt the same way I did. Senzaki doesn’t take the same attitude as Suzuki, he meets you on your own level, you think you’re on his level, but the more you are with him the more you realize he didn’t like the guru-disciple attitude, but on the other hand the people who wanted to be ordained, that was a different story again. That, if you wanted to be a chela, he treated you on the Guru-chela level, but with Sam and I, we didn’t take that point of view. He’d ask you the koans continuously and show them to you, and that’s the reason why I’ve never been able to take initiation with Soyen, but Warwick, and Joe and all these other guys, they’ve been great on robes and all the rest of this stuff. Personally I don’t think this is my cup of tea, the reason for it or the value of it, this is not the point, the point always depends on the relationship with your teacher that’s all. I’m not trying to disillusion anybody but….
WALI ALI: Do you remember any kind of incident that happened between our Murshid and Senzaki in those days?
TED REICH: After the meeting and so forth, we used to sit around and talk. You have to ask Rex about some of this, I’m sure Sam was in these, we used to have Haiku parties, you know those homes, and I’m sure Sam was there, I know Rex was there, I remember there were 8 or 9 people, I don’t know, maybe I’ll go back and look in some of my diaries of that period.
WALI ALI: What were some of these people, yourself and Reps, and did you know Vocha Fiske then?
TED REICH: No, I don’t remember her as Vocha Fiske, as I say, I still have correspondence with some of the early disciples of Senzaki-san. There was another chap who was a musician, that we liked so much. We went up to the Vedanta center and spent a week up there so, but who they were I don’t know, but I know Sam was in a lot of those things, he and I didn’t become that close until he came back in ‘61, that period between ‘61 and 65.
WALI ALI: The other times we are so interested in, they’re very blank, like for example, talk about ‘29 ‘30, what was happening here, theosophy, what was going on?
TED REICH: There, were three main theosophical lodges of addia in San Francisco, in those days, and one of them, besides that Sphinx belonged to Point Loma, was quite large in those days, and Sphinx was connected with them, but the Pacifica one, which merged with the San Francisco one, which Joe is the head of, had a fellow by the name of Horn. I don’t remember if he knew Sam or not, but he and Manly Hall teamed up and did a tremendous amount of work—Masonic work—but Alex Horn and I tried to merge those who lodges and make it one, but the big thing that happened, I’m trying to remember what year it was, I didn’t write it down, but there was terrific lodge, there was a terrific celebration of, it must have been 50 or 75 years the head of Bhakti, the Bhakti centennial and Sam used to talk down there a lot, in the ‘20 and ‘30’s, Mrs. Cass will remember a lot of Sam in those days, because she was very close to his mother, and his family, how much of his family life I don’t know, that’s why Leon went to school with him in those days. But the part that I‘m interested in, that I never knew, as I told you before, is that period of Inayat Khan, in 1923, the paper that I have shows that Senzaki wrote the paper of Inayat Khan the Sufi when they met, now whether that was done in ‘23.
PHIL: The paper that was published in a Japanese journal, I have the copy on my desk.
TED REICH: I have three copies of it, I have one Senzaki read to us in ‘35, that’s the one of the Diamond Sutra.
WALI ALI: Let's just make a big jump, and…
TED REICH: Wait a minute, I got some other ones that might be interesting to record. Have you got Fairfax and the Martin episode, you have all the data on that I suppose?
WALI ALI: We have some of it, but we know where to go to get it.
TED REICH: Okay, the first edition of that “Gateless Gate," are you interested in the books of Senzaki's?
WALI ALI: Go ahead.
TED REICH: I was going to say the first edition of the “Gateless Gate" was done in ‘37, that Senzaki and Reps did, and afterwards, published it as "Zen Bones in ‘57.
WALI ALI: Were Paul Reps and Murshid good friends? Do you recall what their relationship was like?
TED REICH: I think Reps and Sam fought more than Sam and I ever did. II think very few people get along with Reps. I think he liked him and didn’t like him, if you know what I mean. I think they were jealous of each other to tell you the honest truth. The reason why, I guess it was, do you remember the stuff with Blighton?
PHIL: What episode was that?
TED REICH: When Reps talked at the Hall of Mans.
PHIL: Yeah, that was a fiery evening.
TED REICH: Yeah, it was, do you remember? You could see Sam and Reps demonstrated themselves to each other. How they clashed, they were friendly, but they clashed.
WALI ALI: They were that way, I was just wondering.
TED REICH: The point that always bothered me, and I could never understand, and this is the curious part of the thing, is this relationship, between Zen and Sufi. They both were disciples of Senzaki, they were both disciples of Inayat Khan, and I could never tell which, whether Reps is more Sufi, it seems to me that he was more Buddhist than Sufi, and I think Sam was more Zen up until the time of—this is what I’m trying to emphasize, I don’t know, this is just a hunch or a intuition, that I think until the Siddhi came, that he was more Buddhistic or Jewish than he was Sufi, not that he didn’t have all the back of it, don’t misunderstand me, but it didn’t blossom, it didn’t pop.
WALI ALI: What about the Jewish side of things, what was, what do you remember about?
TED REICH: I got letters to the rabbi, the Rabbi didn’t understand him at all, that’s the point.
WALI ALI: I know, they must—now listen, this is an interesting story because there is one of these freaky characters, Hugo Selig.
TED REICH: I knew him very well.
WALI ALI: I know you did, and I want to ask you about him, Sam's point of view on Hugo was very interesting, he considered Hugo a very advanced Kabbalist, and that he figured some psychic way, Hugo Selig was rejected by the Jewish community here…
TED REICH: He wasn’t.
WALI ALI: Anyway I want to get your story, now Sam said that when he was in Judaism, he would talk, see, he got in the Kabbalah, he mentioned, Sam was going with some girl, who wanted him to become orthodox Jew, and Sam was also paling around with Hugo, who he thought knew an awful a lot about Kabbalah, and the girl said she was going to ask the Rabbi, or the Kantor about Hugo Selig, and see what they had to say about him, and Sam said: "For God’s sake don’t do it. Don’t ask him," because he didn’t want them to make some negative comment about this man, because of the psychic effect which would happen, which is actually what happened, and of course he broke up with the girl, but it’s just, I know Sam’s mind, Hugo Selig had a very interesting sort of role, and I wondered if you could give me a picture?"
TED REICH: Oh very easily, Hugo Selig came from a very old and famous Jewish family. He was a very brilliant advertising executive as I understand it. All of a sudden he had a nervous breakdown, and they want to put him in a nut house; now he had a girl friend at this time whose name was Hazel Dryst, Hazel Dryst is a woman that had, excuse me, I know two of his daughters that I’m friendly with, and how many boyfriends she had I don’t know, but one of her boyfriends who wanted to marry her was Gavin. You remember I was telling you about Starr? Starr was out at Pismo beach, and she called and I knew her because I’ll show you my book, some of my students found a couple of my books, but that is another story. But, we went down, when he had this breakdown, Hazel took Hugo down and I lived with him, she wouldn’t marry him by the way, until he got cured, but he never got cured, he never came back to what we call normal every day, but he lived at Pismo beach; he used to write the most beautiful poetry, he was really wild, but I never knew him as a Kabbalist, I knew him both as a poet and an occultist, and he lived on Pismo beach, and we went down to meet Starr, that’s where I met Starr, originally, and that’s where I met Gavin, and Hugo lived at Pismo beach at those days.
WALI ALI: Was this the dune days?
TED REICH: Yeah.
WALI ALI: What was the dunes side to life, did you live there or?
TED REICH: No, I was there for two weeks I think I think that the doctor, I think his name was Yerba.
WALI ALI: What year was this around?
TED REICH: I can find it very easily.
PHIL: Around 1931 and ‘34.
TED REICH: Anyway, he was very close to Hugo, he knew Hugo in those days. Hugo had a beard, Hugo and I got along, I used to get all kinds of screwy letters from Hugo, and…
WALI ALI: Did you save any of those?
TED REICH: No, but I wish I saved some of his poetry from those days. Hazel's daughter is in Carmel, and I might be able to get people to find them from them.
WALI ALI: Yeah why don’t you take a crack at it, what was his occult background, do you know?
TED REICH: Of course in those days there were only two, there was only theosophy and I think there is another theosophical offshoot that was at Oceanside; of course there is a temple in Pismo, of an occult society, which is a sort of an off-shoot of theosophy, and Max Hiedel pulled out of theosophy and there were several little side movements and there was one I think they call themselves Halcyon. The theosophical society has a whole bunch of those, and he used to be down there a lot, but I think his background used to be theosophical, he may have been a Kabbalist, but t he never talked Kabbalah, we used to talk Judaism a lot, and he never….
WALI ALI: He married a Schieksie, right?
TED REICH: Who?
WALI ALI: Hugo,
TED REICH: When?
WALI ALI: Was Hazel a Schieksie?
TED REICH: She was half Jewish.
WALI ALI: Yeah and he sort of looked down on them, do you remember something about the Meher Baba period?
TED REICH: Oh yeah sure. In fact you know who Princess Machiavelli was? She tried to get me to come into Meher Baba; Sam also was mixed up, there was a doctor who came here, who Sam tried to get me interested in, that was part of the Meher Baba outfit, but Princess Machiavelli, she came here three years in a row, in the summer, she used to take house in San Mateo or Redwood or somewhere down there, and we used to go down there all the time. I never forget, I had an interview with her, once and she said, "I’m going to put you in touch with Baba, he’s terrific and I think he wants to get you, he wants you to become his disciple,." And I said, "that’s fine, go ahead and get in touch, but…." I never got any further, she was a beautiful woman by the way.
WALI ALI: This princess was she a princess, or?
TED REICH: Yeah, she took the name from her husband, you know Machiavelli perfume? There is a brand of perfume called that. And I think those ties that have those things, I think those are all Machiavelli, and I think this was her husband.
TED REICH:I don’t know if she was Russian or Italian.
PHIL: Sounds Italian to me.
WALI ALI: And Sam was pretty involved with Meher Baba?
TED REICH: Yeah at one time he was, but, the reason why, and this is the interesting thing about Baba, as you mentioned Baba, Meredith Starr, I don’t know if he’s going or not, if you ever see this healer you were telling me about, ask him if he knows Meredith Starr, or if a he knows anything that happened to him,. Meredith Starr, was Baba’s first disciple, he was with Baba, and he took his vow of silence, and he said in seven years he’s going to talk, he stayed with him for seven years, I may have the date when La Starr I went to the dunes with Hazel, and a doctor Carmack, who was a good friend in those days, and this is when I met Hugo. I think this was the first time I met Hugo in astrology, and Gavin Arthur. And that was in ‘32, I can check that very easily, because I have the dairies to check if I have to. But anyway, Meredith Starr, as I said, took the vow, it was with Baba, when he took the vow of silence, the seven years were up, and Baba didn’t or couldn’t talk, or wouldn’t talk, we never could find what that reason was, and that was when Meredith Starr broke with Baba, and went off and went on his own, and this is when he was on his way back to England from India, that we met him in ‘32, on the dunes, and I guess this made me prejudiced against Baba.
PHIL: Did you know Bryn Beorse, Shamcher, he was also on the dunes at that time.
TED REICH: There were quite a bunch down there, you know how you do it, if I met him or knew him, we didn’t make an impression on each other, if you know what I mean.
WALI ALI: During this period, I guess Sam didn’t have much money, how did he make a living, how did he get by? Do you remember any sort of ways,
TED REICH: Primarily as I understand it, primarily as a gardener I think.
WALI ALI: Odd jobs, he hired himself out.
TED REICH: Yeah, and off and on from his family, you see his family practically disowned him, till that money came through, that must have been about ‘66, ‘62.
TED REICH: You see how this traumatic period comes in, I was telling you about. This three or four years, it’s quite odd.
WALI ALI: He always said, he planted seeds all his life and they didn’t come up, and at the end, they all came up. What am I going to do, the harvest…
TED REICH: Yeah, but as I say, as near as I know I don’t think he had any money, until after ‘62, until just before the Siddhi business.
WALI ALI: As you say, he didn’t have any money, he was down and out was, he a skid row type, or?
TED REICH: No no, he was never skid row, he was just, you see in those days, I think he must have gotten an allowance from home, I think they gave him money every once and a while, you could live very easily on 50-75 dollars a month if you had a room or something, and of course in those days, in those early days until, when was the fire over in Fairfax? Was that ‘49?
WALI ALI: He was still in Fairfax? Of course fires followed him around.
TED REICH: My most intense period was in ‘65 and 64, when I spoke to him, or saw him, at least 50 to a 100 times a year, he was over my house at least once or twice a week.
WALI ALI: What did you do on those trips?
TED REICH: They were trips alright! He had to run here and run there, he knew more people than anybody I ever knew. More contacts. But he used to tell me what was going on, and this book or that book, and we’d exchange books back and forth, and talk, almost like we’re talking now. Because I don’t think he came into his own until ‘66, ‘67 period, it’s remarkable.
WALI ALI: Did you meet him when he came back, were you around when he came back in ‘62?
TED REICH: Yeah, he contacted me immediately when he came back.
WALI ALI: He got all sorts of commissions from Sufis and Pakistan and so forth, to come back and get people to go and, and then he came back and I guess he couldn’t get anything started.
TED REICH: You saw the card. The minute they saw this they’d back off right away, anybody in their normal sense would back off when they saw that.
WALI ALI: Why is that?
TED REICH: Don’t you understand? Who the hell ever heard of Islamic University in Pakistan, this is ridiculous, you knew the occult world, it would be okay, but how many know anything about Sufi these days. Look at the lapse from Inayat Khan till Sam. Who knew anything about Buddhism until Senzaki, from 1905 until 1930, or 1925 or 1926, until practically the second world war, and nobody knew anything about Buddhism, when we were talking Zen nobody knew what we were talking about. Nobody ever talked about it, you never mentioned it, you didn’t dare open your mouth.
PHIL: At that time there was just Senzaki and then in New York someone.
TED REICH: Yeah, and Suzuki.
WALI ALI: Do you have a copy of The Cat's Yawn?
TED REICH: Yeah, here it is, right here.
PHIL: The Cat's Yawn, I never heard of that. Who put this out?
TED REICH: The Buddhists.
WALI ALI: This was a book published by Sokei-an, in ‘47—actually when you read Murshid's Zen writings, he really considered this man….