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Kindness was what I felt when in the presence of Shunryu Suzuki and it was a kindness I didn't have. Even now when I see him in my minds eye I am humbled by his example.
12-07-17 - When I first came to the SFZC back in '66, Daniel Eggink was still around. He had a shaved head (the first to do so) was one of the fascinating characters around that scene. Through the years I'd hear about him. He had a website called Woodstock Nation with a bio and I should have saved it cause it's gone. He had a whole homeless organizing trip going in NYC and was heavy into Jesus while still praising Shunryu Suzuki.
4-08-08- Just got this email from Daniel
Daniel's wife when he was around Zen Center in the sixties was Cynthia Fisher Eggink. See her name listed as an early donor toward the purchase of Tassajara - in this brochure.
I came to Zen Center on January 1 of 69 I think. I was living in Daniel Eggink’s commune in Montana and we took some acid on New Year’s Eve and we started to rap about religion and spirituality and he started to tell me about Zen. He said he had a Zen teacher and told me about Alan Watts. He said he stole SR’s stick when he was living near the Zen Center at Bush Street. He returned it. He told me about Suzuki and I said I want to meet this guy. I met Loring through Daniel. They were friends from Minnesota.
DC -That was the commune that Daniel started in Montana I'd hear rumors of - like they had guns and everyone went naked?
Yes. So he gave me $300. He was loaded because his wife died and left him money and he had this house which was a TV studio. He had a television licensee and we were going to have a concert and we’d invite the Beetles and the Grateful Dead and were going to invite a 1000 people to build their house on his property in our community. The international advertising had started.
L: I was one of the people who early on shaved their heads. Mainly through the inspiration of Dan Eggink. Crazy guy.
L: Daniel Eggink I think was a strong force in those days. Daniel was around all of this time. Daniel was the one who turned me onto brown rice. We'd heard of the macrobiotics, we'd gone to see them [spokespeople for Macrobiotics], etc., but Daniel was the one who came into my apartment with 50 pounds out of a 100‑pound bag of brown rice, dropped it on our kitchen floor and said, "This is for you guys. All you have to do is just eat rice for ten days and you'll be in the program." Cindy and my brother and myself looked at each other. We'd been talking about it beforehand. This was the right thing at the right time. It pushed through our reluctance. So we did. We just ate brown rice. Even though we all snuck out for doughnuts. And my brother drank milk cause he was just beginning to be a mailman at the time. We stuck it out.
D: What does being a mailman have to do with drinking milk?
L: He thought he needed more energy. Walking up those hills, man, and climbing up those stairs just eating brown rice. At first your body's not getting much nutrition. He felt he needed protein and milk.
D: Was Daniel Eggink there when you first came?
L: Daniel Eggink came later. He was in and out. Our friend from Minneapolis, Cynthia ‑‑ she and Daniel had discovered each other. Cynthia was dying of a brain tumor and she was part of a group of us that had been together in Minneapolis who were kind of exploring the psychedelic realm ‑‑ the realm of other possibilities. She came to Zen Center and sat a couple of times. But she was into some other things also. She met Daniel E. when he came to Zen Center. He decided that Suzuki Roshi was his guru. Along with his friend Neil ‑‑ big guy. He was connected with the Oracle people. So it all came together. Daniel E. was not one to do things halfway so he decided he'd shave his head. He convinced me that Suzuki Roshi needed more bald people on the streets.
D: Was it just the two of you?
L: I think ‑‑ Jack Van Allen showed up about this time. Jack also took acid and listened to the Eiheiji album and decided he was going to shave his head. Which he did. The three of us.
D: Daniel was first to shave his head. And he decided to shave his head cause he wanted to copy his teacher. And that was in 1965?
L: Must have been '66.
DC note: Somewhere along the way Loring also decided to give up his libertine sex life and become celibate - maybe about the time he shaved his head.
D: So Daniel showed up in '66. I showed up in October of '66 and he stopped coming about the time I came. He was around, he lived up the street. I heard he had had an accident in Big Sur when he was sleeping in a car that was on the side of the road and somebody had run into him and smashed the shit out of the vehicle he was sleeping in. He suffered brain damage from it, or a concussion. He was in the hospital and barely lived. Do you remember that story?
L: No. I might have told it to you but I don't remember it.
D: I met the Egginks in the late sixties I think it was when Daniel got a strong notion to fly to Monterey and spend the weekend at Bill Lambert's ranch outside of Tassajara. I had hiked over the hill in snowshoes to get the mail and some supplies. Bill had told me that there was some nut coming who wanted to take his baby boar hunting and he was going to oblige him. Bill said he had to get up and function cause some guy was coming and wanted to take us baby boar hunting. So I was there waiting for the guests and Daniel comes in with his wife. He's crazy as shit. He's really funny, I really enjoyed it. He’d knocked the oil pan out of their car driving on the road. Had to take care of that. But also he had this idea that it was important to take his baby boar hunting, a definitely bizarre idea. Bill was on one of his alcoholic binges and Marian was joining him as she would till he stopped. They both just stayed in bed drinking and sleeping. So I had to go shopping for them and get them a lot of gin and wine and the grocer in Carmel Valley said they hadn’t been paying for a while which happened now and then when Bill got on a heavy drinking binge and that they’d catch up at some point like they always did. I had to get the boar stew and carrots and bread ready for dinner. Bill and Marian got out of bed and sobered up enough to spend the evening with tall intense Daniel and his wife and baby. It was a spirited evening with the iron stove blazing and some local characters from the sticks in for the warmth. My favorite part was when Bill and Daniel took off all their clothes to compare scars.
I talked to somebody once who said that they were hitchhiking in Montana somewhere, and went up to a farmhouse. Daniel answered the door naked. He had this commune there, a nudist commune, and they also were into guns. And he’s the one who sent Roovane to study with Suzuki from that commune. It’s in Roovane’s interview.
L: He's now in Sausalito living on his wife's inheritance. He married her knowing that she probably wouldn’t live long. She had a brain tumor. They went up to Montana. They had a communal scene up there. She had money so she could buy what was needed. Then the sheriff came to arrest Daniel for something, might have been gun possession or something. Daniel went to jail. Cynthia tried all sorts of things to get him out. She tried to buy him out. She went in with a gun and held it to the sheriff's head and told him to let her man out of jail. Got him out. I wish I knew more about the story, but I think she had to pay big money to get this taken care of. She sprung Daniel.
D: How on earth did she get away with that?
L: I don't know what - I can't remember the end of the story, except that ‑‑
D: She probably got him out because she had a brain tumor.
L: That could have been.
D: That's definitely associated with insanity and all kinds of neurological problems.
DC note: I've been in touch with Daniel Eggink in recent years. He's been involved with a Christian community of some sorts in Woodstock New York. I also heard that he was involved with the homeless in New York City before that, maybe as one of them.
L: One of the funniest things was when he and his buddies robbed Varda's houseboat. Varda was sharing this houseboat with Alan Watts. One morning there was all of this fantastic Chinese art that appears in our apartment. Daniel comes in and he's lugging this stuff, and he says, "Hey, this is for you." Fantastic screens, cloisonné, incredible Buddhas, hands, paraphernalia. Daniel, where did you get all this. "Well, you know, Varda was abandoning his houseboat. And you know when an artist leaves it's just all up for grabs." "Oh," I say, "Who's Varda?" "Well, he's a famous sculptor sharing the houseboat with Alan Watts."
I think what happened was they got stoned and they just went in. You know the houseboat had lax security. Varda and Watts were off the boat. They took all this stuff.
D: So what happened to the art?
L: They had to return it all. I had met Varda's wife who was an incredibly beautiful Spanish woman he had met. She was always complaining that they never got all the stuff back. Some beautiful tankas showed up at the Haight Street office of the Oracle, the psychedelic periodical newspaper. I think they were possibly from Varda's place.
DC note: Michael Horowitz, a central figure in psychedelia, was involved there and went on to live with John and Cindy palmer and to father Cindy’s child Winona.
John and Cindy moved away and she had an open affair with Michael Horowitz which produced a daughter, Wynona, born while she and John were still together. Wynona's godfather, Tim Leary, got busted and was in thrall to the Feds and tried to get Michael busted for their Brotherhood of Man international dope dealing scheme but Michael was wise that Tim was wired and kept saying "I don't know what you're talking about Tim!" so the guys in the next room never did get to bust in. They did get John though - two years ago while he was talking to an old girlfriend at the Minneapolis Art Museum. They were both there for their thirtieth high school reunion and it was a convenient time for them to do business. Unfortunately she'd been busted earlier and though John knew better and had talked to wired people before without spilling the beans, he did happen to mention that he'd made a new dose of keen LSD and now he's doing seven. And Michael's selling sixties' memorabilia. Wynona changed her name to Horowitz and keeps up with all of them when she has time between movies.
L: There was Daniel and Cynthia and I think his buddy's name was Neil who was with Honey, a beautiful blonde girl. Daniel just shot through the Zen scene like a meteor. I, being very gullible, went for it. He didn't ask me to do anything. I just did what I felt I wanted to do anyway. I wanted to show some kind of ‑‑ make some statement ‑‑ that I had found my way when I shaved my head. We were all going to do this. And I guess we all did in a sense when we went to Tassajara. But I remained shaven. It became a habit pattern with me. And it felt so good.
D: How long did you keep your head shaved?
L: Until Suzuki Roshi died. When he died, I let it grow out again.
D: That's interesting. Cause your original reason for shaving it was to copy him. That's why Daniel did it.
L: Yeah. To make a statement that I'm in accord with my teacher.