From The Flower Raj
From The Flower Raj Wiki
Peter Richard Zimels (aka Peter Monk, born 21st March 1937, Brooklyn, NY, USA - died 27th May 1992, Mendocino, CA, USA).
- US Navy officer, Greenwich Village Beat Poet, Ordained Theravada Monk, Songwriter. Travelled extensively in Asia from at least 1964 & together with his friend Ian Rutherford visited the Sanskrit University, Banaras in 1965 & they then spent the winter of 1965/66 as part of the monastic community at the Ananda Kuti Vihar on Swayambhunath Hill, Kathmandu, Nepal under the direction of it's abbot, the Venerable Amritananda Maha Thera.
- He returned to the USA & became friendly with the Grateful Dead & wrote the lyrics for at least one of their better-known songs "Passenger".
- Peter had 3 children, Bodhi Freedom, Eva Wells Rodrigues, and Genevieve Gardner, (the first two with Carolyn Welles & Genevieve with Sandy Sawyer).
"A rich man dies without a trace, a soul so lost he can't find grace, a voice that lives without a face. It's hard to say just what went wrong, things are weakest where they're strong, might as well just laugh along, it won't be long it won't be long" (P.Monk).
- Peter wrote the lyrics to "Passenger" (Terrapin Station, 1977)
"Firefly Can you see me? Shine on, glowing Brief and brightly..."
- Photo Album Peter Zimels at The Flower Raj Photos.
- Blog Archive all posts about Peter at The Flower Raj Blog.
- James W Paxton wrote:
Always nice to be reminded of the days and times from long ago with Peter & Caroline. They were indeed the very best of souls. Lived together on the ranch in Forestville with Rock & Niki and later they moved to a cabin in Healdsburg. What I remember best about Peter was his calmness of spirit... always in the present moment.
As a "Beat" poet, Peter was more associated with Gary Snyder, rather than Ginsberg or Ferlinghetti. Both expressed a Buddhist spirituality and stark imagery... "Vulture in a tree, glaring at me... tell me what's the good news that you're waiting for." (Peter Monk)... expressing the First Noble Truth. Although the images are dark, Peter was expressing the Buddha's insight of the way out of suffering. He was truly a fine poet.
- Nico Morrison wrote:
Kathmandu in the autumn of 1965; I had been given lodgings at the Theravada monastery on Swayambunath Hill, the Ananda Kuti Vihar. There were maybe eight Nepalese bhikkus living there.
One day in late October 1965 I saw two Theravada monks approaching the monastery, they were the first Westerners in bhikku robes I'd ever seen; they were Peter Zimels & Ian Rutherford.
They took up residence in the Ananda Kuti Vihar & must have stayed for several months over the winter 1965-1966. Each morning they would go out with the other monks to do their begging rounds. I visited them often in their shared cell. Occasionally we would take a walk together; at that time Swayambunath was completely rural, built over with Tibetan Gompas & Stupas, such a lovely place; sometimes I'd run errands for Peter & have to smuggle in Western delicacies (Cadburys chocolate etc).
Peter & Ian did struggle with keeping to the monastic rules; they both liked to smoke tobacco & other things occasionally, which I'd partake with them. In the spring of 1966 I went down to Banaras & I never saw either of them again.
- Passenger: Who is Peter Monk? from The Grateful Dead forum at the Internet Archive.
- Passenger (Lyrics: Peter Monk Music: Phil Lesh) Archive.Org
- Passenger (Lyrics/Notes/Performances) from Alex Allan's web site.
- Discussion on Passenger at The Well.