From the Dr. Ajari files…
A chronology of Dr. Ajari’s life has eluded me for some time. No one seems to know exactly when he did anything, just that he did a lot: was detained in Dachau, subsequently went to Japan to study Shugendo and complete a three-year retreat, jumped out of airplanes in West Africa, accompanied the Dalai Lama out of Tibet, served as a field surgeon in the Korean War. And this is all before arriving in San Francisco. Somewhere in there, pre-SF, he also earned a medical degree, a PhD, and a doctor of theology degree (Dr. Ajari was apparently a triple threat).
Dr. Ajari was born in 1932, which means he would have been a teenager in Dachau, and probably Japan, too, in the late 1940s. If he was in Korea for part of the ’50s, and helped the Dalai Lama flee Tibet in 1959, then…
Okay, help me with the math here — when did he have time to become a doctor three times over? In fact, when did he earn his bachelor’s degree?
And when did he jump out of airplanes in West Africa? And why?
I’m completely confounded, but this is why I want to write his story. The tale of Dr. Ajari is the stuff of myth and legend. One of his students in the 1980s was so fed up with his tall tales that she hired a private investigator to upend his wild stories. But as far as I know, the only thing this revealed was that he’d been excommunicated from one church, and that wasn’t a factoid he was hiding, anyway.
Dzogchen texts suggest that by checking our watches and keeping a calendar, we’re missing the point — time doesn’t exist. In trying to understand the chronology of Dr. Ajari’s life, I sometimes feel that is the only explanation. He must have been living outside of anything resembling a linear space-time continuum.
Or he had a gift for exaggeration.