Trippy Tribe Jive

Buddha Lou, Chava, Space Hippie, Caveman, Earthman, Yaima, and the rest of the gang get down Sundays in the Grove. Let Them Be.

In an aside, Susan whispers, "I don't care, I want to be comfortable."
"The thing is to have the choice of fucking rebelling against everything," concludes Yaima. She says her parents don't know that she comes to these gatherings every week from her home in Sweetwater. "My dad doesn't know anything. And my mom wouldn't like it. She says all the bums go here. But this is a fun fucking-ass time."

Yaima hands the December issue of High Times magazine to Cindy. Someone reads from the cover about a feature story: "Cannabis spirituality: How pot can improve your life." They all nod in agreement. Yup, pot is great; it's not the great demotivator. "It's true," says Cindy. "Pot improves your life in a lot of ways."

Two thirteen-year-old girls leave after demurely visiting the group for fifteen minutes. They're dressed like the others but the backsides of their hands are marked with a black X. "It stands for straight edge," explains May, who clutches a "Pink Panther and Sons" lunch box in her right hand. "It means we're drug-free and proud of it." They'd heard about the gathering from friends but were a little turned off by the group's devotion to the bong. They liked it enough, though, and say they may return. "It's so peaceful, not any violence," says May's friend Erica. "I like the sound of the flute, or pipes, whatever they are. It's really, like, beautiful."

Kunga says he doesn't advocate drug use, but he tolerates it. His forehead crinkling with concern, he can't seem to resist the urge to speak grandiloquently. "This is the youth of today. And this is a good representation of some of the youth of today. Do I advocate drug use? No. No, I do not. But this is the way reality is," he submits. "The only other alternative that these people have is going to these clubs. Getting drunk and doing drugs. That is the only alternative. They can be doing sports and a hundred other things, but right now this is their best alternative. This gives people a chance to heal all their psychological wounds."

Kunga pauses long enough to call for Rosie, his unleashed dog he's trying to keep an eye on. "A good portion of it has do to with not being able to have proper interaction with others," he continues. "And this is what I think this is, proper interaction. I don't see any immoral activity taking place here. I don't see anybody knifing anybody in the back here. I don't see anybody doing crack cocaine here, or stealing from each other. The main problem in our society is that people are becoming more divergent and more separated from each other. This is just giving individuals an opportunity to make friends."

But they don't want to invite trouble. Their greatest fear is that the police will try to bust up their gatherings. "The whole drug thing to me is fucked up," says a perturbed Chava. "If alcohol is legal, marijuana should be. The fact that I have to worry about it, worry about the gathering being destroyed because of cops busting us, pisses me off." She denies that marijuana is a central part of the picnic: "It's about as important as the fact that we share cookies."

The group had one run-in with the police while assembling on Sunday about four years ago. The cops complained about the music and said the group looked like a gang, according to Kunga. "We had to say, 'Look we're a religious organization gathering,'" he recalls. "And they backed off. Since then we haven't had any trouble."

And despite the fact that alcohol and unleashed dogs are prohibited in the park (in addition to some of the group's other activities), there haven't been any citations written that anyone can remember. Conrad Salazar, manager of Peacock Park for the past three years, has nothing but good things to say about the Sunday gatherings. He credits the people for picking up after themselves and sharing space during permitted events in the park. "We don't have a problem with them," he says. "They're very peaceful."

Discord within the group is rare, although some Rainbows accuse Kunga of being overzealous in his teachings. "I've seen him get in people's faces and scream at them," says Earthman. "I'm not going to push my belief on anybody. I think the Rainbow is accepting of everybody as a fellow human being despite their faults."

"I'm not Rainbow," counters Kunga. "I really don't advocate or believe in the Rainbow tradition, because I find that the Rainbow tradition is actually antithetical to living a life that is based on cultivating benefit for the world. Most of the Rainbow family are antisocial people. I don't think it's all, as they put it, Babylon. I think, for the most part, the world is run by idiots. That's just the way it is. So you can't be an isolationist, because the rivers are still going to be polluted and the environment is still going to be destroyed and politicians are still going to whitewash everything they do and the media are still going to be catering to popular thought rather than real valid issues. And so you have to infiltrate it, sort of transform these systems into something a little more productive rather than abandoning them."

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I know this was a while ago but you guys really should do better research. Luis is not only not a Lama, having never been ordained in any Buddhist tradition, but is a convicted criminal with a long record of fraud, drug charges, stalking and abuse charges, including violence against women. Check with Broward County and see his arrest and court records for yourself.

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