Buddhist Ceremony between Russ and Rebecca by Bhanté

After Rebecca’s father Robert and Maria Carmen Calvo established their relationship, I proposed that Rebecca and I affirm our relationship by receiving blessings from those whom we held dear at the traditional time for those spiritual ceremonies. We were fortunate that each of the individuals whose blessing we sought were available at the traditional time for such ceremonies to be held. Curiously, most of them were only available during the small time window we sought their blessing. All had been mentors and sources of inspiration to me.


Bhanté was his usual composed, present, kindly self only more radiant than usual. He made clear that he was affirming our relationship in Pali, Sanskrit, French, Cambodian, and English. A friend (Vee Lyons) was able to secure a wedding dress that was insured for a substantial sum on loan from Sotheby’s where she worked. The fabric was hundreds of years old. Rebecca was radiant in that costume. The dress looked as if it had long been hers.

Bhanté’s chanting transported me into an unusual state of enhanced awareness yet concurrent non-attachment.

Two friends of mine from California, Bryce and Lorraine, made a vegetarian festive meal to celebrate the event. They had driven cross country to attend the ceremonies. They schlepped 5 pounds of organic almond meal, dates, natural vanilla and spices with them. Bryce was a student of Dr Ramamurti Mishra from his San Francisco Ashram and Lorraine was Bryce’s lady. Bryce was from a wealthy Texan family. As a teenager, he rejected wealth and the hypocrisy he observed in his family and their friends. He ended up in Haight Ashbury and then became a student of Dr Mishra.

Bryce called me about 3 weeks before the events asking if I needed a chef for anything. He had a dream that we needed a lot of healthy food. He wanted to be the one who supervised the food preparation.

Bryce was a friend whom I trusted. Lorraine was his muse, confidant and person who made happen what Bryce envisioned. A lovely couple and a healthy balance of skills and talents. This made the feeding of people at the events easy and effortless for me.

We needed a food & beverages coordinator, a travel and lodging coordinator, and a spiritual practices coordinator for each event and then a coordinator of coordinators (24 in total).

Bryce became the nature food & beverages coordinator. Travel & lodging was coordinated by Russ’s secretary at the time. Spiritual practices was coordinated by Russ. Addison Woolcott Lee IV provided musical interludes and candid photography. David Sanders recorded sound and handled lighting. My brother Mitch and sister Marcy helped when and where needed.

Rebecca’s father and step-mother attended the Buddhist ceremony. So did Vee and Dudley Lyons. About 30 people attended including Wayne Silbey, a pioneer in socially responsible investing and founder of the Calvert Fund.

The ceremony started at about 11 AM and lasted until about 1 PM followed by an informal reception and buffet lunch.

HH was gracious enough to grant us half an hour while he was in transit on his way to Switzerland, stopping at JFK airport. Indira Gandhi had been assassinated. There had been an unsuccessful attempt on his life. There had been a bomb threat at the Air India Terminal at JFK just before we arrived. People had evacuated the building. Sikh guards had cordoned off the building. We tried to explain that we had an appointment with HH. We were informed that no one may enter the building.

Behind the guards, a young Tibetan monk identified us and cleared us through to the bomb-proof room where HH and entourage sheltered. He sent everyone out except the monk that stays with him at all times. Half the time we spoke about spiritual science. Half the time we prayed. Both Elsa Hart and Rebecca felt a warmth in the 3rd eye region.

Elsa stayed with a friend. Rebecca and I returned to Elsa’s apartment whose rent I paid for some years as a thank you for her generous mentoring help in the early days of the EAB lab. The apartment was in the Turtle Bay area of Manhattan near the UN. The building was on the corner of 48th St and 2nd Ave. It served for a number of years as a tier in Manhattan while the family lived an hour away in Hopewell. A lovely neighborhood. Kurt Vonnegutt, Jill Krementz and their daughter Lily and family were neighbor friends of Elsa. Katharine Hepburn’s brownstone was across the inner courtyard.

That may have been the evening Rebecca and I conceived Anna.