Phil Kaveny

The Works of Philip Kaveny

Only the good die young, or Madison, Wisconsin was a Mecca for Buddhist studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison in the late 1960s & I Was there.

Only the good die young, or Madison, Wisconsin was a Mecca for Buddhist studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the late 1960s & I Was there. 

Autobiography: its December 1970 I have been to hell and back. This saved me. UW Madison was a Mecca for Buddhists in the 1960’s



The author and his grandmother circa 1967.

I  was at UW Madison in the 1960’s and before that, first as a lifelong Madison   resident, grade school student, high school graduate, University of Wisconsin undergraduate, and graduate student .  Then I became a drop out who wrote the F word on all his final exams taking that existential leap beyond rationality, because he could not love justice and his country which was fighting an immoral war at the same time. This caused me to land in a bad place with what we used to call tombstones for eyes, and I was probably drinking a quarter of barrel a week of beer for a lot of weeks, months, and finally, three years. I became a champion beer chugger since if you chugged it you usually didn’t have to pay for it. My physique was impressive as a four- hundred-pound former college heavyweight wrestler with a beard like one of Robert E. Howard’s frost giants.  But I could not talk to women when I was sober and when I was drunk nobody was impressed by my philosophical treaties on the philosophical problems of fat drunken ex wrestlers.


The author, circa 1967

That was the situation when these Buddhist underground 16 mm sound filmmakers asked me to star in a film called Sutra for early Morning which was about fifteen minutes which featured me getting up with two seemingly unattached hands putting my shoes out in front of me for me to slip on, as French Maid in full uniform continued bringing me a multi-course breakfast as Space Odyssey – Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra from Stanley Kubrick’s Clarke adaptation played in the background. The film achieved some international success as an art film. I had a creative identity and forty-five years of clean sobriety. I feel now as if some great wave of spiritual, ethical, karmic forces decided I was not done with my life. Further I was granted a new literary and artist identity, and now I had something to talk to women about. In a way it was like reincarnation, without actually having to die, and the tombstones fell away from my eyes. Strange: so that is why I am a Christian accepting the divinity of Christ by logical necessity, and an apologist because it’s a big job and we Christians  have a lot to make up for.


The author circa 1971

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