Dr. Frederick Lenz, III, died Easter Sunday.
He held many contradictory roles in his 48 years.
An English doctorate. The chief disciple of Sri
Chinmoy. A simple meditation teacher. One of
twelve living enlightened masters. The Buddha for
our time. A "world-class" snowboarder. A self-help
author. The incarnation of Vishnu/Rama.
Just what does one do when God dies?
Some will place him on yet a higher level of
deification, as memory fades and legends fill in
-- perhaps awaiting his rebirth.
Or, like the Hare Krishnas, Lenz's inner circle of
Brian Roe, David Laxer, and Terry Quirk may name
themselves "successors." If so, will their
cooperative venture fare better, or will it too
end in cut-throat guru gun-running and child abuse?
Perhaps a strong former student, kicked out by
Lenz for exhibiting a tad too much personal
magnetism, will begin gathering students.
One thinks of Roger Cantu
has been giving seminars in Dallas/Fort Worth and
Others will drift into other similar groups,
looking for other similar answers from other
similar teachers in other similar high-demand
But if Srila Prabhupada's Hare Krishnas, the
Rajneeshis, or David Koresh's followers are any
indication, very few will pause, re-evaluate
Lenz's teachings on the "invincible," "impeccable"
teacher in light of his apparent murder or
suicide, and simply leave.
Whether con man or incarnation, Lenz's death is an
occasion for grief for thousands of students, not
hundreds as the media reports. Over 20 years, he
played out the same cycle many times. Gather a
thousand students, then disperse all but the
most loyal when public attention got hot.
Repeat the cycle, with a slightly different public
face a few years later: meditation teacher,
entrepreneur, cosmic musician, whatever.
What this event is not is an excuse for a
festival of self-congratulatory "we told you so's"
among former members of Lenz or any other
It is an opportunity for a celebration of what
we have in common.
Maybe he was Rama. Maybe he wasn't. Maybe his
students -- and all we students of all our gurus
-- saw lights and wonders. Maybe we didn't.
What we felt in our hearts was real. And perhaps
we all need to grieve for the passing of what was
some form of spiritual experience.
At the very least, what we "worshipped" was what
was best about ourselves: our passion, our
intelligence, our compassion, our creativity, our
Let's not any of us lose that in our common
confusion and pain.
John M. Knapp
Executive Director, trancenet.net