The Words of the Copeland Family

My testimony on how I was led to the Principles

Richard Copeland
November 1971
(Oakland, California)

I am a sensitive man. From a Christian family I learned to pray to God for help and reassurance. But later in my life the peers of that generation led me away and I doubted God. Then I became a full-fledged member of Satan's disorder and for many years of my young life, suffered sickness, anxiety and misery. I tried many ways to climb out of that pit but it only led to a similar one.

When I was eighteen, the drug subculture began to intrigue me. For a year or so I kept telling my parents that sympathized with it. That did not make them very happy at all. When I was late in my nineteenth year and thrown out of school for drunk and disorderly conduct my best friend made me an official member of the drug subculture by blowing my mind on a dose of very strong LSD Before, I had started enjoying life on mild doses of hashish and marijuana, but now I was compelled to search all over my soul under the influence of mescaline, silipsyben and LSD When my experiences on drugs came down to the depths of understanding the why? They always left me blank and very lonely. Here is an expression of this type of loneliness, after about three years of wandering. (I was at work by myself for many hours).

"With the dawn of a new age coming, will there be enough time to make the transition from hate, destruction, and exploitation of thy fellow brother, to peace, love and a willingness to make this planet a good grazing plain for all the myriad creatures of natures' uniquely balanced universe?"

Now, I had learned to pray to nature in a cyclonic fashion with my most deepest prayers coming when I was the furthest away from knowing. Taoism and Buddhism were the sources from which I learned.

I went through a period of saving money in expectation of long camping trips so to be right out there my prayers came out the best. One such trip took me from Ann Arbor, Michigan up to the trans-Canadian highway and across to the furthermost point on the island of Vancouver. Smoking hash and marijuana along the way and eating hallucinogenic drugs in the Rocky Mountains, my party traveled seven thousand miles together.

Another trip took me from Ann Arbor-the following summer--on a religious adventure across the U.S. continent, gaining exposure to Yoga Institutes, Tibetan Buddhist retreats, Sufi dances and chanting, Ananda Marga Yoga and Hopi-Kachina dances. Along the way I was not doing any drugs except to intensify the intake of the natural surroundings. In Yellow Stone Park, why back in the wilderness, and in the forests of Colorado, I would smoke some very potent weed to open my intake valve--wide. I also did some very serious praying in the extreme natural creations of Mesa Verde and in the Grand Canyon, four thousand feet down inside it, at an Oasis made by a natural spring.

One this trip I was leaving home, taking an indefinite vacation out in the Creation and looking for a master to teach me how to live properly. I had just enough to get by as far as culture and practical know how, but this would not hold me up like a thousand years of Zen practice. (This is what I was thinking). So I was coming to the west coast to look for a Zen Master that I had read about.

I reached the coast of California near Big Sur, below Carmel Valley and discovered that my destination to some hot springs behind Big Sur was a Zen Monastery. I went back there and it was a paradise! I later found out from one of the Monks that the head Master would be coming from San Francisco to visit and lecture. I decided to stay at my camp site and come down to the monastery the next day; but how events went I found that my car was malfunctioning and it would be too expensive to make the trip, so I left and did not return.

I was very inspired from that experience and headed to the San Francisco main center. The only hang up is, these centers are protected by procedure. One cannot enter one of these centers for any length of time without first fulfilling certain requirements. One must live near and attend regularly the sittings at the zendo for 3 to 6 months to show devoted the practice that one has developed, and then one is eligible to enter if there is room. Another requirement is money.

This is what I had in mind when I came to Berkley--I would get a job and sit regularly at the Berkley zendo and save my money to enter the San Francisco center and then the monastery in the mountains behind Big Sur. But after about a month I got very lonely and could not get anything going on the finance even though I had not missed a single sitting. As a matter of fact I became so broke that the only thing left for me to do was to go back to Michigan. This is when I was sitting contemplating how much longer I could hold until there was not another choice but to start for home. (I knew it was a matter of days). And then up came John Schmidli, this old man, carrying his brief case full of spiritual propaganda.

After two hours of briefing I was in front of Mr. David Kim and all the brothers and sisters at the Berkley Chapel.

I did not know what to think of this, so I let myself flow with it because it was not destructive at all. The last thing I wanted was a Christian revival but they said my Zen was good so I thought that their Christian thing was not bad. I bought the book of Mr. Kim's and read it, but it still didn't solve my problem. But something peculiar was happening to me; my inner voice was saying, "Have Faith my son, for I will not let you perish but only put you through the examination for becoming a true follower of my word."

I kept going to Za-Zen and started going to the meeting held by Mr. David Kim. After two of them I wrote this: "Mr. David Kim; a very high man, capable of lifting one's spirits and sense of purpose until one feels united to the love and spiritual harmony that his teachings espouse. So I struggled, as John calls it, for a couple more weeks and then Mr. David Kim asked me if I wanted to move into the upstairs of his house. I just did--no questions asked. I moved into Oakland Chapel on September I, 1971. The second day I wrote this: "Zen and this movement are very similar in respect to the depth. As far as representatives in this area: only one stands out as a real truth-giver of the Divine Principle.

Mr. Kim, loaded so far, that one cannot drain him, but the other way around; he must stop, so others can recover from his direct intensity.

Even though the Principle message is in a young stage of reception, its truths are eternal and are aimed at helping all groups and individuals The only problem is in opening the minds of the people, the ones who crucified Christ and the ones who doubt a passage to freedom. 

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