Michael Herr, the author of the famed memoir, Dispatches, about his time covering the Vietnam war, has died. He was 76. Herr was also known for his contributions to other famous works, including the films Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket, for which he wrote the screenplays.
In addition, Herr became a devoted student of Buddhism in the latter years of his life, studying and practicing with the late Thinley Norbu Rinpoche.
From a 2000 Guardian profile:
His commitment is absolute. He meditates; he thinks; he is immersed. He gets up at six in the morning, but is unavailable to anyone until 10.30. ‘I am not qualified to talk about this,’ he insists, infuriatingly. ‘I am not a Lama, I am a novice. But I know this: that whatever you are dealing with is real all right, but what you do with it is in your mind. That is the upside to the attachment, to not being detached. You take responsibility in your own mind, and that is how I cleaned it all out. It all happens in your own mind.’ And he pulls the peak of his baseball cap down over his forehead.
And as a just-published Forward.com remembrance of Herr notes, he was based in Delhi, New York, where his teacher, Thinley Norbu Rinpoche “had founded Kunzang Gatshal, Always Noble Joyful Park, situated in the same upstate New York village where Herr had chosen to reside, not coincidentally.” Herr also edited the book, Wisdom Nectar: Dudjom Rinpoche’s Heart Advice.