Peter’s Correspondence on Mailing List C
Correspondent No 13
Nice to chat. It is coming on to full summer here in the little seaside holiday town I live in but today there is a stirring breeze that wafts through the flat.
A magic day, Vineeto is out working, so I thought I would answer some e-mails. I liked your e-mail, as I too liked ‘Life of Brian’.
PETER: 3,000 years of well-meaning effort by billions of people give proof to the failure of the traditional methods to end suffering and violence in human beings. I decided to give something new a whirl and am simply reporting that it works. It is a fact that the ‘tried and true’ doesn’t work.
RESPONDENT: It is very clear that every belief system may lead to suffering. Many have said that in the past and everybody criticized everybody else from the past (for example U.G. Krishnamurti). Hundreds have pointed to being here-and-now. Many have said: Don’t look at my finger but see the moon for yourself and ‘there is no path’. Many Poonjaji-related people are spreading the message of ‘instant freedom this moment’. If, as you say, ‘tried and true’ doesn’t work then either you believe that your system is not true or you are saying it is true and so obviously it will not work (as a ‘packaged method to be followed’, ‘an instant beyond enlightenment pill’). Can you point out how the actual-ism is different from any other here-and-now-ism?
PETER: Yes, I saw many similarities between what Richard was saying and what the spiritual Gurus were saying (or anti-Gurus in the case of U.G). Both point to the ‘self’ as the problem and that its elimination will result in freedom. The problem is that the self is both a psychological entity – who we ‘think’ we are – and a psychic entity – who we ‘feel’ we are. In the East, freedom is freedom from the psychological self (‘mind’ is a common word used), and the personal identity shifts to the ‘heart’ resulting in an enormous self-aggrandizement wherein one becomes God or at One with God. So the ‘self’ in fact survives – to become the ‘Self’. One then lives in a psychic, imaginary world of bliss, wonder and Universal Love. This is most definitely not the actual physical world, and an astute study of all spiritual writings will attest to this. Look for clues such as any words with capitals – like ‘That’, ‘Truth’, ‘Universe’, ‘One’, ‘Existence’ etc (read as ‘God’), any talk of an ‘inner’ world (read as imagination), any talk of spirit, essence, Atman, true self (read as that which survives physical death) and any words such as absolute, universal, cosmic, oceanic, moon, (read as heavenly realm).
Actualism is firmly based on what is actual, factual, physical, sensate and sensible as opposed to ethereal, imaginary, affective, spirit-ual and based on ancient wisdom and tradition. See ‘Time-Chapter’ of my journal for a description of the spiritual here-now as opposed to actually being here.
Do you remember the scene from the Life of Brian when he is queuing up and the guy asks him in for ‘crucifixion?’ or ‘freedom’? and he says ‘freedom ... no, just kidding!’
I liken it now to the question ... ‘Enlightenment?’ ... and most will opt for the traditional.
Still, there is now an alternative.
PETER: Yes, apart from the devout few in Pune the Sannyas world seems to have little to do with what Osho was really talking about. It seems to have become yet another quasi-religious social club able to loosely contain all manners of beliefs and New Age fads.
RESPONDENT: I like the movie ‘The Life of Brian’ a lot. The poor guy, Brian, is saying to the crowds: ‘piss off’, ‘I am not your saviour, you have to think for yourself’ and throws a sandal at the crowds that have seen some kind of messiah in him. The crowd immediately picks up the sandal and preserves it as ‘holy’, and more, everybody takes off one of their own sandals to follow their master! Most of us follow something and Osho keeps sending us the message: ‘Stop the fucking nonsense you bunch of idiots and just see for yourself. Don’t kiss my finger nor bite it but effortlessly see the fucking moon Here and Now!!! Don’t wait for anything, see, investigate who you are, don’t postpone. Nothing is needed.’ He was telling us jokes, creating situations that were difficult to take, created vigorous meditations to break barriers within us, and finally he refused any medical treatment to shock us into independence by dying prematurely... I mean, what more the guy could possibly have done to stop us from either licking, kissing or biting his finger pointing to the reality of life? He practically nullified all religious concepts so that following him mentally be difficult, to show us that for every concept there is an anti-concept. He said that we have to be vigilant and finally to give up any idea of superiority/inferiority related to the master! He wanted us to be balanced, happy human beings, enjoying all aspects of our life – even the parts that are almost impossible to accept.
PETER: Yeah, I liked ‘Life of Brian’ a lot and remember watching it after the end of Rajneeshpuram and thinking the same – that we had stuffed it up. The real shocking thing for me happened sometime last year, when I started to question my loyalty and devotion to Osho. I realised that, had I been on the Ranch at the end at the time when it was under threat, I would have defended Osho – to the point of having a gun and using it. That bought home to me the fact that I was willing to kill or die for my beliefs. And then I saw that this was exactly what others did for their beliefs. And then it was easy – the whole stack of cards fell, I was able to see actually what went on, free of my rose-coloured glasses. But it is not something I can make someone else understand – for me I had a realization such that the whole construct of belief, trust, faith, loyalty and love collapsed.
Also this is not an anti-Osho thing particularly, it is just that he was my spiritual master so I know that ‘path’ very well. I too was attracted to the no-god teachings of Osho initially. But what I have found is that the East have a different concept of God compared to the Christians. As such, the teachers rile against the idea of God (the white bearded one in heaven), while merely espousing the Eastern concept of God. According to Eastern teaching you can realize God while in the body (Enlightenment) and then have an after-life (the Further Shore, Mahapari-Nirvana, the Ultimate Liberation, etc.).
Eastern spirituality is such a nebulous and confusing mish-mash that it is hard to make sense of it, but I found it essential to understand what it was that I was following. It is a devilishly clever mythical construct and is given credence by the feelings of love, togetherness and bliss that well up in the heart while in the seductive presence of the teachers.
Look, all I am saying is that the facts, the results, don’t stack up with the beliefs and hopes.
What I now live as an actuality 24 hrs. a day, every day, no matter what I am doing, or not doing, far exceeds anything that I have experienced or know is possible to achieve through meditation. I live in the actual physical world and nothing churns in my head or heart. There is direct sensate experiencing that is magical, fairy-tale like, perfect and pure. Colours are vivid, hearing is multi-layered, tastes are sensational, touch is exquisite, interactions with people are invariably delightful, events are serendipitous. The brain is capable of astounding clarity, I can communicate directly with others and reflect on my actions and thoughts. An innocence is readily apparent that has only been wished for before in humans and is beyond my wildest dreams.
This is far superior to Enlightenment. This way you get all of the benefits of Enlightenment and none of the down-sides such as power, delusion, being a Saviour of others, having to spread the message, having disciples follow you, celibacy, ... to name a few.
But you can’t get that by clinging on to any beliefs at all – we are, after all, talking about an actual freedom, a freedom from all the Ancient Wisdom. That appears to be the tough bit, but it is only fear that stops us trying anything new.
PETER: This may be an old post of yours. I tend to be a bit hap-hazard in my responses. I do like computers but I am a bit new to the secretarial, filing type stuff. But it is such good fun to write to someone who could be anywhere on the planet, who I will probably never meet in person and talk about this business of being a human being. To get to say what sense I have made of it all, to tell my story, and to hear what someone else is doing with their life. What their aspirations are, their experiences, their discoveries. In the old days – say at the turn of the century humans hadn’t flown in the air, their were no cars, electricity, telephone, television, refrigeration, electronics, a life expectancy of about 50 ... if you were lucky.
It is so good to be a human being in these times.
RESPONDENT: Peter, your statement that you made that you became absolutely sure that you were right and everybody else in the world (excluding Richard) has been wrong is very strange.
PETER: I am sure it is very strange to most people and it only makes sense when experienced from ‘outside’ the real world and the spiritual world. When seen from the actual world, as experienced in the peak experience, the full extent of the Human Condition becomes obvious. You might have had an experience where you have seen everything as perfect as it is ... if only we humans stopped fighting it out with each other. And then, for me, afterwards I would find myself doing the same old things, back into the same old neurosis and emotions.
A bit from the time this really hit me might be useful to describe the realization that hit me during one of these experiences –
RESPONDENT: Do you know everybody from the inside out to make such strong statement? Why not just say that YOUR perception about everyone and the world was wrong or different – this much you can say – if this is what you were saying. You sound as if you can tell what other people are like just by looking at them and this I really doubt. I am not attacking you, just wondering why you have made these strange, strong statements about people and the world? Why did you assume that everyone lives in some unreal world of expectations / hope / imaginations?
So a guy at work meditated for 10 minutes – so what? You might have had a coffee or a cigarette instead – same thing – so what? What does it tell you about the other guy? Is he trying to escape reality because he happens to meditate, etc? Maybe he is just doing his thing as you are doing yours enjoying your sex. Why sex is more ‘natural’ than meditation or a cup of tea? Maybe to someone else these are ‘peak experiences’. Sex may seem like sneezing to someone else – so what does it mean to you? My point: what works for you may be or may not seem applicable / true to others.
PETER: There is a common misconception that all human beings are ‘unique’ and different, whereas we, as a species, are all the product of the a fertilized egg, wired with a set of survival instincts, nurtured through the first few years when our physical and mental functioning develops, and then socially conditioned to fit in to the tribe. We do develop a few individual quirks, we come in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes, etc. but we are all human. If you look at a forest, no two trees are the same but they are all trees. So all humans have the same instincts wired and all humans have the same social conditioning that varies only according to the social group you are born into. This basic programming is what is known as the Human Condition.
A study and knowledge of the Human Condition results in a knowledge and understanding of this basic program such that one is able, given sufficient intent, to become free of it. The clue to eliminating it is not to regard it as ‘preciously’ yours only and defend it like ‘all get out’, but to acknowledge it as a common ‘disease’ we are all inflicted with. I call it a disease because this programming is the cause of malice and sorrow within each of us. Further if one is prepared to abandon the belief in a God or a someone or something else to fix you up, then you accept that the only one who can fix you up is you.
And then you can decide what you want to do with your life. At last there is a chance to avoid your fate. I liked the way Richard put it – ‘Blind nature cares not a fig about your happiness’ – in fact it has conspired to prevent it.
I really liked the challenge, and quickly appreciated the perfection and freedom that this possibility offered.
PETER: Sorry I have taken so long to reply to you, and then we have been ‘off air’ for 2 weeks.
I see you are beginning to have some interesting experiences digging into yourself.
RESPONDENT: Thanks. It is very warm here, too. Unusually warm for New York in December (65F)!!! I have got an urge to investigate/ watch myself for quite some time. Actually, reading Osho books have triggered this in me 10 years ago back in Poland, as far as I remember.
PETER: From my experience my ‘digging into myself’ has had two distinct phases.
Conducted over some 17 years and involving living and working in ashrams, countless hours of meditation, therapy groups, listening to various masters, and reasonably extensive reading. The culmination occurred after a period of living alone when I had a what would be described as a substantial Satori experience wherein I experienced a lack of ‘self’ such that I was ‘Love’ and ‘at one with Existence’. It was an extraordinary heartfelt experience and I experienced a distinct shift of my identity from the head to the heart. It was indeed Glorious. The problem was that having experienced the workings of the spiritual world and met some of the Enlightened Ones, I was able to question – ‘was this what I really wanted?’ The honest answer was no.
I had seen enough to know that a system of slavery (discipleship) was inherently flawed and a system of surrender to God-men or Gurus was little more than dictatorship. Admittedly for the supposed Good rather than Evil, but it was still institutionalised insanity never the less. The experiences I had in meditation, in the presence of masters or self-induced, involved little more than a transcendence of the base emotions and instincts in me such that I caused a shift of my identity from the head to the heart, from the ego to the soul. This shift is well known as an Altered State of Consciousness (ASC). Therein lies the fatal flaw with the spiritual search as ‘I’ as an identity remain intact – in fact now Super Inflated by grand feelings into believing that I was God or at One with God. And yet another Guru would emerge into the world and had I been a successful enough Guru yet another Religion would have been born with all it’s horrendous ramifications.
Having met Richard and quizzed him extensively and read his writings, it became painfully and shockingly obvious that I had merely scratched the surface of becoming free. The first essential step was to question all that I had taken to be the Truth, a process that was to demolish entirely any pride I felt about ‘my’ achievements and realizations on the spiritual path. I discovered that it was necessary to eliminate the ‘self’ in its entirety – both ego and soul, both who ‘I’ thought I was and who ‘I’ felt I was.
The essential guiding principle is the pure consciousness experience or PCE. This experience is one that everybody has had in their lives wherein one directly experiences the innate perfection and purity of the physical universe free of any ‘self’ whatsoever. No ego and no soul sullies the unfiltered sensate experience of the actual. I have written of the PCE that I was able to recall, but it did take some digging to remember it, as it had no emotional imprint on my memory, such was its purity – and ‘I’ was not present as an emotional experiencer or interpreter.
The PCE is the essential reference point in the search for an Actual Freedom as opposed to merely a synthetic spiritual freedom or ASC. Even then the lure of the power and authority afforded by Enlightenment is a potent force to be battled with. The only danger that exists on the wide and wondrous path to actual freedom is that you may become Enlightened, but the path is becoming a little more well trodden now – a mere handful admittedly, but sufficient to provide written information to other intrepid travellers.
So the point of this is that it is essential to have an intent as to what it is you want to do with your ‘digging in’. What is your aim, what is your goal, what is it you want to do with your life? As with any activity or action in life an intent is essential. For me it was become the best I can be, to live in the state I experienced in the peak experience (PCE) as a constant 24 hrs. a day, on-going experience. To be the universe experiencing itself as a flesh and blood mortal body, free of any psychological and psychic entity whatsoever.
RESPONDENT: It is interesting to recognize thoughts (words in my mind) arising as I type this email. The funny thing is they come by themselves unexpectedly, without any notice, and soon they are gone. They are experienced as if they were inside my head and created by some unknown mechanism using probably both the stored memory and the info input from the senses. There are sensations in the body, and sometimes there is identification or cross-connection between these independently flowing experiences that occur in the body. Sometimes anxiety, fear, love, greed is realized (not now). There is a sensation of an I – someone to whom it all is happening, even though it is yet another sensation and this I is not very solid. Also, there are body movements and sequences of actions that are being accomplished. The main motive of the actions seems self-preservation and feeling good. There is some doubt arising about the benefit of this analysis of myself. Maybe this doubt is coming from the past knowledge, though, as probably everything else. So, my analysis kind of fails here. Some other thoughts are coming ... I don’t know where it is going. It becomes difficult to continue this... My concepts are cancelled by their opposites which become apparent as this is going on. It is difficult to describe things as they happen in real time. That seems OK, not a big deal, not a problem.
PETER: Sounds as if you are having fun. I experienced this digging and investigating as ‘deep sea diving’, as Richard puts it, compared with a mere ‘snorkelling on the surface’ of my spiritual years. Therapy as it is practiced in the normal world is designed to keep one within the accepted societal limits of ‘normal’ – to fit in, such that one does not need to be locked away from harming others physically. Spiritual therapy, on the other hand is tailored to evoke spiritual experiences. It usually consists of breath therapy, emotional release or catharsis such that it causes some form of altered state of consciousness with resulting heartfelt or Divine feelings. Re-arranging the furniture on the Titanic is how Vineeto and I refer to these exercises in futility as no emotions, feelings or instincts are permanently eliminated.
To really dig in and eliminate one’s ‘self’ in its entirety, to deliberately eliminate both the psychological and psychic entity requires a sincere intent and nerves of steel.
RESPONDENT: By the way, I have been puzzled with many reports from people (described in hundreds of books, movies, internet pages, etc) about their psychic abilities, out of body trips, massive alien abductions, exploding chakras, angels, channelling, etc. Because I have never got any of these extreme and strange experiences I can not say anything about them, but it would be interesting to hear directly from the people who had some of these – what are these experiences as it. Are they 100% mind creations without any real substance? (I think the idea of Soul and life after death came directly from these experiences and stories, like: Jesus being resurrected, miracles, etc).
PETER: Yes, I have had a few in my time. In the days of Sannyas I had a ‘classic’ out-of-body experience of startling clarity, some past-life experiences, re-birthings, and many experiences of Altered States of Consciousness culminating in the major experience I described briefly above. They are par for the course on the spiritual path – actively sought after, much encouraged and exalted. Indeed the prized Enlightenment is the ultimate psychic delusion whereby one becomes God-Realized!
It is all pretty simple really –
The spiritual path is merely a failed attempt to negate the cerebral while giving full reign to the affective – hence the abundance and seeming reality of all sorts of imaginary experiences and psychic events and powers.
And the crowned and worshipped kings – and queens – of this psychic (imaginary) world are the Enlightened Ones.
But it’s a dying profession, they have had their day now that one of their number has had the courage to go all the way ...
Good Hey ...
RESPONDENT: You may be interested in the following scientific thing:
I saw today on NBC Today a short interview with Dr. Daniel Amen who wrote a book ‘Change your brain change your life’. Dr. Amen showed how activity of human brain is correlated with different mental states. He actually refers to the brain as hardware vs. personality as software. Both affecting each other (he claims you can reprogram, rewire your brain by restructuring your thoughts). He showed different blood flow (related to the brain activity) patterns observed by a NMR scan, I think, in a brain as related to depression, hyperactivity, obsession, etc. More is supposedly available on http://www.today.msnbc.com (if I recall the address correctly). He, for example, praised positive thinking. Would be interesting to see influence of a prolonged meditation or your ‘mantra’-investigation system on these blood flow patterns as brain is being ‘rewired’, wouldn’t it?
In a scientific mood today.
PETER: Yes indeed, we are starting to begin to understand a bit about the brain’s hardware. I always find it interesting that, in terms of mapping feelings, emotions and instinctual reactions, they can only watch and map the situation ‘as is’. The next major challenge facing the human species is to eliminate the animal instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire that are located in the reptilian or ‘lizard’ brain located at the top of the nerve system of the spinal chord .
It could well be that in the future it may be possible to cause this elimination genetically, but that is a mere speculation.
In the meantime, there is a tried and tested way of doing it yourself. It is possible by your own effort, guided by your own native intelligence when freed of the psittacisms of the past, to cause the elimination of these instincts in yourself.
To cause their elimination to such an extent that the final demise is inevitable. To finally become human, freer than a bird on the wing, pure and innocent, perfect and delightful.
As for positive thinking, the problem for me always was the effort needed. The need to be on vigilant guard or in ‘positive mode’ was a constant effort on ‘my’ part. I found it an exhausting thing to maintain and I saw that I often used it to cover up something I didn’t want to look at, dig in to and investigate.
Some aspect of the Human Condition, that was in me, that was causing me to be unhappy (sorrow) or causing me to make others around me unhappy (malice).
The very commitment to become happy and harmless meant that I was compelled to eliminate all the feelings associated with malice and sorrow.
At the core of who you ‘feel’ yourself to be is your very instinctual ‘self’ – the core instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire – the very animal survival instincts that still entrap the human species in animal behaviour.
It is now possible to evoke that change in yourself, should you so desire.
I do like the human brain and the marvels it has wrought. It’s time to do something about the lizard brain.
That’s the next challenge for individual members of the human species – and the time is ripe.
PETER: In reply to some of your thoughts – some of my thoughts and discoveries –
RESPONDENT: Some of my thoughts:
PETER: At first I thought there was nothing new about running the question ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ until it dawned on me one day that when I was not feeling good then I had something to look at immediately, something to investigate, some feeling that was the cause of my unhappiness. It gave me something to do! I had some work to do – to ‘get down and get dirty’, go digging around in there. Look in all those corners I dared not look at before. Gather some courage and look into both the ‘good’ feelings ‘I’ hold so dear and the ‘bad’ ones lurking underneath. After all we only need love and compassion because we feel malice and sorrow – resentment and despair.
The answer lies in eliminating both the ‘good’ and the bad’ feelings – for we only need the good ones because we have the bad ones.
It soon became obvious that to be happy and harmless meant that all sorrow and malice had to be eliminated in me – not merely covered over by ‘good’ feelings in order to evince an actual freedom from malice and sorrow rather than a synthetic one.
But do see it as the Human Condition – as a ‘bummer of a birthmark’ – it’s just the way we humans have been programmed with beliefs and instincts. That way it becomes delicious fun and a thrilling journey through the human psyche. And it all just goes on in your head anyway. Oft times I would think I’m going mad as ‘I’ was actively dismantling my own self.
But then I’d find myself making coffee and toast the next morning ... and wondering what’s next?
PETER: I do understand the seduction of meditation – going to some quite inner blissful space away from the real world. But it all shattered one day when during a Vipassana group I had a brief pure consciousness experience (PCE) soon after a sitting, and the question dawned on me ‘Is this really the meaning of life – to sit in a corner with my eyes shut trying to hide from the ‘real’ world?’ ‘Is this really the answer – the more hiding and turning away, the better?’ Meditation took on a new meaning for me after that experience, and I quickly lost interest in any temporary feelings induced by self-torturous methods.
As for the second part –
For me, the way to go ‘deeper into my senses’, was to eliminate everything that was in the way. What I found I really had to do was go deeper into my feelings to discover the root emotions that are their source. Neither repressing, nor expressing. To sit with them, investigate, root around, find out there source. This method has the advantage for men of being able to get fully into their feelings for the first time and for women to be able to examine their feelings rather than being run by a basketful of them all at once.
It’s a great adventure to investigate ‘who’ you think you are and ‘who’ you feel you are and to finally discover ‘what’ you are ...
To come to one’s senses both literally and figuratively.
PETER: You wrote about the poem that Herenow posted –
RESPONDENT: In a certain sense Zen is feeling life instead of feeling something about life. Alan Watts
PETER: It is another of those poems that clearly point to the spiritual path as being a feeling path to an ‘inner world’. One becomes a ‘watcher’, ‘feeling’ one’s way in the world and as such is cut off from the direct sensate experience of the actual world that is ever-present – under our very noses.
To ‘feel’ life is not the same as fully living life, exactly as ‘thinking’ about life is not the same as fully living life. To be actually here is to be here in this moment of time, which is the only moment one can experience anyway.
To be actually here is to be in this place which is no-where in particular in the infinitude of the physical universe.
Coming from no-where and having no-where to go, we find ourselves here in this moment in time, in this place in space.
To be here is to be the universe experiencing itself as a human being.
RESPONDENT: You have good point, in general, but in this particular case the word to FEEL = to SENSE as used in this poem.
PETER: Yes indeed. To sense life through the senses is not the same as the direct experience of the senses. The aim in practicing zazen is that logical, analytic thinking should be suspended, as should all desires, attachments, and judgments, leaving the mind in a state of relaxed attention. Particularly sought after virtues include mental tranquillity, fearlessness, and spontaneity. This all is mind training such that the new Zen-persona has a particular way of seeing or sensing the world. At its core there is much self discipline and the creation of a ‘watcher’.
RESPONDENT: I don’t think that Zen practitioners are encouraged to be emotional (loving)!
PETER: Indeed it hard to find any mention of love in Eastern Teachings – it seems to be only a modern Western adaptation. Eastern religion and philosophy place great emphasis on suffering and compassion, and love is not even mentioned. In the East, what we interpret as ‘love’, is actually devotion, sublimation and surrender to whatever God or Master has the power to transmit the Teachings.
RESPONDENT: To just be, wherever you go – there you are, is a motto of Zen, as I understand it. Why don’t you read a book entitled ‘Zen mind, beginners mind’ by Shunryu Suzuki (forgive my probable misspelling of his name). I think Zen is an art of experiencing life as it is. One is life, where ‘is’ means to be moment by moment wherever you are... To experience with no experience – means to be one’s senses, what else?
PETER: There has been a fair amount written that has exposed the corruption, perversions, avarice, intrigue and violent history of Western Religions. The wars, tortures, persecutions, ‘crusades’ and cleansings. But on matters of the Eastern Religions and philosophies there is a dearth of similar scrutiny and investigation.
If you start to dig in you can see why – it is such a labyrinth of fanciful stories with such an inter-twining of secular influences – exactly as the West.
To keep it simple and brief – I will pick one example. Have you ever pondered on the martial art emphasis in Japanese Religious traditions? That in the Zen warrior training one is trained to kill in a way that it becomes an art, a meditation. The act of killing is the ‘pure’ act when ‘the one’ drawing the bow or delivering the blow is ‘absent’. The one who is killed is, however, dead. The Zen tradition in fact develops the ‘watcher’ to the extent of the dis-associated killer.
Indeed, most armies in the world have adopted the same mind-training methods in teaching soldiers how to kill unemotionally. And many in the town I live in spend hours a week practicing the art of dis-association in martial arts and call it meditation and sacred or holy!
It is a most curious world we find ourselves in.
This absence of a doer is essential in Buddhism of which Zen is but one of may sub-sects. This absence is a total dis-association with the physical flesh and blood body. The ‘doer’ is simply replaced by another entity, the ‘watcher’, who is most definitely not the one who is doing the killing. This practice is at the core of the Eastern warrior sects and is what turns them into such superb killing machines – they practice total dis-association as a spiritual practice.
I came across this passage recently while skimming a bit on Buddhism and it made me prick up my ears.
Me thinks that this points to the fact that all is not as honky-dory in the lands of the Eastern mystics as is presented in ‘popular versions’. As spiritual seekers all wear rose-coloured glasses they can’t even begin to see what is actually going on, or even begin... to dare... to start... to even begin... to consider ...that all might not be as lovely as it appears.
One dares not question because the whole lot may come crashing down like a pack of cards, taking one’s spiritual identity with it.
So, if you use the word ‘sense life’ as in ‘feel life’ – it is the same thing – there is still a ‘you’ inside, sensing or feeling what is outside, remote, foreign and alien.
The actual world cannot be ‘sensed’ or ‘felt’ from within you, but is directly experienced by the physical senses of you, the flesh and blood body.
There is a world of difference.
PETER: I broke my reply in two as it got dauntingly long. You just raised such good points to explore and we can but just ‘skim the surface’, but it may give you a flavour of questioning, challenging, exploring if you are interested to pursue these things for yourself.
RESPONDENT: Another story is that Zen practitioners might become too addicted to the practice itself that is just supposed to train them to become one’s senses. It is like, first you go to school, but you should not remain there forever. Right? I like Zen in its simples form, (wherever you go – there you are) I discard all sutras, temples etc as an burden. It is like, first you go to school, but you should not remain there forever. Right?
PETER: If you mean by ‘go to school’ the place where you were imbibed with the teachings that the teachers tell you – then that is where we all start.
We humans all come in to the world for the first time and others who have already been here before us tell us how it is.
This teaching begins with our parents and continues on at school and is reinforced by the peer group that we belong to.
When I studied architecture, others told me what it is to be an architect, how to do it and how the system worked. I found myself at the end of my studies, sitting in an office and not really knowing anything about what went on except what I had been taught. And I began to realise that the teachers who had taught me were full-time teachers and had very little experience in, or contact with, the real world outside of academia.
I soon got out of the office and on to building sites in order to find out what really went on. I began to realise that what I had been taught was only the established, accepted way of understanding and doing things. But the more I found out the more I could go with what worked for me, what was sensible, what was easy, what was simple, what was fair to all, what bought delight.
In the end I found the way that worked for me bore no resemblance to the way I was taught.
I eventually developed the intent and desire to apply the same approach to the rest of my life – find out what makes me happy and go for more of it, and, more scary, to eliminate the ‘me’ in me who takes offence, so that I am harmless and bingo ... I am here in a paradise that has been here all along. I just needed to question what everyone told me as the only way to be, and get rid of the animal instincts of fear and aggression.
And it was serendipitous to come across Richard because he is such an expert on Enlightenment and Actual Freedom. I could pick his brain, so to speak.
Get stuck in and check it out. Try it. See if it works. Go out and find a woman and try living together in peace and harmony. Try to eliminate anger in me. If that worked – what about jealousy? Wow! ...what’s the next thing to get free of ...
With Richard, it was so good to find someone who ‘walked the talk’ as No. 11 said the other day, rather than a teacher who was simply telling me the same old stuff that obviously didn’t work.
As kids we all went go to school to learn how things are and then we left school to hit the world. It took a while but eventually I came to use the opportunity of being a grown-up to find out for myself rather than simply continuing to believe and follow what I had been taught.
That’s all that I have been saying ... but everyone wants to go on believing what they have been taught by others. ‘This is the way it is and cannot be otherwise’. ‘The Truth cannot be challenged’ ... ‘this is the way we humans have been since time immemorial.’ ‘You can’t change Human Nature...’
Not much room for anything new with this lot ringing in your ears, hey.
I looked around and saw if this ‘humanity’ is the direct result of the teachings of school and church then maybe, just maybe everybody has got it 180 degrees wrong (as Richard happened to whisper in my ear one day).
I used anything I could to get free of the clutches of humanity – rebelliousness, refusal to surrender to anyone, refusal to give up, refusal to accept life as it is, bloody-mindedness, stubbornness as well as my naivety, sincerity, and integrity. Whatever I could use to get free I did, I broke all the spiritual rules and psittacisms, all the holy and sacred no-no’s, all the rules. Eventually all the feelings of a separate ‘me’ wilted and died in the face of the purity and perfection I found being the universe experiencing itself as a human being. That purity and perfection that I had experienced in my peak experience 12 years ago.
It beats any ‘feeling’ of ‘coming home’ or ‘being love’ by a country mile, because it is actual.
I’d better stop, it’s time for a coffee that Vineeto has just brewed ...
I thoroughly recommend not only leaving school, but questioning the teacher’s teachings as to whether they are bringing you what you want in your life.
If simple Zen is fine for you, zen zat school’s teachings must be working for you ...
I’m not just talking about leaving school but checking out what was taught.
PETER: Following our conversation the other day about Zen, we came across a book review of someone who has been studying the involvement of the Zen Masters and teachers in the Second World War. Some interesting information on the warrior tradition and the highly developed dis-association principles of Zen as practised in war time. Also revealed is the massacre of Nanking where more deaths occurred than in both Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
You can go direct to http://www.darkzen.com/Articles/zenholy.asp
The books in question are –
Just a short note from the review of the books –
How long can we go on saying that the Teachers and Teachings are not at fault – that it is only the followers who get it wrong?
How long can we keep turning away from the facts of history, and still insist that Ancient Wisdom is anything else but a recipe for continuing human history as it has always been ... bathed in blood for Holy causes.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.