Please note that Peter’s correspondence below was written by the feeling-being ‘Peter’ while ‘he’ lived in a pragmatic (methodological), still-in-control/same-way-of-being Virtual Freedom before becoming actually free.

Selected Correspondence Peter


RESPONDENT: At various times (being aware that ‘I’ am the thorn in ‘my’ side, but unable to penetrate through it) I’ve looked into various spiritual teachings that are light on metaphysics eg. J Krishnamurti and Zen.

PETER: Perhaps a better way of saying it is that they are very careful to couch their teachings in words that can’t readily be seen to be meta-physical. Jiddu Krishnamurti played largely to Western audiences so he was usually very careful to couch his teachings as being non-religious and was very careful in his use of words so as to disguise the religiosity of his message. Zen’s metaphysics on the other hand have been penned by men who have spent so long isolated from the world-as-it-is and people as-they-are that their teachings are but rarefied nonsense … which apparently is why they have such widespread appeal, particularly amongst those with an intellectual-only bent.

Oops, there I go again being politically incorrect …

PETER: I thought to answer this post as well given that you have already dismissed Richard’s reply before he replied –

RESPONDENT: Here are some quotes from a book ‘Living Zen’ by Robert Linssen published in 1958 Grove Press. It makes for interesting reading in conjunction with the Actual Freedom website. There seems to be a remarkable similarity in concepts. No doubt Richard will focus his high powered linguistic microscope on tiny shades of meaning and become lost in the minutiae of stylistic differences. He will tell us that actual freedom from the human condition is not the same as Satori and that no Zen Master has ever trodden his path. I’m sure Richard will be able to invoke other schools of Zen thought that back up his objections but not all Zen is the same. Those of us who realise that language is inherently limited and noisy in meaning, especially in non-dualistic discussion, can broaden our focus and see remarkable similarities:

PETER: I see you are using the old ploy of offering up an argument whilst simultaneously denigrating the answerer – so much for having a sincere discussion. And just to add a little oomph to your stance you invoke the support of the royal ‘us’ – those whose focus is so broad that they blithely redefine the meaning of any words to suit their own purposes and fit their own beliefs – so much for having a sensible discussion.

I have tried to have sensible discussions with several Zen Buddhists and always found it to be an impossibility as their perch is so lofty that they can’t help but be condescending … and if one attempts to talk sensibly to them they retreat to a position of dismissing anything that is contrary to their beliefs by disparaging the very idea that having a clear-cut and meaningful conversation about such matters is at all possible – so much so that you can almost see the shutters go down.

RESPONDENT: The author uses the term ‘I-process’ to highlight the illusory character of identity, seemingly unchanging but borne of process.

PETER: It’s pertinent to point out that ancient Eastern spirituality teaches that the illusionary identity (‘I’ as ego only) is borne exclusively of the process of conditioning … whereas actualism establishes by observation and experimentation that the social/ instinctual identity (both ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul) is borne of the genetically-encoded instinctual passions.

To summarize these differences –

  • Eastern spirituality is archaic and superstition based, actualism is contemporary and scientifically based,

  • Eastern spirituality dabbles in the superficial layer of the social identity, actualism tackles the fundamental issue of the instinctual identity,

  • Eastern spirituality teaches a transcendence of the personal identity or ego and this transcendence results in the emergence of an unfettered narcissism, actualism instigates the elimination of both ego and soul and this elimination is the ending of malice and sorrow.

A world of difference.

RESPONDENT: Chapter XI Memory Habits and the Birth of the ‘I-process’

[quote]: Page 116: ‘Schematically the brain could be drawn as a point or centre of pure perception endowed with extraordinary sensibility.

Everything happening around this point is continually registered as electro-magnetic perturbations. And though at the beginning they were impersonal and without any individuality, they have become mechanical memories comparable with those of sound recorders. They accumulate endlessly round our centre or point of hypothetical perception. Finally this accumulation of memory becomes so complex and dense that secondary phenomena begin to appear. The memories become so loaded that suddenly by the natural effect of a certain ‘law of mass’, reciprocal action takes place between the different layers of superimposed engrams. Secondary currents spring up and set off a whole process of ‘parasitic’ phenomena. The Sages believe that consciousness of self is nothing other than a ‘secondary current’, a ‘parasitical phenomenon’. Thus an entity has been built up on what was a simple im­personal non-individualized process of pure perception. It has been erected as a result of the impression of psychological solidity given by the complexity of the memory accumulations. So where there was just one anonymous process amongst the thousands of millions of anonymous processes in the unfatho­mable Cosmic Play, a ‘thinker’ is born. And since then we have acquired the habit of considering ourselves as entities.’ [endquote].

PETER: Not a word to be seen in this quote about the crucial role that the instinctual passions play in both forming and sustaining the parasitical entity that inhabits the flesh and blood body – rather the author says that ‘an entity has been built up on what was a simple im­personal non-individualized process of pure perception’. This is a clear reference to the notion that the identity, ‘a thinker’, is made up of memory accumulations aka conditioning and if one dis-identifies from this conditioning then the ‘pure perception’ (aka state of innocence) that we were supposedly born with will miraculously emerge.

The myth of Tabula Rasa, the belief we human beings born pure and innocent, flies in the face of overwhelming scientific and anecdotal evidence that all human beings are born with a genetically-encoded array of survival instincts – primary impulses that are passionate in nature and that are experienced as feelings and emotions. In other words ‘the thinker’, or ego-self is but the thin layer of icing on the cake of ‘the feeler’, the instinctual self – ‘me’ at my very core.

There is a vast difference between what the Sages believed and the facts of the matter.

This whole issue of instinctual passions was one of the things that really got me interested in actualism – I didn’t have to believe that the instinctual passions were genetically-encoded, I knew by my own experience that this was fact. I had children of my own and I had observed with my own eyes the emergence of unprovoked reflexive outbursts of antipathy as well as spontaneous bouts of sullenness, and I saw that this was common to all children. I could also clearly see the instinctual passions at work in adults and in humanity at large – indeed in the whole of the animal world, in all sentient creatures.

The final clincher came when I started to be attentive to the instinctual passions in action, in myself, in real-time – be it fear, aggression, nurture or desire. Both the obligation to believe and the impulse to dis-believe went out the window as I was confronted with the choice of continuing to believe what the Sages believed or rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck into the immediate task at hand of ridding myself of malice and sorrow – in other words, daring to be happy and harmless in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are.

RESPONDENT: Chapter XX Characteristics of Satori according to the Zen Masters Page 169:

[quote]: ‘.... the condition sine qua non of Satori is the elimination of all thought, all imagery, all memory-automatism of the past, briefly all that which forms the ‘I-process’. All that remains of the ‘I-process’ is that which lies within the apparent limits of the physical, corporeal form. But the latter is freed of all self-identification and attachment whatsoever. There is no longer any psychological, mental, and affective superimposition to corrupt the total adequacy of the instant. So if Satori is realized in the heart of a ‘pseudo-entity whose superficial aspects are personal and finite, the essence of its inspiration, of its very reality, is drawn from the infinite and impersonal source in the depths.’

PETER: And thus a delusion is born out of an illusion, for according to the Zen Masters, Satori ‘is realized in the heart of a pseudo-identity’ and ‘it’s very reality is drawn from infinite and impersonal source in the depths’ – in other words ‘me’ at my core. The subsequent ‘elimination of all thought, all imagery, all memory-automatism of the past’, results in an identity that is so aggrandized that it imagines itself to be infinite and impersonal and thus feels itself to be God-like. In short, this is narcissism writ large, albeit carefully masqueraded as humility so as to gain the plaudits of the masses.

You might notice that I am not focussing my ‘high powered linguistic microscope on tiny shades of meaning and become lost in the minutiae of stylistic differences’, but rather I am focussing on the broad and fundamental differences between spiritualism and actualism – in this case that spiritualism teaches the possibility of realizing that very reality of ‘me’ at my source is an ‘infinite and impersonal’ being, whereas actualism points out that ‘me’ at my core is an instinctive ‘being’ – a ‘being’ that will literally do anything, and believe anything, in order to survive.

RESPONDENT: This interesting quote is taken from Comedie Psychologique by the writer Carlo Suares, apparently without reference to Zen thought. It is reproduced in ‘Living Zen’, chapter XX, page 172:

[quote]: ‘If this ‘me’ is not afraid of losing itself, of no longer having anywhere to lay its head, in short, when, pushed by the magnificent dynamism of absolute doubt, it is not afraid of disassociating itself from everything; of rejecting its old associations, and rejecting the new snares laid by the objects of the world in order to bind it to them; of destroying the new entity which is being re­built on the ruins of the crumbling entity, when this ‘me’ transformed into an incandescent torch, mercilessly burns all that is itself then one day, becoming supremely conscious and no longer finding anything with which to associate, that which remains of it leaps all together into the eternal flame which consumes all, except the Eternal, and being dead as an entity, it is nothing but life.’ [endquote].

PETER: A classic description, if ever there was one, of the extreme act of dissociation that is necessary for anyone who aspires to become ‘supremely conscious’ in order that they can realize that they are ‘the Eternal’.

You might notice that I’m not nit-picking words because the author has twice used phrases that unambiguously point to dissociation –

[Respondent]: ‘If this ‘me’ … is not afraid of disassociating itself from everything;’

‘when this ‘me’ … no longer finding anything with which to associate,’ [endquote].

I’ll leave you to find out the difference between this quote that you offer as proof of the ‘remarkable similarity’ between spiritualism and actualism, and what actualism is about, after all it’s your presumption. All you need to do is go to the Actual Freedom home page, click on ‘How to Search the Web-site’, follow the instructions and type in the word ‘dissociation’. You will find a myriad of links that will reveal the unassailable gulf that exists between the spiritual practice of dissociation and the actualism method of becoming free of malice and sorrow in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are.

You might care to pause to read the last phrase again ‘in the world as-it-is, with people as-they-are’ – diametrically opposite to ‘‘me’ … ‘disassociating itself from everything’.


RESPONDENT: So if Satori is realized in the heart of a ‘pseudo-entity whose superficial aspects are personal and finite, the essence of its inspiration, of its very reality, is drawn from the infinite and impersonal source in the depths.’

PETER: And thus a delusion is born out of an illusion, for according to the Zen Masters Satori ‘is realized in the heart of a pseudo-identity’ and ‘its very reality is drawn from infinite and impersonal source in the depths’ – in other words ‘me’ at my core.

RESPONDENT: How do you get ‘me’ at my core out of that? The quote says that the very reality is drawn from impersonal sources but realised in the heart of a pseudo-identity.

PETER: Okay. I’ll rephrase my comment –

[rephrased]: And thus a delusion is born out of an illusion, for according to the Zen Masters Satori ‘is realized in the heart of a pseudo-identity’ and ‘its very reality is drawn from infinite and impersonal source in the depths’ – in other words ‘me’ at my ‘in the depths’ or ‘me’ in ‘in the heart’. [end rephrased].

heart – ‘(The seat of) one’s inmost thoughts and secret feelings; the soul. (The seat of) spirit.’ Oxford Dictionary

In an effort to make it more clear, what I am saying is that both the soul and the ego are illusionary. The soul however is significantly more substantive in that it is an instinctual program – it is species-specific which means that it is impersonal (at heart ‘I’ am humanity and humanity is ‘me’) whereas the ego is individualistic (‘I’ as persona or social identity exist only in relationship to other ‘beings’). 

To abandon an illusion in favour of a more substantial illusion is an act of delusion.

PETER: Just to add a finishing line to Mr. Otis’ Wisdom. The Mystics are notorious in appearing wise and leaving their solution unspoken, indicated with silence or one of those All-Knowing looks...

ALAN: An older student came to Otis and said, ‘I have been to see a great number of teachers and I have given up a great number of pleasures, I have fasted, been celibate and stayed awake nights seeking enlightenment. I have given up everything I was asked to give up and I have suffered, but I have not been enlightened. What should I do?’ Otis replied, ‘Give up suffering.’

PETER: ‘... and realise that you are God’ is the implied message.

And upon realising you are God, the personal feeling of suffering is magically transformed into compassion for others. Of course, since one is now full of the Divine, one feels Divine compassion for those poor sentient beings who are mere mortals and still suffering from the illusion that the body, mind and world are real. I always liked the Tibetan Buddhists who are so blatant about it. The Dalai Lama is venerated as the re-incarnation of ‘the Lord who looks down with compassion on the world of sentient beings’. He was the God-King of Tibet and all of the wealth and power of the country was located in the temples. This Theocracy ensured that the poor stayed poor, while temples – and dead Lamas – were coated in gold.

A genuine end to the feeling of suffering (sorrow) is also an end to the feeling of compassion. Sorrow and its noble companion, compassion are the very foundation of both Western and Eastern Religion. The whole concept of a spiritual world, another life, another realm is based on a denial of the very real suffering of human beings and are nothing but an imaginary escape from it’s consequences both personally and globally. One needs to make a distinction between the feeling of suffering and real suffering. Suffering in the world is real – there are actual wars, rapes, murders, tortures, domestic violence happening as I type these words. But to continue to believe the likes of the Mr. Otis’ of this world is to actively contribute to the continuation of real suffering. This not only maintains the whole religious-spiritual belief system with its resultant wars, persecutions, repressions, denial and duplicity but actively reinforces the whole concept of good and evil, right and wrong, passion and feeling, malice and sorrow – the prevailing Human Condition based on Ancient Wisdom.

The last thing Mr. Otis really wanted was an end to the feeling of suffering or real suffering for he would have no Wisdom, no students, no fame, no power, no need for Zen. No feeling of suffering – no need for the feeling of escape or the feeling of compassion with its implied Holy feeling of superiority.

I recently watched a TV program on Ladakh, and the Buddhist monks pray to the ‘spirits’ to bring a good harvest and to keep the wolves away, evoke the ‘good’ spirits for healing and give potions to drive out the ‘evil’ spirits from the sick and ill. This is their main business as shamans and medicine men and Mr. Buddha was a bit of a side issue. In the West we have merely taken on the Eastern shamans for a bit of feel-good or to feel compassion in order to offset the in-built feelings of malice and sorrow.

It’s so good to be getting free of all this – to come to one’s senses. To be able to live in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are. To be personally free of malice and sorrow – the root of all our emotions.

To be free of sadness, resentment, anger, annoyance, hate, depression, melancholy, loneliness, etc.

PETER: When I first came across Richard, I very carefully listened to what he had to say about life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. While some of what he said made sense – much of it jarred with what I had been taught to be the truth. Given that I had been so gullible in my spiritual years – my faith was indeed blind, as is all faith, in that it managed to completely blind me to the glaring gulf between ‘the talk’ and ‘the walk’ of spiritual belief, both in myself and in the revered teachers and Masters – I was determined not to go down that road again, ever.

RESPONDENT: Purely as background info, I have arrived here via a slightly different route than you (and most other ‘regulars’) ... I have never engaged actively in any of the spiritual disciplines (east or west). I have done plenty of reading as there was always an element of attraction to me, but whenever I got down to the nuts and bolts of practical application, they all were awash in dogma and emotion, and that seemed at odds with the central points they espoused.

PETER: From my observations it would appear that the majority of people who have adopted Eastern religious beliefs tend to avoid the nuts and bolts of practical application, preferring instead to adopt them as a philosophy – morals, ethics, attitudes, values and psittacisms – and clasp them tightly to their bosom as a affectation – feeling superior and self-righteous. When the central principle of Eastern spirituality – dissociation à la ‘I am not the body’ and ‘the physical world is an illusion’ – is melded with dogma and emotion the result can be horrific. (See

RESPONDENT: Most attractive were the very basic principles presented by Zen – I particularly liked Bankei, he seemed to have a grasp of the real essence. Why did they then have to bring in all the goofy chanting and incense, and what about that stick? Sheesh.

PETER: Have you ever considered that maybe there was something essentially rotten in Bankei’s ‘real essence’?

RESPONDENT: I have since realized that what I was attracted to in Zen – that stripped down elemental simplicity – I have found in these parts.

PETER: In order to make clear the ‘stripped down elemental simplicity’ of Zen, I’ll post a précis of the essence of Bankei’s teaching –

[Peter Haskel]: ‘What was it that made Bankei’s teaching of the Unborn so popular in his time? Above all, perhaps, was the fact that the basis of Bankei’s Zen were clear and relatively simple. You didn’t have to be learned, live in a monastery or even necessarily consider yourself a Buddhist to practice them effectively. Nor did you have to engage in long and arduous discipline. True, Bankei himself had undergone terrible hardships before he realized the Unborn; but only, as he constantly reminded his listeners, because he never met a teacher able to tell him what he had to know. In fact, one could readily attain the Unborn in the comfort of one’s own home. It wasn’t necessary, or even advisable, Bankei insisted, to follow his own example.

The term ‘Unborn’ itself is a common one in classical Buddhism, where it generally signifies that which is intrinsic, original, uncreated … the Unborn is not a state that has to be created, but is already there, perfect and complete, the mind just is as it is. There isn’t any special method for realizing the Unborn other than to be yourself, to be totally natural and spontaneous in everything you do.

The mind, as Bankei describes it, is a dynamic mechanism, reflecting, recording and recalling our impressions of the work, a kind of living mirror that is always in motion, never the same from one instant to the next. Within this mirror mind, thoughts and feelings come and go, appearing, vanishing and reappearing in response to circumstances, neither good nor bad in themselves. Unlike the man of the Unborn, however, the impulsive person suffers from attachment. He is never natural because he is a slave to his responses, which he fails to realize are only passing reflections. As a result, he is continually ‘hung up’, entangled in particular thoughts and sensations, obstructing the free flow of the mind. Everything will operate smoothly, Bankei insists, if we only step aside and let it do so.’ Bankei Zen Peter Haskel – Grove Weidenfeld Wheatland Corporation

A human being who imagines they are ‘the Unborn’ subsequently imagines that they can never die, which in turn means they waft around feeling themselves to be immortal. Such a person then teaches the wisdom of detachment to others – thereby locking yet another generation of seekers out from experiencing the peace on earth that already, always exists in the actual world.

If you have realized that the ‘stripped down elemental simplicity’ of ‘I am the Unborn’ can also be found in actualism, then you have either totally misinterpreted, or completely ignored, the words published on the Actual Freedom Trust website.

RESPONDENT: Whereas you may have been ‘gullible in my spiritual years – my faith was indeed blind’, I tended to the other extreme, that of sceptic to a fault. Nothing was ever true, a cold place to be indeed.

PETER: It is important to distinguish between scepticism and cynicism because it is impossible for someone who is cynical about, or detached from, life and the universe to crank up enough innate naiveté to be an actualist.


RESPONDENT: Most attractive were the very basic principles presented by Zen – I particularly liked Bankei, he seemed to have a grasp of the real essence. Why did they then have to bring in all the goofy chanting and incense, and what about that stick? Sheesh.

PETER: Have you ever considered that maybe there was something essentially rotten in Bankei’s ‘real essence’?

RESPONDENT: I was relating historically, careful to use the past tense. I was simply giving you a bit of background as to how I arrived at this juncture. All religion and spirituality is rotten to the core.

PETER: The reason I posted the piece about Bankei’s teachings of ‘realizing the Unborn’ is that you said in the last post –

[Respondent]: ‘I have since realized that what I was attracted to in Zen – that stripped down elemental simplicity – I have found in these parts.’ Respondent to Peter, 9.2.2003

This is a present tense statement, implying that you still see a link between spiritualism and actualism – if not in subject matter, at least philosophically. Actualism is not a stripped down elemental philosophy, nor a non-spiritual form of Zen, nor a happy-go-lucky form of materialism.

RESPONDENT: My experience is more in accord with the second choice that No 14 gave: ‘Or are they free to not act in reaction to them? Free to choose their actions (or stillness)...’ Even the most powerful of emotions derived from the ego/ self preservation, can be overridden. Think of the Buddhists who self-immolate.

PETER: An impassioned entity will do anything to survive – even kill the body it thinks and feels it lives in. Religious belief in Gods and an afterlife have meant that human beings have readily sacrificed their lives defending their beliefs or fighting for their God against Heathens from other tribes. In many religions it is taught that this sacrifice or martyrdom guarantees that one’s soul goes directly to heaven. Eastern religion takes this a stage further with the concept of spiritual suicide whereby the practitioner deliberately dies – or ‘kills the body’ – so as to transcend into a higher realm. These acts of killing other human beings, or committing suicide, are in fact instinctual passions in action – they are fuelled by a deep sorrow at having to be here at all, a desperate belief in the overarching power of God and the seductive lure of a life after death.

I can think of no more graphic and senseless passionate illustration of not wanting to be here and wanting to go ‘somewhere else’ than a Buddhist monk pouring petrol over himself ... and lighting a match.

RESPONDENT: My perspective is somewhat different from what I have been reading here. I, too, have had many awakening experiences over a span of 35 years. I, too, have seen the madness of believing in gods, heaven worlds and all that. It is very clear that religion has failed to bring about anything close to peace, and in fact has caused far more suffering than any other system in the world. I saw this many years ago and knew that if I was to find the truth it would have to be just seeing the facts as clearly as possible.

PETER: Sounds a sensible approach to me but what I came to see was that I didn’t have to see a fact, a fact is something that already exists and I simply had to acknowledge it. I am not being pedantic here but many people ‘see’ fairies, goblins, ghosts, Santa Claus, flying saucers and all sorts of apparitions but that doesn’t necessarily make them factual. All of these seeings are culturally, religiously or historically influenced. A follower of Eastern religion and philosophy doesn’t hear the Voice of God, a Christian doesn’t feel Buddha in his heart and 19th Century people saw horse and carts in the sky and not flying saucers.

A fact, on the other hand, stands by itself whereas any belief is nonsensical. By its very nature a belief is not factually true ... otherwise it would not need to be believed to be true. A fact is obvious; it is out in the open, freely available for all to see as being true. To believe something to be true is to accept on trust that it is so. A fact does not have to be accepted on trust – a fact is candidly so. A fact is patently true, manifestly clear. A fact is what is ascertained sensately and thus demonstrably true. A fact has actual verity, whereas a belief requires synthetic credence.

Something I am curious about is that you stated that –

[Respondent]: ‘I, too, have seen the madness of believing in gods, heaven worlds and all that’ [endquote].

and yet you continued on following Eastern religion and philosophy. Did you not see the madness in Eastern religion or was your seeing based on a rejection of the Western religious world-view and the adoption of the Eastern religious world-view? Many spiritual seekers tend to wear rose coloured glasses when looking at the East and fail to see the appalling ignorance, arrogance, oppression, poverty, class structure and religious persecutions that is the result of thousands of years of intense devotion and practice of Eastern religions and philosophy. It is only now that some brave scholars are beginning to question, investigate and document the Eastern religious ‘madness of believing in gods, heaven worlds and all that’. Two of the studies that I found particularly revealing about the Zen tradition is ‘Zen at War’ by Brian Victoria Weatherhill, 1997 and ‘The Rape Of Nanking’ (The Forgotten Holocaust of World War I) – Iris Chang, Basic Books, 1997,

Methinks the next generation may not be so blindly infatuated with the East as ours was.

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.

‘During the period of ultra-nationalism (c. 1930-45), Buddhist thinkers called for uniting the East in one great ‘Buddhaland’ under the tutelage of Japan. After the war, however, Buddhist groups, new and old alike, began to emphasize Buddhism as a religion of peace and brotherhood.’ Encyclopaedia Britannica

Curious, hey.

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: Ah! And now comes the slide. Ancient Wisdom in the East talks about realizing your original face, your original self, your Buddha nature, that you are That, This, God, at One with All, Divine, etc. Anything other than being ‘here’.

RESPONDENT: Why is my original face anything else than ‘being here’, did any mystic say so?

PETER: The term original face refers to ‘that which was there before you were born, and will be there after you died.’ This is an obvious reference to something which exists independently of the physical mortal body. The common word for this is soul. It is who I feel myself to be. Who I feel myself to be is the very ‘me’ who feels separate from the world. From what I remember, I thought I was the centre of the everything around me but I always felt as though I didn’t belong – a bit like an outsider, even in a group. I was anywhere but here and anytime but now – always an alien. On the spiritual path one develops feelings of love and oneness towards a mystical God or God-energy – one shifts one’s identity into the mystical spirit world such that one is even more remote or aloof from the physical-only world.

To identify with one’s original face’, or soul, is to be ‘here’, but in the spiritual world only, not the actual world.

Hence it is impossible – a plain and obvious contradiction – to be here in the actual physical world, if one has one’s head in the clouds of the spiritual, meta-physical, psychic world.

There are no souls, spirits, Gods, demons, psychic entities or psychic energies, ghosts, good or evil, in the actual world.

Peter’s Selected Correspondence Index

Library Topics – Spiritual Teachers

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