Richard’s Selected Correspondence
RICHARD: [...] the vast majority of my on-line writings about Buddhism at that time – being mainly responses to queries and objections from non-Buddhist practitioners – were rather general; quite encyclopaedic in nature, in fact, and thus reflected the remarkably erroneous yet commonly-accepted English translations of key Buddhist words ... key words such as ‘mindful’/ ‘mindfulness’, for sati (instead of ‘rememorative’, ‘rememoration’); ‘heedless’/ ‘negligent’, for pamada (rather than ‘(worldly) intoxication’); ‘feeling’/ ‘sensation’, for vedāna (in lieu of ‘hedonic-tone’); ‘fabrications’/ ‘formations’, for saṅkhāra (instead of ‘(wilful) conations’); ‘defilements’/ ‘taints’/ ‘cankers’, for āsava (rather than ‘(worldly) intoxicants’); ‘sense’/ ‘perception’, for sāñña (in lieu of ‘agnise’, ‘agnition’); ‘suffering’/ ‘stress’/ ‘ill’, for dukkha (instead of ‘asunder, apart or away from ākāsa’); ‘space’/ ‘air’, for ākāsa (rather than ‘aether’, ‘etheric’, ‘ethereal’) and so on.
RESPONDENT: Also, if minus infinity (as small as it can get) is just a mathematical proposition without factual existence and there is indeed a limit to ‘how small’ matter in the microscopic world can be, then the conclusion is that, ultimately (as it is with time – ‘this moment’ has no duration), there is a ‘no space’ (immateriality) where there are ‘no events’ taking place (as there is no matter) and thus ‘no time’ (to measure with).
RICHARD: As more than a little of that sentence is a conflation of terms I will pass without further comment.
RESPONDENT: I know, it sounds like Buddha’s dwellin’ place but I want to be sure that Richard ain’t his neighbour. [Buddha]: ‘There is that dimension where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; (...) neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor stasis; neither passing away nor arising: without stance, without foundation, without support. This, just this, is the end of dukkha’ [endquote].
RICHARD: Ha ... the only Mr. Gotama the Sakyan in this neighbourhood is in the form of innumerable stone statues (which are popping up in gardens hereabouts like mushrooms after rain) as the otherwise intelligent peoples of the west uncritically swallow the no-time/ no-space/ no-form fantasies of the east hook, line, and sinker, and thus advertise their gullibility to the world at large ... a credulity albeit reinforced by the theoretical fantasising which more and more passes for science these days.
RESPONDENT: Is there a soul that lives on after death of body?
RICHARD: No ... physical death is the end, finish. Kaput.
RESPONDENT: Maybe an individual soul doesn’t actually exist in the end ...
RICHARD: No soul, whether individual or universal, exists in actuality, period ... I only get to meet flesh and blood bodies here in this actual world.
RESPONDENT: ... [Maybe an individual soul doesn’t actually exist in the end] but while this dream world continues in this world and the next, the awareness that believes it is an individual soul will continue to experience itself as such ...
RICHARD: As there is no [quote] ‘the next’ [endquote] world – there is nothing other than this infinite and eternal and perpetual universe – the awareness you say believes it is an individual soul will *not* continue to to experience itself as such after physical death.
RESPONDENT: ... [the awareness that believes it is an individual soul will continue to experience itself as such] and no amount of actual head knowledge about no-self will stop a person experiencing this dream as a individual in this world or the next.
RICHARD: As the term [quote] ‘no-self’ [endquote] is a spiritual term then what it refers to – an egoless state of being (supposedly) immune to death – has no existence in actuality.
Incidentally, to preach buddhistic homilies on this mailing list is to but fritter away a vital opportunity.
RESPONDENT: There is no death in this world ...
RICHARD: Au contraire: physical death is the end, finish ... kaput.
RESPONDENT: ... [There is no death in this world] only transformation just as the body dies but still remains and exists in a different form so too the awareness is transformed but still remains in this dream.
RESPONDENT: [quote] ‘For thousands of years, human beings …’. [endquote]. [quote] ‘Now, for the first time ...’. [endquote]. Hmmm ... Did a minute read and let’s see ... [quote] ‘Actual Freedom has nothing to do with the traditional spiritual path of transcendence and avoidance ...’. [endquote]. Basic Buddhist mindfulness meditation stresses involvement with life.
RICHARD: Well now ... that is what comes of only doing [quote] ‘a minute read’ [endquote], eh?
Here is the full text from which you quoted (with the snippets your minute read enabled you to draw such an invalid comparison from highlighted for convenience):
First of all, the buddhistic mindfulness meditation does not ... (a) stress genuine freedom, peace and happiness ... and (b) does not eliminate the genetically-encoded instinctual passions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire (the root cause of human bondage, malice and sorrow) ... and (c) does promise a mythical ‘freedom’ in an imaginary life-after-death (‘Parinirvana’) ... and (d) is not a new, non-spiritual method ... and (e) does not produce an actual freedom from the instinctual animal passions, here and now, on earth, in this lifetime ... and (f) does not offer a step by step, down-to-earth, practical progression to becoming actually free of the human condition of malice and sorrow ... to be both happy and harmless.
More to your point, however, Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s mindfulness meditation is primarily about detachment/ dissociation from life – all existence is Dukkha due to Anicca (impermanence) and Dukkha comes from Tanha (craving) for Samsara (phenomenal existence) – and any meditation technique which stresses involvement with such is anything but what Mr. Gotama the Sakyan taught.
RESPONDENT: [quote] ‘Enhancement of ‘good’ emotion ... denial of ‘bad’ emotion via sublimation’. [endquote]. Again, basic Buddhist mindfulness meditation embraces all good and bad emotion.
RESPONDENT: [quote] ‘Pure consciousness experience ....’. [endquote]. Read Nisargadatta ... better description.
RICHARD: I read what he has to report – very carefully – quite a few years ago and nowhere is a description of a pure consciousness experience to be found anywhere (let alone a better one than on The Actual Freedom Trust web site).
RESPONDENT: Look dude, it’s good that you achieved ‘Appreciative Awareness’ or whatever ...
RICHARD: The term, as you would know had you done more than a minute read before reaching for the keyboard, is ‘apperceptive awareness’ (unmediated perception).
RESPONDENT: ... but what is the point of sounding like a fourth rate salesman who doesn’t read?
RESPONDENT: Tsk, tsk, Aussies.
RICHARD: As [quote] ‘tsk, tsk’ [endquote] represents a sound expressing commiseration, disapproval, or irritation, according to the Oxford Dictionary, it would appear that you are indeed embracing both good and bad emotions in your (non-buddhistic) mindfully meditative involvement with life.
RESPONDENT: Should I just observe all of the above like the buddha said?
RICHARD: Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s advice was to dissociate from all of the above ... vis.:
In other words: a total withdrawal from the physical world and the physical body ... a dissociation based upon Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s vision that all existence is ‘dukkha’ because it is but transitory existence born out of craving (‘tanha’) for physical existence in the first place. He clearly indicates that life as this flesh and blood body, on this verdant and azure planet, in this immeasurably vast universe, is the pits ... the only cure for which is to be ‘freed, dissociated, and released’ from it all and scarper off to the place where the sun don’t shine (‘amata’). Vis.:
In short, it is a realm that has nothing to do with the physical whatsoever: ‘neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind’ (no physical world); ‘neither this world nor the next world’ (no more rebirth); ‘neither earth, nor moon, nor sun’ (no solar system).
Yet all the while there is an unimaginable and inconceivable purity and perfection right here at this place in infinite space just now at this moment in eternal time – the actual is magnificent beyond anyone’s wildest dreams and schemes – and this moment and this place is an ever-present ‘jumping-in’ point, as it were. Then one finds oneself walking through this actual world of veritable delight – the sensate world – where this ambrosial paradise called planet earth, with its sensuous quality of magical perfection and purity, is flourishing in a truly wondrous way. Every thing and every body has a lustre, a brilliance, a vividness, an intensity and a marvellous, scintillating vitality that makes it all vivid and sparkling ... even the very earth beneath one’s feet. The rocks, the concrete buildings, a piece of paper ... literally everything is as if it were alive (a rock is not, of course, alive as humans are, or as animals are, or as trees are). This ‘aliveness’ is the very actuality of all existence ... the actualness of every thing and every body.
The whole point of asking oneself, each moment again, how one is experiencing this moment of being alive is to find out what is preventing this already always existing peace-on-earth from being apparent ... and, going by what you have written so far, I would hazard a guess that for you, at this stage, it is none other than Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s anti-life teachings.
RESPONDENT: Douglass Harding, Byron Katie, Maximillian Sandor, bunches of folks in the ex-scientology camp (put ‘freezone’ into your search engine) are all, in their various ways, about using INSIGHT to deconstruct to iron grip of ego-self without getting caught up in the big SELF spiritualist experience of Ramana Maharshi, Bernadette Roberts, et al.
RICHARD: The following quotes may very well throw some light upon the matter: (snip quotes from Mr. Douglas Harding [Finding The Self], Ms. Byron Katie [God With God], Mr. Maximilian Sandor [Alienation/Integration Of The Being], and Free Zone [The Beingness-By-Itself] for reasons of space).
RESPONDENT: You’re a bit of a researcher ... so good on ya!
RICHARD: All I did was provide some referenced quotes which, for anyone with access to an internet search engine and ten minutes or so to spare, can easily be found ... for example:
If doing the above, and similar for the other three quotes, constitutes being ‘a bit of a researcher’ in your eyes – and somehow deserving of a ‘good on ya!’ commendation – then all I can say is that the Dean of Students at ‘The New Mexico Institute for Buddhist Studies’, an American institution of religious learning to provide an accessible means of providing a foundation in Pure Land Buddhism, is all-too-easily pleased ... seeing that you are using his e-mail address perhaps you could draw his attention to the following? Vis.:
I, for one, can easily see the words ‘their Higher Self’ and ‘who they really are’ and ‘eternal life’ in amongst that lot (add another 59.00 seconds).
RESPONDENT: I like your commitment to investigation, empiricism, pragmatism, ACTUAL FACTS.
RICHARD: It is one thing to like another’s commitment to ‘investigation, empiricism, pragmatism, ACTUAL FACTS’ ... and another thing entirely to emulate same.
In other words the commitment made by the identity parasitically inhabiting this flesh and blood body all those years ago, a total dedication to global peace and harmony, took just under 12 years to bring about an actual freedom from the human condition ... and what do you have to show after 30+ years? Vis.:
It would appear that deconstructionism has not delivered/does not deliver the goods in this lifetime ... but, then again, Amida Buddhism has it that enlightenment is much more accessible in the Pure Land – the ‘Amida Heaven’ as it were – provided one gets there after physical death, that is, and does not become side-tracked into contemplating the distinct possibility of living the pristine perfection of the peerless purity of such a mundane thing as peace-on-earth, in this lifetime as this flesh and blood body, and thus court descent into one of the many Buddhist hells.
Golly ... with the fate of one’s eternal life (aka eternal soul) at stake one will probably construct a wide range of facile intellectualisms, when reading what is on offer on The Actual Freedom Trust web site, in order to have something to deconstruct.
RESPONDENT: So ... I’m with you.
RICHARD: If only you were ... for example:
I, for one, can easily see the words ‘our true self’ in amongst that lot (add another 71.00 seconds).
RESPONDENT: We can toss ALL these folks on the ancient spiritualist bone pile and keep moving on.
RICHARD: If doing the above [providing a referenced quote which, for anyone with access to an internet search engine and two or three minutes to spare, can easily be found], and similar for the other three quotes, constitutes being ‘a bit of a researcher’ in your eyes – and somehow deserving of a ‘good on ya!’ commendation – then all I can say is that the Dean of Students at ‘The New Mexico Institute for Buddhist Studies’, an American institution of religious learning to provide an accessible means of providing a foundation in Pure Land Buddhism, is all-too-easily pleased ... seeing that you are using his e-mail address perhaps you could draw his attention to the following? Vis.: (snip quote from the New Mexico Institute for Buddhist Studies containing the words ‘their Higher Self’ and ‘who they really are’ and ‘eternal life’).
RESPONDENT: You might have missed my introductory salutation to the group.
RICHARD: No, not at all ... I read it as soon as it came into my mail-box, and again after having copy-pasted it into a long document in my word processor, where it sits in its sequence with all the other posts you have written so as to be able to read what you write next in context, prior to responding, when I refresh my memory by re-reading what you previously had to say.
Just as I have done with this e-mail.
RESPONDENT: So here it is again: [quote] ‘I’d like to introduce myself to this list. I’m intrigued by what I am reading on the AF site. Without going into a lot of boring details, I’ve been on the path for 30+ years. It has led into and out of several variants of what I am coming to see is a common ‘spiritualism’, whether eastern or western. Suffice it to say that it has not produced the results of being either happy or harmless in my own life ... not just yet, at any rate. I am open to the idea that perhaps Richard has uncovered an entirely new way of looking at things and doing things in this so-called ‘Third Alternative’. Naturally, I do have some questions I’d like to ask about it’. [endquote]. Now I don’t mind the least little bit that you have taken the time and the bother to do a write up on Pure Land Buddhism ...
RICHARD: Oh, it was no bother at all – and it hardly took any time as, having some familiarity with it already, no research was required – because I enjoy discussing the many and varied ways my fellow human beings have attempted to make sense of what it is to be a human being living in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are.
Thus it never occurred to me that you would not mind thinking that you had caused me to do what you thought I did (having ‘taken the time and the bother to do a write up on Pure Land Buddhism’ that is) ... let alone the least little bit of minding.
RESPONDENT: ... which has been the admittedly spiritualist path that I have settled into. I have made no bones about saying that this had been the best I was able to come up with so far ...
RICHARD: Sure ... I read that the first time you said it: the whole point of doing a brief resumé of Pure Land Buddhism was to have it established in plain words that (a) it was the particular variant of Buddhism you were speaking of ... and (b) that it too was nothing other than the same-old same-old tried and failed spiritual solution to all the ills of humankind ... and (c) its teachings being the context for where an adherent of its tenets is coming from, currently at, and (supposedly) going to.
In short: I was addressing the [quote] ‘heartwood’ [endquote] of your questions, as invited, whilst simultaneously situating it in its contextual background for clarity.
RESPONDENT: [Here’s the text of my note to him]: ‘I have been spending a good deal of time lately musing on the past 30+ years of my life. In particular, I have been challenged to take inventory of myself and my path because of the writings of some folks who speak of a ‘Third Alternative’, different than either the mundane realism of those who don’t know and don’t care, and the various forms of Spiritualism, eastern, western and ‘new age’ that I have looked into in search of answers to the fundamental questions of life itself.
At this point I am wondering if all I have done, and taught others as well (including my own children) is a well meaning mistake. As I look around, it seems to me that clearly our spiritualist directions haven’t fulfilled the mandate of bringing a state of being happy nor harmless to self or to others. That’s not a moral judgment, but rather a clinical one.
Here’s an excerpt of some of the material I’ve been reading and digesting. I’m not sure where I am going with this ... but I am open to what is being said. At the same time, I don’t want to disturb any of my other friends, in case this is a blind alley or a cul-de-sac.
I can give you a call some time to discuss, if you’d like. My intent isn’t to convince you (or anyone else) of anything, but merely to share with you, as a friend, what is rumbling around inside my skull right now.
Best as ever ... [endquote].
So we can, in good faith for the purposes of this exploration, throw Amida Buddhism (Pure Land Buddhism) on the bone pile with Ram Tzu, et al. No need to get distracted by deconstructing this further ... though of course you are free to do whatever you please.
RICHARD: Where do you gain the notion that I ‘get distracted’ ... or that I am into ‘deconstructing’ spiritualism for that matter? I did not go about ‘deconstructing’ spiritualism ... I lived it, night and day for eleven years, and *experientially* found it wanting.
Be that as it may ... seeing that deconstructionism is your modus operandi (you have used the word ‘deconstruct’ in one form or another 33 times in your e-mails thus far and are advising others to do the same) it may be pertinent to point out that this is the second time you have sought to deflect somebody else from applying your method. Vis.:
All I did was to address the [quote] ‘heartwood’ [endquote] of your questions as invited ... you claimed that Mr. Douglas Harding, Ms. Byron Katie, Mr. Maximilian Sandor, and bunches of folks in the ex-scientology camp (The Free Zone) were some places to look to see where an actual freedom from the human condition was already happening because Richard had not yet made an exhaustive investigation of all the other places it might have been happening up until now.
In other words I provided four quotes in my first response, and two more in my second, which make it patently clear that your claims of where what I have discovered is already happening are, quite simply, nothing other than more of the same-old same-old tried and failed spiritual solution to all the ills of humankind ... yet now you protest that you have said right from the beginning (quoting part of your initial e-mail and now a private e-mail to the head of the organisation you are affiliated with) that you have suspended both belief and disbelief and have an open mind.
Where is the evidence of this in your actions (actions such as having others go on a wild goose chase through spiritualist writings)?
RESPONDENT: I have already conceded (from the moment I arrived here) that in the context of actualist taxonomy, every path I have ever trodden personally would be described as a spiritualist one ... including Amidism.
RICHARD: Why do you add the qualifier ‘in the context of actualist taxonomy’ when it is well-known, for example, that Buddhism is spiritual and that Buddhists are spiritualists?
I neither invented the words spiritual/spiritualist nor placed Buddhism/Buddhists, for example, in those classifications as they already existed/were classified long before I was born ... but, apart from that, whilst you may now say that you have already conceded, from the moment you arrived here on this mailing list, that every path you have ever trodden personally would be described as a spiritual one your very first words were that those paths were what you are ‘coming to see’ as being spiritual paths. Vis.:
RICHARD: The liberation or salvation of enlightenment, being anti-life, does not include, and cannot enable, peace-on-earth (as expressed so explicitly in Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s description of the place where the sun don’t shine as being ‘there, I say ... is the end of dukkha’).
RESPONDENT: Why is it anti-life?
RICHARD: Is it not obvious? A total withdrawal from the physical world and the physical body ... a dissociation based upon Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s insight that all existence is ‘dukkha’ because it is but transitory existence born out of craving (‘tanha’) for physical existence in the first place. Vis.:
Apart from being ‘freed, dissociated, and released’ from ‘form’ and ‘feeling’ and ‘perception’ and ‘[mental] fabrications’ and ‘consciousness’ (aka ‘I am not the body; the world is not real’) he is also ‘freed, dissociated, and released’ from ‘birth’ and ‘aging’ and ‘death’ (aka ‘unborn and undying’ aka ‘immortal’). Lastly he clearly indicates that life as this flesh and blood body, on this verdant and azure planet, in this immeasurably vast universe, is ‘dukkha’ and is ‘āsava’ ... the only cure of which is to be ‘freed, dissociated, and released’ from it all and scarper off to the place where the sun don’t shine. The word ‘āsava’ is particularly telling ... it is a cutting indictment of the body, the planet and the universe.
RESPONDENT: I don’t know if Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s insight is pointing that all existence is ‘dukkha’ or that all existence ‘as self’ is unsatisfactory. Did he point anything on earthly existence without self or did he consider any kind of life, human or no human, as defilement and abject?
RICHARD: Any kind of life at all (all existence is ‘dukkha’): Mr. Gotama the Sakyan expressly states that the self is not to be found anywhere in phenomenal existence ... as he so clearly enunciates to compliant monks in the SN 22.59; PTS: SN iii.66; ‘Anatta-Lakkhana’ Sutta (‘The Discourse On The Not-self Characteristic). <Snip>
This ‘disenchantment’, then, is brought about by ‘right discernment’: an examination of the ‘Satipatthana Sutta’ (MN 10; PTS: MN i.55), shows ‘right discernment’ to be a pronounced and deliberate withdrawal from the world of the senses and this flesh and blood body itself through reflecting upon its transitory nature. Vis.:
There is much, much more in this vein in the entire ‘Satipatthana Sutta’ ... and in the ‘Mahasatipatthana Sutta’. (DN 22; PTS: DN ii.290; http://world.std.com/~metta/canon/digha/dn22.html).
RESPONDENT: Also, the statement [‘unrestricted’ awareness] is curious because if mind is not freed, dissociated, and released from form, feeling, perception, fabrications, consciousness, birth, aging, death, stress, and defilement how can awareness be ‘unrestricted’? Deep sleep seems to be also without feeling, perception, fabrications, consciousness, birth, aging, death, stress, and defilement, but at sunrise body wakes up and goes on living its earthly life. I am not sure what state of mind is Buddha trying to convey with the words ‘unrestricted awareness’.
RICHARD: As I have said before: a consciousness-less state known as ‘jhana’ in Pali (Sanskrit ‘dhyana’).
RESPONDENT: What would be anti-life and cannot enable peace-on-earth in Buddha’s supposed enlightenment and ending of sorrow?
RICHARD: The end of ‘dukkha’ he says, is to be found neither on this verdant and azure planet nor anywhere in this immeasurably vast universe. Vis.: [Mr. Gotama the Sakyan]: ‘There is that dimension where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; ... neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor stasis; neither passing away nor arising: without stance, without foundation, without support. This, just this, is the end of dukkha’. (Udana 8.1; PTS: viii.1; Nibbana Sutta). The whole point of enlightenment is release from re-birth ... peace-on-earth is not even on their agenda.
RESPONDENT: Buddha’s words are enigmatic indeed, but I think that you consider his teachings as focused to getting freedom from a supposed re-birth and afterlife, despising earthly life. Yes?
RICHARD: Yes. Dissociation (‘vippayutta’) comes about upon the cessation of clinging (‘upadana’). The word ‘upadana’ means literally ‘taking up’ (‘upa’ plus ‘adana’) and is used for what the Buddhists maintain is the assumption and consumption that satisfies the craving (‘tanha’) which produces existence in the first place. As craving pre-dates birth, such upadana is the condition sine qua non for being in the world (being in existence) and, arguably, existence itself. And, as clinging’s ending is Nirvana (‘blowing out’ and not ‘extinction’), the Buddhist dissociation (‘vippayutta’) as ‘cessation’ is not to be confounded with mere negativism or nihilism.
RESPONDENT: I have realised that any reliance on something lasting is to set one up for a fall.
RICHARD: Let me see if I comprehend what you are saying here: statistically speaking the average life-span (in the west anyway) is approximately 75 years and the universe was here long before you were born and will be here long after you are dead ... yet you will not place any reliance upon it lasting because to do so is to set yourself up for a fall.
Have I understood you correctly?
RESPONDENT: The something includes anything that can be perceived (e.g. a nice feeling, enlightenment (in the sense you use), any state of mind, a job, a relationship. In other words as soon as I say ‘ahh ... that is what I am’ if that is an identifiable thing, standing out in anyway, then it will be impermanent and therefore I will have the rug pulled from under my feet when it dies.
RICHARD: Oh? You plan on surviving the physical death of the flesh and blood body currently going by the name ‘Respondent’ then, eh?
RESPONDENT: As I have made this mistake many times and ended up in a lot of pain, I do not wish to repeat it (I accept that if this was all fully understood, then ‘I’ would happily go into oblivion, and I agree with your comment: [Richard]: ‘and therein lies the rub: ‘I’/‘me’ am so very real, so very, very real, that ‘I’/‘me’ am prepared to do virtually anything – virtually anything at all – than go blessedly into oblivion’ [endquote].
RICHARD: Hmm ... have you not ever noticed it is never not this moment?
RESPONDENT: Therefore, the actual freedom I believed is a possibility (before encountering your site) would be thus: 1) There are no permanent things (including I/Me, identity, self, states etc). 2) Consequently there is no basis for suffering to arise. Which is why I was attracted to your site.
RICHARD: Ah, but have you read what is on offer on The Actual Freedom Trust web site with both eyes open?
RESPONDENT: It’s not that it was a new concept, it’s more that I agreed with it.
RICHARD: As it is your concept you are reading into what is on offer on The Actual Freedom Trust web site it is no wonder (a) it is not new ... and (b) you agreed with it.
RESPONDENT: I accept that if this was all fully understood, then ‘I’ would happily go into oblivion, and I agree with your comment: [Richard]: ‘and therein lies the rub: ‘I’/‘me’ am so very real, so very, very real, that ‘I’/‘me’ am prepared to do virtually anything – virtually anything at all – than go blessedly into oblivion’ [endquote].
RICHARD: I am none too sure what it is to be ‘fully understood’ by you but it certainly is not what is on offer on The Actual Freedom Trust web site
RESPONDENT: I guess I realise at some level that the crux of the issue is the above (as in points 1 and 2) and that if I had to pick out the two most important things in a ‘teaching’ it would have to be those. As your teaching ...
RICHARD: If I may interject? I do not have a ‘teaching’ ... what I do is offer a do-it-yourself method with a proven track-record, plus an unambiguous report of my experience, clear descriptions of life here in this actual world, lucid explanations of how and why, and clarifications of misunderstandings.
For an example: I always make it clear that I am a fellow human being (albeit sans identity/affections in toto) providing a report of what I have discovered and not some latter-day teacher (aka sage or seer, god-man or guru, master or messiah, saviour or saint, and so on) with yet another bodiless ‘teaching’.
What another does with the method, my report, my descriptions, my explanations, and my clarifications is their business, of course, yet it goes almost without saying, surely, that if what is on offer on The Actual Freedom Trust web site is indeed read as being yet another unliveable ‘teaching’ then it is fruitless to continue going again and again around the same old mulberry bush in e-mail after e-mail.
What I would suggest, at this stage, is to look once more at what is on offer on The Actual Freedom Trust web site ... paying particular attention to the very first words on The Actual Freedom Trust home page (immediately below the logo) before doing so.
RESPONDENT: ... I am unsatisfied with your claims of being historically unique in being actually free from the human condition.
RICHARD: First and foremost: somebody has to be the first to discover something new in any field of human endeavour ... is there any particular reason you prefer it to be somebody other than the person you are currently conversing with (and, perhaps, of some other gender, race, age, or era) that was the first to enable the already always existing peace-on-earth and thus make apparent the actual meaning of life?
RESPONDENT: I have nothing against to you being the discoverer. I just believe that it’s unlikely. It’s rare but not totally unique.
RICHARD: I read through your response three times ... this is what stands out as the main stumbling block:
‘Tis no wonder this is such an issue for you ... you were under the impression that Mr. Gotama the Sakyan was the first to enable the already always existing peace-on-earth, as a flesh and blood body only, and thus make apparent the actual meaning of life, eh?
RESPONDENT: I am a student of the prasangika madhyamika school of Buddhism (the middle way consequence school of the Dalai Lama) and also a student of all religions, as I have always been very interested in religion and the wisdom contained in its allegory. I do not believe in a primal cause, so to speak, and am therefore an atheist.
RICHARD: Welcome to The Actual Freedom Trust mailing list ... being a declared atheist of a certain buddhistic persuasion your contribution to the topic is not only of considerable interest but timely into the bargain
RESPONDENT: I am have also spent many years interested in the teaching of J. Krishnamurti (NOT UG ugh – yuk) whose approach is very similar to this school of Buddhism and am Gurdjieff trained, to the nth, as he would have put it. All of this about the ‘I’ as an entity is refuted by all of these teachings, and in Buddhism, we are specifically trained to understand this.
RICHARD: You would be referring to the Anatta (‘Not-Self’) teaching of Mr. Gotama the Sakyan, I presume?
RESPONDENT: It IS very natural to experience this sense of self ...
RICHARD: If I may interject? The topic being discussed is the feeling of ‘being’ (‘me’ at the core of ‘my’ being is ‘being’ itself) – and not a ‘sense’ of self – which affective ‘presence’ is the instinctual passions (such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire), genetically endowed by blind nature, in action.
Put succinctly, ‘I’ am the affective feeling of fear and the affective feeling of fear is ‘me’; ‘I’ am the affective feeling of aggression and the affective feeling of aggression is ‘me’; ‘I’ am the affective feeling of nurture and the affective feeling of nurture is ‘me’; ‘I’ am the affective feeling of desire and the affective feeling of desire is ‘me’ (and so on).
Neither Mr. Gotama the Sakyan nor Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti (let alone Mr. Georges Gurdjieff and Mr. Tenzin Gyatso) come even anywhere near comprehending that the root cause of all the misery and mayhem which epitomises the human condition is genetically-encoded as a rough and ready survival package.
RESPONDENT: ... [It IS very natural to experience this sense of self] as existing on its own side, as a non-material entity, so to speak, but just because it is natural does not mean it is correct. In Buddhism, this sense of ‘I’ as an independent entity, sort of like a king of the body ( which is its subject), as existing in its own non-material realm is considered to be wrong view or ignorant. It is responsible for all the disorder and suffering in the world, as life is then seen, as existing on its own side, and this so called ‘I’ which is a function of dualistic perception around which a psychological (physical-emotional-thought) complex forms, tries to cling to it.
RICHARD: And the Buddhist solution to this ‘dualistic perception’ is what ... the non-dualistic state of being known as nirvana?
RESPONDENT: I found the website by chance and joined this group because it seems that the philosophy of Actual Freedom may be the same as my own.
RICHARD: First and foremost, an actual freedom from the human condition (which is what ‘Actual Freedom’ is short for) is not a philosophy but a condition which ensues when identity in toto, and not just the ego-self, ‘self’-immolates for the benefit of this body and that body and every body.
Last, but by no means least, an actual freedom from the human condition is not the same as what you speak of (further above) as it is, as is clearly stated on The Actual Freedom Trust web site, beyond awakening/enlightenment (by whatever name) ... it is a new and non-spiritual down-to-earth freedom.
RESPONDENT: If so, I would like to do anything I can to assist this organization in its endeavours to help people understand that ‘I’ can be used merely as a reference point to the physical body ...
RICHARD: The use of scare-quotes around the first person pronoun – as in ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul – is used to refer to the psychological and psychic ‘self’ (the ‘thinker’ and the ‘feeler’) parasitically inhabiting the flesh and blood body per favour blind nature ... the use of the first person pronoun sans scare-quotes refers to the flesh and blood body only.
RESPONDENT: ... but this sense of a separate entity, and the perpetuation of it into culture, is responsible for almost all of the misery and suffering in this world.
RICHARD: As Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s solution to all the misery and suffering was to scarper off to the place where the sun don’t shine it is no wonder that it has gone on unabated in the 2500 or so years since he did so.
RESPONDENT: I hope this contribution will be of value to someone or other on here.
RESPONDENT: A feelings itself CANNOT be genetically encoded, as it is a result of an interaction between a creature and his environment.
RICHARD: Perhaps if I were to put it in Buddhist terms: as it is the tanha (literally ‘thirst’ but often translated as craving/desire) for physical existence which is the cause of birth/rebirth – without which aging/ death, and thus dukkha, cannot exist – that particular feeling, for an example, exists prior to a creature being born/ reborn ... else there would be no such creature to interact with its environment (aka ‘samsara’).
As the whole point of Buddhism is to extinguish tanha (nirvana literally means the extinguishing of a flame) so that there will be no further rebirth it is preposterous to propose that tanha, for an example, comes into being after birth due to the interaction of a (newly-born) creature with its samsara.
RESPONDENT: OK, how about this then? Zen, Dzogchen, Advaita, all clearly say ASC’s aren’t It, all say ordinary, fresh perception without self-sense is the Way, the way of non-spiritual, down-to-Earth freedom (with or without caps).
RICHARD: Hmm ... yet what they offer is an old, spiritual, away-from-the-world salvation – not a new, non-spiritual, down-to-earth freedom – as evidenced by Mr. Gotama the Sakyan (circa 400-500 BCE) having this to say about where the mystical solution to all the suffering which epitomises the human condition lies:
In short it is a totally away-from-the-world non-experienceable realm in that it has nothing to do with the physical whatsoever: ‘neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind’ (no physical world); ‘neither this world nor the next world’ (no more rebirth); ‘neither earth, nor moon, nor sun’ (no solar system).
RESPONDENT: OK, one last try: can you say a ‘turning word’? Can you say something fresh, un-defensive, something that doesn’t come from ‘Richard’?
RICHARD: Nothing on my portion of The Actual Freedom Trust web site comes from the identity who parasitically inhabited this body all those years ago (it has all been written since that illusory/delusory presence altruistically ‘self’-immolated in toto for the benefit of this body and that body and every body) thus what is typed out about life here in this actual world is a description coming immediately from the direct experience of this perpetual moment in eternal time at this seamless place in infinite space – there is this which is happening and the words form themselves in accord to the very thing being referred to as it is occurring – thus being already always fresh they are an active catalyst which will catapult the reader, who reads with all their being, into the magical wonder-land this verdant and azure planet actually is.
RESPONDENT: I have a feeling of futility with what I am going to write because you seem so attached to your belief that your philosophy is unique that I don’t expect you to believe me.
RICHARD: I appreciate the fact that you have a feeling of futility, for it is well-founded. Nevertheless, I consider it well worthwhile to conduct a well-grounded discussion about Spiritual Enlightenment and an actual freedom. I would like to point out that it is not ‘my belief’ nor is it ‘my philosophy’ ... it is my actual, ongoing experience. It is not a question of me believing or disbelieving you, either ... I can ascertain the facts of what you write for myself without recourse to belief.
RESPONDENT: What you describe above is almost exactly the same as descriptions of realisation (i.e. enlightenment, i.e. the E-word) from the point of view of Dzogchen in Tibetan Buddhism. Just direct experience of Reality, unimpeded by a self, an observer, an ‘I’ with an eye. As you said, the universe experiencing itself as a human being.
RICHARD: It is impossible to have a ‘direct experience of Reality’ (with a capital ‘R’) because ‘Reality’ is a delusion born out of an illusion and is not accessible as a sensual experience. It is, however, only far too possible to imagine this fantasy called ‘Reality’ and yearn to ‘live’ in it ... many people have done so and are still doing so. A few – a rare few – succeed in manifesting this fantasy, in their hearts and minds, and report that they have arrived back whence they came ... some far-out, supernatural dimension, that is anywhere but here on earth as an actuality and now in time as a fact.
RESPONDENT: Dzogchen is the ‘path of no path’, the path of self-liberation which doesn’t mean that the self is liberated but rather that whatever arises spontaneously self-liberates, i.e. it is what it is and nothing else. Cho = dharma = ‘as it is’. That is the base, that is the path, that is the fruit. There is nothing but this, and there is not ‘this’ either because it is not any kind of ‘thing’ that can be grasped at.
RICHARD: I am not being difficult here for the sake being difficult yet this double-talk – popularly known as paradox – is specifically designed to stop thought. ‘Path of no path’ and ‘self-liberation which doesn’t mean that the self is liberated’ sounds kind of silly when one considers it sensibly, does it not? It is not thought that is the problem, it is the ‘thinker’ that needs to stop. When thought itself stops, one enters into a trance state, wherein all sorts of phantasmagoria have their play. This has been the sorry lot of well-meaning humans for millennia ... and I know it well as I have travelled that path. I lived in the ‘Divine Realm’ for eleven years, thus having ample time to experience it from the inside and find out, for myself, just what it is made up of. The ‘Supernatural World’ is nothing but an affective and mental ‘State of Being’; whereas the actual world – the world as-it-is in a material sense – is a sensual world, verifiable by anyone with the necessary sense organs, minus ‘I’. Or to put it another way: actuality is objective experiential phenomenon whereas Reality is a subjective state of being. It is ‘being’ itself that is false, not the corporeal world of the senses.
The same applies for: ‘There is nothing but this and there is not ‘this’ either’ – more of that enigmatic double-talk – and ‘it is not any kind of ‘thing’ that can be grasped at’ focuses, once again, upon the ‘thing’ as being the problem and not upon the ‘grasper’. The ‘I’ will do literally anything to survive ... by ignoring the ‘grasper’ and even denying that a ‘thing’ exists. Taken to its extreme, as Hindu and Buddhist philosophy does, one denies that this planet earth and the space that it hangs in – and the universe itself – are actual. To them it is all an illusion, a dream. For them, the ‘Dreamer’ – their god – is who ‘I’ really am and all their effort is predicated upon realising that this is who one really is. Westerners have foolishly allowed themselves to be taken in by the apparent wisdom coming from the eastern mystical states of being because of the paucity of experiential wisdom in their own culture. It all started growing exponentially after the sixties generation trekked to the Himalayas, and to other exotic places, to find the permanent drug experience ... and found cultures who had been practicing same for centuries, which (with the benefit of hindsight) has had predictably the self-same results.
So when you ask: ‘Have you heard of this before and already dismissed it? Or is it new information?’ ... not only have I heard it before ... I have lived it. I did not ‘dismiss it’ , I went beyond it into this actual world of the senses. The real world, which ‘I’ had created out of imagination, is but a veneer pasted over the actual, and to go in search of a ‘Greater Reality’ is to go in the wrong direction. One arrives in the actual by becoming involved, totally involved in being here ... not by practicing detachment. Being here is to put your money where your mouth is, as it were. All other actions are methods, devices, techniques ... in other words: delaying tactics. In being here one is completely immersed. Being here is total inclusion. One demonstrates one’s appreciation of life by partaking fully in existence ... by letting this moment live one. One dedicates oneself to the challenge of being here as the universe’s experience of itself. When ‘I’ willingly and voluntarily sacrifice ‘myself’ – the psychological entity residing inside this body – ‘I’ am gladly making ‘my’ most supreme donation, for ‘I’ am what one holds most dear.
To be here is to be committed. The potential for this commitment is conceived at the moment of experiencing the perfection of life in a peak experience. This potential can lie dormant for years unless reactivated. Once the veil behind which humanity skulks has been lifted – even momentarily – one has seen for oneself that a place beyond human belief actually exists. Because one has visited the actual world and walked around in it, it would be thought that one could nevermore deny it. But such denial is endemic among humans. The reason for this odd denial is fairly obvious: once the person has reverted to ‘normal’ – to being human again – perfection here-on-earth becomes merely a concept ... and a concept is not the actuality. The grip of reality is so strong that perfection simply does not exist ‘here’, it is in another dimension. It is but a faded dream. The potential can lie dormant forever.
RESPONDENT: What I mean by ‘Reality’ is just: as-it-is. Nothing more, or less, or different than that. It is accessible as a sensual experience – in fact the Dzogchen view is that direct perception (i.e. through the senses, without the intervention of an ego) is in fact the only way to access it.
RICHARD: You definitely have my interest ... I am always on the look-out for someone, somewhere, who espouses something similar to what I experience. My immediate question would be: Does the Dzogchen view emphatically state that this world as-it-is is the only ‘Reality’?
RESPONDENT: I was talking specifically about Dzogchen, or Ati Yoga, the innermost of the six Tantric vehicles. (I don’t expect you to be interested in these petty distinctions, but I just wanted to be clear, in case anyone else was.) Dzogchen is sometimes called the ‘end stage’ of Buddhism. It is concerned with the situation after one has realised ‘as-it-is’.
RICHARD: No, it is okay, I am very interested in distinctions ... if Dzogchen, or Ati Yoga, is what you say it is I would like to know more.
RICHARD: The real world, which ‘I’ had created out of imagination, is but a veneer pasted over the actual, and to go in search of a ‘Greater Reality’ is to go in the wrong direction. One arrives in the actual by becoming involved, totally involved in being here ... not by practicing detachment. Being here is to put your money where your mouth is, as it were.
RESPONDENT: Yes. That is what is meant by Dzogchen, which means ‘Great Perfection’ or ‘Great Completeness’. Dzogchen has nothing to do with detachment. At that point there is nothing that can form attachments.
RICHARD: Thank you for taking the time and trouble to explain about Dzogchen, or Ati Yoga. I had never heard of it in all my reading and travelling and talking with people. There is an esoteric book-store in the village I live in which, whilst they do not have any books in stock about Dzogchen, say that they can order them in for me from the U.S. ... it would take about six weeks. Could I trouble you for some particular information, please. They need to know the title, the author and the publisher.
RICHARD: Why do you not give in now and admit to what is widely known amongst Buddhists ... to wit: that it is not possible to be utterly free while this body is still alive and breathing? They all acknowledge that the ‘Ultimate State’ – Parinirvana – lies on the other side of physical death.
RESPONDENT: Actually they don’t. As I told you in another post, there are many different kinds of Buddhism and your experience has clearly not been exhaustive. You share with your debating partner (No. 12) a propensity to make false generalisations based on your limited knowledge, so it’s not surprising that you don’t agree with each other. I would like to tell you that the Buddhist teachings of Dzogchen begin with the realisation of non-duality and concern themselves with ‘seeing with naked awareness’, i.e. experiencing everything as-it-is (as-it-is = dharma). There is no superior or more advanced state than this that occurs after death. There couldn’t be – could there?
RICHARD: I do wonder whether I was displaying ‘a propensity to make false generalisations based on [my] limited knowledge’ because the debate started by me saying that it is well known that central figure of Buddhism would not take ‘The Final Step’ whilst there was still a single suffering sentient being. Vis.: [Richard]: ‘It is of no avail to quote Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s revered wisdom, because he knew naught of these matters that I write of ... it is a well known fact that, out of compassion, he would not take the ‘final step’ while a single sentient being was still suffering. Which is why, for Buddhists, their Ultimate State – ‘Parinirvana’ – lies on the other side of physical death. Thus his identity indubitably remained intact ... for compassion rises out of sorrow. In actuality the opposites are eliminated, not merely transcended’.
Where is this a generalisation? Where is this false? Is this not a central tenet of Buddhism? My ‘limited knowledge’ informs me that this is designated as ‘The Bodhisattva Principle’ – meaning that a Bodhisattva is an individual who has attained Enlightenment but delays entry into ‘Final Nirvana’ in order to make possible the salvation of all other sentient beings. Is it not also well known that the ‘Ultimate Nature of the Buddha’ is beyond form ... that is: this body and the physical world? Is it not well known that this ‘Ultimate Nature of the Buddha’ is the ‘Unchanging Absolute’ or ‘The Void’? Is not ‘The Void’ designated as being ‘Beyond Time and Space’ ... that is: not this body and the physical world? For while this body is alive and breathing it is a fact that time and space are an actuality ... which clearly means that the ‘Ultimate State’ can only be after physical death.
You have the advantage of me in that I had not even heard of: [quote] ‘the Buddhist teachings of Dzogchen’ [unquote] ... until you informed me of their existence, let alone read them. My question would be: Does Dzogchen specifically deny these tenets? Does Dzogchen clearly state that there is no ‘Life after Death’? Does Dzogchen unequivocally say that there is no ‘something’, by whatever name, to go on after death? Does Dzogchen unreservedly state that this phenomenal world, this corporeal world, this physical world, is all that there is? Does Dzogchen refute Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s tenet of ‘Skandhas’ that re-incarnate? Does Dzogchen unambiguously state that life as this human being is the Summum Bonum ... and that there is nothing more superior than this anywhere? Because if he does, then why is it still called: [quote] ‘the Buddhist teachings of Dzogchen’ [unquote]? ... for it can not be Buddhism without these (and others not yet mentioned) central tenets. Please correct me if I have got it wrong, for what I hear from you is that Dzogchen is saying that Mr. Gotama the Sakyan did not know what he was talking about.
The reason I am asking these questions is because you say: ‘There is no superior or more advanced state than this that occurs after death’ as a definitive statement ... and then follow it with a query: ‘There couldn’t be – could there?’ Why ask me? It is you who have his writings. What does he say?
The Third Alternative
(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)
Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.
Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.