Actual Freedom ~ Frequently Flogged Misconceptions

Frequently Flogged Misconceptions

You don’t Understand Enlightenment /

You Weren’t Enlightened

RICHARD: My experience, night and day for eleven years, showed me intimately that ‘Spiritual Enlightenment’ is indeed a morbid condition. In psychiatric terminology it is a dissociative state of being, sometimes known as ‘disassociative identity disorder’.

RESPONDENT: Please allow me to be frank. My impression from reading your post is that you don’t really know anything about enlightenment. You obviously know quite a lot about ‘disassociative identity disorder’, however you have erroneously equated this with the state of enlightenment.

RICHARD: It is but one of the ways of describing it ... I was answering a question about whether enlightenment was pathological and I couched my reply in similar terminology. I did mention that it can be otherwise described (in non-psychiatric terminology) as ‘Theodicy’ ... which is nothing but a spurious vindication of a god’s and/or goddess’s goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil. The theological dilemma goes something like this:

1. God and/or Goddess is All-Loving and All-Powerful.
2. Evil exists.
3. Therefore God and/or Goddess is either All-Loving but not All-Powerful or All-Powerful but not All-Loving.

Of course theodicy is a word most often used to describe the various and far-fetched monotheistic philosophical-style resolutions (non-experiential) ... but the mystical (solipsistic) resolution of the existential dilemma of the ubiquitous presence of evil, via experiential ‘Self-Realisation’, goes something like this:

• Only self can really be known ... all else is an illusion, a dream.
• As I am the creator of all this illusion/dreaming, and as only Self (God and/or Goddess) exists, therefore Self is Who I Really Am (‘I Am God’ and/or ‘I Am Goddess’; ‘I Am That’; ‘That Thou Art’ and so on).
• Thus, as all is but a dream there is no Evil, really ... it is all ‘Lila’ (‘God’s and/or Goddess’s Divine Play or Sport’).

Which all amounts to the same thing as what the psychiatric term ‘dissociation’ refers to ... if nothing else, the very name (‘Self-Realisation’) is a dead give-away to all but the most humbly conceited and pious egoist.

RICHARD: For who is the observer that is busy being the observed? As ‘the observer is the observed’ is usually described with words like ‘unitary perception’ or ‘at one with everything’ , then it is an affective response ... an intuitive sense of ‘being’. Who is this being? Not ‘I’ in the head as ego – for ‘choiceless awareness’ is indeed an egoless state – but ‘me’ in the heart.

RESPONDENT: This is your interpretation, but not at all what Krishnamurti said. Where does he speak of a ‘me’ in the heart? If there is a me that is apart feeling, the perception is not unitary.

RICHARD: We keep coming back to this sticking point again and again, unfortunately. I know full well that Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti never spoke of a ‘me’ residing in the heart ... he was obviously so engrossed in being holistic that he did not comprehend that holism – or oneness, wholeness – comes out of shifting identification to the affective.

As holism is the belief that the universe, and especially living nature, is correctly seen in terms of interacting wholes (as of living organisms) that are more than the mere sum of elementary particles, I would sincerely question what this something ‘more’ is. I would suggest that it is a projection of the ‘me’ in the heart into something non-physical, thus creating the impression that there is no ‘me’ there.

Then this ‘me’ would be as holistic as all get-out in the hope that no one would notice it sitting there – disguised as oneness – and still wreaking its mischief while waiting for physical death to release it into its true home beyond time and space ... for all eternity.

An ex-follower of Mr. Mohan ‘Rajneesh’ Jain wrote to me recently:

• ‘I remember when Rajneesh died, we selected a piece of marble and got an Indian stone mason in to chisel on it, ‘Never Born, Never Died, Only Visited This Planet ...’ , as his epitaph on his tomb. He had dictated it to his secretary some months previously. It seemed curious for me at the time, because I had thought I had understood that the whole point of the spiritual search was the dissolution of the ‘self’. And here Rajneesh was proclaiming that he was only a visitor anyway, and even left a little hint that maybe he was somewhere else’.

RESPONDENT: So first prove to me that you was enlightened ... and then we can speak about actuality, because if enlightened was in your imagination, so can be actual freedom as well.

RICHARD: This body has no imagination ... the imaginative/intuitive faculty vanished when the affections ceased to exist (and thus their epiphenomenal psychic facility). I literally cannot imagine, visualise, envisage, envision, picture, intuit, see in the mind’s eye, feel-out, dream up, fall into a reverie, or in any other way, shape or manner imaginatively conceptualise anything whatsoever.

I could not form a mental picture of something if my life depended upon it ... whereas in earlier years ‘I’ could get a picture in ‘my’ mind’s eye of ‘my’ absent father, mother, wife, children and so on ... or the painting ‘I’ was going to paint, or the coffee-table ‘I’ was going to build, or the route ‘I’ was going to take by car or whatever.

If I were to close my eyes now, and try to visualise, all what happens is the same velvety-smooth darkness – as looking into the infinite and eternal and perpetual universe at night – which has been the case for all these years now. I simply cannot have images ... when I recall childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, being middle-aged or yesterday it is as if it were a documentary on television but with the picture turned off (words only) or like reading a book of somebody’s life.

There is only the direct experiencing of actuality.

Re: It is impossible to marry Actualism and Buddhism

RICHARD: [...] As a matter of related interest, the computer search for the above exchange shows that I have used the word marry in several similar contexts.

For instance: [...]

• [Richard]: ‘Anyone who attempts to marry Buddhism and Hinduism is bound to be confused’. Richard, List B, No. 12n, 21 October 2001b

Incidentally, that last one there (about being ‘bound to be confused’ by attempting to marry Buddhism and Hinduism) should give due pause for re-consideration to anyone artfully trying to dismiss my eleven-year experience, night and day, of full-awakenment/ full-enlightenment via asserting it to be ... um ... more in line with how enlightenment is conceived in the Hindu tradition (for instance). Richard, List D, No. 3, 14 December 2012a

RESPONDENT No. 12: I do not see how that follows Richard. I’m not trying to marry Buddhism and Hinduism. I’m pointing out the flat obvious. Namely that the Awakening the Buddha taught is NOT the Enlightenment that the Indian spiritual tradition talks about(neither in it’s pre-Buddha expressions nor it’s after-Buddha expressions). I am also(obviously) aware that the Indian spiritual tradition has not always been called ‘Hinduism’ and I was just using that term as a convenient well known catch phrase. I hope that was not cause for some confusion. I am also not denying that you were authentically Enlightened as per something similar/identical to what Enlightenment means in the Indian/Hindu tradition. Again, however your Enlightenment is not the same as the Awakening the Buddha taught per the Pali Canon(it is best to not even use the term ‘enlightenment’ for what the Buddha was on about as Awakening is a much better translation of what the Pali was getting at.). Your very own testimony shows you were not free of the 10 Fetters, so I’m really surprised how you do not understand this. I guess we need to go into the 10 Fetters to try to clear this up.

[quote]: ‘The Pali canon’s Sutta Pitaka identifies ten ‘fetters of becoming’: 1. belief in a self (Pali: sakkāya-diṭṭhi). 2. doubt or uncertainty, especially about the teachings (vicikicchā). 3. attachment to rites and rituals (sīlabbata-parāmāso). 4. sensual desire (kāmacchando). 5. ill will (vyāpādo or byāpādo). 6. lust for material existence, lust for material rebirth (rūparāgo). 7. lust for immaterial existence, lust for rebirth in a formless realm (arūparāgo). 8. conceit (māna). 9. restlessness (uddhacca). 10.ignorance (avijjā).

The Pali canon traditionally describes cutting through the fetters in four stages: one cuts the first three fetters (tīṇi saṃyojanāni) to be a ‘stream enterer’ (sotāpatti); one cuts the first three fetters and significantly weakens the next two fetters to be a ‘once returner’ (sakadāgāmi); one cuts the first five fetters (orambhāgiyāni saṃyojanāni) to be a ‘non-returner’ (anāgāmi); one cuts all ten fetters to be an arahant’. [ (Buddhism)].

This certainly does not jive with my understanding of what you have written about your enlightenment. Just to be clear, I will ask you a direct question:

As an Enlightened Being, were you *totally* free of *all* sensual desire, ill will, desire for material or immaterial existence in any way/form, sense of self(either personal or impersonal. Ie this is part of ‘conceit’), and restlessness(any subtle form of anxiety whatsoever)? Because if you were not, then you were not an Arahant. The 10 Fetters are not ‘suppressed’ in Arahantship, they are totally cut, eradicated, blown out forever. My understanding of your Enlightenment was that ill-will/ malice/ aggression and fear/ restlessness were not eradicate but m kept in check(surpressed? sublimate?) by Divine Compassion and Love Agape. Which I gathered from as well as reading certain things in your correspondences.

I would appreciate you answering this question. (Message 11972)

RESPONDENT: G’day Richard A very good question imho and I’m also interested in knowing the answer to this.

RICHARD: G’day No. 32, Yes, up until the ‘total annihilation/ complete oblivion’ episodes, on some uninhabited islands in the tropics off the north-eastern Australian seaboard, my ongoing experiencing, night and day, of full-awakenment/ full-enlightenment was indeed being totally free of not only *all* of the above saṃyojana but others which appear elsewhere in the Pali Canon as well.

(I have re-inserted the 1-to-10 Wikipedia list you had snipped off as your co-respondent has left out the pivotal sayojana, upon which all of them depend, in the rather selective 4-to-9 follow-up question of his which you have re-presented here).

And it was those ‘uninhabited islands’ episodes, of going beyond awakenment/ enlightenment, which experientially gave the impetus for further investigation/deeper penetration into that highly-prized and much-exalted state of being.

I had already begun to question karuṇā whilst in India (and had been referring to that questioning with the phrase ‘the trap of compassion’) so my attention then turned to an intimate investigation/ penetration into the very nature of mettā as well and ... well, the rest is history.

RESPONDENT: If they say that the fetters are cut from the root, then this means that it cannot arise anymore.

RICHARD: Yes, and they are accurately describing their experience; in the fully-awakened/ fully-enlightened state there is the ongoing experiencing of all saṃyojana having been uprooted, rendered groundless, thrown away, unable to sprout again.

For instance:

• [Richard]: ‘With the death of ‘I’ as ego, in 1981, I abandoned my flourishing career, my alternate life-style, my self-sufficiency property in the country and commenced a barefooted, itinerant, homeless, celibate lifestyle of aimless wandering in nature: I lived and slept in forests; I lived and slept in the hills; I lived and slept in the valleys; I lived and slept beside streams; I lived and slept on the beaches; I lived and slept on uninhabited islands ... and so on. No woman could entice me as the allure of the love and beauty of nature was unsurpassable ... I had no need for a vow of celibacy. Just being in nature, totally, fully, completely, would transport me into the unknowable ... so I know full well what I talk of via personal experience’. Richard, List B, No. 33d, 23 January 2001

And another example:

• [Richard]: ‘(...). I had whittled my worldly possessions down to three sarongs, three shirts, a cooking pot and bowl, a knife and a spoon, a bank book and a pair of nail scissors ... I was homeless, itinerant, celibate, vegan, (no spices; not even salt and pepper), no drugs (no tobacco, no alcohol; not even tea or coffee), no hair cut, no shaving, no washing other than a dip in a river or the ocean. I possessed nothing else anywhere in the world and had cut all family ties ...’. Richard, Articles, A Brief Personal History #2

Just as a matter of related interest: when I left Australia in 1984, to fly to India via Singapore on an Indian airline, all I had was three sarongs and three home-sown shirts (plus hairbrush, passport, nail clippers and so forth) in small bag; at the baggage departure counter (in Perth, Western Australia) the attendant, a locally-born employee, somewhat mystified by my lack of luggage, took one look at my bare feet, and insisted on me purchasing footwear in order to board the aeroplane, as per some rule, or regulation; I politely declined, he insistently insisted, I politely declined again, he most insistently insisted, I once again politely declined and the impasse was only broken when a senior airline executive, an Indian woman in Indian garb, came out from her office, took one long look at me (long hair and long beard, full-length sarong, home-sown shirt and bare feet) and clasped her hands together Indian style, bowed her head respectfully, then gestured me gracefully to proceed on through to the departure lounge and, soon, out and on board the aeroplane.

Moreover, I had an eighteen-hour stopover in Singapore; in those days hippie-type men with tattered jeans, long hair, beards, etcetera, were banned from entering – an outright crack-down had been taking place for some time – yet, upon approaching the checkout doorway the attendant deferentially waved me through without me having to pause even; I spent the day sight-seeing the CBD, strolling hither and thither as was my wont, and was never approached let alone accosted.

There are some distinct advantages to being spiritually enlightened/ mystically awakened when in eastern countries.

RESPONDENT: You gave me the following question: ‘Does the roughness or smoothness of bark exist when a tree falls in a forest if nobody is present to touch it?’ I answer you no. Because these qualities need a brain and senses.

RICHARD: Ahh ... here is the follow-up query: does the bark itself exist when a tree falls in a forest if nobody is present to touch it? If so, are the properties of the bark of, say, a falling pine tree different from the properties of the bark of, say, a falling gumbo-limbo tree ... and in what way?

RESPONDENT: And you gave me also the following question ‘Yes because does not depend from your senses and brain.

RICHARD: I did no such thing – I said [quote] ‘I will leave that one for you to answer’ [endquote] – and, even though I make it patently clear all throughout the previous e-mail that the properties of the physical world exist irregardless of a perceiver, it is quite another thing to quote me as saying a sentence I never said (what I did write was in regards to your affirmation that even when your eyes are closed the chlorophyll in leaves continues to deflect a particular light wave ... whereupon I commented that it was a remarkably consistent process and, more pertinently, a process that is not dependent upon you at all).

And as palaeontology evidences that trees existed long before human beings arrived on the scene – and fossilised bark shows what texture it had all those millions of years ago – I am somewhat curious as to how you are going to substantiate your claim that the texture of the bark of trees has no existence sans humans.

RESPONDENT: I wonder if you ever was enlightened. ‘This is not one insult’. Because when I asked you if we see the same tree, because we see it from different angles, you answered we are seeing the same tree.

RICHARD: Here is the exchange in question:

• [Respondent]: ‘If I am looking at a tree and you are looking at the same tree, we have the impression that we are looking at the same tree.
• [Richard]: ‘That would be because it is the same tree.... you even said so yourself. Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘... and you are looking at the same tree’.

• [Respondent]: ‘But what I see from my position, is different from what you see from your position. We occupy different space. We see it from different angles. The same happens with a chair.
• [Richard]: ‘No matter where this person, or that person, is looking at an object from it is still the same object.
• [Respondent]: ‘But we think we are seeing the same thing because of the name.
• [Richard]: ‘No, this person and that person know they are seeing the same thing because it is the same thing ... the name of the thing is merely a convenient and mutually agreed-upon way to refer to it without having to launch into long descriptions of the object in question each time around.

First you tell me I am seeing the same tree as you – and I even pointed out that you said it was the same tree – and now you reinforce this by saying ‘we see it from different angles’ [emphasis added] ... and no matter from what position or space or angle two sentient beings are seeing ‘it’ (which is merely a way of referring to ‘the same tree’ by using an abstract pronoun) the tree in question does not all-of-a-sudden cease being the same tree.

Just try chopping down a tree in a state forest and see what happens: it is a fair bet to say that a court magistrate will be most emphatic it be the exact same tree as the protected tree according to the government gazette ... just before fining you and/or confining you to the prescribed detention.

Or would your defence be that it is your tree in your ‘universe’ and not the magistrate’s tree in the magistrate’s ‘universe’?

Furthermore you are mixing the tenses as your initial words ‘if I am looking at a tree and you are looking at the same tree’ are present tense yet your response – ‘I wander if you ever was enlightened’ – is past tense ... if you wish to know how things were experienced whilst spiritually enlightened then please say so.

RESPONDENT: That means you are seeing things and not the reality as is.

RICHARD: Indeed – I am not an enlightened being – thus I see things (as-they-are) and not intuited fantasies (underlying realities) ... to make this comment you had to totally disregard what I have to say about ‘the reality as is’ (only you called it ‘reality the way it really is’ and ‘the underlying reality’ in your previous e-mail).

If you take no notice of what I have to say what is the point of continuing?

RESPONDENT: Is your right to think the way you think, but I strongly believe that you are in an altered state of consciousness ...

RICHARD: Now here is a curious thing: I have never heard anyone say they weakly believe something.

RESPONDENT: [Is your right to think the way you think, but I strongly believe that you are in an altered state of consciousness], even if you are defined it like PCE.

RICHARD: This is not the first time you have believed this:

• [Respondent]: ‘After all you are not saying much different things than Jiddu Krishnamurti.
• [Richard]: ‘Ha ... an actual freedom from the human condition is 180 degrees in the opposite direction to the spiritual enlightenment he spoke so eloquently of for 60+ years.

Apparently all that has happened in the ensuing three months is that you now strongly believe it.

RESPONDENT: Is your personal interpretation.

RICHARD: No ... indeed one of the things I did before I went public with my discovery was to ascertain whether people from many walks of life could recall having had a pure consciousness experience (PCE) – as distinct from an altered state of consciousness (ASC) – for obvious reasons and without fail they all verified that what I had to report is correct.

More to the point I have been able to ascertain that anybody that I have been with whilst they were having a PCE is indubitably experiencing the same-same experience as is my on-going experiencing ... plus they have tended to say things such as they now see what I have been saying all along for themselves; that everything I have ever said is accurate; that they understand what I have been getting at; that they know why it is difficult for others to comprehend; that they can now talk on an equal footing with me; that life is indeed grand ... amazing, marvellous, and truly wondrous.

I usually ask pertinent questions: for example very early in the piece I asked my current companion, once the PCE was definitely happening, what she had to say now about love (always a hot topic):

‘Love?’ she said, ‘Why there is no room for love here!’

She went on to expand, saying there was no need for love as everything was already perfect, and there was no separation, and so on ... but she had said enough in her initial response to both satisfy and delight me.

RESPONDENT: How can you classify your own (past) state as enlightenment when comparing with the highest accomplishments in that field, your (past) reactions are to be found wanting?

RICHARD: If I may ask? Just what, and where, are they (which are to be found wanting in regards the highest/furthest reaches of spiritual enlightenment/ mystical awakenment)?

RESPONDENT: Your response to a woman who was interested in your state led to a situation in which you were personally (as in sexually) involved with her, all this while you (presumably) were enlightened.

RICHARD: Perhaps some background information may throw some light upon the matter: when I first met the woman, who was to become my previous companion, halfway along a deserted white beach I was in the process of emerging from a five-year episode which I came to call my ‘puritan period’ (if this starts to sound familiar it is because it is an exegesis from my ‘A Brief Personal History’ article on The Actual Freedom Trust website). I had only recently returned from where I had retreated altogether from civilisation (to a group of uninhabited islands, in the tropics off the north-eastern seaboard of this country I reside in, where I had stayed for the best part of three months in total silence, on my own, speaking to no one at all and moving from island to island at whim). I had whittled my worldly possessions down, during the five-year period, to three sarongs, three shirts, a cooking pot and bowl, a knife and a spoon, a bank book and a pair of nail scissors ... I was homeless, itinerant, celibate, vegan, (no spices; not even salt and pepper), no drugs (no tobacco, no alcohol; not even tea or coffee), no hair cut, no shaving, no washing other than a dip in a river or the ocean. I possessed nothing else anywhere in the world and had cut all family ties ... whatever I could eliminate from my life that was an encumbrance and an attachment, I had let go of. In other words: whatever was traditionally seen as an impediment to freedom I had discarded ... and it had been there I finally discovered that it was spiritual enlightenment/mystical awakenment which was at fault and that I could ‘purify’ myself via those ‘Tried and True’ means until the cows came home to no avail.

As during that period I was already living in what has been described as the ‘Unknown’ I had had some serious reservations about the validity of spiritual enlightenment/mystical awakenment as an ultimate state and had been to India the previous year to see if I could ascertain why. My discoveries there had led me to consider the possibility that it was not the final stage, so I was ripe and ready to plunge into the ‘Unknowable’. I was able to experience what lay beyond the ‘Unknown’ several times ... the first of these experiences occurred at maybe three in the morning (I had no watch) and was accompanied by a sense of dread the likes of which I had never experienced even in a war-zone – made all the more acute because I had not experienced fear for four years (I was living in a state of Divine Compassion and Love Agapé which protected me from the underlying fear). This dread contained the existential angst of discovering that ‘I’ was nothing but a contingent ‘being’ and that ‘I’ would cease to ‘be’. Then the condition I went on to experience had the character of the ‘Great Beyond’ – which I deliberately put in capitals because that is how it was experienced at the time – and it was of the nature of being ‘That’ which is attained to at physical death when an Enlightened One/Awakened One ‘quits the body’ ... which attainment is known as ‘Mahasamadhi’ (Hinduism) or ‘Parinirvana’ (Buddhism) and so on.

It seemed so extreme that the physical body must surely die for the attainment of it.

To put it into a physical analogy, it was as if I were to gather up my meagre belongings, eradicate all marks of my stay on the island, and paddle away over the horizon, all the while not knowing whence I go ... and vanish without a trace, never to be seen again. As no one on the mainland knew where I was, no one would know where I had gone. In fact, I would become as extinct as the dodo and with no skeletal remains. The autological self by whatever name would cease to ‘be’, there would be no ‘spirit’, no ‘presence’, no ‘being’ at all. This was more than death of the ego, which is a major event by any definition; this was total annihilation. No ego, no soul – no self, no Self – no more Heavenly Rapture, Love Agapé, Divine Bliss and so on. Only oblivion. It was not at all attractive, not at all alluring, not at all desirable ... yet I knew I was going to do it, sooner or later, because it was the ultimate condition and herein lay the secret to the ‘Mystery of Life’.

Having said that here is the text which immediately precedes that passage previously quoted (wherein I described how I came to meet the woman who was to become my companion):

• [Richard]: ‘It is a particularly fine day in late summer and I am walking along a beach that stretches unbroken for many a kilometre. The sun is shining yellow-golden in an azure blue sky bereft of clouds and the ocean is sparkling a million diamonds atop the dancing waves. I am walking on the hard-packed sand at the water’s edge, allowing a particularly larger wave now and then to come creaming over my feet and ankles ... a deliciously cooling sensual delight as it is a hot day. It is extremely pleasant to be wandering along my way with nary a care in the world, for I have been living in an Altered State Of Consciousness for five years now ... and my life is fabulously beautiful in every respect. I call this Altered State that I am living in Absolute Freedom for, although resembling Spiritual Enlightenment in many respects, there is something that is not quite identical to what I have read of others in such a State ... and observed in them in my travels overseas. I also call it Absolute Freedom because there is definitely a metaphysical Absolute in all this – as distinct from the temporal relative – that is ever-present, and this State immediately imbued me with Love Agapé and Universal Compassion for all sentient beings. Since then, because of my intense urge to evince and demonstrate whatever was possible for this universe to manifest, I have been looking into both Universal Compassion and Love Agapé to see what they are made up off.
I have been busy with these matters because I seem to be driven by some force to spread ‘The Word’ and that was never my intention all those years ago when I first had what is known as a pure consciousness experience (PCE). This peak experience initiated my incursion into all matters Metaphysical, culminating in the ‘death’ of my ego and catapulting me into this Divine State of Perfect Bliss. My intent back then had been to cleanse myself of all that is detrimental to personal happiness and interpersonal harmony ... in other words: peace on earth in our life-time. Instead of that rather simple ambition, I find that I am impelled on an odyssey to be the latest Saviour of Humankind in a long list of Enlightened ‘Beings’ ... and this imposition does not sit well with me, as they have all failed in their Divine Work. After something like five thousand years of recorded history, ‘humanity’ is nowhere nearer to Peace On Earth than before. Indeed, instead of the much-touted Love and Compassion, much Hatred and Bloodshed has followed in their wake. This abysmal fate is something I wish to avoid repeating, whatever the personal cost in terms of losing this much-prized State Of ‘Being’. My diagnosis is simple: If I am driven by some force – no matter how Good that force be – then I am not actually free.
I spent the winter of last year living in silence and isolation on an uninhabited island off the tropical coast far to the north of here considering these matters – without coming to any definite conclusion – but experiencing a possibility of something else. I am presently living in this little seaside village attending what is known as a Satsang Retreat – being in the presence of a Realised ‘Being’ from overseas – to ascertain just where it is going wrong. My plan is to head north to the islands again for the winter, once this episode is over, and resolve this dilemma once and for all. Something is seriously incorrect about the Enlightened State, and I am determined to discover just what that is. Exactly how this will all eventuate I am none too sure ... but I have supreme confidence in my ability to plumb the depths of ‘Being’ to root out anything that should not be there. I am ready and willing for whatever it takes to resolve or dissolve whatever stands in the way of genuine peace-on-earth for anyone and everyone. Obviously something totally new has to come into existence, and I have already had some intimations of what that could be. Hence my investigation into the make-up of Love Agapé and Universal Compassion, as they seem to be the ‘guardians at the gate’, as it were. (Richard’s Journal, Chapter 1, ‘If One Is Driven By Some Force One Is Not Actually Free’).

Thus when I did meet the woman, who was to become my companion, on that very beach which stretched unbroken for many a kilometre, I was [quote] ‘ready and willing for whatever it takes to resolve or dissolve whatever stands in the way of genuine peace-on-earth for anyone and everyone’ [endquote] ... after five years, in the enlightened/awakened state, of being single, celibate, itinerant, vegan, and so on, and so forth.

And yet, despite that information being freely displayed in my ‘A Brief Personal History’ article on The Actual Freedom Trust website, you see fit to ask how I can classify my then state as enlightenment, compared with the highest/furthest reaches in that field, simply because my five-years-on period, of being personally (as in sexually) involved with a woman, is to be found wanting by you.

RESPONDENT: This kind of phenomenon [being personally (as in sexually) involved with a woman] is not to be found in people who are considered the supreme examples of enlightenment (e.g. G Buddha, Ramana Maharishi).

RICHARD: I draw your attention to something you wrote further below:

• [Respondent]: ‘Celibacy cannot per se be considered part of enlightenment’.

RESPONDENT: Richard I think you are an intelligent person, but I don’t think you have the awakening you think you do.

RICHARD: I had already distinctly gained that impression from your previous responses to what I write. May I ask? What has happened to your famed ‘telepathy’ that you have to resort to common or garden thinking when it comes to sussing me out? You have this ability to access ‘the astral universes’ and count ‘all the inhabitants’ there ... yet you ‘think’ that I ‘don’t have the awakening’ ? Where is the infallible intuition – aka your ‘totally accurate’ feelings and non-interpreted ‘ideas’ – when you need it most? Are you ‘trying to understand using your intellect’ ... and having some difficulty using that moth-balled-for-24-years machinery again to its full effect?

Thinking is such a delightful episodic event.

RESPONDENT: My experience is that almost 100% of awakened people went thru the agency of some teacher or guru, that this is not the sort of thing that can be self-taught. Did you do that?

RICHARD: First ... I am not ‘awakened’ (for although to awake in a dream is to be lucidly dreaming one is still dreaming nevertheless), I am actually free of the human condition. Any ‘awakening’ is still within the human condition.

In 1980 I had a pure consciousness experience (PCE) that lasted for four hours. In that four hours I lived the peace-on-earth that is already always here now ... and I saw that ‘I’ (an emotional-mental construct) was standing in the way of this actual freedom being apparent twenty four hours of the day. In that peak experience I saw ‘myself’ for the social identity that ‘I’ was. ‘I’ was the end product of society and nothing more. ‘I’ was a passionate construct of all of the beliefs, values, moral, ethics, mores, customs, traditions, doctrines, ideologies and so on. ‘I’ was nothing but an fabrication in the psyche ... a social identity which is its conscience. Once I had seen this, I then saw that ‘I’ was a lost, lonely, frightened (and a very, very cunning) psychological entity ... what I later came to know as ‘ego’. Just as those Christians who are said to be possessed by an evil entity and need to be exorcised, I saw that every human being had been endowed with an identity as ego ... and it was called being normal. When ‘I’ saw that this was all ‘I’ was ... I was no longer that. I was me ... this flesh and blood body being apperceptively aware.

This was what ‘I’ had been searching for – for 33 years – and the joke was that ‘I’ had not known that this is what ‘I’ had been searching for! Thus, when I reverted back to normal in the ‘real world’, ‘I’ knew, with the solid and irrefutable certainty of direct experience, that ‘I’ was standing in the way of the actual being apparent ... and ‘I’ had to go – become extinct – and not try to become something ‘better’. That is, ‘I’ just knew that ‘I’ could never, ever become perfect or be perfection. It was flagrantly evident that the only thing ‘I’ could do – the only thing ‘I’ had to do – was die (psychologically and psychically self-immolate) so that the already always existing perfection could become apparent.

By being born and raised in the West I was not steeped in the mystical religious tradition of the East and was thus able to escape the trap of centuries of eastern spiritual conditioning ... I had never heard the words ‘Enlightenment’ or ‘Nirvana’ and so on until 1982 when talking to a man about my breakthrough into freedom via the death of ‘myself’ in September 1981. He listened – he questioned me rigorously until well after midnight – and then declared me to be ‘Enlightened’. I had to ask him what that was, such was my ignorance of all things spiritual. He – being a nine-year spiritual seeker fresh from his latest trip to India – gave me a book to read by someone called Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti. That was to be the beginning of what was to become a long learning curve of all things religious, spiritual, mystical and metaphysical for me. I studied all this because I sought to understand what other peoples had made of such spontaneous experiences and to find out where human endeavour had been going wrong.

I found out where I had been going wrong for eleven years ... self-aggrandisement is so seductive.

RESPONDENT: And if so, who did you learn from? I myself had two teachers, Stephen Gaskin and John Panama. Also, if you are claiming realization, then you should be able to test it in others.

RICHARD: If I may point out? I am not claiming ‘realisation’ ... I am actually free of the human condition. This is an actualisation of the already always existing peace-on-earth ... not a realisation of one’s ideas, one’s inner dreams and hopes. If I may refer you to the following exchange? Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘We actually become our ideas, our thoughts are realities in themselves so they cannot be speculated about, they must be realized for their being alive’.

• [Richard]: ‘Are you saying that becoming ‘one with truth’ is the living-out of ‘ideas’ ? That it is a thought-created reality that one makes come true through being ‘realised’?’

RESPONDENT: I claim to be able to do that as should you be able to. If you can come to the United States, I would be happy to meet with you and you could test me and I you. This may clear up some of the confusion.

RICHARD: I am not interested in ‘testing’ you (or anyone else) ... it is of no concern to me whether you are fully realised or not: spiritual enlightenment sucks. And for as long as you continue to see me in terms of ‘awakening’ or ‘realisation’ or ‘enlightenment’ or any other name for the ‘Tried and True’ you would be wasting your time ... there is no ‘being’ lurking around inside this flesh and blood body to put through the hoops. For example: an awakened ‘Spiritual ‘Teacher’ personally checked me out face-to-face some years ago ... and made me the subject of the nightly discourse, warning the faithful followers that Richard is an example of the dangers on the spiritual path. To wit: Richard is insane. As the ubiquitously called ‘straight’ people (regular society) in the West consider that anyone dabbling in things mystical are the ‘lunatic fringe’ (conveniently ignoring the fact that their ‘God On Earth’ is one of them), I am sure that they must find it quaint that one lunatic would ‘test’ another lunatic and declare him to be insane (thereby implying that the ‘tester’ is not).

Ah ... c’est la vie, I guess.

RICHARD: ... this may be an apt moment to point out that you are not dealing with a mere tyro, here, in these matters and, furthermore (just in case you have not noticed), that you are way, way out of your depth on this mailing list.

RESPONDENT: What do you suggest with this statement?

RICHARD: Simply that ... (1) there is eleven years of intimate experiencing, night and day, of that which the masters of the different traditions speak of for this flesh and blood body to recall (as contrasted to your book-learnt understanding) ... and (2) as what this flesh and blood body has to report/ describe/ explain is beyond that (that which the masters of the different traditions speak of) then all of your book-learnt understanding is about as useful as the teats on a bull are when it comes to participating in the discussions on this mailing list.

RESPONDENT: Ok Richard. If you have the practical experience regards the core teaching of the different traditions then (...) In what particular initiatic ‘chain’ were you initiated and by whom?

RICHARD: I will first draw your attention to the following: [Respondent]: ‘Just to give you two quotes what is meant with ‘Self’ by the Masters: [snip quotes]. From: ‘The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi’, 1985’. [endquote]. Here is my first question: in what particular [quote] initiatic ‘chain’ [endquote] was Mr. Venkataraman Aiyer initiated and by whom?

RESPONDENT: Ramana Maharshi got what is called spontaneous initiation at the age of 17, then he left home and went to Arunachala and behaved like any other sannyasin.

RICHARD: Okay then ... here is my response to your query (couched in your terminology): Richard had what could also be called a spontaneous initiation at the age of 34; twelve months after giving notice he left his marital home; he went homeless for five years behaving (more or less) like any other sadhu ... a single, celibate, itinerant, barefooted, unshaven/unshorn sarong-clad holy man, with all his worldly possessions in a small lidded-bucket, wandering aimlessly in nature. Vis.:

• [Richard]: ‘I lived and slept in forests; I lived and slept in the hills; I lived and slept in the valleys; I lived and slept beside streams; I lived and slept on the beaches; I lived and slept on uninhabited islands ... and so on. No woman could entice me as the allure of the love and beauty of nature was unsurpassable ... I had no need for a vow of celibacy. Just being in nature, totally, fully, completely, would transport me into the unknowable ...’.

RESPONDENT: Here his self-report: [quote] ‘I knew nothing, had learned nothing before I came here. Some mysterious power took possession of me and effected a thorough transformation. I knew nothing and planned nothing. When I left home in my 17th year, I was like a speck swept on by a tremendous flood. I knew not my body or the world, whether it was day or night. It was difficult even to open my eyes. The eyelids seemed to be glued down. My body became a mere skeleton. Visitors pitied my plight as they were not aware how blissful I was. It was after years that I came across the term Brahman when I happened to look into some books on Vedanta brought to me. Amused, I said to myself, ‘Is this known as Brahman!?!’ [endquote].

RICHARD: Okay then ... here is my (equivalent) self-report:

• [Respondent]: ‘By which way the first ‘I’ (ego or self) can expand and create the second ‘I’ (‘I’ as soul/‘I’ as ‘Self’ as ‘me’)?
• [Richard]: ‘As a generalisation it has been traditionally held that there are three ways: 1. Jnani (cognitive realisation as epitomised by the ‘neti-neti’ or ‘not this; not this’ approach). 2. Bhakti (affective realisation as epitomised by devotional worship and surrender of will). 3. Yoga (bodily realisation as epitomised by the raising of ‘kundalini’ and the opening of ‘chakras’).
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Richard, I’ve been following this discussion with interest and have a couple of questions for you: Which of the 3 ways did you use to achieve spiritual enlightenment in 1981?
• [Richard]: ‘Well, none of those 3 ways, actually ... I inadvertently ‘discovered’ another way: ignorance. I was aiming for the pure consciousness experience (PCE) and landed short of my goal ... and it took another 11 years to get here.
To explain: I have never followed anyone; I have never been part of any religious, spiritual, mystical or metaphysical group; I have never done any disciplines, practices or exercises at all; I have never done any meditation, any yoga, any chanting of mantras, any tai chi, any breathing exercises, any praying, any fasting, any flagellations, any ... any of those ‘Tried and True’ inanities; nor did I endlessly analyse my childhood for ever and a day; nor did I do never-ending therapies wherein one expresses oneself again and again ... and again and again.
By being born and raised in the West I was not steeped in the mystical religious tradition of the East and was thus able to escape the trap of centuries of eastern spiritual conditioning. I had never heard the words ‘Enlightenment’ or ‘Nirvana’ and so on until 1982 when talking to a man about my breakthrough, into what I called an ‘Absolute Freedom’ via the death of ‘myself’, in September 1981. He listened – he questioned me rigorously until well after midnight – and then declared me to be ‘Enlightened’. I had to ask him what that was, such was my ignorance of all things spiritual. He – being a nine-year spiritual seeker fresh from his latest trip to India – gave me a book to read by someone called Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti. That was to be the beginning of what was to become a long learning curve of all things religious, spiritual, mystical and metaphysical for me. I studied all this because I sought to understand what other peoples had made of such spontaneous experiences and to find out where human endeavour had been going wrong.
I found out where I had been going wrong for eleven years ... self-aggrandisement is so seductive’.

In short: I was not even religious before it all started – I did not even know that there was a difference between a Christian monk and a Buddhist monk, for example, other than that one wore brown robes and the other saffron robes – as I had lumped all religion under the category of superstitious clap-trap way back in childhood and lived a totally secular life.


RESPONDENT: Who was your guru?

RICHARD: Here is my second question: who was Mr. Venkataraman Aiyer’s guru?

RESPONDENT: He had an ‘upaguru’ for initiation, that is, the ‘Self’ itself was his guru. A spontaneous process had taken over in him as he testifies himself.

RICHARD: Okay then ... here is my response to your query (couched in your terminology): Richard had ‘The Absolute’ for initiation, that is, the Parabrahman itself was his guru. A spontaneous process had taken over in him as he testifies himself.


RESPONDENT: What was the teaching you were told by your master ...

RICHARD: Here is my third question: what was the teaching Mr. Venkataraman Aiyer was told by his master?

RESPONDENT: He was told no teaching.

RICHARD: Okay then ... here is my response to your query (couched in your terminology): Richard was told no teaching.


RESPONDENT: ... and what was the meditation techniques you were instructed by him to exercise?

RICHARD: Here is my fourth question: what were the meditation techniques Mr. Venkataraman Aiyer was instructed by his master to exercise?

RESPONDENT: None. No meditation techniques are necessary anyway as he said himself.

RICHARD: Okay then ... here is my response to your query (couched in your terminology): Richard had none. No meditation techniques were necessary anyway as he said himself. Vis.:

• [Richard]: ‘(...) I spoke of love as being ‘the way; the means and the end’.


RICHARD (Postscript): Here is a supplementary question: have you ever heard the term ‘come in spinner’?

RESPONDENT: No, I haven’t.

RICHARD: The term ‘come in spinner’ typically refers to the verbal art of the wind-up – ‘a deliberate attempt to provoke someone by misleading or hoaxing; a trick, a tease, a practical joke’ (Oxford Dictionary) – in that it marks the moment when the narrator, the trickster spinning the yarn (aka telling the tale), tells the hapless listener they have been conned (duped, tricked, cheated, swindled). The stakes in this game are not, however, just the small change of little truths but the status of truths themselves. In order to arrive at that moment when the narrator can say ‘come in spinner’ to the gulled listener, they have to give away those little truths that will be recognised, picked up, and followed ... followed right up the garden path. In fact, in order to mislead, the narrator must tell the truth. In order to produce difference, to put the listener in a another place from where they think the narrator is, the narrator has to convince them they are in the same place.

Needless is it to add that a suitably motivated listener/reader can self-administer such a wind-up, deliberately conning themselves into fancying they are at the same place as the speaker/ writer despite many clear warnings to the contrary, until the pivotal point arrives when the penny drops (aka understanding dawns) and they are left with nothing but egg on their face ... ‘a condition of looking foolish or being embarrassed or humiliated by the turn of events’ (Oxford Dictionary)?

RESPONDENT: I just checked the dictionary.

RICHARD: It did not occur to you to access an internet search-engine?

RESPONDENT: Does it mean that you put me in the spinner ...

RICHARD: No, I never put my fellow human being in the spinner – more than a few of them do that all of their own accord by attempting the impossible (endeavouring to comprehend the new paradigm in terms of the old paradigm) – and neither was I indulging in the verbal art of the wind-up, as described above, either.

On the contrary, I am entirely sincere ... what another does with my words is, however, something else entirely. For classic example, of someone doing just that, the first half of what the following URL links to is worth a read:

As the words [quote] ‘come in spinner’ [endquote] appear towards the end of quite a long exchange over several e-mails a fuller comprehension might require some back-tracking through the very detailed, to the point of being laboured, sequence.

RESPONDENT: ... by asking me questions back to demonstrate that Ramana Maharshi obviously had no more qualification than his ‘experiences’, that is, no personal guru, no teaching, no meditation techniques? Which would demonstrate that your ‘experiences’ (11 years of enlightenment) are as valid as Ramana Maharshi’s?

RICHARD: Perhaps if I were to put it this way? You not only say you found The Actual Freedom Trust web site a year before you first wrote anything to this, its associated mailing list, you also say you have read vast amounts of it over that year ... so surely you must be well aware that you are not dealing with a mere tyro, here, in these matters and that there have been many who have already come and gone before you, on both this and other mailing lists, having tried in vain to outsmart/ outwit me.

I have touched upon this before:

• [Richard]: ‘(...) I really do wonder, at times, why person after person would consider they can try out smart-aleckry on me, and get away with it, when the evidence of so many e-mails in the archives demonstrates that any such attempt has invariably resulted in them coming off a pathetic second-best (if that)’.

Why on earth someone would even think for a moment – let alone actually put the thought into action – that for a person to be able to speak competently about matters transcendent they have to be an initiate of an existing lineage (when it stands to reason, if nothing else, that in order for those lineages to exist in the first place there has to be, ipso facto, a pioneer who was not) is simply beyond sensible comprehension.

Hence my cautionary postscript – ‘have you ever heard the term ‘come in spinner’’ – as there were all the hall-marks of a person hell-bent upon self-administering the art of the wind-up come what may.

Not that it stopped you, of course, as you (unnecessarily) went ahead and typed-out answers to those (patently obvious) questions, anyway ... and clicked ‘send’.


RESPONDENT: In this case, yes, this reasoning makes sense. Though ...

RICHARD: If I may interject (before that subjunctive modifier puts you into another place and thus has you lose the import of what you just acknowledged)? There is more to it than just that ... much, much more: Mr. Venkataraman Aiyer’s state, being one of those mystical states you so easily disparage, is but a recent manifestation of that which makes the very spirituality you so readily praise possible in the first place ... to wit: the experiential understanding which can only come about upon self-realisation ... and which wisdom metaphysicians have fed-off for centuries.

RESPONDENT: ... [Though] from a purely doctrinal point of view Ramana Maharshi associated himself with one tradition, that is, with Brahmanism.

RICHARD: Whereas Richard, having sufficient integrity such as to be capable of keeping his wits about him, neither associated himself with any tradition nor became a public spectacle ... and was thus able to (eventually) break free from that highly-prized state, that much-venerated summum bonum of human experience.

RESPONDENT: Now you go on and say your ‘experiences’ after the 11 years of enlightenment is ‘beyond that (that which the masters of the different traditions speak of)’. I, of course, cannot dispute that but ...

RICHARD: If I might stop you just there, before the headiness which the dismissive power a negative conjunction can invoke puts you into another place, so as to ask the outstanding question? Why do you immediately (or maybe even automatically) want to dispute that?

Is there not sufficient information on The Actual Freedom Trust web site to establish a prima facie case worthy of further investigation (rather than capricious dismissal)? Is it really beyond the stretch of credibility to even entertain the possibility that spiritual enlightenment/ mystical awakenment/ self-realisation not only can be gone beyond but needs to be? Has not the evidence of the aeons abundantly demonstrated that the religious/ spiritual/ mystical/ metaphysical solution to all the ills of humankind has not, is not, and will not deliver peace on earth? Have not the millions upon millions – if not billions – of earnest, decent, and otherwise intelligent, peoples assiduously practicing same amply shown that those tried and true solutions are the tried and failed?

There is as much anguish and animosity, as much misery and mayhem, nowadays as there was back then ... when is enough enough? Intelligence in action is the acknowledgement that something which has not produced the goods, despite at least 3,000-5,000 years for it to work its wisdom in, is never going to deliver on its spurious promise and that it is high time to clear the work-bench and start afresh ... to learn from those that have gone before and move on.

Just for starters: one needs to fully acknowledge the biological imperative (the instinctual passions) which are the root cause of all the ills of humankind. The genetically inherited passions (such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire) give rise to malice and sorrow and their antidotal pacifiers love and compassion: these negative and positive feelings are intrinsically connected and constitute what is known as ‘The Human Condition’.

The term ‘Human Condition’ is a well-established philosophical term that refers to the situation that all human beings find themselves in when they emerge here as babies. The term refers to the contrary and perverse nature of all peoples of all races and all cultures. There is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in everyone ... all humans have a ‘dark side’ to their nature and a ‘light side’. The battle betwixt ‘Good and Evil’ has raged down through the centuries and it requires constant vigilance lest evil gets the upper hand. Morals and ethics seek to control the wayward self that lurks deep within the human breast ... and some semblance of what is called ‘peace’ prevails for the main. Where morality and ethicality fails to curb the ‘savage beast’, law and order is maintained ... at the point of a gun.

The ending of malice and sorrow, and their antidotal pacifiers love and compassion, involves getting one’s head out of the clouds – and beyond – and coming down-to-earth where the flesh and blood bodies called human beings actually live. Obviously, peace on earth can only be found here in space and now in time as this material body. Then the question is: is it possible to be free of the human condition, here on earth, in this life-time, as this flesh and blood body?

Which means: how on earth can one live happily and harmlessly, in the world as-it-is with people as-they-are, whilst one nurses malice and sorrow, and their antidotal pacifiers love and compassion, in one’s bosom?


RESPONDENT: ... [but] based on my theoretical understanding I have just found myriads of quotes which indicate that they clearly taught the overcoming of the affective faculty.

RICHARD: Hmm ... eradicating is vastly different to overcoming, non?

RESPONDENT: First quote: ‘[Un]-self-ishness, from the Indian point of view is an amoral state, in which no question of ‘Altruism’ can present itself, liberation being as much from the notion of ‘others’ as it is form the notion of ‘self’, and not in any sense a psychological state, but a liberation from all that is implied by the ‘psyche’ in the word ‘psychology’. [Ananda Coomaraswamy, Hinduism and Buddhism].

RICHARD: The experiential state which lies behind those words is (initially) one of union – a state of oneness as expressed in ‘We are all One’ for instance – and (ultimately) one of solipsism – a state of aloneness as expressed in ‘There is only That’ for example – so of course there is liberation from the notion of ‘others’ as well as ‘self’.

Whereas in actuality there is no separation in the first place such as to necessitate such self-absorbed narcissism ... there is an actual intimacy with every body, every thing, and every event, here.

In regards to altruism: the word altruism can be used in two distinctly different ways – in a virtuous sense (as in being unselfish), such as the author you quoted is using it, or in a zoological/biological sense (as in being diametrically opposite to selfism) – and it is the latter which is of particular interest to a person wanting to enable the already always existing peace-on-earth to being apparent, in this lifetime as this flesh and blood body, as it takes a powerful instinctive impulse (altruism) to overcome a powerful instinctive impulse (selfism) ... blind nature endows each and every human being with the selfish instinct for individual survival and the clannish instinct for group survival (be it the familial group, the tribal group, or the national group).

By and large the instinct for survival of the group is the more powerful – as is epitomised in the honey-bee (when it stings to protect/defend the hive it dies) – and it is the utilisation of this once-in-a-lifetime gregarian action which is referred to in my oft-repeated ‘an altruistic ‘self’-sacrifice/‘self’-immolation, in toto, for the benefit of this body and that body and every body’.

As for amorality ... the following links may throw some light upon that:

RESPONDENT: [Mr. Ananda Coomaraswamy]: ‘I call him a Brahman indeed’, the Buddha says, ‘who has passed beyond attachment both to good and evil; one who is clean, to whom no dust attaches, a-pathetic’. [endquote]. Not: ‘apathetic’, i.e. ‘not pathological’, as are those who are subject to their on passions or sym-pathise with those of others.

RICHARD: Being utterly apathetic myself I do understand that word (from the Greek ‘apethēs’ which literally means ‘without feeling’) properly refers to a passionless existence/ not feeling emotion – and not just to the popular usage (as in stolid indifference/stoic disinterest) – yet what must be comprehended, when speaking of the buddhistic goal, is that the ultimate state (‘jhana’) is one in which not only does the affectional ability cease but also the sensorial, the cognitional and the motorial functions as well ... plus consciousness itself (more on this further below).

Incidentally, I would be quite suss of someone translating Mr. Gotama the Sakyan’s (Pali) title for such a person – an Arahant – into him really meaning a ‘Brahman’ [the Pali word ‘brahmana’ refers to that which is; which is not what the Sankrit word ‘Brahman’ refers to].

RESPONDENT: Second quote: ‘The affective system, Roberts says, is the cause of all suffering. Out of it arises all fear, anxiety, and psychological suffering. It would follow, she suggests, that those who have lost the affective system, are free of psychological disorders and would have no reason to seek professional help, and that is why the psychiatric literature has no description of those who have gone beyond the self’. [Book review ‘The Experience of No-Self: A Contemplative Journey’; author: Bernadette Roberts].

RICHARD: There is no point in providing quotes about Ms. Bernadette Roberts as her experience has been presented several times before and responses are available to be read (free of charge) on The Actual Freedom Trust web site ... and, by the way, as you say you have [quote] ‘just found myriads of quotes’ [endquote] it would save a lot of time and bandwidth to do a search of The Actual Freedom Trust web site before reaching for the keyboard again.

More to the point, however, were you to actually read that book (and not just quote a reviewer’s understanding drawn from it) you would find passages such as the following:

• [Ms. Bernadette Roberts]: ‘It is quite possible that at some time or other everyone has made contact with the self-as-subject [as distinct from self-as-object]. All that is required for such an encounter is the cessation of the reflexive movement of the mind bending back on itself. Without this reflexive (or pre-reflexive) movement, we are no longer aware of our own awareness, our own feelings and thoughts, and thus we have encountered self-as-subject. But since this subjective self is as nothing to the mind, we cannot stay in this condition for long and soon fall back into self-consciousness or self-as-object. To remain in this un-reflexive condition for any length of time would mean encountering an emptiness, a void, a nothingness that is *the subjective self* – which I have called no-self’. [bracketed insert and emphasis added]. (‘Pure Subjectivity’, from the book ‘The Experience of No-Self’, by Bernadette Roberts; 1982;

Thus if her experience is anything to go by, and there is no reason why it should not, it does throw considerable light on that hoary topic of what Mr. Gotama the Sakyan meant by the word ‘anatta’ (often translated as ‘no-self’).


RESPONDENT: These are just two quotes of many possible quotes which show that the masters’ teaching is very well beyond ‘Love Agape’ and ‘Compassion’.

RICHARD: You may find the following informative in this regard:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘What do You understand by being enlightenment?
• [Richard]: ‘There is nothing other than The Absolute’.

And this:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘I invite all of you who have had a Self experience to try describing it.
• [Richard]: ‘Sure ... there was only The Absolute (the Self by whatever name) and nothing else existed’.

And this:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘As an example [of a description of ‘Self’], is the description ‘a very old child’ valid in your case?
• [Richard]: ‘No, the description ‘there is nothing other than The Absolute’ is what is valid in my case (...).
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘If you can provide a brief description for your particular Self image, so as to compare notes, I would be pleased to read it.
• [Richard]: ‘Sure ... there was only The Absolute (the Self by whatever name) and nothing else existed.
• [Co-Respondent]: ‘Or is it indescribable?
• [Richard]: ‘No, it is easily described: there was nothing other than The Absolute’.

In other words, in full-blown spiritual enlightenment/mystical awakenment, there is only ‘That’ (the unmanifest by whatever name) and the manifest – all time and all space and all form – is but a dream/an illusion/an appearance ... meaning that in reality there is neither creation nor destruction, and thus, neither bondage nor liberation/neither a seeker after liberation nor the liberated.

RESPONDENT: They taught the loss of the ‘psyche’ and that’s only possible without the ‘affective faculty’ and without the ‘affective faculty’ there are no ‘passions’, without passions no attachment ‘good’ [love] and ‘evil’ [hate], no difference between ‘self’ and ‘others’, no ‘altruism’, no morals. That’s the core teachings of the metaphysical doctrine and that’s pretty close to what you report.

RICHARD: It is not at all close to what I report (let alone pretty close): what you have, rather loosely, detailed there can only occur in what is best described in western terms as a cataleptic state ... ‘condition of trance or seizure with loss of sensation or consciousness and abnormal maintenance of posture’ (Oxford Dictionary). Vis.:

• [Richard]: ‘It is quite common to have heightened sensory perception in an ASC (provided it be an extroversive ASC as contrasted to an introversive ASC) ... the nature mystics have written extensively about such experience: ( However, the introversive ASC is generally held to be both superior and more significant as it is exemplified by (a) the disappearance of all the physical and mental objects of ordinary consciousness and, in their place, the emergence of a unitary and undifferentiated consciousness and thus (b) the event is non-temporal (timeless), non-spatial (spaceless), and non-material (formless).
Mr. Robert Forman, on page 131 of the ‘Journal of Consciousness Studies Volume 5, Issue 2, 1998’, (in a paper called ‘What Does Mysticism Have To Teach Us About Consciousness?’), described the introversive ASC as a pure consciousness *event* so as to emphasise the absence of any experienced object – it is pure subjectivity in other words – which is also why such terminology as ‘Consciousness Without An Object’ is used to describe the totally senseless and thoughtless trance state known as ‘dhyana’ in Sanskrit (Hinduism) and as ‘jhana’ in Pali (Buddhism).
In the West such a state can only be described as catalepsy ... apart from Mr. Venkataraman Aiyer, in his early years, possibly the best-known example could be Mr. Gadadhar Chattopadhyay (aka Ramakrishna): onlookers can see the body is totally inward-looking, totally self-absorbed, totally immobile, and totally functionless (the body cannot and does not talk, walk, eat, drink, wake, sleep ... or type e-mails to mailing lists).
A never-ending ‘dhyana’ or ‘jhana’ would result in the body wasting away until its inevitable physical death ... as a means of obtaining peace-on-earth it is completely useless’.

RESPONDENT: How are you beyond them?

RICHARD: By actually hosting no affective faculty (and all which inheres with that) whatsoever.

RESPONDENT: Can it actually be that you experience the same they refer to but you interpret it differently?

RICHARD: No, not at all ... not even a remote possibility.

RESPONDENT: Did you find similar quotes like the one above ...

RICHARD: I was not at all interested in second-hand analyses, from pundits and reviewers like those you provided, as it was first-hand accounts of the experiencing itself which was of vital importance to me at the time.

RESPONDENT: ... while you were doing your research or were you only able to find references to ‘Love Agape’ in the spiritual literature of the different traditions?

RICHARD: As your query comes presupposed out of the misconception that essentially all Richard has to report about that eleven-year period is Love Agapé I would suggest you do with actualism what you say you did for seventeen years with spiritualism ... to wit: actually read what is on offer on The Actual Freedom Trust web site.

‘Tis only a suggestion, mind you.

RICHARD: Perhaps if I were to put it this way: the process whereby identity in toto went into oblivion was hijacked halfway through its course ... thus necessitating eleven more years before completion (before the hijacker, too, went into oblivion) as it is incredibly difficult to bring the massive delusion of being the source of everything (an institutionalised insanity known as spiritual enlightenment/ mystical awakenment) to an end.

RESPONDENT: I think that you have failed to appreciate the necessity of your 11 years of ‘delusion’.

RICHARD: I can assure you, for whatever that is worth, that I do indeed fully appreciate the necessity of that eleven-year journey through spiritual enlightenment/ mystical awakenment ... and so did the identity inhabiting this flesh and blood body all those years ago. Vis.:

• [Richard]: ‘After the ‘something turning over in the base of the brain/ nape of the neck’ event of September 1981 (as detailed in ‘A Brief Personal History’), and as the western-style mysticism I was experiencing moved deeper into being an eastern-style mysticism (I can recall telling my then wife at that time I was jumping out of the frying pan into the fire as somebody had to sort this mystery out), I just knew that, in order to be able to speak meaningfully about going beyond enlightenment I had to go through enlightenment so as to, not only understand it experientially for myself, but to be able to have insider information, so to speak, to pass on to my fellow human beings.
For what is the point of enabling peace-on-earth, and thus demonstrating the actual way to live life for a benighted humanity, if one cannot explain the how and why and what for, of it?
Thus being a whistle-blower was my express intention all those years ago ...’.

RESPONDENT: And you do your readers a disservice in declaring enlightenment to be worthless.

RICHARD: I would be doing my fellow human being no favour – and nor would I be being true to the legacy that identity left – were I not to continue to expose spiritual enlightenment/ mystical awakenment for being the crock it is.

RESPONDENT: It is the journey that can’t be totally eliminated.

RICHARD: I can see no reason whatsoever why identity in toto (both ‘I’ as ego/self and ‘me’ as soul/spirit) cannot become extinct in one fell-swoop.

RESPONDENT: In my opinion you have to meet the dragons on their own turf.

RICHARD: As neither the dragons nor their turf are actual you do not have to do anything of the sort: just one short step and !poof! it is all over, done with, finished ... the end.

‘Twas all an illusion/ delusion ... I have been here, all along, simply having a ball.

RICHARD: (...) Put succinctly: an enlightened/ awakened/ transformed identity is still an identity, nevertheless.

RESPONDENT: As I suspected, you are using the term ‘enlightenment’ in a much different fashion than I ...

RICHARD: As you are on record as stating there is no difference between an altered state of consciousness (ASC) and a pure consciousness experience (PCE) it is not at all surprising. Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘I really really tried to understand the purported difference between an ASC and a PCE, but guess what, dey’s da same’. (Sunday, 25/12/2005 3:00 AM AEDST).

Which could be why you snipped-off that which was being put succinctly. Vis.:

• [Co-Respondent]: ‘I have been reading your webpage and correspondence which is a lot to read.
• [Richard]: ‘The simplest way to comprehend it all is that, just as the ego-self (aka ‘the thinker’) has to die, for spiritual enlightenment/ mystical awakenment (aka transformation) to occur, so too does the spirit-self (aka ‘the feeler’) in order for the flesh and blood body to be actually free from the human condition.
Put succinctly: an enlightened/ awakened/ transformed identity is still an identity, nevertheless’.

But, then again, it could also be because you say you have never understood the distinction between ego-self/ the thinker and spirit-self/ the feeler (aka soul-self). Vis.:

• [Respondent]: ‘I have never understood the distinction between ego and soul, as presented in the AF glossary. Soul is apparently the spiritual-seeking part of the makeup ... I don’t see how it is distinguished from ego, at least in my case. Really’. (Friday, 19/03/2004 1:56 PM AEDST).

RESPONDENT: ... [As I suspected, you are using the term ‘enlightenment’ in a much different fashion than I], Buddha, Huang Po, Wei Wu Wei, et al.

RICHARD: As Mr. Terence Gray, who published his scholarly works under the pseudonym ‘Wei Wu Wei’, was not free of the ego-self (aka ‘the thinker’) then his usage of such terminology is also quite rightly suspect.

RESPONDENT: They stipulate unequivocally that there is no identity to become enlightened.

RICHARD: Nowhere in the Pali Canon does Mr. Gotama the Sakyan deny the existence of self: what he expressly states is that the self is not to be found anywhere in phenomenal existence ... as he so clearly enunciates to compliant monks in the ‘Anatta-Lakkhana’ Sutta (The Discourse on the Not-Self Characteristic, SN 22.59; PTS: SN iii.66). Vis.:

• [Mr. Gotama the Sakyan]: ‘Form, monks, is not self. If form were the self, this form would not lend itself to dis-ease (...) But precisely because form is not self, form lends itself to dis-ease (...) Seeing thus, the instructed noble disciple grows disenchanted with the body (...) Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, ‘Fully released’. He discerns that ‘Birth is depleted, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world’. (

As for Mr. Huang-po ... here is what he had to say (from a translation found in Mr. Stephen Mitchell’s ‘The Enlightened Mind – An Anthology of Sacred Prose’, Harper Perennial, 1991):

• ‘All Buddhas and all ordinary beings are nothing but the one mind. This mind is beginningless and endless, unborn and indestructible. It has no colour or shape, neither exists nor doesn’t exist, isn’t old or new, long or short, large or small, since it transcends all measures, limits, names, and comparisons. (...) This pure mind, which is the source of all things, shines forever with the radiance of its own perfection. (...) Above, below, and all around you, all things spontaneously exist, because there is nowhere outside the Buddha mind’. [endquote].

RESPONDENT: Perhaps you mean that the identity is extant ‘after’ enlightenment?

RICHARD: Aye, the spirit-self (aka ‘the feeler’) must also cease to exist in order for the flesh and blood body to be actually free from the human condition.

RESPONDENT: No argument there ... first there is a mountain etc.

RICHARD: What you are referring to is from a discourse attributed to Mr. Ch’ing yuan Wei-hsin. Vis.:

• ‘Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters (...)’. [endquote].

He then goes on to ask:

• ‘(...) Are the three understandings the same or different?’ [endquote].

Here is a clue: the second understanding is per favour the comprehension of buddhistic emptiness (that phenomenal existence is void of self).


RESPONDENT: Richard wrote: <blablabla – a bunch of very cleverly rearranged words, meant to divert the reader’s attention from the facts-at-hand>

RICHARD: I have re-inserted my entire response (above) ... just what you mean by ‘very cleverly rearranged words’ (let alone ‘the facts-at-hand’) simply defies sensibility.

RESPONDENT: There is total clarity in my earlier post – you merely attempt to obfuscate.

RICHARD: As I have no idea which earlier post you are referring to I am unable to make any comment on your self-promotional assertion/your bombastic opinion.

RESPONDENT: But that is your way …

RICHARD: To ‘merely attempt to obfuscate’ is not my way at all … but do go on as this is all quite fascinating.

RESPONDENT: … [But that is your way], your part to play in this comedy.

RICHARD: Contrary to what you suppose this is not television.

RESPONDENT: You know naught of what you speak …

RICHARD: Well now, that is a vast improvement on categorising me as a closet advaitist sage.

RESPONDENT: …you are simply caught up in your dream bubble …

RICHARD: If (note ‘if’) that were to be the case it would be a far, far better one than the dream bubble you are caught up in.

RESPONDENT: … [you are simply caught up in your dream bubble], ensnaring a few willing puppets along the way.

RICHARD: And thus does your not-at-all-addressing-the-points reply, to my detailed response to your last post (further above), come to its epizoic end.

Ah, well … c’est la vie, I guess.

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