Tag Archives: Buddha

Truth

The single most fundamental, sweeping and powerful truth in all spiritual study, contemplation and practice was probably best summed up in a single sentence.  It is an aphorism that has been popularly attributed to the Buddha:

You are what you think.

The Bible (Proverbs) succinctly echoes the same idea:

For as he thinketh in his heart, so he is.

This concept is the common denominator upon which virtually every workable religious and spiritual philosophy throughout the ages can be reduced to.  It is the truth that religion and spiritual practice of all denominations and creeds has capitalized on in one form or another.  When it is appreciated one becomes the master of his own destiny.  One is no longer the groveling effect of circumstances outside of his or her own control.  One is no longer the victim of external conditions.

Its realization can explain popular notions of attainment of nirvana, enlightenment, the kingdom of God, or as countless popular psychology/philosophy sects since the late nineteenth century have put it, self-realization.  One reaches nirvana when one recognizes it resides within. One attains enlightenment when one sees that it is all about how one thinks.  One enters into the Kingdom of God when one recognizes that realm is within one’s own heart. One is self-realized when one realizes that one is what one thinks.

Being creatures who use the via of language to conceptualize, communicate and understand, all of us require some degree or level of explanation to appreciate the power that comes with realizing the simplicity that ‘you are what you think.’ Or, some exercises that help us transcend language based associative, identification thought habits in order to perceive the truth of it.  Thus, paths and mythology and related attention-focusing practices fueled by glimpses of this truth have abounded.  Countless explications and related practices exist to bring us to the point of recognition of the seeming magic that comes with the simple truth that you are what you think.

So powerful is the recognition of this most fundamental truth that the attempted monopolization of it has made inestimable riches for priests, ecclesiastics and gurus of every stripe.  Close inspection of any one of these proprietary routes (irrespective of the ornateness of its projected piety) invariably exposes a common fault.

The fault is fatal to the accomplishment of the truth each of the routes purports to lead to.  It is incident to the attempted monopolization of the truth.

The fault invariably comes with attempted proprietorship of the truth.

The fault is that deference to the proprietor and his creations (priests, practitioners, institutions, practices, rituals, beliefs) – whether overtly required or not – ceases or prohibits attainment or realization of the truth the proprietor capitalizes on.

Once one is led to believe that the realization’s continued operation depends on some relationship external to self, the truth no longer obtains.

Virtually any practice or ism that overtly or covertly requires continued membership, obligation, participation, or belief becomes anathema to truth and all of the salutary effects that spring from it.

Where To Plant Your Feet

 

synchronicity

Ta-sui was asked, “Buddha’s truth is everywhere; so where do you teach students to plant their feet?”

He replied, “The vast ocean lets fish leap freely; the endless sky lets birds fly freely.”

– translation by Thomas Cleary

 

Scientology: Witnessing and Prohibiting

The following is an excerpt from chapter one of A Course in Graduating From Scientology.

At its core scientology revolves around the auditing process.  The word auditing comes from the Latin root audire which means to listen, or to listen and compute.  The entire purpose of a scientology auditor is to provide an environment in which an individual may look at his or her life in such an honest fashion that that which is viewed no longer has a hold on that person.  Scientology postulates that ‘charge’ (mental energy) ‘erases’ through that process.  One could just as easily consider that one’s witnessed experience objectifies.  That is, one’s experience moves from the subjective (part of, and affecting oneself) to the objective.  In that construct, matters of the mind that tend to drive one on an automatic basis are no longer hidden and automatic.  Objectivized energy of the mind is no more capable of driving you than any other person or idea that you can clearly see as apart from yourself.  Given a workable methodology for pursuing such objectifying, your own choice in the matter of what to do, what to choose, what to pursue and what to react to can be restored to you.  Each time one honestly witnesses in this wise one recognizes a little more about the true nature of self and its relationship with matter, energy, space, time and life.  Witnessing is what led the Buddha – and many other sages – toward recognizing the impermanent nature of matter, energy, space, time, and life forms.

It is my view that any time devoted to honestly viewing the content of your mind, your experience, what arises in consciousness, is progress in moving the external world back out of one’s head where it no longer drives you.  That is so provided one is permitted to do so on a self-determined basis and to cease once one’s  attic is cleared to one’s own satisfaction.  Hubbard once described the mechanics of auditing in this very wise in the book Evolution of a Science.

There used to be a saying in scientology, ‘any auditing is better than no auditing.’  No matter what processes, what grades, what levels attained or not, every hour spent objectivizing the subjective was net gain.  As we shall see, all that radically changed along the development path.  At the upper reaches of the scientology way one is indoctrinated to believe that viewing certain aspects of the mind is a potentially deadly activity – not only possibly killing one today but keeping one comatose and crippled for millennia to come.  Because of indoctrinations like this and because there is so much emphasis included in scientology about the attainment of static grades and levels, and purported permanent states of consciousness,  the failure to attain very high on the Scientology Bridge (the chart of progressive grades and levels of spiritual attainment) tends to serve to invalidate the work a person did execute in witnessing his or her own mind.

Scientology contains so much dogma asserting superiority to and difference from all other forms of witnessing that people tend to lose sight that they spent a tremendous amount of time and effort doing just that, witnessing.  I use the term ‘witnessing’ because it is a generic term that captures what is at the heart of all effective psychotherapeutic and spiritual practices.  Most forms of meditation (Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, etc.), most forms of psychotherapy, and Scientology too, create a desirable effect to the extent the individual applying it honestly views what arises within her own consciousness.

NOTE: To those who have already completed venture one, you’ll notice this passage has been revised.  As I learn from you all I find myself going back and adding to and revising.  I will continue to post significantly revised passages like the above as previews for blog readers, and a heads up to you that changes were made.

Siddhartha

siddharthaimage

Reference:   Pursuit of Understanding

 2. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

This book is one of my favorite novels of all time; it is right up there with the likes of East of Eden and To Kill a Mockingbird.  I first read Siddhartha when I was seventeen years old. It was an important part of my own spiritual journey then and has served the same purpose more recently.

Having read it again this year, I wondered how on earth I could have spent twenty-seven years effectively donning a yellow robe and devoting my life to a cult.   Alas, perhaps that path served the same purpose as Siddhartha’s several decade journey.

During his early spiritual seeking years, Siddhartha comes into contact with the Buddha, referred to as the Glorious One.  Siddhartha can find nothing wrong with the Glorious One or his fledgling philosophy and practice.   But something holds Siddhartha back from donning the yellow robe of devotees even when the Glorious One pitches his way directly to Siddhartha.  His fellow seeker and friend Govinda opts for the robes.

Hesse provides a concise, accurate summation of the Buddha’s teachings and the Vedic scripture that precedes and influences their origination.  He has Siddhartha offer no criticism of them because he finds no fault with them.  But as his own life plays out, in many ways paralleling the journey of the Buddha’s own life, he comes to his own realization of the goal of the Buddha’s path.  Not through practice, but instead through living.

In a sublime, lyrical sort of manner Hesse demonstrates how Govinda, who chose to don the robes when Siddhartha declined, and who spent his life as a dedicated follower of the Glorious One, could never attain that realization.  While Govinda attained a high level of awareness and exemplary conduct, it was precisely because Govinda chose to follow and devote himself to a teacher that made enlightenment unattainable.

One moral of the story is that one doesn’t attain to enlightenment by simply following an enlightened one’s path.  Perhaps even, the very act of becoming a devoted follower ultimately bars the path.

At some point, if one wants to transcend, one is going to have to blaze some trail on his own.

Pursuit of Understanding

I am introducing my recommended reading list to anyone who has attained the Scientology state of Clear.  By doing so, I am not promoting or trying to win over anybody to a particular line of thought.  Nor am I attempting to dissuade people from continuing to worship their firmly held religious constructs. I respect their First Amendment rights to continue to do so.  Instead, I am responding to the relative few who have expressed genuine curiosity about from whence I have come and to where I am going.  Folks can take it or leave it, or pick and choose to satisfy their own curiosities. And, as is their wont, Scientologists can of course nitpick and snipe so as to kill the agent who brings news they will likely find is anathema to their Scientology religious beliefs.

I recommend that these materials, minimally, be studied before embarking on Scientology OT Levels 2 through 8.   Actually, I think anyone would gain a tremendous amount of insight by reading these books. But, I believe this (or a comparable) recommended study is essential to understanding from a scientific and spiritual view what it most likely is that makes a meter read on a Clear.  It also gives a much deeper understanding of what it is that Ron Hubbard was grappling with on the upper levels.  To pursue a subject calling itself a ‘science of the mind’, while subjecting oneself to religious mythological belief constructs (as one inevitably does by running headlong into the OT Levels of Scientology) sets up a vicious form of cognitive dissonance: religious belief masquerading as scientific certainty.   The result is the inability to perceive as-is; defeating the entire stated purpose of Scientology.  More debilitating, Scientology at the upper levels continues a process of self-affirmation and self-fixation that firmly shackles an individual from rising to greater heights; locked into a solidified ego as he or she becomes. I think this recommended study can alleviate that dissonance, freeing an individual to continue to move on up a little higher.

I am not creating some new study by this recommendation.  I am sure there is an infinity of gradients and steps one could, and some certainly have, take to navigate the mire that is implanted at the Scientology upper levels.  I did not follow this recommendation.  I went through numerous other valleys and peaks along my own way. For example, as part of my own study, I studied and evaluated what Hubbard studied and drew from in developing Scientology; and I haven’t included that byway on this list.  I reviewed my path and noted those studies I feel were integral in understanding Scientology in the only way Hubbard himself recommended anything could be fully understood. That is, studied against data of comparable magnitude.  When one does, I believe one cannot help but recognize that Ron was definitely onto something in his upper level research, but that developments in science and consciousness far more rationally and accurately revealed what it was.  One may or may not also see in the light of this understanding, that continued, blind adherence to mythological constructs supplied in Scientology might be crippling of spiritual evolution.

If sufficient interest is communicated, I may follow up with a series of posts on each of these references, explaining why I consider them important, connecting dots demonstrating relevance to the Scientology experience, and making sense of the sequence, etc.  In either event, I hope some people find this of some assistance in their graduation and transcendence process.

1)      Tao Te Ching – Stephen Mitchell translation

2)      Siddhartha – Herman Hesse

3)      The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran

4)      The Four Agreements – Don Migel Ruiz

5)      The End of Suffering – Russell Targ and J.J. Hurtak

6)      Buddha’s Brain – Rick Hanson

7)      A Brief History of Everything – Ken Wilber

8)     Kosmic Consciousness – ten part interview with Ken Wilber, Sounds True Productions.

9)      A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

10)   The Biology of Belief – Bruce Lipton

11)   The  Unobservable Universe – Scott Tyson

12)   The Secret – Rhonda Byrne (book and video)

13)   The Intention Experiment – Lynne McTaggart

14)   The Field – Lynne McTaggart

15)   Entangled Minds – Dean Radin

16)   The Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra

17)   Quantum Enigma – Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner

18)   Biocentrism – Robert Lanza

19)   A Gradual Awakening.- Stephen Levine

Some folks have already expressed dismay at such a recommendation in that it is a hefty amount of reading.  One person implied that I am asserting that one must become proficient in Quantum Mechanics in order to achieve enlightenment.  I am not suggesting that.

I am suggesting that if one devotes the better part of one’s life to following someone who implants in one’s mind a certainty that what he is following is proven scientifically to be the only road to spiritual freedom, one is demonstrating a large degree of gullibility in accepting and dramatizing that implant with no context explored against which to evaluate the truth of that implant.  Understanding is an universal solvent, in my opinion.

Forgiveness

What follows may shed light on why Jesus Christ is nullified in Scientology.

In The Gospel According To Jesus, Stephen Mitchell performs a rather competent analysis that shows Christ’s reported teachings for the most part were Middle Eastern iterations of what Lao Tzu and Siddhartha Gautama and other philosophers had communicated for four or five hundred years.   If there were distinctions to be made, they were based more upon emphasis than anything else.  His conclusion was that in essence what Jesus Christ most uniquely brought to the philosophical mix was the all-healing, all-powerful teaching of forgiveness.

Mitchell quoted from William Blake for support:

There is not one moral virtue that Jesus inculcated but Plato and Cicero did inculcate before him. What then did Christ inculcate?  Forgiveness of sins.  This alone is the gospel and this is the life and immortality brought to light by Jesus, even the covenant of Jehovah, which is this: if you forgive one another your trespasses, so shall Jehovah forgive you, that he himself may dwell among you.

By comparison, Scientology inculcates the following.

People attack Scientology; I never forget it, always even the score.

–          HCO Manual of Justice (1959)

On further living I found that only those who sought only peace were ever butchered.  The thousands of years of Jewish passivity earned them nothing but slaughter. 

–          Ethics, The Design Of (1969)

There was no Christ.*

–           Class VIII, lecture 10 (1968)

When I walked down the street and away from the church of Scientology for the last time, I had settled in my mind that I was going to forsake twenty-seven years of dedicated service in favor of experiencing the two most important human virtues.  Both of those virtues I found wanting – even prohibited –  in Scientology.  Forgiveness was one of them.

* the context of the quotation:

In R6 (a matrix implanted into every earth being’s mind 75 million years ago which dictates future behavior until ‘handled’ with Scientology) everybody is shown crucified. So is the psychiatrist shown crucified, although the psychiatrist is a dominant character and that’s how he gets away with what he gets away with. He electric shocks people. The medical doctor is not really represented in R6. It is only the surgeon. The surgeon is shown cutting bodies to pieces. That’s the right thing to do. Actually he shreds a body down to just raw meat down to a skeleton and the skeleton is in agony and then it too is chopped up. Anyway, every man is then shown to have been crucified, so don’t think that it’s an accident that this crucifixtion…they found out that this applied. Somebody, somewhere on this planet, back about six hundred BC, found some piece of R6. And I don’t know how they found it either by watching mad men or something but since that time they have used it and it became what is known as Christianity. The man on the cross – there was no Christ – but the man on the cross is shown as every man so of course each person seeing a crucified man has an immediate feeling of sympathy for this man.

Crossing Over

There comes a time when it well behooves one to review the bidding in the game called life.

What follows are some thoughts that some might find useful in such a review.

I have used the term ‘construct’ many times on this blog and in my books.   This is the definition I have mainly been using:

Noun

1 b :  a working hypothesis or concept <the unconscious was a construct that came from the daily effort to understand patients>

To date I have used the term mainly in reference to the space opera scenarios inculcated into Scientologists at the upper levels of the Scientology.

I believe that one reason some Scientologists have so hysterically reacted to the idea of considering such indoctrinations as constructs is that they are implanted to believe constructs to be unalterable truths from the get-go of their Scientology experiences.   Consequently, they are living in a sort of parallel universe; an agreed upon and reinforced one that requires such firm policies and notions as ‘disconnection’, ‘squirreling’, ‘treason and enemy conditions’ and the like to protect its constructs from analysis against data of comparable magnitude .  By adopting such self-constricting, voluntary-ignorance vows,  Scientologist can be thoroughly dissociated from observation outside of their firmly believed constructs.

With that introduction, I am going float an idea that is liable to shock the sensibilities of the most liberal minded Scientologist.  That is that just about everything one learns in Dianetics and Scientology is a  construct; a working hypotheses or concept to hold in order to practice a ritual.

In fact, the very first unalterable law one learns is so thoroughly implanted as unquestionable fact that what I am about to impart is pretty much guaranteed to lose me friends and readers.   But, I’ll go ahead and share the idea, confident that it will be of some service to some who have made honest efforts to integrate, evolve and transcend their Scientology experiences.

All of Dianetics and Scientology from one’s first introduction through the highest of OT Levels are utterly dependent upon this first construct.   I will be the first to vouch for its workability to a certain level.  I will also be the first to state that if not evolved and transcended from, continued adherence and reverence to it is the very glue holding a debilitating addiction in firm control of the individual.

That construct is the equation expressed as a fundamental law of the universe even three years before the publication of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.  The equation is “the individual is lesser than bank (the reactive or subconscious mind).  Auditor plus individual are greater than bank .”

If one were allowed freedom to experience the ‘state’ of Clear (the long-held goal of Dianetics and Scientology) one could not help but to soon realize that upon attaining Clear.   But, that is not allowed in Scientology.  Instead, the equation is re-stated with a great deal of false promise and threat of eternal damnation upon the attainment of Clear.

Some people who have moved on through solo auditing will understandably chafe “that’s bullshit, when I solo audit it is me against the ‘bank’.”  And here is where the thought stopping theater of the absurd begins.  First, what bank?  It was supposed to have vanished at attainment of Clear.  The reaction from the die-hard Scientologist of course is that he feels betrayed by this question because it is the ‘bank’ he has vowed never to converse about.  So, the conversation ends there with some.   And the solo-auditor will assiduously go on confronting the bank that no one can speak about, directed every step of the way by his solo C/S (case supervisor), solo D of P (director of processing), Master at Arms (Ethics Officer), ad infinitum.  In other words, it is no longer ‘auditor plus individual is greater than bank’, it is more like ‘individual plus C/S, plus D of P, plus MAA, plus the Sea Organization, and the 5th Sector cavalry might have a fighting chance against the inter-galactic forces of evil that constitute what is wrong him.’

Few, it seems, stop to contemplate and recognize that the further one goes, the more formidable, and interminable his baggage becomes in Scientology.   Fewer still, it seems, recognize the construct nature of the fundamental law that served as the glue to addict him or her to cult life in the first place.

‘The bank is great than individual’ or ‘the individual is lesser than the bank’ is an invented construct.  It has its uses.  But, it is not a fact.

Those who have achieved Clear in Scientology might learn a handy lesson from the man L. Ron Hubbard once claimed to be the architect of the heritage of Scientology, and once claimed to be himself, Siddhartha Gautauma.    The Buddha has been reported as passing along this little parable:

A man walking along a highroad sees a great river, its near bank dangerous and frightening, its far bank safe.  He collects sticks and foliage, makes a raft, paddles across the river, and reaches the other shore . Now suppose that, after he reaches the other shore, he takes the raft and puts it on his head and walks with it on his head wherever he goes.  Would he be using the raft in an appropriate way?  No;  a reasonable man will realize that the raft has been very useful to him in crossing the river and arriving safely on the other shore, but that once he has arrived, it is proper to leave the raft behind and walk without it . This is using the raft appropriately.

In the same way, all truths should be used to cross over; they should not be held on to once you have arrived.  You should let go of even the most profound insight or the most wholesome teaching; all the more so, unwholeseome teachings.