Tag Archives: Buddhism

Effect and Cause

Aristotelian and Newtonian two-valued, space-time logic  philosophy and science are demonstrated to be essentially of a mind construct basis by developments in quantum mechanics and the related fledgling field of science of consciousness.   Those historical three-dimensional views were popular for a couple thousand years because they proved so workable in taming the wild, creating material comforts, and suppressing and killing competitors for those comforts (fundamental motives driving the evolution of civilization).  Aristotle and Newton were not only worshipped by scientists for centuries, their theories were ruthlessly enforced on society by the predominant Western church as it considered their theories ‘proved’ that an anthropomorphic God was at the center of the universe who set the whole frenzied cosmos in motion.  Having monopolized the communication channels to God, a tremendous continually increasing fortune was at stake in promoting those views.  That binary thinking remains a mainstay of social darwinists today who preach ‘survival of the fittest’ or as Hubbard’s mentor Aleister Crowly put it ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law’ to justify their rapacity and greed.

This is not to say Aristotle and Newton were not pillars in humankind’s evolution toward greater understanding.  In fact, few compare to their contributions.  It is to say, however, wisdom and understanding like life itself continually evolve.   And that mental and spiritual philosophies grounded in limited logic are to some degree obsolete.  Just as many of Newton’s and Aristotle’s principles are defied and transcended by nuclear and quantum physics (whose breakthroughs at least 70% of our economy is based upon), so are those of the mental and spiritual philosophies based upon  their systems of thought.

In the traditional Cartesian (strict mind vs. matter view, as validated and supported by Aristotelian and Newtonian thought) construct, in the beginning there was a cause and the entire purpose of the cause was the creation of an effect; and we are all more or less the effect of the resultant infinity of cause-effect sequences.   Therapies that promise to wed one or return one to the native, original cause in all this set themselves up for lifetime income from clients/adherents.  Their ‘why traps’ are outfitted with an infinity of divining in the never-ending cause-effect sequences.  It is akin to charging a squirrel for running in a wheel for eternity when modern science has demonstrated that ‘cause’ isn’t any more important than ‘effect’ and that in ultimate reality (read beyond the traditional five animal senses) does not even necessarily precede it.

If this sounds intuitively similar to the ideas you may have experienced in studying Buddhism or the words of Lao Tzu, others have too.   Many have written about that correlation.  The most easy to follow and enjoyable to read for me has been Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics.  Any mind yet somewhat intact after years of adhering to scientology sci-fi mythology as cold, hard reality, still has the potential for seeing through the self-limiting constructs it has been persuaded to abide.  The greatest difficultly with that is getting the person to give ‘the highest purpose in the universe is the creation of an effect’ a rest for a moment. That is followed by the next greatest difficulty which is getting the person to spend a little time learning of the evolution of thought on planet earth.  The Tao of Physics, again, is a great – relatively easy to follow – place to start on that score.  There is not a single generic phenomenon (unpatentable) that Hubbard attempted to monopolize by complicating and masquerading with his inimitable, sci-fi fanasty universe view that is not explained in simple, scientifically-supported terms by Capra.

One last word of advice.  Should absorbing intellect not crippled by compliance to two-value logic prove impossible for the binary thinking scientologist, a primer may be in order.  The End of Suffering by Russell Targ and J.J. Hurtak gives a wonderful introduction to four-valued logic, the real thing Hubbard began to introduce – but ultimately eschewed in scientology – under the heading of ‘infinity logic’.



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.

What’s Going On?

I came across an interesting passage in a book – the passage originally published in 1963 – by a prominent psychologist predicting quantum advancements in human consciousness by the marrying of religious and philosophic wisdom with rapidly evolving science. It is fifty years later and it seems Scientology is only now beginning to go through the throes of differentiating the adults (truth seeking spiritualists and values inspired scientists) from the children (flat earth religionists and reductionist-mechanistic inclined scientists).  Scientology seems, to steal a verse from U2, stuck in a moment that it can’t get out of.  From Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences, by Abraham H. Maslow:

These two groups (sophisticated theologians and sophisticated scientists) seem to be coming closer and closer together in their conception of the universe as ‘organismic’, as having some kind of unity and integration, as growing and evolving and having direction and, therefore, having some kind of ‘meaning.’ Whether or not to call this integration ‘God’ finally gets to be an arbitrary decision and a personal indulgence determined by one’s personal myths.  John Dewey, an agnostic, decided for strategic and communicative purposes to retain the word ‘God’, defining it in a naturalistic way.  Others have decided against using it also for strategic reasons.  What we wind up with is a new situation in the history of the problem in which a ‘serious’ Buddhist let us say, one who is concerned with ‘ultimate concerns’ and with Tillich’s ‘dimensions of depth’, is more co-religionist to a ‘serious’ agnostic than he is to a conventional, superficial, other-directed Buddhist for whom religion is only habit or custom, i.e., behavior.

Indeed, these ‘serious’ people are coming so close together as to suggest that they are becoming a single party of mankind, the earnest ones, the seeking, the questioning, probing ones, the ones who are not sure, the ones with a ‘tragic sense of life’, the explorers of the depths and of the heights, the ‘saving remnant.’  The other party then is made up of all the superficial, the moment-bound, the herebound ones, those who are totally absorbed with the trivial, those who are ‘plated with piety, not alloyed with it’, those who are reduced to the concrete, to the momentary, and to the immediately selfish.  Almost, we could say, we wind up with adults, on the one hand, and children, on the other. 

Letting Go

When I write of the idea of cultivating the skill of ‘letting go’, some Scientologists react as if I am from the planet Farsec (the alleged origin point of the universe for all psychs, reference: Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior).   On the one hand this is surprising because it is precisely what one does when one experiences a spiritual ‘release’ in a Scientology session.   On the other hand, the idea of employing and refining that capability in life is looked upon as blasphemous.  It is in a way since so much in Scientology implants precisely the opposite idea in believers.

To help get the concept across I have many times recommended folk read and attempt to think with Tao Te Ching (my recommended translation, The Tao Te Ching, an English Translation by Stephen Mitchell).   A number of people have written  to or told me that they have done so, and find the idea of ‘letting go’ liberating and useful in their quests for self- actualization (equinimity attendant to becoming who one really is and attaining toward one’s full potentialities).  Still many want the ‘tech’ to it or an instruction manual of sorts.

I came across a good description of breaking ‘letting go’ down into a process on buddhanet. net.  It is below for your perusal.  I don’t know who the author is and I don’t even know what all is on buddhanet or who operates it. All that I know is that the following description of the process rings accurate in many ways and may communicate to, and be found to be useful by, some.

Letting Go from buddhanet

If we contemplate desires and listen to them, we are actually no longer attaching to them; we are just allowing them to be the way they are. Then we come to the realization that the origin of suffering, desire, can be laid aside and let go of.

How do you let go of things? This means you leave them as they are; it does not mean you annihilate them or throw them away. It is more like setting down and letting them be. Through the practice of letting go we realize that there is the origin of suffering, which is the attachment to desire, and we realize that we should let go of these three kinds of desire. Then we realize that we have let go of these desires; there is no longer any attachment to them.

When you find yourself attached, remember that ‘letting go’ is not ‘getting rid of’ or ‘throwing away’. If I’m holding onto this clock and you say, ‘Let go of it!’, that doesn’t mean ‘throw it out’. I might think that I have to throw it away because I’m attached to it, but that would just be the desire to get rid of it. We tend to think that getting rid of the object is a way of getting rid of attachment. But if I can contemplate attachment, this grasping of the clock, I realize that there is no point in getting rid of it – it’s a good clock; it keeps good time and is not heavy to carry around. The clock is not the problem. The problem is grasping the clock. So what do I do? Let it go, lay it aside – put it down gently without any kind of aversion. Then I can pick it up again, see what time it is and lay it aside when necessary.

You can apply this insight into ‘letting go’ to the desire for sense pleasures. Maybe you want to have a lot of fun. How would you lay aside that desire without any aversion? Simply recognize the desire without judging it. You can contemplate wanting to get rid of it – because you feel guilty about having such a foolish desire – but just lay it aside. Then, when you see it as it is, recognizing that it’s just desire, you are no longer attached to it.

So the way is always working with the moments of daily life. When you are feeling depressed and negative, just the moment that you refuse to indulge in that feeling is an enlightenment experience. When you see that, you need not sink into the sea of depression and despair and wallow in it. You can actually stop by learning not to give things a second thought.

You have to find this out through practice so that you will know for yourself how to let go of the origin of suffering. Can you let go of desire by wanting to let go of it? What is it that is really letting go in a given moment? You have to contemplate the experience of letting go and really examine and investigate until the insight comes. Keep with it until that insight comes: ‘Ah, letting go, yes, now I understand. Desire is being let go of.’ This does not mean that you are going to let go of desire forever but, at that one moment, you actually have let go and you have done it in full conscious awareness. There is an insight then. This is what we call insight knowledge. In Pali, we call it nanadassana or profound understanding.

I had my first insight into letting go in my first year of meditation. I figured out intellectually that you had to let go of everything and then I thought: ‘How do you let go?’ It seemed impossible to let go of anything. I kept on contemplating: ‘How do you let go?’ Then I would say, ‘You let go by letting go.’ ‘Well then, let go!’ Then I would say:

‘But have I let go yet?’ and, ‘How do you let go?’ ‘Well just let go!’ I went on like that, getting more frustrated. But eventually it became obvious what was happening. If you try to analyze letting go in detail, you get caught up in making it very complicated. It was not something that you could figure out in words any more, but something you actually did. So I just let go for a moment, just like that.

Now with personal problems and obsessions, to let go of them is just that much. It is not a matter of analyzing and endlessly making more of a problem about them, but of practicing that state of leaving things alone, letting go of them. At first, you let go but then you pick them up again because the habit of grasping is so strong. But at least you have the idea. Even when I had that insight into letting go, I let go for a moment but then I started grasping by thinking: ‘I can’t do it, I have so many bad habits!’ But don’t trust that kind of nagging, disparaging thing in yourself. It is totally untrustworthy. It is just a matter of practicing letting go. The more you begin to see how to do it, then the more you are able to sustain the state of non-attachment.

The Secret

This is addressed those who have read the book (by Rhonda Byrne) or seen the film The Secret and failed to have its magic work for them.

The secret revealed in The Secret was the ‘law of attraction.’  In short, that which one thinks one gets.  That upon which one focuses one’s attention will be attracted into that person’s life.  As the book points out the secret is nothing new.  More than 2500 years ago the Buddha was said to have said ‘you are what you think.’ What is new about The Secret is the marvelous job it does of communicating the simplicity of the truth from religious, spiritual, self-help, and even scientific perspectives. The crux of The Secret’s authority is that great human beings throughout history have all apparently uttered the ‘law of attraction’ in their own ways as being a ‘secret’ to their successes.

However, mastering the law of attraction is not quite as easy as the book and movie make it out to be. If the secret was so simple to realize and apply, no doubt in the seven years since the book was introduced, and remained a bestseller, the world would have by now been transformed into something resembling the garden of Eden.  So, what went wrong?

Two things in my view.

First, and this is fatal to the realization of its message,  The Secret omits a most important step of realizing one’s intentions.  That step is doing something in furtherance of that realization.  One can think all the most pleasant thoughts in the world, and absent doing anything to realize those thoughts will result in a person thinking a lot of thoughts.  Every single historical figure that The Secret used for its authority for the ‘law of attraction’ was a prodigious doer.  They did not merely think about what they wanted, they pursued what they envisioned with every fiber of their beings.  Yes, even the Buddhist’s noble eight-fold path begins with ‘right view’ and ‘right intention’.  But, it is followed by ‘right action’, ‘right livelihood’, and ‘right effort.’

Second, The Secret appeals almost exclusively to people’s material interests.  While some of the historical figures used as authority for the book accumulated unimaginable riches I am pretty sure they did not do so by aiming exclusively to attain those riches.  They had bigger, broader dreams and if attainment of those more worthy intentions did not involve attainment riches, they likely would not have been any more wealthy than you or me.

In keeping with the law of attraction, when a person focuses exclusively toward the attainment of matter, they will get matter.  The problem is, that matter might not glitter with gold.  It more than likely will be the dull, painful matter that is most closely associated with thought.  That is mental mass and energy.  And so many a poor soul put all their mental power into conjuring fancy cars and yachts and wound up instead with splitting headaches.  Why?

The answer lies with another historical figure who understood the secret but who was not mentioned in the book.  L. Ron Hubbard built an extensive philosophy, psychotherapy, and religion predicated on the magic of the law of attraction.   He stated it in 1954 in this wise:

Considerations take rank over the mechanics of space, energy and time.  By this is meant that an idea or opinion, fundamentally, is superior to space, energy and time or organizations of form, since it is conceived that space, energy and time are themselves broadly agreed-upon considerations.  That so many minds agree brings about reality in the form of space, energy, and time.  These mechanics, then, of space, energy and time, are the product of agreed-upon considerations mutually held by life…

…The freedom of an individual depends on that individual’s freedom to alter his considerations of space, energy, time and forms of life, and his roles in it.  If he cannot change his mind about these, he is then fixed and enslaved by barriers of his own creation.  Man thus is seen to be enslaved by barriers of his own creation.  He creates these barriers himself or by agreeing with things which hold these barriers to be actual.

Hubbard realized that stating these facts – such as was so artfully done in The Secret – alone did little to liberate people from their self-imposed mental enslavement.  Over the next couple decades Hubbard developed a mental and spiritual technology for relieving the mental mass and energy an individual accumulates since birth while under the mistaken idea that the mechanics of matter, energy, space and time take precedence over the considerations of the individual.  He called the subject Scientology.

There are two Scientology routes to achieving a strong realization of the law of attraction and the ability to use it to one’s advantage. The first, is what Hubbard called the Training Routines.  It is a two to three week course in communication toward the ability of realizing and executing intention.  For some people that course alone will free them to clearly see and apply the law of attraction in their lives.  For those it does not deliver that end phenomenon to, it will not have been a waste of time.  At worst, one will walk away with improved communication skills and the ability to more comfortably be, do and have as one wishes.

The second route is called auditing (from the Latin root, audire which means to listen).  It can be pursued if the first route gave you something desirable, but not all that you sought toward mastering the law of attraction. An auditor does one on one counseling with a person which directly addresses one’s ability to recognize his or her spiritual self, the creator of the considerations that dictate the mechanics in one’s life.  There are six levels of counseling that follow one from another in a gradient approach.  Any one of those levels could result in a person feeling perfectly comfortable and competent in living with and by the law of attraction. There are a number of other skills and abilities attainable with each one of them.

There is an important word of warning in choosing to apply the L. Ron Hubbard approach.  As so often happens with the empowering ideas of a philosopher, institutionalization and monopolization of those ideas for power and profit can pervert them beyond recognition.  By no means should a person go anywhere near a church of Scientology nor any Scientology practitioner who does not practice Hubbard’s ideas in an integral fashion.  Such folk are religionists whose intention to help you is overshadowed by their intentions to convert people to become Scientologists.  That encompasses a world view and philosophy that in many ways is one hundred and eighty degrees diametrically opposed to the simple methodologies of helping people master the law of attraction.

An integral practitioner understands and continues to educate himself on philosophy and science outside of Scientology so as to increase his own worth and ability to apply his skills.  An integral practitioner would understand The Secret and how Scientology methods can be used to realize it and would use them in that spirit.   A true believer Scientologist religionist does not understand that The Secret is simply another way of describing the very thing Scientology was created to achieve.  Thus, a true-believer Scientologist can practice Scientology for a lifetime and never realize The Secret.   Rather than assist you to realize it, he would attempt to discredit it and to dissuade you from even pursuing it.  An integral practitioner serves with the purpose of empowering you.  A true-believer Scientologist attempts to own you so as to ‘save you.’

If you wish to pursue this route, be sure you establish that you are pursuing it with an integral practitioner.

Buddha’s Brain


I have added Buddha’s Brain, (Hanson/Mendius – New Harbinger Publications, Inc, 2009) to the recommended reading list.  The following is my review.


Buddha’s Brain is authored by neuropsychologist Rick Hanson and neurologist Richard Mendius. Hanson is also a meditation teacher, and Mendius is also cofounder of Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom.   These fellows give a relatively easy to follow sum up of what developments in science have taught us about the function of the brain.  They also, through work with Buddhist contemplative practice masters tested for neurological and hormonal/chemical patterns created by decisions of the being, detail how the brain – and thus the body – is affected by thought.  

Buddha’s Brain provides great food for thought and correlation to those trained in Dianetics and Scientology.  The authors’ description of science’s 2009 understanding of the human brain is remarkably consistent with L. Ron Hubbard’s 1950 description of the reactive mind in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.   They describe the brain as being hardwired for avoiding danger, taking precedence over behavior/action patterns that seek pleasure or reward.   They describe how transcendent states attained through contemplative practice – their main frame of reference being Buddhism – erase reactive neuron channels and create new, more analytical, intelligent and rational ones.

Just as Scientology was somewhat vague in differentiating between the Thetan (spirit) and the mind and nearly mute on the subject of the brain, the authors of Buddha’s Brain are somewhat vague on differentiating between brain and mind, and never label that which is making the decisions that are creating a better functioning mind/brain.  To get hung up on such difficulties with constructs describing that which is invisible to the eye and physical measures would be to miss the forest for the trees.

Hard core Scientologists, if they could muster the curiosity or courage to read the book, would likely heavily tune out somewhere in the last 2/3rds of it.  That is because the material for the most part prescribes contemplative practice that the authors claim demonstrably reforms the brain/mind.  To react in such wise would be a mistake in my view.  To read it, for example, might lead to some insights into why running pleasure moments, as in Self Analysis by L. Ron Hubbard, is so therapeutic.  Could it be that Scientology processes do far more good than L. Ron Hubbard even knew given the relatively archaic state of science in his day?   One thing is for sure, those who are afraid to look will never know.