Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Stephen Mitchell Tao Te Ching
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: August 02, 2009 03:25AM

(EXCERPT of review June 26, 1989 The Nation)

What Zen?
TAO TE CHING. By Lao-tzu. A New
English Version by Stephen Mitchell.
Harper & Row. 108pp. $15.95.

The news in February 1988 that
Harper & Row had paid Stephen
Mitchell $130,000 for a
new translation of Lao-tzu’s
Tao Te Ching should have marked a
minor watershed. ...

... Mitchell still feels compelled to
make an extraordinary claim to justify
this work. He contends that his ”most
essential preparation” for translating the
Tao Te Ching was a fourteen-year study
of Zen “which brought me face to face
with Lao-tzu and his true disciples and
heirs, the early Chinese Zen Masters.”

Though we may s p e a k of Lao-tzu as an
actual person (the Tao Te Ching is prob-
ably a compilation of fragments from
various contemporary sources), no direct
lineage connects him to the early Zen
masters. Nevertheless, Mitchell has
apparently concluded that since he has met
Lao-tzu ‘face to face,” and so received
”the transmission of mind,” he is capturing
the essence of Lao-tzu for our time
whether he translates a line literally or
replaces it with one of his own.

This may make for good Zen, but it
does not make for good translation.
Indeed, it has led him to such wholesale
rewriting of the original that it can hardly be
considered the same book. By my rough
count, in the course of translating the Tao
Te Ching’s eighty-one short chapters
(approximately 975 lines), Mitchell has
rewritten about 150 lines so radically
that they bear virtually no relation to the
original. He has eliminated 205 of the
original lines, and about 170 lines in
Mitchell’s Tao Te Ching have been
invented out of thin air.
Sometimes the inventions replace lines Mitchell has deleted.
Sometimes they are simply added to what
was already there. In either case, they
correspond to nothing whatsoever in the text,
except that they come from somewhere
in the Taoist/Zen spiritual ballpark.

Mitchell gives an additional rationale
for this procedure in a note to chapter
fifty, which he has entirely replaced with
his own “improvisations on the passage’s
theme.” There he explains that parts of
the Tao Te Ching are the work of
‘‘a much narrower consciousness,” and that
he could not therefore
“in good conscience include them in this version.”

The Tao Te Ching is highly philosophical
poetry, and accurate translation of
its basic concepts, elusive though they
may be, is essential to its success. But
Mitchell has made little attempt to
translate even the book‘s central term, “tao,”
in a consistent way. He uses it not only
when it occurs in the original but also to
translate such words and phrases as
"heaven and earth,”
‘the space between heaven and earth,”
“the valley spirit,” ”one,” ”mother of the earth”
and, most surprisingof all, “te,”
the term contrasted with tao
in the book’s title. This title could be
translated as
“The Classic (Ching) of the Way (Tao)
and its Manifestation as Nature (Te).”
Indeed, the Tao Te Ching originally
bore two titles, one for each of
its two books: Tao Ching and Te Ching.

One example of how Mitchell conflates
the two concepts is in chapter fifty-one,
where his “The Tao gives birth to all beings,
/nourishes them, maintains them”
should read something like:
“The Tao gives birth to all things./Te nurtures
them, cares for them.”
Where Mitchell doesn’t simply replace te with tao
he either leaves the passage untranslated or
rewrites it extensively, leaving the concept
of te out. Hence, he has completely
eliminated te from the text.
But even if we ignore the flagrant
misrepresentations of the original and
consider the passages that might be
called “loose” or “literary“ translation, we
need go no further than the first chapter
to find that Mitchell’s work misrepre-
sents the spirit of the original as well.
Here, Lao-tzu’s

The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of the ten thousand things.

becomes, in Mitchell’s scheme of things:
The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin of all particular things.

Mitchell’s assertions are entirely different
philosophically from their counterparts
in the text. The second sentence,
in which Mitchell places the linguistic
human at the center of the empirical universe,
is quite foreign to the spirit of Lao-tzu,
as is the implied hierarchy of eternal
reality over (fleeting) particularity. This
hierarchy is developed in Mitchell’s next
stanza, its terms transposed:

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

This is the dreary and all too familiar
monastic principle. But there is no “caught”
and no “only” in the original:

Always desireless, one sees its mystery.
Always desiring, one sees its manifestations.

Mitchell’s rendering loses the amplitude
of Lao-tzu, for whom desire and
desirelessness can both be cultivated as part of
living with the tao, because mystery and
manifestation together make up the tao.

Indeed, the book is imbued with
the New Age sentiment of self-help
spirituality, the result of Mitchell’s attempt to
make the Tao Te Ching into a readily
accessible Zen text. But it isn’t Zen, nor
it readily accessible. For that matter,
neither are the great Zen texts known for
their accessibility.

In the notes, Mitchell’s folksy
California Zen commentaries contribute to
this popularization. But as I read them,
my bemusement gave way to a kind of
vertigo when I realized he had written
commentaries on those very passages
that he himself had invented. By this
remarkable formal feat, he is no longer the
wise translator/commentator helping us
with Lao-tzu’s wisdom; he has become
Lao-tzu himself!

One example is in chapter forty-six,
which Mitchell has made
into an antinuke polemic, complete
with ”warheads . . . stockpiled outside
the cities.” Here, Mitchell comments
on his own phrase- “Whoever can see
through all fear / will always be safe”-
thus: “This is the only real defense. Pres-
ident Roosevelt said, ‘We have nothing
to fear but fear itself.’ I would say, ‘Not
even that.’”
It might be worth noting that
Roosevelt said this in 1933 when he
was trying to mobilize people against the
Depression, not for war. But I suppose
Mitchell’s crowning moment comes in
chapter fifty, where lines of his own inven-
tion are honored with commentary by Zen
master Seung Sahn.

...Because the book
has sold so well in cloth, plans are afoot
to postpone the paperback; those of
more modest means will have to wait for
a more affordable edition. The well-heeled
who are not satisfied with the
hardcover (complete with elegant “Bible
ribbon”) can look forward to the deluxe
$25 edition planned for Christmas. And
for those who are too busy to read the
book, a cassette tape is available, so
Lao-tzu’s insights can be enjoyed while
commuting to the office.
At the conclusion of the acknowledgments,
in the last sentence of the book, he offers
his “deep gratitude to that prince among
agents, my friend Michael Katz.”

You can hear laughter in that all the way to the
It seems Mitchell’s translation may
embody one timeless truth in a way
that is particularly relevant to our Reaganized age:
He who laughs last laughs best.
But then, Lao-tzu wasn’t completely
ignorant of such things: “Without that
laughter, it wouldn’t be the tao.“

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/02/2009 03:39AM by The Anticult.

Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Stephen Mitchell Tao Te Ching
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: August 02, 2009 04:01AM

Its amazing at how little has changed, going back 20 years to 1989 when that review was written by David Hinton.

Stephen Mitchell was hooked-up 20 years ago with his "prince among agents, my friend Michael Katz", and there is more information about Katz in this thread.

Stephen Mitchell's Guru, Seung Sahn, is inserted into the text, and it would be the "crowning moment" of the book, as at the time, it was thought Stephen Mitchell was going to take over the Kwan Um School Of Zen, and replace Seung Sahn as Zen Guru in Chief.
He is inserting himself into the text, as mentioned in the review..."he has become Lao-tzu himself!"
Claiming ”the transmission of mind” from the fraud Seung Sahn.
Such astounding egomania and narcissism.

The review says...
"approximately 975 lines, Mitchell has
rewritten about 150 lines so radically
that they bear virtually no relation to the
original. He has eliminated 205 of the
original lines, and about 170 lines in
Mitchell’s Tao Te Ching have been
invented out of thin air."

Lines: (975) -150 -205 = 620 (more than 1/3 of the book was changed)
170 lines invented out of thin air.
150+205+170= 525 lines changed or invented
So OVER HALF of the Tao Te Ching is either "flagrant misrepresentations" or "invented out of thin air"

Most heinously according to this review, he removed the phrase the TEN THOUSANDS THINGS, which shows such incredible arrogance, and appalling bad taste.

They were laughing all the way to the bank 20 years ago.

Byron Katie (the Work) and Altar Music by Christin Lore Weber
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: August 02, 2009 05:01AM

In the book Altar Music by Christin Lore Weber...
There is an excerpt from Rilke, from a "translation" by Stephen Mitchell.

and one of the main characters names is...Kate / Katie.

Of course..its all fiction.

"This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental."

Cost of becoming a Certified Facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie:
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: August 02, 2009 05:19AM

Cost of becoming a Certified Facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie: []

That is a very important post that needs to be referred back to many times.
So the minimum seems to be about $23,000.

As stated, that does NOT include travel, hotel, etc, or time taken off paying-work, in lost wages.

It also doesn't include the "gifts" that so many people give. One person in the thread said they "gave" over $10K just in "gifts", some would "give" much more than that.
Also, some of those folks get lured into the Turnaround House, and other private "coaching".

So the number is easily $30K, and could be much much more if a person does a few more programs.

With about 115 "certified" facilitators so far, that is about 3 million dollars in fees, at rock bottom.
So millions are being made, and they are signing up more people everyday.

And any of those people can be PULLED at any time, for any or no reason.
Its not like a real "certification" which a person can take elsewhere.

And with over 100 "certified" facilitators, the pickings are going to be slim for the new people, as those with a "name" are going to take most of the clients.

It does make one wonder though, what happened to Steven Sashen promoting his Byron Katie "facilitating" on his websites, and others? Did they take it down on their own, or were they ordered to take down their links by BKI, so the business would be directed only through the BKI referral website?

This type of "franchising" and charging "certified coaches" is rampant in the new age field, everyone is doing it. They sign up dozens and hundreds of their own "coaches" or facilitators, who are forced to take every single course offered by the LGAT seminar coaching company.
This has been going on for decades.
In the end, where do most of these "certified facilitators" end up?

They end up simply as very high-ticket customers for the seminar corporation, and an unpaid labor force. Most of them lose their shirts. That is reality.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/02/2009 05:23AM by The Anticult.

Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: Meadow ()
Date: August 02, 2009 03:29PM

So SM's alliance with BK must have come as a godsend to him. I don't believe he was particularly well known or famous before he met her. With her support he really struck a whole new audience, and of course he benefits from her public image. I couldn't find it now, but a while ago there was a 'highly recommended' section on their store page. On it where all Stephen Mitchell's book titles.

Looking at his video, the word 'smug' comes to mind. I don't think I have ever seen another human being that exudes such arrogance. An arrogance which tries to hide behind feigned modesty. What I get from his words, is that he sees himself as 'enlightened', so to be married to a person that he has started to depict as the greatest saint that ever lived was the icing on his cake.

It is all so predictable and transparant, and it baffles me that more people don't see it. They must be literally laughing their heads off all the way to the bank.

In the end you could say that they fully deserve each other: the phoney author and the phoney guru.

Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: Meadow ()
Date: August 02, 2009 04:13PM

BK's Twitter entries alone will be enough to keep this forum going for a long time!!!

The latest one:

The illusion is the mirror image attaching to a belief. The illusion is the ego thinking that it’s separate. It’s not.
How thick do you need to be to not see through this? This is BK at her best. Throwing about oneliners that are fuzzy, confusing and basically say nothing, but to the mesmerized follower will serve as proof of her 'high' state. I can imagine people posting this one on their bathroom mirrors to not forget such a piece of high wisdom.

Let's take it apart:

'The illusion is the mirror image'.

What is an illusion, and specifically, what is 'the' illusion? Who's illusion are we talking about here? Hers? Or the rest of the world's? That is a mighty generalization. That would mean we have BK on one side, and the rest of mankind on the other.

'The mirror image attaching to a belief'.

What is a mirror image? A mirror image of what? Is this kind of talk only meant for insiders and are all of her Twitter followers (6761) insiders?

Illusion applies to something that is not real, so how does something that is not real attach itself, let alone to a belief?

'The illusion is the ego thinking that it's separate'.

What is the ego? Does the ego think? Separate from what? And again, who's ego is she talking about here, her own? Or is she free from ego? And in that case, is she talking about everybody elses ego? How arrogant is that?

'It's not".

And of course this last one says it all. She knows. If I am not mistaken then 2 entries ago on Twitter she said this: 'We suffer only until we realize that we can’t know anything'.

Seems like the lady is slipping a lot lately.

It would be wonderful if there were some silent readers out there who could enlighten us to the meaning of this very mystical statement.

Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 02, 2009 09:33PM

Why Moderators are Needed or...Strategic Image Management via Blog Comments Sections

This, dear readers, is from a blog by and for persons who have served time and spent money and the best years of their lives in another organization.

But, but, like the link I posted to the story given by 'formerreleaser' this item may also
be of interest.


The entire article must be read in full.

One person wrote this in the comments section. I am omitting proper names so that
readers can fill in the blanks with relevant names of the group in which they've served time.


the (X Entity)is like any other religion or social group, it is a house of cards.

The only way to preserve the structure is to constantly monitor and block any idea or feeling that does not support and preserve the beast.

As the Entity has gotten older, it is like a body running out of vitality and so the environment has to be carefully monitored for pathogens, ie anything that threatens the mindless, stupid trance that its participants have trapped in for decades.

You are an innocent and sincere man which would have made you a good candidate to be trapped in the Entity for eternity, except that you are also self aware and self directed. This makes you a threat.

It is quite acceptable in the Entity to notice little problems within the working structure, as long as the blame for this goes to the underlings.

The ultimate perfection of the little scamp known as “the Leader” must never be questioned.

Name Omitted for privacy

"It is quite notice little problems within the working structure, as long as the blame for this goes to the underlings"

Sounds familiar, eh? Do folks that start these things all attend the same darn training camp?

Back to the main subject of this article:

Most authors who run blogs or websites, or who edit news sources, assume that persons writing comments are doing so independently, and spontaneously, contributing personal and unique experiences and view points.

Since most authors work and write independently and consider their blogs personal offerings, they assume comments are personal offerings, and rarely imagine comments could be generated as a result of a of a coordinated strategy to serve an image management agenda.

Authors and journalists who write about organizations that seek to control all information and who are control freaks concerning PR and image management, dont realize that their comments sections are not perceived as the electronic commons but as territory to be incorporated into a controlled fiefdom.

Even an author or journalist innocently blogging online about the chance that he or she might someday wish to write a book or article about such a group might never realize that his or her online remark could trigger a notification alert, and that their comments section will become a target of a take over by impression management specialists. posing as spontaneous and concerned citizens.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/02/2009 09:43PM by corboy.

Byron Katie Inc, Stephen Mitchell, Michael Katz
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: August 03, 2009 03:40AM

Stephen Mitchell was connected with the agent Michael Katz going back decades, and are both connected with the so-called "Zen" stuff they say they do.

Their "Story" is that Katz introduced Mitchell to Byron Katie in 2000. Is that true?
Doesn't sound too believable, that would have to be proven, as their "Stories" are generally just strategic and concocted.
Perhaps it all started as a publishing cross-marketing scheme?

Byron Katie and Michael Katz wrote a book together in 2005 called "I Need Your Love - Is That True?"
Many of the same persuasion techniques explained in this thread, were used in the preface to that book, which was written by Katz.

"was it Mary Poppins crossed with a Zen master?" []

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/03/2009 03:43AM by The Anticult.

Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: August 03, 2009 09:58PM

"was it Mary Poppins crossed with a Zen master?"

As an aside, it should be noted that the author of the Mary Poppins books, PL Travers, had a lifelong fascination with mysticism, myth and magic. She was an early student of Gurdjieff and the plot lines of the books have a zen-like paradoxical quality. The Disney film portrays Mary Poppins as a jolly, kind person whereas the books show her as stern, punitive and quite harsh and unforgiving.

She is none the less loved by children as a firm and dependable figure. The theme of the books and indeed the theme of the author's (Travers) life is the dread fear of abandonment that children have when as children they are powerless to look after themselves and so completely dependent on the whims of less-than-dependable adults.

A good zen teacher uses the bizarre methods of paradox to force the student to work out for himself that he is capable, as an adult, of making his own decisions and that, as an adult, he need follow nobody elses prescription for living.

Good zen teachers, like the literary Mary Poppins, are not noted for their Disneyesque kindness, the idea is to get the student to point where he no longer needs the teacher so brusque and harsh techniques are used to push the fledgling from the nest and to teach it to fly the only way it can be done--by doing what comes naturally.

Zen teaching is paradoxical and transgressive to nudge the student from infantile dependency into being a mature, thinking, self-responsible adult. No guru required.

BK seems to want to marry the saccharine sweetness of Disney's Mary Poppins with the eternal dependence of the middle-aged infant. PL Travers would have been revolted by the manipulative sentimentality of 'Loving What Is' and any half-way decent zen teacher would blow a great big raspberry at the notion of permanent bliss states.

Mitchell is reinventing not just zen teaching but the fictional Mary Poppins to scam more victims into BK's dependency business.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/03/2009 10:01PM by Stoic.

Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: Meadow ()
Date: August 04, 2009 01:20AM

BK's Twitter entry:

Seeking love keeps you from the awareness that you already have it—that you are it.

Translated: "I am a spiritual lollypop, why don't you come and suck on me".

Who does she think the folks are, that need to hear this?

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