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Know before you go
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 16, 2014 10:00PM

This information was provided by former members of a guru led cult.

It is intended for use to assist in emancipation, and for us to defend
the inherant dignity of the ordinary, unenlightened, untransformed human person.

Anyone who uses this material to build an empire for yourself -- you will become
a prisoner of these techniques and in your helpless old age, at mercy of
human vultures worse than yourself.


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A Discussion and Critique of Thich Nhat Hanhs no self
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 11, 2014 06:46AM


A savory read.

In Corboy's opinion, this entire essay may apply to the Dalai Lama and the other Vajrasattava types.

Can tell readers that in 2001, shortly after the 9-11 attacks, Thich Nhat Hanh came to our town to give a talk.

Corboy decided to attend, and looked forward to it, having read TNH's translations of the Heart Sutra and Diamond Sutra -- translations considered standard in many practice communities.

Corboy assumed that TNH would, like other Zen teachers, begin the lecture on, or shortly after, the scheduled time.

Instead, the evening program had a long list of speakers, and a choral performance, and the famous Thich Nhat Hanh would not speak until two hours
later. That meant we were all to be kept waiting.

Corboy, even that long ago, disliked the amount of ritual, the hierarchy, and "build up" surrounding someone who was supposed to be carrier of of the humble teachings of Buddha.

And, Corboy dislikes being kept up late, past normal bedtime.

So this essay is interesting and may account for why so many good Buddhists
do not get appropriately angry when boundary violations are committed.

Thich Nhat Hanh quoted

According to the Buddha’s teachings, the most basic condition for happiness is freedom. Here we do not mean political freedom, but freedom from the mental formations of anger, despair, jealousy and delusion. These mental formations are described by the Buddha as poisons. As long as these poisons are still in our heart, happiness cannot be possible. (Hanh 1)

Shyam Dodge comments


For all intents and purposes, TNH’s version of the dharma makes one into a “good citizen.” His vision of “the Buddha’s teaching” produces socially non-reactive, non-discriminating subjects. A Buddhist, in this respect, does not seek political freedom but spiritual emancipation from “non-Buddhist” emotions such as anger and despair.

The Buddha, in the mind of TNH, dreamed, as Foucault would say, of “the utopia of the perfectly governed city.” (198) A city populated by citizens who spend their time moderating their emotions and behavior (self-regulating). Social freedom is an afterthought. Of course this is not necessarily a bad thing. But it is also definitely an ideology that produces a particular type of Buddhist person with a particular set of Buddhist desires, habits, and behaviors (free of anger and jealousy while filled with peace and calm).


4. The Way of Seniority

How does TNH get away with these obvious contradictions? One answer might be the structure of his Buddhist community. TNH speaks to this in the Shambhala interview:

Buddhist democracy is more grounded in the truth [in comparison to Western democracy], because if you are a teacher and you have much more experience and insight, your vote has more value than the vote of a novice who has not got much insight and experience. So in Buddhism, voting should combine the way of democracy with the way of seniority. That is possible. We have done that with a lot of success in our community, because the younger and less experienced people always have faith and respect toward the elder ones (McLeod 3)

A few things are happening here: 1. Seniority trumps dissenting voices, since “experience” is given higher value than equality and one cannot help but think possibly rationality as well (if there are revelations such as his version of non-self available to us beyond our understanding and intellect); 2. The novice is not encouraged to seek social freedom since “anger, despair [and] jealousy” are inadmissible emotions; 3. TNH is a senior member of his community and therefore can help his novices “realize non-self” not just intellectually but, one can only assume, metaphysically, and thereby free them from “delusion.” In other words TNH can draw the “poison” from their “hearts.” With this in mind a structure begins to form within one’s imagination of TNH’s version of the Buddhist self and the ideal Buddhist community.

This structure, not unlike Foucault’s vision of the Panopticon, seeks to automate the functioning of power within the subject.[2] TNH does this in a few simple ways: a. His version of the Buddha’s teaching dictates what are admissible emotions through a hierarchy of prioritized states and habits of mind (equanimity, nondiscrimination, peace and calm) which demands that the Buddhist monitor their thoughts, behaviors and emotions; b. TNH’s ideology produces an imperative to rid oneself of the emotions of dissent and social disquiet by relinquishing “jealousy” and “anger,” which c. curbs and undermines social revolution. In this regard, the Buddhist becomes a self-regulating function of society who does not require external discipline—they are already regulating their disquiet and despair within.

In the effort to draw these finer points into greater relief consider the following: If anger, jealousy and despair are not “Buddhist emotions” than a significant portion of one’s own inner life is not admissible, in some respects they might even be considered an enemy—an inner “blockade” or “poi
poison” in TNH’s terminology (Hanh 1). In direct correlation to this TNH claims that non-self cannot be realized intellectually. In two deft moves the Buddhist (or at least the student of TNH) is taught that it is necessary to transcend their reasoning faculties and to distrust a meaningful portion of their emotional life in order to be “happy.” The Buddhist then must become a constant surveillant of his/her own inner life (which can, of course, often be a good thing),[3] monitoring and regulating their emotions while also attempting to subjugate his/her intellect in order to realize the truth of anatta. This makes the Buddhist, in the words of Foucault, an “object of information.” (200) In this regard, the Buddhist must be transfigured into an object that can be analyzed, examined, probed and deconstructed, as if such self-analysis is capable of freeing them from their own native subjectivity (if non-self is something to be realized independent of intellect and emotion), rather than it being simply another function of subjectivity. Metaphysical circularity, like this, blinds the Buddhist to the truth of their condition with the promise of a revelation that can free them from the “prison” of their own minds—a freedom that is self-transcending. In other words this revelation is atman, an independent self that transcends anger, jealousy, and the intellect.

5. The Implications of TNH’s Non-View Ideology

Thich Nhat Hanh has made a transcendent self out of a non-self and a non-view out of a view. He has constructed an ideology that dictates social norms and behavioral development as well as metaphysical truths. But he claims to have done no such thing. Instead, he asserts that he is revealing the true nature of reality. These complications (or rather contradictions) in his reasoning are not koans—they are not revelatory epiphany generators. It is simply sloppy thinking. It is self-dupery and intellectual dishonesty. If TNH were to admit that his ideology is itself a view and that his concept of anatta is in fact atman then his arguments would have more substance. I’m fairly certain that many of his teachings are therapeutic for many people, which speaks to the value of ideology and the capacity of ideological constructions to remake the world in positive ways. I’m also quite certain that TNH deeply cares about social emancipation. But this does not change the fact that TNH is practicing, at least intellectually, a profound form of dishonesty.

Such intellectual self-dupery disables critical thinking, the small portion of autonomy one might have. It makes one a self-deceiver, a psychological masochist forever frustrated in the effort to attain an illusion (a transcendent self that does not exist). It makes one a prisoner of metaphysical circularity. These qualities seem counter-productive to TNH’s larger aims. From all of his talks, books and articles TNH appears to be intent upon providing therapeutic tools to alleviate suffering and to bring about greater human freedom yet the intellectual dishonesty undergirding his philosophy undermines his ostensible “larger mission.”

One commenter wrote


Matthias Steingass said
October 24, 2012 at 13:24
Tom, #92, etc.

“we all already know that Madison Avenue is trying to delude us”

We know “that” but not “how”, or we know it only partly. Already there are techniques like “neuromarketing”. Although these might be, at this point in time, not really working, it is evident that marketing will use all about cognitive and evolutionary psychology what they can lay their hand on. Promising psychologists are oftentimes headhunted directly from university into the laboratories and marketing departments of the big players – and their research results stay there.

They will use also everything from meditation, breathing exercises to yoga in all its variants to get more knowledge about how the consumer can put himself into a state of relaxed well being – all for regenerating his workforce – while at the same time knowledge about ideology and its genealogy remains in the dark. We know that it happens. But we can put more emphasis on how it happens.

Shyam discribes that in section four of his text in Foucaultian terms. Buddhism seems to be in fact a very well functioning panopticon. Today there are no more asylums or military barracks like in the “societies of disciplin”. Today in “society of norm/control” the structure of the panopticon became invisible – the act of disciplining itself becomes invisible.

I would ad to this that TNH isn’t aware of being something like a puppet on an string. The norm today of being a self regulating, well being, good looking, smart and successful consumer citizen is transmitted also through him. Here comes in (Weber’s) “charismatic personality” and its possible roots in the phylogenetic-biological realm. People literally fall in love with their guru, regardless of him/her being meat loaf or truly holy (e.g. Kumaré).

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Serenity supported by environments..
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 20, 2014 02:39AM



"Deepak Chopra recently spent a little time with some Buddhist monks in a monastery and was impressed by how serene they were.

'But Buddhist monasteries are set up for serenity. They are designed to create an environment that is protected from the usual day to day troubles we all have to deal with. The monks’ needs are all taken care of so that they can devote themselves to deep inquiry without distraction.....

"Put those same monks in a big time crunch in an Enterprise Rent-a-Car place with a born-again Christian who wants to give them a hard time and see what happens to all that serenity.

And it is easy for some spiritual celebrity to look serene when cared for by an entourage.

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Taiwanese cited as helpful -- not Peoples Republic
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 21, 2014 02:18AM



315 Responses
Chris Chandler, on January 3, 2014 at 7:32 pm said:
The U.S. and Europe could learn a lot from the Taiwanese, who have had a long connection Chan Buddhism and were not so easy to fool. Chan Buddhism , by the way, is where the stream of Dzochen actually came from, before it was corrupted by Lamaism. and is now being used by the Lamas, such as Tsoknyi R and Sogyal R and many other Lamas who claim to be teaching Dzogchen only to trap people into Vajarayana Tantric Guru-worshipping Lamaism. Many educated people are fooled by this one of many deceptions, used by Tibetan Lamas to ensare people into their fold.

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Speculation -The Unreal Default Smile - invalidating
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 20, 2014 09:58PM

'Moriarty's' observations apply to any group presuming to call itself
sufi -- even if the group is not tied to Islam and its belief system is a
hotch potch.

Sufi Cults | - SunniportAug 30, 2014 ... Anyone from the cultists who has been reading these posts will think that none of
these points apply to them or their group. However they need ... - 92k - Cached - Similar pages

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(Quote)The busier the member is kept the less he is able to accompany people holding another view. Of course the group is told to shun anyone who opposes them and is told to only accompany people from the group.

Ecstatic states of euphoria are maintained on a regular basis and reinterpreted as spiritual intoxication or states. Many times people do this out of group think. I have discussed this with people in the Sayfi Order and the Boutchichiya where these states are encouraged. What they have in common is that in order to fit in the group many people have admitted that they only pretended to be intoxicated. This involves the screaming and the erratic movements, as well as the 'electric' shock which are applied by the Sayfis. There is clear mind control employed when the leader gives a glance to the seeker and then he screams. Later I may post a few videos of how this is done by the Sayfis and Boutchichiya, but this is the same method used by martial arts masters who claim to beat people without touching them. The student is made to think that he was attacked by chi force of the master. I posted a video of this earlier.

Once old ties are abandoned and most time consumption is with the group the member is bound by the group. He is in psychological confinement.

Some people who cannot commit themselves to the group because of the time may eventually leave, but those who are addicted to the 'Baba Juice' make the commitment to the group and sacrifice their time and family life for the addiction.

"This 'Baba Juice' addiction ranges from person to person. Some of the cultists may be learning their basics of religion which they did not acquire elsewhere (this is good if the beliefs are correct, but many times they are told false things and they will never know). Others may appreciate the group for making them leave certain habits (of course certain Self Help schemes are re labelled as spiritual help).

"But others will remain for the mystical aspects like the spiritual 'kashf', or impending doomsday scenario, (Kali Yuga Corboy) or dreams and miracles, or visions of saints and other things.

"Others will simply stay because of position and status, fame associated with the group and its popularity. Some may be addicted to the group because of friends and the feel good environment. In 'sufi' groups the food and drink also plays a major role. Some groups supply fantastic food.

Corboy note:

Some groups become renowned for musical performances
and take great care to stage 'feel good' events
that appeal to outsiders -- while concealing their
actual arrogance towards the outsiders whose goodwill
is so carefully cultivated.

Everything is just oh, so niiiicceee, incredibly nice.

The person who wrote as 'Moriarty' did so describing problems in
Muslim sufi groups.

"Ecstatic states of euphoria are maintained on a regular basis and reinterpreted as spiritual intoxication or states."

Corboy dares speculate that over time, members may learn or be taught
to trigger euphoric states within themselves after enough of these experiences in rituals.

This skill, if developed, can be used to self tranquillize when one encounters hardship or skepticism from others.

Persons who learn this skill may go about with radiant smiles and doe eyed expressions that can be quite luminous and beguiling to an outsider.

The doe eyed expressions and smiles may be genuine some times. But these
may also be used as default expressions to conceal boredom, contempt,
fear, anxiety.

I once knew a person who did this all the time.

Two days after 9-11, I saw this person. X's eyes had bags under them,
face was haggard, shoulders slumped.

But...the eyes were doe like and the smile still pasted in place.

A person who can maintain a mask of this kind can con the world into
thinking he or she is some sort of elite spiritual practitioner, when
all he or she is doing is using a very well practiced default response --
one that an outsider cannot know of.

Just as someone who is covertly using valium can seem oh so serene.

What the outsider does not know is that the glowing person may be
self trancing after long practice in exercises prescribed by a leader
who has learned a thing or two about trance induction -- whether the traditional methods long known of in Asia and the Middle East, or newer
more potent methods of trance induction learned from irresponsible popularizers
such as the Neurolinguistic Programming people.

It is possible that members may learn the "default smile" in such a way as to charm and appease otherwise skeptical outsiders.

If members decorate offices or homes to resemble the room where the ecstatic
trance work is done, self induced euphoria, complete with the glowing smile
soulful eyes, can be done in an office or business setting.

Long term, this may have serious consequences for children who grow up in such families.

Painful emotions that are part of normal human life may easily be shoved
aside by parents who self trance and who supplement the Perpetual Smile by
using humor to distract a suffering child from valid emotion.

A child full of panic, anger, may encounter inconsistent, invalidating responses
from parents who self trance and smile all the time.

At least if one grows up with alcoholic parents, one knows **why** one feels
scared or angry. The bottle is sitting out there for you to see.

But if parents are using self induced trance taught to them by their leader,
they are in effect process addicts and bliss addicts and their children
cannot know why the family atmosphere is invalidating.

At least if one sees Mommy and Daddy smoking skunk weed, or smelly drunk, one knows something icky weird is going on.

But if Mommy and Daddy or one of them is using self induced trance, how
can a small child or teenager know this?

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A good thought for the day
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 10, 2014 08:01AM

Written by author of a blog on Zen Buddhism, but it applies
to the entire human condition.


It is very important to remain able to express one's own opinions -
so long as one appreciates these are opinions, not something
binding upon others.

Because, if we become afraid to express our opinions, that means
we become afraid to speak up if we see something happening
that worries us.

When too many people stifle their opinions, this creates
a situation where small episodes of wrongdoing go unremarked
upon -- which in turn increases risk of worse episodes

Buddha didnt leave privilege and live in renunciation for years,
just to create soft spoken unopinionated wimps.

In the suttas, we have a Buddha who spoke clearly
what was dharma and what was not -- and told the Kalama
tribe to investigate for themselves whether any teaching
had demonstrable, beneficial outcomes.

Mose confronted Pharaoh, not once, but many times. He spoke
up when he returned to find people worshipping an idol.

Jesus told us to pray for those who harm us, but he also kicked
over the tables of the money changers in the Temple. If Jesus
had had no opinions and been nice and polite, he would have
died in bed.

(Quote)One of the things I've learned through my own blogging experience is that it is not uncommon to receive some backlash when you express a view that readers or other bloggers disagree with.

If you say something critical about this or that book or this or that article or this or that blogger, people feel you are being somehow 'unspiritual' or 'mean-spirited' for expressing an opinion.

As practitioners, as human beings, we all have opinions though... even about the so-called spiritual matters. Expressing and sharing those opinions shouldn't be frowned upon. We can all learn something from the expressed viewpoints of others whether we agree or not.



(Quote)I especially like hearing from Gwen and Patrick because they are not like me in many respects. While Gwen and I seem to have a lot of the same books on our shelves, their chosen careers and lifestyles are totally different from my own.

Why is this a good thing? Because I think one of the problems we have in the world is that we don't expose ourselves to people who weren't cut with the same cookie-cutter that we were. So I like both that they have a point of view and that they are coming from a perspective that is often different than my own.(Unquote)

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Pseudo science and "Vedic Science'
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 14, 2014 05:17AM

"......the freedom to explore things with well established scientific methods without enchanting science or subsuming it to non-testable transcendental beliefs."

"In other words, India’s anti-Eurocentric intellectuals claim that the Brits were trying to brainwash the Indians not only with their culture but their science also."

Anyone involved with yoga and thinking of getting involved with a guru
or an ashram should read this.

Keep in mind that gurus who deride materialistic Western science and
materialism are usually very quick to get medical care from Western
trained physicians and surgeons.

These same gurus would be unable to maintain their business
empires without mobile phones, computers --
all developed from principles based on objective scientific methodology.

Many diabetic gurus would not be alive were it not for glucose testing
monitors, diabetic medications and insulin, all developed by
"materialistic" scientific medical researchers.


Prophets Facing Backward


Prophets Facing Backward: Postmodernism, Science, and Hindu Nationalism

Meera Nanda

Delhi,India: Permanent Black (publisher of 2006 paperback edition)

Hardback edition 2004

ISBN 81 7824 153 6

Rs 350

308 pages, paperback

Review by Joe Szimhart, 2008

Every now and then we pick up a book that brings into focus issues that concern us very much. Nanda Meera did that for me in Prophets Facing Backward. The author was trained in microbiology but later took up a career in science writing and journalism. She begins the Preface with: “This is a book I had to write. I had no choice in the matter.” On the last page of her Conclusion, she writes, “Without secularization on this level of ontology and epistemology, Indian people will always remain at the mercy of false prophets.” This is a demanding book as it not only requires the reader to recognize social and political forces that could ruin the future of the human race but also demands that we recognize essential realities that can save us. Nanda compels us to revisit the benefits of the Enlightenment and the “scientific temper” necessary to keep human kind grounded in real progress. She takes issues with post-Kuhnian and postmodernist efforts to validate all cultural realities as “true” or symmetrically valid as “science.” She sees an unholy marriage between postmodern deconstruction of modernist values and the pseudo-sciences of nationalistic fundamentalist religion.


Nanda’s perspective recognizes that the lessons of science have yet to find universal acceptance. Indeed, there has been a cultural reaction to what has been labeled ‘positivism’ by conservative religious types (with the support of postmodernist activism and ecofeminism from the left) in Indiaand around the world since the 19th century. She argues that India’s now dominant Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP, reflects the populist Hindutva assertion that Vedic science is “secular”. In this view, Vedic or scriptural truth is the basis of all reality including the sciences. Examples of Hindutva (Hindu-ness) propaganda appear within the teachings of Swami Bhaktivendanta in his Hare Krishna or ISKCON movement and in Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation or TM. The Hare Krishnas taught, for example, that the first moon landing was faked by American film studios because their Vedas say the “moon” is unreachable. TM’s claim to ‘scientifically’ alter weather and crime through levitating during meditation or chanting a mantra is another example of pseudo-science based on scripture. This parallels fundamentalist Christian Bible-based claims for Intelligent Design and with radical Muslims using the Koran as the basis for scientific truth both thus denying thatDarwin’s evolutionary theory is true. “What is happening inIndia is not unique at all. Such reactionary modernism lies at the heart of radical Islam in most of theMiddle East as well” (262).

Taking a label from Professor Agehananda Bharati, Nanda calls the pseudo-secularization inIndiaa “pizza effect.” Bharati noted that “any traditional Indian idea, however obscure or irrational” gets honored as science if it barely or remotely resembles modern inventions like jet planes or research in quantum mechanics. During the Second World War the common pizza in Italian village homes found favor among American soldiers. The Pizza Pie soon developed inAmericaas a popular restaurant item with a variety of garnishes subsequently emerging inItalyas ‘native’ haute cuisine. “Thus obscure references in the Vedas get reinterpreted as referring to nuclear physics…It was always claimed in India’s wisdom anyway” (72).

Despite democratization since 1948, the traditional values of caste and male chauvinism remain strong within the Hindutva culture. For this reason Nanda criticizes what she calls ecofeminism that tends to uphold traditional village life as an antidote to Eurocentric values. In the process of upholding the native culture, ecofeminism argues that a “Western” paradigm of science (citing Thomas Kuhn) is unsuited for Indian culture.

Nanda cites Partha Chatterjee, an Indian intellectual of the left: “Women were not the only or even the main targets. Rather, epistemic violence which works ‘not by military might or industrial strength, but by thought itself,’” lies at the heart of all colonialism (151).

In other words, India’s anti-Eurocentric intellectuals claim that the Brits were trying to brainwash the Indians not only with their culture but their science also. Nanda argues that this mistaken notion of the value and essence of science is hurting India’s low caste women and mankind in general.

Science in this view has nothing to do with Western or Eastern Kuhnian paradigms. The poor inIndia do not feel or admire the “exalted” ecologically sound status that armchair postmodernists bequeath on them.

Nanda is not dismissive of religion as religion or its real value to any culture that finds in religion a way to cope with the mysteries of life as well as address important functions regarding marriage, death, birth and transcendent feelings. Her mission is to preserve the freedom of science as a universal category. She argues for the freedom to explore things with well established scientific methods without enchanting science or subsuming it to non-testable transcendental beliefs.


Lemaître protested. Even as a priest he saw that it was dangerous to equate scientific theory with scriptural revelation. The former can change with new evidence whereas the latter is “sacred” and fixed.

Nanda’s view also reflects rational approaches in ancient Greek medicine and philosophy. The Greeks at the time of Hippocrates may have been the first to separate practical science from the mystical and supernatural. This is not to say that Greek culture on the streets lacked superstitious tendencies. They did not. The antics of the gods were very real to them. Common Greeks were suspicious of philosophers—Socrates on trial was a case in point. There was also some indication of a similar skepticism in ancient Indiaaround the same time. The Samkya of Indian tradition, most likely the one that influenced the Buddha, posited a separate reality for purusha [inner transcendent self] and prakriti [our physical nature] but this dualism was rejected by the developing Advaita or non-dualism best defined by Shankara in the 8th century. Non-dual approaches tend to monism which dominates most Hindu religions and Western re-interpretations of Vedanta. We all may have heard the New Age saying “We are all one” and postmodern references to “holism” and the interrelatedness or relativity of all things. More to the point, the discussion of Hindu ideas among Western spiritual pundits favors the non-dualist identification of Atman [a soul] with Brahman [Being as such].

Curiously, there is a fascinating sympathy between Fascism and non-dual ideology. Nanda explains it this way:

“But what is deeply troubling is that Hindu nationalists are putting the exact same spin on Vedic monism andvarna[caste/color] as the Nazis did, and the neo-Nazis still do. Rather than interpret monism as a mystical pantheism, which is what it was meant to be, proponents of ‘Vedic science’ insist upon treating monism as a scientific doctrine based upon a uniquely Hindu conception of rationality and congruent supposedly with the most advanced theories of quantum physics, cognitive sciences, and ecology” (16).

In her chapter “Epistemic Charity: Equality of All Ethnosciences” Nanda notes how the Strong Programme, a form of social constructivism or relativism in social study inadvertently erased essential values of science. Citing Ernest Geller’s ‘all cows are grey…everything is like science and science is like everything’ (126) Nanda offers good evidence “to show that the denial of the objectivity and universality of science has political consequences. What looks like a tolerant, non-judgmental, ‘permission to be different’ is in fact an act of condescension towards non-western cultures” 127).

To read the full essay, go here


Prophets Facing Backward

Reviews on Amazon


For more information on this topic go here


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Wenz translation of Book of the Dead - Biases
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 24, 2014 08:15AM

The Evans Wentz translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead gained immense
influence during the 1960s. As noted below, Jung trusted that translation
and wrote about it; Timothy Leary made use of it for psychedlic sessions..


The Tibetan Book of the Dead is the most famous Buddhist text in the West, having sold more than a million copies since it was first published in English in 1927. Carl Jung wrote a commentary on it, Timothy Leary redesigned it as a guidebook for an acid trip, and the Beatles quoted Leary's version in their song "Tomorrow Never Knows." More recently, the book has been adopted by the hospice movement, enshrined by Penguin Classics, and made into an audiobook read by Richard Gere.

Yet, as acclaimed writer and scholar of Buddhism Donald Lopez writes, "The Tibetan Book of the Dead is not really Tibetan, it is not really a book, and it is not really about death." ..

Lopez argues, Evans-Wentz's book is much more American than Tibetan, owing a greater debt to Theosophy and Madame Blavatsky than to the lamas of the Land of Snows. Indeed, Lopez suggests that the book's perennial appeal stems not only from its origins in magical and mysterious Tibet, but also from the way Evans-Wentz translated the text into the language of a very American spirituality.

"What makes Lopez's biography of Evans-Wentz's book not only amusing (as it unfailingly is) but enlightening is that one suspects he too could have 'chosen any Asian text' that had been ripped from its context and composed a similar story of how meanings, willy-nilly, had attached themselves to it. Having read Lopez's book, we will look afresh at the volumes of unmoored wisdom so many in the West have taken to heart."--David Cozy, Japan Times

"The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Biography is an excellent short introduction to Buddhism, and an intriguing analysis of how ancient texts are used (or invented) to give authority to ideologies."--Heather Shaw, Portland Book Review

For more, read here:



unday, June 19, 2011
Blavatsky and W. Evans-Wentz

This week’s Times Literary Supplement of London carries a review by Mark Vernon, the English writer, journalist, and author, of Donald S. Lopez, Jr’s The Tibetan Book of the Dead, A Biography. Speaking of W. Evans-Wentz’s edition of the Tibetan Book of the Dead published in 1927, Vernon upholds Lopez’s conclusion:

It is the product of the creative editing of Walter Evans-Wentz, a Victorian Theosophist. His literary assembly owes as much to the doctrines of Madame Blavatsky as the purported author, Padmasambhava, the eight century Buddhist saint who is said to have buried a series of ‘treasures’ in the form of teachings to aid future, troubled generations...

Evans-Wentz was able to use the book to vest his version of Theosophy with all the authority of ancient wisdom, newly discovered. Interestingly, Lopez argues, the same pattern of scriptural recovery is manifest in Joseph Smith’s The Book of Mormon. So, although it is undoubtedly the combination of Tibetan esotericism and mortal anxiety that has led to the tremendous success of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, it is better placed within the American millenarian tradition that includes Theosophy, Mormonism and Spiritualism too.

Posted by Jaigurudeva at 4:42 PM

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An alternative explanation for "alien abduction"
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 26, 2014 05:03AM

Isakower Phenomenon

This may account for accounts given in other cultures of "demon possession."

From the Dictionary of Psychoanalysis


sakower Phenomenon
International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis | 2005 | Golse, Bernard | 700+ words | Copyright

In 1936 Otto Isakower published an article on the psychopathology of phenomena associated with falling asleep: "Beitrag zur Pathopsychologie der Einschlafphänomene " (A contribution to the psychopathology of phenomena associated with falling asleep). It dealt with a varied set of phenomena similar to certain hypnogogic states and capable of being observed "in a number of patients suffering from widely different types of psychological disorders and also in some normal persons" (p. 331).

After studying several clinical cases, Isakower observed:

Most striking of all is the blurring of the distinction between quite different regions of the body, e.g. between mouth and skin, and also between what is internal and what is external, the body and the outside world. We note too the amorphous character of the impressions conveyed by the sense-organs. The visual impression is that of something shadowy and indefinite, generally felt to be 'round', which comes nearer and nearer, swells to a gigantic size and threatens to crush the subject. It then gradually becomes smaller and shrinks up to nothing [. . .] The auditory impression is of a humming, rustling, babbling, murmuring, or of an unintelligible monotonous speech. The tactile sensation is of something crumpled, jagged, sandy or dry, and is experienced in the mouth and at the same time on the skin of the whole body. Or else the subject feels enveloped by it or knows that it is close at hand. Sometimes it feels as if there were a soft yielding mass in his mouth, but at the same time he knows that it is outside him (p. 333).

The reference to the breast is obvious but the description is polymorphous. It appeals to the different senses, it is based on a relative confusion of the boundaries between the outside and the inside. It implies difficulty in evaluating distances; the mouth is often the center of these phenomena, that are sometimes played out in an atmosphere of déjà vu and against a background attitude of self-observation in the subject.

Over and above all the neurophysiological factors that are implied in these sort of phenomena, Isakower attempts to conduct a metapsychological analysis that refers back to a set of experiences that were lived through at a very early age, that may be at the origin of the somewhat unexpected success of this description: regression, splitting of the ego, relative indifferentiation of affects—all elements that led the author to conclude "we can observe the regressive revival of ego-attitudes which from the ontogenetic standpoint are primitive" (p. 345).

Such is the Isakower phenomenon, as it opens a window on the very ancient sensory history of the child, particularly the child at the breast if not, indeed, in the uterus. Hence the conclusion of the article: "In dreams and in the phenomenon which is the subject of this paper we have the best authenticated instances of the way in which that function may be renounced in order to conjure up lost objects and submerged worlds" (p. 345). In his own way and in a literary context, Marcel Proust described somewhat comparable phenomena on the verge of sleep.

Bernard Golse

See also: Dream screen; Isakower, Otto.

Isakower, Otto. (1938). A contribution to the psychopathology of phenomena associated with falling asleep. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 19, 331-345. (Original work published 1936


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Gurus get only positive transferance from disciples""
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 13, 2014 01:27AM

Shamans, Mystics and Doctors:A Psychological
Inquiry into India and Its Healing Traditions
Alfred A Knopf, New York 1982

Sudhir Kakar described a visit made in the late
1970s to early 1980s to the ashram of the guru
Maharji, leader of the Radhasaomi sect in Beas,
Punjab, India.


The Warmth of the Crowd


"It was in such a state of
"altered consciousness" pevaded with a
feeling of oneness and affection for
every member of the crowd, that I waited
for Maharaji to appear.

Page 130

"While we waited for Maharaji, we sang..the crowd
joined in the refrain at the end of each verse.

(The text sung was that of the Granth Sahib, a
traditional text of the Sikhs)

"on this day and the following days, fantasies that
bubble up to the fore of consciousness as one
sits ensconced in the warmth and closeness of
thousands of bodies. At first there is a sense
of unease as the body, the container of our
individuality and demarcator of our spatial
boundaries is sharply wrenched awy
from its habitual way of experiencing others.
For as we grow up, the touch of others, once
so deliberately courted and responded to with
delight, increasingly becomes ambivalent.
Coming from a loved one, touch is deliciously
welcomed; with strangers, on the other hand,
there is an involuntary shrinking of the body,
their touch taking on the menacing air of invasion
by the Other. But once the fear of touch disappeas
in the fierce press of other bodies, and the
individual lets himself become a part of the
crowd's density, the original apprehension is
gradually transformed into an expansiveness
that stretches to include the others.

Distances and differences, of status, age, and sex,
disappear in an exhilarating feeling (temporary
to be sure) that individual boundaries can be
transcended were perhaps illusory in the first

"Of ourse touch is only one of hte sensual stimuli that
hammers at the gate of individual identity...Phyllis
Greenacre has suggested there are other, more subliminal
exchanges of body heat, muscle tension, and body
rhythms taking place in a crowd..the crowds assault
on the sense of individual identigy appears to be
well nigh irresistable; its invitation to a psychological
regression in which the image of ones body becomes
fluid and increasingly blurred, controls over emotions
are weakened, critical faculties and rational thoughts extended in a way both forceful and seductive."

(pages 129--130)

All this BEFORE one meets the guru.

Kakar, on page 146, makes an distinction between
the processes in the guru relationship and in psychotherapy.


"The follower is also engaged in an unconscious struggle
to deepen the processes of idealization and identification
(with the guru)."

"Idealization and identification are certainly not exclusive
to the mystical sects, but avowed or unavowed, are also
present in most psychotherapies. During certain periods
of psychoanalysis, for instance, a patient needs a
temporary idealization and identification with the
analyst in order to take the initial steps toward
self-exploration with are otherwise prohibited by the
archaic and punitive elements of his superego.

"The difference between the two "healing traditions" lies in
the fact that whereas idealization and identification
are tactical and temporary in psychoanalysis, they are
strategic and and intended to be permanent in the Radha
Soami activities such as the Satsang,
its philosophy, its literature, by senior disciples and
the guru himself, all propel idealization to its c
culminating point, where the guru can be experienced
as God, and take the identification to its logical
conclusion, where the disciple has the feeling
of complete unity with the guru. Besides its
specific therapeutic and adaptive aspects the required
daily meditation...with the Masters face as the object
of meditation, further cements the idealization and
internalization of the guru, since he is daily experienced
as the benevolent protector against the anxieties that
arise during the meditative process.

Kaker gave some observations:

"A Satsangi's acceptance of the Masters offer and the
transforming processes of idealization and identification
that follow in its wake have so far been presented as
a more or less abstract portrayal of what I believe
is "happening" inside him. Turning to some aspects of
concrete behavior, my most striking impression of the
Satsangis I met was their relatively greater childlike-
ness that made for easier access to the emotional
treasures of childhood. The spontenaity and trusting
friendliness were charged with a compelling appeal.

"From the clinical viewpoint, however, I have also
felt that at least some of my interviewees seemed to be
striving for some kind of surrender of adulthood.
By "surrender of adulthood" to do not mean
the presence of childlike qualities enumerated above.
These are precious attributes of human beings, of
all ages.

"I am alluding here more to a hankering after absolute
mental states free of ambiguity and contradiction,
in which the onerousness of responsiblity is renounced
together with the burdens of self criticism and doubt.
Concommittantly, the followers seemed to show an
intolerance for what clinicians would call the
"more adult" integrated mental states that invariably
contain a modicum of conflict and pain.

Then Kakar ponders the hazards for the guru.

"We have, however, still to explore the other side of
the relationship: what happens to the guru who is
the recipient of such flattering projections?

Normally, for most of us, malignant projections
(people swearing at us, etc) are easier to handle
since they cause such severe discomfort, compelling
us to reject them by discriminating inside
between what belongs to us and the alien attributes
that have been projected onto us. This painful
motivation for repelling the invasion of self by
others does not exist when the projections are
narcissistically gratifying, as they invariably
are in the case of the adoring followers. To be
consistently thought greater, more wonderful,
more intelligent than we are is a burden only
in the sense that we may feel impelled to be
greater, more wonderful, and more intelligent.

And indeed there is many a guru, including the
fictional one in R. K. Narayan's The Guide
who has become a guru because of the followers'
ascriptions of gurulike qualities to him.

More often, however, the guru simply accepts
these projections as belonging to himself and
enters into an unconscious collusion with the
followers--"I am uncannily sensitive, infinitely
wise, miraculously powerful: you are not."

--thus making the followers more stupid, more
infantile, and more powerless than they
actually are. Such unconscious transactions
between the Master and the followers are a common
occurrance in most mystical (groups)and were
also conspicuous in the Radhasomi Satsang:

page 149--150)

Corboy note: in a recent (2018) Times of India news article,

Why Godmen Become Omnipotent, and Their Followers So Impotent


This is stated in similar but more specific terms:


One consequence of these positive idealisations is a loss of touch with the reality of everyday life and the context in which the idealisations are embedded. Under the benefical smile and apparent humility, in the inner world of the godman, there is a steady regression to unconscious feelings of omnipotent grandiosity —“I am great! I am beyond constraints under which other human beings live.”

Moreover, as the godman ages, cut-off parts of the self, often having to do with celibacy and his unlived sexuality, make their claims which he no longer can or wishes to resist. As his omnipotent grandiosity grows, the godman might retreat into promiscuity or sexual perversions leading to the sad but reliable reports about aging godmen who summon their young devotees for secret assignations or become peeping Toms as they arrange, with all the cunning of the voyeur, to spy on their teenaged female disciples undressing for the night in the ashram. And the sadder part is that the intensity of the devotees’ wish to believe in what the godman offers drives them to deny his abuses when they happen.

The devotees, in fact, have deep emotional investment in not seeing the abuses, which completes the cycle of the godman’s grandiosity.


The intellectual contents of Maharaji's discourse
are familiar since they are common to many mystical
traditions, Indian as well as of other societies.

To list some of these repetitive elements: there is
the rerogation of the perceived real world and an
emphasis on its painful withholding nature; there
is the suggestion of mystical withdrawal as the
solution to the individual's psychic needs and life
problems; there is the offer of a system of psycho-
logical and physiological practices by which a person
can deliberately and voluntarily seek detachment from
the everyday, external world, and replace it
with a heightened awareness of inner reality; and,
finally, there is a shared conviction that this
inner world possesses a much greater reality than
the outer world.

Emotionally, to an Indian, the familiarity of the
message, repeated often enough since the beginning
of childhood, constitutes its greatest strength
and attraction. Once again, the men and women
were transported to the time when, their small
hands clutched in those of older family members
they had sat up late into the night, sleepily
(Corboy note: when sleepy, our boundaries become
porous, adding to the receptivity of childhood
itself)..listening to wandering religiosi
expound the mysteries of life...(page 136)

After hearing the guru's lecture, Dr Kakar
reflected on implications.

"My unease" Dr. Kakar continued, "had more to
do with the repeated assertion of Maharaji
(and of his predecessors)that a "seeker" should
not only endure but cheerfully and actively
accept (Kakar's italics) the iron law
of karma. Saints, he says, perhaps rightly,
are not social reformers who have come to
change the world...(But) To recommend,
however, a joyous acceptance of the existing
social order with its economic, social and
sexual inequities--as the perquisite
(Kakar's italics) for a state of mind
that leads to the highest mystical truths,
to advise women to cheerfully conform to the
meek subservient roles laid out for them
by a repressive patriarchy, does go against
the grain of modern identity, even if
Maharaji considers them to be absolutely
essential for progress on the mystical

(A cynic, pointing to the fact that Maharaji
himself is a rich landowner who is allied
by kinship and marriage to some of the
wealthiest families in northern India,
may observe the curious coincidence that the
will of God and the "eternal law of nature"
seem to be identical to the economic and
political interest of a feudal elite and
the convenience of a patriarchal order. This,
however, would be doing Maharaji an injustice,
since his position on the law of karma and
its individual and social consequences is not
idiosyncractic but is shared by a vast majority
of his countrymen and lies unexceptionably within
the mainstream of Indian religiousity."
(page 137)

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/29/2018 10:24PM by corboy.

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