The Source Family

Last night I went to the Texas Theater in the Dallas suburb of Oak Cliff, where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested, and watched a movie called The Source Family. The film is based on a book by Isis Aquarian and Electricity Aquarian called The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Yo Ho Wha 13 and the Source Family. The Source Family was a colorful LA-based cult active in the early 1970s who also produced some of the freakiest psychedelic rock ever made. I’m looking forward to the release of the movie’s soundtrack album in a few weeks.

In many ways the Source Family was a lot like other crazy cults such as the Manson Family, Jonestown, the Branch Davidians and Aum Shinrikyo. They were led by a charismatic spiritual master, took lots of drugs, engaged in tons of sexy sex, wore weird clothes, lived in a commune and had an urgent message for the whole world that was completely incomprehensible to anyone outside of their group. But unlike those other cults I just mentioned, the Source Family’s story didn’t end in mass suicide or mass murder. Though there were scandals and allegations against them, most of the scandalous stuff tended to be fairly mild, at least by comparison. The worst crime they were accused of was harboring teenage runaways. Their brief flirtation with arming themselves never really got off the ground because, as a bunch of vegetarian hippies, nobody ever really wanted to fire any of those guns.

Since I’ve been interested in weirdo religions for a long time I’ve been aware of the Source Family for a while. They used to run a popular health food restaurant on the Sunset Strip, which was featured in Woody Allen’s movie Annie Hall and I remember that. I never knew a whole lot about them until last night, though.

YaHoWhaThe documentary was put together by former members of the Source Family. Isis Aquarian is listed as one of the executive producers of the film. This usually does not bode well for a movie about a group like this. These kinds of organizations tend to want to whitewash a lot of their own histories the way Chogyam Trungpa’s group did in the recent documentary about him. So coming into it I wasn’t sure how much honesty to expect.

I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by just how much the group were willing to reveal about what happened back in those days. The film is open and honest about the sleazier side of the Source Family. Father Yod is not presented as a perfect master nor are his “children” presented as innocent victims to be pitied. Many members of the cult are interviewed and are forthright about both the good and the bad sides of what they went through.

What I noticed most keenly in the film is something I’ve been saying a lot especially in the past couple of years. And that is that having some kind of genuine spiritual revelation or glimpse of God or whatever you want to call it does not necessarily confer any of what one might call “Godlike qualities” upon a person. It does not bestow upon the recipient any sort of moral perfection nor erase any of the nastier qualities that person might possess before the experience happened.

It does tend to make a person powerful, though. Because it’s a powerful and real experience. It’s the experience of the core truth of what we all really are. Since few of us ever get that far, we find those who have attractive. We want to be near them because we all seek to return to that source.

But the kind of power and attractiveness that comes with such experiences can also be damaging in the extreme. This is because the ego can latch on to absolutely anything — including the realization of its own ultimate unreality — as a way to strengthen and enlarge itself.

A lot of people in the movie question whether Father Yod’s spirituality was genuine or if he was a brilliant con man. I have no doubt that his experience was genuine. Yet he was also a con man. He was the ultimate con man in that he even managed to con himself. He clearly believed in what he was doing. That’s what made him so powerful and so attractive.

The problem was that he was only able to teach his followers to depend upon him. Their devotion never translated into anything else. Once he was dead, following a weird hang gliding accident in Hawaii, the family had nothing. He left them only a legacy of dependance, not real spiritual growth. They may have had genuine spiritual experiences within the commune. But their was no foundation to these experiences. And so when the “Father” was gone, his “children” were lost and eventually scattered.

This kind of thing happens a lot with spiritual sects of this sort. It’s not that their leaders are frauds. Well, not always anyway. Sometimes they are. It’s just that these spiritual masters get so caught up in their own experiences and in the ways that others respond to those experiences that they become even more lost than they were before they had their great awakenings. It’s sad when that happens. But it’s a far more common scenario than one in which a person genuinely integrates their awakening with their regular work-a-day life in the real world. Folks who manage to do that are often not nearly as sexy and exciting as people like Father Yod who jet off into the spiritual stratosphere. And so we don’t hear a whole lot about them. But the folks who manage to stay grounded in spite of their so-called “enlightenment” are the ones we really ought to be paying attention to.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and highly recommend it to anyone interested in the inner workings of offbeat spiritual organizations.

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Donations to the continuation of this blog will help Brad get his own cult running! And won’t that be a blast! (I’m joking)

71 Responses

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  1. Mumbles
    Mumbles May 13, 2013 at 10:18 am | |

    Always liked the Kornfield title: First The Laundry, Then Enlightenment. Not so sexy sex sexy, eh?

    IMO people do indeed have these heavy experiences, and the first impulse is to share them with whoever will listen. If they are average people (most of us are) with typical needs then their ego will not be able to resist the attention they receive from their listeners. Of course, no one has the same enlightenment experience, so its impossible to impart “IT” to someone else, however, tell that to the fanboys and girls who have by now gathered around their feet.

  2. replicant
    replicant May 13, 2013 at 12:08 pm | |

    But were you able to catch a showing of The Wrath of Khan????! I was able to catch the 7pm showing last Friday and enjoyed it in all it’s 35mm glory :-)

  3. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote May 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm | |

    The close of Peter Schireson’s apology, which makes me feel a lot better about his objectivity and his attitude in this whole debate about teacher-student involvement:

    “If a person testifies that a sexual affair or intimate romantic relationship with a Zen teacher has been a great and wholesome blessing, it’s not my place or business to argue with those feelings.

    But I continue to believe very strongly that forming such relationships is a mistake. They don’t form in a bubble with only the two individuals involved. Other students, sangha members, teachers, and a larger community inevitably witness what occurs and the effects tend to be confusing and harmful in the aggregate. Harmful to both the immediate and wider communities, and to the Dharma.

    Perhaps going forward, there will be a sub-set of practice groups and Zen sanghas or centers that are explicit about having a policy of “student/teacher sex and romance are okay.” I tried to parody such a policy idea in my original post. I now gather some may think it’s actually a worthwhile proposition. I don’t.”

    that’s from here.

    “Evil fails, good prevails, yadda, yadda, yadda. Adam requests donations to pay for gas for his undetermined road trip.” Make me laugh, stonemirror!

    Yes, I also felt that Adam looking for support from the community for his bereavement leave from his self-imposed duty as the blog-master of the officially certified Zen teacher community was an odd thing- maybe he deserves the support, and maybe Sweeping Zen is the next best thing to buttered toast and he’s a genius for getting it rolling, but I wonder.

    I feel for Adam, and I’m grateful for the role the site has played, but I think he should go WordPress or bbPress and turn the bad word blocks on and the comment moderation off. Then he can go back to web development, with the site as a side gig. Something like that?

  4. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote May 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm | |

    “Harmful to both the immediate and wider communities, and to the Dharma.” Ah, the voice of the master!

  5. TheTempleWithin
    TheTempleWithin May 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm | |

    I’m a little confused, is brad referring to father yod’s “awakening” in the same light as a “Zen awakening”…like the same “awakening” brad wrote about in hardcore zen when he was walking to work. Or the same awakening buddha had, or dogen. etc etc. I’ve read a quote in which brad says something along the lines of ” they say enlightenment makes you powerful and it does, it makes you the most powerful being”… i always attributed that statement to zen exclusively and to hear it being attributed to a psychedelic cult is confusing.

  6. Fred
    Fred May 13, 2013 at 1:02 pm | |

    “it makes you the most powerful being” = no-self upon the Absolute

    It’s a play on the meaning of words

  7. petrichoric
    petrichoric May 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm | |

    I’m extremely new to Buddhism/zen/meditation, so maybe I’m just talking out of my arse here, but I find it hard to agree with the statement you made that “having some kind of genuine spiritual revelation or glimpse of God or whatever you want to call it does not necessarily confer any of what one might call “Godlike qualities” upon a person. It does not bestow upon the recipient any sort of moral perfection nor erase any of the nastier qualities that person might possess before the experience happened.”

    I get it on some level. I don’t think that every single person in a sangha or every zen master is a wonderful, kind person, but, um, they fucking should be or should at least try to be! I started going to the local Zen center because (1) I wanted to stop suffering and (2) I wanted to become a better person. I just don’t understand how a spiritual leader can possibly be so deluded and lacking in self-awareness to take advantage and manipulate others.

    How can any spiritual awakening they’ve had possibly be genuine?

    1. drocloc
      drocloc May 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm | |

      Petrichoric,

      Three words ‘Zen Master Rama’

      Enjoy^^
      Edward

  8. boubi
    boubi May 13, 2013 at 2:51 pm | |

    @ Brad
    —”The biggest essential difference between what is aimed for in Zen and what is often aimed for in other practices — especially newer inventions like Father Yod’s — is that Zen takes great care in working on the foundation for these experiences”—

    Sorry for my avidya but in the beginning you talk about AIM but latter on you talk about FOUNDATIONS as if the two were the same … but most probably it’s just my own blindness.

    Now once more it could be useful to have a definition, even an approximation of a definition, of “awakenings” … :)

    Without it we talk about whatever “whatever” some more.

    thanks

  9. boubi
    boubi May 13, 2013 at 2:56 pm | |

    To petrichoric

    —” I started going to the local Zen center because (1) I wanted to stop suffering and (2) I wanted to become a better person. I just don’t understand how a spiritual leader can possibly be so deluded and lacking in self-awareness to take advantage and manipulate others.”

    The first point is cited by that guy Siddharta Gautama “end of suffering”.

    The second one … could be a latter add-on.

    “Spiritual leader” , first who declared the abovementioned “spiritual leader” as one? And thus we have the self appointed ones … :p

    But the basic question remainsn “what is this awakening” and is there any relation to “morality” … to be continued, got to go

  10. petrichoric
    petrichoric May 13, 2013 at 4:26 pm | |

    @ drocloc: Um, thanks, for encouraging me to google Zen Master Rama. I can’t understand why anybody would have expected spiritual guidance from a guy with such terrible 80s poodle hair. Surely everybody knows there’s a relation between “awakening” and great hair?

    @ boubi: I said that I was new to Buddhism/Zen. I didn’t say I was a complete moron. I’m more than aware of “that guy” Siddharta and what he said about the “end of suffering”. But thanks for being patronizing. And, yes, the question does remain about whether there is a relation being “awakening” and “morality”. And I still think there is. To me, Buddhism is all about teaching you how not to be a huge douchebag. Sure, I’m sure a spiritual “awakening” doesn’t wipe out all douchebaggy tendencies, but in my opinion it should make you a better/nicer person, and, well, fucking your students, or otherwise abusing your power, is not “nice” or “good”. In fact, it’s pretty fucking awful.

    Then again, the human mind has an infinite ability to trick itself, and justify bad behaviour, and maybe this is what I will end up doing if I get deeper into Buddhism/zen. At the moment, I am a part-time sex worker, which, according to most Buddhists, would be a very un-Buddhisty thing to do. I am inclined to agree, but I am not too stressed about it given that my meditation practice is currently pretty half-assed, and I don’t identify as a Buddhist. If I were a practising Buddhist, though, I don’t see how I could possibly justify being a sex worker. Or could I? I like to think I’d find some way of giving it up, but maybe I’d find a way to justify it, just like all these so-called spiritual leaders justify their bad behaviour.

    1. drocloc
      drocloc May 13, 2013 at 6:10 pm | |

      Hello,

      Click “My interview with Nina Hartley” (sidebar next to picture of ‘Source family’)

      My favorite Zen sex-worker.

      “Let everything happen to you,
      Beauty and terror
      Just keep going.
      No feeling is final.”

      Rilke

  11. Mumbles
    Mumbles May 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm | |

    No matter what you think of another “rascal guru” -Rajneesh, he supplied one of the best descriptions of his own awakening experience around. Unfortunately, it looks like its no longer readily available online. As substitute, this link is a very good explication:

    http://o-meditation.com/2011/03/17/flowering-awakening-self-realization-and-enlightenment-osho/

    The conditions, the experiences, are unique to each individual, for example, my orientation is Sufism, not Zen, however, (and I am not making any claims) his statement below, I believe, is correct:

    “From enlightenment there is no possibility of falling back, because you are no longer there to fall back. As long as you are, there is a possibility. Only your absence is the guarantee that you cannot fall back.”

  12. Shodo
    Shodo May 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm | |

    petrichoric said:

    “And, yes, the question does remain about whether there is a relation being “awakening” and “morality”. And I still think there is. ”

    There is no question – you are 100% on the money. :3

  13. Fred
    Fred May 13, 2013 at 5:12 pm | |

    “From enlightenment there is no possibility of falling back, because you are no longer there to fall back.”

    And how does morality apply when there is no one there.

    Morality and ethics apply to human behavior and intent for someone who is
    there. They are a component of the conditioning of the self, a blueprint installed
    on the neural map of correct thought and actions.

    Awakening is a reverting to pre-conceptual existence, before and after
    conditioned thought and a moral code.

    I suppose that a “sex worker” giving hand jobs for money could be a Buddhist.
    They aren’t creating harm, and sexual acts are immoral in some cultures and not
    others.

  14. Fred
    Fred May 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm | |

    However, if you are/were a sex addict, performing sex acts for a living probably
    won’t help you.

    You could do mindfulness while upstroking and downstroking.

  15. petrichoric
    petrichoric May 13, 2013 at 5:56 pm | |

    Well, I identify more as a “love addict” than a sex addict. I tend to look more for emotional “highs” than sexual ones. And, thankfully, most of my clients are lardy-assed Republicans – not really the type of man I tend to get addicted to. :-)

    I don’t get off on giving handjobs for a living actually. It’s just something I do to pay the bills. From the sex addict/Buddhist standpoint, it’s troubling because I feel that I’m contributing to these men not being able to grow sexually and emotionally themselves. In some very, very rare cases, I do feel that I can give a little tenderness to a lonely man, and brighten his life a little, but, well, there are surely healthier ways for him to find a connection with a woman.

    And I don’t suppose I’m doing myself any favours spiritually and emotionally. I’m not in a place right now where I’m ready to date or have a relationship, but when I am, it’s going to be kinda hard to explain away my little sideline in handjobs. I will hopefully be out of the sex industry before I have to deal with that conundrum, though.

  16. petrichoric
    petrichoric May 13, 2013 at 6:04 pm | |

    PS/”You could do mindfulness while upstroking and downstroking.” God, that was fucking hilarious! You will laugh but I *have* sometimes actually tried to give a mindful handjob. Might as well make the experience meaningful for the dude and myself, eh?

    In theory, I do think that it is possible to be a sex worker *and* a Buddhist, but, in reality, I don’t enjoy being around men who, for the most part, are probably not the most healthy individuals out there. They are usually married, and even though it’s not me who’s lying to their wives about where they spent their lunch hour, I’m still contributing to a lie. That doesn’t make me feel good.

  17. boubi
    boubi May 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm | |

    Sorry petrichoric

    I didn’t mean to patronize you at all, neither did i considered you a moron (partial or complete), on this point you are the sole judge, court and executioner.

    When i talked about “that guy” it was to underline that he was just that … a guy. A bloody hero in my point view, even more for being a simple mortal, as we are.

    Maybe the fact that i had to leave didn’t allow me to end my thoughts and lead you to, maybe, hasty conclusions.

    What i wanted to tell is that to be a better person, IMO, there are better and quicker ways.

    Mainly “know yourself”, observe yourself without complacency, observe yourself in what the others do, watch your reflex in them and theirs in you, with utter honesty (that’s the hard part) . Comes a time when some of the accumulated shit that you (me) will crumble, and maybe you’ll cry at realizing the asshole you are, but you’ll feel lighter, but you’ll still have to change behaviour from within, to change … and there are so many layers of shit you’ll be astonished.

    Of course i didn’t talked about you, i was just relating my own experience, and it isn’t even buddhism.
    I think that our grand parents could have said more or less the same … because what is buddhism in the end? Maybe knowing more about it than me, you could give me an answer, i would thank you.

    BTW, out of curiosity, i just went to have a look at your blog.

    Buddhist isn’t the solution to your predicaments. Brad could be an example if you were interested in asking him, he had a big BIG problem and it took him years to reconstruct himself.

    My Rinzai teacher said once that before to start a meditation practice people had first to clean their house, meaning get rid of the BIG psychological problems, that buddhism isn’t the miracle pill for your problems (you are the pill – my saying). Maybe he was another patronizing moron, who knows?

    Buddhism/dharma whatever is a way to know the true nature of your mind*, and there are many other ways, i suspect that even knitting could be one, for sure it is! Buddhism practices the middle way. Beyond this, i have the suspicion there isn’t anything else. All the rest could be add-on from various cultures indian, chinese, japanese, western etc.

    A sutra about a better person? Don’t know.

    You do something that changes your “representation” of the world (will depending on some other things), others said you stop “conceptual thoughts”, no more relation with morality (which one by the way) than frying an egg, ask the cook that met Dogen he arrived in China.

    Ask that patriarch that after having given transmission went his own way drinking and whoring, saying to whoever reproached him his begaviour “mind your own business”.

    Is this what you are looking for to get yourself out of bed and clean your house?
    ———–
    * as described in the Heart Sutra

  18. boubi
    boubi May 13, 2013 at 6:15 pm | |

    —”If I were a practising Buddhist, though, I don’t see how I could possibly justify being a sex worker. “—

    First find out what buddhism is, then maybe you’ll find that what you do isn’t related to how and why you do it.

    If you feel degraded, if the customers are bad, if there’s a pimp, if it’s bad then it’s bad.

    Have a look at “mahasiddha” in wikipedia

  19. boubi
    boubi May 13, 2013 at 6:25 pm | |

    You could be contributing to a worse lie also working in a call center, shoveling bullshit to customers about banking, cars, insurances all things much more important than some cum thrown around.

    Anyhow the guy would have done it on his own, so what, you lent a charitable hand …

    How long would it take you to earn the same amount lying on the phone? It’s a business, if you where in other culture you would be as respected as another personal service provider.

    Do you cry because you manipulate dicks or because you feel you wasted your life?

    Could be the point.

  20. boubi
    boubi May 13, 2013 at 6:29 pm | |

    I didn’t read your blog but i have the feeling you live near some wilderness, so go for a trekking, with due precautions, and just trek for a few days, it will clean and burn a bit of what makes you feel bad.

  21. boubi
    boubi May 13, 2013 at 6:30 pm | |

    Go for a parachute course

  22. Shodo
    Shodo May 13, 2013 at 10:04 pm | |

    “If I were a practicing Buddhist, though, I don’t see how I could possibly justify being a sex worker. Or could I?”

    Oh, you could justify it – people are great at justifying things.
    We justify our behavior everyday.

  23. Proulx Michel
    Proulx Michel May 14, 2013 at 4:28 am | |

    petrichoric wrote

    —” I started going to the local Zen center because (1) I wanted to stop suffering and (2) I wanted to become a better person. I just don’t understand how a spiritual leader can possibly be so deluded and lacking in self-awareness to take advantage and manipulate others.”

    It seems that a great many ancient masters mentioned the various “awakenings” one is likely to encounter. And that, among these, there are “great awakenings”. Whatever the type and “level” of awakening, they also often mentioned the necessity of cultivating that. And it is really easy to “sit upon one’s laurels”. If you have had such an experience, and are surrounded by groupies and cronies who keep telling you how great, magnificent, special (and so on) you are, and you let that music soothe you, then you shall simply loose any benefit you have had from your practice and your experiences, up to the point where you’ll just act like an ass without having ever noticed that you had engaged on such a slippery slope.

    Most people prefer those who tell them what they’d like to hear to those that criticise them. If you have a friend who tells you you’re wrong, how do you react?

    There’s the whole gist of it…

  24. Fred
    Fred May 14, 2013 at 4:29 am | |

    When you drop the self, Petrichoric, you don’t need the love, you are the love.

    The love for everything that is and isn’t.

  25. boubi
    boubi May 14, 2013 at 7:33 am | |

    So what is a better person?

    A person who feeds the pets? Wash the dishes? takes care of the house?
    Do it, you’ll feel better.

    Go on looking for what else makes a better person and do it.

    You’ll find out that you’ll be less dependent from “love” from others, what is this “love”? try to find the components of this “love”, the fuck of your life? the big daddy? the big carer? the friend cum fuck cum daddy cum money … ? The “love” that takes away from you the responsibilities of life? Because it must be something of this kind.

    No one NO ONE will do it instead of you, you already know it, right?

    So pick yourself up, piece by piece, like our host did, fall, rise again, fall, it’s the way, and you are the only one who can do it, no buddha, no father in the sky, no one else but you.

  26. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote May 14, 2013 at 8:14 am | |

    Scent of rain on earth, is pretty nice.

    “In the eighties I heard Kobun speak at the S.F. Zen Center. At the close of his lecture, he said: “you know, sometimes zazen gets up and walks around!” Maybe five years prior to that, I had an experience just like that: I was sitting at my desk paying close attention to my breathing, and my body got up and walked across the room, even though I had no intention to do so. I was amazed, and I tried for the next several years to act without intention all the time. By the time I heard Kobun speak at the Zen Center, I was very familiar with the zazen that gets up and walks around, but I still couldn’t sit the lotus.” (that’s my write, from http://www.zenmudra.com/zenmudra-Kobun-Chino-Otogawa-on-zazen.html)

    “During our conversations he said all sorts of things. “I am like a doctor. You wouldn’t be angry if I touched your wife’s breasts or vagina if I were a doctor examining her.” “Ok, maybe I have a sickness, but I will be the leader of all those with the same sickness!” “My hand just moves. It’s will-less (ishinashini).” ( that’s Giko David Ruben, Osho to Rev. Sasaki, from here: http://sweepingzen.com/some-reflections-on-rinzai-ji-by-giko-david-rubin)

    Hand just moves, it’s will-less. As I’ve explained here before, it is possible to induce a hypnogogic state through a focus on awareness in the movement of breath. Like the hypnotic state, it’s not possible to do what is against one’s moral beliefs in the hypnogogic state, but if one believes that something is acceptable in one’s heart of hearts then that will be reflected in the behaviour of ishinashini.

    So the question becomes, how does the cessation of ignorance that makes an end to suffering inform our beliefs? Gautama put forward that the enlightened individual could not have intercourse, impossible for an arahant he said; one hundred and seventy years after his death, the Buddhist order divided into what was later referred to by some as hinayana and mahayana, because the monks couldn’t agree on whether or not an arahant could have a wet dream.

    At the same conclave, it was agreed that Gautama was all-seeing with regard to the dhamma, but not omniscient, all-seeing with regard to the events of daily life. He made some mistakes as a teacher, as for example when the monks followed his instructions to meditate on the unlovely and scores of monks a day “took the knife”, so much so that when Gautama returned from his personal three-week retreat he noticed that the order of monks “seemed somehow diminished”.

    Chinese Zen teachers in the twelve century like Yuanwu and Foyan agreed that there’s a long interval from any insight to being able to contribute from that insight to society. Almost forty years after zazen got up and walked around, zazen has led me to write this, which may or may not be useful to anyone else: http://www.zenmudra.com/zenmudra-the-practice-of-zazen.html

    And Sunday, I’m happy to say, I did this! :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlKxAl9SWZQ

  27. A-Bob
    A-Bob May 14, 2013 at 10:26 am | |

    I think enlightenment experiences are mainly delusional. After conning yourself it must be easy to con others..

  28. Proulx Michel
    Proulx Michel May 14, 2013 at 12:03 pm | |

    Then, there is also this aspect of Western mentality, which we can witness in cinema and the telly: it is LARGELY more acceptable to show murder and brutality on the screen, than sex!

    This speaks for itself in as much as values are concerned.

  29. boubi
    boubi May 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm | |

    Hi Brad

    Could we for once give some parameters of what we are talking about here?

    What is this “awakening”?

    Sutras, IMO mahayana ones in particular, are talking about some specific things happening. Are they talking bull or could we take them for what they state?

    Or has there been some new council making some new esegesis of the texts finding some new hortodox reading of them. I don’t read japanese nor sanscrit and let’s not talk about pali or other, so please tell me, i’m really eager to know.

    Could all that we call dharma be some kind of modular “spiritual lego” ?

    One part doesn’t exclude the other, but being of the same “spiritual realm” one reinforces the other? If not how comes that tantric indo/tibetan practices lead to the same point as Zen?

    And do you think that only buddhism leads to the knowledge of the real nature of the mind? I’m not talking about, “my master”, “my lineage”, “my school”, “my tradition”, “my buddhism”, why not knitting under the proper conditions (but everything is under proper conditions)?

    When i started to get interested in dharma i was astonished to hear that Gautama was not the first buddha, that there were many before him. Did they all sit under that tree?

    Sparse remains of the greek mysteries bring to us witness of non-dual experiences, maybe of the “woyid” too.

    Of course i don’t propose some anti-moral whatever, i just have the suspicion that “morality”, “the woyid”, “formlessness”, siddhis, and whatever else there is there could be independent “modules”.

    My first teacher even said that we could “get there” with biofeedback machines, but that it would take away any meaning to it, like artificial insemination vs the real thing (my say :) ). And i believe he knew what he was talking about, for being direct pupil of Yamada Mumon, i think you heard of the guy.

    I’m in a moment of many questions, got some answer?

    :)

  30. petrichoric
    petrichoric May 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm | |

    @Boubi: Thank you explaining that you didn’t mean to come off as patronizing.

    The thing you wrote about becoming a “better person” i.e. knowing and observing yourself with utter honesty….well, that’s what meditation helps me do. When I don’t meditate, my thoughts are racing so much that I cannot observe the “reality” of me and what’s around me.

    And, yes, I’m trying to remember that Buddhism/meditation isn’t going to magically make me happy. I’m all too aware that I’m clinging to it the way a drowning person clings to a life raft. But, hell, I guess that’s better than clinging to some stupid dude, and expecting him to make everything better.

    As regards being involved in the sex industry, yes, I realize that some cultures would consider an erotic masseuse as just “another personal service provider”. But, you see, that’s exactly the problem because I’m not in “some cultures”, I’m in a Western one. A hand job in and of itself is not immoral, and, in fact, the sex industry is not immoral either. However, because of the fucked-up culture we live in, some of my clients have got some very twisted attitudes towards sex and women. True, so do a lot of men out there in the “civilian world”, but their attitudes are not right there in my face.

    @Brad: Leaving those comments on your blog has really made me see that I have been taking on board other people’s negative opinions of the sex industry recently. It’s hard not to sometimes because there’s always somebody who thinks that you’re either a wanton hussy or a poor little victim who will suffer untold psychological damage.

    I used to have a column in a newspaper a few years back about being an erotic masseuse but I stopped it because (a) I got married and my husband wasn’t thrilled I was doing massage, let alone writing about it and (b) I realized that I didn’t really have an “angle” to write about it from. I didn’t think it was “good” or “bad” – it just “was”. Hmmm, I guess that *is* an angle, but at the time I was confused about how I felt, I suppose.

    As regards “awakening”, I definitely don’t think it’s an experience. And I don’t think it’s this big event that you have to work towards that only the chosen few get to experience. It’s something that comes and goes. In fact, when I meditated earlier today, I actually believe that I had three (yup, count ‘em!…three!) seconds of “awakening” when I felt at peace, and connected to my “authentic self” and everything else. I felt that way quite a lot as a child, so I’ve come to the conclusion that you work backwards – not forwards – to be awakened. It’s something we all had from the very beginning, but then we grew up, and piled on layers of shit, and forgot about it.

    I still find it hard to believe that somebody with a genuine and heartfelt Buddhist practice could use and exploit others as did those men implicated in the recent sex scandals. I don’t expect Buddhists or adherents of any religion to be perfect, but I guess I do expect them to be fucking more self-aware than the average person.

    But, hey, I’m an addict, and addicts are notoriously bad at tolerating all the horrible grey ambiguities of this world, so it’s hard for me to have a nuanced understanding of the ins-and-outs of religious sex scandals.

  31. boubi
    boubi May 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm | |

    Hi Brad

    I read again your posting … and you confirm what i feel, that morality is independent from “experiences”.

    Your have to nurture morality, but then you could and you can outside from any “experience” frame, a lot of people do it, they call it “being a better person”, right?

    Religions are rather good at telling people to have morality and “being better person”, wich boils down to “don’t do to others what you wouldn’t be done to you”.

    Religions also DON’T teach people to have “experiences” and treat, quite ignorantly, siddhis as “miracles” (and Spinoza was damn right about them :) ) or deamon ;) things.

    Now some kind of “generosity” like for instance bodhicitta can help in having a deeper “awakening”, lowering the threshold of the “me/ego/self/whatever”, easying realization of non-duality, and also the concept of bodhisatva seems to me of the same level. And so on and so forth.

  32. boubi
    boubi May 14, 2013 at 2:11 pm | |

    @ petrichoric

    Glad you understood my intention.

    Happy that meditation helps you, you know the secret is doing what is good for us and not doing what isn’t … big secret LOL

    Now i don’t have much more to tell … the rest would be bla bla bla.

    We live in this culture, which is not so good but also not the worst.

    So have a better life

  33. Fred
    Fred May 14, 2013 at 2:11 pm | |

    “I think enlightenment experiences are mainly delusional. After conning yourself it must be easy to con others..”

    Yes, an illusion conning itself with delusions.

    Drop some acid, and an illusion hallucinating while conning itself with delusions.

  34. boubi
    boubi May 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm | |

    Yeah, do some physical, tiring activity, kind of middle intensity for long periods, get aerobic, sweat, keep going thing. Take it progressively not to get hurt and not to get bored of it.

  35. boubi
    boubi May 14, 2013 at 2:16 pm | |

    — Fred

    Drop some acid, and an illusion hallucinating while conning itself with delusions. —-

    Wow, deep man.

    How do you come by all this wisdom ?

  36. boubi
    boubi May 14, 2013 at 2:22 pm | |

    —”I still find it hard to believe that somebody with a genuine and heartfelt Buddhist practice could use and exploit others as did those men implicated in the recent sex scandals. “—

    Anybody with genuine and heartfelt feeling woudn’t do shit, problem is that “genuine and heartfelt” people are scarce, always have been.

    The worst assholes i met in my life were church/temple/whatever going people who felt soooo righteous, so …

  37. Fred
    Fred May 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm | |

    There is no wisdom, but there is the experience of no self.

    As Mr. Mumbles quotes Bagwan Sri Rajneesh ( Osho ):

    ” Only your absence is the guarantee that you cannot fall back.”

  38. petrichoric
    petrichoric May 14, 2013 at 2:37 pm | |

    Boubi, you’re over-intellectualizing everything! Correct me if I’m wrong here, but it seems that you don’t put much stock in the “Golden Rule” since it appeared that you dissed it a bit in your last post:

    “Religions are rather good at telling people to have morality and “being better person”, wich boils down to “don’t do to others what you wouldn’t be done to you”.”

    The Golden Rule seems almost insultingly simple at times. I mean, duh, of course we should treat others the way we want to be treated ourselves. Sheesh! But, then again, I wonder how many of us can actually claim to do that? Given the amount of times I flip people off every week on the way to work, I know I certainly don’t.

    And I know you don’t either because you were a teeny tiny bit sarcastic to poor Fred there, weren’t you? Fred’s probably all pissed off now, and then he’ll write a sarcastic response back, and you’ll be pissed off…and more ripples of antagonism will be sent out into the world.

    Instead of searching for answers, and debating the meaning of “awakening”, shouldn’t we start by just being nice to each other?

  39. boubi
    boubi May 14, 2013 at 2:59 pm | |

    I never had any bad intention about that golden rule, on the contrary, i wanted to show how morality is independent from “experiences”, must be that english isn’t my mother tongue.

    —”But, then again, I wonder how many of us can actually claim to do that?”—

    Agree.

    About me and Brad i think he is a good guy

    Fred? :) forget about it LOL, if he wants to be pissed off let him, do you want to carry everybody pain on your shoulder?

    Osho was just a con, good at repeating empty words and selling them to gullible people, just my opinion, but if they were happy paying him 60 Roll Royce they deserve it.

    Why not look for answers?

    “You weren’t born to live as brutes but to be men and look for knowledge”
    Who said it?

    Voices from eden …
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9mUqMrfTfQ&list=RD02JO2k7QJtugg&feature=player_detailpage

  40. boubi
    boubi May 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm | |

    Ah, yes, maybe you see this blog as some kind of another support group where people get sheltered against what is out there, why not, your right, personally i like to ask questions, from time to time, hope this doesn’t bother you.

    Be well

  41. Mumbles
    Mumbles May 14, 2013 at 5:07 pm | |

    I’d not noticed before how Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top lead guitarist) copped Osho Rajneesh’s look (if Osho was sporting shades and showercap instead of groovy fur):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FfWw3Gujss

  42. petrichoric
    petrichoric May 14, 2013 at 6:11 pm | |

    Boubi, you wrote: “Ah, yes, maybe you see this blog as some kind of another support group where people get sheltered against what is out there, why not, your right, personally i like to ask questions, from time to time, hope this doesn’t bother you. Be well”.

    I’ll assume that was directed at me. Goodness, you’re very passive aggressive, aren’t you? Just because you ended that last post with “Be well” does not mean that everything that followed it wasn’t kinda insulting.

  43. petrichoric
    petrichoric May 14, 2013 at 6:11 pm | |

    *should have written: “everything that preceded it”, not “followed it”.

  44. SoF
    SoF May 14, 2013 at 8:42 pm | |

    “I think enlightenment experiences are mainly delusional.”

    Many may be, some are not.

    I think ‘enlightenment’ is just getting over ‘it.’ The ‘it’ is this:

    1) You are not special (and I am not special)
    2) In the whole Feng-Shui, VooDoo, MoJo, there is no god that favors you over any other being anywhere. We may have our own god or gods but, at best, they give us a little nudge when we come to a fork in the road. The decision, however, still could have gone either way.
    3) You are responsible for the agency of your own actions – your mother did NOT make you do it even IF she made you this way.
    4) We ARE all in this together! We, in some small part, ARE the factory that collapsed, the gun that fired, the bomb that dropped.
    5) Greed is the sin and in many people it can be mitigated or even controlled.

    The Rolls was cool – what is a cult without a Rolls Royce? Really!

  45. Fred
    Fred May 15, 2013 at 4:32 am | |
  46. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote May 15, 2013 at 3:22 pm | |

    I love ZZ Top.

    I’m thinking some folks may have missed my remarks because I included multiple links and the comment was therefore held for moderation. Just in case that’s true, you can click here to see them:

    http://hardcorezen.info/the-source-family/1888/comment-page-1#comment-56967

    Osho seldom blinked, very seldom, when he was making a point or two. Indian gurus often display pretty profound relaxation even when speaking.

    Found this in Denkoroku:

    The master sits on golden ground,
    Always expounding the real truth,
    Turning the light around to illuminate the self,
    Causing entry into absorption.

    Denkoroku sounds like Yuanwu; I can’t find a copy of “Blue Cliff Record” to compare them.

  47. Fred
    Fred May 15, 2013 at 5:37 pm | |

    A man or a woman is like the river in Hesse’s book Siddhartha, always changing,
    never staying the same, yet our society/culture holds us responsible for what
    occurs under the umbrella of the collective self.

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