We have tried to expose EJ Gold here many times and at this point we can note that our effort to start a dialogue with other jewish new age celebrities failed. They no doubt recoil in horror, next to a failure to understand the genre of spiritual cannabilism exposed by Rudranandra. I never realized the extent to which jewish new agers took to this book with a kind of sly schmuckhood given spiritual ambition to play overman to gentile idiots. I am sorry to raise an ‘antisemitic’ innuendo, but not sorry enough to desist. The age of jewish new age celebrities is passing rapidly, and let’s instead wish them luck as their luck runs out. Someday we may get lucky with a jewish buddha.
Let me note that the Osho entity is no picnic either, and in general dead buddhas are an entire mystery. Rudraanda should have been clearer when writing on such a dangerous topic.
It is not the fault of the jews, and is a form of malevolence springing from sufism, and other places, and is clearly hinted at in Gurdjieff material. Indian gurus are more mysterious.
I pursue this discussion because I have no other choice and need to find the escape from sufi predators.
With shark sufis like Gold the dangers for both jewish and especially gentile seekers is severe. The counterpoint is that such ogres can’t exploit more than a small minority, often those who approach the teaching and gave their consent as ‘surrender’ and then departed. The majority in the ashram must be oblivious to what’s going on.
Giving consent is an act of will and you would do well to withdraw it once you see the game, if you still can. From that point on one is a sitting ducks with no overt/legal connection to the source of exploitation. What a nightmare for the new age movement. The movement should recast itself completely asap. The worst case I know of is Da Free John, so the genre, invented by gentiles, whether in India or by sufis, is no jewish specialty. But the game is likely to spread, and seems to be entering jewish culture mixed with chauvinism. But Da Free John openly confessed to playing Dracula.
We need a grim finality to the oldfashioned guru game out of context, with a question mark about the indigenous Indian brand at it source which is not liable for the degeneration at its fringes.
We live in a democratic age and there is not basis for this kind of kowtow world. And at its worst we see the connection to fascism.
Spiritual surrender should mean that a student gives respectful audience to a teacher, with the courtesy to listen and learn. That’s it. This gets mixed with issues of surrender to god, or Jesus Christ. These are difficult variants that are not so open to exploitation.
The grotesque attempts to ply invultuation of the will of the unsuspecting as a spiritual duty is an abortion of the tradition, but one that no doubt has its own legacy from antiquity. That brand is fully active in the Gurdjieff legacy and Gold et al. take on it. It can be a deadly mistake, so make it an axiom of spiritual research that you will ‘surrender your ego’ to the void of your own mind, but not your will to another spiritual operator. Please note that noone will call this a misunderstanding because they would never invite the victims to a public discussion. I twice offered Jack Kornfield a chance for public discussion.
When you get in trouble here noone will help you. So be wary, and don’t start.
There are no doubt mysteries here in the relationships of gurus and very close disciples with a close personal contact where the exchange of energies presumes some kind of complete surrender.
I am suspicious there: instead of enlightenment there is the transmission of some kind of fake via spiritual energy that can only occur if the donor can control the gift and the return of the energy in a closed circuit. Otherwise their energies will dissipate very swiftly. I can understand and admire the nerve of gurus who will take that risk and only with total surrender and control of the ‘disciple’ can the transfer avoid being lost to the winds or ripped off by sharks who know the genre. I can’t figure it out, and it doesn’t concern the 99 percent who are for better or worse total outside this world. You might read Shri Anirvan’s book (in the sidebar, and reviewed by me at Amazon) for a case of the super-lickspittle at the feet of the master.
The only path free of this is the path of enlightenment!
Mr. Gold is beyond my understanding, but he springs from the avowedly demonic world of Gurdjieff and completely anonymous sufis who use such people to set up victims as food.
We had a post on the eightfold way, and its simple depiction of a first stage of ‘hearing’. That’s all surrender could be. The local Indic brands may no doubt look down on mere Hinayana, but I would take the lesson to heart.
Dhammalsaddhalpabbajja: A layman hears a Buddha teach the Dhamma, comes to have faith in him, and decides to take ordination as a monk;
sila: He adopts the moral precepts;
That’s the real and simple answer: you bring courtesy and listening to a source and the path begins by hearing.
The groupies around gurus don’t understand the issues, and aren’t surrendered.
I speak for those who fell in the trap and have endured extreme sufferings from attempted psychic murder, invultuation, telepathic programming mindfuck, experimental occultism, artificially created mental diseases, and so on. These can occur in former disciples distant from the rogue guru, and even worse in a next life after all memory of the sourcing moment is lost. The latter is a calamity and should be avoided by avoiding surrender to gurus, period. I think that the reincarnation of Ouspensky is suffering this calamity with no ability to remember his previous lives, and no help from those who know but wish to keep him asleep. Ouspensky never had a fair trial, to say the least, and we confront the spectacle of someone who nearly created the new age movement with his classic ISOM now being terrorized by those who benefited from his genius. Probably they don’t want anyone to know what can happen to disciples, and they are in any case afraid in the solemn guru mediocrity of a person as talented as Ouspensky was.
Moral: don’t indulge in surrender rituals. The word is a mistranslation of some unknown concept from antiquity. Simple listening, as in the Hinayana example, is an obvious ‘better strategy’.
12.18.14 at 4:56 pm ·
These are the stakes of White’s argument that so many of his critics have missed and misunderstood. Science today—a science co-opted and twisted by capitalist progress—views religion, philosophy, and the arts with hostility because they provide alternative systems of knowledge and value, and always have. That is why the powers that be would like them done away with.
Anyone with any investment in education should be intimately familiar with this state of affairs; across the land, arts classes are being eliminated in favor of more math and science, the only disciplines that supposedly matter. And why do they matter? Because they’re profitable! And how can we save some semblance of the arts? Why, by showing that they, too, are profitable! They help people do even better math and science! Thus, the arts will become the slave of a slave. And this is how capitalism replaces all alternative values with its single driving obsession—that people who already have money make even more money.
12.19.14 at 9:25 am ·
I reviewed this at Amazon
The problem here is not that science should enquire into things like creativity but that every time scientists attempt a ‘hard problem’ they produce fake results. Look at evolutionary darwinism.
FREED AT LAST from the limits imposed by religion, science has extended its ambitions beyond the debunking of Christian dogma. It has now turned its attention to another old competitor, the secular world of the humanities and the arts. This second front in the American culture war has its roots in the decades just after the Enlightenment era, especially in the quickly matured world of post-Enlightenment scientism led by “Darwin’s bulldog,” Thomas H. Huxley. It was Huxley who first sought to describe human mental characteristics, including emotions and social organization, as neurological aspects of evolution.
The recent works I will look at all contend in one way or another that now that science has finished with the last vestiges of religious thought and answered its last objection to the scientific worldview (“why is there something rather than nothing?”), they are free to investigate the artists and all of their delusions about human consciousness and the human capacity for creativity. After all, science contends, art has its own gospel of revelation—the quasi-spiritual experience of “inspiration”—and its own messiah: the genius.
Steven Pinker claims in his widely cited book How the Mind Works that the mind is a “biologically selected neural computer.” He writes:
I want to convince you that our minds are not animated by some godly vapor or single wonder principle. The mind, like the Apollo spacecraft, is designed to solve many engineering problems, and thus is packed with high-tech systems each contrived to overcome its own obstacles.
And this is just prelude to his later conclusion that art is a “biologically frivolous and vain” activity interested only in critical obscurantism, social status, and the tickling of the brain’s dopamine reward system (like cheesecake).
The idea that creativity is a problem for scientists, not poets, is frequently made in the New York Times “Science Times.” There we find the (often droll) attempt to mechanize consciousness and creativity by laying out its relation to areas of the brain and to chemicals, especially neurotransmitters. Of particular interest at the moment is the neuroscience of creativity. Some scientists now claim to know what parts of the brain are responsible for it, and, using fMRI technology, they can even show it to us in the very act of creation, the brain in genius mode, all lit up like a conch shell with a little Christmas light inside.
12.16.14 at 6:17 pm
Metaphysical materialism should not have survived the progression of ideas through Berkeley, Hume, and Kant; but perhaps because this outcome was muddled in the treatment of German Idealists (like Hegel), a simple version of Democritean Atomism returned in the 19th century among those more impressed with the progress of science than with the jargon and obscurantism of Idealism. That is when materialism gained some traction as the default metaphysics of generally sensible, critical, conscientious, and empirical opinion. Even the denial of Marx that his “materialism” was an ontological theory (rather than about material economic conditions of production) was ignored and forgotten in the general impression that, after all, it must be just that.
It’s worth quoting a part of the paper in full:
To conclude, it is my impression that many of the psychologists, cognitive scientists, and sociologists doing research on Burmese style mindfulness practices seem to assume that the psychological benefits of such practice are born out by centuries of Buddhist experience. Such is not the case. To the extent that the modern approach to mindfulness can be found in premodern Asia, it was a minority position that was met with considerable criticism from traditional quarters. The nature of the criticism warrants our attention, as it parallels criticism directed against Mahas ı’s technique in modern Southeast Asia. Thus we hear the charge that such practices emphasize momentary states rather than long-term transformation, that they do not yield the benefits that are claimed on their behalf, that they are more Hindu than Buddhist, and that the overriding emphasis on inner stillness, in the absence of critical intellectual engagement with the teachings, can lead to a paralyzing state of self-absorption—what East Asian Buddhists have long identified as “meditation sickness” (Ahn, 2007).
To be clear, I am not claiming that mindfulness has no therapeutic value. I am aware of the claims, based on a substantial body of empirical (if contested) data, that suggests it does. But my own experience among long-term meditators in Asian monastic settings as well as in American practice centers leads me to be somewhat skeptical, and I sometimes wonder if researchers in this area are asking the right questions of the right people. It is not just that advanced meditation practitioners in more traditional Asian settings may not exhibit the kinds of behavior that we associate with mental health. It is that, as Obeyesekere noted, it is not clear that they aspire to our model of mental health in the first place. And this, I submit, is the real challenge for those
interested in the causal relationship between traditional forms of Buddhist meditation and the psychological and behavioral outcomes that such meditation is assumed to produce.
Good comment from NK
12.12.14 at 7:41 am
In response to your post over at Darwiniana, the issue isn’t Western society. As Sharf pointed out in his lecture, “bare awareness” (exemplified by Mahasi, many forms of Zen, Dzogchen, etc.) practices develop when Buddhism is being dumbed down for the laity; they have developed within ancient Buddhist cultures themselves. There is a good reason for this: samadhi (concentration) is very difficult. Most monks within the Sangha don’t meditate for this very reason. Not many people are willing to do the work necessary to perfect the meditation described in the Pali Canon or the Yoga Sutra.
My study of history in WHEE has a lot of insights into the history of religion, and the issue of the Axial period and modernity is one of the most confusing. The issue requires a careful study of the whole model, however.
I am not promoting Xtianity here, but it remains true that the only religious entity given the macro transformation effect (so visible in the Axial Age) in the modern transition is Xtianity in the Reformation. That is the result of the sudden restriction of parallel emergence to a single track in modern times.
The Protestant Reformation creates a form of Xtianity that starts to dissolve, as it were, and in the seventeenth century we see the system moving into a new set of positions. That’s the reason for the confusion over the secular in modern times. A close look shows that buddhism rapidly becomes an object of study and diffusion, as if this macro system were trying to correct its flaws.
So the question of these religions in the future is going to problematical. Students of the New Age spectrum could care less about the Reformation, and I am not promoting that. But the issue can help New Agers understand how their movements tend to stall and not go anywhere.
A good example here is to see that New Age movements are lucky to have fifty thousand members, while in the past generation or so Xtianity has acquired ten million converts. This situation requires careful thought.
The issue of Xtianity is not always popular with new age groups, but its inherent dynamic, hard to figure out, has propelled into some kind of future via the Reformation.
One of the problems with people like Harris is that they want to “Kill the Buddha” without really having any understanding of what the Buddha actually taught. I feel sorry for people like Alan Clements, the first American monk in the Burmese tradition (the source of the “mindfulness” movement). Reading his biography, he never really learned anything about Buddhism…it was only the dumbed-down version that Mahasi and U Pandita invented.
Many will be shocked by my attacks on the guru idea. But I think my Nietzsche post today shows why I am right. And Osho’s take on Nietzsche shows how the guru game will play out.
To enforce a form of authority you must punish those who disobey. The game is not possible in the modern period. We see a cover presentation disguising a more ruthless background. But that doesn’t change the issue. As Ouspensky discovered.
The solution to the Ouspensky disobedience requires punishment, and that requires pursuing the rebel into his next life and we have hinted this is what is going on now, and that, as this blog indicates, Gurdjieff is losing the game: Ouspensky is escaping. Surely gurus can’t pursue rebels into all future lives. The larger spiritual domain will learn of it and some part of it will put a stop to it.
But the tension here is going to create a phalanx of enraged modernist outsiders dabbling in yoga. They will move in the not too distant future to liquidate these gurus. Best reconsider the issues.
Osho has done so, consider his unprecedented canon on the rebel himself.
Meanwhile most will never discovery their slavery: you must meditate to the end to find out what is going on in your unconscious…