Bad leadership from Dalai Lama

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:46 am



Booknotes: Jim Keith, Mass Control

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:57 am

Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness [Paperback]
Jim Keith

Stumbled on this surprisingly good book on the subject of ‘mind control’. To be sure, I can’t endorse the basic foundations here, but I can’t gainsay them either since I don’t have the answers myself. In any case, Keith has done some research, and has a lot of good references, however treacherous the ‘methodology’ used, with its strains of ‘conspiracy theory’.
In any case, one of the issues running through this blog has been the MKULTRA type information (a line fist suggested by the long lost ‘silly kitty’, once a frequent commenter here), and its relationship to occult questions. So a series of issues of this book, if I dare scan them up, might be of interest. I think that we bombed out on ‘mind control’ in the intelligence agencies, versus mind control in the Gurdjieff world, what to say of the Sufi world.
The Gurdjieff brand is potentially more dangerous!!!! because more insidious, and totally unknown to the public. You can be enslaved over successive lives, a fiasco beyond imagining. Sooner or later, however, such types get caught, so the real danger is the kind you agree to, e.g. some forms of ‘discipleship’.
Skip it! Be your own guru!

Figures like E.J. Gold are actively menacing in this zone, and mind control tactics in the ‘sufi’ stream are the cancer that destroyed the subject.

The value of Keith’s book is a set of references to (among many things) the precursors of MKULTRA. And he makes clear the obvious that isn’t obvious in the indirection of public commentary, viz. that the use of ‘mind control’ psycho-tech (mostly hypnosis) to create government assassins is historically documentable.
The point here is that a lot of vague hints never amount to stating the horrible truth.
This is your governmentl, you voted for it.
As President Truman realized too late, he had let loose a monster in the CIA. Have we passed the point of no return? JFK was clear: he saw the need to smash the CIA asap, but, …we know what happened to him.
We touched on this with our reference a while back to the movie The Bourne Identity, which apparently refers to this zone of black ops in the CIA etc…
The danger of the ‘work’ is thus ‘guessable’ by those paranoid enough about the realities of occultism to graduate from thumb-sucking Ouspenski-ism. Moral: proceed at you own risk. Stay anonymous, and find a ‘path to enlightenment’ where the issues appear blunted by the basic integrity of a real spiritual path (no, the ‘work’ is not a real spiritual path).

Moral 2: if you wish a real spiritual path, don’t apprentice yourself to a devil (like Beelzebub), bub.

The book then has a lot of material that has to be taken with reserve, but interesting: the CIA and the drug/LSD revolution (Leary), the sources of MKULTRA, German influences from Wundt onward, the sex research of Kinsey, dozens of ‘background checks’ (so to speak) for famous people (e.g. Huxley son), etc….

Note that the movie Conspiracy Theory with Julia Roberts and Mel Gibson mentions this connection of the MKULTRA and the assassination programs (just to make clear that we are belatedly realizing the obvious).
See also the third in the Bourne series (The Bourne Ultimatum) for non-information about mind contral progrmas desiguised behind Hollywood props and plots.
We are only forty years behind the times here.


Repost from Darwiniana: Hubbard and ‘conscious evolution’

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:59 am

Hubbard biblio, WHEE, and Bennett’s cosmic energies. And a short sermon
Hubbard’s bibliography at her site (check it out for much else): http://www.barbaramarxhubbard.com/con/node/33
You can figure people out from a bibliography, sometimes. I think this one is floundering between New Age metaphysics, and quantum mechanical extravagance.
Books worth reading,…
Read the rest of this entry »


Osho on reincarnation

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:09 pm

After our discussions of buddhism and rebirth, this discourse
of OSHO (Rajneesh) should be of interest.

Scanned text of the Chapter, Self, No Self, and Reincarnation
from Osho’s
Destiny, Freedom and the Soul
Note: some paragraphs are indneted quotes. The formatting was not preserved by the text trransfer.
You can tell mostly which paragraphs are which.

As far as I am concerned, not a single word from me has to
be believed, but to be experienced. And I am giving you
the method, how to experience it.
Become more meditative. Reincarnation and God, heaven and
hell do not matter. What matters is your becoming alert. Medita-
tion awakens you, gives you eyes-and then whatever you see, you
cannot deny.

To me it seems tbat tbe Cbristian concept 0/ tbe soul is tbe same as
wbat you mean by tbe one wbo is tbe watcber. Why didn’t Jesus speak
about tbe possibility 0/ reincarnation 0/ tbe soul? This seems to be a
dijference between Eastern and Western religions. Can you say some-
tbing about it?
Jesus knew perfectly well about reincarnation.
There are indirect hints spread all over the Gospels. Just the
other day I was saying, quoting Jesus: “I am before Abraham ever
was.” And Jesus says, “I will be coming back.” There are a thou-
sand and one indirect references to reincarnation. He knew about
it perfectly well, but there is some other reason why he did not talk
about it, why he did not preach it.
Jesus had been to India, and he had seen what happened be-
cause of the theory of reincarnation. In India, for almost five thou-
sand years before Jesus, the theory was taught. And it is a truth, it
is not only a theory; the theory is based in truth. Man has millions
of lives. It was taught by Mahavira, by Buddha, by Krishna, by
Rama; all the Indian religions agree upon it. You will be surprised
to know that they don’t agree on anything else except this theory.
Hindus believe in God and the soul. Jainas don’t believe in
God at all, but only in the soul. And Buddhists don’t-believe in the
soul or God either. But about reincarnation, all three agree-even
Buddhists agree, who don’t believe in the soul. A very strange
thing … then who reincarnates? Even the Buddhists could not
deny the phenomenon of reincarnation, although they could deny
the existence of the soul; they say the soul does not exist but rein-
carnation exists. And it was very difficult for them to prove rein-
carnation without the soul; it seems almost impossible. But they
found a way-of course, it is very subtle and very difficult to com-
prehend, but they seem to be closer, the closest to the truth.
It is easy to understand that there is a soul and when you die
the body is left on the earth and the soul enters into another body,
into another womb; it is a simple, logical, mathematical thing. But
Buddha says there is no soul, only a continuum. It is like when you
light a candle in the evening and in the morning when you are
blowing jt out-a question can be asked of you: Are you blowing
out the same light that you kindled in the evening? No, it is not
the same light, and yet a continuity is there. In the night when you

lit the candle … that flame is no longer there, that flame is con-
tinually disappearing and being replaced by another flame. The
replacement is so quick that you can’t see the gaps, but with so-
phisticated scientific instruments, it is possible to see the gaps: one
flame going out, another coming up, that going out, another com-
ing up. There are bound to be small intervals, but you can’t see
them with the naked eye.

Buddha says that just as the candle flame is not the same-it is
changing constantly, although in another sense it is the same be-
cause it is the same continuum-exactly like that, there is no
soul entity in you like a thing, but one like a flame. It is continu-
ally changing; it is a river.

Buddha does not believe in nouns, he believes only in verbs,
and I perfectly agree with him. He has come closest to the truth;
at least in his expression, he is the most profound.

But why did Jesus, Moses, Mohammed-the sources of all the
three religions that have been born outside India-not talk about
reincarnation directly? For a certain reason, and the reason is that
Moses was aware … because Egypt and India have been in. con-
stant contact. It is suspected that once Africa was part of Asia and
that the continent has slowly shifted away. India and Egypt were
joined together, hence there are so many similarities. And it is not
strange that South India is black; it has partly Negro blood in its
veins, it is negroid-not totally, but if Africa was joined with
Asia, then certainly the mingling of the Aryans with the Negroes
must have happened, and then South India became black.

Moses must have been perfectly aware ofIndia. You will be sur-
prised that Kashmir claims that both Moses and Jesus are buried
there. The tombs are there-one tomb for Moses and one tomb for

Moses and Jesus saw what happened to India through the the-
ory of reincarnation. Because of the theory of reincarnation, India
became very lethargic: there is no hurry. India has no time sense,
not even now. Even though everybody is wearing a wristwatch,
there is no time sense. If somebody says, “I will be coming at five
o’clock in the evening to see you,” it can mean anything. He may
turn up at four, he may turn up at six, he may no’t turn up at all-
and it is not taken seriously! It is not that he is not fulfilling his
promise, but that there is no time sense! How can you have time
sense when eternity is available? When there are so many Jives,
why be in such a hurry? One can go on slowly; one is bound to
reach some day or other.

The theory of reincarnation made India very lethargic, dull. It
made India utterly time-unconscious. It helped people to post-
pone. And if you Can postpone for tomorrow, then today you will
remain the same as you have been, and the tomorrow never comes.
And India knows how to postpone not only to tomorrow but even
to the next life.

Moses and Jesus both visited India, both were aware. Moham-
med never visited India but was perfectly aware, because he was
very close to India and there was constant traffic between India
and Arabia. They decided that it was better to tell people, “There
is only one life, this is the last chance-the first and the last-if
you miss it, you miss forever.” This is a device to create intense
longing, to create such intensity in people that they can be trans-
formed easily.
Then the question arises: Were Mahavira, Buddha, and Krishna
not aware? Were they not aware that this theory of reincarnation
would create lethargy? They were trying a totally different device.
And each device has its time; once it is used, it cannot go on being
used forever. People become accustomed to it.
When Buddha, Mahavira, and Krishna tried the device of rein-
carnation, they were trying it from a totally different angle. India
was a very rich country in those days. It was thought to be the
golden country of the world, the richest. And in a rich country, the
real problem, the greatest problem, is boredom. That is happening
now in the West, and all the Westernized countries are in the same
situation. Boredom has become the greatest problem. People are
utterly bored, so bored that they would like to die.
Krishna, Mahavira, and Buddha used this situation. They told
people, ‘This is nothing, one life’s boredom is nothing. You have
lived for many lives-and remember, if you don’t listen, you are
going to live many more lives; you will be bored again and again
and again. It is the same wheel of life and death that keeps on
They painted boredom in such dark colors that people who
were already bored with even one life became really very deeply
involved with religion. One has to get rid of life and death; one has
to get out of this wheel, this vicious circle of birth and death.
Hence it was relevant in those days.

Then India became poor. Once the country became poor, bore-
dom disappeared. A poor man is never bored, remember; only a
rich man can afford boredom, it is a rich man’s privilege. It is im-
possible for a poor man to feel boredom; he has no time. The
whole day he is working; when he comes home, he is so tired, he _

falls asleep. He need not have many entertainments-television
and movies and music and art and museums-he need not have all
these things, he cannot have them. His only entertainment is sex: a
natural thing, inbuilt. That’s why poor countries go on reproduc-
ing more children than rich countries-sex is the only entertain-


If you want to reduce the population of poor countries, give
them more entertainment. Give them television sets, give them ra-
dios, movies-something that can keep them distracted from sex.
I have heard about American couples that they become so ob-
sessed with the television that even while making love, they go on
watching it. Lovemaking becomes secondary; television becomes
primary. They don’t want to miss the program that is going on.
A poor country knows only one entertainment because it can-
not afford any other; it can afford only the natural, in built one. So
a poor country goes on producing people; it becomes more and
more crowded. And they are not fed up with life. What life do
they have? First you have to have life to be fed up with it. You have
to have money to be fed up with it. You have to have many women
to be fed up with them. You have to have many experiences of the
world to be finished with it.
The moment India became poor, the theory of reincarnation
became an escape, a hope-rather than a boredom, it became a
hope, a possibility to postpone. “I am poor in this life. Nothing to
be worried about; there are many lives. Next life, I am going to
strive a little harder and I will be richer. This life, I have got an
ugly woman. Nothing to be worried about; it is only a question of
one life. Next time I am not going to make the same mistake again.
This time I am suffering from my past karmas. This life I will not
commit any wrong things so that I can enjoy the coming life.” It
became a way of postponement.
Jesus saw it, that the device was no longer working in the way it
was meant to work. The situation had changed. Now Jesus had to
create another device: there is only one life-so if you want to be
religious, if you want to meditate, if you want to become a seeker,
be one right now-because the tomorrow is not reliable. There may
be no tomorrow.
Hence the West has become too conscious of time; everybody
is in a hurry. This hurry is because of Christianity. The device has
again failed. No device can work forever.
My own experience is that a particular device works only while
the master is alive, because he is the soul of it-he manages it in
such a way that it works. Once the master is gone, the device falls
out of use or people start finding new interpretations for it.
Now in the West, the device has failed utterly; now it has
become a problem. People are in a constant hurry, tension, anxiety,
because there is only one life. Jesus wanted them to remember: Be-
cause there is one life, remember God. And what are they doing?
Seeing that there is only one life, they want to drink, eat, and be
merry, because there is no other life. So indulge as much as you can.
Squeeze the whole juice of life right now! And who cares about
what will happen on the Judgment Day? Who knows whether the
Judgment Day exists or not?
A great hurry has arisen in the West about everything, because
there is no other life.
Mary and John are both living in a big apartment building
in New York City. One day they meet and instantly fall in
each other, but they don’t make any contact. This
goes on for six months until John just can’t bear the tension
anymore and asks her to come to his apartment for a drink.
Hesitatingly she says yes, and as soon as they reach his flat,
they close the door behind them and rush into the bedroom
and throw themselves on the bed.
After a few minutes, John explains with a hoarse voice,
“Listen, I am very sorry, but if! had known that you were a
virgin, I would have taken more time.”
Mary replies, “Well, if! had known that you had more
time, I would have taken my pants off!”
Such a hurry! Speed is the mania, faster and faster. Nobody is
bothered where you are going, but you have to go fast, invent speed-
ier vehicles.
And this whole thing has happened because of the device. It
worked in Jesus’ time. He was continually telling his people, “Be-
. ware! The Day of Judgment is very close by. You are going to see
the end of the world in your very own life, and there is no other
life. And if you miss, you will be thrown into hell for eternity!”
He was simply creating a psychological atmosphere. It worked
when he was alive and it worked for a few more days when he was
gone. It continued to work for a few days because of the closest
disciples who had something of the climate of Jesus with them,
some aura, but then it created just the opposite effect.
It has created the most worldly civilization the world has ever
known. And the desire was that the idea of one life would make
people so alert and aware that they would seek and search for ‘God
and they would drop all other desires and all other occupations.
Their whole life would become one-pointedly an inquiry, a
search for God. That was the idea behind the device. But the ulti-
mate result is that people have become absolutely worldly, because
there is no other life, only one life-enjoy it the most you can!
Enjoy it; don’t postpone it for tomorrow.
The Indian device failed because people became lethargic. It
worked with Buddha. He really created one of the greatest move-
ments in the world. Thousands of people renounced their lives,
became sannyasins. That means they devoted their whole energy to
the search for truth, because he created such an atmosphere of
boredom that you would be bored if you missed.
But what happened later on was just the opposite. It is always
going to be so. The masters are bound to be misunderstood. And
people are so cunning, so diplomatic, they can always find ways to
destroy the whole device.
Jesus knows perfectly that life is eternal, reincarnation is a fact.
He mentions it in indirect ways, maybe to his very close disciples
he mentions it, but not to the masses-for a simple reason: he has
seen that it failed in India, so something else has to be tried.
I am creating many devices because others have failed. I know
perfectly well that my devices will function only while I am here;
they are bound to fail as every other device has failed. I am not
living in any fool’s paradise thinking that my devices will remain
as I create them forever. When I am not there, people are going to
distort them. But that is natural, it has to be accepted; there is
nothing to worry about.
Hence those who are here, please be alert and use these devices
as deeply as possible. While I am here, these devices will function
perfectly well. In my hands, they can be great situations for inner
transformation, but once my hands are no longer visible, these
same devices will be in the hands of the pundits and the scholars,
and then the same story will be repeated as it has been in the past.
Beware, be watchful. Don’t waste time.
A friend, who has a Ph.D. in computing, and whose thesis was on
artificial intelligence, says that man is a biochemical computer and
nothing more. Buddha has said that all things are composite and there
is no self, no soul, no spirit, no ”I,” which seems to agree with my
friend’s viewpoint. Could you please help me, because I feel that there
is something missingfrom these views, but I can’t see it myself.
Man certainly is a biocomputer-but something more, too.
About most people, it can be said that they are only biocom-
puters and nothing more. Ordinarily one is only the body and the
mind, and both are composites. Unless one moves into meditation,
one cannot find that which is something more, something tran-
scendental to body and mind.
The psychologists, particularly the behaviorists, have been
studying man for half a century, but they study the ordinary man,
and of course their thesis is proved by all their studies. The ordi-
nary man, the unconscious man, has nothing more in him than
the body-mind composite. The body is the outer side of the mind,
and the mind is the inner side of the body. Both are born and both
will die one day.
But there is something more. That “something more” makes a
person awakened, enlightened, a Buddha, a Christ. But a Buddha or
a Christ is not available to be studied by Pavlov, Skinner, Delgado,
and others. Their study is about the unconscious man, and of
course, when you study the unconscious man, you will not find
anything transcendental in him. The transcendental exists in the
unconscious man only as a potential, as a possibility; it is not yet
realized; it is not yet a reality. Hence you cannot study it.
You can study it only in a Buddha-but even then, study is
obviously very difficult, close to impossible, because what you will
study in a Buddha will again be his behavior. If you are deter-
mined that there is nothing more, if you have already concluded,
then even in his behavior you will see only mechanical reactions;
you will not see his spontaneity. To see that spontaneity, you have
also to become a participant in meditation.
Psychology can become only a real psychology when medita-
tion becomes its foundation. The word psychology means “the science
of the soul,” Modern psychology is not yet a science of the souL
Buddha certainly has denied the self, the ego, the ”1.” He has
not denied the soul, and the self and the soul are not synonymous.
He denies the self because the self exists only in the unconscious
man. The unconscious man needs a certain idea of “1”; otherwise
he will be without a center. He does not know his real center. He
has to invent a false center so that he can at least function in the
world; otherwise his functioning will become impossible. He needs
a certain idea of “1.”
You must have heard about Descartes’s famous statement: Cogito,
ergo sum. “I think, therefore I am.”
A professor, teaching the philosophy of Descartes, was asked
by a student, “Sir, I think, but how do I know that I am?”
The professor pretended to peer around the classroom. “Who
is asking the question?” he said.
“I am,” replied the student.
One needs a certain idea of “I”; otherwise functioning will
become impossible. So because we don’t know the real “I,” we sub-
stitute it with a false ‘T’-something invented, a composite.,
Buddha denies the self because to him “self” simply is another
name for the ego with a little color of spirituality; otherwise there
is no difference. His word is anatta. Atta means “self,” anatta means
“no-self.” But he is not denying the soul. In fact, when the self is
completely dropped, only then will you come to know the soul.
But Buddha does not say anything about it, because nothing can
be said.
His approach is via negativa. He says: You are not ‘the body, you
are not the mind, you are not the self. He goes on denying, elimi-
nating; he eliminates everything that you can conceive of, and then
he does not say anything about what is left. That which is left is
your reality-that utterly pure sky without clouds, no thought, no
identity, no emotion, no desire, no ego, nothing is left. All clouds
have disappeared … just the pure sky.
It is inexpressible, unnamable, indefinable. That’s why he keeps
absolutely silent about it. He knows that if anything is said about
it, you will immediately jump back to your old idea of the self. If
he says, “There is a soul in you,” what are you going to under-
stand? You will think, “He calls it soul and we call it self-it is
the same. The supreme self maybe, the spiritual self; it is not just
ordinary ego.” But spiritual or unspiritual, the idea of being a sepa-
rate entity is the point. Buddha denies that you are a separate en-
tity from the whole. You are one with the organic unity of existence,
so there is no need to say anything about your separateness. Even
the word soul will give you a certain idea of separateness; you are
bound to understand it in your own unconscious way.
Your friend says that man is a biochemical computer and noth-
ing more-can a biochemical computer say that? Can a biochemi-
cal computer deny the self, the soul? No biocomputer or any other
kind of computer has any idea of self or no-self. But your friend is
doing that, so certainly he is not a biochemical computer. No bio-
chemical computer can write a thesis on artificial intelligence! Do
you think artificial intelligence can write a thesis about artificial
intelligence? Something more is needed.
Is it wrong to think that Buddha agrees with his viewpoint?
Not at all. Buddha’s experience is of meditation. Without medita-
tion, nobody can have any idea what Buddha is talking about. Your
friend’s observation is from the standpoint of a scientific onlooker:
it is not his experience; it is his observation. He is studying bio-
chemical computers, artificial intelligence, from the outside. Who
is studying?
Can you conceive oftwo computers studying each other? The
computer can know only that which has been fed into it; it cannot
have more than that. The information has to be given to it, then it
keeps it in its memory-it is a memory system. It can do miracles
as far as mathematics is concerned. A computer can be far more
efficient than any Albert Einstein as far as mathematics is con-
cerned, but a computer cannot be a meditator. Can you imagine a
computer just sitting silently doing nothing, the spring comes and
the grass grows by itself? …
There are many qualities that are impossible for the computer.
A computer cannot be in love. You can keep many computers
together-they will not fall in love! A computer cannot have any
experience of beauty; a computer cannot know any bliss. A com-
puter cannot have any awareness. A computer is incapable of feeling

silence. These are the qualities that prove that man has something
more than artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence can do scientific work, mathematical work,
calculation-and very quickly and efficiently, because it is a machine.
But a machine cannot be aware of what it is doing. A computer
cannot feel boredom, a computer cannot feel meaninglessness, a
computer cannot experience anguish. A computer cannot start an
inquiry about truth, it cannot renounce the world and become a
seeker, it cannot go to the mountains or to the monasteries. It can-
not conceive of anything beyond the mechanical-and all that is
significant is beyond the mechanical.

How can one distinguish between enlightened self-love and egomania?

The distinction is subtle but very clear, not difficult. If you
have egomania, it will create more and more misery for you. Mis-
ery will indicate that you are ill. Egomania is a disease, a cancer of
the soul. Egomania will make you more and more tense, will make
you more and more uptight, will not allow you to relax at alL It
will drive you toward insanity. ~. ./
Self-love is just the opposite of egomania. In self-love there is
no self, only love. In egomania there is no love, only self. In self-
love you will start becoming more and more relaxed. A person
who loves himself is totally relaxed. To love somebody else may
create a little tension, because the other need not be always in tune
with you. The other may have his or her own ideas. The other is a
different world; there is every possibility of collision, clash. There
is every possibility of storm and thunder because the other is a dif-
ferent world. There is always a subtle struggle going on. But when
you love yourself. there is nobody else. There is no conflict-it is
pure silence, it is tremendous delight. You are alone; nobody dis-
turbs you. The other is not needed at all. And to me, a person who
has become capable of such deep love toward himself becomes ca-
pable of loving others. If you cannot love yourself. how can you
love others? It must first happen at close quarters, it must first hap-
pen within you, to spread toward others.
People try to love others, not being at all aware that they have
not even loved themselves. How can you love others? That which
you don’t have you cannot share. You can give to others only that
which you have already with you.
So the first and the most basic step toward love is love of one-
self; but it has no self in it.
Let me explain it to you.
The “1” arises only as a contrast to the “thou.” “I” and “thou”
exist together. The “I” can exist in two dimensions. One dimension
is “I-it”: you-your house, you-your car, you-your money; “1-
it.” When there is this “1,” this “I” of “I-it,” your “1” is almost like
a thing. It is not consciousness; it is fast asleep, snoring. Your con-
sciousness is not there. You are just like things, a thing amidst
things: part of your house, part of your furniture, part of your
Have you watched it? A man who is too greedy about money,
by and by starts having the qualities of money. He becomes just
money. He loses spirituality; he is no more a spirit. He is reduced
to a thing. If you love money, you will become like money. If you
love your house, by and by you will become material. Whatsoever
you love, you become. Love is alchemical. Never love the wrong
thing, because it will transform you. Nothing is so transforming
love. Love something that can raise you higher, to higher alti-
tudes. Love something beyond you.

That is the whole effect of religion: to give you a love object
like God so that there is no way to fall down. One has to rise.
One sort of “I” exists as “I-it;” another sort of “I” exists as “1-
thou.” When you love a person, another type of “I” arises in you:
“I-thou.” You love a person; you become a person.
But what about self-Iove?-there is no “it” and there is no
“thou.” “I” disappears because “I” can exist only in two contexts:
“it” and “thou.” “I” is the figure, “it” and “thou” function as the
field. When the field disappears, the “I” disappears. When you are
left alone, you are, but you don’t have an “I,” you don’t feel any “1.”
You are simply a deep amness. Ordinarily we say “I am.” In that
state, when you are deep in love with yourself. “1” disappears. Only
amness, pure existence, pure being remains. It will fill you with tre-
mendous bliss. It will make you a celebration, a rejoicing. There
will be no problem in distinguishing between them.
If you are getting more and more miserable, then you are on
the trip of being an egomaniac. If you are becoming more and more
tranquil, silent, happy, together, then you are on another trip-the
trip of self-love. If you are on the trip of ego, you will become de-
structive to others-because the ego tries to destroy the “thou.” If
you are moving toward self-love, the ego will disappear. And when
the ego disappears, you allow the other to be himself or herself;
you give total freedom. If you don’t have any ego, you cannot create
an imprisonment for the other you love; you cannot create a cage.
You allow the other to be an eagle in the high heavens. You allow
the other to be himself or herself; you give total freedom. Love gives
total freedom. Love is freedom-freedom for you and freedom for

the object of your love. Ego is bondage-bondage for you and
bondage for your victim.

But ego can play very deep tricks with you. It is very cunning,
and subtle are its ways: it can pretend to be self-love.
Let me tell you one anecdote.
Mulla Nasruddin’s face lit up as he recognized the man
who was walking ahead of him down the subway stairs. He
slapped the man so heartily on the back that the man nearly
collapsed, and cried, “Goldberg, I hardly recognized you!
Why, you have gained thirty pounds since I saw you last ..
And you have had your nose fixed, and I swear you are about
two feet taller.”

The man looked at him angrily. “I beg your pardon,” he
said in icy tones, “but I do not happen to be Goldberg.”

“Aha!” said Mulla Nasruddin, “so you have even changed
your name?”

The ego is very cunning and very self-justifying, very self-
rationalizing. If you are not very alert, it can start hiding itself
behind self-love. The very word self will become a protection for it.
It can say, “I am your self.” It can change its weight, it can change
its height, it can change its name. And because it is just an idea,
there is no problem about it: it can become small; it can become
big. It is just your fantasy.
Be very careful. If you really want to grow in love, much care-
fulness will be needed. Each step has to be taken in deep alertness
so ego cannot find any loophole to hide behind.
Your real self is neither I nor thou; it is neither you nor the
other. Your real self is altogether transcendental. What you call
”1” is not your real self. “I” is imposed on reality. When you call
somebody “you,” you are not addressing the real self of the other.
Again you have imposed a label on it. When all the labels are
taken away, the real. self remains-and the real self is as much
yours as it is others’. The real self is one.
That’s why we go on saying that we participate in each other’s
beings, we are members of each other. Our real reality is God.
We may be like icebergs floating in the ocean-they appear to be
separate-but once we melt, nothing will be left. Definition will
disappear, limitation will disappear, and the iceberg will not be
there. It will become part of the ocean.

The ego is an iceberg. Melt it. Melt it in deep love, so it disap-
pears and you become part of the ocean.
I have heard ….
The judge looked very severe. “Mull a,” he said, “your wife
says you hit her over the head with a baseball bat and threw
her down a flight of stairs. What have you got to say for
Mulla Nasruddin rubbed the side of his nose with his
hand, and meditated. Finally he said, “Your Honor, I guess
there are three sides to this case: my wife’s s”,ory, my story,
and the truth.”
Yes, he is perfectly right.
“You have heard about two sides of a truth,” he said, “but there
are three sides” -and he is exactly right. There is your story, my
story, and the truth; I and you and the truth. ,.
The truth is neither I nor you. I and you are an imposition on
the vastness of the truth. “I” is false, “you” is false; utilitarian, use-
ful in the world. It will be difficult to manage the world without
“I” and “you.” Good-use them, but they are just devices of the
world. In reality, there is neither “you” nor “L” Something, some-
one, some energy exists with no limitations, with no boundaries.
Out of it we come, and into it we disappear again.

I bave beard you say tbat Buddba would not speak oj God, because it
cannot be proved. Yet in tbe next breatb, he speaks oj other lives, and
reincarnation. How does tbis..fit into scientific fact?
Buddba says tbere is no soul. What is it tbat remains tifter
deatb? What is reincarnation? I vaguely understand tbat it can be
tbe formless tbat remains, but can tbat have an individual entity?
The same wave is not reborn.

The question is very significant. It is one of the most funda-
mental contributions of Buddha to human consciousness-the idea
of no-self. It is very complex. You will have to be very silently alert
to understand it, because it goes against all the patterns that you
have been conditioned to.
First a few analogies, so you have a certain idea what he means
by no-self. Your body is a bag of skin. The skin defines your body;
it defines where you and the world start .. It is a demarcation around
you. It protects you from the world, it divides you from the world, _
and it allows you only certain apertures to enter into the world or
let the world enter in you. If there is no skin, you will not be able
to exist. You will be losing your boundaries with all that surrounds
you. But you are not your skin. And skin goes on changing.
all that in a bag. But you are not that ego either. Because that, too,
goes on changing, and that changes more than the bodily skin.
Each moment it is changing.
Buddha uses the analogy of a flame. A lamp is lighted: you see
the flame, but it is perpetually changing: it is never the same. By
the morning when you put the light off, you don’t put the same
flame off. It has been continually changing the whole night.
Every single moment the flame is disappearing in the smoke
and the new flame is replacing it. But the replacement is so fast
that you cannot see the absence-that one flame has gone, another
has come. That is gone; another has come. The movement is so
fast that you cannot see the gap between the two. Otherwise there
is only a continuity; it is not the same flame. But still, in a way, it is
the same flame because it is the continuity of the same flame. It is
born out of the same flame.
Just as you were born out of your parents-you are a continu-

ity. You are” not the same. You are not your father, you are not your
mother-but still you are your father and your mother, because
you continue the same tradition, the same line, the same heritage.
Buddha says the ego is a continuity, it is not a substance-
continuity like a flame, continuity like a river, continuity like the
The problem arises … we can concede that okay, it may be so:

if a person dies at death and everything disappears, then perfectly
true, maybe it is just a flame. But Buddha says a person is reborn-
then the problem arises. Then who is reborn?
Then again, a few analogies. Have you seen a big house on fire,
or a jungle on fire? If you watch, you will come to see a phenome-
non. The flame simply jumps from one tree and reaches another
tree. It has no substance in it: it is just a flame. It has no material
in it, it is just pure energy, a certain quantity of energy-it jumps
from one tree and reaches the other and the other is on fire.
Or, you can bring an unlighted torch close to a lighted torch.
What happens? The flame from the lighted torch jumps to the
unlighted torch. It is a quantum leap; it is a jump. The pure flame
jumps toward the other torch and starts another continuity.
Or, right now you are listening to me. If you put a radio on,
suddenly you will start listening to a certain broadcast from some
station that is passing through the air right now. Just a receiver is
needed. Once a receiver is there, you can catch hold of something
that is being broadcast from London or from Moscow or Beijing.
No substance is coming, just pure thought waves jumping
from Beijing to Pune … just thought waves, nothing substantial.
You cannot hold them in your hand, you cannot see them, but
they are there because your radio set catches them, or your televi-
sion catches them.
Buddha says when a person dies, his whole life’s accumulated

desires, his whole life’s accumulated memories, his whole life’s pat-
terns, karmas, jump like energy waves into a new womb. It is a jump.
The exact word exists in physics: they call it quantum leap-a leap of
pure energy without any substance in it.
Buddha is the first quantum physicist. Einstein followed him

after twenty-five centuries, but they both speak the same language.
And I still say that Buddha is scientific. His language is of modern
physics; he came twenty-five centuries before his time.
When a person dies, the body disappears, the material part
disappears, but the immaterial part, the mind part, is a vibration.
That vibration is released, broadcast. Now, wherever a right womb
is ready for this vibe, it will enter into the womb.

There is no “self” going-there is nobody going, there is no
ego going. There is no need for anything substantial to go, it is
just a push of energy. The emphasis is that it is again the same bag
of the ego jumping. One house has become unlivable, one body is.
no longer possible to live with. The old desire, the lust for life-
Buddha’s term is tanba, “lust for life”-is alive, burning. That very
desire takes a jump.
Now, listen to modern physics. They say there is ITO matter.
You see this very substantial wall behind me? You cannot pass
through it; if you try, you will be hurt. But modern physics says it
is nothing, nothing substantial. It is simply pure energy moving
with such tremendous speed that the very movement creates the
false illusion, the appearance of substance.

You have sometimes watched a fan moving fast-then you
cannot see the blades. There are only three blades, .but they are
moving so fast, it looks like a solid circle, like a plate; you cannot
see the gaps between two blades. If the air blown by a fan is moved
with the same velocity as the electrons are moving-the velocity is
tremendous-then you could sit on the air and you would not fall
from it. You could sit as I am sitting on my chair and you would
not feel any movement, because the movement is so fast.

Exactly the same is happening in this chair, and the same is
happening beneath you on the floor. It is not a marble floor, that is
only an appearance; the energy particles are moving so fast that
their very movement, their fastness, creates the illusion of substance.
Substance exists not; only pure energy exists. Modern science says
matter exists not; only immaterial energy exists.
Hence I say Buddha is very scientific. He does not talk about
God, but he talks about the immaterial no-self. Just as modern
science has taken the idea of substance out of its metaphysics, Bud-
dha took the idea of self out of his metaphysics. Self and substance
are correlates. It is difficult to believe that the wall is nonsubstan-
rial, and in the same way, it is difficult to believe that no self exists

Now, a few things more, which will make it more clear. I can-
not say that you will understand it, but it will make it more clear.
You walk, you are walking, you have gone for a morning walk.
The very language-that we say “you are walking”-creates a
problem; in our very language is the problem. The moment we say
somebody is walking, we assume that somebody is there who is
walking-the walker. We ask, how is walking possible if there is
no walker?

Buddha says there is no walker, only walking. Life does not
consist of things. Buddha says life consists of events. And that is
exactly what modern science is saying: there are only processes, not

Even to say that life exists is not right. Only thousands and
thousands of living processes exist. Life is just a~ idea. There is
nothing like “life.”

In the sky one day, you see black clouds have gathered and there
is thunder and lightning. When there is lightning, do you ask, “Is
there something behind lightning? Who is lightning? What is
lightning?” No, you will say, “Lightning is simply lightning-there

is nobody behind it; it is just a process. It is not that there is some-
thing that is lightning. It is simply lightning.”

The duality is brought by the language. You are walking-
Buddha says there is only walking. You are thinking-Buddha
says there is only thinking, no thinker. Thinker is just created by the
language. Because we use a language that is based in duality, it
makes everything into duality.

While you are thinking, there is a cluster of thoughts, all
right-but there is no thinker. If you really want to understand it,
you will have to meditate deeply and come to a point where think-
ing disappears. The moment thinking disappears, you will be
surprised-the thinker is also gone. With thinking, the thinker
also disappears. It. was just an appearance of moving thoughts.

You see a river. Does a river really exist, or is it just a move-
ment? If you take the movement out, will there be a river? Once
the movement is taken out, the river will disappear. It is not that
the river is moving; the river is nothing but rivering.

Language creates the difficulty. Maybe because of this partic-
ular structure in certain languages, Buddha became important
and significant and became rooted only in Japan, China, Burma-
because they have a totally different language. It is very significant
to understand why he became so important in the Chinese mind,
why China could understand him and India could not. China has
a different language, which fits with Buddhist ideology absolutely.
The Chinese language does not divide in two. In the Chinese lan-
guage, or in Korean, or in Japanese or Burmese, a totally different
structure exists than in Sanskrit, Hindi, English, Greek, Latin,
French, German-a totally different structure.
When for the first time the Bible was being translated into
, there was much difficulty, because a few sentences could
not be translated at all. The moment you translate them, the whole
meaning is lost. For example, a simple sentence, “God is”-you can-
not translate it into Burmese. If you translate it, it reads “God be-
comes.” “God is” cannot be translated, because there is no equivalent
term for is-because is implies something static.

We can say “the tree is,” but in Burmese, you have to say
“the tree is becoming,” not is. There is no equivalent for is. The
tree becomes. By the time you say the tree is, it is no longer the same
tree, so why do you say is? Is makes it static. But it is not, it is a river-
like phenomenon-“tree is becoming.” I have to say “tree is becom-
ing,” but in Burmese, it will be simply “tree becoming.” The is will
not be there. “The river is”-if you want to translate, it will be
“river moving.” “River rive ring” will be the exact translation in

But to say “God becoming” is very difficult, because Christians
cannot say that. God is perfect; he cannot “become.” He is not a
process, he has no growth possibility-he has already arrived. He
is the absolute-what do you mean by becoming? Becoming is pos-
sible if somebody is imperfect. God is perfect, he cannot become.
So how to translate it? Very difficult.

But Buddha immediately penetrated the Burmese, Chinese,
Japanese, Korean mind-immediately penetrated. The very struc-
ture of their languages made it possible; they could understand
Buddha very easily.

In life, there are only events. Eating is there, but there is no
eater. Just watch eating. Is there really an eater? You feel hungry,
right-hunger is there, but there is nobody who is hungry. Then
you eat-eating is there, but there is nobody who is an eater. Then .’
hunger is satisfied, then you feel satiation-this satisfaction is
there, but there is nobody who is satisfied.

Buddha says life consists of events. Life means living. Life is
not a noun; it is a verb. And everything is a verb. Watch and you
will be able to see it: everything is becoming; nothing is static.

Eddington said that in the English language there are a few
words that are absolutely false: for example, rest. Nothing is ever at
rest; the very word is wrong because there is no equivalent in real-
ity. Have you ever seen anything at rest? Even when you are at rest,
it is resting, it is not rest. It is a process: something is happening;
you are still breathing.

Lying down, relaxing-but it is not rest. Many things, a thou-
sand things are happening. Have you ever seen anything at rest? It
is impossible; rest does not exist. Even when a person is dead, then
the body continues its processes.

You may not have heard-sometimes it happens: Mohammed-
ans, Christians, those people who bury their dead in the ground,
sometimes come to know that the person is dead but his beard has
grown, his hair has become longer, his nails have grown. And the
person is dead!

Now this is very weird. If you shave a man and put him in the
grave and after six months you open the grave and he has a
beard … now what to say, whether he is alive or dead? You will be
very much afraid; you will run back home and that face will haunt
you in the night. What has happened? If the man is dead, then
how come his beard has grown? And if his beard can grow, is he
really dead or not-just pretending?
Life is millions of processes. Even when your ego disappears
from this base, takes off from this airport and lands in some other
womb, many processes continue still. All processes don’t stop, be-
cause there are many processes that have nothing to do with your
ego. Nothing to do with your ego-your ego can go, and they will
continue. Hairs growing, nails growing, have nothing to do with
your ego.
And, immediately, the moment your ego leaves, millions of
small microbes will become alive and they will start working and
functioning. You will be almost like a marketplace! You will be
fully alive in that way. Much will be happening: many microbes
running, rushing here and there, making love, having marriages,
dying, and everything will be happening. The moment you leave
the body, your body becomes a landing place for many other people
who were waiting, saying, “Please leave! Let us come in.”
Life is a continuous process-not only process but processes, a
Buddha says the very idea of self is because of language. You
feel hungry: in language we say “I am hungry.” Language creates
the idea of ”1” How to say it? To be exactly right, you can only say
“hunger.” To say, “I am hungry” is bringing something absolutely
false into it. “Hunger”-that’s enough.
Watch your processes, and you will feel it. When you feel hun-
gry today, just watch it. Is there really somebody who is hungry or
is there just hunger? And is it just a language pattern that gives it a
twist and divides it in two, and you start feeling “I am hungry”?
Buddhism is the first religion that brought this message to the
world-that your religions, your philosophies, are more grounded
in your linguistic patterns than in anything else. And if you can

understand your language better, you will be able to understand
your inner processes better. He was the first linguist, and his in-
sight is tremendously meaningful.
“You say that Buddha would not speak oj God because it cannot be proved … JJ
Yes, he would not speak about God, because it cannot be
proved, and he would not speak about God, because the God that
you think exists, exists not. Your God is again the same old fallacy
of self. You think you have a self, so the whole universe must have
a self. Because you have a self, the whole universe must have a supreme
self. That supreme self is “God.”
Buddha says you don’t have any self. The universe is, but there
is no supreme self in it … millions of processes, but no supreme
self. There is no center to it; it is all circumference.
Very difficult to catch hold of it-unless you meditate. That’s
why Buddha never goes into metaphysical discussions; he says,
“Meditate.” Because in meditation these things become so clear.
When thinking stops, suddenly you see-the thinker has disap-
peared. It was a shadow. And when the thinker disappears, how
can you say, how can you feel “I am”? There is no “1” left; you are
pure space. That’s what Buddha calls anatta, the pure space of no
self. It is a tremendous experience.
” … yet in the next breath, he speaks oj other lives and reincarnation. JJ

He speaks, and Buddhists have always been in trouble because
of it. Buddha is so scientific that he cannot twist the facts. If he
were not such a scientific man, if he were just a metaphysician, ei-
ther he would have accepted self to make his whole philosophy
look consistent, or he would have dropped the idea of reincarna-
tion, because the two things look contradictory. But he is such a
scientist that he will not enforce anything from his mind on real-
ity, He simply stated the fact. If it is contradictory, he says, “Maybe
it is contradictory, but it is so.”
This is what is happening in modern science. Just fifty years ago,

when scientists entered into the innermost core of matter, they were
very puzzled, because the electrons were behaving in a very illogical
Now you cannot force electrons to be logical, you cannot send

them to the university to learn Aristotle, and you cannot tell them,
“You are behaving illogically, so behave! This is not correct.” You
cannot say that. If they are behaving illogically, they are behaving
illogically-you have to understand it, that’s all; nothing can be
And the illogic was really great-it was no ordinary matter.
Sometimes the same electron would behave like a wave, and some-
times it would behave like a particle. Now the two things are im-
possible, they are non-Euclidian and non-Aristotelian-as if these
electrons don’t believe in Euclid and Aristotle. What are they do-
ing? Have they never heard of Euclid?

It is simply geometry we have all learned in school-that a dot
cannot be a line and a line cannot be a dot. A line is many dots put
together in sequence, so a single dot cannot behave like a line; other-
wise the whole of geometry will be disturbed. You put a dot and
you go to the bathroom, you come back and it has become a line!
Then what will you do?
But this is exactly what is happening in the innermost core of
matter. You go on watching, and it was looking like a dot and sud-
denly it is a line. And the jump is such that you don’t see it even
growing into a line. In one instant of time, it is a dot; in another
instant of time it is a line-not even growing into a line, just a
jump, so sudden, so illogical. If it grew slowly, we could under-
stand that: maybe it is like a seed, sprouting and becoming a tree.’
Okay, we can understand. In one moment of time it is a seed, in
another moment of time it grows, by and by and by and by, gradu-
ally, and becomes a tree. We can understand.
If a dot becomes a line slowly, we will be able to understand.
But suddenly? And not only suddenly, even more illogical is that
two observers in a single moment of time, simultaneously can
observe-one can observe it as a dot and another can observe it as
a line. Now what to do? One observer is seeing it as a seed and
another is seeing it as a tree? In a single moment of time?
The whole of Western science has grown out of Greek logic.
And these electrons were rebelling against Aristotle; there was no
way to put them right. Scientists tried in many ways, because mind
tends to cling to its own concepts, patterns. It is not so easy to
relax and surrender to these stupid electrons.

For almost two, three decades, scientists were puzzled and they
were trying to find out some way to explain it, or at least to explain
it away, why it was happening. But finally they had to concede to
the fact and they accepted it. Hence “quantum” physics, We had to
find a name for something that was absolutely illogical, and we had
no word for it. And when people ask scientists, “How do you ex-
plain it? It is illogical,” they say, “It is illogical but it is so, and we
cannot do anything about it. We have to listen to reality. If reality
is illogical, then something must be wrong with our logic, that’s all.
We can change the logic, but we cannot change•the reality.”

That’s what happened when Buddha came into the world. He
entered into the innermost core of your so-called self and he was
also puzzled-what to do? There is no self, and there is reincarna-
tion. Now if he were not really such a great scientist, but was just
an ordinary philosopher, then he would have forgotten all about
it. He would not have talked about this fact at all-he would have
chosen. The choice is simple: Either you say there is no reincarna-
tion because there is no self …

That’s what people who don’t believe in the soul have always
been saying. The atheists, the materialists, they have always been
saying that there is no self-when you die, you simply die. Noth-
ing survives, and there is no rebirth. That’s simple, logical. Or
there are eternalists, theists, people who believe in the self. They
say that you die but only the body dies; your self, your center sur-
vives. Your soul, your atman survives; it is eternal. That, too, is

Buddha is very illogical. And he is illogical because his insis-
tence not to go against reality is absolute. His emphasis is this:
that whatsoever reality reveals, we have to listen to it. We are not
here to impose our own ideologies on it. Who are we to impose? If
this is the fact, then something is wrong in our logic, in our lan-
guage, in our very way of thinking. We have to change that, rather
than avoiding, escaping reality. So he seems to be the most ab-
surd thinker in the world, because this is one of the most absurd
statements-that you don’t exist but you are reborn.

You can see it clearly: it is absurd. If you don’t exist, how can
you be reborn? And he says, “That I don’t know. You don’t exist
and you are reborn-that much I know, that I have come to see,
that I have seen. And if you want to see it, meditate. Go deeper
into your being, as I have gone into my being, and you will also be
puzzled, very much confused. But by and by you will settle with
the reality. And then you will change your whole language.”
Buddha changed the whole language, the whole philosophical
style. There has never been such an original man before. It was
almost impossible to understand him, because he was not speak-
ing the same language as you speak, and he was bringing some new
visions into the world.
The person who does not believe in the soul is very old, noth-
ing new in it. Marx is not saying anything new. For thousands of
years, there have been atheists who have denied the soul, who have
denied rebirth. Neither Mahavira .nor Patafijali are saying any-
thing new, because there have always been people who have be-
lieved in the soul and reincarnation.

Buddha is bringing a real vision, original. He says there is no
soul and yet there is reincarnation. It is a quantum leap.
So when I say that he is a scientist, I mean it. And if you under-
stand the language of modern physics, you will be able to under-
stand Buddha. In fact, to understand Buddha without understanding
modern physics is impossible. For the first time, modern physics
has provided a parallel. Heisenberg, Planck, and Einstein, they have
provided a parallel. Matter has disappeared; there is only energy,
with no self in it, no substance in it. And what Buddha says is the
same: anatta, no sel£
((How does this fit into scientific fact?))
It fits perfectly. In fact, when you are asking how it fits into
scientific fact, your idea of science is of the nineteenth century;
you are not aware of modern science, you are not aware of the lat-
est developments. Your idea of science is orthodox, old, out of date.
Science has changed tremendously. If Newton comes back, he will
not be able to understand science at all, because science has changed
so fast, and its insight has become so puzzling that scientists are
speaking like metaphysicians, mystics. They are not talking now
like mathematicians; they are talking like mystics and poets.
((1 vaguely understand that it can be the formless that remains,”

No, you will not be able to understand it intellectually, because
your formless will again be of a certain form. How can you con-
ceive the formless? The word is okay, but the moment you try to
conceive the formless, immediately it starts taking a form-because
only form can be conceived; the formless cannot be conceived. It is
an empty word.

You can go on calling God formless, but you cannot conceive
it. And whenever even people who talk about a formless God go to
worship, they go to worship before a form. Then again there is a
statue, a ritual, a god, a goddess, a form. Even a man like Shankara
goes on talking about the formless, the attributeless-the nirguna.
But his worship, his prayer, is of the saguna-with attribute, with
form, because it is impossible to conceive the formless. Concep-
tion is only of the form. Or, whatsoever you can conceive, by the
very possibility of its being conceived, it will take a form. So it is
just a vague idea.

You say, ‘1 vaguely understand that it can be theformless that remains,” No,
it is not a question of vaguely comprehending. Intellectually, there
is no way. The way is only meditative, existential. You don’t figure
it out through intellect; you simply move more into meditation,
open a new dimension of vision.

Nobody has emphasized meditation as much as Buddha. His
whole method is meditation.
And what is meditation? Meditation is, by and by, becoming
thoughtless; not falling into sleep-remaining alert, and yet be-
coming thoughtless. Once thoughts disappear, everything is crystal,
clear-that the thinker was just a by-product of moving thoughts.
It was a bundle of thoughts and nothing else. It had no separate
Then you walk, but the walker is no more there; then you eat,
but the eater is no more there; then you sleep, but the sleeper is no
more there; then you live, but there is nobody who is living; then
you die, and there is nobody who is dying. You are just a pure
space in which millions of processes exist, in which life flows with
all its processes and you remain uncorrupted by it. You are like an
open sky … clouds come and go.
One of the most beautiful names given to Buddha is tathagata.
It means “thus came, thus gone.” There was no one who came and
there was no one who has gone-just coming and going. That is
the meaning of tathagata-just a process of coming and a process of
going; there was no one who has come and no one who has gone.
Zen masters have always been saying that this man never ex-
isted, this man called Gautam the Buddha never existed. Yes, he
came certainly, and he went also, but he never existed. It is just like
a dream process. A dream comes and goes, and by the morning
you know it never existed.
Once you understand yourself as pure space and many things
happening, you become detached. Then you become fearless, be-
cause there is nothing to lose, there is nobody to lose anything. .
Then you are no more full oflust for life, because you don’t conceive
of any self Then you are not afraid of death and you are not in a lust

for life. Then you don’t think of the past and then you don’t project
the future. Then you simply are-as pure as the vast sky outside;

you also become a pure sky inside. And the meeting of these two
skies, the inner and the outer, is what Buddha calls nirvana.
You ask: “I vaguely understand that it can be the formless that remains, but
can that have an individual entity?”

No, it has no individual entity.
“The same wave is not reborn.”

True. In fact, if you watch closely-go to the river or to the
ocean and watch waves; you will be surprised to see something
new that you never thought of before. When you see a wave com-
ing toward you, nothing is coming, the wave never comes to you.
You see it moving toward you; it is not moving. One wave simply
helps other waves to arise by the side. The other wave helps an-
other wave to arise. But it happens so fast that it creates a mirage,
an illusion-you think the same wave is coming toward you. Noth-
ing is coming toward you.
When one wave arises, by the impact of that wave, other waves
arise; just in the close vicinity, another wave. By the force of the
first wave, second wave; by the force of the second wave, third
wave; by the force of the third, the fourth-that’s how waves arise.
But they give an illusion as if the same wave is coming toward you.
They never come. When you see a wave arising far away there on
the horizon, it remains there; it never comes to you.
It can happen: you can put a piece of driftwood just in the
middle of the river: that driftwood will come to you, but don’t be
deceived by it-the wave is not coming. When one wave goes high,
that driftwood moves to the other wave; the other wave goes
high, it moves with the third wave. With the rising and falling
waves, the driftwood comes to the shore, but the waves never
come. This is a scientific fact. They only appear to be reaching.
Right, precisely, that is what Buddha is saying: The same wave is
not reborn. He is not saying you will be reborn, he simply says there
is a rebirth.
But in a way we can say you will be born, because it will be a
continuity. The same wave: wave A creates wave B, wave B creates
wave C-it is a continuity; a continuum is the right word. That,
too, comes from modern physics: continuum.
Buddha calls it santati. Just as a child is born to you: he is you in
a certain way, and yet not you, not totally you. He will have his
own personality, but you created the wave. It is father’s and moth-
er’s energy creating a new wave. This wave will go-the father may
die, the mother may die-this wave will continue, and this wave
will create other waves in its own way, in its own time.
Santati, continuum. You are not born, only your desires are born
again; because you are not, so you cannot be born. Hence, Buddha
says, if you drop desiring, you will never be born again. Hence, if
you understand the whole futility of desire and you stop desiring,
you drop desiring, then there will be no birth for you.
Then, first you become a srotapanna, you enter into the stream,
you start understanding how things are, what things are: life pro-
cesses with no self. This is what he means by becoming a srotapanna,
entering the stream: entering into the idea of the stream-that life
is like a river, not static but dynamic; no things but only events; a
dynamism, an energy phenomenon.
Then, by and by, as you move deeper into this stream you be-
come a skridagamin-only once more will you be born. You under-
stand, but yet your understanding is not total. Then you become
an ana gamin-you will not be born again. You have understood the
whole phenomenon. In that very understanding you are liberated.
By becoming capable of not being born again, you become an
arhat-one who has achieved, one who has arrived. Now I am us-
ing a language that is not Buddhist, so beware. I have to use a lan-
guage that is not Buddhist, so I am using terms-I say, “one has
arrived.” Now, there is no other way to say it, but you have to under-
stand: when I say one has arrived, there is no “one,” only arrival …
only arriving, not even “arrival.”
Buddha’s vision is very existential, and nothing is as liberating
as Buddha’s vision. Because if you believe in a soul, you can leave
the world, but then you will desire paradise-because you don’t
leave your self. Desire shifts into a new dimension. You drop
greed, but really you don’t drop it-subtle greed arises.
Just see the paradise of Mohammedans or Christians or Hindus.
It looks so worldly, so profane. Because whatsoever these religions are
telling you to drop here is provided there-and in bulk! They say,
“Don’t drink alcohol!” and in the Mohammedan paradise, phirdous,
rivers ~f alcohol are there. There is no need to purchase or buy it,
there is no need to carry a license; you just jump in. You can bathe in
it; you can swim in it. Now, what is this?
In Mohammedan countries, homosexuality has been so preva-
lent that even that is provided for. Not only beautiful women are
there, but beautiful boys are also provided. Now this looks ugly,
but it is the ordinary human mind ….
Whatsoever you are dropping here, you are dropping only in
order to get more-this is the logic. Beautiful women-apsaras
Hindus call them, houris Mohammedans call them … and not
only houris but gilmis, beautiful boys, handsome boys also are avail-
able, because a few homosexuals will reach heaven and what will
they do?
Buddha says unless you drop the self you will go on perpetuat-
ing the same nonsense again and again, Your paradise will be noth-
ing but a projected world-the same world modified, made more
beautiful, more decorated. Here on the earth, women age, become
old. In paradise, in the Hindu paradise, they never become old;
they are stuck at the age of sixteen. They must be feeling so fed
up-stuck at the age of sixteen; they never grow beyond that.

In fact, that is the desire of every woman-to get stuck at six-
teen. It never happens here, but it happens “there” …. After six-
teen, women grow very reluctantly: their birthday comes only once
every three or foUl,’ years. But that has been the desire, to make
beauty permanent. Here it is impossible. Even with all the scien-
tific gadgets, instruments, potions, plastic surgery, this and that,
even then it is not possible. One has to age. In paradise-Hindu,
Mohammedan, Christian, Jewish-that miracle has happened!
God has prepared a beautiful walled garden paradise for you. He
is waiting. If you are virtuous, if you obey him, you will be re-
warded tremendously; if you disobey, then hell. So the self exists
here as the center of desire, and God exists as the center of fulfill-
ing that desire.

Buddha says both are not, get rid of both; neither God exists,
nor sel£ Look at reality, don’t move in desires. Drop fantasies, stop
dreaming, and look at what is. And he says there is only this im-
permanent world of processes-this fluxlike world, this vortex of
reality … everything impermanent and changing, nothing is per-


That is the meaning of his insistence that there is no self be-
cause you are trying to make something in you permanent. You
say, “The body changes, okay; the world changes, okay; relation-
ships change, become rotten, okay-but the self the self is eter-
nal. Yes, this visible world changes-but the invisible god, he is
eternal.” You want something eternal so desperately that you start
believing in it. It is your desire that the eternal should be there.

Buddha says there is nothing eternal. Everything is imperma-
nent; everything is in flow. Understand this, and this very under-
standing will liberate you.
Remember, when others talk of liberation, they talk of libera-
tion for the sel£ When Buddha talks of liberation, he talks of
liberation jrom the sel£ And that is a tremendously radical stand-
point. Not that you will be liberated, but liberatedjrom you.

The only freedom that Buddha says is real freedom is freedom
from you. Otherwise your mind will go on playing games. It will
go on painting new desires on new canvases. Nothing will change.
Canvases you can change. You can get out of the marketplace and
sit in a temple-nothing will change, your mind will project the
same desires in heaven and paradise.
Look at this mind. Look at its desires. Watch, become aware.

Again and again I will have to remind you, because I am talking in
non-Buddhist language. So when Buddha says become aware, he
means be awareness. There is nobody who becomes aware; there is
o[.).ly awareness.

Yes, you will never be born again, but if you carry the idea that
you are, then you will remain in a continuum. If you drop the idea
of the self the continuum disappears; you evaporate.

That’s what nirvana is. Just as if you put off a lamp and the
light ceases, disappears, you put off your desiring mind and all mis-
ery, and all transmigration, and all suffering, ceases. Suddenly, you
are not there.

But that does not mean that nothing is; otherwise there will
be no difference between an atheist and a Buddha. There is tre-
mendous difference. Buddha says you cease, and for the first time
reality takes over. But he never gives it any name, because naming is
not possible-to name it is to falsify it. To say it is, is to be untrue
to it. He keeps quiet, absolutely silent about it. He indicates the way
to experience it. He does not spin and weave a philosophy around it.

Is there anything a seeker has to ask for,
or does everything happen on its own?

Everything happens on its own, but a seeker has to be alert not
to miss the train.
The train comes on its own, but you have to be alert. All
around you so much is happening; in twenty-four hours, awake or
asleep, you have to be watchful of what is happening. And the more
you are alert, you will be surprised-the same things are happen-
ing that were happening before, but the meaning has changed; the
significance is different. _
The rose flower is’ the same rose, but now it is radiant, sur-
rounded by some new energy that you were not aware of before, a
new beauty. It seems that you used to see only the outer side of the
rose; now you are able to see its inner world. You used to look at
the palace from the outside; now you have entered its innermost
chambers. You have seen the moon hundreds of times, but when
you see it silently, peacefully, meditatively, you .become aware of a
beauty that you were not aware of before, a beauty that is not ordi-
narily available, a beauty for which you need to grow some insight.
And in silence, in peace, that insight grows.
It happened-a very significant incident. One of the Indian
poets, Rabindranath Tagore, translated one of his small books of
poems, Gitanjali (Offering oj SongV. He was awarded the Nobel Prize
for that small book. In India, it was available for at least fifteen
years. But unless a book meets the international standards of lan-
guage and gains international appreciation, it is difficult for it to
get a Nobel Prize. Rabindranath himself was a little worried, be-
cause he translated it-and to translate poetry is always a very dif-
ficult affair. To translate prose is simple; to translate poetry is
immensely difficult, because prose is of the marketplace and po-
etry is something of the world of love, of the world of beauty, of
the world of moon and stars.
It is a delicate affair. And every language has its own nuances that
are almost untranslatable. So although the poet himself translated
his own poetry, he was doubtful about the translation. He showed it
to one of the Christian missionaries, a very famous man of those
days, C. F. Andrews-a very literate, cultured, sophisticated man.
Andrews suggested four changes. He said, “Everything else is
right, but in four places it is not grammatically correct.” So Rabin-
dranath simply accepted his advice and changed those four places.
His friend, the Irish poet Yeats, called together a meeting in
London of English poets, to hear Rabindranath’s translation. Ev-
erybody appreciated it; the beauty of it was something absolutely
new to the Western world. But Yeats, who was the most prom i-
. nent poet of England in those days, said, “Everything else is right,
but in four places, it seems that somebody who is not a poet has
made some changes.”
Rabindranath could not believe it. He said, “Where are those
four places?”
Yeats pointed out the four places that Rabindranath had
changed, following the advice of C. F. Andrews. Rabindranath said,
“What is wrong with those lines?”
Yeats said, “There is nothing wrong, they are grammatically

correct. But poetically … whoever suggested them is a man who
knows his grammar but does not know poetry. He is a man of the
mind but not a man of the heart. The flow is obstructed, as if a
river had come across a rock.”
Rabindranath told him, “I had asked C. F. Andrews to look at
it; these are his words. I will tell you the words that I had in these
places before.” And when he put his words in, Yeats said, “They
are perfectly right, although grammatically wrong. But grammar is
not important. When it is a question of poetry, grammar is not
important. You change it back, and use your own words.”
I have always thought that there are ways of the mind and there
are ways of the heart; they need not be supportive of each other.
And if it happens that the mind is not in agreement with the heart,
then the mind is wrong. Its agreement or disagreement does not
matter. What matters is that your heart feels at ease, peaceful, si-
lent, harmonious, at home.
We are trained for the mind, so our mind is very articulate.

And nobody takes any notice of the heart. In fact, it is pushed
aside by everybody because it is of no use in the marketplace, it
is no use in the world of ambitions, no use in politics, no use in
But with me, the situation is just the opposite: The mind is of
no use. The heart knows best.
Everything happens, just your heart has to be ready to receive
it. Everything comes, but if your heart is closed … the secret laws
of life are such that the doors of your heart will not even be
knocked upon.
Existence knows how to wait; it can wait for eternity. It all de-

pends on you. Everything is ready to happen any moment. Just
open all your doors, all your windows, so that existence can pour
into you from every side. There is no other god than existence,
and there is no other paradise than your very being. When exis-
tence pours into your being, paradise has entered into you-or,
you have entered into paradise, just different ways of saying the
same thing. But remember: Nothing is expected of you.
All the religions have been telling you for centuries that you
have to do this, you have to do that. That you have to be a torturer
of yourself, you have to renounce pleasures, you have to fight with
your body, you have to renounce the world. The Buddhist scrip-
tures have 33,000 principles that a seeker should follow. It is al-
most impossible to remember them; following them is out of the
question! I don’t have a single principle for you to follow, just a
simple understanding that it is your life-enjoy it, allow it to sing
a song in you, allow it to become a dance in you. You have nothing
else to do but simply to be available, and flowers are going to shower
on you.



Posted in Uncategorized at 11:42 am

Richard an AIT. I notice that Elst now has a blog, with posts on this.
The antiquity of the Indic tradition is another question. I have never made any claims about the Harappan archaeology situation. I simply don’t know. I am not required to take on a stand on this to consider either the AIT or anything else.

rmbr117@yahoo.com 2011/06/16 at 8:35 am
“Much of the criticism of critics of the standard (not actually standard) picture of Vedic Hinduism and the rejection of the AIT is ill-conceived…”

I wouldn’t say it is ill-conceived. The truth is that we don’t really know:

“Petrie purposely avoided the topic of the alleged Aryan invasion. His survey of Harappan history at no point necessitated such a hypothesis, for the story could apparently be told with reference only to purely internal developments. He only agreed to discuss it when asked by the chairman in question time, but remained non-committal. He said the question was so complicated that it would perhaps never be decided.”


“Much of the criticism of critics of the standard (not actually standard) picture of Vedic Hinduism and the rejection of the AIT is ill-conceived…”

I wouldn’t say it is ill-conceived. The truth is that we don’t really know:

“Petrie purposely avoided the topic of the alleged Aryan invasion. His survey of Harappan history at no point necessitated such a hypothesis, for the story could apparently be told with reference only to purely internal developments. He only agreed to discuss it when asked by the chairman in question time, but remained non-committal. He said the question was so complicated that it would perhaps never be decided.”



More in Indus script

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:39 am

Sujay rao Mandavilli 2011/06/15 at 1:30 am
Few sensible scholars will be able to deny that the Indus script was a logo-syllabic script. Facts about the Dholavira signboard
(a) It is one of the most famous of Harappan inscriptions.
(b) It was very large in size.
(c) It was located in Far from Mesopotamia Dholavira and in one of the furthest sites from Mesopotamia.
(d) It hung over the citadel there.
(e) It must have represented the name of the place and must have been closely tied to speech: note the sign repetition.
(f) The sign which was used as a determinative was a very common Indus sign.
(g) The sign used as a determinative appears to have been also similar to determinatives in other writing systems.
(h) The Indus script was also related to Proto-Elamite which means it probably had a linguistic component.
(i) The other signs with which the determinative was used were also common Indus signs.
(j) Few sensible scholars will now dispute the fact that the Indus script was a logo-syllabic script on the basis of this evidence.
(k) Few sensible scholars will deny the fact that speech encoding was one of the major functions of the Indus script and had this feature had reached a very precocious maturity.
(l) This inscription was apparently more closely tied to speech than most proto-Elamite inscriptions.
(m) Dholavira was not even the most important of sites.
(n) The fact that it was hung over the citadel meant it was meant to be read by elites.
(o) It was put to the most frivolous use.
(p) Speech encoding would have been a prized possession: no one would have used it just for a decorative signboard at far-from-Mesopotamia Dholavira. Why would a man who had inscribed this, done so (a) if nobody else could read it (b) why would he have learnt to encode speech only to inscribe this signboard? This automatically implies the existence of longer texts. It also shows that the Indus elites used more complex forms of communication.
(q) Even if we assume that speech-encoding was added in Mature Harappan 3B, this logic would still hold good.
(r) This logic is already accepted by mainstream Indus archaeologists as a precursor to the existence of longer texts

please refer to the book by Jane Macintosh (Mcintosh 2008 p 374) “The Harappans did not create monumental art or architecture on which such inscriptions may have been written. The nearest that the Harappans came to this is the Dholavira signboard which is quite possibly the tip of the iceberg of a now vanished public inscriptions.Farmers arguments fail to account convincingly for the structural regularities that analysis have revealed in the use of Harappan signs. These strongly seem to support the hypothesis that the Indus script represent a writing system”

Few sensible scholars will be able to deny that the Indus script was a logo-syllabic script. Facts about the Dholavira signboard
(a) It is one of the most famous of Harappan inscriptions.
(b) It was very large in size.
(c) It was located in Far from Mesopotamia Dholavira and in one of the furthest sites from Mesopotamia.
(d) It hung over the citadel there.
(e) It must have represented the name of the place and must have been closely tied to speech: note the sign repetition.
(f) The sign which was used as a determinative was a very common Indus sign.
(g) The sign used as a determinative appears to have been also similar to determinatives in other writing systems.
(h) The Indus script was also related to Proto-Elamite which means it probably had a linguistic component.
(i) The other signs with which the determinative was used were also common Indus signs.
(j) Few sensible scholars will now dispute the fact that the Indus script was a logo-syllabic script on the basis of this evidence.
(k) Few sensible scholars will deny the fact that speech encoding was one of the major functions of the Indus script and had this feature had reached a very precocious maturity.
(l) This inscription was apparently more closely tied to speech than most proto-Elamite inscriptions.
(m) Dholavira was not even the most important of sites.
(n) The fact that it was hung over the citadel meant it was meant to be read by elites.
(o) It was put to the most frivolous use.
(p) Speech encoding would have been a prized possession: no one would have used it just for a decorative signboard at far-from-Mesopotamia Dholavira. Why would a man who had inscribed this, done so (a) if nobody else could read it (b) why would he have learnt to encode speech only to inscribe this signboard? This automatically implies the existence of longer texts. It also shows that the Indus elites used more complex forms of communication.
(q) Even if we assume that speech-encoding was added in Mature Harappan 3B, this logic would still hold good.
(r) This logic is already accepted by mainstream Indus archaeologists as a precursor to the existence of longer texts

please refer to the book by Jane Macintosh (Mcintosh 2008 p 374) “The Harappans did not create monumental art or architecture on which such inscriptions may have been written. The nearest that the Harappans came to this is the Dholavira signboard which is quite possibly the tip of the iceberg of a now vanished public inscriptions.Farmers arguments fail to account convincingly for the structural regularities that analysis have revealed in the use of Harappan signs. These strongly seem to support the hypothesis that the Indus script represent a writing system”
Sujay rao Mandavilli

Buddhism/Hinduism and AIT, from Darwiniana.com

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:38 am



Buddhism In America: What Is The Future?

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 pm



From Kant to the Upanishads

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:50 am



Playing the Heidegger card

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:02 pm


Tricycle review of Batchelor

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:53 pm

Tricycle Review

Confession of a Buddhist Atheist
Stephen Batchelor
New York: Spiegel & Grau
2010, 320 pp., $26.00, cloth

What do Buddhist teachings about impermanence and conditionality imply for Buddhism itself? As Buddhism spread throughout Asia, its encounters with different cultures led to radical transformations. In China, for example, the interaction between Mahayana and established cultural forms, especially Daoism, produced Chan (Zen). So what is happening to Buddhism now, as it makes its greatest transition ever and begins to interact with a (post)modern West where God’s existence is widely doubted, secular values reign, and science has become extraordinarily successful at describing how the world works? How can modern Buddhism build on the best of Western knowledge and values while remaining Buddhist?

The challenge, of course, is distinguishing the essential dharma from other dimensions of Asian culture that may no longer be relevant. The temptation is to identify with one side against the other: to accept, for example, a traditional Tibetan worldview wholesale or to reject anything that is not consistent with modern secularism and materialism. Is there a third alternative, which does not foreclose a real dialogue between them?

Stephen Batchelor has become an influential figure in the movement to delineate a rational and empirical approach to Buddhism. He has developed this vision in Alone with Others, The Faith to Doubt, Buddhism Without Beliefs, and now Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, which makes the case for a secular Buddhism less preoccupied with “gaining proficiency in meditation and acquiring ‘spiritual’ attainments” and more concerned with living “in this world in a way that allows every aspect of one’s existence to flourish: seeing, thinking, speaking, acting, working, etc.” I appreciate the emphasis on this-worldly flourishing but was a little surprised by the distinction: don’t meditative practice and awakening, at their best, enable such a flourishing?

The title is revealing, especially in combination with an enthusiastic back-cover blurb by Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. It suggests that this book is a Buddhist contribution to the controversial “New Atheism” movement. Batchelor eventually distinguishes between antitheism and his own nontheism, but words cannot simply mean whatever we want them to: “atheism” as used in the West has a history that focuses on denying (usually Christian) theism. This is a debate that does not apply to Buddhism, which uses different types of concepts (anatta, shunyata, etc.) and involves quite different ways of thinking.

Although the title has been a red flag to some unsympathetic reviewers, I found Confession of a Buddhist Atheist enjoyable to read as well as provocative to think about. Part memoir, part travelogue, and part historical inquiry, it is most of all a frank and personable account of an existential and spiritual quest. The prose is fluent, precise, and elegant—which is not to say that I was convinced by Batchelor’s well-argued perspective on Buddhism.

The narrative effectively begins with the 19-year-old Batchelor deciding to leave Britain after failing to get into a polytechnic to study photography. He eventually arrived in Dharamsala, India, where he began practicing in the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Batchelor ordained as a monk in 1974, and later he followed his teacher Geshe Rabten Rinpoche to Switzerland, where he lived for five years. Dissatisfied with the Tibetan tradition, Batchelor decided to try Zen training in a South Korean monastery under master Kusan Sunim. There he met a French nun named Songil (now Martine Batchelor), who became his wife when, after the death of Kusan Sunim, they defrocked and left South Korea. They moved to the Sharpham North Community in Totnes, England, where Stephen helped to establish a college for Buddhist studies and began to teach at Gaia House. They are now based in southwest France and travel around the world offering lectures, workshops, and meditation retreats.

The first part of the book recounts Batchelor’s struggles to reconcile commitment to the dharma with his growing skepticism regarding the more baroque aspects of Tibetan Buddhism—for example, his early initiation into the mandala of Yamantaka, which involved visualizing himself as a bull-headed deity with nine faces, thirty-four arms, and sixteen legs. He speaks appreciatively of a ten-day Vipassana meditation course with S. N. Goenka, but he did not follow up formally on that window into Theravada Buddhist practice. His appreciation and sincere devotion to his teachers, especially Geshe Dhargyey, Geshe Rabten, and later Kusan Sunim, is endearing.

The lamas Batchelor studied with could not respond to his concerns, but one senses that the intellectual Gelugpa curriculum influenced him more than he realized, since later chapters reveal that his approach to Buddhism remains primarily cognitive and rational. His view seems to be that although there is a role for meditation, the Buddhadharma we need today must fit with what Western modernity already knows about the world, not challenge it. It seems ironic that someone so concerned with adapting Buddhism to the West did all his formal training with traditional Asian teachers who apparently knew very little, if anything, about the West. At the same time that Batchelor was struggling with Asian forms, many Buddhist communities were becoming established in the West, where teachers and students were working hard to reconcile Buddhism and Western culture, usually without the extreme cognitive dissonance that was so disturbing for Batchelor.

Batchelor’s increasing discomfort with Tibetan Buddhism was reinforced by his discovery of existentialism, especially Heidegger, Camus, Sartre, and even a memorable lecture by the French philosopher and Talmudic scholar Emmanuel Levinas. He emphasizes the impact of reading Heidegger’s Being and Time, which outlined a new phenomenological approach that escapes the usual dualism between mind and body—a dualism that infects most religious traditions (including much of Buddhism) since it fits so well with “transcendentalist” ambitions to escape this world of suffering. Batchelor does not discuss what, from a Buddhist perspective, is most striking about modern Western philosophy, including existentialism: its lack of contemplative practices as alternative modes of inquiry supplementing its conceptual speculations. In contrast, Buddhism includes the world’s largest collection of meditative techniques, which are usually considered necessary to “wake up” and realize the truth of the dharma.

According to the traditional legends, Gotama’s spiritual quest was inspired by the realization that he, like everyone else, was fated to grow old, become ill, and die. Much of the attraction of existentialism is its similar emphasis on our mortality, in contrast to almost all religions (including some forms of Buddhism) that offer postmortem survival. Like many existentialists, Batchelor finds such death-denial inauthentic because it tends to devalue this life (in samsara) as the means to a higher goal (“better” rebirth and eventually nirvana). Buddhism generally agrees that instead of repressing our inevitable death, confronting it can transform the way we live. But what does that confrontation involve, and how does it change us? This is where Batchelor’s modernized Buddhism diverges sharply from traditional accounts of the Buddha and his awakening. Batchelor is quite critical of the doctrine of rebirth and wonders whether the Buddha himself ever taught it, since it supposedly goes against the empirical thrust of his teachings. Yet I am unaware of any serious historical scholarship that doubts that Shakyamuni taught physical rebirth, and nirvana as the release from such rebirth. Many accounts in the Pali canon explain his enlightenment as the achievement of a “threefold knowledge” that included recollecting his past lives and understanding how karma works.

One path to personal transformation is the Great Doubt emphasized in some types of Zen practice. Batchelor quotes an aphorism often repeated by his Korean teacher: “When there is great doubt, then there is great awakening.” One cultivates that doubt until it “coagulates” into a mass of perplexity. And what does that cultivation lead to? Batchelor emphasizes the importance of not-knowing: “To say ‘I don’t know’ is not an admission of weakness or ignorance, but an act of truthfulness: an honest acceptance of the limits of the human condition when faced with ‘the great matter of birth and death’… the willingness to embrace the fundamental bewilderment of a finite, fallible creature as the basis for leading a life that no longer clings to the superficial consolations of certainty.”

“Not-knowing” has a special meaning in Zen, but the bewilderment Batchelor embraces should not be confused with the awakening that occurs as a result of persistent Zen practice, when the mass of great doubt dissolves into a realization that clarifies one’s true “not-knowing” nature. He acknowledges that he had “no shattering insights or breakthroughs for which Zen is known. By the time I went to Korea, I had little interest in such things. I was more concerned with refining my sense of the sheer mysteriousness of life so that it infused each moment of my waking existence, thereby serving as a ground from which to respond more openly and vitally to whatever occurred.” He is suspicious of such breakthroughs because as traditionally described they seem to refer to the sort of disembodied Mind he cannot believe in.

This points to one of the intriguing aspects of Batchelor’s approach to practice. A spiritual tradition involves a story about what the world is and how one is transformed. For the practice to work, one must identify with that story to the extent of being motivated by it; one acts as if the story is true. That’s faith. But Batchelor always seems to be outside of his story. When he’s doing Vajrayana, he’s more attracted to Vipassana; when he’s doing Zen, he’s an existentialist; in general, when he’s doing Buddhism he still identifies with his Western and secular perspective. He is always a step removed from what he’s actually doing. I appreciate this outsider, contrarian status, which gives him a unique viewpoint, but it also raises questions about how thoroughly he was able to immerse himself in his Buddhist practice.

Early in the book Batchelor writes approvingly of the seventh-century Mahayana philosopher Dharmakirti, whose “philosophy gave me an excellent conceptual framework for interpreting my practice of mindfulness as well as the other experiences I had had in Dharamsala.” In contrast, for Batchelor emptiness of inherent existence—shunyata—is “just a conceptual and linguistic abstraction…. The aim of meditation for Dharmakirti [or at least for Batchelor] was not to gain mystical insight into emptiness, but to arrive at an unfiltered experience of the fluctuating, contingent, and suffering world.”

Although Batchelor denies neither anatta nor shunyata, the explanations he offers (with reference to his own experiences) are pale versions of two of the most basic Buddhist concepts, which are crucial for understanding the personal transformation that is the aim of Buddhist practice. Any Buddhism that minimizes their importance is open to the charge of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Various Buddhist traditions account for our transformation in somewhat different ways, but all would agree that meditation involves dis-identifying with the habitual thought-patterns that compose our sense of self, and awakening occurs when one “lets go” of oneself. As Dogen put it, to study the self is to forget the self, and to forget oneself is to realize one’s nonduality with the world: “I came to realize clearly that mind is no other than mountains and rivers and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and the stars.”

In this way, realizing anatta/shunyata becomes the key to resolving Batchelor’s intellectual difficulties with karma, rebirth, and a disembodied Mind: I cannot die insofar as “I” was never born. If the sense of self is (in contemporary terms) a construct, the challenge is awakening to the “empty ground” of that construct. Batchelor might take issue with such an “empty ground,” but that would involve challenging what many teachers—those responsible for transmitting the Buddhadharma— consider to be the core of the tradition.

The second half of the book is largely devoted to recovering the original character and dharma of the Buddha, which Batchelor believes later followers have misrepresented and distorted. This involves a trawl through the Pali canon, with some interesting if speculative results. Batchelor views the Buddha as a more cosmopolitan and worldly-wise figure than usually presented, and conjectures that he may have spent time being educated in Taxila, the intellectual center of his day.

We also learn a great deal about the Buddha’s relations with King Pasenadi and other powerful political figures. These stories are presented as rediscovered history, but his retelling of them sometimes reads more like a Bollywood film script, which suggests the problem with attempts to separate historical fact from myth in a premodern culture that would not understand our modernist concern with literal truth.

Batchelor is most concerned to distinguish what was unique about the Buddha’s teachings, in contrast to his Brahmanical cultural matrix, which emphasized brahman and the karmic reincarnation of the atman (soul). He discovers four core elements that he believes were not derived from the Indian culture of the Buddha’s time: the principle of conditional arising, the process of the four noble truths, the practice of mindful awareness, and the power of self-reliance. These allow him to understand Gotama as secular. “If ‘secular religion’ were not a contradiction in terms, I would happily endorse such a concept.” For Batchelor, as for New Atheists like Hitchens and Dawkins, secularism seems to be an unproblematic concept. It’s simply what the world really is: what we experience when we let go of religious superstitions and accept what science has discovered.

The problem with this is that, as Buddhism itself implies, our present understanding of the secular is also historically conditioned. Curiously, it can be traced back to new religious ways of thinking that developed during the Protestant Reformation. By eliminating priests, sacraments, pilgrimages, and so forth, Luther’s focus on “salvation by faith alone” sharply separated this world from any transcendent dimension (God, heaven). Originally this devalued secular reality was understood only as a place to prepare for our eternal destiny with God. Over time, however, preoccupation with that “higher” goal of life has faded away, leaving us stuck in a desacralized world whose materialist nature is now fully explained by physics, chemistry, and biology.

Most versions of Buddhism, including Shakyamuni’s teachings as presented in the Pali canon, understand the spiritual goal as release from samsara—the round of death and continual rebirth into this world of suffering and craving—into a realm beyond samsara, namely, nirvana. No modern scholar questions that this was the goal of the path as articulated in the earliest texts, which remains the main problem for any attempt to derive a more secular and empiricist Buddha from those same texts.

One might see some support for Batchelor’s position in later Mahayana emphasis on the nonduality of samsara and nirvana. According to Nagarjuna, the bounds [koti] of samsara are not other than the bounds of nirvana, in which case the goal of the Buddhist path is simply to realize the true nature of this world, “beyond deluded thoughts” yet nonetheless right here and now. But there is still an all-important epistemological distinction between the way deluded beings experience this world and the way an awakened person does.

So perhaps we do not need to choose between a transcendental release from samsara or the secular world as generally understood today. Contemplative practices open us up to different ways of experiencing the relationship between ourselves and the world. The challenge today is to bring those alternative modes into conversation with Western modernity.

Almost every religious reformer tries to return to the original teachings of the founder, only to end up projecting his or her own understanding back onto those origins. Batchelor’s Buddha too seems too modern: humanistic and agnostic, skeptical and empirical—by no coincidence, a superior version of us, or at least of Stephen Batchelor. Instead of constructing the Buddha one wants by trying to extract him from his cultural context, I think we should accept that even Shakyamuni Buddha was largely and inevitably a product of his time (just as conditional arising implies), and undertake the more difficult project of determining for ourselves what aspects of his teaching remain valid for us today.

I have emphasized the problems with Batchelor’s approach as my way of appreciating this important book, because the issues it raises so sharply are so crucial for the future of Buddhism. I commend his courage in continuing to face them frankly, in ways that open him up to criticism, when the temptation for many of us is to tiptoe around them. The dialogue between Buddhism and modernity is still in its early stages, and we will need many more such books before our globalizing civilization will be able to distinguish clearly between genuine transformative possibilities and myths no longer relevant to our situation.

David R. Loy is the author of Money Sex War Karma: Notes for a Buddhist Revolution. His new book, The World Is Made of Stories, will be published in September.

Chopra on evolution

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:34 pm



The Zenist: The problem with secular Buddhism

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:25 am

The problem with secular Buddhism
The word “secular” as it is used in the term secular Buddhism has a number of different definitions when we look at the Oxford English Dictionary. The definition that appears to chime with secular, as in secular Buddhism, goes as follows: “Of or belonging to the present or visible world as distinguished from the eternal or spiritual world; temporal, worldly.” In some respects secular Buddhism is not far from secular humanism which the Oxford English Dictionary defines this way: “a form of humanist theory and practice that rejects religious belief as a basis for moral judgment and action.”

I think it is fair to say that secular Buddhism rejects religious belief, in general, since belief lacks for it an empirical basis, or the same, it lacks knowledge founded on sensory experience. But then, to be honest, a lot of science is speculative which lacks an empirical basis as well. This is so when we get into cosmology such as string theory. I could go on and on with other instances. For example, in jurisprudence familiar terms such as “power” or “individual rights” lack an empirical basis.

I find it ironic that secular Buddhism has no problem with dismissing religiousness because, supposedly, it lacks an empirical basis but then finds it difficult to reject the bulk of science which can’t seem to distinguish between its man made fictions and reality. How much of the big bang theory is just a fictional construct? I would argue that every bit of it is a fictional construct as is Einstein’s SRT and GRT. It’s all a convenient way to describe or symbolize what we really don’t know and may never know as long as we refuse to comprehend, directly, the eternal substance (tathatâ) from which our temporal thoughts are composed.

Buddhism doesn’t need secular Buddhism to help it insofar as the latter’s prejudices obscure much of the profound depth of the Buddha’s teaching which is only revealed to the few who have tirelessly maintained an open mind. Secular Buddhists seem to forget that the Buddha was no champion of the secular world or its values. Perhaps one of the most profound Sutras in the Buddhist canon is the Lankavatara Sutra. It is basically saying that our secular world doesn’t exist; there is only Mind, nothing more.

“there are no external objects, there is nothing to get attached to; when one abides in Mind-only, beyond which there is no external world, dualism ceases; as there is no realm of form based on discrimination, one comes to recognise that there is nothing but what is seen of the Mind itself; and for these reasons the discrimination of what is seen of the Mind itself does not take place. Owing to the cessation of discrimination, one enters into the triple emancipation where is the state of no-form, emptiness, and effortlessness. Hence it is called deliverance” (Suzuki’s trans.).


More on ‘secular buddhism’

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:23 am



Another sex sandal alert

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:51 am


The second time we post on this issue this month: the case of John Edwards, as the destruction of the career of someone with clear progressive liberal/left views, is another case of what we always suspect is rightwing black magic, clearly in evidence throughout the new age movement of the last generation, in the attempt to discredit gurus, but also to destroy leftist figures.