UG – Natural State

Posted: 10/05/2013 by zandtao in Buddhadasa, Insight, ONE planet
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This is a name I have seen but not looked at, however I downloaded “The Mystique of Enlightenment” from Holybooks

“I discovered for myself and by myself that there is no self to realize — that’s the realization I am talking about. It comes as a shattering blow. It hits you like a thunderbolt. You have invested everything in one basket, self-realization, and, in the end, suddenly you discover that there is no self to discover, no self to realize — and you say to yourself “What the hell have I been doing all my life?!” That blasts you.” This is what UG calls the Natural State, is there a problem with this?

“I don’t give a hoot for a sixth-century-BC Buddha, let alone all the other claimants we have in our midst. They are a bunch of exploiters, thriving on the gullibility of the people. There is no power outside of man. Man has created God out of fear. So the problem is fear and not God.” Can anyone say this?

Exploiters thriving on gullibility, how can anyone say that? I cannot know whether Buddha was enlightened, I have not met him, I have not been inside his head, and I don’t know whether there is enlightenment. Can UG possibly qualify to meet these 3 criteria? Same goes for his condemnation of others.

I don’t know the man but it reads like a niche, an approach of difference. In some ways I can understand that. What are blogs like this about? Different people describing their understandings in the hope that sharing brings understanding for others. UG has done all kinds of stuff in the spiritual world. When I read what he has done I can understand some of his frustration (only some I am not him). He has spent his life searching for enlightenment based on a family of theosophy, student with J (Krishnamurti), and all kinds of stuff that did not give him an answer. Then he discovers for himself that there is no self to realise, that has to be hard.

I understand that that is what the Buddha taught, at least according to Tan Ajaan that is what the Buddha taught. When I listened to Adyashanti – “What is Enlightenment?” Torrent here , he describes perception without ego. Isn’t this OK? It does seem that the search for enlightenment is the problem, and not the teachings. Perception without ego is a short statement but it says an awful lot and I would suggest that it is even harder to do. Anatta (Pali for no self) says a lot but it is hard to do. Upadana (not clinging to I or mine) says a lot but it is hard to do. Where’s the search? Where is the miracle cure?

UG describes a “calamity”, and I think of the various “hitting bottoms” that I have come across – Eckhart Tolle, Neale Donald Walsch, Paul Garrigan, my own …. How different are they? Intensity, mine was not as intense as the others although it felt powerful at the time – upheaval of life. What happened to me? I grew up with a middle-class background, and I was pushed into academia and a life of getting a job. I always remember at uni people asking what their ambition was, and I said I would be happy with a house, a wife and kids – to much ridicule. Of the people there I am probably the only person who has never been anywhere near that. My head was full of constructs and expectations, and they had nothing to do with Nature, the Natural State, anatta. In uni confrontation was never forced, it was easy. I go to work and there there was confrontation. I had to do stuff to earn money that I didn’t want to do. My first job was a bit interesting and the job had a good social life (appealing to my growing alcohol addiction) – even though I never did my job well. Then I went to Sevenoaks which was all about “a house, a wife and kids”, and I just sank lower and lower until in the end I just gave up and blew it out. Hit bottom.

Now that kind of chanelled expectation is nothing compared to the budding UG. He appears to have been forced into a life of expectations and search for enlightenment. He appears to have had his mind filled with so many things and not internalised them. Rejecting all of this he ran away from those expectations, and eventually it all hit him and he had his calamity reaching the Natural State. Yet he describes it all as non-causal, but is that so? I don’t know, I’m not him – not inside his head.

But his is not a life that does not fit the “hitting bottom” pattern – it is just that his is more extreme. Because the conflict in him was more extreme it would seem natural that the hitting bottom would also be more extreme, but the process is the same – isn’t it? The power of his calamity has got to appear far more intense than my limited experience but process-wise how different is it? More importantly how different is it for others?

If he had never picked up a book that discussed anatta, perceiving without ego, or whatever he read, if he had never had 7 years with J, would he have ever learned about no-self? Just because he resisted the internalisation of it for so long does not mean that it was not a consequence of his study in some way.

Doesn’t this all boil down to horses for courses? Tan Ajaan was famed when young and spent his life in Thailand in a monastery, he is lucid about no-self, claims he is a slave to the Buddha and gets his understanding from the suttas. He does not condemn anyone, but talks of truth in all religions. UG has his upbringing and background and condemns. What about others? I know little about what I do write about, I know much less about what I don’t write about, but it just seems to be different strokes. If it is anatta, isnt that enough? Tan Ajaan’s journey appears a lot more peaceful.

Process is important, what is the process? Insight. Somehow inside, all these ideas and belief systems are grappled with, and then eventually out of the other end comes perception without ego. I don’t know Zen koans but isn’t the koan process that concepts confuse the intellect leading to understanding – gateless gates, (pathless paths, truthless truths – I made these up I don’t know koans). Is the process the form of the koan or the process of disengaging the intellectual mind so that the Natural State of Insight comes out? How this happens can be easy or hard? We are all different, yet we are ONE with no-self. Process.


Here is a description of the aftermath of the process by Jack Kornfeld:-

“From Jack Kornfield’s ‘After the Ecstasy, the Laundry’:

It was early in my spiritual life. I had gone to a few meditation classes. Now I was lying quietly, in solitude, resting after so much time thinking, wondering. My mind was in the clearest, most open state. It also felt charged, alive, yet absolutely still as well. I had not known such a balance of alertness and ease was possible. I picked up an old Buddhist text and read a few lines:
“Although the One Mind is, it has no existence. In its true state, Mind is naked, immaculate, being of the Voidness, transparent, timeless, uncompounded; not realizable as a separate thing, but as the unity of all things, yet not composed of them. Arising of themselves and being naturally free like the clouds in the sky, all that appears fades away… The whole of the World and Nirvana as an inseparable unity are one’s own mind.”
Everything I knew of the world shattered open. I could not say what was left, for there was nothing of myself at all. There was that which is here before the sense of self ever existed. I knew once and for all that there is no self, that any sense of self is an illusion. We are empty like a dream, a play of mind. Gradually some of the world came back, though in many ways my sense of it had changed completely. I had no idea how I was supposed to live anymore. For weeks I walked around in a kind of lightness and shock.”

I like his title, whatever he had opened up he still has to get back to the laundry. Doing things – good stuff.

  1. […] was put onto Adyashanti by a friend a while back and spoke about him here. The context in which his name was raised was that of enlightenment. We were discussing whether […]

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