Archive for the ‘ONE planet’ Category


I downloaded an eBook written by Edward Muzika entitled “Awakening and the Descent of Grace as part of my enquiry into awakening experiences, it turned out this guy has an internet presence operating as Edji.

When I started to read his eBook this jumped out at me “The awakening and deepening experiences are closely related to the experiences of the teacher; that is, you will experience awakenings similar to that of the teacher” [p5 of 82]. It is connected with my concerns over 5 Gateways which I reiterate is good stuff. 5 Gateways has a framework that I discussed here, I was worried that the framework creates the type of awakening experiences. This is exactly what is contained in Edji’s quote.

This made me consider teaching methodologies in the spiritual world. In the spiritual world I remember this interaction. At one stage I was close to a monk who was running a useful “Buddhist church”. He regularly delivered Dhamma talks that I used to attend – standard format, meditation, the Dhamma talk where the audience listened in silence, questions at the end – not usually any and if there were they appeared not enquiry but for the sake of having questions – fill the time.

We were close enough that he invited me to interview for a job teaching monks maths, they were attending a monks’ university and would probably end up teaching. Whilst up there he invited me to attend one of his “lessons” on the dhamma to the young monks. I thanked him and suggested that I do a teacher observation and evaluation, something that I had done regularly with good feedback from teacher colleagues in my department; I wanted some value from observing his lesson – watching only had little value. The lecture/lesson was good, the rapport with the students was good, but his reaction to my evaluation was poor. I began with the two positive comments just stated, and then pointed out minor issues (presented as such) in a 6-page report. There were no thanks. Professional teachers are expected to work with such evaluations and accept professional advice in a good interactional environment. With me they always seemed to, with this monk there was no response then.

There was however later. The monk ran a blog for his “church”. As a blog it was excellent, usually informative and well worth doing. However he made a mistake. On his blog he discussed a book by Tony Blair in which Tony had discussed Iraq. His blog bought what Tony had been peddling, and I sent a polite post questioning his stance. There was a polite response in which he made it clear that he did not wish to pursue discussion of Tony and his book – he did not retract the blog or make any personal retraction to me. Within the blog there were slightly bitter references to me as an educationalist. His church was worthwhile, pursuing the matter any further in public would only have been divisive and detrimental to the church, it was clear he was not interested in pursuing the matter privately; I did not attend the church again and he did not contact me to ask why.

To me the reaction contained ego, and also contained a failure to recognise professional teaching experience in the education system as relevant to his work at the monks’ college.

I had a similar interaction with a macrobiotic counsellor but the details are much hazier so I won’t go into them. What I got from the counsellor was that my professional experience as a teacher had no relevance to his counselling.

When I read Edji’s quote I began to think about teaching methodologies in the spiritual world. Professionally, do they stand up?

Here is the person I most consider my teacher, Ajaan Buddhadasa, giving a talk to western students:-

His teaching style is very formal, he gives a dhamma talk in silence following on from meditation (or meditation at the end).

This style would be typical of Theravadin monks in Thailand – he was Thai. Ajaan Buddhadasa is not connected with the Forest Sangha but many western Theravadin monks are connected with the Forest Sangha – as is Harnham Buddhist monastery. I have stayed at Harnham and the style of dhamma talks is typified in this picture. The abbott there introduced Dhammasakkacha in which people connected to the monastery (such as me) wrote a page on a topic such as renunciation – nekhamma that he briefly responded to. These stopped.

Here is Brad Warner, a zen monk that I used to follow, giving a talk:-

There is no doubt that Brad tries respectfully to break through many traditions. My interpretation of his dhamma talks is that they are not traditional but that they are dhamma – I liked that. I have never attended a talk of his nor have I been on a retreat with him but it is my understanding of his methodology that he talks to the group, and he has individual consultations.

Eckhart Tolle sits on stage and gives talks. He did an education thing with Oprah in which he discussed each chapter of his book “The New Earth” answering viewers’ questions and more.

I have attended gatherings with Krishnamurti. His talks appeared interrogatory in that he took a theme and explored it by asking questions and hoped that the gathering would explore themselves by asking the same questions. But he was on stage with an audience of hundreds – the questioning was rhetorical although I genuinely felt he wanted people to come up with answers for themselves.

Now here is Edji reclined in a comfortable chair giving a dhamma talk to a group of “students” connected to him by “video-conferencing” (I assume) – hence the computer on his lap.

Ed also uses the occasional expletive, and in this talk encourages people to be their own gurus.

I have attended talks given by Thich Nhat Hanh. In one his microphone wasn’t working properly and his English could not be heard, the Thai translation was clear. His dhamma is excellent but how could that have happened? How could he not have mechanisms in place to ensure that people could hear him? Something happened on stage, and I interpret it as this – I don’t know how true. Part way through a nun came on stage and tried to do stuff with the mike, I could see her trying to talk to him but she was summarily dismissed. She left with extreme embarrassment.

So a typical dhamma talk is didactic – a lecture in silence.

What am I getting at?

I begin by asking questions. My interaction with the monk makes me question that monk and points to questioning monks in general to accept advice from appropriate professionals, in this case professional advice on teaching methodology.

Where does learning occur? At the dhamma talk only minimally. It occurs when you sit and meditate. Learning is understanding when there is insight, when an idea is internalised. This might happen at a dhamma talk or it might happen in meditation. I described the monk’s group as a church. I attended that church for a while, and as with the catholic church I attended as a child there appeared little enquiry. It was worthwhile that this group met, that was sufficient.

I used to have what might be called dhamma conversations. In a non-silent retreat you might be chatting with a monk or others, and in that conversation you gain insight. Or on the road I have met other aware travellers, and there have been meaningful conversations, insight, learning and moving-on – the wonders of travel broadening the mind. I would describe these conversations as dialogue with the intent to learn or intent leading to a mutual conclusion (most conversations have no such intent).

Here is a non-learning situation that might arise. Sankhara diarrhoea or sankhara block – I think this particularly applies to western students (I have read similar from eastern teachers). Western minds especially fresh from education are so full of this and that, there is no way in for new stuff. I have often discussed this as intellect excluding insight.

You need empty silent minds to learn, not minds full of mental proliferations.

Many of the above giving talks claim to be Buddhist yet my interpretation of the Kalama sutta is that the Buddha said not to believe anything he says learn for yourself. When a talk is given what is expected of the listener, what is it that the listener is expected to learn?

What are the motivations of the listener? Ideally I would say that the motivations are connected with learning and experiencing what the Buddha taught. However as a Christian church wats are not places this happens. It is a social expectation to attend, and some, but few, move beyond. I chose the word church for the Bangkok monk, I did not feel spiritual drive.

The motivations of a learner are different but above I see motivations of a “teacher”. This requires analysis. One of the big problems with teaching is that teachers want to teach and they don’t always have sufficient emphasis on the student’s need to learn – I have met this often. It is not they don’t want the students to learn but the emphasis is on what they do and not what the student learns. Within education teaching methodology on this is changing, but in spiritual circles the main methodology is shut up and listen.

I had a discussion at Harnham. Learning to be a monk took 5 years. Potential learners went to the monastery and worked with the abbot for a while until they could accept that they would be “apprenticed” for 5 years. If they dropped out during the 5 years they were never allowed near the monastery again. There is good learning in this. But the emphasis is on learning to be a monk. This brings in the institutional question, are all monks seeking genuine truth? Are there institutional limitations? Retreats were offered, learning retreats as well as “being there” retreats.

But what is the objective of all these methodologies? And I offer a very dangerous answer – getting the learner to reach the inner guide. As I said this objective is seriously dangerous because it demands an integrity of the inner guide, and whilst a genuine inner guide has that there are so many selves and egos that could get in the way that this is a very dangerous objective.

What usually happens with the above methodologies is that the teachers present a right view (4NT one of the 8-fold path). But how is it received? Does the teacher demand insight, do they demand the necessity of the subjective? No, they can’t so what they are presenting is dogma, the right view of dogma, the safe view of dogma. And when it is dogma, how can there be inner guide?

There is a saying “Give a person a fish, s/he is not hungry that day, teach that person to fish and s/he is not hungry for life”. Dogma is words, words that might rest the “soul” for a day but the inner guide is a path for life. How many of the above teaching methodologies give an inner guide for life?

I have attended a number of dhamma talks and I cannot recall an emphasis on the inner guide – maybe I didn’t hear the emphasis. Some of Buddhism demands a guru. This makes a lot of sense, an inner guide without a guru has the potential to setup all kinds of egos and go in all kinds of wrong directions, but ultimately the guide has to surpass the guru. But for how many gurus is that the objective?

My awareness of inner guide as the teaching methodology came about as part of my recent home retreats – bhavana. But I first experienced my inner guide early in life. Following the path became a “mantra”. However whilst following the path I became a drunk, had dubious sexual encounters and various other selves that were clearly not “spiritual”. Yet I had an inner guide. Reaching the inner guide is not enough, there needs to be processes in place to make sure the inner guide is adhered – mindful processes. One obvious process is a guru promoting the inner guide, for others it is becoming a monk, but for most the inner guide emerges and the individual flounders around – much like I did. Yet reaching the inner guide has to be the objective. I have met recently a number of people whose life has been dominated by seeking. They have found gurus but not the inner guides nor any process that maintains the integrity of the inner guide. Without the guide it is difficult to see where they are going.

When you examine the teaching practices in the world of spirituality there are questions to ask. I contend the objective is to help the seeker find the inner guide but with that help ensure that the seeker has mechanisms that support the inner guide. Is that what is on offer?

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

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An odd weekend and home retreat.

I stayed up all Friday night, I was getting tired at 6 am but as the cleaner was due I just about stayed up. After she left the day was taken up with sleeping through Ally McBeal and then in the evening watching and dozing. 12.30 went to bed and got a melatonin hour but that was it.

At 04.00am I decided to meditate mainly about reformism and conditioning – too much sankhara, and then slept for two or three hours. Meditated again, and this was devastating. Since Edji I have an unfinished blog about spiritual teachers and methodologies. Thinking on this I came up with “reaching the inner guide” such a dangerous approach. I discovered huge personal arrogance connected to this, and I fell on the bed and slept nearly 4 hours. I meditated again but stopped after 34mins because the rain was loud on the car leanto. Dozed again till 4.00 pm but at least Benny was there for food.

Inner guide is so dangerous.

I have always talked about the Path but only recently recognised the Path is a mechanism (at the end of this long blog). For the time I lived by the path it was substantive in my life, in a sense it was guiding me. Beyond saying that I felt close to the path or not I cannot explain more but it was a real guide. Following the path fizzled out after Peyton Place because I turned to politics – even though I would always say I was a political activist to enable developing spirituality. I turned to Buddhism after my mid-life review, I don’t know whether that was path or an inner guide. Once I meditated I have always felt a guide telling me what to study next espeically after retirment.

What is the path/guide? Kamma? Dogma – if you remove the I and mine from the 5 khandas then there is just sunnata. And sunnata guides. Somewhere within the morass of BillZ’s egos and selves sunnata managed to designate a path, something that the morass managed to discern as path. But basically calling sunnata a path is a human mechanism but somehow we need to try to find this path, this inner guide.

That is the conclusion of this blog on spiritual teaching methodologies but there are huge dangers to an inner guide. BE WARNED.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Compassion Paradigm

Posted: 03/10/2017 in ONE planet, Struggle
Tags: ,

I wonder how much we can communicate. [Below}

I live within a compassion paradigm. This paradigm contends that humans are basically compassionate but conditioning prevents them from being so. Yet compassion is always trying to win through.

This conditioning is of a personal-social-political nature, and working for compassion against this conditioning was my reason for going into education. This conditioning is greatly influenced by a social paradigm I perceive as the 1%-paradigm, and that instead of education working towards removing our conditioning it educates towards increasing conditioning to preserve this 1%-paradigm.

The nature of this 1%-paradigm is to enable the increased accumulation of wealth to the 1%, and within the education system this means avoidance of education that demonstrates the power and influence of the 1%, education for wage-slavery, and miseducation concerning the wars-for-profits. For me these are the “overarching principles of education” even though within education itself there are occasional efforts against this paradigm.

History for me is an important tool to demonstrate the pervasiveness of this 1%-paradigm, it is less useful in demonstrating compassion. I use sources such as Eduardo Galleano, Walter Rodney and Howard Zinn but lay absolutely no claim to academic rigour; in the British context I have sufficient personal knowledge to see how landowners and serfs can develop into 1% and wage-slaves. Exploitation is integral to this 1%-paradigm, exploitation as wage slaves, exploitation as soldiers, exploitation through racism and sexism, and exploitation is a necessary pre-requisite for the accumulation that is the raison d’etre of the paradigm.

Within the 1%-paradigm the overarching concern of academia at all levels is not the leading out of compassion but the development of an increased bank of knowledge that, by avoidance or otherwise, fits within the 1%-paradigm and does not emphasise the compassion paradigm.

You are clearly a devoted historian, and the knowledge you have amassed would academically belittle any arguments I could put forward. But this knowledge functions within this 1%-paradigm. I read your previous comment (interpret) as saying that historical events in the UK dictate a necessary accumulation of power within Westminster, that this power has historically been white, and that to continue with that protective process of accumulation of power involves the continuation of similar processes including aspects of white privilege. Within its context I cannot dispute such an argument. However within a compassionate framework it is flawed as it accepts accumulation of power, white privilege and therefore racism, and at the same time it facilitates the accumulation of wealth to the 1%. Although academically I don’t have the knowledge to argue against, that is not the paradigm I choose to argue within. Hence the problem I said at the beginning of the difficulty of communication.

For me compassion trumps all.

[Below] This was written to a history ex-colleague.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.


I am a member of the compassionate left. Whilst I am not the only such member there is no such organisation. I am compassionate first, for me being compassionate makes me accept the compassionate economic analysis of Marxism. Because I am compassionate I wish to see all people free from suffering, and politically there are no doubts that I must stand on the left, on a left which is against the 1%, against war, and against wage-slavery.

Recently the left has been losing the propaganda war. Funding manipulations on the internet have left many people describing my life-long scourge – wishy-washy liberals – as left. This irritates me. If I start using terms like compassionate – liberals of course call themselves compassionate, hard-line leftist theorists will say that I have let in these wishy-washies. They would say “hold to a contemporary radical Marxist position” as a means of distinguishing from Liberals. Yet a clear compassionate view that includes contemporary radical Marxism distinguishes me from Liberals.

In this context it is worth considering what a Liberal is. Liberals are intellectuals, often what my comrades used to call armchair socialists, who are vaguely caring and vaguely socialist. And by “vaguely” I mean that when it comes to the crunch, if it is a choice between mortgage and socialism liberals will always choose mortgage, and the underlying fear and greed that marks a Liberal can lead them to vote with the right wing especially as they get older. The Liberal agenda varies over time, currently it is wrapped up in identity politics. This identity agenda dominates the façade of liberal media in the West, a media which is increasing the division of the 99% – and this fact of division shows who is controlling the media, 1%.

One of the failures of the left in my lifetime has been the inability of the left to unite. Primarily this is because of intellectualism dominating the left-wing. During my limited activism this left-wing has split itself over intellectual differences concerning Marxism. As a UK activist in the 80s left-wing politics was divided intellectually, hatred of other Marxists dominated – Commies vs Trots. At the time I was pulled to communism where I obtained an excellent Marxist education, but saw the lunacy of their positions. At the time women were still patronised because “Marxists” decided women should not “go down the mines”. And their major attack on the Trots was that they divided the mass movement (which they did) yet in the UK there were 3 communist parties with a total of 5000 people!! So the left is comprised of commies, trots, some of the labour movement and wishy-washy liberals – not the mass movement, is there any wonder that there were right victories in Trump and Brexit?

One of the main reasons that the left is not attracting 99% support is the fact that they don’t listen. These activists are deeply immersed in their activism of promoting the “mass movement”, but they don’t listen to the mass movement because of “recruiting”. A caring person is drawn to political activism and is immediately assailed by factions recruiting for their own brand of Marxism. This intellectual activism is so destructive, and can lose caring activists. The point of Marxist correctness is not that it is intellectually correct but that his analysis supports the compassionate approach that frees all people from suffering, from the 1%, from war and from wage-slavery.

Significant amongst the hard-line Marxists is the notion of revolution. Whilst there is no doubt that the 1% will never relinquish power through the ballot box as they control propaganda globally through the wider media (inc internet), it is only intellectualism that can call for revolution at this stage. Look at the Vanguard in Russia. They started a revolution in which many people died because of capitalist reaction, yet because the people were not “ready” the USSR never moved beyond the dictatorship of the proletariat that eventually stagnated and led to oligarchy. Is this a century of progress? Whilst revolution might well be the only way to dispossess the 1% now, to call for such at the moment is only calling for a futile death of the mass movement. When the revolution might be “ready”, who knows?

Compassion also has a broader appeal. In the West Christianity is the dominant religion yet traditional Christianity votes with the right wing. In Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America there is the tradition of Christian compassion epitomised by Paolo Friere, but in the West the Christian tradition is voting with right-wing thugs. Why aren’t they voting with the compassionate left? Propaganda, not Christian compassionate analysis. This incongruous voting pattern is made far easier by left-wing intellectuals who promote hard-line theories, dismiss religious experience as an opiate, and do not listen to where people are coming from.

Sanders and Corbyn have got to be the great left-wing hopes. Whilst Corbyn’s roots were in the Trotskyist Left, his approach is that of compassion and listening distinguishing him from his erstwhile comrade theorists. Grass roots activist throughout the movement might themselves hold to theories but their success is based on their ability to listen to the mass movement, show compassion and adapt to what they hear. Corbyn does this, I assume Sanders does too.

Clearly the political objective has got to be uniting the 99% against the 1%. Some of Trump’s right-wing rhetoric appropriates the anti-1% dogma, but for some of his supporters their vote was only a “hail Mary” approach – now patently not a touchdown. A compassionate left would have listened to those people, you cannot unite the 99% by not listening to them. If you listen to them they will listen to you. If you don’t try to sell them a “recruitment” line but try to work with them in the interests of the mass movement, maybe there can be some unity. If the dominant approach of the mass movement is compassionate listening activism, then there is a chance of unifying the 99%.

Make compassion a benchmark for activism and voting.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Terminology Warning – awakening


Recently I have begun to consider my awakening again, and it has left me completely re-evaluating my life. Now I understand I am a writer whereas previously I have seen myself as a teacher, similar but distinct purposes. This was discussed fully in the awakening section of my mid-life review.

My first childhood was the conditioning childhood we all go through to a greater or lesser extent – conditioning by family, conditioning by school, community and society. For me this conditioning was so repressive – dukkha – with no conscious pain, that it led to hitting bottom and the beginning of an awakening. But at that stage I wasn’t mature, and it took a second unconditioned childhood to come to terms with the inimical environment this part-awakening put me in. It was necessary for me to grow in this unconditioned environment before the awakening could be considered in some way complete – and that I am seeing as a spiritual or unconditioned childhood.

I describe the environment as inimical, it is worthwhile to consider why. Throughout this second childhood my awareness was based on an awakening that had seen through the systemic conditioning – the part-awakening. But whoever you are you live within conditioning – even in communes there is only less conditioning. And the primary means of maintaining that conditioning is wage-slavery, the need for money. After a couple of years my awakened compassion saw teaching as a vocation, my motivations for teaching were based in compassion. However teaching is an important part of the conditioned 1%-system, education is conditioning. And to make sure that you continue that conditioning process a teacher is controlled as a wage-slave – for details of that control see Matriellez.

Here was my situation. Through part-awakening compassion had chosen education, but education is a lynch-pin of conditioning. The awakening process has to be concerned with removing conditioning yet I had chosen a central conditioning environment – education; this was inimical.

Unfortunately I chose to cope with this enmity by turning to drink effectively slowing down the awakening process. Once I stopped drinking life pushed me into travel and working internationally. Whilst still being a wage-slave being in other cultures had less conditioning as you were physically detached. Being in Africa for a few years led to a completion of the awakening as discussed in the mid-life review until I eventually removed myself from the conditioned environment as much as I possibly could now being a writer with sufficient personal income from teacher pensions.

I have a good deal of control of my life now. Through awakening there is no conditioning, and through survival means (income) I can live a mostly unconditioned life – an awakened life – a mature life.

This reframing of my life as two childhoods is significant, because it removes incongruities from my awakening. There were questions that crossed my mind, how can a drunk be awake? How can awakening not be a conscious process? During the second childhood following the Path was an act of surrender but there was always some conscious awareness of being on the Path, and the need to change to start following again. Compassion chose education yet how can an awake person work as a slave and be truly awake? My teaching life was one conflict after another as I attempted to stand up for genuine education. How can I be a teacher when I don’t choose what I teach? How can an awakened person not have sila? It took retirement for me to see that I lacked silamy first blogs. How can an awakened person not take care of their body? It took retirement for me to begin my natural health. These are all decisions of a mature person, decisions that are hard if not impossible to be made in the conditioned environment of wage-slavery.

I developed into being a writer, it was an involuntary Path. I might well have developed into a teacher by choosing what I taught but I never made a decision to do that. I began writing in two ways. Firstly I wrote to expunge myself of the teacher-slavery and in some way help contribute to what might be genuine natural education – Matriellez. But I also wrote as I learned more about Buddhism – blogs. But at the same time I was writing me – firstly as the Treatise and then the novels. As I come to terms with what my awakening has been, I am writing – not teaching.

Awakening is so important, it means being completely independent of any conditioning – moving beyond conditioning. Undoubtedly there are people in this world who just develop “beyond conditioning” – Ajaan Buddhadasa. Especially in the West this process of awakening is going to be associated with dukkha. Conditioning creates pain, in my case the pain of repression, and my awakening started when I rejected all that conditioning and what that conditioning had in store for me. But I was still immature, and it took a second childhood to mature. This awakening process need not be an instant. Here is Eckhart Tolle’s instant in detail:-

“One night not long after my twenty-ninth birthday, I woke up in the early hours with a feeling of absolute dread. I had woken up with such a feeling many times before, but this time it was more intense than it had ever been. The silence of the night, the vague outlines of the furniture in the dark room, the distant noise of a passing train – everything felt so alien, so hostile, and so utterly meaningless that it created in me a deep loathing of the world. The most loathsome thing of all, however, was my own existence. What was the point in continuing to live with this burden of misery? Why carry on with this continuous struggle? I could feel that a deep longing for annihilation, for nonexistence, was now becoming much stronger than the instinctive desire to continue to live.
“I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. `Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the `I’ and the `self’ that `I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”
I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words “resist nothing,” as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that.”
Introduction to Power of Now.

The 5 Gateways movie also discusses awakening instants.

I know little of the spiritual game, there is a whole industry of teachers and charlatans. There is a whole industry based on aspirations – desire for awakening and learning, but are the people involved always genuine? It is hard to tell because in this inimical world awakened people are forced to find money. I consider Eckhart genuine – as far as I can know. Money has come to him from doing what his awakening decided – spiritual teaching, he appears independent. Are all such teachers independent? Are the interests of the spiritual writers the same as those of the publishers? Before I became concerned with his transcendence beyond conditioning, I followed Brad Warner quite closely; whilst I consider he was genuine (within the transcendence concern) he was always battling with survival to be independent; mostly I think he achieved independence.

Awakening is so important, hold onto it. Seek validation – creative people are good sources of this. Genuine creativity has an awakening but it has not matured. Such awakened people are usually involved in survival issues. They are also in the process of fully awakening, as partial awakenings can be seen in the lack of sila – moral integrity. Genuine spirituality can be a source of validation but my limited contact with spirituality is that much is about dogma and not experience. Religious institutions contain many who have started awakening but they don’t appear to be controlled by the awakened. Institutions are dominated by the same problem of all entities – the need to survive, in a financial world survival comes at a price of independence. And mature awakening must be independent.

Nature has much to offer but is there much better than awakening?

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Misery

Posted: 03/09/2017 in Freedom, ONE planet, Struggle, War
Tags: ,

There seems no end to the misery. From Horizontalidad in the early 90s through the Arab Spring to Occupy (tag) throughout the world and finally OWS, there had been some hope. But the enemy, the 1%, became marked in this movement – and that scared them. So the 1% found the answer, create confusion on the internet by funding all and sundry. Now we have complete chaos, there is no clear genuine left alternative.

In this article Paul Street describes the chaos that would have ensued if Hillary had won. In the article there is a much clearer understanding of on-the-ground US neoliberal politics than anything I could offer from afar. What it definitely shows is the chaos that is now US neoliberal politics. What we now have is the 1%, 2% – a genuine left alternative, and 97% total confusion (I have no basis for the exactness of these figures).

Liberal-bashing is now the fashion amongst the right, and liberal-bleating of a defence is the current level of response. Whilst this is obvious in the US it is occurring throughout the West. The good-old Liberal Obama set the scene for the world’s current greatest humanitarian disaster by sending drones to Yemen. Trump’s alliance with Saudi has seeded the destruction, and the Liberals barely bleat. They cannot do anything about it so they don’t bleat. But if they scream and shout about LBGT toilets, maybe they can do something – and their parties are fine. This is a right-wing created issue to bait the Liberals, meanwhile the real destruction goes on across the world – War for profits in the name of Western neoliberalism.

Is there a solution? Paul talks about a genuine left alternative, but can that ever happen? Since Marx there has been a clear analysis of the source of the problems – the bourgeois 1%, yet we now have a “2%”- acceptance of this. It appears to me that acceptance of this has been on the decrease in my lifetime – not helped at all by the continual left-wing squabbling before the recent “chaos” funding. This leads to the question, can there ever be a united 99%? If we look at the chaos now, the answer seems a resounding no.

Now it is particularly bad but I wonder if the answer could ever have been yes.

To try to get at this we need to look at conditioning. If we move beyond our conditioning we do not accept the 1%-system of neoliberalism, we see that all that matters is compassion. Not, who is in charge? Not, which system do we use? But compassion, compassion for all people. If we are compassionate we don’t fight wars. If we are compassionate we don’t treat people as wage-slaves. We care for people, who they are, and who they could be if enabled. Compassion ends suffering, ends the misery our world is in because of 1%-exploitation (mostly western) and the endless façade of populism, liberal-bashing-and-bleating – neoliberalism. The world needs compassion.

A conditioned person does not put compassion first. When people hear of humanitarian disaster in Yemen, compassion is not the first response; it is conditioning. Muslims, we should protect people but …. If we send money do we look after ourselves? We are good people, our governments cannot be causing wars just for profits, there has to be something wrong with these others. All of these responses are conditioned. The first objective needs to be compassion, put compassion first and leave out the conditioning. When there is a world where compassionate response comes first, then we have a world without division, and division is what is causing the misery. If Rockefeller says we cannot have compassion because my standard of living goes down, we laugh at his greed. Do we laugh at the greed if it is said at the golf club, the country house, etc.? When we look at the poverty that exists in the desert we, right-wing and liberals, are afraid, we, right-wing and liberals, become greedy in case our standard of living is affected, the compassionate and the non-liberal left (different) say “care for them at all costs”.

So why do I differ the compassionate and the non-liberal left? The non-liberal left put their systems, their ideologies first. They are conditioned to believe in systems, that is their education, their intellectualism. As a result of this belief in systems, for years the non-liberal left has fought each other, Commies vs Trots, which version of Marxism is right etc. And whilst they fought, the 1% continued exploitation, and the misery continued – has grown? When there was some crystallisation of action through Horizontalidad and Occupy, there became the funded chaos. Because we were all still responding on a conditioned level – even if that conditioned response is against the system, it was easy to create funded chaos by attacking theories. You cannot attack unconditioned compassion except by greed and selfishness

Can we ever fight our conditioning and become an unconditioned 99% – 100%? Can we ever be a compassionate 99% – a compassionate 100%? I doubt it. Can the 99% unite behind a theory without compassion and without removing conditioning? The evidence so far is no, I think no with the theories -permanently.

But compassion and removal of conditioning is a big ask. But it is a better objective than asking for 99% to believe in a system.

But before erstwhile comrades jump down my neck, where does compassion and removal of conditioning take us? In mid-19th century it would have taken us to a Marxist analysis of the exploitation by the bourgeois, now it takes us to seeing the 1%-system in the world. But compassion does not ask “do we believe in Marxism?”, it asks “how does understanding Marx lead to compassion?” And the actions are little different, but there is not the rhetorical arguing over systems and theories. Don’t be conditioned into believing a different theory, be compassionate.

Remove conditioning, make our first response compassion globally, have Unity through forgetting our theories.

Or have the misery that is continuing.

When we act with compassion there are no wars, there is no slavery.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

The Trump Focus

Posted: 12/08/2017 in Democracy, ONE planet, Struggle, War
Tags:


I just watched a pulp movie “Focus” with Will Smith. There was a scene in which he explained how he got the attention of the victim’s focus whilst away from focus crime was committed. There is an often-quoted British maxim that the Royals hit the front page when the government is struggling. Focus!

If we examine Trump’s presidency we see a man whose façade is that of incompetence. There is no consistency when we compare what he says to what he does. His supporters hear that Trump will not expand wars yet in the Middle East there has been increased meddling, a MOAB in Afghanistan, and now bellowing at a minnow in North Korea. He was “draining the swamp” by employing Goldman Sachs in his cabinet. No consistency.

The Liberal media have lambasted his inconsistency, and his complete disregard for the normal respect for such office has fueled much derision. The Russia scandal has also got the media hopping, and there is much focus on Russia. And Obamacare????

So the question is “what is really going on?” Common Dreams put out this piece, and I wished that was all that was being done. Previously Wall Street SEC fines have been reduced by 2/3 – lost the reference. Reduced taxes for the rich are coming.

But “is this all that is going on?” I don’t think the above articles are beginning to scratch the surface of what is being done behind the scenes. It is quite clear the 1% were pushing for Trump from at least mid-year. From the point of view of governance it could easily be seen that he is a disaster area; they knew this. They also have control of the media, and could control that there would be a Liberal feeding frenzy once he was in office – the Focus.

“What is being done?”

It will be years before the effects of Trump have worn off, years ….

And meanwhile how is the opposition lining up? These stupid Liberals can’t come together and recognise that their neoliberalism is how Trump got in in the first place. With such people fighting for us we have no chance.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Framework?

Posted: 05/08/2017 in Buddhadasa, ONE planet
Tags: ,

It was difficult for me to write about 5 Gateways, I don’t want to discourage people who are interested in 5 Gateways from going to them. But I don’t like frameworks.

For many of you (many on my blog?), looking at Buddhism you have got to see a huge proliferation of frameworks – it’s not worth listing them there are so many. And there are as many Buddhist traditions as there are Gateways. But it is my view that the Kalama sutta says that we should not hold to theoretical systems unless we have experienced them. Yesterday I mentioned Ajaan Buddhadasa. In a talk given by Santikaro (recognised as being a westerner close to Tan Ajaan), he described 4 samatthas (right systems) that Ajaan Buddhadasa focused on on his last mindful birthday:-

Body system
Psychic system
Self system
Emptiness system

I actually like this, if I think about these I feel it helps my understanding. But if you don’t that’s fine, that is the Kalama point to me.

And that’s my point about the 5 Gateways. If the 5 Gateways or initiations :-

Awakening
Realignment
Transfiguration
Crucifixion
Resurrection

if these Gateways work for you then use them. But trying to squeeze into them is the danger I am concerned about. What is valid is your experience, whatever happened to you that is what is valid, that is your strength.

But having said that, even that is not true. There are people who are stuck because they had such an experience and have never moved on. They try to recreate the experience because it was so meaningful, so powerful. I tend to think of these experiences as nature’s rewards for your progress on the Path, if you are following the Path then these rewards, wonderful experiences, happen. But if you become hooked on the experience and become an experience-junkie there is no satisfaction or peace – and no progress on the Path.

However it is worth considering the following:-

  • Ascension is western
  • I relate to the movie because the repressive conditioning I grew up with blew up into an awakening after hitting bottom. When I examine Buddhism I do not find discussion of oppressive conditioning, and a resulting awakening. Yes Buddhism talks of all the things including awakening but it seems as a gradual transition, awakening is maybe more “integrated” into eastern upbringing. It is hard to work out because of the institutional nature of much of Buddhism in the east and it is hard to judge an upbringing that is not your own. But there is a western thing when awakening happens or even before – “Go east”. And it is there in the east in Buddhism (and elsewhere) if not in the institutions – by the vary nature of institutions. Even though I ask questions about frameworks, Ascension has elements of western experience not found in Buddhism. Interesting.

    Below is how the Buddha described these experiences as jhanas, complicated? I have seen within forums people forlornly asking “did I experience a jhana?” I see people trying to squeeze into this jhana framework. I also see the experience of rapture being played down in Buddhism – non-attachment. Whilst I understand this I also understand the desire to celebrate the experience. This is a dilemma, attach to the experience or play it down as if detached. These are the negatives of the dilemma, there is a need for genuine equanimity – upekkha.

    I don’t know whether the people in the movie are attached or not, that is for them to decide. My strategy in recommending the movie is to encourage people to celebrate their experiences (and to cover myself I should say in a detached way). I have no doubts at all that I have overly-detached, and allowed time to forget the rapture. When I was younger (30s and 40s) such rapture was sporadic. Then I meditated daily and the highs of such rapture disappeared. But overall I felt better, no rollercoaster just peace – mostly.

    Am I being clear about fitting the framework? Let me try by example.

    Clip 20.36 – 23.32. Here Chris and Lesley describe experiences that have happened to them, these experiences don’t just happen to them they happen to many. But at the end Chris says it is his “Gateway 1 experience”, he fitted it into his Ascension framework. For me the descriptions of the experiences could equally have been described as rapture or jhanas. Or they could have just been described – that is why I recommend the film – for the description.

    When I hit bottom there was a mega-awakening from all the conditioning that had turned me into an arrogant academic focused on the system. I went back to London, took a job for money, realigned myself into a focus towards the Path, this realignment pushed me to child care and teaching, I had lost my ego and become this new compassionate person. This was the drastic one, the one that was obviously fitting into these Ascension categories. But as life went on there were further changes that could be described in this 5-stage process, and will be continued to be described in this way; this repetition was alluded to in the movie. The Buddha describes this as letting go of the ego leading to anatta, that is the emptiness that Ajaan Buddhadasa encourages. It is the experience not the framework, we don’t have to fit into a theory UNLESS that theory is where you are at. If theory and practice are together – great.

    It could just be that I have not reached the stages as described in the movie, I can’t be definitive about that – nor would I want to be. For me it matters not, but if you feel pressured to adhere to the framework it matters, that concerns me. For me measuring up to the framework doesn’t matter. If you relate to the experiences in the movie but don’t measure up to the framework, does that matter? That is for you to answer.

    Because they believe in the Ascension framework they will measure themselves against it, that is their choice. Because you have these experiences you don’t have to measure yourself by the same framework. BUT if it helps you do it.

    There is other stuff out there but not so many good movies. Enjoy, learn and feel reinforced.

    *************************

    jhána: ‘absorption’ (meditation) refers chiefly to the four meditative absorptions of the fine-material sphere (rúpa-jjhána or rúpávacara-jjhána; s. avacara). They are achieved through the attainment of full (or attainment -, or ecstatic) concentration (appaná, s. samádhi), during which there is a complete, though temporary, suspension of fivefold sense-activity and of the 5 hindrances (s. nívarana). The state of consciousness, however, is one of full alertness and lucidity. This high degree of concentration is generally developed by the practice of one of the 40 subjects of tranquillity meditation (samatha-kammatthána; s. bhávaná). Often also the 4 immaterial spheres (arúpáyatana) are called absorptions of the immaterial sphere (arúpa-jjhána or arúpávacara-jjhána). The stereotype text, often met with in the Suttas, runs as follows:
    (1) “Detached from sensual objects, o monks, detached from unwholesome consciousness, attached with thought-conception (vitakka) and discursive thinking (vicára), born of detachment (vivekaja) and filled with rapture (píti) and joy (sukha) he enters the first absorption.
    (2) “After the subsiding of thought-conception and discursive thinking, and by gaining inner tranquillity and oneness of mind, he enters into a state free from thought-conception and discursive thinking, the second absorption, which is born of concentration (samádhi), and filled with rapture (píti) and joy (sukha).
    (3) “After the fading away of rapture he dwells in equanimity, mindful, clearly conscious; and he experiences in his person that feeling of which the Noble Ones say, ‘Happy lives the man of equanimity and attentive mind’; thus he enters the 3rd absorption.
    (4) “After having given up pleasure and pain, and through the disappearance of previous joy and grief, he enters into a state beyond pleasure and pain, into the 4th absorption, which is purified by equanimity (upekkhá) and mindfulness.
    (5) “Through the total overcoming of the perceptions of matter, however, and through the vanishing of sense-reactions and the non-attention to the perceptions of variety, with the idea, ‘Boundless is space’, he reaches the sphere of boundless space (ákásánañcáyatana) and abides therein.
    [“By ‘perceptions of matter’ (rúpa-saññá) are meant the absorptions of the fine-material sphere, as well as those objects themselves . . . ” (Vis.M. X, 1).
    “By ‘perceptions of sense-reactions’ (patigha-saññá) are meant those perceptions that have arisen due to the impact of sense-organs (eye, etc.) and the sense-objects (visible objects, etc.). They are a name for the perception of visible objects, as it is said (Jhána-Vibh . ): ‘What are here the perceptions of sense-reactions? They are the perceptions of visible objects, sounds, etc.’ – Surely, they do no longer exist even for one who has entered the 1st absorption, etc., for at such a time the five-sense consciousness is no longer functioning. Nevertheless, this is to be understood as having been said in praise of this immaterial absorption, in order to incite the striving for it” (Vis.M. X, 16).
    “Perceptions of variety (ñánatta-saññá) are the perceptions that arise in various fields, or the various perceptions” (ib.). Hereby, according to Vis.M. X, 20, are meant the multiform perceptions outside the absorptions.]
    (6) “Through the total overcoming of the sphere of boundless space, and with the idea ‘Boundless is consciousness’, he reaches the sphere of boundless consciousness (viññánañcáyatana) and abides therein.
    (7) “Through the total overcoming of the sphere of boundless consciousness, and with the idea ‘Nothing is there’, he reaches the sphere of nothingness (ákiñcaññáyatana) and abides therein.
    (8) “Through the total overcoming of the sphere of nothingness he reaches the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception (nevasaññá-n’asaññáyatana) and abides therein.”

    Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

    Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

    5 Gateways is a wonderful movie from these people. If you want a movie that talks about finding the Path this is it. Most importantly when you first find the Path you need to find people who have shared experience. For me after hitting bottom it was the people at the Arts Centre – to whom I will always be grateful and to whom I am so sad we have lost touch only 42 years ago!!

    Why is this movie so important? If you start on the Path, hitting bottom or otherwise, you need shared experience. This world will negate everything you are going through. Finding the greatest thing you could possibly find will be negated by family, friends and establishment authority because they have not experienced it. If you watch this movie then you can feel what these people feel, and your experience is reinforced. That is wonderful.

    Now to the downside. These people have explained their shared experience through Ascension. Do you know if Ascension is true? For the makers of this movie Ascension is true. If you watch this movie after hitting bottom – in that or any other vulnerable position – you might well be attracted to their Ascension framework. I don’t know whether Ascension is true, and if I don’t know something is true I don’t go there. This movie has tremendous shared experience that helps in the alone situation people on the Path can find themselves, this movie can alleviate at such times but it is a danger at a time of vulnerability.

    I am not saying Ascension is not true, I am saying I don’t know whether it is true. I have chosen a different Path – Buddhism. In Buddhism there is a lot of dogma, and over the years I have whittled down the dogma so that I have a Buddhism I am comfortable with – but many might not see it as Buddhism. BZBuddhism requires very little dogma – little more than the 4NT with a bit of help from Ajaan Buddhadasa. But even then to understand Ajaan Buddhadasa requires going beyond a great deal of dogma because he was such a dedicated scholar; dogma that in my view he eschewed. And studying Ajaan Buddhadasa would not ratify the tremendousness of experience that is shared in 5 Gateways, however the framework that Ajaan Buddhadasa gives you does not require any faith. It does require you to be discerning, questioning and intelligent but it does not require any leaps of faith. 5 Gateways requires a leap of faith to begin with (unless you know for yourself you have already gone through the 5 Gateways). I am not in favour of anyone taking a leap of faith.

    I have an anecdote which gives me cause for concern. I met a drunk in Africa who had been involved with Ascension – not with these people. He spent a few years with them and did not ascend. He felt a failure and turned to drink. Accepting himself for who he was at whatever stage on the Path that he was might have kept him interested in the Path and kept him off the booze.

    In the movie the shared experience is ratifying and well worth hearing. But all the people measure themselves in terms of the 5 Gateways, I have reached such and such a stage. This is understandable as the movie is made by people following this approach, but is it advisable for all people starting on the Path to measure themselves in this way?

    For years after hitting bottom I studied spirituality in one form or another, sadly I wasted some time in the bottle. There is a variety of spiritual experience out there, but some of it is charlatan, some of it deluded and some of it exaggerated. Path experiences or jhanas are so powerful they can become all-embracing and all-consuming; they can also be a fixation. When you are vulnerable and starting out which of these attributes do you want? What do you want to know?

    Firstly you need to know that your experience is real. You do not want to listen to people who dismiss your experience as trendy hippy or doped up or whatever, your experience is valid do not let people dismiss it. But such experience (or jhana) is not an end in itself, it is part of the Path. And what is the Path? And we are back to doubt again. The Path is real, or it can be real depending on who is talking about it. Out there there are charlatans who will tell you they have found the Path to enlightenment, but have they? You can only take their word for it – or not! Ascension is a Path to Enlightenment – or not, you can only take their word for it.

    When I listen to what they say in the movie, they are people who have experienced, their experience is valid, they have done a great thing in sharing that experience in the movie, and that sharing of experience has to be validating for the vulnerable who have just started on the Path. But is their framework correct? Is there a leap of faith involved?

    Does Buddhism require leaps of faith? To begin with, most definitely. Have most Buddhists made a leap of faith? Most definitely. Does the Buddha ask you to make a leap of faith? In my view the Kalama sutta suggests that you do not take a leap of faith. If you walk into a wat or Buddhist monastery will the monks have taken a leap of faith, and the answer most definitely is yes. Should you take a leap of faith? My answer is no.

    The essence of all of this is understanding. To gain understanding you have to study dogma until that dogma falls away and you have understanding or wisdom. So as part of the learning process I have believed in Buddhism. By believing in it I was able to come to an understanding of those parts of Buddhism that I initially believed in. I now eschew the dogma and hopefully have wisdom. Can new people on the Path do this? I couldn’t when younger. Can young people believe in Ascension, let the dogma fall away and be left only with wisdom? That does not appear to be the teaching methodology but maybe so? Can young people go to Buddhism, let the dogma fall away and be left with wisdom? Definitely not within most of the Buddhist institutions I know of.

    Buddhism has an advantage over the 5 Gateways Ascension. Buddhism is big and does not necessarily require commitment. I have been on retreats but I have not committed myself to cloisters. Maybe remaining on the periphery of 5 Gateways would allow their dogma to drop away? Immersing in their programme I would suggest might create problems of faith.

    But I go back to my original point in this post, their movie is validating. For people new to the Path watching their movie without embracing their dogma would be extremely worthwhile. Maybe even getting involved with them would be worthwhile – I do not know, but the getting of wisdom anywhere means eventually eschewing dogma. There are Buddhists with dogma, eschew that dogma and get wisdom, there are followers of Ascension with dogma, eschew that dogma and get wisdom, there are followers of Eckhart Tolle (whom I at one time considered wise – he has done so much with Oprah I don’t know where he is at now), eschew his dogma and get wise. Wisdom is gained by eschewing dogma.

    Why did I choose Buddhism? Ego. Buddhism has centuries of tradition in which there have been Buddhists who have questioned. Whilst Buddhism has its dogma, whilst Buddhism has a proliferation of intellectuals and concocters, it has its tradition. Wise people over the years have gained wisdom and contributed to Buddhism. What about the people ascending? Where is their tradition? They have to rely on themselves. And what happens? They come under threat from the society they are rejecting, and this can build up an ego that defends. How would this ego respond? Possibly by becoming more dogmatic, defending the dogma of their beliefs; is this wise? Immersion with Ascension risks such dogma, and possibly risks eschewing wisdom. At the beginning of the Path when people are vulnerable this is a danger.

    To avoid this I have never recommended 5 Gateways until now, but the shared experience is so valuable so reinforcing, so invigorating, so IMPORTANT I want to recommend it with the above proviso.

    Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

    Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

    I have just been watching Occupy stuff again, I watched this clip called Occupation Nation

    There was little I had disagreement with but then there was a questionable part that could be described as being presented as an abc of anarchism:-

    click for clip

    Firstly Occupation Nation was presented as a collection of clips about Occupy, and undoubtedly anarchists were working collectively and successfully within Occupy – no deception or subterfuge there. But what if people identified this clip with Occupy – then there is deception.

    Anarchism is presented as a legitimate working-class movement – quote from Emma Goldman wiki on her, this is true. But the basis of Occupy was not anarchy but collectivism.

    A – Affinity Group Described as a small group of people whose interests identify with each other at a particular moment in time. Was Occupy this? Or was Occupy a time in which different collectives worked together at a particular moment in time? Or was Occupy a collection of individuals who recognised the importance of the collective Occupy and saw the importance of working together as the 99% against the 1%?

    B Black Bloc D- Direct Action These both presented actions that have the potential for violence. Occupy was peace until it was broken up violently through a coherent policy established by the Department of Homeland Security.

    C – Consensus:- Consensus rather than representation was one of the most impressive aspects of Occupy. Does anarchism support consensus? Isn’t consensus through voting what collectivism stands for? (Even though representation is a weakness of collectivism.) Occupy with its rejection of consensus by simple majority such as 51% was an excellent advance in democracy. But is consensus something anarchism accepts if anarchists are active within wider movements?

    For me, apart from consensus this abc has little to do with the wider Occupy movement. If the clipmakers’ intention was to imply that, it was deception, if not – it doesn’t matter.

    What this does illustrate is a problem with the internet? It was the 3rd on my youtube search for Occupy (I don’t know whether that is true for everyone). Would it be the 3rd based on consensus by Occupy? What makes that clip available? The internet has no discernment, and can easily be controlled by money – although in this case I am not sure why sponsors would promote this (I suspect this clip was made by dedication and not finance). The internet has no intention, it is anarchic by nature, and now (in my view) the 1% has decided to control the internet through sponsorship the internet is dangerous for its perversion of thought. For me activists need to move away from the internet, develop discernment through their own cross-generational activist groups, and use the internet in a discerning way after human contact. This was also a principle of Occupy.

    Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

    Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.