Brexit and Trump have also brought home to me another important issue – what is truth? Speaking the truth is part of the 8-Fold Path, Magga (4 Noble Truths), and never has it been more important to recognise the truth when the representatives of the powerful are lying so much.
The first thing I learned about the truth as an adult was when I started on the Path and began to develop insight. At that time seeing people or knowing stuff was so important. Basically it was a reaction to all the lies that education and upbringing had given me. Developing insight is the most important tool for understanding the truth, and very few people discuss this. Insight is definitely not taught in schools!!! At the same time, in the search for truth recognising insight in others became an important aspect of discerning truth. It is not possible for one person to know the truth in all things. So a pre-requisite for truth is insight and the recognition of insight. One key aspect of recognising insight is that of sila – moral integrity. Recognising moral integrity is almost as difficult as recognising insight but there is an obvious corollary to this:-
If a person does not have moral integrity, then they certainly do not have insight and would not see truth as important.
Having moral integrity and talking about morals is definitely not the same thing. There are many people who use morality within religious institutions as a means of control, and yet they themselves do not have morality. In other words religion and morality are not the same although within the religious institutions there are people with insight and moral integrity.
Compassion is the most important fundamental concerning truth. Compassion means the freedom from suffering for all, and in this I include Gaia. So in seeking the truth the person must show compassion. Therefore a person speaking the truth will be working towards compassion, and therefore someone who is sexist, racist, or does not support LBGT rights is not compassionate, and is therefore not speaking the truth. So there are yardsticks, how compassionate is the person and how much insight do they have?
Of course these yardsticks are absolutes, and applying these absolutes in everyday situations especially in something as criminal as politics is very difficult.
But trying to use these yardsticks let’s examine the political situation but not as yet in terms of party politics. What politically exhibits the least compassion? Quite obviously the first political yardstick is war. Who benefits from war? People don’t but corporations do, the global MIC, Military Industrial Complex does. So we have a political question to ask as a benchmark concerning support for the MIC and the corporations – I will use the vernacular the 1%. The most heinous weapon of war is the drone, these are hugely expensive to make and generate huge profits, a definite plus for the MIC. The immigration crisis is blowback, a huge consequence of interfering wars and the heinous use of drones.
These corporations work hand-in-hand with global finance institutions such as banking and insurance. So for me the 1% of MIC, banking and finance are those that control global politics, and politicians who stand against the 1% are those who I support. I have not mentioned BigFood and BigPharma but these corporations have similar interests as the other corporations of the 1%.
For me Occupy stood against the 1%, so I support the Occupy movement. It is my understanding that the Occupy movement stood behind Bernie in the US and Corbyn in the UK. Whether this is true or not what Bernie and Corbyn say stands against the 1%.
But is what they say what they mean, are they telling the truth? Or is it just rhetoric?
In Corbyn’s case I have sufficient personal knowledge of the man to know that he is genuine although I haven’t always agreed with his tactics. In the UK in London from 1985 through to 1992 I was a political activist, and this brought me into contact with Corbyn’s sphere of influence – he was an MP and community activist in North London then. For me there was no doubt about his moral integrity and compassion, but at the time I was active I felt his tactics were mistaken. Now I support him, times change.
I support Bernie. His rhetoric is good, and I have a general feeling that he is moving in the right direction. But because of the lack of personal connection I cannot be so definitive. My intuition makes me feel he merits support, but I would not go beyond that because of my lack of personal contact.
What is most interesting about these two political candidates is that they are both struggling with their party hierarchies. There is a movie I often recall called Lifting the Veil. Whilst the movie does attack both the Labour party and the Democrats, it is more concerned with attacking the system. It is my understanding that the movie claims that the electoral system has been manipulated by the 1% as a media circus, and that there is never any intention of genuine democracy – government by the people for the people. This is in line with the approach of neoliberalism as most notably discussed by Noam Chomsky (for me).
Given that I accept that the political system of neoliberalism is the problem, the question then is how it is to be defeated and what is it to be replaced with? For me compassion means that I am seeking a system that treats people as equals without regards to “race creed or colour”; I would also now add gender preference. This is fundamentally the rights of all people over the few, the 99% compared to the 1%. At present we have governments directed by the 1% against the interests of the 99% who they want to exploit as their workforce. So the question is how do we organise for a government by the 99% (or 100% where the government treats all people as equal)? In determining veracity I would be investigating whether the politician is genuinely interested in a government of and by 100% of the people.
So far I have avoided political terminology in describing truth. And this is because of problems with the media and education. It is my view that western societies (and probably global societies) are inundated with propaganda that is directed by the 1% for their benefit. The terms 1% and 99% are very similar to the Marxist terminology of bourgeois and proletariat, and there has been continued propaganda against Marxists, socialists or any who subscribe to Marx’s theories. There is much to be learnt from Marx’s dialectical approach. But the main point of Marxism is that all the people need to work together against the self-interests of the 1%. In my adult years I have never seen people more divided, and I think propaganda and obfuscation by the 1%-media are the main causes. Typically I have seen mainstream media organisations described as left-wing when I have always described them as right-wing. In terms of compassion this site might well have the same objectives – healthy people, but in terms of the media our descriptions could not be further apart. In this the 1% have been so successful in dividing us.
There is another reason I have not promoted myself as socialist, I believe that sticking to ideas or an ideology is a mistake. While ideas can guide, holding to an ideal restricts the mind. Adhering to dogma stagnates an institution whether it is religious or political, people also become restricting if others are expected to fit in with ideals. So another point of truth is enquiry. Does the truth hold up to inspection of the enquiring mind? For many years dogma has been thrown at me either from the left wing or in religious circles, but none of this dogma alone produces clarification. It is only with insight that dogma moves beyond the idea. Examining a situation in the light of compassion and through enquiry examining the dogma and situation is a process to determine the truth. Does what is said fit a set of rules is not truth-determining?
I often draw parallels between US and UK politics, typically Republicans vs Democrats and Conservatives vs Labour. In the UK historically the conservatives have supported the 1% with token liberal rhetoric for the welfare of the people and nationalist populism in the interests of the white population, and whilst historically Labour grew out of the working-class its representatives are now simply opportunists. In the UK a nationalist populist, Nigel Farage, has arrived on the scene promoting racism, and this populism has recently been accepted by many people – a significant factor in Brexit; his party UKIP primarily attracts disillusioned working-class Labour voters.
The I in UKIP stands for Independence, and I think this term independent is significant. In UKIP’s case it maybe means independent from the EU – Brexit. But in character UKIP supposedly represents an alternative to the conservatives and labour (the neoliberal system). At the same time it discusses the people’s interests over that of an elite – again appealing to an understanding of those against neoliberalism, but its appeal to the British electorate is because it is white nationalist. In my view UKIP is an appeal to white popular racism, and although sadly they are increasing in popularity their only impact so far has been their contribution to Brexit which also included majority conservative influence. In the UK this populism has divided the 99%, and in the UK I believe that is why UKIP has been funded and given more coverage in mainstream media than is warranted for a small party.
In the US the situation is slightly different but the impact of nationalist populism combined with the conservative interests has led to the election of Donald Trump. Because of my compassion I cannot support either UKIP or Trump because of their racism – and in Trump’s case overt sexism. (I suspect also LGBT issues but I am not certain of that). Initially I said that if a person does not have moral integrity I cannot believe that they will tell the truth, that applies particularly for Trump although I also distrust Farage.
In the US many people rue the election because Hillary was not elected. However in the neoliberal system Hillary represented the 1%-system elite of the Democrat party, and so she lost the populist vote. For the same reason support from Occupy was not strong because of the same neoliberalism, and because of the way the Democrat party cut out Bernie.
In terms of truth it is worth examining how events have panned out in terms of the way they have benefitted the 1%. Particularly in the US nationalist populism has benefitted the 1% by splitting the 99%. The populists have however elected a member of the 1% to deliver an anti-1% platform, can that ever happen? We will have to wait and see. Is Trump a political “whistleblower”?
In terms of truth this splitting is very important because it explains much that goes on with populism. Within the framework of blaming the elite the primary purpose of the populism is division. When you examine much of the analysis in both camps it places the source of the problem with the 1%. Two important platforms of US populism were “draining the swamp” and “against Wall Street”, both of which any left-winger would be happy to support. But then comes the division because the most important attack politically is to blame the left. And here is the inconsistency, the swamp and Wall Street are not the Left.
When considering the populism we have to examine emphasis. The 1% have no problem with being blamed if their strategy of dividing the 99% works so the rise of this nationalist populism just benefits them. For me the main political truth is that the 1% cause our problems, and that we should all fight against the influence of the 1%. In blaming the 1% I seek unity against the 1%, and seek strategies that negate their financial power and influence. This strategy unites all working people, it unites small business owners who are trying to balance their books, but it works against people who manipulate financial laws for their own profit. Such small business owners do not go bankrupt and start up again. Such people pay taxes however unfair the tax system might be because those taxes provide education and infrastructure for ordinary working people. The 99% have all this in common, and if we all worked together then the 1% cannot exploit us.
However divided we become manipulable so it is in the interest of the 99% to divide the left and right. The internet has succeeded in doing this. By investing in the internet the 1% have developed websites that present their divisive populism.
At the same time populism has inconsistencies because the strategy is division and not the interests of the people themselves. The government is described as left-wing and yet a major popular platform is the swamp – the revolving door of the 1% that controls the government. How can the government be left-wing and 1%-controlled? And Trump himself is a major inconsistency, how can a member of the 1% be interested in fighting 1%-control? However these inconsistencies don’t matter if the purpose is division, that division is a consistent purpose:-
Consistency – division
Such inconsistency is for me a good measure of the truth.
Where next do I go in terms of the truth? Over the years I have developed mechanisms for determining the truth. These are based primarily on the arena of politics that I know – what has been called the “left”. I know these people, and have developed some insight into their degree of truth-telling. Over the years I have seen how important the truth is to the left wing, if there are any doubts in the veracity of a left-wing statement there is a huge mainstream backlash. More responsible left-wing people are very careful with the truth, but that is not all left-wingers for sure with some of the more vociferous getting carried away with rhetoric; so there has to be truth-discernment from within. Based on my experience and insight I would use certain left-wing evidence and avoid the rhetoric. This can only be a personal approach to truth.
Political correctness is also worth discussing when examining the truth. PC developed throughout my lifetime, and in my view it developed because language was a significant part of racism and sexism. Demanding that people were not racist or sexist in the language they used was a good position when trying to remove the embedded racism and sexism in society. As a result racists and sexists were expected to improve their use of language. This gave an illusion that people were less racist or sexist but in the UK Brexit showed that people had not truly changed. At the same time there has been a backlash against the “PC police”, people who have too vehemently reinforced the change of language without helping people change their attitudes. With UKIP and Trump those people who have been straitjacketed by the PC police have been allowed to express their racism and sexism. Because there was a repression there has been a backlash against PC in general, and as a result truth has suffered because much truth came out of the research those people did.
At the same time it is populist to reject what PC people have said because populism attacks the left wing. As I have said, this is a change that I find hard to understand as the government has always been a puppet of the 1% so for populism to claim government is left wing is difficult for me to grasp. Again this is an indication as to the ability of the 1% to influence. Look at what has happened. The 1% continue to dominate and their profits continue to increase despite the crash of 2008. Governments have applied austerity measures as a consequence, awarded bankers bonuses, and yet populism has divided the 99% so that there is an obfuscation concerning the left wing. The power of money is amazing.
So to conclude how I determine truth:-
1) Overlying everything else is compassion
Finally since this has been mainly concerning truth in politics, I ask that we recognise a political delusion that has been perpetrated. Most people vote for economic reasons ie vote in a way that they think will give them most money. Vote for greed. When greed is voted for we get manipulated by the greedy. Why not change the way we vote to that of compassion, vote for people who genuinely talk about caring for others and the environment. This would change the political arena.
Archive for the ‘War’ Category
I grew up afraid but with nothing to fear – or better afraid of the wrong thing. This fear characterised my environment, a quiet Manchester suburb where we conformed to a way of life – a way of wage-slavery. But it was better than war – the second world war, so I soon learned to understand where that came from. I live outside the UK now but when at uni my friends went abroad – I was afraid. As I hit bottom and came out of the conditioning and the fear, travelling was still not the answer because of this fear. But I was developing as a person working on the fears created in the UK. When I was 40 I moved abroad and never turned back to the UK environment that is so dominated by fear.
This fear explains so much that is wrong with the UK, including the racism that underlies Brexit; I am sure it explains Trump but I don’t know those people well enough. Whilst I grew up afraid I grew up feeling a sense of being imprisoned – repressed. This was what my environment did to me. For a long time I saw the problem as being my father, but whilst there are individual characteristics there – that it is not appropriate to discuss – my focus on him at the time was not justified. It was the fear that came from the suburban environment. You can understand it. The parents were all people who had been involved in the war, their adolescence was as children in a country at war. In my house it was never discussed but the fear was there. Wage slavery was just accepted because it was better than war.
When I went to uni it was as part of a generation who were questioning. At uni I don’t remember questioning much as my life was dominated by the bottle, but I suppose I must have because after 18 months of the world of work I hit bottom. And never looked back. I have always seen that hitting bottom as breaking out of conditioning – the academic mindset, but it was more. It was breaking the restrictions that fear had put on me. I carried that fear with me a long time even after I had hit bottom. But hitting bottom was the beginning of breaking through the fear.
What did that fear do to the UK? I grew up surrounded by racism, sexism and violence. At teacher training college I went to a fancy dress ball in a dress for some reason – I had some strength having hit bottom three years previously. A trainee teacher who was a rugby player touched my dick that was showing through the tight dress, I touched his back in a blasé way and he thumped me – I walked away; I was not a fighter and he was bigger than me anyway. Why was he violent? At the same place another teacher promised to buy a bike from me. We agreed that I would leave the bike outside my house and he would collect it and pay me some money. Maybe he was drunk, maybe he didn’t want it – that is not my point. A year later I was teaching so was he. He was living in a squat with a colleague. She told him what I said, he told her if I ever told her the story again he would come and hit me. Fear breeds the kind of violence these two teachers showed. They grow up with fear, and then defend themselves by being violent. I chose those stories because these people were teachers, the violence amongst less educated is worse. Violence is not an acceptable way of life but it is created by systemic fear and is integral to western way of life. For me this is a significant part of Britain, and why I don’t live there.
But the violence that is British is not unique in the West, nor am I saying that it is uniquely western. But what is the excuse for such fear now? My parents had grown up during the war (I am 64), so they had fear. My generation grew up with that fear but actually had nothing to fear. Yet the fear continued. Why? Conspiracy theory; remember conspiracies like this just develop, not some idea from a smoke-filled room. Fear worked to create profits. My parents, my environment, was an excellent place for profits. Through the 50s and 60s the fatcats made huge profits based on a compliant workforce, and why was the workforce so compliant? Because of fear of war. Look at the history. Slowly in the 50s and 60s began to fight off the fear that was repressing them. Violence dogged that breaking out because that was the fatcats holding onto their post-war profits. Young people expressing themselves brought out that fear, and arms of repression, police and others, jumped on them. For 20 years the fatcats made huge profits at the expense of a low-paid workforce. During the 70s the workforce sought their due recompense and the fatcats refused to budge and closed the country down. This increased people’s fear, and with the media defending the fatcats people turned that fear on themselves – against the unions, and voted in Thatcher. Thatcher then fostered that fear in other ways, and so on until the present day.
In British society what is there to be afraid of? There is no second world war that parents had lived through. But there is the fear and violence that has been fostered ever since my childhood. There is racism that has been built up by the media. Fear of losing jobs to immigrants, a fear that is not borne out by statistics. A fear that is fanned by the media which is the PR arm of the fatcats who will do anything for a profit especially not pay fair wages. There is however a legitimate fear that is rarely discussed because it would affect the fatcats’ wealth, the fear of blowback from all the wars for profits; this is not a fear recognised by many.
How I would experience that fear if I was growing up in Britain now I do not know. But what I do know is that that fear is manufactured by the establishment to maintain a compliant workforce – to maintain the fatcats’ profits. That fear is so strong that the equivalent environment to the one I grew up in voted Brexit. Now I am not a big fan of the EU as I am an internationalist and don’t like Fortress Europe (against the USA). But for the people of my background to be voting for Brexit shows how bad that fear still is. And yet that fear has no legitimacy, it is created by the divisions the fatcats through the establishment impose on society in order to increase profits.
In Britain we now grow up with fear because they want us to be afraid. That is a reality we should know. How you deal with it I don’t know, after all the bully boys the system creates still are violent – however educated.
I have begun revising the Treatise (Treatise of Zandtao). Whilst these small revisions are not going to be online for a while I should note that HHSR has been removed together with references to reincarnation. I have been studying Nagarjuna a bit– as being a link between what is Theravada (supposedly the original Buddha’s teachings and Zen/Tibetan). Reincarnation is really a Hindu belief that has become part of Buddhism according to Buddhadasa – I like that for the reasons that it explains the origin (Hindu India) of the belief and that proving reincarnation seems not to be possible. It is usually assigned to one of the Buddha’s unanswered questions. I was unsure of a lot of the references to unanswered questions, here is a summary that is from one of the Theravada suttas SN 44 explaining why the questions are not answered.
I am more concerned about Nagarjuna’s dependence on faith, I noticed this in the letter to the king in “The Good-hearted Letter” Section Two. Let me start by saying that faith is something I do not have. But before I get into that I want to surmise why Nagarjuna needed faith, and that is his belief in reincarnation. How can you accept reincarnation unless through faith because there is no way you can assert it through experience; having said that I cannot explain stories such as these without finding some disguised way of saying they are lies; the stories are not sufficient evidence to support reincarnation – just sufficient to create doubts. But for me the world is paradoxical enough to accept “exceptions to the rule”. But it matters not, I have not experienced it so I don’t accept it for myself.
Faith is a requirement for reincarnation yet it my view that the Buddha never asked us to have faith in him – or anything. Based on the Kalama Sutta, AN3, it is my contention that the Buddha asked us not to believe him but to come to some kind of personal conviction through experience that what he said is true. I often think of this as internalising an idea by deeply knowing it as a truth – or even experiencing the idea as an insight. Faith says here is a dogma, believe it – in other words here is a mindset, believe it. Are holy books factual? Or are they allegorical to bring home certain spiritual truths? My own view is the second, you must decide for yourself what is important.
This issue of “holding to a mindset” has been alluded to throughout the treatise, and is central to a perspective on conditioning. In an earlier chapter of the Treatise I looked at the book “The Four Agreements” demonstrating that we grow up with mindsets which we agree with because they are custom and practise for our societies, in effect this mindset of agreements could be seen more sinisterly as conditioning. The way we grow up could be seen as making agreements with our parents and society, or it could be seen in a more passive way as conforming to that conditioning that our upbringing requires of us.
The dogmas of a faith are a mindset, the agency of accepting that mindset separates a faith from a set of ideas, and I question that agency. I don’t dismiss the agency, I have used the term “internalising” as an acceptable agency, and I would also see insight as legitimate – although I find it difficult to see how a whole faith could be determined through insight. Debating the agency of one’s faith is an individual journey for each person to undergo, but without a suitable agency one’s faith is simply a set of ideas – a dogma – a mindset. Accepting a mindset without appropriate deep enquiry is for me a mistake that many make. It happens as we start to unravel conditioning especially amongst the young who reject conditioning but then seek to replace it. There is a charismatic figure, David Icke, who has politically dissected much that is wrong with our society. There is a strong body of younger people who follow him. There are two issue that I contend with him. The first concerns the Illuminati. I have never investigated the Illuminati because I don’t know them so how can I ascertain the truth about them. Throughout this book I have discussed the 1%, and I have no doubt that these bourgeoisie control our corporatocracy through finance and influence. But I have no experience to suggest that these people are masons – they may well be. I do however believe that groups such as Bilderberg meet and exert influence on our society. However the control of the 1% is in my view through convergence of interest and influence based on their own conditioning rather than a concrete plan or planning meeting. Second are the lizards. The only lizards I have come across are the ones that scuttle across my living room leaving small shit everywhere. If there are aliens as lizards I can accept correction but it has to be verifiable by direct personal experience. Icke-ists accept and feel they have to accept the full mindset. This is based on our miseducation in which indoctrination through accepting mindsets, ideas and facts stuffed in our minds to pass exams, leads to one mindset being replaced by another once we start to see through our conditioning – discussed throughout in Matriellez.
However this aspect of our conditioning, our mindset-replacing tendency, needs to be seen for what it is – another part of our conditioning (education methods), and it is only when this additional aspect is replaced by complete enquiry can we say that we have overcome conditioning.
Isms are a good way to begin examining conditioning. Consider nationalism. Is this a good thing? Many education systems foster nationalism as this produces stability within a society. By saying your own society is better than others you are immediately creating a lesser society, a group of inferiors. Once you have people seen as less than you, it is very easy for manipulative groups to misuse media to create a war for profit – can we kill our own? If we are all seen as equal, all societies seen as equal, then such excuses for war disappear – we do not make war on ourselves. This of course is a fundamental democratic principle that all people have equal democratic rights.
Racism is another ism well worth examining. I was brought up a white middle-class racist, and was fortunate enough to learn about my racism by good black people being willing to teach me and tolerate the racism I grew up with. When I reflect on things that I have thought and even said, I am somewhat ashamed despite knowing they are sourced in conditioning – conforming to the custom and practise of the white middle-class I grew up with. I would recommend all people of privilege such as white privilege to seriously examine themselves. In my professional biography as part of my M Ed I included a discussion of anti-racist training (ART), and would encourage people to examine themselves through such training approaches.
As a male chauvinism is another ism that I was born with, and therefore grew up being sexist. As an adult I intellectually accepted equality but I am not sure I always practised it because of my desires. Society is undoubtedly chauvinist, and we are therefore continually bombarded with media that promotes sexism. As males, especially younger males in whom the desires are stronger, constant re-evaluation is required. For example, what is anorexia and bulimia? Are these psychological conditions that a few women suffer from? Or are they natural consequences of a sexist society that portrays women as sex objects based on a body image that it is almost impossible to maintain – a situation made far worse by the way Big Food manipulates our foods for profit so that maintaining our health is so difficult. Should women have equal rights in the workplace? Or just in workplaces that do not affect my promotion?
Antisemitism is a particularly interesting ism for those on the left. When you consider history there is no doubt that Jews have been persecuted culminating in the atrocity of the Nazi Holocaust. Following the situation that has happened in Palestine where the homeland of Israel was created, on the left there has been much support for the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, oPt. Often that support has been vocal against Jews, is that antisemitic? At the same time there are wealthy Jews who could be called 1%, some such Jews have power in media. Is that then a Jewish conspiracy? I recommend a deep enquiry into one’s own antisemitism, and a suitable place to start are these 7 tenets of antisemitism.
Considering the ongoing barrage of media conditioning, enquiry is so important, it is integral that we continually re-evaluate our own conditioning because it is so easy to accept negative mindsets. When we add to this the dangers of attaching to mindsets once developed as insights the need for constant enquiry is a matter of ever-vigilance.
But we need to consider what is the purpose of this conditioning. It is conformity to what end. Certainly conformity is useful for providing a stable society but it does not begin to give a reason until we look at the 1%. They require a compliant and consuming workforce, they need consuming wage-slaves who can accept the various consequences of the current system such as climate change and wars for profits. Now the conditioning has a meaning because across the world we have people who accept working for money to pay the bills and consuming extras.
And where is the danger to this system? If for some reason the workforce refuses to be wage-slaves and discerningly decides not to waste money on consumerism. This is why so much effort is made to attack unions because when workers band together they demand the profits for themselves.
But more than unions they fear a unity of purpose, a unity of purpose that sees 99% working together for the interest of the Gaia – climate change, renewable energy, Dakota pipeline – and for the interests of all the people in the world – no wars for profits. Such division of peoples comes from nationalism – dividing nation against nation, racism diving white from black, sexism – dividing women from men, and antisemitism – dividing gentile from Jew.
Political unity in the interest of all peoples and for the interest of our planet is the way we can overcome the 1% manipulation of ourselves as consuming wage-slaves.
And unity or Oneness is what is sought through spiritual awareness. We are not separate people with individual interests, but we are One people with the interest of the One planet, our home. Even the very religions which are the systemic way of understanding this Oneness are used to separate. Wars have been fought with religion as an excuse yet religions when understood in depth seek only Oneness.
But what happens to people who seek Oneness, they become aware that we are not separate but One people. They transcend the separation and understand there is Unity. They overcome the conditioning that creates separation, they see through the delusion where we are conditioned as separate and accept the Unity.
This acceptance of Unity is usually associated with forms of bliss, and the transcendental process is often confused with the joy that people have during transcendence but the truth is that this transcendence happens when people end separation, when they end division, when they don’t accept the agreements their society and upbringing require of them, when they work to end their conditioning on all levels. Transcending conditioning is what brings Unity – anatta.
And this transcendence brings understanding on all levels. Once we throw off the shackles of our conditioning, by rejecting separation, by going beyond dogma and intellect, by fighting the hatred that comes with all the isms – often bringing wars with profits, by accepting Unity as Gaia where destroying the environment by climate change and industrial exploitation is understood as destroying ourselves. This is all transcendence. From the moment any part of our conditioning is questioned we begin transcendence. For some it remains political where the bliss is never experienced because new mindsets are clung to. For the spiritual the transcendental experience can bring with it bliss but instead of a mindset they cling to bliss and don’t move forward. But the process is the same – enquiry, removing the shackles that ignorance of our conditioning places on us bringing with it open minds that question, that naturally reject injustice, that reject climate exploitation, that want genuine peace, a peace that comes with the Unity of all peoples in Gaia.
This transcendence is what the three tenets of the Treatise of Zandtao are working towards. Healing the body so we do not become attached to the diseases that are a consequence of toxic intake whilst at the same time working with Gaia through whole foods that enable us to survive in harmony with nature. And the energy is the energy of Gaia of One planet. Once we open our minds and bodies to that energy that is Gaia then we begin to feel through that energy that this is not separation but Unity, the energy of the One planet that sustains us, making us feel vital when we accept the Path that is Gaia. We work together in Gaia, we transcend the conditioning that seeks division, and we accept Unity for what it is – the natural way.
In the Treatise I have looked at many ways that work towards this transcendence, this removal of conditioning. One way just mentioned are the three tenets, but much more importantly there are the 4 Agreements, and there is magga – the 8-Fold Path. All seek one thing – the removal of conditioning – the removal of agreements, the removal of the attachment to I and mine, the removal of attachment to the 5 khandas, the Unity that comes with the understanding once the conditioning has been removed.
There are many levels of this transcendence. When we see black people justifiably angry in “Black Lives Matter”, we might well see people who have transcended this political aspect but need more. When we see Momentum supporting Corbyn in his struggle against the 1% we see people who have transcended this aspect of conditioning but who seek more. When we see the monk who devotes their lives to meditation we see a transcendence that has overcome the conditioning of wage-slavery and consumerism, but needs more. On this diverse world there is much transcendence to varying degrees, it can only be hoped that these people do not rest on their laurels and that they work to seek a complete transcendence, a transcendence that comes from permanent enquiry, a transcendence that lacks conditioning on any level, a transcendence that brings with it a complete freedom from any shackles. Unity that is anatta.
Have enjoyed listening to Corbyn’s conference speech, I thought it was an excellent leadership speech and rallying call – function of conference (but I am biassed). It is refreshing to hear a socialist party leader actually discussing socialism.
Here are his “not-the-ten commandments” – well worth considering [25.56]:-
Who would not want this? 1%.
Feasible – the figures work.
Will they allow it to happen? Of course not. But it is well worth a battle to see how far we can win back rights for humanity in general, and not just the privileged few.
Brad wrote about Orlando.
I am not immersed inside US culture but I was seriously irritated to read his acceptance of “the winning gun lobby”. I assume his acceptance is true, and that is the irritation. I hope he is wrong.
I want to consider the framework of his discussion. Perhaps there are assumptions within his piece but his focus on second amendment rights frustrates me. First and foremost the sale of guns is a business, it is important not to lose sight of this. In our 1%-world facilitating selling is fundamental, the selling is the power, the dominant factor, the driving force, the motivation – all else follows.
Compare this with the discussion on morality, what teacher Gudo said as discussed in Brad’s blog here. It is not the justifications of morality that allows us to follow the precepts – this is not possible, we must be true to ourselves (through zazen); reason is secondary. Socially I feel this applies in this case. There are powerful companies selling guns. Everyone knows that using guns is a major social problem but the selfish people that sell want their profits – all along the sales chain. Reasons that appeal to certain mentalities exist but these reasons are not the source – not the motivation.
There are people who adhere to the rights, and there are people who are constitutionalists – a set of ideas backed by power when it suits. These situations are a sideshow because they can be debated, and have adherents. But see the underlying truth. Children, minorities and others are being killed so the gun companies can make a profit; this is the power and truth – and not the hazy justifications. Focus on this greed, this inhumanity, this murder for profit.
As an English person I can compare. Despite a strong lobby to control gun sales in the Third World the government is too controlled by the munitions industry, and the sales continue. The people are violent and in times of struggle that violence increases, an MP has just been shot by the loony right (with links to the US right), this violence is typically shown with the increased racism at the moment. If guns had been part of our personal history, the arguments would be the same – fortunately history was not the same on this issue of personally bearing arms. The driving force is not the morality but the demand to sell by a powerful gun lobby. Playing around in the sideshow diffuses the issue and allows the culprits to escape.
For info “The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Tags: #O, 1%, BradWarner, Mindful Consuming
In Brad’s latest blog he discusses amongst others monasticism:-
“Yet Nishijima Roshi said that retreats lasting more than three days removed a person too much from what he called “daily life” and strongly advised his monks against participating in such practices, let alone making lifelong commitments to monastic communities. Instead, he wanted his monks to integrate their practice fully into their daily lives in the work-a-day world.”
This is noble but for me it raises two issues:-
• Monastic Training
On monastic training there are two sides, for the monk themselves and the lay they teach. Perhaps the monastic life is the most fulfilling it can be for that monk, developing her/himself and teaching others the Dhamma.
A monastery provides a place of learning and a place for retreats, these are both necessary for those in daily life. I note both of these points on monastic training, am judging from a distance and don’t feel I can say too much on these as it has to be a personal decision.
On mindful consuming in daily life I want to address the question of 1%-world. For most nowadays daily life means contributing to 1%-world. Most jobs are working for the 1%, and most consuming is also consuming produce made by the 1%. And what does the 1% do? Anything to make a profit – including starting wars. When a “monk” makes a noble decision to go back to daily life, he is making a decision to contribute to 1%-world and all its implications.
Can we then choose not to be a part of daily life in 1%-world? Off-the-grid communes. Amongst other things that Occupy did was to start organic communes, I think. Anyway that is what I mean – a commune in which people work for themselves and try to trade with like-minded individuals. Ideally this would be barter, (or even a community currency) but any monetary involvement with the currencies of 1%-world should be limited.
Monastic communities do not usually consider the economic implications of monastic existence as it is usually about the Dhamma or faith. In other words their priority is the teaching and they involve themselves with 1%-world to obtain the finance to continue their teachings. In this I feel there should be questioning, how much is their economic involvement contributing to the global damage caused by 1%-world? Can they fund their teaching in ways that limit their involvement with 1%-world?
In this day and age where economic relations govern all and are controlled by people who cause such suffering – the 1%, is it acceptable for monks to separate themselves from the economic implications of their lifestyle? In terms of seeing what-is-what, how much should they be presenting awareness of 1%-world?
And in the end what is the noble purpose of returning to daily life about? Helping people cope with life, helping people cope with the conflicts that are caused by working in 1%-world. I am no expert on communes either but coping with human frailty in relationship has got to be easier than dealing with the overpowering suppression of 1%-world to prevent a compassionate and caring society.
Am I being extreme?
Brad Warner is a zen monk, I respect him and I am a big “fan”. Now Brad takes on some interesting positions, for example he writes on the Suicide Girls’ page; I am not sure I would do that even if they were good enough to offer. But …. not important, his choice. I have not read all his books but his last one was “Sex, Sin and Zen” in which he investigated “near-the-knuckle” sexual attitudes. Excellent, I am happy monks take on socio-political issues as well as present the Dharma.
But I have found myself being critical of some of his socio-political positions, and I am not happy that I felt I had to do that because of my respect for him. As Brad is a monk and as he is, quite rightly in my view, attempting to look at the socio-political situation, I have to ask “Am I extreme?”
I have used the words “socio-political” to describe the positions I have been critical of, but this is not how I see them. I do not like to think of what I am examining as social or political I use the term “what-is-what” – as used by Ajaan Buddhadasa, teacher in the Theravada tradition. In other words these are positions that on my examination I describe as what is.
Let’s consider the issue of #BlackLivesMatter – this is not an issue where I have been critical of Brad. With #BlackLivesMatter black people are being killed by the police. The police have to try to keep people safe even in areas of the US where gangs are prevalent, but this is not a sufficient excuse for the murder of these black people. Nor is it an excuse for the police not to be held accountable. There is something wrong in the US that governments and states allow these gangs to exist, allow their citizens to live in gang-controlled areas without providing them sufficient security, and then put the police in the front line to deal with the problem. As human beings police respond and black people have been murdered. This is wrong. There are many people with far more knowledge than I on this situation but stepping back, being detached, this is wrong and #BlackLivesMatter. In my view this is what-is-what with no excuses or perspectives.
Our world is controlled by the 1%. The 1% is not a precise term, it could be seen as a development of the term bourgeoisie – the old Marxist term, but maybe not – that would be a viewpoint. What is not a viewpoint is this “Our world is controlled by the 1%”, this is what-is-what. When you look at what is happening in the world it is clear that the results of government decisions lead to the profits of the 1% increasing. The 1% do not necessarily micro-manage, they don’t necessarily have to tell a politician to vote in a certain way but the consequences of government actions is that the profits of the 1% increase.
Climate change is happening, science tells us that this is very dangerous for the world. If the profits of the 1% had to include the costs of environmental degradation caused by the production of their goods, they would be drastically reduced. The various COP conferences have not produced effective policies to prevent climate change. This is what-is-what.
This century NATO has been involved in 4 wars in Muslim countries – Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. The US and other NATO countries have been involved in drone strikes against other Muslim countries – Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. Following 9/11 the US and NATO countries have been involved in a “War against Terror” but the terror they have made war against is Muslim extremists – and not White Supremacists for example. When you detach yourself and examine the “War on Terror” it is difficult not to see a war against Islam.
In NATO countries there has been an increase in Islamophobia since 9/11. In a war situation it is common for governments to develop a media attack against their opponents. In war situations it is common to see funds being used to promote literature against opponents.
Science is knowledge – based on the etymology of the word. To develop scientific understanding it is often necessary to experiment. Who pays for the funding? A significant proportion of the funding comes from corporations. Do they fund science for the betterment of mankind or to develop products that they can profit from?
All of the above is what-is-what but in the “greater scheme of things” am I being extreme in the balance I perceive the West with regards to these points?
1) How important is #BlackLivesMatter?
All of these issues seem important to me. I pay the greatest emphasis on any unjust wars that countries fight. If a country is in a war then I believe a compassionate person needs to set as a priority the ending of that unjust war; is this extreme?
If the only work I can get is working for the 1%, am I wrong to think of it as wage slavery? If we are slaves should it not be a priority for all people to try to work against that slavery? Is this extreme?
If our world is heading towards ecological destruction should it not be a priority for people to try to work against such ecological problems? Is this extreme?
If this is not extreme should monks also be prioritising these actions?
In the greater scheme of things a monk has a very important role – promoting the Dharma, the teachings. I have no issue with a monk focussing solely on that. But Brad has taken on a socio-political element in his writings – good for him. But is his background suited to such writings?
By his background I am talking about possibly being “cloistered”, have Brad or other monks been cloistered?
Let me consider the background of working people. Based on the 5 above “importants”, are people free to express themselves concerning the above 5 points without it affecting job tenure? How often do people come into conflict if they try to express opinions concerning these 5? Does this conflict determine the importance of these points? If you have no conflict, can you correctly prioritise these 5 points?
Are priorities in error if they are based on conflict or does the conflict arise because of the awareness of the people concerned? In conflict one sees these points, should the importance of these points be affected if unaware people do not have conflict?
Or should these points not be given importance because people have no need to be aware of these points to live their lives? And with regards to monks how much of their “job” should creating awareness of these issues be?
In the West, NATO countries, there are many good “things” that I have not discussed. In order not to be extreme I need to discuss these and try to achieve a proper balance. To begin this I need to try to describe what-is-what again. I visited the US only once for a training course – the US has never attracted me. I had a pleasant time in New Mexico, and saw bits of the US – they were also pleasant enough. And the people were good to me – mostly. They were similar to the people I grew up with, a suburb of Manchester UK where people just got on with their lives, where decisions were taken for them. What I have looked at as important were not part of the decisions of the people I grew up with, I surmise they are not part of the decisions for the people in New Mexico, and equally not for most people in the world. There is a danger to this.
Maybe 20 years ago I was in a campsite in Zimbabwe – before Mugabe bottomed out their economy. I met some guys from South Africa. Before I talk about the meeting I should give some personal background. In the UK I had been a campaigner against the apartheid system, and when I went to work in Botswana, Southern Africa, the Afrikaans accent grated because of my politics; this was unreasonable – but a description of my background. Once living in Southern Africa I became more aware of the situation but apartheid was still wrong. Back to the guys – they were South African, and they were willing to open up to me – nice of them; they were just guys. They spoke of conscription, how they had been violent going into townships – sometimes killing black guys, how they did not know about black guys but they had a bad view of them, and how they were having guilt as they were becoming aware of what their system had made them do. I looked at these guys, and they were who I had grown up with – they could have been my father. All they were doing was living in a country where they were looking after their family, and they did what they had to to do this. This was my people in the Manchester suburb, I assess this is New Mexico, Akron Ohio – everywhere. Yet now – absolutely – everyone accepts apartheid was wrong.
Ordinary people fit in with what is wrong if that is what is accepted, that is what-is-what.
Back to the 5 important things, people in the US and in NATO countries fit in with their governments who ostensibly make the decisions about these things. The guys in South Africa – white – were in a system that accepted apartheid, and yet looking back they knew it was wrong. Some white people were fighting apartheid, and were probably considered extreme – many of them were in the SACP, were South African communists. Whether fighting apartheid was right is a different issue – and not part of this description of what-is-what, but these white people who were right about apartheid were considered extreme.
In this world whether you are in an electoral democracy or not, most people keep their heads down, look after their families …. or just survive. They let the leaders make decisions whether they trust them or not, for most people dealing with their lives is enough – being active in fighting injustices does not factor into their lives unless it knocks them on their head. This is what-is-what, and it is my view that the 1% know about this and use it.
I consider monks to be leaders. As leaders monks can just teach dharma but monks such as Brad choose not to limit themselves to the dharma. I assess that Brad would like to consider that he is applying his training to daily life – admirable. But his zen training has not brought the conflict with the system that makes what I have described as apparent. Brad is much more capable of seeing what-is-what than I, but he lives in a community that actively educates against seeing what-is-what – actively educates against seeing the 5 points. The revolving door between the 1%, corporations and government does not want us to see this typical 5 points, should leaders not be giving awareness of these?
When we look at our lifestyle, in New Mexico, in Akron Ohio, in the Manchester suburb, do we see history and economic relations? Of course not. We see families, friends, community, daily life. But what is that normalcy based on? It is based on the money that pays for everything. In Manchester the standard of living historically was based on the cotton industry which was based on the colonialism of importing raw materials primarily from India. This was not fair trade but exchange imposed by force. I have no details as to the 400-year history or so of the people in New Mexico and Ohio or the US in general but it is observable that the US is a world power especially since the second world war. This power brings with it economic prowess and progress, again not based on fair trade but based on that military power. And in parts of the US especially California their economies are based on the trade in weapons – what is known as the Military Industrial Complex. Whilst day-to-day ordinary people do ordinary things that seem ordinary and reasonable, the reality of their existence is not quite so pleasant. Is it extreme to recognise this?
As a leader and teacher, aren’t the above observable facts that contribute to awareness?
What do we do with this awareness? The revolving door will not make us aware because the 1% and government have accepted self-interest as their way of life. Do meditators expect to see what-is-what? I think so. What do teachers and meditators do about this awareness? That is not for me to say, it is for them.
For me my life had conflict because of awarenesses. It helped me learn, it helps me see what-is-what.
Brad, I have no wish to be disrespectful as I respect your “teachings”. Am I extreme?
This talk starts as an analysis of Ukraine and moves global.
I am surprised I haven’t come across this guy before. He appears to have similarities with Alex Jones, is he part of that libertarian alienation? This clip is sound. Maybe not as he is German.
Tags: Corporatocracy, Insight, intellect
I recently watched Homeland series 3, and found it very gripping. I noted from the beginning of Homeland that it was originally an Israeli series so was prepared for propoganda. Undoubtedly throughout the series there was such propoganda, primarily anti-Islam. There is a subtle distinction drawn in the rhetoric of western governments that it is Islamic terrorists that they are targetting. But when you see the actions of the western military this is clearly not the case. When you see the rise in Islamophobia since 9/11 you can see what the reality is.
Since the post-war creation of Israel the country’s media has developed an anti-Arab position. Their target is Arabia, and more recently has moved beyond the Arab world – to the wider Muslim world starting with Iran. The Israeli view presented through their propoganda is that the Muslim world is the aggressor. They then claim that the media is biased against them, and as far as I know the majority of Israelis accept this. The power and influence of the Israeli lobby in the West is such that many westerners believe similar. Personally I have no doubts at all that the aggressors in the Middle East are the Zionist regime backed by international business – the 1%. On such matters I will not be able to persuade you nor will I try to. I would ask only that you read widely and use insight, not emotion, to reflect on what you read.
Homeland is anti-Islam, and not anti-terrorist. At the time that Brody was a bomber, his preparation for bombing was the prayer mat. What association does that bring? I have heard racism that Muslims are happy to die as suicide bombers because in heaven they will be heroes. No-one is happy to commit suicide, in the same way no-one is happy to go to war. They see it as duty or moral imperative. What imperative drives someone to commit suicide? They must feel so desperate.
In this 3rd series I ask “what do you think of Venezuela?” It’s a half-built slum run by crooks who can shoot Imams. I have never been to Caracas. It is a country I am interested in because of democratic advances made as described in this film Beyond Elections – and others. When I listened to the background noise of Caracas I heard an Arab city. Did you hear that, or is just me? What associations are we being asked to draw?
If I analyse Homeland too much paranoia could be perceived. I don’t want that perception (I am not paranoid!!! ) nor am I encouraging such analysis. Analysis is a waste of time without sound insight as a base. Homeland was gripping, good television, at least I thought so. More and more it seems to me what is coming out in mainstream media and movies is that they are better made and more gripping. I suppose it is only natural that this happens. The entertainment industry is getting more and more powerful, and I would suggest that this influence is being recognised more and more by the 1%; as such there is more investment in that influence. The quality of the programmes in their terms as described by words such as gripping must come from experience as workers learn more about their craft. Through the media I would suggest that it is impossible to analyse the truth, what is needed is insight – discernment based on insight.
Here is a documentary called Subconscious war (download or watch):-
. For me this clearly shows that war is being presented as acceptable to western culture. Drones are the most heinous weapons, and with video games drone operators are being trained. If a young “patriot” is already into “shoot-em-up”, it takes little indoctrination to accept atrocity by drone. It just needs the people to be quiet for this to happen; there will always be a few who will operate such machines, but the people don’t have to be quiet. Insight can never be a solution for the drone operators, media and indoctrination of the few is way too powerful. But maybe insight is enough for the rest. The 1% control the media, there is no way that we can ever consider the media as offering balanced debate – no matter how much the presenters delude themselves. We have to see through this process, and we have a tool for that – insight. We will never be taught this insight, any efforts at mainstream teaching of insight will be appropriated and diverted. But it is not something that can be taught, it can only be learnt through experience – travel – and brought more under control by meditation. Insight.
Here is a more analytical view of what is happening, Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent:-
His analysis of neo-liberalism and the media is very clear and inarguable. So why do people disagree? Emotional reasons, prior beliefs, indoctrination. It would take a world of Chomskys to make those people believe, and then there would only be agreement because the majority say. We need to see analysis, but without the insight the analysis will just pass us by. Don’t get hooked on analysis, intellectualism, a set of beliefs as a means of overcoming what we are subjected to, they will never work. Insight is the only thing that has a chance of working.