Posts Tagged ‘enquiry’

Listening

Posted: 02/01/2014 in Insight
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Be skeptical, learn to listen (The 5th Agreement)

The truth is silent knowledge, it just is. There are no words to describe that , because once you describe the truth it is not true – it is an idea.

So how do we live with this? And the answer is to learn to listen to this truth. Be skeptical means not accepting any of the stories, illusions, beliefs and lies that make up the contents of your mind. These contents are not truth. Even such an obvious description of society as the 1% are exploiting the world needs questioning. It needs updating, what we think of as 1%, exploiting etc all needs updating, they constantly change. What is your relationship to this description? Does this change? You need to learn to listen to what is happening around you and ask questions.

When someone argues with you about the 1%, learn to listen. Why do they choose not to understand such an obvious description? Maybe it is fear. They have their homes and families, so recognising that their security is based on a group of people exploiting the poor and destitute of the world is perhaps too difficult to come to terms with; after all they only want a home and family. Listen, maybe they do agree but can’t say.

Maybe they can’t agree with you because of what you would expect of them. The 1% exploit, my home comes from their exploitation, I cannot give up my home and my family, what do you want me to do? Listen, find where you agree and be satisified with that. It is not the agreement that matters – the agreement is only an idea. It is the questioning, the listening together.

Trying to understand the dream of the other person, trying to understand their traps, trying to understand their delusions, this is discussion – learn to listen and question together. We must all compromise with the 1%, as they control the currency. Learning to listen to how another compromises, how their compassion and insight works, this is discussion. And if discussion is conducted in this way then maybe when the person is not comfortable with their compromise they will talk to you. The world we live in can be a great source of suffering, for most this suffering comes from subscribing to the system the 1% has created. Even the 1% are caught in the world of suffering they create eg Miranda Priestley in The Devil Wears Prada. Don’t envy the 1%, they are not happy. They have their own traps, they are caught in their own power games, their own demands for more money, their lifestyle has stresses around striving for money and power. Listen to these people when they talk, and ask yourself if you were saying that would you be happy?

Listen and question, these are such great sources of happiness because we can learn and see through all the false demons we erect as deities, all the ideas we create as belief-traps, all the beliefs about ourselves that we also create as false images of ourselves. I am this person, I must live up to this image, I must behave this way, where is the freedom in these traps? Look at your behaviour and listen to your mind as it observes your behaviour. Are you free from the chattering of your own mind?

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.


This is a response to Dottie again:- “I wish more people would document their journeys, as writing allows us to be “specific” about our problems, which can sometimes help us connect the dots… And of course, details might help others delve into similar problems of their own.”

Obviously I agree with you about documentation – keeping a record. Well there are a number of reasons why people do not keep a record of their healing. With blogging people have begun to write more but I suspect they are for people who like writing – like me. But in this world of money, money, money, I think bloggers often seek recompense, and this alters the tone of their blogs. But even with this free access to having blogs read (if only by a limited number of people), people are unwilling to explore their experience. Firstly I think this is fear but secondly I feel that they are not taught to value their own experience. In the case of people who go on a healing or spiritual journey, this experience is extremely valuable.

As we know medicine sees healing as a pill or a slash – although in the case of trauma slashing is valid. But we are all different. Whilst our bodies are fundamentally the same and react the same way to nutrition through food – fundamentally, there are also many things that are different. How much those people do meditation and energy work for one. And then of course there is the universal difference that affects health – lifestyle.

In science there is an interesting word to describe the validity of this personal experience, and that is case study. The method of quantitative analysis can present data that would validate the use of a pill by describing success or failure, but as human beings we are far too complex for that. Science has moved far more to qualitative analysis and the use of case studies especially in the social sciences – case studies were a requirement of an education masters I did in the 90s. So a question might be asked of medicine which is more appropriate – quantitative or qualitative? For people who understand the holistic nature of healing, the answer has to be qualitative. Of course in medicine BigPharma would not encourage a wholesale change to the recognition of the importance of case studies, because they are seeking validation of their cure by pill approach. At the same time when one looks at medicine from a more holistic viewpoint such as case studies, the major issue of side effects would be seen. As usual this is an example where finance has controlled science and prevented science from examining the relevant information that would emerge from case studies – qualitative analysis.

Another way that describes the importance of these case studies is the nature of the empirical data. All data is valid, and the observation of all that happens adds to understanding. But typically scientific method tries to control what we observe ostensibly to remove “other factors” but in practice as a reinforcement of the very method itself. This control is carried out through what is termed “Design of Experiments” – or it was when I learned about it. This design is effectively a limiting process in order to focus on the particular detail that the hypothesis wishes to examine. Is this method valid? Or perhaps a better question would be, should the experiment not involve case studies and afterwards find a valid method for focussing on the detail? To me the control in experiments that occurs in the design ignores so much valid information, information that is intentionally eschewed by the design because the scientist through the hypothesis does not want to see this information as a contributory factor; in my view this eschewing should occur after the data – case study – has been gathered.

Some might say that scientific investigation ought to examine all and discard what is not relevant – with appropriate reasoning. This would not suit BigPharma with its focus on the pill, nor BigFood with its need to avoid the effects of the toxins. This method works fine with weapons – they kill or not. So blogging inordinately is a negative salute to prevailing scientific method, and that is a justification for my going on so much. 🙂

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

Other blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.


I have been working through my blogs to try to make my writings more accessible (discussed here).

There is an issue of separation that is causing me concern. To me understanding anatta is completely important, I both believe in anatta and am beginning to understand it – the first not being important.

So somehow I am looking for no-self, an apparently infeasible notion. This means I am trying to get rid of self (a sentence with a language problem already). So self arises because I become attached to various experiences that in Buddhism would be described as khandas, as a result I build up I – self. So I try not to attach but attachment occurs – attachment that could be called clinging. In about I could have given these as separate tags – anatta attachment and clinging, but I have called it anatta; as anatta was something I began to understand through Ajaan Buddhadasa this is discussed a great deal on the Tan Ajaan page as well as at the tag anatta.

But then everything on my Path is anatta, so is that my only tag for everything? An important area for me in blogging is the ego’s misplaced emphasis on intellectual processes. This arises from an establishment education process that focuses on presenting information or ideas, and not on the importance of creativity – mainly insight. There is an Insight page. Note my description as misplaced emphasis on intellectual processes arising from miseducation, I am not dismissing the processes of reason etc. out of hand but stating that the emphasis is misplaced. This lack of balance is common-place amongst those whose ego dominates – especially in western education. I was in discussions with one person in academia who was trying to seek insight. I noticed an inability to delineate between insight and intellect processes, and in his case he was unwilling to stop clinging to his descriptions of the academic intellect despite his desire to understand insight. But I will always remember an observation he made, he said my blogs were intellectual. Because my blogs often develop from an insight in meditation, I was initially emotionally offended but then I realised how helpful that comment was. Once you write the blogs (express the insight) they become ideas, they become static. The learning has moved beyond insight into ideation, and at that point need to be let go. Academia develops a process of clinging to ideas. It is the ideas that they write about, it is the ideas of the professor that the climbers adhere to to keep their jobs.

There are other academic processes such as dialogue. Dialogue is a wonderful means to an end, it is the way we learn from each other. But there has to be a purpose to this dialogue, and that is a mutual desire for learning from each other – it helps with enquiry. I prefer to think of dialogue as a genuine enquiry to reach a mutual conclusion. There are several ways that ego interrupts this process. Firstly the dialogue is entered with a view of imparting ideas, the person clings to their ideas and measures the quality of the dialogue by the way in whch the ideas are imparted to the other. It is a one-way process where the ideas are intractable; is this enquiry? I noticed one such intellectual process in which a dialogue would start and then halted on one side, nothing mutual about the dialogue; this was very frustrating and to this day I can see only limited value to this process. Fear can prevent this genuine enquiry through dialogue, a fear of losing the ideas that are being clung to, an intellectual fear. With insight such a fear does not exist because the ideas are not important, not being clung to, the enquiry and insight are all that matter.

In our society a significant group of ideas are our belief systems, and clinging to our belief systems as religion is a major cause of contention. Religious discussions become heated because one belief is considered superior to another and some are prepared to fight wars accordingly. It is necessary to move beyond the ideas of the belief system through genuine enquiry into the real understanding that is at the esotoric core of all religions but few of the religious establishment are willing to do that. Nor do they encourage their practitioners to do the same, so a religion becomes a belief system that is entrenched and a cause of violence. It is amazing to see in history religion being used as an excuse for war when at the core of all religions is peace, such practices are a clear demonstration of the dangers of clinging to ideas.

Belief systems occur around religions as well. On the alternative scene people are asked to have faith in all kinds of things – angels, elves, tree spirits and many such. There is belief in ghosts, after-life and so on with all kinds of consequences that come from clinging to such ideas. If you have experienced such then it is real, if there is no such experience then it is not. Theosophy is one such example. Madame Blavatsky, through automatic writing, wrote much in The Secret Doctrine, Leadbetter says that he sees chakras and we should have faith in his sight. Why? Why should we believe any of that? More importantly what is the point in studying such? It is just a bunch of ideas, they may be true for Madame Blavatsky and Leadbetter but does that make them true for others? I strongly recommend anyone to come to terms with their own experience of chakras, that experience has been beneficial for me. But it is up to you, your insight your experience.

Idea systems occur in other ways. In the 4 Agreements we are encouraged to recognise that our education is but a dream, a set of ideas that our upbringings encourage us to fall in line with – agree with. This dream includes mores, customs, delusions, beliefs, idea systems etc. Our education, instead of equipping us with insight, fills us with ideas and an acceptance of the status quo. In one way this is useful as mutually accepting ideas and status quo can produce stability. But on the other hand if we accept a system that is harmful to others then that is dangerous. Our education has been hijacked so that the status quo that we are taught to accept is in fact the corporate paradigm, in other words we are taught to accept that we will be wage-slaves in order to increase the phenomenal wealth of a few individuals. Further in accepting the paradigm we ultimately accept that wars will be fought in order to help increase the wealth of those individuals. By accepting the dream we agree to war. Through enquiry we can learn to see what that dream is and reject it.

But here is an important rub. What happens to those people who begin to reject the dream? Where do they go? They run to alternative belief systems, and replace the dream they have from their upbringing with another dream. This new dream, one such description might be rejecting the corporate paradigm, might well be a more accurate description of what is happening, but it is so important for such people to see that they are replacing one dream with another, one set of ideas with another, one belief system with another. And one worse characteristic of such replacements is vehemence. The Trots replace their indoctrinated acceptance of capitalism with vehement diatribes about socialism. You must, you must, you must. Others who have rejected the system’s dream replace it with other idea systems and then say “you must, you must, you must”. I have a you must “Insight and Enquiry through Meditation”. To me it feels imperative that people replace their dream with these three yet by insisting on them I am also creating idea systems so from me there is no “you must”. There is a dream we grow up with, there are alternative dreams that we can accept but what if there was a state of being in which there is constant enquiry, not clinging to any ideas? What if through meditation or otherwise we could develop minds in which continuous insight was a way of perceiving all the idea systems that we come in contact with?

Clinging to ideas is what an intellectual does. People who believe in belief systems do the same, some of those belief systems are religions. But it is the intellectual adherence to a set of ideas that is common throughout. All of this on intellect, religion and belief systems I have tagged as “intellectual”, yet this intellect is part of clinging and this clinging starts to disappear if we start to understand anatta.

Here is an image. There is an inner world and an outer world, at the boundary between the inner and outer are sets of ideas. We cling to this surface of ideas because we are afraid to make the journey inner. It is comfortable to do what we are told, to live our lives as others do, to conform, to live on the surface. But that comfort has been rocked because accepting the way things are means accepting war and hurting others. An inner journey will hopefully put an end to such acceptance; all of this is summarised in tags – anatta, intellectual and coorporatocracy. Anatta – inner, intellectual – surface, corporatocracy – outer.

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

Other blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.


Discussing the 5th agreement and anatta ….more on Buddhadasa page

Blogs:- Zandtao, Mandtao, Matriellez.

Icke?

Posted: 18/07/2013 in Insight, ONE planet
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Although I wasn’t asked to consider this one, for completeness I have to – I am assuming it’s lizards. Here is the clip:-

I wanted to consider this because in the 3rd clip (second considered in the previous blog) I was impressed with his down-to-earth clarity. Well here goes!

…. Sorry, I gave up. What’s the point? If he’s right about bloodlines, lizards and shapeshifters does it alter the politics? Does it alter what we need to do? Be moral, meditate and enquire.

Blogs:- Zandtao, Mandtao, Matriellez.

David Icke

Posted: 18/07/2013 in Insight, ONE planet
Tags: , ,


I was encouraged to listen to David Icke, I have discussed
him before – here at Oxford and last month here. Here is the first talk of 3 taken from David Icke at the Brixton Academy in 2008:-

It’s half an hour into the talk and it is quite simplistic, that is maybe his forte. He says “don’t believe him”, but then presents a lecture of conclusions. The format belies his belief proposal, he presents the material as ideas and facts to be believed. This first talk starts with a straight-forward rant about our being conned, no issue there – nothing new except for a sportscaster saying it. But he is clear.

But then he says religions destroy spirituality. This raises a flag in me. OK religious institutions suppress spirituality, but the original people who sought out these religions were spiritual people. “Religion is the opiate of
the masses” is what Marx said, and I would say the same to him. It is not the religion but the religious institutions. And why do I draw such a distinction? Because there is so much Truth in religions if you want to look and find it.

And maybe more? I don’t believe David Icke is a moral man with discipline. I have said this before and one of the reasons I am taking time to watch this Brixton stuff is to check this. Religions focus on morality – I prefer the use of the term sila, moral integrity. Without sila we limit our own Paths. Nature is completely moral, we must fit in with Nature so we need to be moral. If we have righteous anger, are promiscuous, carry out any form of immoral behaviour we distance ourselves from our Paths, from the oneness of infinite consciousness that David Icke talks about. When the founders of all the world’s religions discovered that morality was at its base we should listen. But we should NOT listen to the institutions who turn that morality into conformity. The highest form of morality is revolutionary because it is the highest power of Truth.

Without a moral and disciplined life what happens? What do all the lost souls at the Brixton Acadaemy do? They listen, they recognise some (or all) of what Icke says, and they go home with the blinkers off and become angry. They have a right to be angry, what is being done to us is awful. But learning this partial truth, the truth of the manipulations by the corporatocracy, isn’t enough, we have to learn how to live with that truth. Living peacefully with that truth is the real Truth. Living at peace with the all the knowledge of war disease etc all being created just for the profits of the few, this is the Truth. The knowledge is not enough, how we live with it is needed. I am looking to see how Icke teaches us how to live with that knowledge. Knowing Brixton I can imagine hundreds of disillusioned people leaving the Academy going home getting drunk or doped, screw themselves silly, and say they’ve had a good day. The next day they get up their illusions have been altered and they have no idea what to do with those shattered illusions. Peace, how to live with the knowledge.

I have now started the second clip (part 3), I suspect part 2 is lizards and my friend didn’t want me to be thrown by them – maybe I’ll watch it:-

More and more I dislike his didactic style – here are the facts “take it or leave it”. Here is my journey, you do the same; he doesn’t say that but he does it. And I don’t find what he says integrated. There is too much ego. I have gone on and on about the importance of anatta, and in particular how the image of the higher self is an extension of the survival instinct. Here is an image from this clip:-

Is this the way we all experience the connection with oneness? Suppose it isn’t. Are the impressionable young people at the Academy going to say “I haven’t got it” and give up? What is the energy, what are the frequencies? How do we get in touch with them? If this is going to be helpful then people need answers to these questions, or they need a description of what to do. Download every David Icke and rant at the press like he did – mentioned here. In Britain those kids will be arrested for disturbing the peace or whatever charge the system is using for “being different”.

He also talks about growing upsurge of people following him, from the small groups he used to put chairs up for to the crowds at Brixton Academy and Wembley, acceptance at Oxford etc. But what were the 60s about? OK they weren’t talking of illuminati, but they were about rejecting conformity, not accepting the man. What was he doing then? Learning to be a sportscaster. He is two months younger than me, but for me the 60s was about change and questioning. Maybe that is a big difference for me, I ask questions CONSTANTLY. I don’t want the man’s dream, I don’t want David’s dream, Alex Jones’ dream, I don’t want any dream. I don’t want any self although I am making miserable progress in being no-self. I want to question so that I hold no dream, no ideatestructure (including that of I). This way of “mine” is not a set of beliefs but an approach – a methodology. Be moral, sit on your bum every day, and continually ask questions. David says “ask the questions of the system”, here are the answers – believe me even though I tell you never to believe me.

I’m going to continue to attack him with a proviso here and another one at the end. I am not talking about David Icke – I am talking about the David Icke of his clips (not even his books I have never read them; who the real David Icke is I don’t know I’ve never met him. He (my perception of who I think he is) is better than the bombast Alex Jones but basically he is the same. David has an ego. He stands up in adversity and shouts out ideas. The ideas that made him famous, the standing up to be ridiculed, these have fashioned a shell that tells him what to do, and that restrictive pattern has created a closed approach. He is stuck in his awakening, and does not appear to asking questions of himself. He bashes out David Icke dogma, he has rhetoric dementia (thank you Doris Lessing). And here is the other proviso, so much of what he is saying can help you understand society if you do ask the questions. His political analysis is pretty much on the button as far as I understand it. But the trouble is, I see ego, and where he talks about stuff I haven’t experienced for myself I cannot trust it because of that ego. Let’s take the obvious – lizards. No I don’t believe in believing but if Tan Ajaan (who as far as I know is the closest to anatta I have come across) said there were lizards I’d be tempted to believe. David says lizards, and I ask ego?

Just because he is different doesn’t make him right even though different is mostly right when you consider the dream being forced on us. Because he is just giving dogma I think he is dangerous because to be different requires great strength, a strength that can only come from harmony with Nature and personal discipline – be moral, sit on your stool and ask questions.

He is dangerous in another way, in a way that I can see why he has become popular. He has got an excellent grasp of some stuff, taking responsibility, not blaming others etc. And he talks about changing the holographic image from inside – spot on. This is exactly it, the Path. But what about his more extreme positions? Trendies from Brixton will think he is so clear about the other stuff – personal responsibility etc he must be right about the more extreme. So they want to look for lizards, tell people, get laughed at, become frightened and don’t change. Young adult trendies go to their parents and say we must all take responsibility for our actions, stop blaming others. Parents might be scared for you, but they can’t ridicule you – because it’s in-your-face truth. This is his danger, he has really got some stuff – and others? And the more extreme stuff doesn’t matter. He talked about the fear of the lizards, what about attributing that to the fear of ego and instinct for survival? Does that change what people have to do? No, it brings the focus more clearly home to where the action should be happening. Personal responsibility becomes stronger when you don’t ask whether there are lizards?

Throughout I have not been happy about his use of left and right brain, I have never been happy with that description of the brain anywhere. My mind is amorphous, sometimes it is one-pointed in the heart, sometimes it is one of 4 of the 5 khandas. Now my brain doesn’t move, but my mind does – wherever I focus it. I don’t know enough about the research into left and right brain, but I do know that science is not clear about mind and brain – it picks and chooses definition depending on which prof has the chair. David associates closed thinking with the left side, and the way he describes the left-side-only thinking is self. He talks about survival as left-side – this is instinct, self. But when there is no self there is insight, by David’s approach infinite consciousness already knows the answer so no need to question. This is all or nothing, and I don’t know of people who are all. We are on our Paths but we are not anatta – completely enlightened. So there is still self trying to survive, trying to hold us back from learning. We can help by developing a mind that always is asking questions so that we can access the insight the answers that infinite consciousness knows. Here is an RSA clip about the way science is seeing left-and-right brains:-

Just because it is science doesn’t make it correct, just because David is different and addresses many real questions very well doesn’t mean that everything he says is true (ego withstanding ….).

Blogs:- Zandtao, Mandtao, Matriellez.


Bouncing off Adyashanti. Enquiry….more on Buddhadasa page

Blogs:- Zandtao, Mandtao, Matriellez.


Adyashanti is helping me think more on Tan Ajaan. Meditation ….more on Buddhadasa page

Blogs:- Zandtao, Mandtao, Matriellez.


I was put onto Adyashanti by a friend a while back and spoke about him here. The context in which his name was raised was that of enlightenment. We were discussing whether someone could be enlightened, and my friend said Adyashanti claimed he was. I have started to read Adyashanti’s “Way of Liberation”, and now think he does claim he is enlightened; in describing his book he says “The Way of Liberation is a stripped-down, practical guide to spiritual liberation, sometimes called awakening, enlightenment, self-realization, or simply seeing what is absolutely True. It is impossible to know what words like liberation or enlightenment mean until you realize them for yourself.” This tends to suggest he considers himself enlightened. Maybe I will find a better quote, as I have no wish to misrepresent him.

This quote is in the introduction, and it is quite clear that the book is a methodology of the Way to live – a “guide to spiritual liberation, sometimes called awakening, enlightenment, self-realization, or simply seeing what is absolutely True”. Here we have much use of terminology, and it is worth considering these words. I assume here that Adyashanti is seeing these words as equivalent (I hope this is not misrepresenting him). I want to consider these words in terms of “gradations” . I have no idea what being enlightened is. Theoretically I accept that being enlightened is living anatta – 100% no self. I am nowhere near that although by Adyashanti 1 (see below) my aspiration is to be 100% non-self. Are his synonyms (inthe quote from his intro) 100% no-self?

In this blogentry I originally used awakening to describe my own experience and then changed my terminology to “Realising the Path” here. Now my hitting bottom was a sort of awakening, it was a sort of recognition of unity, it was nowhere near “100% non-self”. It was not seeing the Truth for what It is, but was seeing some Truth. It was some sort of awakening and should not be belittled but as Brad says in describing Soto Zen “Soto style Zen training tends to emphasize moral grounding and balance much more than the gaining of “awakening experiences,” so much so that one is often told it’s not important even to have such experiences at all” – here. It appears that Adyashanti does not ignore them but is encouraging people to get them – to me this is not a good approach.

I do however like his methodology, Five Foundations – his “Way of Liberation”:-

1) Clarify your aspiration.
2) Unconditional follow-through.
3) Never abdicate your authority.
4) Practical absolute sincerity.
5) Be a good steward of your life.

“In a very real sense the Five Foundations are absolutely essential components of the teaching that apply after awakening as much as, if not more than, before it.” [p1 – pdf p15] I really like this before and after approach. “Misinterpretation of a spiritual teaching by the ego is always a significant danger, since the ego’s tendency is to justify whatever points of view it is attached to and invested in.”[p1 – pdf p15] Now I don’t like his use of the term ego here, again I have discussed this – here. In some approaches ego allows for the existence of self, and whilst these traditions allow for ego and Self – Self being non-egoic, I prefer anatta – non-self. The danger of such terminology comes in the phrase Adyashanti uses as synonymous with enlightenment – self-realisation. Self can only realise by disappearing as it doesn’t exist in the first place. How can self realise and disappear at the same time? For me it is better not to consider it as Self but non-self – no I or mine.

But it is good he ascribes his methodology for before and after; this is much like the 8-Fold Path, sila (moral integrity) and kilesa (defilements) – before and after. An enlightened being will have sila and not have kilesa, and this knocks on the head much of the bonking enlightened ones!! Although sila is a religious word (Buddhism) I don’t describe it as morality. Morality is not a set of rules – it tends to be described as such in both religions and culture, as Adyashanti says “It means that morality is no longer rooted in the cultural and religious values designed to rein in and control egoic impulses.” [p2 pdf p16].

He has an important warning for before and after “It can get complicated because it is possible to have some experience of the ultimate nature of Reality while at the same time not being completely free of egoic delusion. This makes for the possible volatile mixture of Reality and illusion simultaneously existing and expressing itself in an unconscious and distorted way. While some of this is to be expected as we are maturing in spirit, there are few things more distorted or dangerous than an ego that thinks it is God.” [p2 pdf p16]

“The Way of Liberation is a means of opening up to grace.” [p19 pdf 33of 70] Is grace insight? This struck me when Adyashanti was describing grace. If we are open to grace then we can see clearly, insight comes. “The realization of Truth and Reality can never be created by the mind; it always comes as a gift of grace” [p27 pdf 41 of 70]. To open ourselves up to grace we follow the 3 Core Practices :-

“The three Core Practices are meditation, inquiry, and contemplation” [p19 pdf 33of 70]. Insight comes to me in meditation when I am studying (non-intellectually) – maybe synonymous with contemplation? – in a process of deep questioning where there are no assumptions – enquiry?

(added to Buddhadasa page)


Beware – 3400 words

I had been thinking about writing this blog for a number of days, but I woke up early today and have started to write it. I have had a really difficult problem recently that I wanted to note. It is mundane, not supposedly spiritual but its effect has been spiritual – at least I think it has been contributing to my poor meditation lately. I bought a new quality motor-cycle helmet at the beginning of August, not top of the range but certainly safer than many of the token gestures worn here(required by law). As required by law I have worn a helmet since I started on a motor-bike 6 years ago. Once I learned that most that are worn here are token, I bought the best quality Thai brand, Real; a Thai expert said that was sufficient for touring on the road – essentially the conditions I ride in. I decided it was time to buy a new one, and as I was going to Bangkok I decided on an upgrade. I didn’t know what I was doing, and they gave me a helmet to try an – I said it was fine. Then the assistant said “mai dai” and became flustered, called someone over, and they tried to explain that the helmet didn’t fit me. They measured my head – 57 cm, and told me size M. The size for my Real was XXL! I realised that the Real helmet was not providing great protection. The M helmet was not comfortable but I was told I would wear it in.

Fine story! I wore the helmet, it was tight but I liked the design and persevered. After a couple of weeks I asked my Thai masseuse to help with my head because of the helmet. I saw an expert friend who called me a fool for not being prepared when I went to buy it, and he said it was too small. The cheek and ear pads – combined one left one right – could be removed, and my friend said soak them and clamp them to see if the foam will become thinner. At this point I stopped using the helmet and after 3 days had an amazing headache. Clamping did not work so then I went to see if the pads could be cut and found someone who was able to do that. I removed about 2/3 of the cheek pad and rode like this for two weeks. Monday I woke early and my cheeks were paining me, and it felt like a headache was coming. I completely removed the cheek pad just leaving a pad behind my ear. Yesterday I wore it and I think it was fine although the helmet itself moves too much – not as much as the Real XXL moves.

I checked the internet, everything about the size the shop said was born out, but I think my cheeks are particularly sensitive. My friend thinks the M is too tight, but with the cheek pads removed it is too loose. He said I should choose by comfort, but then comfort is XXL and I am not sure what protection that offers. Maybe I have reached the optimal answer but I am still not sure that there aren’t more headaches to come. Despite all recommendations, shop and internet, I think I will choose L next time, but that will still not resolve the cheek problem – I will still have to cut the foam.

So for two months I have had a problem with my head. Inside my head is not as clear as I would like, it could be this helmet issue – but then with meditation the excuses are so devious. As well I have had the stress of part-time teaching that started in July.

Talking of teaching my mid-term holiday started today although contractually it started at the end of September but I went in yesterday as well. My principal was pushing for me to come in today, but she couldn’t tell me too. She made it difficult but I have to stand up to her without causing a confrontation – I set a precedent by volunteering so maybe she now feels she can pressure me to work outside contract hours.

I went in yesterday to return the test papers, and to begin work on the public-speaking competition. This has been another stresser – she asked me to help with it last year as a volunteer. The top student must give a public talk. There are two or three pages of rules in Thai, and at lunch a week ago she asked me to do it. The rules that I got were that the students were to write 6 essays of 1200 words on 6 areas of interest – remember these are Thai students in a second language, and then in the public speaking they have to choose a topic at random and then after 5 minutes give a 3 minute talk in English – at age 11. I was angry at being asked to do this, but I did not refuse. After some discussion later the students will be required to write 1200 words on the 6 topics combined, and then somehow I will work out a way of minimising the damage to the students of the 3-minute random talk. Basically the competition requires 11-year-olds to be bilingual for 3 minutes on 6 different topics, it makes absolutely no educational sense to me. Mind you it makes no sense to me why I am teaching most of the student English anyway. Pre-school??? I like it and the kids love it as well, so therefore that gives it educational meaning. But 4-year-old Thai kids learning English doesn’t seem to have educational merit to me. Yes children, in bilingual situations become bilingual but schools are not bilingual.

Yesterday just after lunch I had a couple of questions about the Thai. She answers them and the conversation developed. And I said that if I met the director of Trat I would tell him how unsound educationally the competition was. She told me that it was not the Trat director but the Ministry in Bangkok, so I said well I will tell him how educationally unsound it was. And she lowered her head and started to cover her ears, basically showing she didn’t want to hear such sacrilegious talk. Now this was not the King, I could imagine someone covering her ears if Farangs spoke against the King but the Ministry ….. Anyway if I anger one of the teachers who were present they can report the conversation, and they won’t offer me a new contract. End of stress!! Perhaps I should do more of this, I am not happy at being this token dummy Farang that is dragged out to give her publicity. I want to be polite but I don’t like being a performing seal, if I insult one of these interminable pen-pushers the problem is over ….

But none of this is what I got up to write about. There were some interesting intellectual reactions that occurred in a recent online thread. Now the first one concerns being Jewish. This intellectual has a mother who grew up in Israel. As an intellectual spiritual he had withdrawn from any Jewish influence in his background – so he thought. His comments began following this clip:-

Now I mostly agree with this clip, but there are some extreme comments that indicate Jewish complicity everywhere. It is almost as if the 1% and Jewish are the same. Obviously some bankers are Jews but the Jews synonymous with the 1% – can’t accept that.

This clip he described as biased propaganda although the explanation following wasn’t too bad. In his intellectual balance he says “I’m not for or against Israel.” But then he says ” It is also a very similar thing on the side of the Muslims who don’t want Israel to exist and many who don’t want Jews to exist.” This is straight out of Zionist propaganda. Is it Muslims in Indonesia or Malaysia or is this Arabs because of the Palestinians? The conflict between Israelis and Arabs over Palestine is being obfuscated by the propaganda with the religions of Judaism (Jews?) and Islam.

He later says “If you watch the NOVA special you will see that what they found has nothing to do with who funded the documentary about it. It just shows that a people called the Israelites lived in what is now known as Israel, and that some of the stories in the Bible are based in fact. These people we now call Jews have lived in that same area for over 3000 years, and on top of that they also spread out to many other countries.” I don’t know if this is true, and I got the feeling that this clip refuted this a little:-

I argued against the NOVA special because I discovered that the NOVA channel was funded by the Koch brothers. I explained influence but he still promoted it as evidence. I concluded that it fit his world view which I believe was unduly propagandised by his mother and her origins. He did not appear to be questioning the root of his bias.

His intellectual idealism is “We need globalisation and a bigger context than country, culture and religion. People must put humanity above ancient customs and beliefs. Borders must be abandoned.” Is this pragmatic? So when discussing a pragmatic problem, what is the point of nailing your sail to the mast of this idealism? At least with this idealism I don’t think anyone gets hurt, not like the way that libertarianism has been used by the 1% to deregulate and oust homeowners for bankers’ profits. But libertarians gloss over this. In this case if you want an ideal, let’s have a Jewish homeland for humanitarian rather than historic reasons. It is the biased views of history masquerading as fact that is fuelling the struggle, and history can never be proved.

There is also the intellectualism of balance. The Zionists seek expansion, this guy feels he is not like them but believes in a lot of the propaganda masquerading as facts the establishment puts out (the NOVA history). But fighting a war to change back the situation of populations and peoples is not a sound recognition of the passing of time – of evolution. By participating intellectually in the historical discussion there is a participation in the Zionist agenda. Recognise the humanitarian right and focus on the violence that has been perpetrated since the start of this Zionist Israel. Negotiate for the rights of the Jews and Arabs to live in harmony within accepted international boundaries, end settlements, and use international money to make reparation for the damage to all the peoples and families who have been hurt in this war. Stop using the international money to support war and killing.

The other intellectual position that is more interesting grew out of a discussion concerning the 1%. Earlier he said “Some people would side with various groups, be it Israelis, Jews, Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims. I was saying I prefer not to side with any group.” There is an intellectual position that allows him to be outside groups. But in practice we are in groups because we are part of life. I am English. That is my country of origin, my passport etc. Does that mean I identify with all English stereotypes? Absolutely not, but am I English? I was born in England so it does. Am I white? Yes Do I subscribe to the racism that certain groups of white people ascribe to? No. Am I Arab? This starts to get unclear, not because a description might be less valid but simply that making such a description is more confused by definition. In Saudi-Arabia there maybe easily traced back generations of Arab people that make such a description valid. What about Palestinian? Now this is less clear as well because that means a person from Palestine, and the definition of the country Palestine has been obfuscated intentionally by those with power and influence. My dictionary describes a Jew as a person descended from Jacob. I have no idea how that can be proved, I am sure there has to be some connection for me but I don’t call myself Jewish. The issue is not the description but how I act and how I let myself act as governed by the collective “Jews”, “Arabs” etc. If I am an Israeli I am conscripted, this is an action that causes death. How much choice is there in it? But by accepting the definition and collective imposition I am killing. It is not the label but the actions that we make.

But the label that really got to him was 1% and its relationship to peace. It began with “Saying “peace begins with me” offers personal happiness but suggesting in this world that it will bring significant changes? I am not so sure. It allows us the space to find peace despite what the 1% do, in my view it does not give us a collective peace to confront the 1%.” Someone else suggested that all with personal peace will bring collective peace. I do not accept that. Let me define the 1%. This is neither a number nor a percentage, it is a description of people of influence who use that influence to increase their power by increasing their money and manipulating society for their own benefit, in Marxist terms, the bourgeoisie. This is not a description I would want to be a part of. By this description I recognise that currently these people are the major cause of suffering in the world and whilst these people continue to manipulate the way they are doing there is little the rest can do. This is all part of my description, and based on this description I am prepared to invest action as part of the remaining 99%.

He said ” Peace can neither be created nor destroyed. It is ever present. All we need to do is begin to recognize the ever present peace within ourselves, and act from that place. If we act from a place of deep inner peace instead of division, then peace manifests outwardly in our lives and in all that we do. If we act from division, then division manifests and spreads through and from all that we do. What we give our attention to grows. It isn’t so much a matter of reasons, because there really are no reasons. It is a matter of recognizing what is true, the whole, the self, the love, the peace. Peace is our nature, and to act from that place of authentic peace is no different than being whole and natural. It is the same pointing as all authentic spiritual teachings. We can say it in many different ways, but it all comes down to the same thing. Move from the heart, the soul, the truth within. To do otherwise no matter the reason leads to more destruction. Find it and live from that place. The rest will fall into place naturally.” In this there is a great deal of truth in this, but this was not the contention.

For me the issue really began when I said this “Peace in the world begins with the personal. But our world has become so distanced from its Path of peace because of the appropriation power and influence of the 1%. Without recognising this and thinking that world peace will come simply when everyone develops that inner peace is just a heartbreaker. Recognising reality is part of that peace. Recognising the limitations the 1% place on humanity helps on our Paths because it can point to what we do. It is the avoidance of this recognition that gives the 1% a significant amount of their power. Why we avoid it is a significant question.” I then criticised NOVA saying I couldn’t trust it because it was financed by the Koch brothers and I didn’t know enough of the subject matter.

I got this reply “Bill, the findings of the documentary are pretty unbiased. I don’t think that the Koch brothers made an ancient Egyptian stone describing their conquest over the Israelites in 1200 BC, or ancient scrolls with Jewish prayers, or kingdom ruins in Jerusalem and other nearby cities. Think what you like though, but it seems to me that you blaming the so called 1% isn’t peace. Remember, when you come from a divided place, you can only spread division. Wars aren’t started from peace, they are started because one side blames another, or at least believes themselves to have rights over another. Blaming anyone is the same thing. You can’t be at peace until you make peace within yourself, with all those who you hold accountable for anything. It isn’t the 1% who is at fault. We are ALL in this together. The best thing any of us can do is to stop taking sides, stop blaming, find peace within ourselves, and act from the place of peace. Acting from peace does not mean outwardly doing nothing. It can actually produce far greater results when we don’t spread our own inner division. When we act from a place of deep inner, authentic peace, we unify, support and strengthen. We must act for the truth, for peace, for love, instead of against anyone or anything. Violence begets violence, and blame is violence. The 1% isn’t at fault, it’s the whole system that needs to change, starting with each individual. We can’t have a peaceful world without peaceful people, and we can’t not have a violent world as long as people hold onto divisive blame, which is violence. So I would hope that you can understand this, find peace, and live from that place. It isn’t the 1% that needs to change, it’s each and every single one of us, the 100% that needs to change. 1% change won’t do much good, so change 100% of yourself towards peace, and then you will see peace everywhere, and all your actions will lead to peace.
If you want to enlighten all of the world, enlighten all of yourself.”

This is an attack couched in non-emotive terms, some of which I have already discussed. the real issue is that he has taken the spiritual position and turned it into an idealism – a common intellectual approach. Peace inside, peace inside, peace inside. That is enough. But discussion of the world is not just peace inside, it is peace inside then ….. social response. There is a value judgement that if I don’t follow his peace ideal then I cannot be enlightened . This is intellectual idealism.

I gave a long reply, and he then said “the cause of any one thing is every other thing in existence. So even if the 1% seems to be causing this or that manipulation, the real cause is the 99%, you and me, and everything else. That is why the only real solution is not looking outward at anything, but looking within to your own full, authentic peace. The two are actually at odds. You can’t hold onto belief about something external and be at peace within. You can’t divide humanity into parts, and be whole within yourself. You can’t say some are at fault, and claim that you are innocent without being at war.
All the spiritual teachings say the same thing. Let go of belief, let go of the external, let go of blame, of pointing fingers, of judging, of deciding who is right and who is wrong, and turn that same energy towards yourself. As long as you are keeping your attention on something external, you will not have all the energy to be at peace. You will be divided between internal reality, and external illusion. That is not peace. Division leads to division. However, if you sincerely seek peace, you will find your way. And with that, I wish you peace! :)”

Again this is intellectual idealism. I answered “Emotions arise in ourselves for a purpose – a recognition of not being at peace, and they are not caused by the other. We are one people but some have lighter skins. That is not division unless the light skins choose. It is not division within the person who described it either.”

To me his comment is more of the same intellectual idealism, what matters is only inside. But who we are inside acts, we are not just inside but we are outside as well. And it is based on the falsehood that because I recognised a 1% division I could not be at peace inside. He is intellectually standing outside I am not 99% or 1% so he is not part of the 100%. Meditation observes but not from outside from inside, that is a wonder of meditation. But intellectually we cannot be outside. He says “let go of belief” but his intellectual idealism is boxing him in. And then he said the 1% are not at fault we are. This is an ideal. If all 99% practised peace the 1% would go away, but that can never happen. Any use with 50%. No they have control. First and foremost right-minded people need to recognise the enemy then make their personal choice as to action.

In my final answer I tried to show him that the issue was not labelling and then I was trying to point out that he was emotional because a nerve had been hit, but he considers himself a teacher so will not think about it. I have seen this intellectual spirituality in him and in others before, holding onto his ideals when telling others not to hold onto theirs. An easy fault, this idealism does creep up on you. You need to continually ask questions.