Begun December 20, 2010 this blog contains the three tenets of Zandtao, mind, energy and body. Whilst the previous blogs were separate aspects of the journey, this blog is part of a consolidated unified approach leading to the Treatise of Zandtao.

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Candida Lethargy


Confrontation not distraction


Summative candida


Identification with form?


Constant Questioning


Candida Diet


Mother & Child Reunion


Gerson (&f)


Is Meditation only of the mind?


Tropic Capricorn(&f)


Being and the Corporate Paradigm


Super Size Me (&)


K and Total Silence (&)




K Discipline and the 4NT (&f)


Karma and Desire


Mindful Consumer Workshop


Life and all that


Thoughts about desire


Mindful Consumer


Not for Sale (&f)


Sai Baba (&f)


A Glimpse of Freedom




Follow Tradition


K - Intelligence, Love and Compassion (&)


K - A short take


Stronger sex drive?


The Last of the Bhagwan (&f)


Bhagwan 2 (&f)


Stress Still Arising


Addicted to Samsara


Bhagwan (&f)


Exploring sila


Ascended Masters


On Sila and Ascension


5 Gateways (&f)


Monks, Meditation and Health


Nam pak


HHSR Bookblog started




HHSR and Guru Yoga


Zandtao - the bare bones


Taking Orders


Devotion and Complacency


On Masters


Doubt and Complacency


What happens in the West?


HHSR, Ego and Culture


Beyond Dogma and Culture


Littlebang and the West


Observing Meditation and Dreams


Watching the Sea


One - the Movie (&f)




Tibetan confusing me




Karma and Healing


Impractical theosophy


Theosophy and Meditation


Theosophy needs faith


Real World


Where are theosophy's bodies taking me?


Zandtao is harmonising


Measuring theosophy


More on Chakras


The Elements


Points and Waves


Mixed Ability


Chakras and Elements


Zandtao Blog

Check this page for the archives of the Nature Insights blog and the archives of the Nature Health blog.

Zandtao Blog
This is the first entry of the Zandtao blog. This is symbolic for me as meaning that learning and healing are one, and they are all part of what I coming together as the Zandtao system. And the Zandtao system - to be the Treatise of Zandtao - is only a consolidated description of my personal journey.

Let's put some detail on this paragraph. Nature Insights was about my Insights either from meditation or otherwise, and was primarily connected with Buddhism. Nature Health was started when I began my food journey with macrobiotics, and has been a description of healing my physical body. Recently my journey has taken me into consideration of chakras and elements, and these three components clearly point to the three parts of Zandtao - mind, energy and body. There is no separation of the learning as I perceived in Nature Insights and the healing that was Nature Health and then looking at energy. This learning and healing is one. As I develop insights I learn more about myself and this begins to heal, as I heal myself then I am healthy and in a better position to develop insights. Awareness of learning and healing is one. With this consolidation then who I am uniquely in my journey is much clearer, and knowing this I am in a position to see myself more clearly as Zandtao - learning and healing myself in order to present Zandtao. This blog is a preparation for the Treatise of Zandtaoj. And more?

I was looking into chakras yesterday - reading the book "The Chakras and the Human Energy Field" by Shafika Karagulia and Dora van Gelder Kunz. The book is presented academically, and attempts to academise teachings on the chakras, specifically those Charles W Leadbeater. In truth I see no academy, I see a description of a system as a hypothesis and little more academic corroboration - so far. In its attempt to be academic it loses so much because how can academia understand these things. Empirical observation is an academic method yet academia tends to reject it. Chakra observations cannot be subject to scientific scrutiny because science cannot make machines to measure. So fundamentally, academising such teachings is futile.

Writing the book however isn't, and it was interesting to read on p35:-

"Yet it must not be inferred that the chakras are separate from the fields themselves, as might be implied by the way they appear in the diagrams. They are vortices which concentrate the energy within the fields, just as whirlpools are formations in and out of water." For me this is highly significant as it helps further negate "I" by propounding that the chakras function as vortices within the energy fields. Taking this further we are chakras, and chakras are vortices of parts of oneness. By considering chakras as vortices and that these vortices belong to the whole, there is clearer identification with unity and less with a separate body belonging to I. The body is the more apparent aspect of human separateness. As the body forms around the chakras, and the chakras are part of Unity, then the body is formed around part of Unity - no separation.

On the healing side I today focussed on the throat chakra. I discussed my lung condition but in truth I should have said "lung and throat condition" as they are to do with my teaching. Through the use of compassion in the throat chakra I began to free the throat of its history but there is a way to go yet.

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Chakras and Elements
Chakras and Elements Although written before the start of the blog chakras and elements are integral to the study of energy so I have included it in Zandtao out of order.

In the book Tibetan Buddhist Medicine and Psychiatry by Terry Clifford [pp108-109] she gives a very interesting description of the process of dying, her interpretation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Here is a pricis:-

At death the five elements dissolve and she suggests one should know the stages of the dissolution. First earth dissolves into water, earth is located at the navel chakra. Second water dissolves into fire, water is located at the subtle hear centre. Third fire dissolves into wind, fire is located at the throat centre. Fourth wind dissolves into space, wind is located at the lower "secret" genital chakra.

Earth -> Water -> Fire -> Wind -> Space

Compare this with Dan Reid's chart on p26 of The Tao of Health Sex and Longevity:-

Generative (Mother/Son):-

Metal -> Water -> Wood -> Fire -> Earth

And suppressive (Victor/vanquished):-

Fire -> Metal -> Wood -> Earth -> Water

On p74 there is a typical chakra correspondence table. The Tibetan system does not have as many chakras as the system I have come to use:-

Chakra Head Throat Navel Genital
Element Ether/space Fire Water Earth Air
Colour White Red Blue Yellow green

On p27 of Dan Reid's book there is another chakra table, and part of it is:-

Element Wood Fire Earth Metal Water
Colour Green Red Yellow White Black

Chakra Summary table so far:-

BZ Chakra BZ Colour Tibetan Elements Tibetan Colour
Crown Lavendar
Head Light Blue Ether/Space White
Throat Royal Blue Fire Red
Heart Green Water Blue
Solar Plexus Yellow
Navel Amber Earth Yellow
Root Red Air Green

In Complete Guide to Chi Gung Dan Reid [pp67-69] discusses the chakras:-

Crown Head Throat Heart Solar Plexus Navel Root
White Violet Sky-blue Light green Yellow/Gold Orange Red
Brain/Pituitary Throat/Thyroid Heart/Thymus Solar Plexus/Adrenal Navel/Testes & ovaries Perineum/Anal and sexual orifices

Reid says that only three chakras are used in Taoist practices:-

Navel (dan-tien) - vital essence and body

Solar Plexus - fire of emotions and ego

Head - spiritual practice

In the Ayurveda book I have, these correspondences are given:-

Crown Head Throat Heart Solar Plexus Navel Root
White Blue Violet green Yellow Orange Red

And two Indian references add these elements with changing colours (online ref):-

Crown Head Throat Heart Solar Plexus Navel Root
Violet Indigo Blue green Yellow Orange Red
Ether Air Fire Water Earth

Chilel Correspondences:-

Crown Head Throat Heart Solar Plexus Navel Root
Ying Tan Dao Bao Tan tien

Japanese Correspondences:-

Navel - Hara

All of the above tends to support Simon's nihilist position as intellectually there is no agreement. But one would not expect intellectual agreement when there is no objective measure, this is a prerequisite for the intellect to avoid accepting knowledge that would remove the intellectual ego and its self-importance. For me the most important observation about chakras is the description of the Tibetan Book of the Dead in which in death the body decays element by element. This clearly demonstrates that we are the elements, and there is no process of a separate I dying.

Then there is an important connection to the chakras. Karma is the primordial chakras. This means that when Karma decides on the rebirth, it creates the human channel that is the chakras and throughout life energy is attracted to these chakras and this attraction builds up the human. It is this chakra Tai Chi or ridgepole that we fundamentally are. Our energetic relationship to this ridgepole is an essential part of life and essential to Zandtao, or in Chinese terms (Dan Reid) Essence, Energy and Mind.

But how do I take that fundamental truth further? Firstly do I accept the Tibetan observation as fact, I tend not to as I am not into Tibetan systems. I lean towards the Chinese system of elements so I would tend towards a Chinese Book of the Dead scenario based around this elemental system:-

Fire -> Metal -> Wood -> Earth -> Water

Having used this epistemology to lead to a greater understanding of a separate I, what else do I want to use I for? Health. I have always related to Chinese healing, initially acupuncture, Tai Chi, Chi Gung and then Paul Pitchford. This I will still follow. I will therefore need to learn the Chinese system of health and develop my own relations with chakras as the Chinese system does not talk of all the 7 chakras as Dan Reid has said. However I personally tend to. I can develop a system that works for me because these systems are not universal, there is a level of individuality - again as Simon suggests. But that individuality needs to be worked on supplementing existing knowledge and not replacing it - his fundamental intellectual error.

One such replacement has been the colours of the chakras. Above I have described the colour system that I have worked with, recently I have begun to replace that colour coding with compassion - Gary Zukav in the Heart of the Soul replaces it with Love and Trust. Breathing in Compassion and breathing out hate and anger is just as healthy.

Where do we go from here? One purpose of this understanding is healing, I have used Pitchford's understand to help heal myself. I need to develop my understanding of his healing system - the Chinese system, but that will take time and it is not urgent. Does understanding that there are the five elements - fire, metal wood earth water - have any implications? Where does consciousness fit into it - does it imply an element space or does that matter?

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Mixed Ability
When I wrote my intro to the Treatise of Zandtao I talked about mixed ability. It was connected to people's situation in relation to the Path, not to be concerned about how long the Path is - just relating to the position one is on the Path. But there are two aspects to this mixed ability situation I want to examine here.

Firstly it is important to recognise that mixed ability means that wherever you are on the Path is great. Joy is the reward for being on the Path, and Joy occurs wherever you are along the Path if you are "doing your best". (Just an aside here - I have been reading The Four Agreements and they are an excellent code of life - see below). This is important to understand in terms of enlightenment - I assume (irony with the 4 Agreements). I am clearly not enlightened so it is difficult to talk about enlightenment - I must make assumptions. But there is great frustration in seeking the end of the Path only, numerous people talk of this seeking as a spiritual frustration and it is clearly a life lesson; wanting to be something one cannot be is a deep frustration - spiritual or otherwise. Accept where you are on the Path and do your best, and your reward will be Joy or Happiness

Secondly there is only where you are at the moment. On reflection I can think that there have been a number of insights in my life. When I was young these insights brought great ecstasy - of course I embellished being young. I would wander lonely as a cloud seeking insight and the joy they would bring. As a result this soon stopped, although occasionally I would be hit by a blast of meditation joy in those sporadic meditation sittings. But now I can't remember those insights, they are a part of me but forgotten - except what is recorded on this website - either in blogs or in stories. In a linear sense I have moved along the Path, but in a practical sense these insights have become a part of my consciousness, have been accumulated and then forgotten - not attached to. The Path is a process of Insight, and so the Joy is the Insight now - that is the Path. In mixed ability terms the Path as a linear concept is fraught, the Path is the insight Now, and the Joy is the reward of the Now. Do not attach to insights, just do your best, insights will come up and become now. This is the reality of the mixed ability, do not perceive of the mixed ability in a linear sense but perceive that all that matters is doing your best where you are at now, and Joy will be your reward.

Stagnation is a possible weakness. If we hold onto the insights then new insight does not develop. Our journey on the Path stagnates and we become embedded in the past - the prior insight. As such the reward that we receive diminishes. Associated with our Path is a level of Happiness, and this level of Happiness accumulates depending on how much we fulfil our Path. Do we all have the potential for the same happiness? Is HHDL happier than me or the happy Joe the Plumber? I cannot answer that, I cannot be two people. Why should we measure? Except that we would like to be as happy as we can be, and that means following the Path.

Trust in the Path. The Path brings us Joy, but maybe we want to cling to the Joy that we gained in the past insight - some of those bells and banjos experiences. Now each new insight is met and that is it, no more bells and banjos. But I am happier. Between the bells and banjos there was some sadness. Without the bells and banjos there is a general happiness, a comfort, a lack of unnecessary striving. Trust in the Path. When the Path is insight, there is a new insight - that's it. If I don't blog it, it clogs me up, but beyond that there is little. It just happens. But with the meditation that Joy is part of my daily life, and that's enough - well more than enough, what more can you ask for? Insight, beach swimming, good health, what more?

Four Agreements

1) Be impeccable with the word.

2) Don't take things personally.

3) Don't make assumptions.

4) Always do your best.

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Points and Waves
In Fritjov Capra's Tao of Physics [p70 et al] I first met the notion that light can be perceived as a point source or I can function as a wave. Apparently that is the basis of quantum theory but that is beyond me. I believe this is even taught in school physics now. (A quick look at the book - I should reread it)

There is a comparative notion - mind can be perceived as both point and wave. On the 8-fold Path two are Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration:-

Right Mindfulness--samma sati

Right Concentration--samma samadhi

Right Concentration can be perceived as one-pointedness and Right Mindfulness as the wave of understanding.

I have begun using this in meditation. It started with Shikantaza. As a result I started with the "sitting now". This made me realise that the insight meditation was taking me all over the place, and whilst I was developing in some senses the mind was losing shape. Shikantaza gave it shape. But then Shikantaza practised wrongly begins to close in insight with its emphasis on concentration. Now meditation has two approaches. Calming the mind focussing on the still waters of the heart. And then a variation of shikantaza where the mind rests one-pointedly in the hara, rather than sitting now it focuses on the mind being one-pointed.

There are a number of paradoxes in meditation, not with regards to the 4 Noble Truths, but the way people say follow this system or that. I personally had never come to terms with insight and concentration but now understand there is both - as in Magga.

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The Elements
With healing now being recognised as part of my journey there enters a question "How do I deal with the Elements?" My approach is to use the Chinese system of elements as my healing is done through descriptions of the Chinese system, together with consciousness in Space. But how do I improve or assess the condition of these elements in me? For example with the chakras, I have accepted a system of placement of chakras and now rather than using colour I use the chakras as vortices of compassion - breathing in compassion; similar to Zukav's Love and Trust. This compassion brings health for giving because of the nature of compassion. But how do I relate to the elements?

Here is where the body's correspondences come in. From Reid's Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity we have on p 27:-

Element Wood Fire Earth Metal Water
Yin Liver Heart Spleen Lung Kidney
Yang Gall Bladder Small Intestines Stomach Large Intestine Bladder

By promoting the health of these organs I am promoting the health of the element. These elements are in a sense noumenal, and therefore cannot be directly addressed.

Reid gives further indications on [p27]:-

Element Wood Fire Earth Metal Water
Sense Sight Words Taste Smell Hearing
Nourishes Muscles Blood Vessels Fat Skin Bones
Expands into Nails Colour Lips Body Hair Hair on Head
Liquid Tears Sweat Saliva Mucus Urine
Temperament Depressed Emotions up & down Obsession Anguish Fear
Anger Joy Sympathy Grief
Flavours Sour Bitter Sweet Pungent Salty

You can use this table to interpret the quality of the element.

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More on Chakras
At last to the chakras. The landlady visited, there was too much housework so I have to settle down to get my mind back on the chakras. Yet I have decided that the process they are involved in is so important, and I am trying to come to terms with what they mean for me.

Here is a bit of theory I like. At rebirth Karma decides on what work needs doing, and that is the Seed. This Seed becomes you, a kind of Soul, in manifestation. On manifestation the soul-seed attracts the energy that is needed to form "you". This energy enters the soul-seed through the chakras that are the next step in the manifestation of the Seed. Throughout life these chakras take in the energy that make up "you as your life", then at death the energy leaves you and Karma begins the process again. According to the Buddha to escape this cycle of samsara, birth and rebirth, you need to attain Nirvana. Whilst I believe I have attained insights in my life, I don't foresee my attaining that level of permanent insight that I conceive of as Nirvana.

During our lives this Seed has a Path but we stray from this Path. It appears as if there are two steps to this Path. The first step, we grow up with baggage assigned by Karma, and the second step is that we try to get rid of this baggage by following the True Path. From the first step we are connected to parents for Karmic purpose, and then in our second step our baggage presents to us as mental and physical disease, the second step being healing. Our mental disease could be considered as ignorance so this part of the step is learning. Our physical disease is easily considered when you look at the way our bodies degenerate, and so we need to live healthily for our bodies to regenerate. With our healthy bodies we can provide the conditions for our minds to learn.

But there is also energy, and this is something very difficult to understand - especially for westerners. In the West we do not recognise energy as part of man. The West tends to see the process as primarily physical. A baby is born, grows up physically, and then dies. There might be a soul involved somewhere, mind is not clear but is connected to the brain, and there is no definite western understanding that there is a separate sense of mind or consciousness. Compare this with the East where there mind as the sense of consciousness, and there is chi and prana.

I don't know much about how people use prana, but in chi gung there are exercises for taking in energy and Chi Gungsters encourage breathing exercises - I guess similar to the way people use prana. I use Chilel, a chi-gung technique, and it focuses on taking energy into three centres, and these correspond to three of the chakras in the chakra system I recognise - the navel chakra - tan tien, heart chakra - dao bao, and head chakra - ying tan. (There is also MIng men - kidneys, that might correspond to the spleen and some systems talk of a spleen chakra.) Chilel only asks that you take in energy to these three chakras, push far away - take in the chi etc. I find this chilel very beneficial.

This is a reasonable representation of the chakras I use. The red I think of as the root chakra, and is based at the coccyx. The navel chakra is slightly above where the red is in the diagram. The solar plexus chakra is half-way between the belly button and the bottom of my chest plate. The heart chakra is slightly lower than the green. The colours I used are similar. The blue of the throat chakra is royal - richer, the violet of the head chakra is light blue, and the lavender of the crown chakra is lighter.

But, as I have said, I have stopped using colours - well I said I used colours in fact I used the words for the colours because I couldn't visualise them substantively. Now I breathe in compassion, love and trust.

From this diagram you can see that the chakras are more than are used in the chilel system - and generally in Chinese health I think. I am sure the system compensates for this but I don't know how. If it is important to you contact Dan Reid or check his books - A Complete Guide to Chi-Gung for example, found through my bookblog. As I have always been too eclectic I dabble a bit with the chi and a bit with the chakras. So for chi exercises I use chilel but for broader energy work I use all the chakras, as I said by breathing in compassion, love and trust (CLT).

Now this approach is very minimal, but here is how it works for me - but I do have a long way to go. Recently I mentioned that I was worried about mucus and phlegm so I have been focussing on the heart and throat chakra in my breathing. When I do chilel, I do a few body exercises to help with my knee and my neck, and I do a meditation to finish off breathing CLT into my chakras. So I have recently been breathing in CLT to the heart and throat, and for the more physical I have also used tiger balm on my heart and throat as well as nostril breathing in eucalyptus oil. The chest is not completely cleared but from giving me the flu it is good for breathing.

Yesterday I got in the middle of an outburst between wife and husband, and at the end I felt quite weak. I realised that I need to work on the solar plexus chakra, and started this morning - CLT in the solar plexus. I keep imagining B's reaction to reading this - a science-only friend.

I am not at all satisfied with my understanding of chakras but they are healing vortices connected to universal energy that is part of the Tao that is the Universe - or more relevant to me the Earth - Gaia. Incorporating vortices that provide unity, the soul-seed is a design within that unity - or is the soul-seed only the vortices?

Much talk of chakras is speculation, for example there are numerous grandiose depictions of chakras. Here is one:-

This is not true, yes it is I can see it because I am clairvoyant. You can't see it, sad you are not clairvoyant. Difficult argument to sustain. Here is a theospohpical model from C W Leadbeater's Chakras:-

As seen by clairvoyance - same argument.

Clairvoyance is difficult. A friend visited a clairvoyant who gave him a health reading that was accurate, however he didn't have enough money to finish the treatment and so be able to give me a deeper report. As in this blog it is clear that description of the chakras is not universally consistent, it might however be interesting to scientifically gather together renowned clairvoyants and see if their perception of the chakras were similar.

Here is a summary of some of the theosophical system. When I was younger I spent a year being heavily into theosophy, but it was rational mind fodder - interesting but appealing to the rational. For me now genuine knowledge has to be felt. I don't know how I am going to feel the chakras but that is where I want to go. Being disturbed by emotions and so telling me solar plexus chakra is weak is a feeling that I want to develop, healing the chakras can then advance my learning. OK, to theosophy:-

From the Tao there is the Logos, that which is empty but cannot be described. From the Logos there are 7 rays that connect to the chakras and there are 3 outpourings that correspond to the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, and Will, Wisdom and Activity. Maybe also Atma, Buddhi and Manas. These 7 rays feed the chakras in some way so Seed and soul-seed (my words) can connect to the Logos. I am sure more details can be gained by reading theosophical works - free books at:-

Theosophical books

To be perfectly honest I got "rational systems" overload and gave up. Maybe more later.

Have to think where I go next with the chakras, at the moment it is the doing - CLT.

I am not sure how meaningful this is, but I note it for completeness - taken from "Chakras and the Human Energy Field" by Karagulla and Gunz [p36]

Chakra Crown Head Throat Heart Solar Plexus Navel Genital
Gland Pineal Pituitary Thyroid and Parathyroid Thymus Pancreas/Adrenals

And here is a Reiki chakra table of correspondences:-

You will probably need to zoom on this image or check this page.

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Measuring theosophy
Well I am back into theosophy after 30 years. It feels the same but I feel different. Theosophy has vast intricate rational systems of the esoteric, but now when I read them I don't feel the wonder at their esoteric nature I feel somewhat numb. Over the 30 years I have begun to feel, with each new part of the journey I have begun to seek insight, and now when I read theosophy I just see a few people's systems - albeit good interesting people. Because the work is god and interesting it cannot be dismissed yet equally it cannot be accepted per se. How do you measure acceptance of theosophical systems?

So I have to look at how I feel about the systems and whether they can benefit my journey. Firstly they can detract from my journey because the intellect can get hooked on these rational behemoths. I have recollections of sitting outside an old English mansion in the green belt of North London with these theories swilling around the surface of my mind, I even remember some old guy commenting to that effect (whilst he was right I remember meeting him some time later in Camberley and hearing that he lived off stocks and shares - at that time I rejected him for this; maybe more people would do the same after the recent global turmoil caused by manipulators). My rational mind was fascinated by all of this but what did I truly gain? To be quite honest I have no idea. Soon after my theosophy year I began drinking again, got sucked into politics (with a spiritual proviso), and when I returned to my spiritual journey in Africa there seemed nothing left of theosophy. Yet theosophy has always been on the periphery of my journey, the question really is "should all these rational systems stay there?" Or perhaps the position should be that if the systems are rational leave them alone and incorporate those parts of the systems which become felt.

All of this theosophy came about because of chakras. In the West theosophy appears at the moment to be chakra central, yet when I start to read of chakras - Leadbeater, Besant etc - I just find all those systems again - and the wonderful charts. But what do I feel? More or less nothing. I went back to Annie Besant and "man and his bodies". So far it makes sense, and it contradicts nothing I know - a good sign. Starting with the etheric body, this explains how chi gets into the body, chi or prana are delivered throughout the physical body by this etheric double. The question that now comes to my mind is this "the chi gets there so why do we need a construct of etheric double?" But then etheric double does explain ghosts somehow, so maybe there is value in the notion. Of course for clairvoyants there is no notion the etheric double is visual, so for them there is purpose - for me I am still not sure. Etheric double is a nice way of explaining, it fits and for that reason I am going to use it as a way of explaining how chi gets into the body. But does it provide more? I don't know yet.

But I must not forget that the etheric double is part of an etheric plane - global chi energy. This is not separate yet it appears to be described as separate man's body. I would expect separation if it is a rational system so maybe there is confusion here. Am I being sucked into systems again? Agggghhhh theosophy.

The next is the astral body - or desire body. This again makes common sense. The Buddha talks about attachment to craving, and AB talks about how the desire body has subtlety which reacts to the influences on it. If your desires are of the physical the desire body is more dense, and if more spiritual the body is more subtle. There is discussion of this occurring through vibrations but I don't fell these vibes so I don't know for sure what that means. Again it makes sense but I don't feel it. What I am certain of is what the Buddha says in the 4NT, that the problem is attachment to craving. No attachment - no desire body, less attachment - more subtle desire body then what? Haven't finished reading, maybe there is something useful? This body could be another construct?

Man and his bodies began with the actual physical body. It primarily spoke about the importance of taking care of the body. Although she did not mention exercise she spoke of the importance of eating healthy food and how the body automatically moves towards healthy food once you give it a chance. I forgot to start with this body because I have done all that.

It still feels as if I am dealing with systems, but they do fit on with what I feel. Worth pursuing but I have to be careful not to get sucked into the swirl of surface systems that dogged my theosophy year, gave me such excitement, and yet in the end maybe left me with nothing.

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Zandtao is harmonising
Zandtao started at a friend's when I decided on putting together mind, energy and body. At his place it might have been a reaction to the scientific "there is no chi", but in general the reaction was more that I had been involved in mb and whilst they discuss meditation and chi it is evident that for many mb these are only words. It is particularly clear when you see the miniscule detail that is gone into to try to balance food - particular implements, times of the day, order of eating food, and so on, all of which have benefit but it appears like chasing a runaway train - trying to find all these food balances but never getting there because you need chi and meditation to catch the train.

But what Zandtao is truly about is harmonising mind, energy and body - or with the theosophy bodies. But then you must also say it is harmonising the chakras and the elements. And not only this you are not just harmonising internally but externally - harmonising with Nature. So Zandtao is just about harmonising anything!!! So here it is - Zandtao is harmonising whatever needs to be harmonised. Well, isn't that useful?

OK, I wouldn't be writing if I wasn't going to say anything, but this harmony is so vast I am not sure what I have to say. First of all Buddhism as I have practised it is too mind. Clearly Theravada appeals to the intellectuals but balancing the intellect with faith is not enough. I have heard exercise discussed but what about chi? Now none of this balance can occur without control of the mind but that is not enough. Energy is energy and making conscious use of energy is part of the balancing process. Now mind is most important but the Buddhism institution is stuck - as all institutions are. Since Mahachula (going there discussed) I have thought of the establishment's failure to take advantage of healthy eating when it is not dependent on almsround, but the institution certainly does not promote healthy eating. How much does Buddhism discuss chi or prana? But there are advantages to the Buddhist institution but individuals must always move on beyond the institution - within or without.

Tibetan goes more into chakras, and with Buddhism's links to India there will be chakras somewhere but where? My journey has taken me to chi and chakras outside the Buddhist framework because that is where I first met it. I have no reason to doubt that within Buddhism this is addressed but it is not mainstream Theravada - or Littlebang Theravada. There is nothing in where I am going, say with theosophy, that contradicts Buddhism, but exoterically it is not supported either.

So in meditation and chi gung I began to focus on harmonising, and immediately I felt weakness in certain of the chakras and a sense that I was too much mind. Recent moves to shikantaza have stopped and I have sought chakra balance in meditation as well as when doing Chi Gung and lying in bed. This has been mostly the solar plexus chakra - not surprising with the GERD and the head chakra promoting pure mind.

Reading of the astral body leads to an understanding of dreams, people can help in lay life but they can also help on the astral plane in dreams. That sounded wonderful but I am not sure how much - getting sucked into systems again? But I woke up with a dream that this old woman having been pronounced dead in an operating theatre was kept alive at my insistence on getting something. What do you make of that? Throughout the night I was conscious of the need for compassion in the solar plexus chakra to help the kidneys and spleen. It is all unclear except for the fact that there is much to come to terms with in my search for harmony.

In addition snuck in a change in eating. Whilst I am probably not eating too much, the fact that I eat too late is affecting the hours of my day. So I decided not to have a meal in the evening. I must have the ingredients of that meal so I can have it as a desert or eat earlier in the day. Yesterday I went to the beach and ate the fruit and supplements after swimming, today I ate the fruit and supplements with polenta after meditation and then decided I must eat the main meal before 3.00 pm. Yesterday evening I ate some fruit and a bag of peanuts, and did not notice the change in eating.

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Where are theosophy's bodies taking me?
I am uncomfortable with the way things are going in one sense, they are not for public consumption - what public!! I almost didn'tinclude this blog entry and have edited it. This theosophy is getting me not in a rational way but a feeling way. Therefore I am seeking knowledge and not filling my head with systems. But I am beginning to enter areas that I can only perceive as leading me to psychic understanding, and until I know what I am talking about I don't know how to paraphrase it for public consumtion. At the same time I could be making it all up so it stops me from looking a fool.

My chakra healing has already entered the arena of dubious psychic practices but there are plenty of people who have gone there. Chilel uses some of the chakra centres, and Gary Zukav's "Mind of the Soul" uses chakra healing. Less socially acceptable is lying in bed for a good part of the morning and breathing in compassion through the chakras whilst dozing off to sleep. I want to point out that my mind has the potential for creating illusion, or rather subscribing to illusions that are not illusions of the norm of society. On the fringe as this is I have to be careful what I say, this is not backed by any established theory except theosophy, and whilst theosophy has some credibility they could by most be called cranks. At the same time I remember being sucked into theosophy systems, and there is no doubt at all that my imagination took me to inappropriate areas of glamour and self-importance. I cannot remember where but it would be of the ilk of thinking of discussing with Masters. Now I won't read books where people have made such claims - see ACIM warning and "The Disappearnce of the Universe lying on my shelf.

Now I have been prepared to make a stance based on my experience but I am reaching into areas that I am not sure what I am experiencing. OK let me try to write down about those. Theosophy talks about three bodies, etheric double, astral and mental, and within the mental it talks of the lower mental and causal. Now the etheric double whilst sounding spooky is little more than a chi body. I use chi, I always have in acupuncture and with Tai Chi and now Chilel, so chi needing a body before it can affect the physical body adds little to the credulity or not of chi work. Then we have the astral body and the astral plane so now we are in cloud-cuckoo land, but before I talk about that I want to talk of the mental bodies. I like the notion of a mental plane with thoughts flyng everywhere, this explains to me why we experience thoughts that are clearly not our own but are attracted by the thoughts we already have. And then there is the causal body which accumulates the good intentions and actions, and this non-personal body is the vortex that is me, and is the impersonal source of Billnext.

In meditation and during chakra healing I am withdrawing into the causal body. Now withdrawing to a point in meditation is of course good, but withdrawing into the causal body - debatable. However I am not attaching to the etheric, astral or lower mental, and that is reasonable - whether that means I an withdrawing into the causal is another matter. But it feels as if I am.

Now to elementals. I think these are important but what can I say about them. In Buddhism we are asked to let go of attachments. So you ask attachment to what? And the answer is attachment to desire. But what if the attachments are elementals? Yesterday I began in the morning trying to try to release elementals. I felt the darkness around my 2nd chakra and also around my 6th chakra. In the afternoon for maybe two or three hours I tried to withdraw into the causal body and be pure. Hopefully by purifying my mind I will make my desire body more subtle towards the purer end, and so have less desire for these elementals to cling onto. This morning I woke from a clear dream that I will go more into later. Then I had dozing and purifying and it felt better - when I finally emerged I felt as if my body was lighter.

I suspect consideration of elementals is the most crazy but I have entered the possibility that the astral body is the dream body, and that I can use dreams to create good. Now I have always had a vivid dream life but have never associated it with the possibility of doing good ie daily life implications. This morning I woke from the dream the best I have felt in a long time at waking, before sleeping I had again focussed on trying to do good.

I cannot possibly describe this as justification of the theosophical bodies but there is something happening because of theosophy. I am going to record it and see where it goes.

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Real World
Something made me realise in meditation that I needed to be of the Real World - I heard a Zen guy on Buddhist Geeks talking about the being in the body in the Real World, and I realised that this was the danger of theosophy. Living in other worlds and planes has an attraction, a glamour, yet we are here to live in the Real World. The paradox - live real in the illusion.

This leaves me considering two notions - elementals and astral plane. I believe there was a Marvel character, Dr Stephen Strange, whose abilities traversed the astral plane. It is all kind of glamorous, but it is not daily life. If prior to going to sleep I think of helping others and that happens, well that's the business. But conscious in the astral plane - no thanks. However thinking of the bodies is useful. Understanding the etheric body as a means of understanding how chi works is good, I have just started a search. The astral has too much glamour attached to it, but recognition of a desire body is useful and then not attaching to this desire body. As for the mental bodies, to think of a level of thoughts in which there is a vortex associated with my causal body is again useful. Thoughts and ideas are not mine but belong to a plane in which the vortex attracts similar is useful. Why? Because it teaches us to seek purer thoughts, purer thoughts - more subtle material - less rigid separate egos. And it is worth meditating on withdrawing into the causal body as point or wave - behind the heart chakra. It is this point from which the other bodies emanate and as such returning to the point and then moving outwards gives greater control of the bodies and whether the causal body attaches to them. One aspect of this body is will, and will or determination is important as a means of controlling the attachment to bodies. Somewhere I read that in the beginning will is not strong enough to fight the attachment but with time determination can will out.

One additional point about the real world is the virtual world, the virtual world is not real - it is more of an illusion than what we subscribe to in daily life. So much time and effort are invested in the virtual world - such as blogs etc, and these energies are meant for the real world - daily life and nibbana. Living in virtual computer worlds - games, virtual landscapes etc. - is unnatural, in much the same way as escapist literature deflects from the true purpose. What happens is that intransigent malevolence, such as Big Business or the Bush administration gains control of daily life and in order to escape their control we seek alternatives - living in rural Thailand or computer landscapes. When people know they have a duty in the real world, but in practice far too many who know flee into alternative realities for comfort. Our responsibility lies in the Real World - end of story. Our will and determination are the only tools necessary and available to fight our personal battles - end of story.

So I will look into the etheric double to see how it relates to chi, use determination to control the desire body, and focus on pure thoughts to make the mental body more subtle. So that leaves the chakras. I started this consideration of theosophy to understand how I will relate to chakras. To understand the theosophical view of chakras I needed to understand their bodies. Maybe I do now. I suspect the chakras will just lead me to glamour again - kundalini et al.

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Theosophy needs faith
Because of faith theosophy is too based in reason. This rather paradoxical statement relies on the notion previously discussed that faith is reason's counterpart, reason's complement, and through faith reason continues to exist with its egotistical influence. This confusion arises historically in the reason-faith split created by people like Bacon during the Renaissance. Whilst Bacon never intended the dichotomy to have egoic result it did, he did intend that knowledge as understanding should be split into understanding through reason and understanding through faith. In fact neither reason nor faith have understanding, both exist on the surface of the mind, and as such do not have the internalising process of intuition or insight where the knowledge or understanding is felt. By allowing theosophy to be accepted by faith this allows the rational systems to proliferate, and theosophy, rather than being esoteric knowledge that is understood by internalisation, becomes a faith-based system that does nothing but marginalise its believers from daily life.

My experience of theosophy was just that, theosophy marginalised me from daily life because I believed in something that was supposedly superior to what normal people believed. The following goes into some theosophical detail, perhaps unnecessarily. Firstly the essence of theosophy is Blavatsky (HPB), and she gained her knowledge through amanuensis. I have since come to doubt amanuensis. The first time I doubted amanuensis was Jane Roberts and Seth. I got sucked into her books one holiday in Greece. I remember staying in a Greek tourist village and having a wonderful view of a valley leading down to the sea. I started imagining that I was a reborn Greek soldier - past lives were essential to the Jane Roberts' book I was reading. After being sucked in for several days the name of the spirit, her amanuensis (if not then the source of her revelation), was Seth - for me a name like Satan, and I considered that a trick. At that stage I began to look for the tricks in my spiritual journey. The next one I recall was glamour, hiding behind the validity of the knowledge your spiritual journey gains, you seek fame to promote it. There are many egotists that seek fame and glamour. That is not to say that all who have fame have sought it, desire it or indeed misuse it, but glamour and fame attracts the ego and can divert people from the Path. From all accounts the Bhagwan, even in disguise as Osho, is one such.

In the end I began asking "what did they do to earn this automatic gift?" And this led to "if you haven't paid the piper is what you get valuable?" How did HPB earn her stars? I was expected to put faith in her Secret Doctrine but in truth it was overly complex. It enabled people to pretend they were esoteric. It did however encourage good practices - yoga and meditation, but there is no doubt in my mind that I met people whose academic knowledge of theosophy merited in their own minds respect. I do not dismiss theosophy out of hand but I do dismiss the faith that substitutes for the internalisation of the knowledge. I also have to say that I did see the church's backseat old ladies at theosophy meetings.

But within theosophy there were genuine seekers but in retrospect I cannot tell who they were. They were on the surface good people but their faith in theosophy led them to accept certain things such as freemasonry and the benefits thereof, something which I also feel is unacceptable. But it would be wrong to dismiss theosophy. Yes, it requires faith but genuine enquiry can unearth understanding through theosophy. I am hoping that my enquiry into it now has sufficient genuine integrity to gain something from the study.

What about man's bodies? So far there has been the physical, etheric, astral, and lower mind body. Apart from saying clairvoyant sight is required to accept them, there is definitely a sense in these bodies. Everything I can verify in Annie Besant's "Man and his Bodies" is true. It makes sense that there is a means of converting chi so that the physical body can use it. As for the astral and lower mind body they also make sense in that the subtleties of these bodies can be affected by the denseness of physical desire as compared with the lightness of spiritual aspiration.

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Theosophy and Meditation
I am feeling quite positive about theosophy and meditation, it has given me a clear direction. Recognising the concept of "Man and his Bodies" has pushed me more to seeing "Man" as the causal body that I withdraw into in meditation - if that is possible. This helps with non-attachment. It also helps in reminding me that me, the causal body, is separate from the other bodies. Yet at the same time as the causal body is a vortex it is not separate from unity but a focus. At the same time I am seeking purity in the causal body. Now I realise that this purity in the causal body is an illusion, as far as I understand it the causal body is unmanifest on the borders of manifestation - a Seed body. Meditation cannot withdraw into this but it can get close, perhaps a short distance on the journey from the Seed body to the mental body. Whatever, I am attempting to have purity intercept the journey so that the first mental thoughts are purity, purity then becoming the desires. This does make me feel better.

At the beach at the end of Chi Gung I have a meditation routine. I sit-standing and feel the chi come from the Earth up through the sole chakras inside the legs to the root chakra and the tan tien. Occasionally this produces shaking. Then from heaven I bring the chi down the body centre line to the tan tien. And then I focus with the hands on the tan tien, Chilel's three sources or whatever it is called. Then in turn I introduce compassion into all the chakras, then love then trust. Then I feel compassion love and trust in the ridgepole. At this point I withdraw from my bodies staring with the desire body and then the mental body. I reach a point behind the heart chakra, and start to focus on purity - and sometimes harmony. Out there in the sun (not too hot) on the quiet beach this is a powerful experience.

And I forgot - which is an important lesson - that at the focus not only do I concentrate on purity, I also concentrate on will. Somewhere in one of the theosophy books I read that to begin with Man's bodies are stronger than his determination but through meditation one can build up determination until at some point this determination overpowers the different disturbances caused wthin the bodies. I like this notion. Thre is no doubt that at different stages problems that have appeared insurmountable suddenly become so much easier. Consider how I gave up the booze, it was not a major power moment - it was of course a major moment. The temperance league did not come in woth bells an banjoes and bright lights appear all around, the acupuncturist said "All the good I am doing is being pissed away. Give up the booze and I can help or don't come again". I decided to give it a go, and when I started it felt good enough and I had sufficient determination I was able to fight the withdrawals of Fridays.

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Impractical theosophy
Theosophy is not practical enough. Readng a Tibetan Buddhist book the writer says there are three methods for acquiring knoweldge - learning (reading or studying), reflection and meditation. I find this very clear. I suspect that all knowledge can be gained through learning and reflection if the mind is clear, but how many following this academic path have clear minds? This points clearly to me that meditation is required for certain types of knowledge, the writer described it as non-conceptual knowledge - again something I liked which makes it very clear what is happening. For academics I suspect all knowledge is conceptual. For theosophy how does one obtain non-conceptual knowledge through reading and diagrams and wonderful theories? The work on Man's bodies is not conceptual from the point of view of the clairvoyants but for most people is theoretical, in theosophy there needs to be a practical approach:-

How do non-clairvoyants use the knowledge from the clairvoyants' visions to progress an learn?

This obviously connects with meditation but whilst meditation and yoga are promoted through theosophy I suspect most of the people did nt practice except when they attended theosophy - it was too much of a church.

There is another interesting notion coming out of the Tibetan book that connects well with Man's bodies. I have described the meditation of purity from the centre; the Tibetan book promotes this idea as non-conceptual knowledge form the centre. Consider the centre as a point of a fan, and Man's bodies are sections moving out from the centre. Somewhere on one of the outer sections of the fan there might be a particular impure behaviour that you want to remove. That might be possible by an effort of will but that dies not mean that all impure behaviours have been removed. However if one can radiate purity from the centre and ensure that purity controls attachment then no such behaviours will occur. It reminds me of teaching. Early on in teaching I realised deep down I was a teacher. This was an important realisation becaue it meant had no doubts. Early on when my teaching was too physical it gave me the strength to carry it off because I knew that I was doing it for teaching. It could only work in a school where the parents were angry with the school for not using corporal punishment, and I learnt it was not appropriate for me as I became more experienced. But it was right at the time because it helped.

The most important aspect of this realisation is that the point source fans out and has a wider impact.

There is another impracticality of theosophy that exists throughout science as well, it is the notion that eventually we could have machines to measure - in the case of the clairvoyance chakras. Why? What evidence is there now that science is moving towards measuring for discovery's sake? Science is driven by money and big business, not to disover whether auras can be measured - unless they can find a ay to profit from the aura. In other words thi notion that science can discover something might be true but it could be so far in the future that .... We need to learn to use what we have now, and we have the intuition to understand these things for ourselves. I cannot see a chakra but I know that chakra meditation has helped my healing. That is indisputable but unproveable - enough for me though.

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Karma and Healing
I've discussed the notion of two halves of life, the first half we accumulate bad experiences and then in the second half once we have become aware (hit bottom?)we work at overcoming our bad experiences. What if this were the design? If it is then spiritual laws that we are born to the parents we choose (Karma chooses for us), we are born as boys to love our mothers etc. start to make so much more sense. I cannot know what happened in my past lives (presumably) but I can begin to see what it is I have to sort out. Addiction was one, the domination of the rational mind that leads to addiction, the rational mind that can justify all kinds of behaviour. I loved my mother in whom I saw advantage being taken, maybe I loved and expoited women before - now I remain single. Who knows the lessons of Karma but maybe you can spot the lessons you learn?

But in life we need to accumulate around us the burden to learn from, this is the first stage of life and in the second we can learn our lessons. It is not by accident some need to hit bottom - maybe hitting bottom is a blessing or else we might live our lives never getting outside (at least in part) our Karmic burdens. Schools are meant to be a burden as a means of creating Karmic ignorance, by the time we have finished schools we have grown to live with ignorance. For those who are successful we leave school with tremendous egos, and for those that fail it takes a long time for them to get back to removing ignorance. This is quite simply the first stage of Karma,and the more I think of it I ask for support from monastics in exosing this aspect of Karma.

The texts talk of Karma as bringing us back to learn but I have never read of how this learning process can occur. When we come back we come back with our soul seed, our Karma. This soul seed builds our bodies but within our bodies where is the learning? We learn by reacting to experience. So Karma gives us our tasks, our burdens, by placing us in the family that will provide the lessons to learn from. If that is not enough we are placed in an education system that can give us sufficient burdens. By the time we have become adults we have enough burdens to last a life time. I note here that HHDL was taken out of the family environment asap, and brought up by tutors. As soon as HHDL is recognised, he is immediately removed from Karmic influence of family and school and educated spiritually.

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We need to control our learning and healing, it is how we control that our learning is based on. Most significant in understanding this is understanding the relationship between learning and healing. Healing is removing the karmic burden, learning is removing the karmic burden - they are both part of the same process in some ways synonymous. In the last blog, I spoke of the two stags of life - accumulating karmic burden and then trying to remove that accumulation. We could easily consider our health as being a burden. In our lives we accumulate disease. This occurs through lifestyle especially eating bad foods. For many they never escape this lifestyle process but disease can be overcome by living a healthy lifestyle. At the same time our lifestyles accumulate karmic debt, intiially through family and school, but then we take on jobs and create families where we propogate the Karma.

What happens with learning? We accumulate burdens of knowledge. We receive academic knowledge that fills our minds with contents, usually appropriate to business needs. Many people describe the true learning process of adulthood as unlearning. Both healing and learning are concerned with removing Karmic burdens.

And to remove these burdens we must have control, we have to control our lifestyles. To begin with this means food. In the Buddha's times alms could be expected to be healthy but now society's Karma is much worse and people grow up eating food that brings disease. We cannot be given food, we have to spend time sourcing correct food to prevent disease. At the same time we need to use food and herbs to heal ourselves from any particular disease or disease potential. To do this we need to be knowledgeable of how food impacts on our system. It is not enough to rely on doctors or nutritionists unless we can afford to pay them on a daily basis, and that is likely to be wasteful - not good Karma. We need to take command of our health by recognising our health weaknesses and balancing our health accordingly. A book Like Paul Pitchford is a Godsend, but it is not enough as we need to learn how to survivie locally. To describe how I embrace this approach would be fairly meaningless for most people who do not live in rural Thailand, but to some extent I have in these blogs and in Ginsukapaapdee.

This brings me to teachers and gurus. We live in a receiving culture. We receive information and pretend that it is knowledge. Knowledge needs to be internalised, we need to know what it means for us. This means knowledge is more than reading and accumulating, the process of learning that gives us our school burden, knowledge at the least needs to be reflection but more appropriately non-conceptual through meditation. Do we needall the teachers and gurus that we aggregate around us? There are some traditions that demand a teacher or guru, primarily I think to avoid mistakes. But such gurus take away control of the burden of ignorance. People need to control their own learning process whether with gurus or without, this has to be the first maxim and it is one of the Buddha's - do not accept what I say learn for yourself.

I called this blogentry "recluse". A recluse is not the only choice of Path but when you consider monasteries where is the control of eating or lifestyle? An imposed spiritual routine is a better routing than many lifestyles but when it is not controlled by the individual learning is missed. This control is a danger in monasteries.

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Tibetan confusing me
I'm having problems relating to Tibetan. Reading Sogyal Rinpoche earlier (beginning here), I see the importance of death and that within the Tibetan tradition there are many connections between considering death and how to live - recently the Tibetan process of dying. But then meditation seems to be visualisation as a diety, and I have a resistance to this - at the moment all I can say is that it doesn't feel right for me. Then recently I read that Om Mane Padme Hung is the mantra of Avalokitesvara, and therefore I should have been keen to use it (see below), but I have a resistance to mantras - they don't feel right either. In fact when it comes to practice Tibetan doesn't feel right to me.

I remember the brief incursion into the New Kadampa Tradition in Chorlton. Good people. But I followed a mass, was given a prayer book, and said a liturgy that I had no idea what it meant. The first time I felt a beneficial presence in the room, but gradually it meant less and less. One of the members later turned out to be a work colleague, and we had a discussion. The NKT was about gurus - as is Tibetan, and I was expected to follow blindly what the guru says. This is the Tibetan way. Later I discover that HHDL does not accept NKT for some reason. These people were still following, it is a weakness of the tradition - the guru.

So Tibetan is visualisation practice with faith in a guru - not much there for me? Yet I am attracted. And HHPCR is a powerful man to see.

Tibetan is also into chakras in some way, and I want to find out how.

So I began to look at Tibetan to see what is in it for me. I am reading "The Union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen" by Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche. My reactions to reading it are mixed - another issue with Tibetan. Because of gurus they push traditions and lineages and handing down teachings - and empowerments? Again this doesn't feel right to me. Then I got to p100 where a meditation is described, I was able to paraphrase and use it:-

Milk-like nectar will flow down from Compassion (I perceive compassion above my crown chakra)

Enter through the crown of your head (chakra) and fill up your body

All your misdeeds and obscurations in the form of liquid soot

Will stream out through your lower openings as well as the soles of your feet (secondary chakras)

Late amendment:-

There is a later meditation in the chapter where the compassion is given out to all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. This leads me to ingesting(?) the compassion, and once the cleaning has completed then I release the compassion so that there is oneness with compassion - being compassion in the world not in myself.

As I said all of this meditation is a paraphrase but I have been able to use it. At the same time I woke up on Friday recognising that my being is Compassion - Avalokitesvara. I have altered this beach meditation to only compassion - meditation in blog entry, and include the above meditation at the end of the chilel.

So if I am compassion why do I resist the 6 syllables - Om Mane Padme Hung?

Taking death further leads to investigation of bardo, limbo, a time between death and rebirth. On p118 "The Union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen" says:-

"The deities which emerge from one's body and manifest at the time of death are not concrete, but are more like energies or expressions of the enlightened essence. Failing to recognise them as being such "self-display", one might think they are the Lord of Death and his henchmen."

This for me is approaching idolatry and bleeding statues territory. At the same time one can see it as witchcraft - Henry's demon on his left shoulder. Until I know better these images are contrived, it is what the faith asks them to believe. That does not make it any less real. Perceived reality is fashioned by collective minds. Let's start with Henry's demon as everyone can easily dismiss that. For him, an educated man, it was totally real - he believed that a spell had been put on him and that this demon was preventing him from being successful in life. However much western minds might mock this, it was real to Henry and his people. They had been brought up with it, their perceived reality had been so fashioned. So what about Tibetan? What about the deities, the symbolic dancing with "trumpets" and all that? Phenomenal stuff but is it any more than a perceived reality? Contrast (some of) HHDL's books with the required visualisations of their meditation. His books are western-palatable, but is the visualisation? I think not, but maybe - perhaps I should read Robert Thurman to find out. Again I think of the Chorlton people, they were playing "follow my leader". They had found something for themselves so it was not to be rejected, but were they really into all the visualisations, the acceptance of Dorje Shugden and the contentiousness. No, they followed a Guru and gained some understanding and comfort from that. They bought into the perceived reality because it gave them something, but did they accept all that the tradition meant? I doubt that, it would be hard for westerners to do so. I mentioned the bleeding statues and there are other stigmata. These are seen by Christians and not Buddhists, Tibetans see their deities Christians don't. It is belief fashioning reality, but what is underneath is what matters.

Chokyi Nyima talks of recognising deities and lack of recognition could result in their perceved as the Lord of Death. How much is this symbolism? Clearly it is for me because I don't buy into it - believe. Because I don't, I have to interpret the symbolism and that is much harder because I am so ignorant. There is a clue in the above quote for me "more like energies or expressions of the enlightened essence". At the beach yesterday I remembered the presences that happened when I was writing, that could be classified as an "energy or expression of an essence". As such I can begin to consider bardo, I can recognise these writing essences.

OK, writing essences occurred 20 years ago. I have moved on and don't have them as I have balanced them out with meditation. Now that I am being compassion, I need to develop that feeling, what is the essence that is compassion? This essence of compassion I meet in bardo. Now I don't know how much that means to me as bardo is a belief system that I am not sure how much I subscribe to, but on death I must face the karmic accounting. What does that mean? How conscious must I be of this karmic accounting? I don't know. Tibetan says it is a conscious process, Theravada says the accounting occurs as part of karma and we are not conscious of it. It is amazing how much divergence occurs from the words of the same man. One can so see the Theravadan prerequisite that we return to the words of the Buddha but there is so much disagreement about what those original words are. Everywhere you turn there is a new sutta or sutra!! And that is without the commentaries.

Somewhere in the book it says that there is a need for a harmony of emptiness and compassion, what does that mean? But it stuck!!

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I remember in Matriellez saying that we should educate about sleep and dreams. Why does knowledge ignore 8 hours a day? Then there is a dream yoga, Tibetan - one of the 6 yogas of Naropa. And then there is lucid dreaming. Basically both of these approach and say that we should control our dreams - dream yoga says dreams are part of consciousness.

For me I am only now just starting yet my dream life has always been vivid. I was able in part to control dreams in that I have dreamt stories such as Dr Who one time I think. When I started thinking again of theosophy dreams came into it as the desire body is connected with dreams. I listened to Alan Wallace at Buddhist Geeks 84, and he is promoting dream yoga. He talks of people who have meditated in dreams.

I have started by trying to go to sleep thinking of compassion, maybe I should be more specific and think about "going out into the dream world and being compassionate". But in truth I don't know where this is going. Do I want to control my dreams? Should I be conscious of my dream state? Or are dreams just meant to be that - dreams? And that I have a waking reality that I should try to perfect, and by so doing change my presence in dreams.

I can remember solving maths problems when asleep, having a problem go to sleep and the sleep has worked out the missing step. Saying this in class did not meet with derision, so kids thought it possible. So I have Evans-Wentz to look into Tibetan and Lebarge on lucid dreaming, and between them I can hopefully take a position on dreaming being conscious of the, and controlling my appearance in them. Mmmmm!

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One - the Movie
I have finally got round to watching this. It looked interesting but then it started with an indulgence - indulgent Americans and maybe some personal bias. You have to wonder who these people were that so many great people agreed to an interview, and that kind of sums up the movie - they got something.

Here is their website:-

I downloaded the movie from Documentary Heaven ( but when I tried to find the links there I couldn't, so here are links:-

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Why watch it? There is no dogma, we're all saying the same thing. Oneness. Be compassion.

(PS The bias in me saw Americanism in the Q&A at the end.)

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Watching the Sea
I am sure this analogy has been described before but as I watch the sea most days I am going to describe how I feel about the analogy. I sit and I watch the sea (in between swimming, Chilel, chilel meditation and recently reading a complex Tibetan book). And the sea throws light in the Tibetans - somewhat strange really as there isn't too much seas at that height. Anyway I watch the sea. It is huge and on the surface there are these individual swirls or waves. If you look at them they are separate. If you took a photo you could circle and point out the wave that you have pinpointed. But if you don't and you look again the wave has gone - it is part of the sea. The swells, the eddies, they are all gone. As sunset approaches the sun shines a beam of light on the sea. And if you stare at this beam of light you can see many different colours on the surface of the water. These individual colours are so beautiful as they are colours of Nature - not artificial. If I took a photo I could record a lifeless image of these colours, but otherwise they are gone - back into the light of the sun. There is individuality and yet there isn't, there is separation and there isn't.

Where do the waves come from? They are created from the sea by wind, the breath of the sea. So what appears as individual waves is in fact the sea changed by its breath, the wind. As a metaphor what more can we search for than the sea and its breath? What appears as individual waves is the affect of the wind on the sea, what appears as individual life is the affect of breath on emptiness, the Tao.

How does this help? All our miseducation teaches us that we are individuals, but to unlearn this we can perceive ourselves as breath on emptiness. We are unity, One - Nature, as breath blows apparent life into our individual souls. But in truth we are just emptiness, the emptiness of the sea.

Where does the sea end and the wave begin? There is no end or beginning, there is only the breath. So this is anatta, no self, there is only breath and emptiness. Attaching to self is like trying to separate the wave from the sea, it is not possible - it is an illusion. The sea and the wave are never separated. Except in a photo - a photo that could be a static image of the past, or a picture - a static vision - of the future, but never the continuity of now.

As an individual part of me perceived myself as individual manifestation, the whole self, as an individual entity that is part of Nature. But what if instead of seeing the whole individual as separate, why not see the body like the surface of the sea in the wave? Rather than creating a whole self on the surface of emptiness, what about just the shell of the front of the body as the surface of the sea? Rather than excluding emptiness from an entity, live as if you are part of the emptiness, one's front as the surface and the rest emptiness, the energy or breath of which is the chi. The Sea of Humanity. Gaia.

Tags - Emptiness, Tibetan
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Observing Meditation and Dreams
Recent changes in meditation have had strange repercussions. Yesterday I woke up with a jolt, I had got arrogant and slack. I had been enjoying chilel meditation at the beach and had allowed this to circumvent meditation at home; I had let home become an entertainment centre. Whilst it always is too much of an entertainment centre, it had become exclusively so. This brought in a good change as yesterday I meditated morning and evening as well as chilel meditation at the beach.

This chilel meditation is different, I need to describe and talk about it. Here are the mechanics. I take in chi from the earth through the legs and the root chakra. Once that is going I take in chi from heaven, and then use the hands to focus on the Tan Tien. And then I forget the chi. I take in compassion through each of the chakras in turn, and then feel a ridgepole of compassion. I sometimes do this three times. Then I withdraw from my desire and mental bodies reaching a point behind the heart chakra as described in this blog. But I had moved the meditation on from this by giving out compassion.

Yesterday this took a further good change. I had been perceiving emptiness in meditation, a unity of emptiness and compassion as said in the book "Mahamudra and Dzogchen". I had withdrawn to the point and was considering compassion and then emptiness, and then said "forget the words". So there was a feeling that was beyond the words. It was bright but there was the sun, brightness is no guide on the beach. That sounds good but I think I'm letting myself get carried away. The meditation at home was disciplined - determined - full-time, but otherwise not good.

This morning is not good and I feel a release of stress, I have been feeling a release of stress for a week or so. I feel this stress is coming from a release caused by the meditation change, and therefore it is a positive release. I woke at 5.00 am and couldn't sleep.

What does the beach meditation mean? I need to balance it with the meditation at home. But it is good I am meditating about emptiness and compassion. When I reach the point and think about the emptiness (or "beyond the words") it as if the body disappears - no front nothing, definitely a good feeling.

But then my dream yoga is messed up. One night a few days ago I went to sleep after meditating about compassion, and this was great. I felt glimpses of dreams in which I had been compassionate, and woke feeling good. But then the last two days I had tried to meditate prior to sleeping to get in a state of compassion but somehow managed to fall asleep without reaching the compassion or my mind moved away from compassion - and the dreams were not so rewarding (not so good). Dream yoga is very positive as the teachers/books suggest but I have work to do. It needs to be a priority in the evening, whilst it does not preclude entertainment it does mean that I have to be in a state of mind where I can meditate on compassion.

When I had the good meditation experience on Monday, the last thing I thought was about doing something meaningful. Then as usually happens when I watched "Wild at Heart" I fell in love with Africa again. Then my mind drifted to teaching in Africa again, I must do it before I am too old. But then I am too old now to do all that head-bashing with the money and careerists. What to do that is meaningful?

Tags - Emptiness, compassion, meditation, dreams
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Littlebang and the West
There is a discussion on Littlebang that is making me angry so I am going to vent.

"And yes, I agree with you totally on being tired of people dissing wholesale 'western culture', as if it meant only one thing.

And Phra Pandit Bhikku, again, I agree with you. There may be things about the 'west' that's no so great, but most of the world is keen to have the freedoms, stability, environmental standards, political and human rights, etc that they see there."

"Personally I am a big fan of Western culture and of mankind's progress. Too much focus on environmental changes and materialism has overshadowed the massive strides our world has taken. We are the safest, healthiest, most free and cohesive as mankind (personkind ..) has ever been. Most importantly we have leisure time which allows for spiritual pursuits. It is not for vanity that the world's nations seek to 'Westernise'.

Where is the holistic viewpoint? How can Buddhists not stand back and see the world view? I diss western as a whole and see that there are some good points. Why do I diss it as a whole? Because it is the western economic model and its history of exploitation that is creating Dukkha. They are the creators of Dukkha in the world at the moment. If the world is Dukkha then it is the world leaders who are creating it, and at the moment the world leaders are western. And as westerners we cannot say we are not George Bush, we are not Barack Obama, we are not Tony Blair. We cannot say we are not the decisions that are made by big business. Because we are. Collectively as British people we have allowed this to happen. And how do we justify it? By doing good works elsewhere. We leave the problem of western capitalism creating Dukkha and damaging the world causing hell for so many people, and we pretend things are ok because we are comfortable in our meditation etc.

This is the end of the venting. I then tried to write a piece that would bring the issues into question, here it is:-

A certain part of me envies westerners who are comfortable with western society and perceive that our current western society has done more good than harm. As the western powers are the global power I consider they are the current causes of Dukkha, although as far as I understand it Dukkha will continue after they have gone. Over the centuries western empires have accumulated resources that have led to progress but at what cost, to whose detriment we will never know. But in the now isn't it those powers we need to work on? I know when I tried I realised that in a democratic country you need to have 95% of the people fighting together for peace to overcome the 5% who seek war for profit. That was not going to happen. I now hide away in Thailand enjoying meditation sun and sand but sadly the way I do meditation I cannot stop feeling a responsibility for the actions of a government and system I am a part of - now inactively.

I never sent it. In fact I submitted two comments but got no replies and have decided it is not a forum for me. They like the comfort of the intellectual Buddhism which does not question their western values.

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Beyond Dogma and Culture
Understanding lies beyond dogma and culture. For a long time I have persisted with Theravada, I needed depth rather than eclectically jumping from one dogma to another taking this bit and that. Whilst I might have been making progress that way depth was needed to make further progress, but that depth in itself becomes an issue because it means increasing dogma. What do academics do? They learn some academic dogma, and then in research they focus on minutiae and take that to a greater depth of minutiae. Yet the big picture of knowledge and understanding is found in stepping back and seeing what knowledge is. For me at the moment I am stepping back, learning from dogma has taken me to a depth but now I need to step back and see what the knowledge is that I have gained.

I am in Thailand now and have just read an interesting article (Bhante Littlebang article) about how Thai Buddhism is connected in 3 themes - The suttas (what the Buddha said - ignoring the veracity issue), Brahminism and animism. I don't follow Thai Buddhism much even though it is all around me - but it appears to be based in faith, for example a belief in merit-making practices that is historically founded; how much of it is based on understanding? The Theravadan Buddhist monks and teachings I tend to follow mostly come from Wat Pah Nanachat - International Forest Sangha, how much do their teachers believe in Brahminism and animism? According to Bhante's article he is comfortable in perceiving what the Buddha said as being layered on top of the prevailing Brahmin and animist beliefs, these are cultures I do not want to believe in. How much are the realms of the devas relevant to westerners yet this is the culture of the teachers? Have these teachers become detached from their culture? In the article Bhante observes that Christianity is an exclusive religion, I think he is referring to a notion of being completely Christian and others are wrong. When Christians come to Buddhism do they leave all that is Christian behind? For me it is a major concern as to the cultural imposition of these teachers. I have spent all my life trying to unlearn western culture I do not want to replace it with eastern culture, I want to go beyond culture and dogma.

When I examine Tibetan I learn a hierarchy of yanas, Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Hinayana is the lesser vehicle and it is the way Tibetans (in general I think) perceive Theravada, one recent Rinpoche in Bangkok specifically did not refer to it as Hinayana - perhaps for these reasons. What I have read that is Vajrayana points to Tantric Meditation where you invoke the Gods as yidams. Here is an example. In meditation I imagine Avalokitesvara above my head, build up the image of this God above my head and then try to become this God. I have to say this feels a lot like ACIM (ACIM warning) that I rejected. I am not a God with all that image construes. I cannot perform miracles but I do have the ability to be compassionate - Avalokitesvara is the God of Compassion. Is it not enough that we try to invoke compassion - be compassionate?

What is animism? I had a fairly close encounter with animism in Africa. An educated man believed that someone had cast a spell on him, and this spell had left him with an evil spirit on his left shoulder preventing him from any success. In discussion with him I attempted to get him to believe in self-realisation, and he did feel he was making some progress with this. I did have an advantage with this because white men, mo-kweri-kweri there, were immune to this magic. At the same time this magic allowed for muti, and I heard of examples of teenage girls being murdered for body parts as their muti was supposed to be the strongest. The country was Botswana, and the problem was so big that students went on strike because government officials were involved in a cover-up as no effort was being made to catch the perpetrators - the students believed the perpetrators were within the government. Animism has a belief that all things have a spirit. This might well be true in separation, but as a Buddhist I believe in unity. We are all one being working together and that is enough for me. If I allow myself to be part of creating an animist framework that animism will grow, and perhaps with it the magical practices that I have heard of in Thailand. Maybe the sort that was so prevalent in Botswana. This spirit of animism might well be considered in terms of the chi. As Zandtao I believe in keeping the body healthy, and use the universal energy (Chi) for the benefit of Nature. Somewhere in this view of energy I believe I have perceived the animist framework as the energetic framework that involves the chi and chakras. Within this perceived change in framework if I wanted to term the chi that I breathe in through the crown chakra as kwan, a spiritual chi, I might well be moving the kwan away from an animist practice that is prone to magic and immoral practice.

So what is the process that we go through in incarnation - healing and learning? How do I consider this process beyond dogma and culture? In my current development I apply the two-stage model. In the first stage our karmic consciousness is born within me with its debt. Attracted to my parents and culture it builds around itself a being and environment in which that debt can be paid. This BillZ that has been built develops the addictions and false learnings that become unlearned as an adult -hopefully learning enough to improve the next time round. How much of this is dogma I don't know - it doesn't feel like dogma to me or I wouldn't be saying it?

Whether this 2-stage model is dogma or not I do the best I can.

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HHSR, Ego and Culture
On pp116 - 121 HHSR in "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" gave an excellent description of ego, most of which I would like to copy in this blog - it is worth studying. In part of his description [p116] he talks of a woman recovering from amnesia seeking an identity. "Frantically, and in real dread, we cast around and improvise another identity, one we clutch onto with all the desperation of someone falling continuously into an abyss. This false and ignorantly assumed identity is "ego"."

What happens to young people in the West. In general religion is weak and attitudes to family are varied. The one constant is education - for most going to school and for most of the rest taking exams. And what is the primary aspect of the mind that we educate in schools - the intellect. Especially for those successful in the western education system, by its terms, (ie those who have passed innumerable exams), the intellectual ego is very dominant. What is the difference between intellect and insight? Outwardly none. The Buddha had insight into the 4NT, what if I had insight into them? And wrote them down calling it an insight, people would laugh and at best call it plagiarism. The outward form of insight is concept as with intellect, so the intellectual ego takes great steps to block insight - to block memory of who we are, to block us from returning home.

Now this intellectual ego is very powerful in the West, it is a significant aspect of our culture. When we talk of the spiritual Path many of us have had to battle with this intellectual Path; in my case I hit bottom. On p128 HHSR describes the difficulty of finding the Path in the West and contrasts it with Tibet where "choosing a particular path or teacher was far safer". Culturally this is so important. With the dominant hegemony of the West few consider seeking understanding elsewhere. Whilst Gap year people seek adventure and perhaps some understanding it is mostly to add to their cultural experience gained back home. It is not a process of unlearning that which distances them from the Path - such as the intellectual ego. And for those that do venture that far, they enter a teaching environment which talks of Gods, demons, ghosts and animism. It involves a teaching style that demands blind obedience and contains an unwillingness to accept questioning. Whilst it is necessary to accept discipline, whilst meditation is needed to overcome attachment to ego, and whilst pointless questioning is only a distraction, such teaching styles can alienate some serious western seekers. As a result these return to the West to the charlatans who offer a quick fix and exhorbitant prices such as Big Mind often referred to by Brad Warner (this is a typical blog entry). Devotional styles of learning, whilst suiting some individuals, do not fit in with the miseducated minds of western culture.

Unfortunately this is a matter of survival of the spiritual Path. There are far more westerners floundering around with this or that fad connected with spirituality than there are on the Path itself. Such floundering is understandable when you consider the intellectual minds their search is predicated on. As a consequence western spirituality is not making sufficient inroads. The intellectual education which has developed a powerful ability to dismiss that which does not benefit capitalism disparages the trendiness and ethereal nature of much that goes for misguided western spirituality leading to an "entire society j. seeming to negate every idea of sacredness or eternal meaning"[HHSR p128]. HHSR quite rightly tells us that in Tibet there is a tradition of lineages which he points to as a wisdom tradition and a means of safety. But whilst the people of Tibet might accept this tradition and be willing to scramble across Tibet prostrate on all fours to visit the Potala Palace, western miseducated minds in general do not accept such devotion. Perhaps there is a balance between this devotion and the miseducated minds, I know far too little to assess what that balance is, nor do I have the wisdom to determine the appropriate pedagogy. But what is clear now is that globally the world is distancing itself from the spiritual Path and the wise are not able to influence the power of the West. Assessing the nature of the powerful miseducated western mind and determining the pedagogy that copes with such minds is a matter of global survival. When you combine this with the increasing accumulation of power by the few in the West, the danger is so apparent.

It might well be that in this day and age more westerners are seeking some answers to the problems their populations allow their democratic governments to perpetrate, but the spiritual influence is not affecting what needs to be affected. In the 60s there was a movement of people in the West who sought a means to move spiritually to love and peace, but now we are in a far worse situation. Whilst there may be many people on the internet seeking solutions, in the real world the power continues to accumulate with the few whose spiritual dearth is frightening. Those that know perhaps need to re-evaluate how they are teaching, how their teachings are being spread in the West.

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What happens in the West?
Obviously this is too general because every individual's case is unique but unless attempts are made to understand the spiritual Path in the West and how it is going wrong then it will continue to be the mess it is.

1) The Eastern route is one way, western people grow up attracted to the east. Maybe that attraction is fostered by the presence of monasteries that have been spawned from the east, or maybe they have met people who have spent time out east learning. Or maybe just the reading is enough.

2) Another route is the traditional western religions but the attraction of these appears to be getting less and less - it is difficult for me to judge having lived outside the UK for 20 years now.

3) And then for want of a better way to describe it there is the spiritual route, and this is a mess. But in my view, unfortunately this is where most people who are genuinely trying to learn are floundering. This spiritual route might be best summed up with the mish-mash that is the Mind Body and Spirit Festivals. It attracts the genuine but there are also the charlatans and those using the Path to make money - not to earn a living but to make money. I cannot recall a significant Buddhist input into this the last time I went but in truth I wasn't looking.

For me there is no problem with people who remain attached to the traditions (as in 1 and 2 - see below) but this is not the majority of people with spiritual links; the majority belong to the mish-mash. Much like my own development this mish-mash is faddish. This bit of the Path attracts one day, the mind tires of it and looks for a buzz somewhere else. Or maybe some spark opens people to the Path, and then they spend the rest of their lives fanning the flames stuck on that spark. It is this eclectic lack of depth that decided me to focus on one tradition when getting involved in Buddhism, the focus gave me depth and once in deeper I was hopefully able to develop vision. But focussing on one fad for your life or flitting from one fad to another for your life misses out so much of the spiritual journey. There is no strength and no depth. This is why the traditions have so much to offer because they provide the depth. You have a question you move deeper, another question you move deeper, these questions have always been asked before because of the tradition.

But in the fads the questions have not been asked. If the leader of the fad takes it further s/he answers her/his own questions. Whilst such guidance can be fruitful it is full of the risks of the ego, the ego taking over, the ego becoming attracted to glamour. In this way the spiritual route is full of charismatic figures making wild claims, and, whilst there are pockets of good sense in eastern and western monasteries, this is not where western people are mainly attracted, their intellectual minds are initially attracted to the fads.

So the question then is, is this fad a stage to go through or is it a weakness of the Western Path that needs addressing? Is it sufficient to say that the established traditions exist and westerners will find them? I contend not but in truth I don't have an answer, and as I said in my last blog I do believe it is a matter of survival for there is so much of Nature's western spiritual energy being wasted.

For people taking the first two routes there are few dangers (see below). Such paths are not easy but they are not fraught with danger whilst the spiritual route has so many dangers. First and foremost of these dangers is the lack of morality. Many of these fads had origins in the Beat generation and the hippy culture, if not origins these people gave them a focus. Such focus was positive but significant in the hippies was a rejection of the repressive aspects of western upbringing. And whilst this rejection was in many ways positive, its results have been negative. The unfettered greed of the dominant capitalist ethos has used the rejection of these traditional values to create even greater havoc. But the love generation were moving in the right direction but they lacked two qualities, morality and a tradition to guide it. And this would be a fair description of the Mind, Body and Spirit movement now, in general it lacks morals and has no tradition to guide it.

Significant within this spiritual route is creativity. Now creativity is spiritual expression but it is not expression that is governed by tradition. More often than not this creativity gets perverted by money. The creative spiritual energy is often fostered within the West. Diaries are common-place, blogs sprout everywhere, but where does this creative energy go? With blogs it is mostly wasted, people talking to people in the blogosphere having limited application in daily life. And then there is the creativity that becomes media such as books or films. Who controls them? Is it the creator? No, it is the publishers and distributors. What Nature wants as creative gets buried whilst the immoral publishers force immorality on the creative who need to earn a living. Yet another aspect of the repression.

And what about the repression itself? What happens then? People hit bottom. They turn to drugs including alcohol, as the spirit sees there is no way to go. These people are forced deeper and deeper into an abyss created by the drugs, and sadly some never come out. For others they come out and there is the light of the Path. But then where do they go? Once on the Path there is little choice but to follow, but where is the tradition to follow? Nowhere in the West? So these people on the Path follow the fads. They search the bookstores, attend Mind Body and Spirit etc, jump onto one fad or another gaining a glimpse of the light, a glimpse of the journey home.

Is it enough for the Wisdom in the East to offer the images of Shangri-La? Whilst many such as Ajaan Chah, HHDL and HHSR have chosen to go West to bring their traditions, is that the required approach? Certainly there are a few who have gained from joining these traditions, but the transmission of these traditions remains within an Eastern perspective. Is there not a way in which the traditions can embrace the Western creativity? Is it enough to say this way has worked historically, follow it or flounder? That feels like such a waste. I am not asking for pandering to western ill-discipline but isn't there a way of genuinely tapping into the creativity and questioning of the western mind? After all whilst this creativity and questioning abides in the West it belongs to the world to global Nature, and Nature is suffering because its resources are being channelled westwards and are being repressed. And maybe Nature is saying there needs to be more questioning - in the east as well?

Below:- The Christian tradition has good elements to it but on reflection there is much that is questionable. Evangelism, the right of the born-again to export unreasonably especially in Africa, the African churches themselves with their hybrid Christian-animist screw-ups and much more. Christians on the Path within Christianity can however probably find their way. What about Wolfgang's brother on the Franciscan pilgrimages? Esoteric catholics?

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Doubt and Complacency
In many ways doubt has not been an issue for me. After hitting bottom in my early 20's I knew I was on my Path. After dabbling with Yaqui knowledge, as described by Castaneda, in the Ardennes I knew there was a Path, I knew I had some kind of guide - there was no doubt - there was no going back from the Path. As a teacher at Dick Sheppard (1977-1985) I did many things that were close to the line and some would say I crossed it - even if I did it didn't matter because I was a teacher - no doubt. And the essence of it was that the students were learning - that was my Path. Later when I strayed a little - too much booze and too much involvement in politics, the Path still held me calling me Home.

But there is no doubt that I have been complacent in my life, not always doing enough to hold onto the Path. Often the Path would force me back onto it. And at other times the complacency would say that I am on the Path, I am doing right, and then doubt would creep in causing me to change, and hold to the Path more. This was especially so when I started daily meditation. Here doubt was Nature's tool for keeping me on the Path. HHSR calls this "Noble Doubt" on p124.

An aspect of this doubt is the questioning I have referred to in these blogs 23 and 24? Doubt shows and asks questions about whether I was genuinely on the Path and was I doing the best I could? And now the best I could means meditation. Doubt tells me I am never doing the best I can, complacency says I am doing the best. Between the two is the truth of where I am at. I could always do more and I could do far less. I could always do more meditation, I could always help more people, I could kill fewer mosquitoes, but there is far less I could do, far less than I have done. The balance is for me to decide, my doubt.

This questioning doubt is important and must be part of the Path but it must not be destructive. There is constructive questioning that holds to the Path, a Path that in a permanent sense does not change but in daily life is always changing. Compare this with the destructive questioning that is academia. Knowledge, what is knowledge? Mind, what is mind? Truth, what is truth? And so on. There is a continual academic process of postulate and destruction. There is no conviction, there is no recognition of the Path, just a continual process of destructive questioning. Why is there never a recognition of the Path as Truth? The intellectual ego. The ego is shallow and non-existent, collective recognition of the Path would expose the ego for what it is. So the ego builds its strength by destructive questioning. Enshrined as a place of knowledge, academia ensures that the intellectual ego is never threatened. When people postulate the Path as Truth, academics question. They demand objective proof. They ignore the empirical truth of the repeated meditation journeys but demand truth by rationale; they ignore this mainly because those in power do not follow a Path. But reason cannot find that Truth, it can only be found by intuition or insight. Yet all those with insight postulate the same Path but this is not accepted as proof. Why? Because those with power do not have the insight. So what do those with academic power do? They question destructively. They destroy the Knowledge that is the Path, and repeatedly propose new "knowledge", their theories, which then get attested to by other academics for the simple reason that they follow the people who have the power, senior academics, have control, control of the money and power. As a consequence the only thing that academia does is ensure that the Truth is never known by all.

And ultimately why does this happen? Collective Truth as Knowledge of the Path is a threat to the global money interests. There are two interests who fight the global hegemony of money, the compassionate and the trade unionists. The trade unionists are better than the capitalists because they are fighting to say that all people should have equal share of the cake. Whilst they are better they are still being greedy. This shows with Trade Unionists who demand that the workers in their country should have their share of the cake but supporting protectionism that prevents all the people of the world from having their share.

But the compassionate say we want what Nature wants. Nature provides and we should work within the constraints that Nature provides for us. This compassion would free the world from suffering but it would also deny the wealthy 5% their control of global resources. Control the questioning, keep the questioning destructive, and ensure that we do not learn our true compassion. "Turn the dogs of doubt in doubt itself" HHSR quoted a Hindu master[p125].

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On Masters
I find this so difficult to write about because it leaves me open to legitimate criticism of arrogance; at the same time I know I am not as humble as I might be. When I was younger the criticism of arrogance was completely legitimate, I rejected much tradition simply because it was not current and I knew little of what that was. That was the arrogance of youth fuelled by an education system that encouraged me to be arrogant because of success in exams. Now I am fighting the label arrogance in search of a truth.

Do I need a master to be the best I can? Are teachers and masters the same? When HHSR talks of devotion to a Master he is talking of a genuine form of mimicking that Master through devotion. I don't do that. Would I do that if I met a Master? To be quite honest, I am not sure I would. And that to me sounds incredibly arrogant. So I want to investigate it. Is HHSR one of my teachers? In other words are books teachers? I am not saying all that HHSR is is in his books, I am absolutely certain that he is far more than his books, but I can learn from his books. And as with all teaching the teacher does not always know what the student is going to learn, for the simple reason that when the teacher uses words such as Path its meaning is so different for all that use it. I am equally certain that I cannot know what HHSR means by the word Path, partly because he is far wiser than I and partly because he is from a different tradition and at present I do not attempt to follow his tradition.

I classify teachers in two ways - Inner and Outer. The Outer teachings are through meeting with wise people, talks and books. I have met wise people personally but with all due respect those personal meetings could not be described as meeting with Masters. I have attended talks given by people such as Thay or Krishnamurti, people who some might term Masters. These people are impressive, and when I consider their wisdom I feel small and that I have much to learn from them. But not as a disciple. Whilst I have studied Thay's books I do not wish to live in a Plum Village. Whilst I have much to learn I am learning in my haven, Baan BillZ, with my Inner teacher. Does that mean I am complacent? Far from it, I could spend more time learning, but equally I could spend far less.

I remember my last reaction to a Thay talk, I was dissatisfied. In part I was dissatisfied because I could not understand his reaction to the sound system failure. But I also reacted internally. I had looked forward to his talk yet when I attended it was a let-down. Why? Fundamentally I realised that what needed to be done was internal. I needed to engage with teachings internally, I needed to improve my meditation, it was my journey that I needed to work on. This was not going to happen at talks when there is so much more I could do. The talk taught me that I was not doing the best I could. That realisation was a valid enough reason for attending the talk but surely I could have told myself that, it was not the external teaching of the speaker .

So many wise people say you need to work under a Master, I cannot dispute them - they are so wise. I don't want to dispute them, if you can find a Master to work with then great. My concern is for those who have not found Masters. I believe the term I have heard used is Spiritual Tourists, maybe their search for a Master is genuine, but the people I am concerned about are running from one Guru, ashram or teacher to another. Some are waiting for perfection, if everything is just right then they will become a disciple. Can everything be just right? I met a guy who believed Tai Chi was everything - he had never done it but he was convinced it was the answer and was waiting until he found the right teacher; I don't know if he ever did and whether it was his answer. His criticism of what I was doing was that I wasn't 100% Tai Chi, and I shouldn't be concerned about this and that. It was so theoretical, he was not doing the nest he could at the time - waiting. Another guy I knew in Africa had been in a commune in his 20s. He claimed he had worked for enlightenment but never got it - so he had given up. At the time I knew him (in his 50s) he was a drunk. Maybe there is this perfection around but surely what must be done is the best you can at the moment, not what is available at the end of the rainbow. How many people are out there looking for the perfection at the end of the rainbow?

So much can be done with your internal teacher, that is what I am trying to say. I am not arguing against Masters I am simply saying work with your internal teacher. Our western education trains us into seeking solutions outside, this is the intellect. The intellect scrambles around on the surface of the mind pasting on this or that theory evaluating it rationally. But this intellectual mind does not internalise, the ego does not allow it. In a sense this is what happens with spiritual tourism. People wander from teacher to teacher, and the words become theories on the surface of the mind. I met a guy who had travelled and visited many teachers. He appeared to me so confused. There were aphorisms and supposed deep-thinking for every occasion but what there wasn't was the internal peace that comes from integrating internally; he was still seeking a teacher.

Does the requirement of becoming devoted to a teacher fully recognise the way this can be misconstrued by the intellectual mind? A major need is to internalise, of course teachers would point that out. But how much can be gained by internalising for oneself? Taking that journey for oneself is so refreshing rather than receiving it as a teaching and then perhaps lulling oneself into thinking one has internalised. It is so easy to receive a teaching and then apply it with all good intention because at the time it was required. Such a receiving can also come with a great feeling of learning produced by the learning environment, and yet in colder isolation later one can realise that this was not the bells and banjos felt during the buzz of the teaching. Of course the teacher can point that out if they are aware of it. But if the journey is made yourself you can internalise, and then the process is more genuine.

This does have dangers however, dangers that a teacher can help avoid. But there are two things that can help you on your own - meditation and moral integrity. Meditate daily morning and evening. And in meditation develop a deep moral integrity, question your morality. By this I do not mean recant a moral platform, do not enunciate moral righteousness, but develop a deep moral integrity. Without this the Path is dangerous. How many spiritual tourists are also sexual tourists seeking spiritual answers whilst sleeping around? In our western culture traditional sexual values have been lost, the sexual values of monogamy and family. It is so easy to get sucked into a lifestyle of dabbling with spirituality whilst dabbling sexually. Is this the answer? Discuss spiritually and then into the sack. If you come from a society where promiscuity is quite prevalent then it is natural to consider that sexual liaisons can go hand-in-hand with spiritual discovery. But is that in fact true?

This is not something to be prescriptive about, but the sexual practices of some of the spiritual is something for concern. I know for me that relationships have always been a distraction on the Path, and in the end I have come to realise that I was not being genuine in seeking such relationships. At the core how many women are seeking relationships with a view to starting a family? I believe this is natural for many, but in my relationships with such women whilst I might have verbally made a contract that I was not seeking family was that the way the woman saw it? On the spiritual path maybe women perceive this notion of family differently, how can I possibly say? Maybe there is a spiritual union on the Path? I don't know but I can only describe what has worked for me. Since I have stopped seeking a relationship I have been less distracted from the Path, of course age and the lessening of the sexual desire has influenced that process. I cannot be descriptive but which is more important? The Path or the relationship? Can you have both? Only you and your partner can answer that. The Path is permanent, the relationship is temporary.

So I conclude with Masters. If you have been fortunate enough to find one, then I hope your journey is fulfilling. If not try working with meditation and moral integrity, internalising with our inner teacher can be fruitful.

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Devotion and Complacency
HHSR speaks much of devotion to his masters, following Guru Yoga is integral to the Tibetan system. "To see the master not as a human being, but as the Buddha himself, is the highest blessing" [p137] gives thought for concern along ACIM lines, but the following section [p140] puts this in context:-

"All that I have realised I have realised through my devotion to my masters. Increasingly, as I go on teaching, I become aware, humbly and with real awe, of how their blessings are beginning to work through me. I am nothing without their blessings, and if there is anything I feel I can do, it is acting as bridge between you and them. Again and again I notice that when I speak of my masters in my teaching, my devotion to them inspires a vision of devotion in those listening, and in those marvellous moments I feel my masters are present, blessing and opening the hearts of my students to the truth."

Such devotion can open heart to the truth, devotion can open the heart to the truth. For HHSR the devotion that opened his heart was to his masters so the question to be asked is "If you have not contact with masters or are not seeking a master what is the devotion that can open the heart to truth?"

Can you not have devotion to the Path?

Devotion (Wordweb):-

1) Feelings of ardent love.

2) Commitment to some purpose.

3) Religious zeal.


1) Feelings of ardent love for the Path.

2) 100% commitment to the Path.

3) Religious zeal for the Path.

What does this mean? The Path is 100% the lifestyle, so the question then concerns complacency:-

Is the Path 100% my lifestyle?

And of course the answer is an unequivocal no, so a change is in the offing. It reminds me of my decision at Sihanoukville concerning taking orders. In my travels those 3 months, I had developed a lifestyle that satisfied me that my Path was not taking orders, and using the word I can say it is because I can be more devoted at Baan BillZ. But have I been more devoted? And the answer is yes and no. Yes, because my Path and orders are different. No because I have not committed myself enough to the Path - not enough devotion.

I am blasi and apathetic about removing entertainment from my lifestyle. I freely express "I watch too much TV" but the problem is that I let that TV watching extend into my religious life by altering the shape of my day because I stay up late. I have changed the shape of my day today - sadly I have done that before, but the shape of my day is an act of devotion so hopefully this change will be more determined.

The beach has made me complacent because my Path at the beach mostly makes me proud - there is devotion there. This pride has led to complacency and I have become slack at home, home almost exclusively being domestic, teaching, sleep and entertainment with my meditation suffering because I meditate at the beach. I must make my home more a place of devotion, I must make more time for devotion at home. I always held the mornings sacrosanct for meditation and writing, I need to reclaim the mornings for the Path by curtailing the entertainment. If entertainment interferes with the Path again, then I will have to consider the monastic approach - no TV; I must keep control for the Path, I want the Path to work through me.

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Taking Orders
The more I follow the journey the greater the distance I am from taking orders, sorry Bhantes. Yesterday I wrote of my devotion to the Path, what does that mean in terms of commitment to Buddhism? For Tibetan returning home is the Path, Theravada Nibbana is the Path so there is no issue there. What about the Three Refuges? This is where it starts to get tricky. The Buddha, he was an enlightened man, perhaps he would be a man I could be devoted to. But what did he say? The Pali Canon? What about the various Mahayana texts? Are they what the Buddha said? Theravada says no, stick to the Pali Canon. Mahayanans say yes - somehow. And then Mahayana has revisionist books as well - look at the Tibetans Padmasambhava etc. Are they wrong? I have only one judge, my Path, who I am. My Path judges, the name of the religion does not judge; in the end that is what we all do, our Path judges but we take advisement from the people we trust - often religious people. But in the end our Path judges. Every person is their own religion, this is where I started from in my 20s although I am slightly more informed now. Religions are good for going deeper but this indisputable truth that we are our Paths is the true religion.

So what about the suttas/sutras? I have never read them, I read people's interpretations of them anyway. Isn't my religion then revisionist? I believe the Buddha was an enlightened man, I believe in the truth of my Path and that is mostly where the Dhamma is. Dhamma is truth but all of it? Every book? Every word a Phra utters, every word Bhante utters? I have always listened and judged, I have never taken every word. So what does that mean in terms of the Dhamma/Dharma? It is the truth of my Path.

And the Sangha. It is essential that the Tradition is preserved. How is it preserved? By people adhering to the truth, their Paths. But what happens in practice? People seek their truth through the institutions, and often defer to the institutions. This has good and bad in it. Within the annals of the institutions there is the truth, on the surface perhaps not - people must judge, their Paths must judge. I support the institutions that are preserving their traditions, and still have much to learn from them. But I am not the institution. Being a recluse, being a monk, what is the difference? A monk follows his Path in the institution, a recluse just follows their Path.

So what about taking orders in Thailand? I have never discussed with Bhante what freedoms he has, but he is established and I suspect he has a watched brief as the monk for the Farangs. Quite legitimate. Kind of Thai really, have something for the Farangs so long as it is not them. What would happen with a new recruit? Would they be given such license? No, they would have to prove themselves by first of all immersing themselves in the institution. And what is the institution? Here Bhante's description seems appropriate - Theravada on top of a touch of Brahminism and animism. What does this mean in practice for novices? They are involved in rituals associated with Brahminism and animism as well as learning all that is Theravada. Is that my Path? No. Anything wrong with that, if that's what your Path chooses - no problem.

There is another aspect of the institution of Thai Buddhism that absolutely frightens me. I was talking with my Thai teacher, and discussing food. Now food has always been an issue for me. One of the three prongs of Zandtao is a healthy body, and being a monk your body is always going to suffer from the quality of food that is the alms. One might argue that good meditation can overcome such deficiencies, that might well be true, but why take the risk? Answer - money. If you don't have income then you accept the institutional rules. And money is the point that the Thai teacher raised. There are powerful interests in Thailand connected to the Buddhism, I don't know how powerful. The monks are sponsored by the Thai people, rich and poor, maybe the rich have too much power. When I suggested that the monks should say that their food should be cheewajit she said there would be an outcry. For me that sounds like there is an outcry against the truth.

An institution is a mixture of good and bad or more kindly in this case good and less good. An institution has a lot to offer people - protection, a source of tradition, and much more. But within that there is control, a restriction of freedom. In a sense an institution has a life of its own, it is not simply the sum of its parts. I for one support that life. I have always been too critical of the behaviour of monks. I did not like seeing the monks on the Red platforms, I believe the institution became tainted as a consequence. But that is my perspective only, perhaps wanting too much of an ideal. And of course it was not my institution, I am an outsider. But the institution does have a life of its own, does have an image, does have an ethos, a set of rules. And these must be protected. I support protecting it but do not want the restrictions that come with that.

I will always be on the periphery of Buddhism - as I am now. I will call myself a Buddhist but in truth my Path in Nature is not strictly Buddhist. But when you ask individuals what their Path in Buddhism is all answers will be different, and that is how it should be. I am a recluse, I don't want a church. A wat?

Two days later I shaved my head. I had thought about it for a while because of my hair issue - maybe didn't because of connections with monkhood.

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Zandtao - the bare bones
The Path is beyond culture, dogma, and sadly beyond language to explain. The Path is meditation and moral integrity, and the measure of your devotion is your daily practice. If I look at my daily practice I see how much I am addicted to smasara. As soon as I start to explain the language starts to appear sounding like dogma, such as:-

What is your meditation?

How do you develop moral integrity?

How is your daily practice devotion?

That is simply the Nature of the Path and the need for language to communicate. I hope to make Zandtao the bare bones without it being dangerous because of over-simplification, but then I do write too much. How can the treatise be bare bones?

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HHSR and Guru Yoga
His book should have been a bookblog, if I keep writing about the book I will do so. On pp 143-149 he describes his own Guru Yoga with regards to Padmasambhava. There is much that is interesting about his Guru Yoga, not least of which is my beginning to take on the notion of yoga as unity. His devotion is not towards a living master is another important aspect for me. I have talked about devotion to the Path, and have been concerned that this is not devotion to a physical human being I know. Here HHSR is devoted to Padmasambhava, and he sees this as symbolic devotion to all masters. He is devoted to all masters, isn't that the Path?

He has a 4-step meditation as his Guru Yoga.

1) Invocation

2) Maturing and deepening the blessing

3) Empowerment

4) Resting in the Rigpa

1) Visualisation of the master, invoking in the sky in front of you the master as the embodiment of truth. Fill your heart with the presence and "inspire me to purify all my karma and negative emotions".

2) Mantra - using the mantra offer your heart in one-pointed devotion. He see hundreds of little Padmasambhavas circulating in the form of sound inside him.

3) Rays of light emanate from the master in 3 phases:-

a) White emanating from the forehead of the master and entering your forehead chakra. Mind.

b) Red emanating from the throat and entering your throat chakra. Speech.

c) Blue emanating from the heart and entering your heart chakra. Body.

4) Dissolve the master in light and become one with you in the nature of your mind, the original ground, Rigpa.

Similarities here to what I do, and I see a way of taking things forward but have not worked out how yet.

Since writing this I have tried my own version with intermittent success:-

1) Feeling compassion - compassion through the head and crown chakra linking owth the source behind the heart. Project compassion outwards and try to mix with compassion that is there already. Sometimes get the feeling of compassion.sometimes don't.

2) Have begun saying "Om mane padme hum" to myself thinking of compassion. Despite reservations does feel good.

3) Breathe in compassion through these three chakras and relate it to having compassionate mind, speech and body.

4) Try to be one with compassion and sunyata.

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I wrote 3 years ago about addiction, and it has come round again. A phrase HHSR used reverberated in my head "addicted to samsara", then another question disturbed me "What do I really want?", and the answer to that question came to me in meditation yesterday - I don't want to be addicted to samsara and to help with this I want to become addicted to compassion. I don't know whether this will work - too many things haven't worked, but it has helped so far.

The real issue of addiction to samsara is this for me, if I am not 100% on the Path then I must be addicted to samsara because why would I choose samsara. Why would I choose all this pointless temporary stuff of samsara?

When I was asking myself what I really wanted, a number of the usual answers came up before I decided I wanted to be addicted to compassion. I want to teach - Zandtao or whatever label. I then moved into a flight of fantasy about how and where I could teach Zandtao, but in the end this was not what I really wanted because it was temporary; if teaching happens it happens but it is not what I really want. What I really want is to be compassion not addicted to samsara, and, temporarily I hope, I will become addicted to compassion whenever samsara's addictions beckon me.

I compared this addiction with the alcohol addiction, I didn't really want to stop drinking. I wanted to be healthier - life as healing. To be healthier I had to stop drinking, I wanted not to be addicted to the drink because I wanted to feel better. Although I can't remember being conscious of this at the time I wanted to follow my spiritual journey, my Path, and alcohol was getting in the way. The same was true of relationships with women, I wanted to follow my spiritual journey but women got in the way. And it is true now of samsara, I wanted to follow my spiritual journey but samsara got in the way. The Path, to be compassion.

14/03/11 Realised that addiction to compassion is an avoidance - just didn't work. The issue is "being compassion", that has to be enough. When I gave up the booze I had a negative attitude that it was a good time to try - worried about my health. It was the right time, and with self-disicpline especially on Fridays it was enough. As I started to give it up I began to feel better and the thought of waking up with those hangovers kept me going. Now I want to wake up with compassion and addicted to samsara means that I don't. I want to dream compassion but addicted to samsara means I don't. That has to be enough with more focus on will, the will to being sunyata.

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HHSR Bookblog started
I started the HHSR bookblog today. I have copied entries from this blog so some redundancy. All new entries connected with reading "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" will now be here.
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Nam Pak
A few months ago a new stall opened in Trat selling some organic veg, it was a Godsend for resourcing my diet and health. I feel that the woman who has opened the stall is diabetic as I asked once whether some chutney she made contained sugar - and she thought of me as a kindred sufferer (my language was not up to correcting her). One consequence of this stall opening has been that my veg diet is almost 100% organic. And another is that I have started making nam pak and drinking sometimes more than a litre daily. Strangely it has now affected my health in a negative way, and it has taken a while for me to pinpoint this cause.

It is now warming up. Trat rainy season has started building up to the official rainy season in July. March is hot and April is unbearably hot. I had begun to wake up dehydrated with occasional headaches, and thought about my kidneys. I watched my pissing and saw that it was clear and too frequent, but had not noticed it coinciding with amount of nam pak I was drinking.

What am I calling nam pak? Well at this stall I can usually buy leafy green veg for 10 Baht. I cut off the leaves and put them in a blender with a bit of honey and lemon and ginger tea. I then blend and strain. This gives me just under a litre, but I have on occasions made two batches in a day. Yesterday I drank more than a litre, was peeing regularly, and had a difficult night because I was dehydrated.

Over this period of dehydration I have tried water - peed it. Then salt - helped, but it has never got to the problem - that the nam pak is making me pee too much. The problem is only balance, how can nam pak not be good for you? So I will reduce the amount of nam pak, maybe a glass with a meal to supplement the green.

Nam pak cannot be bad for you so I need to look at what is inside me that is causing this peeing issue, and the answer is candida. I thought I had resolved the candida but it is still there. The water-associated minor headaches and the excessive peeing are candida, the headaches are what is called candida die off and the peeing is as a result of candida still existing. I looked at my diet. Not much there to encourage the candida or dampness except for the sugars in fruit. I will be more disciplined with the probiotics as I still have candida, and I will take ACV daily - perhaps twice daily - no perhaps TWICE DAILY. If that doesn't help, then I will reduce the fruit, meanwhile there is something in papaya that helps so I must eat that.

In the end I want to be able to drink more than a litre if I choose - then no candida.

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Monks, Meditation and Health
Because I choose what I put in my body, my body becomes sensitive to its needs and begins to warn me about what I eat. Whilst this can often show as symptoms, such as the recent head issues - not really headaches, to try to get me to return to dealing with candida - and of course it worked. So what happens to these warnings when you are a monk who cannot control his food? They don't happen - no point. So what does happen? Maybe the same as with anyone else. The body knows it has problems, it knows that the food it is processing is not good for the body. But the body has no audience for a solution so the body waits until the bad process becomes a disease and then the monk acts on the disease. Not a very healthy method.

Now I accept that meditation is at a higher level, and that the subtler level of meditation can control the body. I remember the example Tevijjo Yogi gave me of the siddhis where some Yogis are capable of controlling the substance of their bodies to walk through walls. Most monks do not follow this glamorous approach to meditation, and even if they did at what level does this power of meditation come in. Meditation can however keep one healthy to a certain extent but if the toxins from almsround food imbalances the body starting a process that leads to disease can meditation actually stop that? I don't now but I give that a maybe. I do however suggest that it has more chance of being successful if monks are conscious of the weaknesses in their body due to the lack of healthy feeding. It might go along the lines that during meditation the monk focuses on improving the health of his body. Much as one might meditate on compassion, one could meditate on health.

So the question then becomes do monks ask? Because the institution is stuck in the time warp that accepts unhealthy alms offerings, monks are not taught that the food they eat is toxic and damages their health. The institution waits for disease and then treats it in the normal social way - get a disease and hit the pills or a knife. If the meditation approach can work the monks have to be aware of the problem ie they have to go against the institution by admitting institutional weakness and then compensating. Or the institution has to make them aware, does that happen?

For all people meditating on health is beneficial. One style might be the 4-stage Guru yoga approach where health is somehow visualised, I am not sure what mantra promotes health. Another one could be a chakra approach where good health is breathed in through each chakra whilst bad health or toxins are breathed out. Such meditations would be beneficial for monks and others.

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5 Gateways
This is a good movie, and is well worth coming to terms with; but it had a hard beginning. It was people who had found the Path saying that there was a new world movement for change and liberation. Not a good start, the cynic raised his head.

What was great about the movie was hearing peoples' experiences on the Path, and Western people at that. In their descriptions there were many things that I had experienced and it was good to hear affirmations. They are different to what you hear in the East, see recent East-West deliberations on this blog (starting here but not consecutively). Such affirmations are important when you are brought up in the melee that is western society. It was also good to see the English countryside being associated with the Path, as in my life there were many reinforcing moments when I fled to the coast paths and hills to escape the stress of working life after awakening onto the Path.

The 5 Gateways are:-






These are parts of an Ascension process as described by Chris Bourne.

This is a western Path and it is good to hear it, people who suffer western society and awaken from within need to hear about this in a western way. I don't know whether the narrator of the film, Chris Bourne, is the person who has come up with these 5 Gateways, or whether these are steps described in a wider "Ascension" movement, but I have concerns here. This is the usual thing about the West, where is the Tradition? Is what this guy doing definitely correct as attested by so many people historically who have followed the Path and become enlightened? It is the contrasting danger for those who do not choose the eastern route. The East demands the seeker to fit into a way that is inappropriate for many westerners but at least if westerners fit into this way it is safe; the East has the Vinaya and many other practices which protect the practitioner and the teachers. Even though the ego is still present in the East there is much that is done to prevent the ego from arising.

What tradition is quelling Chris Bourne's ego if he has one? Such a potential danger!!

There are several good signs to this 5 Gateways approach as described at their website. Firstly their approach follows the Zandtao test, body, energy and mind. And as an institution it is non-profit. The movie can be downloaded at their website for free, and it can also be downloaded here. But if you do download from here, please checkout their website there is much more free stuff there.

But it does fail the most important test - perhaps. Sila - moral integrity. Having been recently fooled by people I felt sympathy for, feeling they were in some way on the Path, this test is the most important. Does Openhand have moral integrity? Now throughout the film there was no requirement of appropriate moral conduct, and in a western environment for me this has to be number one - stressing moral integrity. Growing up in an environment in the West where immorality is the common practise, training to move people towards the Path has to begin with sila. This movie did not. There is a kind of western understanding that if you are on the Path appropriate moral action follows. In my view this is not true, although mostly it is. The temptations in the West need to be fought hard, and sila is essential. Of course sila does not have balls, it is not attractive. Many westerners will have come from a promiscuous background, they have certainly come from a society where profit-making trumps morality in most cases. Such people will not be attracted to a course that requires deep morality. Yet that is not an excuse for a course that describes itself as being on the Path to avoid morality, on the contrary it is a requirement that the Path begins with deep morality - moral integrity. For this reason I cannot recommend Openhand,hwthere they are moral or not they do not stress it from the beginning. Although apart from this it did look a good place to start if you had just begun a process of awakening and didn't know what to do.

And in the West places to start are needed.

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On Sila and Ascension
On Sila and Ascension The Ascension programme that I discussed in the 5 Gateways is typical of what is happening in the West - as far as I know - it is certainly what happened to me. Repression in the UK is huge. The way I perceive myself is that Billthis was born in the UK with the natural desire to follow the Path. In his family and through his education he was not able to follow the Path as a child because the family and education were so far from the Path. Together with the huge repression the drink furthered this distance leading to an awakening by hitting bottom. Once this awakening occurred then Billthis was out of sync with society in general. In fact as it happened Billthis did find a sync within the art world for a short time. This was fortuitous but it helped with the realignment. He wasn't alone in an unnatural world that rejected people on the Path. Through the self-realisation process that he was going through himself encouraged by the self-awareness that occurred within some in the art world, realignment took place so that Billthis found himself as a teacher. In the East whilst there is repression it does not necessarily repress the Path. Whilst the people themselves might be exploited perhaps more than in the West, if they wish to follow the Path it is easy for them to become monks and do so. Whilst there is much controversy about Bhikkuni ordination within Theravada Buddhism, it is not difficult for women to find a way to become Nun - a long way from the difficulty experienced by western people who are born to follow Paths.

So Billthis became a teacher but the teaching world is so far from the Natural Path of teaching (see Matriellez's(my) book), there was always a dichotomy he had to face - Being a Teacher and the unnatural path that is society's teaching. So the drink followed. And this was because he had not fortified his Path with sila. Whilst basically being a moral person his sila was not strong enough. If he had followed the 5 precepts, drink would not have occurred nor would the sexual vagaries. Maybe if he was not drunk he would have married although the Path had given him strong independence - a need to be alone.

So his realignment was not complete because it lacked sila, he did not completely follow all that is a Natural Path. Examples of this were the drink and the unhealthy food. Nature he clung to when on holidays and walking but when younger this Natural Realignment strengthened his teaching purpose but never brought him to morality. One reason was because western people on the Path never promoted moral integrity, I do not blame them I should have known better. Billthis rejected the one person who spoke to him of being moral, and that was because there were many people in society who spoke of morality but were not truly moral ie many hypocrites - and other reasons not for blogging. Morality was used by Christians on Sunday, yet during the week their work practices were immoral - supporting the system, and it was the system Billthis knew was so far from Nature - so far from the Path.

Without a deep sila Billthis did not progress on the Path as he might. The drink took over although he never thought so - others would say he drank heavily but was not an alcoholic. The drink allowed him to be immoral because he could justify his actions as being caused by the drink. His sober life was moral, his realignment sober was strong. And he progressed along the Path at sober times, such as holidays where he would read and write. But his lack of sila because of the immorality through drinking slowed his progress.

When he stopped drinking, hit bottom December 74 took the pledge around April 88, his life as a teacher had formed. Realignment had taken place in that he understood being on the Path but there was not the desire for Ascension - for Enlightenment. His Path of teaching was necessary because of a commitment to help. Soon after the end of the drink he started to travel, and although through his teaching he continued to help he found his Path took him further and further from the appalling compromises that teaching forced him to make. And now he finds himself more completely on the Path where the money from teaching is enabling him to study and be true to himself. My blog is significant in describing my Path since retirement, and the first series of blog entries was sila although not as I see it now.

I then began looking up Ascension on the net and one person wrote:-

"There are a lot of things I want in life. Nice place to live, a loving boyfriend, great friends, hot sex, plenty of time to relax and enjoy myself. . . but there is nothing I want more than Ascension. More than all of the above combined." For me this kind of sums up the Western Path, not that we need be ascetic but ....

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Ascended Masters
There is a common theme in much that is the western Path, It is characterised by Ascended Masters or automatic writing. My first contact with this was theosophy. The core of theosophy was Madame Blavatsky. She kind of (by "kind of" I mean that I have not substantiated what IU have written factually as this is a blog) started theosophy with "The Secret Doctrine" which as far as I understand it she received through automatic writing. I can't remember but I think she understood she received this automatic writing from Ascended Masters (please excuse me it is not my intention to "put words in her mouth"). I also believe Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater believed they had contact with Ascended Masters.

Now theosophy is well established in the West, and has a general air of respectability. In fact a friend of my mother's ran one such group near Manchester, and while she was a nice lady I knew her well enough to know that she was not completely committed to the Path. At theosophy meetings there were many books, there were people who considered themselves erudite - I do not wish to comment on that as it is long ago, and people basically discussed the books and theosophical teachings. There were clearly people who had some insight (again a long time ago so I cannot rely on my recollection of judgement), but they fundamentally took theosophy on faith, an observation I made recently when returning to theosophy a little. One tenet of Buddhism I hold dear is that throughout the Lord Buddha asks not that you follow him because he said it but that you understand the teachings for yourself. The teachings of theosophy do not ask that, far from it theosophy demands an acceptance by faith especially when it discusses the occult - clairvoyance etc.

I recently became re-involved with theosophy when considering chakras, and much that Leadbeater said was to take what he said on faith. For me this was a problem, I'd even go so far as to say a turn-off. But chakras need not be approached in this way. It is easy to confirm the reality of chakras personally. Try Tai Chi or Chi Gung. If after a while with those disciplines you don't feel increased energy, give up on them - but I would be surprised. But you must experience the energy, and then trust the chakras for yourself. What I could not experience was all his wonderful-looking diagrams and their derivations, maybe they are true but I left them alone I could not experience them.

There are spin-offs from theosophy, I know little of these, but the cursory glances I have given them do not point away from the faith in Ascended Masters.

I looked at ACIM (see warning), I believe that is connected to Ascended Masters. Similarly there is a book "The Disappearing of the Universe" in which Gary Renard discusses with a Master, as does Neale Donald Walsch discuss with God. What I have studied from these books tells me there is a lot to learn but what I can't tell is whether it is all true as I am not knowledgeable enough. So I back away, and only learn what I can. And as with ACIM when I thought it was going wrong for me I stopped. I do not advise anyone to accept verbatim all that is in ACIM unless you can experience for yourself, as with these other books. How do you know they are true teachings?

I remember reading Castaneda when young. I took Journey to Ixtlan to the Ardennes and France with me and learnt a great deal from it. I began to trust in myself, intentionally getting lost in the Ardennes and finding myself - no risk I found out later. I verified the teachings in the book, and at the time believed a great deal in Castaneda. Recently I began studying Castaneda again (see Fire from Within bookblog). I had heard rumours about him but I had had a good experience. I started rereading one of his books and found that to understand it I had to change a frame of reference - I had to have faith in what he said. Then someone said to me that he had been making things up - researching made me lose confidence, and it was sufficient for me to stop altering my frame of reference, and I gave a Castaneda warning. What I learnt from Castaneda when I was young I will never forget. I will always think of it as what Castaneda taught me, but in truth it was what I learnt for myself by trying what Castaneda had written. How do I do that with Madame Blavatsky's teachings? Her books ask me to believe secrets. For the teachings that others have put out claiming Ascended Masters' input, do I believe because they claim meetings with Ascended Masters'?

For me the answers to these questions are no, yet without realising it many of my travels into the western Path in England effectively asked me to believe in Ascended Masters. In some way I think 5 Gateways does as well. He talks of Ascension, and it is my understanding that ultimately when people talk of Ascension then they are basing it on teachings of those who have ascended - Ascended Masters. I am not certain but I believe that they have a similar process to nirvana/samsara where people reach nirvana as enlightenment and resurrection. But once they have ascended, they cannot communicate except as Ascended Masters.

So how is Buddhism better? Reincarnation and Karma I am comfortable with. Why? I have experienced them but I don't know I have, so why am I comfortable? Meditation. I have recently come in meditation to the notion that I am working to become one with Sunyata - Emptiness. This is a yogic process akin to the Guru Yoga approach of HHSR as described here; to me this is the same as Ascension. But what backs my teachings? The Tradition. What backs 5 Gateways? Ascended Masters. Now I believe the Tibetan Tradition has a belief in Ascended Masters, I am not comfortable with that. But I am not comfortable with the Tibetan reliance on Gurus! However with the Tibetans I can read HHDL and HHSR, I can look at what they write and I can experience a little of it. That makes me comfortable. I can look at their Guru approach and can change their meditations to fit what I am comfortable with, to fit what I have experienced as true, and yet is not outside the accepted traditional teachings. Changing Guru Yoga to Yoga of Compassion is perhaps not what HHSR taught but is not inconsistent with any meditation on the 4 Brahma-Viharas.

So who holds Chris Bourne's reins - the narrator of 5 Gateways? Commerce? Unfair, but there is an element of truth in it; he needs income. Whilst that is a restraint it is not my main concern. Who controls Chris Bourne's ego? The people around him. And that is the problem with much that is the western Path. These separate groups are isolated, they are not part of a combined Tradition such as Buddhism here in Thailand. Or the Tibetan Buddhists? Whether their teachings trace back to Masters I don't know but they do have lineages which they are very strict about - for many including me too strict. These protections make me feel safe. When I watch 5 Gateways, I don't feel safe but I do feel attracted.

I have spoken of glamour with regards to ACIM, and I am scared of glamour when I look at 5 Gateways. When there are glamorous attractions in spirituality, I want to know that there is some kind of guardian there. And what do I see? No emphasis in a western Path on moral integrity. Dangerous.

When people are on the Path, how do you know they tell the Truth? In 5 Gateways there is one lady I felt confident in and one lady I did not have that confidence and felt there could have been an element of pretentiousness.

***My apologies to all at Openhand. I don't know you, I have never met you, and I have only seen the movie. What right do I have to say that one of the people is pretentious? None, sorry. In truth I am not saying one of the people is pretentious, only that one of the people came across to me as pretentious. Her movie image came across to me as pretentious but that doesn't say a lot about her - only her movie image.****

So why say it? People can say the right things but does it mean they are coming from the right place? This is such a problem in the West for those connected to the Path. The Lord Buddha spoke of the 4 Noble Truths - wisdom. I speak of the 4 Noble Truths - litany and dogma. It is not what people say, it is what they mean. If someone is pretentious (apologies Openhand - I don't know you), they will be saying the right things; but deep down within their pretence where is the truth? If someone just starting on the Path, say after their awakening, goes to Openhand and there is pretence they could be damaged for life. If Openhand were part of a tradition, people would be protected from any such pretence.

Now I have been critical in part of Openhand. Look at their website, watch the movie. I felt good after doing both. Look at what they do and judge for yourself, and after judging perhaps look again at my concerns. But if you are starting on the Path and have just had an awakening, you will be far safer in a Buddhist monastery - but for most in the West that Path is not enough.

I am left with the feeling that the western Path is fundamentally sourced from Ascended Masters - but not within a Tradition. Much that is western asks for faith, and whilst much in the East follows the Lord Buddha as a God with faith and without discernment this is not what the Lord Buddha asked for. Experience it for yourself, and if you don't experience it don't go there; please no pretence especially in the West as there is no Tradition protecting you.


Why does it always have to be so personal in the West? The revelations made above by Ascended Masters are made personally to individuals. Why? We are One, not individuals. HHSR says [p143] "All the buddhas, bodhisattvas and enlightened beings are present at all moments to help us,"; isn't that enough?

Aren't people creative? When they create, isn't that a process of unity with the One? Yes that creativity means that the creation is personal to some extent, because of the personality of the person that creates. The amount of distortion that personality creates is difficult to assess, but there is distortion. Is the God that Neale Donald Walsch spoke with a distortion, or is it the Creator if there is such? Are the Teachings of the Ascended Masters not similar with the possibility of distortion? As soon as there is ego there is distortion. Isn't there an ego present with someone who says they have the right to communicate with Ascended Masters?

I don't know, but I know enough to question. And this means for me a need for safety measures. And the only safety there is is in Tradition. That part of the world which has an education that encourages ego and personality also has individual contact with Ascended Masters, whereas the Buddha taught experience Oneness for yourself, the Tao is the Path which is empty, and Emptiness or the Deathless underlies Buddhism. No personality, no individual ascents to heaven. Reuniting with the One is enough, caring for others is enough, not individual aggrandisement through ascension.

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Exploring sila
Evidently sila is an issue in the West, in my view more than elsewhere. Not only that but they export their problems when you consider hellholes like Pattaya or Patpong, Thailand is not faultless for allowing this money to exploit their people. The use of sex in western media is pervasive, and young people respond with a promiscuous lifestyle. As pointed out when discussing 5 Gateways, some western people don't focus on sexual excess even when following the Path.

There are two areas of life where one can examine the development of this sexual excess - in the home and in society. Society's influence is exemplified by the media where a promiscuous lifestyle of famous personalities has been lauded for as long as I have been alive. Education could do more to create a more stable attitude to caring relationships but many teachers, including myself for a long while, are unaware of the impact of immorality on society. Sila is stability, it discourages greed, and of course that is where the cause of society's attitude to immorality arises - the need for profit in big business.

But I mainly here want to consider sila in the home. For me a realistic view of our relationships is deeply lacking, and this leads to instability. Within the home this lack of realism is perhaps at its sharpest. We need to look to Nature to properly assess these relationships. Fundamentally the woman establishes the home to bring up children, and the man acts as protector and provider. But more so the woman protects fiercely. In the West how many women approach a relationship with an honesty that says I am looking for a husband to start a family. Equally I could say how many women starting such relationships actually know that is what they are doing. The many teenage girls I taught were looking for a man, that was the level of it, sadly that was the way they measured themselves - by the quality of the man they found. These same teenage girls had a deep desire to look after babies, but there never appeared a notion that connected both of these instincts in a desire for a home, an environment to bring up children. However teenage girls did find my being single more of an issue than did the boys.

In the West the notion of love is the driving force. For teenage boys this notion of love got very little further than whether they could have sex with the girls, and many lifetime relationships started with these immature attitudes. Our children are born to girls who seek love from a man and to men who seek sex. In Hollywood romance ends with a wedding without even the pretence that marriage is concerned with a home and bringing up children. The most fundamentally important natural act we perform, the bringing up of children, is based on lies about differing views of relationship, neither of which involves bringing up children.

What then happens? The mother's instinct kicks in and she naturally develops ties with the child. Some men accept the role of fatherhood and provider, but most husbands lament the lack of interest the wife has for him with her attentions focussed on the children. In the West, this fundamentally dishonest attitude to relationships and family leads to many children having single parents. And within those single parent families there is the basis for many social problems.

And within families where couples stay together, what happens? The woman dominates the home, and even if the man has concerns for bringing-up the children the woman often rejects those concerns; her need to protect the children takes over and she takes all the responsibility. Within the guild of womanhood stories of the bad attitude of men prevail, and so it becomes easy for her to feel justified in rejecting the man's involvement. The man, perhaps willingly, accepts the role of provider and seeks fulfilment in his work rather than in the home.

And where is sila in all of this? How do the children become moral? Quite simply they don't, or per chance they do. Perhaps a child decides they wish to be religious and develop a moral sense then. But within the fabric of society a child does not become moral. So what is breaking down that leads to this moral absence? It is hard to say. What is clear is there is no moral imperative. This is driven by big business for whom morality is OK if it doesn't get in the way of profits - but deep down moral integrity has to reduce profits.

There needs to be a focus to bring sila into the upbringing of children. Somehow I feel that by nature it is the man who has to provide the moral direction, but I cannot substantiate that. What is definitely clear to me is that the woman will protect first and think of moral integrity second. I know of examples where the woman will protect her children from the moral imperative imposed by the man, often colluding with the child against the father. This might have short-term gains for the mother and child relationship, but in the end the child suffers. Once the father has been excluded often enough he gives up and puts his focus outside the home, and then the stereotypes of the guild of womanhood kick in and their wish-fulfilling stereotypes have come into fruition.

Social focus needs to return to the home, and within this focus there needs to be an increase in moral direction. This sila could be provided by the guiding hand of a well-intentioned father or by moral direction from the mother. This presents a conflict for the mother whose instinct is to protect the child first. This instinct needs to be assuaged by moral direction from society allowing her to defer to moral direction from the father if it is present. What is definitely clear is that the lack of morality in western society is a problem, and this absence starts from the home. There is little chance that the demands of big business are going to change, there is little chance that big business will promote a moral society. But many people know there is a problem. How many of these people see this problem and turn their attentions to moral improvement through the home? Most people turn their attentions to political systems, and seek political solutions. But such solutions are not possible in this day and age, big business is too powerful. Movies like Ethos point to consumer power in controlling the profits of big business, this is evidently true. But by taking personal control of your life, such as consumer choice, life can improve. In the same way life can improve by making a personal choice to be moral. Sila is a prerequisite for the Path, so this approach is also of greater social benefit. Conducting oneself with sila is the source of initial happiness, a happiness that increases with control of the mind through meditation. These can all start at home.

In Thailand monasteries are widely accessible, perhaps more so than churches in the West. It is common custom and practice for teenage boys to spend time in a monastery. Monks are seen as a moral source within Thai society, yet they don't see women in the same way. Nuns are not ordained in Thai Buddhism. Whilst this is an issue especially for westerners many Thai women do not see themselves as capable of ordaining. I observe this, but don't understand this without considering the possibility that here in Thailand men are perceived differently. What is the source of this perception?

I have not read, nor do I intend to read, "Men are from Mars and women are from Venus", but the book's premise is that there is a difference. From the 60s/70s the feminist movement quite rightly rebelled against the oppressive practice of males towards women, and demanded equality. This equality was confused. There were legitimate demands for equality in the workplace but many women by the time they reached 30 then found they were not fulfilled because they did not have a satisfactory home and family life. The affect of the feminist movement, whilst starting from the proper demand for respect for all people, was to move orientation away from the home, I discussed this here and in Matriellez on Education throughout.

It is important to recognise differences between men and women, and what women and men want from relationships. There is no point in living a political ideal that has no basis in reality. With a real view then problems can be solved, with an ideal in place people become repressed into a mould that no-one accepts, and that eventually leads to problems. In this case the problem we have is a lack of moral integrity because no-one is taking responsibility for it.

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The Bhagwan is a magical character in the spiritual world sparking all kinds of opinion. I have not had any personal contact with him or his spiritual approach but I saw a programme when I was young in which at his ashrams his disciples were encouraged to bonk themselves until they reach enlightenment. From what I remember, by fulfilling all their sexual desires they were then going to free themselves from tyranny of this desire and so be better able to achieve enlightenment. I know of two people who studied with the Bhagwan. The first apparently studied meditation with the Bhagwan and is a trained meditation teacher with him. From what I know of him he is my age, chases the Thai girls and does not meditate; he is however an intelligent man. The second man I know who spent time with the Bhagwan I consider very confused, and also has sexual problems. With one I know that his immorality is contributing to his not following the Path, I don't know whether the other considers himself following the Path now - I must ask him. I have one final link with someone connected to the Bhagwan, this is a friend who reads Osho (my friend refers to him as Osho so I use Osho but for me he is the Bhagwan and all associated with that period). At one time this friend taught yoga and meditation, the last I know he wasn't meditating - I don't know whether he is now. When he told me he read Osho, I said I would not read him because Osho was corrupt and I was not good enough to know when he was telling the truth or not. My friend answered that he would be able to know.

I am now going to attempt to examine the Bhagwan and his approach to spirituality. Firstly the Bhagwan clearly does not have sila. If I use the 5 precepts as a measure of sila then his approach encourages sexual excess. I couldn't imagine a spiritual path more attractive to western people than one which allowed young western people to bonk themselves silly in the name of enlightenment. From the outside that appears to be what he offered, and the two people I quoted above are still attached to sexuality, perhaps even addicted. I know one lacks sila, I am not sure about the other.

The other protective measure is tradition, the tradition protects people who become vulnerable when they start on the Path. In this video the Bhagwan starts by denouncing all religions. (Download the video at Top Documentary Films .) This denunciation has some element of truth in it. He says there is only one truth, I totally agree. But how do you describe that truth? The one truth can maybe be experienced by those on the Path, but as soon as the truth is described it becomes mental or written concepts. I have criticisms of religious institutions which I will describe but let me put this view as to how a religion might have started. An individual experiences the Path, and as with all such people they want to describe it and help others find that Path. As soon as they start to describe it, it becomes concepts. Maybe others follow, then they describe their own view of these constructs and a religion could form. Now what happens to this nascent religion? Over time more and more people add their concepts to the religion. Wise people follow the Path and add to the religion, and a religious doctrine builds up. Within that doctrine there is protection because these people add their warnings about the dangers on the Path, one such obvious warning being the danger of the lack of sila and the other warning being the lack of tradition. There is no doubt in my mind that the lack of sila and the lack of the need to accept a tradition enabled the perverse sexual practise that became part of the Bhagwan's teaching. It was necessary for him to denounce religion before he could teach the way he did.

It is easy to denounce religion to the westerners who flocked to India in the 60s and 70s. These "orange" people, like the hippies, rejected what had gone before, the rules and the repressive middle-class values; I too followed this rejection but I was lucky to be too scared to travel when I was young enough to have been influenced. The Bhagwan could have been a movement of his time, encouraging a generation discovering promiscuity with an approach that supposedly offered enlightenment. One friend described the corruption around him as being his followers taking advantage, but there is no doubt in my mind that his choice not to have sila and not to follow tradition setup corruption in his religious approach, whether by intention or not.

As for the institutional approach to religion the Bhagwan does have a good point, what the institution says cannot be the truth - because once it has been described (become a dogma) it is a dilution of the truth. People who seek the truth within a religious setup have to go beyond the dogma, and more than likely those people are not the major religious leaders nor are they those who prop up the institution. But what is important for protection is to recognise what is common in all traditions, and undoubtedly one major commonality is sila. Any approach to the Path which lacks sila therefore in my view is flying in the face of all the past practitioners. From my recollection the Bhagwan and his followers enjoyed that, as would I have at the time.

I am going to continue but it is time for the beach!!

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Addicted to Samsara
What does this mean? You are either doing something that is on the Path or not. OK, you can know what that means. Watching TV and stuff is not on the Path. Maybe watching documentaries, comedy programmes, these are Path - laughing is good, but night after night sitting in front of the TV watching football and cop shows, this is not Path. Being entertained switches off the mind - not mindfulness, and very quickly other addictions can slip in. Mindfulness on the Path needs to be trained 24/7, not being awake and watching TV.

I woke up thinking about this, and the thought of it quite freaks me out. I kind of enjoy my days. Get up. Meditation, writing, beach, TV. Now I have to change TV. I had already downloaded a Man U game, so I shouldn't watch that. And the hard drives of movies and TV shows. But then there is a Miro-full of downloaded clips. Yet my mind baulked at this, it is so used to being entertained. Clearly an addiction, clearly addicted to samsara. This will be a hard change, is it too ascetic?.

Too ascetic. Failed miserably. Meditated late, gave up and watched Man U game!!

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Stress Still Arising
I have organic food delivered from Bangkok, and since a change in staff the delivery has not been straight forward. Yesterday I found myself driving back and forth between two minibus terminals asking where the box was, only to find it left outside a shoe shop at PTT. It caused me some stress.

Today I woke up feeling a little stressed. But why? I went to two minibus terminals, asked a few questions in Thai, did some shopping, went home and came out again, visited the same two minibus terminals, found the food box outside the shoe shop, put it in my topbox, and went home. No real problem. Not as easy as just picking it up as before, but why get stressed? Waking up feeling stressed makes me think that stress is like emotion - I still have it stored in me. Freeing myself from anger means that when something could make me angry I have no anger inside so anger doesn't arise. The anger of the situation just passes away.

How is stress arising now? Life is easy, I have made it so. But something comes up, immoral or stubborn Farangs, Thai life with its disorganisation, crazy Farang drunks and other trivia; these alter the easiness of my life. I don't like it. What happens? In most cases I just deal with it, but in truth it doesn't just happen and I forget about it. When I am out the stress happens, washes over me, but when I get home I don't like it. I am therefore attaching to the stress, and that is why I had the stress feeling this morning. My attitude to stress is not right. Although my attitude to stress has improved because I am not under any stress, stress is still occurring because I want life to be a certain way and when it isn't I feel stress. I do have the right to work towards life being a certain way but when that doesn't happen it should not bother me. I should just accept it.

Yesterday the food thing was irritating, more so because the last few deliveries haven't gone right. But so what? Things don't always go right, let it go. Take it in your stride, accept it, and work at it until it goes right. Accept it and eschew stress. In other words I have not properly dealt with stress, I just don't live a stressful life any more. I have to deal with ridding myself of residual stress and not allowing new situations to cause me stress by simply accepting them. With my current weakness towards stress FarangTratCare cannot possibly happen.

Addendum 12/04/11

Yesterday I was working on stress still arising, and I have certainly contacted something deep. Here is a dream. "I woke up, and 93% of one of my young classes had scored under 16 - no idea where those numbers came from - 1993 was when I started teaching abroad? Of course I was upset. I was in some kind of school seminar, and there was a pipsqueak giving some kind of guidance to people whose classes hadn't done well in tests. That image is when I woke from the dream. But I couldn't leave it alone when I awoke. I got frustrated at this pipsqueak, and the management placing me in a position of having to listen to the pipsqueak. I then started posturing about the pipsqueak, this was not professional having this pipsqueak tell me about my classes. Then I began asking the pipsqueak had he looked at my kids' books, did they have the correct answers in the books? Were the books marked? Wasn't the issue revision? Why wasn't the pipsqueak focussing on the kids?

I then began thinking about my reaction to this. It is 5 years since I retired, and when teaching comes in my dreams it is always an indication that stress is somewhere there. So what is this stress? Although I was posturing about the pipsqueak I wasn't angry, but there was a deep level of frustration. This pipsqueak and management introduction of this pipsqueak was just so absolutely wrong - he was nothing to do with the education of the kids. He never said anything, he had no ideas, he was just standing there a pipsqueak image, a man in a suit in education coming in and lecturing, teachers accepting it (not believing it) because they have no choice. After 5 years there is still a deep frustration that there is nothing that can be done even though I have written Matriellez. The stress is there because there is nothing to be done about what is wrong. So why am I still stressed? Apart from not touting my book, what have I not done? Why am I still holding onto this stress?

OK I want to let it go, so why don't I? I am holding onto samsara, I am holding onto what was important to me in my life - teaching. Teaching was my spiritual expression, it was my way of contributing, that horrible US expression - my way of making a difference. In the system. That is over. The system has no meaning for me now. No-one will read Matriellez, but it is there for people to read. No-one wants to make the changes to education that are needed - look at what Mahachula does. It is time to accept that the problems of teaching are in the past, my life is the spiritual journey, heal from the past and lose the stress. These are the two journeys of life, the first collecting the baggage, the second healing from it. I had to work, I had to earn money, I have the money to live in retirement and be spiritual. I have learnt about the world of work, and how important that is in understanding the spiritual life, now I must let that baggage go - heal. That is the stress, I am still holding onto the past - not healing completely - still holding onto the idea that knowing the truth about education actually makes a difference. These thoughts must arise and pass away. They are on record in Matriellez, what more is there? Education is a distraction to the Path, I have done my bit - move on.

As I am writing this I can feel the stress welling up, no anger, just welling up. It is just like I talked about in the Treatise on emotions, finding the emotion experiencing it and letting it go - finding the stress, experiencing it and letting it go. It is like emotion but it isn't. It is frustration but no anger. It is just the knowing that what is happening is wrong. It is the source of the emotion but not the emotion itself - that emotion only comes if I attach to the stress. But holding onto this source is holding onto baggage. I have to let that knowledge of wrongness go, it is the past - heal.

After writing this I fell asleep for a couple of hours. I awoke feeling empty and drained, now just the Path.

Next morning I also tried the releasing stress drowsing meditation in the morning, felt better, but my digestion is not good today. How are emotions, digestion and the digestive organs connected? TCM says the liver is the source of anger, kidneys fear, where is stress - stomach? If you don't deal with emotions what damage is done?


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Bhagwan 2
Here I began discussing a Bhagwan movie (downloaded it from Top Documentary Films ).

What is that watch?

At the beginning there is written advice on listening, basically listen without the mind interfering and afterwards use the mind with discernment to agree or disagree. I have heard this advice from spiritual teachers before, in my terms because your own mind can play tricks on you you need to listen openly. But there is another aspect of the discerning mind and that is that it can sift out that which is false. In the case of the Bhagwan you are dealing with some part which is false, as he and his organisation were corrupt - one person says he wasn't corrupt just those around him, I doubt that but even if it was true you choose your helpers discerningly. In the case of the Bhagwan I do not recommend listening with open mind as you don't know what will sneak through. As I have already discussed, the Bhagwan rejects the prevailing religious institutions along with their protections of moral integrity and tradition, so without protections he then expects open listening - this is very dangerous. Look at how many caring people wante to believe Barack Obama, and he is participating in more wars than Bush - he has started one. Listen openly to the truth but not to lies, do not listen openly to the Bhagwan.

On his discussion about truth there is a lot of truth in it, the truth is there to be revealed - for us to find. But there are dangers on the Path to finding the truth, He claims there are problems because there are diverse religions, of course there are problems. But those problems are caused by the interpretations of the truth those religions ascribe to. Some interpretations can be close to the truth but once spoken or written become dogma - therefore losing some truth.No wrtten or spoken religion can be he absolute truth, but they can get near. And the more people who have got near and contributed to the truth the safer the rleigion will be - at the expense of depth of course. The interaction between man and Truth creates a dogma that can become a religion, once man has interacted some Truth has been lost.One corollary that follows from this is that if people believe him they don't believe others - he says there is only one Truth; this is also dangerous relying on only one person. HHDL says all religions contain truth, he follows his, you follow yours.This is the danger of gurus an guru yoga, relying on the absolute truth of an individual. He calls the religions fictions and says they have nothing to do with the truth. This is totally condescending, how can you possibly say this about all religious people. This is a symptom of the time where hippies had rejected their upbringing - he appealed to that rejection to gain followers -so dangerous. His reasons for rejecting religions were spurious, not racial, not geographical, not historical etc. Of course that's true but people have all of these characteristics so when people interpret the truth that truth takes on a human character of racial, geographical, historical etc.This is not a reason to reject religion, it is a reason to be discerning about human interaction and interpretation. He then compared it with science - again spurious. The basis of science is objective proof, and this objectivity does not have character of race, geography or history. I have discussed previously the division of knowledge into science and religion at the time of Bacon and others, science being knowledge gained through objective proof and religion subjective. The Bhagwan argues for truth to be subjective and yet uses the objective sword of science to justify his subjective religion - this way of arguing is inconsistent. Science could justify the objective, religion the subjective. Boiling water is a truth, religious experience is truth - completely true yet when truth as religious experience is not the same for all because once experienced has a human character. Truth is always the same but once experienced it takes on a different character.

Note he uses the word "Mohameddan", Islamic people reject that term, their religion is not about their prophet.

And then he comes back with the Truth, it is beyond time and space, 5000 years before or after, I am not surprised he was popular and so dangerous. Truth has no personality.

10.00 mins

He describes people as having different personalities, behaving towards a lover, servant, priest, Pope, Mahatma, etc. He describes the changing of personalities as automatic, "man's mind has a robot part in it".When you learn to drive you have to be alert but after learning it is part of the robotic mind. He then described in detail a story of a man and his lover on a train bringng about laughter. So he described our personalities as robotic and left it at that, where is mindfulness? Where is the control on these robotic behaviours? Mindfulness is important in controlling unskilful practices.

24.00 mins

"To experience existence as it is is to know the truth", and "your centre .... is where you are joined to existence". "Love affairs are bound to fail". There is a limit as how close to a lover one can become. Love affairs become close but impossible to be one. He then equates this with love being impossible but this is not what love is. "The misery of lovers is that the loving heart wanting to become one with the other is bound to fail" but beingness is not bound to fail. It seems that he equates the misery of lovers as an inability to be one with the universe." He describes the closeness of lovers in an intimate moment as being the moment of true love, but this introduces failure because two can never be one. It appears he concludes there cannot be love, and because nothing is static people must move further away. Rather than seeing this as attachment to failure and that unity with oneness is love, he implies there is no love - this love becomes anguish. "Blessed are those who have never loved as they will never know this anguish". He described the wife as habit - fair enough, you accept the wife as routine.He says "nobody can become one with the other", there is no cosmic other. "If this were possible then there would be no need for religion".

51.00 mins "The need for religion comes after you have experienced that your aloneness is absolute". "Religion is when love has failed". He wants you to know that love cannot work so that you turn to religion. After love has failed he wants you to turn into yourself and find religion.

But why are love and religion exclusive? Why not, when love for the other fails find universal love - religion? In fact that appears to be what he is saying - one with being. But I fell asleep, so will have to watch this part again.

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The Last of the Bhagwan
So maybe I fell asleep at the part where I can agree with the Bhagwan.

From what little I know of such, aren't his nails manicured?


He had reached the stage where religion only starts once people know there is little point in love - bodies can meet beings cannot. Then he started with the pointlessness of trying to climb the ladder laughing at Jimmy Carter who had reached the top, at the end of his term of office there was nowhere to go, and he couldn't smile. Straight-forward sensible realisations concerning attachment to Samsara.

1 hr 29 mins "Once you enter into yourself you suddenly blossom." "There is only one door that can help you, and that is within you." Again he talks about established religions not being able to help, but they can - they can point the way to the door, although institutionally there are not many that know. "Taking a jump into yourself you have plunged into existence, in that moment you feel a tremendous oneness with all. No more alone. Because there is no-one other than you." This is excellent, and then I have a problem with what he says because he criticises what he calls pseudo-religions:-

Having described you, in oneness, expanding in all directions he then says "It is not something you have to project or think, concentrate, discipline your mind, that you are one with all. If you try hard you might believe, oneness might become a belief." Again this is mixed. To project or think oneself into oneness is self-hypnosis, but to concentrate and discipline the mind is not. So he has lumped together the good and the bad as actions not to be carried out. Here is his danger. When he describes a potential enlightenment situation, he mixes egoic actions with the Path tarring all with the sweep of the same brush.

He then went on to describe a particular charlatan he met, as a person who hypnotised himself with the thoughts becoming beliefs, and he was told if he didn't proceed with the hypnosis then his seeing God everywhere will disappear. After 30 years of this self-hypnosis the charlatan lost it all in one day of silence. "It is not your experience, it is just an imposed idea. Never start from a belief, look into yourself and don't ask me what you will find there because you will start hynotising yourself."

"Religion is experiencing the truth, it is the last luxury, the ultimate luxury." I don't like his use of the word luxury but he is certainly speaking the truth. He said "I became enlightened under a mulberry(?) tree". I am sure he did not. There are no doubts that he had a religious experience, and this has put him on the Path. But did he stay there? I think not. This is perhaps the most important weakness in his teachings. He promotes the bells and banjoes but he is not teaching about 24/7 truth. It is not enough to talk about going inside and having an experience of truth, it is necessary to develop that truth in your daily life. If you only seek the experience then you spend your time attached to that experience trying to recreate it. To develop 24/7 truth people need moral integrity and personal discipline, without which temptations can take you from the Path.

Maybe this is what happened to the Bhagwan. In his early life he maybe had a powerful experience of truth, and began teaching about it. He had charisma and the ability to express good approaches to the Path. This attracted followers who were willing to give him money. He became attracted to the dual life of guru and wealth with the wealth leading to corruption. By rejecting religion he had rejected the traditional protections needed on the Path, maybe by intention or simply because it suited his lifestyle. Removing the protections made his teachings open to western youth (hippies) who had rejected "Victorianism", and they bought into the false Path he was offering, a Path that eventually led to his corruption and all the image that was the Bhagwan.

By default the Bhagwan teaches those on the Path three things:-

1) Moral Integrity

2) Follow tradition

3) Be mindful in daily life.

4) Don't be attracted to the bells and banjoes.

If one can listen to the Bhagwan whilst holding onto these strengths, maybe the Bhagwan can teach.

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Stronger sex drive?
This is a question that people have shied away from following the feminist movement of the 60s. Personally I think it is a very important question, both legal and otherwise, but raising such issues as a man usually leads to bitterness and some abuse from women. In the relationships I have been in it has not been my experience that the man and woman equally desires sex, in all but one relationship I was the one instigating sex. The one I didn't instigate the woman demanded sex every night as a way of keeping me faithful (because my back was empty), this was a woman living in Southern Africa. In most of the other relationships the woman said, and I presume perceived herself in the same way, she was giving me sex. In some cases I was the one talking of making love, and the woman was talking of duty.

Now consider lust. It is generally accepted that a man can lust after a woman physically, a man can be sexually aroused just by looking at a woman. There are many seedy establishments in society that cater for men's desires ranging from sexually-dressed waitresses (in expensive restaurants serving cheap food) through to brothels. There are occasionally partially reverse establishments with acts such as the Chippendales, but this is not the norm. For me this points to men desiring women sexually more than women desiring men. This places man at the mercy of women because of his desires.

How often do women withdraw sexual favours because of an argument? Is this fair? In a loving relationship isn’t it recognised that we should take care of each other's needs? That does not mean that the woman should be the man's sexual slave, but it should be recognised that a man's needs are different to a woman's, and in marriage the couple has agreed to support each other. There needs to a balance for all of both partners'' needs, I am not asking that sexual needs be considered in isolation.

Now the feminist movement grew out of a perceived inequality at that time, and I agree that there were many wrongs to be righted then. But what happens in relationships now? A man desires sex, and has to woo the woman he is married to. Why should that be the case? Doesn't the woman love the man? So doesn't she want to satisfy his needs, in the same way as he wants to satisfy her? So what are her needs? Are those needs wooing? If wooing is the case does the woman always cooperate after a man woos her?

Where does the provision of a home come into this? What does the home mean to the man? To the woman? In my case a significant part of the home was the place where I could be alone with the woman, relax after a day’s work and enjoy being with her? Now that is a one-sided view (mine), but I never knew what the other side was. Was that intentional? Some men agree that is the intent. Raising questions of equality, doesn't that require openness and accountability on both sides?

Traditionally in marriage the man is the provider. The woman tempted him, and for what she offered he decided to provide. This then led to the unequal and unreasonable situation where the woman was a chattel. Now women work and demand a different role in the home, but how does this work? Is it based on the value of the income - purchasing power for the home? Does the man marry knowing that soon after the birth of their child he will be cast aside? Did the man agree to work for the home for 20 years and then have a relationship with his wife after the children have left? That would not be a tempting offer so it is never discussed, and then the man is blamed for not paying enough attention in the home, not caring for the children. Nature has a dynamic in which the woman runs the home, looks after the children and her husband, in return the husband provides the wherewithal for the home. If you want to change nature you do so at peril, and if you do so then it has to be a mature relationship in which all areas are discussed.

So what about outside a relationship, what happens between the sexes? In the workplace the man is often portrayed as a sexual predator, and women have suffered intimidation often to the extent of being forced to give sexual favours. This is completely unacceptable. But there is no doubt that there are women who tempt men in the workplace. Is this acceptable? A woman has the right to wear what she wants, and if the man is turned on by this then it is the man's fault. This points to two things for me:-

1) A man is turned on by the sexual display of a woman, and yet the reverse is not true.

2) The woman is taking unreasonable control because she knows the man will be stimulated by the way she dresses and yet she cannot be asked to dress differently. This places the man at a disadvantage as he has to control his needs.

Whilst men dress smart at work, they do not dress provocatively. I am not sure what such provocation might be. A man wearing trousers split to the thighs. A man wearing a shirt with three buttons undone. A man wearing a thong visible above his trousers. As a man I laugh at these images, at the same time I do not believe that such images produce a sexual reaction in women. There is no doubt that the reverse is true, if a woman dressed in these three ways a man would get a sexual reaction. But what is expected to happen with this sexual stimulus? A man is expected to control himself.

What can happen is that some men lose control for all kinds of reasons, not just lust, and behave improperly to women? Quite rightly sexual provocation is not an excuse for attempted rape, but isn't it time that we discuss the fact that dress does provoke sexual reactions? Women recognise the impact their sexuality has on men and they use it for their own benefits. Why should women get an advantage by using their sexuality? Is it any wonder that men protect what interests they can? There are imbalances in the workplace, over the years these have begun to be addressed but there is no doubt that men dominate senior management. But this point has been repeatedly made, and some changes have been made. But have the imbalances elsewhere in the workforce been addressed?

I am reading about a religious man who had an affair with his best friend's wife. Doubt is being cast on his spirituality because of this affair - as it should be. His best friend was a business partner so the three worked closely together. The religious man was single, does he not have the right to work with a married woman without there being a possibility of an affair? A spiritual man has to control his needs, so the lack of contact is the easiest way. If there is contact between the sexes, his stated spirituality should dissuade any woman from any form of sexual action - out of respect for her husband and respect for his spirituality. Instead a relationship occurred, and it became public and his spirituality has been brought into question. In some ways it should but a spiritual man is vulnerable sexually especially a younger spiritual man (by nature). I contend that a man's lust for women is harder to control than a woman's lust for man, putting an even greater onus on a married woman to control herself.

The 60s brought about a needed feminist movement. That movement has led to consequences in daily life as sexual roles have changed. It is time that awareness groups spoke of such changes not as a battle between women and men but as a means of reconciling and accepting differences between men and women and finding a way of working together with those differences.

I was told of a woman who married a monk after he disrobed. The woman spoke of this man as very wise when he was robed, and she spoke disparagingly of him for being unable to conform to the world of work. The monk was too nice and he couldn't make a living by being a bastard. The woman who told me of this disparaged the monk. Of course the monk was a fool for leaving the spiritual life but what does one say of the woman who used her temptations to take a spiritual man from his office and put him in the workplace where he had no skills. The marriage of a wise monk to a businesswoman has no basis in reality, who was advising these two? Who was discussing the reality of daily life with a man who was wise but with no life experience and with a woman who thought she could mould a spiritual man? There is much to discuss about the nature of men and women and how that nature interacts in daily life.

A few hours later I went to bed, and it was difficult. There was pressure in my head, and I began feeling more and more emotional about the roles men and women are taking now. Women are squeezing men out of the little decisions, in the home, in daily life. So what happens? Men turn their attentions away from where there is a need for moral guidance. Powerful men consolidate their power, and turn their attention into more wars. Ordinary men turn to alcohol and drugs, women winning the battles are also turning to alcohol and drugs. Men's ego turns to selfishness, women's ego turns to increasing their battles against men. For women there is no sense of right and wrong, there is only an ever-increasing egoic expansion into what Nature would want man to do. And Nature is unhappy with the balance, I shouted at Her "Why tell me? I am only a man, women won’t listen to me." I said I would write this and she left me alone.

But what is the point? No woman will listen to this.

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K - A short take
It was interesting looking at the Bhagwan especially as it confirmed in my mind the need for:-

Moral Integrity

Support from Tradition


and not being focussed on the bells and banjos.

Krishnamurti was someone who I had some contact with in my limited spiritual life. I remember the trips to Brockwood Park in the early 80s with Gavin, having a number of K's tapes and a few of his books. There were however rumours of K's love affairs, and when I searched for this comments were easy to find. I don’t believe there were financial improprieties as with the Bhagwan. Brockwood Park was a private school but it was not ostentatious, and although there were several places throughout the world where K taught (he lived in Ojai California) these were teaching institutions where he lived at the same time. Maybe others have more details on this but at the moment I am satisfied that financially he was sound.

In Wiki "However the 1991 publication of the autobiography Lives in the Shadow with J. Krishnamurti by Radha Rajagopal Sloss[223] was the cause of adverse publicity and controversy regarding Krishnamurti.[224] The controversy was centered on the author's depiction of his relationship with her parents, primarily (though not exclusively) as it concerned the secret extramarital affair between Krishnamurti and her mother Rosalind Rajagopal that had lasted many years. In addition, the book contains a number of allegations, and presents an assessment of Krishnamurti's personality and life that often differs sharply from those offered by other biographers.”

Earlier wiki described “Meanwhile, Krishnamurti's once close relationship with the Rajagopals had deteriorated to the point where Krishnamurti took D. Rajagopal to court in order to recover donated property and funds, publication rights for his works, manuscripts, and personal correspondence, that were in D. Rajagopal's possession. The personal and subsequent legal conflicts eventually directly involved, on opposing sides, various Krishnamurti-related entities (and their officers and trustees), and were at times acrimonious. The litigation which formally began 1971, and ensuing cross-complaints, continued for many years. A substantial portion of materials and property was returned to Krishnamurti during his lifetime; the parties to this litigation finally settled all other matters in 1986, shortly after his death."

I note that wiki says that properties were returned as a result of litigation pointing to (no more than that) the correctness of K's position legally.

The main love affair referred to is this one with the business manager's wife, as publicised by their daughter. There might well have been others, it is not clear. The sila issue is therefore relevant when discussing K, but at the same time this occurred earlier in his life (although it apparently went on for 30 years) so to some extent the issue is about his teachings. I have to be aware that his teachings do possibly have a sila-limitation. The scandals around K pale into insignificance when compared with the actions of the Bhagwan, and whilst the K Foundation asks for donations K never asked for followers - he was against the idea of being a guru - the Path was to be found for yourself and not based on a path of guru or a religion as can be seen in his dissolution speech.

Early in his life he was touted as the maitreya by Charles W Leadbeater and Annie Besant of the theosophy society, this was known as the Order of the Star. In the end he rejected this and this was his dissolution speech :-

"I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path. ... This is no magnificent deed, because I do not want followers, and I mean this. The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth. I am not concerned whether you pay attention to what I say or not. I want to do a certain thing in the world and I am going to do it with unwavering concentration. I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies." Quoted from wiki.

A further quote from wiki says "Similarly, Krishnamurti's own indication of success remained the same throughout: the attainment of complete psychological freedom, with its attendant implication that individuals had truly understood, and therefore "lived and breathed", the teaching.[246] Such understanding requires "hard, arduous work" and the highest level of personal commitment; yet it "must be instantaneous, without thought, quicker than thought"; it calls for a "meditation which is absolutely no effort"; and it presupposes the realization that asking fundamental questions may be more important than seeking the answers.[247] Another prerequisite for understanding is a seriousness that in his view, is not necessarily devoid of fun.[248] He had remarked in 1929, at the Dissolution of the Order of the Star, that he was not interested in numbers, stating: "If there are only five people who will listen, who will live, who have their faces turned towards eternity, it will be sufficient."[83] In his later years he was sometimes asked why he kept on teaching, what motivated him after all these decades, as by his own admission, so few, if any, had changed.[249] He answered one such question in 1980:

"I think when one sees something true and beautiful, one wants to tell people about it, out of affection, out of compassion, out of love. ... Can you ask the flower why it grows, why it has perfume? It is for the same reason the speaker talks

The wiki quotes are what I want to remember K for, and not the affairs, but I am going to look at some of his teachings with a sila proviso.

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K - Intelligence, Love and Compassion
To begin studying K I am going to look at a video called Intelligence, Love and Compassion titled sa79t6.mp4, he used to teach at Saanen in Switzerland and I guess it was the year 1979. I downloaded it free from here. You can also download it from here:-

Part 1

Part 2

Join using hjsplit, go here for instructions

I wanted to review where I stood on K. I think he is a very wise man, but I found his teachings destructive. He questions everything, and at the time that I was listening to him - I was about 30, this meant I was questioning things that I was just coming to terms with. Perhaps destructive is too harsh, but not constructive. In my upbringing/education I had been fortunate enough to realise that I had to unlearn much of what I had inherited, and I then needed to reform. This is what might be called realignment in the 5 Gateways Ascension. But listening to K I was asked to question what was becoming part of the realignment. It was too much for me, I couldn't. In my retirement when I was focusing on Theravada Buddhism, I picked up one of K's books, it was still disturbing and I put it away again. Perhaps I am up to it now?

His approach seems to me all or nothing, and that is not Zandtao. Zandtao is a way of life that is mixed ability, the three approaches of :-

Improving the mind

Harmonising our energy

Taking care of our bodies

We are not all Buddhas, even though we have that potential; it is OK to be comfortable with where you are at so long as you are still trying eg following the 4 Agreements see Appendix A of the Treatise on Zandtao. It seemed to me that K was too demanding. Maybe not.

He starts by asking is there one insight that will bring about a complete revolution psychologically - no holds barred? I then discovered something I had forgotten about K, he has an amazing ability to send me to sleep - apologies to K. I have no understanding why, as I like the engaging way he speaks. I enjoy the way he encourages you to question, the way he abnegates his authority, and tries to get you to answer the questions with him. But in my case it is of no use, I fall asleep!!

"Compassion has this quality of great intelligence which will solve all our problems." This was his final sentence in the talk. In and out of sleep I have listened to this talk three times, and it does not work the way of my analytical mind - probably why it induces sleep. My normal reaction to reading is that I come to some understanding and can write about it - as with bookblogs or meditational insights. His talk did not have that type of pattern of logic to it, analytically I cannot respond. Equally I cannot find anything I disagree about, so there is the difficult question where does the lack of sila come in? Are his talks dangerous? I have no answers as yet.

A couple of hours later:- Maybe I am beginning to see. K insists on presenting his teachings in the form of questions, he calls it "thinking together", I am not sure how much it works in practice. In his gatherings how many people ask the questions or do they just wait for his answers? But in general what does he do? He helps us unlearn with his piercing mind, and what happens from there? And this is the question, when the mind has been opened up what do the people do? No answer, because K insists they decide for themselves. I have no doubts that if this opening-up process has worked well then people are open to oneness, or whatever name, I think K might use God but I am not sure. But it is unlikely in this mixed ability world that people will have opened up completely, to be Buddhist he might have opened up to the level their Karma will allow. So part of them has accepted the questioning, and other parts still have their minds filled with contents such as culture, knowledge etc. For western people what is this culture but immoral? I do feel that there is some moral imperative in his teachings but his real concern is opening up the mind - removing the contents of consciousness; that is his emphasis. I will have to check but does he look for sila when he opens up the mind, he will see the depth of morality that is intelligence and compassion, but the people at the gatherings? He didn't practise that morality, it is an absence in his teachings. There is no doubt that intelligence and love and compassion are moral, no matter how much he opens people up is he going to reach intelligence, love and compassion 100%? My view, no. And therefore he is not going to reach complete morality. So the people he teaches are not going to end up being moral, and this is a weakness especially when you consider the culture he is teaching in primarily. He was Indian but his focus was western, Ojai, California, Saanen, Switzerland, and Brockwood Park, Hampshire. People will begin to open up, but they will lack the discipline to follow the Path and will not have a moral upbringing to fall back on. Without sila and tradition where will those open minds take them? They will be in conflict with society, and maybe not have the personal strength to cope with it. Perhaps this is where he falls down. Is it like building a house without foundations?

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Follow Tradition
Reading K has made me realise that I need to be much clearer about this question of following tradition. Perhaps a better phrase is "Be guided by tradition" but even that doesn't really get there.

Let me consider the tradition that I was born with - the Roman Catholic Church, well the way I followed tradition has nothing to do with the Path, seeing into yourself or anything like that. What I was pressured to do was a complete sham. I was sent to an RC primary school, and I fell into line with pressures from teachers and so on. I can remember taking soggy toast to school to eat after going to early morning mass. Why? Haven't got a clue. Before I eventually stopped going I would leave the house past 10.00am for the church more than 15 minutes away. In all fairness my parents were very easy about not pushing me when I questioned them, for they were following a duty to my father's mother who was a strong RC. One of my abiding memories of the church was that there were so many women who arrived early for the next mass, and sat at the back (not a very devotional place in a church). They were of course seen by everyone coming in. My only other contact with Catholicism was touching on esoteric catholics when I was a theosophist, and I have an understanding that the Jesuits have a strong meditation tradition although they have a bad reputation for asceticism in other areas. None of this really has anything to do with tradition that I am asking to be considered.

What happens in a monastery? This is the next aspect of tradition that I have some contact with having stayed briefly a number of times at a monastery. These stays at a monastery let me see good people, the monks helping lay people, and older monks helping younger ones. Whilst there, I learned dogma and interpretations of the dogma from wise people. At the stage I was at I have nothing but positive things to say about that monastery. How would I feel now? Having spent 5 years full-time on the Path I must be some kind of different person. The monastery was a port in a storm for me, and the people were advising me that the way to cope with the storm was to follow their advice. Now there was some conformity in this advice, and part of this conformity was genuine the monks were trying to pass on what had helped them. How much were they deeply trying to understand what was going on inside them? I can't really answer that. But there wasn't fire, there was comfort. The monks were comfortable with their lifestyle. One of my weaknesses now is that I am too comfortable, satisfied with comforts of TV and stuff.

I want to reiterate that monasteries are part of institutions and institutions inherently have conformity involved. Typical is the fiasco over Bhikkhuni ordination within Thai Theravada tradition. Whilst it is a complicated issue it is not being resolved, and that is a problem because it is causing division. This is institutions at their worse, unable to resolve big divisive issues - I offer no solution just point out the level of division. Throughout the conduct of this issue there is strong imperative of conformity, and as K says conformity is not freedom. Conformity provides comfort in places such as monastic tradition, the monasteries are places where monks can feel at home, do some duties and some meditation. It is a balance that some like. But the question still is "are they deeply confronting their issues to reach Nibbana?" "Are they genuinely trying to have a complete personal revolution and fully understand who they are?" I cannot answer these questions but there is much in the requirement of conformity to an institution that works against that. I have already illustrated some of those here.

I completely agree with K that there should not be any degree of requirement to conform on someone following the Path. So doesn't "follow tradition" imply a level of conformity? Obviously, and that is not what I want. This is why I began this blog by suggesting that people "be guided by tradition". That sounds a copout, doesn't it? Yes Bill. So I need to think deeply and try to express deeply what guidance it is that I want taken. Let's start with the obvious - sila. The traditions all say be moral, so that's a good guide - be moral. If we reject morality then we have to have a very good reason, and that is an excellent guide that both the Bhagwan and K should have taken, as far as I know - very limited knowledge - sila would have helped both not make mistakes. But what morality? The 10 commandments. No way. 5 lay precepts - more so, as lay precepts have an openness about them that allows interpretation. That is good, it is not conformity; it has the potential for conformity but doesn't prescribe a conforming structure. Look at the lay precepts:-

1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness

Throughout the word refrain is used, it doesn't say "don't", this is important to me. The sila of sexual misconduct came up with the Bhagwan to some extent and K definitely. What K did as described here in my view should have been refrained from. Why not take these guides as being "don't do them unless you are absolutely sure", "if in doubt, don't". Ultimately there is a deep morality that comes with compassion, if you are compassionate you cannot possibly involve yourself with another's wife. Compassion means helping others not attach to suffering, why would you involve yourself in sexual conduct if it caused suffering? Because you are addicted to samsara. Why would you drink? Addicted to samsara. Why would you smoke? Addicted to samsara. Why do I watch football? Addicted to samsara. Why do I kill mosquitoes? Because they can kill people. Am I addicted to samsara because I don't want people killed by mosquitoes? No. Make your own decisions about morality, but be firmly and deeply convinced if you choose to go against traditional advice such as the 5 lay precepts.

Another important aspect of traditional advice is not attaching to ego - humility. It is necessary to be deeply humble, especially if you are going against tradition. Were the Bhagwan and K being humble? I cannot see humility in the Bhagwan, from the outside he appears full of ego, and the tradition places great store on not being attached to ego or however which tradition describes it. Is K humble? I think so, he certainly questions his humility. He does not want authority, and laid great store on not being considered a guru.

In the end when I am saying be guided by tradition, I am not asking for any adherence to any dogma. But where there is a consensus of dogma, it is not wise to ignore it. Such ignoring is the type of position a trick of the mind would play. Conformity is absolutely wrong. Conformity might mean that you conduct your lives better - no bad thing, but it is not going to open up the Path. It creates a path, a way to conduct your life that follows religious rules, but such a path is not opening doors but closing them. It is safe, and that is important, but the Path is not always safe. That is why people trying to follow the Path need protection, a protection that comes from proper conduct. But that conduct is not a set of rules. Sila is not rules, it is a deep sense of morality that comes from your centre and pervades all that you do. No rules but a depth of commitment to sila stronger than any rule.

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K talks about conformity and freedom, and I can see this is a big thing. I have never really considered it because I don't conform. When I look back at my life, at some times I think it would have been nice if I could have conformed but I couldn't. Instead if I was asked to conform too much, almost by instinct I reacted against that conformity - not too good for the career where conformity is a pre-requisite before competency and quality.

When it comes to the Path I do the same. When I was younger this showed in a dabbling eclecticism, that was of limited use. As I neared retirement I realised I needed to go deeper, having recognised a Buddhism in me at Wat Phra Keau when I retired I went deeply into Theravada (at least deep for me) attempting to understand the dogma. Whilst trying to learn the dogma I did try to measure it by occasionally reading other traditions, using these traditions or works as a knife to scythe away any blind acceptance of dogma. But when you do study one tradition to a depth there becomes a level of conformity - you have to conform to understand. You have to believe that the concepts you are reading are correct so that you can try to understand them. Maybe understanding does follow but there is a level of conformity first, for me to go deeper that was necessary.

But recently I have turned away from Theravada - not intentionally, it just happened. Following some Zen and Tibetan I had a critical look at 5 Gateways and started a critical look at K only to find K's piercing mind questioning me and giving me a level of freedom. He rejects the use of the word path, but I like the word Path. I capitalise it because it is My Life. It is Mine. It is not anyone else's. It is not a doctrine, it is not following someone else. It is completely Mine. Now at times on the Path I listen to others, and through that listening I learn. That learning might even appear to be conformity from the outside, but there has always been in me a need not to conform - to understand and accept for myself. This is something that I have always liked about Buddhism, that in the Kalama Sutta the Buddha says understand for yourself. But there are discussions that take that sutta and say understand within a faith in Buddhism. I have never been happy with faith, faith means it is not yours, not your Path. In truth every step of the way with Buddhism each new turn helped me so I was tempted to faith but then I began to learn about the institutionalism of Theravada. Mahachula was that turning point. Through meeting good people I began to think of teaching there, but going there made me realise that it was an institutional trap. Initially I thought it was because I wanted to stay in Trat, but that was how the decision manifested to me. The reality was that the teaching was wrong. From there my rejection of the institutionalism grew. As institutions go I am fine with Thai Buddhism, but people are not institutions religion is an individual journey I have always known that. People must go beyond the confines of the institution even if they remain in the institution. But the institution cannot restrict, if it restricts people must move on. Same with dogma, if it restricts people must move on. That time for me is now, I must use K to see whether the dogma that I used to gain depth has restricted me. I must be free, especially with writing the Treatise.

What does conformity mean for Zandtao? Well as soon as you write there is the potential for conformity, conforming to the structure of what is written. It is therefore essential to write in a way that does not look for conformity in the reader. I have reached a stage in which I realised that the first part of the book is process, the process of the 3 parts:-

Improving the mind

Harmonising our energy

Taking care of our bodies

How much conformity is there with these 3 parts? Maybe to begin with there appears conformity. In eating I ask that people eat naturally, grains, legumes, veg and fruit, and to eat locally. Sounds specific, doesn't it? Yes, because for most people this demands a change from what the system has been feeding us, but no, once you start to eat healthily you make your own choices. Same is true of energy. To begin with you do similar Chi Gung exercises but once you begin to think about the Chi Gung and the chakras you make your own decisions. As for meditation you begin by watching the breath, conformity, but then the internal meditation guide takes you to where you want to go - an individual Path. Now all three could be followed like sheep, but that is not my intention. The intention throughout is for the reader to interact with what I say, and form their own conclusions as to what is their Path. No this is not conformity but legitimate guidance.

Yes I am comfortable with this.

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A Glimpse of Freedom
Yesterday I had a glimpse of freedom, and for want of a better way of saying it was so freeing - liberating. Today it has gone but I can describe it and I know why it has gone.

I want to describe what I felt first. There was a sense of freedom in my centre, this sense grew out of a feeling that I was free from conformity, free from dogma, free from discipline, and this sense of freedom was able to link with a wider freedom. This was in line with the mother and child luminosity HHSR describes on p162. It was good.

I took the feeling as a vindication of two things, following K’s piercing lead I should begin to question what’s happening with too much dogma, and secondly a vindication of the apparently austere discipline I have been promoting with this sila and so on. I will take the description further. This glimpse of freedom came from a sense of safety and security, that I was safe and secure knowing that my 3 aspects, mind, energy and body, were going to function properly and that I was free from worry about them. It was my mind that was free but my mind was controlling my conduct through good moral discipline, I was trying to harmonise my energy – missed the beach because of Songkran for a week?, and my body was as healthy as it could be as I was not giving it toxins. With these things being taken care of my inner mind was left free and it flourished and at times developed this mother and child reunion.

I say it was a glimpse because last night I indulged samsara and let mindfulness off for the night - not trying with 100% Path. Therefore there was not good discipline and so I had difficulty finding the freedom today. The glimpse was there, and as all good glimpses it is there as a reminder of what can happen if you do things properly – if you are mindful. Just to emphasise it is not one experience that this is about but that you need to keep going, keep mindful. Keep the external discipline so that the inner mind is free to flourish.

Thank you!

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Sai Baba
I have never really considered Sai Baba but thanks to the Littlebang Sangha's discussion on gurus, I was able to follow up onto a BBC documentary on Sai Baba. I hadn’t seen him as influential as the Bhagwan amongst westerners but it appears that he gained many followers amongst the hippy generation. Again these vulnerable people, having rejected the greed and exploitation typical of western countries then, sought refuge in the East. In the BBC documentary there is evidence of sexual exploitation, as well as misuse of magic in order that Sai Baba's mystique could be enhanced. From the documentary it is clear that Sai Baba performed good works in Indian communities such as Andhra Pradesh, but the naivete of some of the followers!

The program discussed unacceptable sexual practices. It was interesting to note that the father, growing up in an age of sexual freedom, had not baulked at such practices. Again it points quite clearly for the need to develop strong sila so that you can discern, sila before charisma. I have difficulty with faith in general, but faith in some gurus is clearly misplaced. I have sympathy with HHSR's Guru Yoga practice. His practice was based around Padmasambhava - an historical figure, I don't know whether his yogic union is based around magic or siddhis - I doubt it.

Coincidentally I had a brief discussion about Sai Baba on Wednesday. The guy spoke of his magical slight of hand, but did not mention the other misuse of hands. Sai Baba followers are powerful. In the movie the Indian government are compromised, and that compromise almost reached Canada:-

Download Part1 and Part 2 and join with hjsplit (instructions here).

I should note that the video was not statistically sound. A person as famous as Sai Baba is going to have detractors. This clip was based on rumours that Sai Baba used his position to gain sexual favours, and evidence from a father and a son that he did so with them. The only other westerner interviewed was the head of Hard Rock cafe. He said that if Sai Baba did misuse his position to gain sexual favours it would not affect his assessment of the guru. That says a lot about the value of his opinion. The Rationalists, the group of Indians who toured India showing how the trickery could work, claimed there was evidence against Sai Baba but we never saw it. This documentary goes nowhere near proving this man, Sai Baba, was a charlatan using his position to gain sexual favours. Having said that I tend to believe that he is fraudulent. In the documentary they more than suggested that if Indian boys were forced to give similar sexual favours they would be too embarrassed to say so. Whilst this argument makes some sense, it is also very weak and not statistically sound. If this sexual practice of Sai Baba's was widespread, at least one of the boys would have stood up. The documentary could very easily be a woman with an axe to grind, and two Americans disgruntled with Sai Baba making sexual allegations. The research on this programme is very weak.

Next Day

The above was my reaction to the video, a reaction that fits in line with my other approaches to looking at teachers. But Sai Baba is known as a God-man, and I hadn't considered such before. Did the Buddha call himself a God-man? Why is Sai Baba called a God-man? Is he divine, does he consider himself divine? What does that mean? It appears from the documentary that the British Indian reporter was looking at an ilk of teachers of whom Sai Baba was perhaps the most famous. I don't know India but it appears that in India religious people have gifts, sell themselves on glamour - magic. This primitive ignorance for me has nothing to do with religion, or if it does have something to do with the general view of religion it has nothing to do with the Path. Whilst Sai Baba has many good works in Andhra Pradesh, one can see this in the same context as the educational philanthropy of Broad, Gates and so on - self-interest. Each of Sai Baba's good works adds to his congregation's view of his divine status. Good works are of course on the Path - depending on their intention. I question Sai Baba's intention

This brings me to faith, in particular faith in a God-man. Now throughout the documentary very little was discussed of Sai Baba's teachings, maybe not much fun for the reporter. But it appears that Sai Baba is interested in image, and promotes himself by magic tricks - divine glamour. It effectively asks followers to have faith in him because he does tricks. Now maybe this is something that suits Indian culture and the way Indians see religion, I don't know, but to me this has nothing to do with the Path. I do not see faith as part of the Path, and religion that asks for faith is questionable; this is sufficient to describe Sai Baba as fraudulent for me.

This has interesting implications for Buddhism. The deeper I went into Buddhism the more I found the explanations helped me, but there is a great deal of dogma especially if you include the dogmas of all Buddhist traditions. Within Therevada faith is a pre-requisite at a small level. The biggest western issue concerning faith is Karma and reincarnation. For Eastern people this issue is not a problem as it is something they have grown up with, but for westerners it becomes something that is a stumbling block. I have no problem with either because I accept the notion of consistency that comes with accepting karma and reincarnation. When I investigate death with the Tibetan tradition, connecting life and death has great meaning and is helpful in understanding the teachings. But this is not faith and faith is not something I can accept. Institutional faith does not have connections to the Path in my view either. Your Path is your discovery, listen and accept for yourself - that is the way of a Path. Whilst there might be great attractions to charlatans faith in them as Gods is not an awareness associated with the Path. In fact I would go as far as to say that if teachings require faith you must question the teachings, and I would take the lack of a faith requirement as a measure of sound teachings.

This brings me to Thai Buddhism. In the "Exclusive Trap" Bhante described Thai Buddhism as having three components:- "Foreigners to Thailand often comment on the 'mix of animism and Brahmanism' with the more traditional Theravada Buddhism." see Littlebang article. How much magic is there connected to the animism and Brahmanism? What about the amulets? What about praying to Buddha for good luck? Now much of Thai Buddhism is ritual, inherited practices that constitute tamboon. But aren't there Thai monks who promote semi-magical practices? How much magic is associated with the animism aspects? Whilst in this article Bhante is critical of the dismissive attitudes of some westerners, the real question is how much of what constitutes Thai Buddhism is the Path? Of course this same question can be put concerning dogma and ritual in other established religions.

In a sense this brings me full circle to consideration of the 60s generation of people looking for the Path. Were they looking for the Path or were they looking for glamour and excitement? When you look around at what hippies did, you do not see a religious lifestyle yet they spoke of love, religion and Path. There were music festivals and drugs, promiscuity, and a complete rejection of the established - this last I was particularly good at. But in this, how many were seeking truth despite what they said? When you consider the ease with which many sold out, and the subsequent consequences of increased strangle-hold by the corporation and the financiers, perhaps seeking for truth can most kindly be descrbed as rhetoric. I have always held to the questioning of these people, such as the piercing developments made by Pirsig, but such truth-seekers were in the minority. Travels to India - weren't they about fun? Sure there are plenty of examples of people travelling East and learning, but what proportion were they of all who made the journeys? And of the remainder how many of them follow a religious life, and attempt to follow the Path? If these people were genuinely looking for truth, how did the Bhagwan fool them with sex and corruption and Sai Baba with his magic and genital oils?

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Not for Sale
As part of the Treatise of Zandtao I will be discussing the Corporate Paradigm, this is a term I used in my book on education Matriellez book because it is important to see how pervasive corporate influence is. For many, religion is an escape from corporate pressures, but is this so? How much influence do the corporations have on religious institutions? Can there be a religion that stands up and demands that all corporations must enable human rights within all the companies under its umbrella? And yet isn’t religion about human rights?

Here is a movie which shows the impact of the corporation globally, and how tight their strangle-hold is on the rest of us:-

Not for sale

Download Part1 and Part 2 and join with hjsplit (instructions here). Or downloaded from Documentary Heaven. (Because this is a global movie there are many subtitles.)

They have developed legal structures which make them immune to prosecution, what do we do? First and foremost they are businesses selling products, as discussed in Ethos the movie, we as consumers must become discerning in what we buy. As Buddhists we must recognise that our engagement in daily life is a political action because we are consumers. It is how we consume that governs the control of these corporations. Throughout Zandtao one of the tenets is:-

Taking care of our bodies

To do this Zandtao promotes natural eating, but how difficult is that? Our lifestyles are governed by corporations whose products fundamentally create ill health, yet we still buy them. Look to buy locally, buy foods that come out of the ground, not out of the can or packet. Processing of foods is not to benefit our health or the way we consume, it is there to enable profits. Many Buddhists choose to ignore the fact our foods are contaminated because our spiritual lives are more important. But our spiritual lives are here on Earth, and we need to be conscious of this in our daily lives. Why be vegetarian if vegetarian foods are damaging the environment and our health because of their processing and toxic content?

It is time for all people to see that the basis of political need is not the electoral system that alternates different shades of pinstripe but a political approach that addresses peoples'' needs in controlling the corporate paradigm. To begin with our Ethos can be to consume with discernment. In the movie corporations con us with Corporate Social Responsibility, perhaps as individuals we should develop a Buddhist Consumer Responsibility. On the Path people become Buddhist Consumers, not only sufficiency economics but ethical consuming. Mr Oliver, Buddhism in politics could be the Buddhist Consumer - an individualised approach?

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The Mindful Consumer
In the last blog, as a consequence of watching "Not for sale" and remembering the movie Ethos, I developed the notion of the Buddhist Consumer. I want to change the concept to Mindful Consumer, a secular term, or at least not specifically Buddhist.

What is mindfulness? This of course is a very complex question, far beyond my ability to answer fully. But you could consider it that aspect of the mind which Nature gives us for coping with emotions and desires. In a sense we could consider desires and emotions part of our daily life, and mindfulness is the skill we are given to help us control the impact of our daily life, leaving Inner Being free to relate to our True Nature. At the same time one might consider mindfulness as being that skill which ensures that in our daily life we live with sila - moral integrity.

So what has consumerism got to do with this? For most Buddhists consumerism or materialism is associated with greed, do we covet our neighbours' goods etc.? So with that materialism we resist the temptation to get involved with the ratrace of materialism by consuming less. In a sense this sees the purchase of items as a neutral act, and the quantity of these items being the measure of our greed. But in this day and age such a view of consumerism needs to change. Because of the Corporate Paradigm we need to be aware of our actions as consumers, and awareness of what we consume makes us mindful consumers.

Traditionally we bartered at the local market, but money replaced barter to allow for skills exchange to be valued. However in practice money soon functioned in a different way, as through taxes people were forced to earn thus changing the way they lived. At the same time there developed a need amongst the few to accumulate capital, and the way the corporations and their financial partners manipulate this capital impacts phenomenally on our daily lives. Being aware of this, mindfulness dictates that we consider ways to limit these manipulations - to limit the impact of the Corporate Paradigm.

I grew up at a time in which the balance between capital and labour helped limit these manipulations, and whilst labour practices were not always popular they did prevent some of the worse ravages of the corporations. However now labour cannot fight for this balance as the corporations are transnational and if a union becomes strong the plant is moved.

With this change there has been a growing awareness of the effects of these transnational giants, and there is small popular resistance shown at large financial summits. But this is not a solution; an answer needs to occur at the grass roots level, not by an attempt to reclaim the power of labour but an awareness of the consumer power of an individual. In the 80s the anti-apartheid movement attacked the purchase of South African goods, and because there was such an animosity to the overtness of white power in a black country, this consumer movement had some impact. But now that the transnationals have become more powerful than many governments, and many view that cartels rather than governments damage our world and our freedoms more, awareness changes the political arena to the market-place – where we consume.

Some political activists have made their personal consumption a political act, but many religious people do not address this issue. It is of course hard to address such issues when we consider our choices for expenditure but the direction of consumption is a slow but certain way to change the policies of transnationals. What we have to be aware of is that transnationals require our purchases in order to make their profits. If sufficient people make it clear that we want to make changes in our purchasing patterns then these giants will have to respond. But it will be slow.

One tenet of Zandtao is:-

Taking care of our bodies

This requires improved eating, and the most important strategy in improving our eating is to improve our purchasing; this requires a lifestyle change. How many people choose to shop at the supermarket for convenience? Is this sensible when many convenience foods contain toxins that damage our health? If our bodies are not healthy it is much harder to try to follow the Path. If our bodies are addicted to refined sugar, how does that addiction affect us when considering meditation? If we continue to consume addictive foods such as coffee, does that not also affect our meditation? And that is withlout considering the impact on pour health due to toxic additives etc.

Once someone begins to want to change their lifestyle by the way they eat, they soon realise the control that Big Food has over the market-place. But this need not deter a Mindful Consumer. Throughout the world there are organisations who have set themselves up to develop this change in market-place. Fair Trade tries to circumvent the transnationals, although they often sell coffee!! But Fair Trade was primarily setup for the politically-aware rather than the mindful consumer. What about the organic movement? This was setup for the health-conscious, aren't mindful people health-conscious? At present not necessarily, mindfulness is concerned with awareness of desire and emotions, but why shouldn't mindfulness be concerned with consumerism?

Just as with Green and other political movements there develops networks which help with this aware consumerism. Mindful people can join in with such movements - a Mindful Consumer Network. I'm going to go even more over the top now. Why can't mindful people then purchase green cars, use other green products, make ethical investments including Triodos bank. Is it right that a Buddhist allow their mindfulness to stop at desire and emotion when consumer power is perhaps the only tool that can control the impact of these behemoths within the paradigm we live?

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Thoughts about desire
"It is not like you have a pot of desire in you, that you can change one way or another - but you can develop desire based on a suitable or an unsuitable object. Thus unwholesome desire is to be abandoned, and wholesome desire to be cultivated." Bhante

I feel as if I have a pot of desire in me. When younger I was an addict (drink). Fortunately I worked through that but knowing some of those addicts there were among them people who were searching for something. Isn't this search a desire?

What about the people who were searching for the Bhagwan? Didn't they have a desire? I would call this desire for the Path, or maybe Nibbana, but isn’t it still desire?

In my own case I feel that my desire to follow the Path was subverted (became unwholesome) by youthful indiscretion, drink and so on, but fortunately as I have got older that desire to follow the Path has emerged stronger (more wholesome). I sometimes call this will, I believe some people use the word aspiration. I feel as if my pot of desire has changed. After my education and upbringing that pot was more unwholesome, now it is a bit more wholesome.

It is so interesting a question, is there a pot of desire? Are will (as I have described it) and desire the same? If there is no pot of desire does that mean those people with no pot are not searching?

Or is that pot of desire there because I attached to the desire? When I use will, am I then not attaching to will? If a desire for a particular object arises, can't I change that object of desire? To be crass. If I was at a disco and got rejected, it was easy for me to change the object of my desire and look for someone else - yet the desire was the same and the object different. Repeated rejection then led to a desire for a drink. In that scenario I could never imagine changing that desire to a desire for Nibbana.

In these musings I still feel as if I had a drive - will. Through education and upbringing this became unwholesome, now it has become partly wholesome. When it was unwholesome it was addicted to samsara, and when wholesome identifying with Nibbana? Does desire just mean addicted to samsara, and will or aspiration returning to True Nature - Nibbana? So abandon addiction to samsara, be with the will to Nibbana.

But the desire still arises because there are objects for desire to cause that arising. Let those desires go. But if a desire arises and we can't let it go, then transforming it into a wholesome desire would be a useful technique - a useful meditation - tantra? So is there a pot of desire? There is a will, a drive, a search, but does desire only come from objects? Yes, I think so, and the pot is just attachment. But that pot is not to be confused with will, the Path. Change your use of words, now there is no desire for the Path - only Will.

Nextday Releases

Obviously this pot of desire was a notion I clung to, another one of those personal cons that was part of my addiction to alcohol. As mentioned above I had considered that some alcoholics were good people whose addiction had dragged them from the Path, and even related some of that addiction to the drive towards the Path. This was significant in my understanding of hitting bottom, and I think of others who have started on the Path after periods of drug abuse or alcohol. But this is a con. My alcoholism had nothing to do with the Path, quite simply I was addicted because I was weak. This is significant in teaching me that I am weak, even writing that I wanted to say I have a tendency to be weak. But realistically I am weak. How lucky have I been in understanding so many things and yet I still allow addiction to stop me from being the Path. Why do I not follow the Path 100%? Weakness - lack of determination. I need to work on right determination, I am far too complacent. I am still addicted to samsara, how stupid is that!

I think of desire again, and I feel a pocket of desire in my body. I have looked at it before and have seen it as desire, but that is not true - it is my attachment to desire. What I had considered a pot of desire that maybe could be redirected is in fact attachment, and I need to let it go. Seeing desire as dependent on the object makes me realise that desire is not me, and whilst I kind of knew that I didn't put it into practice allowing this redirection notion. This comes from my weakness that allowed alcohol addiction and my lack of determination - Magga in 4 Noble Truths.

Good news on the health front as well. The ending of Matriellez has led to some teaching dreams - nothing new there, but I was more distant. One of my biggest health fears has been my throat which was damaged so much during my early years of teaching ie the UK. It is one of the biggest omissions in a teacher training course that teachers are not taught to train their voice - like actors, from the stomach. This would also save on absence as without a voice a teacher cannot teach, and many such days are lost. It would also put Strepsils out of business. Last Friday I started a bad sore throat, and still have it a bit. There have been times of serious pain. But it is the release of the problem. I have been breathing in chi into the throat chakra, and continued this morning. Yet today I realised I should focus on relaxing the neck and throat, and this led to a welcome release. I need to work on the throat to keep it healthy but my worst fears have now gone.

Desire and will (with right determination) are different, important lesson.

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Life and all that
This is my first blog using my old "new computer" so it can be momentous - and Ken-Wilberish, everything? It starts from the perspective practice and being, we need the practice in order to have ourselves free to be. We could call this practice discipline but that's for the more ascetic but we could also call it harmony. Is the conduct of our lives in harmony with being? And that is a big harmony, but it sounds much nicer. Absolute harmony does not require any formal practice, by having perfected the way we behave then our being feels completely free, and as it is perfect harmony that would be 100% of the time and Nirvana. That is not me in this lifetime. This harmony has all the ascetic requirements, sila, non-attachment, 4NT, 5 precepts, 10 commandments? But living in harmony with Nature sound far nicer than being disciplined, for that reason alone I should maybe call it discipline because miseducated western minds would like the notion that they can be whispy and harmonious and reach enlightenment frolicking on a Spring day with an unplucked daisy chain saying they are One. But reaching harmony is hard work, and for many of the Paths we come across this harmony is either eschewed or given lip-service and as a result not enough progress is made as people get stuck in illusion.

This is the yardstick I am using for this short history of nearly all Buddhist and Western Paths. I started this with looking at 5 Gateways and Bhagwan, and have taken it further. Let's start with Theravada. It appears to me that Theravada focuses on the discipline and practice, hence why Tibetans call it Hinayana and Theravadans consider that unfair. But this emphasis on discipline appears for some not to focus on being. But being free is what it is all about, having the freedom to unite with the One. So what do Theravadans do about that? Vipassana is the best answer I can come up with. That might be unfair and yet Theravada is the dogma I have gone deepest into, and I do not know. Maybe monks do more about being. Let me surmise a summary. Theravada focuses on conditions, get the conditions right and then you are left with the Unconditioned or Deathless - Freedom. But for me working on the discipline leading to harmony is not all there is to do, I believe there is meditation that can foster being - a will to freedom.

Now to Mahayana. A Mahayanan friend said that Mahayana takes vows of the 5 Precepts so they are then expected to live in harmony with the 5 Precepts:-

The Five Precepts

Being in harmony with one's fundamental mind is the source of all upright behaviour. So always observe within yourself, returning there whatever confronts you, and uncover your inherently bright, true nature.

1. The Precept of Not Killing.

Knowing that all other lives are part of my life, I vow to treat all other bodies as I would my own.

2. The Precept of Not Stealing.

Letting go of desires for others'' possessions, I vow to cultivate generosity.

3. The Precept of Avoiding Improper Sexual Conduct.

Letting go of lust and harmful states of mind, I vow to strive to keep my mind pure.

4. The Precept of Avoiding Harmful Speech.

I will not tell lies. Being careful of what I say, I vow to live with truth and sincerity.

5. The Precept of Avoiding Intoxicants.

I will never drink to excess. For the sake of myself and others, I vow to live within my limits.

This is the vow my friend took and look at how it begins - harmony. Good coincidence. That sounds good, but I feel that Mahayanan has the opposite danger to Therevadan, it focuses on being and not enough on the harmony. Let me consider Zen. Japanese Zen meditates using Shikantaza. Now Shikantaza is sitting, timed sitting, focusing on the sitting. As a result of just sitting harmony is achieved and there is unity with the One Being. There is no conscious discipline even though they take precepts. In the US there are Roshis whose morality brings Zen into question, a possible Zen weakness that does not require more emphasis on sila etc. My friend is into Korean Zen, and his branch spends time trying to be one with the Buddha Nature. This, I think, is Pure Land, and is very devotional. He wants to live through the Buddha Nature - just Being. When you look at the vows he took, consider their approach to Being and my benchmark they are very close, except for one thing faith or devotion. Now I didn't discuss choice in my benchmark but choice is very very important because when a choice is made that mind makes the choice. That choosing creates the harmony, it shapes the mind. With faith there is no choice. You decide to follow the faith and then you do as you are told. This does not shape the mind. Superficially there is harmony because you do what is right, but has the mind shaped or underneath does the mind resist the faith? The mind is conforming to the faith, and not establishing its own parameters, its own structure.

And this brings me to institutions, there is the same issue. If I was a Theravadan monk, the structure of my day would ostensibly be better. I would get up just before Nature, meditate, and then be ready for the beauty of early morning. Wonderful. Today I went to bed in the early hours, 4.00 am, woke up thinking about this blog, and got up at Midday to write the blog. This blog is important, and would not have happened in the structure of a monastic institution because I would have been under the instructions of an Abbott, and would not have had the personal freedom. This is not good. The institution imposes a good discipline, a discipline I would like to practice, but because it is imposed it is not a choice. And choice creates the harmony that aligns with True Nature. Institutions provide structure and for many this is beneficial, but that structure is not choice and ultimately the mind must choose. If the choices of the monk are the same choices as the institution and Abbott, then there is harmony. Can that genuinely happen? Certainly not for me. Choosing Being rather than faith in Being comes from the yardstick and Korean Zen.

So what about Tibetan? Very complex, this short history cannot do it justice. I can only look at bits of it. Firstly there are the three yanas, the third being Vajrayana. In terms of my yardstick it appears that Vajrayana is called a yana because of the meditational techniques it uses and these techniques can be energetic. One of the Zandtao tenets is about energy

Harmonising our energy

So Zandtao works for this but what about the yardstick for this blog? And the answer is that it is not incompatible as the techniques are geared towards Nirvana. So the question concerns the practice. In Tibet I was not impressed with the practice, and could understand why the Chinese considered Tibet a religious oligarchy that undermined human rights. Of course invading another country slightly tops that. How can people be encouraged to travel 100's of km prostrate as religious expression. They might choose to do this, it might discipline the mind, but why not meditate instead? Why not try to develop sila? I didn't like seeing the monks on the streets of Lhasa begging. In truth from the outside, Tibetans practising Buddhism was mindless, from the outside I stress.

As for the western impact there is much more that is positive. My limited contact with HH's is nothing but positive, but has not led me to want to be involved with the institution. So much ritual. Apparently ritual is connected with energy, Chilel is ritual from the outside, but if I am not using my mind there is no chi. Ritual implies conformity although not exclusively. Secrecy also doesn't do it for me. I understand the need for secrecy because people can misuse what they learn. I have come across the term "kundalini", I believe that the kundalini energy is connected with some of the Tibetan practices, and I keep away from using that energy per se. But there is a mystique about Tibetan and secret practices that has nothing to do with Being. Being has no mystique, it just is. There are buzzes, bells and banjos on the way but they often cause distractions. Do not be distracted from Being. I also read yesterday you can get a religious title by following a university course, what is that? If you learn to write what the teacher wants you become a religious person, surely religious training is not a fact-based imparting of dogma, but part of an intimate relationship between master and disciple to know they understand what they are saying. Or genuinely following the Inner guide. HHPCR is charismatic, but to spend years conforming to his line maybe is not the Path?

There is much good in Buddhism, and there is plenty to question in order to learn more for yourself. As Ajaan Buddhadhasa says life is learning - and healing, Zandtao.

Turning to western stuff based on my yardstick they lack discipline so are not in harmony with True Nature. Looking at an ant and waxing lyrically for half an hour about the marvels and ingenuity of such a small creature is more an indication of what you are on than whether you are in harmony with Nature. At the same time callously stomping it with a huge boot doesn't quite qualify as harmony either. What is the intent of either? Is finding a field, listening to Quintessence, and bonking because both of you are in the moment what enlightenment is about? There is a stereotype (governed by 60s and 70s) of western people rejecting what Pirsig calls Victorianism, finding an alternative, perhaps taking drugs, and then searching for enlightenment. Following up on this some of these impressionable vulnerable people sought out the Bhagwan (39, 42, and 43) and Sai Baba in India to be used and exploited. Sai Baba is a supposed God-man, faith in him? The Bhagwan had charisma some experience of Oneness, and a lack of morality that allowed him to make huge profits (check the links for more details on both). Contemporary hippies maybe seek Ascension, very interesting but does it have the discipline to create the harmony for True Nature? (See 5 Gateways).

Krishnamurti had a powerful questioning mind, he also attracted westerners. His sharpness pierced through much that was dogma and ritual but left himself vulnerable because he saw discipline as conformity, not seeing the need to control the mind to produce the harmony that allowed for Being with True Nature. A man worth listening to because his questioning can break down walls, but without sila 4NT etc to create harmony his sword can leave you shapeless.

Connected with Ascension are a number of people who have written of their contact with Masters and even had conversations with God (discussed here). A Course in Miracles (ACIM) asks you to become God (Check blog from 26/12/06 to 22/02/07 - not all). But do they have discipline? Whilst the books etc. contain much knowledge, for most it is not being exposed to knowledge that is the issue (many people have a phase of reading such), the issue is training the mind - harmonising the mind to True Nature. I stopped ACIM because of its effect on me, I thought it was dangerous. Can a bad man create miracles? Does creating miracles mean a person has reached enlightenment? And in the end for the writers how have they earned the shortcut to the Path - Being?

Eckhart Tolle:- 100% Now is Being. He promotes Being with the Now, but does he seek the harmony through discipline such as sila? I need to look into that.

Non-duality (Advaita?), good Being stuff. But the little I have seen it shows little concern with discipline. If the mind can't be harmonised what chance is there of non-duality? Perhaps it thinks the mind can happen to be harmonised, but with all the miseducation and indoctrination in our society I don't see how.

A short history of Buddhism and western stuff.

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Mindful Consumer Workshop
I am going to write this in the style of a public talk as the connections are clear to me, no need to explore in writing.

So let's begin with the 4 NT from Ajaan Sumedho:-

The Noble Truth of Suffering, - Dukkha

The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering - Samudaya

The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering - Nirodha

The Noble Truth of the Way Leading to the Cessation of Suffering – Magga

There's a bit of Pali so I must know what I'm talking about.

OK, that’s a joke. I am not a scholar or an authority, I am just an individual presenting a viewpoint. Whilst I might be vehement I only want you to accept anything said if you agree - not because I am on the platform.

I interpret the 4NT as there being suffering out there, and I too can suffer if I attach to desires for this suffering. But I don't have to if I follow the 8-Fold Path. The words of the 8-Fold Path I use are:-

Right Understanding

Right Intention

Right Speech

Right Action

Right Livelihood

Right Determination

Right Mindfulness

Right Concentration

I often use the word sila, which I think of as moral integrity, and Ajaan Chah sees sila as Right Speech, Action, and Livelihood.

As Buddhists we recognise in us desires, and we deal with these desires in a certain way. One way, from Bhante on beautiful desire, is that when desire arises we cultivate it when it is wholesome and abandon it when it is unwholesome. Now desire is a function of the object so a desire arises as a result of perceiving an object in the world of dukkha. Can we accept this as right understanding? Can we agree with this?

Now how do we discern between what is wholesome and unwholesome? Is this not a moral decision? So here is where sila comes in. Based on our own moral integrity don't we decide what is wholesome and unwholesome?

At the same time when the desire arises, we might know whether it is wholesome or not, but do we abandon or cultivate it? Nature has given us mindfulness to deal with this. So whether we attach to an unwholesome desire depends on applying our mindfulness. Can we accept this as right understanding?

Sila and mindfulness are the tools which I want to consider now. As Buddhists there tends to be a cut-off point as to what we consider with regards to desire in this world of dukkha. Lust is one we usually consider, greed another, are there others?

We have sila to deal with lust, sila is very important and sadly something that can be lacking in our upbringings. To live without sila is not following the Buddhist Path. So let us consider greed. Clearly the Buddha advises against hoarding possessions, so Buddhists must come to terms with that. But as Buddhists we should be mindful of where these possessions come from. When we buy our computers where do they come from? When we buy our clothes where do they come from? Surely as Buddhist shouldn’t we be mindful of this?

Let us consider some forms of consumer actions. What about food? We all need to eat food so let us be mindful of our eating habits. Many Buddhists are vegetarian even though that ironically is difficult in Thailand. So we are mindful of not killing, so being vegetarian or not could be considered wholesome and not unwholesome. Is being vegetarian always wholesome? What about excessive consumption of dairy products? Here is a detailed discussion of milk, I will just say that minerals from sesame or whole foods is a better way of strengthening bones. Cheese and milk also produce excessive mucus, and this is not healthy. And this brings me to the real question of food, why do we eat it? To give our bodies nutrition, is that not the case?

Let me rephrase, if we were being mindful then wouldn't we eat nutritious food? Why as mindful beings would we eat foods that were not nutritious? Don't we need healthy bodies if we are to follow the Path? So being mindful when eating food is synonymous with healthy eating, and I am going to classify that as a wholesome desire, to eat healthy food? Please ignore the practical problems for the moment, isn't eating healthy food mindful - a wholesome desire? As Buddhists can't we talk of impractical things like mindfulness?

Now there is much discussion of what is healthy food, but it is generally accepted that whole grains, vegetables, fruit and legumes are healthy. So if we go to the market and buy these, this could reasonably be considered a wholesome action? A desire for whole grains, vegetables, fruit and legumes could be considered a wholesome desire?

But what if we go to the supermarket and buy these foods in a can. In the processing what are Nature's foods have preservatives added, and there is much concern as to the damage these additives do to our health. Is it mindful to eat unhealthy food? Would it be reasonable to consider mindful eating as consuming unprocessed foods, and processed foods as unwholesome?

Foods you buy at the market often have been grown using pesticides. The purpose of a pesticide is to kill life. Is it mindful then to use pesticides? Any foods grown with pesticides become tainted, is it healthy to eat foods grown with pesticides? So it would be mindful to eat organic food? Wouldn't it be a wholesome desire to want organic food?

There are vegetarians here, this is not easy, there are few vegetarian restaurants. We pile over to Silom to have cheap and good vegetarian food, but it is not readily available. Why? The usual answer is that people don't want it, but is that the case? Would people eat more vegetarian food if it was readily available? Let's say a vegetarian stall next to every wat?

It is very difficult to buy organic vegetables in Thailand. I live in the country and have some sources but if I want a variety of veg I order from Bangkok. Brown rice is usually available in supermarkets but if I want organic brown rice I order it - again via Bangkok. Why are these products not easily available? The usual answer is that they are too expensive, but let us look at the real costs. What do we eat food for? To feed our bodies. If we feed our bodies with unhealthy foods such as excessive refined sugar, what is the result? Illness, and we have to pay when we are ill. So when we examine the costs of food, we should consider the cost of illness as part of our costs. Whenever I consider my food I consider it as part of my health, and so the cost of my health is my food, medical insurance (don't have any) and medical bills (limited doctor and no hospital bills). Paying extra for healthy food is cost-effective.

So mindful eating would include organic veg and fruit as well as whole grains and legumes; if the issue is not cost, what is it? We could begin by buying local, otherwise we rely on supermarkets and corporate distribution. The corporations are not interested in promoting organic eating as their profits are made in processed goods. Their marketing emphasises processed goods, they distribute and sell processed goods. Healthy eating will reduce their market share. You might argue, supply and demand would alter the distribution policies of the corporations, but a lifestyle change would affect their profits and healthy eating is such a change. Corporate policies are not going to encourage healthy eating, but if we are mindful about our eating then don't we need to consider how we consume?

Let us also consider where we buy. It is more likely that if we buy locally, not only will we get healthier food but the profits are more likely to go into peoples'' pockets, the profits at the supermarkets will go to the corporations. Is this an issue we should be concerned about as Buddhists? Whether local people get the profits or whether corporations get the profits? If we buy in Thailand isn't it better that the money stays in Thailand?

I have used food because it is something we all have to buy. Wouldn't a mindful consumer choose to buy local-grown healthy food, isn’t this a wholesome desire? What happens when we start to consider other purchase, how would we consume mindfully?

Group Exercise:-

Ask people to call out different types of expenditure. Health, fashion, investment, motors, property, electronics, toys, pensions. Alternative energy?

Split into groups one person to report back, one to scribe. What desires are connected with consuming these items? Are they wholesome or not? Are there lifestyle choices involved in the marketing of these goods? Should we be mindful of these choices? Can the unwholesome desires be abandoned? Easily? Are there any moral implications in our consumer choices?


We do not in general consider our consumer practices in the light of sila and mindfulness, is there any Buddhist reason for not doing so? Kammically we are responsible for our actions, and if we are aware of the consequences of the profits from our consumption then isn't it mindful to alter our actions, our consumer practices?

Perhaps more political conclusions could be drawn as a result of the workshop, whilst they are obvious to me they might not be to others and as such they must make the decision.

Are there correspondences between local and wholesome and corporate and unwholesome?

If people are aware of the availability issue, maybe a mindful consumer network could be mooted?

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Karma and Desire
The pot of desire dilemma is not finished. Firstly there is desire as a response to physical stimuli, and these desires can be abandoned as unwholesome or cultivated as wholesome. But there are two attributes connected with desire that need to be considered. In this blog I discussed the first of these, there was a "pot of desire" but this was not a "pot of potential desire" but a "pot of attachment to desire". This "pot of attachment" can be internalised anger. I have no doubts that I internalised stress and anger when working or in relationships. I internalised so much, especially the stress, that I became ill - GERD. This was reality and the theory has to fit the facts because that happened. But it is not inconsistent. I became angry or stressed due to an external factor. I was not able to abandon it, and internalised it thus causing illness. No inconsistency. It has been a significant part of my healing work to discover these pots of attachment and abandon them. This healing was real so cannot be dismissed but the process is not inconsistent with the "pot of desire".

I next want to consider kamma. I am perfectly comfortable with the notion that at birth there is a kammic essence which becomes BillZ or Billnext. This kammic essence, I believe, contains propensities that need to be worked out. Let me try to explain how I see it. At birth around this kammic essence kamma built BillZ (will build Billnext - sadly) through energy and other substances of different subtlety, and throughout BillZ ‘s life he built up issues in which he could pay kamma back - through learning and healing. Part of this building up of issues occurs within the family so it is of kammic significance that BillZ had the parents he did. How BillZ responded to his parents in his upbringing was a significant part of what he had to heal.

So BillZ built up anger, internalised attachment to it, and has got rid of that mostly. Whilst this was not a pot of anger it was a pot of attachment to anger, it is different. This attachment is a problem as it is destructive. It lives buried inside you, and I believe is connected to disease. I'm not sure how. It is something like disease occurs on all levels, mind energy and body. The attachments help disease fester, and it also attracts weight. It is recognised that when people lose weight they experience an emotional release, sometimes quite traumatic. Periodically on my diet I have had diarrhoea. Around about the same time I feel anger, often in the liver, and I sometimes need to release this anger, a concomitant release.

I believe desire is also part of the kammic essence, and hence why people differ in the way they experience their desires. In the same way as with emotions kamma builds up BillZ to work through the desire issues. As with anger these desires arise from objects but can be abandoned, and they can also be attached to. In a sense this pot of desire exists and it doesn't. Yes when the desire or anger arises, it can be abandoned. If it is not abandoned it can also become attached and appear as if it is pot of desire or anger. It is the way that the kammic essence builds up the propensity for anger, and the way that people attach to that anger, that gives of the description, angry young men. Of course angry young men could have abandoned their anger!!

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K Discipline and the 4NT
Friday 29th April I watched the K talk on discipline, and woke up this morning thinking that he has the Buddha Nature exclusivity problem. It would also explain the dichotomy that people describe him as having. But how can I really say anything about his apparent split personality?

Here are the links to his talk "Can goodness truth and love be born out of discipline?":-

Download Part1 and Part 2 and join with hjsplit (instructions here).

It can also be downloaded at

It started well enough, looking at conflict, seeing conflict as coming from different labels such as nationalism, then connecting these labels to thought. Thought then arises by measuring against benchmarks of experience, memory and knowledge - the past. Therefore thought can never be a full description, akin to describing truth always has to be less than actual truth. Thought creates ego and separation which then leads to conflict.

At the beginning he describes discipline and then towards the end he discusses it again. At the beginning he describes the discipline of soldiers, and how their intensive training forcing them to conform to "soldiery" unleashes violence. He later describes discipline as conformity. But discipline is not only conformity, it is also training. I am sure the intensity contributes to violence but those who choose soldiery have a propensity for violence in the first place, and if they are conscripted then being forced into something they cannot control will produce anger, and their only vent would be in the conflict. I know of children whose poor behaviour in schools was corrected by the discipline of being in the forces. The discipline of their families and the discipline of the school could not control the minds of these children, it is important to note that discipline controls aspects of mind.

He also mentioned the discipline within trades but did not elaborate on that.

Then he ended on discipline describing it as conformity. Is goodness discipline? Is truth discipline? And love, humility, charity, enlightenment? I could add "Is Buddha Nature discipline?" Then he left it there, implying (my words) if discipline is not Buddha Nature then don't be disciplined.

And this is the crux for me. Conforming to someone else's model of what is Buddha Nature is not the Path. The mind needs freedom to join with the universal mind, and conformity is not freedom. But aren't there aspects of mind that can prevent this joining such as desires and emotions? Don't we need to be mindful of these? Dont we need to control these if our True Mind is to be free?

I remember with the drink, a dichotomy of mind grew because I gave into the addiction. I required of myself a discipline in which I fulfilled my professional duties, and then I would drink. Whilst I drank I allowed immoral behaviour. Consider a much more refined dichotomy caused by a lack of willingness to discipline attachment to desires and emotions. There would be a time for being, and there would be a time for desires and emotions. If there is no control on these, behaviour could be unacceptable. But the Path is 100%. Nirvana is 100% or there is addiction to samsara.

4th May

I listened to the K talk on discipline again, mainly looking for details. He is describing seeking perfection when he says no discipline. For me he means two things, the first is that for perfect discipline there is no discipline, and the other is that there cannot be conformity to another's discipline. This second I have no problem with. It seems to me that many people hear a dogma, and because they want to be doing the right thing they imitate what they believe is correct in the dogma. But this is not correct discipline for the mind does not have the correct harmony. Without that perfect harmony there is not Oneness.

For most of the talk he was discussing ego, the way in which thought based on memory, experience and knowledge created ego and division. He was stressing, and this seems intuitively obvious to me, that if we make a judgement or thought based on memory, experience and knowledge, it is based on the past and is limited. We cannot understand with thought alone because of this limitation. And whilst thought creates division by attaching importance to attributes such as race creed and colour, there is conflict. Throughout thought is seeking security for itself, the ego. This limited view of ego creates division whilst thought is seeking security, but there is only one true security - in Oneness in Unity. If we can approach the world in Oneness, Being or Unity (Non-duality) then we can have the right understanding to end conflict and all the rest he spoke of. If we have the will to unite Being (HHSR's mother and child reunion), then we have the Right Intention. If we are always stressing to be what the dogma says then we create Dukkha, but if we just do what is required in perfect harmony that is the Right Effort. When listening we listen 100%, our attention is that of love. If our attention at all times is that of love we have Right Concentration. So what about our conduct, how do we act? Are we truthful? Do we behave correctly? This Truth and Conduct must come from Inside, not a moral position established in every act, nor can it be a conformity to someone else’s code of conduct, but simply that speech and action comes from the Inner you. Then you are acting with Right Sila, and because your conduct is in perfect harmony you will have been mindful in assuring that the conduct is correct.

Attaching to thoughts that create ego and division is attaching to desires and emotions. To follow the Path of perfect Harmony could be seen as the 8-Fold Path, so to create the harmony that K sees as necessary is to follow the 4 Noble Truths. Of course K would not say that as it would be too dogmatic, but even more so because it would be conforming. But even more than this there would be a reaction to the way Buddhists teach. First there are Buddhists who have a guru. Secondly many Buddhists promote monasticism, and in monasteries they prescribe a daily routine. Apart from choosing to take orders monks take no other decisions, they do not choose, they do not create the Harmony. How can there be Right Intention if the people are not choosing? Is it not a shell of a practice? To create the right harmony you must choose.

I am suggesting that what K is discussing and Nirvana are the same, if someone were living in Nirvana then they could be doing what K says or following the 4NT. Now clearly K was not living in Nirvana because of his conduct. But the real issue is people have to arrive at this state of Nirvana. To begin their lives they will have had upbringing and education which takes them away from this state, so how can they attain this state? Their minds have been miseducated, and need to harmonise. There needs to be course correction before there can be perfect harmony, and this course correction requires discipline. But this discipline is a means to an end, it is not the end itself. Whilst there is discipline it is not Right. Practice makes perfect but it is not the state of Nirvana.

I still want to listen to K because his questioning destroys dogma, but that listening is to help me work towards True Nature realising that his Path recognises discipline as conformity rather than the necessary control of the external mind, the mind that interacts with daily life through emotions and desires.

I interpret K as saying that we should focus on being Buddha Nature by being True, good and the rest. But can we be this way without effort or control or discipline? Without sila or magga can we be free? And this is not conformity, as Magga is not described. Craving would also be thought, and attachment to thought would be an act of ego according to K so no conflict with K there. But conformity to Magga would be in conflict, yet following a discipline of Magga to me is not conformity.

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This one will make me even more unpopular with the opposite sex. Let me start with an analysis of relationships. In the home where does the power lie - usually with the woman. Why? Well firstly the man usually accepts that the home is the woman's domain. He goes to work to provide for the upkeep of the home, and the woman maintains it. Many women complain of this as drudgery but one clear way of seeing the relationship is that the woman desires children by Nature, and needs a place to bring them up. However much drudgery there is in the home, it is a place that brings her some fruition. Of course it is never cut-and-dried like this but in my view this control by the woman is a dominant factor in the home.

Now by Nature how does a woman attract a man? In the West, by her beauty and through his sex drive. Throughout courtship does the woman explain her demands for children and how much she will need to manage the home? No, it is all about romance. The man enjoys himself, going out, sex or not, the woman falls into romance with the hope of marriage. Eventually the wedding happens as the man decides that he would like to continue the romance, and that’s it. Marriage children and the path for the woman - children - the end of romance. Once the children arrive, the man is needed to provide a home, and that's the end. Does he get what he wants in the home? No, the woman always wins. How many men go out to work all day to pay for the home and then spend much of their free time in the bar rather than in the home that he has paid for?

I remember a personal situation. I loved a woman who was being beaten by her husband. Out of love for her I moved in with her and her children and bought a house. Prior to living with her I had part-time work that I was enjoying, in order to live with her I moved cities and started working full-time. When I was angry with her I would say that she should show me some gratitude for providing a home for her and her children, and looking after her after her husband had been beating her. That word, gratitude, was a flash-point for intense animosity from her, and to this day I do not understand why there was no gratitude. Was I the one supposed to be grateful for all the trouble she and her children gave me, and for the pleasure of moving cities and having to work full-time? In the end I became more and more drunk and eventually left - a male response to the lack of justice in the relationship. Of course every time I mentioned the word "gratitude" there was no sex, and as she did not live in the house half the week that was an issue for me.

I moot that women run the home and control the situation by the way they satiate the sex drive. Payment for the house, working during the day, are things the man chooses to do and are not part of the relationship, and for women balancing the books starts after these axioms have been completed. This is not because women don't perceive that men do this but simply because all that matters for women is the way they control the situation. Whilst there is an appearance of discussing rationally the purpose of the arguing strategy is not to reach an accommodation but for the woman to get what she wants. In the cold light of day if you create a balance sheet of what a man brings to a relationship and what he gets out of it, it does not make good sense. As before I ask again that this balance sheet be created and that people in relationships look more clearly at the roles of men and women and what they are getting involved with.

I now want to look at the roles within the family, the upbringing of children. What does a woman want - to protect and provide for her children? Fundamentally she spends on the home and the children, she is the main source of consumerism. What does the man bring? Provider and secondary carer, but more importantly, moral direction. In many men this of course is lacking, but traditionally the father punishes - "wait till your father gets home". This notion of moral direction needs developing.

So far I have presented roles very unfavourably to women - woman as mother, protector and provider for her children whilst building her home - consumer, and the man as financial provider and moral direction. In practice demarcation of these roles has long since gone as both men and women work to meet the consumer needs of the home. After a hard day at work the woman comes home and has to work, similarly the man is expected to contribute to caring and other home aspects traditionally defined as the woman's. With increasing financial independence the woman makes her own decisions about her money. Typically the man’s money is used to pay for the house, his car and major home items, the woman pays for food and items for the children and maybe her car. But maybe not, each home is different. What I do believe in general is that the woman directs the consuming. Certain consumption is expected, the house and initial furniture, one car, food. Once this pattern has been established, then the woman directs further consumption, new furniture and so on. The more the woman has financial control the less she expects of the man, and the less control the man then has. And more importantly less moral control of the children, it is this moral direction that most concerns me about the change in roles in relationships. With the increasing feminism and purchasing power of women, the less the man is involved with the children. New age man contributes more in the home under the direction of the woman as her energies are now divided between work and home, but does the man make the decision as to how he does what is expected? No the woman organises it, and if the man doesn't do it then the feminist says the man does not cooperate. Whilst men in the past misused their control over women at least they still exerted moral direction over the children, now that women control there is no moral direction. A woman's motivation is protection, not moral direction, often a woman will protect the child from the wrath of the father even when the child is wrong. Through this protection the child learns manipulation and cunning, and not moral integrity. This sounds pie-eyed because most men are not moral, so I am presenting an analysis of roles for the few men who would exert moral authority. But the few men who do this are important in creating children who provide the moral direction for the next generation, whilst the mother protects the child will not learn morality. For some men moral integrity comes first, for women protection comes first. Society needs the morality, so society needs men to regain control in the family.

This however is not likely to happen in the current family setups because of consumerism. Corporate interests are in maintaining the status quo, they make their profits out of the woman's need to protect and provide - and therefore consume. Is the woman interested in the moral requirement of sufficiency? In general no when it comes to the home and her children, they come first. Afterwards can come morality. And yet the mother instinctively seems to have more concern for the environment - Mother Earth?

What I am presenting is a picture of the woman running the home and because the man is marginalised there is a lack of primary moral direction, a mother will teach good behaviour but only once the child has been provided for. I am sounding pie-eyed to myself more and more as I write every word. Every home is different every relationship is different, and yet I am trying to draw general conclusions. I am also trying to apply a sense of rationality to a situation which is not rational. The mother protects and provides, this has nothing to do with rationality. A mother would never accept moral control over this maternal instinct, yet there are times in which a man’s power would exert that control for the better. Still doesn't sound good, these gender issues are just sending me up a dead end of frustration.

So what about polygamy? This brings some control back to the man. In the home of one man and one woman, mostly the man loses. In the one case I know of in which the man won - my own upbringing, the home was dysfunctional. This is just going to sound like favouring the man, but ultimately I am concerned about moral integrity. The dynamics revolve around the man's sexual desire. When Thai people look at me strangely about living alone, the woman is concerned for my loneliness and caring for my old age, the man boom-boom. Am I wrong to focus on man's sexual desire as such an important aspect in a family relationship? What I have somewhat ineffectively described in terms of gender relationships above exists because the man has lost control through the manipulation of his sex drive. Quite often men will seek satiation outside the family. Whilst this is of course wrong, it is more than understandable, and if children are involved the man is damaged financially in divorce by law. To be quite honest it makes no sense for a man to marry. So what if there was polygamy? The man cannot be controlled by the woman as the woman is more concerned with the other woman/women. If the women join forces against the man then this could be worse, but this is unlikely as the woman will want to provide more for her own child and the source of that provision is the man. Once the man has regained some control, then there is a possibility for moral direction.

I should stop with this gender analysis, it's going nowhere. It is flying against the feminist consumerist direction of society. Quite clearly most men don't fit the image of man I am portraying, and men become a self-fulfilling prophecy of drink and affairs quite simply because they don't get what they need from marriage - this self-fulfilled image most women have of them. But the problem is that the emphasis has moved away from the caring aspect of home life, and the homes now lack moral direction. Traditional roles had the potential for both.


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K and Total Silence
Well K did it again. No matter how I tried I slept through all of "In total silence we come upon the eternal" the first time, download it at Or you can download it from my mediafire:-

Part1, Part 2 and Part 3
and join with hjsplit (instructions here).

So the question is why isn't there total silence when we want it? Because we setup conflict. How do we create conflict? Through non-acceptance, not accepting the way things are, and creating conflict between what is and our minds. How do we do this?

OK, when I was working I created conflict because I wanted to teach, I created a conflict between Right Teaching and the job I was forced to do. That is a conflict I had to have, as well as being a conflict I chose to have. It is possible I could have had less conflict but I could not then live with myself. The only real choice I had towards the end of teaching was to leave teaching, and I did that as soon as I could.

At that time my journey was not 100% of my life, and that brought conflict. This aspect of conflict was always there but under the surface because the surface conflict was between me and my job. Now there is a very limited social aspect to my conflict because I have no need to earn money. Occasionally I interact with services people but this is limited. There is a conflict I haven't resolved, and that is that I am not satisfied with my level of helping. Although I do give back with my internet presence - very little because no-one really knows about my site - I don't push it and maybe it is not of interest.

Slowly there is less internal conflict. This internal conflict is very much based on my journey, and can be summed up by my being addicted to samsara. When I want something from samsara this is in conflict with the eternal. OK that is not quite true. I can participate 100% in something that is part of samsara without that being in conflict - cooking and eating a nice healthy meal. But if I desire something from samsara that is not pure then that brings about conflict in the mind. To be pure brings no conflict.

That sounds incredibly sanctimonious, and there is much about being sanctimonious that is not pure and creates conflict. This is mainly because being sanctimonious is often accompanied by a desire to be sanctimonious together with an agenda that all should be sanctimonious. Within you there is Being that is pure, and when this Being expands to the Being that is eternal there is no conflict. However this cannot happen unless there is absolute harmony between your Being and eternal Being, and this harmony can only occur when your actions are totally pure. Such harmony can only occur when your actions are 100% sila and you can only be 100% sila if that sila comes from your Being and mindfulness controls desires ie you have absolute confidence that mindfulness can deal with the desires. Then you are One with Nature.

How do we know there is any conflict? When there is not total silence. There can be times when there appears to be silence, walking coast paths, watching and listening to the sea, but this is not total silence. Silence cannot be temporary and dependent on a situation. However this is a reward to show what is available to you if there is no conflict. There can be temporary silence where the mind meets the eternal - where the mind is free, but whilst such freedom is a great buzz - a bell and banjo, it is not total silence. What has K got to say about death and silence?

Theravada and Mahayana - Theravadans often have a guilt trip laid on them because their approach - lacking a Boddhisattva vow - appears to be selfish, that you only work for your own enlightenment. But consider this enlightenment. Assume one gets near one is living a life where one helps people anyway. Now what about the Mahayanan Boddhistattva? Their enlightenment, if it is measured by the need for all people to attain enlightenment cannot happen. So if it cannot happen why do people follow the Path? There is a contradiction if it measured by enlightenment of all people. No, the Mahayanan can become personally enlightened, this does not depend on the enlightenment of others, of course helping others is part of their journey as with Theravadans. There is no difference, it is just dogmas and so on, dogmas that create separation. Separation created by minds that are creating thoughts based on knowledge experience and memory rather than minds Being with the Absolute whether the Absolute is Buddha Nature, the Unconditioned, Amata or any other description.

I remember when I used to go to Brockwood Park I would wander around trying to understand K and practice what he taught - and getting frustrated. The same happened this morning, how do I observe without thought? How can I meditate in total silence? And again there was frustration. But this is not what K is about, he is a dogma buster. He does not say follow him, he says don't follow others, make your own decisions. And that I have meditation, sila and mindfulness to unite my mind internally - no inner and outer and being comfortable with my interactions with samsara.

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Super Size Me
Check this file

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Being and the Corporate Paradigm
I began reading "That is That", essays on true Nature - basically a book on Advaita, at the beach. After looking at a few quotes I got into the dilemmas about Being in the Now at work, and realised that my thinking had not been clear. How can you be in the Now and have sila Be corrupted by your daily life. Religious institutions are themselves compromised, priests or monks don't work, how can they deeply know the reality of the compromise? Same for the spiritual teachers who are insulated from the way their profits are used.

"It is not about what happens but awareness about what happens."

"The real treasure in this moment is always to be found in the awareness of this moment, not in the content of our experience."

"Nothing that happens can change what you are, and what you are is the biggest treasure."

It is statements like this that makes all of this incomprehensible to most people. Of course what happens changes who you are - what about a motor-bike accident where you lose a leg. What matters is understanding who you are, and then you know it cannot change who you are. Nothing can change your Buddha Nature, but if I am burned by fire then I am careful how I warm myself next time. This statement is important because it teaches you who you are, that which is not body, that which is not burned, that which is not emotional desirous and so on. But for most people coming to that realisation of who you are is difficult it certainly is for me. I cut my hand preparing food, I cannot say that is not me - at least not initially.

"Our effort and struggle to change what is only makes sense if there is a me. It is all in service to maintaining the idea of a me. In fact, the struggle is the me. When there is no struggle, there is no me."

OK I cut my hand, I feel the pain see the blood and move on. Perhaps I note there could have been more mindfulness. But I am not looking for change. It happened. When I was teaching that was not the case. I was wanting what was right, the best way to teach the kids. And I was in constant struggle because what was happening around me was not the best way to teach kids but careerism and profiteering. In order to live with myself I had to accept the result of my conceptualisation and struggle and conflict ensued. There was no choice, I was not in an environment in which truth mattered - as is mostly the case in the world of work. But this sacrifice was a struggle against Being in the Now but it was not wrong for me, I needed money. Look at all the compromises people make because they need money - a sacrifice to survive. Brad and his compromises in writing about Zen. Bhante and his compromises with defending the institution. However there is a Being in the Now that makes this more acceptable, being aware and accepting the compromises. As I got older I was able to accept more compromises, I was able to engineer a position where the compromise I accepted was closer - not what both wanted but that didn't work. I tried to compromise, and no matter what success the system never accepted the compromise on my terms. No matter what I did they wanted to change me. Humanity in the system was guilty and always wanted to exert their power to prevent me from Being Happy in the Now. Mostly I could accept that but their minds were never satisfied, and they wanted to force me to change - simply because they had the power. Look at that pipsqueak dickhead at Lekki, prime example of guilt and power damaging education and my relationship with the Now. I was too old to leave.

My head is spinning with the old teacher dilemmas. Was I in the Now? Was it me, ego that caused conflict? Could I have avoided conflict by recognising what is and working with it? All the circular arguments sound just the same, you cannot. It is pointless to try to reiterate and resolve them. It is not me that created the problems and it was not me who needed to be less egotistical. The powers that fought against me were too powerful. Why fight them you say? Because of sila. In this world of corporate paradigm sila is in conflict. The paradigm creates the conflict - you must work to pay, and once you work power creates the problems. Me can make it worse but the power creates the problems. It is only possible to live in the Now and earn money if earning that money is completely independent of prevailing power, if earning your money does not impact on any system integral to the corporate paradigm. An independent school that was not successful might not have an inherent conflict but state and "usual" independent schools did. To retire and accept that you cannot have an impact is perhaps the only way to be in the Now, but then you have to accept frustration. Have your impact of Being in the Now by the people you meet.

Here is where me comes in - I want to do more. Of course, I do what I can. As soon as I want to do more it is not about what is right but about what I want. As soon as it is about what I want that gets sensed and there is a conflict. I want to teach spirituality. As soon as that becomes a possibility, that want intervenes and sets up a barrier stopping the other person learning. What is to be done? Nothing.

That is a hard answer to accept.

Is sila me? No. Sila is Being. So what happens when sila is in conflict with work as it mostly is with the Corporate Paradigm? Being is in conflict with the Corporate Paradigm so minimising the interaction between you as a Being withe Sila and the Corporate Paradigm has to be the way forward. So much of Being and not being in conflict in the world of work is platitude. The more you understand the world of work and the influence of the Corporate Paradigm the less you can accept the required compromises, that is a simple and obvious truth. Accepting this truth it is necessary to develop alternatives, not working withing existing structures and trying to change them but work outside, and completely establish your own structures from the raw materials through to the market place including distribution. There is no choice. Work with like-minded people and every step of the way move outside the existing system. If you make health and care the currency this is possible. Do not look for profit margins, move back to barter where possible, helping people is the modus operandi. This is the only way people can Be in the Now. For every step of the transaction there is heart, from the extraction from the ground to the placement in the home is an act of love.

At present this is idealistic but so is Being in the Now, yet we have to work towards that; that is life's journey. Can we work our whole lives without using any money? As a teacher can I negotiate lessons in return for food, food that is from the ground without any poisons? I am a Luddite, a Mormon, I can for all but technology. How can I have a computer that is carbon neutral? A motor car? But we can work towards this by attempting to setup an alternative network, and alternative form of distribution? This is the reality of Being in the Now within the Corporate Paradigm.

So I am saying put people before profits through sila and mindfulness. Now this does not exclude free trade but free trade in economics terms has become a euphemism for cartel practices. There is nothing wrong with choosing to buy products from 3rd world countries so that they can profit from them, this is fair trade. There is nothing wrong with paying a local farmer a fair price for his organic produce, however once Big Food gets involved then accumulation of profits takes place and unfair practices start. People Being in the Now need to be mindful of what they consume and where the profits from that consumption goes. I had a recent falling-out with a Buddhist friend who says he avoids politics. This is a ludicrous statement to make, we cannot avoid politics we can only pretend to avoid the consequences of our actions by not being mindful. Awareness automatically requires mindful consumption and a positive strategy of withdrawing from consumption within the Corporate Paradigm.

Now many religious people avoid this position, in Buddhism this might be misconstrued as detachment. I am detached from politics. This is not detachment, this is avoidance. This is avoiding all the consequences of your actions. You cannot avoid consumption, you consume for the Corporations or you consume for the people - there is no other way. If you consume for the people you are talking about making purchases that will benefit individuals such as buying local. You are considering your purchase from the money in your pocket to the raw material in the ground. Of course this is hard to understand so you need people who you can trust who can determine which purchases are appropriate - a mindful consumer network.

What about religion and the consumer network? Well religions are fundamentally compromised. On the one hand they are to provide support for people, and yet some religious people are searching for the truth. What do you say to people searching for the truth when they are working within the Corporate Paradigm? How can a religion genuinely searching for the truth provide support for people whose daily lives place them in conflict with sila, and therefore with Being. Religions rely on donations, how will those pan out if the priest or monk stands in the pulpit and condemns those who work within the Corporate Paradigm. Asking religions to promote the notion that people be mindful of their consuming threatens the very existence of that institution, in that case the religion is compromised and is part of the Paradigm.

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Tropic Capricorn
Documentary Heaven had this programme "Tropic of Capricorn" - actually they referenced You-Tube. The guy's trip started in Namibia so I thought I would have a trip down memory lane. Here is the first programme:-

Namibia and Botswana - Programme 1

He begins on the coast of Namibia, and I never went that far over - I did enjoy the Caprivi Strip and got as far as Etosha in the rain once. When I think about the travelling I have done since it seems strange how little I actually travelled when I lived in Francistown, Botswana - for 6 years. Having said that I enjoyed the travelling I did do, although I very rarely went further than one day's journey - peanuts in such vast countries.

Southern Africa, or maybe East Africa, are the only places that are ever likely to drag me away from retired bliss here in Thailand, so in a way that is why I am looking at this blog. Every so often I watch "Wild at Heart" and my heart jumps a beat, but I couldn't afford to go back there unless I was working. It was the package. I enjoyed the travel, the students gave me back a joy for teaching after having it hammered out of me in the bitter cauldron of UK education, and the women were dangerous - not just Aids-wise. I don't think I could ever go back but it was a great experience.

Firstly I had a great house living in Francistown, sadly the only picture I can find is the back of my house with my dog, Tshepo. This was no mud hut!!!

And Tshepo was a great dog, My favourite story is the one where he saved my drunk neighbour who regularly came home late and a tsotsi spotted his timing, Tshepo stepped in and chased the tsotsi off. Unfortunately the story with Tshepo ended sadly. The guy who took over my house didn't have the sense to know the advantage of a good guard dog. Eventually I bullied him into keeping the dog, and later heard that the dog found a girlfriend and had puppies. I suspect he became a street dog and was shot. I remember the heart-rending scenes the day I left where Tshepo was sat on the other side of the road staring at me - sat with his temptress. I eventually coaxed him over to say goodbye and chain him up, but it was sad. Just thinking about this makes me realise why I resist having dogs - and then there was the way my mother was with her dog - they are a big responsibility.

Africa was about the kids, they were mostly great, Africa would not be the same for me if I wasn't teaching and I haven't got the desire to teach full-time any more. As for the women they were wonderful 90% of the time, and the other 10% they were so much trouble. I say they but it was mostly one - but NOT only one. If I went back I would maybe have the sense to stay away - I keep away from the suais, but I am not sure. Whilst they maybe the most comfortable women in the world that 10% was catastrophic.

Here are my photos from Botswana and Zimbabwe, Shashe Dam is the greatest!!

My reaction to the movie is less that of nostalgia than anger, at the liberal indoctrination coming out of the mouth of the young pipsqueak reporter. Namibian Independence was 1990, and the programme was made in 2007, yet the reporter harps on about the German colonials who had not been in charge since the First World War. The poor Herero people enslaved and murdered during the building of Swakopmund, and the Herero family later living on poor land. In a 17-year-old black government, who is keeping the Herero there? A quick read of Wiki will show that there is typical African tribal conflict, and that now is why the Herero are disadvantaged. Prostitutes on the streets of Windhoek are not servicing the needs of white males, it is usually black men they have sex with and catch Aids from - most whites don't go near the blacks. And then there is the Chinese take-over. He doesn't mention that the trade is equitable whereas the white colonial history was not fair, there is a big difference between trading skills and equipment than there is from the colonial practices. Why is Chinese trade welcomed? Because it does not come with the conditionality of the helping hands of the Conquistadores - World Bank, IMF and the Free Trade Organisation.

Then the pipsqueak flew to Gaborone where the city's modern buildings were highlighted, then the fool said the stability was caused by Debswana. Aaggh! I am too old for this, do people believe this crap? Debswana is a company joint owned by the Tswana government and the South Africa's De Beers. The country's leaders are bought off by the diamond cartels, some money goes into modern infrastructure, and mostly the people starve. When I was there the gap between rich and poor was the largest in the world or Africa, I don't know which. There is no doubt that Debswana has prevented the diamond money from being frittered away in African opulence, but the real reason the South Africans got involved was the global cartel controlling the diamond prices. God I'm feeling like an old socialist hack that nobody listens to. God, indoctrination amongst these pipsqueaks is so bad, only one way for success - buy the line.

Then the pipsqueak discussed the Aids problem saying there were two generations of orphans. He then bemoaned the extended family breaking down, but they broke down because families won't look after Aids victims. I liked the Tswana people, don't get me wrong, but there is a lot of bullshit about. You don't believe it, you have to know.

Next part of racist stereotypes was a trip to San villages. Now the San is a difficult problem that the Tswana government have dealt with very badly - not as badly as the Aborigines in Australia. So the pipsqueak moves from white cities of Swakopmund and Windhoek to Herero village to Gaborone metropolis to San villages. Whilst Botswana is a mixture of rich and poor these glimpses of Gabs architecture and villages don't present Tswana life at all, better watch "No 1 Ladies Detective Agency" - get a better picture. And then traditional healer.

I feel crestfallen. The first programme has finished and I cannot say once "been there". I spent 6 years in Botswana, teaching, travelling around, game parks, friends in other cities and large villages but of this pipsqueak's journey I had nothing in common. I remember the sign on the Francistown-Gabs road that said Tropic of Capricorn. Here is a map of Botswana:-

He visited Gabs a bit, Jwaneng a mine, and San villages in the centre of the Kalahari, you can see by the roads where Botswana is built up - he didn't go there. The programme was making me angry I didn't watch any more. I was looking forward to a bit of nostalgia, what a comedown. I am tempted not to include the blog, but my reaction is a real experience.

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Is Meditation only of the mind?
I have always thought of meditation as connected to the mind but in truth I haven't thought deeply about meditation in the context of Zandtao? So let's think about meditation in terms of the three tenets:-

Improving the mind

Harmonising our energy

Taking care of our bodies

Because I started with Insight Meditation I automatically associate meditation with improving the mind, but if I examine my personal history more it is not quite so straight forward. The bells and banjos I referred to were not involved with any specific mind technique. My most powerful early experiences were in my 30s. I would lie down late at night and the experience would just come. I felt a centring, a presence, I stayed with it a while and then I wrote. For me this was mind although there might have been energy associated with it. I did however have a good unity experience in a group meditation on a theosophy course - no formal meditation for me at that time so this was one of my erratic experiences. Again in my 30s I did Nai Gung (can't find the spelling). This was a meditation done during Tai Chi where the teacher asked me to melt away any blockages inside. I did this a few times and found it interesting. Then when I was in my 40s I came across some guy whose name I remember as Isthion (Canadian?)) - but that is probably wrong. From reading his stuff he was the first to teach me to occasionally do a cleansing diet, and also to do an emotional cleansing. I found myself at a campsite in Nyanga, Zimbabwe, and that night I went through tremendous emotion getting rid of an internalised ex-girlfriend and some family issues. I have repeated this cleansing of attachments a number of times since, especially emotions mostly anger where I release it from my liver usually. Then there has been chakra meditation first started maybe 10 years ago using Gary Zukav's Heart of the Soul. I have also used meditation to get rid of desire - not too successfully. So all-in-all meditation is not just of the mind, it can be used elsewhere.

And only this last week I have spent much time conmsidering attachments in what I think of as half-meditation, where having woken up at night or during the morning I try to melt away attachments. Whilst this left me feeling good I was also lulled into a false sense of comfort as I have now realised that I have been suffering a yeast reaction. After drinking more rejuvelac, eating more pickles, kimchi and so on, this morning I woke up more refreshed - not in a half slumber. But all of these descriptions of meditation were using the mind but not always focussing on the mind, many were focussing on energy especially concerning the chakras. So meditation is about using the mind, not only to help the mind but also to help with taking in energy. And on occasions I have used "breathing in health through the chakras", is this the body?

But the most important meditation has been concerning unity. Sometimes I have sought to expand the child to the mother, sometimes breathing out compassion to unity, sometimes uniting emptiness inside to emptiness outside, and many others. I do not advocate these techniques as ultimately I think they are mind concepts but they did help me. But most importantly they are somehow addressing the Deep Truth, Buddha Nature or whatever words so have some value. If you use these techniques, do not use them as a recommendation but as a trial to see what they do for you.

Essentially see meditation as wide, and determine what it means for you. For K it means Total Silence, I can't do that!!

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Having taken an interest in cancer since starting my diet (several blog entries), the name Gerson has cropped up. Before I continue sila tells me to explain that I am not medically-trained. In some ways that is an advantage because it means that I have not been indoctrinated - I had to retire from teaching before I could fully understand what was going on - see Matriellez' book. I follow a macrobiotic diet, and that was at one time touted as the anti-cancer diet. Whilst I have some understanding as to why that might be said, I could never make such a statement. But what I do say is very clear, and for the life of me I do not understand why even the most intelligent people who get cancer cannot follow this advice. Stop eating processed crap. All nutrition can be gained from beans, veg, whole grains and fruit. As you learn more abut your body once you start eating natural food, then you make your own diet. Anyway please, if you have cancer and come across this, please eat a healthy diet before considering chemo. How can what happened to Farrah Fawcett-Majors possibly be called treatment?

Anyway back to Gerson. From what I know of the Gerson therapy it sounds great. I have never done it, never been near a clinic, have only seen what I can on the net, but it fits in with a macrobiotic diet. Gerson uses raw juices and enemas, personally I am not keen on enemas but under controlled therapy I don't have a problem with it. Maybe you pay for the therapy in a controlled environment, that seems fine to me if you cannot control yourself. OK, up to you.

Now Gerson movies are about the way the cancer industry controls access to their therapy. I have no reason to disbelieve this, but quite clearly their movies show a bias - probably a legitimate bias. Because I do not know enough I have not previously been in a position to consider the Gerson therapy. Then I have just found this documentary "Dying to have known"" in which patients have been interviewed. Now the reporter was quite clearly sympathetic, I am sure he had a bias. But the way he conducted his reporting did not demonstrate bias to me.

Interruption here - I cannot accept any neutrality in the reporting in either movie. In the first Steve Kroschel acts as a reporter, in the second he is director presenting his son as an objective reporter. Having said this I think there is a high level of truth in both movies, but there seems a level of subterfuge. Why?

To continue - Of course I am biased in favour of food as a therapy as this blog shows, but the real answer lies, as with macrobiotics, in a properly financed unbiassed statistical experiment. Of course Big Pharma won't pay for that, and if Gerson paid for it no matter how statistically unbiassed the experiment was Big Pharma would claim vested interest - as I do about science. In truth the documentary sounds a lot like the Gerson movie, but proof only exists if minds are open; the Big Pharma branch of the Corporate Paradigm is not. At the end of watching the movie I searched for the name of the reporter and director, He had directed movies about Alaska, directed Vertical Limit which I had seen. And what else did he direct? The Gerson movie, The Beautiful Truth. So any claim to objectivity does not stand, but watch "Dying to Have Known". Then fault it.

For me it was a very frustrating documentary to watch. The reporter interviewed established medicine, and then quickly countered what was said by documentary evidence. I was particularly irritated by the reference to scientific experiment. As a statistician I am often frustrated by the appeal to science, and the way that appeal pretends statistical accountability. One apologist for the system described a double blind experiment (keeping all patients in ignorance and having a control group), but a doctor, who was used to justify Gerson-type approaches, said that this was most suited to drug-testing. Here is a straight-forward experiment that could establish the validity of Gerson therapies; it only requires the agreement of the patients. Over a fixed period of time (depending on the number of patients maybe one week), every patient who follows the Gerson treatment agrees to be monitored. To begin with all patients are examined by a team of system scientists to establish the type and level of cancer. They then attend the Gerson therapy centre for however long the therapy lasts, whereby they are then examined again. I am not clear how long it takes for the cancers to disappear so let us suppose that these patients are monitored by the same system scientists at regular intervals for a year. After a year's interval there will be a proportion of successes - Pg. At the same time at a standrad chemo hospital an equivalent number of patients are examined, and monitored for that year at the end of which there will a proportion of successes - Pc. The two proportions could be tested by standard hypothesis testing to establish whether either proportion was significantly different to the other. This is a statistically valid test that might well have been used in establishment science experiments in non-controversial areas.

At the same time one could establish a different sort of experiment, and that is case studies. I have discussed case studies before, case studies were accepted by my university for my M Ed. I have also previously proposed an experiment for establishing how macrobiotics could help cancer. Case study methodology, or qualitative research, is acceptable when the establishment wants it, but is not acceptable when such methodology damages profits of corporations. How do these people call themselves scientists when it is self-evident that such experiments could be carried out but won't be because who would provide the funding? In the end the documentary discussed findings in Japan where a plant-based therapy is much more acceptable - macrobiotics has its roots there.

Then I got hit by the reporter's child abuse comment, if his son got cancer and the son was sent on Gerson therapy the father would be done for child abuse. How can this be?



Dying to Have Known

Part 1 Part 2
Download from Mediafire or watch on Putlocker - download from Putlocker using download manager. Join with hjsplit (instructions here).

Then I started watching "The Beautiful Truth", and I first noted that it sounded exactly like the supposed neutral documentary. Then he presented his son doing a cancer project in Alaska, I find this highly suspicious - in the end he says the boy is his son. It appears to be tricks, why does there need to be tricks? The Beautiful Truth developed into a follow-on from "Dying to Have Known" including some of the same footage, casts doubt doesn't it? However it is still worth watching - good info, but it is not neutral.

So here is the second movie:-


The Beautiful Truth

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

Download from Mediafire or watch on Putlocker - download from Putlocker using download manager. Join with hjsplit (instructions here).

If on my diet I somehow came down with cancer I would use what little money I have to find a Gerson clinic, the Hawaii clinic looks a possibility!!! Maybe there is a raw food resort following Gerson in Thailand? Checking I came up with Mom's Organic Farm, maybe I should try to visit? Again stuff happening around Chiang Mai.

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Mother and Child reunion
This term comes from HHSR and is the notion that you create Harmony in daily life (my words) so that the child Being that is centred in your heart feels comfortable to return to the mother Being - Emptiness. At the same time Tibetan talks about a balance between Wisdom and Compassion, this became much clearer to me when I read this from Nisardagatta "When I see I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see I am everything, that is love. My life is a movement between these two."; it was quoted in That is That.We come from Emptiness, and through life we gain experience that through healing and learning turns into Compassion that brings us back to Wisdom. In my own life I have spent different times focussing on Wisdom or Compassion.

So my Path has oscillated between Wisdom and Compassion, I have previously thought of this as oscillating between Inner and outer (note the capitals). In other words life at times has been about my Inner journey where I have internalised experience, and the outer journey where I gain that experience. Whilst this is true I now have a different interpretation. The Inner is the child and the Outer is the mother. When I internalise what I am doing this is using experience that then creates an internal harmony that allows a process of internalisation to occur. In a sense my Being accepts the learning from the experience, in a sense through Compassion I have experienced that has led to learning that has become internalised as Wisdom. Mother and child reunion.

Felt great on the beach, Friday, doesn't feel so stunning today.

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Candida Diet
It is time that I addressed this candida issue properly, I now feel that the excess yeast has the potential for growing disease. Thoughts came to me such as excess yeast is where the cancer can grown, and the body cannot heal if there is excess yeast there - how true are those thoughts? I am not saying the yeast is growing in me, in fact I think it is lessening, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't address it. So I start with Paul Pitchford "Healing with Whole Foods". Need to promote lactobacillus acidophilis, candida can inhibit essential amino acids. My mucus is a sign of candida. Need to be alkaline. Start eating bean sprouts again. More greens - do the juice once a day. Daikon radish daily and button mushrooms. Too many fruits. Miso, soy sauce, tempeh and tofu OK. Sauerkraut and therefore kimchee. Recommends L. sporogenes and B laterosporus. Garlic. Am using lime pickles and umeboshi regularly.

Kimchee ingredients :-

Ingredients Instructions
1 head cabbage and 1 pound white radish (hua pak gaat) 1) Large bowl combine water 1 1/2 tbsp salt cabbage and raddish. Set aside 12 hours.
5 cups of water, 2 tbsp sea salt 2) Remove cabbage and radish, and combine with remaining salt ginger, garlic, pepper and onion.
2 tbsp minced ginger, minced garlic 3) Put into crock, and pour liquid over veg leaving one inch to top.
1 green onion chopped, 1/2 cayenne pepper 4) Cover with clean cloth and set aside for 3 -7 days.


Candida is seriously difficult. I regularly have garlic, was drinking veg juice every day, slowed down recently, love mushrooms although they have stopped recently. Have miso occasionally. Was drinking probiotic drink almost daily. Bad - too much fruit..

Changes in diet:-

1) Nam pak every day.

2) With every dinner, umeboshi, lime pickle, kimji

3) Eat more daikon (hua pak gaat) and button mushrooms

4) Lime pickle with second meal.

5) Bean sprouts (dtua ngork) once a week.

6) Miso and ginger drink daily.

7) Sylvie's probiotics daily.

8) Kefir, if can make it.

Questions to ask? Kefir starter for coconut milk. Any Korean shops here?

While I'm at it, long red worms for composting?

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Constant Questioning
I have been musing about why an internet friend did not answer one of my emails, it kind of irritated me. In her case I suspect it was about questioning, a lack of desire to question in some areas? She has achieved a certain level of comfort by breaking through in some areas. Good luck to her, she helps people she deserves her comfort.

So I ask how important is questioning? Is it about answers? Or is it a way of life - constant questioning? Not the destructive questioning of the intellect but the continuous questioning that takes the mind deeper and deeper into Being? There is the questioning of Tommy (in the children's home), the destructive questioning of the child brought up in care repeating the endless intellectualism of the child care workers - questioning everything just to be awkward. The spoilt child with the parents repeatedly asking why when told to do something, where misguided parenting believes all instructions, even common-sense instructions, should be rationalised. Then there is the academic skill of questioning. What is mind? People on the Path know something about mind, and the further along the Path the more is known about mind, but in academia nothing is known about mind. There are endless theories of mind, and the theory that is accepted is usually politically expedient. My professor believes this so our department believes it - or at least subscribes to it. But such theories need not be based on understanding through meditation, it is questioning with a different purpose - often to do with keeping your job, career and promotion. But then there is deep questioning, a genuine desire to learn - follow the Path. This is a questioning of all the assumptions we grew up with, the agreements we made with our families and society. What about questioning our food? This is an obvious example for questioning our social values, do we accept that we can eat food provided by Big Food? Why? Because we trust they are not poisoning us? Because we trust they have good employment practices? Many questions can be asked of corporations but perhaps we would be uncomfortable with the answers. So there is questioning with bad motivation? And there is avoidance of questioning. Is there a need for genuine questioning?

Being the best we can is to Be in 100% agreement with Being, no constructs, no beliefs but 100% acceptance of Being, 100% in the Now. I am not talking about questioning of Being but questioning of your personal history, your upbringing and education. There is stillness and there is this constant questioning until that questioining removes any constructs that we face reality with. But this is not questioning of a discomforted mind, mind can be in comfort with this questioning, this questioning is not about answers but about removing obstacles to Being, objects that we have created, constructed in our accumulating stage of Karma. Don't look for answers but the state of questioning that brings Harmony for Mother and Child Reunion for the Unity of Compassion and Wisdom.

I now understand more of the third agreement "Don't make any assumptions".

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Identification with form?
"The formless dimension of pure consciousness arises from within you and replaces identification with form." is a quote from Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle. This led me to consideration of who I am, who do I think I am. There is no doubt that I consider that I am the Compassion inside. But am I the Emptiness, do I really think I am the Emptiness, do I think I am the Unity of Emptiness and Compassion? Or do I identify with the thoughts that arise as insights out of this Compassion - out of meditation? I am the Sea not the waves.

As you could imagine I was at the beach when I wrote this yesterday. It was quite a realisation that although I spoke of Unity and such, I still identified with the separating ego, the ego of BillZ. This morning in meditation I began thinking more and more of who I was. I was not this separating ego, I was not just the compassion inside, I was the Reunion of Mother and Child. This led to a good feeling. Recently through meditation and thinking I have been aware of myself as not bounded by my body. I have often made efforts with compassion meditation to pour out compassion to others. Today there were no borders around my upper body, I was not BillZ ego, I was inside and outside. This felt good but it was not a buzz, I thought now, it is just the way it is meant to be.

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Summative candida
I thought I would take this opportunity to get my thoughts together on candida although I have discussed it here - nh65 and 66. Apologies if the following is too graphic.

So how does candida manifest? One thing is allegies. I had a very peculiar allergy for a vegetarian. I took plant extract and got serious uncontrolled diarrhoea. This was before I was eating healthily, and I took these plant extract pills to improve my immune system. I had a few other allergic reactions, one time I remember eating papaya and not peeling it properly. The skin gave me the diarrhoea. This diarrhoea has occured often. It began with the drink so that could have been candida, I had amoebic dissentery in Botswana, and a diarrhoea reaction to Thai water - guardia? Yesterday I had diarrhoea and today I am feeling queasy. Later in the day it started to develop towards a migraine. I always asociated the migraines with my digestive system so was worried. But it fizzled out - no migarine, although I was tired most of the day and slept a lot. Could this be yeast in the head? Maybe this was a cleaning out process? Every time I am ill I get a headache. Throughout my life I have had a number of treatments for migraines with varying success. Since starting an mb diet these headaches have become much rarer, and it was therefore noticeable that I had a big yeast headache last year - nh65. I very rarely consume yeast products although I do eat wheatgerm every day.

And here's a juicy one, I put down my jockitch to candida as well. Especially in the mornings it is strong and I see it as sleep eschewing the candida.

In addition my sleep is irregular. I am not bothered about this as I have no forced daily routine but I occasionally sleep late, I feel, as a result of candida.

I ahve a sweet tooth, and this shows itself by too much fruit. There is some sugar in my diet although I avoid it as much as possible. I expect there is sugar in some of my drinks, Oishi at the beach (4% fructose), Nesvita and ginger powders. I have to make more of an effort to eschew sugar, change the drinks at home. I must stop adding honey to my "nam pak".

Now the problem with all this is I cannot be sure of what is candida, is my diarrhoea a virus? Doubt is there but I am not too concerned about being laughed at!!

I now think I am susceptible to candida, perhapos mjore susceptible than others, as such I have to concentrate more on not giving the candida a medium to thrive.

I began to seriously address the candida on 22nd May - 66. As described I increased the fermented products - kimchi, more rejuvelac, umeboshi and pickled cucumber, I also have been taking probiotics daily from 1st June. Unfortunately I had a week in Bangkok where I did not have control of my diet but did increase the watermelon but there was none in the market yesterday.

My weight is still 85kg, approx 5kg over, this has been a constant for more than two years - losing 10kg quickly then plateauing after 14 kg at 85. I am healthy and do good exercise so I think the extra weight is a problem waiting to happen - candida?

Finally I have a pet theory that candida can provide the fertile soil that eventually led to my GERD. Whilst I don't now have GERD symptoms I do feel that the GERD has not gone away. Does candida provide the soil for other disease? Cancer?

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Confrontation and Distraction
People are in general not happy, and they seek solutions for the self such as greed and materialism that can never produce genuine happiness. The reward for following the spiritual Path is happiness but you pay the price by not having the wealth, but then you don't care. Part of this Path is recognising the reality that exists in society. At present that reality is that there is suffering - as there always has been, and that at present the social cause of that suffering is the greed of those in the corporatocracy. To alleviate social suffering as human beings we need to work to take the control out of the hands of the corporations and put it back in the hands of caring people. This is genuine democracy, and not the hijacked democracies that are the western models. And Thailand for that matter.

People need to confront these realities, see them for what they are - and live them. Does your lifestyle make you happy? Change it, forget the wealth. Does it make you unpopular pointing out that the problem is the corporations? Of course it does. People have been educated to believe that government is for the people, and yet even with all the recent evidence (as highlighted by moviesLifting the Veil and Inside Job) people turn away, become distracted from the real source of the social problems. If we personally sought happiness then we could see the source of the social problems and from our happiness bases be content with that evaluation - we would not be distracted from the truth. Our happiness would allow us to confront what is the source. What do we do then? Revolution? Of course not. Whilst a revolution against capitalist imperialism would be justified if 98% of the people believed in the need for revolution, the violence and suffering can never be justified when so few people believe now. But that does not mean we don't confront the reality with what we say and do. How we do that is a matter of personal choice? As an individual I confront it, and make choices such as with my savings. Through my journey, including my blog, I face the reality and try to inform people with little success. In work I was constantly in a position of confronting the authorities because the education ladder is built on miseducation ensuring that people do not learn about the corporate reality. What about spiritual people in general? How do they confront this reality? In the majority of cases they don't. It is my view that one of the primary reasons for this is that for the majority the spiritual Paths are controlled by religious institutions and religious institutions are tolerated whilst they conform to the Corporate Paradigm. If religious people start to confront the truth, they are described as "political" and they are controlled or excommunicated. This is not the Path, happiness does not occur when we don't confront the truth - spiritually or socially.

Here is a clip of an economic analyst:-

He clearly goes through the source of the current problems. In 1979 wealth was accumulated to too few, but since then even more wealth has accrued to these exploiters. And what os the conclusion of the analyst "the middle classes need more buying power". Now of course they can only get that buying power by getting the wealth back but the analyst avoids facing the problem which is the corporate wealth. There is a very shallow caring methodology that has developed - "make a difference". People are encouraged to measure their worth by the difference they make, this is just egotism. How can you make a difference when you stand up and say the cause of suffering is the corporations. You cannot, they are too powerful. Be happy that what you say is right. When people create distractions as to the source of the problems, disagree pleasantly, happily, but disagree with the firm conviction about what is right. The corporations do not care. As happy people we care, do not be distracted from the truth. Be happy in caring. And as for the spiritual leaders who cannot stand up and say the problem lies with the corporations, know that that is their weakness that this cannot make them happy. Do not be distracted.

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Candida - lethargy

These last few days have not been my best days. Since Thursday I have slept too much during the day, and I've not been up to much either - it has rained 24/7 so nothing to do anyway, at least nowhere to go. And yesterday it turned into a headache - what I used to call migraine but now see as a yeast headache. And the tiredness is starting again today - I woke up feeling lethargic but then was active during the lesson, did too much cooking and am now tired. Mind you I didn't sleep well, and woke up thinking about where the candida came into my life.

And I think of Dick Sheppard and Valley Road. Within a year or two of being at Dick Sheppard I was a fully functioning lush - I taught and drank. I drank before but there was no routine, then my week was drink. Monday night - quite energetic, Tuesdays - Gresham and drinking after, Wednesday or Thursday - rest day, Friday out of it, blackout and cab home. Saturday and Sunday hangover and CANDIDA. Absolute 100% lethargy at the weekends. It was a better weekend if I crawled to the shops on a Saturday as it gave me more chance to get the washing done on Sundays, Saturday and Sunday mornings were bed-ridden, and the rest of the time was mindless in front of the TV. I even remember cake-bingeing at the weekends - Candida. Of course I associated this with hangover but what also was happening was excess yeast spreading throughout my body, primarily to my head - ouch. This was confusing to diagnose at the time as I was getting migraines, but the guy I visited when I was in 7 Dials - I can only vaguely remember him - homeopathic - spotted that it was candida; I was too young and into the booze to follow his advice. Lethargy - I have just woken up. In fact more lethargy I gave up for the day.


More alive today. The last few days it has felt as if I have been carrying extra weight and my focus was only on the candida percolating in my digestive system - although yesterday I did meditate better. Today I woke up and that weight had gone, but I realised the candida had not. Candida is one of my burdens, it is something I have to live with permanently. I haven't got rid of it, maybe the worst of it though. But if I don't maintain proper yeast balance then things will get worse. How do I maintain that balance? More fermented stuff. Probiotics are not easy to get but rejuvelac is easy - use morning and night. Kefir and kombucha stuff arrived today, hopefully that will work and that will become daily. And kimchee. Must make that once a week or so. Kimchee every meal. And more watermelon. Beach, Nad's; take kimchee with me. Maybe I need to do the brown rice diet, investigate.

Candida is a problem that is never on most people's horizons. When I think of the headaches and the weight of the last few days I wonder what people carry with them. The thing with the body is that it has a burying/internalising mechanism. When it comes across a problem that it cannot solve/is going to get worse, such as alcohol or cigarettes or drugs or pH or candida, it buries it. Maybe the first few times it gives you warnings but if it knows those warnings are not being heeded, it shelves the problems. But the problems can come out occasionally like my migraines. Whenever I tried to find a trigger for the migraines I couldn't. Occasionally too much cheese, sweet stuffs, booze, and other triggers that meant nothing to me - coffee etc., all of these never gave causality because the problem was deeper - for some it gives causality. I wonder whether allergy equates to candida, maybe even migraines? And if they don't come out in migraines etc., then the problem stays buried until cancer or diabetis or some other lifestyle disease. How many people think of eating fermented foods? Occasionally I ate plain yogurt but that was it.

Change my diet to include candida balance permanently!!!

Update 24/06/11

On Tuesday I had a candida problem again but this was good. I'm afraid the description is graphic, so perhaps you want to ignore this. To help clear up this candida I have been taking psyllium husks, this helps regulate bowels. Since I have been attacking the candida, my bowels have not been regular even though I have taken the psyllium husks; I put this down to a changing bacterial balance in my digestive system. After two or three days with no bowel movement I was at the beach and felt the need to move the bowels. I rushed to my Chi Gung beach where there were no people and dug a toilet. Moving the bowels was very painful as my system got rid of a backlog (I'm sorry but I like that pun). After, I felt a great relief inside my digestive system.

I was hoping that was the end but sadly it is not. Again psyllium husks are not working so I am waiting for an emergency, I am sure this one will not be as bad.

The changes in my diet are going well. Kimchee takes a while and is messy but is helping - it passed a Thai taste test. I started my first batch of kombucha tea today, to be ready in two weeks, and I have a kombucha plan. I will look at washing the kefir today.

Kefir Update 01/07/11

Candida has hit my meditation hard, I have only sat occasionally since I have started to address candida properly. Primarily my head has been hit although the yeast has clearly impacted the whole of my body if, as I assess, I am having issues concerning its withdrawal. Firstly the kimchee helped but since Tuesday (28/06/11) I have been able to add kefir. My original plan was to use coconut milk, and maybe I still will, but the kefir has worked with milk so I will stick with that until/if I get mucus problems. When the kefir arrived I was supposed to spend 6 days fermenting the grains as a cleaning process before starting to use it. On the 4th day I noticed a clear separation between the curds and whey so rather than throw it I tried it with some fruit. It tasted fine but almost immediately I felt it in my intestines (at least I think it was my intestines). I didn't feel so good as it started to do its work - I almost didn't go to the beach yesterday as I felt so uncomfortable; but it was a good afternoon when I got there - the sea was calm and I could swim. Today I woke early - not enough sleep, but I have been blogging for 1 1/2 hours and it is only 7.50am. Good signs that I am getting through this.

I feel that the yeast is kind of reversing, I have felt that since I started the kimchee. I have twinges in my head in the areas where I felt migraines would start, forehead area, and at the back of my head at the base of my skull. Yesterday this feeling was very worrysome. Migraines have been much less of a problem since the diet-change 4 years ago. But I did have one I think in the last year that made me think of death, the pain was so powerful that if I was near death I might well say that's enough. Anyway with receding yeast I don't see migraines happening - famous last words. I am now even more convinced that yeast was at the basis of the GERD. Whatever finally turned my weaknesses into GERD, I feel they grew on the yeast imbalance. I feel a receding in the GERD area, and hopefully when my bacteria finally balance the yeast will have withdrawn from the GERD region. I still have a little difficulty with breathing because of what is happening in my digestive system, but that is much better. My bowels are not yet good even thoughI take psyllium husks - no major issues though. I have a feeling that there is an issue on the left of my digestive system taht has been covered up by yeast, we will see.

As to the kefir itself it read as if it was hard to do, but has turned out to be relatively easy. I have seen no granular signs however. You are supposed to use seeds to comvert the milk into kefir and clear slime. Once the curds and whey have separated in the kefir fermenter you separate the kefir by straining. After the kefir has been removed you are supposed to see kefir grains, I never have. I just see a lumpy kefir-like sludge which I transfer as "grains" to make the next batch. This seems to work, and I am now going to make more at each step - not daily but every two days - eat daily though with fruit.

It has been worth paying all that money to have kefir shipped from the States, let's hope the kombucha plans work out - a week to go for the first batch.

More on Kefir 07/07/11

I think the defecation issue was actually stones. The kefir is still doing well, intestinal balance not properly sorted yet. But .... my wieght has at last moved - down to 83kg. At last!!! Good news eh? this fermenting is now permanent, but it is taking work.

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