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Advice from Zandtaomed
Zandtao meditation page

Tathata - be explicit?





Last night I couldn’t sleep because of this issue, do I talk of tathata? This is a big issue because the reality of tathata is so depressing yet neither the Buddha nor Buddhadasa spoke extensively of their tathata – so who am I? Then this morning the Buddhadasa BIA Bkk page made this post so I will start from there to develop this tathata - for a quick version scroll down to the Brian Tathata.

Here is the question, a Q&A that has many levels and an issue that has many more; the pathtivism Manual is primarily about this issue.

Do you think that working for inner peace and enlightenment needs to be supplemented by engaged Buddhism or working for world peace, by challenging the structures that oppress – e.g. armies, governments, religions, bigotry – through non-violent actions?” ?

Do you think that working for inner peace and enlightenment needs to be supplemented by engaged Buddhism?” Basically Buddhadasa’s answer to this is no with an explanation:- “The Dhamma itself will bring about a revolution in our hearts, and then through that inner spiritual revolution one will practice, one will live and work, not only for one’s own benefit, but for the benefits of society.

“The Dhamma exists in order to resolve conflict. Because human beings were already in conflict, already fighting and so on, it became necessary to discover Dhamma. If one has sufficient Dhamma there would be no conflict.


I 100% support this answer. Having worked in the movement without sufficient emphasis on the Dhamma – both in myself and amongst comrades, I know that the movement is weaker because of this lack of connection. Current conflicts within the movement are exacerbated because comrades do not emphasise Dhamma. How some comrades work with existing establishment is conflictual primarily because they themselves have not matured, and this immaturity is used by the establishment to ignore pertinent issues. This, on one level, is answered by “If one has sufficient Dhamma there would be no conflict.

However what needs to be understood is that within the prevailing establishment people also do not have sufficient Dhamma. Buddhadasa recognises this in this quote “These various structures that have been mentioned – such as the military, the governments, religions and so on – originally these in their spirit have the intention of supporting society. So in fulfilling our responsibilities as a human being towards society, it’s not necessary to be in conflict with these different systems. However there are the times when these systems or structures are incorrect, when they are based in misunderstanding and have deviated from their original spirit or intention.

But let us move beyond the level of understanding in the discussion above that I completely support. What if the individual comrade has attained Dhamma (eg by following Mindfulness with Breathing), this individual is now in harmony with the 4 Dhamma comrades, and as is the case according to MwB develops an understanding of tathata.



Suppose this tathata has implications for interaction with the incorrect Dhamma-weak system of establishment, what does the comrade do?

First of all we need to observe what this specific tathata is :-

There is a global existential threat particularly to humanity. This threat is created by the economic system which is best understood by the term 1%-satrapy whereby the economic system functions to increase 1%-accumulation, an accumulation which is already an abomination, through damaging resource exploitation, wars for profits and wage-slavery. The 1% have absolute control but these 1% are so addicted to wealth, power and influence they are mentally ill and need help, but as with all addictions the first step is to recognise the need for help – and this they don’t recognise. The addiction that is causing the abomination requires an intervention because the addicted cannot cure themselves.

Through the Dhamma we come to this recognition of the way it is, the Dhamma/path is telling us imparting a duty to do our best to inform the world of how wrong the way the world is. In this current world because of conditioning this tathata would be considered a political evaluation but that is not the intention. The intention is to observe the tathata, and recommend an intervention to cope with these addicted people – the 1%.

In the time of the Buddha there were earlier forms of such addiction but it was not a threat at an existential level. In the timeless and tacit I argued that the Buddha had a tacit understanding of the way things were, and I later understood this better because tathata arises with the Dhamma (as described by Buddhadasa in MwB). The Buddha’s wisdom was timeless, I intepret that his tathata of the time did not require intervention (because he didn't intervene).

In the time of Buddhadasa people were becoming aware of this existential problem but in Thailand the problem was not so prominent; 27 years after his death and in the West the problem is different. Buddhadasa did however recognise this tathata to some extent, and was a leading figure in the Buddhist engagement movement. Because I contend this tathata recognition is arising from Dhamma and not analysis it is possible that 27 years later he would have seen this tathata coming from Dhamma – but that is complete speculation.

I personally can know this following tathata comes from Dhamma:-

“There is a global existential threat particularly to humanity. This threat is created by the economic system which is best understood by the term 1%-satrapy whereby the economic system functions to increase 1%-accumulation, an accumulation which is already an abomination, through damaging resource exploitation, wars for profits and wage-slavery. The 1% have absolute control but these 1% are so addicted to wealth, power and influence they are mentally ill and need help, but as with all addictions the first step is to recognise the need for help – and this they don’t recognise. The addiction that is causing the abomination requires an intervention because the addicted cannot cure themselves.”

But whilst it comes from knowing it is still an observation, it is not analysis. The terminology 1% and 1%-satrapy might be terms used in analysis by certain people of a particular persuasion - choose different terms, but observe the threat to the planet and observe the addictive actions amongst these wealthy business people and financiers, and the way these addicted are isolated. Examine your own understanding of Dhamma, where did the pandemic come from? Observe Gaia reclaiming. Observe the way certain countries have responded putting the economy first when their people are risking death from the pandemic.

I understand spiritual leaders choosing not to be involved with politics. In pathtivism I argue for 100% engagement; that does not mean electoral or political activism but a recognition that the spiritual journey is engaged with the community even if it does not pick up placards. But this tathata is not activism, it is not analysis, it is observation; and it is observation that comes from the path – the Dhamma. Many spiritual institutions are compromised either by law or by funding, however isn’t there a spiritual obligation if this observation is tathata and is coming from the Dhamma?

If it is from Dhamma it is duty, that is final. Please ask the question whether it is from Dhamma?

The duty of Dhamma is to bring about this revolution in the hearts of human beings, and then that will spread to a revolution in the social realm.” For clarification Buddhadasa is talking of inner revolution within hearts – not the class revolution that Marxists would ask for with regards to the bourgeoisie (1%). With the observable addiction of the 1% revolution cannot occur within their hearts because of their addiction. With their absolute control those around the addicted are compromised and unable to affect the addicted. This means that the daily life of humanity is controlled by addiction, do we want to rely on addicted in a world under existential threat? How can an inner revolution of compassion and decency spread to the hearts of addicted, how can it spread to the social realm when that realm is controlled by addiction?

Please examine this tathata and look at your duty.

In the end I didn't discuss the issue for myself. I recognise it as tathata - whether it is for you is something you decide. As it is the way it is - my understanding - I have to do what I can to cause an intervention because of the existential threat. That is just duty. I have to accept it sounds arrogant because of the existential threat.

This existential threat is the way society is. The hope that combats this threat is knowing who we are, and how we grow up into who we are. That hope is that we start from compassion, we come from compassion, and can go back to compassion if we mature. That compassion is our hope.

We come from compassion but at birth nature provides us with survival instincts. We use these instincts to connect with parents through love, and then we grow through our upbringing of family and community. At this survival stage we also go through a process of conditioning, a process which is both the survival that nature intended and societal. In this societal conditioning we initially accept agreements that are necessary to survive in society, but we also accept the false agreements that help us comply with the 1%-satrapy.

So by the time we reach adulthood we have accepted the way society is including the existential threat. But here is the hope, we can mature and return to compassion; nature would not leave us without hope. We can follow our true paths, be autonomous, become who we were meant to be, return to our true compassion; this is described as maturing. Through meditation or otherwise we can learn to follow our true paths and overcome our conditoning:-



Once we know the way society is, and know how we grow up into society, we are equipped with the awareness to overcome the existential threat by intervening with the addicted 1%.

Brian Tathata

There is a global existential threat particularly to humanity. This threat is created by the economic system which is best understood by the term 1%-satrapy whereby the economic system functions to increase 1%-accumulation, an accumulation which is already an abomination, through damaging resource exploitation, wars for profits and wage-slavery. The 1% have absolute control but these 1% are so addicted to wealth, power and influence they are mentally ill and need help, but as with all addictions the first step is to recognise the need for help – and this they don’t recognise. The addiction that is causing the abomination requires an intervention because the addicted cannot cure themselves.

This existential threat is the way society is. The hope that combats this threat is knowing who we are, and how we grow up into who we are. We come from compassion but at birth nature provides us with survival instincts. We use these instincts to connect with parents through love, and then we grow through our upbringing of family and community. At this survival stage we also go through a process of conditioning, a process which is both the survival that nature intended and societal. In this societal conditioning we initially accept agreements that are necessary to survive in society, but we also accept the false agreements that help us comply with the 1%-satrapy. Here is the hope, we can mature and return to compassion. Through meditation or otherwise we can follow our true paths, be autonomous, become who we were meant to be, return to our true compassion:-





Zandtao Meditation page Advice from Zandtaomed


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