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Andrew Hall - Reading Bapak’s Talks

Bapak talking about homosexuals and sex. From Mike Higgins, August 7, 2007. Time 18:51

First of all, Bapak was human and imperfect and therefore it would be unreasonable to expect every word that came out of his mouth to be divinely inspired. I suppose it's human nature to want to deify one's spiritual guide but Bapak was not a deity.

Let's consider the statement by Bapak you quoted: "Your habit of being a homosexual is actually a habit and conduct which violates the Will of God."

Interpreted literally, this statement makes little sense. After all, who created the homosexual? However, my sense is that the key word in this sentence is "conduct", sinful conduct, i.e., being mastered by the sex impulse rather than being the master of it, which of course is not just a homosexual foible, heterosexuals have been known to have it too. However, unlike heterosexuals, homosexuals do not have sex for the purpose of procreation. It can of course be an expression of their love for one another rather than just an act of lust. Perhaps Bapak didn't conceive of this possibility.

I haven't read that many of Bapak's talks so am not clear what his attitude towards sex was. Did he say it should be for procreative purposes only? I suspect he did not, but perhaps someone here can correct me. - Mike

From Mike Higgins, August 9, 2007. Time 0:12

"Here's another example. Bapak gave a talk in 1978 (78 CDK 10) advising against meditating or practicing asceticism. Bapak said such practices are instinctive but they can lead to becoming “a regent in the kingdom of the devils.”

I am bothered by this criticism about meditation. I wish I knew more about it. And I wonder if Bapak really understands, or if he is tolerant towards other religious traditions."

Since you asked... Bapak is referring to certain occult meditation/mind control practices for developing personal powers or "siddhis" as they are called in the yogic tradition. If you want a concrete example of where that leads, look at someone like Da Free John/Adi Da (or whatever extravagant name he has now given himself). So no, Bapak is not just making this stuff up.

One should consider who Bapak was talking to when he made these "objectionable" statements and the context in which they were made. I'm not saying he is infallible but as Bob Dylan sang, "don't criticize what you don't understand." I have to say that if I knew nothing about Subud, most of the articles I read on this site would totally turn me off to it.

From Sahlan Diver, August 9, 2007. Time 0:19

Mike: you say "I have to say that if I knew nothing about Subud, most of the articles I read on this site would totally turn me off to it." Is this for one particular reason or a number of reasons? It would be interesting to hear your reasons.

From Mike Higgins, August 9, 2007. Time 8:10

Sahlan, Well, I just happened to read a couple of the articles more critical of Subud first, and the impression I got was that there is much dissension within Subud, it is too hierarchical, the founder of Subud has some odd and/or rigid religious and moral beliefs that people object to, etc. So when I hear all of that, it becomes difficult to believe that this "latihan" exercise, whatever it is, will help me become a more loving and contented human being. I am a Subud member so appreciate the intelligent dialogue that is taking place on this website. However, I'm wondering if the articles couldn't be arranged in such a way that a casual visitor who is not familiar with Subud won't read the more negative ones first and conclude there is no point in going any further with it. Thanks - Mike

From Sahlan Diver, August 9, 2007. Time 11:17

Mike, I think there is very little we can do in practise to influence the reader's choice. The only thing we could have done was password-protect the site and then ask Subud members to register to read be able to read it. The idea was considered at first but the editors voted it out - they saw a number of disadvantages, which I won't go into here. Since the site is not very informational, I am anticipating that an enquirer who has found us on a search engine is likely to reverse out quite quickly and look at another Subud web site.

From bronte, March 23, 2008. Time 1:36

If we start with Bapak's own words as quoted here, there is no room to manoeuvre.
However, if we look at the membership of Subud in the west, we find many, many sexually non-conformist, in this case, homosexual, members. Probably much higher than the average balance of homosexuals versus "normal" sexuals in society. And all "received" the latihan, via Bapak's "helpers", from God, or so the dogma goes.
Well, if we take the basic layman's arguments about sex, it is for procreation first, recreation second, and deviation not at all. So those who don't like deviations avoid those they disapprove of, and we get, in Subud, and intolerance level equal to the "world outside", in theory.
In practice, Bapak's word may be a goal, to aspire to, based as they are in Islamic doctrine, such as that practiced in Iran and Iraq, where, even very recently, homosexuals have been executed just for their proclivities, let alone their actions. I think I know a few people in Subud who'd like to apply those rules to their Subud people too.
Fortunately, the latihan remains independent of all that nonsense. It works for most to enhance their lives, when it is not interfered with by opinions of other people. No one will ever be perfect.
So let's read Bapak's words second, but keep the latihan first. I don't even want to believe that Ibu Rahayu's advice is needed for anyone to be able to do, and follow, the latihan. It maybe nice now and then, but not a necessary ingredient of Subud. It seems to me to be more judgemental and moralistic than Bapak's. And a lack of those qualities is one thing that makes Subud seem more helpful to all types of society's rejects and failures. And just because I am one (a real failure in my career) does not mean that there are not a high proportion of them "in Subud". After all, society, in it's headlong rush to destruction, is a mess anyway.
Love,
Bronte


From Sahlan Diver, March 23, 2008. Time 10:43

One wonders whether Subud members reading Bapak's talks doesn't do the spread of the latihan more harm than good. Spirituality should lead to a broadening of understanding, but what we seem to get in practise is the talks being for members a spiritual comfort-zone of pronouncements to be believed rigidly and absolutely.


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