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Lilliana Gibbs - But what IS Subud

End goal of the latihan? From Mike Higgins, February 14, 2008. Time 2:40

o.k., next round... I shall now attempt to draw our discussion back to the questions posed in Lilliana's article. -{ :?o)

From David W.:

"it (rasa) shades through inner physical sensation into awareness of the emotions and ultimately into rasa sejati, the absolute or true feeling which is itself mystical awareness of the fundamental vibration or energy within all life."

Some questions: Then, according to Bapak, this mystical awareness is the end goal of the latihan? If so, the obvious test of it would be: Are people attaining this state of awareness as a result of practicing the latihan? Or is it expected that "many will be called, few will be chosen" to reach this state, and practitioners may expect to become more aware and responsive human beings but not necessarily full fledged mystics? Is this happening? It sounds like it is to some and perhaps that is the most we can expect.

If someone is regularly practicing the latihan and seeing no indication that the aforementioned change is occurring, is it not irrational for them to continue with it? If they are continuing out of faith that something may happen in the future, because Bapak said that it is liable to happen if they have sufficient faith (Did he say that?, I thought he had), then can we say that the latihan of Subud has become this person's religion? If so, whose fault is that? Is it our's for promulgating this false belief of Bapak? (if we have done so), is it the person who had faith in Bapak's statement, or both? After all, some here have stated that Bapak is "an expert on the latihan," so we should heed his instruction on it. Or was that rather listen to his words and draw your own conclusions about their veracity? How many of those who come into Subud can do that? Many I've met have no meditation experience so can hardly tell dissociation from suffocation.

From Mike Higgins, February 14, 2008. Time 2:50

The partial quote I gave above, which was David W. quoting Paul Stange, may be confusing, so here again is the link to the entire article that David gave:

http://www.sumarah.net/logicrasa.html

From Stefan, February 14, 2008. Time 3:49

Hi Mike,

Enjoyed your latest feedback.

"mystical awareness is the end goal of the latihan?"

I think Bapak wanted latihaners to become "true human beings"; less buffetted by impulse, less driven by fear, greed etc, more resilient and self-reliant. He wanted mystically orientated people to get more practical.

"Are people attaining this state of awareness as a result of practicing the latihan? Or is it expected that "many will be called, few will be chosen" to reach this state, and practitioners may expect to become more aware and responsive human beings but not necessarily full fledged mystics? Is this happening? It sounds like it is to some and perhaps that is the most we can expect."

"The most we can expect" is now my aspiration. I don't trust myself yet to espouse the "crazy wisdom" of a f/t mystic, but the latihan does seem to support the intuitive/creative aspects of my life. I'm interested in grounded spirituality.

"If someone is regularly practicing the latihan and seeing no indication that the aforementioned change is occurring, is it not irrational for them to continue with it? If they are continuing out of faith that something may happen in the future, because Bapak said that it is liable to happen if they have sufficient faith (Did he say that?, I thought he had), then can we say that the latihan of Subud has become this person's religion?"

Agreed. It must be so hard to invest years into something and not see any result. Perhaps helpers who dominate others are trying to compensate, or prove to themeselves that they've gained some sort of spiritual gravitas.

<>Not boasting but of course I knew Bapak even before Coombe Springs, can recite Susila Buddhi Dharma in the original High Javanese and have done more testing than you've had hot dinners. Oh yes, and last night I dreamed about the Insane Camel. So don't question whether I've made progress! Your very question shows that you're still mired in your thinking<>

Best from Stefan

From David W, February 14, 2008. Time 13:22

Hi Mike

I think it likely that the latihan is a Pak Subuh's generalization (and Islamicization) of a Silat exercise, which was originally intended to make natural and flowing the movements of Silat which are otherwise learned by a pattern. He generalised this to make spontaneous in life what we otherwise learn through out training.

It seems certain that at the time at which Pak Subuh did this, hundreds of other Bapaks (as they are called) were doing the same thing: inventing new variations on a theme of Javanese mysticism, and promoting them as completely new, all accompanied by wahyu, falling balls of light, and instructions from above. And anthropologists tell me that it is still like that in Central Java, even today.

Then, this mystical teacher gets found by the English esotericists, who—as you can read in Concerning Subud—are looking for something completely different. They were looking for a messiah, a World Teacher, an avatar. Other esotericists pulled poor old Krishnamurti off a beach at Madras. Bennett's mob pulled Pak Subuh out of Java.

Two stories, two cultures collide. In light of this collision:

MIKE: "Then, according to Bapak, this mystical awareness is the end goal of the latihan?"

DAVID: Sure.

MIKE: "Are people attaining this state of awareness as a result of practicing the latihan? Or is it expected that "many will be called, few will be chosen" to reach this state, and practitioners may expect to become more aware and responsive human beings but not necessarily full fledged mystics? Is this happening? It sounds like it is to some and perhaps that is the most we can expect."

DAVID: No so clear. The latihan is an exercise. Exercises go with teachings. Pak Subuh was himself a half-inducted student of several teachings, which he mixed in his own lectures. Then he faced the problem of talking across cultures, which requires special training. Finally, of course, there was the problem of the audience putting its own spin on things.

MIKE: "If someone is regularly practicing the latihan and seeing no indication that the aforementioned change is occurring, is it not irrational for them to continue with it?"

DAVID: These matters are hardly ever rational. The very project of unio mystico is not a rational one.

MIKE: "If they are continuing out of faith that something may happen in the future, because Bapak said that it is liable to happen if they have sufficient faith (Did he say that?, I thought he had), then can we say that the latihan of Subud has become this person's religion?"

DAVID: Yes.

MIKE: "If so, whose fault is that? Is it our's for promulgating this false belief of Bapak? (if we have done so), is it the person who had faith in Bapak's statement, or both?

DAVID: In my view, more like the workings of a Greek tragedy: rich in irony.

MIKE: "After all, some here have stated that Bapak is 'an expert on the latihan,' so we should heed his instruction on it. Or was that rather listen to his words and draw your own conclusions about their veracity? How many of those who come into Subud can do that?"

DAVID: In my view, listening to what he says without understanding his culture, and the impact of Western idolization on him, only leads to meanings being 'lost in translation'.

MIKE: "Many I've met have no meditation experience so can hardly tell dissociation from suffocation."

DAVID: Perhaps it would be a good idea for those who wish to take up mysticism, to seek to understand it in its own right, and hear not just from one person, but from the whole tradition. That might make a difference.

From Stefan, February 14, 2008. Time 15:42

Hi David,

Reading a bit on silat, which Pak Subuh and many of his early co-latihaners had studied, I can see a connection which is not generally acknowledged.

Silat has a mystical element and accomplished "warrior shamans" aspire to the ability shadow another person's movement spontaneously

You say "I think it likely that the latihan is a Pak Subuh's generalization (and Islamicization) of a Silat exercise, which was originally intended to make natural and flowing the movements of Silat which are otherwise learned by a pattern."

But if that's the case, how did he make the leap from something that might arise after years of rigorous physical and mental training with a skilled teacher to something that could be passed on in half an hour with no instructions except "relax and begin", and then passed on again by a new student to another?

"He generalised this to make spontaneous in life what we otherwise learn

through out training"

Isn't there a credibility gap in this theory?

Stefan

From David W, February 15, 2008. Time 0:31

Hi Stefan

The website system doesn't allow us to fix our own typos! So: "through out training" should have been "through outer training".

There was no leap involved. There is outer silat, which is a set of rigorous exercises which have to be learned. Then there is inner silat, tenaga dalam = inner energy. Tenaga dalam is not taught, it is passed from person to person through a process called "opening". According to my anthro buddy, a silat practitioner can open another by placing his hand on the other's chest. By generalising, I mean this:

outer silat = rigorous exercises

inner silat = spontaneous movement brought on by opening

Eventually the two become one.

Generalised:

outer life = religion, sharia

inner life = spontaneous movement brought on by opening

Eventually the two become one.

You can find a parable of this generalization in Pak Subuh's 1000-day story. In this story, the latihan (tenaga dalam?) first teaches him a whole new set of silat moves, then moves to teach him things about life in general.

There's an interview with Mansur Geiger about his time in Kalimantan. In the interview, there's a story in which his Dayak friends tell him that they can perceive he has "tenaga dalam".

Best

David

From Andrew Hall, February 15, 2008. Time 0:40

Hello to all,

I am loathe to speculate on Bapak's motives or intentions in teaching the latihan because I feel it invites the conversation to focus on what Bapak said, what Bapak really meant, and (by implication) whether we can measure up to what he intended. I feel there is already too much of that in Subud.

I do think we need to question the assumptions that mystical or spiritual experiences are what the latihan and Subud are really all about, and the related assumptions that having these experiences somehow proves something, that it proves your advanced level of spiritual attainment, or that it proves just how powerful Bapak really was (and is).

I think these assumptions are held by many Subud members and I personally find them troubling. They invite new Subud members to measure themeselves and their experiences by this yardstick, whether it happens, and whether they are really getting it, in short, whether they are one of the Chosen.

I think a different perspective and a more healthy one, in my opinion, is to look on the latihan as a spiritual exercise, like many others. Mystical experiences can sometimes happen, but it is not healthy to focus on this "scenery". I think the best reason to do these spiritual exercises is for the fruits they bring to our ordinary, daily lives. Are we more peaceful and more alive? Do we have more energy? Do we feel more compassion? Do we feel that we are receiving guidance in our lives?

Stefan describes it as "grounded spirituality." I like that term, it conveys the meaning and the values that I would like to promote in Subud.

I think the implications are far reaching. Getting rid of helper testing as the sole basis for major decisions and leaving testing for individual issues and training in the latihan, is one implication. Having people share their own experiences and stories about their own latihan and how they feel they have felt guidance in their lives, rather than focusing on Bapak, is another major implication.

I like these ideas, a lot.

Thanks to everyone for helping me clarify my thinking in this area.

Best,

Andrew

From david W, February 15, 2008. Time 4:19

Note: That the Silat opening of the rasa (inner feeling) to tenaga dalam (inner energy) occurs through an opened person placing a hand on the chest of the person to be opened may be related to the location of the organ of rasa there.

QUOTE: The 'sanubari' is also related to the chest area, within which the function of rasa is located. Within that lies the kalbu, the inner or esoteric heart which is the center of yet more highly refined spiritual awareness. Though rasa is the 'tool' or vehicle through which individuals enter into awareness beyond the mind and senses it is in the end seen only as a pathway toward a final awareness in which no distinctions between inner and outer or between one tool and another exist. It is a pathway through the fact that individuals direct their attention into rasa, becoming aware then of the blockages and resistance within their own make-up so that these can be released. According to Sumarah theory, as blockages are released there is increasing surrender or openness to the Absolute which is at once everything and nothing that can be 'known' in the ordinary sense . Most people within Sumarah use the term 'God', some avoid terms and speak only of 'union' and 'oneness'. In any event, and this is all that matters here, rasa is not the endpoint or object, even though awareness which subsumes it is fundamental as a step on the Sumarah path. UNQUOTE

From Philip Quackenbush, February 15, 2008. Time 8:8

David wrote:

DAVID: Perhaps it would be a good idea for those who wish to take up mysticism, to seek to understand it in its own right, and hear not just from one person, but from the whole tradition. That might make a difference.

I was talking to a guy in the grocery checkout line about the dolly llama, who, unsurprisingly, had yet another photo on the front of Shambala magazine. We agreed that he was doing the "right thing" in attempting to make Buddhism congruent with modern science, altering beliefs to conform to Da Boo Da's dictum to not believe anybody, including him. Then a new guy on another grouplist I belong to said it was OK to follow a guru as long as you got other opinions. The problem, as I see it, is that following anybody "whole hog" is bound to narrow one's viewpoint rather than widen it, if you're looking for "progress", "spiritual" or otherwise.

It can get pretty involved, though. Some of the non-dual freaks claim that the only way to really understand it is to learn Sanscrit and study the entire Upanishads. Is that retro, or what? Some of that stuff goes back maybe 12,000 years, as archeological findings in the Injun ocean offshore imply. Sure, they had the Bomb an' a' that, as seen not only in the Mahabharata and the leftover radioactive dust in the Indus valley, but were they really that skilled in neurology and meditation? The latest evolutionary evidence shows that homo sap is still evolving, so I somehow doubt it. I'd say keep one eye jaundiced at all times. I wonder how many old timers of 40 or more years, if polled, would say that their time in Subud was essentially wasted, but they stuck it out still hoping for that Why you? to descend. I had a friend in SF who was "opened" 4 times, the last time by your father, when he finally felt something, a tingling in his hands, at which point, expecting the heavens to open and Great Revelations to pour forth, he said, "Too little, too late," and left the org. Last time I saw him he was living happily in his pad in a marijuana haze on SSI with no inclination whatever to pursue a "spiritual" path again. And if the dolly llama is right that happiness is what everbuddy wants, who's to say that he was "wrong"?

Peace, Philip

Peace, Philip

From Mike Higgins, February 15, 2008. Time 20:44

"And if the dolly llama is right that happiness is what everbuddy wants, who's to say that he was "wrong"?"

Well, I doubt that he said that this is the aim of spiritual practice, although some may have thought that's what he said. I've always thought the goal is greater understanding, which may or may not bring happiness - material happiness anyway. To see the world as it really is, rather than how it appears to be, is not necessarily a glorious experience.

From Philip Quackenbush, February 16, 2008. Time 19:48

Hi, Mike,

You said,

"To see the world as it really is, rather than how it appears to be, is not necessarily a glorious experience."

No, but, IMO, it's the only way that the world (including us), will get out of the mess that it's in. To the degree that it's possible to see the world the way it is, I'd suggest reading the little book I ran across last night, called Seven Words That Can Change the World, available free online at NaturalNews.com, or from Amazon for less than 5 bucks. In keeping with the successful preacher who was asked his methodology, said, "Fust, I tells 'em what I'se goan tell 'em, then I tells 'em, then I tells 'em what I done tole 'em," I'll tell you what the seven words are:

Be healthy (physically, mentally, emotionally [spiritually, if that's what you prefer])

Be kind (to yourself, others). (The dolly llama, BTW, sez that his religion is kindness [Buddhism is not a religion, it's a methodology for ending suffering]).

Respect the environment (too many ways that can be done to get into here).

Peace, Philip

From bronte, February 17, 2008. Time 2:42

"In the interview, there's a story in which his Dayak friends tell him that they can perceive he has "tenaga dalam"."

OK. So which guy's in front here? Mansur, or the Dayaks who the rest of the "civilised" world looks upon as "primitive" (If only they knew!)?

And what really matters anyway, tenagu dalam, or being a harmonious human being (whatever that is)?

From David W, February 17, 2008. Time 2:59

Hi Bronte

Both "tenaga dalam" and "harmony" are aspects of the Javanese religious system. You're not Javanese, so why are you trying to be either?

My point is that these are part of our shared history, and if we don't understand our history, we are flying blind.

"Professor Johnston often said that if you didn't know history, you didn't know anything. You were a leaf that didn't know it was part of a tree."

- Michael Crichton, Timeline

Best

David

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