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Sjahari Hollands - Do We Really Need a New Explanation of the Latihan?

Explaining Subud without words like God or Soul. From Mike Higgins, January 11, 2008. Time 19:56

Sjahari,

In your final post in the other long feedback thread to this article, you said: "Not in that list of core assumptions as yet is the element of Faith," and also, "I firmly believe that the issue of faith is at the core of what the latihan is about."

Actually you can find a reference to faith in your list of core assumptions, and in fact, it is that to which many of the respondents to your article objected. I'm referring to your core assumption that: "We understand and believe that the soul is being awakened in an action mediated by a higher creative power." (This wasn't how you phrased the statement but your original list of core assumptions seems to have been removed from the main page.)

I agree with you that commitment to following the latihan requires some degree of faith (although this probably wasn't apparent in my response to your article in the other thread). Some people seem to think that religious referances (such as God, soul, etc.) will scare people away from Subud and the latihan and if we just removed all such referances, people would flock to our doors or at least find us much more attractive. I don't think so. If terms like 'God' or 'soul' make a person cringe and run away, they are: (a) unlikely to take an interest in Subud in the first place, and/or (b) unlikely to stay in Subud once they've "taken it for a test drive" (no, I will not resurrect the ugly automobile analogy!!).

Now, we could try to replace any and all religious terms with "pc" secular humanist terms and see how far that will get us. It's worth a shot. The problem with that though is that we'll then have to explain the religious piety of that funny little Javanese Muslim guy who started this whole shebang. As you said in your responses in that other thread, it would make us appear rather disingenuous.

So anyway, that's all I wanted to say. Thank you Sjahari for starting this very worthwhile conversation. - Mike

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