PREVIOUS QUESTIONS
AND ANSWERS

What changes would you like to see in how your local group works

From Bronte, March 28, 2008. Time 7:42

I wish ALL groups had an occassional formal session, at least annually, to which all members, active or inactive, known to exsit in their area, are formally invited, where each member is invited to comment on their grievances, without any restraint. But preferably formally, or even in writing, so that the emotional side of the meeting is more able to be minimised. This needs to be done without the limitations forced on us by having to test everything.


From outsider, March 22, 2008. Time 10:18

Stop just exchanging pleasantries on latihan nights, week after week, year after year, decade after decade, and realise that some serious thinking and discussion is needed about where Subud is going and our place in it.


From litenup, March 18, 2008. Time 9:29

Acknowledgement that as well as being Subud members attached to a particular group, that is only one part of our lives. We can have interests other than just Subud/we have families/work colleagues/friends/we study/have fun. We experience a range of emotions and that's ok and the helpers aren't the only people holding the key to our progress through life. We are multi faceted, celebrate our differences.


From RLYM, March 17, 2008. Time 23:5

More enthusiasm and encouragment for newer members and their ideas, tests, social gatherings(whether newly opened or newly moved in from another area)from older long-term existing members of the group.


From miss conception, March 17, 2008. Time 14:11

Less emphasis on trying to be spiritual and serious and more emphasis on just being who we are


From jiwaman, March 17, 2008. Time 4:48

After latihan, we should sit together for about 10 minutes without talking, just being aware of, and feeling close to the latihan. This enables everyone to become close together in their inner feeling. (That advice comes from a Bapak talk, but can't say which one).

Also stop testing unnecessary questions dreamed up by helpers just so that people can have testing.



From Mr Peripheral, March 16, 2008. Time 9:45

More emphasis on how we're doing as human beings, more interpersonal relationship work, less standardised testing, less worrying about premises.



What would Subud be like if we abolished the Helper system?

From BathwaterBaby, June 30, 2008. Time 15:41

Let's not rush headlong into throwing out the baby with the bathwater! - Like excited Lemmings rushing over a cliff.
(How I love to mix my metaphors!)...

I have been in Subud 2.5 years and, especially as an enquirer and a new member, I greatly appreciated the commitment and willingness of the helpers to see that my needs were catered for and to willingly respond to my questions, loan me books and magazines etc.

However there came a point where 2 (and only 2 out of 6) of our helpers became "overly helpful".
They were being overly helpful with the best of intentions - because they felt a responsibility not only for me but more particularly to be worthy advocates and facilitators for the purity and success of the movement which had given them (their words) "so much".

One of these helpers was a very old guy who had been in Subud since the year dot. He was a little bit senile and set in his ways and has since died.
Reflecting on his death I was glad that I had chosen to tread the path of patience, tolerance and understanding (PTU) with him, for he was a kindly, good-hearted, failing-health old man who had little left to live for (or have self-esteem about) apart from being a Subud helper.

I allowed him to give me some challenges to my capacity for tolerance PTU, but there was a danger of me slipping into victimhood, so I also set a boundary over how long I would suffer his repetitive monologues, and when the boring became overwhelming I learned how to break away and find a more 2-way conversation.

The other overly-helpful helper persisted in commenting on my Latihan and gentle signals that he was not being helpful were disregarded, to the point where I responded (after careful reflection and introspection) angrily (this time he heard me) and spelled out the evidence that a) my Latihan was working fine and b) where was his Latihan practice if he was so busy watching and analysing mine.
At the next meeting he made a point of seeking me out and apologising for his over-enthusiastic helping. This resolution of the incident left us both with an enhanced respect for each other.

As I got deeper into Subud, and the inevitable personality clashes that happen whenever people come together over a period of time, our most senior helper one day imparted to me the wise story of the rice grains, which I subsequently made into a webpage entitled ""Spiritual Cookery Class":
http://www.brothermichael.org.uk/resources/recipe.htm

The path of brotherhood/sisterhood is never an easy one! - so many resonances with past family issues!


From Bronte, June 15, 2008. Time 0:5

I thought Bapak hoped most members with experience and some understanding would become helpers. If this was so it might make helpers a majority, not an "elite" minority. And helpers do act as the much needed "Reference Points", no matter how little they are able to "help" members. Their tasks seeem to be utterly misunderstood by everyone, especially them.
People seem to think helpers are priests, when really they are just doormen and door women. They are not meant to control, judge, or run people's lives, nor their latihan. Just to enable people to begin doing latihan and keep on doing it. That, I think, is the totality of what Bapak's life work was, no more, no less, and helper's are meant to be "Bapak's Helpers" in that task.


From Philip Quackenbush, June 12, 2008. Time 18:19

What would Subud be like if we abolished the Helper system?

More harmonious, because there would be nobody specific to complain to about "spiritual" matters or look to for answers to their "problems", thus allowing members to seek out others (or look "within") that they feel comfortable with for their "spiritual" "progress" or resolution of their "problems." The committee would also be free to pursue whatever practical items needed attending to without the interference of "spiritual" "advice".

It's time for the cult to lose its cultishness and operate as a "normal" organization that simply provides a venue for the practice of the "latihan" and a platform for providing assistance to members and others in charitable pursuits.

If the premise of the practice of the "latihan" is "receiving" for one's self, then there is no real need for "receiving" by or through others except when asked for, again, only from people whom the questioner feels comfortable with, not from an organized (or in many cases, disorganized and/or dysfunctional) body of "do-gooders".

If Subud as an organization hasn't had enough members progress in their understanding to see the "cancerous" nature of the "helpers" body to at least attempt to excise it (if operable) or produce an environment in which it can no longer survive, then I see little hope for the organization's continued survival as of much use to the rapidly-transforming world we live in.

There is abundant literature available both online and in print for those who wish to inquire about the organization, so there's no longer any real need even for the "helpers" to introduce prospective members to what it is and what it does. Those not inclined to read about it can make an assessment from meeting other members as to whether they want to be "opened," just as members in general are capable of assessing the needs and personal situations of inquirers/applicants. Once a person has expressed an interest in being "opened", he or she can then get together with others to decide when and under what circumstances (just them or an entire group) an "opening", formal or otherwise, can occur. Experience may have some bearing on the question, but I've seen a lot of new members who are far more accessible to applicants than "helpers" who have been in the organization for decades.

Peace, Philip


From sjahari, June 10, 2008. Time 1:6

The single essential function of helpers in the present system is to take care of the needs of new and interested people. The current system fills that need in a way that is reasonably consistent across the subud world. ( As far as the rest of their functions go, they could easily be abolished without much of an impact.)
Sjahari hollands


From Maria, June 9, 2008. Time 8:44

A lot healthier for members and helpers alike. I would advocate a mentoring system where new members are teamed up with any member willing to take on the role and has already established a relationship with the applicant/new member. Answering member's questions does not require the person to be expert- a willingness to listen, explore, suggest options,share thoughts concerns with others...Testing in for more onerous or responsible positions which require considerable input into the organisation could be negotiated, shared, job share whatever- Although not fully thought through a more democratic, shared power would be preferable. Am I being too idealstic to thnk this improve understanding and harmony within grups/regions/nations? This question needs a bit more work but getting away from the old style power plays (even though that was not the original intention) would be very liberating.


From Aliman, June 8, 2008. Time 19:41

There are two aspects to this question: current and future. Regarding current, ablolishing Helpers wouldn't change Subud much because Helper groups currently aren't an organized force that effects policy. Helpers as a group (local, regional or national) don't collectively cause much change nor have much impact. Regarding the future: while Helpers don't have an immediate discernable impact, they probably do have a cumulative impact because they are obliged to provide services and do, in fact, sometimes, answer the call for help in the form of testing for others, and they help to organize and focus efforts at getting people to latihan more than those people probably would without Helpers. So, in the long run, abolishing Helpers would have some negative impact on Subud, but exactly the force of that impact can't be known because there are too many unknown variables to account for. Thus it seems better to simply leave the Helper system alone.


From non-helper, June 7, 2008. Time 19:54

We have all experienced people who can't wait to be helpers and who push themselves forwards at every opportunity. Becoming a helper is like a status symbol or spiritual promotion for them. How much worse it would be with a free-for-all where any person could push themselves forward as a spiritual know-all. Luckily the current system of testing does seem to filter out the worst cases, so at least the helper system provides some kind of safeguard.


What reason would you give to a friend or aquaintance to show there is any value in them joining Subud

From Stefan Freedman, July 19, 2008. Time 10:19

The Subud exercise can enrich our encounter with "one-ness". The most unexpected aspect is that in the exercise (latihan) spontaneous body movements and utterances - often melodic - may arise, often leading to a mood of tranquility and clarity.

If this sounds a bit strange and hard to imagine then you've got the picture!

Those who believe in God may see the latihan as a gift from God while others might picture it as a natural integrative force, or perhaps a current of healing and vitality such as "chi". Varying explanations exist and every participant is at liberty to experience it and form their own ideas.

Many practitioners say that the benefit is cumulative and takes a little time. In some cases what is valued is a sense of "connectedness". To borrow Thich Naht Hanh's terminology, the latihan of Subud may help people to experience "interbeing".

It's something of a mystery and an unfolding adventure.


From Halima, July 19, 2008. Time 6:4

The contact in the Subud exercise is an actual evolving/developing experience of the presence of the Divine Infinite Loving Source and Supply of all that is.(God). Each person in Subud receives this according to their own nature, capacity and willingness. There is no 'dogma' in Subud. It is not a religion. It is an intensely personal spiritual contact with the divine intelligent life force within, and a training in purification and soul awareness. The spiritual exercise of Subud is an extraordinary gift of God's Grace that is allowing humans to repair our connections to God, each other and the planet, allowing us to live our highest and best visions of life on earth.


Quote: "Subud's foundations must not be tampered with how ever much the structure is altered". What do you think are the foundations of Subud?

From Enrique, November 11, 2008. Time 17:24

Hi brothers, may god bless us for be here ¡ALIVE!:
For me Subud has no fundations, Subud is a target , as a symbol , an ideal. You cannot writte , only follow in case ...
What I think is we only have some little rules for doing latihan, and follow then.. that´s all..
thank you , and BE GOOD ONES!
( Sorry if this has no sense, maybe I miss understood what is foundations , I´m not natural english speaker )


From Samuel, October 14, 2008. Time 7:18

I see Subud as the content of myself. So in essence, it represents an aim I have, to have the qualities of Susila, Budhi and Dharma. As this is my aim, the foundation that I require for this is to have an attitude of patience, acceptance and a willingness to let go when I receive my latihan. In my day to day life, the foundation I need is to be a person who is humane, good natured and someone who always tries to maintain harmony, while following the guidance I receive from my Latihan. But the most important foundation for me is to remember that the Latihan and Subud exist because of God, and that no person will be able to change what I receive in my Latihan or change the nature of what Subud is, because Subud is me.


From Hussein, October 3, 2008. Time 23:32

Doing our latihan is the main thing, but we need an organization to go with it, so the foundations of Subud are what we need for doing latihan together.


From HASSANAH, October 3, 2008. Time 4:10

The foundation of Subud is the LIGHT OF THE POWER OF GOD,

The foundation of Subud is The Messenger of God BAPAK MUHAMMED SUBUH.

Bapak was " THE TRUTH " as in al-Hallaj "I am the TRUTH " or Christ " I AM THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE "
or " La Illaha Illallah" We cannot temper with that.

We have a duty to mankind to see that his words are protected from tempering. As for the Organisation he establish the framework Himself.

However if some members want to adapt or modernize the Organisation within reason they know best.

But I feel that we have responsability for this Blessing of the lathian and when we become more
perfect, and have no self interest!!! etc etc....

We should be very cautious perhaps what we need to change the most is ourselves.


From Stefan Freedman, September 19, 2008. Time 19:5

a) Latihan supports integration and wholeness
b) The process is different for each person
c) No doctrine, faith or guru is required

There has been a collective desire for Subud to grow without propoganda, by exemplary projects. With this aim our organisation tends to appear secretive, to do things in isolation, to seem remote from the mainstream and "off the map". If our foundations include sustaining Subud's membership it's time we reconsider our strategy, and - I suggest - participate more in supporting other organisations such as community projects and interfaith groups. Polly Skerratt backed by Susila Dharma in the UK and the Quest project in Portland, USA are already modelling this way forward.


From Michael, September 15, 2008. Time 8:57

Subud foundations should be reconsidered to accommodate modern technology and modern ideas from time to time. ie World Congress.
It depends on what foundations of course.
We can increase our undersdtanding of 'God' and perhaps our relationship through the latihan.


From Philip Quackenbush, September 14, 2008. Time 15:44

Subud's "foundation" is the practice of the "latihan", free of any restrictions or preconceptions.

Thus, the structure of Subud as an organization that supposedly supports such a practice, is rather flawed, in that the hierarchical nature of the "helpers", despite what is said about that to the contrary and the founder supposedly attempted to guard against, and the attitudes it promotes, with the founder's lectures being taken as unalterable gospel, including the "rules that are not rules" (separation of the men and women in its practice, which is not found in any other organization practicing it under any other name [that I know of, anyway], and therefore can be seen as a mere cultural bias, as one major example), present major obstacles to its "free" practice (in a group setting, at least).

The Chinese, practicing the "latihan", known to them as zi ran (or "original") chi gong, have no such restrictions, practicing it in mixed company outdoors, as they do other forms of chi gong derived from its ancient (c. hundreds or thousands of years) "receiving" (and therefore limited and corrupted, since all "receiving" is fallible [IMO, of course]), such as taiji and the infamous Falun Gong. If Subud, or another organization, were to simply provide venues for the practice, it would be, IMO, carrying out the founder's stated mission of spreading it, but it is in the very nature of organizations to produce restrictions, so I'm not sure that any organization, including Subud, can provide an unrestricted "latihan."

Peace, Philip


From LEONARD WELLS, September 14, 2008. Time 11:55

There is an old Lancashire saying 'You know what thought did!'
Most of what we find in the suggestions about changing or improving the organisation come from the mind -which is where one might expect them to come from. However we must be aware that every new 'message' which has come into the world has
faltered, in one way or another, because there are
forces which oppose the Will of Almighty God.

Bapak more or less admitted that this world is very close to Hell but he then added that it is not all one sided -for 'high souls' are sent to help when needed. He mentioned King George VI and Emperor Hirohito as two examples.

So, whenever we come up with 'bright ideas' we must seriously question their origin. If we got Christ's Message wrong by taking thought then we can get anything wrong!


From Fardijah, September 14, 2008. Time 8:37

The latihan


From Hassanah Briedis, September 13, 2008. Time 9:15

The foundation of Subud is the experiencing of the movement of the life force. For convenience that experience has been named 'latihan', but that is an arbitrary choice and not intrinsic to the experience. In the early days, it was not necessary to believe in God, but only to wish to have the contact of the universal life force. As with most religions, most of the current culture of Subud consists of 'add-ons' created by the minds of humans. I've thought and thought about this, and while Marius Kahan's list is wonderful and well thought out, I find myself coming back again and again to an absolute simplicity as being the only truth I can subscribe to.


From Luthfi O'Meagher, September 12, 2008. Time 17:17

As Subud is the Hakekat, it does not possess an exoteric aspect. The exoteric aspect is expected to come from your religion, even if this happens to be just singing, or dancing, as I remember it. Therefore the esoteric has to be represented by the symbol of Susila , Budhi ,Dharma. If this is translated as right living concordant with the Will of God, it is beyond principle.


From Marcus Bolt, September 11, 2008. Time 20:39

The legal entity Subud was founded and registered in Yogyakarta in 1947 as a spiritual body. Today, Subud is referred to as a spiritual association of people who have experienced the latihan.

Interestingly, in 1967 Bapak said, ‘...that is how it is and that is why this spiritual training is training to be alive. In fact, the term ‘spiritual’ is not the right term to use. However, there was no other way to describe this training; there was not another term that fitted the nature of the latihan. When Bapak called it ‘training to live’ [people asked], "What does training to live mean? Why do we have to train to live? We are already alive aren’t we, so what do we need training for?" So Bapak had to change the name to ‘spiritual training’. The correct term is ‘training for human life’. That is why every part of you is brought to life...’ (67 NYC 3)

To me, it's just the latihan, but I enjoy the social life.


From I'm wondering, September 9, 2008. Time 18:12

So it seems like there is ONE foundation we all agree on - the latihan. Outside of that there has been no parrot-fashion repeating of any list of foundations. So I am wondering where do our members stand in relation to all other matters Subud outside of the latihan? Do they embrace discussion enthusiastically as a positive sign that people care? Do our officials, our publishers and our webmasters encourage debate? Do they fairly promote all discussion forums or do they turn aside from forums that aren't saying 100 percent nice things about Subud, on the grounds that supposed sacred principles are in danger of being violated?


From Jack, September 9, 2008. Time 18:1

The foundations of Subud can't be theoretical, because you don't need to accept any theories or concepts in order to join.

The foundations don't involve suppositions either, for the same reason, although we each suppose what we like about how Subud ought to be.

The foundations aren't based on cultural or religious or spiritual factors, since membership is free to anyone regardless of their views or background.

What's left is just the latihan and respect for all other people. Various joint activities emerge from this basis, but the only real foundations are the latihan and human respect.


From Marius Kahan, September 5, 2008. Time 23:31

The foundations, such as they are, seem to me to be as follows - this shouldn't be taken to imply that I agree or disagree with any or all of them:
1 - That anyone is welcome to join Subud regardless of race or creed.
2 - That a period of reflection and enquiry of about three months is advisable (but waived for close relatives or people over 63 - which seems a bit of an arbitrary choice of age).
3 - That people under a certain age (apparently flexible, but seemingly around 17) aren't supposed to be opened.
4 - That in joining Subud - i.e. receiving the contact that we Subudlians refer to as the Latihan - they accept that in principle they should surrender to 'whatever they perceive God to be'.
5 - That such spiritual development (whatever that means) as may come from the Latihan, will proceed on the basis of direct experience of the Latihan (as against through teaching or specific practices).
6 - (One I would like to see explicitely stated) That listening to or reading Bapak's talks is optional, as is believing anything stated in them.
7 - That (as I understand it this was laid down by Bapak as a general principle) drug addicts and alcoholics should dry out before getting opened.
8 - That (again according to what I hear, not what I necessarily believe) caution should be exercised before exposing people with a history of severe mental illness to the Latihan.
9 - That blokes and Sheilas should do Latihan separately.
10 - That all the rest of it is down to the individual and is no-one else's damned business.


From HOSSANAH, September 5, 2008. Time 14:21

The foundation of Subud is the guidance we individually receive in the latihan This is put into practise in our work in the world so that our restless minds are occupied and do not interfere with the work of the latihan in the soul. The profits from this work can not only be used for our own needs but also for the benefit of others by forming charitable institutions.


From Raymond Foster, September 3, 2008. Time 12:57

I think the foundation of Subud is ourself: our own inner progress, our soul, our faith. And of course as we are all unique and so different in our perceptions, we are never going to find concensus.(Nor should we look for it)


From Merin Nielsen, September 3, 2008. Time 10:54

Simon says that Subud exists to spread the latihan and to support existing latihaners in the practise of the latihan.

I agree with the last part of Simon's statement, but not the first. I think it's inappropriate for Subud to attempt to spread the latihan or to acquire more members. But please don't get me wrong -- I think it is quite appropriate for Subud to help the latihan become more widely known. The difference is slightly subtle, but important.

I firmly agree with Simon's second paragraph.


From Bronte, September 3, 2008. Time 2:34

Subud, the organisation, is in existance to enable people to practice the spiritual exercise originally offerred to others by it's founder, Pak Subuh.
Some people in Subud, usually but not always designated as helpers do what they can to enable other people to commence and continue, regularly or not, doing this exercise, which, because of the language and culture of the founder, is called "latihan". That word is not necessary any more. And, once commenced, an individual may no longer need the helpers either.
Many explanations have been made by the founder about latihan, but they are secondary to the experience, so are not the "Essence" or "foundation" of Subud. I might try to call those talks the "walls" of the "Subud structure", and carrying the same analogy along, I would call the organisation and it's practices the "furnishings".
The latihan itself needs neither.
The latihan is part of the life of the "practitioner", and the Subdu structure cannot be with the individual all the time, so again, latihan is "all".
All else about the history of the founder, and his "succesors", and of the organisation, is superfluous to the basic purpose of the Subud "training".
Latihan alone is the "foundation", all else is quicksand!


From Cenred, September 3, 2008. Time 0:43

Do the latihan - the rest comes.


From Dirk Campbell, September 2, 2008. Time 22:15

The foundations of Subud are the talks of Bapak, in which he says that in the latihan you will experience your own reality. There are no beliefs required for this experience.

Bapak goes on to talk a lot about all kinds of weird stuff, which you can believe or not if you like.

Some Subud members use selected material from Bapak's talks to tub-thump their own convictions.

My feeling is that one should not oppose them but be gently concerned, and explain to them the paradox of their position.

If they don't get it that is up to them, but those of us who do get the undefined nature of the latihan should not be affected.


From Simple Simon, September 2, 2008. Time 19:6

The first and primary foundation: that Subud exists to spread the latihan and to support existing latihaners in the practise of the latihan.

Since Subud is an organisation with procedures designed to facilitate these fundamental aims, and is not just a random collection of individuals, then, as any organisation, it should be open to criticism and full debate as to the rightness and effectiveness of its operations in pursuit of its aims. Any implication that criticisers are by definition irresponsible or deficient in moral outlook, spirituality and character will only work against the second foundation of Subud, that "Subud is not a religion and Subud is not a cult". We can't make this one true just by saying it, we can only prove it to be true or otherwise by our actions.