Abandon the Subud symbol


By Merin Nielsen


The Problem:

The Subud symbol directly represents a teaching: namely, that reality has levels (seven of them) — and so it is potentially offensive to some members. It also deters people from trying out the latihan, as it connects the latihan with a certain spiritual notion, imposing unspoken pressure to adopt that perspective. This naturally alienates people who have their own spiritual views, and makes Subud dishonest in so far as it ‘officially’ supports no doctrine.


The Solution:

The Subud symbol clearly contradicts the supposed impartiality of Subud, thereby goes against making the latihan more available, and is offensive to some of us. It is also superfluous, and should therefore be abandoned.


The Details:

To the extent that it stands for a particular spiritual teaching, the Subud symbol is much like the Christian cross, the Buddhist wheel of the Noble Eightfold Path, the Judaic Star of David, the Taoist yin-yang, or the Islamic star and crescent. Various other religions, denominations and cults also have symbols, yet while they tend to be comfortable with some degree of exclusivity, Subud claims to be inclusive. Symbols easily become barriers. For example, when the International Red Cross expanded to Muslim countries, it was inappropriate to carry on with the red cross as its emblem, so this was replaced by the red crescent. The Subud symbol has always contradicted Subud’s official position of religious neutrality, and chiefly serves to put off people from enquiring about the latihan. Given that it serves no useful purpose, it should simply be dropped by Subud at all levels of the organisation.