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David Week - History and Myth

The martial arts lineage. From Edward Fido, December 29, 2007. Time 6:18

An interesting article David.

Like Michael Rogge's it seems to be inquiring about the provenance of Subud.

Given the Javanese tradition of allegory it's a big ask.

The martial arts - as associated with kingship and the warrior caste - also have a long history in Ancient India. Buddha himself was a member of the warrior caste (a Kshaitrya) and Bodhidharma, who took Dhayana/Chan/Zen to China, is supposed to have been a martial artist.

In Ancient India most occupations and what was associated with them were in the process of becoming both sacred and hereditary.

If Subud comes from a similar tradition in Java as the Japanese martial arts do in that country it won't faze me.

Pak Subuh also claimed descent from Abdul Qadir al Gilani, a great historic Sufi and titular founder of the Qadiri Order. Many, if not all, the great historic Sufis claimed descent from the Prophet Muhammad, and, especially in the Shi'ite world, possessing certain powers is often considered to be the result as much of such descent as anything else.

Gilani was once stated by a Western writer (sorry I forget his name) to have possessed 'marked hypnotic powers'.

This raises the tantalising question: is Subud transmitted at the opening through the new member in a manner similar to hypnotism?

Pak Subuh's voice was supposed to calm you down. Is that similar to the way someone like Jon Kabat-Zin (a teacher of meditation in the medical context) prepares people to relax?

There are supposed to be forms of mass hypnotism known in the East for centuries which neither put you to sleep nor make you feel you've lost control which certain gurus use to induce ecstatic states in their followers.

Sufis talk about the science of "hals" or states. These are considered wonderful and sacred but there is no denial they work through the normal bodily framework.

One of the legitimate questions to ask is 'How does the latihan happen in the body'?

I think we have to be fairly open minded about this.

To really be accepted in the West the latihan - like meditation - may need to be physically monitored with appropriate equipment to see what functional changes occur in the brain.

Otherwise all we have are rather waffly 'explanations'.

From David W, December 29, 2007. Time 16:42

Hi Edward

More later, but for the time being, what do you think of this: "Dr. Yan Xin, a Chinese Qigong master known to most of the over one billion people in China, gave a talk in San Francisco in 1991. Seventeen hundred devotees, most of them Chinese, showed up at the Masonic auditorium to listen to Yan. The San Francisco Chronicle on may, 16 1991 reported that 'minutes into his talk, several began experiencing what Yan Xin calls spontaneous movements.' The Chronicle reporter said that 'before long, the scene resembled a Pentecostal prayer meeting with many people waving their arms and making unintelligible sounds.' Yan told his audience, 'Those who are sensitive might start having some strong physical sensations - or start laughing or crying. Don't worry. This is quite normal.' "



From Edward Fido, December 30, 2007. Time 6:37

Hi David,

I have no problem believing what was described happened.

My query would be 'How?'. What caused these phenomena to happen?

One of the main themes in the Subud story is that the phenomenon we call the latihan came directly from God.

We have Pak Subuh's accounts and explanations, which I do not automatically discount as mere exotica.

In most religious or spiritual traditions - Vipassana and Sufism for instance - it is the tradition itself and its lineage (from the Buddha or one of the great Sufi saints who claim a sisila or chain going back to the Prophet).

Is or isn't there a tradition, tradition(s) or chain?

What do we rely upon in Subud to guarantee we are spiritually safe?

To my mind this is not a merely intellectual question. I don't necessarily want to read a learned tome. Having read many in my time they don't satisfy. But I'm not sure that, in emulating St Thomas, you; Michael Rogge or anyone else is doing anything wicked or anti-Subud.

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