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Jonathan Koontz - Subud: The Religion

The urge to idolise. From David Week, October 18, 2007. Time 11:34

Hi Jonathan

Re-reading your article just now made me think of two things.

The first is the degree to which major religions go to try and STOP people from idolizing. First, the straight injunction: don't do it! But you also get prohibitions like the Islamic one against showing pictures of the Prophet, the gospel passage "Call no man father", and the Buddhist saying: "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him." (For those who find that violent, it's only because such a Buddha is a delusion.)

The second is the rise and rise of fundamentalism, in which some person or book is seen as carrying the absolute and infallible authority of the divine. This, I'm told, is the result of uncertain times. In uncertain times, people attempt to create something fixed and certain, to quell their anxieties.

Why would Subud be immune to such psychosocial tendencies? Perhaps the urge to religify, to idolise, to fix and fixate, are nothing more than the playing out of fundamentalism within Subud.



From stefan freedman, October 18, 2007. Time 17:15

Hello Jonathan,

I find the suggested parallels between Hubbard and Bapak fascinating. Perhaps along similar lines, my stepson - a Tibetan Buddhist monk who's visited many renowned teachers in Tibet and India, is now trying to reconcile the deep insights and empowerments given by certain of these with their only-too-human behaviour, which seemed to him to be limited, petty and prejudiced. It seems possible for humans who have great spiritual power and insight to suffer also from serious failings - and some of these arise, perhaps, from the headiness of celebrity.

Who can resist enjoying an audience that is lapping up every word?

If the message is "the power is within each one of us" who could simply say it and stop without elaborating?

I appreciate the insights in your article, as well as the punchy writing style.


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