Subud Vision - Discussion

Merin Nielsen - Absurd Subud

SCHISMS? ALREADY?. From LEONARD WELLS, October 15, 2008. Time 5:54

I like it but aren't we in fact just like the Puritans and the Catholics? Aren't we a wee bit young as a 'religion' to be already splitting into different groups?

I think actually we keep using our minds about Subud and that don't work not no how!

From Merin Nielsen, October 16, 2008. Time 12:20

Well, the process of using my mind seems to "not work" with respect to the latihan, of course. With respect to Subud, the situation is completely different, because Subud is basically just an organisation -- it isn't in the same category as the latihan. Subud is a human creation with worldly possibilities, including some very useful and some not-so-useful aspects, along with potential for adaptation and improvement. It's healthy to compare opinions about Subud!

On the one hand, you mention schism and splitting, but that would imply some irreconcilable divergence of opinion among Subud members. On the other hand, there may well be a divergence of opinion, but it may remain reconcilable -- by ensuring that our different perspectives are plain and transparent and openly discussed, while respectfully agreeing to disagree about various aspects of the Subud organisation. Then I think no schism or splitting would be necessary. Why should it be?

From Helissa Penwell, October 18, 2008. Time 2:22

I see several areas of possible irreconcilable differences:

(1) the belief that the forms and structure of the Subud organization cannot or should not be changed versus the belief that it can and should

(2) the belief that Bapak's interpretations and explanations of the latihan are the only acceptable and true ones versus the belief that there may be other valid ones

(3) the belief in God (and that the latihan comes from God) and the use of the language that comes from that versus the non-belief in God (or other similar concepts) and/or the desire to avoid such language

From Sahlan Diver, October 18, 2008. Time 8:4

Maybe I misunderstood what Merin was getting at in his "Open Subud" article, but I thought he was suggesting that the third option he sets out in his article was possibly becoming more and more the viewpoint of the silent majority, whatever Subud wants to say officially or whatever any "old guard" might like to have members think,


From jacob, June 9, 2010. Time 12:6

Does anyone here do the latihan?
Did any of these contributors actually form Subud?
All these attempts to remake the organisation into something other than its founder intended or envisaged.
I mean, he received the latihan and in his greater understanding gave an organisation to be the vehicle for this latihan.

Did someone have a greater experience.or get greater wisdom while I wasn't looking


From Merin Nielsen, June 9, 2010. Time 14:20

While respecting that a person might well attribute great understanding, great experience and great wisdom to another person, I wonder precisely what would lead somebody to attribute such qualities to the founder of Subud.

From Michael Irwin, June 11, 2010. Time 0:17

Jacob wrote:
"I mean, he received the latihan and in his greater understanding gave an organisation to be the vehicle for this latihan."

"In his greater understanding" is where the problem lies. He was a man. He experimented a lot with the organizational structure. For me, how an organization works has nothing to do with how the latihan works. The spiritual world is different from the temporal (practical) world. I don't believe that everything that Bapak said was received. He wanted us to stand on our own feet. He wanted us to deal with the ordinary world as a practical matter. Just looking at how dysfunctional the organization has become is reason enough to question its structure and operation. Lastly, the demographics of the organization's members shows a shrinking organization that appears to be terminal.

From Andrew Hall, June 29, 2010. Time 17:47

I would like to reply to Jacob's feedback that I think asserts that making changes to the organization of Subud would be disloyal to Bapak and contrary to his wishes.

From my perspective, I think Bapak was constantly making changes to the Subud organization during his lifetime. It seems to me that Subud members were used to being surprised with new requests and changes in direction. If something was not working, I think Bapak had no compuction about trying something different.

I was not present when this was happening (I was opened in 1993) and I would appreciate if others would comment on this. If at least somewhat true, does it challenge Jacob's assumption (and the traditional Subud view) that Bapak gave us the latihan and the organization and we dare not change either?

While at the recent World Congress, I gave several Subudvision workshops and was aware that the one subject that seemed to resonate the most with experienced and dedicated Subud members was the limits of testing. Many were willing to acknowledge that they had witnessed testing by helpers for committee positions that they felt did not end up making the right choice. That is also my experience.

I would prefer that when it comes to choosing Committee positions that Subud members be empowered to test for themselves, make their own choice and then particpate in a democratic vote.

I do not think this view makes me disloyal to Bapak. I think it shows flexibility in being willing to try something new and being willing to stand on my own two feet. Did Bapak not say something similar to this?

There are indeed other issues where Jacob might well see me as not being loyal to Bapak, but I do not think that this is one of them.

Andrew Hall,
Ottawa, Canada

From Philip Quackenbush, July 7, 2010. Time 7:6

Well, one change that was made around the time of my opening ('63) was that people were no longer just "opened" willy-nilly when the founder of the cult was around, which was clearly the case during the Coombe Springs era, when all and sundry that came around were "opened" without waiting. When the three-month wait was instituted, I'm not sure. Another fun change was when the founder declared that "latihan" halls should be well lit. When the "helpers" tried to light up the halls in San Francisco, the light switches went on and off constantly for at least half the "latihan". Unlike the time I did a committee/helper "latihan" that a helper tried to strangle a committee member after "latihan", nobody came to blows over it, but I continue to come across dimly-lit halls all over. Must be people tempting fate trying to prove that nobody ever bumps into anyone during "latihan". The imfamous "blue book" for "helpers" has gone through at least three or four editions, including the removal of Brodjo's advice from the first one in an introduction that the "rules" were only "suggestions". Some of the changes in it may have been to clean up instances of clear contradictions between statements from one set of "advices" and another. Whether it still exists or not, I don't know, but I think that many "helpers" now regard it as follies from the past. One instance of the evidence of the founders growing megalomania was when the "Pewarta" was declared off-limits for anyone to be published in it except him. A change that most people were not made aware of was when the founder fired Usman from heading the Bank for gross mismanagement and exercising his "God-given" Indonesian prerogative of dipping into the proceeds, which apparently was also reserved for the founder and the Family. Certainly, the institution of appointing "at least 50%"new "helpers" (which was when I became one), was a big change from the previous "Old Guard club" that had become fossilized.
Of course, the founder's vacillation on what constituted a Subud "enterprise" and the meaning of Susila Budhi Dharma could be considered changes, although the latter could be attributed to the words being ripped off from Sanscrit and misspelled as well as probably misunderstood in the first place, since they have clear, discrete meanings in Sanscrit, I'm sure, not whatever the founder chose to attribute to them on whim (or "receiving").

Peace, Philip

From NY, March 12, 2012. Time 12:50

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