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Stefan Freedman - Buddhism and Subud

Meditation, Mixing and Buddhism.. From Chan Rasjid, July 8, 2007. Time 9:8

This perception that meditation is not recommended in Subud comes from the question of mixing which Bapak categorically discouraged. Actually it is very easy to resolve and it may be good that helpers be prepared with their own strategic and ready replies as there are many potential meditation practitioners. I was opened in 1972 and did group latihan only for only about 8 years. So I'm not sure if Subud gives me any better understanding on this matter.

Mixing means anything that does not help, or may even impede, spiritual development. The only "truth", unfortunately and also very difficult for mankind to accept,

is that spiritual development can come only through surrender to God and in no other way. The thing unfortunate is about believing or not believing in God. I am not ready to comment on this except to mention that when Bapak reached and entered the "seventh cone of light" in his ascension, he was looking for God too, maybe wanting to see where the right side or the left side of the Throne was, etc. It is up to the individual to read and interpret for themselves.

Bapak had to make talks and in his talks, he had to tell the "truth" even when they do not ring well with listeners. Many naturally remember many things said. The main mixing that Bapak discouraged comes from practices that employs pushing hard (and fierce) with the heart and mind (the willpower of man) to speed up spiritual progress. It cannot be done and, on the contrary, will cause spiritual degradation as how Bapak sees it. So Bapak had to make certain things clear. But Bapak did not disallow others to learn through experience and even to disagree with him. In practice, though, there will be intractable difficulties when a helper continually explains Subud to probationers through his "receiving", 50% of which contradicts the receivings of Bapak."

As to the question that Buddhism do not have much of a belief in God, the answer should be that it is not important. It is still right to mention that the Subud

latihan is a receiving of a direct contact with the Power of God. But acceptance of God should never be made a pre-requisite to be opened in Subud. There should be trust that after the practice of the latihan things should resolved themselves and in manners spiritually correct if Subud is "correct". So there is no need to take preemptive caution. It can also be explained that the latihan should enable a person to understand his religion better, but it cannot be specified in what way better means or that a better understanding of Buddhism necessarily dictates a new syncretic version of Buddhism that includes a personal God. After all, most who believe in God do not seem to have heard very much from Him. We are only obligated to insist He exists.There should never be (I hope nothing like this at present) an acceptable form of Buddhism according to the image of Sudud. Buddhism should be completely left to the Buddhists.

Buddhist meditation may be clarified this way. It can be mentioned that as there are be many forms of meditation, some forms passed down may just be mere wishful inventions of some people that do not contain any spiritual reality. But helpers generally do not know which forms of meditation are acceptable. So the question in this case is passed back to the person who wishes to follow his religion which has meditation as a practice. It should be made clear that meditation is not a problem. The latihan generally develops a person's understanding and so, after practicing the latihan, a person may have a better understanding of the nature of any meditation that he follows. If any helper were to bring out to probationers that Bapak discourages meditation, or the question of mixing, I have doubt that the person is fit to be a helper.

From David Week, July 20, 2007. Time 10:42

Hi Rasjid

One statement I take issue with is this: "It is still right to mention that the Subud latihan is a receiving of a direct contact with the Power of God."

Why is this right? It immediately makes non-believers, or even believers who don't like the G. word or don't believe that God is about 'power', into second class citizens. Even the Christians I know do not characterise God in terms of "power" and "force" (as so much Subud literature does). They characterise God in terms of love, a word almost wholly missing.

It's similar to the situation in which some Americans say "America is a Christian country". It might be statistically true. But it can't make Hindu Americans, or Muslim Americans, feel very included in the statement.

If we want a Subud that's really inclusive, we need to watch our language when we make statements under the Subud symbol. We need to make our language as equally inclusive of as many beliefs as we can muster.



From Chan Rasjid, July 23, 2007. Time 0:2

Meditation, Mixing and Buddhism - Reply to David Week

I have to correct myself here, it may be wrong to mention that the Subud latihan is a "receiving of a direct contact with the Power of God".

We do not hold lessons to teach helpers how they should perform their duties. They simply perfom according to their understanding of the latihan. A true helper is like a Zen Master who acts more by reacting to the situation of the moment. It is said in Islam that Allah has ninety nine names. So, probably, the Zen Master too has ninety nine ways to pick through receiving. The reason that Subud has not grown may indicate that not many members have yet reached a spiritual maturity capable of influencing the world.


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