Monday, April 24, 2006

Punk Zen Priest

FIle under: Real True Gurus

The Guruphiliac list is on a roll. Long-time list traveller Andrew Macnab turns up with Hardcore Zen, the blog of punk rock filmmaker and Zen master Brad Warner:
When you get to be a Zen Master, people are always quick to try and give you power. People try it with me constantly. I had a e-mail a couple weeks ago from some guy who desperately wanted me to show him the way to Enlightenment. Obviously he hadn't been reading what I write. But, be that as it may, what he wanted was to give me the power to bestow this thing called Enlightenment upon him.

There are plenty of people out there who are all too happy to accept such power. They train their students to have certain kinds of experiences which they then helpfully label for them as "steps on the path to Enlightenment." Once the student's racked up enough of these, the Master bestows his blessings and the student gets to lord it over on someone else. And so the cycle of sickness continues.

A good Zen teacher will toss the power you attempt to hand him right back at you like a hot potato. For the student this is extremely frustrating. When it happened to me, I hated it. Hated it. Wanted desprately to find someone who would take my power from me, so I could relax and let him take the blame for everything. I mean, how can you possibly know if you are progressing unless your teacher tells you you're progressing? How indeed? But the idea of "progress" is one of the things you need to give up. You will never progress. Not one bit. You will never reach Enlightenment. And if you do, you can be sure it's a scam.

Do you want the Great Master to give you Brownie Points? Cuz if you do, you just might get 'em. That's where the trouble starts...
In our years traversing satsang culture, we've found the lion's share of those who pay lip service to the search for enlightenment are really only looking to score a bit of self-acceptance. Finding a guru who will give you brownie points may naturally seem the surest route to achieving that goal. While self-acceptance in and of itself is not a bad thing, a good psychotherapist is way more qualified to help you find it than a guru. Any guru in the self-acceptance business isn't doing his/her job, which is to show you that any self seeking acceptance of itself, is itself ultimately illusory.

4 Comments:

At 4/24/2006 3:55 PM, Blogger ontheotherhand said...

Jody,

This is right on the money! If you dare to ask these masters (who say "surrender to me if you ever want enlightenment") any questions like -- 'this seems like one more experience -- it comes and goes like all these other things before I met you -- how exactly does this flashy experience of bliss around you help me to proceed to the Truth?', they get very angry. Some throw you out. Others berate you if there are others there in the room to laugh. In the case of SSRS, it was not uncommon for him to answer such a question by ridiculing the questioner in front of others, encouraging them to chortle on about how they "got it" and the poor slob asking the question just didn't 'get it'. All would look smug and self satisfied with themselves that they were in the "inner circle" of knowledge. All it amounted to was they were invited to late night parties with the guru, and given that touch of self acceptance you spoke of. It's useless. Totally and absolutely. But dare to say so? Look out! These people get nasty if you press them on these points. I've even heard SSRS say, when asked "why should I hand over my power to you?" "you HAVE no power to hand over. You are powerless when you come here. You are surrendered to me and don't even know it..." blah blah blah

This disease of surrendering to a personage is something that has to end before any clear thought can ever take place, imo.

 
At 4/25/2006 10:39 AM, Blogger dontbullme said...


In the case of SSRS, it was not uncommon for him to answer such a question by ridiculing the questioner in front of others, encouraging them to chortle on about how they "got it" and the poor slob asking the question just didn't 'get it'.


This is exactly what happened in NY on his christmas visit. But the guy who asked the question was bold enough to reframe the question..but he never got the answer..people kept laughing..
There is no use blaming these gurus..people should change..


All would look smug and self satisfied with themselves that they were in the "inner circle" of knowledge.


Nicely said. I still have lot of friends in this inner circle.

 
At 7/20/2006 11:32 AM, Blogger Dan said...

whats SSRS?

 
At 7/20/2006 3:20 PM, Blogger jody said...

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

 

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