Saturday, September 30, 2006

Invincibly Wacked

File under: Wackadoo Gurus and The Siddhi of PR

Have you noticed there have been less hurricanes this year? Hey! What about those gas prices coming down! Things seem to be going better in Lebanon, don't you think? Boy, the world is a much better place now, ain't it?

You have the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his ass-bouncing "yogic flyers" to thank for all that, according to Invincible America, another of the Madharishi's many world-domination PR schemes:
Today is the 5th day of the third month of U.S. national consciousness rising to invincibility, as indicated by the following press reports, which continue to reveal the dramatic, 180 degree turnaround in the fortunes of the nation...
But what about that rising inflation? The civil war in Iraq still kills hundreds of people a week, and the sectarian conflicts in India and Sri Lanka still rage unabated. Never mind all that, folks. They don't talk about those problems until they can claim to have solved them.

The Madharishi taking credit for all the good things happening in the world is about the most infantile thing we've ever observed a big-time guru do. It's like a six-year-old announcing they've saved the world because they asked Jesus to help. The guy must be a blibbering idiot with a bib around his neck to catch the drool that falls out of his mouth with these ludicrous pronouncements of world saving.

It's another brilliant demonstration of mass stupidity. You've got to give the doddering old nut bag credit for finding the dolts who follow him in this nonsense. The wackjob and his merry band of reverse butt trampolines have followed through with his world take-over insanity. Too bad it's been about as effective as a bunch of ass-bouncing clowns can make it.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Sri Kaleshwar: On The Crooked Christ Tip

File under: Gurubusting, Back-Room Gurudom and Satscams

Today our attention fell on Sri Kaleshwar after one of his ardent devotees claimed to have tasted the wine he produced from water. There's nothing like stealing from Jesus to make folks think you're God.

As it turns out, he also attracted the attention of the local officials in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, a few years ago:
The activities of Kaleshwar during the last five years included deceiving people in the name of unearthing a hidden treasure and identifying such a treasure at historical wells, temples, graves and choultries during nights with the help of a team from Poland and metal detectors and unearthing it, they alleged.

Besides smuggling of ancient idols, jewellery and diamonds, hawala, running fake currency racket, sale of narcotics, business of blue films among others also comprised his major activities during the last five years, they charged. A group of persons also used to help Kaleshwar but they later kept away.

Kaleshwar had donned the garb of a godman to safeguard his illegal activities, they alleged. According to a plan to unearth `hidden treasure' he had also encroached upon historic constructions and precious lands. Initially, he had even taken on lease illegally the lands belonging to two temples in survey numbers 394(2) and 295(4). Later, the Endowments Commissioner, Ajay Kallam, sold the land legally to Kaleshwar on the suggestion of the District Collector.
You gotta love Indian politics, where all legal troubles can be solved with a few rupees placed in the right pockets.

Don't be fooled by Kaleshwar's claims to belong to a nonexistent "divine lineage" along with various famous saints he otherwise has no connection to. He's just another of India's fabled fauxvatars working it for name, fame and financial gain. He'll be in the States in December to flimflam even more cash with his talk of "miracle energy."

Too bad the only miracle here is that there will be plenty of folks stupid enough to buy this crook's crock.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

R.U.'s Guide To Faulty CA Gurus

File under: Gurubusting

When we first moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1988, we came across a magazine called Reality Hackers that was everything this little psychedelic-cyber-fetish-transpersonal-techno-tagger-skater punk-yoga-geek could want in a lifestyle guide. Soon to be re-christened as Mondo 2000, this rag basically launched the whole cyber-culture phenomenon from a very strange house up on the hill in Berkeley, California. Leading the way was its editor and [now] our friend, R.U. Sirius.

We were more than happy to help R.U. compile a list of weird guru cults in California for the webzine 10 Zen Monkeys. We suggest all our readers take his advice for those who feel drawn to the Adi Das and Krackis of the world:
As someone who socializes at times on the periphery of “new age” circles, it is my personal observation that most spiritual seekers stopped giving themselves up to charismatic leaders and gurus by the end of the 1980s. But it is clear that there are still enough lost souls out there to fulfill the financial needs and psychopathic fantasies of cult leaders for years to come. My advice: If you feel a need to be part of a group, join a bowling league.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Why We Don't Like Da (And The Kracki, Sri Sri, Etc.)

File under: Gurubusting

Lately it's been heated in the "Gurukripa" tribe at tribe.net, where we produced this statement before we bowed out and left the bliss bunnies to their cherished (and occluding) notions about their gurus:
I have found self-realization to be quite normal, ordinary and even somewhat mundane as a direct and experiential understanding. I know this because I've been lucky to meet more than several people online who live in that understanding, along with a number of folks in real life.

So, how to reconcile these lives with the life of a big-time, island-owning, self-proclaimed greatest-in-recent-history guru? It's like trying to reconcile a Muslim extremist with a West Bank-occupying Zionist.

The thing that separates a normal shlub who is self-realized from a big-time guru who may or may not be self-realized is the idea of spiritual power. Big-time gurus are imagined to contain vast amounts of this power in various forms. There is a litany of things people believe about their big-time gurus as a result of this belief in their power

I would not blame a soul alive for thinking I'm a complete poser (and loser for picking on their guru), but I'm convinced that all spiritual power lies inside each of us, and that it's the belief in the guru's power that tricks us to manifesting our own power. Maybe that's not such a bad thing, and I'd agree, if it weren't for the bugaboo I call occluding nonsense about self-realization.

According to Vedanta, we are all the Atman, and Atman is Brahman, making each of us the foundation of all existence and non-existence. It's not something we climb to, or descend to, or transport to or work toward, despite what we might think we're doing. It's something that is right here, right now, closer than our own breath, in every moment of our lives; the changeless and unborn Self.

So, half the world is running around jumping through so many different hoops, trying to climb, descend, transport and work toward becoming the changeless and unborn Self, which is right here, right now, closer than our own breath. What's the problem? Why aren't they finding such a completely immediate reality?

Simply because it's the most unassuming thing about yourself that you'll never be able to imagine. It's like a wallflower in your mind. It's always there, but goes completely unnoticed. Even when you are spending all your time, money and freedom following a big-time guru so you can find it, it's still just sitting there, right in plain view, waiting to be noticed.

From the mass-cultural angle, big-time gurus are held up as the example of what self-realization means to a life. Never mind how many of them fall far from the distinction. The ones who survive are all seen as paragons of virtue and base-stations of God-like powers that can bestow bliss with a gesture, read your thoughts, see your entire past-life history and supposedly bestow self-realization. But I guess they don't use that power very often, as the conversion rate is probably less than a millionth of one per cent.

It's especially curious that something that is right here, right now, closer than our own breath, is practically impossible for a divine being to bestow as a direct understanding. What's the problem? A: The guru doesn't have any power to bestow anything if you continue to believe in your own ignorance, and B: What you believe about self-realization is standing right in front of your wallflower like the group of popular kids you wanted to be accepted by.

The fact that the right here, right now... etc., is so right here, right now, leads one to conclude that it must be exceedingly subtle. It's awareness' awareness of awareness. We've never not known it, yet because it's always been there, we've never had the opportunity to notice it. If the light is on all the time, how will you ever know it is light?

The ideas that occlude self-realization are legion. Basically, anything you believe about self-realization can occlude. It's why Ramakrishna said that bhakti was the easiest path. Bhakti is not about self-realization when practiced in the spirit of surrender, freeing a mind from forming various ideas about realization based on what they've read, been told, or assumed by what they believe about their guru.

This is why I have such a problem with Adi Da. His is one of the most egregious examples alive. Kalki Bhagavan is up there as well, along with a few others. But Da seems the most extreme in his ideas about himself as a personality on the world stage. He appears to literally believe he is the number one, greatest spiritual being in the last couple hundred years... or more! And he expects his devotees to accept him as this. It's beyond the pale in my book.

However, I'm as sure as his most fervent devotee that he can function as a wonderful guru for some people, provided those people are fully convinced in his power. It's a ruse, like faith healing, one which some gurus are in on and some not. And there's nothing wrong with the ruse if it works, but there's big problems with the ideas people accept to join in on the ruse.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Court Spanks AUM Lawyers

File under: Gurus Doin' Time

Subway-gassing, death-row guru Shoko Asahara's lawyers have been slammed by the Tokyo High Court for failing to file his death penalty appeal on time:
The lawyers demanded trials be suspended and did not submit a statement of reasons for an appeal by the August 2005 deadline, arguing that Asahara lacked the ability to undergo a trial as he could not communicate with them.

The Tokyo High Court and the Supreme Court rejected Asahara’s appeals in March and September this year respectively, finalizing his death sentence.
But not to worry, the Japan justice system appears to have more loopholes than a U.S. military torture handbook, affording Asahara plenty more time to prove he's nuts by playing with his nards.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

On Real, True Gurus

File under: The Art of Guruing

Lifted from the comments on Nithyananda Steps Up (On His Pedestal):
A "Real, True Guru" is very much aware of their own humanity.

A "Real, True Guru" has compassion. He or she has felt the depths of their own pain and thus, can feel the pain of others.

A "Real, True Guru" will not build a shrine to "Thine Own Glorious Self" as a means of promoting the "Truth". Real Gurus know that Real Truth doesn't require the fortification of shrines.

A "Real, True Guru" will be concerned about humanity. He or she accepts that sure, we can all go to that space of "I AM THAT" but most us of live *here* and *here* can be a difficult and painful place to be for many.

A "Real, True Guru" doesn't laugh at your pain and dismiss it as meaningless. A "Real, True Guru" recognizes that pain can be a valuable teacher, not one to be dismissed as meaningless or ridiculed. A "Real, True Guru" can accept what's in front of him or her regardless of whether it's sorrow or joy, rage or bliss, b.s. or a sweet-smelling rose.

A "Real, True Guru" is not content to stop learning; he or she would never dream of stating that they have attained perfection.

A "Real, True Guru" is seldom the one in front of you. They're the one behind or beside you, holding you up, pushing you forward, encouraging you in moments of weakness and doubt.

A "Real, True Guru" does not present him or herself as someone capable of bestowing "enlightenment" upon another. He or she already knows that the most they can do is to reflect back that which is already within you.

Everyone has the capacity to be a "Real, True Guru" although not necessarily to all people at all times. The world is swarming with teachable moments; "Real, True Gurus" are those who are present during those moments.
We'd only add that a real, true guru doesn't make themselves a spectacle in order to promote themselves or build their satsang, filling heads with nonsense about self-realization in their zeal to hit the big-time.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Nithyananda Steps Up (On His Pedestal)

File under: The Siddhi of PR and The Art of Guruing

We've tried very hard to like Swami Nithyananda over the last year, mainly because we've found one of his devotees to be a stellar example of clarity in spite of all the guru worship. We were hoping (albeit unrealistically) that this person would be able to influence Nithyananda to make a more realistic presentation to his Western devotees, thereby avoiding the projection of occluding nonsense about self-realization that trails these guys like a cloud of L.A. smog. But as you can see from the photograph on the left, we were dead-dog-wrong.

Whaddya know! A guru playing God. And yet there's more. Nithyananda has launched a new PR initiative in the West called the Lifebliss Foundation. This would appear to be in response to the success of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living Foundation, making Nithyananda a kind of Sri Sri lite for the States. It's a savvy career move for a guru looking to move up into the ranks of the big-time.

With Nithyananda running around playing God on one hand, and offering himself up as an example of advanced humanity for neuroscience on the other, we've got all the makings of a self-realization occlusion clusterfuck. Instead of showing us that self-realization is normal and available to all, he's telling us that it will make us Gods with incredible mental powers.

Regardless of the fact that this is all par for the course for gurus in India, we're withdrawing our real, true guru designation in response to these unfortunate developments. If Nithyananda wants to shoot for the big-time, he'll get no help from us (outside of what little attention comes his way by this blog.)

There's another primetime space daddy in the hizzie, people. Let the hero-worship and miracle-mongering continue unabated! Welcome to another helping of mind sludge in the name of spirituality.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Freddie Cracks His Whip At The Kracki

File under: Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

Freddie Nielsen was the Kracki's main man for the Western world. Then he had a moment of clarity and bailed. Now he's in a war of words with the criminals who continue to flimflam with the deeksha scam, and he's telling it like it is:
I think that [Amma and Bhagavan] are really heartless when they exaggerate so much, promise incredible things when very little actually happens. Some are strongly regretting that they received dikshas, others have gone to the mental hospital as a result etc. So there are both positive as well as negative points regarding the effects of dikshas. I do not want to deny any of these two opposite poles. Who knows how the dikshas work, if it is mostly because of faith… [Ed.note: It's all about faith, Freddie!] But I do not agree that there are LOTS of people who have gotten a permanent inner peace etc.

Maybe one does not have to go through the incredibly expensive 21 days course in order to give dikshas. Many Russians have take loans that takes 2-20 years to pay back, some live in poverty until they have paid back their loans. Others have become totally desperate due to the loans that now destroy everything in their lives, and those who did not get a nice state often become extremely depressed.

I believe in purity and integrity. These two fundamental qualities I can hardly see in A&B and their Movement. And there can always be a risk involved in getting energy from a source that is far from pure. Who knows what this will end in…
With Freddie breaking off and forming his own deeksha scam, we're not going to be calling him a real true guru quite yet. But at least he's square with the fact that the Kracki is a crook and willing to talk about it.

Hopefully one day the Indian government will catch the same clue Freddie did and put a stop to the massive criminal enterprise known as the Oneness Movement. But with all that cash flying around among the local officials, we don't have much faith the folks in high places there will ever get wise.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sri Sri Seeks Fame Peace In Sri Lanka Again

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the war-mongering guru who's up for a Nobel Peace Prize this year, has gone back to Sri Lanka in a second attempt to bring an end to the ethnic war raging there. (It will also probably help remove some of that tarnish off his burnish he got lecturing Indian army cadets recently.)

If Sri Sri somehow manages to bring peace to that clusterfuck, even we might think he deserved the prize. But whether or not this comes to pass, in the end, it's always and only about Sri Sri:
"Change of opinion can only be brought about by spiritual people," Ravi Shankar told IANS on telephone from the Katunayake airport near Colombo shortly after landing from Kilinochchi, where he met representatives of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for a couple of hours.
The last time he was there, he told the Tigers they just needed to be less irritated. That didn't go over too well, as the conflict raged on to the tune of several hundred more deaths, most of the them on the Tigers' side. But since he apparently has the respect of both sides in the conflict, Sri Sri seems somewhat well-positioned to get both parties to the table once again.

It's another well-played move by a man hellbent on world renown who has the PR muscle to make it happen. If he fails to bring peace, he can blame it on one or both parties. But if he actually has some success in Sri Lanka, he's got crowing feathers to last a lifetime, not to mention the tremendous boost it will give to his celebrity and chances at that Nobel.

He's a juggernaut of ambition hiding in humble white robes, a quintessential self-aggrandizing politician operating under the cover of spirituality and philanthropy. Like the Madharishi, the Babaster and the Kracki, Sri Sri wants to rule the world. We're beginning to worry he's got the best shot out of the bunch.

Nah. His missing hypocrite suppression gene is going to see to his eventual fall from the pedestal he's built under himself. And you know we can hardly wait to gleefully describe the pieces and their dispersal.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Update: The Whys Of Crazy Cooper

File under: Wackadoo Gurus and Satscams

An alert reader presented us with this excerpt from Austin, Texas, deeksha scammer Willam Cooper's Book of Awakening. We'll let it speak for itself (with a little bit of help from us.):
One stated intention (it came in a vision to another psychic not me) was to put my face on the bill board and that Deeksha would be given to all those that pass by the bill board.
My psychic friend has enabled me in my psychotic grandiosity by suggesting that my face has the power to attract everyone who gazes upon it.
That is what is happening!
In the wilds of my fevered delusions.
Secondly, we wanted to familiarize all of Austin with the word deeksha to make it easier for all the deeksha groups and to raise the already high vibe in Austin.
There are enough marks and patsies for all of us, as long as I get first shot at the ladies.
I also thought that it would be a statement for all spiritual groups to Austin that times are a changing.
I didn't get anywhere close to this much nookie when I was in college!
We are in the Golden Age and Enlightenment is here Now!
We are out of our heads, drunk with the power of deeksha-giving, amazed that just the suggestion of something happening is all that is required to make something "happen".
I am in no way committed to working to reach the 64,000 by 2012. I do so much because it is my joy and I can not help it.
Plus, I'm getting crazy laid now.
There is not a difference between me and the action. There is not a doer in that regard....it just happens through me.
It's still all about me... and all the tail I'm pulling.
In the same way, I quit my previous job at $95 per hour with unlimited work and have not had an income since 2003. I live on my savings.
That should throw the IRS off the trail.
Work happens through me 7 days a week and the results are stunning because it is the Divine at work not me. Essentially I am a big Volunteer.
Note the capital "V". I underplay it by design, but inside I'm convinced I'm an avatar, and I've got the grandiose self-image to prove it. Who needs those pompous greed-bags in India? Not me.

Today, Austin; tomorrow,
the world.

Update: A former Austin deekshaite reveals another facet to Crazy Cooper's kooky ways:
One of the things that completely turned me off just before I stopped going last December was his announcement that he would no longer accept anyone into his private practice that wouldn't take deeksha. It sounds like he's just lying now and that he's become rather unethical as a therapist. Can you imagine a therapist that was into Scientology telling clients they had to audit or hit the road? I'm not even sure it's legal.
It's not the first time we've heard rumblings of Cooper's not-so-ethical behavior as a psychotherapist. Hopefully a member of the Texas State Board of Psychologists will happen by the Billboard and be inspired to investigate just how far Crazy Coop has fallen out of the tree.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ramdev Reaps The Pounds In The U.K.

File under: Gurus Clockin' Dollars

The rancorous and paranoid Swami Ramdev is doing quite ok in the mighty U.K:
As a matter of interest, entry to the workshops was costed thus: 500 pounds - VIP, 300 pounds - Diamond, 140 pounds - Gold, and 70 pounds - Silver. Proximity to the Baba was indeed dependent on what category of donation had been made.
We like it. Renting your aura as real estate to your devotees, complete with a tony neighborhood closest to the Swami himself where only the rich folk live.

It's mind-boggling capitalism under cover of religion. Swami Ramdev is a high-rolling reverend/pimp, Yoga is his bitch and his devotees are getting played like out-of-town tricks.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Foremmmmmmm!

File under: The Siddhi of PR

The wacky Madharishi is still trying to take over the world. His latest move is to buy a golf course in Detroit, Michigan, but not to turn it into a peace palace paradise. His folks want to continue to run it an organic golf course:
"It would be just what is it right now but the twist would be it would be organic," said Izegbe N'Namdi, the project director for the proposal.
It's likely the course will sell to developers in a pact with the family who used to own it. The nutty-as-a-cashew tree Madharishi is just going to have to find somewhere else to tee-off on a manure pile.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Soon To The Chute? Maybe Not

File under: Gurus Doin' Time

It's the final-final-final, finally for the Tokyo subway-gassing guru, Shoko Asahara. His last appeal has been dismissed and he's got nowhere more to go except down a chute with a noose around his neck. Or does he? It seems like the courts in Japan have a hard time being final about anything:
The Supreme Court voted to reject the former guru's appeal, said Naoki Katayama, a court spokesman, but he refused to say whether this would lead automatically to Asahara's execution.

A Justice Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of ministry rules, said the decision finalized the death sentence, but that Asahara's defense team could still forestall his execution by applying for a retrial or an emergency appeal.
It sounds like Japan is in for more of the wackjob who wacks-off's hijinks, as Asahara appears to have yet another chance to prove he's as crazy as a kitten on acid.

This one is still developing – perpetually – to the chagrin of his victims' families and much of rest of Japan.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tribal Wisdom

File under: The Art of Guruing

Lately, we've been following the thread of an discussion about gurus on tribe.net. Today a gal named Fifi came up with this nugget:
A teacher of any kind who considers any questions about their beliefs and intentions as an attack upon themselves, is mistaking a belief system for themselves and essential being. This shows an attachment to a belief system that will override any ability to simply see what IS or to BE because all phenomena will need to be explained within this belief structure (or rejected) so that the adherent who mistakes his beliefs for himself can retain that identity. In the case of the guru who makes this mistake - and the student as well - this would mean giving up a sense of superiority, specialness, entitlement, group belonging, and rightiousness...and, of course, the false power that an aggrandising ego mistakes for true self empowerment.
We believe she captures the essence of the occlusion principal rather well, that tendency to mistake what one believes for who one is, and she's certainly nailed down the culprit who spreads the ignorance.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The "Peace" That Sri Sri Brings

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Way back in June, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was characteristically confident [read: excessively grandiose] about his chances to bring peace to the ethnic conflict that rages in Sri Lanka:
"We have established contact with the LTTE. We have sent taped messages to their leaders. We will bring peace to Sri Lanka soon. There is a bit of stagnation now in thrashing out issues," the spiritual guru said.
It seems things were a bit more stagnant than he realized:
Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels exchanged mortar and artillery fire across their northern front lines Monday, as the military said the death toll from five days of heavy fighting rose to 148.
Wha' happened?

Granted, two and a half months is not very long in terms of a peace negotiation. But then again, you wouldn't expect such a violent uptick in the war with Sri Sri on the job, right? Perhaps he's moved on to other things, like war-mongering. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Peter Griffin Meets His Guru

File under: The Art of Guruing

Saturday, September 09, 2006

One Gal's Rules For A Guru

File under: The Art of Guruing

We spend a lot of time at tribe.net, a social networking community that is loaded with folks chasing whatever dreams of enlightenment they may have. We've recently met one gal who has this to say about evaluating a guru:
1. Can I come and go as I please with no pressure to leave family behind.
2. Can I have sex and not feel that I need to hide it.
3. Are the teachings inspirational in their approach and not a dogma.
Three easy rules for gurudom. That sounds like the makings of a book to us.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The 1000 Montana Buddhas

File under: The Siddhi of PR

We just found a fairly comprehensive look at Gochen Tulku Rinpoche, a Buddhist lama who's moved to Montana, and it ain't to raise him up some dental floss. It's to build a garden of 1000 Buddhas:
Visitors entering the garden will see a 300-foot diameter circle with six spokes, each supporting a roughly equivalent fraction of 1,000 2-foot statues of Buddha, with a circumference lined by 1,000 stupas, meticulously constructed shrines containing sacred drawings, scrolls of mantras, fruit and jewelry. Already in place, in the center of the circle, sits a statuary Yum Chenmo, the Great Mother, a smiling, round-faced woman 10 feet high and seated on a 13-foot pedestal.
Sounds pretty good, until they get into the "mystical" side of it:
Hidden from the eye, embedded in the sculptures, are the objects to which Rinpoche and his students attribute the greatest power. These are relics, including ringsels, pill-shaped objects “left behind” in the post-death remains of highly realized beings. Amplified by sacred architecture, Tsomo says, ringsels can infect people with Buddha nature simply by virtue of the power of the person who left the relic behind.
It's a quaint thing to think about, but any "infection" occurring is entirely on the part of the infected's own buddha nature. The spiritual bric-a-brac is just bric-a-brac. Any object imbued with magic power is made that way by the belief of the people who regard it as magical.

What we like about this article is the natural, yet just the right amount of skeptical approach the author takes. He clearly has an open mind, but he seems to be thinking in terms that less culturally-aware Montanans might use. It's a great attempt to make a bridge between the Rinpoche's Buddhism and the more common conservative Christianity that certainly dominates the religious landscape there.

We really enjoyed this bit with the anonymous land donor for the Rinpoche's garden:
One of Rinpoche’s students purchased the land for him, the student says, because Rinpoche “wanted to bring Buddhism to the West, and I couldn’t think of a better person to bring it.” (The donor requested anonymity, explaining in an e-mail that “in the Buddhist understanding of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ karma, the ‘positive karma’ or ‘merit’ as we call it, is diminished if we get credit for positive actions. This being a BIG one, it would make a big difference to me in my favor if I didn’t get credit for it.”)
Too bad seeing their donation as a "BIG one" just erased the "favor" this person imagines they have as a result of their good works. It's a typically kindergarten approach to understanding karma, as if there's a cosmic bank out there we're all making payments and withdrawals from with our good and bad works in the world.

Let's hope the Rinpoche's garden will put a stop to that nonsense, as well as bringing a bit more peace to the world.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Nondualarunachala

File under: Real True Gurus

Last month we received a complimentary message from a nice person asking if we'd exchange links between our blogs. It was such a sincere request that we had to warn them linking to this blog would definitely be at the risk of what was once their good name. So we made it optional to link here and were quite happy to link back to Arunachala Grace, a really nice little blog by the prolific Meenakshi Mammi, a resident of Tiruvannamalai, India, in the shadow of the great Shaivite pilgrimage destination, the holy Arunachala hill, aka Ramana Maharshi's guru.

We've enjoyed paying our respects to Arunachala these last few weeks via Meenakshi's blog. When we decided to visit yesterday, we found this brilliant quote from an unknown person that basically encapsulates everything this blog stands for:
Those who perpetuate the belief that ego transformation is enlightenment do spiritual culture a disservice. Additionally, the reverence and respect accorded enlightened beings is also undeserved because enlightenment is nothing other than a re-discovery of something that was already known.

When I wake up I don't become somebody else, I simply trade the idea of myself as a dreamer for the idea of myself as a waker. In fact, the waker and the dreamer are the same person, but seem to be separate entities because of their association with the state of consciousness in which they find themselves at the moment.

It is fashionable these days for society to congratulate formerly fat people who returned to their normal size. But rather than offer them respect, shouldn't they be castigated for getting fat in the first place? Touting one's Enlightenment only calls attention to a lengthy and embarrassing stay in ignorance.
Kudos to Meenakshi for recognizing the greatness of these statements. We've got a message out to him/her requesting the identity of this fantastic author. It's straight-up spot-on nondual truth and the antidote to everything that is wrong in global gurudom today. We'll update this entry once Meenakshi gets back to us with the info.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Teaching For The Teachers

File under: The Art of Guruing

When we first came across this short article by John Kain about picking a guru, we were ready to pick it apart. It starts out a bit thin and twee, if you asked us. But then we got to the meat of it and were happily surprised:
Alexander Berzin, in his book about Tibetan practice, Relating to a Spiritual Teacher: Building a Healthy Relationship, describes six different attributes of the student-teacher relationship: (1) Almost all spiritual seekers progress through stages along the spiritual path. (2) Most practitioners study with several teachers during their lifetimes and build up different relationships with each. (3) Not every spiritual teacher has reached the same level of accomplishment. (4) The type of relationship appropriate between a specific seeker and a specific teacher depends upon the spiritual level of each. (5) People usually relate to their teachers in progressively deeper manners as they advance along the spiritual path. (6) Because the same teacher may play different roles in the spiritual life of each seeker, the most appropriate relationship each seeker has with that teacher may be different.

This list is filled with sober insights and common sense; it’s a good reference point. Yet for some mysterious reason students often check their common sense at the door, like an overcoat at a fancy restaurant, when entering spiritual practice. The best thing teachers can do for their students is to convince them that such notions are fantasy. If a teacher is sleeping with a student, nine times out of ten it’s a bad idea. If a teacher is an alcoholic, that teacher is an alcoholic. Some things are exactly as they appear. In the book How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery, an early work on spiritual practice (published in 1974), the author, Lawrence LeShan, gave some practical and sage advice about choosing a spiritual teacher—“Watch how they treat their spouse.” At the same time teachers do make mistakes, all of them, and if we think otherwise we’re on the wrong track.
Great stuff, especially the part about how students often "check their common sense at the door." The wrong kind of guru zeros in on this tendency like a vulture smelling carrion from 20 miles away. It is responsible for every big-time guru's satscam going today.

But there's nothing mysterious about it. People drop all logic and reason at a guru's feet because they want their space mommies and daddies to make everything ok for them. Peoples' infantilism is at the root of their wanting a guru and their expecting their gurus to magically solve all their life's problems for them.

It sounds like John Kain is someone worth listening to. He's got a book: A Rare and Precious Thing: The Possibilities and Pitfalls of Working with a Spiritual Teacher. Based on what he says in this short promo piece, it could be worth reading. If we ever get to reading it ourselves, we'll let you know what we think.

Friday, September 01, 2006

7 More Years For A Sexy, Sexy Baby

Gurus Doin' Time

Chilean death camp commandant and authoritarian guru Paul Schaefer just got a nickel and a half added to his 20-year prison sentence. The ex-Nazi nurse was most recently convicted of weapons possession. This is on top of a conviction for a lifetime's worth of sex abuse with the kiddies. Young boys were his speciality.

We'd like to think that Paul is getting along fabulously in jail. We're sure he's a hit with the fellas in his sexy black Nazi nurse regalia, although he probably looks like a old leather bag full of bones in it. That's ok. The fellas can use their inner eyes while they're using Schafer's outer one.