Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hope For Enlightenment

File under: Blogs of Note and Folk Theories

We began publishing this blog as a way express our frustration with common depictions of the what is called "enlightenment." Most commercially-successful gurus use these ideas to promote themselves to potential donators devotees. We believe these ideas are more likely preventing enlightenment, and so we harry the gurus who greedily pollute the world with this ignorance.

Over the course of the last 5 years, we've corralled these notions into a "folk theory of enlightenment." Recently, we've caught echoes of this idea in the words of Dzogchen rinpoches who are quoted by the bad-ass Buddhists of Twitter, but today we found the folk theory stated as a list of expectations about enlightenment on a blog called Open Enlightenment:
  • Enlightenment is the transformation into a God, and it only happens to very special people.
  • Enlightenment will confer specific knowledge of everything, ever. The enlightened person knows what happened at the beginning of the universe, everything that is happening now, and everything that will happen right up to the very end. The enlightened person can provide an answer to all the Big Questions, because he/she knows God personally. He/she’s in on the plan.
  • Enlightenment is the terrifying knowledge of Absolutely Nothing.
  • Enlightenment is the death of the self while still alive.
  • Enlightenment can only happen to men.
  • Enlightenment is the complete destruction of the universe, right in front of your eyes.
  • Enlightenment is a shocking, earth-shattering, cataclysmic, reality-tearing, mind-destroying, adrenalin-fueled mystical explosion.
  • Enlightenment is the realisation that the world is an illusion, and so the enlightened person can walk through walls, fly, teleport, and perform all kinds of other miracles.
  • Enlightenment is waking up from the dream of reality.
  • Enlightenment is knowledge of heaven, hell, past lives, spiritual realms, Gods, Goddesses, dead people, angels, elves, pixies and ascended masters.
  • Enlightenment is the end of suffering, pain, depression, despair, anger, hate, revulsion and disgust. It will heal my damaged self, and preserve who I am for ever in eternal bliss. I will never hurt again.
  • Enlightenment is perpetual bliss.
  • Enlightenment is an incomprehensible non-experience that promises nothing, and it is debatable if it actually has any benefit.
A few months ago we published a similar list, which at the time we called the folk theory of guru-based spirituality. The idea has come a long way since then, and now that we're working on a conference presentation about the folk theory of enlightenment, finding Alan's blog has been a great confirmation.

Open Enlightenment is a lighthouse spinning a beam of high-intensity clarity for those lost in the morass of myth, miracle-mongering and superstition that is the commercial spiritual marketplace today. It definitely should be read by anyone who seeks to understand enlightenment in the context of what a big-time guru is telling them. It's so good that we may just decide to retire from this blog entirely.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sri Sri Rips Off A Rip-Off

File under: Gurubusting

Bangalore is being overrun by yuppie beggars taking courses at Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living ashram:
Men and women trying to camouflage their affluent breeding and chic clothes are going about begging in south Bangalore. People at signals were startled yesterday to find smart, English-speaking men and women seeking alms. The beggars, with grime smeared on their faces, looked like characters out of a college play. Motorists, shoppers, and pedestrians dropped small change into their hands, but continued to gape. The beggars bought food with the money they had earned from begging, and ate in public.

MiD DAY discovered that they were disciples of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who runs the Art of Living spiritual movement from his headquarters on Kanakapura. The beggars, it turned out, were well-bred professionals told by their instructors to go "lose the ego" by begging. "Our areas are frequented by educated beggars from Sri Sri's ashram," said a resident of BTM Layout.
"Lose your ego by glorifying mine" is Sri Sri's credo. And don't think for a second that these losers get to keep the cash they panhandled.

And as it turns out, Sri Sri could have cribbed this exercise from any number of sources, including perhaps this one:
Mid-March this year, I travelled all the way from Australia to the United States at a cost of around $12,000 Aust Dollars (including the workshop admission fee) to attend David Neagle’s workshop “Experience The Reality of Success”. The main thrust of the advertising which enticed me to make the very expensive decision to attend the workshop is that everyone who attends will actually Experience the Reality of Success. Here is an actual quote from one of David Neagle’s promotional teleseminars “… we called it Experience the Reality of Success, because that’s exactly what you do. You experience it for real. We actually show you how to manifest money from nothing – bang! Now you might say, it’s got to be some sort of dog and pony show. It’s a trick. No it’s not. We actually do it. You start with nothing and manifest money. You really do. And if I’m lying or exaggerating you can have your money back” (The Art of Success [AOS] teleseminar Session 4 about 1hr.12mins in).

Now as to the last part, I contend that David was both “lying and exaggerating” because whilst it’s true that we did start with nothing, what we did was to go out on the streets and beg for money. That was the way we were to “manifest” the money. There is a BIG DIFFERENCE between vibrationally manifesting money and begging for money on the streets.
Yeah. At least with street begging, you might actually get something.

One scam is called "Art of Living," the other, "Art of Success." Too much synchronicity for you? Us too.

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

"Nithyananda Is Not Who He Claims To Be"

File under: Gurubusting and The Siddhi of PR

This turned up in the Guruphiliac forum the other day. It appears that another high-ranking member of the Nithyananda's inner circle has come down with a case of clear vision. All we can say is, "YIKES!"
Nithyananda is not who he claims to be

He has great videos on youtube. His talks can be mesmerizing and convincing. He does exude energy - I have felt it strongly. He is incredibly intelligent and knows how to say the right things to people. I had fallen for him quite strongly after feeling his energy throughout my body with just his touch on my forehead. I fell head over heels in love with him as much as someone could fall in love and devotion to a guru. I found myself doing everything he was espousing. I even legally changed my name, even my passport and driver's license, etc. I ran at every chance to see him, to be near him. I thought of him every minute of the day. I prayed to him and held him above all else.

But, there were too many little inconsistencies that I noticed. What he said in public and what he did in private were vastly different. He does brainwash people - if we have any doubt in our minds about him or his movement, we are told to "drop the doubt, drop the mind" lest we never reach enlightenment because of our "own fault" in not have "dropped our minds." He knows how to manipulate each person - he is master of the way people's psychology is, the way people think and believe, our psyche. He doesn't allow his ashramites to sleep - they get anywhere from no sleep to a few hours a day. He makes them work, work, work to the point of physical and mental exhaustion. He only believes in propagating his name, and acquiring money - not true religion. Religion is only a front just for outward appearance. He actually disrepects Gods in private sessions saying bad derogatory comments about them. I've seen him belittle and berate his ashramites shamelessly - it is emotional torture and humiliation. He claims it is "for their own good" to help them "lose their ego" so that they become enlightened but this is just a bogus double-speak in order to ill treat them as he wishes. He is a very sick, sick man who is egotistical, interested in fame and fortune, enjoys torturing people in a number of ways-mental, physical, emotional, and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He doesn't mind stepping on people's toes, nay their heads, in order to get ahead. And everyone who is still in the movement are a bunch of stupid fools because they (most if not all) can see the signs but fail to acknowledge them and only believe his double-speak. They choose to stay in ignorance because they have fallen for his total crap words.

I urge those still in the movement to look past his words, and don't just believe what you see him do in public. He puts on a great humble and gracious act in public. See his actions in more private and intimate settings - this is a very dangerous man. Trust your gut instinct. Don't drop your mind - it's the only thing that is showing you the red flags to alert you to danger. Good luck to you and God Bless because now only the Real God can help you get out of this mess. I am thankful to the Real God for helping to show me the way out and save my life and my soul.
Often, bad gurus like this can work great as an impetus to come to trust your own truth apart from his/her flimflamming. That is a very big step in the life of the sincere seeker, if you asked us.

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