Guruphiliac: August 2009

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.

Labels: ,

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.