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The Guru Papers discussion

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran

I’ve just started a new book, The Guru Papers by Joel Kramer. It was recommended by a friend, an ex-Osho sannyasin who left the movement years ago, but I thought it might be interesting for Buddhism as well. Only half the book is about guru’s, the other half examines other kinds of authoritarian power structures. I plan to read the first six chapters about guru’s and then report back on how there are parallels with spiritual teachers more in general.

If you’re interested in reading along, here is a link to the pdf:

https://profsoftware.com/osho/TheGuruPapers_MasksOfAuthoritarianPower.pdf

Comments

  • FleaMarketFleaMarket Newbie, not Veteran

    Seems like fun, I'm in. Slow reader but I'll get started.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    I’ve been skim-reading a bit, because it seems quite waffly, they use a lot of words and asides when perhaps a more direct approach could convey the same information more quickly. So far I’m not very impressed with the level of analysis on offer.

    The authors are solidly in the anti-guru and anti-authoritarian camp, that much is clear after 70 pages.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    I read the book a long time ago, but it would be worth another read.

    I think it's most valuable to people who are in cultic groups, or have left cultic groups, as it can help them make sense of their experience. And could be good for warning people about the signs of cultic groups before they get involved in a Buddhist or Hindu or any kind of spiritual movement.

    I'll try to squeeze in the time to access your PDF and review the material, so we can discuss, OP. I've been very busy lately, posting about the Russia/Ukraine situation on another forum. The crisis has been keeping me busy.

    But you raise an important topic. The book was especially important, back in the days before the scandals and court cases broke (the last few years or so), and too many people were in denial of the problem. This book was a lifesaver for people feeling caught in a topsy-turvy world.

  • FleaMarketFleaMarket Newbie, not Veteran

    I'm feeling a bit blind here in my examination but I'm struggling to see how this is different from any other relationship? From my observation, the same situation one who finds themselves in with a guru could be the same situation one finds themselves in with a trusted friend or family.

    Is it about the mental conditioning that takes place? Because that could be seen in friend and family and all relationships as well. Devoted family, friend, lover, student, worshiper all seem like the same person. Equally disillusioned family, friend, lover, student, worshiper all seem the same as well.

    What am I missing?

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 14

    I remember a thread about this previously and I remember wishing for more books about gurus in context and though I'm taking a break from meditation etc., I have read an informational book about the roles of the guru. It's not about bad gurus rather:

    https://www.shambhala.com/the-guru-principle.html

    FleaMarket
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @FleaMarket said:
    I'm feeling a bit blind here in my examination but I'm struggling to see how this is different from any other relationship? From my observation, the same situation one who finds themselves in with a guru could be the same situation one finds themselves in with a trusted friend or family.

    The main thing the book is objecting to is the surrender of personal authority. There is a streak of authoritarianism in the guru-disciple relationship, where the disciple is supposed to follow everything the guru says, as @Vimalajāti was also describing. It’s a kind of relationship which does not always turn out well.

    Look at Sogyal for example — one moment the revered leader of the Rigpa organisation, the next moment castigated for sexual misbehaviour, excessive partying, and other irregularities. No longer a Rinpoche even.

    Personally I think you can only surrender authority to a certain extent. You say to the guru, “I surrender until it no longer suits me”. The whole problem is, some people cease to think critically and take it way too far. For those people this book was written. It bills itself as an examination of all forms of authoritarianism, but in the actual writing it’s quite clearly anti-authoritarian. That’s not wholly a bad thing, but if your belief is still about trust it can be a bit of a shock.

    FleaMarket
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited May 14

    One version of the
    Buddha's final teaching.

    Let the Dharma and the discipline that I have taught you be your teacher. All individual things pass away. Strive on, untiringly.

    A Guru who wishes to be followed, is simply someone who has not yet understood the Dharma.

    FleaMarketlobsterShoshin1David
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    there I was nailing a guru to a cross … when …
    https://www.goodnewsforcatholics.com/bible/question-when-the-student-is-ready-the-teacher-will-appear-bible.html

    yeah … Guru Christi Almighty (not Thor)

  • KotishkaKotishka Veteran

    @Jeroen said:

    Personally I think you can only surrender authority to a certain extent. You say to the guru, “I surrender until it no longer suits me”. The whole problem is, some people cease to think critically and take it way too far. For those people this book was written. It bills itself as an examination of all forms of authoritarianism, but in the actual writing it’s quite clearly anti-authoritarian. That’s not wholly a bad thing, but if your belief is still about trust it can be a bit of a shock.

    @Vimalajāti said:
    Guruyoga is dangerous. When it goes sour, it goes sour in a big way.

    After my first spiritual experiences -ISKCON and Shambhala- everytime I hear the word guru and "unbreakeable bond".... shivers Thanks but no thanks :)

    In ISKCON, extreme orthodoxy and adherence to a dead guru and his words. I once asked, "why is Darwin a rascal?". The reply: "Because he is. Prabhupada said so."

    In Shambhala I heard people defending the sexual abuse scandal which caused Sakyong Rinpoche's decision to "take refuge" in Nepal : "it was meditative sex" / "he is a Vajyrana master!", "it is all part of the MeToo Hysteria".

    I have no time to read this book right now, but I look forward the updates you provide and this thread as it sounds damn interesting.

    Not saying this is exclusive of Vajyrana, the abuse, but the concept of total surrender and obeisance to the bond....quite a hard vow!

    Jeroen
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited May 14

    I’ve been reading the chapter on guru ploys, and its interesting the excuses they use to evade accountability. I must admit, these things being said to me — “you can’t possibly understand what I am doing because you are not enlightened” for instance — would cause a few alarm bells to go off in my mind.

    Another interesting chapter is the one on surrender, which goes into some depth about the psychological effects of surrendering and its attractions. Another chapter goes into how those teachings often attack the strength of a person’s reason and encourage a more emotive group-thinking.

    It’s curious because if I compare this to what I read about people like Ramana Maharshi and Poonjaji then I come to the conclusion that although they are commonly called ‘gurus’ they don’t teach those things, and they also didn’t use those tactics to hold onto followers. Indeed they seemed to try their best not to accumulate followers.

    personlobster
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @Kotishka said:
    In Shambhala I heard people defending the sexual abuse scandal which caused Sakyong Rinpoche's decision to "take refuge" in Nepal : "it was meditative sex" / "he is a Vajyrana master!", "it is all part of the MeToo Hysteria".

    This is one of the things they mention as indicative of a guru-led cult, that members with no first-hand knowledge of affairs will come up with defenses of the guru and cult leadership.

    There were chapters on authoritarianism through channelling, the Jonestown massacre, and a section on how many cults go from messianic to apocalyptic in their messaging.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @FleaMarket said:
    I'm feeling a bit blind here in my examination but I'm struggling to see how this is different from any other relationship? From my observation, the same situation one who finds themselves in with a guru could be the same situation one finds themselves in with a trusted friend or family.

    Is it about the mental conditioning that takes place? Because that could be seen in friend and family and all relationships as well. Devoted family, friend, lover, student, worshiper all seem like the same person. Equally disillusioned family, friend, lover, student, worshiper all seem the same as well.

    What am I missing?

    I think its about the power imbalance and the responsibility that entails on the part of the guru that doesn't apply to many of those other relationships. There's a deep surrender and trust on the part of the student that goes beyond most other relationships. More like a parent and very young child.

    If memory serves I think in the literature on guruyoga they say that one should examine a teacher for 12 years. In the real world today that almost never happens and in group dynamics there are heavy social pressures to conform.

    I think the potential of a healthy, positive guru/student relationship for spiritual growth and realization is greater than other paths. But as @Vimalajāti says, when they go wrong, they go very wrong.

    I also think the sort of deeply enlightened and ethical teachers are rare (maybe more so today than in the past???). So selecting a guru by proximity or first exposure or most popular or any number of other criteria, odds are you'll get one that's compromised in some way.

    FleaMarketlobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @how said:
    A Guru who wishes to be followed, is simply someone who has not yet understood the Dharma.

    Indeed.
    This is true. Everyone else is below the great one, the special understanding of the beyond reproach. Pah! That is the potential danger and what is very similar to paedophilic grooming of the immature.

    A genuine person does not need, desire or teach in order to accrue power, influence, money, acclaim, fame, sexual favours, student numbers, a dose of ego stroking etc.

    So as responsible and genuine people … oh wait … are we? Have to wait and sit it out until we are matured … o:)

    I take refuge in the three jewels … that will do me fine …

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    These kind of things are why I quite like the neo-Advaita approach. Those teachers typically give satsangs, so meetings with a number of people where they answer questions usually in a public venue, and then boom, that’s it. They don’t take disciples, and so there is no guru-disciple relationship.

    I’m now in the second half of the book, which focusses on authoritarian power structures.

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited May 17

    @Kotishka said:
    I once asked, "why is Darwin a rascal?". The reply: "Because he is. Prabhupada said so."

    Out of curiosity, why was Guru Prabhupada, whom I'm not familiar with, even talking about Darwin? Gurus are supposed to disclose the Dharma. Their possibly-frivolous opinions on X or Y, Darwin or Jesus or Marx, shouldn't be a major factor in their teaching. Seems like a cult of personality IMO. All the same, I'm curious. What did His Divine Grace Master So-and-so say about Darwin? Why was he a "rascal?"

    My assumption is because he challenged Hindu chronology regarding this earth being much older than contemporary science would suggest.

  • KotishkaKotishka Veteran

    @Vimalajāti

    We had this weekly study day. Similar to all faiths. You pick the text or topic and you study with a Master. In this case, the high priest or his wife. History of the world and origin of humans... then it came out... and of course evolution was false. Just like you said, it didn't fit inside Hindu chronology. It was deemed wrong and Prabhu said, "Darwin was a rascal". This was even published. They follow all his written legacy as they consider them the last real instructions to access the loka of Lord Krsna.

    This was the last time I ever assisted an ISKCON temple. I also spoke once to an "officially certified ISKCON guru" and how he was openly saying that, even if you do good, if you don't accept Krsna, then you are not really good. I was like "Ah not this rubbish again from primary school were they taught us about Jesus and if not you had burning damnation :("

    Also, here is the quote.

    "Darwin is a rascal. What is his theory? We kick on your face. [expose your bogus philosophy] That's all. That is our philosophy. The more we kick on Darwin's face, the more advanced in spiritual consciousness. He has killed the whole civilization, rascal."[Srila Prabhupada from a Morning Walk, May 12, 1973, Los Angeles]

    I have to say though, it prepared me well for future spiritual encounters.

    Vimalajāti
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Well, according to The Guru Papers one of the key ‘tricks’ to being a guru is to always be right. And people like Darwin challenge the religious viewpoint by providing a scientifically justified theory of the Earth’s past, proving that they are not right and causing a few religious guru’s to fall from their pedestals.

    I think the Dalai Lama was right to enter into a dialogue with science, and even to day that if science proves something, then religious doctrine will make way.

    lobsterVimalajātiDavidSteve_B
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    HARI KRISHNA
    Or as I like to say to Bodhi Darwin, IS CON (the clue is in the name)
    As for baby jesus, Borne god and dead giveaway, another storey of the guru facade …

    Any other tips on setting up an uncult? Here are mine:

    • Never believe yourself
    • Science verifies the useful and discards the astrology, magical thunking, bad spells
    • Turn around. HOLY GHOST! Boo!
    • Buddha died. Are you ready?
    JeroenVimalajāti
  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran

    @Kotishka said:
    Also, here is the quote.

    "Darwin is a rascal. What is his theory? We kick on your face. [expose your bogus philosophy] That's all. That is our philosophy. The more we kick on Darwin's face, the more advanced in spiritual consciousness. He has killed the whole civilization, rascal."[Srila Prabhupada from a Morning Walk, May 12, 1973, Los Angeles]

    It will never cease to amaze me, the illiterate dumb nonsense, forgive my French, that students of the Dharma will defend. I am reminded of when Tsem Rimpoche used to go on Twitter rants denouncing unnamed haters. His followers justified his anger as righteous. It takes all kinds, one supposes.

    O.o

    lobsterKotishkaJeroen
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited May 21

    Yeah. I was reading some articles written by old-time sannyasins about the things Osho used to get up to, it wasn’t pretty. Disappointing that someone who has such a radiant energy and shows so much promise can still fall into the same old traps. And how much that can still shock, it seems there were some leftover fragments of an identity view which thought I was still a sannyasin.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    I can recommend the ‘A Little Bit Culty’ podcast if you’re into this stuff and prefer to listen, some of these are just mind-blowing…

    https://www.alittlebitculty.com/

    Bunks
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    I’ve been re-reading what The Guru Papers say about sexuality and sex between guru and disciples, and I’ve been comparing that to what Osho has recently been described as doing, and it really doesn’t gel with what I think is wholesome about sex between men and women. It’s been quite eye opening.

    It’s one thing for a disciple to say he has had sex with over one hundred female disciples, it is another thing for the teacher to say that.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    Whether in a spiritual practice or not......
    Having sex with anyone who is in a much more powerful position than you, is asking to be abused.
    Having sex with anyone who is in a substantially inferior position to you, is setting yourself up to be an abuser.
    Only someone in the thrall of their own ego would justify either position.

    BunkslobsterpersonDavid
  • FleaMarketFleaMarket Newbie, not Veteran

    I guess if they informed you it was a sex cult before you joined it would be less problematic. I'm sure they'd still get plenty of followers to be satisfied while also having the legal documents of consent to be involved in predatory sexual behavior as a hobby. Might get sued by Hollywood and most of corporate America for taking their gimmick though.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited May 26

    The thing is, I was involved as a child, through my parents. Spent some time in the communes. Osho was always billed as a free-love kind of guy, but that attracted a whole lot of the wrong kind of people, and especially the young girls had it quite tough. There are quite a few stories now emerging, 40 years later, of grooming and sex with minors, things I didn’t know of at the time and am rather shocked at now.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @how said:
    … how poorly able its members can be at recognizing their own cognitive dissidence or cult like behaviors…

    That is certainly true. There are a lot of problems with cult power structures, including concentrating power in the hands of one person. But the cult members inability to step back and see what harm is being caused is a biggie.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    There are three things I would say to conclude things.

    First, “be a light unto yourself”, as the Buddha said. There was always going to be a time to drop the whole guru affair, and then you come to the point where you yourself decide how to dance and celebrate. Just remember to dance and celebrate!

    Second, real guidance can be found within, in the form of existence doing its thing if you are open to it. Your intuition points things out to you, gives you inspiration, if you can break the habit of looking for pointers from gurus. Surrender gets in the way of these things, it aligns you with someone else’s vision and keeps you from hearing your inner voice.

    Third, keep in mind it is all just play, leela. Life is not so serious… sometimes it is Wagnerian drama, and sometimes it is a Mel Brooks comedy, but it is all play. Take a step back and smile.

    Kotishka
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited June 10

    Here's a good book on the student-teacher relationship in spiritual communities, by someone who's a professional counselor to a variety of such groups. He really covers the gamut of issues. His section on snappy comebacks to typical cultic-guru ploys and come-ons is amusing, though sadly, a very serious topic. Some refugees or survivors of cultic groups would probably recognize some of the scenarios. IMO it's a must-read for anyone who finds themselves in a group with a guru, whose words or behavior are causing them to question what's going on.

    https://www.amazon.com/Sex-Spiritual-Teacher-Happens-Problem/dp/0861715969/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3SYUSD4AJSMLT&keywords=Sex and the spiritual teacher&qid=1654794154&s=books&sprefix=sex and the spiritual teacher,stripbooks,106&sr=1-1&fbclid=IwAR3znXzIUX9a_LwfSmxRJJRh4XIZPh-xPWZsrkl5eDflC1HIyU_fwObzKgA

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited June 11

    @Dakini said:
    Luring unsuspecting seekers into a group on the promise of spiritual development, only to take advantage of them after grooming them with false teachings to eliminate their defenses, doesn't meet even this basic level of ethics.

    Yet, the to-me surprising thing is that the teachings even from this kind of environment can still be beneficial. You could call Osho a guru and his movement a cult, but the lectures he gave about things like Tseng’can’s inscription on the faith mind or on the Indian saint Kabir and his songs opened spiritual doors for his followers.

    There is a saying that even the teachings of a con-man can be valuable. Sometimes the seed falls onto fertile ground.

    On ‘A Little Bit Culty’ the past couple of days there have been interviews with Will Allen, who made a movie called Holy Hell (2016) about a cult called Buddhafield, which the founder modelled intentionally after Osho’s movement. He forbade his followers to read Osho’s books, because he would copy whole speeches from them, except that he would leave out the free love parts and would have gay sex with young male followers.

    FleaMarket
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran

    And when it comes to blindly following a Guru...I keep this in mind...

    Even some of the so called bad ones have something good/beneficial to teach/share...

    So don't throw the baby (beneficial teachings) out with the bath water (the guru's bad behaviour)

  • FleaMarketFleaMarket Newbie, not Veteran

    @Jeroen said:
    Yet, the to-me surprising thing is that the teachings even from this kind of environment can still be beneficial.

    This reminds me of how misinformation takes root hidden in some truths. 9 truths and 1 lie strategy for example. Present 10 facts, 9 of which are true and 1 is the misinformation. It is easy to find ourselves accepting all 10 since 9 are known truths and 1 is maybe ambiguous or harder to believe. Very subtle and dangerous if used maliciously by already established individuals.

    Dakini
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited June 12

    @Shoshin1 said:
    And when it comes to blindly following a Guru...I keep this in mind...

    Even some of the so called bad ones have something good/beneficial to teach/share...

    So don't throw the baby (beneficial teachings) out with the bath water (the guru's bad behaviour)

    This is highly debatable.

  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran
    edited June 12

    So don't throw the baby (beneficial teachings) out with the bath water (the guru's bad behaviour)

    Example "Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche"

    ..After all, they are only human...

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @Shoshin1 said:
    And when it comes to blindly following a Guru...I keep this in mind...

    Even some of the so called bad ones have something good/beneficial to teach/share...

    So don't throw the baby (beneficial teachings) out with the bath water (the guru's bad behaviour)

    True, but when you realise a guru was just a human, there is going to follow somewhat of a reassessment of their teachings. Yes, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water, but you need to identify what is baby and what is bath water.

    personShoshin1
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran

    @Jeroen said:

    True, but when you realise a guru was just a human, there is going to follow somewhat of a reassessment of their teachings. Yes, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water, but you need to identify what is baby and what is bath water.

    I've never seen any guru/teacher as anything other than a human being warts and all...some more wise than others and how I interpret their wisdom depends on how beneficial their teachings were for my sense of peace and well being...

    If after carefully analysing a teaching and it does not sit well with me, then this approach will not be adopted as part of my practice....

    The guide I use is my experiential understanding (be it somewhat limited...however...so far so good) of the 4NTs and 8FP...

    After listening to or reading the teaching, it's a case of 'Ehipassiko'...I see for myself...

    One practitioner's meat is (perhaps) another practitioner's poison

    Kotishka
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited June 12

    @Jeroen said:

    @Shoshin1 said:
    And when it comes to blindly following a Guru...I keep this in mind...

    Even some of the so called bad ones have something good/beneficial to teach/share...

    So don't throw the baby (beneficial teachings) out with the bath water (the guru's bad behaviour)

    True, but when you realise a guru was just a human, there is going to follow somewhat of a reassessment of their teachings. Yes, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water, but you need to identify what is baby and what is bath water.

    Well, as Stephen Batchelor said in a meeting between Western Dharma teachers and the Dalai Lama, "Why would we follow teachers who are much more flawed than we are?" The DL doesn't tell people to look for flawed teachers; to the contrary, he advocates thoroughly checking out the teacher, going to the teahouses to pick up the gossip (if there is any), "spying on" the teacher, to make sure they're trustworthy and set a good example. A good teacher walks his talk.

    And frankly, in my observations, those who walk their talk are often the little-known ones, who quietly pursue their studies and their practice, not the ones whose biographies boast of a long lineage of reincarnate lamas. The ones who have reached a level of renown seem to be a bit spoiled by the attention, and seem to have a sense of entitlement to take liberties with their students.

    lobster
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited June 13

    I suppose the wonder and power of feeling a great insight into practice can cause someone to think bad ideas are good ideas. Dare I say that it happens to all of us?

    lobster
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited June 15

    @Vimalajāti said:

    @Kotishka said:
    Also, here is the quote.

    "Darwin is a rascal. What is his theory? We kick on your face. [expose your bogus philosophy] That's all. That is our philosophy. The more we kick on Darwin's face, the more advanced in spiritual consciousness. He has killed the whole civilization, rascal."[Srila Prabhupada from a Morning Walk, May 12, 1973, Los Angeles]

    It will never cease to amaze me, the illiterate dumb nonsense, forgive my French, that students of the Dharma will defend. I am reminded of when Tsem Rimpoche used to go on Twitter rants denouncing unnamed haters. His followers justified his anger as righteous. It takes all kinds, one supposes.

    O.o

    Tsem Rinpoche has a teaching on righteous anger that's very interesting. He calls it "Divine anger". In a nutshell, he says anger is constructive, when you use it to motivate positive change in the world, i.e. a reduction of suffering for others. So it takes on a Bodhisattva quality. That's probably where his students got that idea. His lecture used to be on youtube; it might still be there, for anyone interested.

    Tsem is also gay, so I wonder if his rant about haters had anything to do with that. Whether or not he's the cultic type of teacher, I don't know. I've heard vague rumblings of some kind of inappropriate behavior, but nothing specific. From a distance, through the internet, I find him interesting. But that's a limited sort of window.

  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited June 16

    The Twitter posts I was referring to were ones like this:

    Criticize ur guru all you want, let's 'compare' where u are in a few years and where your guru is. Results count! The end.

    When u criticize ur teacher, u are criticizing all those who follow him & all those who 'enthroned' him also

    By choosing ur lover over ur teacher is a mistake, becos eventually u will seperate from ur lover & u lost ur teacher too

    Some treat their lovers who are full of wrong views, ego, laziness better than their gurus and take their side against their guru!

    Some criticize their guru after years of love, care, teachings following the negative examples of some other 'students'. Wake up

    All teachers have their devadattas and Judas, forgive them, continue to grow & reach those who want to change. LOL

    Maybe it's to do with homosexuality. To me, it looks like someone with abandonment and betrayal anxiety reacting publicly to something nonspecific on Twitter. Maybe he's a good teacher. Who knows?

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @Dakini said:
    Well, as Stephen Batchelor said in a meeting between Western Dharma teachers and the Dalai Lama, "Why would we follow teachers who are much more flawed than we are?"

    It’s an interesting question, because Osho was… very unique. I hesitate to call him flawed exactly although he was far from perfect. But many people felt something special in his presence, they were drawn to him.

    I remember reading a little about Ram Dass and his guru Neem Karoly Baba, that Ram Dass had said that his guru had taught him how to love. I thought it was a beautiful expression at first, but later on I kinda came around to the idea of a transmission.

    It is often said that when a disciple who is ready sits by his guru, it is like an unlit piece of wood being placed near a burning piece of wood. Eventually the unlit piece catches fire. Which is how Rupert Spira said it happened between him and his teacher Francis Lucille.

    It is a brave man who says with certainty what is a flaw, is how I’d put it.

    Jeffrey
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited June 17

    @Vimalajāti said:
    The Twitter posts I was referring to were ones like this:

    Criticize ur guru all you want, let's 'compare' where u are in a few years and where your guru is. Results count! The end.

    When u criticize ur teacher, u are criticizing all those who follow him & all those who 'enthroned' him also

    By choosing ur lover over ur teacher is a mistake, becos eventually u will seperate from ur lover & u lost ur teacher too

    Some treat their lovers who are full of wrong views, ego, laziness better than their gurus and take their side against their guru!

    Some criticize their guru after years of love, care, teachings following the negative examples of some other 'students'. Wake up

    All teachers have their devadattas and Judas, forgive them, continue to grow & reach those who want to change. LOL

    Maybe it's to do with homosexuality. To me, it looks like someone with abandonment and betrayal anxiety reacting publicly to something nonspecific on Twitter. Maybe he's a good teacher. Who knows?

    Sounds gossipy. Not like a sangha I'd want to be in. And the part about deep devotion may have worked in medieval times. It has too many pitfalls for the 21st Century, though. It would only work if you have a 100% trustworthy and ethical guru. I think those are rare.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @Dakini said:
    In a nutshell, he says anger is constructive, when you use it to motivate positive change in the world, i.e. a reduction of suffering for others. So it takes on a Bodhisattva quality.

    I think it depends. Anger is usually a pointer that something that you consider part of you has been damaged or threatened. You can use that pointer to motivate positive things. But acting from the center of anger usually has poor results — it calls up resistance, emotional (associative) thought, and often leads to a slanging match which is not constructive.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited July 4

    @Jeroen said:

    @Dakini said:
    In a nutshell, he says anger is constructive, when you use it to motivate positive change in the world, i.e. a reduction of suffering for others. So it takes on a Bodhisattva quality.

    I think it depends. Anger is usually a pointer that something that you consider part of you has been damaged or threatened. You can use that pointer to motivate positive things. But acting from the center of anger usually has poor results — it calls up resistance, emotional (associative) thought, and often leads to a slanging match which is not constructive.

    A lot depends on the context we have in mind. I think we might be talking apples and oranges here. Anger toward an individual is one thing. Anger toward injustice, where one might have an opportunity to take action to bring about positive change, is something entirely different. So, yes, of course, one shouldn't respond to another out of anger. But one can use anger as fuel to to right systemic wrongs, for example. In that case, it's controlled anger, deployed strategically.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Well said @Dakini,

    This is skilful means in wrathful tantra as you probably know.
    Being a 'peace and love' happy bunny is no more skilful, even though many of us prefer or aspire to ahimsa on a mind boggling level.

    Lust has a higher form for example lust for compassion or wisdom, rather than porn and gratification.

    In this sense we are refining or polishing the mirror, as well as staring at a cave wall zennith style.

    This message approved by The BAD BROKEN BUDDHA BUDDIES or the B BE BE BEE …
    https://medium.com/@adventureEXPs/broken-buddha-contemplating-impermanence-bea435ea7dbc

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited July 4

    Anger as fuel to right systemic wrongs always comes down to individual anger, when you try to fight the person who represents the system. Unless you just want to stand wrapped in anger shouting slogans in a demonstration, which might come to a head in a confrontation with the police.

    The theory of controlled anger is fine, but I’m yet to be convinced of the practice.

    Bunks
  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    @Jeroen said:
    Anger as fuel to right systemic wrongs always comes down to individual anger, when you try to fight the person who represents the system. Unless you just want to stand wrapped in anger shouting slogans in a demonstration, which might come to a head in a confrontation with the police.

    The theory of controlled anger is fine, but I’m yet to be convinced of the practice.

    Sometimes there is no person singlehandedly representing "the system", no figurehead, nor any identifiable group. For example, a broken medical system or insurance system. Or social work bureaucracy. Or a society that's blind or indifferent toward people who struggle with marginalization. "Untouchables" or their equivalent will continue to exist no matter who's in charge. Who is responsible for mass homelessness? Who is there to get angry at?

    It takes a combination of anger and compassion to be motivated to bring about change. And that anger doesn't have to be directed at anyone in particular. It could mean simply contacting the right senator with a well-worded appeal. Or organizing a labor union. I think the key is to mindfully let compassion be the guide, vs. allowing the anger to take over. Then there would be too much risk of unskillful decisions being made.

    lobsterJeffrey
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited July 8

    @Dakini said:
    Sometimes there is no person singlehandedly representing "the system", no figurehead, nor any identifiable group. For example, a broken medical system or insurance system. Or social work bureaucracy. Or a society that's blind or indifferent toward people who struggle with marginalization. "Untouchables" or their equivalent will continue to exist no matter who's in charge. Who is responsible for mass homelessness? Who is there to get angry at?

    But there is always someone you end up talking to to make the change. Whether that is management of the medical or insurance group, or the stakeholders meeting for the social work team whose practice it is that you’re trying to change. If you want to actually do something, and not just talk about it, it always comes down to specifics, individual people facing eachother across a table. In the case of homelessness, perhaps you are trying to convince the city mayor to put more money into care.

    You can contact the senator with a well-worded appeal, but i’m betting an angry letter will not get the response you’re looking for. Anger really is counter productive in these cases.

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