30 May 2012

In 1997 or 1998, I went to Korea, sponsored by a Korean Zen Master in Los Angeles, named Do Ahn Kim, abbot at Kwan Um Sah. I was introduced to the inner workings and power structure of Chogye Zen Buddhism in Seoul. I was "shopped"around by Do Ahn's brother, meeting all the high monks of the 6,000 temple order.

I did not have to do a thing.  I was treated as royalty, and the propaganda branch of the order at the link above, eventually made me the first American World Teacher of Chogye Buddhism, which authorized me to start a new branch of Chogye Buddhism in the U.S.  However, later I found out that this was really a titular post, and that all teachings were to be controlled in the background by Do Ahn Kim.  I did not know this when I was in Korea though.

In any event, being treated like a king, never having to carry money, I.D., or anything. Being treated like a dignitary had a profound effect on my psyche.  I felt happy all the time. Wherever I went I was honored and cared for.  I felt a profound relaxation as all details of everyday life were taken care of by others, and I just was guided from one venue to another to speak to groups or meet Chogye elders, including the ruling inner circle who wanted to emulate Soen Sahn Soen Sa's success in the U.S., but with someone more under their control.

I was totally at peace, smiling, happy, even when accidents occurred such as getting lost in downtown Seoul.

Here is the issue: When your life is easy, and people all around you idealize you, take care of you and your needs, and you have no real need to plan or take care of anything, except to show up when others take you somewhere, it is really, really easy to be happy, loving and benevolent.

And, when you are a major guru such as Muktananda, Osho, Ramana or many others, where you have a large inner group of "guru-taker-care-ofs" as an entourage, it is really easy to be continuously happy and benevolent.

And, surrounded by that culture which even creates an image for you of who you are, such as disciples did around Muktananda and Ramana, let alone Krishnamurti and the Dalai Lama, an image of affable and transcendent indifference is easy to maintain, and the myth of the transcendent guru is born.

Students coming from the outside are presented with a guru persona created by the guru's handlers and by their largely staged and handled public appearances, backed by their professional PR staffs and writers of books, bios, lessons, and organizational teachers.

At this point, few can really see who or what the teacher or guru is really like because you are immersed in a culture of adulation and prepared images, which are sort of like universal archetypes of the guru that even American's have, of a person who has "transcended" life, is all knowing, omniscient, an embodiment of all that is good, truth, and light.  Anyone who challenges this image in any way should beware.

The real guru only comes out in dealings with his entourage on a day by day basis, dealings the average person never knows about.  The guru image and persona is the only entity the vast majority of followers ever see.

If the guru begins to get unstable as did Osho, or scandals of one sort or another begin to arise, the real guru is taken underground and sort of disappears from public view, or moves out of the country as did Da Free John to Figi, or Osho disappearing by going silent.

The guru archetype is alive and well in most of us, the need for a father or god-like figure who is omniscient, who will love and protect us, and gradually reveal to us, what it is like to be beyond human, all-knowing and divine.

But you see, this is all projection and image, carefully managed by handlers, whether of Ramana, Muktananda, or as I did with Robert Adams.

It is the guru myth so carefully created and maintained, which is really the universal myth built into all of us of the "God-Man" or superman, that is precisely that which prevents us from becoming real, becoming enlightened and bereft of any illusion of superman-hood.

The true spiritual path consists of losing all of these images and just becoming more and more "unspecial," "unrealized," "unthinking," and "undreaming," and just becoming YOU as the sense of I-Am.

All the images are what make up the false self, the idealized and also the hated and buried images of ourselves carefully pushed out of consciousness.  Getting rid of these images, ideals, projections, and the attached emotions and thought processes, and really becoming you IS THE PROCESS OF BECOMING SELF-REALIZED.  One becomes more and more ordinary, dissolving all the "wrinkles" in everyday consciousness, such that the core experience of "I-ness" is recognized and revealed, and well as the secondary recognition that that I is both identical to what I "really" am, but at the same time, "I" am altogether entirely beyond it.

So, realize it is really, really easy for a guru (or anyone) to be, or at least appear happy when surrounded by handlers that make his or her day wrinkle-free, and if unhappiness or anger hit, they pass briefly and never escape from his inner circle.  Thus the image of the perfect god-man is created and maintained, and separately maintained by the guru culture.

Given that this is universally the case, one can easily see that the only people in the guru environment who can take advantage of the presence of the teacher, are for those close enough to see what he or she is really like.  This happens only to handlers around supremely popular gurus like Osho or Muktananda, (who themselves are often corrupted by the narcissism that their own culture has created by being part of an inner circle), or by being around a teacher who is relatively unknown, such as Robert during his life.

Even then, most who attended Satsang never saw Robert for who he was, they saw their projections, positive or negative, and when the positive projections were broken, they had two choices: cut and run, as did most, or stay because you loved or respected Robert, as did I.  Guess which of these two classes of people makes any "progress" in "lightening" themselves of false images, emotional baggage, and endarkening beliefs?


  1. You sure go where few dare to tread.


  2. The hardest is to be quiet around the guru. Especially for those who feel his presence. The mind gets very active when confronted by old traumas. All kinds of expectations and disappointments arise then. There is certainly something extraordinary about the guru that triggers all kinds of ordinary problems and situations. Keeping quiet is then the only way out it seems and yet the hardest to do when energies run high. Persistence is in order and if visited by Grace forgiveness and love will embrace us to water and nurture a humbling existence and surrender.

  3. Fantastic Ed. A very interesting book showing a more human side to Ramana Maharshi (reading between the lines a little) is 'Living by the Words of Bhagavan' by David Godman. Annamalai Swami's comments in this book are extremely interesting.
    Lester Irving

  4. Awakening

    Daylight Breaks
    The Mind Is Stilled
    Silent, At Peace
    Movement Nil.

    No Pebble Drops Into Its' Pool
    No Ever Widening Ripple
    A Placid Mirror Lake
    Untouched By Thought
    Serenity Stands On Its' Shore To Watch.

    The Sun Appears.
    Rays Of pure Light
    Engulf The Landscape Mind
    And In The Vanished Scene
    Birds Sing For All Mankind.

    - Robert Adams, November, 1994

  5. These posts above and your message Edji, are so freakin beautiful! There is something so compelling about hearing the story of Ramana, Francis of Assissi, Robert Adams, Ed Muzika.

    In my simplistic mind set I love the stories as if I am watching a documentary of how and why God knocks someone on their ass and they stay there instead of getting up and running away from the SELF as I and most people do.

    Ramana seems to have explained the phenomenon as: only a ripe soul will understand the Jnani state.

    That is comforting to me because I then can feel and see the importance of allowing the process of ripening or "being cooked" as a preparation of the inward journey. Maybe it takes "lifetimes" I don't know or care.

    Also, there does not really seem to be many journeys, only One. Only One Soul. Only One Self with the appearance of many. One journey with the illusion of different paths.

    Respectfully, Mike. (I noticed the other day, there is at least another Mike in the enclave, very cool).

    1. Just back from Tibet Darchen where Chinese autoratice are highly alert for there are 2 cases of selfimmolation in lhasa last week. Now tibet borders seems to be closed for all forners. We maked a Kailash kora with a clear blue sky. How fortunate to have that possibility.
      I am happy Ed and many thanks for your speaking truth so frankly. Very rare to find people like you. By the way I stopped reading anonymous reply no matter how beautifull they are. Love dennis, nepal.

  6. How stupid, how utterly stupid to think that just because I have given birth to children that now I must also do certain things a certain way and if I don't I'm not a good mother or if the family doesn't appear such and such a way that somehow I am a failure.

    I have so little interest in my role as a mother and yet it all, at least that which is of utmost importance, continues to happen, mostly by the efforts of others.

    When I see things like this in a deeper way, I always feel intense anxiety and my skin starts burning like crazy.

    I thought freedom would be like a pleasant stroll through the park, or some cosmic shift and you go from shitty to...oh, everything is just perfect.

    All those asshole teachers who espouse this shit ought to be given lethal injections.

    It's like being skinned alive, the skin being all those layers and layers of ideas, beliefs, conditionings, conventionality that I identified myself with.

    No wonder it's painful!