Emails! Sometimes I answer them, sometimes I don't. Sometimes when the same question continues to show up it means somewhere along the way the answer cannot be found among my stuff or it is not clear. When that happens and I tire of cutting and pasting answers on an individual basis, I either put the answer in a footnote on an already existing webpage, elaborate on it in the main text of a relevant page, or if it warrants it, create a whole new page specifically on the subject and simply direct any queries there.
TWO CONTRASTING LETTERS
I LOVE THIS STUFF!
March 15, 2013
Because of a continuing stream of like questions, the following has been added to the main text of an already existing page: La Palma Secret Base, and presented here for your own edification:
WANDERLING, WHY THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ADDICTION WITH SUBMARINES?
Over and over people want to know why this almost borderline psychological addiction with all this submarine stuff? After all, they ask, are you not a known Zen man of some accomplishment --- why page after page of submarines, why not more on Enlightenment or help for those seeking along the path?
Good question. Even though the submarine pages are each stand alone pages unto themselves, they are still interwoven into the fabric of my own journey along the path, thus inturn it is hoped, casting light however meager, for guidence along your own.
The answer starts well over a half century ago, on the morning of Friday March 10, 1944. On that date I was a young boy traveling in India under the auspices of a foster couple and staying at the ashram of the venerated Indian holy man the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. Totally unrelated and unbeknownst to me or anybody involved with me or the parties I was with, on that same date as well, the British motor merchant MV Tulagi, loaded with a cargo of flour and 380 bags of mail sailed from Australia for Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) under control and orders of the British Admiralty. Proceeding down the New South Wales Coast, and, via the Bass Strait she rounded Cape Leuwin and on into the Indian Ocean. Seventeen days later, on March 27, 1944, with a full complement of 54 on board she was torpedoed by the German Submarine U-532 of the First Monsun Group operating out of Penang, Malaysia. She sank in 20 seconds. Of the 54 crew members only 15 survived, taking to two lifeboats. Following the torpedo attack and after 58 days adrift the seven members of ONE of the rafts finally came across a group of small islands. Just before midnight they landed on Bijoutier, a tiny island of the Alphonse Group belonging to the Outer Islands of the Seychelles. The eight members of the second raft, separated halfway into their drift from the first, basically disappeared and have never been officially accounted for. Some time after the sinking of the MV Tulgai found me in the Indian Ocean as a passenger on a lone, unescorted ship in those very same submarine infested waters on a return trip bound for England and then the U.S. During the months I was gone the woman of the couple I was with had written three letters to my father which years later eventually fell into my hands, of which the following quote refers to her comments found in her last letter:
"TheLiverpool Letter, except for several long incoherent paragraphs about picking up a live survivor or two or none at all amongst several dead in a life raft sometime before arriving or after leaving Cape Town, South Africa, circulated mostly around the logistics of bringing me home."
SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: And The Last American Darshan
The letter so mentioned in the quote was written by the woman of a couple that took me, as a young boy, to India. In the letter she indicated that a liferaft was encountered in some fashion by the ship we were on during our return trip to England. How she worded it wasn't totally clear and could be deciphered, at least in how I read it, in a number of ways. It was clear in what she said that there was a liferaft, but IF the liferaft was encountered before or after Cape Town or IF there were or were not survivors was muddled. She didn't elaborate one way or the other or attempt to clarify the event because anything regarding the liferaft had nothing at all to do to do with the point she was trying to get across in the letter. I do not remember anything about a voyage home or anything to do with any liferafts. However, backtracking through all the events, in all my research, taking into consideration time, place, ships attacked and sunk, survivors and non survivors, etc., only one ship fits the bill, the aforementioned British motor merchant MV Tulagi. Now, I have no idea how many times the ship I was on came into the periscope crosshairs of German U-boats, if any. However, the whole route of travel from India, around Africa and into the Atlantic on to England was crawling with submarines, every one seeking an easy, vulnerable target. Looking back it must have been pure luck, fate or karma, but in any case throughout the years I have come to appreciate the results and established in me a strong interest in how the actions and selected non-interaction of submarines and their operations, Japanese or German thereof, have impacted the outcome of my life. For more on submarines and any impact thereof see:
THE BRITISH MOTOR MERCHANT TULAGI
WORLD WAR II COMES TO REDONDO
MY MERCHANT MARINE FRIEND
AN ODE TO BOB NICKEL
October 20, 2012
It is with great remorse and heavy heart that I recently received the sad news that Bob Nickel, an untiring long-time spiritual foot-soldier in the line of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana passed away late in the afternoon on Friday, August 17, 2012.
Nickel lived as he practiced, in the non-dual Advaita tradition of Sri Ramana. Seemingly spiritually spawned under the umbrella of a line of bigtime movers that hog the spotlight mostly for themselves, Nickel went about his teaching in his own way at his own pace. Although he had a book and sold a few DVDs here-and-there he never big-tented his operation pushing ball caps, tee shirts and fountain pens --- nor did he find the need to gather up or surround himself with ever continuing legions of fawning awe-inspired scyophants in jewel encrusted Taj Mahal style ashrams or the devotee-labored rolling hills of a tax exempt vineyard infested retreat.
The truth shows up on Nickel's website:
"All Bob Nickel Satsangs and Intensives were on a Donation basis. Bob always said, "If you wish to donate, please do. If you are in a pinch, please don't.
"Persons who wished to schedule private meetings with Bob usually gave him from $50 to $200. However, again, if a person was in a hard place regarding money, "Heck, just buy me lunch while we talk, or a cup of coffee."
True, Nickel was not right up there in the same vein as Lakshmana Swamy in how he presented his endeavors --- mostly because Lakshmana very seldom presents his endevors(see) --- however, how Nickel did things was right up my alley in how things should be done. Most people who follow MY stuff on the internet invariably run across the following quote by Julian P. Johnson from his book The Path of the Masters (1939):
"Real Masters never charge for their services, nor do they accept payment in any form
nor in any sort of material benefits for their instructions. This is a universal law among
Masters, and yet amazingly, it is a fact that thousands of eager seekers in America and
elsewhere, go on paying large amounts of money for "spiritual instruction." Masters are
always self-sustaining and are never supported by their students or by public charity."
Almost any promoter or advocate of their own pocketbook belief could search out some reason to circumnavigate the above reasoning. However, even the most ardent skeptic would be hard pressed to dismiss the Buddha's own words on the subject as recorded in the Anguttara Nikaya V.159, Udayi Sutra:
"The Dharma should be taught with the thought, 'I will speak not for the purpose of material reward.'"
Even though I say above that how Nickel did things was right up my alley and, even though I personally had face-to-face darshan under the grace and light of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi as a young boy in the mid-1940s at his ashram in the southern Indian temple city of Tiruvannamalai AND my own Mentor Awakened to the Absolute under his grace as well (circa 1930), I am no fan of satstangs or intensives or anything else for that matter.
Silabbata Paramasa means "adherence to wrongful rites, rituals and ceremonies"...in the mistaken belief that purification can be achieved simply by their performance. Examples are the extreme ascetic practices condemned by the Buddha. Also at that time, the Brahmins had developed very complicated rituals which only they could carry out and which meant that the rest of the population had to ask the Brahmins for perform all the religious ceremonies on their behalf. "Oneself is one's own master. Who else can be the master?" (Dhp. v. 160). One could argue that satstangs and intensives nowhere approach such extremes so hinted at, but where's the difference from one end of the spectrum to the other?
The Buddha said that neither the repetition of holy scriptures, nor self-torture, nor sleeping on the ground, nor the repetition of prayers, penances, hymns, charms, mantras, incantations and invocations can bring us the real happiness of Nirvana. Instead the Buddha emphasized the importance of making individual effort in order to achieve our spiritual goals. He likened it to a man wanting to cross a river; sitting down and praying will not suffice, but he must make the effort to build a raft or a bridge. (see)
Like someone snidely put it, a few years Doing Hard Time in a Zen Monastery put a cold steel nail in my heart. Perhaps, although I don't see it clear as all that. A real character of a Zen-person, Ken Fry, who, it has been claimed (by others), attained a state of immortality at the Mount Baldy Zen Center --- and a person who seldom shows up now days --- and I went around-and-around online about intensives and satstangs years ago. I don't advocate for or against satstangs or intensives one way or the other, what I do advocate is for the mind being ripe. So, in a sense, if a person requires or needs satstang or intensives at whatever stage in their life or spiritual advancement is concerned, like I tried to make clear to Ken Fry, so be it.
The following quote by Tiruvannamalai-based Kevinandaji, whose stuff I absolutely love but whose blog is a major bane and thorn in the side of a good portion of the hawk Enlightenment crowd, will put into perspective what I present for those who may be so interested because, as Kevinandaji presents it, so closely parallels my perfume on the subject that if I were to write it myself there might be copyright infringements:
"Traditional and Gaudapadian Advaita have failed to address the arguments of Madhyamaka Buddhism. This too is the legacy of Gaudapada's political formulation of Advaita. We know that Gaudapada borrowed from the Madhymakans and reinterpreted their thesis of non-origination without crediting them. Unlike the Sarvastivadin and Yogacarin positions, the Madhyamaka teaching of non-origination was not nihilist. Its main teachers Nagarjuna and Candrakirti - now classified as Prasangika Madhyamaka - rejected outright both nihilism and eternalism. They advocated instead a new interpretation of the Buddha's Middle Way which says (as modern theoretical physics confirms) that absolutes are impossible. There cannot truly be any enlightenment, Self or Brahman to attain - nor can there truly be any jiva, "I" or method to attain it. This position does not say "no I" or "no method". It says all things including the person exist as empty, co-dependent arisings which are neither totally existent nor totally non-existent. Methods may happen, methods may not - what happens simply happens - and whether someone practises a method or not is completely irrelevant ..."
In an interview with James Swartz, aka Ram, conducted by John Howells in January 2003, at Tiruvannamalai, South India, Howells asks about the idea that Ramana taught in silence, that all you had to do was to sit in his presence and the silence would Enlighten you. Ram responds with:
"I suppose that if you were completely qualified, absolutely ready to pop, you could just sit in the presence of someone like Ramana and maybe figure out that you are whole and complete limitless awareness. But this is highly unlikely. People spend years around such people ‘sitting in silence, enjoying the ‘energy’ but don’t become enlightened. Usually people who are highly qualified only have one or two very subtle doubts separating themselves from jnanam, Self knowledge. And usually they already know the answer… they just don’t have one hundred percent confidence in it. Experientially they have everything they need and all that is missing is the knowledge of who they actually are. So when they offer their ignorance to a sage like Ramana, who is an authority and for whom they have respect and devotion, he can, with a few very well chosen words, remove their ignorance. Sometimes the person puts the question and gives the answer and the teacher just nods…and that is it. Or sometimes the teacher just asks a question in response to the student’s statement and the student understands…without giving a verbal answer."
Swartz's comment "absolutely ready to pop" parallels the "mind being ripe" comment I use over and over in my works. They mean the same thing. It does not matter how much you have studied, how much you know or do not know, or how old or young you are, if your mind is not ripe or ready to pop then it is NOT going to happen. How you do or don't get there is no concern of mine.
I do know that in the past when I received emails from concerned individuals that felt satstang would be right for them in their spiritual search, and I have received hundreds of them over the years, Bob Nickel, was one of two people I always suggested. He will be missed.
At the bottom of this entry there is a link to a page I wrote that relates to a person by the name of Drew Hempel, a man proficient in a wide sprectrum of intellectual pursuits including math and music and an eastern spiritual renaissance master as well. Hempel has responded with a certain amount of depth and insight into what I wrote about him, et al, with a page of his own. The page by Hempel opens with:
Friday, August 3, 2012
Revisiting the Wanderling after he writes on me: Has he really "smashed the black lacquer barrel"?
So thewanderling responds to my previous comments after perusing his webpage
So this inspired me to take a closer look at thewanderling. Yes I admit his website is confusing and so frustrating. So I just googled thewanderling to find commentary on him and find out he was 69 in 2007...or so -- 75 years old now? Anyway he's obviously proficient at making a website updated from his former geocities page or some such. Thewanderling is an excellent writer and expert in the minutiae of samadhi philosophy....speaking from his own meditation experiences...
FYI to all readers who may be so interested: Hempel's article, which continues quite some length beyond what I have presented above, is highly informative and well worth reading response to what I wrote, not only specifically but generally as well. I suggest that you take the time to read what he has to say. By scrolling a short distance down his page so linked you will reach:
REVISITING THE WANDERLING
Regarding the page I wrote titled DREW HEMPEL AND THE WANDERLING that Hempel's response circulates around, I have gone in a added a number of new comments since reading his response. So, in conjunction, you might visit that site also:
DREW HEMPEL AND THE WANDERLING
AWAKENING 101 Sunday, July 8, 2012 9:45 AM
In writing to you I must firstly state that an experience at the ashram of Ramana Maharshi some 20 years ago led me to peruse your website or similar in the hope of finding more informations, stories, if you like.
Of Ramana sadly, all I discovered is numerous reference to fantasy, mostly characters in novels, etc., and, altho widely read, have little place in my search and is not my barometer on a historic person, saintly and sacred as he is.
This may not reach you and brevity may be a shock, but wordy philanderings, taking personages along with your stream is hardly levity on a subject so close to my heart.
FAREWELL FRIEND, YOU MISSED OUT.
W RESPONDS: If all who venture into my meager Zen droppings come away with the same as the email writer suggests, then truly as she also suggests, I have missed out.
Some living enities are destined to ingest nothing but bamboo shoots. Others do not find them all that nourishing and seek ways of satisfying themselves through other sources --- yet somehow both have the same ending. Who is to judge which is better.
However, if both partake their need for drink from different pools and the upstream water source for one in some way becomes poisoned and it impacts adversely that enitiy then truly it is best to avoid that source at all costs.
If such is the case with me (i.e., poisoning the water), the question that comes to me most strongly is why would the venerated Indian holy man Sri Ramana, as outlined in THE MEETING: An Untold Story of Sri Ramana, even in the smallest of sense, turn to his seldom used powers of Siddhis or anything else to pull me from the darkness into the light? To poison the well or clear the waters?
Patricia misses the boat when she confuses any character of a novel as the main focus of my works surrounding things-Ramana or anything else. The main focus is on the actual real life person the character in the novel was written around. Besides, except for the use of the story line of the novel paralleling what happened in real life in order to build a strong foundation, most of the need of the person was post novel --- i.e., after the novel ended. The novel, although not mentioned by name in the email, but, because of the Ramana connection is thought most likely to be The Razor's Edge, written by British playwright and author W. Somerset Maugham and published in 1944. My Mentor, the actual person Maugham crafted his lead character around and who in real life did in fact study under the grace and light of Sri Ramana (and in the novel --- with somewhat startling results for both) does not show up in my life until September 1, 1946, two years AFTER the novel was published, then initially, only briefly.
For any of you who have come across my works and harbor similar misgivings as our aforementioned emailer, that is, all that was discovered is numerous reference to fantasy, mostly characters in novels, etc., be advised, that as far as Sri Ramana is concerned, I do have two straight up pages that surely must circumnavigate any such misgivings, real or imagined, of which both are updated versions from highly reliable sources and both credited:
THE BHAGAVAN SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI
FRANK H. HUMPHREYS, R.F.C.
A third page that may be of interest as well, albeit possibly for some, skirting way, way to close to the edges if not stepping directly into Patricia's concerns is Guy Hague. See also:
THE RAZOR'S EDGE
CRITICAL REVIEW OF MAUGHAM'S NOVEL
THE RAZOR'S EDGE
LARRY DARRELL:- HIS LIFE AFTER THE NOVEL
The general consensus I get from many readers of my works, if you discount what some see initially as rambling, is threefold, whether they are seeking out Ramana or otherwise. First, before my pages found their way onto the internet generally, a great deal of them (but not all) were originally under my free online college level course for those who may have been so interested in exploring the Dharma or Enlightenment in the Zen tradition, called AWAKENING 101, which, although I keep promising to bring back, is no longer available online. In so saying, before --- prior to putting AWAKENING 101 on the back burner --- the pages readers encountered were in a more-or-less semi-structured order, one leading to the next, starting with an introduction and explanation in earlier pages. Such is not the case nowdays unless one starts with, for example, ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT, or a similar page and continue in order or in sequence one page after the other. In FOLDER ONE: The First Step Along The Path of my now on hiatus AWAKENING 101 the following paragraph, in explanation, appeared --- of which current readers along the path are no longer privy too:
"Right about now, however, you will be thinking to yourself 'What is this all about?' because up to this point and especially after you start reading what is presented in ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT, that everything has to do with me, me, me...that is, the Wanderling...and nothing to do with YOU or YOUR Enlightenment. Not true. It has EVERYTHING to do with YOU, YOUR Enlightenment and YOUR spiritual quest along the path. The thing is this medium, the electronic cyber world, does not allow for an intimate face-to-face encounter like otherwise might transpire at a Sangha or Zen center. Enlightenment is a serious thing. Your future and your quest as you seek insights into Enlightenment ARE serious. Anybody or anyone can come along and tell you anything and you don't have that personal face-to face connection to make the same decision you might in 'real life.' That is WHY I am laying so much ground work...so you come to KNOW who I am and inturn feel comfortable in considering what is offered as valid. You will find I fade into the background as you progress forward. The first two sections are tough because initially I am presenting who I am THEN I present offerings that tear apart Zen...but with that you should start out fairly well stripped of preconceived notions and be ready to seriously continue along the path toward Full Awakening."
Secondly, and closely related to the above, many readers have stated that what I present in my works is a nightmare to navigate which is closely related to my previously discount rambling statement, discounted along with nightmare to navigate because it is explained away by the quote below. One Upaka the Ascetic, speaking of AWAKENING 101, wrote the following in Critical Concerns With Awakening 101 responding to someone who found what was presented "a nightmare to navigate through the morass of links":
"Even Sarlo who refused to 'recognize' the Wanderling for years, says, albeit with somewhat more reverence and tongue in cheek, the same thing about him. However, not everyone, primarily because of drawing conceptual construct inferences while being firmly implanted in the Samsaric side of any equation, are willing to do so (i.e. as the poster calls it, navigate). Once the seeker realizes what is going on, things change. The problem is is that the Wanderling is not time-lineal. It is like throwing a rock into a still pond. The concentric rings radiate outward one after the other. The outer ring was once the inner ring and the inner ring will become the outer ring. For the Wanderling there is no difference, ring, rock, pond, first or last. All well and good for him, but what about us. It is like a joke. If you get it it doesn't need to be explained. If it needs to be explained something is lost."
Sarlo, who writes, runs, maintains, and edits the absolute BEST of any and all of the online guru rating sites, Sarlo's Guru Rating Service, writes, in what I feel is a delightfully indepth insight --- in his own inscrutable way of course, that only he can do --- the following about ME and my various offerings:
"It's organic and sprawling, but intricately interlinked, linking also to outside sites. One of the most fascinating aspects of this interconnectedness is that his collection is not very systematic in the usual sense. Forget site map, there is nothing for it when visiting but to wander from one page to another without much sense of where you're going, and usually without completing the page you're on, which you may return to only after a long garden path. In reading, you become a wanderer.
"One more tidbit is the domain structure. The Wanderling has undertaken to create his project in free website places, assembling a myriad of apparently different sites, but all interwoven. As the free website places fold and merge and change their rules, he shifts accordingly, thus a migration happens on this level as well."(source)
Monday, June 4, 2012
WHY NO EMAILS AND LETTERS POSTED FOR A YEAR?
The reason no letters or emails have been posted here for over a year is because I have been taking and responding to letters and emails through my blog. However, proportionately it sort of got out of hand --- in my estimation deteriorating into an overwrought series snide remarks and nastiness --- none of which contributes to the Dharma. Remarks posted embedded with such themes require a lot of rebuttle and correction of facts taking more time than I am willing to invest. A person believes what they believe. Far be it for my meager Zen droppings to dam up, interfere, block or divert the downstream flow of the flotsam and jetsam. Some makes it to the open sea, some doesn't.
Saturday, March 26, 2011 9:38 AM
I find myself glued to your dispersed pages on the internet. I had briefly glanced at your sites in the past, but now for some reason they have taken a whole new significance to me along my spiritual journey. Even funnier to me is the fact that I have recently moved to SOCal from Boston and was living in Hermosa Beach where alot of your story takes place. I am glad to see that now that I have re-found your websites, it says on your blog that you have returned from a hiatus. How this all plays out I do not know, but I feel a strong pull towards your work and your path towards enlightenment. I look forward to any updates in the future and will be reading the Razor's Edge shortly.
p.s. is Awakening 101 coming back?
W RESPONDS: Nearly all the pages used in AWAKENING 101 have been edited, rewritten, or updated along with almost all of the links. The links giving trouble are mostly third party links usually related in some fashion to confirmations of my sources. Pages just disappear, change URLs, and some authors, tired of being bothered by people contacting them after running into their pages linked on AWAKENING 101 ask me to stop linking --- inturn requiring me to find alternative sources --- sometimes difficult if a specific quote or a specific author's idea is used in my pages to back-up some thesis or the other I am presenting. However, so said, my intention is to have AWAKENING 101 finished by the end of summer and up and running by the start of the Fall Semester 2011.
OOPS! Didn't make it. Sorry folks. Will try to get it up and running soon.
01/28/2011 4:12 AM
As found on Sustained Reaction> Castaneda's Legacy> The Wanderling:
Can we please talk about the Wanderling? Does anyone have any information about this mysterious Angelfire guru and his marvelous tales? The only person to claim to see Castaneda at the Nogales bus station and at the same time say his uncle was the man who taught Castaneda about datura. Somebody must have some insight!
I LOVE the Wanderling!
The next day Talking Brujo Dog responded with:
01/29/2011 9:06 AM
To me, there's little one can say about 'the Wanderling', except that this person offered up a lot of opinions that can't be corroborated.
Talking Brujo Dog
W RESPONDS: The people listed at the end of this paragraph are all known major movers in the life of Carlos Castaneda, and at one time or the other I met and talked with them all, which is more than most people who write about Castaneda has ever done. And I only did so on and off over time primarily to clarify questions about Castaneda that I had read that just did not make sense. Most people who question what I have presented about Castaneda simply gather their information from the standard already in existence party line. Some of the people I've talked to in reference to Castaneda who, following some rather extended discussions, clarified a lot for me --- after Castaneda himself of course, others are people like C. Scott Littleton, Alex Apostolides, Barbara G. Myerhoff, Edward H. Spicer, Clement Meighan, who Castaneda dedicated his first book to, and Castaneda's ex-wife Margaret Runyan.
Suggest to those who may be so interested to refer to Castaneda's 1960s Paper on Datura and accompanying footnotes.
As for "there's little one can say about 'the Wanderling'" of some interest may be what Sarlo of Sarlo's Guru Rating Service has to say along with the comments found at Windswept, Zen-swept, Mind Dunes and the December 12, 2009 comments by Arjuna Ranatunga found by scrolling down this page. If you want to express your own two-cents email me.
Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:50 pm
Post subject: the Wanderling
Anybody ever heard of this? http://the-wanderling.com
There is something a bit Forrest Gump about the whole thing, the guy seems to have done everything, while meeting everyone, and ended up Enlightened to boot. Yet his website has taken up about 6 hours of my evening.
The Carlos Castaneda stuff is gold
REGARDING ALEX APOSTOLIDES:
Because it continued to grow bigger and bigger, ALL of the information that appeared in this page previously regarding Alex Apostolides, plus much more and updated, has been moved to it's own stand-alone page. Please see:
A reader of my works, using the feature that allows you to post anonymously on my Blog wrote:
"Pretty clever using those Mayan glyphs all over the top of your page on Alex Apostolides. Took me awhile to figure out it wasn't some gimmick, but that they actully 'said' something."
August 20, 2010
Toward the end of Windswept, Zen-swept, Mind Dunes the anonymous author, making reference to me, writes:
"I can say one thing about the Wanderling though: It seems to me that he writes quite a lot about himself and his own history and that seems to be at odds with the Truth as it is related in eastern religions."
W RESPONDS: For the most part, on the surface, I can understand where Anonymous might extrapolate such a view. At onetime all of my pages, if they did not belong to it specifically, they fed into or were peripheral to, in some manner or fashion, my onetime online free self-paced college level Dharma course, AWAKENING 101. The course opened with a few introductory pages followed then by ten folders in numerical order --- the contents of which were put into place to focus and expand one's thoughts on nothing but the Dharma in an effort to ensure one's "mind was ripe," thus then increasing the potential possibility of a "breakthrough." Although AWAKENING 101 has set idle for months and months --- possibly even years --- and a good number of the links are no longer valid or updated, I still have most of it stored away. In the opening paragraphs of Folder One, is the following, and of which approaches the concerns of Anonymous. From the mind, writing, and thoughts of Dogen Zenji:
"If the speaker brings no personal, egotistic delusions into this expression, the occasion speaks for itself, the total situation alone determines what is said or done. Thus, in the case of the Zen master, what-is-said is simply what-is. In the case of the deluded person, however, the "what-is" includes his excess conceptual baggage with its affective components, the deluded ideas about the nature of "self," "thing," "time," and so on that constitute the person's own particular distortion of what actually is."
The above quote is the lead in paragraph as found in The "I" In Thus I Have Heard from Nagarjuna's Exegesis on The Great Perfection of Wisdom.
Althought not an email or letter in the classical sense, following this brief introduction are two paragraphs from a link to a webpage sent to me the other day via email by a reader of my works. How anything ever shows up in search engines related to me or anything else so someone can find it --- and then actually read it to such a point that they act on it --- is a mystery to me. To wit:
For years my page on the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi used to show up in the top five of a Google search. When I discovered the page went down awhile back and switched the page to a new server and URL, even though it was still the EXACT same page --- it has never moved higher up in a Google search than some three pages back.(see) People who previously copied my Sri Ramana page verbatum and then put it on the net, which, continue to contain outdated links to this day, gleen higher up in search than my original. A Ramana related blog that has not been active since March of 2006 even shows up ahead of my Ramana site.
One of the most important Ramana pages on the net, SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: The Last American Darshan, documents down to the final nth the last American alive that actually had darshan under the Maharshi --- and attained Awakening at that --- and that page doesn't even show up in a search for Ramana no matter how many pages deep you search unless you specifically type in the title or the word "darshan" or "Wanderling" or both along with Sri Ramana. No casual search for Ramana will call it up.
In any case, "the reader of my works" sent me the following two paragraphs that show up on WIKISOCION The Free Encyclopedia of Socionics which offers of sorts, an interesting if not fairly accurate comparison between myself and Ramana adherent Ed Muzika:
TOPIC: Some religious teachers
The Wanderling teaches the Dharma indirectly, presenting his varied personal experiences, and tends to avoid talking about the inner psychological aspects of practice; for example the description of his actual Enlightenment-event is brief and undetailed, whereas e.g. Muzika describes his realizations in detail, in the order they occurred. The Wanderling's style of teaching is to expose the seeker to a wide variety of texts and views, leaving one to interpret them and glean the aspects that one finds most pertinent. He also includes comments on the various texts, but does not pass judgement on their accuracy at any length if at all. The Wanderling, on his online course in the Dharma, Awakening 101: This course starts from a very simple double-premise, and that is that the phenomenon known as Enlightenment in the Zen tradition IS, and in so being...can be realized outside the doctrine, that is, beyond the scriptures and any ritualized formulas or patterns layed down therein.
Muzika's former website Freedom started right off with a list of truths about reality, numbered Wittgenstein-style. Similar as Christopher Langan, Muzika gives it to the reader as straight as possible. He sometimes offers harsh criticism of others' methods and calls people out on their delusive ideas or incorrect practices. Although he acknowledges the inherently paradoxical nature of the stuff, he expounds fairly strong views about what constitutes correct or incorrect practice (or exposition). A funny contrast between the Wanderling and Muzika occurs: Muzika explicitly says to avoid comparing teachings by different people - "It will only make you nuts." On the other hand, the Wanderling's site is full of articles by various different authors, and his course Awakening 101 is just a long sequence of such articles, which continue until the reader has been so thoroughly bombarded with words that he realizes their ultimate futility. Both methods are acceptable in my opinion.
December 12, 2009
The following question was asked on YAHOO: Answers:
Are there any online Buddhist teachers?
Arjuna Ranatunga, who goes by the screen name Goodfella and working on his Master's Degree in Buddhist Studies in a traditional setting, and a YAHOO: Answers respondent since April 17, 2006, replied:The most famous site with perhaps the most integrity is "Awakening 101", authored by "the Wanderling." I met an Enlightened person who'd used it in His approach / initial studies / on His journey.
It has facilities to ask questions of the Wanderling, too.
Best Wishes in your Quest, Friend,
W RESPONDS: See also A CHILD OF THE CYBER-SANGHA: Enlightenment From the Internet?
In the realm of things, Arjuna Ranatunga is no small-potatoes guy. Google his full name and see what comes up.
I have been a seeker since 1966. (I) have always enjoyed reading your sites and wanted to study the Awakening 101 course you had on the web. Now I see that it has been removed. Why was it removed? Is there anything I can do to receive the information contained in the Awakening 101 course for a price. I have learned a lot from you and appreciate everything you have done for everyone. I know you are very busy but I joined myspace just to contact you. I would appreciate it very much if you would reply. If you request a financial donation, I will be glad to donate to you, your organization, or your favorite charity as long as the amount is reasonable.
Peace and Love,
W RESPONDS: The above email was received, as the date will attest, in October. It is now into December and during that time I have received countless numbers of emails expressing similar or like concerns. At first I was just going to let it go, Awakening 101, that is. Little did I fully realize that any of it meant anything to anybody.
For those who don't know, AWAKENING 101 is/was a FREE, self-paced online Dharma course arranged in such a way as to assist in easing the Dharma Gate for spiritual explorers, seekers along the path, wanderlings, the simply curious, and others who may be so interested. AWAKENING 101 was orginally thought up, assembled, put together, invented and maintained on a variety of websites by me, the Wanderling. Because of a number of mitigating circumstances I made it no longer available. HOWEVER, because of similar and like concerns as the above and similar emails, the the main aspects of the course are currently being revamped and updated with new pages being composed, links being reconnected, and lost pages being restored. It will just take awhile as there are hundreds of links and pages to sort through.
For those who may be interested in continuing along the path with assist from Awakening 101, and how Enlightenment may or may not come about, it is suggested you go to Google and type in any Buddhist name, word or term or Zen name, word, or term you can think of in any area of concern and type it in along with the word 'wanderling.' By doing so, as the new pages by me related to Awakening 101 are revamped, put under new URLs, or recaptured, you should be able to get the most recent or lost pages. You can also reach some of the new pages, and via them, reach additional new pages and links by going to:
ZEN BUDDHISM, ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT
As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the greatfulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
Bowing in deference, the Wanderling.
Friday, October 9, 2009 1:12 PM
From: Richard B
To: the Wanderling
What has become of the master-work of yours, Awakening 101?
All I seem to find are pages now stating, "AWAKENING 101 IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE".
Do you need assistance in maintaining, hosting the web presence?
Is there anything that could help restore this to the World?
As found on IndiaDevine.org
06-21-2009, 01:50 PM
THE LAST AMERICAN DARSHAN
Sent by Barry
Here is another weird and wonderful, albeit rambling account of a child who met Ramana, (near to the time Robert Adams was there). See the link below.
This from Joseph Marcello, Seeker and Practioner:
Jun 8, 2009 3:24 PM
It would do you - even as advanced as you may privately deem yourself to be - and your readers much mercy if you would run all of your writings through a Clarifier, then a Truth-Teller, and finally a Simplifier so that, at the end of the their convoluted journey, they achieve that divinely rare fruit: Awakening.
Otherwise, those who have truly done their homework and pierced the tissue of their inherited and fabricated illusions, and seen the overwhelming simple truth that they've spent their lives avoiding -- will be tempted to consider the sometimes lofty, but too often self-fouled, writings of "the Wanderling" as the mere ravings of a spiritually hooked eccentric with too much learning under his septagenarian belt.
W RESPONDS: -- For those who may be so interested, although not the end all to end all, there is a Clarifier and Simplifier of sorts on the net that can be found half-way down a page called THE WANDERLING AND WIKIPEDIA. The content of that page addresses some of the issues and other issues so mentioned in the above email. On that page, again about half-way down, is a quasi cut-to-the-quick breakdown, of which is included the SIX MAIN PAGES everything points to one way or the other.
As to the comment by Marcello: "even as advanced as you may privately deem yourself to be," never mind, I suppose Inka Shomei, the Seal of Approval, at the Fourth Level, or ken-chu-shi as they may or may not apply to the Wanderling as deemed by others.
Sri Ramana Maharshi's opinion on the matter may count for something as found in The Last American Darshan as well as:
THE ZEN MAN FLIES
May 31, 2009 5:26 PM
It has taken me at least a month to get through to folder three: I would love to know your real name, but that's not so important except that you set up the "my mentor" and "yourself" as a sort of treasure hunt --- like a carrot dangling, implicating that at the end of the story all will be revealed --- which I don't think it will, yet it still catches one's interest like a hook. Thankfully I have moved on from being interested in your life, though I guess you must have used opium and or heroin for more than a couple of days to get a physical habit. So, from Doing Hard Time In A Zen Monastery to writing with all the spider web links, it in itself reminds me how our mind works --- and at the end you have the Koan of the monk chopping off his arm and asking Bodhidharma to pacify his mind: the exact same Koan I am presently on: so maybe master I beg you to pacify my mind. Thanks for your endeavours and the space to write. Gassho Tetto,
 W RESPONDS: It is not known the actual length of time that transpired between the time initially being abducted by the warlord's men and finding myself coming out of a near Nirodha state sitting in front of the monastery. It could have been merely days to being weeks or possibly months. It is my guesstimate any major use or subjectation under the auspices of the warlord's men was frontloaded toward the beginning, perhaps at the most the first half or so of any elasped time, eventually fading to zero (forever) somewhere past, near, or before the mid-point.
Thursday, April 23, 2009 12:33 AM
Geocities shutting down. What will happen to the most brilliant web project ever? Awakening 101 http://bit.ly/1w9wxi
Tuesday, July 8, 2008 7:37 AM
From: "Andrew B"
To: the Wanderling
I have been reading through your course, Awakening 101, for the past few weeks and, having some pleasing results, thought I should drop you a line to say thanks.
A bit about me, I have been a spiritual seeker for about 17 years, begining meditation within Zen about a year into that, and having my first Kensho three or so months into that practice. I then became interested in Western Ceremonial magic and came to adopt that as my primary path, but I continued my interest in the mystical side of the coin too.
About three years after my Kensho, I performed a daily invocation of a god over about 6 weeks (Pan), the culmination of which was the basic dualities of the universe resolving themselves in me, then perceiving the fundamental emtpiness of everything, and then this sense of dissolution, dissolved itself. So there was notning, no me, no universe to work in and no path. The equivilant state as Satori.
I continued with my magical practice and a few years later I returned again to mediation, as part of that, mediating everyday for about a year within the Yoga tradition, until reaching Atmadarshana, and then Shivadarshana. My state of being improved greatly, after the basic duality state that follows Satori (between the emptiness you and everything is, and 'conditioned existance), but I knew this was not the ultimate state. These states are divorced from the normal flow of thought. I wanted to experience my awakening in every moment.
After 15 years of work I completed my magical path recently, as represented by the Qabalistic Tree of Life, but still felt a last piece missing. I started to feel drawn towards Zen again, as at the begining of my path, and soon found your web-site. I began to meditate using Zazen, while reading your site, pursuing the ultimate state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
Well about 10 or so days ago I entered this state and it has been settling in me ever since. It is a joy to at last have that ultimate state of spirituality I have been working for for so long where everything is perfect and just works all by itself. The Nothing and the All are the same thing at last. (Interestingly, on reading the Susan Segal page, I worked out how long it had been since my Satori and it was 12 years and five months!, so the twleve year rule was the case with me also.)
So once again thanks for your site. It really cut to the core of the issue and I will tell anyone I meet in the future who is genuinely intersted in Awakening to check out your site.
Yours in thanks,
Aug 9, 2008 2:58 AM
From: One Nothingness
Subject: I want to thank you.
Over the last 4 years I have been directed and visited your page over and over again. It guided me on my journey of awakening since the first satori experience I had in the summer of 2004.
It helped deepened my understanding of Buddhism and particularly Zen Buddhism, even though I come from Vietnam and was aquainted with Mahayana Buddhism at an early age.
I visit your site now and then, and everytime I visit your site, I learn something new and gain a deeper understanding. Thank you!
Monday, January 02, 2006 - 4:10 pm
To: the Wanderling
I was a PCV in Jamaica and stayed at Bamboo Lodge with Rick Stock - I believe we were the first PCVs to stay there. When were you there?
W RESPONDS: The photo/jpg below is of Dorothy Rozga around the same year she posted the above email (2006). Click the image to get the latest on Rozga (2013).
During the time period she is talking about being in the Peace Corps in Jamaica, age-wise, she was somewhere in her mid to late twenties. The answer to her question, "When were you there?," i.e., the time period I was in Jamaica, can be found by going to page three of ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT: The Path Unfolds.
REGARDING BAMBOO LODGE:
Further down the page from the answer I write about drinking a warm tea-like broth offered me by the Jamaican man of spells called an Obeah and in the process mention Bamboo Lodge that Rozga refers to:
"With absolutely no effort I was able to swoop down the darkened mountain gullies and high into the air, eventually passing above Bamboo Lodge recognizable along the mountain road even in the dark because of a large empty swimming pool. Then, just barely above the treetops I picked up speed and headed toward the lighted streets and tall buildings of New Kingston. Soon I was even higher in the air over Port Royal, Lime Cay, and the Caribbean. Then somehow the exhilaration began to fade. I turned back toward the mountains as a creeping apprehension seeped into my thoughts. Then nothing."(see)
As I remember it, the back-and-forth between the Obeah and myself during the immediate moments just prior to the flight unfolded something like:
"(T)he Obeah squated down without changing eye contact, peering at me with an astounding set of eyes that seemed to shine deeply from within with a mysterious, intense light of their own, and said, in his heavy Jamaican patois, "You have felt the breath of the Dark One." "Yes, once," I said, "many years ago," refering to an incident in the military when I literally felt the Shadow of Death brush across my soul. "Why didn't he take you with him," the Obeah asked? "I don't know," I responded, shrugging my shoulders."
The Obeahman then took a vessel of water and tossed it onto the flames. A huge cloud of steam burst forth followed by a thick cloud of smoke. I jumped back and turned away, stumbling to the ground while covering my face and eyes. Then it got cold, very cold. The breeze began to blow harder and I could no longer feel the ground underneath me. It felt as though I was moving very fast, yet as far as I knew I was still on the ground by the fire. I moved my arm away from my face just barely squinting my eyes open. For an instant I was still in the billowing white smoke, then suddenly I broke through to clean, fresh air. The smoke was no longer smoke, but clouds high in the night sky. I wasn't on the ground, but hundreds of feet in the air, soaring through the night, arms along my side, wind in my face, stars over my head.
The above pagagraph appears pretty much verbatim on page three of ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT: The Path Unfolds. What I didn't get into is what happened after the flight and why and how Bamboo Lodge is mentioned so prominently in what I have written. Rozga and others have construed from my mentioning of Bamboo Lodge that it was possibly my place of residence, when actually, the real importance of Bamboo Lodge in what I write circulates around the existence of the large and at the time empty and long unused swimming pool on the Bamboo Lodge property --- a big light-blue nearly white identifying marker that was easily seen on my low pass over the trees and rooftops, even in the dark of night.
The reason I remember the conversation with the Obeah so well is because before I left for Jamaica people concerned with my overall well being insisted on a few precautions. Having spent time living and traveling in the tropics and knowing how paper doesn't have a very long survival life under tropical conditions they, knowing my propensity of often getting into situations that are not always easy to get out of, wanted me to carry my metal military dog tags with me --- just in case of some unforeseen happenstance. I had my dog tags with me the night of the event with the Obeah. When I told him of the incident in the military I took off my dog tags to show him and I still had them in my hands when he threw the water on the fire. When I swooped over Bamboo Lodge I purposely dropped the dog tags into the empty pool, so at least if I never showed up again, my dog tags would AND could easily be found someday by someone. A couple of days later I went back and retrieved them out of the few inches of water sitting in the bottom of the pool myself, if nothing else proving the flight itself did occur in reality.(see)
Bamboo Lodge must be like Grand Central Station. Back in the days I lived in Jamaica I always thought of it as a sort of a remote and secluded spot high up in the Blue Mountains, but instead all kinds of people are coming out of the woodwork right and left as having been in the Peace Corps and stayed there. Who knew? The latest is the unnamed person in the photo below that someone says they knew as a PCV who stayed there:
PEACE CORPS ZEN
BELOW IS A COPY OF AN EMAIL WRITTEN BY A CONCERNED ADEPT THAT WAS SENT TO AN ASSOCIATE OF MINE WHO THEN FORWARDED IT TO ME. IN THE EMAIL, THE ADEPT VOICES CONCERN THAT SOMEWHERE IN MY WRITINGS I "TRASHED" ENLIGHTENMENT INTENSIVES, A METHOD TOWARD THE AWAKENING EXPERIENCE HE FINDS FAVOR WITH:
I found this site and your's was the ony name associated with an email address. Perhaps you can put me in touch with the fellow that pontificates and hides behind cutsey nature pictures. Old metaphors. You can do better. If I'm wrong, perhaps you can rectify that.
You trash Enlightenment Intensives with absolutely no discussion, clarification, explanation, nothing. Just a blot. Do you even know what you're slandering? I don't think so.
Alan Watts knew about them. He called it A True Western Zen when I discussed it with him personally, on his houseboat in Sausalito, a few decades ago. Afterward we went to the Trident and ate boullibaise and drank white wine.(see)
It's clear to me you've never taken an intensive or talked to anyone who runs them, or even a participant.
Sure, they charge a few bucks and oversell their product - so what? These are everyday folks working straight jobs and renting a venue that can handle 20 to 50 people. They take time off from work, buy groceries, recruit a staff, pay their transportation, marketing and so forth and so on. There is no guru, no organization, no doctrine, no cult, nobody boffing the devotees. There's no glory, (Well, maybe a little adoration of the master at the end of an intensive - people are pretty emotional). Nothing, except the uncountable rewards of helping people find their true nature. It's just far too much heartfelt, spill-your-guts, let it all hang out work, solid work. And nobody leaves the same as when they came in.
And its been going on for nearly 40 years, and people keep coming. What fools!
Certainly, nobody walks out of there as Ramana Maharshi. Are you?(see) Are you that enlightened?(see) Or are you a little attached to an ego(see) that says if somebody pays for their food and lodging and a few bucks to the staff that works their butts off, it can't possibly be true. If you don't sweat your cojones off in sessin, it can't be so? Zen, and sessin are developments in technology, the technology of getting people more consciousness. Why can't there be a further development in technology.
What if you had a sessin but instead of holding silence and only rarely speaking to the master, you worked with a partner who stood in proxy of the master and heard what happened whenever you held your question? What if it turned out that the silence in the sessin was a mistake? What if the practise of communicating with a peer, a democratization of the imperial model of development, worked?
I only know two people who studied under Joshu Sasaki Roshi at the Mt. Baldy Zen center. They attained Kensho. They say the experiences they have on intensives are wider, deeper, more profound and a lot faster.
Maybe you ought to find out what the truth is before you set yourself up to trash a useful practise.
I think you have done harm to the effort to get people more conscious, and thus your karma. You've maligned an honest effort, an effective practise. Get your karma clean.
If you can tell me something substantive, something real as to why this is not a beneficial practise, do so. If not, change your tune, clean up your act, and get off your ego.
I am not sure what specific reference to Enlightenment Intensives the above writer is refering to. In that many of my pages have come and gone over the years it may or may not still be available somewhere on the net and I may or may not written whatever his concerns are. However, I do recall that on one of the pages of AWAKENING 101, my onetime free online Dharma course that had been on the net for eight or ten years and is currently unavailable, there was a reference to Enlighten Intensives on a page within the course titled "Enlightenment Knows No Master." On that page the following, written by me, was found:
What I am getting at, in the end it doesn't matter: Enlightenment is Enlightenment is Enlightenment. If it comes from overhearing a stanza, hearing a pebble being swept striking bamboo, the offerings provided here, or someone offering something like The Sedona Method, CoreLight, or Enlightenment Intensives then so be it. For me, however, there is a bottom-line punchline that all the bells and whistles never quite reach. It is hoped what is offered here in AWAKENING 101 will carry for you the right escort in your endeavors, that the veil of Samsara dissipates, and that Sunyata be realized and remain your abode forever.
For the author of the above email to take it personally is to miss the crux of my meager Zen droppings. It is not Enlightenment Intensives per se' but all forms of formalized endeavors: rituals, satsang, study-practice, meditation, that the end expectation is supposed to be Enlightenment. Except for one's "mind being ripe" none of it is really necessary.
"The Buddha said that neither the repetition of holy scriptures, nor self-torture, nor sleeping on the ground, nor the repetition of prayers, penances, hymns, charms, mantras, incantations and invocations can bring us the real happiness of Nirvana. Instead the Buddha emphasized the importance of making individual effort in order to achieve our spiritual goals. He likened it to a man wanting to cross a river; sitting down and praying will not suffice, but he must make the effort to build a raft or a bridge.".(source)
As John Wren-Lewis, an Enlightened person in his own right following a Near Death Experience, says pretty much same in relation to the above:
"Against this background, the main positive advice I would give to spiritual seekers is to experiment with any practice or idea that seems interesting - which is what the Buddha urged a long time ago, though not too many of his followers have ever taken that part of his teaching seriously. Ancient traditions and modern movements alike may be very valuable as databases for new adventures, but to treat them as authorities to be obeyed is not only 'unscientific' - it seems to go against the grain of the divine lila itself, since novelty is apparently the name of the time game."
Following up on the same theme, Wren-Lewis is quoted in LOTUS-FEET OF CLAY: A Reluctant Mystic Looks At Spiritual Movements and of which, because of my own experience, I am in agreement with and most likely would not be able to improve on in my own words:
"Indeed, as my research progressed I became irritated and concerned by the way most systems protect themselves in advance against any expectation of a substantial success-rate by representing Enlightenment as a very high, difficult achievement requiring years or perhaps lifetimes of intense effort; the most articulate modern cartographer of the spiritual life, Ken Wilber, actually makes the comparison with becoming a master musician, scientist or athlete. Such a model is totally at odds with the key feature of God-consciousness as I know it in my own firsthand experience, namely its quintessential ordinariness and obviousness --- a feature actually emphasized by many mystics from whom Wilber himself quotes. While I wouldn't go as far as Krishnamurti by totally denying that mediation and other disciplines could ever help towards realizing God as "just the way things are," I know absolutely from my own case that such intensive training isn't necessary, and I see no evidence either from history or from modern movements that it's any kind of sure road to awakening."
Refering to Karma and cleaning up one's act, in Enlightenment and Karma the following is presented:
Cause and effect, just like birth and death, lose their significance at the Enlightened level because at the level of basic nature there is no one to receive the effect of Karma, whether it is good or bad. Therefore, at the extreme, when one is Enlightened, the law of Karma is not applicable. All that the Enlightened one does, says, or thinks is through free will, a manifestation of basic nature, and not the effect of past Karma.
Also found in The Truth of Karma, the Buddha taught the following principles:
- One who makes numerous offerings to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, helps sentient being, and does many good deeds, and yet dedicates all the merit accumulated thereby to one's own or one's relatives interest such as making more money or enjoying a longer or better present or future life produces limited effects.
- One who does those same good deeds but dedicates all the merit to saving sentient beings from suffering in Samsara receives much greater merit than the one with selfish purposes.
- Finally, one who does the same good deeds with no specific purpose or desire at all receives infinitely greater merit than the two cases mentioned above.
It should be brought to the attention of the readers that the editor of Self & Other, linked below with an article by the same Ken that sent the above email, says within the contents of his publication, that Ken, at a Mount Baldy intensive, attained a state of immortality.
The definition for Kensho or Satori should, within the perimeter of their definitions, if not encompass totally, should most certainly do so peripherally, the meaning behind, as used in context, the above quote: "attained a state of immortality." However, one's personal being, encompassing either state (Kensho, Satori), does not say anything at all about the ability of the experiencer to teach others or in any way be of assistance to the spiritual needs of others. Which brings us to those who provide instruction to participants seeking Awakening in intensives or similar or like enterprises. A clear distinction must be made between a person who has an Enlightenment-experience and an Enlightened Person. The latter category should be confined to those individuals who have the wisdom and moral character to rightfully influence others plus the charismatic abilities to do so in an entirely non-exploitive manner. This would define an Enlightened Sage or holy person. Such a person may have had a Enlightenment-experience, sudden or gradual, OR may have a natural spiritual maturity which excludes the need for a Satoric-experience; although if we depend on historical records, a natural sage without an Awakening experience operating at or near the level of an Enlightened Sage is far, far rarer than one having a similar or like natural spiritual maturity AND Enlightenment experience. (source)
Many have Awakened to the Absolute out of nowhere with little or no formal religious background, and definitely without a personal guru or extensive or expensive intensives --- so, as stated previously, in the end none of it may really be necessary. Two high profile examples being the venerated Indian holy man the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, mentioned in the email above, and the Sixth Patriarch of Zen, Hui Neng. A much lower example of such an Awakening basically out of nowhere --- with no more that just an HOUR within sitting range of Ramana's presence AND with none other than possibly the clean spiritual plate of a young innocent and the mind being ripe --- and for sure with NO previous religious training, meditation, or studies or knowledge of the scriptures, can be found in the following:
SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: THE LAST AMERICAN DARSHAN
RECOUNTING A YOUNG BOY'S NEARLY INSTANT TRANSFORMATION INTO THE ABSOLUTE DURING HIS ONLY DARSHAN WITH THE MAHARSHI
CRITICAL CONCERNS WITH AWAKENING 101
As is easily seen from the above not everybody considers AWAKENING 101, my various presentations or pontifications as so aptly put in the above email by Ken, as a valid vehicle. Others, as in the Critical Concerns link, have expressed similar viewpoints. I mean, you ought to see the scathing attack presented in IN THE WAY OF ENLIGHTENMENT: THE TEN FETTERS OF BUDDHISM. You would think the Wanderling was one of the Fetters! Oh well, what can I say, in the end it's your call.
ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT IN A NUTSHELL
Both AWAKENING 101 and ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT IN A NUTSHELL are FREE. Both offerings, the same as with the ancient and classical masters, are instilled with opening the Dharama Gate along the path for those who may be so interested not unlike like conceptually available to the female Zen adept Chiyono for the "mind being ripe" when the bottom of the pail breaks through.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE ENLIGHTENMENT
THE BIG FAKE OUT
Please note the article "The Big Fake Out" is by the same Ken as the Ken in the above email. Currently there is no return email address available to contact Ken regarding the content of his above email or the linked article
DEATH HAD A FACE
Compare the Death Had A Face link with the contents of the previoulsy cited Big Fake Out link.
AND NOW THIS:
It is often said that when you truly need a teacher, one will appear. This may due to some inexplicable serendipity. It may be due to the fact that the seeker has searched deeply within himself or herself and determined what sort of instruction seems to be required. It could be swept over him or her like the First Death Experience of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, or the Bhagavan's little known Second Death Experience, or a spiritual desperation on the part of the seeker, or maybe no more than a successful sales pitch by a teacher (sincere or not). It may be a combination of the previous factors, or some intuitive awareness beyond expression. For whatever the reason, the saying often applies and the coming together of the results of inner and outside forces, some within one's control, some without, can be found most eloquently as they all come together in the following:
SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: THE LAST AMERICAN DARSHAN
RECOUNTING A YOUNG BOY'S NEARLY INSTANT TRANSFORMATION INTO THE ABSOLUTE DURING HIS ONLY DARSHAN WITH THE MAHARSHI
It should be noted that Adam Osborne, who, as a young boy grew up at the Ramana ashram and the son of one of the foremost Ramana biographers Arthur Osborne, played a prominent role in the Last American Darshan as linked above.
Long before there was an internet there was a man of great spiritual Attainment by the name of Alfred Pulyan. In lieu of the internet Pulyan had in those days what would be called a mail order following. People that came to hear about him and his level of Attinment would write hoping for insight into what one could do to Awaken to the Absolute, and Pulyan would respond, asking for no more than a stamped self-addressed envelope. Pulyan presented through his teaching what he called Transmission, somewhat extrapolated from a working mixture of his own experience combined with it is thought, the weight behind the meaning of the four lines of the stanza attributed to the First Patriarch of C'han Buddhism, Bodhidharma that starts with A special transmission outside the scriptures. Pulyan claimed to have a 70% success rate, more than ten times higher than the ancient Zen masters.
It was largely because of the purported success rate of Pulyan's mail order efforts that in the age of computers that the idea of the free online Dharma course exploring the Enlightening experience, AWAKENING 101 came about.
As for the present day and internet numbers of attemptees, there are no doubt countless numbers and successful results are, I am sure, quite low. The one major example of claimed Attainment fully through such an approach is A Child of the Cyber-Sangha.
A second very strong example, albeit sort of hybrid in nature, which is typical because the individual started out initially using various aspects of Awakening 101, which inturn led him to going to and doing study practice in an established Zen center. The results of his endeavors ended wherein, I have been so told, he attained a state of immortality.(see) Over the years I have received numerous letters and emails from a variety of individuals telling me how much Awakening 101 contributed toward their Awakening, albeit, like the above, almost always hybrid in nature --- that is, most of them have been pursing Enlightenment in one fashion or the other most of their lives and in the process of that pursuit, after coming across Awakening 101, something just clicked.
By the way, don't let the above letters sway you --- not everybody considers AWAKENING 101 as a valid vehicle. I mean, you ought to see the scathing attack presented in IN THE WAY OF ENLIGHTENMENT: The Ten Fetters of Buddhism. You would think the Wanderling was one of the Fetters! So too with what is found in THE WANDERLING AND WIKIPEDIA. Oh well, what can I say, in the end it's your call.
Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.
AWAKENED TEACHERS FORUM
ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT IN A NUTSHELL
ON THE RAZOR'S
THE BUDDHA AND THE QUALITIES OF A DHARMA TEACHER
SPIRITUAL GUIDES: PASS OR FAIL
THE FALSE GURU TEST
REACHING THE WANDERLING:
As most of you know, if an email address can be readily scaned by search engines the next thing you know you can't even find the legitimate mail in your box. Below are two suggestions on how to reach me through e-mail --- either through the Wanderling link directly below and follow the steps OR the MySpace link below that. Be advised your message could be lost in the shuffle or forgotten to death using the first method as there are a number of SPAM FILTERS IN PLACE that block just about everything --- BUT, and this is the secret, if you type AWAKENING 101 --- in capital letters with a space between AWAKENING and 101 --- in the subject line of your email it has a much better chance of being sorted out of the tons of unsolicited material and actually be read rather than being blocked or deleted:
The author of the email writes:
"Alan Watts knew about them. He called it A True Western Zen when I discussed it with him personally, on his houseboat in Sausalito, a few decades ago. Afterward we went to theTrident and ate boullibaise and drank white wine."
So who hasn't? Long before the email was sent to me, my page, ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT: The Path Unfolds, was made available, as mentioned in The Letter, on the net. Page two has a longtime appearing paragraph that, without mentioning Alan Watts DOES mention Sausalito and Emmanuel (Alfred) Sorensen, known as Shunyata, who, if one knows their history, was invited to stay on the Watts houseboat in Sausalito --- in the "marina," spoken of below, where I picked him up. The reason Watts wasn't mention regarding picking up Sorensen is because Watts had died the year before, in November 1973, but I had been to the houseboat --- actually a former 1870s stern-wheel ferryboat named SS Vallejo once moored in the mudflats off gate 5 road --- several times previously over the years with my mentor, just not in connection with Shunyata:
"In 1974 another of the few occurrences where the man next door mentioned someone specific transpired, only this time, unlike above, how I downplay the extent of my meeting withSwami Ramdas, I actually met the person involved. My Mentor sent word requesting I pick him up along the California coast and take him to one of the marinas in the Bay area to meet an old friend visiting from India. It had been at least twenty years since he had been on the mainland, so it was quite clear something important was up. Plus, except the brief encounter with Swami Ramdas as I have described it above, with me being brand new at the time I had never really met anyone from his past. Now, with some experience under my belt I was most anxious to do so.
"The old friend turned out to be Emmanuel (Alfred) Sorensen, known as Shunyata, a man of great spiritual renown, although much to my chagrin, that I was not totally familiar with at the time. He was European, at the very least in his eighties, spoke with an accent, dressed somewhat like an east Indian, and, as it turned out, truly one of the most remarkable individuals I have ever met. Sorensen, it has been said, was BORN Awake. My Mentor and Sorensen had known each other from the early years when both inadvertently met while travelling in India and had, unlikeUpaka the Ascetic on the road to Benares, immediately recognized in each other the aspect of Awakening. The man had remained in India since the early 1930s and had only recently arrived in California for a short stay."
It should be noted the visit by Sorensen in 1974 was his first or initial visit. In 1978, at age 88 he moved to California on a permanent basis, under the auspices of the Watts' leftovers. In July, 1984 he moved into a house in Fairfax several miles north of Sausalito. After living almost his whole life in India and with only a few short years in California, in 1984, at age 93, he was hit by a car while crossing the street in Fairfax and died in hospital soon afterwards. In 1978, when Sorensen moved to California to stay, I was living in Jamaica. During that period my mentor died. When I returned to the states I wasn't even aware Sorensen had moved to California until sometime later when the circumstances surrounding his death filtered down to me.
It was during that same trip north to take my mentor to meet Shunyata that, while visiting a friend in San Jose' that I met a young Steve Jobs, the eventual founder of Apple Computer, who was at the time contemplating a trip to India. Within weeks, or maybe even days, of our meeting Jobs made his decision and left for India. See:
OF COBRAS, SCARABS, MASERATIS, AND ZEN
To my knowledge Sri Lakshmana Swamy is the last known non-western direct lineage face-to-face disciple of Ramana still alive. Born December 25, 1925, he is easily approaching his 90s. On October 1, 1949, at the age of 24, less than a year before Ramana's death Laskshmana fully realized the Self in the presence of Sri Ramana Maharshi, one of the last persons known to have done so.
Although he lives within shouting distance of the Ramana Ashram he seldom takes visitors and, except on his birthday once a year, does he do darshan --- and even that is sporadic lately. He will not even entertain seeing anyone who already has a guru or is an itinerant guru hopper, so forget it.
His adopted daughter, Mathru Sri Sarada, a woman of now age 50 or so, lives at the same compound near the Ramana ashram. She realized the Self permanently under the grace and light of Laskshmana on December 18, 1978. She pretty much abides by the same rules as Laskshmana as to the coming and going of visitors, etc.
The source and origin for the quote this footnote is cited to can be found by clicking HERE. However, it should be noted not all religions, cultures and spiritual beliefs buy into, back, or practice such a concept as found in the quote, in whole or in part --- not even some that fall within the boundries of Buddhism itself. Although the start or end point along the edges of mainstream Buddhism may not be clearly delineated like an escarpment rising up out of a sea of non-believers, adherents that fall under the established spectrum of Buddhism run the gamut from the Parivrajaka to the fully entrenched ritual and robe laden, with monasteries, hierarchy, and little hats. To wit:
"One of the problems faced by organized religions, or cultures that hold deep traditional beliefs that fall into the realm of things spiritual, is that they have to give the people something. People raised in that something or new people transitioning into that something, expect from that something some sort of positive spiritual results. Usually those spiritual results are motivated by some sort of trappings. If they do get positive results, at least as perceived in the mind of the devotee, parishioner, or follower, then, for them it's working. If it doesn't work then the devotee is pointed to others that it did work for. If that doesn't solve the dilemma they are encouraged to work harder."
The above quote from:
INCIDENT AT SUPAI
A SHAMANIC JOURNEY OUTSIDE THE TRADITION