Alfred Robert Pulyan was a man of great spiritual prowess, an "American Zen Master" without the Zen nor the Buddhism, yet Enlightened in the Finality of the Absolute in the same tradition as in the spiritual Awakenings attributed to the ancient classical masters.
Pulyan is thought by some to have been possibly born somewhere in the New York area having lived in New York City most of his life. Others report that he was born in the Holborn district of London, Middlesex England in November or December of 1896, showing up in the New York area sometime after World War I. Because of the discrepancies little actual facts of his early life are known, that is, growing up as a young boy to graduating from high school, although afterwards it is known he attended college and studied mathematics. In his later years he continued to stick with numbers becoming a public accountant, then an executive and office manager. Along the way he got married.
Sometime in the late 1950s when Pulyan was around age 62 or so he and his wife Madeline moved to a small rural community that was not much more than a crossroads of a town called South Kent in rural Litchfield County, Connecticut. There he bought some basically left-alone, albeit nearly jigsaw-puzzle picture perfect acreage where he and his wife and some friends settled in.
One of the friends joining Pulyan in the compound was the person that would become his teacher and responsible for his transformation. Prior to his Awakening he was an unknowing seeker along an unknown path, investigating any and all routes for a solution to his angst, real or imagined. One day in the process of those investigations, he was exploring what he had heard was a new or unique approach to psychotherapy when he came across a young woman that was somehow different from all other people he had ever met. In an intellectual joust on his part he confronted her with all his knowledge of science, philosophers and the like. Like a master swordsman or kung-fu master she blocked and parried each blow, leaving herself unscathed and himself defeated. Although she claimed no teacher or any lineage it was apparent, like Queen Chudala, her Attainment was deep and to reach the same level of Attainment he decided to dedicate any further seeking to be guided under her auspices --- a decision that ended in her becoming Pulyan's Teacher and Pulyan's own Fulfillment.
Years ago I had the good fortune of spending a good part of the summer with Pulyan, his wife, his teacher, and a few fellow compatriots on his compound near the small community of South Kent, Connecticut. Going there was not of my own making but from the urging of my spiritual Mentor. Initially I felt the whole thing would amount to nothing more than a huge waste of time on everybody's part, but as the summer wore on and it came time I had to leave because I was returning to school I didn't want to go.
For several years I had been doing study-practice under the auspices of my mentor who himself had Awakened to the Absolute under the grace and light of the venerated Indian holy man, the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. Much to his chagrin, in my study-pactice he noticed little or no headway over the years on my part. He decided my approach and temperment suited more of what Zen had to offer than what was found on the Indian side of things. In so saying, he arranged for me study under the noted Japanese Zen master Yasutani Hakuun Roshi. That too, did not reach the results he had hoped for. Knowing that as a young boy I had met the American Franklin Merrell-Wolff high in the mountains of the Sierras with somewhat striking results, and, in that I would not quit bugging him, in a last ditch effort he decided for a middle ground, between his own approach and that of Zen. The results of that decision can be summed up rather quickly in the following paragraph from page two of ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT: The Path Unfolds:
"Thinking I needed something in between Yasutani and his own teaching he arranged for me to go to Connecticut and visit a nearly invisible man of great spiritual prowess by the name of Alfred Pulyan. Just as spring was reaching its final count down I showed up at Pulyan's wooded rural compound and began a most unsual almost non-study study --- the visit growing through to well past the middle of summer because, I'm sure, of my mentor as well as Pulyan's own graciousness. He inturn introduced me to his teacher, a woman of extreme attainment who lived close by. Before I could return the following year Pulyan died. I never learned if my mentor knew him personally, however he was visibly set back on news of his death."
As you can judge by my comments if you have gone to Footnote , Pulyan in his egoless state was not much one to talk of himself or fill in the gaps personally. Most had to be extrapolated from his actions or out of larger general conversations. He also wasn't one to have visitors, especially so, those who wished to study under him or stay any length of time. Somehow my mentor had some sort of pull and Pulyan never questioned his request nor me for being there. The second I stepped into the compound and we met it seemed as though I had been there a million years.
His compound as I have called it, was comprised of several acres, how many I am not sure because everywhere we walked seemed to be on his land. It was a combination of wooded and cleared area with several small barn-like structures scattered around and at least three houses, one that he and his wife lived in and the others that various people lived in including one for his teacher. They were sort of self-contained and pretty much kept to themselves going about a very basic daily non-routine routine. Making meals, things like that. There was no study-practice in the classical sense either. Most of what we did we just did. Sit under a tree during the day, along the edge of a close by lake, or on the porch after dinner and talk late into the evening while Pulyan enjoyed an after dinner cigar. Pulyan had a background as a mathematician and was extremely interested in the fact that my Uncle knew Albert Einstein and that my uncle had actually introduced me to the scientist. One day in casual conversation I mentioned that as a young boy I was a witness to the fly-over of the huge object of unknown origin associated with the so-called Battle of Los Angeles that was seen by thousands of other eyewitnesses as well, and considered by many to be extra-terrestrial in nature. Now, most people with an interest in a quest along the path would think that a person in an Enlightened state would have no interest in such things. However, my experience was that Pulyan had no bounds or limits as to the depth of his intellectual interests. As a matter of fact, in 1960, about five years before our meeting and unknown to me until the time of our conversation, Pulyan had written and published an article surrounding just such a subject titled "What Is It We Fear in Visitors from Space? That They Might Be Like Us?" A few days after our conversation, out of the blue, he handed me a copy, of which the following two paragraphs are excerpted:
"The only available evidence for "visitors from outer space" has come so far from highly imaginative individuals who wish either to achieve a little notoriety or to promulgate their particular religious theories and ethical concepts. We are told that some of these visitors come from planets of this solar system with the intention of preventing us from blowing up our earth and as a result, disorganizing the whole system. Their advice consists, as it must, of variations on the golden rule. It is doubtful if there are any other living beings in this system.
"In the case of visitors from planets revolving about far distant suns, which seems the only possible place of origin, there seems no other reason for their coming than curiosity and scientific research, unless they have a genuine desire to share their attainments with others."(source)
It was with the last sentence of the first paragraph and the whole of the second paragraph that Pulyan had his belief --- or at least that he threw his weight toward. However, as a mathematician he cautioned his belief with such theories as the Drake Equation and the results of how such theories would actually impact the chances for an extra-terrestrial visitor.
Perhaps the single most responsible person for convincing my mentor to go to India --- which led to his Awakening and inturn led him to sending me to Pulyan --- was a Benedictine monk given the name Father Ensheim. In the website on Ensheim there is a section titled The Unaccounted Months that follows my mentor from his stay at the Hemis Monastery along the Tibet-India border to his crossing the Himalayas into and through China and back to India. In that section my mentor recalls an incident somewhere high in the inner-Asian flatlands that touches on a similar subject as the above.
At the time of the writing and publication of the article (April 1960), it is not known if Pulyan had reached Full Attainment through his transformation under his teacher or not. The when and where of that specific incident was, to my knowledge, not recorded for posterity. It is known by the time of his move to Connecticut in the mid 1950s --- and several years before the publication of the article --- he had developed a reputation as to his insight, so I tend to suspect he was. Because of the times and the unusual nature of the level of his Attaiment his reputation continued to grow basically at a grassroots level with no pushing on his part. Before long, and well before I arrived at his compound, he had put into place what I would call a fairly well established mail order following. People that came to hear about him 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 simply called Transmission, a personalized version of Direct Transmission, somewhat extrapolated from a working mixture of his own experience combined with (my conjecture) the weight behind the meaning of the four lines of the stanza attributed to the First Patriarch of C'han Buddhism, Bodhidharma (4-6 Cent. AD) that starts with A special transmission outside the scriptures. He claimed to have a 70% success rate, more than ten times higher than the ancient Zen masters.
I do recall one man by the name of Frank or Fred or some other "F" word or name who seems to have been a mailorder follower. He drove all the way up from Houston, Texas, one day to see Pulyan. Shortly after arrival the man got into a rather heated his side of a one-sided debate with Pulyan regarding Enlightenment and any merits thereof. With a bright red face and blood veins bulging from his neck, all the while huffing and puffing under his breath, turned and stomped off like Upaka the Ascetic following his encounter with the Buddha.
Interestingly enough, a year or two after having first put this page on the internet, inturn making it available to a wide audience, I received an email from a reader regarding what I wrote in the paragraph above about a "man by the name of Frank or Fred or some other 'F' word" showing up at Pulyan's compound.
In the email she told me somewhere along the way she came across an article in a fairly small, obscure publication called The Aberree that Pulyan had an ongoing connection with. How she found that specific article and connected it to me she didn't say, but, as she pointed out, the article made reference to both Pulyan and a man by the name of Fred from Houston, Texas. According to what the man from Houston said, he and Pulyan had been in contact with each other via mail. Within the context of the article "Fred" did seem somewhat perturbed with Pulyan, hence, I presume the reason for his eventual trip to Connecticut and the ensuing huffing and puffing on his part verbal confrontation. In the article, published in the July-August 1964 issue of THE ABERREE --- the summer before both his and my arrival at the Pulyan compound --- "Fred" also claimed to be Enlightened.
People constantly ask if my stay with Alfred Pulyan ended in a positive outcome. As stated above, initially I had not had much actual success along the path. My mentor sending me to Pulyan in 1965 and the events that followed in May of 1969 as outlined in Dark Luminosity are all part of the Dharmadhatu. Additional contributing co-factors was, as mentioned earlier, my childhood interaction with Franklin Merrell-Wolff, and explored more indepth in The Tree as well as doing months and months of hard-core Zen training high in the mountains somewhere along the southern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau as found in:
DOING HARD TIME IN A ZEN MONASTERY
Although it is extracted from its original context below, when asked, I usually refer them to the following paragraph that shows up on page two of the previously cited ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT: The Path Unfolds:
"After an intermittent slow start as a teenager, followed by twelve years of serious practice, in the month of May of the year 1969, at age 31, because, for the lack of anything else to call it, a Collision of Infinities occurred and the bottom of eternity consciousness literally broke through, and thus therefore, the equivalent of Inka Shomei, the Seal of Approval, at the Fourth Level (ken-chu-shi) was graciously accorded me by the person from which I sought guidence; he himself, having experienced full realization under the grace and light of Sri Ramana Maharshi some thirty-nine years earlier, also at the age of 31."(source)
As for my mentor and Pulyan and any interaction they may have had or not had, it is my belief that Pulyan's teacher was the actual person my mentor knew and it was through HER my mentor "knew" Pulyan. That is to say, I do not know for sure if he and Pulyan knew each other in the classical sense or if the two just "knew OF each other," say through a letter of introduction or word of mouth of a mutual friend. If Pulyan's teacher had been a student of my mentor or they just happened to travel in the same circles at one and the same time is not known, although I have my suspicions they met initially at the Ramana ashram in Tiruvannamalai, south India sometime in the late 1920s. The interesting part of it all is a connection of sorts between my mentor and a man by the name of Richard Rose. Like Pulyan, Richard Rose was a man of great spiritual Attainment that would eventually become one of Pulyan's most avid advocates.(see)
If you have not read any of the attending Footnotes so linked please do so by scrolling down to the bottom of the page.
YASUTANI HAKUUN ROSHI
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
Except possibly by me --- as mentioned above --- Pulyan's teacher gets almost no applause or recognition. However, she continues to inspire a great deal of interest in some quarters not only for her role in Pulyan's Awakening, but also because of being a woman. Many have come forward with suggestions as to who she was. Often a fairly high profile mover in east coast and New York City Zen circles, a woman by the name of Mary Farkas, is mentioned as a potential possibility.
The problem with Farkas is most of her life, especially so her adult life, has been recorded in one fashion or the other over time because of that fairly high profile. So said, it would have been very difficult for her to have been absconded on Pulyan's Connecticut compound for any length of time as has been reported for Pulyan's teacher without someone knowing about it. Besides, even though Farkas was a longtime follower and advocate of Direct Transmission through her association with the major Zen adept Sokei-an and, was herself, an ordained Rinzai priest as well as the longtime director of The First Zen Institute of America, it has never come forward that she was Enlightened.
As for Sokei-an, at the time Farkas was first being initiated into things Zen, Sokei-an was one of the first major Zen Buddhists in America and the formost purveyor of Zen in the general New York area. In 1928, when Farkas was just 17 years old and yet to stumble upon the scene, Sokei-an became a full-fledged Zen master receiving Inka Shomei from his teacher Sokatsu Shaku. It is my opinion that Pulyan's teacher, who was around 24 years old at the time got caught up in the brewing Zen stew close to that time, although it is not known how long, if at ll, she remained in the milieu. It is unlikely a person or her level of Attainment would go unheralded.
All of them, from Sokei-an in lineage to Mary Farkas to Alfred Pulyan and on to Richard Rose and Pulyan's teacher, were all advocates of "direct transmission." Sokei-an, as the prime mover in their advocacy, in his own words, says:
"I am of the Zen sect. My special profession is to train students of Buddhism by the Zen method. Nowadays, there are many types of Zen teachers. One type, for example, teaches Zen through philosophical discourse; another, through so-called meditation; and still another direct from soul to soul. My way of teaching is the direct transmission of Zen from soul to soul."
For more on Mary Farkas, her background and writings, click HERE.
Showing up at the Pulyan compound I was only just out of the Army. Because my Mentor had put some emphasis on his opinion that the military had brought out a beast in me Pulyan was well aware of my recent discharge. He was also aware through my mentor of the fairly formidable fact that I had Flatlined for a somewhat long period of time under somewhat dire circumstances in a military hospital --- an event ending with, if not a total whisping away of the ego, at least no viable or measurable footprint of something akin to an ego able to search out, crab-like, and stop --- or at the very least --- hold in abeyance, any residual remains of a rapidly dissipating lifeforce.
Looking back it seems rather interesting that nothing said that touched on the subject ever led to any expanded discussion regarding the event, my service, or the military. There never was a hint of any past military experience related to himself either, even though having been born in 1896, he was at the exact right age to have served in the military during World War I (in the United States general conscription --- the draft --- was reinitiated in World War I with the Selective Service Act of 1917. All men from 21 to 30 years of age and later extended 18 to 45, inclusive, had to register. Pulyan was age 21 at the time). Equally interesting, considering the silence on the subject of the war, was his response one day when I mentioned that my father had thought the giant unknown object that I mention later on and that flew over our house one night was going down --- and was as large as a Zeppelin --- Pulyan, apparently visualizing the whole event in his mind's eye as I described it, turned to another man with us at the time, an artist that lived in one of the houses on the compound, and said --- not to me but to the artist --- and I quote, "It acted like a wounded Height Climber, hey?" The artist nodding in aggreement said, "Jousting with dragons."
"JOUSTING WITH DRAGONS"
I had heard that EXACT same phrase from my mentor years ago when I asked him about a scar that looked like a burn mark on his shoulder the size of a man's hand, but could never figure out what he meant. I asked the artist what HE meant and he took his hand cupping them together then swiftly expanding them out in a circular motion like an explosion. It dawned on me jousting with dragons meant attacking and bringing down the giant hydrogen filled airships.(source) I wasn't sure how either of the two men could know one thing or the other about wartime Zeppelins generally or Height Climbers specifically --- especially them blowing up, coming down, or crashing --- although both seemed to have more than a simple working knowledge of the crafts. To add some sensibility to it all, if, as I imply at the top of the page that Pulyan was from London, England, and I personally tend to suspect he was because of my interactions with him, then he may have had personal knowledge of such craft because of what happened in London during the First World War. The following is from HIGH ALTITUDE WARSHIPS: The Height Climbers:
"On the night of January 19, 1915 two German navy Zeppelins carried out the first successful bombing run against British soil. One of the ships was the L-3. Both craft bombed from an altitude of 3,000 feet and both returned safely. On May 31, 1915, ten months into the war, the first Zeppelins showed up over London. In August 1916 two-million cubic feet mid-level ships operating at 13,000 feet went on line. It wasn't until September 2, 1916 that the British pulled the first airship out of the sky over England in direct air-to-air combat. To beat the sting of fighter aircraft and increased British anti-aircraft ground defenses the Zeppelin company began to develop a special series of rigid airships called Height Climbers that routinely operated at altitudes above 20,000 feet.
"As the trench war on the western front bogged down, to bring the British to their knees, the Germans turned more and more of their attention to high altitude bombing. On the night of October 19, 1917 they launched a massive eleven ship raid against England using nothing but height climbers. The ships were so far above the earth their engines couldn't be heard by observers on the ground."
The timing would be just right for Pulyan to have experienced such events as having been born in November or December of 1896 he would have not have yet turned age 19 when the first bombings of London occured.
Later on, when I was cleaning brushes for the artist one day I asked him if Pulyan had been in the War. He said he himself had been in WWII but thought Pulyan, like Ernest Hemingway during WWI, may have been an Ambulance Driver, albeit possibly for the French or British rather than the Americans --- having gone over prior to American involvment after dropping out of college. The artist, who had been on the compound a few years with him, did admit Pulyan had never been very forthcoming about related topics, hinting weakly to him at times that he may not have been a driver even, but a mechanic --- maybe even on airplanes. More than likely as time went on he progressed through a number of jobs. My only reason for even the remotest curiosity regarding Pulyan and the possiblity of his participation in the war at the time was my mentor. He was three years younger than Pulyan and flew for the British, crossing the border into Canada and joining up there by not admitting to his real age. Seeing his best friend die in front of his eyes during the war is what sent him on his quest for Enlightenment in the first place. His life is well chronicled in a book by W. Somerset Maugham titled The Razor's Edge. Although I cannot say for sure, IF Pulyan was in Europe for England or even the French during the war prior to any formal entry by the U.S., the possibility exists the two of them, that is Pulyan and my mentor, may have met somewhere along the way.
There are several classic records of Zen histories such as Ching Te Ch'uan Teng Lu (Record of the Transmission of the Lamp); Tsu T'ang Chi (Collection from the Halls of Ancestors); Wu Teng Hui Yan (Five Lamps Merged in the Source); and Ku Tsun Su Yu Lu (Records of Sayings of Ancient Venerable Adepts) that together compile information on well over 600 Zen masters. Among those masters cited, for example, are Kuei Shan (771-853) whose community numbered 1500 and produced 43 Enlightened disciples (2.8%). Hsueh Feng (822-908) 1500 community followers, 56 Enlightened disciples (3.7%). Fa Yen Wen I (885-958) never less than 1000 followers and 63 Enlightened disciples (6.3%). Yun Chu (d. 908) led a community of 1500 and produced 28 Enlightened disciples (1.8%). (source)
Pulyan claimed to have a 70% success rate, apparently via his his efforts through the mail. People are always asking where are those people now? That I am unable to answer. To my knowledge, other than myself, he had no study-practice individuals personally under his auspices, at least in any great numbers --- and for sure, none during the summer months I was there. It is also not known what the term success rate actually translates into. Pulyan was an honorable man. In that he was dealing with small numbers with specific individual inputs on a personal one-on-one basis the percentage of positive results may reflect a higher success rate than say with the ancient masters as listed previously.
As for the present day and having or implementing a mail order following as used by Pulyan, it most likely would be replaced by the internet with the likes of Twitter or MySpace, perhaps even something akin to Awakening 101. With the available pool of internet attemptees there could be countless numbers of participants, and because of the possibilities of a wide thined-out field of intrest among potential numbers, successful results would be, I am sure, quite low. I know of only one example of claimed Attainment through such an approach and that is listed in the Awakening Experience in the Modern Era as 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)
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
Vignana is the difference between the knowledge we get from just reading or listening to Sutras and Sastras and the knowledge that we get from actual experience. It corresponds to the six senses: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, taste-consciousness, touch-consciousness, bodily consciousness, and mental consciousness. In the process, Vignana incorporates within the totality of itself both the Western idea of that which is "conscious' and "unconscious." For that reason it is difficult to translate by any single term.
Suppose we collect water from the ocean and bring it home. The ocean water will have a salt taste to it. When the same ocean water is converted by the sun's rays into vapor and then comes down as rain from the clouds, there is an amount of "sweetness" which is associated with the same water. The knowledge which we get by reading or listening to Sutras and Sastras compares with the water collected directly from the ocean. Vignana is comparable to the ocean water when it is converted into rain from the clouds -- that is, sweeter than the ocean water it originally came from.
FROM: the Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba during the Summer Course in Spirituality and Indian Culture
held for College Students at Brindavan, Whitefield, Bangalore District in May/June 1974
Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust
Dharmadhatu literally means "realm of dharmas," and refers to the collection of all dharmas. "Attaining Buddhahood" (Enlightenment, Awakening to the Absolute, etc.) --- as the Buddha had to do in resolving his Great Doubt --- means having transcended all and any limitations that are due to artificial concepts, subconscious activities, desires and feelings, will and attachment, time and space, etc., and having regained the original state of Dharmadhatu in harmonious oneness.
Dharmadhatu is neither limited by space nor by time. According to the correct view of Dharmadhatu all dharmas in the past, all dharmas at present and all dharmas in the future are all together in the Dharmadhatu. Ordinarily people can experience only a minute part of all dharmas at present, and therefore people sustain the view that dharmas in the past are gone and future is unpredictable. If one practices according to Buddhist teachings and thereby comes out of the bondage of the fixed view of a space-and-time framework, then it is possible to experience or witness dharmas in the past as well as dharmas in the future.
The sentence this footnote is referenced to in the main text above, reads:
"People constantly ask if my stay with Alfred Pulyan ended in a positive outcome. As stated above, initially I had not had much actual success along the path. My mentor sending me to Pulyan in 1965 and the events that followed in May of 1969 as outlined in Dark Luminosity are all part of the Dharmadhatu."
The reason I had not had much success along the path initially was because of, in so may words, a nearly impenetrable, thick dark curtain that had been drawn across the access to any level successful achievement --- hence some of the reason for the DARK in Dark Luminosity. Over and over in my works you will find the following:
"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."
As stated, most people have a "fog" that overlays access. For me, rather than simply the fog, the fog itself was blocked before I even got to it by a thick dark curtain. If you went to the link found at the bottom of Footnote , SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: The Last American Darshan, you will see how that curtain was pulled, blocking even my access to the fog let alone access to Attainment.
Outside the world of things academic, religious, and philosophical, three clinical tests commonly determine brain death and, thus then, death:
- First, a standard electroencephalogram, or EEG, measures brain-wave activity. A flat EEG denotes nonfunction of the cerebral cortex - the outer shell of the cerebrum.
- Second, auditory evoked potentials such as clicks elicited by ear speakers measure brain-stem viability. Absence of these potentials indicates nonfunction of the brain stem.
- Third, documentation of no blood flow to the brain is a marker for a generalized absence of brain function.
In my case, except for the flatline of the EEG (Electroencephalogram) signals which was duly noted by a number of outside observers and medical attendants and pronounced clinically dead, for me, IF the less than gossamer-thin membrane between the still alive and the that which becomes the now-not-alive was actually crossed or breached, it is not known because no difference was remembered if detected.
In what would appear to be an almost diametric opposition to such a scenario, (that is, NOT breaching the gossamer-thin membrane between the still alive and that which is the not alive even though the EEG seemed to indicate otherwise) any previous or residual "fear of death" after being brought back or coming back as the case may be, seemingly dissipated along with the ego. Loss of both ego and fear is surmised stemming from the experience in which "I" was in a totally unflawed flatlined state (or non-state) for close to thirty full minutes, and, except for maybe not being totally zipped up, put into a body bag in a near Nirodha like state even longer and stacked in a row along with other corpses.(source)
A onetime bottom-of-the-line GI everybody called "the Cat," who went on eventually to receive a bronze star, was a former or to-be 1st Air Cav medic on TDY doing routine corpse duty when he came across my partially unzipped body bag. In the process of closing the bag we BOTH somehow discovered I most likely no longer fell into the specifically dead catagory.
Months later he told me that sometimes shift workers, when they find that a person has died on their shift, will put the body in the shower and let hot or warm water run on them --- sometimes for hours --- then, just before they go off shift, put the body back where it belonged for the next shift to find and deal with. The only thing is, in my case, this time the GIs who did it were caught. Even though my body had dropped quite a bit less than normal temperature, if not "warm" (because of the hot running water of the shower), my body was still at least supple. In the fact that I had absolutely no vital signs that anybody could tell --- and it had been previously noted that I flatlined --- I was hastily stuffed into the body bag without further checking. Hours later the Cat came across me no longer DOA and helped me out of the bag.(see)
DEATH OF THE EGO: A BUDDHIST VIEW
FEAR IN ENLIGHTENMENT AND ZEN
THE SAIGON TEA GIRL
During the last summer as a kid with my uncle he came up with a plan, which had taken a couple of years for him to put into place. It circled around the two of us going to see the smartest man in the world, the greatest artist in America, and then, the greatest artist in the world. In those days the three, at least as far a my uncle was concerned, were none other than Albert Einstein, Jackson Pollock, and Pablo Picasso. My uncle knew the first two himself so he was able to set those meetings somewhat easily. Jackson Pollock coming down from his studio on Long Island to the city after a one man show in Paris and the finishing of his last action painting ever. Albert Einstein along some lake one afternoon while we watched a rowing team practice. The meeting with Picasso never happened. My dad ending the trip before we got the chance to go to Europe.(source)
The question often arises, why would Pulyan's teacher, if Enlightened to the level reputed and responsible for assisting Pulyan to full Attainment, choose to remain unacknowledged? A well established contempory female spiritual teacher born as Michele Mumford in Liverpool in 1952 and calling herself Pratima and said to have reached Fulfillment of the Absolute under Poonja, during a question and answer interview along a similar theme, offered the following:
So many women in the past have been hiding their spiritual wisdom.
"It cannot be hidden, it shines forth naturally in everyday life. They just didn't have the opportunity to share it with many people. It's not that long ago since women were burnt at the stake for their wisdom. These days, I know many women who are totally resting in the understanding of their true nature, but they choose not to be so verbal about it. Some of them are deeply quiet and content within themselves. They have no desire to take their understanding out into the market place. After all the message of Ramana and Papaji is essentially: be quiet."(source)
When the Cat and I crossed paths for the very the first time he was a fresh-faced GI just turned 19 or so with a medic MOS. I think he was OJT with no real assignment, hence the TDY corpse duty. I was several years older than him and had been around for awhile. Because of the unusual nature of our first meeting we kept in contact in the early days, enough so that he followed me to college, attending the same university. In those days we took several classes on and off together and hung out, but as time went on we diverged in interests and went our separate ways. I've only seen him once in maybe 40 years, catching up with him for a few days in some isolated old mining town in Arizona where he ended up living. I Google him every once in awhile. He still seems to be around, but thats about it.
Many years before I heard of Richard Rose --- while still in high school, I worked for a former merchant marine that had been badly burned when the ship he was on was torpedoed by German submarines. Some ten years following that torpedo strike, between my sophomore and junior years in high school, my Merchant Marine Friend, due to long term complications from injuries incurred during the attack, his body basically just shut down and he died. Around that same time the man who would come to be my spiritual guide and mentor bought and moved into the house next to my grandmother's, who I was living with at the time. I truly missed the camaraderie, friendship and talks with the merchant marine. When my mentor came along, although what he and I discussed seemed on the opposite end of the spectrum, and because neither my father or a father figure was really around much in those days, my mentor filled a huge empty gap in my life. One day, for no real reason I can remember, my experience with Franklin Merrell-Wolff came up after I had been talking about the merchant marine --- like I often did --- but this time how my merchant marine friend had survived being burnt following a torpedo attack and mysteriously found weeks, possibly months later still alive, floating out in the middle of the open ocean strapped to a piece of debris. It was like I had hit my mentor in the head with a hammer. He told me while traveling he met a man either in the Pacific Northwest or from the Pacific Northwest who was similar to Merrell-Wolff and that oddly enough the man's brother, a merchant marine, was killed when his ship was torpedoed by German submarines during World War II. The shock of his brother's death in war, that is his brother's selfless attitude compared to what he, either right or wrong, deemed to be his own rather shallow ego-based pursuits at the time, is what sent him on his spiritual quest --- basically the exact same thing that happened to MY mentor when he saw his own best friend die in front of his eyes at the hands of the Germans during World War I. (see)
As I viewed things from my then pretty much limited in scope teenage mind it was almost as if all the incidents and events were woven together in some sort of a giant intertwined Omen or some other closely related cosmic-imbedded happenstance. Using Indra's Jeweled Net as an example my mentor related it more closely to what he called Dharmadhatu than an omen. He insisted on knowing all the information I could muster regarding my merchant marine friend. Over and over I told him what I could remember and in the process I remembered a yellowed old article my friend had given me recounting his survival that I had stuffed away between the pages of a book he had given me once. I gave the article to my mentor and that seemed to end it.
A year or so passed and one day out of the blue my mentor brought up what he was able to ascertain from the facts he found. He told me my merchant marine friend and the brother of the man he met had been attacked at the same time, and, although it wasn't likely they were shipmates, the ships they were on got hit during the same U-boat attack. My mentor told me my merchant marine friend was part of a top secret convoy associated with the yet unnamed, but soon to be named invasion of North Africa called Operation Torch that was set in motion in November 1942. The ship the man's brother was on was actually unescorted, and apparently, having spotted the convoy sometime after leaving Baltimore, under the cover of darkness, began tagging along in the shadow of it's wake for protection.
My mentor gave me the above information near the end of, or just following the completion of my high school years. During or before that period of time the names of Rose or Pulyan was never mentioned that I recall. As for Rose himself, I am not even sure he ever heard of Pulyan until the early 1960s. I am sure I never heard of either of them until well after that. Matter of fact, it was only when my mentor sent me to the Pulyan compound in the spring of 1965 that I became aware that Pulyan even existed. As for me hearing about Rose, that itself did not happen until many, many years after my stay at the Pulyan compound.
Not to play down or denigrate Rose in any way, it must be said my primary emphasis here is not directed toward Rose himself or who he was --- or any level or quality of his Attainment or abilities --- BUT the coincidence of the torpedo attack surrounding my merchant marine friend and the death of Rose's brother in potentially the same attack, and how, in a manner similar to that of my mentor, Rose was then driven to go on his spiritual quest. In ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT: The Path Unfolds I present the following about my mentor:
"During World War I, at age sixteen, he (the Wanderling's mentor at the original source) joined the Canadian army, became a pilot, and fought in Europe. He was aware that many thousands of young men were dying on the ground beneath him, plummeted to death by artillery shells, gassed, and rotting to death in the trenches, but it wasn't until his own best friend died in front of his own eyes that he was shaken to his spine with remorse and repugnance. Driven by an unquenchable desire to find the accountability of life and not knowing what to look for, he embarked on a ten year journey that took him through Europe, China, Burma, and India in search of an answer."
The following quote appears in a biographical sketch on Richad Rose from the source so cited:
"What probably ended the period of bliss was the death of his older brother James who was serving in the Merchant Marine on a vessel that was torpedoed by a German submarine. Rose had a strong bond with this older brother who was generous and fatalistic. He'd taken the most dangerous job on the ship, working in the boiler room on the night shift -- typical of his lifelong concern and sacrifice for others. His death shocked Rose to the core, seeing in comparison the gigantic egotism of his own spiritual quest." (source)
My research shows that on May 4, 1942, the U.S. freighter Delisle was torpedoed by the German submarine U-564 approximately 15 miles off the Jupiter Inlet, Florida. Two crewman were killed, of which the brother of Richard Rose, James Rose, was one. The remainder of the crew safely abandoned ship. As the ship was able to stay partially afloat the crew returned the following day and she was towed to Miami, repaired and put back in service.
On October 19, 1943, a year and a half after the torpedo attack off Florida, the Delisle was steaming off Newfoundland when another ship traveling in the same convoy hit a mine laid by the German submarine U-220. While the Delisle was picking up crew members from that ship she too struck a mine laid by the U-220 and sunk. The full complement of the ship's crew was accounted for. The ship the Delisle was attempting to assist suffered 26 dead out of a crew of 40.
P-40 GOOSE SHOOT