"The deluded man clings to the characteristics of things, adheres to the Samadhi of oneness, thinks that straightforward mind is sitting without moving and casting aside delusions without letting things arise in the mind. This he considers to be the samadhi of oneness. This kind of practice is the same as insentiencey and the cause of an obstruction to the Tao."HUI-NENG: The Platform Sutra of Hui Neng the Sixth Patriarch of Zen
Every now and then while doing internet research to clarify some such thing or the other, usually to locate the strongest other position, pro or con on a given subject, works by a man named Drew Hempel, linked further down the page, shows up. Over time I have learned not to get into his stuff too much as it is always difficult to get back out because so much of it is so interesting --- written only as only Hempel can do it. Even though I am not always in agreement with everything he delivers, seldom do I have a bone to pick with him because if you follow his logic typically the vast majority of it makes sense in one fashion or the other. If you come across any of the many forums Hempel participates in you will see he has few critics and numerous supporters, indicating what he says usually carries weight.
Hempel, proficient in a wide spectrum of intellectual pursuits including math and music --- and far from being deluded in any sense of the word as brought forth in the above quote by Hui Neng --- is also an eastern spiritual renaissance master as well. Just as much too, in the aforementioned areas and others far afield, as a search of his name will show, or did before he just simply disappeared into cyber space or infinity, he was one of the most prolific contributors on the net. His writings and books lean heavily toward a variety of eastern spiritual aspects, with a strong personal emphasis on qigong and meditation executed almost exclusively through the use of the full lotus position.
A while ago on a major internet-based eastern spiritual related web forum called Tao Bums, a several year member of the forum, Leon Basin (joined March 29, 2009) posted in the Tao Lounge-General Discussion area the preamble paragraphs to an article generally found on the net titled A Child of the Cyber Sangha. Basin did so with no explanation as to any reason why.
The two preamble paragraphs had been written by me as an opening statement to explain what the main body of text they are preambled to, i.e., A Child of the Cyber Sangha, is about. Following the two paragraphs is the main text of the Cyber-Sangha article --- which was not included by Basin but linked to. The main text goes into the experience written by and about a young man who, during his quest toward spiritual Awakening, sought out and supplemented that quest through information garnered from the internet.
In the main body, the young man, relating back a few years in time to when he was 16 years old, writes:
"My mother had recently got internet access at home. One day, I decided to search for a Zen newsgroup and subscribed to one. As I begun to explore Zen through interaction with other Zennists (I still didn't understand Zen, nor do I think those I talked with did), after just four days of posting to the newsgroup, I had my first insight experience. Although the insight in itself was rather insignificant (I had simply realized that all things are interdependently connected - cause and effect) it proved to me that there was indeed something to Zen. From that point on, I never had any doubt that I would one day be Enlightened, which was unquestionably a factor that contributed much to my eventual Awakening. This was the first major turning point in my spiritual search."
He then goes on to say:
"One could very well say that I am a child of the Cyber-Sangha. I have never actually met another Buddhist or spiritual seeker in my real life (at least not that I am aware of), but fortunately I have met many on the internet. Some were Enlightened, some were not, but all of them helped me in one way or another. Looking back, I can see just how tremendously beneficial it was to have friends on the path, to spur me onwards, and to help me look deeper into myself and what I considered to be 'me'. The newsgroups I subscribed to enabled me to engage in conversations about the path and to challenge my own views, uprooting many attachments to my own ideas and beliefs. It was not always beneficial (there were many times I was being misguided), but the friends I have gained from posting to these newsgroups are all people who have contributed much to my progress and whom I am deeply grateful for meeting, as I have gained much from their experience. The internet was also my prime source for reading, as my local library only had very few books on Buddhism. Thus I was fortunate that so many Buddhist teachings existed on the internet."
Not long after Basin's post on the Tao Bums forum, and apparently actually clicking through on the link provided by him and then reading, or at least scanning the main text and attending footnotes, long time Tao Bum participant Drew Hempel (at the time averaging 2.3 posts per day), mentioned above, using his screen name fulllotus posted the following:
Looks like a "mind yoga" enlightenment -- Master Nan, Huai-chin calls zen "dead tree" zen -haha. No real body transformation.
Arjuna was healed by Chunyi Lin -- his wife was healed by Chunyi Lin.
Ah he took is down from his website! Hilarious. Maybe because I linked it on my blog...
Oops - so it is a different "arjuna" - he claims to have been called enlightened by Ramana Maharshi? But then he clarifies that David Godman got his nationality wrong? Hmmm.
Although I did not write the main body of the text, apparently how the page A Child of the Cyber Sangha is presented, with my preamble and attending footnotes, it is not clear as it could be. I only say so because of my sense of the flow in Hempel's response. In the response there is a jump from the information provided by the unnamed Cyber-Sangha author into an intermingling of that author becoming me. Even though the totality of the Cyber Sangha page and footnotes seem fairly straightforward and clear as I see it, in the end it must not come across as such to others --- which for my stuff I guess, is not all that unusual. For example, one Upaka the Ascetic, speaking of AWAKENING 101, my free self-paced online college level Dharma course designed to help ease the Dharma Gate for those who may be so interested, 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":
"EvenSarlo, 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."
See also More Critical Concerns With Awakening 101.
In a footnote that I wrote and commented on in connection with A Child of the Cyber-Sangha, (i.e., Footnote ), it is brought forth that a number of participants going back-and-forth on an internet forum some years before the one on the Tao Bums, opined that the author of Cyber-Sangha did not have a maximum realization experience, but instead experienced what they referred to as Intellectual Satori. Hempel, paralleling their consensus, albeit reaching a different end result, cites his viewpoint regarding the author's experience by opening his post with:
"Looks like a "mind yoga" enlightenment -- Master Nan, Huai-chin calls zen 'dead tree' zen -haha. No real body transformation."
Now, at this point in time, in that it is Hempel's opening line, it is not clear if he is relating his remarks on dead tree Zen and no body transformation toward me or the author of the article. However, the author, in contrast to confusing such outcomes as dead tree Zen with actual accomplishment, puts forth his growing level of understanding part way into the text of the Cyber-Sangha article by presenting for the reader the following:
"I also discovered the Platform Sutra of Hui Neng the Sixth Patriarch of Zen. The first time I read it, I was alarmed, as the teachings it contained didn't accord with my own understanding at all. I chose to disregard my own understanding though and read it again. During those months, I read it very often and grew more and more fond of it."
A few paragraphs later, after describing a few shakedown experiences perhaps flirting up to or around the level of Kensho or so, the author of Cyber-Sangha relates the following regarding a deeper attainment:
"I discovered that nothing that can be distinguished as being anything is really me. Everything that is conditioned, subjected to cause and effect and thus impermanent, is not who I really am. That all the thoughts, feelings and views that we harbour have nothing to do with me. Even my body is not really me. There is no 'I'. No one to feel, no one to think or act. All of this happens independently of me, yet not apart from me. The 'I' as such is nothing more than a set of ideas, thoughts and views which are being continuously sustained by dwelling on them and holding on to them as real. Once the false 'I' is seen through, the true self manifests."
Like many have before him, through simple attrition while seeping himself into the in depth qualities found in the contents of the Platform Sutra, his ability to nominally distinguish between such dualistic conceptual constructs as 'Dead Tree Zen' and 'real body transformation' was heightened. For example, in the Platform Sutra, as translated by Philip B. Yampolsky (1967), the following, and the same quote I used at the top of the page and no doubt familiar to the author of the Cyber-Sangha as well because of the so-cited developed rapport between himself and the Platform Sutra, is found:
"The deluded man clings to the characteristics of things, adheres to theSamadhi of oneness, thinks that straightforward mind is sitting without moving and casting aside delusions without letting things arise in the mind. This he considers to be the samadhi of oneness. This kind of practice is the same as insentiencey (i.e., being like rocks, trees, etc.) and the cause of an obstruction to the Tao."
Paralleling what is imbedded within the above quote, the book TAOIST YOGA: Alchemy and Immortality (1970), translated by Lu K'Uan Yu, emphasizes if a person goes into the void but there is no spirit light energy created then this is a false void -- a false emptiness. This is what can happen with "Dead Tree Zen" as introduced by Hempel in his post and as Master Nan, Huai-chin calls it -- because if a person practices only mind yoga without in the process transforming the body, then they won't ever have the power of the full life force energy. And therein lies the rub as there is no body in the classical sense to transform, to wit, as found in the sutras, the simile of the chariot and the body:
"There is no 'being' found...[within oneself], only a heap of karmic constituents. Just as the word chariot is used when we come across a combination of parts, so we speak conventionally of a [human] being when the five aggregates are present."
The chariot shows up being used in simile at least a couple of times in Buddhist scripture. The above quote is typically considered the first and found in the Samyutta Nikaya, the third of the five collections of sutras in the Pali canon --- most notedly in the section titled Vajira Sutra: Sister Vajira --- and according to tradition, the good nun's response after being questioned by Mara the Evil One.
Centuries later, in a dialogue known as the "Questions of Milinda," the venerable monk Nagasena, uses this same simile in greater detail, asking King Milinda a series of rhetorical questions:
"Is the axle the chariot?... Are the wheels the chariot?...Is the chariot-body the chariot?...Is the flagstaff...the yoke...the reins...Is the Goad-stick the chariot?"
The chariot as a whole, is constituted through a particular arrangement of parts, each of which in themselves are also a particular arrangement of parts. Nagasena explains that like the chariot, human beings are simply the sum of their parts. Any one part of a human being is not the being. The same is found true in respect of all things and all people --- their existence falls back on inter-dependence, not as permanent essences. Thus, all things are ultimately 'empty' - which is the Buddhist teaching of emptiness.
Continuing with Hempel's Tao Bums post, in the second line he goes on to speak of one 'Arjuna,' albeit not the Arjuna mentioned in the footnote as found in Cyber-Sangha --- and of which he quickly discovers and recovers --- moving on to the author of Cyber-Sangha and his original website being taken down. Hempel suggests that the author, in taking down the original, may have been influenced by he, Hempel, having posted it. Hempel's line in the Tao Bum post reads thus:
"Ah he took it down from his website! Hilarious. Maybe because I linked it on my blog..."
Now, while I did not research how long Hempel's blog has been online nor when the aforementioned link of the Cyber-Sangha page to his blog occurred, I did look into when the Cyber-Sangha's original URL showed up in internet archives. The earliest the author's original shows up archived, and it had to be online sometime before to have been archived, is September 2, 2001. By October 1, one month later, the Gate Keeper had placed the Cyber-Sangha URL on his now no-longer active List of Gurus. The last time the original shows up archived was February 7, 2002, six months after it was first posted. After that, with the page no longer calling up, the Gate Keeper removed the link from his guru pages, again, according to archives, sometime between April 4 and October 9, 2003. So said then, the original original put up by the author in it's unedited entirety and done so under the auspices of the author himself was online only during a small six month window of opportunity --- sometime between September 2001 and February 2002. It wasn't until just before April 5, 2004, after capturing archived and cached pages of the original, that my page of the Cyber-Sangha, and the one attested to in the Tao Bums forum and linked to above, showed up.
Moving on to the last line in Hempel's Tao Bums post, it clearly shows he read a good part of the Cyber-Sangha material, including following major links and going over the footnotes to some degree. Hempel writes:
" - he claims to have been called enlightened by Ramana Maharshi? But then he clarifies that David Godman got his nationality wrong? Hmmm."
A conversational word shift springs up in the last line between the WHO, as the author of A Child of the Cyber Sangha is, and the 'he' that is connected to Ramana Maharshi and David Godman. With the use of the word 'he,' there is created an overlapping blending between the Cyber-Sangha author and the 'he' --- as though they are somehow one and the same person. The 'he' becomes both the person that wrote the Cyber-Sangha article AND the person that had interaction between Ramana and Godman --- which is just not the case. The 'he' referred to in Hempel's first sentence of the last line 'he claims to have been called enlightened by Ramana Maharshi' and in the second sentence of the last line in 'then he clarifies that David Godman got his nationality wrong' is the same person, but NOT the person that wrote the main text of the Cyber-Sangha article.
Confusion arises on two fronts. First, confusion enters the picture if the reader of the Cyber-Sangha loses sight of the fact or forgets that it was not written by or referring to the Wanderling. Only the preamble was written and provided by the Wanderling (as well as the various footnotes and links), but NOT the main text that goes into the Enlightenment of the young man --- an Enlightenment others have suggested as running the gamut from being no more than 'intellectual satori' at one end to 'Dead Tree Zen' with no body transformation at the other. Secondly, it seems that for any number of people one's vision becomes clouded when any consideration of Enlightenment through the internet, however slight, is considered.
However, Hempel's Arjuna, the very well respected Arjuna Ardagh, and selected here by me as an example because of Hempel's knowledge of his stature and of which Hempel cites as influential in his master's thesis, writes:
"When we started teaching the Awakening Coaching Training online a few months ago, we had to find out how this would work when people were not in the same room, but sometimes separated by thousands of miles."
Followed in the next paragraph by:
"The amazing thing is that the results were exactly the same as if they were in the same room together. The one speaking reports that they feel completely held, loved. They notice that the issue begins to resolve itself on it's own. They feel a magical quality opening up in their consciousness."
Hempel writes, "Oops - so it is a different "arjuna." The Arjuna referred to by the Wandrling can be found by clicking HERE and perhaps maybe no Arjuna Ardagh like the one Hempel references, but he's no small potatoes guy either. The Arjuna the Wanderling cites holds an earned Master's Degree in Buddhist Studies with Merit from the University of Sunderland, North-east England (2011).
AND NOW THIS: Regarding David Godman
Hempel, drawing on information presented in a linked source, SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: The Last American Darshan, mentions David Godman in his last line that goes like:
"But then he clarifies that David Godman got his nationality wrong? Hmmm."
In the past Godman and I have some back and forth banter together. He is considered one of, if not the most leading authority regarding the life and times of the venerated Indian holy man the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. He is the author and editor of at least 10 highly informative books about Ramana and his disciples, including his first book, a classic and standard in Ramana lore, "Be As You Are." So, of things Ramana, he is no slouch.
While Godman is considered one of the major undisputed authorities when it comes to all things Ramana, mine is minor if it exists at all. However, our works do come together and parallel in a rather narrow special but high profile area concerning British author and playwright William Somerset Maugham --- and that area would be Maugham's meeting with Ramana at the ashram sometime in the late 1930s. So said, we both have longtime online pages surrounding that meeting and, for nearly as long as those pages have been up, contact surrounding same. If you went to the Sarlo link some paragraphs back you would have learned, as Sarlo says, that over the years I have undertaken to create my project using primarily free websites, assembling a myriad different sites, but all interwoven. As the free website places have folded and merged and changed their rules, I have shifted accordingly. Godman's major page on the subject, Somerset Maugham and The Razor's Edge has been caught up in that shifting and because of that Godman and I have come in contact with each other. Over the years the only link on Godman's page relative to Maugham and Ramana has been a link to my page The Razor's Edge. Each time the link was changed and I notified Godman he would go in and change the link on his page --- which is no longer the case by the way, as he has a new page with no mention of me. Previously however, we have shared much information, including that of Guy Hague, a person some people have suggested as being the role model for Maugham's main character Larry Darrell in The Razor's Edge. The possibility that Hague was Darrell has pretty much eroded over the years through Godman's and my pages, and of which instead, the person I call my Mentor rising to the top. If you want to see Godman's original Ramana-Maugham-Razor's Edge page that had the link back to me click HERE.
Actually, Godman didn't get the nationality wrong, but it was through his efforts the record got straight. The whole nationality thing arose several years after a well respected, long-time Sri Ramana Maharshi adherent named R.C. Rajamani gave a speech April 25, 1998 at the Arunachala Ashrama in New York City. Rajamani starts right out in his speech (later transcribed into the written word and published in the May/June 1998 issue of the Maharashi Newsletter) saying he was at the ashram in his early twenties and that he had been a devotee of Sri Ramana for over 55 years. In his speech, speaking of a young boy he observed, Rajamani says:
"Within an hour of his face-to-face meeting with Sri Bhagavan, his mental barriers were reduced to nothingness."
Rajamani also says, in relation to the event that transpired between the Maharshi and the young boy, that it was "still fresh in (his, i.e., Rajamani's) memory." The conclusion being drawn from his comments is that his speech-come-article was NOT written on the scene in the 1940s, but possibly recalled some fifty or sixty years later specifically for the year 1998 Aradhana program. In his speech, or at least as it ended up in the transcribed version, Rajamani cited the couple as being Australian and thus then by default, the boy with the couple being Australian. Of course, such was not the case. It may be even that it was only the man of the couple that was Australian, with the woman actually being American.
My suspicions are such because of the passport situation as told to me by my Uncle. I never saw the passport in question, but he told me that right after his mother death he went back to put her things in order. In doing so, among other things related to me, he came across a passport with a picture of the woman and myself as well as my long missing Captain Midnight decoder badge --- that also had a picture of me as a young boy in it and had played a huge role during my time at the Ramana ashram.
Although the couple left me at my grandmother's, how or why the woman's passport itself would fall into the hands of my grandmother on my father's side in Pennsylvania for any reason at all is not clear. However, if the woman was American and stayed in America she might not need one. Also, if she did need a passport and she was pictured with a son and no son was evident, that could cause a problem. As well, if she was Australian or an American traveling with her Australian husband she may have had a second passport --- an Australian one without a picture of a boy.
Not only Godman in his works, but so too the most respected Professor Laxmi Narain, who compiled and edited the book entitled "Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Enchanting and Uplifting Reminiscences of 160 persons" (Sri Ramana Kendram, 2005), has updated his book by including an additional forty face-to-face meetings with Ramana under the new title "Face to Face with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Enchanting and Uplifting Reminiscences of 202 Persons," which includes among the additional forty, Rajamani's story, and of which, both his and Godman's revised versions now reflecting the reality of the boy's nationality.
You can see for yourself the previously mentioned revision, as the case may be, in "real life" by going to the PDF online version of Laxmi Narain's book. Refer to Number 179, page 384, titled C.R. Rajamani. (see)
THE WANDERLING AND JAMES JOYCE'S ULYSSES
THE SAME OR DIFFERENT?
(please click image)
NOTICE TO ALL WHO HAVE TAKEN THE TIME TO READ ALL OF THE ABOVE:
It is with great pleasure that I inform all readers who may be so interested that Drew Hempel, to whom of which much of the above article circulates around, has written a highly informative response to what I have presented. Although you have to go to Hempel's page to determine for yourself what he has to say, for me personally I have a slight inkling that the framing of his comments about me working for a Southeast Asian drug lord as well as the list he presented on Ramana's past comes across just short of having a couple of thumbs pushed into your eyes (or as Hempel would say, haha). On the other hand, thumbs notwithstanding, Hempel's comments about Sri Ramana's first and second death experience and their relationship to his Awakening experience are right on target. Please 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
In the article Hempel, bringing up my comments of the deepening or ripening of the Enlightenment experience as presented in Dark Luminosity, offers the following regarding Sri Ramana's death experiences:
"When the wanderling says Ramana Maharshi stated his(i.e., the Wanderling's) mental barriers were reduced to nothingness -- to me this would be nirvikalpa samadhi and would be like Ramana Maharshi's first death experience. Of course everyone says Ramana Maharshi achieved Sahaja Samadhi at his first death experience. I even raised this on the Ramana Maharshi forum and David Godman said that the first death experience was all that was needed. I had pointed out that not until Ramana Maharshi had his heart stop for over ten minutes did he achieve 'eternal liberation' and that was only after nine years of non-stop nirvikalpa samadhi (or almost non-stop)."
I am pretty much in full agreement with Hempel regarding Ramana's second death experience. Actually, I get into Ramana and that event in his life on a page titled Sri Ramana's Second Death Experience that may add to the reader's knowledge of such things as related to the Enlightenment experience. In reference to Hempel's remarks on Ramana's heart stopping for over ten minutes I refer you to the following:
"Loss of both ego and fear is surmised stemming from the experience in which I (i.e., the Wanderling) 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.
"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 catogory."
the Wanderling, "ALFRED PULYAN: Richard Rose, My Mentor, and Me"
WORKING FOR DRUG LORDS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
As to any accusations by Hempel or anybody else regarding my background working for a drug lord in southeast Asia, although drug lord interactions by me carry an element of truth, working for a drug lord is far from an accurate interpretation of my interactions. It was originally a clandestine operation, as for example as found in the two links following the below quote:
"(W)hile other low-ranking members in the military contingent I was with were off trading cheap handmirrors and pocket combs for favors with the local tribeswomen I had gone off on my own volition like some Peace Corps volunteer rather than a heavily armed GI, to lend a hand in repairing and building an irrigation ditch and fresh water conduit that supplied drinking water to one of the villages."
Enlightenment, Buddhism, and Zen, but rather have opium, drugs, and heroin? Being in the Golden Triangle, meeting warlords, finding the the gateway and the underbelly of Southeast Asia. It's all there by just clicking away:
NAM YU: CIA LIMA SITE 118-A
MEETING DRUG LORDS, ET AL
MADAME NGUYEN CAO KY
(please click image)
THE PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER AND THE ASIAN WARLORD
PHYLLIS DAVIS: ONE WOMAN'S SEARCH FOR ENLIGHTENMENT
Hempel's inclusion of the list of comments about Ramana, Hitler and Nazis; followers doing dope at the ashram; and Ramana making his mother cry is a little questionable. It may have been presented to pop my balloon --- and possibly rightly so as Hempel may view it --- because I cite Ramana extensively in my works. Ramana remains a main focus in much of my early spirituality through to the present day, always in a positive light, mostly because MY experiences under his auspices were positive. Thing is I was a very young boy when I was taken to the Ramana ashram against my will by an adult couple I was fostered to. When the events at the stage stop surrounding Ramana occurred on Catalina Island I was around ten years old, still for all practical purposes a young boy. While I cannot say how it is for everybody, in my case, although I modified the decisions within the framework provided even up to the point of running away on more than one occasion, most of the overriding major decisions in my early childhood to my mid-to-late teens was pretty much determined by parents or parental figures (i.e., adults) in some fashion --- where I lived, the clothes provided for me to wear, the food made available to eat, where I went to school, that sort of thing. I don't think I ever bought a roll of toilet paper on my own in my life until I left high school. Somebody must have been doing it. A good example is me going to the Ramana ashram compared to Robert Adams going. Adams freely chose to go there at age 17 on his own. Me being there was more in line with my early childhood friend Adam Osborne --- parents or parental figures made the decision --- not that the outcome would have necessarily been any different.
Although you really have to go to Hempel's page and read all that he has to say in context, he writes regarding (I suspect) the Ramana episode on Catalina Island, of which that and similar type events experienced by a myriad of others is chronicled by me over and over in a number of places:
"And so the wanderling is relating how Ramana Maharshi seemingly teleported as bilocation to transmit energy into the wanderling"
Then goes on to say:
"Now I am not saying these experiences of bilocation energy transmissions were fake -- or imagined -- also I am not necessarily against Ramana Maharshi's Brahmin class elitist (fascist) atmosphere because the type of mind yoga practiced required such an atmosphere albeit in modern times it translates into a greatly regressive and repressive environment."
After visiting his page and reading what he has to say please go to the following link and read, including all of the attending links, regarding bilocation:
As for Ramana and caste segregation, Brahmin class elitist atmosphere and that sort of thing, please go to the following and read what is presented, especially the lower half of the page which is directed to the subject specifically:
Almost all of the above back-and-forth regarding Ramana and myself as cited by Hempel is primarily based on my first interaction and visit to the Ramana ashram. For additional insight, events leading up to and surrounding my second visit should really be added to the above. Please see:
THE CODE MAKER, THE ZEN MAKER
SHANGRI-LA, SHAMBHALA, GYANGANJ, BUDDHISM AND ZEN
For nothing more than a fair shake in comparison go to another page by Hempel that mentions a man of great spiritual attainment by the name of William Samuel and notice the reverence Hempel attaches to his comments. Samuel was at the ashram of Sri Ramana the same time I was there. Not only that, according to what he told my childhood friend Adam Osborne many years later, Samuel, Osborne and I, along with Osborne's mother and a few others, albeit not the Maharshi, participated in Giri Valam, the circumambulation of the holy mountain of Arunachala, during the time of the full moon. For more on that go to the Osborne page. For Hempel's page see:
WILLIAM SAMUEL: An Unheralded Voice of Enlightenment
NOTE: AN UPDATE. Although the William Samuel page I've linked to above looks and sounds like a Hempel page I have been informed such is not the case. Back in the day when I originally writing THIS page, for some reason, and I don't recall why now, I was led to believe it to be one of his works.
For another version regarding William Samuel visit the following site by Sandy Jones, the executor of Samuel's written works:
WILLIAM SAMUEL & FRIENDS: A SECRET REVEALED
In William Samuel's case I do not see a paragraph by paragraph breakdown of what he has presented in his writings, only acceptance. It sort of reminds me of the back and forth comments between myself and the very well respected Occidental professor C. Scott Littleton (now deceased). In Littleton vs the Wanderling I wrote:
"Although willing to cite my observance of the object in his own works because they substantiate his observations, Littleton has a tendency to overlay the observations with a wisp of skepticism --- primarily aimed at me personally and my credibility."
Like Samuel I do not claim to be a teacher, if anything I just shovel piles of shit out of the barn so the cows can have more space to move around in. After I have shoveled it out, that same shit so shoveled, if used the right way by the right people and in the right places as manure, can contribute toward making flowers bloom or nourishment to be consumed. As chronicled in Riding The Cab Forwards I tell about me as a young boy being on a remote dirt landing strip in the desert along the east side of the High Sierras during the middle of the night waiting with my uncle and the pilot to transport a mysterious woman from Reno to Las Vegas. When she showed up the pilot had the vehicle that brought her swing around behind the plane and shine the headlights down the strip. Then, just before he got in the plane, fired up the engine and we took off, he walked the landing strip one more time kicking rocks out of the way he didn't like. Like the pilot I kick rocks out of the way so the path can be made clear making it easier --- for those who may be so interested --- to soar.(see)
As for my own approach to William Samuel, which takes in different aspects of his life or elaborates it somewhat differently from my own perspective as compared to the two Samuel links above, please see:
A SOLDIER'S STORY
As for Doing Hard Time in a Zen Monastery, where the comments on working for a druglord stem from, since it is highly cryptic within the text and links, most people miss the boat on what is actually being presented. Beyond the blantantly obvious, once passage through the gates of the monastery occurs the story is seeped with with the warpage of time and Gyanganj (in the west Gyanganj is known as Shangri-la or Shambhala). For me it started with my Merchant Marine Friend and maybe even before, through to the burnt man as found in The Saigon Tea Girl and The Shipwrecked Sailor. As to Gyanganj, i.e., Shambhala, I refer you to the following:
"Shambhala then can be seen from theKalachakra Tantra Teaching as the abode of those who have found their way to the centre. It is quite literally a time-less place and, since space-time is a continuum, must therefore also be a place-less place. It stands above history because it stands out of time."(source)
Like I say, in the very first opening paragraph of Doing Hard Time In A Zen Monastery:
"(H)igh in the mountains and plateaus bordering up and behind that swath there exists many ancient and unknown to the outside world and all its turmoil, basically unhindered and unmolested, a smattering of monasteries operating almost independent of time."
NOTE: AN UPDATE It looks as though Hempel's blog is no longer active, so the information so suggested in the below paragraph to review is no longer available. He hasn't contacted me in a long time, so where he's gone or what he is doing these days I am not privy to.
See the new NOTE, NOTE, NEW UPDATE UPDATE, below.
Hempel's blog post dated September 13th wherein you could have found his responses to most if not all of my above comments no longer calls up. I'm done now, although after reading his response for some reason I feel compelled to dig up (literally) my old copy of Vishuddhi Magga.(see)
My thanks to you Drew Hempel, M.A., or if I may, Drew. I miss you buddy. If you ever decide to surface, contact me.
Truly bowing in deference,
NOTE, NOTE: A NEW, NEW UPDATE NOTE:
After three thousand light years of silence, out of the void comes Drew Hempel. In an email dated October 4, 2016, with, just like Drew, no explanation (none needed) he tells me he has a new website up and running. TRY HERE.
I have been notified recently by a long time emailer and Drew Hempel aficionado the Uncanny Hermit that the above link went down some time ago, but a new blog attributed to Hempel can be found by accessing HERE
The above in the New, New Blog. The following link is the Old New Blog HERE.
I don't know why I do this shit --- oops, I meant defecated nitrogenous waste deposits. Sorry. (see). If it wasn't for the fact that I firmly believe what Drew offers is something my readers should be aware of I would chuck the whole thing.
Additionally, even though Drew has resurfaced and available for interaction to all comers, I have however, NOT changed any of the above content of the original page because in my opinion it still remains highly relevant, showing all kinds of insight into who and where Hempel comes from, from any number of angles. Good to hear you are back. The internet wasn't the same without you.
With all the best, W.
THE SAIGON TEA GIRL
JOHNNY ROSELLI: MAFIOSO
THE WANDERLING AND HIS UNCLE
THE LADY ON THE DOCK AND THE PBY
THE LADY ON THE DOCK
(please click image)
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.
ON THE RAZOR'S
As to the subject of donations, for those who may be so interested as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
In a footnote to Doing Hard Time In A Zen Monastery, the following is found:
"(I)n 1977 I was in Hong Kong to seek audience with the famous translator Upasaka Lu K'uan Yu."
I go on to say the purpose of that meeting was to get a better handle on what the Zen master wrote. The Zen master in question was the master at the monastery. However, there was an equally strong if not even more so overriding reason I was in Hong Kong to meet with Lu K'uan Yu in 1977, and it revolves around handwritten Chinese characters given to me by the Zen man far away and high in the mountains above the monastery. Even though we were unable to communicate verbally because of not knowing each other's languages, there was a great nonverbal understanding between the two of us. When he showed me that he too had a small gold medallion just like the one I wore around my neck, through hand gestures, pantomime, and line drawings in the dirt I tried to get him to show me how it was he came into possession of the medallion. He drew a couple of cuneiform characters in the dirt and I copied them as best I could. He in turn, upon seeing how I copied them, nodded in agreement. However, nobody I showed them to could translate them --- hence my trip to Hong Kong. Even Lu K'uan Yu was baffled, alluding to the fact I may have copied them wrong. Eventually he was convinced the characters were meant to mean Gyanganj, a home for immortals said to be hidden in a valley in the remote Himalayas. For those who may be so interested, in the west Gyanganj is known as Shangri-la or Shambhala. Again, as previously suggested in the main text above, please see:
THE CODE MAKER, THE ZEN MAKER
SHANGRI-LA, SHAMBHALA, GYANGANJ, BUDDHISM AND ZEN
There is no negating Master Nan, Huai-chin nor pushing him off to the back burner because I take issue with his 'Dead Tree Zen.' He is one of my favorites and from him one of my most favorite quotations comes as found in his book Working Toward Enlightenment (Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1993) --- used by me in several places, but most notedly as used by me in my work titled Dark Luminosity. The quote circulates around the Second Patriarch of Zen, Hui-k'o, and goes thus:
"Hui-k'o, the Second Patriarch of Zen passed on the bowl and robe to his successor, the Third Patriarch, Seng-ts'an, signifying the Transmission of the Dharma. Hui-k'o, who had received the seal of approval from Bodhidharma himself, then went everywhere drinking and carousing around like a wildman and partaking in the offerings of the brothel districts. When people asked how he could do such a thing, being a Patriarch of the Zen school and all, he would respond with: 'What business is it of yours?'"
WORKING TOWARD ENLIGHTENMENT
THE EL REY CLUB: RESORT, CASINO, BROTHEL
FIFIE MALOUF: ENTREPRENEUR, SOCIALITE, MADAME
BRENDA ALLEN: MADAME, PROSTITUTE PAR EXCELLENCE
THE NORMANDIE CLUB
SAIGON TEA GIRL
Melting away any overlay of dualistic nature --- quasi-innate or implied --- in 'mind' on onehand, 'body transformation' on the other, Hempel, in an article titled The Rotten Root, of which you have to scroll down the page to find, but of which bears his byline, clearly imparts a deep level of understanding. Although not aimed toward the author of Cyber-Sangha specifically, of the Awakening or Enlightenment experience generally, Hempel writes:
"This experience is the development of direct knowledge or immediate awareness. Unfortunately it is very common to develop 'over-exuberant heroics,' meaning that a person becomes very excited about their new exalted state, they become attached to the powers and lose focus of the nondualist principles that the powers are derived from. At this stage the person wants to tell everyone about their 'awakening' experience and wants to act out on their powers when instead this is the time of the greatest need for continuing to focus on the nondualism source, to focus on the macrocosm within. Also at this stage, beside the problem of getting too excited and out of balance from attachment to the powers, it is also very easy to become scared."(see)
Barring the Buddha's encounter with Mara the Temptor, except in very a rare instance now and then, does fear show up in classic Zen literature on the way to Enlightenment --- and for sure, not as a main, ongoing theme. Why that is such I am not sure. It may hinge on the fact that in most of the historical situations that have come down to us, the monks involved were directly under the auspices of Masters who could deal with fear as it unfolded. In the contempory scene, in that fear didn't come down from the eternals or historicals to the masses, most people along the path either promulgating or seeking Enlightenment in the present day modern world, probably don't consider fear as a factor. For me however, it is a direct gage as to one's authenticity. Why? Because of my own personal experience. Below is a quote found in an interview of me from some years ago:
"Under his auspices as a young teenage boy still in high school I was coached and guided into the practice of Samadhi and eventually Deep Samadhi. There is a place one reaches where you no longer are. Just before that point it is one of the most frightening experiences imaginable. I would not let loose because I was afraid that I would 'not be able to get back.' Thinking back I recall fears of what would I do if 'somebody took my body' for example...perhaps thinking I was 'dead.' It is like you are actually gone."
FEAR IN ENLIGHTENMENT AND ZEN
One last quick thing about Hempel's second response as seen on his blog dated September 13th. While almost anything anybody would want to know (at least Samsara-wise) is basically online now, and typically for me --- except for people I interview personally --- the internet is used as my primary source of research for almost everything. At the time I wrote what is presented on Nirodha however, I used my own, now years old hardback copy of the Visuddhi Magga, which I still have --- a 1975 version printed by the Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, Sri Lanka --- and on funky paper at that. As to Nirodha I wrote:
"There is a Sanskrit word NIRODHA described usually as cessation that carries with it a more in depth meaning. In the index of the Visuddi Magga, for example, there are over twenty-five references that need to be read in context in order to cull out a fuller more concise meaning."(source)
I will have to give this one to Hempel because, as he says, you actually have to go to the word "cessation" in the index. There is, however, one vine I can grab onto slightly before falling over the precipice --- in the Google online copy, on page 754 in the Index (page 843 verbatim in my book), directly after the word "cessation" in parenthesis and italics is the word "nirodha." See:
Good research on Hempel's part. He doesn't mince words nor take anything for granted. The following, said to have come from the sutras:
A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself out over the edge of the cliff. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below and well beyond the length of the vine, another tiger was waiting, appearing all the same as hungry as the one above. Only the vine sustained him.
Two mice began to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!
The link is no longer active. Hempel's blog, just like Hempel himself, has disappeared into cyber space. To my knowledge he has made no attempt to make himself visible or his whereabouts known under his own name or usually known monikers, screen names, or handles on a public level --- nor has he tried to contact me personally in any fashion that I am aware of. We can only hope he is alive and well and will return soon to continue to serve mankind in his own Drew Hempel way.
Hempel was no doofus. There are several hardback books he wrote, titles of which are accessible by clicking HERE. To see where he came from is just to read his father's obituary, who passed away March 12, 2011, may he rest in peace:
WILLIAM JOHN HEMPEL
P.S.: Remember, Hempel has resurfaced and available to all comers. Please see the contact link at the end of the main text.
THE BEST OF THE MAUGHAM BIOGRAPHIES:
SPIRITUAL GUIDES, GURUS, AND TEACHERS INFLUENTIAL IN THE RAZOR'S EDGE:
HAVING ICED TEAS
"Sometime in the spring of 1982 and a year or so after being gone two years in the Peace Corps, a very good friend of mine, a onetime philosophy major that I had known in college, but somehow now having morphed into a big time computer geek, contacted me.
"She told me the man she loved was on the waiting list for a heart transplant at Stanford University and that she had moved to a small studio apartment in Campbell, California to work in Silicon Valley and be within driving distance to see him. She wanted to know if there was some way I might be able to console him as he was wrought with anxiety almost to the point of a total breakdown --- in turn adversely impacting his health and preparedness for the transplant. Before a new heart with his match was available he died."
The above quote opens an article about Adam Osborne, who was not only a friend of mine and major foe and adversary to Steve Jobs of Apple Computer fame in their early years, he also grew up as a young boy in the ashram of the venerated Indian holy man the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, and where I met him. Osborne is, however not the person so mentioned on the waiting list. He came into the picture because of the person on the waiting list.
In the main text of the Osborne article I write that my initial stay of several days after going to Silicon Valley turned into several weeks, then several months, eventually extending into a period pushing nine months. However, I wasn't there totally from day one day-after-day around the clock through to my departure. During that period I was sort of using the area as a base of operations just like I would almost anywhere, coming and going as needed doing any number of things. Plus, for most of that period my friend had a regular day job and mostly unavailable during working hours and just as well, often not able to put together several days back-to-back over any extended span on a regular basis either.
It was under the above circumstances that during a trip to Southern California I ran into Madame Ky, the former Dang Tuyet Mai, at her boutique. The two of us knew each other through her husband, I just didn't know she had opened a boutique. As it was, typically I would have no call to be at the particular mall her business was located, but on the day we ran into each other I had gone there specifically looking for someone. The daughter of a couple I knew who lived on the east coast had only just graduated from college and moved to Southern California and started the very first year of her very first job as a special needs teacher. The school, Gill Special Education Center, an Orange County Department of Education school site, was located in a residential area in a former elementary school about three blocks south of the mall. I had told the parents, given a chance, that when I was in Orange County I would go by to see how she was doing. The day I went by the school she had taken her class on a community outing to have lunch at the mall. While at the mall I just happened to come across Madame Ky. We made arrangements to see each other again and after that I saw Madame Ky several times, usually for tea and chat.
(for larger size please click image)
During one of those meetings I told her that on that particular afternoon, as soon as we were done with our tea, I would be heading out to Cabo San Lucas for a few days to stay at a hotel resort located basically right on the tip of Baja California called the Twin Dolphin owned by a friend of mine, David J. Halliburton, Sr. Embellishing the story a bit, although still true, I told her that one of Halliburton's first loves was a niece of my Stepmother who was babysitting me for the summer, a girl he always held in high regard. In turn Halliburton made it a point to ensure my stay at the Twin Dolphin was always special. With that Madame Ky said she wanted to go too. So she did, the two of us spending several days or more together at the Twin Dolphin. General Ky, thinking of me more as a monk and apparently slipping his mind that I was a onetime G.I., it presented no problem. Hah!