Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

For the sake of ornament and illumination.

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:04 am

TANTRA-INDUCED DELUSIONAL SYNDROME ("TIDS"), by Charles Carreon

TIDS: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome

Abstract

Taking clinical note of the increased manifestation of acute and chronic delusional ideation among practicioners of tantra, a new entry for DSM-V is proposed: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome (“TIDS”). Currently, enthusiasm for tantra is high among mental health professionals seeking alternative analytical and therapeutic models, and critical awareness is correspondingly low. This article, authored not by a mental-health professional, but rather by an attorney with extensive experience with tantric lifestyles, focuses on the case histories of three American tantric teachers who manifested destructive delusional behavior. The article identifies the risk-promoting character of tantric doctrine as the etiological root of their pathology, considers how delusional pathology transfers to tantric students, and describes the social dynamics of guru-dominated communities as potential breeding grounds for self-reinforcing delusional behavior. The article proposes three types of TIDS, “Guru-side,” “Student-side,” and “Transitional,” and suggests treatment modalities.


Tantra, A Risk-Promoting Spiritual Path

Tantra originated in India during an indistinct time period in the second millennium B.C., as a spiritual style that infused virtually all Indian religions, including the Vedic, Jain and Buddhist traditions, with colorful, imaginative characteristics. Once tantra touches a spiritual path, it is irrevocably reshaped into a path that extols the virtues of risk-taking and focuses on attracting students with an appetite for drama and excitement. Buddhist tantra bears little similarity to the original teachings of the Buddha who was born in Lumbini, enlightened at Bodhgaya, and founded the world’s largest and most enduring monastic brotherhood. The original Buddhists engaged in simple meditation practices to clear the mind and still the passions, Tibetan “Vajrayana” Buddhists practice magical rituals in which they invoke a “tutelary deity” through the use of a “seed mantra” and cognize themselves as “emanations” of this divine being, residing in an alternate universe where all sounds are the divine mantra, and all thoughts are divine wisdom. Although the Buddha disclaimed guru status and advised his devotees to “work out their own salvation with diligence,” Vajrayana Buddhists venerate their gurus extravagantly, literally believing them to be infallible and more important than the historical Buddha.

While there are no doubt legitimate manifestations of tantra, it always proceeds on the basis of postulates, not on the basis of introspection or subjective observations. Several tantric postulates make the tantric path attractive to spiritual strivers:

• The nature of ordinary existence is divine;
• The divine nature is concealed by the passions;
• Wisdom is revealed by transmutation of the passions;
• The guru has the power to transmute the passions; and,
• Rejecting the guru’s grace is the path to self-destruction.

The passions referred to in these postulates are all emotional and intellectual distortions of “clear perception,” including the core attachment to one’s own self-identity. Thus, when presented to beginners as a dualistic, either-or approach to enlightenment, the door to dangerous misunderstandings is flung wide open. Ironically, the tantric path is often made more attractive to risk-takers by the outright declaration that it is dangerous, like a steep climb up a cliff, compared with the slow and steady ascent pursued by stodgier practicioners.

Teachers and Students Enable Each Other

In modern-day America, “tantra” is often taught by virtual neophytes encouraged by traditional tantric teachers eager to seed new soil with their doctrine. Presented with the opportunity to play the guru, many of these newly-minted give in to the opportunity to exploit their students, and thus fall victim to the first danger of which serious tantric teachers give warning – the seduction of worldly power. Students who start off as bohemian rebels and non-conformists easily fall under the spell of tantric teachers who strut like fast-buck artists, adopt tough-guy personas, and exude an air of the-devil-may-care. Ironically, they may soon find themselves in the clutches of a psychology familiar to habitués of the bondage and domination scene.

Modern tantric teachers set about magnetizing a “mandala of students” who find their own individual reasons to adopt and spread the belief that they have established contact with a genuine tantric guru. Once a sufficient critical mass of students adopts this belief, it sets in motion a whirlpool of self-reinforcing behavior that exerts the psychological gravitational force of a black hole, sucking in large numbers of vulnerable souls. The community of Student-side TIDS sufferers reinforce each others’ mental enslavement through a shared, self-perpetuating delusion. Mid-level managers of the community primarily suffer from Transitional TIDS, a tense condition alternating between pride at being a community insider and anxious fear of exposure and humiliation. At the apex of this pyramid of misery sits the proliferator of the scheme, immersed in the psychotic pleasure of Guru-side TIDS.

Guru-side TIDS

In this article, which is but a preliminary foray into a promising field of diagnostic research, three case studies provide the basis for our hypothesis that Guru-side TIDS is a particularized psychological disorder -- Thomas Rich (Osel Tendzin), Catherine Burroughs (Jetsunma), and Franklin Jones (Adi Da Samraj). As these cases reveal, Guru-side TIDS is definitively a predatory, antisocial pathology that sometimes assumes criminal proportions and leads to devastating consequences.

Thomas Rich

Rich’s ascent to the status of Tantric guru was facilitated by his own tantric teacher, the once-legendary enfant terrible of Tibetan Buddhism, Chogyam Trungpa. Trungpa, the author of “Born In Tibet,” and many other books, was enthroned in early childhood as the Eleventh Trungpa Tulku of Surmang Monastery in a remote region of Tibet. Trungpa established the Vajradhatu organization in Boulder, Colorado, and prior to his death, pronounced Rich to be his Vajra Regent, to rule in his stead after Trungpa’s death and until the birth of the Twelfth incarnation of Trungpa Tulku.

Trungpa himself had been a famous drunkard and womanizer, as well as a talented poet and magnetic personality. Rich attempted to behave similarly. Tragically, Rich suffered not only from Guru-side TIDS, but also from AIDS. Not long after Trungpa’s death, he embarked on a series of sexual escapades and engaged in unprotected sex with several students. The reason? Due to TIDS-caused delusions, Tendzin believed that his bodily fluids did not transmit the disease. As a result at least one student and his female partner died of the lethal virus.

The conduct of Rich’s devoted students was equally reprehensible and casts a harsh light on the behavior of Transitional TIDS victims, the middle-managers of the dysfunctional Vajradhatu dynasty. Although many of Trungpa’s closest students were writers and artists, including the renowned poet Alan Ginsberg, and the Vajradhatu had its own newspaper, The Vajradhatu Sun, the entire matter of the AIDS deaths was hushed up, and never discussed openly by the cult leaders. Rich’s personal criminal misconduct was covered up, and legal protections against lawsuits by the victims were adopted in a corporate reorganization that downplayed Trungpa’s legacy and changed the name of the cult from Vajradhatu to Shambhala. In her biography, Trungpa’s wife has claimed Trungpa regretted appointing Rich his Regent, but failed to take action to disempower him. Since Trungpa, decimated by alcoholism, was barely able to relieve himself without assistance at the end of his life, it is not surprising that he was unable to disarm the time bomb he’d unleashed on his students. A man named Patrick Sweeney continues to gnaw the cud of the disgraced Regent, claiming to be his “dharma heir,” and operating the Satdharma group under those questionable auspices.

Catherine Burroughs

Catherine Burroughs began her career as a garden-variety psychic medium who purported to “channel” the spirits of wisdom teachers who had long ago departed this earth. Operating from her suburban lair near Washington, D.C., Burroughs tapped the manic energy that drives the over-achieving technocrats and hyperactive communicators who swarm through the bureaucratic warrens of the nation’s capital. Gifted with a knack for giving orders, Burroughs imposed heavy demands on her followers, pressing them into keeping a twenty-four hour world peace vigil that induced heavy competition among her devotees.

Burroughs’ transformation to Guru-hood was also accomplished with the aid of a Tibetan lama, who was wowed by her ability to maintain a stable of high-achieving, top-dollar donating students. Gyatrul Rinpoche, a Vajrayana teacher of the Nyingma sect who had established his own temple near Ashland, Oregon, endorsed Burroughs as a tulku, a reincarnated Bodhisattva, or “Hero of Enlightenment.” Burroughs saw the opening, and quickly negotiated a merger of her people skills with the established cachet of the two-thousand year-old Vajrayana brand, assuming the name of Jetsun Akhon Norbu Lhamo, and redecorating her temple with a blend of traditional Tibetan imagery and New Age crystals. “Jetsunma,” as she came to be familiarly known, assumed her place on the traditional lama’s throne, donned resplendent brocade robes, and doffed the peaked “lotus hat” that lamas wear on ceremonial occasions. The effect would have been silly if anyone with ordinary sensibilities had been able to view the proceedings; but by then the critical mass of Student-side TIDS sufferers had generated a field of delusive glamour, and Burroughs’ unabashed self-love conquered all hearts. For a while.

As her authority grew unchecked, her antisocial inclinations and intolerance with dissent waxed ever more virulent. Burroughs’ demands for money and power crescendoed in a rampage of bizarre behavior that included serial marriages to several students twenty years her junior, rapacious financial exploitation of her flock, and culminated in her arrest by the Maryland State Police for battery on a young nun. Shortly thereafter, Burroughs moved to Sedona, Arizona, and in almost clichéd fashion, Burroughs predicted a series of “earth catastrophes” that failed to take place in 1999.

Franklin Jones

Jones was once a handsome young writer with a Masters in English from Stanford. After serving his apprenticeship with the two tantric gurus Rudrananda and Muktananda, he assembled his own flock of sycophants. A prolific writer blessed with the gift of gab, Jones’ spiritual opus, “The Knee of Listening,” became a staple on the bookshelves of hippies inclined to philosophical nattering. Starting out in Los Angeles, he took advantage of the drug culture in the sixties to induct young, beautiful women into his cult. Jones’ story gives us insight into one of the important methods of inducing Student-side TIDS among followers. It is axiomatic that women will perceive any man as dominant who commands the devotion of all other men. Jones conquered women by surrounding himself with subservient male devotees. During all-night drug and drinking parties, Jones would deploy his male devotees to separate women from their boyfriends or husbands. Jones would then make his move on the new woman. By morning, she would have discovered a new form of bliss in the arms of the guru, and her ordinary lover would have his ego reduced to the size of a pin. Unable to leave his woman behind, and equally unable to argue her away from Jones, the cuckolded man would often become a new devotee. Thus Jones acquired two TIDS victims for the price of one.

In 1985, Jones’ abuse of his devotees exploded in the national press and a he settled a string of lawsuits that alleged what was widely-known in hippie society – that his “communities” were parasitic projects that enriched him with sex, money and power, leaving his devotees psychologically and financially deprived. He bought a small island in Fiji from actor Raymond Burr and moved there with a clutch of disciples whose fate it was to explore the heart of darkness.

Over the years, Jones extracted enough wealth from his devotees to sustain a remarkably self-indulgent lifestyle, toward the end of which he was able to pose as a visual artist who integrated digital photography with monumental aluminum installations that were displayed in Italy and praised by a stable of pet intellectuals in fatuous post-modern style: “It is Adi Da Samraj’s imaginative triumph to have conveyed the illusions created by discrepant points of view and the emotionally liberating effect when they aesthetically unite in the psyche of the shocked perceiver.”

Until the end of his life in November 2007, by way of singing for his supper, Jones continued to emit his original spiritual prose stylings: "I Am The Perfectly Subjective Divine Person, Self-Manifested As The Ruchira Avatar—Who Is The First, The Last, and The Only Adept-Realizer, Adept-Revealer, and Adept-Revelation of The Seventh Stage of Life.”

For several days after his death, Jones’ devotees entertained the notion that he might “wake up” from a fatal heart attack, a notion that they apparently abandoned reluctantly, presumably when the odor of putrefaction became evident. Even the most slavish student-side TIDS sufferers will be forced to admit, after a decent interval, that the guru’s shit admittedly stinks.

Student-side TIDS

Student-side TIDS can develop after relatively brief immersion in a Tantric guru-student relationship. The roots of Student-side TIDS lie in the student’s feeling that they are missing out on the truly miraculous character of a world they believe exists, but are unable to contact. They may have experienced, through drugs, romantic adventures, travel or other emotional stimulants, a sense that life has occasionally parted the veil and allows them to glimpse a magical universe, and that if they could establish a connection with this other realm, they could escape the dull reality in which they feel themselves confined. Tantra is generally not for those students who are comfortable with sustained intellectual effort in pursuit of spiritual awareness. However, it often attracts those fond of mastering an arcane vocabulary, esoteric symbols, and a pantheon of gods and goddesses. Spiritual seekers drawn to tantra share some of the psychological traits of compulsive gamblers, who have an unshakeable faith in their unique luck, and a passionate desire to harvest outsized rewards.

Students of tantric teachers often suffer from a derogatory self-image, and seek to ally themselves with the glamour emanating from the guru. Inclined to believe in their own specialness, but convinced that they cannot achieve transcendence by their own efforts, they place their faith in esoteric traditions that hold the promise of revealing secret knowledge. Tantric teachers whipsaw students emotionally by alternately deriding them for their emotional and intellectual efforts, teasingly making a show of effortless transcendence, then accusing them savagely for being unable to make the petty sacrifices of time and money that would demonstrate the sincerity of their devotion. Tantric teachers also use standard methods of breaking down social conditioning and inducing dependence on the tantric teacher by requiring participation in lengthy rituals and practices, demanding that they render personal services to the teacher and his family, and doling out humiliation as if it were a blessing. Sleep deprivation and rote repetitions of ritual acts also serve to deaden mental acuity and induce an undiscerning mental state in which a fog of confusion can be recharacterized as a sense of removal from worldly attachment. In the tantric environment, all activities and events are re-imagined as sacred portents and harbingers of blessings or misfortune. Nothing that happens in the “mandala” is ever ordinary, thus life becomes charged with imputed significance.

The net result of the tantric milieu is to institutionalize a groupthink founded on individual helplessness and total dependence on the guru. Individually, this may deepen into self-hate, an obsession with the person of the guru, performance of acts of extreme self-sacrifice to obtain approval from the guru, and even the veneration of the guru's physical detritus, i.e., nail and hair clippings. Student-side TIDS may induce bouts of acute anxiety alternating with depression, episodic flights from reality characterized by transient ecstasy and self-deification, compulsive meditative or devotional behavior, and the nagging fear of damnation, referred to in tantric circles as "Vajra Hell."

Student-side TIDS also takes on various apparently benign forms, that manifest in persons with a bland personality or low intellectual vitality, who feel best when kept in a low position without hope of advancement. People who avoid challenges and suffer anxiety primarily when presented with changes of routine may find Student-side TIDS to be a perfect refuge from the rigors of ordinary life. When combined with the narcotic effect of mantra recitation and avoidance of troubling discursive thought, the result can be the formation of a personality happily uninterested in the various pursuits that comprise the elements of an ordinary, satisfying life, such as relationships with other people, having children, a satisfying career, or aesthetic and intellectual activities.

Transitional TIDS

Transitional TIDS develops in some victims of Student-TIDS after a long period of earnest striving to earn the favor of the guru. Transitional TIDS emerges only when fertilized by encouragement from the guru, and is characterized by feelings of superiority, identification with the dominating image of the guru, and confidence that one will in fact attain guru status. Transitional-TIDS sufferers assume the role of go-betweens in the TIDS community, transmitting messages to and from the guru, arranging monetary transfers, and helping Student TIDS victims to establish their credentials. Transitional TIDS often manisfests in subtle and gross anti-social predatory behavior typical of those afflicted by Guru-TIDS. Transitional TIDS usually develops into a cyclic pattern in which the characteristics of Student-TIDS, i.e., ambitious hope and low self image, alternate with the manic character of Guru-TIDS, i.e., self-deification and megalomania, creating a alternating vortex of delusional activity that is manipulated by the guru to satisfy his or her own pathological whims.

Transitional TIDS sufferers, torn by the tension of alternating between ambition and hope on the one hand, and humilitation and despair on the other, often suffer from a suppression of affect that gives them a rigid, serious cast of mind. Transitional TIDS tends to extinguish the sense of humor, and victims of the intense mental division that characterizes this state of mind rarely smile or laugh except when the Guru makes a joke. They will often make attempts at humor that they believe reflect the Guru’s apparently spontaneous style, but such attempts usually fail, eliciting only false laughter from Student-side TIDS sufferers, who are attempting to curry favor from a higher-status devotee. Transitional TIDS sufferers thus are entombed in their personal rigidity and surrounded by a social environment of extreme conformity and predictability, a sort of frozen hell from which they gain a respite only during bouts of despondency and self-loathing.

Treatment Modalities

Student-side TIDS is treatable if the victim can be removed from the TIDS-saturated environment and is engaged in extensive talk-therapy with persons who know nothing about the guru who is the focus of infatuation. For example, simply being put to work in a position involving manual labor, in the company of people who do not know or care about the guru, can be remarkably effective. The complete lack of responsiveness to discussion of the guru tends to give the TIDS-sufferer pause, as they realize that people can live not only without their guru, but without any guru whatsoever. Talk-therapy with people of a “spiritual” bent is, not surprisingly, generally unhelpful. The key to treatment, if a quick cure is desired, is simply to extract the victim from the environment, expose them to ordinary life, and allow their mind to recover from the continuous flow of obsessive guru-regard.

Transitional TIDS poses somewhat of a more difficult problem, but is treatable. The Transitional TIDS sufferer is much more likely to break out of their cycle through an explosion of anger when their hopes of achieving Guru-hood are suddenly exploded. Interestingly, gurus can provoke such occurrences by taxing a student’s loyalty to an extreme, suddenly breaking the illusion that the guru actually loves the student, leaving the student feeling extraordinarily bereft. Another exit point may appear when the Transitional TIDS victim hits a low point of disappointment, that may be provoked by an excessive humiliation at the hands of the Guru or one of his/her minions. Finally, jealousy may arise when a Transitional TIDS sufferer realizes that other people, less spiritual, less devoted, even less intelligent or sensistive to life, are having a wonderful time on a much smaller endowment of spiritual excitement.

Guru-side TIDS is of course, statistically a much rarer phenomenon than Student or Transitional-Side TIDS, and occasions for treatment are almost never presented. Further, by and large, the experience of Guru-side TIDS seems to spark little desire for change in the mind of the guru, and without that impetus, change is extremely unlikely.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while there are hopeful methods of treatment for Student-TIDS and Transitional TIDS, those afflicted with Guru-TIDS face a bleak diagnosis, because once a Tantric authority “recognizes” an individual’s Guru status, and students begin reinforcing it, a self-reinforcing delusional system is established from which anecdotal evidence indicates there is no exit. Indeed, because enabling the Guru’s pathology is the central rationale for the TIDS-powered community, it sets up a perpetual-motion machine that defies the erosion of popularity that even pop stars and first-tier Hollywood actors suffer. If we were sufficiently cynical, we might entertain the notion that Gurus have somehow achieved an enviable position, but then we would be obliged to elevate tapeworms and ticks to a position higher on the evolutionary ladder.

Copyright 2009, Charles Carreon

CharlesCarreon.com
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:06 am

THANKS FROM A GRATEFUL NATION -- AWARDING THE CROSS OF SECRET ACHIEVEMENT TO THE DALAI LAMA, by Charles Carreon

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The 14th Dalai Lama has been a friend to American interests for his entire adult life, since he abdicated his throne in order to save his people from the dangers of .... Well, okay, it didn't turn out very well for the Tibetans, but he did save his skin, his stash of cash, and a lot of reactionary Tibetan oligarchs who came with him. Fortunately, the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America was able to provide him with employment as soon as he arrived in India. Since then, he has reliably made himself a thorn in the side of the Chinese, giving the United States the leverage it has needed to build an arms-length trading relationship that now supplies us with enough borrowed money to buy all the microchips, flat screens, cell phones and cheap clothing we could ever want. While his aspirations to someday "return to Tibet" are unlikely to be fulfilled, his mission on behalf of America has been far more successful, and with the installation of numerous "tulkus" on the boards of nonprofit organizations throughout the United States, the exchange has been more than fair. His country has infiltrated ours, and our country has used his people to the best advantage. For this, we commend him, and with heartfelt thanks award him the Cross of Secret Achievement.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:07 am

THE CORPORATION -- A MOVIE EVERY PERSON SHOULD SEE, by Charles Carreon

First question: How did corporations become the major beneficiaries of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was enacted to prevent recently-freed slaves from being deprived of life, liberty, and property?

Second question: Since corporations are designed by law as the profit-seeking extensions of their shareholders, who are insulated from personal liability for the wrongful conduct of the corporation; since corporations repeatedly break laws intended to protect human health and the public benefit, employing deception as routine practice; since corporations exhibit no remorse for their misdeeds and perpetrate wrong as a routine practice; would it not therefore be appropriate to diagnose corporate behavior as psychopathic?

The Corporation, a movie I just saw tonight, answers the first question and poses the second. It then proceeds to analyze the nature of corporate crimes against human beings, highlighting dramatic confrontations between oppressed people and corporate goons, giving equal time to the avuncular, bushy-browed Chief Executive of Shell Oil, and to a pedantic economic analyst who waxes eloquent on the joys of pollution credits and how well the world will be cared for when every square inch of it is privately owned.

The movie devotes a good share of time to the fight by the people of Cochabamba, Bolivia, to free themselves from an oppressive private water company that was imposed on them by the International Monetary Fund. This devil's bargain put Bechtel in the position of selling water to Bolivians, even criminalizing the act of gathering rainfall, and jacking the price of water up to a quarter of the income of these simple people, for whom life is hard enough without thirst and a lack of washing water to make it still more cruel. It also reprised footage of Michael Moore inviting Phil Knight to come visit his sweatshops in Indonesia, and covered the Kathy Lee/Wal Mart sweatshop flap, which apparently did not in any degree alter Wal Mart's purchasing policies, but did popularize the issue, leading to a big anti-sweatshop deal with The Gap.

The film also contrasts images of opulent soirees in the conference rooms of the Seattle WTO summit, while anarchists swirled around the building, attacking the barricades. It is hard to tell, in these scenes, who is more out of touch -- the trade boosters who shoehorn the world's economy into their projection of perfection, or the zealots who attack a corporate monolith that they do not comprehend.

While corporations will poison, beat, starve, and extort in the developing world, they use media manipulation to deaden public awareness and distort the truth in the "developed world." How far the media monopolists will go to kill the truth is made clear by the sad story of a couple of Fox reporters in Florida, Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, who tried to break the scandal that Monsanto is poisoning cows and people with bovine growth hormone ("Prolactin"). While they were highly touted as "investigative journalists," their story was the wrong story. Fox wouldn't run it, and they were jacked around, threatened with firing, jacked around more, fired, and even after they sued, they were deprived of their wrongful termination jury verdict by an appeals court that said there was nothing illegal about manufacturing a false news story to distort the truth in favor of the Monsanto-controlled-milk industry; therefore, there had been nothing illegal about firing them for refusing to engineer a false story. Why I never wanted to be a lawyer. I knew courts pull that kinda crap. Yeccccchhh. Makes ya wanna shower.

The film tries to balance criticism of the corps with an encouraging message that changes sometimes happen when people fight back against corporate abuse. We are each encouraged to plant an acorn of faith that we, the living, breathing creatures, can recover our freedom from the Hannibal Lecter-like corporate monsters that prey on humanity, using divide and conquer techniques to keep on devouring the earth and its children.

The most encouraging character is a kindly carpet magnate, who said he had an epiphany when he read "The Ecology of Commerce, A Declaration of Sustainability," by Paul Hawken. He realized that he was a plunderer, because he was taking wastefully from the planet's resources to create his product, and producing garbage. Since his epiphany, his company has become 30% more sustainable, or something like that, and he aims to reach what he calls "the peak of Mt. Sustainability" for his business by 2020.

One of my favorite stories is about a Roman tribune who was leading a troop of soldiers in the Middle East when he saw an old man planting fig trees he'd grown from cuttings. He called the old man to him and asked why he was performing this labor when he'd never be around to eat the figs. The old man replied that while that might be true, even if he weren't around, his children would be, and they would benefit. Years later, the tribune, grown older and more powerful, camped with his regiment in a grove of figs. Once again, he saw the old man laboring, and told his soldiers that he wanted a bag of figs from the old man, and to have him bring them to him personally. When the old man entered his presence, he directed the man to put the figs in a bowl, and ordered his treasurer to fill the empty bag with gold. So there were two wise men, and both of them made more fortunate thereby -- the tribune enriched in wisdom, and the old man in all manner of bounty.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:11 am

THE DALAI LAMAS, PRISONERS OF THE POTALA JUNTA, by Charles Carreon

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Everybody knows the Dalai Lama. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for a new sort of reason. Most people get it because they caused peace to break out in some region of the world where warfare had previously been the norm, but the Dalai Lama didn’t do that. Tibet is probably as un-peaceful as it’s ever been, and he never goes there. He’s the “leader of the Tibetan people in exile,” and his exile has not won the Tibetans peace, freedom, or anything else that is desirable. But let’s move on. This essay is about the history of the Dalai Lamas, that I almost guarantee will surprise you.

You probably know that the Dalai Lama, like many other Tibetan clerics, is said to be the latest in a long line of sacred “incarnations” of a single blessed being who migrates from one dead body to the next living one, getting smarter, more spiritual, more magical, and more worth bowing to with each successive “rebirth.” This means that the Fourteenth Dalai Lama should be at least thirteen times as experienced as any other human being, and therefore entitled to extraordinary deference for his past achievements, extending into the distant past.

You would expect, of course, that the First Dalai Lama might have known that he was the First Dalai Lama, and might have said something about planning on being reborn again. But that’s not the case. The First Dalai Lama never mentioned being a Dalai Lama, because he was only recognized "posthumously." Same with the Second Dalai Lama, who was also recognized posthumously. And since they never mentioned being the First and Second Dalai Lamas, who do you think identified them as such? Well, and I’ll tell you right now that you’re going to get better at this, they were both posthumously recognized by the Third Dalai Lama!

Under what circumstances did the Third Dalai Lama “recognize” his “previous incarnations?” Well of course, after he identified himself as the Third Dalai Lama. This tradition of picking your psychic ancestors and adopting their venerable character as your own might seem rather shabby, but Tibetan lamas have long engaged in retrospective embellishments of their past incarnations.

Furthermore, this tradition of burnishing one’s resume with illustrious past lives was not left behind in Tibet. On one of his first visits to the United States, while visiting Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate, Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, told a TIME Magazine reporter that he had a hunch he might have previously incarnated as Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, member of the First Constitutional Congress, and Third President of the United States. Let’s just assume that the Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s hunch was correct, and he was T. Jefferson, Founding Father of the USA, born April 13, 1743, died July 4, 1826. During most of that time period, the Eighth Dalai Lama, Jamphel Gyatso, was on the throne in Tibet (1758-1804). But in 1743, when Jefferson was born, the Seventh Dalai Lama was on the throne, so let’s assume that the Seventh Dalai Lama was capable of generating a double to be reborn in Virginia, and that there was no hiccup in Thomas Jefferson’s energy when the Seventh Dalai Lama died, and the Eighth Dalai Lama took over. You might even think harder about this topic, because if the Dalai Lama can generate two incarnations, then it would be wise to have overlapping incarnations, to eliminate the interregnum between one incarnation and the next. Keep this question in mind as you read on, because you will see why the Tibetans would never want to eliminate the interregnum between incarnations – that’s where all the fun happens.

There’s just one more question I want to ask about Thomas Jefferson. Was Jamphel Gyatso’s character at all like Thomas Jefferson’s? According to an article on Minnestoa Public Radio (“MPR”) website, Jamphel Gyatso "was uninterested in politics, and for a 150-year period starting with his reign, day-to-day power was exercised in Tibet … by a series of regents. During Jamphel Gyatso's reign, Tibet fought wars with the Gurkhas of Nepal, and received a delegation from England, which was interested in Tibet because of its strategic location in relation to British India, China, and Czarist Russia." [1] So Jamphel Gyatso/Thomas Jefferson was simultaneously fighting a war with Britain on one side of the world, having them to tea on the other side, and the British none the wiser.

However that works out, you'd figure that, having integrated his lessons from occupying the Oval Office on the other side of the world, the Ninth Dalai Lama would drop the apolitical stance of the Eighth Dalai Lama and import some democratic reforms into Tibet. Let's check the Ninth Dalai Lama’s record. Whoops! He didn't get much of a chance to adopt democratic reforms, since he was "likely murdered" at age 11 by his compassionate tutors. According to MPR, the Ninth Dalai Lama, Lungtok Gyatso (1806-1815) enjoyed a very brief reign. He "died at age 11 in the Potala palace. Some historians believe that, given the tumultuous state of Tibetan politics, he was assassinated. The subsequent three Dalai Lamas also died young. Some theories suggest they, too, were murdered." So the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Dalai Lamas all died young in the Potala Palace? Well, maybe he did come back from America with some ideas for reform, and those ideas didn’t receive a warm reception.

However, we have gotten a little ahead of ourselves. Let’s get back to the Third Dalai Lama, who recognized himself as the incarnation of two men who had apparently never prophesied that, in the future, they would be reborn in the person of the Third Dalai Lama. That’s interesting, because one of the bulwarks of "credibility" for the serial-reincarnation hypothesis is that the births of the reincarnated ones are foreseen by the prior incarnation. This slim warrant of authority is lacking for the real first Dalai Lama, i.e., the Third. But no one argued with him about it, or if they did, they didn’t fare well, because the Third Dalai Lama had Mongol muscle to back his claim.

Whatever he might have lacked in sanctity, the Third Dalai Lama made up for in political savvy. In 1578, he was hanging out with a Mongolian warlord named Altan Khan when suddenly he had a flash, and saw that in a past life, Khan had been a famous Tibetan warlord, whose spiritual mentor had been a prior incarnation of the Third Dalai Lama! It was a Happy Reunion, and both Altan Khan and the Third Dalai Lama made the most of it. The Mongols built huge temples, made massive offerings to the Buddhist faith, and both sides cemented their relationship to such a degree that when it came time to select a Fourth Dalai Lama, he turned out to be …. the grandson of Altan Khan. In this twist of fate you can see how, by skillfully re-defining the past, you can control the future.

The Fifth Dalai Lama, also known as the “Great” Dalai Lama, took full advantage of his close collaboration with the Mongolian armed forces. My source of Tibetan history for this comes from a website maintained by a Tibetan lama called the “Sharmapa,” whose own sect came into conflict with the Dalai Lama’s several hundred years ago, a wound that has not healed over the centuries, resulting in his willingness to provide a candid assessment of those olden times now so happily remembered by today’s New Agers as the golden age of Buddhist monarchy:

The landscape of the old Tibet was dotted with wars, political intrigue, and bloody feuds. For centuries, two old, “red-hat" Buddhist schools, the Sakya and the Kagyu, held, one after the other, undisputed sway over the country. By the beginning of the seventeenth century, a new power had emerged and began to threaten the political status quo: the Gelugs, or Virtuous Ones, a "yellow-hat," reformed Buddhist order, founded around 1410 by a disciple of the 4th Karmapa. Led by the mighty 5th Dalai Lama and his authoritative ministers, the Gelugs invited Gushri Khan, the Mongolian warlord, into Tibet in 1638. Their design was to break the power of the Kagyus, take over the government, and secure a hold on Kham in the east and the rebellious Tsang in the south of the country. Given free rein, the ferocious Mongol hordes razed to the ground or converted to the Gelugpa tradition a large number of Nyingma monasteries. The 10th Karmapa had to flee into a thirty-year exile after his camp was attacked by an army operating on orders from the Dalai Lama's ministers. The school of the Virtuous Ones imposed their political hegemony with sword and fire.


“Sword and fire,” eh? That usually is indicative of the activities of pious rulers eager to avoid bloodshed, right? Well, no worries – the Fifth Dalai Lama was enthusiastic about what he had to offer the Tibetan people, and to paraphrase Rumsfeld, you don’t go to temple with the followers you wish had…. Yes, the Fifth Dalai Lama was a powerful figure, so powerful in fact that after he died, his "Regent" concealed his death for about fifteen years. According to MPR, "Lozang Gyatso's death in 1682 was not announced until 1697, as the regent of Tibet attempted to monopolize power."

That's cool. Yeah, let’s conceal the Dalai Lama’s death for fifteen years, so we can run the country and -- wait a minute -- how the hell do you conceal the Dalai Lama's death for fifteen years? Wouldn't somebody notice? That will give you an idea how tightly lips were sealed in the Potala. And if you think you can keep a political secret for fifteen years without killing a few people and bribing a hell of a lot more, then you should definitely be a Tibetan Buddhist, 'cause you can believe anything.

But eventually, someone figured out that the Dalai Lama was dead (“He never drinks his tea!” say the servants) and you gotta pick a new one. No problem. Grab another kid and let’s go. And you don’t have to take the child of anybody famous – after all, they’re just going to kill him when he starts to mature. The Sixth Dalai Lama died young, at age 23. He made the mistake of alienating the Mongols who had made the Dalai Lamas the puppet leaders of the nation. The Mongols invaded, kicked him off the throne, and killed him when he tried to flee Tibet. From the MPR site: "Tsangyang Gyatso (1683-1706). Because of the delay in announcing the Fifth Dalai Lama's death, Tsangyang Gyatso was well into his teens before he was recognized as the Sixth Dalai Lama. He is considered to be the most unconventional Dalai Lama. He dressed as a layperson, drank wine, enjoyed the company of women and composed love songs that are still popular in Tibet. His eccentric style alienated him from Mongol leader Lhabzang Khan, who invaded Tibet during this time and deposed Tsangyang Gyatso. He died while leaving the country; many historians believe he was murdered. Lhabsang Khan appointed another monk, Yeshe Gyatso, as the Seventh Dalai Lama, but his legitimacy has never been recognized by the Tibetan people."

The Seventh Dalai Lama knew better than to annoy the politicians, and he played both sides against the middle. He got the Chinese to push out the Mongols who had deposed the Sixth Dalai Lama. But you know how it is with the Chinese – you invite them in to smoke a little opium, and they never go home! The Seventh Dalai Lama was a figurehead political leader, because the Chinese installed a governor, called the "Amban" to make all the decisions pursuant to Chinese law.

The Eighth Dalai Lama we already discussed. Another hands-off leader, thanks perhaps to having transferred his political spirit through the ether to his co-incarnation, Thomas Jefferson.

The Ninth Dalai Lama, as we know, died young. The stats on the 10th, 11th, and 12th Dalai Lamas make it clear that here was a position with no job security. From the MPR website again:

10th -- Tsultrim Gyatso (1816-1837). Like his predecessor, Tsultrim Gyatso died suddenly in Potala before assuming temporal power. During his brief life, Tibet continued to isolate itself, while keeping a suspicious eye on its borders.

11th -- Khendrup Gyatso (1838-1856). He was the third in a series of Dalai Lamas who died at an early age. During Khendrup Gyatso's life, China's influence in Tibet weakened further because of the Opium War and the Taiping Rebellion. Tibet's struggles continued with Nepal and Ladakh to the west.

12th -- Trinley Gyatso (1856-1875). His reign was a time of severe unrest among Tibet's neighbors. The weaker Qing dynasty was unable to provide military support because of its own battles. At the same time, the British intensified pressure on the Tibetan borders, from their colonial bastion in India.


Now we can discuss why the interregnum between incarnations is so useful. The point of “finding” a Dalai Lama and then killing him before he assumes power is to perpetuate Regent-Rule. Let the people have their Dalai Lama, but always keep him either in the cradle or in the grave, and never let him assume the throne. Then the Potala Junta can rule in his stead. Victor and Victoria Trimondi have written a book entitled The Shadow of the Dalai Lama, which alludes to murder and human sacrifice as elements of Tibetan Buddhist ritual. Before you discard this notion, you must consider this fact: the Holy Men in the Potala somehow killed the God-king Four Times! Serially going through this charade of "finding a reincarnation," taking him from his family, mummifying him in state regalia, then sending him off to the heavenly realms, after performing careful rituals to protect his soul from bruising during frequent deaths and rebirths. When you think of it that way, it makes all those images of little boys in silk robes and yellow hats somehow a little sinister, doesn’t it?

Now consider also that the old lamas who committed the god-murders were supposedly also reincarnating. The histories don’t say that the Potala Junta was finally broken up and the Twelfth Dalai Lama was therefore not murdered, and all of his killers were forbidden to reincarnate. No, the story is that the Potala Junta leaders continued to reincarnate, and their later incarnations still hold positions of power within the Gelugpa power structure.

So ask yourself this: When the Fourteenth Dalai Lama draws inspiration from his lineage, how does he do it? He of course knows the history of his past incarnations, although he never discusses it, but wouldn’t it be nice to ask him, “What's it like to be surrounded by the reincarnations of people who serially killed your past incarnations?” It would also be fun to ask: “How do you draw inspiration from the Third Dalai Lama, who was apparently a total opportunist? How do you draw inspiration from the Fourth Dalai Lama, the grandson of Altan Khan, whose ascension to the apex of ecclesiastical power was obviously rigged? How do you draw inspiration from the Fifth Dalai Lama, who converted people by the sword and acquired monasteries from competing sects in a gangsterish takeover assisted by Gushri Khan's Mongol thugs? How does this past history of your many incarnations, of whom so many were murdered, and so many others were involved in killing and political gamesmanship, add up to a Nobel Peace Prize?”

But let's move on. The Thirteenth Dalai Lama lived a normal lifespan. How? Well, he probably got to thinkin' about what had happened to the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Dalai Lamas, and caught a clue. He refused to live in the Potala Palace. He moved into the Summer Palace, the “Norbu Lingka,” and wouldn’t be budged. And he left the country for very long trips – spending several years in Russia as a guest of Gurdjieff (called Dorjieff in most of the books), and also spent some time in India. Supposedly he did this to escape Chinese aggression, but I suspect that was an excuse for getting out of Lhasa any damn way he could. Much better out there traveling amongst the poor people who think you're god, than in the castle, where everyone thinks they're god, and you're just a pawn in their game. All of the old conniving lamas stayed in Lhasa, with their wealth, concubines, and ceremonies. Out there on horseback with the yak herders, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama was a lot safer.

Take note that the Fourteenth Dalai Lama has followed the same tactic, at least by getting out of Lhasa. Of course, you probably think he made a wise move when he relocated to India in 1951 with financial assistance from the United States Central Intelligence Agency (a fact that you can independently confirm with an Internet search of “dalai lama admits cia payment”). But let’s take note that few heroic leaders whose people survived a hostile attack ever did so by fleeing to another country. When London was being bombed with V2 rockets and buzz bombs, did Churchill flee to America? Why did Israel push so hard to evict Arafat from Palestine? Because when the leader abdicates, his followers are leaderless. A leader in exile is no leader at all.

From a strategic, diplomatic viewpoint, the Dalai Lama’s abdication was detrimental to the Tibetan people. The first time the Fourteenth Dalai Lama left, on December 20, 1950, he simultaneously sent a delegation from Lhasa to Beijing to negotiate a deal with Mao’s diplomats. The delegates unanimously signed an agreement that destroyed the legal foundation for any claim to Tibetan autonomy, and still provides the basis for the PRC claim that Tibet is part of China. [2] The Fourteenth Dalai Lama was supposedly very displeased with this agreement that his diplomats signed, but he didn’t repudiate it for years.

But although it was not a good political move, it was probably the right move for the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, who was still young, and wanted to stay alive. Tibet, a far-flung, ungovernable land controlled by nobles who were easy prey for the organized Chinese soldiers, could not maintain a national unity it had never possessed. There were no newspapers, no radios, no automobiles, none of the infrastructure that binds a nation together. Unlike the Bhutanese royal family, that accepted an offer from British to defend their country against Chinese aggression, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, urged by arrogant Tibetan autocrats, had rejected the same offer.

The Dalai Lama had no means to exercise leverage against the Chinese. The people he sent to negotiate with China came back to Lhasa, having given away the country. Lhasa was crawling with war profiteers selling supplies to the Chinese garrison. Worst of all, in exchange for a year of non-aggression, the young Dalai Lama allowed the Chinese to build a road from the Chinese frontier all the way to Lhasa, opening an avenue for military transports to penetrate the heart of Tibet. Talk about bad feng shuei! Facilitating transportation for an attacking army is the ultimate strategic blunder. In Europe, the barbarians always tried to destroy the Roman roads on which the Emperor’s armies travelled with deadly speed. So by the time the Fourteenth Dalai Lama abdicated, he likely had no choice.

So what's the box score?

Let’s examine the history of the 14 Dalai Lamas:

1. The First Dalai Lama didn't even know he was one.
2. The Second Dalai Lama didn't know it either.
3. The Third Dalai Lama was a clever opportunist who usurped the good reputation of the first two “Dalai Lamas” by inventing the lineage and making himself third.
4. The Fourth Dalai Lama was a royal appointee.
5. The Fifth Dalai Lama was a killer-conqueror, and his last fifteen years of "rule" were fraudulent.
6. The Sixth Dalai Lama was murdered at the age of 23, and his appointed successor was denied office.
7. The Seventh Dalai Lama was put on the throne by the Chinese, who treated him as a figurehead.
8. The Eighth Dalai Lama was a hands-off guy who let the Chinese run the country.
9. The Ninth Dalai Lama was murdered and never ruled.
10. The Tenth Dalai Lama was murdered and never ruled.
11. The Eleventh Dalai Lama was murdered and never ruled.
12. The Twelfth Dalai Lama was murdered and never ruled.
13. The Thirteenth Dalai Lama fled twice, and rejected a defense pact from Britain that would have protected Tibet from Chinese aggression.
14. The Fourteenth Dalai Lama abdicated, never ruled the country, and has won the Nobel Peace Prize without garnering any peace.

In the end, the illustrious history of the Dalai Lamas just doesn't exist. Their sad legacy is a testament to the Byzantine manipulations of the Potala Junta. The credulous Tibetan people have been taught that they are led by a god-king, but that king is an invention of unscrupulous political strategists who sell influence as their primary product.

Considering the undisputed facts, it is absurd to imagine the Fourteenth Dalai Lama as the product of some refining process that has produced him as the distilled essence of human virtue. The entire lineage is a sham that was (1) raised into being by the Third Dalai Lama’s exploitation of the reputations of two dead clerics, (2) converted to a super-executive position by uniting military might with sacred authority in the person of the Fourth Dalai Lama, (3) enhanced in power through the exercise of military might by the Fifth Dalai Lama, (4) subordinated in power by the execution of the Sixth Dalai Lama for refusing to obey the will of the Mongol leaders, (5) subordinated to Chinese influence during the reigns of the Seventh and Eighth, (6) subordinated to the Regent Rule of the Potala Junta during the serial assassinations of the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth, (7) living on the outskirts of town or in foreign domains during the reign of the Thirteenth, and now, (8) represented by a man who fled Lhasa in his teens, has not set foot in his native land for fifty eight years, and is politically relevant only as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy to irritate the Chinese.

But, you may ask, am I not being terribly unkind to a man who has lost his throne, seen his countrymen trampled by tyranny, and made a dignified effort to keep the Tibetan cause before the international media in an era when that is not an easy job? He is no Baby Doc, and has led his followers less into harm’s way than … say … Yasser Arafat! He could have moved to Paris, or Geneva, or Buenos Aires, and exploited his advantages to enjoy a sybaritic lifestyle with female companionship.

He certainly could have, and these comparisons show him to be a man of restraint and dignity. But now that we have disposed of the venerable belief that his prior thirteen incarnations have suited him for the highest office on the planet, and that we should exalt him by acclamation to Secretary General of the UN, let’s ask how well he’s done his job of being the primary representative of the Tibetan people. He is the only Tibetan that most Europeans and Americans have ever heard of, and they think he is a saint. As for Tibetans, he has been their only political leader for fifty-eight years.

Think of what it has cost the Tibetan people to have the Dalai Lama as their only representative during the entire time since the Chinese came to plant their “revolution” on the Tibetan plateau! Do you really think that the Tibetans are well-represented in their struggle against Chinese oppression by a man who is never in the country, cannot set foot inside its borders, and for all his efforts has not achieved a single diplomatic victory in more than a half-century on the job?

This is the cost to the Tibetans of deifying one who is simply a man. The myth of the Dalai Lamas was always used to deprive the Tibetan people of real representation, and it continues to be used for that purpose today. However good the intentions of this man who wears the mantle of a god, by occupying that position, he obstructs the process of democracy, that is based on the belief in the equality of all people, and their right to representation in government.

© Copyright, Charles Carreon 2009

_______________

Notes:

1. http://news.mpr.org/features/200105/07_ ... ios.shtml|

2. http://www.tibet.freeserve.co.uk/beijing.html
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:12 am

THE FOUNDATION TRILOGY -- ASIMOV'S GALACTIC EPIC, by Charles Carreon

I discovered Isaac Asimov's "Foundation Trilogy" in the Brophy College Preparatory School Library, operated by Father Fox, S.J., who was flagrantly gay and rumored to cruise the night streets of Phoenix in the conspicuous pink Ford Mustang that was parked in the St. Francis Church private parking lot. So it was considered decidedly uncool to hang around the library, for fear of being associated with Fr. Fox; nevertheless, I found The Foundation Trilogy there, and was delighted to discover that Asimov had articulated his vision of the Galactic Empire I had first visited in The Stars Like Dust into an ambitious space opera spanning the breadth of the galaxy and millennial time spans. The three books of the Trilogy are Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation.

To enter Asimov’s world, you need only lean on the fast forward button very hard, for a very long time. Watch the outward migration of humanity into interstellar space. Observe the long ages of high tech barbarism, planetary enslavement, brutal serfdom, every manner of horror perpetuated on thousands of new earths, until at last a Galactic Empire emerges to bring order to the galaxy. Watch as the Empire expands its influence, and then, watch as it ossifies ‘round the bureaucratic gravitational pull of the Galactic center, Trantor, a planet of metal populated by forty-billion government servants, who “found themselves all too few for the complications of the task.” Yes, two principles well known to our present age remain in effect in Asimov’s projected future -- Parkinson’s Law (work expands to fill the time available for its completion) and The Peter Principle (in business and government, people rise to their level of incompetence and stay there). Thus, Trantor’s bureaucrats, through laziness and isolation, sowed the seeds of the Empire’s fall.

Producing nothing, Trantor, like the United States in our present time, ran a serious trade deficit, although Asimov puts it more dramatically for the sake of future history: “Its dependence on the outer worlds for food and, indeed, for all necessities of life, made Trantor increasingly vulnerable to conquest by siege. In the last millennium of the Empire, the monotonously numerous revolts made Emperor after Emperor conscious of this, and Imperial policy became little more than the protection of Trantor’s delicate jugular vein …” Adopting a historical tone, Asimov cribs his facts from a most reliable source, The Encyclopedia Galactica. This seems appropriate in the first book, Foundation, where most of the drama is on a group of people who get shipped off to a distant planet on a mission to gather all of human knowledge into a single compilation, in order to establish a nucleus of culture that will survive the storm of the Empire’s inevitable fall. These Encyclopedists, as they are known, are the disciples of Hari Seldon, the founder of the science of psychohistory.

In the Prologue to the third book, Second Foundation, Asimov describes his scholar-hero and his new science of psycho-history, that he uses to predict the behavior of large populations of human beings:

“Hari Seldon was the last great scientist of the First Empire. It was he who brought the science of psycho-history to its full development. Psycho-history was the quintessence of sociology; it was the science of human behavior reduced to mathematical equations.

The individual human being is unpredictable, but the reactions of human mobs, Seldon found, could be treated statistically. The larger the mob, the greater the accuracy that could be achieved. And the size of the human masses that Seldon worked with was no less than the population of the Galaxy which in his time was numbered in the quintillions.”

At the age of thirteen, this sounded sensible to me. It really made sense that the larger the number of people you were dealing with, the easier it would be to predict their behavior. Certainly Aldous Huxley, in his book on mob psychology, Brave New World Revisited, embraced the idea that crowds are stupider, by far, than the individuals that comprise them. It is generally easier to predict the acts of the stupid than the acts of the clever.

The ability to predict is often proof of the ability to control, and indeed, by the second book, Foundation and Empire, it becomes evident that Hari Seldon’s purpose in founding the colony of Encyclopedists was to control the outcome of human history. The Encyclopedists establish their mission, which becomes known as “The Foundation,” funded with Imperial seed money, on Terminus, a small planet in a solar system at the very rim of the Milky Way.

Seldon enacted the Plan for a noble purpose -- to reduce the period of barbarism between the fall of the Empire until the establishment of a new galactic order from thirty-thousand years to a single millennium. As Asimov states in the Prologue to the third book, “Carefully, he set up two colonies of scientists that he called ‘Foundations.’ With deliberate intention, he set them up ‘at opposite ends of the Galaxy.’ One Foundation was set up in the full daylight of publicity. The existence of the other, the Second Foundation, was drowned in silence.”

Not only did he create redundant Foundations at opposite ends of the galaxy, Seldon made sure none of the original Encyclopedists were psycho-historians. According to fundamental laws of psycho-history, for members of the subject group to understand the science would undermine the predictability of the group’s behavior. Foundationers who did not know psycho-history could not interfere with the operation of its laws, and therefore could not upset the Seldon Plan.

Volume one of the Trilogy recounts the struggles of the first generations of Encyclopedists on Terminus to evolve from librarians to self-governing citizens. They do this by adopting representative democracy, freedom of the press, and free enterprise as the logical approach to governing a world where everyone is smart enough to see that everyone puts on their spacesuit one leg at a time. The chapter headings of the first volume read like the record of a predictable march of progress by determined, decent folks: Part I, The Psychohistorians; Part II, The Encyclopedists; Part III, The Mayors; Part IV, The Traders; and, Part V, The Merchant Princes.

Shortly after arriving at Terminus, the Encyclopedists discover they have moved into a bad neighborhood. The other two inhabited planets that share a sun with Terminus have slid into virtual barbarism, and are governed by falcon-breeding hereditary nitwits eagerly seeking nukes to fling at each other. These testosteroned fools are technically neutered, unable to manufacture nuclear weapons, but making do with just plain savagery. The wave of barbarism Seldon predicts will ultimately shatter the galactic core is already in well underway out in the galactic arms, so for the librarians, surviving the shakedowns from the local nobility becomes item one on the survival agenda.

The Encyclopedist geeks therefore manipulate neighboring Lord of the planet Anacreon by providing him with technological benefits only in the guise of religion, sending cadres of techno-priests to don ceremonial robes and run power plants like cathedrals, dispensing the rewards of science as the blessings of a generous, happy, god domesticated by the librarians. By this strategy, the Foundation wooed the natives with technological baubles, while concealing the true workings of technology.

Salvor Hardin was the Foundation’s first mayor. Hardin’s motto was “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” Wow, growing up in Nixon’s Amerika, that was a refreshing thought. I was surrounded by millions of incompetent people, thrashing with violent thoughts, wanting to pound peaceniks, hippies, beatniks, potheads and draft dodgers into mush, wanting to burn Vietnamese people with napalm and defoliate their forests, wanting to bust white radicals and black panthers, yeah yeah yeah. Those incompetents! I, on the other hand, thought myself to be a reasonable young man, and at thirteen, a pacifist. Like Hardin, I resolved, armed with cleverness, I would be competent.

My society was in crisis. I could see that. People afraid of getting drafted, going to Canada. My own brother wearing an Air Force ROTC uniform. We needed guidance, a voice of sanity. So it was with pleasure that I saw Asimov had designed ongoing guidance for the Foundationers to help them through the rough spots. Every now and then, the Foundation faces a “Seldon Crisis,” when things get so bad they have to have a chat with old Hari Seldon, whose image appears via hologram to talk about where he thinks they should be in the Plan. After the conclusion of the second Seldon Crisis, the founder appears to the assembled Foundation leaders to announce:

“According to our calculations, you have now reached domination of the barbarian kingdoms immediately surrounding the Foundation. … However, I might warn you here against overconfidence. It is not my way to grant you foreknowledge in these recordings, but it would be safe to indicate what you have now achieved is merely a new balance….”

Seldon’s congratulatory tone gives way to a somber note, as he adjures the assembled dignitaries to “never forget that there was another Foundation established eighty years ago; a Foundation at the other end of the Galaxy, at Star’s End. They will always be there for consideration. Gentlemen, nine hundred and twenty years of the Plan stretch ahead of you. The problem is yours! Go to it!”

The characters in the Trilogy are all carried along in the vast sweep of the plot, that spans thousands of years, sustaining suspense across the millennia as generations of Encyclopedists, Traders, Merchant Princes, etcetera, work their way through the Seldon Plan, the blind agents of Psychohistory. Only one character raises the possibility of the Plan being knocked off course -- the redoubtable Mule, who evokes the character of Napoleon, who knocked the course of European history into a cocked hat, destroying the raison d' etre of monarchy even as he sought to crown himself.

The Foundation Trilogy attempts to be a work of psychohistory in itself. In addition to prognosticating the evolution of computing power along the lines foreseen by Moore's Law, Asimov occasionally drops some anachronistic bloopers. I particularly like his voice-activated word processor that types the words out on paper as they are dictated. That's one device that will never be built. But then again, the science of psychohistory doesn't say that it is possible to preduct the evolution of particularly product lines, merely the general trend of development, and we do have voice-transcribing word processors.

Fundamentally, I disagree with one of Asimov's necessary plot assumptions -- that humanity will somehow survive a hundred thousand years despite continuing to fool around with nuclear power for trivial purposes, engage in nutcase aggression garbed as diplomacy, and treat planets and solar systems like feudal domains. Personally, I don't think we'll ever get off this planet alive before the sun goes nova and engulfs the planet in five billion years unless we get very organized and save the oxygen-producing flora on the planet for starters, the drinkable water as an important second issue, and the arable land for a third.

If humanity ever migrates off planet Earth, Asimov's Trilogy will seem utterly hilarious to our far-future descendants. Yet, the Trilogy powerfully communicates another valuable idea with which no one can disagree -- we must learn to discern historical trends and establish stores of human knowledge if we are to prevent relapses into barbarism when ignorant technocrats choke off creativity and innovation, the wellsprings of human evolution and social development. This idea will be meaningful until the end of time. Nor can we doubt that Asimov meant to instruct when he forged Hardin's aphorism, "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." It is possible that some young person will truly understand the meaning of this statement, and try to lead humanity in a truly competent fashion. Of course that person may already have lived, and been unable to find a market for their ideas. The science of psychohistory might explain why such an occurrence is highly likely.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:13 am

"THE GURU": A MOVIE YOU JUST HAVE TO SEE, by Charles Carreon

I'm sure you've seen The Guru already, and if you haven't, get ready for a delightful treat that is chock full of spiritual nutrition, and no kidding.

The Guru tells the story of Ramu Gupta (Jimmy Mistry) a young Indian dance teacher, who is hornswoggled into making the trip to New York City by his friend Vijay, who entices Ramu to make the trip by posing in front of a red Merecedes and telling Ramu he's rich, living in a penthouse. The penthouse turns out to be a flophouse room that Ramu is welcome to share the rent on. Ramu, however, isn't made of the same accepting stuff as his fellows, and quickly learns a lesson about America when a yuppie punches his lights out after Ramu dumps a load of chicken tikka masala in his face for ridiculing Ramu's accent and ancestry. Out of a job, Ramu decides to stick with his plan to become an actor, and soon finds himself at an audition to be a male porn star.

Dwain, the porn producer, cannot grasp that Ramu is trying to audition for a dance role, and urges Ramu to strip down. Ramu cannot understand that he is being asked to disrobe to display his equipment, and offers to display his macarena. "Macarena? Is that what the kids call it in your part of the world? Okay, let me see your Macarena." Stripped down to his underwear, Ramu thinks he's being asked to do a Tom Cruise imitation, and does a perfectly choreographed cover of Cruise's rendition of Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" from "Risky Business." The porn producer is floored. The equipment looks good, even under wraps. He's hired.

On the set, Rammy, as he's now known, is dressed as an islander in a leaf skirt with a suggestive spear. Onto the indoor beach strides his love interest, Sharonna, playing Senator Snatch (Heather Graham), dressed in a tight pinstriped suit, carrying an attache case. She's there to inspect the natives, which she thinks will be easier after she gets into her working uniform, a lovely red bra and panties with matching garter belt and stockings.

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The scene comes to a screaming halt, however, when Sharonna announces loudly to everyone on the set: "We don't have wood." The Cameraman echoes "Stand by. Holding on wood." The Soundman confirms, "Standing by for wood." Shouting fills the studio: "We are holding on wood!"

Then the revelations start:

SHARRONA: It's just sex, silly.

RAMU: It's just the idea of being naked in front of all these people.

SHARRONA: Well, the trick is not to be naked up here. It's like other actors get costumes, but we don't, or at least not for very long. So your naked body is really just your costume.

RAMU: I promise, in India I'm a real stud. If you and I could just go somewhere by ourselves without people watching.

SHARRONA: There's always someone watching.

RAMU: Dwain?

SHARRONA: God, silly.

RAMU: God is watching us?

SHARRONA: Yeah, but not for kicks. I mean, the universe isn't run by some big old perv.

RAMU: What do you mean?

SHARRONA: I mean, the same God who made the rose and the ocean, he made me. And my body is made to have sex, just like the rosebud is made to open.

RAMU: Wow.

Now that Ramu knows what is expected of him, he knows he can't do it. He's looking for his old job, back with the curry-slingers, and finds his old boss doing a catering gig at a swanky New York townhouse. Lexi (Marisa Tomei) is having her birthday party, and her mother Chantal has decided to simultaneously spoil and mock Lexi by giving her a spiritual birthday with a real guru as the entertainment. Lexi, OM-ing intently on the bathroom floor next to the commode, complains piteously to her brother Lars, who is trying to talk her out of hiding, that she didn't want a swami, she wanted "a Tibetan gathering with a Rinpoche."

The Swami retained by the curry-slinger, though, has been imbibing one too many cocktails in the kitchen, and passes out. A sharp slap to the Swami's face stimulates only a brief return to consciousness, punctuated by the sincere declaration, "I swear she was sixteen!" Ramu, showing up fortuitously at this dangerous moment, is drafted into the Swami role. Swathed in silk, topped with a turban, surrounded by questioning socialites, Ramu lacks only one thing -- wisdom. Fishing around in his busy brain for something profound, the only words that come to him are Sharrona's:

RAMU: God, is it hot in here. God. God wants us to have sex. And if God wants us to have sex, then, well, it can't be bad because the universe isn't run by a big old perv.

LARS: Glad he cleared that up.

RAMU: (Touching an older woman on the temples and peering into her eyes) Your naked body is like a costume that you wear to be yourself. Be comfortable in your nakedness. The most powerful sexual organ God gave you is your brain. Think about it. Are you thinking?

OLD LADY: (Slowly and with deep sincerity) My whole body is about to think.

RAMU: And like roses are made to open, so must you. You must open your rosebud.

RAMU: Dance is like love.

[Electronic backbeat kicks in]

RAMU: Join me. Follow your inner beat.

RASPHAL: Is he doing the Macarena?

VIJAY: Looks like it.

LARS: Wait, isn't that the ...

LEXI: I think it's one of those dervish, spiritual, trance-dance things.

And indeed it is one of those trance-dance type of things. Managing him as her lover, and the Guru of Sex, Lexi catapults Ramu into the big leagues of guru-dom. Vijay steps into the role of secretary, and begins to manage Ramu like the hot property he is. Meanwhile, Ramu sets up a series of secret meetings with Sharrona to learn, so he tells her, how to be a porn star. Sharrona educates him into her little story of beauty, the one she tells herself when she works. Ramu takes those little stories and resells them to the rich and jaded like vitamins that conquer ennui. And the lessons become more sincere, more revelatory, of the inner being of a person who gives their sexuality up for display.

Sharrona, it turns out, has a double life, too. She's dating a Catholic boy who's a total virgin. That means he doesn't watch porn. That means he's never seen Sharrona on video. But in the middle of their pre-wedding dinner with her fiance's family, some asshole at the bar has just got to come over to the happy family table and destroy it all. Of course, that destruction has a happy ending, because her Catholic boy is really not so hetero after all as we learn when things start working themselves out.

Boy, there's not too many more beans to spill before the whole movie's revealed, so I'll stop now. You can find the screenplay here: THE GURU SCREENPLAY. I have not even mentioned the incredible recreations of Bollywood sets, costumes, song and choreography. Rich, resplendent, sumptuous, etcetera. Two nipples up for this hilarious exploration of innocence in sex and corruption in religion!
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:19 am

THE HERESY OF ST. TIMOTHY [LEARY], by Charles Carreon

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Here come the exiles, the first generation of Eastern converts, turned out of their doctrinal houses one by one, or choosing to leave them behind before it all turns into Dharma Walmart.

It started out this way, chillun'. In the beginning there was a great void in the consciousness of Americans. And the void was darkness, and the darkness was enlivened only by the glow of TV, and not MTV. In the darkness, God's chillun' gnashed their teeth and wept, knowing they were free souls born into the heart of Babylon. And bitter were their tears, and their bread without salt. Over this land ruled the Three Kings -- alcohol, tobacco and coffee, each one a legacy of slave plantations.

And the Three Kings ruled over all the empire of the mind with a heavy hand. Put down the pot pipe, brown man. Put down the opium pipe, yellow man. Put down those musical instruments, black man. And whenever the Three Kings found the men of color breaking the rules, worshipping their own gods, savoring their own sacraments, they were exceeding wroth with them, and smote them.

And lo, the Three Kings waxed forth in might, and added a fourth king, petrol, the liquid fire that fed their iron horses. And the Four Kings in all their might reached out upon the earth and made subjects of all men. With intense harshness, the Four Kings crushed the substance of matter itself, allowing the forbidden flame of the sun to blossom on the surface of the earth. And they smote the yellow man with the flame of the sun, to make him mindful of their power.

But the children of freedom conspired to be born in the houses of the oppressors, the vassals of the Four Kings. They risked their sanity by becoming children of those harsh and dominating ones who had subjugated all the earth. And in the vast wasteland was heard the voice of St. Timothy, crying in the wilderness, "Make straight the way of the Lord. Every hill shall be brought low and every valley raised up that his way may be straight." And St. Timothy sacrificed his royal crown of scholarship to make way for the blessing of spirit.

Seeing St. Timothy's martyrdom inspired the children of freedom hidden in the homes of the oppressors. The light of his transforming substances broke forth over the skies like noon at midnight, and the children of freedom rushed out from the houses of darkness, to follow the pied piper to freedom, never to return to the City of Babylon.

Many moons passed and the children of freedom feared they would perish in the wilderness. St. Timothy had fled, hiding from the wrath of the Four Kings. And like the children of Israel abandoned by Moses, they sought to raise up images to pacify their fear. Then came the Age of the Prophets, true or false, who could say? Each prophet claimed his doctrine to be superior. Some prophets joined to support each other, and others established their own houses of prophecy and eventually the children of freedom became the indentured servants of old beliefs. The children of freedom, fleeing the doctrine of the Four Kings discarded the sacraments that St. Timothy had brought, and shut themselves away with learning and piety.

Many more moons passed, yeah and turnings of the year. The children of freedom began to chafe under the new tyranny of the prophets. "Why?" some dared to ask. The prophets always answered the same, "Because thus it has been taught." Some bolder ones asked, "Does the doctrine permit us to enjoy the sacrament of St. Timothy?" Quick came the answer, "St. Timothy's doctrines are heretical, and his sacrament is poison." These very words were spoken by those who had learned much of what they knew thanks to St. Timothy's sacrament, and these were the scribes and pharisees of the prophets.

So the children of freedom once again left the houses of their masters, wandering forth from the temples of the prophets into the open lands of the future. Which is where we find them.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:22 am

THE MATERIALIST MANIFESTO, by Charles Carreon

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The Materialist Manifesto, Part 1:

The word "manifesto," according to Merriam-Webster.com, has been in current use since 1647, and means "a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer."

In the year 1647, the following things occurred in English history:

• Charles I fled to Scotland following his defeat in 1645.
• On August 6, Cromwell led the New Model Army into London and took control of Parliament.
• The Levellers sought the abolition of the monarchy and social reform leading to equality among people. The Leveller philosophy was popular among the lower ranks of the New Model Army and a catalyst for revolt in the summer of this year.

One can presume that the manifestos were flying hot and heavy in those days. Manifestos are the sort of literature suitable for pamphleteering and other distribution on the cheap. Hot words, cranked out quick, consumed by the masses to fire their brains. Surrealists had manifestos, presumably outfitted with fiery denunciations of nothing and everything. Tantrics have manifestos, in which they refute everything and nothing. Material Buddhism must have its own manifesto. So here goes.

To say "materialist" is necessarily to sneer at the person so described. They are bad ab initio, unworthy of love or appreciation, guilty of valuing things more than people. They deny the existence of the mind's deathless nature, and spread the heresy of this-life-only. They fall into self-indulgent pleasure, or into abysses of depression and despair. No one would want to be a materialist.

Be it clear henceforth that Material Buddhism has nothing to do with these straw men, and stands on the solid footing of real experience. The sword of Manjusri is the sword of empirical perception, distinguishing that which exists from that which does not exist. The mind exists, as does the body that provides the foundation for its appearance, as does the universe that provides the environment for the body. Every thought, perception, notion, emotion, mood or illusion exists as an event that resonates in the web of being.

Why the slam on materialism? Remember George Harrison's album after he went Hare Krishna on us? "Living in a Material World." The way Harrison sang it, it was a curse, a back-breaking drag to live in a material world. With his twangy guitar turning soulful to woeful, he spun out two disks of material, and impressed the cover with a palm-print with Kirlian aura -- a chilling foreshadowing of the use of biometric scanning. The blue handprint had the effect on the mind of patterning your psychic palm, making you feel stuck to the image, imprisoned by having a hand. Downright scary when you think about it. You couldn't argue that you don't have a hand. Therefore you are material. Therefore George is right -- you live in a material world. So let's cry along with George and sell incense for Swami Prabuphada. And dance our way out of this dreadful material world. Of course, George never transcended the material illusion enough to give away all of his money, did he?

But he can't be blamed. He was just another person who found it easier to believe something absurd than to accept the evidence of his senses. Like a madman who gets an electric bill he can't pay, and convinces himself that the government or Wayne Newton perhaps, is going to pay it. That's how a nice boy from Liverpool ends up believing that a fried-food addict like Prabuphada has the true teachings of life, and God is a sexy blue flute-player who screws milkmaids to pass the time in his endless frolicsome existence of total bliss. George funded publication of numberless full-color volumes of Prabuphada translations of classic Hindu religious texts. All indications were that he was a "sincere devotee" of Lord Krishna, Lord Caitanya, Lord Rama, all the magnificent incarnations of Vishnu.

Prabuphada, a 70-year-old retired Indian pharmaceutical executive, arrived in New York in 1965, and sold fundamentalist Hindu Vaishnava doctrines to disaffected flower children and acid burnouts, offering people too cool to believe in Jesus an alternative, but still very concrete God in His heaven, plus rigid male-female roles, for that comforting feeling of being just like mom and dad. Eventually, the cult became involved in drug dealing and murder so lurid it fueled a true crime book, "Monkey On A Stick," an expose of the drug killings at the palatial West Virginia temple that was the cult's crown jewel:

MONKEY ON A STICK wrote:

"Shoot him!" Drescher screamed at Reid. "Shoot him!"

St. Denis was hit twelve times. He crumpled and went down. But then, almost immediately, as Reid and Drescher watched in amazement, he struggled back onto his feet and half staggered, half ran back down the path toward the Blazer.

Drescher dropped his gun, ran after St. Denis, and dove into him, hitting him behind the knees. The big man went down. Drescher rolled him over and climbed onto his heaving chest.

"Get a knife!" Drescher yelled at Reid.

Reid felt like he was going to vomit. For an instant he thought about running away, but he was afraid if he did, Drescher would come after him and kill him, too. He ran into the cabin and came out with a kitchen knife.

"Chant!" Drescher was screaming. "Start chanting!"

Drescher thought he was doing St. Denis one last favor. Krishna had preached, "Those who remember me at the time of death will come to me. Do not doubt this." By forcing St. Denis to chant, Drescher thought he was guaranteeing him a more spiritual life in his next incarnation.

Drescher grabbed the knife and stabbed St. Denis. Again and again. Hard and deep. Finally, the blade hit a rib and snapped.

St. Denis fought on, shrieking in agony, coughing blood, and gasping for breath. Reid found a hammer and Drescher hit him with that, punching a one-inch hole in his skull. St. Denis went limp.

Drescher and Reid dragged St. Denis down the logging road to the dammed-up stream. They dumped the body on the swampy ground. Reid picked up one end of a plastic sheet, about to wrap St. Denis's head in it, when the big man opened his eyes.

"Don't do that, you'll smother me," he said.

Reid screamed—a long, piercing scream of pure terror.


Well, it certainly was a clumsy murder ritual, especially compared with the undoubtedly austere and impressive murders of the four Dalai Lamas whose lives were snuffed out before they assumed worldly authority. That would be the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th. I mean, stabbing people to death while telling them to chant mantras might be one way to help others practice Dharma, but I go for less drastic methods. And all because he wouldn't give a big enough donation! Apparently that was St. Denis' sin -- he wanted to open a flower shop with his wife's inheritance instead of giving it to the "temple." And you thought God spurned coerced offerings!

But why am I starting off here talking about murders, of Dalai Lamas or American Hindus? You thought I was going to give you a materialist manifesto. Well I am, but I'm also following the historic precedent of Lucretius, who at the outset of his "On the Nature of the Universe," described the murder of Iphiginea, the virgin princess, a "sinless sacrifice" to nonexistent gods, to obtain a favorable wind for the Greek fleet, departing to make war upon Troy:

LUCRETIUS wrote:

Raised by the hands of men, she was led trembling to the altar. Not for her the sacrament of marriage and the loud chant of Hymen. It was her fate in the very hour of marriage to fall a sinless victim to a sinful rite, slaughtered to her greater grief by a father's hand, so that a fleet might sail under happy auspices. Such are the heights of wickedness to which men are driven by superstition.


The use of religion as a flag of deception, flown by scoundrels to conceal their low intentions, is so well-established a practice as to justify simply overthrowing the presumption that religious persons are good persons. We are so likely to be led astray when we take leave of empirical landmarks, so likely to have our faith used and abused when we accept any close-ended doctrine offered by a know-it-all believer, that the practice of believing in unverified things can safely be condemned as contrary to all sense.

Lucretius, however, does not rest his argument with the negative. He knows that people will not discard superstitious beliefs simply because occasionally someone will kill a princess for a trivial reason. The only way to "dispel the dread and darkness of the mind" is "by an understanding of the outward form and inner workings of nature." Why is this? Because, at bottom, all superstitious explanations explain life in a distorted fashion. Instead of learning what the world truly is, the superstitious embrace nonsensical beliefs because of prejudice. They cannot abide the notion that death separates us from our loved ones utterly, so they carve out a belief in the afterlife. They cannot abide the notion that the cruel prosper and the humble suffer, so they carve out future lifetimes in which the balance will be redressed. Then a fairy-tale backdrop is painted in, with gilded highlights, and the pious equivalent of canned laughter -- canned piety -- is spread all over, and in hushed tones the absurd doctrine is consumed with the solemnity of a host proffered by a priest.

Truth, Lucretius knew, is discovered only after one makes up one's mind to discard all superstitious notions. Then one is free to begin the enumeration of the obvious. Lucretius' discoveries flow fast and free, one upon the other, after he declares his intent. The world is all material and the space in which it exists. Nothing can be accounted for except by its concrete character. All things are made of matter, which can however be spun to levels of great fineness. Mind is the finest of all matter, composed of infinitely subtle, smooth and small spherical particles that are set in motion by the slightest stimulus. Mind is connected with heat and breath, and leaves the body at death. Life infuses the blood, and its departure from the body causes death. The heart is the center of life, and a wound that goes to the heart is fatal. So much Lucretius reveals for us. Where Jesus cast the moneychangers out of the temple, Lucretius cast the soothsayers and oracles out of our minds. He shows that their explanations, prophecies, remedies, cures, invocations, and promises mystify matters while claiming to make them clear. We are human beings. There are no gods. The mountains, thunder, wind, rain, fire, and all of the appearances of this world are the proper subjects of our curious mind. To fantasize a cast of characters operating our world behind the scenes is to think like a child.

Do you want to think like a child? Do you want to be hiding under the blankets of your bed, afraid that terrors lie in wait for you? Do you want to waste this life fearing an afterlife that does not exist? Can you convince yourself that you have, in a billion-to-one shot, found the one true dogma that has ever blossomed on this earth? Lucretius will only cluck his tongue and take your example as proof that good sense is the rarest thing on earth.

Was Lucretius right in all things? Of course not. His speculations miss the mark here and there, but never on this point -- he never explains the actions of inanimate things by imputing karmic purposes, such as retribution or reward. Lighting never strikes the evil because they are evil. Lighting strikes for the same reason every time. This is the no-consolation, unappealing side of true materialism. Living without fantasies means no more imaginary joys, no more imaginary flights from real pains. But to lose a false consolation that obstructs true understanding is actually a benefit. By surrendering superstition, we amputate a dead limb that has no value. By discovering new truths, we lay the foundation for future discoveries that will be even more true and comprehensive. By remembering that there is always more to learn, we eliminate any possibility of reaching a final conclusion, so we can never suffer boredom. By knowing that to know all is simply a fantasy, we are not troubled by despair over our limited understanding. By accepting the limitations of our understanding, we become conscious of how unlimited is the realm of the knowable. By fully exploring what we can know, we are always thrilled by the vast expanse of the unknown and the unknowable.

The Materialist Manifesto, Part 2:

Lucretius' First Principle was this: Nothing is ever created by divine power out of nothing. Since I am not worthy to step ahead of Lucretius in line, I will take this for my own first principle, after restating it in the affirmative as the Law of the Conservation of Matter and Energy: The sum total of matter and energy in the Universe is constant. Quick research on the Net tells me that the post-Einsteinian formulation is: "...Energy may be transformed from one form into another but is neither created nor destroyed..." This accommodates our post-Lucretian realization that matter is a complex assemblage of energy and particles that break down into further assemblages of energy. However we express it, the First Principle will give us "... a clearer picture of the path ahead, the problem of how things are created and occasioned without the aid of the gods."

Since he did not have a cyclotron or an electron scanning microscope, Lucretius disproved the theory that things are generated from nothing by applying the common understanding of his day that living things arise only from their parents, which share the characteristics of their offspring. Thus, "each is formed out of specific seeds, it is born and emerges into the sunlit world only from a place where there exists the right material, the right kind of atoms. This is why everything cannot be born of everything, but a specific power of generation inheres in specific objects."

As soon as we make room for the miraculous occurrence of events outside the laws of nature, we violate the structure of our honest understanding. It is as if we were to say, "One and one make two unless God chooses to show us otherwise." The existence of the exception destroys the value of the rule. We will need to develop a list of circumstances under which God requires one and one to be more or less than two. Perhaps our first entry will be the Miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes told in Matthew.

Let's begin there. The believer's understanding is that one boy's lunch turned into a feast for the multitudes as an expression of Christ's divinity. As a child, this story disturbed me. If this were true, why could all scarcity problems not be alleviated through faith? While we always prayed grace over our meals, this never made one steak into two, or a dozen tortillas into thirteen, much less twelve-hundred. Today, I adhere to the First Principle, and know that there must be another answer.

What happened was this. The crowd was on the cusp of leaving or staying. Many were saying that they were hungry and had no food, so they had to leave and eat. But if you've ever traveled in Asia, you know that actually, in amongst their baskets, clothing, etcetera, there was water, fish and bread. It's not like there was a kosher McDonald's that they figured they'd hit on the way back from the lecture. Many people had food, but no one wanted to reveal it, because they thought they would have to share and be left without enough for their children. But when one young fisherboy said, "Here, I have more than enough, and I can go get more," Jesus seized the opportunity to speak out, making an example of the boy's faith. Faith in what? That Jesus could make more food? Surely not. Faith that he could afford to share, to miss a meal, to run down the beach and find more fishermen with extra fish. Pretty soon, everyone started unpacking their little stashes of food and water. They started sharing. Nobody left. They had a feast, and afterward Jesus was able to tell them "See, you can do it. You don't have to be animals driven by hunger and stupidity to hoard food."

Now, not only is the lesson derivable from this re-understood Jesus story more plausible, it is also more useful to people faced with hunger or other forms of scarcity. You could tell a group of starving aboriginals to pray to God, tell them the story of Jesus and loaves and fishes, and watch them die as surely as if they'd drank Jim Jones' Kool-Aid, but while that would be a testament to your ability to sell the aboriginals a raft of bullshit, and they would presumably all go to heaven, as a member of the aboriginal group, I would object to this result. Particularly if you jumped in a truck after giving me your pious lecture and went back to the USA to eat KFC.

Whence comes my take home lesson for examining your beliefs: "Put your mouth where your money is." In other words, if you don't solve hunger by prayer when you are hungry, then don't tell yourselves that you can. If you buy food at the store that comes from a truck that came from a warehouse that was filled with food by the efforts of farmers and fishermen and cattle ranchers, then give them the credit. Blow the smoke out of your head and appreciate the way things really are.

So I conclude Part II of this Materialist Manifesto. May you have a real day.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:23 am

THE MISUSE OF WESTERN TERMS BY EASTERN MYSTICS, by Charles Carreon

This essay is a brief critique of an article entitled "Conserving the Inner Ecology," drawn from a talk by a "Thai forest monk," named Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. At first read, Buddhadasa's article appears unobjectionable. It seems to offer gentle words of advice to hyped-up modern people, and an explanation of the spiritual meanings behind several words that are of great importance to Western thought -- nature, conservation, and ecology.

The author claims to understand the mystical connection between the outer world and the inner world. As an Eastern interpretation of the old maxim, "as above, so below," it doesn't rate badly. But as advice for what to do in order to deal with the ecological crisis now facing humanity, it is useless, indeed destructive.

The logic driving the argument is simple: "nature is all things that are born naturally, ordinarily, out of the natural order of things...." This tautology drives the entire argument. While none of us can ascertain what is natural, the speaker uses this tautological argument to fuel all of his other arguments. He claims to discover "four fundamental aspects of nature" that he identifies as "nature itself, the law of nature, the duty that human beings must carry out toward nature, and the result that comes with performing this duty according to the law of nature." This is all because of the "basic dhammic law of nature that regulates everything."

The problem with articulating a law this broadly is that we don't know what it commands. Does it command humans to protect their children? Do we violate the law of nature when we put people in the hospital and make them well? Do we violate the law of nature when we develop vaccines that frustrate the spread of disease? Do we violate the law of nature when we put out fires, as modern day foresters tell us? Do we violate the law of nature when we fail to till the fields that could produce food because we don't want to displace native peoples? The law of nature, as explained by this Buddhist, gives no indication.

The essay claims that it will teach us how to "conserve the law of nature," within ourselves, but this is just adopting one more Western word and twisting the meaning. If we read closely, "conserving the law of nature," means nothing other than practicing dharma.

And that's really the answer to all of the problems, anyway, according to this author. "When there is no ego or selfishness, there is nothing that will destroy nature, nothing that will exploit and abuse nature." This is about as practical as visualizing whirled peas. Of course a planet full of egoless beings wouldn't damage anything. They would probably all just sit around and turn into a bowl of jelly. Nobody even knows what it means to be without an ego except this man. How can this be a prescription for saving the ecology of the world? Ah, he explains it here. Once we have no egos then "the external, physical aspect of nature will be able to conserve itself automatically." Right, even with 5 Billion egoless beings eating, driving cars, burning fossil fuels, and polluting the seas.

Now, for the happy close-out. "When Buddhists remember that the Buddha was born under and among trees, awaking while sitting under a tree, taught in the outdoors sitting among trees and, in the end, passed away into parinirvana beneath some trees, it is impossible not to love trees and not to want to conserve them." Very comforting, except that Nepal is a very Buddhist country, and despite all the tree lovers there, there is nary a tree to be found. The Thais started out with more trees, but will end up with just about as many as the Nepalese if they keep it up, notwithstanding their being Buddhist.

All of these problems, of course, are the outward projection of inner "defilements" that disturb the "mind's natural ecology....like evil spirits or demons that destroy the mind's natural state." Yes, but that doesn't mean that corporate executives with planet raping on their mind, and military leaders who bomb first and ask questions later are just figments of our neurotic imagination. They are real people who will not go away simply because we meditate effectively.

The speaker is comforted because he looks out and sees that "the entire cosmos is a cooperative system." He needs a bigger telescope. Looking through the Hubble, scientists have discovered the universe is a demolition derby among celestial bodies of vastly different size and speed. Tiny black holes can rape a red giant down to nothing. Every 10,000 years or so our solar system dips through part of the spiral arm of the milky way galaxy where lots of big, fast-moving stars and space junk proliferate, and we're lucky we don't have an interstellar collision every damn time it does that. The speaker suggests we "bring back the cooperative in the form of comrades sharing birth, aging, illness, and death." That's hard to argue with, but then he concludes by saying "then we will have plenty of time to create the best ecology." This seems to suggest that we can complacently wait until we get our mind and society sorted out before we tackle the problem of the world's degrading physical condition.

I would say quite the contrary. Whenever you get around to realizing the nature of the universe in your own mind, it will still be there. If we wait too many more years before addressing the ecological problems afflicting the earth, it will be too late. So what would you do first?

CONSERVING THE INNER ECOLOGY

by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Only genuine Buddhists can conserve nature on the deepest level, the mental level. When the mental nature has been conserved, the external physical nature can conserve itself. When we talk about this inner nature, we mean a fundamental essence or element of Dhamma. When this can be preserved within, the external nature can certainly preserve itself. When this inner nature or dhammadhatu is conserved, there is nothing that will cause selfishness or egoism. It knows that nothing is worth clinging to as being "self," is free of notions like "me" and "mine," and is therefore unselfish. When there is no selfishness, there is nothing that will go out and destroy the external nature. When nothing is trying to destroy this physical nature, it is quite able to protect itself.

The Buddha referred to this inner nature as "dhammadhatu," the dhatu (element or essence) of Dhamma (nature). Sometimes he simply called it "dhatu." This dhatu is the source and basis for Dhamma, for all of nature. He proclaimed that "Whether a Tathagata has appeared yet or not, the dhammadhatu exists absolutely and naturally."

In other words, nothing occurs, exists, changes, or dies by itself. Nothing happens except through various causes and conditions. All change takes place through causes and conditions. Even death and destruction require causes and conditions, either the presence of ones that kill and destroy, or the absence of those that support. Further, the causes and conditions of one thing are caused and conditioned by others. These interactions of conditionality extend through the universe – mental and physical – connecting everything in a vast web of inter-dependence, inter-relationship, inter-connectedness, inter-wovenness. So supreme is this natural fact that we can call it "the law of nature" or "God." Nothing is more powerful or awesome than this most fundamental and ever-present Truth.

Let us consider more carefully what we mean by the word "nature." Although this English term does not quite fit our Buddhist term (dhammajati), it will serve once we have explained sufficiently. Nature (dhammajati) is all things that are born naturally, ordinarily, out of the natural order of things, that is, from Dhamma. Everything arising out of Dhamma, everything born from Dhamma, is what we mean by "nature." This is what is absolute and has the highest power in itself. Nature has at least four fundamental aspects. If we don’t understand them, it is useless to speak of "preserving nature." So please examine these four fundamental aspects of nature:

* nature itself;
* the law of nature;
* the duty that human beings must carry out towards nature;
* and the result that comes with performing this duty according to the law of nature.

[Ajarn Buddhadasa was always careful about terminology and felt that sloppy use of words was an important obstacle to the understanding of Dhamma. He put great effort into explaining key Pali terms, none of them more important than "Dhamma." Here he gives his standard explanation of Dhamma's most important dimensions. Although not quite identical with the four noble truths, it is worth comparing. --Suan Mokkh website editor]

Let's consider ourselves. Each human being includes the body of nature, as expressed and found in our own bodies. In us there is the basic dhammic law of nature that regulates everything. Everything in these bodies consequently carries on according to the law of nature. When we have our natural duty, we practice that duty in order to maintain the correctness of nature. Depending on how we perform that duty, we experience its results or fruits: happiness, dukkha, satisfaction, dissatisfaction. Within ourselves, within just these physical bodies, we have all four meanings of nature.

In one human being, we can find all four aspects of nature. Throughout the entire world, we can find all four meanings of nature. And in the universe, including all the worlds together, we can see the body of nature, the law of nature, the duty of nature, and the result of nature.

If we understand all aspects of nature and conserve the law of nature within ourselves, it will then be impossible for selfishness and egoism to arise. When there is no ego or selfishness, there is nothing that will destroy nature, nothing that will exploit and abuse nature. Then the external, physical aspect of nature will be able to conserve itself automatically. Therefore, please be very interested in this inner nature. When there is no selfishness, we can preserve the purity and beauty of nature. Without selfishness, this world will be naturally pure and beautiful.

When Buddhists remember that the Buddha was born under and among trees, awakened while sitting under a tree, taught in the outdoors sitting among trees and, in the end, passed away into parinibbana beneath some trees, it is impossible not to love trees and not to want to conserve them. This too comes from maintaining a correct inner nature, and so it is natural to preserve the outer nature. In this way it isn’t very difficult to conserve the external physical nature.

In other words, Dhamma is the ecology of the mind. This is how nature has arranged things, and it has always been like this, in a most natural way. The mind with Dhamma has a natural spiritual ecology because it is fresh, beautiful, quiet, and joyful. This is most natural. That the mind is fresh means it isn’t dried up or parched. Its beauty is Dhammic, not sensual or from painting colors. It is calm and peaceful because nothing disturbs it. It contains a deep spiritual solitude, so that nothing can disturb or trouble it. Its joy is cool. The only joy that lives up to its name must be cool, not the hot happiness that is so popular in the world, but a cool joyfulness. If none of the defilements like greed, anger, fear, worry, and delusion arise, there is this perfect natural ecology of the Dhammic mind. But as soon as the defilements occur, the mind’s natural ecology is destroyed instantly. These defilements are like evil spirits or demons that destroy the mind’s natural state.

In this context, we can specify the defilement called "craving," the craving that destroys the inner ecology of the mind and then expresses itself outward in destroying the physical ecology. This thing called "craving" must be understood well. Craving always means the foolish desire that arises out of ignorance (avijja), out of not understanding things as they actually are. Unfortunately, whenever Buddhists speak of samsara, most of them teach that every kind of desire is craving. This is incorrect. Only that which desires stupidly is properly called "craving." If it wants intelligently, it is called "sankappa," (aspiration or aim), which we can call "wise want." There is an important distinction here that should never be confused. Craving is always ignorant, no matter how we translate it into English. If, however, the desire is wise, it should be called "aspiration" or "wise aim."

Craving destroys both the inner-mental and outer-physical ecologies.

Take a good look: The entire cosmos is a cooperative system. We must honor and worship the cooperative system. The sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars are a giant cooperative. They are all inter-connected and inter-related in order to exist. In the same world, everything co-exists as a cooperative. Humans and animals and trees and the earth are integrated as a cooperative. The organs of our own bodies – feet, legs, hands, arms, eyes, nose, lungs, kidneys – function as a cooperative in order to survive. Let's bring back the cooperative in the form of comrades sharing birth, aging, illness, and death. Then we will have plenty of time to create the best ecology.

--This is an edited version of a talk by the great Thai forest teacher Buddhadasa Bhikkhu and is almost identical to the version printed in Tricycle Buddhist Review Winter 1998 issue.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:25 am

THE PROMISED GOD MAN IS WEIRD, by Charles Carreon ©

[Introduction: This essay was originally written in 2003, and posted on the American-Buddha.com website. The epilogue was written today, June 13, 2009.]

Just the other day, for the first time, I found myself interested in Franklin Jones. I found this book of his, The Promised God-Man Is Here, at “The Bookwagon”, down in the Ashland Shopping Center. It's a big book, like a Michener novel, with a picture of a fat white man with his palms facing forward at chest level. He's wearing a saffron robe on his upper body, his legs and knees are bare, his head is slightly back-tilted, and he seems to either be beaming spiritual energy at us, or keeping his distance. Since he's sitting in the midst of an aura of wavy gold lines, I think beaming is intended to be conveyed. The purity of the subject addressed by the book is signaled by the white cover, associated in Tibetan iconography with pride, vajra, the north and the god realm.

The book is by "Carolyn Lee, Ph.D.," one of the numerous female devotees who have cast themselves on the funeral pyre of Franklin's love. Cause he's a ramblin' man, a complete unknown, a rollin' stone, a rompin' stompin' heaping hunk of burnin' love. That's Franklin, Lord above, and as on earth so in heaven, and also at the seven-eleven. This man is bad! He is so bad he should be locked in a cage with Dr. Laura and Judge Judy, and forced to satisfy their unnatural lusts. Or required to share a lifeboat with Chogyam Trungpa, Krishnamurti, and Madonna for company, and a package of beef jerky and a bottle of Crown Royal to liven up the experience. Just imagine how many ways that could turn out.

Bubba Free John was Franklin's moniker when first I heard of him, back in the days when "The Knee of Listening" was the kind of thing the older hippies worried about. I was only worried that I wasn't getting enough time in the sack with sexy chicks, and serious religion, like serious politics, did not hold my attention. Now I find out that, for all of the religious overlay, his concerns were much like my own, but more grandiose. His recent outpourings indicate that he is now even more convinced of his eternal worth to humanity than he was back in the hippie era, but even then he knew he deserved more than the average guy. He made a career out of stealing women from gullible young hippies who could be buffaloed. The prettier the girls, the better, and Franklin established a system for getting the couple stoned and drunk, having his pals separate the guy from the chick, after which Franklin would seduce her and initiate her into Franklin-worship. Later on, Franklin's assistants got a share of the flesh they helped bring to the altar.

Being ready to drop your drawers and get physical was very much a part of the Franklin scene. Going with his strengths, Franklin accumulated as many as nine official wives, a condition bound to incite envy in those of small experience. Franklin's power over women gave him power over men, and the clique of seducers at the core of his gang gave him the macho support that provokes swooning among members of the fairer sex.

Franklin cuckolded large numbers of men, who stood silent and helpless as their women shucked off their clothes and walked into bliss. The men, deprived of their testicles, couldn't help but hang around. They could lessen the pain by pretending that God had taken their woman. If they pretended Franklin was divine, they could hang around and try to win back the love that had been whisked away from them. They might even get one of Franklin's other castoff women.

On the other hand, if a woman had money, Franklin could always separate her from her man by tossing a new woman his way. Then, she would look to Franklin to heal the wound. Franklin could help her understand that the new relationship was also a good thing. She just needed to open her heart. Keeping her purse closed wasn't helping. That's the way it is in a religious community. You open up your heart, your purse, your legs. Wherever your treasure is, you share it.

This simple formula for a happy and successful cult kept Franklin fed, stoned and caressed for around thirty years. In The Promised God-Man Is Here he again recorded and revised the history of his achievements for posterity, laying out a feast for his devotees. If you were not a believer, this book won’t make you one, but it can still be enjoyed as a study in psychopathology, in which the true character of the patient's delusion is gradually revealed by the steady accumulation of character details.

Never content with one name where an evolving string of them will do, this avatar morphed from Franklin Jones to Bubba Free John to Da Love-Ananda, to Da, Adi-Da, and finally Ruchira Avatar Adi Da Samraj. Rarely able to reside in one place for more than a few years, Franklin up and left his faithless pseudo-disciples in a huff on numerous occasions. Of course, some say he fled Marin County in order to avoid more heat arising out of lawsuits against him by abused students, but I think he just got in a snit. There was pace and staging to Franklin's inner freak show. He managed to keep his devotees on pins and needles about his dreams, his heart palpitations, his swoons, his depressions, his crying jags, his decaying health, his mission to save the world. They feared his judgments, the cruel accusation that they were undermining his mission by failing to generate devotion, cash, contacts, the things a messiah needs. How can you save a world that doesn't want to be saved? The things a guru has to do with his own hands! Are we out of Valium again?!

Yes, he confronted them about it! The slacking, the fake devotion, the heel-dragging, the complete lack of concern for the fact that there were FOUR BILLION PEOPLE on the earth who NEVER HEARD OF DA! WAITING! HE REMINDED THEM: THIS IS INCARNATION THEY ARE WAITING FOR, BUT DA'S DISCIPLES are SLACKING! Back in the mid-eighties, when they first moved to Fiji, Franklin told them, he would MAKE HIS MOVE! Well, he did! But did they? Nooooooo. They just sat there with their simpy devoted faces and LET HIM DOWN!

It was true. Da was God, the baby God. Sitting in a diaper full of shit, screaming for somebody to wipe his butt. Waving his rattle-sceptre, screaming for food, comfort, adulation. His disciples did their job. They adored him and shut him up. They did it in shifts until he died. That was the task his devotees took on, and as Da was their witness, they fulfilled it.

Epilogue

On November 27, 2008, Franklin Jones was working on an art installation of massive painted aluminum constructions. Inflated estimations of the artistic heft of his output had already been floated, and so it appeared that Adi Da was about to enter his Warhol phase. With the international art market tanking, his entry into the field was well-timed, since artists able to fund their own shows and grease the publicity machinery that sustains buzz and prices are a rarity, and good reviews could be bought cheaply. Then Time, that wounds all heels, pulled its rug smoothly out from under the feet of the man, and at the age of 69, the bullshit ceased to flow. At least from the mouth of Adi Da himself, which had ceased to produce words about the same time as his heart stopped beating. His devotees, of course, had just begun. Using the Internet, they began proclaiming on his behalf:

As devotees know, Beloved Bhagavan Adi Da Samraj is a Divine Yogi. There is a long history of such beings having very unconventional “death events” or moments in their lives. We have seen this in Beloved Bhagavan’s Case in many circumstances in the past -- the Ruchira Dham or Lopez Island Event, and the Divine Emergence, as merely two of them. Certainly it is the hope of this moment, as we write, that Beloved Bhagavan will Re-Enter His Body and begin a new Phase of His Work. It is our hope and intention that He will Re-Animate the Body and wake up.


Franklin Jones, being merely human, did not “wake up” from his heart attack. But those who had known and loved him consoled themselves on a website dedicated to his memory by posting audio recordings with a focus on the following message:

That Adi Da will always be eternally present, and furthermore, that He has provided us with all the means necessary to locate Him, making His Presence forever available to us.


At this point, our jeering and laughter reach their proper end, because the absurdity of Adi Da’s self-promotion, and the slavishness of his disciples’ adulation stand revealed in their completeness, and whatever there was to expose about the man in life, death has taken the laboring oar, and we may rest from our exertions. This epilogue thus is properly concluded with an epitaph, and since Jones was a false guru from the sixties, made of ordinary American clay, his epitaph from the pen of an American boy, whose music will play on and on long after Jones’ silly sermons are forgotten:

“And castles made of sand
Slips into the sea
Eventually…”
-- Jimi Hendrix
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