Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

for ex-BKs to discuss matters related to experiences in BKWSU & after leaving.
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ex-l

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Re: Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

Post24 Jul 2010

Well, the first and most major precept of this forum is not to do good but "to keep on topic", keep closely on topic and keep returning to the topic. The purpose of this forum is to do good by helping others.

Enlightened's question was, "Is there any particular type of Buddhism (as there are many branches) that the ex-BKs you know of find particularly useful please?". I guess I just feel a little lost in all the expansion from that question.

Enlightened, if you are still with us, perhaps you can refine your question a little further.

In England, awfully nice places to go to test the waters might include Sharpham House Trust, near Totnes in Devon, which is in the wing of a beautiful old building overlooking the countryside. They have open days and retreats. Of course, a big plus is being able to just get out into the countryside.

I would say they are non-denominational, non-doctrinal and non-cultie, and at the heart of a larger network of mindful activities down in the area. However, I do not who their teachers are or what the community is like now. A lot of this stuff depends on the people who are there at the time. There is also Amaravati, based on the Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho, from the Thai "forest tradition".

I do not know what enlightenment is seeking now and so I find it little hard to make any further and specific recommendations, and I am not sure if they are still with us or have been put off by all the talk.

I think the Karuna Institute is worth mentioning or its blending of Buddhist approach and Psychotherapy which has survived and matured over a 25 year period. They also offer retreats and training. I would like to encourage ex-BKs to go on and turn their experiences into tools to help others.

I think there is a danger with ex-BKs too that even though they leave, they take a lot of Brahma Kumarism with them. It is easy to play guru with a small pack of aphorisms (and charge for it even), when one does not really know that much at all ... which we discuss often here.

And I wonder if within ex-BKs there is also a searching for a community or society to fit into ... and if ex-BK feel they ever fit back into any? To start a new religion, would invariably mean starting back at the bottom of the heap. I wonder how many are willing to do that in preference to being a self-appointed guru?
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filthy shudra

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Re: Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

Post25 Jul 2010

ex-l wrote:So, do you know anyone that is enlightened ...

yes - Annamaria
annamaria wrote:I woke up on Sunday morning last week and knew my time [as a BK] is over...
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ex-l

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Re: Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

Post26 Jul 2010

Yes, nice flattery ... but we were talking about Buddhist teachers, Buddhist concepts of enlightenment and a comparison between the their system and the BKs.

Buddism in the West is obviously part of the "Coffee Table Book" and New Age cultures where we can live how the hell we want and then add a few wise aphorism on top and be "spiritual". I was most interested by Mr Green's response about Thai culture which, like many Asian cultures, is infused with everyday Buddhism ... in some case a very Hinduistic Buddhism (i.e. a Buddhism of gods, icons and mythology).

Many Asians I speak to say how "Christian" westerners are ... even if they are not Christians. I wonder how much we can 'see' Buddhism through our cultural filters. I would argue that because of its roots in intellectualism and the occult, Western Buddhism is very head bound. Likewise, we can note how as you wrote that the early influential BK adherents brought much of their cultures and religions to the BKWSU and colored it ... that the BKWSU is really not "of God" but a big snowball accreased from all the bits the followers brought (including their shadows).

Of course, the simplest advice to someone in enlightenment's position may be just, "go and see". Reality is usually different from what we believe it to be. Zen, for me, was always full of images of hardship and austerity ... sure the monks all get up at 4am too but the last time I went to a very old Sotoshu temple, the main room was full of 100 small mattress for 100 small kindergarten students, their baths full of chattering children and the monks playing fireworks with them. It was far more part of the ordinary than I had imagined.

Still, I think I would still say to anyone seeking, to avoid the so-called esoteric schools like Shingonshu and most of the Tibetan schools and teachers ... except perhaps Dzogchen (which has older roots in spiritualistic Bon religion), because there is too much ritual, symbolism and posers. Stick to something simple and focused. Tibet Buddhism went Hollywood a long time ago and, in my opinion, the Yellow Hats (the Dalai Lama's lot) are pretty just another (less successful) Vatican.

I am sure enlightened is not seeking Enlightenment any more. Most ex-BKs come cured of religion for a life. But may be a holiday in a Buddhist society would be an interesting reflection after being steeped in the middle class neo-Hinduism of the Brahma Kumaris?

On a tangent, by way of a philosophy of life, I would find it hard to recommend anything beyond the Tao Te Ching (Gia Fu Feng and Jane English's translation).
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filthy shudra

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Re: Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

Post26 Jul 2010

Some say, "Jah Rules" ... others not ... but here we're talking about the awakened ones.

The discussion about Buddhism here is not to my mind about which 'church' or 'denomination' to follow ... as you say, maybe it's a question of "go and see". People will be drawn to the style and teaching that suits them, and then they can move on - Buddhism doesn't own you the way theistic religion does.

The Buddha, when asked by brahman scholars to explain his teachings answered, "ehi pasika" which means "come and see" or come and experience it because words (dancing on books or forums as you say) is not what he taught. Others may do that ... the individual need not.

The only reason you'd need to find a teacher is to help you get a handle on all the deep and subtle aspects of what Buddha and the later buddhists taught. I am of the view that Buddha is one person who has realised himself and reality, and taught it. He died, he is dead and gone. Later Buddhists - and through the Abi Dhamma - develop it and explain the same ideas in many different ways. All Buddhism teaches the inadequacy of relying on words.

The best teachers are those who taught the teachers - Gautama himself, Nagarjuna, Bodidharma. Dogen etc etc. These are accessible initially through text, but if you practice what you understand, then it comes alive. I found by joining into a traditional martial arts group that the Buddhist teachings took on a completely new perspective

I agree with you about the Tao Te Ching - and for those who don't know, Tao is not Buddhist - but the meeting of the two traditions did, to my mind, create an even better world view.

But your main points - to try to define "enlightenment" and pin it down in a simple formula is a mistake. Most attempts to describe it are in the form of simile - it is like ... it is as if ... It's not presented in a direct reductionist formula.

If you experience some enlightenment, that is not a done deal, once and for all. Life moves on. You may not be able to be "more enlightened" than others (to measure is to be caught in Samsara) - but you can become differently enlightened than you were before. But if you sit on your laurels ... you've fallen into the third affliction - confusion/stupor.
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ex-l

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Re: Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

Post26 Jul 2010

I don't think I believe in "awakened ones" any more which is why I asked if anyone knew any. I asked an honest question to others about how they related to religion post-BKWSU (which really does say on the label "Destroys 99% of all Known Religions").

Personally, I think 90% of religion, any religion, is bollocks. 9.9% is business (at best patching up and keep afloat some liferaft for when people's lives become a little too difficult for them; at worst exploitative cultism) ... and may be just - if you are lucky - there is a 0.1% of some unpredictable magic. Nature ... or even rock'n'roll for that matter ... has a higher life changing magical factor. And, largely, more style. The idea behind being able to give people reasonable recommendation is decrease the probability of swallowing the former and increase the probability of experiencing the latter.

Actually, perhaps that figure might be 80% - 10% politics - 9.9% business - and 0.1% magic. I would have to think about it and how it compares with Brahma Kumarism.

I am concerned by your vast arm waving statements such as "Buddhism is this ... or Buddhism is not that" as if you know about all of it. A Global Supreme Authority Almighty Shri Shri Knowledgeful Child of the Ocean of Buddhism-ist. For example, a lot of Buddhism says, "shut up, don't think and repeat after me".

I think the West really does not have sufficient Buddhist infrastructure to give a good enough picture of the totality of it. Many of what groups do set themselves up as "Buddhist" capitalize upon that, in the same way as the Hare Krishnas or Brahma Kumaris capitalize on the lack of Hindu infrastructure. And there are very different aspects to it, e.g. preserving traditions and culture, political, social, financial.
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filthy shudra

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Re: Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

Post26 Jul 2010

I don't think I believe in "awakened ones" any more

I made the point that we tend to put the idea of "enlightened/awakened" on a romantically high pedestal, we over idealise it. Hence we get the resulting 90% bollocks as you say. It's like making someone a mahatma or a saint, so we mere ordinary folk give ourselves an excuse to stay in boring mundanities.

I once heard boredom defined as what happens when there is "a lack of curiosity and imagination". Mindfulness is all about pragmatising curiosity and imagination - testing your pre-conceptions against what actually is.

I have awakened to many things in my life, as I am sure you have and we all have ... if we hear that Gautama became a Buddha, we have to ask - to what did he awaken? It wasn't to many of the things we today would be awakened to ... hygiene for one example.

By definition there can only be a few "leaders' and by definition only one "discoverer" etc. The rest of us then follow or learn from that. But if something is explained or shown to us, eg washing hands, we may do it dutifully and out of cultural practice, but then one day, as we grow and learn, we learn and realise that there is a whole micro-universe of bacteria, microbes and other life that exists, and now the practice of washing is done in an enlightened way - we are awake to our practice, and I am sure we then do it more thoroughly.

I think Gautama and others saw the world in a new way, and if we get a small insight into what they are talking about, and keep that in mind as we practice (in whatever ways - the main way is "mindfully" and "middle way") we perceive their view. But doing the "outer" practice without the whole of the idea, the goal of the practice will not be achieved - but some just like to have a path to follow, that's cool.

A lot of what is in Buddhist teachings reflects the time and culture of that teacher, but they all have a common view that can be separated. Rather than thinking you need to choose one out of a number of Buddhist cultures or teachers - which you seem to keep saying ex-l, it makes sense to find the commonality, and practice that. Even if you do decide to choose a "style" - you know are not from that culture, you should not pretend you are, bring what you have to it, and bring what it has to you ...

I put this simple suggestion to readers of this forum - most of whom have practiced "I am the eternal soul " type of consciousness for years - for the next few weeks, whenever you think of yourself - that is when you think of "I" - instead of eternal soul, think "everything changes and is impermanent, I too am impermanent, I have changed, am changing and will continue to change"

See how that makes you feel ... it carries many implications - especially choosing how you change (cettana) - it allows great freedom. Then ask yourself at the end of that - "Am I the same person I was a few weeks ago ..." Get into the view that NOTHING is fixed forever (in drama or karma or otherwise).

Quite different to trying to squeeze yourself into the fixed box of the 5,000 cycle - which has the multiple locks of "eternal status" (unchanging state) and "you are spiritually higher than others, but there are some always higher than you" ... and so on.
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ex-l

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Re: Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

Post30 Jul 2010

The bottomline is, the whole caboodle of Buddhism is sold on the basis that Gautama Buddha, and a few others, hit the jackpot, became "Enlightened" and left The Cycle of birth and re-birth. We are not talking about itty-bitty handwashing insights here.

The whole caboodle of Brahma Kumarism is sold on the basis that Lekhraj Kirpalani (and a perhaps few others) hit the jackpot and became perfect or "Karmateet" ... despite any evidence of the fact.

What I am asking for is evidence. You are selling me some aspect of Buddhism now ... just as - and with the same tools - you would have been selling me Brahma Kumarism a few years ago.

OK. Show me. This is my new mantra and I encourage others to use is. Forget Ram-ram-ram or Baba-Baba-Baba, try "Show me ... Show me ... Show me". Show me some evidence of where this is going to take me after years and years of practise. Obviously, discussing something spiritual the evidence will have to manifest in the form of some individual or teacher. Show me a great teacher ... or even just a reliable, consistent teacher who has achieved some state ... which suggests it is worthwhile investing my life in it.

It is that same cult or Brahma Kumari line of, "we don't ask you to believe, all we ask you is to suspect your disbelief ... until you are hooked".

In the Brahma Kumaris, their "Show me" is Dadi Janki and yet, after 70 years of drinking the Ocean of Truth, she is obviously still mired in bollocks and incapable of even simple honesty and corporate integrity.

    Who is the Buddhist "Show me"?
One might say the same of the Brahma Kumaris ... can anyone recommend a good or safe Brahma Kumari teacher or center?


I might re-calculate by condemnation here as I reckon perhaps 70% of the the "bollocks" are really just "the inevitable and inescapable bollocks" one has to engage in as soon as a community of human beings arises. Therefore, as far as "absolute bollocks" go, e.g. lies, corruption, deceit, let us downplay to a 20%. Approximate figures only.
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filthy shudra

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Re: Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

Post30 Jul 2010

,Dear ex-l

To ask for proof of efficacy of serious Buddhist practice before practicing it is not possible. How can you feel what I feel? The whole idea is to be clear about what you feel for yourself There is no specific feeling one SHOULD be feeling - just know what you are feeling first.

In a Buddhist Yoga class I attend, we are asked to be aware of what we are experiencing in certain movements, but as the teacher suggests what he is feeling as examples, he also warns that they are what he is feeling, and not necessarily what everyone is feeling or should be feeling, and we need to check what we are experiencing for ourselves. To what end? No end other than to be aware of our reality, exercising and exploring to our full ranges - so we know where "middle" really is.

(The Yogara school of Buddhism saw Yoga as the process of a person's tuning in to the dynamics of life - as experienced, and unconcerned with the supernatural - soul, god etc).

To ask for a recommendation to a teacher is disingenuous as we have previously discussed - there are many approaches, many personalities, many cultures, many "profiteers" and some are just bad teachers ... not to mention that different people will respond to different qualities.

I will agree with your own recommendation - the Dzog-Chen school.
ex-l wrote: Still, I think I would still say to anyone seeking, to avoid the so-called esoteric schools like Shingonshu and most of the Tibetan schools and teachers ... except perhaps Dzogchen

Go for it! I agree whole heartedly - and especially suitable for someone of apparently very capable intellect like yourself, as its focus is on bypassing falsely constructed theories (those that don't pass the "show me" test! - which is "ehi pasika" do it and see for yourself).

rDzog-Chen is a simple idea at its core, once grasped, but because it is quite different to our conditioned reductionist ways of thinking, much of the writings about it can sometimes seem dense and difficult. However, I think it's one of the beautiful children of the meeting of Buddhism and Tao-ism. Also, depending on what teachers or writers you find, one may need to extract the "active ingredients" from the cultural contexts. But rDzog-Chen does that in many ways for Buddhism anyway ...

It's "philosophically middle way" - to neither materialistically reduce all experience to particular objects that interact (objectivism), nor to go the other way and say that all experience (all the world) is created by or determined subjectively by mind (subjectivism).

Both extremes fall into a dualistic trap that says there is a fixed determinant (soul/mind or matter) that needs to be mastered or controlled to comprehend the rest. Rather, it suggests that "enlightenment" or 'awakening' is to experience life as an evershifting process (Tao?) of interacting, co-dependently arising, things - including any notion of self. Any meaning and understanding need to be lived out and practice. Words are inadequate because language by its logical nature only leads to one or other of the extremes mentioned above - which is why simple things can be hard to write or talk about.

In rDzog-Chen there is no 'destination". Enlightenment is not a goal to reach for, it is a way of living. I hope that you follow your own instincts in this ...

"Show me" is a good sceptical, doubtful position - a safety position, like a brake. Faith is like an accelerator, an enabler, without which you would never take a single step. Both have to be used at the right time and in a co-ordinated way. As BKs we "chose" to dis-able the brakes ...

Anyway, I have "shown you" mine now you "show me" yours :shock:
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ex-l

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Re: Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

Post30 Jul 2010

filthy Shudra wrote:To ask for proof of efficacy of serious Buddhist practice before practicing it is not possible ... To ask for a recommendation to a teacher is disingenuous.

OK. Can I ask you one simple question and get a simple answer ...

    • Who knows more about Buddhism ... the Dalai Lama, a Tulku or you?
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filthy shudra

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Re: Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

Post31 Jul 2010

ex-l wrote:OK. Can I ask you one simple question and get a simple answer ...
    • Who knows more about Buddhism ... the Dalai Lama, a Tulku or you?

In terms of "more" then obviously the Dalai Lama or any worthy Tulku but they don't know anything compared to me - about me. :D ... they could be invited to contribute here? :D

Please understand I am not attempting to "out-Buddhist" anyone. I am on a forum sharing what i have learnt with what I presume is a number of interested readers as well as some who have asked questions, not proving anything. I prefer a complimentary dialogue rather than adversarial, but I will still endeavour to be respond as best I can to what presents - for, as dzog-chen puts it - "the ground is the path is the goal'.

To answer an earlier post - I started practicing Buddhist meditation before Raj Yoga BK meditation. And I did misuse that perspective and aesthetic to "explain" and confirm my take on Gyan and meditation - to make sense of the nonsense, until it became ridiculous, ie I finally realised I was kidding myself.

In the many years as a BK I continued to read and think about Buddhist philosophy (and other non-bk material) and, of course, in the meditations I was not always remembering Shiva Baba - often I was experimenting. So please do not think this is a new convert talking through his hat. It goes back well over 30 years. If there is any new or current apparent enthusiasm it is based on my recent - last few years - of seriously living according to my understandings - and not just Buddhist.

Now - on a less serious note -
Image

ex-l wrote:Buddism in the West is obviously part of the "Coffee Table Book" and New Age cultures where we can live how the hell we want and then add a few wise aphorism on top and be "spiritual".

Yes, it's very easy to do that. I'd be genuininely interested to read your suggestions (or anyone else's for that matter) for how a modern individual - like any of us - can utilise Buddhism and wisdom of other cultures (which'd be almost any one we are not born into) without earning the criticism of superficiality that you make, or fooling ourselves in dress ups and role play.
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Mr Green

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Re: Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

Post02 Aug 2010

I am well enlightened
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ex-l

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Re: Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

Post03 Aug 2010

ex-l wrote:OK. Can I ask you one simple question and get a simple answer ...
filthy Shudra wrote:I'd be genuininely interested to read your suggestions (or anyone else's for that matter) for how a modern individual - like any of us - can utilise Buddhism and wisdom of other cultures (which'd be almost any one we are not born into) without earning the criticism of superficiality that you make, or fooling ourselves in dress ups and role play.

Really, I just wanted to seeing if I could get a short, simple, straightforward - on topic - answer to a short, simple, straightforward - on topic - question. For his short answer, Mr Green wins and is appointed as the next head monk of the order. Yes, I was trying to discuss the comparison between Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism not you. It seems you were not doing BKism as a BK and now are not doing Buddhism as a Buddhist!

    • The Dalai Lama's advice, which is equally applicable to any spiritual tradition, is "spy on your guru for 10 years" first. Asking others opinion and experience would certainly be part of that.

    • According to more generally principles within the Tibetan tradition, something like a 3 year solitary retreat ... after learning word by word all the main and relative scriptures ... would be consider the starting point for life as a "teacher".
Compare to that the Brahma Kumaris, "suspend your disbelief" and "after one lesson you become a teacher" ... or the New Agey thing of having done a retreat at Esalen or becoming an expert for regurgitating a load of artful quotes in a book. I wish I had heard that before ...

For me, most of the Western way is about memorising the advertising speel (the outside) and becoming the spiritual seducer to keep the customer satisfied (for some personal gain), or playing with intellectual toys. It seeks to avoid the hard work of the traditions themselves and, especially, the surrendering to a master bit. Clever, for sure ... but all up in the intellect. Pretty poetry but a luxury ... which, for me, is the market BKs are aiming at now, e.g. Westerners and middle and upper class Indians. I would say Brahma Kumarism is a lot about keeping the customer satisfied.

The question about Enlightenment (or Karmateet-ment with the BKWSU) still stands as without it being a reality, all of the rest is a waste of time. I would say most of us were seduced into the BKWSU on the basis of concepts of Enlightenment or enlightened individuals we had read before. We allowed ourselves to be seduced as we thought it might take us there.

If it is a reality, then the complete subjugation of the self to a recognised spiritual master for a prolonged period of year probably is the starting point. That is also what the Brahma Kumaris offer or exploit; the preconceived idea of total surrender. To a secular or materialistic individuals both surrendering to a recognised spiritual master and being sucked in by a cult look entirely the same. That is why I ask ... where is one's evidence ... where are one's case studies? I cannot tell the difference any more.

I think what most people miss, or are distracted from, is how the gurus, Lamas etc make their living, i.e. how and where the money comes from. That is where the action is. Study and gaining a profession seems to be to be the far better option.

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filthy shudra

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Re: Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

Post03 Aug 2010

Mr Green wrote:I am well enlightened

Then don't play with matches when on the turps :shock:
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Mr Green

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Re: Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

Post03 Aug 2010

I have the solution to all questions
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filthy shudra

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Re: Comparing Buddhism and Brahma Kumarism

Post03 Aug 2010

ex-l wrote:I think what most people miss, or are distracted from, is how the gurus, Lamas etc make their living, i.e. how and where the money comes from. That is where the action is. Study and gaining a profession seems to be to be the far better option.

enlightenment.jpg
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