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 The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion

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pete x. berkeley

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PostSubject: The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion   Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:59 pm

[Admin note: this thread was split from a thread Josh started re: a BBC radio show on meditation and Harvey Keitel, in order to let Josh's original topic remain intact. The thread shows Pete's name as the "author" because his post was the first one in sequence to be split.]


I came upon this book, at the suggestion of my brother, who is researching ancient societies, including technologies, and religion...The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion, Charles Allen, John Murray Co./London, 2002.

The lost religion is Buddhism.  I can't say that the book is "really good."  I'm no scholar, nor have I completed reading the book.  Nonetheless, I know, you know, we know there's been a lot of back and forth on whether Shasta Abbey and associates have got the pure religion, (hallelieu).

This book shows what muckracker's job it is to keep going back and back and back, and fend off the vectors that like to knock you off your feet: financial stress, colonial/militaristic frame of mind, other religious adherents frame of mind. 

I have a feeling that some in this fine forum got a little too close; whereas I more likely put myself too far away...there's a scriptural proscription about that, as we recall.  Nevertheless, I give you all credit for going deeper, jumping in with both feet.  I'd dip my toe at the bank, and get the shivers.  Yes, it was I who when -- compelled I felt to line up for the trophy shoot picture at the end of Jukai deliberately disobeyed the multiply repeated order to get one's face out from behind the trainee's head in front of you.

"If you can't see the photographer, he can't see you!"  That was fine with me.  And so, I disfigured the happy moment's memento for 100 people! I realize, 35 years later, or so.  Sorry.  "I now confess everything wholeheartedly." However?  Had those who now have deep complaint with Rev. M. JK and the regimen had tried the elemental resistance, to the chicken being hypnotized by pushing its beak to the ground and drawing a chalk line and ...?  there'd probably have been sparks, but ... I dunno... that's got something to do with the history of dredging up Buddhism from the oppressor's attempts to bury it, in India, long ago.  Other religions at that time were gene-based clubs...Buddhism at least is a performance-based practice.

In short:  Buddhism exists if we try it on for size and make it breathe, walk, and talk.  Most of you, all of you signing in here did that wholeheartedly, but I never did.  Subsequently I admire your courage, even if you flew the coop.  And this book puts us at the other end of the telescope of discovery.  The Buddha's not that far away.  Jiyu Kennett was not that far off, compared to how off I have been as I stagger through my eccentric orbit in outer space.

So now we have come to the end, where we recall--The small boy's book report: "This book taught me more about penguins than I wanted to know!"
"This book


Last edited by Lise on Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:12 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : explaining thread split)
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion   Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:34 am

Hello Pete,
    I didn't jump in the water either. For that, I am grateful. I know people who jumped in that lovely blue water and drowned. Much of this forum consists of the stories of those who did. But in a way, I regret not "going all the way," as we used to say in high school. At least they were passionate in their giving up everything. But JK bears the responsibility of being the master and teacher of those who led her followers and their followers into the deep and dark waters.
Carol
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion   Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:04 am

Pete it may have taken more courage to flee the coup, than to stay ,it possibly may have been a sign that we had learnt something from our meditation,so say this particular direction we are being pointed in is not right for me. is the stillness of a zendo as enticing as it is any more relevant or spiritual than an outer space  orbit. I sat zazen with some friends last night we have sat together for nearly 40 years,one of my friends who is an artist gave me an enso, an enso is a circle that is a central part of calligraphy, it was an unusual enso made of  black stones from the beach, each stone had a natural rift white line running through it and the white lines formed the circle...very very beautiful. well it was hoped it would be hung on the wall of our zendo, but there is only one place for it my office wall my office is the size of a shoe box with boxes of screws broken sanders ,bags of paper, a big base speaker from a car,remnants of production sheets, old arguments, issues,incorrect calculations, and bills to pay. That is the special place for the beautiful enzo,Even in outer space Pete we still find the footprints of the Buddha, following them that's not so easy.
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pete x. berkeley

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PostSubject: Re: The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion   Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:38 pm

You made me chortle. you made me chuckle.  I heart you guys but I'm on a different page...
I don't know anybody who drowned.
I do recall Rev. Mokurai, prior of the BBP at the time, saying you pick a Master, and then "Trust them absolutely!"
I spit out instantaneously: "I don't trust anyone absolutely, certainly not myself!"
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion   Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:07 pm

Take care of yourself Pete enjoy your journey
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pete x. berkeley

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PostSubject: Re: The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion   Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:54 pm

Yes sir, U2. and Yes ma'am -- I don't mean to minimize anyone's suffering.  In college (before I dropped out) the Professor, and Editor of Poetry Magazine at the time, trying to teach us poetry, tried to warn us off of criticism...he talked about finding a book to review "that you have an entrance to."  One student complained at some point, about some writer, and the teacher replied:  "I don't want to argue with your feelings."
(pause.  long pause.  like 40+ years...) I get it!  It isn't that you can't make the argument.  But argument (dictionary: argument-a discussion based on logic; logic--reasoning based on cause and effect) [not the same as quarrel; there's a use for discussion based on logic.] An argument can be made, but will it be received?  If not, it does no good and may do some harm.  Feelings are not the frequency, wavelength, not the same channel as argument.

so...Carol? If somebody drowned they drowned...remember Suzanne, by Leonard Cohen? "and when he knew it was certain, only drowning ones could see him, he said 'All souls shall be sailors then, until the seas shall free them'..."

When my w.o.t.t. (wife of the time) and I sat in the counselor's office, her first clients after her mid-life career change, in an emergency visit prior to the threatened divorce she made what to me seemed like a rookie mistake in requiring us to answer questions, first her, then me...and out comes: "How's your sex life?"  She instantly flares out "He makes sex PUTRID!"
(pause, long pause...it's 25 years later...still pausing)

I finally told this lil ditty to a friend over the phone, also had a wife leave him, and subsequently divorced.  Buck said back, in a querulous tone: "'Putrid' means 'good,' right?"

Oh man! I laughed for like the first time in 25 years.  Certainly putrid means good, I replied, to Esquimos who bury blubber in the permafrost and dig it up months later, teeming with maggots, and eat it with blueberries.

I'm wishing you well--your heads are above water...your feet are touching the shore...no one is immune from the ebb and flow, and the occasional drowning (that we hopefully survive.)

I still love Jiyu Kennett.  She didn't seem to know or care how putrid I was trundling with my stinking bag of fish.  She gave me a place to sit, and helped me learn how, and all who held the roof beams up, so we were out of the weather.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion   Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:45 pm

What a great personal story
I met someone who sat with a teacher from Hakuin's temple.
they did a lot of sitting, a normal would be a 4 hour stretch.
he described it as 2 hours of sitting and walking
then a cup of tea,little chat , a big belly laugh
and 2 hours of sitting

Although tough............ for me it is very human and kind
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pete x. berkeley

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PostSubject: Re: The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion   Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:06 pm

Well sir, the world has treated me like a piñata, and I have no choice, but to spill my guts.  And that's only SOME of the fun I've had as a layman Pong.  (they said Ping, and I went Pong)...

So when forumizers here are challenging the quality of their experience at Shasta, let me say obliviously it was BETTER than the good times I could scrape together on my own.  It was a step UP, to be among people who had a greater goal than personal aggrandizement.  I wasn't good at the game, either game! And that was another gripe of my w.o.t.t. (wife-of-the-time): "I've never had such crummy cars, or such crummy places to live, as when I've lived with you!" (shrivel shrivel shrivel).

I don't know if 2 hours would do it, or 4 (or more).  I have yet to understand fully and implement the opening two verses of the Dhammapada.  But I offer my trenchant and pithy comments here -- not exactly candles, flowers, fruit and incense -- just the wayward yodelings of an insalubrious lifetime losing -- offer them for the salvation of all sentient beings.  I want to cheer you up:  In the Dragon Parade of life, you're ahead of me!  Hope that helps!

My "final thought" -- I recall going to the BBP, always on my own, and we had to hustle out to the garden, mess around, and hustle back...I was dallying and Reverend Eko, the prior at that time, was left trying to herd me back.  "And how are you doing these days?" he kindly asked.  "Oh," I stammered out, "I'm in a pretty bad mood." "What's up?" he continued, and I said "work." "Well what about work?" "Well, I have to slave away, and the boss lady--as far as I can see--lives a life of ease!" "And?" continued Rev. Eko..."And!" I shouted back..."I'm tired of toting the palanquin!"
Reverend Master Eko shouted back, louder than I had: "It's YOUR KARMA TO TOTE THE PALANQUIN!"

That sho' 'nuff shut me up.  It took a long time to realize I'd made a similar mistake such as Rod Stewart did singing "Old Man River" when he dueted brilliantly with brilliant guitarist, Jeff Beck: 
I misused the word "tote."  Darn me.

And so? The moral of the story is there's plenty of things to think about, and the Buddha in the Dhammapada kicks it off offering us a strategy for how to think about the plenty things, and Zen Buddhism was brought to poor lil ole pea-pickin', short-stickin', inkaknacking, belly-whacking, college-quittin', ink-spillin', jaw-slackin', fart-crackin' Pee Wee, the Least by Reverend Master Jiyu Kennett and the monks and lay people who kept rolling the Wheel of the Dharma the right way. 
It was good for me.  Left out Jesus, but still?  I love these people.  Maybe I didn't know them all that wheel, but now I am happy to heft the palanquin as my hefting days come to a close, as well as my posts.

Let's find another way to look at things, even if it's through the bottom of a pomegranate martini glass, yes ?
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion   Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:36 pm

I am looking atcha from across the ocean, for me I have to sleep, your great reply deserves a better answer than a quick retort, but there are other ways and different answers. Carrying a right answer with us I believes stops us really living,I am sure Jeff Beck could play some ponderous notes to capture the essence,But although the great guitar solo of Maggie May is played in D it could be played in C,it is the feel that matters
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pete x. berkeley

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PostSubject: The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion   Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:16 pm

Well here's my last warble, dying sparrow that I am...You're certainly intelligent enough, Michael, based on turning the phrase I used "flew the coop" into "flee the coup" (= har!).  Therefore, you came out from your monastic experience intact, and not dain bramaged.

For those who reach their gag limit early, all group activities are problematic.  I remember in a seminar, when Rev. Master was describing a formal Zen dinner, where you have to bow first every time you moved...I raised my hand, got recognized and began to recount a Mark Twain story about a lumberjack kind of guy who loses a bet on an eating contest to a chicken, because the chicken's owner requests two rules that benefitted the chicken:  You have to eat dried corn kernels; you can't chew.  The human filled up first, and gagged at the thought of swallowing one more kernel of corn, whereas the chicken was happily pecking away.

Rev. Master seemed a little steamed when I suggested that a formal dinner was overdoing Buddhism, and a benighted mucker like me would start to gag. 

Nonetheless? I said it out loud.  I couldn't stifle it.  She was kind enough to swallow her pique at my peremptory challenge. 

Which brings me to a last remembrance from the Dhammapada:  "One who speaks little will be blamed.  One who speaks much will be blamed.  One who speaks not at all will be blamed:  There is no one who escapes blame!"

Knowing this--it's time for me to zip it, but we still heart ya'all. 

Imagine if we had nothing to believe in but the misery of what Rev. Master called the "small self." (to the tune of Old Macdonald's mantra)  me-I, me-I... Ohhh!
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion   Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:23 pm

Interesting your comments on the formal eating Pete. I dont know where it originated. I have seen Theravadin monks do an orchestrated begging round with people positioned so they can make an offering of food, and I have seen very formal Japanese eating in the zendo full lotus,eating the same breakfast of rice gruel pickles pickled plum and some seaweed and sesame,a few vegetables.The formal Japanese way becomes a norm very quickly and a part of the continuous meditation.
I have great sympathy with your over doing it comments and the basic question surely is what is Buddhism,are we following form and culture,or do we merge and blend (Jeff Beck again) with the spirit.Almost everyone will say merge with the spirit, and live ones own life,which is fine,but it is the not staying with yesterday insight,the being prepared to leave behind the wisdom that may have been realised, in another time and place, that is an integral part of the spirit, the form has a great knack of tripping us up just as we thought we were making progress
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pete x. berkeley

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PostSubject: Re: The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion   Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:35 pm

I appreciate your attention to these questions, Michael...at the end of the day, it's night.

the only way for me to stop, is to stop.  (back to the top)

"I came upon this book, at the suggestion of my brother, who is researching ancient societies, including technologies, and religion...The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion, Charles Allen, John Murray Co./London, 2002.

The lost religion is Buddhism."

Wishing you well!
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pete x. berkeley

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PostSubject: Re: The Buddha and The Sahibs: The Men Who Discovered India's Lost Religion   Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:58 pm

Thank you, Admin, for splitting this off...and I've spewed all over the place.  I just came to and found all kinds of books and topics under this header...so duh.  I didn't know how to start a new topic. (duh 2)
anyway, p. 255 of The Buddha and the Sahibs:
"Dharmapala must also be credited with the revival of the practice of meditation, widely seen today as an integral element of Buddhism.  Traditionally confined to monks, passed down from master to pupil by personal and private initiation, the practice had died out entirely in Ceylon, Burma and Siam.  In a Sinhalese monastery in 1890 Dharmapala discovered a treatise which he studied carefully before passing it on to Thomas Rhys Davids, who translated it for the Pali Text Society under the title of "The Manual of a Mystic."  From this time onwards, meditation was no longer the exclusive preserve of initiates, but became available to lay followers through private instruction."

and that's it for me...in gassho, ya'all! we heart you!
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