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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

How do we define whether a lifetime is a success or failure.

We are all Gods and Goddesses. Our lifetimes are our Creations, we are not theirs. Our lifetimes are our responsibility. We are the only people who have the absolute power in determining how they are lived. We cannot ask others to live our lifetimes or solve our problems. The best they can do is help, other people cannot do our work for us. All of us start from places where things are less than perfect and the fact that your lifetime is in a bad place is no excuse for not taking responsibility for yourself. If anything, the fact that your lifetime is in the shitter is a reason to take responsibility for where you are and to begin the work of fixing it.

We must live the philosophy: Once we reach the age of being a legal adult, the excuses stop and the solutions start.
My definition of whether a lifetime is a success or failure is the degree of self responsibility we display in terms of our Creations. I have seen what happens when we fail to take responsibility for our Creations and it wasn't pretty. A lifetime where responsibility has been taken is a beautiful event.
We must work at making our Creations something that is a joyous event. We must display the capacity for honesty about ourselves as people and a willingness to do the work necessary to resolve our problems. We must view "problems" as challenges to be overcome and their resolution to be celebrated.
We must live with great passion. Mark once asked me what did it take to complete a Bachelor of Arts as a mature age student and with a young child in the house. He thought it was a memory event. My answer was that it was all about need and passion: How fucking badly did you need it and how fucking passionate are you about what you are doing. The fact is that if you want something badly enough you will do it. If you are passionate about something then there is joy, there is life and there is success.
Mark never did these things. He never had the need or the passion. The result was that he not only allowed toxic people into his lifetime, he also allowed them to stay even when their toxicity was well established. He even erred so far as to accord the toxic his time and respect. An example of the most toxic in Marks life is below.

He made excuses for the way his lifetime was. Mark never hated the way that he was or the way he was treated enough to change and to take responsibility for his Creation. As a God he was, at best, out of control.
When we live the philosophy so boldly highlighted above we understand that we have the ability and responsibility to make changes in our Creations. Mark whilst knowing the toxicity of his lifetime, never once reached the critical mass of wanting to change his life and deciding that that change no matter how painful it was going to be, was going to happen. He preferred the known toxicity to the unknown freedom of responsibility.
Because he lacked the need and the passion, Mark was lazy. He wanted the impossible to happen. He wanted a magic medication or a father figure in the form of a psychiatrist to fix his many physical and emotional health problems for him. It is an observable fact that the universe doesn't work this way. We cannot abrogate responsibility for our lifetimes and expect them to succeed. We cannot contract out our own healing and personal growth. Which is what Mark wanted to happen.
A Creation where responsibility is assumed and it is an event that displays need and passion frequently ends well. If we live long enough we leave  few enough things undone. We complete "bucket lists" or tick off as many things as we are able to. We leave few regrets and a tidyness in our relationships. Mark left nothing but lose ends in the form of those undealt with health issues. He left me wondering why he never took responsibility for himself and where the passion had gone...if it had ever existed in the first place.
Mark failed.
My resolve is to honour him by pursuing my passions with a deeper need, to have more responsibility for my life. My success, will in part, be born from Marks failure.
Can you learn the lessons Mark has to teach?

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Ego and the Teacher

In further proof that there is an emerging cult concerning the Theoretical Physicist after I first posted this on Facebook I was blocked from commenting on posts and even messaging the Buddhist Fellowship which is based in Singapore (, this follows similar actions from the Buddhist Society of Victoria. At the time the Writer of Wordy Books was giving a conference on Early Buddhism. Apparently the followers of this cult don't much like it being pointed out that the cult leaders don't have formal qualifications in Buddhism. The problem is more acute with the Writer of Wordy Books who, as I say below, is utterly lacking in anything remotely like a Tertiary qualification let alone one in Buddhism. Still ego's like the ones these two have aren't into being taught. In order to be taught something you might actually have to admit you don't know everything. With these two that will happen about 2 weeks after Hell has a frost.

There are some truly king sized ego's running around Traditional Theravada at the moment. Ego's that just soak up the unrelenting adoration of the plebs they bestow their presence upon. Ego's that don't like to be told that they are full of shit and whose every word is treated as if it is Divine Revelation.

One of them has a PhD in Theoretical Physics he hasn't used in over 30 years and today would be the equivalent of a Bachelor. The other isn't Tertiary Educated at all, yet likes to write wordy, inpenetrateable books and think of himself as an expert.  In Traditional Theravada there is a suspension of belief similar to what happens when we watch a is the story that matters and not the gaping holes and contradictions in the plot. Likewise with these two in particular.


In Traditional Theravada there is an adoration of Monastic Sangha and an acceptance of what they say that is in complete contradiction to the much quoted Kalama Sutta . Because it is being said by a  Monastic it has to be true. Thus to be seen to be correcting or even disagreeing with either of these two in a sustained way will get you at the very least frowned at, keep it up and you are likely to encounter open hostility from the plebs who wait on their every word.

Yet let us look at them properly.
The first one is by title, the Abbot of the largest Western run monastery of the Theravada Tradition in the West. Yet for 9 months of the year, he isn't there, he doesn't function as Abbott, he engages in no training at his "monk factory". He is so frequently away that the Buddhist Society of Western Australia has the "Where is?" portal on its webpage. He is away travelling, often alone. He takes very few if any of his fellow monks with him, fully 90 + % of his trips are alone. He isn't visiting monasteries or seeking the teachings of more advanced monks....he's teaching Plebs, the Lay people whose adoration is the real reason why he is in robes. I will grant him what he teaches is addictive...he teaches jhana or bliss. Give people a way to blissing out whilst ignoring the messy reality that they are hypocrites and you have a fan base.

And this is what he does. He teaches bliss. He isn't particularly interested in helping people use Dhamma to heal from bad childhoods or addiction or obesity. He is interested in teaching something that has the plebs glowing in adoration.

We can count on one hand the number of Theoretical Physicists who are well known...Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox. Had the Theoretical Physicist remained what he trained for he would either be teaching high school...which by his accounts he did for precisely one year before apparently finding it entirely too hard and quitting or working for the UK government. Not a lot of love in either job. No ego pampering in writing up grant proposals or marking Year 9 tests.

This unquestioning adoration has to be a cause for concern. There is a well worn path where once people stop aggressively questioning Monastics that things begin to go awry. A simple online search for one Ajahn Yantra Amaro a deeply charismatic Thai monk from the early 1990's will illustrate my point and my concern abundantly. Yantra attracted, and for that matter, still attracts an adoration that really needs to be seen to be believed. In the early 1990's I was part of it. People literally threw money at Yantra. His every word and action was above question and above reproach. Likewise with the Theoretical Physicist, he is beyond criticism. How long will it be before temptation and ego prove entirely too hard to resist?

The Writer of Wordy Books also has an ego. When asked in early 2009 what his Tertiary qualification was, whether he had a BA or Masters, he replied he was a B.U.M. Yet he wants to be taken seriously by those of us who are Tertiary educated and at least as well versed in the sutta as he is and been meditators for at least as long, if not longer.  Have you tried reading one of his "tomes"?  There seems to be the attitude that if The Writer of Wordy Books drowns his reader in enough words that he will be taken seriously as an intellectual.. The simple problem with this, as those of us who are intellectuals and Tertiary educated know....this simply isn't the case. If you complete a Bachelor of Arts at any university in the Top 100 and you blow your given word count by more than 10%, they mark you down. You begin to get remarks in the margins about clarity and proper referencing.

Having tried to read something by The Writer of Wordy Books I kept muttering to myself about how nice it would be if he had been obliged to live with word counts and been made to reference his works properly. Dense, impenetratable verbosity is not academic writing.

I have been told that he has been criticised when he gets things wrong. I've seen that "criticism"....I imagine being beaten with a feather must leave welts. If it's on his blog either I'm looking in all the wrong places or it's deleted by Admin almost as soon as it is posted. When I posted a reply about the need for a word count...I was politely ignored. Criticism and or review by your fan club doesn't count as being either. It is when people who are your equals or superiors review and criticise your work that it counts. But then neither  The Theoretical Physicist or  The Writer of Wordy Books is interested in being peer reviewed.

They want what should be theirs. They want the adoration, the accolades, the intellectual browny points that they haven't earnt. They want to, in the case of  The Writer of Wordy Books to keep on writing emotive material that doesn't help their causes or in the case of The Theoretical Physicist..he wants your unquestioning adoration. What he doesn't want is to be made to do the job he agreed to do when he became the Abbott of Bodhinyana Forest Monastery, he prefers to rock start status to doing what he should be.

The Writer of Wordy Books is simply trying to be a clone of The Theoretical Physicist. You can't really blame the boy...he isn't that bright to begin with and he's seen just how easy life can be when the Plebs line up to wipe your arse for you. The problem with the fundamentally uneducated and those that failed at their chosen jobs in the real world is they want what those of who have succeeded have...without working for it. After all having a King sized EGO is a lot easier than having a real qualification...or a real job.