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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.