Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Teachings of The Buddha and The Teachings of Gurdjieff.

If I may, I would like to point out some considerable differences between Mr. Gurdjieff and the Buddha, both in their actions and in their teachings.

First I should talk about the Buddha, whose name was Siddhārtha Gautama. When he was born his father who was a ruler of a small kingdom had an astrologer throw his horoscope which told that Siddhartha could have either of two paths in life; either he would be a great political king or or he would become a great spiritual teacher.

His father, wanting to install him as his heir, had a large wall built around the entire palace, which saved Siddhartha from viewing any of the world's calamities. After he was married and had a child, he became curious and snuck out and had his charioteer drive him through town. First he saw a leper, and couldn't understand until his charioteer explained that he had a terrible disease. Then he came across a man tattered in rags who was begging. Again, always having plenty, Siddhartha needed the charioteer to explain poverty. They passed a prostitute cutting a deal with a customer, and again, the charioteer had to explain that man had vices which needed gratification. Everywhere he looked he saw suffering, and decided that he would run away from the palace and seek a solution to this pervasive unhappiness which seemed to run the world.

After kissing his wife and son, he climbed over the wall never to return. He traded his valuable clothing for the vestments of a "forest dweller" and obtained a begging bowl, and began to practice yoga and visiting holy men and listening to their various teachings. He gathered a group of about five other young man who practiced very strenuous austerities for several years. At the end of 5 years, and dying of starvation, Siddhartha separated from his friends and allowed himself to be nurtured back to health by a woman who spent 6 weeks feeding him and tending to his sores and self-inflicted wounds, which the group had decided would aid them in their aim of release from suffering and the attainment of permanent bliss.

Siddhartha, soon to be the Buddha, found a nice Bodhi tree to rest his back against and to begin his contemplations. The first question he asked himself was if he could remember a time when he was perfectly happy. In fact, he remembered himself sitting under a similar tree when he was nine years old with no unhappiness in him to be found. Instead he found four virtues that arose within him and radiated outward, having no outward cause:

Buddhism's four brahmavihara  ("Divine States") can be more properly regarded as virtues in the European sense. They are:
  1.    1     Metta/Maitri: loving-kindness towards all; the hope that a person will be well; loving kindness is "the wish that all sentient beings, without any exception, be happy.
  2. Karuṇā: compassion; the hope that a person's sufferings will diminish; compassion is the "wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering."[8]
  3. Mudita: altruistic joy in the accomplishments of a person, oneself or other; sympathetic joy - "the wholesome attitude of rejoicing in the happiness and virtues of all sentient beings."
  4. Upekkha/Upeksha: equanimity, or learning to accept both loss and gain, praise and blame, success and failure with detachment, equally, for oneself and for others. Equanimity means "not to distinguish between friend, enemy or stranger, but to regard every sentient being as equal. It is a clear-minded tranquil state of mind - not being overpowered by delusions, mental dullness or agitation."[
 Siddhartha also came to the realization that all existence experiences suffering, but by practicing these four virtues so that nothing is based on impressions coming from the outside, but that these virtues are inherent and invested in the human being, they may be radiated outwardly in all directions, thus bringing happiness, joy, bliss and contentment.

The Buddha, as he was now known, is directly translatable from the Pali or Sanskrit as "One Who Is Awake", being derived from the root "Chitta", which is most simply translated as awareness. There is an apocryphal story of the other Gurus who were losing students to the Buddha going to him and ask him a series of questions:
" Are you a God?" Reply: "No" 
“Are you an Avatar? (An incarnation of an attribute of the Godhead). Reply: “No" 
“Are you then a Saint?" Reply: “No”

“What are you then, that all our disciples are flocking to you and abandoning us?”
Reply: “I AM ONE WHO IS AWAKE”. This is the literal transliteration of the word Buddha into English.
The significant difficulty I find in the Buddhas subsequent teachings is that he advocated what he called “The Middle Way", Containing 8 Right Methods such as “right vocation, right this, right that and so on–right attitude etc.

But this is not the path that the Buddha himself took. He may have thought that he was doing his disciples a favor by giving them a shortcut past the austerities, and studies and yoga, and this is where the Buddha and myself find ourselves separating paths.
Now let's study the path of Mr. Gurdjieff. It also recognizes that all of existence is suffering, but instead of radiating happiness right off the bat (when we probably can't really find any within ourselves), he advocates studying ourselves as we actually are without changing anything except to look, through a separation of an acting self and a witnessing self. 
And he claims that this seeing of ourselves as we actually are, while deconstructing the imaginary perfect self which we have generated in our ability to lie to ourselves and hopefully to other people; he claims that this seeing, which he equates to light, produces changes–real chemical changes in the structuring of the organism. In its blood will change the hormones and neurotransmitters. It also brings the clarity of our own suffering of ourselves as we actually into a focus which attenuates or ceases the sieve - like leaking of energies which we need for our work, but which otherwise are squandered–wasted.
Even though the Buddha never advocated that there is no real Self (the doctrine of annata) but only constituent desires and aversions, Nirvana does not translate as “nonexistence”. Nirvana directly translates into English as “No Wind”, meaning that the authentic individual Self is no longer subject to any Push or Pull from the outer world and its sense–objects. It is the exact same thing as Carl Jung's 
"Individuation" or Gurdjiefff's "Higher being Bodies".

However, in Mr. Gurdjieff cosmogony he is closer to Orthodox Esoteric Christianity than to any other belief system, agreeing with St. Paul's assessment that the entire Creation as from the beginning until now, has groaned as if in the sufferings the pangs of childbirth, eagerly awaiting the birth of the sons of men"

The "Sons of Men" being a highly charged phrase, essentially meaning the perfect man such as the Adam Kadmon, or Christ Jesus, and Gurdjieff not only advocates a conscious and laborious suffering of oneself without any illusions, vanity, or self–love, but he places in the teachings of Ashiata Shiemash what are known as the "Five Strivings", which place man in a position of responsibility not only to himself and his physical well-being, but to the promise of an endless study of the laws which govern Creation, as well as being willing and able to shoulder some of the Suffering of the Creator himself, and thereby lightening his burden.

And the last or 5th striving brings us human beings into a relationship of reciprocal help, to attain the necessary degree of objective reasoning which would allow us to serve the needs of each other at the same time as shouldering some of the burden of the creator. Mr. Gurdjieff lays great emphasis on utilizing consciousness to unearth the divine spark of conscience which lay embedded in our subconscious and unconscious parts, having been covered over by the incredibly incorrectly named “education”, which has more to do with babysitting and surrogate parenting with no harmonious educational aim having been designed, and leaving the children to learn useless competition with no moral rectitude.
Whereas Buddhism acknowledges all existence as forms of suffering, in its dogma of the  “4 Noble Truths” It alleges that this suffering can be attenuated and eliminated through the following activities:
1): all existence is suffering
2): it is craving disguised as desire or aversion which create this suffering.
3): suffering can be alleviated by renouncing craving, desire or aversions
4): cessation of suffering is accomplished by 8 noble paths, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.
Mr. Gurdjieff, on the other hand, advocates intentional or volitional suffering, and relates trying to avoid suffering as simply another mechanical suffering which intensifies this suffering itself, which being mechanical, it is quite useless.

He advocates conscious labors and intentional sufferings as a methodology for increasing consciousness so that it renders the subconscious and unconscious to a retrieval of conscience, which Gurdjieff defines as a spark of the Divine Creator Father Endlessness. Gurdjieff is very careful to delineate ordinary conscience, which is changeable in different cultures, and which is also malleable, with true conscience, which is the same in all men – the surety of what is right and wrong.

While Gurdjieff does not describe consciousness as a light switch, but rather in degrees or along the lines of a rheostat, conscience never changes. Being divine in origin, it participates in the certainty of creation itself and the phenomenological Cosmos we find ourselves in.

In addition, Gurdjieff describes the conscience of the common or ordinary man as one which is filthy, taken for granted and abused. It thus needs cleansing, and Mr. Gurdjieff hints that a man with a clean conscience can experience all of his emotions at once, with no buffers between opposites, and which open the flood gates of positive emotions, which have no opposites. So that in fact, the beginning of the work being on self observation and self remembering and enlarging the faculties of consciousness are all designed for the single purpose of retrieving and cleansing the true conscience which exists in all men except those unfortunates who have either sullied their own conscience, or as sociopaths, have an atrophied or dead conscience, so that these what are called Hasmanuss (several languages together which roughly translate as "Soul of Shit") have lost their chance at rehabilitation altogether.

When Mr. Gurdjieff talked about conscience he stated that the possibilities for mankind are nearly unbelievable, because whereas consciousness can the horizontal, conscience is nearly always vertical and acts as a conduit for signals and instructions and revelations from above, which begin to set the man's house in order. The house is given him so long as he cares for it as though it were belonging to some far more important person who, being away on business, has left the house and equipage (horse and buggy) in the care of this servant.

Whereas all the major spiritual dispensations which have emerged during the history of mankind, all of them, with perhaps the goals of Buddhism, have recognized that human beings are rightfully servants; whether of above or below matters not. What is important is to recognize our servitude and the existence of absolute and permanent abiding RELATIONSHIP in creation. Everything in CREATION IS IN RELATIONSHIP,


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Kundalini and Gurdjieff Foundation

Thank you, and all the other members who have followed our exchanges and my dedication to keeping both the Sheep and the Wolf alive and well in myself. I was extremely fortunate in that my 1st group had both the male and female in the position of group leaders where the man may be the strongest Man I have ever met in the work.
This was a man who had been with the New York Gurdjeff Foundation since 1952, but whereas it seems that most of the teachers of the work followed a path into complete softness in their worship of Mme. de Salzmann who, it must be said, was a woman of enormous BEING and did as Mr. Gurdjeff instructed her, but she was also very clear in stating in the very beginning of her efforts to bring all of the conflicting lineages together under one umbrella that she stated: "I can only take you as far as I have come."
She achieved a phenomenal success, and one of the things I have learned is that in beginning the New York Foundation she formed a secret group which very few people even today know about to continue the line of esoteric inner work that Mr. Gurdjeff disseminated in an esoteric group he held for the 6 years before his death. Mme. De Salzmann, considering the future of the work and the pleading of the elders in the work for her to impart this final stage of Mr. Gurdjeff teaching career, that there was a secret meeting held once a week for a couple of years and nothing about it ever leaked. It is in fact a marvel that I have discovered that it existed. But most people who develop a strong interest in Mr. Gurdjeff's teachings do not come as though they had lived his teachings their entire life, as I found that I had.
I joined with the New York Gurdjeff foundation for 3 reasons – 1st, because every book written about his work declared that a man must place his own will under the will of another or of a group which has a stronger will than his. I don't think I ever met anyone with a stronger will than my own, which was formed by my own intentional sufferings to the point of death fearlessly and continuously as well as never, ever doing as others did. I thought of the mass of humanity as though they were an entire world full of lemmings so that when they went one way I went the exact opposite way, and I can say with complete honesty and sincerity that I faced down the equivalent of herds of bison and woolly mammoths and kept on my feet through their stampedes except for those brilliant moments when I would be either trampled were thrown aloft by their horns. So when I entered the Foundation I was a man fully prepared. And before I ever heard about it I knew how to absorb higher hydrogens and conscious stealing because I it spent my teenage years amongst the most famous musicians in the world never speaking a word but completely awake and alert so that I might draw from their powers. There is always a surplus because men throw away that which is precious, and even in the work, where one of my aims was to allow the sandpaper of friction to soften my rough edges because I was very sharp and capable of wounding as well as healing with my tongue.
The entire time I spent there was spent sucking, pulling, absorbing, stealing from the building itself so that I emerged with a new set of skills to use in my role of Doctor. and Priest of a currently unknown religion. When I met Yogi Bhajan, the leader of the Sikhs in America and a person who would brought a vigorous yoga which he branded kundalini yoga – and those he had learned from were very upset with him because he did reveal techniques and what are known as Kriya (specific collation and sets of exercises designed to one purpose), but there really was nothing to worry about because of all the Westerners who have never practiced any kind of yoga, and none of them have reached the aim, and I had already experienced the classically described full-blown kundalini awakening which when that happened had been presaged by a month of pranic movements but still took me utterly by surprise when I suddenly discovered that all the things that people assume were metaphorical were literal. With the exception of one thing. It did not begin at the base of the spine but low in the solar plexus where there was a spark generated by something literally resembling Flint hitting Steel which then went down through my feet and into the earth like a freight train which hit a trampoline, and I sat in the chair in a near panicked state as this force of energy came up towards me and then right through me upwards where all bodily functions were turned off in each chakra as if one were turning out the lights one by one towards the door that they were going to leave through. My breathing stopped my heart went into fribulation with a secondary pulse under it in my physical body lost all body heat so that it was as cold as a corpse except for a small patch of warmth at the top of my head. In order to refrain from disturbing it I only used my right hand to feel my left hand which felt like ice, and then to the top of my head where I could feel the circle of warmth through which the kundalini had passed. Anyway, that's the story. From my decision to practice to the actual event was 3 months.

Steve Paul's The Scene

I think one of the 1st times that I went to Steve Paul's The Scene was when I was 15 years old, and Velvert and I wrangled our way past Teddy when he wasn't looking and busy taking some other customers money. Immediately we went back into the left and to the dressing room. We always ended up in the dressing room anyway, so that's where we went and the bill that night was Buddy Guy (one of my all time favorites) with John Hammond Junior as his opening act.
Anyway, we walked into the dressing room and a bunch of black guys were hanging out including one big fat one who was crushing the couch and who claim to be Buddy's manager, who told us that but he had gone out to find something to eat. But there was his hard shell case containing his Stratocaster – oh my God, what a beautiful instrument (later Buddy told me it had been stolen -- what a drag), and Velvert asked if we could touch it or play it and the big guy said "I don't care, but you better take care of it because Buddy's got a gun."
So we took it out of its case and passed it back and forth between us and as Velvert bent the "high e" in an over bend that Jimi did a lot, bending a minor or major third, the damned string broke. Okay, the cats on the couch state "y'all better fix that, because Buddy's got a gun and he is going to be mighty mad that you fucked with his baby".
So Velvert starts rummaging through the guitar case – no spare strings. We both start freaking out and looking all over the place – at the time the Buddy Guy band carried two drum trap cases, one with drum gear in it, and the other one was full of liquor, which had everybody's favorite hooch in it - Velvert was digging through it trying to find strings pulled out bottles of all sorts of hard liquor and I asked to catch on the couch why they carried an extra drum case full of booze, and they said that was for Sundays, or dry counties. Hilarious. No luck with the guitar strings and now we know that Buddy's going to come back soon so Velvert opens up John Hammond Junior's guitar case and sees a set of strings which included a ''high e" and Velvert is clandestine asking "do you think he would mind?" And I told him a better put it on – there's a bigger chance the Buddy will freak if he has to play with 5 strings than John Hammond is going to get upset because somebody took his e string, so Velvert purloined the said string and put it on Buddy's guitar and got it pretty well in tune and everybody breathed a sigh of relief, but the circus isn't over yet.
We went out and sat at a table for the changeover and waiting for Buddy and he finally comes out with his band takes the stage and starts the 1st song, and gets through that one is starts the second song when I guess he noticed that the high e string had stretched out and during those little breaks between the piercing guitar lines and the singing he put his arm out and turned the tuning peg to tighten the string and the damned thing went down. Velvert had put it on the way Jimi did, so that clockwise is up and away from you is down which is the exact opposite of probably every guitarist on earth, and on the stage,
Buddy was freaking because as you tune one string on a Stratocaster sometimes it affects the other strings so that the whole thing turns into a giant mess. Buddy finally figures that it was a practical joke but all the same he has steam coming out of the top of his head and if looks could kill… Oh boy. Hendrix was due to come down later on and do some jamming but Velvert was so scared he insisted that we leave. I did not want to go, but eventually I realized that our friendship was a bond worth the price and we hurried out the door and up the steps where Velvert gasped with breaths of relief. I mean I guess he had been really scared that Buddy would have actually shot him.
I wonder if anyone else remembers that night and Buddy's surprise that when he tuned the string up it went down? The whole fiasco lasted like 3 minutes but in hindsight is one of those moments you'll never forget that are just hilarious.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Not much for Monday as I am extremely tired.

Monday in July 2014 – the 16th

I had been leading a private Gurdjeff group whose 1st anniversary would've been tomorrow, but as the Foundation shuts down for the summer and follows the school year pretty well, I went and pulled the rug out and removed everything I had sweated over for the last year, leaving the members on their own as a kind of shock and test of their mettle. And I had been removing the posts that I had written there and saving some of them and deleting others, when I came upon a very long autobiography of myself which I copied intending to past it here, but then got lost in other matters and copied something else which sent my biography into the depths of the Internet archive crevice from which nothing ever returns. Happy burial to the biography of Richard Lloyd. I don't need you anyway – I have everything I've ever experienced packed inside this thread I have found grayish pink Walnut that exists inside of my skull.

So we will see what becomes of that. As for me, it hurt like hell – almost like an amputation. I had put some time 6 to 8 hours on the computer working for and with that group and now I have to remove it piecemeal which is very hard and tedious work. I wish I could hire a valet, but then, I have no car for him to park.

I feel kind of empty – which is neither good nor bad – because how can empty have any feelings? Empty is simply empty. It's not a perfect vacuum, because we will never reach absolute 0 Kelvin – it's as much a boundary line as the speed of light.

But I have been thinking about cosmogony and some new ideas people have about the singularity which became the "Big Bang" as the prevalent theory. The ID of the Big Bang may be sheer bullshit that we like the smell of. What to the Hindus have to offer? The days of night's and lifespan of Brahma? It seems that the ancients who were spoken of as ancient by those we consider ancient, had more brains and more sense than we have today. I need not appeal to aliens to understand that human beings built the pyramids so well that you cannot insert a credit card between some of the 60 ton blocks of stone. The entire thing was once covered with sandstone which must've made it almost impossible to look at during the daylight hours because it's refractory (the degree of light that is deflected and not absorbed) would've been astonishing with the gold triangle at the top, you could probably see it from the moon or even from Venus or Mars.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Summer Postings Number One

I have been thinking that I have spent so much time and energy on a special group I formed which comes to its first anniversary on Tuesday, and that we should follow the school year as do The Gurdjeff Foundations and Societies – this allows people time to go on retreat also known as Work Periods, where between seventy and 120 people may gather on secluded property in order to live and Work together for whatever designated time there might be. I have gone on a number of these retreats.

The most significant thing that I can report about the very first work period was that after it was over and I had been driven back to the Toronto international Airport I experienced an incredible culture shock to a degree that I never thought possible. For the ten previous days I had been with my people, those who follow the teachings and ideas and practices of G I Gurdjieff, and as I was preparing to leave a phrase came into my head about what I had experienced there – that I had been in a place "Where the Truth Abides and Negativity Dies".

When I entered the terminal are immediately ran into human beings who were consistently suspicious, tightly guarded and verging on hostile as they jostled through the terminal. I saw this through new eyes that could barely stand to see what are thought of as ordinary people so defensive that each one was a stranger to anyone else, and the culture shock was such that I was for past tears and truly felt that odd sense that I had when I was yet a baby and looked up at adults and saw them mistreat each other and as I put it that – "how can it be that they are not nice to each other?" I really had no idea except that I was terrified and all my life I have been terrified of becoming like them. And what had happened? I arrived at the airport and was driven two hours to the property and a week later I was driven back to the airport having regained my sanity – that I did not know that I had lost. I held onto this state through several days and through the complaints of my wife (who was not in the work) that I seemed almost robotic – with no reactions to warp or twist my face. In a quality of voice that was calm but that my wife had learned to hate, because it meant that I was dropping out of the fight – and though she hated it also she needed me to be the grumpy Richard that she knew.

I understood better about the trance states that we live our lives continuously moving from one trance state to another depending upon whom we are with, and while I knew that I could hold against this pressure I recognized it as a selfishness, and so I put it away and returned to acting the role that had been written for me in my relationship as a husband and father – but as something akin to the shock of exhaling embryonic fluid and inhaling air which contains oxygen and which originally will sting the lungs until the newborn gets used to it, the pain subsides and the infant has become an air breathing creature. No matter what I tried I could not hold on while playing the role demanded of me, complete with outbursts of anger and foolish laziness. Things had… Things had returned to ordinary, but I now knew once again that ordinary was a diseased state.