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The Dalai Lama and the Teachings of the World December 2, 2010

Posted by ekarlpierson in 14) The Dalai Lama and the Teachings of the World.
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PARTICIPANT: I’ve had an interest in the Dalai Lama and his teachings. I think the world is a better place because he has been so tireless in spreading his message worldwide. I don’t see what harm there could be when someone encourages others to treat their neighbors with love and compassion.

WW: I also have had an interest in the Dalai Lama and his teaching. Are you asking for my input on his teachings?

PARTICIPANT: Yes. It seems to me that it would be hard to say anything against a teaching that advocates freedom and peace and goodwill. He’s very clear about peace and how to behave toward our fellow humans. He’s very clear about the need for improving our inner being.

WW: He is indeed clear about those things. There is an easy acid test to see if someone is advocating spiritual ideas, or conversely, the ideas of the world. When someone is advocating spirituality, it’s easy to be fooled by the real intent behind the beautiful sounding words—words that are almost universally accepted as having spiritual value. Words like peace and love and harmony are trigger words that we associate with spirituality, and speakers often use them to appeal to the senses of their audience. The speaker’s real intent is not only hidden from the audience, but is even hidden from the speaker himself. It’s what happens when the audience, as well as the speaker, have not observed or re-evaluated their basic urges and their methods of satisfying those urges.

How about if we look at the acid test and see how it applies to the Dalai Lama? I prefer to discuss an ideology rather than an individual, but in the case of world political or religious leaders like the Dalai Lama, these types of individuals have become virtual religions or institutions in themselves.

What we’re looking for in someone’s teachings are the ideas of the world. That would be the outer world and the inner world because they must be inseparable. The first would be the teaching or glorification of ideals. You know, the carrot on a stick. Maybe some of you are too young to know that the origin of the term came from a carriage driver holding a long stick with a carrot tied to it in front of the horse’s face. The horse is then motivated to go, but he’ll never quite catch up to the carrot. The carrot that someone is putting in front of us must appeal to us in order for it to control us. It always appeals in some way to our most basic urges in the picture of man, the bottom third of the awareness function—the attempt to get through life without being disturbed. How about if we see how this applies to the Dalai Lama?

PARTICIPANT: I’ve got it! With peace, love, and harmony, everyone will get along. That’s the carrot. We’ll all be non-disturbed if we follow his ideals.

WW: Excellent. Isn’t that simple if we …

PARTICIPANT: Wait, wait. He might get his kingdom back if everyone will just get along.

WW: Free Tibet. The urge to eliminate disturbing events is often disguised as a noble cause, particularly if someone in the robe of a holy man presents it. The key here, as you can see, is the advocacy of an ideal.

A DIFFERENT PARTICIPANT: But can’t we have good ideals and bad ideals?

WW: Did you ever hear someone promoting an ideal that didn’t appeal to the basic urges of the masses? You may wish to note something else here. If large numbers of people are attracted to someone’s ideas, you can bet that it’s a world idea, not a spiritual idea. “The gate is small and the way is narrow and few are they who will find it.”
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PARTICIPANT: You like to use Bible references.

WW: I’m really not that keen on Bible quotes because it may be seen as quoting an authority to convince people that I’m right. However, folks are familiar with the bible stories, and there are some very interesting analogies. The same reason I used the stick and carrot analogy.

PARTICIPANT: Can you give us another example of a story that has analogous intent?

WW: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

PARTICIPANT: Huh? That’s it?

WW: Literally, Humpty Dumpty was a cannon that was mounted on a wall in England. The little nursery rhyme may have been written with a hidden meaning. We’re all Humpty Dumpty. You’ve heard the saying, “He’s sitting on the fence.” The self is continuously sitting on the wall of duality, indecision, trying to decide on the best way to satisfy the basic urges. The fall of man applies to all of us. We’ve all fallen when we came into this world by our continuous judgment of events as good or evil, that is, pain is evil, pleasure is good—that those urges must be satisfied. Like poor Humpty, we’ve all become fragmented. The awareness function isn’t just in three pieces, as in our picture, but many, many pieces of partial ideas. Even the great power of a king can’t put us together again. Look at the picture of man. There is a vertical line going right up the middle of the awareness function. That’s the wall we’re sitting on.

PARTICIPANT: Are you saying that we shouldn’t try to satisfy these urges?

WW: No! Here in the Southwest you’ll end up in the hospital with potentially serious trouble if you don’t satisfy the basic urge for a drink of cool water. We’ve been recording this entire session, and if you went back to listen to it, I don’t think you would even hear an implication that we should do such a thing. To do that would be to work backwards and change our behavior so that we change our attitude to have a good feeling and outlook. I’m not interested in promoting behaviorism!

I see that we’re getting too far off of the subject of the Dalai Lama and his teachings. Let’s get back to that. Does someone remember where we left the poor Dalai Lama standing?

PARTICIPANT: Ideals and the noble cause.

WW: Ideals. This is the first idea of the world teaching or exoteric teaching. It’s been said, “By their fruits you will know them. Thorn bushes don’t produce figs and thistles don’t produce grapes.” How could this apply to the Dalai Lama? Doesn’t he hold up an ideal for us to chase? Doesn’t that chase produce a sinking sensation in the pit of your stomach?
It’s been said, “All of the priests are greedy for gain. All practice deceit. They cry ‘peace, peace,’ but there is no peace.” “Greedy for gain”—that’s the struggle toward the ideal. Did you think of greed as applying only to material things? Isn’t the struggle toward any ideal a form of greed? Doesn’t the struggle produce the same fruit internally regardless of what we’re struggling for? “All practice deceit”—that’s deceiving one’s self and others—deceit regarding greed. Isn’t that the source of the duality? I used to work with a guy who had a saying, “What we got and what we want are not one and the same.” He didn’t realize what a valuable saying he had.

The Dalai Lama, as well as millions of others, speak of peace, but promote inner friction. That inner friction produces heat that boils out of the fissures of society and contributes to outward conflicts. They deceive themselves as well as others.

I find it very interesting to listen to the Dalai Lama and others when they speak of peace, love, charity, understanding, and so on, yet I don’t hear them speak of the struggle toward the ideal and the Humpty Dumpty condition that we have gotten ourselves into. How is a person to ever experience inner peace, love, and charity while struggling toward the ideal with a fractured awareness? They are obviously unaware that there is such a condition.

I can give you a direct quote from the Dalai Lama. He stated, “I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.” I have a three-year-old grandchild who actively practices that same ideology. Is it any wonder that I’ve said so many times that this is a childish idea? Is it any wonder that people of the world seek him out, then listen to him with gleeful adoration? This is little more than a set-up for a sucker punch. Rather than a new direction in which to move, it’s a rehash of the same old thing that we’ve been doing. The Dalai Lama promotes the idea of struggling for an ideal; Freud believed that we are hopelessly locked in to it with no substantial means to find another way. I don’t think Freud took Delta into consideration.

Let me break away for just a minute or two and say something about happiness and resistance before the thought escapes me. We’ve talked about the potential of resistance to our drives. The resistance may be substantial or negligible, active or passive. As long as you have a drive to happiness, your are going to meet with resistance. You will find things that get in the way of happiness. What would happen if you ceased the drive to happiness?

PARTICIPANT: You wouldn’t meet with resistance.

WW: Precisely. Give it a trial. Enough said.

Methodology. This is the second idea of the world teaching. It’s taken right out of our picture of man, that is, side one or side two of the awareness function. It’s interesting to me to look at the quotes from the Dalai Lama. He usually pulls ideas from side two. He encourages us to cultivate right thoughts, right attitude, right behavior and compassion. Doesn’t that sound good? According to the Dalai Lama and most religious leaders, pleasing and believing (side two) are good things. Complaining and belligerence (side one), are bad things. Did you ever try to cultivate right thought or compassion? How would you cultivate the plants in any garden? Would you get out your hoe and start chopping away at the squash or spinach plants? When you cultivate a garden, don’t you chop away at the weeds and ignore the squash and spinach? The squash and spinach will do just fine if left alone.

The third idea of exoteric teaching is to look for evidence that the struggle and methods are working. Success. “I exhibited such and such of behavior, or followed some ideology, or I practiced meditation, and achieved something in my drive to the ideal.” Achievement and success. Isn’t that what we do? It’s interesting to read what the Dalai Lama has to say on this. He can go into a mile-long homily on how to achieve success in the drive to happiness. We look for some measurement to rate our ideals and methodology. How many seminars are put on at convention centers based on the measurement of achievement or success?

The fourth idea of exoteric teaching is blame in the face of failure. When the struggle fails to produce the intended results, we can blame our own methods or we can blame someone else’s methods, neither one of which change the facts. Blaming ourselves is guilt or shame. If we blame someone else, we become angry. The Dalai Lama likes to blame the Chinese communists. They’re methodology is different from his.

I suppose the whole thing is understandable. If I got kicked out of a palace like the one he lived in, I’d probably be looking for blame too.

PARTICIPANT: So far you haven’t said anything good about the Dalai Lama. Are you trying to say that he’s completely full of it? Are you saying that he has nothing of value in his views?

WW: No, no. If you pick through what he has to say, you can find some gems. The trouble with that is separating what is useful and what is fallacy. Look, if a person starts out with his basic postulate that “… the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness,” then the gems get mixed up with the most basic, infantile, and crude idea on which we operate. The belief that one’s own happiness is important is to make one’s self the center. Even if one tries to get around that by forcing compassion towards others, as he teaches, there is nonetheless a self-motive. That self-motive is at the core of everything that we’ve discussed up to this point. That self-motive is the very thing that makes us a natural person instead of a spiritual person. The basic Buddhist ideas are aimed at one’s own experience, happiness, as well as one’s place in a supposed future life. The Buddhists speak of selflessness, but their own comments in the next sentence betray them! At any given moment, we are either concerned about our own experience or we are not! Our concern for “our” experience—an experience that we “own”—is what our little caved-in world is made of. Our concern for this owned experience is where we have gone awry. To complicate matters, the fragmented awareness makes this difficult to see. For what reason would I want to step into the meditative cave of the experience of self?

I’ve said this many times, but I’ll say it again in regard to Buddhism. We must look with an eye of critical evaluation. The way to check something out is to find out what is not workable, regardless of whether it’s a spiritual matter or not. If we look for truth, we will fool ourselves and end up in a deeper hole of self. If we look for the fallacy, perhaps we’ll find the truth of the matter.

On that same theme, I speak very little about understanding and compassion because I assert that these are not qualities that can be cultivated. If we get far enough along in this talk, we can discuss understanding and compassion in a very limited context as a resultant phenomenon, not a cultured quality to be owned.

Let’s look at one more thing about the Dalai Lama and then I’ll leave the poor lost sole alone, struggling along in his miserable condition, unlikely to see his way out, even if he lives another hundred years. There, but by the grace of God, go I.

Did you ever look into the history of Tibet? Under the reign of the Dalai Lama it was a feudalistic theocracy, much like other feudalistic theocracies, reminiscent of Europe in centuries past. The wealthiest landowners were the many lamas with the wealthiest being the Dalai Lama. Young people were whisked away by agents of the lamas and forced into slavery under the guise of making them into monks. At one time, earlier in the twentieth century, 50% of the men were so-called monks and a significant percentage of them were really just unpaid conscripts, which is a nice way of saying slaves. It was a lifelong slavery with no escape. If they ran away, the thugs of the lamas chased them down and made an examples them. People who traveled to the area wrote of extreme brutality; beatings, amputations, eyes gouged out.

Murder was unlawful, so many were left out in the elements to die by God’s will. This is not a story that I’m making up. If you go to the internet you can look up legitimate articles on life under the theocratic rule before the Dalai Lama went into exile. The serfs and slaves in Tibet lived with totalitarianism and violence under the nose of the theocracy. Those who were not monks were systematically taxed into poverty to insure that the Buddhist lamas maintained power.

This all went on while the Dalai Lama ruled from his thousand-room palace on the mountain. The Dalai Lama also had brothers that were appointed to some official capacity. Do you think the bunch of them never traveled outside of the palace? Do you think that maybe this palace had no windows from which to look out? Surely, the Dalai Lama didn’t directly participate in these things, but it went on during his watch. These things were carried on by those over which he had authority, those who professed one belief, but did not act accordingly. The cruelty was carried out by those who professed peace, love, and compassion. We surely can’t live in the past, but neither can we ignore and deny it. The authoritarian rule imposed by the Chinese communists, who kicked out the Dalai Lama, is considered by many in Tibet to be a huge relief from the rule imposed by the lamas.

This is the man who speaks of peace, love, understanding, brotherhood, and a hundred other flowery words that become meaningless when we look at what he does and has done—the fruits of his efforts. He has spoken of the disparity of the rich and the poor in the capitalist system of the United States. He may be very right, but I think this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. It’s a strange phenomenon that he gets a free ride from so many individuals who would rather close their eyes than to check out the teachings and history of this man whom, at that very least, was a complacent administrator in a cruel society.

The adoration given to him may exceed that of the Pope. When you see someone who’s held in such high regard by the world, you can bet that the person is pushing world ideas. Stop and think about it. If so-called spiritual leaders talked about the true nature of the inner man and the struggle with resistance—that struggle that is inner turmoil—they wouldn’t be regarded as spiritual leaders at all. They would just be insignificant nobodies, like me. People don’t want to evaluate inner chaos, they want a spiritual leader that will make them feel reeeeal gooood.

I’m fascinated with this strange phenomenon of public recognition of spiritual leaders, particularly now, in the age of information. I’m going to make a guess that this nice young lady sitting here had no idea of the hypocrisy in the teachings of the Dalai Lama.

PARTICIPANT: None! I’ve been scammed.

WW: Well …let’s just say that you, like most all of us …we aren’t thorough in our examination of ideas and events. You’re not a victim.

PARTICIPANT: This is getting depressing.

WW: Depressing? To me it’s a thrill to be an investigator into the unending supply of bullshit that this world has to offer. You know, if you keep up with it, you may discover new little angles of relationships that you have never seen before—possibly that no other person has seen from quite that perspective. That’s not an ideal, it’s just what happens when you pick up a paintbrush and paint what you see. You’ll end up with a unique perspective.

This brings me to another point. Although an individual perspective may be unique, the general points of this teaching are not unique or new. A person may be able to discover that two plus two is four, but the person didn’t make it that way. Two plus two was four long before humans found a way to write it down in an equation. Beware of self-deceiving individuals who claim to have something new. There is nothing new under the sun when it involves these matters.

PARTICIPANT: All of this talk about the Dalai Lama sounds interesting. I’d like to read up on the guy a little bit. Are there any books regarding his teachings that you recommend so I can see it for myself?

WW: I would say that any book would be fine as long as you can find one that provides direct quotes, preferably not taken out of context, and very little commentary from the author. It would be faster and easier to look it up on the Internet. You may notice that there are possibly hundreds of glowing praises of the man for every critique. That’s a way that you can determine that he teaches the ideas of the world. The world loves him. When you’re reading up on the man, you may find that it’s a wasted effort to read the introduction or commentary by the author. To read the commentary will tell you something about the author. To read the quotes will tell you about the Dalai Lama.

PARTICIPANT: You are obviously tough on people who don’t practice what they preach.

WW: I’m not tough on individuals; I’m tough on the ideologies that they’re preaching. There is a difference. I do sometimes make exceptions and name names for high profile individuals like political and religious leaders, but even then, the purpose is to expose their false teachings to their followers. If we really look into it, it’s the followers who make the leaders, more than the leaders who make the followers. The Dalai Lama is probably the world’s most universally respected religious leader. Millions of admirers from all over the world think he’s wonderful. I think that makes his ideology open for critical evaluation. My real interest is in his followers. I’m repeatedly amazed that so few followers will question basic values that he promotes. It’s so simple, even a slow-witted person like me can find a few minutes to take a serious look. Here’s the trick: it doesn’t require wit, it requires will, vital interest. Vital interest comes from seeing the necessity.

PARTICIPANT: How about you? Do you practice what you preach?

WW: Sure! I’ve said that I practice hedonism! I’ve even given some fairly sordid details of the whole messy business.

PARTICIPANT: But you have also described the way out.

WW: And I may be totally full of it! I have no followers and I don’t want any. Everyone has to find out for themselves if the way I’ve described has any value. Some people find no value in it and that’s entirely their business. Others may see value in it some years down the road. For others, it’s just one more ideology to put on their stack.

PARTICIPANT: Do you think humans will ever get it right?

WW: Not a chance.

PARTICIPANT: Not a chance?

WW: Of course not! If everything fell into place and everyone got it right, there would be no more need of an awareness function! I hope that I never get it right! If I ever get it right, I’ll just shoot myself and get it over with.

Another question?

PARTICIPANT: This whole thing. …I don’t mean the Dalai Lama business …but everything that we have gone over today …makes me question who I am. If who I am has just been a lifelong exercise in futility, then who am I or who will I become? If I accept what you say, then I almost need to start over from scratch and become someone else. The whole business is bewildering.

WW: You are confused.

PARTICIPANT: Confused, perplexed.

WW: If you are confused then I’m probably doing my job. If you were not confused, then it could mean that you were not listening, or it could mean that I just sold you the same old world idea and that you bought it without critical evaluation. Neither of those scenarios is workable. If you are confused, then maybe it’s because you’re taking a serious look at what has not been workable. That’s what we’re interested in. I think I said earlier that we aren’t here to come out of this feeling gooood. If that were the case, then I’d give everyone a coloring book and a box of crayons and send you home with some hippie love flowers in your hair. You are doing well to be confused. Keep up the good work.

PARTICIPANT: Thanks, I think.