Though many are aware of this, it is day 2 of the annual May Gathering in Ojai. If you can’t attend in real time it’s archived on the Educational Center youtube channel.
Though many are aware of this, it is day 2 of the annual May Gathering in Ojai. If you can’t attend in real time it’s archived on the Educational Center youtube channel.
I watched some of it. I do not mean to sound too disparaging, for it did have some value, but overall I felt the fire and passion and depth of Krishnaji was missing from this event.
It seemed too basic and simple and superficial to me. Too much playing of classical music and those speaking who did not know or live Krishnajis teachings from great depth.
As the old timers are dying out, those who knew K personally, am concerned at what is being shared as Krishnamurtis teachings these days.
I would not be happy if I travelled all the way to Ojai for this. It had some value, some worth, but some of the depth in years past seemed missing this year. What do you think? What do you think if you watched some of the May Gathering online?
Rather than expectations, I approach such gatherings with curiosity. Have you ever been to Ojai David? It is a beautiful place and much to see and do around there. The KFA grounds are ruggedly delightful and people are friendly, engaging in respectful conversation.
I did not attend the entire weekend event, so will watch & contemplate the youtube archives in the days to come.
Did you or anyone here attend the weekend event, especially I am curious to hear about the participation in the dialogues. Were the dialogues any good, deep?
Yes, I have been to Ojai a couple of times. It is indeed a beautiful place. But very expensive.
David Moodys presentation was very good as usual, but in years past there were several who knew K personally would speak and share, like Michael Krohnen, Mark Lee, Ravi Ravindra, etc
I admit I can be totally wrong in my perceptions, but it just seems they are bringing in more young people and looking to that younger audience to share Krishnamurti with. But Krishnamurti is not a commercial Guru, and is only for those who are serious and willing to leave behind the traditional paths and approaches.
It probably fluctuates from year to year, but it is true that this year’s event felt a little under-powered. Some years they manage to get well-known outside speakers (who may know very little about Krishnamurti but who provide a welcome intellectual challenge of their own), or longtime ‘followers’ of Krishnamurti who can speak from a unique point of view that comes from years of direct acquaintance.
Of course, not knowing what is involved in setting up these events, it’s very unfair for us to criticise - perhaps some speakers were unavailable this year, or dropped out at the last minute; or perhaps there are other more important things going on that have taken priority this year?
The highlight for me was Siddhartha Menon’s lecture on Krishnamurti’s early poetry, and it’s relationship to his later teachings. Siddhartha Menon has been involved in the Indian schools for decades, and his presentation had a solid pedagogical feel to it: warm, cogent, urbane and gently insightful. I very much recommend it if you didn’t see it. He finishes by briefly looking at some of the core metaphors that Krishnamurti used in his mature phase of teaching - of taking a journey together, the mirror of relationship, of reading the book of mankind - and brings out the value, for Krishnamurti, of having a mind that can regard itself with “quietness and no direction”. It’s not exactly blockbuster stuff, but Menon’s talk had a quiet authority about it that I appreciated.
The educational presentations, for me, are tediously anodyne, so I generally avoid them. They are more for people living and working at the schools, and have value for them - but for people who are only interested in Krishnamurti’s teachings they can seem somewhat airy and idealistic, lacking in gritty truthfulness.
David Moody’s presentation was fine, but it was a little hamstrung by his insistence on using the word “methodology” to only mean Krishnamurti’s general “approach”. Perhaps if he had held his nerve and kept to the initial - and controversial - implication of his talk (i.e. that Krishnamurti actually had a method of his own!) his presentation might have had a little bit more edge. But edginess is problematic in institutional settings, and so I understand why he watered it down (if he did water it down). Yet to continue to call Krishnamurti’s approach a “methodology” was rather confusing, and I’m not sure it helped. I personally would have liked Moody to develop a little further some of the tensions he highlighted in Krishnamurti’s teachings: e.g. the difference between “effort” and “arduousness”, the difference between taking psychological time to understand the mind and taking chronological time to do so, etc.
The war and peace talk was an attempt to address the obvious and current facts of tribalism and war, which continue to cause such harm in the world. But it was a shame that the participants weren’t able to more definitely link up this collective tribal phenomenon with the individual psychological dimension (beyond Maslow’s hierarchy of needs), which lies at the heart of Krishnamurti’s teaching.
It is easy to criticise from outside, because we have not had to organise the event, we are not the persons on stage. But in general, I would say, there is always a danger with these institutional events that they tend to cater to the safe, more bourgeois audience. Hence the reliance on incidental musical ‘filler’, the absence of grit or controversy in the discussions, the tendency to remain at the surface of Krishnamurti’s teachings (as though targeted at first time audiences) - while, on the other side of the equation, taking for granted Krishnamurti’s radical use of language and using it unreflectively or dogmatically for a wholly in-group audience. It seems very difficult to get the balance right with these things.
Part of the problem is that the event is geared to an online audience, so the simple issue of using microphones often breaks up the spontaneity of encounter. The lecture format - lifted from the academic world, or the world of business - is traditionally in the third-person, communicating assumptions of knowledge, rather than existentially first-person, uncertain, moment by moment inquiry. It is difficult to make presentations passionate and participatory when they are essentially regurgitating past knowledge which has been shored-up and fixed in power-point slides - right? An open dialogue is generally the best way to create a more dynamic kind of atmosphere - but this has its weaknesses too from the point of view of an ‘outside’ or online audience (who cannot directly participate themselves).
Anyway, these are just some random thoughts on the matter.
Wow James, nice interesting honest reply with your random thoughts on the matter. I appreciate your sharing of them.
I actually see most of it very similar as what you shared. I too usually avoid educational presentations. And this year it seemed a little under powered.
I also agree it is unfair for us to criticise, however, i think it is fair to discuss and talk about this with a desire to learn.
Siddhartha Menon seems very sincere and I was in no way putting his presentation down. Nor Mark Habeeb, who was the one who gave the talk on war and peace, I actually found it pretty good overall. I have heard David Moody several times and overall find a lot of value in what he shares.
I think a lot of this comes down to the audience this event is geared to. It seems it is becoming more and more watered down and more for the Krishnamurti beginner or newbie. Also it seems more marketing and interest in appeal on digital and social media platforms is where K is going. When K was alive, it seemed possibly that they didnt go to such great lengths, extent to attract people and were content with those who were interested in the teachings or the man himself. K himself attracted many, without much advertisement or marketing. Just like bees are attracted to nectar, people were attracted to K and came to be around him.
On one hand, I respect the KFAs efforts to attract more and more people to Ks teachings and on the other hand, I feel some of this is being watered down and not Ks original message or teaching.
The world is on fire, is in a very dangerous position, and teetering on the edge of destruction of humanity and or of the environment. I am not sure how much time any of the K Foundations have left, so just felt too it was kind of odd that they are just planning for the future like it is a given, when I see it is not such a sure thing. We might not have very much physical time left. The urgency of change is required now, and things like watered down presentations and playing of classical music is not going to cut it. What is required now is radically transformed human beings, and that is what the Gathering should have been about, and what K was about.
I think this is an accurate appraisal to a large extent. The Foundations and schools no longer have Krishnamurti to bring in people and funding where they are needed, so some level of advertising/marketing is to be expected. They have to plan years into the future, and so some degree of commercial self-interest is reasonable. Running Krishnamurti schools is not a highly lucrative enterprise, and so the financial side of things cannot be ignored.
However, this means that the target audience for these online (and in-person) gatherings is ambiguous: I assume that a great part of it is targeted at new or potential parents (for the school), new or potential students (including mature students), new or potential teachers, and new or potential donors, etc. So a large part of the audience the online gathering is targeted at is probably new to Krishnamurti. Hence the “watered-down” feel.
The other part of the target audience are longtime readers or (for want of a better word) ‘followers’ of Krishnamurti, who themselves contribute in different ways to the institutions (including financially). Some of these are what one might call Krishnamurti ‘purists’ who want to hear the teachings articulated without any hint of controversy, and who tend to be a little rigid in their understanding. This can lead to an atmosphere of in-group ‘language dogmatism’ - by which I mean the pat repetition of Krishnamurti’s insights as though they were common knowledge (and not ‘insights’). Which also has the effect of watering-down their radical force.
To put it bluntly, the need to keep both these audiences happy must lead to a kind of null or sterile middle-ground, in which very little active inquiry takes place. Hence the employment of classical music ‘filler’ - which is inoffensive to either target audience - keeping any potentially existential disruptiveness to a bare minimum (apologies if this sounds too cynical!!).
It is difficult to break out of this. Most of us have become accustomed to seminars and presentations (with their endless coffee breaks, their curated ‘talking points’ and very limited scope for inquiry). My preference would be to have a dialogue of informed equals, exploring themes that are most urgent in the world today - but it is difficult to find the right blend of people for this. Even when Krishnamurti was alive it was difficult to bring together the various scientists, artists, religious scholars and ordinary lay-people (those who were sympathetic to Krishnamurti’s approach), so that they could dialogue together. Finding people who are both serious about Krishnamurti and informed about the world is difficult, and then bringing them together to dialogue in front of an online or in-person audience is also difficult.
Another reason for the lack of urgency may be the feeling that we already ‘know’ what Krishnamurti’s teachings are, and we just need to find a way to put them into practice, or share them with the world (through propaganda). Another reason may be that we believe that Krishnamurti’s teachings are completely unique, unparalleled by any other movement in human culture - David Moody made this remark - and so we get complacent, satisfied (like any in-group is satisfied) with the glow of being on ‘the right side’ of things. For what it’s worth, I think Krishnamurti’s teachings are certainly unique, but many aspects of his thought have been articulated coherently in several other schools of religious investigation (particularly Asian, particularly Buddhist), so there is no room for bombast here. Some non-EuroAmerican philosophical awareness might be useful in this regard. - But this is just my personal point of view.
What do you think they might have done differently?
Thanks again James for your honest heartfelt sharing. I again see everything exactly you are sharing and see it pretty similarly. They are indeed in a hard place. But let us not forget that when Krishnaji was alive, he was not too pleased himself with the schools and foundations and many times threatened to shut the whole thing down. So he demanded almost the impossible, that I see. So I know it is not easy place for this foundation to be in. As far as the schools go, I think they are good and are doing the best they can to create different kind of children. They at least give the children a start in life with less conditioning and more freedom, that is all one can ask of these schools.
Here is the information for the two day gathering from KFA website:
Annual May Gathering
We invite you to our Annual May Gathering, May 7th and 8th, 2022, taking place at Oak Grove School (OGS) in Ojai. Friends both local and from around the world come to listen to speakers, participate in discussions and dialogues, attend workshops, and enjoy the beauty of the Oak Grove School campus while hanging out with friends old and new. Choose from different programs or engage with teachers from our schools and scholars of Krishnamurti’s teachings who share their understanding.
For this year we have chosen the theme, What Are You Looking For?
I don’t know if you have ever noticed what sometimes happens when you have a problem, whether mathematical or psychological. You think about it a great deal, you worry over it like a dog chewing on a bone, but you can’t find an answer. Then you let it alone, you go away from it, you take a walk; and suddenly, out of that emptiness, comes the answer. Now, how does this take place? Your mind has been very active within its own limitations about that problem, but you have not found the answer, so you have put the problem aside. Then your mind becomes somewhat quiet, somewhat still, empty; and in that stillness, that emptiness the problem is resolved. Similarly, when one dies each minute to the inward environment, to the inward commitments, to the inward memories, to the inward securities and agonies, there is then an emptiness in which alone a new thing can take place. -Krishnamurti
The focus of this Gathering will also be to have speakers and dialogues aiming at exploring this theme in a wide context.
I couldnt copy it, but Saturday there was the “War and Peace” talk and the talk by David Moody on Methodology. Sunday there was the talk by Siddhartha Menon on Poetry. Also a panel discussion by some young people talking about keeping the mind young. I did watch it, but found it lacking big time in coherent discussion of the topic, and felt it wasnt high quality for a presentation, that KFA could have done better preparation.
So that actual theme was “What are you looking for” and they quoted Krishnamurti on it, but I did not see much of this theme over the weekend. They did have a couple of in person dialogues, which I did ask about it, if anyone went and what they thought of it.
But the actual substance of presentations just wasnt strong enough this year. Saturday was a little stronger with two decent presentations but Sunday really was just the Poetry one. So if I travelled far to come to this event, I think I would have been disappointed, not enough substance. In years past, I would watch this event and would be watching for several days, for there was so many good, interesting presentations, but not this year.
So what would I do different, I definitely would have presented more substance, more presentations by those who are familiar with Krishnamurtis teachings and less classical music and less of Jaap talking.
Yes, I agree with you that the overall theme - What Are You Looking For? - didn’t really have much to do with the content of the talks or discussions (I’m not sure that it even had much to do with the content of the extract which was shared - which was more to do with the creative emptiness of the mind than ‘what are we looking for’).
However, in general the annual talks do tend to follow their own inner guidance anyway, and any so-called umbrella ‘theme’ always seems to be tacked on as a kind of rhetorical last-resort, or to furnish an introduction to the event as a whole. Anyway - apparently it wasn’t exactly ‘what we were looking for’!
Maybe it could work better if they had a clear over-arching topic, and rigorously police it? For instance, they could have a topic such as, What is our relationship to nature?, and get participants to give all kinds of perspectives on it - from the climate crisis to our relationship to beauty, or our relationship to nature generally - in the context of Krishnamurti’s own teachings on the subject. There might be a blend of speakers with backgrounds in art, science, activism and education, all contributing to the same theme of our relationship with nature (with Krishnamurti’s perspective constantly being borne in mind). That way there would be an overall cogency to the event, and perhaps even bring a little of the urgency you mentioned - seeing as our relationship to nature is relevant in so many of the crises and challenges currently facing humanity right now.
Looking beyond the gathering, one thing stands out to me. Most of those affiliated with the foundation & events are among the privileged & well to do. IMO the foundation should be immersed with the working & diverse common folk who are amongst us.
Yes, Michael, I see it similarly. It is for the well to do, the privileged in our society. For years the K schools, especially Ojai have been associated with the privileged, not the average person. However, they still do good work, but it is mostly for the affluent parents to send their kids there.
I looked at the hotel rates for Ojai and it is quite expensive to stay there. It is a very affluent, pricey tourist destination. The restaurants too, I imagine are quite pricey too. For some of us who are interested in Krishnamurtis teachings, who are on the poorer side, economically, the trek to Ojai is hard to do.
I know I was a little hard on them, and the Gathering still served a purpose and overall was okay, did some good and exposed some to Krishnamurtis teachings more than they were beforehand, so that was good. But for a seasoned Krishnamurti reader, it was just okay, not as much substance as could be.
James, yes, it would have been good for KFA to address nature and climate change, etc. In fact, just a short while ago, KFA in Ojai was actually almost destroyed by the fires in the area, I think the Thomas fire it was called. So even the archive building was almost on fire, dont know if it would have been destroyed or not. But I remember reading that only Michael Krohnen and maybe one or two others stayed behind, and everyone else left premises due to the proximity of the fire. It is definitely a timely topic these days, nature and what man is facing currently with it.
James, also, you said “For what it’s worth, I think Krishnamurti’s teachings are certainly unique, but many aspects of his thought have been articulated coherently in several other schools of religious investigation (particularly Asian, particularly Buddhist)” I was wondering if you would be interested in starting a thread on this topic and sharing more about what you see in Ks teachings that are in Buddhism too. I would be interested in exploring that.
I’ve spoken quite a bit about Buddhism already on recent threads, so I will probably hold back from beginning any threads about it for the time being. But just briefly, it is worth pointing out some of the similarities here.
Like the Buddhists, Krishnamurti denies the existence of a permanent self; like the Buddhists he talks about being conditioned, and the importance of having an insight into suffering (“the world is on fire with suffering”). And, like the Buddhists, Krishnamurti speaks of a state of emptiness beyond thought (for a mind that has become empty of thought).
Like Buddhists Krishnamurti gives great importance to universal compassion, and he gives great value to the importance of moral behaviour, goodness.
The importance that Krishnamurti gives to awareness and attention is mirrored in the Buddhist emphasis on mindfulness; and the notion of a state of awareness without the duality of an observer separate from the observed is mirrored in some Tibetan Dzogchen and Chinese Chan teachings.
His teaching that transformation happens immediately, in the present, without time, is also shared by subitist (sudden enlightenment teachings) that can be found in certain forms of Chan and Zen, as well as in Dzogchen.
Like some Mahayana Buddhists Krishnamurti spends a great deal of time talking about the importance of having an insight into conceptual thought and conceptual time (the past and the future), which are the root of all suffering and illusion (and self) in his teaching. In Buddhism there is also (like K) a strong vein of skepticism with regard to the value of conceptual thought, and a view that truth can only be discovered through direct insight (prajna).
Like some Yogacara Buddhists, as well as those Buddhist schools influenced by Buddha-nature (tathagatagarbha) teachings, Krishnamurti sometimes speaks of the mind as something “outside the brain”; he also speaks of an immeasurable sacred reality (the “other”, the “ground” etc), which is similar to the notion of the “unborn,” “unconditioned” reality in Buddhism (but which orthodox Buddhists doesn’t usually express in positive language - although later Mahayanists sometimes do).
So these are some of the obvious similarities that come to mind.
An additional aspect it just occurred to me to mention - seeing as Moody discussed in his talk the importance for Krishnamurti of choiceless awareness - is the activity of what is termed “open presence” and “open monitoring” in the Dzogchen and Mahamudra traditions. These closely resemble Krishnamurti’s language around attention and choiceless awareness.
In open monitoring or open presence there is no direction or focus of awareness, no goal and so no distraction; but simply a present-tense, non-judgmental awareness of anything arising in the mind.
Very nice summary James of Krishnamurti and Buddhism, the similarities.
I cant help but think of the dialogue with K and Walpola Rahula, a Theravadin Buddhist Monk. Walpola spent like 10 minutes going over and comparing Buddhas teachings with Ks, how similar they are, saying the same thing, and K responded with his famous statement, “Sir, with all due respect, why do you compare?”
Me personally, I am like Walpola and like to compare the two teachings. However, I do respect where K is coming from here and why he wants us to start without any knowledge or past. To look as if we never heard of Buddhism or Vedanta or what not.
The other thing is I think Krishnamurti himself, felt his teachings stood on their own and had nothing to do with Buddhism or any other tradition.
I know some think Ks teachings are also similar to Vedanta. Of course, you can find some similarities to Vedanta too, but of course K was not a Vedantist nor a Buddhist!
Yes. I was really responding to a remark that David Moody made in his presentation when he said something like ‘Krishnamurti’s teaching is completely unique - no other tradition of human thought has said the kinds of thing that Krishnamurti has said’. This is something that I have heard before among certain readers/listeners of K. But I just think that this is an error. It shows a kind of Eurocentric or Americancentric bias; an ignorance of non-European culture. For anyone who has spent a little time studying Buddhism (the many varieties of Buddhism!), the Samkhya-Yoga of Patanjali, the poetry of the Upanishads and the philosophy of medieval Vedanta, and even aspects of Hindu and Buddhist Tantra - they will be aware of certain similarities (of language, tone, thinking, expression). There are people from these traditions who have talked about ‘meditation-less meditation’, about having no goal, no path, about the observer and the observed, about nonjudgmental awareness, about the nature of thought, about sudden insight, about the awakening of intelligence, about the importance of living without time. So when someone (like Moody) says there is no comparison at all, then this is just false.
As for K, it is well-known that in adulthood he didn’t read any philosophy books or religious books (apart from the Bible, which he read for the poetry of the some of the Old Testament). But it is not widely known that when he was young he read several poetic accounts of the life of the Buddha (including the Gospel of Buddha by Paul Carus and Edwin Arnold’s poem The Light of Asia - both of them highly romanticised narratives), and used to read out loud a famous short Buddhist text called the Dhammapada. Perhaps partly because of the importance given to Buddhism by late Theosophy, and partly because of the relationship Theosophists believed Krishnamurti had to the Maitreya Buddha, Krishnamurti (throughout his life) seemed to have a respectful awareness of the Buddha, and a respectful awareness of Buddhist thinkers like Nagarjuna. Although he rejected Zen Buddhist meditation (like all systems and methods of meditation), he often told Zen Buddhist stories. He rejected the organised trappings of Buddhism of course, its superstitious worship of the Buddha, its monastic conservatism, its self-interest as an institution. But he would sometimes liken his own impact to that of the Buddha’s - “If the Buddha were here, what would you ask him?”, “The Buddha is here!”, “If I was alive at the same time as the Buddha I would travel hundreds of miles to see him”, etc (these are not direct quotes but paraphrases from memory).
And when Krishnamurti spoke about religion (usually at the end of his talks) he often said that humanity has been asking these kinds of questions (the questions Krishnamurti was asking) for thousands of years, particularly Indian culture. He often referred to the ancient Indians, the ancient Hindus, and the importance they gave to the sacred, to nature, to self-knowledge, to having a silent mind. Many of the things that Krishnamurti says about silence and space, the importance of having a quiet mind, of being free from self-interest, etc - can be found in these older texts, sometimes even word for word. Unlike orthodox Buddhists Krishnamurti often talked about the immeasurable, the sacred, the ground, etc which sounds very similar to the language of the Upanishads (although Krishnamurti was quite clear that the universal energy or ground he spoke of was not the traditional understanding of ‘brahman’). In some of his discussions he said that the mind is the universe, and even “you are the universe”, which for ordinary Indians carries a certain force.
So it is clear to any impartial person that there are resonances here, even if Krishnamurti was not - as we understand it - directly influenced himself. Speaking as someone who has studied Western philosophy and religion, Krishnamurti’s teaching definitely has an Indic quality to it, noticeably distinct from European philosophy or Western religion. His dialogic style has more in common with the dialogues found in the Upanishads and Buddhist scriptures than with Plato’s Socratic dialogues. And again, the ‘religious’ stories (as opposed to straight-forward jokes) he sometimes told came from the Upanishads and the Indian milieu (for instance, about Nachiketa being sent to Death, or about Narada who is asked by Vishnu to bring him a glass of water), rather than from European religious culture. So, whether influenced or not influenced, Krishnamurti’s approach has this Indian feel to it.
But of course Krishnamurti’s approach is unique in that he brings together what is often fragmented in previous teachings. There is no one school or teaching in Buddhism, Vedanta or Samkhya-Yoga that says everything that Krishnamurti says altogether. There is no place for superstition or ritual in Krishnamurti. There is no place for religious authority of any kind, whether textual or towards a guru or master (although this is a moot point in the K-world, where K’s teachings and person have practically taken the place of a religious authority). Krishnamurti’s teachings are supremely modern and have a unique outward focus on the socio-political dimension of human life (which is alien to Indian religious philosophy). Unlike many Hindu and Buddhist traditions (but similar in this unique respect to traditions of Tantra) Krishnamurti fully embraces the reality and sacredness of nature, of the physical universe - and extols the place of the senses in the awakening of intelligence. Unlike most Buddhists and Hindu religionists Krishnamurti talks about the importance of beauty, aesthetics, a feeling for the natural world. Unlike orthodox Indian religion he gives supreme value to relationship, to friendship, to love. He is more ‘psychological’ than traditional Hindu or Buddhist philosophy or religion, giving more space in his teachings to the understanding of fear, hurt, loneliness, sorrow, etc than they do. So there are many, many differences. These are just a few of them. There is, additionally, the whole uniqueness of the life of Krishnamurti that I haven’t gone into here (which K himself sometimes compared to that of Christ’s, with respect to its freakish unusualness) - i.e. the idea that K’s mind was unconditioned from birth.
So, the only reason for comparison as I see it is just to be aware of some of these similarities and differences, so that we don’t fall into the error that all in-group psychology tends to gravitate towards. Some people want Krishnamurti to be unique because it makes them feel unique (through identification). There is pleasure to be had in feeling that one is among the chosen few who “know”. K’s very categorical expression - his emphatic manner - sometimes gives his listeners the impression that they are somehow special for dismissing all other ways of thinking that human beings have had. But K himself - while dismissing religious knowledge and philosophy - was self-aware enough to situate his insights in the context of human history. “Serious people have often asked whether…”, “From time immemorial mankind has asked…”, etc.
There is in Sanskrit a long prayer to peace. It was written many, many centuries ago by someone to whom peace was an absolute necessity, and perhaps his daily life had its roots in that. It was written before the creeping poison of nationalism, the immorality of the power of money and the insistence on worldliness that industrialism has brought about. The prayer is to enduring peace: May there be peace among the gods, in heaven and among the stars; may there be peace on earth, among men and four-footed animals; may we not hurt each other; may we be generous to each other; may we have that intelligence which will guide our life and action; may there be peace in our prayer, on our lips and in our hearts. There is no mention of individuality in this peace; that came much later. There is only ourselves - our peace, our intelligence, our knowledge, our enlightenment (Krishnamurti’s Journal, October 18th, 1973)
James, nicely stated, thank you. You are a eloquent writer. You seem to really have a good knowledge of Krishnamurtis teachings and other teachings.
So you personally are not a K follower it seems, I mean by that, exclusively on Ks teachings. You seem to study and read many other teachings, traditions, and see the value in all of them.
Do you think Krishnamurtis teachings, his approach is enough? Or was something missing in the teachings, that might be more helpful in other teachings like Buddhism?
David Bohm said in a letter that he thought Ks teachings might not be complete I think, and also that K spoke in too many absolutes.
I respect K and Ks teachings greatly, but the big question is, “Why hasnt anyone fundamentally changed by them?”
Perhaps it’s a matter of personal interest? The subject of religion has always fascinated me - partly because some of my extended family have long been involved in Christianity, meaning that I was forced to meet this topic face on when I was a teenager; and partly because religion is the putting into words (and actions) of humanity’s endless quest to comprehend his/her own predicament, from ancient times until now. If truth exists it must be universal, so it would be surprising if it turned out that only one voice in one century ever expressed any part of it.
All that being said - and this may be a personal matter again - I do feel that Krishnamurti’s teaching is unique in our day and age. It seems to me the putting into words of the truth for the modern time. All the secondary extras of superstition and dogma are done away with, and we are left with simple, bold words that point to the central issues we face: the suffering of the world, and the suffering of ourselves. There is something pared down and absolute about Krishnamurti’s teaching, which feels - on a personal level - unique. Not that certain aspects of his teachings have not been said by others - obviously I believe that they have - but the integral sweep of his outlook, taking in the mind, the world, and the universe, feels special, urgent, unusual. It stands out.
I read the other day a sentence by K - To know oneself is to study oneself in action, which is relationship - and it felt like the whole of human wisdom and discovery lay in that one single sentence! Yes, this is a highly subjective reaction to a perhaps generic point that another might find banal, but I get this reaction when I read Krishnamurti more than when I read things by anyone else. - So, even though I reject the term ‘follower’ (because of its slavish, devotional connotations) I am a… an appreciator of Krishnamurti?
This is an interesting question, and probably (or rather definitely!) requires its own thread. Was the teaching complete but the listeners incapable? Was the insight complete but the verbal communication lacking? Was the ‘teaching’ merely the hundreds of books, talks, lectures and dialogues that exist in the Foundations? - or was it the transformative energy that continued to act in Krishnamurti’s brain so long as he was living?
With respect to Buddhism, one of its apparent advantages is that it can sell itself as a practical method for transformation (the noble 8-fold path of deliverance, etc). But when you drill down into what this actually means, there turns out to be no clear path, no clear method, and a lot of superstitious make-believe! No-one really knows what the historical Buddha taught - despite the many books confidently written on the subject - so we have to be careful not to draw conclusions. The Buddha seems to have been concerned with suffering, with ending suffering, with the problem of selfishness, and with living a life without conflict. But more than that it is difficult to say for certain. And when one looks at the effect of all the monasteries the world over, across Asia, can one point to a significant reduction of suffering, self-interest or egotism there? I’m not sure that one can. Has institutional Buddhism in Asia given rise to so astronomically different a level of ignorance, suffering and self-interest than that found in the Occident? I don’t think so - although I am not discounting that there may have been some ameliorative effects that are impossible to quantify - and indeed, Krishnamurti seems to have believed that there were (in the case of Buddhism).
This would also require a separate thread. It may simply be a case of different minds, different personalities. At some level K’s approach was that of a seer, a prophet, a teacher of mankind. While Bohm was a seeker, a cautious empiricist, someone not disposed to be presumptuous with his language.
Speaking again personally, I feel that it has to do with the lack of an emotional connection we are able to make with the (verbal) teachings. There is an inherent problem with moving from the word, from the concept, to the nonverbal, the nonconceptual. This has been an issue for all religious traditions.
In this case it may have been K’s fault, a flaw in his (verbal) communication - as already mentioned - or it may be our fault for being poor listeners. I think the jury is still out on that. But my guess would be that we are poor listeners.
There might be some good listeners, but I think that a second ingredient is necessary : dire need. The energy that provokes action.
One of the irreverent jokes that Krishnamurti used to tell concerned a man who one day passed away and went to heaven (I am relaying this from memory, so I will get some of the details wrong). The man stands before St Peter at the pearly gates, and after some checks to see that the man was in the right place, St Peter begins to explain the rules of heaven.
“And over here are all these fantastic cars that the Father lets us all drive. There are Mercedes, Rolls Royce, Porsche, Ferrari - every car you can imagine. The only rule that you must observe is to drive below 40 miles an hour - this is the speed limit up here.”
The man was greatly cheered that there were still pleasant opportunities like this in heaven, and he floated over (on wings) to where the cars were, and got into a nice looking Bentley he had seen. Once he turned onto the cloud-bedecked heavenly motorway he soon got up to the 40 mile an hour speed limit and was driving along contentedly when all of a sudden, as if from nowhere, a bright red Porsche screamed by at what looked to be a 100 miles an hour!
“How can this be?” the man cried aloud. “Someone is breaking the heavenly speed-limit!”
After returning the Bentley the man went immediately back to St Peter and told him about the incident.
“Ah”, said St Peter, “that must have been the Boss’ Son”.
My own take on this is that the rules ordinarily requiring us to be modest our use of language do not always apply in the same way to the person who has had great insight. So what Bohm may have reasonably picked up as a rule-breaking ‘absolutism’ in K’s approach, may be sympathetically understood as the rhetorical vehemence or passion that comes with having such insight. - But this is my own interpretation! K did not explicitly say this.