Saturday, May 07, 2005

THE CHALLENGE OF GETTING CLEAR--An Essay On Andrew Cohen's Teaching

By Bruce Ryan

[A Note From WHAT Enlightenment ??! : What follows is the Prologue of a longer essay critiquing Andrew Cohen's teaching by former Cohen community member Bruce Ryan. Due to the length of the essay, it has been posted in its entirety on its own website where it can be downloaded as a Word document. If you would like to download a copy of the whole essay, go to GETTING CLEAR. On the front page please double click on the second module in the right hand column. This will bring up an active link to the essay on the left side of the front page. Double click on that link and the essay will appear as a download.]


I’ve noted in my conversations with members of the "shadow" community that many of us are still under the illusion that Andrew Cohen has victimized us with his teaching. One even noted on the WHAT Enlightenment ??! blog that she didn’t care about that because her evil, stubborn ego deserved to be victimized. It is difficult to get to the bottom of this issue from a viewpoint like that because that is precisely the viewpoint Andrew brings to the table. Perhaps that accounts for the fact that on the WHAT Enlightenment ??! blog, while I have not yet read all the contributions, I have yet to read any really pointed observations on the so-called “dharma” that Andrew proposes. This is a pity because from that “dharma” has flowed all the perceived abuses which have sent so many people fleeing the community. The confusion behind that “dharma” must be deeply understood and one must see very clearly how it pales in the light of the Dharma that liberated Andrew.

True Dharma is that Dharma which describes the phenomenal world exactly and precisely as it is. It does not add anything to that description, nor does it take anything away. Dharmas that do not meet this standard are typically larded with colorful metaphors, clever phrasing, and poignant images that prey on the seeker’s emotions and seduce him into thinking they are true. This is especially true of seekers who approach them with an open heart. That is why it is the seeker’s obligation not to respond to a dharma solely on the emotional level but rather to dig beneath the surface and find out if it is true. It is the truth which sets one free, not dharma-talk.

Take, e.g., a description of Enlightenment posted currently on Andrew’s website in which he urges the seeker to “drop his ego like a hot potato.” Who could not respond to such a colorful metaphor? It is part and parcel of his idea that Enlightenment always occurs in the “now” and that when one really looks, one will see that the “now” is all there is. So it communicates a kind of urgency. It tweaks one’s desire to be free. It inspires one to get on with the process. But any seeker who takes up the challenge of dropping his ego “like a hot potato” will find that he is in for a rude awakening, if you’ll pardon the pun. The trouble with it is that the “now” Andrew is talking about is timeless while the “now” the seeker is in is karmic. The seeker’s “now” is a coalescence of all the “thens” which went before it. Those “thens” were filled with seeking and as a result so is his “now”. The truth is, of course, that he is already free. But that is his truth only from the point of view of the timeless “now”. But from his perspective he is not in that “now”. This means that he is not in possession of this truth. If he were in possession of it, why would he be seeking? So in his actual condition he is not free. As a result he is not free to “drop his ego like a hot potato” either.

I urge the reader not to take my word for this. Try it for yourself. Try to drop your ego “like a hot potato” and see what happens. This kind of dharma-talk has a sort of instant appeal to it. It gives the seeker the idea that Enlightenment is easy. But it puts the cart before the horse and only ends up dashing one’s hopes in the end.

Andrew’s teaching is filled with this kind of talk so to call it a Dharma is quite a stretch. Indeed one is hard-pressed to find words to describe it, since no one in the world of Spirituality has had either the audacity or the gall to turn his back on the very Teaching that liberated him before the advent of Andrew Cohen. Perhaps the best descriptive phrase is a “mock” dharma because it radiates out of a false premise. This might explain why in all his many years of teaching no one has been able to make it come alive in his or her heart. One might say that it is basically a collocation of half-baked ideas, linked together by a false logic flowing from an unexamined assumption. At any rate that might do for starters.

In order to see these points clearly however, one must free oneself from the shackles of the victimization game. This is edgy stuff and the emotions run deep around it. For this reason advice is often risky. Still, if one has had some headway in this endeavor one has an obligation to speak up. In this sense I can only relate what worked for me.

When I left the community I was crest-fallen. I felt that life had derailed my eight-ball in the biggest possible way. All my hopes and aspirations were tied to that teaching and had been for ten years. I wallowed in self-pity for several weeks. But as bits and pieces of my former life began to come back to me I was overcome with a deep sense of relief. This sense had to do with, not so much a return of the familiar, but the knowledge that I was not going back to Moksha again. This knowledge allowed me to relax. It gave me a sense of space. That space was deeply inviting. Occasionally thoughts would enter somewhat like a bird might land on a door stoop. They would look around, flutter their wings, and fly off into the sunlight again. One thought persisted over time however: a sudden and deep recognition that this “teaching” was not The Way. This was the bird that would not fly away.

At first I had no idea where this intuition came from but I did remember that I had had that same intuition during my association with several other spiritual communities. In those cases, while I did not drop my ego “like a hot potato”, I did drop those teachings in precisely that manner. But soon I began to recognize it as an intuition that had been lurking in the background during my involvement with Andrew for actually quite a while. I had just not paid much attention to it because I was uncomfortable with the power it had to let my ego off the hook. But as I continued to look at it, it seemed to pull together my experiences with Moksha in a way that no other idea did. It was deeply satisfying. For several years I did not take my eyes off that intuition. I watched in silence as it grew stronger. I began to see my association with Moksha as a sort of experiment I had undertaken to deepen my understanding of the Dharma. The experiment failed, or so I thought. But so what? The experiment was much like the driver who goes the wrong way down a one-way street and ends up at a dead-end. Does he sit there and rant and rave at what a dirty blow life dealt him? Of course not. He turns the car around and moves on. Let’s face it: he gambled and he lost. Whose responsibility is that? In this way I came to the end of the idea that I had been victimized.

The one word which embodied my experience with Moksha like no other was failure. I was a total failure at Andrew Cohen's teaching right out of the starting blocks, and right to the very end. For the last year of my life in that community I felt like I was walking around with a big X on my forehead and that the only issue at stake was who got to make the kill. In the end it was Andrew himself but he did so in the gentlest of manners, sort of like he was executing a bird which had broken its wings. This was interesting in itself because I had witnessed several ugly blow-ups in precisely this kind of circumstance. At any rate what felt like an execution in the beginning, turned out to be a liberation in the end. He liberated me from his teachings and for this I am eternally grateful. It’s an exhilarating feeling to be free of it! In my crazier moments I’ve often wished I could return the gesture. But that will never happen. His karmic circumstances will not allow it.

This paper grew out of that sense of freedom. It is excerpted from a work-in-progress on the difference between true and false religion. I had intended to entitle the online version OUTING ANDREW COHEN, but after much reflection I became concerned by the provocative nature of it. It seemed to appeal to a part of me that is still in rebellion against the world. That part is better left unexpressed in this case because it would cheapen the point of the paper.

It is not about the idea that a teacher made foolish mistakes. It is far bigger. It is about an intense challenge which faces every aspirant on the Spiritual Circuit: how to get clear on the Dharma. Indeed, the challenge is bigger, even, than that. It is a challenge not only for the aspirant, but for the teacher himself. If the teacher is not clear on the Dharma, how can his students be clear?

I first began to think around this topic almost a year ago. My lifetime of failed involvements with religion covers a span of almost sixty years. The specter of this failure has haunted me continuously, especially since exiting from the Moksha community some years ago. That was my seventh – and final - spiritual community, or so I thought. Previously however I had always approached the examination of this issue in a personal way – how I failed here, why I failed there, etc. My investigation was all about me. Suddenly it occurred to me that this too was just another idea. Perhaps I didn’t fail these religions. Perhaps they failed me.

Teachers, of course, don’t like to hear this kind of talk. Religions don’t fail. People fail. Many see it as just another version of the blame game. I was willing to concede that possibility but I wasn’t willing to take it for granted as I had on so many previous occasions. I had to find out whether it was true. As I pushed into this issue it became clear to me that I needed a new tactic. Previously I had bounced these ideas round and round in my mind, mulling them over incessantly as I walked my mail route. Often a thought would come to me and I would dash it down on paper. After a while thoughts would come so fast I found myself scrambling in the bushes to find scraps of paper to write them down on. Several times I found myself using gum wrappers! All these pieces of papers were put in a little basket that had come to me as a Christmas gift. One night I began poking through them and realized that they seemed to link themselves together in a sort of logic that was really quite convincing. On the other hand, how could I know for sure unless I tried to work this logic out? Such a task could only be done with pen and paper. So the name of the game became: put it all down on paper.

I recommend this strategy to anyone who thinks he understands an issue, whether it is religious or not. I guarantee that you will find out very quickly whether or not you do! One doesn’t have to be a Hemmingway to do this and one doesn’t have to have an ulterior motive either. All I am doing is trying to get clear on an issue that has gnawed at my innards for years. I never had the intention to write a book and to this day, although I’ve often talked that way, I have no idea whether that will be the result of my reflections or not. Only time will tell. Still, the attempt is revealing. I tried to write down my reflections exactly as I had thought them in my mind over the previous months and the result was an embarrassing hodge-pod of false ideas, illogical conclusions, incorrect facts, unexamined assumptions, and just plain bad thinking. Nevertheless as I wrote and re-wrote a kind of clarity began to emerge.

It seems to me that if one brings the issue of true versus false religions to the table in an open minded way three permutations appear. One can live a true religion, or one can fail to live a true religion. On the other hand one cannot live a false religion. One can only fail to live it. In fact it is guaranteed that one will fail to live it. That is because it is false. If a religion is false that means it cannot come alive in the human heart.

To meet this challenge of this paradox I had to get very clear about the structure of a true religion. This meant that I had to develop a vision of religion in the biggest possible way. There was no help for me here, and rightly so, as no one I talked to saw things my way. Nevertheless the issue was clear: is there such a thing as a true religion? If so, one has to be able to identify the principle which makes a religion true and distinguish it very clearly from the principle which makes a religion false. As I pushed into these issues it became apparent that the principle in question is an assumption. Not any assumption, but an assumption about the nature of the Universe itself. If one does not make this assumption there are an endless number of ways a religion can go false. I present one of them here. So while I see Andrew Cohen as a stand-in or a proxy for false religion in our time, in point of fact any TV preacher would do just as well. Andrew’s thinking, of course, is obviously deeper. And there is no denying that his insights are often more poignant. But these are not stand-alone features of the Truth that sets us free. While Andrew does not trick his audience with a feel-good story about how, even though they have egos, they will go to heaven and sit at the right hand of God forever if they will only believe so-and-so, he does something just as wrong: he cons them with a feel-bad story about just how evil the human ego really is. Both of these stories are false. Neither recognizes the transcendental nature of the human heart and its impulse to move beyond ego. Both lack a commanding vision of the Truth. That is why, with respect to the fundamental concepts of religion, there is no substitute for clarity.

Bruce Ryan

Email Bruce Ryan

If you would like to download a copy of the entire essay from which the above prologue is an excerpt, go to GETTING CLEAR. On the front page please double click on the second module in the right hand column. This will bring up an active link to the essay on the left side of the front page. Double click on that link and the essay will appear as a download.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"no one in the world of Spirituality has had either the audacity or the gall to turn his back on the very Teaching that liberated him before the advent of Andrew Cohen."

Excellent point. Andrew's own "realization" occurred after he was told by Papa-ji that he need not make effort. But he enslaves his students, using guilt and fear to convince them they can never do enough or make enough effort. Strange, isn't it?

Monday, 09 May, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The key to Bruce's clarity is spiritual discernment, intuition, and quoting Bruce: the recognition of the transcendental nature of the human heart and its impulse to move beyond ego.

I call it the fire of love and the desire to be free which lives within the center of our being waiting for recognition. It cannot be found in and through another, but only within ourselves.

I commend Bruce's courage and his deep insights into the reality of what is true, and what is false, without being deluded by anyone anymore.

Monday, 09 May, 2005  
Anonymous One said...

The evolution of Consciouness is evident in the fact that freedom from false teachings is being realized by soreveal many. The missing element is the HEART of awakening which can only be realized from within and can never be imposed or forced from without.
Thank you Bruce for your clarity and for going within to sort it all out. The answer is Clear!

Monday, 09 May, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had my share of false (or partly false) teachings as well and analysed afterwards what was true in them and what not. This helped me to develop helpfull criteria to discern which teaching is true and also which one would fit me. In the end this helped me to find a school with a true teaching of which I am now a student for nine years. Later I came across a theory by Gurdjieff which I found interesting regarding this process (I am not suggesting here that his teaching is true). His theory is that false teachings or schools (which he calls B influence) are needed as in between step to true teachings or schools (which he calls C influence). My understanding of this is that through the process of discerning true and false in the false school you can become ready to appreciate and thus take in the truth of the real teaching. It seems to me, Bruce, that you finished this process.

Tuesday, 10 May, 2005  
Anonymous Colleen Brady said...

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear" also reads as "When the teacher is ready, the student will appear". Both statements are the same because the student and the teacher are one.
Let's begin with the first tenet of Andrew's teachings "Clarity of Intention" which states that in order to succeed in liberating oneself from fear, ignorance, and self-deception, one has to have no doubt whatsoever that one wants to be free more than anything else right now. Having no doubt means that one is not only philosophically committed, but emotionally committed as well. What that means is that even under the pressure and intensity of challenging emotional states like fear, confusion, frustration, or desire, there's no wavering about one's bottom line.. you want to be free even more than you want relief.
If a person goes to live in community and follows the teachings of a spiritual guru what is this person looking for? What is the student's intention? How did they come to the decision to follow this teacher Andrew Cohen?
I heard you say Bruce that you began to see your association with Moksha as a sort of experiment you had undertaken to deepen your understanding of the Dharma and the experiment failed or so you thought. I didn't hear anything about commitment in your statement because commitment isn't about failure it's about doing something for the sake of the whole.
You also mentioned that in all Andrew's many years of teaching no one has been able to make it come alive in his or her heart. It isn't Andrew's responsibility for making it come alive in others. He has brought it to life in his own heart and it's about to all of you to bring it alive yourself. Nobody said that it was going to be easy. If it was easy everyone in this entire world would be awake right now. Yes it is true that we are already there and it is an illusion that we think we are not, however, until all of humanity realizes this we are still sleeping and blaming others for not waking us up. Nobody is to blame. We are accountable for what we manifest on this planet.
Andrew Cohen is the perfect teacher because he rises to meet the demands of his students' intentions on every level. I can see in the many readings on this website that he has given countless people the opportunity to deal with the ego in its extreme. Wow! What a gift for all to receive... the ability to face everything and avoid nothing, bringing awareness into the dark corners of our own psyche where there doesn't seem to be any light... Andrew's teachings are a gift and what you choose to do with this gift is entirely up to you which leads me to the fifth tenent "for the sake of the whole".
This is not about you, it's not about Andrew Cohen. It's about TRUTH. It's about the "Sake of the Whole". We are all in this together.

Tuesday, 10 May, 2005  
Anonymous Conrad Bonworth said...

Hi Colleen,
Just a couple of quick comments on your post:

You wrote: I didn't hear anything about commitment in your statement because commitment isn't about failure it's about doing something for the sake of the whole.

Wow! That's a non sequitur, if I ever heard one. Come again? How many people have made committments (to jobs, marriages, raising their children well, saving the world--you name it), and failed, either through their fault, something or someone else's fault, both or due to conditions beyond their control? I guess you would say none--their committment just wasn't sufficient. But it is just that fallacy that Bruce aptly identified and addressed. You avoided the point completely.

You wrote: You also mentioned that in all Andrew's many years of teaching no one has been able to make it come alive in his or her heart. It isn't Andrew's responsibility for making it come alive in others. He has brought it to life in his own heart and it's about to all of you to bring it alive yourself.

On the contrary, Andrew himself always advised people that, if a guru does not set them free, they should leave him or her. (Or he always said this in the past--perhaps he's changed his tune now in this area, as in so many others--without admitting he made a mistake or was imperfect in his judgment, apparently because to admit he was wrong would lessen the "evolutionary tension", according to his recent dialog with Ken Wilber.) We have yet to see anyone demonstrating real freedom among Cohen's "committed." But, that is not unexpected. After all, how would subjecting oneself to physical assaults, emotional assaults and complete control of every important aspect of one's life ever lead to freedom?

You wrote: I can see in the many readings on this website that he has given countless people the opportunity to deal with the ego in its extreme. Wow! What a gift for all to receive...

Double Wow!! Getting slapped, being jumped by your peers, having buckets of paint poured over your head, having money demanded from you when you are vulnerable and at wits end, being shamed and told you are spilling the "guru's blood," being told when you can have sex or relationship, and with whom, where you can live--the list goes on--Colleen, do you really believe these are "wow" deserving gifts? If so, perhaps you'd be happy to redeem them from all their unhappy Cohen student recipients.

Tuesday, 10 May, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moving right along.

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men -----that is genius.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, 10 May, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce has found the answer to: do you want to be free, do you really truly want to be free more than anything, if so, look within yourselves. This truth is self-evident for everyone, go for it, it is there, it is real and it is true.

Be free from tyranny, abuse, someone else's mind-set, dominance and slavery.

The Light and Love of Spirit calls all of us for recognition. It is the fiery kiss of the beloved Prince upon the frozen lips of Snowwhite. Moksha how sweet it is.

Tuesday, 10 May, 2005  
Anonymous Bruce said...

Colleen's comments on clarity of intention have raised an interesting issue. Can one really have an intention to be free? Andrew has called this idea the cornerstone of his teaching. But if we peer beneath the dharma-talk we will find that this "cornerstone" has quite a pronounced wobble to it. Let's assume for the moment that Colleen is free. If she really is free, she is free to form a clear and abiding intention to be free. But why would she want to do that? She is already free! In that circumstance clarity of intention is useless to her.
Now assume for the moment that Colleen is not free. This means that she cannot form a clear and abiding intention to be free. Why? Because she is not free to do that!
Now the question becomes: what if she tries to form a clear intention to be free anyway? What will be the result? Let's say that we come across Colleen one day trying to form a deep, clear, and abiding intention to be free. Here we find her full of joy and enthusiasm, gritting her teeth, clenching her fists, and saying and doing and shouting all the things a person might say and do and shout to communicate to their psyche their fierce determination to be free. The question is: has she actually performed that act? Has she actually formed a clear intention to be free? To find out we must peer beneath all the physical, psychological, verbal, and mental posturing, and ask the following question: what is her fundamental communication to the world in these moments? It is this: I am not free! How do we know this? Because if she were free she would have no reason to form an intention to be free! So what she is really communicating by her actions is this: I am not free but I intend or want to be free! To expand this communication into its fullest form would result in something like this: I am not free right now, but I intend or want to be free sometime in the future! Huh? Say that again? What kind of freedom is that - a freedom that is always postponed into the future? The only freedom that kind of "freedom" provides is the freedom to keep on seeking. From this point we can see that the notion of clarity of intention belongs part and parcel to the way of effort. So in actuality it is a kind of mock freedom. Notice how out of sorts it is with Andrew's own fundamental description of freedom, where freedom is seen as a condition which always and only occurs in the "now". If Andrew had a bigger picture of his own teaching he would see that clarity of intention could never co-exist with real freedom because clarity of intention is about the future while real freedom exists only in the now. So the result of trying to form a clear intention to be free when one is not, is a kind of charade: a lot of sound and fury, a lot of posturing, all of which ends up in a kind of pretense to freedom. This mock freeedom is, of course, a not at all surprising result coming, as it does, from one who invented a mock dharma in the first place! Clarity of intention is not a tool to set one free because freedom has nothing to do with effort. On the contrary it is a tool designed to keep one bound to seeking, and therefore not free. If one is free clarity of intention is unnecessary. If one is not free clarity of intention is impossible. Or so it seems...


Thursday, 12 May, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Bruce
Very well said !!

Thursday, 12 May, 2005  
Anonymous Stuart Resnick said...

In the original posting, there's a reference to Andrew's injunction to drop the ego like a hot potato. Bruce suggests that the reader try this for himself.

But before dropping the ego (or holding on the ego, for that matter), there's the question of what this "ego" is. "Ego" means "I", so what am I? I don't know. So issues of dropping or holding this thing don't arise, if it's clear that I don't even know what this "I" is.

Anyone is free to make distinctions between true & false religions, based on whatever definitions of "true" he decides to create. But why do that? Each of us has the great question "What am I?" Each of us can look at any moment & see for ourselves that we don't know what this "I" is. It's only when we neglect the questioning that we begin to talk about "I" or "ego" as if it were a real, known thing, & complications & arguments regarding how to drop it arise.

The issue of freedom is the same way. Andrew speaks of the intention to be free. But what is it that wants or needs to be free? If we unquestioningly assume an "I", then we can enter the complications & debates about if & how & why to make it free. But if we do sincerely question, then we don't know what this "I" is (beyond being a word & idea that people use). So the struggle or problem of freeing it doesn't appear.

Complicated doesn't mean bad, & I recognize that many people need or want complication. Look at Tibetan Buddhism, with its supremely complex practices & forms & cosmology; it seems to make lots of people happy. But for those of us satisfied with simplicity, it's worth noting that just keeping the question for ourselves, "What am I?", & seeing for ourselves that we don't know, will avoid the complications of holding or dropping the ego, of freeing the ego, & of the need to make distinctions between true & false religions.

Thursday, 12 May, 2005  
Anonymous Ted said...

This discussion is interesting enough, but let's not forget that any teaching or ideaology however well it may reflect truth can be used to cause suffering on a human level. Keep in mind all the documented abuses on students by Andrew Cohen when assessing the merit of his teaching. How does it all translate on a human level? Judging from the accounts from his former close students, so far the human "result" of Andrew's teaching still appears to be one of "scorched earth" (to quote Susan Bridle) .

Thursday, 12 May, 2005  
Blogger previously censored said...

Hey, y'all, if you're a little weary of the philosophy, and want instead a little art, I highly recommend you check out the really beautiful horrorshow portrait of sadistic pseudo-guru Andrew Cohen--Spilling The Guru's Blood--You Asked For It, You Sonofabitch done by revolutionary holy american buddha artist Tara Carreon aka Ambu Fortuna Zapata Gaudi! Sometimes art speaks more truth than philosophy, I kid you not.
Not to be missed!!!
But not for the squeamish!!

Thursday, 12 May, 2005  
Anonymous Alex Hanck said...

Answer to comment 12--

The debate is running fine. You can either see A.C. just as somebody corrupt and make a heap of his missdoings and pile this up with condamnations, or you see him as somebody misslead by his own thinking.

The first part has basically been done. It helped me to confirm my own observations of which at first I couldn´t make any sense - I didn´t trust my own intuition. Nothing big - just noticing how agressively A.C. reacted to what he thought was a criticism, etc.

The second part - seeing him as somebody who is lost in wrong thinking is now in full swing.This essay is great.

Of course there should also be place for those who want to express their disapointment and let everybody know how it hurts and help them in any possible way to heal. That needs than a different thread - Communication - in order to be successfull ( in a blog like this for sure ) needs a structure.

Love and respect to all.

Thursday, 12 May, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

could it be that the first erroneous inner line of reasoning that Cohen bought into was something like: "since I am apparently a vehicle for this (Poonja's) awakening transmission, then my personality and consciousness is also a vehicle for This and what presents itself on my intuitive screen is for the awakening of students, and should be carried out"??? From this inner narcissitic assumption anything is possible.

Friday, 13 May, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce , Love everything youv'e written except I saw coke machines walking around for a few days :) your last post is ironically pretty close to Poonjii's teachings.

Craig T

Friday, 13 May, 2005  
Anonymous Ramona said...

Hi Bruce,

You said:
It is the truth which sets one free, not dharma talk.

I fully agree that the truth sets one free. What do you base your truth on in your discernment of false and true dharmas, and false and true religion. Isn't your own definition also a personal assumption without a solid foundation to compare it with. You call it the bird that would not fly away. Can you be more specific on this and the principle that you use to reach your conclusions.

In my own personal spiritual discernment of what is true and what is false, I have a definite tried and true foundation that I call upon to weed out the false from what is true together with intuition, prayer, knowledge and experiences which then allow me to see things clearer continuing with my search until finally within my heart and mind I recognize the truth and discard what is false. It is a process of elimination which may need to be repeated many times until finally truth has emerged.

Friday, 13 May, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The creators of this blog are now willing to propagate ANY idea that speaks out against Andrew Cohen? With the emergence of Bruce-ism, you are now endorsing the most clearly self-serving, cynical and ill motivated attempt at Dharma I've ever read.

All I can really say is, are you kidding?


Saturday, 14 May, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, assuming you're not just spouting bullshit, please bring clarity to the discussion by explaining why Bruce's treatise is a "clearly self-serving, cynical and ill motivated attempt at Dharma."

No, then I guess you were just spouting bullshit.

Saturday, 14 May, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce makes sense. YOU don't!

Saturday, 14 May, 2005  
Anonymous Bruce said...

Judging from my e-mails, apparently some readers are unable to follow the logic of the argument against clarity of intention. Look at it this way: suppose a seeker comes up to you and says, "I am very clear on what I want. I intend to be free." On the surface it seems like he has made a very important declaration - a declaration that could affect not only his own destiny, but the destiny of the human race as a whole. To see whether this is true you must call him on it. You must pin him down. Simply step back, look right into his eyes, and ask, "When?" Let's say he is somewhat naive and gives a date of July 4th. Obviously what he has declared is not that he wants to be free, but that he intends to keep on seeking until July 4th. What's so important about that? He has been seeking all his life and now he wants to extend it a month or two. So what?
Now suppose he changes the rules somewhat. Suppose he says, "Okay. You're right. Freedom always occurs in the now. But that's fine with me. I am still very clear on what I want. I want to be free right now." Again, all you have to do is call him on it. Just step back, hold out your arms, and say, "Be my guest!" But be prepared to wait quite a while. There is nothing he can say, do, think, or feel, that will make him free in that moment, or any other! Freedom is the province of the Divine and the Divine sets its schedule - not you or me. Or so it seems. My love to all.


Saturday, 14 May, 2005  
Anonymous Ramona said...

Thank you dear Bruce for answering my question. Freedom is the province, and I will add gift of the Divine.

Sunday, 15 May, 2005  
Anonymous Splash said...

Going back to Dave's comment: "The creators of this blog are now willing to propagate ANY idea that speaks out against Andrew Cohen."

Please, that sounds so strong and so absolute, but what are the facts?

Has anyone on this blog accused Cohen of racism? No - because people generally know that this specific charge would be untrue of Cohen. But the specific charges that have been leveled against Cohen here go unchallenged even by Cohen's defenders, because they are not wild and unfair charges, but have the ring of being true.

These charges are being brought forward by multiple witnesses...and as time passes, more and more stories from credible witnesses are posted revealing an even more compelling account of a very abusive situation.

So Dave, no this blog does not post wild, unfair and untrue charges. In your comment you failed to provide any proof that the posting by Bruce was in any way untruthful or inaccurate, you simply rely on labeling Bruce and his comment as "self-serving and ill-motivated." By ill-motivated do you mean Bruce has motivations that are at odds with yours?

This blog and its creators seem to be making every effort to speak the truth. If you don't like it, that's another story.

Sunday, 15 May, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dave,

Hearing your chagrin at having your guru criticized by Bruce, the question comes to my mind: What's wrong with allowing Bruce to have his say?

I appreciate someone who comes forward with his own understanding as Bruce has, and in a very un-aggressive way, shows why he feels his former teacher missed the mark.

This kind of discussion is invaluable. Too bad you can't appreciate that due to your apparently blind allegiance to Cohen.

Is the intolerance expressed by you what one could expect if one were to participate in a Foxhollow discussion? If I came to an Andrew Cohen retreat and expressed myself in a manner that was off the point, out of the flow, or in disagreement with the official policy, would I quickly get labeled as "you are now endorsing the most clearly self-serving, cynical and ill motivated attempt at Dharma ever"?

Sunday, 15 May, 2005  
Anonymous Two Cents said...

Some people get their entertainment from gossip columns. For others, it's watching those torrid day time talk shows. I guess for me, its logging on to sites by formal disciples devoted to the de-deifying of their former Gurus.

However, I'm not being flippant, having had a close call with Frank Jones, I fully respect and understand those who have lost faith, money, or in my case, girlfriend to those who profess to be the Grand Puba of enlightenment.

As for myself, I categorically dismiss any notions of entering into a relationship of subjugation with any self professed, all knowing son of a God. In my experience, This is usually interpreated as my egoic nature wanting to do things my own way. Fine. Better than shucking off responsibility and common sense. I speak only from my own experience rather than parrot the sayings of those who profess to know.

I find too many similarities between, from what I've read here and Daism. The reporting back paranoia, the levels and inner circles and on and on. Of course Daism wins hands down in the sexual intrigue/physical abuse category.
nd of course you can't argue with God, which allows the chosen one carte blanche to do whatever he pleases because you can't understand from your limited egoic viewpoint.

I don't think the Guru/disciple relationship is appropriate in the U.S. Maybe it can still work in certain places in the East, I donâ?Tt know. But I believe westerners should do what they do best. Figure it out for them selves.

- Two Cents

Sunday, 15 May, 2005  
Anonymous Alex Hanck said...

Hello Bruce ,
I fully appreciate your style and your logic.But... please comment on this.

The guy who has decided to be free gets confronted with the desire to
be - lets say - a coke bottle shinier than any other and with a special design. On the basis of wanting to be free he doesn´t act on this desire. He doesn´t
lose any energy attempting to become a special coke bottle.

Now according to your argumentation there shouldn´t be than be any differance
between the guy who follows his desire and the guy who doesn´t.

Is that so ?

Sunday, 15 May, 2005  
Anonymous Bruce said...

Dear Alex,
Thanks for the question. You're right: there is no difference between the guy who follows his desire and the guy who does not. Both are still coke machines and both are still motivated by the same impulse - the fear of death. The desire for freedom doesn't amount to a hill of beans when it comes to being a coke machine. All it does is prove that I am a coke machine. The point is that being a coke machine is a kind of prelude to freedom that we all must go through in order to appreciate our real condition as intrinsically free beings. So one doesn't need a movement toward desire, nor does he need a movement away from desire, to be free. All he needs to do is stand in place as what he is and investigate that condition deeply until he is no longer at odds with it. Don't take a position on whether it is right or wrong, good or bad, moral or immoral, or you will not be able to see that condition clearly. Freedom has its own standard of ethics because it is coming from a far larger perspective than the niggling one we coke machines bring to the table. Get the point? I deeply appreciate your question...


Sunday, 15 May, 2005  
Anonymous responding to 'Two Cents' said...

Two Cents, I appreciate your post. I am a former longtime student of Andrew Cohen. Regarding Andrew and Da Free John, Andrew admired Da greatly, but felt he became misguided because of his "megalomania". Yet, Andrew never could see the narcissistic traps in his own set-up, which is very similar to Da's although it is a slicker more high-tech version. There are definitely inner circles, and paranoia and thought control. Once you're in, disciples aren't permitted to question or go against any instructions he gives. This translates into total control over your life. On top of that, at this point it is virtually impossible to leave the system without being sequestered and "worked on". And if you don't "respond" as demanded, you're denounced. That is why so many have found it necessary to plan and execute undercover escapes. To use Da's language, Andrew's set-up is totally "cultic", and this is no joke.

Sunday, 15 May, 2005  
Anonymous Winner said...

Reality check people--
Andrew wants us all to drop the ego like a hot potato, what a joke, when he himself sits enthroned in his ego looking down on us poor peasants who have lost all and everything to cater to his ego which rules over us.

He is surrounded by all worldly things, a mansion, fancy sports car, the best italian clothing, while we shop at Good Will, collectibles,cooks and waiters to feed him, etc. The money he spends for his flowers alone could feed several families for a year.

The beginning of freedom and Moksha is ours the day we tell him that the party is over and we are outa here.

Sunday, 15 May, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Winner,

Sunday, 15 May, 2005  

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