FREEING THE BUDDHA: Diversity on a Sacred Path - Large Scale Concerns (A Course on major aspects of Buddhism plus a dangerous collection of essays)
This book is not written to reinvent the wheel and offer up "just another introduction to Buddhism." This has a fresh approach of Buddhism, which does not stir up dust in areas that most people have not thought of. There are teachers who would discuss things privately such as Buddhist views on UFO, Adolf Hitler and the historical Jesus, but they would not give public talks or publish books on such controversial subjects. The author has the courage to do as he boldly discusses such topics in this book.
You hold in your hands a strange, and even more dangerous, book, When you know who wrote it, it makes it stranger, and perhaps even more dangerous. Allow me to explain myself.
Brian Ruhe is a rail, rangy, mild-mannered fellow who is about as intimidating as a rabbit. He is, in many ways, the quintessential monk— gentle, curious) bright, non-confrontational. One can easily imagine him back in Thailand, where he was once ordained a Buddhist monk and given the name Buddhasaro, floating about in a saffron robe, his feet barely touching the ground. Yet as you will see from his writings, underneath this dove-like persona lurks an invisible heavy hand, a hawkish intelligence full of fiery stir-up-the-pot, in your face, piss and vinegar chutzpah. There is rebelliousness and audacity in this book, yet it is the healthy audacity of a mind not satisfied with status-quo rituals and conventions. And in a religion as ancient as Buddhism, such edginess is a welcome breath of fresh air, providing ventilation to an old and venerable tradition that is in need of interpreters who will remain faithful to its message) yet help us to think for ourselves.
Spiritually, Brian is something of a chip off the old block. His root teacher was Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a brilliant, radical, and somewhat disconcerting Tibetan master who flamed briefly and brightly in Scotland and North America throughout the tempestuous 70s and 80s, before spinning off the earthly Wheel in 1987 at the young age of 48. Trungpa was one of the most intelligent and courageous Buddhist teachers, and like three other radical Lights of this century—Gurdjieff, Osho, and Adi Da (Da Free John), was severely misunderstood by mediocre, fear-based minds.
As Brian mentions in the Acknowledgements, Trungpa’s chief disciple, Osel Tendzin (also passed on), spoke about the need for teachers to not “make it up as you go along,” but that such apparent conformity would not mean a sacrifice in creativity. In this book, Brian has accomplished that. He has resisted the temptation to arrogantly revise an entire faith, and yet in remaining true to the Heart of the Buddha’s message, he has found fresh and seminal ways to apply the teachings to subjects as diverse as Jesus, Hitler, Nostradamus, UFOs, military strategy, conspiracy theories, twentieth century history, A Course in Miracles, the Virgin Birth, and the failure of Christianity, amongst others.
When I bought a copy of the second edition of Freeing the Buddha - Diversity on a Sacred Path - Large Scale Concerns from Brian it was originally intended as a gesture of friendly support coupled with mild interest in what he had to say. As I began to read through it, though, I became very impressed with the sheer originality of his ideas, as well as the sharpness to his writing. Nowadays, it seems that inflammatory writing is not only hip, but needed, given the dangerously sleepy state of affairs on our planet. We live in the era of the TV. beer ad and artificial reality, our wits dulled and our attention spans reduced to that of virtual reality morons. Life has become one big Star Trek holodeck. People are so bombarded with sensory stimulation, and endless forms of stupid technified nonsense, that they need something different in order to notice anything profound and meaningful, such as the teachings of an Eastern holy man of 2,600 years ago.
Thanks to the easy charm and solid integrity of the Dalai Lama, not to mention Robert Thurman (Uma’s Dad), Richard Gere, and even Bradley Pitt and a little Hollywoodization, Buddhism has grown markedly in popularity here in the twilight of the insane 20th century. With the colossal failure of the Western theistic organized religions to genuinely transform or even inspire people, more and more are turning to the clear, unpretentious wisdom of the Buddha’s Way. However, so many books on Buddhism, even those written by the illustrious Tibetan masters, though informative, are often terribly dry and lacking in a context that the Western psyche can relate to. Brian’s writing is interesting and absorbing because it is dangerous. Absorbing because he tackles taboo subjects dangerous because he does not let us sink behind into the sofa and fall asleep with his book dreaming dreams of being a good boring Buddhist. This is writing that wakes us up writing that pushes the edges of the conventional and in the spirit of the Buddha himself challenges us to think for ourselves. Read away and enjoy Brian Ruhe’s demonstration that he is a lamp unto himself.
What I am doing with this book and in my life’s mission is that I’m after people’s mind stream. I want to make imprints on your mind stream so that now and in future lifetimes you will be helped by the information that I am promoting. My intention is to steer people in the direction of the real Buddha while encouraging them to work with pseudo Buddhism. With discriminating insight I have loaded this book full of documented evidence that will dispel false beliefs about Buddhism. This book is about loyalty and honesty. I am loyal to Gotama Buddha so I am honest about Buddhism. Even if uncomfortable for you, the reader, once a message is in your mind stream, then it is planted in the most sensitive field of karma-storage and any suggestions that you have registered with your senses will send seeds into your deepest mental continuum. Therefore, the heart and soul benefits of reading this book can flown now or in lifetimes to come. Perhaps in your next life you will be walking down a hallway and instead of looking at a poster on your left, you will look at a poster on your right and see something about a Buddhist talk, and then you will go to that. That’s the kind of influence I want this bock to have upon you.
For the reader with a general interest in Buddhism, the two parts of this book progress from an easy to read basic course-on meditation and the major aspects of Buddhist wisdom, to a provocative landscape of diverse essays that challenge and stretch the readers’ imagination. This book was not written to reinvent the wheel and offer up “just another introduction to Buddhism.” To repeat the same teachings printed in many other introductory books on Buddhism would only add further pollution to the world by creating more confusion, diluting the many excellent dharma Sacks available. Not only is this a fresh approach to Buddhism, but this book stirs up dust in areas that most people have not thought of. There are Buddhist teachers who will discuss things privately such as Buddhist views UFO’s, Adolf Hitler and the historical Jesus, but they will not give public talks or publish books about these controversial subjects. In this have decided to do just that, because I feel that the subject matter is very important and relevant to our lives, our history and our destiny. Buddhism provides a special cosmological perspective on our modern world, and I believe that this should be shared in Buddhist books. Not only does it help us with a mythology, but it helps to promote Buddhism by relating the dharma to new territories, of thought in the Western mind. I feel that people can read and decide for themselves what is the truth.
The title of this book Freeing the Buddha was selected because studies indicate that a provocative title can increase book sales from 5% to 15%. Freeing the Buddha does not mean Freeing the Buddha Within (that’s been done before). It literally means freeing the Buddha from the false words that have been put in his mouth. The meaning is appropriate because the author is a Theravada Buddhist and a major theme in this book is about how the Mahayana Buddhists have distorted, diluted and deemphasized the Buddha’s words. As a Theravada Buddhist I claim greater orthodoxy and seniority over the entire institution of Mahayana Buddhism. Although this book is very sympathetic to Mahayana Buddhism, “freeing” means giving back to the Buddha the more central importance that he deserves in the Buddhist religion. This book raises awareness for the need to free the Buddha and his teachings from the cultural traditions that Buddhists have been piling all over him, and to free the Buddha from being associated with false sutras. The tendency to “defer to the guru” can be wrong and cause people to be convinced that the true is false and that the false is true. The “Large Scale Concerns” part of the subtit1 was taken from a talk by the Dorje Loppön Lödro Dorje in which he referred is the great compassionate view of the bodhisattvas. “Diversity on a Sacred Path” was chosen because these essays explore how Buddhism relates to the diverse picture of humanity in the world. Also, because of the diverse aspirations of sentient beings, there are diverse ways for people to enter onto the Buddhist path to enlightenment. Below the subtitle it states “a dangerous collection of essays,” because Oscar Wilde said, “An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.”
Another thought in the author’s mind stream when the title of this book was chosen, was the prophecy of Nostradamus which is almost assuredly going to happen, “A man wearing a blue turban will rise out of Persia. He will be the terror of mankind.” This may conjure up worries about a possible world war, but it actually benefits us to contemplate death in this way. The Buddha said that you should contemplate death everyday because it helps you to appreciate your life and how much time you have left to benefit others. A theme in this book is that the preciousness of this time in all of our lives right now will not last. So a sense of urgency is necessary to apply the Buddha’s teachings with effort. There is never going to be a better time. You are not going to be any less busy in the future. You are not going to have any fewer commitments in the future. There is no other time than now.
The world needs to wake up a soon as possible if we are to survive. We live during the pioneer centuries of Buddhism in the west. Can Buddhist sanity head off our insanity in time to sustain our world and prevent more unnecessary wars? This is our question this is our only question. As early pioneers we need to be free to express our interests and follow our bliss. We need not wait for an Asian guru to validate us. This is the American Buddhist Declaration of independence. The Buddha invited people to freely investigate his teaching. Infrastructure and organization will come later in some ways people seek harder without temples for support. For now we are mixing our cultural ideas with Buddhism. Together we will create our own version of western Buddhism in the centuries to come.
A provocative writing style is contained here with surprising bits of information and historic details of stimulate your thinking. The reassurance of a familiar message that everything is going to be O.K. is not offered here because Buddhism guarantees nothing. This course book is offered to those who like myself burn with the conviction that engaged Buddhism can save our deteriorating world better than another treaty on the ozone or a treaty on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions Buddhism isn’t just a good idea it holds out the promise of a sane path, desperately needed to redeem our world. If you are up to challenge of following of Buddhist path then it is important that you listen to your still small voice within. That advice on the inside is what should guide your interpretation of advice on the outside.
The Buddhist Spectrum study group is an organization that accepts any tradition or interpretation of Buddhism across the spectrum. The vision is to see the growth and spread of Buddhism in the world. the people can decide which teachings ring true for them. Whichever is the best will fare well in the spiritual marketplace.
In 1992 I decided that the major definite purpose of my life is to help spread Buddhism in the west. A deeper part of that mission is Buddhist reform; I am part of a reform movement within Buddhism to protect the purity of the Buddha’s teachings freeing the Buddha is a proclamation of this mission and this book is also dedicated tot eh proposition that you can be a Buddhist teacher by next month. The goal of education is action and Buddhism offers no retreat from the world. You don’t have to be Albert Einstein to teach high school physics. The Buddha taught that two of the 38 highest blessings in life are to listen to the dharma on suitable occasion and to discuss the dharma on suitable occasions. Make the occasion! When a few people get together for this purpose, their conversation in turned upward.
In Vermont in May 1980 at Karme Choling Buddhist Center a young lady asked my teacher. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche Coming here and seeing your sangha here and in boulder and comparing it with other ways that the dharma is being presented it seems of I may say so that this is much the best way. And I wanted to ask form the point of view of people in other countries who haven’t got the chance to see this and to see you how to give the inspiration. It seems that it’s rather up to us how much we can express the qualities of the dharma can you…? Rinpoche understood the rarity of western dharma way back in 1980 so he gave her the strength and inspiration to carry on. Interjecting he said anything you can think of. Anything you can think of. If you speak your mind you carry your message in any case and people will have an intuition already if you are telling the truth or if you’re indoctrinated or you’ve been hypnotized or whatever and there are lots of differences between that and if you tell the real truth you’ll have no problem. You’ll have no problem carrying the torch that way you can do it!.
With this encouraging black cheque Trungpa Rinpoche has inspired me onwards! Like a phonic or a garuda (god realm bird) rising from the ashes of Tibet take a fresh and humorous approach to life in a direct and almost naïve manner. Being so positive can make people feel negative. The dharma dynamite planted in these pages may have an edge but this is designed to help challenge people’s thinking and provide them with a new avenue a new approach to learning and teaching Buddhism.
Centuries ago many Asian Buddhists felt strangled in their efforts to find the truth in Buddhism by the authority of the clergy with their cleverly hypnotized layers of sectarian walls cemented around the Buddha’s sutras (discourses). Today popular Buddhism has so eclipsed the original discourses of the Buddha that the Buddha himself is largely unnoticed or pretend they don’t where Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism comes from. They are part of the problem rather then being part of the Buddhism comes from. They are part of the problem rather then being part of the solution in clearing away confusion about the history of northern Buddhism. Because people are so confused about Buddhism today. I have decided in this book to clarify for both the masters and laymen alike the most fundamental causes and conditions that led to the formation of such outwardly different looking expressions of Buddhism. This is important and meaningful. People want to know process what is what what’s going on the dharma of transmission. This book clarifies which aspects of Buddhism are original and which aspects arose centuries after the Buddha. The scope of Theravada Buddhism should be extended by including in it the brilliance of the Mahayana and Tibetan teachings that are in accordance with the Theravada.
As information on Buddhism becomes more abundant even too abundant a backlash will occur in the 21st century so that people will rightly prop up and illuminate the Theravada discourses of the Buddha as the greatest open secret in human experience. The grandeur of those treasure troves of dharma carefully handed down by the Buddha and his lineage is largely self secret, available only to those persevering souls who read over 2000 pages of repetitive writings. Many of those sutras are quoted in this book.
The Buddha described the future degeneration of our age as a time of moral degradation where the natural result of karma will be horrendous mass suffering. He even described how gravity will fall apart because gravity is held together by consciousness. As consciousness deteriorates gravity collapses the abhidharma reveals. However Buddhism is not fatalistic nor pre deterministic we rule our own actions now so we still have a chance to live out decent future lives here on earth. A sense of urgency is the one vital ingredient that can still give us the necessary thrust to leave suffering behind. This is not a time for patience. This is not a time for laziness or cowardice.
The Buddha’s wisdom will endure and grow because Buddhism appeals to educated people and the post industrial society is an ideal culture in which Buddhism can flourish. People are stressed out and they want meditation and other techniques to enhance their health well being and peace of mind. May this book benefit others in a way that will seduce compassion out of the reader. The author gives you heart and support along your path. All victory and gain to you! All blame and loss to myself.
About the Author:
Brian Ruhe is a Theravadin Buddhist teacher. He has taught in Douglas College, Vancouver and Burnaby School Boards etc.
|List of Illustrations||ix|
|1.||Why Buddhist Meditate||7|
How to Meditate
Four Noble Truths
|3.||Class Two & Three|
The Eightfold Path
|4.||Class Four & Five|
Four Foundations of Mindfulness
How to Invoke Devas
Loving Kindness Contemplation
Give & Take Contemplation on Compassion
|11.||Meaning and Purpose in Life||223|
|13.||Adolf Hitler and Tibetan Buddhism||233|
|14.||Buddhism and UFOs||277|
|15.||Beyond Grouse Mountain||289|
|16.||Rescuing Jesus from the Christian||299|
|18.||Future Dharma - Future Anti-Dharma||341|
|20.||Changing Buddha's Words||355|
|21.||Born in Ontario|
|22.||National and Personal Karma|
The Virtue of Hiroshima
|23.||Buddhist and Taoist Military Strategy||437|
|24.||All Universes Mythology||447|
|Afterword: Outer Peace||467|
Item Code: IDE802 Author: Brian Ruhe Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2005 Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd. ISBN: 8120818350 Language: English Size: 8.8" X 5.8" Pages: 500 (B & W Illus: 33) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 745 gms
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