I suppose that some of you have read a. Very fascinating work that was written many years ago by a C.G. Jung. A commentary that he wrote to a translation of a Chinese classics by Rikard Vilhelm called the Secret of the Golden Flower. Now you may remember, that in that commentary he takes up the very fascinating problem of the dangers inherent in the adoption of Oriental ways of life by Westerners, but more particularly the adoption of Oriental spiritual practices such as yoga. And I remember I learned a great deal from that essay and appreciated it very much and I was in many ways. Because even in my own fascination. With fondness of our intell philosophy, I have never been tempted to forget that I’m a westerner. But as I think this essay over. I’m not sure that young discouraged the practice of yoga by Westerners for quite the right reasons. I find so often the difficulty in Jung’s ideas, lies in his theory of history. Which is I feel a hangover from nineteenth century theories of history. Encouraged by Darwinism. Namely that there’s a sort of orderly progression. From the ape. Through the primitive. To the civilized man and of course naturally at that time that was all hitched in with the theory of progress and it was highly convenient for the cultures of Western Europe which were then one up on everybody else to consider themselves in the van of progress and when they visited the natives of Borneo and Australia and so on to be able to feel that they were perfectly justified in appropriating their lands and dominating the macaws they were giving them the benefits of the last word in evolution.
And therefore are under the influence of that sort of theory of history which is felt in the work of both Freud and Jung, one gets the feeling of there being a kind of progressive development of human consciousness and your own as charitable enough to assume that because the Chinese and Indian civilizations are immeasurably older than ours. They’ve had to foster the possibility of far more sophistication in psychic development. Even though he feels and probably rightly that there are things they can learn from us. But the reason why he discourages the western eye from the practice of yoga, is that he says this is a discipline for a far older culture than ours which along certain lines has progressed much further. And has learn certain things that we haven’t mastered at all yet. And that’s he points out that when somebody embraces Vedanta or Theosophy or any yoga school in the West and tries to master a discipline of concentration. In which. They have to oust from their consciousness all wandering thoughts he says that this for the West and I may be a very dangerous thing in. Read because just exactly what the West and I may need to do is to allow a free reign to his wandering thoughts and his imagination and his fantasy because it’s only in this way that he can get in touch with his unconscious and that his unconscious will not leave him in peace until he gets in touch with it and the assumes the members of oriental cultures have done this long before they went in for yoga practice.
Now I don’t think this is quite true, but I do think there are other reasons. Why western people eed to exercise a good deal of discrimination and caution in adopting Eastham disciplines and ways of life. In other words, it’s rather like the problem of taking medicine. You know, if you don’t feel very well and you go to a friend’s medicine cabinet and you sort of look at over and see bottles of medicine and now and you say I’m sick I need medicine or you take some medicine any medicine will do well it won’t. According to what’s the matter with you so the medicine has to be prescribed. And I don’t think that the things which some of the eastern disciplines are designed to cure, are quite the same things that we need. Now it’s fundamental to my view of the nature of such forms of discipline as Buddhism and Taoism. That they are ways of liberation from a specific kind of confinement. That is to say, they’re ways of liberation from what I’ve sometimes called the social hypnosis.
In other words, every culture, every society, as a group of people in communication with each other, has certain rules of communication. And from culture to culture, these rules differ in just the same way that languages differ. And a culture can hold together on very very different kinds of rules I won’t say any kinds of rules but very different kinds of rules always provided that the members agree about them whether they’re forced to agree whether they agree tacitly or whatever the reason may be. And these rules are in a way very much like the rules of a game. In other words, take a game like chess. You can have the kind of chess we play with an eight square board or you can have a kind of chess that the Japanese play with a nine square ball. It doesn’t make any difference so long as you both play on the same bought them by the same rules. But simply say this is. A chess as a game. And in the same way the development of human cultures is also in a way a game and that is the say, it’s the elaboration of a form of life. And the fun of it in a way is the fun of elaborating it in just some interesting form. That’s the same as the fun of a game the fun of a game is it has a sudden interest. But it doesn’t follow. That the rules of the game correspond to the actual structure of human nature or to the laws of the universe. The Because in every culture it’s necessary to impress upon especially its young. Remembers that these rules jolly well have to be kept. They are usually in some way or other connected with the laws of the universe and given some sort of divine sanction. And there are indeed cultures in which the senior members of the group realize that that’s a hoax, that’s as if it’s a made up and is done to terrify the young and when they become senior members of the culture themselves they see through the thing but they don’t let on They keep it quiet, they don’t let out to those who are supposed to be impressed that this was really a hoax to get them to behave.
But anyway. After a great deal of careful study I’ve come to the conclusion. That the function of these ways of deliberation is basically to make it possible for those who have the determination. And we’ll see why in a while to make it possible for those who have the determination. To be free from the social hypnosis. In other words, if you were a member of the culture of India. That almost any time between maybe nine hundred B.C. and eighteen hundred A.D.. It would be for you a matter of common sense about which everybody agreed. That you were under the control of a process called karma. Not exactly a law of cause and effect. But a process of cosmic justice. Whereby every fortune that occurred to you would be the result of some action in the past that was good and every misfortune to you would be the result of some action in the past that was evil and for the model this action in the past might not have been done in this present life but in a form in life it was simply axiomatic to those people that they were involved in a long long process of reincarnation. Reaping the rewards and punishments. And there were not only there was not only the possibility of being reincarnated again in the human form, but if you were exceedingly good you might be born in one of the heavens, paradises and if you were exceedingly bad you might be born for an insufferable period of years not forever in a purgatory. And the purgatories of the Hindus and Buddhists are just as in genius the horrible as those of the Christians.
Well of course. Everybody knows I mean anybody seems to have in a sense that all this. Imagination of postmortem courts of justice is a way of telling people well if the secular police don’t catch you the celestial police will catch you, and therefore you had better behave. And it’s an ingenious device for encouraging ethical conduct. Now…but remember, that for a person brought up in that climate of feeling where everybody believes this to be true it seems a matter of common sense that it’s so. And it’s very difficult for a person so brought up, not to believe that that is the state of that. Take an equivalent situation in our own culture. It’s still enormously difficult for most people to believe that space may not be Newtonian space. That is to say, a three dimensional continuum which extends indefinitely forever the idea of a four dimensional curved space seems absolutely fantastic and can’t even be conceived by people that aren’t versed in the mathematics of modern physics. Or again as I’ve often pointed out it’s very difficult for us to believe. That the forms of nature are not made of some stuff. Called matter. That’s a very unnecessary idea or from a strictly scientific point of view but it’s awfully difficult for us to believe it to believe in other words that there isn’t this underlying stuff. And not so long ago, it was practically impossible for people to conceive that the planets did not revolve about the earth encased in crystalline heroes. And it took a very considerable shaking of the imagination. When astronomers began to find out that this need not necessarily be so.
All right, so now let’s go back to the problem of somebody living in the culture of ancient India here it is a matter of common sense to see that he is going to be reborn. Now, there’s some perhaps exceedingly intelligent person who for one reason or another discovers that this idea is not so. After all, when you get such disciplines as Vedanta and Buddhism they say that the ultimate goal of the discipline is release from the rounds of rebirth. And incidentally also which is fundamental to that release from the illusion that you are a separate individual confined to this body. But so far as both of these things are concerned, they also say that the person who is liberated from the round of rebirth as well as from the illusion of being an ego, sees when he is liberated, that the process of rebirth than the whole cosmology of reincarnation and karma as well as the individual ego, are in a way illusions. That is to say he sees that they are maya. And I would like to translate my out of this moment not so much in Newton as a playful construct. A social institution. So he sees you see that those things are not so. They are only pretending to be so. And you see, he ceases to believe in karma and reincarnation and all that in exactly the same way that a modern agnostic no longer believes in the resurrection of the body at the Day of Judgment. I I know this to be so because. Although you will get very many Hindus and Buddhists who say that they believe in reincarnation, and come over here and teach it as part of the doctrine of Vedanta or Buddhism. The most sophisticated and the most profound I’ll say perhaps profound rather than sophisticated. But is that I have known have said that they don’t believe in it literally at all.
And, so I could say that those who do believe in it believe in it simply because. It’s part of their culture. And they have not yet been able to be liberated from it. And so it seems to me very funny indeed. When Western people who become interested in Vedanta or Buddhism. That is to say, in forms of discipline to liberate Hindus and Chinese people from certain social institutions, Western people adopt it and then also adopt. The ideas of reincarnation and karma from which these systems were designed to liberate them. Of course, they adopt them because they feel it’s consoling that one will go on living and that wasn’t the point at all. Or that it explains something that all why one suffered in this life was not because the universe was unjust but because you committed some misdeed in the past.
And so, Westerners who take up the Oriental doctrines in that spirit. Unfortunately take out the very illusions from which these doctrines were supposed to be ways of deliverance. Now that may be difficult to see just because. So many practicing Hindus and Buddhists say they believe in reincarnation and this whole process of the cycles of karma and so on. And they after all, are practicing it and they should know. When I look here there’s a certain good reason why they shouldn’t. Of course, I’m making an exception of the Indian or Chinese who’s been educated in Western style. And he ceases to believe maybe in the cosmologies of his own culture but he’s not liberated in the Buddhist sense because in receiving a Western education he’s become a victim of our social institutions instead and then you just exchange Well one trouble for another but. When you take the situation as it stands now as it did stand in India isolated from Western culture. Obviously, no society can tolerate within its own borders the existence of a way of liberation a way of seeing through its institutions without feeling that such a way constitutes a threat to law and order. Anybody who sees through the institutions of society and sees them far as it were created fictions in the same way as a novel or a work of art as a creative fiction. Anybody who sees that of course could be regarded by the society as a potential menace.
But, then you may ask well, if Buddhism and Vedanta and so on were indeed ways of liberation. How could Indian or Chinese society or Bernie’s society have tolerated their presence. Well the answer lies simply in the much misunderstood each. Terraces some of these disciplines. In other words that those who taught them the masters of these disciplines made it incredibly difficult for uninitiated people to get in on the inside. And, their method of initiating the men away was to put them through trap after trap after trap to see if they could find their way through. In other words, such a master would not dream of beginning by disabusing the neophyte, and saying well you know all these things you heard from your father and mother and teachers and so on were fairy tales .Oh no indeed. He would do what is called in Buddhism exercise the use of Upaya, the Sanskrit word meaning skillful devices or skillful means. Sometimes described as giving a child a yellowed leaf to stop it crying for go. After all, when you approach one of these ways of liberation from the outside. It looks like something. Very very fantastic. Here you are literally going to be released from a literally true and physical cycle of endless incarnations in have arms and heralds and all kinds of states. And therefore naturally to do that why. An undertaking that must be what I’ll wonderful likes rotten repast and you’ve got to become. And so the neo fight is ready for almost anything. And the teacher, because of the fundamental problem in this whole thing is for him to get rid of the illusion you see, that he’s a separate ego if there’s no separate ego Aust of souls then there’s nothing to be reincarnated so all the teacher really in has all kinds of complicated ways of doing it all that he really says to him is by now. If you will look deeply into your ego, you will find out that it is a non ego that you are self is the universal self that he might say if he would have it down to us or if you were a Buddhist you might say if you look for your ego you won’t find it. So look for it and see, and really go into it. And so he gets the man meditating. And trying by his ego to get rid of his ego. Well that is a beautiful crap it can last forever. Until one sees through it.
In other words this is like trying to you know, sweep the darkness out of a room with a broom. Or its life gets worse and out. Lao-Tzu or Chuang-Tzu have a nice figure for it beating a drum and such of a fugitive that’s to say you know when the police go out because they had a telephone call it was a burglar. They come racing to the house with a siren full blast in the. Burglar hears and runs away. Because of course to try and get rid of the ego for one’s advantage in some ways an egotistical enterprise and you can’t do it. And so of course the student gets to the point where he begins to realize that everything he does. To get rid of ego is egotistic. And this is the kind of trap in which the teacher gets him. Until of course he comes to the point of seeing that his supposed division from himself into say I and me the controller controlling part of me in the controlled part of me the knower in the known and all that is is phony. There is no way of standing aside from yourself in other words and as it when changing yourself in that way he discovers this finally. At the same time, he discovers, almost at the last minute you might say the fallacy, or rather, the fantasy nature of the game like nature. Of the system. Of cosmology which has existed to. As it underpin all. Give the basic form of the social institution of his particular culture or society.
In other words, you may put it in a in another way one of the basics things which all social rules of convention conceal is what I would call the fundamental fellowship between yes and no. Say, in the Chinese symbolism of the positive and the negative the young and the yin you know you’ve seen that symbol of them together like two interlocked fishes. Well the great game I mean the whole pretense of most of the side is that these two fishes are involved in a battle with the opposition the down fish the good fish and the bad fish and there’s out for a killing and the white fish is one of these days going to slay the Black Fish. But, when you see into it clearly you realize that the white fish in the black fish go together they’re twins they’re really not fighting each other they’re dancing with each other. That you see though, is a difficult thing to realize. In a set of rules in which yes and no other basic and formally opposed. When it is explicit and a set of rules, that yes and no positive and negative are the fundamental principles. It is implicit but not explicit that there is this fundamental bondage of fellowship between the two theories you see that if people find that out. They won’t play the game anymore I mean supposing a certain social group finds out that it’s enemy group which it’s supposed to fight is really symbiotic to it. That is to say the enemy group fosters the survival of the group by pruning its population. With never a do to admit that it never never do to admit the advantage of the enemy just as George Orwell pointed out in his fantasy future in one nine hundred eighty four about. A dictatorial God. I’m asked to have an enemy and if there isn’t one it has to invent one. And. By this means by having something to fight to see having something to compete against the energy of society to go on doing its job is stirred up. And what the Buddha or Bodhisattva type of person fundamentally is one is one who seen through that. Who doesn’t have to be stirred up by hatred and fear and competition to go on with the game of life.