Krishnamurti and Buddhism

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Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby Dharmakara » Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:27 am

After reading the thread about Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (HPB), I started to think of the various people who's lives had intersected with the Theosophical Society in one way or another, to see if there was anyone more worthwhile for examination, another teacher to explore, ect.

Of course, I didn't have to look far, as I have two favorites... Anagarika Dharmapala and Jiddu Krishnamurti, deciding to select the latter, as he difinitely has more to offer in an exploration than the occult leanings of HPB.

There's an excellent examination of Krishnamurti's connection to Buddhism to be found on BuddhaNet, excerpted below.

In many ways Krishnamurti's message is similar to the one that Buddhism teaches. Both point to the ease and susceptibility of the human mind to succumb to conditioning as the origin of all our human problems. Both doctrines, therefore, prescribe the use of an intense awareness of all of our mental processes, thoughts, memories, beliefs, hopes, and fears in order to gain that state of enlightenment which Krishnamurti calls insight or complete and unconditional freedom.

On the surface there appears to be conflict between Krishnamurti and Buddhism on some points. To Krishnamurti the process of enlightenment takes place instantaneously, like a sudden awakening. To most Buddhists enlightenment would take place only after years of painstaking meditative practice and countless rituals.

In the preceding we examined the nature of human psychological time. Time is measured by humans usually through a process of increase or decrease. We sense that time is passing because we are growing older or earning more money or waiting to be promoted to a higher rank. More precisely, psychological time is our perception of the process of increase or decrease and nothing more. Without that perception there would be no sense of passage of time.

When we talk of working and meditating over a period of years to achieve enlightenment it is the same as saying, "I will create the passage of time by undergoing a process of 'increase' from a lower to a higher spiritual level". By taking this approach we will have avoided taking the discontinuous leap into enlightenment, and instead we will have created our own delay in achieving enlightenment. As we mentioned earlier, the human ego is involved with this process. In fact, one could say that the human ego is this process, i.e. perception (increase/decrease) = psychological time = ego.

It stands to reason that any Buddhist authority who urges others to work real hard over a long period of time in order to achieve enlightenment is selling an ego package. Yet, we sometimes hear such advice coming from Buddhists. Krishnamurti's view of enlightenment is not that of a gradual one which increases slowly over years of hard work, because that sort of ego-related process creates its own delay and thus insures that the end is never attained. In Krishnamurti's view enlightenment comes by its own accord where and when it chooses, and there is little that we can do about it. It comes to us at auspicious times like a major discontinuity in our lives, and it reminds us of some Buddhist accounts of awakening which were induced by an unexpected slap to the face or a blow to the body. Ego involvement in enlightenment (or meditation for that matter) is no more than an interference which will negate the process.

It is the author's opinion that Krishnamurti's views provide us with more insight into The Sutra of the Heart of Transcendent Knowledge than most explanations available from the Buddhist world. In the Sutra, Avalokitesvara states that there is no birth and no cessation, ... no decrease and no increase, ... It is the exact same process which Krishnamurti dwells upon in volume after volume of his works. Enlightenment is a state that is timeless which means that its chief attribute is one of no-time, meaning no involvement with ego or ego-created time. Once an acknowledgment is made by the ego that time is required to attain enlightenment, the search has gone off on a hopeless tangent and will end in failure. The ego has to surrender its jurisdiction in the matter of enlightenment and allow something which is infinite and unknowable to take its course.

To Krishnamurti any process of thought is unsacred. Thoughts of the dharma or Buddha are as unsacred as any other type of thought. The only thing remaining sacred in Krishnamurti's view is that which thought is incapable of capturing or the unknowable. All thoughts are mere human creations of the human brain stem and are forever incapable of capturing that which is infinite and unknowable.

At first it seems that most Buddhists would agree with the foregoing paragraph. But there is plenty of Buddhist literature available which encourages Buddhists to meditate upon sacred images or thoughts or The Eight-Fold path or some mandala or mantra. It is self-evident that a state of complete emptiness is impossible as long as any images whatsoever persist in the mind. The Sutra says that emptiness is form and all form is emptiness, yet many Buddhist leaders keep on encouraging others to fill this vast, wonderful emptiness with a product of the human nervous system as if that product is sacred enough to occupy space as long as it has received the authorized stamp of approval from a duly appointed Buddhist authority.

Some Buddhist groups conduct prayer meetings. Prayer is an obvious exercise of the ego, a deliberate, calculating way to gain an increase over a period of time. There are some who feel that more prayer results in more gain. It is another attempt to attain something despite the fact that there is no attainment.


You can read the full article here:
http://www.buddhanet.net/khrisna.htm
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby Huifeng » Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:41 am

And how many people became enlightened from Krishnamurti's teachings?
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby Dharmakara » Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:44 am

Don't know, but if there's a potential it's more likely to be found there than in the hodge-podge ramblings of Blavatsky... of couse, just my own opinion.

It should also be remembered that the Buddha never declared that his teachings cornered the market on enlightenment.
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby catmoon » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:11 am

Huifeng wrote:And how many people became enlightened from Krishnamurti's teachings?


If you believe the nurse, his last words were "Nobody got it."
I have also heard him quoted as saying "No one has understood the teachings, not one."
Also "I have wasted my life."


Trouble is, the internet quote machine seems pretty unreliable and does not seem to be very good at distinguishing Jiddhu Krishnamurti from U. G. Krishnamurti.

But if these quotes accurately reflect Krishnamurti's mind near the end of his life... why would anyone listen to him? If he was right, his teachings won't help anyone!
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby Dharmakara » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:45 am

Hi Catmoon. I believe the correct statement might be found in the book "Infinite Potential" (by F. David Peat):

Shortly before his death the Indian teacher had declared that no one had ever truly understood his teaching; no one besides himself had experienced transformation.

Anyway, this is the one most quoted. had to have been a bummer, to say the least.

Also found this citation:

A few days before his death, in a final statement, he emphatically declared that "nobody" among his associates, or the general public, had understood what had happened to him (as the conduit of the teaching), nor had they understood the teaching itself. He added that the "immense energy" operating in his lifetime would be gone with his death, again implying the impossibility of successors. However, he offered hope by stating that people could approach that energy and gain a measure of understanding "…if they live the teachings". In prior discussions he had compared himself with Thomas Edison, implying that he did the hard work, and now all was needed by others was a flick of the switch. In another instance he talked of Columbus going through an arduous journey to discover the New World, whereas now, it could easily be reached by jet; the ultimate implication being that even if Krishnamurti was in some way "special," in order to arrive at his level of understanding, others didn't need to be.
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby catmoon » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:56 am

Dharmakara wrote:Hi Catmoon. I believe the correct statement might be found in the book "Infinite Potential" (by F. David Peat):

Shortly before his death the Indian teacher had declared that no one had ever truly understood his teaching; no one besides himself had experienced transformation.

Anyway, this is the one most quoted. had to have been a bummer, to say the least.



Ah, a proper reference, just what I was hoping for. So, doesn't that leave his followers in something of a predicament? Sure, he produced a raft of quotable quotes, but...
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby Dharmakara » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:01 am

Any more than what the Buddha is recorded saying to Ananda?

"It may be, Ananda, that some of you will say, 'without the Buddha, the Sublime Teacher, there is no teacher for us'. No, Ananda, you should not think in this way. Whatever doctrine and discipline taught and made known by me will be your teacher when I am gone."

Even Krishnamurti's "if they live the teachings" is kind of reminicent of the Atta Dipa... to take refuge in the Dharma, to become an embodiment of the Dharma, hence taking refuge in oneself.

PS: Sorry Cat, I might have added the extra citation to my earlier comment at the same time you were composing yours.
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby ground » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:07 am

Krishnamurti's teachings are not as profound as the Buddha's teachings and K. actually teaches no path at all. I once watched a video with K. after having read some of his teachings and when listing to his talk it became clear to me that his teachings are caused by his mere intellectualism.

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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby Dharmakara » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:10 am

Intellectualism or not, there still might be a gem of insight that's beneficial, yes?
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby ground » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:11 am

Dharmakara wrote:Intellectualism or not, there still might be a gem of insight that's beneficial, yes?


No. One is just led astray.


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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby catmoon » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:12 am

The predicament is that if you trust the sutras, Buddha's teachings resulted in the enlightenment of hundreds of beings at the least during his lifetime. This stands in stark contrast to Krishnamurti's sad result. If he blazed a trail and made the path so much easier to find, why has no one found it?
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby Dharmakara » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:14 am

TM, sounds like a very narrow and dark path to me, but to each their own.
Last edited by Dharmakara on Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby Dharmakara » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:17 am

catmoon wrote:The predicament is that if you trust the sutras, Buddha's teachings resulted in the enlightenment of hundreds of beings at the least during his lifetime. This stands in stark contrast to Krishnamurti's sad result. If he blazed a trail and made the path so much easier to find, why has no one found it?


Very true, but on the other hand there are more than a few who believe that even arhatship is an impossibility these days, so why would anyone even bother to try?

It's the goal and our potential to achieve such things that drives people forward.
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby Huifeng » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:29 pm

Dharmakara wrote:Don't know, but if there's a potential it's more likely to be found there than in the hodge-podge ramblings of Blavatsky... of couse, just my own opinion.

It should also be remembered that the Buddha never declared that his teachings cornered the market on enlightenment.


One thing I do remember, is that His teachings declare that outside his dispensation there were none of the "eight-personages", those on the stream-entrant path (srotaapanna) ... worthy ones (arhat), and that all other dispensations were devoid of these. Of course, later one, people could take the content of his teachings and put another name on it, effectively including such people, but as far as what the Buddha "declared", let's be clear with the record.
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby ground » Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:03 pm

Dharmakara wrote:TM, sounds like a very narrow and dark path to me, but to each their own.


It is the path taught by the Buddha and his successors. There is no other. If this exclusivity appears "narrow and dark" to you I can't help.

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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby Dharmakara » Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:41 pm

Huifeng wrote: Of course, later one, people could take the content of his teachings and put another name on it, effectively including such people, but as far as what the Buddha "declared", let's be clear with the record.


My friend, where is the wisdom in such a comment, one which echos the same criticism that is periodicly leveled at the Mahayana traditions by its critics?

Also, is one to assume that you have no problem with the persona of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, as you have not commented on the contents of that thread, just this one on Krishnamurti, where once again you're declaring what "is" and "is not" Buddhism with thinly veiled sarcasm?

I mean no disrespect, but I didn't care for that kind of behavior when it occured at E-Sangha and I care for it even less here in a thread I started.

Many Buddhist teachers are able to approach Krishnamurti without resorting to such behavior, as shown in the excerpted resource that began this thread, which went on to say the following:

Although Krishnamurti has left us with no apostolic succession to continue with his work, he did establish a foundation before he died. The Krishnamurti Foundation which has an office at Ojai, California, another in Brockwood Park, England, and a third in Madras, India, makes all of his work available either in print or on sound & video recordings, and on CD-ROM. Some of the tapes contain various impressions of Krishnamurti which were recorded during interviews with prominent world figures from many different fields.

In one such interview with Rinpoche Sumdung the Buddhist teacher stated that in his opinion the Buddha taught on two different levels. The first level was that of the average human being. This was the level that Buddha used when he spoke to the masses, and it was on this level that Buddha taught rules, dharma, rituals, etc. Rinpoche Sumdung went on to say that the second level, a higher level, was the one which the Buddha used to communicate in-depth wisdom as in the sutras. The "Heart Sutra" was such a higher form of communi- cation.

Finally, Rinpoche Sumdung said that the Buddha "compromised" himself by teaching on the two different levels, because eventually obvious discrepancies were sure to appear between the two levels. In the preceding paragraphs we have been dealing with some of these problems. Rinpoche Sumdung concluded by saying that in his opinion Krishnamurti never addressed the masses from the lower level like the Buddha did. He always taught at the level of the sutra and for that reason there is much agreement between Krishnamurti and "The Heart Sutra". Krishnamurti, therefore, never "compromised" {not quite the best choice of a word; perhaps what the Rinpoche meant would be better expressed by the word "overextended"} himself in the same manner as the Buddha did. Rinpoche Sumdung felt that on this second level Krishnamurti's teachings were identical with those of the Buddha. Krishnamurti remained true, at times obstinately steadfast, to the Sutra level of teaching during his whole life, and his teachings were consequently more difficult for the public to assimilate.
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:05 pm

This link expounds more on the teachings of Buddha and Krishnamurti. I could, however, find no reference to Rinpoche Sumdung by Googling his name, other than the quoted interview:

http://www.buddhanet.net/khrisna.htm

Of course, being called 'Rinpoche' does not denote infallability, nor do I have any other source to even prove his existence as such.

As his view seems to be very important with respect to JK, does anyone know of him?
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby Dharmakara » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:25 pm

I haven't come across anything in English other than the above, which is cited on many websites, though there appears to be several unrelated reference in Deutsch, so I suspect he's from Germany.

Guess one of us could contact BuddhaNet and ask.

The article itself is said to have originated in a small midwestern Buddhist newsletter by one source, so I'm contacting them directly.
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:52 pm

Of course, JK did not exist in isolation and would probably have examined other schools such as Advaita Vedanta, and not placed Buddhism as his main influence. The problem we have is in isolating each 'ism', as if each arose independently. Here is a brief view of JK's teachings in the context of Advaita Vedanta:

http://alangullette.com/essays/philo/k_av.htm
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Re: Krishnamurti and Buddhism

Postby Dharmakara » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:00 pm

Yes, good link. Like you've stated before, he never lost his "street creds" when compared to other teachers outside institutionalized Buddhism... some of them could only hope to leave such a legacy behind them.

We shouldn't be afraid to examine such things, as many come to Buddhism from a mixxed bag of traditions and paths... the last thing we need to do is come across as intolerant.
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