Email: Going Beyond What We Already Are! (11.6.2020)

Hampton Court Palace

Belief only works if it is a) exquisitely designed and beautifully laid-out, and b) ultimately means nothing. All great thinkers sees this including Jung (a slightly rightwing Christian), Jesus (a Jew who saw through his ‘Jewishness’), Mohammad (who saw through his ‘Arabness’), and certainly Buddha (who saw through his Brahmanic-ness), etc. The question is the quality of ‘seeing through’ existential conditional. If religion is not about transcendence, then what is it for? Why do people become attached and dogmatic about a raft that is supposed to carry one across the waters of life? Why become attached to an open door, and then refuse to step through it? Karl Marx came from a family that was historically Jewish, although his father had converted to Christianity and his mother was Christian (both German Protestants). His father wasn’t that interested in his Jewishness or Christianness, and his mother never enforced her views. As a consequence, Marx observed both religions objectively, as if outside of himself, and was not attached to either. I am not sure how Engels got to his dialectically position, (this is something I can check), but he definitely got there independent of Marx and in the same era. Mao Zedong’s mother was a devout Buddhist and she took him to temples quite alot. During the Revolutionary years, Buddhist temples often gave shelter to the PLA. Mao also knew of Master Xu Yun (1840-1959) and was very interested in what he had to say. Zhou Enlai, by the way, was a disciple of Xu Yun and combined Buddhism with Marxist-Leninism. However, I digress. When Jung was in his last few days of life, he entered a wonderfully loving and all-embracing mindset. He read Charles Luk’s – Ch’an and Zen Teaching – and instructed his secretary to write to Charles (my grand-teacher) to tell him that what Master Xu Yun had taught (about the realisation and integration of the form and void) was exactly it! This came from a man who had been Eurocentric in his youth, anti-Soviet in the post-1945 era, and certainly not that convinced about Buddhism or anything ‘Asian’ as being relevant to the (superior) Western mind. Indeed, my teacher (Richard Hunn) travelled to Zurich and was allowed to access the Jung Family Archive and he was shown Jung’s original draft for his biography which his family had radically altered before publishing. Removed was Jung’s acceptance of rebirth, and his growing obsession with Asian spirituality. All this came late in life, and his family thought it would prevent his work being published as a legitimate academic. For me, if religion is not about leaving behind obsolete ways of viewing our self and the world, then what point does it have? Life is already full of traps, why turn religion into another one? As experts – you and I – we can both describe are preferred traps with an exquisite detail, but the question is, can we escape from them?  

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