Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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Krishnamurti: Preparing to Leave - the book


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Tue, 14 Jan 2020 #1
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5683 posts in this forum Offline

Krishnamurti: Preparing to leave

i have been reading the book “Krishnamurti: Preparing to leave” by Scott Forbes. It is an account of the last 9 months of Krishnamurti’s life. It is a very accurate account, not written from distorting memory, but from two contemporary written sources, Scott's notes taken at the time, and Mary Zimbalist’s daily diaries. The two of them were in K’s company nearly every day, often most of the day, at his request. In some way they were ‘safeguarding his body’, right to the end.

Through the book one can watch K’s involvement with the Foundations, many of the Trustees of the Foundations, the administrators and teachers of the schools and members of the International Committees (the book starts when they are at Brockwood Park, follows them to the last talks in Saanen, then on to India, Rishi Valley and Madras, and finally to Ojai, firstly to a hospital and finally to his home at Pine cottage, where he passed away.

Reading of the state of the organizations around K, and of the behaviour of the people in those organisations, I was greatly surprised and exceedingly shocked. Conflict was rife, at every level, between the organizations, and between people. There were so many problems. The word “corruption” is certainly not inappropriate. The schools were not functioning anywhere close to what they intended to do. Even at Brockwood students were complaining that the teachers were not caring for them. No doubt there were exceptions, but the overall picture was of great chaos, and of individuals not only failing to “live the teachings” but failing to be decent human beings, or in many cases carrying out the most basic of their duties. There was so much back-biting and rivalry. So much wanting to “sit at the right hand of God”, and anger when this was denied.

I had read some of the books about K by people who had had a certain amount of contact with him at different times in his life, sometimes prolonged. The picture painted by these people of their relationships was often contradicted by Forbes’s account – that account including K’s own comments on them. In India K resigned from the Krishnamurti Foundation of India, and it is clear from the book that he never intended to return to India – and this was before he knew he was dying. Incidentally, K did not know beforehand that he was going to die when he did, he expected to live quite a bit longer.

I will write more later.

This post was last updated by Clive Elwell Wed, 15 Jan 2020.

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Wed, 15 Jan 2020 #2
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

Very interesting, sad, and not too surprising.

There were quite a few angry responses when I posted, a couple of years ago, about K's superstitions in the General Discussion forum: http://www.kinfonet.org/forums/2-general-discus....

Fortunately, we have Mary Zimbalist's and Scott Forbes' books, which are not pollyanna hagiographies. They may have their biases, but they certainly seem willing to show warts and not whitewash.

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Wed, 15 Jan 2020 #3
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5683 posts in this forum Offline

As I said, I intend to post more extracts and comments on this book, but I do not have much time today.

However, here is something that caught my eye, said by K:

“In trying to find out what is ultimately true, our brains try to conceive of something enormous, when what we are looking for might be tiny”

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Fri, 17 Jan 2020 #4
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5683 posts in this forum Offline

The uniqueness of this book lies in the descriptions of K engaged in the day-to-day activities of life – cleaning the car, buying clothes, travelling, meeting informally with people, reading detective books, watching movies, his fascination with machinery and technology, commenting on people and the world. Actually it is not unique, as I said, because Tom has already posted extracts from Mary Zimbalist’s diary. Both she and Scott spent a great deal of time together with K, and there seemed to be a great deal of affection between them.

So both books throw light, perhaps, on the question “what was Krishnamurti the man, and what was K the teacher?” It may be that this side of things does not interest some people at all, and they are only concerned with the teachings themselves, not with the “phenomena of K” in this world. I find that understandable. But I also found it interesting to read how K’s self-lessness manifested in his daily life. He might take a long time at lunch in the school refectories, as he would continually give up his place in the queue to those behind him! There were instances of his giving away his expensive warm clothes to beggars. At times it might seem like foolishness, as when he was ill and feeling very cold, sitting on the floor, when given a blanket he insisted on others sitting on it.

K himself referred to “the greater K inside K”. And one gets the impression in the book when K started to give his talks something quite different took him over, a different energy.

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Sat, 18 Jan 2020 #5
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 212 posts in this forum Offline

So 2 K's.
One being the boy rescued from poverty on the beach in India (with all the potential feelings of gratitude & guilt ?) in order to become a vessel for the New Maitreya.
And the other being this Energy, the Teaching, that became apparent after a painful process.

Weird. As with all incomprehensible magic, we gotta say OMG! supernatural?

Look, see, let go

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Sat, 18 Jan 2020 #6
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5683 posts in this forum Offline

Douglas MacRae-Smith wrote:
Weird. As with all incomprehensible magic, we gotta say OMG! supernatural?

To me, it is a great mystery. A mystery that in some ways, apparently, even K could not explain. He says in "The Ending of Time" that he had often tried, with different people, in different parts of the world, to discover "what he was", but it seemed he could not.

Even though in the same book he says he touched "The Ground of all things".

it is 'fortunate', is it not, that he lived and worked at a time where the technology was developed to record his words, beyond dispute.

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Sat, 18 Jan 2020 #7
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5683 posts in this forum Offline

So it was in Pine Cottage in Ojai that Krishnamurti spent his last days, tended continually by nurses, and a daily visit from a doctor, with whom he became increasingly frendly. And almost always with Scott and Mary in attendance. Here is a small extract from the book:

Also around this time, he received very beautiful postcard of a bald eagle in flight, photograph from beneath the eagle with a blue, cloudless sky in the background. He asked Mary to take it to the cupboard door at the foot of his bed so it is right in front of him. afterward day or two, he asked me if I could also find a picture of a bear, a wolf, and India to put up with the eagle, but I'm afraid I never got around to that. With everything else that was a curve and it slipped my mind

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Sat, 18 Jan 2020 #8
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5683 posts in this forum Offline

And here are the words that we have looked at previously on the forum:

At 11:30 a.m. on February 7th, Mary or Dr Pachure came to get me (I believe I was eating a very late breakfast) because Krishnaji wanted to make a recording. When he started it, I had no doubt that this was a statement to the world and it was Krishnaji’s last statement to the world. He was clearly winding everything up, saying this to leave things in the best possible order and answering some of the falsehoods that he expected would appear after his death.

He said that no one had any idea of “The immense energy, the immense intelligence”that “had been using this body” for the last 70 years and that “now the body can't stand any more”. He ended by saying that perhaps a person could understand what went through the body “somewhat, if they live the teachings. But nobody had done it. Nobody

(cut)

At some point during this day, when Mary and I were in the room, Krishnaji closed his eyes, arched his neck back a little bit, and said with extraordinary sadness, “If you all only knew what you have missed .... That vast emptiness.

This post was last updated by Clive Elwell Sat, 18 Jan 2020.

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Sun, 19 Jan 2020 #9
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 212 posts in this forum Offline

I've got 2 questions:

Did the Teaching exist before K? Was there anyone Before K that said the same kind of stuff?

What holds the Teaching together? If there is no vessel to hold it, does it escape the cycle of rebirth?

Look, see, let go

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Sun, 19 Jan 2020 #10
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell quoted Scott Forbes' book:
Also around this time, he received very beautiful postcard of a bald eagle in flight, photograph from beneath the eagle with a blue, cloudless sky in the background. He asked Mary to take it to the cupboard door at the foot of his bed so it is right in front of him.

I've always thought that it's horrible that most of us die in sterile hospitals. I want to die in nature. But that is unlikely. So I tell people who will be responsible: If I have to be in a hospital, wheel me out to the garden and let me stay there if you can. Or at least stick a potted plant next to the bed. Or maybe a flower.

First, nature is healing. Second, the way to die is to surrender your being to the wilderness. One way or the other, your molecules are going to dissolve into the whole. Yes, a sterile hospital room with beeping monitors is part of the whole. But it feels so different from a garden, meadow, forest.

K was fortunate to die at home. There is nature just outside the windows of Pine Cottage. And having a photo of nature was nice, too.

His molecules are now spread out in the world. His teachings live on in us. Maybe they will endure. Maybe not. But what they point to is eternal, outside of time.

This post was last updated by idiot ? Sun, 19 Jan 2020.

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Sun, 19 Jan 2020 #11
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

Douglas MacRae-Smith wrote:
Did the Teaching exist before K? Was there anyone Before K that said the same kind of stuff? What holds the Teaching together? If there is no vessel to hold it, does it escape the cycle of rebirth?

Hey, that's more than two questions!

The truth is the truth. It's always been around and always will be. But a better way to say it, of course, is that the truth is now.

There were people in the past who expressed similar things to K. For example, the Zen Buddhist patriarch Bodhidharma used the expression "vast emptiness" when asked who he was. But K teachings don't have the baggage and ritual of Buddhism or Advaita or whatever. Nevertheless, K teachings do have a baggage of their own that includes how K lived his life. For example, K could be remarkably helpless. There are many ordinary things that you and I do for ourselves that others did for K. Like drive a car. Or cook dinner.

To ask what holds K's teachings together is to look for a fundamental coherence or core. That is something for you to look into for yourself. If I say it is such and such, someone else will certainly say no it's not. K himself expressed "the core of the teachings" because he was asked to. But I don't think that statement is more illuminating than lots of other things he expressed. Quite the contrary.

Obviously K spoke out about the limitations of thought. So any true core is beyond thought. Therefore a statement at best can only point.

"Vessel" and "cycle of rebirth" are Eastern religious ideas that are well worth questioning. Suffice it to say that "what is" is deathless. What is doesn't belong to you or me. It's the actual now. Can rebirth or vessels touch it? No. Inventions by man, by the brain, cannot touch it.

Anyway, that's my view. But no doubt, others have different views.

This post was last updated by idiot ? Sun, 19 Jan 2020.

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Sun, 19 Jan 2020 #12
Thumb_spock Douglas MacRae-Smith France 212 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:
To ask what holds K's teachings together is to look for a fundamental coherence or core.

I didn't mean in a rational sense, as in the core of his ideas. I was talking about the teachings as an entity, a force - as in ghosts, goblins and wizards.

I was talking about the mystery of K - How can a boy picked at random, badly educated with a mix of esoteric hocus pocus and early 20th century English Grammar school, suddenly one day start talking with such one pointedness and confidence about Psychological Freedom?

Look, see, let go

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Sun, 19 Jan 2020 #13
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 1718 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
K. “If you all only knew what you have missed .... That vast emptiness.

This statement implies that without 'knowing', 'seeing', participating in, (whatever the verb is), this "vast emptiness", that a human life is a waste. It's very harsh... or maybe a better word is 'frank'?

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Sun, 19 Jan 2020.

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Sun, 19 Jan 2020 #14
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5683 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:

There were people in the past who expressed similar things to K. For example, the Zen Buddhist patriarch Bodhidharma used the expression "vast emptiness" when asked who he was. But K teachings don't have the baggage and ritual of Buddhism or Advaita or whatever. Nevertheless, K teachings do have a baggage of their own that includes how K lived his life. For example, K could be remarkably helpless. There are many ordinary things that you and I do for ourselves that others did for K. Like drive a car. Or cook dinner.

It is not true that K was helpless. He could certainly drive, he loved driving fast cars in fact. He liked to tell the story how in his younger days he completely stripped a car, took it completely apart to its component parts, and put it back together. And yes, it ran perfectly. (“but not with a modern car, too complex”, he would add).

He stayed in a cabin in the woods for weeks alone, so presumably he could cook, look after himself. During the war years he cultivated a vegetable garden, and would fetch horse manure in a pickup truck for the irises he grew. He had a very low handicap in golf (or is it high :-) ). He would walk in the mountains endlessly, and had a very strong agile body , exercising for hours everyday. He was once offered the role of the Buddha in a Hollywood movie, and could have made a very good independent living in that area.

And he bore more pain in his life, through “The Process”, as I read, than perhaps any other human being has ever done.

As I see it, “life” put K in contact with the Theosophists, because that was a way to look after his body, educate him, learning to talk in front of audiences, put him into contact with many people, generally enable him, launch him into the wider world, prepare him for the real work that he was to do. When I say “life”, that is a way of referring to the mystery mentioned earlier.

I was watching a group of Buddhist monks, yesterday, in a public park. If not Buddhist, then some other organised belief system saffron robes, shaved heads, sandals, beads, etc. There is nothing like that associated with K’s teachings, thank God! No ritual, no churches or temples. And in essence, nothing to follow. So although many people have claimed that K’s teachings are the same as Buddhism, that is certainly not so. Whether originally the Buddha said similar things to K I would not know. Nobody knows.

Have you read/listened to “Conversations with Buddhist Scholars”? The book is called “Can Humanity change?” The Buddhist guy just keeps quoting “the scriptures” as if to prove something, There is no sense of enquiry among the Buddhist group, in my opinion.

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Sun, 19 Jan 2020 #15
Thumb_avatar idiot ? United States 93 posts in this forum Offline

Well, there are all kinds of Buddhists with various kinds of baggage. Some Tibetan Buddhists engage in inquiry. And some forms of Western Buddhism may be moving away from rituals and hierarchy. In particular, women and lay people are more involved in Western Buddhism.

When I was younger, I felt that K presented similar views to various Eastern religions but in a clearer way and without all the baggage. But I now feel that there are issues with K, too.

You are right, Clive Elwell, that I was careless in describing K as helpless, but it is true that he was taken care of in his life to a much greater extent than you and I are. There a number of K things that I now question more carefully than when I was younger. Don't you? Does anyone think that K's every word and action was perfect? Maybe. But not me.

This post was last updated by idiot ? Sun, 19 Jan 2020.

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Sun, 19 Jan 2020 #16
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 3260 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:
When I was younger, I felt that K presented similar views to various Eastern religions but in a clearer way and without all the baggage. But I now feel that there are issues with K, too.

There will always be issues when we take ANYONE as an authority in the areas we discuss here.

You are right, Clive Elwell, that I was careless in describing K as helpless, but it is true that he was taken care of in his life to a much greater extent than you and I are.

Absolutely. He never had the worry of earning money just to survive physically....to eat. And all the stresses that come with most jobs, especially blue collar and low paying white collar. Nor was he raised by neurotic parents who conditioned his mind to insane values and beliefs and ideals.

There a number of K things that I now question more carefully than when I was younger. Don't you?

I’ve done so for years. Best not to take him or anyone as an Oracle . He made a similar comment himself. And like no other spiritual teacher or guru, he insisted we question what he was saying. He never claimed to be an authority in the matters he spoke about. He felt that ‘spiritual’ authority and gurus who speak as authorities were an abomination

Clive: He stayed in a cabin in the woods for weeks alone, so presumably he could cook, look after himself.

Not a crucial point obviously, but I recall reading that he ate from “tins” then... his word for canned foods, like canned vegetables or canned sardines. He probably passed on the sardines. I recall from Mrs. Z’s book that K would pretty much eat whatever was put in front of him. He had no attachment to specific food items like most of us do. Well, it must be nice to have your own cook...and someone to clean and do the laundry. Not sure that K had to do anything like that, though he did love talking care of the Mercedes.

Let it Be

This post was last updated by Tom Paine Mon, 20 Jan 2020.

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Mon, 20 Jan 2020 #17
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5683 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
Nor was he raised by neurotic parents who conditioned his mind to insane values and beliefs and ideals.

Yes he was. Well, maybe not parents so much as his mother died when he was young, and with a large number of siblings he was (luckily, he said) rather neglected. But when one considers being raised by the Theosophists! - he was subjected to incredibly intensive conditioning, surely? And the temptations of wealth and power. Gosh, he was offered the position of world teacher, the second coming of the Buddha, Jesus .... and he was able to lay all such conditioning aside. Is this not remarkable?

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Mon, 20 Jan 2020 #18
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 3260 posts in this forum Offline

For some reason it never took hold in K. The conditioning that is.

Let it Be

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Mon, 20 Jan 2020 #19
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5683 posts in this forum Offline

idiot ? wrote:

When I was younger, I felt that K presented similar views to various Eastern religions but in a clearer way and without all the baggage. But I now feel that there are issues with K, too.

You are right, Clive Elwell, that I was careless in describing K as helpless, but it is true that he was taken care of in his life to a much greater extent than you and I are. There a number of K things that I now question more carefully than when I was younger. Don't you? Does anyone think that K's every word and action was perfect? Maybe. But not me.

Well, Id, you have come to the right place to discuss the issues that you have, to put your questions. We are here on this forum to enquire - first of all into ourselves, but also into K's "teachings" and perhaps his life. But I don't know how we can do the latter without speculation. it seems even K, as brought up recently, was unable to discover "who he was" or "what he was".

But we can test out the teachings in ourselves, by observing ourselves, and society. Indeed, is there any other way TO test them out?

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Tue, 21 Jan 2020 #20
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 3260 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:

Nor was he raised by neurotic parents who conditioned his mind to insane values and beliefs and ideals.

Clive: Yes he was. Well, maybe not parents so much as his mother died when he was young, and with a large number of siblings he was (luckily, he said) rather neglected. But when one considers being raised by the Theosophists! - he was subjected to incredibly intensive conditioning, surely?

I imagine they didn’t instill the fear of punishment in K...nor shame, nor guilt. I only know from my pretty typical American upbringing that all that was instilled in me at a very early age. I was almost always afraid at some level...mostly of adults...extremely afraid of some of them...and afraid of punishment and/or abandonment should I displease them. I know k was punished in school...even beaten by the school teacher because he couldn’t learn his lessons, but oddly that had no effect on him. I don’t think he was ever afraid like almost all of us were as kids. I was terrified of the adult authorities...of most of them. Terribly afraid of punishment. The Theosophists never instilled that in K. He was practically worshipped from a young age! And as you say, he was mostly ignored at home with the family.

Let it Be

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