Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening

Paul Lanzon - Personal Profile


Paul Lanzon
Paul Lanzon
United Kingdom
Birthday: April 22
Member since: Mon, 29 Jun 2009, 9:46am
Last visited 4 years ago

Member Statement

My thinking is something like a cloudless sky - at least that is how it usually ends. Thoughts have always seemed unreal to me and so insubstantial, and yet the whole 'civilized' world is founded on them. But accurate and constructive thinking is a marvellous thing, so long as it is free from any taint of 'me' or 'mine'. There is an extraordinary poetry in the most simple, usually ignored or disdained (because of perverted perception) things in nature or life in general, and to see it requires, obviously, a quiet mind and that feeling of the sacredness of things; and that is a mind full of energy and passion.

Interests and Recommendations

Books

Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics: R.H.Blyth, A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers: Henry Thoreau, Mumonkan: various translations of this important koan collection., Freedom from the known: Krishnamurti, Life in Freedom: Krishnamurti. (from one of the earliest of K's talks,1928), Martin Chuzzlewit: Dickens, Dead Souls and short stories of Nikolai Gogol, The novels of R.K. Narayan. A History of Haiku, 2vols. & Haiku 4vols., by R.H.Blyth Lao Tzu: Tao-Te Ching: many translations. Creativity and Taoism: Chang Chung-yuan Don Quixote:Cervantes Montaigne's Essays Shakespear's sonnets no.154 & 110, (The New Temple Shakespear edition.) Macbeth is a model of how easy it is for ambitious people to become inured to evil ways and lose all sensitity. King Lear, Richard II is also very good in parts.

Music

Mozartstring quintets K515 & K516, Piano quartets K478 & K493 Serenades for woodwind K375 & K388, Sinfonia concertante K364, Piano concerto K449, Cantata K619, Motet 'Ave verum' etc., etc. J.S. Bach Brandenburg 4, 6, 2, Well-tempered Clavier (books 1&2), The Art of the Fugue all of it, especially the final 4part unfinished fugue which is a profound meditation in sound. The clavier partitas, French & English Goldberg variations suites - oh Triple concerto BWV1044, Clavier concerto BWV1055 & 1052, The cantatas( a whole universe in themselves) Oh just listen with all your might, unaided by one iota of thought. There is no one in the history of the world who did such honour to the spirit - never will his like come again. There are other composers, I know, but I haven't the nerve to mention them in such company as Bach and Mozart. I like some folk music and Japanese koto and shakuhachi music... Of modern composers I like many of Steve Reich's pieces.

Other interests

Gardening, though I've forgotten so many of the plant names. Writing Walking, though I don't do enough of it.

Interview Answers

Can dialogue - in the sense of sincere inquiry - be organized or can it only come about spontaneously, unprompted?

I would say that dialogue can be organized but its success probably depends on the individuals involved being prepared to listen to others and to be open and capable of freeing themselves from their own cherished beliefs or attitudes, at least for a while. But ultimately if dialogue is not spontaneous it will not produce much nourishing fruit.

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What future do you foresee for Krishnamurti's works? Do you think they will grow in importance or will they just gradually die away?

The Buddha's message seems to have survived for 2500 years or more so why should K's not survive even longer since it is in simple untechnical language and must appeal to anyone with a bit of rationality in them or even a small spark of intelligence. I know when one looks at the world today one is appalled at the almost universal degeneracy one sees everywhere. But it may not be that bad - past ages have been even worse, I think - or is that wishful thinking? It all depends on the education of our youth. And that can only happen on a small scale since goverments are all basically sealed up and unavailable to any intelligent discourse.(I sincerely hope I'm mistaken). It may take an awful long time but I think the teachings will eventually prove their worth.

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How do you personally go about exploring the Krishnamurti's teachings (through personal study, dialogues, dvds)?

Mainly reading the books and occasionally an audio tape, though I do not read much as a rule - very sporadically. I have many books but have probably not read more than a very small fraction of them. Mostly I try to remain attentive throughout all the activities of the day, attentive inwardly and outwardly. However this question, I'm sure, will have me reading some more K talks. One that I have read in full more than once is the short dialogue 'On Intelligence' between K and David Bohm, from the book, 'The Awakening of Intelligence'.

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Do you think it is possible to make Krishnamurti more "practicable" than what he himself seems to have allowed for?

I think K gave many hints and pointers to what we should do on the practical level - it's rediculously simple: do whatever it is you do with all your might, awareness, and sensitivity, and don't use thought where it is irrelevant. But for absolute beginners a form of sitting meditation might prove helpful. You really cannot change behaviour through words alone and K was constantly telling his audiences, 'do it!' Meditation is an absolute essential for anyone who does not have a naturally meditative mind; but it becomes useless if done in a mechanical way. Everything seems to hang on what kind of disposition the person has.

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Do you ever feel that you have been conditioned by Krishnamurti's teachings?

When I was fairly new to the teachings I noticed my attitude changing towards some things which had been important to me, because I thought the teachings deemed these things unimportant, and I was certain of the truth of those teachings. It was only when I went further into the teachings that I found the problem resolved itself. I was doing what the Zen masters were always warning against: putting another head on top of one's own. I think that so long as we remain in the 'suchness' of things and don't stray into thoughts that separate us from things, we have a chance of not succumbing to any form of conditioning.

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How do you strike a balance between healthy doubt and ready acceptance in investigating Krishnamurti's proposals?

I am probably not a very logical person. However, first we must not think of ourselves as investigating something because straight away we are in a dualistic rut. We just empty ourselves and listen; if we can't do that we should go and play tiddliwinks or have a swim, or do some hard physical work - anything is better than listening to a K talk with any kind of assumption or expectation, positive or otherwise. If you have doubts then doubt to the limit and keep doubting, even focus on the doubt so it is encouraged to blossom, but never stifle it. These are not K's proposals, if I may say so, they are ourselves; so we must not separate ourselves by way of subject and object. And neither should we attach ourselves through belief putting all the responsibility on K and none on ourselves. I think I've blathered on too much.

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Does the phrase "living the teachings" have any meaning to you?

Yes. When I attended my first 'live' talk at Brockwood in 1980 I felt I had just heard the Buddha speak; it was as living a thing as it could be through the limited medium of words. Having heard K many times I can always hear his intonation when I read one of the books and I think it might be difficult for those who never heard him speak to get the spirit of what he's saying. But there are dvds. This will always be a living teaching so long as there is even just one person in the world who can activate it and actualize it.

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If you had to sum up what Krishnamurti is all about in just a few words of your own, what would they be?

Be content to be nothing, never separating yourself in thought from anything in the universe; Love the earth; do whatever you do attentively and without resistance; be aware when thought is being inappropriately used; keep your senses alert to the wonders that everywhere surround you; be aware of the actuality of a thing as opposed to the image of it, or of yourself or another. Sorry, it doesn't do much justice to the 'poor chap'.

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Do you think it advisable to introduce Krishnamurti to people you know? Have you ever done it and if yes, what are your experiences?

I have, in my great naivety, done this. The first time was many years ago to a colleague. As he was reading a novel by Aldous Huxley I stupidly assumed he'd be ravenous for a book by K who was a friend of Huxley, as I pointed out to him. The response: virtually non-existent - I clumsily tried to adumbrate what K was about but it was pointless. More recently I tried to captivate my nephew (whom I rarely see as he lives in Hampshire) but met with similar blankness. It may seem a bit gloomy but I am sure that those who have an inner life at all will already be finding their way, if only stumblingly.Those who don't will never know what K is talking about.

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Are there any aspects of Krishnamurti's teaching that you find implausible or difficult to accept?

Not that I can think of at present.

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How important do you consider group dialogue to be in understanding the more subtle points of Krishnamurti's message?

For me I can only say that this understanding can only come from living in awareness and constantly observing the movements of the mind. Any group will presumably have various interpretations of K's teaching which will inevitably impair the possibility of a clear understanding. However, unpredictable things can and do happen in dialogue, I'm sure, and it is important to be open to many differing views. But dialogue, being purely verbal is obviously limited and tends to become too fragmentary. But again, I suppose it all depends on who is present. I suspect the subtlties must be imbibed in a solitary state; I think no one can help - maybe it's essential to be alone, at least for a while, to really go deeply into this.

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Has coming into contact with Krishnamurti and his teachings had any perceptible effect on your life and/or relationships?

Not fundamentally, because I was going in that direction from quite an early age.

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Do you think Krishnamurti was exceptional, or is the transformation he spoke of universally accessible?

His circumstances were very exceptional but he was normal. What I mean is K did not become abnormal like almost everyone else because he was open at an early age to that emptiness which is the source of all things and which enabled this very dim-seeming boy to become with maturity the complete master of a most compelling teaching that leaves out nothing of importance. The transformation is certainly accessible when thought is put in its proper place; but never, if it is allowed to stray.

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