Alfred R. Pulyan

Letters from a Zen Master

Alfred Pulyan Zen Master

Sept. 17, 1960

Dear Richard,

It is necessary to establish some communication between us, even if I have to wave a rattle to do it. So come out from that corner & don't look at me that way! ("Joke" please note. I refer to our treatment of psychotics, humorously.) But one must have something in common.

I suppose the only thing is to look at the positive statements you make & see what you DO say.

SO! : --

ADVICE!!

(1) "It is up to you to validate 'certain claims' or try another tack."

(a) "up to you"  Like a child saying "up to you mother to do this or that, because you love me, or I shall throw myself in the river." Actually you speak as though I wished to gain converts to a movement! There is no "movement"!

It is desirable that you should "validate" me, & actually essentially part of the process, but I can force nothing & directly prove nothing. Could Gautama or Jesus? No -- only words. Their disciples had to invent a crop of "miracles" which actually help not at all in our quest & Gautama & Jesus protested several times. Cf. Gautama's story of the ferryman & the monk who could walk on the water.

THERE IS NO MIRACLE HOWEVER SPECTACULAR TO CHANGE YOU. EVEN GOD CANNOT DO IT! (OBVIOUSLY)

(b) "try another tack"  Surely the "technique" is not your affair. You are not that objective yet!! The usual agreement is that the student agrees to continue whatever happens, or is said, & the Zen monk is kept waiting a day or so before he even gets through the gate. Your ego is RIDING HIGH still, & that just won't do, because it is the reverse of our objective.

YOU MUST GIVE ME THE REINS. I AM NOT FORCING ANYTHING -- MERELY BEING AVAILABLE.

(2) "I am interested in knowing the truth"

MILDLY INTERESTED?

There is only one way & that is to quit the egocentric position. This is rough & needs a catalyst, a friend, an outside fulcrum. One must first "decide not to decide" which is IMPOSSIBLE -- SO one has to have help in dropping "decision" itself --- once ---

No push-button methods exist. Jesus you remember looked sadly at one young man, God will not come for you with a wheelbarrow! So face it! Either you get nowhere while you live or you do it the hard way. No "royal" road!!!!! (made easy for kings & R). So I ask HOW MUCH INTERESTED? Enough to do violence to pretty little ego? Do you want it as much as "air"?

(3) "I am looking for fellow-seekers, preferably those who know more than myself"  

ST. GERMAIN? MASTER KOOT HOOMI? NOSTRADAMUS? SOME FAMOUS OCCULTIST? WHO? BUT EVEN GOD CAN EASILY BE HELD AWAY! YOU OUGHT TO KNOW SINCE YOU ARE DOING IT! SO WHAT CAN POOR KOOT HOOMI, OR ST. GERMAIN, OR JESUS DO??

Well! There are no degrees of attainment, no more or less. It is first a way of technique & discipline & then, BOOM! -- a discontinuity, an abyss -- the mosquito bites the iron ball, the impossible just naturally happens & life is normal -- Your life now is absurd. But the brainwashed doesn't know it -- or shall we say the unfortunate victim of a post-hypnotic suggestion? (These are merely vague illustrations -- call off your dichotomizing dogs!) As for "seeking for seeking's sake" that is really ODD! Paradox! Better imagine a $100 bill in your apartment & seek for it all your life. Then there is little danger  of finding it !!

When I "sought" I said by God I hope I get it, not I shall have fun in the frustrating process. "Knock & it shall be opened unto you." "No. No. No." "What is the trouble?" "Alfred," -- this is R speaking -- "there is ONE THING TO DO." "What?" "SCREW UP THE DOOR."

(Alfred: -- "but why worry? You are all screwed up ANYWAY!")

(4) "You are first a correspondent until I can find what you are"

DON'T DO THIS WITH AN ANIMAL YOU ONLY "SUSPECT" IS A TIGER! REMEMBER THERE ARE TWO PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THIS AND BEWARE OF "JUDGING".

Good thing I am used to this game or I should say TOODLE-OO & go round the corner with a wave of the hand in farewell. Then how do you "find out"? If ever? Perhaps such a chance will not occur again? Perhaps  you are throwing away something inconceivably important? (I DON'T SAY YOU ARE.)

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Perhaps you are as much of an idiot as I was at the age of twenty when I missed my chance by pussyfooting? Are you so "SURE" now of what you will "FIND" --- that you can risk now what you may "find" a little later? Where is your OPTION, your INSURANCE POLICY?

WHAT HOLDS ME MEANWHILE? MY EAGERNESS TO "SAVE" YOU? I AM MORE PATIENT THAN YOU WOULD BE IN THE SAME POSITION, SINCE I AM OBJECTIVE AND WAIT TO SEE IF THERE IS SOMETHING POSSIBLE WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME. BUT I CAN'T PLAY GOD. YOU WILL YOURSELF.

If you are sure you will find that this is all a mare's nest then OK -- you are safe. But if you are sure, why continue? It seems your position is tragically illogical. If you are of the opinion that there is some chance that I am all I have asserted then why not be SMART, play it cozy --- ?

Suppose I say I have a $10,000 bill to give you one day (& I have done more than that!). Do you put such a person "on probation" subject to investigation. I wouldn't! I would "play the guy along" in every way, especially if I really though there was a chance he had the mazuma.

 

"You are making a thousand guesses. Do not guess."

WISE ADMONITION!

Am I? Perhaps I am trying to elicit responses. How else can I know you? Can I assist a blank piece of paper? If you write me:

Dear Al,

16432984156732198765214314142135

etc. etc., is it going to help? I must see you IN ACTION -- the problem is you, not something vaguely external.

So while you write whatever you do write I find it important as showing where you stand. This standpoint is the gauge.

"Just tell me"

!!  Why not publish it then in some magazine & tell everybody. It is high time !! You must see yourself how silly this remark is! But I don't expect you to see how you yourself are providing data by everything you do or say. Ah well!

 

"You tell God to help you do what you are trying so hard to do."

GOOD ADVICE TOO!!

God is to be sure the essence not only of our quest, but is our quest itself & our "work" as we do it.

But I am not "trying" to "do" something. I am doing it & need no help in technique. You will give all the help you are capable of anyway. It may be enough. It may not be. But if I had an instrument in my consciousness, I should at all times know at what point the needle pointed. State Meter

"STATE"-METER -- NOT VERBAL-UNDERSTANDING-METER, WHICH IS NOT OF THE SLIGHTEST USE !

Thus it might even regress a little at times but there is usually progress, although the student EXHAUSTS HIS REPERTOIRE of advice, cooperation, disagreement, frustration, suggestions, analysis, summing-up, comparison, reason, etc. etc.

All these are strictly "for the birds," the state I am interested in is not in these things.

PAST HISTORY OF AL P.

So while I was in turn "working with somebody," I was spluttering all the time JUST LIKE WISE RICHARD, JUST LIKE, & mistaking word-meanings  (nothing!) for being-state (the criterion).

Granted it is curious, frustrating, annoying -- this is how it is. It made me very ill-tempered I know! You are "working" in spite of what you say pro and con ....

 

SCHIZOPHRENIA, PARANOIA

The seeds of both of these exist in all of us.

(1) Paranoia of course stems merely from the boss conception that ego has of himself. Blown up as big as an ox he will fancy that he can alter the world, govern nations, order everybody about.

(1) All ego- or no ego-domination.

So the humble "awakened" person is accused of paranoia but he only issues orders "on request" & "by agreement" when a student asks him to do so for a purpose. He does NOT reform the world or seek power. He is no Richelieu, "eminence grise" or power behind the throne -- just lives inconspicuously & usually dies the same way (unless his disciples BLOW HIM UP!!)

(2) Schizophrenia  This is used as a device by the ego to pretend objectivity. You "seem" to be cooperating with me to process your own self. Thus you are both objective & subjective apparently ---

(2) Two egos !!

You attempt to see our work from the outside, to advise, to assess progress, to make modifications, to help me work with you, & so forth & you speak of Richard in a Godlike way -- "is he an escapist or a dreamer?" "I saw myself from above the world" "Best wishes for an early success" (DETACHED IN APPEARANCE ONLY!! ACTUALLY THIS IS AN EGO TRICK, ONE OF MANY.)

OBJECTION

"But," says Richard, "I am not working with you yet. I first have to know somehow if you have any qualifications whatever. So let me see your stuff."

(I could switch you to a roshi or to other friends I know who are awakened -- if they would take you -- but few work this way, maybe none except the commercial rackets.)

What stuff? What do you expect -- miracles? Well, I have helped in some remarkable things but they are no more miraculous than anything else! Specifically I cannot levitate, or turn chalk into cheese, or raise the dead, or even see things at a distance or practice mental telepathy!

Apart from them there will be nothing at all, no sign, no evidence. My friends, when they became friends, found there was a transmission, they did become sure -- but how I don't know.

What now?

Friend,

Al

P.S. What is the answer? I think it is this, the "good soil" or hopeful student already knows the game somewhat, by instinct. Others try to use judgment & reason & get all conjangulated!

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