PHOENIX LECTURES: Chapter 2

Project: Hubbard 1954: The Phoenix Lectures

This paper presents Chapter 2 from the book THE PHOENIX LECTURES by L. RON HUBBARD. The contents are from the original publication of this book by The Church of Scientology (1954).

The paragraphs of the original material (in black) are accompanied by brief comments (in color) based on the understanding from Buddhism.  Feedback on these comments is always appreciated.

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SCIENTOLOGY, ITS GENERAL BACKGROUND (Part 2)

Of the great body of work comprising the Veda, the Dhyantic and Buddhistic written tradition of ten thousand years, very, very little, actually, has arrived in the western world. Only a small amount of the material has been translated.

It would take someone a long time to get through the 125,000 to 150,000 volumes, and it has not been done, so that the totality of what is in those books is just not known.

The earliest written work comprises of the Veda, Dhyana and Buddhist texts. This was first put together about ten thousand years ago.

The Veda itself means simply Knowingness or sacred lore and do not think that that is otherwise than a synonym. Knowingness has always been considered sacred lore, has never been otherwise than sacred lore, and has only been present a relatively short time in the western world, which is just growing up now and beginning to come out of the level where sacred lore is equated with superstition.

The word VEDA means knowingness, which is synonymous with sacred lore in the East.

The Veda, should you care to look it over, is best read in a literal translation from the Sanskrit. And there are four major divisions of the Veda, all of them quite worthwhile. A great deal of our material in Scientology is discovered right back there. This makes the earliest part of Scientology, its sacred lore.

A great deal of the material in Scientology is discovered right back there in the Vedas.

The next written work, which is supposed to be the oldest written work, according to various frames of mind, is a book called The Book of Job. It is Indian and quite ancient. It probably predates what is called early Egyptian. And we discover that this Book of Job contained in it simply the laborings and sufferings and necessity for patience of one man faced with a somewhat capricious god. Now other such works, like the book of Job are scattered along the time track and are known to us here in the western world as sacred works. They are thought to have come to us from the Middle East but that would be a very short look.

The next oldest written work is the Book of Job, originally from India even though it is thought to have come to us from Middle East.

Actually, we’re looking, in the Middle East, at a relay point of wisdom, from Indian and from Africa into Europe. And as you see, it follows a trade route in both directions and so you have the roadways of the world crossing through the Middle East. So, we would expect such things as the Book of Job to turn up in the Middle East as holy scripture. You would expect such things as the Book of the Dead of the Egyptians to turn up in the Middle East as part of the New Testament, and so on. There could be a great deal of argument about this. Someone who is passionately devoted to practice rather than wisdom (there are two different things here that embrace religion) would argue with you. But Scientology has no interest in arguing along that line because we can make this very, very clear differentiation right here and now. The word religion itself can embrace sacred lore, wisdom, knowingness of gods and souls and spirits, and could be called, with a very broad use of the word, a philosophy. So, we could say there is religious philosophy, and there is religious practice. Now religious practice could take the identical source and by interpretation put it into effect and so create various churches, all dependent upon the identical source, such as St. John. If we think of the number of Christian churches there are and we look at one book of the New Testament and realize that just one book was productive of Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Catholics, we find that a tremendous number of practices, can debase upon one wisdom.

Middle East has been a relay point of wisdom from India and Egypt into Europe. Scientology is interested only in the religious wisdom here from which various religious practice have been derived.

So, let’s get a very clear differentiation here between religious philosophy and religious practice. When someone who comes to you and says so-and-so-and-so is actually the way you’re supposed to worship God, you can very cleanly and very clearly and very suddenly bring this to a halt by merely mentioning to him that he is talking about religious practice and you are talking about religious philosophy.

We are talking about religious philosophy here and not religious practice.

Now, just coming down the track in a little more orderly fashion, we get to the Tao-Teh-King, which is known to us in the western world as Taoism. And we may have heard of this religious practice in China. Taoism, as currently practiced today may or may not ever have heard of the Tao-Teh-King. It may or may not ever have connected. But we are certainly talking about religious philosophy when we mention the Tao-Teh-King.

We are certainly talking about religious philosophy when we mention the Tao-Teh-King.

It was written by Lao-Tzu in approximately 529 B, something around that period. He wrote it just before he disappeared forever. And his birth and death dates are traditionalized as 604 B.C., born, to 531 B.C., died. This is the next important milestone in the roadway of knowledge itself.

Now what was the Tao: it meant the way to solving the mystery which underlies all mysteries. It wasn’t simply “the way”, as the western world generally thinks of it. I would suppose this would only be the case if they were unfamiliar with the book itself. It is a book and it was written by a man named Lao-Tzu when he was ordered to do so by a gatekeeper.

Tao means the way to solving the mystery which underlies all mysteries.

Lao-Tzu was a very obscure fellow. Very little is known about him. His main passion was obscurity and he started to leave town one day and the gatekeeper turned him around and told him he could not leave town until he went home, and he wrote this book. It is a very short book. It must not be more than six thousand characters. He merely wrote down his philosophy and gave it to the gatekeeper and went out the gate and disappeared. That is the last we ever heard of Lao-Tzu.

Well, when we have this book, we begin to see that here was somebody trying to go somewhere without going on something. We have the western world defining this work as “teaching conformity with a cosmic order” and “teaching simplicity in social and political organization”. The Tao-Teh-King did do this, and this would be a very finite goal for it, but this was actually not the Tao. The Tao simply said you can solve the mystery that lies behind all mysteries, and this more or less, would be the way you might go about it, but of course, what you’re trying to solve, itself, does not possess the mechanics which you believe to be inherent to the other kinds of problems which you solve. It says that a man could seek his Taohood in various ways, but he would have to practice and live in a certain way, in order to achieve Taohood.

This mystery cannot be solved the way you usually solve problems. You have to practice and live in a certain way, in order to achieve Taohood.

This is an amazingly civilized piece of work. It would be the kind of thing you would expect from a very, very educated, extremely compassionate, pleasant people of a higher intellectual order than we’re accustomed to. It is a very fine book. It’s sort of simple. It’s sort of naive and it tells you that one should be simple and economical, and it tells you what would be a wise way to handle things. That, by the way, is about the only flaw there is in it, from a Scientological point of view — that you must be economical.

It tells you that one should be simple and economical and what would be a wise way to handle things.

And if we took the Tao just as written, and knowing what we know in Scientology, simply set out to practice the Tao, I don’t know but what we wouldn’t get a Theta Clear. (Theta Clear: An individual who, as a being, is certain of his identity apart from that of the body, and who habitually operates the body from outside, or exteriorized.) Actually, the Tao is merely a set of directions on how you would go down this way which itself has no path and no distance. In other words it teaches you that you had better get out of space and get away from objects if you’re going to achieve any consciousness of beingness, or to know things as they are, and it tells you that if you could do this then you’d know the whole answer and you’d be all set. And this is exactly what we are doing in Scientology.

Practice of Tao handles any fixation on the body. It basically teaches you to know things as they are.

Tao means Knowingness. That is again a literal translation. In other words, it’s an ancestor to Scientology, the study of “knowing how to know”. The Tao is the way to knowing how to know but it isn’t said that way — it’s inverted. It’s said, this is the way to achieve the mystery which lies back of all mysteries. Now, however crude this might seem to someone who has specialized in the Tao, that’s really all we need to know about it, except this one thing: there is a principal known as Wu-Wei which is odd because it goes right in with the Tao, which also means the way, and you are probably vaguely familiar with a practice known as Judo, or Ju-jitsu. Wu-Wei is a principle which crudely applies to action more or less in that fashion. We find that this principle is non-assertion or non-compulsion, and that is right there in the Tao: self-determinism. You let them use their self-determinism. (A little later on with Judo, you find that if you let a man be self-determined enough, you can lick him every time, but this is outside the scope, actually, of the Tao.) That’s an interesting thing to find sitting there as one of the practices which emanated from the Tao-Teh-King.

Well, it must have been that there were a lot of very, very clever people on Earth at that time because we find in the lifetime of Lao-Tzu one called Confucius, of whom you have heard so much, but unfortunately Confucius evidently never wrote a single word. Confucius is reported by those who were around him — his disciples. And he took most of his material from, or gave credit to, some ancient Chinese works, and one of them if I remember rightly, is the Book of the Winds. And these are very, very ancient and I have seen some fragmentary translations of them. Of course, Confucius himself was the great apostle of conservatism, and as such, has ever since been the very model philosopher to have in a government. He is worshipped in this century by many, many levels in China and you could buy his statue with great ease throughout North China.

Now the amount of superstition which has grown up around Confucius is considerable, but we had in both Lao-Tzu and Confucius two people who never otherwise than pretended to be human beings who were simply pointing out a way of life. Now Confucius is of no great interest to us because he was codifying conduct most of the time, and the great philosopher of that day, if less known, was Lao-Tzu.

Right there in with the Tao is the principle of Wu-Wei, which means acting with non-assertion or non-compulsion. According to this principle you let the other person use his self-determinism.

We come then into the main period of the Dhyana. The Dhyana has, as a background, almost as legendary a distance as the Veda, appearing in India in its mythological period, legendary in its basics. Dharma was the name of a legendary Hindu sage whose many progenies were the personification of virtue and religious rites, and we have the word Dharma almost interchangeable with the word Dhyana. But whatever you use there, you’re using a word which means Knowingness. Dhyana again means Knowingness and Lookingness. The Veda, the Tao, the Dharma, all mean Knowingness. This is what they are, and these are all religious works, and this is the religion of about two thirds of the population of earth. It is a tremendous body of people that we’re talking about here. We erroneously know about it as and call it Buddhism in the western world and it has very little to do with Buddha. The Dhyana is what the Buddhists talk about and is their background.

Veda is lookingness, Dhyana is mindfulness meditation, and Dharma is ethical perfection. They all mean knowingness, and they form the background of Buddhism.

We first find this Buddha called actually Bohdi, and a Bohdi is one who has attained intellectual and ethical perfection by human means. This probably would be a Dianetic Release (Dianetic Release: One who in Dianetic auditing has attained good case gains, stability and can enjoy life more. Such a person is “Keyed out” or in other words released from the stimulus- response mechanisms of the reactive mind) or something of this level. Another level has been mentioned to me — Arhat, with which I am not particularly familiar, said to be more comparable to our idea of Theta Clear.

A Bodhi is one who has attained intellectual and ethical perfection by human means. He is released from the stimulus-response mechanisms of the reactive mind.

There were many Bohdis, or Buddhas. And the greatest of these was a fellow by the name of Gautama Sakyamuni and he lived between 563 and 483 B I won’t go so far as to say he’d ever read the Tao-Teh-King because there is absolutely no evidence to that effect at all, except that they certainly were riding on the same pathway. So much so that when Taoism turned into Buddhism later on they never abandoned the Tao. Taoist principles became Chinese Buddhist principles, in very large measure. And what we have just talked about in terms of knowing the way to Knowingness is very, very closely associated here with Buddha or Lord Buddha, or Gautama Buddha, or the Blessed One, or the Enlightened one. He is looked upon, and according to my belief in the line, erroneously, as the founder of the Dhyana. I think that this was in existence for quite a long time before he came along, but that he pumped life into it, he gave it codification, he straightened it up and made it run on the right track and it has kept running in that direction ever since, he did such a thoroughly good job. He was such an excellent scientific philosopher, and he himself was so persuasive and so penetrative in his work, that nobody has ever managed to pry apart Dhyana and Gautama Buddha. This identification is such a very close one that even in areas that have no understanding whatsoever of the principles laid down by Gautama Buddha, we find him sitting there as an idol, which would have been a very, very amusing thing to Buddha, because he, like Lao-Tzu, never said that he was otherwise than a human being.

Dhyana was incorporated into Buddhism by Buddha. Taoist principles became Chinese Buddhist principles, in very large measure.

He didn’t ever announce any revelations from supernatural sources, there were no guardian angels sitting on his shoulders preaching to him, as in the case of Mohammed and some other prophets. Nobody was ever giving him the word. But he went around giving what he had to people, he never intended to be anything but a human being, and he was a teacher. A tremendously interesting man. Now we find, however, some of the things that were written by Gautama, find them very significantly interesting to us, completely aside from Dhyana (which could be literally translated as “Indian for Scientology”, if you wished to do that).

Buddha didn’t ever announce any revelations from supernatural sources. He never intended to be anything but a human being, and he was a teacher. Many things written by him are very significantly interesting to Scientology.

We find in Dharma-Parda: “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. It is founded upon our thoughts. It is made up of our thoughts.” Interesting, isn’t it? And: “By oneself evil is done. By oneself one suffers. By oneself evil is left undone. By oneself one is purified. Purity and impurity belong to oneself. No one can purify another.” In other words, you can’t just grant beingness to, and over-awe the preclear (Preclear: A person who through Scientology processing is finding out more about himself and life). It means you’ve got to have him there working on his own self-determinism or not at all — if you want to give that any kind of an interpretation. In other words, you’ve got to restore his ability to grant beingness, or he does not make gains, and we know that by test.

Purity and impurity belong to oneself. No one can purify another. You have to get the person working on himself on his own self-determinism or not at all. You’ve got to restore his ability to grant beingness, or he does not make gains.

“You yourself must make an effort. The Buddhas are only preachers. The thoughtful who enter the way are freed from the bondage of sin.” “He who does not rouse himself when it is time to rise, who though young and strong, is full of sloth, whose will and thoughts are weak — that lazy and idle man will never find the way to enlightenment.” The common denominator of psychosis and neurosis is the inability to work.

The common denominator of psychosis and neurosis is the inability to work.

And the next verse: “Strenuousness is the path of immortality, sloth the path of death. Those who are strenuous do not die; those who are slothful are as if dead already.” This is some of that material, and by the way, a little bit later on in his work, in a discourse with one Ananda, we discover him announcing the fact that you have to abstain from the six pairs of things, in other words, twelve separate things, and we in Scientology would recognize them as the various fundamental parts of things such as space, making and breaking communication and so forth. They’re all just named there one right after the other. But he said you had to abstain from them, and the main difficulty is of course the interpretation of exactly what he said. What did he say? What was actually written?

We get into the difficulty of correctly interpreting some of the teachings of Buddha.

Because the truth of the matter is, that successfully abstaining from these things would mean that you had to get into a position where you could tolerate them before you could abstain from them. And that is the main breaking point of all such teachings — that one did not recognize that one didn’t simply negate against everything and then become pure, and the way it’s been interpreted is: if you run away from all living, then you can live forever. That’s the way it has been interpreted. But understand that was never the way it was said.

The interpretation has been, “If you run away from all living, then you can live forever.”  This is not so. You need to get into a position where you could tolerate these things before you could abstain from them.

The religion of Buddhism, carried by its teachers, brought civilization into the existing barbarisms, as of that time, of India, China, Japan, the Near East, or about two thirds of the earth’s population. This was the first civilization they had had. For instance, Japan’s written language, her ability to make lacquer, silk, almost any technology which she has today, was taught to her by Buddhist monks, who emigrated over to Japan from China — the first broadcast of wisdom, which resulted in very, very high cultures. Their cultures, which ensued from Buddhism, were very easily distinguishable from those superstitions which had existed heretofore. No light thing occurred there. It was just some people who had the idea that there was wisdom, and having that wisdom, you went out and told it to people and you told them that there was a way that you could find a salvation and that way was becoming your own mind essence. And if you lived a fairly pure life, lacking in sensuousness and evil practices, in other words, overt acts (Overt act: a harmful or contra-survival action), quite possibly you could break the endless chain of birth and death, which they knew very well in those days. And in other words you could accomplish an exteriorization (Exteriorization: The state of the thetan, the individual himself, being outside his body. When this is done, the person achieves a certainty that he is himself and not his body.)

Buddhism got rid of superstitions and brought civilization to the eastern world and the Near East. No light thing occurred there. It taught that the way was becoming your own mind essence. This helped to get rid of the fixation on body.

Now all this knowledge up to this point, was given to a world which was evidently clearly cognizant of the manifestation of exteriorization, and that one was living consecutive lives. Twenty-five hundred years later, you would expect a race to be ploughed in far enough below that level as to no longer be conscious of consecutive lives but only single ones, and so Man is. But to reach salvation in one lifetime — that was the hope of Buddhism. That hope, by various practices, was now and then, here and there, attained. But no set of precise practices ever came forward, which immediately, predictably, produced a result. You understand that many of the practices would occasionally produce a result. But it was a religion which to that degree, had to go forward on hope — a hope which has extended over a span of a great, great many years.

Buddhism hoped to achieve salvation in one lifetime, but it lacked a set of precise practices, which immediately, predictably, produced a result.

The material which was released in that time is cluttered with irrelevancies. A great deal of it is buried. You have to be very selective, and you have to know Scientology, actually, to plot it out, get it into the clear, but much less than you might expect. It was wisdom, it was really wisdom and is today the background of the religious practices, but don’t think for a moment that a Buddhist in the western hills of China knows the various words of Gautama Sakyumuni. He doesn’t. He has certain practices which he practices. The basic wisdom is thinned. With that as a background they have certain religious rites and they follow these. So even in China, very close to India, where this came forward — and it was sent directly into China from India — we have that immediate division from the wisdom into the practice, and we have almost all of China in one fashion or another, bowing down to some form of Buddhism and a very little of the intellectual world knowing actually the real background of Buddhism. But we have there a civilization where before Buddhism we didn’t have one, which is quite important to us.

The basic wisdom of Buddhism has thinned over the years and has descended into a set form of religious practice. But it has produced a civilization where before Buddhism there was none.

Now there, so far, is your track of wisdom, which merely brings us up to the beginning of two thousand years ago.

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FINAL COMMENTS

Here Hubbard is describing the track of wisdom in the eastern world. The earliest written work comprises of the Veda, Dhyana and Buddhist texts. This was first put together about ten thousand years ago.

The next oldest written work is the Book of Job, originally from India even though it is thought to have come to us from Middle East. Middle East has been a relay point of wisdom from India and Egypt into Europe.

Tao means the way to solving the mystery which underlies all mysteries. This mystery cannot be solved the way you usually solve problems. You have to practice and live in a certain way, in order to achieve Taohood.

Veda, Dhyana and Dharma they all form the background of Buddhism. Dhyana was incorporated into Buddhism by Buddha. Taoist principles became Chinese Buddhist principles, in very large measure. Buddhism got rid of superstitions and brought civilization to the eastern world and the Near East.

The basic wisdom of Buddhism has thinned over the years and has descended into a set form of religious practice. But it has produced a civilization where before Buddhism there was none.

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Comments

  • Sam Ayers  On February 3, 2020 at 4:02 PM

    The book of Job is in the Old Testament of the Bible. Hubbard says it originated in India. It is a book that clarifies the point that bad things can happen to good people, so do not judge others solely on their wealth, health or social standing. The dialogue between Job and God helps with the understanding of God, and illustrates why humility is in order. Regardless of the origin of the book of Job, it is a must read.

    Question: Hubbard seems to cover many eastern cultures but omits one of the most influential and sizable, i.e. Ghengis Khan and the Mongolian empire. Why is that? Was it because the Mongolian empire, closest culture to his east-west dividing line, was not reflective of how he wished the eastern ancestry of Scientology to be depicted? I think so. Hubbard was spinning his ideas and attempting to baffle his audience with information they were not qualified to deny. Hubbard was clearly an expert at “baffling them with BS.” Hubbard’s creation of a false, man-made church and religion from his original Dyanetics is indicative of that.

  • vinaire  On February 3, 2020 at 9:36 PM

    Thank you for your viewpoint. According to Wikipedia:

    “Genghis Khan was a Tengrist, but was religiously tolerant and interested in learning philosophical and moral lessons from other religions. He consulted Buddhist monks (including the Zen monk Haiyun), Muslims, Christian missionaries, and the Taoist monk Qiu Chuji.”

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