March 12, 2014 at 8:23 pm #42007
A few years ago I was made aware a guy named William Bodri was offering to sell you an unpublished book and for 800 bucks would give you the books and call you on the phone a few times. I read part of the book and thought it was interesting. I didn’t really buy what he was saying. Although this subject hasn’t come up here for a long time I recently found his book has been published and I read the first hundred pages of it this morning and would like to offer my opinion in case anyone ever wants to read about it.
It’s relevant because he says in the book circulating energy is not valuable etc.
Since he describes himself as a “meditation expert” I would like to first point ut the things in the first 100 pages that I know personally are wrong.
First, and most ridiculously, he says the practice of anapana never went into Tibet. Anapana is the basic practice of watching the breath at the nostrils. It is about as special and unique as a pair of shoes with leather soles. Of course the Tibetans have this. I’ve been taught it by khenpo karthar before at just an open meeting. but please, don’t take my word for it, go to youtube and search for, “lama ole nydahl meditation.” it’s the one that’s about 21 minutes long.
in it he openly mentions it and even talks about the Tibetan theory for how far away from the nose the five elements are in their conception, etc. this is an example of this guy claiming things he’s confused about.
what really got me was one of the “masters” he quotes is the indian teacher called, “Pappaji” whose real name was h.w.l. poonja. poonja claimed he was a disciple of ramana maharshi and he probably was. he later went around and convinced several westerners that they were enlightened.
The first westerner he did this with was a guy named Andrew cohen. later Andrew Cohen’s mother wrote an expose’ of him, (a rare honor, to be debunked by your own mother). his mother’s name was luna tarlo and she wrote a book about Andrew cohen and poonja called, “the mother of god.”
here’s my point–luna tarlo said in that book that h.w.l. poonja also tried at length to convince her–luna tarlo–that she ALSO was enlightened. Yes, poonja tried at length to convince this woman that she was enlightened and should return to the u.s.a. and become a guru in his name.
There was just one problem–she wasn’t enlightened and she rejected this madness.
Bodri goes ahead and tells a big long story about poonja complete with levitating saints in the Himalayas, using poonja as an example of a great master.
What poonja really was, was a goof ball who single-handedly started a movement now characterized as neo-advaita which has spawned all of these people running around north America claiming to be enlightened. This is exactly the same people he later tries to debunk in a section titled, “so, you still think you’re enlightened?”
the irony that he endorses the very person that started all of this is totally lost on him.
Another master he tells a long story about his Hakuin, the Japanese zen figure. Aside from the fact that hakuin lived hundreds of years ago and I immediately questioned the truth of anything attributed to such a person, that’s not what I find funny.
What I found funny was just a few pages before this Bodri says that all you need to awaken kundalini is basic sitting meditation, anapana being an example. just sit there and meditate long enough and all will eventually be fulfilled.
I used to be a formal zen student and here’s why I thought that was funny. hakuin himself started as a student of the theravadins. they are the old school who almost exclusively teaches anapana. at some point hakuin met someone who told him to forget anapana and breathe into his hara, which he did 24/7 and he had some kind of awakening.
Here’s why bodri using hakuin is funny. all I remember about hakuin clearly, ALL I remember was how angry he was at the theravadins who had him waste years doing anapana, which he said did nothing.
but bodri just told us this was all you need. Yup, just sit there and empty your mind and concentrate and finally kundalini will self-start. “Just keep selling those vacuum cleaners, boy, and one day you’ll be a millionaire!”
“Golly, thanks, boss!”
He’s also famous for saying the missing ingredient in the zen practice of most people is celibacy. well, then, the zen monks and nuns all over the world, of whom there are thousands, must be having fantastic spiritual awakenings, right?
They’re not. The zen master I was with had been a monk since he was six, was from Vietnam but during the Vietnam wore spent twenty years in a hard-core rinzai monastery in japan where he eventually became the cook. he was not enlightened. in fact he told me to my face once over tea, “If your generation doesn’t do better than mine, I don’t think there’s going to BE any zen for long.”
Celibacy is not the answer. Well, maybe it’s the ones from Taiwan who really have it together? I recently heard a talk by an abbess from a zen teacher in Taiwan and she seemed like a very well scrubbed academic who secretly longed to be doing pure research in some scientific field. that’s all. no power field around her, no detectable chi field if you prefer that term.
I have no idea why William bodri thought the world needed him to write this wordy, repetitive, opinionated preachy-ass book when there are so many real teachers out there.
Even odder, I have no idea why he believes everything this Chinese zen teacher tells him. a lot of the practices he gives in the book so far are not exactly impressive. anapana is one. another one he says is if you have kundalini problems picture an egg shaped ball of liquid lotion (sorry can’t remember the exact word he uses) on top of your head and visualize the soothing liquid running down through your body all the way to the bottom of your feet.
oh,that’s real special. that’s the second practice in the Tibetan ngondro called, “vajrasattva” and has been given to a zillion people. Once I was with a kundalini master in an auditorium and I spontaneously began experiencing liquid energy pouring down through the top of my head. a few years later I was with mantak chia at a lesser kan and li retreat and he talked about “the dripping” as energy coming down through the top of your head after you’d practiced the steaming for a while.
It seems like a lot of the practices bodri has are dumbed-down versions of real practices. Like I said the egg on the head thing is like the dripping when you steam the kan and li, his take the energy to the bottoms of your feet is like iron shirt chi gong only just kind of an empty description of it, or of circulating energy through the macrocosmic orbit (which he ironically says is bogus). For kundalini he said take it down to your feet, which is the lame-o version of macrocosmic orbit, just to clarify myself.
He has another one called, “the skeleton practice” which is definitely a corruption of bone marrow nei kung only it’s like a dumbed-down version you’d give to someone you didn’t want to bother teaching the real thing to.
Which brings me to this. maybe he really does have a relationship with this Chinese zen teacher. god knows he naievely believes every word the man says is carved in granite. I’m just not sure it’s a relationship that’s as “real” as bodri thinks it is. some of this seems like stuff you’d give someone you didn’t care about, lousy, outline practices. put yourself in this Chinese mastter’s shoes, standing before him is a westerner (strike one) who is not a monk (strike two). if this nan guy is such a big deal he probably has hundreds of Chinese monks and nuns he’s responsible for, people who have taken the vow and given their whole lives to doing this. how much time can he realistically spend on some non-monk westerner like bodri who is clearly not willing to become a monk? the answer is, not much.
These daoist energy practices are totally compatible with Buddhist sitting. but don’t waste your time on bodri. recently I discovered something on amazon called, “mahamudra for the modern world” by a guy named Reginald ray, which are cd’s a whole stand alone program in mahamudra which can be had used for about a hundred bucks. he has a practice in there which is so much like, and would be so perfectly supported by, bone marrow nei kung that when I heard it the hair on the back of my neck stood up. that would be light years a better investment to supplement healing tao than the opinionated blusterings of William bodri.
If you’ve read this far I thank you. if you’re offended, I apologize but all I did was tell you the truth. best of luck in your spiritual pursuits.
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