Category Archives: independents

Awakening – Part II

 

Reference: Awakening from scientology

Using scientology parlance, we begin by attempting to help people move above ‘know about’ on the ‘know to mystery scale.’    I have found plenty outside of scientology that explains and validates the sequence of Hubbard’s scale; illuminating the reason for the relatively high position for ‘not know.’  Thus, the Tao Te Ching – a book Hubbard once credited as offering in application all that scientology could hope to attain through its psychotherapeutic methodologies and training – teaches:

The Master leads; by emptying people’s minds

and filling their cores, by weakening their ambition

and toughening their resolve.

He helps people lose everything they know,

everything they desire, and creates confusion

in those who think that they know…

 

…The ancient Masters

didn’t try to educate the people,

but kindly taught them to not-know.

When they think that they know the answers,

people are difficult to guide.

When they know that they don’t know,

people can find their own way…

 

…Not-knowing is true knowledge.

Presuming to know is a disease.

First realize that you are sick;

then you can move toward health…

 

Notwithstanding their seeming alignment with such concepts as the know-to-mystery scale, scientologists are taught to eschew such ideas in pursuing  and exuding certainty.  And yet it was application of them that led to their own indoctrination or ‘enlightenment’ in and with scientology.  Scientologists are plied with a continual diet of tearing down all schools of thought that preceded  scientology – even those that led to its creation.  These facts necessitate that our first several chapters focus on pointing out the inconsistency, illogic, and even absurdity of some of your core scientology conditionings.  Perhaps I haven’t done it as ‘kindly’ as the Tao would prescribe.   Nonetheless, I want to make clear the purpose for doing so.  I am not doing it in order to replace your faulty stable data in order to become a new director of your destiny, but instead I hope to assist toward ‘when they know that they don’t know, people can find their own way.’   In that regard, the second reading recommendation that I make (the first being The Tao Te Ching – An English Translation by Stephen Mitchell) is a classic novel called Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.

Siddhartha is the quintessential lesson on the virtue – even necessity – of blazing one’s own path.  Even if you read it many years ago, I suggest that if you are seriously exploring the idea of moving  beyond and above scientology that you read it again.  Evaluate your scientology experience against Siddhartha’s experience.  Siddhartha sublimely demonstrates that the very act of becoming a follower or belonging  is anathema to enlightenment.   If in being introduced to new ideas and horizons one in particular seems to be the golden goose that will continue to forever lay you golden eggs, hark back to Siddhartha.  Clinging to one-stop enlightenment sources can defeat the entire purpose of the quest. Siddhartha also reminds us that when in doubt or despair it is rejuvenating to turn to and fully enjoy the  wonderment of the simple present; the Zen transcendence of doing what one is doing while doing it.

A system of thought purporting to be the ‘science of certainty’, that overtly asserts the goal and product of boiling all of creation down to simplistic blacks and whites, can be seen in the light of the wisdom from the Tao (and even scientology’s know-to-mystery scale) to potentially be the conveyor of a sort of sickness.  The resultant awareness myopia  – the death of life-promoting curiosity – is held firmly in place by ego and pride.  It requires an adopted air of superiority to automatically dismiss any ideas or information beyond one’s own ism or ology.  The certainty that one need not continue to look and to search and to find is protected and bolstered by pride in having arrived, having achieved all there is to know.

The disability (or as the Tao puts it, sickness) concomitant with such pride is described in Power vs. Force:

In our discussion of the levels of consciousness, we noted that one of the downsides of Pride is denial.  Every mind engages in denial in order to protect its “correctness” – this begets the fixity and resistance to change that prevents the average consciousness from advancing much more than five points in a lifetime.  Great leaps in levels of consciousness are always preceded by surrender of the illusion that ‘I know.’  Frequently, the only way one can reach this willingness to change is when one ‘hits bottom’, that is, by running out a course of action to its end in the defeat of a futile belief system.  Light can’t enter a closed box; the upside of catastrophe can be an opening to a higher level of awareness.  If life is viewed as a teacher, then it becomes just that.  But unless we become humble and transform them into gateways of growth and development, the painful life lessons we deal ourselves are wasted.

Awakening from scientology

I have been administering a course in graduating from scientology for the past couple months.  While doing so, I have been writing and sharing with students the chapters of an in progress book on the subject.  I recently added an introduction to the course/book as I recognized it required a further undercut.  I am publishing that introduction in three parts here as it might serve to spark productive thought and discussion.

A course in graduating from scientology

Introduction – Part I

One of the most difficult traps that scientology creates for minds is that of creating an arrogant sense of certainty in the member.  It is ultimately the ceiling that keeps people beholden to scientology, afraid to explore outside of it, and thus serves to entrap them within its own limitations.  What makes it so binding for scientologists is that they are taught that such an attitude has that effect at the outset of their studies. That is, the first barrier to learning is the student thinking he already knows it.  Scientologists apparently never think that the datum might apply once they had learned all there was to know about the subject that taught them that very datum.  That type of tricky dichotomy is peppered throughout the subject.  It is one thing that makes reasoning, discussion or debate on scientology so confounding.  A scientologist is only permitted to view the subject within the parameters of its own nomenclature, constructs and logic. He must never permit the thought to enter his own mind, ‘is there more to life than I have been instructed?’

As we shall see as we progress, scientology is finite.  It consists of the words of one man who wrote and lectured on the subject between the years 1950 and 1986.  By firm policy scientology enforces the notion that those thirty-six years of observations by one man are all that need be known on the mind and spirit and a host of other subjects.  It even instills the idea that to think or explore outside of the box of Hubbard words is dangerous.  In the book Power vs. Force David R. Hawkins succinctly described how such mental mechanics generally obtain:

The truth of each level of consciousness is self-verifying in that each level has its native range of perception, which confirms what’s already believed to be true.  Thus, everyone feels justified in the viewpoints that underlie his actions and beliefs. 

Presumably, the reader has to some degree shaken the scientology tenet that if it isn’t written or spoken by L. Ron Hubbard it is not true nor worth knowing. Otherwise, why would you even pick up a book entitled Graduating from scientology?  Nonetheless, in my experience the notion of fully self-contained infallibility is so heavily implanted with scientologists that it tends to come off in stages or layers.  It is common for scientologists, and even former scientologists, to continue to weigh any new data they encounter on the mind and spirit against a hidden standard, ‘how does it measure up against what scientology holds?’  Measuring up is not the problem.  Our course of exploration is all about comparing and contextualizing scientology indoctrinations.  It is a virtual exercise in Hubbard’s Logic 8: a datum can be evaluated only by a datum of comparable magnitude.  The problem arises when your mind is trained to work on an automatic default (read thought stopping) where any data, no matter how vital and workable, is discredited and discarded to the degree it does not agree with one’s scientology indoctrination.  Scientologists come to know about scientology and in the process are convinced that they know all there is to know.

That is a perfectly normal state of affairs for a monotheistic religious belief system.  For those seeking the comfort and security that type of system lends to adherents, you would be well advised to drop this book right about now.  This course of exploration is for those who never signed up for such when they embarked on scientology study.  This exploration is for those who got involved in scientology from the beginning as part of a search for truth, wisdom, and enlightenment.

Scientology Preview – 60 Minutes Australia

Will be available to international viewers shortly after airing at 60 Minutes Australia.

Scientology Black Bag Roster

Mike Rinder posted an informative piece today called The Black Bag Department.  In it he exposes the identity of some key Scientology ‘professional’ operatives used to terrorize and intimidate perceived enemies as well as some of their tactics.  Mike’s article reminded me of a couple other important names that need to be added to the roster.

For many years in the Washington D.C. area Scientology’s go-to gumshoe has been Harry Gossett.   Gossett, like Ingram, has apparently been fond of the Scientology bonuses available when he impersonates an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, see link.

Another important operative historically has been John J. (aka J.J.) Gaw of Moreno Valley, California.  Gaw was responsible for the original electronic and physical surveillance set up on Pat Broeker in the late eighties and early nineties. Mr. Gaw also handled the sensitive assignment of investigating the personal lives of IRS agents, flanking the quest to attain tax exemption for Scientology.

An even more important, as yet unnamed, Scientology espionage operative is Doug Jacobsen.  During the eighties and nineties Jacobsen was one of only five former Guardians Office intelligence staff who survived the ‘GO disband’ and who remained trusted enough to run black bag jobs against perceived enemies. Jacobsen left staff in the late nineties, but is reportedly an active OSA agent in the field.  A couple years ago Jacobsen attempted to infiltrate the fledgling independent movement while operating a limo service specializing in catering to out of town Celebrity Center public.

 

 

 

 

Scientology’s Code of Honor

I haven’t done any editorializing or analysis of the series of recent posts on the aims of Scientology (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, OSA Statistics).  I have simply posted the words of L. Ron Hubbard directing his Scientology troops at various times towards what he considered vital objectives.  More books could be written on the hundreds of lives that were ruined (both targets and executors of the objectives) by execution of those directives – and the many more like them that were issued over the years.   Most of the commentary on those posts has gravitated toward two poles.  At one pole is denial, strained justification.  At the other pole is condemnation, wholesale and definitive.  What few have assayed to do is explain the behavior of those who adopted and carried out these aims.  Those people who really believed the future of humanity was won or lost on whether those directives were thoroughly complied to. I have some views to share on that score which are derived from subjective experience and objective observation.

If you want to change out rotting upholstery you need to get down to the brass tacks. One piece of fundamental ‘scripture’ that most Scientologists – corporate, independent and otherwise – tend to agree upon wholeheartedly is L. Ron Hubbard’s ‘Code of Honor.’   It is so popular amongst them that it could be said to in some ways serve to define ‘Scientologist.’   There is no doubt that the Code contains some sensible and lofty principles that could serve someone well at certain life crossroads.  Just as certainly, there are aspects of the code that could serve to suggest destructive, even sociopathic, behavior.

“2. Never withdraw allegiance once granted.”

I watched a documentary on Jonestown wherein the son of Jim Jones reflected on the single most powerful factor that led 900 people to follow his father’s directions to commit suicide – including some murdering their own children and authorities investigating the group.  After decades of therapy and soul searching he concluded that the common denominator of this mass insanity was an overriding concern on the part of each individual, ‘what would the rest of the group think of me if I withdrew allegiance now?’  That rang consistent with the Scientology experience to me.  It was the very moral question I grappled with for four years before deciding to expose the Jim Jones like behavior of David Miscavige at the international headquarters of Scientology.

I have investigated and studied organized crimes in several forms.  One common means to organize crime – from street gangs to white collar – is to establish the agreement early on to ‘never withdraw allegiance once granted.’  Usually, initially the vow is taken because the group somehow serves to protect the individual taking the vow or serves to give the individual a sense of belonging and empowerment. Over time, the crimes of the group and any member of the group become the crimes of each individual member to justify, glorify, and protect from outside exposure and accountability.  Ironically, but not surprisingly, throughout the history of Scientology that very cycle has repeatedly played itself out as it continues to today.

If folks feel the ‘Code of Honor’ is something too valuable to eschew wholesale, I think it would behoove them to replace item 2 with something along these lines:

“Only maintain allegiance as long as the recipient of it demonstrably remains true to those purposes and principles to which allegiance was granted in the first place.”

“12. Never fear to hurt another in a just cause.”

By Scientology’s own ‘technology’ nobody is ever hurt by another without just cause.  A being automatically manufactures just cause when he harms, or fixes to harm, another being.  If one credits Scientology ‘technology’ as infallible, as Scientology demands it be credited, then item 12 of the code encourages Scientologists to park their consciences at the thresholds of the homes they terrorize in the name of Scientology.

On death row of any prison you will find just about every cold-hearted murderer absolutely certain that the acts for which he was convicted and sentenced fit squarely within the advice of item 12 of the Code of Honor.

To fear to hurt another is not weakness, it is not unethical, it is not immoral. When that fear is real and consulted – most particularly when one feels he is carrying out a just cause – it has another name.  It is called conscience.   And so I see item 12 of L. Ron Hubbard’s Code of Honor as tantamount to an invitation to abandon or forfeit one’s conscience.

Again, to those wishing to continue following this code, they might be well served by replacing item 12 with something like this:

“Always give due consideration for the rights and well-being of another before doing something that might hurt that person, most particularly when you or another have pre-justified the act as being in pursuit of a just cause.”

War on “Scientologists at War”

David Miscavige and his Scientology Inc picked yet another losing war against freedom of the press and of speech.  This one was an official complaint and proceeding launched against UK Channel Four and Roast Beef Productions for their documentary Scientologists at War.  Of course, only the finest and most expensive lawyers that could be bought in London took up the Scientology cudgel.  The results were published in the official publication of England’s official agency (Ofcom) tasked with upholding standards of fairness in media.   The Scientology case can be found at page 43 of OfComm’s latest journal.  It is an informative read.

The Scientology Inquisition

David Miscavige and his Scientology Inc. have of late  taken to waving the flags of the American Nazi Party and the  Westboro Baptist Church.   They are spending huge sums in order to convince some that their own activity belongs in the same category as those august institutions.  They don’t even try to argue that their conduct is not outrageous or unconscionable in a civilized society. Instead, they claim it is their Constitutional right to practice retribution, terrorism and ruination upon those who refuse to relinquish their own First Amendment rights to speak and worship as they choose.

Regardless of their individual failures or successes in this expensive positioning endeavor, there is legal precedent that protects you should you ever be targeted by the Scientology Inquisition.  It is the decision of the California Court of Appeals in the original Wollersheim vs. Church of Scientology of California case.

The following is a reprint of the particular section of that decision that deals with Scientology heretics and their treatment at the hands of the Scientology Inquisition:

B. Even Assuming the Retributive Conduct Sometimes Called “Fair Game” Is a Core Practice of Scientology It Does Not Qualify for Constitutional Protection

As we have seen, not every religious expression is worthy of constitutional protection. To illustrate, centuries ago the inquisition was one of the core religious practices of the Christian religion in Europe. This religious practice involved torture and execution of heretics and miscreants. (See generally Peters, Inquisition (1988); Lea, The Inquisition of the Middle Ages (1961).) Yet should any church seek to resurrect the inquisition in this country under a claim of free religious expression, can anyone doubt the constitutional authority of an American government to halt the torture and executions? And can anyone seriously question the right of the victims of our hypothetical modern day inquisition to sue their tormentors for any injuries – physical or psychological – they sustained?

We do not mean to suggest Scientology’s retributive program as described in the evidence of this case represented a full-scale modern day “inquisition.” Nevertheless, there are some parallels in purpose and effect. “Fair game” like the “inquisition” targeted “heretics” who threatened the dogma and institutional integrity of the mother church. Once “proven” to be a “heretic,” an individual was to be neutralized. In medieval times neutralization often meant incarceration, torture, and death. (Peters, Inquisition, supra, pp. 57, 65-67, 87, 92-94, 98, 117-118, 133-134; Lea, The Inquisition of the Middle Ages, supra, pp. 181, 193-202, 232-236, 250-264, 828-829.) As described in the evidence at this trial the “fair game” policy neutralized the “heretic” by stripping this person of his or her economic, political and psychological power. (See, e.g., *889 Allard v. Church of Scientology (1976) 58 Cal.App.3d 439, 444 [129 Cal.Rptr. 797] [former church member falsely accused by Church of grand theft as part of “fair game” policy, subjecting member to arrest and imprisonment].)

In the instant case, at least, the prime focus of the “fair game” campaign was against the “heretic” Wollersheim’s economic interests. Substantial evidence supports the inference Scientology set out to ruin Wollersheim’s photography enterprise. Scientologists who worked in the business were instructed to resign immediately. Scientologists who were customers were told to stop placing orders with the business. Most significantly, those who owed money for previous orders were instructed to renege on their payments. Although these payments actually were going to a factor not Wollersheim, the effect was to deprive Wollersheim of the line of credit he needed to continue in business.

Appellant argues these “fair game” practices are protected religious expression. They cite to a recent Ninth Circuit case upholding the constitutional right of the Jehovah’s Witness Church and its members to “shun” heretics from that religion even though the heretics suffer emotional injury as a result. ( Paul v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York, supra, 819 F.2d 875.) In this case a former Jehovah’s Witness sued the church and certain church leaders for injuries she claimed to have suffered when the church ordered all other church members to “shun” her. In the Jehovah Witness religion, “shunning” means church members are prohibited from having any contact whatsoever with the former member. They are not to greet them or conduct any business with them or socialize with them in any manner. Thus, there was a clear connection between the religious practice of “shunning” and Ms. Paul’s emotional injuries. Nonetheless, the trial court dismissed her case. The Ninth Circuit affirmed in an opinion which expressly held “shunning” is a constitutionally protected religious practice. “[T]he defendants, … possess an affirmative defense of privilege – a defense that permits them to engage in the practice of shunning pursuant to their religious beliefs without incurring tort liability.” ( Id. at p. 879.)

We first note another appellate court has taken the opposite view on the constitutionality of “shunning.” ( Bear v. Reformed Mennonite Church (1975) 462 Pa. 330 [341 A.2d 105].) In this case the Pennsylvania Supreme Court confronted a situation similar to Paul v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York. The plaintiff was a former member of the Mennonite Church. He was excommunicated for criticizing the church. Church leaders ordered that all members must “shun” the plaintiff. As a result, both his business and family collapsed. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s dismissal of the action, holding: “In our opinion, the complaint, … raises issues that the ‘shunning’ practice of appellee church and the conduct of the *890 individuals may be an excessive interference within areas of ‘paramount state concern,’ i.e., the maintenance of marriage and family relationship, alienation of affection, and the tortious interference with a business relationship, which the courts of this Commonwealth may have authority to regulate, even in light of the ‘Establishment’ and ‘Free Exercise’ clauses of the First Amendment.” ( Bear v. Reformed Mennonite Church, supra, 341 A.2d at p. 107, italics in original.)

We observe the California Supreme Court has cited with apparent approval the viewpoint on “shunning” expressed in Bear v. Mennonite Church, supra, rather than the one adopted in Paul v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York, supra. (See Molko v. Holy Spirit Assn., supra, 46 Cal.3d 1092, 1114.) But even were Paul v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York the law of this jurisdiction it would not support a constitutional shield for Scientology’s retribution program. In the instant case Scientology went far beyond the social “shunning” of its heretic, Wollersheim. Substantial evidence supports the conclusion Scientology leaders made the deliberate decision to ruin Wollersheim economically and possibly psychologically. Unlike the plaintiff in Paul v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York, Wollersheim did not suffer his economic harm as an unintended byproduct of his former religionists’ practice of refusing to socialize with him any more. Instead he was bankrupted by a campaign his former religionists carefully designed with the specific intent it bankrupt him. Nor was this campaign limited to means which are arguably legal such as refusing to continue working at Wollersheim’s business or to purchase his services or products. Instead the campaign featured a concerted practice of refusing to honor legal obligations Scientologists owed Wollersheim for services and products they already had purchased.

If the Biblical commandment to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to render unto God what is God’s has any meaning in the modern day it is here. Nothing in Paul v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc. of New York or any other case we have been able to locate even implies a religion is entitled to constitutional protection for a campaign deliberately designed to financially ruin anyone – whether a member or nonmember of that religion. Nor have we found any cases suggesting the free exercise clause can justify a refusal to honor financial obligations the state considers binding and legally enforceable. One can only imagine the utter chaos that could overtake our economy if people who owed money to others were entitled to assert a freedom of religion defense to repayment of those debts. It is not unlikely the courts would soon be flooded with debtors who claimed their religion prohibited them from paying money they owed to others.

We are not certain a deliberate campaign to financially ruin a former member or the dishonoring of debts owed that member qualify as “religious *891 practices” of Scientology. But if they do, we have no problem concluding the state has a compelling secular interest in discouraging these practices. (See pp. 884-886, supra.) Accordingly, we hold the freedom of religion guaranties of the United States and California Constitutions do not immunize these practices from civil liability for any injuries they cause to “targets” such as Wollersheim.

For further parallels between Miscavige’s Scientology Inc. and the perpetrators of the original Grand Inquisition, see The Scientology Reformation

Miscavige’s Obsession with the Rathbuns

Many have speculated why the Miscavige obsession with our family is so intense and seemingly inexorable.  Miscavige has spent millions in a variety of forums attempting to explain or justify it.  The writings on that score in his publications, legal threats to media, and legal pleadings and utterances from his PR hacks and agents – including the deep ranks of expensive attorneys – are so far-ranging, self-contradictory and red herring in nature, that they are unhelpful in discerning the answer to the question: why such an obsession?  Yet, the answer is apparent, by the repeated expression of our objectives right here on this blog as well as in  a number of media interviews. Below are several excerpts and links to support the ideat that the motivation for Miscavige’s mania lies in his need to resurrect the effectiveness of Scientology’s domestic terror apparatus.

The record:

September 25 2009, Winds of Change:

To stand and communicate one’s convictions and defend the rights of other friends to do the same is the remedy for Miscavige’s brand of terrorism.  It can make one feel healthier and more whole. If enough people follow your lead, it will lead to the end of the Scientology reign of terror.

September 26 2009, Independent Scientologists Community:

People who have simply exercised their abilities to be there and comfortably confront when faced with Church intimidation tactics – and not allowed themselves to be drawn into flash fights and the resultant creation of ridges – have as-is’d the invaders. That has happened most frequently when the person being targeted by the Church has the comfort of knowing he has people who are behind him or her with unconditional love. It is quite remarkable.

I am fairly certain that if a decent percentage of independent Scientologists stand up, identify themselves, and freely associate with like-minded friends in the light of day at least three things will happen:

a. Many individual lives will regain meaning. Many more lives still will reap the gains from each of us who independently and freely use Scientology with no other motivation than to help others reach higher states of beingness.

b. Scientology (the subject and community) will experience a renaissance within society at large.

c. Miscavige’s church will be forced to either radically reform by reversing its suppressive operating basis or face its inevitable demise (note the intransitive is used; it is not because of anything that you or I will do to it that will cause it other than being their comfortably – it will be a self-inflicted fate).

February 1 2010, The Underground Railroad Goes Overland:

One primary purpose behind encouraging people to overtly declare their independence was to break the back of the mafia-like protection racket run by the C of M. That is, to help people get out from under the black cloud of intimidation and threatened execution of forced disconnection for purposes of breaking Scientologists’ wills and independent thought processes.  The idea has proven workable. Each person who overtly straightens his back demonstrates to many more how incapable the  C of M is to ride straight backs. For each who does so overtly, dozens more begin to straighten their own by witnessing it can be done without serious repercussion and seeing tall walking people blossoming.

January 21 2011, Confront of Evil:

The pathetic and empty nature of their threats serves as confirmation of my oft-repeated analysis: AS INDEPENDENTS BECOME MORE NUMEROUS AND COURAGEOUS, RADICAL SCIENTOLOGY’S RESOURCES TO HARASS WILL BECOME MORE DISSIPATED AND THEIR “ATTACKS” WILL BECOME LESS AND LESS EFFECTIVE. And so it has played itself out in that fashion.

August 18 2011, Why The Obsession?:

People who have been following this blog for some time understand that this is a message I have often repeated: when enough real Scientologists stand up and be heard as Independents, Miscavige’s resources will be spread so thin trying to intimidate them that his actions will be so ineffectual that the world will see there is nothing to fear from Radical Corporate Scientology. 

It apparently has come to pass that from Miscavige’s perspective too many people have stood up and been counted so that Scientology has lost its terror-control factor.  There are not enough resources to re-corral or make examples of all those who have stood and are continuing to do so, nor even a significant portion of them.  Apparently, in the mind of Miscavige the only way to discredit the notion that Scientology can no longer hunt you to the grave if you dissent is to very visibly and thoroughly destroy the guy who widely and repeatedly asserted that there was nothing to fear – and the current state of affairs to gain – by standing up.

The Bridge Beyond The Bridge

By Don Jolly in The Revealer: A Review of Religion and Media:

Mark Rathbun’s Search For the Future of Scientology

Siddhartha

siddharthaimage

Reference:   Pursuit of Understanding

 2. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

This book is one of my favorite novels of all time; it is right up there with the likes of East of Eden and To Kill a Mockingbird.  I first read Siddhartha when I was seventeen years old. It was an important part of my own spiritual journey then and has served the same purpose more recently.

Having read it again this year, I wondered how on earth I could have spent twenty-seven years effectively donning a yellow robe and devoting my life to a cult.   Alas, perhaps that path served the same purpose as Siddhartha’s several decade journey.

During his early spiritual seeking years, Siddhartha comes into contact with the Buddha, referred to as the Glorious One.  Siddhartha can find nothing wrong with the Glorious One or his fledgling philosophy and practice.   But something holds Siddhartha back from donning the yellow robe of devotees even when the Glorious One pitches his way directly to Siddhartha.  His fellow seeker and friend Govinda opts for the robes.

Hesse provides a concise, accurate summation of the Buddha’s teachings and the Vedic scripture that precedes and influences their origination.  He has Siddhartha offer no criticism of them because he finds no fault with them.  But as his own life plays out, in many ways paralleling the journey of the Buddha’s own life, he comes to his own realization of the goal of the Buddha’s path.  Not through practice, but instead through living.

In a sublime, lyrical sort of manner Hesse demonstrates how Govinda, who chose to don the robes when Siddhartha declined, and who spent his life as a dedicated follower of the Glorious One, could never attain that realization.  While Govinda attained a high level of awareness and exemplary conduct, it was precisely because Govinda chose to follow and devote himself to a teacher that made enlightenment unattainable.

One moral of the story is that one doesn’t attain to enlightenment by simply following an enlightened one’s path.  Perhaps even, the very act of becoming a devoted follower ultimately bars the path.

At some point, if one wants to transcend, one is going to have to blaze some trail on his own.