Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

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Breakfast With The Master X II:

Don't Believe In The Buddha

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

April 27, 2022



"If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him." ... Sheldon Kopp

"It's just possible that the only person who really  understands Jesus Christ is the Buddha." ... Laurence Platt
This essay, Breakfast With The Master X II: Don't Believe In The Buddha, is the second in the tenth trilogy Breakfast With The Master:
  1. Breakfast With The Master X: Living In A Story
  2. Breakfast With The Master X II: Don't Believe In The Buddha
  3. Breakfast With The Master X III: Broadening Horizons
in that order.
The first trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Conversation With A Laser
  2. Shut Up And Do What You're Doing
  3. Secret Agent
in that order.
The second trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Health
  2. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Finances
  3. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Open
in that order.
The third trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Raw Power
  2. It Works Better As A Possibility
  3. Magic At Heart
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master IV: Parental Care
  2. Breakfast With The Master IV: Taking The Guilt Out Of It
  3. Breakfast With The Master IV: Language As Music
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Whatever Works
  2. Yesterday's Transformation
  3. Billions And Billions Of Stars
in that order.
The sixth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master VI: Doo-Wop, Coffee, And Intention
  2. Breakfast With The Master VI II: Cherish These Days
  3. Breakfast With The Master VI III: Forwarding The Fulfillment
in that order.
The seventh trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. We're Here
  2. Being A Being Coach
  3. You Already Got It
in that order.
The eighth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master VIII: What People Crave
  2. Breakfast With The Master VIII II: Keep Talking
  3. Breakfast With The Master VIII III: Fearless In The Face Of Life
in that order.
The ninth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. A Fountainhead Of Clarity And Power
  2. Conversation With A Laser II
  3. Being A Being Coach II
in that order.
This essay, Breakfast With The Master X II: Don't Believe In The Buddha, is the sequel to Remember To Forget.


Sometimes I like to watch late-night TV. I like to watch pre-recorded concerts of the big groups in popular music. And when I do, I rarely if ever watch the entire concert. I watch only for that one big hit the group is best known for (Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon", Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "American Girl" for examples). Then, satisfied, I change the channel and move on to something else. Once I've seen the highlight I came for, everything else is merely an embellishment, a re-run.

When I'm with him ie when we're having breakfast this way virtually, his genre isn't playing music. It's distinguishing. And there are too many distinctions he's come up with to have to choose just one. Choosing just one would be futile. Fortunately I don't have to. The distinction he's best known for internationally expresses a way of being ie a way of speaking  being (if you will) which precedes any and all distinctions he's ever come up with and (I'll venture) that anyone else has ever come up with as well. Some masters are known for distinguishing distinctions about  being. He's mostly known for his expression of  being, a way of expressing being which makes distinguishing all distinctions possible. When it's on display I couldn't change the channel even if I tried. It's riveting. It's the only show worth watching. Really.

People talk themselves into believing, especially when it's into a belief system touted for their higher good. There are two pitfalls to this. One, if you're talking yourself into believing, you're deploying the same persuasions that got you into trouble in the first place. Two, even if you do succeed in talking yourself into believing, you've only led yourself to belief, not to direct experience. Being with him in this way is like swimming  in direct experience ie like swimming in a petri dish  in which the pull to believe / figure out distinctions, has given way to being immersed in the distinctions themselves, a state of affairs informed by direct experience not by any beliefs.

Our conversation pivots to the latter-day great masters, some of whom are also seen on late-night TV. The discussion turns to what they make available. Possibility, like gravity, isn't the property of any one particular person or persons. Sir Isaac Newton neither invented nor owns gravity. Rather, he distinguished already here  gravity using language. The same could be said about possibility: possibility is  ... and before he distinguished possibility using language in the ways he does, it was rarely spoken and barely accessible. Although he's its source, he's not attached even to his own discourses about transformation and possibility. That's what's always made him (in my view) someone I should keep my eye on. He coaches me to look into the space and discern what's already there without adding my own beliefs.

We talk about masters who've distinguished something of value in this genre. He points out the trap of getting stuck in any  possibility ie of getting stuck in what they distinguish in their languaging of it, without discovering it for myself. "Don't follow the Buddha for it" he says, a timely reminder, and then adds "No, don't believe  in the Buddha: discover it for yourself, and when you do discover it for yourself, you'll realize you had it all along.". I look, musing "I'm not the interplay of life: I'm the experiencer  of the interplay of life.". He offers "Try on: I'm the observer  of the interplay of life.". Hmmm ... experiencer? or observer?  If it was anyone else who said that to me, I would have put up a gallant resistance, sticking instead with (and justifying) my original term "experiencer". But this is him. It's not anyone else. He's no guy in a diner  on the topic. I swap "experiencer" with "observer" in my lexicography, filing a mental note to myself to try out making it permanent across the board.

It's his distinguishing of two masters of Life, Jesus Christ and the Buddha, which really gets my attention - like that one performance on late-night TV that renders everything else as embellishment. And when he speaks it, he's not speaking religiously. Rather he's making clear the differentiated line between belief and observation: the Buddha as an example of an enlightened master who's coming from  observation, and Jesus Christ as an example of an enlightened master whose utterances may have been turned into belief systems. To really get  a master, you have to differentiate between the belief systems we add to them, and the observation they come from. In this way, it's just possible that the only person who really  understands Jesus Christ, is the Buddha (be careful: don't get trapped believing  that assertion).

I'm full. I actually don't want to speak for a moment. Being with him like this is pure fulfillment - with the emphasis on "fill" (his presence fills the space). This is what he's known for. It's what it is to be with him, to get the experience from whence he comes ie from which he lives, and then see if I can discover it for myself, enough to live it as an experience distinct from any and all beliefs. It's what's worth staying up late at night for - or (in our case) it's what's worth getting up at 4:00am for.



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