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August 2017 / More

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It's all about "ladder work" – helping and being helped

Downloadable/rental versions of the Mister Rose video and of April TAT talks Remembering Your True Desire:

"You don't know anything until you know Everything...."

Mister Rose is an intimate look at a West Virginia native many people called a Zen Master because of the depth of his wisdom and the spiritual system he conveyed to his students. Profound and profane, Richard Rose was not the kind of man most people picture when they think of mystics or spiritual teachers. Yet, he was the truest of teachers, one who had "been there," one who had the cataclysmic experience of spiritual enlightenment.

Filmed in the spring of 1991, the extraordinary documentary follows Mr. Rose from a radio interview, to a university lecture and back to his farm, as he talks about his experience, his philosophy and the details of his life.

Whether you find him charming or offensive, fatherly or fearsome, you will not forget him, and never again will you think about yourself, reality, or life after death in quite the same way.

3+ hours total. Rent or buy at tatfoundation.vhx.tv/.

2012 April TAT Meeting – Remembering Your True Desire

Includes all the speakers from the April 2012 TAT meeting: Art Ticknor, Bob Fergeson, Shawn Nevins and Heather Saunders.

1) Remembering Your True Desire ... and Acting on It, by Art Ticknor
Spiritual action is like diving for the Pearl beyond Price. What do you do when you don't know what to do or how to do it? An informal discussion centered around the question: "What prevents effective spiritual action?"

2) Swimming in the Inner Ocean: Trips to the Beach, by Bob Fergeson
A discussion of the varied ways we can use in order to hear the voice of our inner ocean, the heart of our true desires.

3) A Wider and Wilder Vision, by Shawn Nevins
Notes on assumptions, beliefs, and perspectives that bind and free us.

4) Make Your Whole Life a Prayer, by Heather Saunders
An intriguing look into a feeling-oriented approach to life.

5+ hours total. Rent or buy at tatfoundation.vhx.tv/.

Return to the main page of the August 2017 TAT Forum.


Founder's Wisdom

Richard Rose (1917-2005) established the TAT Foundation
in 1973 to encourage people to work together on what
he considered to be the "grand project" of spiritual work.

Miami Theosophical Society Talk – 1985

The first public talk that Richard Rose gave was by invitation of the Pittsburgh Theosophical Society, in 1973. It was at that talk where two college students got inspired by what they heard and became instrumental in setting up self-inquiry groups at colleges primarily in the northeastern U.S. In 1985, one of Rose's students had moved to Miami, Florida, and Rose traveled down to help in starting a local group there. Several members of the Miami Theosophical Society had heard about Rose and were enthusiastic about inviting him to give a talk there. Part 3 of the transcript follows (continued from the June 2017 TAT Forum and the July 2017 TAT Forum):

Meaning and definitions

Now we get down to proof. When you try to communicate knowledge, proofs require a possible scientific procedure, which is a question of prediction, and the proof thereby following. And when you get into prediction, this requires meaning, words that have meaning. So we come to the next question:

What is meaning?

And you'll think, "Oh, that's understood; everybody knows what meaning is." But we don't – we accept the dictionary and the arguments in it. If you ever get on radio or TV, be careful. Because they're using dictionary meanings, and sometimes less than dictionary meanings, to just confuse or try to confuse, or to put you on the spot. And when you get into esoteric philosophy, you cannot be hung tight onto the meanings in the dictionary.

For instance, take the word reality – I've checked this out in a few dictionaries. When I was in college there was a 1937-1938 edition of the Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. When my daughter was in college I picked up hers, and the definitions of words like psyche and the derivation of the word psychology differ – according to the voting power of whomever sits on the decision board, in the printing of the dictionary.

The word psychology comes from psyche and logos, both Greek words. Psyche was considered the soul or spirit, and logos is the science, or also the word. So psychology you would think would be the science of searching for the soul or the spirit, or at least the mind. But what is it? It's a behavioristic mish-mash; it's strictly studying reflexes of nerves.


Now for the word reality: We want to know "the answer," we don't want to know what Yogi So-and-so says. We're inclined to believe him more quickly than we do the guy next door – because for some reason he has a charismatic appearance; he looks different. But sometime we'll talk one-to-one and I'll tell you what I've learned about some of these very sacred personages. Because I've dug widely, into a lot of stuff, to find out what type of people these people are at home, not just when they're talking.

But regardless, this thing of reality is basically that which is. There's a meaning for that word that we have. All of you people here have a meaning for the word, which is very similar to mine: that which is – meaning "is," not "is supposed to be." But reality defined in the dictionary is, "things known in the objective sense." Meaning it's got to be a rock; the point of reference has to be this earth, which stands like a rock, and everything's got to relate to it.

We talked about medicine: medicine believes in the body, and it goes back only as far as that body. I maintain that possibly some of the medical people should go back a little further than the day that you're born; they should go back as far as nine months previous to your birth. They very seldom ever get into that. How much of the stuff that happens to you every day is caused by something that happened in the months before you were born? How much of the blame are we supposed to take for things that happened five, six, seven months before we were born?1 In psychology today, in the analysis of human behavior, these things aren't noticed at all. It has to be objective. They don't want to hear it, if it's not something they can put into a test tube.

I'll give you a little preview: when you step beyond this life, this life is an illusion; this earth doesn't exist. And I'm up here talking – why? Why am I trying to put this point across? But this is what you discover. And after you discover it, when you go back and start reading what other people write, you find that others have discovered this, too. Consequently, reality is not that which is objective. And of course, do you say it's subjective? – no, no. Subjective immediately becomes objective.2

In other words, this is the reason that quite frequently people want to hear about the experience I had. Can you describe the totality of nothingness? But you've got to try, because people are given encouragement. They're given encouragement to look for the true reality if they've got some little inkling of a direction, or of something they might find. But you can see it's a monumental task.

Yet when you get there, you realize that what you found is a combination of totality and nothingness. And why is it necessary to say it this way? Why couldn't there be a better gradation? Well, it can't. To me, we live in the curse of relativity – by relativity I mean polarity: good and bad, black and white, high and low, here and there. But there are no such things beyond the human mind. The human mind is the only tunnel or channel through which you're going to find your Self. Your Self is not out there, up there. You find it inside, through your mind – and then that goes too.

When I was delivering Zen lectures – we talked mostly at colleges to young people – I used to mention this to the students: for a person to achieve anything of any worth, you have to fatten up your head. You have to build up your ego.3 You have to read every book you can get, because that reading will stimulate further reading and further action. And in the action you become an actor. You become a doer instead of a reader. You become a man of knowledge instead of a man of belief.

This is one thing that I maintain: to doubt is sacred; to believe is foolishness. So always check your principles, to see whether you're believing or whether you're actually doing, that you actually are something – what I call a vector.4 You establish yourself as a vector. And this goes down through life. You hear things that are extremely paradoxical. And incidentally, the paradox is the great element in the search for Truth – which you discover as soon as you get off this routine that everyone follows in the line of religion or belief-systems.


In other words, you find that they make absolute statements such as, "If you don't do this, you're going to hell." Somebody made this remark the other day on a radio station I was listening to. Evidently on this program they do a lot of calling each other names. But they were arguing about the Bible. And a Jewish woman called in and said, "I don't like what you're saying, because you're explaining it to Jews, for one thing, and I don't think that's making them any better off. And you say that we're not going to heaven unless we become Christians.

So then the guy in charge of the program attacked this fellow who was preaching fundamentalism. He said, "Now Steve, you're hedging. You really believe the Bible – and the Bible says that people who are exposed to the word of Christ and don't follow it are going to hell." That if you're not exposed to the word of Christ, of course, then you can't hear what he's saying: you're deaf, dumb and blind – so you go to purgatory. But once you're exposed to it, presumably, you better believe or you're going to hell. And he says, "That means that all the Jews are going to hell, right? Don't be afraid to say it, that all the Jews are going to hell. C'mon, say it."

Well, I listened to this for awhile. And then somebody butted in and said, "You know what I don't like about this, is that Adolf Hitler had a chance to be saved, he was supposedly of the Christian faith, so he's going to hell. He's in hell. And down there also is Mahatma Gandhi, who didn't accept Christianity, so he's in hell too. Now we're all going to have to go down there in hell with Adolf Hitler, and I don't think you should impose that." And here the arguing got down to a point where this one preacher was going to force people into an association in hell, regulated by Christian principles. So – I wonder how far people will go in their exploration of the facts.

Bible translations

Of course the Bible was translated, supposedly from Aramaic. I met a man one time who went through a lot of these translations, and these were some of the things he came up with. The words weren't all translated correctly. First it was translated into Greek, and from there it was translated into Latin – that was in the days of the early Christian church. And the sects in the early church found certain things that they thought would be better if they either omitted or changed – because their doctrine at the time had changed, according to different conferences they had at Constantinople5 and later in Rome.6 So we don't know for sure exactly what happened, but we do know that these words changed.

For instance, there are two words in Hebrew for hell in the Bible. One of them is sheol7 and the other is gehenna.8 One is the grave, and the other is the city dump; supposedly that's the meaning of those words. Okay, you go back to the Bible and you translate it: "If a man calls his neighbor a fool, he shall be in danger of hellfire."9 Now will he be in danger of hellfire, or will he be in danger of being thrown out of town and have to live with the lepers on the city dump? It seems more reasonable that the translation would have been the city dump, more than going to hell forever just for calling your neighbor a fool.

The word angel in the Bible was translated from the Greek word angelos, which means messenger.10 And if you go back into the Old Testament and you pick out where it says angel, you'll find that the two angels who visited Lot were messengers.11 Because they ate bread with him, and the men outside the house wanted to have sexual intercourse with them, and they tried to. And if the angels had wings, they would have seen they were supernatural creatures, and even if they didn't have wings, if they were divine creatures, they surely would have shown it.

Lot had to go out and say, "Hey, boys, take my daughters." (You'll have to read this yourself; this is how I remember it.) And they said, "Send these men out so we can have them." And Lot said, "No. If that's your mood, take my daughters." And they said, "No, no, we don't want your daughters." So these messengers said, "Never mind, we'll fix the situation." And they went out and hit the town with a laser ray or something, and that was the end of Sodom. That's where Lot's wife supposedly turned into a pillar of salt. Presumably they had some power to exert, and it was strictly a scientific power they had at the time. But one thing is for sure, whether they were divine creatures or not, they were capable of eating bread; they were capable, supposedly, according to all appearances, of the men outside thinking they could have intercourse with them.

Consequently, getting back to this conversation on the radio, evidently the people who are so stoutly defending their religion and denouncing each others' religion never bothered to go into the real fundamentalism, which is the translation of the Bible. Take the Hebrew and the Greek and translate it – and then argue it.

Okay, do we have time for some questions?


End of part 3; to be continued.


1. Rose attributed some of his personal characteristics to courage and persistence expressed by his mother, regarding the jailing of his father, while Rose was in the womb.

2. An objective experience.

3. Meditation Papers: "Another ego that should not be removed in the beginning is the desire to be whole, which might be a form of narcissism. Even though this is interpreted as pride, unless it is retained until the point of maturity and intuition is reached, most of the railroad tracks for our reversed vector will be removed." Monitor Papers (distributed by Rose to local self-inquiry group leaders): "Thus we do not drop the Faith ego or delusion, until we have built a vector that will sustain our aim without such assurance."

4. Albigen Papers, ch. 7: "Law of the Reversed Vector." Transmission Paper: "This is the magnificent exercise of reversing the downward vector."

5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea

6. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East-West_Schism

7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheol

8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gehenna

9. Matthew 5:22

10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel

11. Genesis 19:1

~ Thanks to Steve Harnish for the transcription. for information on the transcription project.

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