On Ducks

People seek in enlightenment an experience to transform their lives into new meaning and understanding. It has become spiritual candy and they sometimes abandon reason in looking for it.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. There are many ducks in today's spiritual market place. I failed to see one of them as a duck back in his hey day when he was called Franklin Jones or Bubbah Free John. I read his book, The Knee of Listening, and was impressed by his spiritual depth, but that was before I realized that enlightenment doesn't necessarily change scoundrels into saints. (See Some Notes on Enlightenment, 17 December.) I was in illustrious company as he had been endorsed by Alan Watts and Ken Wilber. I had much to learn about ducks.

Since then he still quacks but has undergone several name changes, the spiritual equivalent of plastic surgery. Here are a few, starting with the most recent: Adi Da/Adidam, aka Franklin Jones, Da Free John, Bubba Free John. At his web site this is found:

" Adi Da Samraj, the Promised God Man is here. Discover his divine life and work."

No less than an avatar himself. God Man, indeed. Let us all bow down before the New Messiah.

The desire for enlightenment creates people like him. Without it, he would have no followers. Some things there are, however, that are more important for a fulfilled life. They are reason, compassion, morality, and integrity. He has a resumé of enlightenment experiences and look at him.

He has been sued by many former members, one of whom, Mark Miller, said they had been forced to chant daily "prayers." The prayers include "Da is the Living Truth. Da is the Way of Salvation. Da is the eternal Master of Man." Women have been made his sex slaves.

About ducks such as Franklin Jones, aka Adi Da, an open letter to the Buddhist Community resulted from a meeting between the Dali Lama and concerned individuals. In part, the letter says this:
  • "An individual's position as a teacher arises in dependence on the request of his or her students, not simply being appointed as such by higher authority. Great care must therefor e exercised by the student in selecting an appropriate teacher. Sufficient time must be given to making this choice, which should be based on personal investigation, reason and experience. Students should be warned against the dangers of falling prey to charisma, charlatanism or exoticism."
  • "Particular concern was expressed about unethical conduct among teachers. In recent years both Asian and Western teachers have been involved in scandals concerning sexual misconduct with their students, abuse of alcohol and drugs, misappropriation of funds, and misuse of power. This has resulted in widespread damage both to the Buddhist community and to individual involved. Each student must be encouraged to take responsible measures to confront teachers with unethical aspects of their conduct.

    Some sites on ducks:
  • Adi Da Samraj: Scandals,Lies,& Bad Taste
  • Transcript of NBC Today Show Report on Da Free John
  • Daism Research Index
  • Stop Abuse By Spiritual Authorities
  • The ,, Controversial Groups, and Movements
  • Adi Da/Adidam, aka Franklin Jones, Da Free John, Bubba Free John
  • Ken Wilber: An Update on The Case of Adi Da
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