The Dreaded Gom-Boo – Chapter 10

The Dreaded Gomboo or The Imaginary Disease That
Religion Seeks To Cure.

A Collection of Essays and Talks on the “Direct”
Process of Enlightenment.

By Da Free John.

Compiled and edited with an introduction and commentary
by the Renunciate Hermitage Order.

Table of Contents



Part II: Renunciation


The “Western” Way of Renunciation

September 28, 1982

MASTER DA: The habit of living that is typically and
constantly reinforced in Westerners is a kind of aggressive,
life-clinging, go-out-and-get-it, enjoy-life-while-you-can
orientation. The TV commercial epitomizes the habit of
attachment that is always being suggested to us. All of life
is sold to us that way. Our impulses are always being
stimulated to go get it, to be attached to it, cling to it,
hold on to it. Personalities that develop habitually along
these lines have the greatest difficulty in dealing with
frustration, including the ultimate frustration of
life-threatening circumstance. Therefore, people are in
general very much subject to anxiety and fear and

Another psychology has traditionally been fostered in
people in the East. I am not speaking now about spiritual
acculturation in the East, or the West, but about the common
traditions of East and West, which express two different
styles of life that are taught through the ordinary
mechanisms of society. In the Orient a different disposition
has traditionally been constantly reinforced in people.
Perhaps the more Westernized the whole world has become, the
less typical is this kind of learning, but even to date it
is still generally common that in the East people learn the
habit of detachment, rather than attachment. They learn that
detachment is simply good practical wisdom, that it is
practically better not to be attached. This does not mean
that people in Eastern cultures do not live the life
associated with pleasures and social conventions, but they
are habituated to a more modest association.

The Oriental disposition has its roots in ancient
religious traditions. Just so, we could say that the
traditional or habitual Western psychology has its roots in
the cult of Christianity (rather than the more Oriental
teachings of Jesus of Nazareth). The Western culture, we
could say, is in some basic sense a culture of attachment,
and the Eastern culture is a culture of detachment, and both
these orientations have their limitations when they are made
a style of life.

We could say that the habit of detachment in the Orient
prevents people from dealing with some of the very real
practical problems that society could resolve if it set out
to do so. But on the other hand, we could also say about the
Western orientation that it creates problems where problems
would not arise if it were more free of attachment. At least
it multiplies attachments, always invents more and more
stimulations to the point that life becomes unbearably full
of things, attachments, stuff to do, business, and all the
boredom associated with the satiated feeling that comes from

Therefore, both these attitudes have their limitations
when they become merely styles of life. But certainly you
can see, particularly if you are Westerners, that as a
practical matter it would be better if you were free of the
psychology of clinging and attachment, which you have not
chosen for yourself but which you have learned. And
attachment is not just a habit of mind. Your entire body is
keyed up for it. Your hormonal system is keyed up for it,
your nervous system is keyed up for it, all the programs of
your mind, all the programs below consciousness, and your
entire being are keyed up for attachment, clinging, getting,
having. The trap in this notion of attachment is the fact
that everything changes. A lifetime is not eternal. Every
lifetime comes to an end, and you must endure profound
transformations such as the one contained in death.

You cannot, therefore, reasonably build a life on the
psychology of attachment. Spiritual views completely aside,
it must be obvious, if only from a practical point of view,
that you cannot function simply on the basis of attachment.
You will encounter separations, frustrations,
life-threatening circumstances, and a world that is in
general life-threatening or capable of frustrating you. You
cannot merely be a consumer of life. As a practical matter,
to do so is not workable.

If you observe the basic mechanism of this way of
clinging or attachment, you will see that it is a function
native to mind as you know it. Mind is always associated
with objects. Our association with mind is association with
desire, body, all kinds of conventional relations. The mind
as we know it is basically an object-clinging mechanism. To
cling to objects is its function.

In the Oriental psychologies, such as those communicated
in the Buddhist tradition, mind is analyzed as just that, an
object-clinging mechanism. The Buddhist tradition, and the
Oriental tradition in general, is an ancient tradition of
instruction that calls people to transcend the
object-clinging disposition. The Buddhist traditions call
for responsibility for mind, watching of mind, guarding of
mind against the object-clinging orientation, because
whatever you cling to will change. Whatever you hold on to,
whatever you may identify with, will change and also
disappear. And since things are always changing and always
in some sense disappearing and you have nothing to stand on
and nothing is permanent, it seems reasonable that your
dominant disposition should transcend this object-clinging.
You can, on the basis of that transcendence, still play
life, but you will play it more freely, more openly, without

The object-clinging disposition, the disposition of
attachment, is the basis on which the ego is presumed. It is
the source of the ego. The more there is of object-clinging,
the more there is of the sense of a separate self that needs
to be protected, that you want to make continue forever,
that you want to pleasurize and satisfy. The more there is
of this object-clinging disposition, the more there is of
the self-contraction, the belief in a self or a separate

The Way of the transcendence of object-clinging is also
and most fundamentally the Way of self-transcendence. The
self-transcending Way, then, is associated with freedom from
the object-clinging disposition. Therefore, the Way is
always a process of renunciation. It is not a way of giving
up things or cutting yourself off from things. It is,
rather, the Way of standing in the Free Position, before
there is the self-contraction, and, therefore, before there
is object-clinging. It is, simply, to Stand Free. And if you
Stand Free, any number of styles of life become possible,
such as those communicated in the traditions-monasticism,
wandering, apparently functioning in this world but without
object-clinging attachment and without clinging to the false
notion of a self, which is simply a psychological pattern or
presumption based on the object-clinging mind.

A few very fundamental affirmations are proposed in the
Buddhist tradition. One is that everything changes and
nothing is to be held on to. Life is suffering in that
sense. Another is that there is no self, no independent
entity. These are two of the primary points of view, and
they follow one upon the other. The object-clinging mind
develops the psychology of self-attachment, and where there
is self-attachment there is object-clinging, fear, and

The spiritual Way is inherently and necessarily
self-transcending, not because it is a formula of effort
that eventually transcends the self, but because it stands
from the beginning in the position of “hearing,” in the
position of freedom from the principle of the
self-contraction. It is always a renunciate Way inherently,
because it is inherently self-transcending, and therefore it
is inherently free of the habit of object-clinging.

If there is no object-clinging, no clinging to phenomena
of any kind, subjective or objective, then whatever changes
that may occur in the plane of phenomena will be encountered
in the disposition of freedom or non-clinging. The
experience of death, for instance, or frustration, or
life-threatening circumstance, will have a different
apparent effect in the psychology of the natural disposition
of an individual who lives from the point of view of
no-clinging than in the psychology of someone who has always
habitually lived from the point of view of attachment.

Westerners never receive this kind of Teaching in the
framework of ordinary life. The Western tradition is the
“go-and-get-em,” “gotcha” game. Thus, Westerners do not
generally hear even this practical wisdom. There is more to
it than practical wisdom-it is the basis of a great
spiritual Way-but in the simple plane of ordinary life it
can be regarded a practical wisdom, and Westerners do not
encounter it. If they do, they hear about it or they read
about it, but they do not endure the life-process of
abandoning the habit of attachment and developing the habit
of non-attachment.

There is more to the Way of renunciation than merely
hearing some lectures about it or hearing me tell you about
it or reading books about it. You must assume the
discipline. The reason it is such a difficult discipline for
undisciplined people is that they have habitually been
undisciplined. They have habitually been living the
orientation of attachment, and that style of living has
built up habit energy, structures in the mind, the brain,
the body, the nervous system, and the hormonal system. As a
result, they are not really responsible for non-attachment,
but they are only geared up for attachment and reactions to
the frustrations of living.

Thus, profound and practical learning is involved in the
process of “hearing.”

DEVOTEE: Master, many of the books on the reading list
you have recommended consider the “sila” of the Buddhist
tradition, which seems basically to be control of the
outgoing energies.

MASTER DA: Yes, or outgoing exuberance. This is why
taboos exist in the monastic circles even against laughter.
Any demonstration of energy is a loss of face.

The monastic schools of Hinayana Buddhism basically are
reducible to applying this one principle of non-attachment
to the absolute degree. They carry the psychological
principle that characterizes the Oriental way of life to its
extreme. When carried to its extreme, it becomes repressive
and destructive, although it may be temporarily useful as a
way of learning the psychological capacity for detachment.
But when that “sila” is the only practice, then the
practitioner winds up working to repress and ultimately to
destroy the force of Being itself, beyond egoity.

The Vajrayana school of the Tibetan tradition regards the
Hinayana discipline of pursuing Nirvana to be a sort of
kindergarten of the discipline. The Adepts of the Vajrayana
regard the compassion or free disposition of the Bodhisattva
to be a much higher stage, and a much higher stage still is
the Realization of the Siddhas, the Enlightened yogis who
see no distinction between Nirvana and samsara, and who
function even “Crazily,” or without seeming to be at all
concerned about the fact that they seem to be doing what you
do in your commitment to attachment.

Thus, the Crazy Adepts, even in an exaggerated fashion,
may tend to live the Western style of life. They live as if
completely attached, or they do the things that, you might
imagine, if they continued to do them they would become so
profoundly attached they would even destroy themselves or
work counter to Enlightenment. But they are functioning on
the basis of prior Enlightenment. No attachment, no egoic
principle, no self-principle is involved in what they are
doing. They demonstrate complete freedom through paradox.
Thus, the evolution of the Buddhist tradition, from Hinayana
to Vajrayana and ultimately to Advaitayana, expresses a
return from East to West.

In our discussions most recently I have been playing on
your disposition of attachment. The essence of our
discussion has been the consideration of renunciation or the
free disposition of practice of the Way. We have considered
your life of attachment, particularly as it is expressed in
your intimate choices of marriage and the whole society of
attachment you create when you organize your lives along the
lines of your sexual choices. For anyone, but particularly
for Westerners, the life of choosing and marrying and living
and working is based on the psychology of attachment.

You all are acting as if you want to be householders, as
if you want to make those choices and at the same time
practice the Way of renunciation. I want to make it very
clear to you that another principle must intervene. The Way
that I Teach is not merely the householders life with a
little religion thrown in. You must Realize the free
disposition and transform the quality of existence
altogether, whether you continue to maintain the conventions
of married life or not. In any case, you must realize the
disposition that is Awakened through hearing and that is
then expressed through the natural discipline of one who

In this consideration and all this testing of you, I am
looking for the evidence that you are people who have heard,
that you are renunciates, that you are already practicing,
and that you are not just a bunch of ordinary people who
have no responsibility for themselves and no insight, who
are merely functioning on the basis of automaticities and
the habits acquired from the ordinary object-oriented,
consumer-oriented society. You have never learned wisdom
before, and, therefore, you have never lived it. Now that
you are learning that wisdom, you must live it, not just
talk it and organize yourselves relative to certain
superficial aspects of the way it looks to you.

As I have pointed out, one of the most significant areas
of life in which you see this bondage is at the level of
sexuality. On the one hand, sex is the most intimate
dimension of the individuals life functionally. It is also
in some sense social because it takes place in the plane of
relations, but generally in relations outside general
visibility, in the domain of privacy.

We have a great deal of mind accumulated around sex.
Apart from what you may have observed about yourself
sexually and considered through this Teaching, the secular
knowledge about sexuality has become quite vast in the last
century, beginning with the work of Freud and developing
from the work of others since Freud. Sex is not just genital
pleasuring with its various social implications. It is
profoundly linked with our being, with our unconscious mind,
our subconscious mind, the pattern of our living, the
pattern of emotion. Even the whole pattern of body is
controlled by the disposition of the sex-force.

Therefore, all the arrangements built upon sexuality, all
the habits built upon it, all the psychology built upon it,
even your whole life, which is built upon it-all of that is
a great impediment to the spiritual Way.

I have described the Western style of marriage as the
“cult of pairs.” It is a fortress against change. It
involves the psychology of eternalizing the partner and all
the ideas associated with romance whereby you become not
merely human but objects desirable at the level of an
archetype. You become surrogate gods for one another at the
level of the romance of attachment and the usual games
associated with initiating the sexual relationship.

Then, once the relationship is established, you are busy
trying to keep it from being destroyed, to the point that
you are not even enjoying it particularly any more, not
nearly so much, at any rate. You are only protecting,
creating the fortress, just holding on, becoming more and
more aware as time goes on that you are changing, you are
getting older, and death and all kinds of possible changes
could come to you. Therefore, the possibility inherent in
everyones partner that he or she could have sex relations
with somebody else becomes another of the great enemies.
Jealousy is a terrible force in people, and it is just part
of that fortress consciousness. Particularly as Westerners,
we build our sexual intimacies upon this fortress mentality
that expresses the psychology of clinging, not the
psychology of non-attachment, non-clinging, and no-self.

Until you realize the self-transcending disposition and
begin to relate to everything differently, what you do
really makes no difference. I am not saying that nothing
will make a difference no matter what you do. You can do all
kinds of things and realize all kinds of effects. I mean
that you could be married, you could be unmarried and have
sexual encounters here and there, you could be a monastic.
You could take on any of these styles, in other words, and
none of them will change anything ultimately. They will all
simply express the same bound disposition, the same
self-possessed personality.

What you keep on doing is magnified in your life. What
you do not do recedes, and what you do increases. The action
level, the persistence level, is the karmic level. To stop
doing things will cause them eventually to recede. Everybody
has basically gone through the consideration and now you
have settled into your relations again. But at the same time
you are saying “Oh, we have learned so much from this
consideration. We will never be the same again. We are
really going to use this in our relationships now!” Yet you
are all doing the same thing that you were doing before.
Whatever you may think you are adding that will make you
freer in your intimacies, you are still doing the same
thing, and what you are doing will perpetuate and magnify
itself. It will have much greater force than whatever you
think you may be able to add to the situation through
thought alone.

If you had come through this time with an idea not to do
certain kinds of things, then we might say that something
had changed, something might recede in the future. But if
the only change for any of you is a change in mind, or a
change merely at the subjective level that you think you may
add to your active circumstance, then it is not likely that
anything great will change.

In other words, nothing at the level of action has
changed. You will still do what you have been doing. Thus,
you cannot expect much to recede, and anything you think you
have learned exists only at the present level of mind became
you are keeping it there through conversation. As soon as I
stop having this conversation with you, after time passes,
when I have stopped talking and we have stopped considering
it, the consideration will recede, and the actions will
continue. Three months from now, six months from now, we
could have the same considerations and deal with basically
the same things all over again, the same drama essentially
as it was played out in recent days. Of course, there are
always little variations on what people will do, but
essentially the same drama would arise to be played out.

You must do more than temporarily put something in your
mind that makes you feel that everything will be different
from now on. You must change your act altogether, not just
your outer act but yourself as an act, the self-contraction,
the self-action in all its patterns. Something fundamental
at the level of action must change because the karma, the
bondage, lies in action. You have added nothing but patterns
of thought through these few days together. I would say our
consideration has been like a Chinese lunch. It is not going
to satisfy you and it is not going to change anything
because you have not changed anything. You have only come
full circle to the decision to go on with it just as it

The Dreaded Gom-Boo – Table of Contents