Killing the Tiger – Laughing Man Magazine

“Something in us wishes to remain a
child, to be unconscious or, at most, conscious only of the
ego; to reject everything strange, or else subject it to our
will; to do nothing, or else indulge our own craving for
pleasure or power.”

Carl Jung, The Structures
& Dynamics of the Psyche

Killing the Tiger

“Thus, even though people have
been suggesting to me for years that they are motivated to
practice the
, I have observed
that their motivation is caused mainly by the distresses of
to fulfill
calling of the
stage of life
. The
third stage, not the
process of Spiritual life
is basically what all of you have been gradually, and not
altogether successfully, working out in my Company. Whereas
the process that I consider with you, which finishes up that
business rather directly, is really about moving into the
context of the
stage of life

Adi Da Samraj


trial of human maturity begins at puberty when the physical
signs of adulthood begin, to appear. Traditional cultures,
and especially primitive tribes, have

always marked this moment by
rites of passage
to test the moral and emotional mettle of the

adolescent, prior to admitting
him or her into full adult status and

responsibility within the

The following talk is taken from
the Laughing Man Magazine, Vol 7, No 2, 1987), Adi Da Samraj
remarks on
absence of any such tests in contemporary, Western society
emphasizes the
need for those who aspire to spiritual practice to
the tiger”,
or, in other words, to first show the signs of.
(male or female] that were traditionally taken for
in the
ordinary mature adult.


so-called adulthood, or to come of legal age in the West,
you need not have passed through tests of manhood, male or
female. In fact, in general, individuals have not done so.
The Western circumstance is unique in that adults typically
live as children and adolescents, having become an adult
merely by having achieved a certain age.

A profound element is missing from
Western culture relative to development in the first three
stages of life. Particularly in the egalitarian age of the
last two hundred years or so, we have abandoned something
basic, allowing everyone to remain children and adolescents
forever. Bizarre philosophies and political and cultural
movements, the new scientism and technology, have all been
created in an age in which everyone is “equal”, and everyone
is also a child or an adolescent.

In traditional societies, even in
the Western world to a degree, manhood training was required
of both males and females. A period of transformation,
obligatory in the transition to adulthood, granted a certain
integrity to past cultures. There is something strange in
the West, part of the “gift” of the white man, if you like.
A certain aspect of human transition has been abandoned. The
various human events that are swallowing us, threatening
everyone, are the products of that abandonment, a cultural
product of our own immaturity. I am here to consider the
Great Matter with you, but you have not accomplished, nor
did you ever confront, the requirements of your own


“Because of the
nature of humanity at this time, I have had to
introduce the mechanism of
consideration1 and practice, which
replaces or provides an equivalent form for the
trial that should have been introduced, at least in
basic terms, in every household of ordinary
humanity on Earth”.


Early life tends to be full of
confrontation with one’s parents. All the aspects of your
own human character and potential are present, and you
develop a survival strategy in relation to the principal
individuals in your early life, usually your mother and your
father. Inevitably, then, “people develop oedipal
strategies. Traditionally, this development was tacitly
understood, and puberty became a time for testing, a trial
of humanization and adaptation to wisdom. Today, instead of
undergoing a trial at puberty, young people commonly
adolescence as a kind of
free-floating adulthood, wherein they are given access to
adulthood without trial, without understanding, without
responsibility. Individuals then continue to enact the
oedipal strategies they developed in the first two stages of

Thus, the great trial of
humanization and adaptation to wisdom that was associated
with puberty has been abandoned in the common world in
recent times, producing many devastating signs in popular
culture. Never having passed through that humanizing trial,
people still live as children and adolescents regardless of
age, still dramatizing their ordinariness, their sexual and
emotional possibilities, like small children with mother and
father. Because all their strategies are intact, worked out
in reaction to the parental situation, people dramatize
their early-life oedipal strategies in the ordinary social
or political circumstance of daily life even into old

Perhaps the passage to manhood was
not understood in Freudian terms in the past, but it was
understood in a very basic sense. It was acknowledged that
to achieve puberty in the physical sense was not to enter
adulthood but to begin a trial leading to adulthood. A
variety of social and cultural impositions required
individuals to adapt differently and to break out of the
early-life oedipal pattern. It was understood that only that
trial would truly prepare them for adulthood.

This is not understood in the common
world today. Some people, by virtue of their circumstance
and their suffering, go through an equivalent trial and at
least become adult in their humanity, but this is not
common, certainly not in the teenage years when it

should occur. Look at the adult world
to which you adapted. It is a teenage world, a world that
has not undergone the trial of adulthood. People dramatize
ambiguity, dependence independence, struggling,
exaggeration, self-indulgence, mediocre self-discipline, and
games of social conformity. The truly human world is
developed through the trial of the third stage of life,
producing real adulthood and the possibility of further
growth in the advancing stages, but very few people have
entered the doorway of the advanced stages. Most people
spend their lives struggling with the possible
accomplishment of the third stage of life, still suffering
the limitations of the oedipal adaptation of their early

This is true of you all, is it not?
This is why we have so much to talk about, why we must
address your continued involvement in oedipal strategies, as
if you are still living with mommy and daddy. Whereas you
should already have gone through that trial.

Traditionally, young men were given
a spear, and they went out to kill a tiger or be killed.
They passed through the training of manhood, overcoming
whatever circumstance had to be overcome to become a man.
They could not depend on their parents. They exhibited the
manly signs or suffered a great deal in the process. In the
traditional tribal setting, one who did not pass the test
was ostracized or perhaps even died. He was always an
outsider, not permitted access to the adult world. The
woman’s trial was not to go out and kill a tiger, but it was
a matter of being tested by the adult women and measuring up
to them, abandoning the dependency do mommy and daddy and
showing integrity as an adult female, perhaps ready to be
married and to assume adult responsibilities.

Nowadays as soon as the individual
begins to show sexual signs, he begins dramatizing
adolescence, starts living a secret life of exaggeration or
self-indulgence or mere conformity. Individuals are not
called upon to pass the trial whereby they break the bond of
childhood. Thus, even though people have been suggesting to
me for years that they are motivated to practice the Great
Way, I have observed that their motivation is caused mainly
by the distresses of their failure to fulfill the calling of
the third stage of life. The third stage, not the great
process of Spiritual life, is basically what all of you have
been gradually, and not altogether successfully, working out
in my Company. Whereas the process that I consider with you,
which finishes up that business rather directly, is really
about moving into the context of the fourth stage of life
and beyond.

I consider the Spiritual Process
with you, but you are not ready for it, because you nave
unfinished business relative to your ordinary humanity, and
that has been the substance of our discussion as it relates
to you personally. The rest has been about Wisdom that is
appropriate for you to consider but which you are not up to.
Only when you pass the trial of manhood, male or female, are
you ready for the Wisdom trial. Kill the tiger, and then go
on your vision quest. You men have not killed tigers yet.
You are still trying to overcome your reaction to your
father. And you women have not secured the center of the
hive, the center of the village, exhibited the signs of true
balance and true femininity. You are still abusing your
mothers and duplicating the life-failures of the previous

Thus, we must introduce a trial,
which need not take a traditional form, into the third stage
of life of those who grow up in our community. A variety of
approaches are worth studying, but our effect on those who
become teenagers should be humanizing and should serve their
adaptation to true Wisdom, true adulthood, true human
responsibility. They need not suffer adolescence as we have.
Rather, they should enjoy and participate in the real ordeal
of the third stage of life, which is not becoming a
pseudo-adult or a self-indulgent character bereft of Wisdom
and obligation and dramatizing the ambiguity of dependence
and independence. Rather, the trial of the third stage
should allow the individual to break out of ambiguity and
assume true balance, integrity, and responsibility as a
human -being,
aligned to the
great possibility of further growth in the advancing

You did not experience that ordeal
in your teenage years, and you all are good evidence for why
that ordeal should have occurred, and
why we should give the gift of that ordeal to our children.
The business of a teenager is to break out of the oedipal
bond, not to dramatize and suffer that bond. When you reach
adult age in your late teens or early twenties, you should
be a fully prepared adult, responsible and balanced, no
longer an infantile character dramatizing childish
adolescent motives relative
to parental figures. You should be a free human adult, male
or female, able to exercise yourself relative to the greater
possibility. Having grown to that degree, you must then
submit yourself to the ordeal of practice through
self-discipline and self-transcendence. Achieve,’ true
humanity, and then move on to the fourth stage of life and

Because of the nature of humanity at
this time, I have had to introduce the mechanism of
consideration1 and practice, which replaces or
provides an equivalent form for the trial that should have
been introduced, at least in basic terms, in every household
of ordinary humanity on Earth. Such a trial was common when
mankind presumed to live in community, but now that we are
all “equal”, we are allowed to be adolescents forever. The
motive toward equality is a secondary motive. The great
motive is the one of self-transcendence, Realization, right
association with others. Eternal adolescence, which is an
exploitation of the species, is destructive. The entire
world at the present time is completely mad, indulging in
meaningless ceremonies, and everyone is

If you had killed a tiger or made a
hair shirt, if you had had to pass through a trial by fire
and grow up, you would make a different society with one
another. You would understand the difficulties of life, the
possibilities of suffering, the destructive nature of the
universe. Then you would exemplify a superior disposition, a
truly human capability.

The tiger is the ego, and the tiger
is death. You must confront them both. You must confront
yourself and the imposition of the universe, and you must
overcome both to be a man, male or female. Then you will be
good company, and then you will also continue to grow.


1. In the Way of the
Heart, “consideration” is the exhaustive reflection upon a
particular object, condition, person, process, or function
until its essential nature is obvious. Consideration in this
sense is not merely an intellectual activity, but a process
of engaging and submitting one’s whole being freely in
relationship to the object of consideration.


Originally published
Laughing Man Magazine – Vol 7 No 2, 1987

adapted by Beezone



Carl Jung’s “Stages Of

According to Carl Jung, what
prevents people from becoming autonomous, fulfilled and
ultimately happy is their refusal to open themselves to
experiences that are new and unfamiliar, and thus
potentially threatening to their sense of self. When we have
passed from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, nature
abandons us to the world of consciousness, which is to say,
to culture. We are thus forced to say “good-bye to childlike
unconsciousness and trust in nature.” The question then
arises, “What kind of person shall I then become in this
strange new world?” Each of us must confront it.

As Jung sees it, people desire a
life that is safe, uncomplicated, familiar and in many
respects unchanging. But such a life is ultimately
constricting: it forecloses the possibility of learning and
evolving, and thus, of developing a “wider and higher

more: Philosophical


Joseph Campbell’s

The Hero’s Journey : Summary of
the Steps


This page summarizes the brief
explanations from every step of the Hero’s


The Call to

The call to adventure is the point
in a person’s life when they are first given notice that
everything is going to change, whether they know it or

Refusal of the

Often when the call is given, the
future hero refuses to heed it. This may be from a sense of
duty or obligation, fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy,
or any of a range of reasons that work to hold the person in
his or her current circumstances.

Supernatural Aid

Once the hero has committed to the
quest, consciously or unconsciously, his or her guide and
magical helper appears, or becomes known.

The Crossing of the First

This is the point where the person
actually crosses into the field of adventure, leaving the
known limits of his or her world and venturing into an
unknown and dangerous realm where the rules and limits are
not known.

The Belly of the

The belly of the whale represents
the final separation from the hero’s known world and self.
It is sometimes described as the person’s lowest point, but
it is actually the point when the person is between or
transitioning between worlds and selves. The separation has
been made, or is being made, or being fully recognized
between the old world and old self and the potential for a
new world/self. The experiences that will shape the new
world and self will begin shortly, or may be beginning with
this experience which is often symbolized by something dark,
unknown and frightening. By entering this stage, the person
shows their willingness to undergo a metamorphosis, to die
to him or herself.


The Road of Trials

The road of trials is a series of
tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo to
begin the transformation. Often the person fails one or more
of these tests, which often occur in threes.

The Meeting with the

The meeting with the goddess
represents the point in the adventure when the person
experiences a love that has the power and significance of
the all-powerful, all encompassing, unconditional love that
a fortunate infant may experience with his or her mother. It
is also known as the “hieros gamos”, or sacred marriage, the
union of opposites, and may take place entirely within the
person. In other words, the person begins to see him or
herself in a non-dualistic way. This is a very important
step in the process and is often represented by the person
finding the other person that he or she loves most
completely. Although Campbell symbolizes this step as a
meeting with a goddess, unconditional love and /or self
unification does not have to be represented by a

Woman as the

At one level, this step is about
those temptations that may lead the hero to abandon or stray
from his or her quest, which as with the Meeting with the
Goddess does not necessarily have to be represented by a
woman. For Campbell, however, this step is about the
revulsion that the usually male hero may feel about his own
fleshy/earthy nature, and the subsequent attachment or
projection of that revulsion to women. Woman is a metaphor
for the physical or material temptations of life, since the
hero-knight was often tempted by lust from his spiritual

Atonement with the

In this step the person must
confront and be initiated by whatever holds the ultimate
power in his or her life. In many myths and stories this is
the father, or a father figure who has life and death power.
This is the center point of the journey. All the previous
steps have been moving in to this place, all that follow
will move out from it. Although this step is most frequently
symbolized by an encounter with a male entity, it does not
have to be a male; just someone or thing with incredible
power. For the transformation to take place, the person as
he or she has been must be “killed” so that the new self can
come into being. Sometime this killing is literal, and the
earthly journey for that character is either over or moves
into a different realm.


To apotheosize is to deify. When
someone dies a physical death, or dies to the self to live
in spirit, he or she moves beyond the pairs of opposites to
a state of divine knowledge, love, compassion and bliss.
This is a god-like state; the person is in heaven and beyond
all strife. A more mundane way of looking at this step is
that it is a period of rest, peace and fulfillment before
the hero begins the return.

The Ultimate Boon

The ultimate boon is the achievement
of the goal of the quest. It is what the person went on the
journey to get. All the previous steps serve to prepare and
purify the person for this step, since in many myths the
boon is something transcendent like the elixir of life
itself, or a plant that supplies immortality, or the holy


Refusal of the

So why, when all has been achieved,
the ambrosia has been drunk, and we have conversed with the
gods, why come back to normal life with all its cares and

The Magic Flight

Sometimes the hero must escape with
the boon, if it is something that the gods have been
jealously guarding. It can be just as adventurous and
dangerous returning from the journey as it was to go on

Rescue from

Just as the hero may need guides and
assistants to set out on the quest, often times he or she
must have powerful guides and rescuers to bring them back to
everyday life, especially if the person has been wounded or
weakened by the experience. Or perhaps the person doesn’t
realize that it is time to return, that they can return, or
that others need their boon.

The Crossing of the Return

The trick in returning is to retain
the wisdom gained on the quest, to integrate that wisdom
into a human life, and then maybe figure out how to share
the wisdom with the rest of the world. This is usually
extremely difficult.

Master of the Two

In myth, this step is usually
represented by a transcendental hero like Jesus or Buddha.
For a human hero, it may mean achieving a balance between
the material and spiritual. The person has become
comfortable and competent in both the inner and outer

Freedom to Live

Mastery leads to freedom from the
fear of death, which in turn is the freedom to live. This is
sometimes referred to as living in the moment, neither
anticipating the future nor regretting the past.


See more: The
Hero’s Journey
– Mythic
Structure of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth


Also see other material on Maturity
– both human and spiritual


1. The
Seven Stages of Life

2. The
Great Transition

3. Beezone
Educational Video Series on the Seven Stages of

4. The
First Truly Humanizing Stage of Development

5. Seeds
– Dormant possibilities of life and action

6. Training
the Mind – by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

7. The
Most Difficult Stage – Adi Da Samraj