non, je ne regrete rien…

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive.

But to be young was very heaven…

William Wordsworth, writing about his first reaction to the outbreak of the French Revolution

Back in 1993, when I first entered the tribe of the Enkaytees, still then in its dawn-time, everything in the heavenly world the tribe’s Spiritual Guide had created was new and fresh and his disciples were full of innocent enthusiasm, willing to work body and soul for the spreading of his doctrine throughout the world. That generation was truly blessed, able to live in his holy presence and hear his actual words. For me, travelling to the city of Enkiti in the frozen (or rainy, or both!) north was like a holy pilgrimage, and hearing him teach felt, so I imagined, like it must have felt hearing Jesus teach his Beatitudes in his Sermon on the Mount. His words were truths echoing within the heart’s faint memory of a wisdom it thought completely lost. But much of that generation has gone now, disappearing into the merciless maw of history, either dead, in their dotage, or sidelined and purged by the various ‘scandals’, ‘palace coups’, and changing of the guards that have occurred over the years. The history of the Enkaytree tribe has been rewritten many times, and will be rewritten many times again in the future to airbrush out all the darker pages of its past, and the tribe’s identity as defined by the city of Enkiti will continue on in this world. But it will endure crippled by its unacknowledged shadow-self , its public reputation increasingly degraded as the years go by. The tribe I knew in its glorious beginning does not now exist. It has changed, changed utterly and now, to quote W.B.Yeats, ” a terrrible beauty is born”. The autocratic, bureaucratic leviathan that the tribe has become is now utterly different from the open, tolerant, spontaneous, creative, organic movement it once was. The new order the tribal chieftains wish to impose without debate upon all its fiefdoms amounts to nothing less than a constitutional coup d’etat, a crushing of all local autonomy and democracy and the creation of one vast legal entity in which everything is controlled from the top-down. The city of Enkiti will eventually be the new Rome, exerting papal-like authority outwards across a global empire of faith.

But faith is a deeply personal, heartfelt feeling that is ultimately free from any external law or rules. And faith in a Spiritual Guide, once it has taken root and become integrated with faith in one’s own spiritual potential through the realisation that reliance upon a spiritual guide is the mirror image of the discovery and cultivation of one’s inner wisdom, is something that cannot be taken away from one no matter how damning the condemnation of one is from either the spiritual guide’s supposed colleagues or even the spiritual guide himself. Faith can survive even betrayal and disillusionment, because faith is a purity that comes from within, from one’s own heart, and that faith can never die. Once faith has created a vision of the Pure Land within the mind, that faith is a pure seed that does not ultimately need watering from outside oneself. Only the life-giving water of one’s own spiritual practice is necessary, a practice that can be continued outside any institutional framework or organisational arrangement if necessary. The solitary wandering yogis and yoginis of India and Tibet proved that; even the life of the Buddha himself, wandering the dusty roads of India as a beggar wearing rags and sleeping in the wilderness of forests, proved that. It is in the nature of samsara anyway that ultimately no friend or organisation – no matter how spiritual they purport to be –  can be  relied upon as a totally pure refuge; only a purity that is born from within can be totally relied upon. Already that inner Spiritual Guide has provided me with a new tribe, one without chieftains, without any formal hierarchy or set of rules, one that joyously meets in harmony and the spiritual communion of deep meditation, and one that accepts the teachings of the outer Spiritual Guide we all grew up with without needing to apply them any more within the constraints of an autocratic, hierarchical organisation. I do not regret one single moment of having been in the tribe of the Enkaytees and I cherish every word of the teachings of the Spiritual Guide of that tribe. But I, and many others, have now outgrown the need to be a part of that tribe because we now know there is a vast world of opportunity beyond the tribal boundaries and with the teachings and our faith as refuge, we can step out confidently into that brave new world. We have grown up, even if the tribe has not, not yet anyway. Non, je ne regrete rien…

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2 Comments on “non, je ne regrete rien…”

  1. John Swainson says:

    ‘The city of Enkiti will eventually be the new Rome, exerting papal-like authority outwards across a global empire of faith’.

    The city of Rome. Ah, the Roman Empire. A good comparison. I wonder if people will visit the ruins of Enkiti in 2000 years?

    Wonder if the National Trust will look after the site?

    The Ancient Temple is one of a number of temples dotted around the world which are now in a state of ruin. The only remnants of a once flourishing dynasty which collapsed with drastic results.

    Not since Sodom and Gomorrah had a dynasty perished so completely.

    Don’t look back Andy or you will have had your ‘Lot’

  2. Carol says:

    I think the worst tragedy of Enkititis is that many people who leave ‘keep’ their spiritual guide and thus keep, in some way, deeply attached to Enkiti-ness and, following the sectarianism so heavily developed within the Enkiti empire, do not venture further away to other teachings, do not know, hear and see other, often more subtle, broad and incredible parts of the path to enlightenment. There are suns shining elsewhere. Do not let the Enkiti shadow make you feel that only by being part of another tribe can you go further. Do not, as they say, throw out the baby with the bath water. There are other, much more splendid worlds to explore. Ones that will open your eyes to the real tragedy of the Enkiti; that they do not give any of their students the richness, the depth and the beauty of Dharma. It is edited by Enkititis into an advert of itself…


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