Sunday, October 10, 2010


E-mails To A JewBu

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by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

[ JewBu - A Jewish person who follows the Buddhist religion.  Photo, a Shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute. ]

I went shopping on the internet to buy a Japanese flute for a friend’s son. I found someone in a small town in Northern California who sells the authentic ones, and he also sells plastic imitations. They sound pretty good, and they look almost like the real bamboo ones, (at least from a distance). Best of all, they cost about ten percent of the authentic, bamboo ones, which go for at least $1000.

      I checked out the Web site, and as you might expect, it was decorated with ancient-looking Japanese scenes. There was even a Buddha or two scattered in there. Okay, not to my liking, but as long as there were no symbols of idolatry on the instrument itself, I felt that it was alright to buy it. Then I saw that the entrepreneur advertised that a portion of the profits went to his outreach work teaching Buddhism in prisons. Obviously, I could not support that kind of work. I wrote to him, asking if other arrangements could be made. His last name is Cohen. (hummm?) I will call him Joe.

Gutman: I would like to buy a shakuhachi, but I do not want any of the proceeds to be used to spread Buddhism. Can such an arrangement be made?

Joe: This is a very strange request. However, to be fair to you, your purchase will not go toward spreading Buddhist teachings, which happen to be some of the finest and most loving teachings the world has even known. Tell me, why do you have such strong feelings against Buddhism?

Gutman: I lived in Japan for three years, so I am very familiar with Buddhist teachings. If the money will not be used to spread those teachings, then, I would like to order a shakuhachi. Your last name is a Jewish name. By any chance, is your mother Jewish?

Joe: Of course she is, and my dad was a Cohen (the Jewish Priestly tribe). If you look at my Web site, although you may or may not agree with the wording or approach, I have been assisting people with their inner connection to the Source for about 30 years. In other words, without making any claims, I have been following my "priestly" vocation in my own way. Why are you against Buddhism?

Gutman: With all due respect to you and your path, I was there in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and I saw where it goes. You are teaching religious concepts that come from Eastern religions that I studied, and then rejected.

    Go to and you will see, in the flash graphics, the concept that you are talking about on your Web site, but without the Eastern mistakes that you are spreading.

    For instance, you speak of such things as, “man’s spiritual evolution,” “enlightenment,” “connecting to the Source,” “karma,” and that “one has to enter this knowledge through the heart.” Also, all four basic principles of Buddhism speak of suffering! They even claim that all life is suffering.

Joe: Thank you, sir. I appreciate your words. In some ways you are a scholar, in other ways you are not. Buddha never said life was suffering. Uneducated authors repeat the first noble truth in this way. He meant that life was incapable of providing constant satisfaction for our never-ending and self-oriented desires and expectations. Placing our desires and expectations onto life, hoping to be satisfied on a permanent basis, is what brings suffering, because life cannot provide this. Now you can see the genius in this simple teaching. However, when uneducated teachers go repeating that Buddha said "life is suffering" you can see how stupid this is. As for the other issues you have addressed, I have no comments. We will not meet anywhere on the road in this life. But I appreciate you.

Gutman: You say that all desires are self-oriented. This is true only for the materially-motivated person. The spiritually-aware person’s desire is to give.

    You teach the opposite of what the Torah teaches. For instance, you say that one must “enter this knowledge with the heart.” The Torah says, “Do not follow your heart and eyes, they will lead you astray.”


   You say that we have to become enlightened to connect to the Source. The Torah teaches that the Source is All. In all the worlds, there is but One life, a single life, and each of us share a ray of this One, glorious, holy life. We do not have to connect to our Source. The Source is already All. We have to recognize that the One life fills All.

     You wrote that life is incapable of providing constant satisfaction. If we were constantly satisfied we would never strive to grow. The struggles in life come to give us free will, and then a reward for our efforts. These challenges are intended to motivate us to strive to improve the world. While Buddhist “enlightenment” teaches detachment from the world, the Torah teaches us to engage the world and to elevate it.

    If fact, the Torah teaches that this world is the Garden of Eden. That is, when we busy ourselves with the Torah and its commandments. Life is a wonderful joy, a holy opportunity, when you do what you were created to do.

   You teach that each person’s past dictates their karma, and that they are predestined to do what they will do with their life. The Torah says that our past only dictates our future if we let it. The Torah teaches that each of us has free will, and we can choose to go in any direction we want. The most evil man can change and become a truly righteous person. If all would be preordained, as you teach, there could be no mercy from Above. These are not loving teachings.

    You quote Vedanta, (Hindu wisdom) yet those writings say that since “Joe Cohen” is a Jew, he should follow the Torah, and not other Eastern religions. You were created a Jew--and a Cohen to boot! In the Next World you are going to be asked, “What did you do about these inherent major aspects of your being?” Even the Eastern teachings say that you will fail if you do not fulfill the path that you were created for.

    You say that we will never meet. I say that we have already met. Write to me if you ever want to meet again. I will answer your letters.

    Have a wonderful New Year and a New Life, too. It’s your choice.


  1. ive been an orthodox learner of pardes for 2 decades im 41. I found the buddhist teachings in books not live much to my liking .
    Except for one main part enemies the jewish people and land have enemies as the ramchal calls them edom which is destined to be burned in fire by the seed of yosef , ishmael and the erev rav who plans by the momment to give up your precious land like ironicaly a misguided buddhist would give all to his enemy !

  2. I am a flute-maker and live in Shilo, Israel. My flutes are similar to the design made popular by the Native Americans although their origin, according to Rabbi Brody, may have been Ancient Israel. I also make flutes from bamboo as well as wooden ocarinas. You can see them at my web site or visit my studio in Shilo.

  3. yashar koach reb may be the only person who ever reached out to this yid. B"H that he will be led to do teshuvah shalema


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