Guideline I
Rodney St.Michael
© 8-8-2002

Frequently Asked Questions Part II
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Frequently Asked Questions Part II

The following messages were sent to Rodney St. Michael via mobile-phone Short Message Service (SMS) through Rodney's Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) site,

Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 17:38:22 +0800

Reply mobile:


i hear voices telling me im bad and that my mum is going2kill me im really sacred and ive started2cut myself what is wrong with me my friends hear me talkin2the man in my head and they say im crazy what should i do from andrea xxxxxxx

Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2001 12:04:34 +0800

Reply email:


Info on understanding & coping @ schizo

Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2001 06:19:59 +0800

Reply mobile:


Natural remidies

A General Prescription

by Rodney St. Michael

Sawadee krup!

The year 2002 is now highlighted as a significant year for schizophrenia history.  A few months ago, the movie A Beautiful Mind won the Best Picture award, and people around the world heard the word "schizophrenia" for the first time.  I had a chance to watch the movie in Manila before I left for Colombo, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) to train several call center engineers in our new center.  "A Beautiful Mind" premiered in Manila on the eve of my birthday (by coincidence), and it reminded me of my personal experience with schizophrenia, just as it probably reminded you of your own experiences.

However, many people around the world never heard of the word "schizophrenia" before the movie won several Oscar awards.  Of course, they know this condition already, but they just don't know it by its scientific name.  In fact, when I was listening to a Manila radio station when the movie was being promoted, the Disc Jockey would ask the listeners to call in with the name of Nash's condition to win a prize.  And the first caller said that he was stricken with "amnesia."  So, before I forget to reply to your queries, I will be describing schizophrenia in layman's terms and give some guidelines on how to cope with it.

This condition can easily be understood by anyone who has worked as a call center agent.  When a customer calls for technical support or customer service, he or she usually calls to complain about something.  Rarely will clients call agents to praise their products or services, or to show gratitude and appreciation for their work.  So when the agents cover their ears with their headsets, they constantly hear irate voices making comments, shouting curses, or simply asking the agent to do so many things that seem overwhelming for the agent.

In the same way, most schizophrenics hear voices in their heads.  This is the most obvious symptom of schizophrenia, and they would usually hear these voices chatting about them, cursing them, or commanding them to do certain things.  Of course, there are also cases where pleasant voices are heard.  These voices are called "auditory hallucinations."

These voices may suddenly come out of nowhere in the teen years or early twenties, and it causes the schizophrenic to panic or to act bizarrely as a reaction to these mysterious voices.  This can be compared to how normal radio listeners reacted when they first heard H.G. Wells' “War of the Worlds” from their radios in 1938.  Since science fiction radio broadcasts were relatively new back then, the people thought that it was real.  They panicked, demanded for police assistance, and some were even hospitalized for shock.  Similarly, schizophrenics may act strangely as a reaction to these voices.

And depending on what the voices tell them, they may develop delusions.  As an example, the voices may tell the schizophrenic that he or she is a prophet, or a messiah, or a Christ, or a Savior of the world.  So the schizophrenic develops what psychiatrists call, "delusions of grandeur."

Moreover, some schizophrenics also see "visions" or "visual hallucinations."  They may see "monsters," "ghosts," "demons," "aliens" or other strange imaginary beings.  But some of them see what appear to be pleasant beings such as "angels", "fairies" or imaginary friends.

There are also many types of schizophrenia, including the paranoid type (e.g. Biblical prophets shouting, "the end is near!"), the catatonic type (e.g. the Biblical prophet Ezekiel stiff in bed), the childhood type (e.g. the Biblical prophet Samuel), and the hebephrenic type (disorganized, incoherent, with unusual or funny facial expressions, typically depicted in some movies).  A schizophrenic may actually have all these different characteristics at one point or another, but is classified depending on the most dominant symptom.

Moreover, once a person develops schizophrenia, the condition may evolve into other types of disorders.  A schizophrenic may mellow down and become bi-polar (formerly called manic depression).  Bi-polars may have symptoms similar to schizophrenia such as hallucinations and delusions, but the mood swings--switching between mania and depression--are more apparent.  Bi-polars are potentially very creative due to the numerous ideas flowing through their heads during periods of mania.  And many of the world's leading scientists, writers, and intellectuals are bi-polars.  If this mania is properly harnessed, then the bi-polar can accomplish great things.  On the other hand, if the bi-polar doesn't tame it, they can become like mad scientists or even homeless, carefree wanderers.

In addition, if a person has simultaneous symptoms of both schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, he or she has schizoaffective disorder.  This occurs when one is bi-polar and has symptoms of schizophrenia that lasts for at least two weeks without the dominant prevalence of mood disorders.

Of course, you will feel these different disorders when the chemicals in your brain, responsible for your emotions and moods become imbalanced.  So the key then to relieve the symptoms is to balance your mind and body.  And the philosophy of moderation in everything will help you find this balance.  Interestingly enough, we don't have to re-invent the wheel to find the answers that we are looking for.

Two thousand five hundred years ago, a man who had schizoaffective disorder tried to find a solution to his problem.  His life was full of suffering, and he experimented heavily to find a cure.  Amazingly, among all the famous historical personalities who had schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, or schizoaffective disorder, this man stands out.  Unlike the Jewish schizophrenic Yoshua (Jesus Christ), who still had strong delusions even to his death, and unlike the Arabian Muhammad ibnu Abdillah (the Prophet Muhammad), who still had moderate delusions after he lived to civilize the Arabian world, Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha or "Awakened One") was able to tame his delusions.

While Christians consider Yoshua to be a god, and while Muslims consider, Muhammad to be a messenger from God, Buddhists simply consider Siddhartha to be a teacher, or more appropriately, a physician.  This is because Siddhartha emphasized to his followers that he was just a man who had something to teach.  And he explained that even his own sayings or advice could not be trusted.  Everyone else has to test it first to see if it is true.  On that note, his followers improved his basic prescription to suffering.

Siddhartha wasn't concerned with religion (even if some people later converted his teachings to a form of religion, which is Buddhism).  His goal was to develop a prescription for his condition.  And this prescription is now known as "The Middle Way."  This path was eventually improved in some parts of Asia.  And some of Siddhartha's techniques, such as meditation, were refined and polished.  In Japan, for instance, Zen—a school of meditation--plays a passive, but influential role in the lives of most Japanese.  And the goal of this path is to achieve a life of balance--never going to any extreme.

But take note that Zen, by itself is not balanced.  You can use it to advance yourself, but too much of it is also harmful.  This is why although about 85%-90% of all Japanese citizens admit that they are Buddhist, most of them distance themselves from it on the practical side.  In the long run, it is best to adapt basic Buddhist practical techniques into your life.  But don't immerse yourself into its present day religious form.  If your family background is Jewish, Christian, or Islamic, you may attend festivities, ceremonies, or celebrations of your native religion simply as a social activity.  Never think of it as a religious obligation.  Then simply assimilate secular Buddhist practices into it in a passive manner.  But if you are secular, you shouldn’t have any problems then.

Zen Buddhism is difficult to understand for most people, especially for those who never had any experience with schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, and schizoaffective disorder.  So I will give you some introductory guidelines to help you relieve symptoms such as paranoia, catanoia, hebephrenia, mania, or depression.


Guideline I

Practice empathy, "forgiveness" and toleration.  But if it becomes too difficult, move to a more comfortable environment.


"How do I handle irate clients?"  This is one of the most frequently-asked non-technical questions that my trainees throw on me.  Certainly, it's tough to absorb all those yelling, screaming, and complaining voices from call-center clients.  In fact, if the gods had a 24x7 hotline (which many people call as "prayer"), then many of the gods would end up in the looney bin.  And some of them would eventually commit hara-kiri (the Japanese "art" of suicide) after their callers complain about the Mercedes Benz or the Swiss bank account that they never received.

So just like the call-center agent, what can the schizophrenic do about it? First of all, empathize.  When other people annoy, provoke, or inflict harm on you, try to understand what they are going through.  I tell my agents, wouldn't you be irritated yourself if your bank statement is erroneous, or if your credit card contains charges that you never initiated, or if you receive the wrong merchandise that you ordered online from the Internet?  Or what if you have problems with your Internet Service Provider, and you can't get a good connection?  Wouldn't you be upset yourself?  Or what if your email inbox, containing all your important email, suddenly vanished, without a trace?  Wouldn't you be infuriated yourself?

In the same way, people will annoy, provoke, or inflict harm on you because of many negative critical events that shape their personalities and their lives. And the more we understand the colorful range of human personalities that the world has to offer, the more we become at peace with ourselves and with others.   Some people for example, are afflicted with envy, jealousy, or crab mentality, because of their personal insecurity. These people, of course, will do anything to drag you down.  Others may be filled with anger, hatred, or racial biases because of fear.  These people are under-exposed to the world, and they feel threatened.  Certainly, you can watch out for these people, but more importantly, you should learn to empathize, to compensate for the negative stimulus that you receive, thereby neutralizing its negative effect.

But what if you grow weary of empathizing?  Then what?  Simply "forgive."  If someone harms you, you may sue if you really think that it is necessary.  As long as you stay within the boundaries of the law, it's okay.  You may also write your experiences in a journal.  But in any case, you must always be "forgiving" in the end.  You can't heal without "forgiveness."

If you feel resentment, for example, towards your mother, father, or other family members, you must liberate yourself from your anger by "forgiving" them.   Even Jesus, who was conceived out of wedlock (Mat 1:18-19) through a "virgin" mother didn't want to quickly forgive his parents and his genetic brothers.  He was always irritated at their presence (John 7:5; Luke 8:19-21; Mark 3:31-34; Matt 12:46-50).  And he also never called Mary as "mother."  Instead, he disrespectfully called her "woman." (John 2:4, John 19:26)  In fact, during one of his psychotic episodes, he said, "do not think that I came to bring peace on earth.  I did not come to bring peace but a sword!  For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  A person’s enemies will be members of his own family."  (Mat 10:34-36)  But the Gnostics, who wrote his story through the Gospels illustrated that in the end, he learned how to "forgive" (Luke 23:34) even though it was a bit too late already.  Indeed, "forgiveness" is an important key to healing.  

Simply understand that there is no perfect father, mother, doctor, lawyer, clergyman, teacher, brother, sister, American, Chinese, Japanese, Briton, Canadian, German, French, Italian, African, South American, Arabian, Indian, Filipino, or any human being for that matter.  Realize it for yourself, and then "forgive."

But if you still have difficulty in "forgiving" others, then try to remember all the offenses that you did towards other people in the past.   Certainly, you must have hurt someone in the past, even in just a small way.  Think about how much pain you caused them.   Then realize that you can remedy your situation by "forgiving" others too.

Once you have mastered the art of empathy and "forgiveness", start practicing tolerance.  You may think of life on earth as a "school" where everyone learns and evolves gradually to a mature state.  If you believe in the afterlife, think about how every human being must take different "courses" to advance his or her maturity, just like moving from kindergarten to college, by living one life after another.  If you fail, you can repeat the "course" by living another life.  Then you move on, and finally, you graduate--reaching "nirvana."  And if you finally understand that every human being will "graduate" eventually, then you won't take offense at the harm done by those who are not mature yet.  You know that eventually, they will all mature.

You may also think of the world as a "stage" where everyone just "acts" out or "plays" their role.  No one then can be considered "good" or "bad" because they are just performing their role.  In the end, a moral is learned from everyone's  "performance" and all the "actors" or "actresses" "graduate" from their earthly existence.

And if you combine the “school” and “stage” scenario, you’ll end up with what Buddhists call “The Matrix.”  In this case, the world is a training simulation room—a place for you to learn.  We may think that many things are real, but they are only illusions in this scenario.  Your perception fools you, but it allows you to learn.

On the other hand, if you don't believe in the afterlife, you may think of the world as a continually evolving organism.  Slowly, but surely, it will grow and mature, learning more from its past mistakes and finding better solutions to solve its problems.  Everyone is a part of this evolutionary process, so why should you separate others from yourself?

However, what if empathy, "forgiveness", and tolerance still doesn't work for you?  You may look deep into yourself and try to examine the real cause of your anger.  When someone mistreats you and you react with anger, it is often only triggered by that person.  The real cause is deep within you.  If you find out more about yourself, you can figure out the real root cause of your anger, and you will be able to heal yourself.

Of course, even all these techniques will be ineffective if your environment is unusually harsh.  For example, if you live in Washington, D.C. --the city currently recorded to have one of the highest, if not the highest, murder rate in the world--then you'll have a tough time practicing empathy, "forgiveness", and tolerance.  In this case, it will be wise to move somewhere else.  Of course, you may go back and help your "brothers" and "sisters" in the "hood" once you become stronger.  But if you plan to relocate somewhere within the United States, be careful about where you go.  At the moment, the U.S. has more incarcerated people than any other country in the world (with the exception of Rwanda).  And it doesn't have that reputation for nothing. Even then, always remember that the greatest people in history always came from very tough environments.

In the end, remember to "forgive" and then "forget."  As the Confucianist Hong Ying Ming says, “when you understand human feelings completely, then whatever people may call you, you just nod.” (Circa 1600 A.D.)


Guideline II

Practice Moderate Zen Buddhist Meditation.  Your goal is to heal yourself, not to be a Qi Gong Master.


Removing these thoughts from your active memory may be difficult to do, but meditation will aid you.  "Living in the moment" is part of this Buddhist practice.  It is a state where one simply enjoys the present--not thinking about the sorrows of the past and not being worried or paranoid about the future.

Your schizophrenic, bi-polar, or schizoaffective mind usually keeps running.  During manic episodes, your mind becomes cluttered with numerous ideas, thoughts, and voices.  But meditation helps in simmering down brain activity to the relaxed alpha state.  It releases chemicals called endorphins that normalizes and even enhances your mood.  It also allows you to become detached from your stressful thoughts. And while your mind easily becomes distracted with voices, thoughts, and “visions,” meditation allows you to regain your concentration.

There are dozens of available meditation techniques, but you should start with simple meditation first.  Sit on a cushion in a cross-legged position or relax on an upright chair, and rest your hands on your knees.  Your back should be straight to allow your diaphragm to move freely.  Then close your eyes, relax, release all your tensions, detach yourself from your thoughts, and then bring your attention to your breathing.  When you start, take long, slow, deep breaths, but gradually move back to your breathing’s natural rhythm.  Breathe through your nose, and focus your mind on the cavity at the back of your nose, where you inhale and exhale.  Of course, your mind will eventually drift towards other thoughts, or it might start listening to your “voices.”  So, just guide your mind’s attention back to your breathing.  And when you are finished with your meditation session, slowly stand up and stretch your body.  Finally, try to retain this relaxed state of mind as you go about your daily business.

Be sure to master this basic technique first before attempting more complicated techniques.  Other techniques include the “Vipassana,” where you allow various thoughts to pass through your mind, and then you let go.  There is also another practice that produces “metta” or focused compassion and kindness towards your friends, acquaintances, enemies, and everyone else in the world.  This is useful in minimizing psychosis.  You may also eventually try healing meditation—visualizing your brain being repaired and healed.

In the end, when you meditate, don’t overdo it.  Remember to practice moderation.  If you are a teenager, don’t forget your chores and your studies.  And if you are an adult, be mindful of your work or your business.  Avoid meditating to the point where you neglect your employment or your entrepreneurship.  Otherwise, you’ll be going back to square one!

You should also specially avoid learning the arts of the Qi-Gong Masters, who supposedly can control their Qi energy, using their minds, to move objects without touching them, to transmit healing Qi energy from their hands, or to shift their body weight so that they can walk on paper, or walk on water.  Remember, your objective is to heal yourself, not to be a circus performer.  So, if by accident, you learn some of these arts, keep it a secret, unless you want to be “crucified.”

As Hong Ying Ming says, “to conquer ‘demons,’ first conquer your mind.  When the mind is subdued, ‘demons’ withdraw obediently.  To control knaves, first control your own mood.   When your mood is balanced, scoundrels cannot get at you.”  But in doing so, he reminds you not to overdo it, since “hidden schemes, weird arts, strange practices, and unusual abilities are all sources of calamity in social and professional life.  Only by normal qualities and normal actions can one keep natural wholeness and bring peace.”

Guideline III

Never try to convince people to your way of thinking.  You may educate passively if you wish, but don't actively persuade.


If something works for you, such as meditation for instance, don't try to persuade others to think the same way.  People all have different points of view, and you have to respect that. Remember to tolerate, and practice gender sensitivity, cultural sensitivity, political sensitivity and religious sensitivity as much as possible.  Otherwise, you'll end up being argumentative and psychotic.

For instance, I find painted Hindu temples and idols to be very unattractive.  In fact, they look frightening when painted.  And during my stay in Colombo, Sri Lanka, when I facilitated technical training for several U.S. ISP tech support engineers, my work associates toured me around some of the Hindu and Buddhist temples there.  Some Buddhist temples had Hindu idols of Brahma, Shiva, or Vishnu--the Hindu Trinity.  And while I gazed at one of these strange deities, having multiple faces, or multiple hands, I couldn't help but wonder if these multi-tasking gods used to be ancient Indian gurus who had some form of mental illness, such as MPD syndrome.  So, while I gazed on one of these idols, a Buddhist monk passed by.

"Why does he have so many hands?" I politely asked the monk.

"It's too complicated," he replied.

My Sri Lankan work associate then introduced me to the monk as a visitor.

"I hope you enjoy your 'tour' around the temple," he told me. "And have good day."

He then left us by ourselves.  He gave a simple "answer." It was obviously appropriate for him to do so since engaging in explanation, debate, and persuasion was a total waste of time.  After all, I could have asked him additional questions like, "I heard from our Muslim Sri Lankan driver that some Sri Lankan Buddhist monks carry guns, is that true?"

And he could have answered, "well, hundreds of years ago, Buddhists monks invented Kung Fu to defend themselves.  But nowadays, some monks need more practical defensive methods against the Hindu Tamil rebels...Lightsabers are imaginary, you know!"

Of course, in reality, he probably would have answered in the same manner: "It's too complicated."   And that's the best answer for most situations.

Explaining all that you know to a normal, average person is a lot like teaching Calculus to a first grader.  Of course, if you have the time and the energy to do it, you may teach.  Certainly the ancient crazy teacher, Pythagoras (known to math students for the Pythagorean Theorem) attempted to teach kids geometry and its method of proofs to improve their logical thinking.  In this way, they would not easily be fooled by certain politicians, clergymen, businessmen, or other con-artists.  They would know how to think for themselves.  

But this method is often so laborious and tedious, that its use should be reserved.  Imagine teaching geometry, calculus, physics, astronomy, biology, chemistry, world religions, and psychiatry to the normal, average person just to make your point.  They will definitely think that you are crazy!  So just nod and smile when people try to say something that you may disagree with.

And don't take away other people's happiness.  If someone for example tells you, "Jesus loves me.  He is my Lord and savior," then just smile and be happy for him or her.  Keep it simple!  If that is how he or she finds happiness, keep quiet and just nod in agreement. Kindness is more important.  If you are argumentative, you may win because you are right.  But you will lose the goodwill of others.  In the end, it is better to "lose" and to win over a friend, than to "win" and to lose their goodwill.

As Hong Ying Ming says, “life passes by in a flash, yet people vie and compete with each other.  How much time do we have?  There is very little room, yet people contest and debate with each other.  How big is the world?”


Guideline IV

Be cautious about love just as you need to guard yourself against fear and hatred.   But if you feel like living adventurously, go ahead and pursue your passion.  Just be sure to prepare yourself for the possible consequences.


Although kindness is important, you should also know its boundaries.  Kindness leads to love—all kinds of love.  There is sexual love, friendly love, and family love.    But any type of love, pushed to the extreme, leads to psychosis.  In fact, psychiatrists consider extreme love to be a mental disorder.

Certainly, some sectors of society know this more than others.  For instance, when I had a chance to go shopping in the night markets of Silome, Bangkok, Thailand, with my work buddies—Heather and James—I noticed the almost empty girly bars along the street.  While hundreds of European tourists haggled with street merchants, I could see the wide-open doors of numerous nightspots next to swarms of merchant stalls.  Dozens of young ladies in bikinis, dancing on a ramp, were visible outside, as you walked along the street.  But the tables inside were mostly empty at that time.  Apparently, the tourists were more interested in the bargains outside, than the chances of “love” inside.  Perhaps they prefer the clubs of Amsterdam, Toronto, New York, or Tokyo, where wilder "activities" happen on stage.

Or perhaps, at that particular moment in Bangkok, some tourists were distancing themselves from these spots, fearing that they might fall in love with an angel who is HIV positive, or perhaps an angel who is only interested in his money.  On the other hand, while many of these angels are dreaming that one of their customers would marry them someday, these angels are also cautious about tourists who will only use them for pleasure and quickly throw them away.   In reality, even the average person in the City of Angels, or anywhere else in the world, knows all too well that love can lead to depression, anger, psychosis, and even suicide.

Of course, love has many variations.  Other types of love include love for your country, for an ideology, for your religion or philosophy, for your work, or for some other passion.  These types of love also produce negative consequences when they are experienced to the extreme.  In fact, history shows us that these types of love can lead to massacres, holocausts, inquisitions, and wars.  Nazis, Communists, Catholic clergymen, and the like are all too familiar with it.

Admittedly, the power of love can also greatly improve the overall quality of your life if you know how to control it and move it toward the right direction.  But this doesn't happen all the time.  So be on guard, and be cautious of where love leads you.  Otherwise, you'll end up suffering.

As Hong Ying Ming says, “think about food on a full stomach, and you find you don’t care about taste.  Think of lust after making love, and you find you don’t care about sex.  Therefore, if people always reflect on the regret they will feel afterward to forestall folly at the moment, they will be stable and will not err in action.”


Guideline V

Avoid superstition and speculation.  But realize that some superstitious beliefs can actually give you a motivational boost and a healing hand.


Just as love is dual-natured, superstition can also either destroy you or heal you.  If you believe, for instance, that Friday, the 13th, is an unlucky day, then it will produce negative effects on your thoughts and actions.  On the other hand, if you believe that it is a lucky day, then it will naturally have positive effects.  In the same way, if you think that you are becoming sicker and sicker as the days go by, then you are asking for a self-fulfilling prophecy.  But if you believe that you are getting better everyday, then the power of self-suggestion can aid you to your recovery.

This is sometimes evident when you pray for healing, regardless of what religion you belong to.  For instance, the use of repetitive words, guided by prayer beads, in many different religions, is known to relax the mind and move it away from stressful thoughts.

So when you encounter superstitious situations, try to turn around any negative situation into something positive.  For instance, when I first arrived in Sri Lanka, it was about midnight.  And it was more than an hour’s drive from the airport to my hotel at the Hilton in Colombo. So when I arrived at the front desk of the Hilton, I was naturally tired.  The bellboy brought my luggage up to my room, and to my complete surprise, my room was 1306 at the 13th floor.  It certainly felt strange to be in a foreign land in the 13th floor of a hotel, but I thought that it would be ridiculous to be superstitious at that point.  So, I decided to stay for the night in that room.  I found out later that the architect of the hotel was Japanese.  And the Japanese aren’t superstitious about the number 13.  Of course, I decided the next day to move to another room, where I got a better view of the Indian Ocean, but if I entertained superstitious thoughts that night, I probably would have freaked out.  In the end, my work in Colombo became successful “thanks” in part to my lucky room at the Hilton.

It is also important to note that some beliefs are beneficial for some people but not for others.  For example, I asked Sir Arthur Clark a debatable question before I had lunch with him in Colombo, together with my co-workers.  (Incidentally, Sir Arthur is the British physicist and science-fiction writer who invented the communication satellite, authored 2001: A Space Odyssey, and appeared as a 3-D Hologram “ghost” at the Comdex Exhibition on November 13, 2001 to demonstrate this new visual communication technology.)

"Do you believe in the after life?" I asked him.

"No, I don't," he said bluntly.

“I thought that one of your books, Childhood's End, suggested that your existence continues after death,” rebutted Dr. Smile (not his real name), one of our associates.

"Well, " Sir Arthur said, "it's a fictional book.  The opinions expressed in that book are not necessarily the opinions of the author."

While Dr. Smile, an educator, seemed enthusiastic about the prospects of life after death.  Sir Arthur frowned on it.  For some people who might think in simpler terms, the belief in an afterlife would probably be beneficial since it gives them hope.  But for others, who think in a complex manner, the afterlife brings an infinite number of theories and possibilities—many of which are negative, including the infinite reincarnation theory and the video-game theory.  So in Sir Arthur’s case, it is obviously better not to believe in an afterlife.  Otherwise, you will just lose your mind. It is for this reason that the Buddhists believe in Nirvana, which extinguishes this torturous superstitious belief.

Certainly, the superstitions of religion cause tremendous damage throughout the world.  Or at the very least, it limits human potential and growth because of the hypnotic suggestions of many clergymen.  For example, as the year 2000 approached, numerous date-setting Christian sects prophesied the second coming of Jesus before the new millennium started.  Consequently, some people committed suicide when it failed to come true. 

In South Korea for instance, about 20,000 Christians joined a gathering in 1992 to be "raptured" up to heaven before the supposed end of the world.  Many of them quit their jobs and sold their property.  Moreover, some Christian women had abortions to help them become lighter when they float up in the air to meet Jesus.

And in 1993, a Russian "prophetess" named Maria Devi Christos along with her 144,000 followers, believed that the world would end that year.  Consequently, Russian authorities sent about one third of them to jail or to psychiatric wards to prevent mass suicide.

In that same year, the Branch Davidians (a renegade Seventh-Day Adventist Christian group) perished in Waco, Texas, USA, believing that the world was coming to an end.  They collected firearms to prepare themselves for the Apocalypse.  And when the American authorities attempted to serve them warrants for firearms violations, the Branch Davidians killed four of the government agents.  Finally, after a 51-day siege, the Branch Davidian compound ended up in a blazing inferno that killed dozens of people, including seventeen children.

And in 2000, Ugandan priests of a Catholic apocalyptic sect burned 470 of their followers.  It was later found out that the priests mass murdered at least 430 other people, adding up to a total death count of at least 900 victims.

Of course, this is just recent history--the tip of the iceberg.  There are dozens of history books out there that tell the story of millions of murdered victims, slaughtered by European Catholic clergymen over the centuries because of their superstitious religious beliefs.

It is very obvious that religious superstition is very harmful to the individual and to society as a whole.  But many people today often overlook medical and scientific superstition.  For instance, a trip to some of the museums that display psychiatric exhibits in Europe and North America today would reveal horrific torture instruments and contraptions that would make you wonder about the sanity of Western doctors.  Centuries ago, Western doctors believed that mental illness was caused by "bad blood" or even devil possession. 

So, to "cure" the patient, they built different types of machines and instruments.  For instance, they developed drills that bore through the patient’s skull to let the "bad blood" out.  They also had small, vertical cages that could tightly fit one standing person.  Doctors would imprison their patients in these slim cages for days to "cure" them, so the patient had to sleep standing up.

Many of the other types of contraptions used by the doctors resemble the medieval torture machines used in the Inquisition.  The arms and legs of the patient were bound to these machines in very devious and torturous ways.  And it is best for you to see the machines for yourselves because to see is to believe.  But if you don't have the guts to see these machines, you may check out the milder versions of these instruments and contraptions in exhibits such as the one displayed in St. Joseph’s State hospital in Missouri.

It makes you wonder, is the doctor more insane than the patient?

Later, of course, in the late 19th century to the mid 20th century, Western doctors developed the surgical procedure called lobotomy ("lobe cutting").  Through several experiments done by psychiatrists to dogs and chimpanzees, they observed that by damaging certain portions of the brain, you could stop the violent behavior of one-third of psychotic patients.  In the beginning, only a few patients were given this "treatment."  But after World War II, when mental hospitals ballooned with patients, tens of thousands of people around the world were lobotomized.  Walter Freeman, an American physician, pushed for the validity of this practice, and performed many of the lobotomies himself.  He would get an ice-pick and perforate the patient's skin, tissues, skull and meninges with a single plunge of a hammer, under local anesthesia. Later, governments around the world would use it against political opponents, children displaying bad behavior, and families trying to get rid of their misbehaving relatives. 

But the use of this procedure eventually declined.  In 1947, the U.S. conducted an evaluation study of lobotomy called the Columbia-Greystone project.  It failed to provide evidence of the effectiveness of lobotomies.  And as the years went by, most doctors stopped using this procedure since it caused irreversible brain damage to the patient, who became a living “vegetable. “

It makes you wonder, are these doctors really thinking people?

Moreover, during the 1930s and 1940s, electroshock therapy (electrocution) was also used as a "treatment" for many mentally-ill patients.  But just like lobotomy, the brain damage caused by electrocuting the patient to produce epileptic seizures eventually surfaced.  So its use declined over time, and some U.S. states and countries eventually banned the practice of electroshock therapy.

It makes you wonder, are psychiatrists pretending to be Dr. Frankenstein?  Would an electric chair for death-row prisoners be more suitable to make their "treatment" more effective?

Nowadays, of course, psychiatrists prefer to use neuroleptic drugs to treat their patients.   These drugs are derivatives of phenothiazine, an insecticide discovered in 1883.  And over the years, different type of neuroleptics were developed, including but not limited to chlorpromazine (Thorazine), clozapine, and risperidone (risperdal).  Many of these variations were produced by grafting or substituting different chemical side chains onto the head of the original phenothiazine triple-ring structure. 

And since neuroleptics and phenothiazines have similar chemical structures and share the same mechanism of action, which attacks and destroys the nervous system of the organism it is exposed to, much of the effects of neuroleptic drugs can be demonstrated by spraying a can of insecticide on a cockroach.  Try to buy a can of bug spray from your local supermarket and spray it on a roach.  Observe that it will shake and shake like someone who has Parkinson's disease.  The roach, of course, may escape, and it may manage to live and misbehave in your kitchen for another day.  But if you spray it long enough, it will eventually develop what psychiatrists call Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, where the muscles of the organism become stiff and its nervous system completely breaks apart.  Eventually, of course, the organism, or roach, will die. 

It makes you wonder, could military nerve gas be a more effective treatment for schizophrenia?  Do doctors want to help you, or are you pests that they want to kill?  Aren't Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali trying to stop Parkinson's disease?  Then why are psychiatrists trying to induce it?  Could Robert Redford, playing his role in the movie, The Horse Whisperer, do a better job than the doctors?

And if you developed a new product and called it “Rodney’s Rat Poison,” could you get U.S. FDA approval for it and sell it to milk US$ 2,703 per year from the mentally ill just like the patients who are hooked on Janssen’s Risperdal?

It makes you wonder, do doctors and pharmaceutical companies want to treat you, or do they really just want your money?

To answer all these questions, you have to refer to Guideline I.  Meditate on this guideline.  And realize that you cannot get well unless you answer these questions with the first guideline.  So if you developed tardive dyskenesia and your whole body is now twitching and wiggling, like Michael J. Fox, because you were forced by the U.S. government to take neuroleptics via a court order, then meditate on Guideline I.  Otherwise, you’ll become worse.

Anyway, Michael is still a Lucky Man.  And the same thing goes for you!  You are quite fortunate not to belong to the future generation of mentally ill patients who might be forced by the U.S. government to undergo Gottesman’s Icelandic dream of gene therapy.  Otherwise, you might end up with offspring that resembles a cross between a monkey and a Tasmanian Tiger, as a “side effect.”

Lastly, you need to also watch out for humorous con-artists disguised as legitimate businessmen, who sell certain health products.  For instance, Japanese businessman Genta Ogami sold slimming tea from the Banaba-tree through a network-marketing scheme in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan, several months ago.  And as part of his business practices, he would ask his employees to recite his “Messiah’s Creed” and to treat him like a god.   He even made a Filipino movie that depicted him as someone who will “save” the world from the “evil” white man.  Of course, as his supporters said, he never really believed in all that superstition.  He was just a clever con-artist and businessman who wanted to have some fun at the same time.

It makes you wonder, are people like Ogami evil con-men, or are they just creative professors, teaching you about the funny things that humans do? 

In the end, even if you should generally avoid superstition, you shouldn’t take this guideline too seriously.  If you keep analyzing, evaluating, and judging every situation, on whether it is superstitious or not, you will end up going back to square one!  For instance, if you think that by applying acupressure on your lower earlobes to relieve some symptoms of mental illness is okay for you, then go ahead.  Pinching your lower ear, where earrings are inserted, does no harm.  In ancient China, this was one of the numerous ways by which they treated mental illness.

Actually, the Chinese believe in the healing art of acupuncture.  They push tiny needles through your skin to contact certain nerve endings that stimulate your nervous system to produce a reaction in the mind-body connection.  It seems to mimic a mini lobotomy, but it is not harmful since the Chinese have been practicing it for thousands of years.  And although the U.S. National Institute of Health acknowledged its usefulness in 1997 for chemotherapy patients, no serious scientific study has been done yet for conditions like schizophrenia.   This is obviously an area where Western neuroscientists might want to investigate and explore further.

So, remember to avoid superstition, but don’t overdo it.  As Hong Ying Ming says, “it is better to be deceived by people than to be on the lookout for deception.  This is a warning against paranoia.”


Guideline VI

Learn to laugh at yourself moderately.


People also have many superstitious perceptions about mental illness—especially schizophrenia.  Movies sometimes portray it to be a funny condition, and that gives you an opportunity to develop your sense of humor, and not to take life too seriously.  For instance, two years ago, Jim Carrey starred in the movie Me, Myself, and Irene.  Although he did not accurately play his supposed role as a schizophrenic, since the screenplay confused MPD syndrome with schizophrenia, the movie still gave you an opportunity to laugh at yourself.

In my case, the movie reminds me of Me, Myself, and I Am.  Jim’s movie poster looks like my high school passport photo, and I couldn’t help but giggle and laugh at the fact that Hollywood might have actually gotten a copy of my book’s first episode—a draft that I left behind for public reproduction in a Kinko’s copy center in Arcadia, California, USA, in January, 1994.  Of course, I’m obviously just being paranoid, but it sure is funny!  If you haven’t seen the movie yet, Jim’s poster face looks one part Eastern (eye’s slanted), and one part Western—evenly split in the middle.  It apparently has artistic symbolism.  Isn’t it ironical that organizations like the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) criticized this movie--a film that was just trying to remind society of their current status quo?

Moreover, Asian philosophy has a serious flaw.  It is often too serious and lacks a sense of humor.  And naturally, this presents a serious hindrance to happiness.  For instance, the music network, Channel V, launched a survey for Asian youths aged 15 to 29 (which incidentally approximates the typical age of onset for schizophrenics, bi-polars, or schizoaffectives.)  The survey revealed that the youths of the Philippines are the happiest, with 78% of them being contented with their lives.  On the other hand, the young people of Hong Kong were the saddest, with only 5% being happy.

So, what is the secret of Filipinos?  Generally, they usually don’t take anything seriously.  In fact, when some of them read the excerpt from my book, they think I made it up.  They also think that schizophrenia is some kind of joke.  And while it is true that the Philippines is a leading exporter of “slaves” around the world, sending hospital slaves (nurses), domestic slaves (maids), sex slaves (club entertainers and hostesses), restaurant slaves (waiters and bus boys), and ship slaves (sea men), somehow they always have the time to party, to sing, to dance, and to thank God that they’re alive, even with what little they have.  Truly, that’s living in the moment!

And although Enrique Iglesias might not agree with that, Rob Schnieder probably would.

Of course, like anything else that needs moderation, a sense of humor must not be overdone.  You don’t want to look like a hyena.   And hebephrenia is something that you should watch out for.  Some of you should be careful about that Chesire-cat grin on your face.  For instance, when I watched the movie Spiderman in Siam Discovery Tower’s EGV Cinema in Bangkok, Thailand, about two months ago, I was somewhat pleasantly amused to see the Green Goblin as a scientist who could not control the voices in his head.  Then, as I was slouching on my La-Z-Boy recliner, I realized that I was wearing a green shirt.   My friend next to me was also wearing a green shirt, and pretty soon, you’ll also be wearing a Green Goblin grin mask, if you don’t watch out for that grin on your face.  (Incidentally, Thailand ranked 2nd at 77% in Channel V’s survey.  But they probably would be 1st place if you discount the dishonest Filipino respondents, who didn't take the survey seriously.)

So generally speaking, learn to laugh every now and then, but don’t overdo it.  As the Zen teacher Yangqi said to his student who lacked a sense of humor, “there is one aspect in which you are inferior to that clown.  That clown likes people to laugh, but you are afraid when people laugh.”


Guideline VII

Realize that nothing is perfect.  But travel along the road of gradual continuous improvement within the limits of your capacity.


Of course, as you follow these guidelines, you may become impatient because you won't get results instantly.  You may become irritated and angry because it is imperfect.  The more you feel this way, the greater your tendencies toward the condition called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Did you count the number of mistakes in this essay?  Did you think that it didn't seem to be orderly?  Then you need to meditate on this guideline.

Jesus said, "be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."  (Mat 5:48)  And because of his obsession for perfection, he commanded that "if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away from you.  It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell." (Mat 5:30)  He also said, "if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell." (Mat 5:29) 

Unfortunately, for some of the millions of people afflicted with OCD around the world (and many of them are unaware of it), they will compulsively wash and wash and wash their hands, to the point where it bleeds, because it is not "clean enough."  You may not be one of those people, but even schizophrenics, bi-polars, or schizo-affectives have tendencies toward light variations of OCD.

Some general cases of course are light.  Some people would just say, "if I only did this!"  Or "why didn't I do that?" or "why couldn't life be this way?" or "I wish I were someone else!"  And they would repeat these thoughts over and over again to themselves. 

So just realize this:  Nobody is perfect.  Nobody was.  Nobody is.  Nobody will ever be.  Nothing in life is perfect.   Nothing in life was.  Nothing in life is.  Nothing in life will ever be.  Think about this every time you become upset.

Otherwise, you might end up in trouble like Jesus, being unable to control your psychosis, just like the time when Jesus overturned merchant stalls near a temple and went wild in the area because the merchants were not holy and pure.   (Mark 11:15)

Moreover, on the macro level, people and organizations that could not stand "imperfection" butchered millions and millions of people.  Idealists advanced their dreams of utopia--the perfect society--through Marxism, Leninism, Nazism, and the like.  Communists such as the Kmer Rouge, for instance, killed approximately 50% of Cambodia's population.  And everyone of course knows the deeds of Stalin and Hitler. 

However, that doesn't mean that you should avoid improvement altogether.  If you learn how imperfection and perfection work together, just as the scientific and straightforward left side of your brain works in conjunction with your artistic right brain, then everything will balance and harmonize.  And you will live a more satisfying life.

This may remind you of Kyudo or Japanese Zen archery.  It isn't a sport.  It's a form of meditation.  Your objective is not to beat your competitors by hitting the target more often than the rest.  The objective is not even to hit the target.  Your goal is to fall into a deep meditative state.  And after doing it for more than a thousand times, hopefully it will make you a better person.  Indeed, the real "target" is you.

By loosing your ego in imperfection, and allowing yourself to be flawed, you allow yourself to win, lose, and let, lose, and let go.  By doing so, you excel.  

As Hong Ying Ming says, “soil with a lot of manure in it produces abundant crops; water that is too clear has no fish.  Therefore, enlightened people should maintain the capacity to accept impurities and should not be solitary perfectionists.”


Guideline VIII

Consider the suggestion--the Noble Eightfold Path--of someone who had schizoaffective disorder 2,500 years ago.  But if you follow it, learn to adapt and to assimilate this suggestion into your existing culture and environment.


Finally, we reach the last guideline.  But before you are introduced to it, you should know a little about its author first.

About five hundred years before Jesus was born, a man named Siddhartha Gautama was born in Lumbini, Nepal.  He came from a royal family and experienced its affluence.  He mingled with the partygoers, and dined in tables with all the food you could ever imagine.  The sexiest and the most beautiful women were laid before him

But there was a problem.  The clergymen of his time talked about strange concepts such as "Dharma" and "Karma."  They taught that life was like going to school, where you had to learn from your errors or bugs in order to advance to the next level

And the life that you lived had consequences.  For every effect or consequence, there was a cause.  And this cause-and-effect relationship was called "karma."

Then when your physical body or your hardware dies, its software or mind-spirit is recycled from the Bin and is revived and uploaded into another piece of hardware, or into another physical body on earth.  And the next "life form" that your software assimilates into depended on your previous life's "karma."  This, they called reincarnation.

Moreover, some clergymen taught that for every life that you lived, you had a "dharma" or "life purpose."  And in order for you to advance to a higher level, you had to accomplish your mission in life.  This was your path, calling, or your true vocation.

But most of the clergymen used the idea of "karma" and "dharma" as a way of discrimination and prejudice.  They introduced an earthly system that rated and ranked individuals, and the priests appointed themselves as the supreme beings.  This was called the caste system.

So the clergy used religion as a way to inflict suffering upon the masses.  Some people, for instance, were thought of as rubbish, being called "the untouchables."  And many peasants tried to do extremely weird and ghastly rituals, thinking that by performing it, their "karma" would yield positive results, allowing them to move to a better level in the next life.  Others would try to "accelerate" their "grade level" by trying to live extreme, ascetic, austere and "holy" impoverished lives.  They would dream of jumping from a "kindergarten" life to perhaps a "2nd grade" life.

But some people thought that this entire idea (now called Hinduism) was complete rubbish. It was completely illogical for them, so they lived hedonistic lifestyles---practicing the Kama Sutra with hundreds of women in the palace. 

Somehow, Siddhartha could not reconcile his royal lifestyle with the peasant’s life outside the palace.  The excessive pleasures of the “palace” made him miserable.  And when he looked around in the countryside, there was death, decay, illness and suffering.  His mind was split.  He became confused and disoriented.  Somehow, he had to debug it.

But he saw the serenity of some ascetic “holy” men, and he thought of practicing their ways to relieve his mental agony.  So it was then that he started practicing a schizophrenic lifestyle.  He left his family, including his wife, and joined the ascetics.  He became very fanatical and weird, practicing severe fasting.  He would be tormented by deathly “visions,” including “apparitions” of the “demon” named Mara.  The “visions” and “voices” would torture him, and finally he concluded that an ascetic “holy” life was just as bad as a luxurious royal life.

From there, he developed the Four Noble Truths, including the “Middle Way”—which is subdivided into the Noble Eightfold Path.  He concluded that by following a moderate lifestyle, you could extinguish your suffering.

Siddhartha developed a general diagnosis, cause, and solution to his mental agony.  And this he called the Four Noble Truths.   But in the end, it became a general prescription for humanity.

The Four Noble Truths

(8.1)    I.  Suffering Exists in Life 

By default, you will experience suffering in life.  It is an inevitable part of your existence.  Birth, illness, aging, death, the loss or separation of loved ones, and so forth, leads to suffering.  Moreover, happiness or pleasant feelings are impermanent.  It doesn't last, so when your pleasant moments end, it produces suffering.

(8.2)    II. The Attachment to Desire Causes Suffering

The mind, which creates feelings and thoughts, causes suffering.  You crave for pleasant experiences through food, sex, music, relationships, material goods, and so forth.  You desire to be a "somebody."  And you attempt to avoid unpleasant feelings such as jealousy, humiliation, fear, grief, or anger.

(8.3)    III. Suffering Ceases by Extinguishing Desire 

This doesn't mean the suppression of desire.  Suppression itself will cause suffering.  By understanding the impermanent nature of all things, you will be able to harness and control your mind.  And that allows you to extinguish suffering.

You can be living in a hut by the beach in a third-world country and be completely fulfilled.  Or you can be living in an elegant mansion in a first-world country and be completely miserable.  Happiness is a state of mind.

(8.4)    IV.  To Extinguish Desire, Follow the Middle Way or the Noble Eightfold Path

By following a moderate, balanced lifestyle, you will live a better life.  By staying in a state of equilibrium and flexing yourself toward one extreme or another only when necessary, your life becomes more satisfying.  And by following the Middle Way, your mind is harnessed and controlled.

The Noble Eightfold Path

(8.4.1)             Step I.  Right Understanding

If you understand the Four Noble Truths, you accept the fact that you have a problem.  If you say that you’re not nuts, and that there is no cause to make you nuts, and that you don't need help, then you don't have "Right Understanding."

Moreover, to attain this, you should stop asking yourself  "Unprofitable Questions," such as "Is there a God or gods?  Is there life after death? What happens to you if life after death really exists?  What Am I?  Who Am I?  Does the Ego exist?" Or any of the weird, impractical questions that philosophers ask. 

You should also avoid perpetual evaluations or continuous thought weighing, such as: "Is this good for me?  Is this bad for me?  What will happen to me in the future?  What really happened to me in the past? "

These questions will only drive you bananas.  It is useless to ask these because you'll never really know the true answer anyway.  Just live a decent, moderate life and you'll be okay, whatever the answers to these questions.  Keep it simple.  In that way, you will be able to extinguish your mental agony.

Moreover, if you think that your "Ego" which causes delusions is not inextinguishable during your lifetime because it is genetically part of your material body, then you will suffer.  If you really wanted to, you could tame your "Ego."

So Siddhartha says that the Noble One only deals with practical matters.  In this case, you win regardless of the answers to all your questions.

(8.4.2)             Step II. Right Mindfulness.

Then, free your thoughts from the products of anger and hatred--thoughts that could produce harm or might hurt others or hurt yourself.  These thoughts may include feelings of vengeance, delusions of superiority, feelings that might hurt other genders, and so forth.  But at the same time, free yourself from thoughts that might hurt your self, including feelings of inferiority, low self-esteem, worthlessness, and so forth.

(8.4.3)              Step III.  Right Speech

Next, establish integrity and reliability.  Avoid foul language, but at the same time don't make yourself look so pure and lofty that you appear arrogant.  Learn to distinguish fantasy from reality and fact from fiction.  Make yourself a reliable witness of what is true.  Avoid gossip, but be friendly and sociable.  Avoid debates, but if you are someone who is successful in his or her field, and if others want to know your secret, then you may passively educate.

(8.4.4)             Step IV.  Right Action

Fourthly, follow the laws of your state or country.  If you think that there is something wrong with it, follow the proper procedure to escalate any flaws.  You may write to your favorite senator, congressman, or MP.  Or if you wish, you may write publicly through books, the Internet, magazines or newspaper reader-opinion sections.  If you think it's really necessary, you may also join lawful organizations that may parade or voice their opinions through marches on the streets.  But remember; always do everything within the confines of the law.  Follow proper escalation and grievance procedures.  And of course, listen to the universal laws of all countries, which are against murder, theft, and unlawful sexual practices.

(8.4.5)             Step V. Right Living

Then, be in the right job or in the right business.  Of course, you should avoid illegal occupations or businesses.  So if you are unhappy with what you are doing at the moment, you need to find a better source of income.  Learn and know more about yourself--your likes and dislikes, your strengths and weaknesses, your potential and your limitations.  Then assimilate this knowledge with the conditions of your environment.  You will then figure out the best path for you.  And when you start practicing "Right Living," you will be a great benefit to yourself and to society.

(8.4.6)             Step VI. Right Effort

Meanwhile, while you are following the previous steps, be careful about where your thoughts lead you.  Put a harness on it to guide it properly.  Think about the consequences of what your thoughts might lead to. Otherwise you might end up back in square one.   To do this, you may need some time for yourself and be in solitude for a while.  You need to maintain your momentum.  Otherwise, you won't make it.

(8.4.7)             Step VII. Right Attentiveness

Then, be conscious of your feelings.  When you sense that harmful feelings are on the rise, do meditative techniques to extinguish and not suppress these feelings.  Feelings of paranoia, anger, mania, or depression can be extinguished through proper meditation and visualization.  Meditation also allows you to increase your focus and concentration so that you are not distracted by your "voices" or your manic thoughts.  This is where the art of Zen--a school of meditation--is famous for. 

(8.4.8)             Step 8. Right Concentration

The last step is the development of meditative techniques to absolutely minimize--if not completely eliminate--delusions, "voices," "visions," manic, or depressive thoughts, and so forth.

There are also many other types of meditation, such as the martial arts--meditation in motion--that was developed by Buddhist monks.  Meditative "sports" such as kyudo, or even golf are forms of meditation if you don't make it competitive.  And even a hobby can be a form of meditation since you are focused on the task at hand and distracting thoughts are set aside.  Lastly, there are also legendary meditation techniques, which supposedly develops your Enlightenment "Energy" or Qi.  But going into this direction is too much already.  This is the warning light of where you should stop.


So, what now?  Should you run off to the nearest Buddhist monastery and shave your head?  Remember, that's essentially what Siddhartha initially did.  Many monks nowadays practice asceticism--living extremely strict, austere lives, which is the very practice that Siddhartha eventually avoided and warned about.  As usual, "clergymen" generally don't practice what the original teacher said.  But if you think that your path to happiness is headed towards that direction, then go for it.  Otherwise, avoid it altogether.

However, before doing anything, consult a licensed physician who is knowledgeable in both Eastern and Western medicine.  Be certain to get references from his or her patients--people who will testify for the doctor's effectiveness on a long-term basis.  Take note of the word long-term.  Many physicians use drug therapy as a quick fix, and sometimes it appears to be magical.  But that's all it is--a magic trick.  It only appears to work because the patient is in a coma-like, zombie state.  So, be careful.  Its long-term effects will make the patient a useless "vegetable."

Then, after consulting a competent physician, you can adapt and assimilate the guidelines that I mentioned into your own culture, religion, and country.  Siddhartha's path is secular.  So if you live in a secular state, then you should not have any problems.  But what if your family is Jewish and you live in a Jewish community?  Then simply assimilate and adapt Siddhartha's secular path into your traditions, customs, ceremonies, and so forth.  Nobody will ever notice, unless, of course, if you have an obsessive-compulsive Rabbi who watches your every move.  So have "fun" on the eight days of Hanukah!  And you can do the same thing if you are Christian, Muslim, or if you belong to any other religion.

This is actually what the Buddhist missionaries did when they spread Siddhartha's teachings throughout Asia.  That's why, in Japan, Buddhism is mixed with Japan's native religion--Shinto.  And in the Chinese communities, Buddhism is mixed with Confucianism, Daoism, and ancestor worship--China's native religion.  This is also how the Gnostics (Western Buddhists) managed to spread their gospels throughout Europe.

They assimilated the life of the Jewish schizophrenic teacher Yoshua (later “nicknamed” IESOUS by the Greek Gnostics so that his name can have a numeric value of 888, but he is now popularly known as Jesus) with the stories of traditional European deities.  The people of Europe and Asia had gods that were born of virgins, visited by three shepherds or "wise men," converted water into wine, initiated "Holy Communion" (e.g. the Bacchanalian Orgy of Bacchus), died on a cross or a tree after being arrested by authorities, and resurrected after three days.

This typical storyline existed hundreds of years before Jesus was ever born, and it was already firmly established in the minds of the Europeans.  So, in order for the ideas of Jesus to become more acceptable, the Gnostics assimilated his story with the traditional storylines of other "gods" (or schizophrenics).   That's why almost all of the "Christian" festivities--such as Christmas and Easter--celebrated today are non-Christian in origin.  And that means that if you "undress" Christianity and take off all of its trendy, stylish, and fashionable clothing and accessories, the naked truth will reveal nothing else but Buddhism.

However, as I said earlier, you should always assimilate and adapt to your environment, to remove the trauma from your family members.  You don't want to give them any type of religious shock.  Anyway, all religions are related in some way or another, just like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  If most clergymen did not manipulate it to their liking, it would be so easy to understand.


In conclusion, to produce a potent drug, you need to distill the active ingredients of the medicinal substance.  Then you concentrate it into a pill or tablet.  In the same way, Buddhism in general is the raw medicinal substance and the practical teachings of Buddhism is the potent drug.  But just like any other drug, beware of overdosing yourself.  Eventually, as your mental health improves with time, think less and less about Buddhism and more and more about the true joys of life!  

I wish you all the best!




Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.

Bill Gates
Spends His Time in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ($23.1 billion)

The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal god and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual and a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism.

Albert Einstein
German-American Physicist
One of the Greatest Scientists of All Time

Most of the things I've come away with from Buddhism have been human, understanding feelings, impermanence, and trying to understand other people and where they're coming from.

Keanu Reeves
American Actor
Films include The Matrix Series, The Little Buddha,
Sweet November, The Gift, The Devil’s Advocate,
Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey and Many Others

The fundamental teachings of Gautama, as it is now being made plain to us by study of original sources, is clear and simple and in the closest harmony with modern ideas. It is beyond all disputes the achievement of one of the most penetrating intelligence the world has ever known. Buddhism is the advance of world civilization and true culture than any other influence in the chronicles of mankind.

HG Wells (1866-1946)
British Historian, Socialist and Science Fiction Writer.
Author of War of the Worlds

I was in my early 20s and life wasn't making sense. I had experimented with a lot of philosophical and spiritual systems, and I felt a great affinity for the Buddhist approach. I think mainly because it left responsibility totally on me for the state of my mind, and the state of my experience of myself and the world, and a very systematic approach to changing all of that--changing my mind, my heart, changing, therefore, the outside world as well.

Richard Gere
American Actor
Films Include An Officer and a Gentleman,
Pretty Woman, Mr. Jones, First Knight,
Red Corner, and Many Others

I know that some will have hard thoughts of me, when they hear their Christ named beside my Buddha. Yet I am sure that I am willing they should love their Christ more than my Buddha, for love is the main thing.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
American Essayist and Poet
Author of Walden

I support Tibet publicly.  I just don't make it a public issue. I have introduced the Dalai Lama on a couple of occasions, and I have privately supported and am involved in other efforts to redress the inequity of the situation, but I don't actively look for opportunities to advance these issues.

Harrison Ford
American Actor
Films include the Indiana Jones Series, The Fugitive
the Star Wars Trilogy, and Many Others

Zen Buddhism helps man to find an answer to the question of his existence, an answer which is essentially the same as that given in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, and yet which does not contradict the rationality, realism, and independence which are modern man's precious achievements. Paradoxically, Eastern religious thought turns out to be more congenial to Western rational thought than does Western religious thought itself.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980)
German American Psychoanalyst and Social Philosopher

And then the message came... that it (Buddhism) could change your life. And I had to teach myself, because I didn't have the freedom to actually go to meetings, or for people to come to me. So I remember working really hard. And I am happy that I did it that way, because it was on my own that I really struggled for it, and it changed my life"

Tina Turner
Pop/Soul Vocalist

I have no hesitation in declaring that I owe a great deal to the inspiration that I have derived from the life of the Enlightenment One. Asia has a message for the whole world, if only it would live up to it. There is the imprint of Buddhistic influence on the whole of Asia, which includes India, China, Japan, Burma, Ceylon, and the Malay States. For Asia to be not for Asia but for the whole world, it has to re-learn the message of the Buddha and deliver it to the whole world. His love, his boundless love went out as much to the lower animal, to the lowest life as to human beings. And he insisted upon purity of life.

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
Indian Thinker and Apostle of Non Violence

Many in Hollywood are becoming Buddhists. The first American commandment 'get rich and famous' does not bring happiness.

Brad Pitt
American Actor
Films include Ocean's Eleven, Meet Joe Black,
Seven Years in Tibet, and Many Others

Zen is a particular way of looking at life. It's the moment or, you know, being in the present, you know. Buddhism is compassionate, a compassionate Buddha. Christianity is based on love. So those two things I think coordinate very well together."

Phil Jackson
Head Coach
Chicago Bulls
National Basketball Association
Guided the Bulls to 6 Championships in 9 years
Author of Sacred Hoops:  Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior

As a student of comparative religions, I believe that Buddhism is the most perfect one the world has even seen. The philosophy of the theory of evolution and the law of karma were far superior to any other creed. It was neither the history of religion nor the study of philosophy that first drew me to the world of Buddhist thought but my professional interest as a doctor. My task was to teat psychic suffering and it was this that impelled me to become acquainted with the views and methods of that great teacher of humanity, whose principal theme was the chain of suffering, old age, sickness and death.

Dr C.C. Jung (1875-1961)
Swiss Psychologist and Psychiatrist
Founder of the Jungian School of Psychology

I remember when I was 10 years old, I asked my mother, 'If there's only one God, why are there so many religions?' I've been pondering that question ever since, and the conclusion I've come to is that all the religions are true.

George Lucas
Chairman of the Board
Lucasfilm Ltd.
Creator of the Star Wars Series and Indiana Jones Series

Buddhism has been a major role in my life.  It has given me an inner peace and calmness that I think I wouldn't have achieved at such an early age. I owe that to my mom. I don't practice Buddhism on a day-to-day basis, just when I feel like it. When I'm feeling weak, that's usually when I practice it.

Tiger Woods
Top American Golfer

I just decided to use a little bit of the Zen Buddhism and relax, instead of being frustrated, just smile and let it flow, just channel my thoughts, my frustration in a whole different form .

Michael Jordan
One of the Greatest Basketball Players of All Time
Starred in Space Jam with the Looney-Tune Characters

The nature of reality is suffering, and reality is a pretty big place, so there is a lot that can be said and done about suffering. If you have a broad view of suffering, in its internal and external varieties, it creates a pretty big field of opportunity for action.  I like the idea of engaged Buddhism, the notion that one builds one's life around a commitment to relieving suffering wherever and whenever possible

Mitchell Kapor
Founder and Lotus 1-2-3 Designer

Lotus Development Corporation (now part of the IBM Corp)

I'm religious. Probably, to a lot of people's thought, I'm extremely religious. My practice is Buddhism, but I believe in God...I've never had a conflict when I'm on a set.  I've really given up my life to God and I know that's why I'm OK and at peace. I don't believe in Buddha as my God...I believe in the practical ways of Buddhism as a way to live.

Sharon Stone
American Actress
Films include Basic Instinct, Total Recall,
The Mighty, and Many Others

I left India and returned to Colombo, where I was the guest of a Singhalese student I knew in Perth. They were Buddhists, their house was in the grounds of a temple, and the atmosphere of the household was very peaceful and unbelievably gentle. I talked a lot about Buddhism with them, and they took me up to a temple in the hills, in Kandy, where I met the monks and talked to a very old abbot, who explained more about Buddhism to me. I found Buddhism fascinating. Their concept that you progress towards the Ineffable through a number of existences seemed to me much more intellectually satisfying than the Christian belief that you come just once and are cast into circumstances maybe of great wealth or of great moment, but that you come to God or don't come to God on the basis of that one life. The logical attraction of Buddhism after the devastating experience of India was a further part of my breaking down. I was never on the point of embracing Buddhism but I found, and still find, it infinitely more satisfying than the Judeo-Christian philosophy.

Robert J. Hawke
Prime Minister of Australia (1983–1991)

We’re not trying to turn anybody into Buddhists, that’s not our agenda. I can’t imagine a worse idea for making a movie! We were just trying to make a good movie, but I have been told by audience members that it sort of demands that you examine your own life. So that’s pretty nice!

Melissa Mathison
Screenplay Writer
Screenplays include Steven Spielberg's E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,
Twilight Zone: The Movie, Kundun, and Many Others

When a modern western psychologist reads the Pali Nikayas, he again finds passages which he recognizes as belonging to his field and are concerned with typical psychological problems. Perception, imagination and thinking are described and the idea of psychological causality is developed, although in very vague terms. Behaviour and consciousness are explained as dynamic processes, governed by needs. There are the rudiments of an understanding of unconscious processes. We find interesting descriptions of different personality types. And the literature is full of advice on how to change the conscious processes evidently based on careful observation and experimentation.

Dr Rure C. A. Johnson 
Swedish Research Psychologist
Swedish National Defense

Buddhists can laugh. I've met many Buddhists; they laugh. Good faiths can always laugh at themselves.

Larry King
TV Host
CNN's Larry King Live


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