Policies and Practices
Introduction to Subud Britain
Subud Britain is a company limited by guarantee and registered in England & Wales, and a charity registered in England & Wales and in Scotland, and as such, will endeavour to comply with any and all applicable legal obligations. It is hoped that the following clarifications will be helpful to anyone who wishes to understand Subud Britain’s position on various practical issues and concerns. For further information please contact the National Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org , 0870 444 2604.
Responsibilities of Subud volunteers
Since Subud Britain is an organisation largely run by volunteers, it is expected that any person, while acting as a volunteer on behalf of Subud Britain, will respect and comply with our practical guidelines and will avoid any behaviour that would conflict with our obligations as a charity.
The Organisation of Subud Britain
Subud Britain and Subud organisations in general are comprised of Committee members, who handle the normal day-to-day business affairs and Helper members, who look after spiritual matters such as discussing Subud with interested parties, opening those who wish to follow the Subud exercises, and nurturing the membership as much as possible.
This separation of responsibilities is found at local, regional, national, and international levels
The Spiritual side of Subud
The latihan -- the Spiritual practice of Subud
The core experience of Subud - the latihan - is in fact worship of the One Almighty God in a way that is free from thought and desire. When one receives the gift of the latihan, (called one’s ‘opening’) it is the Power of God or the Holy Spirit (or other words in other languages) which thenceforth can and will guide each and every human being to worship in their own unique way when they sincerely and patiently submit their own will to the Will of God. Further information about the latihan can be found elsewhere on this and other Subud websites.
Bapak Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo
As can be found elsewhere on this and other websites, Pak Subuh [1901-1987] was the first person to receive the gift of the latihan in this modern age. After a few years, he was allowed to pass this experience of the spiritual life on to others and this facility continues to this day. When asked where the latihan comes from, he replied…
“Subud is not foreign. It did not ‘arise in the East’ and it did not ‘come to the West’. It comes from the Spirit of God -- which is nowhere a stranger.”
On Subud Literature
Pak Subuh gave some 1,600 talks during his lifetime, to people of all faiths and all walks of life, in dozens of countries. These talks are viewed within Subud as Bapak’s own experiences, as explanations of what a Subud member might experience while following the Subud exercises, and as broad guidance for those interested in their spiritual life.
Subud members are encouraged to read or listen to these talks, but should not consider them to supplant the guidance they receive in the latihan. In addition to his many talks, Bapak translated a series of receivings about the nature of human life into a book entitled ‘Susila Budhi Dharma’.
Since these writings concern the experience of those following the Subud way of life, they are not appropriate for the general public and may even be confusing, due to the fact that a person who has not experienced the latihan for him/herself will lack the context with which to assess their content.
In addition to his many talks, Bapak often answered members’ questions both personally and in letters, and was able to assist members to experience their own latihan more deeply during his many journeys around the world. Bapak’s guidance was tailored to the person or persons who consulted him or who were present at the time, and as a result it would be unwise to extrapolate definitive advice from personal guidance given to someone else.
Bapak also placed complete responsibility for spiritual progress on the sincerity and diligence of the individual. He is recorded as saying…
“You can do the latihan for 20 years and go backwards, if you don’t want to change.”
Many Subud members do have spiritual experiences -- both small and large -- and Subud members are certainly free to write about their Subud life. Naturally, Subud Britain can take no responsibility for any such publications, since these may or may not represent the views of Subud Britain or any of its many volunteers.
On the availability of the latihan.
Contact with the Subud latihan is available to any person 17 or older who sincerely wishes to practice this form of Worship, and who is capable of making an informed and considered decision. It is always helpful to discuss decisions such as these with ones family before making them. In particular, we suggest that those not yet 18 years discuss with their parent or guardian.
Subud takes no position on other spiritual practices, and any person who claims to may have been ‘opened’ by way of some other spiritual activity is nonetheless expected to accept the normal applicant or waiting period in order to attend spiritual exercises in Subud.
On the applicant period
It is Subud Britain’s general policy that persons interested in receiving the latihan must accept a waiting period of some three months, during which time they have the opportunity to become fully informed of the nature of the Subud experience in order to make a considered decision. This applicant period may be waived for those over 63 years of age or those with a terminal illness.
On the separation of men and women in the latihan
From the earliest days of Subud, women and men have done the latihan separately. The reason for this is that the latihan can be a deep, personal experience, and since men and women do in fact have different natures, both inner and outer, members feel more at ease and free in the company of their own gender. Subud Britain continues this policy which works well in practice, and has for some 60 years or more.
On Subud Helpers
‘Helpers’ in Subud Britain are members who have accepted a responsibility to help Bapak Subuh with his spiritual mission -- to bring the spiritual exercise of Subud to anyone who is sincerely interested. Subud members should be aware that ‘helpers’ are usually very ordinary people who try to facilitate Subud goals as much as possible, but who should never be regarded as any kind of cleric or professional capable of helping a member with personal problems or issues. It follows that helpers as ordinary human beings can and do make mistakes, and in the end each member is solely responsible for their own Subud experience.
Subud in the Outer World
Bapak explained that the latihan is a gift for all mankind from Almighty God, the source of all life and that therefore the latihan is suitable for all of mankind, including those with existing religious beliefs. Bapak encouraged Subud members to continue with their religion if they had one. He made many references in his talks to the spiritual value of Christianity, Islam and other religions. Worldwide, there are people in Subud from all faiths, beliefs and philosophies. Subud Britain leaves each individual Subud member to follow his or her own conscience with regard to religious practice.
Subud Britain has no political affiliation, and Subud members are completely free to follow their own beliefs.
Subud’s charitable structure, Susila Dharma, makes efforts to support a wide range of human needs and concerns without a political, religious or national bias.
Bapak encouraged Subud members to be active in the world. For many years he suggested that this could find expression in business activities or enterprises, and expressed the hope that some percent of net profits might be donated to the Subud organisation to support Subud’s charitable and organisational requirements. Many Subud members have put this into practice with varying degrees of success. Subud Britain takes no position on any Subud member’s business or enterprise and leaves the choice of how to be active in the world up to the individual. For professionals who are fully involved in their careers, Bapak suggested that donating some small percentage of net income to Subud organisations or charities would be sufficient to fulfill one’s obligation.
On the Arts
SICA -- an acronym for Subud International Cultural Organisation -- exists to foster and encourage Subud activities in the Arts. Bapak often spoke of the importance of developing a higher or finer culture and there are innumerable Subud artists, musicians and creative talents who express themselves in the various fields of the arts.
Any reader who is interested in finding out more about Subud should make enquiries via email@example.com, or 0870 444 2604.