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SUBUD AND THE OPENING
CHAN RASJID KAH CHEW
28 February 2024
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1. Subud
Subud is a spiritual training; the Indonesian term is ‘latihan kejiwaan’. The
founder of Subud, Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo, had described and
interpreted the latihan in various ways. The latihan is basically a worship of
the One Almighty God. Bapak (father in Indonesian; used commonly to refer
to a respected elderly man; to refer to the Subud founder in Subud) had in the
past liken the latihan to be an exercise which is aroused in man when he surren-
ders to God free of the interference of his heart and mind; when in such a state
of surrender, the person would receive a vibration within his inner self which
would arouse the latihan movements; the movements may be of common phys-
ical movements, of sounds, singing, etc; or the experience may be inner experi-
ences. Bapak had even said the the latihan movements is actually activated in
man when his inner self is receiving a direct contact with the power of God. Al-
though the latihan may sometimes involve only physical movements similar
to our common daily movements, they are actually movements that accompa-
nies the person when his inner self is cleansed of spiritual impurities,impurities
that may have accumulated within man through his own living; or impurities
that have been passed down from his ancestors. Because we are all born dif-
ferent, our spiritual states are all different; these differences may be manifested
through our different latihan movements and receivings.
Subud is not a new religion as there is no specified ritual prescription nor
teachings. Subud is open to anyone who is willing to receive it, whether the per-
son has a religion or without a religion. The only condition is that the person
wishing to receive the latihan is willing to surrender to God. Even this "surren-
der to God" seems to have been waived aside for some who insist in not wanting
to surrender to God (the person’s reasoning may be that God, being Almighty,
should have made a direct appearance to him earlier). So even a person who
may not believe in God may be opened in Subud - "let him decide after the
opening whether God exists or not exists".
Bapak in his many talks seems to have said that all that could be gain through
teaching have been given through the various religion. God has not sent Bapak
to start a new religion. Bapak had been given the task to bring about this latihan
training and to spread it to whomever is willing to receive it. Our modern world
has no lack of teachings, especially in this twenty first century when we have
1
SUBUD AND THE OPENING 2
the internet at our finger tips; there is actually a surfeit of all manners of opin-
ions and teachings so much so that most would not care much about teachings
anymore.
So what Bapak has brought to the world is not yet another spiritual teaching,
but a spiritual receiving - the latihan kejiwaan. The latihan is a receiving of ‘ev-
idence’, evidence of Almighty God that comes directly from God himself given
to man. So God is indeed Almighty! In this modern world where the influences of
the material is so strong that it is nearly impossible for man to believe in Him,
God has ‘bent down’ to adapt to man’s need and contact man directly through
His power! So this latihan is a gift, a Grace of God given free to anyone willing
to accept it. Bapak has even mentioned that this is like a last chance for man to
come back to God.
2. The Subud Opening
There is a general three months waiting period for an applicant to join Subud.
This rule was set by Bapak and is still in place. Its purpose is to allow a person
to find out more about the latihan practice and to make sure an applicant has
no misunderstanding of what Subud has to offer. During this waiting period,
an applicant may meet with the Subud helpers (experienced members who are
tasked to open new members) to resolve questions that they may have about the
latihan. After the waiting period, a date and time (usually at night) is chosen for
the applicant to be initiated into the latihan practice; this initiation is termed the
opening. It is a special first latihan of the applicant. After a member s opening,
he would be able join the usual twice-weekly group latihan of a Subud group or
center.
An opening is a special latihan conducted by Subud helpers who have been
chosen to initiate applicants into the practice of the latihan kejiwaan. Helpers
are usually experienced members who have been specially selected to open new
members. An opening session may be for opening multiple applicants all at
once. The opening may be accompanied by just a lone helpers; more often, in
Subud groups, the opening would usually be accompanied by multiple helpers.
An opening (just as with any latihan) is done in an empty room with suf-
ficient space. In an opening, the helpers would usually have a fifteen minutes
cleansing latihan after which an applicant would be lead into the room with the
helpers facing him (in some cases, the opening may be done together with a
usual group latihan). One of the helpers would then read out a short prepared
text to the applicant; the text usually goes as :
"We, the Subud helpers, are here as witness to your wish to worship
and surrender to the One Almighty God...you should just relax ...
surrender to the One Almighty God... and need not think nor pay
attention to others in the room...and to follow any movements that
may arise spontaneously within you...".
After reading this text the helper would say "Begin". All the helpers would then
just begin their own individual latihan,i.e. the usual ‘practice’ to surrender to the
SUBUD AND THE OPENING 3
One Almighty God. This marks the very moment when the a person accepts to
surrender to God and to receive the training of the latihan kejiwaan - an exercise
training that comes ‘direct’ from the Power of God.
To Subud members, the receiving of the latihan is a miracle of God. Bapak
was the first to receive the latihan as has well been described in the extensive
Subud literature available. What Bapak received may be that he was first con-
tacted ‘directly’ by the Power of God without his choosing; it was all through the
will of God. Such an event as will by God would often be termed ‘a miracle of
God’. It is a miracle as man the created being would not be able to comprehend
God unless it is God Himself who reveal his reality to man.
The latihan was received by Bapak when he was twenty four. The latihan
came to him spontaneously for a thousand nights. After this, it may be said
Bapak complected his latihan training by God. He received that the latihan was
not for he himself alone, but for all of mankind - for anyone who is willing to
accept it. It was how Bapak started this Subud movement when he started to
initiate others into the practice. The way that the latihan could be passed on
from one member to another person in itself is also a miracle of God. When
Bapak opens another member(near him physically and ‘surrendered’ to God),
it is as if the power of God descends on the person through the ‘mediation’ of
Bapak.
As to how the Power of God works through the latihan opening is beyond
the thinking mind of man. If God is indeed Almighty, it is logical that man, the
created sentient being, would not be able to comprehend the Greatness of God.
It is for this reason that in religion, there is no great analytic discourse about
God, but just that man should accept the Greatness of God through faith - and
through faith alone.
There is now a rather great collection of articles and books (in English) writ-
ten by members to describe their personal spiritual experiences encountered
after they started the latihan practice. I was opened in 1972 in Singapore. Over
the years, I have read almost all the articles and books (now readily available for
free pdf download). Many members would describe their opening experiences;
the latihan opening may sometimes be accompanied by very strong effects.
In the early days (1970s), it may be said the Subud group in Singapore was
rather weak - in numbers. We don’t have our own Subud premise (a room, hall)
to do the group latihan. We rented a conference room in the Regional English
Language Center (RELC) for our twice weekly group latihan, usually from 7.30
- 8.30 pm. Once, I was just in time for the latihan. I found a senior member who
was at the door, probably to attend to members who may be late for the lati-
han; he seems a little solemn and he said: "There is an opening tonight. Go and
stand behind the helpers". The opening was for an American, probably some-
one passing through Singapore and the decision was to have him opened here.
It seems the practice was to have an opening session to be a special latihan only
for the applicant/applicants and the helpers alone. In this case, the opening was
done together with the group - albeit a small Singapore group. The practice in
SUBUD AND THE OPENING 4
the opening is for the helpers alone to do a special 15 minutes ‘cleansing’ latihan
before the actual opening.
When I entered the room, the helpers must have just done their cleansing
latihan and was waiting to ‘Begin’. As usual, I took off my watch, wallet, etc. and
put them aside. The room was totally dark but I could clearly feel something
special tonight; there was a special quietness in the air (my first experience of
someone else opening). Everything in the room seems to have come to a stand-
still - a tangible quietness! But then, there was something else besides. There
was a beating in the air - in the stillness - like a flapping of wings, almost audi-
ble: ‘pap, pap, pap, pap...pap, pap, pap, pap.... When the opening began,I could
feel the latihan was very strong. A strong blissful feeling from this opening re-
mained with me for about two days. When I mentioned this to a senior member,
he said the bliss is a precursor experience of what heaven means.
In my own opening, I almost experience nothing. I was opened together with
another applicant (again in a group latihan). There were two helpers, one is a
local helper and another was an ‘itinerant’ American helper. In the opening, I
‘surrendered’ myself obediently, standing in front of the helpers and ‘not using
my hearts and mind’ - just standing throughout the half-hour session. Only in
the next latihan that I started to move, walking about the room as if a power
was moving me from within to walk - nothing exceptional to talk about.
Once after the latihan, we were talking about our own opening experiences. I
mentioned that I felt nothing in my opening - I was just standing still through-
out the opening. A member (who was present in the opening) said:‘You say you
felt nothing, but the very moment I entered the room, I could feel a very strong beat-
ing in the air - he made the beating sign with his hands’. Although the Angels of the
Lord could have been beating their wings for the other applicant, I still had no
doubt I was properly ‘opened’. The very next day after the opening, I immedi-
ately did something which I had just left not done for the past few years - like a
special inner prompting that reminded me without my own will.
I think I could now understand the Christmas hymn ‘Silent Night’; when
Angels descend, there is silence, calm, holiness and peace:
‘Silent night, holy night! All is calm, all is bright. Round yon Virgin,
Mother and Child. Holy infant so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly
peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.
3.
(Subud)latihan kejiwaan
·(Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo)
(Bapak,
思想
个人
SUBUD AND THE OPENING 5
与上
接接
一个人
从他
不一也不一
们不
愿意
愿意使
些不个人
使一个
帝并一个
予了愿意
代世不乏21
太多大多人不
再关
,
予人
于人乎不代世
与人一份
(Subud Opening)
的目的人们
人不
以与负责
他们
一个),
一个
一个组练
他们
他们
一个
S
15
,
SUBUD AND THE OPENING 6
中一个
"
。。。。。。"
个人一个人
(Latihan Kejiwaan
一个
广
一个事件
一个了他
了一
不仅仅为了他为了——为了任愿意
他人
从一个一个人
了人
话语——
仅仅——
(
1972
pdf
1970
RELC(
)7.30-8.30pm
一个
为仅
15
SUBUD AND THE OPENING 7
拍打
,
…”式开
,
乎什么也人一
(
一个
-
使
走路-什么
什么也——他也
"
"
使使以为拍打
怀!
一件——
意愿
使
Email address: chanrasjid@gmail.com
URL: http://www.emc2fails.com
Singapore