Subud & Culture


A fascinating discussion of the foundation of SICA came up on the SICA Facebook page yesterday:

Muhammad Isman Kanafsky:

From “Susila Budhi Dharma”

An excerpt from English renderings of Susila Budhi Dharma, originally
received as a high Javanese poem by the late R.M. Bapak Muhammad
Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo at Jogjakarta in l952 and later translated in
Bahasa Indonesia. The English is derived from the Indonesian version of
the text.

In this way you will soon become adept at doing work that is in tune with
your soul, and this will certainly make your life happy, for this skill will
grow from your human soul which will have brought to life your whole
inner feeling. As a result, my child, you will acquire a lasting interest in
your work and your achievements will not be disappointing.

This is the true meaning of culture, for its source is the human soul, and it
is received in an inner feeling that has awakened and become free from the
influence of its own subordinate powers. It is a culture filled continuously
with the life-force. That is why, when you reach this stage, the work you do
will be a means for your worship of God Almighty.

Seen from an ordinary, outer point of view, your work will appear no
different from ordinary work. In reality, however, there will be a very great
difference. For ordinary work and skill are acquired by learning from
someone else – or from a group – unable yet to determine whether or not
the work is in harmony with the one’s identity. But the skill in work that
you will acquire in this way is of a quality which has its origin in the human

Later, therefore, in doing your work, you will act in harmony with yourself,
both inwardly and outwardly, and so you will certainly progress in your
work in a way which will correspond with the advances and changes of the
times you live in.

It is therefore hoped that you, my child, will not neglect these spiritual
exercises (latihan kejiwaan) for in reality they constitute a way which is
easy to follow, which does not require you to isolate yourself from others,
and which can bring you an enlightenment which will strengthen your soul.

Moreover, you will gain a great deal by this means and will easily achieve
those things which correspond to your true needs. Furthermore, in this
state – which cannot be comprehended by the thinking mind – you will
always be enveloped by the life force, with the result that you will easily find
the way, which will then be wide open to you, for understanding the true
significance of your own life.

Plainly then, the skill in work you will acquire as a result of these spiritual
exercises is truly a quality of genuine culture, for it is born and grows as a
result of the human jiwa becoming free from the influence of one’s
subordinate or ancillary forces.

So for that reason this culture will neither destroy human knowledge, nor
close the way whereby man may worship God – for the truth is that it has
its origin in God and returns to God again.

Latifah Taormina:

Yes, what Matthew asked me directly was”What is the Meaning of SICA?” I will share my response, but it pales in comparison with the initiative Matthew has launched here in California re PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE
— putting our latihan into practice. It’s like a whole new wave of LIFE and hopefully it will spread faster than the fastest virus out there and get us all infected with how we can put our latihans into practice in our lives, in our work, in Subud and in the world. Thank you, Matthew. And so… my answer to Matthew’s query. This is what I shared:

SICA stands for Subud International Cultural Association. How we describe
SICA to the general public is on our SICA website here;

The Indonesian word for culture is kebudayan. It comes from two words: budhi —as in Susila Budhi Dharma —that essence of the power of God that is within every human being — and daya or action. In other words it is the
action of the Power of God that we express in our lives. Bapak once said that this way: “Culture is the latihan of life.” More of what Bapak said about culture is on the SICA website here: http://www.subud-

Now culture, or kebudayaan, is a movement or an action of the budhi, or the inner nature of man, which in other words can be called the jiwa. So, in the olden days, when people used to sing or perform, what they did had the nature of a latihan. It had the effect of awakening the jiwa of those who listened to it. And what came out, what they did, was entirely received, something that they were moved to do from their jiwa, from within.

But this is not the situation today, because nowadays people attach more importance to their heart and mind, to their pleasure, than they do to their jiwa. So that today the culture which used to be a living culture is now a dead culture. In fact, people nowadays sing in order to sell what they sing. They pay attention merely to the heart and mind and to their own pleasure. So that, in fact, we human beings are now beaten by the animals. When animals are happy, when they feel joy, they demonstrate their closeness to their Creator by singing — (at this point, a nearby bird began to sing, and Bapak continued) — as for example, the birds.
The song of the bird is still a demonstration of its closeness to its jiwa. But that is not the case with us human beings. What has happened to us, what we have received in the latihan kejiwaan, is something that can bring us back to the place where we were, to the closeness of the jiwa, which we used to have in olden days.
This is why it is really necessary for us to awaken culture, or that culture should awaken again within us, the culture which truly originates in the human nature and represents humankind’s worship of Almighty God.”
— Wolfsburg, 1972

Ibu also spoke about culture and why Bapak set up the Subud International
Cultural Association, That’s on the SICA site here: http://www.subud-

A few things that I cannot forget are things Bapak said about SICA and
culture before he died. SICA was established at the Anugraha congress in
1983. Richard Engels of Germany and I were selected by Bapak to be its
first chair and vice-chair. We, along with the rest of the council, met with
Bapak every year between that time and his passing in 1987.

At one of those meetings, after a report of our activities from Richard, SDIA
started to make their report and Bapak stopped to go back to SICA. We
were all in his living room and I was not more than 8 feet from Bapak. And
he stood up as he was so excited by what he was seeing about the future of
SICA. I could see that he was telling about things he was actually seeing —
like watching someone watch a movie or TV show, but we couldn’t we what
he was seeing. There is no recording of this. But he was talking about how
wide culture was and that through these different activities ‚ singing,
dancing, and on and on (not just the arts) one could worship God. And he
was excited because he was seeing that this is how people would come to
Subud in the future. And then he said that one day there would be a book,
and it would show that “Subud is very big and very wide and has every kind
of thing in it.” And he then looked straight at me and said, “And SICA’s job
is to make a film of this book. And Los Angeles is a good place for it.” (I was
living in LA at the time.)

Unfortunately there were writers in the room who then started asking
about the book. I kinda felt they were trying to find out if maybe they would
be the ones to write the book. Bapak made it clear that it had not yet been
written. At one point, he looked at Richard and said Richard could write the book but it would have to be in English. Richard did write a book, but not in English. And I read part of it, but it didn’t feel like “the book.” But that’s
me. But….the clue is the book is in English.
That’s part of why I want to do this little film of that poem. To make a place
holder for SICA Films. It doesn’t have to be that name, but it’s the intention
behind it that matters— I think.
I really like the simplicity of Ibu’s descriptions of SICA.
One is: “SICA is for activities that emerge from the development of the
human soul.”

Another is this; “This is why Bapak made the decision to set up a Subud
wing called the Subud International Cultural Association, or SICA. Bapak
hoped that through SICA, Subud members who had a talent in a particular
field would create something truly new or different, something that would
touch other people, meaning people who are not in Subud, people outside

So in this way, through SICA, we can provide proof to people who are not in
Subud. This is needed because we cannot explain Subud to other people
who are not opened, to people not in Subud. They cannot understand what
Subud is if they have not experienced the opening, or how the latihan fills

So by creating something for other people, you may be able to demonstrate
something that without their being aware of it, may exert a positive
influence on people who are not in Subud. So we hope that Subud will
spread through SICA through activities that other people can see.
This is particularly hoped for from young members who have a lot of energy
– that they will generate something new that will also be a part of SICA’s

The above bit from Ibu is my mojo for action. That’s why I feel sad when we just do SICA things for Subud people . I feel we’re suppose to put things out in the world.

One reason SICA activities tend to stay inside Subud may be that many are
shy to even say they are part of Subud. SD doesn’t have Subud in its name.
SICA does. But I am not shy to say I’m in Subud or that SICA is the SUBUD
International Cultural Association. Maybe because I lived in Indonesian all
those years and Wisma Subud is over the entrance gate. Its a public place.
Everyone knew about Siubud. It wasn’t anything we had to hide. We
weren’t afraid of being considered a cult. And there were some who thought
that even there. We were grateful to be part of Subud.
One last bit….Salamah Pope once asked Bapak what the difference was
between Susila Dharma and SICA — as both have missions that go out into
the world. She said that Bapak told her that “we do Susila Dharma to
correct the mistakes of the past, and we do SICA to build a human future.”
So that’s our SICA tagline: “Working to nurture a human future through
art, culture, and creativity.”
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Latifah Taormina:

Note: While Ibu and Bapak say that SICA is for activities that emerge from
the development of the human soul, SICA cannot make anyone’s soul
develop. That’s between you and God. What SICA can do is present, share,
celebrate, support, encourage, advance those activities. How do we
recognize those activities? I think one clue is that they are ALIVE.
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4 · 5 hrs
Leonard Dixon To quote someone other than Bapak:
“Receive and transmit!”
~ Peter Gabriel
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Latifah Taormina:

Bapak also said in those meetings that technology is also culture. He said
technology is born in the USA and then is cooked in Japan, and that then it
would come to Indonesia. He said that technology could work against
excessive nationalism in some countries and excessive religious fanaticism
in some countries. He said when nations can express their real culture as
nations, that would be the beginning of true welfare and peace and
prosperity for mankind. Bapak’s prayer for all of us was that the latihan
would spread so that there could be real peace and tranquility and
prosperity for the life of humankind. he also said peace could not exists in
countries full of strong nationalism. He reminded us that Subud was
international in its outlook and practice. That we are all one race — the
human race.

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Notes of Sept. 15, 2017 General Meeting



September 15, 2017, Eastside

ATTENDEES: Jim O’Halloran, Honora Hildreth, Hadijah and Sherwin O’Bar, Lorraine and Sebastian Tedrow, Marston Gregory, Paul Nelson, Bhakti Watts, Rachman and Ida Cantrell, Halstein Stralberg, Elisha Gullixson, Hanafi LIbman, Danella Mauguin, Oswald Norton, Hadiyah Carlyle.

Minutes from January 29, 2017 approved

FINANCIAL: Sherwin gave a comprehensive report for the year so far.

Revenue: $63, 272 (including member donations of $10,124 and Airbnb of $51,625).

Expenses: $68,024 (rental expense of $31,6k72 and house improvements/occupancy costs of $26,030 of which about $10,000 represents full payment for the sewer line rework).

Excess of Expense over Revenue: $4,752.


After many years of working on a way to bring income to the Subud Greater Seattle house we are proud to say that both Airbnb and rentals are doing very well. Paul reported that the total income for Airbnb 2017 so far has been $61,143.39, an 11 % increase over the similar period last year. Last year included Airbnb and rentals and this year Airbnb is up by itself over that.

We continue to hold “Superhost” status at Airbnb due to three factors:

  1. Debbie’s cleaning and housekeeping skills are impeccable and have pleased renters.
  2. Marson responds to the slightest criticism of the house and amenities quickly with inexpensive solutions
  3. Paul responds quickly with the right tone to all lodgers and potential lodgers.

Paul said that the rental service creates awareness of Subud, gives lower-income lodgers a warm, clean place to stay in Seattle and provides revenues to help keep the house well-maintained. He thanks us for the opportunity to serve Subud.

Marston also reported that the team for the rentals is working well. A lot of work has been put into making the enterprise successful.


Menucha – Registration now open. We encourage people to register. Hadijah brought up that if people have special diets they need to report it to Menucha ahead of time.

Great Create Recap – Oswald reported that 27 people attended. It was a weekend of great talent. It’s a SICA backbone. We obtained funding for a pilot program for future programs giving youth chance to take over.

Fall SGS Oct 15 event – Honora encouraged people to come. Lorraine and Hadiyah reported. Debbie Santos Machado will be the chef for a sit down lunch after latihan on Oct 15. Debbie needs to have a head count by Oct 6 to order food. So far we have a good response from Olympia and Skagit.

Regional Helper visit – Scheduled for Dec 9. Honora reported that there will be a kedjiwan day and then at night music and a party.

International Helper visit – A date needs to be scheduled but will be sometime in Jan/Feb.

Respectfully submitted by Hadiyah Carlyle

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Reminder of upcoming event

Please Remember: Subud Greater Seattle Fall Gathering on October 15. We request that you rsvp to Hadiyah Carlyle 206 271 4577 or by October 5 in order to provide sufficient food for all.

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Subud Greater Seattle Fall Gathering: October 15

Fall is coming, and so is the Subud Greater Seattle Fall Gathering, a celebration of community and all those who make it so.

Please join us on Sunday, October 15, 2017 for an opportunity to share delicious food and to grow our sense of community. Our Subud sister Chef Debbie Machado is graciously donating her time and expertise.

The food will be served buffet style at about 12:30 pm, and we will sit down together at tables in the ladies’ Latihan hall. A donation of $15 to help pay for the food is appreciated, but everyone is welcome.

Please RSVP Hadiyah Carlyle at or call 206-352-3274




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General Meeting This Friday In Bellevue

Subud General Meeting This Friday – Eastside Facilities

Hi All Subud Greater Seattle Members!

Please come to latihan at our Bellevue facilities this Friday 9/15 at 8 pm (quiet at 7:45) and stay for our general meeting afterwards.

Topics will include:
– An update on the dates and plans for our annual Kedjiwaan Retreat at the Menucha Conference Center November 9th to 12th.
– An report on fun that was had at The Great Create held at the Pilgrim Firs Retreat Center
– Whatever you want to talk about. Bring your questions and reports.

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Are Your Talents Challenging You?

Rayma and I were looking for a place to bring our friends for some good local jazz and great food on Saturday Sept 2nd.  We remembered the great times we’ve had going to the Lake Chad Cafe and hearing the Jim O’Halloran Trio.  Lucky for us he was playing that night.

With Jim that night were Royce Shorter, Jr. on drums and Farko Dosumov on bass.  It was an fantastic evening with two sets that I would have dance to if there’d been a dance floor.  Our friends also had a great time and look forward to returning with us.

I hadn’t heard Royce or Farko with Jim before. So, during a break I asked him what it was like to play with this equally talented duo.  “It’s challenging – and I like the challenge!”, he said. The result was an extraordinary blend of the three instruments in a totally satisfying performance.

Are you as challenged by your talents as Jim is by his?  I’ve known Jim for many years but have always been impressed with how he balances his work life as a certified electrophysiology specialist at Swedish with his performance life as a jazz cellist and his work as a helper and now vice-chair for our group.  It’s an example to me of how to live your life to the fullest.

Future Appearances:
If you’re looking for some great music experiences, I recommend that you check out two of Jim’s upcoming events:

1) He’s supporting Felix Ngoussou – the equally challenged owner of Chad Cafe – at the opening of his Seattle Business Education Hub.  It’s a non-profit center that seeks to elevate immigrants and refugees, minorities and low-income families to financial success through education, counseling, mentoring and entrepreneurial training. He’ll be playing in the street with Royce and Farko.

2) He’s back at Cafe Chad with Steve Kim on bass, Ricardo Guity on percussion on Saturday September 16th.

Lake Chad 9-16-17 promo

More on Jim and his work at Swedish
We deal with the electrical conduction of the heart-ablations for arrhythmias, pacemakers, defibrillators and so on.  I work in a procedural area.
More on Royce
Royce grew up playing gospel in church-his dad was a minister.  He won the Guitar Center national drum competition several years ago.

More on Farko
Farko grew up in Tashkent Uzbekistan.  His twin brother is a heavy metal guitarist in Moscow Russia.

More on Jim’s recordings
You can find his recordings on CD Baby.

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Scenes from the Great Create

The Great Create at Pilgrim Firs had a modest turnout (about 25 folks), but the people who came had a delightful variety of workshops to choose from. It was sometimes hard to decide which to do, especially since the gorgeous lake and hiking trails beckoned us out into the beautiful surroundings. The setting was a fragrant evergreen forested retreat on the Kitsap Peninsula, Pilgrim Firs.

Pilgrim Firs is in a Douglas Fir/Hemlock forest with a pristine lake and hiking trails. Housing included shared rooms in a large lodge and several smaller cabins that one or two people occupied. Several Latihans and generous buffet-style meals topped off the creative workshops and outdoor activities.

Summer time in the Northwest is at its best in our forests. The characteristic fragrance of sun-washed evergreen needles was everywhere here.

Kayaking, canoeing and swimming were fabulous in the warm weather.

The workshops were great! Michael Dubois and Marius Hubbard led the fabric marbling and Halimah Taylor organized Fun with Clay.

Marlena Knill and Liza Ramey inspired creations with oil pastels and watercolors; Aaron Mann supervised a wonderful glass-fusing workshop, and Hariana Chilstrom directed Bug Art. Virginia Bowers led an interpreted nature walk around the lake, and many folks just ambled on their own.

Most of these photos were taken by Lambert Bazinet of Canada.

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News from California, Canada and Cuba to lighten your heart

Refresh yourself with delightful photos and stories from the three C’s. Especially comprehensive is the beautiful quarterly issue of Subud Canada, SCAN, which contains 50 pages covering events, talks by Bapak and Ibu Rahayu, a World Congress update, personal stories and more.

News from around the Region, August 2017

SCAN Autumn Issue 2017

The Spirit of Cuba en Bicicleta

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Menucha Threatened

From the staff at Menucha:

Subject: RE: gorge fire emergency (9.4.17)

Thank you so much for reaching out to Menucha.  For now, Menucha is still OK and being monitored by our staff.  I don’t believe there is anything that can be done, except by the dedicated emergency professionals in the area.

Our executive director, Spencer Parkes, released this statement on the Menucha Facebook page at approximately 7:15am this morning.

“Good morning friends.  Menucha’s on-site personnel were evacuated during the night and our office is closed today.  According to the Corbett Oregon Facebook page, the fire is at Crown Point/Larch Mountain, which is just a few miles from Menucha.  Please continue to keep everyone in our area in your prayers.  We’ll update as often as we can today.”

We appreciate  your prayers and support.

Most Sincerely,

Mary Anne Bidondo for the entire Menucha staff

Menucha Map

This fire has jumped the Columbia River.

Some vulgar language in this story, but information on how the fire started.

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Save the Date–October 15–Fall Gathering

Oct 15–Save the Date

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