More on enneagram /2008/08/30/more-on-enneagram/

More on enneagram

Some commentary on the enneagram

I was an early student of the transpersonal psychiatrist C. Naranjo,
who learned about the nine ego-essence types from O. Ichazo in Arica,
Chile, in 1970. Ichazo originally claimed to be a sufi master who
learned from the same secret “School” as Gurdjieff did. He told stories
of being in Afghanistan and contacting the chiefs of the “School of the
Bees” (= Gurdjieff’s “Sarmân brotherhood”). This is how the designation
“sufi enneagram” originated. Gurdjieff, who first presented the
enneagram diagram in the West, claimed to have gone to a secret (Sarman
or Sarmoung) monastery in Afghanistan. Idries Shah, in Tales of the
Dervishes, later claimed some of his dervish tales originated from
“Sarman sufis.” In other books and articles, which he probably wrote
under pseudonyms, are descriptions of a “secret monastery” in
Afghanistan which supposedly preserved the knowledge of the “noh-kunja”
(Persian for “nine corners”) and suggested that the Sarman sufis were
the esoteric core of the Naqshbandi order. JG Bennett, a student of
Gurdjieff wrote extensively about his views that the source of
Gurdjieff’s teachings was closely linked to the “Khwajagan” sufis of
Central Asia– a lineage later called “Naqshbandi .” However, there is
no evidence whatsoever that sufi masters knew or used teachings of the
enneagram to transform their disciples– despite the inevitable
assertion of this myth in most books about the “sufi enneagram.”
Ichazo subsequently changed his story and claimed that his knowledge
came from the (Qabbalistic) angel “Metatron.” He has also reportedly
said that he never met or heard of any sufis that had any knowledge
about the enneagram. Bob Ochs, a Jesuit priest who was in the same group
I was in (Naranjo’s first group, in Berkeley, which started in 1971),
was quick to spread the enneagram teaching to the Jesuits, from where it
spread to other Catholic monastic orders in a Christianized format.
Helen Palmer learned the enneagram teachings some years later from
students of Naranjo and took a few classes from him as well. All these
people and their students have continued to teach and publish books
about the “sufi enneagram.”
Shaykh H. Kabbani and his collaborators who helped him write his
book have simply capitalized upon all this by drawing on previously
published claims and speculations in order to assert that Gurdjeff
learned about the enneagram from his (Kabbani’s) branch of the
Naqshbandi sufi order. He has “planted” brief references to the
knowledge of the “nine points” in his book on the history of the
Naqshbandi order and his own branch. It is true, though, that Gurdjieff
did visit one of the Daaghistani Naqshbandi masters (of this same
branch), and this is mentioned in a book by JG Bennett. But Gurdieff
himself wrote somewhere that he visited spiritual teachers in order to
gain spiritual energy from them– i.e. to increase his own personal
power and development. And, besides, his writings reveal contempt for
religion, despite his claim that his teaching was “esoteric
Christianity.” As for Kabbani’s claims, this is clearly an example of
his practice of what I call “spiritual lying” (which I have personally
witnessed), in order to promote and increase membership in the
Naqshbandi branch of Islamic sufism that he is a part of– a practice
which I detest (and contronted him personally about some years ago).

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