Below is some introductory information about Subud, and a few Subud words you
might come across. You can find much more detailed information on our Subud
Britain home page www.subudbritain.org and other web sites
around the world - see links & books.
A shortened version of the information below can be found in the Cambridge
Group leaflet (printable on 2 A4 pages).
The name "Subud" and the seven circles symbol above are registered marks of
the World Subud Association.
Contents of the page below:
The meaning of `Subud'
| Short Subud history
| Subud Britain and the world-wide organisation
The Latihan - our spiritual practice
| Bapak - the founder of Subud
| Spiritual names
| Religion in Subud
| Subud and publicity
| Joining Subud / Membership
The meaning of 'Subud'
Subud can be read as a contraction of the Sanskrit-derived words
You can find a short summary about Subud on our home page and more on www.subud.org.uk.
- Susila = The behaviour and character of a true human being following the will of God
- Budhi = The essence of the Divine Power within each human being
- Dharma = Complete submission, trust and sincerity towards God.
"Susila Budhi Dharma means the
nature of a human being who has been graced by God to receive
a contact that causes the influence of the desires in their
heart and thinking spontaneously to stop, so that they can
then surrender body and soul to the greatness of Almighty God
with true submission and acceptance. That is the meaning of
Susila Budhi Dharma, which we abbreviate to Subud. Although
Subud is the abbreviation of Susila Budhi Dharma, it also has
its own meaning. Subud means returning to the origin. In
Javanese this is called temugelang, which means that wherever
you started from, you return to your original starting
place. There are no corners or right angles, no bends or
curves, everything moves directly in a circle back to the
greatness of Almighty God." Bapak - talk given on 31 May 1964 in
Short Subud history
Subud was founded in 1932 by Bapak. Subud has since spread to
about 80 countries. When John Bennett, the head of the Gurdjeff movement,
discovered Subud, he believed that this is what Gurdjeff had been looking for
in his quest for the truth. He - and with him hundreds of Gurdjeff followers -
joined Subud and helped setting up many of today's groups in Britain.
Subud Britain and the world-wide organisation
The Cambridge Group is a part of Subud Britain, the association representing all the
Subud groups in England, Scotland and Wales. Subud Britain has democratic
structures on local, regional and national levels. The International Subud
Council moves country every four years to avoid attachment with power, a nation
or a culture. In Britain there are 60 Subud groups.
There are several wings within Subud: social welfare (Susila Dharma International), culture (SICA),
health (SIHA), Subud Publications International (SPI), youth (SYA) and
enterprises (SES). (see www.subud.org.uk/subud-action.html). Susila Dharma International is in consultative status with
the United Nations Economic and Social Council [ECOSOC] and the International
Children's Fund [UNICEF].
Subud Britain is the association representing Subud in Britain and all the local groups. It is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity.
Registered Office: Old Bank House, 1-3 High Street, Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 9AD, phone: 0870 444 2604.
Charity Reg. No. 233282. Company No. 678027.
The name "Subud®" and the seven circles symbol above are registered marks
of the World Subud Association.
The Latihan - our spiritual practice
Latihan Kejiwaan is Indonesian for 'spiritual exercise /
In our latihan we empty our minds, surrender and receive the
spirit of God. It is a practice, which allows us to follow God's will in
thought, word and action.
We do not "do" anything, we put
our mind and control aside and allow things to happen. The outward result may be
that, sooner or later, the body starts moving and the mouth opens and sounds
come out. It may take several years - or only a second until this may happen.
The benefit of allowing God to work within us is a process of healing, balancing
and transformation. From the outside it may look like a sacred chaos.
To be less distracted, men and women practice the latihan separately.
"In the beginning was the void. And the void was full of energy, which manifested as a
vibration which became light. And out of the light came earth, water, air and
fire; which therefore were the content of the vibration.
Read more about the latihan at www.subud.org.uk/latihan-inner-awakening.html
And so is our latihan which begins as a vibration, becomes movement, and, after some travail,
eventually becomes useful activity." - Bapak, 11 August
|Bapak 1971 in Cilandak|
Bapak - the founder of Subud
Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo
(born 22 June 1901, died 23 June 1987), also called Bapak (which means
'respected father' in Indonesian), came from Java in Indonesia. He unexpectedly
received a series of spiritual experiences - "the contact" in 1924 ("the 1000
nights"). Later he was able to pass his receiving on to anyone who asked for it
(see membership). This developed into the world-wide Subud
Bapak travelled many times around the world. He had a good sense of
humour, his power of unconditional love was so strong, that many people, when
looking directly in his eyes, were overwhelmed and literally went down on the
Some, usually more experienced, members are given a role to support the spiritual development of the group and other members - we call them "helpers". We have helpers on the local, regional, national and
international level. In Subud we call a group of helpers a Dewan.
Testing in Subud
We may do a form of the latihan in which we
ask God for guidance with a problem. This specific asking - and receiving the
answer - is called 'testing' - a kind of feedback from God.The results of the
individual receivings are shared and usually give a clear picture. The helpers
are there to lead or join in with the `testing' of personal and group matters
when they arise.
Spiritual names in Subud
A name that could be in accordance with your inner (spiritual) development may be given to you if
you wish. Why have some of us chosen to change our names?
"A name does
have a strong influence on a person, because when someone is called by their name
they will certainly move in response, and such a movement comes from their whole
being. So the entire self, when called by name, feels as though it were being
woken from sleep, or started up again, having been stopped. If an adult or child
has the wrong name, then, when their inner feeling is roused in this way, it
becomes adjusted to a name that does not correspond to their individuality. As a
result, in their behaviour, in their ways and actions, the inner is not in
harmony with the outer; that is, the inner feeling of the individual is not in
harmony with their heart and mind. Therefore names are very important. "
- Bapak, talk given on 15 July 1963 at the Second Subud World Congress.
Religion in Subud
Subud is open to members of all religions, and those without religion, who sincerely wish to worship God.
Subud and publicity
"If this is really as good as it sounds - why have I never heard about Subud
Maybe previously you have not been ready to join Subud. Subud does
not use advertised propaganda - it merely provides information and is more
likely to spread as a result of its own quality. In the first years of Subud, Bapak was guided not go out and spread the word, but stay at home
and wait for people to come and find him. Many Subud members have this attitude
to leave it to God to guide the people who are ready to find Subud.
Joining Subud / Membership
Anyone from the age of 17 can join
Subud. Since the latihan may cause changes in your life, it is
usual to have a preparation time of up to three months before you join Subud.
The helpers test if, and when is the right
time for the applicant to join. We call the first Latihan your "opening" (read
about Ralph's opening).
There is no
membership fee - members give voluntary contributions for overheads.
You are welcome to browse through books and web sites about Subud and find
For a shortened version of the information in this web page see the
leaflet of Subud, Cambridge Group.
If you are
interested to find out if Subud is a way for you, please meet & contact us.