Jeffrey Somers is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society in London and lectures on the sociology of oriental religion at the University of London. Mr. Somers is also an international editor of the academic journal, 'Journal of Contemporary Religion'. He has been a member of The Gurdjieff Society for more than 40 years.

Q. Who was Mr. Gurdjieff?
A. He was an esoteric Master who brought a teaching that is possible to follow in this age. He was born near the Russo-Turkish border in 1866 and died in Paris in 1949. He was a Master. The idea of a Master is familiar in the East, it implies an incarnation of knowledge. In the case of esoteric knowledge there is the implication that he can awaken others.

Q. What did Gurdjieff teach?
A. First of all it is necessary to state that Mr. Gurdjieff's teaching is in no way a religion, nor is he a 'gohonzon'. The teaching that he brought is intensely practical. His call is for men and women to awaken from their sleep, to brake out from their prison of ever turning daydreams and find and develop another level of attention. He gave voice to a call for us to open our eyes. He asks us why we are here, what do we wish for, and what forces do we obey. It is not long before we recognise our inner poverty. Gurdjieff's teaching is often referred to as 'The Work'. The very beginning of this work is in learning and gradually opening to presence and its relative levels. This knowledge is more than can be written in books. It is immersion in experience. Gurdjieff rediscovered a method to initiate the experiencing of self-knowledge and knowledge of life.

Q. Gurdjieff is dead, is it still possible to acquire and practice what he taught?
A. This is an important question. The answer is an unequivocal "yes" but it is important to verify that one is learning from someone in a direct line of transmission from Gurdjieff himself and is very experienced. As Gurdjieff was dying he entrusted his teaching to a lady who had worked with him for 30 years. Her name was Jeanne de Salzmann. Around her were a number of other men and women who had worked with him. Although Mme de Salzmann is also dead now, a number of the other people that worked with him are still alive and teaching. They have nurtured small groups of people in different parts of the world who have been responsible for transmitting, in an authentic form Mr. Gurdjieff's teaching. There is now a third generation of teachers.

Q. Are there now many teachers of Mr. Gurdjieff's path?
A. There are many although this is a relative term, maybe not more than 200 in the whole world. Is there any way to be sure that someone who claims to be a teacher of this way is indeed one? This is also an important question. I have used the term 'teacher' but it would be more correct to say 'group leader'. Someone who is recognised as a group leader is more experienced than the people around him who are trying to pursue this path of self-knowledge. It is rather like wishing to climb a mountain. One is helped by an experienced guide who has climbed the mountain before. Unfortunately there exist people who claim to be group leaders who do not have this experience.

Q. Are you a group leader?
A. Well it is always somewhat impolite to speak on one's own behalf but I have been in The Work for more that 40 years and was asked to be a group leader by M. Tracol who was himself appointed a group leader by Mr. Gurdjieff.

Q. I have heard that Mr. Gurdjieff taught a system of dance referred to as the 'Movements'?
A. It is correct. Part of the teaching he brought is a form of sacred dance which contributes to the harmonious development of man. Mr Gurdjieff taught that a man is made up of more than one part. He described a number of parts which he referred to as 'centres'. These are the intellectual, emotional, moving, instinctive and sex centres. He said that they were not in balance and that they were not in balance in most people. Therefore one way of describing his work is by saying that it is a way of harmonising one's centres. Movements is one of the methods employed to assist this development.

Q. Why should Mr. Gurdjieff's teaching interest people in Japan?
A. The teaching will always be for the few because it is not an easy path. Japanese people are part of the modern world. They work on a modern environment little different from that of the West. It is not most peoples wish today to become a monk or nun, perhaps it was always difficult but somehow more so in this age. Mr. Gurdjieff brought a teaching that can be followed in the context of modern life. Also, it seems to me, that if one has a wish for spiritual development it does not matter whether he, or she, is English, Spanish, American or Japanese.

ジェフリー・サマーズ氏は、ロンドンにあるロイアル・アジアティック・ソサエティーの学術員であり、ロンドン大学で東洋の宗教社会学について講義をされています。サマーズ氏はまた、国際的な学術雑誌である「ジャーナル・オブ・コンテンポラリー・レリジョン」誌の編集人も務めておられます。彼は40年以上にわたって "Gurdjieff Society" のメンバーです。

質問 グルジェフ氏は、どのような方だったのでしょうか?

質問 グルジェフ氏は何を教えておられたのでしょうか。
グルジェフの教えは、よく「ワーク」と呼ばれている。このワークの最初は、まず存在とその相対的なレベルについて学び、そしてそれに向かって徐々に開いていくというような事をする。この知識は本に書かれ得る以上のことである。それは、経験の中に浸るということなのだ。 グルジェフは、自分を知り、そして生命を知るという経験を授ける方法を再発見したのだ。

返答:これは重要な質問だ。この答えは間違いなく「イエス」であるが、しかし、ある人が、誰か グルジェフ自身から直接伝わる路線にいる人から学んでいるかどうか、そしてその学んでいる人がまさに経験しているかどうかを立証することが重要である。 グルジェフは、ちょうど亡くなられる時に、彼と共に30年間ワークをしていたある女性に彼の教えを託した。彼女の名はジャンヌ・ド・ザルツマン。彼女の周囲には グルジェフと共にワークをしてきた多くの男女がいた。ド・ザルツマン夫人も今はもう亡くなっているけれども、グルジェフと共にワークをしたその他多くの人々が、今もなお生きていて、教えている。彼らは世界中の異なる地域で、グルジェフの教えの確実に本物の形式を後世に伝えるという責任を負う人々の、小さなグループを養成している。今では三世代にわたる教師たちがいるのだ。

質問:今、 グルジェフワークの先生は大勢いらっしゃるのですか?



返答:それは正しい。彼のもたらした教えの一部が、人間の調和的発展に寄与する神聖舞踊の一形態である。 グルジェフ氏は、人間が一つ以上の部分から成り立っていると教えている。彼は「センター」と呼ぶいくつかの部分を描写した。これらは思考センター、感情センター、動作センター、本能センター、性センターである。それら諸センターはバランスが取れていない。ほとんどの人々において諸センターのバランスが取れていないと グルジェフ氏は言っている。したがって、彼のワークを表現する一つの方法は、彼のワークとは、人間の諸センターを調和させる方法であると言うことによる。ムーブメントは、この発展を助けるために使われた訓練方法の一つである。

返答:その教えはいつでもごく少数の人々のためにあるだろう。というのも、その教えは安易な道ではないからだ。日本の人々は、現代世界に属している。彼らは、現代的な環境で働いているが、西洋の環境とは少し異なっている。今日、大多数の人々は修道僧や尼僧になりたいとは望んでいない。もしかするとこれはいつでも難しかったのかもしれないが、なぜかこの時代においてはもっとそうである。 グルジェフ氏は現代的な生活の背景で信奉できる教えをもたらしたのだ。また、私が思うに、もし人がスピリチュアルな成長の願いを持っているのなら、彼または彼女がイギリス人でも、スペイン人でも、アメリカ人でも、日本人でも関係ないだろう。