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A spiritual movement that has grown up around the Indonesian mystic Muhammad Subuh, known as "Bapak" (spiritual father). Beginning in Java, it spread to Europe and elsewhere, after winning support from the Gurdjieff disciples at Coombe Springs, England, led by J. G. Bennett. Gurdjieff himself had predicted that there would be an Indonesian teacher to bring emotional warmth to his system. Subud gained public recognition in 1959 when the movement held an international congress in England. Soon afterward, the Hungarian actress Eva Bartok was initiated and claimed to be healed from childbirth complications.

The basis of the Subud movement is the latihan, an initiation ceremony for newcomers and a spiritual exercise for those already initiated. A "helper" prepares the initiate for "opening" or receptivity to the descent of spiritual energy. This often causes pronounced convulsions, similar to the "shakes" or "jerks" elicited by nineteenth century evangelists at camp meetings, or the onset of kundalini energy in traditional Hindu mysticism.

This energy is seen as having a purifying function and reportedly brings intense feelings of peace when there is submission to divine will. Subud has no creed, dogma, rules, or regulations but makes available the experience of the latihan to initiates. Subud groups meet regularly in members' homes or in rented halls. The movement does not advertise or proselytize.

More than 70 North American cities have Subud centers, and there are many in the United Kingdom. Address in North America: Subud USA, 13701 Bel-Red Rd., Ste. B, Bellevue, WA 98005. Address in Great Britain: Subud, 342 Cricklewood Ln., London, NW2 2QH.


Barter, J. P. Towards Subud. London, 1967.

Bennett, John G. Concerning Subud. New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1959.

Rofe, Husein. The Path of Subud. London: Rider, 1959.

Van Hien, G. What is Subud? London: Rider, 1963.