Doctrines Although Subud leaders emphasize experience rather than doctrine, elements of belief can nevertheless be detected. God is usually described as the Great Life, permeating the whole universe. Creation is the result of an emanation process, and the ultimate aim of all created beings is to return to their source, the original state of unity. In his struggle for spiritual development, humanity is constantly influenced by lower forces, related to four types of passion or desire. The most important 'weapons' against this negative influence are patience, trust in God, sincerity, and the ability to surrender. In their fundamental 'spiritual exercise' Subud members practice surrender by freely moving around in a bare room. Occasional negative effects of this exercise are interpreted as 'the anger of God', while positive experiences like involuntary bodily movements, vibrations, visions or voices are interpreted as revelations of the Great Life.

History Subud is an acronym for Susila Budhi Dharma, words of Sanskrit origin, interpreted by the founder as 'to follow the will of God with the help of the Divine Power that works both within and without, by way of surrendering oneself to the will of Almighty God'. As such Subud 'may be attached to the whole of mankind in every religion'. The founder of Subud is Muhammad Subuh Sumohasdiwidjojo (1901-1987), usually called 'Bapak', an honorific term meaning 'father'. He was born in a small village near Semarang in Central Java. As a young man Subuh had some decisive visionary experiences, one of them being an ascension to the seven heavens. In 1947 Muhammad Subuh established the Subud movement, which was introduced to Japan (1954), Hongkong (1955), and England (1956). In 1957 the founder visited England. Shortly afterwards Subud spread to other European countries. Today Subud groups can be found in almost 80 countries.

Symbols The main Subud symbol consists of seven concentric circles, representing the seven levels of development, from gross matter to pure spirit. The circles are intersected by seven lines from the centre to the periphery, a symbol for the Holy Spirit, which permeates all levels of existence. The space in between the lines represent the force of the angels. Muhammad Subuh received this symbol in a vision, the circles and lines being brilliant light, depicted in gold, against a midnight blue sky, signifying infinity.

Adherents Subud leaders in Indonesia state that the movement has about 12000 members. Apart from Java, the largest groups are in England and the USA. No official figures are available.

Main Centre
 The Subud headquarters are located in Jakarta: Wisam Subud, Jalan R.S. Fatmawati, Cilandak, P.O. Box 2331, Jakarta 100023, Indonesia.