The woman who forced the US government to take UFOs seriously

Perhaps the greatest shift in civilization over the past decade is not the internet, technology, the rise of authoritarianism, bitcoin, or even climate change, but the mainstreaming of UFO discourse.

From a giggle-provoking fringe to a topic discussed with regularity by Presidents and generals, a large portion of this was driven by this woman, Leslie Kean. Who, the article notes in passing, is a Buddhist.

Obviously from a Buddhist point of view the existence of beings in other planets is to be expected. So that is not an existential issue. It’s still uncertain, of course, and for every person who thinks the evidence is convincing, there’s someone else who thinks it’s not.

The brute fact of the matter is that relativity is one of the most solidly-confirmed principles of physics, and it puts a hard limit on how fast anyone can travel. So to travel in manned craft you’d probably need some kind of way around the fundamental laws of physics. Not easy.

Not all interstellar travel must be faster-than-light, though. The most plausible model for interstellar exploration remains the Von Neumann probes. You build a sublight spaceship that is also a self-replicating robot, or carries them. You send a bunch of these out into space. They arrive at a promising-looking solar system, where they promptly begin mining materials and building replicas of themselves. Meanwhile they send out probes to explore the system. By doing this you can spread out across the galaxy using well-understood principles of physics. There’s nothing in physics stopping us from doing this right now; it’s just the engineering.

Such a project would likely be unmanned, as you’ll probably lose a lot of probes in the process. Potentially this or other forms of sublight travel might convey actual sentient beings, although it seems to me not all that likely.

Anyway, so as far as craft go, we’re more likely seeing some kind of drone rather than a piloted ship.

For the record, I remain unconvinced that these are genuine alien craft.

But if they are, their mere presence suggests that aliens—or at least these ones—are somewhat like us. They operate on a similar scale (not planet-sized consciousness). They use recognizably similar technology (flying craft; although of course they might be the flying craft). They like to travel, and presumably explore. The fact that they are so mysterious suggests that they do not want to make their presence known, so they are perhaps either observers or spies.

The Buddhist cosmology suggests that alien beings will, in fact, be recognizably like us. Not all beings, to be sure, there are obviously a great variety of sentient animals, and even such exotic dimensions as the formless realms. But in terms of intelligent, technological life, Buddhist texts envisage beings who are mostly similar in general. Of course this could just be a lack of imagination, as all past eras in Jataka stories are envisaged to be of a similar linguistic and cultural level to northern India 2,500-ish years ago.

But I also think this is supported by science. While science fiction delights in imaging exotic aliens of all sorts, in reality there are constraints, some hard, some less so, imposed by fundamental realities of the world we live in. This doesn’t apply to all life, of course, only to the kind of technologically advanced life with whom we might communicate.

For example, water. It has unique physical properties, and can’t be replaced by any other compound. Water is essential for complex carbon chemistry. And carbon itself is irreplaceable: it forms the maximum number of chemical bonds on the smallest size atom. It’s the basic geometry of how atoms work, it’s simply impossible to have another atom that will function the same way. So we’ll need carbon-based chemistry in a water solution. That means aliens have to live in a world of roughly the same temperature as us.

But then, while intelligence can surely evolve underwater, technology can’t, because you need fire. So it’s very likely there’ll be a period of evolution underwater followed by an ascent onto land, in an oxygenated atmosphere.

Other constraints apply too. Have you ever wondered why we find small creatures with all different configurations of limbs, but large creatures all have four limbs and a head? It’s because of the square/cube rule: strength is determined by area (the cross-section of muscles) while weight is determined by volume. Thus as size goes up, the weight of a creature requires thicker limbs to hold it up. Ants are super-strong at their scale, but if you scaled up an ant to human size, it’d just crush under its own weight. That’s why large animals converge on the model of four limbs.

To use technology, obviously you’ll need something to manipulate matter. For that, either you adapt by standing on two limbs and using the other two to do stuff, or you evolve some other kind of extra appendage. But that’s expensive; it seems hard to imagine an evolutionary path that retains six limbs on a large animal (like a centaur). On the other hand, we see many examples in nature of animals that are adapting to two-legged motion and use their front limbs for digging, feeding, and the like.

So most likely we have creatures with a carbon-based chemistry, with water as solution, living on a planet roughly the same temperature, breathing oxygen, walking on two legs, with two arms and hands. We can keep going: they are likely to have a “brain” of some sort, and that will be encased in a protective covering, elevated off the ground, and situated close to sense apparatus. And that’s what we call a “head”.

Again, I’m not saying that they’ll be just like us. Nor am I saying that intelligent life can’t exist in other forms. But if there is the kind of creature with whom we can have a conversation, who fly around in craft, and who like to explore other realms, it seems to me likely that they’ll be something we recognize.

Hopefully we will learn to talk with them before we start shooting.


Thank you for this. Made for a great evening read.


Just going to leave this playlist here:

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There are more interesting videos that exist that are difficult to explain away, and also plenty of eye witness accounts that are difficult to ignore. The thing, though, is that the lights or objects often don’t seem like manned crafted, but rather like some sort of natural phenomena like atmospheric ball lightning that seem driven by magnetism rather than physical forces like wind and gravity. It’s all very strange, but it probably has an mundane explanation that we never figure out because the scientists are too busy ignoring and debunking it. It might well be some physical phenomena that’s been happening forever and is the source of ideas like spirits and beings made of light in ancient times.


Like TLEs…

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This is a good read I study UFOs – and I don’t believe the alien hype. Here’s why | Mick West | The Guardian


Yeah. This is from the same guy as the YouTube videos I posted above. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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Not to sound like a conspiracy nut, I consider myself a rather skeptical person, but what I know so far from a few sources that are somewhat credible. Take this with a large grain of salt though

  • July 18 is the date they will make themselves known if they do exist. It’s either then or never. This date was already determined and announced around 7 years ago.
  • They’re not good nor evil, they do experiment and kill humans as a result of their experiments. However, it appears these group of aliens are being kicked out of the galactic civilization, and are being replaced by another group on July 18th.
  • Dr. Haim Eshed leader of the Israeli space agency and defense said he’s met them, there’s a galactic federation, and they work with Israel and the US
  • Last week Sam Harris, internet neuroscience meditation celeb, said he’s working with the gov to help disclose this new information to the public

Here’s a video of Sam Harris and Ricky Gervais last week on the topic

This seems like sentient action to me

Also, in several videos they seem to run away and escape to the ocean, not to space. Perhaps they’re just advanced humans with their own breakaway civilization like the idea proposed by Plato to create the civilization of Atlantis

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Thanks for this post, Bhante. I read the article on Leslie Kean, that also mentions former Pentagon officer Lue Elizondo, and others, who are investigating the UAPs that have visited some American warships on the east and west coasts of the United States. These visits by the UAPs are much alike the visits paid to other countries’ ships and nuclear installations by UAPs.

I’m very much an evidence-based person, and have tried to follow the evidence regarding ET events on the Earth, as well as the recent disclosures by the US government and former government officials and military concerning these UAPs. I’ll come out and say that I feel the evidence is strong enough to state that we are more likely than not being visited by ET individuals that are, as former Pentagon official Luis Elizondo states, generations ahead of Earth’s humans in terms of technology. Either Russia or China has anti-gravity technology that we don’t, or we (the US) have it and are lying about it, or there is an outside agency that is light years (literally) ahead of us.

Serious men and women some years ago came together at the National Press Club in Washington to make a record of the UAP visits and the evidence that existed at that time:

Dr. Edgar Mitchell (Ph.D. MIT), a former NASA astronaut, advocated on behalf of the idea that we are being visited from outside of our planet, and he had interviewed many credible people that attest to witnessing or having knowledge of crashed vehicles and UAPs:

Leslie Kean is a Buddhist, and, to me, there is no incongruity here. Many Buddhists, I feel are intelligent folk looking for evidence and answers. I also feel that many that observe other world religions (and I say this respectfully) are not interested in evidence, or historical facts, and turn a blind eye to the facts of the fantastic and sometimes silly claims of their religions. Some habits, beliefs, religions, are “comfort zones.” Many want to bypass new ideas or evidence simply because these views conflict with human comfort zones. Buddhism, it seems to me, in many ways challenges us to challenge our human comfort zones, and step into an education system that might shake many of our deeply held fantasies and beliefs.

With respect to the UAPs, there are many serious people (government leaders, former US Senators, Ministers of various countries, scientists) that have come “out of the closet” on UAPs and are willing to stake their reputations and legacies by demanding that governments take the issue of UAP visits and incidents like those at Roswell, NM ( ) , seriously. Many claims offered will be proven false, but many it seems will support the views of the Disclosure Project folks.

When the 10th century First Nation peoples looked out on the waters and saw massive wood structures with white fabric windsails propelling them to their shores, the First Nations people must have felt this unimaginable. Tall, blonde, blue-eyed Vikings stepped off these ships, and some of the inhabitants of what was to be Canada must have been terrified. I submit that we are simply a seemingly primordial First Nations peoples inhabiting a small patch of real estate in a much more populated and advanced universe, and we have only to keep our eyes and our minds open as to how this story of the UAPs develops.

Have you heard of the Zimbabwe school incident?

It’s interesting, but I’m still a little skeptical

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Interesting that the children spoke of the message that technology and human behavior was destroying the planet. Many in the military that have exposure to the UAPs have said that the UAPs follow the warships, and appear over nuclear installations. It’s also been suggested that the UAPs have interfered with nuclear weapons, disabling them by scrambling the programming internally in the devices. The point here being that if these anecdotes and events are true, that the primary focus of the ETs is to help Earth humans from destroying the planet, and each other.

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Yes the Pentagon chief said they took nuclear weapons offline several times.

However, your explanation would be the glass half full perspective, here is the glass half empty perspective by Tom Delonge, which there is a great video of (below), is that the aliens were seen as gods throughout human history, and were constantly getting us to fight ourselves so we wouldn’t advance, and he references an actual US mission where the US gov blew up a nuclear bomb in space which caused roswell to crash.

Tom Delonge, btw, former blink182 band member, was the one who leaked the first navy tictac video, which the navy later confirmed was real.

This video is very interesting and explains his perspective

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I am more inclined to be interested in what is called the “interdimensional hypothesis” which has been put forth by the likes of Jacques Vallee and others.

Wikipedia explains this as:

The interdimensional hypothesis (IDH or IH), is an idea advanced by Ufologists such as Jacques Vallée that says unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and related events involve visitations from other “realities” or “dimensions” that coexist separately alongside our own. It is not necessarily an alternative to the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH) since the two hypotheses are not mutually exclusive so both could be true simultaneously. IDH also holds that UFOs are a modern manifestation of a phenomenon that has occurred throughout recorded human history, which in prior ages were ascribed to mythological or supernatural creatures.

In this light, these UAPs are nothing new, and ancient people saw similar stuff. Instead of interpreting it through the lens of technology, they saw it through the lens of myth. Hence we get stories of devas and so on.


Indeed, there’s no hard evidence that these must be aliens from another planet or star system, even if we can rule out that these crafts are not hoax or other humans.

They could be the magical devas of Buddhism!

Or my previous personal favourite was future humans who time travelled here, but since then I had regarded time travel to the past as impossible.

Anyway, to be more serious, judging UFO evidences might not be very useful for speculation in terms of practise. I rather wait until there’s a concrete alien contact before believing. Let the lay people sort it out.

Ok, maybe like past life evidences is relevant to right view, UFO showing aliens (and maybe devas) maybe taken as evidences for beings who are reborn spontaneously (one of the right views).

In terms of speculation of what aliens might look like… well, I had read Stephen Baxter’s Xeelee Series before going forth, and the kinds of life forms he imagined there is awesome. Beings made of ice, who becomes immobile at old age, spiders weaving webs between Pluto and its moon. Beings made of dark matter, beings made of plasma-gluon, beings made of cosmic strings, beings who live in codes, fish based beings with high tech, etc.


It sounds a bit like Rohitassa (sutta) :wink:

Once upon a time, I was a hermit called Rohitassa, son of Bhoja. I was a sky-walker with psychic power. I was as fast as a light arrow easily shot across the shadow of a palm tree by a well-trained expert archer with a strong bow. My stride was such that it could span from the eastern ocean to the western ocean.

Me the science fiction reader enjoys the various scenarios that have been created to explain the various things that have been seen or recorded. Me the researcher of ancient myths and texts finds it fascinating to see the modern day myth making, even when it gets a bit twisted and dark. Me the amateur scientist thinks the least convoluted explanation will probably turn out to be true, and it may be something we don’t fully understand yet. Me the amateur statistician knows that improbable things do happen, so they can’t be ignored completely as possibilities. It’s up in the air to me (literally!).

As Mark Twain once put it, “Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.”


It may be theoretically possible to effectively travel faster than the speed of light. Watch Neil Degrasse Tyson explain the basic idea of the Alcubierre drive below in the show Cosmos: Possible Worlds or see the Wikipedia for more details. Exciting stuff!

I still can’t wrap my mind around another dimension, but this explanation and visual from the same show gets me a little closer to it.

Alternative universes are a widely accepted (though still not established) view among scientists now.

There are also multiple different kinds of alternate universes, theoretically speaking.

See for example, the work of Brian Greene, like this book: The Hidden Reality - Wikipedia

Looking at the historical track record of mankind’s discoveries, it seems like a constant revelation that the “universe” is huge and infinite, and every time we think we have found “everything”, there actually turns out to be a higher level of “everything” (solar systems, galaxies, galaxy clusters and now universes?)


Hi Ajahn @sujato,

if you do get a chance to read her book, it’s actually quite fascinating. It is very well documented, and the technology of the flying craft actually seem to be nothing at all like what we have here: for example, it seems that a common occurrence is interference with the electromagnetic systems of airplanes near the UAP, especially when the airplanes were about to shoot at the UAPs. The only documented case of a human fighter jet actually firing on a UAP happened because the fighter jet was a Soviet model that was highly mechanical rather than electromagnetic. (Su 22)

The book also contains a few photos of the 1989 Belgian Wave, with different analyses showing that the aerial propulsion of the UAP seems to be based on very strong magnetic fields, which (I think) doesn’t exist with current human technology.

Her other book, Surviving Death, also has interesting stories of seances with mediums, and also covers many topics that Ajahn Brahm has spoken of before at length: kids remembering past lives that were subsequently verified; clinically dead patients recovering consciousness to describe observations that happened while they were dead, etc. Super fascinating. :slight_smile: