The Tradition of Truth Is The Tradition of The Adepts – A Talk by Da Free John – Adi Da Samraj

Originally published in

Special Issue, Vol 2, No 2, March 1981


The Tradition of Truth Is
The Tradition of The Adepts

A Talk by Da Free John


Da Free John (Adi Da Samraj): The
primary force and root of all the religious traditions are
the Adepts, those who actually Realize the Transcendental
Divine Reality. Adepts arise in all times and places and
become associated with the movements and complex structures
existing in the immediate environment. Throughout their
lifetime, both before and after their realization, they move
into the existing culture and associate with its influences.
Thus, while their teaching is an expression of actual
realization, their words reflect and comment upon all kinds
of cultural complexities and ideals. Where Adepts or the
Realizers of Truth arise, they transform the existing
culture, eliminating some aspects of traditional religious
and spiritual life and emphasizing others. They are a motion
in the midst of the stream of conventions.

The tradition of Truth, of
Transcendental Realization, is the tradition of the Adepts.
Apart from the Adepts, there is no tradition of Truth. We
could say, and rightly, for example, that Buddhism, like all
other traditions – Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam –
developed through the stream of conventional human processes
and creativity, the transmission from one generation to the
next of ideas and conventions, ideals, cultural artifacts,
cultic techniques and images, and all the rest. Here and
there within the Buddhist tradition Adepts appeared. Here
and there within the human traditions in general Adepts or
actual Realizers have appeared. Other individuals
representing advanced levels of experience and knowledge
have also appeared, and they too have had an influence on
the traditions, very often achieving prominence. But we must
distinguish between individuals of extraordinary experience
and influence and Adepts who have realized the
Transcendental Truth.

The traditions of human culture
taken as a whole comprise a very complex artifact of human
activity. If we look at the stream of traditions and examine
those who were apparently true Adepts, examine what they
said and consider their apparent point of view, it is very
difficult to differentiate the pure expression of their
Realization from all the conversation and activity that
develops in their company, whether we rely on their own
statements or interpretations by those who lived with them
or by the schools that developed around them. Even if we
could locate the precise teaching of an Adept, it would be
difficult to sift out the part that expresses Realization
from the rest that more or less simply reflects the
conventions and complexities of the human culture, both
extant in that time and that which evolved in time

It is very difficult at this point,
for instance, to ‘clearly identify Jesus’ teaching, what he
was all about, what kind of realization he actually
represents. It is easier in the case of Gautama. There
exists a more direct transmission of Gautama’s life and
teaching in the Pali texts, which clearly represent the
essential point of view of Gautama. Even so, Gautama is
associated with a much broader range of communications than
those that appear in the Pali texts. The Mahayana Buddhists
regard their texts, in which Gautama is made to speak and
all kinds of other esoteric teachings appear, to have come
from Gautama. They say that the Pali texts represent the
teaching given to a certain dimension of his audience at a
certain time. Their own texts, they claim, were secret,
higher transmissions from Gautama during his lifetime or
after his lifetime, received by people in an exalted state
who could see the Buddha in his glory. But just as the
Mahayanists take very seriously their own transmission and
regard it to be associated with Gautama himself, all
traditions have a similar kind of process. The Christians
also want to take “very seriously everything that has come
down through time as something that originated with their
Adept-Jesus-and that reflects his Wisdom

It is because of this very
conventional process of the development of mind, life, and
culture of human beings in general that the Adepts serve a
unique function. The actual Realizers appear from time to
time in order to accomplish a revolutionary feat. To
actually Realize God is most revolutionary, but an
individual being, present in time and space, transformed
through Realization and expressive of that Realization, can
serve as a purifying and transforming influence in the midst
of the stream of conventions that human beings in general
are collecting about themselves and inheriting

We as a community should feel
aligned most positively, should acknowledge and feel
associated most directly, with the Realization of the Adepts
– their significance, their actual Realization, and the
function that Adepts serve whenever they appear, which is to
purify and transform the traditional stream of
communications. We can find in the historical records all
kinds of ideas and suggestions of point of view, practice,
philosophy, symbol, and so forth associated with such
individuals. And if we examine those histories from the
point of view of the Teaching that has been communicated to
you directly in this time and place, we will find ourselves
disposed to criticize much of what is recorded. By
“criticize” I do not mean to reject. I mean that we must
consider the traditions from the point of view of this
direct expression of the Teaching and dissociate conventions
of thought and persuasion from the Realization expressed by
any Adept.

In my commentary on the traditions,
for instance, I have discussed many Adepts and many
traditions that have developed in the name of Adepts. Most
recently I have spoken in such critical terms of Gautama and
the Buddhist tradition, and the Vedantic tradition and the
Upanishadic tradition, and in general all spiritual and
religious traditions. In all the literature I have produced
are many such criticisms, communicated in the same spirit of
the Adepts in the past. They have done very much the same
thing in their own time and place relative to the accretions
associated with other Adepts, about whose Realization they
might feel positive but about the expression of which
through the media of transmission they are

The Lankavatara Sutra is an example
of a primary text in the tradition of Buddhism that is
founded in the realization of one or more Adepts and that
expresses a critical point of view based in such
realization. That book is not really about how to realize
Transcendental Liberation, but how to understand all other
ways of life from the point of view of God-Realization. The
Lankavatara Sutra reflects the critical process that Adepts
generate whenever they appear. Gautama in his time did the
same thing. On the one hand, he is interpreted to be engaged
in repudiating the Upanishadic and Vedic cultures, just as
you could say the Adept or Avatar of the Lankavatara Sutra
is repudiating many of the ideals and processes that have
appeared in the history of Buddhism.

We must keep in mind, however, that
the Truth that is reflected in the teaching of any Adept is
not to be associated or identified with that which is
criticized or that which is offered as an alternative. That
which is criticized could still be criticized. That which is
offered as an alternative could also, at another time or in
another setting and by another Adept, be criticized. The
dominant force in the occasion of any Adept is actual
Realization, which is a transcendental and free disposition.
Clearly Gautama and the Adept implied in the Lankavatara
Sutra-whoever it really is or however many there really
were-are Adepts in the highest sense. Other individuals
associated with other traditions likewise, from the point of
view of their realization, have been involved in a process
of criticism and the offering of an alternative in their
time and place. Such individuals could likewise be regarded
as true Adepts if we would free ourselves from identifying
them with either what they criticized or what they offered
as an alternative. The alternative they offered might have
been appropriate, and, in terms of the configuration of mind
in their time, might even have been a radical alternative to
what they were criticizing. But when the mode of mind and
culture associated with them and their realization in their
time and place has passed, then the alternative they offered
becomes a subject a right criticism by another Adept in
another time and place.

Thus, my work involves a critical
overview of everything that is taking place around me,
everything that people bring to me, and all traditions. My
teaching work is like that of the Lankavatara Sutra, like
that of Gautama. On one level it seems to be a repudiation.
On another level it is a criticism or a reinterpretation,
even a positive interpretation. On another level it offers
an alternative course or Way. But this entire process, this
cultural process, this Teaching process that I have engaged
both with you who have come to me and relative to the
traditions, is expressed on the basis of prior

Like Gautama, I arose in an isolated
environment, although not in a specifically religious or
esoteric cultural environment. I did not grow up in a
palace, but in a lower middle-class household without any
contact whatsoever with the total stream of human life or
the stream of higher religious and spiritual activity. Over
the years of my living in the midst of that circumstance its
limitations, which had been clear from the beginning, became
absolutely clear. It was a dead end, a form of entrapment.
Therefore, I moved freely into the world, became associated
with all kinds of traditional sources in this country and
elsewhere, actually practiced in the company of many people,
became associated with all kinds of states of knowledge and
experience. Ultimately, the process of my life was
summarized as regenerated Enlightenment, which had been
tacitly my condition from birth.

Since that time I have engaged those
who came to me and have familiarized myself with the various
traditions, past and present, and have discussed them all
from the point of view of this Realization. Thus, the
activity of my own lifetime is very similar to the activity
of other Adepts in their occasion. And having done all this,
I still feel a clear affinity with the great Adepts of the
past, not a sense of identification with their cultural
environment or even an identification with the alternative
they may have offered, which was a way of dealing with the
mind and cultural state of their time, their attempt to make
Realization possible in their own time. I feel a sense of
intimate identification with them at the level of their

I can understand and sympathize with
the most highly developed exponents of every form of human
and religious and spiritual and philosophical endeavor. I am
not disposed to suppress them, to make nothing out of them.
On the other hand, having been involved in the same Process,
I can clearly see the stage of life that their realization
represents and its limits.

I can also see that there are many
individuals who, though they express themselves through the
ideal of a lower stage of life that that which expresses the
highest realization, did themselves transcend that very
limitation. I can see clearly that there were some among
them, at any rate, who, in the extremities of the
fulfillment of their own discipline, transcended its
limitations. It is often a tacit or intuitive sense rather
than a reading of historical evidence, although there may
also be historical evidence. Apart from that, however, I
must evaluate through criticism their influence, their
historical character, and their instruction and view them
within the developmental process of the stages of

Even so, I feel a profound sympathy
with the great Adepts in all the traditions and all the
stages, and this sympathy naturally aligns our Fellowship
with the tradition of Realization, the tradition of the
Adepts themselves. Further, because Adepts appear in many
times and places and in many traditions and reflect all of
the stages of life, in some sense, therefore, we must say
that the tradition with which we are naturally associated is
one that includes all traditions, all stages of life, rather
than any single one of them.

This Way of life has not been
developed synthetically, that is, by selecting parts of many
traditions and creating a synthetic new tradition, nor did
my own Realization develop in that fashion. This Way of life
we consider was developed on the basis of literal
Realization. Neither has our Way of life emerged causally.
For instance, in 1970, when I was looking for likenesses to
my Realization, I found in Ramana Maharshi the corroboration
of an aspect of my own Realization. Although I critically
evaluated aspects of what he represented, I also
acknowledged a basic corroboration. But there was no causal
relationship. I had never gone to Ramana Maharshi’s Ashram,
nor had I ever used his teaching as a basis on which to
construct my practice. Yet, there was a likeness.

To find such likenesses and in
effect acknowledge a tradition was one of the first things I
did, and over the years we have been engaged in a much more
elaborate consideration of such likenesses. But we do not
have a caused relationship to other traditions. We cannot
say that because I studied with Tibetan teachers that now we
are a Tibetan Buddhist school. Still, what are the dominant
likenesses? If we observe and acknowledge those likenesses,
how would we define and name ourselves, represent ourselves
in the world in which the stream of traditions and
conventions exists?

I had many teachers, but nobody
taught me Realization. Gautama was not taught Realization,
either. He went to, and was instructed by, and given
experiences by many teachers. Yet his Realization was
determined by a disposition uniquely his own, on the basis
of which he evaluated and transcended all the influences
that he confronted. The process in my own life is very much
the same. Therefore, the ultimate event or Realization of my
own practice is not associated with any teacher or
tradition. It did not occur under the auspices of any
teacher or tradition. It was not caused by any teacher or
tradition. The disposition to God-Realization was there from
the beginning. It broke through in dramatic form at many
times throughput my life, even before I became associated
with teachers, and that Realization, which I have for years
been describing and considering with others, has not made me
to feel sympathetic with any of those who have taught me or
any of the traditions with which I have been associated. It
is a direct Realization on the basis of which I can evaluate
and criticize my teachers and the traditions that influenced

You should understand that the
process of my going to teachers was very much like
Gautama’s. He went to teachers in the disposition that
ultimately became his Enlightenment. And that is precisely
what occurred in my own case. Therefore, I have no sense of
a direct link to any teacher or tradition and have rather
transcended them all, much as Gautama can be said to have
transcended all of his teachers and all the traditions
extant in his time.

Thus, in this Fellowship we do not
represent a tradition. I did not link up with a tradition
and a teacher or series of teachers who themselves belonged
to a tradition. Rather, like Gautama, I freely entered into
the process of my own Enlightenment and met people and came
under various influences only to discard and transcend them.
And after the culminating Realization of that process, I
criticized and evaluated all the ordinary human alternatives
as well as the traditional approaches to

Nevertheless, I feel positively
aligned to certain characters in human history and certain
communications about Realization. I feel a great deal of
sympathy with all kinds of teachers and teachings, even of
the secondary kind, but most fundamentally with some in
particular, who have in common a certain quality of
Realization and transcendence of the conventions of our
existence. Gautama also, at least in the texts where he is
shown to be thinking about such things, talked about a line
of Buddhists and great individuals before him who he felt
were Enlightened exactly as he was . Enlightened. He also
envisioned many others who were yet to appear, some of whom
might be called Buddhas who knows what else they might be
called-and as a result, today many Buddhists, like the
practitioners of any other fixed tradition, want to
acknowledge only the Great Ones of their own lineage, both
past and future.

But we, not having a traditional
lineage, can enjoy a transcendent view of all the
traditions. We see Adepts and Great Ones wherever they
happen to appear.

We critically appreciate their
appearance, their sacred ordeal, and their human influence.
We also honor, celebrate, and draw attention to their


Also see:

Dogmas of Social Morality Versus the Esoteric Spiritual
Teaching That Is At the Origin of Traditional

Great Esoteric Tradition of Devotion to the

Great Regard for My Adept-Links

Urgency of the Teaching


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