What Would You Do if You Had Nothing to Do? The Renunicate’s Way of Life – Adi Da Samraj 1982 – Crazy Wisdom Magazine, Vol 1 No 6 1982


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What Would You Do if You Had Nothing
to Do?

The Renunciate’s Way of Life

a talk by Da Free John

August 7, 1982

In 1979 a young
mother in our Communion wrote a letter to a member of what
is now known as the Hermitage Renunciate Order.1
Her young son had been killed in an automobile accident the
previous year, and despite many forms of Graceful help from
Master Da Free John and fellow devotees, she was still
distraught. Try as she might, she felt she could not release
her child to the Divine and was still angry and upset. She
wanted to know what to do. The renunciate brought the letter
to Master Da, who responded with a long message to the
mother about the appropriate understanding and gesture of
practice on her part.

1. Members of the Hermitage Renunciate
Order manage occasions of access to the Spiritual Master,
serve visitors and retreatants at the Sanctuaries, maintain
and serve the Hermitage Sanctuaries, and serve the
residences of the Spiritual Master.

As it happened, this correspondence took place just a
few days before The Day of the Heart Celebration in 1979.
Thus, when Master Da spoke before the large gathering in All
True Things Park at The Mountain of Attention Sanctuary that
Sunday, he repeated much of the critical instruction he had
sent to the distraught young mother. The essence of that
portion of his talk, reprinted below, places renunciation in
the context of our eternal relationship with the Spiritual
Master and the Great One.

 

MASTER DA: Whatever is given to us must be taken
as God’s excess. Everything belongs to God. God has so much
that somehow we also acquire many possessions, but
everything we acquire belongs to God. Thus, everything must
be returned to God, and whatever is given to us, for however
long it is given, must be accepted as something that belongs
to God. We must literally treat everything as belonging to
God. If you bring me an apple, and I return it to you, then
you will have something to eat. If I eat it myself, then you
will not. Will you be angry with me if I do not return to
you what you have given to me? You will be overwhelmed with
anger your entire life if you do not understand and
appreciate the fact that you own nothing.

Everything you know or own or think or understand or
presume and everyone with whom you are associated will be
taken away from you. Your body itself and also your own mind
will at some time be kept by God. If you surrender your
relations, your children, your spouse to God every day, they
will someday be kept by God. You must be free of anger on
that day. You must be free of sorrow while you live, free of
doubt and fear, or you will be crippled through your own
recoil upon yourself. You will become an idolator, a
cultist, an owner of experience, an owner of mind, of body,
of relations, all of which can and will be taken from you,
and thus you will be always unhappy.

September 16, 1979

 

This instruction and the incidents of a child’s death
and a mother’s grief dramatically portray the significance
of renunciation. Since ancient times men and women of wisdom
have been sobered by the ephemeral nature of everyone we
love and everything we experience, even our own bodies and
minds. And the wisest among them have come to the conclusion
that everything and everyone must therefore be surrendered
in every moment into the Reality that is the Source and
Nature and Truth of all.

Master Da Free John Teaches the renunciation of
everything that obstructs our continuous Realization of and
Communion with the Great
Divine. “True renunciation,”
he says, “is devotion to Happiness”- nothing less – in every
present moment. It has nothing to do with strategic
self-denial and seeking. Such is only an option of the
un-Happy egoic personality, and is fundamentally the same
gesture as willful self-indulgence. It is an act of the
self, whereas true renunciation is surrender of that self
and all its acts in present Realization of Truth, Happiness,
Freedom, and Love.

In the talk that follows, Master Da describes the Way
of life that may be created by those who practice such
renunciation as a constant discipline. The talk was
addressed to members of the Hermitage Renunciate Order,
devotees who have formally consecrated their lives to the
renunciate Way that Master Da Teaches, and who serve him
directly in our Communion’s Hermitage Sanctuaries. In the
talk Master Da expounds the rationale for the next moment of
the Hermitage Renunciate Order’s spiritual experiment-the
creation of a simplified, serene circumstance and lifestyle
in which the devotees will necessarily have to confront and
transcend the “boredom, doubt, and discomfort” that people
chronically evade through egoic distraction and
self-gratification.

Master Da also indicates how this wisdom can be used
by all devotees, both now and in the future. And he
describes how this moment of his experiment with the
Hermitage Renunciate Order can be a service to the entire
Johannine Daist Communion. Thus, this talk is an important
indicator of a new movement or era in the history of Master
Da Free John’s Spiritual Work.

 

MASTER DA: The usual individual is chronically
suffering three basic disturbances: boredom, doubt, and
discomfort. And the usual individual is adapted to a culture
of life that is always trying, by one or another means, to
overcome these three disturbances. When such people become
involved in spiritual practice, they tend, particularly in
the beginner’s phase of practice, to adapt the principles of
spiritual life to the circumstances and inclinations of
their ordinary life. Even though they may be oriented toward
the realization of higher principles of existence, they
attempt to use the principles of spiritual life to overcome
boredom, doubt, and discomfort.

Consequently, people are always practicing on this side
of boredom, doubt, and discomfort, and they do not enter
profoundly into and transcend the conditions of ordinary
suffering. Rather, ordinary discomfort, disease,
unhappiness, and suffering are somehow always present in the
background of such people’s lives. When they become
spiritual seekers, they simply add the principles and
processes of spiritual life to the ordinary arsenal of means
whereby they try not to experience the difficulties of
boredom, doubt, and discomfort.

However, for individuals in a mature phase of spiritual
practice, and for those who choose to manage their lives so
that they can renounce the usual round, a different kind of
practice inevitably becomes possible and necessary. We must
begin to observe that we are programmed through experience,
through stimulus-response, through social learning and the
trial of our own limitations and difficulties, to use
certain functions of the brain or the nervous system and the
functional being to achieve a semblance of well-being,
comfort, and pleasure. And we must observe that our efforts
to achieve these ends are efforts to overcome the three
fundamental difficulties of boredom, doubt, and
discomfort.

The programs of life that most people animate engage the
motor activity of the brain, the nervous system, and the
body, and the thinking activity of the outer-directed mind.
The usual individual lives on this side of boredom, doubt,
and discomfort in a realm bereft of well-being, equanimity,
release, and pleasure. Therefore, he or she is always
seeking through motor activity and thought, to overcome
boredom, doubt and discomfort in order to achieve
well-being, pleasure, release, and consolation. All our
programs that seek Happiness while always falling short of
it and therefore always being disturbed by the limitations
of boredom, doubt, and discomfort describe a kind of
neurosis, or essential un-Happiness. Such programs are
typical of individuals functioning the first three stages of
life.

But these very mechanisms are themselves the source of
boredom, doubt, and discomfort. As we constantly stimulate
the motor and thinking mechanisms to overcome boredom,
doubt, and discomfort and achieve well-being, pleasure, and
release, those mechanisms. constantly stimulated and brought
to a point of enjoyment, become insatiable. We require more
and more remarkable bodily and mental stimulation to achieve
a relative degree of pleasure. The more we think, the more
extraordinary our thinking must become in order to satisfy
us. We become addicted to the pursuits we can engage through
motor activity and thought, and, constantly agitated by this
motivation, we feel hunted by our limitations and
difficulties, or boredom, doubt, and discomfort.

The usual individual is only involved in the struggle of
this neurotic bind. A somewhat more uncommon individual may
become involved in spiritual life, including the Way of life
that we consider, but at the beginning he or she merely
adapts the possibilities of this spiritual Way of life to
his or her existing programs of neurotic seeking. He or she
tries to use the spiritual process as a means for overcoming
boredom, doubt, and discomfort. Consequently, the higher
aspects of the Way are not a major part of the practice of
beginners. Beginners are involved in functional disciplines
that relate to motor activity, such as the practices
associated with money, food, and sex, and in thinking about
and studying the Way and engaging in a verbal play with the
Teaching. They also seek uncommon sensory fulfillment,
perhaps through meditative practices, and thus such
beginners continue to remain on this side of boredom, doubt,
and discomfort, even while practicing a rudimentary form of
spiritual life.

Since ancient times, however, an alternative has been
offered to individuals who are seriously committed to the
truly spiritual Way of life, but for which not everyone is
immediately qualified. Nor would everyone choose it if he or
she fully understood or appreciated what it involves. That
alternative is renunciation.

The discipline of renunciation is not merely a matter of
superimposing stark limitations on your ordinary life.
Rather, it is, first of all, a matter of changing the
circumstances of your life so that in fact and in effect you
are no longer trying to practice the Way in the midst of an
ordinary life, but you are practicing the Way in the midst
of an uncommon life. It is to abandon the setting of
ordinary life in the world and to reduce the opportunities
that the world uses to overcome boredom, doubt, and
discomfort. The renunciate Way is a direct confrontation
with boredom, doubt, and discomfort so that within a
relatively short period of time you are practicing on the
other side, rather than on this side, of boredom, doubt, and
discomfort. This is the secret of true renunciation.

In the traditional setting individuals who chose
renunciation often retired alone into a wilderness area and
maintained the minimal requirements for survival there. But
an alternative to personal isolation is a spiritual or
renunciate community. If you do not choose isolation, then
to the degree that you are unable to establish a renunciate
community, you remain in the world in some significant
sense, and you are obliged, thereby, to develop your
practice more or less as others who live in the world must
do so. If you choose the practice of renunciation, then you
must create a circumstance of remoteness and freedom from
outside responsibilities, concerns, and communications, and
you must be able to generate within the renunciate community
the ordinary requirements of life. Once you have established
such a circumstance, then you can begin to practice the
renunciate Way, which is to freely renounce, or abandon, the
techniques of life and the programs of action associated
with the neuroses of the earlier stages of life and with the
functional requirements of worldly life.

In the typical worldly setting of the usual life, we
constantly use the faculties of the body-mind —
physical, emotional, and mental — to pursue a sense of
pleasure, well-being, and release from the chronic
difficulties of boredom, doubt, and discomfort. Everyone who
takes an occasional retreat, or even sits for meditation a
couple of times a day, is constantly confronting these three
chronic difficulties and to one or another degree perhaps
moving beyond them through spiritual activity. But those
confrontations are at best occasional. The unique
characteristic of the renunciate Way of life is that the
renunciate does not retire from all this merely from time to
time, as in daily meditation or occasional meditative
retreat. Rather, the renunciate enters, as a rule of life,
into a circumstance that bypasses these programs by
intention. The renunciate in the renunciate community no
longer uses body, emotion, and mind to overcome discomfort,
boredom, and doubt. He or she does not, in general, engage
in a daily life of associations that stimulate body,
emotion, and mind to overcome boredom, doubt, and
discomfort. Instead, he or she confronts this chronic
discomfort, boredom, and doubt, and, in effect and in fact,
enters into permanent and constant retreat, or founds his or
her life on the principle
of retreat
.

The renunciate discipline provides a unique circumstance
of living wherein the means for escaping boredom, doubt, and
discomfort are neither available nor sought. In the
renunciate community there is simply boredom, doubt, and
discomfort. That is it. What is on the other side of
boredom, doubt, and discomfort is to be Realized, and the
spiritual process is then engaged as the means for that
Realization.

Those who enter into spiritual maturity inevitably and
naturally realize a habit of life that conforms, more or
less, to the renunciate discipline. For some, the renunciate
discipline may not appear until the seventh stage of life.
But others, who are disposed toward renunciation and for
whom the renunciate discipline becomes a practical
possibility, may practice this unique form of the discipline
even from an early stage of practice.

Recently, I capsulized the practice, or sufficient
sadhana, that would take place in the renunciate community.
In the past, I have frequently pointed out to you that in
every moment you always know what it would be to look, and
feel, and be, and act completely happy. The
Current of Bliss
is resident in intimate association
with the being. It is always locatable. It is perpetually
knowable. It is never lost, although It can be forgotten,
and we can dissociate attention from It. But we are always
capable of locating It, of knowing It, realizing It,
animating It, and being It. This is the essential or
sufficient sadhana of the renunciate Way.

In the usual setting of life, people act and think
chronically, constantly. They engage in motor activity and
thinking constantly. They are always intentionally
stimulating themselves physically, emotionally, and
mentally. In the remote setting of the renunciate community,
however, there is no significant stimulation from without.
Therefore, instead of stimulating yourself or responding to
stimulation from without to escape boredom, doubt, and
discomfort, you may directly recollect and enter into the
Condition of Bliss or Happiness. In principle, this
description of the spiritual practice of renunciation
corresponds to the practice of the Way of Faith, or the Way
of Divine Communion. But fundamentally all of the means
available through the three Ways of practice that I have
described are the means for the direct Realization of That
which is prior to boredom, doubt, and discomfort. In the
renunciate community, you can simply resort to the direct
means of the spiritual process and Realize the native state
of Bliss.

This is the secret of the disposition of Enlightened
beings. It is the secret of the disposition of the seventh
stage of life. It is to be so oriented to the disposition of
renunciation that you do not choose anything except Bliss.
You do not fall from It. You do not dissociate from It. You
do not contract or collapse into the chronic difficulties
that motivate you to seek fulfillment and release. Rather,
you always remain in the Condition of Bliss. You always
enter directly into the Native Domain of Being.

In the common world, you are not supposed to look as if
you are in a state of Bliss. Blissfulness is not acceptable
social behavior. If you are tending toward an exaggerated
expression of Bliss, people urge you to stop, or they feel
uncomfortable around you. or they try to make you feel
uncomfortable so that you will withdraw into your social
face. In the world, there exists a subtle (and perhaps not
so subtle) obligation to maintain the social personality or
superficial ego as the instrument of living and association.
This obligation carries with it taboos against Happiness,
Bliss, Enlightenment, laughter, God-Realization, and
ecstasy.

These taboos also exist in relation to conventional
pleasures. Sexuality, for instance, is associated with all
kinds of taboos that keep it limited and contained. Even the
slightest animation of sexuality in public violates the
basic taboo against ecstasy. It violates the basic demand to
maintain the social personality, the egoic face, the being
possessed by boredom, doubt, and discomfort, struggling to
feel good through ordinary social and conventionally
psychological means. In the world there exist taboos against
pleasures in general, because pleasure looks too much like
ecstasy. At the root of these functional taboos against
pleasure is the taboo against Bliss. Life in the world is
organized around un-Happiness and the pursuit of Happiness,
rather than around Happiness and the direct transcendence of
un-Happiness.

A different program is operative in the world than the
one that is operative in the renunciate community. Once you
begin to awaken to the Happiness of the renunciate practice,
you must either find some way to live it while remaining in
the world or you must choose at some point to enter into
hermitage in a remote setting, not as an anti-social act of
dissociation from the world, but as the choice of a
completely different way of life. The renunciate Way is not
merely opposed to the habit of people who live in the world.
It is not an egoic reaction to the common life. It is based
on self-criticism, self-observation, self-understanding, and
a clear appreciation of the choice people commonly make. The
common choice is not based on Enlightenment, but it is
simply a functional choice programmed through the ordinary
media of society and suffering. We may take up the spiritual
Way of life in the midst of a worldly life, gradually
overcome the limitations in ourselves, and carry on a right
practice, even while living in the world. But the time
inevitably comes in the advanced stages of spiritual
maturity when we stop accommodating the social personality
and the merely conventional orientation to life and enter
into some form of spiritual retirement.

In some traditional settings, the alternative to egoic
existence is understood. There, even in the setting of
ordinary social life in the downtown world, some people of
advanced spiritual maturity have entered into uncommon Bliss
and become somewhat foolish in the process. But they have
been acceptable within the setting of the general society
where they lived because of a traditional appreciation of
the spiritual possibility. In our society at the present
time, however, there is absolutely no appreciation or
valuation of such ecstasy. On the contrary, there is much
angry resistance to it.

Therefore, those who practice this Way must find some
means to develop the spiritual process that I Teach, through
living more and more cooperatively in community with one
another and living more privately while continuing to live
in the world. At some point in their real spiritual
maturity, they should find a way to accommodate themselves
and one another in communities established by devotees that
permit people to live in a setting of remoteness and
renunciation.

 

(It is important to note that, in his talk, Master Da
is speaking directly to the members of the Hermitage
Renunciate Order, all of whom will be involved in the
development of the “renunciate’s Way of life” in the
Hermitage setting that he proposes here. No other devotees,
at present, are in quite the same position. Thus, all the
rest of us are obliged, as the Master indicates, to use this
consideration of “boredom, doubt, and discomfort” and
transcendental renunciation to the fullest degree possible,
but without abandoning any of our natural human and
spiritual obligations.

One of the explicit purposes of the Hermitage
Renunciate Order is to provide for all devotees a living
demonstration of how this Way evolves when it is lived in
its purity. Their experimental life in face-to-face
Communion with the incarnate Adept blazes the trail of
renunciation and Realization that all devotees must
duplicate in essence and in spirit, even though under more
ordinary circumstances.)

 

MASTER DA: You will always discover in yourself
the tendencies of boredom, doubt, and discomfort, and the
learned will to seek, through physical, emotional, and
mental stimulation, to escape the confrontation with these
tendencies. The unique discipline of renunciate community is
that you do not readily have at hand the usual means of
stimulation, although you do have always at hand the
neuroses from which you would generally distract yourself
through physical, emotional, and mental means. If you do not
have these means at hand, and if you do not directly
transcend boredom, doubt, and discomfort, then you will find
yourself always settling into some neurotic mode of boredom,
doubt, and discomfort, negative emotion, physical
discomfort, and mental dis-ease. Therefore, if you desire to
enter the circumstance of renunciation, you must come
equipped with the ability to observe and transcend your own
neuroses, and to practice the Way in its most direct form as
a moment to moment discipline.

The renunciate discipline is not the arbitrary taking on
of stark disciplines, such as a diet of raw food or
celibacy, unless you are readily adapted to them. It is the
basic circumstance I have just described. Once you establish
yourself culturally in that circumstance and its orientation
to practice, then what you should do from day to day
relative to such basic things as sexuality and diet becomes
obvious. In any case, you will manage the functional aspects
of your life according to the principles of this Teaching.
It remains to be seen whether you will become a fruitarian
or a celibate. Neither fruitarianism nor celibacy nor
breatharianism nor their like is your obligation. Your
obligation is the one I have already described, which is to
abandon the techniques of escape from boredom, doubt, and
discomfort. You are obliged to understand and abandon your
neurotic reactions to the inability to escape boredom,
doubt, and discomfort, and to be committed to the real,
direct, and moment to moment practice of the Realization of
spiritual Bliss. You must discover and creatively develop
what you do functionally along with that spiritual
discipline.

Likewise the renunciate setting must represent a society
wherein the taboos against Bliss or Happiness are freely
abandoned, a society based on tolerance, enjoyment, service,
and a willingness to permit human existence to manifest its
Blissful form, rather than its conventional social form.
Thus, we should examine the social conventions that are
generally required of us and that we animate in relationship
to one another, and we should observe to what degree they
are simply the expressions of a false, social face, an
impediment, or a suppression of Happiness.

The usual requirements for the false, social face of the
conventional ego do not exist in renunciate hermitage. But
you have already learned and adapted to all the conventions
of ordinary society. They are part of your functional
personality. You automatically maintain them. Therefore, you
must intentionally adapt to the spiritual orientation and
intentionally create the circumstances of renunciate
hermitage, wherein you will observe and transcend in
yourself all the unnecessary, acquired limitations of egoity
and social personality that obstruct the spiritualized
personality. Having chosen renunciation, we will see how we
live, together and in times of being alone, when we are
simply Happy or established in the Current of Spiritual
Bliss. We will see how we will associate with one another,
and how our use of time and space will be transformed.

We are habituated to a number of activities that perhaps
we would not engage anymore. Reading in general might be
eliminated, other than what may be required for the sake of
your practice. Perhaps you would simply abandon hearing the
daily news and watching television. Certain kinds of
conversation and ways of relating to one another that are
basically the means of the social ego to escape boredom,
doubt, and discomfort may gradually fall away.

In response to this consideration, however, the first
thing you should do is not to arbitrarily decide to abandon
your present habit of life and stop watching TV. The first
thing you should do is understand the principles we have
been considering that are fundamental to self-observation
and self-understanding and see how they relate to the
renunciate practice that I have described. Then establish
the will to enter into retreat as a matter of moment to
moment existence, not the retreat of staying in your room,
but the retreat of living in self-contained spiritual
community. Create the practical environment of remoteness
and freedom from the superimposition of the concerns that
belong to life in the world. In retreat with one another,
observe the attachments, arbitrary rituals, taboos,
limitations, neuroses, and needs for stimulation to which
you have become habituated and, at least gradually, release
what is unnecessary or merely burdensome. In the world, you
might maintain much of the usual attention to life simply as
an ordinary matter of survival or even as part of your
service to the Communion. But in the remote setting, you no
longer share the concerns for survival that possess other
people. You are producing your own food and associating with
the ordinary affairs of survival in the economized terms of
a renunciate hermitage. Likewise, you no longer have the
concerns that require you to be constantly in touch with the
world news to learn what people in the world are doing. The
news and the concerns it fosters are simply unnecessary.
When you realize them to be unnecessary and step aside from
them, you will feel an immediate sense of relief and you
will recognize them as a burden. You will also feel an
increase of boredom, doubt, and discomfort, because until
now you have relied on these stimulations to help you escape
the crunch of boredom, doubt, and discomfort that you
chronically suffer.

DEVOTEE: Master, you said something yesterday that
epitomizes the whole discipline of renunciation. You said.
“Always do what is necessary and nothing more.”

MASTER DA: Yes. You are used to doing a lot of
things, acting and thinking all the time. I think we began
this discussion the other day when I said to someone, “What
would you do if you had nothing to do?” What would you do if
you had nothing highly stimulating to do? What if you did
not have many communications to deal with emotionally and
mentally, did not have many overt physical demands, and did
not do much to keep yourself stimulated and pleasurized?
What would you do? Now you are habituated to physical
activity and thinking. But if you had no significant
physical and mental obligations, could you simply live a
conscious existence? Could you live the spiritual
process?

The spiritual process is primarily a matter of conscious
existence. It is the process that takes place in
consciousness, rather than in the extensions or associations
of consciousness at the level of the mind or the body.
Secondary obligations or impositions on consciousness appear
at the level of mind and body, but more infrequently in the
renunciate setting than in the world. If you are going to
retire into the renunciate setting, therefore, you must be
certain that you have the capacity in you to live a
conscious life. You must be able to live more and more in
the Domain of Consciousness and far, far less in the domain
of body and mind.

To the degree that you exist in the plane of body and
mind, you will live in a far more simple and less stimulated
circumstance than people living in the world. Therefore, you
must have a much greater capacity for conscious life, or
else the effect of living in renunciate retreat will be
deadening. After an initial period of reacting to the lack
of stimulation, you will simply become a sort of vegetable,
droning and sleepy, dull and sluggish. Such qualities of
course have nothing to do with spiritual life, although many
people think that they are becoming spiritual by merely
limiting the activities and objects in their lives, taking
on the renunciate circumstance in effect without assuming
the renunciate practice and, as a result, simply doing
nothing.

But the spiritual Way is not to do nothing. It is to
enter fully into the consciousness of existence, the Domain
of Consciousness, the Domain of the Divine. That
Consciousness economizes or simplifies the functional
extensions of the being in body and mind and in society.
Spiritual renunciation does not entirely eliminate these
functions, but it reduces them to a state of “sattvic” or
balanced economy. In the renunciate setting, the obligations
that impinge upon the being through worldly association and
the conventions of egoic society are, in general, not
present. The choice of the renunciate style of life must
therefore necessarily be accompanied by the choice of the
spiritual process in its ultimate form.

You should take time to develop the choice of renunciate
discipline. Profoundly observe and measure your limitations.
The circumstance of life in the renunciate Ashram is reduced
to a high degree of simplicity, and therefore your lack of
responsibility for the conventional patterns of year
necroses represents a much more stark impediment to ordinary
well-being. Magnify your self-understanding and your
capacity to procure the spiritual Way. Magnify your capacity
to locate and exist in the Domain of Happiness,
Consciousness, Divine or Transcendental Existence. In the
midst of a circumstance where you cannot avoid boredom,
doubt, and discomfort, you must find the resource always
immediately at hand to living beings that transcends
boredom, doubt, discomfort, egoity, and the suffering that
we mechanically superimpose on ourselves and that is part of
the great mass of conviction that causes people to imagine
there is no Divine Being and no Great Domain at the heart of
existence.

 

At present Master Da Free John and the Hermitage
Renunciate Order are living in a Hermitage retreat free of
many of the responsibilities they have previously held
within our Communion. This freedom is a sign of a certain
growth in our Sacred Institution and devotional culture.
Only a maturing Spiritual community can possibly support
such an experiment by its Spiritual Master and many of its
most mature members. Their activity represents no limitation
but only a new opportunity in all devotees’ relationships to
the Spiritual Master and the Divine. The Hermitage
Renunciate Order will remain communicative with the rest of
our sacred culture through articles in this magazine, books,
and other media. And mature practitioners in the
Institutional culture – in general, members of the
Advaitayana Buddhist Order – will spend periods of time at
the Hermitage Sanctuary with the Spiritual Master and the
Hermitage Renunciate Order. Future issues of Crazy Wisdom
will include lilas of this sacred new development of Master
Da’s Work.

As devotees, we in general have a different
relationship to Master Da Free John than we have had in the
past. For several years now he has not lived in a setting
wherein he has had frequent personal contact with large
numbers of people. Our association with the Spiritual Master
in the future will be through the Agencies of Divine Help he
has created – the Teaching, the Sanctuaries, and the mature
Community of practitioners – as well as through the lilas of
his Work with the Renunciate Order and other advanced
practitioners of the Way. At some stage in their practice,
mature devotees may have the opportunity to take retreats at
a Sanctuary where the Spiritual Master resides, or where he
may visit from time to time. The Master himself points out,
“For the most part I must live in retreat, having done what
is appropriate and necessary for me to do for the sake of
devotees’ actual practice. “

As always, what the Master will do at any given time
cannot be prefigured. In any case, all devotees are called
to participate in the “culture of release” whereby Master
Da is free to live in retreat with no active institutional
or cultural role that requires his personal availability to
others.

 

MASTER DA: All should understand that I have done
the Work I needed to do for their sake, that my Influence is
present in the form of the Teaching, the Sanctuaries, and
the other Agencies including the Community, and that there
is a continuum of practice that relates to me. In other
words, no one or gathering of devotees is merely separate
from me. Obviously, there is a direct, Transcendental link
to me for each devotee, in the form of my continuous
Spiritual Transmission. And there is also a direct cultural
link to me, through people who associate directly with me,
and who enjoy varying degrees of maturity in practice and
responsibility for the Sacred Institution and the culture of
practitioners. Some of these devotees who associate more
directly with me are present within the Sacred Institution
and its culture. And all who really practice and develop
real maturity in practice will likely have some form of
contact with me from time to time in the future.

August 7. 1982 

Blank holding line