ESOTERIC ANATOMY AND THE GREAT TRADITIONS OF HUMAN HISTORY
Human History Is One Great Tradition
Adi Da Samraj
August 19, 2004
The Great Tradition did not arise based on understanding that there are seven stages of life. Nobody knew they were seven stage of life until I told you there are seven stages of life.
So having explained that to you all, and explaining it in terms of the esoteric anatomy of the human being, I’ve shown you how the traditions can be seen, each and every one of them using this key or this tool can be seen as manifestations of one or the other of the orientations that characterize one or the other of the stages of life.
The sixth stages therefore in general are not spiritual traditions. I mention some traditions of Buddhism have in the person of some individuals.
In the Tibetan traditions for example, there have been occasions where there were specific individuals basically in the past who manifested yogic spiritual signs and yogic transmission signs that can be understood to be characteristics associated with the fifth stage of life.
In that sense they represent a development of Buddhism within a complex of other traditions in the region or for one reason or other in conjunction of traditions in which more than one stage of life actually has become incorporated into the practice and the philosophical perspective of certain other traditions or certain other individuals within certain other traditions.
So within the vajrayana tradition there is some mixing of traditions associated with stages of life other than the sixth. It’s not Buddhism in the Hinayana sense then. It’s not Buddhism in the Mahayana sense of Zen. It’s a different kind of tradition but also one that is generally nonetheless a mind dharma tradition.
it’s only occasionally there have been some who have developed it in such a manner that there was some form or other of transmission process in the spiritual sense and a development of practice that had yogic characteristics that can be understood in terms of the fifth stage of life rather than the sixth just as they also in another dimension of their philosophy or of the prescriptions of practice had other teachings and practices that were very characteristic of the sixth stage of life.
Buddhism is a complex historical phenomenon going on for about 2500 years now in many countries of the world and it has developed in places where there were other traditions already existing or they came about over time that were associated with traditions other than the sixth and so there are many different manifestations of Buddhism.
The earliest period is generally associated with what is called the Hinayana tradition, usually a Theravada tradition which is very strictly a mind dharma tradition in the sixth stage sense.
Within the schools of what are generally called the Mahayana tradition there are other dimensions of practice and even popular developments of the tradition.
It’s a kind of syncretism or connection to pre-existing traditions including popular temple traditions and so on and so there are fourth stage developments as well as sixth stage elements or more social orientation developments, social religiosity orientation but then if you go on retreat in some monastic circumstance, they will generally have people practice sixth stage points of some kind.
So often in Mahayana traditions there is a combination of fourth and sixth stage perspectives in practice and there are practices for the laity and there are practices for monastics and so on, ways in which the laity not only practices but ways in which the laity serves the monastics, ways in which the monastics serve the laity so you see it’s rather a complex matter.
There’s no such thing as Buddhism that. It’s just a something and, as a matter of fact, this is true of virtually all the traditions. There is no just one thing that is Christianity or Judaism or Islam.
There are many different schools and modes of tradition and practice, many different teachers and many teachers with many different kinds of orientations and manner of working.
Many different countries had pre-existing traditions of one kind or another to one degree or another affecting or integrated within virtually all traditions. Any tradition that has any kind of time of existence with any kind of history behind it has developed varieties of itself.
So there’s no one thing that’s anything. Well how do you make sense out of all this complexity? Well I’ve told you. If you use the tool of my instruction relative to the esoteric anatomy of man and the seven stages of life, you can understand any communication at all made within the great tradition at any time and the basket of tolerance is a demonstration of this fact.
If you use this tool then there is no need to be confused because you can identify the universals within all the particulars so you can examine any particular tradition and see by its evidence what elements of the stages of life and of the esoteric anatomy fully understood are being specifically activated or addressed In that tradition.
So there is a tool or key for understanding traditions and I’ve given it to you and the basket of tolerance is my essential communication about it in relation to the great tradition.
So there are many teachers within Zen Buddhism. It has had a significantly long history and so it naturally has as I suggested varieties of forms. It also has a certain kind of consistency especially at the root philosophical base. There’s very much fundamentally a sixth stage tradition in and of itself detached from the other stages of life fundamentally.
It doesn’t have the yoga concerns and so on or the devotional and temple concerns although there is temple Buddhism associated with the Zen tradition. But the fundamental practicing tradition is a Zazen tradition where you usually go to the monasteries and centers were teachers are functioning to be instructed or guided in practice.
That is essentially what it is. It’s a sixth stage tradition and there’s even some evidence of premonitory reference to the seventh stage awakening. The Lankavatra sutra, diamond sutra, not a developed of the seventh stage of life but premonitory, what I call premonitory references to an awakening beyond the disposition that brings about sixth stage practice, a disposition that transcends the need for the sixth stage practice.
It doesn’t mean sixth stage practice hasn’t preceded it necessarily but it speaks in terms that make sixth stage practice unnecessary.
We are suggesting you don’t have to clean the mirror. It’s pure from the beginning and then all the sixth stage practitioners ask, “What do you mean? How do you get to be pure and clean from the beginning? (Audience laughter)
You don’t you see. You can’t get there from here.
You can’t get to the other side of the water, so are you just babbling?
Yes. (More laughter)
He wasn’t describing a method. He was stating a philosophical fact and state that he tacitly understood and some others expressed a similar tacit understanding. Supposedly in some context or other. Guatama was asked what he had gained by enlightenment and he said, “A tacit understanding, nothing more.”
Well if you read the scriptures of the tradition, it’s a lot of doing. It’s a lot of thinking. It’s a lot of talking, a lot of doing, a lot of philosophizing, a lot of kinds of practicing.
All of that for a tacit understanding? (Laughter) Nothing else? Nothing more? What is the point? Why don’t you just understand and be quiet then. If it’s that simple and in some sense that’s true. No matter what arises, even attention himself, any thought, anything at all, no matter what arises, you are merely the witness.
You’re not doing it. You’re not doing anything whatsoever. You’re not making anything happen. Nothing’s happening to you. It’s always already the case that you are just that so why don’t you get that tacit understanding and nothing more?
You know I’ve made it perfectly plain to you, narcissic. (Laughter) Well, as long as there is the presumption of point of view, as long as there is the self-contraction, practices are required. Process is required. Thinking occurs and you think you’re doing it. Actions occur and you think you’re doing them. Reactions occur and you think they’re yours.
For you the mirror is covered with dust and you must clean it and you will never succeed! Because you’re making an error and your presumption is a metaphor, for your error. So you could say, “The mirror is dusty” and therefore you must clean it to see clearly but that presumption is not a true representation of your error, your dilemma of your error.
You can’t stop committing that error even when it is pointed out to you that you are doing it. Even when I say to you and remind you plainly, no matter what arises, no matter what arises now, even now, apparent now, You are merely the witness neither causing nor experiencing, not separate, always already established as the divine self-condition itself.
You know very well that’s not true and that’s the metaphor for your error. That knowledge is false but you can’t be convinced otherwise because it’s true. That’s why it’s impossible to solve this problem. It is impossible to get on the other side of the world.
It’s like the motorist who drives up to a man when he was mowing his lawn and was going over to his car and he asked him for directions to a particular location. He thought about it for a while and he said, “You can’t get there from here.”
That doesn’t mean there is no process of realization. There is one.
There are ways to seek realization but there is an actual process of realization. The way I have revealed to you is a process of realization, not a method or a technique for seeking it. You can change it. You can transform it, revise it into a search or an activity of the separate ego but that’s simply to falsify the teachings to misunderstand the practice or refuse it.
The precise way I have given you is the precise way of realization and it exactly entirely from the beginning, the way that does not seek realization. It is the way of realization, the realization of that which is already the case.
Therefore, it is the way that is perfectly pure from the beginning.
When you find the true water, you give yourself up.
Imagine rubbing the surface of a pond with your fingertip until it is crystal clear. (Laughter)
What do you do in that sudden instant? You’re bent over the pond rubbing it with your fingertip and I GRAB YOU by the hand and yank you down. (More laughter).
What will you do in that moment? It’s the crucial choice. You never know when it’s going to come. (Laughter)
There are of course also many fifth stage traditions that have nothing to do with spirituality either. They are philosophically oriented by means of technical practices to achieve something that needs to be understood in terms of the esoteric anatomy associated with the fifth stage of life. They don’t necessarily involve any spiritual transmission at all.
There are yoga prescriptions within the Tibetan tradition that do not involve a teacher necessarily doing any spiritual transmitting, most often not, especially these days.
There may have been some in the past. There is possible at any time there may be a yoga transmitter of some degree or another in the Tibetan tradition in its fifth stage aspects or in any tradition.
But most of the time what is being offered is philosophies and techniques. When the word transmission is used they mean the transmission of philosophy and technique.
Ramakrishna actually only manifested spiritual transmission a few times, A few times Vivakanana and then only one other time when a group of his disciples were in a gathering one day and some of them had a spiritual transmission.
It’s not that all you have to do is come and sit in the room with him or ask for it or do anything at all and you’ve got transmission of a spiritual nature that brought about samadhi except in a few instances that I just described to you and mainly in the case of one individual So what were the rest of them getting?
Philosophy and techniques and the company of the Master. That more than anything else is what they received and were offered is that company because that is the principle offering within the esoteric traditions. Any principle instruction maximizes the amount of time we spend in the company of your Realizer Master.
This will be purifying in following your master’s instructions explicitly and completely and unreservedly. So fundamentally you’ve got the Company of the Master. Secondarily you get philosophy and instruction and practices.
Occasionally there is a direct transmission of the Master’s state, a spiritual means. You hear stories about Nityayanda that seem to suggest that he was passing out Shaktipa on a regular basis.
All he had to do was have a glance at you or be within a few feet of his body and you got one and this is by no means true. Hardly anybody experienced skaktipa. So it is one of the unique gifts within the traditions that only occur with some masters in varying degrees, in masters of varying degrees, in the force of it when experiencing it in varying degrees. It is by no means common in any of the traditions.
Blessings of various kinds are given but spiritual transmission itself in the various forms in which it is possible is rare And there are various forms of it depending on the nature of the Master the degree of the Master in terms of realization, the mode of realization associated with the master, the stage of life of which the master’s life is associated, and the master’s degree of realization within it.
Baba Nityananda for instance didn’t have any positive regard for any of the yoga processes below the neck. So he wasn’t about to pass any great transmission on to anybody who was still dangling down there. (Stirring from the audience).
There are a lot of energy transmissions that occur in some schools of yoga but they’re not great transmissions. They are not, generally speaking, they are not lasting, just temporary phenomena and minor phenomena, generally speaking, lower based.
They are more on the nature of what is traditionally called a pranathon or a transmission of prana or simply bio energy. Taoist traditions, Chinese martial arts traditions and so forth that speak of chi and all kinds of activities that are brought to this. We’re not talking about bio energies. It’s just not spiritual of course in the ultimate sense of what that term should be and understood to me and so also then many yoga transmitters are transmitting bio or lower based energy.
That’s why also the kundalini tradition described the way it is, described his energy rising up from below in a gradual progress upwards. That involves purification of various levels and degrees getting from the lowest level on up with different manifestations as it rises.
It is being described as an energy already in the human body and it has to be simply stimulated and made to rise and do various kinds of purification and so forth and be occasionally re-identified and intensified by the transmitter and so on.
So there are many kinds of traditions that are called spiritual traditions. It’s not just one thing but I’ve explained these things to you given the means and tools to understand them. If you were to study the great tradition and I call upon you to study the great tradition to some significant degree and to do so formally.
What’s the purpose of this? It’s like reading a menu at select a tradition time. No, it’s not about doing any of that nonsense. It’s about being purified of your own provincialism as taught to you in some matters of belief and traditions here and the last occasion or two we met. There are all kinds of beliefs that people believe or say they believe or want to believe, would like to have be true, whatever.
It doesn’t mean they are true. If you study in depth and altogether have comprehension of the nature of the phenomena associated with these traditions and you can see them in terms of the stages of life, the esoteric anatomy of human possibility, and you can also see them in the historical terms and how they developed in the social and cultural context of human history.
Then instead of simply being a naïve believer or naïve agnostic, naïve atheist or a naïve anything, you transcend the limitations of your own thinking, your own provincialism of mind, and can see any and all traditions clearly.
They all are authentic in the sense that they all exhibit dimensions of the stages of life aspects of the esoteric anatomy of human possibility. Myths aren’t merely false. They are ways of conveying meaning that has religious significance or philosophical significance with some relevance to a spiritual understanding of life and so forth.
Some things may not be historically true and some traditions where something is said to a fact may historically be true but that doesn’t mean that what is said is not true in any sense at all.
Most people, even Hindus, whose culture is the source of the Bhagavad Gita are not concerned whether or not Krishna actually lived as a historical person or Arjuna.
Some people want very much to believe that but that’s just some sectarians. Generally speaking, that’s not the point. It’s a story form, a literary form used to convey certain meanings about the nature of life and realization of the divine condition.
So as a conveyor of that it has its kinds of authenticity and its references to stages of life and esoteric anatomy and so forth. It’s true in relation to universals. Christianity is true in relation to certain universals. Judaism is as all traditions are true with respect to the universals.
Whether they are true in their various parts historically is another question and very often things that are said to be true some people believe to be true historically are not historically true. That doesn’t mean there is something extremely negative there or just plain old wrong.
What is the difference between Christianity as a metaphor for spiritual things and Christianity as an historical polaroid of real happenings. Well that of course is important to some but to many it wouldn’t seem to be of any great importance. It’s still conveying truths through metaphors, various kinds of stories and moral pronouncements and so on.
So it can be seen in the circumstance of the great tradition as being authentic relative to universals and can be accepted in those terms like virtually all traditions. So when you dogmatically insist that something is true in a sense that it is not, that’s your provincial mind and force of egoity start working in the name of religion and that’s a great source of conflict in the world and in the lives of individuals.
The yoga or spiritual process of assent in the spiritual sense is true whether Jesus disappeared in the sky or not and Jesus appearing in the sky can be understood as a metaphor for spiritual assent.
As such it is an effective metaphor. It doesn’t have to be a polaroid taken of an historical event. It’s important for a right understanding to know whether there could possibly be a representation of an historical event and there are ways to come to a conclusion about that.
If you’re interested you can study the literature about it and see what it suggests. There were times in the past when Christianity and the western direction of the known historical world at the time represented by Peter and the now alive, the Papacy, emphasized an inheritance of traditions, of belief and practice of a certain kind.
At a certain point there was a split in the church and an eastern form or variety of Christianity began to develop and took on various forms and referred to as orthodox Christianity as opposed to catholic Christianity.
The Western Christianity emphasized a primary bishop called the pope and Peter where the Eastern emphasized more of John and a collective of bishops and so forth who were the heads of the church in various different locations can have collective responsibility for their traditions.
And you had more of an orientation toward the spiritually transformed Jesus, the risen Jesus, as opposed to the western tradition which has more of an orientation toward the incarnate Jesus who suffered for others.
And they all had more of the sense that they don’t have to get too definite about beliefs or descriptions of the divine. At some point there is nothing more to be said and there are no controversies but prior to that point or previous to that point there is room for argumentation or disagreement.
So there are differences between those traditions but then came Protestantism and Protestantism is largely based on Paul. It’s exonerated by that mode of literature, official Christianity and didn’t believe in a Papacy and not even bishops and didn’t have quite the same theology altogether as found in Catholicism and orthodoxy and emphasized the word, the book rather than traditions and authorities of a human kind such as popes and other ecclesiastic figures.
Then came the modern era and the book was examined and has been examined now with all kinds of detail, archeologically, historically, and illogically. How did it come about in the real history behind all this, where these various books come from, who wrote them?
Did one person write them? What are they a product of? Is there real history and so forth? Do they have Dead Sea scrolls and Agamata sea scrolls and find other traditions that existed that were oppressed by the official church?
What was supposed to be the ultimate absolute, the book, now through being examined, has been the means or that examination has become the means for deprovencializing potentially many people’s thinking about Christianity.
America still likes being very Christian but Europe is becoming more and more secular. Many people are profoundly involved in the Jewish tradition as a social phenomenon and secular phenomenon in association with the people who don’t really want very much to do with the religious side of it.
Modernism in other words has affected all traditions allowed for a kind of study of things previously that were authoritative that now has become a deprovincialization of traditional religion. Some people still want to relate to traditional religion naively but the tools exist of transcending your naïve disposition relative to everything.
Some I made this basket of tolerance to use these tools to go beyond provincialism of your own limitations of your own mind and learning and upbringing and everything that was absorbed by you in your childhood in your life altogether and in many ways it has been shocking to do this. Getting your real education is to get a real comeuppance and that’s relative to all elements of the great tradition then. To cease to be naïve about it all is a difficult experience, a difficult education, but it doesn’t lead to despair if rightly done and if you understand all of human history in terms, of as I’ve shown you as being one great tradition dealing with universals beginning with that universal context which is the structure of the human being properly understood as a full esoterical aberration, then it is possible to be free of all provincialism and not despair.
It is possible to have all of your belief systems ripped off and not despair because you can understand even tacitly what it is about even in universally real terms. So I call all of my devotees to endure this basic education about the great traditions of everybody altogether: one boat, one tradition, and still that which is truth, that which is real god, reality itself, remains and is not in doubt.
If you read the book of life only in part, doubts will kill you. They will drive you mad. You have to read the whole book and then when you lift your head up from the last page, it will be self-evidently obviously clearly so that it is pure from the beginning.
Beezone – Introduction – Beyond Provincialism – My First Word – The Truth Transcends the Body-Mind of Man – The Gathering of Seven Schools of God-Talk – Tradition of Adepts – Laughing Man – The Basket of Tolerance – The Basket of Tolerance Topics and Essay Lists
Summary – Esoteric Anatomy and The Great Tradition