Nirvavana – Chapter 16




xx

Radical
Transcendentalism and the Introduction of Advaitayana
Buddhism
Da Free John (Adi Da Samraj) – 1982


Table
of Contents


XVI

Insight, Intuition, and the Heresy
of Progressive Enlightenment

 

Much of the original literature of
Buddhism (usually referred to as the “Pali canon”) reflects
a culture of response to Gautama’s considerations at a
lesser level than that of Enlightenment. That is, the
original literature embodies responses to Gautama and not
merely the ultimate Teaching of Gautama, and those responses
are largely characteristic of the beginner’s
mind.

 

The culture of practice described in
the Pali literature of Buddhism is primarily monastic and
associated with a rudimentary form of practice. It is the
practice of programmatic strategies of self-purifying
activity that are intended to bring an end to desire and the
subsequent generation of negative effects or states of
phenomenal being. That practice was to be carried out in
great detail in every level and moment of functional,
personal, and relational existence. And it was presumed that
only after a long period of such discipline (even after many
lifetimes of self-purifying discipline) would Nirvanic
Enlightenment be attained.

 

The problem created by the dominance
of this beginner’s conception of the Way is that it suggests
a conception of Enlightenment that is conditional and
indirect. It suggests that Enlightenment (or Realization of
the Nirvanic Condition) is a conditional effect of
phenomenal activity (or a state that can somehow be caused
by action).

 

Gautama Awakened in a moment of
perfect intuition that was indeed preceded by self-purifying
activity, but it was founded on insight (or radical
understanding) alone. Those who considered his Dharma or
Teaching were mostly beginners. Attention and energy were
not sufficiently free in them to represent a capability for
direct Realization of the Nirvanic or Transcendental Truth.
Therefore, they were offered a progressive Argument and a
progressive practice of the Way, in the form of the “Noble
Eightfold Path,” a complex system of behavioral rules, and
so forth. And that culture of progressive Argument and
practice later became the basis for a complex systematic
analysis of the “dharmas” (or constituents of phenomenal
existence) and a Way of practice that included routines of
analytical meditation.

 

Gautama’s own ultimate consideration
or insight was most simple and direct: Conditional existence
(apparent as the phenomenal self and the phenomenal
not-self) is inherently painful (or disturbed) and
unnecessary. This insight permitted Gautama to Awaken
suddenly and spontaneously into the Transcendental Samadhi
or most profound Realization of the most prior “unborn,” or
unconditional Reality. And it is this insight and intuitive
Realization that is the core of Gautama’s
Teaching.

 

The Hinayana (or Theravada)
tradition of Buddhism has continued to maintain the
progresive culture of self-purifying activity as the
necessary means of Nirvanic Enlightenment. But the Mahayana
erudition began as a philosophical reaction to the
conceptions associated with the progressive method. The
original Mahayana philosophy was based upon the granting of
dominance to Gautama’s core Teaching—the Teaching of
radical insight leading directly to Awakening. And the
meditative schools of the Mahayana (such as Ch’an and Zen)
are all devoted to this most direct form of the
Way.

 

The great Mahayana philosophers saw
that the conception of a progressive Way was founded on
un-Enlightenment, or the tendency to be serious about
concepts and conditions that should simply be understood and
directly transcended. They were well aware that people must
generally grow (or gradually release energy and attention
for the ultimate Realization) through a difficult and even
prolonged regimen of disciplines and learning situations,
but the Mahayana philosophers were not willing to allow the
practical necessity of progressive discipline to transform
the philosophical conception of Enlightenment into that of a
conditional Realization. Therefore, they proposed
Enlightenment as a matter of direct knowledge, radical
insight, or intuitive Wisdom—rather than as the effect
or result of self-purifying action.

 

The Advaitic (or non-dualist)
tradition is also associated with a radical consideration of
Enlightenment as a matter of direct insight and intuition
rather than as the result or effect of action. Indeed, this
insistence upon the Way as “knowledge” rather than as action
is one of the most fundamental Arguments of Advaita Vedanta.
The Vedantic Emanationist schools of the first five stages
of life are all basically dualistic, and they always
advocate progressive forms of the Way, founded on action and
the results of action, that will eventually produce
“Realization” in the form of terrestrial contemplations,
phenomenal rewards, and cosmically mystical states of one
kind or another. But the sixth stage schools of Advaitism
advocate only direct “knowledge” (or insight and intuition)
rather than progressive action. Therefore, the ultimate
consideration or insight of the Emanationist tradition is,
like that of Gautama, simple and direct: Conditional
existence (apparent as the phenomenal self and the
phenomenal not-self) is only an unnecessary or merely
apparent disturbance in, to, and of Transcendental
Consciousness.

 

The sixth stage Advaitists, like the
philosophers of the Mahayana, certainly offer a culture of
progressive disciplines that generally correspond to the
first five stages of life, but that culture of discipline is
not directly associated with Enlightenment or
Self-Knowledge. Rather, as in the Mahayana schools, that
beginner’s culture is regarded to be simply an ordinary
means of preparation (or the preliminary effort devoted to
the release of energy and attention from the stream of
phenomenal limitations), after which the primary and direct
exercise of intuitive insight becomes the basis of practice.
And it is only that ultimate practice that qualifies
philosophically to be the true Way in the Advaitist
tradition.

 

Therefore, both the Buddhist and the
Advaitist traditions are historically associated with a
radical or ultimate philosophy of practice. It is the Way of
(1) direct insight into the status of conditional existence,
and (2) direct intuition of the Transcendental or
Unconditional Reality. Gautama’s form of the Way is based
primarily on moment to moment inspection of the event of
self and not-self, until the merely conditional and
unnecessary status of all of that becomes obvious and, on
that basis, Transcendental Awakening appears spontaneously.
The Advaitist form of the Way is based primarily on two
exercises. First is the exercise of insight, done by
locating the actual self, or the consciousness, which has no
form, but merely witnesses the body-mind and its relations.
And the second exercise is that of intuition, done by
constantly remembering that consciousness until its
Transcendental Status and the illusory or unnecessary status
of self and not-self become spontaneously obvious. In either
case, the Way is conceived in terms that transcend the
cause/effect, subject/object, or self/not-self dichotomies
of conventional and dualistic consciousness. Both traditions
are basically opposed to any conception of Enlightenment as
an effect or result of conditional causes (or actions).
Therefore, in both traditions, all forms of practice that
take the form of action (or the efforts of the first five
stages of life) must be understood to be conventionally
useful and even inevitable disciplines that belong only to
the preliminary, preparatory, or beginner’s domain of the
Way. In all of the Buddhist and Advaitist schools, actions
are regarded to be phenomenal, karmic, or effect-producing,
but the Way is intended to transcend karmas, effects,
births, deaths, and thus all actions. Therefore, the
ultimate form of the Way involves a natural or free
relaxation of attention from the plane of actions (or
self-transcending efforts) and a direct resort to insight
and intuition (which are inherently
self-transcending).

 

The Way of the Heart is, likewise, a
radical Way of observation, understanding, insight, and
intuition. Its simple, direct, and ultimate consideration or
insight is this: Conditional existence (or the play of the
phenomenal self and not-self as a mortal machine,
independent of perfect Happiness) is an unnecessary
apparition created by the self-contraction (or contraction
within and recoil from the Real Condition). The Way is to
observe the self as contraction (rather than as entity or
merely factual being), and re-cognize all the forms of the
self-contraction, until the Transcendental or Divine
Condition stands out as the Obvious. Thereafter (or in the
seventh stage of life), it is simply a matter of Abiding in
and as that Condition, tacitly and continually recognizing
self and not-self in That. The practice may necessarily be
associated at the beginning (and for a long time) with
disciplines of the active and functional
body-mind-self—but all of that is a “yoga of
consideration” that gradually releases energy and attention
from the binding concerns of the first five stages of life
(and even the sixth stage of life). When energy and
attention are profoundly free, understanding of the
self-contraction and radical intuition of the Transcendental
Condition appear in the form of a most profound and direct
process in which Radiant Transcendental Being is
Self-Revealed as the Obvious. And once there is the
Awakening of the seventh stage of life, neither action nor
the abandonment of action helps, supports, maintains,
threatens, or dissolves the Awakened Realization—but
the Power of Self-Abiding in the Transcendental Condition,
recognizing all conditions (and all actions) as transparent,
or merely apparent, unnecessary, and non-binding
modifications of unconditional Happiness (or Radiant
Love-Bliss), at least gradually reduces the activities of
the body-mind to a state of motiveless simplicity (or
apparent renunciation), and, finally, all conditions and all
actions are Outshined in Radiant Transcendental or Divine
Being.

 

Nirvanasara Table of
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