Nirvanasara – Chapter 5

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

of Contents


Pain, Independence, and the
Discovery of Consciousness

Manifest existence is association
with the force of conditionality. The inherent circumstance
of manifest existence is change, temporariness, limitation,
struggle with opposites, search for happiness, motivation
toward release, and attachment to what is neither ultimate
nor necessary.

As a consequence of all of this, the
manifest being tends toward bewilderment, stress, obsessive
craving, frustration, anger, sorrow, fear, depression,
disease, pain, unhappiness, inertia, and death.

In the midst of all of this, the
mind tends to develop the psychology of the problem.
Manifest existence tends to be conceived as a problem to be
overcome. And thus the language of religious or spiritual
consideration tends to be associated with this
problem-consciousness, and religious or spiritual practice
tends, therefore, to develop as a strategy for overcoming
and ultimately eliminating pain, suffering, change, and even
manifest existence itself.

We must understand and transcend
this tendency to become grounded in the
problem-consciousness of ordinary egoity. The proper or real
consideration in the midst of manifest existence is not
involved in this reaction to conditional experience.
Enlightenment is not the elimination of phenomenal
experience. Rather, Enlightenment is the intuition of the
Transcendental Condition of the phenomenal self and its
objects and states. And that intuition is not predicated on
the ascetical or yogic elimination of conditional states.
Rather, it is inherent in the direct and most profound or
radical understanding of the entire process of attention in
relation to the self, its psycho-physical states, and its
objects (or the not-self).

In the traditions of Transcendental
Enlightenment, conditional existence is considered in terms
of one or the other of its two fundamental characteristics.
It is considered either in terms of its negative
experiential impact (as pain, limitation, or suffering) or
in terms of its status in relation to Reality. In the
Buddhist tradition, conditional existence is named
“samsara,” and in the tradition of Advaitism conditional
existence is named “maya.” In both traditions, this leading
conception is treated both as suffering and as a process to
be understood in Reality. It is a characteristic of the
beginner’s (and particularly the sixth stage) consciousness
in these traditions to consider manifest existence in
negative terms and to make that consideration into the
motivating principle of religious or spiritual practice. But
it is characteristic of the advanced, spiritually mature,
and, especially, the Enlightened consciousness of those same
traditions to stand aside from the conventional egoic
reactions to the manifest difficulties of life and to
consider manifest existence simply and entirely as a process
to be understood in the Context of Reality (or the
Transcendental Condition of conditions).

The conventional or lesser
approaches to religious or spiritual consideration tend to
be based on a reaction to the difficulties of life. Such is
the common basis of exoteric religion and even all of the
worldly and esoteric pursuits that characterize the first
six stages of life. To be sure, there is much useful
knowledge, discipline, and ability that we can rightly learn
and wisely apply to the conditions of manifest existence.
Therefore, much of the culture of religious or spiritual
life is naturally and inevitably associated with such
learning and application. But all of that is nothing but
ordinary wisdom. It is the human method for transforming the
ego-crushing conditions of manifest existence into a
creative process of ego-development, ego-salvation, and
ego-release. The ultimate matter of Enlightenment or
Transcendental God-Realization has nothing to do with the
struggle between the manifest self and the pain of
conditional experience.

The Way of the Heart is not based in
the conventional mind or the negative reaction to
conditional existence. The Way of the Heart is an expression
of the free or radical consideration that characterizes the
seventh stage of life. The conceptions of the Way that
develop in the characteristic terms of the first six stages
of life are all based on the problem of manifest (and thus
egoic) experience. They are all a search for the fulfillment
or the release of the manifest self or independent ego. I
consider the Way in radical terms—not on the basis of
the ego’s problem or the ego itself, but freely, as a
process of direct understanding and prior transcendence of
the ego and its problem.

The traditions of Buddhism and
Advaita Vedanta originally tended to be associated with
concerns relative to the pain of manifest existence and the
search for release from that pain via the escape from
manifest existence itself. “Samsara,” interpreted as the
suffering of innumerable lifetimes of pain motivated and
created by mere desire, was contrasted with “Nirvana,”
interpreted as the complete cessation of desire and its
results (in the form of manifest or conditional existence).
Likewise, “maya” was commonly interpreted to mean that
manifest or conditional existence was an illusion that
could, therefore, be seen through, overcome, and escaped via
a kind of superior cleverness (much as one exercises in
relation to the entertaining performance of a street

The early tendencies of both
Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta (or the ancient tradition of
Upanishadic Advaitism) were, therefore, in the direction of
a world-negating asceticism. However, both traditions
developed from and via the Teaching of Great Adepts. Even
though the common preaching of the two traditions tended
from the beginning to appeal to the common reaction to the
pain of living, the Realization of the Great Adepts in both
traditions has, from the beginning, been associated with a
most radical consideration—not merely of suffering
(which is a convention or problem of the ego or manifest
self) but of the status of conditional existence (or self
and not-self) relative to Reality (or Transcendental
Existence). And as the literatures of these two traditions
developed over time, they began to develop the consideration
less and less along the lines of appeal to the popular need
to escape pain or find an ultimate egoic circumstance of
manifest pleasure. The great literatures of Buddhism and
Upanishadic Advaitism are, therefore, founded in the direct
consideration of Reality, based not on a problematic
reaction to egoic suffering, but on the intuitive
understanding of the entire process of conditional existence
or experience.

The ultimate (and thus more esoteric
or non-popular) schools of Buddhism and Advaitism express
themselves in terms that involve a radical (rather than a
conventional or problem-based) consideration of self and
not-self, and those schools are often associated with
attitudes toward life that are ultimately non-conventional
(or free of seriousness about egoic pain and pleasure). The
advanced or seventh stage schools are often associated with
Adepts who are not inclined toward the conventional method
of asceticism, or the strategy of turning away from any of
the basic features of this pleasure-pain world.

The Way of the Heart is like the Way
conceived in these advanced schools of the Great Adepts. The
likeness is due to the fact that I, like them, found the
consideration of the Way on the basis of direct
understanding of the ego and its problems and its goals of
seeking, rather than on the basis of the uninspected motives
created by the ego, its problems, and its search.

The radical approach to the
consideration of manifest existence is not associated with
self-based seeking for fulfillment within or release from
the pleasure-pain world (or the total cosmos of Narure).
Rather, the radical approach is to directly and constantly
consider the apparent status of the manifest self and all
conditional states and objects until the Real Condition of
both self and not-self becomes Obvious.

The apparent status of both self and
not-self is that of independence. All objects appear to be
independent or separate from the self and one another. The
self appears to be independent or separate from all other
selves and all objects. All states of the self appear to be
both objects to the self (and thus separate from it) and
also, since they are merely reflections of the phenomenal or
objective world (made by the mechanics of perception via the
nervous system), they appear, like illusions, to be separate
from the “real” not-self of the objective realm of Nature.
And, in their apparent independence, the self and its
objects and states all appear to be inherently separate from
any permanent, infinite, or Transcendental Reality,
Identity, or Condition.

In one fashion or another, the
radical or ultimate and seventh stage schools consider the
appearance of independence or separateness that
characterizes the self, the not-self, and the paradoxical
states of the self that arise in contact with the not-self
(including all other selves). When this appearance of
independence, separation, or difference is transcended in
Transcendental Awakening (to the Condition of all selves and
every form of the not-self), that Realization (and not any
mere development of physical, emotional, mental, or psychic
states of the manifest self, nor any state that merely
excludes such phenomena from awareness) is

The Way of the Heart is founded on
the radical consideration of the process of attention. It is
a matter of direct and constant insight into the action that
is the manifest or egoic self. That action is the expression
of a consciousness that regards itself to be separate (based
on conventional identification with the apparently
independent body-mind). Therefore, the principle of the
action that is the ego (or manifest self) is separative.
This is first observed in the plane of common or ordinary
relational existence. If there is true self-observation in
the midst of functional relations, the self can be seen
always to be operating in a separative or self-based manner.
Insight into this common egoic separativeness is expressed
via self-enquiry in the form “Avoiding relationship? As this
process of insight into the self-process develops further,
it becomes expressed as the conscious process of
re-cognition, or the observation and moment to moment
transcendence of self-contraction. And such re-cognition and
transcendence develops relative to all the possible
conditions and orientations of the first six stages of

The Way of the Heart does not
develop on the basis of attempts to solve the problem
represented by conditional existence as self or not-self.
Therefore, even the conventional problems and orientations
of the sixth stage of life must be understood and

The conventional sixth stage point
of view of Upanishadic Advaitism views all conditions (or
the apparent not-self) as illusions of the self. Therefore,
the method of approach tends to be to invert attention upon
the self in order to locate its internal Source or Free
Identity. In the Way of the Heart, this strategy of
inversion upon the self-root (the ultimate locus of which is
in the right side of the heart) must be observed, understood
(or recognized as itself a form of self-contraction), and
thus transcended before the characteristic disposition of
the seventh stage of life can Awaken.

In contrast to the traditional
method of Upanishadic Advaitism, the conventional sixth
stage approach of classical Buddhism views conditional
existence to be merely a chain of causes and effects. In
that view, there is no self. There is only the vast not-self
(made only of finite causes and effects, “dharmas,” or the
mechanical constituents of phenomenal Nature). Therefore,
the method of approach tends to be to strategically focus
attention on the conditions of existence and to see them all
as not-self, until the tendency to conceive an independent
self is utterly overcome (thus ultimately bringing an end to
the arising of conditional states). In the Way of the Heart,
this strategy of cognition of the not-self (and knowing the
self as not-self) must be observed, understood (or
re-cognized) as itself a form of self-contraction, and thus
transcended before the characteristic disposition of the
seventh stage of life can Awaken.

In the case of either of the two
basic traditional approaches I have just described, the
ultimate Goal of the practice is the elimination or
transcendence of conditional awareness (or the awareness of
self and not-self) and the restoration of the Realization of
the Condition that is prior to the awareness of self and
not-self. The fundamental Argument of the Way of the Heart
stands in most positive and radical relation to that
Realization which is the Goal of the sixth stage traditions.
That which is to be Realized and affirmed is That which
stands forth as the Obvious when the characteristic forms of
contraction that are the principal orientations of sixth
stage Buddhism and Upanishadic Advaitism are understood and

The ultimate form of the Way of the
Heart (and the Enlightened stage of the traditional forms of
the Way) involves the understanding and inherent
transcendence of the strategy of seeking to overcome and
eliminate the self and/or the not-self. Therefore, the
transition to the ultimate stage of the Way involves the
understanding and inherent transcendence of the conventional
approaches I have just described. If this is done, the Real
or Transcendental Condition of conditions stands out as the
Obvious. Then self and not-self no longer stand out
independently, as a binding process separated from
Transcendental Bliss, Happiness, Truth, Reality, Being, or
Consciousness. And when this seventh stage Awakening occurs,
all conventional doubts and limiting presumptions (based on
the egoic problems of the first six stages of life) are
inherently transcended. The conventional Buddhist reluctance
to positively admit the Existence of Transcendental Being is
thus transcended, as well as the conventional Upanishadic
tendency to conceive of the Transcendental Reality in
exclusively inward and even personal terms. That which is
ultimately Obvious as Reality is Radiant Transcendental
Being or Consciousness—the Identity and the Condition
of all beings and conditions, in which all beings and
conditions are only apparently (and without necessity or
ultimate binding power) arising as spontaneous and merely
apparent modifications of Itself. The Awakening of the
seventh stage of life is thus the Great Discovery—the
Sublime Discovery of the Nature of Consciousness and the
Condition of self and not-self.

In the sixth stage of life (and the
conventional approach represented by the lesser tendencies
of Buddhism and Upanishadic Advaitism) there is a subtle
effort to exclude awareness of the separate self and its
objects. This subtle effort is the final contraction to be
understood, re-cognized, and thus inherently transcended
before the radical or seventh stage process of the Way can

Samsara or maya or conditional
existence is not in itself a problem to be systematically
eliminated. The traditional names or terms are nothing more
than descriptions of the characteristics of the
un-Enlightened view of life. They do not indicate
substances. Samsara is not a something. Maya is not a
something. Conditional existence is not a something. Rather,
these terms simply indicate or describe the characteristics
inherent in the un-Enlightened view, which is the notion or
presumption that whatever arises is indeed a
something—a substantial or merely independent entity or
thing. This same un-Enlightened view tends to regard
Realization of Nirvana or the Transcendental Self to be a
something independent of conditional existence, whereas such
terms as Nirvana or the Self are meant simply to indicate or
characterize the Enlightened (rather than the
un-Enlightened) view of whatever appears to be the

Therefore, in the ultimate
literatures of the Buddhist tradition, the Enlightened view
is presented via such declarations as “Nirvana and samsara
are the same.” And in the ultimate literatures of Advaitism,
the Enlightened view is presented via the declaration that
to seek to escape from maya is absurd, since there is only
Brahman, or the Transcendental Self, and, therefore, nothing
separate from or other than the Transcendental Condition can
be found, even in the conditional worlds.

When samsara, or maya, or
conditional existence (in the form of self or not-self),
viewed as a configuration or a condition that is apparently
independent and separate from the Transcendental Condition,
is recognized in and as the Transcendental Condition, that
is Transcendental Self-Awakening, Enlightenment, or ultimate
God-Realization. That recognition is the ultimate
fulfillment sought or considered in all forms of the Great
Tradition, including the traditions of Buddhism and
Upanishadic Advaitism. Likewise, it is such recognition that
is the real, fundamental, and ultimate context of the Way of
the Heart. Therefore, I Teach a Way that from the beginning
considers conditional existence via a disposition that is
priorly established in this ultimate or seventh stage

At first there must be the
consideration of my Argument until true hearing or real
understanding develops. This understanding (or the process
of observing, re-cognizing, and inherently transcending the
self-contraction) then becomes the basis of a continuous
consideration in the midst of daily life. The degree of
attention available for that consideration is increased via
various disciplines in this “yoga of consideration” 2 by
which devotees approach fully Awakened maturity in the Way
itself. Therefore, the practice of the conscious process of
understanding is also associated with various forms of
functional self-discipline, devotion to life as service, and
spiritual conductivity (or the cultivation of
psycho-physical equanimity). But all of this is finally
transcended in the full Awakening of the seventh stage

The seventh stage disposition is
nothing else but tacit intuitive Identification with the
Transcendental Condition of self and not-self—or That
which is Obvious when self-contraction (or the appearance of
the independence, separateness, and necessity of self or
not-self) is recognized in the Condition (or Consciousness)
that is the case prior to contraction itself (or the
noticing of self or not-self). Enlightenment is simply the
native, intuitive Realization of the Condition (or Real
Status) of whatever is presently the case. Enlightenment is
Transcendental Consciousness, inherently Radiant and

The Enlightened Realization is free
of the limiting or binding presumption that is inherent in
the conventional view of conditional existence. Therefore,
the Enlightened view is not one that sees conditional
existence as samsara or maya. Rather, the Enlightened view
sees conditional existence as (or in the context of)
Nirvana, or Brahman, the Self, or Radiant Transcendental

Those who have not yet Awakened into
the Fullness of such Transcendental Realization tend to
imagine they are Enlightened on the basis of superficial
thinking. They are yet ego-bound and they may even tend to
imitate the non-ascetical conceptions and behaviors of the
Great or seventh stage Adepts.

The seventh stage point of view is
often lived out in the form of unconventional behaviors by
true Adepts. In the Enlightened Condition, free of the egoic
views and implications of samsara, maya, or the problem of
self-contraction, Adepts act in a spontaneous, inherently
free manner, communicating the Enlightened view directly,
without humorless bondage to the social and religious
conventions of the first six stages of life. Even those
seventh stage Adepts who are characterized by the apparently
conservative habits of a renunciate are inherently free of
the conventional motives of asceticism and world-denial. But
some tend to act in an utterly unconventional, even bizarre
and offensive, manner. Such behavior in the case of Great
Adepts is traditionally called “Crazy Wisdom,” and it
expresses the freedom from negative views and egoic
preferences. Therefore, such behaviors have a role in the
Teaching Work of some Adepts, and it is all intended to draw
devotees into the radical Awakening of Transcendental

It should not be presumed that
Enlightenment necessarily expresses itself through “Crazy”
behaviors, nor are such behaviors any more than
self-indulgence in the case of un-Enlightened individuals.
Enlightenment is simply Awakened Consciousness, or native
Realization (Sahaj Samadhi) of the Transcendental Condition
or’ Real Status of self and not-self. Some who thus Awaken
may tend to behave in the “Crazy” fashion, particularly if
they have the Teaching or Awakening Function of the Adept,
but most generally behave in a relatively conservative or
ordinary manner. In any case, there is always inherent
freedom from binding presumptions about conditional
existence. And since, in the seventh stage of life, every
moment of conditional existence is inherently recognized in
the Real Condition, all those who are thus Awakened tend, at
least gradually, to motivelessly relax from the flow of
action. This is not due to any conventional preference to
withdraw from conditional existence. Rather, the continuous
recognition of self and not-self (or conditional events) in
the Transcendental Being or Consciousness is ultimately
expressed as the Outshining of all phenomenal noticing (or
attention). Thus, the Realization of the Nirvanic or
Brahmanic or Transcendental Condition of samsara, or maya,
or conditional existence, or self, or not-self ultimately
and motivelessly Outshines and Transcends the arising of
conditional states of attention. And, therefore, the seventh
stage of life inevitably becomes Nirvanic (or Bhava)
Samadhi, or Translation into the Transcendental Condition.
In the case of some individuals, Enlightenment becomes
Translation or Nirvana only after many lives of Spiritual
Play and compassionate service to living beings. Some pass
in and out of Bhava Samadhi, to Play many roles of Spiritual
Demonstration in the planes of manifest existence. In any
case, there is only the Realization of Truth.




1. The practitioner of the Way of
the Heart observes the stages of life on the basis of the
Teaching’s critical Argument to the point of understanding,
rather than practices the stages of life for their own sake,
as in the traditional paths. This “yoga of consideration” is
a preparation for the Way of the Heart, which is the Way of
the seventh stage of life, or the tacit recognition of what
arises in the Transcendental Reality.

Nirvanasara Table of