Sudden and Gradual Path of Enlightenment

Sudden and Gradual Path – Enlightenment in Stages

from the Teachings of Adi Da Samraj

In terms of ego, it seems that space
and time are very solid. In terms of awake experience, the
time concept is very loose. In other words, in terms of ego
there’s only one center and the radiation from it; in terms
of beyond ego, center is everywhere and radiation is
everywhere. It’s not one center, but it is
Chogyam Trungpa –
Bardo of Meditation

“What is the
seventh stage? It is simply that Disposition in which your
response to the Divine is complete. What are the stages
previous to that? They are just stages of less than complete
response, in which certain dimensions of your existence are
not yet in the responsive condition or disposition, but
which are somehow locked, contracted, unopened. “
Adi Da Samraj, November 10, 1980

The Following is from The
Enlightenment of Whole
by Adi
Da Samraj (Da Free John), Chapter 3, sudden and Gradual
Enlightenment, pp. 108-114.

Every level of
understand can be a argued coherently. Every stage of life
is true within its own limits. But Perfection of
understanding, practice, and sacrifice is Realized only in
the seventh stage of Life. Therefore, all knowledge, all
order, and all attainments must yield to the Wisdom of
Perfection, the Wisdom of all Adepts in the seventh stage.

Adi Da Samraj:

There is Absolute Bliss, the
Absolute Person or Self, Who is Infinitely Radiant, whose
Radiance pervades all conditions that arise as possible
experience That Radiance is itself unchanging; but all of
the phenomena of experience, all of the phenomena the Realm
of Nature, are the changes, the superficial and unnecessary
modifications, of this All-Pervading Radiance, which is
supremely Blissful. Therefore, if we can Awaken from our
sense identification with the body-mind and be submitted
into that Current of Radiance, and if we can Realize our
identity with that 1 Self, or Consciousness then we may
enjoy perfect and eternal Bliss.

There is only one Truth, but there
are two ways to realize it. Truth may be realized directly
and absolutely, or it may be realized gradually. The
disposition of God-Realization involves a single intuition
or turnabout in our consciousness, in which we are moved to
become a sacrifice through surrender, or Love-Communion with
the Divine. But there are two paths whereby we become
perfectly absorbed in the Divine. One is sudden or direct,
and the other is circuitous

The gradual path of enlightenment is
a way of moving through the levels of phenomena, through the
chain of Creation, ultimately to Realize the Divine
Condition, but, in general, not in this lifetime. It is a
matter of progressing by stages, first transcending this
gross birth of the ‘covered” soul, and then moving on to
transcend the subtle births of the soul. This roundabout
path, this “Great Way of Return,” involves first of all
hearing the argument about our ultimate Destiny, and then
taking up a life of renunciation. Through strategic
renunciation, attention is turned away from the gross realm
of possibility into the Life-Current of the body-mind, and
then attention is moved, via that Current, along the spinal
line toward the internal brain centers and into the subtle
conditions of the mind. This is the path of mystics or
yogis. There are many versions of this approach to
Enlightenment, but they are all essentially a matter of
placing the attention in the internal Life-Current of the
body-mind, moving it upwards, bypassing the lower or gross
bodily phenomena, and fixing attention in the various
regions of the brain core (That is, attention is maintained
at the position of the brain core, which is also named the
“third eye and the “ajna chakra” It is the position of the
higher or subtle mind. And from this position the various
“lokas” or realms of subtle experience or subtle mind may be
viewed or otherwise visited and known).

The merging of attention and the
Life Current in the experiential phenomena of the brain core
is not God-Realization. It is interpreted as such by mystics
and yogis, but in fact it is simply a disposition in the
tendency of the body-mind to move away from the gross level
of phenomena and toward the mental or subtle psychic states.
A yogi who has fixed his Life-Force and attention in the
brain-mind has not realized God or the Self. He has
transcended the grosser elements while alive, but after
death he moves into other births in the subtle dimensions of
the Realm of Nature. His attention lies in the spectrum of
subtle possibility. Therefore, he moves into subtle forms in
higher and subtler worlds of experience. Thus, it is not
Self-Realization that occurs when the attention is placed in
the Life-Current at the brain core. Rather it is
experiential transcendence of the lower spectrum of the
possibilities of experience. Independent and mysterious
experience still lies in the future for such an individual.
He has not been liberated into Self-Realization or true
God-Realization. He is still moving toward It.

The direct Way or sudden path of
Enlightenment, the Way of God or the Way of Truth, has
nothing whatever to do with the destinies of attention, the
destinies of the ego or the separated consciousness. It is
the Way of insight into the very gesture of attention
itself, it is the Way of engaging in the natural process of
God-Communion, which is surrender of attention. The sudden
Way is not the manipulation of attention in gross or subtle
levels of experience, but the surrender of attention itself
at its root, which is in the heart. Once this process has
been Realized perfectly, then the Heart itself is realized
to be the Infinite, the Absolute, the Perfect Divine. In
that Realization there is absolutely no necessity whatsoever
to any experience. The present life or body-mind continues
its term, and it is lived in the natural way that is
appropriate for one who lives in Communion with God. But it
does not contain within it the seed of its own repetition.
Therefore, at death there is no migration. The body-mind is
returned to the elements, high and low, and the
consciousness is withdrawn from the realms of attention,
just as the Life-Force is withdrawn at death from the
physical body. Thus, the conscious being is absorbed in the

In the case of the mystic or the
yogi, however, the attention remains vagrant at death. It is
still moving toward phenomena. Therefore, when such an
individual dies, he migrates. He leaves with the
Life-Current through the mental region of the eyes, or with
the feeling of attention rising through the top of the head.
Therefore, the soul follows attention, or the mind, into the
higher worlds of experience.

It is only the true devotee, the one
who is oriented to God rather than to the features of
attention, who transcends all possibility. He transcends all
the realms of phenomena, not by acts of

will or acts of attention toward
objects and possibility, but through Awakening to the source
of attention, the true Condition of consciousness. Thus, the
true devotee Realizes the Condition in which experience is
not necessary. Attention, or mind, is Transformed at the
heart, and the bodily Life-Current, liberated from all
bondage to the mind, or the tendencies of attention toward
experience in the body-mind, is released into the
All-Pervading Radiance via the upper terminal of the brain
(above the brain core) and in all directions to

As long as you are attached to the
mind and body, you must keep these states active. You must
continue to have experiences in order to give yourself the
sense of existence. If they tend to slow down, or if they
tend not to have enough newness to them so that you become
bored, then you feel uncomfortable and threatened. And when
the body is dying, you feel terrified, because you imagine
that you need the body and its associations in order to
exist and to be Blissful. Truly your Condition is inherently
Blissful in God. No experiences of which we may speak are
necessarily associated with It. It is an absolute Condition,
in which there is no independent gesture of consciousness,
but only simple absorption in the Infinite Blissfulness of

The devotee on the direct path to
Enlightenment is Awakened by the Teaching of the Spiritual
Master, and he enters into a natural order of life in which
he transcends all of the urges toward experience, subtle and
gross, mental and physical. He transcends the body-mind
altogether. He does not go up or down by tendency, but,
rather, he becomes absorbed at the heart, and via the heart,
in the Absolute Divine, Who is All-Pervading and
Transcendental. And when the eyes of the heart open, and the
devotee is identical to the true Self, then all the
phenomena that arise are seen to be only modifications of
that Radiant Self with which the devotee is identical. There
is no necessity to the world then. It is simply a temporary
condition, created by past associations, and when it has
fulfilled its term, it ceases to be. Thus, at death the
devotee does not go up or down or in or out. He is not
changed in that moment, but he simply abides in the Bliss of

Realization. He is Translated into
the Domain of that Bliss absolutely, without associations
with phenomena that tend to distract and literally
dishearten him.

The Way of Divine Ignorance is the
Communication of this sudden and most direct Way. In this
Way, these mechanisms by which the yogis and mystics ascend
into subtle planes of the mind are inspected, re-cognized,
understood, and transcended, but not exploited. It is
intended to be a brief process. The way of yoga or mysticism
takes many lifetimes, but the process in the Way of Divine
Ignorance is radical; therefore, it is not intended that you
spend your entire life moving through the stages of
inspection. The stages of practice in this Way are not
stages of the perfection of any experiential condition. They
are stages of responsibility for the conversion of
consciousness, in which a natural order is established in
the psycho-physical being. That order is without urgency,
without self-exploitation, and the individual rests more and
more profoundly in surrender into the All-Pervading Current
(rather than the internal current of the body-mind) and the
very Consciousness that Eternally Transcends the

Whatever you have not transcended,
you must fulfill. That is the Law. Merely to have come into
the Company of the Spiritual Master during your lifetime
does not mean that you can escape all possibilities. You
must live this Way. You must fulfill the Way in literal
transcendence of the possibilities of experience. You must
enter into the blessedness of God-Realization while alive.
Otherwise you will tend toward human or somewhat higher than
human destinies after this life. If any tendencies remain
toward anything other than Communion with the Absolute, then
those tendencies will be fulfilled in experience in the

To be absorbed in Communion with the
Absolute is not what is difficult. What is difficult is to
move attention up and to force it into subtle realms,
separating yourself from the natural bodily attention that
is difficult. Arranging a benign future in the midst of
experience, controlling your attention to yield beautiful
destinies that is difficult. To be a saint or a yogi is
difficult. It involves a great deal of self-manipulative
effort and a creative capacity for delusion. The Way of
God-Realization is the Way beyond illusions, the Way beyond
phenomena of all kinds, in which there is no identification
with the cycle of attention that moves out of the Condition
of pure Consciousness. There is no identification with the
body, with the mind, with phenomena of any kind. There is
natural, very simple, and very direct Communion with the
Absolute. It is Perfect. It is not difficult.

Thus, it is said that there is no
good reason to do what is necessary to get to Heaven, any
more than there is any good reason to exploit yourself on
Earth The only Way whereby we are liberated is to be a
sacrifice in Love-Communion with the Absolute God, Who is
All-Pervading, Who is the Infinite Energy, and Who is
Transcendentally Present as the very Self or Condition of
our Consciousness. If we will practice that sacrifice, then
we are liberated from our illusions, from our self
possession, from our urges toward the fulfillment of
experience, and we cease to migrate from life to death to
life through changes, but rather we are entered into the
Divine Domain, the Absolute Perfection of Bliss, which may
not be described from the point of view of psycho-physical
existence, or identification with the body-mind.

That Condition far exceeds, by
infinite multiplication’s of itself beyond Infinity, the
blessedness and blissfulness that may be realized through
any satisfaction in human form. And we may be a sacrifice
into that Realization of God even while living in a human
form. It is nor necessary to have a higher form, because the
human form is structured in perfect intimacy with the Matrix
of the universe The Living Divine is manifested at the
heart, so we need not go up into a more subtle body in order
to make this sacrifice.

In the process of this Way of Truth
we become a voluntary and spontaneous sacrifice, in which
there is no holding on to any phenomenon whatsoever, no
holding on to the body and its possibilities, no holding on
to the breath, no holding on to manifest existence or to
birth, no resistance of death, no reaction to the world, no
reaction to the cycle of phenomena and inevitable changes.
There is no holding on to thinking, no holding on no mind,
no holding on to hopes for subtle distractions, no

on to any mystical efforts toward
sublime circumstances. There is simple, natural Absorption
in the Divine Reality not effort, not urge, not any gesture
of attention, but simply absorption itself. In that
absorption, or dissolution of attention, all phenomena
become unnecessary, and their seed, which is the gesture of
attention, is transformed in God-Realization. The conscious
being is not destroyed; it Realizes its Condition in Truth,
which is not the inward being of the body-mind, but the
Absolute Divine. The independent soul realizes that
Condition only through its own sacrifice, its release from
its own gesture of attention and association with phenomena.
Only in that utter transcendence of the urge toward
experience does the atomic soul Realize that it exists at