Three Views of Consciousness and Light


VII

The Three Views of Consciousness and Light

 

1.

There are three views or orientations relative to consciousness
that have historically been adopted by the schools of the Great Tradition.
Each of these views is justified as a mode of orientation under one or
another circumstance of attention, but each view is only one alternative
way of characterizing the same subject. Even so, the historical application
of these three views has tended to represent one or the other of them as
the only correct view. It is this tendency that has caused the general
historical conflict among the schools or traditions that represent the
point of view of one or the other of the first six stages of life, and,
in particular, it has caused the schismatic conflict among the separate
schools of Buddhism and between the traditions of Buddhism and Advaitism.

These three views of consciousness are similar to the
views that have been historically proposed (in both scientific and spiritual
traditions) relative to the subject of light, or energy. Light or energy
is often used as a metaphor for consciousness in the considerations of
philosophy. And, ultimately, the subject of light or energy is identical
to the subject of consciousness. Consciousness, it will be Realized, is
the ultimate Identity or Real Condition of light or energy (and thus all
phenomena).

If we can appreciate the considerations of the advanced
physics of contemporary science, we can see how the scientific investigation
of matter ultimately yields to a description of Nature as light (or energy),
transcending matter (which is only a temporary appearance or transformation
of energy). And if we can understand that all of phenomenal Nature
(subjective and objective) is a complex of energy, then we can transcend
the dualism of matter and consciousness. Consciousness, then, is not merely
reducible to matter (or material processes) but it is at least a distinct
form of the single principle (or energy) that is also appearing as matter
(or form). This understanding sets us free to investigate consciousness
and mind as dimensions of existence that are equally as real or viable
as matter. The investigation of consciousness and of mind (or psyche) is
thus just as direct a means for entering into the depths of reality as
the investigation of matter. And, therefore, there is just as much justification
for the spiritual discipline of self-knowledge and the exploration and
transcendence of matter, mind, and self as there is for the scientific
discipline that explores the perceptible or material world alone. Indeed,
the ultimate philosophical or spiritual process is directly oriented to
considerations of greater significance than is the process engaged by merely
materialistic investigators. But materialistic science can ultimately go
beyond itself into the paradoxes of space-time and light-energy. And when
science leads to such profundity, it is at the threshold of the ancient
Ways of spiritual and Transcendental philosophy.

2.

In the considerations of Transcendental philosophy, consciousness
is the primary and ultimate subject. But such considerations cannot truly
begin until the conceit of egoity and mere materialism has been transcended
in the practical intuition of the energy, light, or “Spirit” that is the
underlying Matrix of phenomenal appearances. Therefore, energy, light,
or Spirit, the manifest Matrix of material or phenomenal Nature, is commonly
used as a metaphor for consciousness itself. And the viewpoint toward consciousness
tends to be determined by the particular orientation to matter, phenomenal
events, energy, light, or Spirit that is preferred by the tradition (and
the stage of life) in which the consideration of consciousness develops.

Because of the differences in approach eo the consideration
of the subject of consciousness, differing conclusions have been achieved
(derived from the original premise, logic, or stage of life that provided
the basis for the consideration). And those differing conclusions may all
be seen to represent one or the other of three basic propositions:

1. Consciousness is always and only conditional and phenomenal
(arising temporarily, and never independently, but always in mutually dependent
relationship to a vast system of other temporary phenomenal and conditional
causes and effects).

2. Consciousness is a noumenal absolute, appearing either
as a unique phenomenon (unlike and ultimately independent of all other
phenomena) or in a state of inherent identification with the Energy, Light,
or Spirit-Power that is the universal Matrix of all phenomena.

3. Consciousness is ultimate Transcendental Being, the
Identity of all apparently separate consciousnesses and the Condition of
all phenomena and of the Energy, Light, or Spirit-Power that is the universal
Matrix of all phenomena.

These three propositions correspond to three distinct
views (or modes of inspection) of consciousness. The first proposition
is based on the inspection of consciousness of (or consciousness
in the mode of extroversion, or the awareness of objects of all kinds).
The second proposition is based on the inspection of consciousness AS (or
consciousness in the mode of introversion, or the awareness of itself as
the principle or subject that is the necessary and prior basis for all
objective awareness). And the third proposition is based on the native
view, or consciousness IS (which is consciousness prior to all modes of
introversion or extroversion, and all modes of limiting identification
with self or not-self).

Each of these three propositions and their unique views
or modes of inspection of their subject is valid in its own terms. Therefore,
each proposition can be consistently applied as the basis for a complete
and self-contained philosophical system. Indeed, this has in fact been
done in the various schools and cultural systems of the total Great Tradition
of human consideration.

The first proposition is the basis for all materialistic
and “realistic” philosophies. Thus, it is the common basis for the perceptually
based logic of the first three stages of life. It is the basis for atheism
and the doctrines of scientific materialism. And it is also the basis for
the “realistic” philosophies of the sixth stage of life, such as is reflected
in the original or Hinayana school of Buddhism.

The second proposition is the basis for all “idealistic”
philosophies. Thus, it is the common basis for those esoteric schools and
traditions that express the “idealistic” point of view in the terms of
the fourth, fifth, or sixth stages of life. It is the basis for fourth
and fifth stage Emanationist mysticism (in which consciousness is raised
to a state of contemplation of and then unity and identity with the Energy,
Light, or Vibratory Spirit-Power and Life-Consciousness that is felt to
be the Substance of all phenomena. And this same “idealistic” view of consciousness
is otherwise made the basis for the sixth stage Advaitic philosophy of
exclusive inversion upon the principle of consciousness.

The third proposition is the ultimate basis for Transcendental
philosophy. It is the spontaneous expression or Confession of Realization
in the seventh stage of life. In its true form, this unique proposition
is made only in the case of Transcendental Realization, wherein the propositions
of the first six stages of life are inherently and tacitly transcended.
This is the basic proposition of the Way of the Heart, and it is to this
ultimate proposition that all Great Adepts Awaken, even if they approach
that Awakening via the two lesser propositions and the six conventional
stages of life. Therefore, this same proposition may be found in the midst
of all traditions that achieve Completeness. It is evident by implication
(rather than concrete description) in the Teaching of Gautama (and Hinayana
Buddhism), even though the language of that Teaching is basically confined
to the “realism” that characterizes its particular form of the sixth stage
approach to life. It is also evident in the Teaching of Advaitic sages
of the highest type (such as Ashtavakra and Ramana Maharshi),
1
even though the language of Advaitic Teaching tends to confine itself to
the “idealism” that characterizes its particular form of the sixth stage
approach to life. And this same proposition may here and there be found
in the expressions of great fourth and fifth stage mystics, who have at
least in moments glimpsed the ultimate Condition of self and world.

There does, however, appear to be a problem reflected
in the exclusive and absolutist claims of advocates and practitioners of
the various traditions. Those advocates and practitioners who have not
yet entered into the disposition of the seventh stage of life often imagine
that their appropriate task is to conceive of their own path in absolute
terms and to conceive of the differences between their path and other paths
in such terms that no reconciliation or common ground can be admitted.
For this reason, the Great Tradition may seem to be a mixed bag of absolutes
and absolutists, as if hundreds of lunatics were all claiming to be independent
God with the right of rule over all others.

It is in our unique moment in history, when all traditions
and all propositions are equally visible (due to a world-wide communicativeness
that is making all provincialism obsolete) that we must consider the apparent
differences among traditions with a new kind of wide intelligence. And
my Work is devoted, in part, to provide the critical means for understanding
and transcending these differences, so that the mass of traditions may
rightly be comprehended as a single and dynamic Great Tradition.

3.

The third of the three propositions is the proposition
based on ultimate Realization, whereas the first two propositions are the
expressions of “realistic” and “idealistic” orientations of egoic (or phenomenal)
awareness in the first six stages of life. However, the first two propositions
are not merely false. They are simply conventional. From the point
of view of the Transcendentally Realized or seventh stage disposition,
the orientations represented by the first two propositions are understood
and accepted as conventions of the phenomenal self. Adepts in the seventh
stage may even at times Teach via conventional descriptive language that
is based on the viewpoint of the first two propositions. But such is only
a Teaching device, applicable in the setting of instruction, and used for
the sake of serving individuals who are yet practicing (or qualified for
practice) in the lesser stages. Even so, the ultimate language of the Way
is necessarily radical, or an expression of a “point of view” that transcends
phenomenal egoity and the first six stages of life. And the logic of that
ultimate language corresponds to the third of the three basic propositions.

4.

The metaphor or analogy of light is a useful tool to serve
our understanding of the three propositions. If consciousness is conceived
as a kind of light, then the three propositions can be seen as descriptions
of three ways in which light (or consciousness) can be observed (rather
than as three exclusive interpretations or definitions of light, or consciousness,
each standing in contradiction to the other two, and all together demanding
that we choose one or the other as the only correct idea).

The first proposition is based on the observation of objects
in the light (of consciousness). It is a matter of seeing light (or consciousness)
only as it is reflected from objects. In this view, light (or consciousness)
is observed in the form of objects—or the visibility, perceptibility,
or knowability of phenomena.

The context of the first proposition is the ordinary observation
of phenomena. Light makes objects visible (or observable), and this first
view is based on the observation of phenomena. Here consciousness is observed
as consciousness of objects (or phenomenal events). It is a matter
of observing the phenomenal event of consciousness extroverting, or reflecting
on (or being aware of) objects. And this view of consciousness is then
used as a means for describing and defining consciousness from the “realistic”
point of view.

The “realistic” point of view is simply a convention based
on confinement of the observation of consciousness to the circumstance
of objective or phenomenal awareness. This confinement results in the idea
that consciousness (or light) is only manifest as (or in the context
of) objects in space and in moments of time. Thus, from the “realistic”
point of view, neither consciousness nor light is conceived to be a continuous
independent medium behind (or in front of) phenomenal objects, or space-time,
but consciousness or light is conceived to be merely one of the phenomenal
events of space-time dependently arising with all of the other elements,
objects, forms, and forces that are observed by corisciousness or via the
light.

This view has provided the basis for the philosophy of
materialism (in which consciousness and light are interpreted in exclusively
materialistic or phenomenal terms). Materialism reduces all quantities
to its own status. Therefore, materialism is the natural basis for atheism
and conventional scientism (which tends toward reductionist and materialistic
views).

And this same phenomenal “realism” has been made the basis
for the sixth stage arguments of conventional Buddhism. In that view, consciousness
is considered only in the context of the phenomenal or born personality.
It is contemplated only as one aspect of a complex or composite phenomenal
entity. Therefore, it is not described in any other terms (or as it might
be Realized to be in the Nirvanic Event of utter transcendence of the conditional
mode of being). Therefore, in the original language of Buddhism, consciousness
is conceived to be only one among many “dharmas” or constituent elements
of phenomenal existence—none of which is absolute and prior to the others,
and all of which arise in mutual dependence on all the others in a beginningless
and endless flow of causes and effects. Therefore, consciousness, like
all other conditional states or processes, is temporary and discontinuous
(or always arising on the basis of a present cause and effect circumstance,
rather than as a continuous phenomenal or noumenal reality that transcends
and always stands behind the flow of observed events). In this view, consciousness
is not regarded as a permanent, continuous, or independent reality. And,
therefore, the sixth stage view of Buddhism does not conceive of the self
(even in its most profound depth) as a soul, or a permanent continuous
reality. There are simply moments of phenomenal existence, each arising
as a result of the moment before, and all of which is a plastic of mutually
dependent causes and effects. It is this “realistic” conception that provides
the basis for the Buddhist view of the non-necessity of phenomenal existence,
self, or consciousness. It is all seen as an unnecessarily caused process,
perpetuated by the arising of desire, and capable of being uncaused by
the cessation of desire.

The limitation of this “realistic” philosophy, whether
it is used to express the viewpoint of conventional materialism (or the
materialistic consciousness typical of the first three stages of life)
or the viewpoint of Transcendentalism (as in the case of Buddhism) is that
it provides no basis for any larger view than phenomenal “realism.” Therefore,
if the end of life or the end of philosophy is the cessation of phenomenal
existence, the ultimate proposition of this point of view is necessarily
nihilistic. The conventional materialists are satisfied with this implication,
although they still seem to want everyone to live this dying life with
great orderly enthusiasm. But the Transcendentalists are not satisfied
with this implication. Gautama was not a materialist but a Transcendentalist.
He argued for a Way toward Transcendental Realization that progressed on
the basis of criticism of the limitations of the necessarily “realistic”
(or merely phenomenal, limited, dying, repeating, and ultimately pleasureless)
life of the ego. He was not, like the conventional materialists, arguing
for the vigorous embrace of phenomenal existence. And he did not see the
cessation of phenomenal existence as annihilation.

Rather, he saw it (and Realized it) as an Awakening into
perfect and “unborn” Freedom, Bliss, or Happiness. Gautama’s language of
argument was intentionally limited to the “realistic” proposition, and
he was, therefore, silent (or intellectually unwilling and logically unable
to offer descriptions) relative to the ultimate Transcendental Reality.
Gautama could point the Way to that Reality, but he did not offer language
to describe It (since he was strategically unwilling to use metaphysical
language, which always suggests a kind of phenomenal eternalism rather
than utter Transcendentalism). Clearly, what Gautama Realized and pointed
toward is That which is suggested in the third (or seventh stage) proposition
relative to consciousness—or the proposition of the utterly Transcendental
Reality that is Realized in the case of perfect transcendence of the limitations
of phenomenal egoity.

5.

The second proposition is based on the observation of
consciousness in a fashion that is the most obvious conventional alternative
to the form of observation that is the basis of the first proposition.
Using the metaphor or analogy of light once more, the viewpoint that is
the basis of the second proposition is the observation of light (or consciousness)
at its source rather than in the context of the illumination of objects.
It is as if, when standing in a room, one looked at the light bulb in the
ceiling rather than at the objects in the room and the visible room as
a whole. The second proposition focuses on light (or consciousness) itself
rather than on the objects illuminated by the light (or known to consciousness).
Thus, if the first proposition is based on consciousness of (or
consciousness reflecting on physical and mental, or gross and subtle, objects),
the second proposition is based on consciousness as (or consciousness
self-aware, inverted on itself, seeing itself distinct from all its possible
phenomenal objects).

This proposition corresponds to the “idealist” (as opposed
to the “realist”) view of existence. It is the basis of all conventional
religious or spiritual language, all of which is based on the idea of a
noumenal Source (!ight or consciousness) that is eternal (or always behind,
or in front, or outside the flow of phenomenal changes). This view is specifically
intended to counter “realistic” phenomenalism and nihilism.

As is the case with the argumentation of Buddhist “realism,”
the argumentation of this “idealistic” view may also make use of the idea
of “dharmas”—or the idea that phenomenal existence is composed of distinct
phenomenal constituents. The “idealist” view considers consciousness as
one of the constituents (or “dharmas”) of the phenomenal world and as the
basic constituent of the phenomenal self. The “idealist” method is to analyze
the self in terms of its apparent hierarchy of constituent elements and
functional parts (or “sheaths”).
2
On the basis of this analysis, consciousness is located as the basic or
root component. But the “idealist” view considers that if we examine (or
invert upon) consciousness itself (which is the knower or witness of all
the extended functions and objects of the phenomenal self, or bodymind),
that very orientation toward consciousness permits and determines a different
awareness of consciousness and a different presumption about consciousness
than is permitted and determined by the “realistic” orientation (which
sees consciousness indirectly, only in the context of the moment to moment
awareness of objects and states). To observe consciousness as itself (as
the witness, or the “light” that illuminates and knows all phenomenal objects)
is to observe and know it in an altogether different mode than is made
evident in the context of objects.

From this “idealist” point of view, consciousness as a
“dharma” or constituent of phenomenal existence is not rightly understood
if it is seen in the context of objects rather than as itself (as a direct
source of “visible light” rather than an indirectly viewed “light” source,
seen only as its reflection in the form of a field of illuminated objects).
Therefore, when the “dharma” of consciousness is viewed directly, it is
not seen to be merely one among many dharmas, arising in dependence on,
as an effect of, and with the same status as all of its objects. Rather,
the “light” (or consciousness) that otherwise shines on and illuminates
or knows phenomenal objects (or objective “dharmas”), and which, in that
context, takes on the dependently arising form of moments of mind (or conditional
awareness), is a discrete “dharma,” or absolute and independent element
of existence. If consciousness inverts directly on itself, it intuitively
discovers that it does not arise discontinuously, by causes that are arising
successively, moment after moment. Rather, it discovers itself to be an
unbroken, unqualified reality, continuous, without any necessary reference
to objects, states, or outside causes. The “idealist” (inverted upon consciousness)
asks the “realist” (extroverted via consciousness): If phenomenal existence
is composed of discrete “dharmas” or constituents, and if, at the point
of death (or disintegration) of any phenomenal being or composite form,
each of the constituents returns to its own elemental or “dharmic” state
(so that the previous individual being or form no longer exists), then
where does consciousness go? What difference could death make to consciousness
since it only returns to consciousness and thus remains as consciousness,
even as the watery part returns to water and remains as water (or in a
purely inert or insentient condition)? If consciousness is examined in
and as itself (and thus effectively as it would be after the disintegration
or death of the present body-mind), it shows itself to be an inherently
continuous and indestructible absolute, always prior to and independent
of (or not dependent for its existence on) objects and moments of space
and time. Therefore, when death occurs, consciousness is not and could
not be changed or ended, but always remains continuous as itself, free
of the conditioning or binding power of space-time processes. From the
“idealistic” point of view, consciousness, known in and as itself, is not
dependently arising with all other phenomenal constituents but it is the
ultimate essence or primal element of phenomenal existence. It is the ultimate
principle in the midst of phenomenal existence. It is that which grants
sentience (and thus both reality and apparent necessity) to phenomenal
existence. It is that which is involved in and apparently limited by phenomenal
existence. It is that which must be Realized, in itself, to transcend phenomenal
existence. And it is that which must thus be disentangled from dependence
on, limitation by, and dependent arising with the lesser “dharmas” (or
insentient parts) of phenomenal existence.

6.

The orientation of “idealism,” or the second of the three
propositions relative to consciousness, does indeed provide a logical and
consistent and experientially verifiable means for transcending the nihilistic
tendencies in the materialistic and phenomenalistic arguments of “realism,”
or the point of view organized on the basis of the first of the three propositions.
However, it is not without its own inherent limitations. And if we could
say the root error of “realism” is nihilism (or the idea that there is
nothing left over when phenomena come to an end), we could say that the
root error of “idealism” is eternalism (or the idea that there is a phenomenal
essence that never comes to an end).

The “idealist” tradition tends to develop on the basis
of the exoteric and esoteric philosophies of the religious and spiritual
culture of Emanationism. Therefore, the ultimate “idealist” arguments (which
appear in the sixth stage language of the varous schools of Upanishadic
Advaitism) tend to be built upon the religious and spiritual conceptions
of the Emanationist tradition and the first five stages of life. It is
for this reason that the “idealist” tradition, even in its sixth stage
form, is associated with the idea of the eternal soul (or the inner self
as a permanent, ndependent, and even phenomenal entity or “atman”). And
that sixth stage tradition is also often associated with God-ideas, traditional
religious cultism, and even yogic processes of contemplation that develop
the conventional mysticism of psychic ascent via the mechanics of attention
in the nervous system (toward the ascended “nirvikalpa samadhi”).

The cultural tradition associated with the second proposition
is also commonly aligned with a conceptual philosophy in which consciousness
is conceived as one of two principal manifest forms of the ultimate Divine.
The other of the two is contrasted with consciousness and is evident as
all that is insentient, or not consciousness. In this view, consciousness
is, in the Hindu tradition, commonly called “Purusha,” and all that is
not consciousness is called “Prakriti.” And the ultimate goal of the fourth
and fifth stage mysticism of this view is to attain a form of contemplative
absorption (or trance “samadhi”) in which the distinction between consciousness
and all that is not consciousness is transcended in the Realization of
the Consciousness/Energy (or “Purushottama”) that is the Source and Substance
of the phenomenal worlds.

The sixth stage schools of this “idealist” tradition generally
continue to make use of the conventional concepts of soul (or “atman”),
God (or “Purushottama”), “Purusha,” and “Prakriti” as the basis for the
description of a Way of ultimate liberation that finally Realizes an utterly
Transcendental Condition. Therefore, the ultimate argumentation of the
second proposition goes beyond the exoteric and esoteric conceptions and
mysticism of the “idealistic” culture of the first five stages of life.
And it proposes a method or a path that cuts through the ideas of soul
and God and the Heavenly Abode. Therefore, that same method cuts through
the esoteric yogic techniques of mystical ascent to higher cosmic planes
(or states of mind) and “nirvikalapa samadhi” (or the trance-ecstasy, dependent
on the mechanics of the egoic bodymind, in which there is a temporary vision
of Unity).

The ultimate traditional schools of the second proposition
are the sixth stage schools of Upanishadic Advaitism (including the tradition
of the Yoga Vasistha and culminating in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta),
and although the traditions of Samkhya and Jainism were originally built
upon a materialistic or non-Emanationist view of phenomenal existence,
they too were clearly founded on the “idealist” point of view of the second
proposition. These schools or traditions are also the inheritors and, to
one or another degree, the bearers of the Emanationist and animistic language
of the cultural and yogic traditions of Shaktism and Shaivism as well as
Vaishnavism (as represented in the Bhagavad Gita and the Bhagavata Purana),
but it must be understood that the sixth stage schools always stand in
critical relation to the traditions of the first five stages of life. Therefore,
it is in these specifically sixth stage traditions of “idealism” that the
second proposition relative to consciousness is developed in its purest
form, free of the more conventional religious and spiritual associations
of the first five stages of life. And it is in the sixth stage arguments
of “idealism” that the fundamental limitations and conventionality of the
second proposition are made most clear in philosophical terms.

7.

The second proposition, like the first, is founded on
a conventional (or phenomenal) view of consciousness. Therefore, like the
first proposition, it contains an inherent error (or conventional prejudice)
that prevents it from describing or representing its subject simply and
ultimately, as it is. It can be said that the first proposition represents
a materially phenomenal conception of consciousness, whereas the second
proposition, in contrast with the first, represents a noumenal and absolutist
conception of consciousness. Even so, the second proposition still represents
a relatively phenomenalistic approach to the subject of consciousness—and
this is the root of its inherent error or prejudice.

The ultimate or sixth stage philosophy based on the second
proposition considers consciousness as an absolute noumenal phenomenon,
or as one of the constituents of conventional or phenomenal reality.
It views consciousness in the context of phenomena and from the point of
view of the phenomenal self. It conceives of a path or method for Realizing
a state of exclusive identification with consciousness. That Realization
is considered to be liberation or Truth, since it separates consciousness
from the phenomenal not-self and thus effectively solves the apparent “problem”
of egoic suffering. And that Realization is based on meditative inversion
of the phenomenal being, or the concentration of attention on consciousness
rather than on any insentient phenomenal object.

The ultimate or sixth stage cultures of both the first
and the second propositions suffer from the limitations of a phenomenally
based logic. That phenomenally based logic may, in each case, provide a
practical means for approaching Transcendental Realization, but in neither
case does the base proposition provide a viable conceptual structure for
describing the Transcendental Reality Itself (or the Transcendental Condition
or Status of consciousness). And, in both cases, the method and the concepts
of the original path of practice must be utterly transcended before the
transition to actual Realization (or the seventh stage of life) can be
made.

Clearly, then, the philosophies and practices of the sixth
stage of life are based on limiting conventions (as are the philosophies
and practices of the first five stages of life). And it would seem altogether
preferable to consider the Way of Realization directly in terms of a proposition
that represents the point of view of the seventh stage of life while yet
providing a structure of practice for those who are yet involved in the
psycho-physical cycles of the first six stages of life. This is in fact
the basis for my own Teaching Work, and it is the third proposition that
provides the conceptual basis for the ultimate descriptions of this seventh
stage point of view.

The second proposition is limited by its phenomenal orientation
toward consciousness. It views consciousness as a noumenal absolute, but
it contrasts that noumenal absolute with all other constituents of phenomenal
existence. Therefore, the second proposition is based on the conception
of a contrast between consciousness and all that is not consciousness.
And this requires that the point of view toward consciousness be limited
to the plane of phenomenal events. That is, consciousness is not conceived
in ultimate or truly Transcendental terms but always at base in phenomenal
terms. Like the sixth stage traditions of the first proposition, the sixth
stage traditions of the second proposition are limited by the conception
of “dharmas,” or phenomenal constituents. The difference between the two
is simply that the sixth stage schools of the first proposition (such as
those of the early Buddhist tradition) conceive of consciousness as a dependent
constituent of phenomenal existence, whereas the sixth stage schools of
the second proposition (such as those of Samkhya, Jainism, and of Upanishadic
Advaitism) conceive of consciousness (or the ultimate essence of the conscious
being) as a noumenal but nonetheless phenomenal absolute.

As I have already indicated, the distinct and, to some
degree, mutually contradictory conceptions of schools separately based
on either the first or the second proposition are due simply to the arbitrary
selection of one or the other of the two principal conventional orientations
that may be adopted relative to consciousness. I have used the metaphor
of light to help make it clear that these two propositions are not based
on two absolutely unrelated and inherently contradictory conceptions of
their subject. Rather, they are simply based on two different orientations
to the same subject. Each of those orientations is a legitimate alternative
in the context of phenomenal experience (just as one may either look at
a room full of illuminated objects or at the lamp that is illuminating
them). But when either of these two conventional (or merely phenomenal)
alternatives is embraced exclusively and rigorously applied as the basis
for a logic of ultimate Realization, then the paths separately designed
by each focus inevitably begin to contradict (and, historically, even oppose)
one another.

I am trying to demonstrate that these contradictions are
merely conventional and of no ultimate consequence, and the historical
oppositions are of course absurd, unnecessary, and merely destructive.
In any case, when either of the two primary approaches is exhaustively
applied to the point of actual Transcendental Awakening, the conventional
or merely phenomenal point of view is itself utterly transcended. Then
the conceptual and meditative apparatus of the first six stages of life
loses all utility and falls away in Transcendental Wisdom, or Transcendental
“Samadhi” (free of all the egoic and psycho-physical limitations of the
phenomenal “samadhis” of the stages of life previous to the seventh).

Gautama entered into that Transcendental “Samadhi” in
the moment of his Enlightenment. And so also did Advaitic sages such as
Ashtavakra. And in such “Samadhi” (which is “Sahaj Samadhi,” or natural,
native Transcendental Awakening) the propositions that may have provided
the original path of approach no longer apply—because such propositions
are founded in a purely phenomenal and egoic or un-Enlightened context
of mind rather than in the Transcendental disposition of Enlightenment.
Therefore, those Adepts who have actually completed (and thus gone beyond)
the “sadhana” or practice based on either of the two conventional propositions
begin at last to express themselves in different terms about the matter
of Realization and Reality. They may prefer silence (or non-verbal transmission,
as in the case of Ramana Maharshi), or they may engage in the strategy
of denial of the applicability of conventional language to the description
of That which is Realized (as was the case with Gautama), or they may behave
strangely and speak in paradoxes or in the form of apparent nonsense (as
in the case of certain individuals in the Ch’an or Zen tradition and in
the Crazy Wisdom tradition), or they may try to construct a language of
philosophy that is compatible with ultimate Realization (as in the cases
of Nagarjuna and Shankara). Even all of these forms of communication and
transmission may be used by Awakened Adepts, and my own Teaching Work is
an example of the use of all such possible means.

All “Completed” or seventh stage Adepts are faced with
the fact that the conventions of language and behavior (even of traditional
philosophical language and the prescribed behavior of traditional religious
and spiritual practice) are all based on the phenomenal, psycho-physical,
and thus necessarily egoic point of view. And what the Adept would and
must communicate or transmit is the Transcendental Reality, or Awakened
Realization of the Transcendental Condition of all phenomenal conditions.

The philosophies and the cultures of practice that are
based on the first two propositions relative to consciousness are based
on the conventions of the phenomenal, psycho-physical, and egoic point
of view. They are intended to motivate and lead practitioners beyond the
phenomenal (or “dharmic”), merely psycho-physical, and egoic point of view,
but they do not provide a base for the ultimate description (or even the
direct intuition) of That which is to be Realized. Therefore, another language
and logic is needed to describe the Transcendental Reality and the ultimate
Way of Its Realization. And it is the third proposition relative to consciousness
(as Transcendental Reality rather than phenomenal event) that provides
the basis for that language and logic.

The philosophies of both the first and the second proposition
tend to organize themselves around the idea of a “problem” to be solved.
That “problem” is the phenomenal point of view or context of existence
itself. The philosophy of the first proposition tends to conceive of a
path based on the “uncausing” of the phenomenal process. And such can lead,
in itself, to the ideal of mere nihilism. The philosophy of the second
proposition tends to conceive of a path based on inversion upon consciousness
to the exclusion of all that is apparently not consciousness. And such
can lead, in itself, to the ideal of the isolation of consciousness as
an exclusive, absolute, and eternal phenomenon. The ultimate philosophy,
which is founded on the third proposition, is inherently free of the “problem”
and the conventional logic of phenomenal egoity. Therefore, it is not organized
around the language of phenomenal existence. Rather, the ultimate philosophy
is an expression of the always prior and inherently free Realization of
consciousness as it is (as Transcendental Consciousness, rather
than as consciousness in the context of either association with or separation
from phenomena).

In the disposition represented by the third proposition,
consciousness is Realized in Its Real Status, not as one of the “dharmas”
or constituents (whether absolute or conditional) of phenomenal existence,
but as the “Dharma” or Truth or Real Condition or Transcendental
Identity. It is not a matter of consciousness extroverting toward objects
or introverting upon itself. It is a matter of consciousness directly and
intuitively Realizing Itself as the Transcendental Condition of all phenomenal
conditions. Consciousness thus Realized is the Condition of that consciousness
which is described either in the form of proposition one or proposition
two. It is Consciousness as it IS, always and already, whether or not phenomenal
conditions arise in the form of apparent self and/or not-self. Consciousness
as Reality is not merely appearing in the form of phenomena, as the knower
of phenomena, or as a phenomenon exclusive of or unlike other phenomena.
It is simply Itself, always and already— and all phenomenal conditions
are appearances or merely apparent, unnecessary, and non-binding modifications
of Itself.

Consciousness Realized in the terms of the third proposition
is not viewed by or in contrast to any other or phenomenal condition. It
is the Condition and ultimate Substance of self and world. It is not merely
Spirit-Energy (which is the phenomenal Matrix of the phenomenal world).
It is the Condition or Truth and Reality of the Spirit-Energy, of Light,
and of all lights and sounds and heavens and hells and worlds and embodied
beings. It is the Condition or Truth and Reality of all of Nature, of all
“dharmas,” of the phenomenal self (or body-mind), of the presumed soul
(or “atman”), of phenomenal consciousness (or “Purusha”),
3
of all that is phenomenal but not consciousness (or “Prakriti”), and of
all the forms and ideas that are called God, or “Purushottama,” or the
Eternal Creative Other. Consciousness is ultimately Realized and Proclaimed
to be Transcendental Being, the Condition of all phenomena and even of
the All-Pervading Energy that is the Creative Matrix and Mover of all phenomena.
Consciousness is to light (or Energy) what light (or Energy) is to forms
or phenomenal conditions of all kinds. It is the Transcendental Context
of phenomena, even as light (in its ultimate form as the Creative Energy
behind and within all phenomenal forms and processes) is the phenomenal
Context (or Matrix) of all phenomena. (Therefore, light is a useful metaphor
for phenomenal consciousness, and Energy may be a conventionally useful
object of contemplation or psycho-physical submission, but light and Energy
are, in Reality, nothing more than phenomenal appearances of and in Transcendental
Consciousness.)

The Realization expressed via the third proposition is
not dependent on either extroversion or introversion of attention. It transcends
the phenomenal mechanism of attention itself. It is the tacit, motiveless,
free, and prior Realization of the Obvious, or That which is always already
the case. It is the free Realization of the Condition that is Consciousness.
That Consciousness is not an object to us, nor is It merely within us.
It has no necessary relationship to phenomena. It is simply the
ultimate or Real Context of the phenomenal self and world (in any of the
gross or subtle planes of cosmic Nature).

The tacit Realization of Transcendental Consciousness
as the Obvious Condition is the natural or native Realization of Reality,
Self, Being, Love-Bliss, or Radiant Happiness. It is not dependent on any
state or conception in body or mind, but it may be apparently obstructed
by the various phenomenal states and relations of body and mind. Therefore,
until the Obvious is Realized, there is utility in the conceptions and
practices that release energy and attention from bondage to the context
of phenomenal egoity. But in our “natural” or native state of profound
equanimity (or free energy and attention), Consciousness is tacitly Obvious
as the Transcendental Condition of self and not-self.

Therefore, the ultimate Realization of Consciousness (as
expressed in the third proposition) makes possible a Transfigured or inherently
Enlightened phenomenal existence in any phenomenal world. Just so, the
Enlightened disposition is such that, without seeking to seclude Consciousness
from phenomena, It will ultimately Outshine (and always already inherently
Outshines) all phenomenal worlds and self states.

Therefore, this third proposition is the basis of the
conception of Consciousness in the Realized, Enlightened, or seventh stage
of life. The traditions of the first six stages of life generally seek
to Realize that Radiant Transcendental Consciousness on the basis of arguments
and practices based in the phenomenal and thus inherently egoic point of
view of the born being. Therefore, the leading or conventional arguments
of the traditions are based either on the first or the second of the three
fundamental propositions I have described. However, all traditions that
achieve Completeness ultimately transcend their own original propositions
and practices in the Transcendental Awakening of the seventh stage of life,
and that Awakening can only be expressed (if it is to be described at all)
via the ultimate language of Transcendentalism (and thus via the language
of the third proposition).

My own life and Realization confirm this, and I have,
therefore, argued for a Way of understanding and practice that immediately
transcends the phenomenally based and egoic “problems” and propositions
of the first six stages of life. The Way of the Heart is founded on the
Realization of Consciousness (or Radiant Transcendental Being) in the seventh
stage of life, and I argue for a consideration and a practice that make
the radical understanding (rather than the conventional practice) of the
first six stages of life (and their phenomenal or egoic propositions) into
the basis for direct Awakening into the Realization of the Truth of the
seventh stage of life.

——————————————————————————————–

Footnotes:

1.The sage Ashtavakra, or Astavakra, is
referred to in the Mahabharata (III. 132 and XIII. 19-21). His name became
associated with the Ashtavakra Gita, a Vedanta text which Sri Adi Da has
identified as a premonitorily “seventh stage” document. Sri Ramana Maharshi
of Tiruvannamalai was one of the few premonitorily seventh stage Adepts
of this century. He lived from 1879 to 1950. See: The
Unique Sixth Stage Foreshadowings of the Only-By-Me Revealed Seventh Stage
of Life
(6st.lit.htm)

2.Vedanta generally recognizes five “envelopes,” viz.
the “sheath made of food,” i.e., the gross body (annamaya-kosa); the “sheath
made of vital energy” (pranamaya-kosa), the “sheath made of mind” (manomaya-kosa);
the “sheath made of awareness” (vijnanamaya kosa); and, lastly, the “sheath
made of bliss” (anandamaya-kosa). The transcendental Self (atman) is said
to be beyond these covers. See illustration: 5sheaths.jpg

3. In the systems of classical Yoga and Samkhya, both
purusa
and prakrti are treated as noumena. Since Nirvanasara, Adi Da uses the
above terms differently: From the “point of view” of Radical Transcendentalism
the Totality of Existence is only Purusha (or Self-Existing and Self-Radiant
Consciousness Itself). See The Five “Points of View”
(5pov.htm)

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Wisdom-Teaching of Avatar Adi Da Samraj and the Way of the Heart.

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