Gautama’s Problem


XI

Gautama’s Problem

Gautama defined conditional or “born” existence in the
terms of a problem, and he described the Way of Transcendental Realization
in the terms of a solution to the originally presumed “problem” of born
existence. He declared that conditional existence in any form (or as any
individuated being) is (1) necessarily temporary (or always changing),
(2) only the product and expression of conditional causes (rather than
of some Divine Cause or of some immortal internal and personal essence),
and (3) inherently, always, and ultimately disturbed, frustrated, confounded,
bewildered, deluded, and summarized as suffering.

On the basis of this analytical summary of the status
of conditional existence as a problem, Gautama built his program for release.
Once he was able to define conditional existence in the terms of a problem
with specific features, he could indicate the process and the state of
release as a logical solution that followed inevitably once the specific
original problem was accepted as a factual description of the status of
born existence. In fact, Gautama’s intention to motivate his hearers (and
himself) toward the state of release was the principle that caused him
to consider and describe conditional existence in the terms of a problem
and the Way in the terms of a solution to that problem.

For Gautama, the matter of ultimate importance was the
Samadhi or unconditional Realization of the Transcendental (or Nirvanic)
Condition. And it is the Realization of That that is the common Truth of
all Great Adepts. What distinguishes such Adepts from one another are (1)
the characteristic limitations of the first six stages of life that may
yet affect their thought and communication, and (2) motives and tendencies
in their Teaching to Argue the Way toward Realization rather than
simply express ultimate Realization Itself. Therefore, what distinguishes
Gautama from other Buddhist and Advaitist Adepts is his sixth stage “realist”
orientation toward descriptions of existence and his intention to Argue
for Realization on the basis of a description of existence that implies
release as the only appropriate or rational goal of human endeavor.

I have already criticized the content of Gautama’s “realism.”
In this brief essay I simply want to indicate that Gautama’s motive for
considering the Way of Transcendental Realization in the terms of “realism”
was simply his commitment to motivate people toward Realization
via a rational consideration (or a logic of inevitability). “Realism” was
Gautama’s tool of motivation. Above all, he wanted to motivate people toward
release, and the logic of “realism” seemed to him to be the most direct
means.

The language of “realism” did not provide Gautama with
the means to describe Realization or the Transcendental Condition Itself.
Therefore, his commitment to “realism” (and to the role of motivator or
cause of the Way toward release) made it necessary for him to be silent
when asked to describe the Transcendental Condition. There is no doubt
that he had Realized that Condition and that he wanted all beings to Realize
that Condition. But his language of Argument was not equipped or intended
to describe the very Condition that was the ultimate import of his life
and Teaching. This is the surest indicator that Gautama’s “realism” and
Gautama’s “problem” are simply devices of mind developed for the sake of
motivating beings toward release via the logical force of certain basic
mental propositions.

Gautama is reported to have been reluctant to Teach after
his Realization. He felt that the matter of Realization was too subtle
or profound to be grasped by people generally. His reluctance was primarily
based on his feeling that most people are not (and could not easily be)
motivated toward ultimate Realization. He was eventually persuaded to Teach,
based on an altruistic commitment to at least those few who would be ripe
for “hearing” the Truth. But, clearly, Gautama’s principle concern was
directed toward the inability of people to be changed in their minds to
a sufficient degree to be moved toward Transcendental Realization rather
than mechanical ego-fulfillment. And Gautama’s Argument of the Way may
thus be seen as a creative result of his will to motivate as many people
as possible toward Realization.

The “realist” Argument must, therefore, be seen not simply
as a patently or exclusively true conception of conditional existence but
as a kind of method or device—a kind of yogic means, which may be called
“Buddhi Yoga,”
1
or the exercise of the discriminative and intuitive faculty of mind in
order to understand the process of conditional existence and, on that basis,
Awaken to the Transcendental Condition. Such Buddhi Yoga is a sixth stage
yoga that focuses on the exercise of the processes of the abstract or discriminative
mind in relation to all the internal and extended aspects of the body-mind.
In this manner, it stands in contrast with the lower functional yogas (of
the types that characterize the first five stages of life), which exploit
the comparatively grosser mechanisms of sensory mind, emotion, nervous
system, body, and so forth for the sake of mystical states of contemplative
absorption.

This Buddhi Yoga also stands in contrast with the sixth
stage yoga of traditional Advaitism, which is the “idealist” yoga, usually
called “Jnana Yoga.” The method of such Jnana Yoga is, like that of Buddhi
Yoga, to exercise the faculty of discriminative and intuitive mind, or
what is traditionally called “vijnanamayakosha,” the “intellectual sheath,”
which is the fourth most subtle of five functional layers that are observed
to compose the human individual. (The three preceding layers are the gross
body, then the functional energies that move the gross body, followed by
the lower or sensory mind. And even subtler than the “sheath” or faculty
of discriminative and intuitive mind is the core of individual existence,
the “anandamaya-kosha” or sheath of individuated bliss, which corresponds
to the “immortal” or transmigrating soul, or the “atman,” the essence of
individuality.) The exercise of Jnana Yoga is directed first to the analytical
differentiation of the “knowing” consciousness from the grosser faculties
or structures of self (represented by the three lower or grosser sheaths).
And this is followed by the ultimate exercise, which is the inversion of
the mind upon its even subtler root (anandamaya-kosha, the innermost sheath
or blissful and essential core of self). This ultimate exercise of inversion
upon the atman is done until the individuated character of the self-essence
is transcended in Transcendental Awakening.

Buddhi Yoga specifically avoids the “idealistic” gesture
of the inversion of mind (or attention) upon anandamaya-kosha in order
to develop a state of absorptive identification with the atman. Instead,
it rigorously maintains the position of vijnanamaya-kosha (the fourth most
subtle) itself, and thus works to observe, understand, and directly transcend
the inner atman (the fifth or most subtle sheath of the conditional self)
as well as the three lower sheaths. Jnana Yoga also eventually transcends
the limits of the anandamaya-kosha or atman, but it does so only after
submitting vijnanamaya-kosha to anandamaya-kosha and thus entering attention
into a process of absorptive internal contemplation.

It is simply this specific difference in technique of
approach to Realization that distinguishes Buddhi Yoga (or the yoga
of “realism”) from Jnana Yoga (or the yoga of “idealism”). But both of
these sixth stage techniques ultimately pass beyond themselves to Transcendental
Awakening (to the Condition of self and not-self), or the seventh stage
of life. Therefore, neither the philosophies (of “realism” as opposed to
“idealism”) nor the techniques (of Buddhi Yoga as opposed to Jnana Yoga)
of the sixth stage schools should be regarded as ultimately or exclusively
true. Each simply represents a different but characteristically sixth stage
approach to the same Transcendental (or seventh stage) Realization. And
as sixth stage philosophies and methods of approach to Transcendental Realization,
both the “realist” and the “idealist” yogas contain inherent limitations.

The most basic limiting convention of Advaitist “idealism”
is its orientation toward inversion upon the individuated self-essence
(or internal atman). It is that very self-essence and that very tendency
toward self-absorptive inversion that must be transcended before the seventh
stage Awakening can occur in the Advaitist Way. And the process whereby
absorption in the independent self-essence is transcended is enacted via
vijnanamaya-kosha, the understanding that characterizes the free “buddhi,”
or the intelligence of free attention. Therefore, even the Advaitic sage
must admit the ultimate superiority of the faculty of vijnanamaya-kosha
over the three lower sheaths as well as the innermost sheath—although
all of the sheaths or functions of self (including vijnanamaya-kosha) are
ultimately transcended in radical intuition of the Transcendental Identity
or Condition of conditional existence.

In contrast to the Advaitist Way, the most basic limiting
convention of Buddhist “realism” is its orientation toward concentration
of attention on the totality of phenomenal existence as a problem (or a
merely conditional process). It is that very problem and the very tendency
toward fixation of attention in the conventional or merely phenomenal condition
(rather than the Transcendental Condition of all conditions) that must
be transcended before the seventh stage Awakening can occur in the original
Buddhist Way. The Buddhi Yoga exercised in the “realist” tradition rightly
avoids the illusions and merely temporary or conditional attainments associated
with contemplative absorption in the various parts of the self or in the
play of the not-self. But that very faculty which is engaged merely to
observe (rather than become absorbed in) the phenomenal conditions of existence
must ultimately and radically transcend itself via intuition of the Transcendental
or Real (rather than conventional) Condition of mind, or attention, or
all that is self and not-self.

Both Buddhism and Advaitism Realize and proclaim an ultimate
Truth or Real Condition that transcends the world, the body-mind-self,
the conventional ideas about God (or the Transcendental Reality), and the
sixth stage conventions of “realism” and “idealism.” I Teach a Way that
is founded from the beginning in that Truth and Condition that is Realized
in the seventh stage of life by all Great Adepts. The Advaitayana Buddhism
that I Teach is not founded on the conventions of “realism” or “idealism”
but on the Transcendental Truth or Condition of conditions. I Argue in
modes of consideration that express that Realization and that specifically
avoid any appeal to the sixth stage conventions of “realistic” and “idealistic”
views of
existence. I simply call attention to the direct understanding
of whatever is presently arising. Since I call simply for such understanding
(or discriminative insight), rather than for the absorptive inversion of
mind or attention in any part of self or not-self, the practice of the
Way of the Heart may rightly be viewed as a form of Buddhi Yoga (rather
than Jnana Yoga). However, I do not call attention merely to notice that
the arising conditions of self and not-self are merely phenomenal and thus
problematic (or demanding to be escaped or eliminated). I do not call for
understanding in the conventional mode of “realism.” Rather, I call for
direct observation of all modes of self (or all five “sheaths”), in the
terms of all of its relational states of association, in combination with
whatever is conventionally presumed to be not-self (rather than in the
terms of its exclusive or essential interior, separate from all relations).
And I call for the observation that all the modes of the self/not-self
process (including the very conceptions of “realism” and “idealism”) are
forms of self-contraction, or the gesture of differentiation, separation,
limitation, and individuation. Whenever this self-contraction is directly
and presently observed and understood as a process, there is a simultaneous
intuition, a feeling beyond, in which the Condition within which and from
which the self-contraction is arising stands out as the Obvious. And, in
likeness to the spirit of Jnana Yoga (and in contrast to the spirit of
the Buddhi Yoga of conventional “realism”), the radical intuition that
is the heart of the Way of the Heart is fully equipped to make positive
reference to That which is Realized. It transcends the body-mind-self,
or all of the conditional modes of attention. It is not merely an inner
essence or consciousness. It is not merely the negation of phenomenal states.
It is Radiant Transcendental Being. It is the Transcendental Self or Identity
of the apparently individuated consciousness (not in the sense that the
self-contraction or ego in itself is Transcendental, Divine, Nirvanic,
or Free, but in the sense that the self-contraction can be obsetved to
be a direct contraction from or within the Condition of Radiant Transcendental
Being, and in this manner the conditional and also internal self is inherently
transcended in the Transcendental or Divine Self, wherein all other selves
and the world are also arising). The Consciousness that is Realized when
self-consciousness is re-cognized (or known again exactly in the form in
which it happens) and thus transcended is Transcendental Consciousness,
or Consciousness prior to differentiation, separation, individuation, or
limitation. It is the Radiant Love-Bliss of which all apparent conditions
(or all that is self and not-self) are merely apparent, transparent, unnecessary,
and nonbinding modifications. And when this Realization is most profound
(so that there is native Identification with Radiant Transcendental Being
rather than with the phenomenal self or the independent and individuated
noumenal self), the Way is simply to Abide as That, recognizing and inherently
transcending all conditions in That, so that self and not-self are Transfigured,
Transformed, and ultimately Outshined in That Radiant Divine Being.

We may say, then, that the direct intuition of the Radiant
Transcendental Being is my “method” or Way. And the Ways of “realism” and
“idealism” (as opposed to my Way of radical Transcendentalism) are
relatively indirect methods for Realizing the same Radiant Transcendental
Being. The Advaitist’s “atman” (or the philosophy and technique of ultimate
inversion, which is the sixth stage development of the animistic tradition
of Emanationism) is the “idealist’s” method. And Gautama’s “problem” (or
the description of conditional existence based on his “realism”) is Gautama’s
method. We may rightly say that the Arguments for the Way that are developed
in all traditional or conventional schools (of “realism” or “idealism”
or whatever) are in fact forms of method rather than simple or patently
or exclusively true descriptions of what is. (Therefore, the differences
among the various traditional schools of the first six stages of life are
nothing but differences in method. The differences are not absolute—such
that only one school can represent the true description of what is. Rather,
all the schools point toward the seventh stage Realization, and in the
seventh stage of life all the schools are ultimately resolved and unified
in the Only and One Truth.)

According to Gutama, conditional existence is suffering—necessarily
and inherently. This view may be useful to motivate the mind toward release,
but it is not patently, factually, inherently, necessarily, or exclusively
true. From the point of view of Transcendental Realization, conditional
existence is not merely conditional existence (nor is it, in itself,
a condition of present or potential happiness, and thus a condition to
be embraced for its own sake). Rather, conditional existence is, in Truth,
an inherently transparent or merely apparent, unnecessary, and non-binding
modification of the Real Condition (or Radiant Transcendental Being). Because
of this, even philosophers in the Buddhist tradition other than Gautama
were moved to consider conditional existence in terms that are not at all
framed in the “realist” mode. And it is because of their convergence in
the singularity of Realization in the seventh stage of life that both “realistic”
and “idealistic” modes of consideration of the Way toward Realization are
independent but equally adequate (or inadequate, or conventional) designs
for consideration in the stages of approach toward Realization.

Just so, since it is the case that only the ultimate Truth
is the Truth—or only the Realization that characterizes the seventh stage
of life is the Realization of Truth—I have been moved to consider the
Way strictly in terms of the direct observation and understanding of moment
to moment existence and in the terms of Realization Itself, or the ultimate
Reality or Truth of the seventh stage of life. The Ways of the “realist”
schools and the Ways of the “idealist” schools represent Arguments for
Realization that are based either on the conceptions of the sixth stage
of life exclusively or on the conceptions of the sixth stage of life plus
those of the stages of life earlier than the sixth. The Way of Radical
Understanding or Divine Ignorance—or the Radical Transcendentalism of
Advaitayana Buddhism—is a consideration of the Way based on conceptions
that reflect the disposition of the seventh stage of life. Therefore, in
my most fundamental Argumentation of the Way, I do not make use of the
argumentative devices (or the problem/solution logic) of “realism,” nor
do I appeal to the metaphysical arguments and conventional belief systems
of traditional “idealism.” I simply call attention to the always present
context of awareness, so that its precise features may be observed.

If this is done, the unnecessary activity of contraction
is found to be obvious (even in the form of any kind of mental conception—whether
“realistic,” “idealistic,” or whatever). And if the self-contraction is
obvious (and seen to be a secondary and unnecessary feature of awareness),
then every form and moment (and concept) of such contraction can be so
observed, understood, and transcended. And when every form of contraction
that is superimposed on every present moment is thus observed, understood,
and transcended, the Radiant Transcendental Condition of Being stands free
as the Obvious (Its Status self-evident prior to all categories, conceptions,
and persuasions of mind). Such is the unique process of the Way of the
Heart. And when the Real Condition (rather than the conditional and independent
self) is most profoundly Realized, then the Way is simply and tacitly and
always presently to recognize all conditions of apparent self and not-self
in That (rather than embracing or avoiding or escaping any conditions whatsoever),
until all noticing of conditional states is Outshined in Radiant Transcendental
Divine Love-Bliss.

In my Teaching Work I have, like all other Adepts before
me, encountered and suffered the absence of interest and intelligence (or
free attention) as well as the absence of motivation (or free energy) in
those who have come to me. Such is the perennial limitation of un-Enlightened
egoity. My basic “method” for dealing with all of that does not involve
resort to “realistic” and “idealistic” arguments. My fundamental “method”
is simply to persist in (1) directing the attention of everyone to the
radical process of understanding, and (2) making the setting of Good Company,
“Satsang,” or self-transcending Transcendental Communion with the Spiritual
Master and the Radiant Divine or Transcendental Being, into the one and
constant context of existence (rather than any other presumption based
on the conventions of the merely egoic mind).

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Footnote

1.The term buddhi-yoga appears for the
first time in the Bhagavad Gita (X 10 and XVIII. 57), though it is used
there in the context of an “emanationist” philosophy. The buddhi is the
mental faculty of discernment.

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