Transcending the Hierarchy of Errors


XIX


Transcending the Hierarchy of Errors

The tradition of ascetical or Nirvanic Transcendentalism
is a path of seeking based on a problem. This tradition is epitomized by
Theravada or Hinayana Buddhism. By means of ascetical effort (founded on
an intelligent appreciation of the negative and non-necessary status of
conditional existence) the Transcendental Condition is pursued as a future
attainment necessarily associated with the non-arising of all conditional
states of self or its objects. Thus, such Nirvana comes to be the basis
for the definition of Enlightenment (or the Realization of Reality), and
this is an error.

The tradition of Advaitic (non-dual) or subjective Transcendentalism,
epitomized by the Upanishadic or Vedantic nondualism of Sri Shankara, is
free of the problem-basis of the conventionally ascetical path. It is not
fundamentally a path based on a negative evaluation of conditional existence
(and a methodical attempt to destroy the mechanism of its arising). Rather,
it is a path based primarily on most positive evaluation of the unconditional
Reality, which is, as a matter of practice, located directly as the essential
awareness behind the various functional mechanics of the subject-self.
Thus, the method of the path is one of constant resort to identification
with that essential awareness. If this is done, conditional states are
simply and naturally dropped from attention. Whereas in the ascetical path
there must be a completely successful dropping of all such conditions before
Nirvanic Enlightenment can be attained, in the Advaitic path Enlightenment
is equivalent to simple identification with the fundamental awareness (and
the dropping of conditional motives or states is a secondary expression
of that very Enlightenment). However, exclusive subjectivism (or the identification
of Enlightenment with awareness in the specific locus of the conditional
self and qualified by the specific exclusion of objects) is a fundamental
error of this path.

The Way of the Heart can certainly be felt to bear an
affinity with the great traditions of Buddhism and Advaitism (although
my life and Teaching developed spontaneously, without any significant or
guiding influence from those traditions). However, I have, in my own Teaching
consideration, found those traditions to contain certain limiting errors,
and those errors are fundamental tendencies that belong to the sixth stage
of life.

Those who live on the basis of the limits represented
by the first three stages of life tend to suffer from the error of reductionism,
or the tendency to conceive of existence in exclusively materialistic and
terrestrial (or elemental and lower functional) terms. And those who live
on the higher basis of the limits represented by the fourth and fifth stages
of life tend to suffer from the error of misplaced ultimacy, or the tendency
to regard the phenomenal attainments of the higher functional or cosmic
scale as Reality or Truth. In turn, those who live on the basis of the
limits represented by the sixth stage of life tend to suffer either from
the error of nihilistic or radically ascetical realism (the problem-based
effort to bring an end to conditional experience and functional subjectivity
as a pre-condition for and a definition of Enlightenment or Reality) or
subjective idealism (the exclusive identification of Reality with the eternal
subjectawareness independent of objects).

The Way of the Heart is considered in terms that transcend
the traditional errors, which are simply expressions of the errors inherent
in the structures of the various stages of life previous to the seventh.
Therefore, the ultimate (or seventh stage) consideration of the Way is
specifically free of the limits or errors of the sixth stage of life. It
is for this reason that 1 have entered into a thorough consideration of
Buddhism and Advaitism.

In the seventh stage of life, Sahaj Samadhi ultimately
becomes Bhava Samadhi. Bhava Samadhi, in my usage of the term, is equivalent
to Nirvana. But Enlightenment, or Transcendental Realization of Truth or
Reality, is prior to Bhava Samadhi (or Nirvana). If there is true Enlightenment
(or Sahaj Samadhi) then Bhava Samadhi (or Nirvana Samadhi) will eventually
and inevitably be the case. Considered in this manner, the Way is free
of the problem-basis of all negative or “realistic” reactions
to phenomenal existence, and the Way is inherently free of association
with conventionally ascetical programs.

The Way of the Heart is developed on the basis of understanding
the whole process and context of the phenomenal or conditional self. Therefore,
the Way of Radical Understanding bears an affinity to the “realist”
traditions (such as are epitomized by the various schools of Buddhism).
However, the Way of Radical Understanding is not an ascetical path, focused
on a strategic program of functional self-negation. Rather, it is a Way
focused on the self-transcendence inherent in real understanding, and that
self-transcendence is the moment or Context in which the Transcendental
Reality is priorly Realized (even in the apparent context of conditional
existence). This does not mean that discipline, renunciation, and Nirvanic
Transcendence are not also characteristic of this Way. Rather, they appear
on the basis of prior understanding and Awakening rather than as means
for achieving such Enlightenment or Awakening.

The Way of Radical Understanding is thus free of the nihilistic
error of ascetical realism, even though it is aligned to a realistic disposition
(expressed via constant understanding and transcendence of the self-contraction).

The Way of Radical Understanding can also be said to bear
an affinity with the “idealist” traditions (epitomized by the
schools of Advaita Vedanta and such Sages as Ramana Maharshi). This is
clear, since the Way is founded on self-transcending understanding, or
re-cognition of self in the Transcendental Reality. However, the Way of
Radical Understanding is not bound to the strategically subjectivist orientation
of traditional Advaitism. The essential self-consciousness (or “atman”)
must be re-cognized or transcended as a focus of attention just as much
as any other objects, high or low in the scale of perception or conception.
The mechanism of attention itself must be recognized, and this ultimately
requires the transcendence’ of attention not only to objects but also to
the subject-consciousness (or the locus of awareness internal to the conditional
or functional self, or the body-mind-self).

In the course of the development of spiritual maturity
in the Way of the Heart, individuals may encounter, pass through, and only
then fully transcend the mechanics and motives of the various stages of
life previous to the seventh. But ultimately there is steady establishment
in the Enlightened disposition of the seventh stage of life. In that disposition,
the errors of elemental reductionism, misplaced ultimacy, ascetical realism,
and idealistic subjectivism are inherently transcended. Therefore, in the
seventh stage of life the Way of the Heart is practiced in its fullest
or ultimate and most radical sense. In that case, all conditions of self
and its objects are tacitly or directly recognized in the Transcendental
Condition, Identity, Consciousness, or Radiant Being in which they are
apparently and mechanically or spontaneously arising. That Transcendental
Reality or Consciousness is not merely inside the subject self. It is not
Realized via interiorization in the self but in direct recognition of the
self.

Therefore, the Realization is inherently free of the sixth
stage error of subjective idealism. Likewise, all conditions or objects
of the functional self are recognized in that same Reality or Consciousness.
That Reality or Consciousness is neither inside nor outside the functional
self. It is not located via any “point of view,” or on the basis
of any reference to the conditional self. It is Realized Itself, directly,
as and by Itself. It is the Transcendental Self or Real Consciousness.
Even the Substantial Energy or Objective Matrix of all objects is recognized
in the Transcendental Self. The world, the body, the mind, the Light above
the head, and the self-knot in the right side of the heart are all recognized
in the Boundless and Centerless Heart, the Radiant Self, the Transcendental
Reality or Divine Consciousness. Therefore, in the seventh stage of life,
the Transcendental Self is Radiant in the form and actions of the conditional
self and world, but all conditions are recognized in the Self (which is
the same Transcendental Reality or Consciousness Realized in Bhava Samadhi,
or the Nirvanic Realization associated with the non-noticing or non-arising
of conditional or subject-object phenomena. Thus, the conditional self
and world are without necessity or binding power, and at last they become
utterly transparent in that Radiant Consciousness, the Infinite Domain
of Love-Bliss.

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