The Invisible Man
Bubba: Recently I have said a few things about the distinction between the Guru function, or Siddhi, the difference between that and the Teaching. They are two very different functions. The Teaching is an instrument of the Guru function. It is particularly an instrument directed toward human beings. Several months ago, I talked to you about the fullness of the gnosis of understanding, of the Man of Understanding, that it includes the Heart and the Light and the Life. It is an inclusive realization whereas the traditions tend to be exclusive. They tend to realize the Life principle or the principle of the Light or perhaps the principle of the Heart or the Self. In other words, the forms of gnosis realized within the traditions tend to be limited in the form of gnosis which characterizes the Man of Understanding where the Way of Understanding is complete, full.
On the other hand, the forms of gnosis are not themselves Truth, and the Teaching is not to be equated with Truth or Siddhi or with the very Reality. They are ways of serving it and they are expressions of it and they are kinds of realization of gnosis, possible gnosis in Truth. The Siddhi or very Presence of the Guru is of another kind and is essentially unspeakable. It is unspoken. It is not instructive. It doesn’t appear in the form of energies or influences itself. The Guru in person may communicate through forms of energy, through forms of the Teaching, through kinds of action, influences and so forth, but that is an expression of his Teaching work, the Siddhi. It is the very Reality. It is of a prior and Radical nature. And therefore, when cosmological descriptions are made of this great process, it must be understood that all of that is an expression of the Teaching in the form of gnosis or comprehension, a way of seeing. But in fact, that Siddhi, that Realization, that very Reality has nothing whatever to do with cosmos, with appearance, with the world, with anything whatsoever. It is not an absolute something either.
When it comes down to the matter of, if we’re going to use any words at all, otherwise I’m not going to say anything, so maybe I’ll use words. I’m supposed to be able to use a word like Truth. When it comes down to Truth itself, or that Siddhi itself, it cannot be spoken. It cannot be described. That’s why the Guru function itself is not a matter of description, teaching, energies, words and doesn’t point to something concrete, even something concrete that is absolute or infinite.
Relative to the reality itself, nothing at all can be said. On the other hand, that realization may be served and it is served by the guru appearing in the world, so-called, and teaching — doing Teaching work, saying things that are the Teaching, establishing a community, establishing a process within that community, a discipline, and so forth. All that is a way of serving. Its a way of serving something that is not itself gnosis. Something that may not be spoken.
Now, the realization of the Heart is a form of gnosis. The realization of the God-Light is a form of gnosis. The realization of the Life Principle, the fullness descending and ascending into Light is a form of gnosis. And they are all lesser forms of gnosis that are possible also.
Knowing how to tie your shoelaces is a form of gnosis. (Laughter) There are all kinds of lesser gnosis and there are these three Great Principle Forms of Gnosis or Knowledge. However, perfect Knowledge, so,called, knowledge of Truth or Radical Understanding is not the form of gnosis and does not itself have anything to do with any of the great principles of this great process that we’re always describing.
There is no ultimate reality that has the status of a thing or of a non-thing. Nothing may be said about that except to say that much, that all statements about it are misleading and that it is not itself a form of knowledge. It doesn’t have the subject and the object within it. It is not comprehended in any sense. The forms of gnosis that we talk about are the first expressions, so,called, of the ultimate or perfect and prior condition, so that the first dimension that appears in the midst of this indescribable, this non,describable)
The first appearance is Principle and the forms of knowledge or gnosis that are served within the various traditions and inclusively served within the Way of Understanding are the knowing or realization of Principle — that which is utterly dependent on this indescribable absolute and something that is not Truth within itself, but nevertheless all of these Principles that are the subject of gnosis are the root and ultimate source, the first appearance within this absolute. And, it makes some sense to describe these principles or Principle itself if we consider all of these great principles taken together as something like a unity; and all of the great traditions are talking about these principles or the gnosis or knowledge of these principles.
The traditions generally, taking any one by itself, generally deal with the realization of one of these great principles. Some traditions, of course, don’t come anywhere close to talking about these great principles. They’re talking about much lesser things in the scheme of manifestation. They’re talking about appearances on a relatively low level. But perfect gnosis, insofar as its described in any tradition, is gnosis relative to one, usually one of the principles that are original.
The Way of Understanding is described relative to perfect gnosis of all of these principles and I’ve described these principles to you. Fundamentally, there are three and all the kinds of knowledge, as well as all the kinds of structures of experience are reflections stepped down of these principles. In the Indian Hindu principle they are called “satchitananda” and these are generally translated in any one of a number of ways.
I’ve elaborated them as the Heart or the Self or Existence, fundamentally—the Light or the Mind, the Creative Source and Life, or Motion, the Fullness. that which becomes the individual separate self,sense 6r ego is a reflection stepped down of the first principle of the self or existence, perfect. That which is mind or the differentiating power, realized by experience is the reflection stepped down of the Light, or Mind in its ultimate sense. In that which is experienced as desire, motion, the life energy itself descending and ascending is the reflection stepped down of the principle of Life, or Motion.
So the whole scheme of appearance is a process of reflections and turn, abouts and from the dimension of principle down through dimensions of mind, energy, subtlety and light solidity, grossness — the process of going down and coming back, all of which are dependent upon this trinity of principles or this single unity of the Great Principle from which all things depend, all things which are manifest depend.
So the jnani when he’s talking about the Self, the Heart, is talking about realization of one of these principles, the principle of existence -, Sat. And the saint, when he’s talking about God or the Light is talking about gnosis or intuitive knowledge of the Light which is the second Principle. And that second Principle is dependent on the first which is “sat”. The second principle is “chit” or Light or Mind. Consciousness its sometimes translated as consciousness but that is not a proper translation, it seems to me, because I think the word Consciousness is a better attribute if we’re going to use any whatsoever which is attributeless — ultimate. Its better to reserve that word for that so I’d rather call “chit” Light or Mind. And the yogis and people who exploit the life energy toward the experience of absorption or use it to do magic in various forms are talking about gnosis of the Principle of Life or Motion.
The Way of Understanding as I’ve described it is not a matter of gnosis in any traditional sense. In other words, its not a matter of gnosis of any one of these principles separately. By the way, I neglected to mention that the Life Principle is dependent on the founding principle, or very existence, just as the Light is.
The Way of Understanding involves inclusive gnosis, prior gnosis of all of these principles, of the whole scheme of what we consider to be the world. Prior gnosis in that sense is the source of the Way of Understanding as it appears as a Teaching. And, so all of the forms of the Teaching, both verbal and active are ways of dealing descriptively and experientially with the possibility of gnosis, but at the same time that is being done, the Guru is present in the Guru function or Siddhi. of that unspeakable Prior Condition of all Conditions. And even these principles are kinds of conditions so at the same time the Guru is Teaching, he is performing his function or he is present as that function, as that Siddhi, so wherever there is knowledge accumulated or gnosis realized, even though its becoming more and more inclusive, more and more like true gnosis, at the same time that process is going on in the sadhana of individuals, it is being undermined by the Guru function.
So even gnosis is not Truth and the radical communication of the Way of Understanding includes even that level of criticism, so the realization of the self is not Truth, the way of the jnani is not Truth and the realization of the light is not Truth, the way of the saints is therefore not Truth. The realization of life or the fullness descending and ascending, all the kinds of processes that involves is not Truth. So the way of the yogis is not Truth. Nor is the knowledge of all of that Truth. None of that is Truth. It is knowledge only. True to the facts, perhaps, but not Truth. And, the guru really yields nothing that will serve that gnosis beyond gnosis, that knowledge which is not even knowledge. He yields nothing to serve that apart from his mere presence. And that mere presence is the fundamental instrument of the guru in the world. Even the teaching and likewise the community, even the teaching is a secondary vehicle limited because for one thing, it can only serve one type of character, a human character who can receive these symbols and make some sort of sense out of them.
The guru can also teach through action and in that sense may then do teaching work with other kinds of creatures, with the sky, with doors and dogs and cats. But even that is tending at best toward gnosis, or transformation of knowledge. The fundamental instrument is the guru function itself which is not speakable, not describable, not itself a principle or an absolute object or state or condition or thing any more than the ultimate reality which is identical to that guru function.
So, it is paradoxical to talk about the structure of the cosmos as this great process. It has certain value, because individuals don’t assume the universe or manifest worlds to be anything other than what it appears to be. They don’t Know it. They don’t enjoy gnosis of this process and therefore know it as that great process as I have described. Rather, they enjoy scientific knowledge, observer’ knowledge, experiential knowledge.
So gnosis in itself is not the Truth and therefore any way that points to some form of gnosis is not Truth, not tending toward Truth. Even the way of knowledge in what we must consider its absolute form, or most perfect form, is not Truth realization. It is simply knowledge of the principles of the cosmos, the principles of the cosmos understood as a great process in which the principle is not appearances, materiality, mortality, discrete or separate individuals or processes and so forth, but a great process that is itself consciousness and that which everything is a modification of that consciousness.
Gnosis then is knowledge of the ultimate principles within such a great process. But the guru is present, speechless, as mere presence in order to communicate what is not gnosis, what is prior even to knowledge and therefore an aspect of the teaching of the way of understanding is a criticism of the various forms of gnosis, clearly a criticism of the lesser forms of gnosis or mere experience, but also a criticism of the perfect forms or traditionally we would consider to be the great forms of gnosis, those enjoyed by the jnani, the saint or the great yogi or mystic.
So, whenever we’re in the midst of describing things, know that we’re dealing with the Teaching and we’re talking about knowledge, gnosis, not about Truth, not about the Guru, not about the unspeakable reality. So to talk about something like the self as against all the things that may arise, or to talk about the light as opposed to. the gross world, to talk about life descending and ascending as opposed to just walking down the street in the body — none of that is to be talking about Truth. It is to be talking about the principles of the Great Process.
It is a gnosis then, or Knowledge is within the scheme of things superior, it is of a superior variety, superior to the usual man s knowledge because the usual man’s knowledge is not knowledge of principle, nor is it knowledge of the world as the great process. Rather, it is knowledge of things, processes in themselves. It is conventional knowledge, experiential only. The Guru serves individuals through his teaching in order to establish or to serve along with all the other things that he’s doing, including that fundamental force that is Satsang itself.
To serve a comprehension in principle of the nature of all things and to remove prejudices toward limited forms of knowledge and to establish a right comprehension of the nature of things and to correct false knowledge, misleading knowledge, exclusive knowledge and also, he says all kinds of things in order to account for the content and the principles of cosmic life, account for it because those to whom he speaks represent the possibility, at any rate, of a complete range of possible experience and realization and gnosis.
The self, whatever. The jnani for instance, talks about self,realization in terms of the exclusion of the light and the life principles and the mind and the body principles, the exclusion of the world in all forms, and so forth. And I have consistently in the various talks I ‘given given in the ashram, insisted on the inclusive point of view that the realization that is understanding is not a matter of cutting away or excluding the world, nor is that realization coincident with an apparent separation from the world, even the form of some sort of super inwardness, samadhi or asceticism or whatever else. In other words the process of understanding including the forms of gnosis that may arise within it is not coincident, is not to be equated with any of the exclusive methods of the various traditions.
On the other hand, I talked about that perfect understanding itself by virtue of knowing all of these things in truth, dissolving them, not be excluding the world but by knowing the world, it is undone without a single gesture being made to step away from the world or throw the world away or any phenomena high or low. Radical Understanding involves dissolution of all that appears, all principles, all gnosis, all experience, all manifestation, all worlds. But this statement is itself a paradox. It is there as a kind of indication, that perfect intuition, that perfect knowledge which is not really an appropriate word is utterly beyond, prior to manifestation, knowledge, grasping experience. It has nothing whatever to do with any of that sort of thing.
It is a paradox. And so descriptions of that kind are meant to indicate the paradoxical nature of it and a lot of what the guru does, apparently as teacher, is an attempt to confuse or paradox you beyond any interest in the teaching, any interest in anything else, experiences or whatever so that you will become available in that raw form to the guru siddhi. In the meantime, individuals confuse the guru-siddhi with the forms of gnosis and the forms of process and that is why the guru must teach. His function is not obvious. He is like an invisible man who cannot communicate ,who is not only invisible but who has no sensory way to communicate himself to you. There’s no way of knowing he’s there. There’s no way of knowing that the guru function is present. Just because its present in the form of some human being doesn’t mean that its knowable. It is announced. It is pointed to. It is served in the forms of the teaching.
The Basket of Tolerance
THE LAUGHING MAN VOL. 7. NO. 1
A Fourth Basket (an introduction to this issue of The Laughing Man).
The Seven Stages of Life: an introduction to the stages of progressive transcendence of the body-mind as described by Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda.
Creating Access to the Great Tradition:
According to Buddhist history, when the oral tradition of Buddhist Teachings was eventually recorded, it was written on palm leaves, which were stored in three baskets, each basket holding a different aspect of Buddhist scripture. The “Tipitaka” (literally “three baskets”) is what is now known as the Pali canon of Buddhism.
Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda is presently creating what could be considered a fourth basket, The Basket Of Tolerance (On The Seven Schools Of The One And Great Tradition Of God-Talk): A Reader’s Introduction to the Historical Traditions of Truly Human Culture, Practical self-Discipline, Perennial Religion, Universal Religious Mysticism, “Esoteric” Spirituality, and Transcendental Wisdom. This basket is not intended as an addition to Buddhist Teachings alone. Rather it presents a schema and a consideration that encompasses the essence of all traditions of wisdom throughout the world, secular or sacred. This unique book, the heart of which is a comprehensive bibliography, is a summary and an epitome of Heart-Master Da’s many years of conversation about and work with the “Great Tradition”1 as a whole.
Over the years this conversation and this bibliography have undergone many metamorphoses. Heart-Master Da has used the bibliography as a basis for instruction in his own Teaching Work, often emphasizing the importance for students and practitioners of the Way of the Heart to become steeped in the Great Tradition in order to fully understand his Wisdom-Teaching and to be freed of their own uninspected beliefs and doctrines. He has often emphasized that a background in the Great Tradition is an essential tool to cut through the bonds of cultism, provincialism, and self-importance that inevitably constrain those whose understanding of the world’s secular and sacred cultures lacks real scope and depth.
In this issue of The Laughing Man, Richard Schorske elaborates the necessity for study of the Great Tradition in “Creating Access to the Great Tradition: An Introduction to The Basket Of Tolerance”. His article not only provides a basic introduction to the significance of the Great Tradition, but it also describes the concept of, and contains excerpts from, Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda’s remarkable work-in-progress.
Following this summary piece is an excerpt from a talk given by Heart-Master Da several years ago entitled “The Tradition of Truth Is the Tradition of the Adepts”. In this talk, Heart-Master Da illuminates the specific function of Adepts to purify and clarify the existing traditions of their time and place.
An Introduction to The Basket Of Tolerance,
by Richard Schorske:
What I call the ‘Great Tradition “is that entire mass of traditions, reflecting all of the seven stages of human existence, I that is the common inheritance of all of mankind in this time of universal communication, interrelatedness, and interdependence. It is no longer appropriate or even possible for individuals, cultures, or nations to justify absolute independence from other individuals, cultures, or nations-and it is no longer appropriate or possible to grant absolute or ultimately superior status to any historical Revelation, belief system, or conception of how things work. The entire Great Tradition must be accepted as our common inheritance. –
Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda, Nirvanasara, p. 1982
1. ACCESS TO THE GREAT TRADITION
Throughout the diverse traditions of Spiritual experience, many individuals, esoteric sects, and whole cultural movements have communicated particular aspects of the human spirit. The record of this experiment has been handed down through oral and written Teachings, practical and moral disciplines, and direct initiation. In previous eras, many of these Spiritual Teachings and practices have been hidden from the public-communicated only to a few advanced practitioners in intimate settings. Because of the intercommunicativeness of the modern world, however, Teachings that were once secret have become publicly available, if not widely known. Many Easterners have introduced their traditions into the West, because political difficulties and cultural changes are threatening their lands of origin. Thus, the testimony of authentic practitioners and Adepts from all Spiritual traditions can now be examined.
In order to evaluate and make use of the most significant sources of Spiritual instruction, it is imperative to develop a clearly organized approach to the entire Great Tradition2. To fill the need for guidance through this wilderness of apparently conflicting doctrines and claims, a number of intellectuals have stepped forward to represent ancient Spiritual texts and practices in a contemporary psychological, sociological, and scholarly context. In this century, D. T Suzuki, Alan Watts, Fritjof Schuon, Mircea Eliade, Seyyed Hossein Nast, Ken Wilber, and others have greatly advanced the West’s appreciation for the total Great Tradition and the wisdom-heritage of the East in particular.
2. The ‘Great Tradition “is that entire mass of traditions, reflecting all of the seven stages of human existence, I that is the common inheritance of all of mankind in this time of universal communication, interrelatedness, and interdependence. It is no longer appropriate or even possible for individuals, cultures, or nations to justify absolute independence from other individuals, cultures, or nations-and it is no longer appropriate or possible to grant absolute or ultimately superior status to any historical Revelation, belief system, or conception of how things work. The entire Great Tradition must be accepted as our common inheritance. –
Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda, Nirvanasara, p. 198
However, a uniquely valuable and comprehensive contribution to our understanding of the Great Tradition has been made not by a scholar or critic, but by the Western-born Spiritual Adept Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda.
Since his Spiritual Re-Awakening in September 1970 and the beginning of his formal Teaching Work, Heart-Master Da has been moved not only to communicate his original insights into the Spiritual process, but also to present a comprehensive “map” of the entire Great Tradition of human and Spiritual wisdom. Heart-Master Da’s critical examination of the Great Tradition is based not on mere scholarly analysis but on familiarity with the complete range of Spiritual experience and on Realization Itself. To clarify the many streams of the Great Tradition, he has developed a unique model of human development from birth to God-Realization (see pp. 4-7). This scheme of seven stages of life is the structural basis for Heart-Master Da’s work-in-progress The Basket Of Tolerance, an annotated bibliography of essential texts from the Great Tradition.
Throughout his Teaching and Blessing Work, Heart-Master Da has been an advocate for a new and wide appreciation of the Great Tradition as our common human and Spiritual inheritance:
It is in our unique moment in history, when all traditions and all propositions [of religion and Spirituality] are equally visible (due to a world-wide communicativeness that is making all provincialism obsolete) that we must consider the apparent differences among the 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.2
Perhaps it would not have been possible to consider mankind’s sacred experiment in terms of a single and unified “Great Tradition” until the near-total eclipse of the sacred sphere. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an outstanding Islamic scholar and champion of the sacred traditions, has pointed out:
Until the modern era, especially prior to the age of mechanistic science beginning in the seventeenth century, man lived in worlds so impregnated with what we now call sacred traditions that they had no sense of a separate concept called tradition, as it has been necessary to define and formulate in the modern world. They had an awareness of revelation, of wisdom, and also knew of periods of decadence of their civilization and culture, but they had no experience of a totally secularized and antitraditional world.3
3. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred (New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1981), p. 66
In today’s aggressively scientific and secular world, the vision of a sacred universe must be presented consciously and clearly if that vision is to survive at all. To resurrect the Great Tradition all the means to realize the inherent freedom of the human spirit must be made culturally prominent through the communication and valuation of all that is sacred.
2. THE PRACTICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDYING THE GREAT TRADITION
To study the Great Tradition comprehensively is to examine every slice of human experience, from sexual and dietary practices to meditation and yogic mysticism-and to consider the wisdom that has developed among diverse individuals and cultures. As Heart Master Da has made clear, close examination of even a few of the traditions tells us that the secrets of the Spiritual process are not contained in the doctrines of any one sect but are revealed when all are viewed together, as the many arms and legs of a single body of Spiritual wisdom. In his Work to compile a comprehensive bibliography of the Spiritual traditions, Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda has emphasized that there can be no complete description of the human spirit except by considering the Great Tradition critically and as a whole:
No one tradition among many, no one traditional text among many, and no partial (or non-inclusive) group of traditions and traditional texts is sufficient or of exclusively ultimate importance in the study of the “Great Tradition”. Only all these traditions and texts (or an inclusive and comprehensive gathering of the “Great Tradition”), taken together, as a whole, is a sufficient Revelation to the mind, and that Revelation in mind is a useful preparatory foundation (or traditional inspiration) for those who would otherwise Awaken to the Ultimate Revelation that transcends even the mind itself.4
4. Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda, from the Preface to The Basket Of Tolerance (On The Seven Schools Of The One And Great Tradition Of God-Talk), forthcoming from The Dawn Horse Press
The Great Tradition describes the possibility of an extraordinary realization of human freedom and Happiness for those willing to meet the difficult demands of Spiritual practice, and it provides the wisdom that any human culture needs in order to preserve its equilibrium. Serious study may provide individuals with the understanding necessary to discriminate among Spiritual Teachings so that they may discover that sacred knowledge which is self-authenticating. Ultimately, a sophisticated understanding of the Great Tradition orients the student toward participation in the higher moral and evolutionary process of religion and Spirituality-rather than cultivating a merely detached “objectivism” or relativism.
3. OVERCOMING RELIGIOUS PROVINCIALISM AND INTOLERANCE
In Religious provincialism is the feeling that we are obliged to align ourselves with just one tradition or dogmatic belief, or an exclusively Western or Eastern orientation that is ours by virtue of birth, childhood training, or even free choice as an adult. Holding on to our particular belief or orientation, we condemn, disregard, or at best reluctantly tolerate all others. At this point in our cultural history, however, we can maintain these exclusive views only by an act of willful ignorance. We are increasingly confronted by the total tradition of Spiritual life. Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda has commented that study of the entire Great Tradition counteracts sectarianism and reductionism and leads to a more comprehensive and inclusive orientation. Simply creating access to information is a significant element in finding a “cure” for the present Spiritual malaise, as Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda points out in the following excerpt from a talk he gave on April 17,1981:
In times like this, atheism, agnosticism, sectarianism, and fundamentalism are the same. They are stances that tend to be created as religious when people are in information poverty regarding religion and Spirituality. These four qualities are signs of information poverty, and they need to be undone in the world. The information-poor are suffering, and in their suffering they are threatening to others.
In a talk given to students several years ago, Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda commented at length on the tendency toward religious provincialism and our unconscious presumptions (the Eastern archetype of liberation from bondage to this world through asceticism, mysticism, etc., and the Western archetype of achieving success and happiness in the material world through creative self-effort):
People today naively try to become associated with the ancient, classic systems of religion, spirituality, and philosophy, but they do not have the concentration for considering what these concepts are all about, what these motives in them are all about, what these belief systems and yogas are really all about. People today generally no longer represent the archetypal psychological dispositions that are at the root of all of these great enterprises, East and West. And unless those archetypal or psychological suppositions, presumptions, dispositions are actually true of you, you cannot fulfill them. Therefore, if you are truly moved to real or spiritual life, you have no choice but to inspect completely your own condition of existence.
You must begin to understand what the religious or spiritual life in Truth is really all about. You must be able to differentiate all your casually generated motivations that reflect old, conventional concepts, persuasions, and philosophies. You may have casually inherited your Western Judeo-Christian mind without ever having been a very profound student of it. It just filtered in, through a little bit of churchgoing, a little bit of parental and social influence. But you must become responsible for the religious conventions you represent, through a very sophisticated investigation of Judeo-Christian thought and concepts, however casual your inheritance.
Although you are nominally associated with me, you are actually trying to fulfill your destiny as Jews and Christians and Moslems and Hindus and Buddhists and so forth. The mechanical aspects of our thought, feeling, and behavior are determined by even the most casual upbringing in those traditions. My Teaching work has largely been with Westerners, and therefore it has always been associated with a very worldly level of drama. My Teaching work does not look much like the way Oriental teachers deal with their devotees, because you all are not looking to be liberated. You have different problems altogether. You are sinful people! Being sinners is what you are up to.
True spiritual life turns out to be a different kind of thing altogether from what many people come to me for. Either they come to me for the left-sided reason, thinking of me as a yogic, ascetic teacher who is simply going to lead them inward and away from things, or they come thinking I am a sort of worldly philosopher who is going to provide them with a social life and amusing talks and a rather casual orientation toward changing themselves.
The Way [of the Heart] is the influence by which interested individuals, regardless of their disposition toward West or East, right or left can make the necessary inspection of the totality of human existence.5
5. Bubba Free John (Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda), The Way That I Teach (The Dawn Horse Press, 1978), pp. 91-92.
4. COUNTERACTING THE PROVINCIALISM OF EAST AND WEST
Not only Westerners need to remedy the “information gap” in knowledge about the Great Tradition – individuals born in the East must close this gap as well, since Easterners may demonstrate an equally provincial ascetical or life-negative disposition. Furthermore, the popular (as opposed to the esoteric) cultures of India, China, Nepal, and Tibet no longer transmit the schools of wisdom from generation to generation with the consistency and integrity that were true of previous eras. The East is being swept up in the force of scientific materialism and technological progress, and a mono-culture is fast emerging. What the East has realized of the Great Tradition is gradually being lost.
If the Great Tradition is to be preserved as a resource for the enhancement of the human spirit, Westerners must be educated in the Eastern traditions, as well as in the esotericism of the great Western religions. It is not that oriental civilization as such can or must be preserved intact by means of communicating the Great Tradition – it will likely continue to change its character as it adapts to Western influences, and vice versa. Rather, as Heart Master Da Love-Ananda has remarked, “What must be preserved or reintroduced is the higher culture of Spiritual life. That culture must be made accessible to everyone, not merely to Westerners.”6 Therefore, regardless of what historical changes may occur in Eastern civilization, the entire spectrum of human possibility must be offered to the world as a whole.
6. From a talk given by Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda on January 22, 1983.
To overcome the cultural limitations of both East and West, it is critical that we gain access to the wisdom that transcends the limitations of each historical alternative – the limited disposition of Western science that denies the spirit, as well as the limited disposition of the Eastern view that denies the world. Presently the Western view is tending to become suppressively dominant. Therefore, the imbalance in our knowledge and understanding must be redressed, so that a new and higher wisdom may emerge that transcends the limitations and draws on the strengths of both cultural orientations.
Without access to and understanding of the Spiritual wisdom of the East, Western man cannot develop a comprehensive understanding of the means for enhancing the human spirit. Without such an appreciation, the political and economic power of Western man will tend to eliminate not merely the religious archetype of the Eastern man, but the higher Spiritual possibilities of humanity. Because the “culture” of materialism is already tending to displace the Spiritual traditions, it is urgent that the living experience of Eastern and Western Spiritual practitioners be fully communicated. Then Western culture may find alternatives to materialism, religious provincialism, and despair.
Resistance to the secularizing trend of Western culture has, until now, originated primarily from the fundamentalist and antiscientific fringe of institutional religion. However, the fundamentalist movements have actually tended to accelerate the trend of desacralization in two ways: 1) by associating Spirituality with fanaticism, intolerance, and the advancement of hidden political agendas in the name of religion; and 2) by arousing public opinion against unfamiliar and non-Western Spiritual Teachings.
In order to counteract the effects of Western religious provincialism and fundamentalism, a culture of tolerance must be cultivated. The Great Tradition must be presented in an atmosphere that is free from extreme prejudice. In turn, communications of the Great Tradition should be responsive to the legitimate viewpoints of scientific intellectualism and humanism, so that mankind’s Spiritual, religious, and philosophical wisdom can be communicated in the full light of both Spiritual and scientific genius. As Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda has said:
To live a sacred life you must be free of all automatic asanas [postures], prejudices, and habitual ways of adapting the nervous system and accumulating presumptions totally independent of clear thinking or experience. You must free the body-mind, the nervous system, the being altogether from the entire concoction of suffering that is just an obstruction even to seeing what is before your eyes at this moment. Therefore, apply the discipline of being unreservedly associated with what Is.7
7. Da Free John (Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda), The Transmission of Doubt: Talks and Essays on the Transcendence of Scientific Materialism through Radical Understanding (The Dawn Horse Press, 1984), p. 242.
5. INTRODUCING THE BASKET OF TOLERANCE: THE WORK OF HEART-MASTER DA LOVE-ANANDA IN RELATIONSHIP TO THE GREAT TRADITION
The varied and often conflicting traditions of religion, Spirituality, and philosophical wisdom each tend to associate the Truth (or the Realization of Truth) with limited presumptions about or experiences of man’s psychophysical anatomy. Thus, ordinary (third stage) “geniuses” tend to be limited in their vision by identification with the intellect and the will. “Saintly” (fourth stage) personalities are generally devoted to a Divine Influence, which they regard as necessarily “other” or separate, and therefore they fail to manifest the Blessing powers that are demonstrated by those who have fully Realized the Divine Reality.
Advanced practitioners of yoga and the mystical paths of the fifth stage of life often regard the Divine to be coincident with particular mystical experiences of the brain and nervous system, or with the temporary transcendence of body and mind. Sixth-stage Realizers have discovered their identity with the “Witness-Consciousness”,8 though they still operate under the subtle presumption that this Witness-Consciousness is separate from what is witnessed. But the Realized or Enlightened individual in the seventh stage of life transcends all the kinds of knowledge and search to be free, while preventing full Realization of Freedom itself.
8. The “Witness-Consciousness”, or Consciousness prior to the motion of attention toward objects, stands free of identification with body and mind and all arising conditions as the torte “Witness” of the objects of attention.
Such Realizers have transcended all knowledge and experience and the desire for “alternative states”. They are simply present in loving service to others, non-separate, manifesting the Blessing Power of the open heart and the Radiance of Transcendental Being. In the context of his own Work, Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda has described this form of Blessing service:
What I affirm to you is the basic force of the Great Tradition as a whole. I also demonstrate its fullness through my own life and Work. And I provide a Wisdom-Teaching that is immediately useful and that is not merely a synthetic version of the Great Tradition. This Wisdom-Teaching is not compounded via scholarship, but it is a direct expression of my own life and Realization.9
9. From a talk given by Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda on January 22, 1983.
At the present time, Heart-Master Da is concluding the major portion of his Work to provide a structure of access to the sacred Teachings of mankind. A massive bibliography of Spiritual wisdom entitled The Basket Of Tolerance is evolving after more than a decade of Work by Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda to review and evaluate tens of thousands of volumes of traditional and modern literature. Through the creation of this selective and extensively annotated bibliography consisting of more than one thousand books (part of a longer general list of more than seven thousand volumes), Heart-Master Da is providing systematic access to the wisdom of the Great Tradition. In the Preface to The Basket Of Tolerance he says:
The Basket Of Tolerance is an essential gathering of traditional and modern literature, which I offer to all students and practitioners of the Way of the Heart (and all students of the traditions of mankind) as a useful and valuable resource for study relative to the historical traditions of human culture, practical self discipline, religion, religious mysticism, “esoteric” Spirituality, and Transcendental Wisdom. I have selected, arranged, and annotated (or commented upon) the many books listed here, in order to provide a basic, inclusive, and comprehensive (but not overlong) representation (and Revelation) of the “Great Tradition” (or common Wisdom-Inheritance) of mankind.
… The order and the groupings of these various texts generate, from beginning to end, book by book, a continuous and progressive “Grand Argument”. This “Grand Argument” followed with sensitivity and intelligent the considerations developed in my own Teaching literature, should give the serious student a sufficient “basic education” in the total “Great Tradition” and all the traditional fundamentals that must be considered even by modern practitioners of the Wisdom- Way.11
10. Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda, from the Preface to The Basket Of Tolerance.
11. “Hearing” and “seeing” are technical terms used in the Way of the Heart.
To conclude the Preface, Heart-Master Da calls everyone to the disposition of real tolerance in relation to all cultures and traditions and summarizes the purpose of The Basket Of Tolerance:
By study, by practice, by “hearing” by “seeing” “and and by Realization learn the lesson of tolerance. The display of many books in this essential gathering demonstrates the traditional range of divergent views that may, each in their moment, seem to you (or to any one) to be necessary, sufficient, and even absolute. Individuals and cultures all stand and change within a single but progressively developing range of characteristic possibilities (or “seven stages of life”). The ideas or persuasions of any individual or culture are a direct expression of the stage of life (or Realization) that is, to that moment (or in that moment), Realized. Therefore, understand. Understand yourself, understand all others, and, by your speech and activity, promote the culture of tolerance (which understands and allows all temporary views and calls every one to self-study and constant growth and outgrowing, until the conditional self and the conditional worlds are Outshined in their Source).12
12. Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda, from the Preface to The Basket Of Tolerance.
Through The Basket Of Tolerance, Heart Master Da Love-Ananda is providing a means for humanity to realize its common inheritance. And through study of the Great Tradition, any student may be informed and inspired in the ultimate ordeal of truly human growth, Spiritual practice, and Transcendental Realization.