This is Serious and You Must Be Too

Adi Da Samraj

January 15, 2005

This is Serious and You Must Be Too


DEVOTEE: Beloved Lord?


DEVOTEE: You have Told us about what we do–I don’t know if I can talk to You or speak to You in a way that makes sense, but always have Told us that what we’re about is completely true, and I surrender all that.

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: No, you don’t.

DEVOTEE: [inaudible]

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Well, whining it has nothing to do with it, you see. To surrender, you’ve got to move yourself around, you see. You got to do something about it. Telling Me you understand, committed, and you’re working on it is how you all get away without doing anything about it. The whole gathering gives Me that line every day, and therefore it’s never the day of sadhana. It’s always the day when you’re preparing to do sadhana tomorrow. And every day, you lock Me up in My Room and ignore Me while you have meetings about this–including meetings about your personal practice, you see. But you’re all making all these pronouncements as if you’re full of devotion and so forth, and it’s just a, it’s just lies, and it should be offended by Me, instead of just going on and on, now nearly 33 years of talking to you about all this, you see. It’s become far too buddy buddy with Me here. You are not up to anything and you must change your act. Now that’s it.

DEVOTEE:  Yes, Beloved.

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: You’re all living off Me here on this Island. Effectively, you’re all living off Me in the entire gathering. You’re just sort of indulging yourselves in the Treasures like some sort of dessert that you can casually lick up, you see. There’s no obligations. There’s no requirement of demonstration, no seriousness in people. You make all of these statements like you are now, and it all sounds all pious, you know, and choked up, but it’s, unfortunately, just part of the deception that egos play. And it’s got to be said if it’s so, you see.

So, you’ve got to get off your backside and get down to what it takes to actually practice, to demonstrate it.

DEVOTEE: I will, Beloved.

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Not just you. That’s what the culture is supposed to be. That’s what this Hermitage is supposed to be. It’s not a “we’re working on it guild”–It’s My Hermitage. It is now, regardless of what you all want to do instead, and your program here. There’s nothing happening at the present to enforce rightness, however, on this Island. It is just – it’s out of control. And those of you who are in residence here or here for a short term for one reason or another, are not involved in any right practice, any right relationship with Me. You’re not up to anything, but just hanging out in the club house.

It’s just a crime. It’s a tragedy. More than three decades later and you still haven’t even organized the organization yet. And you can’t get your act together and collectively participate in fulfilling your obligations. What is there to be done any more with this? If you want to live in a Hermitage, you have to be purposed to Realization. You must be serious. And you must be a renunciate.  And that’s how it works, you see. It’s not a place for householders. That’s just all there is to it. Is it a place for sexual yoga? I don’t know how it could be. You all???–anyone for that matter, where is that? Who can justify it? It’s just a, if you’re going to insist, there is a process, that if you truly engaged it as I’ve said, you might start to outgrow this obsession. But really, it’s just like your endless babbling, talkety talkety talk, you see. The Perfect practice is prior to mind. It’s prior to body-mind. It’s prior to sexing. It’s prior to everything. There is no freedom apart from that self-realization, you see.

The exact, exactly the same thing that is required to transcend fear of death is what is required to transcend lust.  Exactly the same. They are the two sides of the same coin. Lust, sex, pleasure of life is used by the body-mind, or the ego, as a distraction or diversion from fear of death. So, you can’t be involved in pleasurizing the body-mind without trying to escape death. Now, wouldn’t you like to be completely free of the fear of death?

DEVOTEES:  Yes, Beloved.  Yes.

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Then, keep it in your pants. Get it out of your head. It has nothing to do with freedom. You want the freedom? Get out of the damn bedroom, you see. It really is so. If you want to spend time there, you can do yoga as much, as close as you can get to what I’ve described as such, but you’re just going to use time. How do you know you’ve got that much, that much time? How much time do you think you have to get to the Perfect Practice? Did you get a promise when you were born? Is it printed on your backside how many years you’re going to get out of this? Are you ready for death right now? Could you handle it? The death of the other? No one could be said to be in a position to enjoy that, but there is a profundity that absolutely transcends it, absolutely perfectly, and is untouched, untouched by anything at all–untouched, regardless of what happens to the body-mind, regardless of its fate, its relations and the fate of the relations.

There is no conditional world. There is only the Divine Domain, the Divine Self-Condition. This IS an illusion of independent beings. There are none. There are no independent beings. There are no entities. It’s pattern. It’s only pattern. There’s no creator. There’s no created being. It doesn’t even exist. It’s a presumption of egoity. It is all built upon the point of view illusion. There’s nothing to be done to the body-mind to realize it other than to get free of the body-mind’s bondage to its own contracted states and patterns so that you can be established in That Which is inherent, prior. You can’t do it merely by philosophical argument. You are Offered the Means by Me such that That which is merely Witness, Self-Radiant, Self-Existing, not causing, not creating conditions, prior to them all, transcending them all–you’re Given Means, Offered Means by Me to realize That, truly realize it, not just talk about it, think about it, you see. All that talkety, talkety talk, as soon as that oinker starts crushing your lungs and you’re going out of this, the fear will make your hair stand on end. You don’t want to be in that position. That’s why you’re so damn full of illusions about life, you see. You’re all in utopia, all running after this, that and the other thing. It will never satisfy you. I could stop in an instant, like all those poor people on the beaches in Asia or anywhere else-– natural disasters, man-made terrible this, that and the other thing, and there’s no end to it. There’s no end to the suffering, the disease of mankind. No end to it. And that’s all there is in this conditional domain, lived in its own terms it is an illusion and utterly false.

There is that which utterly transcends it, is inherently free. It is always already the case. It need not be attained. It cannot be achieved by seeking. It cannot be achieved by modifying the body-mind, achieving any state of body-mind whatsoever. It is priorly the case. It is as plain as Consciousness Itself right now, except that Consciousness Itself right now is mediated by the body-mind. So, you cannot be established in it as it is. You only feel it, experience it, know it in conditional terms, limited terms. It means “I” to you. It’s the ego. It’s not what it truly is. It appears through the medium of the body-mind. When people sense the awareness of awareness, it is nonetheless modified, mediated by the brain, the body-mind, the patterns. So it’s ego, you see.

The Self Condition is prior to the body-mind. It is always already prior to the body-mind. It has nothing to do with the body-mind. The body-mind is utterly dependent on it. The Self can appear to be invested in the body-mind, in which case, it is the body-mind. But that’s an illusion. When the Very Self Condition is realized, the body-mind no longer, the world no longer has independent existence. And simply Self Abiding, then, vanishes all of this, undermines all of its independence, all of the patterned patterning that is binding, all of the illusions of egoity, separateness, suffering–all directly, effortlessly transcended, simply by abiding as That. That is the Truth. That is what must be called God, but it is not the God myth. It is not the creator deity. It is not objective to you. It’s not an explanation for the world, you see. It is prior to the world.

JUNE: You Showed me this and I am very, very attracted and I would like to be Mastered by You, Beloved.

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Showing it is a Gift, yes. Devotees in their recognition of Me are feeling it somehow, at least at times. They’re feeling it as Me. That’s why they turn to Me. That’s why there is the relationship to Me, not because of some conventional, cultic, or parent-child kind of oedipal business, you see. It’s primary Means. It is the Means acknowledged in all traditions by all the realizers of every kind who have ever lived. The primary means is the master, the realizer. Satsang with the realizer. That’s it. The relationship to the realizer, being in the master’s company as often as possible physically, always being turned to the master, depending on the master’s instruction and grace absolutely, living by it, unqualifiedly–then you’re involved in the real process and seriously. And there’s no bargaining, ever!

DEVOTEE: Surrounded by true devotees.

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Only true devotees would do that. It’s not a courtly dramatization where people just do it as show, you see, as ritual. It’s lived. It’s really done. It’s the disposition, inherently, in a true devotee. Devotees first and always provide for their master. They set the master apart. The master is sacred being, but made holy by being set apart. Holy means to set apart. It is to take what is sacred, what is great, and set it apart from all dependency, all contamination by the world, by religion business, by conventional devotionalism, you see. And so yes, worship the master. Yes. It is worship the master with your life, with all provision, with all the faculties, and all the time, under all circumstances in the form of every functional, practical, and relational circumstance or activity. Always turn to the master. This is the discipline. All based on recognizing Me, feeling Me tacitly, feeling My Very State, which is the State to be realized. So, those who fulfill this within a true culture that provides place and circumstance for access to Me, and it’s right, and it’s not just some abuse I’m tolerating, they are involved in this real process and can be brought to the Perfect Practice and to its demonstration by those very Means, as I’ve Given them, as I’ve Described, which can be made effective in finite time.


“the Perfect Practice can be established, in principle, in the case of any devotee. Factually, in real fact, practically, well, that’s to be seen.”


So, the Perfect Practice can be established, in principle, in the case of any devotee. Factually, in real fact, practically, well, that’s to be seen. You have to live it, you see. You can’t go on as you all are, being this club house that never does anything, that is always bargaining or telling Me, putting Me off, being out there and around instead of actually in My room, actually serving Me, actually turned to Me, unambiguously, not playing courtly mummery religion on Me and just saying big words about Me to make Me feel like I’m a big deal or something. Why should I feel like I’m a big deal? What’s the big deal? There’s only Truth. There is no status in it. There’s no ego status in My Person. There’s no ego about it. There’s no karmic pattern except the linkage you all establish with Me that provides a mechanism for My Blessing Transmission. But this {gestures to Himself] carries no karma otherwise. The Vehicle has its own karmas, but they run out, you see. The background of the Vehicles here in front -–the Vehicle here before you, both its deeper personality dimension and its grossly born, Franklin dimension, you see–all that’s running out.

DEVOTEE: You have perfectly Described that in The Knee of Listening.

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: So, only devotion, lived, is going to keep Me here. I’m disappearing from your midst by being ignored, you see. I don’t have any means to stay alive. There’s no karmic purpose. I have to keep looking around to see what, where the linkage is that will somehow give another day here. There’s really nothing going on that is preserving My Life here. This is not a Hermitage. You don’t do anything for Me, you see. You all are not supporting My Existence here. Boats should be lined up at the reef entrance with people to come here for My Blessing. Where are they? All these years of Work–there’s hardly anybody in the gathering. There’s nothing happening. You’re all wannabe student-beginners forever, and that doesn’t even mean you’re student-beginners. It means you’ve got this little revisionist, club member, consumer game you’re all playing, and it’s as if you don’t even know what My Teaching is.

A Hermitage is a place to be purified of your worldliness. Some people must live in it. You all think there’s some kind of argument, some sort of way to fit in your money, food, and sex, social ego life, somehow it works with this. No, it doesn’t, you see. In Hermitage, especially, there has to be a purified disposition, and a profound life of devotion. It is a place that is uniquely to serve in perpetuity, and in present time, as it’s called–for all who come here –-and there should be many coming here.

The mission has to work – not because I’m in business. It’s so that devotees can have access to Me–as many as possible in My Physical Lifetime–for their benefit, for the benefit of the world so that I can establish means in perpetuity. I’m still talking to you all about rudimentary beginner’s matters. You haven’t even made a Hermitage for Me. You bother Me about business and every kind of trivia and abuse. It’s just completely unconscious and you, somehow or other, think you can argue for your own refusal. There is no argument. It’s dreadful in its result, and you are not gaining from your relationship to Me. You’re not fulfilling your vow and you are not growing to the capability of the Perfect Practice. There’s just nothing of worth in this, except the mere survival game of what a collective can do for its own members, you see. It’s nothing but that. It’s ordinary life.

Now, I presume, I assume that there are many devotees, especially as very much beginners, who will insist–because of previous adaptations on maintaining intimate relationships and sexual activity, and so forth–so I’ve Instructed everyone. But if realization is the point, well, you have to go beyond all of this. And is anybody equipped to be sexually active in terms of ultimate practice? I never saw anybody. Yes, where am I supposed to do it? In the closet by Myself? In any case, yes, it’s true. I could do it. I am yogically capable of doing it. Whether–there’s no one to do it with, for one thing, but it’s not in My Inclination. It’s sorrowful. It’s terrible to Me. It can’t be done without an inheritance from the other. I could Instruct someone. I could help them outgrow something. But you see, those are not reasons for Me to be animated any more. So, it’s not in My Inclination. It is only a possibility in principle. But it has nothing to do with realization, so it has nothing to do with Me. I can do it, and that’s why I’ve been able to Teach. That’s all. I’ve been able to submit and be unstained. That’s all. That’s all I could Say of it.

I’ve been Equipped to make this Revelation. I am Equipped. But that doesn’t mean it’s in My Inclination to do any of these ordinary things for their own sake or to persist in them in order to be Instructive at this point. It isn’t Instructive. People are not instructed by their any kind of common association with Me. They just incorporate Me into their own ego world and transfer their limitations to Me.

My Regard for people is a profoundly felt, Compassionate Regard.  But to be deluded by it in the sense of not seeing the whole picture of what’s there, you see, it’s just not possible. I did have to submit to Teach. I had to make use of the commonness of the Vehicle with which I’ve been associated by birth. It enabled Me to Teach. But what is a human being? What is so delicious in your view, you see? You just don’t see it. Of course it can be felt through sympathy, but to be deluded by it as if it is worth the price, you see. The price cannot be afforded. So, in some sense, I can’t, even I can’t afford it. More equipped than anyone to be active in any sense at all, because that’s Means that I have brought here in order to make this Revelation.  But the inclination toward it, for its own sake, did not come with Me. It is all provoked or stimulated by those who have come to Me and what was necessary in My Submission to Teach and the Vehicle allowed it. But then the Vehicle itself goes through signs of demonstration.

As I’ve said, the seventh stage is a demonstration. It’s not merely a static condition. You know of occasions in which the body has come to the point of death–or as close as it can without it being final. Well, you should appreciate what I’ve Said about these Events, you see. They have, they are evidence of the seventh stage. These are primary events in the seventh stage, although they also coincide with all of the drama of My Submission in the world. But with each of these Events, something falls away, something in the Vehicle, and therefore something about the Work, the Work of My Person, the Work of My Manifestation here, is changed–permanently.

The imposition on Me since Lopez to submit to you all, to Work with you as previously, but with the same limitations brought to Me as devotees, persisting as before, you see, has produced the most terrible ordeal in the entire history of My Life here. The last five years have been absolutely an unbearable hell on earth filled with many Lopezes. I came close to passing last night, that’s how recent these things are. I’m having trouble staying alive, because there’s no karmic sustenance. There’s nothing to keep it happening. There’s no pattern of association with devotees, you see, that creates another day, that keeps the motion going.

So, when I am here speaking very plainly to you all, you see, I’m also Signaling to you–you have got to change what you are doing with Me or I am not going to be among you very long. It is your business to sustain this Body. That’s part of devotion. You must provide for this Body. It’s even uttered in the traditional Guru Gita and, therefore, Ruchira Avatara Gita. You see, I’ve made Myself dependent on you all. That dependency on devotees has taken many forms throughout the years in which I’ve Compensated for what is absent in you all. And, as the years have gone, there’s less and less and less that I can do to fill in the gaps.

I filled in for your silence too. Instead of speaking to Me, making use of My Being here, I’ve got to Speak, you see, whereas I shouldn’t be, beyond a point. There’s some things to speak, and it’s a proper moment, but under right conditions. I am Speaking because you all are refusing to be entered into right and responsible relationship to Me. You are giftless and persisting in it, and you’re completely oblivious to what this does.

This Body must be sustained by devotees. It’s not just sucking up to Me, being sort of devotional, you see. It’s literal responsibility. It’s being full of the gift. It’s relating to Me rightly. It is sustaining My Incarnation, not merely flattering Me into feeling like I’m surrounded by sycophantic people you see. It doesn’t have anything to do with that. It’s sustaining My Incarnation here so that I am Effective. The time has come when there is no linkage to Me and nothing in the Vehicle’s sufficient to continue the Incarnation. It’s running out. It’s day by day disappearing. It needed to be long ago replaced by devotee, devotees being responsible in relation to Me and truly living right relationship to Me.

So much time now has passed. You have done great harm to this Body with your abuse and neglect of years on end now. And it simply can’t go on–not because I just don’t like it–this Body cannot live, and I’m Saying so. Do what you will, but it cannot. There’s nothing inside it, like in you, you see, to make another day. It’s very, very empty.



Part III: Beyond the Traditional Wisdom on Death



Recognition Is the Key to Enlightenment

a talk by Da Free John

November 26, 1980


“Like all beings you are called to the Dharma or the Way of recognition of all phenomena while you are alive, so that when death comes, as it inevitably does, you will demonstrate the capacity for transcendence in that event. You must become capable of this process while alive, however, because in the process of changing phenomenal circumstances, that capacity will not be generated spontaneously for you. You will suffer the same limitations of attention that you suffered while you were alive. Furthermore, after death the powers that control attention seem much more profound than they do in life.”


MASTER DA FREE JOHN: While alive we suffer the obstructions that lie between us and Enlightenment or God-Realization. We cannot recognize the conditions that are arising and we are manipulated by them. Although we try to work with the process of living in order to realize life as a creative struggle, it is our status in the moment of death that determines the complex of phenomenal existence after death and until rebirth.

DEVOTEE: It seems everyone must cut through the same limitations in order to surrender to the process of existence.

MASTER DA FREE JOHN: The ultimate spiritual process is the same, but peoples tendencies are different. Because you are a different person from the person sitting next to you, the phenomena that arise for you after death will be different from those of your neighbor. The spiritual process is an essential science, a basic process that can be engaged by any being. Thus, the spiritual process is the same for all beings. But the tendencies that produce phenomena, even though they play upon the same universal structures, are unique to every individual.

DEVOTEE: Master, the Tibetan scripture on the six Yogas of Naropa, which is very similar to the Tibetan Book of the Dead , describes the bardo state as an opportunity for attaining Enlightenment. If you have been trained spiritually and if you have practiced during your lifetime, then the consciousness of the bardo state after death provides a vehicle for transformation.

MASTER DA FREE JOHN: As this life does! This experience is a bardo state. This moment is an illusion of consciousness. The disposition we suffer or enjoy while alive is the disposition we bring to the bardo realms. We must rightly conceive of this life as a bardo realm, as a state of phenomenal awareness conditioned by our disposition, and, through profound participation in the spiritual process, we must transform our habit of associating with arising phenomena.

DEVOTEE: Is the Clear Light described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead the same as the “dharmakaya” or realm of Perfect Enlightenment?

MASTER DA FREE JOHN: Yes, the Clear Light is the dharmakaya. From the Tibetan point of view, at death one loses ones relationship to the gross physical realm, or the “nirmanakaya,” and enters the realm of energies, or “sambhogakaya,” the realm of psychic forces, energies, and apparitions, in which the being no longer has the capacity for the visibility and self-fixation of nirmanakaya. Having lost ones embodiment, one tends to wander in the bardos of the sambhogakaya, unless by recognizing those phenomena one transcends them. Just as, through the mechanics of death, the being is separated from the nirmanakaya or physically manifest state, the being must also break through the barriers of psychic possibility or the world of dreams in order to realize the ultimate Condition of phenomena.

DEVOTEE: I see now why the Tibetan tradition describes so many bardos. The being must transcend all the forms of manifestation, gross and subtle.

MASTER DA FREE JOHN: Yes. One can visualize beings and environments in the after-death state that are very much like those in the nirmanakaya, or the ordinary gross state. Likewise, one may encounter all kinds of higher beings, more and more glorious realms, or terrifying realms, hellish realms, terrible apparitions, and fierce, devouring, angry beings that seem to control your fate. You can feel threatened, you can feel as if you are in hell, or you can feel as if you are in heaven. The tendencies in the being accumulated through habit association, habit energy, or desire determine the phenomena that arise after death. Although the Tibetan Book of the Dead describes all these phenomena, it fundamentally offers a philosophy of transcending phenomena altogether, including the phenomena of the nirmanakaya or waking state.

DEVOTEE: If I understand it rightly, the Tibetan tradition holds that at the point of death, regardless of the state of being or realization, every being enjoys a moment, an instant, of the light of the dharmakaya.

MASTER DA FREE JOHN: Every being enjoys it now! The Buddha nature, the dharmakaya, Brahman, the power of Brahman, the Great One, the Divine, is absolutely obvious in this moment, at death, and in every moment after death. In every moment of phenomenal existence, that fundamental Condition is tacitly obvious. Reflecting and reacting to psycho-physical phenomena, with which we are associated, we tend to animate a superficial consciousness. In every moment we are tacitly inhering in the dharmakaya, or the fundamental Reality, the Nirvanic Reality, the Buddha-Nature, Brahman, but we do not recognize phenomena to the point of Realizing our inherence in that egoless, absolute Reality.

DEVOTEE: The traditions lead you to believe that you will enjoy a glimpse of Reality in the moment of death.

MASTER DA FREE JOHN: Recognition is possible in the midst of any sudden transformation of your habitually fixed state. The moment of death is such an opportunity, although somewhat glamorized, but the same opportunity is also available in the waking state. Therefore, it is recommended that beings strive for Enlightenment while alive, not just grasp the opportunity at death.

Your capacity to recognize phenomena and inhere in the Divine Transcendental Reality must develop while you are alive, because the same mechanics that are effective in life are effective after death, and your ability to transcend them after death will not be greater than that which you enjoyed in life. You must generate a profound capacity to go beyond phenomena regardless of what arises. Merely because something different from your experience in life may happen at death does not mean that you will suddenly develop the capacity for transcendence. In fact, you will not. You will have no more ability than you have now.

Like all beings you are called to the Dharma or the Way of recognition of all phenomena while you are alive, so that when death comes, as it inevitably does, you will demonstrate the capacity for transcendence in that event. You must become capable of this process while alive, however, because in the process of changing phenomenal circumstances, that capacity will not be generated spontaneously for you. You will suffer the same limitations of attention that you suffered while you were alive. Furthermore, after death the powers that control attention seem much more profound than they do in life.

DEVOTEE: The text on the six Yogas of Naropa mentions that if you do not grasp Enlightenment while alive, you will not be able to “hold on” or practice at the point of death. You will be shocked by the dropping of the nirmanakaya.

MASTER DA FREE JOHN: Attention moves and is fixed by tendency until we can recognize and transcend the habit of attention itself, the habit energy associated with consciousness. The business of life is to realize the process of recognition whereby we transcend the habit energy of attention. This is also our business after death.

While we are alive, phenomena impress us very directly, but our attention tends to be superficially associated with them, and we do not recognize them as they truly are. Just so, we also fail to recognize phenomena after death, when we have lost the environment of the nirmanakaya, the physical embodiment that controls attention. After death the realm of subtlety and energy controls attention. Our condition of existence is still fundamentally the same, however, because attention is still controlled by phenomena, although then they are more subtle than the gross phenomena of life.

Enlightenment or the spiritual process is the recognition of phenomena or the phenomenal energies that control and manipulate attention. If you can begin to recognize the process of identification whereby you determine an independent, egoic self-sense, then while alive you may realize the dharmakaya, the Divine Truth, or That which becomes radiant throughout the whole of your existence. Likewise, after death you will enjoy the capacity to recognize phenomena and pass through them, transcend them, be Happy, and be Enlightened, or pass directly into the Samadhi of ultimate Realization, even though phenomena may continue to arise.

Once Enlightened, you may be reintroduced into the stream of phenomena to serve some higher, radiant, Enlightened purpose. You may be reborn to fulfill the Law of that Dimension of our existence that is beyond the repetitions created by fear and reactivity, the Law that is the fundamental force inherent in existence and that produces all phenomena out of Enlightened Fullness. Such a rebirth, so-called, is different from the rebirth of the ordinary being conditioned by reactivity and self-possession, because of the Enlightened capacity to recognize phenomena. This capacity for recognition accounts for the spiritual differences among beings in life and after death and between death and rebirth. Apart from that Enlightened disposition, however, our experiencing and perceiving are conditioned by the habits of attention, the cause-and-effect, action-reaction processes that arise when we do not recognize phenomena but rather allow phenomena to determine our destiny.

The fact that we are apparently embodied or that attention is distracted in perception and conception is not the problem. The problem, if we can call it a problem at all, is that we do not recognize these phenomenal states. We do not realize the Condition in which they are arising, and we do not transcend the conventions that they impose upon us. It is not that we must rid ourselves of all phenomenal states and realize the zero of a false nirvana. Rather, we must recognize what arises and radiate the power of the Transcendental Reality, or the dharmakaya, or the free energy of the sambhogakaya, into the play of manifestation. Then existence becomes radiant, transfigured, a truly spiritual manifestation.

Whether one Realizes the Spiritual Reality or not, the play of manifestation is a process of cycles of birth, then death, then after-death, then reintegration with phenomena and rebirth. Enlightenment does not prohibit such transformations of attention. Enlightenment is the force of the recognition of those transformations, which are not created by the Divine Nature or the very Divine or the Buddha Nature or the dharmakaya at all, but spontaneously continue without cause. Nothing inherent in the phenomena of existence should cause us to try to bring them to an end. Rather, we should relate to them through Enlightened recognition.

If we are incapable of recognizing phenomena, then we are limited to the game of cause and effect or its opposite, the negative reaction of reducing ourselves to zero or no-experience. Both illusions-the self-indulgent, egoic exploitation of phenomena and the false nirvana-are false paths, paths of fear and bewilderment. Enlightenment is recognition, inherent transcendence, whereby even this dimension of Reality becomes an Enlightened force that associates us with all the ultimately positive qualities of relationship.

DEVOTEE: Master, somehow I had understood Realization of the Clear Light to be a terminal, ultimate, and absolute event.

MASTER DA FREE JOHN: This conception of zero is common to Western consciousness. It is because of this and other like structures of consciousness that Westerners find it difficult to understand Buddhist texts on such states as Shunyata (“emptiness”), or the void, or Nirvana. The tendency of Westerners to associate such conceptions with the zero of nothingness undermines the paradoxical suggestion in Buddhist literature of the identity or equation of Nirvana and samsara. Realization is utterly coincident with phenomenal existence, and it is not at all coincident with the motive of dissociation or separation from phenomena.

This life, this world, this experience, is the Clear Light. If you cannot recognize it as such in Truth, then you are only associated with phenomenal conditions themselves, and with the pattern of arising experience. Thus, you can conceive of Liberation only as separation from this experience. But when you recognize this experience, then the paradoxical equation between the Clear Light of Nirvana and the multiplicity and complexity of samsara is evident. That Nirvana and samsara are the same is obvious, but it is also a paradox. It cannot be explained, because its Truth is coincident with this present experience, not something else to which we can point and refer.

The process whereby Enlightenment is achieved or Realized is the same in every moment of this pattern of arising! It is always a matter of recognizing phenomena as nothing but modifications of what the Buddhists call the Mind, or Fundamental Reality, and what I call the Radiant Transcendental Being. Whatever arises has neither independent significance nor necessity and is fundamentally transparent in the moment of recognition.

Enlightenment is associated with recognition whatever the phenomena, whether gross or abstract or subtle, and whether arising in life or after death. What arises after death is subtle or abstract. The forms that typically arise in ordinary life are gross forms, but during our lifetime we may also encounter subtle and abstract experiences, which must also be recognized. Such subtle experiences are not the signs of Realization or Enlightenment. They are characteristics or attributes of consciousness. The fact that we can attain a state of subtle awareness, therefore, does not signify that we are Enlightened or exalted to a great spiritual plane.

Very often, the capacity for subtle or abstract vision is regarded by practitioners of yoga to be an end in itself. I have criticized traditions that value abstract and subtle visions of light or some Divine Being in some other world. To regard the having of subtle visions (that is, phenomena not associated with gross manifestation to be Enlightenment is precisely the illusion that must be overcome from the point of view of the highest teachings.

To regard any phenomenon as exclusively Divine or Illumined or Enlightened is the illusion. While we are alive we associate happiness and pleasure with what we desire. We do not therefore recognize the things we desire but rather let them determine our experience. Likewise, after death or in meditative states we are similarly attracted to subtle and abstract visions, and we take similar pleasure in them.

The phenomena that may arise after death and in meditation, like those that may arise during outward, waking life, have nothing whatsoever to do with Enlightenment. They are demonstrations of our possibility for experience and knowledge, and they must be recognized rather than held on to. To cling to an abstract form of light is ultimately no different from clinging to some person in the waking state, or to some environment, some pattern of associations in the gross state or of visions or apparitions in subtle worlds. All clinging to phenomena is egoic and self-possessed, creating forms of confinement and illusion that prevent us from recognizing the true nature or Condition of phenomena. Enlightenment or God-Realization is the Realization of ecstasy, or self-transcendence, based on the recognition of all phenomena, whether gross or subtle or abstract.

All phenomenal appearances are dependent on the same psycho-physical, egoic structure. Thus, the same problem, so-called, faces us in death that faces us in life. We are attracted to or repelled by what arises, reacting either positively or negatively to phenomena. This principle is true in the waking state while we are alive. It is true in dreams. It is true after death. It is true in all the categories of our possibility during life and after death. Truth is always associated with the recognition that phenomena are nothing other than non-binding modifications of the fundamental Reality, the Radiant Transcendental Consciousness or Being.

When this is tacitly realized to be true, when we can therefore recognize whatever phenomena arise, then we exist in the state of Enlightenment, fundamentally free. Whatever arises is not binding in any ultimate sense. We remain radiant, or the fundamental Reality remains Radiant, even in the face of what arises. But if we do not enjoy this capacity for recognition, then phenomena themselves are our limit, a process of changes that transform and control attention and produce binding effects.

In recognition there is no bondage, but apart from recognition of phenomena-pleasurable or painful-there is only bondage. This has been the fundamental and highest Teaching since ancient times, and it is the same Teaching that you consider with me.

DEVOTEE: Master, when I took certain drugs before I came here, I experienced the phenomena of the red light and the white light described in the traditions. Is that vision a simulation of the death experience?

MASTER DA FREE JOHN: Yes. Death removes you from the setting of gross phenomenal states of perception and conception and associates you with subtler ones. Hallucinogenic drugs in effect associate you with phenomena similar to those that arise after death. Under the influence of the drug you may not tend to experience such phenomena with the same clarity as you will after death, partly because the return of bodily states is imminent. The necessity to transcend phenomena is therefore not so urgent, since you will return to your so-called normal state eventually. Nevertheless, one can experience through the use of drugs the same subtle, abstract phenomena that one can experience after death.

Likewise, through techniques of meditation and the force of uncommon experiences one can withdraw from the perception and conception of gross conventional reality and its relations and associate with abstractions of light and sound or with subtle, visionary apparitions of energy that have discrete individuality. Such subtle and abstract phenomena may arise through meditation, shocks, drugs, death-any one of many disturbances to our conventional state of gross perception can regenerate or awaken us to the perception of these phenomena. They are not, however, identical to the Mystery or the Great Affair, because merely to have these perceptions is not to transcend them, not to be Enlightened. To take a drug does not yield any great capacity for recognition. Neither does conventional meditation or the shocks of life.

If your entire attention is reduced, or expanded, to the perception of a radiant spot or a great field of light, you can realize the experience to be not fundamentally different from the ordinary experience of the waking state in which you are seeing others and environments. In The Knee of Listening I have described this recognition or realization in my own case. I experienced all kinds of great yogic phenomena, but always there came the tacit recognition that having a subtle, mystical vision was not fundamentally different from perceiving in the ordinary way. Nothing different happened in meditation from what happened in ordinary awareness. The features of the phenomenal appearance changed, but the fundamental pattern or structure of awareness of phenomena was the same in the abstract and subtle states of awareness as in the gross states of awareness. Nothing was changed fundamentally by changing the features of the objects of awareness.

This recognition made it tacitly clear that Realization has nothing whatever to do with the changes of experience that can be attained by any means. God-Realization is the recognition of the habit of association with phenomena. In the course of my own spiritual practice, therefore, this disposition of recognition became primary and ultimately consequential, and all the other media or means of attaining experiences became unimportant.

Thus, in the history of my Teaching Work with people I have constantly criticized that disposition in us that is fascinated with the possibility of an alternative reality or the possibility of subtle or abstract phenomena. Nevertheless, in the Way that I Teach, we do not prevent such phenomena. In fact, in the devotional and meditative exercises that we engage, all kinds of gross or subtle or abstract phenomena may arise. All of you can report such experiences.

The spiritual process is not a means for attaining those experiences, but it is the process that can, that must, go on in the midst of those experiences. If now, presently, the experience arising is essentially the pattern of gross awareness, or gross phenomenal existence, you must recognize that. If now you are having a vision of a subtle being or subtle environments, the Spiritual Master in a form of light, heavenly worlds, gods, goddesses, you must recognize that. If now you are seeing white light, yellow light, blue light, a spot, a field of light, radiance, you must recognize that. To recognize all phenomena, all experience, is the Teaching.

We must recognize that whatever is arising, even this moment of gross perception, is a non-binding modification of the Radiant Transcendental Reality, what is called the Buddha Nature, or Nirvana, or Brahman, or Parabrahman, or Very God, or the Ultimate Divine, or the Truth. Whatever the name given to the Ultimate Realization, it is That which must be Realized on the basis of the recognition of whatever is arising. Therefore, it is not necessary to achieve an alternative reality or an alternative state of experience in order to be Happy or to realize the Truth. Rather, Happiness or the realization of Truth is a matter of recognizing whatever happens to be arising.