Vision Mound Magazine – Adi Da Community


 

VISION MOUND

Volume 1, Number 3

SEPTEMBER 1977

The True Teaching Is a Renewal of Culture

Bubba Free John (Adi Da Samraj) in dialogue with a
devotee.

 

BUBBA: When people think of spiritual matters they
tend to think of the influence of the Orient. But because in
the last hundred years the world has become more and more
intercommunicative, we are witnessing a synthesis of world
cultures in which the great divisions of East and West are
breaking down. And coincident with this development, new
awakenings to spiritual influence are appearing in both East
and West. My work here represents both of these cultural
events. The Teaching I am here to demonstrate is not an
Eastern philosophy, nor is it a Westerners recounting of his
experience in the East. It is a reunion of the great
divisions of culture.

In the past to be acceptable to Western people a teaching
had to be based in the one-sided experience of the West.
Today, however, to be truly acceptable a communication must
represent a unity of experience. Individuals in the world
today, because of the modern experience of communication,
will not accept nor rest in a practice that is not unifying
and full.

Even so, people generally identify genuine spirituality
with Eastern cultures. And there are aspects of this
Teaching that relate to Eastern culture, but there are also
aspects that relate to Western culture. These relationships
however, are secondary and superficial. This Teaching
represents a synthesis of cultural and spiritual tension of
the being. Thus, while it is not Eastern, it is not
particularly Western either.

Nonetheless, while this Teaching does not represent
simply the objective Western approach or the subjective
Eastern approach, it is also not just a mechanical or
intellectual synthesis. It is itself a unity created out of
spiritual realization. As a matter of fact, if realization
were not its source, then it would be simply intellectual
stuff. Thus the whole matter of Divine life cannot be
summarized. It is not something that can be presented in a
weekend to an interested group. It emanates from an impulse
that is the renewal of culture and the transformation of
life.

People have many cultural suppositions about spiritual
life and spiritual teachers based on what they have read and
heard. The teacher is supposed to look and act a certain way
because what is spiritual is generally associated with what
is ascetic. The Way of Divine Ignorance does not represent
an exclusively ascetic point of view. But clearly it is a
discipline, ascetic in the highest spiritual sense. Nothing
in itself is presumed to be the Real. No experience in
itself is the Truth, no inner experience or outer
experience, no object, no state in itself exclusively is the
Truth. Thus all experience and all movements of attention in
the being are transcended in intuition of the Real
Condition. In that sense all the disciplines in this Way are
ascetic. They are a kind of heat. They transform, they
transcend. Yet the world of arising manifestation is not
avoided. Therefore when you become involved in this work you
live an ordinary life. You work in the world and are
creatively active in the world, if that is your interest.
Ordinary worldly activity is not prohibited in
principle.

Because of todays fast communication, because there are
more and more books about spirituality and more and more
people traveling and talking about spiritual matters, it is
easy to imagine that some great spiritual event is
occurring. But people are just considering spiritual ideas.
Most people who are involved with so-called spirituality are
involved in superficial ways, as they would be with
conventional church beliefs.

What people describe as the great spiritual age today is
just a turning toward subjective matters and subjective
illusions. Such a view was fostered in this country by the
drug culture of the 60’s which turned people into the
subjective order. But that way is just as filled with
illusions as any conventional life. It is the dimension of
mind just as outward obsessions are also mind. Mind is the
thing that we suffer, including the ego, which is a part of
mind. Therefore, turning to the subjective order is not
spiritual.

Certainly the so-called spiritual cultures arising in
this country have some feeling for a fuller life. They
represent a sympathy with an aspect of the body-being that
Western life has tended to exclude. The subjective or
emotional aspect of the being is being emphasized again, and
so for that reason spiritual movements in this country look
toward the East. But the subjective being is not the Truth
any more than the active or objective being. Thus most
people are just arbitrarily and superficially taking on
Eastern religious customs in the name of spirituality.

True spirituality is a moral and spiritual
transformation. And the practice of real or spiritual life
begins to make a difference when people who are living
conventional lives are no longer addicted to the worldly
game. Not that they become other-worldly and separate from
the world entirely, but they no longer live as a
manifestation of conventional consciousness and
interests.

It is important to recognize that conventional
consciousness and interests also include all the baggage of
conventional spirituality, all the outer forms of
priestliness, all the Pharisaic nonsense – your robes, your
philosophers, your sitting at the head of the table, your “I
belong to this and you are crazy,” and all the beads and
trappings and concepts and symbols and cultishness. These
are not the sign of spiritual awakening. They are part of
the ordinary consciousness, just as ordinary as gray flannel
suits and Madison Avenue.

Nevertheless, all states of consciousness, whether
ordinary or extraordinary are to be overcome. They are just
mentality. People in this country in particular are not too
much aware of the dual criticism that is contained in the
ultimate spiritual message. They are attuned to the message
that serves when you are outwardly obsessed, full of
desires, living by the flesh. Then the common message is
that you must turn to the spirit, change your mind, get
involved in internal, spiritual things. But spiritual is not
internal. Spiritual is absolute vacuum. Thus the true
spiritual message is a criticism of inwardness and the
subjective order just as it is a criticism of ordinary
outward, compulsive, obsessive desiring.

An aspect of spiritual growth is the passage through the
revelation of so-called internal content. But the individual
overcomes the content in the process. He stands over against
it, in relationship to it, consciously, just as he must also
stand in relationship to the so-called outer world. But
people tend to become involved in subjectivity rather than
transcending it. They get turned off to the “outside” world
and turned on to the “inside,” and then they become obsessed
with all kinds of symbols of the mind that they identify
with Truth, everything from artificial designs of God, like
the paintings of Krishna, to subtler aspects of the
subjective order, such as internal lights and spontaneous
visions. Thus, every tradition in religious history has been
subject to the illusion of the internal. This Teaching,
however, is the expression of the radical Way of Truth. It
criticizes the order of the mind, the subtle dimension, just
as it criticizes the gross or objective dimension.

Traditionally there has been a division between the great
tendencies in consciousness of West and East, the one toward
manifestation and the other toward the source of
manifestation. When the Western man gets religious, he turns
toward the source, but without leaving the born condition.
He believes in Creator-God, the God-apart who has plans for
the world. Basically his belief in God is an orientation
toward his life, his future. The Eastern man is turned
toward the source, giving up his born position, merging back
into the origin. These approaches are like two different
relationships to the sun. In the one the individual stands
in the sunlight and depends on it for his destiny, in the
other he tries to merge himself in the sun. These are the
two classic, cultural religious positions represented by
East and West.

The Eastern and Western paths developed independently for
a time and eventually they began to come into contact with
one another, in opposition to one another, but also
combining and sharing qualities. Today communication is so
fast and time and space on earth are so single that a
synthesis is emerging, a whole body culture, and the seat of
it is here in this country.

As this new culture emerges the criticism it implies of
old adaptations must be absorbed. Separate tendencies
represented by past cultural habits can no longer be
accepted. We no longer are disposed to indulge a one-sided
culture. This is the time of synthesis, not the superficial
synthesis of mere communication, but the real synthesis of
the reawakening of the whole body point of view. That point
of view is the essence of this Teaching. It is a reawakening
without the cultural limitations of any time and place in
the past. And it carries with it, then, a criticism of the
presumption that any object or experience, whether
subjective or objective, is Truth in itself. Therefore,
neither of the great orientations is, in itself, the way of
Truth.

In the fullness of our practice the whole body is brought
into consciousness, all of its orientations and all of its
experiences are inspected and become a matter of
responsibility. All the superficial patterns that we
represent individually, psychologically, culturally, and
socially all are inspected and all are made a matter of
responsibility. We are turned to lawful practice rather than
reactive patterns by tendency. Thus this is a different
practice altogether from what is traditionally represented
in East or West.

DEVOTEE: You have said before that the spiritual
influences of Buddha and Christ initiated a completely
different form of culture.

BUBBA: They represented a synthesis in their time
also, not so much of East and West because rapid global
communication did not exist in those times, but between the
movements of the being. Jesus emphasized the inner man and
mans higher sympathies as opposed to outer observances and
beliefs. Gautama also was a critic of the great
sacrificially ritualistic culture of the time. He saw that
real life required the individuals full commitment, full
realization, full conscious participation, and a revolution
of consideration. Both Jesus and Gautama taught that the
individual himself must become responsible for a union
between outer and inner considerations.

Krishna likewise, in the recorded teaching associated
with him at any rate, did not teach simply the inner path.
He taught that spiritual practice is not a matter of
avoiding action but of assuming a different relationship to
it, one that enables you to be turned toward the Divine
while active. Thus Krishna also represents a movement toward
the synthesis of “within” and “without.”

Whenever a spiritual awakening appears, unique in time
and space, and begins to become communicative in the world
to others, it synthesizes oppositions, differences, the
qualities that are creating disharmony in individual lives
and separating people from one another. Its origin is a
realization of real or Divine life in that time and place,
realized and communicated through an individual in the
company of others and for their sake. It has cultural
significance and thus cultural synthesis also occurs. But
such a Communication is fundamentally a radical approach to
all things harmonious or in-harmonious. It is prior even to
any synthesis. It is a real process. It is a serious and
profound matter in the highest sense. It always has
been.

 

 


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