Kelamuni's Blog (15)

"Talking School" and "Practising School" in Adi Da's Spiritual Rhetoric

The discourses of contemporary Western appropriations of Indian spirituality can be said to be characterized by a series of rhetorical dichotomies. These oppositions or "dualities" (dvandvas) define these "new" expressions of Indian spirituality by rhetorically demarcating appropriate and "authentic" forms of spirituality from inappropriate and "inauthentic" forms.

The duality between the "pundit" and the "sage," and between "talking school" and "practising school" are among two of…


Added by kelamuni on January 31, 2011 at 8:01pm — No Comments

A Brief Geneology of the "Three Realms/Three States"

The teaching of the "three states" of consciousness makes its first appearance in the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad. This work is considered to be the authoritative basis of the teaching. However, in its second appearance in the Chandogya Upanishad the teaching has undergone a change. Chan Up 8.11.1 marks the change and is an interesting passage. There, Indra, who is being instructed by Prajapati on the three states, notes a fault in a particular teaching, a teaching that can only be that of the…


Added by kelamuni on January 31, 2011 at 8:00pm — No Comments

On the Term "Sahaj Samadhi"

Wilber's description of enlightenment as "sahaj samadhi" derives primarly from Da, who in turn appropriates the term from the writings of Ramana Maharshi. For Da, "sahaj samadhi" denotes a non-exclusory samadhi, i.e., a samadhi that does not "discriminate" the contents of consciousness from consciousness itself. Rather, in "sahaj samadhi" the contents of consciousness are seen as manifestations - "arisings," as he calls them - of consciousness itself. Compare Wilber's description of…


Added by kelamuni on January 31, 2011 at 7:58pm — No Comments

A Brief Note on Inclusivism

The Indian context for "inclusivism" is actually quite broad, and covers a number of different but related contexts. It takes inter-traditional forms as well as intra-traditional. Intra-traditionally, it includes the Buddhist idea of skillful means (upaya-kaushalya) and the Vedantic notion of "differences in qualification" (adhikarana-bheda) both of which refer to the idea that specific teachings are to be assigned to specific students in accordance with their needs and abilities; the idea…


Added by kelamuni on January 31, 2011 at 7:55pm — 7 Comments

On Experience and Intuition in Mystical Empiricism

In Eye to Eye, first published in 1983, Wilber says that "transcendental methodology constitutes an experimental, verifiable, repeatable proof for the existence of Godhead, as a fact..." (italics in orginal)."

No doubt, various traditions have claimed a special mode of knowing particular to their "practice," a kind of "metaphysical intuition" (yogi-pratyaksha; sakshatkara; anubhava; nirvikalpa-jnana; prajna; bodhi; viveka-khyati, etc.) that transcends the "worldly"…


Added by kelamuni on January 31, 2011 at 7:54pm — No Comments

Clash of the Advaitins

The article belongs to a set of articles in which various authors debate the veracity of "neo-advaita" as opposed to "traditional advaita."

One curious feature of this debate is how some followers of Ramana have classified themselves as "traditional advaitins."  This is curious, because in many articles I've read concerning "neo-advaita," it is typically the followers of Ramana and Nisargdatta who are called "neo-advaitins." And indeed, when we compare the advaita of Ramana with…


Added by kelamuni on January 31, 2011 at 7:52pm — No Comments

Wallace on Calm and Insight

The earliest Buddhist texts state that the Buddha's enlightenment occured in the 4th jhana. It is the later tradition that begins to emphasize vipassana, prajna, and so on. It is this "knowledge" stream that ultimately won out in the Buddhist tradition. This only makes sense, since it is insight that ultimately gives release in Buddhism. But usually, the two -- absorption and knowledge -- were corrodinated. This coordination is associated with the "argument from…


Added by kelamuni on January 31, 2011 at 7:51pm — No Comments

Enlightenment and the Logic of Being

In the Hindu renunciatory traditions, in particular Vedanta, the basic impetus driving the quest for release and "enlightenment" is the existential need to face, and in the end, overcome, death. This need, this impetus, can be traced through the Upanishads, back through the Brahmanas, back to the Aryan sacrificial cult itself. The cult was based upon the primordial duality of life and death, and the recognition that life comes from death. Later, the pure ritualism of the Brahmanas attempted…


Added by kelamuni on January 31, 2011 at 7:50pm — No Comments

Hyperbole in Wilber's Rhetoric

I have at times referred to Kenny's use of hyperbole when referring to other individuals or their teachings. I take it that Kenny has picked up this particular rhetorical modality from the materials he uses, and that these materials in turn derive their attitude from tradition itself which has set certain precedents. In other words, my sense is that this curious penchant for hyperbole derives, at least in part, from tradition itself, specifically from the attitiude toward the "great sage" or…


Added by kelamuni on January 31, 2011 at 7:48pm — No Comments

On the Use of the Term "Causal" in Wilber's Writings

The term "causal" (karana) can be traced back to the Book One of the Gaudapada Karika. Here are the pertinent verses:

11 Visva and Taijasa are conditioned by cause and effect. Prajna is conditioned by cause alone. Neither cause nor effect exists in Turiya.

12 Prajna does not know anything of self or non-self, of truth or untruth. But Turiya is ever existent and all-seeing.

13 Non-cognition of duality is common to both Prajna and Turiya. But Prajna…


Added by kelamuni on January 31, 2011 at 7:47pm — No Comments

Wilber and Adi Da's Nirvanasara

It is fairly clear that even in Integral Spirituality, Ken remains attached to views put forward by Franklin Jones in Nirvanasara.

Whenever Ken instanciates "causal formlessness" with the "classical nirvana" of Hinayana Buddhism, he basically evokes views put forward in Nirvanasara, though Goleman's reification of Theravada "nirvana" in Varieties of the Meditative Experience can also be said to be at work in Ken's characterization.



Added by kelamuni on January 31, 2011 at 7:42pm — 4 Comments

Wilber on Translation and Transformation

Wilber's One Taste, which contains a series of journal entries edited for public consumption, contains a reflection on "transformation" and its relation with what he calls "translation" (One Taste, pp. 26-37). The journal entry is reprinted online as "A Spirituality that Transforms," and the core of the entry, a discussion of the distinction between transformation and translation, can be found in The Essential Ken Wilber.

In his journal entry, Wilber takes…


Added by kelamuni on January 31, 2011 at 7:38pm — 1 Comment

Wilber on View and No View

In Integral Spirituality, Ken writes:

When one is in deep meditation or contemplation, touching even that which is formless and unmanifest-the purest emptiness of cessation-there are of course no conceptual forms arising. This pure "nonconceptual" mind-a causal state of formlessness-is an essential part of our liberation, realization, and enlightenment.

In the Theravada, or early Buddhism, this formless state of cessation (e.g., nirvikalpa, nirvana,…


Added by kelamuni on January 31, 2011 at 7:35pm — 1 Comment

Structures and States in Wilber's Recent Work

One thing that is noticable in Wilber's most recent work is a continuing refinement and adjustment of the relationship between "states," "structures," and "stages." Gone, for example, is the highly problematic, and perhaps ridiculous, idea that we are all, somehow or other, "evolving" into the "subtle mind stage" of human development, as if, someday, the future evolution of man will involve everyone walking around in a dream-state.

In Integral Spirituality Wilber attempts…


Added by kelamuni on January 31, 2011 at 7:30pm — No Comments

Wilber on Advaita Vedanta

On pages 201-205 of One Taste, after indulging in his typical penchant for hyperbole, Wilber offers us his "Introduction" to Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi. He says:

Ramana, echoing Shankara, used to say:

The world is illusory;

Brahman alone is real;

Brahman is the world.

The world is illusory, which means you are not any object at all -- nothing that can be seen is ultimately real. You…


Added by kelamuni on January 31, 2011 at 7:30pm — 1 Comment

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