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Comment by Edward theurj Berge on September 3, 2013 at 11:06am

Yes, I go into the history of the shentong/rangtong debate in the Batchelor thread. So technically shentong is 'Buddhism' but many within that tradition, including Batchelor, see shentong as a return to Vedanta. For example this post from the referenced thread specifically naming Wilber (though misspelled):

In the thread where Pepper criticizes Wallace, Batchelor commented in the original linked discussion. I copied some of Batchelor's comments in the Pepper thread below, with some additions. He said:

"What is striking in the case of Alan Wallace is that the position he appears to present in his book regarding an atman-like (yes!) consciousness that underpins all experience (and reality itself?) is strongly influenced by Dzogchen, a practice and philosophy found in the Nyingma school, but a view that is rejected vehemently by Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Geluk school.... The Prasangika-Madhyamaka philosophy of the Gelukpa has no time at all for any kind of primordial or pristine consciousness, which, correctly I believe, it regards as a return to Vedanta. Much of Tsongkhapa’s polemical writings are taken up with rejecting this practice and its philosophical corrollary of gZhan sTong ('Other Emptiness').... It has always struck me that the “Mind and Life” dialogues between the Dalai Lama and scientists have suffered from a strong, though often unstated, bias towards Dzogchen and its reified and idealistic notion of atman-like consciousness. Many of the leading Buddhist voices at these events have been Dzogchen practitioners: the Dalai Lama himself, Matthieu Ricard, and Alan Wallace. (On another note, this kind of view is becoming normative of much 'Eastern spirituality' in the West, particularly under the influence of the neo-Vedantist Ken Wilbur and his followers/admirers — it is hardly surprising that Wilbur practices and endorses Dzogchen).... I believe that by positing an atman-like consciousness, Dzogchen (and similar teachings found in Chan/Zen – and even in the Theravada Forest Tradition) are implicitly abandoning the a-theism of the Buddha and embracing another theos called Pristine Consciousness/ the One Mind/ the One Who Knows etc."

Comment by Balder on September 3, 2013 at 10:24am

In appealing to the unchanging Absolute Emptiness/Awareness, Wilber is appealing to the shentong view, it appears, at least as it is expressed within some traditions.  Quoting Paul Williams' Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, "There is an ultimate reality, an Ultimate or Absolute, something which really, intrinsically, inherently, exists. It is eternal, unchanging, an element which exists in all sentient beings and is the same, absolutely the same, in obstruction and enlightenment. All beings have within them the pure radiant nondual consciousness of a fully enlightened Buddha.  This consciousness is obscured by adventitious defilements which do not really exist.  In the obscured state this nondual consciousness is spoken of as the tathagatagarbha; in enlightenment it is the dharmakaya, or the Essence Body, but in reality these are exactly the same thing, so that even unenlightened beings have within them the nondual consciousness of a Buddha, complete with the many remarkable qualities of a Buddha's consciousness...  The self-empty [rang-tong] teachings are said by the Jo nang pas to be correct as far as reasoning goes, as a lower teaching, clearing away erroneous views and cutting attachment to conventionalities that really simply do not exist at all.  But one has eventually to go beyond mere reasoning.  When one goes beyond reasoning (particularly in direct nonconceptual meditative experience) there is realized something new, a real intrinsically existing Absolute beyond all conceptualization but accessible in spiritual intuition (in gnosis, jnana) and otherwis available, as the Tathagatagarbha texts stress, only to faith" (pp. 114-115).

Comment by Edward theurj Berge on September 3, 2013 at 7:18am

Funny how the video just disappeared from the host...

Comment by Edward theurj Berge on September 3, 2013 at 5:01am

The same dualistic notions. Emptiness is not unchanging; it's very definition in Buddhism is impermanence and dependent arising. Any Buddhism that posits an unchanging emptiness is not only not the fourth turning but goes back to Vedanta or no turning. See the Batchelor thread for a more in-depth discussion.

Comment by Balder on September 2, 2013 at 9:05pm

The little snippet here presents familiar material (also found in Integral Spirituality), but also echoing themes in a likely forthcoming booklet on Integral Buddhism I've just had a chance to preview: The Fourth Turning

What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

This group is for anyone interested in exploring these questions and tracing out the horizons of an integral post-metaphysical spirituality.

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