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"The One Who Was To Come Is Always Already Here"
A Short Appreciation of the Teaching of Bubba Free John

by Ken Wilber
  
 

Vision Mound Magazine
Volume 2, Number 9, 1979

  cover of Vision Mound issue


In this article of appreciation, Ken Wilber advocates Bubba Free John's [Adi Da's] Teaching wholecloth. The language he uses is entirely Adi Da's, and the closing of the piece is unequivocal in its recognition of Adi Da as one of the very rare "Enlightened Ones," and its admonition to all to become Adi Da's devotee if they are able:

"Founded as the ultimate Condition of which all arising is but modification, Bubba Free John stands as simple Presence for all who would have recourse to him. The times at which such Enlightened Ones have appeared are very rare; please make use of the works and presence of Bubba Free John to whatever degree you are capable."


KEN WILBER: Whatever else might be initially said, the event of Bubba Free John is an occasion for rejoicing, because without any doubt whatsoever he is destined to be recognized as the first Western-born Avatar (World Teacher) to appear in the history of the world. For the other great avatars Christ, Gautama, Krishna all have been Asian. But here, for the first time, is a Western-born Spiritual Master of the ultimate degree. Bubba Free John himself was born as the Bright, or natively predisposed as the very Heart, the already awakened Transcendental Consciousness. But for the benefit of all those whose path he was eventually to serve, he assumed the guise of an ordinary and distracted seeker. There followed years of discipline in, and testing of, the limitations of the gross realms, and the subtle realms, and the causal realms, until, exhausting the manifold realms of merely experiential knowledge and sensation, he resumed his eternal and always already prior condition of true and unobstructed Consciousness. And as a result of his own experiential adventures and his own final awakening beyond any realms, high or low he has left us (and is still leaving us) with a wealth of written Teaching which is fast becoming an achievement of monumental proportions.

The Teaching itself is, in its scope, its eloquence, its simplicity, and its ecstatic fund of transcendent insight, probably unparalleled in the entire field of spiritual literature. More extraordinarily, the Teaching itself, like a very few other truly brilliant spiritual works, carries the graceful ability to liberate and awaken simply through hearing the argument. And the argument of the Teaching, which itself is liberating, is very simple:

Life as ordinarily lived is nothing but a reaction and a recoil that itself is suffering. That is, ordinary life is a contraction or recoil that does not lead to suffering but is itself the very activity of suffering. Anything the separate self does to try to avoid this recoil or contraction is itself simply more contraction, because "self" and "recoil" or "self" and "contraction" are one and the same process and that process is suffering. Trying to avoid suffering is itself suffering. Men and women seek because they are presently unhappy, but since this search is merely a reaction to suffering itself, it continues to assume suffering even as it attempts to escape it.

But there is more: Truth, in order for it to very Truth at all, must be the Truth of all conditions, and not itself a special condition apart from other conditions. As Bubba Free John puts it, Truth is the Condition of all conditions, and not itself a special, set-apart condition. That being so, then, as he writes in The Paradox of Instruction, "Direct Realization of Truth must be possible, essential, and necessary under ordinary or random present conditions, and not merely or especially under extraordinary or strategically attained conditions" (page 91). The Truth, then, is always already the case, and therefore, real spiritual life consists in a prior understanding of Truth, itself tacitly awakened through a true hearing of the liberating argument of the Spiritual Master, so that every "stage" of the Way is not a further progressive step towards liberation, but merely a more encompassing adaptation to, and test of, the realized Truth of Only God.

Notice, then, that the basic argument of Bubba Free John (I am drastically simplifying it) is that the search for a way out of suffering, which is also a search for Enlightenment or Truth, is doomed; and it is doomed because (1) the search, the activity of the search, is itself suffering and therefore could not alleviate suffering; and (2) the Truth cannot be found tomorrow, as seeking supposes, because it is always already the case, and there is no path to that which presently is.

The very Truth, then, is always already present, and every individual already intuits its Nature. And what is the form that this always prior intuition takes, even in the case of the ordinary seeker? According to Bubba Free John, the answer is simple: All beings, no matter what their status, are set upon the great abyss of Divine Ignorance. That is, no matter what arises, you cannot know what a single thing is. The World is a Mystery; your own being is a Mystery. You have always looked for God, and you have never seen Him or found Him but that very not-seeing is itself God. And since you have always not seen God, you have always intuited Him. That very Mystery through which you have always moved is Truth itself. That Divine Mystery is itself the ultimate Condition or Nature upon which all conditions are a mere play or modification.

Even the Awakened One lives as this Divine Ignorance or Radical Mystery, the identical Divine Ignorance that even ordinary beings intuit. But the difference is just this: The ordinary individual continually abandons Divine Ignorance in order to seek and contract into forms of knowledge and experience and that activity of contraction is identical to the activity of selfhood, which is identical to the activity of suffering. Only when you see, or understand, that everything you do is merely suffering and contraction only then do you spontaneously release (or rather, are spontaneously released by Grace) into that state of non-contraction which does not recoil in the face of Infinity. And that is the prior Estate of Divine Mystery.

Whereas the ordinary person continually abandons this Divine Mystery, in order to contract into knowledge and sensation, the Awakened One has perfectly and radically fallen into the condition of Divine Ignorance itself, and thus is perfectly aligned to the utterly spontaneous and unknowable play of the Divine. No-dilemma in mind, no-seeking in heart, for all forms of seeking are only forms of contraction and knowledge, and yet you still cannot know what one thing is.

The true spiritual path, then, consists not in a strategy for accomplishment or attainment, but in a continual abiding in the already present and prior Divine Ignorance. The stages of the Way represent, then, fuller expressions of Divine Ignorance or Radical Understanding, itself tacitly acknowledged upon truly hearing the argument of the Spiritual Master. And Bubba Free John's Teaching is a teaching of true hearing to hear the argument, to actually hear it, is already to have entered into a Divine relationship, of which all further "complications" are merely extensions.

Those who have begun to hear truly are naturally moved to practice the Way in the Company of Bubba Free John to readapt body, mind, and heart to this intuition of the living Reality. But all the stages and disciplines of practice though profoundly necessary and lawful are at last discovered to be only preparation for the instant when one's "hearing" of the Teaching becomes perfect and spontaneous, so that the heart opens utterly to infinite Love, the mind becomes Radiance only, and the body comes Alive in All-Pervading Light, the Divine Life of all beings.

Founded as the ultimate Condition of which all arising is but modification, Bubba Free John stands as simple Presence for all who would have recourse to him. The times at which such Enlightened Ones have appeared are very rare; please make use of the works and presence of Bubba Free John to whatever degree you are capable.

 


October, 1980: On Heroes and Cults


  

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