[Wilber first discusses how Chogyam Trungpa started off with a way that was based on the ultimate truth, but needed to introduce lesser, "transformative" practices over time when no one proved ready for the more fundamental practice.]
KEN WILBER: Exactly the same thing happened with Adi Da, another influential (and equally controversial) adept (although this time, American-born). He originally taught nothing but "the path of understanding": not a way to attain enlightenment, but an inquiry into why you want to attain enlightenment in the first place. The very desire to seek enlightenment is in fact nothing but the grasping tendency of the ego itself, and thus the very search for enlightenment prevents it. The "perfect practice" is therefore not to search for enlightenment, but to inquire into the motive for seeking itself. You obviously seek in order to avoid the present, and yet the present alone holds the answer: to seek forever is to miss the point forever. You always already ARE enlightened Spirit, and therefore to seek Spirit is simply to deny Spirit. You can no more attain Spirit than you can attain your feet or acquire your lungs.
Nobody got it. And so Adi Da, exactly like Trungpa, introduced a whole series of translative and lesser transformative practices — seven stages of practice, in fact — leading up to the point that you could dispense with seeking altogether, there to stand open to the always-already truth of your own eternal and timeless condition, which was completely and totally present from the start, but which was brutally ignored in the frenzied desire to seek.
Now, whatever you might think of those two Adepts, the fact remains: they performed perhaps the first two great experiments in this country on how to introduce the notion that "There is only Ati" — there is only Spirit — and thus seeking Spirit is exactly that which prevents realization. And they both found that, however much we might be alive to Ati, alive to the radical transformative truth of this moment, nonetheless translative and lesser transformative practices are almost always a prerequisite for that final and ultimate transformation.
[Note: Similar points are made in Wilber, The Marriage of Sense and Soul: Integrating Science and Religion, Broadway Books, 1998.]
ADI DA AND THE CASE OF KEN WILBER
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