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Elias CaprilesFrom 1993 to 2003 Elías-Manuel Capriles-Arias filled the Chair of Eastern Studies at the Faculty of Humanities and Education, University of The Andes, Mérida, Venezuela (originally ascribed to the Dean's Office and then to the Department of Philosophy). Thereafter he has been ascribed to the Center of Studies on Africa and Asia, School of History, same Faculty and University, where he teaches Philosophy and elective subjects on the problems of globalization, Buddhism, Asian Religions and Eastern Arts. Besides teaching at the University, Capriles is an instructor of Buddhism and Dzogchen certified by the Tibetan Master of these disciplines, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu; in this field, he has taught in Venezuela, Peru, Spain and Costa Rica. This essay is APPENDIX I of "Beyond Mind, Part III", published with permission of the author. See his personal website here.



And Its Relation With Wilber's
“Philosophical Tradition" And Views

"Beyond Mind", Part III, Appendix 1

Elías Capriles

Wilber (1998, p. 318) has noted that:

Chögyam Trungpa (1988) pointed out in Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, as did Huston Smith (1976) in Forgotten Truth, that the great wisdom traditions without exception—from the shamanic to the Vedantic, in the East as well as the West—maintain that reality consists of at least three great realms: earth, human and sky, correlated with body, mind and spirit (gross, subtle and causal), and these are further correlated with the three great states of human consciousness: waking (gross, body), dream (subtle, mind) and deep sleep (causal, spirit).
This is an instance of what here I will call the “transreligious fallacy,” which lies in ascribing views, practices and other elements of one spiritual tradition, to other traditions in which they simply do not fit.

This is an instance of what here I will call the “transreligious fallacy,” which lies in ascribing views, practices and other elements of one spiritual tradition, to other traditions in which they simply do not fit. In this particular case, the instance of the fallacy in question in which Wilber incurs is one discussed in Beyond Mind II (Capriles, 2006a), consisting in believing levels of the kind posited by some Upanishads to apply to all spiritual systems, and taking some of them to be types of Buddhist realization (if the views of the Upanishads were compatible with those of Buddhism, the Buddha Shakyamuni, rather than preaching his own system, would have referred his followers to the sacred texts in question).

Vajrayana Buddhism posits six bardos: the three of “life”—that of waking (kyenai bardo [skyes gnas bar do] or rangzhin bardo [rang bzhin bar do]), that of dream (milam bardo [rmi lam bar do]) and that of meditative absorption (samten bardo [bsam gtan bar do], consisting in states of samadhi)—and the three between death and rebirth—the chikhai bardo (’chi kha’i bar do), the chönyi bardo (chos nyid bar do), and the sidpa bardo (srid pa bar do). As noted in the discussion of Grof’s views,[1] these—which rather than levels are modes of experience—cannot be divided into samsaric, nirvanic and neither samsaric-nor-nirvanic, for all of them involve the three possibilities, which as we have seen repeatedly are the ones which are truly relevant to spiritual development in the Buddhist sense in which I have defined it. In fact, while waking, ordinary human beings constantly switch between the neutral base-of-all and samsaric states—whereas higher bodhisattvas, yogis, siddhas and mahasiddhas switch between these two conditions and instances of nirvana. Also while dreaming, ordinary human beings switch between the neutral base-of-all and samsaric states—whereas yogis, siddhas and mahasiddhas may switch between these two, samsaric states of lucid dreaming, and instances of nirvana. In the bardo of absorption, nirvikalpa samadhis are very often instances of the base-of-all, which, when a mental subject arises and takes a pseudototality as object, may be replaced by formless samsaric conditions; however, in the case of higher bodhisattvas, yogis, siddhas and mahasiddhas, these are always led to spontaneous liberation in nirvana. The same applies to the chikhai bardo: in those who have not reGnized their true condition, the experience of dang energy consisting in the shining forth of the clear light is an instance of the base-of-all, which is then followed by the perception of light as something external, at which point samsara manifests as a formless realm; only in practitioners possessing the appropriate means can this shining forth become an instance of the dharmakaya. With respect to the chönyi bardo, the experiences of rölpa energy consisting in non-Jungian archetypes are initially instances of the consciousness of the base-of-all, which as soon as they are perceived as external, become phenomena of samsara pertaining to the realm of form; only in the case of practitioners possessing the appropriate skillful means can they become instances of the sambhogakaya. In the case of the sidpa bardo, the experiences of tsel energy in which we see copulating beings of the six realms, are initially instances of the consciousness of defilements, which immediately become samsaric experiences of the realm of sensuality; only in mahasiddhas and the like can they become instances of the nirmanakaya. Therefore, to speak of levels in the sense in which Wilber does so is utterly irrelevant to spiritual development, with regard to which what is relevant is whether we are having a samsaric experience, an instance of the neutral base-of-all, or a clear instance of nirvana. (This implies as well that in Wilber’s [1980] view of the “cosmic cycle,” not only his conception of the spiritual and social evolution of our species as a process of gradual perfecting is wrong, but also his view of the preceding involution of consciousness is both mistaken and antisomatic (as is to be expected in a system of apparent Orphic roots, as below I show Wilber’s to be), for the intermediate state or bardo between death and rebirth is not a process of involution from dharmakaya to sambhogakaya to nirmanakaya to incarnation: the dang manifestation of the energy of thukje aspect of Dzogchen-qua-Base includes both the manifestation of the clear light in the chikhai bardo (’chi kha’i bar do) and that of ordinary thoughts in this life, and the latter may not be seen as an involution of the former, for both of them may either be delusively perceived, or serve for the reGnition of the true condition of dang energy—a reGnition that, as we have seen, is the manifestation of the dharmakaya.[2])[3]

The root of Wilber’s confusions seems to be betrayed by what he declares to be his “philosophical lineage,” which Roger Walsh (1998) describes as follows:

This lineage has its origins in the work of Pythagoras, Parmenides, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and then passes through Augustine and Aquinas, Maimonides and Spinoza, Hegel and Heidegger.

At this point Walsh has not yet mentioned Plotinus, but whether or not we include the latter, we find that the “lineage” in question is in its greater part of Orphic origin—or, what is the same, that it has dualistic and antisomatic roots, and that it is based on the mistaken belief that the delusorily valued-absolutized contents of knowledge, and hence limits and differences, are given, absolute and most precious—rather than on realizing them to be the essence of the relative sphere that in Buddhism is referred to by the Sanskrit term samvriti satya (which, as Gendün Chöphel [2005] reminded us and as commented in Capriles [2007a vol. I], has the etymological meaning of “obscuration to correctness” or “thoroughly confused”[4]) and as such to be the most basic hindrances introduced by delusive perception (i.e., perception conditioned by the second and third types of avidya or marigpa in the Dzogchen classification adopted here), which must be dissolved by the reGnition of Dzogchen-qua-Base (Socrates could be an exception to this, but only in case the true Socrates had been that of the Cynics, and Plato’s Socrates had been the result of the former ascribing his own ideas to his teacher[5]). The views of the Orphics, which seem to be of Kurgan (Proto-Indo-European) origin,[6] are at the opposite extreme of those of the contending, pre-Indo-European Dionysian tradition,[7] which seems to be the source of the views of Heraclitus, the different Skeptic schools and philosophers, some of the so-called “sophists,” and the Cynics, among others,[8] and which, insofar as Alain Daniélou has seemingly demonstrated the identity of Shiva and Dionysos and of the spiritual traditions associated to these deities, is to be identified as one of the traditions having their source in the nondual Dzogchen teachings and the rest of the teachings Shenrab Miwoche gave at the foot of Mount Kailash, probably around 1,800 BCE,[9] and which had a practice that consisted in the dissolution of all illusory boundaries, often by using to this end the impulses of the sacred human body (as in the Bacchanalia).

In fact, Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans drew from the Orphics, whose dualistic, antisomatic system posited a soul inherently separate from the body, viewing the latter as the jail or tomb of the former and the soul as an originally pure entity that is contaminated upon being cast into the body—and as recovering its original purity only through initiation into the Orphic mysteries.[10] The Pythagoreans replaced the mysteries as the vehicle of purification with the contemplation of mathematics and music—possibly because they believed the “soul’s contamination by the corporeal” to be purified by contemplating the incorporeal, and disharmony to be healed by contemplating the harmonic.[11] They equated limits—which are introduced by thought, and the delusory valuation-absolutization of which is the source of samsara—and the male with Good, while equating the limitless—and by implication the dissolution in Communion (as noted above, not in the Gilligan-Tannen-Wilber sense of the term) of the boundaries resulting from the delusory valuation-absolutization of limits—and the female with nongood (which to the Greeks amounted to Evil[12]). As shown in the notes to Capriles (2007a vol. I), historians of philosophy agree that the system of Parmenides had an Orphic origin as well;[13] his valorization of limits manifested as his equation of thought with truth and being, and his contempt toward the corporeal expressed itself as a total negation of reality to the material, corporeal world. As I showed elsewhere (Capriles, 2000c; definitive discussion to appear in work in progress 3), Plato synthesized the systems of the Pythagoreans and the Eleatics, giving rise to the first openly proclaimed ontological dualism of ancient Greece: for the first time there were, on the one hand, absolutely nonmaterial, ontological entities such as the eidos, the demiurge and the souls, and, on the other hand, formless matter. Although all of these “realities” were eternal, they pertained to diametrically opposite categories: (eternal) matter constituted nontruth, nonbeing, nonbeauty and nongoodness itself, whereas truth, being, beauty and goodness lied in the (eternal) nonphysical world of eidos, which replaced Parmenides’ world of thought as the true reality, but which, seemingly unlike Parmenides’ thought,[14] was external to the soul. In its turn, nonbeing no longer consisted in the physical world, as in Parmenides, but in unformed matter: the physical world, insofar as it was made of matter, partook of the latter’s untruth, nonbeing, nonbeauty, and nongoodness, yet insofar as it had been given form (eidos), it partook of the latter’s truth, being, beauty and goodness[15]—thus lying half way between truth and untruth, being and nonbeing, beauty and its lack (ugliness), and good and its lack (evil).[16] Plato drew his immortal souls from the Pythagoreans, and incorporated the Pythagorean view that the soul was corrupted by the body; however, he made of perception through the senses the source of this corruption, insofar as the knowledge thus obtained replaced the true knowledge (noein) of eidos the souls of the would-be philosophers had before birth, for the half-true, half-false knowledge of the half-true, half-false physical reality—which was mere opinion or doxa, involved contamination by the corruptible, and may be said to involve error insofar as it takes the half true to be absolutely true—and as a result of this the memory of the eidos and therefore of Truth, Good and Beauty became inaccessible (which, insofar as Plato believed that the awareness of Truth, Good and Beauty made the individual true, good and spiritually beautiful, implied the impossibility of achieving these qualities). As we have seen, just like Parmenides’ physical world, matter was nonbeing and falsehood (absence of truth), but it also was, just like for the Pythagoreans, absence of Good (evil) and absence of Beauty (ugliness). In the noted allegory of the cave in Republic VII, 514a-517a (Plato, 1979), the world of shadows represents the half true, half false physical world: it contains the forms projected by the eidos (i.e., cast by the Demiurge taking the eidos as models), yet these appear on the cave walls, which represent matter. In this allegory, turning toward the source of light, which was the eidos of Good, rather than representing the spontaneous liberation of knowledge, represented the reminiscence of the eidos that would-be philosophers had supposedly grasped before birth by means of noein—an exclusively intellectual intuition not involving the senses (i.e., not involving aisthesis) in which the eidos were presumably apprehended as absolute truth, and which as such from my perspective would have clearly involved the delusory valuation-absolutization of knowledge. In fact, Plato developed the theory of eidos in order to destroy the relativism of the so-called “sophists”—at least some of whom seem to have shown the relativity of the relative as a medicine against the illness of taking the relative as absolute, and by the same token as a means for allowing people to See through the relative into the absolute (this may have been the intent of both Protagoras and Gorgias;[17] in his turn, Cratylus’ raising his finger as a reply whenever he was questioned, may have been exactly the same skillful means as those of Ch’an Master Chu‑ti, successor to T’ien­-lung [Cleary & Cleary, trans., 1977, vol. I, Nineteenth Case, pp. 123‑128)][18]).

Plato’s Orphic lineage is evident in Gorgias 493B (Plato, 1973), which speaks of “one of the wise, who holds the body to be a tomb;” furthermore, in both Phaedo 69E (Plato, 1980) and Gorgias 493B (Plato, 1973), Plato condoned the malevolent Orphic myths concerning the afterdeath, telling us approvingly how in the Hades or underworld the souls of the initiated into the Orphic mysteries tortured the souls of the uninitiated.[19] However, it seems that Plato (as the Pythagoreans[20] before him and perhaps the Orphic themselves) incorporated into his works earlier, pre-Indo-European myths and views associated with the Dionysian tradition, which he reshaped so as to make them fit his Orphic-inspired worldview. A Platonic myth that seems to be an example of this is that of the inverted cycles the foreigner tells in Statesman 268d-273c (Plato, 1957), which combines the ancient cyclic, degenerative vision of human spiritual and social evolution shared by Heraclitus and the Stoics (who might have received it from Heraclitus via the Cynics[21]), with the germ of Orphic antisomatism, theism and so on.[22] In its turn, the allegory of the cave could be a modification of a Dionysian parable in which the source of light represented Dzogchen-qua-Base, so that turning to the former represented the latter’s unconcealment, and the apprehension of shadows represented perception in terms of delusorily valued-absolutized thoughts. With regard to philosophical views, a characteristic Platonic notion that seems to have resulted from the same type of operation is that of the identity of Truth, Good and Beauty: at the end of Hippias Major (

Plato, 1975/1988)[23] Plato discussed at length the identity of Good and Beauty (which the Pythagoreans called kalokagathia); in Republic 502c-509c (Plato, 1979) he posited the Good as supreme eidos and thereby as supreme Truth; and in Symposium 211E (Plato, 1995)where he also discussed the indivisibility of Beauty and the Good—he asserted Beauty to be the supreme eidos. These views might have derived from ancient Dionysian wisdom insofar as in the state of rigpa (Skt. vidya), of which avidya or marigpa (ma rig pa) is both the concealment and distortion, and which therefore constitutes Truth in the sense of absence of delusion (rather than truth qua adæquatio), the world is apprehended in an immediate way, without the interposition of the filter of the known that “closes the doors of perception” and thus dims the perceived, making everything dull[24]—so that this immediate apprehension could from some perspective be understood as supreme Beauty—and we are free from selfishness and from the dynamic of the shadow, so that there is no seed of evil—which in its turn could be understood as supreme Good. If this interpretation were correct, it could be Plato’s assimilation of Dionysian myths and views of high antiquity that has misled so many scholars into taking him for a nondual mystic.[25] At any rate, it is clear that Plato’s eidos could not be the reGnition of Dzogchen-qua-Base, for as shown below it is achieved by means of the reasoning Plato called noesis, and although as shown above the supreme eidos coincide, there is a multitude of other, lower eidos that do not coincide with each other. Finally, the communism Plato posited for the guardians (and for the magistrates and philosopher-kings that would be chosen among the aptest of guardians) in his allegedly utopian, actually dystopian Republic seems to have been inspired by the egalitarian ideals of the Dionysian tradition—shared by all traditions originating in Mount Kailash[26]—and the egalitarian character of pre-Indo-European societies espousing Dionysian religion (what Riane Eisler [1987] calls the “Old Europe”)—yet it was proposed for utilitarian reasons as part of a system that was intended to reproduce the three-tiered cast system of the Indo-Europeans, with the only difference that a person’s place in that system, rather than being determined by his or her parents’ place, was to be decided on the basis of spiritual character and intellectual capacity. In fact, the political ideal of Plato’s Republic was that of the rule by a few over the vast majority of the people, and the ideal of justice in the text, rather than consisting in a reasonable degree of socio-economic and political equality, was that each citizen should occupy the place in society that allegedly corresponded to his or her spiritual character and intellectual capacity, thus justifying sharp social and political differences.[27]

To sum up, on the spiritual-epistemological-ontological plane, rather than calling for us to See through divisive, delusorily valued knowledge into the limitless, undivided, unthinkable, absolutely true Self-qua-Base, Plato called for potential philosophers to attain the anamnesis or reminiscence of the eidos or Forms that their souls were supposed to have perceived directly before being cast into a material body, and which they supposedly forgot as memory of the eidos was concealed by the subsequently established memories of the half true, half false knowledge received through the senses. Since this anamnesis was reached through noesis or thinking that takes its premises as hypothetic but that concludes in an instance of noein or intellectual intuition that is experienced as the apprehension of absolute truth (and which both to Plato and to the Eleatics was absolute truth),[28] it is clear that it occurred in the realm of delusorily valued knowledge, and therefore that Plato was an advocate of delusion. In fact, neither Buddhism in general, nor the Dzogchen teachings in particular, nor common sense, do posit immaterial, eternal, absolutely true eidos existing outside the mind, and Buddhism in general and the Dzogchen teachings in particular, which do not posit immaterial realities, outright reject the supposed existence of an eternal individual soul (which may have grasped or not grasped anything before birth); therefore, in terms of Buddhism and Dzogchen the noein posited by both Parmenides and Plato must necessarily be a perception in terms of delusorily valued subtle and supersubtle thoughts, and as such a manifestation of avidya or marigpa in all three senses these terms have in the teachings in question. Since true knowledge involved perfect awareness of the distinctions between the different eidos and excluded Communion in the unconcealment of the single true condition or ourselves and of the whole of reality, Plato’s epistemological-ontological-spiritual ideal was inherently divisive, and thus it is apparent that his divisive ideal of society responded to his spiritual-epistemological-ontological ideal, and that both ideals arose from the experiential perspective of avidya or marigpa.

Plotinus, in his turn, on the premise that the absolute could not be finite, and aware that being is negated or limited by nonbeing, established that the absolute could not lie in being, and concluded it had to consist in the One. However, this was no solution, for the One is, just as much as being, a concept defined in relation to other concepts (it is relative to those of nothing, two and manifold)—and his assertion that it is the One that makes the oneness of each and every entity possible,[29] does not atone for the error of positing as the absolute a concept that as such is relative to other concepts (in Capriles, 1994a, Chapter One, Appendix II, pp. 136-146, these views of Plotinus were compared with those of Shankaracharya’s[30]). At any rate, the true problem with Plotinus is that he betrays his Orphic-Platonic roots by retaining, underneath his assertion of oneness, the Orphic-Pythagorean-Platonic dualism between the spiritual and the material, and although he attempts to conceal this dualism by positing a continuum of manifestation, he asserts the continuum in question to extend itself from the One, conceived as transcendent, to matter and the manifest in general, to which the One remains in contrast and subtly alien. In fact, although the manifest is considered to be the radiance of the One, which attenuates itself as it goes farther from its source yet remains the One, matter is in itself formless and indeterminate, like the limit where the radiance of the One, and therefore of the Good, has become exhausted. In this sense, it represents the lack of Good (i.e., evil). And, since Beauty is the radiance of the Good / the One (this being Plotinus’ revised version of the Pythagorean kalokagathia and of Plato’s indivisibility of Truth, Good and Beauty), matter is also lack of Beauty (i.e., the ugly) (Cappelletti, 2d. Ed., 2000, p. 252; Bréhier, 1961, pp. 47 et seq.). Thus Plotinus’ strategy for denying his dualism is the same as Parmenides’: since matter is nonbeing, it is not a second reality apart from the One, and therefore matter and the One cannot constitute a duality. However, this is a specious argument, for he speaks of matter as having specific characteristics, such as formlessness and indeterminacy, and as being, by contrast with the One, ugly and evil, and as therefore having the power to contaminate the soul; therefore, matter is the concept that constitutes the differentia specifica of the One, and Plotinus’ claims of nonduality are spurious.

However, the worse is that Plotinus’ views elicit contempt toward all that may be characterized as material or sensual, reinforcing the antisomatic attitude that is a central element of ecological crisis. In fact, though Plotinus views the desire for a beautiful body with the aim to procreate as licit, the noblest love is the one that, rather than involving carnal desire, has the incorporeal as its object and comprises the thirst to break the body and live in the depths of one’s “I” (Cappelletti, 2d. Ed., 2000, p. 257-258; Plotinus, 1983, Ennead III 5, 1). The material perverts the soul and is therefore to be overcome, for it is an extraneous agent (i.e., as noted above, it is alien to the One and to the soul that is the lowest level of the One, and therefore the One is not One that includes all insofar as there is something extraneous to it[31]) that overpowers it and degenerates it, corrupting it and inducing it to all kinds of perversion and impurity—whereby it abjures its very essence and falls into the body and matter. Plotinus’ view of the soul’s contamination by the body is thus like the Pythagoreans’: the soul’s disgrace lies in ceasing to be alien to the material, because just like gold loses its beauty when mixed with particles of earth and recovers it when these are removed, the soul loses its beauty when mixed with the body and recovers it when freed from it (which, again, proves the One not to be the One that includes all insofar as it shows that in Plotinus’ view there is something alien to it that may become mixed with it). Plotinus views so-called “physical” pleasure as dirty and impure, and Wisdom as the act whereby intelligence takes the soul away from the inferior region of the sensitive to elevate it so the summits of the spiritual (Cappelletti, 2d. Ed., 2000, p. 257-258; Plotinus, 1966, Ennead I 6, 5).[32]

Positing and asserting the existence of a transcendent spirit is so crucial to Wilber that he disqualifies deep ecologists for supposedly failing to postulate it,[33] and he is ready to close his eyes to the above-demonstrated subtle dualism of Plotinus just because he likes so much the idea that the One is transcendent (so that he can see it as spirit) and that the world is the radiance / manifestation of the One—even though this is not truly so insofar as in Plotinus’ view matter, which is the basic constituent of all entities, is alien to the soul and is the limit at which the radiance of the One has been exhausted. Contrarily to Wilber’s preferences, the Buddhist teachings, both in their original form and in all their presently existing forms, keep the [meta]phenomenological epoche, asking us to suspend judgment and abstain from speculating about the existence or nonexistence of something prior and / or posterior to manifestation and as such transcendent. To begin with, the Pali Canon, containing the reconstruction of Shakyamuni’s discourses, asserts the origin of the world to be unconjecturable, and warn that conjecturing about it brings about madness and vexation (Anguttara Nikaya4.77: Acintita Sutta); it lists among the fourteen avyakrtavastuni—i.e., the avyakrita questions, which are those before which Shakyamuni remained silent—the four questions regarding the “origin of the universe” (Khuddaka Nikaya, III: Udaana, VI, 4-5 [“The various sects,” 1 and 2])[34] (the other questions being the four that concern the universe’s extension, the two regarding the relationship between the human body and what common sense views as a jiva or soul [but which we could view either as consciousness or as the body’s animating principle], and the four concerning what follows after the parinirvana [decease] of a Tathagata),[35] and compares those who demand replies to these questions as a condition for setting foot on the Path, to one who, being wounded by an arrow, refuses to let the surgeon remove the shaft until he is told everything concerning the man who shot it, the bow with which it was shot, the arrow itself, and so on (Majjhima Nikaya 63: Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta). Buddhism not only acknowledges such questions to go beyond the sphere of valid human knowledge, hence shunning metaphysical speculation about them, but views them as distracting people from the fundamental aim of Buddhism, which is that of quenching suffering. This applies to the Mahayana as well, which beside shunning speculation concerning the origin of the world, views Buddhist systems that may seem suspicious of positing an everlasting universal spirit, a personal soul and so on, as instances of the extreme view that Buddhist philosophy calls “eternalism” and regards as a deviation from the Middle Way: both the Nirvana School of the Mahayana in China and the Jonangpa School of the Vajrayana in Tibet were accused of heresy because their opponents read in their tenets what they saw as eternalist, substantitalist or theist elements. H. H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama has said that (in Punnadhammo Bhikkhu, 2005):

On the philosophical level, both Buddhism and modern science share a deep suspicion of any notion of absolutes, whether conceptualized as a transcendent being, as an eternal, unchanging principle such as soul, or as a fundamental substratum of reality. Both Buddhism and science prefer to account for the evolution and emergence of the cosmos and life in terms of the complex interrelations of the natural laws of cause and effect.

It is worth mentioning that the Madhyamaka philosophical school of the Mahayana discards, (1) production from a self-existing self, (2) production from a self-existing other, (3) production from both a self-existing self and a self-existing other, and (4) production from neither a self-existing self nor a self-existing other.[36] Rather than being specifically a negation of all possible myths of creation, this expresses the view of voidness with regard to all possible instances of what we conceptualize as production; however, Buddhism has always discarded all myths of creation as instances of these extremes. Therefore, none of the following would be admissible to Buddhism: (a) that of creation of the universe by a God that is and remains foreign to it (like the one in orthodox Judeo-Christian-Muslim belief); (b) that of creation of the universe as the manifestation of a transcendent spirit that is in no way separate from the latter (as in Wilber’s understanding of Plotinus); and (c) that of the infusion of forms in matter by the demiurge on the model of the eternal eidos (as in Plato).

In the Vajrayana we find cosmogonies and cosmologies, but none of them posits an everlasting transcendent universal spirit or a personal soul. For example, the Kalachakra Tantra lays out a theory of the formation of reality, yet it does so without any reference to a transcendent spirit, a creator, etc. (Kongtrul Lodrö Tayé, 1995). Also the Dzogchen teachings have a cosmogony, but rather than positing the manifestation of the universe out of a transcendent spirit, it explains the Base (i.e., what I am calling Dzogchen-qua-Base)—which may not be viewed either as transcendent or as immanent insofar as it is the true condition of all reality that as such has neither genus proximum nor differentia specifica, thus being beyond conceptual extremes and as such being unthinkable—to be beyond time and hence not subject to creation or destruction, and to manifest as the universe through its own internal dynamic on the basis of karmic traces: the dang (gdangs) form of manifestation of the Base’s energy—which rather than being transcendent is the basic constituent of thought and of the luminosity that shines forth in the chikhai bardo (’chi kha’i bar do), among other realities that appear through the senses (the dharmakaya being the reGnition of the true condition of this form of manifestation of energy)—gives rise to rölpa (rol pa) energy—which is the basic constituent of the visions of the chönyi bardo (chos nyid bar do), as well as of the colored light that constitutes the subtle essence of each of the five coarse elements (the sambhogakaya being the reGnition of the true condition of this form of manifestation of energy)—which in its turn gives rise to tsel (rtsal) energy—which is the basic constituent of the physical or material world that we perceive as external to the dimension of dang energy—as a result of which we experience dang energy as an internal dimension (the nirmanakaya being the reGnition of the true condition of tsel energy).[37] It is thus clear that none of the elements of this cosmogony is a transcendent spirit: all is the play of Dzogchen-qua-Base, which from its own perspective is beyond time and therefore beyond creation and destruction, and which being beyond conceptual extremes is beyond transcendence and immanence.[38]

Furthermore, those intelligent, informed interpreters of Buddhist philosophy who have understood Buddhist teachings as taking a position in the above regard have read them as positing immanence rather than transcendence. For example, the student of Mahayana, Vajrayana and Dzogchen Ati Buddhist philosophy John Whitney Pettit (1999), has written:

Vajrayana meditation is based on the principle of the immanence of ultimate reality, which is a coalescent continuum (tantra, rgyud) of gnosis (jñana, ye shes) and aesthetic form (rupa, gzugs, snang ba). Exoteric Buddhist scriptures (sutras) know this immanence as Buddha nature or tathagatagarbha, while tantric scriptures describe it as the pervasive, unfabricated presence of divine form, divine sound, and gnosis-awareness.

All of the above demonstrates that by disqualifying those who fail to postulate a transcendent spirit, Wilber unwittingly disqualified the Buddha and all Buddhist Masters—as well as the founding fathers of Taoism, who did not posit such transcendent spirit either. Wilber may think the dharmakaya posited by the Mahayana and the other higher forms of Buddhism to be transcendent, but as we have seen the Dzogchen teachings make it crystal clear that the dharmakaya, rather than a transcendent reality, is the realization of the true condition of dang energy, which is the basic constituent of thought and of the luminosity the Dzogchen teachings call tingsel (gting gsal), among other events in our experience. In fact, what is essential for attaining the spiritual Awakening on which both the survival of life on this planet and the transition of our species to the next stage of its evolution depends, is the direct reGnition of Dzogchen-qua-Base that instantly results in the spontaneous liberation of thought. As shown in Beyond Mind II (Capriles, 2006a) and throughout the present paper, Wilber’s system sows confusion with regard to the structure and function of the Path, thus hindering the reGnition of Dzogchen-qua-Base; now it has been shown that the system in question also falls into what Buddhism views as the error of positing metaphysical theories asserting the transcendence or immanence of a “spirit,” which can hardly have a function different from that of keeping us in the prison of delusorily valued-absolutized thought. Buddhism refers to those who assert the existence of transcendent realities as tirthika (Tib. Mutegpa [mu stegs pa]), and those who assert the material to be the only reality and/or deny the law of cause and effect, Awakening and so on as charvaka or lokayata (Tib. Gyangphenpa [rgyang ’phen pa])[39]—which are two of the extreme views refuted by philosophers representing the Buddhist Middle Way.

At any rate, it is clear that Wilber incurred in a transphilosophical / transmystical fallacy when he mentioned Plato and Plotinus as examples of dharmakaya mystics:[40] he was unwittingly implying the kaya in question to be equally realized by Seeing through the contents of thoughts into the latter’s true condition (as occurs in the Tekchö practice of Dzogchen), and by remembering, in terms of delusorily valued-absolutized noein / subtle thoughts, the supposed vision of immaterial Forms that according to Plato potential philosophers had previously to birth. If the dharmakaya is the direct realization of the true condition of the dang energy that is the constituent of thought and if this realization instantly results in the spontaneous liberation of thought, then it could not be the reminiscence, in terms of thoughts, of some supposed extrasensory, immaterial reality that was supposedly perceived before birth by some would-be philosophers. The ideologies of the Pythagoreans (who were first to engage in a spree of development of science and technology[41]) and Plato, amalgamated with the literal interpretation of the Old Testament by Christians, constitute one of the principal elements at the root of the course taken by “Western” civilization that led to the current ecological crisis—which threatens to disrupt human society, possibly destroy human life, and perhaps even put an end to all life on our planet, but which by the same token, insofar as it has achieved the reductio ad absurdum of delusion, for the first time since avidya or marigpa became predominant has opened up the possibility that this delusion may be disconnected at the level of the species and hence that Communion may become generalized. (It would take too much space to discuss or even list the other thinkers Wilber sees as having achieved one or another type of realization, but whom I view as having achieved something quite different from Buddhist realizations that is often noxious rather than healing.)

Thus there seems to be no doubt that, as suggested above, Wilber’s descriptions and classifications resulted from mixing the accounts different traditions provide regarding the sequence of their respective paths and/or the essence of their respective views. However, some Paths lead to nirvana, others lead to higher realms of samsara, still others may allow us to establish ourselves for longer or shorter periods in the cessation (nirodha) constituted by the neutral condition of the base-of-all—and others, like Plato’s, by the same token sustain delusorily valued-absolutized knowledge and reinforce antisomatism, both of which are at the root of ecological crisis. Among Buddhist Paths, some lead to the realization of a shravaka, others lead to the realization of a pratyekabuddha, others lead to the realization of a bodhisattva, and still others may lead to the realization of a yogi, to that of a siddha, to that of a mahasiddha or to that of a Buddha. Besides, in Buddhism there are gradual Paths and nongradual Paths. How could a single map be drawn that would apply to all of these paths? Only someone who has successfully trodden a given Path can produce an accurate description of it, and such description will apply to the Path on the basis of which the description was drawn, and at best to other Paths based on the same principle, but not to Paths based on utterly different principles and leading to totally different fruits. Therefore, it would be absurd to try to derive a “universal map of the Path” from one’s experience of the Path one has followed,[42] and it would be even more absurd to fabricate such “universal map” by piecing together accounts belonging to different traditions: if we put together the trunk of a mammoth, the teeth of a saber-toothed tiger, and the body of a dinosaur, what we obtain is a monster existing solely in our own fantasy. Such concoctions, rather than expressions of “aperspectival freedom” understood as the capacity to view phenomena and events from different, mutually contradictory perspectives with awareness of what each and every perspective responds to and may apply to (which as we have seen according to Wilber manifests in the sixth fulcrum, but which in truth is a consequence of the repeated disclosure of Dzogchen-qua-Base), are monstrosities springing from confusion and lack of perspective (thus being aperspectival only in the sense in which at night all cows are black).

At any rate, it is a fact that Wilber’s descriptions and classifications fail to provide a clear criterion for distinguishing samsara from nirvana, and both of these from the base-of-all, such as the criterion found in the Dzogchen teachings.


[1] By the way, Stan Grof (1998, p. 92) claims that Tibetans view uterine life as a bardo; however, none of the six bardos listed in the regular text immediately preceding the reference mark for this note, which are those universally accepted by Tibetans whenever they classify bardos into six (other classifications list three or four bardos according to the criterion used), may be said to correspond to uterine life (Grof gives Evans-Wentz’s [1928] version of the Bardo Thödröl as the reference [he gives the 1960 edition]; I have no access to the Evans-Wentz version as I write this, but it is well known that the book in question is an important pioneering work that, precisely for this reason, contains mistaken assertions—as Evans-Wentz often interpreted Tibetan teachings in terms of the views of Western Theosophy or of Hindu doctrines.

However, Grof is right in that there are many descriptions of birth and perinatal life in Tibetan texts, which compare birth to being crushed between two mountains and so on (cf. e.g. Gampopa, 1998).

[2] If we fail to reGnize the true condition of the clear light in the chikhai bardo (’chi kha’i bar do), the neutral condition of the base-of-all manifests, and if then we perceive this shining forth as occurring in an external dimension, samsara begins to develop from the base-of-all; however, if the reGnition in question takes place, the luminosity in question is the dharmakaya itself. In the same way, if we take the contents of thought to be inherently true or false and to be ultimately important and so on, they are the source of samsara; however, if we look thoughts directly in the face and reGnize their true condition, we discover them to be the dharmakaya and they spontaneously liberate themselves in the patency of the dharmakaya.

[3] By the way, also Stan Grof’s (1998, p. 90) critique of Wilber’s view of this involution is wrong, for his objection is that Wilber’s explanation of this involution is “culture-specific” insofar as he uses a Tibetan view to explain a universal process. However, what if a universal process is correctly interpreted by a tradition located in a particular area and incorrectly interpreted by traditions located in other areas? And, furthermore, is it not more “culture-specific” to extrapolate to the whole of humankind the psychological processes and structures that Freud and other Western psychologists inferred from the observation of their Western patients? Or is it that the discoveries of Western scientists are Truth and those of Eastern mystics are culture-specific illusions? Postmodern thinking will not allow either generalization; however, it could as well be that Postmodern thinking will have to face that some culture-specific views are universal—at least as rough maps that cannot perfectly coincide with the territory, which is how the Dzogchen teachings have always seen their own maps.

[4] Gendün Chöphel (2005) wrote:

“‘Relative’ is the word ancient scholars used for translating the Sanskrit samvriti, which means ‘obscuration to correctness’ or ‘thoroughly confused’. Because one is ‘deluded about the meaning’, we must also understand ‘relative truth’ as ‘deluded [pseudo-]truth’.”

[5] Socrates’ death sentence would be more comprehensible if the true Socrates were that of the Cynics—a kind of anarchist agitator—rather than that Plato’s.

[6] Previously to the radical psychic transformation that, in the ample region James DeMeo (1998) called Saharasia, gave rise to sexual repression, domination over women and children, and war (Taylor, 2005; Capriles, 2007a vol. III), the peoples of Eurasia and Northern Africa had an antisomatism-free spirituality that used the body’s natural impulses as means for Communion (not in the sense given Gilligan [1982], Tannen [1990], Wilber [1995, 1998], and so on give the term, but in that of “dissolution of the illusory boundaries separating people, in the unconcealment of Dzogchen-qua-Base”—which I believe was its original meaning). The Saharasian peoples—including the Kurgans or Proto-Indo-Europeans and the Semites (Eisler, 1987 [to be balanced by objections in Radford-Ruether, 1992]; Gimbutas, 1991; Ceruti & Bocchi, 1993)—began systematically plundering their neighbors, and then went on to conquering them. As conquerors, they established a vertical, oppressive relationship with the conquered, in which they were at the top and the latter at the bottom, and they had to keep those at the bottom, whom they logically distrusted, tightly under control. It was probably as the structure of this relationship was internalized, that Saharasians—including Indo-Europeans and Semites—developed the need to oppress and keep tightly under control the impulses of the organism, women and children (the latter two because they were Other with regard to themselves and it was easy to associate both of them with nature—to which the impulses in question belong), and that they came to view those impulses as not-to-be-trusted and (as a result of the dynamic of the shadow that led them to project the latter on those they preyed upon, and of the superimposition of their relationship with the latter on their relationship with the impulses under discussion) as being outright evil (furthermore, it is likely that in the association of the erotic impulse to evil an important element may have been the conquerors’ raping of the conquered women after the slaughtering of men). (It must be noted that I outright disagree with DeMeo’s ecological-geographical determinism, according to which it is the desertification of highly populated regions that gives rise to war, sexual repression and the oppression of women and children, as well as with many of his late-Reich-inspired views—even though I admit desertification, whether or not occasioned by the human beings themselves, may help determine which human groups are first to develop these vices in the process of degeneration produced by the gradual development of the basic human delusion called avidya or marigpa as the aeon or cosmic time cycle [Skt. kalpa; Tib. kal pa or bdkal pa] unfolds.)

Thus it is easy to see why in Eurasia and Northern Africa antisomatic, sexually repressive spiritual traditions have a Saharasian origin—and in particular why I assume the Orphic tradition to have a Kurgan / Proto-Indo-European origin.

[7] Despite the mythological links between Orpheus and Dionysus and the fact that some hymns to Dionysus have been thought to be of Orphic origin, it has been widely substantiated that the Orphic and Dionysian traditions held contrary, struggling worldviews. In fact, as Kerényi (1998, pp. 165-166) has made it clear, Orpheus seemed to reject the dark Dionysus in favor of the clear god, ‘Apollo and sun in the same person,’ whom he adored. Furthermore, there is an important Orphic myth according to which it was the female Thracian bacchantes known as bassarai who, in one of their Dionysian orgies, tore Orpheus into pieces as he (because of his dislike of the dark Dionysus, and his anti-somatic and female-despising ideology?) refused to join their ritual and grant them his favors. At any rate, the philosophies derived from Orphism were diametrically opposed to those developed by the thinkers who expressed in philosophical terms the views of the genuine Dionysian tradition, or who received influences from it—among whom I rank Heraclitus, the main Skeptic Schools, some of the Sophists and the Cynics (and, though only in what regards philosophy of history and socio-political views, the Stoics, who polemicized so much with the Skeptics). In fact, fragments DK 40, DK 129 and DK 81 of Heraclitus’ book show the extent to which the Ephesian berated the dogmatic system of Pythagoras—whom he called “chief captain of cheaters” and whose learning he called “deceitful erudition and evil art.” It is well known that the Skeptic philosopher Sextus Empiricus also directed his book against the Pythagoreans—which may be inferred even from its title, Adversus mathematicos.

[8] The Dionysian roots of the systems of Heraclitus, the Skeptics, various of the so-called sophists, probably also Socrates (of whom as we have seen the Cynics give an account in sharp contrast with Plato’s, who in his dialogues seemingly put his own views in the mouth of Socrates), the Cynics (Anthistenes was a disciple of both Protagoras and Socrates) and, at least in what respects their views of spiritual and social evolution, the Stoics, will be discussed at greater length in Capriles (work in progress 3). The same applies to the alleged derivation from the teachings Shenrab Miwoche taught at the foot of Mount Kailash (abode of Lord Shiva to the Shaivas), probably around 1,800 BCE, of spiritual systems such as Shaivism, Zurvanism, Taoism, the cult of Osiris, the Dionysian mysteries, the Ismaili doctrines and the doctrines some Sufi traditions received from the barmakis of Nova Bihara and from the Ismailis, among others—which is very briefly discussed in the following note. In the meantime cf. the notes to Capriles (2007a vol.) and Capriles (1999b, 2000b).

[9] In Daniélou (1992) a great deal of evidence is provided that substantiates the identity of Indian Shaivism, the Greek Dionysian tradition and the Egyptian cult of Osiris. It is universally known that the Shaivas see Mount Kailash as the abode of the Lord Shiva, and it was at the foot of Mount Kailash and near the lake of Manasarovar that the Tönpa (ston pa) or Primordial Revealer Shenrab Miwoche taught the Dzogchen teachings of the Bön tradition known as Dzogpa Chenpo Zhang-Zhung Nyengyü (rdzogs pa chen po zhang zhung snyan brgyud), as well as a host of other teachings, seemingly including some forms of Tantrism. In Tucci (1980) the author discusses the relationship between the terminology used in Shaivism and that employed in the Dzogchen teachings, and reports on the spiritual groups that consistently made pilgrimages to Mount Kailash, and which viewed this mountain as their most sacred place—among whom he mentions, beside Tibetan Bönpos and Buddhists, the Indian Shaivas, and the followers of two Persian systems: the Zurvanists (followers of the pre-Zoroastric Persian religion), and in Islamic times, Duodeciman Shi’ites (i.e., Ismailis). In the notes to Capriles (2007a vol. I), I pointed out some of the striking coincidences in the symbolisms of Taoism and Dzogchen, and provided a bibliography of works that assert the identity and common roots of Taoism and Bön—the latter being the pre-Buddhist spiritual system of the Himalayas that, as just noted, comprised all the teachings of Shenrab Miwoche. The ancient Bönpo sources cited in Namkhai Norbu (1997, 2004), suggest that Bön, Shaivism and all of the traditions listed in this note had their roots in these teachings, for among Shenrab’s disciples there were sages from India, China, Persia and other nearby regions that brought their Masters’ teachings to their own countries, establishing them there. This will be discussed at greater length in Capriles (work in progress 3); in the meantime cf. the notes to Capriles (2000b, 2000c, 2003, 2007a vol. I).

[10] Since the Pythagoreans disparaged the body, basis of the human reality, to which humans are confined so long as they are alive, their ideology doomed human beings to insurmountable conflict, while favoring the development of what Gregory Bateson (1968, 1972) called conscious purpose against nature. Moreover, the Pythagorean ideology, like those of most Orphic-derived dualistic, anti-somatic, oppressive systems, associated the female with evil and the male with goodness—and produced a long list of contraries in which the curve, the circle, the limitless and movement were associated with evil, whereas the straight line, the square, the limited and stillness were associated to goodness. The association with evil of the female—one of the two basic aspects of human life, as well as the anima aspect and one of the two main somatic energies of male human beings—was a recipe for insurmountable conflict. Like the rest of the traditions that despised the corporeal material universe, the Pythagoreans disparaged and opposed the physiological energies that constitute the very vehicle of realization. By viewing the corporeal, apparently material world as evil, they disparaged the wisdom that corporeal reality is (as shown in Capriles, 2007a vol. I, Chapter I, according to the Dzogchen teachings, the reality in question is the tsel [rtsal] mode of manifestation of the energy of thukje [thugs rje] aspect of the Base, and those teachings refer to the three aspects of the Base as three wisdoms). Their negative view of movement (in which a similitude with the Samkhya darshana of Kapila and the related Yoga darshana of Patañjali may be observed) was also a source of insurmountable conflict, for movement is inherent in being alive. Furthermore, Pythagorean rejection of the limitless (Greek, apeiron; Skt. aditi) amounted to rejection of the single true condition of all entities that was to be realized in the pan-Eurasian traditions of which the Dionysian mysteries were the Greek expression. Since in higher forms of Buddhism the circle, which has no corners (which represent limits, which in their turn represent concepts, for insofar as these always exclude something they establish limits), represents the absence of limitations of the dharmakaya, their rejection of the circle expresses just the same attitude as their rejection of the limitless. To conclude, as the Manichean ideology makes it evident, to view the corporeal, material reality as evil, ultimately may even be thought to justify the destruction of the world—which the Pythagorean sorcerer’s apprentices set in motion by beginning to build the technological Golem that, as shown in Capriles (1994) and in Capriles (2007a vol. III), has grown beyond viability in the current ecological crisis and, unless dismantled as a result of the reductio ad absurdum of the delusion that gave rise to it, will destroy the fabric of human society and possibly the biological existence of our species. (To conclude, it must be noted that the Pythagorean dualism was moral—they deemed the soul to be good and the body to be evil—but not ontological, for supposedly they deemed the soul to be material.)

[11] It is well known that mathematics are incorporeal: mathematical operations are abstract and, although they are according to Plato instances of dianoia, they depend on subtle / intuitive thoughts, which I relate to the noein that philosophers whose views derived from the Orphic tradition valued so much. A mathematical point, as different from a physical one, is incorporeal in that it does not occupy any space; a mathematical line, as different from a physical one, has length but no thickness; etc. With regard to music, from a physical standpoint it may be seen as vibrations of corporeal air, or of the corporeal eardrum, and so on—yet this does not apply in any way to our experience of music, which has hardly anything to do with all of this and reflects harmonies that in their turn may be viewed as being as incorporeal as mathematics. Furthermore, musical instruments give one or another note according to mathematical measurements, and this may have been seen as the index of the relationship between harmonies and mathematics and between mathematics and music.

[12] It was Kant who introduced into Western philosophy the idea of evil as an active force rather than as the mere absence of the good.

[13] As stated in a note to Capriles (2007a vol. I), according to Diogenes Laërtius (1972-1979, vol. 2, IX, 21), Parmenides was a disciple of Pythagorean philosopher Ameinias. Though present day scholarship has disqualified this allegation, Plato (Sophist [1993], 242 C-D) claimed that Parmenides was a disciple of Xenophon—who in his fr. 7 narrated an episode of the life of Pythagoras and who, together with the latter, was berated in Heraclitus’ fr. DK 40. In his turn, John Burnet (1964) referred to the cosmogony of Parmenides as “a sketch of Pythagorean cosmology.” Emile Bréhier (1988, vol. I, p. 68) noted that the cosmogony of Parmenides was different from that of the Ionians insofar as it incorporated theogonic myths such as those described by Hesiod (also berated by Heraclitus in fr. DK 40) and those upheld by the Orphics; insofar as it regarded Love as the first god (Symposium [Plato, 1995, 195C); and especially insofar as, rather than viewing the arche or Principle to be a single primordial constituent of reality, it asserts it to be a pair of opposites (day and night, or light and darkness). Bréhier concluded that all this referred to Hesiodic fantasy (Hesiod is also berated by Heraclitus) rather than Ionic thought—and, more significantly, he stressed the fact that positing a pair of opposites as the arche is characteristic of Pythagorean dualism. Moreover, despite Parmenides’ assimilation of the Ionian structure of the heavens, the latter are to him (as in some Platonic myths) the place of transit of the souls, where necessity (anangke) lay, distributing their portions (Aecius, Synagoge ton areschonton [Aetii Placita], II, 7, 1). Even if there had been no direct Pythagorean influence on Parmenides, it is a fact that the latter denied any truth to the corporeal, physical world that the Pythagoreans deemed despicable; he valued thought, which he deemed to be the only reality (and which is the source of limits, valued by the Pythagoreans), and he insisted in the unreality of movement (disparaged by the Pythagoreans)—hence the objects of the refutations developed by his disciple Zeno of Elea. By denying any existence to what common sense regards as the physical world and asserting thought to be the only truth, Parmenides turned the very root of human deceit, which is thought (when delusorily valued-absolutized), into the only true reality, developing a theory that contradicted his own experience and practice, insofar as, like the rest of human beings, he surely experienced material phenomena as real, and surely avoided venomous snakes, speeding carts and so on. The denial of any degree of truth to corporeal reality may be seen as a more sophisticated instance of the anti-somatic attitude proper of both Orphics and Pythagoreans, which, as we have seen, leads directly to the ecological Armageddon. The harsh words Parmenides (1984) directed toward those to whom “being and nonbeing seem to be the same and not the same” (fr. 6; verses 7-9) show his antagonism to the sayings of Heraclitus and other nondualists (and as such are reminiscent of Ko-hung’s attacks on Chuang-tzu [Creel, 1970; Watts 1975; Ware 1981]). And, in fact, a self-declared monism that asserts the existence and unity of thought and the nonexistence of a physical world (as a reality different from it), is a subtle dualism insofar as it refers to the physical world as one would refer to something existing and absolutely other with regard to thought (which, as we have seen, is how in their everyday life the Eleatics experienced it and dealt with it), in order to deny its existence intellectually and then assert a reality different from it as the only truth.

It could be thought that the Eleatic ideology may have been akin to the Mayavada philosophy developed by the Hindu author Gaudapada, inspired by Yogachara Buddhist philosophy. However, Parmenides (1984) does not assert the only truth to be jñana or gnosis (in spite of the similarity between the terms jñana and noein, the latter term means “intellectual intuition,” which corresponds to “subtle thoughts” as understood in the Dzogchen teachings, yet fancied to be independent from both mental images and sensory data), which by definition cannot be expressed by thought (even though it may be said to be the basic “constituent” and dynamic of thought), but affirms that the only truth is thought, identifies thought with being, insists that the impossibility that something be thought proves its nonexistence, and [in fr. 8, 34-36] asserts that, “it is the same to think and to think that [the content of thought] is, because without being, in what is expressed you could not find thought.” The claim that the impossibility that something be thought proves its nonexistence may seem to suggest the claim that the possibility that something be thought, together with the fact that it is actually thought, proves its existence—which is a position often attributed to Parmenides, and which, insofar as the contents of thought are manifold, implies the existence of multiplicity. How can someone who makes an assertion that clearly implies the existence of multiplicity be positing a monism in which the only true reality is thought = being? The only explanation I can think of is that, since according to him the only true reality was thought = being, and the manifold contents of thought were manifestations of thought, these contents shared the being that was one with thought. However, still his system would clearly breach the principle of noncontradiction, of the excluded middle, or of the excluded third, for he asserted the sole existence (in the ordinary sense of the term) of the single principle that in his system thought = being is, and at the same time asserted the existence (in the ordinary sense of the term) of the manifold contents of thought. We might try to solve the contradiction by concluding that in his view the single being = thought was the absolute reality, the manifold contents of thought were some kind of relative reality, and the physical world was simply nonexistent. However, in the extant fragments of the book there is no mention of an absolute reality and a relative reality, not are there indications in them that he may have been positing a view like the one just described; therefore, I acknowledge my powerlessness to arrive at a clear, noncontradictory conclusion with regard to the true import of his system.

[14] We do not know whether Parmenides viewed thought as lying in the soul or mind, or outside the soul or mind; however, since common sense views them as lying in the soul or mind, we must assume that in the absence of a negation of this assumption a thinker agrees with it.

[15] In some dialogues Plato explains physical entities as partaking of the form of eidos, whereas in others he explains them as imitating those forms. However, such fine distinctions cannot be accounted for in a short discussion of the rudiments of Plato’s thought.

[16] Let us keep in mind that the Greeks viewed evil as he mere lack of goodness, and ugliness as the mere lack of beauty, etc.: it was Kant who, for the first time, conceived evil as an active force rather than as the mere absence of goodness, etc.

[17] Also Protagoras and Gorgias might have been showing the relativity and ultimate nonexistence (voidness) of the relative as a means to lead people to the realization of the absolute. According to Diogenes Laërtius, Protagoras held that “...concerning any matter (pragma), there are two contrasting discourses (logoi),” and considered both to be equally valid. In turn, in his treatise On Nonbeing, Gorgias of Leontini held that no assertion or conceptual position with regard to reality could be in any way true. Most scholars take this to mean Gorgias and Protagoras held mutually contradictory positions; however, highest Madhyamika philosophy would agree to the statements of both and yet deny the absoluteness of either, for it is precisely insofar as no conceptual position can be absolutely true with regard to any given object, that mutually contradictory conceptual positions can be both valid and relatively true with regard to it. And, in fact, it is not unlikely that Gorgias may have been saying precisely that no conceptual position can be absolutely true with regard to any given object, and that Protagoras may have been saying precisely that mutually contradictory conceptual positions can be both relatively valid with regard to any give object—in which case both of them would have been expressing the very same view.

Furthermore, Protagoras was one of the two main teachers of Anthistenes (the other one being Socrates), who is widely regarded as the teacher of Diogenes of Sinope and therefore as founder or forefather of the Cynic school—which, as shown in Capriles (1999b, 2007a vol. I), might have been a Dionysian school with methods of spiritual liberation similar to those of some Tantrics, Shaivas and Dzogchenpas who were often regarded as “extremist” in the East.

[18] Whenever questioned, Chu-ti would raise his finger and remain in the condition beyond thought. He used this method so consistently that, when he was about to die, he told the assembled monks of his monastery, “I attained T’ien Lung’s one-finger Ch’an and have used it all my life without exhausting it. Do you want to understand?” Then he raised his finger and died. (Cleary & Cleary, trans., 1977, vol. I, Nineteenth Case, p. 125.)

[19] The Orphic mysteries (such as those held at Eleusis) were to the Orphics the means to purify the soul and endow it with a mystic “seal” that would be recognizable after death, so that it would be allowed to dwell with the gods rather that suffer the fate of the uninitiated and be plunged into the mud (Plato, Phaedo [1980], 69E), where the initiated would force them to eternally fill sieves with water by means of other sieves (Plato, Gorgias [1973], 493B).

[20] Many Pythagoreans adopted the ancient vision of spiritual and social evolution as a process of progressive degeneration beginning with a perfect Golden Age, without even feeling compelled to modify it (Capriles, 1994)—as Plato, on the other hand, did. Furthermore, after the degenerative vision in question was lost in Greece, it was Hesiod—berated by Heraclitus and thus probably an Orphic—who reintroduced it into Greece.

[21] The Cynics, in their turn, may have received it from Anthistenes, who would have received it either from Protagoras or from Socrates. The links between Heraclitus and Protagoras or Socrates are unknown.

[22] The Golden Age corresponds to the “preceding age” in which human beings were born from the earth rather than as a result of sexual contact, insofar as the age in question was the perfect age in which each provided for all needs by effortlessly taking the fruits of trees and of a whole generous vegetation, so that they spent their time devoted to philosophy, there were no savages, animals did not devour each other, there were no wars or quarrels, all lived nude in the open without beds (for the grass was so soft), there was no constitution, and no possession over women and children insofar as all were born from the earth (since time was reverted, rather than dying and being buried, people were born by being unearthened [upon which they would not remember their previous lives). The mode of birth attributed to the perfect age is asexual because of the Orphic contempt toward the body and its functions. And the claim that there was no possession over women and children because all were born from the earth implies that when all are not born from the earth such possession is justified and unavoidable.

Then, when time reverted upon the inversion of the rotation of the world, at the beginning all beings followed the divine commands, but then degeneration ensued: the divergence from the ancient degenerative myths lies in the role of an “organizing god” and in the fact that in this case degeneration resulted from the influence of the corporeal principles and the wayward character of their primitive nature: whereas the god taught them how to live a harmonious life, their former constitution gave rise to all evils and inequities. And the more they revolted against the commands of the god, the more their primitive turbulence flourished—until finally the organizing god, in face of the tempest that threatened to send all beings into the bottomless ocean of dissimilarity, would invert the rotation of the planet once more, restoring the age of perfection.

Thus the myth corresponds to the ancient ones in that there is an initial age of perfection, then a progressive degeneration, and finally a restoration of perfection; however, it contradicts the ancient myths insofar as in this one degeneration is due to contamination by the body and the corporeal, and in that the change of eras is the result of the action of a god.

[23] Identity or father-son relationship?

[24] Aldous Huxley (1956) discussed this in the noted essay Heaven and Hell; I discussed it more at length in Capriles (2000c). However, neither of us distinguished between inducing what I call the aesthetic epoche or “suspension of aesthetic judgment,” which may result in the neutral condition of the base of all, and the spontaneous liberation of judgment concomitant with the manifestation of the dharmakaya (I did not enter into sophisticated discrimination of spiritual conditions because the book in question was intended for my University students of Asian art, to whom the distinction under consideration is not directly relevant).

[25] It is also worth noting that the views of Plato’s discussed here are those found in his written works, and that according to some scholars (e.g., Copleston, 1993) the works in question convey his exoteric doctrines, Plato having as well a corpus of agrafa dogmata or unwritten doctrines that supposedly conveyed his esoteric, innermost teachings. However, even if there had been such agrafa dogmata, an Orphic’s doctrines, no matter how esoteric, could by no means coincide with the perfectly nondual dharma as represented by the Dzogchen teachings, or even by Madhyamika philosophy.

[26] The Bönpos in the Himalayas and the Stoics in Greece coincided in asserting that in the Golden Age there were no divisions between human beings: the Logos spontaneously guided and operated all affairs without the interference of the ego, and therefore human beings were all free and equal among themselves and were not divided by national boarders or by distinctions of social class, wealth or ancestry. There were no such institutions as private property, the individual family, slavery, servitude, or the State in which a few prevail over the majority. The goods of nature were enjoyed in common by all human beings, who lacked any sense of possessiveness and naturally achieved the common benefit of all beings and of the totality of the ecosphere, abandoned to the natural flow of the Logos beyond any kind of government or control. Since Greece and Tibet are geographically so distant from each other, and because of the coincidences between most extant texts of different Kailash-originated traditions in this regard, we may take for granted that this was the original conception of the Golden Age, Era of Perfection or Age of Truth in all Kailash-originated traditions, and that those later Indian casteist systems that claimed that in the Primordial Age the Brahmin cast prevailed, misrepresented the original conception of the Age in question to fit what they viewed as the interests of their own group (for an infelicitous example of this deformation, cf. Biès, 1985).

Bön asserts the introduction of private property by the males in spite of the protests of the females, to have given rise to struggles that could only be suppressed when, finally, all recognized a Sovereign. Though the first Sovereign was of divine origin, after a short while he became corrupt and abused power—which resulted in a system of privileges that later on gave rise to political, social and economic stratification (Reynolds, 1989). In claiming that the first divisions were economic and that these gave rise to political divisions, the Bönpos agree with Marxism and differ from anarchism, which claims that the first divisions between human beings were political—namely between rulers and the ruled—and that this later gave rise to social differences (Sahlins [1972, 1974] illustrated this with his field observations of the development of Polynesian monarchies). At any rate, it is an established fact that primal societies of the Paleolithic did not exhibit any type or degree of stratification (even hunter-gatherers and early horticulturalists of our time fail to exhibit a clear stratification) and that political power, private property and the separate family arose and developed interdependently as a result of the progressive “Fall” of our species (for a survey of works confirming this, cf. Taylor, 2003, 2005).

In classical China, Confucianism (and, previously to that, the worldview of Heaven and Earth) was associated to the Imperial State and the court’s nobility, whereas the original Taoism I call “Taoism of Unorigination,” which includes Lao-tzu, Chuang-tzu, Lieh-tzu and the Huainan Masters, was associated to the primitive commune and the “lowly” people, and preached ecological harmony and social and political equality, in many ways like later, Western anarchists (this is evident in most of the early Taoist works, and especially in the Tao-Te-Ching and the Chuang-tzu [in the latter text, cf. the parable of horses, among many other significant passages], but it is the Huainanzi [Cleary, 1990] that emphasizes this the most, having it as a leitmotif, and that may be regarded as a striking manifesto of political anarchism, social and economic egalitarianism, end ecological awareness). Thus it is not surprising that the historian of anarchism Max Nettlau [1979] should have viewed early Taoists, together with Cynics and Stoics, as representatives of what he called “the prehistory of anarchism,” and that several sinologists since James Legge should have associated Taoism with anarchism (Ames, 1983; Bender, 1983; Hall, 1978, 1983; Hall & Ames, 1995). In the course of Chinese history, Taoists implemented successive egalitarian revolts, which were repeatedly defeated by imperial forces (paradoxically, one of these revolts was crushed by forces commanded by the Confucian general Ko-hung, who was one of the originators of the distortion of Taoism that circumscribed itself to striving for long life and immortality, and who bitterly criticized Chuan-tzu for “asserting death and life to be the same”).

In Dionysian Bacchanalia men and women of all social positions mixed up freely, and, as shown, for example, in Eisler (1987), in Minoic times, when the Dionysian religion prevailed, and in general in what she calls the “old (pre-Indo-European) Europe,” there were no marked social differences (a state of affaires she describes by speaking of a wide middle class that virtually included the whole of society).

In Tibet, we have seen that the Bönpos posited a primitive communism at the beginning of the time cycle. Yet the old religion was not alone in upholding egalitarian values. In the ninth century CE King Mune Tsampo was killed by his mother in complicity with his country’s nobility because of his attempts to implement the social doctrines of his Buddhist teachers: on three consecutive occasions he attempted to redistribute the wealth of his country’s citizens, giving rise to ever more irate and radical reactions on the part of the nobility, until finally they got his mother, who was jealous of the other widows of Mune Tsampo’s father (whom, as was customary in Tibet, Mune Tsampo had inherited upon the latter’s death—his mother being the only of his father’s wives he would not inherit because of their immediate kinship), to kill her kingly son. The great Dzogchen Master Longchen Rabjampa had to go into exile in Bhutan as a consequence of his political positions. In the course of history, there were repeated revolts against the monastic feudalism implemented by the monastic schools. And in Bhutan the present dynasty put a ceiling of 30 acres to land property, and the king cannot be distinguished from the common folk by dress or adornments. However, in the case of Buddhism, egalitarianism is not circumscribed to Kailash-related traditions: the Aggañña Sutta presents private property as the occasion for the arising of stealing, beggary and violence; the Digha-nikaya’s Cakkavattisihananda-sutta asserts poverty to be at the root of perversion and crime; Nagarjuna posited a welfare state; and what is nowadays called “engaged Buddhism” was a most important force in Shri Lanka, Vietnam, Myanmar and India (with Dr. Ambedkar’s ex-dalits), and in our time is becoming an important force worldwide (among many other works, cf. Capriles, in press).

The Indian Tantrics were to a great extent exterminated by the Vaishnavas because they endangered the cast system, reintroducing the Bacchanalia, where all casts, and even dalits, freely mixed, and they always did their best to equalize economic and social inequalities.

Among the Ismailis, the Carmathians, de facto founded by Hamdan Qarmat when he began preaching in 877-8 CE, upheld radically egalitarian ideals and practices (Bausani, 1988), and practiced a mysticism based on Communion. They inspired and carried out the rebellion of the Zanj African slaves that took place in the region that nowadays is the state of Kuwait. In their apogee they endangered the Abbaside Empire, and a Carmathian chief went so far as to conquer Mecca in 930 CE. Though later on they were defeated, they retained power in Bahrain. Though the Ismaili Fatimide dynasty in Egypt did not implement egalitarian doctrines, the Carmathians, whom they supported, freely worked on their behalf (ibid.).

The Knights Templar allegedly received their mystical doctrines from Ismaili chief Hassan Ibn el-Sabbah in el Alamud. Alan Butler (2000) believes that the most important figure in Templarism may have been Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—who produced a wonderful mystic theology of communion strikingly similar to the philosophy of the mystical traditions having their roots in Kailash, and who established the guidelines for building gothic cathedrals—noting that past researchers generally failed to credit St Bernard with the pivotal role he played in the planning, formation and promotion of the infant Templar Order, and casting doubts as to whether there may have been an “intention” to create an Order of the Templar prior to the life of St Bernard himself. André de Montbard, one of the first Templar Knights, was his maternal uncle, and he may also have been related to the Counts of Champagne, who themselves appear to have been pivotal in the formation of the Templar Order. At any rate, it was St Bernard who wrote the first Rules of the Order in question. I mention this because the traditions imported into Europe by the Knights Templar seem to have played a pivotal role in the arising of the free cities of the High Middle Age, which exhibited some kind of direct democracy (the cities were self-ruled through a counsel integrated by the federation of guilds and the federation of neighborhood councils) and an extremely high degree of socioeconomic equality (apprentices earned the same as the masters of their professions who instructed them), and in which the standards of living were higher than in any twentieth or twenty-first century society.

[27] According to Plato’s Republic, the human soul has three parts: a rational part that seeks after truth and is responsible for our philosophical inclinations; a spirited part that desires honor and is responsible for the feelings of anger and indignation, and an appetitive part that lusts after all sorts of things and especially of money (insofar as the latter may be used to fulfill any other base desire). The just individual can be defined in analogy with the just society: just as in the former the rational part of the soul rules, the spirited part of the soul supports this rule, and the appetitive part of the soul submits and follows wherever reason leads, in society the philosopher must rule, the guardians must support this rule and defend the city against its potential enemies, and the producers must submit and follow whatever the king philosophers dictate. And in both levels this is the meaning of justice: whereas in a just individual the entire soul aims at fulfilling the desires of the rational part, in the just society the entire community aims at fulfilling whatever the rulers will. So justice consists in each part of the individual and society playing the part that is supposed to be natural to it.

[28] Plato distinguishes between dianoia, which is the discursive thought proper to mathematics and which does not recognize its premises to be mere hypotheses, and noesis or dialectical thought, which on the contrary treats its premises as literally hypothetic—i.e., it treats hypotheses as concepts that have been expounded but which must be dealt with as mere steps to the encounter with the First Principle—(Rep. 511b) and which in his view arrives at the “pure intuition” free from aisthesis called noein, the object of which is experienced as the absolute truth that is not hypothetic and that is the First Principle. Having reached this principle, understanding descends again to a conclusion, “without resorting in any way to something visible, but proceeding by means of eidos to their conclusions, which are eidos as well” (Rep. 511c). To Plato noesis or true understanding, which is the highest type of thought, makes intelligible, by means of the First Principle, the objects of mathematic thought—i.e., of dianoia—which, as studied in mathematics, are not really or truly understood (Cf. Annas, 1981 [Spanish pp. 248, 250]).

[29] Plotinus may have taken this view from Heraclitus’ fragment DK 206, which reads (adapted from various translations):

“Things as a whole are whole and nonwhole, identical and not identical, harmonic and nonharmonic; the one is born from the whole and from the one all things are born.”

[30] The error of positing the One as the absolute is the same one Indian philosopher Shankaracharya committed in the transition from the eighth to the ninth century CE. For some time the Adwaya Madhyamaka philosophy of Buddhist sage Nagarjuna—who opposed Hindu casteism—had defeated all Hindu systems in debates and controversies. Shankara was one of the theorists of orthodox Brahmanism who strived to devise doctrines sophisticated enough as to give his religion a chance of resisting Nagarjuna’s philosophy and thus maintain the cast system, which was endangered by the ascent of Buddhism. His Adwaita Vedanta resulted from divesting Madhyamaka philosophy of all that could contradict the dogmas at the root of the Upanishads and Vedanta, which required the assertion of the One (i.e., of Brahman-Atman). However, the assertion of the One was a conceptual position or thesis (paksha) just as valid as its opposite (pratipaksha) and which, therefore, could be easily refuted. On the contrary, Nagarjuna’s Adwaya Madhyamaka did not assert anything, but limited itself to refuting by means of reductio ad absurdum (prasanga) whatever position were adopted by opponents. Unlike Shankara, Nagarjuna was aware that in order to discover the absolute it was necessary to dissolve the subject-object duality and, in general, all instances of understanding in terms of delusorily valued-absolutized thoughts.

Also the spiritual practices described by Shankara fail to correspond to Nagarjuna’s approach, for none of them involves the means that could provide an opportunity for the unconcealment of the true condition of the essence or ngowo (ngo bo) aspect of Dzogchen-qua-Base, which is the constituent of the thoughts that color our perception or that chain themselves in trains of thought, and which, when unconcealed, is the dharmakaya. On the contrary, many of them only seem to reinforce dualism and delusion.

[31] The One is the first hypostasis, the transcendent absolute; when it begins to think, it does so in and as the second hypostasis, which is the nous or Intelligence. The soul or psyche is the third hypostasis, in which and through which the spatio-temporal universe begins to be produced, and which can have this function because it limits with the material world that it creates (Plotinus, IV 8, in Cappelletti, 2000, p. 251).

[32] My definitive criticism of Plotinus is to be found in Capriles (work in progress 3); there is a less elaborate one in Capriles (1994, 2007a vol. II).

[33] Michael Zimmerman (1998, p. 202) objected that this does not apply to the pioneer theorist of deep ecology / ecosophy Arne Naess, insofar as Naess distinguishes between the phenomenal realm, which the Norwegian thinker calls spatio-temporal “span,” and what the same thinker calls non-spatio-temporal “depth” or “emptiness”—and which, we may infer, Zimmerman views as a transcendent spirit. However, at first sight the latter, rather than seeming to be a transcendent spirit, seems to correspond to Kant’s Ding-an-Sich or Thing-in-Itself, which is the given—as different from the phenomena that according to Kant arise when the human psyche structures the given for experience in terms of the a priori forms of sensibility. Rather than referring to what Naess calls non-spatio-temporal “depth” or “emptiness” by the term Ding-an-Sich, Zimmerman calls it the noumenal domain—which etymologically means “the realm of what is thought.” Since it is not clear whether Kant took the noumenon and the Ding-an-Sich to be exactly the same truth or gave each term a subtly different nuance, and since the former involves the rather bewildering reference to thought, I use the term Ding-an-Sich. It is true that the term noumenon, because of its etymology, might be taken to have something to do with “spirit,” but in order to assert it to be transcendent we would have to redefine the term transcendent as “that which is beyond the phenomena of our experience” (rather than being beyond the supposedly physical reality, which is how most people understand the term).

[34] In Khuddaka Nikaya, III: Udaana, VI, 4-5 (“The various sects,” 1 and 2), the fourteen avyakrita questions or avyakrtavastuni are divided into four sets, the first one containing the four questions concerning the “origin of the universe,” which are: (1) is the world eternal?; is it not eternal?; is it both eternal and not eternal?; is it neither eternal nor not eternal? The remaining three sets of questions are the following: (2) is the world infinite?; is it not infinite?; is it both infinite and not infinite?; is it neither infinite nor not infinite?; (3) are the animating principle and the body identical?; are the animating principle and the body different?; (4) does the Tathagata exist after death?; does the Tathagata not exist after death?; does the Tathagata both exist after death and not exist after death?; does the Tathagata neither exist after death nor not exist after death? As we can see, this discourse of Buddha Shakyamuni prefigures the structure of Madhyamika refutations, which do but bring it to subtler philosophical subjects. (These occur in several places in the Nikayas: twice in Majjhima I [sutta 72], once in Samyutta, III and once in Samyutta, IV; once in Digha 9 [Pottapada Sutta] and once in Digha 29 [Pasadika Sutta]. In his turn, Nagarjuna deals with them in the Mulamadhyamakakarika, XXVII, and in Dharmasamgraha.)

[35] Cf. the preceding note.

[36] In Dudjom Rinpoche (1991, vol. I, p. 219), we read:

“The dependent is without essence in respect to creation, because creation from the four alternative limits do not exist: Things are not created from themselves because that which was created and creation itself consist of instantaneous time moments, which renders them mutually exclusive substances. Nor are things created from something else, because on analysis the specific characteristics of that something else are not [found to] exist. Then, things are not created from both [themselves and other causes], because [themselves and other causes] are mutually exclusive substances. And, [finally], without a cause, creation is impossible. …whatever is apparitional and so forth instantly appears inasmuch as it is dependently originated, in the manner of a dream or an illusion. Such is said in the Sarvabuddhavishayavatarajñanalokalamkarasutra:

“‘Mañjushri, dreams appear but do not exist. Similarly all things, too, appear but do not exist.

“Down to:

“‘They are illusory, like a mirage, a castle in the sky, the moon in water, a reflected image and an emanation’.”

The above refutation is based on the view of time as a succession of instantaneous moments (which are not self-existent), according to which the illusion of there being a continuity of substances and actions would be similar to illusion of there being a continuity of substances and action in a movie picture, which results from the succession of still individual pictures in the film (with the difference that yogis have always insisted that the successive time moments have no duration whatsoever). Contrarily to the opinion of some dialecticians and scholars, this view of time is not an abstract theory of reality that the Yogacharas borrowed from the theoretical schools of the Hinayana, but is based on yogic experience. In turn, the rejection of this view by the Madhyamika Prasangikas is based on logical reasoning.

In case anyone would like to see the negation of production or creation confirmed by scriptural authority, the Anavataptanagarajaparipricchasutra (klu’i rgyal po ma dros pas zhus pa’i mdo) reads:

“Whatever is produced from conditions is not produced;

it does not have a nature of production.

Whatever depends on conditions is said to be empty;

one who knows emptiness is [rightly] mindful.”

[37] In Namkhai Norbu (1999, p. 93), we read:

“In the Dzogchen teachings, it is considered that the primordial state, which is beyond time, and beyond creation and destruction, is the fundamentally pure Base of all existence, both at the universal and at the individual levels. It is the inherent nature of the primordial state to manifest as light, which in turn manifests as the five colors, [which are] the essences of the elements. The essences of the elements interact (as explained in the Bön cosmology) to produce the elements themselves, which make up both the individual’s body and the whole material dimension. The universe is thus understood as the spontaneously arisen play of the energy of the primordial state, and may be enjoyed as such by an individual who remains integrated with his or her essential inherent condition, in the all-liberating, self-perfected state, the state of Dzogchen.”

[38] Does the timeless Base or Dzogchen-qua-Base both antedate and outlast manifestation? Insofar as this question presupposes time, it is senseless to make it with regard to what from its own perspective is timeless.

The Dzogchen view of the Base as being from its own perspective timeless is in accordance with seeming implications of Madhyamika philosophy, and of the thinking of Buddhist Master Ashvagosha, according to which space and time, rather than being self-existent, depend upon perception, for then it could be assumed that in the absence of perception and hence of life, and therefore previously to manifestation, there is no space and no time. According to Kant, space and time are a priori forms of sensibility, and so if we assumed this to be correct we could assume that they cannot exist before sensibility, and therefore before the origin of life. According to superunification theory, dimensions, including time, “expanded” with the (supposed) big bang, and hence we may assume before the (supposed) big bang there was no explicate dimensionality. The same might be the case with the holonomic theory of David Bohm and in general with what John Wheeler calls recognition physics, according to which at the dimensional level of Plank’s constant there is no explicate dimensionality. And so on.

Do the above systems imply that, even from a relative perspective, we are not entitled to speak of a “before” and an “after” manifestation, and perhaps even that we cannot speak of a manifestation (for so long as there are space and time there is the manifest, and hence we may not speak of its manifestation)? There is no doubt that from the perspective of the absolute there is no manifestation and hence no before or after manifestation; however, whether there are such things from the relative perspective is something that—as may be inferred from Shakyamuni’s negation to discuss the origin of the world and so on, both in the Pali Canon and in the Sanskrit Mahayana Canon—Sutric Buddhism would refuse to answer.

[39] Although the Charvaka or Lokayata was an Indian materialistic philosophical school, as a rule manuals of Buddhist philosophy refer by the Tibetan translation of these terms—gyangphenpa (rgyan ’phen pa)—in a generic way to a class of view that comprises various systems that deny the existence of anything transcendent, that deny the existence of a soul, that deny causation and the law of cause and effect, that deny that any view may be established, and so on. Among the subsystems they include in this category are those of the phelpa (phyal ba), of the gyangphenpa (rgyan ’phen pa) in the narrow sense of the term, and of the murthugpa (mur thug pa) or nihilists. Since the discussion of the views referred to by these terms is beyond the scope of this work, the reader is referred to: Karmay (1988), Baroetto (1990), Dowman (1992), Dudjom Rinpoche (1991), and Namkhai Norbu (1999 / 2001).

[40] He refers to them as causal mystics or mystics who attained the causal realm. However, since he believes what he calls the causal to be the dharmakaya, what he is saying is that they are dharmakaya yogis.

[41] I am not advocating for a return to the time prior to the development of science and technology, but for a redimensioning and restructuring of these roughly as conceived by Marcuse (1972, p. 61). However, I agree with Marcuse (1964, ch. 6: “From Negative to Positive Thinking: Technological Rationality and the Logic of Domination”) that science is ideological insofar as it has built into its concepts and methods an interest in instrumental action—that is, in the technical manipulation and control of nature—and hence it is necessarily committed to an exploitative view of nature and human beings, rather than neutrally and accurately reflecting an objective reality. In fact, as shown in Capriles (2007a vol. III), and in Capriles (1986, 1990b, 1994, 2007a, 2007c), the development of science and technology was a direct consequence of the development of the basic human delusion the Buddha called avidya and Heraclitus called lethe, and then science and technology catalyzed this development, exacerbating it, and thus led to the current ecological crisis—which represents the reductio ad absurdum of delusion that makes its eradication possible. In this light, the development of science and technology has a positive side, which is that of making possible the reductio ad absurdum of delusion and hence the latter’s eradication at a global level, which in its turn would make possible the beginning of a new Golden Age or of a Millennium like the one prophesized in the Kalachakra Tantra, the Book of Ismailis (Under the direction of Brice Parain, 1972, p. 281) and John’s Apocalypse. This is discussed in greater detail in Capriles (2007a vol. III and 1994).

[42] If the Path one has followed is based on a single principle, and on the basis of one’s experience of that Path one tries to understand other Paths which combine different principles including the principle on which the Path one followed is based, one will correctly understand those aspects of the Paths in question that are based on the principle of the Path one has followed, but not necessarily other aspects of those Paths. However, if one has obtained realization through the vehicle that the Samten Migdrön (bsam gtan mig sgron) calls the “primordial ancestor of all vehicles” (i.e. the Dzogchen Atiyoga), one will understand the principles of all Paths and vehicles.


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