Frank Visser, CLIMBING THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN: Reflections on Ken Wilber's “The Religion of Tomorrow”
INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
Barclay Powers is an author and futurist filmmaker. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies from Columbia University and has an extensive background as an independent scholar. He has studied Chinese, Tibetan and Indian meditation, yoga and martial arts traditions for more than 30 years. Powers is currently releasing multiple media projects worldwide in film and print, related to the evolution of consciousness based on his studies with numerous masters of ancient wisdom traditions. His most recent film, The Lost Secret of Immortality, based on his book, won best spiritual/religious/Christian film at the Great Lakes International Film Festival, 2012, the Silver Palm Award at the Mexico International Film Festival, 2012 and best spiritual documentary at the New York International Film Festival, 2011. See his website at www.lostsecretofimmortality.com for information on the book, graphic novel and film.
Why Buddhism Is True
Robert Wright's book, Why Buddhism Is True, is a good example of the current total mistranslation of the single most valid and important scientific insight of Buddhism, the Buddha Nature, the central error in secular Buddhist and Western psychological attempts to explain Nirvana/Buddhahood. It also demonstrates the ability of any psychologist who meditates for twenty years or so to creatively imagine that their understanding of emptiness, the Tao, the non-self and Buddhahood is accurate. Since the book is also titled The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment, the text is another example in which closet religious conversion occurs in a psychologist who then triumphantly proclaims Buddhism is a science, which "holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness." To his credit he does acknowledge that the Buddhist narrative is a "fighting the devil (Mara)" story.
Wright does a good job in asking why natural selection would design a brain that leaves people deluded about themselves and their true potential. Unfortunately since Wright has not actually seen his Buddha Nature, he is not capable of explaining the key East Asian Zen concept, "See your Original Face and become a living Buddha," as the seed, flower and fruit of real meditation. From the perspective of contemplative neuroscience, the goal of meditation/yoga, a return to the Original Mind or pre-birth consciousness, can be described as the physiological integration and rewiring of the central and peripheral nervous systems. A classical pre-modern Indian medical explanation would be a whole body kundalini activation that unites physical, subtle and super subtle bodies. Of course this "true" Northern Buddhist explanation of Buddhahood cannot currently be accepted by neuroscience, psychology, secular Buddhism and particularly by Southern Buddhism.
It can be predicted, and the Dalai Lama would have to agree, that a future scientific rediscovery of the Buddha Nature will change our definition of ourselves and the world in which we live much more then Darwin did. It will also explain the true philosophers stone, and the alleged history of the philosophy of science, as an incredible example of the white male brain deluding itself within a racist context of cultural superiority, and a materialist narrative which is toxic to life and liberty, as well as the pursuit of ultimate happiness, which logically has to be Nirvana, the goal of meditation, the origin of consciousness.
Your Original Face or Buddha Nature, the embryo of Buddhahood is an enlightened golden structure of consciousness within the physiological starting point of the body. It represents a scientific truth that there is a living relic or treasure within the physical body which is more valuable then anything on earth, because when activated it results in the direct meditation experience of the literal origin of consciousness, which has always been enlightenment. The visual experience of the complete dissolution of this enlightened structure is the actual goal of meditation, which returns the mind to void, and the reason for the concept of no self.
This is why the original meaning of Nirvana is snuffing out/extinguishment (like a candle), whereas Wright claims that "unconditioned" is a better translation then "bliss" because bliss sounds like drugs and Kurt Cobain was a heroin addict that killed himself. It's those damned drugs again. Actually "unconditioned" suggests a return to the state of the bliss of the original unconditioned pre-birth consciousness. Because the reproductive system is the most important aspect of awakening, based on nadi, prana, and bindu, Tantric Buddhahood results in the brain experiencing sexual bliss, which is not sexual all the time. This is why the Mahamudra system says there can be no enlightenment without sexual yoga, and that the human orgasm is a non-dual metaphor for enlightenment.
Wright uses the poem of the third patriarch of Chan/Zen to illustrate his take on awakening which appears to be some kind of liberal non-duality that doesn't really explain anything scientifically, much like integral theory.
The Great Way (Tao) is not difficult for those who have no preferences.
Wright cannot understand this poem, but seems to assume it is nihilistic. If an individual has seen his/her Original Face however the meaning is clear. First of all Heaven is Yang, Earth is Yin, humans are half yin half yang. The realization of the Tao is the Triplex Unity (also a famous text), the union of Heaven, Earth and Man, which returns the individual to primordial enlightenment. The Tao or Great Way means the path to origin, the original awakened state of natural unconditioned enlightened consciousness prior to subject/object perceptual distinction, pre-birth consciousness like an embryo inside its mother. Check out Transforming the Void: Embryological Discourse and Reproductive Imagery in East Asian Religions for an academic look at the embryo of enlightenment or fetus of the Tao as the Buddha Nature is often called.
The key idea here is that synchronizing the firing of the neurons of the brain, heart and gut brain, while opening and activating the acupuncture meridians by rewiring the nervous system, returns the human brain to its original enlightened state independent of attraction, aversion, and indifference which neuroscience agrees characterizes the brains response to stimuli. What makes enlightenment possible and the real goal of being human is the Buddha Nature.
What is amazing about psychological attempts to explain Nirvana is how the materialist agenda of the scientific narrative of awakening totally conflicts with the Asian medical explanation of the rewiring of the nervous system and the opening of the Buddha eye. Secular Buddhism and Mindfulness based meditation literally prevent actual awakening, just like integral theory because the Buddha Nature has not been understood as a structure of enlightened consciousness within the body and the second brain or enteric nervous system.
The actual goal of meditation, Buddhahood or the union of the three bodies, suggests that every aspect of our description of our true identity, (that of a living Buddha) will change for the better when the Buddha Nature is understood as the actual mechanism of enlightenment by science.
Whether or not the meditator/yogi sees this for themselves is fully dependent on the rewiring of the human nervous system which activates the Buddha eye, meta cognitive pineal, pituitary, and hypothalamus functional integration. As it says in the Bible if thine eye be single thy whole body will be full of light. The most valuable thing on earth, the pearl beyond price, is in your body. The Buddha nature is the scientific truth that returns the mind to its original awakened state and demonstrates that the origin of consciousness is enlightenment. This means that evolutionary psychology is completely contradicted by the science of Buddhist awakening. Science is intellectually disemboweled by the sword of real Zen. As Confucius said, to see the Tao in the morning, (your Original Face) is to die happy that night.