FRANK VISSER, CLIMBING THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
Reflections on Ken Wilber's The Religion of Tomorrow
I: The Involution/Evolution Cosmology | II: From Atom to Atman | III: A More Adequate Spectrum of Colors? | IV: What Is It Like to Be A Super-Nova? | V: Rational Reasons to Believe in Spirit? | VI: Is Darwin Really 'On Our Side'? | VII: Climbing the Stairway to Heaven - DOWNLOAD AS PDF
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".
Brad Reynolds did graduate work at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) before leaving to study under Ken Wilber for a decade, and published two books reviewing Wilber's work: Embracing Reality: The Integral Vision of Ken Wilber (Tarcher, 2004) and Where's Wilber At?: Ken Wilber's Integral Vision in the New Millennium (Paragon House, 2006). He is currently working on a book titled Growing In God: Seven Stages of Life from Birth to Enlightenment: An Integral Interpretation (forthcoming from Paragon House) that reviews Adi Da Samraj's “Seven Stages of Life” with Ken Wilber integral psychology and “spectrum of consciousness.”
Beyond Integral Sutra
A “sutra” (or “thread” of aphorisms and statements) is usually written from a higher state of consciousness. It is ecstatic speech often composed in response to a question or comment. This “beyond integral” sutra was written in response to Ken Wilber's book Integral Meditation (2016) and other integral publications on Integral Theory, Integral Metatheory, Super Integral, Integral Superhumans, etc., and other mental ideas that tend to take precedence over the heart of Divine Awakening (often making “Awakening” or “Waking Up” just another category of thought, not the transcendence of thought). May all beings benefit in devotion and Enlightenment to this humble rendering and message of love.
Thus have I heard. This Sutra is written in honor of all the Enlightened human beings, male and female alike, who have discovered the divinity of their Pure Mind Essence or of Consciousness Itself, and who, in service to the Enlightenment or Realization of God in all beings, have had to teach, argue, and combat ignorance wherever they found it, even among the halls of esteemed philosophers and scientific psychologists. Enlightenment is God-Realization, not merely “being one with everything,” for your Consciousness is indeed Real God, the Divine Condition and Source of the Kosmos, not the Creator or the evolutionary processes that modifies the forms of the universe. “Emptiness” is not the truth of form, shunyata is the truth of form, and form is shunyata, which is empty of mental ideas, but not empty of Buddhanature or the Divine Reality that is the only Truth that will set you free. Only Real God, not evolution, liberates you from all forms, whether of the outer gross-physical ones or inner mental-subtle variety or any correlation between them.
You need not seek for God, since you are always already God in essence or in the prior unity beyond form. You are not simply “one with everything,” for you are also a separate holon (a whole that is part of the Whole). Thus, in reality, you are “one with everything” in essence only, as Light-Energy, since in the relative universe you are indeed a temporary entity (from your point of view) that will die or end. Nevertheless, you are in fact absolutely one with the Divine Source-Condition of everything, every holon, which is experienced as the Love-Bliss of Conscious Light (or Real God). More accurately, you are as Consciousness in relationship with everything in an endless sea of patterning possibilities (known in the past as karma and kosmos). Consciousness is shunyata; shunyata is not different from consciousness (says the Heart Sutra).
The truth of who you are, as the Wise Masters have always taught, is not made of form or the evolution of forms. It is the Indivisible Formless Transcendent Divine Reality or True Self that transcends all bodies, all states, all stages, all worlds, all universes. This transcendence is more than what includes the composite of lower levels. To make evolution into a religion, as integral philosophers tend to do, is not the truth of God-Realization. “Neti, neti” as the Enlightened Buddhas teach is the truth behind all evolutionary forms. The Heart Sutra, as a matter of fact, proclaims: Gate gate paragate parasamgate Bodhi svaha! “Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone far beyond, Enlightenment, hurrah!” This enlightened transcendental truth goes far beyond mental formulas (such as “Emptiness is form; form is Emptiness”) used by philosophers to talk you into believing their “nondual” philosophy.
The illusions of the separate self weaves tangled webs of delusion, whether scientific or philosophic, mythic or integral. This is known in the Great Wisdom Tradition as Samsara and Maya, the delusionary nature of forms and mind. Even the embodied passion of the Western mind does not negate these enlightened truths, as the Masters always claim (whether of yesteryear or this year). These illusionary spells of the mental mind are very clever and intellectually insightful, even religious and mystical in nature (at times). Often their motives are sincere and compassionately inspired, yet still these are not the Teachings of the Enlightened Buddhas and Radiant Avatars. Consequently, they sadly keep people entrapped in unEnlightenment and the yearning desires of the ego, even those of a more evolved ego. This is why we must honor and revere the Awakened Adepts who have transcended ego while appearing throughout all of human history. The Divine Wisdom they point to goes far beyond the confines of any particular century or socio-cultural worldview or structure of consciousness.
Enlightenment does not evolve, for Enlightenment is trans-temporal and God is All-Pervading, totally not dependent on the evolution of conditions or forms. This is what the Most Wise have always taught. That is what you must discover, not a “new form” of the Transcendent expressed in Immanent clothing. The Transcendent alive as Immanence or Spirit in the world of form does not make the Immanent more real. As the Wise Hindus know, Shakti surrenders to Shiva, the universe is sacrificed in God, the self is surrendered in Truth. People dedicated to this world have not quite realized the other world or the uncompromising Transcendental Reality of Real God. The world is not simply “illusion” or unreal, but merely transparent as Spirit to the Radiant Divine or Prior Unity underlying and pervading all forms. Hence beware of those prolific philosophical writers of the Talking School who would try to convince you otherwise that God is the world of form and that Enlightenment evolves. No, for Enlightenment is forever eternal Freedom beyond all evolution. God is the Source and Condition of the universe only, not defined by it. Enlightenment is realized, not evolved… or published. Only the discipline and practice or sadhana of the self evolves in relationship to the ever-present Divine Condition of Love-Bliss and Conscious Light. The Buddha was as real and liberated back then as the Divine Avatar is today. No one will ever succeed That.
The lineage of the world's wisest Awakened Adepts, the Enlightened Ones stand clear and free in Absolute Transcendental Realization while simultaneously allowing and serving with great love and happiness the endless variety of relative manifestations. They have bequeathed to us a sacred thread or sutra of Awakened Teachings (or True Dharma) which does not shun the world and its cultures, but which sees through them to the Reality of Prior Unity, beyond all forms and potentialities of evolution. This has always been so, and has always been taught by the truly Enlightened, and will always be so. Such Sacred Sutras contain the beauty and potency of these Adepts' enlightening transmission, which this humble text will point to and herald as being the Truth spoken by the Most Wise, the servants of humankind.
To the Enlightened Ones we must turn, not to philosophers and pandits, especially those who try to create their own way as being an improvement upon all that came before. Only the Enlightened can do this, not merely the wise and smart. You know you are witnessing Samsara when they claim otherwise. Samsara and Nirvana are not the same. They only appear to arise from the same Source-Condition after Enlightenment has dawned and awakened. This Beyond Integral Sutra, therefore, openly encourages you and all beings to read and study these Wisdom Masters, to persist until their revelations become clear for yourself, to spend time in their loving Company, to live in the presence of their radiant Transmission (or Maha-Shaktipat) beyond and prior to the halls of university and academy, for they are our sacred inheritance bequeathed to all humanity as your wisest and most loving ancestors.
Thus have I heard. Now that science and the detailed workings of the phenomenal world have become clearer to the human mind, and will continue to do so in the future, some people now feel the Enlightened Wisdom Teachings are outdated or incomplete. How could this be true? For True Enlightenment transcends or goes beyond the limitations of all mind forms, beyond all reasoning logic, beyond the security of any culture or worldview, regardless of how developed or underdeveloped, for the Enlightened Ones Teach and Transmit the Truth of not only this Kosmos, but of all universes ever made possible as arising in the Divine Presence of Eternal Light… right now… and forever now.
The Dharma of Enlightenment transcends all cultures and centuries of humankind on planet Earth, for the Dharma of Truth is true and real no matter what planet, what galaxy, no matter what subtle realm, whatever extraterrestrial domain, regardless of experience or vision or sound the separate self may find itself arising within. Do not be deluded by the rationally-based and clever considerations that have been conceived since the discovery of the developmental process known as Evolution. Enlightenment includes yet truly transcends evolution and always has. You cannot evolve to Enlightenment; you must step off the ladder of evolution to realize the Enlightened Condition of God-Realization. It is the only Real possibility. Development (or “Growing Up”), in life and in people, individually and collectively, has always been observed by the Most Wise, even if the details were not yet fully known, just as the knowledge of today will increase as time goes on. Enlightenment is not a knowledge quest that improves over time, for God-Realization is trans-temporal and transcendent, beyond space and time (beyond space-time), and thus goes beyond the equations of the mind or the rulers of science. Once realized, this becomes obvious.
There is One Path to Enlightenment, though there are two doors of approach. One door is the Path to Pure Mind Essence, the only Way to realize the Primordial Consciousness that is the Divine Brightness that is the true Creator of All and all. It is sudden and complete. The other door is the seductive way of knowledge, which is gradual and partial, the gateway to Ignorance. This involves the inability to transcend mental forms and the sensational feeling conditions of the separate self. This way gets lost in endless discriminations, in more refined mapmaking, in perpetual fascination with the conditional structures and states of all arising forms, interior and exterior. Since all doors are illusion, and all paths a quest of seeking, then Enlightenment remains elusive in the chatter of philosophical minds, although it is always already ever-present. No matter what door you choose, you are always already Here in the loving embrace of Reality, your innate Divine Condition. Fear not and surrender your seeking quest.
The Divine Truth is known by the Enlightened Masters, the Awakened Adept-Realizers, though difficult to comprehend, for ego-self must be completely transcended in ego-death. Surrendering mind into the heart is the Way of the Wise who prove the veracity of this wisdom by their own Awakening that will also guide you on the Way to your Awakening. As all Enlightened Sages have taught, for they too were taught, it is incumbent that all people, seeped in unenlightened ignorance since birth, turn to the Awakened Adepts and Genuine Gurus who have appeared and incarnated as God's Grace to serve the Awakening of all other beings (human and nonhuman alike). Regardless of the fake and phony gurus, Real Gurus do exist. It is up to you to make this discovery and use their Help.
Do not dismiss your very own Help, even though they may, at times, confuse you or make you question and doubt them beyond your present egoic understanding. They will, at one time or another (or many times), insult your ego and make you fret. Yet, beyond your ego-self they stand as Pure Love and Bright Light Here to serve you. Listen more closely; hear more intently; see and understand what is beyond knowledge. Their Awakening Grace, as long declared by all teachers in every generation, is needed (and highly valued) by the unenlightened to Awaken you beyond yourself to your True Condition. Even though you are Always Already Free, the conditions of manifest existence requires interferenceor Helpto break or release your habitual patterning, or what you even recognize as being your unique self, the qualities of “I, me, mine.” Only Enlightenment frees you from you; only this is Waking Up, in truth.
Turn to them, your Awakened Help, and honestly judge their Wisdom against what is real before your eyes and heart, even though the waves of doubt will certainly wash upon your shores. Fear not, for they are even more real than your own body-mind. And when you have seen their Enlightened Wisdom with your own eyes, felt their transmission with your own heart and awareness, feel not afraid to bow at their feet, for they are your True Self made manifest in bodily form. They are here to serve your Awakening to Real God, to the realization of Nirvana in the here and now, and for nothing else, in truth. The Guru and Lama is the Way of Light beyond the darkness of the self and the illusions of the world. They are your Servants though they may appear as your Master. They are the Formless Conscious Light of the Bright Divine made manifest for your sake calling you to Awaken beyond the separate self and its integral visions to the true Heart of God, your Real Condition and True Self.
Thus have I heard and thus have I seen. I bow down in full prostration.