Amrit and Poison
JCB: The reason I don't read Da any more -- but rather, only triangulate with his stuff insofar as there are already imprints present -- is that even the highest Witness type teaching from him contains an inevitable and subtle "spin" that leads back to the "given" of his own Ati-ness (or ultimacy).
Jaguar: This is exactly what has hit me repeatedly in reading his stuff. All fingers point not to the moon, but back to Frank.
JCB: The bath water has so permeated the baby that there may well be no hope of separating the two. If you go to take a swig of the amrit, you automatically get a dose of the poison.
Jaguar: This is also my personal conclusion on the matter. To go further, I'll add that throwing in with Frank & co. -- given the fact there are genuine awakened sages living right now -- is totally unnecessary. Even if (for the sake of argument) Frank were realized in some fashion, by merely observing the fruits of Adidam the dangers of such "relationship" should be obvious and set off bullshit alarms all over the place.
Frank is not offering more here in absolute terms (though he says he is) than any of the other yanas. On comparison with long-established enlightenment yanas this is obvious. Just as inventing a whole new religion when these yanas (and I'd include [obviously] Buddhism, Kashmir Shaivism, Advaita Vedanta, Taoism, Kabbalah, Sufism, Gnosticism, Alchemy, certain forms of shamanism, and various and sundry sadhu-sages scattered throughout India) are veritable horns 'o plenty of techniques for liberation. Adidam is simply superfluous here. So if it's not necessary from the POV of awakening, why waste precious time trying to distill the amrit from the poison, when so many other paths offer the amrit without all that extra effort!!!
JCB: This is one thing I'm fairly certain of, and really, it's at the root of his teaching: "be with the guru" and "I Am You", in practice, take precedence over "understand yourself" and "You Are That".
Jaguar: As Frank sez: "If, Instead Of Merely Perpetuating Your Illusions, You Give Me Your Responsive Devotional Regard, and Surrender Into Communion With Me (By Yielding All The Principal Faculties, Of body, emotion, mind, and breath, To Me), and Forget Yourself and The Faculties and Their Illusions and Operations, and Enter Into A Profound Stillness Of "Bright" Communion With Me (Thereby Releasing The Knot Of self-Contraction), Then The True Nature Of Reality Becomes (By My Reality-Revealing Grace) Tacitly Obvious As The By Me and As Me Revealed Source-Condition Of conditional Existence."
YIKES!!! Cultic if anything ever was! Any Zen roshi taking this tack would be (rightly) hounded out of the zendo for making such an absurd claim, and would demonstrate only their lack of direct experience of sunyata.
JCB: Much to agree with there, Jag -- your points are all really well-put. That Da quote you posted was over the top -- as I said, I haven't been keeping up. I think he's been slowly backsliding. Ati-vism indeed.
Hell, saying he's realized at all may be just a way to make myself seem less of a sucker for biting, and to avoid dissing people I respect who are still into him. I don't like confrontation, and like to presume magnanimity as to kinds of paths work for people. Live and let live, right?
Jaguar: I sank into that mode for awhile here. I really do still respect some of the Adidamites I've heard from here, and I've tried to avoid offending as well and practice live and let live. But then again it's also really important to call out Frank's perversions of the tantras, and this demands direct, unsparing criticism of Frank and his ideas, which unfortunately has the collateral effect of being interpreted as a personal attack by those who place their faith in Frank's words . Yet, there are no other ways I can think of to be more politic about his perversion that will not engender some sort of offense. So to Adidamites, I can and do respect you as individuals; not, however, Frank's teachings. This is important to keep in mind here.
JCB: That is a very good distinction, and it pays to consider it in light of the various effects of Frank's "blend", for better and worse.
I have tended to assume, wrongly, that the mix of useful and poisonous stuff in Frank was somehow a mitigating factor across the board. It's not.
The fact that there is some good in Da is useful only from the POV that people like Pilgrim can have valid insights about stuff like the Witness gleaned via practice with Da. That is to say, growth can be had along certain axes. (All this applies on a personal level, too, of course, in terms of any ex-Daster such as yours truly sorting it out.)
However, in broader, practical terms, Frank's mix is deadly. The amrit attracts and the poison deludes and destroys, by engendering all sorts of misunderstandings stemming from his flawed and limited overall "walk", or gestalt. So yes, love the practice, but repudiate the teaching.
To be clear: Ultimately, the stuff in Frank that is true only makes him MORE dangerous, given that the falsity is simultaneously (and at each level) so pervasive. The flaws Da brings to the table are always there, and fatal from the beginning.
The poison of his overall gestalt is not going to go away, and seems to have been there from the start of his spiritual striving. He built a castle on a rotten foundation, and the design of the castle is wrong, even though the bricks are fine enough, and carved with lovely inscriptions. He can only take a person so far at best, and the farther one goes with him, the more ensnared one becomes, by gradually internalizing the poison. This is not just dry theory here, but what I've observed in myself and others.
Amazing that it's taken this long for me to see this clearly what so many of my friends seemed to grok, but couldn't quite verbalize, the more they saw me getting into the "bright" corona of the dark eclipse. That's enough from me on this subject for now, I guess.
Jaguar: Lord Buddha said that true dharma is "good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end." Clearly Frank's life-as-embodiment of his self-proclaimed realization is deeply flawed, and filled with enough negativity to fail the Buddha's criteria. All that's needed to confirm this is contained directly in Frank's life, teaching, and sangha.
JCB: It is fortunate indeed that things are "really" set up in such a manner that truth is inherent, or all who ever contacted him would be screwed. Frank, himself, is (in relative terms) quite screwed.
Jaguar: Fortunate, indeed. That we're all possessed of a stainless and pure Buddha Nature (or a divine soul, if that's your schtick -- same difference so long as you don't go reifying the idea of "soul" -- which would be a form of eternalism and considered Wrong View according to Buddhism -- which dovetails neatly with the koshas idea). That is our birthright; and no one can take it from you. NO ONE. Anyone who claims to be a divine medium for prajna-wisdom is a liar and a fraud.
JCB: I stand by my assertion a ways back that his actions, the sum of them and their pattern, speak louder than any Ati-rationalizing anyone could possibly make.
Jaguar: This is the key right here. I think you've perfectly nailed it: it's the Gestalt. The sum-total of Frank is his life and his teaching and his sangha. And students of a teacher are a direct reflection of the quality of the teaching and the teacher in my experience.
JCB: The transmission aspects are a combination of his shaktipat and individuals' own inherent nature occasionally springing forth. To see this consistently (once you've been da-maged) seems to require quite a bit of sharpness.
Jaguar: Yes, and shaktipat is available in various and divers places, from Pentecostal tent revivals to con-artist gurus. This doesn't diminish Shakti one iota; it does underscore that a transmission of Shakti is not to be confused with genuine enlightenment, though, as even the bliss-states from Shakti must be transcended ultimately.
JCB: This is a wicked good point, and one that folks like myself and Andy who navigate in large part by "transmission" perhaps need to be more aware of. It depends on what you mean by transmission, of course. Again, even though Da is apparently able to catalyze the inherent Witness for some, there is no comparable emphasis (in practice) on transcending cultic attachment to the teacher, let alone the whole wrong-minded gestalt, which is the "first, last and only" problem with the guy.
It can be a tough one if you cut some of your teeth on Da. Great minds like Ken and Jimananda have been fooled. ;-) But that doesn't change the fact that Da's screwed up and this has to be grokked, or you will continue to poison yourself in all kinds of little ways.
Jaguar: It is my suspicion that if I had encountered Frank before Buddhism and had been receptive to his prose style I might have succumbed to the same thing, as I would have had absolutely no basis of comparison, and to the untrained in the enlightenment yanas, I'm sure his stuff can sound radical and amazing.
As one poster here familiar with Koresh pointed out a while back, your intelligence has nothing to do with susceptibility to such stuff, as a powerful shock of Shakti (or the like) can make someone otherwise indifferent a fervent believer in the infallibility and unrivaled power of someone who has this siddhi.
JCB: And he is far slicker and into more real stuff than Koresh. Add to the equation the possibility that Frank can in fact throw people, at least at some level, into some sort of identification with the Witness, and then throws in an imprint that HE, with all his errors, is their True Nature. And, in an exclusive way: he says, and I quote sans the capitals, "I am more you than you are". Yikes indeed.
That is black magic of the blackest kind, an ensnaring of souls. Whether intentional or not -- Frank may be more deluded than calculating on this point -- it does represent a very, very pernicious error. Moreso given the fact that it's swirled in with actual written and practical insights. Run like hell.
This guy must have some interesting karmas, to say the least. I know people can and do sincerely practice with him and grow, as I did. But I simultaneously got fucked up along other axes, and observed the same process in just about everyone, except those who were totally fucked up to begin with, and just retained some of their specific problems while transcending others.
These mixed results were not just due to my wrong view, but the wrong view he engenders in the process of devotion to him. A waste of precious time indeed, but at least it's a lesson learned and sharable.
So I retract that it's cool for Wilber to get into the guy, unless Wilber wants a big, unnecessary lesson about babies impossibly polluted by bath water. I also take back that I may invoke the Da-monic One in the bardos, unless I'm so lost that he's the only iconic imprint remaining. To avoid the inevitable complication this would entail, like a retro-birth as one of his wives or something, I gotta put in more work on inscribing some purer samskaras on my chitta ... equally joking and serious about this. ;-|