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#3409 - Sunday, January 11, 2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz
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This is from The Institute for Contemporary/Ancient Learning: http://gburneko.blogspot.com/2009/01/review-of-not-two-is-peace.html
Book Review by Guy Burneko, Ph.D.
The Institute for Contemporary/Ancient Learning
January 8, 2009
Adi Da. Not-Two Is Peace: The Ordinary Peoples Way of Global Cooperative Order. Middletown, CA: Dawn Horse Press, 2007.
This book is valuable in so many ways that writing a review of it is a pleasure; its limitations are only the result of its considerable virtues.
It elucidates in diverse ways the immense value of profound nondualist experience for humane and ecohumane well-being. And while in doing so it does not rely on scholarly references, anyone who has encountered traditional teachings of the inherent unity of being from the Vedas, Sutras, mystics or indigenous sources will recognize basic similarities in concept and import. For instance, where we read in Adi Da that The restoration of sanity and Truth or the restoration to Reality Itself requires the overcoming of the self-deluded process. . . of self-objectification, we hear echoes of ancient teachings about the avidya or ignorance that obscures and deludes our understanding (of ourselves as essentially not-twoed from prior unity). Our ignorance, he explains, is in thinking of ourselves as separate egos which, therefore, in turn objectify All as something separate from ourselves. From this derive the "tribalisms," competitiveness, fears and lack in peace and composure that afflict our unsustainable lives. Our presumption of individual ego eclipses the basic Self-realization that we are, finally, non-individually selfless in (and as) the not-two of never-completely-objectifiable Reality Itself.
Adi Da is both clear and tonic in showing the extent to which the contemporary world is deluded by its own artifacts and that we continuously blind ourselves to the fact that the egoless human being fully participates in Reality Itself by our persistently assuming that we do not do so via our repeated egoic assertions. In other words, it is in assuming and instantiating the unity of the reality that is prior to all egoing (rather than assuming duality in our interpersonal and geopolitical interactions) that we embody Reality. Egolessness is the self-organizing energy of prior unity. We have put the cart of separateness before the horse of not-two.
One miscue in the development of Das thinking may be in using the term individuation to accentuate the confrontational hyper-individualism of contemporary social psychology. Compare his criticism of it with Jungs richly developed use of the term individuation to characterize a process of psychospiritual integration of opposites tending towards what Adi Da himself seems to propose. Consider also that characters and images in dream, myth and ritual drama often provide useful bridges for understanding how competing opposites reveal as well as conceal a manifold coincidentia oppositorum, or marriage of opposites. Examples are in the reciprocities of yinyang or in the unconditioned unity behind the battling armies of Bhagavadgita where Krishna, in the form of a charioteer, reminds us to be free of the pairs of opposites. Poise [our] mind in tranquility . . .Be established in the consciousness of the Atman, always.
Attempting to clarify the self-presencing of undivided Reality-experience, what Adi Da calls prior unity, i. e., the unity that is senior to everything that we usually experience as divided into us and them, this and that, pro and con, and all the exaggerated brouhaha of the daily news, he devises tactics of language, (including punctuation and capitalization). These are briefly distracting, but in no case is his use of language ambiguous or unclear. Such a statement as that: Love Is The Inherent (and, thus, moment to moment) Transcending of the separate subject (or the egoic and divisive self) and the separate object (or the illusory not-self) would by itself be a show-stopper. But the book explains its use of novel forms of expression, provides a glossary and an astute introduction by Ervin Laszlo, and the reader is made familiar with terms as they arise. So the overall experience is one of thinking together with and, gradually, as genuinely seminal being-consciousness sometimes in tradition signified by sat-chit-ananda.
It is not initially easy, if ever easy, to bespeak indivisible prior unity in a world of mind and speech that is everywhere premised on ego-born duality and the dramas of often antagonistic multiplicities. As Zhuangzi suggests, there is the One, then there is somebody, and then that somebody is saying something about that Onewhich makes three; already the calculations are adding up fast. Again, however, we need to read Adi Da not foremost as an author or as a writer, and far less as an academic, but as an expression of a presumably integral consciousness that is often eclipsed by the divisiveness of Narcissistic holocaust in our dark time.
Adi Da gets right to work, in a no nonsense. . . .only business handled way forgoing the humor, irony, fun and sweet affection we find in the writings of such illuminated ones as Zhuangzi or Hafiz. In fact, as incontrovertibly valuable as Adi Das teaching is here, its exposition is sometimes nigh unto hieratic, even pontifical. And this is especially so when his apostrophe is to you (meaning you, me, the readers) as if he were not also one among us: You -- the people of the world. Every one of Everyman must be changed, and restored to the non-dissociative circumstance. . . . There is nothing offensive about this kind of address, and in its didactic or even hortatory context it is understandable. But neither, even though written in the name of compassion, does it savor of the inclusive love of, say, the self-deprecating Hafiz who writes to a similar end: To your deepest sensibilities my Beloved has asked Hafiz to sing with all of my millstones talents. The univocity of Avatar Adi Da Samraj sometimes verges on that of the Abrahamic traditions he not unreasonably critiques.
Yet World-Friend Adi Da offers real gifts of trenchancy and camaraderie in his work to help us grow to relinquish the ego-principle and to embrace the Prior-Unity-Principle and become politically free. To be thus grown is, itself, to be (inherently) politically free. And a major way to this is through our intimate cooperation in effecting locally, and also -- notably via internet resources -- a Global Cooperative Forum for the future conduct of life on earth. This does not require disassociation from ones nation, ones birthplace, or ones particular citizenship. Rather, it requires the discipline of always exercising a disposition that, fundamentally, transcends any kind of particularity of orientation. It is thinking and living in terms of all of us, not just of the ego, clan, state or other corporate body we have divided ourselves into. The disposition of always (and inherently) being part of humankind first implies a kind of egolessness. Cooperation and tolerance accompany this, the necessary new paradigm for the human design of future effort, and the necessary, ensuing peace. The author also alludes to the practical value of contemplative practices, generically meditative or, as appropriate, esoteric, for a widespread pedagogy of self-organizing peace and world justice.
The egolessness we learn of is devoid of the high drama of our usual knee-jerk assertions, national and individual, of I, me and mine as if these were not always already one with, and as, you and yours in the ecology of mind and nature. Absent the agon of adversarial concupiscence and violence, the no-drama politique of a Global Cooperative Forum convokes a mode of global community organization. It is refreshingly reminiscent of the cadences of No Drama Obama and the emerging global mystique of new age aloha. Adi Da writes from Fiji; you dont need a weatherman to know which way the Pacific wind blows.
I havent in a long time read a book that hits so many nondual nails on the head so neatly, to make a bad analogy. There were parts of this work that, in the words of a classical Chinese scholar-sage, made me so happy I felt like I was dancing with my hands and feet. There were a few where I sensed a suppressed rancor. It is well worth reading twice, and deserves a place on both public and university library shelves. I recommend it highly with the qualification that it requires concentration and patient attentiveness. It offers a diagnosis and remedy for a world culture of peaceless mummery and violence.
Google offers multiple references to Adi Da (some problematic, some giving different names he has used, e. g., Da Free John); and the book itself directs interested readers to ispeace723.org
In addition to texts and thinkers mentioned here, interested readers might also appreciate: Jean Gebsers Ever-Present Origin, Sri Aurobindos The Future Evolution of Man, David Loys Nonduality, N. K. Girardots Myth and Meaning in Early Taoism, Thomas Berrys Dream of the Earth, Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Ryuken Williams, eds. Buddhism and Ecology, Beatrice Bruteaus Evolution toward Divinity, Peter D. Hershocks Liberating Intimacy, Ervin Laszlos The Connectivity Hypothesis, Charles Le Blancs Huai-Nan Tzu, Gray Kocchar-Lindgren's Narcissus Transformed or William Blakes The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
Book Review by Guy Burneko, Ph.D.
The Institute for Contemporary/Ancient Learning
January 8, 2009 http://gburneko.blogspot.com/2009/01/review-of-not-two-is-peace.html
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