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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
From 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
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THE TRANSRELIGIOUS FALLACY
IN WILBER’S WRITINGS
And Its Relation With Wilber's
“Philosophical Tradition" And Views
"Beyond Mind", Part III, Appendix 1
(1998, p. 318) has noted that:
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
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, 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  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
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:
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  reminded us
and as commented in Capriles [2007a vol. I], has the etymological meaning of
“obscuration to correctness” or “thoroughly confused”) 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). The views of the
Orphics, which seem to be of Kurgan (Proto-Indo-European) origin, are at the opposite
extreme of those of the contending, pre-Indo-European Dionysian tradition, 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, 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,
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. 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. 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).
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; 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,
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—thus lying half way
between truth and untruth, being and nonbeing, beauty and its lack (ugliness),
and good and its lack (evil).
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; 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)]).
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.
However, it seems that Plato (as the Pythagoreans 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), with the germ of
Orphic antisomatism, theism and so on.
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) 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—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.
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—and the egalitarian
character of pre-Indo-European societies espousing Dionysian religion (what
Riane Eisler  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.
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),
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,
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
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) 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).
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, 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
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])
(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), 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.
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
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
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). 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.
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:
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
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])—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: 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) 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.)
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
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).
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
 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  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.
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).
 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.
 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.
 Gendün Chöphel (2005) wrote:
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
 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.
 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
, Tannen , 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.)
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.
 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.
 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).
 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).
 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.)
 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.
 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.
 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 , 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.
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
 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.
 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
 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.
 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.
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
 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.)
 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 ,
69E), where the initiated would force them to eternally fill sieves with water
by means of other sieves (Plato, Gorgias , 493B).
 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.
 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.
 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
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
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.
or father-son relationship?
 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
 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.
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).
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).
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  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”).
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).
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).
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.
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.).
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.
 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.
 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]).
 Plotinus may have
taken this view from Heraclitus’ fragment DK 206, which reads (adapted from
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
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.
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.
 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).
 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).
 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).
 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.)
 Cf. the preceding
Dudjom Rinpoche (1991, vol. I, p. 219), we read:
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:
dreams appear but do not exist. Similarly all things, too, appear but do not
are illusory, like a mirage, a castle in the sky, the moon in water, a
reflected image and an emanation’.”
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.
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:
is produced from conditions is not produced;
does not have a nature of production.
depends on conditions is said to be empty;
who knows emptiness is [rightly] mindful.”
 In Namkhai Norbu
(1999, p. 93), we read:
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.”
 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.
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.
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.
 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).
 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.
 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).
 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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