Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Barclay PowersBarclay Powers is an author and futurist filmmaker. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies from Columbia University and has an extensive background as an independent scholar. He has studied Chinese, Tibetan and Indian meditation, yoga and martial arts traditions for more than 30 years. Powers is currently releasing multiple media projects worldwide in film and print, related to the evolution of consciousness based on his studies with numerous masters of ancient wisdom traditions. His most recent film, The Lost Secret of Immortality, based on his book, won best spiritual/religious/Christian film at the Great Lakes International Film Festival, 2012, the Silver Palm Award at the Mexico International Film Festival, 2012 and best spiritual documentary at the New York International Film Festival, 2011. See his website at for information on the book, graphic novel and film.


Crazy Wisdom,
Buddha Nature
and the Guru

Barclay Powers

Perhaps the ugliest aspects of the abuse of students by sadistic narcissistic spiritual teachers have fallen under the justification of crazy wisdom.

Recently I saw a statement by a Chinese Zen master who said the purpose of both sudden and gradual enlightenment is to understand Buddha nature. The goal of this article is to explore the meditation theory of consciousness evolution, and the dramatic conflict between the rational worldview and narrative paradigm descriptions of reality. Essentially, three fields - psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience - have emerged in the last century, which have more or less resulted in a bizarre reductionist narrative in which the human brain is regarded as self. Now there are exceptions to this supposed rational worldview, which scientism has given us, such as transpersonal psychology and contemplative neuroscience, but we have been sold an academic and media based narrative in which Western mechanistic science has proven both theistic and nontheistic spiritual traditions to be largely based on superstitious myth. The idea that many of the world's religions may be based on a fundamental truth that can be explained by science has not yet emerged in the 21st century. The question that arises when seeking a clear, scientific, rational non-psychological explanation of Buddha nature is shocking. Is there a lost structure of enlightened consciousness within all human beings, which completely shatters the postmodern scientific narrative that underlies the supposed rational worldview?

Enlightenment Without the Romantic Story

Essentially, a new culture of world spirituality is emerging in the 21st century as contemplative Asian inner sciences become more and more popular and increasingly culturally accessible. Unfortunately, this perspective often defines all spiritual traditions as equally valid and accurate in their descriptions of the human condition, and man's relation to the world of spiritual experience and the realm of the sacred. Meditation, tai chi, yoga, acupuncture and qi gong are all widely accepted practices based on vitalism – the cultivation and refinement of chi/prana. The fact that Asian medical models of spiritual enlightenment are based on vitalism is incompatible with the rational worldview and it is this problem, which prevents a scientific explanation of Buddha nature. Transpersonal psychology lies somewhere between vitalism and mechanism, which allows it to describe the kundalini as a “real” phenomenon. At this point, the rational worldview cannot acknowledge the concept of the liberation of consciousness without radically changing the scientific materialist worldview as a whole. The meditation paradigm reveals the fact that the origin of consciousness has always been spiritual enlightenment.

Mahasiddha: (maha meaning "great" and siddha meaning "adept") is a term for someone who embodies and cultivates the "siddhi of perfection." They are a certain type of yogin/yogini recognized in Vajrayana Buddhism. Mahasiddhas were tantric practitioners, or tantrikas who had sufficient empowerments and teachings to act as a guru or tantric master. The Mahasiddhas are the founders of Vajrayana traditions and lineages, such as Dzogchen and Mahamudra.

It is important to note that Buddhism, Taoism and Jainism, which have long histories of enlightened adepts, are not based on worshipping a creator god that determines the beginning and end of the story on both an individual and collective level. Adding this romantic character to the Integral definition of authentic spirituality, and combining this form of theistic mysticism with evolution, actually ends up completely obscuring the real meaning of Buddha nature, which has not been translated correctly. Buddha nature is the oldest structure of consciousness within the human body. It's complete realization means that the origin of consciousness within the individual and the species has always been enlightenment. A cross-cultural explanation of Buddha nature is also a clear picture of the real Philosopher's Stone, which has also been the basis of many ancient religions in the form of the Embryo of Enlightenment. The concept of the divine spark of light within all human beings comes from Infans Solaris/Hermetic Androgyne, a dormant subtle body, which has been the goal of inner alchemy in multiple world civilizations. A scientific explanation of this essential structure of consciousness, which has been completely misunderstood by the confused postmodern Western narrative of consciousness evolution, represents a paradigm shift as significant as Darwin. It could be defined as the true consciousness singularity, the omega point, which lies in our future when humanity discovers there is actually a living Buddha, which is dormant, within the reproductive system of every human being, as crazy as this may sound. This has been understood by classical Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The reason Buddhism was so successful in China was that Taoism and Confucianism were already based on the Embryo of Enlightenment when Buddhism arrived. From the perspective of Tantric Buddhahood, as well as Taoism and Hermeticism, the Embryo of Enlightenment is considered to be the real body of the individual that has the ability to restore the original enlightened primordial state of consciousness. The legendary Golden Age of the future, the consciousness singularity archetype, can be considered to be a potential global scientific understanding of this primordial structure of enlightenment, which completely changes the definition of being human. Most importantly, the Dharmakaya, the fully actualized Buddha nature, (Tathagatagharba or Sugatagharba in Mahayana and Vajrayana systems respectively), means that human beings somehow evolved from Buddhas, fully awakened beings, and lost their memories. At the time of enlightenment the Dharmakaya is dissolved back to nothingness, or fully returned to void. This is the true meaning of the Buddhist concept of nonself.

Tilopa: (988–1069) was a tantric practitioner and Mahasiddha.
He developed the Mahamudra method, a set of spiritual practices that greatly accelerates the process of attaining Bodhi (enlightenment). His main student is regarded as Naropa.

Without a scientific explanation of the Trikaya, the union of the three bodies – physical, subtle and super subtle - the human condition is a culturally brainwashed state of amnesia and Stockholm syndrome. Stockholm syndrome is actually encouraged by the false spiritual teacher that while speaking convincingly is unable to actually play the dramatic role of a real Bodhisattva with disastrous results for the cult members. Essentially, we have been collectively trapped in false scientific and religious narratives, which are designed to prevent the actual liberation of consciousness and ultimate freedom, which is our true nature, from emerging worldwide in the 21st century. Both scientific and religious postmodern descriptions of reality keep the human race bound by the chains of mental slavery. The rediscovery of a sacred and enlightened primordial state of origin within the human body represents a rediscovery of lost truth, which will theoretically result in a new narrative in which science validates the essence of contemplative spirituality in the 21st century. Although current contemplative neuroscience is controlled by a watered down lesser vehicle description of meditation as relaxation, which often excludes enlightenment, and cannot acknowledge the validity of the Trikaya – the union of the three bodies - younger scientists are much more open-minded in terms of seeking a new paradigm. Kuhn's description of scientific revolutions is accurate in terms of older scientists (and gurus) having a vested interest in maintaining a 20th century outdated incomplete model of consciousness evolution.

Saraha: (circa 8th century CE) was a Mahasiddha and is considered to be one of the founders of Buddhist Vajrayana, particularly of the Mahamudra tradition.

It could be argued that the highly distorted and confused spiritual theory of enlightenment, often described as “transcending the ego”, represents an artificial psychological narrative that prevents the Trikaya from being understood and realized in the present as both the beginning of the past (the origin of consciousness), and the end of the future (the complete evolution of consciousness). In practice, this model actually prevents the individual from being capable of self-defense in situations of the spiritual abuse of power, which results from a corrupt authoritarian narrative of the teacher student relationship. The post-enlightened ego is never fully transcended; it simply ceases to act destructively and becomes aware of the Embryo of Enlightenment, which is dormant within all human beings as the pre-birth consciousness or subtle body. The result of true spiritual realization should always be a genuine altruistic Bodhisattva perspective in which injury to others is defined as injury to self.

Real inner alchemical enlightenment, the union of pre-birth and post-birth subtle bodies within the physical structure results in an ethical worldview based on benefiting others and reducing harm. Current American definitions of enlightened spirituality have become lost in a romantic authoritarian narrative that isn't accurate, and actually prevents true realization of the enlightened essence or base underlying consciousness, which is actually the true nature of the individual. This true nature means that enlightenment and nonenlightenment have never been separate from a nondual perspective. The emphasis on linear evolution and sequential stages of development causes the goal of higher consciousness to be placed in the future when it is actually the physiological point of origin. Many Asian and Western narratives of ultimate consciousness evolution while sounding good in theory, rapidly evolve into sadomasochistic narcissistic incompetence in practice, which threatens and obscures the real narrative of the Trikaya, based on the absolute, yet to be rediscovered, scientific truth of the Embryo of Enlightenment. Although this fundamental underlying enlightened structure of consciousness will eventually be validated and understood as the rediscovery of the Philosopher's Stone on a collective level, it is currently mistranslated and reduced to the psychology of the higher Self. It should always be remembered that the original goal of science was the Philosopher's Stone, the union of corpus, anima, and spiritus.

As described earlier, the purpose of meditation and both sudden and gradual enlightenment is to understand Buddha nature, an enlightened structure of ultimate goodness within all human beings. Unfortunately, as proven by the American definition of Buddha nature, as well as many Asian systems, conventional meditation doesn't necessarily work or result in higher stages of consciousness development. Prerational, rational, and postrational structures of consciousness evolution have not been understood by psychiatry, psychology and neuroscience. The real Trikaya, Tantric Buddhahood, completely negates the Darwinian narrative of human origins and suggests that the human reproductive system is designed for enlightenment when chi/prana physiological vitalist energy refinement is understood as the core of genuine Asian models of spiritual awakening. The question that emerges is how does the individual distinguish between romantic and scientific narratives of consciousness evolution, in a way that permits a solid post postrational spiritual worldview to emerge in which the genuine Bodhisattva is the dominant archetype? Currently, the classical Chinese medical definition of enlightenment – the union of pre-birth and postbirth structures of consciousness, or subtle bodies - is still the most accurate description of enlightenment represented by the well-known yin-yang symbol.

Marpa: or more commonly known as Marpa the Translator, was a Tibetan Buddhist teacher credited with the transmission of many Vajrayana teachings from India, including the teachings and lineages of Mahamudra.

Even archetypal psychology recognizes at this point that wholeness or individuation results from the union or integration of yin and yang within the individual. However, a psychological understanding of yin and yang as male and female aspects of the psyche does not explain the complete liberation of consciousness as the union of pre-birth and postbirth subtle body structures, which is the classical goal of Chinese meditation, inner alchemy and qi gong. At the core of the secrecy associated with the transmission of genuine lineages of inner alchemy is the concept that the real systems should never be allowed to fall into the wrong hands of the corrupt. As the corruption, scandals and abuse associated with American versions of Asian spirituality and Integral theory suggests there is good reason for these precautions. What hasn't been understood is that real teachers are not corrupt individuals that create abusive cults that actually prevent the spiritual evolution of the followers by encouraging masochistic narcissism under the guise of transcending the ego. Although charismatic, skilled, spiritual speakers that have had strong experiences of cosmic consciousness may appear initially convincing, proof of realization is the genuine enlightenment of the students. Since there does not appear to be many American meditation teachers that can explain or translate Buddha nature accurately from both vitalist and mechanistic scientific perspectives, the current spiritual narrative appears to have resulted in an incomplete psychological understanding of enlightened human potential. However, a Bodhisattva world spirituality that is validated by science may be inevitable eventually when Buddha nature is correctly understood.

Crazy Wisdom

Perhaps the ugliest aspects of the abuse of students by sadistic narcissistic spiritual teachers have fallen under the justification of crazy wisdom. Similarly, sexual abuse is often justified by using the term tantric. Underlying the narrative of crazy wisdom is the Indo-Tibetan character of the Mahasiddha, the individual that has achieved the complete liberation of consciousness through the union of the three bodies. Human beings in general are driven by an intense motivation to experience the sacred, based on cultural conditioning, which uses religious stories to create purpose, meaning, and social dominance, which historically has resulted in periods of order or extreme religious warfare. Generally, the problem with American New Age, or Integral spiritual inquiry as well as many Asian systems is one of confused magical thinking. The drive to directly experience the sacred is so powerful that many Western Buddhists cannot acknowledge that prerational Tibetan superstition is so extreme that the endless Vajrayana ritual practices actually prevent the goal of physiological enlightenment – the Trikaya, with exceptions like the Six Yogas of Naropa and the Dzogchen dark retreat. It is not that these practices are not worth preserving, it is that they cannot result in the goal of inner subtle body union without opening the energy meridians of the body using tummo or heat yoga. However, the secular Buddhists' contemplative neuroscience model of meditation is not much better, because it cannot acknowledge the vitalist subtle body union, which is the goal of Mahamudra and Dzogchen Vajrayana systems. Secular Buddhism has emerged as a reaction to Asian magical thinking, but has lost the essential nadi, prana and bindu emphasis, which defines tummo or Tibetan kundalini yoga as the root of the path. The real Mahasiddha that had achieved Tantric Buddhahood, the complete evolution of consciousness, was an individual that had successfully united the three bodies - physical, subtle and super subtle - often by using sexual yoga.

Lakshminkara: The Princess of Crazy Wisdom Crazy wisdom ("wisdom gone wild") refers to unconventional, outrageous, or unexpected behavior, being either a manifestation of Buddha nature and spiritual teaching on the part of the guru, or a method of spiritual investigation undertaken by the student. It is also held to be one of the manifestations of a siddha or a mahasiddha.

What has not generally been recognized is that yogis that attempted to fully open the energy meridians of the body using the tantric firing process, often did not initially succeed and ended up in psychotic states of consciousness. Chinese medicine and inner alchemy describes this as “ entering the devil's fire”. Although there is some postmodern understanding of kundalini syndrome, meditation and heat yoga practices can and do regularly result in psychosis, and this is usually not mentioned in the context of crazy wisdom. As in the shamanic concept of the wounded healer, many of the great Mahasiddhas did not succeed initially and experienced periods of psychosis during their lives. Much of Indian Tantra is based on the rejection of social norms and taboos. Psychotic yogis would practice cannibalism in graveyards or eat human waste and some of these practices are still openly maintained by Aghoris. Human and animal sacrifice has always been a part of Hindu spiritual traditions as well, which is generally not acknowledged by the Western spiritual narrative. Within a tantric context, psychotic behavior assumed a religious dimension of the sacred, which sought to disengage the yogi from the social conditioning process. The practice of crazy wisdom did not originally mean that anything the guru does is perfect or legitimate because of the enlightenment of the guru. Instead, crazy wisdom was sometimes actual psychosis and was often rationalized as genuine nondual spirituality. The enlightened adept was believed to live in a world in which enlightenment and nonenlightenment were inseparable and the terrifying corpse littered graveyard was seen as a sacred place of spiritual practice. The Dalai Lama, for example, has often said that a classical tantric test for genuine nondual realization is whether you can place a small piece of excrement in your mouth without experiencing revulsion.

Matsyendranatha: or Machindranath (9th-10th century) was one of the eighty-four Mahasiddhas. He was the guru of Gorakshanath, with whom he founded the school of Hatha yoga.

The idea here is that generally very young children and psychotic individuals were observed to be immune to the social aversion and fear engendered by decomposing corpses and human waste. Tantric graveyard practices were viewed as a means of transcending the dualistic social conditioning which causes the individual to distinguish between pure and impure, life and death, and enlightenment and nonenlightenment, which characterize societal norms. Nor are these practices simply the result of the Indo-Tibetan imagination. Chod practitioners in Tibet that had successfully traversed multiple full-blown episodes in which they were repeatedly attacked by demonic entities were actually able to handle and dispose of infected corpses during plague epidemics without getting sick. This lineage is actually the only Tibetan system started by a woman, the famous Machig Labdron. This form of spiritual practice clearly shares many similarities with the concept and experience of shamanic dismemberment.

Taranatha: (1575–1634) was a Lama of the Jonang school of Tibetan Buddhism. He is widely considered its most remarkable scholar and exponent.

It should also be noted that Taranatha's famous history of Buddhism, which was written in 1608, and is considered to be a definitive Tibetan documentation of Indian lineages, discloses that many siddhas achieved realization by vetala siddhi, ritually resurrecting a female corpse. The best translation of vetala is a zombie/vampire. Robert Svoboda's book Aghora, At The Left Hand of God describes his Aghori teacher completing this tantric spiritual practice. Naturally, these historical aspects of nondual spirituality are not generally included in the American Buddhist fantasy of Tibet. A key ingredient in some Tibetan medicines, for example, is the carefully collected and processed excrement of the Dalai Lama. Similarly, Buddhist monasteries are well known for sexual abuse of young monks under the code of celibacy throughout Asia. Generally, these examples of what we could call the actual practice of religious belief are not discussed anymore than the long-term psychological effects of Judeo-Islamic ritual genital mutilation practices. It should be noted, however that amnesia, Stockholm syndrome and various forms of psychosis are well-documented results of war as well as cult abuse, that often cause the victims to identify with the oppressor. The justification of crazy wisdom as an excuse for abuse appears to be a clear example of ego inflation, based on confused pseudo enlightenment, which in practice has often amounted to a narcissistic sadomasochistic personality disorder masquerading as spiritual truth. The real Mahasiddha is thus an extremely interesting and eccentric character that combines the beloved Bodhisattva role with a premodern tantric magical archetype. Since the three Abrahamic monotheistic traditions have always described a god whose primary focus was the evils of human sexuality, the classical saying of the Mahamudra tradition – there can be no enlightenment without sexual yoga - differs dramatically from Western spirituality, as well as the Mahayana and Hinayana emphasis on the celibate monk as Buddhist role model. The famous Tantric saying, “Buddhahood can be found within the sex organs of a woman”, illustrates the key principle that enlightenment is dormant within the human reproductive system. Underlying all of this is the Buddha nature within all human beings. This is the oldest structure of consciousness, that when realized resulted in highly advanced models of justice emerging in premodern civilizations like the Golden Rule or ahimsa, the concept of the non-harming of other sentient beings. Imagine what a scientific explanation of this essential structure of ultimate goodness within all human beings will mean for the future of the world in the 21st century. Theoretically, this is the true consciousness singularity.

Niguma: is considered to be one of the most important and highly regarded tantric yoginis or Vajrayana Buddhist female teachers (dakinis). There are few certain facts about her life. She was born in the 10th century in Kashmir to a rich Brahmin family and according to different sources was the sister or consort of Naropa. It is said that her enlightened realization originated directly from Buddha Vajradhara.

The Guru and the Spiritual Teacher

At this point in the Western acceptance of Eastern spirituality, the word guru has often come to represent authoritarian sadism, which is caused by the shadow, an alleged dark area of the human psyche, which is responsible for the rampant abuse of power that has occurred repeatedly within spiritual groups/cults. Currently, the term spiritual teacher as opposed to guru is preferred because religious tyranny is no longer acceptable to non-brainwashed postmodern definitions of authentic spirituality. Unfortunately, this entire American experiment in pursuit of spiritual awakening has largely failed as proven by the complete lack of a clear definition of the union of the three bodies - physical, subtle and super subtle - as genuine enlightenment. The fact that American Buddhists have no idea that the super subtle body is the dormant Embryo of Enlightenment, the oldest structure of consciousness within the human body, is proof of a general absence of true realization. The central flaw of the Integral experiment is the senior leadership actively promoting what has amounted to mental and physical spiritual slavery in the form of masochistic submission to a supposedly enlightened authoritarian figure that represents the achievement of permanent higher consciousness. Allegedly, becoming a masochist will enable you to transcend the ego, which will allow you to experience your true identity, which is enlightenment currently blocked by your selfishness. Confused and dishonest American writers and teachers have created a completely false pseudo definition of enlightenment, which actually prevents the spiritual evolution or enlightenment of the students. The ridiculous nonsensical myth of transcending the ego has been used as the means of spiritual enslavement to control the gullible for power and profit. When the celebrity status of the guru is more important than the happiness and illumination of the students the entire spiritual narrative of genuine enlightenment is corrupted.

Milarepa: (c.1052 – c.1135 CE) is generally considered one of Tibet's most famous yogis and poets. He was a student of Marpa Lotsawa, and a major figure in the history of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.

The problem here is that the American definition of enlightenment has never succeeded in accurately translating Asian models of consciousness evolution, which are vitalist. Similarly, the Philosopher's Stone was rejected by Western civilization because it was vitalist as well as a threat to religious authoritarianism. Although it may be possible to find a transpersonal psychologist that says wholeness is the union of yin and yang within the individual, the psychologist does not know that this is actually a description of a worldwide tradition of the Coniunctio, the union of pre-birth and post-birth solar and lunar subtle bodies or consciousness. There may very well be a real consciousness singularity or omega point pulling us forward collectively, but it is the rediscovery of the Philosopher's Stone, the enlightened origin of science and consciousness, not evolutionary spirituality. Postmodern spirituality has not understood the evolution of consciousness from a postenlightenment perspective, and most importantly has completely overlooked the amnesia, Stockholm syndrome, and brainwashing, which represent the current human condition of mental slavery and extreme unconsciousness. Often, the spiritual narrative of enlightenment has simply been used to replace a secular or scientific story without complete realization, which is necessary for the genuine liberation of consciousness. When the classical Chinese medical qi gong explanation of enlightenment based on the Embryo of Enlightenment is scientifically validated an entirely new narrative of posthuman potential emerges. This narrative of absolute perfection as the Prima Materia or starting point of the human body, the origin of consciousness as ultimate goodness, is the real meaning of Buddha nature and nonduality.

Buddha Nature
Buddha Nature

Comment Form is loading comments...