|Reading the excerpts
below will give you a sense for Wilber's contradictory and deeply problematic
writings on Adi Da Samraj. The links then provide you with the fuller article
from which the excerpts were drawn. |
"The One Who Was To Come Is Always Already Here" A Short Appreciation of the Teaching
of Bubba Free John|
Wilber recognizes Adi Da as one of the very rare "Enlightened Ones" —
like Jesus, the Buddha, and Hinduism's Krishna — and
therefore (not surprisingly) strongly advises
all to become Adi Da's devotee if they are able.]
WILBER: "Whatever else might be initially said, the event of Bubba Free
John [Adi Da] is an occasion for rejoicing, because — without any doubt whatsoever
— he is destined to be recognized as the first Western-born Avatar (World Teacher)
to appear in the history of the world. For the other great avatars — Christ, Gautama,
Krishna — all have been Asian. But here, for the first time, is a Western-born
Spiritual Master of the ultimate degree. . . .
the ordinary person continually abandons this Divine Mystery, in order to contract
into knowledge and sensation, the Awakened One has perfectly and radically fallen
into the condition of Divine Ignorance itself, and thus is perfectly aligned to
the utterly spontaneous and unknowable play of the Divine. . . .
as the ultimate Condition of which all arising is but modification, Bubba Free
John stands as simple Presence for all who would have recourse to him. The times
at which such Enlightened Ones have appeared are very rare; please make use of
the works and presence of Bubba Free John to whatever degree you are capable."
1980: On Heroes and Cults|
Wilber writes of Adi Da as "Spiritual Hero", and praises not only his
"intellectual brilliance", but his "moral fortitude". Wilber's
piece endows the "Adi Da cult" with an entirely positive meaning, in the manner
of Christ and his cult of disciples, or Buddha and his cult of monks.]
WILBER: "We all would like to think that we could recognize one
such as Christ if he returned. But the sad historical fact is just the opposite:
We you and I have from the start rejected our true spiritual Heroes
when they walked among us, and, if history is any guide, we would probably do
the same thing today. It seems that, while they are alive, real Spiritual Masters
are met with benign neglect (or worse). The fact is that Christ (or Buddha or
Moses) might already have returned and been summarily rejected. What evidence
could we offer otherwise, given our past performances? . . ."
" This problem has today reached a critical point with the events of Jonestown
and the growth of so many apparently strange cults. The world at large now looks
with even more terrified suspicion upon any movement that appears 'cultic'
that is, any group, large or small, centered around a 'heroic' or 'charismatic'
leader. . . .'Cult' is the new anathema; cult is the new terror. . . .But here
again we face the same dilemma: All truthful and beneficial causes are initially
'cultic', but not all cults are either truthful or beneficial. . . .How could
the American Revolution have survived Valley Forge without the hero-figure of
George Washington and his cultic followers? Where would modern psychiatry be without
Freud and his slavishly cultic disciples? Or on the religious side: Christ and
his cult of disciples, Buddha and his cult of monks, Krishna and his cult of devotees.
Could we seriously wish that none of those cults ever existed? . . ."
"And so: Da Free John [Adi Da Samraj] is a Hero and Da Free John
is surrounded by devotees. What, then, are we to make of this spiritual Hero?
Realize that we cannot reject him simply because he is viewed as a Hero. And realize
that we cannot reject him simply because he has dedicated followers. Rather, we
must look to his teaching, look to his life, look to his example, look to his
message. We would not deny such 'due process' even to a common criminal, so let
us not deprive our potential Heroes of at least equal courtesy. . . ."
"Perhaps you will disagree with my interpretation of Da Free John's
life. But I think you would at least have to agree that his intellectual brilliance
and moral fortitude mark him as a true Hero a beneficent hero, a good hero.
Disagree with him if you want; fail to be moved by him if you choose but please
do not toss him off as a 'weird cult hero.' Besides, Da Free John himself has
spoken out so often against 'cultic hero worship' that it would be very odd to
overlook his own thoughts on the matter."
Ken Wilber, Up
WILBER: "I mention Master Da (along with Christ, Krishna) as being the
Divine Person as World Event."
Ken Wilber, letter to The Laughing Man magazine|
"Master Da is the single strongest influence on my own work at this time,
and has been for the past several years, and will continue to be so. . . . I still
absolutely agree that Master Da is the Primal Adept."
Ken Wilber's Review of The Dawn Horse Testament|
Wilber not only advocates reading Adi Da's books, but also becoming his devotee,
the only way to "Hear this Man" and "see Him", which are technical
terms referring to stages of devotee practice.]
WILBER: "This is not merely my personal opinion; this is a perfectly
obvious fact, available to anyone of intelligence, sensitivity, and integrity:
The Dawn Horse Testament is the most ecstatic, most profound, most complete, most
radical, and most comprehensive single spiritual text ever to be penned and confessed
by the Human Transcendental Spirit. That seems an objective fact; here is my own
personal and humbler opinion. I am honored (even awed) to be allowed in its Presence,
to listen to and Hear the Potent Message of the Heart-Master Da. How can the soul
not bow down to such a Message? . . .
am as certain of this Man as I am of anything I have written — in fact, as certain
as I am of my own hand (which apparently claps by itself in solitude when it comes
to this Great Issue).. . ."
"Read this Man, Listen to this
Man, Hear this Man, then See Him. And then, I think, you will stand Smiling."
11, 1996: "The Strange Case of Adi Da"|
"The last positive statement I made about Da's work was in 1985, when I wrote
a very strong endorsement for his major book, The Dawn Horse Testament. This is
one of the very greatest spiritual treatises, comparable in scope and depth to
any of the truly classic religious texts. I still believe that, and I challenge
anybody to argue that specific assessment. The teaching is one thing, the teacher,
quite another. . . He hides in Fiji, away from the glare, away from the world,
away from the truth at large. And he calls us to his little island kingdom, there
to save the world. This verges on the grotesque. Is there any chance that Da can
1997: "A Spirituality That Transforms"|
"Now, whatever you might think of those two Adepts [Adi Da and Chogyam Trungpa],
the fact remains: they performed perhaps the first two great experiments in this
country on how to introduce the notion that 'There is only Ati' — there is only
Spirit — and thus seeking Spirit is exactly that which prevents realization. And
they both found that, however much we might be alive to Ati, alive to the radical
transformative truth of this moment, nonetheless translative and lesser transformative
practices are almost always a prerequisite for that final and ultimate transformation."
1998: Ken Wilber's Private Letter to the Adidam Community|
almost goes without saying that no one can genuinely recognize someone as the
"living Sat-Guru" —
the living Spiritual Master of Truth —
and also simultaneously make statements about
such an extraordinary being (at
least, statements they genuinely believe) like: "The
teaching is one thing, the teacher is another" or "Is
there any chance that Da can rehabilitate himself?"]
"I have not, and have never, renounced Da as Realizer, nor have I in any
way abandoned my love and devotion for Him. . . . I have sat in satsang with Master
Adi Da, and with numerous other great Adepts, and my own opinion is that Master
Adi Da is the living Sat-Guru. . . Many people have made their way to Master Da
because of my own writings. I am completely happy about that, and I hope I can
continue that positive influence. At the same time, I have received an enormous
amount of grief, from personal and professional quarters, for my endorsements.
I do not regret those endorsements, nor do I retract them. . . . I affirm my own
love and devotion to the living Sat-Guru, and I hope my work will continue to
bring students to the Way of the Heart. . . . I send my best wishes and love to
the Community, and a deep bow to Master Adi Da."
28, 1998: "An Update on the Case of Adi Da"|
only one month after the letter above. But written to the public, not as
a private letter, after the above letter was made public by someone other than
Wilber, and Wilber was forced to respond to the controversy that created. His argument is about as lame as they come: he suggests his communications are contradictory because Adi Da is contradictory — as though his writing one thing to the Adidam community and another in public has anything whatsoever to do with Adi Da being "contradictory". That's just being two-faced (plain old) — no getting around it or passing the buck.]
"Over the years I have made numerous very strong and sometimes contradictory
statements about Adi Da, mostly because he is a very strong and sometimes contradictory
personality. . . . I called attention to the fact that, even though Da might be
highly spiritually realized, he seemed to have several problematic, perhaps even
pathological, aspects to his personality and the way he was running his community.
. . . Contradictory? Perhaps, but only because Da is contradictory. Contradictory
and problematic — deeply problematic."
far as we know, Ken Wilber has not written or said more than a passing comment
about Adi Da since 1998.|