Wilber's Writings on
Adi Da Samraj:
"Contradictory and
Deeply Problematic"

Wilber: "A Short Appreciation"

Wilber: "On Heroes
and Cults"

Wilber's Review of "The
Dawn Horse Testament"

Wilber's "The Strange Case of Adi Da"

Wilber's "A Spirituality That Transforms"

Wilber's "Private" Letter to the Adidam Community

Wilber's "Update on the Case of Adi Da"

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Adi Da and Adidam: Personal Perspectives

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FIRM: The Foundation against Intolerance of Religious Minorities

Anti-"Minority Religion" Groups with "Big Religion" Ties


Ken Wilber's Writings on Adi Da:
"Contradictory and deeply problematic"


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.

1979: Ken Wilber, "No Boundary"

KEN WILBER: "The works of Bubba Free John [Adi Da] are unsurpassed."

1979: "The One Who Was To Come Is Always Already Here" A Short Appreciation of the Teaching of Bubba Free John
[wherein 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.]

"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. . . .

Whereas 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. . . .

Founded 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."

October, 1980: On Heroes and Cults
[wherein 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.]

"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."

1981: Ken Wilber, Up From Eden

KEN WILBER: "I mention Master Da (along with Christ, Krishna) as being the Divine Person as World Event."

1984: Ken Wilber, letter to The Laughing Man magazine

KEN WILBER: "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."

1985: Ken Wilber's Review of The Dawn Horse Testament
[wherein 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.]

"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? . . .

"I 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."

Oct 11, 1996: "The Strange Case of Adi Da"

KEN WILBER: "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 rehabilitate himself?"


Fall, 1997: "A Spirituality That Transforms"

KEN WILBER: "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."


July, 1998: Ken Wilber's Private Letter to the Adidam Community
[It 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?"]

KEN WILBER: "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."


August 28, 1998: "An Update on the Case of Adi Da"
[Written 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.]

KEN WILBER: "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."


So far as we know, Ken Wilber has not written or said more than a passing comment about Adi Da since 1998.


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