Adi Da RIP

Adi Da has died–in traditional Indian terms he has entered Mahasamadhi. The Great (Maha) Awakening (Samadhi). He was a man who loved humor–so there is a deep irony of an American ex-pat spiritual teacher dying on Thanksgiving. But my prayers to those who mourn his transformation.

Here is a description of the understanding practice he taught which has been very powerful as a conduit of grace and love in my life:

In the process of enquiry, which is real meditation, a man simply rests in understanding. In formal meditation he merely sits comfortably and free of the need to respond to activities in his environment. He already understands. He has already examined the nature of suffering, of dilemma and of action. Thus he sits and enjoys the fulness of understanding in his form at that moment.

Enquiry begins at the point where he becomes aware of the tendency of his conscious awareness. Depending upon the stresses of his life expression at that moment, his awareness will tend to move or become associated with attention to movement or tension, thought or feeling in some area or plane of the body. Thus, his awareness will be directed from the center of understanding in the head, analogous to the viewpoint of his eyes (which should remain closed) toward some area of his form, above or below…

The enquiry, which is the free activity of understanding, should thus be allowed to confront whatever area the mind tends to pursue. When this movement begins, he should enquire “Avoiding relationship?” He should not seek to remove the tendency itself. He should only enquire. If the tendency remains, he should only enquire. If he becomes disturbed that the tendency does not vanish, he should only enquire of that disturbance. Whatever arises, he should only enquire.

Published in: on November 27, 2008 at 4:45 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Crazy old Adi Da/Da Free John/Franklin Jones was an important figure in my spiritual formation. I am saddened by his death. I knew him primarily through his writing and had only peripheral contact with his community. Praise Jah for small mercies.

    Da was a paradox. He began his teaching work writing and instructing with profound clarity on Understanding, but ended his life proclaiming himself the ultimate Avatar. He wrote elegantly about the dangers of cultism, but founded a community that embodied the classic dysfunctions of a cult. He announced himself a World Teacher, but lived in inaccessible seclusion. He presented himself as a renunciate, but was supported in style by the contributions required of his devotees.

    Yet, The Knee of Listening, The Method of the Siddhas, The Paradox of Instruction, The Dreaded Gom-boo and other books that he wrote during the first 15 years of his teaching work remain profound in their clarity & humor. I am glad to see that some of these early writings have become available online at the Beezone. Most of the writings he has produced in the last 2 decades are unreadable in their self-referential inflation and arrogance.

    I was a student of a man who spent nearly 2 decades as a devotee of Da before leaving and undergoing his own spiritual awakening. He had an amazing spiritual presence but was emotionally quite toxic. I believe this was due to the many trials and humiliations he suffered under Da. I can only hope he has worked out some of his issues.

    It seems that we as human beings cannot escape our frailties and limitations. No matter how brightly the light shines in us there is always a shadow.

    By the way, I’m a big fan of your blog. I hope you will write more on spirituality.

    peace and grace

  2. opus,

    i agree with basically everything you say there and have had basically parallel experiences to yours (including his early writings having been a major influence on my life, not so hot on his later stuff, and even met a guy who was a student of his who exhibited those characteristics.).

    That said, I have met a student or two of his who didn’t show–at least in my brief interactions with them–those traits. So while perhaps a very common bug in the system, perhaps it didn’t infect everyone. Or perhaps to the same degree anyway.


  3. “He was a man who loved humor–so there is a deep irony of an American ex-pat spiritual teacher dying on Thanksgiving” Indeed, and thanks for the kind observations

    Just on the point of students of Adi Da, they certainly have received a bad rap en mass via the internet. People are just people, you will get a mixed bunch in any group. Prejudice certainly comes in to play often of an unconscious nature. To brand any group of people is easy enough, until you meet them in the street and exchange humor, feeling connections and our common humanity. I do the same thing with Christians and frequently ( o.k occasionally) get a surprise for the same reason All the best :}

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