The reality of personal authenticated being
.....Ego or sense of individualized personal self is an illusory projection based in the positional overattachment and over-identification with the arising objects of consciousness.
.....The five skandhas can explain why and how all forms of self-perceived self arise.
.....Buddhism is beyond the scope of being just another paradigm or philosophy and represents an Absolute, timeless, and immutable wisdom, with enlightenment as the final and uppermost destination of consciousness.
.....Transpersonal psychology-wise, attainment of basic Maslowian benchmarks of human functionality constitute a sufficient critical mass of dualistic-based selfhood to qualify one to explore the actual illusional basis of individualized ego-based existence.
.....The standing Buddha or Maitreya of Buddhist eschatology spoken about for centuries would confirm and not challenge Buddhism’s basic tenets and world-views.
.....Criticism of the attachment to non-attachment and not-self in enlightened teachers is always a projection of an unenlightened self desperately trying to hold onto itself.
.....Enlightened teachers contradicting themselves is proof of their enlightened state, where the candle flame of being and consciousness changes every moment.
.....There is no difference between far eastern modes of Nondual-based enlightenment, the more India-based Oneness modes, and the more ritualistic forms of Tibetan modes.
.....The transcendentalized no-self-based east is more spiritually advanced than the west still stuck in ego-based worlds of expression, and so needs to look to the transcendentalized east to ameliorate their less conscious phase of being.
Nine positions deeply attached to by Buddhists worldwide east and west, enlightened and unenlightened, where confrontation of even one almost always triggers a strident reactivity that belies the very heart of Buddhism itself. But what if each and every one of these premises were never actually true, and only represented a partial, and sometimes deeply misleading clarity about the nature of human consciousness?
Or perhaps most incisively, how many enlightened and unenlightened Buddhists, possessed of either a humble and open mind or Overmind, would actually be interested in considering and pursuing such a threatening question? The tiny percentage likely to be interested is exactly the degree Buddhism needs to look deeply at its own limits and hubris.
What if instead…..
…..ego or sense of individualized personal self is an illusory projection in one domain of consciousness only, leaving room for not-self-based aspects of being to co-exist with self-aspects of being that are actually real, enduring, and not illusory?
…..the five skandhas model is in error starting with the first and so obviates the other four, where it is actually impossible for one aspect of Buddhanature to panic or recoil from another aspect of Buddhanature, given the nature of Buddhanature as it defined? That nothing can account for this panic or recoil that formed the original root for the illusion of the ego, because any explanation contradicts the nature of no-self-based Buddhanature?
….possessed of the three characteristics of existence, the four noble truths, the six realms, the eightfold path, and dozens of sub-assumptions about human consciousness, Buddhism, including Zen, is no different than any other paradigm or spiritual philosophy, with its own specific metaphysical premises and teachings about human life, and thus cannot represent any immutable or Absolute final wisdom, rendering the claim that it is, an example of arrogance identical to other non-enlightened religions and spiritualities who claim only they possess Truth?
.....transpersonal psychology-wise, attainment of basic Maslowian benchmarks of human functionality only support and extend a dystrophic form of false accommodative and strategic selfhood, ignoring the actual authentic version of self that lies beneath it only accessible through an entire re-definition of human emotionality and its primacy in our being never before offered? Rendering all persons who have enlightened in the past as having only enlightened their false strategic and accommodative aspect of self, explaining why inhumanity, cruelty, arrogance, and sexual abuse, excused as idiosyncratic to the enlightened state, is so rampant in enlightened teachers, the dystrophy of the false strategic self so embodied and acted out in enlightened states?
…..the standing Buddha or Maitreya would humbly challenge some of Buddhism’s basic tenets and world-views, and show how most of them were only appropriate for the time of their origination, and that its entire world-view needs to be enfolded into a new paradigm that honors the best of its truths but discards its worst? That such a shift would be the counterintuitive but real meaning of a resolutionary maitreyic vision, one example of which would be that the governing dynamic of enlightenment was not the transcendence of dualism, but the healing of an unconscious existential fear instead?
…..criticism of the attachment to non-attachment and not-self in enlightened teachers can be a projection of an unenlightened self desperately trying to hold onto itself, but can also be a scathing indictment of an inner contradiction of Buddhism that displays even deeper distortive metaphysical foundations of its overall world-view?
…..an enlightened teacher contradicting themselves is not proof of their enlightened state, but of how, having enlightened only their false and strategic version of self, the inner unconscious conflicts of that false self not tracked in the enlightened state, express as outer confusions and contradictions? And that a teacher who enlightened their previously embodied true and authentic version of selfhood would never contradict themselves ever, no matter how much the candle flame of being changed every moment?
.....there are vast differences between far eastern modes of Nondual-based enlightenment, the more India-based Hindu-influenced Oneness modes, and the more ritualistic forms of Tibetan modes, the Nondual-based mode being the one Gotama actually embodied and taught, and the others about which Gotama warned as representing false versions of pseudo-enlightenment that still remain on the proximal side of the event horizon of dissolution into That Which the mind cannot touch? That while there is still someone ‘home’ enough to experience Unity or Oneness or Consciousness, there is no real enlightenment as taught by the Buddha?
…..that the east is mired in pre-egoic collectivistic societal and spiritual teachings from an earlier age that skipped over the egoic phase by vilifying ego from pre-egoic spiritual premises, fall thus into pre/trans error, live on as an albatross around the neck of humanity, and so must be confronted as obstacles to and not liberators of consciousness? That the clarities of transpersonal psychology don’t just apply to individuals but also to societies and whole spiritual paradigms? And that it is the west which is ahead, even with all of its egoic-phase-mediated mess, because it has at least begun the humanistic-based egoic phase, that the egoic phase must be completed before individuals and the species can actually and properly move on to the third and final meta-egoic phase? And that a true meta-egoic phase involves an entirely new paradigm of psychospiritual premise and process unlike those offered by the pre-egoic over-transcendentalized east, incomplete egoic over-psychologized over-philosophized west, or modern muddled-middle east-west fusion paradigms?
The Buddha criticized the ascetics, saying their way of depriving the body to free the mind turned the strings of the consciousness lute too tightly. On the other side he also criticized how mass consciousness indulging in the body to preserve the mind left the strings too loose. Neither allowed a middle way of inward exploration so our consciousness strings can play naturally, not too tight and not too loose.
What if Buddhism itself has lost its middle way orientation as consciousness has evolved, and now represents a too tightly turning of the strings, inherent in its position that the individualized sense of self or ego is illusory, the cornerstone of the entire paradigm? That the new version of the ascetic physical extremity is now represented by a fierce attachment to the transcendentalized extremity held as the illusory nature of individualized selfhood?
This fierce attachment to the unrealness of ego is held even if one’s tradition takes a ‘not two-not one’ or ‘not ego-not not ego’ orientation, following Gotama’s guidance that the ego takes positions about self and life and then overattaches/overidentifies with them, weaving itself into deeper and deeper coils of unliveliness. Thus only an overall positionlessness about self and life effectively neutralizes the ego and exposes its inessentiality.
But Zen’s ‘not two-not one’ or ‘not ego-not not ego’ each create a ‘float’ that in essence disinhabits all egoic activity until the impulse to attach or identify with any’thing,’ including the self, slowly dissipates. In that way, even if some forms of Buddhism may be positionless theoretically about the reality of ego or individualized selfhood, they still orient around a deeply invested meta-position energetically and practically that ego or the sense of individualized selfhood is illusory, has no essential reality, and so is inherently and paradigmatically positional.
It is this deeply ensconced meta-positionality about ego that undermines positionlessness arguments and puts Zen on par with other Buddhist traditions who fiercely and unapologetically attach to the positional vilification of ego, despite positionality being expressly eschewed by Gotama. Only ego vilifies-disinhabits ego, whether the vilification-disinhabitation is theoretical or practical. This renders the polarity of ego realness vs. ego illusoriness whether positional or meta-positional, an internally contradictive ego-based anti-Buddhistic thorn in Buddhist metaphysics that calls the sobriety of its central tenet into question.
In this position of ego as illusion, the old way has been to transcend the self itself as the context to all of its contents of consciousness in order to rid one’s being of overattachment and overidentification to personally arising objects of consciousness, as a function of the premise that the individualized self is inherently illusory. A new middle way is offered that enfolds enlightenment dharma into a larger perspective wherein an emotively mature self is pre-healed of all attachment impulses, leaving only the deeper self-identifications to be addressed in enlightenment practice. And further, thattranscending the domain of personal identity and its attachment to reactivity is mere teenage spiritual attainment, but only completing the domain of personal identity and its attachment to reactivity is the basis for adult spiritual embodiment. The new way is thus to realize the spectacularly obvious truth that only a completed self is a self that naturally ‘forgets’ itself. A transcended self held to be illusory never completes itself, but a completed self held to be real, always transcends itself.
This completion is not the muscularization of the accommodative and strategic self given provisional support in transpersonal psychology on the way to the eventual definition of self as illusory. Completion in this sense means creating an emotionally mature real and intrinsic non-illusory selfhood never allowed by Buddhistic metaphysics or indexed by psychology, psychiatry, or philosophy. In that sense, Gotama correctly identified the emotively immature strategic and accommodative self as illusory, but failed to see the emotionally maturable authentic version of self that lies beneath it that is real and enduring. This error represents the basis for the mistaken denial of the intrinsic reality of the individualized self by two millennia of Buddhist teaching.
An uncompleted emotionally immature version of self will always remain in an enlightened person who merely transcended ego Buddhistically and continue to resist any enlightened resistance to it and will create windows of expression illuminating its presence.
As such, the uncompleted strategic and accommodative self that is transcended in classic Buddhistic enlightenment dharma that is claimed to be transcendable in reality is not, the proof of which is all the personal stagnative, abusive, and inhumane expressions of almost all enlightened teachers. The arrogance that one is capable of possession of any Absolute, held by a hundred generations of enlightened teachers, is the deepest form of enlightened hubris, which is no less real or destructive when clothed in a seemingly nonreactive humility. That anyone could think, especially a so-called enlightened being, that any human being is ever beyond embodiment of relative knowledge, is the actual nadir of the illusory acme of the enlightened state or not-state.
Up to now, there has actually never been a dharma to complete the self in any spiritual paradigm, because all, east and west, define the self or ego on a continuum of utterly unreal at one end, as in Buddhism, and ‘bad’ at the other as in most mass consciousness religions. Both ends of the spectrum and those lying in the middle have only seen the sequelae of the emotionally immature strategic and accommodative ego, mistakenly thinking this comprised the entirety of egoic existence. In that way, no spiritual paradigm has ever held that individualized selfhood or ego could be good, real, and eternal in itself, as represented by the heretofore uncharted, unindexed, and unrealized ground of emotionally mature authentic being.
Psychology, psychiatry, and philosophy have also never been able to help us complete our selfhood because no tradition or paradigm in those domains has ever seen the primacy and architecture of the human emotional body as the unconscious progenitor and source of all that is allowed to become conscious, and of all of our suffering. As such, those paradigms can only offer allopathic attitudinal, energetic, pharmacological, or intellectualized medicine to our suffering, when all along, because our suffering is emotive, it is homeopathic emotional medicine that we have always needed for our emotive-based suffering, not allopathically be treated by letting go, changing our beliefs, taking drugs, or orienting to new values of life.
Gotama’s contribution was to treat our emotive-based suffering with transcendentalmedicine, which addresses the problem of suffering at the wholesale level at the tier of the context of self, rather than at the level of the expressed contents of the self offered by other previous and following perspectives. But using transcendental medicine for our emotive suffering is just another albeit more sophisticated allopathic treatment that only drives suffering into even deeper existential-level chambers in the unconscious, paved over by a mountain of Sunyata, in the same way suffering is paved over in the modern day by drugs, new forms of conscious attitudes and beliefs, or choices based in timeless ‘secrets.’
This untranscendable unconscious suffering, remaining in enlightened persons, is thus the source of all distortions, contradictions, abuses, and limits of teachers, and of the unusual preponderance of cancer as their common causes of death: the body must make new cells to take up the load of all the repressed suffering in the deeper unconscious being of enlightened teachers never touched by enlightenment but presumed to be.
In that sense, Buddhistic enlightenment for two millennia has only been about enlightening the mental body while mistakenly believing it enlightens all aspects of consciousness. Human beings possess two other bodies which also need enlightenment, the emotional body and the etheric body, neither of which are subsets of the mental body. Seeing self as wholly created by mind, Buddhism has always been guilty of an egregious reductionism wherein the personal aspects of our human being are reduced to mental body errata only, when this aspect is only one-third of our overall being. It is this dynamic that is at source for the damage imparted by Buddhism to the heart of humanity, all the while it holds itself as its liberator. Because Buddhism, especially in its Zen traditions, possesses more sophisticated truths about the human condition than other paradigms, it does more damage with its blind spots.
There are now dharmas available for the enlightenment of our emotional and etheric bodies, as well as a fresh iteration of mental body enlightenment that carries forward some of Gotama’s practices but not his conclusion. Emotional body enlightenment dharma thus addresses what has always been missing in traditional and modern models of philo-psychological premise and practice, confronting and healing the unconscious Terror of Being, and resulting in the attainment of Personhood; the new iteration of Mental body enlightenment addresses what has been missing in the traditional and modern models of Buddhistic premise and practice, confronting and healing the unconscious Terror of Not-Being, and resulting in the attainment of Sagehood; and Etheric body enlightenment dharma addresses what has always been missing in traditional and modern models of religious and spiritual premise and practice, confronting and healing the unconscious existential Terror of Non-Being, and resulting in the attainment of Sainthood. It is thus the attainment of three separate and non-contradictory emotive-based enlightenments, Personhood, Sagehood, and Sainthood, which represents the truer destination and fuller integrative embodiment of the Divine Human.
These three attainments are part of a radical new paradigm that sees most suffering and egoistic excess as the product of an emotionally immature ego only, and that an emotionally mature ego displays almost none of those expressions. And that the emotionally mature authentic version of individualized selfhood, only now manifestable through emotional body enlightenment dharma, is the true foundation for the embodiment of our Divine Being having human experience. Mere shifts in attitude, belief, or the nature of our choices, or through outright transcendence of the personal while remaining in our false strategic versions of self, will only create a teenage form of spiritual attainment and always prevent actual adult forms of spiritual embodiment.
Like all true shifts in paradigm, most Buddhists worldwide will likely reject these ideas, conditioned deeply as they are by a paradigm that says it frees them of their conditioning but onto which they hold with a fierce grip, the degree of any outsized rejection exactly displaying the degree of that grip. The same is true of adherents in philo-psychological, religious, new age, and east-west fusion paradigms associated with treatments for our emotional and etheric bodies: too much investment into their views precludes openness to their incompleteness.
These offerings are presented humbly and with love, and with no assumption of any Absolute Truth. It is now possible to test their validity experientially and thus move to the next phase of our conscious evolution, honoring the past, but enfolding it into a radically new frame that is as significant a shift in metaphysics as was heliocentricity to geocentricity in physics.
February 5, 2011
Teacher of Zen since 1988, author of seven books and a play.
Subject: The reality of personal authenticated being in the context of Buddhism and its limits in helping adherents create psychospiritual maturity. Word count: 2979
After his nondual awakening in the tradition of Zen Buddhism in the 1980’s, Daniel Barron realized almost all distortions and misunderstandings in psychological and spiritual teachings involved how neither ego-based nor non-ego-based paths that address the cause of suffering adequately understand the true nature and significance of the human emotional body.
As a result, Barron created an overall paradigm and personal practice for the enlightenment of the human emotional body called Emotional Body Enlightenment (EBE) that challenges 100 years of psychological premise and practice, and a new psychospiritual paradigm called Theohumanity that challenges 3000 years of eastern transcendental teaching about the criteria for attaining enlightenment, western models of what we call God, and the nature of what we call Universal Oneness and Love.
Barron is founder of Project Theohumanity, and author of Enheartenment, There’s no such thing as a negative Emotion, Him, Gnospel, HeartBound, the Soil and the Seed, Doorway to the Dance, and the theatrical play, Josie. With his wife Brie, Daniel offers talks, retreats, teaching seminars, and individual healing sessions.