If you truly and seriously enter this consideration of The Great Tradition1, it will break your mind – like the spiritual process breaks your heart.
It does not break your mind in a negative sense. It will relieve you of your egoic prejudice, your provincialism, your small-mindedness…
– Adi Da Samraj
You might notice that some of the materials quoted on this site seem to contradict one another, or come from very different points of view. You may even find that this offends you more strongly than you would have expected.
I notice that quotes from the following sources often seem incompatible:
- Buddhist (or “realistic”) traditions vs. non-Buddhist (“idealistic”) traditions
- Dualistic vs. non-dualistic traditions
- Teachings about purity and goodness vs. easily-misunderstood & misused tantric teachings
- The goal of liberation from life (often seen in Eastern religions) vs. the goal of perfecting life (often seen in Westernized cultures)
- Seemingly individualistic traditions vs. traditions that involve collective participation.
In some spiritual traditions contradictions are actually valued. They’re considered a tool for teaching students to understand the meaning behind the words, rather than just clinging to the words themselves – not to mention clinging to the self-imagery we might want to get from the words.
P.S. A useful tool for making sense of these contradictions, in my experience, is Adi Da’s model of the seven stages of life.
- What does “provincialism” mean in the quote above?
- Were you brought up with a kind of provincialism?
- How much provincialism, prejudice, and conflict do you see going on in the world today?
- Adi Da has said that provincialism and atheism and prejudice are all caused by lack of knowledge, lack of education. What do you think?
Image gallery: “Tolerance is not easy”
- The “great tradition” refers to the idea of seeing all of humankind’s wisdom traditions as parts of a single “great tradition” that all of us have inherited. This might sound controversial to some people but I find a lot of value in the idea myself. It does not mean you have to renounce your own particular tradition or join some massive cult that claims to be a universal religion; it just means we don’t have to kill each other over religious and spiritual differences that do not merit such actions. ↩
- The “us versus them” idea is addressed at length in a book called “Not-Two Is Peace”, which I recommend. ↩