Hm… My dreams are telling me that it is time to reveal my ignorance (even) more openly, to deflate whatever inflation is here, so here is one in maybe many more entries revealing my ignorance… As if not all the entries here do that…!
When I looked up shaktipat online, I found a page with excerpts from Adi Da on shaktipat.
Which reminded me how little I know about Adi Da, his teachings, and also the whole idea of Avatars, and that whenever I hear about Avatars, God-Men and the like, I am confused.
In my worldview, everything and everyone is emptiness, awakeness and form. So no difference there. And it also means that all beings are Buddhas, although not consciously awakened as Buddhas yet (this of course reveals my Buddhist filter and bias.)
Questions about the term Avatar
If Avatar is used to simply mean an incarnation of God, then everyone and everything is an Avatar. Why single out some incarnations?
If Avatar is used to mean a being that embodies Big Mind (God) having awakened to itself as Big Mind, then why not just call it an awakened one, as they do in Buddhism? Seems less pretentious.
If Avatar is used to mean a highly developed soul incarnating, the term makes more sense. But the way Avatar is used seems to indicate a difference in kind not in degree, and a more or less developed soul seems to be a difference in degree, not so much in mind.
Implying a difference in kind opens it up for all sorts of misconceptions and projections that are not so easily integrated. (Buddhism also opens up for projections, but since it is emphasized that you too are a Buddha, a sleeping one that can and will awaken, these projections are more easily recognized, worked with, and integrated into a full awakening and recognizing this as the Buddha Mind.)
The term God-Man seems to have the same questionable attributes as Avatar… And Adi Da’s use of these terms on himself is one of the many things that have raised red flags for me and held me back from reading much by him so far (although I understand he is highly respected by many who’s opinion I respect.)
No matter what, he too is emptiness, awakeness and form, although that form may be more highly developed than for many others, and the realizations expressed through this form may be highly refined realizations.
A question about Adi Da
Still, in the back of my mind, I do question if there is not a remaining identification with this form (at soul and human levels) in the case of Adi Da. An identification that is not only blind (not recognized as attachment to beliefs), but also tightly held onto.
If emptiness and awakeness has awakened to itself as Ground and clearly recognize itself as Ground, and any attachments to beliefs and form are recognized as attachments to beliefs and form (even as they are still there), then it comes out as genuine humility as we see in many Buddhist teachers, maybe especially Tibetan ones.
If this attachment is not recognized as attachment, and even made into a tightly held onto belief, it seems that it can come out in a form of weirdness similar to the weirdness of Adi Da.
When Big Mind more fully awakens to itself, it recognizes that the soul and human self it is functionally connected with is absent of an I, as all form is absent of an I. No matter how this soul and human self shows up in the world, there is no need to make it into anything special.
It seems that with Adi Da, there is the (accurate) recognition that the soul and human self is highly developed, but it is still taken as an “I” to some extent, which makes it into something slightly weird, inflated and grandiose.
Belief in ideas and/or human self problems
A remaining belief in ideas can explain some of the weirdness.
Another way to look at it, or maybe the other side of it, is that the human self can also have some remaining problems, as Ken Wilber points out, even as there is an awakening to realized selflessness. But it seems that for these to be played out, at least in any extreme or (conventionally) harmful forms, there still has to be an overlay of beliefs in ideas which then amplifies the problems at the human level.
To me, it seems that it is likely that there is still an attachment to beliefs there, whenever the weirdness takes the form of apparent inflation and something to protect and defend, as it seems to do with Adi Da.
If there is no attachment to beliefs, if the emptiness is clearly realized and in the foreground, there is also nothing to defend – and this may take the form of receptivity. Somebody says something about me, and I can take time to find the truth in it. No matter what the description is, there is always some truth in it, and I can find it in myself, own it, take responsibility for it, and allow for changes. And I can do this before and after realized selflessness.
A mirror for myself
Which is a reminder to see how this weirdness, inflation and grandiosity shows up in this life.
Some of the ways it shows up, here and now, is when I see the weirdness in him and not in myself.
When I believe that my view of him and what I write here has any form of absolute truth in it.
When I believe that I can see something about avatars that generations of mystics haven’t seen. (If that is not grandiose, I don’t know what is.)
When I believe that I can know that I see him more clearly than he sees himself…!