The Fourth Turning: Imagining the Evolution of an Integral Buddhism
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What might the Buddhism of the future look like? With all that we have learned in the modern and postmodern world, how can Buddhists be true to the central teachings of the tradition while also including them in a new framework that is inclusive of ongoing discoveries? Ken Wilber here explores these key questions facing Buddhism and indeed all of the world’s great religions today, showing how traditional Buddhist teachings themselves suggest an ongoing evolution leading toward a more unified, holistic, and interconnected spirituality. Touching on all of the key turning points in the history of Buddhism, Wilber describes the unique way in which the tradition has been open to the continuing unfolding and expansion of its own teachings, and he suggests possible paths toward an ever more Integral approach.
usually looked at but looked through, have to be deduced from experimental setups, and thus weren’t really known or understood until the modern era, a few hundred years ago at most. And yet both are absolutely crucial for understanding the mind, awareness, consciousness, and the mind’s functioning, in everything from worldviews to spirituality to science. STATES AND VANTAGE POINTS Let’s start with states of consciousness. The great contemplative traditions generally list 4 or 5 major, natural
Buddhism. Working with 14 root mahamudra texts, all in their original language, he showed they each went through the same essential 4 or 5 stages of development (stages he calls Vantage Points). Now a Vantage Point is to a state/realm what a View is to a basic structure-rung. Let’s briefly look at what that means and then return to our main topic. In structure development, we have a metaphor we call “ladder, climber, View.” The ladder is the spectrum of basic structures of consciousness, or the
become fleshed out enough, and elaborate enough, and complex enough to be able to create forms that, wherever they were stored in the Kosmos, would one day be able to reach right down and hammer the sensorimotor world into submission. And so it is with Integral. Every time you think an Integral thought; every time you read or write an Integral sentence; every time an Integral feeling runs through your body—every single time, you are building internal Integral objects that are being literally
Spirituality that touches the God in each and every being alive, and gives that God an embodied home in your own being; every time you reach out for a future that is even just a little more Whole than the one today; every time you imagine any human activity—from education to parenting to medicine to government to law—redrawn in a more inclusive and Integral fashion; every time you look into the eyes of a young child, perhaps even your own, and wish for them a future of greater love and compassion
Empty Awareness], and each path leads to the same ultimate state of abiding. (One of my favorite stanzas from Tibetan Buddhism summarizes all of this as follows: “All is Mind. Mind is Empty. Empty is freely manifesting. Freely manifesting is self-liberating.”) The Yogachara extends this notion of unconstructed fundamental Consciousness into the idea of 8 (or 9) levels of consciousness, each a transformation of foundational consciousness. The first transformation gives rise to the storehouse