Brief Review of the View
Exoteric/Outer, Waking State, Gross Body: Dualistic, indirect, relative-conventional truth, concept-belief; empirical subject-object knowledge (doxa, namtok, opinion, information, third person objective scientific data). Manovijnana, the gross waking state (physical, emotional, mental). Empirical spacetime Gross Body energy dimension; exoteric/outer conceptual and experiential belief in a separate material reality and a separate “other” God. Nirmanakaya dimension.
Esoteric/Inner, Dream State, Subtle Body: Dualistic, lesser esoteric form; contemplative and devotional first person subjective recognition of the trans-conceptual, nondual “state of presence” of the primordial ground state; discriminating, quasi-conceptual knowledge-wisdom (dianoia, sophia, prajna). Deity realms. Subtle Body energy dimension, Klishta manovijnana, Vijnanamaya kosha, Saguna Brahman, Ishvara, esoteric/inner yet separate reality. Path stage. Avidya maya.
“Innermost” Esoteric Causal Body: Deep Dreamless Sleep State, Causal Body energy dimension, Alayavijnana, Anandamaya kosha. Satchitananda: Buddhist Sambhogakaya dimension. Saguna Brahman as Sutratman. Path of the late bhumi Bodhisattvas, Arhats, rishis, and saints. Vidya Maya.
Non-Dual State/Turiya, Essence Body: Realization of nondual pristine presence of the basal primordial ground, reality itself, Buddhist Dharmakaya, beyond dualistic, subject/object, concept, belief and even of the subjective bliss of deep contemplative experience. Final fruition stage. Realization of the prior unity of the Two Truths (relative and ultimate), the three kayas and three vijnanas. The primordial Tao/emptiness/unboundedness of Absolute or Ultimate Spirit lived with its cognitive, meditative and compassionate ethical conduct finally stabilized and actualized in the lifeworld (transcendent primordial awareness wisdom mind, prajnaparamita, noesis, gnosis, christos, logos, vidya/rigpa, yeshe); Plato’s noetic-logoic final development stage); mahasiddha Christ-Buddhahood. Buddhist Svabhavikakaya, prior unity of the three bodies—Trikaya of the ground/base (gzhi), body of pure alaya (amalavijnana), turiya “the fourth,” ultimately realized as Turiyatita, the final non-dual fifth state.
“Ground Luminosity.” Atman as nondual “empty of attributes” Nirguna Brahman, beyond all theistic concept and belief. Fruition of the unity of Madhyamaka, Mahamudra and Dzogchen. These five views or dimensions arise and display as a prior unity in the unbounded whole (mahabindu) itself. This perfectly subjective whole transcends yet subsumes and embraces all arising objective phenomena; it may be seen as the trans-rational one truth, invariant through all cognitive state changes.
These five innate states of consciousness, supported by their five corresponding energy bodies or dimensions are potentially, momentarily available directly to each self-conscious being. However, the ascending levels of meditative stability and realization (samadhi), are nonordinary aspects of these five states that result, ultimately from the contemplative discipline of the Path (marga/lam).
The various levels of understanding of the interdependent relation of these five views and five states of the “two minds” or Two Truths of this one great source/ground—the vast reality expanse that is nondual spirit reality itself—constitute both the exoteric-conventional and the more subtle, esoteric-contemplative View of this supreme source of all appearing reality for these religious and philosophical wisdom traditions of our primordial Great Wisdom Tradition. Just so, from this relative-conventional View arises the Path to the realization of that unbounded whole, and its ultimate Fruition or result—full Bodhi—in the everyday lifeworld and conduct of the individual, and thereby the spiritual and scientific worldview and its potential realization for our sociocultural whole. As H. H. the Dalai Lama has told, “just open the door.” —David Paul Boaz Dechen Wangdu
Descent and Ascent of Nondual Spirit1
Life Stage/Mind State
1, 2, 3
Physical, Emotional, Mental Stage; Individuation of lower mind. Dualistic material seeking strategies dominate the view and behavior. Sleepwaiting denial of spirit-presence. Exoteric, relative-conventional response. Gross ignorance of the essencelessness and impermanence of the five skandhas of existence and the five sense consciousnesses.
Spiritual development, path stage; dualistic conventional religious and beginning mystical seeking; finding the master; foundational practice, conditional savikalpa samadhi; lesser esoteric response. Shamatha quiescence mindfulness practice. The Mahatman recognition; deity practice. Spiritual materialism. Path of form. Kindness.
Spiritual completion fruition stage; deity, formless and kosmic mysticism; the greater esoteric response, vipashyana insight practice. Moksha-nirvikalpa samadhi. Karma ceases only when in turiya (vidya/rigpa); compassionate transcendent Witness practice, Dzogchen, Essence Mahamudra. Frequent “clicking” from asleep to awake states.
Spiritual perfection stage; final furition, alpha pure non-dual realization; full bodhi; Atman identity with Brahman; no more learning; muni; transcendent integration of conditional self in lifeworld (moksha-sahaj samadh), beyond fear and hope. Karma ceases; Maha-rishi, Christ-Buddhahood. Realization of Kham Brahm, “The Bright,” nondual Ultimate Spirit Itself, “Tao beyond heaven and earth.”
Consciousness Dimension/State (avastha)
(non-developmental, inherent in all beings.)
Waking State (Exoteric)
Intentional, ego-motivated, desire-mind awareness, estranged and ignorant (avidya) of non-dual Atman that is Brahman. Empirical reality. Subject-object separation and dependence. The physical and lower mental phenomenal worlds. Physical and emotional body of desire. Lifeworld ruled by fear and hope. Prepersonal to personal.
Dream State (Esoteric)
Prepersonal, preconscious, subtle body of desire. Non-empirical illusory (avidya maya) subject-object independence. Objective, relative-conventional realism. Beginning compassion. Fear and hope. Personal to transpersonal. “State effects” not yet “trait effects.”
Deep Sleep State (Greater Esoteric)
Transpersonal, transrational; profound, wise compassion. A lifeworld devoted to surrender, renunciation and service. Subjective idealism. Transpersonal subtle to causal cognition. Path of the siddhas, rishis, arhats, saints and bodhisattvas. Transcendent Witness Presence awareness. Vidya maya.
Turiya (“The Fourth”)
(The “innermost secret”, non-dual transcendent Witness)
Realization (liberation) of personal identity with Absolute Reality, Brahman, Buddhahood, primordial, non-dual Spirit Itself in whom arises all phenomena. Great compassion. Transcends and includes the previous relative states. The timeless “fourth time,” prior unity of Svabhavakakaya/Trikaya of the Base; emptiness (shunyata) realized yeshe/jnana/gnosis, non-dual primordial awareness wisdom. This realization is turiyatita (sahaj) the final fifth state.
Corresponding Energy-Body/Kosha Dimension/Vijnana
(Body, Mind, Soul, Spirit)
Gross physical matter-energy body (annamaya–kosha). Life, Prana or Emotional Body (pranamaya–kosha). The Quantum potential. Mental Body (manomaya–kosha), manas desiremind/sense-mind (citta or sems). Brahman as Virat. Conditional self and its identities. The five skandhas/sense consciousnesses (panchdvara–vijnana) plus mind (manovijnana)
Subtle Body (sukshma–sarira)
Transcends & embraces previous koshas. Buddhi, higher mental, citta, reflecting and discriminating mind. The will. Intellectual and subtle dharma understanding. Beginning insight and bhakti/devotional meditation (dhyana). Path of the yogis/saints (love wisdom). Brahman as Prajapati or Hiranyagarbha. Klishta–Manovijnana, subtle body, the root of ego-I.
Causal Body (karana–sarira)
Soul, transcendent mental, wisdom-spirit-bliss; path of sages arhats, bodhisattvas 8th & 9th bhumi. Nondual Witness practice. Causal dimension to nondual ultimate. Saguna Brahman as prana–vayu or sutratman. Alayavijnana (store consciousness). Very subtle body. Prior unity of the Two Truths relative and ultimate.
The nondual, untainted presence (vidya, rigpa, logos), Supreme Identity, the Witness (saksin) that is identical to Nirguna Brahman, the supreme source. Transcends yet embraces previous samadhis, koshas and all conditional experience. Mouna, the great Peace in the Silence. Om Shanti Om. Tao, shyunyata/emptiness, Dharmakaya. The unobstructed Pure Alaya (amalavijnana). Christ/Buddha Nature. Ultimate Mind Nature (sems nyid/cittata, gnosis).
1The sweet multidimensional pie of nondual Spirit descending as our phenomenal realities, and the ascending “return”—through realization of the Path—to nondual source/ground, is sliced in slightly different ways by our Wisdom Traditions, and even within traditions. Moreover, although the koshas of Vedanta and the vijnanas and kayas of Buddhism generally correlate, there is at present, no agreement on the definitions and correlation of consciousness dimensions, lifestages, bodies, levels, structures, and mindstates. Such relative-conventional, hermeneutical speculation remains, at best, a marginal guide to the great transformational, transrational truth of the matter. What to do? Find a master, establish a practice, and just “open the door”.