The Fourth Turning – Part 6 – Conclusion – Ken Wilber

The Fourth Turning – Part 6 – Conclusion – Ken Wilber March 26, 2014

Ken is in the process of creating a new teaching called “The Fourth Turning – Imagining the Evolution of an Integral Buddhism.”  This teaching is being published as videos and an E-book this year and a new hardcover book in 2015. This blog post is the conclusion of a summary of this new teaching. 

The idea, it would seem, is to keep the number of new elements actually included in any new Turning of Buddhism to an absolute minimum.  The three items we have already discussed are at the top of my list for additions, but there are others which at least deserve consideration.

Extremely briefly, they are:

“We” practices—A popular saying is that the next Buddha will be the Sangha.  There are an increasing number of groups who take this very seriously, and not only practice together, as is common now, but are pioneering the exploration of actual “we” experiences—or shared experiences—at each of the higher stages of meditative development (e.g., gross, subtle, causal, etc.).  As each stage of meditation shows us a higher consciousness (or “I” space), what is the corresponding “we” space of such higher “I’s” brought together?

Integral Semiotics—Most spiritual systems have trouble being more widely accepted because the reality of what they claim exists (e.g., enlightened mind, satori, jnana samadhi, nirodh) is not believed.  And that happens because we have a general understanding that the referent (or actual object) of a signifier (word or sign representing the referent) has to be in the sensorimotor or material world, or it’s not really real.  Thus, a “dog” is real, but a “black near attainment” is just a fantasy.  And we have that confused notion because we don’t understand that different referents actually exist in different worldspaces—there are, for example, different phenomena in the gross realm, the subtle realm, and the causal realm.  Those phenomena that are real in the subtle and causal cannot be seen in the gross physical.  You have to actually get in the subtle or causal in order to see or experience the objects that are located there.  Thus, “black near-attainment” is a real reality in the causal (or very subtle) state, and can be experienced by anybody who reaches that state in awareness.  Thus, all referents exist in particular worldspaces or state worlds, and you have to get in those worlds to see those objects.  If Buddhism (and all other spiritual systems) were to keep track of the different realms and their different phenomena with a systematic clarity, we could start identifying what is real and what is fantasy with much greater precision.

The “1-2-3” of Spirit—Spirit can be experienced in 1st-person, 2nd-person, and 3rd-person modes (“1st-person” is the person speaking, an “I”; “2nd-person” is the person being spoken to, a “you” or “thou”; “3rd-person” is the person or thing being spoken about, a “him,” “her,” or objective “it”).  Spirit in 1st-person is one’s True no-self Self.  Spirit in 2nd-person is Spirit as a “Great Thou” or “Great Other”; or, alternatively, Spirit as the mind of one’s guru.  And Spirit in 3rd-person is Spirit as an objective all-inclusive reality, a “Great Web of Life”; or, alternatively, Spirit in its Thusness, Suchness, or Isness (“itness”).  All three of those are real and true; yet religions have fought wars over which one of these is true.  Seeing that all of them are true—which Buddhism generally does—but making it clear and official would head off that argument before it starts.

Other items, such as other typologies, specific connections with all of the different human disciplines (e.g., Buddhism and law, Buddhism and medicine, Buddhism and business, Buddhism and leadership) will become increasingly demanding of any religion of the future, and ought to be encouraged starting now.

Those are some of the items that any new Turning of the Wheel of Dharma might want to seriously consider.  Buddhism has been one of the most adaptable religions in history, fitting into a profoundly different number of cultures and societies.  There is one culture it faces now—the culture of the future—that a new Turning would better equip it to handle.

This concludes the summary of the Fourth Turning of Buddhism!


The Fourth Turning Conference – April 4-6, 2014

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Join us for this live historic three day event where we will deeply explore the Fourth Turning of Buddhism with Ken Wilber (live and in person) and Integral Buddhism teachers, Diane Musho Hamilton, Doshin Michael Nelson Roshi and Patrick Sweeney. Plus we will be joined by other skilled Buddhist authors and practitioners reflecting on the now and future of Buddhism from an Integral perspective.

The Fourth Turning Media Collection

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The Fourth Turning Media Collection focuses on Ken’s NEW teaching videos on the evolution of Buddhism and how the Integral perspective informs the transformation of Buddhist teachings and practice in the 21st Century.

Once Ken has established the ground of the Fourth Turning inquiry, Diane Musho Hamilton, Doshin Michael Roshi and Patrick Sweeney teach and demonstrate practices with their respective sangha’s that suggest how what Ken is pointing out actually manifests in a Buddhist setting.

At lastly, other progressive and Integral authors, teachers and practitioners share their thoughts on what they think should be included in an inquiry into a 4th Turning of Buddhism from an Integral perspective.

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