The Fourth Order
The young Buddy Meier, in the Year of the Beatle, 1964, began his meditation practice by the first order transmission of an incarnation of Tilopa. Traditionally there are three (and one implied, unmarked) orders of transmitting the teachings; these are set forth for guidance of the present generation of children in the form of printed words, as noted already in the early studies and translations of Tibetan works by Evans-Wentz—the working implication is that the fourth, least direct order is that of the written word, by which this information itself is presented. More direct and sure is the softly-spoken word of the third order. The second order is mudra, or "gesture, icon." And the first...well...
To return to the fourth order, the bridge between us writing and reading in the collective fantasy of our culture, we are beginning here to build from the bottom up as our cortical hemispheres process data from the sensory-motor inputs of our peripheral nervous systems through array grammars. An injunction, to (and the "RETURN" key is struck on the Mount Olympus machine by the right pinkie--one of the ten tongues typing; and again), "RETURN!" so we have returned--and type and return, and return again. Odysseus' name means, among the epithets applied by Homer, POLYTROPOS: he who is a much-turned, well-turned, polymath--well-rounded we sight say, or twisted, braided, spun like a thread, and turned by the shuttle into weaving with meditation in action--from the warp domains of our imagined universes across the spaces or interface modalities, to the so-called objective world of the physicist, and again across the signal space of, some say, 120 or so sensory continua, fed back for interior, indirect cortical processing, updating our dynamic model of the whole.
Sentience reveals a deep quality of symmetry:
HERE IT IS
and what was "outside" is brought within, perceived, woven into the on-going working model of the world we each, like Atlas, carry on our shoulders—which is to say inside the bone ball of our skulls. All the Buddhas are within, and when we sit on a tack--whatever we begin being taught already as infants, for practicality in moving about the world--the pain is of our brain, just so the joy of Mommyface .
HERE IT IS AGAIN
So periodicity in space or time is generated by feedback of the original HERE IT IS, which is itself a more important feedback loop, from-inside-to-outside-to-inside. The molecular analog process is feeding: life eats, taking in more energy than it radiates, Black Holes; our minds corrupt information says Warren Sturgis McCulloch. Whereas, for us among the so-called living, we define our state of being alive upon the fulcrum of Newton's Second Law of Thermodynamics, the see-saw of entropy. The "see" is alive—see how it plays: the sea, which is free and wild, fluid form; the seeing of the quick, optical data processing with optimum swiftness. The "saw" is old saw, past tense, and in Sanskrit the "sau-" indicates what is left, left-hand, as in SAUWASTIKA which spins to the left, vis-a-vis the right-hand Entropic systems which leak energy, they run down; and this is the general condition of any system of the largest orders we can describe in accordance with the consensual bias of modern science.
Sentience, life, is in general dysentropic or negentropic, feeding. As we approach in our minds the pivot of life and death, even the bias toward life and enlightenment is neutralized: there is no "real" difference between the states of life and death. Naturally, ordinary people persuaded by conventions based upon a primitive view of reality live within a self-supportive scaffolding of life-sustaining assumptions as IF the states were distinct, recognizing properly our participation in Life.
Yet there is another, perhaps symmetrical, side of our participation as well. This may be thought of as the domain of mind, understanding the domain of brain as concrete on the atomic-molecular level. The world seems to be constructed in such an extraordinary way that we can think of a structural field--of neurons, cells, synapses, organs, physiological processes--describing what we imagine to be our own brains with our own brains.
There is the tendency to extrapolate orders also, imagining our minds to be indexed (anyway) by the processes of structuring the physical aggregate; thus we are beginning to evolve dynamic models of, or which indicate, mind. In our mind's eye we see some transcendental, prime Mind, for which we invent the convention of spelling with a "big M." When we then say HERE IT IS, we associate the unitary quality of our recognition with the embracing oneness of Mind; 'big M' plus one (M+1), as if we had discovered an algorithm for producing primes--for which none has yet been discovered. Creative intelligence may use the "dead" medium of the written word as a marked state indication of living dynamic processes, the most direct grammatical mode in the injunction.
Do this: type the words "Do this! Do this!
There, we have actually done it three times. Thus we tie intriguing knots with words by way of illustrating the transcendental capacity of injunctive language. Using descriptive language, the words are much better behaved--some play very dead indeed. The word, once written, may last for a long time—outliving its vital writer. Literary interpretation, analyses of motives, assumptions of context, semantics, lexical transformation, the qualities of sound associated with certain signs: phonemics, melopoeia, meter--those are all areas of mischief-making if not attended with most skillful means, in any case outside the writer's control although certainly subject to his or her influence.
But as we in our local sense of temporality sometimes are seduced into stealing a march against time, we set down the words for the future to read as they will. Since, however, we say in general write down anything whatsoever, the written word as a guide to Truth, even the relative truth of our own perceptions, is rather compromised by the circumstances in which it is if ever, read. For these obvious reasons the written word may not, per se, serve as a thoroughly reliable order of transmission, for who is to say whether even that which was true when written has not been emended, miscopied, translated with this or that bias? Who DOES say is the teacher, guru, Lama, priest. And this is what is said by the "softly-spoken word": YES, YOU APPEAR TO UNDERSTAND. NOW GO BACK OVER YOUR NOTES AND IF THERE ARE ANY QUESTIONS STILL, COME CHECK WITH ME AND THE TEXT.
Here we have another order of authority, speaking for itself as did the book, but this time alive. To the extent that the contents of the message have to do with the process of living, perhaps we can check out the authority of our chosen soft-word speaker: see how well the content has been realized in the form, integrated, made whole and "real' by the speaker. Thus we choose our teachers—and alas! not all lines of tradition bear the same dignity.
The powerful, archaic mode of human culture, the oral tradition, has all but died in the world today. Individuals remain as vestiges or reverberations of old root traditions; however, in most cases the continuity has been severed. Few "teachers" know who taught them, and who taught them, and who taught them, and what happened as a consequence of applying the teachings by each.
This aspect of an immensely precious global cultural heritage may be continued by Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, the Hopi nation, a few true Sufis. A few years ago there were still five representatives, one living in each of five villages around Lake Titicaca, continuing an oral tradition with roots perhaps in Inca soil and the Andean substratum. Somewhere in the Sudan, perhaps among the pygmy population, here or there in India, China, or among the aborigines of Australia there may survive lineal transmissions. Those who have attempted to link up with this continuity report that it is considerably more difficult than might be imagined at first, unless of course one happens to have been born among the Hopi or, say the Anunta.
Even then preparation for receiving the direct teaching is distracted by jet airplanes over the Outback, strip mining at Black Mesa and the pollution of water resources, contamination of the atmosphere, and the slow global incineration by radiation. We are weaving on a mutant warp. One can inspect credentials, but of course this regresses to the relativity Gaussian, chaotic set of probabilities presented by written words. Or, for the fortunate, there may be the opportunity to attend a teacher, seeing how it is that the dignity of the oral tradition is made real in the harmonies and congruencies on day-to-day life. Such an experience may afford transmission by the second order: the icon of a structured field projected through the scaler energies of what is said.
Tibetan texts encourage readers to "see the Lama" whenever possible, to pursue the thought of enlightenment even though the concept of "pursuit" or any other such action misses the point. As we develop our skill and are able to penetrate the confusion of merely semantic or logical paradoxes, humorous and compassionate qualities from an on-going process of Mind liberated from the conceptual bind of neo-cortical dominance. Paradoxes are resolved by embrace; it is the contradiction which defines feedback and closure, and hence the aspect of wholeness, in a system, sanity. But it is a big Whole, of systems within systems, categories within categories; accordingly, the Heart Sutra says, "There are no "categories."
We are already at a complex order of the calculus before we can introduce and map a "not" function; more precisely, we are at the fifth crossing before the first feedback circuit appears explicitly. And this is so in all illustrations of the calculus which are adamantine, diamond-hard, indestructible and necessary. In the most deep, generalized orders of being there is no time, only formal relationships between "spaces"--not quite identical with what we experience as physical space, because there is no time in which such spaces may be thought of as existing.
Technically, there is no existence in Eternity--where would there be for anything to exist? This is corroborated in many reports on Eternity. At the beginning it's very simple.
Karma rDorje Wangdu