July 30, 1990 Q&A with Buddhist Teachers at IMS

I am telepathic. On the plane where I presently exist, all beings are telepathic. In a sense it is like living in a large room with many people. You learn to avert your eyes to respect another's privacy. I do not invade your privacy in any way with this telepathic ability. Rather, I only accept that which is offered to me. I want to reassure you of that.

A number of you have questions about what I teach, particularly relating to the concepts of God and soul. Some of you take offense at these words and find yourselves resisting their use. You find them inconsistent with Buddhism as you have understood it.

You are aware that I have been teaching Barbara Buddhism, not just meditation, but Buddhism at a far deeper level than the skills of meditation. Yet it is not Buddhism that I teach her, nor any other “ism,” but just truth as I understand it. I do not consider myself to be a Buddhist, nor a Christian, nor of any other religion. Rather, I have been all of these, as have all of you.

In any lifetime it is valuable to find a path and follow that path, not moving from side to side as the current changes, but staying with it even when the current seems to be against you. So a degree of dedication to a path is important, and the faith and energy such dedication involves. Yet there must also be the realization that this is NOT the only path. In past lifetimes each of you has traveled many different paths and they are all going to the same place.

Some of you may be familiar with the first precept of the Tiep Hien Order of Interbeing. This speaks to not clinging to any ideas, even Buddhist ones. (“Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory or ideology, even Buddhist ones. All systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.” This is the same as the Buddha's saying “be a light unto yourself” and his teaching that we must each learn from our own direct experience and not take another's word for what is truth.) I would ask you to keep this precept in mind as I talk. You are not Buddhists, you are humans, and even more, you are spirits.

As I speak with you tonight, some of you have a vision of me as a Thai Meditation Master of the 1500's. I was that. Much of my teaching does come from that being whom I was, because that was a lifetime of great importance for me. In that lifetime I found my own liberation and helped many other beings on that path. The understandings of many lifetimes came together then, and I speak not with ego but with honesty when I say I had much wisdom as a teacher during that lifetime.

I also have a great deal of faith in the path of Vipassana or I would not be teaching it to Barbara, who is dearly beloved by me, nor to many others of you. Yet I emphasize that I do NOT speak to you here as a Buddhist, nor as this Thai Master but as a spirit. Although I welcome your questions about meditation or about what I am teaching of Buddhism, this is not what you can best learn or hear from me. Many of you are fine teachers in your own right, and have deep understanding of what I have been teaching. While I would be glad to discuss teaching methods and there is much we could share here, there is more of value I can share in other directions.

Now I am a spirit, and so I have a different perspective. I repeat, I am no longer that Meditation Master. That was 400 years ago. I have learned much in 400 years. More important, I speak to you now from a spiritual plane. I am no longer human. No matter how enlightened, the human still perceives as a human. Now I am no longer confined by the limits of this body and by the veil that drops down at birth and shuts one off from the world of spirit.

(I feel your questions here). Let me explain this. With each birth there is an agreement to forget the spirit world. That (agreement) is essential to your growth in a lifetime. On your earth plane, the most important learning is of love and of faith, especially of faith because with faith comes love. As you move on to my plane, the most important learning becomes wisdom and compassion. That is not to say that these are not also a part of your present learning, but you can not learn wisdom and compassion in depth until you have learned the lessons of love and faith.

If you were born with a clear memory of what you had been, of where you had come from, faith would not be learned. Can you see this? You agree to this forgetting. Of course, through your lifetime, many of you get deeper and deeper glimpses of your true spiritual nature. But still you are human and must deal with this body, and with the delusion of separateness which accompanies your birth into material form. That you do physically separate from your mother and become a separate entity enhances this delusion. Learning of non-separation is one of the main tasks of each lifetime. You must learn to see that physical separation merely as an aspect of the material plane and not as real separation. (You) begin to have faith in that connection with all things, to understand that you are just energy and light materialized into whatever present form. That this form is NOT what you are is an important part of the learning of each lifetime. A level of faith in the meditation experiences is needed; the veil is never fully lifted.

Let me turn to these questions about God and soul. When I speak of God and of soul, a certain limited concept comes to mind for some of you. All of the cultural implications of these words come to mind. Certainly this is a valid concern. These words do bring up specific implications depending on the culture and training of the being who hears them. But it is not the word we are discussing here. The word is merely a label. Rather, our concern is with the meaning, the essence, behind the word. I would like to try to explain this as I see it.

I have said that you are all energy and light. Many of you have had meditation experiences which have shown you the impersonal nature of all matter as energy and light. There is nothing else left, no ego, no body or form; it just dissolves into that (energy and light). Nothing solid there! Then you go beyond that edge of light, into a space of emptiness where there is nothing arising, nothing dissolving. Simply stillness. And you feel yourself to be a part of that.

When I say ‘yourself,' some of you are misunderstanding me here. I simply mean that energy and light that you have become, devoid of all self. If there is still an ego, a consciousness, experiencing this then it can not be experienced. All that is left is pure awareness, or perhaps not even that until you emerge from the experience and remember it. So pure awareness knows itself as selfless energy and light and feels that to be a part of this greater emptiness or stillness.

You then say you are experiencing emptiness. What is emptiness? If I cup my hand, am I creating a space of emptiness? What is in that space? “Form is no other than emptiness.” There cannot be emptiness without form! There is no duality. Where nothing is, everything also is. Of course you understand that.

I am finding it a particular joy to speak to you because you DO understand these concepts. There can be no duality, of course. Emptiness is fullness. Why does that difference in labeling worry some of you? What difference does it make what you call it? If the fullness doesn't exist, then nothing can exist, including the energy you do experience. I simply call (this energy and light) God. You may dislike that choice of word because of the emotional connotations. I ask you here if the difficulty is with the concept of that emptiness as fullness, of zero as everything, or if the difficulty is simply with the emotional connotations you have picked up through your lifetime experience with the word God? What aversion do you have to that word? Not to the concept behind the word, but to the word itself?

Let me take this a step further. You are energy and light. I have said that when I look at you I don't see your form at all; all I see is light. (I see) a unique pattern of energy and light that is distinct to each of you, by which you can be recognized, and which moves with you from one lifetime to another. You say that there is nothing that continues, and yet this energy and light continues, but it is not ‘you.' It is simply energy and light that has a cohesion to it, that pulls itself together as you choose to manifest into any form, be it a human or a blade of grass, and then disperses, integrating itself into the rest of the energy and light of the universe. As form materializes, that energy and light joins together with a cohesion again, then again disperses, over and over.

Picture a stick of incense. In its solid form, it is a stick. What was it before it was incense? You burn it and it becomes a thin column of smoke; slowly it diffuses and spreads out. It is no different in essence than it was in solid form. Heat transforms it to intact smoke; air current transforms it to diffuse smoke. In any form it retains its incense-ness. It goes on from there, perhaps to join a cloud where it mixes with water vapor and falls into the ocean. It is still part of this same incense. Thus everything is part of everything else.

So this energy and light that you are diffuses in the same way. When it needs to take solid form it pulls together. (It may be as a human, as animal or vegetable, or even as a cloud). There is no self in this (in terms of the egocentric personality), just energy, just light. When I use the word ‘soul' this is what I refer to, this energy, this light. The essence of it has no self in it. It is just energy. Each of you begins as a spark of God, a spark or bit of this source of energy and light. You are simply broken off from that and evolving through your many lifetimes into a clearer and purer light as you manifest in one form or another.

What is the source of this energy and light? It is truly no different than the Udana scripture's ‘unborn, undying, unchanging, uncreated.' It is the Eternal, and is therefore unborn and undying, and of course uncreated, unlimited in any way. I prefer to simply call it God. I can think of no better word. But I am happy with the word ‘emptiness' it means the same thing. They are all only labels, and all labels limit that which by its very nature is unlimited.

There are two more things I would like to say and I will stop for your questions. I see I am raising a great many questions in some of you. Also a bit of disagreement. First of all, I am only Aaron. I am not omnipotent nor omniscient. I simply describe to you what I see as I see it. You don't have to take my word for it; look for yourselves. If what I say disagrees with what you have seen for yourselves, that is fine. Only be sure you are seeing clearly, that there are no filters of fear or attachment that block your clarity. Remember that I am not asking you to accept my word, only telling you that this is what I see.

I have said that you are all evolving into clearer and clearer light. There is an image that may be useful here that I have shared with some of you. Within each of you is that bit of perfect light. Surrounding that please picture a doughnut within which are flecks of anger, hatred, jealousy, fear, greed, and so forth. All of these block your light, deflect your own inner light from reaching out and prevent that pure light of God from reaching in.

Through each lifetime you work to dissolve that shadow, that armor (which creates separation). As you do, and here I speak from my perspective, the light you emit becomes clearer, becomes more brilliant, because there is nothing blocking it. If you were to put yourselves in front of that source of perfect light, you would see a gray silhouette. If you were to put me or a similar being from my plane in front of it, we would still be a pale gray shadow. I am still evolving. If you were to put a being such as the Buddha or Christ in front of that perfect light, they would be invisible. This is what you are all working toward, perfect invisibility! Emptiness!

(As I work with this transcript, I am aware that what I have said here, especially at the end, seems to contradict the Buddha's teachings of liberation. I do not believe the Buddha intended one to understand that liberation from suffering in this plane, freedom from the samsaric cycle of birth and death, is the end of all evolution. He did not speak of this. Much of what you now consider Buddhist teachings contradictory to my statements came into being long after he departed his body, and were merely an effort to explain and formalize his teachings beyond what he had taught. Remember that the Buddha was not trying to create a religion but to teach beings how to find liberation from suffering. Those concerned with his teachings as a formal religion have added quite a bit. Also remember that he did NOT teach all that he knew. He was concerned with the very real suffering he saw, suffering that came through ignorance, attachment and aversion. In his great compassion, his concern was only to teach how to find freedom from that suffering.

This is a true path. I do not suffer, nor do any on my plane. We are no longer bound in this cycle of birth and death. Still, we continue to evolve, but from a far more joyful and peaceful space.)

I believe you have questions. That is all.

Q: Can you say more about Buddhism beyond meditation and why are we trying to become invisible? What keeps a spirit plane teacher on the spirit plane rather than invisible? What does Aaron think about _______________________ _______________________? Who or what chooses at birth to separate themselves, to forget the spiritual plane? By invisibility, does he mean enlightenment?

Q: In the framework of the Buddhist cosmology, what plane of existence are you on? Is the energy and light expressions of the five aggregates? Is there an unconditioned and unborn beyond the energy and light?

Aaron: You have many different questions. I would prefer to answer them specifically rather than talking in generalities and all at once. I am not and have not been a Buddhist scholar. I have been a monk in many lifetimes. I have been a meditation master. I have been a spiritual teacher in many religions. I have a basic familiarity with the great written works of many religions, but only a basic familiarity, not a scholars' knowledge of any scriptures. I will be glad to answer your specific questions as best I can, from my present perspective and not posing as a Buddhist scholar.

Why are we trying to become invisible? Invisibility means emptiness. In becoming invisible you are clearing yourself of the greed, the jealousy, the fear, the anger—of all of these emotions which quite obviously come from an attachment to the illusion of a solid self. Where there is no perceived separate self, there can be none of these manifestations of self. There will be no hatred; there will be no fear. And yet in human form these emotions are quite deep and forceful. You cannot simply deny their existence. You cannot say ‘there is no self to feel anger so I WON'T feel anger.' Not when there is anger arising to conscious awareness.

What do you do with that anger? What do you do with that greed? How can you create a spaciousness in your hearts that allows those feelings to exist, so that their true unreality may finally become apparent, so that they may finally dissolve?

(First I ask you to remember that such heavy emotions are offered as an opportunity for growth and learning. If there was never anger, how would you learn about anger? How would you learn to be compassionate to those who express anger toward you? The arising of such emotions offers an opportunity to investigate, and most important, to learn that it is NOT the emotions themselves that present the problem to the physical being, but the reaction to the emotions.)

It is through such feelings of fear, anger, greed and so on that you create a separation of self and other, and create duality where duality does not exist. Your fear creates a separate self when it perceives that self as threatened. The stronger the fear, the solider the illusion of self. (The self-judgment or other-judgment that often follows further enhances the feeling of separation and the illusion of solid self.) So a large part of the real work of spiritual growth is simply that of creating enough space to allow these feelings without judgment and without identification so that you may perceive them with clarity and begin to transcend them. You cannot transcend what you do not accept.

It is a matter of faith and love, of opening the armor around the heart. Through clear seeing you create enough spaciousness that you don't need to dwell in these feelings. They no longer are good or bad, but just feelings, phenomena arising and dissolving. As this armor dissolves, you (the self) become invisible.

Before we go on, are there any questions on this?

[no questions]

Aaron: In answer to your question of what plane of existence I am on, I am afraid I have an inadequate vocabulary to express this. My answer may not satisfy you in terms of specifics.

[Note here added by Aaron, 8/26, while transcribing.

Aaron: I believe we are experiencing a linguistic problem as well as one of ideas. I can define myself more accurately in Pali in answer to your questions but this is very difficult for Barbara to channel accurately, especially in oral form. I also no longer see the world only in terms of Buddhist cosmology. Since Barbara has some ability to channel foreign words which I pronounce slowly for her to write, I will be a bit more specific as I speak here. It will still not answer your question precisely; I am afraid this is one of those places where you will find me inconsistent with Buddhist teaching.

Remember that the Shakyamuni Buddha was a man. I am a spirit. From this perspective, things have a different look. I am not suggesting that he did not know, but that what small portion of his knowledge he shared did not include this space beyond knowledge of the deathless. It is not necessary information for one still seeking escape from the samsaric cycle and from suffering. With his great compassion for those still entrapped in this terrible cycle of suffering, liberation was his prime concern.

Please also remember that he sought to speak the ‘language' that those around him could hear, so that he might speak most directly to their needs. Thus, he adopted and spoke largely of the accepted cosmology of his time. It is my understanding that he would only change this where it was necessary to the teaching. The framework was not relevant to the deepest lessons that he taught. In other words, the dharma in any language is still the dharma. This is as true today as 2500 years ago. When you teach westerners, do you insist on this Buddhist cosmology or do you attempt to explain the dharma in a language and framework that is most easily understood by those whom you teach?

Aachan Chah advised one of you, when you teach the dharma in the west, call it Christianity; it will be more easily understood! I must emphasize over and over that in their essence, the teachings of the Buddha, of Christ and of other great spiritual teachers are the same. Move beyond the egocentric self-center to an awareness of the unity of all things; this understanding will lead you to the forgiveness which ends karma, and to true compassion at a level at which no forgiveness is necessary for there is no longer anything to forgive. As you shed the ‘self' you shed the armor of fear, anger, hatred, and greed and open to that strength of love that leads you into evolution as clearer and purer light.

Everything else taught by any religion is superfluous, a frill added to satisfy the intellect or teachings added by later scholars of that religion to form a consistent framework of thought. Learn to identify what is essential and what is unnecessary and you will find these extras almost always lead to intellectual levels where ego is enhanced and duality created by a ‘my religion is better than yours' type of thinking. Look at these issues with self-honesty and you will learn to steer clear of such traps.

In Buddhist terms, you might say I am in the formless realms or a-ru-pa-dah-tu {Barbara: spelled phonetically as heard. This is not in my Pali dictionary. The word arupin is but Aaron says he wants this word}. I am beyond the ‘six realms' in your Buddhist cosmology. I am not a human; I am not a god. I am a spirit. I no longer inhabit the astral plane, as I am free of the need to return to human or any material form, but am moved beyond the causal plane.]

End of insert. Continuing from transcript

Aaron continued: We are constantly evolving. At some stage this energy and light I have spoken of have come to materialize in many forms. You have been mineral and vegetable, and at this stage each of you are in human form. That is simply one stage in your evolution. Beyond that comes a space where it is no longer useful to manifest in human form, where the primary learning is done more easily without form.

(Due to the laws of karma, you DO become entrapped in human form, but this is not punishment but learning opportunity. However, consistent with Buddhist teachings, one can not simply decide to end the cycle of human incarnation. One must outgrow the need for material existence by learning the lessons, primarily of love, compassion, and oneness or interbeing. A most useful path for this learning is that which the Buddha taught, of the understanding of anicca, anatta and dukkha, but of course this is not the only path to understanding of ones' true nature.)

You have asked what plane of existence I am on. We are always in the optimum form to learn what we next need to learn; for me now, that optimum involves not manifesting as form.

Beyond the stage of materialization, the levels become more subtle. There is on my plane what you might call a group entity. By this, I don't mean something solid or unchanging in any sense, but simply bits of energy and light pulled together in an intactness and having an awareness and also a memory. These learn from each other through shared telepathic thought. Because in this space there is no ego or individual self, there is nothing to protect, there is nothing to prevent complete honesty in the sharing of experiences. (Indeed, such honesty is necessary or the being could not be part of such an entity, would not be evolved enough to participate in this way and would be damaged in the attempt, were it permitted).

Through this sharing, a great deal of wisdom can be gained rather quickly, because telepathic thought is so much clearer a form of communication than words. Words limit you to the concept of that word, rather than the true totality of experience. I no longer need to experience everything directly; rather, I can experience it much faster (and as intimately and honestly) through another. So wisdom is very rapidly accrued on this plane.

As I said, this that I called a group entity is not a solid and unchanging thing but rather a coming and going. (Beings will leave for other work to which they are called, much as I have left for awhile to teach as a spirit guide). Of course, nothing is ever fixed or unchanging, on any plane.

One question was ‘what chooses at birth to forget the spiritual plane?' In other words, what am I and what are you? We are each energy and light. I have spoken of memory as a part of this group entity, but memory is not a necessary aspect of this energy and light. It simply joins awareness where that is useful. It is a function of thought. (Thus it is this energy, manifested as light, pulled together in an intactness, that is the ‘soul' or essence and that chooses to incarnate and agrees to this veil of forgetting with each incarnation. Within this pure essence, this ‘Buddha nature' or Christ consciousness, this spark of God, there is memory and karmic residue from past lives creating a focus of intention for the new life. I realize that this seems inconsistent with Buddhist teaching. It is the way I experience it. It does not seem inconsistent to me. I no longer possess a sense of small ego self or egocentric personality. It was this ego, in a sense, that brought me back lifetime after lifetime until I was able to move past that illusion.).

You have asked ‘what continues?' This energy and light are moving toward invisibility because invisibility is complete emptiness. On each plane, more ‘self' is dropped off and that which continues becomes purer. You ask by invisibility do I mean enlightenment. This perfect invisibility is something I would say is beyond enlightenment.

Enlightenment takes you to a place where there is no longer a need to manifest in a physical form. It takes you to the place of knowing there is no self, no ego, no duality of self and other. Beyond that, there is still growth necessary. (This is not inconsistent with the Buddha's teaching.

Opening to the unconditional, the deathless, knowing nirvana, do take one beyond the samsaric cycle of birth and death and beyond suffering. I do NOT suffer and I have no need to reincarnate. But I am not fully evolved, nor did the Buddha promise that I would be!)

For that growth to continue, there must be the continued ability for that energy and light to draw together in an intactness and to continue to have an individual awareness, which is quite different than a delusion of self. It is simply boundaryless awareness. It must also have a memory, in fact have all of the memories of all of the beings that have been manifestations of that energy in all of its various forms. This individual memory and egocentric personality are part of what are sloughed off as the being grows to greater invisibility, let us say.

I am past fear and anger, greed or any of those emotions. But I still do not have perfect wisdom nor perfect compassion. This is what I am working toward. This is one of the reasons I teach. I learn a great deal by teaching you and remembering what it was like to be human, by touching that fear again, those emotions ... It is very hard to keep growing in compassion, past a certain point, without reminders, and you constantly offer those reminders.

As I grow to this greater clarity of light, the need for individual awareness and for memory will dissolve until I finally reach a point that I have called invisibility. At that point, this bit of energy and light is simply energy and light; it is utterly clear of all else. And yet if there were a need for it to come together again with some cohesiveness, or to remanifest as form, it could do so. (In effect, I do so now as I assume a cloak of consciousness and personality in order to be a more effective teacher). Are there questions?

(I would like to answer the question ‘what keeps a spirit plane teacher on the spirit plane rather than invisibility?' We did not get to it in our session and it seems to fit here. Free will. It is my choice to teach, because of love and because in teaching I learn what I need to learn to move closer to invisibility. This touches on the question ‘what is a bodhisattva?' We will return to that.)

Q: Do you then see birth and then birth again as a constantly evolving process of deepening wisdom?

Aaron: By ‘birth and then birth again' I assume that you mean in material form. Yes. This earth is your schoolroom. You are here to learn, plain and simple. This does not negate the truth that there is suffering; it does not negate the meaning of liberation as the ending of suffering. But to do this you must find both a certain depth of faith and of wisdom. It is this balance that must be learned, not just wisdom, not just faith.

When you have learned all that you need to learn, (have ended the samsaric cycle by eliminating all roots and seeds of karma), then you will be ready not to take a new birth. Then a plane beyond the plane of material form will be most useful to your learning. We speak of the end of suffering. I experience pain—not physical pain as of course I have no physical body to feel pain, but pain when I see the agony that fills your earth. I feel the pain that beings create for each other through their ignorance and cruelty. But I do not suffer because I have no self to suffer. There is nothing there, nothing to attach to or run from this pain. So I have truly passed beyond suffering.

In these terms, enlightenment as you understand it from your Buddhist framework is an end to suffering and it does free you from the need to rematerialize in human form. But such materializations are in no way a punishment created by karma but are learning opportunities. Each lifetime is a precious opportunity. Yes, created by karma but nevertheless a learning opportunity. Karma is never to be equated with punishment; of course you understand that. Karma is simply action.

(In each lifetime there is suffering, but you are not here to be comfortable, you are here to grow, to learn. Please look at the difference between suffering and pain. Pain is inevitable in human form. Suffering comes not from the pain itself but your own reaction to the pain, your resistance to the stimuli or provocation.

As you grow beyond the egocentric personality and begin to understand pain not as my pain or your pain but just as pain, then you no longer suffer. Of course, at that point you have moved beyond many of the lessons of this plane and are becoming ready to move on. Of necessity the being moved beyond this egocentric personality also has at least begun to learn those levels of forgiveness and compassion that dissolve karma and lead to freedom.)

We have talked about evolving into clearer light. As you find the space for forgiveness, for acceptance, it truly dissolves karma, stops it. You cannot escape karma. You can only dissolve it by creating enough space in your heart through forgiveness, through compassion. By growing in these ways, the being becomes completely responsible and stops creating a duality of self and other.

In Buddhist terms this involves coming to an understanding of emptiness. Theoretically, one could come to understand emptiness without moral purity, but this is only theoretical. In fact one MUST go with the other. Thus, you find increasing responsibility in your life as you learn that you are always responsible for everything that passes through you. EVERYTHING! Every word, every deed, every thought! As you stop judging yourself and find forgiveness and acceptance for yourself and others, then you begin to pass beyond duality. You act in more skillful ways because there is no choice. You know you MUST, in your slang, clean up your act, or suffer the consequences. It is not until you reach this point in your path that what you term enlightenment becomes possible, and of course they must go hand in hand.

Each time you seek rebirth (yes, seek rebirth, and plan it. It is NOT forced upon you, but you know it to be necessary if you are to evolve) it is because you know there is something to be learned. There is still karma to be dissolved, the roots cut. There is still something that must be let go of, that must be forgiven—some attachment, some aversion. Something that must be gone beyond. Until you have done that with each past life, the being that you are now cannot find complete freedom. This is one of the reasons why you continue to come back and why the learning from a past life becomes relevant to this one.

As you examine the roots of the karma in that past life and the seeds that it has planted in this life, it is not enough to do away with the seeds because the roots will simply resprout. Rather, you must reach back and touch that past life with forgiveness.

Some of you are asking, must I remember every single past life? Not in detail. You must simply come to the point of accepting that there is never blame for anything, that no matter what the provocation, you are always responsible for your choices. Then forgiveness becomes possible, a blanket forgiveness, shall we call it. But not a forgiveness that comes from a sense of will and saying ‘I am going to forgive.' Rather, it must be forgiveness that comes from a much deeper place, (beyond the egocentric self. In true forgiveness there is no ‘I' to do the forgiving, and no one to be forgiven.)

You have been, by you I mean this energy and light which takes various forms, a saint in past lives. You have been a tyrant and a torturer. When you begin to touch that in yourselves and forgive yourself completely, then there is no longer judgment of others. And whatever was done to you in past lives is no longer seen as ‘he did this to me,' no longer ‘she was the persecutor and I was the victim.' We have ALL done this to each other!

When we begin to let go of that ‘he' and ‘I,' and bring that back to a ‘we,' we begin to touch that suffering with love. Then and only then can you begin to forgive yourself. Until you can forgive yourself you can't move beyond duality because there is still a sense of self and other, a doer and receiver. Do you see that? That sense of self and other fades through an open heart.

I have said that I very much value the path of vipassana. But I view it simply as a tool. It does not stand alone. It would be a path of pure insight which would seem to be impossible because one must know this suffering within oneself. One must come to ask ‘what is compassion?' Thus, your spiritual growth takes different directions. You cannot simply will enlightenment and sit with the sense ‘I am going to understand what emptiness means.' I am going to reach this or that specific level of knowledge. Because unless you tie this in with your life and what you have suffered and what suffering you have created for others, unless you tie it in with forgiveness, compassion and love, it becomes meaningless. Wisdom and love must always grow together!

I have wandered away from the original question; forgive me.

Q: Where do you see the Buddha in your vision of enlightenment?

Aaron: The Buddha has reached that level which I have described as total invisibility. He is one of the few beings to have reached this level while still in human form. In other words, after leaving this form he did not have to do the deeper learning of wisdom and compassion which I am learning (and which is what most beings focus beyond the human plane). By the depth of his understanding, all ignorance, all attachment and aversion, all fear, all sense of separateness were gone beyond and he simply became ‘invisible' while still in human form. Does that answer your question?

Q: No. You seem to be saying that most of the work while in human form is to develop faith and love while greater wisdom and compassion and perhaps a greater possibility of greater enlightenment takes place in a nonmaterial plane, only Buddha did not teach this to my understanding.

Aaron: The Buddha taught quite simply that there was suffering and an end to suffering through the following of a specific path. What he taught with his depth of compassion he made available to all beings and as such, he did not make faith a necessity for enlightenment. He simply presented a path that any being could follow. There are many things of which he did not speak because they did not pertain to that path. Yes, he taught only a small bit of what he knew. S provided Barbara with the story of a handful of leaves yesterday. I am sure you are all familiar with that story.

He did not speak much of learning beyond this physical plane (that is, learning after one is no longer locked in to this samsaric cycle of birth and death) not because he did not know of this, but of what use is this to you now? This is where you are. Why waste a perfectly good incarnation practicing discarnate skills? That is not wisdom! All of this will come in time. Have you really learned perfect love? Have you really forgiven everything that needs forgiving? Everything?

Certainly wisdom and compassion are developed to a high level on this human plane. (The levels of wisdom and compassion learned in farther planes are beyond your human conception; indeed, some are perhaps beyond my own, evolved though I am) When you reach the point where there is no need to incarnate in material form, there is an end to suffering, as the Buddha taught. I am past suffering. That does NOT mean there is nothing more to be learned! Does that answer your question?

Q: NO. The Buddha did speak a great deal about nonmaterial planes that we in human form can have access to. He did not refer to them as being more developed planes of wisdom.

Aaron: It is my belief that he is speaking here of planes which are accessible to you while you are still at the stages of taking material form. By this I mean levels of nonmaterial being that you can reach in meditation. And also those places where this energy and light resides between incarnations.

Some of you are restless here and saying ‘there is nothing that carries over between incarnations.' I do not ask you to take my word for this; it is simply what I see. There is an energy manifest as light. (It is what I call the soul). There is no self in that energy and light and yet there is this that carries over from one incarnation to another.

You might envision a million piece jigsaw puzzle with magnets on the back of each piece that will only adhere to other magnets on the same puzzle. Let us then take that puzzle and crumple it into its million pieces. Take another puzzle and do the same thing. The magnets will not adhere to the first puzzle's magnets, only to its own. Do this with a million puzzles. Start to stir them and slowly the pieces will seek each other. As they come to an intactness a new picture will be formed. When that picture has done its work the puzzle is crumpled again. There is no longer a picture there. It is simply another bit of energy intermixed with other energy, and yet it can come together with intactness as needed. And as long as it is needed it can maintain its current form.

(Please note that even when it no longer needs to reform as a puzzle, the pieces still exist!)

Forgive my digression, but many of you had this question. Coming back to your question, it is my understanding that the Buddha was speaking about those planes of nonmaterial form and not the planes beyond the need to return at all to material form. He simply had no need to speak of these. There was no relevance to what he was teaching. This is simply my understanding of it. (It is important that you be reminded that I am not omniscient nor omnipotent. Neither am I yet fully evolved. There are planes far beyond my own experience. I know of them only through glimpses and what I have heard. I also know that on any plane there are mysteries beyond our understanding. I trust that as I need to know more for my own evolution or for the good of others, that level of understanding will become available. I trust this not only as a matter of faith but because I have so often experienced such unfolding of wisdom).

(I would like to speak briefly of the planes beyond those of form. Some of you have experienced these formless planes in meditation. Yet you have not lived with this, beyond time and space. It has been a visit, a glimpse. Enough to teach you of the absolute reality of such space, but different than when it is the totality of experience.

When you are in such a formless space in meditation you may have no awareness of being in that space until you emerge from it and then recall the experience as it is imprinted on some level of consciousness. When you dwell in such a space there is awareness, profound and wonderful awareness, yet no personal consciousness to be aware. It is a level of awareness far beyond any you can presently conceive.

Thus it is with all awareness on such planes. There is always something more to learn, always more growth possible. This is true for those beings that have reached this invisibility as well. If it were not so, there would be a place where all become static, and such is truly death. Yet I assure you that these ‘invisible beings' are very much alive and their energy and love can be felt, known, experienced. From my perspective, those beings who are beyond me on this path, whose light shines even brighter than my own, are messengers of hope and love. They are ‘living' signposts, brilliant spheres of loving light and energy that constantly remind me of the wonder of God. And no, I will NOT avoid the use of that label, although I do apologize if I thereby cause you discomfort. I merely suggest you begin to investigate why it causes discomfort.)

Back to transcript

Aaron: Some of you keep coming back to this question of energy and light and a continuation of it from one lifetime to another, saying that you have been taught that there is nothing that continues. You are mistakenly thinking that I am assigning a self to that and saying that self continues but this is NOT what I am saying. Everything grows out of something else. If anything is, then it must continue somewhere. If you, within this present human form, are energy and light (and many of you have experienced yourselves as this) and the material form dissolves, what becomes of the energy and light? Where would you put that? Can you answer that?

background talking

Q: If energy and light arise because of conditions and the conditions are no longer present, the energy and light do not arise. It is like the image of a flame going out when the conditions are no longer present.

Aaron: This is fine. When the flame goes out, where does it go?

background talking

Q: The Buddha said it was an inappropriate question because it does not ‘go' anyplace. It no longer arises. There is no flame apart from conditions.

Aaron: Exactly. There is no flame apart from conditions but when the conditions that allow a flame to be are no longer present and the flame disappears, it simply moves into another form. Otherwise it could not have existed in the first place. (This takes us into the whole theory of interbeing, with which I know you are familiar). This energy and light simply moves into another form, moving from intactness of energy into diffusion of energy, which is much what the flame does. It appears as a flame because it has intactness when conditions exist which allow for it to be a flame. When it loses that intactness because conditions no longer allow for it to appear, the flame elements still exist. But because they no longer adhere to each other, they are no longer visible as flame. Do you understand what I am saying?

In the same way, this energy and light is no longer visible. That cohesion of energy and light which has a unique pattern has disappeared because the conditions for its arising have disappeared. Yet the elements that made up that energy and light cannot disappear. They simply take other form. We are back to that incense again. Where does the incense go as it burns and rises in a thin spiral and then diffuses? The elements that make up the incense still exist. If they did not, then the incense itself never could have existed. They simply move into other form, or into formlessness, as needs be. Do you have questions?

Q: Are the energy and light expressions of the five aggregates? Is there an unconditioned and unborn beyond the energy and light?

Aaron: The energy and light are not expressions of the five aggregates but express themselves through the five aggregates. There is a subtle difference here. Do you see that? The energy and light are basic elements. They may be expressed as form or as consciousness or any of the others. In other words, this is a path through which they may travel, but they are not the same as the five aggregates. Forgive me but within Barbara's vocabulary and speaking only in English I am finding it hard to find the words to express this concept. Let us simply use form for an example and then we will expand it to the others.

This energy and light are basic elements. When they come to an intactness they may manifest as form, but the form is not a condition of them. They can exist in a formless state as well. Expanding on this, they may manifest as thought, but they may also manifest as no thought.

There is no duality here. This is what I mean when I say they are beyond the aggregates. Where any one of the aggregates exists, where you have form or thought or consciousness, you also have its opposite. Each is contained in the other. Energy and light may manifest as either. It is the same thing. Do you see that?

When you are in material form, then that energy and light express themselves through the aggregates. When you are not in material form, then the energy and light express themselves through formlessness, or through the absence of the aggregates. Do you understand?

Q: Is there an unconditional and unborn beyond energy and light?

Aaron: The unconditioned and unborn is beyond everything. Those of you who have read this introduction read my question ‘can you put a fence around infinity?' If it is ‘unborn and undying' it is beyond any limit and energy and light are limited. Do you understand?


It is late and decided that the session will end.

August 26.

On several following pages are more dialogue about the Eternal as only manifesting as energy and light, picked up where this discussion left off. There is more about the above on untranscribed tape but this is the essence. I will be glad to share these tapes when transcribed with anyone who wants to hear more.

(Aaron: There is one question that was not answered. Q asked ‘What is a Bodhisattva?' Now, August 26, going through this transcription, I would like to briefly answer that. Bodhi means awake. Satva means being. It is literally an awakened being, but of course goes far beyond that. The word citta means heart or mind. Bodhicitta is one whose mind is awakened to one's natural state, and willing to work with this awareness.

There are differing specific definitions of the word Bodhisattva in different schools of Buddhism. Most of you, or indeed all of you, will be familiar with the Mahayana definition of the being who vows to lead all beings to liberation, putting his/her own final enlightenment on hold, so to speak. I would like to expand on that a bit.

There comes a moment on your own path where you truly understand that there is no individual self, that you are connected to all other beings. When you open your heart to the enormity of your own unskillful acts in this and past lives and find forgiveness and acceptance of all that negativity, then and only then are you able to find true forgiveness and compassion for others. Until that moment of total acceptance of all that the spirit has been, positive and negative, there is no wholeness, only a fragmentation that accepts only the positive and rejects or suppresses the rest. You cannot accept that same negativity in another, nor forgive it, until you accept it in yourself. Otherwise forgiveness is only lip service to an intellectual position and does not represent genuine compassion.

The being who has arrived at that level of true compassion acts and thinks in a markedly different way toward others. His or her acceptance does open the way for others to follow. Simply put, when you respond with love to a hostile provocation, the being offering that hostility is changed by your love. Implicit in this offering are both your own understanding of suffering and your desire to serve another, and the awareness that no being can truly have total freedom until all beings are released from suffering.

In this sense, all beings have the opportunity to become bodhisattvas, to lead others to awakening. It is the renunciation of the needs of ‘self' that leads to real freedom, for renunciation is not a giving up of the heart's desire, but an understanding that this moving beyond the illusion of self and of attachment to anything, even to enlightenment, is the only path of perfect freedom.

Of course there is the more conventional meaning to this term. This is the bodhisattva as the being who willingly delays his/her own final liberation with the awareness that his/her guidance and example can serve others and lead them beyond ignorance, greed, aversion. While this is the Buddhist definition, I would expand it within the framework of a wider, non-Buddhist metaphysics. When you are freed of the cycle of birth and death, you still have free will. Any being with enough love, enough courage, may choose to reincarnate beyond the karmic need to do so, to return as a teacher, a helper, a servant, to lead others along the path.

I say love and courage for a reason. When you choose human form, there is always this veil of forgetting. With the new birth comes the real possibility of new karma. There is no guarantee that this will be avoided. With human form also comes pain. No matter how enlightened the being, as a human he/ she has feelings, feels emotions and pain. There may be no suffering but the pain is real enough.

In the past I have given others the example of Jesus as a being who was beyond the need to return to the human plane and did so out of love, to teach forgiveness and love. He had a closer memory than most humans of his spiritual roots, but nevertheless he was human. The pain, in fact the agony, he felt as nails were driven through his body was real pain. Yet he did not suffer. He bore this pain gladly out of love and a joy that he could serve in this way.

I ask those of you who are deeply immersed in the Buddhist story to consider this. Bodhisattvas are not limited to those of the Buddhist faith. They may bear a different title, but are known by their depth of love and compassion and not by the labels assigned to them.)

added August 26

Barbara: I (Barbara) did not get most of the content of this channeling session while we were doing it. This is usual. I'm involved in the process and lose much of the content. Later that night I asked Aaron to review. One question disturbed me and I spent much of the night with it, both meditating and discussing it with Aaron. I did not write or tape the entire dialogue and will summarize what was not written and quote excerpts from any written dialogue.

On the night of the session I was concerned with Aaron's statement that this unborn, undying ... (or, if you will permit me, ‘God') is not energy and light but simply manifests as energy and light. If it is not energy and light but only manifests as this, then as Q pointed out, when there are no longer conditions for it to manifest as energy and light it will no longer do so.

Beyond the experience of what I'd call God, in meditation, I've experienced a deep level of stillness where nothing is arising or dissolving. It is a level of peace beyond my ability to describe. Aaron has given me the word ‘shantih,' ‘the peace beyond understanding,' and that feels appropriate. I'm sure many of you have had this experience.

If ‘God' is not energy and light but only manifests as that, then phenomena are still arising and dissolving. Exploring these ideas that night, this seemed contrary to the stillness of this space where nothing arises or dissolves. Furthermore, it gave me a sense of duality. When I reach a level (not yet this absolute stillness) where there is cessation of time and unlimited space, there I not only experience the Eternal, but experience my complete oneness with the Eternal. That is not to say I am God, but that of God is within me. There is no longer any delusion of separation.

But at that space I also experience myself and all things as energy and light. There is no ego, no body, no egocentric personality, nor any possibility of these; all is dissolved. There is only light and energy.

The deeper experience of stillness is beyond even that, but there too, as I emerge from that experience into a state of awareness, I am aware of all things as energy and light, although those aspects were in perfect stillness, neither arising nor dissolving. My question that night was if I experience the Eternal and all else as energy and light but this is not the true nature of God but simply arising from conditions, then I am not that. There is duality. I asked Aaron to speak to this.

Aaron: (July 30/ 31, night and early morning) ... The Eternal will continue to manifest as energy and light until all beings have reached that stage of perfect invisibility. At that point the conditions will no longer be present for it to arise ...

... The stillness you experience at that level of meditation is relative. All that is manifesting is God, manifesting as a constant stream of energy which becomes visible as light. Since you are part of that, you do not experience it as arising. The wind cannot feel itself blowing.

When we have all reached that level of absolute clarity where we have no need of this source of energy, there will be absolute stillness, utter and total peace far beyond your present experience of this ...

July 31, dialogue excerpt.

Aaron: ... .It's like a grain of salt to the ocean. The ocean has many non-salt elements—hydrogen, oxygen, sodium chloride, etc. A grain of salt dropped into the ocean is not separate. Its salt element is identical to the ocean, but the ocean contains other elements as well.

All things manifest as energy and light, as you experience in meditation. God is manifest as energy and light. It is infinitely more, as it is unlimited, but this is how it presently manifests itself.

When conditions stop arising for God to be manifest as energy and light, then conditions will have stopped arising for everything to manifest as that. All energy and light will either no longer manifest as anything (perfect stillness) or will manifest as something else. But this cohesion of energy and light that you are will manifest in the same way as the Eternal. There is no duality.

July 31, Barbara (from my journal): Through last night Aaron asked me to return repeatedly to that level of meditation where there is total stillness, no awareness, and then emerge from that. He said I will find the answer there, in those moments of emergence into awareness . I have done this several times through the night. I'm not finding the answer. I emerge from the experience of that profound stillness and then experience the beginnings of formations and dissolution again, including the formation of energy and light. He asks me to keep doing this. I'm obviously missing something. He suggests I continue in the same way and does not want to talk more about it until tonight.

July 31/ Aug 1, night and early morning, dialogue

Barbara: Aaron, I experience everything arising and dissolving, formations coming and going. Then at a certain stage of meditation I experience it all stop. If God is still manifesting as energy and light, why don't I experience that manifestation instead of this stillness beyond all formations? I'm still seeing duality in this.

Aaron: At that level of meditation you literally ARE the light and energy. It is the same thing I said two nights ago, the wind does not feel itself blowing. You have not yet evolved into that perfect clarity that is entirely devoid of self, that is invisible. Thus, you cannot experience the Eternal beyond energy and light. That is all of it that you can know.

That the Eternal is infinite and unlimited is meaningless to you now, in terms of experience, because as long as there remains even the faintest shadow of self, you are not unlimited. Do you remember that example of the pencil poked through a sheet of paper and the question, what does the two dimensional dot see? Only the line where the pencil comes through. Because of its own limits, it is not yet capable of discerning a third dimension.

God is unlimited and can manifest in any way, or not manifest. Just as the line where the pencil breaks through the paper is one limited aspect of the pencil, in the same way, energy manifest as light is part of God. You, as energy manifested as light, are part of God.

The light and energy perpetuate themselves in a sense as all beings work to clarify that light. The clarification will transform this energy. Then God will no longer manifest as light and energy. As Q pointed out, the conditions for that manifestation will no longer be present.

Barbara: Then what will it manifest as?

Aaron: I do not know for certain and it is not useful to ask. This is the same as ‘where does the flame go when it goes out?' I asked Q that to emphasize the point that God is NOT energy and light but merely manifests as such.

I trust that the unborn, undying ... will continue to manifest in whatever way it needs to, as conditions arise to lead to that manifestation. My conjecture is that when all energy and light is purified, clarified to the extent that conditions no longer lead to such manifestation, it will simply manifest as love.

This sounds vague. With more accuracy, I emphasized two days ago that the unborn, undying ... manifests as energy which appears as light. We have not yet mentioned the love because it is a less measurable quantity to the human perception.

Again, this is conjecture. I believe the essence of the unborn, undying ... is love. What do I mean by that? Total, unconditional love. It is the Christian scripture's ‘God is love.'

God manifests as energy which becomes light because each ‘spark' of that energy uses this light as the prime material of its evolution. When we are all evolved to perfect, unconditional love, we will no longer need any material as we will no longer be evolving in this sense.

I do not know what comes next. I cannot see that far, nor can any being, I would think. Those beings that have evolved to perfect invisibility may have a deeper awareness of other aspects of the Eternal. I am sure they do. But I am not yet that evolved and do not know from my own experience.

There are some mysteries we are not meant nor need to solve. It is enough for me to know that through my work I purify this light and grow steadily toward that space of perfect, unconditional love.

Barbara: later on August 1, from journal. I understand now what he wanted me to see in this repeated emergence from that deep meditational state. Regaining awareness, but before there is any self, all things are energy and light and there is no possibility of duality. I wasn't trusting that experience because my brain was saying “yes, but God is not this.” I was distrusting the real experience and trying to create a logical or intellectual framework. Which am I going to trust, my heart or my brain? I DO experience that I am ‘that,' whatever ‘that' is, and that there is no duality, no separation. At that space before ‘self' returns, there is nothing but ‘that,' God, energy, the unborn and undying, or perfect emptiness, utter stillness ...