Excerpt About Ultimates

Collapsing all Ultimates into the Philosophers’ Stone

The fourth turning reveals something about true nature that is not immediately obvious. Although it is implicit in the first two turnings of the wheel, it doesn’t become explicit until the fourth turning. What we see is that there are other ways of looking at reality and true nature apart from the Aristotelian logic of finding out what the ultimate or final constituent of reality is. Many paths of enlightenment focus on finding the ultimate and realizing the ultimate as reality, but the fourth turning reveals this as only one point of view, only one way of looking at reality. One of the problems with the view of ultimates is that different teachings posit different ultimates. How do we reconcile them? Often someone ends up saying, “My ultimate is the true ultimate and yours is only provisional.” We can see many examples of this kind of reasoning in religions and spiritual traditions. So when I mentioned collapsing all ultimates—Brahman, Shunyata, Christ, Ein Sof, Tao, and others—into the philosophers’ stone, I didn’t mean to imply that there are no differences between them. Brahman is not the same thing as Shunyata, and Shunyata is not the same thing as the universal Christ, and Christ is not the same thing as Ein Sof, and Ein Sof is not the same thing as the Tao. Each is a different way of experiencing true nature and each gives rise to a different experience of reality.

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