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Adi Da (aka Free-John, Da 1939- ) Originally Franklin Jones, Adi Da is an American guru born in Jamaica, New York. He has also gone under the names of Da Free-John, Bubba Free-John and Heartmaster Da.
Adi Da claims to have reached enlightenment at age three years. In their Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult, Mather and Nichols note that this achievement did not last. In his college days Adi Da explored different forms of hedonism, to include LSD and open sex.
To this criticism Adi Da replies that his activities were an essential stage within his path of discovery.
Adi Da also says he is an incarnation of the Brahman. Like many New Age enthusiasts, he denigrates organized forms of Christianity. And like most Hindus and devotees of Hinduism, Adi Da counters the Christian claim that Jesus is the only son of God.
For Adi Da Jesus is one of many avatars or “incarnations,” not unlike that which Adi Da, himself, claims to be.
But Adi Da is not just critical of organized Christianity. He, in fact, contests all organized religions, claiming the truth of the spiritual quest may be found in one’s own heart.
To realize this apparent truth, veils of selfishness and ignorance must be recognized and dispelled.
Ironically, his California group gatherings and North American tours exhibit many of the characteristics of organized religion, with Adi Da at the center.
Listed in several cult and manipulation internet indexes, Adi Da has founded the Free Communion Church/Dawn Horse Fellowship and Laughing Man Institute.
While claiming to be beyond any particular system, he studied under and has theological affinities with several Hindu gurus, the most salient affinity being the belief in reincarnation. It has also been suggested that he possesses psi abilities and can read the thoughts of his disciples, an alleged ability known as siddhis in Hindu and Buddhist belief systems.
Some call Adi Da a religious genius, others a profound theologian and yet others suggest he’s the head of a “dysfunctional organization” for sincere but sorely misguided seekers (Source » http://www.adidaarchives.org ).
On the World Wide Web:
- http://www.adidam.org/ (Official web site)
- http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/misc/adida.cfm/ (Mixed opinion)
- http://guruphiliac.blogspot.com/2005/06/big-adi-daddi.html (Negative opinion)
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Also known as metempsychosis and transmigration, reincarnation is a manmade theory based on beliefs found in different philosophical systems and religions, including ancient Greek, Egyptian, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Jain, African and New Age perspectives.
Reincarnation usually involves ideas of karma and grace. It’s believed that after the death of the physical body, the soul (or in some schools, temporary personality attributes) returns for another birth.
In most traditions the self is on an evolutionary path from unconsciousness to consciousness–that is, from lower to higher, or gross to subtle forms of consciousness.
In some branches of contemplative Hinduism, the soul is said to begin in the mineral world and then move upward to the vegetable and animal kingdoms. Eventually it takes birth as a human being. After learning about and practicing good ethics from innumerable human incarnations, the soul may reincarnate in astral and heavenly realms before reaching ultimate liberation, awareness and bliss.
But bad ethical choices send the evolutionary process into reverse. If a human being abuses their freedom, they may reincarnate backwards into the animal kingdom or possibly further down into one of various temporary hells.
According to popular wisdom it’s often said that God provides perfect punishments and rewards for one’s deeds. So generally speaking, if one makes good ethical choices in an embodied life, one gains merit and reincarnates into a more auspicious life the next time around.
However, if one makes bad ethical choices, one returns to a less auspicious life. Again, the alleged purpose of reincarnation is to instruct the soul, preparing it for an ultimately perfect, eternal existence. The exact nature of this perfection is described differently among various schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Taoism.
Once complete liberation is achieved, the soul (or temporary personality attributes) no longer returns to a body, gross or subtle. This idea is expressed in an old Taoist tale, paraphrased as follows:
A man had led a dissolute life and reincarnates as a horse. After a few years the horse grows weary of being whipped by his masters, refuses to eat and dies. He then returns as a dog. Despising this incarnation the dog bites his master’s leg who has him destroyed. He returns as a snake. By now he’s finally learned his lesson. One must play out the hand one is dealt, patiently seeing it through to learn how to be virtuous. As a reformed soul, the snake avoids doing harm to other animals by eating berries and tries to keep itself out of danger. But one day the snake mistakenly dies under the wheel of a cart. Pleading his case before the King of Purgatory, he finds himself reborn a man—a reward for his good intentions (Raymond Van Over, ed. Taoist Tales, New York: Meridian Classic, 1973, pp. 52-53).
According to this view, suicide is like ‘skipping school’ (in the cosmic sense) and causes regression to a less desirable birth.
But not all believers in reincarnation would take this attitude. Some believe that the very same kind of life situation would arise again, as if the suicide is forced to repeat the same cosmic classroom he or she didn’t pass the first time around.
Meanwhile some New Age thinkers say that every life is consciously chosen prior to birth.
In most Asian religions God’s grace can mitigate or even erase the effects of bad karma, a fact often overlooked in specious critiques of reincarnation.
African pre-colonial tribal beliefs about reincarnation differ from Asian variants. African ancestors are believed to reincarnate into one or several descendents to give a particular family more power. Somewhat similar to the Asian idea, however, the African Ibo believe that one chooses between two bundles before birth – one bundle holds auspicious fortune, the other inauspicious. While the spirit tries its best to choose a favorable incarnation, a formerly evil person undergoes a difficult incarnation as a human or animal.
In contrast to the belief in reincarnation, the Old Testament says that evil actions are repaid with evil, but not through reincarnation. Evil begets evil through one’s offspring:
The Lord…a God merciful and gracious…forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation (Exodus 34:7).
For when they were not yet born, nor had done any good or evil…not of works, but of Him that calleth, it was said to her: The elder shall serve the younger.
The Christian New Testament view of the body and its relation to the afterlife is expressed in I Corinthians 15; 51-52; 2 Corinthians 5:1; I Thessalonians 4:14; John 3: 4-7.
Some suggest that the Catholic notion of purgatory was created as a Christian counterpart to the temporary process of punishment and purification as found in non-Christian theories of reincarnation.
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