Sudden or Gradual: Two Paths to Realization? with Rick Archer from Buddha at the Gas Pump

Panel Discussion: Rick Archer, Stephan Bodian, Isa Gucciardi, Sally Kempton
Science and Nonduality Conference, Dolce Hayes Mansion, San Jose, CA

Sunday, October 22, 2017
3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

There is a perennial debate in spiritual traditions regarding whether realization is direct (sudden) or progressive (gradual). But is this a false distinction? Realization is often sudden, no matter how many years of practice may have led up to it, and even after realization, most people find that refinement, clarification, and the working out of personal shortcomings continue indefinitely.

Who wouldn’t prefer direct realization to years of purification and practice? But how many examples of purely direct realization can we find? Can a path be both direct and progressive? Is it possible to have a taste of our true nature from the outset, and then spend a lifetime clarifying and embodying it? Also, is there one watershed breakthrough which can be universally agreed upon as final “Realization”, or are there many degrees and stages of realization, each of them important stepping stones in a never-ending journey?

Proponents of the direct path sometimes argue that if we regard spiritual development as progressive, we will forever be anticipating, never arriving. But some spiritual seekers consider themselves “finished” when they are just getting started. Not appreciating the distinction between understanding and experience, they mistake intellectual understanding with enlightenment. Understanding statements like “You are already enlightened” doesn’t make it so.


This panel discussion is a part of the SAND Conference. Time subject to change. For more information and registration, visit the SAND 2017 website.

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Dolce Hayes Mansion