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Ken Wilber and the One Taste

The Spirit and Flesh World Religion and Spirituality Online Library: uniting seemingly opposed ideologies and vibrations into the true, pristine harmony of cosmic oneness.






Once you find your formless identity as Buddha-mind, as Atman, as pure Spirit or Godhead, you will take that constant, non-dual, ever present consciousness and re-enter the lesser states, subtle mind and gross body, and re-animate them with radiance. You will not remain merely Formless and Empty. You will empty yourself of Emptiness: you will pour yourself out into the mind and world, and create them in the process, and enter them all equally, but especially and particularly that specific mind and body that is called you (that is called, in my case, Ken Wilber): this lesser self will become the vehicle of the Spirit that you are.

And then all things, including your own little mind and body and feelings and thoughts, will arise in the vast Emptiness that you are, and they will self-liberate into their own true nature just as they arise, precisely because you no longer identify with any of them, but rather let them play, let them all arise, in the Emptiness and Openness that you now are. You then will awaken as radical Freedom, and sing those songs of radiant release, beam an infinity too obvious to see, and drink an ocean of delight. You will look at the moon as part of your body and bow to the sun as part of your heart, and all of it is just so. For eternally and always, eternally and always, there is only this.




In Dzogchen Buddhism, the same idea is expressed in the thangka of the Adi-Buddha Samantabhadra (the very highest Buddha) and his consort, Samantabhadri. Samantabhadra is depicted as a deep blue/black figure, naked, seated in the lotus posture. On his lap, facing him in sexual congress, is Samantabhadri, also naked, but a luminous bright white. Samantabhadra represents the dharmakaya or radical Emptiness, which is completely formless and therefore "black" (as in deep dreamless sleep). Samantabhadri represents the rupakaya, the entire world of Form, which is a brilliant white luminous display. Emptiness and form, consciousness and matter, spirit and the world. But the point is, they are making love; they are one in the ecstatic embrace of each other; they are united through all eternity by the unbreakable bond of a Love that is invincible. They are, to each other, One Taste.

This depiction of Samantabhadra and Samantabhadri (Purusha and Prakriti, Shiva and Shakti, emptiness and form, wisdom and compassion, Eros and Agape, ascending and descending) is not merely a symbol. It is a depiction of a direct realization. When you settle back as I-I, and rest as the formless Witness, you literally are Samantabhadra; you are the great Unborn, the radically unqualifiable Godhead. You are a great black Emptiness of infinite release. And yet, in the space of that Emptiness that you are, the entire universe is arising moment to moment: the clouds are floating through your awareness, those trees are arising in your awareness, those singing birds are one with you.

You, as formless Witness (Samantabhadra), are one with the entire World of Form (Samantabhadri), and it is forever an erotic union. You are literally making love to the entire world as it arises. The brutal, torturous gap between subject and object has collapsed, and you and the world have entered an intimate, sexual, ecstatic union, edged with bliss, radiant in release, the thunder and lightning of only One Taste.

It has always been so.

Material in this column appears in One Taste: The Journals of Ken Wilber, from Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston. © Ken Wilber 1998.

view images of the Tibetan one-taste called Yab-yum


The Spirit and Flesh World Religion and Spirituality Online Library: uniting seemingly opposed ideologies and vibrations into the true, pristine harmony of cosmic oneness.


















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