Excerpt About Turnings of the Wheel

Discoveries at the first Three Turnings

The first turning of the teaching wheel, which can be seen as the beginning stages of spiritual awakening, reveals to us that there is such a thing as spiritual experience, that there is such a thing as spirit—as true nature or divinity or purity—and that we can experience it. In the second turning, we see not only that there is such a thing, but that it is the nature of everything. This awakening brings in the nondual perspective, which can lead to many other experiences of reality. The second turning shows that true nature is the being of all beings, that without true nature nothing will be, nothing will appear, and that there is no existence without it, because it is the existence of all existence. This understanding of the boundlessness and pervasiveness of true nature is implicit in nondual experience and realization. It is in the first turning that we recognize and experience true nature as a particular, different from other particulars and outside the known world of particulars. The radical otherness of true nature points to the fact that it is outside the purview of the world of conventional experience. The second turning of the wheel reveals the other side of true nature: that it is not only a particular but an absolutely pervasive particular. It pervades and constitutes everything, in a way that makes apparent the oneness, unity, and nonduality that is the hallmark of mystical experience. From the perspective of nondual experience, the encounter of the third kind with true nature is still dualistic because, even though in that encounter we recognize the radical otherness of spirit or God or whatever, there is still an “I” experiencing a true nature, regardless of whether we experience it as inside or outside of the self.

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