- The Direct Path: Providing a Background for Approaching the Practice of Dzogchen (1977): The author’s first work on Buddhism and Dzogchen, published in Katmandu, Nepal, by Mudra Publishing.
- Qué somos y adónde vamos: Sobre la crisis mundial y la problemática individual: Ontología, filosofía de la historia, ecología, física, psicología y el “sendero directo” del tantrismo tibetano (What are We and Where are We Going: Ontology, Philosophy of History, Ecology, Physics, Psychology, and the “Direct Path” of Tibetan Tantra) (in Spanish) (1986): The title gives an idea of the contents of this work. Caracas: Central University of Venezuela (UCV).
- Cremation Grounds/Campos Crematorios. Spiritual poems written while in retreat in the higher Himalayas, and some poems written after returning to the West. (English, Spanish and some in Italian and French.) (1986a) Caracas: Centro Dzogchén.
- Qué somos y adónde vamos. Sobre la crisis mundial y la problemática individual. Ontología, filosofía de la historia, ecología, física, psicología... (What are We and Where are We Going: On the Global and Individual Crisis: Ontology, Philosophy of History, Social and Psych. Ecology, Physics, Psychology...) (Spanish) (1986b) The title already gives an idea of the book’s contents. Caracas: Unidad de Extensión de la Facultad de Humanidades y Educación de la Universidad Central de Venezuela.
- The Source of Danger is Fear: Paradoxes of the Realm of Delusion and Instructions for the Practice of the rDzogs-chen Upadesha. (English: Restricted publication) (1989). Mérida, Venezuela: Editorial Reflejos.
- Individuo, sociedad, ecosistema: Ensayos sobre filosofía, política y mística (Individual, Society, Ecosystem: Essays on Philosophy, Politics and Mysticism) (in Spanish). Mérida, Venezuela: Consejo de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Los Andes / The Los Andes University Press. 1 2 3 4 5
In the first chapter of this 1994 book, Capriles establishes his ontological and epistemological position in the context of a discussion of the definition of “philosophy.” In the second chapter, he develops a degenerative philosophy of history that totally inverts that of Hegel: as stated by several Eastern traditions, including Buddhism and Dzogchen, and Western traditions that include the Stoics, social and spiritual evolution is a process of progressive degeneration. In fact, according to Capriles, rather than being a development of truth and completeness, evolution and history involve the development of delusion and fragmentation, which increase partly as a result of the relations between the two hemispheres of the human brain described by Gregory Bateson (1972, 1979), in a way that he partially explains in terms of the “spiral of pretences” conceived by R. D. Laing (1961) and of the concept of phenomenological negation as implicit in the theory of Bad Faith developed in Sartre (1943/ 1980). This increase leads delusion and fragmentation to give rise to the present ecological crisis, with which they (and all that develops with them) achieve their reductio ad absurdum, so that either the primordial order is re-established and a new golden age, era of truth, or age of perfection begins, or else humankind destroys itself. Capriles also inverts Marx and Engels’ theory of social evolution, noting that the said evolution does neither involve progress nor result from the struggle against destitution: existentially, primitive humans were absolutely rich, and poverty is the result of degenerative evolution. Then he shows how Niklas Luhmann’s systemic sociology (based on Varela and Maturana’s concept of autopoiesis) uses a systems theory of the kind that many would regard as “New Paradigm,” to produce an instrumentally biased theory that seeks to maintain social order at the cost of human freedom and subjectivity, and also shows how Habermas’ critique of Luhmann wrongly dismisses all systems theories as necessarily producing the undesirable effects implicit in Luhmann’s theory (Luhmann and Habermas, 1971). Capriles notes that a change of paradigms will be meaningless and ineffective unless a revolution in the psyche puts an end to the delusion that develops throughout the aeon or kalpa, and to the instrumental relations resulting from the evolution of delusion. Drawing on nonviolent anarchism (e.g., Kropotkin), libertarian Marxism (e.g., Castoriadis), green politics, and the Buddhist understanding of the human psyche, Capriles radically criticizes the Marxist theory of revolution, and then establishes some general guidelines of what an Enlightened society would be like. Finally, in the last chapter he develops a theory of values that makes a direct correlation between Value, Truth, Good, Beauty and Wealth, and explains the arising of ethical value, aesthetic value, economic value, and so on as a consequence of the concealment of Truth-Value-Good-Beauty-Wealth that, rather than restoring Value, Truth, Good, Beauty and Wealth, sets us further apart from them, furthering the process of social and spiritual degeneration.
- Estética primordial y arte visionario (Primordial Aesthetics and Visionary Art) (in Spanish) (2000). Mérida: GIEAA/CDCHT of University of The Andes.
In the first chapter of this book, Capriles explains the genesis of value and values as a result of the manifestation and development of the delusion that the Buddha Shakyamuni called avidya and that Heraclitus referred to as lete, which introduces the “original (and originary) partition” corresponding to the etymological meaning of the German word Urteil (judgment). In fact, once delusion arises, involving the belief in a self or ego, selfishness or egotism arises, and thus in order to restrain it and prevent its negative effects it becomes necessary to invent morality; once totality is sundered by the subject-object duality, there arises the lack-of-totality or lack-of-plenitude that may be called “existential poverty,” and as a result of this there arises economic value; once Truth is concealed, truth is conceived as adæquatio intellectus et rei; and once the doors of perception are closed, so that we no longer appreciate everything in its infinitude and wonder, we distinguish between the beautiful and the ugly, the sublime and the ridicule, and so aesthetic values arise. Concerning the latter, Capriles discusses the Pythagorean concept of kalokagathia and the Platonic inseparability of Truth, Good and Beauty—which, however, he explains in an anti-Pythagorean, anti-Platonic way. Then he ponders on the aim and meaning of primordial art, and discusses the effects of the development of delusion and concealment in Eurasian art, which he takes as the basis for outlining a degenerative aesthetic theory. In Chapter Two he reviews: the development of concealment and unconcealment in Eurasia from the Stone Age to the Age of Metals; the prehistoric Eurasian artistic koiné and the arising of the Buddhist Art of Central Asia; the aim and meaning of Eastern art and ancient Western art; the destruction of the Medieval order in Europe and the new developments of concealment and unconcealment in this region. Then he reviews primordial art, from primitive art to Chinese Taoist and Ch’an painting (with reference to craftsmanship, sacred dances and fireworks); he draws brief notes on some art forms from India; he considers Tibetan painting, taking the mandala as a paradigm of the inseparability of connotation and denotation, and discusses the relationship between Dante’s Divine Comedy and the mandala (and, in the forthcoming second edition of the book, also between these and William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell). Then he takes the movie Baraka as an example of primordial art of the end of the twentieth century, considering it in terms of the mandala, and speculates about the future of art. Finally, in Chapter Three he discusses the aesthetics of the surpassing being (which he views as the most basic, delusive phenomenon of samsara) in terms of a critique of the ontology and aesthetics developed by Martin Heidegger, with reference to those by Kant and Schopenhauer. Here the relationship between being and value is analyzed, together with the relations between art and truth, aesthetics and ontology.
- Budismo y Dzogchén: La doctrina del buda y el vehículo supremo del budismo tibetano (Buddhism and Dzogchen: The Doctrine of the Buddha and the Supreme Vehicle of Tibetan Buddhism) (in Spanish) (2000). Vitoria, Spain: Ediciones La Llave. 1 2 3 4 5
This book is divided into three parts. The first explains the principles of Buddhism and the various schools and vehicles it comprehends; the second explains Dzogchen, and the third deals with relevant subjects that do not fit the two previous chaptersCurrently, Capriles is working on three books in English, one of them in three volumes, to make a total of five volumes, which he plans to complete simultaneously and then offer to US publishers, and the provisional versions of which are posted in the website of Zhang-Zhung Institute and in this website as well. (Of the book in three volumes, Vol. I only lacks the transcriptions of the corrections of style and grammar made by English Literature Professor Ian Woodworth; Vol. II lacks the second revision and correction by the author of the regular text and the revision and correction of the notes, after which the English will be revised by the same specialist; Vol. III is so far only an unrevised draft of parts of the book, which then will be enriched with many other points and subjects). The remainder of this brief provides the reader with a brief overview of each of the books in question.
- Alienación, crisis ecológico-económica y regeneración. Esencia, desarrollo y modos de la alienación y erradicación de ésta en el ecomunismo decrecentista y libertario (Alienation, ecological-economic crisis and regeneration: Essence, development and modes of alienation and the latter’s eradication in de-growing, anti-authoritarian ecommunism) (In Spanish) (2000) Madrid: Editorial Académica Española.
This book discusses the genesis and development of alienation on the ontological plane, explaining it in a way that is contrary to Hegel's, as well as on many other planes, including the economic, the social, the polítical, the religious, the sexual, the educative, etc. It shown how ecological crisis in all of its aspects—biological, economic, social, psychological, etc.— is the result of the increase of alienation along our degenerative spiritual and social evolution, which brings it to the extreme at which it becomes evident that it is a delusion, and hence its eradication becomes absolutely necessary and by the same token possible—upon which we would recover access to the state of Communion, so that we could achieve plenitude in frugality and therefore ungrowth / degrowth, as well as the extinction of political power and socioeconomic inequalities in the achievement of ecommunism (a word that resulted from combining ecological with communism). However, this would not happen automatically: in order to recover access to the state of Communion the author proposes the practice of Dzogchen, Tantrism and other Buddhist and Non-Buddhist, and for the achievement of ungrowth / degrowth and ecommunism, an essentially nonviolent revolutionary practice.
- The Beyond Mind Papers: Transpersonal and Metatranspersonal Theory. A critique of the systems of Wilber, Washburn and Grof and An Outline of the Dzogchen Path to Definitive True Sanity. Volume 1: Introduction: Essential Concepts and Summary of Transpersonal and Metatranspersonal Theory (2013).(ISBN 1-57733-269-5 / 978-1-57733-269-5 / e : 978-1-57733-444-6). (En prensa). Nevada City, CA, EE.UU.: Blue Dolphin Publishing.\\ Volume I lays out the basic principles of Buddhism and, in greater detail, the Buddhist Dzogchen tradition—and compares them to the evolving understanding of the Transpersonal Psychology system. Throughout this four-volume Work, Dr. Capriles explains the correct view of Mind according to Dzogchen--in contrast to well-intentioned but misguided views among some transpersonal authors—toward what he calls the "meta-transpersonal view," whose ultimate goal is, as all agree, "true sanity."
- The Beyond Mind Papers: Transpersonal and Metatranspersonal Theory. A critique of the systems of Wilber, Washburn and Grof and An Outline of the Dzogchen Path to Definitive True Sanity. Volume II: Steps to a Metatranspersonal Philosophy and Psychology: A Critique of the Systems of Wilber, Washburn and Grof, and an Outline of the Dzogchen Path to Definitive True Sanity (2013)]] (ISBN 1-57733-272-5 / 978-1-57733-272-5 e: 978-1-57733-452-1). . Nevada City, CA, EE.UU.: Blue Dolphin Publishing. Volume II explains authentic Paths of Awakening and spiritual emergencies as mainly “descending” processes, not in the sense of involving regression, but in that of undoing pretenses and Seeing through all that is built, created, produced, contrived, conditioned or compounded, into the true condition that the Dzogchen teachings call the Base
- The Beyond Mind Papers: Transpersonal and Metatranspersonal Theory. A critique of the systems of Wilber, Washburn and Grof and An Outline of the Dzogchen Path to Definitive True Sanity. Volume III: Further Steps to a Metatranspersonal Philosophy and Psychology: An Evaluation of Ken Wilber’s System and of the Ascender/Descender Debate (2013).(ISBN 1-57733-273-3 / 978-1-57733-273-2 / e: 978-1-57733-453-8).(En prensa). Nevada City, CA, EE.UU.: Blue Dolphin Publishing. Volume III discusses the ascender/descender debate from a standpoint different from those of both sides of the debate, showing how to avoid the “spiritual materialism” of those systems that posit the need to build successive structures rather than Seeing through all structures—which is what Buddhism in general and Dzogchen in particular do.
- The Beyond Mind Papers: Transpersonal and Metatranspersonal Theory. A critique of the systems of Wilber, Washburn and Grof and An Outline of the Dzogchen Path to Definitive True Sanity. Volume IV: Further Steps to a Metatranspersonal Philosophy and Psychology: An Assessment of the Transpersonal Paradigms of Grof and Washburn [and Appendices I, II, and III] (2013). (ISBN 1-57733-274-1 / 978-1-57733-274-9 / e: 978-1-57733-454-5). (En prensa). Nevada City, CA, EE.UU.: Blue Dolphin Publishing. Volume IV further discusses the sense of “descending” in the term “descending systems,” showing that only systems that are so—in the metaphenomenological, metaexistential sense—agree with Buddhism. It features one Appendix on Greek dualistic philosophical systems, one on psychedelics, and one showing the “participative” perspective not to be inclusive.
Books currently in press
- (With Gendün Chöphel) Gendün Chöphel’s Madhyamaka: Ascertaining the Prasangika Madhyamaka view (a Nyingmapa interpretation). A revised version of the translation of Gendün Chöphel’s Ornament of the thought of Nagarjuna with an Introductory Study on the definitive meaning of Madhyamaka, its development and its subschools in India and Tibet, and a commentary on Gendün Chöphel’s work. Arcidosso, GR, Italy: Shang Shung Edizioni.
This book contains a very long Introductory Study by Elías Capriles in which he outlines the principles of Madhyamaka philosophy, discusses the genesis and the bases of the Svatantrika-Prasangika distinction, and critically analyzes Je Tsongkhapa's understanding of these two subschools of Madhyamaka, as well as the problems with the literalists' interpretations of Tsongkhapa's views—all of it in terms of an unprecedented interpretation of the subjects. It also discusses the senses of svasamvedana/svasamtitti and their acceptance or rejection by the Madhyamaka subschools, and touches on many other subtle points. Moreover, it contains a quite long commentary on the translation of Gendün Chöphel's text on Madhyamaka, in an attempt to elucidate its true meaning. Since also the great bulk of the notes are by Elías Capriles, actually the greater part of the book is by Capriles.
E-books in provisional versions
- Buddhism and Dzogchen: Part I: Buddhism: A Dzogchen Outlook (enlarged, revised and corrected version of chapter I of Capriles [2000a] [see Bibliography below]; translated by the author in collaboration with Judy Daugherty). In part one, he expounds the general doctrines of Buddhism (making a lengthy, experiential exposition of the Four Noble Truths), and briefly compares the schools existing in our time: the Theravada, the Chinese Schools that later on spread throughout the Far East, and the Tibetan Schools that later on spread to Bhutan and Mongolia. Then he describes the nine vehicles of the rNying ma pa School of Tibetan Buddhism (which he compares with the seven vehicles of the gSar ma pa), classifying them into three Paths in terms of an ancient tradition expounded by gNubs Nam mkha’i sNying po (one of the main direct disciples of Padmasambhava) in his bka’ thang sde lnga (revealed as a gter ma in the sixteenth century by O rgyan gLing pa) and then further expounded by gNubs chen Sangs rgyas Ye-shes in his bSam gtan Mig sgron (found in Tun Huang at the turning of the twentieth century after being entombed for almost a millennium). This tradition, which later on was effaced from Tibetan Buddhism by the generalization and increasing influence of the teachings of the gSar-ma-pa and the politics of Tibet, and which in the twentieth century was brought to light by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, divides the nine vehicles into: Way of Renunciation (containing the Shravakayana, the Pratyekabuddhayana and the Bodhisattvayana); Way of Transformation (containing the outer Tantric Vehicles of Purification and the Inner Tantric Vehicles of Transformation); and Way of Self-Liberation (the Atiyogatantrayana-Dzogchen with its three series of teachings). This is the only part of the book that is available so far. Below are described the other two parts, which are yet to be prepared.
- The Philosophical Schools of the Sutrayana Traditionally Taught in Tibet (With Reference to the Dzogchen Teachings). In this book, Capriles discusses the four philosophical schools of the Sutrayana (Hinayana and Mahayana) traditionally included in Tibetan curricula, placing the emphasis on the reasons why the views of these schools are taught in a progressive, hierarchical way, and comparing the views of the main schools of the Mahayana with those of the Vajrayana and the Atiyogatantrayana-Dzogchen. Je Tsongkhapa’s peculiar interpretation of the Prasangika subschool of Madhyamaka is discussed and criticized in detail, and the view of the Mahamadhyamaka school of Madhyamaka philosophy that the Nyingmapa consider the supreme theoretical view of the Mahayana is explained in detail, providing a truly non-dualistic interpretation of its interpretation of awareness (of) consciousness, comparing this school with both the Yogachara and the other Madhyamaka schools, and then with the Dzogchen teachings. Capriles discussion of the philosophy of Je Tsongkhapa is discussed more in depth and fine-tuned in his Introduction and Notes to Chöphel (2005).
- Beyond Mind, Beyond Being, Beyond History: A Dzogchen Based Meta-Transpersonal Philosophy and Psychology. 3 Volumes: Vol. I: Beyond Being: A Metaphenomenological Elucidation of the Most Basic and General of Phenomena. Vol. II: Beyond Mind: A Metaphenomenological, Metaexistential Philosophy of Awareness and Mind and a Meta-Transpersonal Psychology. Vol. III: Beyond History: A Degenerative Philosophy of History Leading to a Genuine Postmodernity.
In Vol. I of this book, Capriles shows that Dzogchen concepts would be distorted if rendered with the terminology of Martin Heidegger and other Western philosophers. The former express a view of reality resulting from Awakening, whereas the latter reflect with greater or lesser precision the structures of samsaric experience (Heidegger, in particular, makes a phenomenological description of the ontological structures of samsara that are the pivot of delusion, without recognizing them to be delusive). Capriles contrasts what Heidegger called Being (das Sein) with what the Dzogchen teachings call the Base (gzhi), showing that the former is the most general of concepts, the delusory valuation-absolutization of which gives rise to samsara (in Heidegger, 1987, the author notes that when we hear or read the word “being,” immediately we conceive something, for the term has its “force of naming”), whereas the latter is the utterly nonconceptual nature of both samsara and nirvana, which in samsara is hidden by the delusory valuation-absolutization of concepts, and which in nirvana unveils as all thoughts self-liberate. Finally, in the last chapter of this book, Capriles modifies the concepts Sartre used in Being and Nothingness (and in particular those of the Self, of being-for-Self and of being-in-itself) in such a way that what he called the Self may correspond to what the Dzogchen teachings call Dzogchen (qua Base, qua Path and qua Fruit), and attempts a metaontological, metaphenomenological and metaexistential hermeneutical description, which may agree with the Dzogchen teachings, of the ontological structures of samsara and of the surpassing of being and of all modes of being and ontological structures in nirvana, as well as of the way in which samsara and nirvana manifest in the Base that is the true condition of the phenomena of samsara and the metaphenomena of nirvana—and, to the extent to which this is possible, of the nature of the Base.
In Vol. II of this book, Capriles sets out what he calls a metaexistential philosophy and psychology, which views the anguish and distress that existential philosophy and psychology views as more authentic than their avoidance by means of self-deceit, yet views them as instances of the basic human delusion that must be liberated: one must meet these states, not to become stuck in them, but in order to liberate them by means of a practice such as that of Dzogchen—which he explains in terms of the structure of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The author discusses various systems of Western psychology, including Freudian psychoanalysis, British psychoanalysis, Jungian psychology, existential psychoanalysis, antipsychiatry (lato sensu), the Palo Alto group, humanistic psychology and transpersonal psychology. Concerning the latter, Capriles notes that many transpersonal psychologists take transpersonal realms to be an aim in themselves, wrongly identifying as sanity either transpersonal holotropic experience or the subsequent dualistic hylotropic states that are supposedly influenced by the former, and by contrast posits a metatranspersonal system that distinguishes between samsaric transpersonal experiences (such as those that in Buddhism pertain to the arupyadhatu, making up the four arupa loka), transpersonal experiences pertaining neither to samsara nor to nirvana (the kun-gzhi khams of the Dzogchen teachings), and nirvana, in which the conceptually-tainted experiences of all realms (including transpersonal ones) self-liberate like drawings on water. All hierarchies and holoarchies of psychological states and levels of being produced so far by transpersonal and/or integral psychologists, list states and levels located within samsara (though some of them may also include the state where neither samsara nor nirvana are functioning). Nirvana is not a state or level in a hierarchy or holoarchy; its essence is not expressed by any of the states or levels listed in existing hierarchies or holoarchies, and it is not achieved by climbing through the latter (but, rather, through a process of descent in which one faces the more conflictive states that Existential philosophers consider authentic, and then goes beyond existence and nonexistence by means of the self-liberation of these states). Capriles focuses mainly on Ken Wilber’s so-called integral philosophy and psychology and on Stan Grof’s transpersonal psychology, which from the standpoint of Dzogchen are equally off the mark: both Wilber and Grof mistakenly posit states of the higher samsaric realms and/or the neutral condition of the base-of-all as nirvana. Concerning the current debate featuring Washburn and Grof, on the one side, and Wilber, on the other, and which Wilber has characterized in terms of what he called the “pre/trans fallacy” (1993b) and the “ascender/descender debate” (1995), both sides seem to be equally off the mark. Grof (1985, 2000) and Washburn (1995) assert early, prenatal life experiences to be legitimate sources of transpersonal experience corresponding to deeper consciousness, while Wilber objects that Grof and Washburn are confusing early, prepersonal life experiences with the transpersonal experiences that in his (wrong) view correspond to spiritual realization. Capriles has objected to the characterization of the process of Awakening as a progressive climbing through levels in a hierarchy or holoarchy, for such climbing would be a movement away from authenticity like the one Laing represented in terms of a “spiral of pretences” (as exemplified by the ascent through the various realms of samsara toward the “peak of experience,” and possibly beyond, into the meditative absorption of the base-of-all in which neither samsara nor nirvana are active). Insofar as Capriles has characterized the Path as an undoing of the pretences of Laing’s spiral to be achieved by seeing through the illusory divisions established in the process of socialization and through all that is conditioned, he could be seen as siding with Washburn and Grof and asserting that the true Path is a descending one, which consists in the uncovering of the Base. However, just as the true Path cannot be explained as a process of ascent, it cannot be explained as a process of descent and reduced to the undoing of the illusory divisions and wayward habits resulting from the process of socialization: in the best of cases, this undoing would allow us to revive the more wholesome states we experienced as children before these illusory divisions and wayward habits were established, or to revive intrauterine states, or the states that manifested in the bardo between death and rebirth (or perhaps even states experienced in “previous lives”), but by no means could it lead to the manifestation of rigpa qua Path and/or rigpa qua Fruit, for in ordinary, unenlightened individuals these do not manifest during infancy, nor in intrauterine life, nor in the bardo, nor in “previous lives.” Thus (1) Wilber would be wrong in positing a “higher self” and a process of gradual climbing to it that results in Awakening, for the process of Awakening consists in the repeated unconcealment of the Self-qua-Base that is both the foundation and the prima materia of all conditioned constructions that in samsara conceal that very Self-qua-Base, rather than consisting in climbing—which is something that can only take place in samsara and that leads to higher samsaric realms—toward a hypothetic “higher self.” Furthermore, Wilber’s description of the successive levels or fulcra would be definitely mistaken, at least in what regards the higher forms of Buddhism, and he would be wrong in positing Awakening as a dualistic experience that is supposed to have been impregnated by the “single taste” of the true condition of reality, even though the true condition in question never unconcealed itself (for according to Wilber the subject-object duality that is the second veil concealing it never disappears). (2) In their turn, Grof and Washburn would be mistaken if they actually believed the aim of genuine spiritual Paths to be the mere undoing of the constructions established in the process of ontogenetic evolution in order to discover a “deeper self.” However, when Wilber objects that Washburn (1995) and Grof (1985, 2000) confuse early, prepersonal life experiences with “transpersonal experiences,” he is ignoring that the prepersonal experiences of early and prenatal life relived in regressive processes are practically indistinguishable from many of the non-nirvanic transpersonal experiences that he fails to recognize as such and takes to be instances of realization. And yet Grof and Washburn fail to admit that liberation cannot ensue from merely going back to deeper consciousness or to a “deeper self,” or from obtaining transpersonal holotropic experiences which then would influence hylotropic experience: they share the error, common to a great deal of transpersonal psychologists and Ken Wilber (especially in his early works), of overvaluing transpersonal experiences. Grof further incurs in the error of ascribing to holotropic consciousness in general a failure to manage reality effectively, and reducing superior sanity / true mental health to the mitigation of our inveterate experience of the phenomena of the hylotropic condition as involving self-being and as extremely serious and important, and the emergence of a feeling of apparitionality, playfulness and lack of a compulsion to control experience—which in his opinion results from the long term influence of holotropic states on hylotropic consciousness (1985, Goals and Results of Psychotherapy, in ch. 7). In fact, Awakening, which alone is truly liberating, is not a relative, dualistic condition that has become lighter due to the a posteriori influence of holotropic states in which we were unable to manage reality (as occurs to some people in psychedelic experiences), but an absolute condition utterly free from the relativity of subject and object and of all concepts, and in which reality is managed far more consummately than in the relative, deluded conditions of samsara. The basic error Wilber, Grof, Washburn and most transpersonal and “integral” psychologists share is, as shown above, that they fail to make the key distinction between: (1) nirvana, in which liberation and true harmony lie; (2) the neutral base-of-all or kunzhi lungmaten in which neither nirvana nor samsara are active, which is but an oasis on the Path that will become a jail if taken for the final destination; and (3) higher samsaric experiences such as those of the formless sphere, the sphere of form and the higher regions of the sphere of sensuality, which are but more pleasant instances of delusion that will sooner or later give way to more unpleasant instances of delusion. According to Capriles, what is called Basic Perinatal Matrices (BPMs) are stages, not only of the process of birth, but principally of a far more encompassing “human constant” that manifests in the different instances of the bardo between death and rebirth, among which the following are worth mentioning: the stage between clinical death and the birth of a new human being; the stage between psychological death and rebirth into a more balanced ego (discussed in Bateson, 1961; Laing, 1967 and Bateson, 1972, among other texts); and the unfolding of practices such as those of thod-rgal and the yang-thig of the Dzogchen man-ngag-sde or Upadeshavarga, which result in ontological death (not involving physiological death) and an ensuing uninterrupted condition of total plenitude and perfection (rdzogs-chen). Therefore, confinement within any BPM is pathological or, at least, not truly liberating. Going through the whole process involving the series of BPMs while the body is clinically alive may result in a more balanced ego. However, it is going through the process in the framework of a traditional wisdom tradition (for example, in the practices of thod-rgal and the yang-thig) that may burn out the seeds of samsara, so that the individual may become established in inherently self-liberating nirvana.* To conclude, it must be noted that among transpersonal psychologists who have taken LSD and similar substances, many have taken for the initial manifestation of Awakening or nirvana what in fact is the neutral state of the “base-of-all carrying propensities” (in which, as we have seen, neither samsara nor nirvana are active), or delusive, samsaric states such as the formless absorptions which result from the subsequent grasping at the base-of-all and which are the higher regions of samsara. This seems to have happened to Alan Watts as well, for in the nineteen sixties (Watts, Alan W., 1962) he wrote that the ingestion of LSD could allow people to experience Awakening—and, furthermore, rather than describing Awakening, he reported a series of experiences that seemed to include the base-of-all carrying propensities, the subsequent grasping at the base-of-all, and the ensuing samsaric formless realms.
Finally, in vol. III Capriles updates and fine-tunes the philosophy of history and the political theory of the revolution on which human survival depends that he developed in Individuo, sociedad, ecosistema, adding to it an in-depth criticism of the thought that calls itself “postmodern,” and in particular of those developed by Jacques Derrida and Gianni Vattimo.
As soon as the three books in five volumes discussed above are completed, and he prepares a second, revised edition of Individuo, sociedad, ecosistema, Capriles will prepare Parts II and III of Buddhism and Dzogchen:
In Part II, the author explains the Dzogchen conception of the Base, Path, and Fruit and the subdivisions of these three, examines the basic teachings and practices of the three series of Dzogchen teachings (the sems-sde, the klong-sde and the man-ngag-sde or Upadeshavarga), and goes into a lengthy discussion of the two levels of practice of the man-ngag-sde or Upadeshavarga, explaining the functional principles behind each of these levels but not providing instructions for their practice (as these are not to be broadcasted in public books: in Capriles, 1989, which is a restricted access book in English, he gives instructions for the practice of the man-ngag-sde or Upadeshavarga, with the emphasis on the practice of khregs-chod), and discussing their respective Fruits.
Finally, in Part III the author discusses the dynamics of the mandala, yantra yoga, the consumption of meat and alcohol, the guardians and related practices, the practice of gcod and the “cycle of day and night.” In particular, the discussion of gcod emphasizes the way in which all Buddhist vehicles converge in this practice, and how it is a means to catalyze the self-liberation that is the trademark of Dzogchen.
In 2010 he completed the book Alienación, crisis ecológica y regeneración (Alienation, Ecological Crisis and Regeneration), for which he is presently seeking publishers.
Then, he will prepare the book Greek Philosophy and the East, in which most of the classical Greek philosophers and their systems are presented as elaborations based on the principles of two mutually antagonistic spiritual traditions: the nondualistic Dionysian tradition, which is directly connected with Shaivism and the rest of the traditions having their hub in Mount Kailash, and the dualistic Orphic tradition. With the passing of time, hybrid philosophies also arise, and since very early time, it is possible that some philosophers, rather than being influenced by one of these mystical traditions, were simply responding to scientific interests.
Nearly ready book in progress: Distinguishing Levels of Meaning in the Santi Maha Sangha Base Training (Or “Making One’s Treasure Chest of Drawers for Organizing the Teachings of SMS Base Level”): A Commentary on Chögyal Namkhai Norbu’s The Precious Vase.
Books by Elías Capriles in print (some in English and some in Spanish)
- Capriles, E. (1976). The Direct Path. Katmandu (Nepal): Mudra Publishing.
- Capriles, E. (1985). Introducción a la teoría y práctica del budismo tántrico. Caracas: Centro Dzogchén.
- Capriles, E. (1986a). Cremation Grounds/Campos Crematorios. Caracas: Centro Dzogchén.
- Capriles, E. (1986b). Qué somos y adónde vamos. Sobre la crisis mundial y la problemática individual. Ontología, filosofía de la historia, ecología, física, psicología... Caracas: Unidad de Extensión de la Facultad de Humanidades y Educación de la Universidad Central de Venezuela.
- Capriles, E. (1989). The Source of Danger is Fear: Paradoxes of the Realm of Delusion and Instructions for the Practice of the rDzogs-chen Upadesha. Mérida, Venezuela: Editorial Reflejos.
- Capriles, E. (1994). Individuo, sociedad, ecosistema: Ensayos sobre filosofía, política y mística.Mérida (Venezuela): Consejo de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Los Andes. 1 2 3 4 5
- Capriles, E. (2000a). Budismo y dzogchén. La doctrina del Buda y el vehículo supremo del budismo tibetano. Vitoria (España): Ediciones La Llave. 1 2 3 4 5
- Capriles, E. (2000b). Estética Primordial y Arte Visionario: Un enfoque cíclico-evolutivo comparado. Mérida, Venezuela: Publicaciones del Grupo de Investigación en Estudios de Asia y África (GIEAA)/CDCHT-ULA.
- Capriles, E. (2013a). The Beyond Mind Papers: Transpersonal and Metatranspersonal Theory. A critique of the systems of Wilber, Washburn and Grof and An Outline of the Dzogchen Path to Definitive True Sanity. Volume 1: Introduction: Essential Concepts and Summary of Transpersonal and Metatranspersonal Theory (ISBN 1-57733-269-5 / 978-1-57733-269-5 / e : 978-1-57733-444-6). Nevada City, CA, EE.UU.: Blue Dolphin Publishing. 2013
- Capriles, E. (2013b). The Beyond Mind Papers: Transpersonal and Metatranspersonal Theory. A critique of the systems of Wilber, Washburn and Grof and An Outline of the Dzogchen Path to Definitive True Sanity. Volume II: Steps to a Metatranspersonal Philosophy and Psychology: A Critique of the Systems of Wilber, Washburn and Grof, and an Outline of the Dzogchen Path to Definitive True Sanity (ISBN 1-57733-272-5 / 978-1-57733-272-5 e: 978-1-57733-452-1). Nevada City, CA, EE.UU.: Blue Dolphin Publishing. 2013
- Capriles, E. (2013c). The Beyond Mind Papers: Transpersonal and Metatranspersonal Theory. A critique of the systems of Wilber, Washburn and Grof and An Outline of the Dzogchen Path to Definitive True Sanity. Volume III: Further Steps to a Metatranspersonal Philosophy and Psychology: An Evaluation of Ken Wilber’s System and of the Ascender/Descender Debate (ISBN 1-57733-273-3 / 978-1-57733-273-2 / e: 978-1-57733-453-8). Nevada City, CA, EE.UU.: Blue Dolphin Publishing.
- Capriles, E. (2013d). The Beyond Mind Papers: Transpersonal and Metatranspersonal Theory. A critique of the systems of Wilber, Washburn and Grof and An Outline of the Dzogchen Path to Definitive True Sanity. Volume IV: Further Steps to a Metatranspersonal Philosophy and Psychology: An Assessment of the Transpersonal Paradigms of Grof and Washburn [and Appendices I, II, and III] (ISBN 1-57733-274-1 / 978-1-57733-274-9 / e: 978-1-57733-454-5). Nevada City, CA, EE.UU.: Blue Dolphin Publishing. 2013
e-Books in English by Elías Capriles
- Capriles, E (2003). Buddhism and Dzogchen: Vol. I; Buddhism: A Dzogchen Outlook. Moscú: Dzogchen.ru; more advanced version: Mérida, Venezuela: website of the University of The Andes.
- Capriles, E (2004). Clear Discrimination of Views Pointing at the Definitive Meaning: The Four Philosophical Schools of the Sutrayana Traditionally Taught in Tibet (With Reference to the Dzogchen Teachings). Mérida, Venezuela: website of the University of The Andes.
- Capriles, E., (2007). Beyond Being, Beyond Mind, Beyond History: Dzogchen, Western Philosophy and Transpersonal Psychology (3 vols.). Volume I: Beyond Being: A Metaphenomenological Elucidation of the Phenomenon of Being, The Being of the Subject and the Being of Objects. Volume II: Beyond Mind: A Metaphenomenological, Metaexistential Philosophy, and a Metatranspersonal Metapsychology. Volume III: Beyond History: A Degenerative Philosophy of History Leading to a Genuine Postmodernity. Mérida, Venezuela: website of the University of The Andes.
Books in Progress by Elías Capriles (in English)
- Capriles, E., (in progress 1). Buddhism and Dzogchen: Volume Two: Dzogchen: A Buddhist Outlook.
- Capriles, E., (in progress 2). Buddhism and Dzogchen: Volume Three: Principle and Practices in Treading the Path.
- Capriles, E., (in progress 3). Greek Philosophy and the East.
Books Edited, and with Preliminary Study and Notes, by Elías Capriles (in English)
- Chöphel, Gendün (translation into English, Pema Wangjié & Jean Mulligan; edited and with a preliminary study by Elías Capriles; 2005). Clarifying the Core of Madhyamaka: Ornament of the Thought of Nagarjuna. Arcidosso, GR, Italy: Shang Shung Edizioni.
Books Edited by Elías Capriles (in Spanish)
- Capriles, Elías & Hernán Lucena, Eds. (1999a). Estudios de África y Asia. Mérida, Venezuela: Ediciones GIEAA y CDCHT de la Universidad de Los Andes.
- Capriles, Elías & Hernán Lucena, Eds. (1999b). India: De su contribución universal a los pensadores de la independencia. Mérida, Venezuela: Ediciones GIEAA y CDCHT de la Universidad de Los Andes.
- Capriles, Elías & Hernán Lucena, Eds. (2005). Globalización y cultura: Crisis económica, dependencia e identidades. Mérida, Venezuela: Fundación África-Asia de Venezuela / DIGECEX-ULA.
* Stanislav Grof divides human experience into four realms, the “highest” of which is the one he calls “transpersonal,” which according to his definition comprehends all possible types of experience of union with the universe, of divine archetypes, of “previous reincarnations” and so on, no matter how delusory such experiences may be. Furthermore, Grof has stated that psychotherapy has its optimum result when it culminates in experiences of the thus defined transpersonal realm. Therefore he incurs in the indetermination that characterizes most thinkers in the field of transpersonal psychology, and, moreover, falls within the bounds of the shamanic as defined in Harner, Michael J., Spanish 1973, insofar as he takes the experiences of altered states of consciousness that he classifies under the label “transpersonal” as constituting sanity, and views the states of non-transpersonal, ordinary, everyday experience as belonging to a realm that somehow psychotherapy must help the individual transcend. (According to Harner, South American shamans, and in general shamans throughout the world, take for the true reality the one they gain access to through shamanic means—which is different from ordinary, everyday reality and which most people would characterize as “supernatural,” but which, in terms of the Dzogchen teachings, is as delusive as ordinary, everyday reality insofar as it is also produced by the delusory valuation and absolutization of thought—and think ordinary, everyday experience is false or illusory in regard to it. To believe in the supposed absolute truth of another reality would give rise to a new type of bondage.)
In regard to Grof’s “descending,” somehow regressive approach, it must be noted that even carrying regression beyond perinatal states and into the bardo is not truly liberating insofar as, if rigpa is not reGnized upon the shining forth of the clear light in the chikhai bardo [’chi kha’i bar do] or bardo of the moment of death, the experience of the clear light will correspond to the condition of the base-of-all in which neither samsara nor nirvana are active, which some Dzogchen texts call rigpa qua Base, and which involves basic unawareness [avidya or marigpa in the first of the senses established by the Dzogchen teachings: the obscuration, by a contingent, beclouding element of stupefaction, of the nondual Awake self-awareness that the teachings of Dzogchen Ati call rigpa, so that the latter cannot make patent its own face in the manifestation of rigpa-qua-Path or rigpa-qua-Fruit]; therefore, only if rigpa had been reGnized when the clear light shone forth at the moment of death, or in subsequent stages of the bardo [or in “previous lives,” for that matter], could rigpa qua Path theoretically be found by retroceding and undoing [however, even in such a case the reGnition of rigpa would be a wholly new event requiring the application of specific instruction in the present]. Therefore, by these means one cannot achieve nirvana; at best one could experience the neutral condition of the base-of-all in which neither samsara nor nirvana are active [which in the experiences that Grof referred to as BPM 1 often alternates with the grasping at the base-of-all that gives rise to formless samsaric experiences]: this way one does not obtain the Fruit of Awakening. Therefore, if the Path may be described as a process of undoing and descending, this is so only in part, for it must be clear that the Fruit does not lie in recovering the greater wholeness characteristic of early infancy, of some intrauterine experience, or of some bardo experience, but in the reGnition [of] rigpa, which is a wholly new occurrence. Therefore, strictly speaking the true Path cannot be properly understood either in terms of the interpretation developed by Wilber, or in terms of those developed by Grof and Washburn.)