Free Daist Communion

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Free Daist Communion

An Advaita Vedanta (Hindu) religious community founded and headed by Avadhoota Da Love-Ananda (born Franklin Jones). It was previously known as the Dawn Horse fellowship and the Johannine Daist Communion. A religious seeker, in 1960 Jones began to study with Swami Rudrananda (1928-73), an American-born disciple of Indian spiritual teacher Swami Muktananda (1908-82). Rudrananda guided him to a Lutheran seminary. Then in 1968 he went to India to visit Muktananda's ashram. While there he had a deep experience that led two years later to his entering what he called a permanent state of "Sahaj Samadhi" (trance). It is believed by his followers that he had surrendered that condition at the time of his entering this present incarnation at birth, and that his lifetime of seeking was an attempt to recover it while still in the embodied condition.

Jones began to teach small groups of students shortly after the 1970 experience. Then in 1973 he made a pilgrimage to India, during which journey he changed his name to Bubba Free John, understanding "Bubba" to be a familial way of denoting "brother." Later in the 1970s he became one of the most well known of the new spiritual teachers (gurus) to emerge in America. He was distinctive for his confrontational style of teaching, especially for placing his students in stressful conditions to enhance their learning. All his lessons were meant to show the futility of the search for meaning in sexuality, material possessions, and various psychic and spiritual experiences.

The teachings were leading toward a form of Advaita Vedanta that he called "the way of radial understanding." At the heart of Vedanta is denial of the illusion of the separateness of our individual selves from the "all-comprehensive divine reality." We aware of this illusion but live in a somewhat forgetful state. Our realization of our true state tends to occur in stages.

In his attempt to bring his students through the various stages of enlightenment Bubba Free John has on several occasions changed his name, indicating a new phase of his work. In 1979 he withdrew from public work and became known as Da Free John, "Da" being understood as "giver." In the mid-1980s he took his present name, more informally known as Heart Master Da Love-Ananda.

In 1991 there were approximately twelve hundred members of the Free Daist Community, the majority in North America. Heart Master Da Love-Ananda resides at the group's retreat center in the Fiji Islands. Last known address: 750 Adrian Way, San Rafael, CA 94903.

Sources:

Bubba Free John [Franklin Jones]. No Remedy. Lower Lake, Calif.: Dawn Horse Press, 1976.

Da Free John [Franklin Jones]. The Dawn Horse Testament. San Rafael, Calif.: Dawn Horse Press, 1985.

Da Love-Ananda. The Holy Jumping Off Place. San Rafael, Calif.: Dawn Horse Press, 1986.

Jones, Franklin. The Method of the Siddhas. Los Angeles: Dawn Horse Press, 1973.