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katersy



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PostSubject: kensho experiences   Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:55 pm

Hi there

Not sure if this is the right place to post this, so please feel free to move it if necessary, moderators.

There seems to be a lot of emphasis on kenshos in the OBC, particularly those of the founder... RMJK's first kensho, RMJK's second kensho, RMJK's third kensho...

Surely this kind of spiritual experience, whilst illuminating, is not really the goal of this practice.. isn't the goal of this practice (or indeed any spiritual practice, or indeed life itself) to come to terms with oneself and one's life and death and to become a more compassionate person? If I had to choose between having a kensho but not really being any happier or kinder, or having no kind of special spiritual experience but being/becoming a wiser and more loving person, I know which I'd choose.

No offense to anyone but I don't really care much about RMJK's kenshos, or anybody else's for that matter, unless they aid a person in becoming better at being human, loving more, and helping others to do the same.

So what do you think? Are kenshos really that important? To what extent do they hinder or help practice?

Katy
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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:04 pm

Golly. I have to come out of hiding briefly just to say hoorah hoorah hoorah!!! Thank you Katy! for putting that out here. Did a breath of fresh air just waft through?
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:12 pm

:-) Hi Katy

Kenshos are often thought of as illuminations but, as the OBC uses the term (equating them with certain stages of awakening), it includes uprooting illusoryself-grasping at a deep level of mind and energy, which is not just a cognitive matter. Something really shifts at a deep level; yes, they do "aid a person in becoming better at being human, loving more". As to whether one can help others to do the same, that partly depends on ones own skills, partly on the other person, and partly on other conditions.

They do not hinder practice but are outcomes of it, though a person might also have tendencies that do hinder practice.
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jack



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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:11 pm

katersy wrote:


No offense to anyone but I don't really care much about RMJK's kenshos, or anybody else's for that matter, unless they aid a person in becoming better at being human, loving more, and helping others to do the same.

So what do you think? Are kenshos really that important? To what extent do they hinder or help practice?

Spot on observation. I think the kensho thing in Western Zen has been really overemphasized as sort of super trip -- an achievement -- a special blessing that grants one comprehensive wisdom and insight. What is interesting in many of the Zen masters I read, kensho is deprecated and discounted as being that important. What matters is seeing, sitting, and practicing.

Zen has a fixation of sorts on "avoiding the opposites, avoiding discursive thinking." Some of that is inherited from Taoism. Other Buddhist traditions just acknowledge that at the most complete awareness you are really beyond words and concepts, which while amazingly useful are not reality.

Tibetan Buddhism, Pure Land Buddhism, and the record in the Pali Canon aren't fixated on the evil of the "opposites" at all. The Buddha did teach differenecs between virtuous and harmful living. The sutras are very much geared toward a reasoning, understanding mind. Many of the meditative exercises do have objects of meditation, whether it be the breath, detailed awareness, the lack of a self, the transitory nature of existence, the skandhas, the body constituents, etc. When pushed to talk at the ultimate level, his teaching did reflect an avoidance of the saying what nirvana was/was not and what life was/was not, but his recorded teaching is really not focused on a magical solution to life's problems if you can just avoid the opposites; this notion, however, excites many Westerners about Zen such that they actively seek and pursue a kensho experience.

Kindness, the ability to behave in a wholesome rather than harmful manner, freedom from the taints of greed, hate, and anger -- these things he did teach over and over again in many, many different ways. For me, the convincing things I've found in Buddhism are freedom and the ability to change myself and my life in constructive, wholesome ways.
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:28 pm

Recommend you read Stuart Lach's commentaries -- that I recently posted elsewhere on this site. Some brilliant observations regarding kensho, transmission, experiences, attainment and so on.

I think there is much confusion about even what "kensho" means in the OBC, let alone its assumed value. Experiences may come and go. In the Tibetan tradition, there is a strong emphasis NOT to focus on any experience whatsoever. It is considered incredibly inappropriate to talk about one's experiences except with one's teacher and most Tibetan lamas that I have studied with would not be impressed by all kinds of meditation experiences - but focus on present wakefulness and the endless Buddha Way that includes the liberation of all beings.

In my opinion, Kennett's lotus accounts have deeply confused this organization and has made her devotees fixate on what i would consider irrelevant or even harmful mental states, clinging, and fabricated experiences of little value.

In my humble opinion.......

Beyond all experiences, who are you right now without your story?

Who are you without any story of enlightenment, attainment, progress?
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Jimyo

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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:10 pm

RMJK always agreed that kenshos weren't important. At least, that was my experience, and how I remember things. It seems to be people on these forums who are making a big deal about them.
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katersy



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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:26 pm

I guess kenshos are neither here nor there... if you have one and it inspires you to continue practice, that's good.

But if they become like a kind of spiritual orgasm and you become more interested in the orgasms than in your relationship...

Anyway, I've never had one (a kensho, that is) so I probably don't know what I'm talking about.

I once read something that Martine Batchelor said that has stuck in my mind. To paraphrase: If your practice is making you happier, kinder and keeping alive the question, it's a good practice.

Katy
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Jimyo

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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:04 pm

As I've written elsewhere on these forums, I was told I'd had a kensho, but I didn't know anything had 'happened'. Over the next few weeks/months, I realised things had changed with me, but nothing ever happened as such that I could put my finger on. Other people tried to make a big deal about it, and I found it very strange and faintly embarrassing. I don't know if this is typical or not, but I suspect it is.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:19 pm

katersy wrote:
So what do you think? Are kenshos really that important? To what extent do they hinder or help practice?

Katy

RMJK used to say "great doubt great enlightment" (which Wikipedia attributes to Hakuin). What I understood this to mean is people have different experiences based on the need they bring. If someone has a great need to have their Buddha Nature confirmed the universe responds by giving them a more obvious "sign" than perhaps someone in less dire straits. Looked at this way no generalizations can be made about the importance of kensho. It is completely personal and specific. In whatever way necessary the Buddha lets each person know they are worthy so they can get on and live their lives in peace.
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mokuan



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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:42 pm

Jimyo wrote:
RMJK always agreed that kenshos weren't important. At least, that was my experience, and how I remember things. It seems to be people on these forums who are making a big deal about them.

Although, on one hand kenshos at the Abbey were stated to be a moment in time and soon a memory, from what I remember, it seemed kenshos were made to be a big deal. For a senior monk, suddenly their ranking changed, their place in seniority was bumped up, they now had a tassel and greater deference was paid to them, and Rev. Master usually made an announcement to the community that this person had done this thing -- turned the wheel, is what I think she said.

Also, all the windows in the zendo were faux stained glass images taken from How To Grow a Lotus Blossom. Perhaps, I was just ignorant, but it appeared to me those things seemed to subtly influence people to strive for kensho. A kensho became a big deal.

And really, I wished kenshos were a big deal. I wished they made all the difference, because then RMJK's amazing experiences would have alleviated her suffering -- childhood suffering, her Japan suffering, perceived betrayal from her dharma heirs --and then this forum would be stories of milk and honey.


Last edited by mokuan on Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:47 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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Jimyo

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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:21 pm

Good points, mokuan; you are right. And yes, I too wished they were a big deal - how come I'd had one and everything wasn't suddenly a bed of roses? However, you can't prevent people striving for something; that's caused by their own delusions. And maybe, just maybe, it was a good thing - carrots and sticks and all that. I'd probably have left years earlier if I hadn't wanted this illusory mythical kensho...which turned out to be not at all what I expected, but by then it didn't matter.
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Diana



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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:16 am

Geez, here we go.

I hope I'm not the "somebody" somebody is referring to. This is so typical. Okay, here's my 2 cents:

1st position: to say that kensho "doesn't mean anything" vs. 2nd position: to say that it "does mean something." All this is irrelevant. When I talk about this or that with an experience I've had, I am just naming the experience. I have absolutely nothing to gain from this except work through my own stuff. I'm not a Buddhist and am not seeking anything at all.

The problem I have is with all the mixed messages that the OBC has on the subject. For me, I needed serious help and didn't get it and the reason why was the stigma or repression of the topic. Anything repressed will eventually come out. Kensho was held in its own magical special realm that was so cool that "it must not be named." It was for monks only and lay people were always bewildered and fascinated by it. This is like having kids search the house for Xmas presents when the parents aren't home. The kids want to know where the goodies are hiding, at all times. The only thing that happens when there are secrets is that it creates an environment where people become fixated on learning those secrets. I say, "why not let it all hang out there?" If the topic became part of the everyday discussion of Zen as the OBC teaches it, then the fascination would be gone.

I would have LOVED to hear an actual person give a talk on what their experience was. That's the truth, as far as I'm concerned. The fact that all such experiences were repressed just perpetuated ignorance and nobody learned anything from it. If I had to go to the Abbott to find out and he didn't know, even though HE had one, what does that say? Maybe all of this wouldn't have gotten so outta control if people's experiences weren't kept so secret.

Look at the whole Lotus Blossom thing. If Jiyu would have published that and given it to people in Japan and in the US and England and was open to feedback, maybe she would have had to work through her stuff or be held accountable to what she was saying. Maybe she would have found that she needed further teaching or a new teacher. As long as kensho and mystical expereinces, etc... are kept as secrets, they can cause confusion and do harm.

I would say that this would be a good place to explore the whole kensho thing, but I really don't think it is, and so I guess I'm part of the problem. For me though, it is impossible to separate out my experiences from what I say here on the forum because in a sense, it's what got me into trouble in the first place. It was a harsh time for me- both the most important time in my life, and also the absolute worse time in my life to be manipulated.

I don't know if this will help at all. I can't say rather kenshos are important or not. At the same time, I REALLY wish people knew enough about them to talk about them and I wish the consequences and risks of meditation practice were taught to everyone learning to sit. I remember the cryptic message from RMJK: "be careful, you might get grabbed by the Cosmic Buddha." Well, what does THAT mean? I wish I was told exactly what that meant before my [banned term] hit the cushion. When I asked what happened to me I was told I got grabbed. It would have been good to have had help with that, it would have been good to be prepared for it in some way. If I knew what was coming, I'm not so sure I would have ever sat. Or if if I did know it was coming, I would have at least found a teacher or sangha who could have helped me out a bit. You gotta have friends.

?????

Diana
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:35 am

ooohhhhhh ... KENSHO ! So special & so not.

One way of explaining kensho is to imagine that everyone lives inside their own world.
This world can be called the ego or it can be described as an enclosure of our own conditioning.
Kensho is just the experience of existence beyond our ego or this enclosure.

Those with big egos or a very tight enclosure experience this awakening more dramatically than those with a small ego or a loose enclosure.

I have never met anyone who experienced it while they were deliberately intending to do so.

I don't believe that anyone can exist and not experience Kensho.

The experience can last seconds, decades or return at any time.

It's arrival & departure is completely dependant on the letting go of our Ego or our enclosure... or not.

It is special for the reality it illuminates and common for being everyones natural inheritance.

My wife just said that I must be still waiting for mine so my finishing observation is that probably only men can see them.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:19 am

Diane said,( I wished the consequences and risks of meditation were taught
to everyone learning to sit.)

Yes I would agree with you on that. It pains me to see new people comming to sit.
Do they really understand what subconcious forces they could be opening up to, I doubt it.Most people think meditation practice will cure their problems and bring peace
into their lives, not realising that that peace could have a very high price, almost costing them their lives.
For me within a year or two after I started practice I started to slide into a very dark place, followed by mental collapse.Soon my pshyical health went with it, and I have not worked since.It took almost twenty years of practice to arrive at some form of mental stability.Would I have taken it on had I known, cant answear that ,but that small voice inside was telling me, this cannot be allowed to continue. I do wonder if there are better ways of allowing the pain of our history and past actions to arise other than sitting, and often think that the martial arts do offer something in that area.
But what happened to me has allowed me to feel more deeply for others, and to learn how to truly love.
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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:44 am

Howard wrote:
My wife just said that I must be still waiting for mine so my finishing observation is that probably only men can see them.

Cheers

lol Howard Smile

Wanting a kensho is what brought me to sit, so I can't fault the wish. But when I wanted one my teachers pointed away, and when I look away they point to it.

Typical
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jack



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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:06 am

john wrote:
Diane said,( I wished the consequences and risks of meditation were taught
to everyone learning to sit.)

Yes I would agree with you on that. It pains me to see new people comming to sit.
Do they really understand what subconcious forces they could be opening up to, I doubt it.Most people think meditation practice will cure their problems and bring peace
into their lives, not realising that that peace could have a very high price, almost costing them their lives..

Your posts seems very congruent with a statement by Jung that the "journey to selfhood" is often a very unpleasant one, fraught with real danger and risk. In Jung's view it was not a journey to make unless there were some compelling reason to do so.
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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:21 pm

john wrote:
... I do wonder if there are better ways of allowing the pain of our history and past actions to arise other than sitting, and often think that the martial arts do offer something in that area. ...

John, I think you may be right -- I can't speak to martial arts specifically, but I have more than once rescued myself through a good strong physical exertion of some kind, like running, when distress or despair seemed to want to overtake me for no clear reason. In that frame of mind zazen doesn't help, it seems to open up more avenues of anxiety. I'm better off to let my body do something active that involves a lot of movement and speed, and my mind takes a rest and goes along for the ride. I'm not saying this very well, it's hard to get at what I mean precisely. But it seems to work for me, and once I've calmed down and feel like sitting again, I do that, and life goes on. It's fair to say that I don't, and never have, made sitting meditation the core of my practice.
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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:41 am

Ithink you express it very well Lise, there is something good in the release of physical activity, probably endorfins or something. The distress dispair anxiety you experience, is what I call the opening up to inner subconcious forces.Some see it as an emotional malstrom or storm, but what ever the view it needs to run its course till the next time, and I think your running is excelent, and as you say sit when you can.
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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:10 pm

I hesitate to enter into this discussion of kensho experiences, having never had one and having formerly been only a lay person and not a monk. (Yes, that's said with a bit of irony as some people report that RMJK didn't believe lay people could have kenshos anyway.)

This forum shows that although some people have life-changing positive kenso experiences, other people descend into hell. I don't know if deep meditation invites demons and hungry ghosts (as Koshin seems to believe) or if it poses the risk of psychosis or mental breakdown in some people. In either case, it sounds like deep meditation runs the risk of what we used to call the worst "bad trip" imaginable.

But the OBC (and by this I mean the individuals AND the organization they allow to speak for them) should take seriously the responsibility for leading people into these dangerous waters. Any organization that teaches and practices meditation that can lead to kensho should keep careful watch over people who perhaps naively trust their teachers with their lives and their sanity.

Experiences like those nightmarish horrors reported by Diana and Amalia and others should be treated with enormous care, tenderness, and compassion. The OBC has not done that. Instead, it banishes the victims. The OBC should be ashamed of inviting people to play with fire, then refusing to send the fire department or worse yet, blocking the gate so the aid car can't reach the wounded.
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katersy



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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:54 pm

Yikes, all this stuff sounds scary. Not stuff that I hadn't already thought about before coming to this forum or the OBC though.

Compassion, compassion, compassion, care, gentleness with oneself...



I've just got back from an OBC lay weekend retreat in Northumberland. Not at Throssel but at a different retreat centre booked for the weekend with just OBC lay people. Very compassionate, caring, safe, open. I recommend that type of practice / community.
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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:25 pm

All that we've got, like it or not, is this moment. Big special experiences come and go sometimes. They can be real interesting, maybe even inspiring. We can choose, as we like, to focus on the memory of some special experience in the past, the hope for one in the future, even (worst of all) special experiences we imagine others have... or to pay attention to what we're doing right now.

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Ilo



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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:06 am

Maybe no one talks about their own experiences because it is not skillful to do so.

Driving back to Portland today from Eugene on I-5 north of Junction City, I looked out northeast and saw a really splendid cloud. Immediately on the perception of its beauty, something happened very swiftly and a state emerged or I merged into a state so overpoweringly strong I feared I was going to drive off the road! It was tremendous and wonderful and truly indescribable (though I am highly verbal) But the question would be would I undergo it again if I had the choice? Gladly! Was it a kensho? I'd be the last to know! One must keep practicing-no matter what, I was told.
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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:29 pm

Have only been reading sporadically for awhile, due to all my other commitments. I just came across this thread this morning--ironically--the morning after delivering a talk on prayer. I would describe the relationship that comes about through moment-to-moment meditation as one where the practitioner stands in complete open-ness to That Which Is. When I came to the monastery I remember 'wanting' something...kensho, 'oneness' with the Eternal...I don't 'what' except that there was that sense of inadequacy Rev. Master kept talking about. As a result of these ideas about some sort of religious experience, there was a of consciousness of myself in my practice. Some sort of stepping back into objectivity as I considered the meaning of the scriptures I was chanting or the doing of this or that. One day I remember distinctly (in the Kanzeon shrine) chanting the scriptures and just focusing on the enunciation of the words--no 'extra' thoughts at all about anything but the forming of the words. From that point, I brought this focus to other things, 'just sitting' in zazen, just doing whatever. In my objective mind, which doesn't go away, and is also an important aspect of ourselves, I understood that the return to this focus is not only what the tradition talks about in terms like 'just sitting' but is also how the wide blue sky opens. When a person is truly able to live non-objectively in a moment AND encounter another/something, truly, compassion and lovingkindness manifest.

The term 'kensho' can get in the way--the concept is certainly part of that objectifying mind--but for some people it may play a part in getting them to practice or continue their practice. Objective and subjective work together. Buber, for instance, talks of the 'I' of the person and the 'I' of the ego. I think if you try to push away the objective part of the brain, it is like pushing away thoughts--which are a natural part of how the brain as an organ functions--you run into trouble. But it is entirely possible to bring ourselves back to the non-objective doing. As I understand it, this is the true function of the self. We need it in order to hear the other, to open ourselves (be opened?) to the world and the holiness of the world.

Anyway, that's my thoughts, two months after the above discussion was initially posted!
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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:56 pm

Sophia wrote:

Anyway, that's my thoughts, two months after the above discussion was initially posted!

Are you familiar with the Ents?

"Ents are also an extremely patient and cautious race, with a sense of
time more suited to trees than short-lived mortals. For example, in the
Entmoot regarding the attack on Isengard, their three-day deliberation
was considered by some to be hasty"...excerpted from Wikipedia.
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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:18 pm

hmmm...let me think about that for awhile
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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:13 am

Long ago something happened.I couldn't make sense of it in any religious way although I was practising zazen at that time, but it did make me very aware that one could have an experience of life at a much deeper level.
I could understand the chain of causality in my life in a way that I normally am not aware or,maybe,had forgotten.
After a couple of days I felt as if my impurities or misunderstandings or "sins" were "dragging" me back into my "normal" frame of mind.
What was its value to me,has it made me a "better" person?.Although I am far from being really good I do feel it has been of great value and changed me from how I was then, just the memory of it has given me courage.
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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:32 am

@ katy "Are kenshos really that important? To what extent do they hinder or help
practice?"

************************

Seems like Dogen wrestled with this very same question. 'How are practice and enlightment connected? Why is practice necessary if the "supreme teaching" is free?" (Fukanazazenji) Experiences can be put in a trophy case and forgotten about. Awareness of our innate Intimacy with the "Isness that Is" can be a real experience. But what good is it, if we don't actualize it, if we don't live it, if we don't bring it forth in our lives? Jiyu Kennet remarked that it could be just a "pleasant memory" if we don't. So for Dogen the resolution of that koan is that enlightenment and practice are the same, are one, are a developmental realization that is life-long. Bringing forth this innate Intimacy, is our life, and from it the fruits of empathy for, connection and communion with all beings, all that is, arise. All ethics, all devotion, all authentic human morality, all goodness, the living out of the "Golden Rule", arise from spiritual intimacy, Oneness, Communion, call it what you will. That's my view on it.


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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:53 am

lesley wrote:
Long ago something happened. I couldn't make sense of it in any religious way although I was practising zazen at that time, but it did make me very aware that one could have an experience of life at a much deeper level.
I could understand the chain of causality in my life in a way that I normally am not aware or,maybe,had forgotten.
After a couple of days I felt as if my impurities or misunderstandings or "sins" were "dragging" me back into my "normal" frame of mind.
What was its value to me,has it made me a "better" person? Although I am far from being really good I do feel it has been of great value and changed me from how I was then, just the memory of it has given me courage.

Lesley, that's a wonderful description of the experience. I think of those moments of eternality as grace. It's as if without realizing it you ask whither and are answered thither. It doesn't make one a better person so much as illuminate the road of betterness. Just the memory of it gives me courage too.
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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:23 am

From the foreword to The Gateless Gate: The Classic Book of Zen Koans by Kōun Yamada (Wisdom Publications):

From the late seventies up to his death in 1989, Yamada Roshi’s
teaching gradually shifted in focus, from the Zen enlightenment
experience as such, to the personalization and genuine embodiment of
this experience in the ongoing life of the practitioner. In other words,
given the right circumstances, the experience of kensho
may happen in the flash of an instant, but its effective actualization
in a person’s daily life is considered to be the task of a lifetime.

Yamada Roshi often noted that of those who may have had such an
initial breakthrough experience, there are those who get sidetracked
from the path of awakening, as they idealize that experience,
memorialize it, and cling to it. Holding on to one’s kensho in
this way thus becomes another kind of attachment that can be much more
pernicious than other kinds. With this in view, he came to place great
importance on vigilance in practice and continuing work with koans.
Genuine fruit of Zen practice, he repeatedly maintained, is manifested
when a human being is able to experience an emptying of one’s ego, and
truly live out one’s humanity with a humble heart, at peace with
oneself, at peace with the universe, and with a mind of boundless
compassion.
From Charlotte Joko Beck in Everyday Zen:

Now in many religious traditions, and particularly in the Zen
tradition, there is great stock placed in having what are called
“openings” [satori] or enlightenment experiences. Such experiences are
quite varied. But if they are genuine they illuminate or bring to our
attention that which is always so—the true nature of life, the
fundamental unity.

What I have found, however (and I know many have found it too), is
that by themselves they’re not enough. They can be useful, but if we
get hung up on them they’re a barrier.

For some people these experiences are not that hard to come by. We
vary in that respect—and the variation is not a matter of virtue,
either. But without the severe labor of unifying one’s life, these experiences do not make much difference.
What really counts is the practice that we have to go through moment
by moment, with that which seems to hurt us, or threaten us, or
displease us—whether it’s difficulty with our coworkers, or our family,
or our partners, anyone.

Unless we in our practice have reached the point where we react very little, an enlightenment experience is largely useless.
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lesley

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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:20 am

Dear Josh,
I couldn't agree more !
With gassho,Lesley
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gensho



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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:52 pm

Quoting from Josh's post:
Quote :
there are those who get sidetracked
from the path of awakening, as they idealize that experience,
memorialize it, and cling to it. Holding on to one’s kensho in
this way thus becomes another kind of attachment that can be much more
pernicious than other kinds

A 'kensho' is seeing 'things' as they truly are - such an insight while a part of training, never means that we do not continue our training. After one of Hakuin's early kensho's, his teacher said he was like a 'devil in a post hole'. He was full of himself and had all the 'perspective' that sitting in a hole will bring. Any insight can be clung to and given a special status. Once we do that, then we are attached, we are committed to our expression of our insight being 'right'.

There isn't anything to hold on to in training, as Huineng said, there's nothing from the first where can the dust alight.

RMJK lost sight of this simple truth. I was with her in the summer of 76, three of us in the room in Oakland. A kensho it may have been, but a lost opportunity it became. I still see the room in my memory, the real struggle within written on her. Then JK said I've done it all wrong, everything has to change. Everything hung in the balance, then Daizui spoke saying no, it is we who are wrong and everything you've done has been right. And everything shifted, quickly from sange to certainty over the next hours and days. All the visions of HGLB flowed out and a doctrine was created to expound them. The whole of HGLB is a re-telling of an avoiding of an insight. HGLB is a teaching on how to keep holding on rather than on letting go.

Kensho's aren't the goal and perhaps not the means either, training each moment matters. Once a new monk asked Joshu for instruction, Joshu said 'have you eaten your breakfast', the monk said yes, Joshu replied 'wash your bowls' [mumonkan #7]. This is the open secret of zen training.
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:02 am

well said. I don't think that Kennett's lotus stuff began with any kind of kensho, just the beginning of a genuine breakdown - which I totally agree was a missed opportunity at honest self-examination. For her personality type, that kind of descent into vulnerability can be an opening into more genuine self- awareness. Instead, she took another path -- descent into religious confusion, self-aggrandizement.

Also, when I saw this happen, my gut feeling told me immediately and continuously that this was frankly horrible, smothering, loveless, harmful, even madness. But what I did learn by the time I extricated myself from Kennett's scene was to trust my inner manure detector.

Quote for the day.... from Stephen Butterfield, THE DOUBLE MIRROR:

"Buddhism itself, however, promises nothing; like all other human enterprises, it is a coemergent phenomenon. It can be an invitation to open the mind or an opportunity to close it up in a shell inscribed with sutras and slogans. What we do with it depends ultimately, not on the teacher, but on ourselves-- just like everything else. To anyone who is thinking about entering the Buddhist transformational system, I would give my wholehearted encouragement, but also this warning: cherish your fundamental doubt at every stage. Doubt is what allows you to experience the system and drop it at the same time."

My response: I totally agree: CHERISH DOUBT -- all the way through. If an organization can't handle questioning, inquiry, honest reflection, than it is more cultic than awakened. Remain an adult. If the organization / teacher can't handle it, walk away. You don't lose anything by walking away.

Butterfield continues:

"Ernest Hemmingway advised young writers to examine their work with a built in manure detector. In spiritual journeying, the manure detector is an absolutely essential piece of equipment. Without it, you could end up a number in the body count of a cult massacre. A large part of the path consists of nothing else but keeping this detector in good repair. If it is directed equally at yourself and the reasons for your resistance, there is no cause to fear that it will mislead you into throwing away your lottery ticket. Skepticism is not just ego; it is the very inherent sanity that the path is supposed to unfold."

Inherent sanity. That is precisely what went totally missing at Shasta. Dead and gone. I love what Butterfield is saying here. You use your [admin delete] director in every direction -- you use with teachers, teachings, organizations, doctrines and you use it on your own thoughts and beliefs. Question everything. As my friend Byron Katie always says, "IS IT TRUE?"

So I am grateful to Kennett in this regard. When she went off the rails, my inner manure detector kicked into full operation -- and has not stopped serving me well ever since. It got me out of there, it taught me to rely on my inner resources, to notice the 'truth" in my own mind and not to worry about relying on the enlightenment or experiences of anyone else. ever.

I have absolutely no need to connect with any "cosmic buddha." I am not trying to find or hear any inner voices - buddha, dogen or otherwise. I don't need to be "grabbed by the cosmic buddha." I don't need to "find my buddha nature" -- when that is all we are. We aren't being called and we aren't being chosen. there is no one to call or no one to chose. Is any of these ideas / concepts true? Useful? Helpful? Not to me.


Last edited by Watson on Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:04 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : violation / Forum rule / character substitution for banned term)
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:43 am

Excellent points Mark Alan and Josh (Mark on another post) And here the 4 of us stand or sit,we left 76 and Alan refers to Hui Neng and so he should

身是菩提樹, The body is a Bodhi tree,
心如明鏡臺。 The mind a standing mirror bright.
時時勤拂拭, At all times polish it diligently,
勿使惹塵埃。 And let no dust alight.
This was written on the temple wall as the understanding of the head monk,the Abbot wanted more and wanted an understanding that showed entry to the Gateless Gate.The monks of the temple though were full of the poem and indeed chanted it Allowing Hui Neng the opportunity to hear it.

So the four of us had trained, in polishing a mirror,had used self to drop self,had polished so hard we had religious mirrors this was the practice and understanding of where we were. We were loyal,followed the rules and the terminology,but had we traded pig [admin delete] for goat [admin delete]

Hui Neng wrote

菩提本無樹, Bodhi is fundamentally without any tree;
明鏡亦非臺。 The bright mirror is also not a stand.
本來無一物, Fundamentally there is not a single thing —
何處惹塵埃。 Where could any dust be attracted?
And became the sixth patriarch
Because of sincere practice we did not want limited practice, we did not want restricted views of someone else.
I wanted direct experience of deep unity that my practice was pulling me towards.
Working through leaving a practice and teacher can appear difficult,and can surround one with further problems,but I always take great comfort from Hui Nengs poem as it shows me the way home


Last edited by Watson on Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:05 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : violation / Forum rule / character substitution for banned term)
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Ol'ga

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PostSubject: Re: kensho experiences   Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:23 pm

Josh, exactly as you say:

...my inner manure detector kicked into full operation -- and has not
stopped serving me well ever since. It got me out of there, it taught
me to rely on my inner resources, to notice the 'truth" in my own mind
and not to worry about relying on the enlightenment or experiences of
anyone else. ever.


Imagine an orchestra where no-one relies on there own pitch. They would all be asking each other, 'are we in tune?' They say that some people don't have musical pitch, and the fact is that most of us don't have a perfect one. But to know the "truth' in one's own mind everyone can. And it is wonderful! It's alive! It never wears out. It's always available. My oh my!
O.
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