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 Bill Picard Second Experience of Satori in Gloucester 1970

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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Bill Picard Second Experience of Satori in Gloucester 1970   Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:01 am

Gosh I have done so many posts when I only meant to do 1. I have great time pressures so expect this to be my last. If so then it is a nice way for me to say till next time.

This post is the time I met Bill Picard and Kennett Roshi.It is Bill's experience, of Wu, in Chinese; Satori in Japanese. This extract is a letter Bill wrote to Charles Luk, a desciple himself of Hsu Yun who was the successor of the 5 Chan Sects in China.

I was a friend of Bills for 38 years after this retreat.I would like to point out that my lasting feeling of Bill is that he was a very nice guy, a very straight guy and that he helped me enormously in my life. His guidance for zazen was constant,never once did he say well done,it was always a rap on the knuckles if I roamed to the left or right. With Bill and Ikko Roshi it was always a constant grind, the practice,always zazen zazen zazen, they both expected pure zazen from me, and were never disappointed when they did not get it ! Most importantly I learnt this non reliant constant grind from both of them. I happened to be with Bill at key moments in his life. We were both delighted to be together when he died and we left each other as great friends.

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

A year ago I went into a retreat or sesshin with a group of young people and for fourteen days we kept up meditation. I passed through the stages that are now familiar to me, and which I can now understand by reference to your books. One night my mind and body dropped away as happened before; there was the same sense of a burst of light into which the whole cosmos dissolved, and with it the incredible sense of bliss. This was the dropping of the ego But the next stage was different to my previous experience. There was a sense of interweaving of the atoms of the cosmos with the energy that seemed to be the consciousness that was aware of it; this was like being a galaxy that seemed to be dissolving into pure energy that was itself a pulse beat in the total void. At this last point consciousness itself dissolved into Oneness.

How long I remained sitting in meditation I do not know because I was left alone in the room. But the return of consciousness (self consciousness) was quicker I think than the previous time. There was also the indescribable feeling of weightlessness which I had before which again lasted for a day or so. The most obvious difference was the feeling that though I could say I was conscious of myself as being,this sense was no longer located in this or any body. It was as if the whole universe was conscious, was a living moving body of energy, which was also at the heart quite still and serene. My mind seemed quite empty of any thought except that it seemed quite able to function; but it was empty reflecting what was around and objective without any subjective choice or selection or attachment. It was like having no head at all.

With this there was a return of the heightened vision that I had before. Everything looked at seemed not only as if seen that moment for the first time,but was also brighter more luminous as if glowing. The whole word was radiant. The mind that experienced this was also the mind that was experienced. Not one word can be said that is not one word too much. Oh, my friend, I know why the wise ones of old simply laughed or held up a flower; it's all there like the wind through the trees and the sweet cool water when we are hot. Show me your mind and the universe is void.

For a short while I could see auras of light around those about me. These would change with their moods and thoughts. At times it was as if I was their bodies, felt that I was them and looking out from their eyes, but this soon passed. The light is the darkness and the darkness is the light; consciousness without objects to be conscious of, not even conscious of consciousness, for there is not that space for duality to enter.


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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Bill Picard Second Experience of Satori in Gloucester 1970   Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:20 am

Thank you, Chisan, for your busy fingers.

Importantly, did Bill tell you about any durable understanding or liberation that came with this event?* If he did not (apart from its affirming and encouraging continued practice), this does not mean that there was none ~ sometimes these things may be hard to describe in the language we have at the time. Perhaps you have already alluded to it.

(* In particular here, I am wondering about overcoming knots of illusoryself-grasping at a deep level of mind-and-energy ~ a kind of transformation at a deep level of the mind and energy continuum.)
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Bill Picard Second Experience of Satori in Gloucester 1970   Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:50 am

Anne what a great question, and nice to hear from you.
I can not really answer for Bill, but will willingly throw in my feelings and thoughts.

I think what you are asking is my koan and the Buddhas koan and may be most of our koan. Life impermanance,and is there lasting peace and happiness.

We do live in a world where a smile lasts milli seconds, people around live on the streets, alot with insufficient food, abuse of all types surround us, people live in cities where they can not see a distant horizon,and children are tempted with crack cocaine from their classrooms. Even if we base our lives on strong ethics or formal religion,our friends and loved ones still live and die in our arms. So what is duarable.

I guess there are many answers,When Bill saw beyond his reflective mind he 'realised' oneness, the actual experience happened and gradually Bill experienced the after math of seeing life in a completely different way,this was dramatic at first and gradually eased off. Bill described it at the time to me as being in a train and looking out the window at the embankment,the speed of the train makes it difficult to see clearly. The experience,enabled him to see the entire train journey, and after such an experience, his daily life took him back in the train, wizzing along, but this time he did intrinsically know the journey.

These of course are clever words, and in some ways point to the phrase training and enlightenment, the push and pull of practice. the liberation comes I think gradually with practice or training, slowly seeing , and slowly going beyond our limited reflecting minds.

Bills meditation did not stop at this retreat,he would take him self off sometimes, and practice on his own, On many of these occasions I never spoke to him about it,but I knew by being with him that, he had spent time in deep meditation.

Did it liberate Bill, yes it did but he was always Bill, with acheles heels . As human beings with attachments and clingings we are destined to feel sadness, As Buddhists I feel we have a great potential to also feel compassion and love, as meditation enables us to see how much the same we are not how different we are.

Ikko Roshi a meditation teacher would with one hand point towards greater depth, his other hand I can still feel rattling as he shook it at me
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Bill Picard Second Experience of Satori in Gloucester 1970   Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:20 am

Thank you, Chisan.

Re-reading the above account and that of Bill's breakthrough on the cliffs near Mousehole, there does seem to be a development of awakening described, which is what one would expect. By "liberation" I was thinking of undoing knots of illusoryself-grasping, which in my experience (and generally, I think) happens by stages rather than in one go. While this process of liberation removes, by stages, sorrows caused by illusoryself-grasping (at which relief can be considerable), it does not ensure eternal happiness. If only!

All the best to you (and to everyone else). I shall probably disappear till next Sunday. (-:
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Bill Picard Second Experience of Satori in Gloucester 1970   Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:05 am

I agree with you Anne, however Bill would have said Who is it that is liberated and from what
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Bill Picard Second Experience of Satori in Gloucester 1970   Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:23 am

Did you mention Bill's question purely as biographical comment, Chisan?
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Bill Picard Second Experience of Satori in Gloucester 1970   Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:05 pm

Hi Anne

I am not too sure what your phrase biographical comment means. But I slipped in the question as it was a typical Bill question

'Who asks the question' I think Bills natural koan was who is Bill, I think the question and answer, pierces what we knew as training and enlightenment. We mostly enter the zendo for the first time because things have not worked out, our lives do not make sense,or we do not like the road map we are on,or maybe our lives have no direction at all. The training I believe is seeing we are our own stumbling block.The life we have cleverly weaved, reflects the ego that has created itself. As we have discussed recently as long as the ego is allowed to do its dance with zen clothes on, the out come is always the same, illusion follows illusion, and wisdom based on impermanence and ignorance, disapears im a puff of smoke. So the training I believe we do as zen peopel is to see the dance for what it is,we live in a normal world and live and act with our egos. Our zazen if allowed is done simply that. The vastness of zazen the depth of our sitting is present here now,and experienced prior to our egos being created. So Bills question normally aimed at me, is forever pertinent for me, 'who is it that indeed sits this zazen'
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eric johns



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PostSubject: Re: Bill Picard Second Experience of Satori in Gloucester 1970   Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:37 pm

Bill was my first and a great teacher a privelage to have known him /\
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Bill Picard Second Experience of Satori in Gloucester 1970   Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:10 pm

He was very fond of you too Eric
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