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 Can closing your eyes kill you?

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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Can closing your eyes kill you?   Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:03 am

In the first couple of lines of the introductory book to the Serene Reflection tradition, Jiyu Kennet states that if you close your eyes during meditation you can go into a trance and die. I know many people who meditate with their eyes closed and none of them have died. In fact, I have never heard of this causing death to anyone....ever.

Most Buddhist traditions meditate with eyes closed.

On a kagyu retreat I attended, the Lama suggested letting your eyes do what they want; open sometimes, closed sometimes. "It doesn't matter," he seemed to imply.

It is my belief that meditating with eyes open can cause eyesight problems. Alot of people involved in the OBC seem to require glasses (just a personal observation).

Why did Kennet say that? Was there some truth in it, was she being symbolic (not wise in an introductory book) or was she just plain stupid?
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Can closing your eyes kill you?   Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:14 am

glorfindel wrote:
In the first couple of lines of the introductory book to the Serene Reflection tradition, Jiyu Kennett states that if you close your eyes during meditation you can go into a trance and die. I know many people who meditate with their eyes closed and none of them have died. In fact, I have never heard of this causing death to anyone....ever.

It is my belief that meditating with eyes open can cause eyesight problems. A lot of people involved in the OBC seem to require glasses (just a personal observation).

Why did Kennett say that? Was there some truth in it, was she being symbolic (not wise in an introductory book) or was she just plain stupid?

I remember that statement about meditating with the eyes closed. It's not something I ever heard JK discuss, so I don't know what she based it on. I think if it was a real concern she would have made more effort to alert us, but she didn't.

I had already been wearing glasses for years when I started doing Zazen with my eyes open. I always removed my glasses (still do) before meditating. As far as I can remember there was no advice given at SA about that one way or the other. I guess it's possible that keeping the eyes open could cause eye strain, but it wasn't apparent in the community. It doesn't seem to have negatively effected my eyes over the years. I also sometimes meditate with my eyes closed and it hasn't killed me yet either :-)
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: Can closing your eyes kill you?   Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:27 am

The eyesight thing has just been a personal suspicion with no solid evidence, so I'm totally open to it not being true.

But the death-by-meditation statement is one of the first things a neophyte in the tradition reads. It's quite a controversial statement in a very salient location. People I've shown that book to usually ask about that statement.

Could she have done it to shock newbies out of their "meditation is pink and fluffy" mindsets? If so she was still breaking the fourth Precept in the first few sentences of the Order's body of literature.

I'm glad you survived your eyes-closed meditation Isan.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Can closing your eyes kill you?   Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:55 am

glorfindel wrote:

But the death-by-meditation statement is one of the first things a neophyte in the tradition reads. It's quite a controversial statement in a very salient location. People I've shown that book to usually ask about that statement.

I found this link. Is this the correct document and can you find the quote you're referring to?

http://www.shastaabbey.org/pdf/IntroSRM.pdf

glorfindel wrote:
I'm glad you survived your eyes-closed meditation Isan.

Well, so far....:-)
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Can closing your eyes kill you?   Sun Apr 01, 2012 1:02 pm

Glorfindel

If you think about it, most sincere meditaters will eventually close there eyes in meditation and die. Trancing however is not the exclusive domain of meditating eye closers. Some believe that much of what has been written here proves that Shastites might actually be masters of the open eyed trance.

The only questionable part of Jiyu's statement was the assumed time line of eyes closed, trance & death.

In this circus, and to this end, I saw her as the ring master doing what she could to stop the audience from snoozing in their seats in the middle of the show.
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