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Re: Not Escaping the World (Zen style)

Oct 28, 1995 08:53 AM
by Eldon B. Tucker

Jerry S:

>>This is a different approach from some spiritual paths that teach
>>that our goal is to escape the necessity of physical incarnation,
>>and to seek rebirth on higher planes (globes).

>Eldon, you have preached this before. Could you please
>give us an example of such a "spiritual path." I am not aware of
>any, while you sound like you know several.

Following is a description of a practice that ignores any psychical
or other-plane phenomena, and instead attempts to achieve clarity
of insight or *depth* to our consciousness.

The following is from "The Three Pillars of Zen" by Philip Kapleau,
on pages 38-41.

> *Makyo* are the phenomena -- visions, hallucinations, fantasies,
> revelations, illusory sensations -- which one practicing zazen is
> apt to experience at a particular stage in his sitting ... the
> disturbing or "diabolical" phenomena which appear during his zazen.
> These phenomena are not inherently bad. They become a serious
> obstacle to practice only if one is ignorant of their true nature
> and is ensnared by them. ...

> One may ... develop the faculty of seeing through solid objects
> as though they were transparent, or he may experience his own body
> as translucent substance. He may see Buddhas or Bodhisattvas.
> Penetrating insights may suddently come to him ... All these abnormal
> visions and senstations are merely the symptoms of an impairment
> arising from a maladjustment ...

> Other religions and sects place great store by experiences which
> involve visions of God or hearing heavenly voices, performing
> miracles, receiving divine messages, or becoming purified through
> various rites ... In varying degrees these practices induce a feeling
> of well-being, yet from the Zen point of view all are morbid states
> devoid of true religious significance and hence only makyo.

> What is the essential nature of these disturbing phenomena we call
> makyo? They are temporary mental states which arise during zazen when
> our ability to concentrate has developed to a certain point and our
> practice is beginning to ripen. ... Makyo ... are a mixture of the
> real and the unreal, not unlike ordinary dreams. Just aas dreams do
> not appear to a person in deep sleep but only when he is half-asleep
> and half-awake, so makyo do not come to those in deep concentration
> or samadhi. Never be tempted into thinking that these phenomena are
> real or that the visions themselves have any meaning. ... Above all,
> do not allow yourself to be enticed by visions of the Buddha or of
> gods blessing you are communicating a divine message, or by makyo
> involving prophecies which turn out to be true. This is to
> squander your energies in the foolish pursuit of the inconsequential.

> ...Whenever makyo appear, simply ignore them and continue sitting
> with all your might.

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