Satori, and Beyond

"Satori is the fundamental experience of Zen," says a famous Zen Master quoted approvingly by Zenkei Shibayama.

What is the goal of Zen practice? It is definitely to attain Great Mind Realization.

In and with this Great Mind Realization, liberated from fixation on various conceptual illusions such as the ones Buddha demolishes in The Diamond Sutra, yes, "Go wash your bowl." Why did Bodhidharma come from the West? "The oak tree in the garden."

Washing your bowl after Satori is quite different than washing your bowl before Satori. You'll be amazed, I promise.

You will never be wholly absorbed into conceptual fictions again, and you will experience freedom.

Something is hidden here. What is it?

Maybe It hides itself by revealing itself completely. I wouldn't be at all surprised.

It is quite impossible to express This directly. Yet it changes everything, and nobody who has had Satori will ever see life in quite the same dull, colorless, conceptually-inflected way again, no matter how old they get.

Here is a piece I wrote on that subject: "Master Seung Sahn's Satori."

Although this is true, Satori must be followed by a special kind of training that leads to stabilizing and extending Kensho/Satori/Wu Realization into Great Enlightenment, Daigo. Otherwise it's just going to stagnate into a "good story."

That's why Bodhidharma sat facing a wall for 9 years at the Shaolin Monastery. Shakyamuni, also, spent long periods in meditation after his Awakening. And it was after "dropping body-mind" one fateful night in a Chinese temple, in a classic wu experience, that Master Dogen returned to Japan to promulgate sitting Zen, shinkantaza.

Zazen in the lotus posture is an excellent choice for monks. But few of the people I know who are doing Zen are monks. Is that a good or a bad thing? I don't know. I'd be tempted to say it's a good thing.

I will say this: Beware of so-called Buddhist monks and nuns who practice endless "prayer vigils" and other superstitious kinds of rituals yet do not meditate.

Anyhow, this is why I suggest Seiza, with shorter periods of sitting, to stabilize and extend into everyday being the world-shattering experience of "dropping-body-and-mind" in Satori.

Seiza, a stable and powerful way of sitting, is good before Satori and after Satori. We're all bound for waking up one day, so we'd better prepare ourselves!

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