Zen's Sudden Awakening Experience

Zen is the "sudden" or "abrupt" awakening school. Strictly speaking, there is no "content" taught nor any teaching whatsoever in Zen. When a monk asks, "What is Buddha?" and Yunmen says, "Dried shit stick," this is not a statement containing some sort of positive content that could be analyzed and fit into a system called "Zen"  -- it is just an off-the-cuff shock tactic Yunmen used to wake up the monk. To what? To This. To Thusness.

But what is the relation of all this to Zen "practice" -- to yoga, dhyana?

Shakyamuni attained Enlightenment after an all night meditation session under the Bodhi tree when he saw the morning star. He had already mastered self-control and yoga and practiced extreme asceticism without attaining This. Then he accepted some milk from a young girl (that mysteriously auspicious moment when, one might say, Shakyamuni began using Ki!) and sat down for one last effort with the resolve not to move until he had attained liberation. Over the night, he withstood multiple assaults and tricks by Mara by maintaining an immovable mind. He recollected all of his past lives in detail. But it was on seeing the morning star that "inside and outside spontaneously unified" and he exclaimed, "Ah! I see! All sentient beings are Enlightened from the beginning!"
Shakyamuni Buddha sees the morning star. The morning star sees the morning star. Shakyamuni Buddha sees Shakyamuni Buddha. Seeing sees seeing. -The Flatbed Sutra of Louie Wing
Shakyamuni's story, added to the stories of the many Zen teachers who left home, lived in remote places and practiced yoga and dhyana for many years of extreme one-pointed effort before suddenly waking up to This, proves that there is a subtle connection between making an all-out effort and sudden awakening, and that no matter what anyone tells you it is not enough to just parrot the words, "All sentient beings are Enlightened (awake) from the beginning!" as an excuse for not making any effort. Shakyamuni said it because he experienced it. Have you experienced it? If not, how and when will you experience it?

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