To be a Buddhist ‘insider’ and not just an outsider has more to do with how much we are willing to invest our total being in the study of the Buddha’s teachings assuming, of course, his teachings can’t be learned in a fortnight or even in several years. An insider must go through a long and grueling process of making all the pieces of the Buddhist puzzle fit together in one coherent whole; and they must have certain key attainments. What, for example, are we to do with this passage which is found in the Pali Nikayas?
And again, Udayin, a course has been pointed out by me for disciples, practising which disciples of mine from this body (mentally) produce (another) body, having material shape, mind-made, having all its major and minor parts, not deficient in any sense-organ. As, Udayin, a man might draw an arrow from a reed and might think thus: ‘This is the reed, this the arrow, the reed is one thing, the arrow another; it is from the reed that the arrow has been drawn...—even so, Udayin a course has been pointed out by me for disciples, practising which my disciples from the body (mentally) produce (another ) body...not deficient in any sense-organ (Horner’s trans, M. ii. 17, 18).
This practice we can see is for disciples or ariya-savaka who are insiders. It is not for those who have not yet entered the stream; who remain on the outside. It is important to note that not just any monk or nun can accomplish this practice. In fact, being an ariya-savaka has nothing whatsoever to do with being a monk or a nun.
But there are other hurdles besides this, especially when we get to Mahayana which requires that we have Bodhicitta—not just aspire to it. Once again we see this “mind-made” (manomaya) body. It is in the Lankavatara Sutra, but treated differently. It is a very important accomplishment.
“Establishing themselves on the eighth stage of Bodhisattvahood, they will experience a revulsion [in their consciousness] by transcending the Citta, Manas, and Manovijnana, and the five Dharmas, and the [three] Svabhavas, and the twofold Egolessness, and thereby attain the mind-made body (Manomayakaya). Thus, Mahamati, the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva will discard the notion of birth, abiding, and disappearance” (trans., Suzuki). (Italics mine.)
Simple Zen meditation will not give us what we need to bring the necessary light to the mysterious body made of mind so we can fully understand its meaning. Nor, in the long run, will it really help us to understand what the Buddha really taught. This brings us to the conclusion that to be a Buddhist insider demands more than wearing robes and doing zazen or belonging to some Dharma center up the street. As I have repeatedly emphasized on this blog, you have to have Bodhicitta or in Theravada, you have to enter the stream. It can’t be, I think I have entered the stream or I think I have had Bodhicitta. Both, I would put into the category of the extraordinary as if suddently the Buddha appeared. One’s entire body is suffuced with clear light which is magnetic-like. This means, if truth be told, that one has just met their Buddha essence or self. How amazing! This is what is actually animating every sentient being’s dung heap; which they’ve have been running away from since beginningless time.
Outsiders can criticize the insiders, making their appeals to other outsiders. But in the final analysis the canon has the final say. It rules in favor of the insiders. Zen master Tsung-mi may also have the final say on this.
The scriptures are the Buddha’s words and Ch’an (Jap., Zen) is the Buddha’s intent. The minds and mouths of the Buddha certainly cannot be contradictory.”