The Western delusion believes that it already understands the nature of reality with the help of its crystal ball of materialism. As for the typical, run-of-the-mill Westerner, he believes that he has a good eye for determining what is true and what is not true about reality. He will agree that matter is unconscious, the mind is created in the brain and psychic phenomena such as NDEs are delusional. But this is all part of the grand scheme of materialism which should not be confused with science which according to the Oxford English Dictionary is:
“The state or fact of knowing; knowledge or cognizance of something specified or implied; also, with wider reference, knowledge (more or less extensive) as a personal attribute.”
The dogma of materialism, which is not science based, believes that only matter exists (how does it know this?). And when asked what is matter? it has no satisfactory answer, except perhaps, matter is resistance. But this answer is metaphysical. It no longer belongs to matter. Resistance is immaterial.
For hundreds of years the West has embraced what is known as mind/body dualism. This is the belief that mind or spirit is distinct from material bodies that are mechanical in operation which is part of the material universe. The most recent attempt to get rid of the dualism is to ignore, completely, the right and place of spirit. This leaves us with a new kind of atheism, one that wages war against spirit, in short, against all of religion.
In light of the above, it should not be surprising that Zen Buddhism is still little understood today because of the pervasiveness of materialism. The spiritual meaning of Mind, presented under different names in Zen, seems to have few Western scholarly takers who are willing to unpack its enormous spiritual history.
Putting aside materialism, we have to engage with science which is the state or fact of knowing. Akin to this, Zen Buddhism’s science is to realize Mind by transcending all thoughts so that we might directly behold Mind which is the essence of thought. Thoughts only serve to hide Mind’s immaculate essence. Mind’s importance becomes clear in this passage from old documents found in Tun Huang which also inform us what Zen is about.
HUIKE ASKED: If there are people intent on seeking the Path of Enlightenment, what method should they practice, what method is most essential and concise?
Bodhidharma answered: Let him just contemplate mind—this one method takes in all practices, and is indeed essential and concise.
Huike asked: How can one method take in all practices?
Bodhidharma answered: Mind is the root of the myriad phenomena. All phenomena are born from mind. If you can completely comprehend mind, the myriad practices are complete. It is like a great tree: all the branches and flowers and fruits grow based on the root. The tree grows only if the root survives. If the root is cut, the tree is sure to die. If you cultivate the Path by comprehending mind, you save effort and success is easy. If you cultivate the Path without comprehending mind then you waste effort and there is no benefit. Thus we know that all good and evil come from one’s own mind. If you seek outside of mind, it is impossible” (Cleary, Zen Dawn, p. 81-2).
As long as we adhere to materialism the entrance to Zen Buddhism remains shut. There is no possible way to understand it if one has not been sufficiently weaned from materialism. As long as the West continues brainwashing everyone with materialism, conflating it with science, it is doomed. Not only is religion a victim but so is science.