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October 10, 2013

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Also I cannot state it strongly enough: in my case, I don't consider this event a sign of "enlightenment". I am most decidedly not clear of obscurations. In some cases, I struggle with myself every day to stay on the path. Sometimes I am disheartened at how far I still have to go.

Thanks Methexis. Not new info on the doctrine, but new as to its source. I'm in your debt.

For what it's worth, I feel more serious discussion needs to be held around this topic, and I would hope, some sincere scientific inquiry. I didn't even want to bring my own experience up but did so because of the others, who I feel are deserving of credibility and support as dharma brothers.

As an aside, in reply to Zennist, after this experience I had a very vivid dream where I was meditating, on a raft, going down a stream, with no thoughts at all -- a perfect samadhi. It was the first time I had ever meditated in a dream. I also only learned after the fact about "stream entry".

That said, I am extremely skeptical in general of paranormal claims -- not because I don't think many are valid, but because there is so much sensationalization and fraud out there that it is difficult to know the authentic spiritual event from the fakes. I myself cannot fully describe what happened, much less explain it.

In my case, I actually don't mind if people disbelieve the spiritual aspects of this event. I even welcome it -- it would be very helpful to know if there is some neurological explanation for this happening as a result of meditation. Skepticism is good.

But, I don't doubt Zennist nor Azanshi's experiences at all. Those who maintain a sincere and mature practice of Buddhism tend recognizable from those who are grasping or still at the very initial stages of practice.

I sincerely believe Zennist has one of the most important Zen dialogues going on. Mumon is also very advanced, in my opinion.

Methexis:

In Theravada Buddhism this light is the sign that you've entered the current (sotapanna). It is not talked about that much, but it is an essential determiner.

Neti-Neti Yeti - in the Bloodstream Sermon Bodhidharma advises people to not talk to others about "the light". It's not a commandment, of course. I think he knew that people would be called nuts and faced with incredulity, skepticism and even hostility. Still, if nobody ever talks about it, there's a risk people will stop believing enlightenment exist and will fall for the New Age dogma "you are already a buddha, stop seeking" ...

I had a similar experience of kensho to the light described here, but it was entirely unexpected and in its full intensity lasted perhaps only minutes. It wasn't actually light but a startling lucidity, a kind of new seeing, or "all seeing". One of the elements that sticks with me is a sense of comprehensive knowing (no doubts, no questions, no wants) and of complete fearlessness.

This experience was temporary and brief. But overwhelming compassion opened for about a month or two afterward, and even today, years later, I look back to that moment and know it was transformative.

It's been frustrating to discuss this because either people think it's made up or exaggerated, or if they practice and haven't experienced it, view it kind of negatively, as if bragging, and those who have had it happen seem to be just as perplexed and cannot really explain what happened either.

But something did definitely happen. And it was linked to meditation and deep spiritual questioning, not a product of drugs, not a product of mental illness, not lack of sleep or anything like that -- I was so shocked that I actually talked to a shrink who eventually decided it was to be termed "a spiritual event" and no sign of neurological or psychological illness.

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