I guess if I wanted to I could make an instrument for detecting people who are not going to make it in Buddhism very far; this includes Zen Buddhism. I mean by this, they are not going to awaken to the One Mind. They are too far gone with their views. Their position is deeply entrenched; they are not going to change.
In my questionnaire, I would be interested in the respondent's opinions about “faith” or “belief” (the terms are interchangeable). I have found, over the years, that would-be Buddhists (mainly Westerners) who are uncomfortable with terms such as “faith” or “belief” are generally, materialists. The philosophy of materialism, let me be frank, is inimical to Buddhism and, above all, to its correct understanding.
In my questionnaire, I would also be interested in seeing how respondents answered questions about “reincarnation,” “OBEs” (Out of Body Experiences), and “NDEs” (Near Death Experiences). If they are indifferent or have a bias towards such phenomena I would seriously question their ability to get very far in Buddhism. I find such negative opinions, that one can dismiss reincarnation from their practice of Buddhism and still comprehend the meaning of Buddhism, almost ludicrous. This also includes the Buddhist tenet of karma.
My questionnaire would also be interested in the respondent’s answers about hauntings, ghosts, demonic possession and other such paranormal phenomena. Dismissing such phenomena out of hand indicates that the respondent has a closed mind; who has not studied the evidence. This also tells me that they have a low opinion about spirituality and all that it entails.
I would also be interested in the respondent’s answer to matters about Hinduism, âtman and voidness. Of especial interest to me, would be the respondent’s opinions about the so-called void and, possibly, their unconscious reification of it into some kind of Buddhist absolute (which it is not). I would want to know their attitude towards an absolute, especially the âtman. I would also want to know their reactions to Vedanta and mysticism such as that of Plotinus.
These questions and others, would have the general aim of ferreting out potential materialists and irreligionists who mistakenly believe that Buddhism is not a first-person science that is based upon first-person verification. This is in contrast with a third-person science that is based upon empiricism (knowledge of external objects). Moreover, the third-person science has a prejudice towards the first-person standpoint in the example of pure Mind and consciousness (which in Buddhism is the transmigrant).