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April 26, 2010


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Maybe it is us who is reduced, not the Buddha or the Dharama. This book has been a companion of mind in 18 years of practice and I do not agree with your thinking here brother. Metta,
ko shin, Bob Hanson


Since Zenmar didn't answer, I believe you can find the answer to your question at his "dark zen" website. Just google.

It seems to me, he's advising exactly the opposite of the Zen tradition of Master Hongzhi or Dogen.

Whereas Zen seeks to get a straight view of reality as it is, despite its difficult truths (especially difficult for some Westerners) "Dark Zen" seeks to use what would be understood in the Zen tradition as "self hypnosis" (creating an expectation of experience and practicing having that experience through visualization) to cultivate faith in an immortal soul and a savior deity. Indeed, he even says that "real" Zen isn't named after the simple practice of zazen, as those WITHIN the tradition say, but instead, it is named after a deified version of the Buddha as a superhuman intelligence.

From what I can tell, unlike zen where you (basically) just have a simple experience of accepting the nature of the present moment with relaxation and patience, in "dark zen" you sit in a strong imagination of the past, "what is antecedent to the breath." Then, you use your imagination to visualize energy inside yourself which he later says is your immortal spirit. Ultimately, he suggests you imagine that this immortal spirit is connected to a universal immortal deity he names the Buddha (to me, reminiscent of the Atman/Brahman relationship in Indian religion.) This is very much like a hypnotic self-induction where you basically create a strong day-dream.

Based on my reading of his materials, his form of meditation seems to have the opposite goal of any form of traditional Buddhist meditation I've ever heard of: to build faith in a God and an immortal soul.

It's an interesting intellectual exercise, and a practice some may find some benefit in, but I doubt any traditional Buddhists would find "dark zen" to be related to Buddhism in any way. Other than, of course, it uses Buddhist names and lore to appeal to the authority of Buddhism.

(audible sigh)

Point well taken, Zennist.

“Wisdom is to see that there is nothing to search for. If you live with a difficult person, that’s nirvana. Perfect. If you’re miserable, that’s it. And I’m not saying to be passive, not to take action; then you would be trying to hold nirvana as a fixed state" (Everyday Zen).

Gee, I'd love to see the writer of this nonsense under real pressure or suffering...just long enough to see her change her tune.

The Buddha was genuinely out to eliminate suffering. When he experienced the ordinary horrors of samsara, (likely as a child)he didn't say, "Gee whiz. This is great!"

So if "just sitting" isn't the correct Practice, then what is?

What else should I be doing other than zazen?

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