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April 19, 2015

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I seek no fame as a cultivator, Minx. Buddha alone was the World Honored One.

It eluded Siddharta Gothama, not Buddha. But you are allright, friend. At least you seem to have the great geist of pursuing the ineffable mystery to your wits end. ;)

The same reasons it eluded buddha, Minx. The same reasons that will entangle you if you are not careful.

All this empty chatter about nothing more than the contrived wisdom of someone still subdued by his own thoughts, his love to his family and other lesser things of the world mr. n.yeti, and yet, what is more important than all these things, awakening to your own true nature, still eludes you.

Why is that?

I think it is worth mentioning the four slogans were most likely formulated during the Ta’ng dynasty and not by Bodhidharma (who never really struck me as a slogan kind of guy), and that moreover, the Ch’an masters of early Zen and presumably Indian Buddhism used seated meditation as a soteriological, mystical and religious practice that had its basis in the premise that liberation – a deathless state – from birth and death can be attained by transcendental means. It is not at all a worldly practice per se, and even the “yogic” aspects of zazen with its rigid postural doctrine and emphasis on shikatanza (at least its worldly presentation in most Western Soto schools), were likely interpolations into Zen (dhyana). It has been noted that the Ch’an dhyana masters were not even organized into schools themselves, and although some at least seemed to have resided at the monasteries (along with those experts in scriptures and moral philosophers who came to more or less “specialize” in the increasingly intellectual environment of China steeped in Confucian thought and able to live off the public dole), the practice of seated meditation (aka lotus) was also used hundreds of years earlier by Brahmanic recluses and mendicants merging with the Divine for similar purposes to zazen in its roots. The fact that so many Buddhists today on one hand rattle off clichés such as “Buddha rejected Hinduism”, at the same time they claim Buddhism is not a religious practice, it is very hard to argue anything about what the early dhyana masters actually did emphasize in terms of sitting, much less try to formalize the profound, intuitive, mystical practice of dhyana into some kind of sitting ritual for people burnt out on any kind of religion whatsoever. Obviously, seated meditation is wonderful and useful (I myself still use it after 20 years of meditative experience in various forms) but it is not by any means the only component of Zen worth worrying about from a praxis standpoint, at least in my opinion – and more to the point, it is only a useful practice, in fact it is only dhyana at all, if there is right understanding. That understanding, from a historical and liturgical standpoint, is not different from the transmission outside scriptures, i.e. a direct contact with the (non-dual) Absolute, by transcendence of the physical senses and all thought formations. Even the idea that the evolution of Zen as a social phenomenon is somehow a refinement or improvement in a religious standpoint is questionable – even ludicrous given how few practitioners today are even acquainted with the techniques of dhyana practice, although almost anyone can explain how to sit zazen.

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