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January 30, 2018

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Thank you for the postings. I read them every day.

Zennist:

In our age what was once a thriving religion has weakened, and by this I mean the institution of Buddhism and its various offshoots through the five schools of Zen in particular, while the corruptive influence of the maras has grown.

This can be (and has been) observed in various ways, but I would simply point out the tendencies of humanity in general to adhere to nihilistic and spiritually destructive views, broadly speaking "materialism" or other forms of externalism which have been amply discussed here and elsewhere. I would also point out the apparent rise in demonic or ghostly activity which has led the Catholic church for example, to dramatically increase exorcisms, and that some of these inexplicable incidents have actually been witnessed and recorded in police reports and in various other ways. This is due to the declining spiritual status of humanity.

I would point out as well the sustaining power of the Tathagata is not subject to this decline, could not decline, and the appearance of decline is not present for the Tathagata. Anything I could say about the Tathagata would be in error so I wish to make it clear I am referring to the conditions of humanity, of ignorance, and the increasingly difficult path of dwellers of this world who might hear of the Tathagata but do not have the spiritual awareness to see what this means.

In Zen's history, even in recent times, there have arisen great Bodhisattvas whose mere presence has forestalled disaster. A saint in Samadhi is like a pagoda that even demons bow down to and would not dare to approach. St. John of the Cross observed that spiritual seekers must learn to bear the scorn of the world, and in this spirit, I accept the inevitable contumely of your many readers whose skepticism clouds their understanding and bear the insults of the ignorant with forbearance. With this in mind I can affirm I have personally witnessed this miraculous power, and others such as the ability to heal, to shield others from cataclysm, and other such protective transformational powers of the Tathagata too numerous to mention. This does not arise through “Buddhism” which exists only because of the ignorance of sentient beings. These are subtleties difficult to express.

However, as I view the dismal state of humanity with its rampant greed, over-sexualization, intense fears and hostilities and despair, and the emergence of conflict everywhere from households to nations clashing, environmental disorder, violence and senseless acts of utmost stupidity and error great and small which hinder the spiritual ability of humans to attain understanding of their own intrinsic nature of diamond-like perfection, I am also aware of the fundamental non-existence of error vis-à-vis the Tathagata, and the complete unreality of these various phenomena experienced in our shared realm of mind (i.e. “the world” or Maya).

Even so I suspect that in our present age, there are fewer and fewer people within formal Buddhist institutions whose certifications to Bodhi are genuine. I also suspect that there are proportionately more individuals who conditionally self- awaken (pratyekabuddhas) and in recent history I can point to several such as Jiddu Krishnamurthi, the physicist David Bohm, and countless others whose names I ignore, as well as some truly qualified Buddhist leaders such as Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hsua, so I do not say there are none. But there are increasingly few and our world presents increasing obstacles to spiritual progress, with a result that the protective influences of these masters felt in Samsara is diminishing, even though the sustaining power of the Tathagata cannot diminish nor increase.

I maintain that if one is sincere about Buddhism, the best course of practice for many people in our age is to shun today’s so-called Buddhist centers which are (in many cases) dwellings of demons, and instead retreat as a solitary sage would to the best of their ability, practice purification of thought and action by adhering to the precepts, and devote as much time as possible to penetrating the sutras on their own through concentrative contemplation and meditative practice. Though this will likely be misinterpreted by the ignorant, there is no Buddhism as such, nor are there sages. There is only mind, and I am convinced that every single being, from the lowliest hell being to the highest god, will eventually awaken to this truth by means inconceivable through the sustaining power of the Tathagata.

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