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September 14, 2020


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I think you misunderstand the jhanas and the Soto Zen Buddhist Way.

Most serious meditators experience the jhanas and some experience the “immaterial attainments”, but that is not awakening. Gautama Buddha had already achieved those states, but that was not his enlightenment.

Regarding Soto Zen, I think you misunderstand zazen. I suggest a wonderful collection of essays by Issho Fujita, Polishing a Tile, especially the first set on Zazen is not Shuzen.

And I think you misunderstand Dogen. I would have thought you would appreciate him because he’s a mystic. Read his works as the writings of a mystic and you’ll understand.

Random Jew: It is one thing to talk about the attribute of substance and quite another matter to realize substance, directly. This realization or gnosis (also intuition) is at the heart of the matter because it takes us beyond thought. Of course, you cannot will the stopping of thought. It is suddenly transcended. The adept becomes at that point one with God/Spirit (John 4:24). What this gnosis discloses is the secret (mystḗrion) of what the sages teach like the Buddha and Jesus. Few, if any, attain to this state which is why Jews, Christians, and Buddhists abhor mysticism. LOL

What does The Zennist think of the work of Spinoza? His "Ethics" are an European attempt at guiding the reader toward a soteriological goal but without resorting neither to religion, nor materialism.

Spinoza's "God" is not a person but the substance/substratum of all possible thoughts (infinitely many modes in the infinite attribute of thinking).

Each thought is a "wave", in the attribute of this Substance.

We do not think, rather, we are only exploring the infinitely many modifications in the thought attribute of God. It is God that thinks all possible thoughts.

My criticism of Dogen's meditation comes from this passage:

"Having thus abandoned these five hindrances (nīvaraṇa), defilements of the mind, qualities that weaken wisdom, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, he enters and dwells in the first jhāna. . . ." AN II.211

Few if any Zennists overcome the five hindrances attaining even the first dhyāna which I hasten to add is an intuitive path the goal of which is to see (more at gnosis)) the very substance of thought which is no-thought (a state which transcends thought where lies our true nature).

Dogen did not believe in kenshō 見性.

You’ve often frowned upon Dōgen’s Sōtō school of Zen in your posts, but could the practice of ‘just sitting’ serve to allow the mind to be still and let intuition blossom?

Perhaps Sōtō Zen practice is like this from Chapter 3 of the Lankavatara:

“Be not like the one who looks at the finger-tip. For instance, Mahāmati, when a man with his finger-tip points at something to somebody, the finger-tip may be taken wrongly for the thing pointed at...”

Could Sōtō Zen practice be the finger-tip, and the adept student meditates to recognise this as a means to an end: Calm the mind to let intuition find the way?

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