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June 09, 2021

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Welcome to the club grand old dude! In my mid-70s I have suffered through two strokes. I am sitting here typing with a Foley catheter in me! But undaunted the spirit goes through all of this no matter how horrible it may seem. Our choice as sentient beings is to become awakened to this vital spirit or ignore it and try to deal with the pain and suffering of the fleshy body we are attached to. With a good injection of Hopium we are reborn to try it again: spirit buried in the fleshy body. Laying this aside, Zen is a profound voyage. We first have to give up our intellect (manas) for intuition (dhyana). This proves difficult for most of those curious about Buddhism which accounts for why so few make it to the end having kensho. Instead, they take the path of sitting believing that the physical body twisted up in the full lotus will take them to Siddhartha's awakening. Any all-too-human practice like sitting can be described as a vehicle which you are driving to a place called Kensho. But then the vehicle comes to a dead end with no signs or markers in which direction you should take. At some point the wise driver gets out of the car. This is when the path of Zen really begins. Now we are in dhyana/intuition.

Given my own limitations/karmic obstructions, age of 76, and acceptance that enlightenment is not realizable in my lifetime, or possibly in future lifetimes, I fully accepted the Buddha gate offered by Amida, Pure Land and the practice of ‘Nembutsu’. With the onset of the Dharma Ending Age the path of sages (such as Chan or Zen) is effectively closed, except for perhaps the most exceptional individuals with good roots. Also, the Buddha himself said the Sutras would slowly disappear, the last remaining to be the Amida Sutra. Pure Land, easy to practice, with Vow and Faith is ideal for rich, poor, wise and ignorant etc. I would also add the following notes:
1. Appears that in China Chan and Pure Land were close siblings, but effectively split in Japan.
2. You very accurately comment the unwillingness of people to accept the notion of suffering and the First Noble Truth. Ageing persons I know are rooted to nihilism and are addicted to a persona of ‘happiness’. Nothing more can be said to such people . . . persons with incorrigible disbelieves, who lacking the aspiration for enlightenment are unable to reach Buddhahood.
3. I acknowledge and am very grateful to you ‘The Zennist’ for the uplifting thoughts you and your readers have provided over the years. Thank You.

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