Tue, 03 Oct 2006
Someone had something to say about Sunday's post over in the comments section on Hardcore Zen.
Jinzang, your commentary is similar of the philosophy of the Rinzai and Tibetan Buddhist traditions where mere words can shake the foundation of the conditioned mind.
Sorry, but that sounds like mystical bull to me.
Let me explain a bit more and maybe it won't seem so much like "hocus pocus." First, what is meant when terms like kensho or recognizing the nature of mind are used? It's simply the "aha!" moment one gets when one solves a problem. When a problem is solved, nothing new is added to the facts. The facts remain as they were before. They simply are seen in a new light. The only odd feature is that when one recognizes the nature of mind one solves the problem by seeing that there was never any problem that needed to be solved. To use an analogy, it's like someone who puzzles over how to draw a triangle whose interior angles add up to 180 degrees who then realizes that the angles of every triangle add up to 180 degrees.
As to what might trigger this understanding, of course, it varies and there's no single pattern. But sometimes it happens as I described Sunday and if you read some Zen stories, I think you'll notice this pattern. You can call this "mystical bull," but it's still true that this is sometimes how things happen and I could tell a couple of stories like this. Of course, often the opposite happens as well. Another common pattern is that one sees the truth when one relaxes, for example, when one crosses a bridge on the way to work or watches a football game after the end of a week long meditation retreat. There's never a fixed way to solve any problem.