well, just for some sharing. My shifu said that there are 3 basic 
zen meditation problems most people had, first one is having extreme 
stray thoughts , second is falling asleep during meditation, third 
is fallen into dull emptiness, which is very dangerous. Dull 
emptiness (wu-ji) in chinese is a state that one does not know if 
there is anything that happen at all, lost of ability to 
discriminate/to know what's going on around and there is a high 
chance that external demons may possess the human body. 

Using skandhas as a tool of expressing the teachings, there is a 
saying that if one has not got pass the conceptual skandha barrier, 
one should not hide himself in the mountain but to practise with 
other zen fellow and most importantly his/her shifu; if one has not 
got pass the formations/volitional skandha, one should not go for a 
retreat in his own little zen room. But if we have the 6th patriarch 
type of dhamrma root, all these are not really relevant. 

The great thing about zen compare to other meditation techniques is 
it is a direct path to break the conceptual skandhas barrier, and to 
the harder to express formation/volitional and consciousness skandhas
(bcos we cannot really imagine what's that about) ; relative to 
other meditation techniques who need to get pass the form and 
feeling skandhas first.

In my opinion, as a layman, we need to discriminate things/know 
what's happening in daily life. However the training of buddhism 
teach us to be less attached to it, whether the situation/state is 
good or bad and train us to view any phenomena as  "equal/normal" , 

--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, Ahmed <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> Hi, I'm Ahmed. I think the questions we are talking about are 
> important. Especially when I saw the word "skandha," I felt a need 
> thoroughly explain the term since it is so deep. Especially when 
> are a neat classification system of the universe--all forms and 
> body or mind--the small dictionary definition will not do. But it 
would take
> a while to explain subsets and subsets of subsets . . . to map 
things out
> would take a great book to guide the discriminative thinking of 
our mind.
> [Please skip eight paragraphs if you agree with the usefulness of 
> discrimination, classification, organization and cutting the world 
> pieces.]
> Bill Smart, I think you would disapprove of my mental 
discrimination with me
> on this point. "In fact the ONLY thing that is important is to sit 
> you replied once. Sitting is important but not ONLY.
> "Being knowledgeable or understanding things about zen, Buddhism, 
> Dharma, Sutras, Taoism, Hindi, yoga, physiology, philosophy, 
etc..., are not
> important at all.  They're fun, but not important."
> Can you tell me discrimination is not useful in saving lives, in 
> for the future, in discovering and solving interpersonal issues, 
and in
> advancing science not only for better physical understanding but 
> spiritual understanding and acceptance? What about for a job? Does 
one sit
> down and get paid in this world?
> Sure, sitting unifies one with the universe so that one has 
greater energy
> and capacity to understand. In fact, one MUST sit and BE in order 
to evolve
> one's theoretical knowledge to insight. But it is hard to imagine 
that one
> comes up with solutions magically from sitting.
> Once again, understanding the principles throughout the universe 
(of yin,
> yang and their many products), can these be called unimportant to 
> mundane life and spiritual cultivation? True Buddhas must 
have "skillful
> means," methods of teaching which take into account context, 
audience, and
> environment. Buddhas must know of how the mind works (psychology) 
and the
> positions of others (Hindu, Muslim, Christian, this-and-that 
> etc.) in order to compassionately guide him/her out or into a 
certain train
> of thought. Buddhas do not rigidly sit there, teaching corpses to 
> schizoids.
> I hope I have gotten my point across: mental discrimination is a 
> process to master, a process that cannot be ignored, despite the 
> nature of ideas, especially if one aims to be a Buddha.
> Also, the downside, mental discrimination is a process many people 
have a
> habit of using too much nowadays, me included, and if you tell 
someone to
> "'just sit' they'll probably just be spacing out most of the time 
> they have no concentration." (dkotschessa)
> But with mental discrimination one can logically explain to 
another personal
> the benefits and effects of meditation thus counteracting their
> discrimination within their own world of rules. One can even 
understand the
> conditions and causes of meditative rest and better be able to 
handle issues
> when they arise and help others if they request it. This is called 
> "fire to fight fire." Using the thinking mind itself to learn to 
> itself.
> [The previous eight paragraphs were written for the sole purpose of
> explaining why discrimination is important, I know it's not 
complete--I hope
> you can fill in the rest.]
> The questions that arose about physical stature, hua-tou, 
skandhas, and what
> entails true zen practice were very important. And explanations 
are long.
> A book which desribes this aptly is "How to Measure and Deepen Your
> Spiritual Realization: A Short Multi-disciplinary Course on 
Evaluating and
> Elevating Your Meditation Progress and Spiritual Experiences." 
This book was
> written by William Bodri (manager of www.meditationexpert.com) and 
> Nan, a enlightened Esoteric master and Zen master, confirmed by 
many people
> all over Asia.
> This book will take you through a journey of understanding the 
> perspectives and cultivation schemes of different cultures, 
religions, and
> philosophies, the skandha system and it's relevance to 
cultivation, true
> Ch'an practice, the structure behind all sorts of Oriental 
practices from
> physical pranayama to mental visualizations, chi cultivation 
(hows, whys,
> don'ts), the metaphysics of cultivation and skillful means in 
order to help
> all of the universe.
> I assure you, after reading this book you will have no questions 
other than
> whether or not you can trust yourself to put forth the effort to 
go forward.
> But this book is darned expensive ($97) even if it has a lot of 
> Even worse, it's an e-book so you have to print it. But I promise 
it's worth
> the pain. Just read the raving excerpts for a taste.
> But this 700+ page but comes with a neat guarantee, which is the 
epitome of
> why I think you should try it:
> "If you buy this material and after reading it don't find it 
useful or
> instructive at all, not only will I return your money but I will 
send you
> every other ebook on this site for FREE! That's right ... I will 
send you
> every other book for free! Why such a guarantee? I want you to be 
> satisfied with our materials and in this way I'm guaranteeing 
you'll get
> something that can benefit you." -- William Bodri (author)
> Good deal if one wants to get some other book on the site which 
> are probably worth nearly a thousand dollars. Not to even go into 
> intrinsic value.
> I challenge everyone here to see for yourself because, now, 
because no
> excuses can possibly remain.
> http://meditationexpert.com/measuringmeditation.html
> But I didn't mean to silence your questions or discussion.
> Thank you for listening, anyway. Good luck. Bye.
> --Ahmed
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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