Good post with which I'm pretty much in agreement. Zen, or satori, is certainly nothing above anyone's head as it is the natural state of all being. Satori is simply a matter of looking and seeing what is actually there right now unmediated by intellect or emotion - but that is with a caveat since one also must realize that intellect and emotions are part of that reality. The trick is to see them for what they are rather than seeing the world through them. In other words satori involves recognizing that illusion is part of reality, but seeing the illusion as illusion rather than taking it for reality.

I do have a little quibble with the notion of 'transmission' however. In reality enlightenment is never transmitted from a teacher to a student. The realization of the student is always entirely his own, the teacher merely directs his attention to that realization which he already had but hadn't yet realized. The only really legitimate use of the term 'transmission' in Zen is the transmission of the worldly authority to head a sect or temple from one head to the next, but that is politics not Zen.


On Aug 12, 2008, at 11:01 PM, <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:


I think the fundamental meditation practices of both zen and Vispassana Buddhism are the same. There is a zen saying that when you're meditating and thoughts appear, you should treat them like you would treat a visitor knocking on your door while you are busy doing some important task. You should answer the door and acknowledge the visitor, tell him that you are busy right now but assure him that he is welcome to come back later - but above all, no matter how tempting, you DO NOT invite them in for tea and

'Non-verbal' transmission has to do with the way zen is taught. It
especially concerns how the actual experience of Buddha Mind is passed
between teacher and student. The basis for it comes from the story of how Siddhartha Buddha passed on his enlightenment to one of his disciples during a teaching session at Vulture Peak. Instead of preaching to the multitudes
assembled, Siddhartha only held up a flower. Mahakashyapa smiled and
Siddhartha knew that he now understood. The point of the story and the term is that experience of Buddha Mind cannot be transmitted via words, spoken or written. The act of understanding words and the concepts they represent will not lead you to experiencing Buddha Mind. The actual experience is indescribable and any attempt to do so is not only ineffectual, but usually
misleading and can in fact be counterproductive.

That leads me into the last sentence of your post. Zen is not 'ABOVE your head', as some eclectic knowledge that you can't understand. Zen in fact is
very, very simple, so simple that it exists everywhere all the time
unnoticed. Zen has nothing to do with your head at all, as in your
intellect or any type of rational thinking. Zen is unfiltered,
unadulterated, direct and immediate experience of reality, which can only be done in the ABSENCE of your intellect which creates all dualism, including the concept of self. When you stop your intellectual (rational) processes you will lose your sense of self and all dualism. It is then and only then that you will be able to experience Buddha Mind, which has been there all along hidden behind all the rational static. Zazen is the only thing I know
that can help you do that, although there are other techniques such as
bowing or chanting that can reportedly bring you to the same place. IMNSHO, I think all religions were initially established to bring you to this very point. Unfortunately all religions I know of have lost sight of that and
instead have fallen back to stress rules and rituals. This is a good
example of the saying 'Can't see the forest for the trees.'

Enough for now. Thanks for your post. Please respond and let me know how
you see things. In the meantime, JUST SIT!


From: [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf
Of Sean Lukens
Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2008 3:32 AM
Subject: [Zen] zazen
Hi Bill,

I agree with your description of the two practices. Yes, I do differentiate
non-grasping and repressing or avoidance, although when I find myself
avoiding something I will sometimes label it as such - "avoidance" - and
then let go of that internal process.

I am new to the conceptual practices of Zen, so ideas such as "non- verbal transmission" are still above my head. Maybe some things Zen will always be
"above my head." Thanks for your input.


----- Original Message ----
From: Bill Smart <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Tuesday, August 5, 2008 10:53:17 PM
Subject: [Zen] Re: zazen
Sean, Sorry for the tardy reply, but I did not get your posting via
email as I normally do. I logged into the site today and saw your post.

I am not an expert in Vipassana, but I do live in Thailand where
Vipassana is widely practiced and have spent a short time at a
Vipassana training center and believe I do have some knowledge of it
and its teachings.

Your description of Vipassana meditation, '...sitting and not grasping
any thoughts, emotions, experience, etc,...', is also completely
applicable to zazen. I think it is important, however, to emphasis
that 'not grasping' does not mean 'rejecting' or 'avoiding'. 'Not
grasping' means 'not holding onto', or 'not forming attachments to'
thoughts, emotions, experience, etc...

From my experiences and observations the major differences between
Vispanna and zen are in the rites and rituals, rather than the
meditation. Also, as far as I can tell Vipassana does not recognize
mind-to-mind (non-verbal) transmission which goes to the core of zen

Hope this helps. Let me know what you thnk.


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