In a recent post you wrote:
>I do disagree with Bill's point that Zen has always
>stood alone and that other beliefs have tried to
>incorporate it, I believe it is the opposite, Zen
>has been isolated from Zen Buddhism and incorporated
>into other people's beliefs. Or something like that.
This is an important point to me so I'd like to try to clarify it.
If zen is indeed a 'direct experience of reality', then the capability for
that experience that has existed 'forever', or at least as long as sentient
(self-aware) beings have existed. This experience certainly pre-dates
Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. That is why I say 'zen' pre-dates Buddhism,
Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc...
I don't believe that 'other beliefs' (religions) have tried to INCORPORATE
it (zen)'; I believe a direct experience of reality (zen) is the BASIS for
all these other beliefs, and that the differences we see today are due to
different culturally-based terms used to describe this experience, and lots
and lots of extraneous add-ons.
For example when I read the Bible I interpret accounts of directly
communicating with God (like Moses) or with the Archangel Gabriel (like
Mohammed), or the experiences Jesus had after fasting for 40 days in the
wilderness as equivalent to the Japanese Zen Buddhist term 'satori'. I
believe these are accounts of people directly experiencing reality, and then
trying to describe it in the best way they could. When Jesus says, 'I am
the Way, the Truth and the Light; and no one can come to the Father but by
me', to me he is saying 'I am not 'me' any longer. I am no longer just a
man, I'm the way, the truth, the light. I am no longer under the delusion I
have a self that is different and separate from other beings and other
things. I am no longer under the delusion of duality. 'I' cease to exist.
There is Only THIS. 'I' am my experience, nothing more and nothing less.
And having this experience (direct experience of reality - zen) as I have,
is the only way for you to 'come to the Father' (come home, return to the
origin, realize your Buddha Nature, become enlightened).
This is what I believe because I do believe most of the major religions were
started with good intent, and since I don't believe in actual deities I can
only assume the impetus for all of these is from the same source: 'God', or
a direct experience of reality - or what I choose to call zen.
All of this is just a comforting thought for me. It's not really important
in the long run. It's just a way I've found to rationalize other beliefs
without completely negating them.
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