Great explanation Bill. I always understood zen to be the following.

A special transmission outside the scriptures; 
No dependence upon words and letters; 
Direct pointing to the human mind; 
Seeing into one's own nature and attaining Buddhahood.

These 4 lines are what attracted me to zen. It is also why it is
plausible to be a Christian, Jew, etc and still practise zen. That is
my understanding at least. 

--- In, Jue Miao Jing Ming - 覺妙精明
> Right on, Brother Bill.  Anything written down, spoken about are just 
> forms to describe a direct "connection" to the universal life force and 
> wisdom.
> As Edgar stated numerous times, "nothing else matters..."....  When we 
> let go of our mind, we let go of our frame of reference.  No more 
> capable of judgment, comparison, categorization.  No more suffering....
> To lock in this synchronization, a chi based practice helps..
> _/\_
> >
> > Chris,
> >
> > 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
> > it (zen)'; I believe a direct experience of reality (zen) is the
> > all these other beliefs, and that the differences we see today are
due to
> > different culturally-based terms used to describe this experience,
> > 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
> > 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
> > There is Only THIS. 'I' am my experience, nothing more and nothing
> > 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
> > in the long run. It's just a way I've found to rationalize other
> > without completely negating them.
> >
> > ...Bill!
> >
> >


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