Thank you so much for your informative comments which I will mull over
(together with Bill's.) I appreciate the brevity, precision and clarity
of the understandings and insights that you (and Bill) have afforded us.
Thanks again.


--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, mike brown <uerusub...@...> wrote:


(1) In meditation practice, is pain a necessary ingredient for the
breakthrough to bliss and ecstasy?

I don't think it's 100% necessary as I've experienced intense
bliss/ecstasy without experiencing pain beforehand (a spontaneous
mystical experience). However, as far as vipassana goes, the pain does
seem to precede the pleasure and is a necessary part of the
technique/teaching. And it *works*!

(2) Is this phenomenon similar to or identical with the bliss and
ecstasy reported by some or many masochists in BDSM practices?

Maybe, but the goal (I imagine...) of such a practice is only the desire
for such (transient) pleasure and any lessons from such an experience
are not recognised or even sought after.

(3) Is this experience explainable as a natural process, or does it call
for postulating the intervention of supra-natural forces?

Personally, I believe this is a completely natural process and was
recognised by the historical Buddha as such.

(4) Are these cycles of pain and bliss a necessary concomitant of the
process of realizing one's Buddha Nature?

Yes, I think so. Pain and bliss are the extremes of human experience
that we will all experience one way or another. To not understand the
transitory nature of these states will never give us a deep and valid
understanding of how to live with equanimity.

(5) Have Zen masters made any statements concerrning the naturalness or
supra-naturalness of 'Buddha Nature'.

My reading of the Zen masters who have gone before us points to the
complete naturalness and everydayness of 'Buddha Nature'. If anything,
it takes a supernatural effort to *not* see what is right in front of
our noses.


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