ED,

I not only agree but personally identify with your narrative below.  That is
generally how I came to this point in my zen practice.

I now realize I missed this part of your question in my last response.  My
reply listed some teachers and others I have known that I believe have
experienced and are able to varying degrees to maintain Buddha Mind.

Before I attempt to answer your questions I want to restate that I do not
consider zen a sub-set of Buddhism.  Buddhism is a religion that was built
up around zen.  Or sometimes I say Zen Buddhism is a Buddhist expression of
zen.  I also need to let you know that I almost never use the term
'enlightenment' because of the heavy baggage that terms carries, especially
in the West.

Your 3 questions with my responses are:

1.  All he can assert is that he has experienced mind-state that his
Teacher says are so-and-so.  And, so what?

A person who has halted his discriminating mind enabling direct, uncensored
experience does not need anyone to validate that experience.  The experience
might be validated by a Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher as 'kensho' or
'satori', or by a Western Zen Buddhist teacher as 'enlightenment', or by a
Christian priest as 'accepting Jesus' or 'giving yourself to God'.  A
validation of this sort only puts the experience in the context of a
religion.  The 'so what' is that you are then able to move forward in the
religion from this validated foundation.

If you believe as I do that zen is not a religious or even spiritual
practice then validations of this sort are not necessary. 

2.  What are the special characteristics of a person who has realized Budda
Nature?

There are no special external characteristics of a person who has realized
Buddha Nature.  If you were to track the actions of such a person 24x7 you
might eventually be able to build up a behavioral profile, but the only
hallmark of an enlightened person that I have been able to distinguish is
that they are decidedly unremarkable.  They are very plain, very common.
They are the type of person you might you might be introduced to at a party
or some other gathering and later not recall meeting them. 

3.  Of what value to humankind is his enlightenment, arrived at after the
expenditure of enormous time and effort?

An expectation of some kind of 'value to humankind' is a religious quality.
You could define in religious terms what that value is, but for me there is
no value nor needs there be.  Buddhism might say a enlightened being will
save all mankind.  Christianity might say a person who has accepted Jesus as
their Lord and Savior will do good deeds (and refrain from doing bad deeds).
I can only say it enables me to live and enjoy my life more fully.  The only
'value to mankind' that might be attached to that would be as an example, or
at least an alternative.

...Bill!

From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:zen_fo...@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
Of ED
Sent: Friday, November 26, 2010 11:25 PM
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [Zen] Zen, Mythology, Mind-states and Faith

  


Bill,

Assume that person A, who has never heard of Zen before, is made aware
of the literature, history and mythology of Zen, and about experiences
of 'Buddha Nature.'

Person A goes to a zendo, learns how to practice zazen, and finds that
it quietens his mind.

However, he is skeptical about claims, hinted at in Zen literature, and
reinforced by Zen teachers and Zen students about Buddha Nature and the
Ubermenschen status of deceased Zen Masters - and even of live ones.

This skepticism is no different than his skepticism of the specialness
claimed by Jews, Christians and Muslims concerning their respective
religions and selves.

Person A says to himself: There may be something to this Zen thing, or
maybe this is just mythology reinforced by interminable repetitions of
unverified and unverifyiable opinions of Zen Masters and mesmerized
students.

Person A then says to himself: Of course I can spend decades doing zazen
with great rigor, arrive at an exquisite mind-state, and then be
informed by roshi that I have realised kensho or even satori.

But, person A also says to himself: All I really know is that I have
experienced mind-states that are ineffable, and that it is my Master's
opinion that they are kensho-satori states - and I have faith in him.

But in Hindu and Buddhit literature and especially Theravada Buddhist
literature, there dozens of blissful mind-states that have been
identified, carefully defined, and classified.

Therefore, person A faces the following reality: All he can assert is
that he has experienced mind-state that his Teacher says are so-and-so.

And, so what?

What are the special characteristics of a person who has realized Budda
Nature?

Of what value to humankind is his enlightenment, arrived at after the
expenditure of enormous time and effort?

--ED



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