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 __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 5652 (20101126) __________ The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus. http://www.eset.com __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 5652 (20101126) __________ The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus. http://www.eset.com ------------------------------------ Current Book Discussion: any Zen book that you recently have read or are reading! Talk about it today!Yahoo! Groups Links <*> To visit your group on the web, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Zen_Forum/ <*> Your email settings: Individual Email | Traditional <*> To change settings online go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Zen_Forum/join (Yahoo! ID required) <*> To change settings via email: zen_forum-dig...@yahoogroups.com zen_forum-fullfeatu...@yahoogroups.com <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: zen_forum-unsubscr...@yahoogroups.com <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to: http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/