Friday, May 18, 2012

Try This Simple Awareness Experiment for Instant Kensho

Let's try an experiment in simple, direct Awareness. Sit down, shut your eyes, and concentrate on trying to find your awareness in space. If it's in your head, what part of your head is it in? See if you can find the center of your awareness. Isn't it strange that your awareness seems to be as much "in" your chest, or shoulder, or feet, as it is inside your skull? Weird! Doesn't it seem not to be "in" anywhere at all, nor "outside," but somehow free of both? Can you find the exact point where your awareness originates? Try bending forward with your eyes shut, concentrating intensely not on body sensations but on your awareness itself. What is it doing? Is anything happening to it? Now straighten, just as slowly, to your former sitting posture. Did your awareness move in the least? Did it bend slowly forward when you did, then back? Or did it maintain the stillness of space Try it from side to side. Lean back, all with your eyes shut. You're aware of all this, clearly aware, but is the awareness moving at all? If you perceive in any way that the awareness IS moving, does it move at exactly the same rate as your bodily movement? Does it lag behind? Or jump forward? Concentrate with the finest possible attention until you suddenly see it.

What is this clear mysterious awareness that does not move when "you" move? Are you so sure who "you" are? Isn't it possible that "you" are merely this naked unmoving Awareness -- and nothing else? When it seizes upon movement in its lightning like way, does it not forget itself for an instant and tend to become identified with what moves? And is this not the sudden birth of all your "thinking"? Could this strange tendency of Awareness to forget itself in the midst of movement be the source of all the confusion and stress in life?

a note from hell zen

[NOTE: The clear and vivid Mind-Dharma of Zen sometimes gets claimed as a possession by religious types who cling to particular words and concepts. Here, for example is an odd comment posted on my short "Awareness experiment" essay by someone named "Tozen" who has started his own Zen religion online [Zen of Unborn Mind]:
That is not Kensho. Kensho is Spirits first encounter with its own pure (unborn) self-nature (svabhava or zìxìng i chinese),  which lies beyond the self-emtpty body consciousness generated by the skandhas.

If you knew genuine Chán, by your own genuine kensho and the awesome light arised from such a powerful experience, you would know this and teach it accordingly. But I see no trace of it 'here'.

Having read some of your articles,  I see you have a rare spiritual potential,  but also great inner resistance against the genuine dharma. This is because your spirit is divided between the greta desire for the inner (Buddhanature) and the refusal to let go of the percieved samsara and its countless phenomena.

You are essentially your own worst obstacle (by cause of great vasana)  before that which you desire most (Satori) which is the first enlightenment of many,  that frees you from all forms of ignorance and suffering and paves the path to annutara-samhuak-sambodhi.

What you are doing with this 'blog' is that you are publically peacocking your deep desire to 'teach' and 'share'. But you have nothing of true essence to teach,  much less share. You speak out of great ignorance and create difficult karma for yourself as you keep posting articles that reaches and 'misguides'  sentients following your imaginary notion of Zen, beings whom like yourself desires to discover the supreme dharma within themselves.

You should deepen your study, preferably with a good spiritual guide (dharma master) and then offer advice to those of lesser abilities. Contemplate what I have written here and find your true nature accordingly.

Best regards,


Unfortunately, well-meaning as it may be "Tozen's" conception of "the genuine dharma" is wildly anti-Zen. Yet his mistake is a subtle one.

"Tozen" is right that the pure original self-nature is described by Zen as "unborn" -- but this is not to render it impossibly remote from life. It's because life itself is seen in kensho to be "unborn." All phenomena are unborn. "From the beginning, not one thing exists," said the Sixth Patriarch Hui-Neng. That is the true realization of Zen. (To attain this realization, however, one must follow certain steps. It is not enough to repeat the words. You've got to see it for yourself.)

Unaware of this basic Zen insight, "Tozen" wrongly draws an absolute distinction the pure self nature of the unborn reality (e.g. "Naked Awareness) with a "self emtpty" [sic!] body consciousness generated by the skandhas." This results in a kind of dualistic spiritual babble in which "spirit" is supposed to be opposed to "matter."

According to the true ancient way of Zen from Bodhidharma to Lin-Chi, the so called skandhas generate absolutely nothing. How could what are, in the end, mere descriptive labels generate any kind of "consciousness" whatsoever? How could there be a "body consciousness" that is in essence different from Consciousness itself? When water freezes into ice cubes, it is still water. The Awareness-experiment is a way of looking for yourself to find out exactly where and how your unborn awareness forgets itself. Having seen this, you will be able to regain your Unborn Mind at any point, no matter what the sense-distractions going on.

"Tozen's" false assumptions about reality lead him into a dualism that would have made the Gnostic Mani blush, choosing to set the "Buddha Nature" against "perceived samsara and its countless phenomena" -- as if there were ever a choice to make between what has never for an instant been "two." "Samsara and Nirvana -- not a hair of difference!"

In a most un-Zen like style, "Tozen" disparages the idea of human beings instantly "discovering the supreme dharma within themselves." Huh! What else is Zen but kensho jobutsu --"seeing into one's nature to attain Buddhahood"? The supreme Dharma is definitely inside yourself. Where else would it be? Dharma is Mind, Mind is Dharma.

"Tozen" goes on, in an extremely condescending way, to suggest that I study with a real Dharma Master -- as if I hadn't already -- and advises me to "contemplate" the deep wisdom of his all-too fatuous and derivative remarks in order to find my true nature.

"Tozen" should try the Awareness experiment. If done with sincerity and resolve, it could give him a startling direct glimpse of the unchanging backdrop of all phenomenal changes and introduce him to the actual substance of his own"consciousness" -- the true Unborn Mind of Zen! But in order to taste This, he will first have to let go of dualistic religious teachings and, above all, cut away any craving for some elevated "spiritual" state such as annutara-samhuak-sambodhi [sic].

"How wonderful, deep at night/To hear cold wind howling in the eaves!"

"Gorgeous weather, isn't it. Come out to play! Shake the snow out of your ears and we'll build a snow Buddha."]

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