If an ordinary man . . . could only see the five elements of his consciousness as void; the four physical elements as not constituting an 'I'; the real Mind as formless and neither coming nor going; his nature as something neither commencing at his birth nor perishing at his death, but as whole and motionless in its very depths; his Mind and environmental objects as one – if he could really accomplish this, he would receive Enlightenment in a flash. He would no longer be entangled by the Triple World; he would be a World-Transcendor. -Huang Po
Master Dried Shit Stick sometimes teaches an infallible method of attaining Satori. He claims this can be done in a single afternoon (a single instant, actually, but there is some working up to it). I sketch it out here with some trepidation, because it can be dangerous. One person I know tried it and went stark raving mad, or at least felt he was going stark raving mad. Nobody else noticed anything, which annoyed him a little. Luckily, this was not the case -- after a few days he snapped back completely and once again felt like his usual self. He said he was never going to touch Zen again. Ever.
Master Dried Shit Stick admitted that this method is not necessarily superior to Za-zen. "Sit down, face a wall, cut off thinking." That's what I'd always heard him teach before. But this method has some new twists, and the advantage of freshness.
Master Dried Shit Stick claims he invented this method after reading an aphorism by Nietzsche: "If you gaze long enough into the Abyss, the Abyss will gaze back into you" then recalling Joshu's "oak tree in the courtyard" koan. It occurred to him that a koan is the Abyss, and that a tree could be used just like a koan. Anyhow, here it is. At your own risk:
-Raise strong Ki, preferably by walking at a fast but not exhausting pace.
-Stop and gaze intensely at a tree (preferably a pine tree).
While gazing at the tree, suddenly cut off thinking and completely enter the resulting sensation of Great Doubt ("reckless bravado" is needed at this point; also, please note that the Great Doubt is not a matter of intellectual questions, since one's head should feel "completely empty as if all thoughts were burnt up in the great fire of your penetrating gaze" but of "a hair-raising sensation like what you might experience in confronting a tiger about to spring"; furthermore, this gaze should take in the tree all at once without breaking it down into parts or dwelling on details.)
"See it as it is; see it completely. Don't let any thoughts intervene. Don't drift off into a reverie. Don't fall into a trance. There it is! Do you see it?"
When asked what to do if this technique does not work, if one feels hopelessly stuck, Master Dried Shit Stick laughed and offered one further piece of advice: "See it [the tree] with your ears, or your tongue. Hear it with your eyes."!).
If one doesn't attain Satori using this method in a single instant of a single afternoon, Master Dried Shit Stick says that one should do it at the same time every day, always using the same tree, until the big breakthrough. "Exert yourself to the utmost. Strive on! Strive on!" (Huangbo).
At a certain point the Abyss will engulf you ("the most terrifying instant of your life -- don't draw back") followed by a flash of illumination ("laughing and crying, a cold sweat -- these are the usual signs") leading to "joy-filled amazement" and rebirth into a fantastic and amusing new world. "Strange and harmless walks in the midst of life." "A cold March wind playing with white clouds."
"Profound is the state of Treeness, lofty and beyond illusions!"