Zen Meditation Part 2
Q: How do we begin to practice Dark Zen
A: First, the proper mental attitude is
necessary. You cannot just sit down on a cushion, cross your legs, and hold your back
erect. That is not enough. It just becomes performative, you might say. One becomes a Zen
actor, in other words.
Q: Well, could you give me a few more details as
to how to frame the proper mental attitude?
A: Start this way. First, realize that all day
long we cling to a material body which we believe is our true identity. Next, understand
that what is clinging to the material body is not really in the body. We should conceive
that our true fundamental nature is like the moon overhead, in contrast to the moon in the
Q: Let me ask you this question. When I am aware
of my body, is that like the moon in the water?
A: Yes. Everything we sense or are aware of is
like the moon in the water. Even our awareness is limited to being like the moon in the
Q: What is not the moon in the water?
A: You might say our true-nature. All arises
from our true-nature, or the same, Buddha Mind. This means that everythingabsolutely
everythingexists on account of this nature. Nothing is outside of it. But now I have
only given you empty words. You need to merge with this nature which is within.
Q: Okay, I am beginning to get the picture. You
are saying that in DZM I am really above my body and its breathing like the moon overhead.
Is that right?
A: Yes. But now the problem is how do we
identify with our true nature which transcends our breathingeven this very body?
Q: Then, do we first follow our breath?
A: No. That doesnt make any sense if you
think about it. We need to backup and envisage being prior to the breath. Following the
breath leads to attachment. We must sense our breathing as it is generated. At that point
we enter true meditation sensing an energy-stream growing inside of us.
Q: That is hard to do. How do you
backup as you say?
A: Believe it or not, you are already there. But
by depending on the body and its breathing, you have forgotten the moon overhead! Face it,
all of us can get so focused on a subject that we forget our true nature. It is like movie
goers being absorbed in a movie, so much so that they imagine they are the character. They
fall into sympathy with their character. They feel fear when their character feels fear,
or laughs when he laughs. One lives as if they were that very character. Then, when the
movie is overwhamthe audience comes back to reality. Our situation is much the
same. Presently, we are in the movie of this body. At some point, we must come away from
the movie screen. [laughing]
Q: Getting back to energydo you feel an
energy-stream inside of you?
A: Yes. And I can increase it by being more of
that which is antecedent to my body and its various biological processes. One is aware of
a growing power, you might say, which is more powerful than the body.
Q: I must tell you I am having a difficult time
A: Dont try so hard. Just sense your
breathing, but be the one who is working the lung bellows! Dont get involved in the
breathing effect. Get involved in the breath making. That will put you prior to breathing.
It is the same with your body, too. Be before it. Think that what you really are flows
into the body and makes it work. Be the source of that inflow.
Q: I like your description. I get the sense that
I am surrounded by a life energy field and that my body is just a node in that field. My
problem is to orient myself to the field instead of the node. Is that about right?
A: If it helps to make the energy appear in your
body, I say that is pretty good.
Q: So, what is the deal with this energy, or as
you have mentioned, energy- stream?
A: Not wanting to sound too mysterious,
lets say that we only know Mr. Buddha by this energy which we shall call
Bodhisattva. In that respect, the Bodhisattva, as an energy, lies between our
Mr. Buddha and this corporeal hunk of impending disaster! It is also like a stream flowing
back to Mr. Buddhabut a stream of energy.
Q: Is it like the sun warming us, although we
are not the sun?
A: Yes, that is a very good analogy. We could
say that the Buddha is 93 million miles away from us, like the sun, yet we still feel his
warmth. In the same way when we line up right, being prior to our breathing, in a sense we
have joined with his power so that we sense this power within us.
Q: Are there other ways to sense this energy?
A: Yes. Visualize a tiny point in front of your
minds eye. Then project into it. Imagine that you are a beam of pure light going
towards it. You may feel some energy in your headwherever the point is. After you
do, then put the point in certain parts of your body and do the same. Again, as you do so,
again imagine that you are a beam going towards the point. Let me add that the finer the
point you can visualize, the more powerful the effect becomes.
Q: Hey, I just felt something! I feel an energy
in my head, as you said. I feel almost light headed. I cant believe it. Youre
right! This is unbelievable! Is that the way you sense it?
Q: I have sat in zazen for many years now. This
is the first time something like this has happened to me. What is more exciting, I think I
can do this at will. Just now I visualized the point and felt the energy again. Is this an
A: Yes it is. But why it works is that it is
natural. This is the way things really are. If you get lined up with the universe, you
will sense something extraordinary. Just let me say, that there is no need to sit on your
buns on a zafu. Just be prior to your breathing, or visualize a mental point beaming into
Q: What you have discovered is incredible. Could
you say that this is DZM?
A: I guess you could. As you can see, a sitting
posture is not required. Nor do you have to polish your body in the sense of trying to
turn this hunk of flesh into a mirror. DZM is about getting in touch with the true source
of things which is luminous Mind. By the way, another name for this Mind is
Buddha who is prior to all, transcending the world, being spontaneous.
Q: This is interesting. I didnt learn
about this at the Zen center I attended. Is this a part of Zen?
A: Well, Zen master Ejo taught this. He wrote
about this in detail in his book, Absorption in the Treasury of Light. Remember that true
meditation is not about sitting on your rump for hours on end. When you get in touch with
the lightenergy, that iswhich Ejo is talking about, it doesnt matter how
you sit. You are always immersed in itthat is true sitting, you might say. Let me
also say that one must believe that Lord Buddhas light flows into our world. This is
important. Why? Because we can tap into this light if we figure out how to do it. But not
everyone will believe this is possible. But today you have seen that it is possible. There
is much more energy available to you than you can imagine. But that is a difficult subject
to speak about to profane ears. Let me say that you are fortunate to have this tiny
Q: Let me ask you this. After you feel this
A: You must learn to make more of yourself
accessible to it. If you only wish to have a brief encounter with it, what is the point?
It is much more. When this energy is strong, your old problems dont have the same
power over you as they did before. The various kinds of suffering begin to dissolve. Soon
your are transported to a higher dimension of being.
Q: Is this mystical Zen?
A: Yes. You might say there are two kinds:
Conventional Zen and Mystical Zen. Conventional Zen is learning to sit on your rump,
enduring hours of pain. It is a form of low-level self-torture. It is for those who cling
to the conventional world; who are comfortable following a corpse. In Mystical Zen we call
this ghost sitting. However, in Mystical Zen we are seeking communion with our
luminous Mindnot our body. This is Zen master Ejos Zen which few are lucky to
discover. This is the Zen in which the adept is animated by Vairocana Buddha, symbolizing
radiant power. He learns how to tap into Vairocana, allowing his being to become immersed
in this special light. Can you feel that?
Q: Yes! How did you do that? I feel an intense
energy in my heart.
A: [laughing] That is Mr. Vairocana Buddha
giving you some juice. Let me put it this way. Great Zen masters like the Sixth Patriarch
and great Lamas, especially Dzogchen masters, have tapped into this power and know how to
become available to it. All the rest are following shadows. Most are Dharma errand boys
delivering dead, lifeless messages from a Buddha of their imagination. Worse, their
meditation is like an old dog chewing on a dry bone. What do they hope to gain from it?
Zen is not about gnawing on a dry bone. Nor is Buddhism the religion of errand boys. But
that is conventional wisdom. It is also the world of endless suffering.
Q: Without your guidance I would still be
sitting, getting nowhere. For some strange reason I know you have saved my life. I bow to
you. Thank you, my friend for your help.
A: I am glad to help. I
am alway delighted when someone becomes as crazy as I am. [laughing]
Meditation Part 1