The goal of Zen Buddhism is directed towards achieving
mystical union with Buddha Mind because Buddha Mind is the basis
of all existence. In so doing, the Zennist comes to see for himself
that all things are born from this Mind; that in fact, all things
are subjoined to Buddha Mind, having their true commencement and
end in it.
The Zennist is one who faithfully strives to realize
Buddha Mind, studies the Buddhist canon, and practices many forms
of meditation. Ultimately, the Zennist perceives in a very real
sense what the Buddha actually intuited when he became enlightened.
It is the full and complete remembrance of the ultimate nature of
existence. Intuitively identifying directly with this mysterious
principle, which is uncreated, the Zennist discovers that he has
always been one with this mysterious principle.
This intuitive perception, usually called by its
Japanese name, 'Satori', is an indescribable mystical awakening
that transcends both human thought and sensory experience. At once,
the Zennist recognizes that from the very beginning he was never
really separated from Buddha Mind. Further, the sleep of ignorance,
the Zennist comprehends, was caused by his continuous clinging to
all kinds of phenomena, from gross manifestations to extremely subtle
manifestations, including even so-called religious experiences.
Realizing Buddha Mind, the Zennist eventually becomes,
in a very substantial way, detached from his illusory body. In this
sense, detachment in Buddhism goes far deeper than our ordinary
understanding of the word can convey. In its fullest sense, detachment
suggests disembodiment, such that the Zennist eventually comes to
transcend his mortal body, as it were, abiding in another body more
perfect and not liable to samsaric generation. Upon complete enlightenment,
the Zennist comes to see the mortal body to be empty and insubstantial.
As for the unique path of Zen Buddhism which makes
it possible for the Zennist to awaken to Buddha Mind, the pathway
of Zen sets about to remove the illusion that Buddha Mind is not
already attained. In addition, such a path is intended to free the
Zennist from all path-dependency because a path exists on account
of the goal not yet being attained. But when the goal is attained
the former path, therefore, becomes unnecessary. With regard to
path-dependency, many Buddhist practitioners mistake the path for
the goal confusing the search for wisdom with its actual possession.
Eventually, the one following the path and the one making the path,
i.e., Buddha Mind, are realized to be one and the same.
To conclude, at a mystical level, just like the
Buddha's own mysterious body that he attained long ago after his
own enlightenment, the Zennist likewise acquires a spiritual body
of thirty-two marks of excellence analogous to a coat of mail which
is bright like the moon in the month of Karttika (The Mahavastu).