I have this freind who raves about The Razor's Edge, Somerset Maugham's novel about enlightenment, resulting from a journey to the East in search of same that Maugham actually took. The wanderling is said to be 69 years of age, the same as my freind who recommended the work so enthusiastically. Reading it now for the first time, I wonder is it may spark quests in another generation:
I'll do the whole thing eventually. I'm about 10% through it as it's laid out. I was just reading a Taiwanese master who has a TV show and a column in the paper there, and I got about one out of three of his Kong-ans, so I was just tickled pink about it.
Of course, as soon as I was feeling rather pleased with myself I was right back into ego. Then I was down on myself about that and the whole shame spiral again. Lol! If you have some koans (kong-ans) feel free to share. If'n you want to go through this together, let us know...
A little New Age alert here, as I notice some references to vortexes and Don Juan Matus.
Seeing that you are an HSP and from looking at your website, I feel this might appeal to your understanding. This is an example of "awakening 101" in the form of a vision quest. Some cultures maintain vision quest as a legitimate spiritual experience, while the average mainstream white American is likely to be either sent to a shrink, or they might say behind your back "Oh that's an artistic temperament, they're different, you know..."
I have to read more at the Awakening 101 site. I barely know what a koan is. I took an online course a few years ago, given by Brenda Shoshanna but coudn't really get into it. But now "my mind is ripe", and so I will read more at the A.101 site.
I am reading a Chinese book of Koans, as well as the awakening 101 and The Razor's edge, but what I really want are the Gateless Barrier and The Blue Cliff Record. It was at a used bookstore and when I went back, alas, it was gone.
Still, I am getting riper and ripening...
-------------------- "This is the way of peace: overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love...
The book is called How to Grow a Lotus Blossom, or How a Zen Buddhist Prepares for Death.
The artwork on plates which appears on many pages is a story unto itself. It was written in 1976 when she thought she was going to die, and when she had the first of sevral kensho experiences, where she remembered her past lives.
Incredible story of what happens when the mind is ripe....
Enjoy the weekend or strongend, as the case may be.
I understand that the Dalai Lama has recalled his past lives and their meaning, and won't discuss the details.
I read all 272 pages of How to Grow a Lotus Blossom, which I initially mistook from the artwork as a New Age 1970s sort of affair in one sitting and found it as stimulating as a really good detective novel, which is essentially what it is. She discovers heaven and hell, and recalls fifteen lives as a Christian monk and fourteen as a Buddhist. Talk about recycling.
I guess things have to go 'round and 'round before you can get off the merry-go-round.
Sometimes I feel different from other people, and, although I recognize that this is also a delusion and a phase to pass through, I can't help thinking that if the families of the 100 soldiers per month who are taking their own lives were interviewed, that it would touch people and it all would stop.
I have a friend who was asking me what I thought about past life regression. I don't even know if I believe in reincarnation. Maybe some have lived before, but now it isn't necessary to come back again because Christ put an end to that for those who believe. That's my take on it, anyway.
I looked at the page about Jiyu-Kennett. What is it that took your breath clean away?
I am not so interested in Buddhism. I am interested in the philosophy of zen, but even that seems to be the same thing... It's all the same. Be still and know that the answers are within. We don't find our peace and joy and love and God with our "rational" mind, and by searching outside ourselve.
Thomas Merton's Mystics and Zen Masters was one of the first books I read about it. Zen and the Art of Archery was another. Phil likes Bankei Zen.
Ramana Maharshi said that Jesus had one life and Buddha had six previous incarnations. Some reincarnate and some go somewhere else. I don't know...
I do know that this woman who started a successful Zen order in the West, perhaps the most successful had the proof in her pudding and the account seems very reliable. People usually don't write these things down or talk about them. They are like war veterans in that respect. People would not understand. Did she make up the experience in her own mind or see God or what?
I don't know for sure. Who was the man caught up into the Seventh Heaven that Paul spoke of? "Whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell, God Knoweth." It seems as if he were speaking of himself in the third person, and it reads like Jiyu-Kennett's description of kensho.
Vortexes, who knows. There are supposed to be some in Taos, New Mexico, Salem, Massacheusettes and in Telluride, Colorado, some in biblical locations, etc.
quote:This book plays like a Zen version of the film "Altered States". It is like a psychedelic journey to the buddhist afterlife but with a very personal connection to the narrator's perspective. Full of very religious themed illustrations that progresses like a picture book or graphic novel at times. It's very beautiful and haunting like a preview for the great journey that all go through. It seems like someone came back from a near death experience and shared their vision.
quote:Editorial Reviews Book Description The first part of this book recounts the religious experiences of Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett when she was gravely ill and near death in 1976. When a doctor told her she had three months to live, she began an intensive meditation retreat to prepare for death. How to Grow a Lotus Blossom is a diary, verbal and pictorial, of her spiritual experiences over the following ten months. It describes, in very personal terms, what in Zen is called the third kensho; it is invaluable in clarifying both the nature of kensho experience and the purpose of Zen training in the broadest sense.
At first glance the immensity of the experiences described here may leave a new meditator wondering what benefit there could be in studying them---they seem so removed from one's own experience but, when we look more closely, we begin to see parallels in our own practice and realize that, although there are many levels of religious experience, the fundamental process of growth is always the same, repeating itself in cycles. It is at this point that How to Grow a Lotus Blossom becomes a useful tool for all trainees regardless of their level of development.
The crucial difference between the first and third kensho is that the first reveals one's true spiritual nature while the latter is the complete acceptance of that nature as one's own. To realize Truth in one moment of time is one thing---to purify every aspect of oneself to such a degree that the spiritual vision becomes our normal everyday mind is quite another. Rev. Jiyu-Kennett has done Zen Buddhism a service in demystifying the kensho experience and clarifying the true purpose of religious training.
The second part of this revised edition includes additional visions, with commentaries, that have occurred since the events of 1976.
How to Grow a Lotus Blossom is handsomely covered with a durable plastic jacket with gold embossed lettering.
About the Author Born in England in 1924, Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett became a Buddhist at an early age, studying Theravada Buddhism. She was later introduced to Rinzai Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki in London, where she held membership in, and lectured at, the London Buddhist Society. She studied at Trinity College of Music, London, and Durham University, and pursued a career as a professional musician before meeting her future master, the Very Reverend Keido Chisan Koho Zenji.
Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett began her priest training in 1962, with her ordination into the Chinese Buddhist Sangha in Malaysia by the Very Reverend Seck Kim Seng, Archbishop of Malacca. She then continued her training in Japan under Koho Zenji, who was then Chief Abbot of Dai Hon Zan Sojiji, one of the two head temples of Soto Zen Buddhism in Japan. In 1963 she received Dharma Transmission from him and was later certified by him as a Roshi (Zen Master). She held several positions during her years in Japan including that of Foreign Guestmaster of Dai Hon Zan Sojiji and Abbess of her own temple in Mie Prefecture.
It had always been Koho Zenji's wish that Soto Zen Buddhism be successfully transmitted to the West by a Westerner. He worked very hard to make it possible for Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett to train in Japan and, after his death, she left Japan in order to carry out this task. In November 1969, Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett came to San Francisco on a lecture tour, and as her following of disciples grew rapidly, the Zen Mission Society was founded and moved to Mount Shasta, where Shasta Abbey was founded in November 1970. The "Zen Mission Society" was reorganized as "The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives" in 1978.
Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett served twenty-six years as Abbess and spiritual director of Shasta Abbey, ordaining and teaching monks and laypeople until her death on November 6, 1996. She founded Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey in England in 1972 and was Head of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, with its two monasteries and its priories and meditation groups in North America and Europe. Her written legacy as a Zen Master includes the books Zen is Eternal Life; How to Grow a Lotus Blossom; The Wild, White Goose; The Book of Life; and The Liturgy of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives for the Laity.
I was luck to find a copy, along with a half dozen of her tapes and Buddhist Scriptures and Serene Reflection Meditation all for a double sawbuck. I'm in seeker heaven....
Good grief, you're getting way ahead of me.. and now I have to read all these koans too. lol
"Fourth, read all one-hundred koans and their commentaries in the Blue Cliff Record and all forty-eight koans and their commentaries in the Mumonkan over and over until you are blue in the face...but ALWAYS read them by never taking your mind's eye off what you find by going to and reading Mu.
I was thinking about the straight-jacket. If we know that we are already wearing it, then we are half-way or more toward taking it off. Reading Thomas Merton's journals, and especially I am thinking of the ones from the 1950s, he is trying to be a good monk, a good priest, a good writer, etc. He beats up on himself alot for not being perfect. This is pretty typical of most of us, I think.
One time around 1967, he admits to to being a complete failure in all of these areas. Then he gets really happy, and it only took 26 years!
I heard this woman speak about getting sober and I told her that it was quite remarkable how she could babble coherently and it only took a year. She got it and she and a few others laughed when I said it. It had to be the Tao speaking...
I learned a saying called Rule #62, "thou shalt not take thyself too seriously." Another freind informed me that her brother-in-law is a Tibetan monk, and belly-laughs a great deal. So does the Dalai Lama, according to his freind Victor Chan.
"Laughter, the best medicine." -Reader's Digest
So, perhaps after staring at the wall for a few years and contemplating a koan and looking at this crazy-making thing called a brain and the utter futility of doing anything about it, we go very happily crazy and enjoy every crazy minute of it.
Since the time of Bodhidarma, tea and Zen have been connected. Fittingly, it was one of Japan's first Zen masters, Eisai, who brought tea seeds from China. And it was the Zen student Rikyu who refined the art of tea, cha-no-yu , in the sixteenth century.
Like Zen, the art of tea aims at simplification. It consists simply of boiling water, preparing tea and drinking it. Its spirit conjures up harmony, reverence, purity, tranquility, poverty, solitariness; and it has deeply influenced the arts of flower arranging, pottery and architecture. The ceremony itself is practiced in a siple thatched hut-- the "abode of vacancy."The untensils are simple and unpretentious , and there is nothing else in the room except perhaps an arrangement of flowers or a single painting.
No more than four or five guests can be in the tea room, and they are welcomed by the singing of the tea kettle-- pieces of iron are arranged inside it to create sounds that suggest a far-off waterfall or wind blowing through the pines. An elaborate set of rules dictate how thick green tea is whisked and served, how utensils should be passed and admired-- all. paradoxically, to achieve tea's state of artless art.
-The Little Zen Companion
-------------------- "This is the way of peace: overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love...
quote:Transformative learning involves experiencing a deep, structural shift in the basic premises of thought, feelings, and actions. It is a shift of consciousness that dramatically and irreversibly alters our way of being in the world. Such a shift involves our understanding of ourselves and our self-locations; our relationships with other humans and with the natural world; our understanding of relations of power in interlocking structures of class, race and gender; our body awarenesses, our visions of alternative approaches to living; and our sense of possibilities for social justice and peace and personal joy.