Kensho and Satori

Kensho and Satori

Postby mujushinkyo » Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:45 pm

Has anyone here had Kensho? What about Satori?

If so, does the whole universe seem different to you now? In what ways? Or is it pretty much the same as before?

If not, do you think you should experience Satori? Are you missing out on something, even though you do a lot of Zen and know a lot of Buddhist stuff, by not experiencing this?
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby Fu Ri Shin » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:49 am

How are you defining kensho and satori?
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:01 am

Are kensho and satori a matter of degree?
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby Fu Ri Shin » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:19 am

Oftentimes. They can also be interchangeable. Depends on the one using the phrases, which is why I'm checking.

There's also the fact that, judging by what I read in those links, Mujushinkyo may conflate kensho and samadhi. This is not a bad thing per se, but thus far I'm confused by the rhetoric.
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby mujushinkyo » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:30 am

Fu Ri Shin wrote:Oftentimes. They can also be interchangeable. Depends on the one using the phrases, which is why I'm checking.

There's also the fact that, judging by what I read in those links, Mujushinkyo may conflate kensho and samadhi. This is not a bad thing per se, but thus far I'm confused by the rhetoric.


Rhetoric? Rhetoric = words, right?
Yes, words are confusing.

I'd follow Charles Luk as a rough guide in terms of the meanings of kensho and satori.

I certainly confuse satori and samadhi. All the time.

But speaking in the old Zen terms there are kensho, satori, daigo.

I'm mainly interested in whether other people find that the universe seems different after satori.

You can say, well, satori is a meaningless word because you can't define it, and that's true -- yet it seems to change everything.
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby Matylda » Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:15 pm

mujushinkyo wrote:Has anyone here had Kensho? What about Satori?

If so, does the whole universe seem different to you now? In what ways? Or is it pretty much the same as before?

If not, do you think you should experience Satori? Are you missing out on something, even though you do a lot of Zen and know a lot of Buddhist stuff, by not experiencing this?

http://www.diamondsutrazen.blogspot.com
http://www.onibabazen.blogspot.com



What a strange question... why you do not ask your teacher?

basically realization should be a realization of no-self, selflesness. There is no should or should not... it is silly. For one thing for sure one is released from inner tension of clinging to the self, since it is clearly a construct or fabrication. For those who lack sharp faculty, there are stages, which go along deep understanding of profound selflessness of all phenomena. However in the real zen practice it is realization of buddhahood in an instant, just by clearly seeing ones nature. Or primordial nature. There is nothing beyond this natural state.

Kensho could be very easily mistaken for sort of stable state of meditation down to different experiences including nothingness etc. To avoid it one should know the key points of form and formless dhyanas. However those experiences are totally conditioned,in this sense fabricated. Kensho is what is original to anything, as it is said before your parents were born or before the universe was born. It is totally unconditioned state which is only known to those who realized it in a genuine way. And this unconditioned state is what is the nature of everything. Whether sentient or insentient.

Satori and kensho are used alternately though the original zen term is kensho. Satori is a term which appears in Chinese version of Sanskrit sutras right from the first translation ca. 2000 years ago and was used as what is translated into English as enlightenment. Kensho has different flavor and connotation. However I observed that today kensho is used if someone passes through koan or so. This is not what originally kensho meant. Passing koan or any other experience in zazen is actually irrelevant in zazen, and could be an obstacle when handled unskillfully. Any experiences are still on the level of baby, not really mature. And they almost do not include selflessness, causing one to grow nuts, or proud, simply in wrong way... That sort of thing we can compare to mathematics... if one learned number 1, and becomes overwhelmed by this pretending to be an expert in highest form of mathematics. This is silly.

Kenshi is an aim of zen practice. Any question about it, or should or should not, is misunderstanding of zazen and the whole zen path and goal.
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby Wesley1982 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:55 pm

mujushinkyo wrote:Has anyone here had Kensho? What about Satori?


I'll have look it up and see what Kensho or Satori means. It sounds like you're offering a traditional food dish ;)
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby Jikan » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:29 am

Matylda wrote:What a strange question... why you do not ask your teacher?

basically realization should be a realization of no-self, selflesness. There is no should or should not... it is silly.


:good: from beginning to end.

***
To the OP:

Many of us have been advised not to discuss kensho in public.
Need help getting on retreat? Want to support others in practice? Pay the Dana for Dharma forum a visit...

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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby Adumbra » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:19 am

It's nice to see that some people still recognize the finer distinctions of altered states of consciousness. There has been a tendency, in the west at least, to conflate the eastern neurological lingo: kensho, satori, samadhi, nirvana, moksha -- as if they were all describing the same reality. This is in contrast to yogis and buddhists in the east who DO distinguish -- sometimes very finely -- between the various altered states of consciousness that can be brought about through meditation. For the record I think 'kensho' is a lighter type of satori -- something you get when the mind finally gives up not only on thought, but on its own peculiar 'reality construct' and you get to see things free of conceptual prejudices (though not from sensory prejudices, which are wired into the human nervous system).

As for your question: Yes & very different. Though it's impossible to know for certain since I have no teacher, I have experienced states that a psyciatrist might describe as 'depersonalization' which seems very close to the Zen idea of the emptiness of dharmas. I've also had states which might be considered 'superpersonalization' in which my sense of identity expanded well beyond the arbitrary barrier of my skin. And while these states never persist for more than a few minutes they have had a lasting effect on my view of the world. I now realize how narrow and arbitrary the average human point of view is. Having been freed from my own reality construct for minutes at a time, I find it easier to jump into other people's reality constructs for the pure thrill of it; or even forget the human reality construct all together and experience what it's like to be a cat or stone. Not a very Buddhist application of Buddhist meditation, I will admit, but damn fun!

Here's a cool experiment: try looking at hardcore pornography while in a state of satori. You'll be amazed at how all the dirtiness (or sexiness, depending on your own sexual prejudices) seems to have disappeared and you are just left with the sight of funny looking mammals rubbing up against each other and moaning. Puts things into perspective, I can tell you. :tongue:
"The first thing you have to understand is that I don't believe in ANYTHING."
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby xabir » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:45 am

mujushinkyo wrote:Has anyone here had Kensho? What about Satori?

If so, does the whole universe seem different to you now? In what ways? Or is it pretty much the same as before?

If not, do you think you should experience Satori? Are you missing out on something, even though you do a lot of Zen and know a lot of Buddhist stuff, by not experiencing this?


You're this guy?



THE PRACTICE OF LIVING ZEN
or,
A DIRECT INTRODUCTION TO THE SUBTLE MYSTERY OF THE TRUE FLOWER

Q. What is it?

A. It's a two week intensive study with me, 10 hours of Skype or phone (or face to face, if you want to come to Oregon) plus texts, e-mails, &c.

Q. How much does it cost?
A. $2,000.

etc etc
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby Matylda » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:48 am

Adumbra wrote:Here's a cool experiment: try looking at hardcore pornography while in a state of satori. You'll be amazed at how all the dirtiness (or sexiness, depending on your own sexual prejudices) seems to have disappeared and you are just left with the sight of funny looking mammals rubbing up against each other and moaning. Puts things into perspective, I can tell you. :tongue:


Is it what you understand by ''satori''? I think you are deeply mistaken. What you describe generously from your own experience is rather shutting down sense faculties... it can happen during traumatic event. The state of satori is one of most difficult to fathom, an simple nothingness of depersonalization, or feeling of the body/mind boundless expense are all mistaken experiences of zazen.

Moreover what you describe as lack of concept and funny looking mammals rubbing up against each other and moaning shows complete misunderstanding of what satori is. Yes it is amazing if we can take a perspective since we are not used to it in daily events, but that has nothing to do with satori...
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:59 am

Matylda wrote:Yes it is amazing if we can take a perspective since we are not used to it in daily events, but that has nothing to do with satori...


Let's say that it's a start, to see that like and dislike are created by the mind. Identifying a neutral, non-interested state as satori is limited, sure. What the nature of mind is does not depend on different states of mind and it is present regardless of them. Whether something looks beautiful, ugly or uninteresting, these are just emotional states. Awareness itself is found in each of them, but it's not the same as any of them. Not abiding, not grasping, not identifying with any of them is being free. Clinging to neutrality therefore is mistaken.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby Adumbra » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:10 am

Yes it is amazing if we can take a perspective since we are not used to it in daily events, but that has nothing to do with satori...


You could be right. As I said, since I've never really discussed my experiences with a zen master I have no way of being certain. I simply remember reading books on zen and seeing in their descriptions of satori something very similar to what I have experienced.

But I suppose expectations themselves can color whatever we experience in meditation. Unique expections and conditioning lead to unique mental states. It would be impossible for a lay-person to reproduce all the nuances that lead to a monk experiencing genuine satori. The monk lives in a monastary, not at home. He dedicates almost all his/her time to meditation, unlike most people who do zazen as a hobby. In addition to this he has a teacher on hand at all times who is studying his reactions, correcting his mistakes, giving him koans. Such conditioning would lead to a different (and probably more powerful) meditative state than could be attained alone and at home.

Whether something looks beautiful, ugly or uninteresting, these are just emotional states. Awareness itself is found in each of them, but it's not the same as any of them. Not abiding, not grasping, not identifying with any of them is being free. Clinging to neutrality therefore is mistaken.


Oh, no clinging. I don't regard the neutral state as any better or more desirable than the others. For me it is more like a jumping off point. If I can look at something from a bare, neutral perspective, I can choose to see something new in it and change my habitual reaction to it. I think maintaining a true neutral state toward everything, if it were possible, would be counter-productive. The point is, after all, to stop re-acting to the world with either fear or desire so you can choose to be pro-active instead. Once you are pro-active regarding a certain subject such as, say, the sight of a very attractive woman, you are no longer a slave your passions.
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby Matylda » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:00 pm

A zen realization is not reserved only for monks living in a zen monastery. Main figure of illustrative example is Yuima/Vimalakirti who was a lay person, and very busy one. Unique expections and conditioning lead to unique mental states has nothing to do with zen. Mental states are only mental states and they cannot transcend the scope of illusory mind stream, which in fact has countless states.

Also what is described in books can be badly misleading. Genuine selflessness, true nature etc. are beyond books and words. There are key points which can help true zen master to distinguish what is genuine and what is fabricated about ones experience. But most important is master's realization which is the source of clear vision, and this in turn is source of wisdom and compassion, which one can rely on. That enlightened vision is basis of knowledge about all phenomena and existence. Self understanding is pretty misleading in zen, specially when it comes to satori or kensho.
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:10 pm

Matylda wrote:Self understanding is pretty misleading in zen, specially when it comes to satori or kensho.


Just a small note: any kind of understanding is misleading. If it's my view, or another's view, they are still a view. The correct view therefore is no view. How to be free from views? Discipline, study, practice.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby Matylda » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:24 pm

Astus wrote:
Matylda wrote:Self understanding is pretty misleading in zen, specially when it comes to satori or kensho.


Just a small note: any kind of understanding is misleading. If it's my view, or another's view, they are still a view. The correct view therefore is no view. How to be free from views? Discipline, study, practice.


:) wow, still no view is a view. if no view is considered one has to know also no-discipline, no-study, and no-practice. There is nothing wrong with dsp, as far as they help. Look at the famous verses in Tangyo, when the 6th patriarch Daikan Eno wrote in response to the head monk verse. Anyway Yuimakyo, or Vimalakirti nirdesha sutra is good source to have some idea about it. To point unconditioned and suppot it by conditioned is sort of illogical. But the final point is beyond all of these. Master Torei's teaching in his Discourse on the Inexhaustible Lamp is also helpful.
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:43 pm

Matylda wrote: :) wow, still no view is a view. if no view is considered one has to know also no-discipline, no-study, and no-practice. There is nothing wrong with dsp, as far as they help. Look at the famous verses in Tangyo, when the 6th patriarch Daikan Eno wrote in response to the head monk verse. Anyway Yuimakyo, or Vimalakirti nirdesha sutra is good source to have some idea about it. To point unconditioned and suppot it by conditioned is sort of illogical. But the final point is beyond all of these. Master Torei's teaching in his Discourse on the Inexhaustible Lamp is also helpful.


No view is a view if one fails to understand no view and makes it a view. Reification of emptiness is simply a wrong view.

That's what discipline, study and practice is for, to help. It is not illogical at all to follow "conditioned" methods (in fact, there are no other methods) in order to assist in reaching the unconditioned. Even when it is reduced to the simplest mindfulness practice, it is still a technique, just like Huineng's no-thought is a method.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby Matylda » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:02 pm

Astus wrote: No view is a view if one fails to understand no view and makes it a view. Reification of emptiness is simply a wrong view.

That's what discipline, study and practice is for, to help. It is not illogical at all to follow "conditioned" methods (in fact, there are no other methods) in order to assist in reaching the unconditioned. Even when it is reduced to the simplest mindfulness practice, it is still a technique, just like Huineng's no-thought is a method.


If we talk about general mahayana that can be true. What about zen? ''Method'' in Daikan's teaching is basically what could be easily misunderstood. He pointed it over and over again. Look again at his verse. It clears away all misconceptions.
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:11 pm

Matylda wrote:If we talk about general mahayana that can be true. What about zen? ''Method'' in Daikan's teaching is basically what could be easily misunderstood. He pointed it over and over again. Look again at his verse. It clears away all misconceptions.


I assume you mean this poem,

"Bodhi is fundamentally without any tree;
The bright mirror is also not a stand.
Fundamentally there is not a single thing—
Where could any dust be attracted?"


Now, here there is no method described, it is simply a statement that the nature is originally pure, therefore it doesn't have to be purified. That means the simplest method there is is to realise the nature of mind. The way to do that is what Huineng calls no-thought (Platform Sutra, ch. 4), that is, "to be without thought while in the midst of thought" and "the non-defilement of the mind in all states". And this is what I mentioned before.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Kensho and Satori

Postby mujushinkyo » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:10 pm

Adumbra wrote:It's nice to see that some people still recognize the finer distinctions of altered states of consciousness. There has been a tendency, in the west at least, to conflate the eastern neurological lingo: kensho, satori, samadhi, nirvana, moksha -- as if they were all describing the same reality. This is in contrast to yogis and buddhists in the east who DO distinguish -- sometimes very finely -- between the various altered states of consciousness that can be brought about through meditation. For the record I think 'kensho' is a lighter type of satori -- something you get when the mind finally gives up not only on thought, but on its own peculiar 'reality construct' and you get to see things free of conceptual prejudices (though not from sensory prejudices, which are wired into the human nervous system).

As for your question: Yes & very different. Though it's impossible to know for certain since I have no teacher, I have experienced states that a psyciatrist might describe as 'depersonalization' which seems very close to the Zen idea of the emptiness of dharmas. I've also had states which might be considered 'superpersonalization' in which my sense of identity expanded well beyond the arbitrary barrier of my skin. And while these states never persist for more than a few minutes they have had a lasting effect on my view of the world. I now realize how narrow and arbitrary the average human point of view is. Having been freed from my own reality construct for minutes at a time, I find it easier to jump into other people's reality constructs for the pure thrill of it; or even forget the human reality construct all together and experience what it's like to be a cat or stone. Not a very Buddhist application of Buddhist meditation, I will admit, but damn fun!

Here's a cool experiment: try looking at hardcore pornography while in a state of satori. You'll be amazed at how all the dirtiness (or sexiness, depending on your own sexual prejudices) seems to have disappeared and you are just left with the sight of funny looking mammals rubbing up against each other and moaning. Puts things into perspective, I can tell you. :tongue:


That's fascinating, man. Thanks for the good answer, and thanks for taking my question seriously.
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