Astus wrote:One can see strange things in front of oneself even by staring at the wall or the floor, if one stares long enough, and that's more about mental distraction than being aware and free. It doesn't really matter what kind of sensory experience one has during zazen, as that's not the point. I don't see how total darkness or open sky could make a difference in that, black or blue are both fine.
"Solid visions" are not something special. Look at the screen for example. "Pure visions" are not something special. Press on your eyes for some seconds. Then suddenly open your eyes and pure visions appear temporarily. But I'm not talking about visions/appearances in the context of ignorance.
If knowledge/transparency is immediate self-obvious and stabilised, pure visions like rays and lights appear absolutely natural as expression of knowledge/transparency, therefore primordially without any need for a base, just like that. This goes hand in hand, because of the "capacity" of knowledge/transparency. Therefore it's not a matter of choice, it's a matter of knowledge/transparency which is "unfolding". What is called "primordially without any need for a base" or "primordially just like that", is the immediate self-obvious "knowledge", not been "made" by anything. The best word I found to describe immediate self-obvious "knowledge" is "transparency"(-like). It's impossible to distinct knowledge/transparency from what appears, therefore it's impossible to distinct knowledge/transparency from "solid visions" like the day-to-day environment, or from "pure visions" like rays and lights. If transparency/knowledge is hidden because of artificial grasping, what is complementary to the conceptual "big brother", which is reified identified with everything, "solid vision" like "pure vision" seems to be completely lack of knowledge/transparency. Therefore they appear as an expression of "consciousness", which is an impermanent reified "state", based on grasping and the big brother. That's the reason, why pure visions based on ignorance can't unfold in that way like pure visions which are the inseparable expression of knowledge/transparency.
The experimental content in this topic is quite simple: If knowledge/transparency is obvious and relative stable, pure visions like rays and lights appear as expression of "knowledge/transparency", even with shikantaza, if shikantaza is really primordially natural just sitting. If "just sitting" is a practice or reifeid "non-practice", I do not call it "shikantaza". Note: I'm talking about "visions as inseparable expression of knowledge". I'm not talking about "visions as expression of "consciousness" or "ignorance". Now I wanna know from some soto brothers and sisters: "How is it for you, if you (primordially natural) just sit ... in darkness or in front of the sky ... because these are good "starting points" for pure visions, like to press on the eyes for some seconds, as I explained in the beginning. But maybe they are to religious/artificial and wanna sit only before a wall.
The natural capacity and development of knowledge/transparency, closes a important "gap". Even if immediate transparency/knowledge is obvious, "solid visions" do not appear in that way for the senses. Metaphor: If you put a straw in a glas of water, he appears broken, even if you know, that the straw isn't broken. In our case: Immediate "knowledge/transparency" is self-obvious, but for the senses "solid visions" seems to be "solid". I use the word "solid" as the counterpart of transparency/knowledge, not in a colloquial or reified way. How "the straw appears in the exact way, out of the karmic water"? That's important, because if "the straw appears in the exact way, out of the karmic water", there's no more chance for a "big brother" which seems to conceal transparency/knowledge.
For example, if transparency/knowledge is obvious and you looking at the sky like you looking at the sky, therefore neither distracted nor focused, "pure visions" appear as sounds, rays and lights. They appear even if transparency/knowledge is "hidden" because of artificial grasping, which is complementary to a "big brother". But in our case, "pure visions" are not to distinct from knowledge/transparency. They are the "expression" of obvious knowledge/transparency and appear the senses 'in exact that way'
; unlike to pure visions in the context of "artificial grasping".
If knowledge/transparency is "stabilised" while you looking at the sky like you looking at the sky, pure visions begin to develop, because there's neither grasping nor a "big brother". Artificial conceptualisations interrupts such visionary developments. Note: Visions appear and develop as the stability of "transparency/knowledge" develops; the two go together. At some point, they develop to big scenarios and in the (not really) "end", these "pure visions, which are the exact expression of obvious transparency/knowledge, are mixed up with the "solid vision"-environment, therefore "ignorance" has no more chance to conceal transparency/knowledge. The "straw appears really out of the "karmic" water".
[Sry for my bad english]