Thread: Zen Sickness

  1. #1

    Zen Sickness

    From the "Buddhism Now" website :

    Zen Sickness, by Zen Master Hakuin

    "Hakuin Zenji (1689-1769) describes the “Zen sickness” he contracted in his latter twenties and the methods he learned from the recluse Hakuyu in the mountains outside Kyoto that enabled him to cure the ailment."

    https://buddhismnow.com/2015/09/12/z...master-hakuin/


    Any comments about Hakuin's story?



  2. #2
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
    Location
    London UK
    Posts
    1,570
    Well, it really is a great story. I liked all the details and recognition of the "false enlightenment" which arose from relentless, rigorous practice.

    I see it as a fable containing a message or a lesson of some sort. But I can't understand the message that it gives.

    I don't understand the symbolism of the butter.

  3. #3
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    476
    Story was interesting, for me it was a parable about the dangers of cerebral meditation, over efforting controlled by expectation.

    The butter symbolism appears to me to be a way of describing a body scan type of meditation practice, it spoke to me of the importance of being embodied, the grounding influence of the body always being in the present.

  4. #4
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    385
    The story is about using different meditation strategies when things get rough. A version of the butter meditation is the tear of the Buddha meditation. Instead of butter you imagine a single tear falling from a giant Buddha, so large that there is no escape from the tear. It hits and envelopes your body, sinking through doing much the same as the butter in the story. Another version I like is to imagine yourself made of glass, with the tear entering your body when the top of your skull opens, leaving from the base of your body opening, taking all the bad stuff with it.

    There are many versions to try, such as when your body is a sort of kite, floating above 'you'. It is a useful strategy to throw these in occasionally to keep your practice fresh and to build up energy if it is lacking. I don't think there is any symbolism involved, rather visualisation skills to be developed as part of your practice.

  5. #5
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
    Location
    London UK
    Posts
    1,570
    Thanks, guys!

Los Angeles Mexico City London Colombo Kuala Lumpur Sydney
Thu, 12:18 AM Thu, 2:18 AM Thu, 8:18 AM Thu, 12:48 PM Thu, 3:18 PM Thu, 5:18 PM