Thread: Mystical Experiences in Zen

  1. #1

    Mystical Experiences in Zen

    Soto Zen teacher Brad Warner talks about mystical experiences (approx. 13 minutes)

    Comments welcome if you've watched the video.








  2. #2
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    Another interesting talk from Brad, which is of value to anyone practicing meditation. Meditation has an effect and things happen when you meditate. The key thing is to know what to think of things when they happen. If you have a teacher they will probably help you through such times, but for those going it alone they are much harder to come to terms with. His idea that they help you to break down the barriers holding you back from making progress along the path is pretty valid. You may need something to help you understand how you can be seeing the world in a way which is not perhaps the ideal way to see it.

    This view certainly explains the alienation which can arise, the feeling that everything you understood is mistaken and that you no longer see meaning in anything, even yourself. Maybe this is the nihilism which people can get stuck in if they are not careful. There are other experiences which may be interpreted as 'mystical' although they may be better explained as stuff that happens in your head when you meditate, such as dream-like things edging ito consciousness.

    On the plus side there are experiences which are life changing, or at the very least enough to keep you meditating and following the path for the rest of your life. Even if you choose not to carry on with meditation you can't unexperience what you have experienced, you can't unsee the possibility of other ways of understanding yourself and the world around you. I often describe seeing the sea for the first time. You can't unexperience seeing something like that if you have never seen anything other than a small lake or a stream.

    Talking of seeing things for the first time brings in Brad's idea of seeing things as a small child sees them, without preconceived ideas or the clutter of past experiences. Suzuki says something similar in his book. 'Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind' which I have read a number of times. Not only can we try to do this in our everyday experiences but we can bring it to our practice so that, say, you approach every meditation as a beginner with no expectations of what may happen.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by philg
    Another interesting talk from Brad
    Yes, I always enjoy Brad's videos because they're free from arrogance, waffle and woo!

    Quote Originally Posted by philg
    Talking of seeing things for the first time brings in Brad's idea of seeing things as a small child sees them, without preconceived ideas or the clutter of past experiences. Suzuki says something similar in his book. 'Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind'
    I recall Ven Thich Nhat Hanh also suggested looking at life with the eyes of a child in one of his books or videos.

    Doing walking or sitting meditation out of doors in wide open spaces in good weather, while resting the ever-busy conceptual mind, can be of benefit in a similar way - as the wonders of our beautiful planet manifest around us.



  4. #4
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Through Zazen intellectual thought becomes lighter and lighter; Intellectual thought is based in the discriminatory mind; as Brad says, discriminatory mind lessens through the continued practice of Zazen, it loses weight and importance in your daily life leaving the mind free to experience the unity of all dharmas.

    Good speech

  5. #5
    Forums Member Thinker's Avatar
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    I like the way you put that Esho!

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