desert_woodworker wrote: ↑
Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:33 pm
Results of sits which are immediate, and which also have a long life, include a kind of (optical... ) vision, which I've written about before (perhaps here, I forget; but definitely at ZFI in the past), where vision is as if objects are emitting their own light, and as if all surfaces are wetted, and cleaned, so that the depth and saturation of color is remarkably deep. Blacks are remarkably black, and seem to have a 3-D depth which continues beneath or below their surface. . ...
I feel confident that this is a condition that helps to lead one to drop into samadhi states in sitting. As relaxation is important in most forms of zazen and other forms of sitting, some writers on the subject of samadhi write that one can continue to drop disturbances or "distress", as you come to notice them, one after the other. I suppose that's right, though I have thought of this as simply "relaxing", and relaxing perhaps more deeply with each breath. And sinking down.
Samadhi may indeed be key in Zen practice, but awakening and seeing one's original nature is primary, and sudden awakening in many cases comes as samadhi breaks-up suddenly, and, in surprise, one wakes out of it, in a transition like the bursting of a bubble or the swift tearing of a sheet of paper before one's open eyes, as all becomes clear, and completely stops, for weeks or months. Well, so it is for some, I'll say.
Effort and grace and natural purifications can ready a practitioner for susceptibility to the success of "pecking".
And the fact of the experience of the condition of awakening or the awakened state is so unimaginable, that there's no use trying to crack it up to anything familiar beforehand. Yet, it's easy to identify some of the causes, or impetuses, afterward. Pecking is one of them. Certain enabling purifications is another. And of course one's overall practice is a chief one.
With regard to kensho, I'm sure we discussed that. Waking-up suddenly out of samadhi is often the sudden dawning of awakening. I can't say whether kensho or awakening occurs at the breaking-up of a particular (numbered... ) jhana, but I can say it may occur at the sudden breaking-up of some samadhi-state. As I think is typical of Chan and Zen teachers, my own teacher did not discriminate as to or among "jhanas", but only referred to "samadhi-states" in the collective, or perhaps in their non-quantized gradations along the continuum of depths such as Guo Gu has written about here.
to the extent that awakening in Ch'an and Zen circles often occurs as a sudden awakening out of samadhi, then samadhi-states or jhana-states are definitely part of Zen (practice). So let me be among the first to admit it. Guo Gu has also written here, to no one's real surprise, I think, quote: "The key is Samadhi". I'll spill the beans that the monastics colloquially call it "getting-in".
This is stand-out, good, excellent!, commentary. And it is especially easy to implement, when one has already awakened, having had body and mind fall away under the care of a Ch'an master, using other methods and a different approach entirely. It's the body-and-mind-fallen-away that makes it a cinch, and only natural, to practice this way, as daily "maintenance" of one's realization and opening: it's what one needs, and what one sits down for.
As far as our -- one's -- attitude toward jhanas (or, again, toward samadhi-states generally) goes, It's like when, as aspiring long-distance runners we develop our running rather quickly to the point of arriving at the level of training that opens-up or affords the phenomenon of "second-wind". Second-wind ("gratuitous-grace endurance") becomes first-wind, and any run of almost any distance becomes easy and possible to extend. Two miles, five miles, twelve miles, it's all practicable, and really is no skin off one's nose anymore. It seems miraculous, thinking back to how it was as novices when even half-a-mile found one puffing, and feeling pains in the guts, which our coach told us just to pound with our fists to alleviate, while continuing to run.
Jhanas are a second-wind for meditators. They are more a result than a practice, but their continued practice deepens them. On sinking -- and sinking further -- there is less and less to characterize the samadhi-state.
Well, I'm sticking with jhanas and samadhi-states as "second-wind" for meditators (as a notion). I hadn't thought in those words before.
It's to be noted that the time interval before the "second-wind" comes-on after sitting-down decreases with continued practice, ...well, just as in running training. How 'bout that?
At any point in zazen -- or at any point in any other Buddhist sitting practice, or, say Christian Contemplative, or Sufi, sitting practice, or, etc --
...by all means, break up the rhythm of the breath. You may have been breathing very steadily, a few breaths per minute, for, say, 15 minutes. The body and "mind" become BORED with this, just inured to the boredom of it. It's a RUT. Drop a bit of life(!), into these waters: surprise the "mind". Challenge it. Do a few very short, "sniffy" sorts of breath, not long or deep at all. Quietly. Silently. Not all the same length or depth. Mix things up, when/where it comes to the rhythm and depth of the breath. When you feel a need to. Or, when you feel a WANT to. You be the Judge, Your Honor... .
This can enable the onset of samadhi, a sweet drip or drop into samadhi (a deep absorption). One drops into a new state, a deep state. Else, one doesn't. But, at least one has gained some experience with the practice of "bamboo-breath", and of intervening at a point when and where one will not disturb one's overall composure, or lack of distress, but will -- can -- deepen it considerably, miraculously, in almost an instant, or two... .