Zen Sickness

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Crystal
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Zen Sickness

Post by Crystal » Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:17 am

desert_woodworker wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:31 am
[
For those who don't, and can't, there is no approach to emptiness outside the experience of it, and the living of it, within it, and from it.

Hail!


Good morning and a resounding Hail! to you, Joe.

I hope this isn't off topic but I seem to remember seeing something about "Zen emptiness sickness" somewhere in the past. What is it, to be precise?

_/|\_

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desert_woodworker
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Re: Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form

Post by desert_woodworker » Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:55 am

Crystal,

Hakuin, for one, I think, is said to have contracted such a bug, before he became more clarified and settled in his realization. His spiritual autobiography is a great read: Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin, by Hakuin Ekaku and Norman Waddell.

Whether it was "Emptiness" itself which gave him problems, or just the variegated state of the Human body reacting in extreme conditions, we don't know. The key thing is that he settled and lived to tell about it (all). ;)

With best rgds,

--Joe
Crystal wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:17 am
desert_woodworker wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:31 am
[
For those who don't, and can't, there is no approach to emptiness outside the experience of it, and the living of it, within it, and from it.

Hail!
Good morning and a resounding Hail! to you, Joe.

I hope this isn't off topic but I seem to remember seeing something about "Zen emptiness sickness" somewhere in the past. What is it, to be precise?

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Crystal
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Re: Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form

Post by Crystal » Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:20 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:55 am
Crystal,

Hakuin, for one, I think, is said to have contracted such a bug, before he became more clarified and settled in his realization. His spiritual autobiography is a great read: Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin, by Hakuin Ekaku and Norman Waddell.

Whether it was "Emptiness" itself which gave him problems, or just the variegated state of the Human body reacting in extreme conditions, we don't know. The key thing is that he settled and lived to tell about it (all). ;)

With best rgds,

--Joe
Hi Joe, thanks for the reference, I'll see if my local library can get it in next time I go down there. I had a look on the internet and found this article "Zen Sickess, by Zen Master Hakuin" and I'm going to print it out to read later this weekend when I have some spare time.

https://buddhismnow.com/2015/09/12/zen- ... er-hakuin/

With metta,

Crystal. _/|\_

.

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fuki
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Re: Zen Sickness

Post by fuki » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:29 pm

Crystal wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:17 am
I hope this isn't off topic but I seem to remember seeing something about "Zen emptiness sickness" somewhere in the past. What is it, to be precise?
Don't know about precise, but from my own memory data bank it was simply asserting the 'emptiness' of 'things' by which one misses the 'reality of appearances', which led to a state of indifference and other dis-eases. Only when mind is 'no-mind' is there no sickness or cure and nothing to be asserted/negated, added or subtracted. Unless it's functional.
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Caodemarte
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Re: Zen Sickness

Post by Caodemarte » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:56 pm

There are several “illnesses” in Zen practice: nervous exhaustion, forcefully over controlling or directing the mind, knowledge and wisdom becoming an obstacle, attachment to ideas about emptines, indifference, etc. The “Dangers of zazen” thread might be relevant here (viewtopic.php?f=4&t=372&hilit=Dangers+of+zazen).

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Re: Zen Sickness

Post by Meido » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:51 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:56 pm
by Caodemarte » Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:56 pm

There are several “illnesses” in Zen practice: nervous exhaustion, forcefully over controlling or directing the mind, knowledge and wisdom becoming an obstacle, attachment to ideas about emptines, indifference, etc.
Yes, exactly.

The so-called "Zen sickness" (zen byo), experienced by Hakuin as mentioned, is a psycho-physical condition. We might call it a physical and nervous breakdown. From the standpoint of traditional medical systems, it would be considered an energetic or wind disorder. Specifically, it can be caused by several things including overly severe, analytical, or otherwise incorrect practice, incorrect use of breath/posture, an awakening experience that knocks stuff loose but is not followed by correct practices to settle and integrate, etc. Aside from physical symptoms, it can be marked by a particular kind of manic behavior. There are various treatments for this condition, some of which Hakuin transmitted. Others are centered on diet, rest, and physical exercises that are useful.

"Emptiness sickness," aka becoming stuck in the "ghost cave," refers to a fixation on emptiness as a view, leading to subtle attachment to the extreme of nihilism. In practice it manifests primarily as an attachment to passive quietude, low energy, lack of bodily integration, a practice that only functions in ideal conditions, the misunderstanding that Zen practice = absence of thought (rather than realization that liberates thought), etc.
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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Crystal
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Re: Zen Sickness

Post by Crystal » Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:44 pm

Meido wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:51 am

The so-called "Zen sickness" (zen byo), experienced by Hakuin as mentioned, is a psycho-physical condition. We might call it a physical and nervous breakdown. From the standpoint of traditional medical systems, it would be considered an energetic or wind disorder. Specifically, it can be caused by several things including overly severe, analytical, or otherwise incorrect practice, incorrect use of breath/posture, an awakening experience that knocks stuff loose but is not followed by correct practices to settle and integrate, etc. Aside from physical symptoms, it can be marked by a particular kind of manic behavior. There are various treatments for this condition, some of which Hakuin transmitted. Others are centered on diet, rest, and physical exercises that are useful.

"Emptiness sickness," aka becoming stuck in the "ghost cave," refers to a fixation on emptiness as a view, leading to subtle attachment to the extreme of nihilism. In practice it manifests primarily as an attachment to passive quietude, low energy, lack of bodily integration, a practice that only functions in ideal conditions, the misunderstanding that Zen practice = absence of thought (rather than realization that liberates thought), etc.


Thank you very much. _/|\_

.

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fuki
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Re: Zen Sickness

Post by fuki » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:51 pm

Meido wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:51 am
The so-called "Zen sickness" (zen byo), experienced by Hakuin as mentioned, is a psycho-physical condition. We might call it a physical and nervous breakdown. From the standpoint of traditional medical systems, it would be considered an energetic or wind disorder. Specifically, it can be caused by several things including overly severe, analytical, or otherwise incorrect practice, incorrect use of breath/posture, an awakening experience that knocks stuff loose but is not followed by correct practices to settle and integrate, etc. Aside from physical symptoms, it can be marked by a particular kind of manic behavior. There are various treatments for this condition, some of which Hakuin transmitted. Others are centered on diet, rest, and physical exercises that are useful.
Sounds exactly what I experienced after a first "big breakthrough" years ago, after which I didn't practise for years nor wanted anything to do with it. Interesting enough out of several teachers whom I contacted (and confirmed the experience) not one of the formal Buddhist teachers had any advice or seemingly willingness (in my perception) to help me integrate this experience in daily life, which was disappointing to me and even demotivated me more to have anything to do with "spiritual paths/religions"
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Great Sage EofH
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Re: Zen Sickness

Post by Great Sage EofH » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:46 pm

Thanks for the interesting post.

It’s not unique to Zen. It’s a fairly common result of meditative practices. And too often, teachers know little about it. After all, their primary role is to point in the direction, not gain mastery of every aspect of all possible outcomes for all people. Superficially it’s similar to serotonin sickness, which is a side effect of some serotonin reuptake inhibitors used to treat depression. It’s kind of natural that the mind would do anything to get out of depression and into bliss-consciousness, regardless of the mental cost. I didn’t know the Hakuin story, so Thank You for that
"We are magical animals that roam" ~~ Roam

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Re: Zen Sickness

Post by guo gu » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:40 am

hi all,

a bit late in the conversation. but hopefully this will help some.

in addition to the sickness of emptiness and psychophysiological reactions from practice, there are other kinds of chan/zen sickness.

one common is continuous outpour of insights.
this happens when after an awakening, one has continuous intuitive understandings/insights into practically anything that s/he comes across, from scriptural/sutra passages, to poetry, to worldly knowledge. the problem is that one cannot stop oneself [if samadhi power is not strong enough]. the mind churns continuously, like information overload.

in the ming dynasty, master hanshan deqing experienced this and wrote about it in his diary. he had continuous outpour of poetry and couldn't stop himself from composing poetry and wrote them down in calligraphy for days. he was so scared that he forced himself to sit in meditation and just concentrated on stilling his mind. without knowing, he entered into samadhi. a week later, he came out and was cured of this sickness. sometimes practitioners have similar but not as intense as hanshan's experience where suddenly one understands sutra passages and all kinds of knowledge.

juhn ah who teaches at university of michigan published about this. not sure how much he translated hanshan's discussion of his experience though. it was his doctoral dissertation.

another one is attachment to insights.
this happens when one attaches to ecstatic experiences, including legitimate awakening experiences. after the experience, the self turns it around the reifies it as yet another thing to attach to. this is quite common among practitioners and teachers alike. at this point, the self is fully back on track. hence, we see all kinds of transgressions made by seasoned practitioners/teachers. the cause of this problem is lack of post-awakening instructions or arrogance [after self-attachment returns].

there are actually many other types (both real and hallucinatory) that come from misalignment of the four elements, diet, excessive sitting meditation, and external forces--all discussed in the great tiantai manual of maha cessation-contemplation. luckily this massive ten long chapter work has been translated in full by paul swanson and published just earlier this year. the english title is clear serenity, quiet insight. this work detail how to identify, understand the genesis, and heal sicknesses from meditation practice. for example, if one only practices cessation (stilling one's thoughts), sickness may arise that stem from the earth element (in concrete terms, this may refer to a range of experiences from hallucination of heaviness to overwhelming dull sensations); other problems may arise if one only practices contemplation. for those of you who do not know, tiantai buddhism is the foundation to all subsequent developments of chan/seon/zen/tien.

be well,
guo gu

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Re: Zen Sickness

Post by Dan74 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:01 am

:560: :bow2: :bow2: :bow2:

Very happy you "dropped in" and shared so much, Guo Gu.

Thank you.

_/|\_

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lindama
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Re: Zen Sickness

Post by lindama » Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:59 am

:bow2:
lol, they happen, I never could remember them and didn't write them down. faith, they are never far away. somehow, a response happens, if called.

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Larry
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Re: Zen Sickness

Post by Larry » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:51 am

Great post Guo Gu. Thank you.

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Re: Zen Sickness

Post by fuki » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:44 pm

guo gu wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:40 am
one common is continuous outpour of insights.
this happens when after an awakening, one has continuous intuitive understandings/insights into practically anything that s/he comes across, from scriptural/sutra passages, to poetry, to worldly knowledge. the problem is that one cannot stop oneself [if samadhi power is not strong enough]. the mind churns continuously, like information overload.
Reminds me of Consciousness and the Absolute, The Final Talks (sri niz)

Q: How did Maharaj get the name Nisargadatta?
M: At one time I was composing poems. It flow out continuously until
my guru cautioned me, " you are enjoying composing these poems too
much; give them up!"

What was he driving at? His objective was for me to merge in the
Absolute state instead of reveling in my being-ness.

This was the way I realized knowledge, not through mental
manipulation. My guru said: "this is so, and for me, it was finished!
If you continue in the realm of intellect you will become entangle
and lost in more and more concepts.

Consciousness is time flowing continuously. But I, the Absolute, will
not have its company eternally, because consciousness is time bound.
When this being-ness goes, the Absolute will not know `I Am".
Appearance and disappearance, birth and death, these are the
qualities of being-ness; they are not your qualities. You have
urinated and odor is coming from that-are you that odor?

Q: No, I am not.
M: This being-ness is like that urine. Can you be that being-ness?
Q: Absolutely not!
M: You required no more sadhana. For you, the words of the Guru are
final.
http://nisargadatta.net/conab.html
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Larry
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Re: Zen Sickness

Post by Larry » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:07 am

fuki wrote:
Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:44 pm
Q: How did Maharaj get the name Nisargadatta?
M: At one time I was composing poems. It flow out continuously until
my guru cautioned me, " you are enjoying composing these poems too
much; give them up!"

What was he driving at? His objective was for me to merge in the
Absolute state instead of reveling in my being-ness.
Interesting in the context of freewheeling posting :D

But the view could be a bit too Absolute. A bit too....Hindu :o
Last edited by Larry on Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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fuki
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Re: Zen Sickness

Post by fuki » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:21 am

Larry wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:07 am
Interesting in the context of freewheeling posting :D

The view could be a bit too Absolute. A bit too....Hindu :o
Not a view but medicine, ofcourse there is no need of any merging...pop a balloon, air "returns" to air :D

but I have a standard rule, Catch Buddhism with ketchup and Hindu with saté sauce :lol:
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Larry
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Re: Zen Sickness

Post by Larry » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:28 am

fuki wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:21 am
Larry wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:07 am
Interesting in the context of freewheeling posting :D

The view could be a bit too Absolute. A bit too....Hindu :o
Not a view but medicine
Good point. Particular advice for a particular person at a particular time.

My condiments to the chef :lol:

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