Thank you, Roshi.
May I ask you please about some phenomenology? :
Not to get personal about private things, Jundo... . But perhaps you can discuss this in terms, if not of your own experience (though I hope you're able and open to do so, or will allow yourself), then perhaps in terms of what your students over the years of your teaching may report to you, or ask you about, say, in dokusan, or sanzen, even if you were to speak quite generally here, and not get into cases.
I ask this just by way of appreciating beauty, and not because I consider it in any way an essential development in one's practice, nor even as a "confirmatory-sign" that things are "going-well", or even going-wrong. But I am surprised there's not more notice made of it, as to me it is very striking.
The phenomenon is that of what I call "sesshin-vision".
One can have this kind of vision during the ordinary level of intensity of practice in one's daily life, but it can come on especially strongly on 7-day sesshin, on or about Day 3, say. It's not a kind of vision as in the awakened state, particularly (nor, only), but is present during any period of intensive practice. In daily-life practice it seems to come on with an amount of sitting, say, of 2+ hours per day, at a minimum, if practice is consistent. On sesshin, of course, we do much more than that.
Now, this is a kind of condition of vision NOT while one is sitting, but while one is moving, walking around, doing kinhin, doing samu, doing to dokusan, talking with the teacher, walking outside, working in one's daily life when not on sesshin, etc. Nothing seems to scare it away. It will disappear if practice falls below a minimum, though.
To describe: It's a very marked appearance of things as if wetted, with color of things quite saturated, not washed-out by a surface-covering of dust, or otherwise, by scattering. A deep, depth of color. And shadows appear very dark, but seem to have a depth to them, of 3 or "4" dimensions, as I have written. There's a cream-colored-ness of whites, a softness, not a blue harshness, and the boundaries of things appear as present and distinct as ever, but seem not to be as significant as at other times, in other words, things seem more related, or seem more to belong together, and are not estranged or abstracted singularities: Nature appears more continuous. In addition, objects seem to be emitting their own light, and the quality of light itself appears liquid, liquidy, wet. It is beautiful, beautiful!, and one can indeed softly take-in or contemplate just this changed, or opened, appearance of the face of the world, and enter some samadhi state, and sink, sink, down, down, and sit for hours. And, often, one does.
Now, is this "sesshin-vision" familiar? Do students mention it? Do you have any appreciations of it that you would share?
I've brought this up in person with a few teachers of mine, and they have words or a description for it that I'll share with you, some time. Their description, ascription, or attribution does not surprise me, but I wish they would have had more to say.
Ah, there's a mirror-like aspect to this sort of vision, looking a bit like seeing objects in a mirror. There's also a bit of an effect of white objects seeming to be made of wax, a sense of seeing some depth below the upper surface, and down into a translucent depth. There's also a sense as if everything is lighted by moonlight
, and although things may be brighter or much brighter than that, the light is soft, and pleasant.
I hope to hear from you on this. Thanks for so very kindly considering seriously some of the things I've had to say here. I've enjoyed our interchanges over the years very much.