Many seekers along the path seem to be unaware of a very simple fact that there are actually many levels of Self-realization as exemplified in the Eight Jhana States, and the Five Varieties of Zen. There is an enormous difference between a semi low level spiritual insight such a Laya, a higher beginning level Awakening such as Kensho, and say Satori. Semantically, Kensho and Satori have virtually the same meaning and are often used interchangeably. In describing the Enlightenment of the Buddha and the patriarchs, however, it is customary to use the word Satori rather than Kensho, the term Satori implying a deeper experience. Compare both with Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi. Also, what may be of interest is WHAT stands in the WAY of Enlightenment, traditionally known as The Ten Fetters of Buddhism.
The above is from the inspiration of works by Aziz Kristof, now known as Anadi, a non-traditional Advaita Zen master.
YASUTANI HAKUUN ROSHI A brief yet indepth biography on Zen master Yasutani Hakuum Roshi as well as many Yasutani links for additional research.
LUANGPOR TEEAN Luangpor was a forty-five year old Buddhist monk that did not follow the formal rituals and recitation of the words like others in his order did. Even so, on the early morning of the eleventh day of the waxing moon, the eighth month of 1957, his mind reached the End of Suffering completely without traditional rituals or teachers.
ANN FARADAY Ann Faraday went to sleep one night repeating the words "I am, I am, I am, ...", and was more than a little astonished to awaken some hours later, laughing because the pundits had got it wrong: the truth was much more like "I am not."
JOHN WREN-LEWIS A close friend (and husband) of Ann Faraday, John Wren-Lewis experienced Awakening following a Near Death Experience. Includes previously unrecorded insights and biography.
CHAO-CHOU Chou-Chou (Zhaoshou, Joshu) is famous throughout Zen lore for replying "Mu," often taken as NO, to the query "Does a dog have the Buddha nature?"
ALFRED PULYAN An "American Zen Master" without the Zen nor the Buddhism, yet Enlightened in the Finality of the Absolute in the same tradition as in the spiritual Awakenings attributed to the ancient classical masters. Had a mailorder following and claimed a 70% success rate.
SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI Written in India by an east Indian this page offers a solid, indepth look into the life and background of the self-Enlightened sage of Arunachala. Many Ramana related links.
ED MUZIKA Ed Muzika experienced Enlightenment one morning simply taking a shower. His spiritual advisor was Robert Adams, a disciple of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, who studied three years under the grace and light of the Maharshi. Muzika is a direct recipient of Adam's efforts. For more on Robert Adams click HERE.
JAMES SWARTZ Talk about a character, Swartz out-wanderlings the Wanderling. He has traveled the world, a good part of it on foot, lived many years in India, and studied under many, many venerable holy men. His initial Awakening experience happened in, of all places, a post office in Waikiki. I must have read his Mystic by Default story of his life a half dozen times.
METTA ZETTY On February 5, 1997, Metta Zetty's life changed. She experienced something at a deep and fundamental level that she termed completely unexpected and inexplicable. She still is unable to fully comprehend with any rational mind or intellect, exactly what happened.
LIN CHI YI-SEN Founded one of the most influential schools of Zen Buddhism in China after Hui-neng. Spreading into Japan Lin Chi's works formed the basis of the Rinzai School.
HUI NENG The Sixth Patriarch of Zen. Enlightened as a young boy, Hui-neng secured the robe and bowl of the partiarchship through the now famous "stanza competition" under Hung Jen.
A CHILD OF THE CYBER-SANGHA Enlightenment from the internet?
It is often said that when you truly need a teacher --- or that which will function in lieu of a teacher --- one (or it) will appear. This may due to some inexplicable serendipity. It may be due to the fact that the seeker has searched deeply within himself or herself and determined what sort of instruction seems to be required. It could be swept over him or her like the First Death Experience of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, or the Bhagavan's little known Second Death Experience. Or it could be a spiritual desperation on the part of the seeker, or maybe no more than a successful sales pitch by a teacher (sincere or not). It may be a combination of the previous factors, or some intuitive awareness beyond expression. For whatever the reason, the saying often applies and the coming together of the results of inner and outside forces, some within one's control, some without, can be found most eloquently as they all come together in the following:
SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: THE LAST AMERICAN DARSHAN
RECOUNTING A YOUNG BOY'S NEARLY INSTANT TRANSFORMATION INTO THE ABSOLUTE DURING HIS ONLY DARSHAN WITH THE MAHARSHI
Without being excessively overly flipant here, but, if as Zen and eastern religion pundit Ken Wilber suggests in his book "One Taste" that there are probably only 1000 truly Enlightened beings currently inhabiting the planet, and, if as many other similar pundits weighing in saying that Wilber's estimate is way too generous is correct, the question arises, if Enlightenment can unfold for even half the amount, for whatever reasons that it did, can it also unfold for YOU? What STOPS Enlightenment from unfolding for every Tom, Dick and Harriette that comes down the pike? General people must buy the possiblity in some sense that if Enlightenment is not a full possibility it is at least not a totally remote out of the question possibility either. How about being possible, for example, Paris Hilton? Completely out of the question? Why? See:
PARIS HILTON AND THE ART OF ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT
STEPHEN HAWKING: BLACK HOLES, ENLIGHTENMENT, AND ZEN
Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.
ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT IN A NUTSHELL
SPIRITUAL GUIDES: PASS OR FAIL?
QUALITIES OF A DHARMA TEACHER
(WHAT THE BUDDHA AND THE SUTRAS SAY A DHARMA TEACHER SHOULD BE LIKE)
EXPERIENCE IN THE
ON THE RAZOR'S
As to the subject of donations, for those who may be so interested as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
The figure 1000 cited above in the sentence "only 1000 truly Enlightened beings currently inhabiting the planet" as stated, comes from eastern religion and Zen pundit Ken Wilber in his book "One Taste." The quote below, which is in total disagreement with Wilber's 1000 figure --- because it is way to LOW --- comes from James Swartz, known as Ram, in an interview titled Commentary on the Teachings of Ramana Maharshi and conducted by John Howells in January 2003, at Tiruvannamalai, South India:
"(W)hile enlightenment is rare with reference to the total number of people on the planet there are tens of thousands of Ďfullyí enlightened people worldwide and particularly in India. Iíve lived here many years and was introduced to the highest levels of Indian spirituality when I was quite young and Iíve lived with a number of enlightened people of the same caliber as Ramana and have personally met more than one hundred enlightened people. And this is just India. Although I am not an expert on Buddhism I know that it is a living enlightenment tradition with roots in the Veda that has been going on for a couple of thousand years, perhaps more. And there are undoubtedly many thousands of enlightened persons who gained it through that means; Tibetans, Indochinese, Sri Lankan and Japanese and now Europeans and Americans." (source)
Personally I am more totally in agreement with Swartz's figures --- which means, of course, opportunities for Englightenment are a lot greater than might typically assumed. Swartz is more of a real guy as atested to when exploring the many facets of his background.
Aziz Kristof is one of my all time favorites. Anytime I can suggest him to somebody, I do. Below are links to two articles related to Kristof that are well worth reading. One is by Steven van der Hut, the second by Kenneth Folk.
When van der Hut and Folk were still pups I had a very pro page about Aziz on the net titled AZIZ KRISTOF: A Biography, Albeit Somewhat Unauthorized and had it up for a long, long time. When he disappeared for a several years that page was the only real page related to Kristof that stayed on the net and like many of my pages was high enough up on Google search it was easy to find. Because of that for years people contacted me all the time for info on him. However, because all of his links had gone down and his email was closed or he was not responding, our contact ceased --- that is until one day he resurfaced as Anadi requesting all my Kristof links be changed to his new website. He also requested my Somewhat Unauthorized biography page be taken down because he had or was in the process of remaking himself --- and I guess didn't want any lingering beforethoughts (actually I had two Kristof pages). I duly complied to his request. I liked the page and my second one too. I was glad to find both van der Hut and Folk's pages as they get into a lot of stuff that makes sense that I just don't have time for anymore.
The two links below take you to the two pages that breakdown Aziz Kristof's teaching. The second link contains the contents of the first link except that the second linked page has inserts between the paragraphs where the author put in his explanation as to agreement or disagreement as to the author of the first page. Both are good reads. Personally I would suggest reading the first link first, then go into the second link for the comments, etc. The first linked article is by Steven van der Hut. The second by Kenneth Folk:
Even though I have long deleted the two Kristof pages under my auspices and the server URLs they appeared on is now defunct as well, both pages are still available in their entirety in their original form on the Wayback Machine. All that is required is the original URLs. They mesh well with both van der Hut and Folk.
I like the following observation by Folk:
"The above passages, although perhaps unnecessarily verbose, point nicely toward what I call rigpa. On the other hand, they could also be pointing to the Mahasi Sayadaw understanding of Nibbana, and the author glosses over the distinction. Mahasi and many other Vipassana adepts consider Nibbana (Sanskrit Nirvana) to be the complete cessation of consciousness, whereas Tibetan Dzogchan masters like Nyoshul Khenpo equate Nirvana with rigpa, a wide-awake direct apprehension of pure awareness."
Not that anybody is over concerned one way or the other with any opinion I may or may not express, I do like what he says for two reasons. One, as shows up in Doing Hard Time In A Zen Monastery, on the way back to the states following the hard time, I studied at the Mahasi Meditation Center in what was then called Rangoon, inturn having met the venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, the center's meditation master and Principal Preceptor several times. Even so, I fall more into the camp of the Tibetan Dzogchan masters like Nyoshul Khenpo equating Nirvana with rigpa, a wide-awake direct apprehension of pure awareness. The complete cessation of consciousness, although possibly a little out of context in how it is being used, for me, falls more into a Nirodha state than Nirvana.