ZEN AND THE TRANSMISSION OF SPIRITUAL POWER


----------


the Wanderling



THE BUDDHA'S FLOWER

"Thus it has been said when Shakyamuni Buddha was in Grdhrakuta mountain, he twirled a flower in his finger and held it before his congregation. Everyone was silent. Only Maha Kashapa wholeheartedly smiled. Buddha said, 'I have the eye of the true teaching, the heart of Nirvana, the formless form, the mysterious gate of Dharma. Beyond the words and beyond all teachings to be transmitted, I now pass this on to Maha Kashapa.'"

CASE 6, The Mumonkan



DIRECT TRANSMISSION OF SPIRITUAL POWER:

"Direct Transmission" is typically associated as having its beginning with the Buddha holding up the flower at Vulture Peak, with the Venerable Maha Kashapa's Full Attainment occuring thereof through a sudden flash of insight and not a gradual process of reasoning.

After the death of the Buddha his idea or method of direct transmission, except for small pockets of steadfast adherents, slowly faded almost entirely into the mists of time. Century upon century later, one of those steadfast adherents, Bodhidharma, the First Patriarch of Zen Buddhism, came forward earning a special place in the history of Zen and Buddhism as a champion of a "mind to mind transmission" by continuing, or at the very least, re-establishing the Buddha-Maha Kashapa concept. Bodhidharma focused on the Enlightenment experience occurring in the master-disciple relationship, initiating an alternative to the text based teachings of the scholastic tradition. Albert Welter in T'ang Ch'an and the Myth of Bodhidharma writes that Bodhidharma's role in the transformation of Chinese Buddhism was widely acknowledged by the beginning of the Sung Dynasty. The early Sung Buddhist historian, Tsan-ning (919-1001) spoke positively of Bodhidharma's extreme critical interpretations of prevailing textual conventions within Chinese Buddhist scholasticism. He acknowledged Bodhidharma as the first to proclaim: "Directly point to the human mind; see one's nature and become a Buddha; do not establish words and letters."(source)

From that thesis, Zen master Huang Po (circa 770 - 850) taught what has come to be called Transmission of the Mind, that the nature of Mind cannot be transmitted by speech or by writing and is not a conceptual object which can be transmitted from person to person or from place to place --- but can only be transmitted by a sudden flash of intuitive insight if conceptual thinking is transcended. (see) It should be stated the transmission-event does not have to be triggered through the process of another person, only that the mind be ripe, a classical example being the bottom of the water pail breaking through with Chiyono, aka Mugai Nyodai, Japan's first female Zen master.

The the ancient and long-established --- yet never universal --- art of Direct Transmission first began showing up in the United States in the mid to late 1920s. One of the first major Zen Buddhists in America and the formost purveyor of Direct Transmission in the U.S. was a man named Yeita Sasaki. In 1928 Yeita Sasaki became a full-fledged Zen master receiving Inka Shomei from his teacher Sokatsu Shaku, and in the process taking the name Sokei-an. Sokei-an, as the prime mover in the advocacy of Direct Transmission, is quoted as saying in his own words:


"I am of the Zen sect. My special profession is to train students of Buddhism by the Zen method. Nowadays, there are many types of Zen teachers. One type, for example, teaches Zen through philosophical discourse; another, through so-called meditation; and still another direct from soul to soul. My way of teaching is the direct transmission of Zen from soul to soul."


Although well regarded and seldom argued with in American Zen circles, Direct Transmission never had a large vocal following in the United States. The most well known supporters of Direct Transmission in the U.S. were Sokei-an's wife Ruth Fuller; Mary Farkas, an ordained Rinzai priest and longtime director of The First Zen Institute of America; the anonymous American Zen master Alfred Pulyan; Pulyan's follower --- and teacher in his own right --- Richard Rose; and Pulyan's teacher, the mysterious and unnamed female teacher who, to my knowledge, was never instrumental providing insight or study-practice to anyone other than Pulyan.(see)


According to Vignana there are three ways of Transmission of Spiritual Power and they can be explained through example. Of the three, Vihangam Marg is the shortest (fastest) way to achieve the Final Reality:


Suppose there is a sweet and ripe fruit at the top of a tree. To enjoy the taste of the fruit,

  1. PIPILIKA MARG: An ant slowly comes to the trunk of a tree, slowly marches forward to the branch and enjoys the taste of the fruit. The way is known as Pipilika Marg (Ant-path).

  2. MARKAT MARG: Jumping from one tree to another a monkey comes from a distance to the branch of the tree and directly starts tasting the fruit. This way is known as Markat Marg (Monkey-Path).

  3. VIHANGAM MARG: A bird flying in the sky, directly pecks at the fruit with its beak and starts eating. This is known as Vihangam Marg (the Birds-Path, the Birds' Sky-way).

There is a fourth way for the Transmission of Spiritual Power NOT usually mentioned called APARKA MARG:

--4.- APARKA MARG (sannyasa-vidvat). Again, suppose there is a sweet and ripe fruit at the top of a tree:

To enjoy the taste of the fruit the ripe fruit falls to the ground just at the exact time as an unsuspecting hungry-being is there. Aparka Marg is the way Realization falls upon the Self. The Bhagavan Maharshi Sri Ramana would be a prime example as would the Sixth Patriarch of Zen Hui-neng who, as a young boy collecting firewood, experienced Awakening basically out of nowhere. Modern day examples would be Suzanne Segal as well as the instant transformation into the Absolute as found in:


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


It should be noted that Ramana was spontaneously Awakened to the Absolute at the age of seventeen basically out of nowhere, initially through what is known as his First, followed then several years later by his Second Death Experience, with little or no formal religious background prior to the first experience, and definitely without a personal guru in either experience.

The following quote, written by me, shows up as a footnote on my long time online page on M.A. Piggott said to be Ramana's first western female devotee, which speaks directly to, of, and about Pulyan's Teacher while interjecting within it's contents a fairly strong case toward her being instead, Ramana's first female western devotee despite her heavy advocate pro-advocate emphasis on Direct Transmission --- which is of course, pretty much opposite of those promulgated via Ramana and his minions:


"Because of her outlook (i.e., Pulyan's Teacher) and the spiritual lean of her disposition toward the Awakening process her visit never took traction on an official level. Even after Ramana's own personal invite, she never truly embraced the Ramana type non-dualistic school of Hindu philosophy, Advaita Vedanta, at least at a very high level. She chose instead, Zen and the precepts of Direct Transmission as her route to Enlightenment and what she advocated. Even so, according to herself and Ramana devotee Framji Dorabji, this American girl was there at the ashram under the invitation of and auspices of Sri Ramana himself, yet her name never shows up on any list of devotees or disciples, western or otherwise. It could be that the subject of translocation is too much of a hot button subject to introduce related to traditional devotees, OR if you are not on the approved list as the keepers of the flame see it, you don't exist."


An online reader of my works, who reports having done some rather intensive research into the background, teaching, and life of Alfred Pulyan, hence then by default Pulyan's teacher as well, says Pulyan talks very little about Ramana in his writings, perhaps not at all. Because of such, he questions any validity to my thesis in the next paragraph that Pulyan's teacher had any contact with Ramana, strongly casting the hint that such information most likely would have or should have welled up to become an integral part of Pulyan's ongoing repertoire.

One day when Pulyan's teacher and I were discussing me and my background she revealed a rather startling tid-bit of information regarding herself and her background. She was already somewhat familiar with mine having heard it at one time or the other from my mentor. Briefly, for those who may be unfamiliar with the story, as a young boy visiting the ashram of the venerated Indian holy man the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, according to Ramana and the scribes recording it, my mental barriers were reduced to nothingness only to end up then a few years later having that same experience becoming veiled to me through nothing less than a series of deeply unfortunate circumstances. However, Ramana, having through his grace, from a mere spark, ignited a spiritual fire and reduced my mental barriers to nothingness was not about to let any spiritual traveler, little boy or otherwise, slip back into the day-to-day quagmire of the Samsara world. So said, Ramana, paralleling many of his several fully recorded but little known translocation or bilocation experiences, personally interceded and implemented, for him, the rarely used supernormal perceptual states known in Sanskrit as Siddhis:

After refreshing Pulyan's teacher with my meeting with Ramana as presented above, she in turn told me of her similar or like experience wherein out of the blue Ramana appeared before her via what could be nothing other than translocation. That event is recorded as actually happening in several places in Ramana lore, most notedly in the extensive three volume set titled Nothing Ever Happened by David Godman on the life of Sri H. W. L. Poonja (1910-1997), AKA Poonjaji or Papaji. The same episode appears a second time in Poonja's somewhat abbreviated biography under the chapter titled Meeting Ramana Maharshi. Poonja has been said to have been one of the foremost disciples, devotees, followers or advocates of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi and his principles. So said, Poonja, who became a respected spiritual teacher in his own right, is considered to have been the real thing. So too, he was not some mystic saint in some far off place masked in ancient lore either, but a modern day personage that forthrightly reported his own 1944 personal experience involving translocation between himself and Sri Ramana, an experience so recorded by the scribes that leads directly to the mention of Pulyan's teacher and the translocation event she experienced.

Buddhism teaches that after a practitioner achieves a certain degree of realization, spiritual power develops. A person at the level of an Arhat is said to possess six supernatural powers. Even so, it is understood that it is through Enlightenment that supernatural powers are manifested, rather than that supernatural powers enhance Enlightenment. Furthermore, it is acknowledged as well that supernatural powers are not attainable exclusively JUST by Buddhists and Buddhists only. It is possible for anyone who has deep religious and spiritual cultivation to develop some kind of 'super-normal powers.


"Seekers along the path, especially so westerners who are interested basically in meditation or possibly learning the Way of Enlightenment a la Advaita Vedanta (the non-dualistic school of Hindu philosophy), via Buddhism, and/or Zen outside the tradition, are often uncomfortable when such concepts as the ability to fly or translocation are introduced into the mix --- although both flying and translocation maintain a rare but high profile in the history of the aforementioned philosophies or religions. When I write about such things as the Incident at Supai, it is bad enough, but translocation of gurus thousands of miles from India to America is too much for a lot of people. However it is not without precedent."


The reader of my works states in his research that if and when Pulyan's teacher mentions anyone at all along similar lines it is always J. Krishnamuriti, she apparently holding him in high regard according to the reader. Although it shows up now days I am not personally able to attest to Pulyan's teacher leaning toward or having a specific interest in J. Krishnamuriti in any fashion one way or the other. I don't recall her speaking of him per se.' If she did, it should have clicked something inside me to be able to recall it because I have a personal interest of sorts in J. Krishnamuriti (1895 - 1986), as well as having a page on him, albeit not currently online. The two of us actually met at his compound in Ojai, California many years ago because of some mutual rather interesting connections.[1]

t should be noted, as far as Pulyan's teacher is concerned, J. Krishnamuriti and Sri Ramana were diametrically opposed as to how they believed the route to the ultimate result should be. Ramana was a big scriptures guy. J. Krishnamuriti saw little or no need for them. If you read what I've written above about Pulyan's teacher's approach I can see where she could be drawn towards him. It aligns somewhat with my outside the scriptures lean a la Hui Neng, Bodhidhrama, and Te Shan who simply up and burnt all his books and commentaries on Zen.


The fast approach provides the quickest means to experience awareness beyond that normally associated with the ego. Its drawback, is the potential fragility of the ego to withstand such rapid and deep-reaching change--the very thing gradual paths strive to guard against. See DEATH OF THE EGO: The Buddhist View.

An analogous situation holds for the Exoteric and Esoteric schools. Exoteric traditions are more solid and balanced since they mostly work with the perceptions and energies of the physical plane. So, even though it is not uncommon to experience supernormal perceptual states known in Sanskrit as Siddhis, advancing through various Jhana stages, levels of Zen, or Vipassana Meditation, the emphasis of such schools is to continue grounding back to this earth --- to the sights, sounds, tastes and thoughts that comprise ordinary experience. The drawback is that the primal energies that underpin the physical world are only indirectly addressed.

Esoteric traditions, on the other hand, determine to apply themselves directly to the forces that underlie ordinary existence. They reach for the essential nature of the experience of living which manifests as subtle energy and consciousness. The drawback is that similar to reaching too far, too fast, into the psyche as for the fast traditions, esoteric work can reach too far, too fast into subtler fields of energy. This can manifest variously as, for instance, energetic imbalances of the body and mind, and uncontrolled effects on the environment and other beings.

NOTE: Traditionally, the approach to spirituality can be either Exoteric or Esoteric.

Exoteric refers to outer, more tangible aspects--things that we can see, touch, hear, smell, taste, and do. Examples would be praying, engaging in charitable and volunteer work, singing devotional songs, and attending lessons by a spiritual teacher.

Some forms of meditation such as Vipassana and Zen are said to be exoteric as well. For instance, Vipassana aims to keep the mind from wandering about by grounding it in actual experience. The mind is anchored more in the process than the content of direct sensory experience. So one would be just as aware of the sense of hearing as to what one is hearing. Likewise, Zen emphasizes experience in the current moment and takes ordinary everyday activity for its meditational object. However, in the end, Esoteric/Exoteric connotations are dualistic and traditionally not within the realm or scope of Zen.


My Mentor, the first American I truly began study-practice under, had himself reached the finality of the Absolute under the grace and light of the venerated Indian holy man the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. Either before or after his stay at the ashrama of the Maharshi, and I believe it was before --- even though it is not mentioned by William Somerset Maugham in his book that chronicles my mentor's spiritual quest --- he traveled to Bijapur to meet with another Indian holy man, Siddharameshwar Maharaj. The Maharaj taught that the only way one can reach Final Reality, that is, Enlightenment, is through what he called Vihangam Marg, the bird's way. For me, at the time of my initial study-practice, of course, I knew nothing of such things. I only know who the holy man is now because I was able to put together bits and pieces of information such as time and place with such clues as "the bird's way." The holy man had related to my mentor that only by hearing and practicing from the teachings of the Master and thinking over it, just like the bird flies from one tree to another, can one attain Awakening very fast. This is the shortest way to achieve the Final Reality. In that initially I had made little or no progress toward Enlightenment my mentor told me of Siddharameshwer's method.


AND NOW THIS:

The following quote is from Abbot John Daido Loori, M.R.O., given during the Soto School's Tokubetsu sesshin, Spring 1995 and explains transmission rather quickly:


"Moreover, the really wonderful thing about the transmission is that it has nothing to do with something going from A to B. We use the word 'transmission' but it is a little misleading. The first words out of the Buddha's mouth when he realized himself were: 'All sentient beings possess the Tathagatha's wisdom virtue.' Each and every one of us. The light that is transmitted is precisely the Buddha wisdom we are born with. Transmission doesn't give us something that is different from or outside of us. It is more a process of discovery, of realizing the inherent perfection that is the life of each one of us. Transmission doesn't happen at any one point in time. The formality of it may. One day your Dharma brother or sister is walking around with a black kesa, and suddenly the next day they're wearing a brown one - but the process is endless, the practice is endless. Each time we take the bodhi seat we verify and actualize the enlightenment of the Buddha, of all Buddhas past, present and future."(source)


Even so, the above notwithstanding, similar but one quarter the words, the following is from a question answer session with Sri Ramana:

Questioner: Swami Vivekananda says that a spiritual Guru can transfer spirituality substantially to the disciple.

Sri Ramana Maharshi: Is there a substance to be transferred? Transfer means eradication of the sense of being the disciple. The master does it. Not that the man was something at one time and metamorphosed later into another.(source)


Masterful!

All is not easy in the so to speak "Final Attainment of Enlightenment." Fast or slow, threatening hazards personify, often reaching the brink of death and sometimes beyond. If your mind is not ripe, forget it. See:


NO MIND - I AM THE SELF


MEDITATION APPS



The past several years has seen a proliferation of smartphone meditation apps come on the market, all designed in such a way to ease, assist, familiarize, and put into use meditation techniques for almost anybody interested in learning and implementing the various ins-and-outs of meditation, at least as the manufacturers of the apps view meditation.

Beyond the manufacturers advertisement and promotions, for every page that shows up on the internet or elsewhere in support of using the apps, there is an equal number of pages knocking their use. What the knocking their use people are selling varies, but the in support folk seem to be in line with the app builders and promoters because if nothing else, the apps sell --- and sell big time, especially so the two top brands, Headspace and Calm.

People use all kinds of things to enhance or increase their ability to accomplish things. They wear glasses to improve the clarity of their physical vision. Some use dental implants and dentures to chew, eat, or look better. The same for the use of prosthetics, crutches, canes, or wheelchairs. They help people get things done and walk or move about who otherwise might not be able to. But, if glasses to read or see aren't needed, or implants or dentures, or canes, crutches, or wheelchairs, why use them? Initially, with meditation, other than a coming to know what meditation is and what it can do if you do it, nothing much than the desire to do so and then doing it is required Painting legs on a snake doesn't make it walk any better. Electronically painting photon-pushing meditation legs to swath your synapses with trompe l'oeil may be for some, better than nothing. However, and this is one of the biggest however's ever, it is that better than nothing that makes it not, not nothing, the goal of meditation.


HEADSPACE OR CALM FOR MEDITATION: NEEDED OR NOT NEEDED?


SPIRITUAL ATTAINMENT AND VERBAL EXPRESSION TO THAT REALITY


ALL IS ILLUSION? A CHINESE-INDIAN DICHOTOMY IN ADVAITA AND ZEN



SEE ALSO:
HUI K'O: THE SECOND PATRIARCH OF ZEN


HUI SHEN: BHIKSHU



THE BLACK CONDOR: THE MAN WHO COULD FLY LIKE A BIRD
(please click)


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.


(PLEASE CLICK)


HOW TO ACHIEVE ENLIGHTENMENT


ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT IN A NUTSHELL


30 MINUTES TO ENLIGHTENMENT



"I would take the information so provided by the Wanderling with a grain of salt."

REALLY?

-------------AS SO GRACIOUSLY OFFERED BY
-------------A READER OF MY WORKS


(please click image)



DO YOU THINK FLYING IN

THE SKY IS MAGICAL?

(click image)


CLICK
HERE FOR
ENLIGHTENMENT

ON THE RAZOR'S
EDGE



FOR MORE ON W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM SEE:

WILLIAM SOMERSET MAUGHAM


E-MAIL
THE WANDERLING

(please click)



As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so 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.


















Footnote [1]

The connections between J. Krishnamuriti and me stemmed from his formal start in things spiritual that circulated around an early association with a religious group called Theosophists along with his association with a high level member of that organization named Annie Besant. He stumbled on to the Theosophists at a very early age ending up at their world headquarters in Adyar, India, in the process actually being all but adopted by Besant. Those of you familiar with my works know that as a very young boy I was taken by a couple to the ashram of the venerated Indian holy man the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi that ended in some startling results. The reason the couple went to the ashram in the first place was because they were in India to attend the 67th International Theosophists Convention held December 26 to 31, 1943 at the same Adyar world headquarters. When the convention was over they went to Ramana's ashram taking me with them.

It is my belief the childless couple I was fostered to, being surrounded by or immersed in as atmosphere created by the then deceased Annie Besant but strongly continued by American birth control activist Margaret Sanger is what forged the couple's attitude toward having or not having children and how I fit into the picture. While in America and during our early travels together, at least as the couple viewed it, everything must have worked out favorably, with nary a ripple. But, whatever happened to me under the auspices of the Maharshi in India I think scared or adversely impacted the woman of the couple profusely.

It apparently came to her that neither she nor her husband, both fully indoctrinated active participants in The Theosophical Society, were going to match or reach the level of Attainment advocated by the Society --- that is purity in their physical vestures --- and, IF following those dictates as set forth by the Society, rightly or wrongly, could never have children of their own. Rather than me helping the situation arriving at the level of Experience that came about by me sitting before the Bhagavan in Darshan, and with nothing remotely close for them, she was sick with the idea of no child of her own with me in reality being a non-birthed by her child originally passed off as hers --- a constant reminder or hindrance to her or their plight. Even though J. Krishnamuriti had long disavowed Theosophist philosophy, it was because of his early years with them that I sought him out.

For additional information please see Footnote [4] as found in:


AWAKENS THE CHILD OF THEOSOPHISTS

















VIGNANA:

Vignana is the difference between the knowledge we get from just reading or listening to Sutras and Sastras and the knowledge that we get from actual experience. It corresponds to the six senses: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, taste-consciousness, touch-consciousness, bodily consciousness, and mental consciousness. In the process, Vignana incorporates within the totality of itself both the Western idea of that which is "conscious' and "unconscious." For that reason it is difficult to translate by any single term.

Suppose we collect water from the ocean and bring it home. The ocean water will have a salt taste to it. When the same ocean water is converted by the sun's rays into vapor and then comes down as rain from the clouds, there is an amount of "sweetness" which is associated with the same water. The knowledge which we get by reading or listening to Sutras and Sastras compares with the water collected directly from the ocean. Vignana is comparable to the ocean water when it is converted into rain from the clouds -- that is, sweeter than the ocean water it originally came from.


FROM: the Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba during the Summer Course in Spirituality and Indian Culture
held for College Students at Brindavan, Whitefield, Bangalore District in May/June 1974
Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust


















THE BEST OF THE MAUGHAM BIOGRAPHIES:


SPIRITUAL GUIDES, GURUS, AND TEACHERS INFLUENTIAL IN THE RAZOR'S EDGE OTHER THAN THE MAHARSHI: