Satori & Samadhi

Satori and Samadhi.

"Zen tradition recognizes 2 distinct Enlightenment Experiences: Satori and Samadhi. Satori is "The Lightening Flash", an ultra-brief glimpse of Transcendental Reality. Satori gives one a split-second taste of Enlightenment, perhaps even Eternity. Practitioners suddenly sense something beyond ordinary Mind, beyond ego, something True; a taste of Perfection... What Western Psychologists call "Peak Experiences." This flash of Non-Dual Reality informs the Student of Zen they are "On to Something." The student digs in; begins to practice with a vigor.

In the history of Zen there are many cases of students achieving Enlightenment at very young ages: 18, 19, 20 years old through Satori. But Satori cannot be maintained. In fact, Satori can sometimes become an obsticle... These brief Enlightenment Experiences can produce a Zen Ego. A Zen competitiveness can set in among young men. Students try to out Zen one another; Who can kneel the longest? Who can be the Serenest...? But over time something interesting happens. Cases tell of 'deepenings', experiences of second Enlightenments and even third Enlightenments occurring later in life; in their late 40s, 50s, and 60s.

These cases of Enlightenment are known as Koans. You can read some of the most famous Koans in the Blue Cliff Record. There you will see that Zen Masters sometimes used crazy methods to push their young students beyond the limitations of Mind.

Some Zen Masters employed what is called "Crazy Wisdom." Brutal methods to produce a powerful Shock! The Lightening Flash! Satori... Koans record cases of students achieving Satori when the Master suddenly cut off an index finger; or when the Master threw them from a second story window, and when the Master killed the student's cat... For the origin of Crazy Wisdom you need look no further than Bodhidharma--the 26th Zen Patriach--who brought Buddhist Meditation and Yoga from India to China.

Legend says that once, Bodhidharma became so frustrated with himself for falling asleep during Meditation that he cut his eyelids off and discarded them. The legend goes on to say that where his eyelids fell, the first tea plants grew... This story explains how Zen monks began fueling their Meditation sessions with tea to produce a strong caffeine buzz to avoid sleepiness. Bodhidarma is always pictured with glaring eyes and a no nonsense expression on his face.

But what causes these 'Deepenings?' What leads to Samadhi? A permanent state of Enlightenment Beyond Mind and Ego...? I believe it is Maturity. Maturity gained from following a life time of Zen Practice. And then, another shock... In Zen, they say: 'Enlightment is a Happy Accident. Zen Meditation makes one Accident Prone.' Live long enough and Life begins taking things away from you. Life pushes you deeper towards your Soul and beyond the Mind. And what is it that is Deeper than Mind? For me the answer is simple: The Heart... When the Heart Opens, the Mind is transcended, The Ego--with all it's Lies and Strategies and Manipulation--is at last revealed. Even a Zen Ego... Then there is a True Awakening. Not Satori. Not a glimpse. But Samadhi. A state of Maturity. The Koan says: 'Joshu achieved Enlightenment at age 18. And at age 47, there was a Deepening...'

When the Heart Truly Sees, the Eyes at last are Opened, and then like Bodhidharma, they can never to be closed again."

Enough for today.

Pahka Dave