tingdzin wrote:Yes, Johnny Dangerous hit it on the head. There is no real point in discussing such things with anyone other than a teacher or very qualified senior student, since the experience is never the same as the telling of it, particularly if it is repeated over and over. Just as "people who show all soon become all show", people who tell all soon become all talk.
I believe Kapleau Roshi printed his students' accounts to encourage others to strive hard, and in that they show that a wide variety of people can, through hard work, actually break some barriers, they have some value. Unfortunately, they also make it easier for the charlatans and the self-deluded to go astray. And in the end, reading about other peoples' experiences is just a kind of spiritual pornography.
Actually, there is a point, and that's to demystify the experience of it. As well as to help people who are little experienced in the sense of length of practice, but are nonetheless having a legitimate spiritual experience come up, to have access to it, to help them understand it as they have it come up.
Not everyone has access to ideal Dharma teacher circumstances, (and sometimes actually getting access to a Dharma teacher to discuss these things can be very difficult for a new person who is having such things happen to them) and these experiences when they come up, don't often wait for bureaucracy, or protocol, or to be convenient for other people's time-frames or schedules, or what their opinion is of what that person should
be ready for. It doesn't really work that way.
When you need this stuff you need it, and you sometimes need it right away.
The Buddha talked about his kensho experiences in great detail.
There's entire Sutra's devoted to the subject, such as how He personally described His full enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, His past lives spelled out in great detail, etc.
This idea that they shouldn't be talked about is certainly not true in every tradition.
In Soto, Keizan talked about his in great detail, and even Dogen, while usually reticent on the subject, he also wrote about his own in explicit detail on more than one occasion.
It's certainly not something that is forbidden or immoral to talk about, it simply has to do with the reasons why you are doing it.
If you're trying to show off, and say "look at me, see how great I am" well, then that's probably the wrong reason.
If you're trying to teach on the subject, and/or give people more information on an often misunderstood subject, that's another thing entirely.
Again, it depends on the purpose, and why you are doing it.
You are right, that it can become a great distraction to people, but then again, so call all of the Dharma. For instance people can use the Dharma scriptures as "spiritual pornography" (so to speak, as you put it) to distract themselves by just constantly reading about it, and never practicing it.
It's still worth talking about, and putting it out there for people who do
need it though. You can't do much about whether people are going to use it to distract themselves, that's their choice, but you can do something about whether or not people who need it, get it. That you can
do something about. And it's isn't necessarily something that you can tell just by whether they are a disciple or not. Not everyone speaks about what their needs are, some people live in isolated parts of the country, other people may be new to Buddhism, but be having such experiences come up already, and need it right now anyway.
It's a false assumption to assume that just because someone's been doing it for a while, that they are more advanced. People can have kensho experiences or legitimate other spiritual experiences come up (that are actually not makyo, but real spiritual experiences) within the first time or couple times of their sitting, and they may need this information to help them.
It's arrogant to assume that human beings are able to keep track of everyone else's spiritual needs like that, in all circumstances. Sometimes people's needs fall outside of the box.
If people want to delude themselves with distraction, there's infinite numbers of ways for them to do that, and you can't stop them.
When people need help though, you need to provide it, or put it out there so they can get it, regardless how how "advanced" some people might think they are/ or should or should not be.
Someone's level of "advancement" can literally change overnight.
And now they need it. Right then.