Roneen wrote:I have a question to ask which has to do with Satori/Kensho. I recall reading somewhere that simply because one has an satori or kensho experience that this is not an indication of nirvana or having arrived at buddha-mind with any degree of permanence. As I understand it, there is still great danger in the satori/kensho experience because it can mistaken buy the ego mind as something definitive or absolute and thereby more firmly ingrain delusion. IOW, the satori/kensho experience can be misleading and cause people to develop an erroneosu perception of reality, possibly, on the order of a David Koresh or Charlie Manson.
I was wondering if anyone could list some Buddhist writing (or any) that may speak more on how the kensho/satori experience can be dangerous or misleading? The only teaching I can remember regarding it is something Hakuin may ave mentioned about how he awoke and then became enraged or his ego was activated or something like that?! I could be wrong about the source.
The gist of this view of practice is that kensho is not, for the great majority of people, final completion of the Way or liberation. Subsequent cultivation is thus required. Kensho is constantly returned to as the basis of that cultivation, which is why it is considered the beginning or gate of Zen practice.
Danger exists when one-time kensho is thought to be itself sufficient, and so subsequent cultivation is not undertaken. Since delusion/dualistic habit is not uprooted it re-asserts itself...likely bolstered now by the belief that one has attained a special wisdom setting oneself apart from others. So kensho can become just another thing propping up self. The liberative energy and capacity of the recognition ultimately fades, and one is left with a memory of an experience that is clung to.
I would not say that kensho can make a Charles Manson. I would say that a potential Charles Manson experiencing kensho would likely come to use it to bolster existing deluded tendencies. Most of these kinds of figures who have so-called mystical experiences, however, are not experiencing kensho; they are experiencing what in Zen we'd call unified or deep samadhi states, in which one can feel one with the universe and so on. In other words: not wisdom, not experiences of no-self, but experiences of really big, expansive self transcending time, space and individual existence. The "I am God" and "I am beyond morality" kind of thing can come out of that.
Among a Zen teacher's jobs is to make sure that the student does not fall into these traps, and continues to cultivate in whatever manner is appropriate.
Some good resources already mentioned, like the Surangama and Hakuin's Keiso Dokuzui
(commentary on the 5 ranks, you can find it online). Torei Enji's Shumon Mujintoron
also lays out the path, from kensho through subsequent cultivation to its actualization as embodied realization.