A Shamanistic Dimension


Just finished reading the Zennist’s post entitled Restoring our spiritual senses. It evokes a shamanistic-dimension to destabilize our “despiritualized culture.” Reading this for me was one of those synchronistic moments as my blog from this past summer, Notes from the Iron Stupa , had as its salient theme a Shamanistic-Dimension. As the Zennist states it may indeed take a “modern form of shamanism” accompanied with “spiritual artifacts” that include special forms of incense and ritualized techniques to help remedy the despiritualized material malaise. If one were to read from the blog category here, The Divine Liturgy of Vajrasattva, then one would be privy to a mystically-charged form of Spiritual Liturgy that I conduct alone once a week—accompanied with my monk’s robe and the ritual tools required. From reading the “About Us” tab above I have now totally devoted my life like a spiritual anchorite “choosing to withdraw from the mundane affairs of samsara in order to devote myself to lead a life of intense meditation/contemplation and dharma-study in Light of the Buddhadharma.” The very creation of this website was done in the spirit of creating an online-monastery, where one is free to withdraw for a while from the hustle and bustle and just savor the sweetness of the Buddhadharma.  It has become obvious to me for many years now that the monastic-hermetic route is a viable option in today’s increasingly dharma-ending age.

I recently purchased a vast 2-volume set entitled The Encyclopedia of Monasticism, as edited by William M. Johnston. It’s quite pricy but after much research was able to locate it for 1/3 of the cost as a Used-Like New set; interestingly enough, it arrived just awhile ago just after reading the Zennist’s column. I glanced-up, and a Fed-Ex truck pulled up and delivered it. I mention this since what the Zennist says is true, spirit can and does make its presence known in many new and marvelous ways. There’s indeed something to be said for living a “Spiritual Alternative Lifestyle”; when you do, Spirit will never let you down.

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10 Responses to A Shamanistic Dimension

  1. n. yeti says:

    You have truly given here a voice to quietism, so to speak, and though it seems ironic or oxymoronic even to view it that way, I do feel it is important in this busy and disordered world to have some kind of community for renunciants to connect and support each other. Of course my own situation makes it almost impossible to retreat fully, but there is a place I know where I can get as far away from people as I want from time to time. It gets kind of spooky sometimes, but it is helpful for unbroken concentration. I don’t know how you manage it fully, but it is good to know it can be done. As for shamanism, such practices can be useful tools, but sadly this is misunderstood by most people and the intuitive insights gained are totally overlooked, or worse, looked down upon, feared or even reviled. But it is the shaman who still finds unexplored terrain (the inward landscape) to venture into in a world already mapped and mined to the utmost. Some fear getting lost in such a fluid and intuitive art of introspection. But it is by getting lost that great discoveries are made. May you have a fruitful new year!

  2. Vajragoni says:

    n. yeti

    Having read your insights, both here and on the Zennist’s blog, it goes without saying that you have an intuitive grasp of venturing into what Wordsworth once penned as “Unknown Modes of Being.” In this sense you truly have a monastic-temperament that brackets the “disordered world” in favor of that “inward landscape”. Good to know that you have that “place” wherein you can retire from time to time from all the disorder and treasure That which can be discerned in such vein. The hope here is that this is such a place. May your spirit continue to be nurtured in the quest.

  3. n. yeti says:

    It humbles me too much to read this. Though it delights my ego, I cannot accept such praise, but I accept with open gratitude the intent with which it is offered. There is no ownership of insight, and in truth, I struggle each day toward the cessation of ignorance that rises in me again and again. I had a bit of a jolt of it just now, you see, but I am feeling like I tread now on the solid ground of Mind which (as you most certainly know) is a joy beyond any other, something not subject to the decay and deterioration of appearances. All my life I have looked around this world and sensed that it was not ultimately real (even that “I” am not entirely real); now, after many attempts and trial and error, after many lifetimes perhaps, after much, much study and effort, perhaps it will finally be possible to savor the infinite nectar of truth in this lifetime so wondrously revealed through contemplation and inner quietude. It feels like I have always known, but I am only now starting to remember and understand. In truth, if it is possible for someone like me, who has known the bleakest moments of the spirit, to stand at the foot of the Buddhas, even for an instant, it is possible for anyone, and I continue with this in mind, aware of the triviality of my own personhood or struggles, and the glory and radiance which gives rise to all beings great and small. Even earthworms, I see now as special beings, so infinitely special that anything I could say or do is simply not worthy of them. They are little buddhas who cannot see. My blessings to anyone who may read this, with my hopes and encouragement to persist in the way.

  4. Mahasidhra says:

    I just recently discovered the beauty of using incense in daily practice. While it’s of course not a major or important thing, it’s also true that practice happens on many levels, and one of them is the phenomenal level. We still carry this body around in the Saha realm. So I suspect there’s a deep symbolism in incense: how all the environment is perfumed by One smell (which in my mind is symbolism for one-taste of all dharmas, suchness). I’ve never researched this topic, it’s just my personal exp.

    As for shamanism, it’s very intriguing. But I wonder – what value do you still see in astrology today? It’s a genuine question. Does it involve really believing that the stars and constellations influence events, which is basically completely impossible from what we know about the Universe – or is there another dimension that makes astrology valuable?

  5. Mahasidhra says:

    I imagine this is all meant as symbolism that triggers certain areas of our spiritual lives; not as actually believing that stars influence our lives? But we must know that actual “shamanism” is not practiced like that, often it is practiced to gain worldly benefit. Not for spiritual awakening. Am I wrong?

  6. Mahasidhra says:

    (Also, by “you” I meant both Vajragoni, N. Yeti and Zennist. I am asking the question generally.)

    • Vajragoni says:


      I am not indicating any reference in the Zennist’s post as to “Astrology”. It is not a spiritual modality that interests me. Another esoteric tool does, however, and that is Tarot–in particular Tozen’s Dragon Mind of Zen Tarot. I refer to it daily as it provides unique spiritual guidance that highlights the given day. It is a spiritual-tool, much like the Zennist’s reference to Astrology. For instance, on a particular day when I visit family, the card “Karma” is usually drawn. This helps me to be aware of what possible karmic-dimensions and predispositions may unfold. As a point of daily spiritual-devotion, my day and focus is on the Dhyani-Buddhas as referenced by the blog “Eremitical Dhyani Meditations”.

      • Mahasidhra says:

        I guess it’s kind of like randomly opening a precious book and reading whatever is on that page? I do that sometimes.

        • Mahasidhra says:

          (I mean opening the book at a random page/paragraph and reading it.)

          • Vajragoni says:

            That’s not true in this case. The cards have always revealed the precise nature of the day; for instance in my referral the “karma” card always shows up, not the same as turning to the “same” page in your referral over and over again.

            Also, when it comes to arcanum like the tarot, one needs to “spiritually bond” with a set of cards; this is true in my case with the Dragon Mind of Zen deck.

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