The idea for this series occurred to me when contemplating one on George Grimm and his notion of “Self”. Then it struck me how someone in particular has thoroughly broken-down Grimm’s formulations on the matter, that someone being “The Zennist.” In point of fact, the Zennist’s foremost expertise on this can be considered as second to none as he is one of the most advanced, contemporary-sages when it comes to Ekacitta, or the One, Absolute Mind/Spirit. The Zennist’s long familiarity and vivacious acumen within the field of Zen Mysticism is vastly underrated when compared to more Western materialistically-bent and spiritually-myopic (purportedly Buddhist) “celebrities” whose focus is exclusively upon psychophysical components at the expense of the Transcendent. As the Zennist writes, “It almost goes without saying, but without the transcendent, there can be no mystical experience. Furthermore, without the transcendent, neither can there be genuine salvation and, hence, no actual deliverance from suffering.” He goes on to say that for those who hold fast to today’s fashionable notions of Zen, the “mystic” element is indeed an “inconvenient truth.” As a result, these incorrigible personages have downplayed the Zennist’s principles and teachings over the years, in particular during his “Dark Zen” days. Truth be told, they never took the time to digest the teachings, which even now speaks volumes. His Dark Zen Manual can be found in our library and one is encouraged to read and study it. It also needs to be underscored that since the inception of his blog, roughly circa 2007, the Zennist’s teachings have proven to be even more insightful and I for one have been studiously attentive to them over the years. This series will certainly expound upon the Zennist’s notions of Self, but also upon his profound insights into Zen Mysticism as a whole—including even some prevalent (and timely) sociological insights. We will survey the spectrum from Self, to authentic Zen- meditation, to his relationship and mystical encounters with “the kalyana-mitra (or virtuous spiritual friend)”.
For the Zennist, one who considers any aspect of Buddhism must be open to the eventual attainment of “gnosis, or super-intuition.” In light of this he is in excellent company with the Buddha:
“This doctrine is profound, hard to see, difficult to perceive, calm, sublime, beyond the sphere of thought (P., a-takka-āvacara), subtle, to be grasped only by sages” ( S. i. 136).
The Zennist always emphatically states that the adept must “transcendentally-detach” from one’s embodied existence. Without this detachment, then one is imprisoned within the body and fails to “precede” it with the “Light of Mahayana”. In line with this, zen meditation need not exclusively and incessantly focus on “sitting”, but rather be more concerned with the inner-quest that will bypass the psychophysical mechanism altogether empowering one to be more robustly attuned with those primordial energies that are at the apex of awakening. By merely joining a zen-center one will become more familiarized with mediocrity and triviality than transcending the mundane into the very spiritual heights of the Primordial Source. One needs to rather think “outside the box” and learn to soar heavenward on the wings of the Spirit:
Few are those among mankind
Who go beyond to the far shore.
The rest of the people merely run
Up and down along the bank.
When the Dhamma is rightly expounded
Those who practice in accord with the Dhamma
Are the people who will go beyond
The realm of Death so hard to cross.
How to break-free from the usual mind-rot of samsara? The Zennist advises that one learn to read the words of the Buddha—ALONE:
To read the Dhammapada by the light of a kerosene lamp in a cabin with no electricity or telephone, the nearest neighbor being seven miles away, is quite an experience. The force of the Buddha’s words seem to go deeper, much deeper, than reading the same text with the din of modern everyday life going on in the background.
To this extent he advises one to take on the lifestyle of a hermit—“even an urban hermit will do!” In this sense, Buddhism is an “introspective science”, the way to break-through the veil of incessant mental oscillations. Learn to be more like “the muni, i.e., the ecstatic man, one who has gone beyond the material plane of existence. He directly communes with spirit, which is beyond the nets of sensory consciousness.”
The greatest of solitaries is the muni. He is Shakya-muni recognized as the Buddha or awakened one. The qualities of a muni are further explored in the Sutta-Nipata. The muni has reached the other shore (210). He has overcome all, who knows all (211). He wanders alone (213). He has perceived the highest truth (219). He meditates aloof in the jungle (221). He is one who is freed from name and body (namakaya) and cannot be determined (1074).
Indeed, it is the muni who can, to utilize the words of the 1960’s group, The Doors: “Break on through to the other side.” The other side being communion with the primordial-self—to awaken AS IT learns to Recollect Itself. Unfortunately, modern society has marginalized gnosis and mysticism and sadly has relegated it to the dustbin. Yet, it is the only chance of awakening from the general malaise we consider to be civilization. The only “sane” chance of spiritually-surviving “in-tact” through these desperate times. The Zennist is like the archetype of the Hermit—the one who alone shines the light from his lantern upon the marketplace to see if any reasonable, or for that matter, sane person still exists. To paraphrase one of his advocates, let us then consider “the Light-bringer whose Light is unsurpassed.”