Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Dark Zen and the Dream of the Ruined Land.

Today I woke, did yoga, and chanted as I have been doing for the last week on waking and before bed. I got a coffee with my last milk and went online. I found and downloaded the Cha'an (Japanese: Zen) Buddhist teachings of Hsi Yun. I downloaded multiple introductions to the Lotus Sutra and Amazon pages of commentaries and translations. I googled for the Platform Sutra, the Shorter and Longer Amida/Pure Land Sutras, two mysterious pages of quasi-Jungian dream-style buddhisms, the teachings and mantras of the Japanese Pureland and Shingon Sects, details of Nichiron subsect of Japanese buddhism, and, finally and most magically of all, stumbled upon a marvellous Western zen form, called Dark Zen.

All these I downloaded and filed away on the hard disk.

This has been my practice for nearly a week now. I have progressed through Theravada and Vajrayana forms to the far east Asian forms of Buddhism and now, today, here and now, to my enormous satisfaction, broken finally through to a genuinely Western form of Buddhist Zen, Dark Zen.

I spent two hours online and then, full of excitement, I felt compelled to apply the Dark Zen methodology.

Not only did it deepen the liminal range of awareness, it also made sense of the Dharana of Hsi Yun/Huang Po. It makes perfect sense to me that the Buddha does not want people to attach their sense of self to the breath and would merely use breath counting as a means to an end and not an end in itself.

So when the Dark Zen teaching instructs the dharma practicioner to attach oneself to what is antecendent to the breath, it takes a radical leap into a new phenomenological space. The hermeneutic here is that if breath, mind, senses, etc appear from the Buddha Mind, then by attending to the ground of being of any of these things one effectively is attending to Buddha Mind itself. This perfectly dovetails for me with the teachings of Huang Po, except unlike Hsi Yun the Dark Zen teachings are HOW-TOs!

So it seems to me a remarkable thing, this Dark Zen.

While meditating I slept and fell into a dream.

Falling past the liminal barrier, I wake shocked and battered by the experience, only to return again and again, attracted by the inner light I experience.

I experience combat in a strange ruined land. I am a mythic hero, in the dream. I return and return only to find myself repelled, so I return under darkness. I find refugees hidden upstairs in a variety store. I find giant machines like squids from the Matrix defend a vast black castle on a hill. Figures harass my every step, but I have appeared through a different way than usual. The usual way has a guardian who forces me to forget every time I enter or exit in dreamtime. Now I have evaded the guardian, but I cannot defeat him.

While investigating I find a free-ranging tormentor, the Cowboy, is chasing me. I cannot defeat him by my childish and pathetic means, pebbles and bits of cloth. I am utterly exposed to him.

Then time slows. I realise that here is an opportunity, not a problem. I realise that I have powers in the dream world that the Cowboy does not have. And in that instant I see his weakness. I strike his right cheekbone, impossibly fast, and he is defeated.

I wake filled with strangeness and shadow and mystery at having dreamt such familiar things. I have known for a long time that my dreams are censored, and this dream only deepens the mystery.


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