A little bit on kensho…

Michael McAlister Blog Leave a Comment

Over at digitalZENDO, there is an great piece on discussing the elusive experience of insight that Zennists call kensho:

Avoiding talking about Kensho, does not make use virtuous or spiritual. Maybe it’s the contrary, it perhaps avoiding a direct conversation that could be valuable.

I actually agree that at times we blow this one. A direct conversation about it is valuable. How we do it, however, really matters. For any teacher to, as an example, to offer up their experience as a model will only generate more attachment among their students. Especially if the students are far enough along the path to be desperate for enlightenment. On the other hand, totally clamming up about kensho generates attachment as well.

Jaye Seiho Morris points out that the work is important and takes guts:

It’s a unswerving and progressive effort towards “full awakening,” at the same time, learning to be helpful as possible to others, without thought to how I might personally benefit. Anything aiming for less than that target is settling.

Settling only results in a kind of purgatory where our egos know enough to be dangerous and our True Nature remains only partially realized. This partiality will always lead to suffering because there is a felt sense of being perpetually incomplete. It is best for all concerned to go all the way with the process of “uncovery” and refuse to settle for anything less that Dai Kensho, or the Great Awakening. At the same time, it is imperative that teachers remind their students that the experience of awakening is not awakening. Clinging to one’s experience of kensho, be it great or not, only lets the ego in the back door of the whole process, thus derailing it.

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