13 Oct 2014 kensho
13 Oct 2014 KENSHO
Just back from the transpersonal conference in Northampton, all about Mindfulness and Meditation. Several of the speakers claimed to be meditators, some for long periods, but nobody mentioned kensho. Now kensho is the typical Buddhist breakthrough experience, where the meditator realises his or her Buddha nature, through and through. Just sitting around doing breathing exercises or whatever has no particular merit, in my opinion, unless it does lead on to kensho, or some equally impressive and evidential breakthrough.
I had my first kensho experience, properly attested, at the Maenllwyd centre in Wales, under the tutelage of John Crook, a duly appointed member of an established lineage. By coincidence, it was the weekend of the 9/11 events in New York, and I had had deep experiences of being the victims, and also the pilots of the planes, involved in that happening. But my own experience of opening up to a realisation of my own Buddha nature was the most powerful thing, and a great moment for me.
On the weekend at Northampton, it occurred to me that virtually all the work being done on Mindfulness amounts only to the achievement of awareness, or self-awareness. This is worth while and valuable in itself, I believe, and I did a lot of that work myself in the 70s, mostly under the banner of Gestalt therapy. But it has to be said that the relationship between awareness and meditation is thin or non-existent. They are two quite different things, particularly when the meditation being taught is mostly concentrative meditation, when the closest form of meditation to awareness is mindfulness meditation – in other words, Vipassana or Satipatthana meditation – which is very different from concentrative meditation.
So I have been left with a lot of question marks out of that weekend, which I hope to explore further in due course.