SATORI OR SPIRITUAL AWAKENING
I attended your Intensive Chi Kung Course in Malaysia nearly two years ago. I don't expect you to remember me because I know you've seen many people since, but I was the 16 year old who came with his mother (she didn't take the course). I remember you saying that the class had a particularly good group of people.
I've reached a point in my practice where I'm unsure what to do next. I have been awakened to the truth of what reality is. About 6 or 7 months ago I went through a period where I was having one almost every time I practiced. And then I started having them without even practicing chi kung. I may just be going on about my normal activities and it will flash before me when I'm calm or relaxed, and focused a little more than normal. For example, I was eating a meal today and “saw” that the food I was eating wasn't really there, was empty, and then “saw” that I “wasn't” there either!
And this is where I am at with my dilemma. What's next? It seems like I can “exist” in “cosmic reality” for short flashes almost on demand. You teach us to have aims and objectives. Where do I go from here? What aims and objectives should I set?-- Ryan, USA
Of course I remember you, Ryan. You, like Alex and many others, are some of my youngest and very intelligent students who have progressed exceedingly fast. I am very happy with your progress.
Fast progress may sometimes be a “problem”, and you are now experiencing one. Before discussing your “problem”, I would like to say how very fortunate you are, although you already know it, and have thanked me sincerely and profusely. If I remember correctly, you are one of those who say the course is worth more than a thousand times the fee you paid. You told me how joyful you were when chi opened your heart.
This reminder has a lot to do with your “problem”. What you have experienced is called in Zen terms “satori”, or spiritual awakening. In the past, people sacrificed a lot, including leaving family life, to enter monasteries to become monks to experience satori.
They chopped firewood, swept temple floors, listened to sermons, did a lot of meditation, buried themselves in koans, and sometimes were shouted at or hit by their masters (which were actually expedient means to help them) just to experience satori. They would be very happy and prostrated to their masters if they could attain a satori after a few years.
Now you have had many satoris just after two years of learning chi kung from me, and you practice not in the stringent environment of a monastery but in the comfort of your house. An analogy will enable you to view your situation better and offer you a few solutions.
Suppose a school-leaver set out to become a millionaire. He knew the road was long and difficult but he was ready to work hard. He knew that millionaires were made after they were 50. But for some reasons he became a billionaire at 25. For the first few years he was very happy. The first small car he bought was a great joy. But soon he became bored. His driver-driven limousine and palace-like mansion did not mean anything to him. He had a “problem”.
His “problem” is like yours, with two notable differences. One, it is easy to see his advantages of having a lot of money, but it is not easy to see your advantages of having a lot of chi. Two, your benefit is much greater than his, though most people may not believe or understand it. His benefit is mundane, limited to this world, but yours is cosmic, has unlimited potential, and when you are ready it enables you to solve all problems of life and death and attain infinite and eternal bliss!
It was for this reason that monks sacrificed all worldly pleasures to seek satori, which would confirm for them from their own direct experience the validity of their goal and methodology. They would then set out for the most noble task, to seek Enlightenment.
With some cosmic wisdom, what would you suggest for the young billionaire to overcome his “problem”? He could set out for his most noble task, according to his personal philosophy and vision, which might be building an international business empire where money never flowed dry, or becoming the greatest world philanthropist where no one ever got hungry.
Or, in a less idealistic but still very noble way, he could use his money to enhance his life and the lives of others, in whatever suitable ways he thinks fit. Thirdly, the most prosaic but perhaps the most practical, he could forget about the “problem” and enjoy his good fortune.
Now, have you got your own solutions? You could set out for the most noble task, leave your university, leave your family, leave everything to work for Enlightenment. Or you could choose the second course. Use your abundant energy and powerful mind to enhance your life and the lives of others. Or do the most practical. Forget about your “problem” and enjoy your fortune.
Obviously, the first course is not for you — yet. Your best choice, in my opinion, is a mixture of the second and the third, in whatever proportion and in whatever order. You could, for example, use your energy and mind — usually in ways you need not be technically conscious of — to make yourself, your mother and your teachers happy by doing well at university. When the going becomes tough, which would not occur often once your energy and mind have become powerful, you could forget about everything and just enjoy yourself listening to the leaves sing and the clouds dance.
But you must always remember. You must never, never, never willfully use your powerful energy and mind to harm anybody. This is a basic teaching of our school, much emphasized by Sigong Ho Fatt Nam.
The above is taken from Question 9 of Jan 2003 Part 2 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.