AFTER EXPERIENCING ENLIGHTENMENT IN A ZEN TRAINING
the following deepening occurred. Author is the wife of Philip Kapleau, Delancey Kapleau.
"One spring day as I was working in the garden the air seemed to shiver in a strange way, as though the usual sequence of time had opened into a new dimension, and I became aware that something untoward was about to happen, if not that day, then soon. Hoping to prepare in some way for it, I doubled my regular sittings of zazen and studied Buddhist books late into each night.
A few evenings later, after carefully sifting through the Tibetan Book of the Dead and then taking my bath, I sat in front of a painting of the Buddha and listened quietly by candlelight to the slow movement of Beethoven's A Minor Quartet, a deep expression of man's self-renunciation, and then went to bed.
The next morning, just after breakfast, I suddenly felt as though I were being struck by a bolt of lightning, and I began to tremble. All at once the whole trauma of my difficult birth flashed into my mind. Like a key, this opened dark rooms of secret resentments and hidden fears, which flowed out of me like poisons. Tears gushed out and so weakened me I had to lie down. Yet a deep happiness was there. . . .
Slowly my focus changed: "I'm dead! There's nothing to call me! There never was a me! It's an allegory, a mental image, a pattern upon which nothing was ever modeled." I grew dizzy with delight. Solid objects appeared as shadows, and everything my eyes fell upon was radiantly beautiful. These words can only hint at what was vividly revealed to me in the days that followed:
1) The world as apprehended by the senses is the least true (in the sense of complete), the least dynamic (in the sense of the eternal movement), and the least important in a vast "geometry of existence" of unspeakable profundity, whose rate of vibration, whose intensity and subtlety are beyond verbal description.
2) Words are cumbersome and primitive-almost useless in trying to suggest the true multi-dimensional workings of an indescribably vast complex of dynamic force, to contact which one must abandon one's normal level of consciousness.
3) The least act, such as eating or scratching an arm, is not at all simple. It is merely a visible moment in a network of causes and effects reaching forward into Unknowingness and back into an infinity of Silence, where individual consciousness cannot even enter. There is truly nothing to know, nothing that can be known.
4) The physical world is an infinity of movement, of Time-Existence. But simultaneously it is an infinity of Silence and Voidness. Each object is thus transparent. Everything has its own special inner character, its own karma or "life in time," but at the same time there is no place where there is emptiness, where one object does not flow into another.
5) The least expression of weather variation, a soft rain or a gentle breeze, touches me as a-what can I say?-miracle of unmatched wonder, beauty, and goodness. There is nothing to do: just to be is a supremely total act.
6) Looking into faces, I see something of the long chain of their past existence, and sometimes something of the future. The past ones recede behind the outer face like ever-finer tissues, yet are at the same time impregnated in it.
7) When I am in solitude I can hear a "song" coming forth from everything. Each and every thing has its own song; even moods, thoughts, and feelings have their finer songs. Yet beneath this variety they intermingle in one inexpressibly vast unity.
8) I feel a love which, without object, is best called lovingness. But my old emotional reactions still coarsely interfere with the expressions of this supremely gentle and effortless lovingness.
9) I feel a consciousness which is neither myself nor not myself, which is protecting or leading me into directions helpful to my proper growth and maturity, and propelling me away from that which is against that growth. It is like a stream into which I have flowed and, joyously, is carrying me beyond myself."