Many seekers along the path seem to be unaware of a very simple fact that there are actually many levels of Self-realization as exemplified in the Eight Jhana States, The Five Degrees of Tozan and the Five Varieties of Zen. There is an enormous difference between initial Awakening such Kensho and say Satori. Semantically, Kensho and Satori have virtually the same meaning and are often used interchangeably. In describing the Enlightenment of the Buddha and the patriarchs, however, it is customary to use the word Satori rather than Kensho, the term Satori implying a deeper experience. Compare both with Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi. Also, what may be of interest is WHAT stands in the WAY of Enlightenment, traditionally known as The Ten Fetters of Buddhism.
The above is from the inspiration of works by Aziz Kristof, a non-traditional Advaita Zen master.
YASUTANI HAKUUN ROSHI A brief yet indepth biography on Zen master Yasutani Hakuum Roshi as well as many Yasutani links for additional research.
LUANGPOR TEEAN Luangpor was a forty-five year old Buddhist monk that did not follow the formal rituals and recitation of the words like others in his order did. Even so, on the early morning of the eleventh day of the waxing moon, the eighth month of 1957, his mind reached the End of Suffering completely without traditional rituals or teachers.
ANN FARADAY Ann Faraday went to sleep one night repeating the words "I am, I am, I am, ...", and was more than a little astonished to awaken some hours later, laughing because the pundits had got it wrong: the truth was much more like "I am not."
JOHN WREN-LEWIS A close friend of Ann Faraday, John Wren-Lewis experienced Awakening following a Near Death Experience.
CHAO-CHOU Chou-Chou (Zhaoshou, Joshu) is famous throughout Zen lore for replying "Mu," often taken as NO, to the query "Does a dog have the Buddha nature?"
JOAN HALIFAX Joan Halifax has practiced Buddhism since the late 1960s and was formally ordained in 1976 by Zen Master Seung Sahn. In 1990, she received the Lamp Transmission from Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.
ALFRED PULYAN An "American Zen Master" without the Zen nor the Buddhism, yet Enlightened in the Finality of the Absolute in the same tradition as in the spiritual Awakenings attributed to the ancient classical masters. Had a mailorder following and claimed a 70% success rate.
SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI Written in India by an east Indian this page offers a solid, indepth look into the life and background of the self-Enlightened sage of Arunachala. Many Ramana related links.
ED MUZIKA Ed Muzika experienced Enlightenment one morning simply taking a shower. His spiritual advisor was Robert Adams, a disciple of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, who studied three years under the grace and light of the Maharshi. Muzika is a direct recipient of Adam's efforts.
METTA ZETTY On February 5, 1997, Metta Zetty's life changed. She experienced something at a deep and fundamental level that she termed completely unexpected and inexplicable. She still is unable to fully comprehend with any rational mind or intellect, exactly what happened.
TIM DUERDEN Tim Duerden Awakened to the Absolute late on a sunny Friday afternoon on September 1st 1995. At that moment - a never ending moment - all limits dissolved into a state that is so blissfully simple, so natural, that it just is.
LIN CHI YI-SEN Founded one of the most influential schools of Zen Buddhism in China after Hui-neng. Spreading into Japan Lin Chi's works formed the basis of the Rinzai School.
HUI NENG The Sixth Patriarch of Zen. Enlightened as a young boy, Hui-neng secured the robe and bowl of the partiarchship through the now famous "stanza competition" under Hung Jen.
A CHILD OF THE CYBER-SANGHA Enlightenment from the internet?
It is often said that when you truly need a teacher --- or that which will function in lieu of a teacher --- one (or it) will appear. This may due to some inexplicable serendipity. It may be due to the fact that the seeker has searched deeply within himself or herself and determined what sort of instruction seems to be required. It could be swept over him or her like the First Death Experience of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, or the Bhagavan's little known Second Death Experience. Or it could be a spiritual desperation on the part of the seeker, or maybe no more than a successful sales pitch by a teacher (sincere or not). It may be a combination of the previous factors, or some intuitive awareness beyond expression. For whatever the reason, the saying often applies and the coming together of the results of inner and outside forces, some within one's control, some without, can be found most eloquently as they all come together in the following:
SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: THE LAST AMERICAN DARSHAN
RECOUNTING A YOUNG BOY'S NEARLY INSTANT TRANSFORMATION INTO THE ABSOLUTE DURING HIS ONLY DARSHAN WITH THE MAHARSHI
Without being excessively overly flipant here, but, if as Zen and eastern religion pundit Ken Wilber suggests in his book "One Taste" that there are probably only 1000 truly Enlightened beings currently inhabiting the planet, and, if as many other similar pundits weighing in saying that Wilber's estimate is way too generous is correct, the question arises, if Enlightenment can unfold for even half the amount, for whatever reasons that it did, can it also unfold for YOU? What STOPS Enlightenment from unfolding for every Tom, Dick and Harriette that comes down the pike? General people must buy the possiblity in some sense that if Enlightenment is not a full possibility it is at least not a totally remote out of the question possibility either. How about being possible, for example, Paris Hilton? Completely out of the question? Why? See:
PARIS HILTON AND THE ART OF ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT
SPIRITUAL GUIDES: PASS OR FAIL?
THE MEETING: AN UNTOLD STORY OF SRI RAMANA
Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE ENLIGHTENMENT
THE AWAKENING EXPERIENCE IN THE MODERN ERA
LIST OF SPIRITUAL TEACHERS
ON THE RAZOR'S
IN THE WAY OF ENLIGHTENMENT: The Ten Fetters of Buddhism
BUDDHIST ENLIGHTENMENT AND THE INTERNET
QUALITIES OF A DHARMA TEACHER
(WHAT THE BUDDHA AND THE SUTRAS SAY A DHARMA TEACHER SHOULD BE LIKE)