This text is presented by: Zenmar, the Dark Zen Mystic
“What if the universe was an afterimage whose only purpose was to serve as a finger pointing to that invisible power which originated it? Would, therefore, our perception of it be like a backward glance in which even our bodies would be those of backward men chasing after endless illusions without ever finding their origin? According to the Buddha, we are such backward men who desire to look into the obscure past that mankind calls its future!
“Who now is brave enough to look forward, as if to live in such a way as to preexist the universe, thus to never become backwards again?
“What manner of human-being is willing to live above all things that come after his vision? Such men we declare, are called Sages. Truly, such men come before all else, having surpassed the visible tomb called the human body.
“Here then is our declaration: transcend the shadow called mankind and live in anterior bodies of light. If now your lost courage is coming back to you-if now you feel the awakening from a thousands sleeps about to commence, then you must leave your house of flesh and join our cause. For what greater adventure is there for a knight of wisdom than to conquer his own mortality as the Buddha conquered Mara.”
Q and A
Q:- What do you mean by “Dark Zen”?
A:- Dark Zen is synonymous with mystical Zen. It is the highest truth of Zen which is transmitted by means of Mind’s self-awakening. Here you are in complete unity with true nature of Mind itself. In the time span of a single thought, you complete the stages of a Bodhisattva and enter the lineage of the Buddhas, going back to the first Buddha. Without a doubt, you recognize that all phenomena are continent on Mind’s bright vivifying nature.
Q:- How does Dark Zen differ from conventional Zen?
A:- Given that the fundamental basis of conventional Zen owes its origin to Dark Zen, it does not follow that conventional Zen can likewise transmit the Buddha-nature. That is the chief difference between the two. What, in fact, conventional Zen transmits is a second-hand teaching. Such a second-hand teaching is only intended to comfort and inspire those who wish to proceed on their own to look even deeper within their own being so as to awaken and see the mysterious nature of
Q:- Isn’t it true that the lineage of Zen began with the Buddha passing his knowledge on to Mahakashyapa who in turn passed the teaching on to Ananda where it eventually was transmitted to present-day teachers? Are you saying that this lineage is false?
A:- That history of the transmission from one teacher to another was composed by an adept of Dark Zen during the Sung dynasty in China as a means to inspire weaker souls who lacked the ability to understand that the Buddha is their very own mind. To be honest with you, the lineage that you are alluding to, described in The Flame Transmission is an extended allegory speaking to the various ideas and aspects of absolute Mind as it unfolds itself. Now to answer your question. These stories are not false if they lead you to see the nature of Mind itself. However, these stories will delude anyone who does not have the True Eye to see the nature of Mind in each story, foolishly clinging, instead, to a succession of human teachers supposing that each teacher actually handed over Mind’s bright nature to his heir!
Q:- My own teacher claims to be the Dharma heir of his teacher’s teaching going back to the Buddha. Is he not a genuine heir of the teaching of Zen?
A:- Again , that is the teaching of conventional Zen. It is not the ultimate teaching. Your teacher is an heir to his teacher’s opinions about Mind’s mysterious nature. That is all. That doesn’t mean he is enlightened to the nature of Mind itself. It only means that he is part of a lineage that accepts Zen’s Mind doctrine. In Dark Zen, a “Dharma heir” is someone who has seen Mind’s pure nature directly having passed through all the stages of a Bodhisattva. From this they are able to promote the ancient teachings of the Buddha, creating skillful means in order to teach others the true purport of Buddhism.
Q:- My own teacher who was transmitted seems to know the answers to the koans. Doesn’t that say something for his wisdom?
A:- When a teacher gives his Dharma heir a collection of koans with answers, which more or less is considered the succession of Dharma, he is merely recognizing his student’s potential to become a genuine Bodhisattva. In other words, the Dharma heir has only demonstrated his understanding of Buddhism, not his accomplishment of it. If you think that this individual can interpret a Mahayana Sutra correctly or has had genuine Bodhicitta after five or ten years of study, you are deluded. Before the Sung dynasty and the invention of the succession fable, for almost four hundred years prior to that, Zen was mainly Dark Zen. Teachers recognized genuine enlightenment in others without recourse to koans as a means of testing. Today, that has all changed.
Q:- In what way has modern Zen changed from the perspective of Dark Zen? A:- From the perspective of Dark Zen, today’s Zen institution is much different. It is based on paternal allegiances, formalism, blind rituals, and clericalism. We must realize that the pure essence of Zen is not found in the outer elements of religion which such institutions present to the public. The true content of Zen is only to be found within our being stripped bare of all preconceptions. Let me finally say, that institutional Zen is really for those people who are afraid to give up conceptual thinking and their emotions. Such people are still motivated by the ways of the world putting their energizes into building a cultural edifice that they believe will somehow push back the ocean of suffering. In contrast to this, Dark Zen is for those individuals who understand that the mysterious source of the teaching cannot be conceptualized through the senses, taught, or even cultivated. In fact, it cannot even be transmitted. What the term transmission, in fact, means is just to awaken to the whereabouts of Mind itself thus putting an end to suffering once and for all.
Q:- My teacher has the authority to teach Zen. I have seen his credentials. What is your authority and where is your proof?
A:- Buddhism only recognizes one authority. That is Mind which is also the Buddha. If you have seen Mind’s nature then you have the authority, given to you by the Buddha, to do has you please. If not, then you should guard both yours words and your actions. Those who claim to have the authority to teach Zen, showing off their robes and certificates, have no authority since these things are not Mind. Over the years, I have seen that anyone, with enough money, can become a Zen master almost overnight. So it proves nothing to brag about your teacher’s credentials. In the past good students could recognize good teachers just by listening to a word or two. In their heart, they were searching for the one true source of all, having recognized that Mara’s shadow was upon them. And because they were searching in this manner, their hearts resonated with the ideal teacher who had safely crossed to the other shore. Today, inferior students can only recognize inferior teachers judging them by looking at their wares like merchants. This implies that they only resonate with materialism and not Mind. As for proof, if you only want mouse shit, rather than gold, there is nothing I can do to convince you otherwise. Evidently, you are attached to the trappings of conventional Zen. But make no mistake about it, Dark Zen, variously described as Yin Zen, is the true teaching that Bodhidharma brought to China.
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