The following is a summary of The Science of Enlightenment Session #3, by Shinzen Young.  We are currently reviewing this series as a group on the Individuals Anonymous Facebook group, and you are encouraged to join if you have not done so already. 

You may also purchase The Science of Enlightenment audiobook on Amazon, here

Here are some of the key considerations for this session:

– All major religions incorporate states of high-concentration, they just use different words to describe.

– In the enlightenment practice of picking an object to focus on, one will first be able to experience merging with an object. The object will take on a wave-like structure. Once this happens, merging with the object has the capacity to take the experience directly to the source.

– People from all over the world, with different beliefs and practices, all describe essentially the same steps to achieve this identical experience. Most of these religions never communicated or planned this out. This is a universal phenomenon/practice/experience.

Additional Highlights:

– Mr. Young tells a story where he reached a point in his meditation practice in which it became easy to focus on the breath. His Zen teacher tells him this his Samadhi, and it’s the beginning of the process, and that his job was to remain in this state at all times.

– As it turns out, this meditative/state of high concentration is central to all religions in the world. Mr. Young was under the impression prior to understanding this, that this was only a Buddhism practice. All religions incorporate a practice with very similar/nearly identical steps. – Non-Discursive prayer (another term for Samadhi in Christianity) used to be used throughout Christianity but it has mostly fallen out of the practice in recent decades. There are still priests who resort to Buddhist temples to work on this aspect of their practice.

– Christianity also uses the term ‘recollection’ – to gather back together. To become concentrated. – Islamic religions primarily use dancing and chanting to obtain this concentrated state of might. This is the idea of falling into a ‘trance’ while dancing. Their word for the unitive experience is ‘fana’. – In Daoism the word sho-e is used to describe the unitive experience.

– In India, Raja Yoga, or Ashtanga Yoga, was one of the first to describe this unitive states. They break the process down into 8 steps. The Last of the 3 steps are relevant to this practice directly. They are the same essentially. The final of these steps is also called ‘Samadhi’ – which causes confusion for those who have practiced/studied both Yoga and Buddhism.

3 Aspects of The Mystical Spiritual Experience (could also be referred to as The Process of Enlightenment)

1. Spirituality of Thought The vast majority of people around the world centralize their religious views around concepts (or dogmas, belief systems, faiths, etc…).

2. Spirituality of Feeling The heart… The Romans called this the numinous, mysterious, etc… Several religions focus on this type of experience around the world, definitely less than those that focus on Thought.

3. Mysticism (or The Mystical Experience) By continuing to grow the high-level concentration states, the state of the person begins to go beyond Thought and Feeling (which are both conditioned states).

This is Enlightenment.

Any thought experience or feeling experience is still dependent upon conditions. This is a state which is completely independent of conditions. A very small portion of the population is capable of working with this aspect of the spiritual experience (or reality period). People who are familiar with states of meditation/high level states of concentration dabble in this realm.  Then, by applying mindfulness and equanimity, thought and feeling can both be transcended.

Overall, this is one of the important sessions of the series as it puts the entire practice into perspective from a global/cultural perspective.