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Chapter 16: The Difference between Satori & Samadhi

A single, momentary glimpse is something that can never be known by any other means. No one can explain it; no words, no communication, can even be a hint to it. Satori is meaningful, but just as a glimpse, as a breakthrough, as a single, momentary breakthrough into the existence, into the abyss. You have not even known the moment, you have not even become aware of it before it becomes closed to you. Just a click of the camera - a click, and everything is lost. Then a hankering will be created; you will risk everything for that moment. But do not long for it, do not desire it; let it sleep in the memory. Do not make a problem out of it; just forget it. If you can forget it and do not cling to it, these moments will come to you more and more, the glimpses will be coming to you more and more.

A demanding mind becomes closed, and the glimpse is shut off. It always comes when you are not aware of it, when you are not looking for it - when you are relaxed, when you are not even thinking about it, when you are not even meditating. Even when you are meditating the glimpse becomes impossible, but when you are not meditating, when you are just in a moment of let-go - not even doing anything, not even waiting for anything - in that relaxed moment, satori happens.

It will begin to happen more and more, but do not think about it; do not long for it. And never mistake it for samadhi.

What kind of preparations are necessary to experience satori?

Satori becomes possible for a great number of people, because sometimes it needs no preparations; sometimes it happens by chance. The situation is created, but unknowingly. There are so many people who have known it. They may not know it as satori, may not have interpreted it as satori, but they have known it. A great surging love can create it.

Even through chemical drugs, satori is possible. It is possible through mescaline, LSD, marijuana, because through a chemical change the mind can expand enough so that there is a glimpse. After all, all of us have chemical bodies - the mind and the body are chemical units - so through chemistry, too, the glimpse can be possible.

Sometimes a sudden danger can penetrate you so much that the glimpse becomes possible; sometimes a great shock can bring you so much into the moment that the glimpse becomes possible. And for those who have some aesthetic sensibility, who have a poetic heart, who have a feeling attitude toward reality, not an intellectual attitude, the glimpse can be possible.

For a rational, logical, intellectual personality, the glimpse is impossible. Sometimes it can happen to an intellectual person, but only through some intense, intellectual tension - when suddenly the tension is relaxed. It happened for Archimedes. He was in satori when he came out into the street naked from his bathtub, and began to cry, “Eureka, I’ve found it!” It was a sudden release of the constant tension he had concerning a problem. The problem was solved, so the tension that existed because of the problem was suddenly completely released. He ran out naked into the streets and cried, “Eureka, I’ve found it!”

For an intellectual person, if a great problem that has demanded his total mind and brought him to the peak of intellectual tension is suddenly solved, it can bring him to a moment of satori. But for aesthetic minds it is easier.

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