Sarah Hutchinson
Narrative self
February 6, 2007

Zen Training
Chapters 16 and 17

    The final two chapters of Katsuki Sekida's Zen Training are very complimentary in nature.  Chapter Sixteen, "A Personal Narrative" is just that. It is an account of his life in relation to Zen.

    He begins his account with his first Zen Experience (207). He is a boy of 13, and is seeking to escape the obnoxiousness of other classmates. He connects with his brush, and before long he is in a state of nothingness. Liking the experience, he tries to recreate it but finds troubles doing so.  He then starts to take walks down to the quiet waterfront. One evening while gazing at the evening star, even though he had "no conception of zazen, (he achieved a) fine samadhi" (209).

    As he grew from a boy to a man he developed his theory of Zen: "Zen is not, in my view, philosophy or mysticism. It is simply a practice of readjustment of nervous activity. That is, it restores the distorted nervous system to it's normal functioning. He then tells of how he focuses his practice in achieving Samadhi, even while walking (220-221).

    Chaptor Seventeen discusses two classic Zen stories. The first called, "In Search of the Missing Ox", is the same as the "Ten Oxhearding Pictures" we read for class, only with more commentary. Sekida explains his interpretation of the ten pictures in detail, telling the story of a young man following the Zazen practices closely at first, then letting them go when he gets to the end of his journey, and no longer needs them to achieve Samadhi.

    While the first story in chapter seventeen discusses attaining enlightenment, the second (237-252), "Tozan's Five Ranks," is all about enlightenment itself. While some schools of Buddhism recognize as many as fifty-two stages, here we are only presented with five. The five ranks are: {1} "Hen in Sho" (The Apparent within the Real*), {2} "Sho in Hen" (The Real within the Apparent*), {3} "Coming from Sho" (The Coming from within the Real*), {4} "Perfection in Hen" (The Arrival at Mutual Integration*) and {5}"Perfection in Integration" (Unity Attained*).