A medieval carthusian monk’s recipe to multiple kensho: Hugh of Balma's approach to mystical union and some striking similarities in modern Zen teaching


Hugo de Balma O.Cart. (similitudo cum Zen), Hugo de Balma O.Cart. (vita mystica), vita mystica


"Kensho, experiantial realisation of one's true nature, is at the heart of Zen Buddhist teaching. Although in essence ineffable, this term denotes an immediate experience of true reality of the world as well as the human mind ... At its core is the realisation of connectivity and interdependence of all beings and the insight that there cannot be individual salvation without, or even at the cost of, the salvation of other beings ... The method to attain realisation of one's nature traditionally is Zazen, sitting in silent meditation, abstaining from wilful cognitive activity, mindfully observing the breath until the mind becomes clear as a still lake. Sitting in still meditation without actively engaging in rational, cognitive activity or imaginative work has been a common denominator of different traditions in Buddhism, particularly of Zen" (p. 199-200).