Having learned Transcendental Meditation [TM] from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1970’s I was surprised when reading the Shingon literature to find that Kukai argued back in 820 AD for a spiritual regeneration of the Japanese Buddhist beliefs and teachings as he realized that Samadhi by meditating was the beginning and most important technique of Buddhism, not the end achievement or goal. Many ancient masters said the same thing, that the experience of nothingness, Akasha, that which is beyond the senses, although seemingly empty like empty space is the essence that makes a Buddha a Buddha. The experience of nothingness, which is verbally confusing since nothingness is a non-experience, just spacing out or deep sleep while sitting upright, is the brains only opportunity to relax, drop off past stresses, and bathe in the pure potential opportunity of new creation. Pure awareness in the regular daily awareness is lost, bound in the senses.
Shingon meditations are short mantras/sounds, recited mentally [Manasika Japa]. Later after an understanding of Samadhi is achieved, visualization techniques are added for specific purposes and eventually the siddhis [supra normal abilities] develop over time. The problem is that after a period of time, just a few generations, the original teachings are forgotten and intellectual pursuits result in arguments over dogma and beliefs. Buddhism was never meant to be a religion but a science of recognizing the realities of existence and living a naturally powerful, happy and fulfilling life.
There are volumes of positive research on the benefits of meditation and I believe that it’s a daily activity as important as getting enough sleep.
My blog on this subject may be small potatoes with all the thousands of articles on meditation but hopefully sweet potatoes!
Rudy 🙂 ps I’m now teaching English in Kyoto Japan