Ming Zhen on the Spiritual Life

Posted by on January 3, 2017


It’s important to understand that the spiritual life and the religious life are two different things.

The Spiritual Life

The spiritual life is always an interior life. It is a universally known, protracted series of ecstasies and ecstatic visions, experienced during the state of meditation. By definition, then, there is no ego consciousness involved in any of the experiences.

The spiritual life is not contrived in any way.

Although it exists in potential form in every human being, as a pupa in a little chromosomal cocoon; many people will never see it emerge in its butterfly splendor. Not every human being gets to experience mystical transcendence, and those who do rarely care to discuss it.

Since it is beyond the ken of ego-consciousness, it must be experienced to be understood. Worse, not only do people fail to understand what they are told, they have a peculiar resistance to the information and will not hesitate to dismiss the narrative as fanciful, absurd, and even heretical.

The Religious Life

The religious life, regardless of any spiritual experience, is exterior to the point of advertising itself: parochial schools; distinctive temples; ceremonies and festivities; the raiment of hierarchical rank; garments and adornments that identify the laymen as a follower of the religion – prayer beads, special headdresses, and jewelry that displays a symbol associated with the religion. Prayers – openly said at meals, at the ringing of the Angelus or to the call of the Muezzim – also indicate the individual’s religious affiliation. Genetic endowment is irrelevant except as it indicates family relationship. People tend to follow the religion into which they are born.

The spiritual life, then, being independent of cultural organization, has a commonality which renders it approachable from any religious base. Since visionary experiences vary little among the world’s cultures, it is as if the characters, plot, and setting constitute a drama that can be translated into any language.


Written by Ming Zhen Shakya in collaboration with Master Yin Zhao Shakya & Fa Jun Shakya, Assault on the Summit. Zatma, Order of Hsu Yun. Painting of Ming Zhen Shakya by Fa Ming Shakya of the Order of Hsu Yun in Romania. We are grateful for both teachings.


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