Monday, August 9, 2010

The So Cream Method

A different translation of the "Soft Butter method" is given by Trevor Leggett in his book "Second zen reader".
This So Cream Method is a specific technique of Introspective Meditation. It was taught to Master Hakuin Ekaku (1685 - 1768)by Master Hakuyu - a Mountain dwelling Hermit Master Hakuin went to consult in search of a cure against Zen Sickness.

THE SO CREAM METHOD

I said : May I hear of the use of the So cream?

Hakuyu said : If the student finds in his meditation that the four great elements are out of harmony and body and mind are fatigued, he should rouse himself and make this meditation. Let him visualize placed on the crown of his head, that celestial So ointment, about as much as a duck's egg, pure in colour and fragrance.

Let him feel its exquisite essence and flavour, melting and filtering down through his head, its flow permeating downwards, slowly laving the shoulders and elbows, the sides of the breast and within the chest, the lungs, liver, stomach and internal organs, the back and spine and hip bones. 

All the old ailments and adhesions and pains in the five organs and six auxiliaries follow the mind downwards. There is a sound as of the trickling of water. Percolating through the whole body, the flow goes gently down the legs, stopping at the soles of the feet.
Then let him make this meditation: that the elixir, having permeated and filtered down through him, in abundance fills up the lower half of his body. It becomes warm, and he is saturated in it.
Just as a skillful physician collects herbs of rare fragrance and puts them in a pan to simmer, so the student finds that from the navel down he is simmering in the So elixir. 
When this meditation is being done, there will be psychological experiences, of a sudden indescribable fragrance at the nose-tip, of a gentle and exquisite sensation in the body. 
Mind and body become harmonized, and far surpass their condition at the peak of youth. Adhesions and obstructions are cleared away, the organs are tranquillized and insensibly the skin will begin to glow. 
If the practice is carried on without relapse, what illness will not be healed, what power will not be acquired, what perfection will not be attained, what Way will not be fulfilled? 
The arrival of the result depends only on how the student performs the practices. 


Mr Trevor Leggett was a 6th Dan (6th degree Black Belt) in Kodokan Judo. He also trained in Yoga and Zen and translated numerous Buddhist scriptures in English.