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魔境 makyō

“The term makyo (魔境 makyō) is a Zen term that means ‘ghost cave’ or ‘devil’s cave.’ … Makyo is essentially synonymous with illusion, but especially in reference to experiences that can occur within meditation practice.

…the combination of ma meaning devil and kyo meaning the objective world. This character for ‘devil’ can also refer to Mara, the Buddhist ‘tempter’ figure; and the character kyo can mean simply region, condition or place. Makyo refers to the hallucinations and perceptual distortions that can arise during the course of meditation … These can occur in the form of visions and perceptual distortions, but they can also be experiences of blank, trance-like absorption states.

…It is characterized in some schools as ‘going to the movies,’ a sign of spiritual intensity but a phenomenon that is considered distinctly inferior to the clear insight of settled practice.”


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