Dark nights and all that...
Well, a friend and I are having a very interesting email tennis match over this topic: What makes Buddhism a religion for some but not for others? (He is of the Stephen Batchelor agnostic Buddhist path, and I have actually dabbled with a monastic path and hold a more "religious" frame of Buddhism.)
We kind of came up with the following theory: All the Judeo-Christian religions classified as religions (Christianity, Islam, etc.) had their historical figureheads confront a "dark night of the soul" whereby their faith in was tested. It seems that nowhere in the story of the historical Gotama Buddha did he ever have such a dark night. He had his final battle with Mara but we can't quite decide if this qualifies. It seems the closest thing. He comes out on the other end of the tunnel with enlightenment. But is that the same as what we find in other religions? Did the Buddha have to dip into a faith frame of mind? If so...what does a Buddhist have faith in since we do not have a concept of soul or God?
Did Dogen have a dark night? I don't know that I have heard of such.
For those of you who have had dark nights as Buddhists...what pulled you through? Even if it was "just sitting," what about "just sitting" helped?
All right...off to work I go...
May you all be well.