I do not consider myself a "materialist" [in the meaning that all that is 'truly true' is the physical atoms and energy driven by cold, blind physical laws that seem to guide the universe
I believe this life is, in whole or large part, a kind of dream ... as most Buddhists do. A dream fashioned by the mind amid emptiness, probably from something outside our eyes (maybe not even anything 'outside' according to schools of Buddhism
), but a mind created interpretation of that 'outside stuff' nonetheless. Dogen described our life as a "Dream within a Dream
", so dreamy ... a dream of life, but our lives nonetheless.
I also believe that there are "more thing in heaven and earth than dreamed in your philosophy, Horatio
" ... I often say that people of future centuries will look back at many of our firmly held beliefs and chuckle at our quaintness ("Oh Martha, do you know that folks way back in the 21st century still believed in Darwin, Equality of the Sexes and the Law of Gravity!?
"). Furthermore, there are countless worlds ... whole muli-verse universes with perhaps varying histories and physics at work ... where even dragons might fly and fairies grant wishes.
But that does not mean that dragons fly and fairies grant wishes on our world.
But, I am drifting off topic.
It is just that, in this dream, I do not necessarily believe that, even if I dream them, there are necessarily Loch Ness monsters, Yetis, Fairies, Trolls, broom riding Witches or UFOs (although I certainly believe in Sentient Beings on countless other worlds). I am doubtful of distance healing, palm reading, hungry ghosts who haunt us (if literal, not figurative or psychological), mind reading and levitation (pending some verifiable evidence otherwise ... I am a great skeptic, but an open minded skeptic).
So, although it is "all a dream" and not real in the least ... still, some things in that dream may be more real than others (yes, that is a Koan, one of the main themes of many Koans in fact
As I have said many times, I honor and respect the right of anyone to practice Buddhism as they wish. I hold no monopoly. If they wish to believe, for example, in flawless and ideal Buddhist personages of the past, magic powers and events, levitation, literal rebirth as ducks or gods (you name it), I salute them. What is more, they may be right (and my doubts misplaced).
But some of us don't believe in such things (better said, are great skeptics to the point of disbelief), yet our Buddhist practice too (to quote you) ...
... sees through and gets beyond, and once beyond them, such things sit lightly
We think that many of the legends about Buddhas and ancestors are myths (meaning that they probably are "exaggerated and made up stories" presenting very idealized images ... although even myths, as fiction, have value as speaking to human truths
), that many "Sutta/Sutra" are creative writing by very "not really the Buddha" authors (some inspired and brilliant, some not very
), that most of the claimed "magic and supernormal powers" in Buddhist legend probably never happens/ed (and I am not talking about "the magic of this ordinary life, all around us". That magic I believe in.
Nonethless, our Buddhism/Zen Practice feels Wholly Whole and Completely Complete to us, for us, as us. I do not teach for all Buddhists, or even all Zen Buddhists ... but I do teach for the Zen Buddhists who may need to hear such a message, and who may be relieved to know that some of us consider the more "unbelievable" aspects of Buddhist claims to be unnecessary and perhaps (emphasis on "perhaps") a kind of ignorance and belief in baseless superstition fully equivalent to a belief in the Loch Ness Monster, broom riding witches and palm reading.