Dear Reader, once in a while I will come across a piece of Zen writing or thought that I feel does a particularly good job of mapping the the confluence of our Buddha nature with our human nature, an exploration that is dear to those of us at Pacific Zen. This is one such piece, which was presented by one of the PZI teachers (who prefers no attribution) at our recent Koan Innovation Retreat. I really enjoyed it, and I hope you do too.

About a year ago (the teacher writes), a friend asked me to write down a list of the Symptoms of Delusion, something akin to what the Mayo Clinic might have on their website for Chicken Pox or Dengue Fever. Here’s the list, just in case you, or someone nearby, has a fever and is wondering… Dengue or Delusion?

Symptoms of Delusion (aka The Land of the Demons)

1. Patient is suffering.

2. Patient believes there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

3. Patient feels a sense of urgency for resolution and has a predetermined idea of what resolution will look like.

4. Patient is recruiting others to agree with their Delusion- blame is usually a part of this. Recruitment might be happening in real time with real people but most often this happens in the mind of the patient.

5. There is a repetitive/familiar nature to the Delusion.

6. Patient exhibits and experiences a rigidity and constriction in the body- particularly in the heart region, face, and voice- and a corresponding severing of connection with anyone/anything identified as the problem.

7. Patient has an implacable resistance to consider contrary views as legitimate and is impervious to, and dismissive of, information contrary to Delusion.

8. The tendency to interrupt and/or not listen to others.

9. Compulsion to attack others and/or defend the Delusion.

10. Compulsion to give reasons and explanations regarding the Delusion.

11. A rancorous and universal lack of a sense of humor regarding the Delusion.

12. Associates feel a need to tiptoe around the Delusion in patient’s presence.

13. A raptor-like hunting and seizing of circumstances, situations, or environment as evidence to support an entrenched, fixed, and certain opinion, theory, idea, or identity.

14. Complete identification with the content of the Delusion accompanied by a dogged disinterest in investigating the underlying structure.

15. Anyone nearby the force-field of the Delusion is likely to experience a strong gravitational pull to either agree with or oppose the Delusion. This is one way the Delusion gathers and maintains the energy it needs to continue to exist.