For the uninitiated Mahayana, Vajrayana, and Theravada the three variants of Buddhism put on the highest pedestal the practice of Meditation performed by Buddhist Monks across all the Denominations of the Buddhist Sects. The life of renunciation and extreme austerity of a Zen ( Japanese Mahayana) Buddhist Monk is only within the realm of a very selected few. The power of mind harnessed by their immense meditative practices so immense they get to experience the cosmic reality and the human inter connectedness in their meditative trance. Thanks to their awareness of the cosmic consciousness they dwarf the sense of self and view themselves as a part of the universal whole.
On the other side of the Spectrum of equal significance is the life of an Astronaut the pioneers of space exploration. Steel resilient interior masked behind their masked space suits Astronauts don’t come by the dozens. Life of Astronaut sheer testament to their mental and physical resolve and abilities. They do have something in common with the haloed Zen Buddhist Monks “Unrivaled Focus” In the pursuit of their target mission. Astronauts achieve their Zen Moments in space far away from the realms of Earth outside as the watch downward with awe the majesty of the Blue Marble Earth. They feel the sense of detachment and the wholeness of humanity watching from a distance and their speck like existence in the vastness of space where they are tourists on lease on their armored space crafts. The intense realization and cognitive shift an Astronaut is confronted with as he sets his foot back on Earth is coined the Over View Effect.Read More
The overview effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface. It refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, “hanging in the void”, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, astronauts claim, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative. The term and concept were coined in 1987 by Frank White, who explored them in his book The Overview Effect — Space Exploration and Human Evolution (Houghton-Mifflin, 1987). Wikipedia
The Paths of Astronaut and a Zen Buddhist Monk Starting at two different points converge when both attain Cosmic Awareness in their distinct journeys. The Buddhist Monk through Involution attains the intense realization of interconnectedness and the Astronaut realizes the same looking downwards from outside the earth’s plane. We lesser mortals are better served by vicariously learning from their experiences.