It is interesting to note that the people who have these experiences are not even ‘conscious’ in the conventional sense, (that is they are not ‘awake’ and ‘interacting’ with the physical environment).
All the mind creates is endless thought-patterns (of varying quality) that traverse its psychological fabric, interspersed with often ‘irrational’ islands of ‘feeling’. This is the status of the ‘modern’ mind, which is viewed very much as an extension of matter, or the accidental by-products of biological responses to physical conditions.
According to neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert, the brain has evolved simply to move the body through the evolutionary environment in a manner that efficiently enhances the chances of survival.
‘..the recluse Gotama is a Materialist, who teaches a doctrine of Materialism and trains his disciples in it.’
Alan Watts, I suspect, is mixing Western notions of Japanese Zen with modern, Western concepts of science, and he does this very well, but the point he is missing is that from the perspective of Chinese Ch’an, there is a stage of development he does not know about and therefore is missing in his analysis.
Buddhism is the a priori undermining of everything the ego holds dear, and this why probably around 90% of what passes as ‘Buddhism’ in the West is not Buddhism at all, but merely the sophisticated ‘modern’ ego’ doing what it does best – mimicking happiness and reality.