Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice (review)

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.” When the mind is empty, everything is possible, nothing is possible. There is existence and non-existence, not just existence, not just non-existence. The more knowledge that one has, the more limited one is to that knowledge. The teacup overflows unless it is empty of its contents. With the right intention in the moment, nothing is good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. Everything is good and bad, neither good nor bad, pleasant and unpleasant, neither pleasant nor unpleasant. The mountain shrouded in mist is nothing special, nothing mysterious to climb. There is no more wisdom high up on a peak than there is in a shit, in a nap below the bough of a tree. Enlightenment is nothing special, nothing to strive to achieve. When one is empty, there is no “I” to consider things as empty. There is no “I” apart from everything else. One doesn’t have Buddha-nature. One is Buddha-nature. There isn’t someone or something that is apart from Buddha-nature. One doesn’t contain or not contain Buddha-nature. One simply is, despite thinking or not thinking about what is. This way of being is so ordinary, one shouldn’t grasp after it. It is already here. With sincere effort, be present in moment after moment. There is nothing else to attain. There is nothing special about being what is, except that it is so easy to forget what is. One spontaneously expresses one’s nature when one is empty. There’s no need to put on a show of being spiritual, important, or intelligent. To seek a title, special experience, or recognition from the crowd is to miss the point. There is pain and pleasure, pleasantness and unpleasantness, rising and falling, without judgement. It is easy for the mind to remain still when sitting in meditation but harder for the mind to not wander when in activity. In activity, if the mind doesn’t wander, then that is ok. If the mind wanders, then that is ok too. Everything can be a teacher, even the rain dripping from a rooftop. To see the change in everything is to see the divine in the mundane. There is no essential split between the divine and mundane other than in conceptualization, in a need to put life into fixed categories. But the universe itself is change, from the vibration of an atom to the leaf shaking from a tree. To talk about this is to not reveal it. It reveals itself.

#zenbuddhism #zen #growth #easternphilosophy #Bremeracosta #buddhism #tao #taoism

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