Mushotoku Mind


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Customer Reviews: Mushotoku Mind: The Heart of the Heart Sutra

In the martial arts, too, one must be mushotoku, without any goal or desire for profit. In daily life, man always wants to obtain what he does not have, and he is afraid of losing what he already has. Some people are constantly thinking of profit, wondering what they can get in return for what they give.

Or course, in everyday life you must sometimes make a profit to survive.


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For example, a man working in finance has to make a profit - that is the nature of his work. However, this attitude that focuses only on profit must be completely divested from an authentic Zazen practice. In Zen, Mushotoku means getting rid of attachment on a mental level, that is, becoming unattached to personal profit in all forms.

Letting go of profit means letting go of the inner self.

In the end, giving up the self is the greatest achievement you can reach. For example, several essays instruct in how to sit, how to manage mind and emotions, while others roam into difficult arenas, like the author's experience in bringing zazen instruction to those incarcerated in a federal penitentiary.

As a professor of arts and humanities, Dr. Collins uses great literature, like Shakespeare's Hamlet, to demonstrate his case for fearless action uncomplicated by over-thinking. The collection ends with a sustained commentary on the twenty-one deathbed teachings of the samurai Miyamoto Musashi to his student Terao Magonojo. This provides a suitable conclusion to the work, which has focused on concentration and discipline for their own sake with the result of dispelling fear of death and fear of life. As the author's teacher, Robert Livingston, always said, coming to zazen was like climbing into your coffin, but after zazen there was no fear.

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The same goes for narcissism. However, when we begin to give a voice to a disowned aspect of ourselves we bring it back into the system. He wants to do his job really well, wants to function at an optimal level. And we wonder why we suffer, why our life is not full of happiness and joy? You might think that uncovering these disowned voices would be unpleasant, embarrassing, or worse. On the contrary, the process of owning them is actually really exciting.

Sometimes the way we find out how to voice a disowned aspect of ourselves is by listening to others who have not disowned it. It was the voice of pleasure. I had disowned it when I had my first Zen opening in So everything I disowned went underground and came up in a covert way in my life. Wherever I looked I saw competitive people, I saw ambitious people, I saw people seeking money and fame and fortune, and I was above all that.

Taisen Deshimaru

The only thing that seemed to make any sense whatsoever was knowing oneself better and helping others. Now, is that a bad thing? Did it cripple me? Did it have a negative effect? About five years ago I realized it was time to get back in touch with my own voice of pleasure, but by then I had heard my teacher, Maezumi Roshi, say so often that Zen practice is not about pleasure or happiness that the voice was thoroughly disowned in me.

So I turned for help to a longtime student for whom pleasure is definitely not disowned. What is this, a two hundred dollar bottle of wine?! Then I started to remember what he said, and I started to imitate him. I just started to say the same words and pretty soon I got into the groove and I was able to find the voice of pleasure. In other words, we have aspects within ourselves that have never been awakened. They are just as real. And what I discovered, to my amazement, was that it is.

We can also ask to speak to the non-seeking, non-grasping mind in Japanese this would be translated as mushotoku, having no goal or aim in your zazen. This allows the student to truly sit shikantaza, just sitting. You could say that the Big Mind process creates the opportunity for a facilitated view of the transcendent.

The Big Mind practice trains us to hold the shutter of the lens open as long as we want to. Instead of a faint momentary glimpse, like a match lit and extinguished in a large room, the Big Mind process allows us to actually hold Big Mind open long enough to look around the room, to really get to know the territory.


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  • When we identify with Big Mind and are no longer identified with the self, we can look in and see, well, what does it mean that I am Big Mind? What is that?

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    Is there a boundary, is there a limit; is there some kind of edge to me, some kind of beginning? Now, this is exactly what the Buddha said 2, years ago, and what many very wise people in many spiritual traditions have been saying ever since. But it was also almost universally believed that it is only possible to see and realize this after many years of study and practice.

    What the Big Mind process offers is what the Zen school has always offered: a way to suddenly and immediate awakening. For centuries, the Zen school has been making the revolutionary claim that any wisdom that is there within any of us, including the wisdom of the Buddha, is all there in all of us, the wisdom of the ages is there in all of us. It can be realized at any moment or any time, in a flash. By exploring Big Mind, we learn to be fully functioning human beings capable of acting from places of true insight and love.

    All the Buddhist practices—sitting, Big Mind, and so on—are skillful means, all for the purpose of building character, consciousness, and awareness so that our functioning is coming from wisdom and compassion. This is really the point. Seeing ourselves as separate and apart from the great earth, from the mountains, rivers, and oceans, we tend to abuse one another and the planet itself. Begin by speaking from the series of voices in the manner described below. Ask to speak to the voice of the Controller within you. Then identify as the Controller.

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