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Self Denial — Self Sacrifice — Duty of Charity — MUSHIN ???

Self Denial – Self Sacrifice – Duty of Charity – MUSHIN ???

This is one of the most misconceived area in the Buddhist’s practice, hence I’ve been asked a

question again and again about the distinction.

Such as like a practice of one of the Buddhist’s sect in Japan, Ittou-en which I had mentioned some post ago,

which member is going around the town, asking household to let them clean their toilet.

This is the practice to learn Self Denial and the Self Sacrifice, and make people’s toilet clean may

seemed it is an act for other’s benefit hence it must be a charity. ( Though it seems quite patronizing )

I can see their point though, in the same time I would rather feel the intention with a pinch of salt.

If a practice to clean somebody else’s faeces could make a person humble and enlightened, the

people in India where particular job has been assigned to one particular cast ( or former cast ) should

have created thousands of enlightened holy man there. ( Never heard of it 😀 )

I’m sure, to clean somebody else’s faeces could destroy the person’s dignity still, not necessary it

destroys the person’s Ego. ( Ego is not dependent on the profession. Arrogance may be )

The more the required practice was dreadful, the more strong will and the determination is needed.

Unfortunately, this strong will, a belief of “ This practice should make ME higher noble person “

and “ I WANT to achieve it, I WANT TO ACHIEVE IT “ is nothing but an obsessive thinking.

Far from it, what Buddha taught was to DO the things without thinking, i.e; in Mushin.

The so-called practice is its formalized form of each sect.—– As everybody has unique grown-up and own

life history, even in the way of learning the same Buddhism, everybody takes different pathway and

as I described, there are three distinctive aspects how people related to the Buddhism, hence to learn

the Mushin, each person would take different approach and the steps.

Hence different expression, explanation were come up, such as Self Denial.

As a matter of fact, Buddha didn’t teach such things at all. What he taught was “ Self is not exist

from the beginning “ ( Since he took a stance against the Vedic idea of Atoman —– he saw it is the cause

of the trouble, as  it is the delusion.   That is why, he taught the MUSHIN / Mind of No-mind) —– though,

this is one of the hardest part in the Buddhism to understand. ( If anybody has able to achieve

the MUSHIN, it is almost the completion of the enlightenment. )


History of the Buddhism clearly showed this fact, that even Buddha’s immediate disciples are not

necessary understood this. Hence the first few hundreds years, Buddhism have had the time

of Hinayana to Suppress the Self = Denial of the Self = Superficial mimicry of the MUSHIN.

To be in MUSHIN, of cause there is no SELF hence no EGO or Arrogance, Greed.

But try to achieve it from other way round, suppress the SELF first, not necessary works, because of 

a thinking of “Deny the self, deny the ego” is there.

———- As you are reading this, only your visual cortex and the brain to configure the word and

their meanings are working = you are not aware the existence of your eyes and

the conscious “I am READING this”. ——- You are reading this in your MUSHIN ! ! !

Buddha also against the practice to torture the mind and the body, therefore the Self Sacrifice is

not in his teachings. It was not the Self Sacrifice but as the ( Enlightened ) person doesn’t have

the Self, the person just react to the situation in the best way or necessary way —– it only happen to

be seen “ the person has sacrificed himself “—– but the person himself was Just Doing It, that’s all.

Same applies to a Charitable act —– “If the one is doing it with a conscious of I’m doing the

Charity, it is not the Charity “ —– so as the Enlightenment. Which occur only in Mushin.

This is the reason why, in the Mahayana Sutras, there are typical expression like “ Exists as not exist “

“Do as not do” hence, do the charity (or help others) without having the conscious of helpingothers.

Without conscious mean, without thinking, without having the



To re-discover the Buddha’s original teachings, Buddhists spent another five hundreds years until

the Mahayana was introduced. And with its new ( or original ) understandings, sacrifice the life

to get Enlightenment as an Arakan ( Arahat ) was rejected, since the matter is not a posture but to

be in MUSHIN, and to be in MUSHIN, anyone and any life-form can get enlightenment as the

Dharma itself is, in its nature. —– But the reason why Buddha remained as a Bhikku ( begger) was

very simple. He was not trained to be a farmer nor any profession, there was no way else to get food.

To have a simple humble life go round the town begging the food was enough for him (and to his followers

together ). It was his simple easiest life style. To live as a Bhikku he didn’t need to think neither. He just lived.

Therefore, to be a Bhikku is not a precondition to get enlightenment, it was just happened to be.

Buddha never accused to be wealthy and had no hesitation to receive their giving of good food and

he ate any food. A funny description in the Vimalakirti Sutra “ You have to mind to receive it from

the poor people as well, in order to give the same opportunity for them to offer the food ( Hence

let them to practice good deed —– for them to attain their Nirvana ) show the situation well. 😀

Buddha’s teaching to those wealthy people to stay modest ( Middle Way ) and the way of giving

in Mushin would lead them to have Nirvana without any danger to reborn to be animal ( Since no such things

of perpetual soul exist ) must be well received by them.

As it was the historical fact, the Buddhism spread and did grow having with the wide support of

the ordinary people. It is impossible to imagine that Buddha asked those people to endure a kind

of practice to sacrifice their life, let alone to clean the faeces in order for them to reach Nirvana,

as Buddha himself rejected the practice to torture the mind and the body.

Simply because Buddha knew, anything can be done in Mushin, and the Mushin has no Ego.

Anything can be done mean, the practice can be anything, hence it doesn’t need to be torturing practice nor

heavy self-denying act. Mushin can be achieved Not What the Practice IS or how to understand it,

but by the Mind-Set = Mind of Just Do It.

It is the easy practice, as easy as some late Masters described it as Dog Shit. And as difficult as

non of Buddha’s disciple could understand .

It seemed that Buddha did know the situation, hence he needed to order his disciples “Think yourself,

not just believe what you were taught” in his death-bed.

Its meaning of thinking is, not what the answer they would get, but the process and the effects of

thinking (and effort to figure out in practice) —– “Mushin has no Self, no Ego” was what they had

been taught. And they must have shown well copied practice what they learned from

Buddha.  But it was just a copy of the movement, not necessary in Mushin.  Buddha must be aware of this.

That was why he needed to give an order to his disciples. —–  It was an inherent short-coming of

having the master near you. You can get the explanation easily from him, then you satisfied as you

could understand it (intellectually). The trouble of Mushin is —– you can’t get it with an

understandings or any thinkings. You have to DO it to discover.

—– therefore, many hundreds of years Buddhists monks just argued the definition of Dharma or try to prove

whether the Self is exists or not.

But the situation like this provoked the mind of free-thinker. “What a hell, what are they talking

about ?” which made them aware, that the matter is not whether the Self is exists or not, but it lies

in the phenomenon, that we can do the things without the conscious of the Self, and it can be

done by anybody. ( hence Mahayana )  ! ! ! ” This must be the core, what Buddha had taught.”

This kind of observations never came from the monks who is just sitting and thinking, but from the monks who

are under-taking the chores  in the monastery or low-ranking monks walking and begging the food by himself.

That was the reason why, such observation became a noted idea and written-down to the Sutra took long time.

Yet still, they couldn’t go further than the description

of “Do the Charity without having the conscious of Charity” or “Do as not Do”.

Mahayana Buddhists only thought about the DOING side, not knowing how DO changes the mind.

And how this DO came out of one’s brain was completely out of their sight.


To decipher what was the mechanism in the brain / to see the roles of the subconsciousness, took

another 2000 years. ( Until here )

I am well aware and confident, for you to read this post, this 10 minutes opened your eyes to

reach your enlightenment. ( You only need to open your eyes and the mind  🙂   )



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