Yoshizen's Blog

Is MUSHIN same as Thoughtless ?

Well, it is not about a Justice / Punishment from the heaven but about the mind-set.


These days our topics were often related to the Riot, and there was an interesting question.

“Wasn’t the mind-set of [senseless] [thoughtless] behaviour, same to the Zen

Buddhist’s [Mushin]. —– What makes the difference between them ? ? ? “

—– in fact, someone who put a comment to the previous post had the same thinking.

And this question has so many implication and the facets.

—– Once, Pablo Picasso said “ Keep drawing like a child is the hardest things in the Art”

—– Then, “what is the difference between [Innocence] or [Ignorance] to the [Mushin] ?  “

May be the easiest answer to this question is, just whack the person shouting “Idiot” —– really ?


There was an interesting story among the legend of the Sword Masters.

In the Samurai era, top sword-man was roving around the country seeking the contest-match

against each other, in order to achieve the record / reputation. ( And the winner was invited to

give a lesson to the local Lord receiving good reward)

Then, someone got an idea of plank, dressed up an ignorant peasant as a respectable

samurai, claiming that this is the supreme sword-master, and challenging top local


On the match, the peasant was just standing facing real master just having his sword down.

As the peasant had a slightest idea of what the sword-mastery is, he was just standing still.

The challenged was the master who knows everything —– but as the opponent seemed to

standing utterly defenceless —– almost like an idiot (in fact he was an idiot) it made the master

utterly confused.  —– no such things could happen here.   Otherwise it must be a ploy to make

the master wrong-foot = this man must be a real sword-master and able to kill him instant.

—– it was what the master felt.  (To his eyes, the peasant’s utter ignorant appearance, not even

recognize him was seen as the ultimate Mushin only possessed by a supream sword-master  😀 )

Then, the master throw his sword away, and kneel down for begging his life.


The pair prankster succeeded all the contest-match in the same way.

But, after a while, the peasant started to wonder why those famous masters just give up and

kneel down to him.   And interested in to use the sword, as he mistook that he is in deed a

strong sword-master and able to kill the opponent.

So that, on the next match, peasant break a stillness and showed a slight sign of intention.

Then, the challenged sword-master instantly reacted to this sign, sway the body to other

direction and cut the peasant into two pieces.    (The End   😀  )


It is true, even a Zen Master has used a metaphor of the mind of small child

to describe the Mushin and a state of mind of Jizai.

And in the Buddhist’s arguments about the universality / inclusiveness of the Mahayana stance,

this matter —– What is the distinction between [Innocence, Ignorance, Senseless,

Thoughtless] to the [Mushin] is some time mixed-up.

As a matter of fact, when it is convenient, this kind of metaphor has been often used though,

[The Mushin] is a very specific, peculiar state of the mind, nothing similar to any of

those mind.  Not just the matter of inclusiveness of the Mahayana, but also the confusion of the

[ What is the Buddhist’s mind] ( before this, What is the Buddhist ? —– there are all sorts of the

Buddhist exists —– Such as to enjoy the life having the eyes to appreciate peaceful nature which

gave a feeling of the liberated mind = could be perfectly the life and the mind of a Buddhist)

—– it has been left out of strict argument.


But in strict term, the Mushin is the state of the mind, which only occurs when our

brain ceased to operate to categorising and reconfiguring the notion. —– yet

able to react to incoming stimulant.

—– In practice, this state of mind can be reached only through the long long repeated

practice which wear out those active, intentional activities of the brain

= thinking process.

And very similar to the treatment of an allergy, those practice also wear out the basic

desire and the emotional reaction = So that, the state of the Mind [ Mind of No-Mind]

= [Mushin] is only strict to [Purely the state of No-Thinking and No-Emotion]

= Dispassionate.

(but not akin to senseless or thoughtless —– because in those cases,  senseless / thoughtless

mind is, in fact occupied by another sorts of mind = such as an anger, greed or

overwhelming fanaticism = ideology or madness)


=== this definition must have cleared the confusion.

=== the mind of childish, senseless, thoughtless Rioters were definitely, utterly

no way near to the Buddhist’s Mushin.

[ If it was done in Mushin,  it got to bring the GOOD outcome.  This is what the

Karma mean. And if it brought bad outcome — because,  it has done not in Mushin]

—– You may say this is out of rational logic and say ” Why”,  but this is what I found and true.

And this must be the reason why the Buddhism is existing.   🙂




4 Responses

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  1. hotshot bald cop said, on August 29, 2011 at 21:00

    Do really assume that is true?

    • yoshizen said, on August 30, 2011 at 02:01

      If you mean the story of masquerading peasant —– I know, it seems too good to be true, as many myth has been created about the legendary master. 😀
      Still, as a Zen metaphor, it was a good funny story. I like it.
      About the state of the mind, it is the conclusion of my 30 years observation.

  2. hotshot bald cop said, on September 3, 2011 at 17:40

    Wow! That is an attention-grabbing slant.

    • yoshizen said, on September 4, 2011 at 01:52

      Is that ?
      Then, you try and find it by yourself. As I did in DIY, you can do it too. 🙂

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