Yoshizen's Blog

Mindfulness – Western Misinterpretation

Posted in Dharma, East and West, Ichijo, Meditation, Mushin, Subconsciousness, Who is Yoshizen, Zen by yoshizen on January 4, 2012

People talked about the BBC News, featured about the Meditation (which I didn’t know).

And it seemed, BBC used a word [Mindfulness] to explain [Meditation]. —– What ?

Meditation is to sitting in [Mushin = 無心] = not having even a notion of Mindfulness.

—– Why such kind of mix-up is taking place in the west ?

So that, I first ever saw Wikipedia [Mindfulness] 😀 and discovered the situation. (it explained me why

a talking about Zen with western Zen Practitioners are often end up in confusion. 😀 )

I’ve been long suspected that the understanding of [Mindfulness] and [Meditation]

in the west was wrong.

Simply because of the academics or the scholars of the Buddhism scriptures are arguing about the

meaning of the WORD in its semantics. (Word is mere indicater of a notion = not the notion itself. And

even the notion couldn’t necessary able to describe the meaning.

Such as “Ride” a bicycle = to find the use of this [Ride] in the time of Donkey and a Cart wouldn’t make

any sense about an application against a modern bicycle. And the understanding of the word “Ride” is

nothing to do with how to ride a bicycle. You only know it actuarially master to RIDE it. 😀 )

So, it became clear. To know the meaning of a term in Zen, you got to do the Zen.  And to know

the meaning of the word wouldn’t make you able to to know the Zen. This is the very reason why

Lord Buddha ordered his disciples “Don’t take the words of mine or others, but think yourself.”


Zen had spread from China, and to Japan. (then from there to the west)

Lord Buddha’s teachings were re-discovered in there through the practice which

Lord Buddha taught direct to his followers.

By following those practices, Chinese monk who translated Scriptures and Mantras, managed to find the

meaning of the word in Sanskrit, Pali or Tibetan and assigned the word to a Chinese character

[(nien in Chinese, nen in Japanese)] to the word now (miss) used in the west, as [Mindfulness].

The Chinese character [] has the meaning of deep thought or even a kind of feeling stacked in the depth of

mind which is distinctively different from the temporally conscious thinking [].

One of the most observant people in the human history = Chinese, created the character to each different

level of mind-activities in the brain.   Such as [], [],[],[] and [].

[] is a word to describe a feeling, “I feel it is there though, hard to describe, and I can’t get lid of it” kind =

such as latent fear or one’s positive, negative mood. ( They are the matters of the hormone level in the body)

Above this, a bit more clear level of Mind is [] = which indicates “whether you intentionally

think or not, it is always there and you aware of  it” kind of  focused tendency in the mind.

This  [念]  is the Mind what ancient Chinese monk who translated the scriptures, found to

be the best suited to describe [sati (Pali)] or  [smrti (Sanskrit)]. —– As this is the mind

reside,  deeper beyond the person’s intentional manipulation, try to think something to

concentrate, is nothing but the misunderstanding.  = Mindfulness will bore out from the

situation and the attitude of the person. —– It is the result,  not other way round.

Think, you are a journalist, walking through the ground near Melt-down Fukushima Nuclear site.

As you were allowed to walk there, it was regarded to be safe though, the mud could have invisible

radiation hot spot. Which makes you very cautious, hence choosing dry clean point to step-on.

Every steps —–. This detailed attention you are unconsciously and constantly paying to

everything, every moment, —– this is what [Mindfulness] really meant.

You were programmed to walk the most careful manner while watching all the signs and the left over

rubble of the Tsunami.   In the same time you have to observe what and how workers who removing the

contaminated soil are doing, or the situations how the strayed pet animals are surviving and so on, which

was the purpose of you to be there.  Mindfulness is not an intentional mind-set but when

you faced the serious situation, (or you take it serious) its naturally set in, as Dharma works.

(This is the reason why Tea Master says “Make a tea as if it is the only an occasion in your whole life” )


If you are riding a bicycle everyday, you just ride it.

You don’t need to think “I’m riding a bicycle”,  you ride it as to ride a bicycle, not a motor-bike.

Because, your body, your brain knows “You are riding bicycle, unconsciously = you have been

programmed through the practice to ride a bicycle.

To program your subconscious and your motor-region of the brain, how to ride, where to pay attention etc

has been done through the practice. = so, as the result, you can do it almost routine = automatic. =

automatic mean, you can do it without thinking, hence efficient and smooth.

To apply same principle to all the aspects of the life is what

Lord Buddha had found and taught = Life without useless thinking (delusion etc), hence

able to live in peace.     This is What Buddhism all about.


At the Wikipedia [Mindfulness] you may read (Zen criticism) the quote of  Muho Noelke of Antai-ji saying

“Don’t be mindful, plase !  When you walk, just walk. — Let the walk, walk. — let the sitting sit”

it seems, his words are the most closest to the Zen among the many Zen sites.

—– Even though, he was stop short of noticing that it was in fact, the matters in one’s subconsciousness,

at least, he knows and doing the Zen —— Able to do the Zen, he doesn’t need to give a damn whether it is in

the subconsciousness or else = When you DO, just do.  (But my role is to analyze and see the structure of

the Zen = This is the reason why I didn’t became a monk, even though I’m a son of  Zen priest)

—– Forget the word, Mindfulness , Mushin, Jizai = they are just different naming of the same

mind.  As they are in fact just one, hence having Oneness = Ichijo, and this is what Dharma is.


2 Responses

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  1. jagan said, on September 23, 2012 at 19:30

    The Fukushima Journalist example is deep.


    • yoshizen said, on September 23, 2012 at 20:23

      Thank you Jagan.
      In fact, we all are facing more or less the same situation though, the matter is not as serious or immediate as that, we are rather complacent (lazy)
      —– so in total, lots of us couldn’t achieve in our life
      as it should be.

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