Yoshizen's Blog

( Thinking ) in MUSHIN

While talking with people, I found even a person regularly reading this blog still having a

confusion about the subconsciousness and the state of Mushin.

—– giving a thought = It might be caused by my explanations, since I might have used the

term Mushin = Mind of No-Mind, too casually = since it is almost a crèche, I presumed that

the term must be well understood from other books or the sort, so that I just concentrated

to the way [How to reach or experience and learn it].

= Or, may be I haven’t been clearly defined about two different “Thinking” yet.

Mushin Without Thinking might be very deceptive words in deed 😀


Mushin without Thinking” = In this “Thinking” mean, Higher level of the brain process

such as categorization and the sorting process = matching to an existing

references, and the conversion to the linguistic expression.

(All those process are the matter of the pattern-recognition)

On the other hand, Sorting is according to the value or its importance.

= this Value and Importance mean Personal Preferences, the Value or Significance

in the Society, Value in the Belief System, above all importance in the scope of the

Preservation of the Self and the Society / Species (Mankind)

= (All those are related to the Survival instinct).

= So, you may think “ How we can survive without thinking”


It is a well known phenomenon that our brain is doing thinking process without us noticing it,

and when we became aware of “I thought”, subconscious has processed it 6 seconds ago.

(This must be measured while observing the brain activity on MRI or PET scanner though,

I wasn’t there = I know not whether it was 3 or 7 second in reality 😀 )

So, the question is, out of our conscious,

what our brain has been doing during those 6 seconds ?

—– As a matter of fact, even in the state of Mushin, our brain is fully working.

Even if the Sword- Master Musashi is fighting in Ichijo with his sword and with the

Rule of the Dharma, his eyes have to see his opponent’s movement and the brain has to

analyze other conditions or situation as well, not mention the control of his hand and the body.

= It is the moment to moment responses.

(Some are really done out of our conscious by the Motor-region of the brain, such as to keep

the body balance —– but to pay attention to such as to the road condition, not to tumble on

a stone, may needs a bit more of the instinctive body reaction = stone has to be seen and take

it into account)   It’s mean, even in the state of Mushin, your brain is not blank but

fully committed to the matter what you are committed in its moment

(hence this is called Mindfulness) still without you consciously noticing it

(hence this is called Mushin) while your hand, body, mind, your sword are

all in one unity or in perfect coordination (so,this is called Ichijo / Oneness).

To DO this, or to BE in this condition, you can’t have any noise or unrelated

obstrucing thought, therefore it was described  “ Not to have any useless or

intentionally conceived thought”

(hence this is called Mind of No-Mind / Mushin).


Those invisible / hard to describe latent thought or unconscious process in a dark depth of the

brain was bracketed into “Feeling”, and often called Intuition, Inspiration, Spontaneous Thought,

even Spiritual Feelings. = As those latent Proto-Thinkings has yet to be categorized to the

existing type, selected, filtered, or scrutinized against rationality etc, often they are pretty

wild and irrational (just like our dream is ), still showing amazing truth.  😀

Hence, they are also the source of  Inventive-creativity,  Artistic-creativities

and Open-eyed Free-minded Thinking, Lateral thinkings etc etc. = I described

those Free-Thinking process is taking place in the  “ Blank Space” in the brain,

long time ago.


In comparison, so-called (Conscious) Thinking is either HAD been processed and HAS been

converted to legible or translated into linguistic format from those latent feeling or thought

aforesaid, otherwise the information has come externally in the linguistic format. (read a book)

So that, it is always the parallel process in the brain though, as the conscious process needed

additional formatting, it loose the reality (such as, processed words “red blood” doesn’t have a

fresh bloody reality in comparison to one’s experience = actually in the accident) and far slower

than the process which subconsciously done in its moment = Yet, Conscious Thinking is easy to

remember as it has been sorted and converted to the words, still, Original Latent Thought

has much more fresh facts / reality = much closer to the TRUTH.

This Truth is what Zen Buddhist is after = But it needs clear eyes and the Mind.

With clear eyes and the Mind, we can sense the situation in every moment = and

able to respond as it is happening. = This is the Life [Live in its moment].


It must be clear now, the real meaning of Mindfulness, Mushin, Ichijo (in fact, they are

the words to describe the same state of the MIND in different angle)

= “ Without Thinking” has to be understood as “ The Mind has no Conscious

Thinking, still it is not blank but keeping all the perception fully open and

making intuitive up-to-the-moment response, without us noticing it

= clear eyes and the mind is to capture those intuitive response in the depth of

subconsciousness,  without a distortion caused by useless Thinking and Ego.

= This is how ZEN with clear eyes and the mind can lead you to reach truthful

answer or the best judgement, even inventive totally new idea.  

And ultimately  “Able to reach to the Dharma

= We might be retaining even ancient, ancient memory of the primeval time

which has been written in the DNA, where we came from, how we been evolved

= the reflection of the rationality in the Dharma = Rules of the Dharma.

To discover and reach this wisdom is the ultimate quest to the Zen Buddhists.



PS : You might be realized here something is missing

= What is the control of our thinking ?

Conscious Thinking is parallel with Subconscious Thinking and if we can’t escape

Subconscious Thinking which is invisible hence out of control mean,

“ Can’t we escape from wrong thinking ?”

—– If we were imprisoned in wrong thinking down to the bottom of subconscious, there is

a remedy what the Buddhism has been specialized.

Here, Practice of Buddhism come to play their role ! As

Lord Buddha found, the main cause of wrong thinking bore out of the Ego or Self.

Against this, unconditional endless practice of the practice ware-out one’s Ego.

= If one’s Ego is no longer there = no instinctive drive of Self-Preservation = no greed, no fear,

no fear of the death = This is the fundamental change in the basis of thinking = If the basis

changed = upper structure changes as well.

If there is no Self = Nothing to loose = Freedom. (If mortal Self is no longer there,

why afraid to make a failure and own demise or even death. = Anything is

possible though, as neither Ego is there, there wouldn’t be a possibility to

conceive self enriching act or having grudge against others.)

So, Freedom here but not a sign of selfish wrong thinking !

= What a contented, peaceful life. = WHAT you want more.

(This is the reason why the Great Zen Masters having so many extraordinary jokey stories !

= They must have had lots of fun in liberated mind  😀 :-D)



5 Responses

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  1. Lemony (Gr)Egghead said, on October 6, 2012 at 01:01

    Yes, I think I follow you. As I understand Mushin and have experienced it, our mind is indeed fully working, but it is flowing non-stop without conscious thought or judgement, without an effort to control thought. In fact, there is no awareness of our thought process at all; we are fully present and engaged in whatever it is we are doing,

    • yoshizen said, on October 6, 2012 at 01:58

      You are absolutely right = in the point what you are describing, the flow of our existence, hence
      our thought is also flowing = constant change = which calls our full present and engagement.
      A funny paradox is, the more we are free from the Ego, the more real “Who you are” = Real Self appears.
      So that your photography become more and more unique as you are, though, since all those process is
      invisible = you may not aware, let alone to know why.

  2. jagan said, on October 7, 2012 at 21:23

    Dear Yoshisan,

    My practice recently has been to read some key posts (in my opinion 🙂 from this blog everyday 🙂

    My problem is I wake up almost everyday and lose about 2 hours to negative thinking – mainly due to recent events in my life – then I get on with my programming and when I’m working deeply suddenly all the sadness disappears – the Fukushima Journalist! state – I notice that it had disappeared when I’m ‘out’ of that state and then the sadness/worry/anxiety slowly returns. How to stay in the selfless state all the time? I would love to!


    • yoshizen said, on October 7, 2012 at 22:50

      There are two posts to get rid of the thought = one is on 09 Feb’ 12 = which says “Shake the head”.
      Another one is very old post (I don’t remember when I wrote) = any how it says ” write down your thoughts
      on a paper = even 10 pages and again ” by which you make your thoughts objective. = soon or later,
      you will fed-up to be in the state thinking the same.

  3. No Word, No Teaching ??? | Yoshizen's Blog said, on September 12, 2013 at 17:55

    […] thinking how to walk or we are thinking without us noticing it.) […]

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