Yoshizen's Blog

PARADOX in seeking the ZEN


I wrote in previous post, to reach Zen, how it is crucial to block the Emotion.


Though, Zen or Buddhism in general, it is a strange maze of the Paradox =

the more you try to see it, you can’t see.   The harder you put the effort,

you can’t achieve. (—– I think, I wrote the same subject before, while using a metaphor

“You can’t run, as long as you got legs” 😀 )

This trouble is, all comes down to the existence of the Emotion or Emotional thinking.

Because of the strong intention or will is always accompanied by the strong

Emotion. The more you are serious, the more your mind is stack to the subject

though, ironically, the art of Zen is how to make you detached from the subject.

—– You can’t detach yourself from the subject when you are studying it —–

you may say.

(If you ever read the book of Zen Mondo / Koan, then if you read it again while this paradox

in mind, you will see the point, or it will make sense in each answer.

= They are in the matter of this paradox.)


So that, there is a trouble to understand such as “what the Mindfulness is” =

the harder you try to be Mindful = you are falling into a Clu-de-sak or strays away to nowhere

because of your mind = Emotion is just stack to the subject. Emotion blinding You !

—– There is nothing else but the subject, and you can see it clear detached eyes.

= This IS Mindfulness. = because of your eyes are detached from your Emotion, there

couldn’t be any wishful thinking or a greed to succeed etc kind of destructive rubbish = you can

see the true nature of the subject. = therefore you can do the perfect job, hence you will succeed.

This state of mind, detached from the subject, = as there is no Emotional

attachment, hence the mind is blank but only eyes are gazing at =

This is Mushin and in Selflessness = This IS Mindfulness.

Why Selfless here ?  Because, only eyes and the subject are here.  Not your Mind.


Sound easy ? —– or you may utterly bemused, how to do ? How far to be detached 😀

Because of this confusion, ancient Buddhists invented [Middle Way] 2,000 years ago.

While saying “Not too close, still not too far” — Because, they themselves haven’t experienced

real Mushin 😀

= It seems, the vast number of Mantra Authors are not necessary understood the Buddhism.

= That was why so many fancy stories of it was added to the original teachings to cover-up  😀

(Good in writing is not necessary knowing the subject 😀 = The Monks are familiar with sitting

in the temple, but they may not be any expert of DOING something — this is a reason why the

Zen was invented = Zen put an emphasis to DO something and prohibit Thinking)


When you DO something, subject is very front of your eyes.

If it was cutting a lemon, lemon and a knife are there. —– So, just cut it. You don’t need to think

anything else.  After cutting 10 lemons, 100 lemons, (what to do those mountain of lemon slices =

may be better make Marmalade and use one or two for a cup of tea 😀   Or if you are short of

money, cut potatoes instead and make crisps ? —– though, I don’t like to use oil )  you will

run-out anything to think about (NO Thinking) = you will cut it almost like an

automatic machine (NO Emotion),  hence your eyes sees nothing else of Lemon

and the Knife = this is the Mindfulness.   And the brain is in the state of Mushin.

Then, applying this eyes and the Mind-set to see other things in the Life.

By actually DO something, there is NO PARADOX (Paradox is created in the

Emotional Thinking = such as Intention, Will, Gain / Loss Calculation, etc etc =

not exists in Doing )  —– This is the ZEN.

( So, it is a great mystery, what the people is doing while sitting and doing

so-called meditation ?  😀  😀 ) 



12 Responses

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  1. jag said, on January 4, 2013 at 15:27


  2. Lemony (Gr)Egghead said, on January 4, 2013 at 16:30

    I appreciate this post very much. The clarity of your points is especially helpful to me. I always like the example of the cutting of the lemon; it’s especially effective.

    • yoshizen said, on January 4, 2013 at 17:05

      I’m glad to hear you say that.
      Lemon may be effective too though, in your case,
      you are demonstrating your clear eyes in your photography.
      As sharp as what today’s photography can achieve yet still
      completely free from stereotypical viewpoint !
      It shows, you are in Ichijo with the subject on front of you.

      —– Though, in my eyes you are too serious or being perfectionist.
      By imposing perfectionism to yourself you might be making life harder.
      Be relax. Don’t worry, the world is a funny place, and never be perfect. 🙂
      When you were free from your tight costume, you can gain Jizai.
      It is almost the state of the enlightenment.

      • Lemony (Gr)Egghead said, on January 5, 2013 at 02:16

        Thank you, Yoshi-sensei, for your honest words. You’ve mentioned this to me before (my perfectionism), and I have remembered it and I appreciate the reminder again. Perfectionism is not a goal of mine in most areas of my life (or even something I am aware of)–I am usually very good at keeping things in perspective and am not serious at all–but there are a few key areas where I may strive for an unachievable and imagined ideal (and this may be the perfectionism you’re talking about). Perhaps through awareness I can release myself.

  3. yoshizen said, on January 5, 2013 at 03:51

    I’m not imply you to abandon perfectionism. Like flower arrangement —– western approach is to make it
    such as perfect symmetry, but Japanese style is avoiding it become symmetric. Accomplished flower master
    doesn’t care the style = he (she) follows what that flower tells. As if he abandoned to be a dictator to
    control flower, in fact he achieved better than what he would have had done. = because, he didn’t follow
    what his SELF wants but followed the Dharma.
    To follow the Dharma, Be relax. Open your mind and listen. After all we are only minute part of the Dharma 🙂

    What you might think “unachievable” could be achievable if you allow the rationales of the subject dominate.
    For example, the Venus Spoon I made (in the Post “Spoon”) had a nut and the wood clacked on the head = I let
    the wood to take shape in its own. = I think the result was better than what I might have don with my idea.
    As the Venus figure got funny clacked head but if it got perfect shaped head, it became mediocre
    —– I thought, there was a shape already inside of the wood = I just released its shape by removing the rest.

  4. Paul said, on January 6, 2013 at 22:38

    Thanks Yoshizen, for another useful and interesting lesson….you do make DIY Zen possible and understandable.
    What is interesting from your ‘lemon cutting’ is that it takes repetition for the mind to be still – in my tai chi studies I found it said that the mind is like a monkey on a hot tin roof – always reacting.
    Maybe practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect like the old saying, but practice is necessary for the mind to stop getting involved and the body is trained to do the right things.
    Engage and Act in observation=Zen?

    • yoshizen said, on January 7, 2013 at 02:20

      If the monkey can’t go anywhere els, he might develop the thick skin under his foot and if it was a man
      he might make a pair of straw sandal 😀
      Reacting with Emotional panic is not a way in the Zen. To see the situation — no escape ? or find the
      direction of measure with a vision — where to get straws to make sandals 😀
      The difference between reacting, jumping or to respond the situation with clear vision is whether the one
      was dominated by this Emotional panic (even though, hot tin is every days occurrences) or still able to
      contemplate and see the measure.

      Able to see the movement of coming fist in fraction of second to second and responding it is not the same
      to reacting it with fear. = practice gives the eyes to see even faster movement hence gives enough time
      to sway and avoid the opponent’s fist. = become immune to the fear. So that the same fist wouldn’t evoke
      the Emotional panic any more and able see the situation in cool eyes. This is Zen.

  5. elmediat said, on January 9, 2013 at 04:05

    Fascinating post. Most of the time I just mindfully/dutifully trip over the clutter of my mind and bruise my metaphorical shins. 🙂
    Thanks for visiting my blog. It is much appreciated. I am putting together a series of images on the theme of emptiness. I will be interested in your response after it is posted.

  6. yoshizen said, on January 9, 2013 at 06:38

    Thank you for returning here.
    Here could make yet more clutter in your emptiness though 😀
    I like your pinhole photos.

  7. Rachel R. Oneal said, on January 17, 2013 at 03:09

    No aspect of our mental life is more important to the quality and meaning of our existence than emotions. They are what make life worth living, or sometimes ending. So it is not surprising that most of the great classical philosophers—Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, Descartes, Hobbes, Hume—had recognizable theories of emotion, conceived as responses to certain sorts of events of concern to a subject, triggering bodily changes and typically motivating characteristic behavior. What is surprising is that in much of the twentieth-century philosophers of mind and psychologists tended to neglect them—perhaps because the sheer variety of phenomena covered by the word “emotion” and its closest neighbors tends to discourage tidy theory. In recent years, however, emotions have once again become the focus of vigorous interest in philosophy, as well as in other branches of cognitive science. In view of the proliferation of increasingly fruitful exchanges between researches of different stripes, it is no longer useful to speak of the philosophy of emotion in isolation from the approaches of other disciplines, particularly psychology, neurology, evolutionary biology, and even economics. While it is quite impossible to do justice to those approaches here, some sidelong glances in their direction will aim to suggest their philosophical importance.

    • yoshizen said, on January 17, 2013 at 04:48

      You are correct Rachel.
      As you said, 20C philosophers put emphasis on higher brain activities which seemed to be
      only possessed by human, rather than the emotion. But, as our view point has shifted to see
      more fundamental aspect of our existence, our eyes goes down to the basic emotion as well
      which was emanated from the old part of the brain.
      As evolutionary biology suggests, this old part of the brain share the same system with other animal,
      we (human) can have more inclusive or universal philosophy, with the structure, we as a part of the nature.
      (Though I’m not implying the “Emotion or Emotional Judgment” would give an answer or the truth.
      As the Emotion is basic and straight, it tend to be trapped by the superficial perception of the moment =
      poor in the feedback from the past and lack of wider view other than narrow selfish eye.)

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