Yoshizen's Blog

Reverse Engineering of ZEN

As I often wrote before, my approach to Zen Buddhism is a

way of reverse-engineering = disassembling a product to

analyse the structure and components etc. to find the reason

why it was designed in such a way, for what purpose and for

what advantage.

Then able to see even a philosophy behind of it.


In a case of Zen, to see what sort of practice in such as

Tea-making or Martial-art etc. which were well known to be

a part of Zen culture, and see what is the common factor and

common philosophy, how they are related to Zen teachings.

—– from those observation, it was

easy to see that the key-word was the [Mushin], and

to attain, it was achieved by the years of repeated practice.

—– But, what repeated practice to do with [Mushin] ?


For me, it took many years of search until I connected it to

the neurological phenomenon, which is the threshold of the

perception rose against the same repeated signal, and

become immune to it.

It was almost an Eureka moment to me. —– With this,

how the emotional tension decay after while, or how we get

used and overcome a fear, even become apathetic, all became

clear and able to make straight connection to the Zen.

Then, I realized that this is the reason why all the Buddhism

sects are using the endless repeating practice as a part of their

teachings.  (whether chanting the same or banging the drum,

walking round and round etc etc —–

Lord Buddha said to have used the way of breathing as a practice)

—– All for getting the state of [Mushin]. —– And I realized

that the continuous action such as cutting the log in a mountain

shelter, or even Disco-dancing which automatically reflect to each

element of music I did, had in deed having had the same effects.


Mushin is not only to abandon the thinking process

but more importantly, it disconnects perception 

(coming signal) to the emotion. = This is exactly what

Buddhism says [Detachment] which is behind the

[8 Right path]. (I wouldn’t presume that, it included a

Disco-dancing though. 😀 )

And as a neurological fact, detached emotion cause a

detachment even from a conscious of Self and the own belongings.

= Detachment from primordial Instincts, Ego and

Greed, is exactly the State of [Selflessness] and not 

attached to any fixed tendency is the [Middle-way] = 

Hence, all the peculiar phenomena in the Buddhism became clear.

(In fact, all those [Mushin], [Selflessness], [Middle-way] even

[Mindfulness] are all created by the [Detachment] of the nerve

signal from the Emotion = actually they are the same one

phenomenon, but named it seeing from different angles.)


As all those phenomena was the core of

the Buddhism teachings, it’s mean,

Lord Buddha did know all those mechanism in our mind

though, to trace back all those to his teachings in the scripture

is not straight forward, such as metaphor and his real wording

may not been correctly recorded and translated.

—– A description in the Vimalakirti Sutra “If you have a mind

that you are giving, it is not true giving” or in a typical

Mahayana expression “Giving as not-giving is the giving” are

in fact all meant “Giving in Mushin or in Selflessness”

(without conscious of action).

—– All the religion require the active mind-set, “Complete

attachment to the Belief which was written” but only the

Buddhism teaches [Detachment] = this is the very

distinctive point though, to describe something

which is not there = [Empty mind] is very difficult.


The trouble of the Buddhism is, virtually no reliable written

record exists.   It’s a pile of hearsay after 10th, 100th of Chinese

whisper.  🙂   And seemingly, the person, good in writing may

not be the person who actually reached Mushin or Selflessness

— otherwise such as Abidharma-kosa was never been written.

And on top of this, even though the matter is all in the depth

of murky subconsciousness, there was no understanding of

psychology neither a notion or word to describe was existed then.


In such an environment, to pretend to be a Master and boast,

creating yet another Mantras was very easy, but to disprove

it was difficult. = all came down to the political power game of

the sects. Winner takes all and justify their righteousness,

regardless of its authenticity —– hence, created utter

mixed-up-Buddhism (in fact, it was a Tantra mixed Hinduism

with some idea from the Buddhism)

for a sake of populism and a commercial success. =

(It’s easier to sell, “This God would save you” than “Need to

know, Suffering is not exists” —– after a death nobody ever

came back to complain “God wasn’t there”= So, its sale’s point

has never been disproved and able to keep assume that the

dead are in Heaven. 😀 )


Obviously, it is necessary to re-examine and to see what was

the original teachings, even though it might be yet another

guess work. —– Still, my approach, which is based on the

neurological mechanism, can explain all the Buddhism

phenomena. —– If not what else could explain it ?

(Leaving the matter to mythical unknown power and

its blessing ? —– Joking !  We are in the 21st century ! )


This neurological, psychological response is common to

all human being (hence it was described that everybody

born with it) it is applicable to anybody and many area of

human activities. (In fact it has been used a lot.)

And it will prove that the Buddhism has a tangible substance.

(unlike any other religion, which is based on a fantasy which

is only exists if it was believed) —– As the Buddhism is based

on the tangible substance, not on the imagination or belief,

it was often classified as a philosophy not a religion.



5 Responses

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  1. Lemony (Gr)Egghead said, on June 18, 2013 at 18:17

    Very, very good. Do you encounter much criticism in response to your approach to Zen Buddhism? I can imagine that many people would consider your ideas extremely controversial. Personally, I appreciate your honest and rational approach.

    • yoshizen said, on June 18, 2013 at 19:05

      In fact it took attention of BBC religious talk program for last Easter time though,
      I thought it was too early to do, and in comparison to other people (who would) appear
      the program seemed to be “the established authority”—– I turned down the request.

      Another trouble is that the most of Japanese monks couldn’t read English, on top of
      that, they just inherited the temple = their task is to keep it as it is.
      (I sent an Email to a Zen monk who is teaching Zen in Germany —- no reply.)
      It is just the same situation, “Don’t rock the boat” 😀

      Yet still, as I commented on a post in Japanese (some post newer), the access from Japan
      was rocketed to 64 (normally 3~10) — I wish to provoke the people start to dig deep to
      the origin and start to form a kind of forum in the net.

      • Lemony (Gr)Egghead said, on June 19, 2013 at 02:35

        Right. When I get the clear impression that people don’t want me to rock the boat, I know I’m on the right track. You have right-minded, good motivation. I hope, as you reach a wider audience, that people will be open-minded and willing to participate in the conversation you are extending to them.

        • yoshizen said, on June 19, 2013 at 03:30

          Waite and see. If it’s happen, it will happen.

  2. What is MUSHIN ? | Yoshizen's Blog said, on November 19, 2015 at 14:43

    […] Clear the Deck for 2013       Reverse Engineering of Zen […]

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