Yoshizen's Blog

Mushin / Peace of Mind – How To ?

In the past week or two, I’ve been heavily involved in talking to people who have trouble in mind.

(Hence, nothing new has been posted in this blog – I’m not by profession an agony-aunt.

I can’t mass-produce crap advice = one subject at a time = that’s as much as mindfulness can handle.)

(Total cop-out!)

One person beautifully described having a sort of escape-walk in the woods

and watching the flow of water in a small river.   She said, that this solitude seemed to

be only her escape = but, she knew of course that she had to go back to the mess of her life

disturbed by an agonizing regret.

Mmm ? ? ?

What a shame. The kind of the advice which so-called psychiatrists are giving nowadays would recommend

regressing to the source of the person’s trouble, hence re-experiencing the agony again and again.


Unlike these so-called psychiatrists, Buddhism has been handling the matters of the mind for

thousands of years, so it is clear to Buddhist eyes that the solitude which this

woman found was, in fact nothing but the state of No-Mind = Mushin in the Zen term.

Unless this particular person was a botanist, knowledgeable as to the name of every plant, there wasn’t

much for her to think about in the woods and hence her environment out there was just an environment,

nothing more.   And the flow of the river with its faint song would have no meaning for her = outside of

any intellectual brain activity.

Let’s suppose this woodland had been visited many times by her = so that there was no new stimulation,

nothing to cause an alert of any kind.

If this had been the case this person could have had complete peace of mind in solitude without

any thinking-processes. Expecting nothing.  Projecting nothing. 

Her mind absolutely open, completely remote from any thought-disturbances.


Well, as she had already found the state of No-Mind / Mushin, I advised her to follow a particular practice,

to just lightly shake her head, and at the same-time, visualize the scene of the woods with

the running water. 

And I instructed her that when she did this, her mind would become empty, distant from all useless thought.

Afterwards, when the simple practice was over, she could then start to do what ever she needed to do,

the work, the daily chores, even sitting on a toilet. 

And in daily life,  she should do this like a ritual, when ever she saw a sign of bad thoughts coming-up.

Shaking or wobbling the head once, visualizing the running water and emptying the mind does

actually work.  This is the right process to get rid of trouble-in-mind.
Following this advice, I sent her a few emails explaining how our mind works, describing the structure of the

brain etc etc = rather boring stuff = to make her fed-up of dealing with Mind-matter

and just concentrate on the work = Life.


Just a week later, I received an email in which she explained that she was now free from useless thoughts,

or more precisely, she was fed-up with being bothered by such thoughts.

She felt that now she could just get on with her work; she has no time to waste on useless thoughts.

(Well done! )

This is a sample to apply state of Zen Mushin to the dairy life.  (and get rid of the useless thoughts)

Any practice by which a person can experience the Mushin, can be connected to this sample and

this was the reason why I’ve been writing about such as Lemon Zen, Walking Zen etc etc.

Like in this case, visualization and to shake the head was a trigger to go-into the state of Mushin

= conditioning of the mind.   Once this practice became a routine in the brain, actual action to

shake the head can be minimal (invisible).

In the Lord Buddha’s story, a woman called Kisa Gotami said to have achieved this, in one day.

Still, this person achieved this in one week ( plus priory walking in the woods) wasn’t too bad.

This person may not become knowledgeable to  Buddhism stories and its spiritual artifacts though,

what she needed was to get on her life without the disturbing thoughts = peace of mind.


Note :  The photo = Magnolia Grandifloria —– from Wikimedia


Order in Disorder (1)

Reflecting back my own life, I myself often amazed, or even bemused,

how I’ve been coming through chancy life.   I wouldn’t say I was anything casual or irresponsible,

because if there was anything due, I did my bargain in my best.   But beside this, I put even more effort for

something else which is not necessary I was expected to do. —– but in the hind sight, I’m wondering

whether it was my choice or just happened to be there, and I just picked it up ?

When I was small, my interest was the Nature, insect or plant kind.    But it was not my choice.

Soon after the war ended, Tokyo was a burnt down city, not much other than a wild field to go around and

no sports facility or game kind there.     (My hobby of electronics was definitely my choice. And to get the

components, I needed to take a journey to Akihabara where ex-Korean war junk was sold — and those

mechanical-electronical components  such as variable condenser, vacuum bulb’s intricate, futuristic

structure fascinated me ! )

For me to turn my eyes to human life and its psyche was happened when one of the (bad) boy in the

secondary school incited me to read a book of the notorious suicidal novelist, Osamu Dazai.

(so, I became bad boy too —– and became a rebel )

And to start to go to mountain other than for chasing the insects was, simply the class teacher organized an

out of school activity club and I joined it.    (Since I was familiar with walking on the hill or in the woods)

And this activity continued while getting heavier and heavier even to winter rock climbing level.    (Its mean,

I did this, one of the physically, mentally hardest training from 12 years to 27 years, up to 1/3rd of the year

in the mountain)


For me to take the subject of  Industrial Sociology  in my Uni’ was also a sheer coincidence.

A Professor of Industrial Sociology asked me to help his project, and I got involved deeper, that’s all.

But I personally learned from him, how to observe and analyse the man and its society.

(Visualize somebody’s life and give an insight “If I were the man in there, how do I feel

and behave”—– this approach gave me great insight, and the way to see the human life

—– instead of imposing the view or criteria of observation, not to take superficial

observation of one’s behaviour, but to see the situation from the person’s psyche and his

stance, was the crucial attitude I learned from him)

And while in my Uni’ I spent most of the time  (well, while I was not in the mountain)  in the Herbalium in

the Science dept’ despite I was studying sociology.    This Makino Herbalium is one of the largest in Japan

having millions of botanical specimen and I was working there, taking photo of plant or making specimen.

It was my part-time work to pay for the Uni’ and to go to mountain or skiing.

While there, I was asked to join 3 expeditions to help botanists as a botanical photographer and an expert of

jungle walking   🙂 —– in fact for those reason I remained in my Uni’ altogether 7 years.

(with annoyance of the administrator, who shouted me  “Are you still here ?” 😀 )

———- but I might have made a mistake to become a photographer   😀

( But if I were not a photographer, I didn’t come and to live here —– it was a necessary

 element in the course of my life —– like a Butterfly Effect / minute change may cause

the drastic difference in the end result —– therefore, there is no regret )

( To deal with close-up photography,  it is necessary to improvise or even specially design the equipments.

Working in a part of the Science Dept’,  I could access the engineering machine in the Technology Dept’ and

having the knowledges of electronics lead me to design even special camera.  It happened, as it happened.

—– was that natural consequence or just a lucky coincidence  —– it’s a good question  🙂 )


Then I left Japan.  And while staying in England as a photojournalist, suddenly the awkward court case was

started which I had no choice.   I had to deal with the case as a Litigant in Person while learning English Law

overnight —– and I was forced to give up photographic business.   Court case really consume time though,

in the other hand,  if next hearing is months away —- suddenly, too much time but nothing to do.

So that, I got plenty time for reading and thinking —– about  Zen.  Then, suddenly  “ Alas,

now I know,  all through my life,  I was given the hardest training to become a Zen monk”.

I’ve learned Nature. Then my scope was expanded to human existence while dealing with sociology and

working in the mountain as a voluntary keeper,  seeing the people in their edge of  the life.   Hence, farther

into the spiritual fundamental aspects of humanity.

(but didn’t learn how to deal with funeral , so, don’t ask me to conduct a funeral 😀 )

(Since, the Court case was caused by a woman’s explotitation of my immigration status, I was quarified to decrear

” Woman is the cause of nothing but the trouble”  hence I quit to deal with woman.  Literally became a monk  😀  )


Looks utterly chancy life though, on the end, it converged into one direction.

And yet another coincidence,  I happen to start this Zen blogging.

Before I left Japan,  I was told by my mother who was a psychic, and while she was reading my palm line

“Since you got mission, you wouldn’t be fallen before your task was accomplished. Therefore I wouldn’t

worrying about you at all” —– I don’t know the reason why I don’t get ill (I still have no registered Doctor

while staying in this country 35 years), or in the mountain,  I had falls on the rock 3 times though never

injured.   And I’ve broken 3 skis but never broken any bone   😀

—– It’s hard to tell, whether all of those are just the sheer coincidences, and I was just lucky

—– or something else ? —– there seems to be no order or rational connection, everything

were just occurred,  yet still,  in the hind sight,  there was a certain direction.

( If A hasn’t been there, encountering  B wouldn’t be happened, then at the B, conveniently C

happened —– and so on,  and lead to  Z  on the end = this is the life. )

? is this the hidden order ? —– Or the Dharma’s intention ?


( To be continued to the next post  🙂  )

Which Practice ?

Posted in Buddhism, Ichijo, Meditation, Mindfullness, Mushin, Subconsciousness, Zen by yoshizen on February 11, 2010

As you may noticed,  my approach to the Buddhism is by means of Doing.

And my Doing is not a fixed practice.

It can be even cutting lemons or twisting a wire to make figures or make small electronic circuit etc ——.

In fact it can be any activity in the daily life,  like somebody’s daily job.

———- The reason is obvious,  (1)  It is not an activity intentionally designed on purpose.  As it is a part of

daily life and carries no special meaning or pretence, such as  ” This is the Special noble practice for the

Higher Spiritual Achievement”, it is natural.   This is the Jinen.

(2)  Basically I’m a humble mean person.  I can’t afford to spend a  time for such a special exotic activity.

If ordinary activity can serve the same purpose,  why not do them.  It would save the time and energy.

Most important point is, the Buddhism is a way of the life.  It wouldn’t work like to buy a piece of Indulgence

and sit as a formality.  Buddhism  needs to go down all the corner of one’s life.  This is the Ichijo in total.

The matter is to live the life in  Mushin.

———- So, as one of the by-product,  I got nicely twisted wire as well ——- How nice  Ha Ha Ha   😀

( I don’t think so many people in the world, found an interest of twisting the wire.   Its mean, this is a very

peculiar activity specifically occurred only on my Karma,  therefore this is a part of  Yoshizen.  Ha Ha Ha  😀  )

Since,  it was the task, I only had to do  (on that moment), I only doing it,  nothing else, therefore I didn’t need

to specially concentrate for  “Mind-fulness”  kind, as there was nothing else to think about anyway.


Almost synonym of the (misconceived) Buddhism, “Meditation”, “Mind-fullness”, “Selfless” are all too

prominent though, they are bore out of the unnatural pretenceful activity.

Because of it is a peculiar exotic practice, the person has to fight to concentrate to get mind-fullness and

while (utterly contradictively) hustle to get selflessness.  (If a man has to wear Mini-Skirt he can’t be calm.  🙂 )


But if you do the activity which you can abandon yourself,  you automatically start to do fully minded

without any conscious of self.  In this way, anybody, in any activity, they can reach to the Mushin.

This is the Mahayana Buddhism.

Door is open to anybody,  not only to the professional monk whose task (and the mean of earning money)

is to Perform and Demonstrate “Buddhism”—— in other words, other than a monk, most of the people

don’t need to demonstrate and perform it.

——————- Though,  to do the things which is not your choice,  even a kind of task you hate,

and still able to do it in  Mushin,  needs to have special training to disconnect your  Thinking and  Emotion,

which I have explained before,  ” Starting with absolute obedience and repeat the practice until it

reaches to the state of  Mental Fatigue—–”

———- And almost legendary  ” Hyper state of the Brain ”  could be achieved only through very dangerous

practice and the Visualization.   ( Some Martial Artist can do this.   And the people competing with their

memory power, while memorizing hundreds of cards in order, using this Visualizing skill under

the hyper state of the Brain ——- but don’t ask me about it)

Though,  in my view from my experiences,  I’m not necessary agree with those special  Mind Engineering is

in the scope of the Buddhism.   Those highly specialized  Mind Engineering  was a discovery of the

professional monk though it is necessary to born with particular genetic condition.

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