Yoshizen's Blog

Bowl of Water Zen

When I was talking about Zen practice with others, someone mentioned a BBC news which

showed a group of Chinese Zen monks are walking while carrying a bowl of water

as their Zen practice. —– “ Oh, what a good idea. It’s a good practice to learn Zen Mind “

( It’s easy to try this.  Fill the water to the top of bowl about 8″  big and holding it to your chest high and walk.

By doing this,  you can observe your state of the mind,  how steady and calm your mind is.

Strangely you may find,  the more you concentrate and gaze the water the more it shakes  😀

—– when your mind is almost detouched from the water or whole action,  then the water become still and

make no drip while you are walking —- then you can fill even more water reaching to the edge.  It’s a fun !)


In this blog, I’ve been talking that any action could be a Zen practice, hence in one post I talked about

[Lemon Zen] and the other post, [Walking Zen] in fact I also mentioned about the effects of even riding

a bicycle or typing —– any repeating action could have the same effect to reach

a state of the Mind of No-Mind or Mushin.


In fact everybody is doing the action of walking in Mushin = nobody is thinking when and how to move

the right leg after left leg has moved. —– It’s all done unconsciously.

So that, the practice of Mushin ( and the Mindfulness of cause — if a part of the brain is not fully engaged

for the walking, we can not automatically adjust the leg movement following the slight change of a condition

of the road surface) is not necessary an exotic funny action.


Then inevitable question arose —– if the walking is the practice of Mushin which everybody is doing,

why not everybody is an accomplished  Zen Master.

Here is a funny but fundamental paradox of the Zen Buddhism.   When the Mushin in walking is the

Zen, it is the Zen. —– but otherwise it is just an unconscious action of walking.


Buddha didn’t perform any fancy or peculiar action. It was just a simple ordinary daily life, yet

as it was repeated every day, each action was almost identical every time.

This simplified and fixed way of each practice is the requisite condition of [the Life in Mushin].

Buddha’s life style was the text-book and the disciples were learned and copied those action, and in the process,

disciples learned the Mushin ( or the state of the No-Mind  was developed  in them).


Because of the state of the mind can not be learned by the word, but only by the practice ( like any

emotion,  unless a person has experienced it,  the description of feeling couldn’t make any sense )

and this is the reason why non of the ancient scripture was actually talking about No-Mind, but only No-Self.

( No-Self = No-Mind —– still able to live as a person is because there is the enough program in our

Subconsciousness which is invisible —– like what I am talking here, is a new interpretation after Freud invented

a notion of  Subconscious = which was not exists in the ancient time )


And there is yet another paradox in the Buddhism.

To live the Life in Mushin is what all about the Buddhism though, no-mind, no thinking, BUT unless it

was  understood as the Buddhism,  it wouldn’t become the Buddhism.

Anybody can carry a full of water in a bowl, and time to time the one may need to do it.   Just carry a cup of tea

happen to be full to the edge, from kitchen to a table —– some may succeed it while making no single drip, yet

some may make a mess.  What makes a difference ?

Calm mind, hence a steady hand is the crucial point here = a kind of thought “ Oh, I’ve put

too much. I’m silly. I would spill a mess on the floor. etc. “ would make a hand even more

wobbly and the tea would drip here and there   😀


A person can practice this and acquire better coordination on the hand, so that it will be programmed into

the motor legion of the brain and may become a routine movement.   But, that all.

BUT, if a person practised this, under a file name of the Zen Buddhism, the file become

accessible in any moment when it need to have a calm mind in your life.

Carrying a full of water as Zen, it become the Zen with its effects.

Once a person acquired this file with the attachment of the notion of Zen and its spiritual implication,

the file would be applied to any action and any situation in the Life, hence, walking is the Zen, cutting a lemon

is the Zen, and even facing Tsunami Wave could be handled in a calm mind and able to act in the best way

or see the fate with calm clear eyes.   (Sorry to the victims of Tsunami)

With this Paradox ( has to live without thoughts, preconception etc, still needs to organize its notion of

Mushin as the practice of Zen Buddhism) Buddha has asserted “ There is the way, which is to be

pursued as the way of Buddhism “ since in his earliest teachings as one of the Four Noble Truth.


This notion makes the difference between Mushin to just to be an ignorant thoughtless.

Though, the notion itself is nothing complicated = just to be aware [to carry a bowl of water is for Zen]

—– with this awareness, just Do It and keep doing it —– then suddenly you will find that you can do it without

spilling a single drip of water, and realized while doing it you didn’t need to think anything = Just Did It !


Then observe yourself, while doing even other things, are you just doing it as well, without having any

useless thought ? (You may achieve this in few weeks or may be taking few years. Just carry on. —– then you

might be noticed, you have been having no upheaval in your life and strangely, quite unexpected

or too good to be true kind of coincidences has been happening, yet no one can tell why

—– Just carry on with your LIFE without questioning. ) —–This is a Zen Buddhist’s LIFE.



Posted in Awareness, Buddhism, Direct Transmission, Enlightenment, Order of Universe, Zen in Action by yoshizen on February 21, 2010

Used as a metaphor in the Buddhism, the story of a Finger pointing the Moon is too well-known.

This metaphor is about the explanation of—— Not the mean / Finger,  but

the subject / Moon —– Satori (Enlightenment)or  The Dharma (Rules of the Universe)

Even though the Zen Sect has the most critical,  precise analysis of the Buddhism,  still when its came to the

point to elucidate the core of the teachings / Satori,  Zen says  “Furyu-monji” (Not explainable in the words) or

“Kyogai-bechiden” (Not possible to teach)——- hence only the possibility is by mean of Direct Transmission.

———- Yet still,  funnily enough,  when the one did managed to find it out,  it is just ubiquitous,

natural things, hence  it was described such as a  Dog sit.  (Very very Funny  !!! )


I’m not a master,  even not a monk, so I can’t tell you what it is.     As I only got a distant view of it by walking

around,  round round round and as I saw it is there like as the air.

Still, I can show what is the Buddhism not by the words but in the way how to live it,  and how to do it.

(Which is Tried and Tested 🙂 )

After all, this is what the Buddhism is.  And this is why  “It is there as it is not there” and beyond of

thinking or words.

( If it can be explained in words, somebody great Master in the past 2500 years could have done already.

And the teachings of  Zen and Direct Transmission needn’t to be invented )

How to live is the way of the Direct Transmission.

So that you may live the same way,  walk round same place,  then you may find the same ( Dog sit  ?!!—–

—– How Nice  😀  )    So,  I can say  Just Do It.

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Starting point of Yoshizen

It was the last moment as I was leaving the temple, when Master Kogetsu stopped me at the gate and asked me,

“I’ve been wondering since I saw you on the first day. Who the devil this guy ?

Have a tea and talk before you go”

While receiving his tea I told him who I am.

Finding my father’s name in the Soto Temples Directory and heard that I was a veteran mountain climber,

he understood why he felt me as if I were a seasoned monk.

It was the time soon after the collapse of the 70th students’ uprise (lots of ex-activist left Japan then) and

my Degree was in Sociology, I had enough ammunition to ask him about the viability of the Buddhism

in the aspect of the society and human existence.

His answer was what I wrote before, still I promised him I’ll see him again.

I’m afraid it must be too late to report him back, still I feel my duty to tell his tombstone what I found.

——Since, without encountering Master Kogetsu, Yoshizen couldn’t exist today and I believe it was

the destined Karma.

And me to encounter a new friend who directed me to Zen blog site, and me to start blogging was

also a pre-destined Karma which meant me, the time is ripe.


PS :  To follow-up this, you may read a post “Tiny Comment” which would explain the point best.


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