Mind, and Awakening

Encouraging practice through teachings from our teachers

Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi

Shunryu Suzuki, on Big Mind

from "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" (ZMBM, 1998 soft cover edition)"

Small Mind

From small to big mind? Ideally, in Zazen one is awake in notion-less, desire-less emptiness; "in the perfectly enlightened mind, there are no objects and there is no observer". Yet small mind drifts, thoughts and emotions arise, and maintaining mindfulness is difficult. Ego changes, along with everything. Working on koans such as "who am I? what is this?" may experientially expand consciousness without the ego's "I", the presumption of an relational, operational or functional center.

When small mind's disturbances come to mind in zazen:

Loving big mind

Granted, what I actually do, think, perceive and feel does not remotely accord with Ideals. Yet my aspiration and obligation, given what I know, is to love big mind, and awakening. I do not have a special path to big mind. However, just knowing what I know obligates me to my best efforts despite problems, incompetence, inability, and likely failure.

Negative tendencies, e.g., from hatred, greed, and delusions, may or may not diminish with practice, but reactions to hatred, greed, and delusions do change. Much more personal is the suffering of loved ones from ill will, and avoidance of obligations. Small mind remains active. Practice and devotion is warranted in view of proclivities. Therefore study and learn; about Dharma (everything, and every theory), Sangha (everyone, and relationships), and Buddha (big mind, and awakening). For general ideals of comportment, consider the Metta Sutra.

In zazen, return to good posture and mindfulness, and let zazen act and work. Practice is enjoying and appreciating big mind, with rest and relaxation concurrent with posture and mindfulness.

Koans Relevant to Mind, and Awakening

Small Mind's Ego, Sub-Personalities, and Archtypes

Freud, Jung, Positive Psychology, and Prescriptions Practice (body, morality, emptiness), Attitude (feeling, meditation, impersonality), Understanding (mind, wisdom, attention)

Main Point: During zazen, occasionally check your alignment in upright posture and maintain appreciation. When you noticing something amiss, appreciate it (generously) and return to attention to the breath, and to big mind.

For my other related talks at Jikoji, see Notes on Talks

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