Mind and viewpoint

ensoI was in zazen, and the phone rang. The phone’s voice said that it was the car place calling, and I am not nearly pure enough to avoid responding to, or even to expect myself to avoid responding to, the car place calling.

(I need front brakes, which is to say that my car needs new parts in its front brakes, or so they say. Do I believe them? Always hard to say. The incentives and track-record are mixed. But I am getting new front-brake parts.)

Back on the zafu, again in zazen, no time had passed, no events occurred, no thoughts or actions manifested. And I had an insight from the formless, where there are no attributes. Or at least I thought of a weblog posting. :)

When body and thought fall away, words are surpassed. But let us call it Mind, for here and for now, even though that can be confusing, since body and thought falling away can as well be called body and mind falling away. But that is mind, not Mind.

Body and thought have attributes, have identities and telephones and cars and brake-pads. Mind is formless and has no attributes.

But, it seems, when body and thought fall away, and also when body and thought do not fall away, Mind still has viewpoint. When body and thought fall away for Hui-Neng, if Mind is a mirror or a water drop, what it reflects is still Hui-Neng. When body and thought fall away for John Loori, Mind’s non-reflection is not-reflecting John Loori.

No doubt this is wrong; Mind is not a mirror, or a waterdrop. But still questions buzz around it.

Does Mind not have viewpoint? But then, after body and thought have fallen away, how does Hui-Neng come down off of the mountain, being Hui-Neng and not John Loori?

Does mind have all viewpoints at once? Or does it have things, subtle things, in addition to viewpoint? Instead of viewpoint?

Or are there many Minds, differing only in viewpoint, one for every sitter, one for each Hui-Neng and John Loori, one for each Buddha? No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body or mind; no form, sound, smell, taste, touch or mind object; no realm of the eye, no ignorance and also no ending of ignorance, no old age and death and no ending of old age and death, but well yeah there are lots of viewpoints, floating around formless in the void?

Seems unlikely.

Maybe this is my koan for the time being.

And it seems appropriate to close with Hui-Neng’s own show-off verse, that got him the Patriarch’s Robe.

Replying to poor Shenxiu’s offering:

The body is a Bodhi tree,
The mind a standing mirror bright.
At all times polish it diligently,
And let no dust alight.

Hui-Neng wrote:

Bodhi is fundamentally without any tree;
The bright mirror is also not a stand.
Fundamentally there is not a single thing —
Where could any dust be attracted?

So there we are.

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2 Comments to “Mind and viewpoint”

  1. So there you “you” are.



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