Astus wrote:Mushin, that is, no-mind is a Zen term for prajnaparamita, and means non-abiding in any phenomenon, what is seeing their emptiness. And yes, it is the central idea of Zen, just as Mahayana.
Astus wrote:Not exactly. Zhangzi talks about following the natural appearance of things without contrivance. Zen talks about not attaching to ideas, seeing things clearly and acting compassionately. In Zen there is no natural order to follow or submit to.
King of Qin wrote: I have just come to a realization! This scroll by Broken Sword contains no secrets of his swordsmanship. What this reveals is his highest ideal. In the first state, man and sword become one and each other. Here, even a blade of grass can be used as a lethal weapon. In the next stage, the sword resides not in the hand but in the heart. Even without a weapon, the warrior can slay his enemy from a hundred paces. But the ultimate ideal is when the sword disappears altogether. The warrior embraces all around him. The desire to kill no longer exists. Only peace remains.
Astus wrote:It does indeed. And it shows how mushin in matial arts is not Zen.
Luke wrote:Astus wrote:It does indeed. And it shows how mushin in matial arts is not Zen.
Then do you think that the quote by Takuan Soho which I posted in my OP is also "not Zen"?
I guess the first question in my OP really should have been "Is using the state of mind of mushin to improve one's performance of a martial art or another skill a Zen Buddhist idea or not?"
Astus wrote:When it says, "is ready only to follow the dictates of the subconscious", either it's a bad translation or a very non-Buddhist idea. Using Zen to be a proficient killer, that's a perversion of the teachings. Zen is about becoming a buddha, it is about the perfection of bodhisattva action. Thinking that Zen is good for learning this or that skill is lacking the correct motivation, bodhicitta. It is mistaking Zen for some technique or therapeutic method. Zen is direct insight into the nature of mind. No insight, no Zen. One can use a calm mind to be more efficient in many things, yes. But that's just a calm mind, not Zen.
Meido wrote:The quote is a less than ideal translation of that passage.
Takuan's Fudochi Shimmyo Roku from which it comes does not present Zen as a means to become proficient at killing or any other skill. It is a collection of letters written by him to Yagyu Munenori, a highly placed feudal lord and government official who was also a famous master of swordsmanship. As such, it describes aspects of Zen practice by appealing to experiences that would be familiar to such a person.
For example: in the cited passage Takuan describes the mind's habit to "stop" or "stick" to things. After describing how a skilled swordsman of course does not let his mind "stop" on things like his opponent's sword or movement, his own intention to attack, the rhythm or distance and so on, he concludes: "This I believe is all very well known to you. I only call your attention to it from the Buddhist point of view. In Buddhism, this "stopping mind" is called mayoi [delusion], hence [the title of this chapter] "The Dwelling Place of Ignorance [Mumyo i.e. Avidya] and Its Affective Disturbance [Bonno i.e. Klesa].
The subject of the work that follows is exactly direct insight into the nature of mind. It does not discuss cultivation of a "calm" mind. It does discuss original mind [honshin] and deluded mind [moshin]. Its thrust is essentially how someone trained as a warrior - in other words, Yagyu and the entire ruling class of Japan then in the early 17th century - could use that background to approach the fundamentals of Zen practice.
Luke wrote:Thanks for explaining the real context of that quote, Meido! You sound quite knowledgeable. It's a good thing that we have you around! Perhaps one day, the Zen subforum here will become more active...
Although to be fair, I want to add that that chapter from the Chuang Tzu is not just about mastering ordinary tasks either. The last line of that chapter is "Lord Wen-hui said, 'That’s good, indeed! Ting the cook has shown me how to find the Way to nurture life.'" What this means exactly is up to interpretation, but I admit that it doesn't sound as profound as "original mind."
Meido wrote:RE the ox passage: from a Zen standpoint at least, this could read to me as a description of kan (intuitive perception) as the wondrous (myo) functioning of wisdom within activity. Of course if we seek such excellent functioning as a benefit in and of itself, rather than as something manifesting naturally from integrating the recognition of the true self, then it would not be Zen. Which, I think, returns to the point Astus made.