Friday, July 10, 2020

water and ice

There is no place to put the mind. 
A certain person once said, "No matter where I put my mind,
 my intentions are held in check in the place where my mind goes,
 and I lose to my opponent. Because of that, I place my mind 
just below my navel and do not let it wander. Then am I able to change
 according to the actions of my opponent." This is reasonable.

 But viewed from the highest standpoint of Buddhism, putting the mind 
just below the navel and not allowing it to wander is a low level
 of understanding, not a high one. It is at the level of discipline 
and training. It is at the level of seriousness. Or of Mencius' saying,
 "Seek after the lost mind." This is not the highest level either.
 It has the sense of seriousness. As for the "lost mind,"
 I have written about this elsewhere, and you can take a look at it there. 
If you consider putting your mind below your navel and not letting it wander, 
your mind will be taken by the mind that thinks of this plan.

You will have no ability to move ahead and will be exceptionally unfree.
 This leads to the next question, "If putting my mind below my navel
 leaves me unable to function and without freedom, it is of no use.
 In what part of my body, then, should I put my mind?" I answered,
 "If you put it in your right hand, it will be taken by the right hand
 and your body will lack its functioning. If you put your mind in the eye, 
it will be taken by the eye, and your body will lack its functioning.
 If you put your mind in your right foot, your mind will be taken by
 the right foot and your body will lack its functioning.

 "No matter where you put it, if you put the mind in on place,
 the rest of your body will lack its functioning."
 "Well, then, where does one put his mind." I answered,
 "If you don't put it anywhere, it will go to all parts of your body
 and extend throughout its entirety. In this way, when it enters your hand,
 it will realize the hand's function. When it enters your foot, it will realize
 the foot's function. When it enters your eye, 
it will realize the eye's function. 

Putting the mind in one place is called falling into onesidedness.
 One-sidedness is said to be bias in one place. Correctness is in moving
 about anywhere. The Correct Mind shows itself by extending the mind 
throughout the body. It not biased in any one place. When the mind is biased
 in one place and lacking in another, it is called a one-sided mind.
 One-sidedness is despicable. To be arrested by anything, no matter what, 
is falling into one-sidedness and is despised by those travelling the Way. 

The Right Mind is the mind that does not remain in one place. 
It is the mind that stretches throughout the entire body and self.
 The Confused Mind is the mind that, thinking something over,
 congeals in one place. When the Right Mind congeals and settles
 in one place, it becomes what is called the Confused Mind. 

When the Right Mind is lost, it is lacking in function here and there.
 For this reason, it is important not to lose it. In not remaining in one place,
 the Right Mind is like water. The Confused Mind is like ice, 
and ice is unable to wash hands or head. When ice is melted, it becomes water 
and flows everywhere, and it can wash the hands, the feet or anything else. 

If the mind congeals in one place and remains with one thing,
 it is like frozen water and is unable to be used freely: ice that can wash 
neither hands nor feet. When the mind is The Unfettered Mind –
 Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master melted and is used like water,
 extending throughout the body, it can be sent wherever one wants to send it.
 This is the Right Mind. 

~ Takuan Soho
from The Unfettered Mind:
 writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master 
translated by William Scott Wilson