mind waves


“Because we enjoy all aspects of life as an unfolding of big mind, we do not care for any excessive joy. So we have imperturbable composure.”


My Comment

This transcript of a dharma talk by the Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki is one of my favorites because it is so simple and down to earth. And yet it is food for much deep contemplation. Enjoy!


When you are practicing zazen, do not try to stop your thinking.

Let it stop by itself. If something comes into your mind,

let it come in, and let it go out. It will not stay long. When

you try to stop your thinking, it means you are bothered by

Do not be bothered by anything. It appears as if something

comes from outside your mind, but actually it is only the

waves of your mind, and if you are not bothered by the

waves, gradually they will become calmer and calmer. In

five or at most ten minutes, your mind will be completely

serene and calm. At that time your breathing will become

quite slow, while your pulse will become a little faster.


It will take quite a long time before you find your calm,

serene mind in your practice. Many sensations come, many

thoughts or images arise, but they are just waves of your

own mind. Nothing comes from outside your mind. Usually

we think of our mind as receiving impressions and experiences

from outside, but that is not a true understanding of

our mind. The true understanding is that the mind includes

everything; when you think something comes from outside

it means only that something appears in your mind. Nothing

outside yourself can cause any trouble.

You yourself make the waves in your mind.


If you leave your mind as it is, it

will become calm. This mind is called big mind.

If your mind is related to something outside itself, that

mind is a small mind, a limited mind. If your mind is not

related to anything else, then there is no dualistic understanding

in the activity of your mind. You understand activity as

just waves of your mind. Big mind experiences everything

within itself.


Do you understand the difference between the

two minds: the mind which includes everything, and the

mind which is related to something? Actually they are the

same thing, but the understanding is different, and your

attitude towards your life will be different according to

which understanding you have.


That everything is included within your mind is the essence

of mind. To experience this is to have religious feeling.

Even though waves arise, the essence of your mind is pure;

it is just like clear water with a few waves. Actually water

always has waves. Waves are the practice of the water. To

speak of waves apart from water or water apart from waves

is a delusion. Water and waves are one. Big mind and small

mind are one. When you understand your mind in this way,

you have some security in your feeling. As your mind does

not expect anything from outside, it is always filled. A mind

with waves in it is not a disturbed mind, but actually an

amplified one. Whatever you experience is an expression

of big mind.


The activity of big mind is to amplify itself through various

experiences. In one sense our experiences coming one by

one are always fresh and new, but in another sense they are

nothing but a continuous or repeated unfolding of the one

big mind. For instance, if you have something good for

breakfast, you will say, “This is good.” “Good” is supplied

as something experienced some time long ago, even though

you may not remember when. With big mind we accept

each of our experiences as if recognizing the face we see in

a mirror as our own. For us there is no fear of losing this

mind. There is nowhere to come or to go; there is no fear

of death, no suffering from old age or sickness.


Because we enjoy all aspects of life as an unfolding of big mind,

we do not care for any excessive joy. So we have imperturbable

composure, and it is with this imperturbable composure of

big mind that we practice zazen.


source: Shunryu Suzuki, PDF Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind




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