empty and open out body and mind


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This phrase (coined by Zen Master Hongzhi):

The essence is to empty and open out body and mind,

as expansive as the great emptiness of space

has been my mantra for several days, together with Ramana’s statement:

We are in our Self

Here Ramana was responding to a visitor asking how to reach the Self. I have had several insights like this, a few of which lasted several hours and once even several days. The impressions I gained from those experiences are still alive in me: who is there to address my questions to if all around me is Self? What need is there to take any action in order to “find” the Self? What is the root of any fear that something in this Existence might go awry and present a danger to me or the world?

The first statement by the Zen master is clear: let go of all and anything that is like dust on the mirror of my mind. This, I find, is demanding trust – only with deep trust from the bottom of my soul am I able to “empty and open out body and mind”. This statement is asking me to not even examine all of what the mind has captured and holds on to, just like I do not examine what is in the rubbish bin before I let go of it. 

At this point I find my mind wants to be sure that it is not letting go of something ‘important’ that it might need later. Once that thought captures my attention I have a slim chance of releasing thoughts as my mind can always ‘find’ some reason to keep thinking the thoughts that are connected to that one. Here I find Ramana’s “We are in our Self” helpful, as I am often able to surrender all of these musings and fear-based thoughts from some place that is beyond thought and is more of a visceral sense of Self that surrounds me and in which “I” am safe.




7 thoughts on “empty and open out body and mind

  1. I think our “Self” is all too often influenced and tainted by those around us….. is it not truth that we withhold our entire self from others as a means of self preservation. So I’m doing so I think we often lose a lot of what our “Self” is . We also mould our “Self” to fit with others . So how do we truly connect to our actual and real “Self” ……… only when we are alone and inside our heads !!!!! ????

    • We are told that actually “we are in our Self and not in the world.” Our normal idea of what our ‘self’ is, turns out to be much too limited. The statement above would mean that all that we can see and perceive is actually our Self. Once we identify with our person, as a center of perception, and see all else as ‘outside’ of our personal self, confusion begins.

      • But our true self cannot be static ….. it has to change and morph according to experiences and circumstances…. so where do we begin in finding our “Centre of perception” !? Interesting debate isn’t it !!!

        • We use certain words to convey meaning that we collectively agree on, like table or chair etc. The word “self” is a term that is defined by the user according to his/her understanding. In the case of ontological discussions the term self, when written with a capital “S” (Self) is usually understood to to mean that which is unchangeable and not affected by the phenomenal world. Sometimes it is called the Noumenon for that reason. That which changes is then called the personal self or local self, whereas the Self is supra-personal and non-local. The center of perception is, in my understanding, the personal self that identifies itself with the physical body.

          • Just like the word “love” …… also defined by the user according to his/her own understanding ……. but can’t we say the for many experiences, things or words !!!!?????

            • Yes, we can. It is just about wanting to share thoughts with others. At some point that becomes optional for my own understanding and I rely more and more on the insight I gain when my mind is calm and words are left behind, so to speak.

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