A Conversation with a Retreat Participant
Participant: I think you believe as do many people that Big Mind has great power and that it can be transformative. You started this whole week by saying it could really make a huge difference for lifting the consciousness of the planet and so with that as sort of a preface, could you say more about that’?
Genpo Roshi: Sure. I went to see my doctor about my neck this morning – I’m getting to your question – and he’s a great doctor, and a great healer. He’s Russian, studied in Russia and became an MD in Russia, went to China and spent a lot of years in China, where he learned acupuncture and Tai-chi and martial arts. And he has been away traveling so I haven’t been able to see him. I’ve been dealing with neck pain for a month and I went this morning to see him. He follows my work and the website and I explained and said we had a major breakthrough this last week, I told him that we discovered that by speaking to the voice of the disowned thinking mind, a really big door unlocks and he got it. He got it! He said, “Yeah nobody ever acknowledges it. It’s like we go against it. It’s the opposite of martial arts. Instead of suppressing the thinking mind and quiet it down, and slow it down, why not just honor it and just allow it to be – but more than allow it to be, because Zen has always said allow the mind to be, but to actually honor it, to really respect it, to really give its fair due.” Then he said, “That’s transformative! That could change the world.” He got it!
Owning the thinking mind has the potential to transform the consciousness of the world. No matter what field we’re in, whether it be education, business, healthcare or whatever we’re doing, we are always suppressing our thinking mind and trying to get it to do more than it feels capable of doing, mistreating it and wanting it to rise to the occasion on a dime. That is our western way of thinking. Now I’m not saying the eastern way is much better. But that is our western way of thinking. And simply by acknowledging the thinking mind and thanking it and appreciating it for all that it does 24/7 for the self, is huge. By simply separating the self from the thinking mind is transformative. The thinking mind is not the self! Who knows that? How many people know that out there in the world? The thinking mind is not the self. So just to make that connection–to appreciate the thinking mind as Buddha Dharma, as a whole being unto itself–is incredible. I’m not saying it hasn’t happened, but I’m questioning that even in our tradition whether every state of mind was really appreciated as Buddha Dharma. I have never heard it said, although maybe Dogen Zenji said it. I don’t know. But what we’re seeing is not only are all beings and all sentient beings Buddha Dharma, but every voice is a sentient being and therefore is the Buddha Dharma, and that makes every thought Buddha Dharma. Instead of trying to wipe out thoughts, appreciate every thought as a manifestation of Buddha. Now that is something that is said in the tradition: every thought is a manifestation of the Buddha.
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“simply separating the self from the thinking mind is transformative”
Genpo Roshi, I appreciate you emphasizing this very powerful lever.
I have noticed, the more I distinguish self from (don’t identify myself as)
my thoughts, my emotions, my body;
the more I appreciate them, honor them, love them, care for them, am informed by them, and also I am less controlled by them…
This has been a wonderful surprise to me, in some ways.
And of course, still a work-in-progress ; )
in life, wendy