Mirror of Zen Blog

No Peace of Mind at All

Dae Soen Sa Nim (Zen Master Seung Sahn) used to say very much the same thing: “If you have mind, then have a problem. Have no mind, then no problem.” And even more powerfully, he would say, “World peace is not possible… Also, not necessary [in order to accomplish spiritual work].” And this is from the monk who was constantly emphasising “Attain your True Nature, then world peace possible.” But that was exactly the point, as with Osho: To attain real peace — authentic peace, transcendent and enduring — we must return to our original nature, our being before thinking arises. This is sometimes called “don’t-know mind” (by Dae Soen Sa Nim), “no-mind” (Osho), “the cloud of unknowing” (the 14th-century unnamed English Christian mystic). And Dae Soen Sa Nim was even blunter: “Throw your mind in the garbage. Then freedom appears.”

And does this seem like some out-of-reach exoticism? The father of Gestalt therapy is known for this same teaching:

And these, too, are only mere words words words. It is why the only true experience of this oneness or Absolute can only be completely attained through silent meditation. All other practices, especially those centred in conceptual thinking, are mere approximations, as a written recipe of a cake is never — ever! — comparable in the slightest to even one bite of the cake itself.

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