The Nature of Mind

The Nature of Mind February 23, 2021

“The Nature of Mind is non-arising,

What need is there for knowledge and views?”

-Niutou Farong, Song of Mind


The text “Song of Mind” starts right away with a heavy teaching. Some other texts start with easier teachings and build up from that. This is like getting thrown into the deep end of the pool. We’ve been attaching to our minds and our thoughts as real, important, solid things.. But are they?

Thoughts are fleeting. I have this thought, then this thought, then another, then another. Our meditation practice can really shine a light on this. Once we start sitting still and doing a practice we realize just how out of control our minds can be. We think our thoughts and feelings are solid and important…but they aren’t. Sometimes when we’re having a strong emotion we tend to forget that it will end. When we’re angry or sad, we see no end to that. But of course these feelings will pass. All feelings do. All things do.

We’re trying to tune in to our true nature on this path. Our views and baggage are the things that hold us back from that. They’re considered vexations because they get in the way of our ability to see things clearly.

As far as knowledge, what we need to know is this: this path isn’t about knowledge. Ultimately knowledge won’t help. We can learn every nuanced philosophical teaching, but this isn’t about that. This is a path of action. Knowledge isn’t bad, studying isn’t usually harmful. But we have to have the experience that comes from dedicated practice.

Buddhism isn’t something you learn. It’s something you do.

Daniel is an American Buddhist Teacher based in Kansas City. In his day job he’s a union labor activist. Daniel was given teaching authority by the International Chan Buddhism Institute and gives talks at the One Mind Zen Hermitage.
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