Lesson
6

Think Non-thinking


Dogen Zenji urges us to cultivate the mind which goes beyond thinking.

It’s certainly true that as long as the brain is active, random—and not so random—thoughts will arise. Our practice is to allow thoughts to happen — so we don’t distract ourselves to begin with by trying to shut them out — and to allow them to pass as their momentum dies out.

In the mind of the expert there are few possibilities; in the mind of the beginner there are many.
Suzuki Roshi

Our practice is to be mindful, as completely mindful as we can be. And in that mindfulness we neither indulge in pleasantness nor try to end or move away from unpleasantness. Rather we remain in a state of not knowing.

“In the state of non knowing” you don’t become a dummy; it’s not that you lose track of what you know. It’s that you don’t clutch it in a death grip. 

So this a quality of our practice that goes beyond concentration, that goes beyond thinking about, that goes beyond manipulating our consciousness.

It’s being completely natural and present and not trying to do anything with it other than that.

Non-thinking is to actively engage each present moment while refraining from any editorializing about it. It's bare attention, which in its very simplicity is quite a challenge to sustain. To experience each moment in this very lear and uncolored way is the heart of zazen.

Zazen is a state of being much more than it is a state of doing. We say we’re “doing” zazen, but really our practice is being zazen.