Hogen, a Chinese Zen teacher, lived alone in a small temple in the country. One day four traveling monks appeared and asked if they might make a fire in his yard to warm themselves.

While they were building the fire, Hogen heard them arguing about subjectivity and objectivity. He joined them and said: “There is a big stone. Do you consider it to be inside or outside your mind?”

One of the monks replied: “From the Buddhist viewpoint everything is an objectification of mind, so I would say that the stone is inside my mind.”

“Your head must feel very heavy,” observed Hogen, “if you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind.”


One day Chuang Tzu and a friend were walking by a river. “Look at the fish swimming about,” said Chuang Tzu, “They are really enjoying themselves.”

“You are not a fish,” replied the friend, “So you can’t truly know that they are enjoying themselves.”

“You are not me,” said Chuang Tzu. “So how do you know that I do not know that the fish are enjoying themselves?”


The Empty Mind

Everything we do in life is an entrainment. Either we’re acting upon something or it is acting upon us. To clear your mind so you can discover which thoughts and ideas are yours, and which belong to someone else, try this Empty Mind exercise:

Sitting in a quiet place with your eyes closed, take a slow, deep breath as you say to yourself: “I don‚t know”. This is a statement of surrender to the unknown. I don’t know what will happen next. Then release your breath.

Now on another inhale, say to yourself: “I am open and curious.” This leaves you open to change. Then release your breath. Now say to yourself on an in-breath: “I am OK with whatever happens.” This opens you to acceptance.

Use these three phrases, created by Eric Knouse, founder of The Practice, to keep you focused as you quiet your mind. Soon you will relax into emptiness and all thoughts will cease. See how long you can maintain a conscious awareness of the empty space in your mind before the next thought arrives.

As you shift gears, you will be able to create a positive future for yourself by focusing on the positive, rather than what is breaking down. This also holds true for human society as it tries to solve local, national or global problems. When the dominate thought or focus is on breakdown, that is what occurs. Shift each thought, as you catch it, to the positive.

As you empty your mind, slow your breath. Notice each in and out-breath. Feel a sense of peace within you. Send this feeling of peace outward, let it radiate into the world.

this article found here


fishing for thoughts