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Nothing But Mu

From Chapter 11 ("Building a Temple") of Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart:

Of course we think. We can never get rid of thoughts completely, and to imagine that we can is unrealistic. So to judge ourselves, to chastise ourselves for our thoughts is a waste of time. But how do we deal with this thinking? Thinking is pondering, considering, weighing, judging, and so on; having an argument back and forth in our minds. Not thinking is the denial of thinking, denying what is going on in spite of ourselves. Zazen is something else. Zazen is completely accepting the presence of ideas, of thoughts, without either affirming or denying them, without engaging them. Sometimes there is a life situation to which we must direct our attention. At such a time, of course we must think it through. We think it down to the last drop, but we do not fool ourselves that we are practicing zazen.

Thoughts are not our enemies in zazen. Our thoughts are endless, inexhaustible. This is the nature of our minds. Thoughts are not bad. We let them come, but we do not pursue them. What do we do with this powerful energy that comes about through sitting? Instead of using it to engage in these thoughts, to make arguments in our mind, "to raise waves where there is no wind," what do we do? We have excellent practices to help us: counting our breaths, just counting them. Chanting inwardly, just chanting. Staying with the koan, becoming the koan. Being Mu, nothing but Mu. Just inhaling, just exhaling, the breath just as it is, without getting tense, without judging, weighing, or considering. Just this.

(cf. This (2013-03-09), Mantra - No Goals (2015-07-26), Joko on Joy (2015-09-03), Statelessness (2016-07-30), How Things Are (2016-12-23), ...) - ^z - 2017-04-22