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Thread: What is the Bodhi Mind

  1. #1

    What is the Bodhi Mind

    Hello everyone,

    I recently read a chapter in a commentary on Shobogenzo and while I get quite a feeling about it, but still... what is that Bodhi Mind ?


  2. #2
    Hello Myoku,

    Bodhi-mind is the essential Heart-Mind of awakening (yes that's a bit of a metaphor, but that's as good as it gets) linking us to our practise path. Japanese: Bodaishin (notice that the "shin" means both heart and mind, but not in the sense of mere intellectual recognition)
    Mind you, the Sanskrit term bodhicitta has a lot of different nuances depending on what dharma school one is talking about.

    If our struggling practise were a radio broadcast, opening to and discovering the heart-mind is like tuning in to the right frequency which will lead us home if we but surrender and continue.

    In the same way that a compass points north when handled correctly, opening your heart to your innate Buddhanature will lead you to the timeless quality of awareness that will always want to recognise itself in itself.

    Dropping body and mind is one way to let this radiant essence-non-essence shine forth. That which makes us find non-finding is Bodaishin.


    Hans Chudo Mongen


    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Last edited by Hans; 03-13-2013 at 04:28 PM.

  3. #3
    Hans, I like the compass image. We have it in our pocket, don't know it and are lost. BANG! We realise we have it and BEGIN to walk the path.
    Last edited by Myozan Kodo; 03-13-2013 at 04:36 PM.

  4. #4
    Hans, I too am wondering about this. I have been reading through the "Three Commentaries" on the Genjo Koan and highlighted a passage from the Bokusan commentary which states that "only when you have not a speck of the self do you match Buddha dharma." This reminds me of a passage from Suzuki where he talks about the difference between the "big I" and the "little I." Does this correlate with Bodhi mind?

  5. #5
    what is that Bodhi Mind ?

    Yes, WHAT!

    (not a question)

    EnlightenMind (Bodaishin)

    Go Sit!

    If you need more, Dogen wrote in Hotsu Mujo Shin (Nishijima Cross Translation with small amendations) ...

    What is described here as “the mind” is the mind as it is. It is the mind
    as the whole earth. Therefore it is the mind as self-and-others. “The mind in
    every instance”—the mind of a person of the whole earth, of a Buddhist
    patriarch of the whole universe in the ten directions, and of gods, dragons,
    and so on—is trees and stones, beyond which there is no mind at all. These
    trees and stones are naturally unrestricted by limitations such as “existence,”
    “nonexistence,” “emptiness,” and “matter.” With this mind of trees and stones
    we establish the [bodhi-]mind and realize practice and experience—for the
    mind is trees and the mind is stones. By virtue of this trees as mind and stones
    as mind, [the present “thinking of not thinking” is realized].


    So establishment of the mind, training, bodhi, and nirvana may be [such]
    “simultaneous” establishment of the mind, training, bodhi, and nirvana.
    The body-mind of the Buddha’s truth is grass, trees, tiles, and pebbles, and
    is wind, rain, water, and fire. Utilizing these so that the Buddha’s truth is
    realized is just the establishment of the mind. Grasping space, we should
    build stupas and build buddhas. Scooping water from mountain streams, we
    should build buddhas and build stupas. This is establishment of the truth of
    anuttara samyaksaṃbodhi [supreme perfect enlightenment], and it is hundred thousand myriads of establishments
    of the one establishment of the bodhi-mind. [Practice-Enlightenment]
    is also like this. When we hear, on the contrary, that the establishment
    of the mind is a one-off occurrence, after which the mind is not established
    again, and that training is endless [but] experience of the effect is a one-off
    experience, we are not hearing the Buddha-Dharma, we have not come upon
    the Buddha-Dharma, and we are not meeting the Buddha-Dharma.


    Sitting in zazen and pursuing the truth is establishment
    of the bodhi-mind. Establishment of the mind is beyond oneness and difference,
    and sitting in zazen is beyond oneness and difference; they are
    beyond repetition, and beyond division.

    From-Into which direction does the compass point now?

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-14-2013 at 05:01 AM.

  6. #6
    Another question: I am reading Hixon on Prajnaparamita (The Mother of All Buddhas) and the dialogues between Subhuti, Shariputra and Buddha are all 'expressing' Prajnaparamita as ungraspable and unthinkable. Are the labels Bodhi Mind and Prajnaparamita pointing to the same thing? And words are failing me!

    PS: Thank you Myoku for asking.

    Last edited by Heisoku; 03-13-2013 at 08:05 PM.
    Heisoku 平 息
    Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Heisoku View Post
    And words are failing me!
    Any words failing is quite wonderful!

    Bodhimind and Prajnaparamita, the Perfection of Wisdom, are as close as the sweetness of "gelato" and "ice cream". Ummmm ... the sweetness.

    I am sitting with the wondrous commentary on Genjo Koan by the great 19th century Dogenista, Nishiari Bokusan, recommended so highly by Taigu, and it is such sweetness. Bokusan reminds us that every grain of sand, mountain and drop of water, Myoku, Hans, Myozan, Bill, Jundo and Heisoku is such sweetness. I believe this is one of the best descriptions in living words of "enlightenMind" Bodaishin ever danced. He writes ...

    [++Note: For those not hip to "Buddha-lingo" and buzzwords, it might help to translate "Dharma" here is "thing" or event in the universe, and the "dharma realm" as that which fully holds, manifests, expresses, is contained in and simultaneously transcends all things and events. As well, each "Dharma" fully holds, manifests. expresses, is contained by and simultaneously transcends the "Dharma Realm" and all other containers. Here, one might also mix and match "Genjo Koan" with "Bodaishin" and "Prajnaparamita" and Buddha and any other countless names.]

    Genjo Koan is the original self-nature of the universal dharma realm as
    it is. This dharma realm is immeasurable and limitless. It contains past
    and present, the three worlds, the ten directions, delusions, enlighten-
    ment, all buddhas, sentient beings, birth, and death. It also contains all
    other things. Each and every dharma element turns into being, empty-
    ness, liberation, and ultimate reality. …

    In brief, concerning delusion and enlightenment, ordinany people
    try to get to enlightenment bv sweeping away delusion. They may
    think delusion is false existence and enlightenment is true existence.
    The Genjo Koan that is meant here is otherwise. Among all beings, there
    is not a single existence that is a mistake. Delusion is the Genjo Koan of
    delusion. It is not that we have enightenment by excluding delusion.
    Enlightenment is the Genjo Koan of enlightenment. It is not that we slip
    out of enlightenment and fall into delusion.

    Generally speaking, in all directions the big cannot contain the small.
    The long cannot contain the short. Each and every dharma element is
    itself ultimate reality. Even a single particle is immovable and does not
    admit the slightest slippage. The entire world, as it is, is what is called Genjo Koan.

    The Genjo Koan here is such that we do not exclude false views, nor
    do we seek the true. Those who are deluded are deluded within Genjo Koan.
    In all dharmas there is no lack; they cannot be broken, obtained,
    or thrown away. The original face, the original nature, as it is, is called
    Genjo Koan.

    Be like the roof covering the monks' hall! Look up there! It doesn't concern itself about
    whether you are a deluded person, an enlightened person, a sleeping
    monk, or a great priest. It glares at you with baggy eyes. Your every day
    should be like the state of that roof. If you are stuck on your desire to
    be enlightened, you will never get to the essential teaching of Dogen Zenji.
    Delusion is the mind of division, which separate the world into this and that ... including into "enlightenment" and "delusion".

    Enlightenment is the mind of wholeness ... so whole that enlightenment is simply enlightenment, delusion just delusion, and all sits on its thrown under Buddha's roof. He who thinks that enlightenment is a world without delusion is sadly deluded. She who sees enlightenment shining through-and-through delusion sits as Buddha on Buddha's thrown.

    Lovely. Sweet.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-14-2013 at 04:57 AM.

  8. #8
    Nishiari Bokusan' s words are shattering any dualistic take.
    So sweet indeed.
    No other words can match his praise of one bright pearl.



  9. #9
    This is great!

    So, this way-seeking mind which awakens to the way may realise it is and was on the way. That the way is where your feet touch the earth ...
    Last edited by Myozan Kodo; 03-14-2013 at 07:33 AM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Myozan Kodo View Post
    This is great!

    So, this way-seeking mind which awakens to the way may realise it is and was on the way. That the way is where your feet touch the earth ...
    ... is and was and will be the way. ... Way's earth feet touch.
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-14-2013 at 09:00 AM.

  11. #11
    Thank you everyone,
    I much appreciate it ,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    Yes, WHAT!
    Thank you for shouting that at me, it was required.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post

    That which makes us find non-finding is Bodaishin.
    This makes much sense, thank you!


  12. #12
    To be human is delusion (and can be enlightenment as well)
    Be still monkey mind of mine that I may abide in the mind as self-and-others;
    Be it a compass, a fly whisk or a zafu.
    Thank you all for this thread

    gassho, Shokai
    gassho, Shokai

    仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

    "Open to life in a benevolent way"

  13. #13
    To transform all delusions, though delusions inexhaustible...

    Mind is. Mind is not.

    I just sit.


    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  14. #14
    No words.

    Thank you Jundo for those words.
    Gassho to all posting here.
    Heisoku 平 息
    Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

  15. #15

  16. #16
    Thank you everyone for your posts, this has been an enjoying read.


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