Q169. I was told to put my mind down and not to think of anything by my ex-master. How can I put down my mind?

A. That is like telling a baby who can’t even stand on his own feet to run as fast as a sprinter. The first thing you should do in order to put your mind down is to know what your mind is. How would it be possible for you to put your mind down when you don’t know what it is? The key point in Zen meditation is whether or not you realise what your mind is, and not whether to put it down or not. Once you realise what your mind is, holding it or putting it down is up to you.

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One of the most common mistakes we make is to think that we know what we don’t know. You seem to be making the same mistake of trying to put your mind down, thinking that you know your mind while in fact you don’t know it. If you are anxious to put your mind down, do try to realise what it is before trying to put it down in vain. In fact, once you realise what your mind is, you can be said to have completed your practice, or to have attained enlightenment. Should you see your master again, first of all ask him what your mind is.
©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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