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Old 07-17-2009, 10:34 PM   #76
Erick Mead
 
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

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Joe McParland wrote: View Post
The OODA is an interesting model---in which I claim absolutely no expertise.
And I apologize, I double pasted the same link when I meant to point you to this one on OODA methodology as well : http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...24&postcount=1

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Joe McParland wrote: View Post
That said, looking at the diagram, what seems to be missing are the "attention & intention"---terms I recently threw out after some consideration with Ron Ragusa and then hit again by G. Ledyard in his own blog a few days ago. In the diagram, the overriding intention would seem to be a control for the Orient & Decide joined, while attention---perhaps simply "where your focus is"---is a control over Observations.
I like the article and I agree with the overall thrust -- but the terms are troubling. There is too much of the conscious awareness in them. I have no problem with the "attention and intention" of, say, " "Cross the street now." I have a real problem in the "attention & intention" of "raise the foot, roll the hip, swing the leg, plant the foot, raise the foot, roll the hip... etc. "

None of that will occur if my body is not oriented to walk, but if it is, and my kid is there alone and there is traffic, then I simply start crossing the street -- there is no decision involved, only observation of the obstacles between me and her, and the act of getting there past them. Similarly, I am not concerned with moving his sword out of my way -- but in placing my blade at his throat. His sword is just the step off the curb to get going - and his response(s) just so much traffic to be gotten past.

In the "implicit guidance and control" loops of Boyd's diagram "Orient" is the center and decision is absent. There is no decision -- there is either action or not. To my way of thinking the whole point of aikido is to prime the structures of the body to become like a tuning fork that vibrates sympathetically when in contact with another structure. It is that Orienting at a level below conscious awareness that provides the simultaneous means to both perceive and to act. When I do kokyu tanden ho I do not "decide" to do anything (apart from having engaged in doing the exercise in the first place) I just feel my way steadily into his structure like working my hand around in a satchel hunting for my keys, the when I have them the door is opened and I just walk through it.

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Joe McParland wrote: View Post
Habit, I'd speculate, happens largely in the Orient box. If I misunderstand something, take offense at something, etc., it likely happens there.

What is just as interesting to me is that attention and intention are variables in the system. Consider: I intend to get to the office in time. My attention shifts to something I overhear. Through conditioning, I interpret it as a racial slur. Adrenaline starts to pump in response. I do not notice I miss my stop. My intention shifts to showing the fellow the error of his ways, and I will not be deterred.

The intensity of the situation alone can stress that OODA system, compressing or eliminating steps to create that outcome. I don't know if that is necessarily mushin---maybe it is;
It is not, although this kind of "compression" training in the OODA methodology is used to improve the speed of the linear loop. Most everyone ignores these other pathways, though they are in Boyd's original work

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Joe McParland wrote: View Post
I think some would say it's the mind without focus, or perhaps a mind that shifts focus and between focused and unfocused as appropriate---unhindered. What I know is that enhanced habitual response is not the benefit I'm seeking through Aikido, Zen, and other practices.

Rather, I work to be free of the conditioning gates in the Orient box---not having my responses necessarily dependent upon / triggered by that conditioning, which necessarily means turning awareness toward Orient---learning to watch and manipulate my own (and maybe your own) attention and intention, learning to better process all of the body's inputs and to better get my body moving when the impulses hit rather than getting stuck in thought or having attention / intention bumped. ... Make any sense?
"Orient" in this sense is not drilling habits or "conditioning" pre-programmed response -- it is improving an almost autonomic sensitivity for adaptive responsiveness - like you breathe without needing to think about it --and breathe faster automatically when working harder, training the body to manage structurally at that level-- like recovering your balance after a slight misstep -- but in reverse, and projecting that -- increasing the disposition of the body to receive and respond naturally, like the tree receives and responds to wind -- or tuning the radio to the correct frequency, only the radio antenna is the whole body structure.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 07-17-2009, 10:35 PM   #77
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Wonderful post. A quick observation: when you say attention and intention are variables in the system, your example points to an exacerbation in the environment that you did not expect/anticipate: a perceived slur that diverts you (hypothetically) from your overarching intent (to get to your destination on time).

The filter of your "orientation" acts upon the impetus of the unanticipated experience to derail your previous intention, and the next thing you know, you've missed your stop.

Since the idea of "orient" presupposes filtering, the issue might be framed in terms of pruning the list of cues rather than eliminating them.

However, I wonder where the element of spontaneity articulates within this model.

Regards,

cdh
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Old 07-18-2009, 07:59 AM   #78
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

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Wonderful post. A quick observation: when you say attention and intention are variables in the system, your example points to an exacerbation in the environment that you did not expect/anticipate: a perceived slur that diverts you (hypothetically) from your overarching intent (to get to your destination on time).
Traditionally, the image of water is used, and I think it is an excellent one-- if one places it in a context of kinds of mental 'furniture' that are operating.

If I were, say, at a wedding and spill my (very large) drink (a sin, I know) on the table where the bridal party is seated, I quite suddenly desire (intend) to get it off quickly so it does not spill onto her exquisitely expensive dress. I can simply tilt the table away at an angle just enough for the water to flow off away from her but not enough to shift the tableware, leaving the tableware (mostly) undisturbed and the bride undrenched.

The issue of "intention" is one where we act immediately to incline the table the "right" way so the the water goes in one direction (a negative bridal gradient ) rather than another-- there are aspects of fudoshin in this intent. But the water finds its own way off the table, and regardless how many obstacles there are to its flow -- that aspect is "no mind" -- unless of course you interfere and try to start tilting the table wildly to guide the water 'around' the forks. Messy-- although water still flows.. . so does everything else .. because we are directing the mind where the mind need not be directed.

"Attention" is given only to the keeping the criticality of the table angle between good water flow and no sliding tableware. There are aspects in this table leaning metaphor of both fudoshin (immoveable mind) and zanshin (lingering mind).

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:54 AM   #79
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

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None of that will occur if my body is not oriented to walk, but if it is, and my kid is there alone and there is traffic, then I simply start crossing the street -- there is no decision involved, only observation of the obstacles between me and her, and the act of getting there past them. Similarly, I am not concerned with moving his sword out of my way -- but in placing my blade at his throat. His sword is just the step off the curb to get going - and his response(s) just so much traffic to be gotten past.
I don't mean to be too narrowly selective in picking a single detail from a larger, well considered post, but I'd like to check your thoughts on a point and perhaps help to clarify for myself how mushin and the OODA model fit or don't fit with my experience:

Scenario:
A moment before you find yourself running into the street to rescue your daughter, her ball bounced into the road. Without a thought or decision, off she went to retrieve it.
Questions:
  1. Are your situation and her situation the same or different?
  2. Who in this scenario is operating with mushin?

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Old 07-18-2009, 10:17 AM   #80
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

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David Henderson wrote: View Post
Wonderful post. A quick observation: when you say attention and intention are variables in the system, your example points to an exacerbation in the environment that you did not expect/anticipate: a perceived slur that diverts you (hypothetically) from your overarching intent (to get to your destination on time).

The filter of your "orientation" acts upon the impetus of the unanticipated experience to derail your previous intention, and the next thing you know, you've missed your stop.

Since the idea of "orient" presupposes filtering, the issue might be framed in terms of pruning the list of cues rather than eliminating them.

However, I wonder where the element of spontaneity articulates within this model.

Regards,

cdh
Spontaneity, on a gross scale in this hypothetical case, may simply be that my intention changed---I don't know. It is a good question, though.

This happened just last night:

My family and I went to a free movie night at the lake downtown. Afterward, we meandered to the car. Some of us were hungry and some were not. My intention was to get the hungry ones fed and to head home. Once my wife and kids were in the car, I noticed a girl with her back up against the closed driver's door of an SUV, and in front of her was a fellow who appeared to me to be aggressively hovering over her. He seemed angry and started flailing his arms around and speaking loudly, though I could not hear what he was saying. She move out from between him and the car and he followed. There was clearly some back and forth banter---about what, who knows? She moved to the passenger side of the car and he stayed behind. Then he followed. I saw her then in the driver's seat, and I don't know what became of him.

During that time, my wife asked me if everything was alright. I told her I was just watching this situation.

They seemed to have some relationship and while I watched there was no physical contact. Seeing nothing that I could determine to be threatening, we left.

If I was in the army and my mission was to get the family home, I would probably not have done more than noting the sight and determining that it was not likely to impact the mission. In this case, my intention switched for a while, and then switched back. I can say that there was no real thought processes to intervene or not to intervene. There was nothing compelling me to intervene, nor was there anything obstructing me from intervening. I simply continued to be me given my circumstances. Can't ask for more than that

If I left wondering or regretting, I'd have known something went awry. Instead, no trace---other than my retelling the story here

So, there's some ooda, some attention, some intention, some spontaneity, and some mushin. The mundane cases are just as miraculous as the spectacular ones

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Old 07-18-2009, 01:24 PM   #81
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

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Questions:

1. Are your situation and her situation the same or different?
2. Who in this scenario is operating with mushin?
If I understand correctly it would be you.

Your daughter would be focused on the ball. Mushin mind focuses on nothing and yet is aware of everything.

Speaking of awareness I noticed recently that while I am driving when I get into a certain state I am visually aware of all three mirrors on my car at the same time. Both side doors and the rear view. yet if I focus on any one of them I loose that awareness. Kinda neat.
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Old 07-18-2009, 03:10 PM   #82
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

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I thought of this clip from The Last Samurai. I highly recommend not repeating "no mind" to yourself (as Mr. Cruises character does at :41) if you find yourself in a similar situation in late 19th century Japan.
Excellent point. I don't believe I picked up on that subtlety when I saw the film.

Drew
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Old 07-18-2009, 03:48 PM   #83
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

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Joe McParland wrote: View Post
I don't mean to be too narrowly selective in picking a single detail from a larger, well considered post, but I'd like to check your thoughts on a point and perhaps help to clarify for myself how mushin and the OODA model fit or don't fit with my experience:

Scenario:
A moment before you find yourself running into the street to rescue your daughter, her ball bounced into the road. Without a thought or decision, off she went to retrieve it.
Questions:
  1. Are your situation and her situation the same or different?
  2. Who in this scenario is operating with mushin?
1. Different. 2. I am. She is simply acting.

The observation loop has to be equally engaged for 'no-mind' to be properly said to exist. I am fully oriented -- that is the observation loops is in full spin and the action loop in full spin as well. She is not oriented she is fixated: "Ball. My ball. Get ball." She is unaware of the traffic -- I am aware of, but not consciously concerned by the traffic, for my own part - though the orientation of concern for her in relation to traffic is what triggers my action.

The difference is in the orientation -- which centers and grounds both observation and action. I am oriented around the mode of "traffic" "danger to child" "traffic as impediment to reaching child," without any conscious plan about how the navigation will actually work out. Observations feed action feeds observation etc. around these orientation points. Like tracking to a distant peak, the intervening terrain is negotiated without change in essential orientation, nor any necessary plan or decisions -- as long as you keep oriented -- you find the way. Though you can see the peak you are not necessarily looking at it-- even if you cannot see it, it remains your in your orientation, if not in your perception or conscious thought.

She is not oriented -- she is fixated. She will easily follow the ball over a cliff The same difference is seen in similar terms for students on the mat IMO.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 07-18-2009 at 03:56 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:37 PM   #84
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

I'm typing from the phone, so just a brief comment before revisiting tomorrow:

Are we certain the daughter is not oriented, or is it better to say that she does not have has many things in her Orient box---to include "traffic is dangerous"?

If the child and the adult are both aware of all they know to be aware of given their personal experiences, and act with all skill they have available given their respective experiences, does this affect your answer?

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Old 07-19-2009, 06:01 AM   #85
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

As a child I knew traffic was dangerous. I think I was about 9 years old when this happened. My best friend arrived to invite me to spend the weekend at her house. She had a pony. I was very excited to go and I was hurrying home with my bike to get ready to go.

I crossed the road and next think I knew I was hit by a car that came out of nowhere. Now that car certainly could not have come out of nowhere of course. There was long enough stretch of straight road in that spot so if I had been properly aware I certainly would not have crossed in front of it. I was focused on my destination and not paying attention to even something I knew I should be careful about. I never saw the car coming and never knew it was there until it literally hit me. My bike was knocked across the road. Fortunately I only had a scraped up knee out of the whole thing. And even when they put me in the ambulance to take me to be checked out I was still focused on going to my friends house...Kept telling them to shut off the siren and let me out. Didn't get to go to my friends house that weekend though. Darn I really wanted to ride that pony.
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Old 07-19-2009, 07:32 AM   #86
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

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Joe McParland wrote: View Post
I'm typing from the phone, so just a brief comment before revisiting tomorrow:

Are we certain the daughter is not oriented, or is it better to say that she does not have has many things in her Orient box---to include "traffic is dangerous"?

If the child and the adult are both aware of all they know to be aware of given their personal experiences, and act with all skill they have available given their respective experiences, does this affect your answer?
It is not a question of experience but of development -- and a child has not developed to that point. If you asked she would tell you cars are dangerous. She 'knows' it, consciously, but she cannot act on it naturally and unconsciously. (Oyomei would say that therefore that she does NOT know, until that action is a natural consequence or innate element of the objective perception -- "knowledge and action are one" -- IOW, Boyd's western analytical diagram actually describes an aspect of that Neo-Confucian bit of psychology.)

The mind must develop these facilities, although every one has varying capacity for it, and some more easily develop it than others. Orientation is not a state, it is a process, evolving from the intersection of observation and action together. If it becomes a state it is fixation, obsession. Either observation or action (or both, -- the most pathetic form) have stopped.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 07-19-2009, 02:49 PM   #87
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

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It is not a question of experience but of development -- and a child has not developed to that point. If you asked she would tell you cars are dangerous. She 'knows' it, consciously, but she cannot act on it naturally and unconsciously. (Oyomei would say that therefore that she does NOT know, until that action is a natural consequence or innate element of the objective perception -- "knowledge and action are one" -- IOW, Boyd's western analytical diagram actually describes an aspect of that Neo-Confucian bit of psychology.)

The mind must develop these facilities, although every one has varying capacity for it, and some more easily develop it than others. Orientation is not a state, it is a process, evolving from the intersection of observation and action together. If it becomes a state it is fixation, obsession. Either observation or action (or both, -- the most pathetic form) have stopped.
Let's caution ourselves not to introduce unnecessary disagreement through inflexible semantics. The snapshot of a "process" / dynamic model in an instant may be called its "state." The "development" of an entity up to this point may be called its history or "experience." That experience---which may reasonably include, to some extent, "capability"---is limited does not imply that the person is either hindered or swayed by senses or thought; the person may well be "seeing clearly," to borrow from zen.

I grant that the child may be locked onto the ball to the exclusion of all other sensory input and held knowledge, but I also allow the possibility that she is simply unhindered by the concept "traffic is dangerous; the car may not stop; it may kill me"---whether it is because she does not have the concept (maybe grew up where there are no cars, maybe because she is not [yet] capable of making that concept real, ...) or because she is simply not blocked by the concept. From a zennish perspective, the former state is attached, while the later (unblocked version) is unattached and is in some ways preferable---even if it leads to an outcome of being physically squished by a car.

The developed ability to make concepts "real" irrespective of personal experience is considered by many to be neither good nor bad; however, to have natural existence either driven or bounded by---or generally rooted in---conceptual thought (and sensations, and emotions, etc.) is considered by those same folks to be problematic.

The pros and cons of such a philosophy are debatable.

Anyway, as I understand the terms, the not being swayed or driven by anything---including concepts---touches on fudoshin, seeing things openly (like a child) is shoshin, and then there is mushin---which I'm not sure we've pinned down yet.

The characteristic of spontaneity has been picked up by others in this thread---my apologies then for picking on Erick's entries to the apparent exclusion of the others---I see they are all very interesting. Spontaneity seems to be an essential aspect of takemusu. The ability to act "outside" of one's base tendencies in the face of the stimuli-du-jour rather than being swept away in cause and effect is by some accounts what makes people people---free will, in some interpretations.

More on that later, I'm sure---I'm heading out for a bit

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Old 07-19-2009, 10:03 PM   #88
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

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Let's caution ourselves not to introduce unnecessary disagreement through inflexible semantics. ... my apologies then for picking on Erick's entries to the apparent exclusion of the others-
No problem, at all. Anyone who has no patience in defining terms has no serious argument to pursue. I appreciate the insistence.

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The snapshot of a "process" / dynamic model in an instant may be called its "state." The "development" of an entity up to this point may be called its history or "experience." That experience---which may reasonably include, to some extent, "capability"---is limited does not imply that the person is either hindered or swayed by senses or thought; the person may well be "seeing clearly," to borrow from zen.
Back at you on terminology, though. "Process" as a word of concern in the way I use it is not a "snapshot." While I mean it in the more ordinary sense, I also have Whitehead in mind in the sense that the instantaneous occasion of a process comprises other occasions preceding, simultaneous to, and contemplated in its immediate "snapshot." One can also see it terms of Aristotelian causes which brackets the problem in a related fashion. In Eastern terms, I mean it as Baien would, for whom the division of branch and twig is a real division and a real distinction without disturbing the underlying unity of them both as undivided constituents of the one tree.

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Joe McParland wrote: View Post
I grant that the child may be locked onto the ball to the exclusion of all other sensory input and held knowledge, but I also allow the possibility that she is simply unhindered by the concept "traffic is dangerous; the car may not stop; it may kill me"---whether it is because she does not have the concept (maybe grew up where there are no cars, maybe because she is not [yet] capable of making that concept real, ...) or because she is simply not blocked by the concept. From a zennish perspective, the former state is attached, while the ,later (unblocked version) is unattached and is in some ways preferable---even if it leads to an outcome of being physically squished by a car.
I am also unhindered by the "traffic is dangerous." But the lack of hindrance is not the same. My lack of hindrance is aware of the danger but not consciously concerned in dealing with it crossing the road. She is simply unaware, and not dealing with it at all.

The surfer and the noob may be under the same breaking wave, with the same lack of conscious thought in acting, and a similar frantic degree of action in both cases-- but they are not the same in orientation, nor observation, nor in action.

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Anyway, as I understand the terms, the not being swayed or driven by anything---including concepts---touches on fudoshin, seeing things openly (like a child) is shoshin, and then there is mushin---which I'm not sure we've pinned down yet.
It is all in the seeing. Fudoshin sees the power of attachments and passions, but as disposable. Shoshin sees everything as new, even though familiar. Mushin sees everything, but in no particular way - and as not much of anything important.

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Spontaneity seems to be an essential aspect of takemusu. The ability to act "outside" of one's base tendencies in the face of the stimuli-du-jour rather than being swept away in cause and effect is by some accounts what makes people people---free will, in some interpretations.
Takemusu is surfing -- people. Anything else is getting caught inside. You may get out, you may be really powerful, despite being under ten tons of angry water, but after all is said and done, you're just plain beat.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 10-19-2009, 11:07 AM   #89
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

just wanted to drop in an add something here, since this is a very important subject in the art i train;

my Sifu often says "if you know you don't think, if you think you don't know".

no mind is simply a state of recognition and realization, a state that reflect back like a mirror (i.e. a "formless" state of mind that flows with the conditions.)

like the analogy of water. where there is an opening you just flow in, and where there is an obstacle you flow around.

my Sifu often says "you invite me in". in other words, i am flowing WITH you. if you have defense on the point i flow and change to find a point i can perform an application on, if you have no defense then i just act on that because the condition is already there.

so no mind is a state of just recognizing the conditions and acting on that.

so i have to disagree with some of the examples given here to describe "no mind". (dropping and catching of the glass, etc.) as those are really just examples of reflexive habit, which many people confuse with "acting naturally" or "no mind".

the thing to remember about "no mind" (which we break down into three qualities; present, formless and neutral), is that if you are truly in that state then you are 100% fully AWARE of whats going on or else how could you be in the state of recognition?

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Old 10-19-2009, 11:25 AM   #90
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

This cartoon seems on-topic: http://mikkabouzu.co.uk/arch138.html
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Old 10-20-2009, 02:28 AM   #91
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

may be you are referring to Japanese word Mushin if it is the case you'd understand better with the translation "empty mind" . the negative in "no mind" needs a will to set it up ; "empty mind" allow to let it flow and be filled
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Old 10-20-2009, 11:14 AM   #92
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Re: "No Mind" - What is it?

Well, no mind is what may happen if you keep asking "What is it?". At least that would be the Korean buddhist take...

Sorry, just noticed and could not resist.
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