The sun shines day after day without fail, yet if clouds appear to make the sky overcast, it can’t be seen. It still comes up in the east every morning and goes down in the west. The only difference is that you can’t see it because it’s hidden behind the clouds. The sun is your original mind, the clouds are your illusions. You are unaware of this mind because it’s covered by illusions and can’t be seen. But you never lose it, not even when you go to sleep.
The unborn mind that your mothers have given you is thus always there, wonderfully clear and bright and illuminating.
Bankei Yōtaku (1622-1693), Rinzai Zen master,
who emphasized our original nature or inner aliveness, which he terms the Unborn
The wise person uses the mind as a mirror.
It grasps nothing. It regrets nothing.
It receives but does not keep.
Chuang Tzu, 4th Century BC
When Zen Master Joshu was a young monk he asked his teacher Nansen “What is the Way?” His teacher replied “Your ordinary mind is the way”. By “ordinary, Nansen meant the mind Joshu already had; he did not need to turn it, or himself, into something else. Unfortunately, these days when we hear the word ordinary, we are inclined to think that it means “average or typical” or even “mediocre”. We contrast ordinary with special and decide, given the choice, we would rather be special. But our practice wont make us special; it will keep bringing us back to who we are already.
Barry Magid, Ending the Pursuit of Happiness
There is great practical wisdom in understanding how the mind
creates boundaries of concern and interest, and how we can work
with these. Of course there are boundaries; there are other beings
on earth. But what counts is how those boundaries are maintained,
opened and closed.
When we consider otherness — the way beings
are different from us — we can feel either insecurity, ‘How does
she compare with me?’ or contempt, ‘You’re not as good as me’; or
fear and intimidation, ‘You’re better or stronger than me.’ Or, we
can feel adoration/attraction — ‘I want to be bonded to you.’
These immediate assumptions are called ‘conceit’: that is, we conceive
of people as worse, better or the same as us. The effect is that the
mind’s responsiveness gets stuck.
Caught in the conceit of self-view, the heart doesn’t extend its boundaries of appreciation and concern.
We take each other for granted as ‘my wife,’ ‘my boss,’ ‘my teacher’; and that fixing of them freezes our sensitivity. In that state, the heart easily tips over
into complaining about the other not being the way they ‘should
be’ (or rather the way I want them to be), and so the heart becomes
a breeding ground for ill-will.
Ajahn Sucitto, Parami: Ways to Cross Life’s Floods
Living in a world focused on what is outside us, and not looking within, we are taught from a young age that we need to become something more than we are right now. We are encouraged to always be doing: we must learn; we must buy; we must acquire and achieve. And for absolute certain we must become better than we are right now just sitting here doing nothing. The Buddha taught the opposite. He said that by learning to let the mind be, just as it is right now, all our good qualities can unfold from within.
Heidi Koppl, Be like a Goldsmith
When you are identified with your mind, you cannot be very intelligent because you become identified with an instrument, you become confined by the instrument and its limitations. So, use the mind, but don’t become it . . . The mind is a beautiful machine. If you can use it, it will serve you; if you cannot use it and it starts using you, it is destructive, it is dangerous. It is bound to take you . . . into some suffering and misery . . . Mind cannot see; it can only go on repeating that which has been fed into it. It is like a computer…Remain the master so that you can use it; otherwise it starts directing you.
Osho, New Man for the New Millennium