Mindfulness = Emptiness


“When thoughts arise,
then do all things arise.
When thoughts vanish,
then do all things vanish.”

Huangbo Xiyun, Chan Teachings

Thinking can be done mindfully or it can be done mindlessly.

Ironically, mindless thinking produces an overabundance of thoughts while mindfulness is the gateway to no thoughts. What does this mean?

Being mindless does not intend that there is no mind at all or that you are being stupid. Rather, to say that one thinks mindlessly is to say that one directs thinking completely outward without regard to the fact that you are thinking. Like any bad habit, you just do it on repeats. Not only are you out of your mind (mindless) you are out of the present moment.

You are now/here already yet in mindless thinking you always are going there/then. And the goal of getting there/then is to get some thing. So thinking becomes thinging. And once you have one thing, you need another. And another. And another. And… hopefully, you get the hint.

Mindful thinking properly becomes emptiness or no-thing. This begins by the inward turn. Being now/here, there is no then/there to which you can race that will possess all the things you “need” to possess.

You have all you need. And being turned inward with all necessities, then you see that outward is not really out-there anyway.

Yet if there is not “out-there”, no transcendent object, why the need to turn “in-here”?

Exactly: in – out, like all the great dyads by which we often draw distinctions, is a convention. And who makes this convention? The immanent subject: The “I” who would have identity distinct from the “Not-I”.

Nonetheless, remember what was said about conventions? Ah yes… The maker of dyadic conventions is also a passing custom, a  useful play, a current currency, the pole of a constituting pattern.

Mindfulness is emptiness, ultimately, because now/here slips into eternity/omnipresence… if I may be so bold. Mind-full thinking is non-thinking because it is non-thinging, no-thing, non-differentiation of endless identities. True letting-go.

“The stage of non-thinking is beyond egocentric cognition.
If you reach the state of non-thinking
you will realize the true luminous nature of mind.
Non-thinking must become the eye through which you view phenomena.
The activity of every buddha is based on non-thinking.”  

Dogen, Moon in Dewdrop

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