Mind control

I keep talking to people who think my Zen Buddhist training will ultimately give me a clear and silent mind. “Not thinking is surely a marvelous thing, is it not?” they ask, assuming I’m on my way there and surely experiencing some of it every once in a while. And then with a sigh “If only I could enter such serenity.” Hastily they add “But I am way too restless to ever meditate seriously and gain such control over my mind.”

Said the Buddha:

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.”

Looking at human behavior there is nothing out there you can imagine, that is not really done by someone too. No matter how horrible or how great your fantasy, it gets done. If not by you, it gets done by someone else. Cruelty, rescue, humiliation, jealousy, greed, care, torture, kindness, racism, unconditional love. It’s all in my head. And in yours and in everybody’s heads. And given certain conditions it comes out as action.

Hospitals and concentration camps. Schools and prisons. Medicine and guns. They all evolved from an idea, starting as a fantasy in someones mind. Cars, barbed wire, poisonous gas attacks, the alphabet, Beethoven’s ‘Marcia Funebre’ started as a sense, an impression, an emotion, as an embryonic vision, as a solution for someones problem, as a thought relating to another thought and thus becoming an idea. Inventions are just thoughts given form and mass and energy, as are works of art.

The Buddha knew and never underestimated the power of mind of all of men:

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.”

“There is nothing so disobedient as an undisciplined mind, and there is nothing so obedient as a disciplined mind.”

“What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: Our life is the creation of our mind.”

“The mind is the source of happiness and unhappiness.”


The mind I gather now, is my mind. Is your mind. Is our mind both individually and collectively and neither individually nor collectively. It is mind transcending, Mind. It is the field Rumi talks about in his famous poem*).

The Buddha again:

“Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.”

And if mind is this powerful, creating worlds, destroying other worlds, how important it is to control what happens! Right? That is where my friends’ idea about mind control comes from. And Zen of course is notorious for the ’emptiness’ bit. ‘Emptiness’ in its oriental meaning is quite different from what the modern Westerner reads into that word. That is why the desire to control the mind all the way into ’emptiness misunderstood’ is one of the most persistent wrong views on Buddhism I keep encountering.

I think it is most essential to understand correctly what transcending mind is. I think it can truly help make this world of ours a better place.


Reading more from the Buddha:

“All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?”

Wrong-doing is not necessarily a wrong in a moralistic sense, I’d say. ‘Wrong-doing’ might very well just be the action that is the base ingredient of Karma. Moralistically either wrong or right, certain actions build Karma. And we can do without that, can’t we? Transforming mind is what I need, what we need badly in this world, to avoid Karma accumulating. A transformed mind is a Mind set free and a Mind that corresponds with life so intimately so, it acts beyond ideas of good or bad. A transformed mind, a Mind set free, is its own ‘Rumi field’.

So for me mind control is not what Buddhism is about at all, despite what some big philosophers or Theosophists came up with. Not what meditation is for either.

After all, why would one try to control what only needs to be free? Find your grass to lay down in and live happily ever after! 🙂 I’ll meet you there. We’ll save this world after all.

Shu Jo Mu Hen Sei Gan Do
Sentient beings are numberless, I vow to save them.

*)Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I will meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about
language, ideas, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.


About Jikai

Living a life of blessed less where my feet support my walk and my hands create my story. View all posts by Jikai

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