his day. His writings cover only his philosophy of mind which came to be known as “Zen”.
This philosophy is used by ninjas and the ancient samurai.
“You ask. That’s your mind. I answer. That’s my mind. If I had no mind, how could I
answer? If you had no mind, how could you ask? That which asks is your mind.”
The act of perceiving anything, be it a question, or a thought, an image – anything – is an act
of the mind.
When you ask for a definition of the mind, it is the mind that asks about itself.
“But the mind has no form and its awareness no limit.”
Any form or image you imagine is a creation of your mind.
“all appearances are illusions. They have no fixed existence, no constant form. They’re
People grow and idle. Mountains erode over the millennia by the wind and rain. Given a
large enough perspective on time, everything is impermanent. Everything is a ‘flow’ of the
force. As quantum mechanics describe it, the material world (matter) is like foam on the
patterns of vibration which pervades the universe.
As long as you re attached to appearances, your unaware that your mind is empty. By
clinging to appearances you lose your connection with the force
Since any conception is a creation of your mind, then it follows that your mind is basically
empty. (it creates your thoughts, what creates it? As you think of an answer it is the
mind coming up with more images describing itself)
“The mind’s capacity is limitless, and its manifestations are inexhaustible. Seeing forms
with your eyes, hearing sounds with your ears, smelling odors with your nose, tasting
flavors with your tongue, every movement or state is all your mind. At every moment,
where language can’t go, that’s your mind.”
Every time you try to imagine something outside of your mind you can’t, because it is your
mind that is doing the perceiving. To know that the object you see is a tree, is a conception
you have that you have imposed on it. To see an object with out defining it, is still your mind
but in a state of direct experience – with out any conception.
Enlightenment = heightened awareness that can be maintained constantly
Nirvana = a state where the self (or yourself that you create in your mind) ceases to exist and
all the world is experienced directly.
“To search for enlightenment or nirvana beyond this mind is impossible.”
The idea here is that as soon as you begin ‘seeking’ an experience, you have put that
experience into a category and separated it from yourself.
Then you chase this conception you have of what ‘enlightenment’ or ‘nirvana’ should be.
As long as you have an image to chase, i.e. your mind is chasing something it has created;
you will be like a donkey with a carrot forever just out of reach, going round and round
attaining nothing. Why? Because all enlightenment/nirvana are attributes of your mind
itself. You already have what you seek. So looking for what you already have is pointless .
It terms of the force what he is saying is:
To look for oneness with the force outside of yourself is impossible – the force is
everywhere, around you, in you, you exist in the force. Looking for the force as something
separate from you is like a fish looking for the mythical substance called ‘water’.
“And as long as you’re subject to birth and death, you’ll never attain enlightenment.”
(as long as ego interferes with you perception you can never attain flow)
When you try and do good deeds you are trying to create a new self. By working on being
better and better, you are destroying an old way of being (the old ‘self’) and you are creating
a new one. Your ‘self’, i.e. how you define or imagine yourself to be, is going through death
Self-improvement is great yet it is unnecessary for Zen because enlightenment is awareness
of all the mind and what is perceived. By trying to do things to attain what you already have
you are simply going round and round (once again).
In terms of the force: By being self-conscious you reduce your connection to the flow of the
“Buddha is Sanskrit for what you call aware, miraculously aware. Responding,
perceiving, arching your brows, blinking your eyes, moving your hands and feet, it’s
all your miraculously aware nature. And this nature is the mind. And the mind is
Buddha. And the Buddha is the path. And the path is Zen. But the word ‘zen’ is one
that remains a puzzle to both mortals and sages. Seeing your nature is Zen. Unless
you see your nature, it’s not Zen.”
Buddha here means complete awareness. So this is saying to reach complete awareness
(enlightenment) all you have to do is realize your nature. Since all enlightenment exists as
your mind then if you truly understand and are one with your mind in a state of complete
awareness then you have attained ‘buddhahood’.
Translation into Jedi Language: To become one with the force, you have to understand
your true nature. When you understand your nature you flow with the force.
“And the Buddha is the person who’s free; free of plans, free of cares.”
Translation: When you are fully aware you find freedom from irrelevant thoughts and you
are truly connected to the force.
If you are thinking of the past of the future or even of yourself (seeking to imagine of define
who you are) then you are drifting in the thoughts of your mind. If you let go of thoughts
about yourself, past and future, good and bad, then you are free from ‘plans and care’. When
your mind flows with you, with no conceptual state whatsoever, you are in a zen state of
“A Buddha is free of karma, free of cause and effect”.
A person of complete awareness simply exists. Life itself is the meaning of life. He/she
doesn’t try to do good or bad deeds. They simply do what needs to done when it needs to be
done. This is done without thought of reward or punishment. If you take action without
desiring good or avoiding the bad you do not create ‘karma’ for yourself.
“A Buddha doesn’t do good or evil. A Buddha isn’t energetic or lazy. A Buddha is
someone who does nothing, someone who can’t even focus his mind on a Buddha. A
Buddha isn’t a Buddha. Don’t think of Buddhas.”
The above states plainly that ANY conception immediately takes you away from direct
experience. So rather than walking down a beach you are thinking of yourself walking down
a beach while you are actually doing that very thing.
What Boddhidharma is saying is to forget all preconception you may have, don’t
think just be. The self-reflexive aspect of the mind is turned off in favor of direct
The following is the introduction to bodhidharma’s writings:
Outline of Practice
MANY roads lead to the Path, but basically there are only two: reason and practice. To
enter by reason means to realize the essence through instruction and to believe that all
living things share the same true nature, which isn’t apparent because it’s shrouded by
sensation and delusion. Those who turn from delusion back to reality, who meditate on
walls,’ the absence of self and other, the oneness of mortal and sage, and who remain
unmoved even by scriptures are in complete and unspoken agreement with reason.
Without moving, without effort, they enter, we say, by reason.
To enter by practice refers to four all-inclusive practices: Suffering injustice, adapting to
conditions, seeking nothing, and practicing the Dharma. First, suffering injustice. When
those who search for the Path encounter adversity, they should think to themselves, "In
Countless ages gone by, I’ve turned from the essential to the trivial and wandered
through all manner of existence, often angry without cause and guilty of numberless
Now, though I do no wrong, I’m punished by my past. Neither gods nor men can foresee
when an evil deed will bear its fruit.
I accept it with an open heart and without complaint of injustice. The sutras say " when
you meet with adversity don’t be upset because it makes sense." With such understanding
you’re in harmony with reason. And by suffering injustice you enter the Path. Second,
adapting to conditions. As mortals, we’re ruled by conditions, not by ourselves. All the
suffering and joy we experience depend on conditions. If we should be blessed by some
great reward, such as fame or fortune, it’s the fruit of a seed planted by us in the past.
When conditions change, it ends. Why delight In Its existence? But while success and
failure depend on conditions, the mind neither waxes nor wanes. Those who remain
unmoved by the wind of joy silently follow the Path.
Third, seeking nothing. People of this world are deluded. They’re always longing for
something-always, in a word, seeking. But the wise wake up. They choose reason over
custom. They fix their minds on the sublime and let their bodies change with the seasons.
All phenomena are empty. They contain nothing worth desiring. Calamity forever
alternates with Prosperity! To dwell in the three realms is to dwell in a burning house. To
have a body is to suffer. Does anyone with a body know peace?
Those who understand this detach themselves from all that exists and stop Imagining or
seeking anything. The sutras say, "To seek is to suffer.”
Continue reading the zen teaching of bodhidharma from the following book:
THE ZEN TEACHINGS OF BODHIDHARMA: Translated by Red Pine 1987