Zen Practice – Thoughts and Ego

September 29, 2012

All thoughts originate from ego. This is the concept. First, one should remember that the mind is formless. The mind is the source of all phenomena and the source of all manifestations. The mind is the creator, but this creator has no form. When you can manifest a formless mind, you reach enlightenment. You are not subject to reincarnation and ego, which is true liberation. You can do everything free of any attachment. We have a saying: “Enlighten your mind and dwell on nothing; hold nothing.” The Mind is formless, but it does everything for us. Remember this concept.

Consider the measurement of brainwaves in a hospital. Different thoughts cause different brainwaves, but the specialists cannot tell where your brainwaves come from or where your thoughts come from. It is because the Mind is formless. It is not the “energy” type, because energy has form but the mind does not. Your thoughts have form, just as your physical body does. The Mind, however, has no form.

Let us compare it with other religions: God exists everywhere, but God has no form; God creates everything. This way, it is easier to understand. Let me ask you a question: What can exist everywhere? Only emptiness can. Do you think a form could exist everywhere? It cannot, because form is a combination of energies.

We are mundane. Our habits have been present since long, long ago. From the formless mind, it will manifest the phenomena corresponding to its own actions. When your mind generates a single thought, it is of the “energy” type. When your mind is working, it simultaneously manifests in the direction that corresponds to how the mind is working for you. Appearance and disappearance take place at the same time. Phenomena appear and disappear; energy appears and disappears; and appearance and disappearance occur simultaneously. When I clap, the sound appears and disappears simultaneously. The formless Mind, however, means there is no single direction. When your mind is working for you, following some specific direction, the habitual thinking pattern is evident. When a habitual thinking pattern exists, no matter when your mind is working for you, it is only following a specific thinking pattern. That pattern is habitual thinking.

We refer to the combination of habitual thinking patterns as go.Ego is not one identity, though. Ego is the way your mind works through your habitual thinking pattern. When your mind is working through your habitual thinking pattern, it means you insist on your thoughts and habitual thinking patterns. This is ego. The habitual thinking pattern means that, when you see something, you say “this is that” and immediately recognize it as such. It is from your thinking pattern, so it is not real. Ego is evident when your mind works this way. The habitual thinking pattern is there, ego is there, and illusion is there. A habitual thinking pattern will distort reality.

Remember, we most often fail to see the truth. Instead, we see our own definitions.

You might say, “I heard someone say the truth.” No. In fact, you have simply heard your own definition of the truth. Your mind works through your habitual thinking pattern, and your mind is working through your ego. However, ego is not one thing. It is not something concrete that you can hold. When your mind works through your habitual thinking pattern, ego and illusions are created. You insist that you are right no matter where your thinking pattern might originate. When you meet a person and your mind generates a thought, you think, “This is a particular kind of person. The thought comes from your experience and habitual thinking pattern. Do you think this person matches your definition of who you think he or she is? No, because we distort the reality.

People often say they are telling the truth or seeing the truth. Actually, they are simply referring to what is in their mind. This is the only truth in that regard. A person will always tell you what is in his or her mind, but he or she can never tell you the truth. Only the person without ego can tell you what the truth is.