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What is the mind in Zen and what is it's connection to the brain? Is the mind more than the brain and does the mind continue after brain death ?
December 28, 2013, 1:07 pm
We all have a physical body. Our brain is in our head. In order to make decisions, we use our brain cell activity. That is why the brain is part of the physical body. Yet if we are asked to show where our mind is, our enlightened or unenlightened mind, we don´t know how to respond. The mind expresses itself through the physical body, yet that is not where it actually can be found. When we are sad, tears roll down our face. That is because a sad situation stimulated our body and nervous system and the result are those tears. When we get upset, our nervous system gets triggered and our face becomes red, our muscles harden. Yet when we cool down, nothing of these expressions remain. Our mind had no form, that is the true expression of mind, being without form.
Our mind without form does not die even when our brain dies. Something that is of form, all that is of form, will eventually die. Yet something that is not born, that does not have a form, also will not decay and die. From the olden days, philosophy and religion were the way to express this mind. God and the devil are two sides of our mind. The 6th Patriarch after Bodhidharuma when hearing these words from a sutra became enlightened: "While residing nowhere constantly expressing freely" Our mind has no form. When filled with joy, we express our joy. When sad we feel sadness. Yet when that state is gone, nothing remains. If we have too many thoughts, we easily get confused by them. If we continue that state of too many extraneous thoughts, then even our body can be effected and can become sick. Yet even then our mind of no form does not get sick. Zazen is the practice of letting go all unnecessary thoughts, so that we do not attract sickness to our physical body.