I chose this zengo or zen words because I didn’t get it immediately after reading it. I had to think about it a lot. I like the calligraphy and brushing it was quite fun. Since the main point in this phrase is that there really is no thing but the Mind, I wanted the first character, 心 SHIN – Mind to look bigger and bolder than the rest.
In order to understand this zengo I need to define two things.
First, what is a doctrine? According to Wikipedia a doctrine is a codification of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system. Most people would recognize this definition because it clearly explains how religious groups are run. In many religions, the doctrine and dogma serve as the main principles of teaching and belief. Doctrine can simply be defined as “that which is taught”.
If SHINGE MUHŌ suggests that “that which is taught” should be nothing but the Mind, then, here is the other term we need to define in order to understand this: MIND.
But before that…
SHINGE MUHŌ is part of the verse that says: SHINGE MUHŌ MANMOKU SEIZAN, which means “there is no doctrine but the mind, and the eyes are filled with blue mountains”.
I know. Zen teachings can be like that sometimes.
The above verse are the words of Tendai Tokushō who came into the realization that the answer to a question is the question itself. He expressed this realization while contemplating the scenery of Mount Tendai, a world filled with blue mountains. There, he realized that his mind was not separated from the mountains. The mountains were endless and so was his mind. Then and there he experienced oneness with heaven and earth.
So what is the MIND Tokushō refers to?
The MIND is simply our true nature. The realization that we are one with all things. That we come from nothingness and to nothingness we return. What Tokushō stated was simply that there is no teaching but the teaching of our true nature.
And for the mountains being blue? That’s material for another post.