Lesson
16

Baizhang

5 of 6

Controlling the mind: stop trying so hard

Baizhang was not blind to the difficulty of such rigorous mind control, and he offered some of the first practical advice from a Chan master for controlling the mind. Not surprisingly, it was an admonition to stop trying so hard, to just focus on goals rather than forcing the mind's behavior. For example, if you are meditating and your mind wants to meander and look for something to dwell on, what should you do?

Should your mind wander away, do not follow it, whereupon your wandering mind will stop wandering of its own accord. Should your mind desire to linger somewhere, do not follow it and do not dwell there, whereupon your mind's questing for a dwelling place will cease of its own accord. Thereby, you will come to possess a non-dwelling mind—a mind which remains in the state of non-dwelling. If you are fully aware in yourself of a non-dwelling mind, you will discover that there is just the fact of dwelling, with-nothing to dwell upon or not to dwell upon. This full awareness in yourself of a mind dwelling upon nothing is known as having a clear perception of your own mind or, in other words, as having a clear perception of your own nature.