Ajahn Chah on Beginner’s Mind

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About this mind—in truth there is nothing really wrong with it. It is intrinsically pure. Within itself it’s already peaceful. If the mind is not peaceful these days, it’s because it follows moods. The real mind doesn’t have anything to it; it is simply an aspect of nature. It becomes peaceful or agitated because moods deceive it. The untrained mind is stupid. Sense impressions come and trick it into happiness, suffering, gladness, and sorrow, but the mind’s true nature is none of those things. That gladness or sadness is not the mind, but only a mood coming to deceive us. The untrained mind gets lost and follows these things; it forgets itself. Then we think that it is we who are upset or at ease or whatever. But really this mind of ours is already unmoving and peaceful—really peaceful! Just like a leaf which remains still so long as the wind doesn’t blow. If a wind comes up, the leaf flutters. The fluttering is due to the wind—the fluttering of the mind is due to those sense impressions; the mind follows them. If it doesn’t follow them, it doesn’t flutter. If we know fully the true nature of sense impressions, we will be unmoved. Our practice is simply to see the “Original Mind.” We must train the mind to know those sense impressions and not get lost in them, to make it peaceful. Just this is the aim of all this difficult practice we put ourselves through.

~ Ajahn Chah, Food for the Heart: The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah

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  1. […] Beginner’s mind is about dropping all we know, or think we know, and perceiving everything without judgement instead of placing our preconceptions upon it. In creative terms, maintaining this psychological blank canvas lends itself well to our creative expression because we are not fixed or ridged in our approach to creating and open to discovery, which is key. When we are loose and open, it’s the ideal state to create but thinking we know something it can often obscure our own discoveries, in life and in art. […]

  2. […] Beginner’s mind is about dropping all we know, or think we know, and perceiving everything without judgement instead of placing our preconceptions upon it. In creative terms, maintaining this psychological blank canvas lends itself well to our creative expression because we are not fixed or ridged in our approach to creating and open to discovery, which is key. When we are loose and open, it’s the ideal state to create but thinking we know something it can often obscure our own discoveries, in life and in art. […]

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