From Scattered Mind To No Mind

About the Chan path, Chan master Sheng Yen writes:

The practice of Ch’an should progress in this sequence: scattered mind, simple mind, one mind, no mind. First we gather our scattered thoughts into a more concentrated, or simple, state of mind. From this concentrated state we can enter the mind of unity. Finally, we leap from the unified mind to the state of no mind. This final process can be accomplished more quickly using the Ch’an methods of hua-t’ou or kung-an [koan] (Faith in Mind: A Commentary on Song Ts’an’s Classic 33)

Ordinary mind is scattered mind and scattered mind is seeking mind. To search for the Unborn among thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions is not the way. In fact, it is the wrong way.

Therefore, we must turn around, take the backward step, and turn the light within (Dogen). Scattered mind, through practice, can, and does, give way to simple, concentrated mind. The latter is quieter, softer, more composed, more energetic.

It is not a great step from simple mind to unified mind. Unified mind is the congealing, the coalescing, the ‘locking in’ of concentrated mind. In unified mind, all comes to one. Save, that is, for the ego-self which provides a ‘frame’ or ‘silhouette’ for this unification. The sense of being a penumbral I remains.

Consequently, there must be a complete surrender of I or a great “leap” from unified mind to no mind. No mind doesn’t even know itself as no mind because there is no separate vantage point from which to view even unity.

No mind is not the end of Chan.