First Mind

A couple of nights ago sitting outside the Friends Meeting House in Lancaster readying to attend the Lancaster Meditation group meeting I pondered on what I’d talk about. This is what came to me. It’s from the monks ordination ceremony.

The merit of first mind
Is the widest and most completely
Even if Buddhas
Explain it fully
Such explanation can never be enough.

It is just so hard to talk about first mind (or beginners mind) without there being huge misunderstandings. And being hampered by mental tiredness didn’t help either! If I were to zip now to first mind and think about that I’d say it is largely marked by humility. Natural humility.

There is nothing like
a tired mind
attempting to talk about
first mind to bring up

There is no way, and no point, in pushing a brain that has just run a mental marathon, which mine has over the past weeks. Nor pushing oneself on other levels either. Tired is tired. I’m glad I went to the meeting – you were all kind and compassionate. Thank you.

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8 thoughts on “First Mind”

  1. “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” (Shunryu Suzuki 1905-1971). How true. How to recover beginner’s mind?
    in gassho

  2. There is an elemental level to us that never goes away – this is how I see it anyway. Call that beginner’s mind, first mind. I don’t know.

  3. Well, confusion certainly ruled the other night. I too sat outside the same meeting house on the bench by the porch over looking the iron gates (these have to be kept shut).
    My expectations were mixed. It was a weird sky, all dark and dank looking but there was a hole so to speak where the sun played on the edges of the gap, a deep orange, fire looking hole. The air started to chill and I wandered into the house. I went and used the toilets, I was quite disturbed about the sign about the needles, more the fact that folk would leave them there. I looked around the house, looking for some indication of what I had traveled there for. I looked at the room allocations and I read that meditation was in the front room. But at 10am or 10.30.
    Dang, I misread something somewhere, I forgot to take the contact details with me.
    It seems I was too early.

    I did get to see Lancaster at night. It was very nice to see folk off to places. It reminded me of several years ago when I installed traffic management to let the council look down some holes. These are deep beneath the road surface, and the tunnels run all over the city. I went down one of them, it was warm and cosy, so it felt, you could hear the traffic rumble over the bumps on the surface, but I was in a calm place, dim yet a wonderful sight. We can seem like that ourselves, busy on the outside, yet a calm on the inside, as with these “secret tunnels” our minds are full of history and energy.

    I was upset that I had missed the meeting, especially meeting with your self. It would have been a pleasure, I am sure.

    It took me back to a time when I sorta had less to think about. Now, I have more to think about. I am lucky I have a task in my job of work where I can look inwards and being work, quite happy to explore these “secret tunnels” below my surface.

    I am off to visit my Dad in Shetland next week, a man who’s tunnels have been sealed for life, as Alzheimers seals them we have to look after the body and ensure that he enjoys what is his life and give his memory the dignity it so rightly deserves.

    The great thing about missing the meeting is I can still look forward to my next first and a pleasurable meeting. Life is good.

  4. Tired you may have been, but you got the point over. I think we all gained something from it.

    Thank you for sharing.


    PS. Enjoy Norfolk, those huge eternal fenland skies…..


  5. I do like Keith’s image of the secret tunnels. Not unlike the ocean being still underneath when the waves are crashing up above. When I lived in Reading there were occasional trips offered through the tunnels under the town but I knew there was a part at the start which was very low & thought claustrophobia might set in so I never went.
    I too lived in Norfolk for a while – the sunsets are amazing because it is so flat you can see a lot of sky.

  6. I don’t think I’d have gone down those tunnels in Reading either, had I known about them. At the moment there is just low cloud here in Norfolk with the same promised for the next few days. Time to lay low for a bit. I will watch out for sunsets, camera in hand.

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