Taking the Shinbashira Seriously

Though we all have mistaken thoughts, in a greater or lesser degree, we are always able to correct them by replacing our mind. In fact this is the very point being made in the Mikagura-uta verse "If you entertain wrong thoughts, you are to start anew." There is a notion that this verse was intended to imply that wrong thoughts will suddenly result in death, but I do not accept this. Surely what Oyasama had in mind was to tell us, "When you become aware that the mind is mistaken, replace it!"

SAS January 26,1992 -The 3rd Shinbashira

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There are four topics that I would like to talk about in the paragraph above. First: Wrong thoughts - what are they? Second: Starting anew - what does it mean to start anew? Third: Wrong thoughts resulting in sudden death - how can that be compatible with a model of parental love? and Last: Replacing the mind - what is that and how is it done? Before I begin I would just like to point out that all of the Shinbashira's sentences are just as densely packed as these. That is why we are instructed to ponder over everything carefully and deeply.

What are wrong thoughts? In worldly common terms right and wrong thoughts are refer to the contents and uses of our mind. They amount to worldly common systems of  methods, morals and ethics. Wrong thoughts then either don't work as a method. That is they don't deliver a desired result or they do deliver a desired result but either the action or the result is deemed to be immoral or unethical. Such systems have their uses and are a very important component of our worldly common experience of the world. They are not however what this teaching is concerned with. In this teaching, wrong thoughts are thoughts that are either not based on the secure foundation of the truth of origin or are thoughts that do not quickly lead to single-heartedness with God, the knowledge and understanding of the truth of origin.

What does it mean to start anew? The ultimate fresh start or stating anew is the totally purified mind like clear water. There is an element of this teaching that is concerned with "cutting". In truth our sincerity is a measure of our willingness to cut with the past and assume a totally new, free and unlimited perspective or point of view. Today a coworker told me that "doing the same thing over and over, each time with an expectation of a different outcome is not a very smart approach."  This path teaches the way to single-heartedness with God quickly. If we are not "getting there" quickly then it is appropriate to start anew.

Wrong thoughts resulting in sudden death - what's that about?  The knowledge and understanding of the truth of origin informs a point of view that is called a "model of parental love".  If the notion of wrong thoughts resulting in sudden death involves the returns of God the Parent to the children then those returns would be incompatible with the model of parental love. If the notion of wrong thoughts resulting in sudden death involves just the working of causality "innen" then the notion is incompatible with experience. No such thing happens.

What does it mean to replace the mind and how is it done? Replacing the mind refers to replacing the foundation of the mind. Prior to awakening to the truth of origin the foundation of all human thinking is the self-centered imagination. The idea that this is my body and I am separate from nature and the universe. Replacing the mind means to replace that self-centered foundation with the permanent and secure foundation that knows and understands that the whole universe is God and that any and everything is what God says and does. From that point of view the self-centered imagination is borrowing a body which remains very much a part of the universe, the body of God.

To replace the mind one need only identify the self-centered imagination and then settle it so that the mind becomes like clear water.  What remains then is the truth of origin the truth of any and everything. In that way the foundation of the mind is replaced. Metaphorically, if the self-centered imagination is the Moon and origin is the Sun, then the knowledge an understanding of the truth of origin could be described as being single-hearted with Moonsun.