I have practiced Zazen for many years, but I have never been able to empty my mind.
While practicing Zazen, I cannot help thinking about many things.
In that case, I always try to stop thinking.
But I start thinking about something else right away.
I don’t think that it is possible for us to empty our minds.
Blaise Pascal said that man is a thinking reed.
Rene Descartes said that I think, therefore I am.
So, we are thinking continuously by a genetic mechanism.
Why do the people who practice Zazen try to empty their minds?
I’d like to state my opinion.
Maybe emptying our minds isn’t a true aim of Zazen.
I think that trying to empty our minds is the true aim.
In other words, it is a matter of mental attitude.
All worldly things are impermanent.
There is nothing in this world that lasts forever.
So, all fixations are meaningless.
However, we tend to cling to various things, and because of that, we suffer from things that never work out as we expect.
Giving up the attachment to various things is most important in order to be released from distress.
I think that Zazen is a kind of mental practice for that.
While practicing Zazen, worldly thoughts come up one after another.
For example, I often think, “I’m hungry”.
However, I try not to think more than that.
Otherwise, I will be stuck in these distractions with thoughts, such as, “What should I eat? Or I want to eat Soba…”
Worldly thoughts will never cease, but I won’t follow them while practicing Zazen.
I think that this attitude will lead to me giving up my attachment to various things.
I don’t think that reaching a spiritual place of nothingness is the ultimate objective for me.
This is because I’m just a man, not an admirable Zen master.