Buddhism, Concepts, Zen Buddhism

What is Mushin?

Mushin is the essence of Zen and Japanese martial arts. Mushin literally means “empty mind”, and it is commonly called “the state of no-mindedness”.

Mushin is at the core of Zen and Japanese martial arts. It is a state of mind where the mind is not fixed on or occupied by any thought or emotion and is thus connected to the Cosmos.

In Zen on in your daily life, if the impulse is expressed as conscious thought, it is not Zen.

This pure state of mind, of pure mental clarity, is produced by the absence of the ego or limited self. A Mushin mind is not an empty mind like an empty shell, on the contrary, is it a mind fully present, aware and free.

“Mu” or “emptiness” in Mushin refers to an empty mind in the sense that distractions, preoccupations, fears, worries, are absent and are no more an issue for the mind, whether in combat or daily life.

The concept of Mushin is identical to the Japanese metaphorical expression “Mizu no Kokoro” or the “mind like water.” This mental attitude refers to a mind that is in total harmony with the Cosmos that it resembles a still pond of water without any ripples where the surface reflects a clear and perfectly undistorted image of the surroundings, like a mirror.

Mushin cannot be grasped by the intellect; it must be experienced. A Mushin mind has no Ego and no substance; it is pure Enlightenment and is the perfect realization of the self.

This state of mind takes years and years of practice to achieve. Mushin is achieved when a person’s mind is free from anger, fear, judgment or the ego during combat or everyday life.