‘Fudoshin’ is a Japanese term used in Zen frequently, which means an unshakeable will, utter determination, the mindset of a Samurai. Even in the face of death, injury or pain, the Samurai is present to what is. How this is embraced by Zen outside of being a warrior is that every day we too will face discomfort and pain, challenges and confusion. And yet when we embrace Fudoshin we can be calm, confident and manage anything. It’s a steely determination to be present and aware to it all. Numbing, contracting and avoiding are the opposite of Fudoshin!
Finding our personal truths are the key to this unshakeable will, this grounded mindset. Zen believes strongly in pushing against our beliefs, our thoughts, our ideas, to find out if there is truth in them, or simply if they are impermanent, ever-shifting and changing. And we can’t find truths when we are avoiding, kidding ourselves and being untruthful in areas of our lives. Sometimes, embracing Zen is like jumping into fiercely cold water, or stepping from a dark room into bright light; the contrast and sharpness of the situation mean that we cannot deny what is occurring and we must be with it fully. So, once we begin to experiment with and understand how much our minds fluctuate, constantly shifting and changing direction, and viewpoints, we can begin to understand that our thoughts are not necessarily true, and are also very impermanent. This sharp bright realisation means we can stop buying into everything the mind says, it’s incessant chatter does not need to be listened to, let alone heeded.
‘Clearing one’s mind’ doesn’t mean having no thoughts, it means not buying into the thoughts. It’s virtually impossible to stop thinking, as the lungs breath, so does the mind think; involuntarily and all the time. Stilling ourselves into our natural Fudoshin helps us allow the thoughts to pass by like clouds, part of the weather, but not necessarily affecting us.
Written with love,