Discuss "It's Your Mind that's moving. (see below for full text)

Two monks were arguing about the cause of a temple flag waving in the wind. One said it was the flag that was moving, the other said it was the wind that was moving. Master Hui Neng overheard them and said, "You two monks, it is your mind that is moving!"

This may seem a futile tail-chasing debate like the chicken and the egg, and Hui Neng's answer may seem just a cutting comment to get them to stop, but there is something more serious going on.

Many times, when we are unhappy in a relationship or our job, we argue about whether the cause of our unhappiness is the other person’s fault or our own. We get stuck in this blame game and remain miserable. Maybe Hui Neng is saying something helpful here: it is not their fault, it is not your fault, it is your mind’s fault. This may sound like admitting it is your fault, but is it?  Does Hui Neng's comment offer us a way out of our misery? 

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  • Iben

    Perhaps Hui Neng is saying that the discussion between the two monks is a most of all a result of a moving of the mind.
    His comment could be seen as a statement of fact (of a universal, human reaction / behaviour), by Hui Neng.

    If the moving of the mind explains a universal, human way of thinking and behaving - and is not only (but also) an expression of an individual, personal matter, then perhaps neither is the solution to the discussion between the two monks?

    November 13, 2013

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