Subjectivity of 'Mu-shin' (No-mind-ness): Zen Philosophy as interpreted by Toshihiko Izutsu

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In this paper, we consider whether there is any subjectivity in the state of 'Mu-shin (No-mindness)'. Dr. Toshihiko Izutsu, a Japanese philosopher, has tried to answer this question with the example of a master musician absorbed in playing his harp. The master musician is so absorbed in playing and so completely one with the music itself, that he is no longer conscious of his fingers or of the instrument. But he is not 'unconscious', for he is conscious of himself as identified with the music. Izutsu explained that 'Paradoxical as it may sound, he is so fully conscious of himself as identified with music that he is not 'conscious' of his act of playing in any ordinary sense of the word.'Izutsu called this particular phase of 'awareness of self in full identification with music' 'Mu-shin teki Syutaisei (the subjectivity of Mu-shin)'.We may think of this particular phase as that which is prior to the subject-object bifurcation. However, Izutsu taught us that Zen-text has expressed this phase in four different ways, and it is these four types of 'Mu-shin' expression that we consider here.


  • Journal of Integrated Creative Studies

    Journal of Integrated Creative Studies (2015), 1-9, 2015-03-10



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