What does Big Mind mean?

By Genpo Roshi

I’m using “Big” with the sense of the Japanese word Dai, or the Sanskrit word Maha, meaning great or big.

“Mind” when preceded by Dai or Maha means a mind with no limits or boundaries.

A quote from the 6th Patriarch:

“The capacity of the mind is so great, it’s like space. But if you practice Empty-mind Zen, you will fall into a featureless void. In this world of ours, space has room for the sun and the moon and the stars, the earth and its mountains and rivers, every plant and tree, bad people and good people, bad teachings and good teachings, heavens and hells. All of this exists in space. The emptiness of our nature is also like this.”

The Big Mind Process™ allows you to make a shift and to realize exactly this. It makes the teaching of the great 6th Chinese Patriarch very clear. Sitting on a cushion can help you integrate your realization and is also a perfect manifestation of your True Nature. However, just sitting with an empty mind and falling into a featureless void does absolutely nothing to enable you to manifest wisdom and compassion in your daily life.

10 thoughts on “What does Big Mind mean?”

  1. I find sitting down and falling into the void and experiencing rich emptiness very helpful. It is starting to take over everyday life. I realize that love is in the giving of itself, you and I have the same essential nature, and I am getting closer to the universe outside of me and inside of me, like there is even a me here, its all one. I also love the big mind process, but do it sparingly as sitting is a rich full world for me and I do it often. Just different paths I suppose.

  2. It seems as if, more we do in Life, more actions we perform,more decision and new directions we take, the more we appreciate the refuge, rest ,deep silence Big Mind offers, creating a perfect balance. It gives me appreciation of what is, gratitude for just Being, inspiration for right action, wisdom and generosity. A trust that Big Mind is the Emptiness from where everything exists and yet so available at any time we turn to or very Nature.

  3. To me it feels rather like a widening, assigning the correct place to the “little” frenzied mind. Keeping it wide seems to provide enough room to act in every moment according to your True Nature, rather than following what the little mind dictates.

  4. Is there a way of doing Big Mind alone ? I did a big Heart Big Mind workshop two years ago and I liked it . It included Bill Harris . I just could’nt see how you could do this practise alone . Regards – Charles

  5. Sitting with an empty mind does have its utility but Big Mind practice is all day long. Big Mind practice allows me to live in the real, ugly, muddy, screwed up, and harsh everyday world. It allows me to see that all that I dislike about others is also inside of me. Practicing all day long allows me to see that my mind creates my suffering, not others. Genpo’s teachings have taught me more about myself and life than any other practice I’ve tried. It is nice to sit with an empty mind and to experience myself that way except I haven’t tried that for a while. Big Mind allowed me to detach from the concept that enlightened beings practice zazen or meditate every day.

  6. For me it’s important to distinguish two broad realms of inquiry – the “how to be” realm and the “what you are” realm. We live in both.

    The BigMind Process seems to look deeply into the “how to be” realm while meditation (as I practice it) exposes you to the “what you are” realm.

    Another key difference is that while meditation is a very active thing to do, it engages a passive stance where as the BigMind Process, as it is a dialogue, sits in a more active stance.

    Still, I’ll take both. 😉

  7. Saying that sitting in Big Mind does ‘absolutely nothing’ to help one manifest wisdom and compassion in daily life is a radical shift from most traditional perspectives handed down to us through the ages via the teachings of a number of esoteric traditions. The conventional understanding is that sitting in Emptiness, or Big Mind, helps the individual to come to a still point and bring them to the home of their True Nature, which it is then their task to manifest in their daily lives, using whatever tools they have at their disposal.

  8. I practiced Kriya Yoga meditation, Vipassana Meditation, and Big Mind when I used to go on Sundays morning with Genpo Roshi. In Kriya Yoga, I felt peace and saw some colors, in Vipassana, there was not much, anyways we were told just to sit. But when I did Big Mind I really tasted a little bit of what enlightentment is, specially when I play the No-Self voice. I think is very effective.

  9. This May I have two very powerful experiences. First experience revolved (again) around my Ego – feeling worthless, being nobody… It was painful and surprising at the same time, since I thought that I’m over and done with this issues. But life events few months earlier proved me wrong. So I asked The Mother Goddess and my spiritual teachers to show me who am I really. I was prepared for anything, but not for what followed: I become (it will sound funny and illogical) really nothing, I become absolute emptiness. And I got the insight how this emptiness as a human being trough senses, opinions, Ego, Shadow… in every and each moment collapses the quantum wave function of all the possibilities and it become “my reality”. How I, from infinite field of ever changing vibrations, decide and form rigid patterns which I perceive as my reality. I actually observed how I create my reality. And if I want to remember my true origin I have to loosen this rigid patterns back into pure vibrations… So: from feeling worthless and absolute nobody, I become absolute nothingness and it was beautiful and it made all the sense 🙂 And yes, this emptiness is pregnant with all the possibilities in it is literally everything but in latent form. So: trough experiencing emptiness I saw that all is only kind of vibration of emptiness. Rigid patterns that I create and call my reality is actually an illusion, but I’m on the other hand a human being and I can live and operate and be active only in this illusion. This I think is our basic duality: we are spiritual beings, with infinite mind and we can operate/live in only limited illusion – our reality.


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