Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
Wallace Stevens: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird: I
Nomind can most often be found growing along river beds and at the edges of wooded areas. It prefers mixed sun and shade and moderate temperatures, but is very tolerant and may be found growing in harsher places. Windy environments such as ocean dunes and mountainous regions, deserts, deep forest, or other extremes will almost always harbor a few specimens. It is slow-growing even in the most favorable conditions. Plants found growing in hostile environments may be very old. The nomind’s age is hard to estimate. Authoritative dating is possible only after death.
Nomind has a number of medicinal uses. Like tea and some other plants, it is most effective when steeped in hot water. Taken with proper care it is most useful as a restorative. Nomind promotes alertness and calm vigor. Taken regularly it is conducive to long life. Some instruction, however, is necessary to achieve these benefits. Indiscriminate or unregulated ingestion will rarely be of help and may be fatal.
Nomind is a small inconspicuous plant. It spreads underground by means of rhizomes and produces seeds infrequently. The leaves are small and thick and covered with short hairy fibers that hold rain. Some species have thorns. Adaptation and growing conditions may make it hard to recognize. The foliage is thick, affording protection to many small birds and animals. Flowers are 25mm, five-petaled, and most often white or pale green, In acidic soil they can be more brightly colored. The plant’s odor most resembles mint.
A warrior makes no war. Mushin makes no mind. We watch it grow but are not enlightened.
The horticulturist Wu Xie first described the nomind in 1614. Formerly its varied growth habit and tolerance of environmental conditions had caused it to be classified as several species, a confusion reflected today in the varied way of spelling the colloquial name. In this respect it is also a challenge to the intellect, but deeper understanding reveals this challenge to be superficial, as Wu showed by his unification. Unfortunately, Wu’s work has been shown to be itself unsatisfactory in this respect. (Xiaopin Roshi, 1796)
The Tao of No Mind is to be found only in books. (Wu Li, 1840)
Mushin is the foundation of zen and the mindset of the martial arts. In everyday life the situation is like that of the koan, which has no “solution” but a response which reveals the student’s understanding must be performed, not explained. Popular examples are the one-handed clap and the extinguishing of the candle. The well-known responses are now not zen, as a true response must be spontaneous and not calculated; that is, the product of no mind. (James Peel, 1925)
Nomind grows by my door,
narrowing the way.
But my small hut will hold many guests.