K229 Everyday Mind is the Way! by Nakahara Nantenbō 中原南天棒

Everyday Mind is the Way!

Brushed for Mr. Ueno
By the 76-year-old fellow Nantenbō Tōjū

Nakahara Nantenbō (中原南天棒,1839-1925)
K229 hanging scroll, sumi on paper 140.0 cm × 44.3 cm.


The phrase “Everyday Mind is the Way” appears in case 19 of the Mumonkan. Jōshū asked his master Nansen, “What is the Way?” Nansen told him, “Everyday Mind is the Way.” The case goes on as Jōshū asks, “Shall I try to get on it?” Nansen replies, “If you try to find it, you will become separated from it.” Jōshū: “Then how can I know where it is?” Nansen: “The Way is not about knowing or not knowing. Knowing is delusion; not knowing is confusion. When you find the true Way, you will see that it is as vast and boundless as the cosmos. The Way can never be described as this or that.” Upon hearing those words, Jōshū woke up. “Everyday Mind is the Way” now stands largely separate from the Case. The phrase is often used in connection with the martial arts, to represent the ideal state of mind when facing external and internal enemies.