A. ‘Have to know the mind prior to a thinking’ is a very common saying in Zen circles. This makes sense. The problem is that people, not grasping the point of the saying, follow the words: They struggle to divide their mind into two, and distinguish the mind prior to thinking from the mind after thinking.
The core teaching of Buddhism is non-duality, oneness. Your mind is not dual or multiple. You should know that the mind which is producing thinking at this moment is not different and separate from the mind prior to thinking, but it is the very mind prior to thinking that you want to know. The mind that is reading this writing at this moment is the mind you should realise. There is no other mind than this.
Student: “What is the mind prior to thinking?”
Master: “Why do you ask me where your tongue is?”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway