Ken's Foreword to Big Mind/Big Heart by Genpo Roshi
February 04, 2007 13:56

Foreword to Big Mind/Big Heart by Genpo Roshi

Let me state this as strongly as I can: the Big Mind Process (founded by Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi) is arguably the most important and original discovery in the last two centuries of Buddhism.  It is an astonishingly original, profound, and effective path for waking up, or seeing one’s True Nature.  It is such a simple and universal practice it can be used in any spiritual path you wish, or even just alone, by itself, as a practice for realizing your True Nature—which you can call God, Allah, Jahweh, Brahman, Tao, Ein Sof—it doesn’t really matter, because the core of the Big Mind Process is Emptiness itself, which, having no specific content at all, can and does embrace anything that arises, integrating it all.  What Dennis Genpo Roshi has done is not only the most original discovery in Buddhism in the last two centuries, it is unbelievably simple, quick, and effective.  In Zen, this realization of one’s True Nature, or Ultimate Reality, is called kensho or satori (“seeing into one’s True Nature,” or discovering Big Mind and Big Heart).  It often takes five years or more of extremely difficult practice (I know, I’ve done it) in order for a profound satori to occur.  With the Big Mind Process, a genuine kensho can occur in about an hour—seriously.  Once you get it, you can do it virtually any time you wish, and almost instantaneously.  It is nothing less than the discovery of your True and Unique Self, Ultimately Reality, the Ground of All Being—again, call it what you like, for “they call it Many which is really One.”

But Genpo didn’t work merely with Buddhism.  He took some of the central discoveries of Western psychology—particularly Voice Dialogue and subpersonalities—and found an astonishingly effective way to integrate the best of the East (or simply the best of the contemplative traditions)—which is finding one’s True Nature and Infinite Self or Infinite-Empty Consciousness—Big Mind itself—satori itself!—and then integrate that with some of the best of the West (namely, working not with infinite Reality but with finite reality and with finite selves, helping to make them conscious and then healed and wholed).  The wondrous part is that he then found an easy and effective way to integrate the Infinite and the finite selves (again, using the overall Big Mind/Big Heart Process). 

Big Mind Process works with your own mind, with your states of consciousness, just as they are now.  What you don’t know, if you haven’t had a satori or awakening of some sort, is that right now, reading this page, is Big Mind, or God, or Spirit.  And it is so close and so obvious that you can’t see it.  But Genpo, in this book (which is a simple handbook of how to do Big Mind/Big Heart practice yourself), will show you that part of your own awareness, right now, which is already enlightened, already one with Spirit, already fully awakened.  And once you spot that, an entirely different world opens for you.  The book you have in your hands right now will, I can almost guarantee it, open your mind’s eye and show you how, in this very instant, Spirit is fully and completely present, looking through your eyes, listening with your ears, holding this book in its hands: right now!  And it always has been, but it was too close to see, too obvious to notice, too simple to believe.  This extraordinary discovery awaits you in this book.

(We at Integral Institute have found this process to be so effective and profound, that we have made it a central part of our programs, seminars, and Integral Life Practice.  You can see videos of Genpo doing this process, and leading you through it completely, at Integral Naked at  You can also find these types of videos on Genpo’s own website,  We have found the process to be around 97% effective, and that is why I feel comfortable promising, or darn close to promising, that by the time you finish reading this book, you will be among the enlightened ones, even if with beginner’s eyes.  Of course, this initial—but very strong—insight or kensho can be infinitely deepened if you want, and Genpo gives simple instructions for how to continue meditating to deepen this awakening.  But awaken you will, I truly believe.) 

Genpo did not include developmental psychology in this integration of the best of the East and West, and for a reason: it simply does not matter what stage of development you are at in order to do Big Mind Process.  It works at virtually any major stage of development—whether you are at magic, mythic, rational, pluralistic, integral, or super-integral: any stage can do Big Mind and awaken to the ever-present, all-pervading, infinite Reality of All Being (again, name it as you wish).  But, if you want, you can study how these stages mesh with the states of Big Mind: Genpo Roshi is a founding member of Integral Spiritual Center (at Integral Institute), and has been instrumental in studying ways to fit together stages of consciousness with states of consciousness.  Again, his work can be found at, and at his own website And you can find all of this in a book that I happened to author, called Integral Spirituality.

But start here, with this book, and this simple but profound process, and be prepared to find your own True Self, possibly for the first time, but joyous in any event.  And you will learn to integrate the finite or dualistic selves (the skeptic, the controller, the victim, the damaged child, the angry mind, the seeking mind, etc.) with the Infinite or Non-dual Self in its many displays (Big Mind, Big Heart, Integrated Feminine/Masculine, Great Joy, Great Gratitude, Integrated Free-Functioning—the Ultimate Goal).  A genuine taste of all of this awaits your reading pleasure, my friend, and I am happy and hopeful for you that you will simply relax the mind, rest in the present, let your consciousness go free, for it has no walls—and then read this book, or simply let it soak into you, let the words wash through you, and soon enough, that “you” will be “YOU”—which is to say, I AMness, your own True, Infinite, and Eternal Nature: “before Abraham was, I AM.”  This book is truly a handbook of Awakening to I AMness, which is already looking out of your eyes right now. 

I am adding my own blessings to these wonderful words of awakening that this book contains, and may the merit of all of this be dedicated to sentient beings everywhere, that they too may wake up and discover who, and what, they really are.  In that awakening, suffering can find no purchase; in that enlightenment, hatred and anger can find no home; gratitude and joy inexplicably arise in their place, dancing wildly in the deepest clarity and most astonishing thankfulness, all of which together provide an endless fountain of awakened joy, happiness, compassion, and wisdom, pouring out of your mind and your heart (now your Big Mind and Big Heart), and into the world in a gushing and uncontrollably overflowing superabundance of radiance, release, bliss, luminosity, celebration, and joy.

Now look at me, my friend, and listen, please, I’m truly serious: isn’t it time for you to wake up?  How long have you been lost in this dream?  Can’t you feel the wisdom holders shaking you, saying, “Wake up, please, this is just a dream!”  You know this, don’t you?  You know that in the deepest part of your being, you can wake up, don’t you?  You have been searching for how long now?  Well, it is time for the Great Search to end.  As long as you are searching, you are looking for a future moment that will be better than this moment, but it is this moment that holds the entire key: why are you running away from your own awakening? 

So stop searching, take a breath, and start reading this manual for Awakening to the present moment, and I think you will never be able to look back.  And then, if you and I ever meet, we will know each other, won’t we?  With a twinkle in your eye, a slight smile on your face, a radiance in your heart, you and I will look into the eyes of each other and see the one and only Self, Big Mind, Big Heart, and the days and nights of the endless search will have lost its dreadfully painful meaning.  

And we will have Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi to thank, for discovering a simple and original process of Awakening right now.  And so I offer the deepest bow to Genpo, offer the merit to all sentient beings, and into your hands, with infinite blessings, I now pass on this extraordinary book to you.

Ken Wilber

HeH lojh


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