Shoshin 初心 in Japanese means “Beginner’s mind”. Having a beginner’s mind means to practice each day as if it was the first time one steps into the Dojo. With the enthusiasm of the beginning, with the desire to discover new things, taking in everything you experience.
The purpose of the practice is to always keep pure the mind like that of an amateur.
This beginner’s mind is very hard to keep.
Shoshin involves an open and clear mind.
The mind of the beginner is presented with many possibilities.
Shoshin is the mind or attitude required to follow a teaching.
This contains honesty, modesty, humility, patience, sacrifice and self-control.
Shoshin is not affected by the will, prejudice or discrimination.
It’s like a piece of silk before being inked by a brush.
It is also an important condition of the first state or phase, in which a beginner learn to perceive the basics in a precise way, item by item, line by line, with an unwavering faith in what is taught.
However, Shoshin is not just the mental state required for the beginner, but must be present throughout all stages of the training. The manifestation of Shoshin therefore varies depending on the state in which one is; whether a student beginner, intermediate or advanced. What’s more important is that in the end, one becomes a single body inside and out, eventually developing the mind of the no-mind.
This is the culmination of the budo training.
The determination to stay in the beginner’s mind is a key factor for the performance of the study. This determination is very vulnerable to being destroyed by ego, position and rank or lost by the pride and presumptions.
The loss of Shoshin means stopping the growth and this can happen even when one has not been recognised. It is also a sign, and the result of human arrogance.
A modest mind is one that recognises the depth of the way, do you know the fear, do you know the existence of something beyond your own reality, while continuing the path of internal development. In many respects, the self-denial works as a midwife that stimulates the birth of a real wealth of the heart.
Shoshin-or-Wasurezu: “don’t forget the spirit and humility of a beginner”.
This is a great translation, I hope you enjoyed it – Shihan Piero