April 20, 2011

A Mind Without Thoughts Is Like Tea Without Leaves.

Just as the heart beats and the lungs breathe, thoughts think themselves.

The point of meditation is not to extinguish thoughts. Rather, it is to move beyond thought. To discover space or an atmosphere that is not conditioned by thought. This world, which is already present, is true freedom; as it is not limited by our fears of the past or expectations for the future. In short, it is beyond insecurity.

“When people begin to meditate, they often say that their thoughts are running riot, and have become wilder than ever before. But I reassure them and say that this is a good sign. Far from meaning that your thoughts have become wilder, it shows that you have become quieter, and you are finally aware of just how noisy your thoughts have always been. Don’t be disheartened or give up. Whatever arises, just keep being present, keep returning to the breath, even in the midst of all the confusion.

Sometimes people think that when they meditate there should be no thoughts and emotions at all; and when thoughts and emotions do arise, they become annoyed and exasperated with themselves and think they have failed. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a Tibetan saying: “It’s a tall order to ask for meat without bones, and tea without leaves.” So long as you have a mind, there will be thoughts and emotions.

You will discover for yourself that there is a gap between each thought. When the past thought is past, and the future thought not yet arisen, you will always find a gap in which the Rigpa, the nature of mind, is revealed.

My master had a student called Apa Pant… Apa Pant kept pestering him, asking him again and again how to meditate, so this time when my master replied, it was in such a way as to let him know that he was telling him once and for all: “Look, it’s like this: When the past thought has ceased, and the future thought has not yet arisen, isn’t there a gap?”

“Yes,” replied Apa Pant.

“Well, prolong it: That is meditation.”

~taken from The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche

And here it is from the horse’s mouth!

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