When we are thinking about the future or the past instead of focusing on what we are doing in the present, that is our intellect causing trouble.
It is helpful if we can act without letting our intellect distract us. I experience this distraction when I don’t get enough sleep because I’m too busy thinking about the past or the future. I can’t relax.
I definitely experience this when I’m trying to meditate. Constant discursive thinking makes meditation incredibly difficult.
The intellect is part of the problem–-this reminds me of that old saying, “You need to get out of your own way.” It’s a cliche, but I think it’s really relevant to this discussion.
Our minds are our greatest strength, but also our greatest weakness. The intellect is the seat of our trouble because it’s the source of all of our ignorance and distractions.
The Diamond Sutra teaches us that we need to focus on disciplining our minds to help with the trouble our intellect causes for us. The Buddha said to Subhuti, “All the Bodhisattva heroes should discipline their minds.”
This is a very important message. Peace is within and we achieve it by disciplining our minds. In order to train our minds, we practice meditation.
Later in the sutra, the Buddha says, “All Bodhisattvas, lesser and great, should develop a pure, lucid mind.”
The Buddha makes it clear that ego is a delusion when he says, “Though the common people accept egoity as real, the Tathagata declares that ego is not different from non-ego.”
It’s important to remember that our egotism, our belief that we are separate from everything else, is delusional. The truth is that there is no dualism. All things are connected. It can be easy to fall into the delusion of dualistic thinking, even during our Buddhist practice.
It is the great danger that our intellect presents and is something we need to watch out for.
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Assistant Ed: Stephanie Richard
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