Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Quarterly

ASK THE TEACHERS

KEIRYU LIÊN SHUTT: I’ve heard it said by Zen teachers that the function of the mind is to secrete thoughts. From that perspective, “to rest in nonconceptual, open, ‘don’t know’ mind” isn’t so much to stop or transcend thinking as to simply let thoughts be “just thoughts” and to know that the mind is doing its thing. Thinking is simply what the mind does, in the same way that ears hear and eyes see.

What we endeavor to stop is not thinking itself but the obsessive energy that gets caught up in the content of the thoughts. We practice to recognize thoughts as just another phenomenon arising. We practice to stop our belief in the solidity of our interpretation of our thoughts—our “story”—and the emotional patterns and judgments that often come with it.

One way we can

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Contributors
STEPHEN BATCHELOR began his Buddhist studies in 1972 in India, received full ordination as a bhikkhu in 1979, and disrobed in 1985, following three years of training in Korean Seon. The author of Buddhism Without Beliefs and cofounder of Bodhi Colleg