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Buddhadharma : Summer 2016
30 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly summer 2 0 1 6 of mere appearance and mere awareness needs to be sustained, do as the author of the poem says and “first set your own mind in a relaxed state,” not allowing the busy state of a multitude of thoughts. Stop Thinking for A While Naturally arisen innermost awareness naturally exists within you; it is naturally there, not newly generated or constructed by superficial conditions. Rather, it is original wisdom, naturally flowing awareness whose continuum is itself fundamental, uncontrived. For it to become evident to you now, do not allow new superficially fabricated concep- tions to develop. Do not emit new thoughts, and even when you notice that conceptions have been produced, do not exert yourself thinking that they have to be withdrawn; just let them disappear. As the poem says, “not emitting, not withdrawing, without conceptuality.” Rather, vividly stay com- pletely within the self-flow, the natural flow of nonconceptuality. On the spot, let go of all concep- tual thinking altogether. Shock Still, it is not sufficient just to keep your mind from diffusing and scattering. Even if bliss, clarity, and nonconceptuality dawn in meditative experience, these interfere with being introduced to and iden- tifying naturally arisen innermost awareness. You need to avoid even bliss, clarity, and nonconceptual- ity. You have to get beyond all of these. Therefore, in this relaxed state not affected and polluted by the tightness of conceptuality, suddenly shout PAT (pronounced “pat” with the tongue curled to the top of the mouth behind the front teeth while saying the final “t”)—strong, intense, and short—for the sake of immediately clearing out any and all of the commotion of thinking It is so-and-so, It is like this, It is like that. The sud- den sound of PAT will strike conceptual thinking out of your consciousness: “In this relaxed state of total absorption, suddenly shout PAT, striking your awareness, strong, intense, short. E MA HO! Not any thing, astounding.” Old thoughts have stopped and new thoughts have not yet been produced. For example, when a boat moves quickly through water, the water is moved to the two sides with an empty place right then and there in its wake at the back of the boat. At the point of shouting PAT, between when you are unable to think your former thoughts and before you are able to produce new conceptions, in between those two, when you cannot make con- ceptual distinctions, there is astonishment, clarity, vividness, mere knowing. If you have faith and keen interest, as well as a guide’s quintessential instructions, then remaining in place of the sudden removal of thoughts will be a sense of shock that cannot be identified as any- thing, this or that. The clothing of thought suddenly thrown off, you will be left in a state of wonder, feeling astounded, astonished. There are several types of shock. One is like having your eyes closed and being unable to think anything; another is a state of nonconceptuality in which the mind is free from the pollutions of the mind being either too loose or too tight. There are also others. At this juncture, the emitting and with- drawing of conceptuality has stopped to the point where you are in a state of astonishment, having lost the power to recognize objects as this or that. With a shock, mental activity suddenly halts. For example, when a dog suddenly barks near you, you can be shocked into being unable to think any- thing. Here, in this practice, you are released from the varieties of thought, from the binding confines of the groups of adventitiously generated new con- ceptions, but still it is not as if you have fainted. Rather, the perspective of your consciousness is vividly clear.