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Buddhadharma : Fall 2011
21 fall 2 01 1 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly send your questions by mail or to firstname.lastname@example.org narayan liebenson grady: As I understand it, the awakened mind includes thinking; it’s just that the thinking is necessary, functional, and discerning rather than indulgent, unnecessary, and addictive. Without attachment to thinking, silence and peace are available. In not grasping after thoughts and tak- ing them to be me and mine, there is freedom instead of bondage. Buddhas plan, but don’t engage in worry. They make decisions but are not swayed by self-centered emotions. Buddhas are immeasurably creative but not interested in fantasy. Buddhas think but are not caught up in their thoughts, and do not mistake their thoughts to be who they are. They are present in the midst of thoughts arising, and use thinking as a way to benefit all beings. A common misconception in dharma prac- tice is that meditation means striving to eliminate thoughts or that silence means there are no thoughts. Struggling or fighting with thoughts causes tension and out of tension comes doubt. Buddhas don’t try to get rid of thoughts; they let thoughts arise and pass. The result of letting go of attachment to thinking is greater access to wisdom. A significant aspect of Buddhist practice involves learning to let go. Letting go frees energy and creates a space to explore and investigate the nature of suf- fering and liberation. Wise effort in practice involves developing a wise relationship to thought, allowing thinking to be creative and discerning. Without awareness, thoughts are conditioned by habit. The key is to be neither entranced nor repelled, identified or reactive. So we are not trying to not think; rather we are learning that it is possible to be quiet and to allow thoughts to come and go as a natural aspect of life. The work of meditation is to learn how to use thought wisely and not be used by it. We learn to release our habitual preoccupations and delight in remaining undistracted. We suffer because we are deluded by our thoughts, investing our identity in each thought that comes along. But thought itself is not a problem. Buddhas know that a thought is just a thought and rest in true and abiding peace. ask the teachers Zenkei blanche hartman is former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center Geshe tenZin WanGyal rinpoche is a lineage holder of the Bön dzogchen tradition of Tibet narayan liebenson Grady is a guiding teacher at Cambridge insight Meditation Center question: Do buddhas think? (lEFT-RIgHT):barbaraWenger,janineguldener,marylang