Thread: The Pure Mind

  1. #1

    The Pure Mind

    The following is a quote from Ajahn Sumedho:

    The empty mind - the pure mind - is not a blank, zero-land, where you're not feeling or caring about anything. It's an effulgence of the mind. It's a brightness that is truly sensitive and accepting. It's an ability to accept life as it is. When we accept life as it is, we can respond appropriately to the way we're experiencing it, rather than just reacting out of fear and aversion.


    https://www.azquotes.com/author/45208-Ajahn_Sumedho

    Any comments?

  2. #2
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    Great quote, except that I had to look up effulgence (radiant mind, I believe). The empty mind is one which has a different relationship with everything that impinges on us, including our selves. Empty of the old automatic reactions which drove us in the past, but now ready to react in ways which we prefer as Buddhists. The understanding that we can change how we interact with the world brings it's own reward, no matter the outcome. We may not like the things we see, especially when we see them in a different way. We can't change anything other than ourselves. What we can do is see the world as it really is and work on reacting in ways that are more aligned with the path we are following and with the outcomes we are looking for. This alignment brings with it a natural 'radiance' that comes with following the path. How can it not?

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    This week's New Scientist is about how to beat insomnia. The main article suggests that excessive rumination is a major problem, where people find it difficult to control runaway thought processes. It looks at cognitive behavioural therapy strategies including Mindfulness and Behavioural Therapy for insomnia (MBTI). The really interesting bit for this thread is that it is based around Buddhist non-judgmental awareness, with people trained to 'notice the thoughts and feelings they might have around their sleep without necessarily trying to change them'.

    The author goes on to say that "It's more how you relate to that thought, rather than just the content itself" and that passive observation of thoughts and the recognition of their fleeting nature is key to diffusing such harmful rumination. Clinical trials showed significant effects of MBTI, 70% in one study, which can last long after the therapy has finished.

    So what does this mean for us, if we don't have insomnia or excessive rumination? I think that it highlights what Ajahn Sumedho was saying in the quote, that we can then look at the world and ourselves in the face, in all the good and bad aspects we start to uncover, and react mindfully rather than with the automatic responses we have experienced in the past. It is all about the relationship we have with our thoughts.

  4. #4
    Here's a quote I always find helpful, its from the late Tibetan teacher Akong Rinpoche:

    "If you imagine that your mind is like space, then you are able to digest all your problems without any difficulties."



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    It sounds good. Does he go on to say how you do that? It took me many years to get into visualisation practice as I had to do it by trial and error. I went through an intersting phase once when I was visualising an imaginary space to sit and meditate. I began to have company; on one side of me sat a native North American warrior and on the other either an eagle or a cougar. They stayed until I began to end the meditation, and kept coming back over a number of years. Interesting how the mind works when you stay at a practice and it starts to have an effect.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by philg View Post
    It sounds good. Does he go on to say how you do that?
    No, he didn't say it to me personally and I don't remember where the quote was from originally, I think its about letting go..... and Mahamudra.

    Ajahn Sumedho said "The mind is like space" in "Now is the Knowing."


    The mind is like space, there’s room in it for everything or nothing. It doesn’t really matter whether it is filled or has nothing in it, because we always have a perspective once we know the space of the mind, its emptiness. Armies can come into the mind and leave, butterflies, rainclouds or nothing. All things can come and go through, without us being caught in blind reaction, struggling resistance, control and manipulation.

    http://www.buddhanet.net/nowknow3.htm





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    Another good quote there Aloka. Things arise in the mind and things go. What we do with those things while they are in our mind is up to us. We can give them our attention or treat them as ephemeral nothings. Once we can do that we are free of them, to act on them or not as we see fit. Another visualisation practice I do from time to time is the white mist practice, where gradually everything dissolves into harmless white mist. Eventually, even me. In the end the white mist dissolves into nothingness.

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