Observing the rising and falling of thoughts and the rising and falling of feeling is central to my practice. It has a number of benefits. Firstly, it gives insight into the space between thoughts. I’ve been calling that awareness of late. It strikes me that this is the “essence of mind” that Hui Neng talks about. Secondly, it demonstrates the impermanence of thoughts, points of view and of feelings. And that leads to the fourth point, which is that the whole realm of appearances is unsatisfactory. Fifthly, it develops a kind of spaciousness in one’s psyche.
In a way this post proceeds on from “The second initiation.” Seeing feelings arise, eventually gives the ability to intercept them and examine how that feeling will move into craving, into clinging, into becoming, into birth and into suffering; even if you’re watching it happen in real time. Seeing from your own experience that feelings lead to suffering is a vital key.
Also of interest to this post is how the senses lead to contact and in turn lead to feeling for me is such an exquisite part of the dharma.
“What we have to do is to purify our mind so that the six vijnanas (types of consciousness), in passing through the six gates (sense organs) will neither be defiled by nor attached to the six sense-objects. When our mind works freely without any hindrance, and is at liberty to ‘come’ or to ‘go’, we attain Samadhi of Prajna, or liberation. Such a state is called the function of ‘thoughtlessness’. But to refrain from thinking of anything, so that all thoughts are suppressed, is to be Dharma-ridden, and this is an erroneous view.”
The point of all of this is: if you don’t see the flow of suffering, you won’t know how to stop it. Once you see how it all works for yourself, you want to stop it. Why should you suffer any more? And you want to enter fully into that awareness you’ve discovered.
The technique is that you can be simply aware, you can intercept thoughts and you can intercept feelings. There is lots of room for practice.
“Sentient beings who sow the seeds of enlightenment In the field of causation will reap the fruit of Buddhahood.”