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The Buddha

Concepts can be useful, but they are just thoughts, and thoughts are very wispy and ephemeral, once you start to pay attention to them.

The Buddha’s point that all is impermanence applies with special force to thoughts. Nothing comes and goes more quickly and easily than thoughts. You will notice then when you develop your meditation practice. Every time you return your attention to the breath, note that you did so and what you were thinking. As your mindfulness improves, you will start to catch yourself having your habitual thoughts and you will notice how quickly you can spin out your favorite stories and how pointless those stories are, for any purpose other than perpetuating your sense of self.

And knowledge depends on these thoughts as well. “Knowledge” just refers to more or less well grounded thoughts that one person can convey to another. It is all impermanent as well, and anyone’s understanding of it will depend on the person’s context as well as the content of the knowledge itself.

If you develop a consistent meditation practice, you will start to have realizations that you are more certain of than anything else you can claim to know. They often look really obvious once you have them. In some sense, the awakening of the Buddha was just one huge realization, or huge set of realizations. He then spent fifty years repeatedly explaining those realizations to other people.

One could read all of the sutras, the written versions of everything the Buddha said after his awakening, become highly knowledgeable about them, and still not awaken. Awakening involves noticing and trusting consciousness, which is the enduring source of all thoughts and knowledge.

Knowledge is not bad, it’s just kind of useless and distracts us from the sort of understanding that leads to and embodies awakening.

Keep meditating until you stop thinking.

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