Reading by Liz Helgesen (Download file)
What we normally call the mind is the deluded mind, a turbulent vortex of thoughts whipped up by attachment, anger, and ignorance. This mind, unlike enlightened awareness, is always being carried away by one delusion after another. Thoughts of hatred or attachment suddenly arise without warning, triggered by such circumstances as an unexpected meeting with an enemy or a friend, and unless they are immediately overpowered with the proper antidote, they quickly take root and proliferate, reinforcing the habitual predominance of hatred or attachment in the mind and adding more and more karmic patterns.
Yet, however strong these thoughts may seem, they are just thoughts and will eventually dissolve back into emptiness. Once you recognize the intrinsic nature of the mind, these thoughts that seem to appear and disappear all the time can no longer fool you. Just as clouds form, last for a while, and then dissolve back into the empty sky, so deluded thoughts arise, remain for a while, and then vanish into the voidness of mind; in reality nothing at all has happened.
When sunlight falls on a crystal, lights of all colors of the rainbow appear; yet they have no substance that you can grasp. Likewise, all thoughts in their infinite variety – devotion, compassion, harmfulness, desire – are utterly without substance. There is no thought that is something other than voidness; if you recognize the void nature of thoughts at the very moment they arise, they will dissolve. Attachment and hatred will never be able to disturb the mind. Deluded emotions will collapse by themselves. No negative actions will be accumulated, so no suffering will follow.
from the book The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones, translated by Padmakara Translation Group.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How do you relate to the notion that thoughts including devotion, compassion, harmfulness are 'utterly without substance' and will 'eventually dissolve back into emptiness'? Can you share a personal story of a time a thought that felt difficult dissolved to leave no trace? How do you account for the ephemeral nature of thoughts in your decision-making?