Q37. Some masters advise us to stop thinking. How can we live our life without thinking?

A. When masters advise you to stop thinking, to stop thinking has two kinds: before and after reaching the final goal. When they use it in the former sense, they usually mean not that you should stop thinking in your life, but that you should not try to find the answer to the Zen question through thinking, or knowledge, during the practice. Since the purpose of Zen practice is to free you from the web of illusions but thinking produces illusions, the more thinking you do, the more complicated you make it. That is why masters urge you to stop thinking.

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However, the latter is to stop thinking in the truest sense that is possible, when you have reached the final goal, which means to think without being trapped in illusions. In a word, when they tell us to stop thinking, what they mean is not to stop thinking, but to think without being trapped in illusions.

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway.

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