Friday, 9 March 2012

Conceptual Thinking - Friend or Foe?

It is often mentioned in the scriptures that without theories, without concepts one cannot even start. So start with concepts and then build up theory. And then you use up the theory and it gradually gives way to wisdom, to intuitive knowledge, and that knowledge finally links with reality. So to start with, one should allow and not react against things. And if one wants to help a person, for example, there are two ways of doing it: one is that you want to help him because you want him to be different, you would like to mold him according to your ideas, you would like him to flow your way. That is still compassion with ego, compassion with an object, compassion finally with results which will benefit you as well -- and that is not quite true compassion. This plan to help other people may be a very good one, but nevertheless the emotional approach of wanting to save the world and bring peace is not quite enough, there has to be more than that, there has to be more depth. So first one has to start by respecting concepts and then building from there. Though actually in Buddhist teachings, concepts are generally regarded as a hindrance. But being a hindrance does not mean that it prevents anything. It is a hindrance and it is also the vehicle -- it is everything. Therefore one must pay special attention to concepts.

Chogyam Trungpa, "The Manure of Experience and the Field of Bodhi," Meditation in Action

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