Emergence of Thought

From “Essentials of Mahamudra: Looking Directly at the Mind”

“Once again, we meditate within samadhi, or stabilized mind, in which the recognition of the mind’s nature and the mind resting in peace in shamata are united. Within that, we cause a thought such as joy, passion, or aggression to arise. Such thoughts are described as coarse because they seem very strong and vivid. Whatever thought it is, whether of pleasure or revulsion, we look directly at the thought itself. From where does this thought arise? Where does it dwell? Where does it go? What is it? When we look clearly and precisely, the meaning of coemergent mind and the meaning of coemergent thought are the same. We tend to see the coarse mind and the peaceful mind as different but, in fact, the nature of coarse mind and the nature of peaceful mind are the same. The mind’s nature does not change when its state changes. These animated states of mind might appear to be something, but in fact they have never been born. At this point the realization is not just a theory to be deduced; rather it is seen directly. This is why we say in the Kagyu Lineage Prayer, “Whatever thoughts arise, their nature is dharmakaya,” which means that the nature of thought is mind itself, dharmakaya.

There is also a very practical use for this realization of coemergent thought. When we experience great joy and pleasure and become strongly attracted to it, or when we experience strong pain and are quite miserable, we give birth to disturbing emotions. These are painful and cause hardship, and our minds become very disturbed. At times like this the teaching on coemergent thought is particularly valuable. If we look directly at the pain that we are experiencing and the disturbing emotions, they will be pacified. And if we look directly at the strong attachment, it will diminish.”

Thrangu. Essentials of Mahamudra: Looking Directly at the Mind (p. 160). Wisdom Publications. Kindle Edition.

Practical Steps

  1. Refer back to Shamata & Vipashyana – bringing the two practices together to stabilize the mind (Shamata) as well as the Beginning Objects of Shamata.  Also refer to Vase Breathing.
  2. Within this state, we bring a thought to arise
  3. We look directly at the thought: Where did it come From?  Where does it Go?

My variant practice is described in Annihilation of Appearances.