Please refer to my following post to Thay's Facebook page.
Recently I feel that there is a contradiction in Thay's teaching. My question is "How can those who have fear and anxiety return to true self?" I want to ask this question because my understanding of Thay's teaching is based on the following flow (1) and my experience is based on the following flow (2).
(1) mindfulness = stop thinking ⇒ concentration = deep looking ⇒ insight = understanding the root cause ⇒ generate love and compassion ⇒ transformation
(2) understanding the root cause = insight ⇒ unconditional self-acceptance = unconditional self-love ⇒ no fear and insecurity ⇒ non-thinking ⇒ mindfulness
To summarize the above two flows,
(1) Mindfulness (to stop thinking) is essential to understand the root cause of our suffering.
(2) Understanding the root cause is essential to stop thinking (mindfulness).
The following is my post.
How can those who have fear and anxiety return to true self? They can't stop thinking even though they try conscious breathing or walking unless they understand the root cause of their fear and anxiety. To recognize suffering, embrace it, relieve it and look deeply into it, we need to stop thinking first.
Who observes the thoughts (brain)? I understand that's awareness (awakened consciousness). Only if we can stop thinking (stop using our brain), awareness revives. Awareness has just been covered up by ego (separate self). This is my experience. So, I am convinced that brain (maybe left cerebral hemisphere) can stop thinking. In other words, human beings can just bloom like a flower without thinking. Without thinking, awareness always attains insight.
My answer to my above question is as follows: We need to be fed up with our suffering and strongly want to change ourselves. Then we will have more chance to attain insight of the root cause of suffering. Once we attain the insight, we can accept ourselves unconditionally and stop thinking because we have no fear and insecurity anymore. So, conscious breathing or walking doesn't work for those who have fear and insecurity to stop thinking and to be mindful.
Unconditional self-acceptance is the key. For that, we need to understand the root cause of our suffering through insight. And for the insight, we need to be mindful and concentrated. However, those who have fear and insecurity can't stop thinking through conscious breathing and walking to be mindful. And the truth is that most people think, which is a proof of having fear and insecurity. In this sense, it can be said that mindfulness can't be attained through conscious breathing and walking only.
I hope that Thay will answer to my important question. This is not for myself because I understood the root cause of my suffering through insight before starting to learn and practice Thay's teaching. Thay's answer will benefit a lot of Thay's followers and practitioners.
We, as humans on this planet, can exist without thought if we revive awareness (non-separate self, true self). I (awareness) am experiencing it 24 hours a day. In other words, I am stopping and meditating 24 hours a day. I am sure that fully enlightened people like Thay must be also experiencing the same thing. And you may not believe it but you revive awareness during your deep sleep state because you can't think. Furthermore, all animals, plants and minerals are always awareness because they don't think.
That "if" is a big IF because it means self-transformation from separate self to non-separate self. The extinction of all notions is essential for the full enlightenment. For that, we need to understand that all notions (thoughts) are wrong through the ultimate truth of emptiness (interbeing, non-separation, non-discrimination, non-duality, wholeness).
Simply speaking, you may think too much. Who thinks? It is not true self. It is ego (fake self) who was made up by your wounded inner child (true self in babyhood) for self protection from your parents. So, you need to find out what happened in your babyhood. That is the root cause of your fear and insecurity. Through insight, I saw everything in a flash and understood the root cause. "No wonder!" was my first impression.
My answer to my above question is as follows:
① Intention: being fed up with our suffering and strongly want to change ourselves
② Determination: self-transformation
③ Insight: understanding the root cause of our suffering
④ Unconditional self-acceptance = Unconditional self-love
⑤ No afflictions: no fear and insecurity
⑥ Non-thinking: stopping thinking
⑦ Mindfulness, Concentration, Insight
Unconditional self-acceptance is the foundation for mindfulness. Without unconditional self-acceptance, mindfulness is not possible because we can't stop thinking. No unconditional self-acceptance, no mindfulness. For unconditional self-acceptance, we need to understand the root cause of our suffering through insight. Once we attain insight of the root cause of our suffering, we can stop thinking because we have no fear and insecurity anymore. So, the fruit of understanding the root cause of our suffering is mindfulness. Mindfulness can't be attained through conscious breathing or walking only. For understanding the root cause of our suffering, we need to be fed up with our suffering and strongly want to change ourselves.
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