A thought is only the fleeting conjunction of myriad factors and circumstances
Thoughts shape the world. People thinking over the course of human history have created many, many positive things -- electricity, indoor plumbing, you name it -- so it seems strange for me to think that a quote like this is good.
“Remember that a thought is only the fleeting conjunction of myriad factors and circumstances. It does not exist by itself. When a thought arises, recognize its empty nature. It will immediately lose its power to elicit the next thought. And the chain of delusion will be broken.”
~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Yet when it comes to the way we think about ourselves and others sometimes, I do like this quote. When I think, “I suck,” or, “I wish I had done so-and-so today instead of what I actually did,” that’s the kind of thinking I try to let go of. Many times I’m successful in letting things go; other times I think I am, but then years later the same thoughts come back. But the more I stay at it, the more these thoughts fade.
It’s a balancing act, really. I want to be able to find and know love, but also be okay with loss.
I don’t like the Buddhist word “emptiness,” or in this case, “empty nature.” Personally, depending on the context, I take emptiness to mean transient, impermanent, or more often, interdependent. This article on Huffington Post titled, Emptiness: The Most Understood Word in Buddhism explains some of the problem.
The important part is that emptiness does not mean nothingness. When a Buddhist says something is “empty of inherit existence,” it just means that a flower can’t grow without water, sunlight, oxygen, and soil; everything is interdependent.
(And don’t even get me started on the word delusion.)