dothoughtseverstop1

THE BUDDHA ADVISED his bhikkhus (ordained followers), “Bhikkhus, when you have assembled together you should do one of two things—have dhamma discussions or observe noble silence.”

Illustration by Robert Beer in Tibetan Thangka Painting: Methods and Madness, by David and Janice Jackson, courtesy of Snow Lion Publications.
Illustration by Robert Beer in Tibetan Thangka Painting: Methods and Madness, by David and Janice Jackson, courtesy of Snow Lion Publications.

Noble silence is the state of mind where there are no thoughts. The mind is totally silent. But thoughts can be stopped only if we train our mind to do so through correct meditation practice.

I use the phrase “quieting the mind” or “silencing the mind ” to mean not having thought in the mind; but this does not mean slowing down the mind like slowing down a body’s metabolism during hibernation. It simply means not having thought-creating habits in the mind.

A meditator should begin by paying undivided and uninterrupted attention to one single object without verbalizing the experience in the mind. When you verbalize and conceptualize things, on the one hand you interrupt your attention and on the other you perpetuate your thoughts.

The brain does not manufacture thoughts unless we stimulate it with habitual verbalizing. When we train ourselves by constant practice to stop verbalizing, the brain can experience things as they are. By silencing the mind, we can experience real peace. As long as various kinds of thoughts agitate the brain, we don’t experience 100 percent peace.

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