Thinking about thinking about thinking…

from TheDailyEnlightenment, 13th February:

“Extra thought” refers to second nen [in Japanese; nian in Chinese] and third nen. First nen is first thought or direct perception. Just living. Second nen is thoughts about first thoughts and third nen is thoughts about thoughts about thoughts. Second and third nen are not the enemy. Each thing has its function. They are, however, overused. As such, second and third nen are the ships we sail when we are fleeing direct experience. Flee or nor, first nen is always as close as the water in the bath, the water that composes and sustains us.

Here is Katagiri Roshi amplifying this point: Buddha says we should accept first thought, first feeling but don’t be carried away by second, third, fourth. First thought can be accepted by anybody if you are a human being. Even though you see the shadow of death, don’t be tossed away by second thought of death. Live fully now, that’s all you can do.

from: Keep Me in Your Heart a While: The Haunting Zen of Dainin Katagiri

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