How do you listen to a statement like this?

This could also be just another form of conflict - as @Huguette seems to be saying (quote below) : the dominant desire must be for truth, a true interest in what is. Rather than the search for a solution, an escape from suffering.

Or in the context of your question Sean : There must be no separation between the subject and the object. And conclusions must not be confused with a true representation of the whole.

Hello Douglas.

Maybe there’s a problem with words here, as there often is To clarify, I think we always come back to “choiceless awareness” or observing “without the me”. I understand that K’s teaching is based on awareness and attention and the learning which comes with these. We are all in conflict a lot of the time. That is surely “what is”. Is it possible to observe this conflict without intention or judging, without thought rushing in and coming to conclusions?

I’m not sure if we’re actually saying the same thing here or not.

When it comes down to it, all I have is my perception. (of the question, of the problem, of the conflict, of my interlocutor etc)

So the question becomes : What is the quality of my relation with what I perceive?

Of course. But the question is about the quality of the listening to the statement. Are you listening to something you already know or to something you already reject? Or are you listening only to the statement itself?

I don’t really know what you mean here Douglas. Can you elaborate?

What I would say is that, based on my own observations, perception/awareness/sensitivity vary from day to day and moment to moment. My observation can be sharp at one moment and dull at the next. This is probably true for everyone including K. Also, if a person I met last month was insensitive, it doesn’t mean that he/she will be insensitive the next time we meet. The past will always modify the present by saying “he is insensitive” and so we live in constant distortion with the past influencing the present. Is this not so?

Sounds legit.

We are first and foremost in a relationship with our own conditioning.

When we say : I will analyse this question (or some conflict, or whatever its is we think we have observed) are we actually enquiring into the fact (the actual event, the actual situation - which includes me) or are we enquiring into our own projection of the fact?

Thinking must start from facts or leads to illusions. Statements can be false .

The statement may be false or true. Thinking that starts from an assumption is not thinking.

No, there is something else which you are missing here. Is it possible to listen to the statement without any notion at all of true or false? What does it mean just to listen to the statement that thought is entirely empty? Because, in this context, all notions of true or false can’t apply; they are quite meaningless.

My perception is worthless. It may be a false perception, which is obviously dangerous. Or it may be a true perception, which is even more dangerous.

The word “emptiness” in this statement is the most “attractive” of all words. It’s association with thought is unexpected and intriguing, so my mind stops, cause has never heard such statement before.
Few moments later the mind moves into its habitual tendencies, rationalizing and analyzing intellectually the statement. This is how my mind read this statement. The statement remains impenetrable to me, cause I do not listen anymore to …ideas.

So which breaks first, you or the statement?

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My attention refuses to enter mind’s endless game to posses a statement by making it understandable.
So, when I hear such unintelligible statements (" Thought is entirely empty."), I can only watch mind’s struggle.
We can, indeed say that the mind breaks down into pieces (ideas) while, of course, the statement remains, regardless it’s falseness or truthness.

But, having my attention intact (unbroken), the brokenness of the mind is seen, and it proves the mind can’t penetrate the statement.

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“Thought is entirely empty.” Is obviously a false statement because thought is matter.

"Thought is entirely empty.”
You say : Is obviously a false statement because thought is matter.*

So interesting…!!! your statement " Is obviously a false statement because thought is matter" has the same effect on the mind as the initial statement "Thought is entirely empty.” , it can’t penetrate this statement either, cause what does the mind know about… matter ?

Who’s mind is THE mind?

 mat·ter  (măt′ər)


  1. That which occupies space and has mass; physical substance.
  2. A type of such substance: organic matter.
  3. Discharge or waste, such as pus or feces, from a living organism.
  4. Philosophy In Aristotelian and Scholastic use, that which is in itself undifferentiated and formless and which, as the subject of change and development, receives form and becomes substance.
  5. The substance of thought or expression as opposed to the manner in which it is stated or conveyed.
  6. A subject of concern, feeling, or action: matters of foreign policy; a personal matter. See Synonyms at subject.
  7. Trouble or difficulty: What’s the matter with your car?
  8. An approximated quantity, amount, or extent: The construction will last a matter of years.
  9. Something printed or otherwise set down in writing: reading matter.
    intr.v. mat·tered, mat·ter·ing, mat·ters
    To be of importance: “Love is most nearly itself / When here and now cease to matter” (T.S. Eliot).
    as a matter of fact


Thought is entirely empty.”

The above statement is a conclusion.
As well, it is entirely false.

Thought has been proven to be a material process, by science… by neurologists and brain specialists, who have even been able to measure the output of energy given off of certain sectors of the brain while their patient lays on the operating table as they touch different areas of the brain leading the patient to experience memories (i.e. thoughts). And because, energy can be converted into matter and vice versa (Einstein e=mc2), thought can also be seen as material/matter.

Insofar as “emptiness” is concerned, this particular word opens up an entirely new subject. K said all you need is love and an empty mind… an empty mind being a mind free of conditioning, of the known, of thoughts.

So, thought is the carrier of a multitude of things… thought is full…

Of course, there are people who are not just afraid of this “emptiness”, they are terrified of it. You see, most people are attached to not only their property, friends, other people, family, but to property, career, identity, country (city), etc. - so many things, - memories - everything that defines their “self”, their sense of “me”, “mine”, “I”. Removing these psychological attachments would scare the living daylights out of most people, because it would strip them of everything they believe in, leaving them feeling empty and lonely, etc.

One interesting aside, there is a Sanskrit word “sunyata” which implies seeing the world without “self” (i.e. without “thought”) and then one is free.

No, it is just a statement. Our relationship to the statement is what makes it false or true. Why do we have to have any relationship to it? Because when we have any relationship to it, it becomes something dangerous. Then what happens is that our perception, our understanding, is of more value than the statement. Thus we assume we can reject it or accept it, even though we ourselves may be as equally empty as the subject of the statement.

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Yes, because the moment something is understood, it is no longer alive. We have killed it. Or, at best, we have established with it a parasitic relationship.


This is but another example of a conclusion, and it is also false/incorrect.

Understanding lies at the very core of K’s teaching. Without understanding, life is meaningless. Without understanding, a person who utters false statements is nothing more than a parasite (ah!, another discovery!!). When something is understood, deeply and profoundly, it is because the words rang true and have found a rich and fertile ground, abundant and living waters within so as to blossom, bloom, and grow. That is life. It is only a person whose entire life is meaningless, whose ground is fallow, who will utter false statements, one after another.

When someone utters false statements, there is the danger that a weak and gullible person may very well be influenced by them. Thus, anyone who utters false statements is actually being abusive and causing damage to weaker minds (viz. the go-to example par excellence, the big fat lie guy).

This is the very essence of the dark side.

The eminent psychiatrist, Dr. Scott Peck, wrote an entire book (albeit from a Christian perspective) on the subject, “People of the Lie”.

The eminent feminist, Adrienne Rich, wrote an entire book on the subject, “On Lies, Secrets and Silence.”

You see, in understanding, one stands under, one absorbs what was listened to, what was read, what was seen, and so it does not pass into knowledge and end up lodged in the past (thus affecting the present and/or the future). It is incorporated into a living human being. And that is what gives life and a love of life to a human being, no matter what their age. It is also what determines whether or not a person is actually a human being… with humanity.

So, that is also why it is very difficult to dislodge a lie once propounded, affirmed and repeated. One might actually need a de-programmer to do that. Once a lie is well-established within, it becomes knowledge. It is also what is the source of so much depression in so many.