“To know the truth, only cease to cherish opinions”…. 3rd Zen Patriarch

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A powerful quote, from the Third Zen Patriarch, the 6th Century, CE

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I sometimes go to a Wednesday morning meditation group at a special center named Spirit Rock…a few weeks ago, the leader of the group discussed this quote and it’s implications…. and suggested that this quote be imprinted onto pencils and given to members of the group, as an inspiring reminder.

And so, I ordered a gross of pencils…
144 reminders of a very insightful and special idea…

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There’s something about opening a box of 144 reminders….and having those reminders sitting right there on the kitchen shelf for many days….just quietly reminding me that although I may have opinions, to cherish them less dearly….

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As I’ve become more aware of how often (!!!) I seem to have opinions bouncing around in my mind  (I had no idea how many opinions I have until I started noticing my thoughts… not a pleasant surprise), I started to try to develop a greater awareness of what those opinions might be, how they seem to develop in my own mind  and perhaps the minds of others…and to try to reason with them, to loosen them up, to develop greater acceptance and understanding of the development of “preferences” and “opinions”….to learn that we, of course, will continue to HAVE opinions, but to recognize them as opinions, not facts, and to CHERISH them less fervently.

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Here are  some ideas I’ve been coming up with

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To begin to notice when I have opinions,
to listen carefully for these words,
to recognize the extremes of opinions that might happen in my own mind…
both in the positive and negative directions…
the either “THIS or THAT” of those opinions
the “fix-ness”…
the potential “rigidity”
and too loosen up the mind’s reactions, as much as I can
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Opening the mind to the awareness of the mid-range…
moderation…understanding….acceptance….

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To learn to develop more awareness, recognition and understanding,
to practice, practice, practice

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Learning to loosen up and develop more flexibility
in my opinions about myself and others,
learning to cease cherishing the many opinions
that pop in and out of the mind
Realizing, that …
each of us is doing the best we that we can

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opinions and preferences
preferences and opinions
to let go, as much as possible
of those potentially problematic preferences

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Perhaps a more contemporary way of phrasing that…
for developing more awareness in our everyday lives…

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Those of you who follow this blog may know that the “pocket” of Pocket Perspectives refers to the little reminder cards that I keep in my pockets each day…and so…printable pocket cards…potentially helpful reminders….

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Related posts:

How these ideas tie in with the  Eight Wordly Concerns

April, 2011: “I do have a preference, and this isn’t it”

September, 2012: “Of course it’s speculation! What do I know?”

About Pocket Perspectives

A blog about shifting perspectives...
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5 Responses to “To know the truth, only cease to cherish opinions”…. 3rd Zen Patriarch

  1. Pingback: “To know the truth, only cease to cherish opinions”…..Third Zen Patriarch « Reflections From a Friend

  2. sufilight says:

    I have learned that we all perceive the world through our own filters, so when I hear opinions from others that do not resonate with mine, I let it go, and also try not to be too attached to mine, even if it’s not always easy. ;) This spiritual journey has been one, where lots of ideas that I thought were true because that’s what I was taught, are not. I like the quotes you shared. As usual, I enjoy reading your inspirational perspectives.

  3. I think both of those quotes are wonderful…and keeping them in, or at least near, the forefront of my mind has opened up so much awareness for me in how I think and react. Marie, you have such wonderful flexibility…a real inspiration. I’m progressing in flexibility, but it’s taking lots of awareness and patience…ahhhhh, patience…. sigh…..

  4. nrhatch says:

    This reminds me of my favorite Zen parable:

    An arrogant man, who felt that no one could teach him anything, visited a Zen master for tea. The Zen master poured the tea until it overflowed the cup, and still he continued to pour.

    The arrogant man cried, “Master, stop! Why do you keep pouring? The cup is full.”

    The master replied, “You too are full of your opinions and judgments about the world. You must empty yourself of the past, to receive the present.”

  5. Parables are such powerful “teaching” tools… this is a good one! It’s a lesson that takes lots of practice, that’s for sure!…at least it does for me.

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