“When we hear a Dharma talk (casual monk teaching) or study a sutra our only job is to remain open. Usually when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas. If it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct. If it is not, we say it is incorrect. In either case, we learn nothing. If we read or listen with an open mind and an open heart, the rain of the Dharma will penetrate the oil of our concsiousness.
The gentle spring rain permeates the soil of my soul; A seed that has lain deeply in the earth for many years just smiles
While reading or listening, don’t work too hard. Be like the earth. When the rain comes, the earth only has to open herself up to the rain” (The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, by Thich Nhat Hanh, 1999, p. 12)
Duality like judging speech as positive or negative, good or bad, skillful or unskillful, learned or unlearned, connected, respectable, true,… can prevent listening and growth. What is the goal of conceptual work? Usually we just move from idea to idea without end. We find one idea that we like or feels new and fresh, we stop there for a while and have some peace.
This problem of both the promiscuous or the celibate thinker is called the Liar Paradox, and these thinkers perpetuate themselves with work or support from others because they cannot find an escape from the Liar Paradox. See the first post of this blog for more on the escape conceptual work and find ease.