Monthly Archive: November 2015

Don’t believe everything you think.

The title is from a bumpersticker. The following quote appears in Buddhism is Not What You Think (Steve Hagen): “The foolish reject what they see, not what they think; the wise reject what they think, not what they see.” (Huang Po)  What this means is that often what we think is deluded. If we act on deluded thoughts, we will suffer as a result. For example, if we get angry and harm the mind of someone close to us, our anger is probably because we are thinking something that is not true. That’s a sure way to destroy a relationship. What we see is much easier to accept as true than what we imagine. We never really know what someone else is thinking, unless they tell us (unless we experience telepathy, which is possible if you are close to someone). Trying to figure out what someone is thinking through conjecture, supposition, hypothesis generation, psychoanalysis or simply our imagination run wild is foolish. We waste our time being deluded. Hence, the Zen saying “Don’t Try to Figure Others Out.” If we can’t even figure ourselves out, how can we hope to figure others out?