Monday, December 15, 2008

I think, therefore I am.

Question: (unedited)
Hi, how are you!

Whenever i read something that is connected with Buddhism or meditation then i always notice that there is much talking about "thinking" and "thoughts" Could you tell me why you pay so much attention to this, i mean to "thinking" What's so bad in thinking, everybody has to think. I think what i'm gonna do tomorrow, i think about my future from time to time. If you want to plan something you got to think. So is thinking something bad in Buddhism? Thank You!

My comment:

Hi L....,

I am very well, thank you.

"I think therefore I am"

The Buddha's analysis of a person is that this person consists of the physical body and the mind, which is the consciousness that makes us think. There is nothing wrong with thinking. In fact it is just natural that we think. If we can't think, we will be Zombies. However, just "thinking" is not good enough. There is right thinking and wrong thinking. Right views and wrong views. This is the first of the Buddha's teachings of the Noble Eightfold Path. If we have wrong views, we will have wrong thinking, leading to wrong actions creating wrong results.

The Buddha placed great emphasis on thinking right. When we are skilful in our conduct of our lives, we will experience inner peace and happiness. What is this right thinking? Having positive thoughts is right thinking. Having harmless thoughts is right thinking. Having compassionate and unselfish thoughts is right thinking. Understanding the true nature of this world and this life is right thinking. Right thinking leads to positive results. It is beneficial to oneself as well as to others.

What is wrong thinking? Thoughts of greed, hatred and evil are wrong thinking. Wrong thinking leads to negative results, which are harmful to oneself as well as to others.

So, continue to think, but make sure you think rightly.


PM said...


What happens if you meet a murderer who has killed dozens of ppl and he is out for more.

To save some poor victims you, it come into your thoughts that he has to be killed....and you think about it all day long

Is this good thinking??

PM said...

Forgot to add Meng

Justin Choo said...

PM (Meng),

First, I shall think of how to be safe away from him.

Second, I shall think that the security people will get him fast.

Then I think I shall get on with my life.

PM said...

Even though Buddha never mentioned a single word to kill another human in his discourses, but If it is in line with your work, it is perfectly all alright to think of killing him?

The though here cannot be said to be bad thinking, right Justin


Barry said...

This is an excellent answer, Justin.

The human mind produces thoughts - that's what it's designed to do.

However, we get into trouble if we *believe* in our thinking. Good thoughts, bad thoughts - if we identify with these thoughts, attach to them, then we'll have a problem.

Attachment of any kind produces suffering (2nd Noble Truth). So thinking is OK, but we do need to be careful!


PM said...


What is between Good thoughts and Bad Thoughts.
Or the middle way between the Good and Bad Thoughts.

Justin Choo said...

Thanks for the comments.

As you know, it is most difficult to tame this mind to think rightly. Honestly, most of the time my mind takes charge of me. I guess it's my past bad kamma that hinders my "progress".

Justin Choo said...


In the Buddhist scripture, Right Thought comes under the second path of the Noble Eightfold Path.

This is from

While right view refers to the cognitive aspect of wisdom, right intention (right thought) refers to the volitional aspect, i.e. the kind of mental energy that controls our actions. Right intention can be described best as commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. Buddha distinguishes three types of right intentions: 1. the intention of renunciation, which means resistance to the pull of desire, 2. the intention of good will, meaning resistance to feelings of anger and aversion, and 3. the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively, and to develop compassion."

In short it comes back the the ABC of Buddhism...Reduce greed, hatred and delusion.

A true Malaysian said...


I posted in 'The Might of the Pen' where I asked a question,

"Let us be ‘thinker’, not ‘follower’. Agree?"

To be frank, I did not even regard this 'thinker' is a bad thinker. Like you, my thinker here means a thinker that think right.

But, right thinking or wrong thinking, at least he / she is a 'thinker'. Some people just cannot think at all.

Justin Choo said...

True Malaysian,

They have been indoctrinated since childhood. Nothing can be done. It will take a new generation with the right type of education and social integration, with the full support of a caring and honest government.

A true Malaysian said...


Until now, the response to my question in that blog is so discouraging.

Never mind, at least we realise what kind of people they are. The so-called champions of Ixxxm.

I better be a reader without comment.

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