Taking your thoughts to tea

I was listening to a dharma podcast by Joan Halifax Roshi, and she spoke about advice for practice she had been given by Thich Nhat Hanh.

  1. Don’t leak.
  2. Don’t scratch.
  3. And don’t take your thoughts to tea.

I paraphrase some of her speech from memory with some of my own thoughts: we all leak, from our eyes, noses, mouths; in my case, the last in particular, often blurting things out before I think. Gossip is leaking, spreading rumours is leaking, lying is leaking, tactless speech is leaking. We all scratch. How many times do we make things worse by picking and picking at an issue until the scab weeps? How many times do we exaggerate things and believe in our exaggerations? Finally, how often do we have our thoughts over for tea? In other words, invite them to hang around and encourage them to stay, so that we can continue leaking and scratching. If the image is not particularly pleasant, I don’t think it is meant to be.

I have been doing too much of all three lately.


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