Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Daily Dharma: The Original Flame

Today's Daily Dharma from Tricycle:

The Original Flame

Each of us has a switching mechanism in our mind that allows us to move from one state of mind to another in an instant. . . . In fact, the surprising thing is not that we have the ability to switch our mind state, but that we have the ability to maintain a mind state, to continue a thought for more than an instant. Thoughts are constantly falling away, yet somehow we are able to maintain coherent ideas. Moreover, we have the facility to remember, which is a miraculous phenomenon if each and every moment the world is completely new. What is it that is remembering and what is there to remember? The image that the Buddhists use to work with this paradox is the idea of a flame being passed from candle to candle. We cannot say the flame is the same from one candle to the next, yet each is dependent upon the one before it. Not only does this account for the potential transmission of thought but also for memory, because each flame has a quality of the original flame as far back as one wishes to travel.

~ David A. Cooper, Silence, Simplicity, and Solitude

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