The Question Mark

Ajahn Sucitto

The Question Mark

You can also approach this silent kind of knowing through an attitude of question. Question mark. Here is, if you like, a non-statement. When you question, when you bring your thinking energy into a question, for that moment, that question is being in the thinking mind. It doesn’t know. That’s what it’s asking. Right at the point where the question mark occurs, there’s a listening. Then it comes up with some answer.

The question that you can ask is essentially aimed at not being answerable. You sustain the question mark. The questions can be “Who is thinking? Where is that? Who is the thinker? When a thought occurs, who’s thinking? Can you point to that? Can your mind go to that?”

You’re directing your attention to come back to the place or the moment where the thought arises. You can’t think that because that’s a thought. So, you keep going back to the moment almost before the thought occurs.

The beginnings and the endings are cracks. They’re places where we can slip through the building, the construction into emptiness, into awareness, into the unknown, into stillness, into unconditioned. They’re just small cracks. They’re valuable.

Going through these apertures, small cracks, you come into great depth. As you touch that, sense that, you allow yourself to receive that.

From that place, then, the thought forms, energy movements, and so forth are like clouds. They have no real substance. They flow. They change. They’re like vortexes in water, seemingly having a very consistent form, but actually just being a continual pattern of change. You can let them flow. Whenever they start to become solid or you get snagged in it, ask, “Who is that? Who’s thinking? Who’s in that?”

You can come out through those cracks again…

This reflection by Ajahn Sucitto is from the talk, “Meditation Class 4, Insight & Gnosis,” Buddhist Society, 2006.