Early in my practice (Mahasi noting), I had plenty of thoughts come up to note, as taught, but lately there is only the meditation object. Is this normal or just another impermanent​ thing that will change with​ changing experience? I have meditated 5-6 months, and the last two I've had this (disappearance of outside thought) so to speak. Thanks.

  • 2
    This isn't a trivial or common issue so I suggest you ask a long-term practitioner at your local meditation centre
    – Hugh
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 14:25
  • Thank you, I'm sure it's impermanent, like everything else. My teacher has told me to continue noting. I intend to do so. Everything is constantly arising and ceasing. with Metta ...T
    – Tommy K
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 5:39

3 Answers 3


The goal of the trainee level of Buddhist meditation is for the mind to be free from thought.

The Mahasi noting method is like training wheels on a child's bicycle (to be eventually discarded).

  • 1
    You are so condescending towards other practitioners
    – Hugh
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 14:28
  • @Dhammadhatu. I echo what Hugh is mentioning. Buddhism SE has a Be nice-policy that must be respected. I suggest you do that too.
    – user2424
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 17:34
  • Respectfully, I think the comments here are completely unwarranted. To reiterate, the goal of the trainee level (sekkha) of Buddhist meditation is for the mind to be free from thought. Please refer to MN 19 & MN 20. The Mahasi noting method is like training wheels on a child's bicycle (to be eventually discarded). There was nothing unkind about my post. The analogy I used was an appropriate explanatory principle. With metta. Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 18:20
  • I don't intend to discard notation, but I respect your opinion... with Metta...T
    – Tommy K
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 5:41
  • This answer is insightful the value of it should be grasped by the emphasis between the lines, not on the surface of words. Though this comment doesn't endorse my agreeing/disagreeing with Mahasi's since I never followed such practice nor studied the method - to comment/criticize something one has no knowledge of is the self-proclaimed wiseman camouflaged by a fool - but discerning from the general principle of medtation. Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 12:00

This sounds like the jhanas (beyond the first). Also, when asked about emptiness, the Buddha defined it as the mind being empty of thought other than the meditation object. However, all things short of nibbana are impermanent, even the jhanas.

Sadhu, sadhu.

  • I wonder who downvoted my post. Do you think it was a Buddhist? There was nothing inaccurate about what I said. It looks like he downvoted at least three of the posts.
    – Chozang
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 1:39
  • I agree @Tharpa that your answer is sincere so I can within my mean put a +1. ...yet this your "...emptiness, the Buddha defined it as the mind being empty of thought other than the meditation object..." is in question. From what I know (Mahayana based on Chinese Sutras) that saying is not Emptiness. Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 12:16
  • @Bhumishu米殊 My answer is from the Suttas. The suttas (the Pali sutras) are historically-based. The Chinese Agamas were translated from a Sanskrit translation of the Pali Suttas. The Mahayana Sutras, however, are not historically-based. Whereas the Pali suttas were meticulously transmitted orally syllable for syllable until they were written down, the Mahayana Sutras were not. They were authored about a thousand years later. For example, the Heart Sutra (and the other Prajnaparamita Sutras) were created by Nagarjuna. He claimed to have received them from the spirits of water snakes.
    – Chozang
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 13:01
  • @Tharpa Sorry to hear that. Not sure who input those your understandings of Mahayana Sutras into your mind. You may just keep to that conviction :). But that's wrong, fabricated by evil schematic plot. Pali Suttas (the 5 Nikayas) are just equal to Agama Sutras which is small portion of the total, Heart Sutra is older than Agamas... not created by Nagarjuna... etc. Of import, Mahayana Sutras are NOT translated from Pali, Pali Suttas are just part of the teachings some monks took to Ceylon, the earliest can only be dated to Ashoka... But you can believe whatever! I'll give this a pass ;) Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 4:27
  • @Mishu I got my accurate understanding of Mahayana Sutras through 40+ years of study and practice. It is not wrong, it is correct. I would urge to continue your studies and your questioning.. You blindly assert that the Pali Suttas are equal to the Agamas without even addressing my point that the Agamas are translated from the Sanskrit which was translated from Pali, the Buddha's language. Pali Tipitika was written down about 500 AB, the Chinese Tripitika not until ~1400 AB.
    – Chozang
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 8:42

From what you have said, it seems that you have developed meditation to a degree that you can come to Ekaggata with ease. You seem to have the ability to keep the mind on one object. By going beyond the first jhana you will get to experience piti (joy), sukha (body lightness), and ekaggata (one-pointedness). In the second jhana, both vitakka and vicara are absent.

But you should exercise caution if you’re trying to go beyond the fourth jhana. I do hope that you are fully grounded in Dhamma if you are to on this route. If you are not established on a good firm foundation in Dhamma, you are asking for trouble, as you will then come to the “Asanna realm”.

Sanna is, at the very fundamental level, the recognition of an external stimulus. Without sanna we cannot identify things around us, and also cannot communicate with each other meaningfully. But beings have no sanna or perception in the “Asanna realm”. Those beings are without any awareness. Nothing registers in the mind. If someone gets to the “Nevasanna Na’sanna“ realm without being fully established in the path, then that person will have difficulty in coming out of this Asanna realm.

  • I'm not sure how advanced I am. I don't really think about it. I just meditate, keep my precepts, and try to be mindful as much as possible. Thanks for the input...T
    – Tommy K
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 5:44

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