When I am supposed to simply observe my thoughts and any opinions that arise from them, and not cling to them, how am I supposed to work? I have a job, and as such you cannot not have opinions. It becomes a loss of self. I could let go, but then why should I go to work and exercise my effort on doing something other than simply meditate

Could someone help out with this conflict?

  • 1
    IMHO, for the laypersons, Vipassana (insight meditation) or Samatha during meditation times, not at other times. At other times, just Sila (virtues).
    – ruben2020
    Mar 24, 2015 at 11:14
  • You don't have to blindly follow buddhism ,you have to think and accept what is better for common good . accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.065.than.html
    – jathin
    Mar 26, 2015 at 8:16

6 Answers 6


You don't necessarily have to abandon your opinions. The important thing is to recognize that opinions come from conditions, and those conditions always change. Your work is one of the conditions, and it's appropriate to form an opinion for those conditions... and then be ready to change the opinions if the conditions change, or if the opinion doesn't apply in a new situation.

Like the previous commenter said, this is a 'sila' practice, rather than meditation - examining your everyday behaviour to see if it's skillful. It's probably impossible to do vipassana at work!


You can use your work as an oppertunity to work on your morality as it is also mentioned in the other comments.

In buddhism there is 2 aspects, one is to work on yourself and develop your mind and morality. The other aspect is to help other beings when you have the oppertunity and think that you are in a position to help.

There might someone who needs your help at your work place.

Regarding your own opinions. When looking at it from a standpoint of ultimate reality then there is no self existing. So the opinions you experience does not really belong to anyone. They are arisen phenomena that will cease again. So you dont really have to pay much attention to them. You can just note them and let them go.

Opinions are mental formations that as all the other aggregates are subject to the 3 signs of existence; impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and not-self meaning that it can create suffering for you if you identify, hold on to or take ownership of these opinions since they change anyway because of being impermanent.

In the the noble eight-fold path you will have the specific guidelines to follow regarding both morality, concentration and wisdom. So you can let that be your guiding light.

To go even further; the conflict you are mentioning here is also just a mental formation that is impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self. These mental formations can if they are not guarded with mindfulness and noted, manifest themselves in the physical body e.g. as stress or physical pain. But they are also just arisen phenomena that do not belong to anyone and will cease again. So them too you can also just note and let go.

All this is of course much easier said than done. It takes practice and that can be a challenge but that will develop you. So in that sense you are lucky to have a job where such a conflict is now happening. Why?

Because you can use that conflict as an oppertunity to grow and develop and practice your mindfulness. In this way you will realize the truth about reality. You will see that phenomena are suffering because they arise and cease without any control. When you truly see and realize that you can detach from them.

If you are not already doing insight meditation it could be beneficial for you to start doing it outside of work meaning at home or whereever you have a quiet place. In that way you can observe this conflict and the mental formations pertaining to it in a safe and quiet environment. That way you will also be much better prepared for when you are going to work. Why? Because you then know exactly what mental formations and/or feelings that will come up and because you already have trained at home in noting them and letting them go, you have an advantage when they do arise at your workplace.

I will end my comment with a great qoute from Ajahn Brahm. He says in one of his videos: "Suffering is the fertilizer for our spiritual growth".



Perceptions don't completely disappear until enlightenment.

Sensations is the mind conditioner, hence any volitional formations or mental reaction due to perception will have a sensation associated with it.

What you have to do is to look at the sensations equanimously without craving and clinging. This way you are not creating new fabrications due to perception and volitional formations. You cannot get rid off perception altogether until the final leg of the journey.

Mental activities will have an impact on your bodily fabrications also, hence when possible, while engaging in your normal activities, have a look at your breathing, heartbeat, perspiration (not due to external influences like weather). If there is an irregularity start looking at the full cycle of breathing noting it's speed and length also watching the sensation on the upper lip. As the bodily function calm you will experience better sensation in your body hence better mental state. (Don't crave or long for either.)

Also when you see something look at the sensations around your eyes and your head as you perceive it. Similarly to other sense inputs.

When you are sitting in some posture by sensing the outline of your body though feelings on the body. Similarly when you walk, in which case you can see the sensation when your feet touch the ground maybe clothing touching your body when you move around the moving parts of your body. Then look at your body part by part by moving your attention to the relevant part, without trying to visualize, verbalize, imagine the part (otherwise you are dealing with concepts and / or verbal fabrications)

Also you meet people you will form perceptions about them. If it is not good try to develop compassion. It is is good do not get attached. If it is lustful think if their parts are separated whether you would consider the person beautiful (including you self). Again for food craving imagine excretion. When doing this be mindful of the sensation such actions create. If companion or sense of morality has made you loose the balance of your mind like you do not want to walk fearing that you might step on an insect then your perception has polarised in the opposite direction. The reason to practice antidotes to certain perception should generally be done in a situation when a stimuli causes a sensation which triggers associated memories or thoughts which further trigger sensation snowballing. The antidote is to neutralise the sensation to manageable levels so you mental balance is restored. If you perceive food as repulsive in a office party so you do not become glutton, but in effect loose apatite or feel like throwing up or even worse like become anorexic then you are going overboard in the opposite polarity. In either cause repulsiveness has sensation associated with it which can tell you if your have gone too far.

You have to do all this in such a way that others don't see something odd in you.

Also you should not slack in order to do this or in anyway compromise on your work and responsibilities.

Most of all sensation is the most important thing to pay attention in such a situation and it where all the aggregates meet and the bridge physical fabrication and metal fabrications. Your mind is always in touch with sensations and activities driven by sensations. Things trickle down and up from these ends (Kaya to and from Dhamma).

This is the best you can do while engaging in another activity at work in my opinion.


Short Answer: It isn't about having opinions, it's about clinging to or cherishing them.

Longer Answer:

I find these lines from Verses on the Faith Mind very helpful [emphasis mine]:

Do not search for the truth; 
only cease to CHERISH opinions. 

Notice the key word here is "cherish", not "have".

People tend to hold opinions very tightly; they define themselves by them, refuse to change them when there is good reason to do so, and even present them when there is no reason to do so. However, there are situations in which (informed) opinions are appropriate, provided you do not cling to them.

For instance, if you are at work and are discussing the best way to proceed on a project, and you have an opinion based on past experience, then it's important to present that opinion. However, do this without clinging; be open to the possibility that other opinions are better and don't make the mistake of turning a pet theory into an "informed" opinion.

Conversely, if you like a piece of music or think another is bad, there's no reason to present or forward it. It's simply an opinion. You can seek the music you want, but you needn't get into arguments over it.

This is the key; understanding the difference between dropping and letting go (not clinging, not cherishing).


There is a simple answer to this: understsand that "dropping your opinions" means that you drop holding onto them--not having them. You will have them whether you like it or not: you will judge right and wrong instantly and will form categorizations of people--all valuable things... until you cling to them as complete facts!

Through proper Practice in daily life, you will learn to let go of ALL facts. People will see you as extremely flexible and easygoing. You will become very likeable because you dont disagree with anyone--you only disagree with their version of the facts.

There is never any such thing as a conflict among people--only among ideas--however strongly held they are.

Proper meditative practice frees up tremendous energies (that were used to hold onto and defend ego) and increases flexibility, speed, and efficiency!

When you succeed in coming to the outskirts of this beautiful place of balance and unified consciousness, others will like you a lot but you will see how much further you have to go in figuring out the right way to practice dissolving your ego in myriad subtle but influential, karma-creating ways... and thus, the way of the bodhisattva becomes the way of daily life (to the degree that one can disentangle some of the energy that goes into one's job).


That 2+2 is 4 is not an opinion. An opinion is based on an assumption of how things should or should not be - and this is usually followed by emotional attachment. If your response is constructive, based on actual data, then that is no opinion. Sometimes creativity is needed which can open for discussion to find a way to constructiveness.

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