It is time to turn to the traditional teachings, if you are so inclined, or simply to search on your own. Take heart, and from your own heart and mine we can weather this war that ranges all round us, and together we can embody and present the Way.
In Buddhism, both learning and practice are extremely important, and they must go hand in hand. Without knowledge, just to rely on faith, faith, and more faith is good but not sufficient. So the intellectual part must definitely be present. At the same time, strictly intellectual development without faith and practice, is also of no use. It is necessary to combine knowledge born from study with sincere practice in our daily lives. These two must go together.
A sensation appears, and liking or disliking begins. This fleeting moment, if we are unaware of it, is repeated and intensified into craving and aversion, becoming a strong emotion that eventually overpowers the conscious mind. We become caught up in the emotion, and all our better judgment is swept aside. The result is that we find ourselves engaged in unwholesome speech and action, harming ourselves and others. We create misery for ourselves, suffering now and in the future, because of one moment of blind reaction.
But if we are aware at the point where the process of reaction begins–that is, if we are aware of the sensation–we can choose not to allow any reaction to occur or to intensify… in those moments the mind is free. Perhaps at first these may be only a few moments in a meditation period, and the rest of the time the mind remains submerged in the old habit of reaction to sensations, the old round of craving, aversion, and misery. But with repeated practice those few brief moments will become seconds, will become minutes, until finally the old habit of reaction is broken, and the mind remains continuously at peace. This is how suffering can be stopped.
We need to transcend our thoughts and desires to truly understand philosophy and the universe as a whole. However, in our everyday life, we deal with the micro universe and with our own affairs. Therefore we need to use our brain. To practice Tao is not to rid yourself of all thoughts. There are actually more occasions when you would use your true intention instead of non-desire.
The only reason we try to have no thought is to understand the universe, but how often do you want to understand the universe in your everyday life? The majority of the time you are dealing with your everyday life, so be careful not to go to the extreme.
Let the heart of your practice guide your response to yourselves and others. Let the law of your practice guide your actions. And where and when the two appear to clash, therein lies the space for deeper practice, for breath, for awareness — for awakening.
Mila Jacob Stetser
Source: "The Heart and the Law" : http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2007/04/25/the-heart-the-law/