Beliefnet
Buddhism isn't the only religion that has promoted the benefits of emptying the mind in order to perceive the sublime, God, or the true nature of reality. Christian, Jewish, Sufi, and Hindu sages throughout the ages have all praised the wisdom of stopping the thoughts and stilling the mind. Here is a sampling of quotes from a variety of sources.




CHRISTIANITY
"There comes a time when the emptiness of our minds and souls is a giftof God.For as long as our spirits are filled with a God constructed from our images and words,there is no room for a God who goes beyond all our words."
--St. John of the Cross


"Thinking and rememberingare forms of spiritual understanding in which the eye of the spirit isopened and closed upon things as the eye of a marksman is on his target. But I tell you that everything you dwell upon during this work becomes an obstacle to union with God. For if your mind is cluttered with these concerns, there is no room for him."
--The Cloud of Unknowing, Anonymous,
14th-century England



JUDAISM
"First, one simply watches for a set period of time,observing his thoughts. He eventually will notice that the mind is emptying, his thoughts are slowing a bit from their habitual flow. He then must repeata single verse or phrase, such as "God is truly God", in order to insert athought of holiness into his now open mind. After these steps, he can articulate a need for help in any one of the areas of characterdevelopment which he needs to work on, be it faith or love or awe."
--Rabbi KalonymusKalman Shapira
(Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto)


"One should not stand up to say prayer save in a reverent frame of mind. The pious ones of old used to be still [shoshin] an hour before praying in order that they might concentrate their thoughts upon heaven."
--Talmud, Mishnah, Berachot 5:1


"The explanation of shohin is they restrained themselves: that is to say, they restrained themselves for one hour prior to praying in order to settle their minds and quiet their thoughts. Only then would they pray."
--Commentary on Mishnah, Berachot 5:1, by Maimonides, the great Jewish medieval philosopher



SUFISM
"Be quiet in your confusion, and bewildered. When you're completely empty, within thatsilence, you'll be saying, Lead me."
--Rumi


"Be quiet in your mind, quiet in your senses, and also quiet in your body. Then, when all these are quiet, don't do anything. In that state truth will reveal itself to you. It will appear in front of you and ask, "What do you want?"
--Kabir



BUDDHISM
"If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's there are few."
--Shunryu Suzuki


"Only when you have nothing in your mind and no mind in things are you vacant and spiritual, empty and marvellous."
--Te-Shan



TAOISM
"Empty yourself of everything.Let the mind rest at peace.The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.They grow and flourish and then return to the source.Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature."
--Lao Tzu


"A man does not seek to see himself in running water, but in still water. For only what is itself still can impart stillness to others."
--Chuang Tzu



HINDUISM
"Let thethoughts arise, but don't allow them landing space."
--Sri Poonjaji


"When the mind is quiet, we come to know ourselves as the pure witness. We withdraw from the experience and its experiencer and stand apart in pure awareness, which is between and beyond the two."
--Nisargardatta Maharaj



OTHER SOURCES
"Learn to be silent. Let your quiet mind listen and absorb."
--Pythagoras


"To a living thing which is constantly in movement, which has no resting place, how can there be a guide, a path? Can you put aside the teacher, the path, the end--put it aside so completely that your mind is empty of all this seeking?"
--Krishnamurti


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