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Afflictive emotions - Sam Harris´ Daily Meditation 2022.08.28

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Sam Harris

Notice just now if there's any mood or emotion colouring your mind. At this moment, how do you feel? However you feel, just drop back and let that feeling be an object of attention. It too is just an appearance in the light of consciousness.

This is the typical Sam Harris core meditation: look at an event and notice that it is an appearance in consciousness. Here, he chooses emotions.

Dzogchen and anger

In Tibetan Bön Buddhism, the idea is to "look directly" at whatever arises, including what they call "afflictive emotions". Greed, lust, anger, jealousy...

The looking, so the idea, if done in a certain way, will let whatever arises melt like a snowflake in the ocean: this is called the "self-liberation" of thoughts.

This way, the meditator learns to take whatever appears as "the path" to awakening. No distinction is made as to the content of what the meditator can use as an intended object of meditation.

As this is Dzogchen, it can get pretty wild. For example, "Self-Arising Three-fold Embodiment of Enlightenment" (Gyaltsen et al., 2022) specifies how to take lying, deception, and deviation (from the right path) as the path. This leads into pretty unchartered territory from a moral point of view.

The extract below instructs how to deal with anger. Anger is seen as conceptual thought, and the section is called "Taking up the mass of conceptual thought as the path".


Gebel, T. (2022j, August 29). Sam Harris’ Daily Meditations: Self arising / Self liberation. Till Gebel.

Gyaltsen, S. T., Gurung, G. S., & Brown, D. P. (2022). Self-Arising Three-fold Embodiment of Enlightenment: [of Bon Dzogchen Meditation] (English Edition) (2nd ed.). Mustang Bon Foundation.

Waking Up. (2020). [App]. Sam Harris. Daily Meditation 2022.08.28


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