New concept about imageless thought

Author: Liu Tianjin
Beijing College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China [1]
Conference/Journal: 3rd Nat Acad Conf on Qigong Science
Date published: 1990
Other: Pages: 107 , Word Count: 456

The concept of imageless thought was developed by Wurzburg school at the beginning of this century. The concept means that there are senseless and imageless contents in thought and the contents are mental set and conscious attitude. At that time, there was a controversy about imageless thought between Wurzburg school and Structurism school in the history of psychology.

This paper suggests that there is close relation between imageless thought and the state of quietness initiated by qigong. But this imageless thought is not quietness according to the Wurzburg school. This imageless thought, also means there are senseless and imageless content in thought but the contents are not conscious attitude and mental set. What are these contents? They are 'nothing' or no content at all. So, this imageless thought is the one the essence of which unifies its appearance, and its content unifies its form and is the entire and pure imageless thought. In addition, the imageless thought of Wurzburg school is not as an independent process as the imageless thought during the state of quietness initiated by qigong. This paper suggests that the imageless thought emerges from the womb of Wurzburg school and has developed as a special thought form.

The training processes of Buddhist 'four empty trances' can be sought as a set of normal procedures of imageless thought operation. In the four empty trances, 'trance at boundless emptiness' and 'trance at boundless consciousness' are thinking operations used 'nothing' as content, such as seeing the shape from no shape and the image from no image> The thinking operation of 'trance at nothing' is to see 'no nothing.' But 'trance at no thinking and not no thinking' is neither 'nothing' nor 'no nothing,' it is the thinking operation with 'no content,' perhaps it could be said as absolute nothing. Moreover, Zen is another way to enter into imageless thought. From imageless thought, one can reach two states: one is the latent capacity to be explored, the other is the comprehension of the true meaning of life. The former is the special capacity, such as extrasensory perception. People who had special capacity said that when they entered special state from normal state, there was a blank thought between these two states. The blank thought is imageless thought. The later is that one has a new experience about the whole life after he entered absolute nothing. The insight of Zen is this.

This paper has made a survey on the meaning, the operation and the effect of the imageless thought during the state of quietness initiated by qigong. This is a preliminary study. Further research is necessary. Since it does not only benefit the development of qigong research but also the thinking form research.