According to you then, renunciation of home and family is useless.
I remember a sutra of Mahavira’s. He said: “Unconsciousness is possession.” He did not say that possession was unconsciousness. Why? It is because of our ignorance, because of our inner unconsciousness that we are attached to worldly objects. Inside we are empty and impoverished, so we want to fill ourselves with outward objects. That way we delude ourselves into believing we are important. If one gives up attachment under these conditions while ignorance remains within, can one really get rid of attachment? One will get rid of things but not of attachment.
One may leave his home for an ashram, but the attachment will shift to the ashram. One may leave his family, but his attachment will shift to the sect. As long as the attachment is there on the inside, it will find ways to manifest itself under any new condition. Hence, those who know have advised renunciation of unawareness, of ignorance, not of material objects. Once knowing dawns, the things that are futile do not have to be abandoned, they drop away on their own.
Do we need to concentrate the mind in order to attain thoughtlessness?
I do not ask you to concentrate your mind. Concentration is a kind of forcing, a kind of tension. If one concentrates on some idea, on some form or image or on some word, it will lead neither to thoughtlessness nor to the awakening of consciousness but to an unconscious state of auto-hypnotic mental stupor. Forced concentration leads to unconsciousness. And it is an error to mistake this unconsciousness for samadhi, for no-mind. Samadhi is neither a state of unconsciousness nor of stupor. Samadhi is the realization of total consciousness. Samadhi is thoughtlessness plus total consciousness.
How are we to watch the processes of incoming and outgoing breath in meditation?