What are the thoughts of a fool? Was I before? What was I before? Will I be in the future? What will I be in the future? Pondering in this way, one continually goes wandering on through Samsara. These are the thoughts of a fool simply because they are ignoble and unedifying. It is not a judgment to condemn others but a self reflection. What occupies my mind? What do I aspire to?
If one aspires to enlightenment and liberation, it is useful to ask: "What is enlightenment?" After all, the path to enlightenment is not what it seems. One can say it is simply seeing the Four Noble Truths, the fourth truth being the Noble Eightfold Path. But the path is no easy thing to discern. It is a very condensed expression of details left out of the discourses (sutras) but preserved in the commentaries. If one develops the jhanas under a skilled teacher then turns that jhanic power over to mindfulness and insight practices, one will very quickly realize enlightenment in stages. Otherwise, there is very little hope of enlightenment any time soon. How does one begin?
What are the thoughts of a wise person? What is unsatisfactoriness/suffering (dukkha)? What is the cause of dukkha? What is the end of dukkha? What is the way to the end of dukkha? Pondering in this way, one quickly moves out of Samsara towards nirvana. These are the thoughts of a wise person because they are ennobling and uplifting (leading to lasting happiness). It is not a judgment to extol oneself but a self reflection. What occupies my mind? What do I aspire to?