If you say that the nature of all thoughts is total voidness without arising or cessation, you take voidness too literally and fall into the extreme of nihilism. What they are is vividness that leaves no trace; whose nature is without arising, cessation, or duration; and which cannot be identified as having this colour, that shape, etc.

If you realise this much, you have developed a little understanding. Furthermore, you must recognise that they cannot be identified as this or that, and do so without thinking conceptually, "They cannot be identified as this or that." And without any grasping or contradiction in your mind between the vividness and the voidness of thoughts, you must recognise that thoughts arise and subside simultaneously, like a drawing on water.

In addition, you must gain the insight that there is not the slightest difference in nature between thought and its object, between the settled mind and the moving mind, between past mind and present mind, and so forth. They are all by nature clear, brilliant awareness.

When you draw a thought in for investigation, or if it disappears, it is not that it has gone into clear voidness, nor that such voidness has been left in its wake. Rather, the thought that arises all of a sudden is itself clear voidness. When you realise or gain this insight, then you have recognised the nature of thought.

There is not even the slightest difference between the non-conceptual state and the state of true insight into the triad of dynamic thought, settled mind, and thought's nature as clear, void, and brilliant. To distinguish between these is an interpolation of the mind that does not recognise them.

—Wangchug Dorje, 9th Karmapa (1556-1603), "Mahāmudrā: Eliminating the Darkness of Ignorance"
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