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I think I promised to tell you about another disciple of Dogen's vow, and this is a vow by a monk named Kanggen Gi'in, and his vow goes, in English, in the authentic Zen practice of China, it is necessary above all to arouse sincere heart and pure vow, to put yourself in the sight of Buddha ancestors, offer incense and make prostrations, and entreat the Buddhas, request the Buddhas, may the ocean of vows of the three jewels be dedicated to this body received from our father and mother, may lack of faith in every fluctuation


or condition be wiped away, and from our current body until reaching the Buddha body, may we serve Buddha and not be separate from Buddha, Dharma, through lifetimes and generations of birth and death. May we fully liberate sentient beings from all locales and situations without becoming weary, whether atop the sharp trees of the sword mountains or inside the fiery furnace of molten iron, simply hold this true Dharma I treasury, taking responsibility, accepting responsibility and managing it everywhere. Humbly we request the Buddha ancestors who have verified the three jewels to protect


and attend to this vow, to witness this vow. So again it says may, you know, and that's one way to translate this Chinese character for, which can also be vow, and so I'm in actual fact, a practice, eventually this may, this wish needs to turn into a witnessed promise. Basically I just wanted to open up for any offerings you would like to make, but I would like to mention just a little bit about this, when even for a moment you express the Buddha seal and your three activities, the entire universe becomes the Buddha's seal, the whole


phenomenal world becomes the Buddha's seal, and the entire sky turns into enlightenment. Another translation is, whenever, even for a moment, you express the Buddha's seal, that's the same one, whenever one displays the Buddha's seal in body, speech and mind, again the entire phenomenal world becomes the Buddha's seal. Another translation is, when even for a moment you sit upright imprinting the Buddha's seal in your three actions of body, speech and mind, the entire phenomenal world becomes the Buddha's seal. And this word seal, the Chinese character is pronounced yin, it means seal, but it also means mudra, but the Sanskrit word mudra means a physical shape, like hand mudras and


body mudras, but it also means a circle or a ring, so it refers to the ring-like quality of our body, so these are mudras but they're also like rings, does that make sense? And even this is actually a mudra, there's kind of a ring here, and your posture is also kind of a ring, so mudra refers to postures but also could be a ring, so it's a ring of your body, so there's body mudras, or it could be a ring of beings, but it also can mean a seal, like a seal that you stamp something with. So, you can translate mudra as seal or circle or round shape, but also as posture. So this third translation says, when even for a moment you manifest the Buddha's posture in the three actions of body, speech and mind, so posture can also mean an attitude, right?


So when you manifest the Buddha's mind and body and speech in your mind, body and speech, then the entire world turns into Buddha's mudra, the entire phenomenal world becomes Buddha's posture. So this is kind of an indirect recommendation to express the Buddha's seal in all your actions, because if you do express the Buddha's seal in your action, even for one moment, at that moment the entire phenomenal world also becomes the Buddha's seal. The Buddha's seal is realized by you expressing the Buddha's seal in your speech, in your postures and in your thinking. So, doesn't this sound like a good deal to express the Buddha's seal? So this relates to Jim's question about how do you affect this world.


So this is saying, if you express the Buddha's seal in your speech and your thinking and your posture, the entire phenomenal world becomes that, including George Bush. The entire phenomenal world joins this Buddha posture when you use your posture and your speech and your thinking to express the Buddha's seal. So then someone might ask, what's the Buddha's seal again? What's the Buddha's seal, again? Hm? Posture. What? Posture. Attitude. Yeah, it's your attitude. So, it's the attitude of your body, it's the attitude of your mind. So what is the attitude which is Buddha's attitude? Hm? Compassion, right. Compassion. What else? Wisdom, yes.


And vowing. Buddha's compassion, when it comes to Buddha's mind, Buddha's mind has the shape of a vow. The way the Buddha thinks is the Buddha's always thinking all the time about how can I help people and I want to help people. I promise to help people. I'm always thinking about helping people and the reason why I'm always thinking about helping people is because I promised to help people for a long time, so now I always think of that. My promise to think of helping people has now come to fruition and I always think of helping people. That's all I ever think about. Every thought I think of is about helping people and not just helping them a little bit but helping them enter the Buddha way. That's the way Buddha is. That's the Buddha seal in terms of Buddha's thinking and when Buddha talks, the talking is expressing that vow. But also wisdom. So both express, the Buddha expresses the Buddha's vows no matter what the Buddha does


and the Buddha expresses the Buddha's practice which is to contemplate the way things are. So whatever you do in body, speech and mind, even for a moment, if you make this posture an expression of the Buddha's vow and you make this posture an expression of contemplating the way things are, then your posture has the Buddha seal. So your body is expressing that what you're really doing with the world is you're contemplating it. This is a contemplative physical body. That's what you're showing. You're expressing that. So you meet someone and you don't do anything with the person, you just contemplate what they are. You observe how they really are. That's the way your body is with people.


And when you talk, your talking is actually the same. It's contemplating the way beings are. But your body without saying anything or moving, just your body, when your body is this vow body and also this meditating body, this is the Buddha's seal and it transforms the whole world. This is the amazing statement that he's making there about how expressing the Buddha's seal in our body, speech and mind changes the whole world and makes the world into the Buddha's seal. Also, if we do not practice this way, if we do not express the Buddha's seal in our actions of body, speech and mind, our actions also change the world. The world is the result of, is the consequence of our actions of body, speech and mind.


Not just mine, yours and mine. All of our actions make worlds. That's why actions are so important, is because it makes worlds. But actions of body, speech and mind, actually, actions of body, speech and mind plus vows. So the world is the result of actions, karma and vows. So behind me, I put the sutra, Abhidhamsaka Sutra, on the altar. There's a flower adornment scripture, it's a big scripture. In the early part of the scripture, there's a chapter called the formation of the worlds and in there it shows, it tells us that the world and worlds are the consequence of karma and vows. So your vows and karma, no matter what they are, are transforming the world.


But if your karma and vows are expressing the Buddha's seal, they're transforming the world into the Buddha's seal. If not, they're transforming the world some other way, which you probably are relatively less happy about. Also, I put the sutra up there to show you how big it is and to tell you that, as I did before, the main bodhisattva of that sutra, this is Samantabhadra Sutra. Samantabhadra appears also in the Lotus Sutra, very important figure in the Lotus Sutra, but in this sutra, he's the main bodhisattva. And his vows are featured throughout the sutra in various ways, but the ten vows are actually an appendix to the sutra. This sutra has 39 chapters, and there's a 40th chapter which is about his vows, which


you won't find in the sutra. So if you go look for it, you won't find it there, but it's on the board there. And also, if you want the full presentation, which is considerably more amazing than that, if you email me, I can send you the text. And right now I refrain from getting into that, and just stop and say if you'd like to come forth now, I'd like to offer you the opportunity. And could we have this albaton here, please? And while I'm waiting for someone to come forth, I just wanted to mention that someone brought up forgiveness, and I intend to address that issue.


They said, I didn't hear you talk about forgiveness, so I commit to talk about forgiveness before the end of this session. I'm kind of picking up on our conversation about... Can you hear again? When I'm sitting, and I want to pay homage to all Buddhas, so I'm trying to figure out exactly what that looks like.


And the example I gave you already was, so if I notice my sore shoulder, and then you said, I think this is what you said, that I could pay homage to all Buddhas, and that's sort of like making explicit kind of what's implicit, that that soreness is being created by, I don't know, all the relationship of everything in the world. I don't know if that's quite the words, but... I would say, for me, it would be explicit. For somebody else, that might not sound explicit. That might sound more implicit, but it does then relate. You are here, and you've got a sore shoulder, and when you say homage to Buddhas, you have just said, I'm in relationship to Buddhas, and sore my shoulders. And sore my shoulders.


If I'm paying homage to Buddhas, I want my shoulders to come along with the homage. So if they're sore, my whole body and mind is now, when I say I, I mean my whole body and mind are being offered and aligning with and plunging into the Buddhas. So the formal way, the formal posture, the traditional formal posture of paying homage is to bow, as a feeling of diving into something. So homage to Buddha means I dive into Buddha, I line up with Buddha, and so whatever's happening with me goes with that. So if I'm healthy, my healthiness goes into the homage to Buddha. If I'm unhealthy, I'm in pain, that pain comes with me into the homage to Buddha. All of me goes with me into the relationship with Buddha.


I'm practicing giving homage to Buddha, honoring Buddha. Also, some people would translate this as worship. And worship has the etymology of worthy, worthy. So I consider Buddha to be worthy. I worship Buddha, I venerate Buddha, I pay homage to Buddha, I align myself with Buddha, and all of me, I give all of myself. And then the next one is making offerings. I offer myself to Buddha. If I go into the Zen Dojo, as soon as I go into the Zen Dojo, I can say I offer myself to the Buddhas. When I sit, I offer myself to the Buddhas. When I get up, I offer myself to the Buddhas. When I'm walking in the Zen Dojo, whatever I'm doing, I'm invited by the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra to offer whatever I'm doing. If I'm thinking something, while I'm thinking,


I offer myself, the thinking person, the thinking woman, to the Buddhas. All that, like that. If I keep talking that way, a long time you'll notice that I'll be saying it in many different ways. However I am is what I offer. And one thing I also want to say, just briefly for now, is that you can make offerings like incense, flowers, and so on, but the highest offering to the Buddhas is your practice. So I'll maybe mention later a little bit about the varieties of Dharma. The Dharma offerings are the best offerings to the Buddha. The physical offerings are good too, but later I'll mention the Dharma offerings. So, when I go in the Zen Dojo, usually I think that I'm giving myself to the Zen Dojo,


to the practice, to the people. I usually think of them. I say, here I come, here I am. I don't say it out loud, because that's not decorous, because nobody else comes in and says, I'm here, I'm yours. But I feel that way when I go in the Zen Dojo. And I feel like people are happy that I'm giving myself to them in the Zen Dojo. They often say, thank you for giving yourself to your seat. But I think that. And then I also think I'm paying homage to the people who are the ancestors of this tradition. I think that. Well, I guess I'm going back to what you did yesterday. So you were scratching your cheek, and then you're having a thought about that, about paying homage. So I'm trying to work with that in my practice. But I don't know what to do with it next. So there's my sore shoulder, and then next there's the tree, and there's the sky or whatever.


But I notice it's much easier to think about paying homage to the lake and the trees than the radiator. So should I balance this out? I don't actually pay homage to the radiators. And I don't pay homage to trees either. Unless the truth of the radiator is... I see the radiator as representing the Buddha, which is representing the way all beings are intimately related to each other. So I was thinking about... What's the man's name who makes the glasses? John. John. So I was thinking when I was talking to John, he was talking about these monastics who were discussing some details about salt or something, and I thought, there's a way of taking care of the monastery and the salt and the pepper,


which is like, you feel like you're taking care of Buddha's eyeballs, or your own eyeballs. It's very tender and sweet and compassionate. There's another way of taking care of things, like radiators and salt and people, which is not very compassionate. So, if I see the radiator as representing this interdependence of all beings, then I would pay homage, not to the radiator, but what it represents to me at that moment. And sometimes you can see that some physical object is teaching you that. Well, I guess what I was trying to get at with the thing about making explicit, it's sort of like, typically, if I'd have a thought like this, I wouldn't add on, I wouldn't add on this layer of paying homage. So it feels like there's an add-on there, an overlay or something. And so, to me, it seems like that practice is...


Right there, I got it. I don't know if we've talked to you about this before, but this explicit overlay is to help you realize something that's implicit and present in your mind already. Did we already talk about that? Well, I don't know if we did or not, but I... And so, the vow is actually implicit in your mind already. And so, it's not an add-on. It's a practice to realize that this is actually already in your heart. Most people have trouble realizing this in their heart unless they say it. And when they first say it, they sometimes feel insincere. But by saying the vows over and over, they finally realize that they're totally sincere. And at that point, they realize, actually, this was already in my heart. And part of the reason, I think, some people feel that Zen... Some Zen teachers do not talk too much about Samantabhadra. Doga is one that does talk about vows a lot. But sometimes Zen teachers do not talk about explicit vowing through speech and thinking and posture.


But part of the reason for that may be that they're trying to help the student find the vow in... Find that the vow is actually inherent to the mind. So they direct the student to look in the mind and find the vow in there. That's another style of practice. Another way is to say it out loud until you feel sincere, and then you notice that actually the vow is in you. And some other people actually feel like, well, the vow is already in me, so why say it? Well, one of the reasons for saying it is that unless the vow gets turned into your thinking and speech and posture, then the vow isn't... if the vow isn't enacted, it doesn't have the transformative power that it has. So if it's in the mind in a latent, non-active way, it doesn't transform the world the way it does when it becomes active. And since you're active anyway, why don't you let the vow into your action? Because then your actions will transform the world in a positive way.


Because if you don't connect it with the vow, your actions are going to be transforming the world in at least a status quo and maybe a negative way. Yeah, that part was very helpful. It helped me sort something out, so I appreciate that. You're welcome. Dogen's teacher, Ru Jing, said to his group, Right at the very time you're sitting, you can make offerings to all Buddhas in the whole universe. Without exception, pay homage to Buddhas and make offerings ceaselessly while you're sitting. If you're not thinking, okay, just offer your body. But you probably are thinking, so offer your body, speech and mind when you're sitting.


Make your offerings to Buddha. And then he says, Do you know and see this? If you know this, do not say that you're wasting your time. If you do not know this, do not avoid what you are facing. So, he's saying, when you sit, you can make offerings to all Buddhas. You don't have to get up from your seat and go to the altar. You don't have to say anything. You can just, as you're sitting, can be offerings to all Buddhas. You're sitting can be ceaselessly, without exception, making offerings to Buddhas. And if you can see this, you're not wasting your time. If you can't see this... He's not saying, if you can't see this, you're wasting your time. He says, if you can't see this, you should face the situation that you don't see this.


You shouldn't avoid that you do not see that what you're doing is in relationship to the Buddhas. You should face that. Okay, I do think I'm sitting here by myself. I'm not sitting with all the Buddhas. I accept it. I confess. I'm sitting here just with a few other monks. I don't think the Buddhas are here, and I don't think this is an offering to Buddhas. I accept responsibility for that way of seeing things. Which I have heard is delusion. But if you face that, you will come to see that actually you are practicing with the Buddhas, and your practice is an offering to Buddhas. Buddhas appreciate that you come here and sit still, even if you don't know that you're doing something they appreciate. But if you come here and understand what you're doing is an offering, it isn't that they appreciate you more,


it's just that you understand better. You are generous beings. Buddha's appreciate it. But if you don't practice it, you don't appreciate it. Which is a tragedy. Then I realize that you're a generous being. It's a common tragedy for people who don't practice it. Thank you. I have this fear when I speak, right before I speak,


especially English, because English is my second language. First of all, I really want to thank you and all intersangha members and teachers. For me, it's really a very valuable moment that we can be with your members. You said in the first day... Can you hear her? Great. Forgive me. I forgive you. You talk about the great Bodhisattva vow, and also the practice, the whole-hearted practice, and then this great Bodhisattva vow. And you explain this great Bodhisattva vow here and there,


inconceivable, inseparable. It's unborn. It's no come, no go. It's just... That's the way it really is. Maybe it seems to come and go, but when you meditate on the way things are, you also meditate on the way the vow is. And the way all things are, including the vow, is that they don't come and go. They're not born, they don't die. They're ungraspable, they're infinite. So the vow is like that too. And when you said this practice whole-heartedly, and I can see there's... Here is in the great Bodhisattva vow, there's emptiness of word. And I can see this in your practice of whole-heartedly.


There's a form there, appearance. And you said that the whole-heartedly practice is contemplation of the way things are. And to me, during this session, I can see myself and I keep watching myself. And do I contemplate? Am I contemplating the way things are? And with this session, to me, it's very... almost a threat, like... It's almost what? Okay, I'm going to Dharma field, and the way we have a session there is probably different than the way we have a session here.


There is, I can see, more involving ritual. There's a lot of vow. More ritual here. And so things are different. Yes. And when I see that, I continuously... When I watch myself, I don't just contemplate the way things are. I just keep reacting to what I had experienced before. And then here is just new experience here, but I just keep putting my mind in there, and then, oh, is it good or is it bad? I can just... I saw myself, oh, that's good. Oh, this is not good. Oh, this is good. This is how I, in the beginning... In the beginning. Yes, in the beginning. And then, what you said is just right there,


and I can practice what you said. Right, exactly. In those places where you're comparing, just let that be, and look at how is it actually. Just like looking at me now. Don't get into trying to figure me out. Just what is it? What is this comparing mind? What is this mind which is saying, this is good, this is not good, this is better, this is worse? Treat that mind like you treat a person. Wherever you meet, contemplate the way they really are. How are they actually the middle way? What's the middle way that they are? What is the emptiness of this person? What is the ultimate truth of this person? So look at that. And the Bodhisattva vow helps you have the energy and wholeheartedness


to do such a difficult meditation. It's easy to fall into our thinking. We need a lot of encouragement, a lot of support to watch our thinking and contemplate how it really is, rather than getting caught up in it. And also we need encouragement and support through the vows to not get depressed when we do fall into our thinking, and then just say, Oh, I confess, I fell into my thinking, I got caught by my thinking, I wasn't contemplating my thinking, I was believing it. So I confess that, because that's part of the vow too. So the vow helps you be wholehearted in the contemplation of reality with whatever you meet, inwardly and outwardly. Thank you. You're welcome. Earlier this morning, you talked about the difference between


having a desire to help people, to be compassionate towards people and all being, versus the action of taking on a vow and to help all being, etc. And my question is... The difference between a vow in the sense of a vow is not just a desire, it's a solemn promise to act in accordance with what you want. Right. Yes. What do you suggest in how to cultivate the solemn promise versus just the desire? Well, first of all, I would say, do you see any solemn vows in the neighborhood? If not, do you see any desires? And then, yeah.


And if you find a desire, you might just say, okay, do I want to commit to that desire? Like I'd like to clean my kitchen? Okay, yes I do. I would like to clean my kitchen. Or I'd like somebody to clean my kitchen, but that's... I would like to help. Now, do I want to commit to it? Do I want to promise to do it? And the answer might be, well, no, not yet. Okay. At least you noticed you wanted to do something. You noticed you wanted to do something, but you weren't yet ready to promise solemnly to do it. So you weren't ready to make a vow concerning this action, which you actually would want to do. Yes. So do you just wait until that answer for yourself is, yes, I want to commit?


Well, you don't have to just wait. You can keep looking. You could wait, but if you would like to, if you would like to accomplish some of the things you would like to accomplish, if you would like to actually clean the kitchen, or be kind to everybody, then it would be good to keep checking whether you still want to, and checking whether you're ready. So keep in touch with it. And keep checking to see, do you still want this thing? Is this still really important to you? So, yeah, so I often ask people at the beginning of training periods, sesshins, because you don't have time, but at the beginning of like a training period, which is longer, I ask people at the beginning, what is your deepest concern, or what's the thing you want the most in life? And they often can't answer it for a while, but when they ask me, when they finally do find it, and they come and tell me, then I say, well, now that you've found out what's most important, do you want to now commit to that?


And then they have to maybe take longer, after they find out what's most important, but they're still not ready to commit to it. And I think it's good to be gracious with ourselves, so we aren't coercing ourselves into the promise. Some teachers like to coerce people into promises, and maybe that's good, because, you know, they think, well, if they make a promise, they've still made it, so I've got to make it. But I think, my personality is that I wouldn't, if I pressure people, they lose track of what they really want, so I kind of just keep asking them, do you want to commit, are you ready to commit? So if you keep the question alive, and again, the question, you can also learn some of Buddha's vows, some of Bodhisattva's vows, and ask yourself those questions, like, how can I help all beings enter the supreme way


and attain Buddhahood? And ask that question. And then, if you enjoy asking it, then you can say, well now, maybe I would like to promise to keep asking that question, because I actually do enjoy it, and I'd like to be more consistent. So I think if I promised, that would promote consistency. Okay, now I'm ready, I can promise. It doesn't mean I will be consistent, but it will help me be consistent. I always think of that. Just like we have Zen centers, for people who want to sit in meditation, who notice, in coming to a Zen center, even if you don't make a promise when you walk in the door, there's an implicit promise when you come in here, that you'll sit. Especially if you come around the time that they're sitting. So when you join a sesshin, we don't ask you, do you promise to sit all this period?


We don't ask people that. But there's a feeling, like you feel you're sort of promising, and so, in fact, we can sit. But most people cannot sit a sesshin without promising, or going to a place where the promise is implicit, like this. But in fact, with this implicit promise of joining a sesshin, we're actually able to do it. If you do it a long time, the promise completely takes over, and you become consistent. So, particularly if you don't have a social situation which implies the promise, then it's even more necessary for you to look inside and see if you're ready to make the promise. You can have both. Some people get married and make promises with lots of witnesses, but inside they don't feel it. But after a while they start to feel it. Sometimes it takes many years, but gradually, then they're ready to really,


in their heart, promise what they promised. And that's how it works. One thing that struck me when you were reading that vow at the beginning of this talk, about holding the shape of the vow without getting weary, and I was noticing, as you were talking about doing this on a day-to-day way will transform the world, that what arises is feeling weary and also kind of cynical about it. Cynical about the vow? Well, about the power of the vow


to transform the world. Because I sometimes think, well, if I look around, it's not really seeming to be happening. And, for instance, I was reading about even Dalai Lama in Tibet and the people there, and that's on a big macro level, but his approach isn't seeming to be bearing any fruit yet. No harmony is happening. And so people were feeling discouraged and then that's why they were rioting. But it seems to be having fruit in the West. I think his message has transformed lots of people in the West. Maybe. Even if some people in Tibet. When I read about it, it is painful to see that the people in Tibet are still being treated the way that they are. And then when I think about it closer to home,


it feels painful. And I know some of it is, when I was talking with you last night about in my own family, it's like generation after generation after generation of people who are violent alcoholics. And so it's how do you hold that shape of the vow without getting discouraged? Well, before I address that, I just wanted to say again, which is a Zen phrase, which is the horse arrives before the donkey leaves. So, if you have generation after generation of what? In my family of violent alcoholic people. So you have this very muddy, toxic situation. That's the donkey. But the horse can arrive before the donkey goes away. And the horse is compassion growing in the soil of this alcoholic tradition. And that compassion can get stronger and stronger


before the family has changed to have no alcoholics in it anymore. And so it may seem like the alcoholics are still there, but we have something new in the family called great compassion, which wasn't there before. Before we just had alcoholics and frightened non-alcoholics. Now we have alcoholics and fearless bodhisattvas right in the alcoholic situation, with current alcoholics. But now we have a bodhisattva in the family. So, that's the transformation, is now we have a great compassionate practice living where it should live, in the waters of alcoholism, in the waters of addiction. The bodhisattva has come into that space. That's the change. And so on that small level I can kind of see that,


like maybe that would help to have a bodhisattva in the family. Well, it certainly helps the bodhisattva. Yeah, maybe it helps the bodhisattva. The bodhisattva is very happy. And that's kind of it. But what about this transforming the world business? Well, the bodhisattva is in the family now. And if the people ever happen to have a break in their alcoholism, they could happen to notice that somebody is there being kind to them. And they do have breaks. Sometimes they're sober for a little while. And then they notice that somebody is there who loves them, who really loves them, and has been loving them during the whole time. And that person is now able to now teach them. But bodhisattvas can't teach before people want to be taught. But they can develop themselves to get ready to teach for whenever people are ready. And the way they get ready is by living in places like alcoholic families and practicing generosity towards alcoholism.


And then the compassion grows. And then, when the time is right for the other people, and maybe the alcoholics don't notice them, but the other people in the family notice them, and they start practicing compassion too. So maybe the alcoholics never change in their lifetime, but everybody else in the family is transformed. And then later, maybe, the person may, in another lifetime, they may actually realize this. And so, when you're talking about that, what I was thinking was that maybe that's why I resonate to discouragement, because that's been my family's situation. But when you were talking about, if we do this, and we will be able to hold the seal, and you'll transform and be with all the bodhisattvas, I felt cynical about that. And I wondered, what makes you, like you've been doing this 40 years,


what makes you believe this stuff that is in the sutras? And I don't mean that to... I'm not trying to be funny. I don't know what makes me believe it, but... And I'm not even saying I do believe it. I just say that I feel fearless when I talk about fearlessness. And I feel compassion when I'm talking about compassion. And when I talk about cynicism, and I'm gracious towards it, I feel unafraid of cynicism. But if I'm not gracious towards cynicism, then cynicism takes me over. So, cynicism is another being to embrace and be gracious with. It's another being who I wonder, how can I help the cynicism enter the Buddha way? And when I think that way, I feel like a fearless bodhisattva. I feel ready to die, to be unhealthy, and so on.


When I forget that, then I get kind of disoriented and feel stupid. But, you know, try to be gracious with the stupid one. I don't usually feel stupid and then also get angry at the stupid one. I just feel like stupid. And I'm going to stop there and say, OK, take it easy on this guy. He just got disoriented by the change of gate, you know. For a moment there, he didn't realize that this was all there to help him develop his practice. He got shaken up a little bit. OK. So whatever, you know, whatever, cynicism, patterns of addiction, all this stuff, we have practices for this stuff. Which is, we vow to what? You're asking, asking. We vow to what? With all these things. We vow to try to help.


Yeah, we vow to help. We wonder how we can help. And not only that, but we also vow to contemplate what this stuff is. Whatever it's called, alcoholism, cynicism, healthiness, enthusiasm, all these things, happy people, unhappy people, everybody, no matter who we meet, we contemplate how they really are. And we listen to the teaching. We've got a little tip on this, you know. It says, all these beings are vast emptiness. They're not born, they don't die, they don't increase, they don't decrease. They're unhindered. And the only reason why they appear to be born and dying is because of upside-down views. We listen to those teachings, and they guide us in our meditation. So we're not just vowing to help everybody and wonder how to help. We also understand that we have to do this practice so we don't substantiate human beings, banana slugs, alcoholism, cynicism, enthusiasm, pleasure.


We have to practice with everything, otherwise we start clinging, and that disorients us again, and then we lose our vow. So, I don't know why I love you like I do. I don't know why. If I was a Buddha, I would know why, but I don't know why. Thank you for your practice. Thank you for giving me my practice. And another thing is that the Dalai Lama said that a lot of people practice and they don't see that they're making any progress, but sometimes it's hard to see progress in yourself in less than 20 years. But he can see progress in people in less than 20 years, and so can I. And a lot of people come to Zen Center


and they say, these people have been here a long time and they're like this. Those troublesome people, those difficult people. They think, okay, I'm not very developed, but everybody in Zen Center already should be. And after I'm there for a little while, I'll be enlightened. But the people who are already there should already be enlightened, right? But the problem is we let unenlightened people in all the time. So then more unenlightened people come and find unenlightened people and they're shocked. Anyway, so they say stuff like that and I say, I know, I know. But you should have seen what they were like before. I knew this person 20 years ago. Let me tell you, this guy is like, he has developed. I know how he looks now, but you should have seen him. This is a vast growth that he's gone through.


He's much more like a Bodhisattva now than he used to be. And also, this shows that you can practice here too. So I can see people developing. I see them developing. The ones who practice, I see them developing. It's not just belief, I've seen people evolve positively who practice appropriately to the positive evolution. And I also see people deteriorate who do not practice, I should say, who practice inappropriately to deteriorating. I've seen people go downhill who practice one way and people go uphill who practice another way. It's terrible to see them go down, but it's the Dharma. If you're unskillful, you go down. If you don't pay attention, you make mistakes. If you do pay attention, you get more skillful. So I've seen that,


and it's easier to see it in other people than yourself. And also, we don't have control groups, which is another problem. But you know, I said, this person has evolved positively, tremendously, but they might have evolved more positively if they'd become, I don't know what, a Democrat, or a Republican. Who knows what they would be. That's the problem, I don't know. Although I don't know that this is the... I see them in good shape, I see them being a good person, I see them becoming more wise and compassionate, but I don't know that this way of practice is the only way they could have got to this good place they're at.