Avalokiteshvara's Questions for the Buddha
Tenshin Reb Anderson
Samdhinirmonchana Sutra Chapter Nine
No Abode Saturday July 17, 2010, A.M.
Transcribed by: Karen Mueller
In a sense we’re Dharma students. We are Zen students and we find ourselves in the later part of a great Mahayana teaching which is sometimes called “Revealing the Deep Intimacy”. That’s one way to translate this Samdhinirmochana Sutra. “Revealing, or Releasing, the Deep Intimacy”, of what? Of the Buddha’s teaching, or also “the Deep Mystery”. So here we are in this Sutra. And I want to give some context at this point, which is…in this tradition, or in this lineage, in a way our practice is, some of us find our practice to be aesthically appealing and a simple practice of unity. A teaching and a practice, for example, which is simply to be ourselves. Or, just sit. Or just be silent and still.
Now this, the teachings of this Chapter are teachings not of unity, in a way, but teachings of division and analysis. Teachings which divide and conquer Buddha’s mind. Teachings which divide and analyze and sub-analyze the mind of the Buddha.
In the Zen tradition in a way our practice is a simple practice of unity. A teaching and a practice, for example, which is simply to be ourselves. Or, just sit. Or just be silent and still. [But] in our practice we start with stillness. Within this stillness there is tremendous activity. This isn’t a dead stillness. The stillness we are practicing, the stillness of being ourselves is alive, is fully alive and in there are all the enlightening activities of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. The teachings [the Paramitas or the Six Perfections of a bodhisattva] are teachings which divide and analyze and sub-analyze the mind of the Buddha. When we come to a practice of simplicity of simply being ourselves in stillness, or simply being still and being ourselves, when we hear teachings of analysis we may feel that these teachings will disturb the unity and non-duality of simply being ourselves. We may worry that the Buddha, the beauty of the Buddha and of the Dharma will be disturbed by lists and details. So I suggest that this type of teaching is to help us understand and probe the dynamism and vitality that’s going on in the stillness of the Buddhas, in the stillness and the silence of the Buddhas.
Chapter nine of the Samdinirmochana Sutra chapter begins with Avalokiteshvara asking a question. Avalokiteshvara asks this question for the welfare, happiness and benefit of all beings. He asks this question in the form of a statement. He tells the Buddha that the Buddha has already taught ten stages of bodhisattva evolution. And then he asks questions about these ten stages. In the realm of just sitting, of being still and learning to be yourself, the process of learning to be yourself has, involves innumerable practices or involves innumerable ways of training ourselves to be ourself. The strange thing about this bodhisattva career is that we need to be trained to be ourselves. Of course, we are ourselves already and yet we need to train to be ourselves. In reality we are ourselves and yet we don’t understand that without doing many kinds of practice. However all the practices are about the same thing: studying the self, becoming thoroughly yourself and being relieved of all attachment to yourself. Avalokiteshvara asks the Buddha what are the basic types of training?” What are the basic types of practice? What are the basic precepts? How many basic precepts are there for the Buddhas, I mean for the bodhisattvas? And the Buddha says there are six basic precepts for bodhisattvas. Six basic kinds of training. There are innumerable kinds of training but they are all included under six basic types which are called: giving, ethical discipline, patience, enthusiasm, concentration and wisdom. All the practices of bodhisattvas fall under those categories. Avalokiteshvara has heard the Buddha talk about these six modes of training before so he’s asking the Buddha again and then he also mentions how come you also taught three more of these basic types of training? These basic types of training, are called in Sanskrit “paramitas” which means going beyond, that which goes beyond, transcendence. So there are six kind of practices which go beyond themselves, which don’t even attach to themselves. In their fullness they constantly transcend themselves so they are called transcendent practices; they are called perfections. So the Buddha teaches six. And then Avalokiteshvara says, but you also taught four more, making ten. What about the additional four? And the Buddha basically says the additional four are already included in the first six. The additional four are assist the previous six. So the additional four are: skill in means, powers, vows and knowledge’s. They assist the previous six. The first one, skill in means, assists the first three paramitas of giving, ethical discipline and patience. These three all are actually kind of transcendent ethics. Skill in means assist those first three. The next one, the powers, assists meditation. The vows assist enthusiasm. Knowledges assists wisdom. So these are the six perfections [and the four assisting perfections]. Then Avalokiteshvara says how many kinds of each of the six? And Buddha says there are three kinds of each of the six. ChartAnd again if you want to know of the three kinds of each of the six it says in the Sutra and also on the chart. And then each of these types of each of the three has three aspects, so there are three times three times six which is fifty-six? Fifty-four. Twenty-seven times two.
Then Avalokiteshvara asks other questions about these training methods. How many kinds of purity are there involved there. And it turns out there’s seven purities of each one of these six. And so on. [You can find out about these by looking inside and watching your mind.] You can check out the enlightened mind at home. Look inside and see how the paramitas are going. Are the three aspects there and the three aspects of the three aspects? You can just check it out. And you’ll find out, I think, that it’s a way to get to know yourself. It’s a way to get to know your bodhisattva self.
Avalokiteshvara [nwxt] asks Buddha, “Bhagavan why is it, why do bodhisattvas deeply believe in these basic training methods, these paramitas, and have enthusiasm for them rather than for the pleasant fruits of them” Why do the bodhisattvas in faith pursue these methods of training, but do not pursue the agreeable rewards resulting from them? Why do bodhisattvas not abide in faith in the desirable fruits which reside in the perfections in the same way that they abide in the perfections themselves?” So in Zen center we have the practice that our practice is just to be yourself. How do you be yourself? By practicing these six perfections. However, we practice this with no gaining idea. We’re not trying to gain anything from being ourselves. That’s basically what this is about. They do these practices, with enthusiasm they practice giving, ethical study, patience, heroic effort, concentration and wisdom. They do these practices, they are devoted to these practices but they are NOT devoted to the good results of these practices. And they do not abide in the good results that come from the practices. The good results do come from the practices but that’s not what they are pursuing. Why? Because they are bodhisattvas. They are not into gaining from the practice, from the supreme practice of bodhisattvas. Now, so the Buddha says, “the cause of these basic practices of bodhisattvas is great compassion. Their result is wondrous.” There are five reasons or five causes for these bodhisattvas to not abide in the wondrous results of these practice but only abide in the practice with no gaining idea. Number one, It is the perfections not the rewards that are cause of surpassingly great happiness and supreme joy and bliss. It’s these practices that are the cause not the rewards. Obviously right, the rewards are not the cause of supreme great happiness. It’s the practice. So that’s why they don’t abide in the rewards; they abide in the practice without attachment to the practice. Because these practices go beyond themselves. So they abide in these practices by not abiding in them. Forget about the results. Number two. They are causes of benefit, these practices are causes of benefit for oneself and other and they are the cause of the ultimate benefit for everyone. Number three: They bring about desirable fruitional results in the future. Number four: They are the basis of non-affliction. Number five: They are, these practices, are the unchangeable reality. These practices are not things that ultimately change or perish. So those are the reasons why bodhisattvas do not abide in these practices but only in the practices. And one more part that I want to mention to you is among these basic practices which practice is the one which apprehends the lack of own being of all phenomena? Which is the one which grasps the inherent non-existence of all things? Which is the one which grasps emptiness? The Buddha answers; the perfection of wisdom grasps the lack of own-being of all phenomena. Then Avalokiteshvara asks the question, is there an own-being is there something that inherently exists that grasps the lack of inherent existence? Which of these perfections grasps the fact that all things have no essence? Transcendental wisdom grasps that things have no essence. Is there an essence that grasps the lack of essence? Is there an own-being which grasps the lack of own-being? And the Buddha responds, “I never taught that an own-being grasps the lack of own-being. I never taught that.” I don’t say that, that there’s something that grasps the lack of inherent existence. I say perfection of wisdom grasps it but I don’t say perfection of wisdom is something, is an essence that grasps things. So what is it that grasps a lack of own-being, what is it that grasps the ultimate truth? I’m going to tell you the name of it. It’s called the perfection of wisdom. This lack of own-being cannot be taught by the words I just said or any other words. It can be known inwardly. It can be grasped by wisdom. But it is known without words and it cannot be taught with words. Therefore I use words to tell you about this. I use words to tell you about this and I use words to tell you that words will not get it. I’m wordily telling you that words will not reach it. So that when you look for it, when you look inwardly to find the ultimate truth, when you look inwardly to invite the perfection of wisdom to grasp the ultimate truth, don’t use words to know it. Only use words to send you into your training to be yourself. When I look into my own mind by the way, just for your information, when I look into my own mind and I think of the six perfections of the bodhisattva, the six basic kinds of practice, and then I remember that Avalokiteshvara asks how many kinds of each are there? I look inside and I see. There are three kinds; giving of material things, giving of fearlessness and giving of the teachings, the Dharma. When I look inwardly, which I just did, and then I could tell you this, I learn something about me. Now when you look in you might not be able to find the three kinds because you haven’t read the Sutra [studied enough] enough times. But if you do, then when you look inside you’ll find that you know that there are three. And that is you. Each of the three has three. What are the three material gifts and what are the three Dharma gifts and what are the three kinds of fearlessness? There’s three of those. If you learn them, then you’ll be able to be the person who has learned them and you’ll be able to check to see if you’re that person. So I’m checking now and today there isn’t that answer. You could say I don’t remember what they are. The person I am [now] does not remember what those three kinds are.” This afternoon I probably will remember. I’ll be that person because I’m going to go look in the Sutra and find out what the three are. I’m going to train myself to be a person who knows in detail, who knows something about these practices. At least I know fifty-four things about these practices. And I want to know more. I want to know, in myself, the names of the activities of enlightenment that are going on in me. These teachings will help me get to know the enlightenment that’s living in me right now. They are a tour guide or they are a map into your enlightened mind. If you go in there and look you might find [that you] know the names of these things but you can’t find them all [inside your mind right now]. Matter of fact, sometimes I find the opposite of them. But finding the opposite of them in detail is getting closer to finding them than not looking to see, are these practices of bodhisattvas living in you. I propose to you that all these practices are going on within unconstructed stillness. These are practices of immediate realization. You don’t have to move to find them. They are going on in us right now. We can inwardly know them without words. So that’s my attempt to pay homage and make a little comment on the wonderful chapter of Avalokiteshvara’s questions in the great scripture of elucidating the deep intimacy of the Buddha’s teaching. And you might not have to hear from me about this for quite a while yet. The Buddha actually did talk about a being that apprehends ultimate truth; a being that apprehends the lack of own-being of things. The Buddha did talk about that and he called that being Wisdom, Perfect Wisdom. But he didn’t, but then somebody says, “Is that which grasps the lack of own-being, is that an own-being?” And he said, “I don’t teach that this being which grasps this Wisdom, this Wisdom-being, this Wisdom-being which could be a bodhisattva or a Buddha. I do not teach that this Wisdom-being is an own-being that grasps the lack of own-being”. So Buddha wouldn’t teach that there’s a god or a bodhisattva or a Buddha that is an own-being that grasps the lack of own-being. It is a being, otherwise Wisdom wouldn’t exist. It is a being, Wisdom is a being but it’s not a being that has an own-being. “Sofia”, the western word for wisdom, “Sofia” is a very elusive creature. Wisdom is, you can’t find wisdom. You can’t get ahold of her. She is ungraspable. But she who is ungraspable can grasp the fact that all things are ungraspable. So she is a being, but she is, she has no more own-being than the things she understands, than the own-being, the lack of own-being which she understands. Reb: Yeah, focus on the practice rather than on the outcome and be open to the possibility that one of the outcomes might be that you get to be, you know, on intimate details with god, that you will actually know what god is at the end of the course as one of the nice things to know. You’ll also know how causation works and stuff like that. But to try to figure out causation at this point is not recommended. The Buddha said the way karmic causation works is basically inconceivable. He doesn’t recommend you try to figure it out. He just says listen to the teaching that action has consequence. So be careful of everything that you do and keep checking to see are you doing things in conjunction with these training methods. And if you do you will someday understand causation. But you won’t understand by trying to figure it out. You’ll understand it by being enlightened. Prior to that trying to figure it out is trying to figure out something that is inconceivable. It’s a waste of time. But it is good to try to figure out whether you’re paying attention to what you’re saying and what you’re thinking and your body postures. That is a conceivable thing and that is encouraged. The description of this process sounds like it’s linear but the situation in which this occurs is not linear but it there is linearity within it. Stillness isn’t really linear. You-being-you isn’t really linear. But you-being-you allows linear and non-linear things. In fact we are beings and we live in a world that allows linear and non-linear. That’s our life. We are, we live, we allow literal and non-literal and not-literal. This is part of what happens when you become yourself is you allow all of this to be. To be, to be, to be! So there are linear aspects within non-linear bodhi-mind. When you sand a table, a wooden table…if you start with really fine sandpaper, it’s ok to start with really fine sandpaper, but it’s slower that way. So if you start with rough sandpaper you can smooth it out more quickly. However, when you smooth it out, you notice that there are scratches which you couldn’t even see before until you got it somewhat smooth. Then you use a finer sandpaper. And with the finer sandpaper you see even finer scratches which you couldn’t see before. Then you use a finer sandpaper and the finer the sandpaper the more you discover even more and more subtle scratches. So you, but you could start with fine sandpaper and just keep sanding with fine sandpaper. But the same thing would occur if you started with fine sandpaper. It would just take longer. But still as you used fine sandpaper, the rough scratches would be removed eventually. You can eventually take out the rough scratches with fine sandpaper. It’s just really slow. But after you take out the rough, you’ll notice subtle scratches that you couldn’t see before and so on. So there’s a linearity. You can’t find the most subtle attachments, the most subtle ignorances, before you deal with the grosser ones. So there’s a linearity there. You can’t notice the most subtle attachments until you deal with the grosser attachments. But when you do deal with the grosser attachments, your reward is “Ohmigod, I see new problems I didn’t even know I had”. And then you take care of these problems you didn’t even know you had. And your reward is to find a whole other set of problems you didn’t know you had. So you keep getting rewarded with more problems by solving your problems. By taking care of your problems, you get more awareness of problems. But there’s an end. It’s not endless. It’s possible to finally get down to the most subtle attachments and ignorances. But there’s a kind of linearity to it. The idea that linearity is a reality is one of the delusions. It’s not really linear because there’s no own-being to “linear” and there’s no own-being to “non-linear”. There’s no own-being to the Path, to the evolution of the bodhisattva. There’s no own-being to any of this. There’s not essence to any of it. But there’s a linear progression in getting into the different layers of our belief that there is an essence. There’s 18 kinds of emptiness because there’s 18 different kinds of belief in essence or own-being. It might look like sometimes I have a good day and I get maybe a little ahead of myself and then I have a bad day and I have to go back. That’s the problem with good days. One of the problems of good days is we get a little ahead of ourselves. One of the good things about bad days is we sometimes don’t get ahead of ourselves. We say, “Oh-oh, I’m in trouble. I should, like, deal with this. This getting ahead of myself is not good. I’ve got a problem; I’ve got to take care of this; and it’s a bad day. I have to have this bad day. This is not time to skip ahead of this bad day. I’ve been skipping ahead because I had some good days and now, as a result I think I’m having a bad day because I don’t’ know exactly which good days I skipped ahead but I think I kind of did skip ahead of my karma and I think I understand that when we skip ahead of our karma we get in trouble. Now I’m in trouble but now I remember the teaching. Oh yeah, I’m not supposed to skip ahead so now I won’t. And I understand that practicing this way eventually will lead to supreme benefit. But I’m not into supreme benefit. I’m into the practice of not getting ahead of myself.” And a bad day is a nice reminder. So today is really kind of a bad day, so it’s a good day to practice, right? So the thing, the information that you’re given in a way from the things that you know as a result of wisdom, contribute to the evolution of wisdom. Like wisdom isn’t to know that “you shouldn’t” get stuck in wisdom. That’s something you find out when you’re wise. And you can find it out before you’re wise too. But that information from the Buddhas, that you shouldn’t hold on to wisdom, that that’s antithetical to wisdom helps wisdom not get stuck in itself. There are teachings of the Buddha, in other words, that are given to us in the form of knowledge which help us develop wisdom. And they are included in wisdom. And these teachings, this knowledge, this information is non-conceptual. You may know it conceptually, but it is non-conceptual. And wisdom is non-conceptual too, this wisdom is. But it’s more like the process by which you are no longer… by which you know that things are innocent of conception. It’s the breaking through to how things are not reached by words. Just like this knowledge which apprehends the lack of own being, words do not know this and words do not teach you how to get there. But words can, once you get there, words then are part of the process so the Buddha uses words then to teach the wisdom. Kokyo: I’ve heard that Suzuki Roshi once said something like “the problems you have now, you’ll have for the rest of your life”. Reb: I don’t know if he said that or if he said, “you should think that the problems you have now, you’ll have for the rest of your life”. Kokyo: Just so you don’t have an expectation that you’ll get over them. Reb: Yeah, or the problems that you have now you should be ready to have them forever. Because in some sense… I think I was there when he said it. I think it was more like, not that you will have these problems but that you should expect or be open to always having these problems. Kokyo: That makes more sense. I was wondering how that might fit into this evolution. Where does it end? So you wouldn’t be denying that there could be an end to the most subtle.. Reb: No and we know when the end will be. The end will be when all beings are Buddha’s. When all beings are free, that will be the end. And this is the path to that end. The other way there is not end. There is no end to suffering. The path of suffering, the path of delusion has no end. The path of avoiding studying yourself that’s and endless path of suffering. This path is a path which is quite long, but there is an end to it. But it’s quite long but you can be happy that you’re on the path of benefiting beings. Kokyo: What’s the relationship of “long” in the sudden school of Zen? Reb: What’s the relationship of “long”? Long is sudden. It’s suddenly long. Reb: Yes, Maria? Maria: I’m wondering about this non-gaining practice because I don’t know anybody who can do it. Actually for very short time even. And I wonder if that teaching really applies to the human species..to the humans that we are. Because maybe the animals and the spirits are doing it. Maybe the cats are do their life without, but they have some kind of.. Reb: To me they look like… I mean my dog definitely has a gaining idea. I mean I project that on her.
Maria: (Can’t hear) It seems that they are all in the flow of this, the universal. It seems like life, it has a directionality and so the species that we see physically are just going in direction with that naturally. But because we have an intellect we are, you know we think things. And I really don’t know if this teaching of practicing with this non-abiding really, really applies just because I’ve never seen it. I have actually never seen it and felt it. I’ve never felt it and I’ve never really seen it demonstrated genuinely. Reb: So you’re talking about non-abiding or you’re talking about not being into gain. Or you’re talking about both? Maria: Both. Reb: So you haven’t seen any non-gaining stuff going on? Maria: I don’t think so. Reb: Ok. So can you aspire to something that you haven’t seen? It’s hard isn’t it? Maria: Well. Seeing stuff like states of relaxation, where you know everybody here has had that experience of expansiveness. And then you have that sense of “yeah I think I can just float along here” but actually we want it. We want to be.. But even in that state we want it. Even in that state we want something. Even just being there. We want, we want something there too. Reb: Maybe, that may be the case. Maria: It’s just very relaxed. Reb: Maybe, that may be the case. And if that’s the case, then allowing that to be the case would be part of no gaining idea. Maria: And then the next moment and then the next moment. Reb: Yeah, but before the next moment. Now, now I would allow that there’s a gaining idea. And allowing that right now goes with not having a gaining idea. There may be this sneaky little gaining idea there, but I’m like “ok, you’re welcome here sneaky little gaining idea”. What’s the other thing? Abiding. Attaching. So again I saw some examples of people relating in a way that I wanted to learn to be. I saw an example, an image. I saw an image of a way of being human and I thought I would like to be a human like that. Now that human that I wanted to be like looked like, he was acting like “no gaining idea”. I didn’t think of it in that way but now when I look at him, he wasn’t into gaining idea. That was.. I didn’t see it operating. But all I knew was that’s the way I want to be. I want to be cool like that. So when he was falsely accused of a crime he said, “ is that so?” and then he had to deal with the consequences of this false accusation and he dealt with them in a compassionate way. He didn’t defend himself. He didn’t argue. He just said, “Is this happening? This seems to be happening. I’m being insulted and despised and attacked. That’s happening. This is my life.” Then, that was the first part of the story… then he takes care of the situation. Then the second part of the story is people find out that he wasn’t guilty of this crime and they come back to him and they say, “You’re such a wonderful person because not only did you not do the crime but you didn’t defend yourself and you didn’t,.. you took care of the situation”. And then he said the same thing. “So, this is happening. This is my life”. So when I saw that story I thought, “I want to be like that!” That’s the way. Maria: Did it really happen?
Reb: I’m not saying it really happened. I’m saying that’s the way I want to be. And you say well there’s a gaining idea there. But I want to be a way that will allow me to have a gaining idea but not be caught by it. This guy was not caught by it. I want to be like that. If there’s no gaining idea, I’m cool with that. If there’s a gaining idea, I’m cool with that. That’s the way I want to be. Is there anybody like that? I don’t care. I still want to be that way.
I saw this movie once. It was about King Arthur. You know, that English king? So King Arthur after being King Arthur and having this nice court with the round table and everything and the shining armor and Exavier (Excalibur) and pulling stuff out of, pulling swords out of rocks. After that he had some psychological work to do, called seeking the Grail. He had to do the feminine thing after doing the masculine thing very nicely. He had to do the feminine thing. And so here he is. He’s going through the filthy, the muddy sewage polluted streets of a medieval town in the dark in rags with a few, with his jisha, with his attendants, the few raggedty taggedty monks, knights that are still with him. And he’s limping. He’s wounded. He’s limping through the mud and the shit. And he runs into a little boy and he says “Hello, young guy”. “Hello, mister!” And King Arthur says, “What do you want to be when you grow up” And, the boy says, “I want to be a knight like King Arthur”. And King Arthur says, “Why do you want to be a knight? “ And the boy said, “Because of the stories”. So we live in Storyland. You live in Storyland. You have a certain Storyland. And there’s some other stories and you could aspire to these stories or some other stories. So we’re talking about the bodhisattva story is quite a story and key to this story is no gaining idea. Just loving the practice. And not abiding even in the practice. That’s key to this story. Do you like that story? Do you need proof that there’s…do you need proof that do you need to see that there’s somebody practicing this way? If you need the proof, I hope you get it. Some people who have not seen it, absolutely for sure, but they still want to try it. However it is recommended that you open your mind to the possibility that there are such people. The Buddha taught right view is there are beings who have followed the path and realized the way. So open to that suggestion that it is possible. Even if you haven’t seen them. Anon: Have you seen them? Reb: Have I seen them? Nope. But I still want to be like them. Be like this ideal. I want to be like the ideal. And I also understand that the teaching includes that along with this ideal, right next to this ideal, is not-the-ideal. Right next to this great virtue is non-virtue. Right next to this wish to be like those stories, to be like that person, right next to that aspiration is interest in non-virtue, is lack of interest in it. They co-exist in the human realm. You have the aspiration to be this wonderful bodhisattva, along with an imperfect human. We do not have a teaching here that we have aspiration of perfect people to be perfect. We have that imperfect people are aspiring to complete, perfect, unsurpassed awakening for the welfare of others. We already know that some imperfect people wish to have supreme enlightenment for themselves. But how about imperfect people wishing for enlightenment for the welfare of others. It’s proposed that this can happen to an imperfect person that they can wish to live this way. And that there’s, if there’s gaining idea, fine that’s part of their imperfection and they can aspire to no-gaining idea simultaneous with having a gaining idea.
So if you haven’t seen anybody who’s perfect, maybe that’s ok. All you can see, maybe, is people who are imperfect who are aspiring to perfection. And part of aspiring to perfection is to be willing to be imperfect. To be, excuse me for saying so, really good at being imperfect. I mean really being generous towards your imperfection, really being ethical toward your imperfection, really being patient with your imperfection, really being enthusiastic about being ethical and so on with your imperfection, being calm with your imperfection, and being wise about your imperfection. Because this whole thing leads to understanding that imperfection does not have an own-being and neither does perfection. And when that’s the case, you’re not necessarily interested in being the perfect one and you’re not particularly interested in being the imperfect one. But you’ll be the imperfect one if it helps people and if it helps people to be the perfect one, I’ll be that way for a little while too. And you can check it out to see if this path is commensurate with a tremendous joy at the opportunity of practicing it. Because that’s part of it, is that you got to have a lot of joy in order to do this amazing path. I have seen people who have a lot of joy. I have seen wonderful things happen. But perfect people? Like again, I’ve told this story. One of the first talks I heard Suzuki Roshi give, he said, “blah, blah, blah, blah.. I’m not enlightened”. And I thought, “Oh-oh. I came, I left my life in Minnesota and came to Zen Center to study with this person and he’s not enlightened. Oh-oh!” But then I thought, but still he’s the best I’ve ever seen. The best I’ve ever seen, that was good enough for me. The next week he said, “I’m Buddha”. And I thought, “More like it!” So, I’m not enlightened, I’m imperfect, I’m Buddha. Just kidding. I’m joyful. Just kidding? Well, yes, I’m just kidding because I’m also suffering. But I’m joyful that I can live joyfully in the midst of suffering. That I can be not afraid of suffering. Or at least not as afraid as I was before. And after practicing for a while, I’m encouraged and I intend to continue. And you are welcome to walk along with me. And if I walk too slowly, go ahead. I have your back, as they say. Breck: There’s a story I’d like to share before we end. The story is that about 67 years and 7 days ago, Reb: Oh how nice! Breck: Someone was born. And so today throughout the day, we’ll have treats at the end of lunch in celebration of the anniversary of his birth.Reb: Oh ok. I thought you were going to say in celebration we’ll have treats at 7/11. I think it’s nicer to have them here. Thank you! And I also mentioned that in 1967 I also went to Tassajara and my teacher died when he was 67. So this is a very poignant year for me to think when I first went to Tassajara and I’m the age that my teacher died. My teacher was 39 years older than me and it’s been 39 years since my teacher died. I should say since our teacher died. Our teacher died when he was my age. So this will be a nice year for me to think of dying and to be full of joy for following this amazing ideal for 43 years or so.