The Bodhisattva's Creativity and FreedomĀ 

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

AI Summary: 



While you were sitting, I said something like, the creative mind loves the objects it knows and calms down with them and plays with them. Contemplating this situation of a mind that loves what it knows. I think that this is a universal observation which I would say of course applies to the enlightening beings because they, from the beginning of their career, are wishing to live a life of compassion for all beings.


They vow to practice compassion towards everything they know, everything they meet, and they practice this compassion for the benefit of all beings. But I think that this, even if a person hadn't discovered this aspiration to be such an enlightening being, still if they practiced like an enlightening being, to a great extent they would follow some of the same principles. In this case, I think it would be true even if they didn't aspire to love all beings. The beings that they do love, or the mind that's loving some phenomena, calms down with those phenomena. Bodhisattvas vow to love all phenomena and therefore would also vow to calm down with all phenomena and play with all phenomena.


So I'm suggesting, and when I say love I mean also compassion. Bodhisattvas vow to practice compassion towards everything they, everything they're aware of. And when they are successful in the practice of compassion towards what they're aware of, the mind wishes to develop tranquility and openness as part of this compassion. And then in this openness and relaxation and compassionate relating, play will, I would say, naturally start to develop.


I asked a question, I thought of a question, and the question was, is it necessary to be creative in order to realize liberation? And the answer I gave myself was, yes. But in part two of this course I mentioned something further, and that is that being creative is not the whole story of liberation. In being kind and concentrated with what we're aware of and entering into a playful relationship with what we're aware of,


we are being creative, we are, yes. And this creativity is the door, or is a door, to the wisdom mind. The wisdom mind is a further development of the mind of creativity, the creative mind. Because the creative mind, even before it's able to play with what it's trying to be creative with, and again I would say that if we wish to be creative but we are not yet calm and playful with what we're working with, we're not yet being creative. But even when we start to be calm and playful with what we know,


if we still see these things as objects, it's not yet wisdom. The wisdom mind is compassionate. Of course the bodhisattva's wisdom mind is compassionate with all it knows, and it is playful with what it knows, but it has no objects. It knows things, but the things it knows are not out in front of it. You could say it knows objects, but it doesn't have any. In other words, it knows objects are not objects. Also it knows objects are not subjects. It knows in a non-dual way.


And this wisdom mind arises out of the mind of creation. It's a fruit of playing with objects of knowledge until the objects are not objects anymore. And then the wisdom mind arises. And the wisdom mind is the mind of liberation. So as I said earlier, trust, which means trust compassion. Trust compassion. Trust compassion no matter what's happening. Trust compassion towards all the difficulties and insults that may be offered to us.


Trust that we make no exceptions to compassion. And then we are able to calm down deeply. And also be compassionate towards our calm. In other words, not hold on to our calm. Be generous with our calm, just like we're generous with all of our other prosperity. And then we start to play. And then we understand. And then we are liberated. Or then there is, when we trust compassion, or when compassion is trusted, and then there can be relaxation and calm. And then there can be play.


And then there can be understanding that there's nothing out there being played with. That the play is the play of, for example, self and other. But other is not an object of the self. And the self isn't an object of other. Self and other playing, but there's no objects in the play. When the play first starts, it looks like somebody's playing with something. But as the play intensifies in concentration, after a while there's just the play. There's just creation. So the mind of creativity enters creation and forgets itself. And forgets, not exactly others, because the whole point is, this whole process is for the welfare of others, but it forgets that others are out there.


It forgets that others are objects. It forgets that others are external. In other words, it forgets delusion and becomes wisdom. And what is it? The play doesn't stop. The play of creativity, the play of creation continues. It just, there's no subject separate from object. There's nothing out in front of the wisdom mind. So that's the additional step. The mind of creativity, the creative mind, can still have objects and still be a creative mind. Which is wonderful. But it must intensify the creative process to the point where it doesn't have any external playmates.


And it's not exactly playing with itself, it's just the play. It's none other than the playfulness of all beings. And then there's freedom. And then there's freedom, again, continues to plunge into the realm of the objects, and continue the play of the objects and the subjects. But now the objects are not external to the subjects. Okay.


Is Laurie okay? She's lying down. She's lying down? Is she not feeling well? Okay. Okay. I now was going to just say something about the process of the movement from working with things while they still appear to be objects to the point where that externality of what we're working with is kind of purified.


But before I do that, any questions or comments on what I've offered so far? Yes? Well, I have a question about sort of step one that you introduced tonight, about loving some phenomenon as being similar in practice to what we talked about, loving all phenomena. And I'm encouraged by that because I've tried to love all phenomena, and I fail constantly. But I'm finding by loving some phenomena, what I'm loving is my own discrimination about what I choose to love. I'm loving my own picking and choosing. Uh-huh. Even your picking and choosing, which is pretty bad, really is calling out for love.


Yeah, I've got a lot of love for it. That's a real tough one, that picking and choosing thing. One could say, if there's anything to hate, that's it. Because in Zen we say, the way is not difficult except for picking and choosing. So that's really the bad guy. But it's wonderful to play with it, too. Yeah, but before you play with it, you have to love it. To start playing with it before you love it is not recommended in this course. Because sometimes you start playing with something before you love it, and then it pokes you in the nose, and you don't feel so playful anymore, so then you switch to, well, you're going to play being a mean guy to it now. My grandson one time had this idea. It was a couple of years ago, they were having a skit night at Green Gulch, and he and another young boy about his age who lived at Green Gulch,


they were going to stage a fight. They were going to play like they were fighting. So they started fighting, but then one of them punched the other one a little harder than the other one thought was playful, and it turned into an actual fight. And the spectators had to break them up. Because they thought they knew how to play, and in a way they did, but they didn't know how to be kind when somebody who you're playing with punches you in the face. So first before you play with this real tough dude called picking and choosing, and not to mention enjoying picking and choosing, before you start playing with him, you've got to be kind to him. In other words, you've got to be really, are you like ready to say welcome to anything he does? Are you ready to like really be careful of him? And are you ready to be patient with all that he might do? And all that he might exclude, including himself?


Him being the picker and chooser? Are you ready for that? It sounds a lot like marriage. Right, and if you can love, marriage is basically picking and choosing, right? So, if you can be compassionate towards the marriage situation, then you can calm down with it. Even when it's like picking and choosing in a committed way. Then you can calm down with it. When you calm down with it, then you can play with it. Yeah, so picking and choosing is a perfectly good example of something to be kind to, to love. And again, you can see you've got to really be careful of picking and choosing. Picking and choosing can be the basis of basically the worst things that human beings ever do,


are based on picking and choosing. And also, if you just set aside picking and choosing, the best things human beings do can happen. So picking and choosing really deserves a lot of love. And again, with a lot of love, you can really be calm and flexible with picking and choosing. And then you can start playing with it. And then you can enter into wisdom. And then realize liberation with it. And then teach other people who are into picking and choosing hell how to practice with that. And in the meantime, while you're playing with it and still an object, love the fact that you're continuing to do this thing. Be patient with it. And have confidence, hopefully, and enthusiasm about really being, making sure,


you know, really keeping, being honest, which is part of ethics. Being honest about whether you're really being loving and whether you're ready to play. Because I think you are kind of ready to play, theoretically, with this. Sounds like that's good. But you should actually not start until you're really confident that you're being loving. We have to really love before we can really play. And then we have to love before we can really be calm. And again, loving and becoming calm, we also are loving towards the calm, which means we don't attach to it, which even makes it deeper, which makes us able to play with the calm itself and whatever we're calmly meeting. And then we can actually become free of picking and choosing, for example,


which would really be great. But the way to freedom from it is not by being mean to it, which, in a way, you think you're not being mean to it because you enjoy it. But enjoying it doesn't guarantee not being mean to it. Because if you're enjoying it, what if somebody says, okay, hand over your picking and choosing. Could you do it? If you're being kind to it, you can say, fine. I was hoping somebody would ask me to give it away. I was hoping somebody would ask me to give away the thing I enjoy doing best. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to hand over my picking and choosing activity. Can you comment on the similarities and distinctions between the concept of love and compassion?


Well, one of the distinctions between them is that love is four words and compassion is quite a few. I think it's like nine or ten. It's ten. So compassion is longer than love, a longer word. It's more clunky, like the creative mind loves the objects of its compassion or is compassionate towards the objects. So that's one of the distinctions. The other is that sometimes people use love for lust or love for like. They use it for the opposite of dislike. Compassion is not the opposite of dislike. Compassion is not liking or disliking. Compassion treats like and dislike the same, basically.


It's kind to both like and dislike. Whereas love sometimes means like for some people. I like that, I love that. So I don't mean to be provocative, I'm just trying to play with the word love and see if you can use the word love in a skillful way, not intending to confuse people but also not avoiding that word because of possible difficulties. Compassion also is not avoiding things because of possible difficulty. So in a way, yeah. So, yeah, there's loving kindness. We sometimes say loving kindness. Then people don't so much confuse loving kindness with liking.


But again, loving kindness is a little clunky. So I guess if I use the word love, people ask me questions about what I mean and then we can remember to notice that it doesn't mean like. Okay? Is that enough distinctions for you? Yes? I'm not clear on something you said, unless it's in a different context here. The creative mind loves what it knows. And that would seem to me not to be a creative mind because if you attach all the time to what you know, it's almost like the monkey mind. Yeah, so in that case I don't mean loves what it knows like likes what it knows. You mean it's comfortable with what it knows?


No. Well, it becomes, through loving what it knows, in other words, if you know something and you're compassionate to it, you will become comfortable with it. Comfortable in a sense that you will calm down with it. And when you're calm with things, even calm with pain, there can be a comfort with pain if you're calm with it. But you become calm with pain when you're compassionate towards it. In other words, when you practice generosity and ethics and patience with pain, you set up the possibility of now calming down with it and relaxing with it. And still the pain's there, maybe, pretty much. I say the pain's there, what I mean is new pains may be given to you, which might be more or less intense than the pain you were practicing with before.


But now along with the pain is serenity and flexibility and joy and ease and clarity and openness that comes with concentrating, not necessarily on the pain but with the pain, but it could be also on the pain. So, does that make sense? And then, you can start playing with the pain. But if you have pain, as you know, and you start playing with it, or if somebody else has pain and you start playing with it, and there's not relaxation in the situation, you can have all kinds of pulled mental and physical muscles. So if somebody's in pain and they're tense and you start playing with them, it's not necessarily a good idea. But if they're in pain and they're relaxed and you're in pain and you're relaxed,


or you're relaxed with their pain and you're relaxed and flexible with your lack of pain, it's possible for one person who's not feeling pain to dance with another person who is feeling pain. If both people are relaxed and concentrated, then people together can start playing with the pain, being creative with the pain, and entering into wisdom with the pain. I see quite a bit of frowning going on. So again, part of loving is being careful. So if there's pain, if there's pain here or there, or in between, part of compassion is being careful and vigilant and gentle with the pain. So I have a question there, because my understanding of compassion, going back to the root of the word, being in the suffering,


my sense was that actually when you're dancing with somebody who's suffering, you're in a sense relating to that suffering, you're not making that separate. You're relating to their suffering and maybe you have the ability to play with the suffering and learn to dance with them in a way that they can't at the moment. But it's not that you have that suffering, they have suffering, and now you're dancing with the suffering partner. You could be dancing with a suffering partner who is able to realize that they're dancing with you. You can also dance with a suffering partner who is not yet ready to dance. You can play with somebody who is not yet ready to play with you, but you still should be careful with the way you play with them, so that you respect their inability to play. But you need to relate their suffering on some level, you can understand all the means of play there. Yeah, you're loving their suffering.


You can't play with them if you don't love them, you can't play with them who are suffering if you don't love them. But it's possible that you would be calm with somebody else's suffering, not just like, they're suffering and I don't care, but you're intimately relating with their suffering and it could almost be as intense for you, you could feel their pain almost as intensely as they do, even though it's different. And you can relax with the pain you feel. So I think, you know, there's a lot of cases like that, where somebody sees somebody else's suffering and they actually feel the suffering, they feel not the suffering, but they feel a suffering which is more intense than the other person feels, because they care so much for the person. And that they relax with their own suffering, in that person's presence.


And they may be able to do that before the other person can relax with their suffering. The hope, you know, not the hope, the belief, is that if we keep doing this, they will eventually learn how to relax with their suffering. But it may take many, many, dances before they sort of feel ready to start loving their suffering, even though their suffering could be less than yours. And there's two kinds of suffering you could bring to the dance. One is, you could have a big illness, which they don't have. You could have a severe, painful illness, plus you could also have the pain that comes from you loving them and seeing their pain. And so your pain could be actually quite a bit more intense. I mean, it could be the case that if they were suddenly plunked into your space, they would faint from the pain. But you're actually quite experienced with this


and relaxed with it, and you can play with it. But they're not yet ready to play with relatively minor pain from your perspective. That can happen, you know. You can take one person and just like, you know, really put a lot of pain on them, and they can relax. Take another person and they can't relax with much lesser pain. But the person who can relax is ready to play with their own pain and then offer an example of how they work with their own pain with the other person. But the other person still may not be ready to relax with their own. So this person, again, part of their loving relationship is that they are careful and they notice that the person doesn't, and they even ask, are you relaxed? The person says, no. Do you want to relax? No. Do you want to reject? How do you feel about this pain? I want to get rid of it.


So you don't feel like saying thank you? No. And you really feel love for this person. So that's why I often use, you know, grandchildren as an example. Sometimes they are ready to play with their pain, and then sometimes they're not. And when they're not, it's really good to be respectful of that and notice that they're not ready to play. And then, they are, even though they're still somewhat uncomfortable. For a lot of people, it's very difficult to see them dancing in that kind of shape.


And yet, that's what we're showing them. Yeah. And we have the example of the founder of the Buddhist tradition. He actually did have, after enlightenment, before enlightenment he was like Mr. Pain, you know. He was like really into pain before enlightenment. He put himself in situations that were extremely painful. And then he said, this is too much. And he gave up this extreme pain thing that he was doing and went to a so-called middle way where he started eating and wearing a little bit of clothes. Even so, after he became, you know, sort of functioning as the Buddha, and just humbly mentioning that he was perfectly enlightened, if anybody wanted to know about what the teaching was, he was available,


if they really wanted to hear. He still had back problems and sometimes could not give his Dharma talks because he had to be reclining and had some of his senior students give the talks for him. And also, towards the end of his life, as you know, he was sick and he he was actually had physical pain. You know, he had dysentery and he looks like he got dysentery and was struggling with dehydration. And, you know, at one point he said to his attendant, Ananda, bring me some water, bring me some of that water, and Ananda said, Lord, that water is really muddy. Ananda, bring me the water,


I want to drink the water, it's muddy. Lord, bring me the water. So he was uncomfortable, but he was still the Buddha and he did have a hard time now, I think. He was teaching just as well as ever, but he was obviously having quite a bit of pain. How much it was, I don't know, it's hard to say. But it could be more than some of the other people who were around him who were having trouble relaxing with the pain they felt by looking at him. And he actually had to be very careful with his students to make sure they did not do something unkind to the person who gave him the food which seemed to have precipitated this dysentery or this illness. Because he did not want them to lose their patience with this person


who hurt their teacher. About ten years ago, I fell off a bike in Texas and went to the hospital and they... Yeah, it was a compound... not compound, it was... broke the femur and they broke the top of the femur to put a rod down it so that the femur would come back together and then they put some pins in and then they... and that was it. And I was somewhat uncomfortable after that. And I was in bed and people were coming to visit me and they were saying, you know, are you having a lot of pain? I said, well, a little bit. But, you know, it's not... you know, the person who's having pain is down the hall. You can hear her all the time. So when I hear her I think, you know,


I'm uncomfortable but this is nothing compared to her. So actually, yeah. It wasn't that bad. Really. Nothing. I could tell more stories about that but any other questions? Yes, Bill. Pardon? Along these lines, yes. Could it be something be not liberating? As a matter of fact, yes.


That's the usual situation. Non-liberation is actually not real. If it was, well, that would be it. We just have to accept that bondage was reality and how could we fight against reality? But bondage is not reality. So, when you realize that bondage is not reality, there is bondage or not liberation at the same time that there's liberation. And the Buddha sees how we're liberated at the same time that we don't see how we're liberated. So the Buddha can see that the situation is not liberated because people are not able to appreciate it at the same time, in fact, people are free. I mean, the way we are actually together


is free. And that can be realized because that's reality. And we can become free of what's not real, which is, suffering is not ultimately real. But it is conventionally real, and so we respect it. And in that sense, sometimes we're not free and suffering. And the way to realize that even while we're not free and suffering, even while we're clinging and suffering, that that's not reality, is by being kind to the suffering, and calming down with the suffering, and being creative with the suffering, and then entering into a relationship where the suffering isn't out there in front of us anymore. Nothing is. And then we're free of whatever. But the freedom is always there.


It's just that unless the practice is fully evolved, it's not fully, it's not realized. Except by the people who are, the beings who are doing the practice fully. They're right there realizing it, but they also see that it's not being realized by some beings, and then they're trying to love those beings, and play with those beings, and get those beings to start playing with them, so that... Okay? Yes? May I ask a mundane question? A mundane question? A mundane question. Finally, finally somebody is asking a mundane question. All these super mundane questions, it's enough of them. Finally, a mundane one.


Was that your mundane question? I'm going to ask Lori how she's feeling. How are you feeling, Lori? I'm happier lying down. Okay, can you hear anything? Great. Thank you. She's fine. I think she said she's happier lying down. Anybody else wants to lie down? Go ahead. Oh, there's Charlie with the mundane question. I'm wondering... I might have done something that you... Let's check it out. I pressed this thing here by accident. Okay, it looks fine. Everything's okay? Okay, yes? I'm wondering how you prepare for these classes, how you study this material, and how you come up with these notes that you have, because you seem to do a pretty good job


and I... Why thank you. I'd like to emulate that somewhat. Well, since you asked, I've been thinking, you know, and try not to be proud about it, but I've been thinking about for this class and a lot of other classes that are going on right now, I'm really enjoying feeling like I'm, you know, I'm like living in this world of kind of like... It's like a world of turmoil of all the different possibilities of how I can, you know, come to this class or the other classes that I'm doing. And I'm really feeling like, not exactly like I'm being creative, but like I feel like I'm living in the middle of a very creative process.


So I'm... And I said the other night to a group of people who were in the practice period at Green College, I said, among my various embarrassments, one of them is that I'm so fortunate to be able to be supported to think about these teachings a lot. You know? It's partly because I have so many teaching venues each week at this time that I sort of... Because of that, I'm supported to be... Like, all day long today, basically, I was thinking about this class. So one of the main ways I do it is like, I'm just thinking about this class all day long, and I was thinking about it yesterday, too. And, yeah, I... And I just feel so happy to be thinking about it and then trying to do the practices that I'm talking about... You know, while I do the practices in relationship to the presentation of the teachings. And then I take some little notes,


and I try to take the notes in such a way that it would be, you know, what I call bite-size kinds of notes. So, like, tonight I said some stuff, but I didn't feel like it was so much that I felt like I could follow it. And Kathy's nodding her head, and she's new to the class, so it's great. So I... One of the main ways I prepare is by thinking about it all the time. And then part of what I want to do is, when I get here, sort of, like, find the class here rather than in terms of my notes. So I had these notes, but I didn't look at them. I don't know if you noticed, but I didn't look at them. But if you look at the notes, they're pretty wild, kind of. Pretty wild notes. They're kind of weird. They're all over the place. I'm fortunate that I cannot actually read,


you know, a paragraph. I just can't do it. I can't look away from you long enough to read a paragraph. So I don't. Almost never do I read a paragraph in a class. If I had the ability to do that without losing contact, I probably would try it. But I can't. And the contact with you is more important. But again, I've been thinking about it all day long, pretty much, and I was thinking about it when I'm driving over, and I kind of look forward to thinking about it when I'm driving over. But I kind of take a little break after the class is over on the way back. And part of the way I work with it is, in a sense, I say I think about it all day long, but that includes, I think about taking breaks. Because taking breaks makes me more,


what's the word, more enthusiastic when I go back. I take breaks, and also taking breaks helps certain things that I'm doing sink in. So that's part of my process. Part of the creative process is to rest. Part of the creative process is not to keep thinking about something too long, just by momentum, and to learn when to stop it and do something different. And to really give you the idea, it would take, you know, it would go the whole day with me. Yes, Michel? What I'm having a little difficulty with is about pain, about suffering. Even pain, seeing somebody just when admitted and logic, then it becomes pain.


That's right. And suffering is the same, but I don't know what's happening to anyone, the person that I'm projecting. It's my idea that there's somebody out there, so that's the piece of what it's about, who doesn't have out there. How can you have compassion? The compassion I have for the person that I'm projecting is suffering, because I objectivize that I have a compassion. Instead of honest, I call compassion seeing things as they are. I don't know if that's clear. No, it's clear. And it reminds me of when this baby girl was recently born to my daughter. My wife went down to Los Angeles ahead of me and she kept saying, you know, describing the situation and she kept saying, unbelievable, unbelievable. And I said,


is it really unbelievable? And she said, no, it's awesome, it's miraculous. So, you could say about the bodhisattvas, unbelievable, but really it's more like miraculous. It's a miracle that they can feel deep compassion for beings when they don't see any. There's nobody out there and yet they feel compassion for this nobody out there. It's just kind of a miracle. And their compassion is this really pure compassion because it's only for them. It's not coming from the pain they feel from being separate from the beings. So they see the beings but the beings aren't out there. There's no being out there separate from them. They don't have the pain that we have from seeing people separate from us. They only have the pain from loving people who don't understand this yet.


So they do feel pain when they see somebody who's not separate from them, who doesn't understand they're not separate. They really feel that pain and that pain they feel is their compassion. And that pain is the greatest joy that there is. And it's a miracle. So they don't feel the pain, the fundamental pain of thinking that things are out there external to us. They don't have the pain of thinking the universe is external to them. They don't have that pain. They only have the pain of compassion. And that pain is a great joy and inspiration to them. But it is a pain. And they really do... It's an intolerable pain. They cannot overlook it because they care so much for the beings


who are not separate from them. Which makes sense if they would. But still how that happens is kind of inconceivable. And they're teaching us how to get over the pain that they've gotten over so we can have the pain of compassion for all beings. And when we get over the pain of externality then we really can open to everybody. Does that make sense? Somewhat? Well, I can start this other


line of consideration then if there's no more questions. Which is, so even for the even for the Bodhisattva with his great vow and even for the Bodhisattva who has really developed lots of compassion and compassion for all beings and also for the beginning Bodhisattva they have some kind of like sense of what they're committed to. They have some sense that they're committed to the welfare of beings. They have some sense of the path. They have some vision of the path that they wish to follow. They have some vision of the great vehicle, of the universal vehicle of living for the welfare of others. They have some sense of the great work, some picture of it, some vision of it. And they use that vision to orient their effort,


to orient their practices of compassion. But again, for a long time the Bodhisattvas still are looking at their conscious construction, their image, their idea, their idea of the path, their vision of the path is still somewhat dualistic for a long time. So the practices that they have a vision of, which is not the practices, but their vision of them, they still do these practices. And the more they do these practices that we've been talking about, the more concentrated they get in these practices. The more you practice kindness,


the more you practice generosity and ethics and patience, the more concentrated you become and the more concentrated you become, the more concentrated those practices become and the more concentrated you become. So in this way, gradually you get ready to purify your vision of the path. So that your vision of the path, again, is not out there, separate from you. And then you enter into the path. Your vision of the path is purified of your idea of what you're doing. Your vision of all the practices you're doing are purified of your idea of them. By doing the practices according to your idea and also receiving the teaching that you're doing the practice according to your idea and that this is not the actual practice.


This is your idea of it. But the more you do it, the more you become free of your idea of what you're doing. And again, as this practice heats up and becomes more concentrated, you move towards the realization of the path or the practice. And in the realization of the path and the practice, the practitioner and the path are both realized and both purified, so they're not two things anymore. Yes.


I think, you know, I think one of the nice things about, one of the wonderful things about English is we can change that. We can compassion... You can Google somebody, right? If you can Google somebody, you can compassion somebody. So we can start this now. We can start compassioning people. Let's go compassion somebody now. So we can do that. English allows that, doesn't it? Yeah. So we should have this gentle... Compassionate. Compassionate is an adjective, isn't it? Yeah. We should have this compassionate campaign to compassion people and to be patient if people think we're weird and fight us and beat us up for saying compassion people. If any English teachers are offended,


we should be compassionate to them. But let's start doing it. Let's do the same thing to compassion that we did to Google. Right? Google originally wasn't a verb, was it? No. But it became a verb quite quickly, didn't it? Google is a noun and it's a verb. Compassion is a noun and now it's a verb. I'm not saying it wasn't a verb before this because some people did try it. But thanks to you, now there's a whole bunch of people. The compassion movement... Okay, thank you, Stephen. I've been wanting to do that for quite a while, to compassion things, but I didn't dare. Thanks for your... Because of your suffering, I'm now encouraged to compassion everybody. Does that make us compassionate?


I think so. There's so many... When I was editing... There's a book now that's coming out, published by Rodmel Press, called The Third Turning of the Wheel. And when we were working on this, on the text, there were some words that we used. And one of the students at Green Gulch is an English professor. And so I looked up some of the words in the book and they weren't in the dictionary. And she pointed out that there's a lot of words that are perfectly good English words that aren't in the dictionary. But English allows you to make words out of words that aren't in the... Take a word that is in the dictionary and you can do something to it to make it another English word, but it hasn't yet been put in the dictionary. But it follows the rules of English. And some simple words that you probably are already using


are not in the dictionary, but you've been using them and people are comfortable with them. And then you look in the dictionary and they're not in there. But then if you ask the English teacher, they say, well, it's not in the dictionary, but it is an English word. You can do that to this word that's in the dictionary. But somehow they haven't put it in there yet. Yes? Are there any contemporary Buddhist options? Are there any? Well, thank you for asking. You mean like, for example, are there any in this room? Anywhere. Anywhere. Well, you know, this isn't a cop-out, but as I mentioned at Green Gulch recently, there are scriptures where the Buddha humbly mentions that only Buddhas can see who the Bodhisattvas are, especially the advanced ones.


So, and then one of the people who was in the audience, one of the senior students said, well then teacher, it would make sense then to treat everyone as though they were a Bodhisattva because they might be. And he said, yes, that's right. You talk about Bodhisattvas having this awareness that maybe some of the rest of us don't have. And how are we supposed to apprehend that in any way? How are we supposed to apprehend? Well, fortunately we have ten minutes left in this class so I can answer your question. I think, Charlie asked me how do I prepare for this class.


I think quite a bit about how there are innumerable Bodhisattvas, highly developed Bodhisattvas present in our life right now, but we can't see them. I think about that. It's not exactly that I believe it, but I believe it enough that I think about it a lot. Now there's another meaning of Bodhisattva is a Bodhisattva isn't necessarily a person. It's a way of being. Sometimes you maybe think you can see a Bodhisattva in the neighborhood of a person because of the way a person's acting. That a person acts, you could say the person's acting like a Bodhisattva or the enlightened being, the being enlightenment, seems to be expressed by what the person's doing. So an ordinary human being who is maybe not well established


in this Bodhisattva way of being, in fact for a moment it looks like, it looks like that's a Bodhisattva. So that's another understanding of how there can be a Bodhisattva is that a person can act as though they didn't think that other people were outside them. If you didn't think people were external to you, you would be able to do various miraculous things. You know, like you'd be able to love everybody if you didn't think that people were separate from you. You look like you're doing some heavy thinking over there. Well, I mean my question was prompted a little bit by your use of the word miraculous earlier. Yeah. And what does that mean for an everyday person?


I don't think I've ever experienced anything I would call miraculous. So maybe I could speak to my experience, or maybe something happened and I didn't know that it was miraculous. So that's in part where my question came from. And you were talking about the cultivation of awareness and being, and that's, you know, in your preparation for this talk, you know, thinking about it all day, and it seems like, you know, the example you gave of somebody acting in a miraculous way without really being bodhisattva, but being, you know, having a relationship to whatever was going on, as if he or she were bodhisattva,


doesn't speak quite to what we're all here. I mean, you know, we're all trying to understand maybe we don't need to be here. So I follow my reasoning, if we can just, people can just act in miraculous ways without any preparation, or, you know, I don't believe that myself, but... Did you say you don't think people can act in a miraculous way without preparation? I think people can do very heroic things, maybe that's my word, and maybe it's just a miracle. In other words, giving yourself for others, kind of the ultimate heroic thing. And I don't necessarily call that a miracle, but it's not a thing, I'm just getting into a contemplative... The miracle I was talking about was that somebody could


do this thing which might look heroic, but the being that's there is also not thinking of what they're doing. And they do it even though, in this case, they do it even though they don't see anybody out there, separate from them. And that is the bodhisattva, is that you do heroic things for other beings who you don't think are other. That's the bodhisattva. And then you could say, is there any being like that in this room? And I'm saying, well, in a sense, that could happen to one of us, and the word preparation is one word, but causes and conditions could come together that that kind of thing could happen


sort of in relationship to a human. But it could also happen, not as a human, in this room. There could be like that very event you're speaking of could happen in this room, but if it doesn't sort of connect with a human being, we often would miss it. Because we're really concerned that humans can't usually do that. And part of what attracted many of us to practice was examples of humans who were able to act in a way that one could act not only if they cared for others first, but even above that, that they care for others without thinking that others were separate. That's the super miracle. Because when we care for others compassionately, but think they're separate, then our compassionate activity


for their welfare will be undermined by the belief that they're separate. So part of this training is not just to try to remember to focus on the welfare of others, but also understand that until we understand that others are not out there, this effort I'm speaking of will be a struggle and will be somewhat hindered. And the main hindrance of it, once you're into practicing compassion, the main hindrance of compassion at that point is thinking that the objects of your compassion are separate. And so the bodhisattva is not just a compassionate being, a bodhisattva is a wise being. They not only are devoted to the welfare of everybody, but they understand that nobody is out there.


So the miracle is how they could be devoted to beings who are not out there for them. Because they don't really... So that's kind of a miracle you could say. That sometimes is called the Mahayana miracle by certain people. Because they don't see anybody out there and yet they go right ahead and are devoted to the beings who are not out there. And then they see miracles all the time. But they don't see anything different than you do. They just see everything you do. If they were looking at what you're looking at through your eyes, they would just see everything as a miracle. Even suffering as a miracle. However, they feel compassion for suffering and they don't feel compassion for happiness. They don't feel compassion for freedom from suffering. But freedom from suffering they see as a miracle. And suffering they see as a miracle.


They see everything as a miracle which makes them unhindered in their devotion to beings. And to really see a bodhisattva, this is again sort of, sorry to say this in a way, to really see a bodhisattva, you have to not see objects. Because the bodhisattvas are not separate from you. They're not out there, bodhisattvas are not external to us. And buddhas are not external to us. So if we understand that, then we would be able to see bodhisattvas. But we wouldn't see them as objects, we would just know them. We would know that function. Thank you for your question. May our intention


May our intention equally extend to every being and place with the true merit of Buddha's way. Beings are numberless. I vow to save them. Delusions are inexhaustible. I vow to end them. Dharma gates are boundless. I vow to enter them. Buddha's way is unsurpassable. I vow to become it.