On the Body 

Audio loading...

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

AI Summary: 



We had one class already. This is the second class. And, can you hear me okay? We had one class already. This is the second class. And also I want to note that there was an outstanding question from Ellen. Is that right? We'll get to that, hopefully. I want to read the course description. I want to pay my respects to the course description. It says, Zen meditation on the body. And it says some other things, which we can skip, I think. And it says, thorough attention and compassionate care of the body, thorough attention of the body, are essential for the realization of wisdom and freedom of the Buddhas.


This series of classes will offer ways of working with and understanding the body that are enlightening and liberating. So, I'd like to edit that a little bit and say, when I said thorough attention, that goes with, this class will offer ways of working with the body. This will offer ways of giving thorough attention to the body. But another way to say it is, I will offer ways of imagining the body, ways of using the attention to imagine the body,


which may be liberating, may be enlightening and liberating. I also am open to and will offer ways of taking compassionate care of the body, which reminds me to ask you now, if you would like me, during the sitting, to come around and make some suggestions to you in hopes of promoting your thorough attention to your body. And if you do not want me to... The way I do that usually is I look at you, and then I also sometimes feel your back and make a suggestion to your posture, your back and neck, sometimes your arms and hands.


So if you don't want me to do that, please let me know. You can let me know right now by raising your hand that you don't want me to do it. You can also, maybe if I come around and I touch your back, and you don't want me to just raise your hand, I won't touch you anymore. Also, I could offer instruction while you're doing walking meditation also. This instruction, as I hope you'll see quite soon, this will be something physical from me, in a sense, or from the environment, which includes me, a touch or perhaps a sound from me to touch your body, to help you understand your body. That's my intention anyway. I hope that what I'm offering will, in the long run,


help you understand your body, and be liberated by that correct understanding. That's my aspiration. I proposed, which I think I proposed last week, that normal living beings, you know, almost everybody, really, what they think their body is, what they experience their body is, is not really an experience of their body, it's more like a perception of their body. What most people know as their body is their perception of their body. But what people perceive as their body is actually their imagination of their body. Did I say something like that last week? So, this is a rather strange thing to say to people,


because a lot of people think they don't imagine their body, but I'm suggesting that the body we know is what we imagine. The body we imagine, I'm not saying that's our body, that's an aspect of our body. And I'll go into that more too later. One of the aspects of our body is the knowable aspect, which is the imaginary aspect. The way our body is in its basic way is not an appearance, is not an image. We don't know it. Even though it supports all of our fantasies about it. So I will be trying to help you,


in a sense, reimagine your body in a way that will liberate you from your imagination of your body, because most people believe their imagined body is their real body, and their imagination of other people's body is their real body, and their imagination of their own mind is their mind, and their imagination of other people's minds is their mind. And that's a mistake that we make, naturally, and by certain instructions we can reimagine things so we become free of believing that what we think other people are is what they are, and what we think we are is what we are. It's not to exactly refute that, but sort of. Refute that means refute our belief that what we think of each other is what each other are. So this pops in my mind, this image of


when the truth fills your body and mind, you realize that something's missing. When the truth doesn't fill your body and mind, you think you understand sufficiently. Most people think they understand sufficiently. They think, well, I'm me, and you're you, and what I think I am is what I am, and what I think you are is what you are. That's what it's like when the truth doesn't fill you. When it does fill you, you consider the possibility that maybe other people aren't just what you think they are. And then images of the ocean, when you go out in the ocean, away from the shore where there's no islands, and you look at the ocean, the ocean looks like a circle of water. That's the way it looks, but the ocean is not a circle of water. It's infinite, basically,


but it looks like a circle of water to our perceptions. The ocean and our experience of the ocean is also infinite, except we also have another version of our experience of the ocean, which is our imagination of our experience of the ocean, and that's a circle of water in the infinity of our experience of the ocean. Our experience of the ocean, the ocean's experience of us, is our life. It's inconceivably vast and ungraspable, but it is our life. And so this is about how to realize our actual life, our inconceivable life, which supports us to make our life conceivable. Our inconceivable life does not stop us from imagining that our life is conceivable. It lets us be conceivers,


but also our inconceivable life touches us, and when it touches us, there's some stress between our inconceivable life and our conceptual version of our life, and that stress can motivate us to try to understand the totality of our life. I would like now to start talking about the dependent co-arising of living beings' bodies. I would also like to talk about the dependent co-arising of Buddha's bodies, but I'll start with the dependent co-arising of living beings' bodies, which I talked about last week, but maybe I'll talk about it again now.


One thing I said last week, which I'll say again, I think I will anyway, I'll just say it. I'll just say it. I changed my mind, but I think I'll just go ahead and say what I said I was going to say. The structure of the inconceivable causal arising of our consciousness, the way our consciousness actually arises, is inconceivable, and yet I'm going to give you a concept of it. I'm going to give you a concept of the structure of this inconceivable thing. Is it possible that an inconceivable thing could have a structure? I think so. The structure of the inconceivable thing is not the inconceivable thing,


it's just a story about it, but it might be helpful. So the structure of the inconceivable process by which our body arises is, the structure is the reciprocal relationship between, what, between the body of sense organs, the body as sense organs, or the sensitive body, the reciprocal relationship between the sensitive body, the responsive body, the sense organs, and sense data, or, I don't know, does it work to say sensible data? Is the word sensible spelled the same way


when you use it for something that's sensible and something you can sense? Is it spelled the same way? Huh? What? I mean sensory, yes, but I also mean sensible. Sensory data and sensible data. And I mean sensuous body, sensuous body, and sensible data. The reciprocal relationship between those is a dependent co-arising of the body, and it's also the dependent co-arising of consciousness. So the structure of the dependent co-arising of the inconceivable body and the conceivable body is the reciprocal relationship between sensitive tissue,


which is not living until it is touched by sensible data. A body that can be sensitive is not alive until it is touched. Just a body that isn't being touched is not yet alive, but when the body is touched and it responds, that's consciousness. So the dependent co-arising of consciousness and the dependent co-arising of sense data or sensory data and the sensible body are simultaneous and interdependent. To say that data is sensible but is not being sensed,


you could say that, but that's, you're saying, potentially, you know, potentially electromagnetic radiation of a certain wavelength can be sensible, but when it's not sensed, it isn't really data. Electromagnetic radiation isn't data until it touches something that dates it. I suggest that to you. You can argue with me if you want. And the body that hasn't been touched is not a living body. But when the body is touched and responds to this data and the data also isn't just, the data is like knocking on the door. It's saying, please give me some attention. Please respond to me. And the body says,


hello, who are you? The sensitive body says, and that interaction is actually called the door of the arising of consciousness. So those three come up together and none of the three do the sensing by themselves. We usually don't think that light does the sensing of light, of color. We don't usually think that. And that's correct, it doesn't. But we do sometimes, some people do think that the eye sensitivity, the eye organ, that it does the seeing. But it doesn't. Some people think the eye consciousness, which arises when the eye sensitivity is touched by the eye data, the eye sense data, that that consciousness is what knows. But it doesn't. It's the three of them together that's the knowing of, for example, color. That's the proposal. And the way they do that,


although I just told you the structure, the way they do that is inconceivable. The actual way that that happens cannot be grasped. And that supports the arising of consciousness, and the consciousness that arises that way is a consciousness which can imagine, which can image. And humans, of course, are really amazingly gifted at imagining, but other animals can imagine too. Like the animals that live with us, particularly dogs and cats, it's really easy to imagine that they're imagining. Like they seem to imagine that they own certain things, they seem to imagine that they need you sometimes and don't other times. They seem to imagine that your idea of what should be going on is not good.


They seem to. I imagine that they do. I imagine that sometimes they have nightmares. This is my imagination. Actually, cats and dogs, like us, are basically inconceivable mysteries. But sentient beings, like cats, dogs, and humans, are addicted to knowing, and they've got to know. They've got equipment to support the addiction, which is the imagination. The imagination can make anything knowable to feed the knowing addiction, the grasping addiction, which is based on past knowing. Okay. That's the structure of the dependent co-arising of the body. And if you look at the structure of it,


if you accept that structure, perhaps you can see how the body that arises by that interaction is ungraspable. Because you can't get the body separate from the data. Because the body separate from the data isn't the living body. And it isn't the conscious body. And you can't get the consciousness floating out separate from the body or separate from the things that are touching from the body. The consciousness is inseparable from the physical world of data and the physical world of sensitivities. You can't get a hold of mind, the world, the physical data world, or the physical sense capacities world. And actually, those three worlds are not separate worlds. They come together to make a living being. And the living being is basically not a world either. The living being is an inconceivable being who can imagine a world.


And so most of us can imagine a world. And in that world we have trouble. Birth and death. Presidential elections. Fiscal cliffs. Debt crises. Poverty. Many things. All of our problems exist in the imagined world which is possible because of this consciousness which is totally inseparable from this body which is inseparable from the consciousness and inseparable from the world which it's dancing with. That's a story of the dependent co-arising of the body, the sensitive body, the sensuous body of a living being. And I also use the word reciprocity.


The reciprocity of body, sense data, and consciousness. That reciprocity is the basic reality of our life. That's our basic life. Okay, now here's another imagination thing. This is an image, a bunch of images. The mountains and rivers of the immediate present. I'll say it again. The mountains and rivers of the immediate pre-conceptual present


are the manifestation of the path of the ancient Buddhas. And path could also be said practice. The mountains and rivers of the immediate present are the manifestation of the practice of the Buddhas. The mountains and rivers which are dancing with us right now, the Berkeley Mountains and the Marin County Mountains and the Sierra Nevadas and the Himalayas, all the mountains of the world and all the waters of the world, right now, are touching us,


touching our bodies. And the way they're touching our bodies and the way we're receiving them and responding to them, not just that they touch us, but we receive them, we respond, we are moved by them. And that interaction is our mind and that whole thing is our experience in the immediate present. And the way that works, that is the practice of Buddhas. Buddhas are practicing in accord with the way things are happening for living beings. Buddhas are the way life is actually happening. The practice of the Buddhas is the practice of the way we're actually living. Living beings are dreaming about the way they're actually living. And where they're dreaming is the world of suffering.


This instruction is coming from the Buddhas who have realized the freedom from this dream and they haven't destroyed the dream because that would destroy sentient beings. Buddhas are not destroyers. They're educators. And they have been educated by Buddhas. They've been taught how to be kind to the world of imagined bodies and realize the inconceivable world of the way the bodies are actually relating with the mountains and the rivers. In other words, they've learned how to enter the practice of the Buddhas. So this is like, this story starts to cross over into the dependent co-arising of Buddhas' bodies. Buddhas' bodies...


Buddhas manifest a body and awaken living beings. So that way of saying it is Buddhas manifest a body. Some ancient teacher said Buddhas manifest a body and awaken beings. But the Zen ancestor Dogen says Buddhas manifest a body and awaken living beings means that the awakening of living beings is itself the manifestation of Buddhas' body. See, there's the dependent co-arising of Buddhas' body and waking up sentient beings. It isn't that Buddhas have a body and that body awakens sentient beings. It's that Buddhas' body is when we wake up.


When we awaken, that's Buddhas' body. Buddhas manifest a body and awaken sentient beings, yes, but really Buddhas manifest the body as our awakening. We awaken now. Wouldn't you like to realize that? Or perhaps I should say, would you like to realize that? I would like you to. Sentient beings are not fully awakened to that, being awakened right now,


because they are addicted to the world of imagination. But if we're kind to the world of imagination, we will hear teachings which will help us to continue to be kind to the world of imagination. And also we'll hear teachings which tell us, this is the world of imagination, hello. And one of the ways to be kind to the world of imagination is to be kind to the imagination of your body, and one of the ways to be kind to the imagination of your body is to sit upright and stand upright and walk upright. It's a kindness that you can do for your body. And you also can be kind by being patient


with any difficulties you might have in sitting upright, standing upright, and walking upright. And be patient with other people's difficulties in sitting upright, standing upright, and walking upright. And be generous towards your body by giving it the gift of giving it attention which can sponsor it sitting upright, and so on. And being careful of it. Like, you know, many people, I've seen it, it's just wonderful how careful they are when they're taking care of little babies or sick people. Really careful, and we can be more careful. Like people, like I've just read an article


about this Indian writer, which some of you know. I think he's the one who, he recently wrote an article about why Cheesecake Factory is so successful. You know, it's like McDonald's in a way, except he says he went in there and he said the food was really good. They've really got a system of checks and so on, a training method by which they can really take good care of the customers and the ingredients and the cooking and so on. And he also wrote an article a long time ago, I think it was him, he writes off for the New Yorker, about checklists in ICU units, and how having checklists really helps not make mistakes in the ICU. Anybody read that article?


And without the checklist, people overlook stuff. It's very fast-paced there and lots of details, but having the checklist really helps. Also with your posture, having a checklist helps. So when you sit, it's good to check how your sitting bones are sitting on whatever they're sitting on. And be careful of that. And when you sit down, that's a major caregiving opportunity. Every time you sit, you can do that. And same when you're standing, how you put your feet down is a caregiving opportunity, which you can give a lot of attention to every time. And when you're walking, every step. Recently my daughter made a contract with me


to come and take care of her little baby girl on Monday afternoons so she can study. So she's pretty light now. She actually weighs about 18 pounds, and I put her in a pack in front of me, and we go for a walk in San Francisco. I usually do that when it's time for her to take a nap. And then she's a little bit crabby, so she doesn't like to usually get into the pack, and she fusses a little bit. But with her mother's assistance, I can get her into the pack. Once I get her in the pack, she's perfectly happy and conks out very fast. So then we walk, she and I, her asleep for an hour or so. She wakes up usually towards the end and looks up at me and starts to look at the sky and the trees. But I brought this up because when I'm walking with her,


she helps me, partly because she's in the front, she helps me work on my posture. I really, if I don't take care of my posture, I will, given my body, I will be very uncomfortable. So I stand up quite straight. I have to stand up really straight with this weight in the front of me. Can you imagine that? I could put her in the back, but I like watching her sleep and wake up and stuff. I have a weight vest that I sometimes wear when I climb the mountains of Green Gulch, which weighs 22 pounds, and it's much easier to carry that than 17 pounds in the front. And when she gets to be 25, 30 and so on, I'll really have to stand up straight. I'll probably be almost bending over backwards, which actually is, for me, really good. After doing this walk, I am pretty much in nirvana,


very happy. I just love doing it, but part of the reason I love doing it is because I wouldn't love it doing it if I didn't take care of my body, my imagined body, my imaginary body. I don't know about my other one. I don't know how to take care of it. I don't know how to take care of it. I don't know how to take care of the practice of the Buddhas, except by entering it. Once you're in the practice of the Buddha, you don't really have to take care of it. It's spontaneous. You don't have to exactly take care of the way you're relating to the whole universe and the way the whole universe is related. You just got to get in there, and you're already there. So we have to take care of our cognitive processes which alienate us from our perfect enlightenment practice. And if we take care of them, we touch and are touched by that realm


which is never apart from us, right where we are. Right? So, checklist. Be careful of how you put your sitting bones where you're sitting, your standing bones where you're standing. Standing bones are sometimes called feet. If you're doing handstands, they're called hands. If you're doing elbow stands, they're elbows. What you're standing on anyway, carefully attention to it. And then make your back, make your back, what? Make your back what? Make your back, what should you do with your back? Give it attention, and imagine it what? Imagine it, what? Yes? Aligned. Aligned. Aligned with maybe the earth or gravity.


Aligned in a way that's balanced and the least stressful maybe, which takes some time to find. Like for me, when I'm carrying the little girl in front of me, the least stressful is definitely upright. Leaning forward really hurts me. If she was on my back, it would be easier not to, I wouldn't be quite so painful to not stand up straight. So for me, aligning, I'm looking for a, yeah, the most comfortable way in a way. It takes effort to find it and take care of it, but the effort is really more comfortable than being lazy for me. And then I also lengthen the back of the neck when I sit, that's another checklist thing, so that this part of my head, the back of my head is higher. My head sort of goes down a little bit when this part's higher. That straightens the back of my neck.


I kind of broaden my neck. And again, I do this because I am blessed with a body that likes that. My body does not like being in not good posture. So for example, leaning back in chairs isn't even comfortable for me. So I'm encouraged not to lean back in chairs, but to sit upright in chairs. And then the front of the face, coming down the head, we keep the eyes open so we can, so we can see our fantasies, our fantasy relationships with the world. We can see all the beings we're devoted to. We keep our nose open, so when we breathe through our nose, when we're sitting, we close our mouth, gently, I would say at this time, with our tongue on the roof of our mouth, and we relax the front of our body,


and we put our hands in this cosmic mudra, and place it against our abdomen, if we can, below our navel. So these are checklist things to take care of. And then taking care of them carefully and gently, not forcing, don't force the checklist, do the checklist in a gentle way. So that's why I said maybe for this class I should offer, it might be nice to offer some encouragement, for you to be kind to your body when you're sitting. Well, again, the dependent co-arising of the Buddhas


is the Buddhas are not functioning Buddhas. I should say, they're not manifesting Buddhas, they don't have a body. Yeah, they don't have a body, except when the body is in relationship to living beings. So their body is not, their body is not in the realm of imagination where living beings live, they're free of the imagination, it's not inside or outside of that, but the body of Buddha responds to the cry, to the call, yeah, of living beings who are living within karmic consciousness. And when they respond,


the enlightening process starts, and that process is the body of the Buddha manifesting through that relationship. I feel like, although Ellen is not raising her hand right now, I would like to pretend that she just asked a question about this thing, because I think you were saying last week something like, in the realm of our imagination of our body, and our imagination of our body's relationship with other bodies in that realm, we have frequently, frequently it arises that there's some anxiety that our imagination is that we're separate from other bodies, we're separate from our environment, and in that imagination system,


in that imagination pattern, there is affliction in the form of anxiety. And I think Ellen said that she felt that that anxiety, which is a mental phenomenon, can be a sensation. And I wonder if you'd say a little bit more about how you imagine that anxiety which arises within our imagination of our body, for example, how that can also be a sensation. Could you say something about that? Well, I guess I experience it like... It's sort of... You know, I think sometimes about something that you said, you know, the touch is just a touch. And I experience anxiety as a touch. You know, it's a touch. It's like that. You say you experience anxiety of what?


As a touch. Your own or other people's? Your own? How about other people's? Okay. So I was thinking about that today, about how anxiety could become a touch. And here's what I imagined. This is my imagination, right? So I said this before, but I'm going to detail that a little bit more. Now, like before I said, the consciousness arises from the interaction of sensuous body and sense data. That's how consciousness arises. So consciousness is really those three together. Those three actually... It actually says, when those three touch,


the touch between those three is the initiation of conscious life, which means the body comes alive, consciousness is there, so the consciousness is alive, and is the sense data alive? We usually don't say the sense data is alive, but it's inseparable from our life. So it's a little bit like... Sense data is like God-life too, sort of, because there's... Is it possible there would be some sense data without life? Well, then it's not sense data, then it would be material that's not data. So when those three are together, we have the basic dependent-core arising of consciousness. And in that consciousness, then, there can be imagination, lots of kind of conceptual activity going on. Another detail of this dependent-core arising


is that this consciousness, when it arises with the body, when I said, and then there can be imagination, this body, this basic consciousness, which arises with the body, the way it happens is inconceivable, and that basic consciousness is not exactly inconceivable, it's just not active consciousness. It's a consciousness which isn't really active. It's like what you sometimes would call, what we sometimes would call, unconscious. But we're not talking about an unconscious rock, we're talking about an unconscious being. In other words, we're talking about the unconscious, or the unconscious mind. Yeah. We're not talking about the unconscious what? Rock. Rock. Talking about the unconscious of a living being. That unconscious, that unconscious is the results


of past karmic activity. And that results of past karmic activity sponsors the arising of present karmic activity in which we can imagine and then give rise to anxiety. That imagination and the anxiety then touch, or we say actually permeate or perfume the consciousness which is living with the body. Our active consciousness is also living with the body, but it can imagine it's separate. Or it can imagine that it's together. But it thinks dualistically about what it doesn't have a dualistic relationship with. Like everything. It doesn't have a dualistic relationship with anything,


but it imagines that it does with almost everything. That again is the source of anxiety, that misconception is the source of all of our afflictions. That consciousness which gives rise, which supports anxiety, in which anxiety is living, that consciousness touches, transforms the consciousness which supports it. And the consciousness again that supports it is living with the body which is living with the world. And the results of our cognitive activity, of our imagining has two sections of consciousness. One section of consciousness is the shared part of the results of our imagining, is the shared part of our anxiety,


and that is the sense data world. And then there's the unshared part which is our sense capacities. So both are actually in this system, the actual thing that's touching us, the physical world that's touching us is the results of our mental activity. The physical world that's touching us is actually alive. And it is the part of our consciousness which we share. So all of us make contributions to a shared consciousness which is the universe of sensible data. And all of us make contributions to individual consciousness which is connected to our sense organs.


And those two realms of consciousness support our active consciousness. So in that way I can imagine how the activities of our karmic consciousness, of the imaginative consciousness which arises based on this consciousness which arises with the body and then sponsors this imaginary consciousness, I can imagine that the things there actually touch the mind and they touch the mind through the sense organs and through sense data which again touches the sense organs. So I can imagine basically a two-fold touching of our anxiety to our body and our world. So when you have an experience of anxiety you transform the physical world which is an aspect of our shared... it's our shared activity,


it's our shared physical world. And also, I say you, I mean your anxiety also transforms your own consciousness which is connected to your own sense organs. So this is something to imagine. And I did it today in relationship to what Ellen said. And I'm just imagining. That's what I was doing, nothing more. And my imagining is being coordinated with imagining I've done in the past in response to reading and studying Buddhist teachings about the arising of mind and body together with the world and the arising of active imagining consciousness


with the body, mind, world arising. So, any imagination here? Yes? Thank you very much Ellen for that. And I'm here to sponsor anybody who wants to try to do that imagination thing again. Yes? So you were describing the system how it works with anxiety. I was just wondering, in your imagination, does the system work the same in awakening to the Buddha body? The awakening to the Buddha body, one road to it is to hear this teaching that everything we know, all we know is just mental construction, it's just ideas. That teaching,


which you're hearing and have heard, that teaching you understand somewhat, but to actually enter that teaching is possible by giving, what do you call it, compassionate care to your imagination of your body and compassionate care to your imagination of anxiety and how anxiety arises. Caring for all that allows you to actually enter into understanding what you're thinking about and entering into the mountains and rivers, you know, right now, the mountains and rivers sort of before or inconceivably supporting the world which your mind is creating. The uncreated world, which is already there sponsoring your


creative activities in the terms of imagination. You enter that world by no longer holding on to your conceptual world. But the only way to not hold on to your conceptual world is by being really kind to it with the aid of these teachings. Because if you're just kind to it, you can be kind to it, but I don't think you're going to be able to see its emptiness without somebody telling you about it beforehand. Because its emptiness is in our face all the time and we don't see it. But in fact, with the teaching and the teachings of compassion towards the world of substance, we can wake up to the world, the insubstantial world which is there all the time with us. So the Buddha way, like Elena said, when can we realize this?


We can realize it right now. Right now it's right here. But we have to give up, for example, belief in time and space, past and future, you and me. And I said that to you and I heard myself say it, so I'm actually, I aspire to do that. I'm up for that. But I have to be really kind to actually give it up. When I actually give it up, there's entry into what's already here. You described consciousness of the shared individual consciousness, and I'm just wondering if it sort of creates this perfume as it manifests itself.


When the anxiety manifests itself, it creates a perfume. Yes. And so an awakened person who manifested karmic realm, is there a similar perfume that works to start purifying the karmic consciousness? The awakened person is teaching Dharma, is teaching the people who are in karmic consciousness. The awakened person is sending a message which is saying, which is not saying anything. It's kind of saying, let go, but it's not saying it in words. It's silently saying, let go of your beliefs. It's saying that, but not in language. And when it touches the person who has an imaginative capacity, that person turns, if it's a human,


that person turns this touch into a word image, like everything you know is just conscious construction. But the awakened person is not thinking that. But the awakened person in the past probably did think that, and studied that, and realized it, and when they realized it, part of their realization was to let go of thinking that. Now, a not completely enlightened person, like you and me, when you understand this teaching, you actually enter the understanding that this realm that we're creating, this is just our imagination. You enter into understanding that, and then all the practices of compassion which you did, now you do spontaneously. But you still have the idea of the practices, but you know that your idea of them is not them,


you don't hold your idea of them as them, and that makes it much easier to practice them, and you're free of the anxiety of believing your conscious constructions are more than that. So all the practices which led you to realization are now more and more completely unhindered, and you're even letting go of the teaching that you understood, the concept of the teaching you understood. After doing that, and in order to fully make all the virtues which benefit beings, we have to keep interacting with the images of imagination from this understanding. So when you first enter into understanding, you still have lots of, what do you call it, lots of effects of past imaginings that are supporting your life still.


So images are still arising due to past imagining, supported by past imagining. Images are still arising, and these images still have this power, which is saying, would you please believe this is something more than an image? And with this understanding you say, I really appreciate the offer, but let me just say, is there anything I can do for you? I'm not going to go along with this unless you really need me to, and I don't think you do. And the image says you're right, and that one is taken care of, and the understanding gets deeper. So the deepening of the understanding continues until all the bases for the arising of consciousness are completely transformed into wisdom. And so when the complete transformation of wisdom occurs, it has no basis anymore for a body.


And there's no basis for the arising of consciousness for that being when the world and the sense organs interact. There's no basis there anymore. There's no duality. There's no interaction. And that perfect enlightenment teaches the beings who are still involved in this dance, and don't yet understand it. Yes, Marianne? I was saying that individual consciousness only exists in the presence of sensory data. Would you say that again? Individual consciousness? Individual consciousness only exists in the presence of sensory data. She said, are you saying that individual consciousness


only exists in the presence of sensory data? Okay, so just a second. Okay. I'm just thinking of a special case now, okay? I'm trying to think of a case where you have individual consciousness and no sensory data. We can definitely have individual consciousness which is not about sensory data. Okay? Like, you can be in a realm of consciousness where you're not thinking about anything to do with the body.


So we definitely have that. However, in order for there to be that, the body has to be alive. In order for the body to be alive, there still must be some interaction between it and the sense, there has to be some sensory interaction. However, the consciousness, the active consciousness which arises and can imagine things, that... I think the body has to be alive. But there even are special sense consciousnesses where the consciousness is not at all aware of the physical world. In the sense of, it's not imagining the physical world anymore.


But the body of the person who's not imagining the physical world, in terms of people and buildings and day and night, they're not doing that at all. The body is still in exchange with its environment. It's still in touch, it's still being touched and responding. But there's no active consciousness of it. There is consciousness, but it's not actively imagining. And part of this teaching is coming from a phenomena which is a type of concentration which yogis had found in India a long time ago, and still some may be able to do it, where you actually enter into a state of concentration where you're not imagining a world like this at all,


and there's no physical data at all in the consciousness, and that follows from another state of concentration where you're imagining physical data, but it's not like people and Cadillacs and hamburgers and United States and Russia. It's more like blue, just blue, or just green, just one color. And there's no differentiation or gross things like we usually see. And then that leads to being able to actually be awake and aware, but not see any colors or smells or tastes or touches or sounds. And then based on that, one can actually enter into a state where you actually turn off sensation and feeling. And people entered into that state and then came out of it.


And people, yogis were wondering, how could the person continue to be alive if they turned off their active consciousness? So active individual consciousness can actually be turned off and not have it, and even in that case, there's still life. So there must be another kind of consciousness which is very basic, which supports all kinds of active consciousness and even supports when active consciousness becomes so refined that it can turn off sensation and feeling. And then all the other gradations of active consciousness are all sponsored by this kind of consciousness which is living with the body. And the body is in a sensuous relationship, however, the sensuous relationship is actually with the consequences. The world that's the physical sense world


is actually responding to the results of living beings. Living beings provide living beings with data to be touched by, and living beings supply themselves with bodies. So I would say, now that you're asking the question, to be alive means that our body is sensible, sensuous, interacting with a sensible world and that there's a consciousness there. And then that's basic. And people in comas are like that. People with brain damage and certain special yogic states. You're alive, your body's warm, it's responding to the environment, there's consciousness, but there's no active consciousness. But when there's active consciousness,


there's always this basic situation which is there even when there isn't active consciousness. So your question was originally, can there be individual consciousness? And I thought you meant individual active consciousness where you're imagining that it's Thursday night in Berkeley. Yes, the body must be cooking somewhere in the neighborhood of 98.6 in our case. My body temperature is 97.4 usually. And if my body temperature gets too low, there will be no consciousness and no active consciousness. But when I have active consciousness, there's this basic bodily dance going on with the universe, which is inconceivable, and there's a consciousness which is based on the inconceivable dance,


and that supports my usual active consciousness and in my usual active consciousness is where I'm imagining the practice and trying to practice, because that's the realm that I'm stuck in. That's the realm where all the problems are, so I would like to liberate this consciousness to enter into this inconceivable reality and show others how to do it too. Is that somewhat clear? Was there another hand raised? Oh, hello. It's not sense data. What qualifies as somebody?


For example, if a cat or a dog is there to hear it, well, maybe that's somebody. What about the other tree that it falls on? At what point is it sense data? When there's a sensuous body, there's sense data. A sensuous body that's not being touched, I call a dead body. But if there's a sensuous body, and I'll include plants, if it's responding, then I would say the tree did fall for that sensuous relationship. I heard, you know, I often talk, I don't know if this is true, but I heard a story about the finest roots of a redwood tree,


those real, like, just maybe one or two cells thick, tentacles coming off the roots of the redwood trees. They sometimes touch each other, you know? And one becomes the stimulus for the other, and simultaneously the other one becomes a stimulus. They're both stimulating each other, they're both living roots, but the one experiences the other one as sense data. So for me, you are sense data for my sensuous body, and I'm sense data for your sensuous body. So I'm in this world, I'm sense data for you, I'm a physical, you know, I'm a physical stimulant to your sensitive body, and vice versa. And I see you, because you're a living being who can come to me


in these material sense ways. So these little tips touch each other, and they can not only touch and tell that they're touching, but they can also tell whether that very thin little root is from the same tree that they come from or not. Because other trees are also sending out roots, and they can tell, this one's from the same trunk as me, and this one isn't. So they can, when there's a touch, they can get into same and different. Somehow, there's some kind of consciousness there. But some other people say that, you know, plants don't have psychological problems, even if they have consciousness. So there's some debate about that, which I'd be happy to talk to you about and imagine with you about. This is all, for me, open for imagination, and I'm proposing that


that's where our problems exist, and now we have this political imagination that we've been involved with, it's been very stressful for some people, and I feel like I really would like to try to think about that in a way that would help people be liberated, without trying to get rid of it, to engage it with compassion and use it as an opportunity for liberation. Well, thank you for imagining the body with me tonight. Now I know you will continue to imagine your body without my being in your presence. Please imagine with great compassion, and I will continue with you next week. If you come, please do, if you can. Thank you very much.