On the Body 

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May I remind you again that there was an announcement of a class called Zen Meditation on the Body. Did you hear about that? And did I talk to you about the word meditation? I think in the English dictionary the first meaning in the denotative section for meditation is what? No, a text. The first meaning of meditation is a noun. A text, it's a text. Usually a text which is contemplated, often a religious text that is contemplated. And meditation can also refer to the activity of the contemplation of the meditation.


So the text, in a sense, for this series of meetings is the body. We're meditating on the text of the body. I think I told you before that there's a teaching that all phenomena have three characteristics. This is a teaching from the Samadhi Nirmocana Sutra. Did I tell you about that? Did you hear about it before, Bruce? Do you remember the three characteristics? No? Should I tell you again? Three characteristics. The first one is sometimes called the imagined or imaginary characteristic. The next one is called the other dependent characteristic. And the next one is called the reality characteristic. The body that appears to us, living beings,


is the imaginary body, is a concept or a pattern of concepts. This is what we know our body as. Most living beings, what they know their body as is how they have learned to conceptualize their body. And this is one characteristic of our body, is how we know it. How we imagine it. How the body is made into an appearance.


How an appearance is constructed upon the body, superimposed upon the body. And that superimposition, that imaginary version of the body which is superimposed on the body, is what we know. And we learn to do that through socialization and through learning how to make conventional designations, because our body is composed of images which are words, like hands, arms, legs, feet, brains. Like in an anatomy book, all those words are concepts for the body which we learn. Some people more or less, like some people know millions, not millions, but thousands of names,


word images for the body. They have a highly developed conceptual version of the body. Some people have a simpler one. And that's our habitual understanding and that's our habitual way of working with the body. The body has another characteristic, however, which is not an appearance, which is not an image, which doesn't appear to living beings. And it is actually free of all these ideas that living beings imagine about the body. The non-appearing body, the body which is not an appearance, is free of all appearances.


And that's the second characteristic. It is something that exists, as I've talked to you about, in dependence on things other than itself. The body exists in dependence on, for example, the whole environment, because the body is, in fact, the way of relating to the environment. That interaction, the environment is not the body, but the body is the body. The body exists in dependence on the environment. And that way, the way that the body is interacting with the environment is, some people say, it's primarily beautiful and it's free. And it sponsors, it supports the living being who has such a body to imagine things about it and take the body,


which is supporting the imagination, to be the imagination. So this wonderful free body supports living beings who are the body, but who also are imagining the body is some idea, and the body which is free supports the living being who is not free, who is habitually dreaming about the body and believing the dream is the body, and is stressed by that, because it thinks the body is what it isn't, and it doesn't appreciate the freedom of the body. The third characteristic is the characteristic that the ideas we have about the body, the way the body appears to us, the other dependent character of the body is completely free of these superimposed images.


So in fact, the body can never be known by these images. And to understand that helps us abandon believing that our ideas of the body are the body. We don't eliminate the ideas necessarily, we just no longer believe they're the body. Those are the three characteristics. Meantime, back at the ranch, we know the fantasy body. So, I wish for us to discover and proceed with an overall sense of lightness and ease in the way we care for the body. And one of the ways we care for the body is we care for the imaginary body.


We imagine ways of caring for the imaginary body. So tonight I give you an example of that. When we sit here, and traditionally in Zen practice, we are sometimes asked or instructed to sit still. Or sometimes we're asked or instructed to not move. And when we hear the instruction to not move, what we may do by habit, rather than decide to not move, because we have been instructed by the Buddhas to not move, we try, we actually do move, and then we try to stop ourselves from doing it.


Or rather, to put it another way, which may be easier to understand, instead of deciding to not move, we try to prevent ourselves from moving. But when we try to prevent ourselves from moving, we move and then try to stop it by tensing voluntary muscles. This relationship with not moving is doubly important. One, because it shows us our habitual way of relating to the body, namely that we think, that we try to superimpose something on it. And the other thing is that not moving, among the various instructions, is very important,


because if a living being doesn't move, that's precisely what we mean by enlightenment. So it's kind of an important example, which is one of the reasons that that instruction is given to living beings. To sit and then don't move is a way to be enlightened. But again, when we hear that, rather than just say, okay, I'll be enlightened, you're told not to do something, so then you don't do anything. You just decide to not do what you're told not to do. But we don't do that usually. We try to superimpose not doing on the not doing.


The not doing is already there. You're already not moving. In that sense of not moving, you're already enlightened, but that's not our habit. We don't know how we're not doing something. Or another way to say it is, if you ask me to pick up this cup, all I can do is to decide to do it. People don't usually think that's doing anything. We asked you to move the cup and you didn't move it. But as soon as you asked me, actually, I might have decided to move it. But I didn't do anything. All I can do in response to your request is decide to do them, but I can't make my body move.


But my habit is to think that I can, and so that habit is the habit of delusion and the habit of non-enlightenment. So in order to change, we have to go kind of against the habit. And these words are word images of how to relate to the word image of the body. These are word images about how to relate to the dream body in a new way. And actually, don't worry, because you're just relating to the dream body. You're just potentially disrupting a habit so that you can realize the other dependent body, the beautiful, free, inconceivable body, which supports, among other things,


life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And the pursuit of happiness can be to imagine the body hoping, in hopes that St. Nicholas will soon be here. Our body allows us to dream. It actually has this quality of imagination. It has an imaginary potential which, when it sponsors the mind, the mind imagines and the mind believes the images as something more than images. So the teaching of the three characteristics goes with the teaching that everything that appears to exist is just an idea. Just an idea. Or you could say, if you ask me, if I could say,


if you ask me to move, I can consent. I can say, uh-huh. And you say, well, you said, uh-huh. And I say, uh-huh. And you say, yes, I did. But I didn't really, the consent came. I didn't do that on my own. It was my body's response to you. But when you asked me not to move, I really didn't do the not moving, I just consented. So, I don't know, but I imagine that what I'm saying here is going against some habits. And if so, I'm glad, because that's exactly what this teaching is about. It's a teaching about the truth to go against the habits which delude us, which trick us. Well, the habits which actually


are there because we're tricked, and then they reinforce the tendency to be tricked. And they also contribute to the body, which then supports more imagination. And it's free to do that, and it's free to be free of the imagination. Another thing I'd like to say, which is kind of along the same lines, I'll just say it simply, control, the control that's appropriate here is in the process, not superimposed. So, the control is in the process, the control of the body, the enlightening and benefiting control of the body


is in the body process, not in the superimposition. But we live habitually in the superimposition, that's not where the enlightening control is. The enlightening control is in the way we are actually relating to each other. In that process, there is actually an enlightened control, or an enlightened operation, where everything's being blessed, and everything is blessing and everything is being blessed. It's like blessing control, or controlled blessing. But the blessing control is in the process of the way the body relates, not in the imagination of the body, or in the imagination of blessing. But we do have imaginations of body,


and we do have imaginations of blessing. I'm just opening to some possible good aspect of the word control. Some situation where control would be okay, where it wouldn't be superimposed, confining and oppressing. But it would be like the way things must work in the actual process of relationship. Like, what comes to mind is that some women, maybe some men too, but quite a few women, millions and millions of women, when they're breastfeeding, if they see a baby who's not even their own, across the crowded room, they secrete milk.


And they, you know, that milk secretion is under the control of the relationship of their body, which has milk in the breast, and the sight of the baby across the room, that combination of interactions makes this thing happen. And it's kind of under control. I mean, it happens that way, and doesn't happen another way. But the woman doesn't think, okay, squirt. And even with her own baby, she might think it, but that thought doesn't necessarily have that much influence. Maybe it does, but they usually don't want to wet their blouse when they see somebody else's baby. But there it is. And it's kind of a blessing, I would say. It's kind of enlightened, or enlightening. Well, that's my start for you.


And... When you say control, you're saying the control is already there. So in responding to the request not to move, one can tap into the control that's already there, rather than saying, oh, that kind of... Does one kind of be aware of control that's already there? One can tap into the control that's already there. Namely, that sometimes, when somebody says to you, don't move, like a teacher who you respect, or Buddha or a bodhisattva who says, don't move, or who says, you want enlightenment? Don't move. And then, sort of like, you secrete, yes. You hear the Buddha's instruction, and you say, yeah. You don't decide to do it exactly,


it's a decision, but you didn't superimpose it. Just like when some people ask you to do stuff, you say, yes. Like I often tell the story of my grandson. Now he's a big boy, but when he was about four, he would sometimes say, granddaddy, let's do something. He'd say something he wanted to do. And sometimes the things he said, you know, they seemed pretty bizarre. And he'd look up at me and raise his hands, and then he'd say, after he suggested this activity, which I did not hear, which I did not secrete, yes. He would say, together. And then this yes would come. But I wasn't in control. He wasn't in control. He would say these,


he would express these bizarre activities. He would look up at me, he would raise his arm, and he'd say, together, and then it would be yes. So sometimes a Buddha says to us, practice this way, and we say, yes, we're not in control, but it's like we could not be otherwise than say yes. However, sometimes we say no, and we cannot be otherwise. But we're not in control of our response to the requests of Buddhas and non-Buddhas to us. But there is a control in there. The causes and conditions come together, and the other dependent character of our life is manifested. And it's that way, and it's no other way. And it's just for the moment, and then at the same time we may have an idea about it. We do. But the actual way it happens is not under the control of the superimposed imagination.


And this, the control of the process, which is the enlightening control, allows somebody to think that there's some other kind of control that they can superimpose on it. But that control doesn't necessarily, doesn't very often harmonize with this inconceivable, beautiful, free reality control. The control of reality, and then there's the control of imagination superimposed on that, which stresses the system. So we, we hear these teachings, and we practice compassion towards the dreams of our body, but also, at a certain point, we start hearing teachings which challenge our belief


in our dream. Including that they challenge our belief in what it means to be kind to our dreams. So we have a dream, I have a dream of my body, and I have a dream of being kind to my body. But still I hear the message, somehow. I hear the message about how to challenge this dream world, challenge it in the sense of, challenge believing it's something other than a dream. My habit is not just a dream, but to believe the dream. So, I hear the message, be kind to the dream, and also remember that your attempts to be kind will be more dreams. And if you're open to that, that's a going against the habit.


Right now, if you're open to that, you are going against the habit. Some people do want to be compassionate, but most of them are not open to challenging their idea of what compassion is. And it's wonderful that they want to be compassionate. I think, I do. I'm amazed what people can do based on what they think is compassion. How energetic they can be about acting compassionately according to their idea of compassion. It's great. However, I'm talking about something that's not exactly greater, it's just liberating. And that is, confront the arrogance of thinking that you know what compassion is, with the teaching that the compassion you're dealing with is an illusion. And so,


I mentioned recently at No Abode three kinds of compassion. The first kind of compassion is compassion which has living beings as its object. The second kind of compassion is compassion which has elements as its object. The third kind of compassion doesn't have any objects. The third kind actually liberates beings. There's no beings out there for the third kind. But the first kind is like you hear the instruction, be kind to your body and be kind to other bodies. So that first kind is I'm a real person who has real compassion for real beings who have real suffering. I have real compassion towards real suffering. In other words, the person I see, I believe they're real I believe the way I see them is real


and I believe their suffering is real and I believe I'm a real helpful person. And I do, etc. I think that those living beings are real. In other words, I think that the way they appear to me is out there that it's real. But it still is compassion and it's called sentimental compassion. Because it goes along with the habit of believing how people appear is the way they are. The second kind of compassion is compassion which is compassion towards the elements that make up living beings. And that's when you start to realize these living beings are actually have this other dependent character which I can't necessarily see but I've heard about it and I understand that beings are not like substantially real


and also their suffering is also made of elements and also my help to them is made of elements and I'm made of elements. So this is all kind of like Dreamville. And I still practice compassion there but I'm a dream bodhisattva or whatever who's doing dream compassion towards the dream suffering of dream people, of illusory beings. That frees you from the that really frees you from the usual what we call cast of mind which is a definition of sentimental or sentiment is that you're acting according to a habitual cast of mind. This way is not the usual way that people relate. They don't necessarily remember this teaching when they're trying to help people but if you do then you're practicing in a way that frees you from sentimental


stickiness of compassion. But still there's still a sense that there's somebody out there or somebody over here. So the next phase is when you actually realize that these ideas are totally absent in the situation. There's nobody out there and there's nobody over here. That's the highest compassion. Before that's reached the beings are liberated from sentimental compassion, they're liberated from that sentiment but they don't yet realize the ultimate truth. So I was thinking, you know, how much kindness do I do, how much compassion do I express towards my body throughout the day? Seems like feeding could be a kindness,


giving rest could be a kindness, giving exercise could be a kindness, and particularly giving exercise which is going against the habitual way of exercise. Driving home, it's hard for me going to San Francisco, it's hard for me to go back a different way. I have basically, you know, it's hard for me. I can go by the Richmond Bridge, I can go by the what do you call it, the Bay Bridge, right? And then go over the Golden Gate Bridge back to Green Gulch. Could do it that way. Those are two ways. I could go over the San Mateo Bridge, I could go over the Dumbarton Bridge, I could go up to Sacramento and then come around through Oregon and come down. There's a lot, I could come, I could go to Green Gulch a lot of different ways, but, you know, it's a bit much. I get, I want to go home tonight,


please let me go. So I don't go very many different ways, but here in Berkeley, you guys can drive around that block a few times on your way back. In San Francisco, I really do try to go home a few different ways. I try to go against the habit. Only because I think it's really kind to do that. Because the reason I'm doing it is to go against my habit, to wake up. Because I'm habitually, I'm addicted to knowing my body. And I heard that everybody else is until they're a Buddha. So, I don't just do it for myself. And it's difficult too, because habits are nice, because your body's like, your body that you don't know


is like they're serving you. You know, it knows the way home. You don't have to even think. But if you do this nice thing for your body, it's much more challenging, because you got to pay more attention. But that's really, that's the going against the habit. It takes more attention to go against the habit. It's easy. You can follow the habit blindfolded. Right? Pretty much. You can get home without noticing you even drove there by habit. But to go a way you never went before, you got to pay attention. Going against the habit is not easy. It's challenging. You're challenging your habit. You're challenging what you think is real. But in a kind way, as a kindness. Not to be mean. Not a rude thing.


A generous thing. Darling, we're going to go home a different way tonight. Or, darling, I'm sorry, we can't go home a different way. We have to use that same bridge. But maybe we can grip the steering wheel differently. Or look at the road differently. Try to go against the habit. This is meditation on the body. First of all, on the imagined, the dream quality of the body. Which is like using Fran's drawing. Put roots down into the road. You know? Into the road. And then, in a kind way, put roots down in different ways into the road. And realize the river. How's it going? Are you challenged? Who said, mm-hmm,


great. One challenged person makes my night. I'm challenged too. I may not look like it, but that's just an appearance. Actually, deep down, I'm really challenged. And also, yes? Let me ask you this. I don't know how I've ever been articulate, but I will try it. Would you consider saying something about objectification of these imaginary bodies and how much seems to sort of rest on the appearance of these imaginary bodies that we have? You know, I think often we decide who to love based on the appearance of these imaginary bodies. We decide who to hate. We decide who to hire, who to be nice to. It seems like, it seems like, I'm not sure if you get it, but it seems like objectification is a great word. It seems like there's so much of self in our world,


in our culture, around appearance of the body. Yeah, right. Thank you. Well, you said we decide who to love. I would say, I don't know if we decide, but I think it's more like like and dislike in relationship to appearances. So this, going against the habit would be to practice loving everybody. I'm not saying practice liking everybody. I don't recommend that actually. I recommend loving everybody. Learn that. That confronts the habit of appearances. And then also everybody for me includes likes and dislikes. Likes is a being. Dislike is a being. So love, love likes and love dislikes. Not like likes. Love them. How do you love them? According to your idea of love.


For starters. For me, when I say love, I usually mean compassion. I don't mean attachment and clinging to things I like. I don't mean that by love. Although it's often used that way. I mean practice generosity and ethics and patience and so on. And I'm saying not to do that with everything. And also be aware of the teaching which is saying that you're working with your idea of those things for starters. And accept, be humble and say, at least Reb told me that that's the way people start. They start with their idea of it. So that's okay. I mean that's the way we have to start where we are. And where we are is that we're dreaming of our body


and we're dreaming of other bodies. So, because we're dreaming of them, likes and dislikes arise. And while the likes and dislikes arise, practice love towards everybody and everything. And then you'll get to a place which you may not like to hear about this, but you'll get to a place where you realize first of all the body which is controlled into having harmonious relationships with everybody. The body which has harmonious relationships with everybody, so it has harmonious relationships with everybody. There's a body that's harmonizing with everybody so it can't get away from harmonizing with everybody because it is. That's the kind of body it is. So you realize that body.


And when you realize that body, there won't really be likes and dislikes anymore. And some people say, oh darn, I don't know if I want to be like that. Life would be so, I don't know what, if I didn't dislike some people. Or maybe a little bit. You can dislike somebody. I don't know. But I haven't actually heard of the Buddhists disliking anybody or actually liking anybody. They love everybody. And it's hard, and you can love everybody by this third kind of compassion, where you love a person and there's nobody out there. You're loving yourself. Everybody you look at, you love, and you're loving yourself. So, because people not only appear, but they appear as objects, we like it and don't like it.


We're excited or depressed by these appearances. But when things aren't appearances anymore, they don't excite and depress us anymore, they give us peace. When things aren't objects, we feel peace and we feel compassion. For anybody who's not on board, who's not on board with this peace, we want them to have peace, we want them to have ease, and we accept that they don't, and we don't hate that they don't have peace. And we don't like that they don't have peace, we just want them to have peace, and then we want them to have peace, and we want them to have peace, and we don't like or dislike them, and we don't cling to not liking them, and we don't cling to not disliking them, and we don't cling to loving them, because there's no way to do it. That's what it's like when you become free


of the dream body, when you kind of like abandon it, but you don't abandon it until you practice dream compassion towards dream people, and dream bodies who are others and dream bodies who are self. So we need to practice dream compassion, illusory compassion, but in fact, I should even say, we won't get to this realization without first of all practicing real compassion towards real people. We have to go through that sentimental phase, probably. But, you know, I think maybe some of you have already had a taste of the non-sentimental variety. It's actually not so far away when you're practicing real compassion, when you're a real kind person, a real generous person


who's practicing real generosity towards real people who have real suffering. It's not a huge step to go to realize, oh, well actually, maybe the compassion that I'm practicing isn't real, it's just what I think is compassion, because this person told me that they didn't think it was compassionate, what I just did. And then I heard about listening to people. I heard that that's part of compassion, to listen. So if I'm practicing real compassion towards somebody and they say that was really cruel and I listen to that, then maybe I might question whether it really was compassionate. It's not that I say, well, now a real person told me that it was real cruelty. You don't have to switch to that. You can just say, well, maybe it's not real compassion and maybe it's not real cruelty. But it might be cruelty and it might be compassion


and actually it might be kind of illusory, this whole thing. I think sometimes you do see, I was trying to be kind but then I saw it was cruel and then I saw it was kind and then I saw it was cruel. Or I saw he was being kind and then I saw he was being cruel and then I saw he was being kind. I saw things changing. I saw that things aren't as substantial so you may not be that far away from the second step of compassion. I mean, you're not far away. It's right there. It's right nearby. But you may not be far of kind of like getting a feel for it. Yes? Yes, two days ago I read an article about the cruelties perpetrated at UCSF against all laboratory animals.


They talked about a certain female Jesus monkey that suffered immensely for several days and the article emphasizes the heartlessness with which these laboratory animals are being treated. And I loved that. I loved that animal that died helpless and in pain. I loved, I loved her. I don't know if it's imaginary love but it's very deep. And I would like everyone to write to UCSF


and ask the Chancellor to tell the people who deal with laboratory animals to treat them compassionately. Sounds good to me. And when you write your letter you don't have to say you know, I would like you to be, I would like you to practice dream compassion towards these animals. You can just leave out the dream part. But in terms of the meditation on the body in this class I would suggest that it would be good to be open to that. The compassion we feel when we hear this story might be dream compassion. Without knowing it. Because I didn't realize how deep the mourning and that kind of thing really was.


Yeah, maybe before you knew you were mourning that that was the mourning that wasn't your dream of mourning. So actually I think a lot of people are mourning and they do not yet have a dream of mourning. But they are mourning. And that mourning that they're doing is, could sponsor a dream of mourning but the dream of mourning has not yet arisen. But, you know, so they don't know the mourning. The only way we know the mourning is to have a dream of mourning. Even though we're mourning we don't know it until we have a dream. And we can't know everything that we're going through. We don't know the totality of our relationship with everybody. But what we do know about it is our dream of it. And so we have a dream


that we're mourning or we have a dream that we're really in pain over the appearance of unkindness. And we have a dream that we would like to do something to encourage kindness. And that's where we start. But this class I'm telling you that you're starting with Dreamville. But I hope that when I tell you that that doesn't undermine your enthusiasm for doing dream compassion. Because dream compassion assembles the conditions for being aware there's dream compassion and being aware there's dream compassion and practicing dream compassion and being aware of it is the next layer of compassion which frees you from your habit your habitual way of doing compassion before


and should make you more enthusiastic. But some guidance may be necessary there. And then you get ready for realizing, liberating compassion. Yes, Simon. There's a story about a woman seeing a baby across the room. Yes. She said, she knew that's an enlightening, enlightening event. Did you enlighten her before the event started or there was something in that? I used the example there that she didn't superimpose the lactation. She didn't superimpose the leaking of her breast upon the function. She maybe discovered it. Maybe didn't even feel it. She just looked down at her breast. Her blouse is wet. So the appearance of being in control was kind of not congruent with what was happening. She probably wasn't thinking


that she was controlling her flow. And yet the flow was controlled by the causes and conditions of the other dependent nature of her breasts, of her milk lactating. And the conditions there are her breasts, the vision of a baby, and also the baby. It isn't just the vision of a baby. Although it's possible if she closed her eyes and saw a picture of a baby she might lactate. I don't know. That would be an interesting experiment. But the actual baby that sponsors the image of the baby and her body makes this thing happen. And it's in the process. That's a wonderful example of generosity without thinking about doing it. That she gave milk. And milk didn't even get to the baby. She gave milk without even knowing where it was going to go. And then she noticed she had done it.


And even when the mother intentionally gives her breast to the baby she may notice the milk doesn't come sometimes. She would like to give but the body doesn't go along with it. In fact, the process is controlling it and she has her story about it. The enlightening part is when by meditating on the process for example, giving milk at the first two levels you realize that there's nobody out there you're giving the milk to and the milk isn't out there either. You become free of the separation of subject and object by this process. But it's hard to get to being free of subject and object if you don't accept that you're dreaming of separation of subject and object. That you're dreaming of


I'm helping her. People come up to you and they say, you help me. It's hard to be a social animal and say, well, not really. So you listen to that and then you start to say, well, they're telling me that I help them but I don't know, that's just sort of like I see the dream but I... I accept I live in a world where it looks like that to other people and right now it doesn't look like that to me. I don't see that I help them but I do hear that they're saying it. Now do I think they're separate from me? I think I still do. But I know I'm working in the direction of becoming free of our separation by the way I take care of my body. Which I kind of like... I'm still dreaming but I... I often remember I'm dreaming and I notice that remembering that I'm dreaming is different than just dreaming and thinking it's true. Those are two different ways to live.


But you have to... you can't get to remembering you're dreaming until you first notice that you actually are dreaming. You can't admit that you're dreaming before you kind of notice, well, I am and I believe it. I have to go through that phase and now I'm beyond that but then sometimes I slip back into it, back and forth. I believed that one. This person went, they look like they were being mean to me and I didn't believe it. Like we have many Zen stories like that. Like the story of the great Zen master Ling Ji. His great enlightenment was when his teacher was acting in a way that he didn't see was kind and then he didn't see was kind and then he didn't see was kind and then he said, okay, I'm done with that teacher and the teacher says, okay, okay, you can go but you should go see Da Yu, another teacher. So he went to see Da Yu


and Da Yu says, hi, where did you come from? I said, well, I came from... my teacher told me to come to see you. By the way, my teacher, I don't see my teacher is very kind to me. He's not kind to me. He repeatedly isn't kind to me. And Da Yu says, oh my God, he's so kind to you. And Ling Ji woke up. He woke up. He said, your teacher is so kind to you. He did everything with the utmost compassion for you. And Ling Ji woke up. And that was kind of like a major event in Chinese history. This guy woke up and then he woke up a bunch of other people and then millions of people woke up. First of all, their dream of compassion is a dream of compassion. And then they woke up to what compassion really is. And what compassion really is


is it's not out there or in here. It's not that kind of thing. Nothing is. They become free of their ideas of compassion and then they can really be... Then they're kind of like controlled to be compassionate. They tap into reality and when we tap into reality we are forced into being compassionate all day long. Yes. I was controlled into saying that... The issue of choice comes to mind. What? The issue of choice comes to mind. I thought you said divorce. Divorce. I don't know. I don't know where that's coming from. I did go to marital counseling. Choice. So it occurs to me that people are making choices but really we are imagining our choices. We're imagining our choices. And so I heard you say once before when the topic of free will came up you said, well, there's free will it's just not your free will.


Yeah. And so now I'm wondering where... It seems to me that something arises that there's this evolutionary process that we've been talking about that we've kind of awakened. So it seems like it must spring in which something you just said must spring from reality. How is it counter to reality? You can say it springs from reality or you can just say completely included in reality. It's not outside reality. So by that principle that nothing's outside, you know, you can't get outside reality. You also can't get inside reality. Because of that our problems are what we use to realize reality. Our delusions, we use delusions to become free of delusions.


We use our afflictions to become free of afflictions. So our afflictions are the stress we feel because we believe our imagination is something more than imagination. Like I imagine you're a nice guy, you know. Yeah. I don't, I'm just kidding. But you know, I just take somebody I don't know and then I just try on imagining that they're a nice guy. So when I do that on purpose, like I try, I just say, I'm going to imagine this guy's a nice guy. I kind of know I'm imagining it. But if I know you for several days and I keep thinking that you're a nice guy, I get in the habit. And then somebody says, you know, John is not that nice. And I kind of go, that's uncomfortable because now you're asking me to drive home a different way. And I have to pay attention. Do I, I thought he was a nice guy


and is my resistance to what you just said because I have a habit? Maybe so. You can think somebody's nice and somebody else can say they're not so nice. And if you don't have a habit, you're like, oh, that's another dream. I don't know what I'm trying to resolve in my mind. It just seems like maybe you can choose to have a desire to live in a corridor of reality but just experiencing afflictions. Afflictions, yeah. Afflictions. You do too, hopefully, to evolving to be in a corridor of reality. That's right. Experiencing afflictions leads us to realizing that as reality, afflictions are signs that we're not in a corridor. According to this teaching, afflictions are signs that you're not in a corridor of reality. When you're in a corridor of reality, there's no afflictions. Afflictions are due to holding your idea of things


as being them. Even if I hold my idea of you being a nice guy, which is not that bad an idea, if I hold it, that will be the cause of affliction. If I hold it that you're not a nice guy, that will be the cause of affliction. And no matter what you are, my mind makes an appearance of you because I'm addicted to knowing. So for people that are addicted to knowing, which is all sentient beings, we have this teaching to start opening us up to the afflictions, opening us up to the conditions for the afflictions, opening us up within conflictions to afflicted ideas of how to be kind to the afflictions. And also the instruction that we're not trying to get rid of the affliction, we're using the afflictions to become free of the afflictions.


Because the afflictions are included in reality and also the afflictions are telling us, use these afflictions. And if we don't listen to it, they say it louder. And we finally say, okay, okay, I'll use afflictions. Fine. Now you got the idea. And use it means, use it compassionately according to your somewhat afflicted understanding of compassion. You can use afflicted compassion towards afflictions to become free of afflictions. Next two? There's two more, yeah? You can't come to the last two? Thank you for telling us. Yeah, thank you. We will miss you.


We'll miss your bright eyes and sweet smile. Yeah, but I'll keep singing it for you. You do have my permission. You have my support to miss, even though I'll miss you. Yes? Did you say something else about that? That people can't do anything?


Anyway, I'm not quite sure what you said, but whatever it is, it's like, okay, you picked it up, but it's not that you, all you do is have an idea of picking it up. Is that what you're saying? I could have the idea that I controlled the action of picking the cup up. I can have that idea. I can also have the idea that I didn't control picking up the cup. Somebody said, you might have picked it up even if she didn't talk about that. Cocktail? Cocktail party. What's important about it in this situation? Enlightenment is what's important about it. That's what's important. The import of it, the point of it, these teachings are apropos,


are to the point of enlightenment, of liberating beings. People usually think they can do something. So I say, you can't do something. And then if people say you can't do something, then I probably would say, well, you can do something. And so on. I'm trying to go against the habit. So in this case, I would say, you can say, would you pick the cup up? And then when you say that, I decide to pick the cup up. But I didn't do deciding making the cup. No, not picking the cup up. It's just the decision, the assent, the agreement to your request that I pick the cup up arose in me. I did not make it happen. I did not impose my control on my mind to decide, yes, I agree with her request to pick this cup up. However, that thought, yes,


did arise, controlled by my relationship with you and our relationship with everybody. That made me say yes. You could have also said, would you pick the cup up? And I might have thought, no. But I didn't do the yes or the no. But if you're asking me to pick the cup up, then I could say, well, the closest I can come to that would be to say yes. Now, what about if the cup gets picked up later? It's the same thing. Really, I don't impose my control on cups. That's the teaching. Cups do get raised up, though. But the control of the cup raising is not imposed upon the cup raising. The cup raising, the perfectly controlled raising of the cup is not superimposed. It's in the process. It's in the process. In order to be free, we have to get into the river where cups are raised and set down, where cocktail parties are raised and they go down.


All things arise not by themselves. They don't make themselves happen. They're other-dependent. But we don't know that because we're totally immersed in it. Outside of it, we look and say, I lifted the cup up. But when you say, would you lift the cup up, and my mind goes, yes, it's kind of like I'm kind of going along with your request, in a way. But I didn't control going along with it. I just do. Which is wonderful. People ask me to do stuff, and I just go along with it. I just think, let's do it. Let's do this bizarre thing. The yes isn't there yet. I just think, wow, is this really a good idea, what this little boy is suggesting? Seems pretty far out. And then he says, together, and then all the things fall into place,


and there it is. I didn't make it happen. He didn't make it happen. Because he can't get me to do it unless I'm there. As a matter of fact, one of his latest quotable statements is at Thanksgiving, a lot of people thanked him. My 12-year-old grandson, a lot of people at the Thanksgiving table thanked him. Partly because he just moved. He moved to San Francisco, gave up his wonderful school in LA and all his friends to come to San Francisco so his mother could go to Berkeley. So a lot of people were thanking him for coming up and being a good big brother and all that. And so when it was his turn, he said, I'm also going to thank myself. Because if it wasn't for me, I wouldn't be here. So anyway, we're not in control. We are not in control. The process is not in control either.


The process isn't in control, but there's control in the process. Does that make more sense to you now? You're welcome. I see your hand, but it is 9.15, so could you remember? Write your question down. I knew you were going to say 9.15. Well, I'm under your control. What am I going to say next? Thanks for the water.