Buddha Activity

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The work of buddhas — buddha activity — is realizing intimacy and liberation in conversation together with all beings. In this series of meetings we will contemplate what it is to fully engage with such an activity. Everyone is welcome to come, study, and realize this work together with all beings.

AI Summary: 



Some of you weren't here last week, right? Would you tell me your name again? Christine. Christine? Christine, and yours? The lady behind you? And who else wasn't here last week? Okay, so, there's a couple things that came up towards the end of the last session that are kind of echoing, and also, yeah, so I might be good to bring them up again. One of them was, I mentioned that, that I think I said everything I say is questionable. Also, everything I do is questionable,


and everything I think is questionable, including what I just said. In other words, you're welcome to question me about whatever I say or do. And the, right now, at Green Gulch, we have a sesshin, and four of the people in this group are at the sesshin. Topic of the sesshin is Buddha activity. Buddha activity is questionable. And Buddha activity welcomes being questioned. And anybody, or any, yeah, anybody, who doesn't welcome being questioned is questionable. Anybody who does welcome being questioned


is all the more questionable. He makes it easy to question them, because they encourage us to question them. As I may have mentioned to you, did I mention to you that I used to walk around with a little notebook with questions for Suzuki Roshi? Anyway, I had a little, a small notebook. I had questions. So if I ever ran into him, I would have questions. If I couldn't remember, if they weren't at the top of my mind, or the forefront of my mind, I could open my notebook. And when I asked him questions, guess what? Guess, just, you know, yeah.


That's a nice guess. No. Another one? What? Louder. No, no, I'm talking about when I asked Suzuki Roshi questions, I said, guess what? And Justin said he gave me answers, which is, he, not necessarily. Jeff? What? What wasn't in the notebook? Okay. Yes? Yeah. But what I wanted to emphasize, yes? One more. Sometimes. But the main thing I wanted to mention was that he was questionable. He never said, you know, I'm, later, man.


He could have, but he didn't. He never felt like, well, you know, I'm too busy to answer your question. I would often ask him, I think, I don't remember if I said, may I ask you a question? But I don't ever remember him saying no. And even if I didn't say may I when I asked him questions, he always seemed like that's what he was there for, to be questioned. And I did not ask him all the questions in my notebook, because I just thought that was a bit much. Since he was so generous with his presence with me, I would ask some, but not all of them. He was questionable. Yeah, he didn't say, I don't know, he seemed to get tired of being questioned. Now last week, Tracy said something like this,


and please, what I say, of course, will not only be questionable, but can be edited. She said something like, you talk, you talk and talk and talk, and you didn't say, I don't think you said, I listen and I listen, but you said, but I don't understand what you're saying. Something like that? Did you? Oh, she said, for the most part, she doesn't understand what I'm saying. Well, she also mentioned something about, maybe something about faith might be relevant here. And I thought later, it seems like the faith, one part of the faith that's going on in your relationship with me is you have the faith of asking me questions and listening to me. You kind of, you seem like you trust listening to me.


Not, I don't think you, I don't know, you can speak for yourself, but I'm not saying you trust that I'll always say something helpful. And certainly not, I'll always say something you understand, you don't trust that, right? But you trust asking me questions. Do you trust asking me questions? Yeah, you trust asking me questions and you trust listening to me, not necessarily what I say. So I would encourage you to find faith in listening to everybody and with some carefulness, questioning everybody. Now, back to Tracy, who asks lots of questions and who we really appreciate her asking questions,


don't we? Did you hear that? A little louder. Yes. So you ask questions and sometimes when you ask them, your affect is something like, well, I don't know if I should be asking this question. But anyway, I think people, or anyway, me, me appreciates you. Or even if I'm not here, there's appreciation of you. Asking questions. And then I said something to her after she said, for the most part, I don't understand you. Anybody remember what I said? It's kind of hard to remember what I said because what I said is pretty far out. And part of the reason I'm saying it again is because you're not telling me what I said.


Sorry. I'll make it easy on you. Maybe I'll ask you next week, too. But anyway, what I said was, I might have said this. Buddha Dharma, Buddha Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha, which by the way, are the highest truth, highest truth, truth, the teachings of the Buddha are the ultimate truth. The last word in truth, Buddha's teaching, the teachings of the Buddha are not understood by a person. Remember that? The teachings of the Buddha are not understood by a person. For example, they're not understood by me. And I'm not going to point any fingers other than this way.


But without pointing any fingers, I'll just say, the Buddha Dharma is not understood by a person. Not understood by deluded consciousness, which, and deluded consciousness often harbors a wish to understand Buddha Dharma, which is not a bad wish. It's just that that ain't happening. That deluded karmic consciousness cannot comprehend the Buddha Dharma. However, Buddha Dharma can illuminate and liberate human consciousness. But human consciousness can't get it. It can't get human consciousness. But it can get human consciousness and not blow it out of the water, not kill it, not diminish it, not inflate it, illuminate it and liberate it.


I didn't say that last part last week. Now, the thing I want to say, which I also said last week, the Buddha Dharma is understood not by a person, like as, for example, this person. Did you get that, that Reb says that? I'm copying ancestors. The Buddha Dharma is not understood by this person. The Buddha Dharma is understood by our relationship. Our relationship realizes Buddha Dharma, which means in both senses the word realize. Our relationship understands the most profound truth and our relationship makes it real. And there's no other way to make it real outside of our relationship.


We can't make it real, like it can't be made real just with me leaving you out. And you can't do it without me either. We don't have to get into that because that's not possible to have anything like that going on. What we do have is what is possible and that is we have relationships. And our relationship is realizing Buddha Dharma. And it's an open-ended process of realization. We're not done. Our relationship is not over. It's ongoing realization of the Buddha Dharma. That's our relationship. Now, there's some instruction on how to have a relationship that's part of what... Our relationship is realizing Buddha Dharma


and part of realizing Buddha Dharma is our relationship is calling for Buddha Dharma and Buddha Dharma is responding to our relationship and feeding it instructions about how to negotiate a relationship. For example, Buddha Dharma is sending a message to our relationship and the message is, everything's questionable. Everything's questionable is instructions for how to have a relationship. Now, some people actually have no problem thinking that everything everybody else says is questionable, but they leave themselves out. So it's okay to think that what those people are saying is questionable. But remember, what you're thinking at that moment is questionable too. Like someone could come up to you and say, may I ask you a question? And you say, what? Oh, nevermind. Oh, what do you want to ask me? Do you think that what they think is questionable? Yeah, I do.


Could I ask you some more questions? Okay. For the sake of realization of Buddha Dharma, keep asking me questions. So, the teacher, Siddhartha Krishnamurti, for the sake of... He wasn't doing me a favor. He was doing... He was, for the sake of Buddha Dharma, he was listening to me and responding to me. And he didn't necessarily answer my questions, though. He might have. So that's something from last week about... Oh, and again, it's not necessarily the case. If I'm talking and you don't understand what I'm saying, that's not exactly the same as saying... This is not exactly the same as saying that I'm talking the Buddha Dharma. That what I'm saying is the Buddha Dharma. It's not quite like saying that. However, everything I'm saying is a door to Buddha Dharma.


If I say, it's Thursday, you don't have to believe that. You don't have to disagree with it. But what I just said is questionable. If I say it's Tuesday, it's questionable. If you have a wholehearted relationship with me, then what I say will be doors to Buddha Dharma. And also, what Kim says will be a door to Buddha Dharma. And what Gloria says will be a door to Buddha Dharma. It's not so much that everything they say is Buddha Dharma, but having a relationship with them will make everything they say a portal into the highest truth through the relationship. Really? Well, maybe it's a good time to express the question.


So, you said something last week, and then you asked us to remember. Not one person did, or not one person did remember. And so, does that discourage you? Or do you just feel you didn't expect individuals to be getting it anyway, so it's harmful, of course? Well, actually, I knew everybody did understand, and nobody wanted to show off. No, I don't think so. You didn't look like that. You look like you really never heard me say anything before. You're asking me if I'm discouraged? No, I'm like... Well, if it's so pithy, that would be difficult to remember. Anyway, I do not expect people to remember what I say.


I mean, I almost never expect that they will remember what I say, and they frequently kind of don't, so I get to say it again. Therefore, I'm saying the same thing over and over. Anyway, I do not get discouraged by that. But I do get encouraged by people continuing to listen. I get encouraged by people listening. I don't get discouraged by them not listening. Like, my granddaughter almost never does listen to me, but if she ever did, I would find that quite encouraging. But I don't get discouraged that she almost doesn't listen to me, because I'm not giving my life to her to get anything back from her like compassion. And she doesn't... She's not into that with me.


I think she might be into that with some of her friends, because if she's not compassionate to them, they'll walk out on her. But I won't. And she knows it. Anyway, I'm not discouraged by people not remembering what I said last week. I'm really not. If you had remembered, I would have thought, that's cool. I actually do think that's cool sometimes when people tell me what I said. And sometimes they tell me something I don't even remember I said that sounds really good. Thank you. I don't know if... Sometimes people... What do they do? They quote me and say it was the Dalai Lama. And they sometimes quote the Dalai Lama and say it was me. I don't mind these mistakes, those particular ones. I'm not discouraged,


because as I've told you before, and you don't remember, I don't remember. When I teach, when I give some words and you listen to them, you consciously listen to the words, that transforms your unconscious processes and transforms your body. If I say, Buddha Dharma is not understood by a person and you listen to that, even if you say, poo, but not to mention if you say, hmm, or not to mention if you say, that's something I would really like to remember, or that's really astounding. If that goes on in your consciousness, your unconscious cognitive processes are changed, and your brain is changed, and other parts of your nervous system are changed


by that conscious reception of that teaching. However, that doesn't mean you got changed enough, so that if I ask you later what I said, you can, it comes up. But you have been changed. However, if I say it enough times, each time you will change, and eventually, you'll just be one big, fat, clear mind, that can say, Buddha Dharma is not understood by a person. Buddha Dharma is understood in a relationship of a Buddha in conversation with a Buddha. If I say that over and over enough times, and you listen to it, you will be able to say that, and maybe even say it at the right time. So I don't get discouraged. This is like, again,


one of the characteristics, I'm not saying I'm that way, one of the characteristics of a Bodhisattva teacher is patience with slow students. I would say that's also a good characteristic of a Spanish teacher. Me gusta la leche. But if I ask you, how do you say, I like milk, next week you can say, I'll just say it again, over and over, because that's my job, and to be impatient is, I'm not teaching you impatience, I'm teaching you Spanish. So, okay? I don't get discouraged. And I just wanted to say one more thing about review. I see Brett's hand, and Haley's hand,


and Maggie's hand, and Elena's hand, but I just wanted to mention something that Jeff said, which was, I was talking about this Buddha activity, which is the activity of a relationship in which the Dharma is understood and transmitted, okay? And I said that in the relationship where we understand the truth, in that relationship, we are supported by all beings, and we support all beings. We might have a particular relationship, like I was now specializing my relationship with Tracy, or it could be my relationship with Gloria, that's a particular relationship, but in my relationship with Gloria, I am supported by all beings to have this relationship.


And in having a relationship with Gloria, I'm supporting all beings, and of course, so is she. We're both supported by all beings to have our relationship. However, and then Jeff said, well, I can see how we're interrelated with everything, but I don't see how it's support. And I would say that through our relationship, you will understand that. You will come to understand that the Dharma, that everybody's supporting you all the time, and you're supporting everybody all the time. And of course, you're also interrelated all the time. I see you, just a second. And, what was I going to... Anyway. Elena. Because I do miss some of your words, I don't hear them very loud anymore.


I want to know if the question that I'm going to ask is relevant. And, are you trying to say that... Do you want to ask if it's relevant before you ask it, or afterwards? Did you want to ask if it's relevant? I'd like to ask the question. Even before you find out whether it's relevant or not? Yes, I want to know if it's a good question. Sorry. So, your question is, is this a good question? I have another question here. I know. I'd like to know if it's a good question. Afterwards. Afterwards? After you ask it. Yes. Okay, go ahead. When someone asks a question, essentially, a well thought out question,


in a well thought out... When somebody asks such a question, are you implying that that question triggers an evolution an evolutionary movement in one's spiritual, including physical, physical evolution, mental, brain? Yes, I am saying that, yes. And, that's a good question. That's a question. Pardon? So, you're saying that. That was a good question. And the answer is that when you ask a question, it transforms you. That's what I was... Yeah. Every question you ask, the one, like, for example, the one, the two we just asked, transforms you. Everything you consciously do in speech, thought, and action


transforms your unconscious cognitive process and transforms your body, because your unconscious cognitive process is very closely related to your body. Now, people emphasize the brain, but it's more than just the brain. Your whole body gets transformed by everything you think and say and every gesture you make. It transforms you. Which, in some cases, is very sad, because if you do something unskillful, it transforms you in such a way as to set the stage to make unskillfulness likely to arise again. Whereas skillfulness has the other effect of making skillfulness likely. And saying certain teachings over and over and practicing Spanish over and over has a good effect of making you able to remember Spanish and the teaching. Yes, Maggie? Maggie?


Yeah. I think my question is related to the last question. So, would you say that Buddha Dharma is not just a person? Yeah. And so, if I ask a question in the view of a self, a person trying to understand, the act of asking that question is still helpful? Well, generally, yes. However, if you ask a question about Buddha Dharma, trying to get something for your question, like, for example, trying to get fame as the most brilliant person in the room by that great question, if you're trying to get something, although it's a question about something that will be very beneficial to understand, if you're trying to get something, then that question is somewhat afflicted or polluted


by trying to get something. Whereas if you ask a question, which you probably did, as a gift, without trying to get anything, then that promotes realization of Buddha Dharma. And it's not just a question which transforms the questioner and therefore transforms the whole world, but the relationship between the questioner and the questioned and how they're actually working together, that is what is going to be realized in the process of this question and response. And that relationship will realize the Dharma which is being asked about. In order for the conversation to occur,


we have to be... No, I shouldn't say we have to be. We are called in order to have the conversation in which Buddha activity is alive, Buddha activity is a conversation in which the truth is understood, and understanding the truth in Buddha activity, understanding the truth in Buddha conversation, liberates beings from self-consciousness and realizes peace and freedom. But part of that relationship exercise is to respond to the call of the whole universe which is asking you to be who you are. And if you are somebody who's trying to get something, which is undermining the conversation,


so in a conversation, if I'm trying to get something, that in a sense undermines it, it obscures the realization of the conversation. It obscures the relationship if I'm trying to get something from the relationship. However, if I am, I'm being asked to be just that at that moment completely. And in being that completely, even though that's off track, now the actual, the actuality of the conversation, of the relationship, is coming into focus. So there's no, even if I have a kind of greedy questioning, to the extent that I can be a greedy questioner, which means I'm open to my question being questioned about greediness,


I can be that person, and that person can be Buddha in conversation with those who are questioning me. And the relationship realizes Buddha activity. Say again? Well, I'm just saying that the kind of relationship, you know, the kind of relationship that understands the Buddha Dharma, which is a relationship between a Buddha and a Buddha, the two Buddhas, neither of the Buddhas are trying to get anything. They got enough work being themselves. It's a full-time job to be who you are.


And to try to get anything is a distraction. Yeah, so you weren't doing your job. You got distracted from your job by trying to get something. Well, some people ask questions because they want to give a gift. That's the way they ask questions. They're not trying to get anything. They're just, question after question, they're giving as gifts to make the person they're in a relationship with come alive with them. You know, we also have this term good friendship. Have you heard about it? Another way to say this is that the Dharma is not understood by a person,


by this person or that person. The Dharma is understood by good friendship. And good friendship, maybe it makes sense to you, in a good friendship, at the moment of a good friendship, you're not trying to get anything. You're trying to give something. Like you're trying to give your interest and your compassion. You're trying to give your questions. I got a whole bunch of questions for you. I can hardly wait to give them to you. But not because I'm going to be like your favorite friend. I'm going to get favored friendship by asking you excellent questions. It's because I want to give you excellent questions. You ask us good questions. Do you want to give them to me? I don't want to get an understanding. I'm happy. Well, just take one step back. Do you want to give me excellent questions? Do you want to give them to me to help all beings?


Yeah. So you can just drop off the other part. Just drop off the I want to get something. You can drop it. I mean, you have my permission and my support. If you do drop it, it's because I support you and everybody else does. If you have the choice, I can ask a question and liberate beings, but I don't get an answer. Or I can ask a question and get an answer, but don't liberate beings. Which would you choose? Yeah. And in fact, the kind of questions that liberate beings are questions which teach people to give up trying to get something out of life because we're trapped in a get-something-out-of-life prison. That's where we're trapped. And Buddha activity is liberating us from the mind that's trying to get something from our relationships.


And wouldn't that be great? Let's see. There's a lot of hands now. Next. I don't know if it's still there. You kind of answered the question in the last few minutes. My question is going to be what do you mean by liberation? You used that word a lot. Well, I mean... Yeah. Liberated from... Liberated... From what? Liberated from karmic consciousness? Yeah. In other words, liberated from what I think is right and what I think is wrong. Without getting rid of what I think is right or getting rid of what I think is wrong. Most people are in a right and wrong prison. And because... Huh? What? Is that a kind of wisdom? To be trapped? No, is the liberation a kind of wisdom? Wisdom is what liberates. Wisdom is what liberates. Buddha activity is wisdom.


It liberates us from what we think is true and false. And when we're free of what we think is going on and what we think is not going on, when we're free of it, we still think what's going on is like this. I think we're having a nice class tonight. But I don't want to be in the trap. The nice class trap. Not attached. Huh? Not attached. Not a trap. Not attached. Yeah, not attached. Also, not in the pit of it. Not in the dark pit of I know what's right. This is it. I'm in a dark pit holding on to what I think is right. And then everybody says, could we have like some peace here, please? And some harmony? Well, I'm sorry we can't have any because I'm holding on to this thing and this pit. Well... We want peace and harmony.


We can work for it when we're not stuck in our views. But we do have views. And the conversation, the relationship, frees us from our views so we can see the truth. So that this is right opens the door to Dharma. This is wrong opens the door to Dharma. And then we can do what? Even while we still think this is right, we also, by the way, see the Dharma too. And we can say, oh, now I see what's appropriate to do. Even though I still think this is right, I'm not attached to it, so now I can do what will bring peace. Or now I can act in a way that's... Yeah. So it is our relationship. Our actual relationship is freeing us from what we think is right and what we think is wrong. So we work on the relationship. We're working on relationship, right?


That's what we're working on here, right? Isn't that what we're doing here? Working on our relationship? And this work will free us and free me, us, from what we think. We're trapped in what we think. Haley? I have three questions. One that might not cause like others. I don't know. Categorize. Categorize. So I would love to live in a Dharma center and practice Dharma. Maybe teach Dharma. I'd like to be a Dharma teacher at another age. However, I noticed that I have these bills. And they keep coming. You have these what? Bills. Bills, yeah. And they're substantial. And I have to figure out how to pay them.


So how do I resolve this which appears to be, you know, a future subject at the end of my life. Or, well, whatever. How do I resolve this? What do you have to say about this? How do you resolve it? How do you resolve it? By Buddha activity. Buddha activity will resolve this. Whatever it was.


It will resolve this. Buddha activity will resolve this. Whatever this is. So for, pardon? The Buddha activity, the resolution, by the way, is open-ended. So the process of resolution will not like end in three weeks. And like that, that's that. It's an open-ended process of resolving all obstruction. And one of the things that helps of resolving obstruction is to be willing to be in an open-ended process. To be in a process where you're, you know, you're giving it three weeks, that's not generous enough. That's not a generous enough relationship. You can have deadlines in your mind without thinking that


at the time of the deadline you're going to be done with deadlines. So I said Buddha activity because that's the name of the class. Another name for that would be be generous towards this situation. Be generous towards what situation? Whatever she said. Did you hear what she said? So being generous towards that will be the path of resolution of that. And also being generous with that is complemented by realizing that your generosity is questionable. In other words, don't have a fixed idea that your generosity is, what real generosity is and it's not questionable. This is unquestionable generosity.


That's not the kind of generosity I'm recommending. I'm recommending a generosity which is questionable. Now we're rolling on the path of resolution and we don't have to wait until our bills are paid to start practicing Dharma. We've just started. You're in the Dharma now. You're not behind the plow. You'll never get rich by digging a ditch. You're in the Dharma now. You're in the Dharma now. That's the way to practice with the situation now is you're in it now. Practice it now. And all things will be resolved. Beings will be liberated. Peace will be realized by this process. And maybe bills will get paid. I don't know.


But as far as I know, there's always going to be bills. There's always going to be death and taxes. But there can be Buddha activity right along with whatever it is and liberate beings so that whatever it is, there can be peace and harmony. That's the proposal. And understanding that isn't something that I understand by myself. It's understood in my relationship with you. My relationship with you is the understanding of it. Just like my relationship with you is my understanding of it. And your relationship with me is your understanding of it. Yes? I want to go back to Tracy's question about trying to get something. Okay. And I thought I heard you say tonight and other times that there is no Buddha activity in that moment. There is what?


Buddha activity. Yes. In the action of wanting to get something. Yes. And that one way to approach it is just simply to accept that reality. Yeah. Yeah. And I find that on the rare occasions when I can kind of do that, then what I'm accepting dissipates or changes really quickly. And even if you don't do those practices, it's changing quickly. However, in the example you gave, you basically gave an example of what I invited Tracy to do. Stop trying to get something. You let it be. So you weren't trying to get yourself out of like trying to get something. You started to practice generosity. So now you're back and then from that stepping stone,


you could now, okay, now I'm going to ask the question again as a gift. Same question, but I'm not trying to get an answer. Yes. So when you started talking about the relationship in that I can't get Buddha. I can't get Buddha Dharma. I have to get into a relationship between two Buddhas. You said our relationship. And I'm wondering if our relationship includes the relationship of one has with oneself with the Buddha Dharma. Yes. So that the conversation that I have with me inside also can be that as long as I continue to question the self. And the conversation you have with yourself


is part of taking up your position in the conversation. In the conversation with myself or in the conversation with Buddha Dharma? Well, it's not so much a conversation with Buddha Dharma. It's a conversation with other beings in which you will understand Buddha Dharma. Okay, that's right. Well, it's like, here's one example that I was thinking of. You know, I can think, okay, now I'm raising my hand. Like I'm doing this. Rather than my hand's going up and this hand is supporting all beings and it's supported by this hand raising. The hand is supported by all beings. The hand supports all beings and the raising up of it is supporting and supported by all beings. But I can also say,


I'm raising the hand. Forget about all beings. I'm doing this all by myself and I don't need anybody's help. Even the minutest. So, you've heard this song. I can do what I want. I'm in complete control. That's what I tell myself. I got a mind of my own. I'll be alright and alone. Don't need anybody else. Gave myself a good talking to. No more being a fool for you. But then I see you and I remember


how you make me want to surrender to Buddha Dharma. You're taking myself away. Buddha activity. You're making me want to stay. Buddha way. So, if you think you can do something by yourself, okay, that's a norm, quite a common thought for humans to have, right? I can do this by myself, mommy. Do you need any help? No. I can do it by myself. And now I see that. Oh, there it is. That's delusion. I think I can do something by myself without all your help. That's my thought. And I can say, okay, I can let that be. And I can give up


trying to get something from that and really support that and feel supported by that. And the whole world is I can do this by myself. And whole world makes me do that and supports me. And saying I can do this by myself supports the whole world. And I need relationships to act that out in. And I need to be there being this greedy person that I am in order to meet the other person. I need to be the person I am. And it can be I'm trying to get something by this question. I think I can do things by myself. That's who I am. And that's what I'm giving right now is this person. And we're training to give ourselves to a relationship. And when we're completely what we are that's exactly the way Buddha would be us. I don't know which one of you was first.


Tyler and Katie. You said something in a previous class that all activity is Buddha activity. Yeah. And I remember another question that was before that that a fellow asked if some activity was unwholesome was also Buddha activity. And I think everybody was saying it was not. And I was trying to understand. Well, I guess I would say like grass is engaging in Buddha activity. The earth is engaged in Buddha activity. You are engaged in Buddha activity. It's not exactly that you're Buddha activity or that the grass is Buddha activity. A little bit different. But the grass is engaged in Buddha activity. And if I have a thought like I can do things without anybody's help


if that's where I'm at I'm engaged in Buddha activity saying basically I'm not engaged in Buddha activity and I don't want to be. I'm a Christian. I don't want any Buddha activity. What happened to Dan? I wonder if he got sick. Did he leave anything? Huh? He brought his Zafu and left with it? Okay. So, we are engaged in Buddha activity. It's not exactly we are Buddha activity. And if we're engaged in doing something and thinking we can do it by ourselves and not feeling that that thought is questionable then we kind of like feel we kind of like are hindered in realizing that we're engaged in Buddha activity.


But if I think I can do something by myself and I remember that that's questionable and I'm really like open to that being deeply questioned now I'm starting to open to that Buddha activity that I'm engaged in which is in the questioning but even before the questioning I was engaged in Buddha activity but because I forgot to question what I was doing I kind of was a little off-center being me. So in a way, in order to be fully yourself you sort of have to remember that you're questionable. To think you can be yourself fully without remembering that you're questionable I think you're kind of like not really taking your seat yet. Even though you are in your seat still. Even though you have a great responsibility to be yourself. Somehow you can say, it's too much for me. But again, you can also realize okay, that's questionable


that I said it's too much for me. I mean, that's not true. That's just what I said. Now again, I'm opening to the Buddha activity which was already there. Right while I said I can't stand it. It's too much for me. I don't want to think about how I'm supporting all beings. But all beings supported me to say that. And being questioning my rejection of the teaching opens me to accept the teaching. And accepting the teaching and being questioned about accepting it opens me again. So yeah, I'm not exactly saying everything is Buddha activity. Rather, everything is engaged in it. Well, I think trying to get something is not really Buddha activity.


But the way everything supports somebody to try to get something and the way somebody who is trying to get something like the way a selfish person is trying to get something supports all of us. And we support that person to be that way. They couldn't be that way if we didn't support them. However, they probably don't get it. They don't understand because they're closing the door of that teaching by trying to get something. I'll be right back to you. Katie? You once said that or I think you once said that that I can't or we each can't use our egos ethically by ourselves. Did you say that somebody said we can't use our egos ethically by ourselves?


Yeah. We can try, but... Yeah. I want to live ethically and in order to live ethically I need to be open to being called into question. Otherwise, I'm just trapped in my own little view of what ethics is which doesn't do justice to justice. So I want to live for the realization of justice. I do, but I know I need help. And I don't need help just by everybody agreeing with me. I need people to question me. So, Jeff and Linda? So, I wanted to follow up on Tyler's question. I wasn't quite satisfied by your answer.


So, it's one thing to say that you're engaged in good activity and if you don't realize it, then ask questions. For selfish reasons, I want the answer. Or I want to ask the best question. Whatever it is. What about people who commit, like, really what we consider to be bad immoral acts? Killing somebody, violence towards somebody, that sort of thing. Are you still saying they're engaged in Buddha activity? I would say... Yeah, I would say... I would say they're engaged in Buddha activity in the sense that we all support them to do that act. We support them to be ignorant of Buddha activity. So, people who are ignorant of Buddha activity are still engaging in Buddha activity in the sense that everybody supports them to be ignorant. And their ignorance supports everybody else. And it's manifesting in the form of disharmony,


injustice, and war or cruelty. That's the way the universe is manifesting. And it's manifesting that way because of a lack of understanding of Buddha activity, which is going on. So, someone who is violent towards others because the person... What we would think of, because that person was beaten themselves when they were a child, for example. Well, not only were they... You'd still say, I mean, you'd extend it that far and you'd say that still, you know, it's our ignorance supports, or our activity supports the ignorance of the parents. Yes. I'm responsible for the people who are cruel to that person. I'm responsible for him. For him and for his cruel acts.


This teaching makes no limit on my responsibility. I can see not having a limit on responsibility because we're all... Should be responsible for what goes on in the world. We do what we can do, but we should be responsible for it. I'm still having trouble with... Maybe I just need to think about it more about whether the actions that we're talking about, the violence, cruelty, war, are themselves... You say that you are responsible... Well, that's the same as saying... I'm not saying that the cruelty is Buddha activity. I'm saying the cruelty is engaged in Buddha activity. The way the cruelty comes to manifest is that it's supported by all beings. All beings are responsible for this cruelty. And this cruelty supports all beings to be more wholehearted in understanding their responsibility.


But the cruelty is... The cruelty or reb... Reb is not Buddha activity. The way reb really is, is Buddha activity. And the way cruelty really is, is Buddha activity. And if we understand that, there will be freedom from cruelty. That's the proposal. There will be justice. But even justice... Okay? Even justice is not justice all by itself. It's something that the whole universe makes and that supports the whole universe. So it too is not this fixed thing. It's realized in conversation. So I can't say that's justice and that's injustice. I mean, I can say it, but that statement is not Buddha activity, but Buddha activity is going on right there. And if I say that's justice,


I may distract myself from opening to Buddha activity, which brings justice. Yes? In the same period before each class discussion starts, you've been using the words stillness and silence each time. Sometimes you make a sentence with it. Would this be one sentence, like, Buddha activity is living or is alive in silence and stillness? And then, is Buddha activity also alive in noise and floating around? This isn't just a theoretical question I have. Well, even...


That was part of what I was going to say to Jeff's question, statement last time about he can get this but not this. What I was going to say is that the Buddhist teaching often is theoretical, but it's a theory which is telling us how to practice. And by following the theory of how to practice, you understand, you realize the theory. We need to do the practice to test the theory. But the theory also tells us how to test the theory and verify the theory. So it is theoretical, but it's not theoretical about any old thing. It's theoretical about how to practice. Yes, so I want... And my question was about practice. I have a short sentence that I've said many million times


since I first hit upon it in about 1978. It occurs to me that I would like another sentence to transform my body and my mind, as they were mentioned. Would that be a good one? Buddha activity is alive in stillness and silence? Is it a good one? I find it to be very good. However, it's questionable. It should be questionable. Well, I asked if it was alive in noise and... Exactly, and that would follow from it being questionable. And what did I say when you said, is it alive there too? You said, is it alive in noise and hysteria? Hysterically running around. Like a chicken with his head cut off.


I guess her head cut off. Is it alive there too? Yes. However, I often say this thing about in stillness. Buddha activity is alive because I say it to people who have been just given stillness. That's where they are. However, I've told you, if I'm out in the street, I could go up to the people in the street and I could say, Buddha activity is alive here. However, if I do that, they may freak out. They may not be able to listen to me. It's not impossible. And many Zen stories are about in those situations where somebody comes up and says, excuse me, Buddha activity is alive here, and the person sees it. Because it's everywhere. However, I'm talking to you about at a time when you're accepting the gift of stillness.


And now that you have accepted it, now I'm telling you it's alive right here. But ideally, if we were having an argument out in the street, I would like to be able to say the same thing, and you go, wow. Because it is. It's everywhere. There's no place it doesn't reach. I recommend that as a sentence to say in the morning when you wake up and in the night when you go to bed. Which one? Buddha activity is alive in stillness and silence. I do recommend it. Yeah. And I also sometimes say, I pray that the assembly will remember that. And I do. I remember it. Because I pray that you remember it, I remember it.


And when I remember it, I go, yeah, thank you for remembering. Thank you, memory. When I came out of operation of my hip two years ago, and I was on all those poisons, swirling through time and space, I prayed for silence and stillness for this intoxicated delirium I was in. Yes? So a few minutes ago you mentioned that to lead a medical life you need to be open to questioning. Yeah. You complimented earlier about how something special in Buddha activity happens when a question is given without expecting that you would get it. But in my experience, there are some people who questioning causes them pain. In Berkeley, for example, a lot of people hold very tightly their view of the world,


their story, their identity. And if you offer a question on that, it visibly causes discomfort and pain. It edges out. So what do you do if you want to give questions to help people, but you know they won't receive it well because they're so tightly fixated on their views of the world and themselves? Well, it seems like the example you're giving, you are actually realizing that what you want to do is questionable. So you're acting ethically. So you want to offer people some good questions, but you realize that your good intention, your loving intention to ask them good questions is questionable. You're doing it right now. And that will make your questioning more in line with ethics.


Because you're questioning your questioning. And then you might say to people, you know, would you like me to ask you a question? You know? And you know that when you ask that, that's also questionable. And then they say something, and you know that's questionable. And then you say, well, you know, you go down the path, and it's coming from generosity, and then the questioning is protecting your generosity from being unquestioning or blind or self-righteous. You know, I'm giving this to you, you know, take it. And no arguments. This is a gift. No, it is a gift, but I wonder what kind of a gift it is. I wonder about this gift I'm giving.


This is really good to do in Berkeley, is to give gifts and question the giver when you're the giver. And when somebody else is a giver, question them. And question, you know, just question, question, question. But again, but not to try to get something from the questioning. Like not to try to get, you know, some civic award for the great peacemaker of Berkeley, even though this is the path to peace. Thank you so much for this relationship. Thank you. You're welcome.