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.


So, I've been saying over and over for a while, I pray that the Great Assembly remembers stillness and remembers silence. Long time ago, I used to say, since I sometimes said in meditation situations, I sometimes said, be still. Be still, but my understanding has changed. You know, that thing, that knob, I think if you push it all the way, maybe to the top, it'll stop, all the way to the top. Thank you. Thank you. So now my understanding is that stillness is the case.


Stillness is what's going on already. We don't make it, we don't do it. And same with silence. And I mentioned this prayer in Texas earlier this year, praying that people would remember stillness and remember silence. And I also say receive it, because although it's already here, it needs to be received. If you don't receive it, even though it's right in front of you, you might not realize it. And then practice it and transmit it. So anyway, I said this in Texas, remember stillness. And somebody came to me and she said, when I was in, maybe she said in my home, I think she said something like,


something like being silent means shut up. And being still means like, don't, you know, don't move. Said, no, I'm not telling, it's not so much something you do, it's something you remember. Stillness is not something we do by, that I do by myself. Stillness is what I'm doing with everybody. What I'm doing with everybody doesn't move. What I'm doing with everybody is silence. I also talk with people and stuff like that, but the silence is what I'm doing with everybody. Stillness is what we're doing together. And this series of classes is called Buddha activity. It's the same with Buddha activity. I pray that we remember Buddha activity. It isn't that I do Buddha activity


or you do about Buddha activity. We do karma. In our karmic consciousness, things are happening and it might be understood that I'm doing those things or I'm not doing those things. And somebody else is doing some things. That's our karmic consciousness. But Buddha activity is a process that we're involved in together, which is liberation from that karmic point of view, which, that karmic point of view of I'm doing this and I'm doing that, and I'm saying this and I'm saying that, and I'm thinking this and I'm thinking that. That's the karmic world. Buddha activity is liberating ourselves and others from that world, or in that world, from that world, and by that world.


If we're not free of that world, then, yeah, then we're caught by our thinking. We're caught by it. We're caught by what we think. So the Buddha activity is already the case, just like stillness is already the case. We're already in the process now. We're where we want to be. We want to be living in peace. That's where we are already. We want to be living in harmony. That's where we are already. However, if we get involved in our discriminations, then we might think that peace is something other than this. Peace is something other than what I'm thinking. Peace is something other than my opinions.


But me right here, right now, with my opinions, in reality, I'm at peace with everyone and in harmony. But that's not what I just said. But what I just said is in peace and harmony with everybody else's. But if I believe, or if I think that peace is something other than this situation, including everybody, then it's kind of like I'm not where I want to be. It's that song, is it a Shaker song? It's a gift to be simple. It's a gift to be free. It's a gift to come down where you ought to be. So, another way to say this is that


this Buddha activity is, of course, Buddha's wisdom. Buddha's wisdom liberates beings so that they can live in peace. Buddha's wisdom sees that we're in peace and frees us from our karmic consciousness, which might think that peace is something other than this, that we should go someplace else if we want peace. Not here, right now, in Berkeley, in this room, with everybody who's outside this room. Generally speaking, or I should say, often people are trapped in the view that peace is something other than this. Peace is living in transcendence of our history, of all the unskillful and skillful things we've ever done.


Ordinarily, people seem to think that they're trapped in their history, and sometimes having a really hard time with their history. Whole nations are suffering, feeling trapped in their history. At the very moment of feeling trapped in our history, we are free of our history. It doesn't mean that we should deny that we feel trapped in our history. It's just that we should understand that freedom from our history is exactly the same as being trapped in our history. They're not two things, as our mind makes it. And the historical transcendence pudding is proved,


the proof of historical transcendence is in historical accountability. When you're free of history, you're accountable for history. You're willing to be accountable, and your willingness to be accountable demonstrates that you're free of it. Not willing to be accountable for it shows you think that freedom is something different than your history. You almost got that, but maybe not quite. Yeah. So is what you're understanding that freedom from and accountability


are maybe the same as with, so I live with my history and with now? Yes, that's true. But more than that, historical accountability is historical transcendence. What it means, it means you're willing to have conversations about history. It means you're willing to be called to account for your history and your people's history. When you're free, you're up for that. When you're at peace, you're up for discussing all the wars and hostilities. But you're discussing it in the context of being free of them. Free of them as in knowing of them and being accountable to them? Free that in that you know that you're accountable


to them, not that they're gone. Freedom in the knowing that you're accountable and not that they're gone, right. But also at peace with them. Being at peace with hostility includes being accountable for hostility. But usually people think hostility is something separate from peace. But there's always hostility in the middle of peace. And there's always peace in the middle of hostility. So when you say accountable for hostility, if you're hostile towards the other person who's hostile to me, for example, and I am willing to acknowledge that that has happened, that that has been painful for me and complicated for me, and then I'm willing to discuss that


with maybe not with them, but with someone, then that's peace. Because that doesn't feel all that peaceful. I would try that. If you, feeling, peace is not a feeling. We all have a range of feelings. Whatever it is, let's say you've got a range of feelings or what's being proposed here is an activity to free you from your feelings without getting rid of them. So you can be at peace with them, not getting rid of them. So being free, being at peace doesn't necessarily feel like one of your feelings. It's more like being able to be completely there with it, with everybody. And so you were talking about experiencing someone else being hostile towards you.


So you have your work to do there with that. And they have their work to do of being able to be questioned and held accountable for people thinking that they're aggressive or hostile. And if they had realized peace, the proof of it, the proof of it, would be that they would be available for a lot of discussions about their aggressive behavior. And the proof of it would not be to be aggressive when questioned about their aggression. The proof of it would be that they're like Mr. Accountable. Hey, I'm Mr. Accountable. I'm accountable for everything you think I've done and everything I think I've done. And I'm also accountable to help you be accountable for everything you've done, because that's reality. We are accountable to each other.


When we realize that, we realize peace. And the proof that we've realized peace is that we're willing to do that. Let's say, being able to be a good person. Thank you. Anyway, Tom is not willing to accept that. From what you said earlier, though, you were saying that there are some that they are at peace already. If they're not willing to, they're already at peace. However, they can't prove it unless they're willing to be accountable for all, for everything, including not peace. People, we're already free of our history. We want, peace means we're free of our history. We've got history, and it's vexing us. It's harassing us. It's afflicting us. We are afflicted by a terrible history, aren't we?


We have all this terrible history, horrible history. And it's not about denying it. It's about being accountable with it, with other people. And if other people are not willing to be accountable with me, then I can't prove peace. I mean, we can't prove peace unless we're mutually accountable. So, for now, okay, the teaching is we're at peace with each other, but anybody, anybody who doesn't want to be accountable, in a way, makes it not proved. But when we're actually willing to be accountable, we have this amazing realization of peace, which you've heard stories about. These people who have these horrible histories, and they're like allowing them, they're telling, letting people know that they're willing to be accountable. So, like these people in South Africa, right?


These terrible torture things have happened, and one of these guys who was tortured was asked about, it was during the time when they were giving, what are they called, amnesty, right? To some of these torturers. Yeah, but also they're giving people amnesty. The torturers, they're giving them amnesty. And one of the people who was tortured met one of his torturers, and this interviewer says, well, what you're doing with this is I forgive him, because he's accountable. If he wasn't accountable, we wouldn't be able to have peace together, but because he's accountable, and I'm accountable too, we can be at peace, we can realize peace. The peace is already there. The problem we have is being accountable for our history, for our consciousness. We have trouble being accountable for it.


That's why we have to have conversations to find out, is there any place, where are the places where we don't want to be accountable for our history, which is our karma, which is our mind, our karmic mind. And, but the context is not like we're gonna make this peace, it's already here. The Buddhas are telling us, it's already here. You're already living in it. It's what's going on right now. We don't have to go someplace else to have this conversation. We can have the conversation right here, and realize, and when we do, we realize that peace is here now. Justin and Adam. I was reading this essay the other day, and someone was talking about racism, and historical responsibility, and kind of just, or differentiated guilt


and responsibility, or guilt and accountability. And I was just wondering, is there a difference between guilt and accountability, those two different things? I think that responsibility, not exactly a difference, but you're responsible for what you're guilty of. If you did something, you're responsible for it. But the responsibility part is where the liberation's living. It's like reconciliation is a responsible response to the situation. Telling the truth about what you did. Admitting, this is what I think I did. And then being responsible for it means having a conversation about it. And a conversation where other people can hold you responsible for the quality of the conversation. Which is now your new karma, that you're responsible for. Adam? So, I guess I'm curious about


the, one of the timers that's on what you're accountable for. Is it like, you're a newborn, and your cousin's parents discomfort, or are we accountable for Egyptians, and slave people's little parents, all kind of? When you say we're accountable for, the facility, is it like us, as a being that was born, or us collectively as humans, including Egyptians, little parents of slave labor? I would say, individually, I'm free to the extent that I'm open to being accountable. If I'm not willing to be accountable to Egyptian slave owners, or American slave owners, if I'm not gonna be accountable for that, then I'm saying, I don't believe I'm free. I mean, I'm not verifying my freedom. If you limit, if you limit your, the, the, the Buddhas are telling us, you already have Buddha's wisdom, which is similar to saying, you already don't have any horizon


on your responsibility. You already don't have any limits on your responsibility. Already. There's nothing that's happened in the history of the planet that you're not responsible for. All that stuff is what makes us. And what makes us, we're responsible for. Not that we did it, but that, you know, it can't happen without us, and we can't happen without us. What we are is the history of the universe, in all these different ways. So we are infinitely, unlimitedly responsible. And we have a hard time accepting that. That's what we're trying to do, is to learn how to accept that. If you fully accept it, you fully realize peace. And then you can show other people who are also having a hard time accepting responsibility, you can show them how to accept responsibility. Yes?


It seems like shame is a big hindrance to that acceptance of the whole responsibility. And I'm wondering if you could say something about working with that, and like showing the opposite of that, or are there other things besides shame that you think are big hindrances? I don't think that necessarily listening to shame is the opposite of shame. I don't think that listening to shame is the opposite of shame. I'm just telling you, you said the opposite. And now I'm telling you what I'm not, maybe I should say the thing to do with shame is to listen to it. That's what the Buddhas do when they meet shame. They listen to it. That's what bodhisattvas are learning to do. Got some shame? My job, my responsibility is to listen to the shame.


If it's your shame, I listen to it. If it's my shame, I listen to it. By listening to the shame, the shame takes off its mask and shows you what it is. Which is, it shows you the truth. Now it looks like an obstruction to the truth. But if you treat obstructions to the truth properly, they take off their mask and show you what you thought they were obstructing. And when you see the truth, you see peace. Seeing the truth in Buddhadharma is peace and harmony. The Buddhas are, they're joyful because they've seen a wonderful truth. Which liberates them from suffering and liberates them from any resistance to being devoted to the welfare of beings. Like no limits to what you'll give


and no limits to who you'll give it to. Total political transcendence, which goes with total willingness to be immersed in all kinds of politics. And show people that no matter what the political situation, you can listen to it and you can look at it with compassion. And you're happy to do so because when you look at it with this full listening, you get to hear the liberating truth. So any obstruction, including shame, is an opportunity for compassion. Which is not the opposite of the shame. It's what the shame's calling for. Shame's saying, give me compassion. Your history's saying, give me compassion. And when the compassion comes, there will be freedom from the history which is already there. But because we don't allow the compassion,


we don't see the freedom. And allowing the compassion means allow yourself to be responsible for the situation. That's part of compassion. Yes? When I was walking into class, this man came out and got in front of me and he was like, you're a liar. He said you're a liar? Yeah, he screamed at me, you're a liar. And he was angry and he was like, so I'm gonna come out and come out of this frame. Yeah, sounds like it. He said, don't come in the way of the building. I thought, what should I, what should my response be? When did you think that? When he yelled at you? Yeah. Yeah. And I wish I had screamed at him back off.


I don't know, I don't know. But anyway, you did respond. I don't know what your response was, but you did respond because you're responsible. And what he's asking for in his very painful and confused way, I guess, he's asking you for compassion. But he says it in this other way. He doesn't dare to say, would you please give me real compassion? He doesn't dare, he doesn't say it that way. Yeah, it was so resonant because I sat down and I was like, I'm not even away from here. And then he began talking about how Jesus is right here. And I think it's interesting, but that kind of violence or anger is going to grow when the building is at the center. I am still at the center.


Yep, yep. When somebody yells at me, peace is right here. But I want to be someplace else because I don't think this is peace. So then it seems like peace isn't here. But when I want to be somewhere else, peace is right there. When I don't think this is peace, peace is right there. That's what the Buddha's teaching, but the Buddha also says because of attachments to what we think peace is and misconceptions of what's going on, we don't realize that peace is already here. We don't realize that we're in the process of liberation. Even though we are. So we don't have to go someplace or do anything


to be in the process of liberation. We just have to give up discriminating. And the proof of giving up discriminating is that we're willing to be accountable for discrimination. To demonstrate that we're not attached by working with whatever it is that we're not attached to. Yes? What is it that makes us protect our reputation? Like a coat or something? When a friend of mine, she was just telling me how somebody wrote a report about her and they were falsely accusing her.


She was very, very upset. She was telling me with my response, I could respond right away to protect my reputation. And then she started out with, I feel, I have to say, I'm concerned. Because the moment you say, I feel, and then in the end she said, and this attack forces me to seek employment somewhere else. I will be actively seeking. And then I said, well, do you have a job? Because it's like she feels that they're attacked. That she is protecting herself with that piece. But I can understand her feeling, my reputation, these things are not true. They're tainting my reputation. And when it's on somebody else,


I feel like an ease in seeing how attached to the reputation. But when I've experienced myself, I have such a feeling of, I want people to think bad things about me. That's not who I am. You're not somebody who wants people to think bad things of you? No. A lot of people are like that. It's part of a kind of social animal stuff. That we understand that when people think bad things about us, it's kind of dangerous. Like they might kick us out of the group or something if they think bad things about us. And that's not a safe situation, to be excluded from the group. So we're afraid of, we're also being afraid of being excluded from the group that protects us. So, wanting to protect ourselves or protect other people, that's fine.


And also wanting to protect our reputation is fine too. But again, what attracted me to Zen was somebody who, yeah, who just basically listened when his reputation was being trashed. And responded with compassion to people who were trashing his reputation. And then people were like elevating his reputation. And he treated the situation just the same. He was free of the ups and downs of reputation. I don't think he wanted his reputation to get trashed. But I also don't think he wanted his reputation to be uplifted. I think what he wanted was to be able to meet the trashing of his reputation in the same way that he would meet the enhancement


and promotion of his reputation. That's what I think he wanted to do, and he was able to do it. And that's what I want to do, and that's what I'm trying to learn. But that doesn't exclude feeling bad about my reputation getting trashed. So in that story, if when his reputation was being trashed, if that felt the same to him as when it was being elevated, to me that wouldn't be as interesting a story. It's more interesting that it kind of hurts when people yell at you and spit in your face and stuff. And to be able to treat that the same as when they're gently stroking you, that's what I want to learn. In other words, freedom from the ups and downs of life, which are going to happen. And wanting to protect ourselves from it is fine, but what I'd like to do is be free of wanting to protect myself. And I'd also like to be free


of wanting to protect you while I'm protecting you. And if I'm free of wanting to protect you while I'm protecting you, I will be a better protector. Because what we'll be doing is something that really does protect us, which gives us peace as our body and mind are getting... going through changes, up and down, that's going to happen. What about peace and freedom with all that? That's the real protection. And that holds up to impermanence. You got a good reputation? Anybody here have a good reputation? Does anybody here have a good reputation? E.J. does. Okay, now, E.J., the Buddha has a message for you. Your good reputation is impermanent.


Doesn't mean you have a bad... It really does. Also, does anybody have a bad reputation? E.J. has one of those too. Your bad reputation is impermanent. Our reputations are impermanent. And whatever our impermanent reputations are, they're all opportunities for compassion. And if we accept the responsibility of compassion to our reputation and other people's, we enter Buddha's way. We enter the process of liberating us, not from our reputation, well, liberating from our reputation, and also liberating us from our concern about our reputation. I don't know if... We all probably have some kind of reputation. And I don't exactly know what my reputation is.


But sometimes there have been moments when people have said something about me which is kind of like, would make a bad reputation, like somebody confessed to me in public, I just wanted to tell you that at dinner before this class, I told the people in the dining room that you're a crappy teacher. And I was... Did somebody laugh over there? I laughed. And that's what I came to Zen for. And it wasn't a sarcastic laugh. It was a happy laugh. But I was really happy because I was free of being called a crappy teacher. Now, if I actually thought I was a crappy teacher, I would also like to be free of that and get that joke too. Now, of course, if I actually saw how funny it was that I was a crappy teacher, I would be a very good teacher of Zen,


not caught by my reputation of being a crappy Zen teacher. And those are the examples that drew me to Zen. The people who were called crappy teachers who could not sarcastically laugh, but really see how funny it is, this life, and be at peace and free while they have a really bad reputation for the moment. And then they have a good reputation. And then that's impermanence and they have a bad reputation. Our reputations are going like this. Everything is. All these phenomena are. At the same time, we're free of it all. We have to engage it to be free. Yes? Well, she kind of threw you a softball there by talking about... I mean, it's an easy question


for you to answer in this way by talking about reputation. Because reputation is clearly what we think and what people think about us. It's clearly an egocentric thing. And you can easily apply the Buddha's wisdom to a kind of equanimity between being told you're good or being told that you're bad. Some people might get the wrong impression that, well, whatever is happening, it may look good, it may look bad, but it's all the same to us. But you don't really mean that. Well, in that story I told you, he wasn't saying it's all the same to us. That's why I said, if it felt the same either way, it wouldn't be such an interesting story. I imagined that when these people attacked him, it actually hurt him. It didn't feel the same as the way people usually treated him as a well-respected monk.


I thought it would probably hurt a little bit. It can really materially hurt people. Yeah, and so it seemed like it... Yeah, and also they gave him the baby. They said, when the baby comes, you're going to take care of it, and they brought it to him. Yeah, and they gave him the baby. And materially his life changed. So now his responsibility was to accept this baby and with help, to take care of it for two years. So there was impact. And that was something. And then they came back and took the baby back, and he gave the baby back. Donald Moyer, who's, you know, having a hard time right now, last time I visited him up the street here, he brought that story. For him, the great part of the story was that he took care of the baby and gave it back. But then when they praised him,


I think that had impact too. Material and feeling and all that. I would say the full range of human stuff, you can load it lightly or heavily, either case, whatever the case, I would like to be free. But I need training. When I heard the story, I thought, that's totally cool, but I can't always do that. I want to learn how. I didn't think this guy just had good luck. Interesting about that story. I've always liked that story, but that story is only focused on Hopkin's freedom and wisdom and freedom from self-centeredness. But it doesn't seem to care a bit about what's good for the baby. Just a thought. But he took care of the baby. That was good for the baby. Yeah, give me the baby. Take the baby away. I mean, there was no concern about what was good for the baby.


I don't know why, what point I'm making. It just popped up in my mind. Well, the conversation can go into that now. You're bringing it up, so we can talk about that. Another story was Hopkins saying, well, I'm willing to take care of the baby, but do you think that's really the best situation for the baby? That could have been a more complicated answer. I'm totally up for it, but maybe the baby could stay with the mom and I can bring food or something to support her. Or maybe I could move in with the mom. Or later, when they wanted to take the baby away, he said, you know, that's going to be tough on this baby. Maybe the mom would have... Yeah, he could have said that. And that story would have been pretty cool for me too. You know, a story came up which, if I can just tell the brief version of it,


which is impossible. Anyway, it's a story and it's cited in Being Upright. And it's a story about a whooping crane named Tex. I think if you look up Tex in the index, and so there was this... Yeah, there was this whooping crane that was born and it was born into a situation where they're trying to get whooping cranes to reproduce because the species is endangered. So they're trying to help them have more reproductive success. And so they had a whooping crane in a zoo or some kind of place like that in Texas. That's why it was called Tex. It was born in Texas. And when it was born, the first living being it saw was a male zookeeper,


human. And so it imprinted on a male human. And so they tried to mate it with male whooping cranes, but she was not interested. You know, they did their great dance and all that stuff. It's kind of like... When they get interested, the egg descends and can be fertilized. And so... But when she saw this guy, she was always very interested. So he got the idea of doing the mating dance for her. I think he actually put on wings and stuff like that. And he did the mating dance and she liked him. And he did it


and she stood up and started dancing with him. That's what they do. They're kind of watching and then they get up and they start dancing and in the process, the egg descends. And then it's usually fertilized by male genital activity. But in this case, she was artificially inseminated with male whooping crane sperm. After she was aroused and the egg came down, she was artificially inseminated. And then she has this fertilized egg in her. And then after a while, the egg came out, but it didn't survive. And I think he did this... And I think they don't have this opportunity very often. Like once a year they do this. And I think they maybe did it three times. He did the dance three times and three times they did the insemination and three times the egg came out


and was not vital. The shell was too thin or something like that. And then I think he took a year off and then he said, OK, this time I'm going to really do it. But what he's going to do is he move in with her. He actually moved into her housing and slept next to her. So he did the dance. She was inseminated. And then after she was inseminated, he lived with her. And he's a writer, so he would sit in her little living area and he would be typing and stuff like that while she's resting or whatever. But she needed emotional support from him. And he gave it to her.


He lived with her through the whole incubation period. And the egg came out and it was a healthy egg and the baby was delivered. That's called accountability. That's responsibility. That's what it takes to verify life. Yeah. Well, yeah. So again, we didn't hear that she was, what do you call it, having anxiety attacks when he wasn't around. But I think that was part of her karma is that one part of it is good karma because by imprinting on a human, you have the person around for quite a few years. Whereas if,


I don't know what happens if you imprint on a whooping crane and then you made a male whooping crane. I don't think that they necessarily stay around with, I don't know if they like mate for life. It's just, it's just that because she imprinted on humans, whooping cranes didn't turn her on. But it doesn't mean that she was, that she was having problems in her relationship with whooping cranes. It just says she was having problems with the reproductive part, which only excited by humans. So I don't know what her life was like. I don't know if she had a second and a third offspring. I don't know the rest of the story. But he did... Yeah. This particular person,


it turns out this is his profession. So he does stay with, he's ongoing, he's ongoingly working with whooping cranes. So he's probably around her whole life in the neighborhood. Yeah. And I think the Buddha activity of the relationship of him and the whooping crane, it includes that he's an impermanent thing in her life and she's an impermanent thing in his life. And they're trying to have a peaceful relationship. And I think the proof of the pudding of their peaceful relationship was the egg survived. But it took a lot of work for them to, for her to really be at peace. They had to really be in close conversation for her to be at, you know, in her guts to be at peace. Because she liked him, but in order to be really at peace


he had to really be intimate with her. So intimacy is another word we use, right? We have to be intimate with hostility in order to realize peace. I don't know of another way. And we have trouble being intimate with hostility. Doesn't mean that you can't say to the hostility, I need you to be quiet. I need you to be respectful. I need you to use your, what do you call it, your indoor voice. Doesn't mean you don't ask for gifts, but it means that you're doing it in a compassionate way. And it might be helpful to understand before you start this practice that you're already in a situation


of peace. And you don't have to make peace because that contradicts peace, that you're going to make it. Because you might want to make it this way, but she might want to make it that way. That's not how we make peace. We make peace by being compassionate with what we've got. And then Buddha discovered peace. He didn't make peace. He found it. He said, I discovered it. I discovered nirvana. I found nirvana. It was already here. It wasn't like not there and then he came along and then there was nirvana. It was there from beginningless time. Buddha activity is beginningless and endless and discoverable. And it's discoverable in a trans-historical way and it's proved historically. The discovery is proved in history


even though it's peace is trans-historical because it means we transcend all the mean things that those people have done to us. We're not stuck in all the mean things that so-and-so did with us. And because we're not stuck even though they've been mean to us for eons, we can be at peace with them because we'd rather have peace than revenge. And we've got a lot of reasons for revenge. And also, by the way, people have reasons for revenge towards us too. Got a lot of that stuff. How about peace? Well, it's already here, available for discovery. But we have to listen to everything with compassion. If we exclude something, the door to peace


temporarily, temporarily closes. Not permanently because it's actually sitting right behind the door that we just closed. It's already here. We're in the family now, already. But if we close the door on the family, it's like we're not in the family. Yes? When did that happen? Last week? It happened in history? Historical verification. Thank you.


And then after I give you the answer, you'll forget it. And I won't get... And I won't be angry at you. Yeah. I can't put them together yet. So, if I'm not getting anything out of any situation during this conversation, and I see


what I would call injustice as a practitioner, I can't understand yet what's right after you and after she. Well, could I just wait a second on that last question and just mention that one example of doing something without trying to get something is somebody says to you, hey you, and you go like this. Somebody says, hey you, and you go, hmm? You heard it, and your head turned, and you weren't trying to get anything. So we do... Part of our life is like that. If you... If you... see...


If you see the injustice, as soon as you see it, at that very moment, the injustice is calling for compassion. Compassion. And, at that very moment, you respond with compassion. However, you might not notice it. But you're responding with compassion, and that's what it's asking for. Pardon? No. The thing that called you was calling for something, and you gave it. It got what it called for. So it's also included. Because it called you for something, and you gave it. It wasn't... It isn't just that you feel good that you gave what was called for.


You don't even notice it, necessarily. Sometimes I ask you for something, and you give it to me, and you don't know that you gave me what I asked for. But you did. But you might think, oh, he asked me for something, and I gave it. You might think that. And you might not think, and when I gave it, I wasn't trying to get anything. He just asked for it, and I gave it. And I wasn't... I didn't have time. I gave it so fast, I didn't have time to think about getting anything for it. Inquiry, or request, and response come up together. Not this, then this. They come up together. That's the world we're living in, really. That's the world Buddha is telling us about. When injustice arises, it's calling for compassion. And the response to that is coming up right at that moment. And understanding that is giving the injustice


exactly what it's asking for. It's asking for company. It's asking for compassion. And right there, the justice is free. But that doesn't mean it doesn't call again. Because it wants more, maybe. More freedom, and more compassion. The call for justice is kind of like justice. The fact that we're all calling for justice is kind of part of justice. And also the fact that we're listening to the call is part of justice. But it's the two together, and the fact that they include each other, that is the fullness of justice. But to try to get something is knocking yourself out of the process I just described. It's alienating yourself from the actual you're being asked for something, and you go,


to try to go someplace or get something, you miss it. Yeah? Oh, just a follow-up. Is passion, fight with passion, are you including, where is your passion? Is it enough to express your passion when you see injustice? And does that imply that that's all you should do to help all of them? Have you seen justice in this before? Do you actually, so what role, if any, does taking concrete action, maybe not trying to get anything for yourself, but just trying to help fit into that? Do you see, if I say, Jeff, please listen to me, and you listen to me, do you think that's a concrete action? Yes, but if I see somebody being... Well, just a second,


I'm just... I mean, but that's easy, but it's concrete in a way. You think it's easy? People seem to have a really hard time doing it. It's easy to understand what you're saying, but not that it's easy to do it. So I think you should do it. But the, and I thank you for pointing that, but the, and the, but if somebody's starving, being beaten, being unfairly arrested, whatever it is, the question is, what about action on hearing what they're, what they're called justice expressing to you that, that I understand the action, what will the action in the actual physical world have? Okay, so, what I'm, I will now issue a warning, a caution, okay? What I said before was, if somebody is being beaten, the first thing I do


is I observe the beating. Because they're asking me for compassion. The person who's being beaten is asking me for compassion. The warning is to think about something beyond the observing distracts me from the, the miraculous process that's already going on, which is that somebody is asking me, actually, in this case, there's two people in this story. Somebody's beating somebody else. Both of these people are calling for compassion. That's what I'm saying. If I give both of them compassion, which they're asking for, right then and there, a miracle of healing, reconciliation, and freedom can occur. It doesn't mean that our freedom will not be enacted in the next moment by some other action.


It's just that if you, if when somebody asks me for something and I'm listening, if I'm thinking, what else should I do besides listen? I miss the moment of healing. That's the warning. And if somebody's beating somebody else and I'm right there, then in the next moment I will also be right there. And in the next moment I will, and my body will be in some posture in the next moment. But in that moment, the first moment, I will be observing the person and if I'm really there, I'm not thinking of getting anything changed at that moment. But they do feel heard. And I, somebody used to tell me her problems. And when she told me her problems, I would come up with something, I would come up with something to do to fix her problems.


And she did not want that. And I did that over and over and all the things I thought of to do to help her were really brilliant. I knew what to, I knew her problem and I knew what to do to help her. And I kept offering these things and they were all rejected. Finally I realized that she wanted me to listen to the weather report. And then after that, maybe I could say something. And you can. Once that happens, you are then empowered maybe to say, what? Can I ask a question? Or whatever. Or to reach out and give some, would you like some water? Or could I, could you back off? Could you, could you people separate a little bit there? Actions do follow. But the best action, the most helpful action in the next moment will follow


from not missing this moment. And in this moment, the first thing is you are picking up the information of the situation which looks like this person is being mean to that person and I want, and they are, but okay, and they are both asking for compassion. And if I give both of them compassion, I will be in the best possible position to help both of them, to protect both of them from harm. That's what I believe. And, yeah, and I can give you infinite examples, but that, that's the basic, that's the principle. Yes? Well, I like the examples. Sometimes, sometimes I was thinking of what Tracy just said, that sometimes we get involved in a, in a kind of protracted effort to address some harm that's being done. It isn't in the moment where you decide to say


in a compassionate way to be separated from them. It may be something that takes weeks or months. So, this is the way I usually think about it, so tell me if I'm deluded. I would say, I, for example, I see this problem of children being separated from their parents at the border. I decide to work on that. Maybe take on one case, this little girl and they're about to deploy. I work night and day for that. I don't want to get that bad arm from happening. I would try, if I were thinking about your teaching, I would try to do it in a spirit, in as much as possible spirit of service and love, not to get something from my ego. I want to get something for the little girl, but not from my ego. And then I also know I might not work, so I can have both detachment or I can let go and work day and night,


you know, at the same time. How's that? So, I'm just saying that in the work you're involved in, I'm saying you will be more successful if you let go of trying to get anything. And you're also, your energy will be more refreshed and renewed. Even if I'm not trying to get anything for the child or the family? You're not trying to get anything. You're trying to realize peace and harmony for this child. But to try to realize peace and see it as something to get, it steps away from peace. Because peace is already here. The Buddhist way is called the way of peace. You know, and one of our famous stories is the teacher says


to the student, the student says to the teacher, what's the way? The teacher says, everyday mind is way. Or like, helping children be protected. Making children safe is the way. Okay? And then the monk says, well, should I aim at it? And he says, if you aim at it, you go away from it. So if you want to help this child, if you aim at it, you go away from it. Because you don't know what it is to help this child. If you think you know what it is and you turn towards it, you go away from what it is. The what? The way, the way of peace. And then, and then he says, well, if I don't aim for it, how do I know if I'm doing it or not? And the teacher says, knowing that you're doing it is delusion, and not knowing is, kind of like, being spaced out. So you're, you're devoted to this welfare of this person.


You want, you want her to be at peace and safe and happy and healthy. If you make that into getting something, it doesn't mean you're still not helpful. If she, if she knows you're doing this work and you're trying to get something, she still feels your love, but your love is being misdirected by the idea of trying to gain something. So, you brought up yucky states of consciousness in a recent, nasty states of consciousness in a recent thing. And some other people brought up states of psychedelic states. Okay? And we had some discussion about it. And I feel like, what came to my mind afterwards is a book, I think named,


written by a guy named Eliade. It's called From Shamanism to Zen. I think that's the name, one of the names of one of his books. Shamanism is about making states, like getting rid of yucky states and going into really creative, illuminating states. And a lot of people went into creative, illuminating states with the aid of psychedelics. And then they heard about Zen and then they went to practice Zen. Because it sounded like Zen people were like seeing some of this stuff without drugs. But the thing about the difference between Zen and Shamanism or these states is Zen is not trying to get a state. It's not trying to get the happiness of this girl. It's about realizing this, realizing it. And again,


we all want this girl to be at peace and be at safe and happy. And we want not just her, but many people. We want that. It's just that trying to get it doesn't destroy the whole project. It just makes, it just sets it back or off to the side. It just, it just makes it more difficult to do the work. Like this guy, again, working with the whoopee crane. If he was trying to get something, that would have undermined his great efforts. So, the thing that's going to help this child is for you to be intimate with her life in any way you can, at a distance or up close. And trying to get something from a relationship with a child undermines the intimacy and yeah, undermines the intimacy is what's going to help. Your intimacy with her, but you getting other people to be intimate with her.


If they're intimate with her, she'll be protected. In the intimacy, there will be peace and compassion. So, it's the trying, it's the trying to get things from, from people, from relationships, from drugs. It's the trying to get. Buddhism is the opposite of getting. The animal thing in us is get, get, get. Get, get, get. Get, get, get. Buddhism is give, give, give. And give to not get anything. And we're already, in Buddhism, saying, actually, we're already doing this. Throughout all evolution, we were practicing giving. That's what I woke up to. Okay? Bye. Hopefully.


You can find peace in yourself and you're helping them with your compassion. But then, how you're, is, you're showing compassion and that helps stop that cycle of whatever negativity you're putting out there. And it's kind of just like, where does the accountability fit into it? Because if that kind of, yeah, so is that compassion enough to help stop that cycle so that, that, not just that form of peace that that person can have, but can help spread that peace? I'm talking about big peace. I'm talking about beginningless and endless peace. Not just a peace with me or you. And you didn't get


too specific about your example, but somebody was doing something which seemed kind of painful. Is that the example? Somebody's doing something that seems painful to themselves or to the environment. Or to me, to you. Somebody's doing something which I find painful. Okay? So, my job is to be accountable. My job is, I have a responsibility with this person. This person may not be the least bit interested in me being accountable to them. Or me being feeling responsible for them, for my relationship with them. But that person, the peace I'm talking about is the peace, okay, here's the peace I'm talking about. It's the peace where you're calling me for compassion and I'm calling you for compassion. In peace, in peace and harmony, we're calling each other


for compassion. So that person who's being mean to me or you is actually calling us for compassion. And we're asking them for compassion but we may know we're asking for compassion and we may feel like they're not listening to my call. But they're calling me and I'm responsible, I'm accountable for my calling to them and their calling to me. And if I accept my responsibility, that includes them, although they may not get it right away. The Buddha woke up and saw that the Buddha was responsible for everybody and everybody was responsible for getting it. But when somebody is being mean to me, I have a responsibility and it might be to say, guess what, friend, or guess what, I need something


from you. And I'm saying that to them without trying to get anything. I'm just giving them a gift, which is, I have a need which I'm going to share with you, which is, I need you to be respectful to me. But when I say that, I know that they need the same and if I'm not being responsible to respect them when I say it, it's possible for me to say, without trying to get anything, hello, and really be respectful when I say that. In other words, to really know I don't know who I'm talking to. Yes, and I also need to be accountable to myself for my actions and I need, accountable means that they can ask me questions. The one who's being mean to me can ask me questions about what I'm doing rather than, you're the bad one so I get to ask you questions.


I'm the good one so you don't get to ask me questions. This one we've seen, right? We're the good people, those are the bad people, we ask them questions, that's fine, they're accountable. They should be accountable but they don't want to be accountable which is part of them being bad people. Well, okay, but I'm good so I don't have to be accountable. No. If I, besides whether I'm good or bad, if I'm willing to be accountable, they can learn how to do it. Somebody has to teach them how to be accountable because they need to learn that because they are accountable. So, no matter what people are doing, I'm saying they're asking for compassion and no matter what I'm doing, I'm asking for compassion and I'm accountable in both directions for that, is what I'm saying. And that's what I'm trying to learn and that's what I'm trying to encourage. And this is the process


of realizing peace that I'm talking about and again, it's already the case, it's not going to come to an end and again, that's another thing, to come to an end is another moving away from peace. Peace doesn't have an end to it. And people want to like, okay, let's get the peace and let's come to complete the peacemaking process. That is antithetical to peace. It doesn't kill the whole universe, it's just it's off track. It's closing the door on open-endedness. Being willing to have an open-ended relationship with everybody is being called and some people say, no, I just want you to I just want you to have a relationship with me until you die. Like, I saw this


Mormon couple and the man, the husband was the man and the woman was the wife. That's what they were doing in church still. So the man said to her, you know, I'm going to be devoted to you for my whole life. She said, what about the next life? He said, wasn't this one enough? She said, no. I want many more. Well, it doesn't mean that you're going to be able to do that, but you're responsible to deal with this person who wants you to be their devoted partner for many lifetimes. This is the person you've got on your hands here. And they're a handful, you know, because that's what they want. It's not that you can give it or not give it, it's that that's what they're asking you to listen to. And you have the opportunity to say, okay, I'm going to listen to this incredibly vast request.


I'm going to try to listen to it without any argument and also without trying to get anything. I'm just going to try to let her listen to it. Wow. Okay. That's how you wake up to peace. We should call it maybe peace. Ted, we're going over time, but Ted? I'll make it quick. In week one, we had the conceivable and the inconceivable. Yeah. And I was thinking about that a lot these weeks. And tonight, it occurs to me that the pivot point between those two is remembering compassion. Yeah. Is that right? Yeah. Well, that remembering compassion will help you pivot between the two. So, it's inconceivable that peace is already here.


It's kind of, that peace is inconceivable. That's not one that sort of, I think yes it is, I think no it's not. It's the peace, the inconceivable peace, the inconceivable freedom, the inconceivable harmony that Buddhists have awakened to. And it's their resource for teaching people how to be compassionate with conceivable peace and conceivable war. By being compassionate to conceivable hostility, we pivot and realize inconceivable peace. Also, being compassionate to conceivable peace. Because sometimes we think, oh, I think this is peaceful. But being compassionate to peace, like the yoga room is pretty peaceful, being compassionate to this group of people would mean not trying to hold on to anything here or get anything here. Like we have this nice group here, but if anybody's trying to get something, that's not appropriate. And if we have peace here,


if anybody's trying to hold on to it, that's not appropriate, that's not compassionate. And if you can like let go of the peace of this group, let go of the beneficence of these people, and listen to their cries, you'll realize that they're listening to yours, and we will wake up to peace. So, there were several other hands which I appreciate, but we're getting late. so maybe we'll meet again someday.