Causation and Non-Self 

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he was programs

an old buddha who lived in japan
i'm the thirteenth century
who we call a dogan
he's the first person in that
japanese lineage coming down to the san francisco zen center founder
towards the end of his life he went to kamakura the teach the buddha dharma
and when he came back to his monastery called ag
talk to the monks there and said something which has been translated into english
like this
i teach the dharma to guide people
those who practice wholesome actions rise
those who practice unwholesome actions fall
you practice cause and harvest effect
it's just like picking up jade and throwing away gravel
thus i tried to clarify
identify with and practice the dharma of cause and effect
do you understand
please bear with me my tongue speaks of cause and effect
wholesome actions
are defined as beneficial
that is they have beneficial results
huh towards the end of last class
noting that
r wholesome action or skillful action is action that has beneficial result
we noted that
when you do something that you think is good
when you think something's good and you wanna do it
that isn't the only can do that isn't the only thing that makes it good
actually the main thing that makes a good is that it has beneficial result
what's the main thing
but how can you ever refined beneficial result because there's no end to results
so this led neil to say well this way of defining good makes it useless
another way to say it is this this way of defining good
ha implies and leads to the realization that good action is empty his selfless
this definition of good
is the way by practicing good
we realize
the emptiness the selflessness
of the good actions
so this is this teacher or this is a teacher in our lineage named a dog and he also says in we've we've we've talked
about this many times before he also says that when you pay close attention when you give close attention
to all your actions
and the the actual word there is interesting word is daily plums
when you pay close attention to your daily plums
you will realize you will see
that nothing
has an abiding self
you will see that the action which the actors which you're paying attention to
do not have an abiding self and you will realize that nothing has an abiding so
there is a so there's two ways to that i've come to my mind now about how to relate to your daily plums to your daily actions two ways one is
to give every action to make every action to offer every action
for the welfare of all beings
each action is an opportunity to offer this action to the welfare of all beings
this way of acting will lead to the realization
that your action his selfless
that the action has doesn't have a self and that your action doesn't have a self and yet your action is selfless and selfless action is the action of the buddha's selfless action is the action that actually
in the most profound way helps beings
so by making every action inexhaustibly dedicated to the welfare of others
you realize selflessness
which is turns out pretty much the same thing without mentioning the vow to look at each action and remembered that the goodness of the action
is not in the action
the goodness of good is not in good the goodness of good is in the results of good
which means that good as relative to its result dependent on its result therefore good has no self no good self
which reminds me that avira sent me a note
part of which i just want to mention right now is as she was she wrote his is about a dependent core arising not dependent core rising that's the way she heard it
dependent call core rising dependent core rising
so it's a nice way except that arising doesn't have a core
that's a wonderful way to hear it but i suggest you change it now too dependent coal arising

what if you say it if you say it fast as sounds exactly the same dependent core rising
i just hadn't seen that one before thank you
dependent core rising this basic teaching doesn't have a core
buddha's infinite compassion doesn't have a core and are
compassion doesn't have a core nobody's compassion has a core nobody's action has a core
and when you realize that
then that realization is what really helps beings and i propose to you that you will not be able to realize that unless basically the actions which you're studying and realizing our empty you treat them
treat them with great compassion and you perform them
with great compassion you perform them for the sake of all beings and also you are kind to the actions to your practice compassion towards all your daily plums
if your daily plum seem you imagine your daily plumped are delicious good daily plums be compassionate to the good what what you think are the good daily plums if you think your daily plums are rotten be compassion to the rotten daily plums be compassionate towards all your actions
beyond on the ball of the action and give the action great compassion plus to fill the compassion of the action make the action which are being kind to
for the welfare of all beings
and the other way is the actions which are doing for the welfare of all beings don't skip over the action be kind to it too
then you will realize
that the actions are selfless then you will find your actions will become selfless the same actions are now selfless
but it's hard to look at action or and the other thing is the other sort of similar way to protests is when you look when you think of doing some good
in order to realize the good which you're thinking of you need to take into account that you have that that there is a mentally constructed idea of good super imposed upon the good
so that's they're all part of the same thing these three aspects one is realized that the definition of good depends on things other than itself and it doesn't have a core so you're looking at something that's useless
and you're devoted to perform something that's useless
but the thing when you see it's useless you are contemplating reality rather than using something
you're devoting yourself to reality rather than devoting yourself to what you can use
another words you're acting like a buddha
the other weapon than the other ways you're devoting yourself to this action for the welfare of all beings and the other way as you're devoting yourself to an action which you're dealing with the action you're dealing with it in terms of you're not you're even in terms of mentally constructed projections ups
on it
in order to understand the emptiness of the action nodded in other words in order to understand life
we need to be sophisticated about these projected
constructions upon the actions
well three one is one is that your every action is for the welfare of not all others
that will live that and and and also that you treat each action kindly in that context
this one and that will lead to self realization of selflessness of the action and of everything the other is you just simply remember the definition of good and evil also you can also meditate on evil evil is that which has
wholesome unhappy
non beneficial results harmful results so evil also doesn't have a core
so remembering the way these are defined you real and but paying attention to them
according to that definition you realize selflessness and the third is
you think why think that would be good
and i wanna do that thing and what i'm the committing myself to do is a man is or islam is a mental construction projected upon action it's not that there's no action is just that we project these constructions upon them we need to be aware of that in order
to not in order to realize the selflessness of things and in order to help the people which we want help the beings we want to live for because everybody needs to learn this in order to be able
to do the same wonderful thing to others so one with some people think that the point is deliberate the people
but it's deliberate the people so they can help other people it's not just deliberate them from suffering it's deliberate them from suffering and deliberate them from delusions sort of taken so that their compassion is not hindered
you know limited vought limited interests
okay so
that's really is but it's difficult to pay attention to action and remember that what you're actually doing with is your
projection upon the action and remember that why you're doing it
it's a it's a record it's a sea change or it's it's a big change
lord to to realize that when you remember
that good is defined relative to result that you can't actually grasp the goodness of what you have the good thing you're trying to do and that you want to do you want to do good you think this will be good and you need to be aware
of lois
i'm fixated
i have that's basically good to be fixated on the boom years
i'm just a second before you go on just remember just fixate long enough to figure out what the plumbers then i did get then relax
and be gentle and flexible with the plum so just fix a long enough to figure out what the plum is what's what's the plum you're dealing with now and then be very gentle and relaxed and flexible with it and not overbearing on this plum okay now the poem which you can fix it on for just a moment
i have eaten the plums that were in the icebox which you will probably say for
which you are probably saving for breakfast
they were so sweet forgive me they were so sweet and so cool and so-called
and lois lois is over twenty years old because she says icebox
it wasn't my home but i wish
but i don't
i think it actually
it sure does and also and also please give up make a gift of i wish it were mine
make that a gift of his thank you
yes linda

the result is empty tube because the result depends through the result is in the action
the result is in the action
that they're not really separate result there's no results without depending on actions i mean it without depending on cause
so so the causes in the result and the result is in the cause
so you can't find you can't actually find either one
because because if you don't talk about it and also talk about it and talk about it like dogs as if you don't
would you say
to clarify speak about it clarify it identify with it in practice it if you don't do that
then you won't understand life and it can understand life you won't be able to help here's others very well so
the reason for paying attention to this thing which you can't find is because paying attention to this thing which you can't find one may be realize that nothing can be found
and then you'll be a than ten beings are liberated are really from suffering
but it's hard to look at something realizing
before you can't before you realize that it can't be found not just that you can find it but that i can't be found before you realize that it's hard to look at something as you begin to realize that you might not be able to find it and you start to think about what will happen to you if you can't find it
what what how how will i live if i can't find my action how will i drive home if i can't find my actions
that's when you get really close she should have a chauffeur
a chauffeur
when you get really close to realization is good to have enough chauffeur
somebody who is like thinks that they can find out we're driving is
yeah step

yeah to cause for it we need that for attachment now

i know
because there can be attachment even and wholesomeness so
one of the one of the things about one of the benefits that could come from action would be that you'd be willing to pay attention to action
yeah so if you pay attention to your action
yeah that would jump that might have to convey the effect of being able to pay attention to attachment action more but there still could be attachment
until you really open up to the dependency of your action
and it is possible to pay close attention to avoiding on wholesomeness so if you think something's unwholesome so harmful
the ancient destruction is avoid it but yet to pay attention to it to avoid it and if you pay attention to it you start to notice where it depends on it it's unwholesome is depends on whose results so it also can't be found
which in again people get kind of frightened by that
so peng it paying attention to wholesome and unwholesome when you act you actually can see more and more that but these these activities are useless
and then they were not used to that so then we to want to go back and forget about that kind of intense awareness and go back to
thinking that
something is wholesome and just thinking that that soul because we thought so
who's next over there some oh veera and then he lame

an ancient concrete incident
english was your third language
you way i'm certainly didn't get this has been picked up and so i reached i repeat what you saying
okay so she was separate from her parents for six months when she first came to america

very hard
she looked at me

i'm not sure
let's assume she thought it was skillful and helpful yeah
let's assume she did all right and if we assume she did then we would assume that she is not aware of her projection upon that action of the idea for the thought construction that this is wholesome and not being aware of that projection which is there for most people
she doesn't realize the emptiness of it and you're not helped really
and the you're not really helped
but she might have who knows i wasn't there she might have i understood
that that what she did
was empty of goodness
i don't know
but that's what i want you to understand
and if you do you'll save your aunt
from all the results of her karma
one second charlie elena

a concrete example
this is a concrete example of have of of another have a mental cats projection upon your activity you're going to tell us about now right

the fire station

sure that

that he wanted
do you notice


did you give him attention

so so that there is this day
fred with it and who knows
i couldn't do it
he really wanted to stop
okay i hear you

yeah so
aside from doing good for the moment
aside from saying that this is good but i'm about to say i'm not going to say it's good okay
you can you could say it's good and i i also could say is good but basically
i suggest that we learn in a stint in situations like you just mentioned
and the very just mentioned i suggest that we learn to be gracious towards them
towards the beings that we meet so these these tune like the aunt be gracious towards the and and be gracious towards the man with the umbrella was it to be gracious towards them to see him to learn just to see the situation is a situation of giving if you're giving yourself to this man and a man's a gift to
see that way you train yourself to see this as a giving opportunity as a giving enactment as in an argument of given that your practice patience with the perhaps the discomfort that arises when somebody's waving a pointed object at you
that you practice also patients and generosity towards your ideas about fred
not not just fred don't talk about fred for second but just be gracious towards your ideas about what fred want you to do
don't just sale fred wants this or fred once said be gracious towards your ideas about what fred wants and then
and then also be gracious towards friend
you say the man was frightening but in other words your mind created an image of the man which you got frayed of
that's that's another way to see this so if you ever if your mind if if if the mind creates a projection of a frightening being on this person this person is one of the people was we are
offered the opportunity to be kind to
so sometimes we make pictures of people who are not dangerous sometimes we make pictures of people are dangerous or both objects of compassion so i'm proposing that we learn
to be gracious with them to be patient with the discomfort if there isn't he in this case there was discomfort
listen to me please i'm telling you what you asked me what to do and i'm telling you you don't have to say the for little while cages listen
the great practice giving with this person be patient with the discomfort of the fear
be gentle and don't be overbearing and become
the com with this person and of course don't be benign of course be for nonviolent
with this person also with your ideas about what fred want and also with fred
those are the three main characters in this thing one is your ideas of fred
your ideas of this person and if you're kind to your ideas of this person kind your ideas of fred the kindness will get conveyed to the people who are the basis of your dreams about them they're actually there are actually the early as fred
in the really is this person just said you can't find him but we don't like not finding them so we put projections on them so we can find them and sometimes you although we got the perfect projection on him now we're upset because we're afraid of both of them
okay now we got trouble now we got problems but we also have things to be kind to
practice giving patients
gentleness flexibility don't be overbearing and don't be violent and because that's what i would suggest you do in all situations
if possible and if not i would suggest you do that towards not being able to
now if you do that with everything you realize
but nothing has an abiding self you will realize selflessness
in addition to that we can go and other things but that's what i would suggest right now in this case i'm not saying it's easy but i definitely recommend it for all of us if we wish
to realize selflessness and benefit beings i'm not saying you can't benefit beings without realizing selflessness
i'm just talking in this class about the kind of help we can be in this world if we do realize selflessness which is the ultimate
the ultimate kind of help
the real relief and liberation which also even more wonderfully than that teaches others how to help others
anything else on bring up i'm trying this is like really trying to be concentrate on this now your next yes charlie
it seems that every action has both beneficial and harmful results it seems i wait to you well including all the cases that we talked about just now it seems like
but you can stick a point out some some benefits answer
each one of those ways back
and if that's the case again you do did kindly say it seems and other words your mind can imagine this which it is doing which and you're welcome to do so
but this is not actually you're able this is not your vision of of actual the actual benefits and harms you just open your mind is open to the possibility that there's both benefits and harms and your yet you even open to that for everything that's good but that doesn't mean there really is benefits and harms of everything
is possible if something's do not have any harm
and some other people things do not have any benefit is possible
open to that that's part of being gentle that's part of that's part of being kind
but also be opened to your
what you said that it seems like everything has both that's also be open to that
but don't open to that and close to what i just said
and don't open to what i said and close to what you just said
but please study this
because this is what we need to study and again you can say it's good to be kind to everything but
you know the i'm not saying to to fix on that it is good to practice is kind of kindness i'm just saying
the listen to this is recommended
over and over and over this kindness and this kindness towards action
yes so my question is
if that if it were the case that did everything as some
beneficial resources of our poll results if it is years now
then put away
what would we mean when we say wholesome actions have beneficial results if i mean is any action that has some corny of benefit a match matching even if it also has some harm
the meaning of the definition that wholesome action is that which has beneficial result the meaning of it
his first of all to make ordinary conventional meaning
into nonsense
that works out and open us to ultimate meaning which is nonsense in terms of conventional
the meaning of this the meaning of this teaching is the all is the ultimate meaning of life that's the meaning of this team

an ultimate meaning is the meaning which makes
life be the best it can be
and which
makes us able to be
these ways which cannot be grasped profound but which are called
non limited kindness
nah unlimited happiness
nine limited misery
and everything's welcomed and enjoyed
and we show others the way that's the meaning of this of this teacher
but it does render
conventional meanings which you can grasp like this is good
this is a good thing that's a good thing and that's a good thing and that's a good thing which renders that kind of take on things meaningless
but opens us to something
which is the ultimate meaning which we cannot use but which we can lead into our life and let it do its thing which operates in a different way than these graspable goods and bads through but again the teaching is it is these these conventional goods and bads
still are defined in such a way kindly by the ancestors such as we see that you can never find them

and and so if you're willing to study something
that has its definition you have deep faith and cause and effect you have is you you have the faith of the ancestors because they also believed in this teaching spoke of it practiced it and these are the
super weirdos of the of the ancient times
who we are somehow
in are studying and trying to learn from all the time and trying to become like the ancestors who could perform these things which were not work miracles but just flow from understanding of selflessness
but the understanding of help selflessness in this tradition is approached through studying
the cause and effect related to action
i'll be back to you later neil
the person one person
yeah there really there
yeah that's the way they're really they're they're really there and i in a way that you can't find they're really they're in a middle way
that's the way they're really there and they are really there and based on the way they really are we make them in for example existence or nonexistence so that we can grasp
so so we can attach to them
excuse me what

the conventional meaning was one conventional meaning of really there is just the conventional designation that the way they're really there is called the middle way that's the way things really are
is there are there not nonexistent and they're not existed during between those two extremes
that's the way they really there


well really there things that are really the way things are
the way you know like for a new a neil is really there are i could say a neil is really here
and and the way he's really here is in relationship to find ability
namely the way he's really here is that he can't be found as to where you're really here however
although you can't be found you are the basis for my projections about you

yeah it sounds like really there with up
it is existence things
course sounds self existence well there's nothing to stop you from projecting itself on this to
the way that the way to stop projection is also can't be found
but and we and we have to do this without in any way messing are hurting or disregarding or denigrating conventional meaning
so if there's any way the conventional meaning is being denigrated this shouldn't be missed this
something's off here
i don't want to denigrate conventional meaning we we should take good care of it we should be kind to it be kind to conventional meaning
then you don't have then you won't dwell in it but we didn't read the isn't that we distorted and twisted and denigrated
that's another kind of dwelling in it we take care of conventional meaning but if we lose sight of conventional meaning that doesn't mean you're not taking care of it
you can be really kind to somebody or something and and in in the fullness of your kindness you don't know who they are you think they're you yes
those a perfect segue because i was focusing on the word time this kind is kind of com expressions very conventional it's convention also kind means same and so i was thinking that
you know was how to use or kind in the context of some
even gentle but then i was thinking in the context of the war difficult formulations you gonna make a the navy kind means
i'm open to
not grasping kind of like you're not sure when it is
why in markets has possibly yes right cured the part of kindness is not is being open to it that's part of kindness part of kindness part of kindness is being open part of kindness is not being overbearing like bear down on something and make it into not whatever but just some things right
will you have a threatening been done you might say a way to be kind to this thing i think is threatening i remember now might just be my mind projecting it and then immediately might leave oh it's a poor little boy yes what then not tested a projections yes the kindnesses just stain and
this opens day of saying there's something here i'm not sure what it as what i'm going now cure it out and let it be you wouldn't do this which allows allows you know big dangerous person than scared little boy but scared little boy should be treated the same way
and then the action which comes from watching these projections in being aware of them and been kind to the projections the action that comes from there is the action which were trying to develop selfless action
yeah sometimes you use the term been in a very broadway and the other very helpful in the sense sometimes you when we're talking about i mean
why be a person but then you were talking about your feelings of maybe you don't be kind to you are
fear yeah and your fears have been if you kind of malaga it has helped her from you need to think of everything in substances of be because then you can see that everything is has is open possibility of being as empty projection right
yeah so be kind to persons
but also be kind to fears
and tensions and confusions be kind to all these different types of beings
which which will be good which will develop this practice
because and to make no exceptions

i'm calm abiding means
basically being calm and relaxed and alert and energetic and joyful
that kind of com and that kind of com is also sometimes called tranquility or concentration
and it's an it's possible if if you were calm in that way a com which is again imperturbable unperturbed and relaxed and buoyant and awake if you in that state you might is possible to dwell in that state
to attach to it
it's also possible to be in that state and not dwell on it
the perfection of that tranquility com as when you don't dwell it
that she likes sake
you know like if you ever find yourself really serene and relaxed and awake and i said lydia which please give it up and say find here ticket yours
then that would be not dwelling in that wonderful tranquility

ah not quite
you have a rent controlled apartment in berkeley he never want to move again and i say lydia would you move in you say fine
no i'm not dwelling when you say fine said fine
if i hope who can we give this to i say to you lydia who can we give this apartment do and you say for me
i say if somebody can we give it to somebody else would you say fine
that's that would be an expert doubt you'd be able to do that if you weren't dwelling if you are sure to if you had realized non abiding the body sought was not abiding mind
is it you could you could be in an apartment and you could not want to move but not dwell in the apartment or under not wanting to move and you can give away your body mind and apartment and when you can give it away people say no stay there we want to come and live with you
we want everybody to move in with you so they can like in a cozy up to you and get more that non dwelling off you
yes sassy
oh i was just reflecting as we're talking on your opening reading
i think he said identify with cause of effect
he said excuse me for speaking
and that the sounded like katherine were right there
your the idea of identifying the something
it has no existence and at the same time having to apologize for putting that projection out there
right then it dawned on me as sort of the heart of compassion right there like you you have to express it in this conventional at the same time your compassion having to do that
sagan you have to express it as conventional manner to to communicate with have to express it in conventional but without identify
we're compassionate toward the expression but you're identifying with because of fairfield
but having to express it
his first time i thought of the middle way it's been for the heart of compassion because that's what's occurring in the middle ways the heart of compassion and compassion is the heart of the middle way both
we can nobody can find the middle way without being really kind to our bags
they go together great compassion in the middle way way his great wisdom
and as one more thing i i didn't want to be too hard on you by giving you one more little phrase at the end of this but dorgan said
please bear with me my tongue speech of cause and effect without reason
i thought i left that part out now cities since since they brought that up a it without reason
it's more difficult isn't

how so
during a week i was sitting zazen and i was i was about to adjust my posture and and i thought oh that wouldn't take any action
why you know i actually watch that or something and then i thought well if i don't that's also has consequences right
so there's no
and so there's no there's no waiting there's no way you can get a hold of or get out of a cop at a consequence situation or there's no way you can get out of a complicated situation right
so your your actions have consequences and you're not actions have consequences
yeah i be good to end with this story
one day i are one of our ancestor's name ja schon was sitting in meditation
lori are shown
and his teacher came by and said what are you doing
heart could say what action is this
and ja schon said
no action at all
in the teacher said than are you sitting idly
and ja schon said if i were sitting idly i would be acting and teacher said you say you're not doing any action at all what non-action are you doing
and yeah shaun said even the ten thousand and sages don't know
so we can
we can open to this this path
are the ancestors which even the ten dollars and sages do not know cannot find cannot grasp and the sages know not just that they can't find it but they know that it can't be found
they varied they can prove that
and the way they prove it is by being kind to everything
and by being kind everything you realize that nothing can be found and realizing that nothing can be found your kindness will be unhindered
he's still they were together
and we have all these opportunities all our daily plums
and all the beings we meet
all these are opportunities to give close kind to attention
but not just a beings not just other humans and other living beings but to all our feelings and especially don't overlook action
action action
daily plums
thank you very much
may our intention equally extend to every be in place where the true marietta
buddha his way beings are numberless i want to save them the illusion zara inexhaustible
a lot to end them dharma gay solar power lies i about to enter them
the was way is unsurpassable i
to become in