Causation and Non-Self 

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Before I forget, I want to thank Charlie Wilson for making time in his war to record and put these talks on cyberspace. Thank you, Charlie. And thank you, Tracy and Alan, for taking care of the class. And congratulations to Donald and the Yoga Room community for finding a new place, which Donald says is quite good and quieter than the old place, which is not too surprising. We'll miss the noise, and the new place will be on San Pablo, moving


in in August, maybe. I found this note. In some notes. The note says, it's hard, it's difficult to practice alone. And it's the same for practicing with others. The difference is that practicing together with others is the way of the Buddhas, the way of the Tathagatas. So thank you for


practicing together. And there were some things that came up at the end of class I'd like to kind of start with. One was, Lois said, what about the first two elements in the standard 12-element or 12-link presentation of Dependent Co-Arising? The text that we've been using starts out, as you know, working back from old age and death to consciousness. And then it resonates there between consciousness and name and form, or between consciousness and materiality and mentality. It resonates there for a while and then goes back around, but it doesn't actually deal with the first two links that are often discussed. So Lois asked


about those. I just thought maybe I'd say a little bit about those. Ignorance and formations, literally ignorance and formations. Avidya and samskara. So ignorance is in a kind of passive way ignorance of or not knowing Dependent Co-Arising. So Dependent Co-Arising is based on not knowing, this teaching of Dependent Co-Arising is based on one of the main elements in the process of Dependent Co-Arising of suffering is ignorance of Dependent Co-Arising of suffering. You can make that more active and say, ignoring the Dependent Co-Arising of suffering. And then there's another way to talk about it, which is that this ignorance


is believing various kinds of false beliefs or wrong beliefs. So a little sampler would be believing that this very person, this very self, will be reborn in various states due to particular actions. So being born in accord with actions doesn't sound too bad, but the idea is that here this belief is the belief that this self, this one here, will be reborn according to actions. So I just can't stop, I have to say something more about that, since you look so happy, and that is, a birth, a life, the way it is, does depend on past karma. But the birth


is not the birth of some past person who was born in accord or depending on past karma. But some people believe that. They know about karma, but they don't know enough about the story of Dependent Co-Arising. If you understand Dependent Co-Arising, you will no longer believe that this person has just been reborn as this person. This person that's here before you has just been born. This is a fresh person who you could call Robert. Do you understand Norbert? Robert is etymologically related to Norbert. Do you understand? But if Robert


follows Charlie, then he's Rebby, or Rebly. But he's not Charlie and he's not Norbert, and he's not any of those old Rebs that have been given away, have been donated to the Buddhadharma. Sixty-five years have not been lost, they've been given away. Could you read the self one that you just read? So, ignorance, one of the renditions of ignorance is that this very person will be reborn in various states due to particular actions. This very self, didn't I say it? Oh, sorry. This very self will be reborn in various states due to particular actions.


Well, I was going to ask you what you meant by self, but now you just, if you said people, then you must mean people by self. A person, yeah, same thing, like I'm a person, and then to think that this person now is going to be reborn, that makes me a person into a self. But the person doesn't get reborn, it's not the same person. A person gets born, and you can call it rebirth, too, because this person depends on past births, or this self depends on past births, but it's not the same self, it's not the same person. To think that it's the same person is not understanding, to think that it's the same self is not understanding dependent co-arising. So, dependent co-arising is not, ignorance is not understanding or, yeah, not understanding dependent co-arising.


When you don't understand dependent co-arising, you think that you're the same person, the same self that there was in the past. You think that way. That's a manifestation of ignorance. And you're saying that the past could be one second ago as well as one lifetime ago. Correct, or even faster than one second. You can actually have several selves appearing and disappearing within a second. Usually they're faster than one second, as you may have noticed, or as you may remember. Let me just finish the list here, or do you want to talk now, Timo, before I finish my little list? Later? Later? I'll talk to this future Timo. Bye, Timo. Next one is that after death there's nothing. That's for some people who have ignorance,


they have that belief. That's quite common here in the United States these days. After death there's nothing. That's ignorance. That's an ignorant view. That's a wrong view. The previous regime stressed that. The previous regime emphasized that, right. Okay, another one is that life is a random process in which good and evil actions bear no fruit. It's another form of ignorance based on non-understanding, dependent, co-arising. Another belief is that another belief which is equal to ignorance is that by simply adhering to a certain religion or to a set of precepts, even like bodhisattva precepts, by simply adhering to them, one will automatically be saved. Another one is, another form of ignorance


is the belief that material wealth will provide true happiness. So based on those kinds of beliefs, we're all set for the next link which is mental construction, formations, karmic formations, thinking and acting and intending in accord with the views we just said or in accord with ignoring dependent co-arising. So those are the first two links, briefly put. What's the third one again? The first two links are just two. That leads you to consciousness? Yeah, consciousness, right. But it's consciousness based on ignorance and reinforced ignorance


by mental constructions in accord with ignorance, in accord with wrong beliefs. Then you have a consciousness which arises depending on that kind of ignorance and karmic formation. So this consciousness is defiled. Do you want to talk now, Timo, about something? Yeah. Okay, go ahead. You just came to me with this very strong connection which is suggested for the rebirth because you brought it in the context of rebirth every moment and rebirth conventionally after death. Do you think you suggested that connection? I mean, there's a strong illusion of connection of rebirth every moment. Is there an animal on my forehead? Yes. Is it a spider? No. It's gone now. It just jumped off.


Where did it go? Oh, hi. Yes. Yes, Timo? There is this strong illusion of a self-carry on through the moments. Yeah. There's that appearance and then you can believe in it. And if we don't understand dependent co-arising, we are at risk of believing that. So it feels like the new Timo now has a strong connection to the previous Timo. You can say strong connection. That's fine. Yeah. Or just connection. Yeah. And do you think he suggests actually that the continuum after death is as strong of a connection, though illusionary, so it's not the same self, but still for a person who perceives this delusion, this is as strong one person going from one life through specific


lives to the next one? I don't know if that question... Yeah, I don't know if it's as strong. Because even within life, not every moment is as strongly influenced as the next one, as some other ones. But I never appear as rare, like, I mean, for my feeling during this life. So it feels like a very strong illusion that I always appear as Timo. So does that mean the connection? But you don't always appear as Timo. Sometimes you don't even recognize yourself. And sometimes you're shocked to see what is brought to your attention as Timo. And you maybe don't think you're rare very often, but you often think you're not Timo, and then suddenly you realize you're not this new Timo. And other people also sometimes don't recognize the new Timo if they knew the old Timo. So it isn't really the case that we all, you know, sometimes we do, there is some looseness there. The belief is actually stronger than the empirical


experience. The various Timos actually look, you know, probably more like Rebs than we usually think. You know what I mean? Yeah. Like if you look at what we're actually dealing with in terms of sensory experience, what we think is that the Timos and Rebs look more different than what's on the map. But because of our ignorance and karmic formations, we say, this is really different from that. You know, like we say, we think fun is really, really, really different from not fun. We think that way often. But actually, when the fun comes, it is fun, and then when the not fun comes, it is not fun. Actually, you don't really feel that they're that different


sometimes. Sometimes they're like, well, that really wasn't, they weren't that different, even though they were kind of like, one was fun and one wasn't. And after some period of time, it's like they're almost indistinguishable in terms of your life. But we think, you know, we think, well, this Timo is really just like the last one and I never mix them up with Rebs. We think that way. There is a Timo and there's a Reb and they're unique, but they're not so different and they're interrelated and you can't really get one without the other and that kind of thing, so it's really kind of like not that clear as we sometimes say, like that example I gave the other day where I went to see the eye doctor and he put on this equipment, which is kind of like glasses, and then he says to me that the world is actually clearer out there than it is to us. That's the way


we think. We think that the people are really more different from us than we can see, and so on. So it's more in our ignorance that these things are strongly separated and there's a strong connection. But there is a connection. And there's a unique connection between the various persons that are called Timo, which is a different type of connection from the various persons, not a different type of connection, but it's a different causal pattern than the various Rebs' connection and influence on each other. And I just wondered if this uniqueness goes through what we conventionally call destiny? The uniqueness goes through? No, the person doesn't go through and the uniqueness doesn't


go through, but all phenomena are unique, within a universe. But there's not a transmission of the uniqueness in the sense that the uniqueness goes from here to there. The transmission of uniqueness is like the transmission of Timo. This Timo arises and ceases and another one comes, but there's no transmission of one Timo to the next Timo. I think I just wanted to look in a deluded way on this transmission, because I would never mess up. When I look at you, it's always red, although it's an illusion. So if I would be able to see birth and death conventionally, would I clearly see the one who follows red as an illusion? He might change every moment, but this red turns into a horse or whatever and I would clearly see that this red does not turn into something else or into a horse


and an elephant or another person. Well, you said you wouldn't see a Reb turn into a horse, right? But I think what you mean is you usually don't. Usually you don't, but sometimes you might. Probably you won't, but usually you won't, but that doesn't mean that sometimes you won't. Sometimes you might see me change into a horse or into Timo. You might see that. It's not true that I changed into a horse or changed into Timo. Probably I didn't. I changed into another person who is not Timo unless Timo is gone, and then I could be Timo, if you make space for me. But I just wanted to address a couple of other things before we get into this kind of talk


which we just got into. The other issue was, well, actually, I wanted to deal a little bit with craving before I deal with Anil's question about what's becoming. I just wanted to mention that craving, in this text, they point out that craving arises depending on feeling, right? And feeling arises depending on sense contact and so on. And we talked last week that although craving arises depending on feeling, that does not mean that feeling causes craving. Because sometimes there's feeling and there's not craving. But craving needs feeling, usually, to arise. And feeling needs sense contact to arise. But sense contact


does not cause feeling. And feeling does not cause craving. Right? So that's kind of clear now, right? In other words, feeling is not a necessary and sufficient condition for craving. If it was, we should just crave and cling and suffer. But there's a possibility of dealing with feeling in such a way that craving will not arise. And there's also a possibility, a way of dealing with sense contact in such a way that when feeling arises, we'll be even more likely to deal with feeling in such a way that craving will not arise. So some teachers really emphasize being mindful of sense contact and being very kind with sense contact. Because if you don't dwell on sense contact, you have a better chance of being


kind to feeling and not dwelling in it, and then you don't slip into craving. Does that make sense, what I just said? Even though you may not know how to do it yet? In other words, don't wait. If possible, don't wait for feeling to come. Try to be quicker. Be ready for feeling by dealing with sense contact, and then when feeling comes, you'll have a better chance of practicing kindness and wisdom with the feeling. And then that will be the end of that. You will understand dependent co-arising then. When you learn how to deal with your feeling properly, when you're kind to it and don't dwell on it, you understand dependent co-arising. And then ignorance is uprooted and so on. But I also want to point out that this text, if you look at this text, is nice because


it not only shows the usual thing of craving depends on feeling and clinging depends on craving, right? You don't have clinging without craving usually. But once you have craving, it can have a strong influence on giving rise to clinging and so on. But it also points out in the text not only that relationship between craving and clinging and feeling and craving, but it also points out the relationship between craving and some other things that are dependent on craving, which is in the text. Dependent on craving, there arises seeking. Seeking arises dependent on craving also. And depending on seeking, acquisition arises. And depending on acquisition, ascertainment arises. And depending on ascertainment, desire


and passion arises. And depending on desire and passion, attachment. And depending on attachment, possessiveness. And depending on possessiveness, stinginess. And depending on stinginess, various evils and unskillful phenomena come into play. For example, taking up sticks and knives, conflicts, quarrels, disputes, accusations, divisive speech and lies. So that part of the text goes into the social effect of craving. The usual focus of this teaching is on the personal suffering, the way we personally think, the way we personally believe, leading to our personal suffering and our personal misery. But at that craving part this text also splits off and goes in a direction of how it affects our relationships


with others. So you might meditate on that part of the text too. Now I'd like to just move on to becoming. So I did some research on becoming and Neil did too. What did you find out, Neil? It's very hard to look up that word because it's kind of a generic word. The one definition I found was pretty abstruse. It was sort of like the agglomeration of around characteristics that make up an individual, sort of coming together around a person. Agglomeration of characteristics around a person. That's related to what I found. The Sanskrit


term or the Pali word is bhava, which can mean being, but in the context of this process of causation it is usually translated not as being, although sometimes it's translated as being or existence, but it's translated as becoming because it's a process. It's And the Western word, studying the Western word I was using, Western philosophy, one of the ways it's used is as qualitative change. Becoming as qualitative change or qualitative transformation. Now in this context, this particular becoming is qualitative change based on clinging. We have craving, clinging, becoming. So this is referring to a process


of change of going from one phase to another, changing, qualities are changing based on clinging. And again in the research in Western philosophy, becoming as it's used by Heraclitus is very close to the becoming in Buddhism because Heraclitus didn't see substantial things moving, but insubstantial things in a process of change. He's the one who said everything changes except change and other things like that. He's a pre-Socratic philosopher. So, one way to see this phase is that it sets the stage for rebirth. It sets the stage


for the kind of consciousness which we call birth consciousness or a consciousness which seems to link related lives. So like now, just think of it for now, there's a way in which if I'm ignorant and I have craving and clinging, there's a way that my consciousness sets up a connection between this person and a person that's going to be born. But it also gets ready for the person to be born, for a birth to happen. So it sees this person not just as a new person, not just as a different person, but the birth of a person and this person is seen as related to the last one, even in a gross way, the same person, the


setting up the next birth, but the becoming is making arrangements based on craving and clinging, based on feeling, craving and clinging, to try to control the situation so that maybe this person will be born again in accordance with the craving and clinging process. It's not birth though, it's the kind of attempt to produce and control. So there's a kind of producing and controlling which sets up birth, moment by moment, but also for different bodies, for bodies that get burned up and then a little baby. There's the same process of the continuation of craving, clinging, and now setting up the possibility of a birth


in another womb or even another animal, but it's the same person in the sense of this causal connection, but it's not the same person in the sense of a carrying over of that person. It's the same person in terms of a causal process being a person. So maybe that's enough for starters on becoming. It seems like you want to say, this goes back to Timo's sort of strength of connection, the pattern of connection, right? If you say it's the same causal process, if you break off that causal process from the rest of the Pinnacle Arising, then that's kind of like a new candidate for a self, right? I didn't mean to break it off. I'm saying you can't. No, I didn't want to break it off. So the person is kind of like this temporary word to describe a part of the Pinnacle Arising. It's a provisional description, right?


So the causal process has to become the whole thing. There's different persons. One person is a person each moment, that's one kind of person. Another kind of person could be the causal process. That kind of person could be the causal process? Yeah. That kind of person wouldn't be a self. But I understand that that might be difficult to say that that's a person. The causal process is a person. That seems okay, but why wouldn't that be a self? Why wouldn't that be a self if the causal process... Because by the nature of the causal process, you can't find the person. You can't find this person. You can't find the causal process. Since this person is a causal process, you won't be able to find the person because you can't find the causal process. Okay. So you started by saying the person is a causal process.


And you can't find the person, and you also can't find the causal process. A person is a causal process, yes. Everything's a causal process. Okay. So this is kind of like my original... Once you make that identification, person, causal process, then it seems to be something you have... In order to be able to do that, to speak that way, then you have to start finding things. No, because the identification is just the words. There's nothing more to it than just saying that the person is a causal process. The identity of the person is the causal process. The identity of the causal process could be a person's name. You can do that. But if that's too hard, just forget about saying it's a person, and I'm just saying that persons are causal processes, and I won't call the causal process a person. If that makes it easier for you at this time. But I am saying that if you've got a person and you understand that they're a causal process,


then you can't find the person because you can't find the causal process, and you can't find the causal process partly because you can't find the person if you're talking about the causal process of a person. You can't find anything here when you look at this kind of process. You won't be able to ascertain, or claim, or crave, or control, or organize. However, craving and controlling and all that can arise, all those things can arise, as a tentacle arises, and you can't find those either. Yes, Lois? The whole sense of time disappears too. There is no time, it feels like.


And just like there is no self except this causal process, and why do we even call it death then? We call it death because of birth. All right, but after I've been listening to the succession of selves, or what we're calling selves, or causal processes, it's just a continuing movement. And movement is a succession of seconds, or milliseconds, or whatever you want to call it. It's just a dynamic thing that doesn't have a shape from our perspective. It can have a shape. It can have a shape.


It's just that it doesn't have a substantial shape. Yeah, that's what I'm saying. You can't actually see it. You can see it, but you just can't find it once you see it. Okay, I'm on the same track there. But the other thing is that seems like a good thing, and becoming in Heraclitus feels like a good thing, because there's a continuing motion, so you don't stop. And what I feel in this description of causation is that... Just a second. Can I say something right there? He said it seems like in Heraclitus the becoming is a good thing. But I think instead of saying it's a good thing, you could say that in Heraclitus he's pointing out that the becoming process is dependent co-arising too. Now I see that. So becoming, if you understand becoming, which is setting up the possibility of a birth, which sets up the possibility of a death,


if you see that becoming as a causal process, then the becoming is another opportunity for becoming free from dependent co-arising. So Heraclitus' picture of becoming is kind of pointing to the dependent co-arising of the becoming. So becoming is part of the dependent co-arising of suffering, but if you study the dependent co-arising of becoming, then the dependent co-arising of suffering also is alleviated. So just to finish that, so the process of these links, I don't know what word to use, the movement towards the finale of this 12 is not negative or bad or something. I used to feel in Heraclitus that it was a good thing


to describe and discover this movement, dependent co-arising, this pattern. But I was feeling as you were talking, moving, that it was coming to, it wasn't a good thing. To see it was a good thing, but to move from craving to clinging to becoming to birth and so on was not a good thing. It's okay with me if you say that birth and death is not a good thing. It's okay with me if you say that misery is not a good thing. That's fine, you can say that. But I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that this is a story of how birth and death arises, and if you understand this story, then you'll be relieved of this story. And you can call relief a good thing if you want to. But I'm just saying this proposal, this is how it works,


and if you understand how it works, you will be free of this process. And certain places are recommended by different people who usually have, those who have used those places themselves as ways to become free. So then they like those things. And you can say, well, most people get free at this point. And I don't hear too many people talking about becoming free at the becoming because you've already got the craving and the clinging. Maybe a harder place to sort of study. So without getting into good or bad, it's just that Heraclitus' picture of becoming, because we're looking at him at this point, this change, this qualitative change process where there's no substances, it's very close to the Buddha Dharma. And if we understand that, we become free of the process, which is sort of the point of this teaching,


is to become free of the process which the teaching is describing. And really to help, the Buddhas gave this teaching to help others become free of this process which he's describing. Fred, and then Christian. I just wanted to say that there are various descriptions of this process, as you pointed out. And in the one given by, presumably the Buddha, in the Rice Seedling Sutra, link number 10 is becoming. And becoming, various footnotes tell you, in the American edition, is the same as karma or karmic action. And that step or link in Nagarjuna is karmic action, exactly,


action which can be avoided. Or the wise man, he says, refrains from action. And presumably he doesn't mean all action, he means destructive action, or negative action. He means action which is based on ignoring dependent co-arising. The wise man acts, but in such a way that no clinging is engendered. But it seems that that is the point at which he says one could free oneself of the previous burdens. Right. So if you look at the first two links, the second link is karma. So you can do it there, right? Yes. However, as you just pointed out, if you're in the becoming phase, if you're at the phase where


you have not freed yourself from karmic formations early on, so when you come in, you have not freed yourself enough even to practice properly with feeling. So you come into feeling under this auspices of your karmic constructions, and you deal with feeling in such a way that you have craving, and you deal with the craving in such a way that you have clinging, and you deal with the clinging in such a way that you have becoming, and now becoming is also karmic formations, but it's karmic formations not so much at the place where you're setting up a birth, but the same way that you could become free of karmic formations, not so much where it's setting up a birth, but where it's setting up consciousness. Yes. If you could practice the same way with becoming, you have the same releasing potential by that study, because all these factors are at each link. They aren't like one after the other


and the previous ones aren't there, they're all there at the same time, they're all there in one moment. So if you look at the Buddhas, in some texts the Buddha comes in at number 10, in some places Buddha comes in at number 2, sometimes Buddha resonates between 1 and 2, sometimes during certain phases because of where the Buddha is at or the students he's with, he's talking about 2 and 3 all the time. In other places he's saying, no, it's 5 and 6, but it depends on the people and their problems, what part of the process would be most appropriate to get them to focus and not dwell. But all of them are there all the time, because the Buddha is there with all of them, available as teachings to help people at different places, so they're all there all the time, creating suffering people and releasing people from the suffering. I'll be right back to you, Christiane.


Feelings seem like a good place. Yeah, a lot of people think feelings are really a good place. Partly, one of the advantages of feeling is that it's a gross mental factor, it's easy to spot, so it's easy to work on it. And I wondered about sense contact between the two before, because I don't really understand what that is. Well, like, you know, there's a story, so here's a story, the Buddha's not saying anything about the pinnacle arising, but this guy comes to see him who is quite an advanced meditator, he's actually a teacher of many people, but he's such a good teacher that he realizes he doesn't understand very well. I mean, he realizes he needs some help. So he travels a long distance to meet Shakyamuni Buddha, and he meets him, and they have this wonderful meeting, which I'll tell you the short version of, is that it's a short meeting. And so finally the Buddha agrees to teach this person,


even though he's busy begging, it's morning begging rounds, so he teaches this person while he's begging, and he says, Okay, Bahiya, train yourself like this. In the seen there will be just the seen, in the heard there will be just the heard, in the smelled, and then I'm going to break this down for you, because he summarized the next three, in the smelled there will be just the smelled, in the touched there will be just the touched, and in the tasted there will be just the tasted, and in the mental objects, the mental sense, there would just be the mental objects. This is training at the sense contact level. That's the way he taught that person. This person was very advanced, so he sensed that, and he gave him this teaching to practice that way. Not to say you have to be very advanced to practice this, but this is a teaching he gave this advanced person. And then he said, after he finished that little thing, he said, When for you,


by this training, when it gets to be for you, that in the seen there's just the seen, and in the heard there's just the heard, and so on, then there will be no, what did he say first, there will be no, there will be no identification with it, with these things, and I would say in brackets, no disidentification with them. There will be no here or there, regarding these things, and there will be no in between, and this will mean the end of suffering. So the Buddha, you could say, took that link for this person, taught him how to focus on it, in a way that he was really kind, and so kind that he wasn't dwelling in these things, that all there was, was these things. There wasn't like him and the things. Just completely, totally engaging, in this sense contact phase, and this person was able to do that, right while the Buddha was talking to him. By the time Buddha finished, he was free,


and Buddha named him, you know, the most rapidly awakened student. That was his nickname. He died in the afternoon of that day, by the way. So that's an example of giving that stage first, but I think a lot of other people, giving the feeling one first is better. But for some people, who are into becoming, that somehow they're into it, and they're aware of it, then the Buddha might say, okay now, you're setting up this, you're actually somehow able to open up this becoming phase, which you're in now, to practice there. Other people are contemplating, well actually, both at the stage two, and at the stage of becoming, there is some kind of planning for how you're going to, like the example I've heard is, someone has this idea of going to heaven, based on feeling, craving and clinging, they want to go to heaven,


they're clinging to the idea of going to heaven, and then to arrange, to make a plan for their behavior, such that they can act in such a way as to be reborn in heaven, is becoming. To arrange your behavior, to make a plan of your behaviors, such that to get yourself born in a certain state, have that kind of rebirth, that's becoming, in a kind of blown up sense. It can be quicker than that. Somebody might be into that, the Buddha might be able to see that, and then they're instructing them at the becoming stage. Other people are making plans in other ways in their life. They're into karma too, but they're not trying to get a rebirth. It's not quite that set up. So then, if they're at that stage, the Buddha might pass on that, or he might say, okay, give them instruction of how to meditate on their karma. But karma is going on in all these stages,


it's just that in some phases of your karma, somehow you're ready to look at sense contact, or you're ready to look at feeling, or you're ready to look at craving, or you're ready to look at clinging. Somebody comes to me just recently and said, how can I deal with painful clinging? That's where she was at, that's what she was feeling. She was feeling clinging and pain. That was her situation. So I said, love the clinging. And love the pain. Love the pain and love the cause of the pain. That's where she was at. So I didn't talk about Pinnacle Arising, but I was actually going to that link into Pinnacle Arising, because that's where she brought. I'm right there, because that's where she was at. Her situation was that. That's where she was at, that's where she was talking from. I think that was her literal speech. I think that's where she was at. So I spoke to her at that point, it seemed to be apropos, and it was kind of nice. And sometimes people,


advanced practitioners say, on the occasion of birth, how should I practice? These are rather advanced people. But as you know, it's quite more common, people say, now on the occasion of old age, how should I practice? Now on the occasion of death, how should I practice? So it's the death phase, but it's basically the same practice, but it's at the death thing. They're like, death is a bigger deal to them than feeling. They've got feelings too, you know, pain. But they're more interested in the death right now than the pain. So their craving, actually, is more about the death than about the feeling. See, I get a picture how this, they're all there at once, it's a question of how to skillfully work with these teachings. All of them are there all the time, and they apply to this moment, and this moment, and this moment, and they also apply to future lives, and past lives. But some people think it's really, it's really most profound to deal with it in the present.


And that this past, and to think about, and there is a teaching which says those first two are from past lives, and birth and death are future lives. So what do you think? Does that take care of you for now? Elena, I mean Elena? Loving your feelings. To being able to act without creating karma. Well, first of all, act without creating attachment.


Because you said act without creating karma, but you just said karma without creating karma. Karma is action. But you can act, if you love where you're at enough, you can act without attaching. That opens the door to enlightenment, yes. And in this picture of this causal process, you can apply that practice to any link, and as you apply it fully to any link, and then you don't dwell at any link, then you realize that all the links are there, and how they're all related, and when you see how they're all there and all related, you're not stuck in the process anymore. What did you say?


Watch. See how they run. Oh, this one we've been studying in this class? The one in this class is called... Well, we didn't talk about it right away, but this is on the reading list. It's one of, I think, one of the most highly praised sermons on causation. It's called Mahanidana Sutta. Mahanidana Sutta. And it's called, I like to say, it's the great causes sutra. It's the great discourse on causation. It's very nice. But there's many other ones. And it's good to know the other ones,


so you don't think this is the only way to do it, because it's not. There's infinite ways to teach dependent co-arising, because there's infinite beings, and the Buddha will teach this teaching according to who she's interacting with. So sometimes you use twelve, and some people call twelve eleven. Sometimes you skip some in the middle, sometimes you start, cut the whole thing down. You can just pick one link, like this person I was talking to. They just told me one link, I dealt with one link. And she didn't think she was even bringing a link, but she was. People are basically bringing, pretty much, you could make more links than this, but pretty much whatever number of links you make, everybody will be included in the links you make. Because everybody is presenting dependent co-arising, because everybody is a dependent co-arising.


Because that's all there is, is dependent co-arising. That's all we are. And deep faith in this teaching, well, deep faith in this teaching is deep faith in ignorance being, that you don't have deep faith in this. Ignorance is that you ignore the teaching of dependent co-arising. So deep faith is pay attention to this teaching. Remember that everything that exists is a dependent co-arising. So whatever you're looking at, remember this teaching. That's what the Buddhas, that's what they remember this. They're mindful of this. They learn to be mindful of dependent co-arising. Consistently. So, that's what I'm working on this year, this causation thing, and this is a little start for us here. And Charlie?


Yes? I asked a question at the end of class last week. Yes. And I think I thought about it for a week, and the question was, is there any relationship that's of sufficient conditions? We found many relationships of, well, this is a necessary condition for that. And after thinking about it, it seems like I can't find any condition like that. But I'm wondering what you think. Do I think that there's any sufficient condition? I choose not to think that way. I'm betting that there isn't. And my understanding is, and I'm betting on this understanding which I'm telling you, is that only if there isn't sufficient conditions is there freedom. And if there's some deterministic thread running through the universe,


I think that's going to pull the whole universe along with it. I don't think there's anything like that in the whole universe. Therefore, freedom is possible, and also misery is possible. The universe allows us to be totally miserable, allows us to have a really difficult time, and the universe allows us to be basically almost anything with varying probabilities. I don't choose to believe in the idea that things are strictly determined. I believe in the middle way, in other words. So not even if you describe the entire detail of the state of affairs right now, that even wouldn't be a sufficient condition for the next state of affairs? Let's think about that for a week, shall we? Yes? Don't we sometimes say that... Say what?


Don't we also say that we cannot possibly describe the sufficient conditions for an event? We cannot. Yeah, that's one of the things I thought about, but I thought, let's think more about it. But that's right, that's one of the things I was thinking about, that we couldn't do that anyway. But he said, if we could, then wouldn't that be? I think it wouldn't. I think it wouldn't do, but let's think about it some more, okay? Let's think about it for a week. But we're not meeting next week. Well, we're not meeting here next week. They won't let us in here next week. Where are we meeting? Where are we meeting next week? Let's see... Let's meet in St. Paul, Minnesota. Okay? Come to St. Paul. I said I'll be there on the 4th of July. I'll try. But anyway, I'll be in Minnesota next Thursday. You're welcome to come and join me there.


I'll be in St. Paul. It's really nice this time of year. It's starting to get a little bit warm and the trees are daring to have buds. And the lilacs in Minnesota are more powerful because of the cold. They'll be starting to come out. Are you going to have that weekend? Huh? Are you going to have that weekend here? I'm going to put the idea of that weekend out to you to see if you're interested. You said we would. Yeah, but I'd like to see... Actually, people writing back say, I am interested. So I can count Lois and who else? Yeah, so I'd like to count to see if there's actually... And also tell you how much it would cost and what day it is. Because you say, I'm interested, but I'll be in Minnesota. So when you see the date and the time...


I'm going to put out a little kind of... I'm going to poll you to see if you're interested and also to see if you have any suggestions. So do you want to hear from us before we hear from you or after I'm off? Before and after. So before you can tell me you're interested and then after I hear from you... And then after that, since that's before, then I'll send out a query and see what else I get and you can tell me again after you've already told me what you're going to do. I'm going to explore whether it seems reasonable to offer it. I was thinking of offering it in October. And the room, it's a different room, it's a room over there which is quieter and bigger. But it'll probably be something to do with Buddha Dharma. I'm kind of into that this year. But it won't continue? It won't continue this discussion? This discussion will continue, yes.


But not in the sense of it's going to carry over. It will continue in the sense that it will be a condition for the later discussion. But I will continue, I vow to continue to discuss dependent co-arising for this year and if you have suggestions for the summer session here in the yoga room, I will also welcome your suggestions. If I don't hear from you, I'll probably kind of keep going more into this dependent co-arising kind of stuff. But if you have other suggestions, the summer session is in July and August, right? And it will be, I don't know where, where will it be? Undisclosed. It will be currently undisclosed but later it will be disclosed. Just in the nick of time you will be told where we will meet. And it probably will be in Berkeley, right? Don't you think? So it's disclosed, it will be in Berkeley.


Thank you very much for your open hearts and open minds. Thank you.