Compassion is a Conversation

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.


A conversation is what we are doing together. Buddhas are sitting upright and still, in the midst of everything, having a conversation with silence. The story of his Nanchuan and his sickle. Meeting the person and the moment in conversation.

AI Summary: 



Now, one could say, we're gonna have a Dharma talk. During these one-day sittings, we say we have Dharma talks. And they often occur around this time. I do have some difficulties in this life. And yet, when I come to Novo, I feel pretty comfortable giving Dharma talks. I have confidence that


The Dharma talk is just whatever I'm going to do is going to be the Dharma talk. I don't necessarily have any idea what the Dharma talk is going to be. And you guys, you don't necessarily have any idea either, right? Some of you maybe do, but anyway, or maybe have some wishes that it will be a good one. But I kind of wish that too. But anyway, I feel comfortable not knowing what it will be. And yet, sometimes a thought does occur about what it might be. And, yeah.


I was talking to somebody the other day, and he told me he was kind of concerned about whether he was gonna get enough love. he was concerned that he would, whether he was going to get the love he felt he needed. And I think he might have asked me, oh, what is love? And something like that. And I said, I could have said, I didn't say, but I could have said, I don't know. But I didn't say that. I talked, I responded as though I did know what it was. And I don't want him to answer this question. But I'm gonna ask the rest of you, what do you think I said? What? Thank you, yeah, that's good.


Thank you, thank you. That was love just there, did you see it? What I said to him was, it's a conversation or it's conversation. That's what love is. And when I say conversation, I mean like just conversation. It is conversation. It's not what I'm doing. It's not what you're doing. It's what we're doing together. And then I thought, well, maybe I'll bring that up at no abode. And I thought, well, it's kind of, in a way, I said, but if you say it's a conversation, is that a conversation? And I would say, well, as a matter of fact, yes. For me to say to you that love is a conversation, as I say it, it's a conversation.


the love that's going on right now is the conversation that's going on right now. And I've said this before, and may I say it again, even though you don't know what it is? I am a conversation. You are a conversation. We are a conversation. I am we. You are we. I'm not something by myself. I am a conversation with all beings. That's what I am. The way I really am, of course, is the way I really am.


And the way I really am is that I am a conversation. I'm nothing in and of myself. I am everything in conversation as me. And you are everything in conversation as you. That's the way we really are. Of course, the way we really are is the Buddhadharma. The Buddhadharma is the way we really are. And the way we really are is that we are a conversation between or among ourself and others. As I often mention, you could say Zen practice, or you could say the practice of the Buddha way is sometimes characterized as wholehearted sitting, upright,


in stillness and silence. There's lots of beautiful pictures of Zen students, Zen practitioners, sitting upright, and it looks like they're sitting still. Particularly when there's still photographs of them, they look like they're sitting still. But they also sometimes do motion pictures of them, And even in the motion picture, they look like they're sitting still. And then we have statues of Buddhas sitting, and they look like they're sitting still. And we have scriptures which tell us Buddhas are sitting upright and still in the center of all beings. Does that sound familiar to you? Buddhas are sitting upright, unmoving and silent.


Our historical Buddha we call Shakyamuni, we call him the Muni, which means the silent one. Our great ancestor is called the silent one of the Shakya clan. He's silent, he's still. She sits upright in the middle of all beings. That's part of the practice of the Buddha Dharma, that kind of wholehearted, upright being. Upright. Okay, familiar? No problems. And then the other part of the Buddha way is going to meet the teacher and listening to the Dharma and asking about the Dharma.


That's the other part. of the Buddha way. Wholeheartedly sitting in the middle of all beings and also going to meet the teacher and having a conversation about what? About the Dharma, which of course is a conversation. Having a conversation about the conversation. Those two together, those two together, They go together. You really don't have one without the other. And so I say that when the Buddha is sitting there upright in stillness and silence, that Buddha sitting there is a conversation. that Buddha sitting there is a conversation, the Buddha is in conversation with all beings sitting there.


And then, of course, when we're in conversation, when it's really a conversation, you're sitting there in stillness. it requires sitting still to have the conversation. And in reality, each of us is sitting still and silent and we are in a conversation and we are the conversation. most of the stories of Zen are about conversations. There's a few stories about like, you know, one of the stories in the Buddha Dharma is Buddhas are sitting still and silent.


That's one story. And that story has been said over and over, but basically it's kind of like one story. And there's all these varieties of the sitting in the form of conversations. Many, many conversations. Many examples of going to meet the teacher and talking about the Dharma. And in a way, in those conversations, we are testing to see if the people in the conversation are sitting upright and still in the conversation. And we have lots of stories of people who are wholeheartedly sitting in the middle of a conversation. In about a month from now, I'm going to maybe go to Santa Barbara, and there's gonna be a weekend retreat, and the topic of the retreat is sitting in stillness and social action.


Something like that. Sitting in stillness, we talked about. Social action, we talked about. Social action, I'm suggesting, is a conversation. Or is conversation. Zen is social action. It is going and having conversations about the Dharma together with sitting upright in stillness. And silence, having a conversation together with silence. The other night, one of our Sangha members, Tracy Apple, who some of you know, she comes to Noah Boad, but she's not here today for some reason.


She gave a presentation about the possibility of reversing global warming. Many scientists have got together and they actually think it is possible to reverse it. And I would say to reverse it by going to the teacher and asking about the Dharma. It's possible to reverse it by having conversations For example, having conversations about educating girls. One of the main things that has the potential to reverse global warming is to be silent and still and have conversations about educating girls.


and having conversations about family planning. The type of social action which has the potential of reversing global warming involves having conversations or could involve and kind of needs to involve having conversations about educating girls. And when girls are educated, then that facilitates conversations about family planning. Does that make sense to you?


Does that make sense? That when girls are educated, that's a good thing. That's a thing that promotes a way of life that might reduce the population of the planet of human beings. And also, when girls are educated and boys are educated, other things are also possible. But there's some places in the world where they're not letting girls get educated. There's an opportunity to have a conversation about this. And the conversation will be a real conversation if we are upright and still in the middle of that conversation. Also, another thing that would be conducive to reversing global warming is, for example, being vegan, eating more plant-based food.


That is conducive to reversing global warming. But in order for that to happen, or I should say, and that happening will be a conversation. Someone just recently wrote a letter to Green Gulch telling us about how we should be vegan. That's a conversation piece. You can't just go tell Green Gulch to be vegan, but you can talk to Green Gulch about being vegan. The idea of being vegan, the idea of more plant-based food, those ideas are conversation pieces. And if we engage with all those conversation pieces and many, many more conversation pieces, we will realize the Buddha Dharma and there will be peace in this world and freedom from everything.


But without conversation, we will be trapped in or by everything. Without the fully matured conversation, everything will trap us. Without that conversation, we won't be able to be ourself and be free of ourself. Fortunately, we are already, all of us are already a conversation.


It's a matter of exercising it, of practicing it. We're already the way we are, but we have to practice it in order to realize it. And it's a lot of work to have conversation. and we're built for it. The way we are is we are built to be what we are, and we are a conversation. And part of the conversation is that the way we are is we have some resistance to being what we are. It's part of the mix of a human situation is that part of us doesn't want to do the work of realizing what we are. And that part is calling for conversation. And that part is calling to be listened to. I don't want to do, it's too much work to have a conversation, okay? I want to listen to, the conversation listens to that.


And another point that was raised in that presentation about global warming. I don't know what story you want to tell about global warming, but one story is that some scientists have informed us that it's going on. Now, ordinary people like us might have noticed that it seems to be warmer lately, that the winters don't seem to be as cold as they were before, which is kind of like in some places, okay, fine. And then we're hearing about glaciers on mountains melting, and we're hearing about We're hearing about the ice cap in Antarctica melting. And we're hearing, the scientists are telling us it's warming up.


And they're also telling us that this warming up is related to our action, that human activities are having a consequence of global warming. They're telling us about that. Have you heard about it? Maybe some drug addicts in the urban areas of the world have thinking, oh, there's global warming. But we're hearing it from fairly sober scientists who are telling us, this is a big change that's happening here. And we're listening to it, right? And now we have a chance to have a conversation with the scientists and with each other about this topic. And one of the comments that I thought was really good was that global warming could be seen as something that's happening to us, or it could be seen as something that's happening for us.


The consequences of my actions are not exactly happening to me. They're happening for me. They're showing me about my actions. Without consequences, it's hard for me to learn much about my actions. But the way the universe is set up is very nice. It's here to teach me. So these things aren't really happening to me, they're happening for me. This global warming thing is happening for us. It's feedback to us about our conversation. It's saying, maybe we need to work a little bit more on conversation. Not maybe we need to tell other people what to do, like, you people should teach your girls, you should send your girls to school. That could be a conversation piece. But if it's a conversation piece, it's not me telling them what to do. It's the beginning of a relationship.


It's the beginning of a conversation. And if it's a beginning, maybe I shouldn't start by giving them orders. Maybe I should say, could I talk to you? Could we have a conversation? About what? What do you want? About what? And then talk to that. Recently at Green Gulch, I saw these kids walking around, and there were three of them, and one I knew, and the other two I hadn't met before. And I looked at them, and I saw that they looked like the one I knew. And I said, are you guys cousins? And they say, yeah. And then I looked at the two I hadn't met before, and they looked just like with their dad, who I knew. I said, is Dave your dad? And they said, yeah. I said, wow, that's amazing. These three faces look so similar.


And then I said, can I say something to you? I said it to the three of them. But the oldest of the three said, I said, can I say something to you? And she said, what? I could have said, could I have a conversation with you? And she might have said, what? And I said, well, I have a request for you. Do you want to hear it? What is it? Well, if you're going to be carrying machetes, everybody know what a machete is? If you're going to be carrying machetes around, would you please point the tip down towards the earth? Because when you have them pointing up in the air, you might put out your cousin's eyes. So please don't walk around with the machetes pointing up. I didn't say, hand over your machetes, which might not have been that good for me to say. I said, would you please point them down so you don't hurt each other? And they considered it, and I'm not sure exactly, I'm not sure if they started to point them down.


But I think maybe they did. They got to keep their machetes, and they started to turn them, the tips, down to the earth, which I felt, you know, thank you. Thank you for pointing them down towards the earth. We had a little conversation. It went pretty well, I thought. Could I talk to you about something? What? Could I talk to you about your guns? Could I talk to you about what you're eating? Could I talk to you about your daughter? Why? Could we talk? What for? Well, I just would like to, you know? I respect you and your family and so on.


This is going... We have to remember that we're sitting upright in stillness when we have our conversations. And be there. For what? What's it to you? That might be the response we get when we ask for a conversation. And this conversation is really important, so it's good that we're able to be there for it and ask for it in a respectful way, without looking down on children who have weapons in their hands. And the Buddha sees all these people with weapons in their hands as children, but the Buddha doesn't look down on the children. the Buddha looks at the children with love, with conversation. And the children eventually feel the respect, and as they feel the respect, they think the person who respects them is pretty good, is pretty smart.


and maybe they'll have a conversation with them. But they may need a lot of help before we can have a conversation. And the conversation is dealing with how much work it is. The conversation is up for a lot of work. The conversation requires patience and enthusiasm for the aspiration to have a conversation which is reality and which saves the world, which liberates beings in the middle of the world. Conversation is not trying to get rid of things, it's trying to converse with them, it's trying to live with them lovingly, And one more little teaching about this, which I've given before, but some of you have not heard it, is that there's four basic types of conversations.


One type of conversation is going on all the time. It's the Dharma conversation that's nonstop. but this conversation which doesn't start or stop, which is always going on, which is the way we really are, this conversation is imperceptible. In this conversation, I am asking, I am calling, in this conversation, I am calling to all of you to converse with me. And all of you are responding to my call. I'm calling to you to engage with me to realize peace and freedom in this world.


I'm doing that. The way I am is that this being is calling to you, and you are responding to me. I can't see, I can't perceive the way I'm calling to you nonstop. And I can't perceive how you're responding to me nonstop. And also, I can't perceive the way you're always calling to me. I can't perceive it. And I can't perceive how I'm always calling to you. But that's the imperceptible conversation that's going on all the time in upright sitting in silence and stillness. The kind of conversation which I can perceive is a kind of conversation which gets interrupted, which is only part-time.


So the other three types are that I can perceive that I'm calling to you for a conversation. I can perceive it. And in order to perceive it, I see the beginning of my call and the end of my call. Hello, it just started. Could we have a conversation? Period, it ended. I can perceive that kind of call, the kind that arises and ceases. That's the kind of things you can perceive. You can perceive things that arise and cease. Like, could we meet sometime in peace and harmony, period, and end of call? And I can perceive that. And there is that kind of call. And I'm calling to you, but I don't perceive that you responded. Like I called you and I asked if you wanted to talk, but I don't see that you responded.


You did, but I couldn't perceive it. I couldn't see the beginning and the end of your response to my call. So that's one type. You call perceptively, you responded to, but imperceptibly, okay? Like I asked for the Dharma, but you didn't give it to me. I perceived that I asked for it, but I couldn't perceive that you gave it to me. That's one type. And there's wonderful Zen stories about that type. Wanna hear one? There's a lot of them. Here's one. There was a Zen monk named Nan Chuan, and I almost said Zhao Zhou. Zhao Zhou was Nan Chuan's student.


We're not going to talk about Zhao Zhou right now, okay? We're going to talk about who? Yeah, which means South Spring. That's the name of his That's where he hung out. He hung out at South Spring. So since he hung out there, they called him Mr. South Spring. Nanchuan. So a monk came to Nanchuan, which means he came to the place, and he just happened to run into the person Nanchuan. of all people, can you imagine? You go to meet the person at the place and you meet the person and the place. He wanted to have a meeting, he wanted to have a conversation with who? Yeah, he meets Nanchuan, but he doesn't perceive Nanchuan. So he says to Nanchuan, I'm looking for Nanchuan.


He's meeting Nanchuan, but he doesn't perceive Nanchuan. But he is meeting Nanchuan, and Nanchuan, and he wanted to meet Nanchuan, and Nanchuan is kind of like, here I am for you, man, I'm here for you, dude. The guy says to Nanchuan, who was outside in the fields cutting grass with a scythe, Or a sickle? Is a scythe a big one? And a sickle's a hand one? So I think he was clearing grass with the monks out in the field using a sickle. A monk comes along and says, hello, I'm looking for Nanjuan. I want to meet Nanjuan. And Nanjuan says, this sickle is sharp."


He asked to meet Nanjuan, and Nanjuan responded by meeting him and saying, this sickle is sharp. He perceived that he was asking, but he didn't perceive that he was responded, that he got what he's asking for. So he says to Nanjuan, I'm not asking about your sickle, I'm here to meet Nanjuan." He asks again, and Nanjuan says, it costs 30 bucks. So he called, he was responded to, he heard himself called, but he couldn't see that he got two nice meetings from the great teacher. He missed it, even though we can see it happened, right? The next type is you're walking along, singing your song, and you don't think you're asking for anybody to come and have a conversation with you.


And somebody walks up to you and says, hello, can we have a conversation? You're walking along, asking for a conversation, not being aware that you're asking for a conversation. You're requesting the world to talk to you intimately, but you don't perceive it. It's a nonstop, infinite request. You don't perceive it. And then somebody comes up to you and says, brackets, well, you wanna have a conversation? Here I am, hello. And then maybe you say, this person says, the person is responding to you, but you didn't think you asked for it. You can perceive that they're responding to you, but you think that they're actually like, I don't know what, uninvited guest, uninvited interlocutor, uninvited conversation partner.


I didn't ask to talk to you, what are you, hello, what? Could I have a conversation with you?" I didn't ask for a conversation. You can perceive that the person's offering you a conversation, but you didn't ask for it. You did, but you don't understand that they came and offered to you because you asked for it. You asked for compassion. Want to hear a story about that? So I'm at Green Gulch, and I'm talking to this young man, and I'm saying, I feel you're, I'm listening to you. I feel you're calling for compassion. He says, no, I'm not. And then he asked me another question, and I answer it. And I say, you know, and you asked me to answer, and he said, no, I didn't.


And he just kept asking me question after question, but he couldn't see that he was actually asking me to answer him. that he was begging me to keep talking to him, which I was happy to do. But he wouldn't accept responsibility. He was asking me to do this for, he was asking me to listen to him and to respond to him. He just couldn't see it. And he was exercising it really nicely. So then, and the fourth kind, so we have, we request and don't realize it. and we get a response, we can't understand why we're getting the response. We request and don't get a response, and we can't see that we're doing it. The third kind is we request, we want a response, and we perceive ourself asking, and we perceive ourself. receiving the response.


We're asking for a gift and we can perceive ourself asking and we can perceive that the gift is coming to us. That's kind of the easy kind. We don't realize that our actions were a form of asking for global warming to give us feedback on our life. We don't see that. But we do see that we're getting this response. We see this thing coming to us, but we don't realize it's here to help us realize our work of taking care of the world. Global warming is coming and saying, take better care of this world. This is for you to learn how to take care of the world better. This is here for you to accept your responsibility for this planet and all the people and animals and plants that live here.


Everything that comes is feedback on our practice. But it's hard to understand it, so that's why we need to have a conversation. Should I become vegan? Should Zen Center become vegan? Should the planet become vegan? Let's have a conversation. So, Zen Center already, you know, I personally am totally up for educating girls. Zen Center is up for it. What about The school system, are they up for it? Maybe so. What about the whole government? What about all the other communities around the world? How can we start the conversation? And if people can have this conversation without silence and stillness, well, I think they seem to think they can, but I usually see that it doesn't go very well if they don't remember being here and taking care of themselves.


But if they're taking care of themselves, and then they're ready for the conversation. This is Zen sitting in stillness. and Zen social action being brought together. We need the stillness for the social action to be a real liberating conversation, or to realize the reality of a conversation, and we need the conversation as feedback on our sitting. They work together. And so we have all these Zen stories, about the conversations, and then we have many Zen ceremonies, which literally enact that, like people come in the ceremony, actually before the ceremony, they go to the, for example, before the ceremony, they go to the ceremony, they go to the master of ceremony, or the mistress of ceremony, and they say, can I be in the ceremony?


And then they have a conversation. In the ceremony where we give the bodhisattva precepts, the one who wants to receive the precepts goes to the one who gives the precepts and says, may I have, would you please give me the precepts? And the person responds. And sometimes they say, ask me again. And then sometimes they say, ask me again. And sometimes they say, yes, I will give you the precepts. And then they have the ceremony. In the ceremony, the person comes and has a conversation. The preceptor comes and has a conversation. The preceptors come to listen to the request and respond. The one who wishes to receive the precept goes to the ceremony to ask, in the ceremony now, for the precepts. and the preceptor asks, if they're asking, and they say, yes. And the preceptor says, do you want to receive these now?


And they say, yes, I do. Okay, I'm gonna give them to you. And after giving to them, you say, do you want to continue to practice these? Yes, I do. They do have this conversation about the Bodhisattva precepts. It's an enactment of a conversation, which almost everybody can see as a conversation. And if they would say, now will you receive these precepts? And they say no, then we have an unusual conversation. Say, oh, you don't want to receive them? Well, maybe we should try this another day. Yeah, maybe so. Let's do it another day. Okay, let's go. Let's call her off. I changed my mind. Let's do it. And so on. You know, and then the literal meeting with the teacher in private interview, some of you ask to meet, and then you, I meet you. And some people say, I don't wanna meet with you, and I meet you.


I listen to you, and I respond by saying, okay, let's not meet, even though we are right now. Let's do the story of we're not meeting. let's enact that kind of meeting. That's one of the most important meetings, like Nan Chuan and that monk. The monk wanted to meet Nan Chuan, he did, and he said, but I'm not meeting Nan Chuan, and Nan Chuan said, it cost 30 bucks. The conversation is reality. We have to exercise it to realize it. So, shall we? So that's what came out of the mouth in response to your request for a conversation, for a meeting, for realizing who you are, realizing who you are, and me realizing who I am.


Yes, Charlie, Would you just a second, please? Did you say something about... Did you use the adjective good? Huh? Did you say what makes a meeting a good meeting? The whole universe makes it a good meeting. Already, all meetings are good meetings. Do you have a question? The reality makes it good. Good is the reality of the meeting, including you tell me you don't want to meet. Reality makes that a beautiful conversation piece when you say, I don't want to meet. What would make it a bad meeting? Not exercising it.


Missing the opportunity to practice the meeting. rather than understanding this meeting is for me, you think the meeting is happening to me. I think in a good meeting, in a good conversation, you're free of knowing whether it's good or bad. When you're not yet into a full realization of the conversation, you can get caught up by, you know, whether it's good or not. So our usual situation is our mind is something we're caught up in. Our mind of, is it a mind where there's good and bad appearing? And which is, and is this that mind, that consciousness? People are usually, like, caught up in it. They don't see the conversation there. And in a good conversation, we realize freedom from the concern for good and bad.


We realize freedom from it without getting rid of good and bad. Because good and bad are actually in conversation all day long. Yes. Yeah. Yes? Hi. Could you model a conversation that would happen? I was at a party last night, and... Would I model a... I'm vegetarian, and I see people who I know who would be interested in their part in preserving the planet and not having global warming, but I see them eating meat and cheese and all of those things.


And I feel, on one hand, it's not my part to judge them, or I don't want to judge them for it, and I don't know how to have the conversation in a way that You mentioned several things. One thing I heard was, I don't know how to have a conversation. You could have stopped there, but I think you maybe added something after, I don't know how to have a conversation. Did you say something after that? Which was what? Oh, so there's some particular topic and you don't know how to have conversation with it, about it? That's, generally speaking, a good attitude. I would like to talk to you about what we're eating, or what I'm eating.


I'd like to talk to you about what I'm eating, and I would like to talk to you about what you're eating. But I don't know how to have that conversation because... Did you want to go someplace? Or just standing up? Do you want to dance? Do you want to continue? All right. So, if I want to have a conversation with you about some topic, it's good if I don't know how to have it. Because how could I know how to have a conversation with you without knowing whether you want to have a conversation? Now if I ask you, if I tell you, I'd like to have a conversation, would you like to have a conversation? And you say, and so in myself I feel like, I'd like to have a conversation with Kim about something. But I don't know how to have a conversation with Kim.


So I think maybe I'll start by telling Kim that I want to have one and seeing if she's up for it. Because in order to discover the path of conversation, in order to discover the path of Buddhadharma, I can't do it by myself. I can't discover it by myself without including other people. So I start by noticing, I want to have a conversation in order to realize peace and freedom. I do. And I want to have a conversation with you. And I start by saying, I would like to have a conversation with you. Would you like to have a conversation with me? And if you say no, I've just been successful. I have had a conversation. I told you about myself. You listened to me. Already there's conversation. Then you said to me, no.


And I listened to you. This is like a two-phase conversation already. We have two steps. And then she says, no. And then I say, please, Kim. And you say, no. I say, pretty please. And you say, no, okay. My granddaughter does that. Can I do this? No, I don't feel good. Pretty please. Pretty, okay. That's a conversation. And then we go on from there. But we actually, we're up for it. But first of all, we have to kind of like, That's a big part of it, and that's a big part of what all this, of becoming aware of so much abuse, where somebody's asking for a conversation, and the other person says no, and they don't listen to it. They're not listening. They don't say, what do you mean no? I mean no, I mean get away. Oh, okay. They're not listening, they're not conversing.


they're stating, not even necessarily stating what they want, they're just going and taking it without even asking if they could, not to mention, could I ask you a question? May I have that? May I be with you? May I talk with you? We aren't asking the earth, may I farm you? We aren't asking the animals, may I eat you? We're not having conversations. Or some of us are, which is great, but some people are not. And the people who are having conversations, some of them want to talk to the people who aren't having conversations. Some of the people who are asking the animals beforehand and finding out they don't want it, want to talk to the people who are not asking. So not knowing how to have conversation is a real, what's it called?


It helps us approach the conversation compassionately. It helps us be upright. And when you're upright, you're not leaning into knowing or not knowing. You're upright. Okay, here I am. This is cool. Upright, how wonderful. And I want to have a conversation. There's this wish in me to save the world. Where'd that come from? Well, it came from a conversation. You're sitting upright and then there's a world and the world cries to you and you say, I want to help you, Borla. The world cries to you and says, I want to have a conversation. And you say, well, I want to have a conversation too, but I'm not leaning into I know how. I know how to have a conversation. We're going to do it. And I'm not leaning into I don't know how. I don't know how, and I do know how. I'm not leaning in either direction. So I can, although I might think I know how, what I mean is, here's one way we could try it, like I could ask you.


I don't know how, and here's one way we can try it, so I ask you. So being upright and still is very good because our mind is in turmoil around us, providing all these different ways to have conversations, and if we lean, it's hard for us to find the appropriate response. Does that work? It's a start, yeah. And did we have a conversation? Yeah, we exercised it just now. And everybody else was part of it too, weren't you? Yeah. And another thing, the people who are presenting the... Basically, I would say they're presenting... I feel like the people who are who are saying, here's ways of reversing global warming.


I feel like the way I saw it is that here's conversation pieces. Here's things to converse with people about to reverse global warming. And one of them says, if you're talking to a school board about maybe putting solar panels on their roof or changing the children's diet, Even if they don't put solar panels on, and even if they don't change the children's diet, the conversation is already happening. And the conversation is really where it's at. What makes solar panels appear on roofs of schoolhouses? How that works, I don't know. It might involve me saying, bringing up the topic. Who knows? But the conversation, if the panels go on the roof without conversation, we're not doing our job. But if there's a conversation and then they go on, the conversation's the main point.


The conversation finds the true Dharma. Yes? One of the things that touched me is This is part of waking up the dreamer metaphor. And it was like there was a dream used in conversation. It was a dream of the way things are, and we're dreaming that there's nothing we can do, and the idea of actually we could change the dream. And in our practice we talk about awakening, like, what is our dream? How do we interact or have a conversation with the dream we're having? We change the dream, or move with the dream. That idea of somebody grabs something up, and we can change that, we can dance with that. Yeah, so now you're bringing that up, and I have a response.


Because you brought it up. I have a response to this idea of changing the dream. And my response is that I think that the idea of changing the dream isn't so much in accord with conversation. Like, here's a dream, and we want to change it, right? Conversation is, here's a dream, and I want to have a conversation. Now, the dream might change in the conversation, but I'm not having... To really have a conversation, you have to be open to the dream not changing. And if we do have a conversation, even a half-hearted one, not to mention a full-scale, Dharma-realizing conversation, the dream will change. But not because we tried to change it, but because we tried to practice with it. We tried to have a conversation with it, and it will change. Because even if it's exactly the same now as it seemed to be a moment before,


In a way, everything's changed because now it's not just a dream, it's a dream in a conversation. So it's actually totally, totally different. Now, before there was a dream and no conversation, so we were trapped in the dream. Now we have the same dream with a conversation and we're free of it. We don't have to get rid of it. We're not enslaved by it anymore. So changing the dream is a little bit like changing your consciousness. rather than having a conversation and becoming free of consciousness. You said that much better. You said that much better. We can talk about that, too. And I heard them say, change the dream, and, you know, I didn't have a big reaction to that. Like, ooh, that's really sick. That's anti-Buddhist. I just listened to it and I thought, okay, and I thought, oh, change, and then this is a statement coming from some indigenous people, but that's their practice is to change their dream.


And then they wanted the non-indigenous people who were working with them to say, okay, you helped us change our dream, thank you very much. for the airplanes and the stuff like that, and the, you know, contacts so we can keep our dream in a healthy form. Now you go do the same thing with the rest of the world, please." That sounds fine. It's a conversation. And then they leave, and it's, now, how can they bring this inspiring work to the, you know, to the so-called non-indigenous people, or the people who are indigenous to the urban world? That's not fine to me, but as we get into the conversation, I don't want people to be stuck in changing dreams. And I also don't want to prohibit the language, change the dream. I want to converse with change the dream without knowing how to have a conversation about change the dream. And I'm not primarily interested in changing the dream or keeping the dream the same.


Like the Buddhist dream, I don't want to necessarily change it, even though it will, it is changing, and I want to converse with the Buddhist dreams. And one of the Buddhist dreams is that liberation of beings comes through conversation, comes through going to meet the teacher, which is everything, and asking about it and talking to it. By the way, in order for this conversation to be successful, we need to be here, upright, not leaning into success in this conversation. Well, we want the conversation to be successful. We want the conversation to bring peace to all beings. Yeah, we do. But we don't lean into that or upright with that. And also, we don't want this conversation to imprison people and hurt people.


Right. We don't want, you know, and we do want to get our way and have things go the way we think. But that's not something to lean into, that's something to be kind to. Oh, you want things to go your way? Okay, I hear you. Can we talk about that? No! Just do them the way I say. I'm here, listen. Did you say do it the way I say? Is that what you said? Yes, I did! Okay. Could we go over that again?" I want to just clarify what you're asking now, and so on. And then sometimes in the process of clarifying, I say, well, I didn't really mean to do it the way I say. What I meant was, please listen to me with love and respect. Please talk to me about this. I don't really want to You know, do you want love or do you want to have your way?


Well, actually, I prefer love. Having my way is good, but I'd rather actually have this conversation, which means I still have a way that I'd like things to be, but I give up having things be the way I'd like them to be for the sake of the conversation which realizes peace. Yes? You mentioned about educating the girls. Yeah? What do you mean, the girls? Why isn't that education for all? Well, because I think that's code for, there's a lot of countries right now where the reproduction rate, what do you call it, the fertility rate is very high, and that's associated, that happens in the countries where the girls are not allowed to get an education.


So in those countries where girls are prohibited from going to school, the birth rate's very high because people come to them and say, I want to reproduce with you, you know, and they don't say, I'd like to have a conversation with you about it. They say, you know, let's have sex. And the girls are not educated about how to talk to the person about that, about how to explain to them that they understand that actually it's against the law for them to be doing this with you. And this is not appropriate for me at 13 years old to be a mother." And they've been taught ways of talking about that, and they've been taught about their rights, and they've been taught about various things, and they've become lawyers, and they know how to talk to people who are intruding upon their space without being respectful and so on.


But without education, they don't know how to deal with this very powerful request. They don't know how to hear the request, let's have sex, in a way that is compassionate and helps the person to understand that it's not appropriate, that you don't want it, and it would be good for them to respect you. You know, I respect you and I need you to respect me and listen to me. They need to be taught how to talk like that. They need to be educated in order to maintain a wholesome practice with other people. Without education, most people do not know how to do that. A lot of men don't know how to do that either. but they also need education, but they're allowed to have education in those countries. Men are allowed to get education. And if women were allowed, if the girls were allowed to have education, that would be another educational process for the men.


Their education would improve if the girls' education was allowed. Because, you know, a big part of educating girls is to educate men. who can't learn anything, I shouldn't say, who can't learn certain things without educated females around them. Educated females are really a great thing in the world, and educated men are too. We need both. But there's very few countries that I know of where men, where the males are prohibited from going to school, and quite a few where the females are prohibited. And then, of course, reproductive rights go with being educated about how to get support for your rights. And also, education promotes people establishing and clarifying the rights. Does that make sense? It makes sense, but I still... I'm always wondering...


Like for example, the education or the vegan, if it does not come somehow for me, if it doesn't come from the awakening, if the being is not being awakened to the consequences of their action, this cycle keeps repeating itself. That's right, and that's education. Education involves waking up. So we have this teaching which you've heard before here quite a few times. The Buddha sees that everybody possesses the wisdom of the Buddhas, but because of misconceptions and attachments they don't realize it. So the Buddha needs to educate them about their misconceptions. And one misconception that we sometimes have is, this person isn't worthy of conversation with me. And if this person's asking me to let go of my attachment to my views, I don't want to talk to them about that. Such a person needs education. They need to be educated.


We need you to talk to these people who disagree with you and who want you to not be attached to your views. We need you to realize that's a good thing. Girls need to learn that. And boys need to learn that. And so it is education for all. So if the boys have education, let's give the girls education. And if anybody in between, let's give them education too. Let's give everybody education. And we're recognizing there's a lot of girls who are not allowed. Let's do that. That will be part of reversing global warming. Okay? Yes. It seems to me, in this country right now, we have people who are saying, it's an infringement of my religious liberty for you to talk about things like that. And family planning in particular. Yeah. It's infringing on your religious something? It's infringement on their religious freedom. For me? For you to insist on having a conversation about this.


Well, I think, again, insisting on a conversation sounds not very attractive. Yeah, yeah, well, okay. I'm not insisting on conversation. I'm open to not having conversation. That's part of having ... the conversation I want would involve me being open to you not wanting to talk to me. Insisting to have a conversation generally, not always, generally is not respectful, insisting. But you can be consistent and just keep coming back again and again and respectfully, respectfully, respectfully. I wanna talk to you, I still wanna talk to you, I still wanna talk to you. But in a way, the person, every time you say it, the person feels a little bit more comfortable. a little bit more respected. You may have to respect the person many, many times before they dare to open the conversation with you. That's hard.


I'm thinking about another situation, which is somebody is saying, I don't want you to talk to somebody else about that topic, because you're having that conversation with that other person. Offends my religious sensibility. Yeah, so that would be another opportunity. The person is telling, huh? That's really hard. I'm sorry. Sometimes it's really hard, and then that really hard is calling for conversation. Really hard is calling, please listen to really hard. And then you listen to really hard, have a conversation with really hard. And now that you have that conversation, maybe you say, oh, this is like, I don't have to get stuck in really hard. I can just respect really hard. Okay, really hard can be in the room, and now I can talk to the person who's saying to me, I don't want you to talk to me about it or that person about it. And you can say, could I have a conversation with you about it?


And they might say, I don't want to talk about it. I just want you to know, and I want you to stop talking to them. Because it bothers me when you talk to them. and I want you to shut up about this." And then I'm saying that I am a conversation with that person. I am a conversation with the person who says, I don't want to talk to you. At that moment, I am a conversation with that person who says, don't talk. And I might say, I might have something to say about that. And then they say, I just told you to shut up. And then I might reach into my wallet and pull out some money. And I'm not talking, I'm just giving some money. And they might say, what's this for? And you say, can I talk?


And they might say, yeah. And then I might give them some more money. Money talks. And they might say, thank you. I like you. And I might give them some more money. And they say, well, okay, what did you want to talk about? Or I might give them some fruit. Like, I went to visit somebody. They invited me over to visit them. And they gave me all kinds of gifts, which I said, thank you. And then they told me about their religion. And they told me, yeah, they told me all these good things that their religion was doing. I thought, this sounds great. And then they started to talk about the evil people. And I said, can I ask a question? And they said, yeah. And I said, are the evil people different from me and you? Turns out they were.


And I said, well, I feel uncomfortable talking about them as though they're not, the evil people are not us, that we're the good people and they're evil. I feel uncomfortable with that conversation. That was the conversation I had with them. They told me about all the good things they want to do, and then they started talking about the evil people who weren't them, and I told them I was uncomfortable, and they listened to me, and I took my goodies and left. That was the conversation that day. It worked out quite nicely, huh? I'm still in a loving relationship with these people, one of whom is my sister. She's a Jehovah's Witness. And we have our relationship moving forward on the path of on the path of reality, which is the path of having conversations. I'm in conversation with this sweet, beautiful, younger sister.


What I'm thinking, as you say that, is I regularly drive past a corner where there are people protesting the existence of Planned Parenthood. And I, you know, I think about stopping the car and getting out and talking to them. I mean, frankly, I'm afraid of them. It's more than minimizing. Yeah, so then that fear, the fear, the anxiety is calling for compassion. And for you to bring compassion to your fear about talking to them, that is reversing global warming. Whenever you work on addressing and conversing compassionately with your own fear, that is part of the work of global warming, of reversing it. To drive your car because you're afraid of being late, rather than being afraid of being late and address your fear of being late and maybe calm down and realize you don't have to drive your car, that's part of it.


but just addressing our fear of not having enough of this or that, addressing our fear of not having enough protein, addressing that fear is necessary to reverse global warming. Addressing the fear of talking to people who are against Planned Parenthood or family planning, addressing people who are against educating girls, If we're afraid of those people, which is quite natural, if we address our fear, we will become free of our fear. Is it hard to address our fear? Yes. Yes, it is, and I'm in conversation with how hard it is, and now I want to do a hard thing, which is address my fear. So I'm driving by, and in my case, I remember one time I drove by some people who were on the street near my house, and they were drunk and fighting with each other and vomiting on the street, and I felt some... I didn't particularly want to go and tell them to stop drinking, but I noticed that I would be afraid to actually go among them and have conversation.


I wasn't going to go, you should stop drinking. I was just thinking, I felt some fear of like, just stop pulling over my motor scooter and going in and hanging out with them, even though they lived just right down half a block from my house. They're my neighbors, my drunken, violent neighbors, throwing up on the street, fighting each other. And I was afraid. But I dealt with my fear. And dealing with my fear, I thought, I want to deal with my fear. I want to get good at dealing with my fear of interacting with people who are really having a hard time. And so I went to the Zen Center. So I left and traveled thousands of miles to go to the Zen Center to learn how to deal with my fear of being with violent, drunk, miserable people. That's what we're here to learn, is how to have conversations with sober people and drunk people, with anti-family planning people and pro-family planning people.


We're here to have conversations with everybody. And in reality, we already are. But we need to exercise in order to realize it. If we don't exercise it, we won't realize world peace and world health. But on the path to realizing it are lots of difficult conversations which involve fear of them or fear of what I will do to them. Fear of their unskillfulness and my unskillfulness. Dealing with that fear is essential. It's essential. for reversing global warming. Because if people are afraid of not having their guns, their cars, their uneducated daughters, if they're afraid of that, we're not going to succeed. But if somebody can start getting them to talk about it, they can learn, they can get over their fear.


But the somebody who's talking to them needs to be working with their own fear. of them and also the fear that we might not be successful. Fear that it's too late. Maybe it is too late, but being open to maybe it is too late is the path to health. Is that real clear now? And is it a big challenge? No, it's a big challenge. And do you want a big challenge? I mean, do you want to meet this big challenge? Yeah, and that might be in you, the conversation that is me wants to do this. If you tell me it's hard, I kind of like, yeah, right, I got it. It's hard for me too, but I want to so much that I want to do it even though it's hard, or even if it's hard. And also, if it's not hard, I want to do it too. If it's ever easy, okay. Could we give you an easy assignment?


No, no, I just want hard ones. And for a lot of people, what they think is an easy assignment might be a really hard one for me. Like, could we go to a bar and have some drinks? That might be easy for them, but for me that would really be hard. I'd have to have a conversation about that. Could we meet maybe someplace else? No, it has to be in a bar. you know, that would be a difficult conversation for me. Some people, you say, let's go to a bar, and they have no problem. They say, yeah, that's the conversation. They say, could we go to a place where there's not alcohol? And they say, that's hard for them. So we have our difficulties. Yeah. So next month, I'm thinking of participating in the election sessions. Yeah. And I'm thinking that it's going to be very hard to go canvassing. Yeah. I think that too. I kind of would like to do it too, and I think it would be hard, you know?


Interesting. Yeah. I think it would be hard. Well, I think sitting all morning before we go canvassing in the afternoon would be very useful. I think so too. And then maybe you continue the sitting when you go canvassing. Yes. That would be great. Being upright. Continue to be upright and still while you talk to people. That's a great challenge, even if the people are like other Zen students. It's hard to sort of like be upright and silent and still talking to other Zen students. You're talking to an unknown person. You don't know what they're going to be. How do you talk to them? How do you show them, I have a desire? It's mostly like getting people to vote, right? Well, it's probably There are three candidates that are identified, and of course the idea is to flip the house, and that will help global warming, because maybe we could get back into it.


We think it will. We think maybe. I would say, I think this might promote the conversation. It might. I don't know if it will, but I'm just going to try this. Let's try it. And if we flip the house, and we notice that didn't seem to work, let's flip it again. Let's converse with the situation, and it's scary to go up and knock on the door of somebody you don't know, who hasn't invited you, Not all the houses have a welcome sign. It's made of welcome mats, but maybe not a welcome sign. Please come and talk to us about whatever you want to talk about. We're here to receive all kinds of guests. Not all houses give that impression. So here I am, knock, knock. I want to help this world. And I want to talk to you about voting. May I please? And again, they may say, no, I'm too busy. Could I give you some money? Or could I give you some fresh, whatever kind of fruit you want, fruit?


You can say organic. You can say, I don't like organic. Okay, I got some inorganic. I got some more pesticides. You like that? I brought both kinds. And, you know, part of what being upright and still and silent provides is the ability to be flexible with my own fear and with what I meet. And sometimes you go to meet someone, you're afraid, but you're present with it, and you do something really wonderful that, you know, you didn't even know you were capable of. I just thought, you're going up to the house, you're ready to knock on the door, and you suddenly feel like, I'm gonna run away from this house. I'm like totally gonna run away. This is just too scary for me. I'm gonna run away and run down the block." And he ran down the block, said, yeah, that was a good exercise. Now I can do that again after I knock. I can knock and say, oh, hello, I have the wrong house.


See you later. And you come back and say, no, I did have the right house. And so on. It's an ongoing process. And it's okay to run away if it's too scary. And then down the block you sort of calm down. and you go back. Try again. Try again. Until you can really have the conversation you want to have, which is, the conversation you want to have, and the conversation you want to have is not trying to get them to do what you want them to do. It's trusting the conversation as the thing that will bring peace to the world, not getting everybody to do what you think. When I was first teaching, in a teaching position, and sort of was considered a teacher, the first thing I did was to try to make everybody like me, because wouldn't that be good? Which is like, go to the Zen door every morning, sit two periods of Zazen, go to service, be upright all day long, like me.


And people didn't like that. So I switched from getting people to be like me to helping people be the way they wanted to be. They had their own way. They wanted to be like themselves, but better. So I'm helping people be themselves. That works much better. And they don't wind up like me, they wind up like themselves, which is a conversation. Be like me isn't a conversation. But me being like me is a conversation. Getting you to be like me isn't really a conversation, because you don't really want me to make you to be like me, do you? Even though you're okay with me, you still want to be Marie instead of Reb, right? Okay, I got it. I got over making Marie Reb. But at first I thought, people say, well, give me some instruction. Yeah, do this, this, and this, which just happens to be what I'm doing, and you'll be fine. It might be totally obvious already to everybody, but even you were talking, I'm reminded that we are making these offerings to statues, and in a way we are having this conversation as the representatives of the awakened mind all the time, and it's very beautiful.


We are, yeah. All the time. And sometimes we notice it, and sometimes we don't. But even when we don't, we still are. Well, that was really a long session, wasn't it? I thought we would end quite a bit earlier, but we didn't, did we? Who's in control here? Obviously not you. And obviously not me, to tell you. But this is what happened today. Thank you very much for the conversation.