A Conversation about Principle and Phenomena

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For the record, we're now in a month called May. Is that correct, in some sense? And for the earlier part of this year, which some people call by a number, 2019, but we could have another name for this year, right? Couldn't we? Like we could call it the Year of Buddha Activity. How about that? So since it's the Year of Buddha Activity, or since some people are calling it


the Year of Buddha Activity, perhaps I feel called to talk about Buddha activity. How you doing? Great. Well, that's something. That's something. And I have been called and I have responded to talk about Buddha activity. Did any of you hear me talk about Buddha activity? Do you want me to continue? So one story about Buddha activity is it's an ongoing process of awakening and liberating living beings.


From their own, from their in-house diluted mind. The Buddha activity is the awakening and liberating beings, liberating beings from their diluted minds, wherein they are experiencing stress, affliction, fear. I just heard of a new fear, which you may have heard about. It's called FOMO, have you heard of it?


FOMO? I heard about it recently, but then when I was referring to it, I said FOMA. And I said, well, FOMO is a new kind of fear. But it's FOMO, fear of missing out. Right? So someone, the person who told me about this FOMO said, you're one of the people who doesn't have much FOMO. I don't mind being left out. I don't mind too much being left out. I'm kind of, generally speaking, as you may have noticed, I'm kind of out of it. So missing out comes naturally to me. And I'm not too afraid of it. Which just promotes more being out of it.


But there may be some benefits of being out of it, which allow me to talk to you about strange things like liberating all beings so they may live in peace and harmony in this world of hostility and disharmony. So we got plenty of war and cruelty and so on. Now how about the work of, in the midst of such a world, liberating beings so they can work and live in peace. How about that? Well, again, since this is the year of Buddha activity, we could talk about that. Some more. And talk-conversation is essential.


In order to liberate beings. And everything I say is really an opportunity for conversation, including that, what I just said. And I'm somewhat uncomfortable with having


some conversation pieces which can be offered in this world, which I'm actively meditating on and studying. And they're like conversation pieces from a certain kind of like family. A family which, again, this is a conversation piece. A family which I am a member of. A family which has a tradition which I feel called to take care of. A tradition of a family. And this family has traditions, it has teachings. And it has teachings which are for the sake of conversations


which liberate beings from their own minds so they can dwell in peace and harmony. So they can live and work for peace and realize it. I guess this is kind of like an overture to a teaching which is coming. And now we move into the actual teaching which has actually already been given. So the Heart Sutra says, in English, something like, the Bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara was practicing


perfect wisdom and clearly saw that all five aggregates were empty of own being, were empty of self. And thereby, all suffering and distress was relieved by this vision. So the Sutra says that this Bodhisattva of Compassion is observing five aggregates. And five aggregates are the five aggregates of diluted consciousness. It's not the five aggregates of an awakened consciousness but five aggregates of self-consciousness, of a consciousness where there's self and all kinds of confusion and affliction.


The Bodhisattva of Compassion observes the mind of affliction, the mind of delusion, the mind of self-confusion and self-view and self-pride and self-love. It observes, the compassion observes this mind and observes it, listens to it, listens to it, looks at it. And then there's a revelation that all these, everything that's going on in this consciousness lacks independent existence. And that vision relieves suffering. This is a fundamental teaching of the Bodhisattva vehicle as presented in the beginning of the Heart Sutra. The Heart Sutra goes on though to say


that this selflessness of all these phenomena, what phenomena? The five aggregates, the phenomena of form, color, smells, sounds, tastes, touch and tangibles, all of them lack independent existence. Eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, they lack independent existence. That's the forms gandha. Feelings, pain, pleasure, unclear feelings. Perceptions, everything that you can get a hold of in the mind as existing by itself, all those perceptions. All kinds of emotions and intentions. Fear, doubt, faith, anger, confusion, greed,


energy, diligence, so on, all those mental factors. And then consciousness itself, where there's a sense of self. All those things lack, none of them exist on their own. They all exist only interdependently. They're all empty. But then it says the selflessness is the color. And color is selflessness. Emptiness is color. Color is emptiness. So it's not just see the emptiness of phenomena and be relieved, but also hear the teaching that the phenomena, whose emptiness we've seen and been relieved, the phenomena is the emptiness.


So there's a little bit of a warning in there about don't abide in what is liberating. Don't abide in the emptiness, which when you see will liberate you. The Heart Sutra just says everything's empty and emptiness is everything. It doesn't clearly say it, it doesn't. We may not understand that it's saying, however, do not abide in that which is liberating. Do not abide in the ultimate truth that everything is the same.


Everything has no self in the sense of an independent existence. Don't abide in that because that is everything. And don't abide in everything because that's just suffering. Don't abide in everything. Realize that everything's empty and also don't abide in emptiness. It actually is saying that, but just to make sure that people don't miss it, a whole bunch of other teachings came. And one of the teachings that came in a sense to complement the Heart Sutra


and all the other perfect wisdom sutras is a sutra called the Avatamsaka Sutra, the flower adornment scripture. In that teaching, the relationship between the liberating ultimate truth and phenomena is magnificently demonstrated. Okay. The teaching that the ultimate truth and the phenomena, that the ultimate principle of selflessness of all things is included in all things and all things are included in the ultimate truth.


And the ultimate truth and phenomena in this intimacy do not hinder each other. They're in perfect harmony. And also the things don't interfere with each other. So it goes on to develop a great picture of the relationship between the principle of all things and all things and the relationship of all things with all things. And of course, all schools of the Bodhisattva vehicle have the perfect wisdom scriptures. You could say at their back or at their base. But some schools, in addition


to the perfect wisdom scriptures have this Avatamsaka Sutra at their back. And one of the schools that has the Avatamsaka Sutra as their great influence is called basically the Avatamsaka Sutra family. It's called the Avatamsaka Sutra school, the Huayen school, the school about this sutra. And another school that has this sutra as sort of their main sutra along with the perfect wisdom sutra is the Zen school. So this huge teaching about the relationship between the principle of everything and everything, that scripture, that teaching is very influential


in our family history. And when the school, the family that developed, which said that this sutra is their main sutra, their teaching was that they started to use, instead of using emptiness and form or emptiness and the five aggregates, they started to use principle and phenomena. And to use, and to start to rhapsodize almost infinitely on the relationship between principle and phenomena.


Yes? What do you mean by principle? Well, principle, another word for principle would be essence. And the Chinese character that they used for principle is a Chinese, is a character which is composed of two parts. One, the part on the left side is a character for jewel or jade. And then they put together with another character and made this character called principle. But it refers to the lines, sort of like the fault lines in jade. So a particular piece of jade has a kind of principle in it, which is sort of how it's constructed. And there's certain lines in it. And you can see the principle of that piece of that stone


in it, you can actually see the principle. It's not exactly, it's a little bit different than the stone, and yet it's the essence of that particular stone is this principle. So the essence in a way of all phenomena is that they lack essence. They don't have an essence, it's their essence. The essence of all phenomena is that they're the same. The essence of all phenomena is that they don't move and that they're silent. That's their essence. Their ultimate truth is what they are after everything is said and done. It's the final, irrevocable, unavoidable nature of a thing,


which we can talk about more, right? I was just recently talking to Linda Ruth Cutts at dinner in Italy, and she said, how does that go again, Reb? The thoroughly established character is the absence of what in what? I said, the thoroughly established character, emptiness, is the absence of the imputational character in the other dependent character. Hmm? The thoroughly established character of phenomena, the way they really are, is that they are an absence


of any idea you impute to them, of any idea you impute to the way they're actually created. Everything has basically an other dependent character. Everything exists in dependence on something other than itself. Nothing makes itself. Everything is made by things other. Everything is other-powered. So the other-powered, other-dependent, dependently co-arisen nature of every phenomena is basically its center of gravity. But its ultimate character, its liberating character, is that anything anybody thinks about, anything, is absent in the thing. Everything's empty of any ideas you have of it.


And when you see this emptiness of things, you're liberated from clinging to them. And the way you are free of anybody's idea of you, including your ideas of yourself, that's your, that's the principle of you. And the way you're free of any imputation to you is the same of the way everybody else is free of any imputation of them. So that's also our sameness. So our individual essence, the essence of the individual, is the same for all individuals. And the essence is included in the individual and the individuals included in the essence. In other words, the principle is reciprocal


with the phenomena, and phenomena are reciprocal with principle. And this teaching, which is really in the Heart Sutra, but the Heart Sutra doesn't bring it out very much, is brought out magnificently in the Huayang Jing and in our family. In China, it has been said that the core teaching of our family is how principle and phenomena intimately turn on each other. How all principle includes phenomena, and how all phenomena include principle. And this, observing this pivoting is the core of our teaching and the core of our practice. The interfusion, the interpenetration,


the reciprocity of ultimate truth and conventional truths of principle and phenomena has been said in China to be the character of our family. And our family said that about itself in China. However, this teaching has not been brought out in that language in Japan as much as in China. And therefore, it has not been brought out as much in the places that Japanese Buddhism got transmitted, like California. But now it's being brought out right before your eyes. And if called upon, it will be brought out more and more until everybody's thoroughly immersed in this Buddha activity, which is this interfusion of ultimate


and conventional truth of principle and phenomena of sameness and difference. So you're familiar with our family song, which is titled Harmony, Interfusion of Sameness and Difference, which is harmony of principle and phenomena. Principle is the same, phenomena is different. The harmony there is the mind of the Buddha, which is transmitted from India to China and now to Japan and to the West. Okay. That was like another hors d'oeuvre.


Yes? What'd you say? I said I didn't mean to interrupt your course today. Just a second. I want to hear it. I think you said something kind of funny. Let me hear it. Did you say, I don't want to interrupt? I said I didn't mean to interrupt. If you had more to say, you look like you're just... You don't mean, you don't mean to interrupt. Okay. You do mean to have a conversation. Absolutely. And I do have more to say. So, if you wait for me to finish talking, we'll never have a conversation. Or rather, if you wait for me to say everything I say, you may miss that that was a conversation. So please, if you don't understand that what we've just been doing was a conversation, maybe you should say something. Yes? When you said something along the lines of


the ideas that people have about you or the ideas that you have about yourself, you're empty of those. I'm empty of them, yeah. Their absence in the way I really, the way I really am. But you... Not the ultimate really. The ultimate really is, the ultimate really is more ultimate than the way I really am. Did you also say that the way you really are also includes all of those ideas about you? You're just not stuck in them. Or even being stuck in them is included in the way I am. But what is absent is that any way I'm stuck


is actually like the way I am. The way I am is not any particular story about the way I am. That's absent in me. Without excluding any of the stories. So, Dina? Angela? Somebody else? Oh, Oma? Dina? When you were talking about the jade essence, I was reminded of Leonard Cohen's song, Forget Your Perfect Opera. And the lyrics are, there is a crack in everything. That's how a light gets in. Angela? Could the harmony also,


can we also, would that be also pivotal point? The pivotal point? Or is that? Harmony is the pivoting. The pivoting. The act, the Buddha activity, yes. Buddha activity is harmony, and it's how ultimate truth is pivoting on conventional truth. It's how principle is pivoting on phenomena. It's how sameness is pivoting on difference. Yes, Karen? I'm wondering if that understanding that you're presenting, if that understanding promotes great compassion, or if it isn't? Does the understanding promote great compassion?


Or is it compassion itself? It definitely promotes. And it is, because great compassion is a compassionate, it includes that understanding. Yeah. I'll be back to you in a second, Vivian. Homa? Yes. I don't understand, this is all kind of phenomena, but then you said Buddha's mind, I don't understand how Buddha's mind. Is this harmony of principle and phenomena? That's what Buddha mind is. This harmony is a mind, it's a mind. It's not some harmony out somewhere in space. It's a mind, and that mind, we are totally immersed in it right now.


We're moving in that mind all the time. It's being transmitted to us all the time. And we're having the opportunity to receive and realize this transmission of this mind. Vivian? The pivoting is not a doing. It's something that... Yeah, it's an activity that's not doing anything. But it's not something that I do. It's something that I... It's what you are. It's not something you do, it's what you are. It's your actual, it's the actual activity of you right now in stillness. So stillness has activity. You being you is stillness. However, without moving, you have a great activity, which is the harmony of that activity and the stillness.


So the principle, the essence has function. But the function doesn't move the essence around. The essence has function. What's function? What is function? What's function? Yeah. Like talking, like observing. Phenomena? Yeah, phenomena, right. Functioning is phenomena. So there's essence and function. And essence is like principle and phenomena. So functions are paired with essences. And essences have function. But they don't have a function of being something other than what they are. What they are has function, or is function. And function is the way something really is.


Is the way, is without function, something doesn't exist. Yeah, do you want to say something? Yeah, so like for example, just feeling the being and doing or becoming something, the essence, harmony, is just there. But what is, like the words that I use, grace, but I'm thinking also like the flower bud, which is open. But it's always a flower. But there's something, there's always some moment that is like grace, like it opens. There's a confusion about, right, I'm thinking, right, to set up the condition so that I can be still when I am, so that the pivoting can happen.


Not something, okay, now I have to pivot. Looking at the lotus, okay, there's a thing about a lotus flower opening, okay? That's an activity of what? Of the lotus. But when the seed goes into the mud, that's also an activity of the lotus. And when the roots come out of the seed into the mud, that's also activity of the lotus. Is that different from the flower opening? It's the same plant. But at the same time, it seems to have rooting time, sprouting time, budding time, opening time, petal dropping time, and then fruit time.


And fruit time is the time before the fruit goes back into the mud and plants more seeds. So it's a total, it's an ongoing process. A flower blooming is freeing the plant of the bud. Then the flower drops its petals and frees the plant of the flower. And then we have the fruit. Which eventually falls into the mud again and frees the plant of the fruit. And when the plant's freed of the fruit, that's called the next generation of seeds. So it's an ongoing process of freedom and at a certain point in the process, there's an opening of understanding and then there's a going beyond that. In the pivoting. Yes. Yes, Rick.


What does it feel the harmony between thought and this? The harmony between employee and phenomenon. Does this imply it exists to phenomenon? Phenomenon. Is there an implication of existence? If phenomenon implies distinction, and distinction implies not believing in distinction. So phenomenon kind of do imply distinction. Right? Rick? It's just that I'm having trouble with kind of thought passing in a vicious circle. What's a vicious circle? It's being harmonizing with distinction, harmonizing with delusion. Harmonizing with distinction is possible


because distinction is actually already harmonized with non-distinction. So the principle of all distinctions is non-distinction. All distinctions are the same in that they're all dependently co-arisen and lack inherent existence. So the harmony that we can realize comes because non-distinction is reciprocal with distinction. But in order to realize that, we might need a teaching about this. And then we might hear the teaching and realize the way to realize this teaching is to be kind to all distinction. Not try to put our energy into getting different distinctions, but be kind to the ones we have. And the kindness to distinction will reveal that in the midst at the center, right along with distinctions, is the essence of non-distinction.


So in the Harmony of Difference and Unity, it says the mind of the great sage of India is intimately transmitted from east to west. Oh, that's the wrong one. In the Jewel Mirror Samadhi, it says that the teaching of suchness is intimately transmitted, Buddhas and ancestors. Now you have it, so keep it well. Like snow in a silver bowl, like a heron in the moonlight. The silver bowl is the essence. The snow is the phenomena. If you're kind to the phenomena, you'll realize that it's in a silver bowl. Heron in the moonlight,


the heron is phenomena, the moonlight, the essence. If you're kind to the heron, you'll realize the moonlight. When you array them, they're not the same. When you mix them, you know where they are. So you can work with both of them and not prefer essence over function or principle over phenomena. Yes? Would another word for kindness be acceptance? Acceptance is a key ingredient of kindness. You can't really practice kindness with the phenomena if you're not acceptance of it. You can't practice kindness with the snow if you're not kind to it. So one aspect of compassion is acceptance.


Dylan? It seems a timely thing that essence and function has a, because consciousness has a reflective aspect to it. A what aspect? A reflective, reflection aspect. It seems that that function itself carries a subtle dualistic implication to it. It's like, it's like coming in and taking off my shoes and sitting. There's a reflective aspect to it in that process of essence and function. So when that reflection, it's almost like essence and function gives rise to this consciousness of previous activity at times. And so it gives a sense of a separate event, ultimately a separate event from sitting.


And so when that arises, my experience has been that it's sort of a, someone used, someone used a vicious cycle, apparently. And I think that that reflective aspect of it is it's almost getting, it's almost not allowing the flower and the fruit to return back to its source. It's almost like that reflective aspect is caught in a, returning back to his web of habitual thinking. And so when that reflective aspect arises, what is, how does one relate to that in the function of essence in the pivoting aspect of what you have? the reflective aspect and the vicious cycle


are two different flavors of snow cones. Practicing compassion towards the reflective aspect or towards the vicious cycle that comes from not being kind to the reflective aspect. Most people do not practice compassion with their reflective process. So it turns into a vicious cycle. It's an unattended, you know, infant running around with nobody taking care of it and gets into vicious cycles until hopefully somebody starts taking care of it and it can, you know, and it can get some nourishment and go to sleep for a while. What, all phenomena are the snow and all phenomena are sitting in the silver bowl of the ultimate truth. If we are kind to all the varieties of snow, we will realize how this snow


is never separate from the silver bowl. And also the silver bowl was never, has never been separate from vicious, all the different types of vicious cycles and all the different basic functions of consciousness. All those and all the cycles they get into, they're all phenomena to engage with, with the aid of the teaching. The teaching's here to help us appreciate, accept, be kind to and be compassionate to the snow and also realize it's not the silver bowl and yet there would be no silver, there's no silver bowl without the snow and there's no snow without the silver bowl. But we often, we think that some kinds of snow are not asking us to practice compassion. So then we have this, then we get another kind of snow


which is called vicious cycle. If you, yeah. And even if you don't have vicious cycles, other people bring them to you. So all the different varieties of snow cones will be brought to you. And each one will be an opportunity to realize they're reciprocal and yet that doesn't mean you can't tell which one is which. Because we have this ability. And to articulate this, we have the poem which says, like snow on a silver bowl, like a heron in the moonlight. We have these images for us to help us realize that's the case with all, everything that's going on in our life, that no matter what's going on with our life, it's not, it's inseparable from stillness and silence.


But the stillness and silence isn't the whole story. The stillness and silence helps us realize what the actual activity is. What activity? The activity of liberating beings. The appropriate response. Yes? In that silver bowl in the snow example, it's pretty easy to think of the snow as a transient phenomenon. But the bowl, in the bowl, it starts to water, kind of magnetize some sense that it's a thing. It's a stable thing where the snow is. Right, but everything that it acquires is actually more snow. It's not the thing. Everything that everything acquires is absent in everything. Everything that anything acquires


is absent in the thing. Anything you acquire is absent in you because you already are everything. You are already everything like you are. And anything you acquire is not actually in you. That's just a fantasy. Anything you think you can acquire is a fantasy because you already include everything. And not only do you include everything, but you include everything without confining it. You include the whole universe without, you include the whole universe without containing it. So it's not limited by you. It is you. It's what you are. But if you add anything to it, that's just something that's not actually, that's just imagination.


That applies on both sides. Hmm? That applies on both sides, to the snow and the bowl. You could apply it to the snow or the bowl, but the bowl is the absence of anything extra. The bowl is the principle of everything. But is the bowl representing that? Pardon? Is the bowl representing, you know, is that representing that which is unborn, unconditioned? The bowl represents what it, the bowl represents being unborn, yes. Yes. I think in non-identification, there's no home, and living with emptiness is in the forefront.


My experience that the, something that can accompany that is a feeling of lack of commitment or responsibility. Mm-hmm. Fluidity that you don't hold, or don't hold. Mm-hmm. So I wonder, is this what you're talking about when you say don't live fully in emptiness, or what's the answer to that? What pops in my mind is, in the Harmony of Difference and Unity, I think it says, merging with sameness is still not enlightenment. So merging with emptiness, merging with the ultimate truth, is still not enlightenment. Even though the ultimate truth liberates it, we don't abide in the ultimate truth. If we do, we run the risk of thinking that being responsible to all phenomena is optional.


So one of the signs of dwelling in sameness is, one time when I was in a class studying the Merging of Difference and Unity, or the Harmony of Difference and Unity, the word, the Chinese word for sameness is dou. So I talked about don't get stuck in dou. So when you get stuck in dou, your sense of commitment to ethical practice is threatened. Not necessarily, but it's under threat when you get stuck in the principle. So the principle is what we have to, whenever you have any principle, if you have any around, make sure to keep checking to see that it's in communion and conversation


with non-principle, with phenomena, which aren't principle, with ethical problems. Another expression I've been using recently is, the transcendence of history, which is possible, is verified by being historically accountable. So if you feel like you've transcended history, like, for example, your history, I've done some bad things, but I'm free of it now. All the, Buddhism can liberate us from all the evil we've ever done. And the proof that we're free of it is that we're open to be accountable for it all. So following that? And if you've become free


and you don't want to be accountable, you're not free, you're stuck in transcendence, which is not real enlightenment. You're stuck in, well, whatever happens, it's the same. If you really understand that whatever happens is the same, then you should be accountable for all the differences. And be willing for people to call you into account about differences. And if you say, okay, I'm ready to be accounted, I'm ready to do the accounting, that's a sign that maybe you're not stuck in transcendence of accounting. Yes. The word audit just came to mind. Audit, yeah, audit, in both meanings. Listen to it and account it. And be accounted.


Audit and be audited. Distinctions, phenomena, are like infinite opportunities to be wholeheartedly engaged. Yeah, right. And if we can do that, we'll realize that right in the distinctions, our freedom, that's where the freedom from distinctions really lives. Wholeheartedly and compassionately engaged, that's the same. Wholeheartedly and compassionately accepted distinctions, that is the place, that is the practice, which Avalokiteshvara does with everything and sees that everything's empty. And then doesn't get stuck in that vision of emptiness. Yes.


What if you're doing this and you're not seeing that everything's empty? Then be compassionate with not seeing that everything or anything is empty. So not seeing emptiness is another little morsel of snow. Kind of frustrating. Frustrating is another one. Smiling is another one. All phenomena are opportunities for compassion. And by practicing compassion with phenomena, we'll realize that they're sitting in a silver bowl and they're pivoting with the silver bowl. And they always were including the silver bowl, but our resistance to fully embracing and sustaining them, the resistance also made us resist the ultimate,


which was always there. Our resistance to phenomena is also the same as our resistance to principle. Our resistance to form is our resistance to realizing emptiness. Now, if you're not resisting emptiness, apparently, and you're accepting it, then you have to be careful of any resistance to letting go of it, which is a phenomena. And if you notice you're clinging to the gift you got from not resisting phenomena, namely freedom from it, then practice compassion to that. And you'll be free of resistance to letting go of your freedom. Because freedom is something


that sometimes people get attached to, right? It's a very tasty thing, that type of snow, freedom. Yes? Could you, for me, snow is kind of a, it's not really a neutral word, but it's a trigger word. Could you do this play that you're, this pivoting that you're doing with a word like dictator or tyrant? Something bigger than snow and coal, I mean. Well, we had frustrating, why don't you? Frustrating tyrants, are tyrants frustrating? At least. At least. Frustrating, that's a cartoon, right? There's this person here, and then there's a tyrant here, and the person here says to the tyrant, you're very frustrating. No?


You're very, you're so irritating. No? No? Well, what do you want to say? What do you want to say to the tyrant? Go away. What? Go away. Go away. Okay, go away. I find myself resisting you. I find myself... That's a cartoon. That's the cartoon. I find myself resisting you? Okay. I find myself resisting you. Hello, tyrant, I find myself resisting you. Hello, tyrant, I find myself thinking that you're a tyrant and believing that my thoughts about you are what you are. Yeah, and then you get smacked. I find myself thinking that I got smacked,


and I think that's what really happened. Yeah. I'm still trying to find the compassion. Well, the compassion is acknowledging how I feel, and accepting it, and letting it be, how I feel about this slap or whatever, okay? And that way of relating to this is where we will discover liberation from this situation. And in liberation from this situation, we will be able to offer the situation the appropriate response. We've become free of our mind, so now we can respond to whatever's in the quotes appropriately. It's a phenomenon. Tyrants are a phenomenon.


Snow, frustration is a phenomenon. Fear is a phenomenon. Day is a phenomenon. Night is a phenomenon. Pain is a phenomenon. Pleasures, all these phenomena are calling for compassion so that they can be liberated, and so that, and they're liberated by realizing the truth that's already in them. The principle. I think, I'm just listening and feeling this, and I think the place maybe where I'm caught is like if I see something that's a tyrant or a dictator that has a certain duration and time that might be different than, let's say, it's not as fleeting, it's not as quickly fleeting. It asserts itself. Now we have not just a moment of tyranny,


but a moment of tyranny, and then added on to that is this tyranny's been going on for quite a while, and it might go on longer. So here we have tyranny, now we have tyranny plus history. History. So sometimes, you know, people who are taking care of children, they notice that children, so my granddaughter's at an age where I can tell you stories about her, and she won't hear about them, so I won't get in trouble. So one of my friends refers to my granddaughter as Taranta Regina. Taranta Regina, rather than Tarantasaurus Rex. It's a female tyrant.


My granddaughter can be called a tyrant. She's not really a tyrant. She's the sweetest little thing in the world, but she does sometimes, for a moment, appear as a tyrant. And some of her, what do you call them? Some of her, what are the people who are the subjects of the tyranny, what are they called? The tyrannized? So one of her tyrannized is me, and I'm happy to be tyrannized by her. It's a joy. And so, but now she's being educated. Stop calling him your slave. You know, you're a big girl now, you probably should stop that. But I was okay with being her slave for seven years. Anyway, she's a tyrant for a little while. And we're not, but now she's being educated


because people think, well, we probably should tell her to stop talking like that to him because we don't want her to continue in this tyrannical mode much longer. But being compassionate to this moment of tyranny would then be extended to the future of tyranny and past tyranny, even though the past tyranny may be decades. So it's various sizes of snow cones. Yeah, so it seems like maybe what I'm feeling is like not only compassion, but having to have a load of patience knowing that things aren't gonna, just because I'm compassionate is not gonna change. Just because you're compassionate doesn't mean the tyrant will disappear. Right. However-


That's what I think. Well, I agree. Just because you're compassionate to somebody who has cancer doesn't mean their cancer evaporates. What it means is that the person with cancer who might be me or you now has compassion as a partner for her illness. And now there's an opportunity to realize that in the phenomena of cancer, there is the principle of all things, and then there can be freedom of the suffering of cancer without getting rid of the cancer. The lotus flower opens without getting rid of the mud. The wisdom opens without getting rid of the illness. But if we're not compassionate to the illness, we don't put down the roots, and so the flower doesn't open.


Or rather, the flower is already opened, but because we resist putting roots into tyranny, because we resist extending roots of compassion into the tyranny, because of that resistance, we resist the flower. That's opening in the tyranny. It's there already. It's a question of waking up to it. Once we wake up to it and we see the flower in the tyrant, then we can say to the tyrant some amazing things, like, I love you. It's amazing. You're this big, fat tyrant, and I love you. And, you know, right now, no matter how tyrannical you get, this love is indestructible. It's just, you know, and the tyrant can kind of see that and potentially wake up and see that they have wisdom and compassion in them, too,


without getting rid of the tyrant. The tyrant can let go of being a tyrant, which is a certain type of a tyrant, which we're, that's the kind of tyrants they want, is tyrants that let go of being tyrants. And when they let go of it, you might say, well, can I be tyrant for a while, and you go sit down and let me do it for you? And they might say, okay. We didn't get rid of the tyrant. The tyrant just gave it up for a while because the tyrant was asked to do so by a wise and compassionate person. And maybe because the tyrant's not a tyrant. And because the tyrant's not a tyrant. Because of the principle of the tyrant is that the tyrant actually, there's no tyrant in the tyrant. There's just everything in the tyrant.


This is like the arc of time towards justice, yes, or towards love. Well, you could say an arc of time is towards love, but the problem with that is it sounds like it's going to go, love, and that's going to be the end of it. It's more like the path is love, because there's no end to it. It isn't like, love. It's more like, love. It's an open-ended process. It, there's no, there's no end in sight, really, except in people's minds. If there's an end of people, then there would be an end to love. If there's an end to beings, then we'll have an end of love. But there isn't, so there won't be. But every time you think there's an end or a beginning, that's another opportunity for compassion.


Every end is calling for compassion. On the airplane back from Italy, I watched this show called, I think it's called The History of God or something like that, or The Story of God, narrated by Morgan Freeman. And the title of this particular episode was The Apocalypse or Apocalypse. And in some traditions, people think apocalypse is the end of the world. And he started with those monotheistic religions which see apocalypse as the end of the world. And he sort of ended with Buddhism, which sees, you know, the word apocalypse really means, basically, the definition is change. But I think etymologically, it might mean taking off the veil. So, he somehow got the Karmapa into agreeing


with apocalypse means enlightenment. That the apocalypse will be, will wake up to what this world is. That awakening is possible. And again, in Christianity or some traditions, you might say that awakening is coming, but Buddhism is more like that awakening is already here and it's working on us right now and we can never get away from it. This awakening is working on us and we're already in the process. The awakening process. Yes. Yes. Yes. What you said about the end of the Christianity versus the end of the Karmapa is the end of affliction,


the end of form, not realizing yourself as the true form of what is. So, the realization of that, that it's all love, it's the realization of oneness. And I'm wondering, not wondering, I'm looking at it from the Christian viewpoint that when they don't see that way of being, which is loving and being kind and not in affliction with one another, so they keep asking, oh, because they are not experienced. It's not in their experience. Yeah, and part of what I brought this up to mind was that every end, every end is really a beginning. It's not that there's no ends, exactly,


just every end is a beginning. And one of the scenes in this video was some people who were in New Orleans during Katrina, and this one particular couple, man and wife, were the ministers of a church, and their church basically got flooded, and they were in the church when it got flooded, and of course the church went through this flooding. That was the end of the church. But from the end of this church, they made a new church. So now they saw that the end of that church was the beginning of the church. And Morgan Friedman said to them, that's Buddhist. It's also T.S. Eliot in The Wasteland. But when people read T.S. Eliot, they say that's Buddhist. So Buddhist is saying, there can be ends,


but really there's no end in the end. The principle of the end is that there's an absence of the end in the end. So it's really a beginning, and the same with beginnings. But we have to be kind to ends in order to realize that they're beginnings. And these people in New Orleans, they were kind towards the end of their church, and the end of their life. You know, it was the end of their life. And they accepted that, the end of their life, and they found it was the beginning of a new life. But without the compassion towards the end of life, we don't realize that the end of life is a beginning. And the same with the beginning. And we say, well, I don't want to be compassionate to the beginning, so I realize they're ends, but it goes there too. That every beginning is an end.


That's where we are right now, where every end is a beginning, and every beginning is an end. That's where we actually are. And it's a question of being kind to any resistance to this situation. And if we can really be kind to, we give up resistance to this amazing, ungraspable water that we're swimming in. Which, you know, just happens to be also liberating from all fear and distress.