Deep Faith in Cause and Effect has now become Deep Faith in Being a Sentient Being 

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About 18 days remaining in this calendar year, and at the beginning of this year, I promised, I vowed to concentrate on studying causation here at Noah Abode. I did. I made that vow, and I appreciate the support of all of you to practice that this year. I vowed to practice deep faith in cause and effect, or I vowed to practice based on deep

[01:11]

faith in cause and effect. The expression deep faith in cause and effect is transmitted to us by our ancestors, and I feel that it is very much at the heart of the authentic tradition, descending from the ancestors, the Buddha ancestors. From deep

[02:13]

faith in cause and effect, it seems very appropriate that one would practice vigorously the Bodhisattva precepts. Today I would also suggest that deep faith in cause and effect is the same as deep faith in wholeheartedly being a sentient being. There are two kinds of sentient beings. Bodhisattvas is one kind, and the other kind is non-Bodhisattvas.

[03:27]

Bodhisattvas have deep faith in cause and effect, and Bodhisattvas have the courage and the commitment to be themselves, wholeheartedly be a sentient being. Sentient beings think there is an alternative to being a sentient being. So, sentient beings think there is an alternative to being deluded. This fall, in a series of classes, we have been studying the practice of dancing intimately

[04:45]

with delusion. Sentient beings have plenty of delusion, but they think there is an alternative to dancing intimately with it. They think they can get rid of it. This is one of their delusions. If it's real, you can't get rid of it, and if it's not real, you can't get rid of it. You can't get rid of reality, and you can't get rid of unreality, because there's no unreality to get rid of. But there appears to be unreality, there appears to be delusion, there appears to be birth and death, and birth and death appears to be miserable, more or less. Deep faith in cause and effect is deep faith in wholeheartedly

[05:54]

embracing birth and death. Not clinging to it, not trying to avoid it, but giving up all resistance to it. Giving up all resistance to birth, and giving up all resistance to death, and giving up all resistance to the old age and sickness that occurs in birth and death. I was talking to a pregnant woman at dinner last night at Green Dragon Zen Temple, and we were talking about how elderly people, like grandparents and babies, they sometimes

[07:01]

say they're united by a common enemy, but also they're united by a common caretaker. They're united in the sense that they're dependent on the people who are not so old and not so young, and the people who are taking care of them they often see as their enemy, because those people are strong and smart. But someone also mentioned that in some cultures they consider the babies and the old people closer to the spirit world, and I feel that they're closer to the spirit world because they're more aware of how vulnerable they are, and fragile. And if when we're very young and feeling very vulnerable, or when we're old

[08:06]

and feeling vulnerable, or when we're sick and feeling vulnerable, if we can give up resistance to being vulnerable, we are very close to the spirit world. If we resist our vulnerability, we resist enlightenment. After considering being welcoming, not liking or Well, anyway, they might not like disease, but that's not their job. Their job is to give up resistance to disease, to embrace intimately and dance with disease. That's the Bodhisattva's job, is to embrace all diseased beings. The Bodhisattva is a diseased being who vows to

[09:13]

dance with all the other diseased beings. The Bodhisattva is a sick Bodhisattva who vows to embrace and sustain all other sick Bodhisattvas, and also non-sick Bodhisattvas. However, the non-sick Bodhisattvas don't necessarily want the sick Bodhisattva to embrace them, so they wait until the person is ready for the dance. So, after I mentioned this kind of thing at class the other night in Berkeley, someone came up to me and said, well, what about fighting disease? Fighting disease is a sentient being. That's a kind of a sentient being, and so that sentient being, we should not resist the sentient being who is fighting disease. Also, someone said, but delusion is beautiful,

[10:15]

and I say, right, that's correct. But if you resist it, you won't see the beauty. If we dance intimately with our vulnerability, we will open to the beauty of our vulnerability. If we dance intimately with our delusion, and don't resist it, but meet it with our whole heart, we will see the beauty of delusion. If we dance intimately with delusion, we will realize the dependently co-arisen nature of delusion. We will understand the causation of delusion, and we will also understand that delusion is not delusion.

[11:20]

As I often mentioned, Suzuki Roshi gave me a name, such a wonderful name he gave me, it's Tenshin, the first part, and when he gave it to me, he said, Reb is Reb. But also Tenshin means delusion is delusion. He also said, it means Reb is Reb, and people may have a problem with that. Now I say, Reb is Reb, and people may resist that, but if we don't resist Reb is Reb, we will realize Reb is not Reb. We could also say, Tenshin means delusion is a delusion. It's a delusion that delusion is a delusion. It's not a reality that delusion

[12:24]

is a delusion, it's a delusion that delusion is a delusion. If we don't resist delusion, we will realize delusion is not delusion, and we will realize how beautiful deluded beings are, how precious they are, what excellent dance partners they are. However, as I also mentioned, if you want to dance with somebody, you can offer yourself, but if they're not ready, proper etiquette is to let them wait until they are. So on the tango floor, if the leader looks across the way to a potential dance partner, he looks at her, or she looks at her, and if she doesn't come forward or doesn't nod or whatever, you leave her alone. Dancing with delusion is promoted by appreciation of the dependently co-arisen nature of delusion

[13:43]

and appreciation of its beauty. But we have to stop resisting it if we want to dance with it. And sentient beings, once again, do tend to resist delusion. Being ashamed of being deluded doesn't necessarily mean you were resisting it. Now, as it says in the Heart Sutra, delusion itself is enlightenment. Enlightenment itself is delusion. Or another

[14:47]

way you could translate it, which is not so common, is delusion, namely enlightenment. Delusion, namely form. Delusion, namely feelings. Delusion, namely conceptions. Delusion, namely karmic consciousness. Karmic consciousness is immediately itself emptiness. Karmic consciousness namely emptiness. Karmic consciousness namely ultimate truth. So earlier I calligraphed the Chinese characters for deep faith and cause and effect, which I mentioned has now been made into sweatshirts and t-shirts. Somebody also recently sent me some beautiful

[15:53]

black t-shirts that have my name on it. I don't know what to do with them. Today I brought calligraphy which says, the condition of being a sentient being is itself enlightenment. Or, the condition of being a sentient being, or the nature of a sentient being is itself enlightenment. The nature of being a sentient being, what's its nature? Its nature is enlightenment. The condition is actually, the actual condition of a sentient being is enlightenment. And this is a koan for us, isn't it? Sometimes we don't see that the condition of a sentient being, either this sentient being or that sentient being, sometimes we don't see that

[16:58]

this condition is enlightenment, or that the nature of a person, a sentient person, we are awakening. In order to see this, in order to understand this, we must completely be a sentient being. And that is the most challenging thing for a sentient being. Climbing mountains is challenging, especially if they're fairly high and steep and cold. Diving from a great height into water is a challenge for sentient beings. Various actions are challenges, but the most challenging, the one that requires your whole heart, is being yourself. And in

[18:08]

fact, you are! And the fact that you are, is enlightenment. So, the resisting of it, the going with the idea that there's an alternative to this, that's our tendency, that's our karmic tendency, and that's why it's so hard to be a sentient being. The cause and effect here is, the cause of the effect, the cause of the sentient being itself, with no wiggling, in stillness, with no resistance, the sentient being itself, there's no resistance in the sentient being being a sentient being, there's no resistance

[19:09]

there. That is the condition, that's the cause of the effect of Bodhi, and the cause and effect, the cause itself is the effect. So, I calligraphed that expression, the condition of a sentient being is itself awakening, and there's some copies of it on the altar, and some more may be made during lunchtime. You're welcome to have one, and take care of it, and you're also welcome to practice it. It's one of those convenient practices, because you're a sentient being all day long, and if you would just stop resisting that, then

[20:09]

you would realize the condition that you're in. All day long you're in the condition of being a sentient being, all day long you have the nature of being a sentient being, and then if you would just be wholeheartedly present with that, you would realize enlightenment. And that would be a big help to us if you would do that. And I would encourage us, we might get the idea from you. And being a sentient being of course includes that you come and tell us what we should be doing, you start bossing us around and telling us that we should be paying attention to ourselves and stuff like that. So you can just be your usual self at the moment, that'll be fine, but please with absolutely no resistance to being the deluded person you are. Remember, you are deluded, and only you can put out

[21:20]

forest fires too. It's like we are nothing but the whole universe working as us. So delusion being delusion, TEN SHIN, ZENKI, the whole works. Delusion is delusion is the whole works. Reb is a reb is the whole works. Gordon is a Gordon is the whole works. The whole works, the whole universe is working as Gordon being Gordon. Gordon resisting being Gordon is still Gordon, but anyway he misses that the whole universe is working to make Gordon. And Gordon wholeheartedly being Gordon, Gordon is not Gordon. Enlightenment is Gordon being free

[22:26]

of Gordon by being willing to be Gordon. And that's the whole universe working through a person, which it does quite nicely according to the name that Suzuki Roshi gave me. You being you, or you being a you, is the whole works. And there's a new movie out about Nelson Mandela, and when he was in prison for 27 years or so, the poem which sustained him, which I'll just give you the last couple lines of, and later I'll give you the whole poem, but right now I'd just like to mention. The poem ends with, I am the captain of my fate. I am the master of my soul. So somehow, although this is cause and effect, but you

[23:33]

don't have control. You're a master who doesn't have control. You're a captain who doesn't have control. You and I are not in control of our soul, but we're the ones who take care of it with everybody's help. We have to join the program. The whole universe is supporting us, is giving us ascension being. Now we have to accept the responsibility of being the master or mistress of it. But the master and the mistress, according to Buddhadharma, although you are the master, you are the mistress, yes, but you're not in control. That's the subtle part. That's the profound part of cause and effect. You have this responsibility for something you're not in control of. You're responsible to take care of your karmic consciousness. Your karmic consciousness is not made by me or you. Well, your karmic consciousness is

[24:37]

made more by me than by you. Your karmic consciousness is not made by you. It's made by past karmic consciousnesses, yours particularly, mine also. It's made by me. It's made by the whole universe. It's supporting your karmic consciousness, your delusion. You are the master of your delusion. And your delusion has consequence, so you're the captain of your fate. But you're a captain of a ship of fate that you're not in control of. But in the midst of the storms pushing your fate all over the place, you are the captain. You get to be captain. You may not want to be, you are. And you cannot run this fate by yourself, but nobody else is going to come and be captain for you. And you might say, I don't want to be captain of a ship I can't control. But you are. You are captain of this very important

[25:44]

ship that you can't control. And everybody is helping you do your job. You have a big crew. Really, a big crew is helping you do a job, and your job is to take care of your fate, which you can't control. And your soul, your spirit, your enlightened mind, you're the master of it. And again, everybody supports you to take care of this precious enlightened mind of a sentient being. I should say, the enlightened mind which is the sentient being which you are. Everybody is supporting you, and you have the job of taking care of it. And it is not under your control. That helped Nelson Mandela in 27 years in prison. I hope it helps you in many more years

[26:56]

in prison than that. We've all been in prison much longer than 27 years. That's a great opportunity to look deeply into cause and effect. I haven't yet promised for the next year what to emphasize in study and teaching and practice, but I do not plan to give up deep faith in cause and effect next year. But I don't know exactly what the theme will be. But I'm so moved to be supported, to be able to remember occasionally the wonderful practice of deep faith in cause and effect, that you and many other beings have supported me to be able to remember it, and then when I remember it, to sing about it, to extol

[28:04]

it, to encourage it verbally with calligraphy and with my own efforts. And I appreciate that you are also trying to take care of this simple and magnificent teaching of deep faith in paying attention to being a deluded person, deep faith in taking care of karmic consciousness and karmic cause and effect. I really appreciate your efforts and your openness to this difficult teaching and practice. Many beings have supported us to have a place to sit quietly today, to

[29:09]

be still, and to open to the stillness in which this enlightenment is living. Many beings have supported us to be in a building which we feel like we can actually sit still here, we don't have to worry. Now, if anybody is worried, we wish to dance intimately with them. But actually, bodhisattvas do not worry. They embrace any worry, but the worry is not their job. Their job is to dance with the worry. Worry is their dance partner. So, thank you all beings for making a place where we can contemplate in stillness being a sentient

[30:14]

being. Tenderly, uprightly, fearlessly, calmly, patiently, take care of being a sentient being. Take care of delusion. And it's not that if we take care of delusion we will be enlightened, it's taking care of delusion is enlightenment. I mean, taking care of it wholeheartedly is enlightenment. And once again, taking care of delusion wholeheartedly is just delusion

[31:16]

and delusion itself is not delusion. And it's not anything else either. Well, there's still some time before the noon hour and some people are raising their hands. One of them is Tracy. You have two problems? Tracy has two problems. morning so far. I'm putting that in one whole lump of... But I have a problem that precedes that, which came up when you spoke this morning, which is, I know when you say sentient being, I immediately think one thing and then I realize you're saying something completely else. I

[32:16]

always think when you say sentient being you mean people, animals, microbes, insects, but then you say you mean like ideas and thoughts. So that whole other category... I think microbes also resist being microbes. I think banana slugs resist being banana slugs. Those I can get. But you also mean like laughter. You mean concepts when you say sentient being. I mean... Oh. No, I wouldn't say fear is a sentient being. I would say fear is a being. Fear is a being. Hatred is a being. Action. Karmic consciousness is a being. But it doesn't constitute a sentient

[33:20]

being. A sentient being is all five skandhas, not just one element. So a sentient being has form, has sense organs, has feelings, has conceptions, has karmic consciousness, has greed, hate and delusion usually, has fear, has faith or lack of it, has flexibility or lack of it, has shame or lack of it. So stones aren't? Hmm? Stones aren't sentient beings. Stones aren't sentient beings, I don't think, no. But you're going to go with microbes. Yeah. Yeah, I'll go with whatever we usually consider living being. I would say they have problems of this type. And their condition itself is Buddha. The condition of the rock, I guess I feel that Buddha doesn't really apply, but doesn't exclude the rock, because the rock

[34:27]

is a being which the Buddha takes care of. But unless the rock is suffering, the Buddha doesn't feel compassion for the rock. But sentient beings are in various ways frightened, tense, angry, greedy, jealous, envious, violent, and so on. Now sometimes the way some sentient beings act, non-human ones, we look at them and we see their beauty. Sometimes we're open to their beauty. Sometimes we don't resist our own vulnerability and we see how beautiful they are. There's a moment of openness, and it looks almost like they're enlightened. It looks almost like they're just being a

[35:30]

deer, just being a snake. However, if we knew them better, we might find out that they're quibbling about it somewhat. But they look like they're just doing their strut, doing their… what do snakes do? They slither. They're just slithering. They look like they're just slithering. And the enlightenment is there and we can sometimes see it, but they themselves may be resisting it. They may say, I wish I wasn't a snake. I wish I didn't have to go through the snake thing anymore. But there also could be Buddha snakes who are not resisting it. It's possible. Just a moment, please. Yes? Next is Breck. Did you have your hand raised before? I don't know how I could be anything other than being myself.

[36:37]

That's right, you cannot be anything other than being yourself, but the self that most people are, maybe not you, most people who do not know how they can be anything other still wish they could be and try to be. And you don't know how to be different from that. But still, you can practice that or not. People often do practice being somebody else. They actually try to put that into practice. They try to exercise their delusion rather than exercise the condition of their delusion. Rather than admit and be aware they're deluded, they get carried away by their delusion. And at that time, they're not really getting away from it at all. They're being enslaved by it. They're not getting away from it, but they think they are. And again, they're not getting away from it. So in fact, you can't

[37:40]

get away from it. You can't get away from your nature, but you have to practice it. And if you don't practice it, then your nature will allow you to be distracted from your nature. You will ignore your nature. And it is your nature to ignore your nature, but if you go with that completely and ignore it, you also ignore enlightenment. This is where it seems to me paradoxical or conundrum, because if I'm not going with it to some extent, it seems like enlightenment is wholehearted, unqualified acceptance of what is. But if I'm holding back 32% or 99%, that's still me being me.

[38:49]

Yes? And if you appreciate that, you're opening to yourself being a silly boy. And then you're not really away from yourself. You're being with yourself, being 68%. You're not just being 68%, which is a normal percentage for a sentient being to be. That sentient being is to be 68%. And if you're completely with that, then you're fine. But if I'm completely with that, it seems like I instantaneously go to 100%. Not instantaneously, at the same moment. The same moment. But you have to practice it. You have to join the fact that you're 100%, 68%. You have to join that. If you miss it, you miss.

[39:50]

Now here comes the next one. 92%, 28%. I wish I could go below 0%. I'm like totally fighting my sentient situation. What comes to mind when you're telling me that was in this novel called The Kite Runner. It's about this boy who did like about the worst... This is the author telling his own story, right? He did like about the worst thing I ever heard of anybody doing. Of betraying, out of cowardice, the person who loved him most, and who he loved the most. Out of cowardice, he let the person who would give his life for him, he let him be abused and raped. And then he went on to do more cruel things to this loving friend.

[40:53]

And he yearned for somebody, something to punish him for this incredible cruelty and cowardice. And part of it is that he covered his story, and also part of it is this guy who loved him would never tell on him. And never hated him for it. But he yearned for the consequence of this cruelty. He wanted it. And he suffered for decades. And then one day he was in a situation where the guy, in part of the story, the guy who had abused and raped his best friend, who was also his brother, he finds out. The guy who did that grows up to be a big, you know, a powerful leader of the Taliban. And this guy offers the author, the hero, the opportunity to be beaten severely, within an inch of his life.

[42:06]

And in the middle of this beating, he starts laughing, because of the paradox. That this is what he's been hoping for, for 20 years, and now he's getting it. How wonderful and funny that this is a sentient being. Do evil, you get beat up. And how wonderful that is, that finally, this is what I've been dying for, and how funny it is, that I would be so happy to be beaten now, and to be conscious, and to not resist it. But still, it's kind of funny. First he got it, you know, like, wow, this is it! How strange it is that I wanted this. But I do. I do want to be beaten really badly, because I really did the most terrible possible thing.

[43:11]

And then, isn't that funny? And when he started laughing, that saved his life. The guy who was beating up was just stopped. He just, you know, completely like, what? Are you saying that laughter is the fearlessness? I think that's an expression of fearlessness, that he kind of like, when he was first getting beat up, I think he was kind of resisting it. He kind of thought like, well, this is kind of not too good. Getting beat up, especially big time like this, is like, not that funny, and it's certainly not something I begged for. And then he finally got it, oh, I did ask for this, this is what I asked for. My God, and I'm getting it! And he didn't resist it. But on top of not resisting it, on top of not being afraid anymore, it's also kind of funny. Which is, you know, one of the nice things that people like about Zen is that after you get it, it's not just like, oh, well, I got it.

[44:16]

It's also kind of, it's just funny. Being a sentient being, in the end, it's kind of funny that it's our whole problem, and it's our whole salvation. It's our whole beauty, it's our whole joy. They're the same thing, and that's kind of funny. But we have to stop resisting it, and as you know, when you're getting beat up, especially really painfully, you sometimes just a little bit resist, and kind of think, well, geez, it would be nice if I was someplace else, or if they would not beat me up quite as much, or just they would stop. And not only that, but after they stop, this pain would go away. Well, it will, but another one will come. And anyway, you know the story. So, the paradox is part of the surprise. It's not only, oh, it's not like, oh, this misery is what I've been wanting,

[45:16]

but it's also like, it's not just the understanding of that, but being surprised by the understanding. So, I'm telling you that we're going to be surprised when we're willing to be ourselves. We're going to be surprised by how wonderful that is. Not only will we have understanding, but it will be different from what we were expecting the understanding to be, and we might also kind of get a chuckle. But it's not absolutely for sure you'll laugh. Well, isn't laughter often the result of jumping out of the story? Yes, often. Robin. Oh, rockin' Robin. I had a similar question about the paradox. Does that mean then that there is enlightenment in resistance? What? That there is enlightenment in resistance, or only in seeing resistance is there enlightenment?

[46:17]

The condition of resisting is itself enlightenment. And if you totally participate in the resistance, namely you're not resisting the resistance, then you're not resisting the enlightenment. If you resist the resistance, you're resisting enlightenment, because they're the same thing. Being a resistant person, the nature of that is enlightenment. So if you resist being petty... Sentient beings are petty, right? Have you noticed that? You know some sentient beings are petty. They're not all petty all the time, but they're certainly petty some of the time. Some of the sentient beings are petty sometimes. No, all sentient beings are petty sometimes. They're even petty when they're magnanimous. But anyway, sentient beings are petty, and they resist being petty. Buddhas do not resist pettiness.

[47:20]

Bodhisattvas are sentient beings who do not resist being petty, and they've got pettiness to not resist. Bodhisattvas do not resist resistance, and they've got resistance to not resist. You name it, they've got it, and they don't resist it. They embrace it, they dance with it. They're not afraid of pettiness, etc. They're not afraid of being a sentient being. But they're still a sentient being, and that's what's so wonderful, is we can be sentient beings, and learn to not be afraid of being sentient beings, and help the other sentient beings who are kind of hesitating at being what they are, even though they can't really get away from it. And just go right through the agony laughing. But also, in order to go through the agony laughing,

[48:22]

we also need to realize stillness. So bodhisattvas are also practicing stillness. In stillness, bodhisattvas do not resist being a sentient being. In stillness, bodhisattvas do not resist the enlightenment which is living there. And if we resist the sentient being who is living in stillness, it's easier to see. If we're running around a lot, we don't necessarily notice that we're resisting being ourself. In stillness we see, there's a sentient being, and I'm up for it. And then I'm up for some good stuff too. Okay? She rocks in the treetop all day long,

[49:26]

a-hoppin' and a-boppin' and a-singin' her song. All the little birds on Jaybird Street love to hear the robin go peep, peep, peep. Rockin' robin, peep, peep, peep. Rockin' robin, peep, peep, peep. Oh, rockin' robin, you're really gonna rock tonight. Anything else? Yes? Is an ambition a form of delusion, like wanting to be a better dancer? Yes, an ambition is a delusion. I mean, an ambition isn't a delusion, but an ambition, which is an object of awareness, is a delusion. Object awareness?

[50:27]

Yeah, like if you're sitting here and you have this, you see this, you're aware of something. You know that there's an ambition. Okay? That ambition you know is an object of your consciousness. Your consciousness has, with the support of all beings, created this object version, subjective version of the ambition. You made the ambition appear to be something up there on its own, separate from, for example, non-ambition, you, unambitious people. So when the mind makes an object of ambition, then that's a delusion. But just ambition, whatever that is, I don't know what ambition is, but this thing which I don't know what it is, ambition, that's not a delusion. But the way I know it, the way my mind grasps it, is to make it into something that's out there on its own. That's the delusion.

[51:28]

And that's what I do with everything. You're not a delusion. Sarah's not a delusion. But the way I see you, the way a sentient being sees you is a delusion. If I could see you not as an object, then I wouldn't say you were a delusion. But I, my mind, makes a delusion out of you. My mind makes a delusion out of Tango. My mind makes a delusion out of goodness. Goodness isn't a delusion. Evil isn't a delusion. It's the object that I see, that's a delusion. So, the idea, the concept, the object of awareness called ambition, called I wish to be a better dancer, the idea I wish to be a Bodhisattva. Sentient beings can wish to be a Bodhisattva, but the way they wish it is they have an intention towards this delusion, this delusion version of being a Bodhisattva.

[52:32]

But Bodhisattvas do that too. It's just that they're not afraid of that being a delusion. You say it's a delusion, they say, yeah, right, I've been taught that for a long time and I'm up for it. So yes, ambition as an object is a delusion. But again, as we say, in stillness, mind and object merge in enlightenment, enter enlightenment and then they also leave enlightenment. Knower and known in stillness merge. In stillness we stop resisting these delusions and we completely become them and then we enter enlightenment. And also don't stay there, we leave it too, together. You and your delusions enter and leave enlightenment together. But if we're not still, and again stillness means not moving away from being a sentient being.

[53:40]

When a sentient being is a sentient being, that's stillness. In that, that's where enlightenment lives. Enlightenment lives in the unmoving you being you. That's where it lives. So if you're unmoving with the ambition that a sentient being has, enlightenment is living in that presence with ambition. Okay? You mentioned enlightenment is stillness, so enlightenment is not really stillness. No, enlightenment is not stillness. Enlightenment is living in stillness. And again, stillness, we say, it's a little difficult to translate it, but you can say unconstructed stillness or unconstructedness in stillness. So a sentient being being a sentient being is not constructed. Sentient beings are constructed and they do construction, but a sentient being being a sentient being is stillness and it's not constructed.

[54:45]

You don't make stillness, you just resist it or not. So, and in that presence with that unconstructed stillness or that unconstructedness in stillness, that's where the enlightened function is. Hoppin' and a-boppin' all day long. And all the little birds on Jay Breed Street love to hear enlightenment go peep, peep, peep. Or tweet, tweet, tweet. Or boom, boom, boom. Did the birdies love to hear that? Did you love to hear that? Sort of, yeah. Let's see, next is Karen, then Shoshana, and last but not least.

[55:54]

Yes. Going back to pettiness and resisting being ourselves, you know, I think... Going back to pettiness, oh yes, very good. So, I'm going to overstate this a little bit, not very much. I think I'm maybe more comfortable with my pettiness than I am with people seeing it. Yeah, that's another kind of pettiness. I'm okay with my pettiness, but I don't want people to see it. Which is more petty, being petty or not wanting people to see your petty? We could have a discussion about this. To be petty and to be open to people seeing it, that's really magnanimous. Isn't it? That's like big. Especially if like you're a Bodhisattva, you know. Oops, I'm petty and I want everybody to see, oh my God, this is amazing.

[57:02]

Yes. Shoshana? I'm thinking about objectification. Yes. And is it necessary to have... Is possessiveness to possess necessary for objectification? Well, they're kind of simultaneous usually, but usually the possessiveness is based on the objectification. That's why we like to objectify things. I mean, I shouldn't say like to, but that's why we're compulsively objectifying things. That's why we're in this rut. It's because we like to possess. We like to have something that's mine. So because we wish to do that, it's hard for us to give up the habit of imputing something to the world such that we get some objects back from it. So no objects exist without the mind imputing,

[58:12]

the mind putting its seal of approval on it. There's an object and it's like out there, graspable. And then at that point it's difficult not to grasp it, to own it. Or you can also like possess, but also say, I don't possess those things. I don't possess shortcomings and pettiness, for example. But in other words, I do possess an un-possessive, un-petty person. I'm so pretty, oh so pretty. I'm so pretty and witty and gay. Ah, Miyo, you? I have faith that the great earth and all living beings will attain full awareness. And I understand that I don't understand how some of those living beings,

[59:15]

like the earth and elephants, conceive of me. But I have faith that they do, although I say if they cannot conceive of me, then how can they attain full awareness? There's surely rocks and sand, they can't be earth. Well, to me it doesn't make much sense that rocks perceive me. That's kind of what I mean by a rock, something that doesn't perceive me. But still, I practice together with rocks, big time. I work with rocks, they work with me. We have a relationship, but I don't think they perceive me. They support me, and I support them. And if I attain the Buddha way, they're not going to be left out. It's just that they are non-sentient beings, so they're not enlightened. But things that are not participating in enlightenment still are included in the Buddha way.

[60:24]

That's my view. I don't think rocks are sentient beings. I think they're non-sentient beings. But they support us, and we support them. We're interdependent with them, but I don't think rocks are petty. I don't think rocks are petty. I don't think so. I never met a petty rock. I never met a rock who was afraid of people noticing that it was petty. I never met a frightened rock. But I have seen disrespected rocks. I've seen sentient beings not respect rocks. And you say, well, does that hurt the rock? Well, in a way it does. In a way disrespect animates the rock, in a sense, because the way disrespect touches it, it has an effect.

[61:27]

Disrespect towards rocks affects rocks. Respect towards rocks affects rocks. But I don't think the rock is being neurotic about the effects. But people and banana slugs, they get neurotic about respect and lack of respect. That's my view. Do you agree with me or not? I'm working on it. You're working on whether you agree or not? Yes. Good. Me too. By the way, I half agree with myself and half don't agree with myself. That's the tradition which I half agree with and half don't agree with. But it's a great tradition, I like it. The tradition of half agreeing and half not agreeing, which I half agree with.

[62:31]

But that doesn't make it a fourth agreement. Carolyn? Are you separate from rocks? Am I separate from rocks? Me? No. However, although I'm not separate from them, my mind makes them appear as though I'm separate from them. My mind goes up to a nice little rock, and I try to be respectful, but there's a limit to my respect, and what I do is I spit objectivity on them. I say, you're out there on your own. So my mind does make them appear to be separate, but if you ask me, I say that's a delusion. I'm a sentient being who makes rocks appear to me to be. I make rocks into appearances. I should actually apologize to rocks for rendering them as appearances. But I also should apologize to you

[63:34]

for making something in my mind of you, which is an appearance. I don't think you're an appearance. I think you're a living being. But my mind makes you into an appearance, and I apologize for that, really. But I can't stop. I guess I'm more concerned about the rock. What? I'm concerned about the rock. You're concerned about the rock? Yes. Yeah? Okay. Good. Our dependence on rocks. Yeah. I appreciate your concern with the rocks and our dependence and interdependence. Dependence and interdependence with rocks. I appreciate that you're concerned about... That's enough? Yeah. Great. Thank you. Do you want to do anything? Yes. Nina, did you have your hand raised? Was that you back there with the hand? Is it wrong to enjoy the delusion?

[64:38]

Is it wrong to enjoy it? No, it's not wrong to enjoy it. Matter of fact, if you intimately embrace and sustain the delusion, you will not enjoy the delusion, you will enjoy the embrace. Before you completely meet the delusion and dance with it, you might enjoy it or not enjoy it. But when you get into the dance, you appreciate the dance more than the delusion. Because the dance takes away the somewhat disrespectful thing of making the delusion into an object, which is a kind of restricted way of relating to it. But if you embrace that restricted way,

[65:41]

you develop an unrestricted way to be with the delusion, and that's that's the great joy of being a Bodhisattva. But we must respect delusions in order to practice the Bodhisattva way. So this so this Bodhisattva vow, you know, it says delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to end them. That's not a literal translation. The literal translation is more like afflictions. But another possible translation of that would be afflictive emotions, or, yeah, or evil passion. So that Bodhisattva vow doesn't sound very loving

[66:42]

towards the evil passions, towards the delusions. Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to end them. It could sound kind of not very loving. It could sound like you're not embracing them, you're trying to end them. So I have a problem with that. That way of doing it, I think, kind of maybe misleads us. So another way to put it is, I vow to, you know, but the Chinese character actually says to cut. To cut, or to cut through. So you've got these delusions, and I vow to cut. Cut. But cut where? And cut how? And I often, at that point, think of this story, it's a Taoist story, about this butcher who had a knife that never got dull.

[67:43]

And people ask him, well, how come it never gets dull? He says, because I cut through the space in the bodies. I cut through the emptiness of the bodies. So, in that sense, I feel like, I vow to cut through, to relate to the emptiness of these things. I vow to come to the end of the delusion and find its emptiness. I vow to be so intimate with delusion, I realize the reality, or the reality of delusion is realized. So, yeah, I think, I have to check the Chinese characters, but the third pure bodhisattva precept is, I think it's to embrace and sustain all beings, but I don't remember if it's embrace and sustain all sentient beings.

[68:47]

I'll check it. I was wondering about may all beings be happy, a minute ago, whether that's sentient beings or not, when you say that. Well, again, I don't know what the original character there is. I don't know about rocks being happy, but somehow I do feel, whether they're happy or not, I actually do feel that I would like to be kind to them. So how can you be kind to your car, or be kind to a rock, again, without getting attached to it? Once we start being kind to things, whether they're so-called living or non, we get problems. So I'd like to have a loving relationship with all beings, whether they can be happy or not. Because people can develop

[69:53]

afflictive emotions regarding things, whatever. So the thing is to have good relationships with all phenomena, whether they're living or non-living. Because if we don't, we can have problems. People can get violent about their relationship with what somebody else might think is a non-living being. So we do have to have a good relationship with the material world, the so-called non-living world. But non-living is slightly different from non-inanimate, because I think the non-living can be animated by the interaction with the living, like works of art. Somehow the artist interacts with so-called inanimate or non-living, and then an animation occurs between them.

[70:56]

So there's vitality somehow expressed by this non-living thing. But I don't think the statue is exactly happy. Yes? It sounds like sort of a spirit of cognition only. Yeah. Right. Like my being is born out of all of the stigmata. Yeah. Each being is born, dies, and it's not as if there's out or in. Right. So rocks also are born of cognition, as objects. And rocks have some kind of... they have what I call a potential for existence prior to interaction with cognition. But we don't call those rocks. Those are just possibilities of rocks.

[71:58]

So the possibilities of rocks and the possibilities of living beings are both born in relationship to cognition. But the birth of a rock and the birth of a sentient being is by the same process of depending on consciousness. One more time from... You just said, and I never thought about this, that sometimes we start to feel like we own that. And I wondered if you could say a little more about how that happens, when we take care of something and we start to claim it somehow. Yeah. Yeah. So, how does it happen that you sweep the temple once and you don't feel like you own it after that? You give some energy to the temple and you don't think you own it. But if you keep taking care of it for a long time after a while, you start to notice that you own it.

[73:01]

It may be actually that you already do feel like you own it at the beginning, but it gets deeper, because it gets reiterated. Oh, there's my temple again. So it may be that it just accumulates and that there was a subtle version of it in the first meeting, because in the first meeting your mind made it into, your mind contributed to its birth. It was kind of your baby. And the more time you spend with this baby or reiterate this, making it with your mind, the more you slip into possessiveness. Because in some sense, you do contribute to the birth of it. I mean, your consciousness does contribute to the birth, so in some sense you're the mother. But the mother doesn't actually own the baby. So in some sense you're the mother of the temple, you're the mother of the practice. But you don't own the practice. But still, the more the mother takes care of something, the more she has a chance to slip into being possessive

[74:04]

of what she contributes to. So we contribute to the creation of things, if that's true. We're responsible, that's true. But then there's also this possessiveness of that which we created, because we created something which can be grasped now. So we start grasping it and start owning it. I was thinking there's something very natural, because for instance... It's natural, yeah. If you take care of a kitten, you take care of it for a while, and then all of a sudden, you have a relationship with it. Yeah, yeah. And for example, if you take care of somebody else's kitten, somebody else thinks they own the kitten, then you think, I don't own the kitten. But then after a while, you start to think, well, I do. But really, the first time you met the kitten, you actually gave birth, your mind gave birth to this object, and you grasped it. So there was some level of possessiveness, even in the first meeting,

[75:04]

with anything. And the more you reiterate that, the more you start slipping, well, actually, I do own it. But actually, I do own it, could also be rephrased, actually, I have been grasping this for a long time. And my grasping is so deep, that now I say it's mine. So, I'm heavily into grasping this thing. So, now I'd say I'm being possessive. Whereas I grasp a lot of other things, but I haven't been doing it much, so I'm not quite possessive of it. But that's when you're giving. Now, what I'm seeing is simultaneously, when you're giving, also the receiving, then there would be no owning it. Yeah, that's why we practice giving, is to antidote or counterbalance this tendency to own. But wouldn't that, if we keep practicing the giving,

[76:06]

but thinking we're giving, then we keep creating this ownership, rather than, no, we are not giving, we're just being, we're in this flow of the... you're in the play, rather than we're giving or receiving. If you enter the play, and you realize that you can't grasp giving and receiving, if you enter that, that will gradually antidote this other pattern of possessiveness, and holding on. And also it will antidote the substantiation of giving and receiving. Is that enough for this morning? May our intention equally extend to every being and place with the true merit of the Buddha's way.

[77:14]

Beings are numberless. I vow to save them. Delusions are inexhaustible. I vow to end them. Dharma gates are boundless. I vow to enter them. Buddha's way is unsurpassable. I vow to become it.

[77:47]

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