Embodying the Lotus Sutra 

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A number of people were not here last week and I wondered, of those who weren't here, how many did find out something about what we talked about last week? No? Okay. You didn't. You weren't here and you didn't hear anything. Okay. These talks are posted on the website but do you want to listen to them? Last week's not up yet? They don't get posted very quickly. So last week, one of the things I talked about was that, well, one of the things I said over


and over again is that the highest truth that's being taught by the Buddha is sometimes called emptiness and the Buddha in this sutra promises to teach the truth, the highest truth, in detail but doesn't. So the way he teaches in detail is that he doesn't teach in detail. So this leaves this teaching of emptiness quite empty and makes it possible for us to make a contribution to the teaching, being careful to follow the Buddha's example in our teaching. I'm not really saying anything about it. But to walk around it, singing and dancing and making


various joyful gestures, teaching it quite indirectly. And one of the traditional teachings about this sutra is one that was developed around the 4th century and proposed the sutra could be seen in two parts. First part, basically the first half, chapters 1 to 14 and then second half, 15 to 28. And the first part is about the Dharma. The first part is about the wondrous Dharma. And the second part is about the life of the Buddha. So again, the first part can be called, it's the truth of the law and it actually is sometimes called


the traces. And the life of the Buddha, the eternal life of the Buddha is called the source or the origin. Another way to say it is that the first part is the cause and the second part is the effect. So the Buddha is the source of the Dharma in a sense, the eternal Buddha, not the Buddha Shakyamuni. But the eternal Buddha is the source of the highest teaching, the highest truth. But also the highest truth is the cause of the effect of the eternal Buddha. And then later on, there was another view of the sutra which looked at it in terms of human life, of how human beings or how human activity fits into this


picture of the truth and the eternal Buddha. And that way of looking at the sutra is particularly emphasized in chapters 10 to 22. In those chapters is quite a bit about actual instructions to human beings about their role in this great truth and the life of the Buddha. So this way, this is a threefold way of looking at the sutra. So the first way is in some sense Buddha and Dharma. The third way is Buddha, Dharma and overlapping those two parts is the Sangha, the activity of the Bodhisattvas, the highest meaning of human life. Of course these three parts are interrelated, overlapping and inseparable. The parts of the sutra are


inseparable and overlapping and the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha are inseparable and overlapping. And I also mentioned last week, and I'll mention even more briefly this week is that in a sense there was this movement which came to be called the great vehicle or the Mahayana. And one of the things that they felt was that the Buddha's basic teaching of selflessness was always liable or threatened or at risk of being interpreted as nihilism or as nothing or nothingness. And they wanted to make clear that there was a positive way, a positive interpretation of selflessness. And in this sutra the positive interpretation of selflessness


is the one vehicle. Selflessness is actually the one vehicle. The way we're practicing together, the way we have the same practice is actually emptiness. Emptiness is the way we're practicing the same practice. Another way to say this is that the highest truth of emptiness, the truth of emptiness is filled with love. And love doesn't mean it's filled with people liking each other, it's filled with love of people practicing together and practicing the same practice together. That's the love of the bodhisattvas which eternally


fills the highest truth. And then last week we started on one of these chapters which gives instructions to bodhisattvas, which I've been talking about. This is the third week I talked about these two, particularly I talked about chapters 13 and 14. And I said chapter 13 is a little, I think we will get to that, but chapter 13 is a little difficult to start with. It's actually considered to be a more advanced instruction even though it comes first. And chapter 14 may be advanced enough for you, but that's the one we started talking about last week. Chapter 14 starts out by Manjushri, the bodhisattva of sweetness and light. His name means sweetness and light. He's the bodhisattva of wisdom. He addresses


the Buddha and he's a bodhisattva mahasattva and he addresses the Buddha and says, World Honored One, rare indeed are these bodhisattvas. He's referring to the bodhisattvas of the previous chapter. The amazing bodhisattvas of chapter 13 are being referred to by Manjushri in chapter 14, talking to the Buddha. Rare indeed are these bodhisattvas. Reverently, according with the Buddha, they have made great vows that in the evil age to come, they will protect, keep, read, recite, and preach this Dharma flower scripture. So tonight, you have read and you protected. You gave these back to me nicely. You read, you protected, you


recited. You didn't keep, I'm keeping them for you. I'm done all four. Now the next part is they preach, they will preach. That's the big one for this chapter, the preaching. They will preach this sutra and then he says, World Honored One, how are these bodhisattvas able to preach this sutra in the evil age to come, in the time when not everybody is making it real easy for them to teach? And then the Buddha addressed Manjushri and said, If a bodhisattva, a mahasattva, if an enlightening being, a great being, desires to preach this sutra in the evil age to come, he or she should be steadfast in four methods. I just wanted


to draw your attention to the word desire. Often people think that in Buddhism the problem is desire, and that's right. The problem is desire. So the teaching of selflessness of the Buddha is to help us become free of desire, and Buddha's desire. Those who are free of desire, desire to teach the way to be free of desire. They desire it though. Buddha's desire to open people to the highest truth that will set them free from desire. They are free of desire, and they desire this. And bodhisattvas, if they desire to teach this teaching, how can they do it? And the Buddha says, with four methods. And the four


methods aren't clearly articulated in the chapter, but I'll just tell you my guess of what these four methods are. The first method is the method of body. The next is the method of speech. The next is the method of thought. And the next is the method of vow. So the name of this chapter, chapter 14, is various titles, various English translations. A happy life is one translation. Doesn't sound bad, right? Peaceful practices, serene, joyful practice, comfortable conduct. So these four methods are a method of body, and then a method of pleasant ministry of speech, pleasant ministry of thought, and pleasant ministry of vow.


And the first one is called, it's about the body, I would suggest to you, it's about your body, it's how to practice with your body. Just remember, this is about the body, how to practice with the body. And it has two parts. The first part is that the bodhisattvas should steadfastly abide in the two spheres, the two bodhisattva spheres of action and intimacy. So it's about being in a place, in a bodhisattva's place, a realm, a sphere of action and intimacy. And I again talked about the first one last week, go over it


again. So I have three translations that I offer. One is that with their body, it doesn't matter. Manjushree, if a bodhisattva desires to preach this sutra in the evil age to come, he or she should be steadfast in four methods. First, steadfast in the bodhisattva spheres of action and intimacy. They will be able to preach the sutra. What is called the bodhisattva spheres of action? If a bodhisattva abides in a state of patience, is gentle, agreeable


and neither nasty or overbearing, and his or her mind is at heart, deeply, in the depth, imperturbable. So this is the body. It's a patient, gentle, agreeable and not a nasty or overbearing body, and it's deeply imperturbable. And these practices, in some sense, there they are. And the next part is more difficult to understand. If, moreover, she has no laws by which to act, nor proceeds along the undivided way,


nor proceeds along the undivided way, this is termed the bodhisattva sphere of action. Another way to say it is, with regard to all phenomena. Yeah. With regard to all phenomena, they have no laws by which to act. So a bodhisattva is going to preach the Dharma, and they're in the presence of phenomena. Some of those


phenomena are living beings who could potentially be auditors to this teaching. They make no action in regard to these beings. They're patient, gentle, not nasty or overbearing with these sentient beings that they might teach. And with regard to these sentient beings, they have no law by which to act. But they observe these sentient beings, they observe these phenomena as they really are. Observing them as they really are, they also make no discrimination about them. And also, I would give an example of something that's not exactly


a person, but for example, the bodhisattva precepts. Those are phenomena. So the bodhisattva, they're patient with them, gentle, not nasty or overbearing about these precepts, but also when they meet the precepts, they have no law by which to take action. Another way to say it is they take no action, but observe the true nature of whatever they're meeting. So with the bodhisattva precepts, when they meet the precepts, they observe them as they really are, and


they don't use the precepts as a way to act, and they don't have a way to act with the precepts. The place where they are is in a realm of action, where basically what they're doing, I would say tonight, is being generous with what they're seeing. Their basic sphere of action is that they're generous with what they meet. Their body is generous with what they meet. Having no laws by which to act could also be called they act by the middle way, by the middle path. That's one interpretation. When you meet something, you have no law by


which you act, means you act by the middle path with everything. When you meet somebody, you act by the middle path. That's the kind of action you have in the bodhisattva sphere of action. Which means when you meet something, you act by paying attention to what you're meeting, as it really is. And the way it really is, is that you cannot act by some way, by some rule, and you cannot act separately from what you're observing. But you can be in the place, the sphere of bodhisattva action with this phenomenon, whatever phenomenon


it is. You can be in a place where you don't discriminate. And if you can be there with things that way, you can preach the Dharma. Or, when you're that way with phenomena, you can preach the Dharma. I think the first part is somewhat easy, I think, isn't it? That when you're with someone, and you're gentle with them, and patient with them, that would probably go with being able to preach the Dharma. Doesn't that make sense? If you're going to preach the Dharma and be nasty and overbearing, which some people try to teach some things by being nasty and overbearing. I'm not saying that that's wrong, that they're being nasty and overbearing. That's what I say about chapter 13, we may get into that. But in this


chapter we're saying, doesn't it make sense that to be not nasty and overbearing would be a good way to teach the truth? It doesn't exactly say do, do patience and do gentleness, and do non-nastiness, and do non-overbearingness, and do imperturbability. It doesn't say take action on that, it says be that way, and that will set the stage for being able to preach the Dharma. Now the next step is, don't take any action with regard to things, take action by the middle way. Take action by observing the way things are. That's the action. This


I just want to parenthetically mention that I think that in traditional ancient Buddhism, the closest thing to justice is the Bodhisattva precepts. And in this chapter, if you take the Bodhisattva precepts, dash justice, if the phenomena here is justice, that when you meet justice, when you meet the issue of justice, or the life of justice, that you practice that way with it. Namely, you're patient, gentle, and you observe justice as it really is. And in that way you realize the teaching of the Dharma together with justice. Now I


don't know if you're ready for me to go on to the sphere of intimacy. Should I take the next step and go on to that, even though this was kind of a lot? The sphere of intimacy, as I mentioned last time, is kind of surprising, I think. I found it to be surprising. So the sphere of intimacy starts out by saying, what is the sphere of intimacy? This translation says, a Bodhisattva, Mahasattva, is not intimate with kings, ministers, rulers. The sphere of intimacy is they're not intimate with kings, ministers, princes, and rulers. That's the sphere of intimacy. To make a long story short, these Bodhisattvas are not intimate with anybody. That's their sphere of intimacy. And it lists some people that, I take it back, they're


not intimate with almost anybody. Almost anybody. It doesn't say here that they're intimate with the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. It doesn't say that they're intimate with themselves, in other words. It basically says they're not intimate with various kinds of sentient beings. That's what it says, actually. It says they're not intimate with various kinds of sentient beings. Many kinds of sentient beings. In other words, living beings who are not enlightened. They're not intimate with them. That's surprising because I thought Bodhisattvas, I say Bodhisattvas, are trying to realize intimacy with everybody. This says they're not intimate with anybody. Any sentient being. But they are intimate with Bodhisattvas and with Buddhas. It doesn't say that, but I say that. So it goes through a long list of those they're not intimate with. And then it says, and again I would add but, and then it says if, but if, at times,


they who, all these sentient beings that they're not intimate with, if they come to her and she takes the opportunity of preaching the Dharma and expecting nothing. This is the first part of the Bodhisattvas intimacy. They're not intimate with sentient beings unless the sentient beings are in this relationship where they want, where they come wanting to hear the truth. When they come wanting to hear the truth, the Bodhisattvas preach to them. And in that, they are intimate with sentient beings. So I hear it saying they're not intimate with anybody, any sentient being, that's not in the mode of wanting to


hear the truth. They don't approach with familiarity such beings. But if those beings come wanting to hear the Dharma, they do preach. And that, in that situation, that is their intimacy, and that is intimacy. So I would say take the next step that we are intimate with everybody, but we don't realize it unless there is this opening to each other. And Bodhisattvas, in a sense, don't go in the place where people aren't ready to be open. They don't go there. Now this is the next step, the next part of this, of this first


part. Manjushri, again, Bodhisattvas should not preach the Dharma to women, but they should not be in the form of a woman, displaying agreeable appearance or arousing passionate thoughts, nor have pleasure in seeing them. If he enters homes of others, he does not converse with any girl, virgin, widow, or so forth, nor does he become friendly, on friendly terms, with hermaphrodites. He does not enter into rooms of others alone, etc., The way I understand this is that when Bodhisattvas teach, they don't try to get anything. They teach without trying to get anything. They teach but they're only thinking of the Buddha, the eternal Buddha and the true Dharma.


That's all they're thinking of. Now you can read this in a way that sounds like these different people are being put down, but actually I see this coming from the point of view that the Bodhisattva should not try to get anything from these people. These are people who Bodhisattvas could potentially get something from. Another category is, she takes no pleasure in keeping young pupils, nor pleasure in being their teacher. Teachers sometimes like to have students. Sometimes they get a kick out of it, especially young ones, cute ones. Sometimes teachers like people to look at them as the great teacher. They don't do it that way. They don't try to get that.


Now sometimes people do look at them as a teacher, or they do have young students, but this is not their pleasure. Their pleasure is teaching the Dharma to those who want to hear it and the joy that they have when they hear it, not the joy they have in thinking the teacher is great. So this is the first two parts of the Bodhisattva's sphere of intimacy. They're with people, teaching the Dharma, not trying to get anything from the people. If they're with people, being the teacher, and they're trying to get something, this disturbs the intimacy. This obfuscates the intimacy. And then the next part is, they're ever in meditation and seclusion, cultivating and


controlling their mind. This is part of the intimacy of the Bodhisattva, to be in meditation all the time. In the previous part, you can see, the Bodhisattva's sphere of action is to always be in meditation. Well, actually, it is a sphere of meditation, and to always be in that place is to always be in meditation. It's meditation on the way who you're talking to, the way who you're meeting, the way things are. The way things are when you're with them, with no way to be with them. Completely giving yourself to who you're meeting, with no way. In other words, the middle way. You're with them with the middle way, and you don't even hold the middle way as the way to be in the middle way. This is their meditation. Their meditation is on the middle way. In the first one, it didn't say so, but actually they were meditating on the middle way. That was their action.


Now, in this intimacy again, they are meditating all the time, and they're contemplating all existences as void. They're contemplating all existences as empty. And with this teaching, they contemplate all existences as empty, or as voidness, filled with the one vehicle. Everybody they meet, they meet as empty, and as practicing together with them. They're constantly cultivating this emptiness, which is filled with love, namely the one vehicle. So, this is three parts of the Spirit Intimacy of the Bodhisattva. And again, I just offer to you to think of this as a practice, as a meditation.


In terms of the body, as a body practice. Practicing with body, speech, and mind. There are three kinds of karma. Body, speech, and mind, and vow. This is the way their body is. They're preaching the Dharma, but so far nothing has been said about saying anything. Just being with people. When your body is this way with people, you're able to preach the Dharma. When your body is not trying to get something from people, you're in the mode of Dharma preaching. So, I don't know, things are going a little slower than I thought.


I was going to go on to the next three, which are the Bodhisattva's next three methods of the pleasant preaching, or the pleasant ministry of speech, of thought, and of vow. But I think maybe I should stop and see if you have any response to this. See if you have any response to this. I don't expect anything, of course. Once again, before I call on... What's your name again? Sarah. Before I call on Sarah, I just wanted to say that, again, this is instruction to Bodhisattvas


who wish to preach, who wish to teach this sutra. It's instruction to Bodhisattva Mahasattvas. We get to hear instructions to great, enlightening beings. Yes, Sarah? I just have two responses. You just what? I have a couple of responses. What I keep being struck by is how often the word manifest comes up in all of this. There's a manifestation of something that somehow the teaching is manifesting, or making manifest. And I just keep hearing that come up in all these different conversations. And I've actually been a teacher for twenty years, and what I'm also sort of struck by when you're talking about teaching the Dharma, that in the best of teaching it's not about the content of what you teach, but it is something about the way that you're able to manifest yourself with the student.


Something happens that is a teaching that isn't the content of what you're teaching. I don't know if I'm saying that exactly the way I'm hearing it, but there's this kind of echoing of experiences that I've had with that kind of teaching. And in addition, one of the ways that the teacher manifests is that they don't really associate with people as the teacher unless the people are ready for the teacher to associate with them. They're still sort of in the world with them, but they're not really functioning as a teacher yet. So as a Bodhisattva teacher, they're not really functioning with the person until the person's ready. But that is a way of teaching. Which is in chapter 16, is that the Buddha, standing right next to beings, makes it so that they can't see. He said, I'm right next to them, but I make them not able to see me. Until they yearn and long for me, and then I appear.


So again, when you're really teaching, you're not trying to get anything from the student, and so on. That's the way your body is. It's not a body that's trying to get anything. It's a body which is the body of contemplation of the student. I once calligraphed in Chinese, I don't know if I did the Chinese right, but I made the Chinese up because it was an English sentence which I translated into Chinese and wrote. The English thing is by Emerson, the secret of education is in respecting the student. And the most respectful thing to do with the student is to contemplate the student, to pay attention to the student in the middle way. To contemplate the student and be with the student without any way of being with the student, without any rule of how to be a teacher. But most people have to get highly educated with lots of rules


before they dare now finally to be with the student with no rules. Like go to medical school and learn all that stuff so you can be with the student or the patient with no rules and respect them. But this is hard for some people because they learn all those rules and they look at the person and they deal with the person through the rules. Well, it's understandable, right? But it's not really respecting the patient fully when you deal with them in terms of your rules rather than look at what you've got here. Who knows what this actually might be? You have all this information available. You've got this education, that's fine. Now throw it out, or not throw it out, just deal with what you've got. And then the body transmits the Dharma. The light of the body is then unhindered


because you're meditating in this way rather than deflecting or obscuring the light by having some way to relate to the person. Anything else you want to bring up? Karen? I find this chapter really unsettling. I always thought a Bodhisattva wants to be intimate with all beings. They do. Talking about all these beings that are not supposed to be intimate with. Well, Bodhisattvas want to be intimate but they don't want to be intimate like getting intimacy kind of intimate. They're not trying to get intimacy. The Buddha also, if people aren't ready, the Buddha standing right next to you will make you not able to see the Buddha. So the Bodhisattva wants to realize intimacy but not to get it for herself.


And if the person isn't ready, they don't want it. But if the person is ready, but if they come, then they say, yeah, now we can meet if they come for it. So part of the intimacy is not to give people things before they're ready. That's part of intimacy. So part of the intimacy is to stay away from people who aren't ready for you yet. Like my grandson, you know. I sit down across from him. Did I tell you the story of the breakfast table? I go to visit him in L.A. to be with him. Then he gets up in the morning and I get up and I go to see him. I look at him and he goes... He says, would you stop staring at me, please? Kind of trying to be respectful, but he's irritated with me. Would you please stop staring at me?


So I say, okay, and I start looking around the room. And then he sees that I'm going to give him some space. I'm not going to be like adoring him. And then he says, referring to his younger cousin, he says, do you think Gabe has trouble following instructions? So are you still unsettled? Yeah, a bit less. I get the feeling it's two kinds of intimacy. More than two. The Sutra is talking about intimacy like being familiar with, or buddy-buddy or something like that. And the other kind of intimacy is more like our interdependence,


like we're really so closely connected. In some sense, they won't have superficial intimacy before they have deep intimacy. Until there can be deep intimacy, they don't have much to do with superficial intimacy. Before they can be with people without trying to get anything from them, you don't find them in situations where it looks like they're trying to get something from them. John? One concept I get from the parables in the Rose Sutra is the Bodhisattvas are helping sentient beings evolve. So when you say they're not trying to get something from them,


when they do engage, all these stories of people at different levels of development, and they tailor to whatever that stage is, isn't there a desire to evolve that sentient being? Aren't they trying to get that sentient being to move along in their understanding? Yes, they desire to help sentient beings open to the truth. And they desire to preach as part of that. Yes. They do desire. But they're not trying to get anything, no. There's no seeking in their desire. They're not trying to get anything. No, they can be evangelists, but they're evangelists who aren't trying to get anything. They're evangelists who respect their evangelizing field.


So much so that they basically just appreciate the way the field is. They don't try to get something from the field. And the way the field is sometimes, is that in order for the person to be able to be helped, sometimes you need to stay away from them so that they'll long for you. Just like with my grandson, he did not want me. So I stayed away, and then he wanted me. Just a little bit, like to answer a question regarding his cousin. What came to my mind just now is this woman who is autistic, and she has a kind of an unusual name. Some of you probably know her. And she loves animals. And she actually designs various things to protect animals.


But she also, when she was at some point in her life, she designed a hugging machine. She loved to be hugged, but she found that when she got into an embrace sometimes, the embrace would overwhelm her. You know, the experience of the embrace. So overwhelming that she couldn't tell the person, if it's a human, to stop embracing her. You know, she couldn't speak. So she designed this machine so that he would hug her, but then if it got to be too much, she could press a button and it would release her. So, you know, bodhisattvas are aware of this, that they have to be careful with the intimacy, such that nobody gets hurt. So the realization of deep intimacy of the bodhisattva isn't set back by overwhelming the person, or discouraging the person, frightening the person.


And it frightens, if beings do open to bodhisattvas, it does frighten them, and it can frighten them, and it can discourage them, if they think the bodhisattva is trying to get something from them. If they find out that the bodhisattva is taking pleasure in their, you know, getting gratification from their reverence for the teacher, they're aware that that can hurt the student, so they're careful of that, and so on. These are ways to not hinder them. Intimacy is, deep intimacy is the process by which the Dharma is transmitted and beings are brought along. That's how it happens. But this is instruction about how to tend this process. Ron? Would it be accurate to say that bodhisattvas are


ready to reciprocate or embrace intimacy when they're approached? Am I reading too much into it? Yeah. When the person opens to them, they're ready to show the other person that they're open. But if the person's not open, it may do them harm if you show them your openness. It may frighten them, or discourage them, or overwhelm them. Not to mention if you showed them your not-openness, like you're trying to get something from them. But the spirit is they don't do that, they don't try to get something, but if somebody comes and says, I want to hear the Dharma, and that becomes clear, they really do want it, then they start working on intimacy with them. But that same person, prior to that,


they don't get intimate with them, they're not ready for it. Or rather, they don't do something to realize the deep intimacy. Because the truth is that we are intimate. The truth is a void, a vast emptiness, in which we're working together in love, doing the same practice. That's the truth. So to show somebody that truth before they're ready, bodhisattvas are trained not to do that. Were you about to say something? Michael? I might be slightly confused today. It's possible. It's good to be open to that possibility. One of the things that strikes me, it seems that teacher, student seems to be subject-object, so you have that dualistic thinking, right? There's a notion of duality, dualistic thought,


in that you have the bodhisattvas, and then we have the sentient beings. So it seems that there's the creation of that boundary in that discussion. And also it could even be sentient, there's non-sentient and sentient beings. I guess what I wonder is that if the ultimate truth is the emptiness, is that what you're talking about? That's the true, that nature of the duality and the non-duality fits within that emptiness? I guess that's where I kind of get a little confused, is that sometimes I think I can hold those two thoughts, that you have dualistic thinking and non-dualistic thinking, and of course there's a little challenge about what part of that is doing the thinking, is creating that. Maybe we could deal with what you already brought up. Is that okay? So, someplace, sometime, the thought dualistic thinking has arisen? For example, like the thought of you and me?


Yeah. So, one meaning of emptiness is the insubstantiality of any separation between you and me. And that insubstantiality of the separation between you and me is filled with the way we're actually interrelated. I guess that's kind of the tricky part for me a little bit, that filling part. And the Bodhisattvas are contemplating the middle way that things are, which includes the middle way that the sense of separation is. Namely, the middle way is, it isn't that it doesn't exist at all because it appears, but you can't actually, it cannot be found. There's really nothing substantial about it.


It's just an imaginary thing, the sense of separation. And the Bodhisattva is there to meet beings who think that the separation is substantial. The Bodhisattvas are contemplating the insubstantiality of the separation. They can see it too, but they understand that it's ungraspable, that it can't be found. Not just that they can't find it, but they understand it cannot be found. They know it's empty. And the emptiness of it is how we're not really separate. And that cannot be found either. That cannot be found either. What cannot be found? The emptiness of it. The emptiness cannot be found, right? Yes, that cannot be found either. That's right. But you can contemplate it, just like you can contemplate separation,


and you can contemplate the way the separation is. And the way the separation is, is that it's empty. And the emptiness you can't find, but you can contemplate. By contemplating the emptiness of our separation, by contemplating the emptiness of our separation, the Dharma is taught and realized. So the emptiness which you can't grasp is realized by contemplating it. And the separation which doesn't actually exist, really, we stop realizing that. Does the Lotus Sutra also kind of take that even a step further to say that not only would you have that realization, but you have to kind of go forth and be that realization almost. That's one of the things that I think I was struck by


some of your earlier conversations. You might have that realization and understanding, but it's not only that. It's something more about really embodying that, like you said, immersing and embodying that, and kind of moving forth, I think. Yeah, that's the teaching of it. So not only do you realize the wonderful Dharma, but then in realizing it, and also you have the teaching that the Buddhas are with you there in that realization, you then, it may arise in you. If the Buddha says, would somebody please help me teach this? Then the Bodhisattvas say, yes, we will. We'll teach you. Now, how can we do it? I mean, we'll teach for you. We'll teach in your behalf. And then this is instruction about how they teach the Dharma which they realize. So realizing it's great.


They're very happy to realize it. But then the Buddha brings up, is somebody going to teach this in the future when I'm gone? And they come forward and say, they vow to teach it. That's what's in these chapters, is their vows to teach it, and then their questions about how to teach it. For me, personally, I feel that there's to enter into that, the non-dual thinking to... It's not really non-dual thinking, exactly. Thinking is, generally speaking, dualistic. Something about letting go of that. Letting go of what? That thinking pattern. Letting go of thinking, yes. Letting go of that thinking pattern, particularly that there's separation, and there's me and you, trees and mountains. Yes. For me, personally,


I think there's fear around that. Yes. Well, for you there is, and for a lot of other people there is too. And I think it's because it's still a big, vast unknown. And I'm kind of hesitant to enter into that unknown. Yes, right. So that's kind of related to what Ron brought up, is that if beings are believing that they're separate from each other, okay, they may not want to hear a teaching which will help them let go of the thinking that they're separate from each other. So partly you said, I thought I heard you say, maybe it would be good if I let go of this thinking I'm separate, but if I actually open up to the idea of letting go, I feel some fear. Now there's fear also holding on to the sense of separation. When you feel separate from people and you hold it, you're afraid of the people you feel separate from. The basic reason why we're afraid


is because we feel separate from something. Okay? Like a person. Now, then if you think, well, maybe if that's the basic reason why I'm afraid, if I gave up or gave away or donated this sense of separation someplace, like to the Buddhas, then I might be free of the main condition for my fear. And the answer is, that's right, you would. But then you think, but then if I do, what will happen to me? Yeah. So then you get another kind of fear. But again, it's the same thing. It's a fear of being, you feel separate from what's going to happen to me. There's me and what's going to happen to me. So that's another separation. And then you think, well, actually that separation is worse than the one I had before. I'm going to go back to feeling separate from people and animals and stuff like that. It's separate from... I don't know what. Forget that one. So this weekend I'm doing a workshop


and should be dealing with this. And it's actually in this too. The first phase in some sense is to hear the teaching to hear the instruction. And now we have this instruction. So just to merge here, another way of saying it is, our problem is we feel separate. Based on that, we feel separate and we believe that it's substantially so. We feel fear from that and we've got these problems. And now we hear a teaching about what? About how to meet, for example, this separation. How are you going to meet it? Be patient, gentle, what else? Agreeable, don't be nasty or overbearing with it, with the sense of separation or with the fear. And then start contemplating the way things are. Now if you start contemplating the way things are,


that's similar to contemplate how the sense of separation is insubstantial. And then another kind of fear will come that you didn't have before. And now again, with that fear, it's the same practice, be gracious with that fear. Be gracious with that fear. And if you can't be gracious with the fear, confess that you can't be gracious with the fear. And when you confess that you can't be gracious with the fear, the fear of the void and the fear of the void, and the previous fear which we generally have is the fear of the other, which is substantially separate from us, and can live without us. Other people that can live without us. This is a delusion which frightens us, that someone could live without us. Now some people we think, I don't care if they live without us, but what about these people, like your children? So the one everybody knows something about is the separation


from somebody. Now we have the possibility of no separation, it's a new fear. Again, practice being patient, gentle, agreeable, not nasty or overbearing, and when you get good at that, then you start to relax with the fear. And if you relax with this new fear, you don't have to go back to the old fear, which comes with the old way of holding on to your separation from somebody or something. Now you're actually open to no separation, now you're kind of ready for the bodhisattvas, and for everybody. Still there's some fear with this new world, this new world of the middle way, where you don't have any laws by which to act. You're with everybody, but you don't have any way to be with them, and you're afraid of not having any way to be with them. But you're taking care of the fear,


like taking care of your children. You're not being nasty or overbearing with it. And again, you start to relax with the fear. And when you start to relax with the fear, then you can start playing with the fear. When you start playing with the fear, you can be creative with the fear, and when you start being creative with the fear, you understand the fear. Naming the fear is another thing that is not separate from you, and is insubstantial. And then you're free. You're free of your previous delusions. You're free of your fear of being free. And you're just plain free. Yes? John? If you started to relax with fear a little bit, would it be possible to maybe see a lot more fear everywhere? Yeah. Yeah. Right. And then you relax with that fear and you see more fear.


The more you relax with fear, the more fear you see. I'll take that as an encouragement, because I'm really quite fearful. You know, some people who are not relaxed with their fear, they think maybe they're the only person that's afraid in the immediate neighborhood. When you start to relax with your own fear, you start to see a lot of other people are afraid. When you're really relaxed, you see almost everybody's afraid. And then among those frightened people, some of them come for instruction. They want to get instruction. And those people are ready for you to do this practice with, of being with them in this gentle, non-nasty, non-overbearing way, where you're actually... you're showing them how to be with somebody without a way to be with them. And you see they're afraid, but they're ready to be taught how to deal with their fear. And there's gazillions of other people


who are so afraid they can't even hear the teaching. It's been eons since they even heard about the teaching because they're so afraid. Yeah, so the more... Bodhisattvas open to their own fear, they open to other people's fear, open to other people's fear, they open to... The more you open, the more you see people to help. It's a sign of growth that you're open. Yes, Elena? Could you speak up, please? If you realize the substantiality of separation, is that something related to, in some way, to the Hindu idea of where sparks of the divine, the Brahman, in this case where sparks of Buddha... Fred Roche says that's all wrong, that it's not like that at all.


Even if Fred Roche is right, still we're related to what he says is wrong. So, if that's all wrong, we're still related to what's all wrong. What's all wrong is just something else to relate to. But? This non-separation, isn't it something like we're all like sparks, so to speak, of Buddha? It's exactly like that. Right? Say yes. It's exactly right, isn't it? He hopes. Okay. Here's the teaching about how to relate to everything. Whatever phenomenon it is, okay? Relate to it by the middle way.


In other words, relate to it with no rules about how to relate to it. In other words, respect it. Not to say anything, not to move, just your body there. That's the way to be with things. And if fear comes up as you contemplate that way of contemplating, there's another thing to do that with. And if you can't do it, confess you can't do it to the bodhisattvas who are trying to teach it to you. So this is the first method by which you can learn the teaching of this sitra. Yes, Michel? Last time you spoke about relating to a bell, to ringing the bell. A bell, yeah. And for me it's easy to understand that


because you just... you want to strike, if you have rules, then you don't relate to the bell. So it's misogynist. Just being... you're sending your way empty, just there. So... Now, when you're like that, you're not teaching the bell. Maybe by ringing the bell, if you're in that place, maybe somebody can hear the bell. Did you say when you're contemplating the emptiness of the bell, you're not teaching the bell? No, I said the way to... the way I understood it is to ring the bell with no rules, just being there. Yeah. So you said maybe when you're in that state, in that place, to ring the bell, maybe somebody hears the darkness of the sound of the bell. Yes. But the... the hard part, to understand is... to teach


the dharma is the same as ringing the bell, it's always the same place. The other one maybe the skillful means to do it. But the... place to be is always the same, being the bell. Yeah, the place to be is always the same. The place to be is the Bodhisattva's realm or sphere of action. That's the place to be. So, if you're ringing a bell... OK, that's what you're doing. The place you are is that in this thing of ringing the bell, you're being patient and gentle, you're not overbearing, you're not nasty, you're imperturbable, and... you're with the bell in the middle way. When you're with the bell in the middle way, if there was anybody who wanted to hear the dharma,


they would be hearing the dharma. Not separate from the sound of the bell, but mostly they hear it from your body, which is in the middle way with the bell. The person may not even see you, but your body is sending this light of the dharma because you're being with the bell in that way is the way to teach the dharma. It's the same place, it's always the same place. So, it's the Bodhisattva sphere of action. Bodhisattva sphere of action is one of the dimensions of the Bodhisattva... It's part of the physical dimension of the Bodhisattva transmitting the teaching to beings. What? Right. Right. But some beings, and also some beings, however,


the Bodhisattvas should not let them see them because they're not ready yet. But basically, when they're in that place, whatever they're doing is teaching the dharma. So, if you watch a Bodhisattva ring a bell, the way their body is when they're ringing the bell is that the way they are with this phenomena is as we just mentioned. In that situation, the dharma is being transmitted to anyone who's watching with an open heart. And if somebody's not watching with an open heart, they're kind of like... are not like offering this to them. How can what be harmful? Oh. How can it be harmful? Like I said, it could overwhelm the person. And then they might reject it.


And it's very bad to be rejecting the dharma. It's better to just be kind of in denial about it. But to actually see it and push it away is a little bit of a problem. No, they don't see it. They're pushing it away. Okay. So, that could be harmful. So, the Bodhisattvas are careful of the way they are. In some sense, they sometimes cover their light a little bit with some people. That sometimes is helpful for the time when the person's ready. They're still emanating this thing, but they do it in a way that the person won't be overwhelmed. But if the person's ready and they come to them, then they ring the bell and the person sees it. And they're fine. But because they were ready, they wanted it. Okay, so...


Do you want to go through the rest of this chapter next week? The next three? So, almost everybody is here, so we probably don't have to have too much review next week. And then, I think I'd like to go, take a step back into this chapter 13, and quite a different approach there. Okay, thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.