Embracing Enlightenment I 

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I begin by reminding some of you and introducing others of you to the commitment that was made at the beginning of this year to study delusion in hopes that St. Nicholas will soon be here. The proposal was made to study delusion this year, to devotedly and compassionately study delusion, understanding that this study can come to fruit as supreme enlightenment. The


Buddhas are those who practice studying delusion a long time until they finally completely understand what delusion is. So studying delusion can be quite difficult, so there are teachings to encourage people to study them. People do not need any encouragement to be deluded. Human beings and other living beings are born deluded. We are innately deluded. You don't have to teach a child to be possessive of their own toys. They learn quite quickly, this is mine. I often remember the story about when I was in my early days of studying Japanese,


I learned the construction for the possessive. So for example, this cup, this is a teacup, it can be called a chawan, or we can call it a kopu. So I can say this is my teacup. In Japanese I say, watashi no chawan. So the way you make the possessive is to say your name, and then no, and then the thing. So watashi no karada, my body. Watashi no chawan, my teacup. Watashi no hon, my book. So I learned that, and I had to make a little effort to learn that.


And one time, this tiny little Japanese boy came into the dining room at Zen Center, and his name was Gen. And so he was called Gen-chan, which means, like, Genny. And he came into the dining room and he saw something and he said, Gen-chan no, Gen-chan no! And I thought, he just can barely walk and barely talk, but he's able to form that construction. Picked it up really fast. So being possessive is something which nobody has to teach us how to do. And we can be possessive of things that nobody else thinks we own. We can actually think, children seem to think, that they own the whole universe. They own their mother, they own their father, and you don't have to teach them that. You can tell them, yes you do own me, but you don't have to tell them, they think they do anyway. My grandson Maseo used to come to Green Gulch, and there was an area at Green Gulch where


they have lots of, like, children's equipment, toys, little tricycles, and skateboards, and various balls, and other things to have children play with. And he told me at one point, he said, all that stuff used to be mine. I just left it here. He just made that up, you know. All those toys were his. I didn't argue with him. Anyway, living beings, living beings, humans and other living beings, like dogs. Dogs are also, as you may notice, are quite possessive of their bones, and their breakfast, their house. Cats can be quite possessive. Bulls are quite possessive of their herd. They think they own the cows. Mother cattle are possessive of their children. They sometimes


will kill someone who seems to be coming towards their offspring. So, living beings, especially animals, are deluded, and possessive, and self-concerned, naturally. So now we're studying this, and there's teachings about how the mind comes to be that way, how the mind appears to itself, how the mind appears to itself falsely. So the mind is generated, there's a teaching that the mind is generated in such a way that the mind tells itself that it's not itself. The mind says, good morning, I'm not you. The mind appears to itself as objects, and


the objects appear as though they're separate from the mind. This is our basic delusion. But the mind appears as though it, dualistically. And not only does it appear that way, but the mind is predisposed to believe this false appearance. For some time I've been studying and talking with people about these teachings about the way the mind is, the way mental states are, the way all mental states are and how they function. And I wanted to do that today too, and I did.


But I also want to mention that traditional Zen teaching is not so much about directly bringing up these teachings about the deluded mind so that it can be studied. It's not usually the Zen style to bring up the teachings about delusion so that the delusion can be studied and understood. The traditional Zen method is more to dramatize the mind, dramatize the delusion. Express the delusion in dramatic action as a way of understanding it. There's a story about one of the noted Zen teachers that he was living in the monastery


with his many students. And the superintendent of the monastery came to him and said, Teacher, you haven't given a talk for a long time. Would you please come and give a talk? And he said, I don't know if he said, but maybe he said okay. But whether he said okay or not, he did go to the hall where talks are given. The monks were assembled. He came in and I think he got up in his seat, or maybe he didn't get up in his seat, but just went up to his seat, and then he left. And then the superintendent went to his room and said, Teacher, we asked you to give a talk, you said you would, but then you left. And he said, Scholars give talks about the Buddha's teaching, and commentators make comments on


the Buddha's teaching. I'm just an old Zen monk. Give me a break. So one way to look at the story is, well, old Zen masters don't give talks about the teachings. What do they do? They demonstrate the teaching. How do they do it? Well, in this case, you ask them to give a talk, they go into the room, and then they leave and go back to their room. What did they do? Did they give a talk? No. Did they demonstrate the teaching? They tried. He tried. What teaching did he demonstrate? Well, he demonstrated the teaching that beings are deluded. He demonstrated delusion. And not that he demonstrated the delusion of the


superintendent, or the other monks, or himself, he demonstrated the delusion of all beings. He dramatically enacted the world of delusion by going into the hall and then leaving the hall. He could have got up in his seat and waved his hands, and then got down, or he could have done that. But the way he taught was like that, the way he taught by going into the hall and then leaving. What did the monks learn? I don't know. What did the monks study? I don't know. Did the monks study when he came into the room? I don't know. Do I recommend that they study when he comes into the room? Do I? Yes, I recommend that they devotedly study their own delusion when the teacher comes in the room. It's not like,


okay, here comes the teacher, the teacher is going to sit down and give a talk, and then I'm going to start studying my delusion. Or, the teacher is going to give a talk, and then I'm going to hear the Dharma. No, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about before the teacher comes in the room, you're studying your own delusion. The teacher comes in, and you study the delusion of the teacher coming into the room. The teacher gives a talk, you continue to study your delusion. Your delusion about what? Well, that the teacher is giving a talk, and that you're not. And that the teacher is not you, or the teacher is you. Some people think the teacher is them, well, that's a delusion. Some people think the teacher is not them, that's a delusion. The teacher is giving the Dharma, and the


superintendent was studying their minds. They knew to do that. They were studying their minds, and when the teacher came in the room, they continued, and when the teacher left, they continued. And maybe the superintendent was too, and he was just pretending not to understand why the teacher came in and left. But he was just dramatic, he was saying, okay, here comes the teacher. Wow, this is really great delusion. This is wonderful delusion, the coming of the teacher, the delivering of the truth. Ah, how wonderful. Right now, I am dramatically performing delusion, and you are too. Are you studying yours? Are you studying mine? Are you studying our delusion? Does your delusion belong to you more than it belongs to me? Or does your delusion belong to me more than you, and you only own your enlightenment, which doesn't belong to me at all? So some of you may feel like, well,


I'm not really that possessive of my delusion, you can have it. I really don't need it, go ahead, take it, it's yours. But my enlightenment, I don't know about that. I don't know if you can take my enlightenment. I'll think about it, but for now, I think I'm going to keep it, and you can have my delusions. And also, you can keep your delusions too. And if you have any enlightenment, hand it over. Some people think that, they think, I'm not deluded, but still, if the teacher comes, I'd like to get some more enlightenment. That's fine to think that, that's another delusion to study, to compassionately study the delusion, whatever it is. So someone might say, Zen is like, you know, rather than explaining the teachings, Zen


demonstrates them. Zen goes beyond explaining the teaching to enacting it. Okay? But, wait a minute, I shouldn't stop there. It should go beyond enacting it, go beyond enacting it, to explaining it. So Zen shouldn't be stuck in not explaining. So the teacher should come back and give a talk. Maybe. But maybe they don't want to invite him again. Maybe there are better things to do than watch old men walk in rooms and walk out. Maybe they go someplace where some people give some really nice talks, for maybe like, just the right amount of time. So the Zen tradition, you know, usually, at least, is polite toward


the teachings of the Buddhas. The teachings of the Buddha are that there's nothing in the universe outside mind. There's no phenomena outside the mind. All phenomena are manifestations of the mind. So I just said that to you. I just gave a little talk about the mind. I gave you a teaching about the mind. Am I simultaneously demonstrating? Can I demonstrate that there's nothing outside mind? How could I demonstrate that? How could I be so that you would realize that what you're seeing now and what you're hearing now is not outside your mind? How can I do that? I'm here wondering about that. I'm here wondering how I can be so that you


realize that I'm who you really are, and you don't think so. And you're who I really am, and I don't think so. What? You just did ask a question and it was the right moment. That was good. But this is not. The last one was right and the next one's not. Because you asked the question. Did you hear yourself ask it? You want to talk now? Could you wait to talk a little later? Pardon? You want a clarification? Do you want me to explain something? Can I please


explain something? What do you want me to explain? The delusion might be our interpretation of what may be out there, which may not be how we see it. That's correct. That's right. The way things are are not how we see them. The way you are is not how I see you. You are not the way I see you. How you are, I do not know. But even though I don't know, I'm not going to stop there. My mind's going to create a story about you. But my story about you is not you. Can I have another question? Could you wait for the next one? Thanks.


My story about you is not you. Your story about me is not me. And what seems to be my story, that it would be good for you to study this, is not my story. And it's not yours, but you could study. You could remember that. We could remember that. We could remember that what is appearing to us is not the way things are. But we need to be kind to the appearance. If we're kind to the appearance, wisdom can be born. If we're not kind to the appearances, the wisdom will be obstructed. There once was a Zen master, they say, named


Dushan. I never met him, but he supposedly lived about more than a thousand years ago in China. Dushan means virtue mountain, or mountain of virtue. Dushan. So the story is many people appreciated this person as a very kind teacher of the truth. And he was famous for saying, if you understand, you deserve 30 blows. Excuse me, if you don't understand, you deserve 30 blows. If you do understand, you also deserve 30 blows. Interpreting this to say, I would say, if you understand delusion, if you don't understand delusion, you deserve


30 blows. As encouragements, you deserve 30 blows to encourage you to understand delusion. 30 blows of kindness to encourage you to study delusion. You deserve it if you don't understand delusion. And you don't understand delusion until you study delusion thoroughly. Studying delusion half-heartedly, we will not understand it. So you deserve 30 blows of encouragement to study delusion, [...] I'm not quite to 30 yet, but I'll stop. Now, if you do understand, how come you should get 30 blows? If you understand, if you're enlightened about what delusion is,


if you're a Buddha, why would you get 30 blows? Because Zen doesn't get stuck on Buddha. We go beyond Buddha. So after you're Buddha, after you understand your delusions, then it's time to go beyond Buddha. And 30 times to be encouraged to go beyond Buddha. Go beyond Buddha. Go beyond Buddha. Go beyond understanding. Go back. To not understand. When you really understand, you can go back, you can give up your understanding. So that's what Deshan taught. And hearing about that, I've always felt that's a pretty powerful teaching. Pretty powerful teaching. Would you please go get me the book of Serenity?


It's behind my seat. In that doksan room. Once again, the typical Zen teacher, the typical Zen teacher doesn't teach about the mind of delusion to help people. They demonstrate it. But we should go beyond. And I have gone beyond not teaching about the mind of delusion. I've gone beyond not teaching about it to teaching about it. But today I'm also going beyond teaching about it. And now I'm returning to teach about it. I'm so happy that I'm...


Oh, look, the book of Serenity, thank you. Here's the book of Serenity. It doesn't say that? So this must be the book of Serenity, huh? Now, could someone have put this dust jacket on something that's not the book of Serenity? Oh, it says book of Serenity underneath the dust jacket too. Maybe this really is the book of Serenity. And in this book, there's a story about this. I found a piece of paper, and it's got the names of some of you on this piece of paper. Some of your names are in this book of Serenity. Like Elenia, your name's in here. And Deirdre, your name's in here. Wow. And Gordon, your name's in here. It says right here, Gordon Johnson. And where is this piece of paper?


It's in the part of the book about that guy who wouldn't give a talk. Anyway, in the 14th story in this book is about this man who said, if you don't understand, you need 30 blows of encouragement. If you do understand, you also do. A strong Zen teacher, right? So they say that this teacher, Doshan, usually thrashed the wind and beat the rain, hollering at the Buddhas and reviling the ancestors. This monk, in the story I'm going to tell you,


his errors fill the sky. Why did Doshan let him go? So here's this great, powerful Zen teacher, right? And he had an attendant. And his attendant's name was He. Or you could say his attendant's name was Huo. We call him Mr. Huo. Or Monk Huo. Or Attendant Huo. So one day, the attendant was doing his job of attending to Doshan. And he said to the teacher, Where have all the sages gone? Where have all the ancient sages gone? And Doshan said, Huh? What?


And the attendant said, The order was for a flying dragon horse. But what has shown up is a lame tortoise. And Doshan let it pass. Or let it rest. Another way to say it is, Doshan didn't say anything. How many blows was that? Was that one? Or thirty? Thirty. Usually he thrashed the wind and beat the rain, hollering at the Buddhas. Now this monk says to him, Where have all the sages gone? This is a big mistake, don't you think?


Where have they gone? This is a big mistake. How about where are they? Is that not so bad? How about, is this the sages? Is this the ancient sage here? Is the teacher the ancient sage? Is the student the ancient sage? Is the ancient stage the meeting of the teacher and the student? Is our meeting now? Right now. Is this meeting the ancient sages? Anyway, the monk says, Where have the sages of ancient times gone? And Doshan goes, Huh? What? And the monk says, The order was for a flying dragon horse, but a lame tortoise has shown up. And Doshan, the Zen master, let it rest.


The next day, when Doshan came out of the bath, maybe the attendant gave him a towel or something, he patted the attendant on the shoulder. And the attendant said, Ah, the old fellow is finally catching on. And Doshan, let it pass. Let it rest. . Ancient teachers have


deeply and subtly studied and expounded all the states of mind through meticulous analysis. And these teachings have been transmitted. And one of the examples is this book I have here, which is called The Summary of the Great Vehicle, wherein the function of the mind is painstakingly and lovingly and subtly analyzed. By the great Bodhisattva, Asanga. And if you study this text, you might quickly become weary. Now at Green Gulch, in two different study groups,


we're studying this text, and sometimes people get weary. We are studying these teachings of analysis. But some people say, Zen people don't like this. They just simply, you know, demonstrate these teachings without the study. But, we shouldn't get stuck in demonstrating them without studying them. We need to go beyond demonstrating them to study them, and then go beyond studying them to demonstrate them. Another case in the book of Serenity, number 37, starts out with two Zen masters, two famous Zen masters, one is a teacher and one is a student,


but the student is a great master too. They used to call him Little Shakyamuni Buddha. So the teacher's name is Guishan, and the student's name is Yangshan. This story also occurred more than a thousand years ago. And this story has been, this story occurred, I don't know when this story occurred, but it's a story about something that happened more than a thousand years ago, and the story might be almost as old as what it's about. So one day they were, teacher and student were together, and the teacher says to the student, all living beings are deluded. The Zen teacher said that. He was actually quoting something, but anyway. All sentient beings only have deluded karmic consciousness. That's all they've got. They think they've got something better, but that's not what they've got.


They've got deluded karmic consciousness, and that's all they have. Boundless and unclear, with no fundamental to rely on. But their karmic consciousness, I'll stop there. And then the teacher says, how would you test this in experience? How would you enact this? And the student, Yangshan, said, if someone comes, I say, hey you! If he turns his head, I say, what is it? And if he hesitates, I say, all living beings just have deluded karmic consciousness. Boundless and unclear, with no fundamental to rely on. And the teacher said, good. That's a good way to dramatize


the functioning of karmic consciousness. However, it doesn't say there, but I'm saying to you, that this testing, this enacting of the teaching, that living beings just have deluded karmic consciousness, the enactment is itself, can be itself, enlightenment. If you say to a Buddha, hey you, the Buddha turns her head. The enlightened one turns her head when you say, hey you. If you say, what is it, to the enlightened one, the enlightened one winks. If you say, hey you, and the enlightened one hesitates, then the enlightened one just has deluded karmic consciousness.


We have deluded karmic consciousness. There's a way of working with it that verifies that we have just deluded karmic consciousness. And there's another way of working with it. That is the understanding of it. So one way of working with it is to hesitate to work with it. To hesitate to be a deluded karmic consciousness, which is all we are. And in hesitating, we have just demonstrated deluded karmic consciousness. The other way is, don't hesitate, and demonstrate deluded karmic consciousness also. But with no hesitation. Demonstrate it wholeheartedly. And that is the understanding of it. So according to this teaching,


we've all got plenty of delusion. None of us are short on delusion. We've all got karmic consciousness, and it's boundless, and it's actually it says boundless and unclear, but another translation is the word for unclear could be translated as it's bobo. The way of pronouncing it is bobo. All we've got is karmic consciousness, it's boundless and bobo, and bobo means vague, but also means giddy. Karmic consciousness is giddy, and giddy means excited to the point of disorientation. We've got a consciousness which makes it very difficult for us to be wholehearted because it's disorienting. It's easy to hesitate when you're disoriented. So,


one of the ways to meet karmic consciousness is to diligently, compassionately study it, but that's the same that must include diligently, wholeheartedly engaging it. The teachings may help you engage it. Engaging it may help you receive the teachings. So, Zen is playing with these teachings about the mind, but also playing with the mind so that the mind becomes a teaching. Engaging karmic consciousness, understanding, and watching to see if we're wholehearted about it. And, as I mentioned this morning, enlightenment lives in stillness. So, part of engaging karmic consciousness


wholeheartedly is to engage it in stillness. Part of engaging giddiness wholeheartedly is to engage giddiness in stillness. To be still with an excitement that can be disorienting. We've got the excitement, we've got the giddiness, we've got the un-clarity, we've got the... and all this has no... it's insubstantial, we can't get a hold of it. We've got that, and we think we can get a hold of it. We think there is a foundation, and thinking that there is a foundation is very exciting. Or very depressing. And depression can be quite exciting. So exciting that people think of terrible things to do to themselves


to get away from delusion. How can we be kind and loving to this karmic consciousness? Just a moment. Do you have a question? Or a comment you'd like to make? Yes, it has to do with attachment. Yes. Because I've been studying the ravages of attachment. She's been studying the ravages of attachment. That's good. Have you been studying it in a kind way? Sometimes yes, and sometimes it's too baffling to feel kindness. But sometimes you are kind towards it. But when it's really baffling, she has trouble being kind to it. So, karmic consciousness


is often baffling. Can we be kind when we're baffled? I say yes, we can learn that. We can learn to be kind to bafflement and bewilderment and etc. We can learn to be kind to it, but it's hard to learn to be kind to it. It's not easy. The message from the Buddha is it's not easy to learn to be kind to baffling, disorienting states of mind. But the Buddha says, I have learned to be kind to them and I have understood them and I am enlightened and I am at peace. Not by eliminating, but by being still, by being truly compassionate to bafflement, doubt, confusion,


and giddiness, etc. Forever. Yes. I was just reflecting in what you were saying, so stillness is very, it's vibrant. Stillness is vibrant. And also, the character that the ancestor A.H. Dogen uses, when he says, all this enlightened activity occurs within stillness, the character he uses for stillness also means silence. So, it's a silence and a stillness that's vibrant, that's full of enlightened activity. Noise and movement are also vibrant, but it's vibrant with karmic consciousness. Some people are really deluded


and don't engage their delusion and are very alive, jumping up and down, saying, It's mine, it's mine, it's mine! They're alive, but they're also frightened and aggressive because they're not in stillness and silence. So that same situation, the Buddha is right there with this hysterical person, and the Buddha is in stillness with this hysteria, and the Buddha's great vibrant activity is right there with the hysteria. But the Buddha is realizing the stillness and the silence with the activity of delusion. And then we have the activity of the Buddhas, which is very alive, but it's hard to be very loving, and part of being loving with delusion is to be still with it, and to be quiet with it. That's what I feel.


I'm not. I'm short. You're short on the stillness and the loving of the... Yeah, yeah. So this is a challenge for us, to be loving and quiet and still with hysteria. It's a great challenge. But the Buddhas say, It's possible. You have the potential to learn this, and it will be very helpful, not just to you, but to all beings, if you could learn this. And you can. But it's hard to learn it. And I, the Buddha, who has learned this, had a hard time learning it. So you will too. If the ancients had a hard time, if the ancient masters had a hard time, and if the current masters had a hard time, then we probably will have a hard time. And you're telling us one of us does have a hard time, and I share your difficulty. And I think other people here also


do have some difficulty with their karmic consciousness. But I have a belief in the back of my mind. She has a belief in the back of her mind? That somehow, somehow their experience somehow we or I say I, because many of us may be doing it, I'm not, may I'm not listening to, I'm not listening to their experiences. Whereas if I listen to their experiences, Who are they? It makes it easy, but I'm not listening. Who are they? To the teachings. If you listen to their teachings? If I listen, yes. If I listen to those teachings and be with the teachings, stay with the teachings, it's fine. I'm fine, but I don't, therefore I go to this. If you stay with the teachings, so


a lot of us, I think, when we think that what we're hearing is the teaching, we can be quiet and still with it. Somebody comes and talks and it sounds like a teaching to us, we often go, oh, and we're quiet and still with it. Well, good. And then, but if then things change and the appearance is not of teaching, then it may be like, well, I can't be quiet and still with not the teaching. But you can be quiet with not the teaching. And that's part of the reason why teachers sometimes perform not the teaching. To see if now, you were quiet when I was well behaved and I was acting like a teacher, you were calm and quiet with me. Now I'm acting like a madman and you're having trouble being calm and quiet with me. So now I'll go back and be a reasonable person again, so you can be calm


and quiet. But then I'll come back again as a non-teacher to see again, now can you be calm and quiet with not the teaching? And someday you may say, yes, finally I can be calm and quiet with not the teaching. I heard you and I would like you to be that. So we have to go, sometimes, huh? It's very much like that. The people were calm with the teacher coming, maybe, calm and, oh, the teacher's going to come, the teacher's going to be teaching, we're going to have calm, it's going to be so serene and wonderful and encouraging, and now the teacher's going and I'm having trouble being calm with the teacher going. Yeah. So how can we have the teacher be the teacher all the time? Yeah, that's right. How can we have the teacher be all the time? That's what we're working towards.


To have everything be the teacher, which means to be calm and grateful and quiet with everything. I like that. Okay. May our intention equally extend to every being and place. With true head on God's way 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. Now we have the opportunity to have unhesitating lunch.