On Enlightenment and Delusion 

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Just briefly, what I said was that we have a tradition here of starting the sessions with sitting, silent and still. I mentioned in this situation that silence and stillness is a traditional Zen or Buddhist ritual or exercise for the sake of actually entering into silence and stillness. And silence and stillness is the realm in which enlightenment lives. I think I could start right away by saying if you have any questions about this basic instruction of the meditation practice of just sitting in silence and stillness


as a ritual of invoking and realizing enlightenment. Any questions about that? I'm sitting here and I'm actually mortally afraid I left the stove on at home. I tried to call a friend to check and she didn't pick up. Why don't you call some other friends? You probably should take care of that. Otherwise you won't be able to be silent and still. I hope you can find somebody to go over there and check it out. Anything else you want to bring up about this? If you could stand to be farther away from Bernard, Nina, I could see you better if you moved that way a little bit. We'll be discussing this for the whole class, but if there's anything you want to


bring up now, you're welcome to do so. Michael? I must say that silence and stillness are not always large components of my life, but I still seem to have a sense that there's enlightenment hiding around and sometimes chaos. It's hiding. Enlightenment's hiding. And the place it hides is in silence and stillness. So, in your daily life, if you don't see silence and stillness, you can't see silence and stillness anyway. It's not a visible thing. Silence and stillness, I would just offer you, is a reality which is kind of hiding a lot of the time. So, if we practice sitting still and being quiet, that's not silence and stillness. That's an activity. Your mind's still going


to some extent, usually. Your blood's circulating. You're moving a little bit. You're not actually completely silent and still, but you're doing a ritual, which is basically a ritual where you're being quiet and you're not really moving much. Nobody moved much during this time, and everybody was moving some. Nobody's mind was moving zero, and everybody's mind was moving a little bit, but people's minds were not super, except for me for Elizabeth, who was worried about the stove. Your minds were probably not super agitated. It seems to me, I wasn't thinking about it too much. I wasn't talking about it too much, but I kind of felt like you were being pretty quiet and pretty still. You were doing that ritual. Sometimes in your daily life, you don't seem to be doing a ritual of being silent and still.


You don't feel like, oh, I'm sitting here silent and still. You don't feel like that a lot of the time. However, silence and stillness is not moving around anyplace. It's not going away. It's right there with you all the time, as you say. So we start this class, actually, in silence and stillness, but then after that we start talking and moving. But the silence and stillness isn't any more here when we're sitting quietly than it is when we're talking. It's just that when we're quiet, we're literally invoking it. We're literally inviting it. We're literally celebrating it. However, you can celebrate it not literally, non-literally. You can celebrate it all day long, but you have to remember. When you're walking around, you have to remember silence and stillness. But the thought silence and stillness isn't


the silence and stillness. It's just the memory of it, the mindfulness of it, that manifests it. It responds to your thinking about it. Even if you don't think about it, it's still responding, but then it's responding to your not thinking about it. And the way it responds then is that it's kind of hiding. So we start the class this way, but I hope that after the class is over, you continue to remember that in silence and stillness, enlightenment lives there. And even without doing the ritual of sitting silent and unmoving, you can remember that there is a silence and stillness that always is present, just like enlightenment is always present. But this is a nice time to mention the name of this class, which is


Zen Meditation Enlightenment and Delusion. Enlightenment is always present, but delusion is usually present too. And delusion, quite effectively, hides enlightenment, distracts us from enlightenment. So this is a class, in one sense, of beginning by doing a ritual to invoke the context of awakening and enlightenment. But then also, in our discussions, and also during that time, we will be studying the thing that obscures enlightenment, that obscures silence and stillness, namely delusion. So delusion, what's delusion? Well, actually,


I don't know. But it's what enlightenment studies. Enlightenment doesn't really study enlightenment. Enlightenment doesn't need to be studied. But it does need to be practiced, and the basic practice of enlightenment is to study delusion. If it weren't for delusion, we wouldn't need enlightenment. We'd just have reality, and that would be fine. But the nature of life is that it conjures up delusions about, well, life. It makes up stories about life and takes the stories about life as the reality of life. It makes life


into a conceivable process or a conceivable thing, even. The power of delusion, the mind has the power to imagine that life is a thing. Seeing life as a thing is an example of delusion. Life is not a thing. My life isn't a thing, your life isn't a thing, our life isn't a thing. Therefore, life can be born and die. But life isn't basically something that's born and dies. But life can support the delusion that things are born and dying. And we can get really upset about something dying. The dying is a fruit, a consequence of making


life into a thing that we can get a hold of. It's a consequence of a deluded understanding of life. But we don't put that down. I don't mean delusion as something bad, I just mean it as something to study, something to study, something to study. And the study of delusion is a compassionate, kind, calm, gentle study. The study that is enlightenment is a compassionate study of delusion. So enlightenment is basically understanding delusion. And delusion is basically delusion. Understanding delusion. And the work of the enlightened beings, their basic


work is to be studying delusion and clarifying it, and teaching others who have delusion to study how to study it. If they would study it thoroughly, if we study delusion thoroughly, to the end we understand it. Understanding delusion is enlightenment. So understanding the delusion that our life is a thing, and my life is a thing separate from your life, which is a thing, those are examples of delusion. That way of imagining our life as being separate and thingified, that's an example of delusion. There's others, but that's a basic one. Studying that with great compassion and kindness, with intensity and perseverance and gentleness


and calm and generosity and ethics and all that. Studying the delusions in that way leads to the understanding of delusion, the enlightenment about the delusion. And then with enlightenment comes lots of activities. Enlightenment lives in silence and stillness, but it's a great activity. What's the activity in silence and stillness? In the silence and stillness, the activity of enlightenment? Studying delusion. Teaching others how to study delusion. Tremendous activity in silence and stillness. Tremendous freedom, just flat out freedom and boundless skillful offerings to beings who need instruction on how to study their delusions, in which they are hemmed in to some extent. So I'm trying to encourage


myself to do the work of the Buddhas, which is to study my own delusions. It's not just to keep telling myself, oh, this is a delusion, but just to watch it. If anybody asked me what it is, what's delusion, I'd say what I think is going on right now, that's delusion. What I think is true is delusion. I mean, my thinking that such and such is true is a delusion. And another way to put this is, which I mentioned recently, was that we're studying the conceivable. Delusions are conceivable. Delusions involve conception. To study the conceivable, to realize the inconceivable. You can conceive of it, but that's not enlightenment. Enlightenment itself is inconceivable. It's so profound that no concept can reach it.


By studying the conceivable thoroughly, gently, lovingly, calmly, generously, patiently, we open to the inconceivable, which generally speaking, people do not really want to have anything to do with. Because what can you do with the inconceivable? When they first start seeing the glimmerings or the specter or the harbinger of inconceivability or the inconceivable, people often get frightened and tighten up and go back to find something they can get a hold of again, which is part of the process. What does that say? So, when you reach that point of seeing the inconceivable, if you don't tighten up and you go further, is there a point where the intention of studying delusion, and also you


see the delusion of that, and what keeps you studying the delusion at that point? Well, one thing that keeps you from, did you say giving up study? Yeah. One thing that would protect you from that, one of the basic things that would protect you from that is the vow to help all beings and not abandon them until all beings somehow were enlightened. So you make that vow and you're really doing this study out of great compassion. So you're practicing compassion when you're in the study, and your reason for starting the study was out of great compassion, not just compassion for yourself, not just for self-help contemplation purposes, but you're really doing this for the welfare


of all beings. Also, another thing is, because of that, I will give you, I hope, instruction on how to be careful if you should ever happen to get near the place where you might actually enter into a state of peace and forget about the beings that you're devoted to. You have to be careful at that point, because you can slip into camping out in peace and forgetting that you entered peace not just for yourself, but for the welfare of the whole world. So the bigger vow actually helps you study more effectively, and because it's effective, you can quickly get to a place where if you're not careful, you could forget about the point


of it all. So it's kind of a miracle that you could be devoted to beings and realize the delusion you have about beings and still continue to be devoted to them. Or another way to put it is, the beings who become Buddhas, who are on the path to Buddhahood, they make the vow to take all beings to peace before themselves, to take all beings to nirvana before themselves. They make that vow and they remember that there's no beings whatsoever taken to nirvana. And they have to do the second part in order to actually help people and also to not slip into going to nirvana before them, which they could easily do. Okay, so the basic thing then is remember silence and stillness all day long, if possible,


and remember to study delusion all day long. So how do you remember to study delusion? One thing, an indirect way for me to remember is to kind of worship studying delusion. Worship it, praise it, pay homage to studying delusion, which is similar to a very common Buddhist practice, particularly Asian Buddhist practice of paying homage to the Buddha, praising the Buddhas. Paying homage to Buddhas is not so popular in the Western transmission of


the Buddha way as it is generally speaking in the history of the Asian part of the tradition, where people kind of grow up being encouraged and being initiated into worshipping. Worshipping means to acknowledge the worth of something. So people generally speaking grow up with a real positive take on Buddha, like Buddha is really great, wonderful, the best of all the best, all that kind of thing. So people say, yeah, Buddha, wonderful. It isn't associated with marijuana or anything. But for this class I kind of say, well, in the same way that you might venerate, praise, and pay homage, worship enlightenment, now for here I would say worship or pay homage to or praise studying yourself. So how do you study delusion? Study


yourself. You have some sense of yourself? Most people do. Study that. Learn about that. Most people's sense of themselves is deluded. It's not horrible, it's just a delusion. The consequences of the delusion can be horrible. But the delusion itself is just a misconception. Most of us have an exaggerated version of ourselves, or an underestimation of ourselves. We underestimate or overestimate ourselves. It's hard to get the right thing on self. The right thing on self is enlightenment. Seeing the self properly, correctly, is enlightenment.


Understanding the delusion of what we think of ourselves is enlightenment. So most of us have a sense of self. If you don't, you're welcome to bring up your lack of sense of self for you to learn about. There can be other delusions besides that, but that's a real basic one, which again is like, here's me who's alive, and I make me and my life into a thing. That's myself, in a way. And making into a thing is also making into that I'm somewhat separate from other beings. So we can just start there. That would be the way to start studying the self. Our start studying delusion is to study yourself. Study yourself means study your ideas about yourself, your conception of yourself, your story about


yourself. Like, I'm a fairly good person, I'm an above average person, I'm a below average person, I have such and such an IQ, I have such and such a gender. That's me. That's what I think about me. And now how can I praise being aware of that story enough for you to actually be aware of that story? So I'm telling you, paying attention to that is what Buddhas pay attention to. And again, that story of who you are, my story of who I am, that's also called karma. So I'm talking about studying delusion, which is the same as studying self, which is the same as studying karma. Another word for it is karmic consciousness. So karmic consciousness, which is what we have, imagines, for example, a relationship


between myself and others, sees myself, and the way of seeing myself is due to past ways of seeing myself. So these are different ways of talking about what enlightenment studies. It studies delusion, it studies some image of the self, some idea of self, some story about self, which means that enlightenment involves the study of karma, because karma is the activity which creates these pictures of our self and our self's relationship with the world. How can I arouse myself to stay on that beam of self-study, to stay on that beam of studying karmic consciousness? How can I arouse you,


encourage you to study yourself? I ask that, and some of the ways I do it is the way I've been talking to you for the last half an hour, and then I will continue to talk during the rest of the class in ways to encourage you and me to study our delusion and thereby realize enlightenment. Now, just to check to see if you understood me fairly well, do you understand that I'm suggesting that Buddhas study self, Buddhas study delusion, Buddhas study karmic consciousness, and they don't study and stop when they become Buddhas, they continue after being Buddhas, they continue to study, and previous to being Buddhas their


study was not as good as it finally became. When it became completely thorough and profound, then we have enlightenment. So the word from some of the Buddhas is, if we will do the same study, Buddha will be realized through that study. It isn't exactly that I will become Buddha, but Buddha will be realized in the world through that kind of study. And it also isn't that I won't be Buddha. That kind of way of thinking is more delusion. So maybe you have some things you'd like to bring up? Yes, anybody? Christiane? I was just wondering if you could talk more about what you mean by study. Study? Well, I mean pay attention, I mean be aware, I mean take care of, I mean be devoted


to, I mean love. So like your delusions, I would say for me, I would want you to have them be objects of compassion and love. But just like with a child, in order to be compassionate with it, it helps if you notice where they are. You can be just generally, even if you can't see him, you can just say, well I just feel like right now, I think of my grandson at Green Gulch and I feel love for him and compassion for him, even though I can't see him. But still I'm thinking of the image of him and his name and so on. But the real thing would be for me to go back and see if I can practice it with the living person. So the same with myself. I would like to practice compassion towards the images and ideas I


have about me. But compassion includes being honest about myself. It doesn't mean just like, oh he's perfect. No, it's like, oh he's got a problem. He's got a big problem as a person. But even, and I'm also devoted, I am fairly devoted to studying him, to watching him. I've been watching him now for a while. I had this story that I've been blessed with the opportunity to watch myself for quite a while. To spend hours and hours watching my posture, my breathing, my ideas, my actions, my intentions. To have conversations with me about whether I want to do this practice or not. And I feel like you would like me to have


those conversations. I'm not just doing it for myself. You'd like me to check in with myself and say, hey Reb, do you want to practice being kind to yourself? Yes. Are you ready to commit to it? Yes. That's part of studying it is to talk to yourself about whether you want to study it and see what you say. You might say, no, maybe not right now, later maybe. I'm too busy to study myself. I've got to get this meal on the table. And then I would say in response to that response, that response is another delusion. It's a delusion that you can't study yourself while you make dinner. It's a delusion. But we should love that delusion. Not bust it. What do you mean you can't study yourself while you're making dinner? No, no. Be patient with it. And then maybe when dinner is on the table, say, do you want some feedback on what you said earlier? Yeah, yeah. Now that I'm eating dinner, I'm


ready for some feedback. You could have been kind to yourself while you're making dinner. It would be all right to be kind to yourself, to love yourself while you're making dinner. And at that point you might say, you know, that's true. I could have been attending to myself while I was working and being kind to myself while I was working. I really didn't have to stop being kind to myself in order to produce this action. But at the time I thought I did. And I'm glad you were kind to me and patient with me and didn't force that on me when I didn't think I could open up to that practice. So what I'm suggesting is a study you can do no matter what you're doing theoretically. But sometimes you're doing something and you think, I can't be aware of myself while I'm doing this. Okay. I would say, well, that's another thing to be kind to. When you say, I can't be kind, to be kind


to that. I can't study myself. I'm too busy. Okay. I hear you. And I'm patient with you saying that. And I'm also patient waiting for the time when I could maybe ask you some questions about how true you think that is. Because I don't think that's true. But I don't necessarily fight with you when you tell me that you can't practice. And I would suggest not fighting with yourself either. But then later come back and say, well, actually I could have been aware at the same time. So loving every story you have about yourself, loving every story that's arising in your mind with the additional thing that you're loving something that you're watching, that you're studying, that you're learning about, that you're paying attention to, that you're mindful of. But in a gentle way, in a gracious


way, in a patient way. Does that make sense? But it's not necessarily easy. Yes, would you tell me your name again? Enrica. It seems like every time I break through an illusion, it's very painful. Every time you break an illusion? Break through an illusion. Break through it, yeah. Rather than rejoicing and breaking through it, it's very painful to experience that I wasn't doing it. And I think the fact that I'm disappointed in myself or that it's painful keeps me in that mood so much longer. Any thoughts about that? So Enrica said that sometimes when there's a breaking through illusion, it's painful.


And at that point I would say, I think that a lot of the time anyway, maybe not always, but a lot of the time the reason why there's a breaking through of illusion is because there was some kindness towards the illusion or delusion. If you're kind to delusions, they sometimes take their clothes off and show you something that they didn't dare show you if you were going to be mean to them. But if you're really kind to delusions, they sometimes say, they tell you something that really shocks you. They don't mean to hurt you for your kindness. They're actually trying to give you a gift of showing you who they really are. However, you're still shocked. So then we need to practice the same thing. We need to practice kindness not towards the dispersing of the delusion, but kindness with the pain that follows with disillusionment. Be kind to the feeling of pain. Be gentle with it. Be patient with it.


And don't say, well, there's something wrong here because there's pain. No. Generally speaking, in one sense, one of the basic delusions is that we're outward directed all the time. That we're not looking at ourselves is kind of a delusion too. To turn around and look at yourself is painful. But we need to be, this is like, it's hard, but that's so wonderful that you're studying yourself. Somebody needs to be really praising and almost rewarding with lots of love and kindness, this studying of the self, which is a painful change of direction. And what you see, again, is oftentimes quite petty and so on. So it isn't that you should say, well, it's not petty. No, it is petty sometimes. But be kind to the pain of seeing the pettiness. Be kind to the pettiness. And be kind to the disillusionment, for example, of cutting through the illusion that you're not petty.


Like some people walk around thinking, I'm really a magnanimous person. I'm just so big-hearted and big-minded and open-minded, that's what they think of themselves. That kind of thought is kind of petty, but they don't see it that way. And then they see themselves, they either see that that's petty, like sometimes they go to the teacher and they say, I just want to tell you that I'm so happy because I'm just so happy to be such a magnanimous person. I'm so generous and kind to so many beings that I'm just full of joy. And the teacher says, oh, you're so magnanimous and kind to all beings. It's amazing. And then the person sees, oh, I'm really not. That picture is dispersed. In reality, we are magnanimous, but our idea of magnanimity is a delusion. And then to either have someone repeat back to us how magnanimous we are


and then sort of snap out of it, or to actually see ourselves do something really petty and snap out of the image of magnanimity, it would be quite painful, right? So in my studies, I had kind of magnanimous ideas about why I was practicing Zen, like I was going into the mountains to practice meditation from early in the morning to late at night to become a really great person. I thought that was pretty good intention, right? That's what I thought. And when I thought that, I didn't think, you're so petty to be living in these mountains to become a great person. I didn't think that. But sometimes when we had the situation of running out of food in the monastery because the road was washed out, we didn't exactly run out of food,


but the food got really, really, really simple. So something like a raisin would be extremely a great treasure. So I noticed that I became quite concerned about whether or not I would get a crouton. Do you know what a crouton is? We didn't have any croutons usually. The food was so simple, we didn't have any bread. We didn't have any bread because we didn't have any flour. But then finally we got some bread and we dried it and we had croutons in the soup. So it wasn't just like liquid, there were these little kind of things you could bite. And I got quite concerned about whether or not I would get a crouton. And it turns out in one particular case I did not get a crouton. And I was quite concerned about that.


And then I noticed the delusion that I was this huge-minded monk was crashed. Because I realized I'm really petty, I'm into whether I get a crouton or not. I wasn't thinking about, I hope everybody gets a crouton. I hope that guy gets a lot of croutons and I hope she gets a lot of croutons. I wasn't thinking about that. I was actually concerned about whether I was going to get one or two or three or zero. I got concerned about that. So that was not pleasant for me to see how petty I was. But I kept practicing. And actually I thought, well it's good that I realized how petty I am. It's good. Because I didn't realize how petty I was before. So this is good. But it's not pleasant, it's not painful.


So I have to be kind to myself when I see my pettiness. And I didn't realize it on that day, the crouton day, I didn't realize it. But now I understand that big-minded people, great-minded people, are not afraid to be petty. But petty people are afraid to be petty. Petty people want to be big-minded, which is fine, that's not petty. But they're afraid of being petty, so they're not big-minded. If petty people were okay with being petty, they'd be big-minded. But I wasn't okay with being petty. I was shocked that this monk who worked so hard all day at meditation, who gave up so much to be in the mountains for this training, that he was concerned about such a little thing for himself. But that was really good for me. And then I could spend years to see if I could get used to being a petty person.


So another thing, another way to study, study delusion, study your own pettiness. Don't study other people's pettiness for starters. Study your own pettiness with the understanding of learning to love your own pettiness. Not like your own pettiness, learning to love it. If you can love your own pettiness, you're getting very close to Buddha. Because Buddha loves your pettiness. Buddha doesn't like your pettiness, Buddha loves your pettiness. So if you can love it, which means be patient, be gentle with the pettiness, be gentle with the pain around the pettiness, be calm with the pain around the pettiness. Don't try to get rid of the pain or the pettiness. Don't try to control the pain or the pettiness. Open to it. Welcome the pettiness. Not like I like you, but you can come here.


A pettiness is allowed in this room. You can bring lots of pettiness in here. It's welcome. The Buddhas welcome your pettiness, welcome my pettiness. But it's difficult to see our pettiness, it's painful. This pain is part of the hard work of the Buddhas. It's normal. Any other questions for tonight about how to study pettiness, delusion, karmic consciousness, self, Jerry? I have a delusion that once I see the pettiness, or once I see some habit that would be petty, or might make me feel ashamed, or might make me feel not happy with my image, that I won't do it anymore.


Did you hear that? She had the delusion that if she would see some pettiness that she would be ashamed of, that once seeing it she wouldn't do it anymore. So that's another petty thought. It's a petty thought to think that if you see pettiness you won't be petty anymore. That's petty. It's a petty in relationship to petty. That's petty on top of petty. And the first petty deserves no more or less love than the second petty. But I think if you see pettiness and then see the story about getting rid of pettiness, if you see those two and you're kind to both of them, the pettiness, in both cases, if you're kind to them, the pettiness is an opportunity for the most important thing. The important thing is the compassion, which grows on pettiness.


So it's okay to say, and it's not really petty, I don't think, to say that compassion will grow on pettiness. If you are compassionate towards the pettiness, the compassion grows. And then more pettiness will come, even deeper pettiness will come, nastier, smaller pettinesses will come for more compassion to grow. If there's no more pettiness, then there's no more way for compassion to grow. But there is plenty of pettiness, so there's no problem. So don't try to get rid of the pettiness, try to grow compassion on it. Whenever the pettiness comes and it's uncomfortable, say, welcome, we've been waiting for you, we need some food for compassion. Is it Andrew? No, what's your name? Paul. Paul, is it Paul? It feels sometimes that when the last study of delusion, you get slippery. It's slippery, yeah. You're going in and out, trying to make it harder to get better for delusion,


and they're all over the place. Yeah, they're all over the place, and they're slippery, and they're painful, often. That's normal. So that's why I think we have to worship this study. Just like if you worship the Buddhas, and you found out it was going to be really hard to meet the Buddha, you still might say, well, I'll make the effort, because I think the Buddha is so wonderful, I'd be willing to travel hundreds of miles to hang out with the Buddha, even through heat and storm and stuff like that, I would make that effort. So in the same way, this study is the way to meet the Buddhas, to be close to the Buddhas. But it's not easy. The Buddhas don't say, this is what to do, and it's easy. They don't say it's easy. They say, actually, it's quite difficult, because we're conditioned to go in the other direction. We're conditioned to go away from studying ourselves, and there's lots of stuff built in to make it hard to turn around, and then what you see is hard, and then also what you see is not...


You start to see that things are not so clear-cut. This is all part of the deal. But it's not easy. That's why we really need to feel like this hard thing is really good. It's worth the effort. There's a lot of other things that are really easy, like falling off a log. But to get back on the log and stand up on it and balance is not easy. Falling off is easy, but balancing is not. This is about balancing with our delusion. It's hard. They're slippery. They're rolling in the water. And there's logs everywhere. Tracy? Is it normal to want to say well to some of the beings? Is not wanting to say well to some of the beings


a form of delusion? I want to save most people, but not those people. That's a delusion. And to think that I want to save all beings, my thinking is a delusion too. But I need that delusion in order to become Buddha. All Buddhas needed that delusion. And that delusion led them to realize that that was a delusion, and then keep being devoted to it after they realized it. That's what John is bringing up. So you use the delusion, all beings, each being and all beings, you use that delusion, then you use the idea I want to help them all. I want them to be benefited before me. You use that delusion. And that delusion you can attach to. However, that delusion will force you to give up attaching to it. It will force you to not hold on to it. It will force you to give it up. And hopefully stay with it after you give it up.


So again, it's another basic kind of surprising principle is we need to learn how to let go what we're devoted to. If what we're devoted to is helping all beings, we need to give up, we need to not grasp it. Not grasping what we're doing is the perfection of this study of grasping. Okay. I'm asking about another part of that question, which is people who aren't conscious of, you know, that the idea of saving all sentient beings doesn't seem to be something they're at all interested in or would consider if you're naive or stupid to even have that at all. I'm wondering about those people. Those people are objects of compassion, first of all. Somebody who thinks that bodhisattvas are stupid


needs a lot of compassion. It's really not good if they think that the people who are devoted to all beings are stupid. So we really got to be kind to them, find some way to be so kind to them that this hostility towards great compassion melts. Okay, I got that one. But I want to know, underneath they're not being interested. So it's a delusion? What's underneath underneath? Could you say underneath everything is good? Well, underneath not wanting to live for the welfare of other beings is a misconception about myself, for sure. And a bunch of other delusions too, but that's one for sure. If you don't understand yourself, you probably won't. Well, I shouldn't say this. You could not understand yourself and still wish to live for the welfare of all beings. But if you don't wish to live for the welfare of all beings, you definitely do not understand yourself. If you don't understand and you start being devoted to all beings,


that will lead you to understand yourself because all beings will tell you to study yourself and you're working for them, so you will. But if you're not devoted to all beings, you might not study yourself and just continue to not be devoted to all beings. If you're devoted to all beings, you will be forced to study yourself. And your devotion will support you and other people will support you because they see, well, you want to help us, so all you need to do now is find out about yourself and you'll be able to. The main thing that's interfering with you being effectively assisting us is you're not aware of yourself. So please do some homework here. Maggie? My question is, I think at times I can be too earnest about studying my pen. You can be too earnest, yeah. Or deluded then. Now what do you mean by too earnest?


Grasping. Yeah, grasping, right. To dig deeper. So I think I recognize that I can go beyond just looking at the pettiness of the moment and just searching for this underlying pettiness, kind of bigger pettiness that you mentioned. And I'm wondering if you have any advice for creating space within the study for grasping less for that kind of, or trying to take a fast track to find the deeper pettiness. You mean, you have some, you want to know about how to deal with the wish for the fast track? When I'm concerned about the crouton for me, I kind of have lost sight of my connection to the other practitioners.


I'm not really paying any attention at all. All I care about is the crouton for me. I'm not happy that some other people got croutons at that moment. I wasn't thinking of, well, if I ever got a crouton, I would give it to other people. I wasn't thinking of that. So I was pretty petty. Now what's your question about that? What's your question about the bigger pettiness that lies underneath it and trying to dig deeper and studying too hard? Well, in this particular example, the revelation of the pettiness was basically a good day's work for me. I mean, that was enough. That was like a big shock. And I walked out of the meditation hall crying at lunch. In the middle of the day I was walking around the monastery crying, not because I didn't get the crouton, but because I was just so sad, in some sense, to give up.


I lost my sense of what a great person I was. And now I had to sort of be this petty little monk who had such small-scale concerns. However, and I'm telling you, then my practice really started to be good. I didn't think so at the time, but looking back, if I was there with that young man, I would say, now you're getting close to the real work here, kid. This is excellent. But in a way it's good that there wasn't an older monk to tell me that. So I could struggle with it and feel the great implications of that. And realize that I could survive the revelation of my smallness. Those kinds of experiences made me not so afraid to be small, to be a little, tiny, greedy Buddhist.


If I found out that I'm petty, miserly, that's not going to kill me. But some of us think, God, if I found that out, I couldn't go on. If it was shown to me or others how small I was, that might be the end of me. We don't dare see that. So that was really great that I could be so small. And I've continued to be small like that, but I'm more and more used to it. And the more used to it, the better I feel. Somebody said, you shouldn't be so tolerant of your smallness. You should really beat yourself up for being petty. But I think that's one of the bad things about not loving pettiness, is that we become cruel.


So even the fast path to get over pettiness is, I think, not so kind. It's more like, I love your pettiness and I'll stay with you until you become Buddha. And there's no hurry here, because I enjoy loving you. It's wonderful. This compassion flower is growing on this pettiness. That's what we're here for, to grow compassion, not to make perfect people. We're trying to make perfect compassion. But perfect compassion grows on trouble, on pettiness, on delusion. Enlightenment's working with delusion. It's not getting away from delusion and going working on great stuff. But we think it will. That's what this class is for, is to get over that. But there's no hurry.


We have a few more weeks. And it's perfectly nine o'clock, which is the time we are scheduled to stop. Thank you very much for your patience and kindness.