On Enlightenment and Delusion 

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

AI Summary: 



May I say again, Enlightenment lives in silence and stillness. Silence and stillness is where enlightenment lives. Enlightenment is living in silence and stillness. That's where it lives. And living in silence and stillness is enlightenment. Enlightenment is dancing in silence and stillness. Enlightenment has a partner. A dance partner. And the dance partner of enlightenment is delusion.


Enlightenment is dancing with delusion in silence and stillness. Dancing with delusion in silence and stillness is enlightenment. Maybe I should say, dancing wisely with delusion in silence and stillness is enlightenment. Next week, on this day, many people will be thinking of Thanksgiving. So there's a plan to not have a meeting here next week. But I hope and pray and request that on Thanksgiving, you enter the dance with delusion.


Delusion. Now we can have some discussion of dance instruction. So I'm suggesting at the beginning of the dance, be still and silent. And perhaps the next step would be to embrace. To embrace. To contact. To depend. To depend. One of the class members told me she was having fun with pettiness.


Her own pettiness. Enjoying, I forgot what she said, but anyway, enjoying being with her pettiness. But any story we have about what's going on in our life, even if we think we're being magnanimous or kind, if we think we're being honest or not honest, whatever we're experiencing, and we can talk about many examples, but basically, at the beginning of the dance, with this delusion, we are silent and still, and then embrace. Embrace it.


And this embrace could have a welcoming side, like welcome delusion. And also, kind of, yeah, welcome invitation. You are invited to enter. And then in this dance, each of us can be both sides of the dance. We can embrace the delusion. That's the enlightenment part, is to embrace the delusion. And we can also receive the embrace. So we can invite the delusion, and we can also invite the embrace of enlightenment. So delusion can invite enlightenment. Delusion can say, enlightenment, you're welcome to embrace me.


I'm an ordinary, deluded being, and I invite enlightenment to dance with me. There is an ordinary, deluded person here, and I invite the delusion to come, and I wish to embrace the delusion. I think it's good to play both sides, both the inviter, the welcomer, and the welcomed. But even the welcomed can invite the welcomer. I invite you to be my host. I invite you to invite me. So, I have some, I practice tango some.


And in tango, when the two people embrace each other, one of them, at the beginning, is usually understood, partly by where they're standing, not necessarily by their gender. But the one who's facing the line of dance is the host, or the inviter. The line of dance is a counterclockwise circle. So the one who's facing, who's moving forward in the line of dance, is the inviter. The one who's got his or her back to the line of dance is the guest, in a sense. The invitee. So the host says, the host embraces the guest, the guest is embraced by the host, but the guest, as soon as the host embraces the guest,


the guest embraces the host, hopefully. A simultaneous embrace. But one person, one person makes the first invitation. And the invitation is based on the embrace. Through the embrace, the host, the one who's inviting, tries to feel what foot the guest is standing on. If the host can't feel, then the host invites the guest to move the weight onto one of the feet. And then from there, makes an appropriate invitation. In other words, invites the guest to move the foot that's not carrying much weight.


And we can move from there forward, backwards, or in the direction of the foot that's not carrying weight. So the invitation is made, and the guest may accept the invitation and enter into the invitation. The invitation is made, and the guest may accept the invitation and move with it, especially if the guest understands the invitation. So the invitation is made, hopefully firmly, and clearly, and gently, and in a relaxed way. If it's firm and tense, it makes it harder, usually, a little bit harder for the guest to accept the invitation.


Once the guest accepts the invitation, the guest is now making the invitation. And the host then now receives the invitation from the guest. And then the host makes another invitation, and so on. Then they start taking turns. I feel this applies very nicely to when we're dancing together, and we take turns being either the host, the inviter, or the guest, alternating back and forth. But when we're not dancing with another person, we can dance with our deluded self. When we sit, we could start by inviting a posture,


or we could start by offering a posture. And the posture could be, this is a sitting posture which I offer, and this sitting posture is offered, and you are invited to embrace it. Or I'm offering this sitting posture, I'm sitting this way, and I'm inviting, embracing this sitting posture. I stand up, and I invite embracing the standing up. I don't just stand up, I invite embracing of the standing up, so that I'm both making an assertion and surrendering to the assertion, or making a gift and receiving it. And the gift I'm offering is a kind of delusion. It's a little story about my body,


it's a story about what I'm doing. So I'm suggesting enlightenment, it's not exactly that enlightenment is dancing with delusion, but it's not quite that dancing with... Yeah, and dancing with delusion is enlightenment. So this is a beginning instruction, at the very beginning. Another part of this is that if you invite delusion to come, and delusion doesn't get the invitation,


whatever delusion does, even though it doesn't seem like delusion is accepting the invitation, you embrace what delusion does, even though it doesn't do what you invited it to do. When I say you, I mean you Buddha, you enlightened one. So you embrace delusion, and you invite delusion to be with you, but if delusion doesn't seem to come, you embrace that, so that it looks like delusion is dancing with you. So I'm proposing that in reality, in enlightenment, there is dancing with delusion in silence and stillness,


and that this practice of dancing with delusion in silence and stillness is all-pervasive. However, we say, although it's all-pervasive, if there's the slightest discrepancy, it's like there's a big gap. In other words, we have to enact this dance. And it requires quite a bit of practice in order to actually be able to embrace, make an invitation which is clear and appropriate, and then, when there's a response, to change sides. And all this is going on in ourself all the time, but we have to join it in order to realize it. When we make a motion, when we move our body,


when we offer a movement of the body, that can be embraced or not. It can be movement, movement, movement, like this. Movement, movement, movement. Movement, movement, movement. That's delusion. Or it can be movement as an invitation, and it's embraced. Embrace me, embrace me, embrace me, embrace me. This is an offering. This is an offering. This is an offering. Embrace this, embrace this. You're invited to join this. You, my friends, but also something in me embraces what I'm offering. So, in a sense, I'm not getting ahead of myself. I'm dancing with myself.


And the I'm that's dancing with myself is enlightenment. The one who's with me all the time, never a step ahead or behind me, my close partner, who makes me successful, who makes me a successful dancer, is enlightenment. Or, I am the one who makes the deluded me a successful dancer. So some people feel like that's one of the reasons why people like to dance is because it's easy to be enlightened when you're dancing.


It's easy to make an invitation or be invited and accept the invitation. And then the other person, it's easy for them to invite you and accept your response and realize that's an invitation and accept it and offer you another response, which is now another invitation. It's harder to do it with ourselves, but with the aid of dancing we can learn to do it with ourselves. And dancing with ourselves is enlightenment. Enlightenment is dancing with sentient beings.


And in order for enlightenment to dance with a sentient being, a sentient being has to be a sentient being. Which again, being willing to be a sentient being is a sentient being is being offered and it's being embraced. Moment by moment, a sentient being is offered and being embraced. Part of the way this is going to work is this offering is made in silence and stillness and received in silence and stillness. The offering of an embrace, an embrace occurs in silence and stillness. But there's this dance in the silence and stillness of giving and receiving, receiving and giving. Mindfulness


This is not any different from mindfulness. So we have a very basic and ancient instruction that Buddha says here's the way of enlightenment. When a person is sitting, she knows she's sitting. When she's walking, she knows she's walking. When she's standing, she's mindful of standing. When she's reclining, she's mindful of reclining. When she's breathing in, she's mindful of breathing in. When she's breathing out, she's mindful of breathing out. When she has a painful feeling, she's mindful of the painful feeling. When she has a pleasant feeling, same practice. But I'm sort of emphasizing that when you stand up,


you're making an offering to enlightenment. It's kind of a delusion that you're standing up. To see the world that way is a kind of delusion. You're not actually standing up the way you think you're standing up. But you do think you're standing up, and the recommendation is that you be aware that you think you're standing up. It's not that you're sitting down when you're standing up. It's not necessarily that. What I'm emphasizing is that when you stand up, that means you think you stand up. And that's the delusion, and that's what we dance with. And if we don't dance with that delusion, it goes on without a dance partner.


It's not embraced, and it's just delusion. But when it's embraced, it's the same as what I was talking about last week, when it's embraced it's the same as the delusion being the delusion. So you're not just deluded, you embrace the delusion. You're not just deluded, you're being deluded. So it isn't that a deluded person is enlightenment. That isn't what I said. I said when a deluded person is a deluded person, a deluded person being a deluded person, that's enlightenment. A sentient being being a sentient being. So here I am, a deluded being.


I offer that, and I be that. I embrace that. I completely join my delusion. But me joining it is me dancing, me deluded person dancing with enlightenment. And I'm sort of saying there's a requirement here of learning how to embrace ourselves, to dance with ourselves, moment by moment, as we perform actions. So earlier today, I was moving,


and I was practicing dancing with my movement, in the sense of here's a motion, and I was trying to be particularly abreast with my movement. I offered in my movement, I offered my breast, and I tried to be abreast of my breast. Not just offering this breast moving forward, but being there with it, movement by movement. And I noticed that I could be there or not, that I could make the offering but not receive it. I could make the movement and not receive it, or I could make the movement and receive it, and I could make the movement in such a way that I was offering it to be received. Rather than just do it, I did it to be received. I'm not so much interested in getting it done,


just to get it done, but I'm offering, I'm doing it as a gift to be received. Like in dancing, I invite the partner to make a move, but I'm not making the invitation just to make my invitation, I'm making it so that she can move. And again, if she doesn't move the way I'm inviting her, then I change, in a sense, and I become abreast of what she does. So if I invite her to come to my right, and she goes to my left or goes backwards, I understand that's the way she embraces my offering. If I bring my breast forward, I wish to meet it.


I wish to be dependent on it as it's offered. I wish to tune in to that way of moving. All day long, I wish that. So I think maybe that's enough for you to start dancing. Vera? If I'm aware of standing up, and I'm present in the moment of standing up, and I'm standing up because I invite myself, or someone else invites me to stand up, why am I still deluded when I'm standing up, when I go to stand up? The standing up which I offer


is a small-scale version of my life. Or we could say petty, limited, reduced version of my life. I'm saying, OK, my life is standing up. That's the deluded part about it. That's all I'm talking about right now is I'm standing up. I'm not talking about the fact that the whole universe is supporting me to stand up. And I'm not talking about that my standing up supports the whole universe. I'm just talking about, actually, excuse me, I'm just talking about standing up. And I accept that I'm talking about standing up,


or I'm doing standing up. I accept that that's what I'm offering. I'm not offering everything. Which, in fact, I am offering everything. But I don't live that way. I offer little, limited versions of my life. And everybody supports me to do that, but I'm not offering everybody supporting me to do it. I'm offering this little, limited thing. That's what I mean by delusion. That's a self. That's an illusion. That's a karmically constructed version of my life, which I happen to be offering to the world right now. As, for example, standing up. And I'm saying that if you remember


that this is happening in stillness and silence, and then you embrace that action, so you're aware of it, you're completely aware of it, and you're completely willing, and you're not at all distracted from being this limited performance. That that willingness to be that way, that is living enlightenment. Enlightenment is not someplace else from your delusion. But if you're deluded half-heartedly, then you're just deluded half-heartedly. But if you're deluded wholeheartedly, that means that enlightenment is dancing with you. If you're wholeheartedly standing up,


you're completely being your limited, deluded, sentient self. That's enlightenment. And it's a hard dance to do. Because sometimes when we stand up, we're kind of interested basically in standing up rather than making an offering to embrace the world and let the world embrace us. We're kind of interested in standing up rather than just completely standing up. Not really caring whether we actually manage to stand up or not, just caring about being wholehearted about the attempt to stand up. Does that make some sense?


All right. Yes. In working with this conceit about the dance, I keep thinking about that line from Yeats about distinguishing the dancer from the dance. And I'm also struggling all the time with this idea of silence and stillness. Recently I heard you describe the silence as the roaring. I think the tigers roar of silence or something like that. The lions roar of silence. And I thought, that's what silence feels like to me. And stillness feels like this complete validity. And I was thinking about the Yeats thing as you were talking. I was wondering if the silence and stillness in one sense is the dance. And you're not aware of the dance until you embrace the dancer


in that kind of set up. Because otherwise you're in the dance. The awareness is not there until you embrace that dancer. And then you include the dancer into the dance in that action. Is that following your conceit that you're working with? Perfectly. I offer you my wondering about how we're dancing.


Very marvelous. Any offerings that we wish to make about this practice of enlightenment dancing with delusion? Yes. I'm just imitating where there's no apparent action. No apparent tango or dance, but just a way of meeting. Like now you mean?


Like you and I meeting now? Is that an example of what you're talking about? Are you and I meeting now? Are we dancing? I would say, yeah, we're dancing. How do you feel? You feel like we're dancing? Could you tell me about how we're dancing? You're thinking, yeah? That's part of how we're dancing. Part of how we're dancing is your thinking. Remembering what? Oh, remembering.


Remembering is part of how we're dancing. I tend to just say remembering reality. Remembering reality, but also remember we're dancing. Remembering that we're doing something together. Remembering that we're doing something together and then also remembering together that we're doing something together. We are doing something together, but are we remembering that we're doing something together? We sometimes forget that we're doing something together. And sometimes we feel like one of us is remembering that we're doing something together,


but we're not sure the other one's remembering. So there are stories of where, you know, like in tango that the host invites the guest, and the guest doesn't do what the host invites, and the host feels like we're not doing this together. Rather than, I invited you to move forward and you moved backwards, and you moving backwards, something we're doing together. If you had moved forward, after I invited you to move forward, then we would have been doing that together. But you didn't move forward, you moved backwards. That wasn't what I thought I invited you to do, but that's what you did, and that's what we're doing together. And I remember that we're doing it together. I don't know if you remember, but people watching think that you do remember,


because they think I asked you to move backwards. Because when you do what I wasn't expecting, but I realize that you doing what I wasn't expecting was something we did together, and I move to witness that, people think I asked you to do this, because they thought I was in the position of inviting you to move. So we're doing it together. Enlightenment is together with delusion. It's moving with delusion, and we call this moving together, I call this moving together, a dance. Delusion may or may not understand that enlightenment is doing things together with it. And the way that delusion can really understand


or demonstrate understanding is by completely being deluded. Then the delusion realizes that it's doing it together. If you invite them to move forward and then move backwards, should you invite them to move forward again, or just accept? Well, if I invite you to move forward and you move backwards, I go with you. So it looks like I invited you to go backwards because I'm the inviter and you went backward and I went with you. If you do what I think I invited you to do, I do that with you. If you do something other than what I invited, I do that with you.


So either way, we do it together. And I want to make the dance successful, not I want to make my dance successful, I want to make our dance successful. Enlightenment wants to make delusion successful. Successful at what? At the dance. At the dance. So enlightenment is trying to teach delusion to be wholehearted about what it's doing. So if I invite you to move forward and you move backwards and I don't go with you, then that's not wholeheartedly being with delusion. The guests, they often get invited to do certain things.


But when they get invited to do something surprising, especially if they're familiar with the dance, that's what they really like, is when they get invited to do something surprising. And they don't, especially the experienced dancers, they don't say, they're really happy about that. It's okay to be invited to the usual movements that they would expect under those circumstances. It's all right. Like you invite them to move forward and then you might move them to the left. But to do something surprising is the most healing. So if someone misunderstands me, that may be quite surprising to me, and for me to appreciate that surprise heals delusion through that dance.


Tell me your name again. Mike. Can you say more about wholeheartedness? I can say more about wholeheartedness. I wonder what I should say. Did you say, what is it? Well, it's not so much that I can tell you what it is, but I can say something. But it isn't that what I say is going to be it. So, for Mike to be completely Mike, I would say that's some language about wholeheartedness. For Mike to completely embrace Mike is wholeheartedness. So, for example, again, if you move, if you make a facial expression,


and you're completely making that facial expression, that's wholeheartedness. Or I would even say, if you make a facial expression, and you're making that facial expression, when you're making that facial expression, that's also wholeheartedness. If any part of you is not there for that, that distracts you from being the way you are. The wholeheartedness is there already, but if you're a slightly bit not there for it, the wholeheartedness isn't realized. It's still there. The dance is going on, but unless you perform it completely, you're there for it completely,


it isn't realized. So you could say, is the wholeheartedness the being there, or is the wholeheartedness the being there? It's the same thing. And it's very difficult for us to be present for each, for this, for one, and then again and again, to stay in the dance. And although dancing is kind of easy, dancing with another person is easy to do, relatively easier to do this than being with ourselves. Being with ourselves, in that full, wholehearted way, where the dance with ourselves is the Buddha way. And the thing that's with ourselves, the thing that's dancing with ourselves, is enlightenment.


Enlightenment isn't just... The Buddha way is not just enlightenment. The Buddha way is enlightenment dancing with delusion. And it's hard for us to be there for the embrace in the moment without being distracted from this. It's hard for us. Even though, when we're distracted, enlightenment's dancing with us then, too. So if you're distracted wholeheartedly, then you realize the dance with enlightenment. And again, it's hard for us to be wholehearted when we're distracted. That's a very advanced practice, to be wholeheartedly distracted. Laurie? Possibly related to being distracted. I've been thinking about how forgetting something


is a karmic consciousness. Definitely. Forgetting, yeah. Forgetting is a karmic consciousness. So I'm leaving the zen dojo and walking up to my apartment, and I could be very mindful of my movements all the way up there. But still, I had told myself I was going to talk to this person before I came upstairs, and I forgot to do that. I don't know, I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but that's what I'm offering to us. So then I think,


I wholeheartedly, how do I feel wholehearted about, how do I wholeheartedly forget what I forgot? You did. You did wholeheartedly forget what you forgot. You did. And the wholeheartedness of that forgetting, enlightenment was dancing with you in your forgetfulness. However, how do you perform forgetfulness? It's hard. But when I'm forgetful, when I'm a person who is forgetful, me being a person who is forgetful is enlightenment. Me not joining that and


performing that doesn't realize it. But in fact, sentient beings all day long are sentient beings. And in fact, all day long, the sentient being being the sentient being they are, that's enlightenment. How do we join that? How do we join us being ourselves all day? How do we join ourselves being deluded all day? That's what I'm talking about, how to do that. Where is silence and stillness? It's here. The joining of being myself is going to happen in silence and stillness. If I'm distracted from silence and stillness, it's going to be harder for me to perform me being a forgetful person. If I'm distracted from silence and


stillness, it's going to be harder for me to be the forgetful person I am, if that's what the case is. So all day long, we are being ourselves in silence and stillness. We've been that way our whole life, that's where we be ourselves. And where we be ourselves in this silence and stillness, that's where enlightenment is living. It's living right there with us. If we get distracted from silence and stillness, we're also distracted from enjoying being ourselves. If you remember silence and stillness, okay, now embrace yourself. Embrace yourself to embrace yourself by remembering silence and stillness. Silence and stillness, okay, delusion. Not trying to fix it up, just this one. And everything I'm forgetting by being this deluded thing, I'm forgetting this person I had an appointment with, I'm also


forgetting to be other people. I'm forgetting a lot. That's what ascension being is, it's a forgetful creature. But that's what I am. Can I remember that? Yes. Can I forget it? Yes. I have to remember it, however, in order to perform it. And if I don't perform it, even though I am performing it, I miss the enjoyment. Ted? In this invitation, is there an effort? Yes. Every moment, ascension being is an effortful creature who is making invitations. Every


moment, ascension being is making an invitation. It's inviting its dance partner to come. And its dance partner comes when the inviter is completely himself. The complete person you are is inviting all beings to join you in this dance. That's going on all the time. Can you join it? And sometimes you can, and when you do, you have a taste of the Buddha way, and you have a taste of being met with enlightenment, which is always dancing with you being you. Or rather, you being you is enlightenment. And when enlightenment is


dancing with you, you get to be you. And if you're not willing to be you, enlightenment has a hard time dancing with you. It would like to, but you're too busy being somebody other than yourself, so enlightenment can't get you. Enlightenment wants to dance with you. It wants to meet your face, but if you don't have your face on, it has to wait until you put your face on. But you are putting your face on. Are you distracted? Often, yes. One story that's arising in me, which I'm actually willing to be with this story, is


that you are really thinking about how to be yourself. And I really appreciate that you're wondering about how you can completely be yourself. And you don't have to do it all by yourself, though. Everything's helping you. But I hope we can remember to be ourselves. And it's going to be two weeks until we meet next time, so I pray for us. I really would like us to be ourselves every day until we meet again. And it's very hard to do. It's


very easy to get distracted from being ourselves, but I really hope we're able to not be distracted too much. Yes? Would you say a way to describe that would be being ourself would be our own unique division? Yes. Uh-huh. Yes. Elena? Elena? Yes, I was thinking that sometimes I make a face and I see that all of me is in that face. However, sometimes I make a face and I see that only parts of me are in that face. Aren't they both the real me? Yes, you're always the real deluded version of yourself.


But is one more genuine than the other? No, no. Sentient beings are always genuinely a false version of themselves. Sentient beings are always a limited, fabricated, made-up version of what they actually are. And if we're willing to be that particular, unique delusion about what we are, that's a sentient being. And we actually are that way, but if we can join it, we can appreciate that we have a dance partner. If we can give ourselves to being this limited, deluded version of our life, which we're involved in,


then we can join that. We're joining the fact that we are actually that way. And then we join enlightenment, which is with the way we actually are. But if we're not with the way we actually are, we miss our partner, our wonderful partner. We miss the dance. If we don't embrace ourselves, we don't get to feel what's embracing ourselves. Enlightenment embraces sentient beings, not some other sentient being from the sentient being, the actual one at the moment. And enlightenment is trying to encourage the sentient being to not be distracted from that, to be wholehearted about that. Can I just do a little bit more? Well, it's past nine, so maybe that's enough for tonight.


So good luck to us on the great and difficult work of being these people. And these people, and these people. It's a big job, but only you can do it. Thank you.