Exploring Consciousness and Realizing Wisdom

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Exploring consciousness with the aid of Buddha's teachings is a path to discovering and realizing deep, liberating Wisdom. Consciousness may be experienced as confining and confusing; at the same time it offers opportunities for learning skills and making discoveries.

AI Summary: 



The vow, which we just recited by the ancient teacher A.H. Dogen, starts out by saying, I vow, or we vow, to hear the true Dharma. So one interpretation of this is that the true Dharma is conveyed to us and we convert the true Dharma into a conventional version of it, into word images in our consciousness. So in a sense, you know, it's like, it is the true Dharma, but it's really our rendition of the true Dharma. However, by repeated receiving the Dharma and converting it into word images, and that


practice leads to eventually being able to actually hear the true Dharma, which is not words. Because, by working with words, all words, including the words of the teaching, according to the words of the teaching, dealing with the words of the teaching and dealing with all the other words of our life, like the words about our self, for example, by dealing with these words more and more skillfully, we actually eventually hear the true Dharma, which is not words. And it's coming from a source which is where we're going is now where those words come from. Those words come from the fruition of the practice that we're doing.


The words come from a place of freedom from words. But the first thing that's coming from the freedom of words is an inconceivable reality, an inconceivable light, which can turn into a light that we can see, that our mind represents, or turns into a word that our mind can represent. When we hear this true Dharma, we will renounce worldly affairs. You could also say, if you renounce worldly affairs, you hear the true Dharma. And this temple is named after renouncing worldly affairs. No abode, the mind of no abode, is the mind which renounces worldly affairs.


What does it renounce? It renounces, for example, the putting something on the self, that's a worldly affair. A basic worldly affair is that we have this self in consciousness, there's somebody in consciousness, and if there's not somebody in consciousness, there's no consciousness. But there is consciousness, so there's somebody there. However, you can also put something on consciousness. You can put something on the self and you can put something on consciousness. Really, in both cases, that's not in accord with reality, to put something on consciousness. Because, again, consciousness is not a thing. It's something that depends on the self, and the self isn't a thing. It's something that depends on consciousness. There's no self without consciousness, there's no consciousness without self. Also, there's different aspects of the self. And certain types of self are not there without other types of aspects of self. Even though the other aspects of self can be there without those other types of self


because they haven't developed yet. Anyway, I'm just telling you, all this is process, and it's a worldly affair. To put something on this process, so you can grasp it, that's a basic worldly affair. Yes? I used it because Homa brought it up. But another way to... Ascribe? There's ascribe and then there's also another word, I like it. But anyway, to ascribe things to it. Impute. Superimpose. Do you say taint? Designate. It's not actually designate. First of all, you put something on it, then you can designate it. And that's one of the main reasons we like to put something on the self,


so we can designate it. So the basic thing is, you put some image of a self or attributes onto the self. You put an essence on the self or attributes. And then because of that, you can make conventional designations. The imputation of substance and attributes to the events of consciousness, the central one being a self, allows conventional designation. Like, I went to the store. I practiced Zen. I did a good thing. And therefore, these are mine, and so on. Okay? So the basic rule of the affair is to categorize, reduce our life,


and say that the reduction of our life is our life. When you hear the true Dharma, you see that that doesn't make any sense, really. I mean, it doesn't make sense in the sense of saying that that's what our life is. However, it does make sense to say our life is that, in order to go shopping and to present your passport and eat oatmeal. Those kinds of things, it's useful for. But it's not really useful to think that that's reality, which we do. That's the worldly affair, which we will renounce when we hear the true Dharma. And the readiness, the willingness to renounce worldly affairs is the readiness for the Dharma.


The readiness to let go of clinging to self and things like that, the willingness and readiness to have a mind which doesn't abide is also the readiness for the true Dharma. So when you hear the true Dharma, you will be able to stop abiding, but you sort of need to be willing to stop abiding. Otherwise you might say, well, if you close to the idea, if you close to not abiding, you close to the Dharma. But also, if you close to abiding, you close to the Dharma. But most people don't have a problem, I shouldn't say most people don't have a problem, but some people don't have a problem with abiding. They say, oh, it's fine for me to abide. But some meditators, they sometimes kind of close down on being attached.


They're going to reject it, which is another form of attachment. So being open to attachment, being open to suffering, being open to non-abiding, being willing to open in that way also opens us to the Dharma. So once again, when you look in consciousness, you see the imputation, the ascription and description. There we go. Ascribing and describing of what's going on there. And the ascribing and describing, if you look at it, you'll start to see that there's stress around it. And then you might say, well, I don't like that ascribing and describing. And I also don't like that I don't like it, and so on. So, for example, I'm okay, I'm an okay guy,


I'm an okay girl, I'm a lousy guy, I'm a worthless guy, I'm an above-average guy, I'm an excellent guy, I'm a good Buddhist, I'm a bad father, I'm a good uncle. Those are descriptions of me that could arise in my mind. I'm worthless, I'm lazy, I'm smart. People talk like that to themselves. And then they talk like that to other people, too. And then if they think that that's true, they suffer. Does that make sense? You suffer when you think. Like if you say, you are beautiful, you may say, well, that doesn't hurt that much to think that about somebody. But, if you look more carefully, you'll notice there's a stress around that. And the person who you say that to,


or if somebody knew you were thinking about that, they also might be stressed. They might be stressed because they feel like, whoa, what am I supposed to do with that now? Or they might feel like, you know, how dare you limit me to that word. It's a compliment, I know, but it's really kind of a trashy thing to make me into. And I remember, I've told you this before, one of the first shocking things I heard from Suzuki Roshi was when he said, when you see a flower and say it's beautiful, that's a sin. I thought, that's very strict. Most people, a lot of people anyway, I don't know most, I haven't done a survey, but I think a lot of people, when they see a flower and say it's beautiful, they don't feel the stress. It doesn't seem that agonizing to say beautiful, but there's stress there.


And if you did that over and over, you know, to flowers, after a while you start to feel sick. Because each little time hurts you a little bit. Each little time kind of gouges the flower. And then you realize, after a while, the damage you do to your relationship with the flower by repeatedly treating the flower as it's beautiful, in other words, the flower is what I think of it, doesn't seem to hurt that much, the flower doesn't immediately wilt. But your relationship with the flower will wilt if you keep putting it in the beautiful box. One of the nice things that flowers do for you is they do wilt. But not because, not because of you categorizing them. They do it because they want you to wake up to your categorizations. By saying, I'm not going to keep being


anything you say I am. I'm going to change. So you say that, or you think that, you're looking at a flower, and it's beautiful, but you don't abide in that. You just see the beauty, and then you see the beauty. But you're not fixed on, or attached to that, or moving on that thought. Well, then, that's good. That's good if you don't believe that what you just said about the flower is the flower. And also, this thought, it's beautiful, it just comes up. You can't make yourself think that thought. Like right now you say, okay, I'm going to think the flower is beautiful right now and show you. But if you do, if you all say,


okay, one, two, three, the flower is beautiful, you couldn't do that without me bringing it up and telling you you couldn't beforehand. Because I did just tell you you can't do it. Nobody can do anything by themselves. However, with the support of our past karma, we can speak English. You know, by going, bring that, blah, blah, and then you hear knife, after a while you can say knife, because of your past karma. So these things can happen, but I don't make them happen, the results of my karma make them happen. So he's saying it's a sin if you're attached to... Yeah, except he didn't say that part, he just said it's a sin. I think what he meant was, if you see the flower and you really do think that it's what you think it is, that that's a sin. Maybe he did say it that way, who knows.


But anyway, I thought that was still pretty strict, and I still think it is strict. A little bit of abiding, a little bit of clinging, is enough. Like we say, a hair's breadth difference is like the distance between heaven and earth. A hair's breadth difference between whatever, you and others, between delusion and enlightenment, a little bit of difference. In other words, a little bit of difference means a little bit you don't accept that there's no separation. That's sufficient to set up the whole world of suffering can be built on that. Are you going to say something, John? John number... Say again? Is it the same as the thought being beyond thinking? When you say, is not abiding the same as non-thinking?


In the thought, it exists beyond thinking, beyond thought. It's not dependent on my thinking about it. It could be that it has... Well, beyond thinking doesn't mean... Like, you being beyond my thinking doesn't mean you don't depend on my thinking. You do depend on my thinking, and I depend on yours. But you depend on more than my thinking. So you are beyond my thinking. But if you had nothing to do with my thinking, you wouldn't be beyond my thinking. But that's not the case. You do depend on my thinking. And that's part of the reason that you're beyond my thinking. The flower does depend on my thinking. I depend on the flower. My thinking depends on the flower. We're interdependent. We're all in a process together. And you can't grasp anything in the process because you can't get outside the process.


However, in the process we can imagine images and superimpose them on the process and say that the process is the image. The process supports us to do that deluded thing. We have evolved to be able to do that. So, if the thought arises in my mind that I'm not being responsible, that I'm being rigid, that I'm being selfish, if these thoughts arise, I do not reject them. Just because they're just thoughts. The thought that I'm whatever, a negative thing, it's just a thought, but I don't reject it. I listen to it. It's like a cry from the world. I listen to it, I receive it. People tell me various things. Like they said, that was a below-average talk you just gave.


That was above-average talk you gave. That was a really good talk. You're a really good guy. Or, you're not such a good guy. People say stuff to me like that. And I listen. And even if I don't listen, I vow to listen and say, I'm sorry that I didn't. But I listen. But I don't believe that what people say about me is me. I don't believe it. I might be tempted in some cases. Like somebody says, you're a really good granddaddy. I might be tempted, oh yeah, to believe that. But I vow not to. Does that mean I believe I'm a bad granddaddy? I vow not to believe that I'm a bad granddaddy. I vow not to. And if I do believe it, then I reveal and disclose my lack of faith and practice before the Buddhas.


I practice that. I believe in that practice. And what lack of practice am I avowing and revealing and confessing? My lack of a mind that does not that does not relinquish worldly affairs. I got into a worldly affair when they said, really good granddaddy? I thought, yeah, that's me. I'll be that for a while. That was a worldly affair, which I, if I hear the true Dharma, I hear it, it goes by, worldly affair. I mean, good granddaddy, bad granddaddy. I listen. You know, I said, of course I listen, good granddaddy. But I vow to listen to bad granddaddy too, which I could hear from certain people. Like, I even hear,


sometimes when I go to pick people up at daycare, they say, I don't want granddaddy. They want mommy. It means, I don't want granddaddy. I hear that. I listen to that. And I vow to listen to it. And I vow to not dwell in, I don't want granddaddy. And sometimes I don't dwell in, I don't want granddaddy. And then I don't have to confess. But when I do dwell in, I don't want granddaddy, then right there in daycare, I reveal and disclose, oh, there it is, before the Buddhas, my lack of faith in renouncing the worldly affair of abiding in what people are saying about me. And that melts away the roots of transgression by the, not by Buddha's power, to whom I,


not just to the power of my good friends, but to the power of the confession and repentance. It melts away the root of the transgression. What's the transgression? The worldly affair. This all happens in consciousness. In consciousness is where you do the worldly affairs. It doesn't all happen in consciousness. In consciousness is where you do the worldly affairs. In consciousness is where you see the lack of practice. In consciousness you reveal it. And in consciousness you invite witnesses. And that activity, the power of that activity is it melts away the root of that activity, and the root of that activity is the consequences of that activity. Of past worldly affairs. The fact that you resided in your thinking, the fact that you attach to what people say about you in the past


is the root of you attaching to what people are saying about you now. So you could say, Okay, I vow to renounce worldly affairs. I vow to not believe what I think of you guys. Even though what I think of you is that you're the greatest people, I vow not to abide in my thoughts that you're the greatest. And some of you may say, Well, in this case it's all right, go ahead. And even though you say that, I vow not to abide in you telling me to go ahead and abide in that. That's my vow. That's the practice. And the willingness to commit to that comes from, in the past, being willing, you know, hearing about that and thinking that's a good idea. That transforms the root of the transgression. In Chakravarti, there's no root of the transgression. I can wish to not abide and still abide, because the root's still there.


But to wish, and also then, when I wish and don't follow through on the wish, to confess, I didn't follow through, and I'm sorry, and I want to try again, that transforms the root. These thoughts come from the root of our past clinging, and we've done a lot of it. So the roots are well established, but they get transformed by this practice. And the people in Twelve Steps are often, after a few years, they get quite sophisticated and skillful at revealing and disclosing in a skillful way, in the way that reveals and discloses and melts away the root, rather than revealing and disclosing and then getting distracted by that, and wallowing in it. This is very clean. I don't beat myself up. I mean, I vow not to beat myself up, I just state the facts, man.


That's it, this is what I did, and I really am sorry. But when I say I really am sorry, I mean like I'm really sorry, like I just want to make clear I'm really sorry, not to make a big deal out of it, just make it clear. I'm sorry, and I really mean it. I'm not kidding. This is a sober, wholehearted statement, and it's so wholehearted, there's no clinging right now. There's just confession. And repentance. And now let's go back to work. What's the work? Pay attention, and be kind, so that you can be willing to not abide in what's going on, and actually then not abide. Yes? The root is the consequence of our karma.


Yes, sticky. Well, not necessarily that issue, just the previous actions lead to being sticky with present actions. It doesn't have to be the same ones, but the same ones are often there to sort of work it out for this, because as you say, some places you may be not so sticky. It's possible. Yes? Yeah. I was thinking about an example of positive, you know, a feeling of, this is wonderful, or you are wonderful. Okay, so,


and what it feels like to me is if I'm not abiding there, it feels like just a direct experience that feels like joy or appreciation. When you're not abiding. And that's part of abiding, too. Yeah, like if I'm not forming a thought of it. If you have it, if the joy is something that you possess, then you're abiding again. Okay, well, it seems like something that's arising and then the words come out. Oh, no. Even the words are okay. You're not necessarily abiding. When you say, oh, blah, blah, well, oh, I see. You're just letting a word come as an expression of... You're even letting a word come which seems appropriate to this state, like joy, you let the word come, so there can be the joy without abiding.


The word joy can come up, but before the word joy comes up, you put a little bit something onto the joy, but you can even put things onto the joy without abiding in the putting on. You can... I think there is, in our unconscious process, in our unconscious process, there is a predisposition towards conventional designation, which is a predisposition towards putting something on what's happening so that we can make designations. This is so great, for example. Yeah. So if something's happening, and not even something's happening, in the realm of non-abiding, nothing's even happening, you're not even abiding in things happening. So you're like... You feel great joy that you're not abiding in things happening or not happening. This is like...


And this is very joyful. And when you're well trained, then you do the same practice with the joy that you did with whatever it was that you weren't abiding in before. Like you could hear this... I'll tell you this story later. You hear the sound of a pebble striking bamboo, you don't abide in it, and this great joy comes of feeling what it's like to be free of sights and sounds. Then you don't abide in the joy. And, but still, your teacher tells you after you don't abide in something, and this great joy comes and you don't abide in the great joy, then see if you can say something to me. Because in order to say something, you have to do another subtle thing of put something on this amazing experience in order to say something about it and see if you can not abide when you put something on it and then not abide when you talk. But the thorough realization


of non-abiding is you're not abiding in some sound, then the joy comes of non-abiding and you don't abide in the joy, and then the joy is even greater and you don't abide in that, and then somebody has told you when you don't abide and when the joy comes and you don't abide in the joy, then I would like to see if you can talk to me and then see if it's clear enough so that you can talk without slipping back. Because some people do have like experience of non-abiding in the consciousness, non-abiding in self, feeling free of all that stress and the joy of that freedom from that stress, and they don't abide in that, and then somebody says, say something, and they hesitate. Because it has to be pretty subtle that you can actually like put something on it and then say something about it without slipping back into it, because usually when you put something on it to say something, you do abide. But otherwise,


Buddhas wouldn't be able to talk to us, but they can. But they have to go through different layers of non-abiding, non-abiding, non-abiding, and non-abiding. And the process can break down. You could go one, two, and break down. One, two, and break down. One, two, three. One, two, three, break down. One, two, three, four, not break down. So I'll tell you a story about that later. So the teachers don't just say, go to the place of non-abiding and just stay there. They say, go there, and then when you get there, come back and talk to me. Not from leaving non-abiding, but leaving the place where it first arose, which probably where it first arises there's no words. It's just like, oh, there's words and you're not abiding in them, but the non-abiding isn't any word. And then the joy can arise before you have a designation for it. So, okay, now.


Now come back into designation and see if you can talk to me without slipping. So it's quite a trip to go in there and come back. So you've got the common consciousness, you're watching it, you're taking care of it, you're practicing the way we talked about, you enter into the fact that this is all just... that the self is just conscious construction, it's just a process, you can't get a hold of it, you can't abide in it and you're released from all that stress. And you're released and... not just released, but then this great joy comes and you don't abide in that, and then come back into conventional expression. I just thought, you know, one thing just popped in my mind is that the Buddha told this story that there's different levels of understanding. One level of understanding is people who are conscious


when they're conceived. People who are conscious when they're conceived and they continue to be conscious through the embryological process. People who are conscious conceived embryological process and also when, you know, going through the womb and coming out into the world. Different levels of... those are different levels of awareness. That they actually can stay aware through that whole process. More people can be conscious at birth. I mean, you know, actual conception, when they first start to be alive, more people are conscious then, but they lose it as they go into the... It's a pretty dynamic situation. You know, there's a one-celled organism that's conscious. There's a living being there. I don't exactly know where it is,


but let's just say, theoretically, that it's a one cell and then you get split into two cells and still stay conscious, and then into four and still be conscious. Or even if it comes later, you know, and you're like a thousand-celled organism and you're conscious, and then suddenly, you know, an elementary canal starts to develop in you, you know, and arms start sprouting, you know. Yeah. It's hard to stay present with that stuff. Just like teenagers, you know. It's hard for them to stay present. You know, when they're ten, they're sort of just getting it together. They can say knife and stuff. They can play the piano and then suddenly stuff starts sprouting, you know. Various places start growing and sprouting and the voice changes and the hair grows. You know, you start to smell different. And then the nervous system starts going, blah! It's hard.


So, in a sense, they lose it. They lose consciousness. It's hard for them to pay attention to their consciousness at that time. So hopefully now you can pay attention, right? Yes? I was thinking about you saying a person has to say something from that place and I was thinking you have to really not be afraid of being foolish or wrong to speak, you know, in that situation. And then I started thinking about what kind of self, because you said there are different aspects of self. And what aspects of self do you think you can do to be foolish? I think that to get to the place from which you will now speak, that requires also, you know, not necessarily that you're not afraid, but that you can address, you can not abide in the fear.


If fear comes, that's a perfectly good thing not to abide in. So, yeah, to get to the place of not abiding, one of the things you have to not abide in is fear and concern about what other people think about you. Well, like, you know, some people are concerned that people think they're weirdos for sitting, spending Saturdays sitting quietly listening to another weirdo. Like my daughter thinks I'm a weirdo. But also a good granddaddy, that's what she thinks. But the fact that she thinks I'm a weirdo, you know, I vow not to abide in her thinking I'm a weirdo. I vow not to attach in her thinking I'm a weirdo, just like I vow not to abide in her thinking I'm a good granddaddy. I vow to not abide in being afraid of what people think of me. I might be afraid of what they think of me. The fear might arise, but my practice is not to abide in that fear. By practicing


not abiding in the fear, eventually, I might not abide in fear. And then I might not abide in all their opinions and all my opinions of myself. Then I enter. And I have to be very kind to all this stuff to not abide. And then I enter. And then once I enter, then I know that I made a vow is to come back from entering into this not abiding and participate in ordinary society again and to demonstrate that that's possible from this place. You started out saying there are different aspects of self, and you sort of described self as a doer and self as an owner. Yeah, I'll talk about that in a second. I'll come back to that. Yes? So, one of my favorite stories that you told about the monk who was accused, the Osso Descartes story. Yeah? I just realized in the CP talk now that I've been told I've always looked at it from the monk's perspective.


And now I'm looking at it from the accuser's perspective. So it's... at the same time, you're seeing someone abiding and someone not abiding in the story all the way through that story. Yeah, thank you. So the people who are accusing the monk are abiding... Well, we would assume so. Yeah, we would assume so. He seems to be not abiding. Because of what he can do, because of his conduct, it looks like it would be difficult to behave that way if you were abiding. The people who are... who are accusing him and then are praising him, those people... you might think they were abiding when they accused and hated him, and you might think they're abiding when they praise him and think he's wonderful.


You might think in both cases they're abiding. We don't know. Because he didn't do something that would show us that they weren't abiding. You can't be sure that people are abiding so much, but you can kind of get a hang of who isn't abiding. When people do something, some things are so astounding, you think, how could they do that if they were abiding? So the story is, you know, about this actually famous Zen master named Hakuin, who is the teacher of Torei Zenji, whose vow is on the other side of that piece of paper. So Hakuin Zenji, I don't know how old he was, but anyway, at a certain point he lived... his temple was not too far from Suzuki Roshi's temple. It's on the Pacific side of Japan in the Shizuoka-ken. Shizuoka, which means quiet hills. Shizuoka means quiet. Oka, hills. The quiet hills province.


So his temple was there, which is not too far from the Pacific Ocean, and some girl in the fishing village got pregnant and told her parents that he was the father. She wanted to protect the actual father. And I don't know if she thought, well, Hakuin probably can handle being attacked, so I'll blame it on him. And they did attack him. They said he was a terrible, terrible disgrace to the priesthood of Zen. And when the baby comes, you can take care of the baby. And he said in Japanese, I think, aso desu ka, which means, is that so? Or, it means, is that so? Or, oh, I see, uh-huh. I see. This is what you're saying to me. This is what you think of me. I got it. It's not quite thank you very much, but it's, you know. Then, after a couple of years,


and then Hakuin does, with the aid of a wet nurse, does take care of the baby. For, I think, a couple of years, the girl finally tells her parents who the father really is. They come back, and they say, thank you for taking care of our granddaughter. So kind of you, and you didn't even try to protect yourself and argue with us about it. You are truly a great, great teacher. And he says, aso desu ka. And with the first part of the story, I thought, that's pretty good. But the second part of the story is not only that that's, it's not exactly harder to say, is that so, when people praise you, but the fact that it was the same in both cases, you know. And also, that he might have actually been saying, is that so? Like, maybe so. Maybe I am really a terrible priest. Maybe I am an excellent priest. So I'm open to either one. I'm not abiding in either. And I thought,


I want to learn that skill. Because that's a skill, you can do stuff like that when you don't abide. Which is great, because then other people can see it. And they did see it. And it could have gone the other way. It's like, praise, aso desu ka, blame, aso desu ka, praise, excuse me, yeah, praise, blame, praise, blame, it just goes like that forever. Apparently. I mean, that's where it seems that people praise, and then they blame, and then it's going to go on. And people even criticize Shakyamuni Buddha. And, of course, Abraham Lincoln, and so on. So, it's like, aso desu ka, aso desu ka, in other words, not abiding in the opinions other people have of us, but listening. And so they say, you take care of the baby, and you might say, okay. And they say, can I have the baby back? You say, okay. I thought he really did a good job


of showing what wisdom can do. And I would like to be... Even when I heard the story, I knew I wanted to be able to do that, but how do you... It isn't just luck, is it? How do you get to be like that? And then I gradually found out that he and some of the other stories, which I really liked, they all had the same basic training course, which is this meditation practice where you practice not abiding in what's going on. It's actually you sit there and try to sit without abiding in the sitting. You follow your breathing in and out without abiding in the breathing. You train at that. You sit there and you see yourself, and you learn about yourself without abiding in it. Dash, you sit there and study yourself, and when you understand yourself you don't abide. So, now maybe we can just go


quickly into consciousness now and see the two basic kinds of self. One kind of self is a self which is talking, like I'm talking. I'm moving my hands. I'm here with you. You are my friends. You are not my enemies. When I say those things, those are actions. Those thoughts are actions. And the sense that somebody is doing those actions, those are the actions of somebody, that's like an autobiographical, a narrative self. And all of my emotions, I would say, are basically these actions. I'm talking to you. I like you. I'm confused about you. I hate you.


Those are actions. Those are activities of consciousness to create those opinions, those attitudes, and then, of course, if I speak them, that's further action, and if I make postural gestures towards them, then that's also action. So there's three types of action, and all three types. The sense that I'm doing them, that they're mine, or I didn't do it, they're not mine. That's emotions, that's the narrative self. And that varies. The self doesn't vary exactly, but what the self is doing is constantly varying. So I'm a different, the narrative self is changing according to the narration. Then, based on that first level of conscious self is another conscious self, which is just knowing that there's this narrative self,


and the knowing doesn't change from action to action. I know I'm confused about you. I know I have ill will towards you. I know I'm attached to you. It's the same knowing. And I know. I know, I know, I know, I know. It's more subtle, and it operates on the first one. It's more subtle, the first one's not exactly gross, but anyway, you can have the first one without the second one. And, in other words, you can be quite aware that you think you're doing something and not be tuned into that you know you think you're doing something. But at this level of development most of us have both of them most of the time. And all you have to do is be quiet and you can see both of them. Which is another reason why, another reason for self being a process,


and another mode to discovering that it's a process is to look at this and keep track of these two levels of self. And then also see how the second level depends on the first level, and the first level depends on the actions and the emotions that it's operating with. And then in addition to the action scenarios, which are the story of the self, there's also a perception of the actions, which are feelings. So there's also feelings, which are that you perceive the particular actions, and each perception of the action is a different feeling. And those also are what come with the self. The self has these actions and feelings. And so that's another reason why the self... If you take away the feelings and the actions, there's no self. If you put the actions in without a perception of them,


there's not a self. Check it out. I propose to you that you can discover that that's kind of a law of the creation of the sense of self. I'm saying... And Buddhism teaches that there's always feeling. Now there's three basic kinds of feeling, positive, negative, and indeterminate, but also those are related to actions, those are related to activities of the mind, like, this is my friend, this is my enemy. Those are actions, and I have feelings, and when I perceive those actions, to just say, you're my friend, that's a basic action of the mind. The mind can do that. It can form those ideas. This is my friend, or even this is good. You can say this is good, and that's an emotion, that's an opinion, that's a judgment.


And that's a prop, that's a fundamental ingredient in the sense of somebody being here. That somebody's judging that, that somebody's doing that. But there's something else that's always going on, is that you actually perceive that they're doing this, and you have a feeling about that. And without that feeling, you don't have really the normal... I mean, you always do have it. So if you can't see it, just keep looking. And actually the feeling is the easiest thing to find. The feeling is grosser than what's being perceived. So if we look at what's called the five aggregates, first is the body, which is the sense organs and the sense fields. The next is feeling. And they say feelings are positive, negative, and neutral. But the feelings are about the emotions, or about physical actions. And the feeling is often looked at as the easiest way to get in touch with the sense of self.


And then the other one is getting into what the actual actions of the mind are. And then there can be an awareness of knowing all these different things. What are the actions of the mind? Well, like judging, like categorizing, like wanting to go towards or away from something, attachment and aversion, or anger, anger, ill will. Ill will and anger are not the same. You can be angry at something but have no ill will. You can also have anger and ill will. It's hard to have ill will without anger, but I think you can have that. Like you could actually look at somebody who you really like and wish them ill. We can do that. The mind can do that. Like somebody you love, I love you, but I wish you will not beat me at this game.


And after I beat you at this game, after you break your legs because we're having this race, and I hope you really break them so you can't get up and even crawl to the finish line, I'll still be your best friend. You'll still be my best friend. You can have ill will towards somebody that you're not angry at, you don't think anything's wrong with them, you think they're the greatest, but they're not, well, they're second greatest. The greatest is me. And I love you, but I have to make certain sacrifices of you. And that means I wish you ill. Also, you can have, without getting into the ill, wishing ill, you can have a spirit of violence. You can also have a spirit of non-violence. You can think non-violent thoughts. You can think non-violent thoughts. You, I, can think non-violent thoughts. When there's a non-violent thought in consciousness, somebody owns it.


It's part of my equipment, my non-violent thinking equipment. It's an action. And then perceiving it is a feeling. And then knowing all that, and knowing that there's a self that's involved in this current scenario, that's just basically the same each moment. The self has this story, the self has this story, this is her story, this is her story, this is her story, this is my story, and then there's getting into the story, and the details, and that story is about me. The knowing isn't really that the story is about me. The moral story is more like, she thinks this story is about her. And it can switch to, she thinks this story is about him, or he thinks this story is about... You know, however it changes, the basic awareness is more subtle. And you can abide in both. But as you study the first one, it sets up the possibility of not abiding in it.


As you study the second one, noticing that it depends on the first one, that helps you not abide in the second one. As you study them, you start to see the process. And also you start to see, when you do abide, you can also notice that abiding in this activity creates stress. And occasionally you might see the action without abiding is less stress, and also more understanding that it's a process. Or understanding it's a process, I notice that there's less stress. Understanding more thoroughly it's a process, even less stress. Seeing that it's nothing but process, no stress. This can be seen, and maybe it has to be seen over and over, and seeing it over and over transforms the root of transgression. What's the transgression? It's not noticing this stuff and putting stuff on and believing it. But gradually, because you transform the basis of this conjuring of different selves and their activities,


and conjuring of grabbing the self as you start to see the process, it transforms the basis of the process and transforms the ability to take the process more lightly. So, we can study this, but it's hard because we're usually geared towards, the self is usually geared towards dealing with all these activities rather than turning the light around and looking at the self's activity and looking at the self which knows. That's not usually what we think is our assignment. We think our job is me doing these things. The self directed towards its activities. We're used to that. It's a major retreat from that to turn around and look, oh yeah, I do think I'm doing this, and I'm aware. That's turning the light around to illuminate the self. It's hard to do that because we're so strongly geared in the other direction. However, when you do turn it around, it transforms the basis of being geared outward.


Outward means geared towards the part of the mind that seems outside your actions. Every time you turn the light around, it transforms the basis of turning the light out and increases the likelihood of turning the light around and studying yourself, which is the Buddha way. The way of liberation is to study the self and to realize that other people are your mind's version of them. That's also studying yourself. So, you don't let people distract you from your meditation. You look at them, you care about them, and you also care about your version of them. But you don't forget that you're dealing with a person and your version of them. That your relationship is mediated by your mind, which just will not let them be without a story. It just won't. For now, anyway, it's not happening. We're going to meet people with no story about them. Consciousness doesn't accept people who don't come with a story. Even though they're there,


we can't see them. Like I just mentioned to somebody, you know, the story about when the people of Mexico saw the Spanish ships coming and they couldn't see them. They couldn't accept it because they didn't have a story. They're not... That's not... Nothing's there, because it's not... Their body could see the ships coming, but they had no way for that to get into consciousness because they couldn't make up a story about it. And when somebody thought of a story, then somebody had it in their consciousness and then somebody could tell the other people the story and then they could see it too. Just like, you know, you can look at some stuff and you can't see the color and somebody can educate you and suddenly you see the color and they talk to you. Well, that was a long session and now you know how to study yourself


even better, don't you? So maybe now we could do some walking meditation, okay?