Audio loading...

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

AI Suggested Keywords:

AI Summary: 



Yes, Reverend Shoho? Teacher, I heard you recently talk about fearlessness and being fearless and saying it's not the same. And I also heard you say that... Excuse me, first of all, you wanted to talk about how being fearless and fearlessness are not the same? Right. And I heard you say that one enters fearlessness by watching one's fear closely and openly and gently and wholeheartedly, and one would enter fearlessness. And I'm looking at it and I'm just wondering where the stories are, because fear is always based on stories. I guess I was wondering...


I didn't get the next part of your comment. Something about stories and... Well, fear seems to be so much rooted in stories, but fear still seems to be a feeling. Fear seems to be a feeling. Right. Or it could be both. So I can see if one is open to one's stories, one relaxes with that feeling, which is a contraction. Well, I could understand that fear is a feeling. Fear is not really listed among Buddhist psychological, kind of like basic phenomena,


which is kind of surprising since it's such an important thing. It seems to be a dharma. But there are two dharmas, one is a fear of blame and a fear of shame, as sometimes you put it that way. And fear of blame... So fear is kind of there in that sense. Fear of blame means, you know, you're afraid that other beings will blame you or condemn you for some action, or even for perhaps some way you are. And then the other kind of fear is fear of like feeling that you yourself are feeling


that you are not behaving in a way that's appropriate for you, and that you'd be afraid of feeling a lack of... Well, actually, it would be a fear that goes with self-respect, that you'd be afraid that you wouldn't do something... that you would do something, you'd be afraid of how you'd feel if you did something that was not in accord with self-respect. So in that sense, fear is recognized. But also I think fear is the way we feel, maybe, when we imagine certain things in the future. So in a way it's a kind of consequence, a lot of times, of imagining something in the future.


It's a certain type of pain, or a certain type of discomfort and dis-ease that comes with thinking of something in the future. So a lot of fears are fears of loss. If we've already lost something, we're not usually afraid of that, we just have some difficulty adjusting. If we're sick and we lost our health... If we were healthy yesterday and today we're sick, just being sick and having lost our health is a different problem than our concern, our fear that we'll become sicker tomorrow. So fear seems to be this thing that happens to us when we imagine oftentimes some kind of loss that hasn't happened yet. Like if we're alive and we're afraid of losing our life.


Or we have a certain level of health and we're afraid of losing that level of health. Or we have a certain reputation, it may not be that good, but we're afraid of even losing whatever's good about it. Or we have a job by which we have livelihood and we're afraid of losing our livelihood. Or we have a state of mind that we've somewhat adapted to and we're afraid of losing that. And then the other fear is the fear of speaking in front of a large group. Which is kind of like fear of what people will think of you. It's kind of like fear of blame, that they won't like what you say. So fear is kind of a state, like a feeling state in a way, that's a consequence of certain kinds of imaginations. And so then when this state arises, we have an opportunity to practice with it


in such a way as to become fearless and realize fearlessness. And tonight when you asked me, I said something like, being fearless is not the same as fearlessness. Tonight they seem pretty similar. In that state there would still be fear be found? It's not like a place where the fear is gone? I think both being fearless and the state of fearlessness are both a state where there could be fear. You know, we have this Zen phrase,


the horse arrives before the donkey leaves. So the horse of fearlessness, being fearless arrives before the fear leaves. Being fearless where there's no fear is, I don't know, it's okay, but it's not really as wonderful as being fearless when there's fear. So I think what I meant by fearlessness is a different thing from being fearless. And also being fearless is not the same as just no fear. Being fearless is kind of the way we can be when there's fear. We have the potential to be fearless when there's fear.


Like to be kind of like joyfully practicing with fear when there's fear. You know, fear that seems to be in my psyche, or fear that seems to be in other psyches. And then I guess what I was thinking of is that the actual condition of fearlessness is kind of the condition of enlightenment. Just the actual, including the understanding that there's nobody out there separate from us. But that's also kind of like being fearless because when other people's fear is not separate from you, when you see that other people's fear is not separate from you,


in some sense, that's part of you being fearless. And thinking that other people's fear, or lack of it, is separate from you, sets up being afraid. Maybe that makes sense to you, does it? It's an equanimous relationship with fear, and there is also the possibility of understanding that other beings, those who are experiencing fear and those who aren't, understanding that they're not separate, not being hindered by belief in the appearance of separation. That also goes with fearlessness. In that situation, there is no fear.


So, see, the slight difference is that when there is fear, like beings are afraid, and in seeing that you're not separate from the beings, in that place where there's no feeling of separation from the suffering, frightened beings, in that realization of non-separation, there's no fear in that. So there are donkeys left? Yeah, donkeys left, yeah. They're just a horse. For the moment? For the moment, yeah. But, then, if you look at the horse's relationship with other beings, there may be donkeys. Donkeys


And then when you look at the donkeys, and realize, and look at the... whether there's any separation between the fearlessness and the donkeys, and then again you don't find the separation, then there's no fear there. But if you see fear in other beings, or in yourself, and you're equanimous with it, that sets up the possibility of seeing that the separation between the manifestations of fear cannot be found, and then again there's no fear there. But all the fear-frightened beings are still completely supporting the realization of no fear. Okay.


Yes, Astrid? Yesterday we discussed some Air Force chaplains coming to Green Gulch. Yes. And one person expressed a dilemma on what to do. Between a vow that they had made to not support any military activity or institution. And you gave a really amazing response, I thought. I was really struck by how right I felt to what you said about that we are actually welcoming everybody, criminals and drug dealers and murderers, and we are open to them, and we want them to come. We vow to be open to them.


We aspire to be open to all beings, and we promise to work on that aspiration in the Bodhisattva path. So I've been thinking quite a bit about this, and I can really feel this dilemma that that person expressed. And I want to live that way. I want to make this vow that I want to be open. I want to make this vow to be open to whatever comes to me, and in whichever form it comes to me, to be open to that and not shut down. And at the same time, I totally understand the vow of that person, which is actually a no to something, and the no is a closing down in my perception. So on one hand, I have this idea or this wish to be open, and on the other hand, I really understand the person saying no,


based on our history, as Germans especially. There is a very good reason why he was expressing this. So you feel supportive of the person who says no. I feel a dilemma myself too, between the no that I think is understandable and maybe even appropriate, but on the other hand, the wish to remain open to whatever comes to me. Yes, so I wish to be open to a person who says no to violence, but also who says I will not support violence. I feel I want to be open to that person. But it's kind of complicated, because I might say that I wish to work for non-violence, but still today,


if there is violence, I feel that I do support it. To say that I would like not to support it, that's okay too, but right now, today, any violence there is, and any military forces that are existing on this planet, I do support them. I contribute to their existence. So to say I will not support them, I don't know what that means. It means maybe I will say no. It means maybe I will say I disagree with this way of conducting our life. I disagree with violence. I don't think it helps. I might say that. Or some other person might say that. But still, to say that I'm not contributing, I don't say that. To say that I wish not to contribute, I can say that too, but still, if I wish not to contribute to violence and it manifests, then I think I have contributed to it.


I did not want this war to happen. I opposed it from the beginning. But when it happened, I was supporting it. It couldn't have happened without my support. And part of my support was that I disagreed with it. As a matter of fact, I disagree with a lot of people. I mean, I disagree with a lot of actions that people are doing, even close friends. They come to me and they tell me of something and I disagree. And then they go and do it anyway. But I'm like totally supporting them, even though I totally disagree. That's the way I think of it. And I would like and I appreciate that they would tell me what they're thinking of doing so that I can have a chance to say I don't agree. I oppose it.


And, of course, if you do this, I will support it. It doesn't mean I'll like it. It doesn't mean I'll dislike it. Dependence. You know? Everybody depends on me. I depend on everybody. Everybody gives me my life. I give everyone their life. So I support the life. I give life to all beings. All beings give me life. Now, I still want to make I want my support to be beneficial. I aspire to that. But if some people are still suffering and still doing unwholesome actions, I'm responsible for that.


I feel that way. I do not feel I'm not responsible for this war and these horrible things. I do not feel that I'm not responsible for cruel activities in this world. Maybe sometimes I kind of slip into thinking that, but then I say, No, no, that's not right. I'm just trying to let myself off from being a responsible guy by limiting it and saying, No, no, I'm responsible for this, but not for that. That's not my understanding. Not the understanding I feel good about. What do you say? I'm overwhelmed by responsibility. Yeah, it's overwhelming. And so that's why we need to be fearless.


To develop fearlessness will help us open to our full scale of responsibility. So again, bodhisattvas have huge openness to responsibility. They have these huge vows, these huge intentions, these huge aspirations, these huge promises, and they practice fearlessness so that they can stand those promises. And of course they feel fear when they open to huge, horrible situations, or even huge, wonderful situations, they can feel fear. And then they practice with the fear. And then that makes it possible for them to live with the vows, and the vows encourages them to open to what frightens them. Okay. So a basic suggestion I'm making to myself and to you


is that to fully realize nonviolence we need to be fearless. And that the state of fearlessness is a state of nonviolence. The realm of fearlessness is a realm of nonviolence and awakening. To the way we're actually working together in harmony. But to open to that, we also need to open to our fear. Does that make sense? Did you have any problems with that kind of talk? Would you even say that all violence is based on fear? No. I would not say that all violence is based on fear. I would say nonviolence is based on fearlessness. Nonviolence isn't just the absence of violence.


Nonviolence is that you can, even when threatened with harm, you can come back, you can find a nonviolent response. But what's an example of violence that's not based on fear? Well, sunspots. I don't think you have to be afraid to see the power and the violence of a nuclear explosion on the nearest star. It's extremely violent. You know? It has tremendous velocity and force and anything in its way, pretty much, except something really even more fierce, would get, you know, pushed around quite a bit. What would happen to anything in its way? You might say, well, that was violent. How about any violence of sentient beings?


Violence of sentient beings? Yeah, violence of sentient beings. What sentient beings... The violence of sentient beings is based on fear. Well, the car wreck isn't the sentient being. You know, the sentient being would be the one who intentionally drove the car into somebody. Road rage is violence. But if you get into a car and the brakes don't work, you know, and you run over somebody... You're going to be scared. I don't consider cars unenlightened and frightened. We had this discussion with... I guess Yuki was concerned about... It was in the tea with the practice period.


She was concerned that mountains, you know, can be enlightened or unenlightened. I don't see mountains as enlightened. I see mountains as expressing the power of the Buddhas. I see mountains as showing us the Buddhas' power. They show us enlightenment. I don't think they show us unenlightenment. I think it was about suffering, wasn't it? It was about mountains suffering. Yeah, where the mountains suffer, right. And I'm saying that suffering is based on being a sentient being, based on ignorance. Buddhas don't really suffer. They feel pain when their loved ones are suffering. But that pain they feel is great happiness to them. It's not an unhappiness. It's a happiness that comes from love. But they don't suffer themselves due to ignorance.


There's a tie between Immanuel and Pitra. Kind of. I like to talk to you all the time. Do you talk to me all the time too? I talk to you all the time. Still talking? Yes, Pitra. I want to say something to what Al said about violence being always based on fear, violence committed by sentient beings. I can see that fear is at the root, but I would like more think that it's based on the root being separate. Like I have a hard time relating fear of somebody who is, you know, found and met and beating up the little guy. You really feel afraid in that moment. I can see that he's working, you know, standing on the base of a lot of experience in his life


that has to do with fear. So I can see that. But in that moment I can't see that motivation. So I would more call it the illusion of separation. That actually there's anything out there that he could hurt, or she could hurt. I agree with that. That the root is the belief in separation. The root of fear has the same root. So I guess the question is, can you see separation and go directly to violence? Or do you usually have the fear come up with the sense of separation? And so I'm proposing that maybe when the separation comes up, the fear is there. And then violence happens. But maybe it's possible to like, just the separation and immediately go into violence. Those are two possibilities.


Do you see that? Separation, believing it, the appearance of separation, believing it, and zip right into violence. Or separation, believing it, and fear, and going into violence. And it isn't that you always go into violence when there's fear, or always go into violence when you believe separation. It doesn't always happen. People aren't violent all the time. But we're at risk of it. As long as we believe in separation, we're at risk of violence. Yes, Elaine? Ellen? I feel fear when I feel unseparated. Yes, there's that too. But the fear when you feel unseparated is based on a belief in separation. So if you believe in separation


and then you contemplate non-separation, you feel like you might be overwhelmed or gobbled up by the non-separation. But if you didn't basically believe in separation, that wouldn't frighten you. You'd be okay actually with it. And that's a big part of our practice, is to open to the prospect of non-separation and feel that fear that would naturally come with that. That shows you're actually considering non-separation pretty deeply, when the basic belief is kind of saying, wait a minute, no, no, no. That seems related to this other point I was thinking, what about this example of the big person beating up the little person? If there was fear there, what would it be? Maybe it would be this, the big person is afraid of facing the non-separation, opening to the non-separation with the little person.


Or the big person may be afraid that his bigger friends will think he's not big enough, unless he beats up the little person. When I was younger and I would see people beating up on little people, if I had a chance I would say, oh, wait a minute, I have somebody better for you to beat up on. And they would go, oh yeah? This person is not really, this isn't really, this is not for you, this is beneath you, to be beating up a little bit, let's go find somebody big. Like me, I used to be big. Beat me up, that would really be fun. They go, oh yeah, that would, wouldn't it? How did that work out? It worked out really well. Every time it worked out well. What do you mean by it worked out well? Usually they stopped beating up the other person and didn't beat me up.


Because you were bigger? I wasn't exactly bigger. Actually, one time I used to weigh a lot. I was never very tall. I used to be two inches taller than I am now, but I weighed a lot more. I weighed about 40 to 50 pounds more than I do now. And one time I was at a drive-in, they're called Dairy Queens, they have some in California now, but anyway, I was at this place called Dairy Queen, and I was standing outside in the parking lot, and these two guys who were about a foot taller than me, maybe, not quite maybe, but they're really big guys, and one of them said, Reb Anderson's here tonight. And one of them went, where? Do you see that? They were looking around like, where is he?


But they looked up, and I was standing like way beneath them, you know? So I kind of, what do you call it? Sneaked away. I didn't want them to find out that this mythological figure was just a little tiny guy. But you know, myths can be useful, so that when you meet people who are beating somebody up, you can say, well, this is not really a mythological thing for you guys to be beating up on this little guy. We can take on something really big, you know? Like me. And when you say that, suddenly you look really big to them, and they go, oh, that would be interesting, wouldn't it? And if they were interested, I would say, but this wouldn't actually be something that you'd like to do.


You'd regret it afterwards. And they always believed that it would not be a good idea. But it would be like interesting, but not good interesting. You were already into boxing back then? I was already known for this boxing thing. So, in this area, in this certain city, it was known that I was this person who did this thing. What was the fearlessness quotient in your boxing? In my boxing? For me? Actually, I had another experience. I was a heavyweight. Not very tall, but I was a heavyweight. When I was boxing, I weighed 195. And in boxing, they have weigh-ins. They weigh you beforehand to see what...


Even if you're heavyweight, they still weigh you. So, this guy was ahead of me in the line of the weigh-ins, and he was also standing up on the scales, you know. And he weighed 240. And he was up on the scales, and he had a hat on, too. And he looked down at me and kind of snickered. Kind of like... You're going to be in this thing, little guy? And at that time I thought... I kind of thought... I'm going to be in this thing with him? I thought it just seemed strange that I was going to go into a ring with a real big guy like that. I did kind of think, what's going on here? It wasn't exactly scary. It was more like, am I insane? This seems really dangerous. But I wasn't so frightened, actually.


Kind of excited, more. You didn't feel separate? You know, when I got in the ring, I kind of didn't feel so separate. I kind of felt like... I was going to get... And when you're little, it's easier to get close to the big guys in boxing. Because you're a smaller target, you know? So they're throwing these punches out towards you, you know? And you can duck down and get under the punches. And then get real close to them. Get inside in this area. Which is what my coach instructed me to do. He said, just go inside and then do various things. Which I did. And then after I did various things, I went like this. Up to where the head is.


And then Goliath went down. And when he went down, this same guy was snickering at me, when he went down, the ring shook up and down, you know? And also, at the same time, the bleachers fell over backwards. The bleachers in the balcony fell over. Now, I thought that they fell over because of the ring shaking. But it wasn't because of that. It was because the people in the balcony stood up. And when they stood up, the bleachers fell over backwards. But I thought... To me, it seemed like, you know, that this huge guy, when he hit the ground, the whole building fell down. And then he just stayed there. And then people came in with oxygen and stuff.


Very exciting. I retired after that. Let's see... Then I went into what's called Judo, which means the gentle way. That was an interesting sport, too. I learned that it's a very exciting sport because... Actually, the night before, I remember the night before, I did get scared. I was thinking about it as I was going to sleep the night before this tournament started. And I was thinking... In other sports, like, I don't know what, track and field or football, you go out there, you know, and if you lose, generally speaking, the score can be lopsided like 50 to nothing or something in football.


Or in track and field, you can be second or third or fourth in some things. But in boxing, you're only one guy on your team and your whole team can get knocked out and get carried out. So it seemed like really different from the other things. And most other sports I was doing, I was thinking of what I would do. I would go over my mind what I was going to do. But in this one thing, it's not just what you do, but what they're going to do to you. So I did actually kind of get upset thinking about it beforehand. Thinking about the future I kind of got frightened. But when it actually got in the ring, I didn't think about the future. Actually, I did one time, I now remember it. He actually, that big guy actually, I think he did hit me one time. Yeah, he did hit me one time and I think, and I remember it hurt a lot. And I think I got knocked down


when he hit me. Yeah, I think I actually got knocked down. And I remember the referee holding him back, you know, because when you get knocked down in boxing, they don't let the other guy come in right away. After you get up, they let you get up and then get on your feet again and they hold him away for a little while before they let him come back. And I remember feeling really good about that referee holding him back. You felt his support? Huh? You felt his support? And I also felt like I didn't really want that guy to come back right away. Because, you know, he just hit me and it hurt and I got knocked down because of it. So I kind of felt nice, nice that he was not coming over here with me for a while. But then my coach gave me some instruction and then in the next round he got knocked out. It was quite surprising to me,


but that happened. And we became good friends after that. Excuse me. Yes? Emmanuel might still have a question. Emmanuel? Yeah. Yes, Emmanuel? Is quality, is fearlessness, does that mean that you can have fear but that you don't act on the fear, you act in spite of the fear? Do you fear you don't want to do something but you go ahead and do that thing anyway? Yeah, I think that's part of it, is that there's fear, but you're not enslaved by it. You're free of it. You're free of it, you know, like you can dance with it. You're in relationship with it. Like when you're dancing with somebody, you're in relationship with your partner, but you're also free of your partner in the dance. And your partner is free of you,


then the dance is really good. When you're relating to each other and depending on each other and also by realizing that dependence and not resisting that dependence and not being afraid of that dependence, we have this thing called a dance. And there's creativity and understanding and freedom. So if we can be that way with fear, relax with it, play with it, dance with it, be creative with it, then we'll understand it. And when we understand fear, we'll be free of it. That's a practice principle which I offer to you. And that applies to everything else too. Relax with it, play with it, be creative with it. And be creative with it means let it be creative with you. So you let the fear be creative with you too. It isn't like,


I'm just creative with the fear. Let the fear, you know, do some work on me too. Let the fear play with me. Let the fear touch me in various places. Not just me, touch the fear in many places. So neither me nor the fear are separating from each other. In a way, we're intimate with fear through not realizing our intimacy with beings. When we realize our intimacy with beings, then there is no fear. In that intimacy. Even though we're intimate maybe with a being who's afraid. But in the intimacy there's no fear. And with intimacy,


we find the intimacy when we relax with beings who seem separate from us and who might, you know, want to hurt us or something like that. But it's possible if someone does want to hurt us, but we realize this person who wants to hurt us is intimate with us and so they want to hurt me, but I'm not afraid. And not only do they want to hurt me, but they might be successful at it, but I'm not afraid. And I won't be violent with them, even though they might try to be violent with me. Because I'm not afraid of them and I'm intimate with them. But if I lose track of my intimacy, then I can become afraid of people and be violent with people that really I'm intimate with. So we're already intimate.


If we lose touch with it, we become afraid and at risk of being violent with those with whom we are intimate. How does this work with fear of death? The same. If you relax with death, be playful with death, be creative with death and let death be creative with you, as you say, let death have its way with you, then you'll understand death and be free of death. You'll still be impermanent. It doesn't make you change your impermanence, it's just that you realize freedom with death, if you practice and play with it. Does that make a lot of sense to you?


It's a tall order, but we're talking about a tall order. Fearlessness is a tall order. Not falling for our sense of separation is a tall order, because we have this huge habit of believing that we're separate from other beings. Don't we? Don't we have a real strong habit that way? So there it is. Now let's just take good care of it. And then we could potentially someday become free of it. The freedom from fear, can it happen by will, or is it a grace we can get? I would say it's grace.


Just like reality is grace, we don't make reality by ourself. Also will is grace too. Whatever will we have is given to us by all beings. We don't make our will by our own will. However, our will has consequences, and part of the consequences of our will is future wills. But we don't make ourselves fearless, but we are graced with teachings, which help us, and then we're graced with receiving the teachings, and then we're graced with practicing the teachings. So even though it's given to us, if practices are given to us and we don't practice them, then certain things will go one way, and if practices are given to us and we practice them, then they'll go another way.


But it's not in our control about whether we'll practice these practices. So now it's not within my control that I will be playful with the next moment of fear that arises in me or you. But still, all this is grace. This is all being given. Fear is grace, and fearlessness is grace. Fear is grace, and practices with fear that are realized fearlessness, it's all grace. It's all given to us. We are other dependent beings. The way we are is given to us by the universe. And the universe is giving us some instruction that that's so. And we're very grateful to hear it, because hearing it, it might sink in, and then we could participate in grace.


But we can't think grace. We have just to experience it. We can't think grace? Well, yes, you can say we can't think grace, but you can also say our thinking is grace. Every time you think something, that's given to you by your past, your history, your past thinking, and all of our thinking gives you your thinking. So your thinking doesn't reach the grace, but your thinking is a manifestation of the grace of the universe. So it's something we experience in the present. That is something we experience in the present. It's not exactly something we experience in the present. It's something we are in the present. Again, if you experience it, it's out there a little bit separate. But it's the way we are in the present. This is our nature. We are given our life. We are given our death.


And we are given instructions about how to practice with our life. And when we do practice with our life, we will see that then we will realize how generous the universe is, and how generous we are, because we're part of the universe, we're also generous with the rest of the universe. And anybody who doesn't get this, all they need to do is practice and they'll understand it. Even though you're not in control of practicing. But you can still understand, maybe. Oh, the reason why I don't get this is because I don't practice. Completely. And this guy tells me, if I do practice, I will get it. And he also tells me that when he sees people practicing, they do get it. They understand when they practice. When people practice generosity, they understand generosity. And when they don't, they may not. But it's already the case that we're generous,


and that everybody else is generous. I don't know if we want to record the next part, which is going to be not very interesting. So probably it will be really interesting.