Freedom from Delusion through studying Delusion

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A virtual Dharma talk by Tenshin Roshi for an online gathering of the No Abode community

AI Summary: 



Let's see, well, we just chanted a verse at the beginning, written by the ancient teacher A. H. Dogen. And at the beginning, Dogen said, in the original, he actually said, I vow from this life on through all countless lives to hear the true Dharma. But we could also say, I could also say, you could also say, I vow to see the true Dharma. And so that's a vow, a commitment, to see and hear the true Dharma.


And that commitment, that vow, might go with the wish, the wish, the aspiration to see and hear the true Dharma. And that aspiration to hear the true dharma, to see the true dharma, might arise in relationship to another wish. A wish to save all beings. A wish to save others. A wish to liberate all beings from delusion and misery. So when we have a Dharma event like this, it's good for, I think it's good for us to reflect inwardly about our motivation in our lives and in particular also our motivation right now as we come to this meeting.


Is our motivation to save all beings? Is our motivation to cut through all affliction in order to save all beings? So again, the verse we just chanted, the ancestors said that if we do hear the true dharma, if we do see the true dharma, we will be able to care for the true dharma, take care of it. If we see it and hear it, we'll be able to take care of it.


And in taking care of it, in maintaining it, the great earth and all living beings together will attain the Buddha way. Once again, in seeing and hearing the true Dharma, we can take care of it. And in taking care of it, the great earth and all living beings together will realize the Buddha way and be free of suffering and be able to help others be free of suffering. So again, let us reflect on a regular basis, once a day, twice a day, every hour, every minute. What is our central motivation in life?


If it is to benefit all living beings, if it is to benefit and liberate this world of suffering, then perhaps we can vow to do so. And this vow will be the basis for us to see and hear the true Dharma, which will enable us to fulfill our wish and to fulfill our vow. And then the next paragraph says, although our ancient twisted karma has greatly accumulated, indeed being a cause and condition for obstacles in practicing the Buddha way, may all Buddhas and ancestors be compassionate to us and free us from karmic effects. So if we've discovered this this wish to benefit this world, to contribute to the liberation of all beings and the great earth.


Even so, there may be karmic obstructions to this great work. And then it says, may all Buddhas and ancestors be compassionate to us. Here we are, perhaps, wishing to liberate all beings, wishing to benefit this troubled earth, this troubled great earth. But there may be karmic obstructions to this work. May all Buddhas be compassionate to us and free us from these obstructions to this work. And how do they free us from obstruction in this work? How do they free us from the karmic obstructions and turbulence that seems to make it difficult for us to do this work? How do they do it? With compassion, yes. And in their compassion, they give us gifts. And what gift do they offer us?


They offer us the teaching. offer us the dharma. They offer us ways to look at our karmic consciousness wherein we, wherein our self lives partially. And that's where the karma is appearing. Everybody has karmic consciousness, but not everybody is studying it. So the Buddhas, and if we don't study it, then the karmic consciousness is a hindrance to the vow to save all beings. If we don't study the karmic consciousness,


then the karmic consciousness just keeps generating hindrance to the practice of living for the welfare of all beings. Everybody has karmic consciousness, but not everybody's studying it. The Buddha's compassion encourages us to study karmic consciousness, which is there every moment. So now I am offering through the Buddha's compassion, teachings on how to study karmic consciousness and teachings about the causation, the cause and effect relationships of karmic consciousness and all beings.


Last Tuesday, I started a series of classes under the auspices of the yoga room. And after the class, someone graciously offered me some feedback on the class about karmic consciousness. And they said, I think they said something like that they found the class confusing. And one could say that the class was confusing, but also one could say that karmic consciousness is confusing. Or that karmic consciousness is usually embodying confusion. And usually there's confusion in karmic consciousness.


So to study karmic consciousness is involves studying confusion. Now, someone could have also given me the feedback on the class that they found the class deluded. And again, karmic consciousness is full of delusions. So if you see delusion, If you see confusion, you actually have a great opportunity there because when you see that, you're seeing karmic consciousness. But it's not necessarily pleasant to be looking at or contemplating confusion. So pretty much,


all karmic consciousness is confused and diluted. But again, not everybody is aware of it. All the cruelty and unfortunate, unwholesome activities that are going on in the world today, those are enactments karmic consciousness and now that their enactment of unexamined, unilluminated, misunderstood karmic consciousness. If karmic consciousness is not studied and understood it remains confusion and delusion and from that confusion and delusion very unfortunate actions are born, are, you know, and expressed.


Karmic consciousness has consequence. Every moment of karmic consciousness has consequence. Everybody's karmic consciousness is having consequence. But the unexamined karmic consciousness is the one that causes harm in the world. And the examined one leads to the enlightened one. And the enlightened one brings benefit to the world brings benefit to the world where some karmic consciousnesses are not being examined. It brings benefit to those who are not examining their karmic consciousness. It brings compassion in the form of teaching to the unexamined karmic consciousnesses.


So if I am blessed with the aspiration to live for the welfare of others and liberate all beings from suffering and benefit the physical and sentient world, and I want to do that work, then it would be appropriate for me to examine the realm where obstructions to that work are living. And in that examination, come to understand that realm and realize Buddhahood for the welfare of all beings. So as many of you know, the ancestor Dogen, who I just quoted, who says, There may be karmic hindrances. Dogen also said, defined, gave one definition of delusion, a delusion that lives in karmic consciousness.


He didn't say that, he just said, to practice and confirm all things while carrying the self is delusion. Or you could say by driving our actions and our practice with a self is delusion. And that's usually what's going on in karmic consciousness. is there is a sense of self, and there is confusion about it, and there is a sense that the self is doing the practice, and the self is relating to all things. To see that way, which is common in karmic consciousness, is one of the definitions or one of the pictures of delusion.


And then Dogen also says, to be greatly awakened in the midst of this confusion, in the midst of this delusion is Buddhas. It doesn't say that Buddhas don't have any confusion or delusion. It says to be awakened to this delusion that exists in karmic consciousness, to be awakened to delusion greatly is Buddhas. I like that way. awakening to this delusion is Buddhas. Another translation would be, those who are greatly awakened to this delusion are Buddhas. But when you say those who are, it makes a little separation between those and the awakening. I prefer


Just the awakening, the great awakening about delusion, that's what Buddha is. And we all of us have a consciousness that had delusions in it. So Buddha is right there in our consciousness when our consciousness is understood. When our delusions are understood, that's Buddhahood. or that's, and actually Buddha is there in our consciousness all the time, understanding it. Once again, everybody's got deluded, confused, karmic consciousness, but not everybody's looking at it. So I'd like to work with this consciousness and be in conversation with other consciousnesses to help examine this consciousness and help other consciousnesses examine themselves, study themselves, see the delusion, compassionately observe the delusions, compassionately observe the confusion.


Rather than try to get rid of the confusion and then study Buddhism, let's work with the realm of karmic consciousness. Let's study the karma moment by moment. It's there to be studied. It's warm and still to be enjoyed. And again, it's there whether we enjoy it and pay attention to it or not. But if we don't take care of it, then it just creates more obstruction. Unattended karmic consciousnesses create more hindrance to our practice of the way of liberating beings and benefiting beings. I just was recently been studying the various kinds of ordination ceremonies that we do for lay people and priests.


And I came upon a transcript of an ordination that occurred, an ordination ceremony that occurred in 1970. And it was the ordination ceremony of me, of this person, and also of my Dharma brother, Paul Disko. We were ordained almost 52 years ago. And I see Charlie here. I don't know, Charlie, if you could find and see if we have the audio. of that ordination ceremony because it was recorded on cassette. And I have the cassette and I'll give it to you, but I think the cassette might be not usable anymore.


But usually we do not record ordination ceremonies at Zen Center. And I didn't know that the ordination ceremony that I was in was recorded. And it was. And I was reading it recently. And at the end of the ceremony, Suzuki Roshi talks about and suggests to us that we all have this true mind within us, this mind that Buddha has, the mind to save all beings. He suggested it's in us. And he suggested that the ordination ceremony is to join the order of studying and taking care of this great mind. So Charlie, in your spare time, if you ever have any, could you see if you can find it? The ordination was August 9th, 1970.


And if you do have it, great, and if you don't have it, I'll give you the cassette, but I have a transcript of it. Okay. So, do you have any questions about how to study your mind, your consciousness, your karmic consciousness? Do you have any questions about how to study and [...] compassionately investigate your own karmic consciousness. Do you feel motivated to do so? Do you feel responsible to do so? If I wish to benefit all beings, remembering that means I remember the karmic consciousness which has that wish in it.


First, I look and see if I can find that wish in the karmic consciousness, and then to take care of that wish, to protect it, I need to keep looking to see if it's living in my mind. And if it is, how's it doing? And how's the confusion in that mind? And am I letting any moments of confusion pass unattended? And the answer is probably I do sometimes. But I can actually, right now, as I'm talking to you, I can look at the karmic mind while I'm talking to you. My speech is a karma coming from my consciousness. And my consciousness has a pattern which is the karma. And I'm studying it, and I'm not just studying it because it's interesting or not interesting, because it might not be interesting.


It might be boring. A lot of people tell me that they find their karmic consciousness really boring. That they're sick of it. They sometimes say, I'm sick of myself. That's one way to put it, but another way to put it is I'm sick of looking at the consciousness, which has a self in it. I'm sick of a consciousness that has a self in it and where a self is surrounded by all kinds of confusion and delusion. And yeah, and I understand how one might be sick of it. It's not, it's kind of like being in rough waters. You might get seasick if you pay attention to this karmic consciousness. But if I want to benefit all beings, then part of my responsibility, in addition to practicing compassion towards self and all beings, is to do the work of studying this confusion. Because again, studying this confusion is what Buddhas do.


And in studying the confusion, they realize awakening about the confusion. So if I want to benefit beings, Part of my responsibility is to study confusion and delusion of my own mind and meet other people and hear about theirs and help them study their own and have them help me study my own by asking me if I'm studying my own. Okay, I don't know, maybe that's enough as an introduction. And let's see if it's enough as an introduction to what?


To ascertaining if you have within your mind, in your karmic consciousness, a wish a mental phenomena, which is a wish to realize awakening in order to benefit all beings. Is there that wish there? I offer you that question now, and I hope you take care of that question in the future. Again, Suzuki Roshi said in my ordination ceremony that we do have that wish in us. We do have that true mind which wishes to save all beings. It's there. Look and see if it's there. And if you can find it, then the next question is, is there any confusion coexisting with that wonderful, wonderful wish? And there probably is. And do you understand, is it clear, that if you have that wish, then also part and parcel of that wish


is the responsibility to study the hindrances that surround, the afflictions that surround that wonderful wish, that wonderful aspiration. And if you do understand that that is our responsibility and the responsibility of your consciousness, then let's talk about how to fulfill that responsibility by studying, that situation and also by listening to teachings about that situation and also to listen to teachings about the causation in relationship to studying or not studying karmic consciousness. So in the midst of confusion, do you have any questions? In the midst of confusion, Do you have any requests?


In the midst of confusion, do you have any comments? In the midst of confusion, do you have any confusion? I see many yellow hands. Okay. Yellow hands, unite. Our first offering is from Samir. Hello, Red. Hello to everyone. Hello. I have a question about my confusion. As I told you before, the reason why I started to practice Zazen, it was because I heard, I read something from Sawaki Kodo Hoshi, practice for nothing.


And when I heard that, it was a kind of illumination in me. Is it possible to do something for nothing? And from that time, I entered the practice of Zazen and tried to practice wholeheartedly with the Sangha, by myself, and not having expectation that I will gain something from the practice. So studying myself and the karmic obstructions It's a part of the practice, as you said, and I try to do it, but at the same time, I feel a duality, like I practice to gain more clarity instead of just practicing facing the wall,


cleaning the house and helping somebody in the street and so on, but just by acting, not by intellectualizing or psychologizing, I don't know, you understand, using our Western psychology So could you please give me more? Yeah, thank you. Okay, so you said you started practicing zazen when you heard this teaching from Kodo Sawaki Roshi, right? Yeah. The teaching of practice sitting for nothing. Practice sitting with no expectation of gain. That really appealed to you? So then you tried to practice it and you have been practicing it for many years, which is great. He didn't say if you have the wish to benefit all beings, practice this way.


He just said this practice and it appeals to you. And I would say the reason this practice that he told you about appealed to you is because you do have the wish to benefit all beings. Of course I have. Yeah, but he didn't say that. But I'm saying that and you say of course that's right. If you have the wish to benefit all beings and this practice that you're talking about is an appropriate practice. So that's great. And what I'm also saying is that you also have a karmic consciousness. So here you have a karmic consciousness and in there is a wish to benefit all beings and also there's an appreciation to live without trying to gain anything. However, the karmic consciousness has deep habits to try to gain something. And if we don't attend to those practices, for example, to gain clarity, or to be more perfect at not trying to gain anything, if we don't take care of that karmic consciousness, then those obstructions


undermine the practice of, for example, to do an action like sitting or talking or thinking in a way that's clear. Clear what? That sees what delusion really is. So you have the practice in mind and the practice of sitting, for example, with no without trying to gain anything, that practice could be called the practice of the true Dharma. That could be called the practice of taking care of the Dharma. But there's karmic hindrances. And you don't have to go look for them, they're right there. However, we do have to pay attention to what's right there. And what's right there is that the place where this orientation to practice for the welfare of all beings, without any expectation of gain, the practice to live for the welfare of others, without trying to gain anything.


That's the practice. And There's all kinds of delusions around it. And we have to also, part of our responsibility is to study those delusions, again, without any gaining idea. If we ignore them, they just keep undermining this simple practice. Once again, the simple practice of living to save others with no expectation of gain. That's the practice. And that practice lives in a space where there's confusion. If we don't take care of the confusion, then not taking care of the confusion will throw us off of this simple practice. So we have to take care of the confusion. And then again, learn to take care of the confusion to save it and have no expectation of saving it. Is it a delusion to think that


Practicing for nothing is possible? I believe that it is possible. And I believe that it exists, that the practicing for nothing exists surrounded by confusion, which is trying to gain something. If that simple practice doesn't live in the midst of trying to gain something, then all those attempts to gain something will not be liberated. and they'll just keep generating more obstructions. But if we do this practice, which is already right there, it will liberate all of our attention to gain something. I believe that. That's what I believe, yes. And that's why I'm here, to keep working compassionately with all this confusion for the sake, and with no expectation that anything's gonna be accomplished.


I want to accomplish the freedom of all beings, but I have no expectation that it's going to happen. I believe it's possible, but I don't expect it. But I'm working for it. I love you, Rick. I love you. Our next offering is from Jim. Good morning, Rev. Good morning, everyone. So every day I have a habit of going to sit, zazen, and I always go to that practice with the intention of studying karmic consciousness.


It seems like that's what I'm here to do. And I usually start out with some success, actually. And then what I notice is that karmic consciousness has a mind of its own. And at some point, it seems to take over. So what I conclude, what I think is that karmic consciousness has some resistance to being studied. It seems to me to be part of the dilemma of karmic consciousness is it has this resistance to being studied. It doesn't want to be studied or it's evasive. it's trying to get away from being studied.


And so... Thank you. Yeah, so then I... Can I say something right there? Yeah, please. The observation that karmic consciousness has some resistance to being studied is a revelation that comes from studying karmic consciousness. So the fact that that's been observed, the resistance is being reserved, is a success story. There's some awakening to that the situation that's to be studied also has within it resistance to it being studied. So my next strategy is to you know, I guess, go back, go back to studying it, even though it resists being studied. And study the resistance.


Right. So the wish to study and the resistance live in the same space. Study that confusion, study the resistance, along with the wish to study. That's part of the work. And you're doing it. And be compassionate, of course, be compassionate to the wish to study karmic consciousness. Clap for that, yay. And also be kind to the resistance. And the resistance is part of our biological situation. It takes a lot of energy to study karmic consciousness. It doesn't take any energy not to study it. So, so there's the, the, our body and mind is built in such a way that, that, that are, that, you know, study is very expensive. So you could say we're, we, there's a habit to not expend the energy that it takes to study the karmic consciousness.


And so part of the Buddhist teaching is to praise study so much that we'll get over our laziness. You could say resistance. Or you could say it's laziness. The karmic consciousness has a laziness in it, which doesn't want to spend energy of the body and mind to be studying this thing, because the karmic consciousness can go on without study, which is not good, but it can do it. And it doesn't take any energy just to keep rolling along and obstructing the Buddha way. So when we start, when we wish to study what you're saying you want to do, we notice that there's some habit of not studying, which is similar to resisting studying, which is similar to resisting to expending the energy on study, rather than the energy on karmic karma, which doesn't, which is very efficient, just go rolling, very easy. It's hard to study karmic conscience takes a lot of effort,


We need to really think it's important. And you do, but you need to keep thinking it's important and also apply practice to the resistance. Be kind to the resistance, study the resistance. You could say Buddhas are those who are greatly awakened to the resistance to studying the mind. Great awakening to this resistance is Buddhas. So it's a success that you wish to study and that you notice the resistance. And again, now study the resistance and awaken to the resistance and that's Buddhist. That's what I intend. Great. Thank you. You're welcome. Our next offering is from Allison. Hello, Allison.


You're muted. Great. Great. Great to see you. To see you. And thank you to the sangha for being here with us. We spoke about a week ago. And when we spoke, I shared with you that I'm exploring the experience of betrayal and exploring the question of how one heals from betrayal, how one frees oneself from what I'm realizing through this conversation is a complex karmic consciousness full of I, capital I's and self. And so I wanted to share two things that are coming up today around it. One way I've been practicing is I notice when through interacting with others, which is where the betrayal usually occurs for me.


If I notice a small betrayal, then I slow down and I sit with that. I slow down and stretch out the experience and notice what's coming up in my body and mind and notice what arises of like, what do I do? And so this week I experienced what I perceived as a betrayal that was maybe on a level four of one to 10. So there was some stuff, you know, I had some juice and the person with which this occurred was visiting and then went away. So then I had time to sit and notice first all the ideas of what I thought was happening and then notice the sensations in my body, which involved quite a bit of tension. And honestly, like a certain sense of deep pain, like pain in my chest, pain, like it hurts physically.


And then in sitting with it and carrying it around and studying it for a weekend, I realized Why don't you ask this person what they were thinking instead of staying in the place of deciding what was happening and perhaps through simply opening the conversation, then that betrayal isn't a betrayal because then it's a conversation. So I wonder your thoughts on that A, and then the B question is. Let's go handle that first. Yeah, A. Yeah, so I feel what I heard you say was it sounds like you were studying the feeling of betrayal and that you were practicing compassion with it.


You were paying attention to it. You noticed it. You paid attention to it, and you saw more and more about it, and you were kind to it. And in this kind attention to this sense of betrayal, this wonderful thing arose in you, which was curiosity. You know, wondering what was going on. So that kind of compassion with this betrayal in karmic consciousness leads to some investigation and wondering. which can lead you to understand what that betrayal is and become free of it. Even if you never talked to that person, you're already curious about this thing in you. Being curious about the betrayal is the path to insight about an awakening to the betrayal. Buddhas are those, again, great awakening about this betrayal is Buddhas.


Even if you never talked to that person again, if there can be awakening to this betrayal, there's Buddha. And the curiosity is beginning to study it. But first, before you studied it, you were like giving it space and being generous with it and letting it be, not trying to get rid of it or plan revenge. You were working with this thing in your karmic consciousness. And it wasn't easy, but you did it. That was great. And then that led to a wisdom practice, which is wondering what is, what actually is betrayal and what's, and I wonder what's going on with that person and so on. So that's, that's the first part. That's great. Keep it up. Thank you. It was actually, it was the first time in my life where I realized, just ask. And then it was like, yeah, just ask this question. Yeah.


And then I was more compassionate with the person because I had the great opportunity to be able to talk to that person in a conversation that was a conversation. So that was a gift. So then the next layer I'm realizing today is, you know, there is some gaining ideas still because I want the pain to go away. I want the pain to go away. Treat the wish for the pain to go away. Give it the same compassion you gave the sense of betrayal. And then by being compassionate to the wish for the pain to go away, then again, that might open to curiosity about what is this wish of the pain to go away? I'm not trying to get rid of the wish to get rid of the pain. I'm letting it be. And now I'm wondering, what is it? Thank you.


You're welcome. Congratulations. That's a great attainment. Thank you. This whole practice helps make that happen. So, great appreciation. Our next offering is from Jeremy. You're muted, Jeremy. It's great this topic has come up. I have an observation I'd like to share. When I've been examining karma, I feel less confusion, more being overwhelmed.


My overwhelming sense is the vastness of karma and the depth of it. And that when I begin to attempt to explain... Excuse me, can I say something at that point? You said, I think you said, the vastness of karma, and the depth of it. Yeah. So that is a description of traditional description of karma is that it's vast unbounded and has no basic, no, no fundamental, it's so deep, it doesn't have a bottom. That vision of karma, of your karmic consciousness, has been shared by the ancestors. That's part of studying it, is to realize it's vast, and unlimited, and unreachably deep. And that can be scary, but that's part of what is involved in the study, is that revelation.


Yeah, and the effect of that is, as I begin to attempt to explain my behavior, say, all of these explanations are fictions, are stories. The explanations are more delusions in the karmic consciousness. Yeah. And they should be dealt with compassion. Right. They should be studied. But then he's fictions. Right. These fictions are calling for compassion and they need study. They need study, OK? But you are studying them because you can you're reporting that you've noticed these fictions, that's because you're studying them. OK. And then the the sensation is of just awe and um uh amazement and uh wonder good good those are beneficial arisings which will support your study okay they'll help your study be fruitful they'll help your study penetrate


the fictions, the delusions. All right. Thank you. Very good. Thank you. The next offering is from Charlotte. Hello, Reb. Dear Assembly. Hello. And what's your friend's name? Her name is Alma. Anna? Alma. Alma? Alma. Alma. Yeah. I don't know how this is going to work now when she wanted to be in the room with me, but I will try. Well, I wanted to to ask a question and make a confession.


And my question is related to that I'm eating a medicine, like a Prozac medicine. And I feel that it helps me in some ways to function better. But I also feel that it has kind of really made me feel numb, kind of, in my experiences. Excuse me, excuse me. It's good that you noticed.


It's good that you noticed. some numbness. So be aware of that numbness and be kind to the numbness. And wonder, what is the numbness? Study the numbness. And you might say, but it's harder for me to study the numbness because I'm feeling numb. Well, yes, right. Even you can study numbness to there, it's calling for compassion. And it also wants to be understood. It wants you to wonder about it. Great, great awakening to numbness is Buddha.


Because I feel that it's been very difficult for me to feel kind of scared to been very worried to lose connection with my sensitivity and also to compassion, because I feel like compassion, I feel like it often kind of embraces my pain. And now when I feel that I don't feel that connection so strong and then I really kind of sense that I'm really attached to compassion and to be feeling this warmth and this embrace.


So I guess that and I think that attachment has really stirred my mind up and made me. Yeah. But again, your awareness of this, I see as showing that you're studying your mind. you're aware of this attachment. That's good. That's, that's part of your responsibilities to be aware of attachment. And then also to be aware that the attachment causes disturbance in the mind. So those both of those observations are showing that you're studying your, your karmic consciousness, that's good. And then also, you can be compassionate to the attachment. and you can be compassionate to the disturbance that the attachment causes, because attachment normally causes disturbance.


And you're seeing that. This observation has been made for thousands of years, and you're making it today. Attachment creates disturbance. You're seeing it. You're studying. This is good. It's not pleasant to see the attachment. It's painful and it's not pleasant to see that it's disturbing, but I find it pleasant to hear that you're studying. I'm happy that you're studying and you can report this because you're studying, you're taking care of your karmic consciousness. You're meditating on it. Oh, it makes me very happy to hear that you say that, because I kind of feel like maybe now I cannot really practice the way that I... Yeah. Well, you are, though. You actually are practicing. If you weren't, you wouldn't be able to tell us this.


Because you're practicing, you can tell us. You notice attachment to compassion, and you notice that the attachment is disturbing. This means you are meditating. you are paying attention to your consciousness, you are still seeing your karma. And it's hard work. But you're doing it. Because I feel like maybe I had this... I'm kind of... I had this worry that this lack of sensitivity is going to be harmful to the worry. However, the worry is another opportunity for you to observe the pattern of your consciousness. And you have been observing it. That's how you can tell us. So you're telling us this is another observation of your karmic pattern.


So, I'm not here to get rid of the worry or to make things so that you don't worry. I'm here to remind you that your job is to study that worry. And you are studying it somewhat, but I want you to be more confident that the study you're doing, that this awareness you have, is the practice. And also, there's nothing to gain in this study. Because more worries are coming. We're not studying to get rid of the worries, we're studying to awaken to them. So this is another example of your awareness of your mind, awareness of the patterns of your consciousness. This is another example of you studying your karma. I think I wonder if you would have any thoughts about prosaic, if it's not in a relationship to practice meditation.


When you think... When you think of eating... I'm talking to Reb. I'm talking to Reb. Okay, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Okay. Mark in your mind the thought of taking some medication. If you want to be with me, you'll get that later. Okay? Okay. that thought of taking the medication should also be met with compassion. And that should also be studied. This is another karmic pattern. And this study will lead you to great wisdom. In the meantime, if you do or do not take medication, in both cases, the practice is to observe the mind which is thinking of taking the medication


or not to do it. I don't have some comment on the thought. I have comment on the practice with the thought. You practice with your thoughts and you will awaken to them. Thank you so much, Reb. This was so helpful for me. And I'm sorry about this disturbance. This is permanent consciousness. Thank you, dear Reb. Our next offering is from Charlie. Hello, Reb. Hello, Great Assembly. I looked in the collections, in the archive, and I found this recording of Suzuki Roshi ordaining you and Paul Disko.


And I wanted to share that with the class, and Amanda can send the link to it afterwards. And it's a recording taken from the original reel-to-reel tape, so it's hopefully better quality than the cassette you have. But there's indications of several times that there's gaps of audio missing. So maybe your cassette will have something that was not there before. Hello? So I've looked at the places where there are pauses. And I think I know what was going on during the pauses. I think it wasn't a fault of the recording. I think they turned the recording off. Because like one of the places where in the transcript there's nothing in the transcript about receiving the robes and the bowls. Yeah. And that's so there's a right when the right in the transcript, right at the place of giving the robes and the bowls, it stops.


So there's various places where she isn't really talking. And that's usually corresponds to the to the to the gaps. So I don't think it's a problem with the recording. It's that they decided to turn it off. during the parts where there's physical actions that we're doing together. So I think it's okay. And my cassette also has the gaps. Great. Yeah. For example, there's not recitation of the receiving of the precepts, which is where we're going back and forth. That's not in the recording, but of course that was there. So mostly what's on the recording is when he's talking, which is great. It's wonderful to hear. When we're interacting physically and verbally, that part is not recorded. It's so interesting to hear. the way that these precepts were transmitted so many decades ago, and especially to hear Suzuki Roshi's voice.


So, I encourage everybody to check it out. And, you know, I'm going to take a look, maybe there are some other ordination ceremonies that are recorded, and we can hear more of how Suzuki Roshi recited those. But that's all I wanted to share. Thank you so much. Our next offering is from Susan. Hi, Reb. Hello, Great Assembly. Thank you so much for being here today, Reb. Really nice to see you. You're so welcome. Thank you for joining us. I had a question before this. I didn't even know what you were talking about today. I wrote it in my book, and I said, Reb, could you talk about mindful self-compassion?


Because I didn't know when it comes to the point where your ego takes over versus when it's very confusing. How it came up was that, like this other person, there was a betrayal that went on. May I say something? Yes. So part of the confusion of karmic consciousness, where there might be a wish to practice self-compassion, part of the confusion occurs around the self's role in that compassion. Okay. There's commonly an idea that the self is doing the compassion towards the self, and that's confusion. Yeah. Yeah. But it's not the self that's doing the compassion to our self. But when you start to allow or invite self-compassion into the karmic consciousness, it comes into a realm of confusion.


And one of the confusions is that the ego is doing the compassion to the self. That's part of the confusion that should be treated with compassion. But it isn't the ego that's doing the compassion towards the ego or towards the self. It's a delusion. That's a delusion. And that delusion also is calling for compassion. But that's an example of the confusion of karmic consciousness that when the idea of self-compassion, which is a good one, arises, then it seems to be confused about Who's doing the self-compassion rather than the self-compassion by it is, is the self-compassion, not somebody's doing it. Okay, that really helps even though it's confusing. It helps confusing, but study the confusion and you will be in clarity will come. okay that's where i got confused because this person that was it's happened a lot with uh her doing this kind of thing and and uh one of the times was when the time change happened and i went to go see a doctor and the doctor was never told i was coming in early i was supposed to be at her place and i was supposed to be giving her something and and when the person the doctor came in he said oh i have to see this other person i said no problem can i deliver this thing and then i'll come back


And so, that was fine. And then when I went to go see her, she said, I already sent you a text. I didn't want you to come, which happens 99% of the time. So, are you aware that you're telling us about karmic consciousness right now? Yes. 100% aware of it. That's why I just the great example of karmic consciousness. Exactly. Exactly. So I said to myself, well, I mean, after I had chance, I went back to the doctor, I had a chance to kind of calm down and I thought to myself, What she's asking each time is met the same way, better way for this to, to happen so that we don't get to this confusion where I need to bring this thing that I can not eat, because I'm allergic to it. So I was getting it just for her and I thought, I'll just leave that out. She hasn't returned any of my messages, even though I've reached out and I said, I'd like to know what happened.


This is what happened with me. But I have to learn with that loss. That may be a loss, but that's part of the craziness, consciousness. You said part of the craziness. You could also say it's part of the consciousness. Yeah, it's the same thing. This is karmic consciousness, which could be called crazy. Right, exactly. Thank you. That that really helped. Thank you so much. Our next offering is from Josh. Thank you. Hello, Josh. I'm just sitting for a moment with going back to where I was when I raised my hand after listening to the people in between. And also something about the word offering that, so I don't know what I'm thinking when I raised my hand, whether I'm thinking I've got an offering, but hearing the word offering, what it makes me want to say, it wants me to express my appreciation for all the people that have been talking just before me and their evidence of them


studying their minds and how wonderful that is to hear. It's really supportive to me to hear that other people are working at that. And yeah, there's another aspect of practice that's important to me, as well as this study in karmic consciousness. And I guess what made me raise my hand is wanting to hear what you have to say about how these things fit together. And what came up for me I raise my hand, there's a Zen story that I really like that's been playing on my mind a lot recently, and it's the one where at the end the monk is raising his brush and he says, which moon is this? And so going back in the story, his fellow monk says, I see you're very busy. And he says, you should know there's one who isn't busy. So one of the instructions that I've had from another teacher is to attend to that, to studying the one who isn't busy, you could say, to studying, or you could say studying the true Dharma, I suppose, to seeing the true Dharma.


So there's a practice of attending to the fact that there's one who, there's an aspect of consciousness here that isn't karmic consciousness. And how does that fit together with two things that you spoke of you spoke of one attending the karmic consciousness and you also spoke of attending to this wish that's present in karmic consciousness to wake up so i'm seeing there's three things there and i hope i've expressed that clearly and i'm wondering how you see them relating to each other um how i relate the the busy one to the unbusy one is that what you're talking about or are you talking about how to relate studying the busy one to the wish. So, which do you want me to comment on? I suppose I'm most interested in the first of what you said, in the one who's not busy. Like the two moons. There's not really two moons. No, there are two moons, but they're not separate.


They're pivoting on each other. So you could say busy one or not busy one, you could also say karmic consciousness and awakening. Or you could say delusion and awakening. Awakening isn't really doing anything, and awakening even is the understanding that nothing's really being done. But the understanding that nothing's really being done is pivoting with the mind that's doing things. the deluded mind of doing things. They're pivoting. They live together. And so the first monk observing the second, or one monk observing the other says, you're too busy. And the one that's being accused of being busy says, you should know that there's one who's not busy. And then the monk who accused says, are there two moons?


Is there a busy one and a not busy one? And the one who is accused of busyness raises his broom and says, which moon is this? Is this awakening or is this confusion? Which is it? But they're not two because awakening is understanding the busyness. And the monk who was accused of being busy and sweeping or thinking, he didn't say that you should be the one who's not thinking. He didn't say, I shouldn't be the one who's busy. I should be the one who's not busy. He just says, no, that there's one who's not busy. And if by any chance someone came and said to him, you're not busy, he probably should say, you should know there's one who's busy.


But when we have the busy one, we have to take care of the busy one. If we don't take care of the busy one, we'll forget that there's one who's not busy, or we won't realize that. So we take care of the busy thinking one, the karmic consciousness, But all the while that there's a karmic consciousness, there's also an understanding of karmic consciousness, which is called Buddha. And Buddha's not busy, Buddha is just understanding busyness. So I'm getting an interpretation coming up from me from what you've said, which is not what you've said, but it's my interpretation that's coming up, which is about almost there's two ways or two views of studying karmic consciousness. There's kind of karmic consciousness studying itself, and there's kind of Buddha mind looking at karmic consciousness. It's not really karmic consciousness studying itself.


The study is actually not karmic. So there can be an awareness of karmic consciousness, which is not the karma. So when we say study karmic consciousness, the actual study of that is not the karmic consciousness. It's just an awareness of it. And when that awareness becomes profound, we call it an awakening. So the realization of the thing is inseparable from the thing, but it's not the thing looking at itself. It's realization looking at delusion. So it seems to me in my inner experience there's a distinction between when I'm looking at confusion whilst caught in it and when I'm aware of confusion and also aware of the awareness that's aware of confusion. Yes, there can be that. So you can be aware of confusion and that might be enough most of the time.


You could also... And then sometimes people, as you've seen, report to me that they're aware of their confusion. They report the confusion they report their wish to gain something. This shows that there's awareness of that. And then I point out that I'm aware that they're aware, and I tell them, and then they're aware that they were aware. So there can be all that. But you also can just be aware of what's going on and watch how the awareness is working with it. Is it a compassionate awareness? Great. So what's going on is, kind and curious. But you don't even need to know that it's kind and curious. But you can also be, then you can turn around like, oh, this awareness is kind and curious. Oh, nice. But then there's looking at that. So it's very complex, and understanding all of this is called Buddha.


And we're doing this study. This is the study that is Buddha when it's fulfilled, when it's complete. Thank you. That both perfectly answers my inquiry and gives rise to a million more questions. Great! Our next offering is from Susan Powell. Hello, thank you so much for everything you're teaching us today. I do have back to that original question of the desire to save all beings. That's been strong in me since for as long as I can remember. The two resistances that come up most for me are one is it's not safe to go outside the bounds of what is sort of every day.


And the other has to do with the question of not being good enough. And I wonder if you could share some insights on any of that. Thank you so much. Well, would you stay here? Could you stay here? I'm here. I'd like to look at you while I talk to you. So you had this thought that it's not safe to go outside of the ordinary, is that what you said? Yeah. Yeah, I'm not saying it's safe to go outside the ordinary and I'm not saying it's not okay. But the or but I also don't say that the ordinary is safe. So I'm not saying the ordinary is safe and I'm not saying the ordinary is not safe. What's not safe is not to be aware and kind to the ordinary that's not safe. And if the not ordinary comes then the safe thing to do, the good thing to do, is to study the not ordinary. But I'm not saying the not ordinary is safe.


I'm not saying that. But also, I don't say the ordinary is safe. Ordinary, if we don't, if we're not careful and kind to the ordinary, then that's not safe. It's not so much that the ordinary is not safe, it's not being kind to it is not safe. The problems we have is when we're not kind to the ordinary, and also when we're not kind to the not ordinary. That's where our problems come from, from a lack of kindness and a lack of then after being kind to the ordinary, from then being kind to the ordinary to wonder about it, to question it. That's the path to peace and freedom. And what's your second point? Oh, the other point is the not good enough. Yeah. Not good enough is another one of those things which appear in many people's karmic consciousness. Not good enough.


Is it good enough? Those are things which appear, especially in minds that want to do good. If there's a deep wish to do good and the best thing, the most good thing is to free beings from suffering. That's what some people feel is the ultimate good. is to free beings from suffering. So that's good. But so then if that's good, then am I doing enough good? That question might arise. It's a normal question to arise. Like I'm paying attention to the suffering, but is my attention good enough? That's a normal thing. But when that question arises, that's another thing to practice compassion towards. I've heard people, A thousand times I've heard people say, is it good enough? I feel like it's not good enough. That question naturally comes up for people who are trying to practice good. When that question arises, or when the statement, it's not good enough arises, if that question is dealt with compassionately, I'm not saying it makes it good enough.


I'm saying that compassion towards the statement This is not good enough. That compassion is the practice. We start by being compassionate towards the statement, this is not good enough. To be compassionate towards the question, is this good enough? Those should be dealt with with compassion. Then they won't be karmic hindrances and we can awaken to them. Awaken with them. You can awaken with the question, is this good enough? There can be awakening with the statement, this is not good enough. And you can also be awakened to the statement, this is good enough. That should also get compassion and be examined. Does that make sense? Very much so. Thank you very much. You're welcome. Our next offering is from Jana.


Hello, Red. Hello, Jana. And hello, Great Assembly. I feel like I have something arising after your conversation with Josh. um a bit kind of like a continuation uh some kind of some confusion um and i would like to try to put some words to it and see where i end up okay so um at the present there's a lot of time in my life um and so in the afternoons i i sit in my kitchen um and i notice that um Quite often I remember this little story where we're studying the third turning of the wheel in my study group. And I remember this story where that Suzuki Roshi said to somebody that don't you ever say that you are doing sasen or that you are practicing meditation.


And also I think in the same chapter there's something about receiving life. instead of doing or being in life, maybe more as the self sort of driving it. And I've noticed that quite often this comes and it seems like there's a change in the intention, in the practice. I think I have something I'd like to say before you finish, if I may. Yes. So, the way I understand Suzuki Roshi saying, don't say, I do compassion. I mean, excuse me, don't say, I do Zazen. The way I understand that is, if you have this thought in your mind, like, I do Zazen, don't say that. Look at that thought and see how silly that is. If you look at, oh, I have this thought, I do zazen.


But zazen is not something that's small enough for me to do. Zazen is done by me together with everyone. So I think the way I understand it today is don't say that. Examine that thought before you express it. But that person said to him out loud, I do zazen. In Sukhothi, he said, don't say I do Zazen. I think he said, don't say you do Zazen. But I think he meant, don't say I do Zazen. I practice Zazen. Zazen is not something done by the self. It's done together with all beings. I agree. I'm saying today, please examine that thought, I do Zazen. Yes and what I wanted to come to was that if those days where it seems like I can settle into somehow receiving practice rather than there is Janna that has an intention to do practice there's a big flip and there's a big change in it and there's a settling down in the practice


where there is a big change. And it almost feels like it's like a completely, yeah, it's kind of from a, something different happens. And quite often there is, at the present, there seems to be like a settling in where I end up kind of being or hanging in there. And, and there's a quieting down. And, and there is a process taking place that I can't grasp or there is just something but but the thing that my question was is that at the moment, I feel like you you were speaking in one place about how Actually, I asked you this question a long time ago, how we do things in the conscious mind and that transforms the subconscious. But somehow it feels like when this receiving or the practice is taking place, there is a transformation taking place straight away.


But I don't often know or understand what it is. But maybe the next day I will realize that there is some insights or there is some understanding that has come from it maybe, from that practice or being able to receive the practice. And the question I had was that I feel like a lot of words and constructs that I've had in my mind are it's like I don't understand what they mean anymore, like subconscious or conscious, but still there seems like, I don't know how to say this. There seems like there's a big curiosity about that place that arises


there is like a curiosity and I kind of I want to do practice because I'm really curious about this that's taking place and it also seems that the wish that you were speaking about about wanting to do the practice for others or for sharing it with others somehow arises in that place. And that maybe makes me want to do practice more. But my... Yeah, maybe I don't have a question at all. I can just continue like this. Very good. Very good. Great curiosity. Yes.


Our next offering is from Daisy. Hi. Hi. My offering is I feel really privileged to hear your teachings and to listen to other people share and so I feel a lot of gratitude and I also feel like I'm experiencing a lot of synchronicity around different issues from mental health to disappointment and reconciliation. And I can really identify with so much of what has been said.


And something that I experience in my practice is something about observing and being aware of the one that's bearing witness. However difficult and distressing or joyful an experience may be, I'm aware of this one that bears witness to that. At the same time, I spend a lot of time by myself in silence and I'm still finding after many years that I have a tendency to spiral into catastrophizing and really becoming encompassed by that. And I think, I think I would like, may I ask you for some encouragement to not lose hope when that happens again and again.


Yeah. So I heard you say that catastrophizing has been observed. Catastrophizing has been witnessed. And I also heard you say something about the thought, how can I not lose hope? I would suggest that the same witnessing of catastrophizing Not that I say wish, the same witnessing of catastrophizing be given to the wish to not lose hope. I'm not saying get rid of the wish to not lose hope or get rid of the wish to have hope. If there's a wish to have hope, I would encourage witnessing that wish to have hope the same way that I witness catastrophizing.


Catastrophizing is a common event in karmic consciousness. A wish to have hope is a common event in karmic consciousness. I'm recommending bearing witness to those two and everything else. Bearing witness to the wish To have hope, bearing witness to the wish to not lose hope, that's what I'm recommending. Because the wish to have hope or the feeling of lost hope may arise. Despair is another word for losing hope. I'm not trying to get rid of despair. I'm not trying to get rid of hope. I'm trying to encourage and remember compassionately witnessing despair, compassionately wishing, witnessing hope, compassionately witnessing catastrophizing.


That witnessing then can lead to an observation and more witnessing and more witnessing And then finally, wisdom of understanding catastrophizing and understanding despair and understanding hope. That's really, that feels really nurturing. Thank you. Yeah, I agree. It's nurturing. Thank you. You're welcome. Our next offering is from Oscar. Thank you, Reb. You're welcome, Oscar. I feel like I'm repeating a story that I've heard.


you have to talk about the consistency of the project or plan with governing land use documents. So, Ms. Kapp did the addendum to... Sorry. I feel like that was a word from another... So, I also appreciate all of the witnessing I've heard in the last couple of hours. I recently had an experience with karmic consciousness. It was, on this particular occasion, I was in bed about 3.30 this morning. I would have preferred to have been asleep, but I was engaging with karmic consciousness and trying to study it. And my observation was that the karmic consciousness appropriated the study process.


It ended up in a kind of circular process. So at some point, and this karmic consciousness involved also some ill feeling, towards another being, sentient being. And I was aware of that and didn't wish to perpetuate that, but it was there. And so at some point I gave up that mode of study. which was karmic, and let myself, I'll say, so to speak, engage with the felt sense of what was going on without any ideas about it.


And the felt sense was, to put it into words which don't really work, but it had to do, but there was an impression of a very large, massy, dark presence, kind of like a mountain, a dark mountain. And I just relaxed into that for a while and I fell back asleep and I woke up with some useful thoughts about the situation, I think. So I just report that and my question is, you know, do you recommend, of course I'll try that, you know, doing that, Do you have any thoughts on that? And I'll end by saying at one point you gave me some excellent advice, which is don't come to conclusions, which I perpetually try to do.


So I ask the question also in that frame. Thank you very much for your teachings. So not come to conclusions means continue to study. Right? Yes. Yeah, so I encourage you to continue to study these karmic consciousnesses that are given to us. Thank you very much. I shall. Our next offering is from Leslie. Hi everyone. Mostly I have an offering just to thank you.


Today I was quite moved by everybody and also very thankful. I attended your Tuesday talk And I have a confession, I was so confused, I fell asleep. And then I vowed today to stay awake, be awake. It's easier in the morning. And I'm so grateful because I heard everything. And it means a lot. And then I especially wanted to thank Alison about this looking at betrayal. I just had a moment this morning. I have fabulous tenants. And they keep putting plastic in the compost. And when they moved in, I said, just please don't put plastic in the compost. And then I keep finding it. And then I was going to make a story out of it and tell friends and decide that this one tenant is a bad guy. And he puts plastic in compost.


And I just thought, oh my God. Just stop. Like, just say, all right, let's figure something out because whatever we've talked about as a word, and it was kind of similar to what Alice will say. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Our next offering is from Maggie. Hello, Rob. Hello, Maggie. Nice to see you and very grateful to hear your teaching today. So to share and also to ask my questions about my practice, to put it in the context you have mentioned today,


It is the teaching, Buddha's teaching that is studying the karmic consciousness. There are many teachings, of course. So with me, these days, it is the teaching of dependent co-arising that is studying the karmic consciousness. Also in the same context that Yana has mentioned, I'm part of the study group of the Third Turning of the Wheel. Also, going back to the context that Shunran Suzuki said, don't say that you are doing Zazen. And later on, I remember you also had a comment that we are not doing, nobody is doing Buddhism meditation.


But everybody is receiving that, receiving zazen, receiving meditation. This is for me very inspiring because it looks like it's from the perspective of the universe. looking back on the people or individual, when we were saying, I am dependent on everybody else. And everybody else is dependent on us. So this is around This is taking the center of human being, the perspective of human. But if I look at it from the perspective of the universe, also at a certain point in the book you mentioned, the whole universe is...


Meditation is a gift from the universe. Universe is giving us this gift or Buddha is giving us this gift. Instead of we doing it, we are receiving this gift. This is very helpful teaching for me in a way that in my life, There are from time to time, I have difficult moments with my family relationship. When my mother asks me something and I know that I'm going to say no to her, it's always an intensive moment. Every time I... because it is a big job for me to prepare myself to be able to respond to my mother.


So this preparation process is my big practice right now. And even yesterday and today, Then I was thinking about this teaching. I tried to bring this teaching to my preparation process. I could feel that my whole body was tensed up every time. Every time when this happens, that I need to respond with a no. Then today I was contemplating this job of saying no probably it's a gift from the universe that I received this gift and I just need to present it.


And the tensed up is probably from the imputation of self. There is an I. There are so many worries around this I. How could I respond? Can I stay friendly? Can I stay stay present with a loving kindness. Although I have to say no, I'm not sure. I don't have confidence for myself to stay compassionate in that difficult conversation. That's all makes my body and my mind all tensed up and not relaxed. But when I try to contemplate has this saying no is a gift there is a there's a relaxing relaxation suddenly not fully yet the tension is still there but there are some relaxation um so this is this is uh this is in in the context of of the three


characters of phenomenon that you wrote in the book. Yeah, and you also, you're describing, you're describing witnessing your karmic consciousness. You've told us about various patterns of karmic consciousness. And I think you're, you are studying it. You're witnessing it. You're noticing how attachment to your ideas of what to say and what to do create tension. You're observing this. Good. But I know next time there's always going to be this tension. You just said, I know next time there's going to be this tension. That's another pattern of karmic consciousness that you can study.


What's the pattern? I know there's going to be this tension. That's not true. That's a delusion. It's arising in your consciousness now. It's a story. And the study is to be compassionate towards that thought. I know there's going to be tension in the next time I talk. And you are aware of it. But I don't know if you're being compassionate, if you're letting compassion come to that thought. The thought, what's the thought? I know I'm going to be tense again in the next conversation. That's not true. That's a delusion and karmic consciousness. Is there compassion for it? I pray that there will be. I forgot. I just noticed, I forgot. That's why the thought, the delusion, the very thought that I'm going to have tension next time, just at the thought, I had tensed up again, because there's a lack of compassion.


And I don't know what's going to happen next time you talk to her. But right now, when you're telling me what's going to happen, if there's compassion for it now, There might be compassion for it when it comes up in the next conversation. And then when there's compassion, there can be curiosity and study and relaxation. Yeah. Yeah. And you, and you, you caught it. That's great. You noticed it. And I pray that you notice it again and again. Please accept my prayer. Maybe one more thing. So this idea or this teaching that everything is a gift from the universe, including the pain, including saying no. Is it really so? I have faith in this teaching, but I also have doubt.


The question is another gift. Is it really so? That's another gift. And if you would think that's not so, that would be another gift. And if you think, oh, that really is so, that's another gift. So the gifts are not to be like believed as reality. They're gifts to study. Everything is a gift to study. Everything is a gift for your compassion. or not even your compassion. Everything is a gift, which is an opportunity for compassion, including the thought, this is not a gift. That's another gift. I wonder if this is a gift. That's another gift. Everything is being given to us for compassion. Everything is calling to us for compassion.


Including, I don't believe that. That's another gift. Including, you're a crazy old man. Thank you. You're welcome. Thank you for your karmic consciousness. I think we're a little bit over time now. Thank you everybody for your presence and your questions. May our intention to liberate all beings equally extend to every being and place with the true merit of Buddha's way. Beings are numberless. We vow to save them. Afflictions are inexhaustible. We vow to meet them with compassion.


Dharma gates are boundless. We vow to enter them. Buddha way is unsurpassable. We vow to become the unsurpassable. Thank you so much. Keep studying everybody.