Generating Energy

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there's various practices which I keep feeling like, God, people don't know about this. It's amazing. Or also, various gifts that come that people don't realize are gifts. So, one of the practices that people don't seem to know about or have heard about but keep forgetting is the practice of, it's been, in Sanskrit, it's called virya paramita. Paramita. And virya means, it's translated in English by strength, effort, energy.


And it's related to the word virile, I think, which is related to the word for bull. Virile, you know, strength, vitality. I don't know if vitality is related to it, but the word virile is related to bull, and this word virya, I think, is also. And it also could be translated as zeal or enthusiasm. It seems like quite a few people come to know about, like, once a month, to reconnect with that practice, which is similar to reconnect with your practice, because virya is like the energy for practice. And it's the energy for practice,


but it's also a practice in itself of generating energy. So, part of the bodhisattva practice practice is to practice generating, regenerating, recreating, refreshing, renewing the energy for practice, which includes resting at night, eating food, so you have a blood sugar level at a certain height, but also returning to the well spring of the practice, which is your wish to practice. Your wish to practice all kinds of good things.


If you don't wish to practice, I don't think it's gonna happen. And if it doesn't happen, then you're gonna miss out on the practice, right? Now, of course, in reality, we are practicing, but if you don't practice, you don't realize you're practicing. Does somebody wanna get me some hot water to go with this delicious tea? Thank you, thank you. Just not a lot. Anyway, it's part of the practice. We have six bodhisattva major categories for practice. Number four is this energy for practice. Once you have the energy,


then you can use it for the infinite practices, but you have to keep eating your aspiration. You have to keep drinking your aspiration, going back to it. And the more you drink your aspiration, thank you. I just thought of this children's book that my daughter had, which is called The Color Eaters. Anybody seen that book? It's a book about these people, they drank rainbows. They went to the base of the rainbow and drank all the colors, and they got intoxicated by the colors. Anyway, we need to drink our aspiration to do all kinds of wholesome things in order to have the fuel to practice them.


So people come to Novo, they come to Doksan to get reminded of their practice and get reminded that they have to remind themselves about their practice. If you don't remind yourself about your practice and your wish to practice it, your energy gets used up. It takes energy to practice. That's not a bad thing. It's a normal thing. It takes energy. You have to eat rice to be a Zen practitioner. Or if not rice, wheat. Or if not wheat, fruits and vegetables. Anyway, you have to take stuff in and convert it to energy. And particularly, also your aspiration. If you don't have aspiration, you're not gonna be able to practice, but you do have aspiration. That's why you're here. So you have to keep going back to it. Sometimes bodhisattvas get tired.


They do get tired. So when they're tired, try a little tenderness. Go rest, little bodhisattva. And after you've rested, then what's important? What's your aspiration? And then, if bodhisattvas don't practice their vows because they're tired, it's not good. But it's not so bad either. Because if you're tired, it's hard to practice when you're really tired and hungry. If the reason you're not practicing is because you're tired, it's not so bad. It's kind of bad, but not so bad. But if you've got energy and then you don't practice, that's worse. If you're not practicing just because you don't like people or something like that. But sometimes you're so tired,


you can barely be kind to anybody. I'd like to be kind, but I'm just too tired. So then you need to bring up your energy to be kind. It's a normal thing to do. It's not a bad thing that you're getting tired. It's normal. And what's not so normal is to, I should say, or is to do the work of bringing it back up. And then use this wonderful thing for the things you want to do. So, I'm not sure why this practice of generating energy doesn't seem to be so well known. Everybody knows about generosity, right? And ethics. And even patience, I often found people, people are angry and they're irritated and angry. And I'd say, have you ever heard of patience?


They go, oh yeah, right. But some people go years without ever even remembering that there's a practice, a virtue called patience. They go years without practicing. Of course they practice, there's some, but they don't consciously say, part of my work is practicing patience. And it's like, I just see, that would be a really good practice for you right now. That would really be helpful. And they go, yeah, it would be. Why didn't anybody remind me of that? So anyway, patience is good. But this energy practice, people somehow don't know about it. I don't know how this can be better known. It's really part of the deal. Of the great work. The great difficult work. And as I mentioned to some people today,


you know, some people aspire to do great things. Like what? Well, like really helping people. Or climbing Mount Everest. Some people aspire to climb Mount Everest. But if they don't go back to that aspiration quite frequently, they're not going to do it. You have to think about it a lot. To get the kind of energy you're going to need to climb that mountain. It's hard to climb Mount Everest. You need a lot of energy to do it. But some people think it would be so great because they've climbed mountains that aren't so great and those were great. So they think that would even be greater. And then they ask those mountain climbers, why do you, what motivates you to climb those mountains? It takes so much effort. And one of them said, the view.


Did you see Free Solo? Not yet. It's incredible. The view. But if you fly up there in a helicopter, it would be a nice view then too. But you don't get the same view from the helicopter that you do from climbing up to the same altitude. The effort is a big part of the view and you need a lot of effort to get the view. And in order to make that effort, you need to keep thinking about how important it is to make the effort. But if you do, you're going to be able to do some really difficult things because they're really important to you. And you remember that over and over and this energy came to do it. It seems like energy is implied


or isn't it, I don't know, in practicing patience or, like, I mean, I know that's a separate thing, but in order to practice patience, you obviously have to call out the energy. Or I mean, the energy is called forth. What do you think? Yeah, the energy was you. I often wonder why don't they put energy at the beginning of the six? But maybe one theory about why they put it in the middle is that you actually had energy, otherwise you wouldn't have even started the first three. You wouldn't even have practiced generosity if you didn't have some energy. It's maybe like refueling in the middle. You used up a lot of energy to practice generosity, ethics, and patience, and now it's time to refuel as you ascend the heights of concentration. That's one theory. But really, you did have energy to do the first three.


Yes? Is this practice the same as what we call recreation? Well, it is kind of like recreation, yeah. It's recreation, it's recreation, refreshment, renewal, refreshment, recreation. Yeah, it's all that. So there's a lot of people who think they do recreation, but is that, are they doing this practice, or is there something else that's needed? I think that what they call recreation is what they do with the energy to do the recreation, that what they're actually doing is actually taking up energy. Well, it gives them a certain kind of energy to go back to work on one day. Yeah, maybe some energy comes up in doing the recreation, too, but some other people, like me, get really tired from the recreation. But I need energy to do my recreation,


and then I'm tired afterwards. But some other people maybe feel refreshed by running up the mountain. I get tired running up, but I need to recreate my energy in order to climb the mountain, which is recreation. Yes? And thank you, but what's on you said, somebody told me that it comes in the middle because at that point, you're ready to refine it and look at what the aspiration is. Yeah, that's another possibility, is that without practicing generosity and ethics and patience, maybe you can't really see your aspiration very clearly. So doing those practices now you're able to ask that question. So, yeah.


And the other thing which I was gonna mention is that just sadness is something that people do not appreciate enough. Sadness and grief. Our gifts to help us, again, to become refreshed. We generally resist change, because change is uncomfortable. And the resistance to change is a resistance to life. And it kind of bogs us down to resist change. But we often do resist it. But then this vital gift comes, which is sadness. But again, the sadness is an offering, which is we're being asked to feel it.


We don't wanna feel the change. We're resisting the feeling the change. We're trying to hold on to what can't be held on to. And that's bogging us down. Then the sadness comes and says, would you please feel this? And if we open to the sadness, we let go of the resistance to the change, and then we're refreshed. We don't know how sometimes we can't get to the place where we're resisting the change and where that resistance is taking energy and bogging us down. In what's really a process where we're supposed to be flowing, we're tightening up. So the sadness comes and says, feel this, and you can relax and go with the flow. And then if you do feel the sadness, you stop resisting the change and you're refreshed. Mr. Rilke, tip me off to this.


Mr. Rilke, Eric Maria Rilke. Eric Rainer Maria Rilke. He tipped me off to the virtues of sadness. Sadness is a little different from depression. Depression doesn't come just from resisting change. It's more of a chemical imbalance, I think. Whereas sadness is actually a feeling that it's asking you to feel it. And if you open to it. Also, another thing about sadness is that sadness you can outrun easily. If you're busy, you can avoid the sadness. Whereas being busy doesn't get rid of the depression.


And a lot of people, as soon as they just sit still, the sadness comes. The sadness says, oh, she's not running around anymore. Maybe she'll feel this. Yeah, it's like people buzzing around. They come in, they sit down, and sadness just blooms up there. And you're in a position where you're not gonna, maybe not run away from it. I've got nothing better to do. Might as well feel it. And you feel it, and then you're like, as Mr. Rilke says, you're ready for the present. You're ready for your life again. You're not complaining about the life you lost. I mean, you were complaining for the life you lost. You open to the sadness, you give up the complaining, and be ready for now. Yeah? I was reading Paul Ekman, who defined sadness


as one of the five fundamental emotions. And Pixar made a movie based on Paul Ekman's work called Inside Out. Yeah. Where there's five characters. Yeah. Oh, that movie's based on the book? It's based on Paul Ekman's work. They consulted with MetLife. Oh, okay. Built the whole script, and the whole model. Yeah. The metaphysics of that movie is all out of his brain. Okay. And the crux of the movie. Is sadness. She can't get past what she's stuck on until she allows herself to feel sadness, and that's what allows her to mature. Yeah, sadness is the, it helps her get past where she's stuck. So I'm, sadness is, sadness is a great gift. It goes on and on and on. Hmm? It goes on and on and on. Well, it will go on and on and on, because unless you stop resisting change,


it's gonna keep coming back. So, when you resist change, you get stuck. Then sadness comes. If you're open to the sadness, you're released. But then the next change, if you resist that, yeah, more sadness has to come. So until you're all over, and also there's different places where you're stuck. So, one part of you is like, not accepting that you lost your girlfriend. Another part of you is not accepting that you lost your waistline. Another part of you is, is not accepting that you lost your teeth. Another part of you is not accepting that you lost your memory. Another part of you is not accepting that you lost your dog. And so we have many things, many different areas of change, which we might have resisted. And each one kind of needs, it sends its own sadness. So some people are way behind schedule. So they got a whole retinue of things to grieve.


And if you would get through them, which you can get through, by the way, by sitting still for quite a while, and they come one by one. Okay, and you don't even know which one this is. You don't have to. So here the resistance to your dog dying comes. Here the resistance to whatever that comes in the form of sadness. You feel this sadness right now, and then that gets released. But there's another place where you're holding on, so another sadness comes. Feel that one, that one gets released. Another one comes from another part of your body, and unconscious, because we don't consciously know all the places we're resisting. If you consciously know where you're resisting, you can actually go consciously to the place and say, let go. And actually, you might be able to do it. But there's some parts where you can't talk to. So they come up into consciousness


in the form of sadness. They all have the same title, but when they come, they come for a particular place in your body and unconscious. So if you sit for a long time, you can actually work through all of them, all your, you know, the backlog of things. And then, if you stop resisting, you won't have any more sadness. But probably you will resist, so then you get some, and then you'll be sort of more, what's the word, abreast of the times. Your sadnesses maybe won't be all the stinky ones. They'll be ones from like yesterday or this morning. And actually, I, you know, I, how, yeah, I think in my teens, I discovered a more fresh version of the sadnesses.


And the way I discovered it was, actually, from the time I was about eight, I started to notice a ringing in my ears. You know about this? Yeah. From, well, some people have already told this, I heard this ringing in my ears when I was about eight, and I thought it was my conscience, because I knew it wasn't really a sound. But it's kind of a little bit of annoying ringing, kind of like something's trying to remind me of something or tell me something. I thought, and at eight, I had the concept of conscious and that you're bothered by things that you don't take care of, you know, by unskillful things, that you're bothered about it later. Okay, I had that concept. But it wasn't, but I wouldn't, but it wasn't like, it wasn't telling me what it was, but it was bothering me. And that happened on and off for about five years.


And then when I was about 13, I think, I heard the ringing and I realized what it was about. It was reminding me of something that happened during the day that I didn't take good care of, or something that I, that happened that I didn't address. Like, it wasn't like somebody punched me in the face, because I would usually address that. Like, say, you know, do not punch me in the face, or I would maybe say, well, may I punch you back? Or if somebody like, you know, if I failed a test, I would usually like feel kind of bad about it. I would, you know, I would deal with it. Now, if I wouldn't even admit, I wouldn't even accept that I failed the test,


then that would be something that I'd have to feel sadness about that later. But there's many little things that would happen during the day, which I might feel, but might not, because you don't have to feel all those little pains. And if you don't, if I didn't, this thing would come back to me and ring in my ear. And then I learned to stop, be quiet. And then it would usually, I would remember what it was, what happened. And it was usually something a little bit painful. And then I'd just notice it and feel the pain, and the ringing would go away. And I still do that. I still, sometimes at the end of the day, something's bothering me. I just stop and quiet. And then it comes up what it was that happened that I didn't really like stop and, you know,


basically respect it and give it some attention. Like, oh, that hurt a little bit. If I do, if something painful happens and I do address it, then I don't get the ringing. So that's very fresh, like at the end of the day, you can clean up your mind. And all the things you didn't, all the little pains that you didn't take care of because you thought you could skip over them and go on, which you can, you can address them then, and then you're clean. Yeah. You're clear. Yes. So basically when I hear you, I hear like you're speaking about the past, something that had happened in the past. Yes. That's what conscience often applies to things in the past that you've done.


Conscience often bothers us in relationship to our past action. Okay. So if we do things unskillfully, our conscience doesn't just say, fine. Our conscience says, you know, something's rotten here. Something's not so good. You know, there was something about what you just did that wasn't so good. Like I also tell the story of repairing plumbing equipment at Tassajara, and after repairing the plumbing not very well, me and my partner went up to do some more half-hearted plumbing repair, and we felt something uneasy. And so I said to my partner, let's go back and fix it. We already did fix it, but we didn't do it well. And I was bugging me. And I said, let's go back and fix it. He didn't say, what do you mean we already fixed it? We both knew that we didn't do a good job


and it was bugging us. That's conscience. When you don't do something skillfully and thoroughly, there's something about our goodness that doesn't like to live like that. And we get this thing, conscience, like that wasn't, something wasn't taken care of. You didn't, like I told somebody today who was a usher at the ceremony we had last weekend, when I went into the Buddha Hall last weekend in San Francisco, one of the ushers who was being very kind to me, I didn't really meet her fully. And after I walked by her, I thought, I didn't really meet her fully, I'm sorry. And today I told her I was sorry that I didn't really meet her fully. But when I meet people, I wanna meet them fully. It doesn't mean I stand there and look at them for two hours. It just means in that one second that I'm looking at them,


I wanna be there. And I was kind of like, wasn't really there. And then later, that wasn't a good wholehearted meeting. That's my conscience. And it's about the way in a moment ago, I didn't fully meet someone. Yeah. Then how would you, I know you would, but I'm just asking myself, how would me or one can tell the difference between a neurotic consciousness or not actually meeting it? Because it could become neurotic as a perfection that I didn't do it perfect, just the way I wanted it or versus- Yeah, I would say in my case, if I heard the ringing and then I quieted down,


I think listening to the ringing is not neurotic. I think then giving the ringing a chance, like, okay, ringing, ringing, we're gonna have a little ringing hearing now. The ringing is gonna get a hearing. I'm gonna listen to the ringing. Okay. That's what I'm gonna, I'm gonna spend some time now. I'm gonna spend part of my life listening to the ringing. I could go watch TV or have a snack, but actually I'm not gonna have a snack. I'm not gonna watch TV. I'm not gonna read the newspaper. I walk into the house, here's the ringing. I'm gonna listen to that ringing. That's not neurotic, that's respectful. And so now I'm listening to the ringing. I'm gonna be quiet. And then I give a gift to the ringing and then I get a gift, which is, oh yeah, that happened. And I didn't take care of it, but now I am.


Now I'm doing what I didn't do before. I'm really like there for that thing. And now the ringing goes away. That's not neurotic. But if I hear the ringing, you know, and say I have better things to do than listen to that, that's neurotic. That's neurotic to not listen to the ringing. To push your conscious, your conscience away, that's neurotic. To start talking to yourself and saying, yeah, I don't have to listen to this, that's neurotic. That's unhealthy. And of course, we often do not listen to it. So I think that's not healthy. You're being called to do something, you're being given another chance that you missed out on earlier. You're getting this nice gift and you say no thanks. That's neurotic. Or even if you would not have an unneurotic response,


like you hear the ringing, you stop and say okay. And then you realize what it is you overlooked. And then you could have a neurotic response to that by calling yourself bad names for missing or whatever like that. And then you have something else to listen to. So it was somewhat neurotic. It's somewhat neurotic. I would say, I'm gonna take away somewhat. It's neurotic not to meet the moment. It's neurotic not to meet the thing that's being given to you in the moment. And our conscience actually tells us that was neurotic. Go back and do it fully. And if you do go back and do it fully, you have just healed the neurosis for that moment. Neurosis is like, I have better things to do than this. I have better things to do than to meet this person.


I have better things to do than feel what I'm feeling. That's neurosis. But your conscience can help you recover from it by telling you, you didn't take care of your, you had a neurotic response. You can go back now and have a healthy response. So I think you can spot neurosis. Neurosis is basically half-heartedness. There is an absolute knowingness. What? There is an absolute knowingness in the conscious. I would say there's a relative noticing in the conscious thought. And if you respect the relative knowing in the conscience, the relative knowing of which is, I didn't take care of that and I'm sorry. And the bringing is telling me, I'm sorry. Taking care of that relative thing will open you to the fullness of your life, which is absolute means complete.


So taking care of these relative things like sadness and grief and energy will open us to the possibility of what's complete, which is that we never ever miss an opportunity. We're always completely there. The opportunity is always using us fully. We're always completely, 98.6. And sometimes we're even 101. And sometimes we're colder. If you go in the ocean long enough, your body temperature drops maybe down lower. But basically we are alive all the time and we're trying to wake up to that. And neurosis is being half-hearted about it. But we can notice that and be kind to our neurosis and let go of our neurosis and open to the wholehearted, complete life.


I'm proposing that. And our complete life is already here, but sometimes we can't be bothered. It takes too much effort. I'm too tired. Well, then get more energy and also go to your aspiration to be fully alive. We do want that because that's what we are. We are fully alive. We wanna realize that. And being fully alive is because your life supports all life. And you're fully alive because all life supports your life. That's our full, complete, absolute life. And we wanna wake up to that. And sometimes we think, I have better things to do than that. And that's neurotic. But we can recover. Yeah. Sometimes I think I wanna be perfect instead of I wanna be human. And that's where I think it gets more out of hand. Yeah.


Yeah. I wanna be perfect rather than complete. But also the word perfect is also one of the synonyms for absolute. So complete, the Chinese character for round or circle is also the Chinese character for complete and perfect. So our wish to be absolute, our wish to be complete, our wish to be perfect can sometimes derail us from dealing with our imperfections and our incompleteness. Our completeness includes infinite incompletenesses. If we're willing to deal with our neurosis, our incompleteness, that's the path to opening to our completeness. But if we yearn for our completeness


in such a way that we skip over our incompleteness, that's a worldly activity. That's a worldly mistake is to try to get the ultimate, the absolute, the complete in such a way that you overlook the incomplete, the partial, the imperfect. And energy is something that goes up and down and if you take care of it, you'll realize an energy that doesn't go up and down. But doesn't the realization of wholeness, whatever that moment is, doesn't that give energy so you can go back to the incomplete?


It does give energy. And with that energy, you're willing, you say go back to the incomplete, but you don't have to go back, you'll be given the incomplete. And with the energy of realizing the complete, you can take care of the incomplete. But also, if you haven't yet realized the complete, but you're willing to wholeheartedly deal with the incomplete, you're pretty much like you'll be after you realize the complete. When you realize the complete, you have no problem dealing with the incomplete. That's one of the great benefits of perfection is that you're happy to deal with imperfection. When you're complete, you're happy to deal with the incomplete. So if you're dealing with the incomplete now, happily, you're kind of like you're gonna be. Because when you're complete, you're not gonna have a problem with... Can I show you something incomplete?


Yeah. Can I show you halfway up the mountain? Yeah, fine. That's how you'd be if you were complete. You wouldn't be afraid of being at the beginning, of having nothing. Well, I'm sorry if I went beyond anybody's time schedule. Did I? Great. So now we can say goodbye. We can sing a song, even. ♪ Happy trails to you until we meet again. ♪ ♪ Happy trails to you, keep smiling until then. ♪ ♪ Happy trails to you till we meet again. ♪


Have you ever heard that song, Ingrid? Yes. Yeah. It's an oldie. Have you ever heard of Roy Rogers? Have you ever heard of Dale Evans? What? That's too much. Anyway, Roy Rogers was a singer, a cowboy singer, and that's one of his songs. Dios. Dios.