Heartbreak Hotel: Karmic Consciousness

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The person who asked me about that phrase, liberate the body which is the fruit of many lives, he might have said, fruit of what? What is this body a fruit of? This body is partly a, well actually you could say it's a fruit of karmic activity, it's a fruit of intentional


activity, but it's not just a fruit of one person's karmic activity, one person's conscious intentions. This body is the fruit of innumerable living beings' activity, intentional activity, karmic activity. So this body is the fruit of past, for example, I'm pointing at the body of Reb Anderson, the body that we say of Reb Anderson is the fruit of past Reb Anderson's activity, but not just past Reb Anderson's activity, the past activity of innumerable


beings, not just innumerable, innumerable in given moment and then innumerable moments times innumerable beings. The intentional cognitive process of the universe from beginningless time produces each body. This body is the fruit of innumerable lives of innumerable beings. I'm responsible for it, but you are also responsible for it. The past karma of


the lineage associated with my name is one of the types of conditions that leads to this body. So, there's a possibility of liberating this body, and one way of liberating this body is for a vow to arise based on this body, a vow in the consciousness which is supported by this body. This body has consciousness, and it has also unconscious cognitive processes too. But as far as I consciously know, there is no conscious vow in the unconscious, but there is a conscious vow in the consciousness. There is one, for your information. And in


this consciousness is quite a bit of conscious caretaking of this vow. What vow? The vow to liberate this body in order to benefit all beings. Or it's a vow to benefit all beings and to liberate this body so that the benefiting process will be unhindered by an enslaved body. Poor body, enslaved by lack of understanding. Buddhas are those who are greatly enlightened about delusion. Buddhas are enlightened about karmic consciousness in which delusion lives. Karmic consciousness is somewhat deceptive. Karmic consciousness appears as though it


were not karmic consciousness. For example, it appears like a wall with some pictures of Buddhas on it. It appears like a wall with a lamp on it. It appears like a room full of human beings. And the human beings don't look like consciousness. Actually they are consciousness, but the way they appear is consciousness. Human beings are not appearances, but they do appear in consciousness. An apparent version of everybody appears in the consciousnesses of everybody. And there's not a label underneath the appearance which says, although this does not look like consciousness, it is. And there's not a label which says, this is consciousness, this is consciousness appearing as an object, and it doesn't look like that, but this is for your information. It doesn't come labeled like that. So again, the teaching of the ancestors


has sent these labels into our consciousness. So now you have these labels and you can apply them to everything you see. Everything you see you can put a label on it, this is consciousness. Or this is an image of this person, and it's not the person. You can put that on everything if you wish, and the Buddhas have sent this message to you to install on everything in your mind. Consciousness, consciousness, consciousness, consciousness, idea of Lydia, idea of Catherine, idea of Kim, that's what I'm looking at. You're not an idea, sorry, I'm looking at an idea of you. That's just the kind of karmic consciousness I've got. Oh, what are Buddhas? Buddhas are


those who are greatly enlightened about karmic consciousness, among other things. But we just want to mention that because you've got one to be enlightened about, and when you're enlightened about it, we'll have Buddha. So it's like that. So this person says, what's this body a fruit of? I'm saying to you and I said to that person, it's a fruit of innumerable karmic consciousnesses, which means innumerable past karmic consciousness. It's not the fruit of this karmic consciousness. This karmic consciousness, however, will have fruits, but that's not this body. That would be some future bodies. Your body tomorrow will be the fruit of this karmic consciousness or these karmic consciousnesses. So then he says, well, is that like completely


determined? So I have a karmic consciousness, it has consequences. This karmic consciousness has consequences. What are the consequences? Well, the whole world is the consequence of karmic consciousness, but the whole world is not the fruit of my karmic consciousness alone. It's the fruit of my karmic consciousness with all of your karmic consciousnesses and all mine from beginningless time and all yours from beginningless time. That makes the world. I don't do it by myself, but I'm responsible for it. You don't do it by yourself, but you're responsible for it. And responsible has these two meanings. One is you have contributed to it, and two, you can and will respond to it. You will respond to the world which you're


responsible for. The question is, how will you respond? And the answer to that question has something to do with how you want to respond. So in this consciousness there's a wish to respond to the world as it appears with compassion. There's that wish, there's a vow, and to respond to it that way goes with the wish to benefit all beings and liberate all beings. So again, liberating the body goes with the vow to respond to the appearance of everything with friendship. So the guy again says, but is the consequence determined by the past action? It's the fruit of past action, is it determined by the past action? Yes, it's determined, but it's not


rigidly determined. If it was rigidly determined, there would be no point to practice, because everything would already be set up. However, if it wasn't somewhat determined, or if action didn't have consequence, the Buddha never would have mentioned it, and there would be no point in paying attention to what you do, or being careful of your actions. In other words, morality would be a dead letter. But every action does have consequence, but it's not totally determined. And part of the reason it's not totally determined is because other people are also having karmic actions which have consequence, and other people make your life too. So if all of you, for example, right now had very positive and skillful responses


about my life, and you kept it up for a long time, but I kept being unskillful and distracted and taking everything as not a blessing, I would be interfering with all the good work you're doing for me. You could wish me well and wish me well in a very skillful way, but if I don't wish me well, not to mention if I wish you not well too, my karma is going to interfere with your good wishes for me. Vice versa. All the people who want me to be unhappy, it has effect on me. But fortunately, it doesn't make me unhappy. It won't do it. I got to join that. And even if a lot of people do want me to be unhappy and they're successful, my response to my unhappiness can liberate me and all beings. So the thing is, it is possible


to be free from this cosmic causation process. That's the very positive proposal, that we can become free of it by studying it. And Buddhists study karmic consciousness, they study karmic consciousness and then they study karmic consciousness and they understand it and become free of it. So our actions do have consequence, none of them don't, but since we're all working together to produce karmic consciousnesses, it's very complex and nobody is in control, nobody is in control, including guess who? Guess who? Hmm? Yeah, one of the good guess, me is a good guess or you is a good guess, that's a good guess, but who else


is not in control? Buddha is not in control. That's one of the difference between this tradition and some others, they say somebody is in control. We don't have somebody in control. The thing that's in control is this inconceivable process of causation among all of us. We, we the universe, in a sense is in control, but it's not like somebody is in control and not like me. However, it is possible even in such a world for everybody to become free and the path is quite clear. So I talked before about a highly cultivated person, they're getting spun around in karmic consciousness, but they don't get disoriented very often. They have been disoriented and they noticed it and confessed it and repented


many many times, so now even though they're getting spinning, a lot of the time they're remembering to be friendly while they're getting attacked by their assistants. Everybody is their assistant, testing their orientation powers. And there's another story about a highly cultivated person and his name was Bai Zhang, Wai Hai. He lived in an outcropping called Bai Zhang, he had a monastery where he lived there and he was teaching many people and they say that often when he gave talks, or even always when he gave talks, an old man came to the talks and sat in the back, like kind of like this, kind of some old men


in the back of the room now. And he was sitting in the back of the room and there were some old men in the front of the room too. We've got old men all over the place. So anyway, this old man used to come and sit in the back, in other words he didn't sit up in the front, where Bai Zhang could reach him and pat him on the head. One day after the talk was over and all the other monks had left, he came up and he said, I'm not actually a human being, I'm a fox spirit. I used to live here a long time ago and I was the head monk of this monastery. And somebody asked me, why did you want to become a monk?


Does a highly cultivated person fall into cause and effect or not? Kind of like, does a highly cultivated person fall into the stream of words or not? And I said, does not. As a result, I have been born as a fox spirit for 500 lifetimes. Teacher, please give me a turning phrase, in other words, use language for me. Use literature, turn it for me in a way to liberate me. And Bai Zhang said to the former Bai Zhang, he said, okay, ask me. And the man said, does a highly cultivated person fall into cause


and effect or not? And Bai Zhang said, he does not ignore it or he does not become disoriented by it. And the old man woke up, was liberated. So we live in karmic cause and effect and we might wonder, do we fall into it or do we not fall into it? Bai Zhang did not say he does not fall into it. He said, the cultivated person studies it. And also, the cultivated person has heard, just like you are hearing


now, that studying it means you study the way it appears in consciousness. That's not the whole story, that's just the way you can see it. The consequences of what I'm saying and what I'm thinking and my hand gestures are inconceivably complex and wonderful. And what makes me able to talk to you and think and gesture is also inconceivably wonderful. I can't actually see karmic cause and effect, but I can study these images and appearances of it. I can use this world as an opportunity to study it. That's my job, is to not ignore this causal process which is appearing to me in this conscious form. This conscious form is a small, extremely important small part of a vast process of cause and effect.


The teacher doesn't say I don't fall into it. The teacher doesn't say I do fall into it. But it looks like I do fall into it sometimes, and it looks other times like I don't fall into it. But however it appears, the teaching is not to ignore it. And it's there to not be ignored all day long. And all night long, too, when you're dreaming. Dreaming you can study karmic cause and effect, too. In dreamless sleep, fortunately or unfortunately, there's not much opportunity for study. So you go into dreamless sleep at a certain level of understanding and you come out at the same level. But when you go into a dream, you have a chance to study. You have a chance to say, welcome, dream world. Welcome, karmic consciousness.


I wish to study you. I've heard that this is the path to perfect wisdom. And karmic consciousness goes, whoopee! Thank you for understanding what I need. I need you to take care of me with great compassion and to study me until you are liberated. And then I will be liberated with you. When you understand karmic consciousness, you will be liberated and it will be liberated together with you. And then you'll open to the world in which we are inconceivably all liberated together. Extremely positive, ultimately unsurpassably positive view of the potential of studying delusion. Buddhas study delusion thoroughly and understand it and become Buddhas. We have


the same thing that Buddhas have studied, but of course it's very hard to be thorough in a moment, in a cavern, in a canyon, excavating for a mine, a mine of enlightenment. It's hard work, but it has this potential. And it's not just for you that you will become liberated, you will become liberated as a boon to all beings. That's what I said to that person about what's the fruit of many lives. I don't say believe it, I say study it. The fruit of many lives is words that are appearing in our consciousness.


When we read the vow of the ancestor, liberate the body which is the fruit of many lives. Many of your past lives, many of my past lives. What a body! Larry Cohen's song, I guess it's called, Susan Comes to Mind. Is that Susan? Suzanne, sorry. I'm not an expert. Suzanne, does she have a perfect body and perfect mind? Is she the one? Well, I think he's on to something there. I think everybody has a perfect body and a perfect mind already. But how do we wake up to it? We wake up to it by dealing with the appearances of perfect and imperfect bodies, of stupendous and not-so-stupendous


bodies. Have you seen any of those? They're available for you to look at. They're available for study. And if we study them thoroughly, we'll understand that what we're looking at is images of stupendous and not-stupendous bodies, and when we understand that, we're open to the inconceivable perfect body, which is right now the body of the way we're all living together in harmony. Yes? What is the difference between wishing and striving? Sometimes they say, Buddha's wish, but they don't strive. It's kind of like, they wish


that everybody would realize how beautiful they are, but they don't strive for that because they're already that way. So Buddhas don't exactly strive. They work hard, but not to get anything, because the situation is already such. Things are already the way they are. Buddhas would wish everybody would wake up to that, and they became Buddhas by wishing that they would wake up to that, and they did wake up to that, so now they wish everybody else would. But they don't really strive. If you can excuse them, they're kind of relaxed about this wish, because they know that they can't push people to go any faster than they're going to go, because they're not in control. As a matter of fact, they even know that for a lot of people, what they have to teach the people is not to strive, otherwise they might


get distracted from the way they already are. However, under special circumstances, Buddhas assistants, the Bodhisattvas, will look like they're striving, because some people like to see somebody striving. So then they say, okay, I'll strive with you. But they're not really striving, because they understand that there's nothing to get. I was working on some calligraphy, but I didn't get very… I felt like I should work on it some more. I was going to give it to you, but I didn't. Maybe I'll give it to you the next time we meet, if it gets to be suitable for giving. But what I wrote was a kind of a rendition of the Heart Sutra, a certain section of it, out of context. When I took it out of context, I started to play with it. And what I took out of context was… I'll say it to you, here's what I wrote. With nothing to attain, one is a Bodhisattva.


A Bodhisattva is one who is without anything to attain, and Buddhas are like that too. When we have nothing to attain, we are Bodhisattvas. And we wish everybody else would get with the nothing to attain program, because then they would be able to live in perfect wisdom. So what I wrote was, I think… Okay, without attainment, one is a Bodhisattva. Thus one lives in perfect wisdom. Then I said it again, slightly different. Because of not obtaining of a Bodhisattva, thus living in perfect wisdom. So one is,


without attainment, you are a Bodhisattva. The other one is, without obtaining a Bodhisattva, even. So first you get to be a Bodhisattva if you don't attain anything. Next is you get to live in perfect wisdom if you don't obtain a Bodhisattva. And if you ask a Bodhisattva, would you please tell us about the practice of Bodhisattvas, Bodhisattvas might say, I'd love to, but I can't find any Bodhisattvas. So I wish everybody would be happy and free of all suffering and distress, but there's nothing really to attain, so I don't get into striving. But if striving, if exemplifying striving would help people, hey, that's my job today. And then somebody says, are you really striving? Well, can you handle that or not? No. Okay, I am striving. Is this like really joyful and easy for you to work


so hard? It really is. I do work hard, but I mean like this is like easy for me to work hard. What's hard for me is to be lazy, but if you want me to be lazy, I'll be lazy, and I'll work hard at that. So Buddhas really wish, they wish all day long that people will open to Buddha's wisdom, but they're not like stressed about it, they're not striving. They wish people would wake up to what's already going on, and they're trying to help them do that, but it's not exactly striving, because truly people already are. How's that for a start? Anything else this afternoon before we carry on? By the way, I'm not going to call on you if you move your hand slightly. You don't have


to hold it real still. Yes, but she moved her hand a lot. Catherine? Catherine? Yes? You want to know what karmic consciousness is? Karmic consciousness is a kind of awareness where there seems to be somebody there, and you might call it me, or I. Do you have an awareness like that? Is there an awareness where there seems to be somebody there, who seems to be somebody shaking her head and saying, uh-huh, and smiling and closing her eyes and smiling some more? So in that consciousness, I don't think I smiled that smile. I'm over here looking at that smile, but I imagine, in karmic consciousness, I imagine that in


your karmic consciousness there was a sense that you were smiling and you were listening to me and nodding your head now. So that's karmic consciousness. And there's two levels of self there. One is that there's a nodding of the head and it seems like somebody's doing it. Or there's a head and it seems like it belongs to somebody. It's her head and her nodding of her head. Can you see that? If there was a head but nobody there in the space of the head, then we wouldn't call that karmic consciousness. But there could be. There is cognitive process. In other words, most of the cognitive process that's going on with a living being is non-conscious. There's nobody there. Some things we do, there's tremendous cognitive activity going on to perform certain of our


acts, like I often use the way I move my hands. I can see these hands moving, but I do not know how to move them like this consciously. But they're moving by, like I didn't plan to do it with the fingers I just did there. The fingers were moving while I was trying to figure out the next thing to say. So while I was trying to figure out the next thing to say, some cognitive process decided to make me wiggle. Maybe it knows that if I wiggle them I'll come up with what I'm trying to say consciously. I don't know. You see that? I didn't intend that either. Tremendous amount of our activity is not conscious and there isn't a sense that somebody is there doing it. And that's not karma. However, the ability to do it is dependent on karma, past karma. Also in karmic consciousness there's another thing that appears there besides this activity of nodding the head. The other thing that


appears there is called a world. So karmic consciousness has a world appearing in it. The unconscious process also has a world but the world doesn't appear there. It's just being responded to and information is being received from it and processed and all kinds of responses to it. There's a world but it's not appearing. It's more closely related to the sense organs. If you have any more questions about karmic consciousness, this would be the appropriate time to ask. I'm here and I'm interested to talk about it. It sounds like it but it might not be. It might be a state of intensified delusion. Or it might be an unconscious state. So in non-conscious cognition, which again as I


say is the majority, 95% some people say, the majority of our cognitive activity is unconscious and there isn't somebody there doing all that wonderful cognitive orchestration. It's not even orchestrated though by a self. It's orchestrated by a tremendous orchestra orchestrates it. I don't particularly want to bring anything more into consciousness. I've got enough. I've got a whole world here. It's big enough to have problems. What I've got here is enough. However, some other people maybe want me to have some stuff in my consciousness so they do stuff to me, they attack me. And then I have more stuff in my consciousness. But I personally am not inviting problems. However,


I am welcoming the ones that come. And if anybody sees me and they think I don't have enough problems, they might say, I think he needs a few more problems. And he said he was open to receiving them. He wasn't asking for them but he said he was open to receiving them and showing that he will welcome them. Or he'll try. He vows to try. We're never going to bring everything from the unconscious process into the consciousness. Now, some of the things that are in the unconscious process have been here before and are not here anymore. For example, when you learn to walk, you are aware of some of the cognitive activities that are necessary in order to walk. But once you learn to walk, that level of conscious awareness of what it takes to walk receded into the unconscious and it supports now you to walk without even thinking about it anymore. You don't have to consciously think


about walking often to walk. However, if you break your leg, like I did, and then you can't walk, then you actually get to bring how to walk back up into consciousness and learn how to walk again. And then when you learn how to walk, it's wonderful, wow, this is fabulous, and then what it takes to do it, how much conscious activity you need to know about it, recedes again. Also, now we can speak English, but there was a time when we couldn't. So learning English was in our consciousness more in the past. Now that we've learned it, it's mostly orchestrated unconsciously. I was thinking about how babies, they have all this sense information coming in, so they


develop a sense of self, to organize and make sense of the world. And you know how just like we walk and we forget that we learned how to walk, but we knew it. Something like a baby, they learn the self, but then that becomes an implicit belief. And so we carry that with us. This is just what I'm kind of hashing out right now. This is part of your study of the self. Yeah. But growing up, we haven't studied reality, so that belief is still there. And so then studying it, we see over time that it's erroneous, or that there's more to it than that. You said erroneous, or another possibility is that there's more to it than that. Right. So, yes, go ahead. Is there anything more than that? Well, in a way, you could say you said it all, but I could say more about it in the


sense that the causal process of creating a sense that somebody's here does occur to, for example, human beings. And not just babies. It happens to human beings throughout their life. This process which gives rise to a sense of self occurs throughout the human life, and it's not always there, as I said, like in dreamless sleep, it's not there. There's no implied sense of self when there's not consciousness. Or if there's no implied sense of self, there's no consciousness. And we are sometimes not conscious. But you said it before, it's erroneous or there's more to it. The sense of self, it's not erroneous that there's a sense of self. It's erroneous that it's a thing by itself, and it appears to be a thing by itself, but it's actually


a process. The belief also appears to be a thing by itself, but it's a process. So, when it's a process, the sense of self is there for the baby too, but it's a process, and they haven't yet learned how to congeal it into the false appearance of a thing by itself. So I'm of the school that the baby does have a self. They are conscious, they do have a self, but their self is like the self that's understood by a highly evolved person. But they don't see that it's a self. So first of all, it goes from being a self process to being rendered into kind of like a hardened thing by itself, and it looks like


that, and then that becomes implicit, and that hinders us from seeing that it's a process. So we have to train our study to realize this thing is a false appearance, plus the creation of this false appearance is also due to a process. When we understand that the sense of self is a process, that's when we're liberated from grasping it. I'm wondering if the word grasping is the answer to my question. It probably is. Okay. No, this liberation stuff really fascinates me, and you earlier, I mean, I really am interested in this idea of liberation. So my question is, what is liberation vis-a-vis cause and effect? Maybe in old Indian Buddhism, it was free from cause and effect, but it sounds like in our tradition, it's right in the middle of cause and effect. But what is liberation?


Well, free from cause and effect is right in the middle of cause and effect. And freedom from right in the middle of cause and effect is being there without grasping anything. The name of this place is no abode. That's a short version of, in the midst of karma cause and effect, right in the middle of karma cause and effect, not abiding. That's freedom. Some people thought they're going to get rid of karmic cause and effect, and that's going to be freedom. That's just another idea. It's just another idea that you could have no karmic cause and effect. But Bodhisattvas and Buddhas want people to learn how to be in karmic cause and effect without grasping anything, without abiding in it. That's freedom. That's being alive and being conscious and being free. You don't have to become unconscious in order


to wake up. So it doesn't mean you don't respond to all the causes and conditions. When you're enlightened? You're always responding. Yeah, you're always responding. You can only go into some kind of state of intense delusion and think, I can avoid responding. But I've never heard of anybody who doesn't respond to the universe. And I've never heard of a universe that doesn't respond to everybody. So the clinging part is delusion. Or rather, clinging is suffering. The Buddha's first truth is suffering. Suffering is, in short, grasping in this process. That's a brief version of the truth of suffering. A more elaborated version of it is, just name everything and their suffering. But the reason why everything is suffering is because of grasping it. Everything is a process, but we have the ability to make


ungraspable processes into apparently graspable things and they really look real. Like a world is a process and it has a label, this is actually the way it appears, rather than, it's not the way it appears, it's consciousness. So we're trying to relabel in a way the deceptive nature of karmic consciousness, but you have to do it. It's on-the-job training, so you have to learn how to not grasp it while you're grasping it. It's not like you stop grasping and then you learn how to grasp. While you're grasping, you're being given instructions about how not to grasp. And sometimes the instructions are, stop grasping, sometimes that's said, but another one is, do you wish to not grasp? And then you might say, no, I want to continue. Okay, fine, we'll talk later. Do you wish to stop grasping? No.


Do you wish to be free? Yes. Did you know that being free goes along with the not grasping? Oh, really? Oh, maybe I do want to stop grasping. Matter of fact, I vow to stop grasping. Like one of our Bodhisattva precepts is, I vow to embrace and sustain non-grasping. And I vow, the precept of not being possessive of anything, not even Buddha or Dharma, I vow to not grasp. Oops, I grasped. Oops, I grasped. So the chant we do is, for those people who understand that grasping is the basic definition of stress and suffering, the instruction is, when you notice it's going on, confess it and say how you feel. I'm grasping, I'm suffering, I'm sorry I do it and I want to try again. So we are in the middle of karmic cause and


effect, we're not doing very well with it. We haven't yet arrived at complete non-abiding, but we wish to. And occasionally we might get a break, but even if we don't get a break, we can do the practice of, I grasped something and I'm sorry, I grasped something and I'm sorry, I was abiding and I'm sorry. And I understand that what I'm doing here will melt away the root of this deep habit of grasping. So I'm kind of happy, because I understand I'm doing what bodhisattvas do. What do they do? They vow to liberate all beings from grasping. And when they themselves grasp, they confess it and say they're sorry and try again. So I'm doing that. I'm just like a bodhisattva who hasn't yet completely stopped grasping. But bodhisattvas don't immediately, at the beginning of their career, stop all grasping. They're still doing some. So if you're still doing some, you're like a bodhisattva who


is not doing too well. But you are doing the bodhisattva practice, which will eventually melt away your tendency to grasp a life that's inconceivable and ungraspable. You can give it up by noticing that you haven't given it up. I'm still hung up on that, and I'm sorry. But I'm not going to kill myself for it, because that would just be more of the same. I'm just going to say, sweetheart, that wasn't so good. I agree. Okay, let's try again. So in a kindly way, we aren't doing too well. Yes? Are we conscious of anything that's not karmic as we practice and our practice deepens? Yes, I think we can spot stuff that's not really karmic. However, the stuff we spot that's not karmic is not separate from karmic process. So for example, a lot of my motions


actually I'm not consciously intending to do. My head just moved, I saw it, and I didn't mean to do it. That was not intentional. This was a little bit more intentional. But a lot of the stuff I do is not intentional. Even though it's not intentional though, if it's a product of beings. Products of karma are not actually karmic consciousness. They appear in karmic consciousness. The products are not karma. The results of karma are not karma. Karmic results are results of intentions. The definition of karma is intention is the shape of your consciousness. But the things that appear in your consciousness, some of them are intentions, those are more karma. But a lot of them are just karmic results. And again, not just of your karma. And also like your fingernails growing are not active


karma even though there's an action there. When the doctor taps you on the knee, or even if I tap you on the knee and you get this reflex, you don't intend to do it. It's not a karmic act. It doesn't have karmic consequences. So a lot of our life is not karma itself, but it's a result of karma. But again, not just yours. Colors are not karmic action. But they're the result. The world is not karmic activity, it is a result of karmic activity. And then the world, which is the result of karmic activity, gets rendered by the world's processes into appearances of your consciousness. The sense of, I'm here and I see the color, that's karma. And I can see that. But I can also see the color. The color is not karma. But me, somebody here, seeing it, that's karma. So I have to not just look at colors,


which I do look at. Most people do see colors, but not very many people are noticing, oh, I think I'm seeing it. Even though they do. They're not actually mindful that they are actually there in the consciousness. And they think they did this, and they think they did that. And then as you get into noise, you can also check out, do you think you did it well or not? And does it go with your vows or not? It's like, get into it. So when you study it... And you're studying it now. Yeah. And when you create the action... Or when you think you created... Or when you think you created an action... And that thinking you created an action... And that has effects. Is that no longer karma? Is that product? Thinking that you created an action, that thinking that you did it has effects. And is that... And it does have effects. But that's only karmic consciousness. No. Karmic consciousness has effects beyond karmic consciousness. But those effects are no longer karmic consciousness because of the product of karmic consciousness.


They're not... The karmic consequences are not... The karmic consequences are not karma. They're not karma. They're... They're the results. The results are karmically neutral. They hurt sometimes, a lot. Or they feel good. So the response is karma. Well, the response gets a little too active. And some of the karmic consequences are conscious and you consciously know them. Other karmic consequences are non-conscious and you do not karmically know them. And none of the consequences are karma. However, the consequences support... The arena in which there's somebody there... And that somebody does stuff. And that somebody is aware that somebody's there.


Non-karmic activity, karmic results support the realm... Where there is somebody there who does think he's doing things. The somebody there who thinks he's doing something is a hallmark of consciousness. And in that space is where karma occurs. And by studying, by not ignoring this process, is the path to liberation from this whole situation. And then there was Eric. I was reading Deshimara Roshi. He was saying, in sitting, our karma gets more spacious. We offer less of it. There's more space in between. And you're saying that the point is not just to get rid of karmic activity, but just not to grasp.


What point is there in trying to lessen the flow of karmic activity? I don't see much benefit in trying to lessen the flow of karmic activity. It sounds to me like more karmic activity. Unless you imagine that there was, again, some controller up here who was trying to reduce the flow of karmic activity. But I haven't seen much success of this person. The Buddha who is not caught up in karmic activity, because the Buddha is liberated from it, right? The Buddha has studied karmic activity. Okay, now I'm free. And I see all these beings who are all caught up in karmic activity. I think I'll just turn down their karmic activity way down. I'll decrease the flow. And then they'll be like happy campers. But the Buddha said, I don't do that.


I cannot do that. The Buddha is not in control of these innumerable karmic consciousnesses of innumerable sentient beings. The Buddha wishes, and the Bodhisattvas wish, to liberate all suffering karmic consciousnesses. Sentient beings are numberless. In other words, suffering beings are numberless. In other words, karmic consciousnesses are numberless. I vow to save them. That's what the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas want to do. They want to liberate these karmic consciousnesses. Because they can't stop them. They can't turn down the process of life, which has made this wonderful thing called karmic consciousness. They're not trying to squash it down. They're trying to illuminate it. Part of the illumination might be to make the flow sometimes a little bit more vivid. But again, they're not in control of that. The Buddhas are not in control of your karmic life becoming extremely interesting sometimes.


Or extremely frightening. Or extremely depressing. Buddhas are not making that happen. They're just pulsing, teaching to you. And the teaching gets transmuted into words in your little karmic consciousness booth. And those words are like, pay attention, do not ignore this, be kind to it. It's all teaching. It's all teaching. Study it, study it, study it. That's not what the Buddha is saying, but that's fortunately what it gets translated into. And if we follow those instructions, we will accomplish what the Buddhas are wishing for. We'll become free of karmic consciousness. But not by turning it down. Some people try that. And then they find out how that works. So, as you may know, I sometimes use the image of surfing.


I'm not talking about going out to the Pacific Ocean. On those rare moments when there's almost no waves. Oh, how dead that would be. It's never like that. You know, if you go out beyond the breakers, sometimes it's smooth, but there's still breakers and they can knock you down. It never gets that smooth that there's no waves. And sometimes it's not just the breakers that are waving, there's waves out there too. Sometimes really big ones out in the middle. It's to learn how to surf. That's fun. That's extremely beautiful. To kill the ocean and make it into a skating rink, that would be cool too. Then you can go skating on it. And that's also nice. Because you can slip if you're not careful. And then find out that it's not good to not be careful on ice. So anyway, I don't think the Buddha is saying, kill everybody and then everybody will be free.


Buddha is saying, learn how to surf. And then you'll be free. But learning how to surf is really hard. And even the surfers who do learn it, they only do it about, what, ten minutes a day. That they actually get up there and they can actually do it. The rest of the time they're trying to do it, waiting for the wave. But karmic consciousness, it's available all day long to surf. And it's also available all day long to ignore. But that's not recommended. That's just common. Most people are not paying attention to it, are not studying it. And the Buddhists cannot force them to study it. Even though they're kind of like, please study it, I wish you'd study it, please study it. You're being very repetitious, stop that. Okay.


I'll just say it to myself. I wish they would, I wish they would. So, it's past four. We said we'd stop. I thank you very much for welcoming in the new year and coming to greet me and encourage me to continue for a little longer. May our intention equally extend to every being and place with the true merit of Buddha's way. Beings are numberless. I vow to save them. Delusions are inexhaustible.


I vow to end them. Dharma gates are boundless. I vow to enter them. Buddha's way is unsurpassable. I vow to become it. Oh, I think we have talked about scheduling a Bodhisattva vow ceremony at the end of the next one-day sitting, is that right? That's the date that the most people can attend. So, we're going to have a one-day sitting next month, February on 7th. At the end of the sitting, we're going to have a Bodhisattva vow ceremony, which is different from our usual Bodhisattva initiation. It's a different set of vows. And it's a different ceremony. And you don't have to sew a raksha for it. And you don't have to ask to come.


You can just come. So, you can come to the whole day, or you could come at four. But if you're going to come the whole day, please tell Aileen. And if you're going to come at four, please tell Aileen. Does that make sense? And if you want to come for part of the day and leave, that's also okay. If you don't want to do the ceremony, you want to leave at four or whatever, or 4.30, you can leave. So, you can come for the ceremony, come for the whole day, or just come for the day up to the ceremony. And then we'll do the ceremony. If you want to know what the ceremony is like, you can, I guess, contact my assistant and get a script. And you have a script too, so you can contact Aileen or my assistant, and you can see the script. So, the way the ceremony goes is, I read a little bit, then you say a little bit. I say a little bit, you say a little bit. Then we do some bows. Then I say a little bit, and you say a little bit.


Then I say a little bit, and you say a little bit. Then we do some bows. And the little bits are these incredible, huge bows.