Intention Transforms the World

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Our thinking and intention makes the world what it is; awareness of intention makes our contribution a positive one

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Is this operating? It's rolling. It's rolling? Yeah. How long has it been rolling? 22 seconds. So, people are smiling, which is nice to see, but I feel I must say that I think we're all very, what was the word, in pain, probably, over the war in Iraq and the war in Lebanon and Israel, and the whole situation around power in this world, struggle for power, which


comes in the form of fuel, often, and the struggle over it, but also the effects of using it. It's easy for the thought to arise in the mind, or the concern to arise in the mind, you know, what can I do, how can I contribute to lessening the violence and greed and disrespect and lack of appreciation among beings, etc. And I don't identify with this kind of language, but the word powerlessness, yeah, comes to


mind, seems like the mind wants to measure whether one is making any significant positive contribution to the situation. The mind imagines a positive contribution and imagines measuring it, and it wants to make a big positive contribution to a world where there's so many people right now who are suffering so intensely. And then various people, various beings, have ideas or understandings of what would be helpful


and I don't know about measuring what contribution our actions make, I don't know about measuring it, but when the thought arises, what can I do, I think that what I try to remember is not so much what can I do, but what am I doing. So, this war in Iraq, although I really did oppose the whole thing, still, that doesn't


mean I wasn't part of it happening. What I was doing before and have been doing since still is contributing to the world in which this war exists. I feel responsible for it. And, I think that the way I think, moment by moment, and the way I have thought, moment by moment, has contributed and is contributing to the current situation and the future situation. That's how I think. I think my thinking is responsible for this world. And I think that your thinking is responsible for this world.


My ability to sort of go on in this world of suffering is supported by meditating on the proposal that my thinking and your thinking, which is the same as my intention and your intention, which is basically the same as my vow and your vow, which is the same as saying my request and my wish and your request and your wish, moment by moment, the proposal is that all these wishes, requests, intentions, that they make the world. They have made this world of misery and it is through these same types of phenomena called


intention, called vow, called aspiration, basically synonyms for me, it is through them that the world is and will be transformed. The world will be transformed and is being transformed. In a way it seems like the world has recently been transformed in a negative way. Recently I mean like in the last six years. It seems that way. I can't measure really, I mean I can measure but I'm not saying my measurement is correct. But anyways, lots of negative transformations I feel have occurred, whether the overall picture is a negative transformation, I can't say. And what I'm saying to you is a way of thinking and it's a vision about thinking.


So I'm suggesting that a transformation of vision of the world is the basis for the transformation of the world. And the vision of the world is the basis of the intentions or thinking about the world and the thinking about the world and the intention about the world forms the world and transforms the world. So this is a proposal which I didn't, as far as I know, has been thought of and imagined for a couple of thousand years at least in the tradition of the Buddhadharma. This is an old story about how the story we have of the world contributes to the world.


Yeah, that's the story. The story is the story we have about the world forms the world. And many people, as far as I can tell, do not have the story that their story of the world forms the world. Many people do not think that. However, they still have a story which is contributing to the world. So again, another proposal is that not only does everybody's story contribute to the formation of the world, but that if you're not aware of your story and you're not aware of how your story forms the world, that your contribution is harmful, relatively harmful. Whereas if you're aware of your story, if you're aware of your intention, and you're


aware that your intention contributes to the formation of the world, your contribution is relatively positive. And the more that we are aware of our intention, of our aspiration, and how it transforms the world, the more positive is the contribution. And the less we are aware of our intentions and their transformative and formative power, the more harmful, generally speaking, our contribution. But in either case, living beings are constantly influencing the formation of the world and the transformation of the world. This is a proposal from my understanding of this tradition, from the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha and all the other Buddhas that he is related to.


That's my understanding of his teaching, partly. So in a sense, you could say it's a faith for some people, and maybe somewhat a faith for me. But for me also, it is something that I'm experimenting with and receiving some experimental data on. However, as you may know, in science, when you have a theory and you do an experiment, and the results of the experiment uphold the theory that does not prove the theory is correct, you can't really prove a theory is correct, because the next moment the theory could be disproved. You can disprove a theory, but you can't really prove it. This is a theory which I'm enjoying testing. And the testing of it seems, to me, really appropriate to the world today.


And always. Again, the teaching is that the world, or the world's worlds, because we get new worlds every moment, worlds represent the consequences, worlds are consequences of aspirations and actions, and actions are intentions of living beings, of all of us, all of us are contributing. And another aspect of the teaching is that not only does every intention that arises in our consciousness contribute to the formation of the world, not only does every aspiration that arises in our consciousness contribute to the world, but it contributes also to a path of aspiration.


So, when an aspiration arises, one of its consequences is the formation of a world, but another consequence is it tends to influence further intentions. Stories tend to reproduce themselves. Intentions, karmic paths, are formed. So not only do they form the world, but they also form paths of bondage within the world, wherein people are stuck in a rut about how they're contributing to the world. But again, the alteration of the path of our contribution comes through intention. So intention, or aspiration, is what alters the paths of intention or aspiration.


So if you have certain karmic paths, they're determined by karmic actions of body, speech and mind, or in a way they're influenced by momentary intentions of body, speech and mind, and the paths are altered through body, speech and mind. They are altered by body, speech and mind actions, by intentional body, speech and mind. They are altered all the time. Your own personal paths and the world, which is created by everybody's personal path, those are transformed by further body, speech and mind intentional activity. And once again, the transformation is negative,


your own personal path becomes negative, through not noticing the intention, and not noticing how it's evolving. And it evolves positively, your own path evolves positively, and your contribution becomes more positive as you notice the path, and how your current intention works with that. And there's some appearance in the history of Zen that some Zen teachers seem to not be concerned with attention.


How's your kids? Bigger every day. Bigger every day? They're not losing weight? Good. Thanks for coming. Drive carefully, please. Watch your intention. So, some people feel that the Zen school sometimes de-emphasizes paying attention to intention. And it may be that that's the case. Some Zen practitioners may be doing that. I myself don't see that. But what I would see is that there's a middle way between rejecting the importance of attention to karma,


completely rejecting it on one side, and on the other side, being so concerned with it that you're substantiating the process, substantiating the intention or the aspiration. Because although the aspiration, whatever aspiration you have right now, whatever intention you have right now, although the teaching is that it has consequence, what that intention is, is not said to be a substantial thing. As a matter of fact, there's not even much emphasis on what the intention is, because emphasizing what your intention is, is already saying or talking as though it were somewhat substantial. So, we have to be careful if we hear that noticing our intention


tends to have a positive evolutionary influence, that we would then think that the intention we're noticing is substantial. And I think that when some teachers are rejecting attention to intention, or attention to karma, or even the teachings of karma, they're doing that because students have thought too much in terms of what intention is and what the teachings of karma are, rather than noticing how intention comes to be, how karma comes to be, how the teachings come to be. So, because of people substantiating and reifying the teachings, they have rejected them. But hopefully, I would say, just enough so that people don't reify,


not to actually have people not pay attention to their intention. And I think Zen teachers sometimes talk this way of rejecting it to protect people from substantiating, having a substantialistic view of what they're up to at the moment. But they live in a monastery, where people are getting feedback all the time on their intention. But they don't mention the monastery, because they're in it, and they're giving feedback to the people that they're telling to not pay attention to their intention. And then when they don't, they get feedback. And actually, part of the way of working with this attention,


or mindfulness and contemplation of intention, part of what's involved here is actually to work together with someone else attending to the intention. So you can work with it inwardly, and looking at it inwardly has a long-term positive influence. But also it's good to work with it interpersonally, so that other people could check to see and give you feedback on whether you are being too substantialistic about your intentions. And so that you, together with others, can express your intentions to each other in such a way as to alter the trajectory,


mutually alter each other's trajectories, paths of karma. Which is another way to say, express your stories to each other, so that your stories can modify each other's stories. And to watch this consciously as an interpersonal transformation of the vision of the world. And that this vision of the world, of putting our stories out and inviting others to put theirs out and watching how they affect each other, this process is a process which reflects the story of how the world is formed. And in that way, perhaps maybe more in accord with reality


and bring peace and harmony. So this is a story about how to realize peace and harmony. Which would include me letting my story, which I just told about peace and harmony, be altered and influenced by yours, and particularly your story about how that was a substantialistic story. Or it could just be how it's stupid, or religious, or naive, or lots of things you could say, you could have lots of stories about my story. And this story that I told is a story which would welcome that feedback and welcome disagreement. And my story also, or the story I told anyway,


which is not really my story, but my understanding of the Buddha's story, this story arises not from me, but from the interaction of this body with the world in which the Buddha's teachings exist, and also in a world in which you all exist. And my intentions, my aspirations arise as this body interacts with your bodies and all the teachings and all the suffering. That gives rise to my cognitions, which come with intention. If my body was not bouncing off and being bounced off of in relationship to the teachings, I think my intentions would be different. Maybe even better, but they'd be different. In a way, this is how I keep myself buoyant


as I meditate on the horrific transformations of the world which I see. To keep myself appearing again and again, willing to live in this world and try to make better and better contributions and try to see and help other people make better and better contributions to forming this world. Any feedback from me? Yes? I have a question. You have a question? Yes. That's feedback. You said you invited us to change your story or offer changes to your story.


Yes, and I also said my story invites you to change my story. Some people's stories literally do not invite you to change their story. But my story invites you to change my story. I've come across a few situations recently where I'm someone who also invites people to change my story and my story invites people to change it. But when can a story not change? A story can never not change. There's a fleeting moment somewhere towards the period at the end of the story. It doesn't change until the period is put on it. But then it changes. Let me give you an example. An example of a story that doesn't change? Yes, or your story doesn't change. Let's have an example. Let's say I want to have studies in, but I only would feel safe to come to Noah's Boat for the day if I wore a gun.


Would Noah's Boat's story change to accommodate me? Definitely. Even if you never got to Noah's Boat, Noah's Boat's story would change to accommodate you. As you're approaching Noah's Boat through Tam Valley and get arrested and tell them that you're heading to Noah's Boat, you're already transforming Noah's Boat. You transform Noah's Boat when you want to go to Noah's Boat with a gun. You immediately transform Noah's Boat. Think of coming with a gun so you'll feel safe. You have just transformed Noah's Boat. And if you transform Noah's Boat, Noah's Boat just accommodated to you. Before you arrive, you change Noah's Boat. Now, if you want to get more specific and say, if you actually got here and walked in the door with the gun, and I saw the gun, would I accommodate? And I would accommodate. I might go, wow, what kind of gun is that?


That's an accommodation. I will respond to you. If I get scared and I tense up, I'm accommodating to you. Outside world? Yeah, you're excused. You mean like the neighbors? Not the inside world, which includes Israel and Iraq. You want to talk about the neighbors of Noah's Boat? Yes, the neighbors. Okay, which neighbors do you want to talk about? The neighbors of Noah's Boat, like Iraq and Israel, and how some of them don't want to accommodate. That's their story. Their story is, like I heard somebody say, I like George Bush because he's consistent. What he thinks on Monday is the same as what he thinks on Wednesday,


regardless of what happens on Tuesday. I like that consistency. Some people have that story that they actually like that. The person who said that had the story that he thought that was a joke. He didn't like that. He thought, actually his story would be good if what he thought changed according to circumstances. That's his story. But his story might also be that he would be willing to change his story. Perhaps. But some people do have the story, I can't change my story. It's the truth. I'm sorry. How can I change it? My story is the truth, so it can't change. That story, I think, my story is, I want to find a way to interact with that story. So the person who tells that story can wake up from the dream that they have a story which can't change. Because I think, my story is, that people who think they have a story which is true and can't change,


therefore conversing with people is fine, but the story is not going to change. I have a story that I want to have conversations with them so that their story could change. But I do think that some people they just don't see a possibility of their story changing. But I think the fact that they're willing to talk about it, like I heard about this, there's a show now called Faith and Reason series on TV, and I heard that some scientists were being interviewed, but they were scientists which have faith, and they're willing to converse about it, but they seem that their faith was rock-like and unchangeable. But still, if they're willing to converse, I think they're entering into the process where their view will not be so harmful if they're willing to converse about it. So even the people who are not changing their view in their own mind,


they think they have the same view, even though you can watch it changing perhaps, but they don't see it. You can see that they had different view today as yesterday, but they think, no, no, it's the same view. That's their view. If they will converse with you, I think that it's not okay, but it's not so harmful that they think it hasn't been changing. In other words, we can find peace with those who do not agree with us, if we can converse. That's my story. That's a story. Do I mind if you continue? I don't. Does anybody else mind if she continues? Looks like nobody minds, at least inside. I reserve judgment. What? You have a question, what? I don't mind if she goes on as long as I can have time to converse with her. Okay. Joan?


What I'm trying to get at is setting boundaries. It seems to me that sometimes it's important to say no and set boundaries, and that means holding on to your story. Not necessarily. You can set boundaries without holding on to your story. Some of the best boundary setters are people who don't hold on to their stories. This is what I'm trying to understand. Maybe you can explain that to me. For example, with a child that you love, it's possible to have some idea that something is dangerous for them, and set a boundary so that they don't get hurt. But still, be open to the fact that you might be wrong. And set the boundary with that understanding. And actually then also convey to them that you're setting a boundary,


but somehow, although you're not unclear about the boundary, you're also relaxed with doing it. So they feel somewhat relaxed with a very definite boundary. And you feel relaxed too, because although it's definite, you're not attached to it. It's possible to learn that. And just for the moment, too. Like I often use this example of, I went to Esalen Institute in 1980 with my three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, and her mother was going to go to France while we were at Esalen. And her mother suggested that while we were at Esalen, I help her get off her pacifier. Which she used mostly to go to sleep at night. And so, I think one of the first nights of being there, I said to her, you know, your mom, evil mother,


wants you to get off the... I didn't say evil mother to her, but I'm saying to you, evil mother, wants you to get off the pacifier. And my daughter said, well, I like to use it, it helps me go to sleep. And I thought, that's reasonable. Thinking about what other people do to go to sleep, it seems pretty good. Did you want to jump in here, in the middle of the story? Okay, let's see what happens. There's a way we can what? A way that we can dream. Yes. I mean, I feel like this story is very familiar, and that I might have even written it. And that my intentions and wishes have interacted with goodness and Buddha,


and to help you save us. And so, I can interact and grow, and be of beneficial service. I really need someone to balance that wisdom, body, or whatever it is, with. And I have thought it was you for quite some time, and I've also had personal difficulties as well, that I wanted to express, but I'm okay with those. I love you as a person, I wish you well, and I wish myself well, and I wish us all well. And I feel that we can work together. And I think through news, I agree with it wholeheartedly. And I feel that it calls upon our creativity to work with each other in a way that looks out for our best interests. That we need and must create containers,


and places, and situations, and houses, and clothes, and things for people. Luncheons. Luncheons. Yeah, luncheons. Daycare areas. Daycare areas. Sandboxes. Sandboxes. Yeah, amen. And I have been longing and wanting to create this, to help people create this. And I'm very happy that this is here today. And I'm very grateful, and quite touched enough to let it go, and to give it back. And I pray that it can grow among whoever wants it. And if they don't, that we can somehow love them enough, or provide enough for them, that the resources come.


That we can each give our resources in a way that really helps each other, rather than compete so much. And I really enjoyed talking about this, and thank you for listening. You enjoyed expressing yourself just now? Yeah, and talking to you, and feedback. Feedback? Yeah, well, feedback is amen. Amen, sister. Thank you very much. I'm glad you enjoyed expressing yourself. You're welcome. Thank you. So anyway, she says, you know, I want to use it to go to sleep, so I say, OK, you can use it. So she uses it to go to sleep, but then one night, I come home from giving a class, I was teaching there at Esalen, I came home, and she was very upset, because she had bitten through her pacifier, and it was no longer functioning as a pacifier. so she said,


she wanted me to, Esalen is way down by Big Sur, past Big Sur, she wanted me to go and buy her a new pacifier, and it was like 10 at night, and I said, it's too late now, it's the nearest store is 50 miles away. Or at least the nearest store where you can buy pacifiers. You have to go all the way back to Monterey or something. I said, I'm not going to go in the middle of the night, but if you remind me tomorrow, I'll get it. She forgot to tell me, so I didn't get it. But anyway, I had the story of her getting off it, she had the story of continuing, and I gave up my story, and I went sort of with her story of using it. But then she bit through it, and it turns out that she did stop using the pacifier, but not because anybody's story was... I had this story about,


okay, I'm not going to drive in the middle of the night, but she didn't try to talk me out of it, she went along with it. And she fell asleep while we were discussing how difficult it would be for me to drive up the road. I said, we had to turn right, and then we had to turn left, and we had to turn right, and she was asleep. Had to go over the bridge. It was a pacifying story. We're still trying to pacifier her. It's good when she's pacified. When my intention comes along, my intention is probably bound to what I know, to the range of practice I'm having. Your intention is bound to what you know. With every moment of knowing, every moment of cognition, an intention comes. So you could say the intention is bound


to what you know or to your knowing, but also your knowing is bound to your intention. They're connected. Knowing and intention, knowing and aspiration are partners. They co-evolve. As your intention evolves positively, your cognition evolves positively. As your cognition evolves positively, your intention evolves positively. I bounce back and forth with other people's knowing. And so my knowing evolves. But how does it exactly happen that one extends to a range of knowing that one doesn't know? So you said your knowing is bouncing off other people's knowing, and also your intention is bouncing off other people's intention. Like Laura is saying, our cognitions are actually bouncing off supreme cognitions of Buddhas. We're actually bouncing with them


right now. And our intentions are bouncing with their intentions, right now. And the next part of your question, or statement? Yes, to have one's intention grow into an area where I actually don't know. Where you don't know? It doesn't grow into an area where you don't know. Right, but there is so much that I don't know. It doesn't grow into an area you don't know, but areas where you have not yet known co-arise with the evolution of your intention. If your intention gets transformed, at the same time the intention gets transformed, a new cognition arises with it. A cognition you never had before. So working on your intention will put you into worlds, but especially will put you into ways of knowing that you've never had before. Like going to school, for example, and learning the lessons can put you into states of cognition which you've never had before.


And particularly having more positive and skillful intentions put you into states of knowing that states of knowing arise with you that you've never known before. And also putting your intention or your story out with other intentions where you're actually aware, like I'm putting my intention out and you're putting your intention out, or I'm putting my story out and you're putting your story out, where you're dramatizing what's going on all the time. Actually all the time, the people who are thinking of coming to Noah's boat with weapons, they're transforming Noah's boat already, but we don't know about it because we don't see them. But if they would actually come here and dramatically present themselves with their armament and we interacted with them, then we would actually be able to see they're actually interacting with our story. And then we would be able to actually


form a new story perhaps with them. And this new story or this new intention would give rise to a state of awareness which we've never had before. Like these people came to Noah's boat with weapons and we actually interacted with them and it worked out really well. I experienced a state I've never experienced before with armed meditators. It's a whole new thing. At Tassajara in 1970, early in the morning, I went to hit the wooden plaque up there for meditation and there were lots of motorcycles. Actually the motorcycles weren't right there. There were lots of Hell's Angels wearing weapons around the area of the Zendo like at 5 o'clock in the morning at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Armed Hell's Angels people. They just happened to drive down in the middle of the night and there they were. And I was very surprised


how well it worked out. They just came down to have a bath. They weren't going to shoot us or anything but they just happened to carry weapons. And I just kept hitting the Han and the guest person took care of them. It was like a new state of consciousness for me. And probably for them too to see this young bald guy hitting this plaque in the middle of the night. So the interaction part is really important. That you get your story out there again and again and learn how to stand the fact that other people are receiving it in all these different ways according to their stories and just keep interacting and interacting and your story will change. Your story will change but you get to notice it change and as you notice it change noticing your story change will evolve positively. There may be occasional dips.


Like you may notice that you have a story and somebody else disagrees with you and then your story changes into that they are rats, they are terrible people because they don't agree with my story. So my story was the same as it was before but if you notice that your story changes you will come out of that by that awareness. Your awareness will lift you out of the dipping, of the degradation of your story. Greed, hate and delusion cannot hinder? Greed, hate and delusion cannot hinder? Greed, hate and delusion are part of karmic hindrance but karmic hindrance doesn't really hinder what is it that you are talking about being hindering? You didn't say intention though. What?


Yeah. What is altered doesn't obstruct the alteration. It is the object of the alteration. So greed, hate and delusion which are part of the pattern, a karmic pattern, an intentional pattern, they don't obstruct the alteration of themselves. They are what gets altered by awareness. By awareness of obstruction, obstruction is altered. But it's not that there is no obstruction. The obstruction is what we are altering. The obstruction is what we are learning to leap beyond and turn. So obstruction really isn't an obstruction. Obstruction is basically the opportunity. It's material. It's the opportunity for practice. Practice operates on obstruction. That's what it works with. So you can say it's obstruction, but it's the practice. Our problems and obstructions are the practice. They are the practice of opportunity. And the practice is to meet that


with awareness of your intention in regard to the karmic obstruction, which of course we see plenty of karmic obstruction. I see Laura has her hand up, but I see Stephen and Charlene. Yes? Can you wait, Laura? Barely. Barely? Yeah, it's cool. It seems kind of ironic to me that though you and your story invite feedback, that I tend to experience your story as being so much more powerful and articulate and clear and well-realized than my true story. I feel reluctant sometimes to expose my little story to your big story. I'm afraid to get a little over-exaggerated. Well, thanks for telling that story. And then I can now say to you that part of me would like to tell my story


in a kind of soggy, wimpy, confused way, so that you wouldn't feel that way. But I've tried that in the past, and what I find out is that people think, well, when is he going to actually say what he means? He's waiting back there. When is he going to come out? And I think, actually, one of Catherine's friends and former in-law, or something like that? Your in-law? Former sister-in-law said that her father, who was a minister, I don't know if he said this or she felt this about him, but she said he pushed the clarity of his articulation of his belief right up to the point where it's really endangered and self-righteous. And like, he's so certain that nobody would dare to question this. But it's not that we want to go, it's not that we want to realize that position, but we push ourselves into the place


where there's that danger. To back away from the place where there's danger that someone would be afraid to say anything to you because of the strength of your position, to back away from that danger, I think, is to back away from the place where you really meet that person. So for me to put it out very strongly and you dare interact with it, that's where we're really going to meet. If I back away, you still won't necessarily dare because you know that actually I'm just backing away, and it's really lurking in the background, this really strong position. Everybody has that, actually. I say let's get it out in the open where it really, not scares people, but shows, where there's a danger that it will, and sometimes it does. But you keep inviting me to say, could he possibly be actually inviting me to disagree with him? I mean, I don't believe it. Maybe I'll try. And you try.


So that is a problem. Thank you. Yes? I want to ask the students, even those who are willing to have their stories all to recognize their shadow. I stepped on my raspberry. Pardon? I stepped on my raspberry. I think so. And I've got a big mess here. You want to eat it? No. I kind of want to ask you if you'd eat it. You just kind of did. So I think that there's some aggression, I think, in this question. Kind of, you know, like I'm asking how does... Interesting combination of some aggression and red all over your hands. Lady Macbeth. So what's the question again?


I'm wanting to recognize shadow. Oh, shadow. And there's some aggression in the question about shadow. So when you tell us that there's the aggression, then did the shadow get brought out a little bit? I thought so, as I was thinking about it. Yeah, it sounds pretty good. And also, again, I think when you put your story out there, another way that the shadow gets brought out is somebody can say something about what you said that's really stupid. And then you can tell them that you probably found something about the shadow there, too. Because you didn't think the person was stupid when you first started talking to them, but now by what they said in response to your story you think they're really stupid. And so something that you didn't see was involved there, which when you first spoke you thought, well, I'm just expressing my opinion, but I didn't notice that anybody who disagrees with me in certain ways would be stupid. But now I see I should be eliminated.


Or anyway, yeah, basically eliminated and made into a pod person. Or somebody that is reasonable and agrees with me. So the interaction between the two, including the teacher's shadow, students should try to bring out the teacher's shadow. Not try to, but expressing yourself strongly will hopefully bring out the teacher's shadow, because teachers are supposed to be good, right? You don't want to see the bad teacher. Do you want to see the bad teacher? You do. Okay. Well, you want to, too? Okay. One, two, three. Let's see the bad teacher. Aren't I bad enough? Aren't I bad enough? I've seen a bad you. You don't know yet? I've seen a bad you.


You've seen a bad what? You. Bad you, but is that a bad teacher? Thank you. Oh. Oh. Bad me, that's just a bad reb, but a bad teacher, yikes. Then bad Buddha, eww. There is no bad teacher. Yeah, but it's easy to say before you see the bad teacher, when you see the bad teacher, can you say that? And not like he's not there, but really you see by the way the bad teacher comes to be that you can't get the bad teacher. So is George Bush a bad teacher? Is he a bad teacher? He seems like a good teacher to me. Good teacher. Good teacher. What about the teacher who told him to kill a thousand people? Huh? The teacher who told him to kill a thousand people? Is that a bad teacher? Well, you know,


we'd say the thousand people, the thousand deaths that it took to make a gulimala who he became, was that worth it? It's hard for me to say. It's hard for me to say. But the teacher was part of a gulimala's path where he finally came to be basically a highly evolved spiritual being by going through this horrible contortion as a murderer on the way. And the teacher was part of the causes and conditions, but not just the teacher, the Buddha was there through the whole thing. So the Buddha was there allowing this this world to be a place where a person with good background can be twisted, his karmic pattern can be flipped in such a way. Somebody can hook onto it to turn it into a really bad way. But then, it comes around and he met Buddha. And somehow the whole thing got...


I can't say that it was good that the teacher said something so he caused all those murders. I don't have any idea that that was good at all. But his teacher was part of the causal pattern that led this guy to meet the Buddha. To meet the Buddha. Would he have met the Buddha? Would the Buddha have made this effort for him if he wasn't a murderer? We don't know, but maybe not. The Buddha really needed to meet him because he was in such bad shape plus he had the potential to be helped. If he didn't have the potential to be helped, the Buddha might have just stayed away from him and protected people in another way. Yes? No, no. It's not. It's saying that what is skillful is what has good outcomes.


That's what we mean by skillful. And what is unskillful has bad outcomes. Or, you know, harmful outcomes. That's the basic thing. And the way you watch your intention is in terms of its consequences. If I want to help you, if I have this feeling that I want to help you, I do notice that I do want to help you. I'm aware of that. But it isn't that because I want to help you that in and of itself is good. If I want to do something good in my relationship to you and the world, that doesn't mean that that is in and of itself good. It also counts, more important than how it sounds literally, what really counts is its consequence. However, its consequence is complex. There is a short-term consequence and a long-term consequence. But watching how, looking at my intentions, seeing how I think they are,


the quality of them, and then watching their consequences, this attention is said to be the attention which will alter negative and harmful patterns of intention and cause and effect. Jerry asked a similar question the other night. He said, can I just have faith in our nature or something? If you are aware of your intention, is the very fact that you are aware of your intention enough for it to be transforming and good? Well, that's what I would say. Your awareness of your intention doesn't necessarily mean that that intention will have positive consequences,


but your intention will lead your attention to your intention. Your awareness of your intention, I would say, awareness of intention, will in the long run continue to pressure you and the world towards realization of peace and harmony. Because, as you look at intention more and more, you will see how your intention co-evolves with other intentions. As you see this more and more, you see peace and harmony more and more. If you look at your intention and you do not see peace and harmony, you suffer. If you do not look at your intention and also do not see peace and harmony, you suffer. So, looking at your intention or not,


either way, if you do not see, of course, if you don't look, you will not see. If you do look and you don't see, in both cases you are uncomfortable. Until we see how things are related, actually, I say we suffer. And the pressure on us is to realize our interdependence. And until we do, there is just a consistent, stable, but varying pressure of the universe with which we arise. It is pressuring us to realize, to understand our relationship with the world. We are born, we exist out of a relationship with the world. We are conscious beings out of our relationship with the world. That's how we are born. And our intention is born with that. And if we don't understand that relationship, then we are in pain. And our actions, our intentions arise from this painful situation.


And then they contribute to further, they, together with the world, contribute to further births with further suffering. And so the pressure on us is that we won't be comfortable until we understand this process. And to understand the process, one of the key ingredients to understand the process is to watch how awareness arises and watch how intention arises with it. And study the intention and then watch the consequences of the intention. See if they are beneficial. See if they are advantageous to further meditation. Or see if they tend to distract you from meditation. And you will see, over time, if you pay attention, you will see that those who distract you from meditation also make you uncomfortable. And those who promote meditation promote education. And that you feel good when you start. Learning is fun. Learning buoys you up, even in this messy situation you are still in. Prior to seeing


how everything is in peace and harmony. Once we see that, then we are ready to really go to work and do the most joyful thing, which is to teach others to enter this Buddha way. Until then, we are pressured to not be at ease until we realize this. However, once you start studying, I think there is some, not exactly relief, you could say it is relief, but I think it is more like encouragement. You feel encouraged to study, even though you still feel in pain. So now most of us feel more in pain than we did six years ago. I think, in a way. But we still might feel more encouraged. Like, yeah, and the reason we are suffering is because people are not awake. People are selfish and people are feeling not in connection with each other.


So we feel maybe more confidence that the problem in the world is a lack of understanding. We have, you know, we have all these resources and we are basically fighting with each other over what we already have. We are killing people over abundance and wealth. The problem seems to be lack of understanding, as it has been, as it has seemed to be the problem for quite a long time. In Buddha's time, the problem was not poverty so much, it was lack of understanding and hatred among beings. That was the problem and still is. But consequence is very much part of how we learn about intention. So it's not that it doesn't matter what the intention is, it's more like what matters. It does matter what the intention is, but what really matters is that you notice it.


What your intention is right now is more important than what you are doing. I mean, it's the same as what you are doing, but more important than whether you are rich or poor is what you intend now. That's the cutting edge of spiritual and harmonious evolution. Yes? Are you chewing gum? It's okay. What sticks to you? Did you say when things are revealed is when I'm helping people? Yes. I think it's important to make sure


that this idea that you have to understand or prove, which you can never really prove because life itself is going to go on, and I think it's what you're sort of speaking to when you're saying it's an experiment that's never proven, other than if the outcomes or vision statement is such that you want to make sure the poor, the fed, again I go back to the very tangible, physical things that help people grow and I would like to see more and more resources and help put into that. And within that, I just found myself personally that that's where the creativity and wisdom and helpfulness comes forward. Right, and that's your story. That's my story. So that's a nice story, thanks for telling it, and now that story needs to interact with people who do not have that story. I like that story.


What? You're welcome. So that's your story and you can offer that to the world and it's very important to offer it to people who have different stories so that story you just told can change. And of course, I said so it can change, but I'd rather say so that you and others can realize that it's changing. Because it will change. And it has, right. I have a story. Want to hear it? What? You don't want to hear my story? But later? How much later do you want to hear my story? 30 seconds? Okay, 30 seconds. Go. There's something important about boundaries? Boundaries are important.


Boundaries are important. Like teeth. Yeah. Those toe boundaries. Yeah. And to curl in a way that's helpful, like good friends. Sounds good. And hopefully you'll meet somebody who doesn't think so. No, because people are in a different place. For me the truth is they're in a different place and I'm here and they're there and they're going to have their role and I'm going to have my role and they're going to go out to the ice-cream and get the eggs and I'm going to go out to Walmart Have you ever been to Walmart? As little as possible. Have you been there though? Yes. I've never been to Walmart. It's fine. It's fine? It's fun. It's fun, okay. I think, I'm not sure, but one more question.


Two more hands are being raised. Three more hands are being raised. Let's have some more hands. Four more hands are being raised. A head is shaking. Blood sugar is dropping. We can pass the fruit around. We can pass the fruit around. Do you want to continue or have lunch? Huh? Really? Okay. Yes, Will? I've been thinking about what you said about looking at our intention. What is my intention talking to you right now? Yeah, right. And, it seems like there's a lot of possibilities. I could just, maybe I just want attention, maybe I want to express myself, maybe I like talking to you, and maybe I want to develop the ability to be to be skillful in promoting peace. Yeah, can I point out one intention which people often don't spot as intention?


It's what you think you're doing right now is your intention. Like the fact that you think you're talking to me or the fact that I think I'm talking to you, is your intention too. So, another definition of, another word for intention, another definition of karma, is what is thinking. So, what you think you're doing is your intention. A lot of times people are doing something but they don't notice that that is an intention. So, when you're talking to somebody, you could be consciously intending to talk to them gently. Or you could be semi-consciously talking to them, but not really, you could be talking to them gently without being aware that you are intending to talk to them gently. But in fact, if you're talking to them gently and you think you're talking to them gently, then in fact you're intending to talk to them gently. And other people might say, well, he said he was intending to talk to me gently, but I didn't feel like he was talking to me gently.


And then you maybe looked at it and said, I intended to talk gently, but I did not talk gently. And so, the fact that you actually thought that you were thinking that you were not speaking gently, that is actually your intention too. So, an easy way to find your intention is what do you think you're doing? Or what do you think your action is? That is your intention, and actually it's also your aspiration. Because in fact, aspiration makes a world. Aspiration means breathe life into. What you think makes a world. You breathe life into a world by what you think. So, all that's in there, in this karma. So, watching that is the key thing. To watch what the karma is right now, watch what the intention is, watch what the thinking is. All these different worlds to help you spot


the extreme complexity of what you're up to, because the whole universe is making you. I've also heard intention talked about in terms of Bodhisattva vow. Yes? With that, do you try to apply that intention? Oh, right, yes. So, people think of these big vows we make, like vowing to save all sentient beings, or vowing to attain the Buddha way. At some point in history, we may have thought that, maybe in a very important situation, like said to a teacher, or said in a ceremony, that we have these vows, and they have an effect. One of the effects they have is we remember them, that we made those vows, and they were literally vows, but you were also thinking of them at the time. So, I make the vow, I want to save all sentient beings, but right now, I just want to take a bath. That's what I want to do.


I'm thinking of taking a bath, that's really where I'm at. But I know I made a vow to save all sentient beings, and there's some dynamism there, because there's a story in one of Dogen's fascicles about practicing generosity, and it says, so-and-so left his bath three times to meet visitors. There's a story in there, a Chinese story about a dignified person who came out of the bath, he was taking a bath, he left the bath three times. He wanted to take a bath, that was his intention, but then when people came, he didn't take a Bodhisattva vow, but because of his vow to serve the people, he left the bath three times. But sometimes we're in the bath, and we have made the vow to help people, but we just want to stay in the bath a little longer. We don't want to leave right now. So there you see, what you're up to right now


is different from the fact that you're a person who has made this vow in the past, and you remember that vow, or you forget it. But you did make the vow to save all sentient beings, you did make the vow to help other beings before yourself. You did make that vow. And you can even remember it, without anybody reminding you. You remember it, at the same time right now you notice that's not my intention right now. So my actual intention is that I remember this other intention and feel differently right now. That's actually your karmic formation at that time, is that you remember this vow to serve other people and you notice you don't want to. That's a particular pattern. Or you forgot it, but you don't want to. And sometimes you remember it and you want to. And sometimes you forget it, and you want to. All these different patterns, check it out. They're there to be observed


and educated with. Not exactly by, but with. Because they're teaching you, but when you look at them, you change. You and they change together. This is the evolutionary edge of the situation. Shall we have lunch now or go on? Lunch? Lunch? Pardon? Whatever. You have whatever, and some other people will have lunch. So let's have lunch. May our intention equally extend to every being.