The Light of Buddha's Wisdom - Precepts of Compassion

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Buddha sheds the light of wisdom on the true nature of suffering, liberation, and the human mind, on the teachings of compassion, moral causation, and the whole phenomenal universe. This retreat offered an opportunity to receive, study, and contemplate Buddha's teachings on mind, precepts of compassion, and moral cause and effect. The discussions and contemplations were framed in the light of wisdom which is far beyond all discussion. Wonderful teachings were offered together with ways of not clinging to those teachings. There were periods of quiet sitting, walking meditation, oral teachings, and group discussions, with opportunities for individual interviews as time allowed.

AI Summary: 



To learn the way of Buddha, to learn the way of Buddha's wisdom, is to learn about the self. And to learn about the self is to forget the self. And to forget the self is to be enlightened by everything. When you forget about the self, which is the fruit of learning about yourself, then everything is light.


Everything gives you light. But if you remember yourself and hold on to yourself, then maybe things don't enlighten you, or you don't see the light in things. That's the way it is. Another way to put it is to learn Buddha's wisdom, to learn the Buddha way, is to learn your stories. And if you learn your stories thoroughly, that means to forget your stories. And when you forget your stories, everything enlightens you. The people who have different stories enlighten you.


After you forget your story, and you're enlightened, you may come up with another story, which might be like the one you used to have. But you've just been enlightened by stories different from you. So you have a different perspective. So like, if you're a Democrat and you study your Democrat story, or Democratic story, if you study it thoroughly, you'll forget it. And you'll be enlightened by Republican stories. Horror of horrors. And then after your enlightenment, you might remember your Democratic stories, but that's after you've been enlightened by your Republican friends. So you have a whole new relationship with them, where you realize you actually are living together with them too.


That they're supporting you also, although you do have a difference of opinion. And you can have difference of opinion with people you're very close to, like your spouse, your children, your parents, your teacher. But if you study your opinion thoroughly, you will forget your opinion. And when you forget your opinion, people who have difference of opinion from you will enlighten you. It doesn't mean you agree with their opinion. It just means their opinion which you don't agree with. And you can't remember why you don't agree with it, because you forgot your old story, but you still don't agree with them maybe. But maybe you didn't used to agree with them, so you forgot the way you didn't used to agree with them, and now you disagree with them in a new way. All things are possible enlightenment topics. So that's a basic paradigm of learning the Buddha way.


And to blow up the section on studying the self or studying your stories, that's to blow up the section of studying your intention, to amplify it. Now we're studying our stories, we're studying our self, we're studying our karma, we're studying our intention, this is the topic. In that study, I just want to mention that to forget the story is similar to seeing that your story doesn't have a self. Your story doesn't have an independent existence from all the different stories around it. This is my story and it's got a self, yes, it does, you can recognize it. And the self, it's God, doesn't depend on the stories which it disagrees with, that's wrong.


Your story does depend on stories which don't agree with it. And it also depends on stories which agree with it but are different. Basically, they support it, but they're different. All the stories support it. When you see that, by studying your story, by studying your intentions, you see the selflessness of your intention. And there again, in the selflessness of your intention, there's a hole in your intention, the light can come in. You see the truth and you are happy. If we don't study our stories, the stories will degenerate and become less and less wholesome, more and more unwholesome if you don't study them. They reproduce in a negative direction or they propagate in a negative direction


when you don't study them. Plus they cause more and more obscuration as they become more negative. But if you study your stories, they propagate in a positive direction, your vision gets better until you can finally see clearly that all stories, including your good stories, which are coming as a fruit of your study, they are empty too. Good stories are as empty as negative stories. But it's harder for people who are having negative stories to see through them. That's one of the worst things about negative stories, it's harder to see through. So that's a little summary again, right? That was kind of a summary, did you recognize some of that? And then the other thing is, where were we at the end of the last meeting?


Oh, I asked you a question, I asked you... What was it? What? What did you say? How do you hide from your Zen teacher? That's a good question, how do you hide from your Zen teacher or how do you hide from somebody else's Zen teacher? And also, do you want to hide from your Zen teacher and also do you think you don't need a Zen teacher? Or would you actually think you need one but you'd rather not have one even though you need one? What's the story on this? I asked you to think about this kind of stuff, right? But then you had dinner and maybe got distracted by all that avocado. Any response, any feedback on this question? Well, the thoughts that come up with me, yes, it'd be lovely to have a Zen teacher


but I want to be able to bargain in that relationship. I don't want to have to learn how to count in Japanese because I want to learn something else, you know, so that's not a complete openness to the situation. Oh, you're saying you don't feel completely open? You notice you'd like to have a teacher, but you also notice that you'd like to bargain about it? Yes. And you think that's not being open, that you want to bargain? You think so? Well, I mean, I think it would depend on how I'm bargaining, but... Yeah, well, also, you could be open, you could want to bargain, and you could be open to bargaining, and you could also be open to not bargaining. So you can want to bargain and be open to not bargaining. And one way to be open to bargaining would be to say,


I want to bargain, and the teacher could say, No bargaining. And then you could see how you work with that. And you might actually work with it in a very open way, and you may still want to keep bargaining. But I suggest that if you want to bargain with somebody about what kind of relationship you have with them, and they don't want to bargain, and you feel okay about not bargaining after you find that they don't want to bargain, you still actually have come to that agreement together. So I think you need to build a relationship together. It's not going to work for the teacher to build a relationship. But if you have a desire and you express it, you're contributing to the relationship, you're building it. And for the person to say, I don't want to do that, they're contributing to it too.


And then for you to say, keep working at that, and maybe staying with the relationship, even though you're not getting what you want, and even though the other person's not getting what he wants, but you just keep working together with neither one of you getting what you want, but both of you making that situation together, with neither one of you getting what you want. So it's kind of harmonious, actually. You're both not getting what you want together, and you're both causing neither one of you to get what you want. But you're doing it together. It isn't that he's doing it or you're doing it. And you might feel really good about that, that you have this total flop of a relationship. That you're totally making together, and then you kind of see, we have this flopped relationship, but it's radiant. It's radiant with cooperation of making it a wreck. We have the lowest quality radiant relationship.


And I know some other people have these really, everything's working, they both have what they want, and it's totally dark, because they don't build it together. They think, one of them thinks, I said what I wanted, and because I said what I wanted, I got it by my own statement. And they think they did what they did by themselves. So we both got what we wanted by our own power. And that's the kind of relationship we have. And that's very dark and deluded. I think I have guilt that I can't go right to yes. You know, yes, sure, whatever. Yeah. I just can't do that. Well, at least, that's your story. Yeah. And then, can you be generous about somebody saying, that's just your story. Actually, it's not true that you can't go right to yes. It's just that you have that story that you can't. We can discuss that. We are right now, actually. I didn't think that was hypothetical.


I thought you were saying... Absolutely. Yeah. So I'm suggesting you told me that story that you can't go right to yes. I said it's just your story. It's not really true that you can't. I mean, I shouldn't say it's not true that you can't, but I would say that the way you can't is not the story you have about how you can't. There's another way that... Your story about how you can't isn't really the way you can't. But you're not holding on to the way you can't, you're holding on to your story about the way you can't. So let go of the story and see if you still can't. Okay, all right. Maybe you can't go right to yes. Maybe that's true. Okay? But that story you just told about it is not the way you can't.


The way you can't is the way you actually can't. It's not just your thinking that you can't. What you think you are is not what you are. You do think something about yourself. Like, for example, you think that you can't. And again, maybe it's true that you can't. It may be true that you can't do that. Or you could also say, I don't know what, I can't play pro basketball. I can say that. You can say that. And maybe it's true. Maybe in fact it's just not in the cards. Maybe they wouldn't let you play. Or you could say, I can't play in male pro basketball. I actually might be able to get on a female team. You know, if I bribed them or something.


It's possible. But you can say, it may be true that actually we can verify somehow that you can't be on a male professional basketball team. But if you think about yourself and you think that you're a person who can't do that, the way you think about that yourself is not you. That's not who you are. Even though literally what you said may be true. But your story about it is not. So then you can let go of the story once you see that. And then even if you still can't get right to yes, you're free of being a person who can't get right to yes. And maybe then that will change everything. But actually it does kind of change everything because once you're free of that story, it's kind of like, you know, it's not really true anymore. Something like that. And in a way they are you, but again, your version of that is not how you are.


And also you said that you feel guilty about not being able to just say yes. And I would say, if you can express that and I can be generous towards that, maybe you could be too. So then you could be a person like you and have a relationship with me. Because both of us could actually allow you to be this person who feels guilty that she can't get to yes right away. That you could be allowed into the relationship. But you might have to like have a sense that we're both agreeing that you're allowed into the relationship being who you are rather than first of all be somebody else and then come in. But that doesn't mean exactly bargaining.


You could say bargaining, but anyway, it's cooperation. It's doing the relationship together. And again, you might feel guilty about that and I might like it or I might not like it, but both of us could be generous with all that and then we have a relationship. But if I like it and you're not guilty, you feel guilty about it, and you think it's fine, and so if I like it and you think it's fine, but we don't feel like we're both being generous with that, then I think we miss our relationship. Because it's like each of us is doing it by ourselves. So there's a possibility, if you want a relationship, to work on it that way. The point of the relationship is for you to become equal to the teacher.


The point is not for the teacher to be unequal to you. And at the beginning there's some sense of inequality probably, which we have to confess. Inequality and guilt. I'm guilty of not being a master, or whatever. And somebody else may be guilty of being a master. So there's kind of inequality there. You have to get over that. But it's, you know, a lot of work. You might think it's worth talking about. Or you might want to hide. Can you go? Definitely. Okay. Any other response to this? Yes. Homa and Roma, was it? Homa and Roma? Did you raise your hand, Roma?


Okay, so after Homa, Roma. As far as having a master, absolutely, it's very clear for me that I want it. But I'm choosing about the master. Can you hear this? She's choosing about the master? I like to choose the master for clarity. A master who's clear. That's what I feel attracted to. Clarity. I like the clear master. Yeah, you like the clear master. Clear masters, okay. Clear masters? Yes. Okay. That's fine. So, yeah, that's what I like to... And I definitely want to see more of it.


Yeah. So if you see a clear master and you want to hang out with a clear master, then go look at the clear master and keep looking to see if the master keeps being clear, from your point of view. And then at a certain point, you might start interacting and see if the master seems clear as you start to interact. Rather than you just sort of watching and not really kind of interacting. Test the clarity. And then also watch to see if the master, the clear master, is patient with students who learn slowly. Because I think that's not a good thing to look for. Especially in a clear master. They might be like impatient with unclear students. So that wouldn't be good. I like the clarity, but he's impatient with me.


So that would be actually an unhealthy situation. And you say, well then I'll choose an unclear master because then they wouldn't be so impatient with me. Because they wouldn't notice how unclear I was. But I think if you like clear and you find somebody clear, then also check to see if they're patient. And also see if they continue to study the teachings. And to see if they follow the precepts. If they practice the precepts. Because somebody could be clear. You could see, oh that person is really clear. But they don't seem to be like really being careful of their intentions around certain things. They don't seem to be attending to that. You might feel that, so you check that out. And does the master have any other students? And are they healthy? And do they love each other?


Or are they competitive? Because you might be joining this group, right? You want to join a cliquish, competitive situation, right? Going to hell just to be with this clear master. So check out the students to make sure that's a healthy situation. These are other things to look around for if you find somebody you think is clear. Does that make sense? Yeah, it makes sense. But somehow I feel like there have been several masters that I've been encountering with and I see that clarity. It's very clear to me. And then others, I can see some stuff around it. But the ones that are clear for some reason, it's just like, okay. Yeah, so that's fine.


And then check out these other points also because they're important. You might not be able to see the master's clarity fully except for these other things. Because you might think they're clear but maybe some other aspect of their mind is not clear which manifests as impatience. But they seem to still be clear but somehow they're impatient with somebody who is not clear. Some people are clear but maybe a little tight around their clarity. So they kind of find people who aren't clear annoying. Some people are strong but they're tight around their strength so they get pushed out of shape by weak people. So they try to get rid of weak people. So then there's only strong people. And who will be the next weak person to be pushed away? So you might find some clarities


kind of on the strong side, wouldn't you say? A clear, strong being. Yes, good. But then check out these other points because they might be showing that there's some attachment to the clarity. But it still might be clear. Somebody might be very clear. Like, you know, very clear. It's this way and they're a little bit tight around it. So then this is a way to spot it. Now I can see. Yeah, okay. Thank you. You're welcome. So what happened to me this afternoon when you asked the question was that I felt this constricting,


this pulling away inside me. Pulling away inside. And I had just told that story at dinner time. And then you sat down. And what was the story that you told at dinner time? That I felt this pulling away. And I could feel it. You were telling Rudy that you were feeling a constriction or pulling away when you heard this question about teacher? Yeah, that was my experience. And then I walked over. And then I experienced it again. And then you raised the question again and I experienced it again. And then... So it's... I don't have it as much now as I had it sitting in the chamber. Thank you for telling us about that. That's very interesting. And...


kind of archetypal. You know, it's kind of... As you can see, Lin Ji had the same thing. One of the people you most want to be with, when you think about being with them, you start tightening up. What's happening now? I feel some constriction here. Yes. And here. So I'm just breathing. You're just breathing with the constriction? Breathing into it. Breathing into it. Do you feel generous?


Is the breathing generously going into it? Are you giving your breath to this constriction? Yes. Does that seem right? It seems right, but it seems scary to say that. Does it seem wrong? That doesn't seem relevant. So, right. It seems right, but it's scary to say it. Any more of the output that you'd like to express?


Here. Here. I would rather you hit me, actually. I think I like being in the background. I think I am. She likes being in the background because... I guess to avoid creating a story between us. That would prevent me from... feeling comfortable here. Maybe. That's one fear. And maybe holding you into high regard.


And maybe not knowing how to form a question. Knowing there's something I don't understand, but not knowing how to say it. Could you hear her? So, knowing that there's a question in my mind, but not knowing what that question is. You're getting a lot of response. Yes. Do you feel the response that you're getting? Do you feel comfortable with the response? Yes. But you have a tendency to stay towards the back because you think if you come up,


you might not feel comfortable with the response. I guess there's that, just not knowing what will come out of my mouth. Do you feel kind of complete now? Yes. You do? Very good. Thank you. Thank you. Yes. Several things came up as I was kind of rolling this around in my mind. Okay. Several things that have come up as she's rolling this, this being... This question of... I forget how to articulate the question right now.


Yes. That's part of what's coming up. Part of what's coming up, I think, is it's almost more like there's a question in my heart and I'm trying to ask it with my mind. So I can't hear the answer because what I hear is words and what I do with the words is thinking, but it's my heart that's trying to ask a question. Well, that's one thing. And... I also was remembering this story about the monk who goes to the master and the master says, Let's have tea. And the master keeps pouring the tea and pouring the tea and pouring the tea. And I feel like sometimes


that's me as I'm asking questions but I'm not really hearing. I'm afraid to hear the answer because it might change me. And sometimes I'm afraid to hear the answer from my own teacher, my internal teacher. I don't listen because I might have to give up my story. So your question is doing a lot of work in me and I'm really grateful for that. Thank you for expressing that. You know, as I heard the story you read,


I thought that was just the opposite, that I was just the opposite. When I was studying with my teacher, I felt that I was a pain in the butt for my teacher trying to, you know, get answers. But as I'm thinking this, I realize why I was like that because I was the youngest in a family of four. So I was always looking for confirmation So I remember that when I started studying back in 1995 with Linda, I was there on the front line asking questions all the time and I had to, you know, try to stay quiet to allow other people to talk. And I think that I was like that with you too


because by the second day, I already talked like three or four times asking questions. And as time goes by, I feel more like I can answer any question by hearing people. So I just wanted to throw that because I feel that I was the opposite of that student. And one thing that I want to ask you is that what I saw in the story, the parallel between you and... I forgot the name of the other student. Linji? Yeah. Is that... I would say the teacher. Is that Suzuki Roshi really cared for you so he woke up and made you, you know, start.


And he did it two times because he cared that you would count. And to me, I interpreted like it was not to study Japanese but to follow the instruction of the teacher because when you decide to have a teacher, you have to trust that teacher and follow his teaching because you don't know where you're going but the teacher knows what you need. So I think it was crucial to keep counting in Japanese. Thank you. Thank you.


Thank you. I can feel my heart in my whole body. Speak up. I can feel my heart in my whole body. I don't know how I got here. I feel tremendous gratitude to be in the presence of all of you here. I have a confession. I'm really feeling a tightness


with just holding on to myself. And I came here last night wholeheartedly practicing in generosity. And my meditations were gentle. Sometime after I sat, probably this afternoon, I started feeling this constriction. And I was feeling discomfort in my body and I was breathing into that and with the exhalations letting go, feeling supported by everyone here, all beings. I became angry


because this feeling that I had last night and first thing in the morning that I was clinging to was no longer present. So I went back into the fear of staying still and being present with my fear. And I'm frustrated because I'm challenged to practice patience with it. With the fear? With the fear. Is it fear of being still? No. Well, it's fear of showing myself. This self I think I am. And I have stories.


I'm challenged with a toddler and a practice now. But if I'm just quiet and still in my body, I know the truth is there and that I am home and that I am supported. By all beings. And my toddler. By all beings.


It's hard to choose a teacher. Every Master that I met, I fell in love with. I mean, I could take from anybody something important. I don't know. I saw Thich Nhat Hanh and I go, wow. I saw the Dalai Lama, wow. I saw the Master of Vipassana from San Francisco. I go, wow. You know, I'm just in a wow stage. And I read I Am That. Can you hear her? Did you hear about the wows? And then she said, I read...


I read I Am That. So it's hard to choose, you said, among these people who you're impressed by? Yeah. It's just amazing. And I feel so fortunate and so lucky to meet so many Masters or people that never just... I feel in a stage of wonderment each time I come across something like that. Well, would you like a response to that? Sure. Can you build a relationship with these people? And practically speaking,


you might not be able to build a relationship with Thich Nhat Hanh or the Dalai Lama. They might not actually be able to meet with you and work out the kind of thing we've been talking about. So, in some sense, you don't have to choose. Choosing them wouldn't allow you to feel a sense of cooperation in the form of your practice, other than just going with lots of other people and enjoying their teaching and enjoying their wonderful presence. And enjoying the presence of the people who are there, too. That's true. Yeah. So, the fact that you're... I just thought, you know, when I was a child, I went to the church, and my church had a priest in it, and then one time I went to a special ceremony


and a bishop came from another state for the ceremony. And that was nice to see the bishop, but that's the last time I saw the bishop. So, is your situation such that you can actually be with somebody and work with somebody? Among the people who you feel this openness to and this appreciation for, who among them is your situation such that you can actually meet with them face-to-face on a regular basis? So, the circumstances also make the choice for you and the other person. Yeah, that's right. And I actually did meet some small group of one. And I just think that one should be ready to have a teacher. And I don't know that I'm ready.


Not that I know what it takes to be ready, but I don't feel that I'm ready to have a teacher. Okay. You don't feel that you're ready. Do you actually know anybody that you actually want to have that kind of relationship with? Well, I study Guruji. I don't know if you know about Guruji's practice. Is there a Guruji's practice? No, but he's not there. I know, but is there a Guruji student who is available to be a teacher, who you actually can go be with? Right. And you want to do that with somebody? Right, but I'm not fully committed. Right, but is there somebody you want to explore that with? Yes. There is? Yes, but again, it's just another one. There are other ones that I met, that I studied with. And it's also amazing. That's why I come to the conclusion


that I don't think I'm ready to make the commitment to follow a teacher. Right. But what I'm suggesting to you is that before you're ready to make the commitment, you already have some exercise to do. That is, among the people who you actually would be interested, not yet ready to make a commitment to, but you're actually interested in studying with them. So, if there's one or two or three of them, then go to them and check them out. And see in that process if they satisfy some of these requirements I suggested. And then, based on that, that will help you get ready to make the commitment. Really, I wouldn't advise you to make a commitment before you check these things out. But check those things out with people that you're attracted to. So, let's say you're attracted to more than one.


Go to all three. Check all three out. This work is really good work. It's not a waste of time. Even if you didn't choose one of the three, and if it took a lot of time to go listen to them and see how they are, it wouldn't be a waste of time because you're really exploring your own heart. So, it's really good work. Then, if you did this exploration and they satisfied these requirements over a long period of time, like a couple of years, then make a commitment, if you want to. But if you want to, but you haven't checked the situation out, I would advise you not to. And I would say that a teacher who would let you do that is not very experienced. They would encourage you, check it out more. Make sure you like the students here and so on before you commit to this relationship. And I don't want to commit to you before you have found out who I am a little bit more.


So, being attracted to someone is a good place to start, and then start exploring from there. And then, at the conclusion of that exploration, which would probably take about two years with one person, but you could do it with more than one person at once, but that's a lot of time. Then, make the commitment, I would say. I wanted to thank you and everybody else for the opportunity. Another reminder. Yeah. It's been great having you here. Thank you. So, everyone in this room,


in this center, in the state of California, in this country, in this universe, is my master. And I feel the same towards them. Thank you. I've been trying to decide if I would feel more pain


if I came up here or if I didn't come up here. I'm still not sure. Did you... So, you weren't really sure if it would be more painful when you came up, but you thought maybe it would be more painful if you didn't? Right. But you weren't sure. But you thought probably. I thought if I didn't, the pain would be longer-lasting. Maybe not as acute. And also more familiar. Ah, important point. Important point. Also more familiar. If you didn't come up, that pain would be longer-lasting, not so acute, but longer-lasting and more familiar. Yeah. This is less familiar, right? Can you smell the roses? Very nice.


Very nice. Nice with my story of what roses smell like. Well, I was very much identifying with Linji in the early part of the story before he started getting whacked in the head. You were identified with Linji in the part of the story before you went to see the teacher? Yes, where I felt like, things were fine, I had nothing to say, I'll just stay back here. I'm okay. Yeah. This is how I've been feeling for a while. I've been enjoying sitting with you and hearing you talk and occasionally piping up in class, but felt no particular urge to come and get whacked. However skillfully. I had thought I should come and tell you that.


Thank you for telling me that. You never told me before you felt this affinity with Linji prior to his visit to the teacher. I didn't know that I did. Yeah. It was kind of a setup. You see, these stories help us. You see, that ancient story helped him find himself in this great old master. He didn't know that he would find himself in Linji. But you did. Before Linji was enlightened, he was just like you. Before Buddhas were Buddhas, they were just like us. And then comes the hard part. Of course, had you sent your head monk to come and get me, I would have showed up earlier. Is it painful?


No, it's actually sad. Sad. Or I'm sad. You're sad. I'm sad. I don't know why. Well, I don't either. I mean, I do, but not really. I don't know why. Not specifically. But that's a nice story. He came up and said he was sad. I'm sad.


I'm sad. So, I appreciate our doku song in which I shared my resistance and I shared how in contracting around an idea,


I created separation. And I am aware that I'm here for today and I'm aware of how I use the ability to be able to pick and choose to control the amount of perceived or imagined unpleasantry, whether it be resistance here or other factors outside. And as I say it, it feels like a lot of extra.


It feels like it doesn't feel very free. Even though I somehow have a distorted thread through that picking and choosing as if it's creating a freedom for me. May we all be blessed with giving up trying to control our life. And confessing that we're trying to control it I think is, generally speaking,


conducive to letting go of trying to control it. So, thanks for the confession. And we probably all can notice that we, to some extent, are trying to control our life and that we don't feel free in that. And when we consider not trying to control for a while, we feel quite free for a little while. So it would be nice if you could stay tomorrow and spend the morning enjoying not trying to control what's happening, but hopefully you'll be able to do it in Santa Cruz. Spread the non-controlling way to the city. So when we come through, we can uncontrollably pass up through that uncontrolled area.


Or we fully take a part. I'd like to take a smell of these flowers. Thank you. Thank you. After Linji was enlightened, he stayed with Wangbo longer and practiced together with his teacher more. And then he, at some point, got invited to be a teacher.


And the way he taught was, he would basically kind of teach like this, inviting people to come up. And they would come up, courageously come up, and then something would happen. And even though those things happened, other people dared to come up. And more things happened, and more people dared to come up. And what happened was something that would make most people not want to come up. But they kept coming. And they kept coming. And he had great disciples eventually. And you people have been very courageous tonight. Right? And that's what we need, is for people to have the courage to do the thing called expressing themselves in the middle of all beings. So, very good.


Very good. And good night. So, at 6.30 we start again with meditation here. Thank you.