The Mind of Enlightenment 

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During the sitting, I somewhat boldly gave some instruction, kind of bold instruction to suggest to you that if we sit still long enough, we will discover that we're physically uncomfortable. And complete concentration and relaxation can be realized in that sitting still by patiently bearing and quietly observing the physical discomfort. I imagine some of you might be surprised by me suggesting to you that if you sit still long enough, you


will discover physical discomfort. But what I mean by that is that even if you're having a pleasant sensation, bodily sensation, pleasant, pleasurable, actually if you sit still, you notice that you have some discomfort with the pleasure. If you're in pain also, that may be easier to understand, but you'll have discomfort with the discomfort. And if you have a neutral sensation, you'll have discomfort with the neutral sensation. Now, this is under the condition of not being in nirvana. If you happen to be in nirvana, there things are different. Then you're not uncomfortable physically or mentally. Because in that state, there's no attachment to


psychophysical situation. And attachment to psychophysical situation is the source of the discomfort that comes with having a body and a mind. But without the attachment, then even in pain, there's ease and peace. When there is some attachment, then there's some discomfort with whatever kind of body you've got. If you're moving around a lot, you may not notice it. But if you sit still long enough, you will notice it. You will be enlightened as to the condition of a being who has any grasping to psychophysicality. Now, if you are able to continue to be still with this


situation and patiently bear with it and quietly observe it, you will realize concentration. And in the state of concentration, you'll be relaxed and at ease with the physical discomfort. The physical discomfort will still be there, but it'll be kind of suppressed in a sense, or the cause of the discomfort will be suppressed. So then the physical discomfort will also be suppressed, at least temporarily, because of the meditation. This is a concentration meditation. However, it doesn't completely remove all tendencies and predispositions towards clinging. It's a temporary resting and ease with our situation. This class is a class of meditation on the mind of enlightenment. And I would


really encourage all of us to enjoy the beginning of this class every week. Come here and sit still and not be distracted by any external things for a while. And inwardly, give up any kind of movement. Quietly observe what's happening in stillness. Inwardly, be still. Outwardly, be undistracted. And I would also suggest that it would really be good if everybody in the class would find some time during almost every day between these classes, some


time when you do the same kind of practice. You find some, even a short time to sit still, or stand still, or lie still, or even walk still. In other words, some time to be still in your day, even for five minutes, when you're outwardly not distracted and inwardly not moving. Doing it more than once a day would be very good, too. Doing it longer than five minutes would be good. And developing this kind of practice provides a context in which to meditate on the teachings of this class. The teachings about


how to meditate on the mind of enlightenment. The mind of enlightenment is English. The mind of awakening is English. The thought of enlightenment, the spirit of enlightenment, the spirit of awakening. These are various English translations of a Sanskrit word bodhicitta, which is translated all those ways. The mind of enlightenment, and so on. In Chinese they transliterate it into


bodhi-shin. In Japanese they say bodhi-shin. Bodhi-shin mind, bodhi mind. Bodhi is awakening or enlightenment. Bodhi is related to the word Buddha. Bud. Bud goes to bodhi, which means awakening, and Buddha, the awakened one. The past participle is the awakened one. So, bodhicitta, bodhi mind, thought of enlightenment, mind of enlightenment, consciousness, awareness of enlightenment. So, I'd like to talk about this word to give you some sense of what this bodhicitta is. I also said in the


course description that we will actually try to have meditations on the relative or conventional bodhicitta and the ultimate bodhicitta. So, perhaps the most common definition of bodhicitta or bodhi mind refers to the resolution to attain bodhi, to attain enlightenment, in order to liberate all living beings. The resolution to attain bodhi in order to liberate all living beings. This resolution defines and motivates the bodhisattvas vows,


or the vows of enlightening beings. Enlightening beings live by vows, and this resolution defines and motivates all their vows. So this way of talking about bodhicitta is kind of the, is rather the conventional way. It's a, yeah, it's like a, it starts out being like a mental state, a resolution in the mind to attain this goal in order to benefit all beings. And this mental phenomena motivates and defines the vow of those who are on the path to Buddhahood. And then there's various layers and meanings of this.


so this resolution to attain bodhi can be seen as a state of mind or a mental process. But it is also, so it's a mental process, it's a state of mind, but it's also a vow, a solemn promise. It's also a verbal act. Now, this wish can arise in you, this wish or this resolution can arise in one without the verbal act, without the promise, without the oath, without the vow. But when we make the vow, that's also this bodhi mind. Now this bodhi mind is translated into the action


of making a promise to realize Buddhahood in order to liberate all beings. That's the second aspect of it. And this resolution, this decision that has arisen is also can be expressed or embodied in particular rituals of voice and posture. The third aspect is that this bodhicitta is the motivating thought and the sentiment behind the spiritual practice,


the spiritual career of the bodhisattva. That may have already made sense to you that that would be the case, but I wanted to articulate that. Number one, it's a resolution to attain Buddhahood in order to liberate all beings. Number two, it can also be a solemn promise, a vow. And this vow is expressed verbally and physically in ritual, in conventional ritual. Next, it is the motivating force behind the career, all the different things that enlightening beings do in their work to help beings and train themselves,


all the different kinds of trainings and virtues that they try to develop. It's the motivation and the sentiment behind them all. And kind of a fourth thing is that it is the defining moment and the moving force behind the course of action that follows and enacts the initial resolution. So this resolution or this decision is the defining moment of the career. It's the actual beginning of the career, it's that moment. It defines the whole career and it continues to motivate the enactment


of this original moment. So it's the original moment and it also keeps the original moment going. One of our Zen ancestors said that there's three things that once born are usually lost. One is fish eggs. Most fish eggs do not make it. Two is some kind of fruit that I guess it's really good because it disappears as soon as it, I guess the birds eat it before it has a chance to pick it.


And the third thing is this bodhi mind. It's very easily lost. Once it's born, when it's first born, at that first moment, when it first arises that one thinks this, this is the beginning. This is the beginning of the path of Buddhahood but it can be lost. And taking care of it is also it. In the last class, we went through the practices that are usually done to take care of it once it arises. Giving, ethical precepts, patience, enthusiasm, concentration and wisdom. These practices take care of the bodhi mind. The ultimate caregiver is the perfection of wisdom. And the perfection of wisdom has these other five virtues


that assist in caring for this thought once it's born. If you sit still and patiently bear with and quietly observe physical discomfort, this bodhi mind might be born in your sitting. And then when it's born, you can take care of it by continuing to practice the meditation. So I don't know exactly if this mind has been born in all of us but it could be born in all of us during this class and then we could all take care of it. The teachings offered in the meditations are to take care of it and also to encourage its birth


if it hasn't been born yet. People do come to me sometimes and when they hear about this mind, they do come to me and say, well, I don't have that mind. I'm just practicing meditation for myself. I would like to go to Nirvana, yes, I admit it, but I'm not going to Nirvana in order to save all living beings. I'm going there because I would like to get a major break from my suffering. The Buddha permits the practice of meditation that leads to Nirvana, it's allowed. But the mind we're talking about now is the mind that leads to Buddhahood, not just the mind that goes to Nirvana. This mind actually can go to Nirvana


but does not go there until everybody else has gone there. So again, this is the defining moment. This is the initial appearance of bodhicitta and then it's the caring for that initial defining moment. Also, this process, this mind, makes a mental representation of the goal. Within this mind is a mental representation of Buddhahood. That's part of what's going on in this mind. It's actually some kind of image, some mental representation of the Buddhahood which can help all beings. And part of the process is to focus


and remember that image, remember Buddha. Remember the one who has the ability to care for all, the ability and the desire to care for all beings. And this focus on this image is kind of the spirit in the process. And the final thing is that this process leads to the ultimate bodhicitta, the final bodhicitta, which is what the bodhicitta was resolved to realize, namely enlightenment itself. And then even beyond that, bodhicitta then becomes the ground


from which bodhicitta arises. And the process goes on. So in one sense, we sometimes say that the Buddha, the root of the Buddha's is compassion. The root of the Buddha's virtues and the Buddha's complete wisdom is compassion. And in that way of looking at it, bodhicitta is like the generative, impelling cause of Buddhahood. Karuna, compassion, the root, bodhicitta, the generative, impelling cause of Buddhahood. But other times people look at it and say,


bodhicitta is the root, is the ground upon which the process starts. And bodhicitta is the motive and the process, and bodhicitta is the goal. Thank you.


Well, I think I just might mention now again that one can speak of two aspects or two levels of this mind of enlightenment. One, the conventional, the other, the ultimate. So one is conventional, and it's conventional in terms of ritual and process. It's a mind which is like kind of an ordinary thinking mind with motivations and intentions. And words can reach it, and it can express, well, words can reach it, it can be known.


It's an unusual mind to occur, but it's in some sense a conventional mind. And this is the mind that we start to develop by ritual and process and practice. And then the other, the ultimate one, the complete one, is a mind that has attained the goal. It is enlightenment itself. And it's a mind that no words can reach. So I propose that this distinction that's made between these two kinds of bodhicitta, the conventional and the ultimate, could be an attempt to account for the difference between ritual or conventional enactment of a resolution.


Ritual enactment of a resolution. Like, for example, practicing meditation as the ritual enactment of a resolution. As a conventional way to express your interest in realizing Buddhahood. Practicing meditation as an expression of your intention, of your wish to attain enlightenment for the welfare of others. Now, some people practice meditation as an expression of their resolution to attain enlightenment for their own benefit. Many people practice meditation in order to, well, like have peace and ease and bliss. So that's a ritual, that's an enactment of that intention. But we can also sit in meditation


and we can also practice giving as a ritual enactment of the resolution to attain Buddhahood for the welfare of others. We can practice ethical precepts as a conventional ritual enactment. Not just a ritual enactment of ethics, but a ritual enactment of ethics for the sake of realizing Buddhahood for the welfare of all beings, and so on. All these enactments, this is the conventional bodhicitta at work. And then there is the presence of enlightenment. It's not a process, really. It doesn't have to be a process, it's a goal. It's a silent stillness in which all the activities


of benefiting beings are contained. It's a presence, a fully realized presence, which the other bodhicitta is dedicated to realize. It's awakening itself. So these two kinds of bodhicitta are kind of helping us balance these two. If you request and remind me, I will discuss the bodhisattva vow later. But now I just wanted to say that, psychologically, this idea of the two kinds of bodhicitta


can reflect, can help us understand how a conviction and good intentions can exist next to a lack of conviction and a desire for what is not good. So this ideal can be both a clear and heartfelt conviction and a distant goal. So you can have this conviction to live as an awakened Buddha for the welfare of all beings, really have that conviction, really want to do good for the welfare of all beings, and also there is a lack of interest in that,


and actually some interest in doing some unwholesome things. And that's, and I think I've mentioned here before that when making a vow, any kind of vow, but any kind of vow to do wholesome things, but especially this particular vow, part of what makes the vow really effective is if the person making the vow is aware that they have at least one contradictory intention. If you wish to do this and you can't see any contradictory intentions, your vow probably will not be as effective. And other people probably won't, if they knew that you actually couldn't find any contradictory intentions in yourself to this great vow, they might not think you're realistic


and they might not really think you knew what you're talking about. But if you actually can see that there's some contradiction to this resolution, that there's something contradicting to this bodhicitta, that's actually mature. So in discussing this, there is some, I don't know if the word danger is right, but there is some possibility of speaking and using words like perfection. A Buddha, in some sense, is perfect in the sense of being completely trained. So I just want to mention


that another dimension of this bodhicitta is, yeah, is to say that there's something, that there is a presence in this world. There is a presence in the world of imperfect human beings. There is a presence of this bodhicitta. There is a presence of this perfect awakening in the world of imperfect human beings. That's part of what's being implied here. There was a historical Buddha, but that Buddha went through the historical process of dying. But there is another kind of Buddha, which is not a historical Buddha, which is this bodhicitta,


which is present with us imperfect human beings. And despite the fact that it's unlikely that even the idea of the bodhicitta would occur to a human being, even that's unlikely. But even for someone for whom the idea hasn't even appeared, it's still present in their life. There's quite a bit of interesting discussion about the arising of this bodhicitta.


And I just mentioned one example of that. And that is that, again, the ancestor Dogen says, bodhicitta doesn't arise by itself. And you don't make it arise in yourself. And Buddhas don't make it arise in themselves or yourself. The bodhicitta arises in the communion, or the inquiry and response between living beings and the bodhicitta. Bodhicitta is present, but the arising of it in a living being, the bodhicitta doesn't make it happen. The living being doesn't make it happen. But the living being in communion with the bodhicitta


in that communion, the bodhicitta arises in a living being. So again, that's part of what Nice Opportunities class is to provide an opportunity for this communion. Make yourself available for this meeting with enlightenment. It's present already. All we have to do is open to it, and be still, and not be distracted. And then the communion can occur, the communication can occur. And in that communication, the ordinary conventional thing of having a decision arise in us, that you would like to do this, this life of the bodhisattva, that could arise in us through this communication. Through this communion. And then if it arises, then we have to take care of it.


Now if you lose it, if it arises and you don't take care of it, you will lose it. If you don't take care of it, I will lose it. Once it's born, you have to take care of it. It is like a baby. It's like a baby Buddha. Or it's also sometimes said to be, it's like a candle that has a flame. And a candle with a flame, as you know, can be blown out by a mild breeze, by a zephyr. But if you take care of this candle, the flame will grow. It will turn into like a forest fire. And then when the wind blows on it, it just gets stronger. But between the little flame at the beginning, again, Dogen uses this example, when it first arises, it's like a firefly. And this arising of this firefly happens


when a sentient being is in communication with a galactic firestorm, which is going on all the time. When that communication occurs, this little firefly happens. If we take care of it, it can grow. But if it's lost, then you just got to open up communications again. And it'll be born again. And take care of it again. And if you stop taking care of it, you'll lose it. If you take, then you got to find it again. You take care of it again, and you take care of it again, it will grow. It will grow and grow. It will grow into what it arose together with and was never separate from. It will realize what it was never separate from. I think that's enough for tonight.


I mean, enough just me talking. Is there anything you'd like to bring up about this, Enrica? It seems that bodhicitta is in there. When I feel it, it seems that the most important thing on earth, then life happens, when I have to make choices. And the destruction happens, which seems to be another important thing related to family or job or whatever that is on a physical plane, but it's in front of me. And then I get lost in the world of physical plane. This seems to be a problem of whatever, this seems to be a conflict for me that I do connect to bodhicitta,


and at that time I feel this is really important, and I can get lost in that too. And then there is a really pressing things in life that do happen to me, or for me to either face it or choose, or I don't know, I'm having a problem with it. And there is this grief that I, sorry, I'm finished, but, when I sit and I feel this grief, it's not more I want to be in life, dealing with the physical plane that's in front of my face, I want to do practice and be more aware, and it's... Did you say dealing with the physical plane in front of your face? Yes. Things that really need my attention, like my kid moving in with me again,


and I need to be there for her. Really not the benign stuff, really important stuff. And I get lost, and I seem to be not having time to focus on what's really most important to me. And then, you know, it's just, I realize, you know, the time has gone by, and I'm where I was, and moving ahead. And there's this grief, this, you know, I don't want to live like that. I seem not to be able to find balance. You seem not to be able to find balance? Balance, like, be present for a physical part of my life, where I need to be, and then do that, and so choose what's the most important. Well, just a second, you said it right there, you said, be present with this physical part of your life.


Be present with your daughter moving in with you. That, you need to do that. You need to learn to be still with your daughter moving in with you. We need to learn to be still, and have our mind not get activated around external physical reality, or internal psychic phenomena. We need to learn that. Otherwise, we're going to keep losing the bodhicitta. And if you lose the bodhicitta in the early phases of it, you're going to, it's natural to have grief, and the grief actually will help you. So, when you say, I don't want to live this way, I don't know what you mean, but the way I hope you don't live is I hope you don't live the way of getting distracted.


But the things you're getting distracted by, the bodhisattva does not try to avoid those things that you're getting distracted by. They try to meet them, and continue to practice being quiet and still with these things. And they're hard to be quiet and still with, but if we lose the quiet and stillness, we lose the bodhicitta, unless the bodhicitta is very strong. But if the bodhicitta is very strong, then it's easy for us not to get distracted by external or internal things. But we have to do this. We have to do this. Now, when you get distracted and you know it, there's some presence there. There's some stillness there that you notice that you're distracted, and you notice that you lost something that was really what you wanted to be taken care of


in order to take care of your daughter, in order to really help your daughter, you want to take care of this thing. If you lose this thing, it'll be more difficult for you to really help your daughter and be a good mother. So you really want to take care of this, and then your daughter shows up, and your mind gets activated. You lose the stillness and quiet, and then you lose the bodhicitta too. And you start over. Where did it go? Find it again. And then again, now try to take care of it again, and lose it again, and try to take care of it again, and lose it again. Yeah, that's normal. Difficult and painful, but normal. And every time you lose it, it's good to confess to the bodhicitta, to the Buddhas, confess, I lost it, Buddha.


Would you help me find it again, please? And the Buddha will always help you find it again if you ask for it. The communication's set up. You remember it again, and the Buddha doesn't say, now this time, don't lose it. The Buddha's patient with us losing it over and over. Never cuts off. The Buddha stays present with us no matter how many times we lose it. So now it's a nice summertime, and the living is easy. Fish are jumping and the cotton is high. Your daddy's rich and your mama's good looking. So, concentrate, little baby. Even while you cry. Really concentrate this summer. Really make time in your day to be still and quiet,


and take care of this bodhicitta. Really work on that this summer. Try to remember all the time this bodhicitta. What is it again? Oh yeah. Well, I really want to realize awakening in order to help all people. And also, it is the awakening which is nearby all the time, and I'm in communication with that. Remember that, and take care of yourself so that you can remember it and be still and balanced with it. And if you lose your balance, confess and repent that you lost your balance and start over. We're all gonna be doing that with you. Yes, Vera. Is it conceivable that an enlightened bodhisattva, I guess a bodhisattva would be enlightened, could be fully enlightened yet imperfect in some way?


Yeah. Bodhisattvas can be very, very enlightened and still be imperfect in order to help people. You know, when they're really very advanced, they're imperfect only out of compassion. They could check out, they could go to Perfectville. They could go to Nirvana. I didn't understand what you said about the part with compassion. You used the word compassion. Yeah, they remain in imperfection in order to help other imperfect beings. Otherwise, they could check out of imperfection and go into Nirvana Hotel, where they're perfect. That's not exactly the way I meant it, but I understand what you said. What did you mean? Well, I didn't think about them as being imperfect


in order to help other imperfect beings. Yeah, well, that's the way the enlightened bodhisattvas are imperfect. They just do it as a favor. They transgress into imperfection in order to be able to help other beings. They don't go into imperfection in an imperfect way. They go into it in a compassionate way. They intentionally go into imperfection. They mean to. Other people go into imperfection half-consciously or unconsciously. They consciously, they actually look carefully. This is imperfection, and I'm going there. They clearly discern the troubled area and go into the troubled area. But they are actually in the trouble. They actually feel the pain.


They're in the same place, but they get there with intentional, they intentionally transgress, we say. Knowingly and willingly, they go into imperfection. And that's where they want to live. Because that's where they make, that's where buddhas are made. I wanted to add something onto that. Well, it's not possible for me to think of meditating or doing this practice or coming here for totally unselfish reasons. The furthest I can go is that, well, people sometimes ask me, why do you do this?


Why do you want to meditate? Why do you want to practice? And my answer usually is, because it's very helpful to me. And that sometimes I will say, but it's also helpful to other people indirectly, because it helps me to be a better person. Yes. Right. And so, get ready to have a little communion with Buddha, okay? Get ready for that. And this bodhicitta might arise in you. This unselfish thought might arise in you. Where you actually think of doing something living a life for the welfare of others. That thought might arise in you


if you're quiet and patient with your physical discomfort. And being quiet and patient with your physical discomfort will be good for you and indirectly good for everybody else. But it also provides an opportunity for this bodhi mind to be born into this class as well. It's about both doing something good for yourself, which helps other people, but also that good thing, which for yourself also makes you ready for a meeting with the Buddhas. And for the arising of unselfishness in you, in your mind. A heroic, unselfish thought. A heroic, unselfish thought about a certain kind of life. Could arise in you, doing the same practice that you're doing now.


Okay? Is your name Paul? Paul? There's something talked about a lot called clinging, which gives rise to suffering. And then there's the activity we do in meditation, which is returning to presence. And that's not clinging to presence. And there's this cultivating or taking care of bodhicitta once you have the experience. And I gather that's not the same thing as clinging either. So I'm kind of confused by how do I, or I can imagine it might be my effort to hang on to a wonderful experience that either is or I think is bodhicitta. And having that become painful as it slips away. And maybe have that be that clinging


that causes suffering and the wonder you haven't known the difference. And always free. Well, I think you said there's a meditation practice of cultivating presence. Yeah. Without clinging to the presence that you're cultivating. Yeah, there's, that's not the clinging that you talk about that causes suffering. But it's an activity. We're trying to let go of thoughts and come back to what's happening there. Letting go of the daydream, coming back to the present. Right. It can be frustrating. You can have some suffering around how long the daydream was. I guess that's clinging. But I'm worried about creating some suffering when I'm trying to hang on to an experience of bodhicitta. And I suspect that's counterproductive. Well, yes, it is counterproductive.


But that's why I'm referring to what you said at the beginning about the meditation on presence. And so what you learn there would apply to taking care of bodhicitta. It would be the same. If bodhicitta arises and you don't pay attention to it, you'll lose it. If you pay attention to it and cling to it, you'll lose it. If you pay attention to it and cling to it, you'll lose it. Yeah. So the way... So you want to cultivate it, not... Yeah, you want to cultivate it. So now you've got the bodhicitta, how do you take care of it? Not by clinging to it. Not by clinging to it. Similar to how do you take care of concentration? Not by clinging to it. So you perfect concentration by giving it away. Once you've got it. You don't cling to it.


That's what you said at the beginning. With bodhicitta, the first way you take care of it, no, you're aware of it, you're taking care of it, right? The first way you take care of it is by practicing giving. Not by keeping the bodhicitta. If you've got bodhicitta and you practice giving, that is an expression of bodhicitta. So when you're talking about giving, find a way to express it. Not by, or could it be just by mentally trying to give all beings your bodhicitta? Yeah, exactement. You give all beings your bodhicitta, exact. So there's bodhicitta, there's vows, which are growing up out of the bodhicitta, all the things you want to commit to do for beings,


and then there's dedication of the merit of all this. So we dedicate, we give our bodhicitta to the people that the bodhicitta was for in the first place. We give it away. We don't cling to it. We let it go. And then that cultivates it. That's the first practice. Then we also practice ethics. And we also practice patience. These are the ways we care for the bodhicitta. None of them are about holding on to the bodhicitta. They're not about holding on to a feeling. They're not holding on to anything. Not even this, especially the best thing you don't want to hold on to. If you hold on to bad things, it's not so bad. If you hold on to a bad thing and ruin it, it's not that bad. But to hold on to bodhicitta is very sad.


But it's not the end of the story. It's just sad for now, and feel the sadness. And then, how did I meet bodhicitta again? Then you go back to your meditation of being present but not clinging to presence. Being still but not clinging to being still. Now you're present again. Now you can meet. You can meet with the reality of this mind. And in that meeting again, this resolution couldn't arise again. And now this time, don't cling to it. Just say, thank you for coming to visit. Stay as long as you like. And may I give you away, by the way? And bodhicitta says, by all means. That's what I'm here for. I'm a gift. I'm a great. This is grace. This is grace. You don't hold on to grace. You give grace. And that cultivates the grace.


More comes. And you give that away, and more comes. And it grows and grows. And if you slip, confess that you slipped. In the presence of the Buddhas, say, please Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, pay attention to me. I tried to hold on to this great thing, and I lost it. Now I wish to start over. And then you can start over. Yes, Charlie. Charlie. So my first exposure to Buddhism was through a band, actually, in my hometown called Nirvana. I was thinking about that. I think that really was the first time I heard about Buddhism. I was like, what is Nirvana? And somebody said, well, it's the goal of Buddhism. Are you from Seattle? Uh-huh. Nirvana and Starbucks.


And what's that other thing? Microsoft. But there's a subtle sort of something I missed there. Okay, that's an understatement. But what you said a few minutes ago, that the goal of Buddhism is Buddhahood. It's not just Nirvana. It's not just, no, the goal of Buddhism isn't Buddhahood. It's Buddhahood for the welfare of all beings. Okay, I thought that was Buddhahood. The welfare of all beings is Buddhahood? I thought Buddhahood couldn't be anything but for the welfare of all beings. Well, you're right, but you gotta say the next part. Yeah, well, that's, okay, so that's what I meant to say. It's not by itself, Buddhahood is not by itself. It's for the welfare of all beings.


If you say it by itself, it turns into something solid that it's not. Okay. And so that's a good reminder because that's really deep-seated in me, that this idea that the goal of everything that we're doing here is Nirvana, just simply because that was my first impression. And to kind of grow beyond that, I have to occasionally remind myself all of this stuff that's right in front of my face that we're talking about. You could still say that the goal of Buddhism is Nirvana and just say it's Nirvana for everybody. It's Nirvana for all beings. It's not Nirvana for the individual band member. Anything else tonight, Laurie?


You said that there's a resolution which is kind of a mental actor state or something and then the vow is a verbal act. So if I say to myself, without being allowed to, I say the word kind of mentally, I vow to say all such things, is that also the vow or is that just the resolution and it's not out loud enough? I guess what I'm saying is when you said verbal act, you mean only something out loud in the presence of other people. It's gotta be body, speech, and mind, not just mind. Not just mind. That's what makes a vow. Vows are not just mental. However, when it first arises, there may be no physical or vocal expression of it. It's just a resolution that has been given to you.


You are resolved in your mind. Which means that it's not out loud until you do something with your body and speech. Right. Vows are body, speech, and mind. For it to be effective, it has to be witnessed also. You have to invite witnesses to your physical compliment to the mental resolution. And all this is conventional ritual, bodhicitta. Which again, is not born just by conventional ritual bodhicitta. It's born because there's another bodhicitta. We do not come up with this bodhicitta by ourselves. Somebody's helping us, but nobody's doing it for us.


And we're not doing it by ourselves. But it arises in us and then we, so that's the first part. Then we enact it. And there's these various levels and dimensions. I mean, maybe this is just, I don't know if this is good to say, but so, like, what if I did like a guided imagery where I imagined myself in a room full of people and in my mind I said the vow to them. I don't know why I'm curious about this, I don't know if it's fun, but do you think that is still in the category of resolution rather than a vow? Yeah, it's still mental. But the mental's getting better. You know, you're getting more into it. And as your imagination blooms with no attachment to it, it's a stronger resolution. The resolution's growing. Possibly more likely to be furthered out at some point. Yeah, like, you know, it just came into my head was,


I read this book when I was, before I came to Zen Center called Black Elk Speaks. And he had a wonderful vision of helping his people, of his nation being protected. And he told his teacher, and his teacher said, someday you should enact that. But he didn't enact it for a long time. I think he didn't enact it until after some real tough stuff happened, but then he did enact it. And it was, it was a great enactment, you know. And it was, then the vow was really, then his vow was out in the world and changed the world for himself and his people. But he had this great resolution in his mind.


But it wasn't time for him to do the ceremony. And he did the ceremony, and maybe you know, he did the ceremony with a sizable representation of his nation participated in the ceremony. And it really helped them deal with the misery of their situation. Just like when somebody speaks and physically embodies such a vow, I mean such a resolution and makes it a vow which is witnessed, it changes the world. Not just the person's mind, but the person's mind has changed first. And also internally, when you feel this resolution, you have lots of practice opportunities to be with that again, to be quiet with that,


and not cling to that, and let it bloom, you know, let it live inwardly without moving. And then see if you can express it outwardly without moving, without clinging to it, without trying to get it to, without using it to control the situation, but just offer this vow. Anything else tonight? Bill? If a person was careful not to go overboard and create too much air turbulence, do you think it's okay to be excited? Is it okay to be excited? Yeah, of course.


But I would like you to be completely still with your excitement. I do that. Yeah. Is your name Mary? What is it? Tamar. Tamar. Is your name Tamar? I'm wondering, getting back to body, speech, and mind, and acting, making a vow, do you see that as a ritual like ordination, right ordination, or priest ordination, or for example, could it be taking a new job, or taking a step towards someone who you've been in conflict with? It could definitely be taking a new job. That's actually... I'm just asking, does it have to be wearing religious clothing? No, no. However, if you do this,


whatever clothing you wear, it turns into religious clothes. Yeah. So you're not talking about, you have to be part of a formal group of people. I mean, that could be one way of doing it, it could be the wonderful, but you could do it in many different ways. You can do it in many different ways. And in a sense, any new job you take could be an expression of this bodhicitta. Because in many of the ceremonies you're familiar with, in a sense, the person's, they're taking a new job. And the job you take is connected to the vows you make. Like in, maybe next week I'll talk about it, but just say tonight that the different kinds of vows you make and different kinds of ceremonies are the different jobs that you're signing up for. Depending on the vows or the precepts


that you're talking about, are they giving and ethics and so on, or are they just giving? Or is it some other kind of work? The practice of enthusiasm is really the practice of work. Whatever kind of work you're doing, to do it enthusiastically, as an expression of bodhicitta. So you don't have to have any particular outfit on. That's the thing about bodhisattvas. You don't have to wear a monk's outfit, but you can wear a monk's outfit. You don't have to wear a monk's outfit, but bodhisattvas can wear a monk's outfit. But also bodhisattvas can have fancy hairdos and wear lots of jewels. They can do that too. Thank you. How do we speak, I mean, clear in a religious, in a lay ordination, a priest ordination, it's clear that the person is speaking their vow out loud,


but if you're not in that situation, what do you mean by speaking your vow out loud? Do you mean like telling somebody, I'm taking this job with the intention, because I want to make a change, I want to live more for the benefit of other people. Do you mean to say that to somebody? No, you don't have to say it. You say, in this case, you say, I accept this job, I'll do this job. And you're doing it as an expression, as an enactment of bodhicitta. I will do this job. I will follow these precepts. But not all bodhisattva, not all expressions of this bodhicitta are to take ethical precepts. Other ones are just, I'll work in the shop. I'll work in the kitchen. I'll help you with that. But they're all different ways to enact it. And you can have all different kinds of outfits on to do it. But you understand that all these outfits you're putting on


are to enable you to perform this service. I'll listen to your question, but maybe I might not answer it until next week, because it's past 9.15. I was just wondering if one is truly enacting bodhicitta vow, does it automatically come out skillfully? Or, I mean, if it's unskillful, does that mean the vow is not there? If it's unskillful, does it mean the vow is not there? Yeah, I think that, let's talk about that next week, okay? There's not time to get into it right now. But remember that question, all week long. And please, let's find some time, you know? Find some time every day to be silent and still


and present and open to care for this, or to receive this bodhicitta, okay? Thank you.