The Mind of Enlightenment 

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Thank you. The relative or conventional mind of enlightenment and right nearby the conventional mind of enlightenment, inseparable from the conventional mind of enlightenment, is the ultimate mind of enlightenment—enlightenment itself. We've been emphasizing so far the focus on the conventional, but I'm saying now just to remind us that the ultimate mind of enlightenment, which is enlightenment itself, is inseparable from the conventional mind of enlightenment. Again, the conventional mind of enlightenment has many layers of meaning,


but the basic one is the resolution, clear resolution to realize Buddhahood for the welfare of all beings. So it's a conventional phenomenon, it's a thought of this kind. This thought accompanies the bodhisattva on the whole course of practice, all the way up to and never leaving the ultimate goal of Buddhahood and perfect enlightenment. This thought, this conventional thought comes along all the time. It's never gone. And it's an impermanent thing. One can


forget it, one can get distracted from it because of lack of concentration, or one can get distracted from it by various afflictions, various conflicts or contradictory resolutions, like the resolution to not benefit everybody could arise in a sentient being's mind and that contradicts the resolution to benefit everybody. That can arise. And it can arise so strongly that it can derail or cause us to lose the bodhicitta for a while. But it can be found again. Now let's say we haven't lost it, let's say we're taking care of it now, frequently, throughout the day, remembering that we do have this resolution. And in order to care for the conventional and the ultimate spirit and


actuality of awakening, in order to care for both of them, but now mentioning the relative, the first practice, Bodhisattvas practice six basic precepts or six basic trainings. They train in giving, ethical discipline, patience, enthusiasm, concentration and wisdom. So the last class in the spring we emphasized the methods of giving, ethical discipline and patience. These first three trainings are trainings basically to care for sentient beings. They're basic trainings in caring for all sentient beings. They're basic trainings in caring for and benefiting yourself. The last three of these


trainings, the enthusiasm, the concentration and the wisdom, they work on something that the first three in a sense don't so much work on. They work on actually removing affliction. Now it's a little bit complicated because the fourth training method of enthusiasm or heroic effort, it is applied based on practicing the first three, you can practice this fourth, this fourth then takes care and fuels the first three. But it also, that enthusiasm, this continued effort to practice, will eventually not just help people, but it will overcome affliction. And then concentration, which we've been working on so far, concentrating on relative bodhicitta,


actually does suppress the afflictions and wisdom eliminates the tendency towards them. So the last two particularly eliminate all the causes for suffering. The first three take care of people, beings who are suffering and get them ready to do those practices too, but to move on to the practices which overcome affliction. So I'm saying this because of a couple of things. One is, I think Vera said something about taking care of ourselves. How do we take care of ourselves? How can we do these concentration practices if we don't know how to take care of ourselves? We should be practicing these first three methods of bodhisattvas along


with or before you try to do the concentration on bodhicitta. So concentration on bodhicitta requires that actually we do develop the ability to be concentrated, that we develop the ability to not be distracted from something we'd like to pay attention to consistently. But it's not just that we're trying to get concentrated and be undistracted, although that is part of it. We're trying to be undistracted so we can pay attention to what's really important, this wonderful mind, this wonderful intention. So now, if we were concentrated, we could pay attention to this intention, this resolution to live for the welfare of all beings and to realize all the skills which would help us realize the welfare of all beings. So once again, it's not just to get concentrated and then that's the


point. It's to get concentrated so you can take care of this bodhi mind. And then in the concentration, we're trying to make this intention, which we've been taking care of all along, hopefully, make this intention pure. Because it's possible to, for their welfare, still be some affliction in the caring. Some affliction, some cause of suffering while you're caring for beings, while you're practicing giving, which takes care of the bodhicitta. The bodhicitta doesn't get killed when you're giving, it lives, but it isn't necessarily pure. And what could defile it? Well, one basic thing that can defile it, the basic thing, is the sense that you're actually not the beings that you're devoted to. That they're other than you, really, not you. So the first part of the


meditation on bodhicitta is to realize that we're the same as all beings. Not just the same as some, but the same as all suffering beings. And then I also wanted to say that it isn't just that I suggest to you that you meditate, that you be mindful that the word I, which we do use sometimes, which I use sometimes, can appropriately, in this context, be applied to all suffering beings. And so it is possible to actually


think, and sincerely think, they, all suffering beings, are myself. To think that, and again, think it, think it, think it. And until when you see somebody, you see yourself. Without telling yourself that this person is yourself, you see yourself. One of our ancestors, the Chinese Zen ancestor, Dongshan Liangjie, when he left his teacher, he asked his teacher what's the essence of his teaching, and his teacher said, I think


that some people feel it could be understood that that's an abbreviation for just this person is it. That was his teacher's final instruction to him. It wasn't the final, but the essential instruction to him after this enlightened disciple is leaving his teacher. But not completely enlightened, yet quite enlightened, allowed to go off on his own now, after training many years. And he was quiet and his teacher said, you must be thorough about this instruction. So he left, and he walked, and he walked. I think maybe he walked a long ways, thinking about just this person, just this person is it. And then when he was crossing a river, he saw his reflection, and he had a much deeper understanding of this teaching. And he composed a poem.


Which goes something like, everywhere I go, I need him. To seek outside will get lost. Now, he is myself. No, now he is not me. Now he is not me. In truth, he is myself. This was his poem of his Great Awakening. This is like after meditating on all beings as yourself. You come to see that they are. Maybe you can see they are without the meditation, but still, for most of us, it's recommended that you do this meditation, so that we will actually see that it's so. That that's the way we will understand our life. That our life really is all sentient beings. That is our actual life.


And I don't know if you've been practicing this week, walking around thinking, they are myself. But I would encourage us to keep practicing that, or something like that, until that's the way you see things. When you see things that way, then you don't have to be mindful of it. You don't have to keep saying, this is Berkeley, this is Berkeley, this is Berkeley. You can think of that without reminding yourself. Most of us can do that. And actually, if you can't remember that it's Berkeley, it probably won't help much to remind yourself. You should just ask other people where it is, and they'll tell you. If you're in Berkeley, they'll say Berkeley. If you're in Oakland, they'll say Oakland. But this other thing, if you ask people, who am I, they might not say, you're all sentient beings. So you probably have to do this one yourself.


And if you really do it a lot, everybody will basically be telling you, hello, I'm you. You're me. Maybe. You're me. You're me. Don't you understand? You're me. I'm your life. We're all your life. But we have to train ourselves in order to hear that that's what everybody's saying to us all the time. People are so polite. I don't want to bother you with this information that I am your life. I don't want to impose upon you. For you, I'm where it's at. I'm the point of your life. And you're the point of mine. People don't say that to us too much. Once in a while they do, and sometimes it's very helpful for them to remind us. Hello. Remember me? I'm your life. Remember? Did you forget? Did you think I wasn't? Did you think you had some life besides me and all sentient beings? No, you didn't, did you? No, right.


I didn't have to remind you of that. But we have to remind ourselves, I think, until everybody seems to be reminding us. Now, Lori Sanaki asked last week, what about people who are like, you know, really, well, I think she said really concerned for the welfare of others, almost like overly so. I think that was part of her concern. Would this meditation be good for such people? Another question could be asked, what about people who are really sensitive to the suffering of other beings? Would that be good for them to do this practice? It is possible to be really devoted to the welfare of all beings and still think they're separate from you.


It's also possible to not be devoted to the welfare of all beings and think they're separate from you. But when you don't think they're separate from you, when you realize that yourself, you will be devoted to all of them. Now, it would be good if you knew how to take care of the beings you're devoted to. Well, that's the first three practices, and the meditation you're doing now is how you take care of them. So those people who are wonderfully devoted to the welfare of others, I say, great, that's good, please keep it up, but also remind yourself that they are yourself. Remind yourself of that. That will actually protect you from being overwhelmed by this devotion. It will purify your devotion of the affliction of duality, or at least it will start the process.


I don't want to put anybody on the spot, so this is kind of a general question, which I don't mean to put anybody on the spot, but have you been practicing, have you remembered to think they are you? They, all sentient beings, are myself. Have you remembered to do that? That's my question. And if you remembered a little bit, I say, great. If you remembered at all, it's a wonderful thing to remember in a lifetime. To think at once is a rare thing. To even hear the suggestion to think it is a rare thing. So I request that we keep being mindful of this simple thought. They, all living beings, all suffering beings, are my true self. That's what I really am, is all sentient beings.


Again, this is meditation on, this is focusing on, this is concentrating on the relative bodhicitta, which can have a relative or conventional contradictions, like other kinds of thoughts which contradict it. You don't have to have no contradictory thoughts to develop this conventional bodhicitta. You don't have to have no contradictory thoughts to purify this conventional bodhicitta. So I'm talking now about the bodhicitta purification of the affliction of thinking that we're separate from the beings that we're devoted to. It causes us suffering when we think we're separate from the beings that we're devoted to. It causes us suffering, for example, when we're devoted to others and we think we own our suffering and they own theirs. That's the one that hurts us.


So actually we can't very well stop the tendency right now to think that our suffering is our own. So while we have that problem, it would be good for us now to develop the problem of thinking if we're going to possess something, possess other people's suffering too. So that will also be difficult for us. And then you practice patience to take care of yourself with all this suffering. All along, trying to cure yourself of thinking that they're separate, and when you do that, this will alleviate the possessiveness with regard to the suffering. But even though you are not going to be suffering anymore because of being possessive of your suffering,


you will still be motivated to help others who are suffering because they are yourself and you do want to take care of them. So we do need to be concentrated, otherwise we'll get distracted. And we do need to be patient when we are distracted. And we need to be kind to ourselves when we are distracted. We need to be patient when we have contradictory emotions and impulses. And again, I would suggest for myself and you that when I have contradictory intentions, I practice, I take care of them too. I live for them too. I'm devoted to the welfare of my contradictory intentions, and other people's contradictory intentions, and the people who have contradictory intentions.


These all are suffering beings. A contradictory intention is a suffering being. It doesn't need arms and legs. It in itself is suffering. To contradict this bodhisattva is painful. So people and emotions that people have are objects of compassion. And we are devoted to their welfare. And all of them are myself. I say that to myself. And the more I do, the more I think about it, and I do think about it, the more it seems reasonable to me. If you don't think about it much, you might slip back into thinking that it's not reasonable. But if you think about it a lot, if you reason about it a lot,


if you debate with yourself and others about it a lot, I think you'll find yourself moving towards being really logically convinced that this is the way to go. Rather than just believing that it's so. It makes sense to you that it's so. And it feels good to you that it's so. And you feel fearless that it's so. And you feel inspired to continue to practice it. However, if you have any doubts about this, I really welcome you to give me feedback on that. Doubts of how to practice, doubts that it's a good thing to practice, this focus on the bodhicitta and on this way of dealing with it that purifies it of the self-other difference. Or you could put it positively, endows it with confidence


that we are in the same boat. One more thing I wanted to mention, again, is that there are these four methods of bodhisattva training, or four methods which bodhisattvas practice to embrace and sustain beings. But the Chinese character that's used, and I don't know what can be done with the Sanskrit, but the Chinese character that's used, it says four methods of embracing and sustaining can also, that character, which means to embrace and sustain or nurture or care for or collect beings, it also can be read in a passive way. So it can be read in an active way, the four ways to embrace and sustain beings, can also be read as four ways to be embraced


and sustained by beings. So the four ways are giving, kind speech, beneficial action, and identity action or cooperation. And this fourth method is very much like this purifying meditation of bodhicitta. So we're concentrating on how to benefit others and we're remembering that the others that we're benefiting are in the same boat with us. It's not like we're in a nice boat and other people are in a lousy boat and we're throwing care packages over from our boat onto their boat. That's a nice thing to do if you're ever in a nice boat and some people are having trouble in the next boat. It's fine to toss stuff over.


That's one of the methods, that's the first method. Throw stuff to other boats, people in other boats. But the fourth method is realize that actually you're in the same boat. And that you're cooperating with these people. And you're nourishing them by making donations to them. You're sustaining them. You're embracing them by being generous with them. The more you practice that, the more you realize they're embracing you. They're sustaining you. They're nurturing you. They're nurturing your boaty mind. And when you practice kind speech to people, that encourages them, that nurtures them, that protects them, that sustains them. That helps them be present with their suffering. But it also embraces you.


Usually it's hard to translate it both ways simultaneously. Usually if you look in Indian Mahayana instructions for bodhisattvas and they list these four methods, usually they emphasize their methods for the bodhisattvas to help people, to help beings. They don't usually mention at the same time these are methods for beings to help the bodhisattvas. But that's exactly what bodhisattvas are. They are helped. The bodhisattva is helped by their devotion to others. That's the way they help themselves. That's what matures them, is by being concerned for the welfare of others. Dogen, the Zen teacher, has one of his fasticles on these four methods. We can see him there working on developing


this relative bodhicitta through these four methods. Particularly the last one is connected to concentration on bodhicitta. The first ones are a little bit more like the earlier methods of giving ethics and patience. Any feedback on this so far that you'd like to offer? Sese and Christian? So I've been playing with this last week and I've found that obsessing in the troubles of others, I have empathy arising in me and I'm a little troubled by it. It feels like a projection. So I started practicing with contradictory thoughts.


That this is not me. Because that one is coming up. And I actually found there was more tension there for me. Because it's harder to maintain that once I've surfaced that. And I had to convince myself this was not me and look at those reasons. And it kind of broke through the film. I felt like the other way I was approaching it. There was a film between me and what I was approaching as me. And this helped me in a different way. So focusing on this is not me helped you in a different way. But did focusing on this is not me make you more convinced that it was you? Did it make me more convinced that it was not not me? That it was not not you. Very good. Please continue to play. Christian?


I have a question about the third practice that you mentioned. The third practice? What is it? Identity action? No, the fourth one is identity action. Various translations of the fourth one are identity action, cooperation, what's the other one? Together action. Together action, acting together. The third one is beneficial action. Which you might say, well, aren't the first two beneficial? Yes. So it's just saying, in addition to those first two, all kinds of beneficial action. But the fourth one is more like focusing on the bodhicitta itself.


And also focusing on it in such a way as to purify the sense that those you're devoted to, those you care about, those who you feel empathy for, to cure you of thinking that they're not you. It seems like it's a thought as opposed to an action. It seems like a thought? Well, it's the action of thinking of that thought. The basic definition in Buddhadharma of action is thinking. The basic conventional action is thinking, is thought. Thought in the sense of thinking. We're thinking all the time. We're thinking we're at a class. We're thinking we're with our friends. We're thinking this, we're thinking that.


This is our basic action. Now I'm talking about what I'm thinking. And I'm making gestures, physical gestures, which are expressing that I think I'm in the yoga room rather than a tango class or an asana class. So my postures are expressing the way I'm thinking about what's happening here. And my voice is... But even when I'm sitting quietly, I'm thinking that being quiet is appropriate because it's quiet sitting time. I think, oh, we're sitting quietly, so I should be quiet. That's an action. Thinking that it's appropriate to be quiet is an action. And then being quiet is an action which emerges from that action. So thinking that others, especially now we're thinking all others are yourself, that is an action. It's a karmic, a conventional karmic action.


Just like can you believe some people think, they go around thinking, they actually make the effort to think, that person is not me. People think that. They think that person's welfare is not my welfare. That person is a bad person. They're not me. The people who are running British Patrol Proleum, they're not me. I think maybe easier, but we maybe feel like all the poor people that live and depend on the Gulf of Mexico for their life, I feel empathy for them. But still, and I'd like to help them, but still they're not me. People think that. That's an action. And it has consequences. The consequences are suffering. That's an affliction. To think that somebody's not us.


That's a cause of suffering. I mean you can think that and not believe it. If you think it as a joke, and you don't really believe it, then it's not an affliction. Well, this might go a little bit on a tangent, but I was lucky to be able to be at Green College for three days this last week. And last night I went to the Darner talk of Michael Linder. And somebody asked a question about categories, and I didn't quite catch her question. But then I started thinking about categories, and I'm not sure whether the mind just is constructive to set up categories, but I know that I do have categories in my mind. And I was disturbed about that today because I was thinking about, well, the suffering of people I know very well.


Like in my family, for instance. And then it goes further and further. But it's most intense about the people closest to me, so I'm really putting them in a category. In the close category. In the close category. In the close category. And I was in Berkeley today after I left Green College, and I saw a young man, and there was something very fetching about him because he looked like he might be homeless if he had everything in a bag and a shopping cart, but he seemed really well-organized. And he didn't ask anybody for anything, which makes it less stressful than when people come up to you and ask you for something. Although they're not really any worse than somebody who doesn't ask you for anything. And then I was actually thinking very briefly


of asking him if he needed a little help. And I don't know why I didn't do it. I'm not quite sure. But I thought, well, maybe he would be offended, or maybe this wasn't the right time, or maybe I really didn't want to do it. But he was like in a different category for me from other people that I've seen dragging their stuff around. Yeah, your mind put him in a different category from some of the other people who are walking around with their stuff. Your mind did that. And the thought of practicing giving towards him arose in your mind. You thought of practicing giving towards him, I think.


Like, can I help you? You're going to offer him, can I help you? However, I would say that you can actually see that as a gift already. As a what? As a gift. When you think about people, everybody you think about, everybody you look at, you can see that that attention is a gift. You can see it that way. And if you don't see it that way, I think you just missed an opportunity to protect the bodhicitta. Every time you look at somebody and you don't realize it's a gift, you missed a chance to practice giving. But you actually thought of giving, but I don't think you noticed that that was a gift. But I think it was. I think that you kind of wanted to help him out.


It was a gift. But what's more difficult to understand is when you don't want to help people out, that that's a gift. But when you don't want to help people out, if there's anything wrong with that thought, you can make it worse by not making it a gift. So you can say, Oh, I don't want to help Betsy. And then you can say, And I'm not going to practice giving now either. Rather than, I don't want to help Betsy, and I want to make that a gift. And I might even tell her, Betsy, I had this really weird thought. I thought I didn't want to help you. I was amazed that I thought that. But I wanted to share that with you and give you the gift that I thought I didn't want to help you. Suffering beings are beings


who are thinking in ways that are causing suffering. Suffering beings are afflicted, and they're afflicted because of the way they think. So now that they're afflicted, how about practicing giving towards them, and how about them practicing giving towards themselves? And if you're afflicted, how about practicing giving towards yourself? Why wait until you're not afflicted before you start practicing? Why not practice now with your afflictions? Why not practice now with suffering people, suffering beings, rather than waiting for them to not be afflicted and then help them? No. No, not necessary. You can start right now. And again, you also talked about having categories. The mind naturally makes categories. But when categories arise in your mind,


you can practice giving at that same moment. One time I was at Tassajara, I believe this was the summer of 69 or 70, and Suzuki Roshi gave a talk, and during the talk he said, My students... something. And when he said that I thought, No, he didn't say my students. He said, My disciples... something or other. But when he said my disciples, I thought, Oh, who are his disciples? I was wondering if I might be one of them. Because I was actually kind of seeing my... I kind of thought, Well, I'm at Zen Center to be with the community to practice meditation and so on. I find that living with these meditators encourages me to be consistent in my practice.


But I'm also to be with the teacher. And this is the teacher that I'm with. But I thought, But that doesn't mean I'm his disciple. So I was kind of wondering who his disciples were. So I said to him, Roshi, who are your disciples? I didn't say, Am I one? I said, Who are your disciples? Just checking to see. What he said, maybe I would be. He said, Well, my disciples are people from Minnesota. Well, that includes me. But he didn't say that. He said something like, I think almost the first thing he said was, My mind makes categories. And I don't like it, but it does. So the Zen teacher, when I asked him about who his disciples were, I was actually asking him a question about categories. Disciples and not disciples.


So which one's in which? So I asked him about that. And then he told me that his mind has categories. But does his mind have categories separate from me asking a categorical question? Maybe he could have said, You just make my mind have categories. I was here going along without categories, and you asked me a question, so now I've got categories, and I don't like it. I think he was saying, Now that you ask me this question, I now remember that I have categories in my mind. So then he told me what the categories were. The categories are, Not my disciples and my disciples. He had that category. But the whole conversation is a gift-giving conversation. I go to him and give him a gift.


I give him a student, who wants to know who the disciples are. I give him that student who has that interest. I give him the question. I let him be a teacher. I show him, Hey, I want a teacher. Will you be my teacher? Here's the question for you. And so he gives me the gift of, My mind has these categories, and I kind of don't like it. And then he gives me another gift. He says, Some of the students at Tassajar are this kind, some of the students are another kind. Some of the students at Tassajar are here to help themselves. Some of the students are here at Tassajar to help others. The ones who are here to help others are my disciples. The ones who are here to help themselves are allowed to be here. And I love... He didn't say this, but he loved everybody, pretty much, as far as I could tell. But some people were not his disciples,


because they were just there to sponge off the Buddha. And they were allowed to sponge off. So he gave me that gift. I felt he gave me that gift. Now did he think, I'm giving him this gift? I don't know if he thought that, but I think he kind of felt it. I think he kind of enjoyed... I think he enjoyed that I asked him these questions and he got to give me these answers. I think he liked that. He acted like he liked it. He didn't say, well, don't bother me, I'm too busy. He seemed to thrive on my questions. Not just mine. He seemed to thrive on people coming to him and asking him what was the most important thing in their life at the moment, often. Not everybody did. Some people just wanted to fool around with him. But a lot of people said, hey man, I want to talk to you


about the most important thing in my life now. And I think he liked being with people that way. He looked like he was enjoying giving me these answers. And I definitely enjoyed giving them. I didn't know at the time, I'm going to be telling people about this story 40 years from now. 40 or 41 years from now, I'll be telling people this story. I'll be telling people about the gift you gave me. I didn't say, hey Roshi, guess what? I'm going to tell people this story over and over again for four decades or five decades, if I can remember. So he was giving. I felt like he was giving. But now I'm also saying, you're always giving. So don't miss out. Don't miss out on a moment of doing this practice. And if you do miss out, be gracious towards yourself.


Be patient with yourself. Oh, I forgot to see my life as a gift. So I feel, when you tell me that story, I feel like Vera, you were generous towards that person, just to pay attention to him. Just to feel that he was fetching. Just to want to help him. I think those were three different gifts. To look at him, to appreciate him, and to want to help him. Three gifts. But in your story, I didn't feel like you enjoyed your giving. Next time you can know it's giving. But part of the way you know it's giving is to think it's giving. Is to want it to be giving. Now if I'm right next to you, I can say, nice gift, Vera. You have to be mindful of giving. All the time. When you're driving around Berkeley, remember to practice giving. And don't wait until the next moment to practice it. Practice it with this moment.


That's the way to take care of the bodhicitta. The bodhicitta, if you don't practice giving, the bodhicitta wilts. If you don't practice giving, you miss, you're not noticing what bodhicitta is. Bodhicitta is, I want to help people. I want to attain awakening to help people. If you forget giving, you forgot bodhicitta a little bit. But if you remember giving, you don't forget bodhicitta, and you protect it. Again, practice giving all the time. Make every moment a gift. Every moment a gift. In addition to that practice, the precepts and patience, also practice purifying the gift of separation between you, the giver, and the receiver. Remember that those you're giving to are yourself. Remember this young man,


whether you call him near or far, the nearer are yourself, the far are yourself. Whether the fetching are yourself, the unfetching are yourself. Everybody is yourself. It doesn't mean you have to sort of say, everybody is fetching. It just means whatever you say about people, that's a gift to them, and I have to remember that it's a gift, otherwise I'll miss it. When you remember, you don't miss. And then again, purify it by the additional practice of this person who I'm practicing giving towards, who's also practicing giving towards me, is myself. And everybody else who I can't pay attention to right now because I'm focused on this person, everybody else is also myself, and I'm giving to them, and they're giving to me. So giving, and then purify the giving with this meditation on bodhicitta,


on the equality of yourself and others. Yes, Jerry? Well, I've been, actually since last week, I think I was kind of having an issue trying to understand purity versus impurity. And I think it's because of childhood Catholicism, but it feels dualistic to me. The Catholic Church is myself. The Catholic Church is part of my job security. I'm here to help all the Catholics. Find a new meaning of purity. Yeah, the new meaning of purity, which I think I'm understanding, is that when we're afflicted with the delusion of a separate self, or an aversion or an attachment,


then that's an impurity. And so what we're really talking about is ignorance. And wisdom is going to purify us. Well, actually the meditation I'm talking about now is not yet quite wisdom. It's a warm-up to it. Wisdom, the meditation I'm talking about now, will actually pretty much, when you're doing it, it will suppress the affliction. The affliction won't be able to function in the midst of this concentration. If you're concentrating on this, it should actually basically remove your affliction for the moment. But the tendency to go back to it is still there. So we need actually wisdom to actually remove even our tendency to go back to this thing of thinking that way, thinking of people separate from us. So if I feel a separateness of being one of my arisings,


and a being is arising that's me, for the moment. So you have this thing, this story that a being has arisen called you. Called me. Who's separate. And then you have the thought that they're separate. Excuse me, can I say something? Remind me to say, at this very point, about the tendency. Come back to that. I have a tendency then to... Wait a second. There, she said it, so now I've got to do it. If the thought arises of being a being, and the thought arises that you're separate, if you don't believe that, it's not a problem. It's just like the thought of marshmallows flying to Mars or something. It's just a thought. But to have the tendency to think that is a problem. So you can think certain thoughts


and not believe them at the moment and then there's no problem of them, but you still may have the tendency to think them. And the tendency has to be removed too. However, once the tendency is removed, the thought can arise again, but when it's not arising because of the tendency, then you don't need to believe it, but you don't need to worry about the tendency that it's going to come up again. So your example I was going to say, because when it just arises because of causes and conditions, it's not necessarily a problem unless you're predisposed to think that way. So we need to not only take care of our deluded thoughts so they don't hurt us and others, but we need also to work with the tendency to have these thoughts. But when they arise, it doesn't necessarily mean that we have a tendency for them. They could arise, like a Buddha could think, a Buddha can talk about all the problems that people have, but the Buddha has no tendency


towards any of these problems, no predisposition or inclination towards them. The Buddha only has the inclination to bring up what helps people. But it's not really inclination because it's just what is helpful at the moment. Whereas we not only have these deluded thoughts, which we believe and then they hurt us, but we have in addition to that the tendency to think them rather than just they come up. So again, the concentration on the relative bodhicitta calms the affliction itself at the moment. The wisdom practice is geared towards even removing the tendency towards these thoughts. And once again, these thoughts can arise to a wisdom person without there being any tendency towards them. You can think, oh, things are external to me, without that coming from a predisposition.


Just like you can be born in this world of suffering without being born by predisposition, or you could say by obsessions and compulsions. So, yes. Yes, Charlie. So, the past week I've been trying to practice thinking others or myself, and then I'm starting to wonder, when we talk about sentient beings, what are the boundaries of that category? Is it all beings or myself, or all sentient beings or myself? Well, strictly speaking, Buddhas are not sentient beings. This instruction is for sentient beings. This is a little bit different practice from thinking Buddhas are myself. So you're thinking all suffering beings are myself, which can include some bodhisattvas.


So all suffering beings, all living beings, not the Buddhas. I don't say not the Buddhas, but it's not focusing on the Buddhas. It's focusing on those that you're devoted to help, which is all living beings who are not fully realized Buddhas. What about rocks? Yes, if rocks need any protection, protect them. But I don't usually think of rocks as suffering beings. What about plants? If I think plants are suffering beings, then I would... Even if I don't think rocks are suffering beings, I still can meditate on they are myself. But that can be a little confusing, because then I might think that I don't have feelings like rocks do. But really, it's my whole environment that's myself. So I'm not really devoted to save rocks


because I don't feel their suffering, but still, my whole environment is myself. Everything in the universe is really myself. How do we tell if another being is suffering? You don't need to tell. How can you tell that rocks don't suffer? I don't need to not tell, I just don't. I just can't tell they're suffering. But I'm not worried about telling, I just seem to get the information that people are suffering. They tell me that they are, and I don't usually feel like they're lying. It's one of the times that they seem like they're pretty close to the truth when they tell me that they're suffering. But I can't exactly tell that they are, I kind of believe that they are. So you don't have to go looking for suffering beings, you just deal with the ones that are here, now? Yes. And then that's really challenging. I can barely do that.


When dealing with suffering beings that I'm actually meeting, it's hard to remember. Giving, giving, giving, giving, giving. Ethics, patience, every meeting, to remember those every time, that's hard. Then to also remember, they are myself, she is myself, he is myself, to remember that too, it's hard. So I have plenty to work on. And I'm happy to get more consistent and to expand it, but I have plenty to work on. And if people tell me about, whatever people tell me about, I welcome whatever it is. If they want to extend it in some way beyond who is in the room, that's fine. Yes, Stephen? Stephen? Yes, David? You're Stephen.


That's Stephen, that's David. David? I'm often trying to make connections with what I experience here to what I do in the real world. You're trying to make connections between what you do here? Yes, when I come here, to charge my batteries, to experience this way of framing things. And then how can I take that out into the world? Yeah, me too. And one of the things that I do out there is work with groups of people all the time. That's my work. And what I'm picking up tonight is what it's bringing out for me is that there's so often so much energy that people expend to show that I'm not me. Because they really, it manifests as finding out who's really to blame.


If you can find who's to blame, then you can really say, I'm not that. And so in my work with groups like that, what I need to do is not get destabilized by the arguments and the content and try to open up a space for them to feel like, you know what? It actually doesn't matter if it's you, if it's me. Let's figure this out. Are you with me? I'm not completely with you. When you said it doesn't matter, I have a little, what do you call it, a little scruple on that point, but you can go on. Yeah, I'm with you on that. Yeah.


Okay, I'll respond to that, but I just want to go back to it doesn't matter. And I think what you meant, I'm guessing what you meant by it doesn't matter is you meant even though they're doing that, I'll still work with them. Oh yeah, it doesn't matter how you define who's at blame. Because it doesn't matter who's at blame, it implies that there is someone at blame. But it's not even an issue, it doesn't matter. Right, so I think more to the point is that blaming is not relevant to happiness.


And it's not relevant to finding solutions to problems. Blaming is, as what is called, Flaubert says at the end of Madame Bovary, blame is fate. When you blame, it's like everything's determined, you can't do anything. So I think it doesn't matter who is to blame means no matter who you blame, you're wasting your time blaming. Blaming is a waste of time. However, if people are blaming, we want to be generous to them. We want to be generous to the blamers. We want to be generous to people who are putting themselves in prison by blaming. And so if somebody comes up and blames themselves or somebody else, that could potentially knock you off balance. So you need to practice


these first three practices. You need to learn to welcome blamers. Not tell them, you shouldn't be blaming, even though they shouldn't be, even though they're hurting themselves by blaming themselves or others. Before you start telling them that they're hurting themselves by that blaming, welcome them into the space that you want to create there. And practice precepts, and in this particular case, practice the precept of not putting them down for hurting themselves by blaming. Don't put down people, don't put yourself up and put people down who are mutilating themselves. Realize this person's hurting themselves, but I'm not better than them. And be patient with them hurting themselves or hurting others by blaming. Be patient with this trip they're on. So generous, ethical,


and particularly in this case, we're talking about other people's non-virtue, ethical of not putting them down, not speaking of their faults in any way that would reduce compassion towards them. We call that slander. Don't speak of people in a way that would make other people less compassionate, yourself and others less compassionate to them. And be patient with this process of their hurting themselves and others. And then move on to being concentrated on your agenda, which is to provide a space for this opportunity of freedom. And then you have to purify yourself of the sense that they're not you, of your sense, of the appearance that they're not yourself. All these things will make you not get knocked off balance in this work you want to do. So part of the time we just have to work on concentrating, even when we're not concentrating on bodhicitta.


We need to practice sometimes just concentrating just for developing concentration, like following your breathing, or paying attention to your posture. Just simply practice being undistracted about anything. And when you feel that you're not being distracted by your thinking, then take that concentration and apply it to this wonderful thought. And cultivate this wonderful mind which wants to achieve the best for the welfare of all. And then concentrate on purifying this mind of the duality of self and other by remembering to pay attention to everybody as not only who you're devoted to, but who's not other than you. That other thing is just a non... a baseless designation. Just like self is a baseless designation. Bill.


I thought there was somebody else. Was there somebody else? No. Bill. Something you said along that made a question come up. It could be silly. Is it possible to help a fully realized Buddha? Or are they not alive? The way you help the Buddha is by doing the Buddha's practice. That's the way you help it. The Buddha doesn't need you to help the Buddha be free of suffering. They just need you to help them with their work. They're coming... The Buddhas appear to help us. The way we help Buddhas is by helping ourselves or doing the practices which will make the Buddhas coming successful. Helping ourselves and others is the way to help Buddhas. Being a bodhisattva is the main way to help a Buddha. Paul. You mentioned the possibility


or a case where a thought arises and you don't believe it and there's no problem. And then there's the case where you saw there's a tendency for these thoughts to arise which still, you say, there's a need to get rid of the tendency. Yeah. If you don't believe in these thoughts that are arising, why do you think there's a tendency to think them? Because if you think them you might believe them later. Okay. It makes sense to me that if you have a tendency to think a certain thought you also have a tendency to believe it. That's right. It's harder not to believe the thoughts that you have a tendency to think. But that same thought, when you learn how to let go of it, you can still have a tendency. But when the tendency towards it is dropped, then when the thought arises you're very unlikely to believe it


at that point. And so then it's easy when you don't believe your thinking, it's easy to do all kinds of compassionate practices with it. You can remember the point of everything is to practice compassion because you're not caught by anything, by these thoughts. And the reason why you're not caught is because of your practice. So your practice isn't interfered by your thinking. So once again, people are really devoted to the welfare of others but they get distracted from that by their thinking. Now some people are not devoted to the welfare of others and they're distracted by their thinking too. Everybody that's not devoted to the welfare of others is distracted by their thinking. If we weren't caught by our thinking we would be devoted to the welfare of others. Was there another person over there? Oh, Ted? This question came up this week. In what way is enlightenment not what we think it is?


Oh, because enlightenment isn't reached by the thinking mind. The thinking mind can't reach it. However, enlightenment is sending messages to the thinking mind all the time. Like this class is a message to the thinking mind from enlightenment. But our thinking is not going to reach enlightenment. That's the ultimate bodhicitta. Our thinking doesn't reach, but it illuminates our thinking. So the relative bodhicitta is thinking which takes us to what is beyond thinking but not separate from it. Enlightenment isn't just thinking. Or you could say enlightenment is the correct way of thinking, a special correct way of thinking which totally doesn't abide in thinking. Therefore, thinking doesn't reach it. It's now past our usual ending time


so I thank you very much. Next week I'll try to move into a little bit different realm. So please work on what you've heard so far. And those of you who didn't hear about the last class, I think maybe you can talk to Charlie about how to get resources from the last class, meaning the last series of classes. And the first two classes will soon be available. Is that right? They should be open now. Okay, the first two classes are available. If any of you missed any previous classes. So next week we'll go a little bit into a new realm of working the purification of this thought of enlightenment. Thank you very much. Yes.