No Abode Dharma Talk - December 11th, 2021

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A virtual Dharma talk by Tenshin Roshi for an online gathering of the No Abode community

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So I'm at Noah Boat, as you can see, I guess. And I'm looking at the video of my face and the altars behind me, which makes me look like I have a crown on, one of those Chinese crowns. Please excuse me for my imperial appearance. I, you know, it's, it's coming to the end of another year, another really difficult year in this world. And, and also it's, it's, it's a time when I remember towards the end of the year, I often remember the past year and the past years. And this particular year, 2021, it's, yeah, it's 50 years since I met my wife at the University of California, Berkeley, in a class on the Lotus Sutra.


taught by the great translator, Edward Kansa. Also, at the time of that class, our great teacher Suzuki Roshi was sick with cancer, and on July, I mean, excuse me, on December 4th, 1971, he passed away. So we did our 50th anniversary memorial ceremony for him this year. And today is the 11th of December.


And yesterday was the 10th. And often on the 10th, I remember a simple and yet almost indelible meeting I had with Suzuki Roshi. It was in the afternoon in December the 10th, and I went to his office at Sokoji Temple. This is before we had 300 Page Street Temple. And I went to meet him and ask him if I could go to Tassajara for the following practice period. And he said, yes, I could go. However, just shortly after that meeting, he became sick with what we called at that time the Asian flu.


And because of that flu, he was unable to come to the practice period. We waited for him to come, but he was never able to come to that practice period in 1969, January, February, March, April at Tassajara. And then the following year, I had another memorable meeting with him. After we moved from Sokoji Temple to our temple on Page Street, I met him in the hall, and I said that I wanted to go to Tassara again for the practice period. And he said, yes, I want you to go. And he said, I want you to learn chanting from the visiting teacher who's coming and who's a very good chanter.


I want you to learn chanting from him. And he reached out and shook my hand for the first time. And I felt this great warmth. which I felt was there, but I never felt it, but I assumed it was there. And then I felt it. So I remember these meetings with him and these departures of him in December and January. I wanted to bring up something that surprised me, just to hear it put that way, it surprised me, which was somebody said that the awakening of the bodhisattva is metaphysical.


It's a metaphysical reality. In other words, it's beyond what can be reached by the senses. It's beyond hearing and seeing. It cannot be reached by feeling or discrimination. It is an activity beyond hearing and seeing. It seems that there is also a psychological awakening, an awakening that occurs in the realm of psychology.


And there might even be what's called a spiritual awakening, But I was struck by the teaching that the Bodhisattva awakening, the Buddha's awakening, is metaphysical. And the Bodhisattva's awakening, which is beyond hearing and seeing, naturally and willingly enters the realm of hearing and seeing. The awakening, which is beyond feeling and discrimination, descends from the lofty, invisible, imperceptible,


metaphysical awakening into the physical, the sensory, and the conceptual. The conceptual realm of our ordinary life and the dualities which our conceptual activity creates. Bodhisattva's awakening enters that realm and spontaneously, naturally, enters into a dramatic relationship with all sentient beings, enters into a spontaneous theatrical performance, a natural theatrical performance in the realm of hearing and seeing to demonstrate and to show beings what is beyond hearing and seeing.


Without even the intention to do that, the action naturally does that. The Bodhisattva has a vow to show beings the Buddha way, but the showing is done without any conceptual mediation. It's just done spontaneously by or out of or through what is free. of conceptual activity, the awakening. So the Bodhisattva vow makes the metaphysical into drama, into interpersonal conversation. So I wanted to offer this to you at the end of this year for your thoughts, for your contemplation for the new year.


Contemplating the Bodhisattva awakening, which is free of conception and free of the dualities that conception generates. and enters the realm of conception. And in that realm, there is the theater of awakening. And another teaching, which many of you have heard before, is the teaching of grandmother mind. grandmother mind, or grandmother heart. The Chinese character, it's ro ba shin. The Chinese character can be translated as heart or mind.


And some people translate it as mindfulness, grandmotherly mindfulness. So grandmothers are naturally mindful of grandchildren. They naturally remember the grandchildren, remember to see if they have enough to eat. Grandmothers, you know, recent, Research has suggested that grandmothers for thousands and thousands of years have been giving the children, the grandchildren, extra food that they don't get in other ways. The grandmothers take the children out into the woods with them when they gather herbs and plants and give the food to the grandchildren. So grandmothers are naturally mindful of the grandchildren.


And in our school, remembering to make our daily life, all of our activities of daily life, as dramatic demonstrations of the Buddha way of awakening. is a key teaching. So speaking, raising a teacup, sitting upright in meditation, cleaning the house, driving a car, going to get a COVID test, which I'm going to do after this talk. On and on, every action of daily life, when it's remembered as an opportunity to enact, to demonstrate the imperceptible awakening activity, that


is the grandmother mind of the Bodhisattva. Of course, grandmothers also feed the children food, but this grandmother mind feeds beings the Buddha Dharma. And not by doing anything other than what is being done right now. Right now, my fingertips are touching the table in front of me. This touching is my offering. This speaking is the offering of the Buddha way. This speaking, which you can hear, is a dramatic demonstration of what is beyond hearing. In this way, we have an experience of something beyond our experience.


And practicing this way, we realize what is beyond our karmic consciousness. Speaking in this realm of conception where there seems to be self and other, using the opportunity of self and other to demonstrate freedom from the concept of self and other. The stronger the awakening, the deeper the awakening, the more consistent and profound this simple demonstration, this simple performance. That's my offering to you here at the end of the year and we can continue for a while longer, I hope.


having dramatic conversations in which we enact in the realm of hearing and seeing, where we embody and enact in the realm of feeling and discrimination. What is beyond feeling and discrimination? So you are now welcome to demonstrate. You are welcome to perform the Buddha way in your gestures, and your posture, and your speech. In the sake of the Buddhist assembly. Our first offering is from Pam.


Good morning, Rob. I hear you saying that the that awakening is metaphysical. But I'm a little fuzzy on what that means. Other than like beyond the physical could Could you say a little bit more about that? What it means? Well, for example, it means that it's not a perception. And if you think you're perceiving it, that's a perception, but your perception of it is not it. It's free of our perceptions. Now, if you do have a perception of it, that's OK, and you may really be very happy to have a perception of awakening. You may feel delighted to have a perception. It might be a delightful perception. Just like you might, you're not a grandmother, right?


But you're a mother, right? You're taking care of a younger person lovingly. So your care of this person might be a delight to you and or not. But let's say this person is a delight, that you can perceive that delight. But you can also make that delight your practice of what is beyond your perception of the delight. And that way you are realizing what is beyond your perception. What is the... That is your understanding. Yeah, I guess, go ahead. If we don't practice that way, that shows we do not, then our understanding is that the Buddha way is someplace else.


The Buddha way is not our perceptions, It is making our perceptions the opportunity to express what is imperceptible, making the visible. Okay, so maybe this is a reminder that if you you think you know what it is you don't know what it is or that it that it is something that is utterly beyond um your conceptualization yes it's utterly beyond and free of your conceptualization however in in daily life we are conceiving every moment there is conception okay and the practice is to make every conception the Buddha way, to make every conception an offering or an opportunity for remembering what is free of conception.


So I have conceptions of you, and every one of them, delightful or not, is an opportunity for me to remember the awakening, which is beyond conception. when I remember at that moment what is beyond conception is realized at the same time as this conception. Okay, so this can be helpful for not pigeonholing anything, not cockatizing or grasping, to remember the difference between what is and our idea of what is. conception is pigeonholing. And if when I'm pigeonholing, for example, you, when my body and mind make a pigeonhole and put you in it, if I remember the grandmother mind, I do not fall for the pigeonhole.


So you can then tell me that you're not what I just pigeonholed. Thank you. You're welcome. Thank you. Our next offering is from Steven. OK, so drama, a key feature is dialogue, or a lot of drama. Most drama includes dialogue. Grandmotherly mind includes dialogue in the sense that the grandchild is somehow speaking and the grandmother is somehow responding. There's a bunch of koans, there's at least five, there may be many more, but where the student will say, you know, I've got it, Eureka. And the teacher says, well, what do you got?


And the student says, Bodhidharma came from the West because X, Y, and Z. And the teacher says, no, [...] that's not it. And then the student says, oh, well, why did he come? And then, and then the teacher will say, because of X, Y, and Z. And so repeats the students. And so one thought I had about that was, is what's going on there is the, What is really being portrayed is that the teacher is somehow transcendent of self and in some way sees into the student's vanity, not understood as a perplexity, as a constraint, as a captivation of some sort. and presents that seen into as why Bodhidharma came into the West. Presents grandmotherly mind as the answer to why Bodhidharma came from the West.


Why did Bodhidharma came from the West? Grandmotherly mind. What's grandmotherly mind? Me seen into you. Transcendence, self-transcendence. Ah, Eureka. So, I don't know. That's my thought. Eureka. California has the great advantage of having a town called Eureka. You can go and visit it. Our next offering is from Darren. Happy almost winter solstice. Thank you. So I had an example of grandmotherly mind that happened in the space that you're in to the upper right hand corner of your, for you, so your upper right hand corner room.


And I think there's an example of what you said of a Bodhisattva way is to introduce the Buddha way and often through direct experience. So we were doing the work period and you said, hey, I need somebody to carry something heavy. And so I was one of the people standing right by you. So I and a few other people carried something heavy. Do you remember what this was? No, it was your cotton. Was it Bodhidharma? It was your coffin. My coffin. Oh, yeah. You remember that? Yep. Yeah. So we carried it upstairs and then you said, why don't anybody wants to take a test drive? Go for it. And I jumped in and I think some other people may be on this call did as well. I mean, not at the same time, but we took turns and, um, you know, what brought me into meditation, uh, was an unexpected death of my father. And I had pushed death away my entire life.


And it was very healing to be inside somebody's coffin and see them walking around. That was very unusual and very healing. And I'll always remember that. And it was some kind of direct experience that you couldn't talk about or conceptualize, but it did very much sink in. So I wanna thank you for that. And it was making me also remember how great that space is to be in, and I think we probably all miss it. Yeah, thank you for that dramatic story. And it sounds dramatic, but it wasn't all that dramatic. It was very just everyday life feeling at the time. Yeah, it was everyday life as a drama, a healing drama. Thank you. Our next offering will be from Tilman.


Yeah, hello, Rep. Hello, Tilman. So yeah, first I want just to share that your story of Suzuki Roshi touched me quite a bit. I think I also saw that it touched you, I guess. I don't know if that was right. was sort of something transmitted there. And then I have a question. I'm recently sort of studying nonviolent communication quite a bit. And some of the things are resonating quite a bit with the Buddhist and Zen teachings. And particularly, there was this one teaching where this NVC teacher said well if there is something pleasurable or something painful in your life don't try to change it but if it's pleasurable you know you can just celebrate it and if it's painful you can mourn that there's something painful in your life and that that would be you know sort of good way to


practice with painful and pleasurable experiences in your life. And that was, I don't know, I felt that was sort of good and I felt it calmed me down. But at the same time, I wondered whether, I don't know, I always have this picture that in Zen it says you should be equanimous to both pleasurable and painful experiences and sort of celebrating the one and mourning the other. So the question came in my mind that that is maybe not what Zen would teach. But I wasn't sure about it, so I felt it would be a good idea to ask you what you think, if that is sort of in line with the Zen teaching or different. Well, you might hear a teaching like, when it's pleasurable, don't grasp it.


And if it's painful, don't hate it, rather than mourn. I think mourn's fine and also celebrates fine, but the celebration that we're doing is the celebration of the Buddha way. and we celebrate the Buddha way, one way to celebrate it is don't hate the painful and don't attach to the pleasureful. In both cases, we're celebrating the Buddha way. When the pain comes, we celebrate the Buddha way. When the pleasure comes, we celebrate the Buddha way. How? Well, first of all, just remember, oh, this is an opportunity to celebrate the Buddha way. And they might say, well, how? How about not attaching to the pleasure? How about not hating the pain? Or how about not being attached to people who are pleasant? And how about not hating people who are unpleasant?


This is a celebration of the Buddha way. This is demonstrating what is beyond, for example, the perception of pain and the perception of pleasure. the freedom from those discriminations is demonstrated by using these discriminations as opportunities for the practice. And what's the practice? Well, it's not hating the painful and not attaching to the pleasurable. Of course, also not attaching to the pleasure, attaching to the painful and not attaching, and not hating the pleasurable. Some people, some people hate the pleasurable. because they've suffered so much in their attachment to the pleasurable that they hate it. Like some kids, you know, if you compliment them, they're extremely embarrassed because they can't stand, because they're so kind of traumatized by being, you know, by the pleasure and attaching to pleasure.


But also part of the Buddha way is to celebrate the NVC teacher's teaching, you know, to be mindful of them like they're our dear grandchild and be delighted by their nice instruction. And also see, well, that's not quite maybe right in line with the Buddha's teaching, but it's a very kind, it felt like it was a kind, it seemed kind to me, but maybe, maybe not quite in alignment with what the Buddha might teach, but still that person's totally Buddha's child, that teacher. The Buddha loves that teacher, and the Buddha doesn't hate that teacher, or the Buddha's not attached to that teacher, but the Buddha loves that teacher. And maybe you do too. And then you're like Buddha. Yes, I do.


So, love you too. Love you too, everyone. My best to Isabel. I will do so. Thank you. You're welcome. Our next offering will be from Irene. Hello, Ralph. Hello, I wasn't expecting to be called on. I don't see myself as next on the screen. I have a question. It comes up for me a lot, quite frequently when I hear teachers refer to bodhisattva being a bodhisattva. Because I automatically think of them as being in the realm of saints and angels, saints or angels.


And I can't see myself in practice at that level. And even then thinking back to striving to become that or possibly as a future Bodhisattva, practicing now, like you were talking about putting your hands on the table and so forth. I'm not connecting, I can't connect my practice with that idea or ideal. It just escapes me, just Bodhisattva, My intention is like I teach and I take autistic children to teach and I'm thinking, well, this is maybe I'm on the path.


I'm mindful about it and so forth. But it's, it's somewhere escapes me then. And then to, put the level of theatrical dance on top of that with them being in theatrics, just as the next is like, you'd have to be somebody like the great bodhisattvas to do that. Well, working backward from the dance, from the drama, I wish for my conversation with you to be a dramatic enactment of the Bodhisattva Way. I wish for that. Right now. Right now? Right now, this conversation with you. I'm doing that.


We're doing that. Kind of, yeah. Yeah, so we're doing... My wish is that what we're doing right now is the performance of the Bodhisattva Way. That's my wish. And then in this conversation, you mentioned that it escapes you. The bodhisattva way does escape you. You can't get it. It keeps escaping you. The dramatic conversation that's going on, that I want to have happening right now, escapes us. But also, even though it escapes us, we can't escape it. It is what we're really doing right now. And you can't, that escapes you. You can't get that. However, in fact, you are participating in that right now. That's what I want, and I say that's what's really going on.


And bodhisattvas can be ordinary people like us, but they can also, if it's helpful, they can be saints or angels. But bodhisattvas don't have to be saints or angels. They can be just like us. And however we are, the bodhisattvas are with us, practicing with us. And the Lotus Sutra says we are bodhisattvas, all of us. And we're not future bodhisattvas, we're present bodhisattvas. We're future Buddhas. Bodhisattvas are, in a sense, future Buddhas. They will be Buddhas. We will be Buddha. And the practice is to use every opportunity to remember that this opportunity is the opportunity.


When you're working with autistic children, that conversation is the opportunity. It's an opportunity for something that escapes you. It's an opportunity to do a practice that you can't get ahold of. Traps and snares cannot reach it. You can't trap it, but you're in the process of enacting it. You're enacting what you can't trap. You're enacting what escapes you, but you're also enacting what is reaching for you right now. You're enacting what you're calling for. You're calling for the great Bodhisattva. Okay. Thank you. You're welcome. Thank you for the dramatic conversation. The next offering is from Carolyn.


Hello, Carolyn. Hello, good morning, Rev. Thank you so much for our morning. I wanted to ask you about an experience of what may be grandmotherly heart mind. Okay. I have a granddaughter who was eight years old and who asked me to teach her to sew with a needle and thread. to my great surprise, so I accepted her offer, brought out my needle and thread, and found some fabric because she wanted to make overalls for a stuffed frog, which is pretty tricky in that you have to make legs. So we improvised out of scraps of material, which happened to be blue, a familiar blue, a pair of overalls for this frog and she was very happy, I was too.


At the end of this we celebrated the frog's new clothes and each other's sewing experience And the next time we were together, she asked, could we make a jacket? So we proceeded to make more clothes for the stuffed animal frog, who is now sitting on the stairway. Well, it occurred to me as I was listening to you this morning, that that was, although I didn't know it, I didn't conceive of it, I didn't put any words on it, an experience that brought back sewing in the Buddhist context to make a rakusu and then to receive the precepts from you to be brought into the practice, that in a very lovely way, I was doing this again with my granddaughter, who is my teacher in a sense too, that we were sewing


some Buddha teachings together for the person of that froggy and for each other. Would that be a way to see it? This is Grandmother Mind. Congratulations. Thank you so much for helping us and me to know what Grandmother Mind is. You're welcome. Thank you for letting it inhabit your action. Our next offering is from Enrique. Good day. Good day. I think it's morning there, isn't it? Yeah, it's morning here and it's afternoon there.


I'd like to share a story. about my grandmother, if that's okay. Did you call her abuelo? Abuela? Occasionally. I didn't get a chance really to be with her very often over the course of her life. She lived in Chile and I lived in, for the most part, in the United States. Okay, so you didn't see her so much. But after I was, shortly after I was born, my mother, I think, was having postpartum depression. I don't know if you had that term back then, but she was having a hard time. And so my father decided to take her on a trip around South America. It must have been quite And so she took care of me for pretty much the first year, two years of my life.


I don't know really exactly how long it was, but this is a story that my father told me about my grandmother and I, that when he and my mother returned to collect me, I didn't recognize them. had forgotten about my parents, I only remembered my grandmother as my caretaker. And I think that's shaped me in ways I don't understand completely, but it's a story I wanted to share about what comes to mind when you spoke of grandmother mind. Thank you. You're welcome. One time, my father came to visit me. After I was ordained as a priest, he came to Green Gulch to visit me. And he went into my room and saw my altar.


And he saw a picture of Suzuki Roshi on my altar. And he said, he's your real father, isn't he? Thank you. Thank you. The next offering will be from Kurt. Oh, hi Rob. Hi Kurt. I had a question around the awakening, the metaphysical awakening. And isn't it that the metaphysical awakening isn't an event? It's like always, it's already happened in a way, right?


And so we're already awake. And it's just a question of maybe seeing that, but it isn't like something happening. So, the drama that's expressing it is always going on. And so, when we're trying to express it, sometimes that can take us away from it, or at least for me, it feels like that, because I'm then reaching for something that I already have. And so is it that I just wish it and then let go of it? And then it's just, it's dynamically happening in a way. So I noticed that sometimes when I'm grasping, I'm grasping beyond, but it's also in the grasping too, I guess, recognizing that. Yeah. So,


the bodhisattva awakening isn't a happening. The bodhisattva awakening comes along with the acceptance that things don't happen. And the full acceptance and realization of the reality where things don't happen for a bodhisattva, it descends in the realm where things seem to be happening. the senses. Senses go on and off. Ideas arise and cease. The bodhisattva awakening willingly enters the realm where things are happening. It brings the awakening, which is not something that happens, into the realm of happening. And it does so spontaneously. It doesn't think, I'm going to bring it in.


it does it spontaneously. I'm gonna bring it in, kind of distracts. But noticing that like you did, then you say, oh, I confess, I thought I would be bringing this in. That's okay, then just be kind to that, and it's brought in. Not by you trying to bring it in, but by you being kind to trying to bring it in. So we use the bodhisattvas like a scarecrow. One image, you know. They scare the birds, but they don't intend to scare the birds, but they do. Or another example is, we have this thing in Japan, they have this thing which we translate in English as, it's called a scare deer or deer scare. It's like a bamboo tube. on a pivot and one end's open and the other end's closed.


So they cut the end off of it so water can run into it. And they put the bamboo tube in some running water in the garden and the water fills the bamboo tube. And when it fills it, the bamboo tilts on the pivot and pours the water out. And then when the end of the bamboo comes down again, bamboos like this, filling with water, it pivots, and then when water pours out, it pops back, and when it hits down on the support of rock, it goes and scares the deer. So it scares the deer away by this natural spontaneous activity, but it doesn't think, I want to scare the deer. And the bodhisattva awakens beings in the realm of conception, but it doesn't hold on to the... and it wants to, awakened beings, but it's free of conception. It's like you said, they wish and let go. Wish to save all beings and let go.


Wish to save all beings and let go. That's how they function in the realm of happening. Spontaneously free of conception. But they do wish to help. Big time. The next offering is from Homa. Good morning, Rep. Good morning, Assembly. Good morning. I would like to be kind to myself and ask everybody's kindness to Reform my thinking that I'm about to express and that is What I hear from your conversation Or my question from the chant actually first is that to renounce The worldly affair When we see the truth when we see when we see


that I call it the truth, is to renounce the worldly affair. And I'm questioning, it says the worldly affair, it doesn't say the world. So is the worldly affair means that the relationship that we have with the world, which may not necessarily be true? For example, attaching to the world is a worldly affair. Yes, and the concepts and the beliefs and the ideas about the world is the worldly affair. So when you hear the Dharma, you give up attaching to the things of the world. And then you can take better care of them. That I don't know yet. I don't know yet whether I can take a better care or not.


That's still in the question in my mind. And then don't attach to that not knowing. Yes. Don't attach to it to the not knowing and don't attach to the knowing. That's right. Yes. And then as I was as I was paying attention to not no worldly affair, then I realized, then I had this insight. That's why Buddha is the world. Buddha is the world. It's not, I don't want to say outside the world, but the inside, I have a hard time, Buddha is, the world is Buddha. So it's not something other than. It's not something other than. Yeah, and then the question rises in my mind is, what activity is, or what activity comes out


which is not anything other than. The question you just asked, what activity is not other than, that question is a conceptual question. And grandmother mind embraces that question as an opportunity for the Buddha way. I wish that opportunity may be so. The opportunity is there, and if you remember what it's an opportunity for, then that which is beyond conception is realized by your mindfulness.


Do not attach to the question, or get rid of the question. The thought, the word that comes to my mind is simply awareness. That's a really nice word, and that's another opportunity, that word. To be aware. Yeah. Another opportunity for Grandmother Mind. Thank you. You're welcome. The next offering will be from Maggie. Thank you, Rat. Thank you. Nice to see you again. Great to see you.


I have two questions, if I may. The first question is related to your book, The Third Turning of the Wheel. We have a group studying that, reading and studying this book. There was a sentence talking about Alaya and Chitta. where i need uh alaya and what cheetah and in that book yeah there's a sentence saying that alaya the basic consciousness is called a vishnana and it is also called mind in bracket cheetah um i'm a bit confused about the difference between alaya and citta because normally we say body citta but we don't say body alaya but both alaya and citta are mind so my question is what is the difference of citta and alaya is is citta actually buddha's mind and when alaya is


completely transformed, will it turn into chitta? The word chitta is used as a synonym for alaya. So alaya is chitta, and certainly when the alaya is completely transformed, it becomes buddha mind, buddha chitta. Yes. And bodhicitta is the wish to have our life become Buddha. So bodhicitta arises supported by the alaya-citta. And bodhicitta is a thought that occurs in consciousness, in karmic consciousness. which is support, and karmic consciousness is supported by the chitta, alaya, the unconscious process.


And that supports the conscious mind. And in that conscious mind, there can arise this wonderful wish to realize Buddhahood for the welfare of the world. And that's called bodhicitta. But it's kind of like just a thought in consciousness. And that bodhicitta is the seed for the whole alaya and the whole conscious process and unconscious process to be transformed into the Buddha awareness. So the bodhicitta means both Buddha's awakening and it also means the thought to wish for it, but also citta means that which is going to be transformed into the Buddha citta, the Bodhicitta. So there's two meanings of Bodhicitta. One is the thought that arises in consciousness, which will be the seed for the actual Bodhicitta of Buddha's awakening.


And that actual Bodhicitta involves transforming the original citta of the storehouse consciousness. So again, storehouse consciousness is a kind of citta. And that chitta includes the roots of what's helpful and the roots for what is unhelpful. The roots of samsara and the roots of nirvana both live in this chitta. And that gives rise to consciousness, vijnana, in which this bodhicitta arises, the seed for bodhicitta, and then working with that seed in relationship to the alaya chitta, the whole process enters into transformation and finally becoming nothing but bodhicitta, nothing but Buddha mind. So in that book, synonym for alaya is chitta and synonym for karmic consciousness


is vijnana. However, they also sometimes call alaya vijnana, which is confusing. So alaya vijnana is really not a vijnana like conscious vijnana is. Complicated. Please keep studying and conversing with me. Okay, may I ask another question? Yes. Right now it's related to vaccination. So there are people who are resistant to the current version of vaccination because of various reasons. because of unknown information, insecurity, sense of insecurity, etc. What is the practice now towards people who has that kind of resistance to fascination?


What is the Bodhisattva practice? Compassion. Yeah, so I asked you what the bodhisattva practice, and you answered it, but when you asked me what practice, I was checking to see, do you mean bodhisattva practice? Yes, yes. Yeah, and you answered it, compassion. Compassion for people who do get vaccinated and compassion for people who don't. All beings are calling for compassion and bodhisattvas vow to practice compassion with all beings, vaccinated and unvaccinated. It is difficult for the people themselves because they feel a big, big pressure from the society or even criticism from the society.


they get criticism like they are selfish and they are not responsible, they are not contributing to the society. Yeah, so we practice compassion towards them who are feeling pressure, and we practice compassion to the pressure people, the people who are pressuring them. And we feel compassion to the people who criticize them. What is that practice? What is that compassion practice towards people who criticize? I mean, in a sense, it's easier to be compassionate with the people who is criticized. Maybe so. So compassion towards the people who are being criticized and compassion towards people who are criticizing. The Bodhisattva practice compassion


towards the criticizers and the criticized, both. And it may be easier to do one or the other, but Bodhisattvas practice, above to practice compassion with the easy ones and the hard ones. And the compassion is basically to be intimate with the criticizers and to be intimate with the criticized. That's what protects beings and liberates them from delusion. What if the level of difficulty for one party is beyond a limit? Then you practice compassion towards yourself. Who feels that compassion in this case is beyond my capacity right now. I vow to I aspire to be able to be compassionate to these extremely difficult situations.


But I noticed I'm holding back I can't open to it. So I want to I'm patient with how difficult this is. I want but I aspire to have the capacity to be compassionate with very difficult living beings. But right now, with this prison, I cannot become I feel like resisting compassion towards them. I'm sorry. I'm practicing confession of the limits of my compassion. Yeah, sometimes I feel that there's no room for compassion. No room for compassion. Did you say Yeah. So when there's no room for compassion, I hope there's, I pray that there's room for confession. And I confess, I don't, I don't see room for compassion right now. And that's compassion, to practice confession of the limits of your compassion is compassion.


And if you keep practicing compassion, of the limits of compassion, that will melt away the roots of the limits of compassion. Did you hear that? Can you say it back to me? If I practice compassion to the limits of compassion, that will melt root of transgression. No, it will melt the root. That's also true. But in this particular case, it will melt the root of the limits of compassion. Practicing compassion with the limits of compassion will melt away the roots of the limits of compassion. And limited compassion, in a sense, is a transgression from unlimited compassion, which, you know, I confess my compassion was limited. I had compassion for this person, but not that person. I confess it. And that practice will melt away the roots of the limits of compassion.


If not yet, just keep on practicing. Yes, this is the pure and simple color of true practice. It takes time. It gives time. It gives time? It gives time. It doesn't take time. Thank you. It's an act of generosity. You're welcome. Our next offering will be from Angela. Hello, Rev. Hello, Great Assembly. It's funny that We just spoke with Maggie and the Assembly about confession and melting away the transgression.


Not the way, the roots. Roots, the roots, thank you. Because that's why I raised my hand today. I wanted to, I'm finding I'm observing that I seem to not be asking questions, that it seems like a sticking place for me or stopping. That's an observation. And then sometimes I feel, or I observe that I am asking questions. So I'm not actually sure or observing my mind asking questions of myself, my body, or of others. Asking question in relationship with others. And so in this theater, I thought, well, maybe confessing that I feel sorrow


for the feeling or thinking that I am not asking questions, that I aspire to be more inquisitive. So I hear you aspire to be inquisitive, you inspire to question, and you also confess that you have the thought that you don't practice that very much. Yes, and yeah, and I think that, or I see, I want to say I see that I might suffer because of that. I might experience suffering because of the lack of being inquisitive. Yeah, and our practice of the ethics, our practice of the bodhisattva ethics, needs us to practice questioning and needs us to question other people by asking them if they would ask us questions, by asking them if they would question us.


So we need to question and we also need to ask if others would question us. So we need to question, we need to do our part, and we need to also invite others to question us. This is necessary for real, genuine bodhisattva ethics. And to remember to continue to ask people to call us into question. Yeah, and when they do, to thank them for questioning us, which encourages them to continue. And that's tricky sometimes, but yeah. my family members, I ask them to call me into question. And then they say, well, when we do, you say, well, you know, there's a reason for that. Or not always. Sometimes I can be still and hear what they're saying and then be accountable.


Yeah. So when they say that to you, you say, thank you for pointing out that I ask you to give me feedback, I ask you to question me, and then when you do, you feel like I don't want you to. And I hear that and I'm sorry. And I reissue my invitation. And please teach me how to receive your questions in a way that encourages you to continue to question me. Thank you. Our next offering will be from Karen. Good morning from Eureka.


Good morning, Eureka. A couple of days ago, a friend and I were talking, we were talking about the idea of a wayseeking mind talk, and we both felt like we could not in our own lives identify a point at which to start. You know, we couldn't identify a point where this whole enterprise began. And I wondered if you could comment on that. And I also wondered if you might have a story to tell about where this began for you, at least a story for today about that. I have a similar experience that you know, at a certain point in history, I thought on this day, I became interested in practicing Zen. So I thought that was when my interest in Zen, that's when my practice started.


And then after that, I practiced for a while. And then the longer I practiced after that point, the more I noticed that that point was not the beginning. For example, when I first met Suzuki Roshi, you know, you could say that was one of the points. Or when I first read about certain Zen teachers at that point. But the longer I practiced after that, the more I saw that there were places before that. So the longer I practiced, the farther back I see the beginning of the practice. And I think that there's no end to my practice and there's no beginning to it. But it seems at some points like there was a beginning, but again, that beginning gets moved back earlier and earlier the longer I practice. So I have that same experience.


And also I have, so I have infinite examples, infinite examples of when I started to practice. they aren't the start, they're just intimate examples of where I was inspired to practice. So you just pick an arbitrary something at a given time that seems appropriate to the conversation? Yeah, and also the inspirations can be, you know, today. Yeah. But the inspiration today is not the first inspiration. So this meeting today could have been many inspirations to the people in this assembly to practice. They could say, on December 11th, 2021, I got this great inspiration to practice during this assembly with the guy who was wearing a Chinese crown.


Thank you very much. You're welcome. Our next offering is from Chi-Yu Rin. I am skipping out of a Rahatsu Sashin to show up here. They first said no, and then my schedule got changed. So I asked again, and they let me make the decision. And I'm here with a lot of gratitude. I feel as though you have really extended compassion towards me in moments where I have been unkind. And that has made a very large impression on me.


And it's a habit of yours to do that to people I see it. It's no small thing. And I took on the Lotus, I think I told you, I took on the chapter 25 of the Lotus thing I recited, like theater at night. For the longest time, I was the trembling, needing to be relieved by Avalokiteshvara from these demons. But it's pivoted, and I've come to understand that I have a real poisonous dragon in me. really toxic, and I have a lot of the demons in it are actually me. And so I have been in theater playing the role of one thing, and now I'm playing the role of the other thing and trying to extend great compassion towards these demonish parts of me, the parts of me that are irredeemable or really rancorous.


And I use you as an example because I remember being I just remember stingy mind states where you addressed me in ways that were really ethically profound and a very good example. And I know no person with trauma in the body is apart from a demon. The demon is in the body of anybody in trauma. So to go back and forth, to play one role, play another, it's all, it is theater. And you asked every one of us to sit with you as Buddha in that Lotus Sutra class so we could practice allowing ourselves to be in the lion seat. It's incredible. And the only other thing I will add is the great robe of liberation is a robe, like you put it on and you take it off and you put it on.


It's like a theater. And well, I have one more thing. Lao Tzu, he says, ever desiring, one sees the manifestations. Ever desireless, one sees the mystery. There's just no way for me to manifest, lay down the robes of manifestation without the kindness that I'm receiving from everybody, really. It's appreciated. May they extend their compassion to us freely and without limit. And may we allow it to be received and to make it feel home so that it'll comfortably visit all the time. Amen. Thank you. You're welcome.


Our next offering is from Breck. Good morning, Rev. Good morning, Brax. I'm getting ready to transition from the working, you know, daily working life to retirement. And it's been about 45 years of my current career, scattered other careers 10 years before that. And As I get closer to the date, it seems more and more, I guess the precipice seems to be higher and higher from which I will plunge. And it's been very helpful today to just think about in very simple terms, having compassion for myself.


in this transition. I've been thinking of retiring ever since I was about 19. And up until just a few years ago, I thought, eh, you know, no big deal. It'll be nice to have spare time and go off and do other things. And now I just keep thinking of, you know, losing the, social interaction losing the intellectual interaction and so forth and it's just it's a it is a difficult change in some ways for me yeah and the other transition i'm going through which in part stimulates this is feeling the decline of my cognitive powers it's very gradual luckily, but I can definitely notice a decline, which makes me think I should retire.


I don't want to stay past the date at which I should be sold. The tag that gets stamped on the carton of eggs or milk or whatever. Anyway, I don't have anything very focused to say about this other than just wanting to share with it. And as Chi-Ren said, expressing a lot of gratitude for this practice, because every day and every moment, if I'm lucky, it informs what I'm doing and how I interact. And I would like to do more of that, even as I do less of work. Well, although our cognitive capacities may decrease, our practice will still be carried on by our body. So it's important that we practice physically, that we have a physical practice that we do on a regular basis so that our body keeps doing the practice.


And then even as our body changes, and our cognitive capacities change with it, the body will be able to continue that which it has done a lot. Even if we don't have a mind, we can still do the practice. Like dimension means without a mind. But if our body's trained, it can continue the practice. Even when we can't remember our name, we can still do the practice. When you say the body doing the practice, are you referring to the physical act of sitting or bowing? Sitting, bowing, sweeping the temple, cleaning the house. But the body's been trained that cleaning the house is practice. The body's been trained washing dishes is practice. The body's been trained making tea and drinking it is the practice.


So even though we can't remember The word practice, or our name, when we drink tea, the body knows it's practice. And the body does the practice, it knows. So that's why we need to train all aspects of daily life with grandmother mind, now, while we can remember the word grandmother mind. Make everything we do like taking care of our grandchildren. And then even when we can't remember our grandchildren's names, they can still see us through the practice and be inspired by us. Oh, look how granddaddy Brett drinks his tea. He doesn't know our name, but look at the way he drinks his tea. It's so lovely. I remember when I was with my father as he progressed through


Alzheimer's. I heard or read something that was very helpful to me throughout the process. And now I guess I get to use it on myself. And that is that even if the person has lost the memory of specific directions. Mental impression that's made, emotional impression, not mental. And the emotional memory, even if it's not accessible mentally, is a benefit. And that's what I was thinking of as you were talking about training the body. It's also training the emotions, I would think, as well.


Yeah. Like the scarecrow. Can you expand on that? The scarecrow doesn't know that it's scaring the crows. Oh, yes. It's been well-trained to be a scarecrow. Thank you, Rick. I have to go pretty soon to get my COVID shot. One more maybe. Nice shot, COVID test. Well, hi everyone. Hello. I didn't have any, pressing question, but I thought since there was still a little bit of time, I would join the drama of asking and showing up, showing the face.


But I will share that it kind of surprised me with this distinction today, the psychological and spiritual and Bodhisattva awakening. I was confused, actually, because for me, the beginning of practice seemed to be that, the awakening to be bodhisattva. So I kind of, I even, when I went to play tennis with my husband, I, to me, this was practice. This was looking for, to develop the grandmotherly mind. So I was sort of sitting and wondering, why are you talking about the obvious? I don't know. I was waiting for some kind of a punchline that you will deliver and wake me really up. You're laughing now.


I think the punchline happened. Yeah. And I pray that you continue to play tennis with your husband. To find my grandmother. Yes. Well, thank you so much for this time with you. It was really meaningful and hard effort. I was losing my mind and trying to stay awake for some reason. I confess. Another punchline. May our intention equally extend to every being and place. And may we together with all beings realize the Buddha way. Beings are numberless.


I vow to save them.