No Abode Dharma Talk - February 10th, 2024

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A talk given to the No Abode Community on February 10th, 2024.


AI Summary: 

The talk discusses the interplay between the teachings of the "Flower Adornment Scripture" and the "Book of Serenity," which is a collection of Zen koans. It is highlighted how these texts help in understanding that all beings inherently possess the wisdom and virtues of the Buddhas but often fail to realize this due to their misconceptions and attachments. The focus is on learning to recognize and let go of these misconceptions and attachments to allow for the manifestation of innate wisdom.

Key points:
- The "Flower Adornment Scripture" and the "Book of Serenity" are central texts.
- Case 67 from the "Book of Serenity," which quotes Chapter 37 of the "Flower Adornment Scripture," is specifically discussed to illustrate how every sentient being possesses Buddha's wisdom, which aims to alleviate suffering.
- The talk addresses misconceptions and attachments as natural aspects of sentient beings, emphasizing compassionate awareness as the method for overcoming these barriers to manifest Buddha's wisdom.

AI Suggested Title: "Manifesting Buddha's Wisdom: Insights from the Flower Adornment Scripture and the Book of Serenity"


Perhaps I could begin with a bit of an orientation. Last year we started to contemplate the flower adornment scripture, the great Buddha flower adornment scripture. Looking at the scripture, reading it, reading it out loud, memorizing it, discussing it, and looking at it in the light of our particular family tradition, looking at how past teachers of our family have looked at the Sutra. One of the main collection of Zen stories, which we have been studying together for decades, is called the Book of Serenity.


It's a collection of 100 cases of teaching, teaching stories and teachings. And one could look at this collection as being a presentation of this great flower of Dharman scripture through these Zen stories. Presentation of the teaching and also presentations of how some of our ancestors and our family have related to teachings. So again, it directly offers teachings which are from the sutra or demonstrating the teachings of the sutra, but also it offers quite a few examples of how people have tried to study the sutra and how people have responded to their way of studying and shown them other ways of studying other than the way they usually think of it.


And I'll say more about that later. So I wanted to begin by bringing up one of the cases in this collection called the Book of Serenity. One of the cases or examples of where actually the sutra is quoted. And that case is case number 67 in the Flower Adornment Scripture. And it's a quote from Book or Chapter 37 of the Sutra. So again, people often describe this Book of Serenity a collection of 100 main stories, main cases, main koans.


So there's the main koan, 100 of them, and then there's other stories embedded in the commentary. And each story or each koan comes with a verse written by the person who collected the the koans, the stories. So, in this book of koans, one of the koans is a quotation from the sutra. Again, offered as a teaching, but also offered as something to contemplate, you know, this teaching. And the teaching is, the way it is in the Book of Serenity is, And what chapter is this from again? 67. No, it's K37.


Book 37 of the Sutra. This Zen ancestor in our family pulled this thing out of Chapter 37 and quoted it. And the quote is, Now I see that all living beings fully possess or are fully endowed with the wisdom and the virtues of the Buddhas. And yet, because sentient beings, And yet, because sentient beings have misconceptions and attachments, they do not realize what they're fully endowed with.


So, the Sutra is saying, and the Koan collection is presenting this saying, that all living beings fully possess the wisdom and the virtues of the Buddhas. Now, the wisdom of the Buddhas and the virtues of the Buddhas, it isn't just that they have these virtues and they have this wonderful wisdom, but the wisdom, the main, the point of the wisdom, what the wisdom is, all about is comforting suffering beings and helping them be free in the context of being a sentient being. And so, many sentient beings


are concerned about the suffering of sentient beings in this world today. So many suffering beings, and we are some of them, and we are also concerned about other sentient beings whose suffering may seem even more intense than our own. like children and mothers in war zones trying to take care of each other and having extremely great suffering. So the wisdom and the virtues of the Buddhas are for the purpose of comforting and liberating these beings all over the world today and yesterday and tomorrow. However, these sentient beings who are being indicated, they've got problems in


in helping others because they have misconceptions and they have attachments. Now, I'm concerned and I want to help sentient beings let go of their misconceptions and their attachments. Because if they can let, the sutra also says, if they can let this as abandoned, if we can let go of these misconceptions and attachments, then the wisdom will spontaneously be realized, it will manifest. So the name of the chapter actually is The Manifestation of Buddha. So in one sense, this one little phrase is talking about we are endowed with the wisdom of Buddhas.


What about manifesting it in the world? Well, it looks like in order to manifest it, it is necessary to let go of our natural. Another thing natural about sentient beings is that they come with misconceptions and they come with karmic consciousness and, of course, lots of challenging and lots of joyful feelings. And also they have lots of attachments. So, I'm concerned with how we can let go of our attachments and misconceptions so that the Buddha can manifest in our lives together." Once again, in the Book of Serenity, they just have this quote, but in the Sutra, just before this quote, it says what I said this morning.


There is nowhere that the wisdom of Buddha does not reach. That's right before. And then the Buddha says, now I see that this wisdom does reach all sentient beings. And not just reach all sentient beings, but reaches every atom of every sentient being. every sentient being, like a human sentient being, is composed, it seems, of a lot. It's extremely rich phenomena, collecting extremely rich phenomena and so on. And this teaching is saying there's no sentient being it doesn't reach, but just before it says there's no place, there's nowhere it doesn't reach.


So it reaches all these big complex sentient beings like humans and buffaloes and whales and rats and spiders, but it also penetrates every atom of every being. And it has this great function. So, you know. Then the question is how to let go or give up false conceptions and how to give up attachments. From my experience with sentient beings, it seems that they do sometimes notice that they have misconceptions.


Sentient beings do seem to be able to say, oh, I had a misconception. Sentient beings seem to be able to notice they have misconceptions. And sometimes they can let go of them, which is what's hoped for in order to realize Buddha's wisdom in this world, in order to manifest it. And people can also notice that they're sort of attached to something, like attached to how they feel, how the day is going, their car, their temple. Sentient beings need to be able to attach to lots of stuff. And they can even sometimes, with help or without help, notice they're attached. And we can also notice how other people are attached. One time, Suzuki Rishi's wife said to me, during a time in Zen Center, a very turbulent, difficult time in Zen Center, she said, when people take care of something for a long time, they come to think that they own it.


So, if you take care of a temple for a long time, you might think you own it. When you first arrive at the temple, you might not think, okay, here I am and I own this place. Some people, a child might say, oh, this is my temple. I'm coming back now. It was here before, and I owned it before, and now I'm back, and I own it again. But adults might not think they own it before they even arrive. But after a while, taking care of this place, you might think you own that altar because you took care of it. And then you might slip into being attached to the temple. This is a temple, I would say, dedicated to not being attached. It's dedicated to not abiding in the temple or in any feelings about it or any feelings in your own body. It's about not.


It's not about not attaching, it's about giving up attachments because sentient beings naturally are given, not only Buddha's wisdom, but they're given attachments. The sentient beings do not make the attachments all by themselves, they get a lot of help. from people who really appreciate them, like their parents. Parents often teach kids how to attach to stuff. And then after they're attached, they try to help them. After they've been successful helping the kids to be attached, then they help their kids with the anxiety that comes with attachment. So they teach the kids how to be attached to their body and their mother, and then they help the children with the anxiety that they feel when there's successful attachment. I was once in graduate school in psychology, and one of my papers for my master's degree was about attachment anxiety.


And it wasn't just in humans, it was in rats and monkeys, too. So to make a long story short, it seems to me that sentient beings who have misconceptions and attachments, if they wish to give them up and liberate them, that it would be good to love them. Love what? Misconceptions? Not like, you don't have to like them. And not hate, you don't have to hate them. But if you want to give them up, if I want to give them up, I need to be aware of them. And also, just in that awareness, practice great compassion with them.


by loving them, then we're ready to let go. Loving them, then ready to work to liberate them so that they and all beings, they, what are they? Our misconceptions and our attachments. So our misconceptions and attachments can live in peace with all beings. I don't hear the sutra saying that Because of these misconceptions and attachments, the Buddha wisdom does not manifest, so we should get rid of them. I don't hear it really saying that. I hear it saying, because of them, we need to let go of them. And letting go of them is not the same as getting rid of them. Letting go of them occurs in loving them. And how do we love them?


Well, by being generous with them and gracious with them. Really, you know, and respecting them. Respecting what? Misconceptions? Respecting misconceptions, not only are they not worthy of respect, we might think, but they should be eliminated. That's not really respecting. Respecting is like look at them again and again. Be interested and curious about what? Misconceptions. just like I was writing a paper which is curious about animals and humans being attached and curious about their suffering. So again, I don't understand that the sutra's saying, reject these misconceptions. Also, the sutra doesn't say, attach to them and promote them. No, it's more like, love them into liberation. by being generous and careful and respectful and gentle and tender with misconceptions?


Mm-hmm. How about attachments? The same. And be patient with them, because attachments come with anxiety. So attachments are painful. They're stressful. They're distressful. They disturb our rest. They make it hard for us to rest. People can't sleep sometimes because... What? Yeah. They're not being kind. misconceptions and attachments. So anyway, that's basically the short presentation is. It seems that it would be good for us to be very loving and patient and diligent and generous with our almost always present misconceptions and attachments.


And then if this, and then the sutra also teaches, and many Zen students of the sutra, if we can practice that way, then we can really be of use in this world of suffering. And that's the hard thing for people to understand, too. How could it be that if you are able to give up misconceptions and attachments, and you will manifest your Buddha wisdom. How does that help people who you can't even see around the world and throughout the universe? And again, the sutra doesn't exactly explain how, but it maybe makes some, you know, paints some amazing pictures of how. Like it says, there's nowhere where Buddhist wisdom doesn't reach.


How does that work? Well, one way it works is by this thing called light or illumination. This wisdom illuminates, and the illumination has no limits. It can go to the Ukraine, and it can go to the borders of the United States, and it can reach to the Gaza. It reaches these horrible places on the world. It brings Buddha's wisdom to them. But the Buddha the person who possesses the Buddha wisdom does not have to go to Gaza or Ukraine or the border. They can. And if they do go to the border, they don't have to go back to San Francisco for their wisdom to help the people in San Francisco when they're in Texas. And they don't have to leave San Francisco to go to Texas. They can.


But wherever they are, they fully possess the wisdom which illuminates and comforts and liberates. And as it's reaching, oftentimes when it reaches a sentient being, the sentient being sometimes, because they're attached, they say, I don't want this illumination, get out of here. I've got enough problems besides you telling me about being compassionate. You tell me about the possibilities of love. Just go away. That's bullshit. And someone said to me, do I believe that any good we do here, any manifestation of our Buddha wisdom that we do here extends.


And I don't know if I believe it, but I do think it does seem like the Sutra is saying this thousands of times, that the wisdom does extend. And that the way it extends, it doesn't really explain. It makes pictures, but they don't really explain. It's inconceivable how this pervasion of wisdom occurs. It's inconceivable. It cannot be grasped, and it's quiet. However, it can appear like somebody talking to some people and the people feeling greatly comforted by the person. It can look like that. And the people saying, thank you, we're so happy to hear this teaching. We feel so liberated today. Oh, there we see it's pervading, there it is. That's really more like a reflection.


It's an image. of the actual pervasion of the wisdom. And the Bodhisattva's meditation on this situation, in that meditation, is the ability to create images which reflect this inconceivable process. The inconceivable is not an appearance. However, in order to help people, the inconceivable can give rise to images where people can kind of like see the inconceivable as an appearance. And the Buddha does that sometimes. Appears where people can see, and sends light where they can see. and the Buddha that appears and the light that appears is a reflection of the actual Buddha and the actual light, which is not an appearance, it's reality. It's reality.


What's reality? That we're actually liberating each other all day long. That we're actually being kind to each other, always. But that's not an appearance. We can't see that. But we can hear how people are responding to appearances. They're crying out in pain in response to appearances, appearances of false conceptions and attachments. Yeah, so when I was in graduate school, I was already trying to learn about Zen Buddhism. And my wonderful, brilliant advisor called me the Swami because of my interest.


And then he very kindly let me know that I needed to be more like into the academic world in order to proceed towards the PhD further. In other words, I had to read all those journals, which didn't sound like a bad idea to me, but the question is, do I want to spend my time reading that material in order to be an academic psychologist? And while I was writing this paper on attachment anxiety, he said to me, it seems like what the Zen monks do is they attach to everything so they're not attached to anything. And I thought, well, that's interesting. I don't know if that's really what, I don't know quite if that's the right thing.


So now today I'm looking at, do they attach to everything so that they won't be attached to anything? Not quite. I think what they do is they practice compassion with everything so they aren't attached to anything, including they practice compassion with their attachments to many things. So in other words, it isn't that they're attached to many things, it's they love everything, so they're not attached to anything. There was this, one of our former members of our San Francisco Zen Center, his name was Reverend Robert Lytle. Do you remember him? So Robert died not too long ago after a long, difficult illness. And I was in touch with him and his family, and we were going to do a funeral ceremony for him, but then this thing called COVID came to visit, so we couldn't get together to do the funeral ceremony.


We still might be able to do it someday. But anyway, last, what is it? Last Monday, his wife and daughter and some of his friends came to Green Gulch with his ashes, with the intention of scattering them in the great ocean. So I went with them down to the ocean and the ocean was gorgeously wild and, you know, you don't want to get near that ocean, too near that ocean, otherwise you might not be around anymore. It was so beautiful though. And it was also really noisy and windy up by the waves, so we went away from the Mir Beach ocean waves back towards the lagoon at Mir Beach. And so we went over to the lagoon, and then from the lagoon to the ocean is a little river or a little creek. And at that time, I guess even though the ocean was very full, I guess it was ebbing, so the lagoon was flowing towards the ocean quite nicely.


So we stood by this little river between the lagoon and the ocean, and we talked about Robert, and I told a story about Robert, which was He really loved children, and the children really loved him. He was very playful and very devoted to the children of Zen Center. And then he got married, and his wife got pregnant, and he told me, and I said, oh, wonderful. And I don't know if I said to him, you know, Robert, I think you love all the children, but you know, you might love this little girl more than the others." Or maybe he told me, I'm gonna have a little daughter and I'm not gonna love her more than the other children. I don't know how it came up, but I said, you might love her more than the other children. But basically he said, no, I won't. He was gonna love her, but just like he loves all the other kids.


That was his idea. And then she came. And then he came to tell me, you were right. I do love her a little bit more. You don't know what, you don't know how much your, really, you know, those of you who don't have children don't really know how much your parents loved you. I knew my parents loved me, they act like it, you know, and they would tell me now and then, I would say, I know, of course you do. You don't just say you love me, you act like you do. But still they told me. But when I saw this daughter come out of her mother, I thought, oh, now I see what they meant.


Ah, they meant something I didn't know about before this. It's a special thing that you feel when that baby comes. You don't even have to be the biological parents to feel it. Anyway, it's a special thing. And then, attachment can come to the sentient being. So I said that about Robert as we watched his ashes run to the ocean in this lovely stream. Homage to Robert Lytle, the great loving person of all children. Yes?


Well, comfort, you could give comfort there's a lot of opportunities to promote comfort with uncomfortable people, people who are really uncomfortable. So I think we often go visit people who are really uncomfortable, and our presence can be a great comfort to them, but they're still really uncomfortable. And by helping, yeah, and by bringing comfort to them, we set the stage for liberating them in the midst of their uncomfortableness.


So beings are numberless. I vow to save them from their discomfort. And one of the ways of doing that is to comfort them. you know, by being present with them and showing them that you're willing to be present with their discomfort and your discomfort with their discomfort. This is one of the ways we might, that helps us let go of our misconceptions. There's a little black box in that room. Would you please get it for me? So I'm not trying to eliminate discomfort. Some people are. What do you call it? praise to you, like I had a surgeon who operated on my aorta about almost two or three months ago, and she was very skillful, and her work, she brought me her presence and her skill, and it was comforting.


So after the surgery, The pain in my thighs was not there anymore. She comforted me through her work. Yeah. Which is great. And that comforting me hopefully will help me give up my misconceptions. and my attachments to my legs that are not in so much pain now. When the pain is really great, sometimes it's too painful for us to not be attached to them or be attached to getting rid of the pain. So sometimes if somebody comforts us, then we can let go of our attachment to having this pain go away. We still have thoughts of it going away, but we don't have to be attached to the thoughts of them going away.


And then they can go away when they go away. Thank you, doctor. Or they can not go away. No thank you, doctor. And either way, we can be free of attachment to our legs. Yes. Misconceptions.


Misconceptions or not misconceptions, but just letting go of the conceptions, allowing the reality of... Let all conceptions go, even if they're not misconceptions? Maybe there's some conceptions that aren't misconceptions. Anyway, this is about letting go of the misconceptions and the other conceptions, if there are any others. You know, it's like dropping off body and mind. And dropping off body and mind occurs in a mature, boundless compassion for body and mind. And it's not just drop off body and mind. For this body and mind to be free, but for all bodies and minds to be free. And that's inconceivable how that could be, that this one yogi loves her body so much with all its pain that the body, and loves her mind so much with all its pain that the body and mind drop off.


And all beings are liberated by this body and mind dropping away in the middle of great compassion. It's inconceivable how that could be. And just as no one can make me feel happy, sad, angry, bugging, whatever, I can be supportive and I can support others in being able to do those things, being able to let them go. And we have that ability. That's one of our abilities, is to be able to be comfortable and comforting in uncomfortable situations.


Thank you. So one of the things that we're possibly able to learn is how to be comfortable with our own discomfort and share that so that other beings who are uncomfortable, ourselves and others, can be comforting and comfortable in the midst of discomfort. Yes. When Homa said the word comfortable, I realized that I took it with this little, maybe almost cynical slant, which sort of meant asleep at the wheel or, you know, like, yeah, I just I don't want to feel any of the discomfort. And I don't know why it came in that way. Like I have I mean, I can think about it like I'm afraid to think I could ever be comfortable or something, but I understand comfort, and I understand discomfort, and I realized I had a little buzz on comfortable.


Hmm. Yeah. And some people feel like if you're with people who are really uncomfortable, either a little bit or extremely uncomfortable, that it's not, it's really shameful to feel comfortable with their discomfort. So then they don't want to do anything to help them let go of their discomfort because this other person can't do it yet. And then it just goes back to, before you try to put somebody else's oxygen mask on, put your own on, not just for yourself, but so that you'll be able to help them. But still we sometimes say, no, no, no comfort for me when that person's just uncomfortable, rather than I want to find some comfort so I can engage wholeheartedly with the discomfort.


So that's another tricky thing there. It's like when you talked about, you know, jumping on the train, kind of getting yourself up to speed, and bringing along all the Buddhas. And it also makes me think of something that might have been, you know, you said something like, people who have been too cold will be afraid of the cold, and people who have been too warm will be afraid of the cold. like if there's been too much muffling in your life, you won't know how to meet a challenge, that kind of comfort, I think, a muffled kind of feeling. I guess I sort of am suspicious of that. Yeah, muffled, muffled, or again, much of our addictions are due to muffling. Much of our addictions are attempting to muffle.


Again, that's something to love. Watch that attempt to muffle, love it, be generous towards it, be respectful of it, and then more and more we can live a life where there's less and less attachment to muffling. So again, the Buddha's middle way was, it wasn't that he avoided the extreme of pain and the extreme of pleasure. They aren't extremes, those are just experiences to love. What he became free of was addiction to pleasure and addiction to pain. And he experienced both, and he became free of addiction to pleasure and addiction to pain, and thereby also free of pain and pleasure.


But first of all, we have to deal with the addiction, the muffling. or the addiction, some of us are addicted to both sides, you know, giving up our stuff for others or holding onto our stuff instead of others. Those are things which we do sometimes, and sometimes it's good to give up our stuff for others, and sometimes it's good to hold on stuff for ourselves. But we can take care of that without attachment or with. The with is to use it to muffle the pain. The without is to be loving towards it. Yes? And I wonder if maybe now, I'm thinking of reframing it so that it means we bring the Buddha's teaching or cultivate a line of thinking that you're using compassion or whatever to apply to that is kind of like the substitution, like not falling into going away


posture, attitude. I kind of argued with that particular teacher, but I think I understand it now as you're saying, bring the teaching into these things. Substitute that rather than falling into I think bring the teaching, period. You don't have to bring the teaching to substitute. You bring the teaching to the addiction. You don't substitute the teaching for the addiction. You don't substitute the teaching for existence. You apply the teaching to the existence. to the addiction, to the harm. You apply this practice to the pain, not substitute the practice for the pain. And if somebody is trying to substitute the practice for the pain, then I would practice compassion with their attempts to substitute, not to stop them and substitute the practice for their wish to substitute.


I wouldn't do that. I would bring the practice to those who are talking about substituting practice for substance abuse, for example. No, practice compassion with the substance abuse. I was having difficulty with the word substitute, but you bring in apply, it feels more whole. Thank you. Yes. I want to say I'm really glad my girlfriend isn't here for all of that baby talk she did, because I've been getting more pressure I have a rudimentary question. It seems that, well, I can welcome the misconceptions and I can be kind to them, but I can fake love them, but I don't feel that.


Well, fake love them is them. That's what they are. They're fake love. So we got love and we got fake love, and we apply real love to both real love and also to fake love. Those things are fake love. They're trying to love, but it's in a misconceived way. And you can bring more misconceptions to the misconceptions, that's what most of us do, but you can also bring love to the misconceptions and the attachments. And in the process of bringing love, you might bring what you're more familiar with, which is a misconception of love. So you start by practicing love, but you haven't got it yet. But you can notice that. Like when I say, welcome. If you say welcome to somebody, you can say it, even in your mind, and you say it, welcome, and then you say, no, I didn't mean it.


that wasn't wholehearted, a tiny bit maybe, and you say it again, no, I don't really mean it, and again, I don't really mean it, and again, I don't really mean it, and then again, and yeah, I really mean it this time, I really mean, okay, you can be here just like you are, and I'm totally here for that. But I, for a lot of times I tried to be that way, but I wasn't. But those attempts water the ground for actual love, which, you know, in other words, for actually who you are, you actually are fundamentally a loving sentient being. You have the love, just like the Buddha has love, which is like there completely for whatever, including trying to get things to be different, which is usually the case for animals and plants too, sometimes.


That completely answers my question. I have noticed the welcoming becoming more full. Yeah, yeah. So like the surgeon probably welcomed my illness wholeheartedly. She wasn't trying to get rid of my problems. She was welcoming them, and then she was gonna do her skillful thing with my problem. She might, yeah. Yeah, she wasn't trying to, I don't feel like she was trying to get anything, but maybe she can tell me differently. I'll be seeing her on Valentine's Day. And I'm looking forward to thanking her. She's so great. Yes?


The first time I heard you, it was in the yoga room one time, the first time I heard you say to me, welcome to the addiction or the addictive feeling, I wanted to hit you. I thought, what doesn't he understand? because I also have my rational side going. But what is wrong with him that he's telling me to welcome something which is truly harmful? Welcoming the harm? Get out of here. You know, I would get really mad inside. Yeah, you're getting it. You look pouty when you do that. You think there was a sort of child sticking here. Anyway. I thought of Mara and the Buddha when you were... I thought of Mara and the Buddha. Yeah.


The leader of the harmful ones. I came to understand, I mean, really it was hard to understand what that could mean to all. I feel like I might help people to understand the way I learned to understand the value of what you're trying to teach at that moment and what you keep doing right up to this moment. about welcoming the painful and terrible experiences. I finally got that the addictive person was a being. And was doing stuff, part of me, but doing stuff. And I could welcome that being with compassion. That wasn't the same thing It's not the same thing. It's not the same thing. It's not saying okay either.


Welcome is not saying okay. It's not a judgment. It's welcoming all judgments. It's not another one. And so it's welcoming gradually everything. Harmful behavior is a sentient being. Beings who are being harmful is a sentient being. The harm is a sentient being. It's all calling. The whole universe is in each one and they're all calling for compassion. It's still a subtle kind of awareness. It's subtle, too. On top of all that, it's not only difficult, it's subtle. And in some ways, subtlety is the most difficult thing. It's so difficult. And difficulty is another sentient being that we welcome. Difficulty, difficulty is another sentient being that I aspire to welcome.


Difficult. Difficult, I hear from people. Difficult. Difficult. And I go, uh-huh, yeah. You don't have to say it over and over. I mean, that's the usual situation. I got it. There's endless difficulties. Difficulties are inexhaustible, I vow to, and I disagree with, end them. I vow to liberate, huh? I vow to love them, yeah. I vow to love all these afflictions. They're inexhaustible. I want to learn that, because that love is what they, that's what they want. All the afflictions want great compassion. One more thing about love. When you said, you don't know how much your parents loved you. We were talking about what a special, like, oh, Robert figured it out, and you also did. I think some people in the room, including me, might have thought, Oh, some parents don't know how to love.


Some parents don't know, so notice that. So not all the parents get it. When the baby comes, not all of them go, Oh, now I see. I heard you, but now I see. I met this woman who calls me Daddy, and when she gave birth, she came to us and said, now I see how much you love me. It's so amazing. Thank you for loving me. I didn't get it before he came. Now I do. Wow. And I know another story of where a woman became a mother, and she felt this unprecedented, overwhelming love. And she thought, how could my mother not have felt this?


She thought her mother did not feel this. And that was a real difficulty for her. She felt the love for the child, but she said, my mother didn't love me like this. And so that was, they got to work on that for a long time. that the way my mother loved me was not the way I love my child, rather than, oh, now I understand what they were saying. That's what I had. But sometimes it's like, I never loved like this before, and I don't think my mother loved me this way. So that's ascension being a real tough ascension being to meet. And in that ascension being, the whole universe is in there, the sister says. We have so many opportunities. We have such a great, challenging practice ahead of us. So we need to keep checking in and seeing if we feel enthusiastic about this work of loving all sentient beings, all of them.


Not liking and not saying, okay. and not even saying okay to loving them, more like, it's nothing to do with okay, this is what I'm here for. And you can say okay or not okay, I'm still here for this. I'm not into judging okay and not okay. But if I ever do, I want to be compassionate to okay and not okay. That's my aspiration. And I'm so happy to have that. And I think this will lead to something called realization of what I really am and what we really are. So again, I don't exactly say if I believe it, but I do think that that's the way it is. I mean, that's what I think, that's how I think it works, and I think that's how the sutra says. And in my view that this is how things work, I didn't make it up. Me and the Sutra and a bunch of other beings worked on the situation to make me think, no, this is reasonable.


This is reasonable that love leads to liberation and not like or dislike, but love to like and love to dislike. and dislikes are still arising. And I may forget to love them, but I didn't change my mind, I just forgot. For example, some people signed up to come today and didn't come. That's painful for me. It hurts. But I have a practice for my hurt, for the people who didn't come. And I'm so happy I have that practice. And also, it's not painful that you came. And I have a practice for the not painful, for the pleasure that you came.


It's a pleasure that for me, just a pleasure that you're here. But that's not my practice. My practice is to love the pleasure into freedom. So I'm not pushed around by the positive feeling of you coming and the negative feeling of you signing up and not coming. And if you do sign up and don't come, you can be pretty sure that that's going to be painful for me and that I'll be practicing with it. So you're giving me a good opportunity if you don't come, after you sign up. Now, of course, even if you don't sign up, you can also give me that pain, but it's a little bit stronger if you sign up and then don't come. So if you want to give me opportunities, just keep signing up for every one-day sitting and never come." And, you know, that'll be that. And I'll say, oh, there she is again. I'm not going to fall for it this time. And then she shows up. Now that you're not attached to me coming, I'm here.


Which is the same as Buddha, right? Once you're free of your attachment to Buddha, Buddha appears. In the Lotus Sutra, you know, the father, there's a physician in the Lotus Sutra who, he goes away to help his children experience the grief of him being gone and to take the medicine that he left to deal with the grief. but some of them refuse to take the medicine. That's why he has to leave. But in their embracing their grief, they remember the medicine and they take the medicine. And once they take the medicine and are not grieving anymore for their father being lost, their father reappears. Well, we've been going on for quite a while.


Maybe that's enough for now. Yes? I wanted to go back to that our practice actually is a benefit for the world. We can see and we don't see. And there was some saying that used to go around that we're within six degrees of connection. I don't remember exactly what it says, of everybody. Maybe now with Zoom it's even more, that when we do need somebody and give them some compassion. It has its own ripple effect to that another six, to another six, to another six. So maybe it is true that what you're offering, that what we're doing here does actually move beyond what we can see and not see. Yeah, maybe. However, what you just said was an appearance of an inconceivable process.


So she just created an image which reflects the inconceivable. And so she created that image and people look at that image and they go, oh yeah. And they start to open to the inconceivable. But if we start, the Buddha takes appearances like that one, makes that appearance, so people can go, oh, oh yeah, I'm just six degrees separation from that monster. Oh, yeah. Which opens up to the inconceivable that you're not the least bit separate from anybody. But that's inconceivable. And not only are you not the slightest bit different from anybody, But you're not the slightest bit different from Buddha either, and Buddha's not the slightest bit different from any of those monsters. But that's inconceivable. So thanks for the conceivable reflection of that to warm up.


Would it be okay to add that those monsters have a whole bunch of misconceptions and attachments that the Buddha doesn't have? Yeah, that's right. The monsters have all those misconceptions which the Buddha doesn't have. So the Buddha is not the slightest bit different from those who have stuff that the Buddha doesn't have. But Buddha doesn't have them. Buddha has us to have them. We are the way Buddha has misconceptions. And so Buddha's really wealthy and has great oceans of misconceptions which she takes care of. And she's not the least bit different from any of the beings who have the misconceptions or the misconceptions themselves. And they are not the least bit different from the one who doesn't have any misconceptions. We are not the slightest bit different from the Buddha. That's what the sutra is saying. And it also says quite a few times, this is really hard to understand.


And then it makes some examples, not just some, but like an overwhelming number of examples of something that's really difficult. And then another example of something that's extremely difficult, and it says, these things are not nearly as difficult as to actually have faith in this amazing teaching. So it says it over and over again, it says, it's so hard, it's so hard to believe this teaching, not to mention understand it. But there it is. Yes, Kim? This that you just were talking about reminds me of One time I think you said that we are the way the universe sees itself. Yeah, we are the way the universe is able to see itself. So it reminds me, does the Buddha need us to see the Buddha itself? Is that the same as the Buddha needing us to see the Buddha itself? Yeah, yeah.


All of our attachments are adornments of the Buddha. We help the Buddha realize how great the Buddha is. by our sentientness. And the Buddha helps us see who we are, too. We're helping each other in an inconceivable way, and also we have practices which help us come up with conceivable ways. So the Bodhisattva meditates on this teaching and enters the Samadhi with the Buddha, help of the Buddha, and in the Samadhi we're able to come up with images, by which people can understand that there are adornments of the Buddha. You're an adornment to the Buddha. You renew the magnificence of Buddha every moment. And each of us does. I'm not sure what just happened, but it might have been that Angela reached over and picked up a piece of my earwax, which fell off my hearing aids, onto my precious robe, and she lifted the earwax off, and I didn't see what she did with it.


Yeah, I built a relic with a piece of earwax, which was found on a Buddha's robe. This is a Buddha's robe. I was adoring watching you clean your ears. Yeah. This is the first time I ever cleaned my hearing aids during a Dharma talk. But I thought, for some reason or other, the light's really good here. And I can really see it clearly. So I'll clean the hearing aids. I didn't mean for the detritus to fall on the robe, but it did, apparently. And this Bodhisattva came and cleaned the robe of the earwax so that we together with all beings can attain Buddhahood. So it's really hard, but it's also a wonderful project of applying the faith.


And this sutra is saying, our faith in this amazing teaching, even at the beginning of our faith in this teaching, is exactly the same as the complete enlightenment of the Buddhas in the form of our faith. So it's not different, even though it has this form, which is not that form. So this one is not that one. We have misconceptions, Buddhists don't, and we're not different. And we're also not the same. We're not the same either. We're not different, and we're not the same. We are one. We're one, but we're not different. which, that makes sense, but we're one, but we're not the same. Like filling a silver bowl with snow. If you see them as the same, they're not the same. And yet, you can distinguish them.


But even though you can distinguish them, they're not really different. So it's subtle, it's so subtle. Yeah. Well, thank you so much. Maybe that's enough for this morning's meeting.