No Abode Dharma Talk - July 10th, 2021, Morning

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

AI Suggested Keywords:


The first in-person meeting at No Abode since 2020

AI Summary: 



Somebody just came to see me and showed me his raksu, and on the back of his raksu, it's written in Chinese, Homage to Great Compassion. And then people hang their raksus on the rack outside the toilets, and I go by and I read the raksus. And so one of the raksus I read was, Eyes of Compassion, Observe Sentient Beings. Another raksu I read was, Compassion Forest. Where are you, Compassion Forest? Yeah. So anyway, there's a lot of compassion written on the back of your robes. And we just started a series of classes


or meditation sessions at the yoga room, and the topic of the series is, Zen Meditation on Great Compassion. And also we have a text which is sort of in the background of our discussions, a text on compassion written in the 4th century in India by the great bodhisattva Asanga. Just 34 verses, but still we will have, it'll be hard to get through those 34 verses in seven weeks. But we got through two so far. And the first two are about listing objects of compassion. And, you know,


and in that first class I was going to talk, I was considering talking about something, but I thought, maybe too much, maybe they're not ready for it. And I must admit to you that working online, if I bring up something difficult, it's hard for me to see how the assembly is dealing with it. Because, you know, I can't see the whole assembly. Even if I'm looking on gallery view, I can't see everyone. And so if somebody is having difficulty, it's hard for me to pick up. And even if I look at the gallery view, I can't see people's faces very well. And also their bodies aren't there either for me. So, but today, you know, I can feel you all.


And you can feel each other. And, you know, it's not just me sensing you, it's you sensing each other too. The intelligence of our bodies together is what makes these kinds of meetings so precious. And workable. And there's a chance that we can actually include each other, you know, practice it. So I'm going to bring up here some really difficult things. And I hope that by bringing it up here first, that the people here who are in the Yoga Room series, we can develop kind of a herd immunity to these difficult teachings. So that if you get exposed to them now, and you can kind of like, we can get vaccinated from these very difficult, intrusive teachings, because they're kind of challenging.


They kind of challenge our human sentiments. The teachings aren't just what we already think. And some of the teachings are really different from what we think. For example, great compassion isn't what I think it is. And so if I bring up some things, it surprises me and you. So I'm going to try to bring up some really difficult teachings that may be difficult for you, but I want you to feel free to question the teachings that you're having difficulty with and watch other people. Let other people watch you bring up your difficulties and watch other people bring up their difficulties with the teachings. Does that make sense? So great compassion. For me, great compassion. Let me say there's many kinds of compassion,


but basically there's three kinds. And for me, great compassion embraces the other kinds of compassion. But they don't embrace great compassion. Just like Buddha embraces all beings, but some beings don't embrace all beings. So that means you don't embrace Buddha. Buddha includes all types of compassion, but some types of compassion don't include other kinds of compassion. So the three types are... The first type has living beings, sentient beings, as its objects. The second type has,


you could say, the Dharma as its object, or Dharmas as its object. So the word Dharma is used for the truth, for the teaching, but also means individual experiential elements like feelings, emotions, ideas, beliefs, and feelings of pain and pleasure and so on. Those are Dharmas. So the second type, you could understand, it deals with actually experiential elements. Or you could say, it deals with experiential elements or it deals with sentient beings in the light of the Dharma. So you look at a human being, or a plant, or an animal, you look at them, you see them, but you see them, you're also meditating on the Dharma


as you look at them. That's the second type. The third type is called Great Compassion, and it doesn't have any objects. It sees all living beings as they are, but they're not objects of it. All living beings are not objects of Great Compassion. Great Compassion is all living beings as they are. And that compassion liberates them. And that compassion liberates the previous two types of compassion, which are included in it. Those first two types of compassion actually hinder Great Compassion. However, Great Compassion embraces them and liberates them.


But we need to compassionately consider the first two kinds of compassion, which is hard. Because it may be seen as an affront to some of the ways we're already practicing compassion. Compassion So, the first type of compassion has beings as its objects, but not just beings, but it has substantial beings as its objects. Beings who appear to be substantial and existing on their own. The first type of compassion


relates to beings with the view that they're really the way they appear. And also it relates to compassion that way, as a substantial thing, as an independently existing thing called compassion. That's the first type of compassion. Which is, I think, many of you, many of us already know that type. And in the Vimalakirti Sutra, it's called sentimental compassion. In other words, it's compassion according to our customary way of practicing compassion. It's compassion in align with our customary way of seeing beings. We customarily see beings as substantially existing separate from other beings. And we have emotions,


and then we feel emotions about that. And those emotions also we might see. Those also might be objects of compassion. And we might see the emotions as separately existing, substantial things. And also we might see compassion as a substantially existing thing. And we might see liberation as a substantially existing thing. This is again... In the Vimalakirti Sutra, it's called the sentimental compassion. And in Chinese it calls it loving view. So there's a loving, affectionate view of beings, but it's also a sentimental view of them. But it says, it actually says, loving view, great compassion, which surprised me.


It's the loving view, or the kind of like, yeah, the obstructive type of great compassion is this type. It's still part of great compassion, but it's a sentimental part of great compassion. And it has drawbacks. Its drawbacks are, for example, that we get burned out practicing compassion according to our emotions. We get burned out by practicing according to emotions. Our emotions are not our guides to practicing compassion. Our emotions are another thing to be compassionate towards. We don't try to get rid of our emotions, but they're not the compassion. The compassion is to be with those emotions and to be with the beings, free of our view


that they substantially exist, and that compassion substantially exists. And this is it, and this is not it. One time I was going to give a talk at Green Gulch about compassion, and as I started I realized I didn't know what I was talking about. And I told people, I came to talk about compassion, but I don't know what it is. But may I continue? That's the situation today too. I don't know what it is. And Buddha doesn't know what it is. It's Buddha. Buddha doesn't know what Buddha is. Buddha is just Buddha. Great compassion is just great compassion. The other kinds of compassion are different. Different. So how do we... And some people may not notice that when they practice this sentimental compassion


it drains them. They may not notice it. Anything we do, any action we take, any being we relate to, any object we relate to with a substantialist view drains us. But again, you may not notice it. Like if you reach for a doorknob with a substantialist view and you grab a hold of it and turn it with a substantialist view, you may not notice that that drains you. What does it have to do with the fact that we see things as separate? It has to do with that you see it as separate. Like you see the doorknob separate. And also you see the doorknob separate from the door. And you see the doorknob separate from the irises in the back. I'm so happy you get to see the irises.


I've been looking at those irises and saying, I hope somebody comes here and enjoys them besides me and Amanda and Ted and Eileen. You get to see them. I'm so glad they're there for you. But they're not separate from the doorknob. The doorknob includes the irises and it also includes the irises when they die. That's great compassion. But to think the doorknob is separate from your hand, that thought, if you agree with it, it drains you a little. It doesn't necessarily knock you out. But if you turn that doorknob quite a few times, like many times, with that attitude, you will actually just, you'll perish. However, if you turn that doorknob with great compassion, you just feel more and more energy. You might also think, how strange


that my life is turning this doorknob over and over. How strange it is for me to relate to this person over and over. But if you relate to this person over and over with great compassion, you don't get drained because you're not separate from them. They're not an object. Every time you meet them, they affirm you. That's great compassion. It's not tiring. But the first type is at risk of burnout. And again, burnout doesn't usually mean a tiny little bit of loss of energy, a tiny little bit of loss of enthusiasm, a tiny little loss of courage. It means a big loss of those things. I'm really losing. I've lost my courage. I can't face these people anymore. I got to get out of here. Get out of where? Get out of being with these people who I love so much.


Get me out of here. It's not them that are draining you. It's the attitude that they're substantial and that you're helping them substantially. Or you're not helping them substantially. Or they're helping you substantially. Or you're not helping them. Really. You're really not helping them. They really are helping you. They're really this way. That drains us. However, that way of practice is unavoidable. That form of compassion is in this world. Along with, for example, cruelty. Cruelty is in the world too. But this is compassion. Cruelty that's practiced substantially also wipes us out. But we're familiar with the cruelty as draining


and miserable. But compassion, burnout, yes. And there's workshops all over the place now on, I think, burnout from compassion or something like that. Those titles. Compassion fatigue. It's well known. And the people who know this are the people who are trying to help people. The people who are trying to murder people do not have compassion fatigue. They have another kind of fatigue. The fatigue of cruelty. It's also draining. The kindness itself is fine. It's the attitude of seeing it, the kindness, and the beings as objects as really substantially existing. That's what's draining. And that's the first kind of compassion. And again, it is compassion. And it does encourage people.


It's not... It is good. It's good. But it hinders entering into great compassion. And it is susceptible to giving it up and running away from the very beings you're devoted to. Like a lot of parents, a lot of mothers and fathers run away from their children because of this. They love their children so much and they so much want to get rid of them. Yes? I prefer this to be in a certain way so that my object, I keep my object as an object because I prefer it to be that way. I've been looking at the layer of preferences and aversion


and reinforcing that idea. Yeah. So in your consciousness, you're seeing a preference. Now that preference, again, in the first two verses of this text we're looking at, that preference isn't meant... The preference isn't on the list. But really, I can find it on the list if I look carefully. Preference is an object of compassion. Anybody here have any preferences appearing in their consciousness? Okay. All those preferences are objects of compassion. And those preferences are coming up out of your body and giving rise to unconscious cognitive processes of preference. And then some of the preferences, not all of them, come up in your consciousness. And when they come up in your consciousness, they're calling for compassion. They want to be free. They don't want to be annihilated. They want to be related to with compassion.


And if we relate to our preferences with compassion, we will become free of them. But again, the first way we relate to them compassionately is likely to be that preference is an object of compassion. And the way we relate to it may also have preferences of how to practice compassion. But then again, that's another object of compassion. So noticing these preferences, noticing these outflows, these leakages, these wearying waves of praying compassion, those two, the sentimental way of practicing compassion is also an object of compassion. And of course, in that case, it's kind of starting to tip the hand. Now I'm having compassion towards the idea that these objects exist independently. It's almost like you're seeing the joke.


I almost get the joke there. There's a lot there and we'll talk more about that later, I'm sure, for the rest of our lives. Because sentimental compassion is alive and well and it's part of great compassion. Again, Vimalakirti says, sentimental compassion, loving view, great compassion, it's part of the program. The obstacles to great compassion are part of the process of realizing great compassion. Which, of course, cruelty is also an obstacle to great compassion. But we don't usually need to mention that. But now I mention it. Great compassion embraces cruelty, but cruelty doesn't embrace great compassion. Great compassion keeps embracing cruelty until it's liberated and then it turns around and joins great compassion. I'm not going to talk about cruelty so much right now.


I'm talking about compassion, different types of compassion. The next type of compassion is, again, called... In this text we're talking about, it's like analytic compassion or it's... Compassion has the object that people are not just independent things but they're collections of causes and conditions. It's starting to see people as the coming together of causes and conditions. It's starting to see that they appear a certain way that's due to various forces. They're not really that way. They're kind of conjured up by causes and conditions. They're kind of... The suffering beings you see and the suffering feelings you have are kind of illusory. They're non-substantial. They don't exist on their own. Suffering beings are suffering beings but they're not substantial suffering beings.


Suffering beings are insubstantial suffering beings and compassion towards them is insubstantial compassion. And the liberation which they get from this type of compassion is illusory non-substantial compassion. And this is the hard, kind of the hard practice that this compassion addresses illusory beings who have illusory delusions, illusory suffering, and illusory compassion and illusory liberation. This type of compassion liberates us from the sentimental type. Which is good. In other words, we're not going to get rid of the sentimental kind but we can become liberated by it, of it, with it, with this next kind of compassion.


This next compassion is specifically to liberate us from the first type but without getting rid of it. It's good. It does a lot of good in the world. It's just that it has these leakage points. It has drawbacks. It's still good. But it's a hindrance to great awakening and great compassion. So we have the second kind of compassion to address it. But again, the second kind of compassion has problems too. Its problem is it tends to adhere to non-substantiality. It tends to adhere to the view of the illusoriness of living beings and the illusoriness of suffering. Suffering is really illusory. It's not the way it looks. But if you adhere to the illusoriness, that is an obstruction to great compassion. So you see the suffering


and suddenly you see, oh, it's a dependent co-arising. Wow. And I can't get a hold of it and I don't know what it is. Good. But the problem with that is you might adhere to that. And adhering to that obstructs great compassion. And that kind of compassion also is not going to disappear. It's not so common as the previous kind. Many people are involved in this sentimental compassion. Many, many, many, many humans on this planet. Many, many animals on this planet. I'm just thinking of this video that I was shown. People show me videos. This is a video of a mother bear taking her cubs across a road. You know, dragging them across and then setting them down


and going back to get the other ones. And the one they take across follows them back across again. And then they take that one over again. And the other ones, you know... Anyway, it's really delightful to see her doing this. And I can't tell if she thinks those cubs are substantial. I can't tell. Maybe she doesn't. And I would say, good for her. But it's definitely... It's just lovely to see her taking care. And she doesn't seem to get angry at the ones that she took over and that keep coming back with her. That's a sign that maybe she's not adhering to the idea of getting them across. She wants to get them across. She's doing that service. But maybe she's not adhering to the substantiality of getting them across. And this case is really nice because the cars are all stopped and watching her. You know? And people are videoing.


So it's kind of like she can just do this all day and everybody's really enjoying it. So maybe she's not... Maybe she's not trying to get anything out of this. Maybe she's just doing this lovely thing of taking these cubs across the road and not getting drained by it. So if they keep running back, she just keeps doing that until, I don't know, until lunchtime. It's part of the deal. And we can do these same acts of carrying each other across the road. We can do them with and without a substantialistic view. So these types of compassion, of serving beings, of taking them across the road, of bringing them to the honeypot, whatever, these forms of compassion are opportunities to see, are we trying to get something out of this? Do we think we know


who this person is and what this suffering is? Are we substantially involved here in this wonderful process of helping people? And we can tell. And if we can't tell, you can also ask a friend. Do you think I'm trying to get anything out of the practice? And the friend might say, Do you really want me to... Are you sure you want to hear from me? Yeah, I really do. Yes, I do think you're trying to get something out of it. Do you think I have a substantialist view of helping people? I think so. Do you have a substantialist view of me having a substantial view? No, but I think so. I don't really know if you... But again, when I saw the mother bear, she was not getting angry at the pups for not cooperating with her program. If you're helping people in a substantialistic way and they don't go along


with your program, you might find that quite irritating. And you might even find it so irritating that you're not kind to them. Because you're doing this for their own good. Again, that's... Impatience is part of the burnout. So that's a difficult topic which I didn't dare bring up last week online. And so those of you in the yoga room class, please help me bring it up next week. And especially if you have questions now, it's good to ask them now to get warmed up to dealing with a larger group under the constraints of the video interactions.


Anshul? Did I say it right? Anshul? Close enough? Once again, I'm going to put my hearing aids on now. So I'm going to put these on. And when I put these on, I tend to talk more quietly. So remind me if I start talking quietly. But I'm having trouble hearing Anshul. Louder, please. Maybe louder. Yes. It's a problem with anything. It's a problem with anything. Thank you. And it's even a problem with the best thing. It's a problem with your possessions. It's a problem with your friends. It's a problem with your ideas.


It's a problem with your political views. Adhering to anything, especially good things, adhering to anything is troublesome, painful, affliction. And it's particularly sad to adhere to good things because then it defiles a good thing. So if you give a very good gift to somebody, that's good. If you adhere to it, it undermines the goodness of it. It doesn't necessarily destroy all of its goodness. However, it might lead to that. But it certainly undermines it. And again, if you keep giving gifts with this adhering to the giving, you'll get wiped out. And also, if you adhere to non-substantiality, that's also a drain. So the problem of the first one is adhering to emotions and feelings and ideas and beliefs. Second one is adhering to the liberating teaching of


dependent co-arising and the liberating teaching of non-substantiality of beings and their suffering. Adhering to that obstructs the great compassion and adhering to that drains the practitioner. So then you give up practicing the second kind of compassion. Yes. That's the nice thing about the Sutra. It says, loving view, great compassion. Loving view by itself is at risk of draining us and wiping us out. But it's actually great compassion in that form. Part of great compassion is the obstructions to great compassion. It's not like great compassion is over here and its obstructions are over there. That would be another kind of compassion. Compassion here,


obstructions to compassion over there. And then turn the compassion towards the obstructions. Yes, they should be looked at, but great compassion, they're like this. The obstructions and the great compassion are one thing. Just like sentient beings, suffering sentient beings in Buddha are not two things. Great compassion and suffering beings are not two things. But that implies that there's no inherent nature to sentient beings or Buddhas. Yes. [...]


Yes. Yes. Suffering beings bring compassion to great compassion. Great compassion understands that. Lesser compassions don't necessarily see that suffering beings are bringing compassion. Because there's no compassion without suffering beings. So suffering beings bring compassion. They call for it. That brings it. And also great compassion calls and brings it. Linda. So it's a difficult teaching, I agree with that. You use the word doorknob and iris. So I can see you could take away doorknob and iris. Or you could give me


doorknob and iris. But you're saying uh-uh to both of those. I mean... I didn't hear that. I don't hear I'm saying uh-uh to those. I'm not following you. I'm talking about substantial and insubstantial. When we see it together as substantial, then there's a doorknob and there's an iris. Doorknob and iris. Is that substantial? That was really... Anyway. You use those words and then... We would tend to think that those things are substantial. Or we can see that they are not separate and then... That's what I mean by taking away. But you seem to be talking about great compassion


where you neither give us the thing nor take it away. Right. It's hard. Yeah. Yeah, so that's right. That's right. There's not really giving or taking away. However, we need to study giving and taking away in order to realize great compassion. And we need to study the giving and taking away in order to see if our customary, habitual ways of seeing the process are functioning. And if they are, then we practice compassion towards them in the process of giving and receiving. We go through the process. We go through the process of trying to help people to discover our substantialist views and fortunately there are indications that we can find or other people can ask other people they can help us notice.


We're trying to get something out of this. You can heal people and you can heal people without trying to get anything out of it. You can heal people or you can try to heal people but not be attached to the healing. And you can be not attached to the healing when you realize that the sick person and the healing are insubstantial. And that helps you do the healing process which may or may not be successful. Yeah. So you can see that like you're trying to help somebody like now I have pain in my knee and people are trying to help me. They can look to see are they trying to get anything out of their help of me? Are they trying to get me to be feel better?


Are they trying to get me to have less pain? Or are they just practicing loving kindness and compassion to me with no gaining idea? And if they have a gaining idea then that's another thing to practice compassion towards. And it's hard? Do you have a hard time being compassionate to your gaining ideas? When you see a gaining idea in your mind do you have difficulty being compassionate to that? Oh yeah. It's hard because sentimentally we want someone to have less pain and we try to get that to happen. And if we try to help them and try to get something


we get burnout. If we help them the way they are right now free of them being different namely have less pain so I try to help you now in your pain and I'm free of you having more or less pain. I'm with the amount of pain you have now. And that's my not sentimental compassion. That's not the way we usually practice it. But we need to understand that what the person who is suffering needs to learn is what we're doing. I need to be with the pain in my body without thinking about it being less or more. I need to be with it now. And somebody needs to teach me how to be with my pain the way it is now. Not the way it will be more or less. So patience is


compassion in the form of being with this pain right now. And if I'm trying to help somebody I'm helping them right now not leaning into them getting better or worse or more or less. That's the training. And that not only does that excuse the expression free me of being drained and burnout it teaches them what they need to do with their pain which they may or may not do. No. But they already may know how to do it. Like if you're if the Buddha's got pain and you're trying to help you want the Buddha to have less the Buddha already is not into having less. The Buddha's into having this pain. So as I've mentioned many times the historical Buddha was in pain at the end of his life. He was the Buddha was in pain but she was still Buddha and she was not thinking about her pain being reduced


in the future. And she was not thinking about how long her pain's been going on. She was having her pain in this moment and she was teaching all of her disciples who were in pain to be present with their pain. In that way she was the Buddha teaching them to be with their pain. When you are with your feeling of wanting to help someone without trying to get anything out of it you're teaching the person what they really need to know. They may feel better. They may feel worse. But if they get this teaching they'll be fine. If they don't get this teaching even if they feel better they're still going to be suffering. And if they feel worse they're still going to be suffering. But if they get this teaching that's they're on the path to learn great. Well they actually are learning. When we try to help them with no gaining idea we're teaching them great compassion. And the insubstantiality


is supposed to help us but even so we might turn insubstantiality into a gain. Jeff. I'm having the same trouble with this. Which is I heard your explanation kind of fill itself. I heard your explanation and kind of makes sense in and of itself. For example I'm having trouble with distinction. I can see how giving up my own gain or feeling I want to gain something by helping someone. I think that's something I struggle with generally. I see that in my everyday life. But I have a much harder time giving up this idea that I'm going to help somebody have less pain or have less problem or whatever I'm doing for them. Because it's still I don't see how do they know the difference


whether I'm doing it you said they would learn from it. But how do they see the difference? I'm going to do the same thing regardless of whether I do it with an idea helping them feel less pain or not helping them feel less pain. So how is it that that's transmitted to them? That the learning that you think is more important is actually that of being in the pain. The most basic transmission is unconscious. The most basic transmission is imperceptible. But there are also perceptible differences. So if you're trying to help somebody and like


trying to help somebody become more skillful at something or take better care of themselves or be more comfortable and they don't get more skillful and they don't take care of themselves better and they don't feel better and you're practicing this they will notice that that does not in any way undermine your devotion to them. They can see that. That's perceptible. But even before they see that if you're practicing this it's being transmitted to them because we pick up much more we pick up on much more than we're consciously aware of. So some people teach us a skill and we don't even know that we're being taught it and then suddenly we realize the skill is in us and we wonder where did I get this skill? And then somebody might say well that person showed you that over and over and you weren't consciously aware


that they were showing you. But then you realize you learned it. Where did you learn it? And you weren't conscious of the lessons. One time one of the stories which you're having trouble hearing over there, right? So I'll talk this way and see if you can hear me, Jeff. So we once we received new Buddhist robes in a ceremony Suzuki Roshi gave a number of his priests a new robe which was sewn to them in a new way and we got these new robes and I think after the ceremony we got the robes on somehow but after the ceremony we asked Suzuki Roshi how to put the robes on and he got up and walked away. So then we asked Katagiri Roshi how to put the robes on and he tried to explain to us and he was having trouble explaining to us


and then someone said oh look and Suzuki Roshi was showing us how to do it. He was showing us but we didn't notice that he was showing us but we did finally wake up to that he was showing us. So a lot of the things we learn from in this compassion business is taught to us we don't really even know. Like you walk next to somebody through difficult times they don't necessarily say anything to you and then after you walk through you start to notice that you're walking through the difficulty and you're more comfortable sort of with the difficulties still continuing but you feel more relaxed and you don't know that the relaxed person you're walking next to was transmitting that relaxed they were suffering with you you're both going through this I don't know what extremely hot weather maybe and you're tensing and resisting


and you're walking next to somebody who is really relaxed with it they also used to tense and resist can you hear me at all? No? So you're walking through extreme weather conditions you're having a hard time and the person next to you is having a hard time too matter of fact they might even be having a harder time than you like they might be older but they might have more experience with patients and so they can relax with the pain of the heat and you're just walking through struggling away and you notice at a certain point it's still hot and you're still having a hard time but you're relaxed also where did that relaxation come from? and maybe there's three of you and the person over here points over to this person and says she taught you to relax she was relaxed with you all the time but she didn't necessarily say relax she was just


our body gives off a lot of information and other people's bodies pick up on it but we are not consciously aware of what we're picking up from other people's bodies and also when our body picks up things from other bodies the unconscious processes which are very complex they're dealing with all that information to try to figure out is what we're picking up dangerous? is it good? is it beneficial? all that's going on we're not consciously aware of it so somebody's like demonstrating relaxation we may not even we may not think that they're relaxed but our body's picking up the relaxation and learning it and that relaxation is we're having a hard time we're practicing compassion and we're relaxed in our compassion with this hard time and that gets transmitted


but sometimes we do consciously notice oh, they're teaching oh my god they were teaching me compassion I see it now or oh my god they were not they were not impatient with me learning this thing I was not learning it and they just kept teaching it over and over and over they didn't get impatient with me one of the main characteristics of a Bodhisattva teacher is being patient with the slowness of the student's learning so we're having a hard time learning we're walking next to the teacher we're not learning the teacher's patient with us and being patient with us and not learning we don't even necessarily notice but we might does that help you? and like I'm walking around now trying to find a way to walk that's not too painful or rather I'm trying to find the most comfortable way to walk I'm not trying to reduce my pain I'm trying to find


a way to walk that feels the pain respects it yeah, respects it and now respecting it seems to be leading to walking more slowly and more carefully I'm not really reducing the pain I'm just finding a less painful way to walk if I walk faster it just comes flaring back so I've still got the problem haven't gotten rid of it but I'm adapting to it like the Buddha adapted to her final illness she did a Buddha a Buddha adaptation she showed everybody this is how to be sick Suzuki Roshi was really good at teaching us this is how to have liver cancer and the way he was dealing with it it's such a strong deep teaching to me to watch how he dealt with it he would and again I don't know what


they didn't give him any painkillers maybe they had them and he didn't take them but he was in pain but the way he was dealing with it was such a strong teaching and I didn't feel like he was trying to reduce his pain and I wasn't trying to reduce his pain I was just wanting to be with him with whatever he was up to and that's kind of like great compassion to be with beings with whatever they're up to no matter what they're up to I want to be there with them and I'm not into controlling them into being better people or of course not worse people I just want to be with them through this difficult situation called birth and death and they're not separate from me these beings I want to be with but I have these other kinds of compassion which I have to deal with too that are going to keep coming up and I want to be with those too I want to be with beings and I want to be with my different types of compassion practice and I want beings to help me be with these


different types of compassion practice It's getting really late Yes, yes, yes, yes Loud, loud Much louder Okay The insubstantiality of compassion So she's referring to this image of the dark forest which is this nice image from D.H. Lawrence where he says this is what I know about the conscious self It's like a clearing in the middle of a dark forest And sometimes deities come out of the forest into the clearing for a while and then they go back


So I see this as a picture of our conscious mind and our unconscious mind and body which surrounds our conscious mind And also in our in the forest are all the other people's forests too And there's a bunch there's many other clearings in the forest but we can't see the other clearings We hear about them when we hear about them that's a deity coming out of the dark forest into our clearing telling us there's somebody else in the forest So great compassion is to welcome whatever appears in consciousness So what so now we have something coming into consciousness That is both great compassion coming into consciousness and giving us an opportunity to practice great compassion Because it's it's okay to practice great compassion to the forest to the dark forest It's just that you you know go ahead But you can't actually


test whether most people have no way of trying to make any gains in the dark forest They're not trying to improve the dark forest They don't even know what it is The challenge is that the opportunities for everything that appears in consciousness is an opportunity for compassion and all the opportunities are given to us by compassion No It's kind of like It's kind of like It can be found in the dark forest Yes And it can be found in everything in the clearing And it's also can be found in the body which is in the dark forest It can be found everywhere Great compassion is found everywhere Great compassion reaches everything It's everywhere


all the time That's Buddha's compassion We're talking about waking up to it And you wake up to it by dealing with things that you don't think are included in everything And if you deal with them with compassion they will become portals for you to realize great compassion which is already penetrating everything But we have to practice and train in order to wake up to that I see you and let's see who is next Well, there's Sonia Okay, it's okay I have to make a list now Sonia There was somebody else Homa I think, yeah Delfina Bruce and Madeline and Jeff I think


I think Delfina and Sonia were next I'm not sure Delfina Okay For me to understand the teaching it would be helpful for me to articulate or identify what I think I don't know or what would be more vast Also what you know To know what I don't know Yeah If I actually see somebody being kind I can go Oh So it seems like I need to identify


both what I know and don't know Wait a second You said if you see someone being kind you can go Oh What does that Oh mean? Oh, that's what that might look like It's like I had that experience Oh, that look at Tachihara Oh, that looks like compassion you mean? Yeah I remember sitting with some young students and Rosie was there and they were saying something about their big thing and I'm rolling my eyes thinking oh yeah, right and Rosie goes that's so great you should go for it and they all lit up I learned from like just that encouragement but I saw what I didn't know and could see what something else looked like Yeah So I'm thinking I need to identify my obstructions in order to grow into great compassion


Yeah So it sounds like your this example is there was an obstruction you saw you kind of identified it Yeah Yeah, you kind of saw oh, there's an obstruct Like it's just It was an obstructive an obstructive judgment Can you hear this at all? No? No You can't hear anything Tracy? What? Some things Some things Some things So Sonja just brought up an example of an obstructive judgment and then it sounded like somebody was compassionate to that obstructive judgment and liberated you from it Yeah Yeah I sort of had to see there's no see receive Yeah what my limits were in order to see something else Yeah in order to be free of it teaching Yeah, so that kind of that's an example maybe out of the dark forest came the obstruction it was met with some compassion and you there was a release an awakening


but it had to come out there before the compassion could deal with it it's hard for the compassion to deal with what the compassion is reaching everything in the dark forest but we don't tend to wake up in the dark forest that's the key thing about this clearing is that's where the stuff comes out of the dark forest gets dealt with compassion and gets liberated and then in addition to that we can watch and see was there a substantialistic view of the thing and the liberation usually when there's liberation it's a sign that there's not it's not so substantialistic but then the next that's the second kind of compassion here we have kind of the second kind of compassion maybe that was that but then we have to then not attach to that which you didn't do right? It seems like if I recognize that I'm impatient I might be able to recognize patience when it well not so much recognize patience but become free of your impatience through recognizing your impatience


what do you mean maybe that's your example you bring up the obstruction you bring up the obstruction you deal with it with compassion then you become free of it and sometimes the way you deal with it somebody helps you deal with it they say you know that was so great that you brought us that obstruction it was so helpful and you realize if my obstructions are so helpful maybe they're not obstructions maybe so they're illusory obstructions they're not real obstructions but somebody we need to wake up to our obstructions our suffering is not substantially existing and people can help us with that so Delfina I would say great compassion lives in everything in the universe it's the way everything's working together with no separation


and our biology is part of the story however there's other things in our biology besides along with great compassion which great compassion relates to for example feelings of fear and vigilance and concerns for survival that's in our body in our unconscious and to some a small part of it comes up into our consciousness moment by moment that's also going on and that's what the great compassion is addressing so the thing is how to join this wonderful thing that's already here that's relating to our biology that's not separate from our biology it's totally intimate with our biology but we have to notice our biology and notice these points of sticking in order to open to what is always there along with it all along you definitely


everybody is getting what's being said it's totally penetrating Marlene yeah this past year has been a year of awakening and I think of compassion awakening to the fear to the inequality to the pain to the social injustice this has been a year when we have seen racism classism it's a year that I think I have experienced the first part that you say the first compassion that is the compassion of emotion particular when you were seeing the Lloyd video you felt this automatic feeling of anger and then


you feel this compassion but it's all emotion then I felt I took it for myself and the second part is I get to the second part of the compassion where with the climate change with the COVID you know that you can get COVID that climate change is going to affect us so you also see that we are interconnected that you are the doorknob that you are the door because we are all in the same boat and that's why everybody say let's go and get vaccinated because otherwise nobody is going to get away with being sick so and I can see the compassion coming but I can see also the inequality because I can feel the pain of people that are going to suffer more with climate change because they live already in places that is difficult because it's inequality in the system and I also feel


the pain of people that suffer racism and live in places that are also doomed because of their race in the systematic racism that has been forever and I can feel the compassion but I haven't seen it I have not suffered myself so you say I have not I have been deep listening to this so how do I get to the great compassion from those two parts that I have been because I feel very that I am not caring where I can go because I want to be in the bodhisattva path I want to be in the bodhisattva path so I want to be and that's what I get confused when you say well you don't get any outcome and it's true I am not looking for the outcome I didn't say I am doing the well-being for all the beings and my own so where is the altruism also getting into me so I am getting like I am not


following you in the last part how do I get to the great compassion this is there in the universe so how do I deal with this also emotion that are real because these people are real suffering so how do I deal with that how are you dealing with the emotion now are you being compassionate to the emotion now so you feel you see something you see cruelty you feel pain and are you practicing compassion with that pain and that cruelty so where myself or the others both yeah I have been trying to meditate and feel both yeah and so practicing that way period will awaken will be will be the awakening to great compassion but most people


don't just practice compassion with that they practice compassion with these pains with some idea that it's substantially existing that way that I think it is so the way you think the pain is is not the way that she thinks the pain is or he thinks the pain is none of you actually see in your in your clearing you don't see the way the thing really is you see an appearance of it and if you think it's real and substantially that way then if you work with that and practice compassion towards that substantialistic view then you can move on to the next kind of compassion and then again not be stuck in that and then you will awaken but you're looking like you're not following me yeah the substantial part when people say again suffering is substantial yeah I'm saying and that's that's called


the view that is substantial is a kind of compassion it's called sentimental compassion it's the customary way we see things we see floors and ceilings and people and suffering as substantial this is the way we normally do this is customary this is our sentiment okay so that's that's just the way that's just the way we are but to think but to be informed now that this is a sentimental kind of compassion which leads to leads to burnout this type of compassion has a big drawback in that if you're compassionate towards these pains and you think they're really existent you will actually give up practicing compassion but I don't want to give up I want to find a way to really okay you just said


you just said you do not want to give up okay and I just told you what will lead to you giving up so if you don't want to give up then you need to give up your sentimental practice of compassion you need to give up seeing suffering as substantial it's normal to see it it's normal to see suffering as substantial it's normal to see delusion as substantial it's normal to see doorknobs as substantial it's normal to see people as substantial that's normal it comes with our body with our biological imperatives okay so we got this problem that we see things this way now if we practice compassion under that way of seeing we will give up practicing compassion and you said you don't want to give up but you will give up unless you get over this type of compassion not even to go to it


it's already here great compassion is not concerned with seeing great compassion being intimate with all beings is not trying to see intimacy with all beings it's just being it's being that way it's not wanting to be that way I mean it's wanting to be that way but it's not like seeing you can't see how you're with all beings but you can see that you think that this suffering is substantial and you can say oh I'm a human being so I think that and you can see that this is that this makes you at risk of giving up your compassion practice and you can see that you don't want to give it up and the wish to not give up compassion to see that also as not substantial protects it if you want to protect


your wish to be compassionate then seeing it as insubstantial will protect it it will make you more because of insubstantiality we do not become frightened of suffering if you see we will we will become exhausted if we see it as substantial and so we're already in that situation we need to keep working on it to not cling to our substantialistic view of this is cruelty this is kindness this is helpful this is not we're going to continue to have these views but we don't have to continue to believe that they're substantially existing on their own we don't have to do that we can be so kind to those things that they just sort of get out of the way they just say go ahead and see things insubstantially and by the way when you do don't cling to that


you know they can teach us that and if we learn that we open to the great compassion which again we have to give up trying to get being able to see great compassion in order to realize it we have to give up trying to get great compassion in order to realize it it's part of it's required let's see who's next it's it's it's 1230 so so we we have lunch coming up pretty soon right are you telling her to go first he oh oh Bruce okay Bruce and Jeff thank you the strong lesson


yes the strong teaching from Suzuki Roshi when he was dying is he wants me to talk more about the strong lesson I got from Suzuki Roshi when he was dying can you hear me over there how about over here the strong lesson and it wasn't just one the strong lessons he was giving me and other people and you're doing that without any you know substantialistic view just wow so anyway before he before we knew how sick before it was disclosed that he had liver cancer after his gallbladder he had his gallbladder removed and he did not tell us he did not tell us that it was malignant but it was and so we thought oh Suzuki Roshi is well again great still


during that post surgical time he did in the Buddha hall in San Francisco he did say one day to the group he said things teach best when they're dying and I I felt like he was like I felt like he kind of like turned to me and said things teach best when they're dying things teach best I felt like he turned right at me and said that and I kind of why is he telling me this I it was like and also why is he like well maybe because he's telling you he's dying could that possibly be it anyway it was a strong teaching things teach he said it to me and I've been repeating it for 50 years I think a bunch of other people in the room probably felt like why is he saying that to me and then a few months later he says oh it's liver cancer


so now he has now we know he's really sick so the way he was with this a deadly disease the way he conducted himself everything he did somehow because he was maybe because I knew he was dying or maybe because he was dying it just went boom boom boom and I can remember so many times I think back I wish I could remember how he was when he said such and such but during that last time it was much clearer because it was like this is the last time you know everything he did was teaching us and me just because he was dying the way he the way he responded to the moxibustion burning on his back so I watched I watched I watched him receive the moxibustion and then I watched him he would wince when it got close to his skin when it burned down and that


at that time the person who was treating him would take it off so I watched him lie there and receive this treatment and I watched him wince and I watched so I watched him deal with pain he was showing me over and over how he dealt with his pain and he was no less he wasn't talking about Zen stories or he wasn't talking about Zazen he was demonstrating Zazen of a sick teacher of a dying teacher for a while we used to he could go to the Zen Do then for a while we carried him down to the stairs to the Zen Do after a while he couldn't go down less and less dying more and more but it was so so deeply penetrating it wasn't it wasn't like he one time he was getting his his massage and he farted and he said that's a good sign it wasn't like


that was the great teaching but that was one that was one of them you know that he just farted and then he said that's good there's something going on in there so you know the fart stuff has to do with you know the bile and so on the liver is part of that so anyway he you could say oh he was just trying to excuse his farts anyway it's a everything was penetrating but it wasn't traditional Zen training but it was traditional Zen training for a dying teacher to teach the students how they die is very penetrating teaching especially when the teacher is teaching while they're dying rather than talking about it actually showing this is how I die this is how I deal with the pain of liver cancer which was painful now if they now they have chemotherapy I think and stuff like that but there was no treatment other than massage and moxibustion


and I got to watch him receive it so when the person was sick he said you do it said to me because I'd been watching so then I did it and I could tell when to take it off because he would wince so there was a transmission there of moxibustion burning in relationship to my teacher's body yeah he was like really there for his suffering I felt he was not trying to be somewhere else if somebody said Roshi would you like to go someplace else where there's no pain he might have said okay let's go but nobody was offering that he was just pain [...] not all the time I think sometimes he was more less comfortable more comfortable but he was dealing with it he was dealing with a painful death a painful death he wasn't a comfortable death and he did


such a good job of dealing with the pain such a good teacher for us and he didn't get better as a matter of fact the disease was much faster than anybody thought it was going to be he thought maybe he'd be able to live for a couple more years but it was just three months from the time of diagnosis September October November and a little bit of December just three months it really went fast but those were such precious times and I tell you that to remind me of those times and to share those times with you I'm sharing his teachings with you I'm saying he didn't do anything fancy you can all do this you can all face your suffering and your pain and your dying like he did we can learn this it's not super human well it is super human it's not but you you have a Buddha within you that can practice this and unless we all die


tomorrow we're going to have a chance Jeff you can call it my coffin well I made it with Paul Abdisco's help it's my size it's not like one size fits all Bruce would have trouble fitting in I'm sorry Bruce your talk on compassion I've been working with with pity like some of the sutras reference pity yeah that's another pity is a kind of unpopular word lately but a lot of a lot of translators translate compassion as pity so there's loving kindness meta maitri and


in Chinese there's a character which means loving kindness and there's another character but that's never translated as pity it's translated as compassion and love loving kindness but the other character for karuna in Chinese is it says compassion pity so but a lot of people pity is kind of like a buzz word now so I don't use it I'll let you read the sutras and find it yourself but it's another translation that people are using to translate karuna compassion into English but if you don't like pity that's okay use compassion and if you don't like compassion maybe mercy and if you don't like any of those how about just be with suffering compassion means be with suffering


be with the passion and be with it intimately so there's no object passion is not an object it's what we are living we're living not even with the suffering we are living the suffering with no resistance this is great compassion was it pity was it more equalizing that it was equal with all suffering and that some beings think everything is substantial and then is that great is that great compassion that form of pity have you seen that that view whereas pity is that strictly out of a substantial out of the three that you gave you can say great pity you can say great pity but great pity or great compassion


has no objects it's just the fact it's the reality that we're all together with each other's suffering there's no separation between our sufferings we're all in this together that reality is great compassion and that's Buddha's compassion and that's that's also very joyful and it's also not a drain because there's no place for anything to go and even though there's no place to go you can have lunch now if you want and also I request that you have lunch outdoors please eat out here or out in the woods or whatever but not don't you can and don't congregate too much in the kitchen maybe wait until other people get there so we don't get everybody you know 40 people in the kitchen okay and we'll have another talk this afternoon to go into


more I'd like to go into more about the great what do you call I was talking to somebody about that just a minute ago the great joy of if you practice compassion people bring you more suffering if you practice compassion skillfully people do you the great honor of bringing you more suffering they say oh look how well she does with all that pain I think I'll bring her some more she's so good with it if you see somebody who's all crumpled over and totally wiped out by the suffering you don't bring them more suffering you leave them alone but somebody who's like oh that hurts a little bit you can take that mock Sebastian off me now no maybe I'll bring that person my suffering they do really well with it so if you get more


suffering it doesn't mean you're not practicing skillfully it might be that you're practicing so skillfully that the world's giving you coming to you for more help because you look like you can handle it and if you say I can't maybe the world will back off for a while but if you say yeah okay this isn't I'm here for you then you get more really you mean substantially not substantially not substantially no no in an illusory way may our intention equally extend to every being and place