No Abode Dharma Talk - March 9th, 2024

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AI Summary: 

The talk explores the concepts of reality, perception, suffering, and the relational dynamics between finite and infinite experiences. Central points include a discussion on acknowledging and valuing both finite and infinite aspects of life, with personal anecdotes and a call to recognize the complexities behind individual perceptions of reality. The discourse extends into the realm of practical empathetic engagement and spiritual presence amidst humanity's diverse and intense experiences.

References and comparisons are drawn through:
- An anecdote about a child in a wartime scenario to illustrate personal realities.
- Philosophical considerations on small views versus a big view of life.
- An introspection of facing finite experiences with a wholehearted approach.
- The film "Life is Beautiful" is cited to exemplify attitudes during extreme adversity.

The speaker intertwines these discussions with broader existential queries and individual responses to suffering, highlighting the continuous interplay between personal experience and overarching spiritual or philosophical truths.

AI Suggested Title: "Perception and Infinity: Embracing Life's Complexities"


Would anyone care to offer a conversation piece? Yes? What's the heart of worship? I guess it's a heart that worships. It could be the heart of worship, but it also could be a heart that worships, a heart that... and worship means to acknowledge worth or to recognize worth. So it would be a heart that recognizes or honors the worth of everything. Yes? This morning I remember Linda bringing up an example of a painful situation and I was kind of reflecting on that along with the discussion of reality and reality being kind of referred to as like this pivoting of finite and infinite


And I notice my mind has a tendency to kind of seize upon finite as like somehow less than, than the infinite, including like Did you say you have a tendency to think that the finite is less than the infinite? Yes. Yeah, I think a lot of people might. Anybody else have that feeling like finite is less than infinite? That's a normal human tendency. Well, the reason it concerned me is because then... She's going to tell us now the reason it concerns her, which is another finite thing. I don't know if I'll be able to, but for the person who is in that suffering situation, like Linda's example of a child in a war situation, it's very real. It has all the accoutrements of reality.


For that person. For that person, everyone around them, actually the way the whole world is holding that situation. Well anyway, many people think that that's real. They think that misery is real. Many people do. Okay, well maybe just let's take it down to the person who's experiencing it. Yeah. That is a reality of their life. You're saying that it is, but we don't know that. You don't know that that's the reality of their life, but you think so. So you think it's the reality of their life. They may or may not think that. Like the suffering baby, the reality of their life might be, my mother loves me. That might be their reality. That's really all that counts for them, is their mother loves them. That's what they may think. But their mother may think what you're saying. We don't know. We just have these little views of people.


And those who understand that we just have little views are free of little views, but not by getting rid of them. They just see the little views and they understand that all the little views are not less than the big view. As a matter of fact, the big view isn't completely included in the little views. And this is so they can be free of falling into the little views as smaller than the big view or vice versa. But that doesn't mean you go up to the baby or the mother and tell them anything. But if you understand this, you can be with them and you can love them so that they are being given this love that never is stopped by what's going on. Just like the baby who is starving to death


is receiving love at the same time. From, for example, her mother, who is also in great pain, and she's receiving love. And because she's receiving love, she can convey it to the baby. And maybe the baby, who's starving, can receive this love through the rest of her life. and become Buddha by receiving this love, which is not just her mother's love, it's the love of the entire universe coming to her. But that doesn't mean her mother says anything to her about that. It doesn't mean anybody says, I love you. But they might say, I'm here and I love you. And it really, that's reality, is that love. And that brings blessing no matter what's going on.


And that's what we want. We want to bring blessing to all suffering beings. And the blessing we bring is by helping them be right where they are so completely that they're open to the love. that they're open to what's going on with them and they're also open to Buddhist compassion. Okay, are you good for now? I'm working it out a little bit. It's hard to follow everything you're saying. I feel like it's still a problem for me when I encounter When you encounter the finite, it's difficult, right? That's already difficult, is to meet the finite wholeheartedly.


That's challenging, especially when the finite is painful. But even when the finite is pleasurable, we still have trouble meeting it wholeheartedly. Because even a pleasurable situation is very intense and the whole universe is there and we resist the reality of the situation. It's hard for us to be with anything. It's hard for us to be completely present with what is being given to us. Right? Yeah. And you can bring in the infinite, that's not going to make it easier. It's still bringing in the infinite isn't to make it easier, it's to encourage us to be more wholehearted. If you're having trouble being wholehearted with the finite, maybe it would help you to realize that actually the whole universe is there. Maybe then you would be wholehearted. The point is to be wholehearted.


That's what Buddha is teaching us. Be wholehearted and wake up. do what you're doing for the sake of awakening. But that doesn't mean it's easy to do that. It's hard to do that because we have habits of half-heartedness. Okay now? For now? Okay, Gloria and Patty? but they're a part of me, they're a part of me that's far away, but what can I do? You know, maybe there is something I can do from a distance, but I kind of see it all as a quantum field that way, it's just part of me that's not that.


Yeah, and if you're half-hearted, then you'll transmit half-heartedness to them, which they may be wholehearted so they can deal with your half-hearted gift. And then that helps you, that encourages you to be wholehearted. Sometimes you're less than half-hearted. Sometimes you're one-fourth hearted. And wholeheartedness cannot be reached. Sometimes you give up trying to reach it, and then you wake up to it. You have always been it. You have always been wholehearted, and trying to reach it is a bit of a distraction. Yeah, okay. Pardon? Trying to explain it is also half-hearted.


But you said, before you tried to explain it, you said, I'm like a quantum field. That's right. And if you're half-hearted, you're giving your half-heartedness to all of us without moving. So please, be wholehearted for our sake, for the sake of awakening. Very well. Please, you're granting my wish? You know, I'm granting my wish that you will try to practice wholeheartedly. For us, all of us. Who are you? In this perfect moment. Because it's this one. Very well. Patti? It's not reality.


Yeah, I should say that the suffering you see is not the reality of the child. The suffering that you see. Yeah, we are part of that. What we see is a suffering, we are part of that, yes. What we see is an appearance of reality, it's not reality. What you think the child is, what you think I am, is a circle of water of the child and a circle of water of what I am. Well, is that why we want to open up to the... Yeah.


Open up to the suffering. Open up to this appearance of suffering, be wholehearted with the appearance of suffering, and then we won't think that the appearance of suffering is what's going on. We'll be free of it. And that will be helpful to whatever this thing really is. Even from a distance. Yeah, distance is an appearance. There's really no distance. That's quantum fields. There's no distance in quantum fields. Really, there's no time in this realm. You take in the suffering? Yeah, I take in the suffering that I'm seeing. I take in the circle of water that my mind is creating.


I take it in. But if I wholeheartedly do it, I offer that wholeheartedness, not just to the circle of water, but to the whole ocean. So I make an ocean into a circle of water, and generally speaking, it's challenging to be wholehearted with the circle of water. And one of the ways of not being wholehearted with the circle of water is to grasp it as reality. If I'm wholehearted with the circle of water, I don't grasp it. And if I don't grasp it, then I bring that wholeheartedness to the circle of water and the whole ocean. That's what is being asked of me. But that's not skipping over this circle of water of suffering, it is wholeheartedly, completely being there. Like my friend standing next to me, why can't we always be like this? Just to be here with this painful circle of water.


And I don't know why we can't be. In other words, why can't we be the way we really are all the time? And again, I really don't know why we can't, but I do know that we can wish to be wholehearted all the time. We can wish for that, we can aspire to that. And we can notice when we're not wholehearted and then we can be wholeheartedly notice that we're not wholehearted and confess it and say, I'm sorry. And then we will gradually become free of transgressing into half-heartedness by noticing, I wasn't wholehearted, I'm sorry. And also I know that's not true that I wasn't wholehearted, but I did feel like I was resisting this suffering, and I'm sorry. I noticed that I was resisting this suffering, and I'm sorry.


And I wish to stop resisting these circles of water and stop resisting grasping these circles of water as the ocean. I wish to give up grasping circles of water as the reality of the ocean by being wholehearted with the grasping of the circles of water. Yes? In the example about being with the friend who died and then with another friend, and then I think September 11th and the intensity of that, it feels to me, or what I'm thinking now is that when it's really intense, kind of reality breaks through. And I'm wondering if reality is that intense all the time if we open up to it, you know? I don't see it as reality breaking through. I see it as reality being so intense, excuse me, me seeing that reality so intense that my resistance breaks through, that I break through my resistance.


It's always that intense, but sometimes I see how intense it is, I stop resisting it. And we spend a lot of time kind of hoping that We're trying to hold the intensity away, yeah, and for a lot of good reasons, leading us to try to hold the intensity away, but sometimes we go, oh, okay, and we just give up resisting. It's not that the reality breaks through, it's our resistance is given up. Because we have the gift of saying, this is too intense to resist. It's time for me to surrender. So did reality break through? In a way, reality broke through and got to me to such an extent that I stopped resisting it. So is it the reality that breaks through or is it my resistance that gives away?


They kind of happen at the same time. The reality gets through when I stop resisting. But that meaning is always there. Amanda. I was just recently, the film Life is Beautiful. I don't know if people know the film. The Christmas movie? Is that the one with James Stewart in it? A different one, okay. The Italian one? Okay. I guess I was reflecting on the father in that film because it's kind of like what we're talking about. His response to what was happening with his family and with his son during being in the camps and


being in this horrific situation. His response was, you never got like one, there was no divisiveness in his heart. He was just totally in it. It wasn't us and them. He was playing with the whole situation so that he could preserve his son's life and his son's consciousness. And I'm very touched by that. And it seems like a way that seems a little bit, it's so playful that I don't feel like, It's kind of foreign to me, I guess, you know what I'm saying? But he was playing. He was playing with the German soldiers. He was playing with the whole war effort that was very cruel and violent and so forth. And he gave his life, he offered his life to play with the whole situation without getting into divisiveness or this side and that side. Yeah, getting into divisiveness undermines the play. The play isn't getting into anything.


And he was according in such a way that he could play and that he could take care of his son in this situation, precisely because he wasn't entering into this other kind of mind. He was just very free to respond to everything that was happening and stay very clear about what his goals were. It was very life-affirming, this story in the middle of this horrific situation. So I guess that whole phrase of Roman play and samadhi, a lot of it's always been a mystery to me. How do you Roman with all this? But I think I'm kind of opening to that a little bit. kind of like renunciation, kind of leaving this other thing and let's just maybe open up to this other way of an open mind about the situation. And be free and be light-minded and light-hearted in this, so we can care really well for everyone we love.


And the playfulness comes from being completely there, present. Yeah. Sonia, did you have...? Yeah, I heard you say, you don't know why we can't always be present. And one time you gave us this little story about People ask why, why, why. People want to understand. And I feel like we want to make, we're story making people and we want to be able to understand something. And so, there's a, I think you're just listening to men, you're trying to let go of the story, that we can't, actually the universe is so vast, we can't really understand. And even,


just seeing something, for myself anyway, not really having a vast understanding of just simply of history or how things all came to be so that it's like thus. But I want to understand how thus, because then I can figure out how to make it not thus. So it's more like I want to know something. And you're proposing we can't I don't want to propose that we can't know. I just want to propose, number one, that this person standing next to me said, why can't we always be like this? And before he said that, before he said, why can't we be like this? He was like this. Why can't we be, why can't we always be thus? He was asking me. But before he asked the question, we were thus. And then when we're thus, we flinch and say, why can't we be this way all the time?


But before we ask the question, we were there. Before we doubt and get into like, why can't we be this way all the time, rather than just continue to be thus. Then we say, why can't we? And then I could answer. He says, why can't we be like this all the time? So then I could give an explanation. The reason why we can't be this way all the time is because we have been habitually not this way. Because we have habitually not been present, that's why we can't be present all the time. But even when we are present, and thus, we can only stand that for maybe a little while. And then we say, why can't we be that way all the time? Now let's be that way. Now let's be... Now I'm asking the question and I'm not resisting it and we are that way again. We're just like that. So we're oscillating between being thus and then trying to get away from it or get a hold of it and then saying,


I try to get a hold of it, I'm sorry, and then return to stop transgressing and be thus. And then again, the habit comes in, what's going to happen now? I'm not grasping anything. Okay, I confess it, I'm sorry. And then again. So back and forth between being present and getting distracted. being present and trying to get some access to it, trying to get some way to hold on to it. Getting a hold of it, realizing that's a mistake, confessing it and go back forth. So it's very dynamic, I should say, it is dynamic. And there's an art to it. And we're... Are you saying, like, just don't try to get anything? I wouldn't say trying not to get something is another trying to get something. But when we do try to get something, we're already slipping.


However, when we notice we're trying to get something or we think we'd have gotten something, we can confess and repent that. And then we can give up that grasping. And when we give up the grasping, we spontaneously are just the way we always want to be. Buddha's wisdom spontaneously arises when we stop grasping what's going on. It's already here. And then occasionally, for a moment, we let go of all that stuff, and it spontaneously manifests. And then the next, and then the next, huh? Did you say there's an art to not grasping? There's an art to it, yeah. It's the art of... It's the art form. This is the art form. And we can't, and nobody can teach it to us, but we can practice it by noticing, oh, I got a hold of something and I'm sorry.


That's where we started. and start again with the art form. Yes, exactly. Conversation. So, I thank you again for this wonderful day, for your wonderful conversations, for your wonderful offerings of conversation pieces, and I pray for our good health so we can continue this art form which we don't have and even Buddhas don't have it but Buddhas are exactly this conversation and nothing other than it. And I have this conversation between putting the hearing aid in so I can hear you and taking it out when I speak and putting it in so I can hear you and taking it out so I can speak.


And now they're out so I can speak and you can hear me. You need to make one of the voice unactivated so when you speak it turns off. Oh, oh, yeah, and then we'll get a hold of this, we won't have this problem anymore. We'll finally get a hold of freedom from this problem. And you can make a lot of money if you can do that one. Anyway, thank you all. Again, it's just another wonderful day.