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Human consciousness limits reality so that it can grasp "things".

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The first line there, it says, When I, a student of the Dharma ... So, this is a great teacher from 17th century Japan. No, 18th century Japan. He says, When I, a student of the Dharma, look at the real form of the universe. So, by his training as a Zen monk, his training as a Zen monk, practicing compassion to the relative world, practicing compassion towards the world of perceptions, means you're practicing compassion not towards the real form of the universe.


You practice compassion towards the unreal form of the universe. The unreal form of the universe is my perceptions of the universe. I live in the universe and I have perceptions of it, but those perceptions are unreal forms. For example, the unreal form that some things are manifestations of the truth and other things are not. But he practiced compassion to the world where some things were the truth and some things weren't. Then he could actually look at the real form. So, this being able to look at the real form is the result of thorough training. And the training is practicing compassion towards the unreal form. By practicing compassion to the unreal form for a long time,


now I can look at the real form. And when I look at the real form, all is a never-ending manifestation of the mysterious truth of the Tathagata. When you see the real form, everything is teaching you the Buddhist teaching. But in order to see that everything is teaching the Buddhist teaching, we have to look at our own delusion, which is covering the Buddhist teaching. And not separate from it, it's right there with it. So, if you're kind to your own delusion, the Buddhist teaching is right there and will be revealed. And if you're not kind to your own delusion, the Buddhist teaching is right there. In both cases, Buddhist teaching is always right there with whatever you see. However, if you're not kind to what you see, then what you see is just your own delusion.


If you're kind to your delusion, you will see that everything is the Buddha teaching you. Any event, any moment, any place, none other than the marvelous revelation of the golden, glorious light. So, we practice compassion, we have the opportunity anyway, to practice compassion to the dark. To practice compassion towards the dark discriminations of consciousness. And then we'll see that everything is a manifestation of the glorious light. It's a slight amplification of what that teacher, the Zen Master, Tore, transmitted to us.


Tough Zen practice he went through, to learn compassion to all beings. Even those who are mean to us. Even those we have been kind to, who strike at us and betray us and abandon us. In other words, who appear that way to our perceptions. But really, they don't do that. But in order to see that they don't, we have to be really kind to the appearance that they do. And not punish them for what we think they're up to. And not punish ourselves for thinking that they're up to that. I'm sorry I thought you were not a great bodhisattva. I'm so sorry I thought that.


But I'm even more sorry, I would be even more sorry if I believed that thought. But I didn't, fortunately. I thought you weren't a bodhisattva, but I didn't fall for it. I'm so happy I didn't fall for it. So now all I've got to do is say, I'm sorry for thinking you weren't, but I have good news for you, I don't believe that. I don't believe that you're not a great bodhisattva. In other words, I don't believe, quotes, you're not a bodhisattva. Which is a big relief. Can you imagine going around thinking that people weren't great bodhisattvas and believing that? I guess you can. Because you probably did that once, right? And then you got over it. I was going to congratulate you on something, but I forgot what it was. Yes?


Can I ask a question? Sure. I've heard it said from a few scholars that the best translation of karuna, compassion, that we translate as compassion, might be caring concern. Because, well for a number of reasons, but I remember in the past, I asked you what you trusted, and you said the welcoming. And I thought that was a really, that sort of stuck with me as a way to understand what it feels like to be compassionate. And I guess I wonder, does being compassionate to our delusion entail a certain affective state, or a certain emotion? Because sometimes it feels like we're being asked to manufacture an emotion that doesn't feel sincere. No, no. You're not being asked to manufacture something that doesn't feel sincere. You're being asked to manufacture something that seems sincere,


but when you first try it, you may notice it's not sincere. When I first try it? Like, you try to welcome what's going on. Yeah. You're not being asked to manufacture an insincere welcoming. Yeah. But you might do it anyway, even though you weren't asked. Because it's a free country. That's why I like the welcoming, because it feels like... Same with welcoming. ...creating space as opposed to producing. Same with welcoming. You can have an insincere welcoming. It's possible. Believe me. People can do it. They can say, welcome, and they don't mean it. And you're not being asked or encouraged to insincerely welcome people. However, you are being told that welcoming will save the world. Welcoming will save the world. If you want to try it, fine. If it's insincere, I would welcome that. If you're welcoming your insincere welcoming sincerely,


now you're on board. Well, you know, I, generally speaking, quite frequently, I don't know how many times, I don't count, but I say, in my own mind, welcome to people. And if I sense that it wasn't sincere, I say it again and again, and again and again, and then when it feels like, hey, I think it's coming on, I feel the actual welcoming, then I say, welcome. Now, sometimes it's sincere right off the bat, but if I feel it coming and I think, I say it quite a few times until I actually feel like, yeah, this is it. But I don't ask myself to insincerely welcome people. But I sometimes try out the welcoming just to see if it is sincere before I publicize it. Because if you publicize insincere welcoming by saying welcome,


it kind of confuses people because they kind of go, you said welcoming, but you don't look like it. But usually when I say it, people kind of feel like, yeah, thanks. Because I usually tell them when I actually feel like I'm on board. But there are moments when I can think the word welcome and it doesn't, like, fill my body. And we're not being encouraged to do that. We're not? We're not encouraged to be insincere, but if you are sincere, we're being encouraged to be compassionate to your insincerity. I'm not encouraging you to be cruel. But if you are cruel, I encourage you to welcome your cruelty. And if you're being cruel and you try to welcome your cruelty but you don't really mean it, I'm not encouraging you to not mean it. I'm encouraging you to learn how to really welcome your cruelty. And then you can be free of it. You can be saved from cruelty


through welcoming. You're okay now? Everything fine? It's always already okay. Okay, who is next? Maybe you're next? Okay, go ahead. Well, I might be confusing something that I've heard in the past, but I think in the past I've heard you say that human consciousness is limited and that's why we can't really see how it all works. It's not really limited. It's limiting. Limiting. It's not limited. Nothing's really limited. Nothing's really limited, but some things are trying to limit. And human consciousness is actually attempting to limit the universe into a form that it can get a hold of. And so it's got a whole universe in there that's a limited version of the universe. And there's a lot of power in this limitation thing. But it's not limited.


It just thinks that things are limited. It thinks in terms of limits. But it's not actually limited. So are you saying it's possible for us to have this vision that Gauri Pasenji is talking about? Not from consciousness, no. However, consciousness can be illuminated, is illuminated by this vision which is not confined by consciousness. If you're kind to the consciousness which is limiting things, you can become free of that limitation and see and not be caught by it and open to what is not reached by that consciousness. There's no trace of consciousness, put it this way, there's no traces of consciousness in the illumination. But the illumination can


enlighten consciousness. So it's opening to what's essentially a mystery. It's opening to the mystery. It's opening to the mystery. And you open to the mystery by being kind to the not-mystery. Consciousness is the not-mystery. Consciousness is reducing things, even mysteries, you think you know what the mysteries are. But consciousness impoverishes things so that they can be enclosed and manipulated. And there's a lot of merit in that situation. Consciousness is a very powerful, biological attainment. And it should be treated with respect and kindness and then it can't reach this vision that it sees but it can open to the illumination of that vision. Alma?


Being free from limiting, does one have to be limited first for that to be free from it? Yep. Well, I don't know about first. Because it's kind of simultaneous. Free of limits and limiting come up together. They live together. So you can't have freedom from limits without limits. But you don't have to put freedom first and limit in second, or limited first and freedom second. Anyway, limits normally come up with conscious life and by being compassionate to limits we'll be free of limits without getting rid of limits. So freedom and entrapment have the same thing? Say again? Freedom and entrapment, which to me is the limiting... Freedom and entrapment live together.


There's no freedom without entrapment. And even if there is, it's more or less irrelevant because what we're concerned about is the trapped beings. If anybody's not entrapped someplace, well, I'd say, well, fine. Good luck. Congratulations. But we have innumerable beings who are trapped and they're calling for compassion and with compassion freedom from entrapment will be realized without getting rid of the entrapment. So is the delusion... Is that what the delusion is? The delusion is that there is something as freedom and something as entrapment, so there's... That's one of the main delusions. Is that there's a freedom which is separate from entrapment. That's a delusion. That's a misconception. And then if you're attached to that, now you're deluded. If you just think about it without believing it, just an interesting thought. A lot of people actually believe


that freedom is in one universe and entrapment is in another one rather than they are close friends. Yes? Did you have something? I did. Go ahead. I was thinking about what you said about consciousness impoverishes things and I thought that consciousness... It doesn't impoverish them, it's an impoverished version of them. But things are completely like wealthy. Everything is like inconceivably wealthy. Because everything is the whole universe in that way and everything is supporting the whole universe by being itself. That's like super rich. Inconceivably rich. However, we can't get a hold of that so we make an impoverished version of it that the mind can grasp and use for various kinds of biological survival purposes.


I'm going to leave it at that. Huh? I'm going to leave it at that. Thank you. Yes? You said more about how Buddha uses devices to emancipate us from sinful karma. Buddha uses devices to emancipate us from sinful karma? Well, one of the devices is Buddha teaches us compassion practices. Those are the devices. In other words, Buddha doesn't necessarily teach us things that aren't devices. You know, it doesn't necessarily show us the real form because the Buddha has already shown us the real form and then we slap perceptions on top of it. So Buddha can't really show us the real form because we're denying it all the time. So what Buddha shows us is expedient devices which are ways of being compassionate to the unreal form.


And so Buddha shows us all these compassion practices which are tailored to each kind of suffering. So each suffering gets its own little device and each suffering, which appears to be not all the other sufferings, gets its own special medicine. It really is the same as all the suffering because it's all inseparable from everything else. But then Buddha gives special little devices for special little problems so that we can become free of the sin of projecting something on the world that's not so and believing it and telling other people that they should believe it too, or else. Does it feel kind of strong sometimes, like if by any chance such a person should turn against us to become a sworn enemy and abuse and persecute us?


Yes. It seems like a pretty harsh medicine. What's a harsh medicine? Well, if someone were to turn against us and become a sworn enemy and abuse and persecute us. Yes, we should be kind to them. Yeah, but that's the device that the Buddha uses. Oh, I don't think it's necessarily saying that Buddha's making people be mean to us. No. I don't think the Buddha's operating all the mean people. The Buddha's giving us practices to do with all the mean things that people do to us. People are mean to us in many ways and people think we're being mean to them in many ways. The Buddha's not operating the show. The Buddha's pointing out that basically the show is dependent co-arising but that's a very complex process, so complex that it's basically inconceivable to ordinary humans. So the Buddha doesn't really try to get us to see that because if we saw it, we'd just pass out.


So what the Buddha teaches us is all these devices to apply to the many kinds of attacks we get. Even these terrible ones where somebody we've been kind to turns on us and betrays us. Or even worse, somebody who's been kind to us that we betray. So I often think of that novel, The Kite Runner. Did you ever read it? The Kite Runner, it's about these two boys, basically. The main characters. And they didn't know it, but they were brothers. They had the same father. And they were pretty nice to each other but one boy was super kind to the other boy. I mean, one boy would fearlessly give his life to protect the other boy. And one time the fearless protector was being raped by a gang of boys.


And the other boy saw it and ran away. And when I read that I thought, that's like the worst thing I've ever heard of. In other words, if I did that, that would be like the worst thing I could ever do to anybody, is abandon your best friend because you're afraid of what would happen to you if you tried to help him. So Buddha is saying, if you are that cruel and that monstrous, be compassionate to that cruel person that you are. Not to mention if somebody abandoned you, who you've been kind to. That's the example there. So either you do something incredibly evil or somebody else does something incredibly evil to you, Buddha is saying, learn to be compassionate to that and you will receive the Buddha's teaching and then you'll be able to help other people receive the Buddha's teaching. But of course, he used an extremely difficult example.


And when I read that story, I must admit, I didn't immediately think, how can I be compassionate to this terrible thing? It was so horrible in a book. That's what we're trying to train to do, is not getting knocked off your compassion seat when something incredibly cruel happens. I mean, to be cruel to people who are mean to you is one thing, but to be cruel to people who are kind to you, that's another. And that's what he's saying. Even in that case. So we're trying to learn how to do that, right? And it's really hard. And gets it. I have a question related to this, about being liberated and being trapped. I was thinking about an example, an issue that I can't quite understand.


For example, you have a job, and think that the job is the problem, that you're trapped there. Would it be like finding the freedom in the situation that you are, and then being liberated from that? I couldn't quite hear you, but here's what I thought you said. You're in a job, you feel trapped, and you practice compassion without feeling trapped. And then you feel liberated. And then you're liberated. Well, first of all, you're liberated just to practice compassion. Like most people are trapped, they feel trapped, they feel so trapped, they're trapped into not being able to be compassionate. As soon as you're compassionate in your heart, you start getting pretty free. I also think of this nice story about this guy who got put in prison in the Middle East. I don't remember if it was for a crime he didn't do, I don't remember. But anyway, he got put in prison, and he was there for a while,


and then someone gave him a present. Someone from outside the prison gave him a present, and the present they gave him was a prayer rug. Because this is a Muslim country, so they gave him a prayer rug. And he thought, a prayer rug? Why didn't they give me the keys or a saw or something to get out of here? But then after some time, he put the prayer rug down, and then he thought, well, I guess I could pray on it. You know, I could do my prostrations. So he started to pray on the prayer rug. And he prayed and prayed and prayed, and he gradually started to become familiar with the pattern of the prayer rug. And as he became more familiar with it, he noticed that it kind of had an unusual shape, an unusual pattern for a prayer rug. He looked at it and said, as a matter of fact, it looked like a design for a lock. So he saw in the prayer rug how to get out of the cell.


So again, when you totally get into your entrapment, you see the way out. But in order to totally get into the entrapment, he couldn't just go like suddenly, put the prayer rug on, boom! He was not accepting the situation. He wanted to get out. He wanted the keys. He didn't want to pray for months and years and become familiar and accepting of the situation. But he did. And when he started to accept the situation, he started to get insights. He started to see the way out without leaving. And I don't know if he even left, but anyway, he saw the way out. But we're not going to see the way out if we're not compassionate to ourself and ourself and others.


We have to be compassionate to ourself, ourself, and others. And then we will see our original home. And then we'll be able to continue to practice compassion more fully. There'll be no enclosure of our compassion. We won't even know what it is anymore. It'll be beyond our idea of compassion. The way you're describing compassion seems to me like an antidote to egoism? Yep. It's an antidote. Compassion is an antidote to egoism. It's not an egoism destroyer. Compassion doesn't destroy egoism. It's an antidote to it. Or it's a good friend. It's a liberating friend to egoism. So egoism can continue


to do its egoistic things, but in a liberating way. I never thought that my ego could be so helpful. Yes? As we discuss this, I notice that I feel pretty comfortable being compassionate to, like, the guy in the book, you know, even to Trump. But as it gets closer to my actual life, the people in my life, I find that much harder, much harder to be compassionate to the perceived wrongs of my brother or my kids. Do you have any advice or observation about why that would be so? The ultimate familiarity is almost like enmity, is a phrase from the Book of Serenity,


Case 98. When you get really close, but not yet completely integrated, it's almost like war. Closeness, at the beginning of that poem, is this closeness. What closeness? The closeness of bodhisattvas. This closeness is heart-rending if you seek it outside. And as you get closer and closer, if you're seeking outside, it becomes more and more... What does outside mean? What do you mean, outside? If you're seeking outside, what does outside mean? Yeah, I think you think the closeness


is something other than this. You think, this is not closeness, I'm going to get closer. And as a matter of fact, you even think so-and-so is getting closer to you. Or, you think so-and-so is getting closer to you. Pushing you away. Or, so-and-so is threatening you. And if they're threatening you from a distance, if it's far enough away, it doesn't bother you at all. If it gets a little closer, you just move away from it. But when it gets really close, you get scared and you might attack. Like with lions and tigers, you've heard that example? Lions and tigers are afraid of you, but humans, for good reason, we're annihilating them. And they know we're dangerous, they don't want to be near us. But if we're far enough away,


they're okay. If you get closer than a certain distance, they'll move away from you. But if you get even closer, they'll go at you. But if you're actually right up intimate with them, they won't bother you at all. They won't be afraid of you if you're really intimate with them. But just before you get intimate with them, they really get scared, and so do you. Okay, here we are. Shall we call it a day? Thank you so much for another wonderful day at this wonderful little temple on this wonderful planet full of suffering and pain calling us to compassion. Shall we do it? Yes.