Paying Respect to the Great Teacher 

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We just recited a text which is about the Bodhisattva's vow, maybe written by a person named Tore, who is a disciple of Hakuin. Hakuin was the person who was involved in the story of being falsely accused and saying is that so. So, his disciple wrote something like, when I, a student of Dharma, look at the real form of the universe, all is the never failing manifestation of the mysterious truth of the Tathagata. So, there is a teaching that the Tathagata has a true body, a Dharma body, and also the


Tathagata has a manifestation body. So the true body in Sanskrit is called Dharmakaya and the manifestation body in Sanskrit is called Nirmanakaya. Someone asked me recently, well, is everything the Nirmanakaya, the transformation body of the Tathagata? And here it says, all is the never failing manifestation of the mysterious truth of the Tathagata. That sounds like everything is the Nirmanakaya, but not quite. Because he says, when I look at the true form, or the real form of the universe, at that time when I'm looking at the real form of the universe, then everything is the manifestation of the mysterious light.


Cruelty is not the transformation body of the Buddha. Cruelty is not the marvelous revelation of the mysterious truth of the Tathagata. Not everything is the transformation body of Buddha. But, when we look, when we contemplate the real body of Buddha, the real form of the universe, we are able to see the real form which does not manifest. The real form doesn't manifest. The real form is not inclined at all towards manifestation or non-manifestation. It's free of all elaboration like manifestation and non-manifestation.


It's free of coming and going. And when we contemplate, intensely contemplate this true body, we are able to see that this true body is a light, is a radiance, and this radiance gives off emanations, and the emanations are manifestations. The emanations like come and go. So if we contemplate the true body of Buddha, we can see the manifestation, the transformations, the emanations of the Buddha. So when we see cruelty, the cruelty is not the transformation body of Buddha. The cruelty is the transformation body of ignorance. The cruelty is a manifestation of ignorance, of darkness and delusion.


So we're looking at this ignorance manifesting as cruelty, but because we are also meditating on the true form, we see the transformation body of Buddha at the same time that we see this cruelty. The transformation body of the Buddha is teaching us. At the time of seeing the cruelty, it's teaching us how to be compassionate when there's cruelty appearing. The teacher, what's teaching us to be compassionate in the face of cruelty, the form we see which is reminding us, the words that remind us, the teaching that reminds us, is something that comes and goes. So the way we're taught to relate to cruelty such that beings are protected from it, that's


the transformation body of Buddha. But not everybody sees the transformation body of Buddha when they're faced with cruelty. The people who see it are the people who are thinking about the truth deeply. Then they receive instruction, they receive teaching in the face of cruelty and confusion and fear and greed and selfishness. So that they can relate to the manifestations of ignorance in a beneficial way. In any event, in any moment, and in any place, none can be other than the marvelous revelation of the light. Again, that sounds like those things are the marvelous revelation of light, but I think


that it means that no matter what's happening at any time, at any place, you can see the teaching in a manifest form that can guide you, no matter what's happening, in any moment. So he says, even though someone may be a fool, be warm and compassionate to them. We're not saying the fool is the Buddha's teaching.


He's saying, when you see a fool, remember these words. These words that are coming to you now, if they come to you when you see a fool, that's the Buddha's teaching coming to you at that time. If by any chance such a person, such a foolish person, should turn against us, become a sworn enemy and abuse and persecute us, one should sincerely bow down with humble language in reverent belief that he or she is a merciful avatar of Buddha. So if you can believe that they're a merciful avatar of Buddha, without substantiating the Buddha, the avatar or the person, then you're receiving the avatar of the Buddha.


Any response? Yes? Q. Did I hear you say ignorance is not part of the body of Buddha? A. No, I said ignorance is not an emanation of the Buddha. The Buddha is not emanating ignorance. The Buddha is not the creator of ignorance. The basic Buddha is something that doesn't come or go, but ignorance arises and ceases, comes and goes, increases and decreases, exists and doesn't exist. So the true body of Buddha has nothing to do with such things. Like knowledge too, you know, is not the true body of Buddha. Q. Insofar as it comes and goes? A. Insofar as it comes and goes, right, or increases or decreases.


And that true body also emanates light, which can manifest in the realm of coming and going, so people can see it. And what it looks like is, it appears to those who are concentrating on the Buddha, the Tathagata, the true body. So they get instruction in situations like ignorance. And those instructions are the manifestation. The instruction to be humble and kind to foolish people is a manifestation or a transformation of the totally pure body of Buddha, that's pure of coming and going, pure of any commitment. Therefore, no matter what's going on, it's possible for a teaching to come to us at that moment so we can relate compassionately to what's going on. No matter how terrible it is, we can respond to it with compassion.


Because the pure body isn't committed to anything, so it can deliver its transformation to that situation. Q. So there's no actual ground for separating oneself off, so to speak, from ignorance or even cruelty? There's no ground there? There's no real ground to separate yourself from ignorance, right? So, when you see ignorance, or you see cruelty, and you feel separate from it, like they're being cruel, or even I'm being cruel, and my cruel self right now is separate from my nice self yesterday, any sense of separation has no basis in the true body of Buddha. But the true body of Buddha emanates manifestations, unlimited manifestations means unlimited in the sense of whatever could be helpful to people could be there in some difficult situation.


And part of the logic of why it can manifest is that the source is totally uncommitted. So it's not like the source is going so it can't come, or it's coming so it can't go. It can come or go, whatever is helpful. It can come if coming is good, it can go if going is good. It can deliver a message, it can take the message back. Whatever is helpful. It manifests in response to the needs of those who live in the realm of coming and going, of birth and death. But it's not like cruelty is included. The things that arise and cease, you could say, well, they're included in the purity of the true body. But when they get included, then they're not what they were before,


because they're coming and going things, so when they go in the realm of no coming and going, they're kind of like not their old self. Yes? I wish I had that power, but I don't. What power? The power of being able to be what you describe in the presence of the cruelty or the foolishness. Yes, well, you don't have the power. The power is the power of the Buddha. The blessings of the Buddha have the power. And if you open to that power, that power will work through you. So, if you're like in some situation where you see cruelty all around you or in you, sometimes something comes to you which says, be kind, please, in a very appealing way.


And you say, okay, a moment ago you were like not into being kind, and now somebody says, be kind, and you say, that sounds good. But it wasn't by your own power that that came, but it was by your openness that it was allowed to enter you. So, if you're busy being cruel and not paying attention to the true body of Buddha, then you're not only cruel, but you're close to help. If you're cruel and you say, yes, I'm cruel, but I admit it. And I admit it to the big, great teacher. As a matter of fact, I admit it as an act of prostration. I admit it as an act of prostration, as an act of paying my respects to the pure, completely uncommitted, true body. And in that openness, if cruelty arises in me or around me,


I can receive further instructions. But it's not my power, and even my ability or my function to open is not by my own power. But it's by my past practice, and the past people who helped me practice, those conditions give rise to me being able to open to instructions about what to do in cruelty. So, if people are being cruel and you get a little message, be kind. Does that make sense? Yeah. Yes. It was a trolley car, I think, an above-ground train. You want to tell it?


You don't remember it? He remembered that it was a train, but he had it below ground. So, the story as I heard it, it's an Aikido teacher who used to live in Marin County. His name was Terry Dobson, and he came to Green Gulch a few times. And... So, the story is, if I can state the story, he was in Japan someplace, maybe Tokyo. He was on a trolley car, and a large man got on the trolley car and was moving aggressively around in the car, kind of like, I don't know what, in a kind of threatening manner. I don't know if he was yelling at people, but he was moving in a threatening manner, scaring the people on the train, appeared to me maybe intoxicated. And he was sitting in the back of the train, and he reports that in his mind he was saying,


wait till this guy gets back here, I'm going to take care of him, I'm an Aikido master. And the guy was moving towards him, and the trolley stopped, and a little old man got on the train, and when he saw this large younger man, he said something like, hello sweetheart, how are you, what's the matter? And the guy, I think, pretty much burst into tears and said that his wife just died. And the old man commiserated with him, and he was totally pacified. And the Aikido master didn't have a chance to throw him across the trolley car. But he's the one who told the story, and he's the one who kind of confesses that he lost track of the spirit of Aikido, that he was going to teach this guy a lesson.


That the old man's love of him was really more the true spirit, and that really converts in this case. And also in the story of the Buddhist story of meeting the mass murderer Angulimala, the Buddhist love of this murderer is what converted him, his friendship. So Catherine asked me to give her a book I told her about called The Buddha and the Terrorist, about that story, which is written by a friend of mine named Satish Kumar. The Buddha and the Terrorist, and in that story his point is that the Buddha was friendly to this person, and this person couldn't believe he was friendly, but the Buddha just kept explaining he was friendly, and finally the guy just gave up and tried to kill the Buddha, but wasn't able to. And he asked the Buddha, why can't I kill you, why can't I catch you?


And the Buddha said, because I stopped. And he snapped out of his insane, violent mind, and became a wonderful student of the Buddha. Yeah. Did you have your hand raised? I think Sonia was a little ahead of you. Sonia? You're translating, are you? Okay, checking the translation here. It's about... I'm in my translation now. You can't do the power, the power isn't... You don't have the power to be kind. Anyway, how I was translating that is the teaching that I feel like I've gotten from you about the power of aligning with your intention.


It's not your intention that does it, but that alignment, reminded of what it is you're committed to. It's not that you are kind, you just remember the teaching that you want to align yourself with that comes forth. So, aligning yourself with compassion, that alignment doesn't come by your own power, but that alignment has power. And compassion has power, and aligning with it has power, but it's not my power. And being aligned with me is powerful, being aligned with you is powerful. And I'm powerful too, but my power is not the power that comes from aligning with my power. So I'm a powerful being, you're a powerful being, but then there's a power of you aligning with yourself, which is not yours. So my power is my power, your power is your power,


but our aligning with our power belongs to neither of us. You being aligned with your power is as much mine as it is yours. And my being aligned with my power, or my being aligned with myself belongs to everybody. It is that kind of power. It's when you're flexing your muscles, your muscles being flexed and being aligned with your flexed muscles. That's power. So you can put your arms up and flex your biceps, it's okay. And that's what you call your power. But you being aligned with that, being a muscular woman, you being aligned with that, that's the Buddha's power. And you being aligned with it, it's transmitted to me, it doesn't belong to you.


But also you get to be aligned. When we're aligned, the alignment gets transmitted. Is that like the karmic retribution in the Three Times? Is it like that? No, karmic retribution in the Three Times... Why I would bow down or see that as an avatar or a message or a teaching? The avatar is something to emancipate us from our karma. So our usual karma is, somebody is being obnoxious to us, our usual karma is, strike back, protect ourselves.


But when somebody aggressive, when someone says, I'm your sworn enemy, this is an opportunity for this person to free you from your karma, if you can see them properly. They aren't the maturing of your karma, they're an opportunity for your karma to be matured and for you to be released from it. Like it says in the Diamond Sutra. If you're practicing the Diamond Sutra, people will revile you. Or if people revile you when you're practicing it, realize that what they're doing is they're offering you an opportunity to mature your karma early. To let their revilement be the maturing of your karma. And say, thank you for maturing my karma in this way,


rather than the way it would mature if I wasn't practicing. When you're practicing, what do you call it? You foreshorten the maturing of your karma. It's a quickening. You could say quickening, I guess. And so you get to deal with it now, in the sense of I'm dealing with it now, and I'm grateful to deal with it now. Rather than getting angry at it and creating more, plus pushing away the opportunity to practice with this insult. Is the fact that it's arising at all karmic retribution, or that's a whole other...? Well, it's saying that, in that example it's saying that when people insult you,


it might be, it actually says it more strongly than that, but it is the maturing of something which would be worse if it matured later. So you should be grateful it's maturing in the form of insult, rather than maturing in the form of you not paying attention to it, or you fighting it. You fighting it would be not really maturing, but I guess maturing in a way where you can't even remember this teaching. If it matured in such a way that you couldn't even remember the teaching that we're giving you right now. That would be worse. So, if you can hear me now, this is good, you're lucky. You should be happy that you can hear this strange way of talking. Yeah. Catherine?


Well, I have two things. Two? One is a message from Pasahara, a staff called during her work period, and she asked me to tell all the people at Novo that the people at Pasahara send their devotion and support. The people at Pasahara do what? Send their devotion and support to their sisters and brothers at Novo. Isn't that amazing? Wow. Delicious. Would you reflect that back, please? Pardon me? Would you reflect that back? I'll do my best, thank you. And then my question is pretty straightforward, I think. I hope. When you said at the beginning, you said that ignorance isn't a manifestation of dharmakaya, or, I mean, cruelty is not the manifestation of the dharmakaya, it's a manifestation of ignorance. And I've had this question as I've listened to some talk about these kayas recently.


Whether we use the word nirmanakaya for a manifestation that's not a manifestation of the dharmakaya or the Tathagata. Yeah, I'm suggesting not. We don't. So we only use the word relative to... It's the body of the Buddha. It's not all manifestations. Okay. Because I heard some use of the word in a fuzzier way, that's why I wanted to clarify that. Yeah, that's why I brought it up, because someone said, the nirmanakaya is everything the Buddha is teaching. And I would say, when you're meditating on the true body of Buddha, then no matter what's happening, you can see the teaching coming through the thing, even though the thing, cruelty, is not the teaching. But the teaching is inseparable from the cruelty, because the teaching is for that instance,


the teaching comes for that situation. So the teaching is not just floating around, it's a teaching for you when you see cruelty. And you wouldn't use the word nirmanakaya to say, for example, Meg's nirmanakaya? No, Meg's not nirmanakaya. I mean, even when a nirmanakaya comes, visibly from Meg, it's not hers. Like Shakyamuni Buddha, right? Usually they say Shakyamuni Buddha is the nirmanakaya. But when the person who was Shakyamuni Buddha was standing in front of somebody, and they didn't see that it was the Buddha, they just saw it was a man, at that time this person was not seeing the nirmanakaya. Now people say, but the nirmanakaya was there, but that's somebody else looking who can see the nirmanakaya. So one person is looking at the Buddha and sees, oh, this is the Buddha, the other person is looking at the Buddha and seeing, one says, this is a Buddha man,


the other one says, this is a monk man, not the Buddha. So in that case, the nirmanakaya is not working for the second person. That's because the second person is not contemplating the dharmakaya, not contemplating the true body of Buddha. You can't see the nirmanakaya all by itself, you have to be meditating on something more fundamental in order to open, you have to open to the fundamental to be able to see the manifestation. So I often tell this story, it's called the Discourse on Elements from the Middle Length Sayings of the Buddha, and it's about a person named Pukasati, actually a sage, the person is a sage, he's already a spiritual teacher of some note, but he's also humble, he's spiritually evolved positively,


a teacher of many people, but also still somewhat, not sure if he really perfectly understands the reality. And he gets, he sort of questions, you know, and he gets worried that there is a teacher who can settle his doubts for him, so he humbly sets out to meet the Shakyamuni Buddha. And he meets the Shakyamuni Buddha, who also sort of gets worried that the guy is coming to look for him. So the Buddha walks to meet him, and they meet each other in a pottery shed. And he meets the Buddha, but he doesn't know what the Buddha is like, he never met the Buddha before, so he thinks it's just a wandering monk. He's somewhat respectful, but not particularly respectful, because he thinks he's meeting a peer. So he doesn't see the Buddha. Well, but this is the Buddha. But he doesn't see the Buddha. So, for him, the nirmanakaya is not there.


Even though people say, but the nirmanakaya was there. No. So then he listens to the Buddha, and he opens to what the Buddha is saying, the Dharma, and then he sees it's the Buddha. Then he sees the nirmanakaya. But he doesn't see a person, he hears the Dharma. When he hears the Dharma, he sees that the person that was there before isn't just a person, it's the Buddha. Yes? So, just to clarify Katherine's question, so if the Dharma is coming through a person, Katherine, not the historical Buddha, do we call that the nirmanakaya? Yes. But it's not mine. And it wasn't Shakyamuni Buddha's either. The Dharma didn't belong to him, he didn't own it, but it came through him, he discovered it, and let it come through him, big time. But sometimes people saw him,


while he was delivering the Dharma, maybe quite a few people were sitting there looking at him, but only one person saw him. He was talking to a lot of people, there might be some of his enlightened disciples in the congregation, who already see the Dharma, and they actually see the actual Buddha. But among the new people, maybe only one, he sees this guy is ready, or this woman is ready. And he's talking to that one person, and that one person sees the nirmanakaya for the first time. But people see in terms of things that come and go, like bodies, so they're looking at a body which comes and will go, and while they're looking, they hear the Dharma, and then they see the Dharma is coming through that person. So then it's a teaching that comes and will go, that arises and ceases and instructs. And when you see that, of course, you're very happy.


And then we can keep venerating that person, where we saw the nirmanakaya. But if you meet somebody and do a ceremony of veneration, you can also remember you're venerating the great teacher, you're venerating the true body of reality, which is the great teacher. And then at veneration you open to see the Tathagata, I mean the transformation body, the nirmanakaya, which is not the person, it's like the person sitting there talking, maybe somebody can make that noise. So you're listening to that, keep it up. And then you hear, they're not making that sound, they're still going,


and maybe very nicely too, and maybe somebody's even writing down what they're saying, and they're going to make a book out of it. So the Buddha is talking away, he's talking to Prakasati and actually write down what he said. Because he was saying, the Buddha didn't just, what he said is important, so they wrote it down. But they also pointed out that while Prakasati was listening, so they said the Buddha is saying this, this, this, while Prakasati was listening, he realized who was talking. He realized that he was listening to this person. Oh, something else is coming. It's the Buddha. So he heard something in that talk that made him realize, this isn't just talk, this is Dharma. So this must be the Buddha. And he let the Buddha finish the talk. He didn't say, stop, I see who you are now. He let him finish, and afterwards he said, I was looking for my teacher and my teacher has come.


I'm so sorry I didn't really venerate you properly at the beginning. And the Buddha said, that's true, you didn't, and I accept your confession. And to recognize a mistake as a mistake turns the Dharma wheel. So it was a mistake to talk to the Buddha that way, because the Buddha was there, and the Nirmanakaya was there, but not for him. So he made a mistake. And when he saw it, but it's like, one time I was hearing Kadagiri Roshi talk, and he was talking, you know, trying to talk, trying to speak English, he was doing his best, and I was listening to him, but then I kind of like, it's almost like I couldn't hear him anymore, and I heard something else. And the thing I heard was, I thought, what is that? I thought, maybe that's the Dharma that I'm hearing now. It wasn't English, it wasn't Japanese, it wasn't even a sound,


but I felt like, oh, what is that? That's kind of cool, whatever that is. It kind of like put whatever he was saying into the shade, so to speak. Even though we all appreciated his effort to give that talk. There was this other thing which was really kind of like, wow, what is that? That's really awesome, whatever that is. It's kind of like that. That's the nirmanakaya. I guess it's a question about verification or validation. Yeah? It's easy perhaps to be in an empirical framework where some kind of common measure might be used to validate some understanding. But in this context,


I struggle with some sense of idealism and uncertainty or skepticism about the capacity to verify. I just sit and say, oh, hey, I'm a nun. Yeah, so the verification usually happens in a conversation. The person is not verifying it by themselves. They don't say, oh, I heard the Dharma. They may say that to themselves, but that's not verification, that's just your opinion. So then what you do is you go, this verification is coming in, how do you call it, coming in the context of venerating the great teacher. So you venerate the great teacher and you get some enlightenment and you don't verify it yourself, you just say, well, I'll continue the veneration


and the veneration process, see if the veneration process verifies my understanding. I think I understand now. I think I understand that this person who I thought was just an ordinary person, I understand now that the Buddha is here too. So I'll talk to this person and tell them about it and see what they say. So the guy said, now I see who you are. And the Buddha said, well, you're right, that is who I am. I'm speaking for the fact that you got this right. So in these stories I told earlier, in the daily life interactions between the venerator and the veneratee, in those daily life miracles, the practice is also the verification. And sometimes the teacher might say, like in the first story, the student says, don't turn your back on me, don't be so formal. The student gets up to leave


and the teacher doesn't call out. No verification. That story maybe doesn't have any verification. But when the teacher calls out and the student comes back with the water in the bowl, the teacher can receive the water and use it. Rather than saying, not water, no, you shouldn't bring water, bring wine. And that's another story. Bring wine, I don't want water now. Or bring me some salt. I don't want water, I want salt. And then how the student responds to that is the verification process. In the story we had, it's one where the student has an understanding. The student comes into the room, the teacher is napping, the teacher turns over, the student has an understanding, the student says, don't be formal, I'm your student. And then the student demonstrates his further understanding by starting to leave.


The teacher gets up and says, hey, come back. The student comes back. This is his understanding. His understanding is, you asked me to come back, I'm coming back. And the teacher says, I want to tell you about my dream. The student leans forward. The teacher says, I want to see how you understand it. I'm going to verify your understanding of my dream. What's my dream? One dream is my dream of our relationship. I had a dream that we had a relationship. And I want you to interpret it. So the student's interpretation is, bring water. In this case, the teacher said, receive the water, wash his face, this is verification. That was correct. Not so much that was correct, but I can verify that.


And you got a towel too? I'll verify it by drying my face. And the other disciple comes in to verify his understanding. He's been listening. Let me verify mine. He starts to approach the teacher. Then the teacher gives him a chance. Okay, we've been having miracles here. Now you get to try. The old man was testing his own understanding. Yeah, right. His understanding is, I love beings. I'm compassionate. Now I'm going to try to see if I can verify it by getting on a train with the people who are on the train. Oh, here's a thug. Here's a drunk thug. Okay, let's try it now. Hello, sweetheart. What's the matter? And the guy verified it. That worked. And Terry Dobson got to see the verification. So the verification happens by our relationships.


Miraculously. But sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes we just stay in our rut. Somebody insults us and we say, I didn't do that. That's not me. But at that time, you don't really feel like you're verifying your position, but you don't feel like you're verifying venerating the great teacher. You don't feel like you're verifying Buddha. You feel like you're just... Oh, here's another example of me trying to prove that I'm right. That old one. This is not the Buddha's work. So we do need verification. And the best place to do it is in our daily life, which is like now, with what's going on now. And now the teacher's napping. So... verify with that. Teachers don't nap. They're always awake.


They don't lie around on the ground. They're like sitting in full lotus, glowing. And floating. And well, if that's the case, we'll relate to that. And then see if your relationship is kind of confirmed. Just... The spectacular, wondrous working powers and miraculous powers of enlightenment. Yes. And they're tested in daily life. And sometimes the test fails. People are looking up there. Is there something up there? I just heard a movement. Oh, you heard a movement and you looked up. It might be an avatar. An avatar may be coming. So I just wanted to note that... Hear that sound?


Celestial choirs. Or maybe just big tires. Tomorrow, Daylight Savings Time takes a break. So next time we meet here, it'll be darker. In the afternoon. And won't that be fine? To be here together in the dark. Thank you for today and tomorrow. May our intention