The Seeds and Fruits of True Awakening 

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The Seeds and Fruits of True Awakening

March 29, 2012 at The Yoga Room
Part three of a seven part series based on the Six Paramitas


Transcribed by Barbara Byrum


I’d like to begin with a meditation on the title of this series of classes. There is a tradition – it is very strong in the practice of the Buddha way in China, and I think it is also part of Indian tradition, and now, tonight, we will make it part of the American tradition – to study the title of a text. The text of this class was published as Zen Meditation: The Seeds and Fruit of True Awakening. I would like to begin the comments by saying that the title could be Zen Meditation is the Seed and Fruit of True Awakening. Zen meditation is the whole awakening process from primordial ignorance to the highest possible state of consciousness of life, which we sometimes call, sometimes, buddhahood. One way to understand Zen meditation is that whole process.I began the series by talking about the aspiration to realize this fruit, this fruit of being able to help beings in the optimal way. Aspiration. So aspiration is the seed, the particular aspiration to realize enlightenment for the welfare of all beings, or to realize an enlightenment that is the welfare of all beings. That’s the seed. That’s the seed of buddhahood. The beings that are on the path to buddhahood, who are sometimes called bodhisattvas, and sometimes they are called Zen people. They progress in this process to realize buddhahood by means of the aspiration to realize it for the welfare of others. They progress by means of this vow, this aspiration. They progress by taking care of the aspiration. They progress by carrying out the aspiration. They progress supported by the aspiration, so the aspiration upholds those on the path, and those on the path take care of what upholds them. They sometimes forget to take care of it, and that is called a setback, or it is called forgetting. There are practices for when we are forgetful. Zen meditation includes this aspiration, is based on this aspiration. Zen meditation takes care of the aspiration, protects it, and is supported by it. Zen meditation doesn’t forget the aspiration, but in the process of Zen meditation, one does forget it. The forgetting isn’t the meditation. The meditation is the way you take care of the forgetting. The way to take care of forgetting is to remember and go back to take care of the aspiration again. As I mentioned last time, one can use for an example the lotus plant. It is a particularly good plant to use to exemplify the process of Zen meditation. I don’t know if all plants follow this pattern, and I don’t even know if the lotus follows this pattern, but I have the story about the lotus, that I told you last time. There is a seed, and in the seed, there is the fruit. Buddhahood is actually in the aspiration to realize it. I guess this may be true of many fruits: fruits contain seeds. The seeds they contain are similar to, but not identical, with the seeds from which they arose. I don’t really want the seeds in the fruit to be identical with the seeds that gave rise to them, although maybe some of them could be identical. I would like some mutation, actually, because the mutation might make fruits that give rise to seeds, which could adapt to environments and situations, which are unprecedented, but need to be cared for.In the process of the lotus, you have the seed which contains the fruit, and the seed is cared for. One way to care for the seed is to ensconce it, inbed it, in wet earth, and have some warmth there. The seed germinates, and when it germinates, somehow it may go up out of the mud into the air, and start to develop a relationship – actually, seeds, I think, can already have a relationship with the sun under the ground. The ground does not obstruct the sun completely. The sun comes through them mud and touches the seed, to some extent. The water and the sun bring the seed into sprouting. The sprout comes up out of the earth and continues its relationship with the sun and the mud – sun and mud means it continues a relationship with earth, water and light. Maybe we could say the sun, but maybe plants are actually getting light from other stars, but just farther away. Maybe the plants are studying astronomy. Who knows?Anyway, the sprout is coming up, and at some point, the sprout flowers. In the flower, the seeds are there too. The first seeds and the coming seeds are there, but the coming seeds don’t look like they do, when the flower becomes the fruit. In the lotus this wonderful thing happens, which I don’t think that I told you. When the flower opens – there can be a flower that is closed, right; and that’s a pretty good thing too. A closed lotus blossom is a wonderful thing, but lotus blossoms sometimes open, and they usually open in the daylight, and they actually close at night, I heard. Then they open again in the daylight, and they close again. They do that for awhile. Did you know that? When they close at night, sometimes, insects go in and camp out, because when the lotus closes, it makes a warm, little house for some insects. They hang out there, and it opens up again. Eventually this opening and closing comes to a conclusion, and there is a last opening. There is not closing anymore. The petals drop away. But when the lotus opens, it exposes the fruit. The fruit isn’t fully developed, but the opening of the flower shows the fruit. Then the petals drop away, and the fruit is completely exposed and is close to maturity. When it is quite mature, the stem becomes – well you could say, stressed by the maturity of the fruit, and it can’t hold it up anymore. So the fruit tumbles back over into the mud, and the fruit goes down in the mud now. In the fruit are little pod pockets where the seed pockets are – the little round seed balls aren’t the seeds, each one of the balls has quite a few seeds in it, and there are several pockets for the seeds. The whole fruit goes into the mud, which needs to be somewhat wet for this process to happen, and the seed pods within the big pod start to swell within their containers. Can you picture it? So the lotus has all these compartments for these seed balls and then the seed balls go in the water, and they swell up and they swell up and they swell up within the containment of the whole body of the fruit, the containing body of the fruit. The time comes when the pressure goes up so much that the seed pod explodes. The fruit explodes, flies out of the mud into the air to send the seeds all over the place, sends the seed balls all over the place. The seed balls then go in the ground. They break open, and then many seeds come from them.This is the same way that the process of enlightenment works. So we have this aspiration. That is the beginning of Zen meditation is the aspiration. This aspiration needs to be cared for, for the whole process, just like the seed for the lotus is cared for, for the whole process. The way it is cared for is the development of the flower. The way you care for the seed of the aspiration is now by doing Zen meditation in the form of these innumerable practices, but basically six types. Six types of practice take care of the seed and develop it, send it towards maturity. Meantime, these practices, which are taking care of the aspiration, are supported by the aspiration. Without the aspiration being renewed, the practices which mature the aspiration, will lose energy.So part of this class is to find aspiration, hear practices to take care of and develop the aspiration, but also to learn how to take care of the aspiration, so that the aspiration can support the practices which mature it. The aspiration also matures the practices which care for it. But we have to keep remembering what the aspiration is. You need to; otherwise, the energy, which is going into the practices which mature the aspiration, the energy will be used up. It get used up, it gets used up, it gets used up over and over again. It gets used up for this wonderful project of caring for this aspiration gets used up by practicing generosity, ethical discipline, patience, energy, concentration, and wisdom. It gets used up by those practices. It gets used up by listening to the teachings over and over and over. It gets used up by listening to the text, which is Zen meditation. It gets used up by contemplating Zen meditation. So we have to go back again and again What is the point again? Oh yeah, right. That would be good! Let’s do it!... What are we doing here, again? We’re in the process of realizing authentic awakening for the welfare of all beings. We’re in the process of caring for aspirations, so we can plunge into reality, and from reality be able to practice these practices even better, and help beings in the greatest possible way. That’s right! That sounds good. I feel up for it. Let’s do it. Let’s practice all these practices in the proper way. What is that way, again? Let’s check it out. We can’t remember it? Well, we’ll just go back. Where’s the text? Let’s read it again. Let’s read it again and again. I heard that those who enter reality are those who hear the text again and again. What text? The text of Zen Meditation, the teaching of the Great Vehicle. Part of the teaching of the Great Vehicle is to listen to the teaching of the Great Vehicle a lot. Everyday? Yes, if possible! That would be good. How about more than once a day? Great!I wanted to say something about the word “perfect” or “perfection.” These practices, which care for this aspiration, and bring it to maturity as buddhahood, these practices are sometimes called “perfections.” The Sanskrit word for them is paramita, which more literally means “gone beyond, transcendence.” So perfection is related to that in the sense that you do a practice to completion, to perfection. The root of the word perfect, I believe, is “complete.” So you do these practices which care for the bodhi aspiration, you do these practices to completion, to perfection. Then, just to make sure they are perfect, you go beyond them. So all these practices are to be done to completion and beyond. There is an important element of the twelve step recovery movement with the term “addiction to perfection” is used. In other words, part of the addiction process is related to trying to be perfect. So when we use the word perfect in Zen practice or Zen meditation, we have to be careful of that word, just like we need to be careful of all words. One of the ways to be careful of the word is to mention that the addiction to perfection, I would say, is a way that imperfect beings distract themselves from who they are. So I think that addictions are a way that we distract ourselves from our life. One of the addictions would be to distract ourselves from our imperfection, because wouldn’t that be nice to be someplace else from our imperfection? Rather than be addicted to perfection and use the idea of perfection as a distraction, these perfections are specifically set up for imperfect beings to fully embrace their imperfection. When you fully embrace your imperfection, then you will become Buddha. What does imperfection mean? Imperfection means “incomplete.” In what sense are we incomplete? In what sense are we not whole? We are incomplete because we believe that we are separate. We believe the appearance – and there is the appearance that we are separate from each other – that we are separate. In that sense we are imperfect. We are incomplete, because we think that the part of us which is other people is not us. And most of what we are is everybody else. Almost all of what we are is everybody else. Matter of fact, we are totally everybody else. Everybody else completely accounts for us, or everything else completely accounts for us. We are not the slightest addition to everything else which is “not us.” Part of “not us” is our personal history, is our body, is our teeth. But there really isn’t a “me” in addition to all those things, which I don’t think are me. I do think that these are my teeth, but I don’t think that my teeth are me. I think that this is my history, or my driver’s license, but I don’t think that my driver’s license is me. But part of me is my driver’s license, and I have some good stories to prove it, as you know.We are simply the grand total of other. None of us is anything in addition to other. But we think so. None of us is any addition to the universe, which we think as other. In the sense that we believe the illusion that the universe is other, we are incomplete. These practices, these perfections, are to help us to completely embrace our incompleteness. Somebody just said to me, he was looking inward, and he said, “I am looking inward, and I am asking, ‘Who is talking?’” I thought he maybe wanted me to say something, so I did. “There is no who in addition to the talking. There is a talker, but the talker is not addition to the talking.” Or you could say there is just a talker. There is not talking in addition to the talker. There is no self in addition to the activity of talking. But we think there is. We think, There is somebody who is doing the talking here. If you do these practices with situations like that, and there are plenty of those situations, those imperfect, incomplete situations, if you do these practices, you enter the reality That’s just an illusion.I am okay with us being cautious about the word perfection, and maybe not even using it anymore, but if we do use it, we would be good to be careful, and if we are careful, maybe we can use it. Maybe it is somewhat useful. Again, these practices can be called “perfect practices” or the “perfected practices” or the “perfecting practices.” Or the completing practices, the completed practices, the complete practices.I think that I was about to say something like this last time, and I don’t think I completed the thought. This is not the thought; now I am going to repeat something. This aspiration, this seed, needs to be cared for, in order to be realized, in order to come to fruit, in order to mature. The way to care for it until maturity, this particular seed, anyway, this seed of wishing to be most beneficial in this world, that seed is brought to fruition by practices. Without practices, without training, it doesn’t come to fruition.One of the ways to practice with it is called “ethical discipline,” which is the second of the six. But also, ethical discipline is actually all six, because if one is committed to realize the supreme fruit of this aspiration, then if that was your aspiration, then it would be your ethical duty to practice all six. The second one is called ethical discipline, and I think I did mention this last time, the second of the six, ethical discipline, actually includes all six for one who aspires to buddhahood. Also, the ethical discipline of the bodhisattvas has three aspects. One is the ethical discipline of restraint. The other is the ethical discipline of developing the qualities of an awakened one, and the third is the ethical discipline of serving or trying to help all beings be matured to buddhahood. The third one is helping them and maturing them. These three are interwoven. The first one is basically the ethics of restraint. Its essence is restraint. The second two, their essence, their quality, is exertion. So the first one is about restraint, and the second one is about exerting these six practices. So the second of the six includes three, and the second of the three is the six. So the ethical discipline of one is practicing the six, is to practice of the six, but also to practice of the ethics of restraint and the ethics of benefitting and maturing beings.Another way these are interwoven – I don’t know if you are following this, but I will just finish this thought. Another way these three aspects of bodhisattva ethics are interwoven, is that the ethical training of benefitting others and maturing others, you do that by means of these six practices. The six practices, the first three are for benefitting beings, and the last are for maturing, or transforming them. Unenlightened beings can be benefitted, and they can be encouraged. They can be benefitted by the first three practices. The first three practices that mature our aspiration, namely generosity, ethical discipline, and patience that benefits beings. When we relate to beings through ourselves and others, these three practices that benefit suffering beings. That benefits beings that are not enlightened. If we are not enlightened, practicing these three will benefit us, plus practicing those three will protect our aspiration.The next three, if we are practicing with ourself, transform us into enlightened beings and also mature us. The same when we practice and show others how to do these practices, after benefitting beings, then we mature them. We mature them with this heroic effort to practice meditation or concentration or wisdom. Okay. You may have been able to follow that, but I want to say one more thing before I open up for questions, and that is I’d like to focus on the ethical training which is called “the precept of restraint.” I also want to mention that these three bodhisattva ethical trainings are sometimes called “The Three Pure Precepts.” I want to say at the beginning, and I will say it again, probably, these three pure precepts, usually we cannot start practicing them purely. We start practicing them in a kind of impure way, and by practicing in an impure way, we will eventually be able to practice in a pure way. Because, again, these three practices also care for the aspiration and take us into reality, and entering into reality, we are able to practice these three ethical disciplines in a pure sense. Then they really become pure practice. The key factor in making these ethical practices, making all the practices pure, is the first pure precept. The first pure precept is the precept of restraining impurity, in a sense. Again, purity and impurity are difficult words, but, anyway, there they are. Another way to do it, which maybe doesn’t have the purity/impurity stigma is that the first aspiring to be pure ethical discipline of restraint is to restrain what we call “outflows.” Outflows are – what do you call it? – rephrased as impurity, or delusions. Just using the word outflow, which may be more neutral for us, these outflows are the way we live when we are trying to get something out of living. So the ethics of restraint is to try to restrain trying to get something out of, for example, the aspiration. Do you have this wonderful aspiration to do something really wonderful in this world? Do you got the aspiration? Now, you want to practice…do you want to take care of that aspiration so that it can come to maturity? Then you practice ethical restraint with it. Restraint, in other words, don’t try to get anything from this wonderful thing. Don’t try to get anything, don’t try to gain anything, from this aspiration to be beneficial. Restrain the natural, familiar human imperfection of trying to get something out of the situation. Restrain it. Restrain it as an act of compassion, as an act of benefitting the mind where gaining impulses are arising. Practicing this training protects the aspiration, matures the aspiration, but also that ethical discipline will protect the other practices. It will protect the giving. Again, giving where you are trying to get something is a faulty giving. So you practice giving, and then you move on to practice ethics, and then look back at the giving to see, Was I trying to get anything from that giving? Was I trying to get more goodness for me and my friends? Was I trying to set something by the giving? Oh, I was! Okay, then, confess it and let go of that.In a way, this first of the first three precepts, which is trying to take care of this aspiration, this first one, in a way, is the most like…I don’t know what it is like. Of the three it is the one…most of the Zen stories are about this one. What is it about? It is about the way students and teachers work together, where the students and teachers help each other try to practice without trying to get something out of the practice. A lot of times in these Zen stories they don’t mention that these people are practicing generosity, patience, meditation, and studying teachings about wisdom. They don’t mention that so much. They are mostly emphasizing how the Zen monks are often trying to get something from the teacher. Some of them give up a lot, and go way out of their way to study with a teacher, and go to the teacher. They walk up to the teacher and try to get the teaching from the teacher. Doesn’t that seem reasonable? I went to the teacher to get the teaching. Yeah, right! The teacher, then, oftentimes doesn’t seem to give them what they came to get. Some people might think, The teachers are trying to be difficult. But maybe it comes quite naturally to them that they somehow just naturally don’t give whatever anybody is trying to get from them, and that this is their generosity. If someone is not trying to get something, then they give it to them. Like the great Master Ma says, “If you have a staff, I’ll give it to you. If you don’t have a staff, I will take it away.” This is the first of the first three precepts is really a critical, purifying exercise. Another way to put it is that Zen meditation – Zen practice – the path to buddhahood, the bodhisattva practice, has to be enlightenment. Otherwise, it has outflows. What outflows would the practice have? The practice of the outflow, This is the practice we are doing…Here is another one, The aspiration to realize Buddhahood has to be Buddhahood. All the practices to realize buddhahood have to be enlightenment; otherwise, the practices have outflows. What outflows do they have? They have the outflows of this practice is separate from what it is working for. If it is, you have problems. It is never going to get there if it is separate. It is defiled by the duality that is imagined between the practice and the enlightenment. So the practice must be enlightenment; otherwise, the practice is defiled. Defiled by somebody thinking that it is separate from the enlightenment. Turn it around, the enlightenment must be practice. Got an enlightenment? Anybody have an enlightenment? If you do, it’s gotta be a practice. It can’t be like Hey, enlightenment! It’s gotta be enlightenment. That’s a practice. In other words, enlightenment, in this precept, must be daily life. This precept is the precept that unifies the monastic and the lay. That’s a wonderful thing about the Great Vehicle. This precept unifies the monastic and the lay. Some peoples’ karma is monastic karma. Some is lay. But if you do this practice, your daily life is enlightenment. If you don’t do this practice, then your daily life is not enlightenment, because you are not doing this practice. What’s this practice? It is the practice of restraining the outflow that your daily life is one thing, and enlightenment is another. That outflow is quite natural for it to arise. You don’t have to kill it. Just say, Hello outflow. Hello a thought that enlightenment must be a little bit different than what I am doing right now, because what I am doing right now, my daily life, is like thinking that I am better than some people. If I look carefully something that I just said, it sounded like that I am better than other people. It does imply I thought I was better. Maybe I do think that I’m better, and that’s not good. Because one of the bodhisattva precepts is, Don’t go around thinking you are better than other people. Or if you do, restrain it! The best way to restrain it is not to try to crush it, but to understand that being an imperfect, self-righteous, arrogant, living being has to be enlightenment. Otherwise, not only am I a judgmental blah blah, but I am defiled too. Not only am I a judgmental blah blah, but I am not doing the practice now, because I can’t do the practice now, because I’m…that wouldn’t make sense to do practices now, because like I don’t want to reinforce my imperfection. But if I don’t do the practice with my imperfection, my practice has outflows, because I only do it when I’m a good boy.Every situation of daily life has to be enlightenment; otherwise, the enlightenment has outflows. Any enlightenment that can’t be applied to the way you are now has outflows. If it has outflows, it’s not enlightenment. Any situation where you can’t practice, you can’t practice it, because this situation isn’t…this daily life, couldn’t be enlightenment. That is not to say that cruelty is enlightenment. It is not to say that selfishness is enlightenment. It is to say that enlightenment cannot be separate from selfishness. And also, enlightenment must be practicing with whatever is going on. Practicing with whatever is going on must be enlightenment, otherwise the practice is defiled, and the enlightenment is defiled. If the practice is defiled, the enlightenment is defiled, and vice versa. How are they defiled? They’re defiled when they are separate, we try to gain something. You are trying to gain a better practice, or try to gain enlightenment with the practice. The practice must not be used to gain enlightenment. Even though Zen practice is the cause of entry into reality, and therefore it is the effect of entering into reality, there’s no gain there. It is both the cause, effect, and the entry. There is no gain. But if we think there is, and we believe it, then there are outflows. So this ethical practice of presence, of not being distracted from what you’ve got to work with now, and using this…this and this and this, to use your daily life, not in a general, daily way, but in a very specific, present daily way. To use it with no gaining idea and with the confidence, with the faith, that this must be enlightenment. Not so much is, but must be. Don’t say it is. Say it must be. In other words, don’t say “cruelty is enlightenment,” say “it must be.” In other words, at the moment I’m cruel, I have to find a way to practice with my cruelty. I must make this situation enlightenment. Otherwise I am in big trouble, because I’m not practicing, and there is no enlightenment.Again, it isn’t that the cruelty is enlightenment, I must make the cruelty enlightenment. In other words, I have to practice compassion and wisdom with the cruelty. One of the ways I practice wisdom with the cruelty is to remember that enlightenment is not separate from the cruelty. Because if it is separate, then cruelty can never be liberated. It can never be transformed. Enlightenment, Buddha must not be separate from deluded beings, but deluded beings aren’t Buddha. Buddha is the total perfected way to be a deluded being. So if you are a lay person, or if you are a monastic, if you do this practice of restraining outflows, of restraining the outflow, restraining the sense, that enlightenment is something other than your daily life, if you don’t do that practice, well, that’s too bad, because then you are just wasting your time. What time are you wasting? Wasting your daily life right now. What are you wasting? You’re wasting the opportunity, which has been given to you to realize the practice of enlightenment.So this precept says, Restrain distractions from using this moment as an opportunity to practice enlightenment. If you are a lay person, do that. All right? What about if you are a monastic? It’s actually quite similar. Matter of fact, it is exactly the same. If you are a monastic, and if you are in a so-called monastery, and you are touching the wall of the monastery, and you are thinking, This is a wall of a monastery. At that moment, that is your daily life. If you are a monk, you have to restrain the impulse to think, Touching the wall of the monastery is not supreme perfect enlightenment. I’m not saying it is. I’m just saying that enlightenment cannot be separate from the daily life, which happens to be touching the wall right now. That’s your life. If you are looking at another monk and thinking that he is a lousy monk and will never be as good as you, it may be harder to think that that is daily life, which is the situation, which is not separate from enlightenment. Then we could think of even worse things that monks could think. And monks do come to me and talk to me sometimes and tell me things they are thinking, and they cannot believe that that thought that they have is the place where they are going to practice enlightenment. How could they possibly practice enlightenment with this nasty thought? I could see why someone would think, This isn’t a very good opportunity – such a nasty thought. But if I yield to that, then I’m getting distracted from the practice.So, again, it’s not that we say that Buddha is cruelty or Buddha is enlightenment. We are saying that if cruelty is your daily life right now, and you are in a monastery, or if cruelty is your daily life, and you are not in a monastery, that’s what you have to work with. Right? That’s what you have to think about. Do I think enlightenment is separate from this? If I do, then the enlightenment that I am thinking about – it’s not Reb’s enlightenment, it’s not the one he’s talking about. The one he’s talking about doesn’t have outflows. If I say that if there is enlightenment that is other than my daily life, my sleazy daily life, then that enlightenment has outflows, and, of course, my practice does too. Again he says, My practice has no outflows. You don’t take that step either. You just restrain the outflow. You don’t do another outflow called, My practice is without outflows. My practice is separate from the practice that has outflows. Mine doesn’t. My practice without outflows is separate from the practice with outflows. Now we are back into another sleazy situation, which we probably can’t practice here again. I don’t know if you could follow all that, but I just had to say it. You know, it’s just words. If you take care of these words, you will realize that these words are really insubstantial. They are empty. Ungraspable. But if you realize that they are empty, you will be able to speak the truth for the welfare of beings. Be very careful of words after you realize they are empty, and be careful of words before you realize they are empty. If you are careful with them, that will help you realize that they are empty. When you realize they are empty, once again, you will be able to speak in such a way to help others realize the emptiness of words. Another way to say it is, if you are careful and kind to your words, and you listen to the teaching on how to be kind and careful with your words, and you restrain the distraction from being careful with your words, because you think there is some enlightenment other than your words and being careful of them, then you will understand that your words, then you will enter the reality of your words, which is the reality of everything, which is the emptiness of everything. From that seat, you will start speaking again with that understanding. Your speaking will be the Buddha speaking.So, one more thing, which is really important, and I am really glad that I didn’t skip over it, is I would suggest to you that you find something in your daily life, not other than everything in your daily life – not other than. You take something not other than your daily life, something in your daily life, pick something, and use that to work on this precept. Focus on something in your daily life, in your lay daily life, in your monastic daily life – pick something to work on, to focus on, to see if you can end the outflow to think enlightenment is other than this thing. Donald has a regular yoga practice that he does. He could use that. The daily life thing that his does. He could do his yoga practice, which he wants to do every day. He could look at that and see if he thinks there is anything to get from that yoga practice. Or if there is some enlightenment that is other than this yoga practice. If he thinks that, then maybe he can remember Oh yeah, the enlightenment I am thinking about is an enlightenment with outflows. Or, If I have a yoga practice which is something other than enlightenment, then that is a yoga practice that has outflows.In both the lay and monastic practices of restraining the outflow of duality, the outflow of gain, the outflow of enlightenment, and daily life being separate, monastic life and enlightenment being separate – that’s one outflow. Lay daily life and enlightenment being separate is another outflow. The practice of restraining these outflows, usually some form is used, and the forms are called, in Sanskrit, pratimoksha, the forms and ceremonies that are used so that you can catch the outflows, the upflow catching opportunity. I just thought of these little bamboo circles with a webbing in them. I think they are called spirit catchers. Dream catchers? So, try to find some form to catch outflows. Actually, it can be a circle with one line through it. It could even be a circle. All you need is one line. That may not be good enough. Monastics have a dense web to catch it. Lay people can have just one. Monastics can have just one too. You need something to look at to see, Is this thing other than enlightenment? If it is one thing, you might be able to remember it all day long. Some form in your daily life. If you have a teaching you remember, if you are a mother of a child, and you hang out with your child, and you have a teaching that you think of, then your daily life is that you are a mother with a child and you have a teaching. Or you could be a mother with a child and not have any teachings, then you are a mother and a child without any teachings. How can you make that into a form that you focus on? This is my daily life, my daily life, which I am going to use for enlightenment. Something that you look at. It could be a water faucet, but then you would need to be near the water faucet. You could think of the water faucet, but something you are using in your daily life, something in your daily life that you use. But it could be a teaching. That’s okay. Somebody told me, when he heard me say this he said, What I’m going to work on is the phrase “dharma gates are boundless, I vow to enter them.” This person said, I am going to use that form. I am going to try to remember that form all day. My daily life form that I am going to use to see if I can restrain outflows around that form. But you can use many forms. This is a day, right? And you came here and sat. So the Yoga Room is a daily life thing for you on Thursdays, but the Yoga Room isn’t a daily life thing for you on Friday, but even so, on Thursday the Yoga Room is a daily life thing for you. So you can use the Yoga Room as a form that you use to see, Is the Yoga Room class other than enlightenment? Is there some enlightenment in this universe other than the Yoga Room class? Once again, I say that if there is enlightenment that is other than this class, that enlightenment is defiled. What is it defiled by? It is defiled by “other than this class.” Or, if there is a class like this one, that is other than enlightenment, then the class is defiled by that attitude. So I ask you to find a form that you are going to use to focus in your daily life to remember this teaching of: Is this right now something that I think is other than enlightenment? Is what I am doing right now something where I can stop and check to see, do I think there is enlightenment other than this? Sometimes a phrase helps you, and the phrase could be: Is my daily life right now something other than enlightenment? Is there an enlightenment other than my daily life right now? That could be the form that you could use, that could be the ceremony you use to practice this precept, and I am proposing that when we practice this precept, this is a very powerful and effective way to take care of the aspiration for entering reality and then expressing that reality through continual practice. It is a way to purify all your practices, so that you can enter the reality of those practices, and then from the reality of those practices, to continue those practices. This is a purifying element. We need this. Without this, we cannot enter reality. We cannot enter reality, if we think that reality is other than this. Also, if you think This is reality, that is also not it. This is reality is very similar to This is not reality or There is some other reality. This must be reality is different than This is reality. This must be where I practice is different than This is practice. By the way, this precept is also called “grandmother mind” in Soto Zen. Q: “precept” means the first pure precept?A: The first pure precept is also called “grandmother mind.” In other words, no matter what you are doing, do not forget to practice Buddha. Do not think that this is not an opportunity to practice Buddha. Just like a grandmother doesn’t think when they see the grandchild, they don’t think, This is not an opportunity to be a grandmother. They never think that, right? I’m a grandmother. There is no way out of this. How can you have no way out of practicing enlightenment? Gotta figure that out. I told you how. The way you do it is to restrain the idea that this is other than enlightenment. And restrain the idea that enlightenment is other than this, without slipping into, I am a grandmother. Restrain the thing: This is not a good time for enlightenment. Later. Better situation, please. Okay I’ll stop. [Long pause] Okay, I stopped. You stopped me. Thanks for stopping me. I started. Q: Restraining without controlling.A: Right: restraining without controlling. Restrain trying to control. Right. Q: Isn’t restraining a kind of controlling? A: I have noticed that it is. I don’t see it as controlling. For example, I think right now that there is some enlightenment other than this, and I restrain it, but I don’t think I controlled anything. I just restrained it. I said, Oh,that would mean my enlightenment is a defiled enlightenment. But I don’t mean defiled enlightenment when I say “enlightenment,” when I say “enlightenment,” I mean “ready for whatever, completely, no hindrance to compassion.” That’s my enlightenment that I like. I didn’t restrain anything in a controlling way. Check it out. I checked it out, and I said, Defiled! But I didn’t control it. I didn’t try to limit its life, because that wouldn’t make sense to limit its life of defilement, to limit the life of outflows. I don’t want to do that. Because it is another opportunity. It isn’t control. It’s very intimate with giving up trying to control. It’s not like not controlling. It’s giving up trying to, and it’s giving up trying not to. It is giving up seeing your life separate from other beings, seeing your life separate from buddhas, seeing buddhahood as separate from your life. Buddha never said that her buddhahood was separate from beings. Buddha did say, however, that buddhas don’t see they think they are separate from buddhahood. Buddhas did say that. I am here to try to get them to get over that outflow. But no way does Buddha think that she can control beings. She knows that she can’t. She understands that. A long time ago she stopped trying to get people under control. Just sending the message all the time: Listen to this message. What is the message? Listen to this message. What is the message? I am just saying this. I’m not telling you what it is. If you can listen to this without grasping it, you will understand what I am saying. If you understand what I am saying, you will realize what I am saying is empty. Then you will understand the relationship of all things. And that will be good, if you want to benefit beings. Giving up trying to control is very much similar to restrain, thinking there is something other than taking care of this. Something’s coming. This looks like a good opportunity for something to control. This is a bad thing I would like to control over to a good thing. Restraining is duality means you welcome everything. It means there is nobody and there is nothing that you don’t welcome.Q: Do you welcome the so-called good things the same way you welcome the so-called bad things?A: That’s what attracted me to Zen. There is a story of somebody who welcomed a good thing the same way he welcomed a bad thing. My understanding of the story was the good thing didn’t feel like the bad thing. But he welcomed the bad thing. First the bad thing came, the painful thing came. Also the false thing came – the lie, the false, the untrue came. And he welcomed it. Then something that wasn’t necessarily true, but was false in a pleasant way, that came, and he welcomed it the same way. I really like that he welcomed the two things in the same way. A lot of people, especially in a situation where people are being quiet, they have to go for hours before somebody insults them. But inside, there is quite a bit of insulting going on. Not necessarily an hour without insults, either towards myself or towards others. The insults can be subtle, like That was almost as good as you know who.Q: What if they are not subtle?A: Yeah. What if they are not subtle? Then welcome those.Q: What if on one occasion I am generous and offer something, and on another occasion I do something doesn’t feel so good…feel bad inside, like talking on the phone, I get distracted sometimes. You’re saying welcome both of those things.A: I would say welcome both. Yes, that is the practice of generosity, and then – this gets to the subtle part – then check out this pure precept at the same time, and look to see if you think, even in the case where something, where you did something you thought That’s actually the way I want to be with people. I am totally want to be that way with people. I love being that way with people. I want to do that again and again. You welcome that. Welcome means that you say “welcome,” and also you don’t hold on to it, when you are welcoming it. It isn’t welcome and grasp. It’s welcome and let go. It isn’t welcome and try to control yourself to do it again. It’s welcome, and by welcoming it, you are more likely to do it again. Then this other thing: I don’t want to be that way. In fact, it is okay with me if I never do that again. I don’t want to be that way. And you welcome it. But in both those cases, in both those cases, you could think, even in the case I want to be that way…like some people: This is great. I want to be this way. But they still think that enlightenment is something other than this wonderful way. Like, I want to be this way. I really do, but buddhas do it better than me. And that may be true! But they are not separate from you.So even when you are doing something really good, and you’re welcoming it, and you are not attached to it…actually, if you are not attached to it, you think you are not attached to it, but then you find out you are a little bit attached to it, in the sense that your being attached to it is not buddhahood. Q: So I am attached even when it goes away?A: You could even be attached to it that way, but you could also be attached to it when you let it go. But you are still holding onto that it’s actually not separate from buddhahood. That’s the more subtle kind, like you’re attached to some separation between the good things you do and what buddhas are doing. Many people do good things, and they still have a dualistic attitude towards the good things they’re doing. They are doing good things, but they still think that buddhahood is something a little bit better. Like one of our great ancestors, Tettsu Gikai, he was really a good tenzo, and a good director of Eiheiji. He knew he was good, and he loved doing his job. Dogen thought he was fabulous. And he was. He was fabulous. But he thought the Buddha way, the way of the Buddha, was something other than him doing his job. And so Dogen said to him, You don’t have grandmother mind.I tell this other story of this wonderful Tibetan monk, and his teacher said to him, You know, when I watch you walking around the monastery performing these pujas, I am just so moved. You’re so skillful, and you are so devoted, and it is so beautiful the way you do the ceremonies. It would be nice if you did something spiritual some day. On another occasion, he said to him, You are so good. You’re wonderful. The way you take care of the young monks is so compassionate, so skillful, and deeply moving. I am just so grateful to you. It would be nice if you did something spiritual some day. After more examples, the monk said, What do you mean “something spiritual”? You say I am doing all this good stuff, and the teacher says, Stop trying to get something out of life.So, this pure precept is: even if you think you are doing a good thing, check it out…see if you think that not being good is separate from it. Maybe you don’t. See if you think buddhahood is separate from it. Yeah, you do. So you got it. Let go of that. Let go of that one. You let go of that one, and you say, It’s even better! Now I am doing good that is not separate from evil. This is even a better good. Wow! Still, I think, something is separate from it. Some great state. I don’t think any of those sleazy states are separate, but I ….this is actually the performance of buddhahood. That’s just a one time thing. You catch yourself at that. It’s like, Bye, bye. Let go of that one. I know that one. I’m sorry, Buddha, that I defiled buddhahood that by saying that you were different from my kind of good state. Not to mention: sorry Buddha, sorry Buddha, that I thought, when I was really being cruel, that I was separate from you. Sorry! Buddha says, I hear you. Nice confession. That’s true I’m not separate from you. I’m listening to you tell me that you’re sorry that you think you are separate from me.Does that make perfect sense? Is that difficult to practice? It’s hard, but, anyway, that’s my proposal is that you gotta, you gotta do it; otherwise, you are going to defile the practice by thinking that it is separate from something. Especially something good. Something good which says, Do not separate yourself from me. From this. And also, don’t say what you are doing is me. If you are mean to people, don’t say, I am that. What I am is not separate from you, when you are doing something unskillful, and, also, what I am is not separate from you when you are doing something good. In other words, what Buddha is is what is not separate from your daily life. So you have to look at your daily life, find some way to focus on your daily life, and, some way remember to check out, Do you think that this daily life right now is other than buddhahood, and if you do, let go of that. Check it out. [and you say] Oh, I did it again. Subtle but sweet. Sweet to catch it: There I did it. There I did it again. That’s the training to purify the practice from any duality with low or high states. The low state, in fact, you have demonstrated in the low state. The high state, you are not demonstrating, which you have to realize that you are not separate from demonstrating. When you realize that, you are demonstrating that. You have the hiccups? Wonderful! Who ever thought that hiccups were not separate from supreme awakening? I never thought that before. Tonight I dedicate the merit of our class to the sublime seventeen year old Jack Russell Terrier, who passed away this morning. She was deeply appreciated by innumerable humans. She had a great life. So much love and appreciation towards her.