Stimulating Bodhisattva's courage and entering reality 

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I remember that we have been discussing here for some time embracing the great vehicle which is a process of embracing the welfare and happiness and peace and freedom and enlightenment of all beings. It's also the name of a text which has now been translated into English so we can read it in English.


It's called in Sanskrit Mahayana Samgraha which also is sometimes translated as the summary of the great vehicle. But the character they use for summary can also be translated as embracing and sustaining. So a summary can embrace and sustain a topic. So in this process of embracing the great vehicle of the happiness of all beings, sometimes we start by teaching the people who are in this great vehicle. And the people in this great vehicle are sometimes called Bodhisattvas or enlightening beings. They are the people on this great vehicle who are trying to draw everyone else into this great vehicle.


And these Bodhisattvas are first taught the basis of what they know. They are taught about the mind and how their knowledge arises. They are taught about the dependent co-arising of their knowledge within the mind where they live. And we've discussed that some, the support of our knowledge called the support of the knowable. And then the next topic which is offered in this embracing the Mahayana is the topic of the characteristics of what is known.


And this text teaches that whatever we know has three characteristics. One characteristic is that whatever we know depends on other things. That you can't know anything that doesn't depend on other things. Because there is no such phenomena as something that doesn't depend on other things for its apparent existence. That's its other dependent quality. And another characteristic of everything we know is that it has a quality of a kind of imaginary quality. Or a quality of some kind of something is imputed to it. So the mind dependently co-arises with what it knows. And what is known dependently co-arises with mind.


But also mind projects upon what it knows some kind of sense of essence or independent existence. So everything we know is other dependent and we project self-dependence on all the other dependent things. And based on that projection of a kind of like essence or a self onto all phenomena we can then talk about them. And human beings are into talking about things with each other. So this imputation of a false appearance of independent existence makes possible conventional designations and conversations.


And the other quality that all phenomena have or the other characteristic is that actually the way that they are other dependent, the way that they dependently co-arise is not actually touched really by any projection of self. So that really the way things dependently co-arise, the way they are other dependent has an absence of all imputation. And so everything has an absence of imputation too. So everything has imputation, all phenomena has imputation, all phenomena has other dependence and all phenomena has an absence of imputation. And it always has an absence of imputation. It's always that way. The imputations, there are more imputations than just self, but the basic imputation is the sense of essence and there is also imputation of various qualities that vary from phenomena to phenomena.


So the second teaching in the presentation of the Great Vehicle is teaching about these three characteristics. And the third teaching is a teaching about entry into the characteristics of phenomena or understanding of the characteristics of phenomena. And this is also entry into the first stage of Bodhisattva development, the stage of joy. This is entry into insight about reality. It's not the complete understanding of reality, it's just the first stage of understanding reality, but it is actually entry into the reality of the way things are.


In the early teachings of Buddhism, they call this first stage stream entry, entering the stream of reality. It's also called the path of vision. So path of vision, entering the stream, initial entry into insight and reality. This happens when we enter the characteristics of things. And I also played with you last week in terms of talking about, is it entry into the characteristics of phenomena or is it the characteristics of entry into phenomena? Or is it the characteristics of entry?


Is it the characteristics of insight or is it insight into the characteristics? It seems like both ways. And so we talked about how does this entry happen and it's taught that there's like... The first point is that this entry is supported by the permeations of much learning of the teachings of the Great Vehicle. So at the beginning it talks about that the mind that supports all of our conscious life is a mind which is a result of all of our past actions. The mind which supports our present conscious life is an unconscious consciousness,


which carries all the things we've learned in the past, all the things we've studied in the past, all the things we've thought in the past, all the things we've done in the past. They all have a consequence and those consequences are now supporting our present state of active consciousness. So when we think a wholesome thought, or when we think wholesomely and skillfully, or when we think unwholesomely, the results of these thoughts is a consciousness, which supports the arising of further thoughts. When there's a belief in a self, there's a consequence of that, which is a consciousness which carries the belief, the seeds for the appearance of a mind which believes in a self.


Because we have repeatedly believed in a self, because our mind has repeatedly projected a self on things, and we've acted in accord with that and believed that, we have an unconscious mind which supports the arising of a mind which believes in a self now, and which then again has the consequence of permeating this great unconscious support of all of our active mind. But some people, some human beings for example, have for some reason the opportunity to have the Dharma transmitted to them. But somehow the Dharma has been expressed in such a way that their minds could be aware of the Dharma as word images.


Perhaps that's happening right now. But the Dharma is coming into this temple and your minds are receiving it and hearing it as words, as images, as word images. And hearing this permeates your mind and begins to transform your mind into wisdom. So that at some point by hearing these teachings about the great vehicle and learning these teachings about the great vehicle, your mind is ready to enter into reality. Or entry into the reality will be allowed by your mind.


Because the next point that's made is that this permeation of the teachings of the great vehicle does not comprise this mind which supports our active consciousness. And yet it permeates the mind which supports our active consciousness, so that there's a transformation which supports the arising of wisdom. Which supports the entry into the characteristics of what we know. Which supports insight into the reality of our knowledge. Namely, that our knowledge is a dependent co-arising. That what we know is a dependent co-arising.


That it has an imaginary quality and that it has a thoroughly established quality of being free. Of there being an absence of self which is imaginarily projected, but never really reaches anywhere. And yet it is the basic affliction of life. And then it says that this entry is comprised of correct reflection. Which means not only do we receive these teachings, but we reflect upon them. And we practice tranquility. And in tranquility we reflect upon these teachings. And then it says, who enters?


It says, who enters? Or how do they enter? So I wrote down here, who enters? And over here I have how. How do bodhisattvas enter into the inter-reality of phenomena? And they enter because they are supported by the force of good roots. They are patient. They have reading glasses. So how do bodhisattvas enter into reality?


Because they are supported by the force of good roots. What good roots might those be? Well... I think they might be the good roots of giving, ethical discipline, and patience. So I think bodhisattvas can enter into the reality because they are supported by these good roots. Or by the force of these good roots. So whatever phenomena, whatever they know, they practice generosity with these phenomena. They practice ethics with these phenomena.


They are very careful of them. And they practice patience with phenomena. And I just thought I might mention, vis-a-vis recent conversations, is there are ethical teachings which are transmitted by the enlightened beings to sentient beings. And then sentient beings receive these teachings of ethical discipline in terms of words, images of words. And then sometimes they say, I would like to receive these words. I would like to commit to these words. I would like to commit to these teachings which these words are representing.


For example, there is a precept called not killing. It's a precept, it's a teaching to help us practice ethical discipline so that we would have the good roots which would support us to enter reality. It's not just a precept so we can be good, it's a precept so we can enter reality. But what do we do with this precept of not killing? Well, we might say, I would like to receive it and commit to it. But do you understand the precept of not killing? The Bodhisattva is asked and the Bodhisattva might say, I do not understand the precept of not killing. No, I don't. I'm somewhat confused about it. Do you mean you want to commit to a teaching that you don't yet understand?


Yes, I do. Will you continue to practice this precept of not killing which you do not understand? From now on and even after realizing Buddhahood, will you continue to practice and understand this teaching of not killing? Yes, I will. How come you're committing to something you don't understand? Because I think I have to commit to something I don't understand in order to understand it. Like I used the example of someone like, you commit to marry someone even though you don't understand who you're marrying. Do you understand who this person is? No, I don't. If you think you do, we have another precept for you called don't take what's not given.


You have not been given the understanding of who you're marrying. Don't take that. It has not been given to you. You do not understand who this person is. Do you wish to marry them so that someday you might understand them? Yes, I do. Do you wish to commit to the precept of not killing so that someday you'll know what not killing means? Yes, I do. I want to. I commit. And I commit because I would like to understand what the Buddha's precepts are but also I would like to understand them so that I can enter reality because I understand that being supported by the force of good roots, bodhisattvas enter into reality. So I commit to practicing generosity, to welcoming all phenomena generously. No matter what, I commit to that.


Do you know how to do that? No. I commit to learn that. Do you commit to learn that? Yes. Do you want to be generous with everything that comes up in your life? No. Do you want to learn how? Yes. Will you continue to learn how from now on and even after realizing Buddhahood? Yes, I will. Because this is a good root that bodhisattvas must have in order to enter reality. And bodhisattvas don't just help people. They help people by understanding reality. They understand who people are someday. And part of that is practicing generosity and committing to it even though you don't understand what it is. And part of it is practicing ethics and committing to practicing ethics before you understand what ethics are.


But committing to practice the precepts is not the same as entry into the reality of the precepts. It's not the same as understanding. It's just necessary condition. It's the price of admission. But it's not the admission. But the admission requires that price to be paid that you commit to the precepts. Right after you commit, actually, I often mention the next step is to relax with them. And relaxing with them, if I ask you, do you understand them, you say in a relaxed way, perhaps, no, I don't. And then if I say, you know, you really don't understand these precepts, you say, you know, you're right. You want to continue to practice them? Yes, I do. Are you going to be able to? Totally. I'm totally relaxed. I'm going to be able to keep this up forever.


I'm like totally cool with these things. This is like, yeah, this is my life, these precepts. And I'm committed to them, I'm relaxed with them, and they're a joy to me. They're my recreation area. They are where I am really recreated. But also practicing generosity is my recreation area. It's my playground. And then one more playground, patience. In pain, I practice patience. I commit to it. So this is a little bit about the practices which develop good roots so we can enter reality. And then this text on embracing the Mahayana mentions that the bodhisattvas are able to enter, or the way they enter is by practicing sharpening their minds.


Or it could be called three kinds of sharpening. But another way it's translated is three kinds of reflection. And, yeah, someone in this group heard about these three sharpenings. And the reason this person heard about it was because their ear was open to, or their eyes were open to receive this teaching about the three sharpenings by which bodhisattvas enter reality. This person was inspired to listen to somebody talk about the three sharpenings or was inspired to look at a text which taught these three sharpenings


by which bodhisattvas enter. They were inspired. And when they read about the three sharpenings, they realized that they were not inspired. Some people are inspired enough to receive a teaching which shows in their lack of inspiration. Actually, they were not inspired before they read the teaching. They were not inspired before. Then they got inspired and read the teaching. After they read the teaching, they realized they weren't inspired. The sharpening of the bodhisattva's mind requires that the bodhisattvas notice their lack of inspiration. And you might say, well, this sounds difficult. So here's the first reflection, or here's the first sharpening that's recommended.


And it's expressed by the following thought. Bodhisattvas think this way. They think. Bodhisattvas think this, it says. They think innumerable, immeasurable living beings in the human realms. Immeasurable sentient beings in the human realms. And they're immeasurable because the world in ten directions, the worlds in ten directions are immeasurable and innumerable. Innumerable living beings in the human realms and immeasurable living beings in the human realm from moment to moment realize supreme enlightenment. Right now, innumerable human beings are realizing supreme awakening.


Bodhisattvas who enter the reality sharpen their minds by thinking like that. Just now I felt like that. And at that moment I was practicing a mind sharpening practice of bodhisattvas. I thought it and I said it. And I did not get discouraged when I said it. But somebody came and told me that when he read that, I think he maybe said I got discouraged. Or another way to say it is I realized discouragement. I did not feel inspiration when I read about innumerable human beings realizing enlightenment right now. And [...] right now. When I thought of that I did not feel inspired.


Somebody told me. But this person was inspired enough to read this teaching which then made them realize or think that they were just not inspired. In order to develop the kind of mind which enters, we have to become aware of discouragement. It does not mean you have to be discouraged all the time. You just have to become aware of any discouragement that there is. And sometimes the way people discover the discouragement is by hearing about things like innumerable human beings attaining enlightenment right now. Now then what do you do when the discouragement comes?


What does a bodhisattva do when they get a mind that is not sharp? A mind that is dull and discouraged. What do they do? Well, they think. Innumerable living human beings in innumerable worlds are attaining enlightenment right now. That is what the bodhisattvas do. And then again they might feel discouraged when they think that. And then what do they do? They think that again. And the more they think it, the more they become inspired to think it again. Even though when they think it again they might feel discouraged. Every time they think it, it transforms their mind. How many of you thought of this thought before? That in innumerable worlds, innumerable living human beings attain enlightenment right now.


How many of you thought of that before? You don't have to raise your hand or anything. Or stick your tongue out. But some people have never thought that before. Do you understand that? Now you have thought it. Because the Dharma has been transmitted and your mind has made it into words. And you thought that. It's now part of your life. The question is, are you going to be a bodhisattva who thinks that way all the time? All the time? No, I must think something else now and then. Think something else. We have some other things to think about. For example, bodhisattvas think innumerable human beings in innumerable universes reach supreme enlightenment in each moment.


This is the first reflection which stimulates bodhisattvic courage. In order to enter reality you need bodhisattva courage. How do you get bodhisattva courage? By thinking of things that make you feel discouraged. And thinking of things that make you feel discouraged will lead to you this particular kind of thing. To think of this type of reflection which may lead you to feel discouraged will stimulate your courage. This is a courage stimulator which may make you feel discouraged. And if you use the courage discourager again, it may make you feel discouraged again. But this is a courage stimulator. Now, if you use this courage stimulator and you feel more courage, then you might think, well, maybe I would use it again to stimulate more courage.


And I would say, right, that's the practice. But what if you use it and you get discouraged? Then what would a courageous bodhisattva do? They would do it again, even though they got discouraged. Why would they do that? Because this teaching has permeated their mind. Because they've heard, this is what bodhisattvas do, they think this thought. They don't necessarily think innumerable, they don't say, innumerable beings in each moment don't attain enlightenment. That can be discouraging too. It doesn't have that on the list. That's not the first sharpening. That's not the first stimulant to bodhisattva courage. The first stimulant is, right now, innumerable human beings are attaining supreme enlightenment. Now, somebody told me they read this, and then when they read it, they felt discouraged.


And I say, this is part of the bodhisattva path. That you're doing the practice, and you get discouraged, and you do it again. Or you go to your teacher, and you tell your teacher, I did the practice, I got discouraged. But then you get the help. And the teacher says to you, weren't you discouraged before you started doing this practice? And the answer was, yes, I was discouraged before I started doing the practice. But just as I began to do the practice, I was encouraged, I was inspired to read the teaching. Somehow, here I am, Joe Discouragement, and I was encouraged, or I was inspired to read a teaching. And I read it, and I noticed I was discouraged. But I asked, were you discouraged before you started reading it? And the answer was, yes, I was discouraged before I started reading it. But when I read it, I was inspired to read it. I had the courage to read this text. And I had the courage to read the text and find out about my shortcomings.


My ethical shortcomings. My shortcomings. Somebody said that the teaching of the great vehicle can be summarized by the teaching or by the expression that the unsurpassed way to protect beings is to be aware of our own shortcomings. The summary of the great vehicle, another summary of the great vehicle, is that the protection of all beings is accomplished by thorough examination of our shortcomings. So if you read that innumerable beings are enlightened in this moment, are supremely enlightened in this moment,


and you're not discouraged by that, that's okay. But if you are discouraged, to be aware of that discouragement, and look at it, protects all beings. And then the next moment, perhaps, you think of this again, and you feel encouragement. So in that case, maybe you don't have anything to examine, because you're inspired. So when you're not inspired, study that. The next stimulant is bodhisattvas think, it is with these intentions that beings practice giving, ethics, patience, enthusiasm, concentration, and wisdom.


I too am going to attain such intention. By means of them, I shall cultivate giving, ethics, patience, enthusiasm, concentration, and wisdom, without too much trouble, and I shall reach perfection. This is the second stimulant of courage. This is the second sharpening of the mind. Another translation says, it is with intentions of a pure mind that giving, ethics, and so on are practiced.


And the Buddhas, who have realized these intentions, cultivate giving, and so on. And the next one is, anyway, I'm just going to read this to you, because it's in the text. Beings equipped with limited ethical goodness are reborn after death with the perfections of existence, of their choice. As for myself, admirably endowed with limitless ethical goodness, why would I not obtain universal perfection at that moment of death? After death, good people obtain the perfections of their choice.


Why should not a very good person, who has cut through the obstacles, not obtain the most excellent perfections? I imagine that the contemporary mind has problems with that last one. It sounds kind of arrogant, doesn't it? But, I'm not sheltering you from the ancient texts. That's what it seems to say. But, kind of a question, what does it mean? So, this is part of the work that makes it possible to enter into the characteristics of phenomena, that makes it possible to enter into understanding the teaching of conscious construction only.


And it makes it possible to enter into the reality of who you really are, of who we really are. To enter into the reality that everyone we meet is none other than ourself. To enter into the reality that what we're aware of is not existing, separate from our awareness. The next practices which help one enter into reality are the practices of abandoning the four barriers. But, I feel like maybe I should wait to introduce these four barriers until a little later.


Because already I brought up so much. So I'm going to pause here now to see if you have any response to all this that has been expressed. Expressed. Yes. It's to enter into the reality of consciousness. It's to enter into the reality that we are, in a sense, enclosed, that sentient beings are enclosed in mind. And we are enclosed in the constructions of our consciousness.


And the constructions of our consciousness are supported by the results of our past constructions. And actions based on past constructions support our present constructions. And we are enclosed by this construction. So we're entering into the reality that what we're dealing with is conscious construction. And coming to a place of understanding that. So we don't just hear about it, but actually we enter it, or it enters us. Entry into the nature of the characteristics of what we know is also to let the nature of what we know enter what we know. Both ways. I'm confused here.


If we enter a reality with what we know, then we are entering what we know. We're entering the characteristics. We're entering the reality, you say, of what we know. I say, of what we know. And the reality of what we know is that what we know is just a conscious construction. What we know is only our mind. So right now, in a sense, I know you, but really what I'm knowing is a conscious construction of you. I live in a conscious construction of you, of each of you, of all of you. That's where I am living. I'm living in a realm of mind. And entering that teaching means to understand it. Understanding it has certain fruits.


For example, I wouldn't be afraid of you anymore. I wouldn't be afraid of anybody. I wouldn't be afraid of whether you like me or dislike me. I wouldn't be afraid of you having my life, if it would be beneficial to you. I would only be a little bit afraid of not being optimally beneficial to all beings who are not just my conscious construction of them, but who I see only as my conscious construction of them. And if I understand that, I am... not the I am, but understanding that is very beneficial to all the beings who I have conscious constructions of. I would be able to be impartial towards all beings who I have just conscious constructions of.


My actions would be leading them to understand, would be leading them to develop good roots and inspirations and remove obstacles to their entry into a reality that would liberate them and all beings. And your confusion? My confusion is when every time you say entering this reality for some reason, I feel I'm entering this space without any pre-notion idea, without any thought, without any knowingness, and then I cannot understand. If I go with a knowingness into this entry, then I am, in a way, going in a diluted way, so I go in with some kind of idea,


OK, I'm not being fearful or... OK, so you had that experience, OK? And now I just read to you the teaching which is, if you want to enter into the reality of that experience, you need to practice generosity, ethics, patience. You need to develop courage. Now, what you just described, which, you know, a lot of people would be frightened of what you just described, so again, to be in a place like that, you need to be generous and ethical and patient and courageous. So, don't try to fix the situation or get a hold of it. Do the practices which will help you enter into it. That's what this would say. If you hear the teachings and you feel confusion, that confusion is similar to confusion that you heard before you heard the teaching.


And the confusion you hear before you hear the teachings, then is followed by hearing teachings of how to deal with the confusion. And how do you deal with the confusion? You start with developing these good roots. And then you move on to develop this courage and remove obstacles, and then you enter. If you have questions about the teachings, about what the teachings are saying, please ask. Ask as a gift. Ask as practicing ethics. Ask as an expression of patience. Ask as a stimulant for courage. I want to ask questions so I can have the courage to study more. I want to tell you I'm discouraged when I read these teachings, so you can help me not to be stopped by my discouragement. Right. So, after you hear the teachings, if you're discouraged or confused,


then we give you more teachings about how to deal with the confusion. And then if you have more confusion, we give you more teachings of how to deal with confusion. Now, if you feel clear, and finally, I understand something, if that should happen, which sometimes it does to people, I'm not confused anymore. Well, what do we do with that? We practice generosity. We practice ethics. We practice patience with not confused, clear, understand. We practice that. Then we practice courage to deal with your clarity, to deal with your insight. Well, why do you need any courage to face my insight? So you can have the courage to move on to understand that your insight is just a conscious construction. A lot of people have difficulty facing their confusion. They're scared of it. And people are not so maybe afraid of their insight, but they're afraid of like, give me your insight. Hand it over. You can't have it anymore.


I'm taking it to Green Gulch. I can't have my insight? No, but you can have it, but if you want to understand your insight, really, if you want to enter the reality of your insight, then you have to be generous with it and not hold on to it, and to be careful of it. You have to be patient with it. And you have to have the courage of living without your insight, which is kind of like going back to confusion, but might be worse than confusion. You might not even get confusion after you give up your insight. You might get vast unconsciousness, who knows what. But whatever it is, we can enter into the reality of whatever it is by doing these practices and receiving the teachings of how to do the practice with it, but also teachings about what it is. Confusion and insight are both just conscious construction. And if you wish to have an insight that's not just conscious construction,


you haven't yet understood, you don't yet have insight into conscious construction. You still want to have something that's not a conscious construction, but that's a real confusion. Well, actually, I don't have a real confusion, but a real insight that's not just a conscious construction. You want to have something you know, which doesn't have three characteristics, which just has two. Just two. Other dependents and the way things really are. I'll take those two. And maybe even take away other dependents and just have the way things really are. I'll just have that. Well, that's not going to work because the way things really are is that the other dependent has an absence of the impetuous. Well, where's the impetuous? I don't want that. But you can't get away from it. You can't get away from it if you have a mind which constructs. You've got a constructor mind. You can't get away from it.


All kinds of things. And if you wish to enter into reality of it, you have to love it. Including that when you hear loving practices, you get confused. Well then, ask questions about how to love. Don't try to get rid of the confusion. Try to learn again how to love the confusion. And then you're heading towards understanding the reality of confusion because confusion is one of the things you can know. So we're going to teach you the basis of your confusion, what supports your confusion, and we're going to teach you what the characteristics of your confusion are, and we're going to teach you how to love your confusion and enter the reality of your confusion or the reality of anything that you're experiencing. Pain, pleasure, fear, happiness. Yes? In order to practice, is it necessary to prefer insight over confusion? Is it necessary to prefer? Yeah, otherwise it's easy to say,


well, insight and confusion are both the same. It's only necessary to prefer if you prefer. If you prefer, then you have to prefer. If I prefer, I have to prefer. Yeah, when you're preferring, it's required that you prefer. But if you don't prefer one thing over another, you can still do this practice. It's possible to do this practice without preference, and once you understand, once you enter into the reality of what you know, you will actually not prefer. But some people need to prefer in order to get to non-preference. Not everybody all the time needs to prefer non-preference to get to non-preference. Even though we heard non-preference is a characteristic of those who understand reality.


Pushing down confusion doesn't sound very kind, does it? The bodhisattvas enter reality because they're kind to confusion, if that's what's going on. Preference happening, they're kind to it. How are they practicing kindness? Generosity, ethical discipline, and patience. And they practice ethical discipline with confusion when they don't even know what ethical discipline is. They still try in their confused way. And they may even notice that they're confused and confess that they're confused so that somebody can help them be courageous about the confusion they feel, about the things they do to enter the reality of confusion. And ethics helps us enter the reality of confusion. I accept, it's okay, you can feel less confused. Yes? You think you're confused?


Okay, let's hear it. How do you practice with that? I like to confess it. And is that confession a gift? Yes. Thank you. And is it ethics? I believe so. I think so, thank you. And are you patient with your confusion? Yes. Wonderful. I'm thinking about the donation boxes over there. Yeah? Say again? Okay, that sounds nice. Yeah, we have imputations about what's optimal benefit. And so, but I like to decide how much money to put in there. Yeah, you like that?


You like deciding? Huh? Not always. Not always. But sometimes you like it? I think it would benefit if I could decide. Okay. But since the way it's being presented is more complex than my imputations can figure out. Yeah. Do you have teachings to support me in a decision about how much money to put in the donation box? Well, if you've got a donation box in front of you, I think it's a good opportunity to practice giving. And then, now that you're practicing giving with this donation box, now be careful. Now, if you really feel like, okay, I want to practice giving here. I feel good about practicing giving in the presence of this donation box.


Now be careful. Now, if we all do this, we probably should back away from the donation box a little bit, so everybody can stand there and contemplate their desire to give and also be careful. And then, you know, look at the issue of giving and be really conscientious about it. Look at your mind, which is present there. And again, be patient with, it's not clear to you how much to give. And then maybe you'll feel some idea to give a certain amount. And then maybe think about whether you actually would like to give that amount, whether that would be a joy to give that amount. Whether this seems to be like, it's going to support you entering into reality by giving this amount, some amount.


And then give that amount. And then, again, do it again. In the next moment, ten minutes later, think about it again. Think about making innumerable donations to the box during the one-day sitting. And you can say, well, actually now it's in the middle of the sitting period, and so what I'm giving, I'm not going to put in the donation box, but I'm practicing giving now too. But it's not money I'm giving. Yeah. It's a perfectly good opportunity for entering reality, that donation box. Each of us has our own relationship to it. And each of us have an opportunity to practice giving in relationship to it. And deciding the amount. I generally speaking, one of the simplest things I would say is,


think about an amount that you really feel joy about giving. It might be that you feel joy about giving a dollar, but that you wouldn't feel joy about giving five dollars, possibly. Well, I would think it's better to give a dollar joyfully, than give five dollars and feel, you know, not happy about it. Not inspired, not encouraged to practice ethics and patience and so on. I'd say give an amount that you really feel happy about giving. Oh, I'm happy to give this amount. This is a joy to give this amount. Yeah, that's one of the main ways, I think, to help yourself. Not exactly decide how much to give, but find how much you feel joy about giving.


Then, once you feel joy, let joy, the joy of giving, in a sense, let the joy decide. Okay? Rather than, it's not so much figuring out, but find the joy. Yes? I was in a yoga class this weekend. I heard a teaching that I thought at first was shocking, but then I thought, well, it's kind of a yoga chart teaching. You can tell me if you want to think about it. The teacher said, things aren't as they are. Things are as you are. And I thought, well, that's sort of half the story. It seemed to me that this idea of conscious construction was brought out by her saying that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.


I think that's just part of the story, though. Things are as they are, and things are as you are. And things are free of as you are. So she got one of them, she got the imputational. But the imputational isn't the whole story of conscious construction. It's just that we have to accept the imputational, and that's kind of embarrassing. That we're fantasizers. And what just popped in my mind is, I heard that Freud, of course, Freud mostly spoke or wrote in German. I don't know, does anybody know, could he speak English a little bit? I think probably a little. But anyway, he was translated into English


by saying that human beings are powerful, isolated, fantasy machines. And I would say, there's a lot of truth in that. But I would change it to, human beings are powerful, interrelated, fantasizers of isolation. That we can powerfully fantasize isolation, and we make a world based on that imagination that we're isolated. But we're actually interconnected beings who support each other to imagine that we're separate. All of you support me to imagine that I'm separate from you. And you support me so thoroughly that I'm pretty much into that. And never miss a beat. And I support you, and all the Buddhas support you,


to imagine that you're separate from the Buddhas. But they understand they're not separate from you, because they understand conscious construction only. And they would like you to understand conscious construction only, because if you understand it, you will be free of the perspective, the stand point of conscious construction. But we have to realize conscious construction only to be free of the stand point of mind. And in order to be free of the standpoint of mind, we have to love the standpoint of mind. We have to develop good roots in the midst of the standpoint of mind. We have to have the courage to generate a lot of courage in the midst of this fantasy that we're separate, that we're isolated from the universe. And then we have to calmly go into the teachings about this fantasy system, and how it relates


to the reality of causation, and how it relates to its absence, because ultimately these fantasies are absent. They don't exist, ultimately. Yes? I was thinking about insight and wisdom, and insight being the conceptual framework, right? And then wisdom, is wisdom loving it, and that loving allows it to change? Well, actually, that's a good point, because as we mentioned last week, I think last week, the question was raised by the Great Ancestor, what's it like when you enter into reality? What's that like? What kind of state is that? And then they say, it is unity, duality, and multiplicity.


So when you enter into understanding unity, in other words, when you understand everything is just one conscious construction, that mind and its constructions are a unity, when you have insight into that, when you realize that, there's also a duality of the insight and what is understood, and there's also a multiplicity. And wisdom is the unity, it is the structure of duality, and it is the multiplicity of the mind. It is insight which is dual with its object, and that can be called insight about reality, within the structure of duality.


But the actual entry into this teaching is also a unity, coexisting with this duality, and a multiplicity, and the wisdom embraces all that. What's the multiplicity? Yeah, the multiplicity is the essences and differences and distinctions among things. I'm the one who brought it up, but it's going to take a while for me to show you what the multiplicity thing is, and wisdom embraces all that. It's the totality which includes unity and duality. And duality of what? Not just regular duality, but duality of insight and its object. So ordinary minds also have knowledge and its objects, but now in the wisdom mind you


have insight and its objects, and also you have, that structure is not destroyed in wisdom. Matter of fact, it's maintained, but it's maintained simultaneously with the non-duality of those things, and embracing all multiplicity at the same time. Yes? I was wondering, what are the reasons for the mind to forget that it's not separated from the objects? So what are the roots of that? Well, my theory is, it was to promote biological success. And you could say, in a sort of optimistic way, to promote the evolution from simple


forms of life to forms of life that could hear and understand the Dharma. So the positive side of this development is to exaggerate, in some sense, or evolve the sense of a particular life form concerning its own preservation to the point where beings would become aware that that way of seeing life is suffering and impartial. But it seems to have been necessary for this development to occur, for them to reach the point of being able to understand. People who look at biology say that if you look at a cell, you can see that the way a cell is implies the development of a sense of self. Matter of fact, one definition of self is the way a cell tells the difference between


itself and another cell. And what belongs inside and outside the self is actually, that mechanism is in each cell. And so you can see that it's implied that we would eventually see things that way. And even they say that the hair roots on redwood trees down in the earth can tell the difference between these hair roots and the hair roots of another redwood tree. And they kind of negotiate how to share the earth there. But they actually sense some difference there. And ants, as you know, they don't seem to have a big sense of self separate from the other ants in the colony, but they're not very nice about members of other colonies. They can sense, when they meet another colony member, they kind of go, ooh, you're not me. Then the conscious construction of something outside themselves arises.


But within this colony, there's not much sign of that. Except maybe they think the queen's different from them, I don't know. But that would be my theory about how we evolved to do this. We have selfish ancestors who have led us to realize that selfishness is a problem and get a teaching to antidote our selfishness. But we have a long history, collectively and individually, of believing in a self. So if we can receive that teaching and be kind to that teaching and to the reality we're being taught, we have a chance to enter the reality of it. Which was always the same as it is now, but we have forgotten it, as you say. We forgot. We knew it before there was a cell. That's why I said last week, what was yourself before there were any cells?


I said, you know, before there was the sperm cell and the egg cell of your parents, what was yourself? What was yourself before there were any cells, before there was any self? What was yourself? Yes? Among the three characteristics of phenomena, I'm unclear about the difference between the absolute and the other dependent. Absolute and other dependent? Well... Well, did you say you're confused? Is that what you said? I could have said that. Well, it's not so much the absolute, but the sort of ultimate, is that is the absence of the imputational.


Right. In the other dependent. So, the ultimate is an absence. But the other dependent isn't really an absence. It's an apparent presence. That's an imputation. Well, you could say it's an imputation, it's more like my ability to answer your question was based on imputation, so that I could answer your question. But just to say that the presence itself is not an imputation. That's also true of the absolute, isn't it? You can answer... Would you say ultimate instead of absolute? Yes. Thank you. You could answer a question about the ultimate.


Yes. And you could have imputations about the ultimate, in order to answer questions. And you could have imputations about the imputational, in order to answer questions. So, in order to talk about any of these phenomena, any of these characteristics, we need imputational. Why do we distinguish? It seems fairly... It seems easy to me to understand the difference between the imputational and the ultimate, let's say. But the ultimate and the other dependent seem... It seems... Why do we distinguish between them? Isn't it... You know, I might ask... One of the reasons the sutra says is that the other dependent is not a basis for purifying phenomena. So, if one could... In fact, we can see the other dependent character of things,


but we usually don't... But we don't know the other dependent character, because the other dependent character in some sense cannot be grasped, because we're not separate from it. We're totally intimate and interdependent with other dependents, because we're other dependent too. So, our other dependents... Only way our other dependents can give rise to knowledge of the imputation of the other dependent is by taking it to be the imputational. So, we know the other dependent through the imputational. So, the other dependent, if we actually know it directly... I mean, if we'd looked at it without the imputational, we wouldn't know it in the way we usually are knowing things. When we look at it through the imputational, of course we do know it, but then we're knowing the imputational. So, if we look at the other dependent, it doesn't purify our phenomena from imputation. Matter of fact, we're inclined to slip back into defiling it again.


But looking at the other dependent purifies phenomena, purifies us of the imputational overlay on the other dependent. So, that's the difference. The ultimate purifies phenomena. The other dependent does not purify. I think you said, maybe you misspoke a moment ago, looking at the ultimate purifies, for instance, concepts of... Looking at the ultimate purifies phenomena. Whereas looking at other dependents... Doesn't purify. However, if we look at the ultimate and phenomena purified, we can realize the other dependent. If we meditate on the other dependent and purify phenomena, we can realize what the other dependent really is. We can enter into the reality of the other dependent


once it's purified by contemplating the ultimate. But we cannot purify phenomena by just contemplating the other dependent, because we're looking at the other dependent all the time, and if we're defiling it, we have no way to not defile it by looking at it, because we're looking at it and defiling it, looking at it and defiling it. And if we take away the defilement and just look at it, we don't even see it, because now we're not defiling it by seeing it. We're just totally with it, which we always were. But that doesn't purify us of defilement, which is to take it to be something it isn't. But looking at its absence, looking at the absence of the defiling agent purifies the ultimate, because the ultimate can be defiled by the imputational too. It purifies the imputational, which can be defiled by the imputational,


and it purifies the other dependent, which can be defiled. And then we can enter back into, with confidence, our actual interrelated world without grasping. And we can do this wonderful trick called not grasping, because we've purified other dependent by looking at the absence of the grasping, the support for grasping, in our interdependent life. So the imputation of the ultimate is designed in such a way that it defies our ability to grasp it? The imputation of the ultimate is designed in such a way that we can talk about the ultimate. But in our talking about the ultimate, what we say about it is it's ungraspable, unknowable.


It's not unknowable. We can know it. It's a characteristic of everything we know. And the imputational provides a way for me to tell that to you. But in the ultimate, which is the absence of the imputational and the other dependent, there's also an absence of the imputational in the ultimate, because the ultimate also has an other dependent character. So that's why we say that emptiness is also empty. The ultimate has another dependent character. It does. It's a dependent co-arising. The characteristics of phenomena are phenomena too. And they dependently co-arise like all phenomena. That's very cool. What? That's very cool. I agree. I think it's very cool. That's why I have brought


this very cool teaching. Which very cool people have transmitted to us from very cool times in the past. Okay, so now are we ready to conclude our morning meeting? Or is there any other urgent messages that you'd like to send to the Dharma world? When was the book written? How old is it? The sutra, the sutra which first introduced these three characteristics was probably written, probably appeared in the world in written form in the third century or maybe fourth century of the common era. And then this amazing creature named Asanga got in touch with this sutra and fell in love with it. And then he wrote this summary in some sense of that sutra


and all the other Mahayana teachings but that sutra is his main inspiration of his teaching. And his writings occurred in the fourth and fifth century. He probably lived from maybe 350 to 450 in the common era. Asanga. So he thought this teaching of the three characteristics of phenomena was really cool too. So the second chapter is the characteristics of knowable, of the knowable. And then he also taught in more detail than the sutra how to enter these characteristics. He took the sutra and developed it. So now we've read the sutra for a decade or so. Now we're moving on to this treatise based on the sutra. Aren't we? Yes. And


how we are is absent in the way things are. Did you say that? Things are always free of the way we are. Things are free of our powerful fantasies of isolation. Things are actually free of that. Things are free of our powerful imagination of separation. There actually is no separation in things. But also, things are just our imagination of separation. Because things look, we imagine, we construct things that they're out there. We do that.


And they're not that way. Okay? May our intention equally extend