Teachings and Meditations On Our True Nature

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Our true nature is that we fully possess the wisdom and virtues of the buddhas. But because of misconceptions and attachments we do not realize our buddha nature. Therefore, teachings are given to listen to, accept, and understand so that such misconceptions and attachments drop away and thus our true buddha nature may be realized. Each class will begin with quiet sitting and walking meditation followed by teachings and group discussions.

AI Summary: 



We're in the middle, in the midterm of the class. And to review, I've been telling you about an ancient teaching that's about It's about the lineage or the DNA of the three jewels. Ratna-gotra, the jewel gotra, and it's also called uttara tantra,


the highest continuity. So it's about the lineage of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and it's about some discourse on this continuity of the Buddha, and it's presented in Seven Vajra points. First three are the Three Jewels, and the last four are the Buddha nature, the realization of it, which is also called Buddhahood, or Supreme Awakening, the qualities of the realization of Supreme Awakening, and the activities


of supreme awakening. And the text says that the fourth point, the Buddha nature, which is also sometimes called the womb of the Tathagata, Tathagatagarbha, or the heart of the Tathagata, the heart of the Tathagata, the Buddha nature, is the cause of the purification and realization of the Buddha nature. And the conditions for it are the realization, the qualities of the realization, and the activities of the realization. So the Buddha nature is proclaimed in various places to be possessed by all living beings.


And the Buddha nature, again, as the Tathagatagarbha, all living beings are the womb of the Buddhas. The Buddhas are born of all living beings who have this nature. And this nature is calling for purification, and this nature is calling for realization. And the realization responds to this call by its activities of teaching. The Buddha nature is suchness, the way things as they really are, side by side, you might say, with pollution, or a polluted or defiled rendition of things, a distortion, and this distortion appears


to living beings. So living beings have minds which distort life, distort the world that they are living in. They could say simplify, another word they could use is they simplify They make things unambiguous. They make things this and that. The minds of sentient beings make things appear as out there in the world, on their own, and also discreetly out there on their own as that or this, and this being the same as that or different from that.


The mind does that to the world. It makes it this and that, and this is the same as that, or this is different than that. This is a distortion of the situation. As one ancient teacher said, things do not actually proclaim that they're the same or different from each other. Like if I look at Vivienne and Michelle, they don't actually tell me that they're different from each other. they could, but before they have a chance, the mind might already say, they're the same, or they're different, like they're both humans, or one's this person and one's another person, and they look like they're out that way, maybe, they appear that way because of a mind, but they're not actually out there appearing that way. except relative to the mind to which they appear.


Everything that appears to the mind is relative to the mind which sees them. But they look like they're not relative to the mind. This is a distortion. The appearance, in a way, it's okay that they appear. It's a wonderful feat of mind that it can make people into appearances. and make them simple and graspable, but they don't look like the mind made them. So we can hear the teaching that everything we see is relative to our, we who are seeing. Everything we observe is relative to the observer, even though we make it, our mind makes it look like they're not relative to the observer. In other words, our mind makes it not so ambiguous.


Am I seeing myself? Well, in a way I am. I'm seeing my own work. I'm seeing the work of my own mind when I see you. Every one of you that I see is an appearance, and every appearance is a feat of my mind. perceptual apparatus. But you don't look that way. That's a distortion that comes with being a living being. Meantime, we also have the way things are right there with it. And the way things are is that they're ambiguous. And for example, the way things are is they're appearing. But everything that appears the way it appears, it is also at least one other way.


So the way you appear is not denied. There's also the teaching, which can be realized that not only do you appear this way, but you're also always at least one other way. And if you can be one other way, you can be infinite other ways. And that's the way we ultimately are. And hearing about that and understanding that purifies the Buddha nature. of believing in this distorted version of life. Yes? Well, for example, you're not the way you appear.


Well, you might be the way someone else sees you. I mean, you are the way someone else sees you. But for me, that's not an appearance. For me, that's other than what is appearing to me. You look, you appear, but maybe you don't understand that. Did you understand the part about


your infinite other ways from the way you appear? Yeah, I've appeared in a lot of person. I've been a person in my own way, so, and each of those changes momentarily, so, that would be the other ways. And I've mentioned to you before that part of the way that we really are, is that we include everybody. So, you heard about that, right? That everybody includes the entire universe, and is included in the entire universe. But you don't appear to include the entire universe. Now, if I met your son, and I saw his face, I might be able to say, oh, I see... I see you and your dad.


And I see your dad in you. I might be able to see that. So that would be a little, kind of like a little glimpse into how you are included in your son and your son's included in you. And a lot of fathers, you know, are happy to see themselves included in their children and their children included in themselves. It's kind of neat. But sometimes you can't see your daughter included in you. You look at her, you don't see yourself in her. And people don't say, oh, she looks just like you. They don't see you in her. It kind of makes sense that you are in your son, right? Your DNA is in your son, right? And your son's DNA is in you, right?


I kind of get that. And we can actually maybe do some research and prove it. But it's maybe harder to see how you're included in Vivian and Vivian's included in you. But even if you do see it, that's not the way she is included in you. That would just be the appearance of the way she's included in you. And the way she's actually included in you is another way from the way she appears to be included in you. And that's, you know, so each of us is the entire universe like this, or like this. You're the universe like this, I'm the universe like this. And you include everybody, everything, not just all people, but everything, and I do too. And you're also included in everything, and I am too.


So, we don't have to fix that. That's the way things are, actually. It's more a matter of realizing it, and to realize it would be realizing Buddha's wisdom and Buddha's virtues. It would be the next three major points, if we had realized that, the way we actually are. And our Buddha nature is the way we actually are is right there next to this simplified version of ourselves. We need to deal with that and meditate on that in such a way that along with meditating on the way things actually are because that's part of the process of purifying our belief in this narrow version of things. Yes? where we all are, including everybody else.


What sense do you mean by that? I'm having trouble getting to that concept. And we're all human. We all have a certain commonality of being human and being part of this, you know, whatever it is, this universe. But I gather you're saying something more than that. Or maybe you're not. Yeah, I'm more than... Yeah, you're... In other words, the way you really are is that you're more ambiguous than we usually are open to. Open to, yeah. Usually, like, I'm this way, and I have a mind which says I'm the way I appear to myself. and I can listen to you, but when I listen to you, I'm usually hearing the appearance of what you're telling me, and you could be telling me about me, but I'm dealing with this appearance of what you're telling me, and it's unambiguous.


And there's another way I am, which is ambiguous, And that way is, you know, that I'm many things, which I'm also many things that I'm not, or I'm many things I'm not in the form of me. to define it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's another way to understand it, is that I can't be this appearance except by not being other appearances. And there's no limit to the other appearances that I can't be, to be this. But to be that isn't the same as that you are, from the words you say.


No, I'm not, I'm not them, I include them. And I include them because I need each one of them to be this and not them. And also I'm included in them, they're the same, so I'm included in all of them. And if I look at the mind which makes these appearances, I notice in myself and I hear from other people that they do not see themselves in certain other people. And not only do they not see themselves, but they do not allow that they would see themselves. So like, again, you might be able to see yourself in your children, or you might not. But you might say, well, I can't see myself in my children, but I can allow that I'm included in my children, and I can allow that I'm included in myself, they're included in me.


But that guy over there, I'm not included in him, and he's not included in me. I refuse to allow that, even though I can't see how. Some people I will accept, I include them. even though I can't really see it. And I would accept that I'm included in them even though I can't see it. But this polluted aspect of myself does sometimes draw a line and say, no, I won't allow that I'm included in that person. I just thought, I saw this movie, and there was a scene where these two people were arguing. A woman was arguing with a police chief, and the police chief was sick, you know, and he coughed blood on her face.


And he said, I didn't do that on purpose. And she said, I know, baby. Let me get somebody for you. You know, right there, she saw it. She understood it. She understood that he was included in her. There was a breakthrough there. There was a moment of purification. It's one thing to say she had compassion for him, she realized on her own, it's just commonality, but to say she was part of him seems a challenge to me. She realized she was part of him.


She recognized commonality, which is saying she's part of him. So maybe it's just the wording. in the realm of... Commonality is kind of in the ballpark with, my life is in common with you, and your life is in common with me. And, that applies to everybody in both directions, that my life is in a reciprocal relationship with yours. I'm all pervaded, and I'm in a reciprocal relationship with everybody. you and me are reversible. That's the way we really are. But in that way we really are, that we're reversible, is living side by side with a defiled version of us, which is not reversible. And that's what needs to be dealt with and purified, but not by being, you know, not by disrespecting it in the least, but just by realizing that it actually does include much more than it appears to.


to listen to that teaching and apply it to the situation in a process of purification. Yes? Well, complex could be complex, it could be complex, but not ambiguously complex. So, you could have complexity that's ambiguous, in other words, that's simple, that could be simple. So, if we're ambiguous, that's what you're saying, that we're ambiguous, that we are this defined, projected self, and an ambiguous We're a defined self, which is not ambiguous, and that not-ambiguousness isn't the way we are, it's a projection.


Well, the ambiguous, just in terms of what I just said, are you the way you are, or are you that way because that's the way I see you? You are the way you appear, yes, to me. And I make you appear, my mind makes you appear to me as a way that doesn't look like you're relative to me. You don't look like my mind made you. That's the way my mind makes you. My mind makes you look not ambiguous. You look unambiguous to me. But my mind makes you that way, so you're not actually that way. It's just the way my mind makes you.


But I guess my question is, if we clarify our mindset, It's a lot to take. So I'm teaching in different venues, right? So I go from here to Noh Abode, and I give a talk there, and then I gave a talk last night, and now I'm here.


So there's this rambling thing going on here of me talking to different groups of people, right? So on Saturday at Noh Abode, this young man who had a very serious automobile accident was back in the community again for the sitting. And he told me before the talk that he felt, I don't know if he said felt, maybe he just said, the support of me in my healing was overwhelming or is overwhelming, I don't know. I don't know if he said, I feel that, or just said it is, but when he said it, I thought, mm-hmm. The support of us, but not just when you're healing from an auto mood, the support of me is overwhelming. It's overwhelming, but it doesn't destroy my limited, un-overwhelmed idea of myself.


But if I start to contemplate the overwhelming support of me, then I might feel like I would be overwhelmed. My limited, unambiguous idea of my life might sense that that would be overwhelmed if I opened to the way I actually am supported by and include everybody and vice versa. But actually, although we might feel that way from this limited, reduced version of our life, we will not be overwhelmed by it. It's actually the way we are. However, when the way we appear in the realm of appearances, when we contemplate opening to the realm of the way things are, we sense that we might be overwhelmed, and the picture, in a sense, might be overwhelmed.


But it won't be. We'll still be able to see appearances, even if we don't believe them anymore. but in the realm of appearances we sense that we might lose our ability to... our mind might lose its ability to make appearances with which we feel some responsibility to negotiate in our daily life. But again, when people start to open to this teaching, they often feel like, I will be annihilated rather than overwhelmed. You will be overwhelmed because you are overwhelmed. But even while you're being overwhelmed, you still have the ability to conjure up an un-overwhelmed situation. And also, as you and I are living and our minds are creating these unambiguous


limited versions of our life, these finite stories, while we're doing that, we're simultaneously included in everybody and including everybody. We're doing that right now. It's a question of waking up to that. Because this limited story is suffering. The world of appearances is suffering. And again, we don't eliminate the world of appearances, we purify it. And the thing that purifies it is the way things are. And the way things are is already right here. It's a question of how to develop a conversation. between the way things are and the way things appear. How to understand that relationship between the unambiguous way we're living, excuse me, the unambiguous appearance of the way we're living.


We're not living in an unambiguous way. We're living with appearances of unambiguous way. We are working with those, and that's suffering. And we are also living an unambiguous life, where we're pervading and being pervaded by all beings. We're never not that way. However, if we don't deal with the life of our appearances, with our suffering, if we don't deal with our suffering in certain ways, we'll just be trapped in our suffering. So a simple thing to do with our suffering is just to completely accept it, and completely recognize it, and realize it. When you realize your suffering, you realize your Buddha nature, because your suffering is inseparable from the way you really are.


The way you really are is together with the way you really aren't. And that combination is Buddha nature. Buddha nature is not just the way you really are, it's the way you really are with the way your mind imagines you are. It's those two together. And when you take care of the suffering completely, you also awaken to the way you really are. So thereby you take care of the defiled or polluted aspect of your life, and you also take care of the other side, and you realize your Buddha nature. In a sense, the polluted thing drops away, but it drops away without going anywhere. By completely accepting suffering, it drops away, it's released. By trying to get rid of suffering, you hold on to it.


By completely accepting it, it's released. And not only is it released, but the grasping of the appearances, which comes naturally with them, because they're homemade, we're home with them, clinging to them. Yes. You know, I'm sure everybody experienced that. I mean, sometimes I look at the bathtub and there is a spider there. As soon as I notice the spider, the spider notices me. And as soon as I grab something to take it out, it just goes back. So there is a very amazing


So, and it's just trying to escape. I only have the spider not to go to the water or something. So I don't know what is this? Is this ambiguous? Is this simple? But there's something happening. Obviously, between human and spider. But there's something that's happening. It's common. Something that's happening is what? Common? Ordinary. What's happening is ordinary? Yeah, but what you're telling me about is an appearance of the commonality. That's the way it appears.


And that's not ambiguous. But, you know, trying to be kind to the unambiguous spider with your unambiguous hands is recommended to realize a purification of this unambiguous situation. conversation in the realm of unambiguous life. That conversation there purifies the situation and helps us let go of the unambiguous version of things. So should I tell the story about the rabbit crossing the road here?


Should I do it here? The awareness of it is not a perception in the realm where we have perceptions. Like we have this chant we do when we put this robe on. It says, great robe of liberation.


And the literal next line is, a field of virtue without characteristics. The way we do it at Zen Center is we say, a field far beyond form and emptiness. But let's go to the deal with the literal one, it's a field of virtue with no characteristics. When we perceive things, we perceive them by their characteristics, and their characteristics are relative to the perceiver. The perceiver projects the characteristics on them, or imagines the characteristics, and then grabs the characteristic, and that's perception. And so the chant we do is that this is a field of virtue, but the characteristics of it you can't see.


It has no characteristics. You can't perceive how this is a field of virtue. But you can wake up to how it's a field of virtue by wearing it. And then the next line is, wearing the Tathagata's teaching. When we put this on, we say we're wearing the teaching. And wearing the teaching, which is a field of virtue beyond perception, we save all beings. So we cannot perceive how we're included in everybody. It's invisible, and how everybody is included in us. our vision is not adequate to understanding that. But we can understand it. And it's necessary, in order to understand it, to work with our field of virtue that's within perception.


Letting go of the field of perception by practicing kindness with it and listening to the teachings about it, we open to the realization of what might, at this point, seem like overwhelming ambiguity. Like, whose mouth should I put, we might think, whose mouth should I put this oatmeal in? You know, whose oatmeal is this? And is this oatmeal? Well, yes, it is oatmeal, but it's also at least one other thing. It's everything as oatmeal. And when we think about that, we think, whoa, wait a minute. But it's okay. You're not really gonna get it until you take care of the perceptual world wholeheartedly.


in wholeheartedly taking care of the perceptual world where this is oatmeal and it's yours and not mine. By taking care of that, we let go of that. Letting go of that, we don't get a perception of this inconceivable process of the universe giving rise to the universe. We don't get a perception of it. Realize it, and the realization is a mind, but it's not a perception. It doesn't have a characteristic, the way perceptions usually do. There's not a characteristic of how you include all beings, and all beings are included in you. No, and you're included in all beings. There's not a characteristic of that. You can say, well, isn't that nice? But again, that would be a major reduction. Nice is the whole universe as nice.


Yes? Well, like, you can perceive me, and then you could have a thought, he's below average. And you could also perceive that thought. or not. Like, you could perceive me, and you could say, he's below average, and not perceive that you said that. And then Athena could say, why did you say he was below average? And you say, did I say that? So she perceived you saying that I was below average. You didn't. But you did perceive me, and you were able to pass judgment on me. But you can also see somebody, perceive them, have an opinion about them, perceive your opinion, that's also possible. But sometimes we perceive somebody and have a judgment of them, but we don't necessarily know the judgment we have.


But somebody else can see, you know, like somebody else can see the look on our face or something, and they can tell that we had a judgment about them. And they can also tell that we perceive them, and we can tell that we perceive them, but maybe not know the judgment, or we can know both. So it's not all mental states are perceptions. So we have five aggregates. We analyze the egocentric consciousness. There's forms. colors, sounds, smells, tastes, tangibles, and the sense organs. And then there's feelings, like positive, negative, and neutral. And then there's perception. Every moment of egocentric consciousness has perception. And then there's all kinds of mental formations. So you could perceive a color, but not at that moment. And at that moment, you would have a feeling.


At the same moment you're perceiving color, you have a feeling, but at that moment you wouldn't perceive the feeling. And also you may have various emotional responses, like you might get angry at the color, which is maybe uncommon, but if you're a painter, you can imagine getting angry at the color not working the way you wanted it to. and many other mental formations are going on, and then there is awareness of this whole field. This is the ordinary, deluded mind. It has these elements. I cannot see, I cannot see the uniqueness of a thing.


Everything... Yeah, I have a limited, like I can, I have a limited version of you, and then I look at you again, I have a limited version of you, and I have a limited version of you, and actually I might think, well actually it's the same person. But it's not. this person is unique, he's not repeatable. And then I see somebody else that looks, that I actually think is like, has the same name would apply? Well, it does. But it's a new person with the same name. But I can't see how you're completely different. You are completely different, not a little bit, totally different. Because you're unique. Unique isn't like you're sort of like somebody else. You're unique right now, and now you're unique again. Each moment you're a unique person. You're completely different than the person you were the moment before. Completely.


Because you're unique. But I can't see that, because I make you into this limited version of you, which would lead me to think that you're the same person, but you're not, because you're unique. Once again? Yes, the commonality that we see is a projection. The bathtub is unique, the water is unique, I'm unique, the spider is unique, but I don't see that. because I got a mind that makes things a lot more simple than everything's unique, which again would be like to open up how everybody includes everything and is included there.


That's the unique thing. The universe goes to a lot of trouble to make every person right where they are and no place else, and to be right exactly like they are. The whole universe does that. That's like a big unique And then the universe changes, so we have a big change. And that's really always the way we are, and it's like realizing that is Buddhahood. Meantime, we have this, basically, we have this consciousness which makes things common and kind of ununique. Like I have a whole I have a lot of people that are kind of like you over and over, not unique, unique, unique. I have a mind that does that. And I should accept that and be kind to that, and I wish you would too.


Forgive me for making you kind of like, thinking like you were the same person I met before. But I have a teaching which says, You know, be kind to that, but also remember that that's a delusion. This is a new person, and there's causes and conditions which make you think it's the same person, but he's not. He's not. Yes. are focused typically on suffering parents. It fits perfectly, of course.


So I said that because for decades I've been kind of like, I mean I've heard for decades that there's a very influential teaching of Buddha nature in Zen, but I don't talk about it much. And part of the reason I don't talk about it is, and there's also this teaching of Buddha nature, and what's the other teaching? Oh, Buddha nature, and then also this voom of the Tathagata. And part of the reason I didn't talk about it is because I didn't want to get into making it a thing. Because when you talk about it, when you talk about the Buddha nature, and then you talk about realizing the Buddha nature, The realization of the Buddha nature, the Buddha. The Buddha in this teaching is permanent joy.


What else? Huh? Self. Anyway, the Buddha in this teaching, it sounds like the opposite of what the Buddha taught. The Buddha says things are suffering, impermanent, not self. So I kind of shied away from this teaching because it sounds like kind of the opposite of Buddhism. But I got inspired to give it a try from reading the scripture called the Nirvana scripture, which is sort of the first sutra that said all living beings have this Buddha nature, but it also had this wonderful story in it called milk medicine. The conclusion of the story is the Buddha saying, the Buddha has reasons, the Buddha says, I have reasons why I teach not self.


There are reasons that I teach it. And I have reasons why I teach self. I do not teach that there is no self. I teach not-self sometimes, and I teach self other times. I do not teach that there is no self. That's the conclusion of the story. The body of the story is more complex. How many people have heard this story? Once upon a time, there was a king. And the king hired an elderly physician. And this physician prescribed, as medicine, milk for everybody, no matter what illness they had.


And things were going along fairly well. And the king, you know, was like giving him hosing and food. And he was like the boss physician in the area, in the kingdom. There's some theories about what kind of, that the milk had some, you know, opiate qualities for some people. Anyway, he was using it as medicine for everyone. Then another physician came along and saw what was happening. and went up to the elderly physician and said, could I study with you? And the elderly physician said, yeah, you can study with me, but you have to be my servant for 45 years. And then I'll disclose to you my medicinal practice.


You have to do whatever I say for 45 years. And then the new coming physician said, OK. And then he was like a visiting physician, servant to the resident physician. And the visiting physician carefully studied every situation. and saw which kind of medicines and which kind of treatment would be appropriate given the illness. Like if somebody broke their leg, he might set the bone and put a cast on rather than give them milk. Or if they, you know, had some other disease, he might give them herbs and so on. Or if some other disease, he might wash And the king watched this new physician and he was really impressed by the way he took care of people.


He was struck by his carefulness and his knowledge and his attention to the people and also by his, he didn't say that exactly, but the good results. And he realized that the other physician didn't know anything about medicine and was really incompetent quack. And he fired him. The new physician didn't say, this guy is a total quack. He didn't do that. He said, I'll be your servant. And then he did his medicine, and the king could see it. And then after he fired the old physician, he said, would you be my physician for my kingdom? And the physician said, yes, but there's one thing that I have to ask you to do. in order for me to be your physician."


And the king says, whatever. And he said, prohibit the use of milk as medicine. You know, babies can still drink milk. And people can still put it in their rice and stuff. But prohibit the use of it as medicine. And the king said, okay. So it was prohibited. And then the king got sick. And the physician prescribed milk for the king. And the king said, what? Are you crazy? You just had me prohibited. And the physician said, I know, but in your case, milk actually is the appropriate medicine. And there's one other really kind of subtle detail, which I probably should tell you.


And that is the king said, well, you're prescribing milk and the other guy prescribed milk. So what's going on here? He was a total quack. And now you're prescribing it. And again, the new physician said, again, I can see that this is the best medicine for you. And sometimes someone might look at wormholes in wood, and the wormholes might make the shape of letters of the alphabet. But most people wouldn't think the worm knows that they're making an A or a B or something. Similarly, him prescribing milk was like that. He didn't know what he was doing. He didn't know when it was appropriate, when it wasn't. So then, in other words, prescribing milk to everybody is like teaching self and joy and permanence.


These kinds of teachings are what they call sometimes the opiate of the masses. to give that teaching to everybody. It works for a lot of people, in a way, but it's not really a sophisticated form of medicine, to teach that to everybody. But at a certain point in the process, after prohibiting the use of self, permanence, and joy, prohibiting it, and teaching people, rather, that The things of your conscious mind are impermanent and suffering and not self. There's no, like when you, which is what I talked to you about earlier today, I was teaching you, not Melbourne, I was teaching you impermanence, not self, and ill. I taught you that the way your mind conjures things is suffering, and the way things seem to be out there on their own, by themselves, is a mental projection.


This is not self. Things are not out there themselves. They are relative, and also things are impermanent. This is the teaching. This leads to the realization of the way things are. in the form of the, and not just realization of the way things are, but that realization itself is the Buddha, and that is, that you can call self, that you can call joy, that you can call peace, and that you can call, it's permanent. But that sounds like the opposite of the earlier instruction. So early Buddhism taught these three, and this phase of Buddhism taught the other three. But these three are not for everybody. And the realization of these three, self, joy, and permanence, that realization, which is Buddhahood, comes from learning how to deal with what is suffering, not self.


which is the world of appearances, which we are living in all the time, and we're not going to stop, and the Buddha is not separate from that world of suffering. The Buddha knows that that's always present. The Buddha's always present. The way things are is always present, and also this mental process of generating suffering and confusion, that's going to always be present, and accepting that is what the ones who've realized Buddha nature can do. But we can also start doing that right now. We can start dealing with this the way they do, and we can also do these other medicinal practices vis-a-vis the realm where things are not self-suffering and impermanence. We can start practicing with them in a way to realize this other place where other roles apply, other teachings. And we can see, when is it time to teach not-self, and when is it time to teach self?


Yes and yes. I could say either, plus I could say anything. And did you say yes or no? Yes is as good an answer as no. And any other answer is also equally good. That's the realm. that we're actually living in. That anything you say about anything is equally good explanation of it.


And so what I wrote down on my note is that the answer is in the relationship between yes and no. Yeah. And it's also in the relationship between yes, no, and maybe. The actual Buddha answer is incorporating, is embodying the way things actually are in relationship to beings, to living beings who have the way things really are, which that they have in common with Buddha, and that is what will cure the clinging to the way things aren't. Other? We're not saying them yet. Those are characteristics of the Buddha.


not self, impermanence and suffering. And we, the Buddha teaches that we have a mind which creates that. But the Buddha mind is not creating that. The Buddha mind is not even creating bliss and permanence and self. Those are characteristics of it which allow that mind to work for our benefit in ways that we all would like to work for the benefit of beings who need to accept these other characteristics and learn how to study them and be kind to them and vice versa in order to let go of them and realize what Buddhas have realized, which is Buddha nature. It isn't just realizing the way things are.


Realizing the way things are is medicine for clinging to the way they aren't. And even that isn't the whole story. The purpose of all that is to make a Buddha, to help all beings. It's, you can always say that about my teaching, and you can also say that about everybody in this room. That's ultimately, that's ultimately the way we are, is we are ambiguous. Temporarily, and by temporarily I mean this moment and this moment, we are fallen into unambiguous existence. and we're falling into it because our mind conjures it, and it conjures it in a very charming way.


We are charmed by our mind to believe this simplified version of our life. Our mind has learned how to charm us. It's charming. But we can, we can let go of the enchantment. Not destroy it, not be mean to it, not break it, but be free of it by contemplating it. And also contemplating, first of all, the teaching that everything you see is relative to you. Everything you see, every object that you're aware of, is relative to your awareness.


And also your awareness creates the whole setup of there being an object. So the fact that it seems to be out there is a mental construction, and what it is is a mental construction. And the mental construction is a highly simplified version of the event, the person, the life. I was picturing the enchantment, and what came to my picture was a beautiful garden, or my garden was beautiful, and how, in some way, you can also just be with, enjoy that enchantment at times, right? Sometimes, if you know it's enchantment... You can enjoy it. You can enjoy it.


And, you can maybe miss that you're suffering. in that moment. You can maybe miss, in that moment, that suffering is here. In some way, it seems like my enchantment and my suffering are really so much the same. They're so close, like one gives rise to the other. Yes, yes, that's right. And those who are free of enchantment and have become free of enchantment because they realize the relationship between enchantment and suffering, the Buddhas, they've studied this situation, they've lived in the delusion situation where enchantment is suffering-inducing. They've understood that, they're free of it, [...] and because they're free of it, they completely accept that suffering is omnipresent.


that which they're free of, they can accept, is always here. Buddha does not cut off the evil-suffering. But Buddha is free of it. The more you can accept suffering, the more you can accept evil, the more you can accept suffering, the more you can accept evil, the more you're like Buddha. And the more you can accept suffering, the closer you are to being free of it. And when you're free of it, again, you can completely accept it. Completely. In the meantime, the path to freedom from suffering is through accepting it, through compassion, and through listening to the teachings about it. That's the path to freedom from it, but freedom from it will make it possible for you to accept that it's always here, and to bring this enlightenment to all of it. So the Buddhas are free of it, inseparable from it, accepting it's always gonna be here, and administering the proper medicine to each suffering being, given where they are in the process, and everybody's in the process, not just becoming free of suffering, okay?


but they're in the process of becoming free from suffering, which is the same as being in the process of being able to fully accept it, which is the same as being in the process of becoming Buddha. When we fully accept suffering, we are Buddha. Buddhas are helping us accept suffering. They know how, they do, they're with us, they're giving us this teaching. And they are self, joy, and permanent. And they're inseparable from, they're always practicing with us, they have no other practice than that, and they completely accept our suffering, and they're teaching us how to do the same. Yes? Well, I'm just thinking, so what's the difference between experiencing I would say, perhaps, one possible response is, since it's 9.17, is that you can see beauty, actually see it, not with your eyes, but understand it,


To see beauty is to see how everything is including the whole universe, and including the whole universe. Buddhas see that. They understand that, and they're not enchanted. They're constantly overwhelmed by beauty of all beings, and they're not enchanted by anything. And they're with these beautiful beings, with great compassion, which means they're with the suffering of the beings who are enchanted about beauty. And even while they have something they see as beauty, they see the appearance of beauty, they're actually enchanted, and they're suffering. And the pleasure they have from the appearance of beauty may distract them from the suffering which they're feeling in which the Buddha can see their feeling.


But they're not, they're so, it's getting late, they're intoxicated maybe. We can be enchanted or intoxicated by beauty and out of touch with how to behave properly. And we're suffering. But because we're intoxicated, we don't feel impermanent. We don't feel not-self in this situation. When I have a six-pack of beer, I think I'm nine feet tall and bulletproof. And beauty can be just as intoxicating as beer. Just, you know, if we succumb to the enchantment rather than say, and practice compassion towards it rather than try to get it.


Overlooking its impermanence is part of the enchantment. Okay? Sorry I went over time. You know whose fault it is, right? No, no, I'm just kidding. It's not your fault. We're in this together. Thank you very much for your questions, for this conversation. We have three more times to realize Buddhahood. By the way, somebody saw the flowers that you gave me and the cheesecake that was made, and the person said, you're spoiled a rock.