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: 



Well, here we are again. I was thinking, as I often do at the Yoga Room events, that from almost the first time we had these gatherings over at the Julia Morgan Theater studio, And I think we've been having meetings for about 35 years. I don't think 40, that would be 78. But around between 80 and 85, I think I started coming. Pardon? Well, we've been having meetings, me and you. And some other people here were at the meetings.


And the studio, original, and then the studio was upstairs, and eventually they had a downstairs studio too, but the meeting, we almost always met upstairs. Maybe once we met downstairs for some reason. And across the hall and downstairs, there were ballet studios. And each ballet studio, I think, had a piano. So we would start sitting and usually there would be piano music playing and teachers loudly giving instruction and the sound of little feet pitter-pattering. And then outside there was airplanes and buses and dogs barking. That's how the meditation started. Pretty noisy.


But by the end of the meditation, it was almost always quiet. And I still don't know if the people in the ballet class thought it got quieter. I don't know if the ballet class got quieter and if the dogs barked more quietly and the airplanes muted their engines and the buses put on mufflers, I don't know. But it got quieter every time. And I really enjoyed, it's kind of like going to sleep, it's very hard to, if you watch yourself go to sleep, you see it coming, but then You don't actually catch the moment when, and I couldn't catch the moment where it sort of like clunk and got calm. And tonight, as some of you know, there was quite a bit of noise outside. Now in this case you say, well they really did get quieter.


Did you hear them? And it got quiet. But they really did get quiet. In this case it wasn't just that we went into meditation. But maybe it was, and then we go into meditation and the neighborhood gets quiet. When it gets quiet for us, it gets quiet for them. So I really appreciate that we have this forum where we come and we settle down, and then we have these outrageous teachings to to absorb and we become absorptive in the first part. So now I can bring up amazing things and you can kind of handle it. And if you get worried that you can't, you can tell me that, which you do. Like Barbara Jean said something like that towards the end of the last class. which I wanted to sort of start with that.


But before I bring up what she brought up, it reminded me of another story, a similar story to hers, which was, which is, and will be. Margie, could you try to find out how many years I've been coming, whether it's 35 or 31 or... There's probably some records, right? Maybe not. Anyway, I had this friend of mine, his name's Michael Murphy, and he's one of the co-founders of Esalen Institute. He's the brother of the person who was the character that, what's his name? The guy who wrote East of East. Steinbeck grew up in Salinas, and so did Michael Murphy.


And Michael Murphy's brother is the character in East of Eden. That kind of wild guy? That's Michael's brother. Anyway, in his later years, Michael had a son. I think his first son. And one day when his son was young, like maybe four, maybe five, maybe six, but I don't think eight. But anyway, young enough to say, what's God or who is God or what's God? And I don't exactly remember what Michael said, but he said something like, everything. And, So then his son, whose name is Mackenzie Murphy, his son said, well, is the table God? Michael said, yeah. He said, is the room God?


Yes. Is the sky God? Yes. And he kept going like that. He said, am I God? Yes. He just kept going like that and he passed out. And Michael called 911. but he recovered before the paramedics got there. So I don't know what happened, but before I guess what happened, I'll just say, yeah, I'll guess what happened. I was talking about our true nature, our true, the way we ultimately truly are, I think I was talking about something like that, how we include everything, and we're included in everything, how we are the whole universe, coming to meet the whole universe, giving rise to the whole universe, all over the universe, and in each place, in Mackenzie and Jeff and Nettie and Barbara.


But each of us is the whole universe meeting the whole universe. including it, including it, and being included in it. And I was talking about something like that, but maybe something else I was talking about, and Barbara Jones said something like feeling sort of overwhelmed at this prospect or this description. How do you remember? How you cope with it. You questioned how you could cope with it. Yeah. The efforting? The everything. How do you not be overwhelmed by everything? How do you not be overwhelmed by everything being you? And you being everyone?


How can you not be overwhelmed by that? Well, you are overwhelmed by it. And the way you're overwhelmed by it is by being you. You're overwhelmed by it and you overwhelm it. But that's exactly who you are. The way you actually are is how you are. You are like this. So I've talked to you before about, in previous sessions about, that we are conversation. I don't exist by myself, I exist only in conversation with others. I basically am welcoming, my existence is basically welcoming. But it's also being welcomed. Because other existences are also basically welcoming, and they're welcoming me and you. So we're basically welcoming and being welcomed.


And if you try to cope with that, you get kind of off center. Because the way you actually are coping with it is already, you already are coping with it, and the way you're coping with it is by being how you actually are. And you can't get a hold of that because you can't get a hold of the whole universe, and you can't get a hold of how you are included in it. But that's what you are. That's the way you, that's the way we actually are. And you might pass out, but passing out is one of our skills that we have. Sometimes it's good to pass out. He was, by the way, the boy was sitting when he passed out. He's sitting on like a couch, so he didn't get hurt. So that's why we sit when we meditate on this. So if you do pass out, you're not gonna fall far.


You might just fall forward. And that's why we don't recommend that you, except after you've been practicing a long time, don't meditate in trees or on the edge of cliffs. This way we are, is, yeah, it's the truth of us and it's the truth of all things. Everything is the whole universe as that thing. Everything is all pervaded and all pervading. So we share this ultimate truth. and we're asking for it, and we're being called to express it. And we start with compassion towards this person and towards everybody that is included in us.


So we practice compassion with that by welcoming everybody that's included. And in the process, we may notice that there's some sticking point there. Like, I don't want to include that one. And some people say, well, I'm willing to accept that I include him, but I'm not included in him. or I'm willing to accept that I'm included in him, but I'm not willing to accept that he's included in me. People have their different, basically, resistances. To what? To reality. And then those resistances turn into obsessive greed and hatred. Not just disliking, but locked into, excluding or holding on. and it becomes obsessive and compulsive. So our Buddha nature, in a sense, our Buddha nature is not our true nature.


Our Buddha nature is our true nature together with what? What? Louder? Defilement, yeah. Together with defilement, together with pollution. For example, it's the way we are the whole universe coming together to meet the whole universe in the form of this experience or that. That's the way, that's our true nature. And that is originally and unceasingly pure. But we also have misconceptions and attachments. So living beings have this true nature, which is fundamentally always, from beginningless time, pure. Because it includes everything and is included, it's pure.


There's no way to defile that. It includes all good and all evil. You can't defile a setup like that. Yes? Pardon? You could say that's why, but anyway, I don't know why I say what I say, but that situation is non-dual. But I don't know what caused you to say that to me, or what caused me to answer you. But it is non-dual. Our true nature is non-dual. Again, we're non-dual with everything, and everything's non-dual with us. And also, our purity is non-dual with our defilement, because our purity includes our defilement and never includes everybody else's defilement. Our purity is that we pervade all defilements and all goodnesses.


There's no goodness that you're not involved with. Any good in this universe, you're there. Any good in the universe, it's in you. There's no goodness way over in Tibet or Tierra del Fuego or Antarctica. There's no good down there that's not in you. And me too, though, you're not the only one. So, Our true nature is the non-duality of all things, and our true nature includes everything, yes. And, as sentient beings, we have this true nature, and we have misconceptions. And the misconceptions are very, I don't know, truthfully appearing, they appear as saying that they're true, and so we attach to them because it's true.


And that attachment to these misconceptions, it kind of interferes with us accepting our true nature. It sort of covers it over, and then when we hear about it, we might feel, well, how can I deal with that? Or it might pass out. Or we might start, you know, we might feel like this is mystical or whatever. This is ungraspable. We have various things. But we might feel those things and say, even though it's mystical, I'm gonna allow it. I'm gonna allow the whole universe to be included in me, and I'm gonna allow that I'm included in it. And that is a big step towards actually realizing that. But a lot of people get somewhat awestruck by this infinite inclusion and infinite being included.


And then sometimes then they sort of, I don't know what, shrink back from the teaching and just go hang out in the defilement for a while and forget about the true nature But we're in the process of purifying the Buddha nature. And when the Buddha nature is purified, then we're a Buddha. And the way we purify it is by faith in the Buddha nature and by being compassionate to the defilements. By being compassionate to them and listening to the teaching, the defilements become purified and we realize the body of Buddha. Yes? So, I'm curious or intrigued by something you said to Papaji about... So, let's just say I've used the statement, I feel overwhelmed, the last couple of weeks.


Let's just say that. Maybe I've said that statement. Okay. So, you said, I am overwhelmed, but I am... You said, I am overwhelmed, I overwhelm. So there's not really... I'm not overwhelmed. There's not really what? [...] There's not really what robust feeling of overwhelmed, which you have sometimes and sometimes you don't. But when you have it, it's like, you know, a good old-fashioned experience of overwhelm, or a good old-fashioned thought that you are, or a good old-fashioned fear that you might be. Each one of those things is the way you are at that time. And if you can, like, be compassionate of that and let it be,


that will purify what you're attaching to your ideas of what overwhelm means or doesn't, and it will help you purify your resistance to being overwhelmed. And being overwhelmed is also like being pure. Being kind to the fear of this truth, or trepidation of this truth, or, you know, they sometimes call this mysterium tremendum, the mystery of the trembling. We sort of, our conceptual equipment kind of trembles in the face of what it can't get a hold of. If you can't get a hold of this including everything and being included, and then our conceptual equipment kind of goes, but what about me? How can I operate? And so on. Am I going to still be able to function if I can't get a hold of this?


And somebody from the universe might say, you'll be fine. You're temporarily ineffective. You're not making it to what's going on. And that's just fine. Because all Buddhas are just like you. And we have so many stories about that. So even if I'm not feeling overwhelmed, I still am. And if I am feeling, I am. And if I think I might be, I am. I actually am overwhelmed. So overwhelmed is kind of like you're, when you feel that way, it's kind of like you're probably opening to this idea somewhat. But when you're completely open to it, you might not have that thought, but you might. What you're thinking of at the time is just, like, I'm not overwhelmed is a perfectly good example of the whole universe overwhelming you as it makes you feel like you're not overwhelmed.


Yeah? Are you asking me why the universe makes you the way you are right now? Because you said, why are you set up that way? The way you're set up? And me too. So, do you think I know why the universe makes... I don't know why the universe makes you the way it does. Pardon? Oh, when you're saying, how come we're set up in such a way that we're afraid of being overwhelmed?


Is that what you mean? I don't know why... Well, I think our consciousness cannot handle the complexity of our life. And if you would open up the consciousness and show it, for example, a third of what's going on in the unconscious, most people would pass out. But if you show too little of what's going on in the consciousness, you also pass out. So the homeostatic mechanisms of body and mind keep consciousness somewhere in the ballpark of where it can still be conscious, and it's getting the amount of information it can stand without passing out.


But occasionally, there's an opening which gives it too much, and you pass out, the little boy, is that God, is that God? And too much came in and he passed out. But also if there's too little, you pass out. So that's a neurological thing. Pardon? I think it's from evolution. We evolved to to have this control center called consciousness. There was a time when, I think probably, living beings did not have consciousness. They had cognitive processes. but they didn't have a mind which simplified things and had a self there. It's a control center or a problem-solving area. You can do things in consciousness which you can't do in the unconscious. Like you can build sandcastles in consciousness, but you can't build them in the unconscious.


The unconscious is too active to build a sandcastle, but it can tell consciousness how to do it. And it can also tell consciousness that that's a sandcastle that somebody else built. Yeah, and the unconscious can recognize that that's food and send a message to consciousness that it's food, but the unconscious is not like, I'm here seeing that that's food. So now it comes up in the consciousness and I'm here, and oftentimes that's food is not overwhelming, but sometimes that's food is overwhelming. So then we pass out. And the unconscious keeps feeding us enough, keeps giving us stories every minute, which keeps us kind of awake. And when we're sleeping, when we're sleeping, when we're dreaming, it's also feeding us, and we're conscious.


But there is a time when we're sleeping, in deep sleep, where we're not conscious, where consciousness is turned off in deep sleep. And there isn't a mind where I'm there. And it's more restful. And since you're lying down in the sleep, and the unconscious is saying, this is safe. You can like be unconscious for a while. We don't need your conscious contribution right now. And then at a certain point it says, we need you. Come on. Yes. Patrick. Yes Yes Do you say it's a big task?


It's a big ask? Yeah, it's a big ask. Do you want me to talk to you before I speak to his thing? I was going to respond to him. May I? Okay. So here's a story of how you do it. Maybe you could start by confessing and repenting that, for example, that you resist the idea that you include everybody. Say, I resist that. I see that person over there, and I think that what I see is what they are. which is part of the reason that I don't want to include them, because I think they really are that way, which I do not want to include. If I would see somebody and have an idea of them, but wouldn't believe that that was true, but just the idea I have of them, that would make it a little easier for me to include them.


So I can either be compassionate to my resistance to I'm living together with everybody. And as I am really compassionate to that resistance, that resistance will drop away. And I will be more willing to allow that I include everybody and allow that I'm being included. I'd be willing to accept that responsibility. And again, that purifies these misconceptions and purifies the attachment. They will drop away and what will be left is the way it always was and always will be. My ultimate truth of my life, which is your ultimate truth, that's one story of purification. A more elaborate story is


that we practice, well, that we take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. We take refuge in enlightenment. We take refuge in the teaching of enlightenment. We take refuge in the community of practitioners of enlightenment. We go for refuge in those three. That's one story. And then, after that, we practice repentance and confession. Another story is we practice confession and repentance and then we go for refuge. But it's really a circle. So in some texts it says, take refuge in the three treasures and then repent. But other ones it says, repent and then take refuge. So at Zen Center every morning, almost every morning, we together formally practice confession and repentance. and then we go for refuge.


And going for refuge in Buddha is going for refuge in realization of the ultimate truth. It's going for the realization that follows the purification, and the purification comes with confessing and repenting the impurities, the attachments, the misconceptions, the resistances to the teaching, because we do sometimes resist the teaching, and one of the ways we resist the teaching is we forget to practice it. It is possible to listen to the teaching, and then listen to the teaching, and then listen to the teaching, and just continue that from now on. It's possible. In other words, non-stop listen to the teaching. So yesterday I was talking at Green Gulch about, in some sense, the essence, one of the main teachings on repentance is to sit upright and contemplate the true marks of all things.


In other words, to sit upright like you do here and contemplate reality. What's reality? the whole universe is coming to meet the whole universe as this person, this person, and this person, to contemplate that. But I can see you, but I can't see how the whole universe comes together and meets the whole universe and makes you. I can't see that, but I can contemplate that. That's the suchness of you, the suchness of you, and the suchness of you. I can contemplate something that's invisible, which is the ultimate truth of all things. The ultimate truth of all visible things is the way everything is making each individual visible thing. And if I don't do that practice, then I can confess I didn't do it. I got distracted. I could have been doing it no matter what I'm doing. you can listen to the baseball game and also contemplate the true marks of the baseball game.


You can contemplate the true marks of this team and that team. You can contemplate the true marks of not being interested in the game the way you used to be interested in the game if you do the practice I just said. If you see the truth of both teams, it doesn't make you want either team to not do well. you want both teams to be happy. You can still enjoy the game, it just won't be the same. You won't hate anybody if you do this practice. But if you do hate somebody, then if you confess and repent it, that is Buddha's practice, so then you've returned to the practice, if you confess that you got distracted. Basically, confessing and repenting, not doing the practice, you purify the practice. And by doing the practice, you also purify the practice.


Or you purify these defilements, which are included in your Buddha nature. And of course, good is included in your Buddha. If I say Buddha nature includes good, you might say, well, yeah. If I say Buddha doesn't cut off good, you might say, well, yeah. But Buddha doesn't cut off evil. Buddha accepts the presence of evil and the presence of suffering. Yes, but I just did not accept it, so I'm sorry. I turned away from the Buddha way. This obnoxious thing which I turned away from was really coming to me and saying, here's an opportunity for the Buddha way, and I missed it, and I'm sorry. that process will purify all the resistance to every opportunity offering itself as an opportunity to express the Buddha way. And the Buddhas have gone through this process of purification of their misconceptions when they were sentient beings and their attachments


Buddha nature, which is to realize truth and defilement, and then they're free of the defilements after realizing the way the defilements and the purity live together. Did you want to bring up something now? Partly it's that I didn't get his point, but through your explanation, I more or less got it. I got an inkling of Buddha nature and the inkling that I got in Buddha nature in struggling to evolve Yeah, struggling, Buddha nature is, you could say Buddha nature is struggling to evolve, and one of the meanings of Buddha nature struggling to evolve is struggling to evolve is Buddha nature.


And the other way is Buddha nature is trying to do this thing called evolve. But when you're struggling to evolve, your Buddha nature is struggling to evolve. Even at the ultimate, it's struggling to evolve. Well, the ultimate isn't struggling to evolve, but the ultimate is, what do you call it, the ultimate truth is What's it doing? It's still listening to all the unevolved beings. It's not separate from the unevolved beings, but it's not evolving anymore. Or you say, its evolution is just the evolution of unenlightened beings. That's its evolution. It has nothing to evolve it with. It's just the way things are all over the place. But the way things are is that a lot of people are resisting, and so it's open to all the resisting.


So the evolution of Buddhas is our evolution. But Buddhas aren't really evolving except through our evolution. Yes? What are you trying to tell me? Thank you. Yeah, thank you. maybe as a way of having some healing around it.


But I've also had the experience of having conflicts with people who don't want to have that conversation and either say that with words or just say it clearly with their actions. They say it with words or gestures? Yes. Like they go, I don't want to have a conversation with you, or they go, Yeah, both, or both, yeah. Yeah, right. Me too. There's many ways. Yeah, exactly. And I guess I'm curious about how to practice with including that person, even if, like, including, like, including that person even if they are saying, I don't want to be included.


You're wondering how you include them when they say, I don't want to be included. Or just practicing with that situation. That's how you do it. You practice with the situation of the person saying, I do not want to be included in your life. leave me alone, and I do not want to be included, and I also don't want to include you." And then, if you include them saying that to you, and you feel included in them saying that to you, you're doing Buddha's work. And guess what? They're totally included in you doing Buddha's work, and you're totally included in them when you do Buddha's work. Now, if you don't do that, if you don't accept and allow that this person who does not want to talk to you is included in you, and you're included in them saying, I do not want to talk to you, if you don't do that, you still are included in them, and they're still included in you.


But now what they're included in is you're not practicing. And then you confess, I'm not practicing. And they were included in me not practicing. And I'm sorry, not just because I didn't do it, but because they got included. They didn't want to be included in me because actually they thought, probably I might not practice. So I don't want to be included in her, because she's not practicing. When they actually find out someday that when they told you that they didn't want to be included in you, and they didn't want you to be included in them, that you practiced with that and included that, when they find out that later, they're very sorry that they didn't go along with it. They missed a chance to be with a Buddha. For the time being, though, they have to hold to their position just so you really have something to work with. but they're offering you a chance to practice the Buddha way in the face of, I do not want to practice your Buddha way. Get your Buddha way out of my face. And if they say that to you and you include that and are included in it, they might pick it up and say, wow,


She really included when I said I did not want her to include me and be included in her. She really accepted that, which, in other words, she included me telling her that I did not want to be included. So I tell this story. Grandchildren are easy stories to tell them about because, I don't know why, but somehow they work out they don't mind you telling stories about them. but other people might. So I'm looking at my grandson and I'm feeling like I'm included in him and he's included in me and I'm looking at him like that. And he's trying to eat his breakfast. And he starts going like this. And he looks at me and says, would you stop staring at me? And I go, and look at the ceiling. And I felt just as included looking at the ceiling as looking at his dear face.


And he sees me look at the ceiling, and he's seeing that I included his request. He maybe doesn't pick up that I felt included in him telling me not to look at him. But anyway, I did my best as a grandfather Zen priest by looking at the ceiling, and then he's ready to talk again. then he's ready to include me in his life. I'm welcome back, because he can realize, if this guy gets overwhelming, I can tell him to cool it, and he will, and I will. If it gets to be too much, tell me to cool it, and I'll stop looking at you. adoringly, which might be too much. Tell me to stop it. I probably will. 99% of the time, I don't need to be looking at you that way. I have other ways that are perfectly good. Just tell me what to do. I include it. And the reason you said that to me, I don't know why you said it to me. I don't know why sometimes you say, look at me more, look at me less.


I don't know why. But I do have a teaching to deal with it. So, they are actually wanting us to include them. And the way they show it is to say, okay, can you include this? Okay, you can, okay. How about this? Well, how about this? Can you include this? And you can say, you can say no, even though you do. Because sometimes you sense that they want you to include them by saying no. You pick that up. So you say no. That's your way of... But you totally feel you do. And it's so beautiful that you can say no as an expression of, I totally include that you don't want me to say yes. And I have no problem in responding to your request, which I include.


and I'm included in it. It's so wonderful. But it's also, another part of it why it's difficult with is that it eludes rational thought. This process eludes rational thought because rational thought is, I would use rational for the kind of thinking that deals with words and concepts. and words and concepts don't reach the vortex of reality. Just one second. So I have a story, which I've told you many times before, but after I receive Elena's comment, I'll tell you the story about this. Wouldn't you say that our suffering is Buddha's suffering?


Yes. So we could think about my practice has to do with liberating a suffering Buddha. Yeah. Except the Buddhas aren't suffering, their suffering is your suffering. And because their suffering is your suffering, they're free of suffering. They're free of it, and your suffering is their suffering. The only suffering they've got is yours and mine and Bernard's. That's it. The only suffering that Buddhas have is sentient beings' suffering, which is quite a bit. I mean, it's enough, right? All sentient beings' suffering is plenty, and that's how much Buddhas have. So they've got plenty of suffering, and they're free of it. They're free of it all, and being free of it all, they're in a really good position to teach other people how to be free of it all. We can do the same practice that they did, and they want us to do it, because their suffering is our suffering.


But they're not trying to get away from it or anything. They're trying to help us become free of it, like they are. We are their evolution. Buddha's evolution, there's two evolutions. One is the evolution of becoming a Buddha, and then once they're Buddha, they continue to evolve, but their evolution after they're Buddha is our evolution. They're not going to evolve anymore, personally. They're over that. Been there, done that. Now their evolution is us learning the teaching. Buddhas could, you might say, become Buddhas and then check out. They could check out. They have the ability to check out, but the reason they became Buddhas was to help us become Buddhas, so they don't check out. Some people developed the same level of wisdom as the Buddhas


allows them to check out, and they actually consider checking out. The Buddha did not check out with that understanding. The Buddha uses that understanding, has used that understanding for a long time to evolve to be a Buddha, and then they continue to use it afterwards. And they want us to become Buddhas, not just free of suffering ourself, but to be able to help others. Yes? I'm experiencing the desire to check out sometimes, recently, after the HR, and I'm bringing it up because I think what I'm feeling is that this idea that I'm included in the university Well, the universe is included in her, and you're included in her.


And also, she's included in you, of course. She's pushing. And I feel like, well, maybe if I hold that idea about us wearing this dance, then that can help me not want to just You know, it might be that way. However... However... You know what I'm going to say? You said maybe that would help me not... And you put your hands up and kind of pushed away. Maybe you'll help me not do that. Well, if you didn't do it, it would help you not do it. But if you did it, it would help you do it. It's not primarily to get you to push or not push. It's to help you, when you're pushing, to see that that pushing includes everything.


So then she's like basically saying, Mommy, And so even if all those mommies, each one you were like including and feeling included in, you still might get to a place where you would say, enough, but you'd say enough in a different way. You'd see that the statement enough includes her, doesn't push her away, and saying enough is not something you're trying to get rid of. The enough is not trying to get rid of her and also the enough is not trying to get rid of itself. And you're not practicing this way so that you'll never again say enough.


You're practicing this way to learn how to practice this way. even when saying, not enough. And it's true, you might not say that anymore, but if you did, and you did this practice, you would be more and more likely to see that this enough was a dance. Part of the dance is enough. Like in tango, the two partners, they kind of push on each other. They kind of, yeah, did you use the word push? Yeah, they push. And the pushing is how they know what the other one's doing. So they have a leader and a follower, and the leader pushes so the follower knows what she or he is being offered. I'm offering you to go this way, and you can feel it, because I'm pushing this way. And if you want to pick up on it, great, I'll go with you. And if you don't want to do it, you just push me back.


And then I'll say, the story will change. It's by this contact, which is a little bit of a push, so very clear. Sometimes the push is such that you move away from the push. If I'm pushing on you, I move back, and you feel the push reduced, so you have opportunity to follow me. backwards, but I can also move forward, and you feel the opportunity to go forward, and you can give me feedback on that, and then I can receive it. So it's not so much that we're trying to eliminate setting limits, setting boundaries, but see that setting them, understand that that's another skillful opportunity. When I miss that the daughter pushing on me is an invitation to practice, that I'm sorry about.


I say, I missed it. I didn't understand you were asking me to become a Buddha. I thought you were asking for more than I could give. I didn't know you were asking for more than I can give as a way to help me grow. I didn't get it, I'm sorry. So being a parent, there's many opportunities to say, I missed the chance, I'm sorry. And that's a purification. But it's not that that's a purification so you won't make mistakes anymore. It's a purification so that when you do make mistakes, you see them as opportunities. And when she makes mistakes, you see them as opportunities. But you might say, well, it's still, yeah. But after you practice a long time, there's less of these really gross things going on. Maybe so. But not really, because even though they might be less gross here, over here they're still gross. And over here might be somebody else, like a teenager.


And they're saying, can you deal with this? And you can, because you do. Can you get with the program? You can, because you are. But you can also resist, and you can be sorry that you resisted because you missed a great opportunity. But that's not the end. Then you confess, and you purify. Adam. Go right ahead. It's not just observing them superficially, which we normally do. When we perceive somebody, what we do is our mind projects a characteristic on them and we grasp the characteristic as what they are. That's normal misconception. But the thing is that a misconception not only is a misrepresentation of whatever, but it comes with this little subliminal message which is, this is actually true.


And so we like, and so, yeah, well, if it's true, I'm gonna grasp it. It's the grasping that really is the problem. Well, we can label things as evil. Some people resist it, they don't want to do it, but most of us can. But sometimes we have to really get pushed before we say evil. Anyway, we can, human beings can label things evil.


And Buddha can do it too. If it helps people, evil. But, and again, When you label something evil, that might be just like, you might do it because you have this superficial version of them, which makes you feel like, I think evil would work with this. If you have a very deep reception of somebody, then it's harder to say evil. Because deep means you include a lot more than just that evil part. So, you start maybe, usually you start with a superficial version of your life and your friends. And usually you believe it. And then you notice the stress and pain around believing what you think of people is what they are. And then you say you're sorry. And then you try to be more, remember the teachings when you perceive people. I'm perceiving them, but they're not what I think they are. So I would like to not adhere so strongly to my version of people.


But I just did, and I'm sorry. And now I'm doing it again. I'm perceiving the person, but I'm a little less arrogant about what I think they are. And that looks kind of like purification. And the same with the purification. That's a superficial version. It's not really purification. In that way, I start to open to that, oh, that's evil, yeah. I mean, I think it's evil. That's what I think. I do think it's evil. Do you think it's evil? Yes, I do. Do you really think it's evil? I really do think it's evil. But I don't think what I really think is really what's going on. It's just what I really think. I think it's evil. And the more I accept that, that this is what I think, and notice that if I'm attaching to it, and give up my attachment to what I think is truly evil, I start to open up, notice, well, the evil actually includes good. It has to.


And then I can also do the same with good. I see you, I think good, And if I don't attach to it, if I don't attach to this thought that you're good, I'm already quite open to you, this person, Adam. You know Adam, right? Adam includes evil, right? That's the story of our Western tradition. Adam includes evil. Yeah. But then, if you're open to the evil, evil includes good. And then you start to be ready to realize that everything's like that. My life includes your life. Your life includes my life. My joy includes sorrow. My sorrow includes joy. You heard the teaching. You have to open to your resistance to evil and good. And we resist good by making it this and don't let it be anything else.


That's resisting it. and the same with evil. By confessing my resistance to things, my lack of compassion, I become more compassionate, less resistant, more open to apply the teaching, more open and so on. This is the process of purification. We've already got what we are, which is perfectly pure, cannot be improved. And we've also got this other stuff, which we need to work with compassionately so that it doesn't hinder us from enjoying our fundamental, true purity, which is we include everybody and everybody's included. There's no way to defile the universe. Yeah. Do you want to pick one example? There are several there.


Do you want to pick one? If when I hear about children being torn away from their parents, I just don't see anything good about that. I guess I think that looks evil. It looks like evil is harmful.


It seems it's almost always It's often, anyway, really hard on kids to separate them from their parents. But it's not always hard. Sometimes separation is helpful because their mother needs a break. So they say, could you let your father take care of you for a while? And the father separates the child from the mother. Sometimes that's not so bad. But in these cases, it seems like it isn't like they're being taken from one caregiver to another caregiver. It's like they're taken from one caregiver to somebody who's not even allowed to care for them. You know, it's like against the law for these people to comfort the kids because they can be accused of child abuse. So it looks like really a harsh and traumatizing separation. That's what it looks like to me.


Well, first of all, though, if it looks like that to me, I might want to do something about it. All right? And I might do something. And if possible, I would do something good. It's possible. But I might not. Because I'm deluded and I haven't taken that into account yet. I think it's evil and I think I'm right. And I don't think it includes any good. My mind is narrow. And with a narrow mind you can sometimes do things that are fairly nice, fairly not harmful. Like, you might think, well, I'll make a donation. to some organization that's trying to hire people to make lawsuits against this. You might make a donation. To me, again, that looks kind of good. That's something I might do. Or I might go, even if I had to travel, I might go down, like some people do, and witness the situation to bring my presence there.


I might do that. That also doesn't seem to me to be harmful. Seems kind of good. to me. But I might do that while still kind of like being self-righteous. But even being self-righteous, you might be able to do things which aren't so harmful, which are kind of good, probably, which Buddhas probably would think, that was good. That was good. However, you still don't understand what's going on. And if you did understand what's going on, you would be more effective. And you might do the very same thing, but you'd be more effective. So you might still go and witness the situation, but you'd be witnessing from an unselfrighteous position. And you would probably have more beneficial opportunities because your mind's bigger and more open to different possibilities. So you do the very same thing, but that mind is transmitted to the people in the area. And other people start to, you know, even people who have not yet been able to figure out anything to do,


are included in you and it's transmitted to them. So I think I've told you this story. It's one of my favorites. I don't like saying favorite, but anyway. It's a story about a very highly respected Tibetan teacher and a very highly respected Tibetan monk who was also a teacher. the teacher of the teacher, observed the teacher working with the monks in the monastery, and he said, you know, when I see you in the monastery, I am deeply touched by how kind you are to the young monks. So he was trying to help them and be kind to them. And this other teacher saw him and said, it's really great.


And it would be nice if you did something spiritual sometime. And another time he was doing something in the monastery, like doing some services or some ceremonies. And again the other teacher says, I cannot express how grateful I am to what you're doing here and how beautifully you maintain the monastic discipline and the monastic forms. It's just so wonderful. beyond measure, good. It'd be nice if you did something spiritual sometime. And I think there was maybe a third example, and then finally the guy said, what do you mean something spiritual? I said, well, stop trying to get something out of it. Actually he said, stop trying to get something out of life. So if you see cruelty, you might walk up to it and say, please stop. I really need you to stop this. And they might listen to you, or they might not.


They might say, leave me alone, Jeff. I got to do this. This is my job. Say, please don't do it. And they would say, I'm, you know. Or they might say, well, maybe I will stop doing it. Who knows? But anyway, you're expressing your views to them, you're calling them into question, and you feel good about it. And you do it in a respectful way. But if you would do that with this, excuse the expression, a bigger mind, free of gaining anything by that, they have a chance of waking them up and having them see for themselves what they're doing. So that's a greater good than just either stopping them, or anyway, telling them what you'd like them to do, which might, both of those things might be good, but, and let's say both of those things were good and both of those things happened, but you could have also woken everybody in the situation up.


It's another benefit on top of You can feed people who are hungry, which is often really good, especially if they're really hungry and the food is wholesome food. It's good. But you can also teach them that you weren't trying to get anything from that. So they get fed and they get this other message about practice. Because after people are fed, then what do they do? Do they practice? Well, somebody has to show them to practice. So you can feed them and simultaneously teach them the Dharma. That would be better, because then after they finish eating, now they have some energy, now they can practice. They can try what you did. So that person fed me, but the way they fed me, I want to learn how to feed people that way. That was so cool, the way they fed me. I really felt like they weren't trying to get my gratitude. I was grateful, but I didn't feel like they were trying to get anything from me.


And I've seen a lot of people who have been feeding me, and they're trying to get something from me. Like, I go to that place over there, and they feed me, but they want me to become a Christian. Or, and I go over to that Buddhist group, and they feed me, but they want me to become a Buddhist. This guy fed me, and he wasn't trying to get anything. So I'm happy that I got my food, but what he showed me is more important than anything I've seen in my life so far. He showed me how to try to help people without trying to get anything. That's what we're trying to teach people, because that's what frees them. And then if they get fed, they're free. And if they don't get fed, they're free. That's the difference, the additional thing of teaching them the path of freedom. Because a lot of people, as you know, don't miss a meal. They have more than three square meals a day. They have six or ten. They're eating all the time, and they're scared to death they're going to run out of food.


Some other people have plenty of money and they're afraid the money's going to get taken from them. They're afraid the tax is going to go up, you know. They've got tons of money and they're afraid somebody's going to cut into it. Somebody has to teach them the Dharma. And the poor people do. Somebody has to teach them the Dharma. If you can give them wealth, fine. But if you give them wealth and don't teach them how to practice, they still don't know how to practice, they're still going to be suffering. So that's my response to the practical. Okay? And there's many other examples which we can talk about, and the story which I was going to tell you I didn't tell you, but it's still available. I've told her so many times that I won't forget it.


See, one of the advantages of me telling you stories over and over again is I remember them. Some people say, how do you remember all those stories? Well, I tell them over and over. If you tell them over and over, you can remember them too. So, anyway, thank you very much for another wonderful class and another wonderful magical meditation where we quieted Don Berkley. We have two more classes, I think. And by the way, I don't try to calm, quiet down Berkeley. I don't. I just sit and listen to it, and it quiets down.