Three Kinds of Compassion 

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Three Kinds of Compassion
Tenshin Reb Anderson
No Abode
Nov 10. 2012 AM

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Transcribed by Karen Mueller


On the way over here this morning from Green Dragon Temple, I thought about No Abode and about how when we first came here, or after being here for awhile, we became aware that the underpinnings or the underbelly… We became aware of the underbelly of No Abode, which has lots of moisture in it, and actually the building is rotting in certain parts around the base. We.. And there’s lots of junk also under the deck accumulated over time. Also the deck was about to fall down. And Bernard rebuilt the deck and Jerry and his friends have dealt with the water situation so the water is not so likely to rot the place. Paul and his crew have cleaned up all the stuff under there. Tse-tsei and his crew have rebuilt the hillside. Other people have rebuilt the retaining wall. The place was.. It’s like the unconscious of No Abode has been addressed. I just feel that we really have cleaned the temple so that we can really sit here. Thank you very much for all your work. As a hors-d'œuvre for this… How do you say the French word for the work itself? “Oeuvre” The hors-d'œuvre for the oeuvre. Before the oeuvre, I want to give you the hors-d'œuvre. Does hors-d'œuvre mean before the oeuvre? (Yes) So before the oeuvre, I give the hors-d'œuvre. The hors-d’oeuvre is a story about somebody telling me a story. The story was, this person says, “I feel like I am trapped in stories”, which, of course, I often mention is the normal condition of living beings that they have minds which creates stories and then they believe them and then they are trapped inside their stories. Like, “I am a good person, I am a bad person. I’m good and they’re bad. I’m bad and they’re good. Republicans are better than Democrats”, and so on. And then the person said, “But it’s all just a game!” and I thought that’s an interesting turn of phrase to change from story to ‘it’s just a game’. So if it’s a game, let’s play. Let’s play the game. But before we can really play, in the liberating sense, the kind of play that leads to creativity and understanding and freedom.. Before we can play, we have to relax with the story. We have to relax in the game. For example, the game of having a temple, of sitting cross-legged, of sitting still, of being quiet, we have to play..That’s a game too, one could say. But to be playful with that game, we need to relax with the forms of the body and mind. And then I also have suggested that in order to relax, we need to trust that it’s ok to relax. And in order to trust that it’s ok to relax, we have to be compassionate to the story that we are going to relax with. To relax before you are feeling compassion for the game, for the story, we need to really relax. Really human beings don’t really.. They have an ethical sense that they should be compassionate. That that is our real way to go. And if we don’t take care of that and commit to that, some part of us says that it’s not safe to relax because we have overlooked something. Something, what do you call it? I think Kant said. What did he call it? I think, “manifest destiny’? Is that what he said? Huh? (Categorical imperative.”) Categorical imperative, yeah. Kant said that there is a categorical imperative which is that human beings anyway have a sense of moral obligation. A sense to be careful of their karma and to be compassionate with their karma and with other beings that they are related to. If we try to relax, some part of us is really not deeply relaxing. So, again, part of relaxing at No Abode is we clean up the rot. We took responsibility for the building. We didn’t say, “eh..” We also had termite people come and the termite people also encouraged us to take care of the rot around the base of the building. As ancient teachers said.. Are you following me? So if we can commit to compassion, then we can relax with the story and play with the story. Then if we can play with the story, we can enter creativity. And entering creativity, we will understand the story. We will understand the game and be free of it. And I said this to the person who told me that it’s all just a game. When I got to the creativity part, he said, “But the creativity is dark.” You know, I think creativity is dark. You can’t really see it. It’s like dark water, dark flowing water. You can’t really see it. To see it is not the creativity. But if you can dance with the forms that you are dealing with, you can enter this dark water of the creation of our life together and then enter wisdom and liberation. So this is the hors-d'œuvre to the oeuvre, and the oeuvre is a meditation I offer to you, a meditation on compassion. I am going to give you a text on compassion, a meditation called compassion. This will be something for you to be compassionate towards and the text will tell you how to be compassionate towards the text. Also I want to mention what I’ve said to you before but I want to say again because I think it might be helpful. Here’s another text. The text is “meditation”, the word “meditation”. I was surprised when I looked it up a while ago, that the first meaning in the English dictionary I looked in for the word “meditation”, the first meaning was “a text” “a scripture” which is offered for contemplation. Often a religious text which is offered for contemplation. And then, I don’t remember now… that’s a noun. I don’t remember if it also had the verb, that meditation is also the act of contemplating a meditation. In fact, I would suggest that we often do use the word meditation for the contemplation process which we apply to… Do you need a chair? (There’s a chair open over there.) You can bring a chair and put it behind Laurie. (There’s one back.. why don’t you take this. It’s easier to get to.) So, a lot of people think of meditation, and also.. There are two types of meditation basically. One is mediation, which develops tranquility and concentration, and actually, it actually goes with the relaxation and the playfulness part. The practice of tranquility develops a relaxed and playful body that’s ready to enter into creativity and wisdom. Following me? That kind of meditation, tranquility meditation, is what a lot of people think about as meditation. And it is. It’s part of it. But another part of it is contemplating teachings, contemplating meditations. Today I offer you a meditation to contemplate. And this meditation is.. It also includes meditating on tranquility. But the topic, the next text is the meditation of compassion. I just offer for starters that sometimes we/I speak of three kinds of compassion. One kind of compassion is the compassion that has the object of living beings; it that sees living beings. The next kind of compassion has the object of the elements which come together to create the appearance of living beings. And the third kind of compassion is the kind of compassion which doesn’t have an object. It’s objectless. Ok? So now I will talk about these different types of compassion. The first type of compassion whose object is living beings, and living beings suffer to some extent more or less,.. The first type of compassion has living beings as the object and it refers to a compassion of one who believes, or thinks, or thinks and believes, beings are real and substantially existing and that their delusions are real, substantially existing. And who wishes to liberate real beings from real suffering and real delusion. Or real delusion and real suffering. This is what is called, sometimes, “sentimental compassion” which is limited by sentimental feelings. It’s not liberative compassion. I also wanted to say that this topic.. When I thought about talking to you about it, I thought I think that at No Abode I can talk about this. I would hesitate to talk about this, about these things I’m talking about, for example, at a big public lecture because I think some people might be shocked with some of this stuff but I hope you can listen to it and relax and play with it. Of course, I also hope that you have committed to compassion, which will help you relax with my talk about compassion. Be compassionate to me and this talk, please. So sentimental compassion is.. When I look up the word compassion in the dictionary, I think it said, “Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings and misfortunes of others”. So I think that this definition, the first definition in the dictionary I looked in, sounds to me like the first type where you are looking at sentient beings as real and their suffering as real and also you have pity on them. You sympathize with them and have pity. So I think the first definition in this English dictionary sounds like sentimental compassion. The root of the word, which I think many of you know, is “com-patie” which means, “suffer with”. But although the root is “to suffer with”, the denotative meaning is “to pity”. So Buddhism has two words that are often in Chinese.. Actually in Sanskrit we have “karuna’ which is often translated as compassion. And then we have “maitrie” which is often, or “metta” which is translated as loving-kindness. The loving-kindness is more, is a feeling of well-wishing, wanting people to be happy. But it doesn’t emphasize so much being impacted by their suffering. I’ve heard the etymology of the word “karuna” is dented happiness. Karuna is basically happiness; compassion is basically happiness. But it has dents in it and the dents are the suffering of others. Actually we are affected. We are sensitive to it. So it’s possible that the Buddhist word compassion might be better translated as empathy. Possibly. Or the two together. The sentimental compassion is.. The word “sentiment” means a cast of mind, a habitual way of feeling. Sentiment. A general disposition. As we start to practice compassion, our general disposition is to see others as separate, to play the game of seeing them as separate and to see them as real beings who have real suffering. That’s our usual cast of mind; our usual disposition. And then to feel compassion for them as separate beings is the sentimental compassion. And I must say that I feel this. I sometimes see beings suffering and I think, “Oh they are over there suffering” rather than I feel impacted by them. Rather than a sensitivity in me to their suffering which is not separate from me now. And a lot of people I talk to about the word “pity”, they don’t like the word pity. They don’t want to pity people. I think that’s kind of a harbinger of wisdom, of wise compassion, of compassion that is joined to wisdom. Not pitying, but more like feeling what it’s like to be with beings. If you’re ready perhaps I can move on to the next type which is the kind of compassion that bodhisattvas might be into, to some extent in their practice. Also it might be characteristic of other types of spiritual practices where it’s a compassion whose objects is elements, so that you see beings as compounds of elements or compounds of conditions that create the appearance of a being. And you look at beings and you don’t see a real substantial person when you look at somebody. And you understand that the compassion also is made of elements. That it’s kind of an imaginative being that you are seeing and an imaginative compassion that you are feeling for imaginative beings who have imaginative or illusory suffering. Compassion that has this for it’s object is free of the ordinary sentiment of human beings who see other beings as real who have real suffering and real delusions and also real liberation, substantial liberation of substantial beings. Substantial liberation of substantial beings. That type of compassion is not liberative. And this type of compassion, although it’s free of other kinds, it still has an image of compassion that it understands is an image and it has an image of beings which it understands is an image and an image of their suffering which it understands is an image, but it still has the image. The beings still look like they are separate. So it also is not truly liberative. The truly liberative one is what we call Great Compassion which is joined to wisdom which not only understands that we are composed beings and we don’t exist on our own, but the image that we have of this composition is actually not the composition, in that there’s nobody out there to save. So the actual liberation of Buddha’s wisdom entails complete dedication to the welfare of beings while also realizing that there are no beings to find. Working for the liberation of beings and realizing that when beings are liberated, no beings are liberated. This type of compassion is joined with wisdom and this actually effects, is effective in liberating beings. Again, the Buddha’s compassion is a feeling that doesn’t actually have objects. This feeling that doesn’t have objects is born of a wish for all sentient beings who are not objects. The Buddha has wishes for sentient beings, but the Buddha does not see sentient beings as objects of the Buddha. The Buddha sees sentient beings, but there is not a Buddha over here seeing sentient beings. There are just sentient beings and a wish for them. The wish is not separate from them. The Buddha has a wish for sentient beings and that wish gives rise to a feeling. So there’s a wish and a feeling that’s not separate from the beings that the wish is for. The feeling is arising from being touched by the beings and there is no separation. There is no object there. There’s actually the compassion IS the relationship of all these beings and the wish comes from the relationship. And the Buddha is not in addition to the relationship and the feeling is not in addition to it. So the Buddha wishes for all sentient beings to be free of suffering and to attain supreme happiness. The Buddha wishes that. The Buddha is that wish. The Buddha is not something in addition to the wish. That wish is joined to wisdom, which doesn’t see the sentient beings as separate. That wisdom is not something in addition to the Buddha and the Buddha is not something in addition to that wisdom. The Buddha does not think, “Oh, those poor creatures out there separate from me” and therefore the sentimental compassion does not arise in the Buddha. The Buddha is sensitive to beings, nothing but sensitive to beings, and there is no appearance... There is the appearance of duality but it is not entertained. It is released. This is the beginning of the meditation text on compassion. There is even the proposal which I have made before that if you feel a wish to devote your life to the welfare of others and you see them as separate and you have this sentimental type of compassion for them, that type of compassion not only doesn’t liberate them, but puts you at risk of giving up the whole program. Because that way of seeing beings in this sentimental way drains the being who was trying to develop compassion. So most of us have had some experience of that and maybe will continue to have some experience of that. Understanding that it may take us a while to get over it and until we get over it, we are subject to getting tired out when we try to help beings. We do get tired by trying to help beings that we see as out there separate from us, objects which are separate from the subject. So this meditation on compassion is talking about objects of a subject. The subject is the wish to benefit beings; the observation of their suffering and the suffering is the object of that feeling. There is subject/object but there is no duality in Buddha’s wisdom. Then you don’t get tired. You don’t get exhausted. You don’t get burnout. When we feel burnout, it’s (excuse the expression) a wake-up call that we are involved in sentimental compassion. Somebody who is involved in sentimental compassion, the Buddha wishes that that person would become free of the suffering of sentimental compassion and would realize supreme happiness. The Buddha can see the duality that’s conjured up by sentient beings’ minds. The Buddha does not conjure up the duality. The Buddha just sees the sentient beings but there’s no duality between the Buddha’s vision and the.. (There’s a shadow of some trees moving and I thought it was Fred waving his hand.) Anyway, the Buddha doesn’t really see the duality except through the beings that the Buddha is inseparable from. The Buddha’s wisdom is seeing how sentient beings see duality but the Buddha doesn’t entertain that as real and therefore the Buddha’s wisdom does not get tired out. Some people aspire to that kind of wisdom in order to realize the Buddha’s wish, which is to liberate living beings from suffering. Now I said that’s a, beginning of the meditation, the text on compassion and part of what I mean there is you are welcome to work on it with me now by,..however you want to. Yes? Q. How do empathy and sympathy relate to the three types of compassion? A. I would say sympathy maybe still has a little bit of.. it has the word “with” in it. The “sym” means with. So sympathy has a little touch, at least, of separation. Empathy is more like the way you feel, the way somebody is suffering is your suffering. It’s not their suffering; it’s not your suffering. It’s the way you feel it. But, as they say, not to make to fine a point on it, I think as long as you feel sympathy and you see the specter of separation between self and other, as long as you say, “uh-oh! I confess I’m a sentient being and I see separation.” Ok? And now I want to practice compassion with that image of separation. So I want to be gracious towards it and careful of it because it’s a dangerous illusion. And I want to be patient with it. Now I want to relax with it and play with it and be creative with it and be free of this, of the image of duality, of subject and object. In that way, I am dancing with it but not entertaining it. I’m entering it so completely as to be free of the sense of separation so my sympathy is freed of duality. Yes? Q. Basically my understanding is that when there is no-body, there is no image either, so ..What are we talking about? A. Right. We’re talking about the bodies. When there are no bodies, we don’t have any job here. This is a …compassion is… This compassion I am talking about is a compassion for living beings who have bodies. Any other comments? Yes? Q. I am imagining that, trying to express the second and third kinds of compassion might actually be irritating to people. A. Yeah, that’s why I said..That’s why I thought maybe I could talk about it here because if I did on a Sunday, it’s such a big group I can’t see people wincing. And also it’s a group where it’s easy for people to walk out. It’s somewhat harder to walk out of here. . Q. So you don’t want this posted.
A. I do want it posted. People who read this can walk out of the posting. They can turn it off and that’s fine with me. But I don’t want to.. In a big public talk, I can’t keep track of people’s irritation, but here I can kind of see your faces. I can see almost all your faces. At Green Gulch, there are so many people that I can’t see their faces. I can’t see how they are wincing and shrinking back from the experience of the implication that the kind of compassion they have been involved in is not really liberative. They may not want to hear about that. They may feel insulted by such a teaching. Q. I am also thinking about somebody expressing to me, or me expressing to somebody, well all that stuff that you’re feeling is really just a story.. Right? And.
A. No, no. It’s not really just a story. Well, yeah I guess it is really just a story. Yeah. Yes? Q. So if somebody said that to me, I might feel offended or if I said that to somebody, if I wasn’t skillful, I could really… A. Yeah, this isn’t saying it to the suffering person. You’re saying it to the person who is trying to practice compassion. You want to help people? Well, if you want to help people, are you open to some feedback on your care giving? So when the person is in the care-giver’s seat, we are not telling them that their suffering is just a story, we are telling them that their story about the people that they are trying to help,.. look at the story of that and understand that they have a story. Or they are seeing this person as a real person and they are a real helper and they have real help for real problems. So a lot of people are being compassionate that way and they are amazingly compassionate. So this is a teaching for people who are in the compassion business, to point out to them that that type of compassion is not actually liberative although it is still amazingly good and it may be somewhat helpful. It doesn’t liberate. You can help people from that type of compassion. You can be generous and careful and patient, still thinking that they are real people with real suffering and you are a real helper. You can still be helpful. It’s just that it’s not.. The sentimentality of it prevents it from liberating them. This is a way of taking care of people that will actually eventually liberate them rather than just take care of their suffering endlessly. It’s not just take care of their suffering. It’s show them a way to take care of the suffering that will liberate them. Q. I am wondering about how that type of compassion might express itself though because… A. Wondering how it might express itself is part of what opens it up to the next stage of looking at the elements. Watching how it works. So some people are amazingly diligent in their expression of compassion but they don’t necessarily watch how they are doing it and how it works and how the beings and the relationships are put together by elements. They aren’t listening to that. They are busy doing their good work. It is good work. So that question takes you to the next step. That question will start setting you free from the sentimentality. Q. Is it watching how it’s operating in me? A. It starts there. Q. Yeah. Thank you. A. When you get into that study of yourself.. Like I said, some people are amazingly diligent in helping others but don’t look at themselves when they are doing it. If you start looking at yourself, you start to unravel the habitual way of doing it that you are so good at. And then you set up the possibility of realizing that you are still working with your imagination and you still do see separation and you still do believe it. Ok? Can I say one more thing? Then you have a chance of becoming free of the illusion of the compassion process. And enter into the actual dark waters of creativity where actually compassion is already going on. And in that water we will become free. We will understand and become free. Q. It sounded like co-dependency a little bit, the sentimental form.
A. I think it does sound like what they sometimes call co-dependent. This points out that co-dependency is a kind of compassion. It’s not all bad. It’s often done by people who really, really want the best for somebody and not just for that person but also for a whole family. And they, I think the word that people find some consensus about a word that applies here that in co-dependency there is colluding with the process. Colluding means playing along with it. Which is kind of compassionate, that you play along with the person’s suffering but also you play along with how it goes. You’re kind of going along with it and then there’s often a denial of the colluding. So if you start to admit the colluding I think you start to wake up to the process and I think the co-dependency starts to back off a little bit. And you might.. And some other kinds of compassion might come forward. Some other questioning of what you are doing and so on would come forward from that. I see your hand, before I call on you, anybody else? Q The organization that I work for, I think that’s basically what it’s about for a great number of people doing that work. I don’t want to go into a lot of detail but this is what I’m understanding about it now and some of us were actually able to point out that the way that’s it’s being done is basically doing what you’re saying and the response was, “Yeah! That’s right!” A. Wow. What you pointed out was what was the sentimentality and some people were open to the feedback. Q. Open to the feedback and seeing how it actually creates more work. A. It creates outflows. That’s what it does. And that creates the draining of energy in the process of helping. We do want to help. That is, we have this in us. Q. This is the interesting thing. Immediately after that, more reinforcement to believe even harder was the response.. and the answer, one answer was…What else can we do? The despair. That was my interpreting that the despair makes it too frightening to let go of .. A. So are you saying that when people started to become aware of the sentimentality of their care-giving, that they sometimes accept it but then they sometimes reinforce trying to do the care-giving harder? Q. Enforcing that others should do it in this specific way… in the way that it’s been done and in the way.A. So it could reinforce the status quo and it could reinforce the separateness? Uh-huh. Right. And that might be part of the process of becoming more and more aware of the drawbacks of the sentimental compassion. To see more clearly how it burns out. Before the person actually burns out and leaves the field. And this thing of “what else can we do?”,.. One answer is there is nothing else you can do. Basically we are going to do the sentimental compassion. We are not going to get rid of it. We are not trying to get rid of it. We’re just saying this type of compassion, which is a stepping-stone to the other two types, this type of compassion.. We don’t need to get rid of it. We just need to be compassionate to it. And part of being compassionate to it would be to move to the next stage. But another part of being compassionate to it, even before you move to the next stage..You don’t have to wait for the next stage. You can just start being compassionate to this draining type of compassion and start to relax with it and play with it and enter the creativity of the sentimental compassion. When you enter the creativity of the sentimental compassion, you enter the third type. You understand that this sense of separation is just an illusion and you give up believing the illusion. So you can actually skip the second stage. The second stage is not actually necessary. You can go from stage one. Almost nobody skips stage one. It’s almost impossible to go directly from, I don’t know what, seeing suffering and caring about it, to suddenly drop off the sense of separation. Everybody is born with the sense of separation and many people with the sense of separation still really want to help the beings they feel separate from. Becoming aware of that problem would be realizing that you can’t just keep doing things from this separation stance. You need to relax with it, which will lead you to play with it, be creative with and be free of it. So in order to free beings from suffering, we have to be free from our sentimental approach to freeing them from suffering. I am suggesting that. Q. When I did this second part of it, I came up with three intentions. One is that my actions and speech be helpful and harmless. Second was that I fully experience what I am experiencing. So that’s maybe the sympathetic part of it. A. It's also kind of generous. Q. The third intention was that I take none of it personally. What that gave rise to was a sense of just contributing presence and trying to make an appropriate response. A. Yeah. Want some feedback? Contributing presence sounds good. Trying to make an appropriate response, I would caution you against that one. Of course you want to make an appropriate response but trying to make an appropriate response hinders making an appropriate response. If you see somebody who is trying to make an appropriate response, contribute presence to that. And if the person is you, do it there too. The trying to make an appropriate response is not appropriate. Wishing to make an appropriate response… Q. Maybe that’s closer to it. A. Yeah. I wish to make an appropriate response and since I wish to, I am going to offer my presence to that wish and then watch out for the appropriate response, rather that me making it. Me making appropriate response is sentimental compassion. Like “me”, that’s a real me that’s going to make a real appropriate response. Ok. Well, we practice compassion towards that guy and then really be compassionate with him and his really good sounding agenda, except that it’s dualistic. Q. So would these intentions precede any particular object and they don’t need an object. A. No, they don’t need an object. Right. We don’t need an object to live, but even though we don’t, we do. We have them. Q. What that does is it makes me realize that. A. Excuse me. We do need objects. We just don’t need objects that are separate from subjects. We don’t need that. We can live with subjects/objects not being in a dual relationship. But we do need objects. The enlightened person still has the subject-object thing there. It’s just that they’re… We need self and other. We do. But we don’t need them to be separate. Matter of fact we’re scared when they are separate and we’re scared of them not being separate. But actually when they are not separate, there’s no fear. Q. The only place with not-separate is in the present moment. A. The only place we’re not separate is in complete enlightenment. The only place where we are not separate is our actual life. Our actual life is that way. Really, right now we are not separate and we are trying to enter into the way we really are. In the present, which includes all of eternity. Past and future. You all agree with that. I can see it. Now let’s realize it, shall we? Yes. E. And can you wait in line with all the other people ahead of you? I will never forget you. Yeah, they are lining up ahead of you. Yes, E and then my old friend K. Welcome to No Abode Q. There might also be an element to add in around might be something around supporting the receiver of compassion to get a sense of what it feels like to be on the receiving end of those kinds of compassion. A. Yeah. That could be one of your gifts. Q. Yeah, because it can affect both sides of that equation. The giver and the so-called receiver. A. Yeah the so-called receiver who is not separate from the giver is a sentient being who enlightenment wishes to benefit. Q. It feels very different to be on the receiving end of sentimental compassion VS upright compassion. Really different. A. Two different teachings. Two different examples. Q. That in turn from my view would support the care-giver, so to speak, to work through a fence. A. Which kind of fence? Q. If they feel offended. If they feel offended. A. I thought you meant a fence, like a wall. Q. I meant Offense. A. Offense is a good defense or vice versa. Ok? Q. I thought I heard you say in one of your answers, the first kind of compassion, or I guess maybe all three kinds of compassion are conventionally necessary. Like food. Like the food chant where we say I am eating this food for the enlightenment of all beings. To prevent greed. You know, conventionally I need food. Absolutely I don’t need food. Conventionally I need all three forms of compassion. Absolutely I don’t need the first kind. A. Conventionally I need all three kinds of compassion and absolutely, or ultimately, there is no compassion to need or no me to need it. But it’s not that I don’t need it. It’s just that there isn’t anything to need because we are already where we want to be. We are at the ultimate. Ultimately, we are at the ultimate. But conventionally we have to take care of everybody’s story about compassion. Even mine. So conventionally, please be compassionate to my stories about compassion and I’ll conventionally aspire to be compassionate towards yours. Yes? Q. I wanted to know if you would speak a little more about having the person on the receiving end receive liberation. When I was younger, I was a hospice nurse and I only knew the sentimental type of compassion but when I was the most present with them, they would let go. Not that it had anything to do with me. I don’t know that. But it made me feel that way and they died right away. And so I was always concerned about being too compassionate. A. Because as soon as you showed up they would die? “Don’t bring her in here if you want your client to live any longer because as soon as she walks in, everybody lets go.” Q. That’s what I thought of. Liberate. A. Yeah. At the moment of death, there is a kind of liberation. Or at the moment of liberation, there is a kind of death. And part of the death is letting go and part of the death is just letting go. It depends on our background whether there will be another birth. But maybe I missed your point by that? Q. No. I had taken into consideration, the family and where they are and sometimes I would just play the game with them. “Ok, this is what we’re going to do now and you’re going to be ok”. And I’m not present with them when I actually do I do it this way. And it is very draining. A. Yeah. So that’s an example where it sounds like she looses her uprightness with the family and then you feel drained (Yeah). You don’t want to be with them that way but you feel conventionally, or sentimentally, that you should be. Q. Yeah. To protect them or to protect the other person from relaxing into wherever. A. Not protecting actually. Wait a second. You’re with the family and you are tempted to not be upright. Somehow you’re not sure the uprightness will help them relax, even though it will. The uprightness is what makes you feel “Ok. I am upright here and I am going to stay upright with you so.. Since I am going to be with you and I am never going to abandon you (family members and sick person) I am not going to abandon you and I am also not going to lean because if I lean, I can’t relax.” I shouldn’t relax if I am leaning. I should not relax until I’m upright. And if I try to relax before I’m upright, I will try to take it back. So to be upright with the people means you are in a balanced way dedicated to their welfare and then maybe you wait in that uprightness and you don’t relax, maybe, ahead of them. Because if you can stay upright them.. I should say, “stay” … If you can be upright with them moment after moment. As G said, “Give them your presence.” Just keep giving them presence, and don’t be sentimental of giving them something other than presence because presence isn’t the sentimental gift. They seem to be saying, “Give us the sentimental gift” and you’re saying in your mind, if I give it to them I am going to feel not good about being with them, to give them that gift. That’s the second best gift. But they gift I’m going to give them,.. They may keep asking for the sentimental one and I’m going to keep giving the upright one. And I am going to keep giving that until they are ready to be upright with me. When they are ready to be upright with me, then we can relax together and then we can start playing with each other and with the person who is dying. Because the person who is dying also has to be upright before they can relax. Some people die but they don’t really relax and play as they do it because they didn’t really take care of their business uprightly. But we are still trying to show them, if the family is not around, that it’s not too late to be upright and if you can be upright now you can play with this situation. And as she said, when she was upright, when she was present, they died right away. I think they are ready to pick up the wffff. They are like the horse with the shadow of the whip, that goes. At that state, they have done enough work and with uprightness, they take it and when they do then they play and then they create and they understand, and they let go. That process isn’t done just once. They may have to do that process more than once. They may have to do that quite a few more times before they finally let go and if the family is around it makes it more complicated because maybe they are not into letting go. Maybe they are not into being playful. And maybe it’s good that they aren’t, because they have to be upright first. They have to stand upright between the person staying and going, the person living and dying. The person who’s living and dying, for them to enter into liberation with living and dying and find their real life in the dark waters of creativity, they have to be upright. So that's a very good example. Thank you. I was talking to somebody who was talking to me and they were saying some things they wanted to say to me and I thought everything they were saying was great but I felt like they were rushing. At the end of each sentence, there was no space. Like this sentence is over but I am not waiting for the next one for very long before I start. I am definitely not going to breathe out and breathe in between sentences. So there was a breathless, rushed quality in these good things the person was saying. And I said, “With me you don’t have to worry.. If you want to say this whole big paragraph and you say it without rushing it may take you a much longer time. And it’s possible that it will take you so long that I will say I have to go to breakfast. But if you rush what you are saying and don’t breathe until you finish this, I may raise my hand and ask if I can give you some feedback that you are rushing. If this is an important message, please don’t rush to tell me. Please breathe and relax while you are telling me. And show me that I can give you that feedback. And the person accepted that feedback and started speaking more…saying a sentence and not rushing to the end and trying to get to the next one so she could get to the next one so that she could get the whole thing out. And then I thought of what you said reminded me, I was on the radio one time and Michael Krazny said, on the break,… I was on there to talk about things like silence and stillness, right? And then during the break of the discussion of silence and stillness he says, “But of course, on the radio, silence is deadly.” If I was on the radio, a lot of people would get very anxious because they would think, is the show still there? Which Is fine with me. And then they start changing the channel. But the station doesn’t want people to be changing the channel so they want there to be continual message that we’re still here. We’re going to slow down a little bit now but we won’t stop completely ever so you will never loose contact with us. That’s kind of sentimental. So to have a radio show that was like that would be more like a Bill Viola installation. Right? It would be a work of art but a lot of people would walk out or turn off. But when you’re talking to me, I’m not going to walk out when you stop talking so you can be upright with me. But if you’re in the Green Gulch office, maybe you could.. The people who are calling get anxious and if you have a pause, “Are you still there?” “Yes…I am here”. “Would you please answer faster after the next question I ask you.” “What time is the lecture?” “7.. 30”. “That was too slow. I went through a lot while I was waiting.” “Well then I’ll talk faster if you want me to. Is that what you like, me to talk faster.” Then I’ll do it.” So from now on when you ask a question, if I take too long, say, “FASTER!” and then I will say, “I hear you.” And so on. We can work this out. We shouldn’t force uprightness on people. But at the same time, we should honor it but not be rigid about it. Because that part of uprightness is not holding on to it. So when the family comes, maybe say “ok if it helps you to lean, I’ll lean for a while. But I am going to come back to uprightness, because that’s what I think we need to practice here together. But I am not going to force you to do it by forcing myself to hold that position. But that’s kind of my center of gravity.” And it is our center of gravity. Uprightness is our center of gravity. That’s what it means. Uprightness means enact your center of gravity. Put your body is a position where you’re center, but don’t hold on to it. It’s not a rigid holding. You’re centered. Now give it away. Find it again. Are you following me? Well, that was the meditation that I wanted to offer and I appreciate your contributions very much and … (you said you would not forget her question).. Oh. See I didn’t forget. Q. Ok then. So when Anna said something about collusion and co-dependency. A. She didn’t say collusion, did she? She said co-dependency. I got the collusion. Q. You got the collusion part. A. That was me. I did the colluding thing. She served it up and then I got the collusion. Q. So what came up for me is that sometimes in conversation somebody will say something to me that’s of the form of “I’m a bad person.” And out of sentiment, I want to say “No you’re not.” A. That’s collusion. Q. And that’s a really unproductive conversation. A. That’s colluding. “No you’re not” is colluding. Q. Because it creates an argument?
A. It plays along with it. It actually kind of supports it. And if you say, “Yes you are”.. That doesn’t necessarily… The sentimental thing is to say, “No you’re not.” Or to say, “Yes you are” like finally you admitted it.. That’s also sentimental. But like “Yes you are” could be not colluding but also, what’s the other one? Person says, “I’m really a bad person” and you say, “Did you just say that you’re really a bad person.” That’s not colluding. That’s more like saying, did I hear you correctly? You’re responding but not necessarily colluding. To me, getting them to look at themselves. Colluding means not getting them to look at themselves. Keeping the think going rather than… .But also, if you slap them in the face to get them to look at themselves, if you push them back to hard, that’s kind of colluding too because people who aren’t good should be slapped in the face to look at themselves.. Rather than “did you say that?” You might say that to a Buddha, “did you just say blah, blah?” And the other thing is.. One time this person came to see me and she told me what a bad person she was and I said you’re not. And she told me more and I said you’re not and she told me more and I said you’re not and I finally realized she wanted me to say she was so I said “you’re a really bad person” and she said “ah yes!” She didn’t really think that I agreed but she got that. She saw that I got that she wanted me to say yes. Yes. And then she could say yes. But it took me a long time to get that. And I also wanted to mention in the koan class at Green Gulch, I was teaching two types of Zen, which I maybe could teach this afternoon too. One called Buddha Zen or Tathagatha Zen. The other one is called Ancestral Zen. I was teaching the class and I keep getting them mixed up and people kept correcting me. In the process of correcting me, they learned what I was teaching.
So thank you very much!