Training for the Selfless Heart 

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Okay. [...] The second practice for training the selfless heart for bodhisattvas is the perfection of moral discipline. In western culture, we often suggest to children that they think before they do something.


Sometimes we maybe even suggest that they think about it several times before they do it. So in the buddhist tradition, in the buddhadharma, it is sometimes also said, whenever I think or I desire to move my body or to say something, first of all, I should examine my mind. And then, with steadfastness or steadiness or self-possession, to act in an appropriate way.


And a lot of people are attracted to Zen because of the reputation for learning how to act spontaneously, very freely, almost without any consideration, it seems. And I think about the practice of Tai Chi as I've seen it practiced. There's some moves that you learn and you, you know, someone shows you how to do it and then you try to move that way. You actually think, you see it, you hear it, and then you try to enact it with your body.


And then you get feedback repeatedly until you actually get the different parts of the movement fairly well learned. But it's usually quite slow, the moving into the postures is quite slow. To move into the position properly, just to get into one position properly, takes quite a bit of effort and training. And then to move from one to the other, and the other is maybe somehow the conclusion of the movement, but also the way you get from one place to the other is also important. So, position one and position two, to assume each one is difficult, it takes training. And then to get from one to the other is also part of it, and that takes training too.


And usually you have to go quite slowly to get from one to the other, so that the two positions are correct and the transition is correct. And also in Hatha Yoga, the same applies to each posture and moving from one to the other, although they're not necessarily done in a sequence the way Tai Chi is. But there is a sense of this is the correct posture, this is the appropriate way to do this posture, this is the appropriate way to do this posture, and if you're going from one to the other, this is the appropriate way to go from one to the other. And it's very slow. But after long practice, it is possible to move more quickly from one to the other, and even very fast.


And it's also possible then to innovate new forms of new positions, new postures, and new transitions, which would flow, perhaps you might say spontaneously, from the ones you had painstakingly learned to do correctly, and then finally rapidly, or not necessarily rapidly, but spontaneously. But spontaneously doesn't mean coming from nowhere, it means that all the conditions are there for the performance, so it can just happen. In other words, the practitioner is ready for this thing to happen, and the conditions are such that it happens so quickly that it looks effortless and almost unconsidered. With the practice of generosity, we now are ready to think about whether we'd like to give ourselves


to pay attention whenever there's a desire to move the body, or whenever there's a desire to speak something, to look and see if it's appropriate. Sometimes the appropriate thing to do when you desire to move is not to move. So in Zen practice, when we sit together like we just did, I don't know how many of you had the desire to move while you were sitting, but there was, in a sense, very little movement in the group. And it's partly because any of you who thought of moving probably noticed it and thought,


I don't think it's appropriate. And there's quite a bit of experienced sitters here. When you have new people sitting, if they haven't been told much, even if they're in a room of other people who are sitting still, new people often just don't scratch their head or scratch their nose, or scratch this or scratch that, like some other primate might do. Particularly the scratching the face area is quite common. Usually people don't go like this. Because there's a sense that that would be all right, but then as they sit more they realize, well, it's okay to scratch your face, but think about it beforehand.


One of my friends in her early days of practice, I'm scratching my wrist now, one of my friends in her early days of practice at Tassajara, got through a period of meditation without scratching herself. I think maybe that might have been during the time of year when there's lots of insects. I don't remember exactly, but at Tassajara when lots of insects are crawling on your face, it's more challenging not to scratch or swat or encourage the insects to go somewhere else. Some people will put cotton in their ears, because we have this kind of fly there called mucus flies, that like to go hang out where there's mucus, in the nasal passage, in the eyes, and in the ears.


I think this person might have also put some stuff in his nose, but that's hard because your mouth is supposed to be closed. But anyway, he did put it in his ears, because when the flies go in your ear, not only does it feel funny, but they make a lot of noise when they're crawling around in there. So this person put cotton in his ears, so he wouldn't have to keep moving the flies out. But anyway, this person got through a period one time without scratching herself, and she told one of the priests at Tassajara, one of the Japanese priests, and he said, well, that's better than sleeping. She was crestfallen. She thought that was really great attainment, that she had been able to do that. So for starters, I'm bringing up something pretty, I don't know what the word is, a pretty amazing suggestion, or a pretty amazing statement.


Whenever I desire to move, or say something, I examine the mind and then act appropriately with steadiness. So that's one of the assignments for this evening and the rest of the week. For the rest of the week, consider this assignment. Every time you feel the intention, the motivation, the impulse to move, examine your mind and act appropriately. Practice being that attentive to your mind, and thus your physical movements and your local movements.


This text, which is called Guide to the Life of the Bodhisattva, Guide to Selfless Life, in this chapter on the perfection of moral discipline, which is literally called Guiding Awareness or Vigilant Awareness, it says whenever I have the desire to move my body or say something, first of all I should examine my mind and then act appropriately. Then it says, whenever there is attachment in mind,


and whenever there is a desire to be angry, whenever there is attachment in the mind or there is a desire to be angry, I should not do or say anything. So that kind of goes with the previous instruction. When you feel the desire to move or to say something, and you see that in your mind, and then you notice there is some attachment or wish to be angry, then the appropriate thing to do is not to move or say anything. And then the chorus is, but remain like a block of wood.


So I would comment on that a little bit. If you look in and you see a desire to speak or to move, and you see that there is anger there, it says don't speak or move, be like a block of wood. If you feel the impulse to be angry or the impulse to act in accordance with attachment, don't talk and don't move, be like a block of wood. Now if in the next moment you see a desire to speak or to move, and what you desire to speak is perhaps to tell someone that you were angry, or even that you were desiring to be angry.


That's not desiring to be angry, in this context I mean that as a desire to communicate, to give someone a gift. So now you look in your mind and you see there is a desire to speak, but the speaking now is the speaking which you wish to offer as a gift. Then the appropriate thing might be to speak. Then you don't have to act like a block of wood, because there is a wholesome thing there, a desire to show yourself, a desire to be honest, a desire to benefit the relationship. But if you actually wish to enact by your speech or your posture attachment or anger, then it says don't.


I might give some more examples and then we can have some discussion. Whenever I have distracted thoughts and the wish to verbally belittle others, feelings of self-importance or self-satisfaction, when I have the intention to describe the faults of others, pretensions and the thought to deceive others, guess what? Don't do anything. Be like a block of wood. Whenever I'm eager for praise or have the desire to blame others, whenever I have the wish to speak harshly or cause dispute, at all such times I should remain like a block of wood. And this is a different translation.


When seeming to advance myself, it is only depreciating others. Contemptuous and discord remain like a block of wood. We have this precept called don't praise yourself at the expense of others. So one of these translations says, Whenever I'm eager for praise or eager to praise or have desire to blame others, the other translation says, whenever seeming to advance oneself, it is only the depreciation of others. It sort of says they go together. So you might think, don't praise yourself at the expense of others.


It may sound like there's an option, that you could praise yourself and not have it be at others' expense. Maybe, but there's also a way of saying that when you praise yourself, it is at others' expense, unless the way you praise yourself is by mentioning how others helped you do it, something good. By your kindness and support, I was able to come successfully to class tonight. I got to the place and got in the room and sat down fairly well by your kindness. So praising yourself without mentioning others is generally disparaging them. Not giving them credit for their support. But anyway, when you think of talking like that, it's time to remain like a block of wood.


Whenever I desire material gain, honor or fame, whenever I seek attendance or a circle of friends, whenever in my mind I wish to be served, at all such times I should remain like a block of wood. When my mind is inflated and derisive, full of arrogance and vanity, evasive and deceiving, I should remain like a block of wood. When my mind longs to hold forth and is averse to working for the good of others,


seeking my own advantage, longing for a congregation, whenever I wish to decrease or stop my efforts of working for others and desire to pursue my welfare alone, if motivated by such thoughts, I wish to say something, occurs, remain like a block of wood. Whenever I have impatience, laziness, cowardice, shamelessness, or the desire to talk nonsense, if thoughts of partiality arise, at such times I should remain like a block of wood.


Whenever my mind is intolerant, idle, cowardly, impudent or foul-mouthed and biased in my own favor, I remain like a block of wood. Noticing in this way that my mind is defiled and engaged in fruitless activities, if I want to be a hero, I should always firmly curb it and remain like a block of wood. Or noticing in this way that the mind is defiled and engaged in fruitless activity, the courageous bodhisattva should hold the mind steady. Whoa boy! So now this kind of observation of the mind is the work of heroes of enlightenment.


This is heroic work. It's heroic. Whenever you think of doing something, look at your mind. When you notice that it's like some of these examples, you don't do anything. And then you come to see, maybe, if you should happen to come to see, how defiled and engaged your mind is in wasteful, unhelpful things. This is the work of the heroic ones, of the courageous heroes of enlightenment, the bodhisattvas. It isn't that the bodhisattvas never see anything like this. It's that they look, and sometimes they find this, and then they resolve not to act from that kind of state. So they are looking at this kind of material, and they notice this so they really are careful to curb it, to not get involved in it.


And then, how are they? Well, they are very resolute and faithful and steady and respectful and polite, with a sense of shame, apprehensive and peaceful, and they just strive to make others happy. They are determined, these heroic bodhisattvas are determined, full of serene confidence, steady, full of application, respectful, humble and timid. These heroes are timid and humble. They are calm and eager to help others. They are calm and eager. They are eagerly calm to help others,


and they have a sense of shame for the stuff they see in their mind, and that's why they are timid, apprehensive and humble. So, this kind of hero is a hero who is humble, because they see their own mind steadily, consistently, looking and finding any kind of shortcomings. They are humble and they are polite to themselves. They are polite to what they find, which they do not act upon. They are polite, they are respectful, and they are enthusiastically calm and eager to help others.


So, I think there are stories of heroes in the Western tradition too, where the hero is not particularly arrogant. Ulysses is kind of a hero, but he is very arrogant. But there are some other heroes in our tradition who are not arrogant. They are more like the bodhisattvas. And the bodhisattvas aren't just theoretically humble and ashamed on principle. They are ashamed of what they find their motivation to sometimes be. They notice sometimes that they would like to have a big congregation of admiring followers. They notice that in their mind. Do they not feel ashamed? Do they just notice that without being ashamed? Ashamed means that the way you are is not the way you want to be.


Another word for shame is self-respect. And when you have self-respect and you do something that's not appropriate for you, it's appropriate to feel ashamed. I think shame is one of those words in our culture these days. Try to find another one for how you feel when you do something really lousy to somebody that you want to be kind to. What do you call that? Sorry? Do you feel sorry? I thought we were supposed to meet it. I thought we were supposed to meet it and not judge it. Supposed to meet what? Judge it. Well, what for example? You did this hideous thought. Why do you have to be ashamed of it? Why can't you just notice that you had an unkind thought and then not act on it? Not act on it?


Well, that's good. You notice it's an unkind thought and you act on it. So that was the first instruction. When you see a horrible thought, a horrible crime you would like to do, don't act on it. Now after watching yourself for some time, you have a sense of shame about all these thoughts you've had, which you didn't act on, and you're glad you didn't. And you don't praise yourself at the expense of other people about all these bad things you didn't do. In other words, you're humble. And you're not just humble because you didn't do any... You're not just humble... You're humble because it isn't just that you didn't do a bunch of bad things, it's that you didn't do a bunch of bad things you were thinking of doing. So you feel kind of humble about it. Like you maybe hear if somebody's talking about some great person who didn't do any bad things. Or maybe they even said, and Tracy didn't do anything bad for the last week or something. But you feel humble, right?


I think the humble is true. Shame is Judeo-Christian, which is part of the reason I'm here and not there. Well, you have to be careful now about what you just said about Judeo-Christian, and that's why I'm here and not there. You probably shouldn't have said that. That kind of puts here a little above there. So I've got to catch that. It's easy for me to catch you doing that. I'm not saying you should be ashamed. I'm saying the bodhisattvas are ashamed. I'm not saying you should be ashamed. They're ashamed. When they put Buddhism, if they ever do, if they put Buddhism above Islam or Christianity, they're ashamed of that.


Because they're not doing their job. What's your job? My job is not to praise myself, my tradition, my shtick of being a bodhisattva. I'm not supposed to put my thing above other religions. Or put me, when I'm doing it, above other people who are not doing it. I'm not supposed to do that. But I did it. I feel humbled that I did it, but I also feel ashamed. I'm sorry and I feel ashamed, but I'm not going to like... It's not that the bodhisattva then mulls over it. They just feel ashamed and move on to try again. The next moment, where they find maybe some other junk, and if they don't act on it, they feel a relief. That was not a good intention and I didn't say anything about it. That was not a good thing to say


and I didn't say it. I feel relieved. I feel good about it and I do not praise myself above myself if I had done it. I don't do that. That's my practice and that happened and I'm grateful. But if I slip, I feel humbled and ashamed and some shame, but not in a skillful way, hopefully. Like, I want to try harder now. So shame is kind of closely related to repentance and sorrow around doing things. So the kind of shame we want is the kind of shame which encourages us to not act upon those impulses. It doesn't exactly encourage us not to have them because it wouldn't be polite to try to actually not have them. It's more like,


it's polite to say, Well, here is some contemptuousness in me and I'm polite towards it. We recognize you. We respect you. We respect contempt. So we're gentle and kind to it but also if we act on it, if we have it, we feel a little shame and if we act on it, we feel more shame. Marjorie and then Geraldine. Shamed. You were shamed. Yeah. I have a sense of shame that's very light.


That's what I think you were talking about. But that sort of self-protective, ah-ha, I don't want to get into the shame of it again. It can go on for years and then eventually it's gone. I don't know if you know that. I, I, that might have been helpful. It's possible. That might have been helpful. It's possible. I mean, you're giving that report might have been helpful. When you started talking, you said, I don't know if this is helpful or not and I'm just commenting that that might have been helpful. Geraldine. The karmic consequences. Yes.


Yes. It has consequences. Yes. That's right. That's right. And it's possible that one of the consequences of an unwholesome thought is that you enact it with your posture or your voice. That's one of the consequences of it, which then will have further consequences. But another consequence is you can see it and it can be an opportunity to develop moral discipline. It's an opportunity to be aware and not act on it. Well, you don't, you don't, I can't say for sure that that was the karmic effect. The ability to observe an unwholesome thought is not necessarily a karmic effect of it,


but it might be. And also to be humbled by it is in some sense also an effect. So an unwholesome action could be the opportunity for some wholesome things to, some wholesome responses to it, if there's awareness of it. And here's another kind of subtle point, is that in the presentation, in the presentation of these virtues, these perfections, one chapter was called carefulness and the other chapter, the next chapter, was called vigilant awareness. And the chapter on vigilant awareness is the one I'm talking about now. And in this one, there's a vigilant awareness which shows, for example, a feeling of shame when you do something


that you think is not what you want to do. But in the previous chapter on carefulness, there's another kind of thing going on which is like a fear of shame. So shame goes with a fear of shame sometimes, that sometimes you do not do things partly because you're afraid of what it feels like, the shame you feel if you would do something like that. And the fear of shame is also translated as, the fear of shame is translated as self-respect also. And then there's another one which is called fear of blame, which is translated as decorum. So sometimes if we do things,


we feel that was beneath us and sometimes when we do things, other people feel like that was beneath us. If they're our friends, they think it's beneath us. They think, you know, you can do better than that. This is not really what we want from you. This is beneath you. In other words, their sense of decorum is that you have the ability to be more decorous and you do not want people to blame you for not being decorous. I mean, I shouldn't say you don't want them to, but there's a wholesome mental factor which is that you're actually afraid or timid to do something that people would blame you for. In other words, you're timid about violating decorum. But you're concerned about outward judgment of you. And then the inner one is fear of shame. Or the other one could be actually your fear of being shamed.


And I think being shamed is not as... it's a little bit different, but it's kind of like being blamed. So we really shouldn't... we shouldn't be blaming people or shaming people, I don't think. I don't think... I think blaming and shaming are delusion. But still, we're afraid that people will be deluded in response to us if we do certain things. And that's kind of good that we are aware of that, even though they shouldn't do that. But I don't say that shame shouldn't be blame of ourselves. Don't make it blame and don't make it... what's the other word? Don't make it shaming. So get into feeling shame without shaming yourself and feel shame without blaming yourself. So in the Buddhist analysis,


there isn't a dharma actually of shame so much as there's a dharma of fear of shame. So I think the feeling of shame... what is the feeling of shame besides in Buddhist terms? I think it's regret. Regret and remorse. And regret and remorse are wholesome when we regret not doing something good. Or we regret doing something unwholesome. Then it's a wholesome dharma. But if we regret doing something good, it's not wholesome regret. You know, I'm really sorry I helped that person. So regret isn't always good.


Yes? So, I'm appreciating this discussion because it's eliminating the shame that exists out of that thing that is dwelling in shame. Yeah, I think we discovered here maybe a good tip is that when there's blaming and shame, it's not the wholesome kind of shame. Blaming is like putting it over there. And I'm wondering if that is sort of a parallel kind of thing?


I think so. I think dwelling in pride, that would not be so good. But how about just... Let's see. Just like blaming kind of puts it over there outside yourself, if you're proud and you dwell in it or have it for yourself. So how can you... Is there a kind of... Can there be a pride or a happiness that something's happening when you don't aggregate, arrogate. Is the word arrogate? You don't bring to yourself, bring it all to you. Just like when you blame, put it out on other people. Or you blame yourself, you don't put it all on yourself. Blaming yourself is putting too much on yourself.


And accepting responsibility is one thing, but blaming yourself is too much, I would say. Seeing that other people are responsible is okay, but blaming them is putting too much over there. And pride, can there be a happiness that something's happening? Like people say sometimes about people that are related to me, aren't you proud of them? And I feel the tone of what they're saying is, aren't you proud of your so-and-so? Your brother, your daughter, your student, aren't you proud? And I go, how can I share the joy of this person's performance without bringing it to me? Without bringing them to me, that's my student. My brilliant student. How can I be proud? So, I'm happy for them, but I'm really careful about being proud of them because proud means they're mine.


A little bit. Or, if this is a good class, are you proud of the yoga room class? Are you people proud of the yoga room class? And can you be proud of it and not be proud because it's your class? Are you proud of your contribution to the class? So, I think there's something in there that's really good. It's called sympathetic joy. And you can even have sympathetic joy for other people's merit. It's a very good mind. The mind of really being happy that other people are doing well. To really be happy that we had an excellent period of meditation. That seems fine. But when do we bring the word proud in there?


You know? And when we do, is it some possessiveness? So, if, I don't know what, if we see... So, like, the United States and Canada were playing for the gold medal in hockey. So, like, if you were from, I don't know what, if you're from some place like the Middle East, would you be proud of the United States hockey team for doing so well to be in the finals of the Olympics? Or would you just feel like, boy, the United States really did well to play Canada. They really did well. I'm so happy for them. But, you know, I'm not American,


and so I'm not exactly proud of them. I'm happy for them. But then maybe they can say, I'm proud of the Americans. I'm proud of them for doing so well. Or if a Palestinian can say, I'm proud of the Jews doing such and such. Or the Jews can say, I'm proud of the Palestinians for doing that. That kind of pride, I think, might be healthy, if they use pride for that. It's really that they really appreciate and honor this wonderful, wholesome thing that person did. Yes? Is it about your intention? If it's just a cycle or something, that you don't feel that it's owing anything to you? Well, it's not so much. I guess I'll use the example. If it's very clear that you can hardly imagine that you did anything to contribute to it,


then you probably are not being possessive. It's the arrogance. It's the bringing it to you that we sometimes associate with pride that makes the pride hindering the spiritual development. But if you just appreciate it, that's fine. You can even make a contribution to something. You could donate money to some cause, and the cause could do really well. You could do that and be happy for them without bringing it back to you and having it be something that puffs you up. It's possible. In other words, it's possible to appreciate everybody without being proud and arrogant. So the Buddha is like that. The Buddha supposedly appreciates everybody, sees everybody's beauty, sees how everybody is worthy of total devotion and doesn't feel possessive of anybody. So the Buddha doesn't feel pride. The Buddha sees how wonderful compassion is


and how wonderful wisdom is and happens to be participating in it, but doesn't own it. So the Buddha doesn't feel pride. But if you ask the Buddha, yes, this is great compassion here. Yes, this is great sympathetic joy. But I'm not proud. But the feeling might be very similar to how you feel when you see somebody do something and you really appreciate it. And even to see, if your children are on a baseball team and somebody else's children are on another baseball team, and to see the other baseball team do really well and really be happy that they're that skillful, then your own kids might say, you shouldn't be so happy, Dad, that the other team did so well. But maybe you are. But you might not be proud in that case. But you could say, I'm proud of those kids who played with my kids.


And my kids I'm also proud of, they lost like heroes. They were so heroic the way they lost. They were humble. They were gentle. They weren't proud. They were wonderful. Both sides were great, and I didn't own either one. Yes, Linda? What I was thinking was, as you were talking, I was beginning to feel that pride really, pride is associated with identification. So in a way, it's not quite a word that you might use for a situation where you're not identified. You're somehow connected. And so it's more like a sympathetic toy or something else. But then also I was thinking of a child,


or say myself, I'm just a stitch in the needle. Oh, you can do that. Oh, it's beautiful. Now, is that pride? There is a certain self, there's an appreciation, but I think there can be almost a pure... Yeah, I think so. I think the key thing is that when you're doing this, if you're making one of these robes and some stitches are really lovely, you could look at them and have sympathetic joy for that skill which did that, but not identify with that skill. It's like your hand was there when this happened, and it really was like, wow, amazingly. But you didn't identify with it, even though it was your hand. So you don't identify with your hand either. I think that's a key point, that you don't identify with it. So if I'm in a position like, we have these positions at Zen Center, head monk's position,


and so if I'm playing the role of teacher with that head monk, then afterwards people say, aren't you proud of that person? They identify with me with that person, and so then they think, I identify myself with that person, and I actually am working to let go of identification with the people that I'm working with. I try not to say, my blah-de-blah. I try not to say, my blah-de-blah. And there's a lot of things to put in after my. I try to not do that, to remind myself not to identify with things. Or to remind myself to pay attention to whether I'm identifying. But sometimes people say, aren't you proud? And I really should say, I'm sorry to say I am. I'm really proud, and the reason why I'm proud is because I identify with this person. And I think they're my student, so here I am. I'm ashamed to say I'm proud.


Laughter And I'm really sorry. I hope to have more chances to watch people who I'm closely associated with do really well, and not be possessive, not identify and be possessive of them, and just have joy that they do so well. Yes? I'd like to ask about pride as it relates to self-righteousness, and its context of wholesome actions, and the feeling of self-righteousness around wholesome actions. Yeah, it's basically the same thing. Self-righteousness, again. Righteousness. There's some righteousness. Great. Self means it's my righteousness. Mine. So that's pride. Yes? Inaudible


I think you're right that I think a person can feel shame and not have it be specifically related to an action. Whereas we use remorse, I think it's a little bit more specific to an action. So some people feel shame, but it's kind of ambiguous, and they can't really relate it to some particular... Inaudible Yeah, right. They feel shame of something that somebody did to them. So I think remorse is a little bit more focused However, still, I think when you feel remorse, I would encourage you to, at the time of remorse, to open a little shame while you're at it. Inaudible I would say when you feel remorse, because remorse is usually about some specific thing, so now we've got it related to your action. Again, it doesn't even have to be your action


that you're possessive of or that you identify with, but just, again, I'm doing this stuff, I'm responsible for it, but I don't identify with it. And not identifying with it doesn't mean I give up responsibility for it. I'm still responsible for it, but it's not mine. I let you share in my responsibility. But still, I feel remorse that I did this. Now, once you've got the remorse and it's specific to an action, then you can bring some shame in, and I think you'll be fine. Because it's related to an action. It's not your general shameful state. It's that you did something that you don't... This is not really your intention. It's not your aspiration. You do not aspire to be petty and dishonest and deceitful and contemptuous. But when you're that way, you feel remorse or regret.


That's good. And if you feel shame, too, I would say, that seems okay, that seems appropriate. And that would be part of what you would be cautious about because you don't like to feel, even though remorse is in some sense appropriate, it doesn't feel good. Because you're tasting this thing again that you don't really want to be tasting. So regret, remorse, and shame. We're not really aspiring to feel them all the time. We're just saying that when we do not live up to our aspiration, we're open to feeling these things and that they're appropriate when we're not following through on our highest aspirations. Yes? You know, it's making me think back to what Tracy was asking about. Yes. The example was a thought that,


gee, I'd like to have all these people sitting in front of me listening to me hurt myself. And it seems like, in a way, those are human mind thoughts that, again, it's like they're not really my thoughts. Right. So, shame doesn't seem appropriate. I mean, so, in a way, it's not personal. It's almost impossible to talk about shame. Well, is shame not appropriate, but remorse is appropriate? No, the thought. I think the thought is more automatic. I mean, it seems like the thought is more kind of part of this thing that's happening, whereas an action... Well, see that... But these are actions, these are mental actions. They're not just thoughts. They're intentions. So you're saying it's different, like this sort of step that...


Well, like, for example, just the thought of anger is not an action. But wishing, desiring and intending to be angry. Like I heard this person on the radio, they had these things on NPR, recordings of people talking to the House of Representative people. This person says very calmly, I want you to know that there's millions of people who wish you ill will. No beeps or anything, just cold hatred. And so that's not just a thought. She intends ill will, ill intention. We have ill intention towards you.


We hope you're ill. We hope you get sick. We hope you to be unhappy. That's our wish to you. That's an action. Daydreams aren't necessarily actions. If you dream of walking into a grocery store and robbing it or being mean to the people there, but you have no sense of that you wish to do it or that you'd want that to happen, you might even think, I really wouldn't want to do that. I sometimes say to people who tell me they're thinking of stealing things, I think, why don't you think of stealing several million times that much? That's a daydream. Just to sort of get to feel like you really want to be a big time thief. Or do you want to do kind of little tiny thieving where you hardly even notice what you're doing.


So make it bigger than you can see. That's not really what you want to do with your life. It seems to me that remorse is deeper and more authentic than shame. And shame might be felt because you might project what other people might be thinking if you're thinking of doing this or if you've done this. But remorse is something that you would come to on your own realizing that you really hurt someone by doing something. And then, you know, what before, I kept thinking you were going to say, well, you said something like, you know, you don't really want to be doing this or something like that. And I thought you were getting ready to say, this isn't really who you are.


And I was sort of thinking about that. Is this not who the person is? Or is this who the person is? Or is it part of who the person is? Yeah, and that's part of the thing about identification. That's part of the thing about identification. Are we identified with our action? Are we identified with our body? Which is also to say, are we something in addition to our action? If we're in addition to our action, then we're what we call liable to identify with our action. But if there's nobody in addition to our action, then we won't identify. Then there won't be no identification with it. And then can there be responsibility without a responsible one? Can there be accepting responsibility


without somebody who accepts responsibility, and action without somebody in addition to the action? That's part of what this study is leading to, is to realize that by noticing what's going on and seeing if it's unwholesome and not acting on it, it leads you to understand, finally, that there's no actor in addition to action. Part of what this study is about, it's not just so you don't harm people. That's part of it. It's not just so you don't do things which distract you from being like a heroic bodhisattva. It's also so that you realize that the bodhisattva is not something in addition to her actions.


It's not like a person is something more than their karma. But if you don't pay attention to your karma, if you're not there paying attention to it, then usually people walk around thinking that they are something in addition to what they're doing, that they're something in addition to their thoughts, that they're something in addition to their feeling. So then they identify with it, or their identification is because they put themselves in addition. So then they basically think that they've got a self that's in addition to their karma, too, which they cling to. This examination promotes us realizing up close that there isn't something in addition to the thoughts and the actions. Yes? Did you say, I feel, therefore I am? Or is it the opposite way of the mind?


Versus the block of wood? Just be a block of wood. I feel, therefore I am. I would say right now in this conversation it's more like I feel is what I am. My feeling is what I am. But being the block of wood is more like don't act on unwholesome things. That would be a block of wood. Say it again. So, you act on unwholesome things, and you identify with, for example, people who are angry about those people who are talking to you, who are judging you, who are your consumers. So, you get all angry about that, and you identify with that. Then you get all occupied with it? Occupied, occupied. Well, if you get angry at it,


and you notice there's anger, then by being aware of the anger, you have a chance to not identify with your anger. Yes. And also, if we act on our anger, if we speak our anger and posture our anger, instead of noticing it, we again, we're less intimate with it. So, being a block of wood is a technique to be more intimate with these unwholesome things. So, it partly hinders or obstructs the acting out of the unwholesome thing, but it also brings us more intimately with them. So, it's not cutting off? It's not cutting off. It's getting in there and being closer to it, so close that there's no identification. So, the unwholesomeness is doubly or triply harmful,


or triply dangerous, because if we act on it, we distract ourselves from intimacy with it. Plus, it causes more trouble. And if it does, now we have a chance of being intimate with that, but it's easier to be intimate with it before you enact it. So, that's what the Bodhisattva is trying to do here. It's vigilance. It's not so much... It's vigilance, and it is being careful about not doing what is inappropriate, but it's not the same as not doing what's inappropriate. It's the vigilance that we're talking about here. It's the concern for doing what's appropriate, and it's the vigilance about what is appropriate. That's what will bring us into realizing selflessness. Plus, it will also perhaps prevent some unwholesome actions, but the most important thing is the intimacy,


which just happens to go with working on that rather than acting out these things. Thank you very much. Satsang with Mooji