Training for the Selfless Heart 

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

AI Suggested Keywords:

AI Summary: 



A little higher, that's it. A little more. Thank you. You don't have lights like that in Sacramento. I think last week we talked about heroic effort and we also talked about the perfection of


meditation, the perfection of concentration, is that right? And I suggested that maybe this week we'd get to discussing wisdom, so, wisdom, wisdom, wisdom. So, I suggested to you that the perfection of concentration and the perfection of meditation – the perfection of meditation is to give up the bliss of meditation.


The perfection of meditation is not to attach to high-quality states of concentrated mind. So it is possible to train the mind so that it's not distracted, so when it's paying attention it can pay attention to something and not be distracted from what it's paying attention to, that it can focus on wholesome activities without being distracted, outwardly or inwardly, or secretly, in terms of trying to get something out of paying attention in a concentrated way. And then when you get concentrated, if you want to perfect the concentration, make it a transcendent practice, not just a very excellent mundane practice, because becoming concentrated


is really, although not common in the world, just getting concentrated is a mundane thing, but to give it away makes it a transcendent practice. And not only to give it away, but to give it away in order to benefit all beings. To give away the concentration, to give away any attachment to the bliss of it. But giving it away, or making it a gift, is also making the focus of the concentration compassion, making the focus of the concentration the enlightened mind, the enlightening mind which aspires to Buddhahood for the welfare of others.


So the real focus of the concentration in this situation is on the mind of enlightenment, and the mind of enlightenment, among other things, gives up any attachment to the bliss of concentration. But not just to give it up, but to make it a gift for the welfare of others. So, kind of in the middle of the teaching on concentration, or transcendent concentration, is coming to the place where we've developed some appreciation for how good it would be not to be distracted outwardly or inwardly. Like I said last week, Bodhidharma said, Outwardly, don't activate the mind around objects, inwardly, no coughing or sighing in the mind, outwardly, no distraction by things outwardly, and no movement of the mind


inwardly, completely still and undistracted, the mind is like a wall. And now this mind which is not distracted focuses on enlightenment, the mind of enlightenment, focuses on the wish to attain Buddhahood for the welfare of all beings. Now, this is concentration on the relative level, the conventional level of the mind of enlightenment. The conventional level of the mind of enlightenment is like the wish, it's a mind, it's a wish concerning other beings, that you wish them welfare


and you wish to attain Buddhahood for their sake. So, this is the focus on the relative level of bodhicitta. There's also the practice of focusing on the ultimate level of bodhicitta. So, wisdom actually partly looks at the relative, but wisdom also looks at the ultimate. The wisdom of the bodhisattva looks at both. The main focus of the perfection of wisdom is the ultimate level of bodhicitta, but we also have to look at the conventional level of bodhicitta. So, again, the conventional level is to be undistracted from the enterprise of attaining


Buddhahood for the welfare of all beings. And then this wish, this enterprise is sometimes presented in two parts. One part is meditating on the equality of self and other, and the other is meditating on exchanging self with other. So, if I feel like I wish to attain the most excellent understanding and the greatest virtues in order to help other beings, that can be unpacked into two other kinds of training to develop that wish, to develop that intention. And one is to, again and again, learn to focus on the equality of self and other.


And then, when we're able to focus on the equality of self and other and be pretty much convinced of it, we're also ready to then focus on exchanging self and other. Having reflected on the excellence of solitude, I completely pacify all distracting conception and disturbing conceptions. And meditate on the relative bodhicitta. Meditate on the relative bodhicitta.


Backing up a little bit. Without trying to get anything, still it's good to reflect and remember how good it is not to be distracted when you're paying attention to something. And particularly how wonderful it would be, I wish to reflect on how wonderful it would be to not be distracted from bodhicitta, to not be distracted from the mind of enlightenment of the bodhisattvas. If I'm not distracted from the bodhi mind, that seems great to me. If I'm aware of it, really 100%, pretty much,


I would think that it would be good for me to also remember that it's really good that I'm not distracted from this wonderful thing. So not just that I'm not distracted, but also feel joy in not being distracted. And then again and again remember how good it is not to be distracted from the most important thing. So this is sometimes said to be to reflect on the benefits of solitude, of body, speech, and mind. And when we're speaking, to remember how beneficial it is to speak with no distraction. When we make a gesture, to reflect on how beneficial it is


to make the gesture with no distraction. With no distraction around the gesture, and with no distraction while gesturing from the bodhi mind. And when observing events, mental events, again to remember, to reflect how wonderful it is not to be distracted from the mental events that we're aware of. All day long we're aware of body, speech, and mind. And along with that is the reflection that it's very good to not be distracted around these three types of action, and then also be that way. But again, we need to cultivate the joy and the appreciation of it in order to actually practice it. And hundreds of years ago, thousands of years ago,


oftentimes the metaphor for solitude was to be sitting in a joyful house on top of a big flat rock with the fragrance of sandalwood fanning us and silent breezes wafting over us. This was the metaphor for being still. And nowadays we have zendos and other kinds of meditation halls where we can sit still and quiet and not be distracted in body, speech, and mind. So for nowadays, the metaphor for solitude is to go into a room and sit still


by yourself or with others. Well, to sit still with others, whether there's any other humans in the room or not, you're sitting together with others because you're sitting for others. So we do need this kind of solitude. We need to feel that we have support to be still. We need to feel that we're allowed, that it's all right for us not to move in body, speech, and mind. Even while we're moving, which is an illusion, but still participating in the illusion of movement, be still with that. Be unmoving and undistracted by the movement. So again, this is the appreciation of solitude, this is the appreciation of undistractedness, and now I apply it to bodhicitta.


We'll be looking at various things, various people, various feelings, various colors, various emotions, various sounds. We'll be aware of these, but we'll also basically always be aware of bodhicitta at the same time. No matter what we're experiencing, remember bodhicitta. So first of all, I must make an effort, I shall make an effort, to meditate on the equality of self and other. I try to remember that I shall protect all beings as I would myself. Because we are all equal in pleasure and pain.


Training the mind to focus on the mind of enlightenment, training ourselves to focus on the mind of enlightenment, this is a practice. Remember that we are all equal in pleasure and pain. How are we all equal in pleasure and pain? We are all equal that we want pleasure and we all don't want pain. We're equal that way. Yeah. Here's another one. I should protect other beings as I do myself because we are all in the same boat. So in the yoga room some time ago, I had a class with you


on the four methods, Bodhisattva's four methods of embracing and sustaining all beings. Or you could also say, the Bodhisattva's four methods of being embraced and sustained by all beings. And the Chinese character that's used for this is this character. This character is in Setsu's name. This is pronounced Setsu in Japanese. In his name we put it together with life, which the character is pronounced Se. So Setsu together with Se is Setsu. Embracing and sustaining life, but also being embraced and sustained by life. Embracing and sustaining all living beings,


being embraced and sustained by all living beings. That's his name. So there's four of these methods, and the first one is giving. The practice of giving is a way to enter into embracing and sustaining all beings, and being embraced and sustained by all beings. Kind speech is another practice to enter into embracing and sustaining all beings, and being embraced and sustained by all beings. The third one is beneficial action. And the fourth one is called cooperation, and it's also called equality. Equality is the fourth method for embracing and sustaining all beings, or the fourth method for realizing


all beings embracing and sustaining us. So I brought copies of this character if you want to have a copy of this character. It's available for you, and it will be sitting right in front of Junko. So this is a traditional method of bodhisattvas. The way to embrace and sustain beings is to practice equality with them, is to practice we're-in-the-same-boat. It's called we're-in-the-same-boatism. And this is training in the relative bodhicitta. This is training in the mind of enlightenment on the relative level. This fourth method is taught by the Zen ancestor A.H. Dogen.


He taught this, and I'm saying that this is actually training in relative mind of enlightenment. Another way of speaking of it that's found in the Zen school is to say that the entire universe in ten directions is the true human body. All beings is your true body. To think that this body that grew out of the fertilized egg of your mother, to think that this body is your true body is very common, but it's not the meditation of bodhicitta. The meditation of bodhicitta is that this body is equal to all other bodies.


The equality of this body and other bodies is my true body. So I have this body, which I might think is mine. Okay, that's a problem, that I think it's mine, but anyway, which I'll get into. But I have this body. Now, to meditate on the equality of this body and other bodies is training this body and mind in bodhicitta. And this body and other bodies are equal in pleasure and pain. And then another meditation is although there are many different parts of the body,


such as hands, legs, eyes, nose, torso, and so on, as a body that is to be protected, they're all one. We want to protect all the different parts of the body. Likewise, all the different sentient beings in pleasure and pain are one. And they have the same wish to be happy, the same as mine. In the American document that says all men are created equal, anyway, all humans are created equal, I read that in terms of enlightenment thought,


where this statement's coming from, all humans are created equal means all humans have the capacity to be compassionate. And one of the people who signed that document used it as an example of actually looking at a slave boy and commenting on the slave boy to one of his friends and saying, you know, look at the way that boy's acting. See how he's being compassionate to that other kid? This is what we mean by created equal. He has in him the capacity to be kind. That's the way we're equal. But another aspect of this equality is that we have the same wish. Basically, we do wish to be happy,


we don't wish to be unhappy. In that way, we're equal. And part of training our mind is to train ourselves to remember that. The suffering that I experience does not cause harm to others, but that suffering is mine because of my conceiving of myself as I. And thereby, this suffering becomes unbearable because I cling to it as mine. So, if I cling to the idea of this person being I, I suffer.


And then, if I cling to the suffering as mine, the suffering becomes unbearable. So, if suffering, even when it comes from this basic cause of believing that I am an I, that gives rise to suffering. But then, if I think that the suffering is mine, it becomes unbearable. So, the first step would be to realize that suffering is not mine, because my suffering is like your suffering. So, my suffering doesn't belong to me, nor does it belong to you, because your suffering is like mine. In the suffering itself, there's no distinction between self and other. Only in my own misconception,


where I think I own the suffering, is it my suffering. Then there's a distinction between my suffering and your suffering. If I own my suffering, then there's a distinction between my suffering and your suffering, and between me and you. And that makes it a lot worse for me. If I would stop owning my suffering, possessing it, clinging to it as mine, it would become more bearable, and that would open me to realize that it's not mine, because you have the same exact kind of suffering. You don't have the same discomfort in your knee or your tooth that I have, but the real suffering that you have is the same as the real suffering that I have. And then, if each of us would cling to the suffering we're experiencing as our own, then both of us would have unbearable suffering.


And then here's another twist. Although the pains of others do not actually befall me, because I'm a bodhisattva and consider others as myself, their pains are mine as well, and therefore become unbearable to me. So other people's suffering becomes unbearable to me, not because I cling to it as my own, but because I'm a bodhisattva. Whereas my own suffering, if I don't cling to it as my own, it will not be so unbearable. But if I do cling to it, which I do, then it's unbearable. Once again, in the suffering itself, there's no distinction between self and other. But if you get into the suffering and add possession to it, you're not in the suffering itself,


you're in your ego projection in the suffering, and that makes it even worse. This is part of what I need to remember when I'm suffering, as a way to continue to train my mind in concentrating on bodhicitta. Hence, I should dispel every misery of others because it is suffering just like my own, and I should benefit others because they are sentient beings just like me. When both myself and others are similar in that we wish to be happy, what is so special about me? Why do I strive for my own happiness alone? When both myself and others are similar


in that we do not wish to suffer, what is so special about me? Why do I protect myself and not others? What is so special about me? Well, there's lots of interesting things here. I like this too. If I give this, what shall I have to enjoy?


Or, if I give this, what shall I have left to enjoy? Such selfish thinking is the way of hungry ghosts. Did you get that? If I give this, what will be left for me to enjoy? Such selfish thinking is the kind of hungry ghosts. Such kind of thinking is the selfish thinking of insatiable beings. If I enjoy this, what shall be left for me to give? Such selfless thinking is a quality of the divine. If I enjoy this, what will be left to give to others?


If I enjoy this, what will be left to give? That's the divine mode of selfless thinking. If for my own sake, I cause harm to others, of course I will be tormented by infernal realms. But if for the sake of others, I'm open to harm for myself, I shall receive all that is magnificent. By holding myself in high esteem, I shall find myself in very unpleasant realms. But should this attitude be shifted or reversed to others,


I shall require the honors of a joyous realm. If I employ others for my own purposes, I myself shall experience servitude. If I use myself as though a servant for the sake of others, I shall experience only great authority and nobility. Whatever joy there is in this world all comes from desiring others to be happy. And whatever suffering there is in the world all comes from desiring myself to be happy.


All the injury, harm, violence, aggression, fear and pain in this world arise from grasping at a self. That's the summary of, that's sort of the punchline of several verses which I skipped. So again, back to whatever joy there is in this world, in the world of birth and death, in the world of birth and death, in the world of suffering. Whatever joy there is in the world of suffering all comes from desiring others to be happy. This desire for others to be happy is one aspect of the relative level of the mind of enlightenment. And whatever suffering there is in the world


all comes from desiring myself to be happy. This I think is understood as desiring myself to be happy while grasping a self. If you desire yourself to be happy with no self-grasping you wouldn't desire yourself to be happy. You would understand that desiring yourself to be happy was desiring everybody to be happy. So this is a very strong statement, right? All of that comes from grasping the self. And then once grasping the self, trying to protect the self, trying to make the self happy, this is where it all comes from. And then the last line I didn't read but I'll read it now. If all this bad stuff, if all misfortune,


if all suffering arise from grasping a self, then what use is that great demon of self-clinging to me? Or then how can I deal, how should I deal with this demon of self-clinging? And this is the relative level. How do you deal with this relative, conventional thing of self-clinging? The self, the independent self that we're clinging to, that independent self is not a relative thing. It's not a conventional thing. It's a mere misconception. It doesn't exist. But the clinging to it does. So how do I deal with this great demon,


the great cause of all suffering? How do I deal with it? Shantideva doesn't answer the question, he moves on to some other things, which I'll tell you, but how would I say to deal with it? How would Reb Anderson say to deal with it? He'd say to welcome it and love it. I would say welcome it and love it. I would say what I do with it is intimacy, intimacy with the great demon of self-clinging. And all these practices that I've mentioned and the ones I haven't yet mentioned, in a way they're all ways to get intimate with self-clinging. The verse which I just read,


all injury, violence, fear and pain in the world arise from self-grasping. That statement is to draw our attention to self-clinging. It's to help us realize how important self-clinging is. It's the big demon. It's big. It's not something to try to destroy. It's something to become aware of, because if we're not aware of it, it is just going to continue to do its usual work, its usual tremendous work of being the cause of all harm and pain. So this is the question, the rhetorical question, how we deal with it, I answer. But how we deal with it is just to keep being aware of it and keep thinking about reversing that attitude of self-clinging,


developing a reverse attitude of desiring happiness for others. Well, with these statements like this, maybe we could have a little discussion. How do you feel about these simple statements like, if I give this, what shall I have to enjoy? This is a selfish thinking. Is that selfish thinking? Do you have any questions about that? Does that make sense to you? If I enjoy this, what shall I have to give? This is selfless thinking, which we are capable of occasionally, once in a while.


If I enjoy this, what will I have to give? What will be left to give? I mentioned the example of kidney donations. Steph heard on the radio today about somebody who needed a kidney, and the doctor said, well, if nobody in your family passes the test of being a proper donor, maybe you could ask your friend. So she put on Facebook that she needed a kidney, and the mayor of her town offered the kidney to her. And the mayor was running for office for re-election and didn't tell people that she offered the kidney until after the election.


I go through some harm, in a way it's a little bit of a harm. My back opened up and my kidney pulled out, a little bit of harm, but if it's for the sake of others, that's what bodhisattvas do. If it's for the sake of others, they accept harm. And they realize what is magnificent. Does that work for you? Any questions about that? Two questions that are back just a little bit earlier. You said that the illusion of a separate self isn't even conventional in reality? No. I thought that would be conventional, and knowing there isn't a separate self would be ultimate. So I'm surprised that that's not even conventional.


The absence of an independent self is the ultimate. But conventional things are things that do kind of exist, except that their existence doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Like, for example, pain. It exists conventionally, but it doesn't hold up to analysis. If you actually look at it carefully, you can't find it. And colors, and other emotions, these things, they do exist, but there's nothing that independently exists. There's no such thing. Doesn't it seem like it does? The idea that something exists, that there's such an idea, misconceptions exist, but the thing that's being conceived of is not a conventional.


No one can validly perceive an independent self. Even the most enlightened person, like the Buddha, cannot actually validly perceive an independent self. But a lot of people can invalidly perceive an independent self. With an invalid cognition, they can see it's something independent of everything around it. But that's not a conventional truth, an ultimate truth. Conventional truth is that what you're looking at is not just a mirage. It does exist. A valid perception of it does exist, like a color. Okay. One of the things you said to me, that keeps the sentence in my head, is to stop clinging to suffering as though it's a mindset.


Yeah. What are you talking about? I can't even imagine not thinking that the suffering is mine. And I've heard you say other times, give it away. Suffer for the benefit of all being. I just don't even know what you mean. Or how you do it. Like I need a few steps. To even have a think about that. It seems like mine. Well, again, it might help to sort of like, when you've got some suffering, go into the suffering and look at the suffering itself. Try to look at the suffering itself. Because in the suffering itself, right in the middle of it, there's not really a distinction between self and other in the suffering. That's just a suggestion.


For me, that works pretty well, because if I think of going into a little suffering molecule or whatever, when I'm in there, I don't see self and other running around saying, this is mine, that's yours. It's just suffering. In suffering itself, there isn't a distinction between self and other. Even though the suffering we're talking about arises from maybe a belief in independent self. If I've got a suffering that arises from a belief in independent self, and you have a suffering which arises from a belief in independent self, our suffering actually, there's no distinction between our two sufferings, they're the same. And in each of our sufferings, there doesn't need to be a distinction of, well, this is my suffering arising from the same cause as your suffering. You don't necessarily feel that way. Say again? Same cause, same suffering.


Same conditions, same suffering. And in both of our sufferings, in the midst of the suffering itself, or the suffering itself does not have that distinction in it. And I think you can verify this by, sometimes when suffering is very strong, you're a little bit too busy with the suffering to be also, also what? Also like, this is mine. But when the suffering is small, it's a little easier to be possessive of it. However, if you possess even a little suffering, it becomes unbearable. But if there's a big suffering, like having a baby, I think this happens to quite a few women, in the middle of childbirth, they're a little bit too busy with the suffering to be into that it's theirs. Or that it's their baby's.


Or that it's the doctor's. Or that there's some sufferings there and other people have different suffering. Or that they have one suffering and the baby has another. They're not into that usually, because they're kind of like... But this suffering is not the suffering from self-clinging. This is a strong sensual or sensory suffering that's so engaging that there's no self and other in the suffering. Now if you could imagine then just this basic suffering that we all share that's the same, because men don't know this kind of childbirth stuff, they just hear about it. They hear stories about what people realize in the midst of it. But they do sometimes have strong pain. And in the midst of their strong pain, or in the midst of the thus strong pain, then if they hear this teaching that the suffering itself, right in the middle of it, doesn't have the distinction. They kind of can understand. If they practice Zen and sit still for a long time,


sometimes they get into some pain and then they find right in the middle of that pain there's no self-other distinction. Which is... Yeah, that's a beginning, getting close to wisdom there. And then you can also verify this experimentally. If you've got a pain and then you make it yours, you can notice, I think you can verify that that will make it really flare up. Just like if you have a pain, so we learn from practicing, or you heard anyway from practicing patients, if you've got a pain and you think about how long it's been going on, let's say you have a pain which you think is like similar to some other pains before it, as though these pains were lasting. But even if you don't think that,


just think, I have a pain here and there's been a lot of similar ones in the recent past, for a long time, and what if it continues now? So again, we have this experience in Zen practice of we're a little uncomfortable sitting and then we sometimes think, and there's seven more days, or there's six and a half more days of this. And when we have this pain and we think six and a half more days, it spikes. Or if we think on the third day or the fourth day, we think this has been going on for a long time, it spikes. But if you deal with it in the present, well, that's a different matter. Now, if in the present you make it your own, then it spikes. So if you're in the present and you're really with the pain but you're not possessing it, you could, but you don't have to. Even if you're clinging to yourself, which is causing the pain, you don't have to do the same thing with the pain, maybe. And if you don't do the same thing with the pain,


maybe you can do the same thing with yourself. Maybe you can just have a self, but not have it be yours. And then the cause, you'd be getting at the cause. You'd be eliminating the cause, which is the belief of the existence, the real existence of the person. So you're all persons, I would say, or you're all beings, you're all humans, but none of you have, now this is the ultimate bodhicitta, none of you have real existence. None of you have an existence which would hold up to an existence of analysis. But it's not that you have no reality, because you do have a conventional reality, but you don't have any independent reality. You've got zero independent reality. That's completely untrue. But you do have a conventional reality, which we can't get away from, really. It's unreasonable to deny it.


And we don't try to deny it. We just say, now let's try to remember that this person who has a conventional reality, who is a conventional truth, each person is a conventional truth, each being is a conventional truth, but none of these conventional truths will hold up to analysis. None of them have a real independent existence, but they have conventional existence. Our suffering, our being, is in control of others. We are other-dependent. We do not make ourself. Yes? Were there some other hands there? Yes? So, unbearability, it sounds like you're equating it with this belief in itself, but you also made a statement that for bodhisattvas, the suffering of others is unbearable. What's the source of that unbearability


for a bodhisattva? Their compassion. So for them, the unbearableness of other people's suffering is due to their compassion, whereas for the selfish being, the unbearability of their suffering is due to their clinging to the suffering of their own. So it actually is helpful for the person who is trying to learn to be a bodhisattva to deal with their own suffering in such a way that it is bearable, so that they can meditate on bodhicitta. Part of meditating on bodhicitta is to remind yourself that your suffering is not your own, because it's just like other people's, and theirs isn't their own either, because they don't really own what they share with you. We share it.


It's a communal property, this suffering, because it's the same cause, it's coming from the same place. It's like we're pain flowers coming from the same root, delusion. And none of us own the root or the flowers. They're just being given to us, to experience. And we're being given this instruction not to disenfranchise us, but to make our suffering, which we do have, bearable, so we can meditate on it, so we can be patient with it, and be intimate with it, and be intimate and patient with its cause. To be intimate with the demon which causes it. We'll be able to do that better if we don't, on top of self-clinging, to cling then to the pain too, which some people do. Everybody's got self-clinging, so everybody's got suffering, and then some people strongly grasp their suffering, and then they can't practice at all,


because they're totally wiped out. They just can't... I can't even remember these teachings. But bodhisattvas do not get knocked out by the unbearability of other people's suffering. It doesn't knock them out. It just means that they don't say, it's okay, and move on. They have to dispel other people's suffering, because they cannot stand not doing that. But if we cling to our little tiny suffering as our own, we disable ourselves in doing the meditation on the mind of enlightenment. So that's why we have this equality thing, not only...


Yeah, this equality thing helps us really get into the meditation on the mind of enlightenment. And part of the equality thing is not to become possessive of the suffering which comes to us or to other people. Yes? Would an opposite parallel be that my joy is everyone's joy? Yes. Right. So what's so special about you? And so why should you cling to your joy? Yes? I guess what I was getting last time and this time was that there's a difference between behavior that's self-cleaning behavior and self-care. And that if you need to rest, we talked about last week, resting sometimes


when you're tired so that you can... Okay, so self-care, okay? Self-care and care in order to get pleasure. Yes. Brushing your teeth and brushing your teeth for pleasure. Not too many people do, but... Going to the dental hygienist and getting your teeth cleaned or going to the dental hygienist because they might give you some drugs. Can I have some drugs with my tooth cleaning? No, I don't think you need them today. So to take care of yourself, to try to make yourself happy, that causes suffering. It's reasonable to take care of your body so that you can practice. It's reasonable to eat so you can practice. But to eat to give yourself pleasure, that's the source of suffering. Sometimes there really is some kind of pleasure, it seems,


in, for example, just doing something that... And if there is pleasure, the Buddhists said there are two extremes. One of the extremes is we say indulgence. It doesn't say indulgence in sense pleasure. It says indulgence to addiction to sense pleasure. So indulgence means just to yield. One of the meanings of indulgence is to yield. So if there's sense pleasure, that's not the end of Buddhism. Well, you might want to relax and get in the hot tub. And that feels really good. You might want to relax before you even get in the hot tub. You might want to relax, you said it actually that way, you might want to relax and then get in the hot tub. I would say, yeah, why don't you relax and why don't you get in the hot tub? But first relax. But don't relax to get pleasure. But you end up feeling better sometimes.


Sometimes you do feel better after you get in the hot tub, but sometimes you don't. Sometimes you go in the hot tub and you get up and your knees swell and they hurt more. That would be disappointing. That would be disappointing if you got in the hot tub out of concern for your own happiness. That would be disappointing. So the life of trying to get happiness from myself is a disappointing life. The life of living for the welfare of others without even trying to get that either or expecting that is the life of joy. But sometimes there really is this need to take care of yourself. And in that taking care of yourself, there's some feeling of well-being. There's a feeling of well-being, but there's also sometimes pleasure. Like if you're a monk,


I want to be able to feel okay. You want to be able to feel okay? Wanting to be concerned for feeling okay, that's the source of suffering. Wanting that. But feeling okay is fine. No problem about feeling okay. It's not exactly accidentally. As a matter of fact, feeling okay comes from being concerned for the welfare of others. Wanting other people to be happy without being attached to that either, that's where happiness comes from. So it's okay when happiness comes, and it comes from that reason. That's what this is saying. Happiness comes, joy comes, from working for the welfare of others and wanting others to be happy. That's where happiness comes from. Spiritual happiness, even in the world of samsara.


And so it's good to be accepting of that happiness and that well-being. It's fine. But to try to get it, that's the source of misery. If you weren't self-clinking, you wouldn't be trying to get happiness for yourself. If you weren't self-clinking, you would want to get happiness for others. Because when you're not self-clinking, you're totally cool. You're fine. You're not trying to get happiness for yourself when you don't have self-clinking. When you have self-clinking, however, you do try to get happiness for yourself. When you don't, you notice a bunch of other people that are trying to get happiness for themselves, and they're miserable. So you want to help them. The job's been done here. Here there's no self-clinking and there's no desire for happiness for this person, because this person is already happy. And this person's not trying to get happier,


however, this person is trying to help the other people who are still trying to help themselves and are miserable. And their misery is unbearable to the person who doesn't have self-clinking. So this person sort of has to work for their welfare, which brings more happiness to the person who's working for their welfare, but also will bring happiness to them because some of them will catch on to what's being offered here. And this person is taking care of herself, like we sometimes say, there's eating before and after enlightenment. Enlightened people still eat unless they're not feeling well. The Buddha, for example, ate quite a bit in the six years after being enlightened. He ate much, much more than he ate


for the six years before he was enlightened. He ate too little before he was enlightened and afterwards he ate just the right amount. He ate enough to take care of himself, but he wasn't eating to give himself sensual pleasure, although it probably did happen to him. Sometimes the food was just like, whew, that's a really good mango. That's okay, he can handle that. But he wasn't trying to, anybody got some mangoes? I've got to get some mango taste, because that'll make me happy. No, the Buddha's happiness is helping others. So the Buddha is helping others and eating so that he can help others. He goes begging so that he can help others. While he's begging, he's helping the people who are giving to him and he's helping the monks. And when he eats the food, he might have some pleasure because his blood sugar level might have dropped and when it went back up, it felt kind of nice. But he wasn't trying to get his blood sugar level up so that he'd have pleasure. However, he was trying to maintain his blood sugar level


so that he could teach the people. Bill? How about stuff like salt and pepper? Yeah, exactly. In order for food to be nourishing, it doesn't necessarily have to be interesting tasting. Right. And we do all these things, we use chili, we use garlic, we use these things, and I'm wondering about that. Good, good. I'm happy to hear you're wondering about that. I don't necessarily feel at this point where I am now that I wouldn't want to eat food that was not interesting. And that may be a failing. It may be a failing. However, before we get to whether it's a failing or not, I just want to mention that it's really good to wonder


about what you're doing all the time. Like I said last week, this heroic effort of the bodhisattva, the most powerful force there, well, basically it's joy in doing good. That's the real joy, is in doing good. And aspiration is a very fundamental force to keep this thing going. And aspiration is a keen interest in dharma. In other words, an intense keen interest and desire for dharma. And that desire for dharma, or that keen interest in the truth, is the source of all virtue. The root of all virtue, and the root of this keen interest in dharma, this keen interest in the truth,


not just once a week interested in the truth, or once a day interested in the truth, but interested in the dharma keenly. As keenly as you're interested in the welfare of someone you really love. A keen interest, a sharp interest, an interest that's continuous. That keen interest in dharma, which is the source of the practice of all virtues, the root of that is a constant wondering about what you're doing. So I'm not going to tell you that it's a shortcoming when you feel an interest or a desire to put salt on something. But I'm saying a fundamental practice is a constant, we're encouraged to do a constant wondering about what we're doing. So if we put salt on, we wonder what we're up to. If we don't put salt on, we wonder what we're up to. Whatever you do, wonder what you do. In other words,


contemplate your karmic activity. That is fundamental to this whole project. And you will find out, out of that you will aspire to the truth, and you will aspire to all these practices. Try to wonder about everything you do all the time. That is fundamental. It's essential for Buddhahood to do that. And without disparaging yourself for what you find out. And just keep wondering, keep studying your own karmic cause and effect. Yes? Can we know what book you're reading from tonight? It's called the Bodhicaryavatara, by Shantideva. Or the Bodhisattva. Charya means the path.


And Vachara, Bodhicaryavatara. Just like the Bodhisattva path, the way of the Bodhisattva path. And the next class here at the yoga room, I'm going to get more intimate with the big demon, self-clinging, and study more these two different dimensions of the bodhicitta meditation. Charlie? So, I feel like I'm really good at this, constantly wondering what I'm doing in practice, because I feel like I'm constantly questioning all kinds of things. It seems almost excessive sometimes. I'm just like, what is all this? What's the point? And it's kind of an uncomfortable practice.


You did say that maybe you're being excessive. But you did say all the time. Yeah. And you also said, I'm pretty good at it. So when you say, I'm pretty good at it, you should wonder what you're doing when you say, I'm pretty good at it. I was wondering, yeah. Yeah, good. That's good. But my question is, is it, I mean... And it's good to be open to that you might be being excessive. And again, remember that, once again, the aspiration and the keen interest in reality is fueled by studying your own activity. And with faith that there's consequences to everything you do. Putting salt on or not putting salt on, both have consequence. It isn't that when you put salt on, you watch yourself very carefully, and when you don't put salt on,


you say, well, it's vacation, I don't have to pay attention to what I'm doing. No matter what you do, you pay attention. But also, another part of the practice is joy. There should be joy in this. Another part of the practice is you should rest. So sometimes it's possible to be excessive in the sense of wondering in a certain way when you actually should take a break from doing it that way and move on to a different way. What's the difference between rest and there's no vacation from wondering? What's the difference? Well, if you... When you rest, you could wonder what you're doing when you're resting or not. So when you rest, you could say, am I just escaping and distracting myself? And you might say, maybe, but I don't feel like it.


I feel like I'm actually intentionally resting for the welfare of others. I'm resting but I'm not going unconscious. I'm remembering the practice even though I'm resting. I'm doing this thing but I'm not forgetting everybody else. I'm not forgetting the people I'm doing this for. And what about joy? There should be joy in the practice. If there's not, then you probably say, well, maybe something's off here. What might be off? Because wondering throws me into worrying often. It's not too joyful. Well, worrying isn't wondering either. Worrying is not wondering. Worrying is... The bodhisattvas don't fret about their pain. They don't fret about their self-clinging. They don't fret about their pain. Yeah, I said that already. They don't fret about it. They don't worry.


And they don't fret about the pain of others either? Yeah, they don't fret about the pain of others. They're open to it, they're not distracted from it, but they don't fret about it. So worry is a sign of a little bit of distraction. Yes? I'm thinking about intentionality, which seems like it's a thought, and body, which... My observation is that sometimes when I'm paying attention to what I'm doing, that it's not coming from my thoughts, that my body is doing something. I'm independent of what my brain is thinking I should be doing. Can you give me an example? Is that true? Well, I've played with it in meditation.


When my brain will be thinking, I wonder if I should stop, I wonder if it's been long enough, I wonder if I should keep going, and then all of a sudden my body gets up. Yeah. And you didn't see the connection between the wondering if you should get up and your body getting up? Is that what you're saying? It doesn't necessarily happen at the same time. No, yeah, oftentimes you think of moving and then you seem to move later. Yeah. Yeah, that's right. Yeah, I guess I'm just playing with the idea that it's not all mental control, the things that my body does. It's not in mental control. Your mental activity, your intentions, are not under your control. Your suffering is not under your control. However, certain actions we take depend on a previous moment of intention. Before I said what I'm saying to you right now,


I intended to say it, and I stopped there for a second and felt my intention to speak to you, and then I spoke and I told you that what I'm telling you is to report that what I'm saying to you I intended to say. And I intended to move my hand up to my chin or the side of my jaw. And I intended to tell you that I did that. And is it always conscious? Is that intention always conscious? If it's not, then we're not so highly encouraged to pay attention to it. There are many activities which are not intentional, and therefore they're not karmic. We're not told not to pay attention to those things, and we do sometimes pay attention to them. But what we have a hard time paying attention to is our karmic activity. And that's the most important, that's the essential thing to pay attention to. You don't have to pay attention necessarily


to your saliva activity, to your salivation. If you notice it, it's fine. But if you don't notice it, it doesn't have an evolutionary impact on you. But not to notice your intentions, it does have evolutionary impact and it tends to make the intentions degrade. Inattention to karmic cause and effect is related to not believing that karmic cause and effect is very important to pay attention to. And if you don't pay attention to it because you don't believe in it, then you don't have interest in the Dharma, then you don't have aspiration, then you don't have effort to practice virtue. If you do believe that the teaching that karmic cause and effect is very important to pay attention to, then that will motivate you being interested in the Dharma and that will motivate you to practice virtues. But there are other kinds of activities which are not so essential. Again, things that aren't intentional,


like the rate that your hair is growing or the rate at which your body is falling apart. These are not so important because these are not intentional actions. Your aging is not an intentional action. There are causes and conditions for it and it's interesting to study. But if you study the aging process, it's important not to overlook your karmic activity while you're aging. If you study your karmic activity, you will be more and more enthusiastic about studying the teaching and practicing virtue. And then even while you're aging, your joy and enthusiasm will grow, even though this process of salivation is out of control. Still, you're full of joy because you're watching what you're intending to do


and how that ramifies into speech and posture. And you're really enthusiastic about the truth and about virtue. So you're a happy bodhisattva, even though there are certain things about you that are happening which are not under your control and you don't have to pay so much attention to them. However, if you pay attention to your karma, you will tend, I think, to be a little bit more observant of these things which are not so important either. And it's not so important that you're more attentive to them. It's kind of good that you are, but it's not so important. It's kind of good that you are, that you're alert and noticing lots of other stuff, but it's not essential. The essential thing is to pay attention to what you're karmically doing, intentionally. And then check to see, are you doing these things in solitude,


undistractedly, for the welfare of others? Check it out. Wonder about it. Are you worried? Check it out. Be kind to the worry. Being kind to the worry is the practice. Worrying is not the practice. Thank you for your wonderful, enthusiastic effort. And if you like these mementos, you can take a picture of that back over there. Thank you.