The Unique Breeze of Reality and the Wondrous Function of Non-Dual Wisdom 

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Like in some other schools. And in this school we often speak of the one great causal situation for awakened beings, fully enlightened beings, to appear in the world, the world of illusion and suffering that we all know so well, hopefully. Gloria, would you like something under your foot, would that be helpful? And so, the one great causal situation is the desire, a kind of fourfold desire, desire


to open living beings to Buddha's wisdom and knowledge, and to demonstrate to living beings Buddha's wisdom and knowledge, and to awaken living beings to Buddha's wisdom and knowledge, and to support them to enter Buddha's wisdom and knowledge. This desire is the great condition for the appearance of Buddhas, according to this school. I hope today that there can be some opening among these sentient beings present, some


opening to Buddha's wisdom and knowledge, and maybe some demonstration of Buddha's wisdom and knowledge, and maybe some awakening and entering. Also, in this school, we say that the realization of this wisdom happens in the meeting of a Buddha with a Buddha. It's a social situation.


So, the wisdom of the Buddhas is a wisdom which, it's a funny wisdom, it's a wisdom which actualizes another kind of wisdom. It's a wisdom which actualizes non-dual wisdom. So, it's a prajnaparamita, it's a perfect wisdom which actualizes non-dual knowledge. It's a wisdom which is an emptiness. It's a wisdom which is an emptiness, or it's a wisdom which is emptiness.


And this emptiness of this wisdom is filled with compassion, or has compassion as its essence. So, the compassionate Buddhas are wise, and they wish to awaken sentient beings to this wisdom which is full of compassion. The wisdom of the Buddhas realizes emptiness. It understands emptiness, but in a non-dual way, such that the wisdom which understands emptiness is emptiness. It's an insubstantiality. It's an absence of any kind of independent existence.


It is ultimate truth. It is an ultimate truth whose essence is compassion. It is an ultimate truth which is actually a pattern of consciousness. But it's not ordinary consciousness. It's a special consciousness. It's a consciousness that actualizes insubstantiality, and it actualizes the absence of any independent existence of anything. It's an emptiness, this wisdom is an emptiness, which is the non-duality of itself with appearances.


It's an ultimate truth that is also the union of ultimate truth and conventional truth. It is an ultimate truth which is not separate from conventional truth. And conventional truth is defined as a deluded mind. So most of us, although we don't usually think of it that way, have deluded minds available, moment by moment. And these deluded minds have objects. And the deluded minds that are given to sentient beings, and that sentient beings have the opportunity to give to other sentient beings, these deluded minds have objects. The deluded minds and their objects are conventional truths.


Ultimate truth is inseparable from conventional truth, and the unity of conventional truth and ultimate truth is ultimate truth too. Conventional truth is not the unity of the two. So again we say in the Heart Sutra, form is emptiness, appearances are emptiness, emptiness is appearances, delusions are enlightenment, delusions are emptiness, emptiness is delusions. In order to open to the emptiness of delusion, we have to open to delusion. That's the hard part.


Opening to emptiness after that is also a little bit hard, but the basic work is opening to conventional truth. Opening to deluded minds. Opening to our deluded mind. Taking care of our deluded mind. So I hope that you are taking care of your deluded mind, because now I'm telling you about the ultimate truth. The ultimate truth is not your deluded mind. The ultimate truth is not a deluded mind. The ultimate truth is not reached by a deluded mind. And yet it is a pattern of consciousness. It is the pattern of consciousness which is the way things really are. The way things really are is a pattern of consciousness.


And the way things really are, you could appreciate that. I mean, you could say something good about that if you want to. You could say the way things really are is really good, because the way things really are is what actually liberates suffering beings from suffering. The way things really are, when realized, is ease and joy. And what kind of ease and joy is it? It's the ease and joy of serving all living beings. It's the ease and joy of Buddha's compassion. So Buddha's wisdom is the realization of the ultimate truth, which is filled with compassion and filled with the joy of compassion.


This morning, I think we were all sitting pretty much, right? And then we did some walking. I didn't do much walking myself. I was sitting all morning, up till now. And you were sitting and walking, right? So we have a practice of sitting, and the sitting we do in this school is sometimes called the true gate to ease and bliss, or joy. And I would add, it's the true gate to ease and joy in the service of all beings. Ease and joy in serving all living beings. That's what the sitting is. That's what the practice of this school is.


It's the entrance into the joyful service of all beings. And another way to say it is that this practice is an emptiness, or it is a mind which realizes emptiness. And that mind joyfully turns, constantly and joyfully turns to the wonderful work of serving every living being. When the mind realizes ultimate truth, it realizes an ultimate truth which is full of compassion, and the mind turns to the service of all living beings. This is the joy of the Buddha. But again, I warn me and you that the mind realizing emptiness, the mind realizing ultimate truth, has to be grounded in taking care of conventional truths.


It has to be grounded in taking care of delusion and pain and affliction, the causes of suffering and the suffering caused by the causes. We need to be very compassionate with the conventional truth in order to safely and successfully open to the ultimate truth, which then again, in realizing it, the mind joyfully and easily turns to benefiting others. So our practice is our sitting practice. When we sit, our sitting practice is the mind realizing ultimate truth. Our sitting practice is realizing the koan. And koan means ultimate truth. And realizing ultimate truth is the activity of Buddhas.


And again, the ultimate truth, the wisdom realizing it, is a wisdom which is full of compassion for all beings. And so I would surface that I myself struggle the balancing act, which is to... Yeah, the balancing act of something that knows something, but that is really knowing itself. So this kind of wisdom, this Buddha's wisdom, is a wisdom which knows itself, because it's a wisdom which knows emptiness, but the emptiness is itself. It knows what it is. It knows that it's emptiness. So it knows, but not as an object.


So this wisdom is focused on the object of purification, the object which, when you look at it, it purifies the mind, but it's not separate from the object which purifies the mind. Meditating on this emptiness removes the hindrance of afflictions and removes the hindrance to complete knowledge. But again, it's a meditation on this object which is not dual from the object it's meditating on. I remember one time I read a teacher saying that some people kind of think that emptiness, that the ultimate truth,


is holy or precious. But this person said, it's not that emptiness is precious, but the wisdom that knows it is precious. The prajnaparamita, the perfection of wisdom, which knows emptiness, that's what's precious. But today I'm suggesting that it's not that the emptiness is one thing and the knowing of it is another. So in that sense, emptiness is precious, ultimate truth is precious, because ultimate truth is wisdom, rather than ultimate truth is one thing and wisdom is another. Now, in a sense, you can say, no, no, no, ultimate truth and wisdom are not the same. Okay, what the wisdom does is it actualizes another kind of wisdom which is the same as the ultimate truth. So it's a little bit of a bouncing act there, I don't know if you saw it.


So it's a wisdom which actualizes a wisdom. It's a wisdom which actualizes non-dual wisdom. The non-dual wisdom is not one thing and ultimate truth another. The non-dual knowledge is emptiness, and wisdom activates the non-dual knowledge. So prajnaparamita is both non-dual and also seems to be like the cause of the non-dual wisdom. Tomorrow I'm going to have a little discussion with Shohaku Okamura, who has just published a book of his commentaries on the text called Genjo Koan. So this text is a text which is translated in English as Manifesting the Koan.


Genjo, like manifesting right now. The Koan. And the Koan is ultimate truth. Manifesting ultimate truth or realizing ultimate truth. That's a text by our ancestor Dogen. And so he has this lovely book of commenting on this text. And so in my mind I thought, they asked me to talk for a little bit at this meeting, and I thought someone might say, what's the most important part of Genjo Koan text? And I thought, Koan is the most important part. The ultimate truth is the most important part. And I'm happy about that because ultimate truth includes the mind realizing it.


And then the text is saying, the present manifestation of the ultimate truth. Well that's what's going on here right now. This must be the present manifestation of the ultimate truth. We need the ultimate truth in its present manifestation, not its past, not its future. I should say not, but just forgetting about that for the moment, and just the present manifestation of ultimate truth. So our practice is the present manifestation of ultimate truth. It did occur to me in my happiness at this prospect that I got a little bit too happy.


I have another perspective on this, but before I bring up the other perspective, which I might do this afternoon, but I'll tell you the other perspective. The other perspective is Koans, ultimate truth, and precepts, Bodhisattva precepts. That's another perspective which I was going to bring up with you. But before I do that in detail, I welcome your feedback on what has been given so far. In other words, I welcome the present manifestation of ultimate truth. In other words, I welcome the present manifestation of the Dharmagate of Repose and Bliss.


I didn't mean I was getting so much happy about the prospect, exactly. I was very happy about Koan being the most important thing. I was very happy about the ultimate truth being the most important part of everything. But I got so happy about it, I thought maybe a little bit too happy. So maybe I should go back to the conventional truth a little bit. I'm back. Here we are, conventional truth. I'm still happy, but I might be a little bit too happy still. Yes? It occurred to me when you were talking about the balancing act, that maybe there's kind of a little bit of existential direction in order to make that balancing act.


And then it occurred to me that one relationship between the precepts and the Koan is that the application of the precepts helps create energy for that repose. Right. You're anticipating the next topic. That's right. Also, part of the existential... Did you say existential instruction or direction? I didn't say instruction. You said existential something. I need you to fill that in. What? Oh, direction. You said existential direction. Perhaps, or focus, or something like that. Well, even if you don't want to say existential direction, there are existential directions for opening to this truth. Existential action, perhaps. Well, we can go into that next.


But existential directions are also an action. I'm going to give some existential directions now. I'm going to act. Words or actions? I'm going to talk. I'm going to give you existential directions by mentioning that this wisdom of the Buddha, which makes our mind joyfully and easily turn constantly to the welfare of others, that this wisdom is free of all existential categories. So the direction is, just check out the Balancing Act, where you don't go into any existential categories. Where they're sitting there as possibilities, but you're kind of poised between them, between existence and non-existence, and both existence and non-existence, and neither existence nor non-existence.


You're poised between these categories. Those are four. And there's more you could think of. But you're a mind that's free of all kinds of existential categories, about everything you meet. So that consciousness is not existential? Hmm? That consciousness, that pattern of consciousness is not existential? It is existential. It is the true existential. It's the true way things are, is that they aren't leaning into existence or non-existence. That's the way you really are. That's the way I really am. That's the way everybody really is. All conventional beings are inseparable from the true way that they are. All deluded ways of thinking about ourselves, which I think most of us have seen some of that. All those ways, which other people agree with sometimes, and sometimes they don't, etc.


And we have some problems with them about this. All the deluded ways we think about ourselves are inseparable from the way we really are. The way we really are is always manifesting right now. And it is free of any categories of existence. The way we really exist is free of any categories of existence. The way we really exist is we exist in a middle way. And the middle way is free of any categorical attempts. Any categories of existence. That's the way we really are. And taking care of the way we aren't, taking care of the deluded way we appear to be, is required reading for opening to the true way we are, the true way that we are being.


And so what I just gave is some instruction as a precept about how to be that way. To be mindful of the middle way you are, of the middle way everybody is. For example, another middle way that everybody is, is that everybody is myself. And also everybody is not me. And I'm actually nothing but everybody that's not me. That's why everybody is myself. This is a balancing act in the middle way. Everywhere I go, I meet him. He is not me. In truth, I am him. This is the balancing act. I have some idea that


it's possible to be less authentic and more authentic. Like there are moments when you're... I know some other people who think like that. But it's not possible. May I have that hammer, please? Yes? It's not possible? But it's not possible not to be me, right? It's not possible for you not to be you. And it's not possible for me not to be me, right? I agree with that. So there's some kind of like judgment that some expressions are more authentic than others. Say it again? Some judgment that some expressions are more authentic than others. Yeah, there can be such judgments that some expressions are more authentic than others. What should we do about that? We should practice the Bodhisattva precepts


with that phenomena of judgment. We should be kind to that conventional truth. A judgment is a conventional truth. And we should be kind to that conventional truth. We should truly open our heart to that conventional truth of judgment that she's more authentic than him. Sorry, Simon. That he's more authentic than her. Sorry, Jerry. That I've got a hammer and you don't. These are conventional things which the Buddhas appear in the world to teach the wisdom about them because people are caught by conventional truth. They don't see that it's actually inseparable from the ultimate truth beyond all judgments. I have a request. Yes? I want to play with the hammer. Nice sound.


It's a new therapy. Thank you. You're welcome. Yes? So I had a thought. And again, Joe Cohen, that image of the boat and the shore. The boat and the shore. Yeah. Whether we are really swimming in the ocean between the boat and the shore. You hadn't thought about that. Whether that's what it's like. That is a conventional truth which we should be kind to, which we should love but not like. Or if you like, we should be kind to the liking.


But I wish to practice compassion towards that conventional truth which you just offered. That story about swimming between the boat and the shore. Someone else want to tell a story about being on the boat? Somebody else want to tell a story about being on the shore? These are all conventional truths that we should be kind to. These are all delusions. I judge you're in a good place. Yes, Skyler? Pardon? How is ultimate truth conventional truth? How is ultimate truth conventional truth? Yes, but conventional truth is not ultimate truth. Because conventional truth is diluted and ultimate truth is not diluted.


But ultimate truth is inseparable from conventional truth. And ultimate truth, since it's not diluted, realizes non-separation, but conventional truth, because it's diluted, does not realize non-separation. It has to deal with things being separate and appearing separate. That's conventional truth. And we have language which talks in those terms. That's conventional truth too. Conventional truth is that there's a separation between you and me, between right and wrong. And ultimate truth, there is no separation, including that there's no separation from no separation and separation. Does that make some sense? Ultimate truth is not separate from that.


Conventional truth is not separate from that. But conventional truth is thinking that there is separation. In other words, conventional truth is thinking of something that doesn't exist, like separate entities. That's the basic conventional delusion, that there's separate beings, that there's a separate consciousness from its objects of knowledge. Those are some basic conventional truths. That's a basic way things appear to be. And there's all kinds of wonderful reasons why we are diluted that way. So these are the diluted beings who have good reasons to be diluted that we are devoted to, and for whom we wish to realize and transmit the wisdom which does not see any separation between the wisdom and the delusion which sees the separation.


Ultimate truth and the wisdom which is ultimate truth realizes that there's no separation between delusion and enlightenment, between Buddhas and sentient beings, between you and me, between life and death. But that teaching that there's no separation, we really shouldn't be working with that unless we're really sincerely, as best we can for now, devoted to all conventional truths, all diluted minds, all suffering beings who have diluted minds. And actually I just said something about being really devoted to them, but the full devotion to living beings comes with realization. The full joy of being devoted to living beings comes with the realization of ultimate truth. That's why we need ultimate truth, is to facilitate our devotion. So first we're devoted to conventional truth, first we're devoted to delusion, which means


diluted minds and beings, and then we open to the ultimate truth and then we can really be devoted. And that's when we get really happy that now I can really do the thing which I've always wanted to do, I've always wanted to be of service to all beings. Now I can really do it, how wonderful, and you've got to be careful not to get a little bit too happy then. Now this work of being devoted to everybody, which sometimes I think is kind of hard, sometimes I think, oh my god, how can I be devoted to everybody, when we realize ultimate truth you feel like, I think, I'm ready for it, because they're not separate from me, so I can't get away from them anyway, I might as well be of service to them. Now, how are you doing, Skyler? Good. Just a second, Homa, I think Karen was next, or something like that. I wanted to ask you to describe the process of the discrimination of too happy.


Of too happy? Oh, I just have a little too happy center, I think it maybe got set off when there was too much happiness around my head, and maybe not enough happiness around some of the people in the other cars around me, so then I tried to make the happiness kind of come down into my lower abdomen and spread to the other people in the other cars, and then I didn't feel too happy anymore, I just felt it was more of a shared encouragement of all beings, and it felt better. It felt more like I wasn't hogging all the happiness.


I got a little bunny, a little bunny, a little bunny that beeps when the joy isn't being shared satisfactorily. Something's wrong here. This is happy, but it's a little off, too much. I think of this Yeats poem now. Once there was a mermaid who found herself a sailor boy. She pressed her body, hers to his, and took him down with her. But she forgot in her joy that even sailor lovers can drown. Something like that.


So you've got to be careful with your joy of serving people that you share it with them. Otherwise, you might take them someplace that's not good for them. It's not forgetting what that joy is. Yeah. Not getting, not attaching to it. Yes? I need your wisdom fully with me to go to this area that I feel that I need to face the crime, the violence. Yes, we do. We need to face the crime and the violence. And not lose the ultimate reality, or not lose myself, or not get lost in the whole process.


Yeah, not lose it. Or another way to do it is if we face the crime, listen to the crime, that is also the gate to the ultimate truth, which helps us listen even better. But we still must not hold on to ultimate truth, because that would not be ultimate truth. Ultimate truth does not hold on to ultimate truth. Ultimate truth can't find ultimate truth, and that realizes ultimate truth. So there's no clinging to ultimate truth in ultimate truth. Wisdom does not cling to the wonderful way things really are. And that further realizes the way things really are. And further realizes listening to the cries of all beings. And helps us listen to the cries without getting exhausted. But if we get exhausted listening to the cries, then we practice kindness towards the conventional truth,


the conventional phenomena of being exhausted. We accept that we're exhausted. We accept our limits. We surrender, joyfully, as a gift. And then we get up off the floor and start moving back towards the ultimate truth. Round and round. Yes, and yes? Yes. Yes. Yes.


I lost you there for a second. Yes, so we're looking for a kind of knowing that is simultaneously questioning. We're talking about a knowing without grasping. A wisdom which knows without grasping. That's the wisdom which is ultimate truth. Ultimate truth is not and cannot grasp anything. The way things really are is that there's no grasping. It's not existence or non-existence, because it's always changing.


And it's always interdependent. Yes? Say it louder. The last days before he's dying? Well, one story is, he had left his monastery, which is north of Kyoto, near the Japan Sea, and he had gone to Kyoto to seek medical attention. And then he wasn't feeling well enough after the medical attention to go back to Eheji, so he was staying in Kyoto. And he was in a room, and so one story is that in the room there was a pillar,


and he wrote on the pillar, or on a scroll and hung it on the pillar, going for refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. And he walked around the pillar, going for refuge in the triple treasure. Another story is that he wrote out a section from chapter 19, I think, of the Lotus Sutra, or chapter 20, where it says that wherever one recites or writes the Lotus Sutra, that is the place where Buddhas are born, where Buddhas realize awakening, where Buddhas teach the Dharma and awaken beings, and where Buddhas enter parinirvana. So I just said, what I just said just now, the Lotus Sutra.


And the Lotus Sutra says the fact that I said that means that right now Buddhas are being born here, are leaving home, attaining the way, teaching the Dharma, and so on. So he was saying that, and now I'm saying that, and now you're in the place where it's being said, and so this is the same place that Dogen was, that is what Dogen was doing. He was thinking, and he named the room he was in, the Lotus Sutra Hermitage. So that's what he was doing when he was dying. I guess he could still walk and chant. But he died fairly soon after he started this practice. This practice of saying something, which is saying that if you say this something,


this is where the Buddhas are alive. Like saying, if you say ultimate truth, and you think ultimate truth, and you remember ultimate truth, and you're open to ultimate truth, this is where Buddhas are born. The ultimate truth is not separate from us right now. It's right here. Q. Can the object of faith be delusion? Yes. I don't know about most, but there are lots of living beings who are deluded. Living beings are by definition deluded. There are lots of them, and not so many Buddhas.


So most living beings who have faith are in the midst of delusion. Most living beings think, I'm here, and they're over there. And I have faith, and so do they. But they over there who have faith, and me over here who has faith, we're somewhat separate. I'm deluded, but I have faith. And what do I have faith in? I have faith in being really diligent in learning to be kind to deluded beings, myself included. I have faith in being devoted to the welfare of others. I have faith that that will open me more and more completely to my own delusion, and to other people's suffering, and make me more and more willing to live my life for the welfare of others. And this will open me to ultimate truth. And opening to ultimate truth, I have faith that this will make it really easy and joyful for me to give my life to others.


And sometimes that faith is confirmed. Sometimes we have a little taste of the ultimate truth. Sometimes we feel the non-duality of the way we really are, and the way we are. And at that time we feel great joy at the prospect of the next moment of being devoted to all beings. And then we still have faith, even though we've realized our faith, and our faith has been confirmed, we still believe that it would be good to continue, even though we don't know yet, because we haven't got there yet, to the next moment. So in this moment I feel my faith is confirmed, and I have faith that it would be good to continue this practice. And now I'm in the next moment, and maybe I feel confirmed again, and I also feel I would like to continue this practice. In the next moment I'm not too much into confirmation, I'm just into faith.


I think, oh yeah, ultimate truth, right now, what is it? What is ultimate truth right now? What is the ultimate truth right now? What is the wisdom which is filled with compassion right now? The teaching is, it's not the slightest bit away from us. It's not more over here than over there. It's right here, right where we are. The way we are is the present manifestation of it. And now this is the present manifestation of it. Forever warm and still to be enjoyed. Forever warm and still to be enjoyed. Yes, Oscar. I was a little confused when you said the way things really are is a pattern of consciousness.


Yeah, it's unusual to think of that, isn't it? I wonder if you could explain that a little further. Yeah, I guess I'm saying that the way things are, the middle way, includes that for them to be, there needs to be some mental imputation. So mind is an essential part of any kind of existence, of anything being there must be mind. That's what this teaching is about. And this is not necessarily an ontological statement. As a matter of fact, it's a statement about a way of being that's free of any ontological statements. It's a way of talking about the way of being that's intended to liberate beings from ontological entrapment.


Entrapment in existence or non-existence is suffering. Leaning towards existence, leaning towards any ontological category is not the middle way. So the way things really are is that mind is involved. And the mind which realizes this is the ultimate truth. The mind which realizes the ultimate truth is the ultimate truth of the way things are. And we also have conventional truths which realize the way things really aren't, which realizes them as existent. Conventional truth is a delusion which thinks that things exist or don't. So you know about that one. There's another one which doesn't think about them existing or non-existing, which is the way that they really are which is not existing or non-existing.


But the way they really are still depends on mind, and the mind which is non-dual with that is the wisdom which realizes the non-duality. And which again, when the mind is working through this wisdom channel, which includes questioning. The question, how is this ultimate truth? How is this ultimate truth? How is this ultimate truth? How is this liberating all beings? And do I feel ready to be of service to this person and this person? Because I've heard that I probably should be, I would be if my mind was realizing ultimate truth. So working with ultimate truth and serving all beings, that is the ultimate truth, that is the wisdom of the Buddhas. Looks like you understand really well. Congratulations. Can you hear him up there?


Okay, say it again, I'll convey it to them. When you said mind, ultimate reality is inseparable from mind, is what I heard. Yeah, and conventional reality is also inseparable from mind. And is that, so that's also saying that it's realized when the Buddha meets the Buddha? The full realization is in a social context. So the Buddhas can realize this, but the full realization is when they realize it with somebody else. Because this realization is for the purpose of helping beings. So the social context, it's not just one Buddha. If you think there's one Buddha, you don't understand Buddha either. There's not just one Buddha.


There's many Buddhas and they meet and then they're meeting when the real Buddhas meet a real Buddha, because the real Buddha is not alone. This is part of the full realization of Buddha's wisdom and the ultimate truth. Could you hear that? Okay, well, is that enough for this morning? Yes. Could we have one more poem? One more poem? What did you say, Oscar? I just laughed. You laughed? For one more poem? Yes. The unique breeze of reality.


Can you see it? Creation is constantly working her loom and shuttle, incorporating the patterns of spring into the ancient brocade. The unique breeze of reality. Can you see it? While illusion is being concocted moment by moment, there's always the unique breeze of ultimate reality at the same time. Can you see it? Can you taste it?


Can you smell it? Can you feel it? Can you hear it? Is your hearing it? Is your seeing it? Is your smelling it? Is your touching it? Is your tasting it? We've always had it. Please take care of it. May our intentions equally extend to every being and place, with the true merit of Buddha's way.


Beings are numberless. I vow to save them. Delusions are inexhaustible. I vow to end them. The Dharma gates are bondless. I vow to enter them. Buddha's way is unsurpassable. I vow to become it.