What Is Your Art Form?

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AI Summary: 

In this discussion focusing on the art of Dharma conversation, Dharma is portrayed as an interactive process rather than a static acquisition. It encompasses not only speech but also silence, gestures, and stillness, emphasizing that every individual's contribution, referred to as "conversation pieces," co-creates the collective Dharma discourse. This approach is illustrated using the metaphor of a feast where each participant both offers and receives, making Dharma conversation akin to a shared meal of ideas and insights.

### Texts and People Referenced:
- **"Flower Adornment Scripture"**: Suggested as an intricate part of the discussion, reinforcing the notion that Dharma conversation includes the whole universe.
- **T.S. Eliot**: Quoted to underscore the exploration of conversation and perception in Dharma practice.
- **Dogen's "Genjo Koan"**: Mentioned as a foundational text, stressing the immediate manifestation of reality and truth in the practice of Dharma conversation.
- **Reb Anderson**: Recounted an anecdote involving an ophthalmologist to explore perspectives on clarity and perception.
- **Suzuki Rishi**: Referenced in a philosophical context about the nature of beauty and the pitfalls of superficial judgments.

The central thesis revolves around the idea that Dharma conversation is an all-encompassing practice where each element and interaction forms part of a larger, infinite process. The talk elaborates on how this form of engagement allows for a deeper understanding of both the self and the universe, suggesting that such conversations are where the teachings of the Buddhas are actively lived and transmitted.

AI Suggested Title: "Dharma as Dialogue: The Art of Conversational Co-Creation"


Recently, someone asked me, do you have an art form? Or maybe she said, what is your art form? And I answered fairly quickly, Dharma talks. But then shortly afterwards I thought, No. Dharma conversation. And the conversation can be talking and silence. It can be gestures and stillness. Yeah, so, and also, I don't have that art form. I do not have Dharma conversation.


And even though I don't have Dharma conversation, Dharma conversation is what I am devoted to. That's my That's my life that I'm devoted to, Dharma conversation. I don't have it, and you don't have it, but it's also your life. Your life is Dharma conversation. And what I just said, the words I'm saying, are not a conversation. they are a conversation piece. They're pieces of conversation which I offer to the conversation. So I'm offering to the conversation the confidence, the faith that Dharma conversation is really where it's at for everybody all the time.


I'm devoted to what's actually the case with all of us right now and always. And I also, in this conversation, I sometimes play the role of being the host. And sometimes I play the role of being a guest. When I play the role of being a host, I usually play the role of being responsible for setting the table for the conversation. Mixing metaphors, it's a Dharma conversation, it's a Dharma feast. It's a feast of curiosity and questioning. which we do together.


And I'm setting the table for this conversation. Just a moment ago, I said to Ted, I think maybe we can have a Dharma talk. But then as soon as I said it, I thought, no, a Dharma conversation. Each of us is making an offering to this conversation, and our offerings are the conversation pieces. None of our offerings in themselves are a conversation, but actually every offering we make really is a conversation too. So our conversation pieces are conversation, and they're not by themselves, they include everything. Each of our offerings to this conversation include the entire universe.


And that statement is another conversation piece which is supported by, encouraged by, and offered in this great, vast, oceanic flower adornment scripture. And last year, just before my birthday, I kind of said, quoting T.S. Eliot, old men ought to be explorers. And so the old man is exploring this conversation piece. This is full of, this has innumerable conversation pieces in it. And one of the conversation pieces in this scripture is that conversation is where it's at. And everybody in the conversation includes the entire universe.


So this sutra has, what do you call it, it has deepened this sutra. Excuse me, not the sutra. Me exploring this sutra with you has deepened my already long-established commitment and devotion to Dharma conversation. This sutra is saying, Dharma conversation is what the Buddhas are up to with all sentient beings. This sutra says that the teaching of the Buddha is thus. And our ancestors have received this teaching of thus and transmitted the teaching of thus through Dharma conversation.


And once again, not only is the teaching of the sutra of thus transmitted in Dharma conversation, Dharma conversation is the teaching of thus. Our Dharma conversation is the teaching of the Buddha. Buddhas are not outside our conversation or inside our conversation. Buddhas are our conversation. I'm still setting the table. It's going to be quite a feast. Now I would like to bring up another thing to put on the table for our discussion, which I wonder if the word It's not literally in this sutra, as far as I know.


I haven't seen it. Maybe it's in some other sutra. But it's definitely in my memory. And I'm going to tell you about it. You're going to hear about it quite soon. And it's about vision, and visions, and points of view. The sutra is a sutra of vision, of visions, incredible, unbelievable visions. And now I'm going to talk about a vision. Here's the vision. Once upon a time, there was a Zen student named Reb Anderson, and he was invited by another Zen student who was a famous and esteemed and respected ophthalmologist.


And the ophthalmologist invited him to come and have his eyes examined, pro bono. And so I went. And we're sitting in his examination chair. Actually, I was sitting in it. He was standing next to me. And at some point in this examination, he said something like, you know, Reb, things are a lot clearer out there than you can see." And I think pretty much right away I thought, I don't know about that. I'm curious about what you just said. I question that, that they're actually clearer out there than I can see. And that was quite a long time ago, that message from the great eye doctor. So he thought that we see things, or at least I see things, with a certain level of clarity.


And actually, they're clearer out there than I see. I'm questioning that. So now what I'm offering to our discussion is, these eyes have evolved to be able to make things that are not clear, clear. Especially the eyes of most children and eagles and owls. they have muscles in the eye area, which can work on a lens and make the lens able to send an image back to the back of the eye, which makes something which is actually quite ambiguous, very precise.


But what is being made into this very precise image is unimaginable. Unimaginable. What's out there, I'm saying, is unimaginable. It's not an image, and no image can embrace it. I should say no image can comprehend it. And we have eyes which make this inconceivable, unimaginable world into concepts, into images. And when you get older, when we get older, the muscles in our eyes gradually lose their ability to squeeze the lens to make it able to make certain things that are not clear into things that are clear. Human bodies and minds are built to make the, what do you call it, the incoherent


into coherences. And it was a big project to make us able to do that. Took quite a few billion years to create these eyes and these minds that can render something that's ambiguous into something clear and particular. And this sutra, this great flower of German scripture is saying, all the ways that our bodies and minds make things finite, and not only finite, but very clearly finite, all the ways we make these finite things include the inconceivable infinite world. And then, the eye doctor didn't invite me to give him a lecture at that time, but he was a Zen student, so when he's not in the office there and he's a Zen student, we can say, yes, different beings have different abilities in making something that's incoherent and ambiguous into something that's definitive and


coherent. We have the ability to mess with reality to make it that way, to make it appear to us, not to make it that way, to make it appear to us that way. And each appearances that we make include the entire universe that supported us to make this finite version of the infinite. And then the Zen teaching goes on to say the problem is, the Sutra teaching, the problem is grasping the finite, grasping it, as true, as a true picture of all that it includes. So the finite includes the infinite, but it's not the infinite, it includes the infinite.


It's inseparable from it. But the way it looks, we take it as the way it is. And so he says, the doctor says, things are actually clearer out there than you can make them. And the doctor can help us make them clearer. But they're still the same way before and after we put the glasses on. They're not clear. However, they totally pervade every clear image of it. So the unimaginable allows itself to be imagined in infinite ways. I'm giving you conversation pieces. And then another one which is quite familiar to us in the text written by Dogen called Genjo Koan.


And by the way, Genjo means to manifest right now, and the Koan means reality. Ultimate truth. an example of ultimate truth to manifest it right now. And in fact, we do manifest ultimate truth right now. And that the way that happens is Dharma conversation, is the teaching of thus. So Genjo Koan is a Soto Zen version of the teaching of thus. And then in that text, and there's a text named Genjo Koan by Dogen, Shobo Genzo Genjo Koan, Treasury of True Dharma Eyes, Manifestation of Reality, right now. It says in there, it's like going out in the middle of an ocean.


What's it? It's like going out into an ocean. What's it like? The teaching of thusness. It's like a Dharma conversation. You go out in the ocean, away from the land where you can't see any islands, and the ocean looks like a circle of water. Our body and mind makes this infinite ocean into a circle of water. And this is not bad, it's just the way we're built. We make oceans into circles of water with our eyes and our brain and our body. But the ocean is not a circle of water. The ocean is infinite. However, we see it as a circle of water. And when this teaching pervades our body and mind,


We do still see a circle of water. We still do see an orange, more or less clearly. But we understand that this circle of water is just a psychophysically conjured image of an infinite imageless, unimaginable reality. Not even reality, universe. Because the reality isn't just the inconceivable universe. It is that the inconceivable universe is being made into little circles of water, or even big circles of water. The reality is the relationship between these beings who make things clear out of what's not clear.


It's that intimate relationship that is the Dharma conversation. And it entails that I more and more remember that whoever I'm looking at, I'm looking at a severe reduction of what they are. Even though the severe reductions can be really cute, and really horrible, and really lovely, and really ugly, even though they can be really something, these severe reductions, are not what they have tried to reduce. And this teaching is not asking us to disrespect how things appear, to disrespect the way these beings who are infinite are being made into finite images, not disrespect.


As a matter of fact, do the opposite. Love the circles of water in order to become free of grasping them as reality. And that way set the circles of water free and the beings who are being seen that way free along with it. And as many people say to me when I bring this up, it's very difficult to remember the teaching when these sharp, clear images appear. To remember, okay, yeah, this is really penetrating, this is really intense, this is really painful. And this is just a little picture of something that is beyond this little picture. And then love it. so you don't get trapped in it.


Because if we don't love it, if we don't love these circles of water, we tend to be trapped in them. Well, not trapped in them, trapped with them. They don't trap us. Our grasping them as reality leads to feeling trapped. So by being kind to these circles of water, which is the work of Dharma conversation, which is the work of intimate conversation, we can more and more remember that, excuse the expression, we're looking through a glass, darkly, and respect the dark images that are being given to us. And part of the reason it's challenging to remember the teaching in the face of these circles of water is that if we grasp them, it hurts, it's painful.


So when they come and we grasp them, we feel pain in various ways. And then, in the pain, it's sometimes hard to remember the teaching of being kind to the pain, but also be kind to the thing, to the grasping, and be kind to what seems to be grasped. So the table is set somewhat. We could put more stuff on the table, but I think that's enough. Charlie. Three umpires walking a dog. Walk into a bar. A bar. OK, three umpires walking a dog into a bar. First umpire, they sit down. The first umpire says, I call him as I see him. Can you hear that?


I missed it. He says, the first umpire says, I call him as I see him. And the second umpire says, oh, well, I call him as he is. And the first guy says, oh, yeah, you got me there. And then the third umpire says, they ain't nothing till I call them. Yeah, the third umpire says, they ain't nothing till I call them. How about you? I think that's a really good Dharma conversation piece. Most people think, most people think, I call him as I see him. No, no. Most people think, I call him as it is. The first guy kind of, he's right, he's, I call him as I see him. That's right, that's what we do. I call him as I see him in circles of water. And the next one says, no, I call him as it is.


That's what most people, that's when the Dharma doesn't fill your body and mind. You think you call him as it is. when I call you as beautiful, and you are beautiful." And again, I often mention, one of the first surprising teachings of Suzuki Rishi that I heard was, he said, when you say something's beautiful, that's evil. I thought, wow! But I would also change, he could have said, when you call something beautiful, it's an insult. to reduce somebody, to reduce an infinite being to beautiful. It's kind of an insult. But anyway, one of them says, I call them as I see them, that's quite wise. The other one says, I call them as they is, that's quite normal, deluded, sentient being. And the other one says, they ain't nothing till I call them.


I would say, they're ungraspable until I call them. They're unimaginable until I call them. And when I call them, the unimaginable infinite universe gets precipitated into strike. That's a really good example. Thank you. Yes? I just looked up something recently, abracadabra, which you usually see in magic shows. And it's I speak, I speak it, I create it. It is created. Oh, that's what abracadabra means? I seek it, so it's created. I speak, so it's created. Yeah, very similar. By speaking it, it's created. But also, by seeing it, it's created. Before I see it, it's not nothing, it's just, no, it's uncreated.


It's just reality. Kim. Well, just one second. Let me start from the beginning with some aids so that I can make this thing clearer, right? It's actually reality, but I want to make it clear. Yes? So there is a person who I'm not terribly involved with, but she's in my choir. And she wrote me an email that I took umbrage to, and so I decided to wait before I responded and I felt, I came to think about her and her situation and realized that I don't know why she, you know, kind of attacked me a little bit.


And so I haven't responded to her. And because I haven't returned to the conversation, my part of the conversation. But I'm kind of parting things a lot. I don't really need to, I guess. But you're doing it now. But I am. So the dilemma, I guess, is whether my completion of this particular conversation that has come up in my little world is to actually deal with that person, or is it just with me? I wish her well, and basically I do. Yeah, so you express some curiosity about whether you, in order to complete the situation, you need to talk to her. So I appreciate that curiosity.


But also, I want to come back to be curious about the circle of water that appeared in your mind when you read the email. That's the first circle of water. And when you looked at that circle of water, when you saw that email, at that point you were being called by the Dharma Conversation to be curious about this circle of water. What's really going on here? You don't have to talk to that person about it. You can talk to us about it. You can talk to Barry about it. I'm actually thinking that this email is this circle of water. But I've heard it's not. It's far more than that. And the far more than that is included in this. But I have to remember that this is not actually a graspable event. This email and this person who sent it is ungraspable.


The Buddha body is ungraspable, it's infinite, it pervades everything, including it pervades emails sent from a person who you have, what do you call it, it pervades the person who you think sent the email and the person who did send the email. But right now we have this this thing that is pervaded by the teaching, which seems to be something to take umbrage with, because when you grasp it, even if you don't take umbrage, when you grasp it, you hinder the realization that this email is an avatar of the Buddha. This is the Buddha's body coming to me as an email. And I made it into something which I could grasp, and when I grasped it, it was painful.


But what's harder to see is that if the person sent you an email that you made into a circle of water called, they were so appreciative of my participation in the choir. If you grasp that, it may be more difficult. You may not have umbrage if you grasp that. You may have something else called arrogance, self-righteousness, whatever. The grasping of the email in the form that you see it, that is the problem. That's what's hindering you opening an email and seeing the light of Buddha's wisdom. coming to you as an email. The Buddha's body pervades all emails. But we can make this, we can make the all-pervading Buddha light into graspable things.


And when we grasp them, then we suffer. And not only do we suffer, but we close the door on the light. So, what you're doing now is the appropriate response to making this universe into an email that starts here and ends there and that you can grasp. Now you have that to take care of. Now, that body and mind which sees this email can be liberated by being kind to the situation that we're in. And also by not trying to, what's the word, not being kind by yourself, but sharing this with us. So you can be kind to this umbrage, which is not necessarily, which is a form of, again, the umbrage is another circle of water.


And if you grasp it, it's more pain. I don't know if you ever, you may never be able to meet this person again. We don't know about that. But you have a lot of work to do with us on this image that you saw that you took umbrage with. And if you do that work, that will liberate the email and all people who send emails. and you have a real, it sounds like a real, what's the word, presentment of the world appearing as an email, the universe appearing as a particle of dust, the Sutra says. The email is a particle of dust and in that particle of dust is the whole universe and the Buddha is in that particle of dust talking to you.


However, our mind makes the Buddha really little, and then we grasp the Buddha, and when we grasp the Buddha, we take umbrage, or we become arrogant, etc. So now that you've identified you've got this thing, now how can you practice love, practice compassion with this image in such a way that you open to the light of wisdom, which is already there, and that when the wisdom light comes, you may run over to that person, looking for that person, to express your love for all beings, including that person. Or you may never see the person again. But they have been an opportunity for the Buddhist teaching to come to you and for you to share it with us. I think Homa was before you.


Homa. That question's gone. So where I'm right in this moment is in the particles of the images. You can say particles of image, but that may be redundant. Images are particles. Yeah, in those particles. All these particles. Here we are. We are these particles. Then the question comes, what is the relationship? What is the particles and the one that is questioning these particles. The questioner and the question, what's the relationship between them?


So we got a particle, got a questioner, and a questioning? Yeah. What's the relationship? They mutually include each other. If they're mutually including, then the question is, why the question is not seeing that it is, the question is the particle and the particle is the particle. Why that seeing is not happening? It's happening intellectually, yes, it is. If the not-seeing ... if there's not-seeing happening, basically that's another particle. And we can be curious about ... so we got the particle, and we have the not-seeing the particle, that's another particle, and the particle includes the whole universe, the not-seeing includes the whole universe, and curiosity applies to both of them.


And you are being curious. But the way you're being curious also is just a particle of the curiosity which is infinite. So infinite curiosity comes into your life, into your small, finite life, as a messenger, as an angel of the Buddha body. And being lost? Okay, being lost? Love that being lost. Respect that being lost. Don't run away from that being lost. And now if you're, okay, you're done, you're not running away now, you're here. Okay, I don't like to be lost, but I'm gonna be here because that's what's happening with me right now. I mean, that's the circle of water I'm in now called being lost. And I aspire to be compassionate with being lost so that I don't fall for this circle of water called being lost.


Or more words. Words are particles. They're just particles which include everything. However, I have to be there for them to realize how they include everything. And also, I might think I'm being there, but if I ask a question, maybe I get deeper into being more and more intimate with this particle. And if I'm completely intimate with the particle, I realize the particle includes the whole universe. And I still have the particle, but I no longer think the particle is reality. I just think it's a conjuration of my human beingness. I don't know who's next, but I see... I thought Linda was next, and then... Huh? Romy. Okay, you'll talk to me about it, just the two of us. All right. Linda and Jeremy and Karen and Breck?


Just because. Just because. Just saying. By the way, you're not really next. That's just a circle of water. You're not really next, that's just what I'm calling you. You're much more than next. You're emphasizing that what we perceive or the pictures we make are not reality. You just said that. You're emphasizing that. Sometimes you may emphasize it. They're not the reality of what they're presenting. So I was wondering, I kind of get what you're saying because somehow or other I get what you're saying, but you often give a very


mild and innocuous example for us to use, like a circle of water. So instead of that, I would just say, let's say that what I'm seeing is a child who is being injured in a war situation and having a limb blown off. Or who's maybe getting an amputation without him speaking. Maybe that's what I'm seeing. And would you talk about that in exactly the same way? Circle of water, it's just an image you've created. And the real truth, and that situation is an avatar of the Buddha at that moment. And the real situation is that the entire universe is in that child whose leg is being blown off. Would you talk about it in the same way? Well, another teaching from this sutra is that the way that Buddha appears, for example, the way Buddha talks, which is an appearance of Buddha.


Buddha is not just these words. Buddha is all pervading and ungraspable, but the Buddha can be transformed into an appearance, like talking. And the way the Buddha talks depends on the mentalities of who he's talking to. So in this group, right now, this is the way I'm talking. But if I was in a different situation, the Buddha would be talking differently. I don't know how they would talk. But it would be the same teaching, and the way of relating to the particle, which is a horrible, suffering of a beautiful baby, that particle with this teaching enables, if I understand this teaching, it will enable me to bring blessings to this horrible situation. What I want to do is bring blessings in my relationship with all particles. And if I hear this teaching, in certain ways, it helps me be compassionate with these horrors and bring blessings.


But the way I talk, the way I would present that would vary according to who I'm talking to. With some people, in that situation you're describing, I would talk this way. To other people, I would talk that way. Like I just thought of, I was standing on What's it called? Haight Street. Like in 1979, over the body of one of our students, one of our Zen students, the son of the author of Zen and the Motorcycle Maintenance, flying there dead on the sidewalk. He'd just been killed. And one of my friends said to me, why can't we be like this all the time? What he meant by it, the way he was, was the way he wanted to be in life. Here we have our dead friend and we were all completely there. There was nothing to be fixed. But there was... We loved, we all loved the whole world at that moment of being with this tragedy.


Yeah, why can't we be like this? And this is a person who he was so happy to be the way he was at that moment with our friend. And then a few minutes later, I don't know what happened, but maybe a day later, he's not like that. He's not with the situation. He's not with the horror. He's drinking alcohol. He can't stand to be there with this horrible world. So what does he, but he knows what to do. He drinks alcohol and then he can be there. Then he can get away. But at that moment, he wasn't trying to get away from the horrible. And that's what we're here to do, is to be with these horrors so completely that everybody becomes free. And we very seldom can we be there. Sometimes we have to have a friend dead in our feet before we say, okay, this is not time to argue. This is time to be here completely. And that's where the blessings are flowing.


And it's very difficult to be there. But the way they flow might not be talking. You might not say anything to the baby's parents like that, but you would be completely with their suffering and the baby's suffering. You would be there and that would be a blessing to help them deal with, be there too. Because that's what we want to be. We want to be right with the particle, which includes the whole universe. But the way we talk about it varies. I mean, in that situation, all he said was, why can't we be like this? I knew what he meant. And I knew that this is one of the greatest moments of his life, that he could actually be present. And maybe lesser suffering, he can't be present, he thinks he can get away. But in this case, he knew he couldn't get away and he wasn't going away and that's the way he wanted to be. And I was kind of like, yes, this is what we're here for.


We're here to be completely in solidarity with suffering beings. But the way we talk will vary according to which way we talk to the parents, of the baby, or when we talk to the baby, or when we talk to our friend, it's different. Depends on the mentalities. And that's part of the conversation, is the way I'm talking to you now depends on you. What I say varies according to your nodding or whatever. To clarify, The object of the compassion, the kindness. Kindness isn't an object of compassion. Kindness is compassion. The object of the compassion is these suffering particles, these particles which, when grasped, are suffering. That's the object of the compassion. So in the example, Kim's gift.


It's both. It's the person, but she can't see the person right now, so it's the email. She reads the email, and then that's one particle. She can practice with that. What's happening now that I'm reading this email? What's happening to me? Maybe she's imagining this person. So she has an image of the email, and she has an image of the person, and the person's included. And all of them are calling for compassion. The email's calling for compassion. The person who wrote it's calling for compassion. Kim's calling for compassion. And it starts with like, what's going on here? And letting it be and being careful and respectful of it and being completely here. That's the compassion, that's what I'm trusting. and as necessary in order to realize the reality of the situation, in order to realize the Dharma conversation reality.


I'm starting to get some ideas about what you're saying, Can I just say something? She's starting to get some ideas. And also, Linda said earlier, I think I can almost get it. You can't get it. You are it. You can't get it. And these ideas, they're fine. You're a person who has ideas, fine. And some more may come. So the idea I have is that quite often when I engage in conversation with you, about something, and you seem to be cooperative with that a lot of the time. Yeah. I respond in accordance with the mentalities. Yeah. And so I'm wondering, my view of the conversation is I'm here to get some clarity. But from your side, I'm wondering what your view of the conversation is, because I think it's a little different. Is it different? Not really, but it may seem to be different.


It may appear to be different. But yeah, if I have a picture, a circle of water of you, and you seem to be trying to get some clarity, I want to practice compassion with this circle of water of you trying to get some clarity. I want to practice compassion with that. So I don't fall for this circle of water. Who she is is trying to get clarity. That's not who you are. But that's how you appear to me, maybe. And maybe you agree. But that's a circle of water of you. Actually, you want to be Dharma conversation. That's what you want to be, really. And that's ungraspable. But I have to be kind to the picture, the image, the particle, the circle of water. who seems to be trying to get something in order for both of us and all sentient beings to realize Dharma conversation, to realize the teaching of thus.


But I can't skip over this circle of water in which somebody seems to be trying to get clarity. So now it seems to me that because I want a concept, you know, Now it seems to you we're going to get a new circle of water now. Thank you. So the new circle of water is that maybe conversation is simply a way to express compassion. Conversation is a way to express compassion, yes. Conversation is expressing compassion, yes. And it also is realizing reality. That's the inconceivable part of it. The inconceivable isn't the reality. The reality is how the inconceivable and the conceivable are not separate.


The inconceivable isn't reality by itself. The inconceivable is the background of the conceivable. And the way that they are turning on each other is the teaching is the conversation. The conversation is the reality, not the infinite background of the conversation or the finite foreground. The conversation is the reality, and that's what we really want. But we also are constantly conjuring these illusions of circles of water of what's going on. And all these circles of water are calling for compassion so that we don't grasp them as reality. So the finite isn't reality. The infinite isn't reality. Reality is how the finite and the infinite are turning on each other. And the conversation is how we resonate and come into accord with reality. And it involves having some difficulty in our habit of grasping the finite as reality.


So we don't necessarily grasp the finite as infinite, but we do often, like you didn't think that the email was infinite, but we grasp the finite as being reality. It's not reality. The way this finite is pivoting with the infinite, that's reality. That's Dharma conversation. And we're not trying to get rid of all these ideas. We're trying to embrace them with compassion so we can enter the conversation with them. Through compassion, through these limited stories, we enter into how these stories are in conversation with what's the background of these stories. And we can actually do that when we talk with each other. We actually are doing that all the time and we're trying to open to this conversation which is really what's going on, but it involves being compassionate to our habit of grasping what's going on as being this.


As we say, to say it's this misses the point. But to say it's not this misses the point too. Grasping misses the point. However, we do grasp, so now the grasping is calling for us to be compassionate to us, to it. But not so we get rid of it and have the infinite, but so we enter into the reality, which is this conversation with Breck, who is up there in the stars. Yeah, evil, it's like, it's disrespectful, it's reducing it, it's ignoring that it includes the whole universe, it's not just beautiful.


It's evil. So yes, it is evil. But when you see your granddaughter and you're struck by her beauty, you are being struck by reality. Her beauty is how reality appears to you. And then to go, OK, I know what to do with this. That's beautiful. You just insulted this. this visitation of truth by putting it in a little box so you can deal with her inconceivable beauty, the truth, the inconceivable truth appearing as beauty coming to you in that moment. And then when you say, it's beautiful, you just insulted it. That was not good. However, Now you can start over, back to zero. Now do with that evil the same thing you did with the granddaughter.


And then you'll see the beauty of the evil. I'm not calling it evil, but opening to its radiance by being compassionate to evil. But it's hard to be compassionate sometimes when reality comes and slaps us with beauty. It's hard to stay present. So we defend ourselves by drinking alcohol or calling things names, rather than, I am just wiped out by this beauty. But I'm just overwhelmed. by this reality, and I have nothing to say. But if you do say something, go back and do the same thing with that, that you do with that granddaughter. Love, love it the way you love her. And because you love her, you see her beauty.


I mean, you see beauty through her, because you love her. Now that you, and then if you, you don't have to say anything, but if you do, you just have something else to take care of now. It's not objectifying, you know, saying, oh, the way her face is arranged, or whatever, anymore than the sunset is trying to break it down into particles, if you will. It's just the sensation or the feeling that arises from the perception. Well, if a feeling arises from a perception, again, you have the opportunity to say that that's what it is, or not. To say that that's what it is, you missed the point. And again, you can use strong language that missing the point is ignoring, is ignorant.


But you don't have to say anything unless you feel like it's going to be helpful for you to modify this ungraspable thing into a word to help somebody. And it might be helpful to tell her someday that she's beautiful. But it's not helpful for you to grasp that what you just said is what she is. She just may need you to say that. And it's delivered all the better if you're not grasping it when you give it to her. Kill him. If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him. Yeah. Yeah. OK. I see Bruce and Rana. Yes? And Sonia? Bruce? Well, our concepts, many of our concepts don't describe reality as it is.


No. Buddhadharma is not describing reality. Buddhist Dharma is reality. And the Buddhadharma can appear as descriptions. But the descriptions are just the way... Buddhadharma doesn't appear. It's like space. But it can appear in order to help beings in these various ways, as descriptions. But that's not Buddhadharma. That's the appearance of Buddhadharma. And that appearance follows the rules according to what beings need. But that's not the Buddhadharma. That's a rendition of it to help people. Rana?


My question is going back to what you were talking about. And I'm just thinking, can't you Yeah, you can. You can. And it's not evil? Well, then you wouldn't have to... If it hits you that way and you understood that, you probably wouldn't call it beautiful unless you thought that was going to be helpful. And a lot of times it's not helpful. A lot of times it's a distraction from you being there for it. Just like you can be with somebody and not get distracted into calling them a name, like Reina. You know, because you realize there seems to be something here, but I don't really know what it is. And if it's helpful, if somebody asked me, what's her name, I could say, well, I think her name might be Reina, but I don't think that that actually is a description of her.


I didn't fall for that, unfortunately. Or anything else, I would say. If I really just opened to this, the beauty of what you really are, the reality of what you are, which comes as beauty, I don't necessarily have to make any further commentaries on it. As a matter of fact, the commentaries might be defiling it. So when I see reality as your beauty and I say that that's it, I just missed the point. And I don't have to say that. Even if you ask me, I can just say, to say it's this, it misses the point. But if it's helpful, I can say it's this. But right now, that's not who I'm talking to. I'm talking to, we're having a Dharma discretion. We don't have to present something that's graspable. And then Sonia, maybe. I'm wondering how, help me understand how you're using


or insult versus having a limited perception. Yeah, the insult would be that I have a limited perception of you. But that's not an insult. That's not an insult. The insult is, you are that. But if I know, if I realize that you are not that, but to say you're beautiful or great, Well, if you see this thing, this appearance, and then you say, this appearance is what it is. What it is to me is starting a little bit different from, that's what it is. This is what it is to me is more like I call him like I see him.


It's not, but we go from I call him like I see him to I call him like it is. That's where the insult happens. So when you say it's beautiful and you actually say that and think that that's what it is, that's the insult. But it's also the beginning of a Dharma conversation, either with yourself or with others. Yeah, it's the beginning of a Dharma conversation where Siddharishi tells you that that's a sin, what you just did. Yeah, it misses the mark. Or misses the mark. It's all just part of the conversation. But part of the conversation is, that misses the mark. to say it's beautiful and think that that's what it is misses the mark. To say that it's this defiles it. But it can't be defiled, so let's not talk like that. Gloria and Erin? I have just an interesting example that happened just the other day.


I belong to a photography group on Facebook. And so I shared a photo from Yoko Ono's profile that she shares with the public. I shared it to my photography group, because I thought it was like a young Yoko before she had met John Lennon, and the lighting was nice. I like the image, so I shared it with my photography And I was surprised that all the feedback was so negative. They weren't even seeing the photo. They were just like, oh, she ruined the beetles. Wow. Maybe there was one or two that they commented on. No one commented on the image. They just said, oh, well, she's a really cool person.


you know, she's ahead of her time. I was just surprised that no one really responded to what I had heard. Yeah, you thought you were in a photography class. Anyway, I liked the image, and I was surprised. I guess that affected me, too. I felt like I wasn't sure how to respond, and so I think I didn't really Well, you're responding now. And what is this response? What is this response now? What is it? Surprise? Yeah, and their response to your offering challenged you to deal with their response with compassion.


You were trying to be generous, to share something, you wanted to give them a gift, and then they responded to you in such a way that it was difficult for you to be compassionate to these people. That's a view I have of the situation. This is not really what happened. It's just a little view for to look at. And so, yeah, when we give a gift, we don't necessarily think that we're going to get a response which is disappointing, painful. We don't necessarily think that. And yet it happens. And at that moment we're surprised, and at the moment of surprise, if we're already practicing, we can embrace this surprise with compassion. If we're tense, you know, if we give the gift, we're not really giving the gift as a, you know, as an adventure, like I'm gonna give this gift, I don't know what's gonna happen, here we go, I'm giving a gift, and I'm gonna be generous towards the response that comes.


And then a surprise comes. And then we can, we can be with it, we can, we can realize this is part of a conversation. So I gave the gift, they gave me back a gift, and now I can give them another gift. The conversation can go on. But if I give them a gift and I'm not ready for them to give me a gift beyond my expectations, then I think I'm not going to be ready for what they give me. But surprise is fine. It's just that we need to have a generous mind in our offering and a generous mind to the surprise. Excuse me, I took it out so that you could hear me. And then, what did you say? Yeah, you weren't able to say, okay, I'm surprised and I want to welcome this surprise.


Because welcoming the surprise is where liberation occurs. If we're tense, surprises we often withdraw. if we're relaxed and generous, then that response to the surprise opens to the reality of the conversation. So your story, and also Kim's story and other ones, is like how to keep the conversation going. And both of you are keeping the conversation going. Thank you. You're keeping it going. You're continuing to practice the Buddha way, by keeping the conversation going. Which is, it is keeping, I should say, by joining the ongoing conversation. You're not really keeping it going. I'm not really keeping it going. But you're staying with it by bringing these up. And you're sitting right next to each other. Yes? I have a question about the relationship between our drops of water, our perceptions, and the body.


I'm curious about how they interact and how working with the body can, like working with the human form, the skeleton being, can, like how it influences or interacts with our perceptions. You're interested in that? I'm curious about that. You're curious about that. Great. I am too. And we have a body which creates these little particles. But the little particles that the body creates are not the whole body, of course, but the body creates these things. And it creates a mind which has these appearing little images. And then it makes us conscious of it. It's all working together. And being conscious about these particles will connect you with the body which has conjured them up and which includes them. But curiosity is the key ingredient. Okay, well, that was quite a conversation.


Thank you so much. May this conversation thrive. And I was going to say continue, but I didn't. I said thrive. Because when it's thriving, it doesn't continue. It just keeps blooming into new flowers. Like today was a new flower. a new blooming. Today, this was an adornment. Today, this was part of the splendor of the teaching through this conversation. Thank you so much.