Yoga Room Class - August 17th, 2021

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So this is our great sangha, our great assembly, and we've been looking at a text on great compassion written by an ancient bodhisattva named Asanga. So the sangha has been studying the teachings of Asanga. As the tradition says, Asanga was actually the Immanuensis of another Bodhisattva named Maitreya. So he received this teaching in his meditation from another Bodhisattva and wrote it down, and here it is, 1600 years later for us to enjoy. And as I also told, this text that we're looking at is 34 verses in a chapter that I think has maybe 65 verses.


And this is chapter 17 of the book, whole book. I think there's about 20 chapters in the book. So if there's time, we can go through the whole book. So I think we've reached about to the point of verse number 51. And this verse is to encourage generosity. And I'll read it to you. I increase. I cause increase. I fully develop beings. I gladden. I attract. I lead." End quote.


It is as if compassion encourages those who are weak in generosity. So, one might understand that the I, the subject of this verse, is Compassion. This verse is compassion talking. And again, the bodhisattva from whom this is coming, the bodhisattva's name is Maitreya, which means loving kindness. So this is a teaching coming from loving kindness, Maitreya, and it's a teaching about compassion. to teaching about compassion coming from the Bodhisattva love. I, says compassion, increase. So I, compassion, I, I increase.


Compassion increases by continual practice. And I cause to increase. So this Compassion causes or motivates the six perfections, the six perfections of bodhisattvas. This compassion increases and motivates and develops. It increases these perfections of giving, of ethical discipline, of patience, of enthusiasm and great effort, and of tranquility and concentration, and finally wisdom. This compassion motivates and develops all these transcendences. And this compassion attracts all the requisites and causes and conditions for awakening.


And it gladdens. This compassion gladdens these practices. These practices are done out of compassion, and the compassion gladdens them. And finally, this compassion leads. So this is an unusual way of talking, of having compassion kind of given voice that we're being addressed by compassion. The next verse, How could one who from mercy suffers in the presence of suffering become happy without making others happy? Thus the merciful Bodhisattva makes herself happy by making others happy.


So this echoes with the earlier verse which says the suffering that comes from compassion is the greatest joy. So here again we have the compassionate being who feels suffering because of compassion to suffering beings. But this also says that one who has mercy suffers from the presence of others, becomes happy. And it says, how could one become happy without making others happy? And it does make others happy when we care for them And we suffer because we care for them. And we have a great joy because we suffer because we care for them.


That joy gladdens them. Beings, again, are suffering. Compassionate beings feel for them and suffer because of it. And this suffering is the greatest joy. And this great joy that they feel in this suffering gladdens the suffering beings. They are so happy to see someone who cares for them and suffers for them and with them, and also is very happy to be with them. This gladdens them. But this bodhisattva could not be happy just without this happiness, which comes from compassion, gladdening others. Just like this class, we are suffering beings, and we care for each other, and we suffer because we care for each other.


And we are filled with joy to have the suffering that comes from caring for each other. And it is a great joy for us to be together in this great assembly. This class is a great joy for me to come and suffer with you. And I hope it's been a great joy for you to come and suffer with us. Because you care for us. You care for us, and so you suffer. And it's a joy to be with us, right? That's number 52. 53, the compassionate one, uninterested in her own happiness, instructs, as it were, her own generosity. So compassion is not interested in her own happiness.


She does have great happiness, but she's not paying attention to her own happiness. Her happiness comes because of her compassion for others. And so this big happiness comes, but she's not interested in it, it says. And so this compassion, This compassion which isn't interested in her own happiness now will give instruction to generosity. The compassion which is not interested in the joy of practicing generosity will now give instruction to generosity. So that generosity will not be interested in the joy of generosity. make others happy with gifts of wealth. Otherwise, I also will have no happiness, as mine and others' happiness indistinguishable from me.


Today, I was talking to somebody and She told me that she was doing various practices. She was doing Zen practice, and she was doing Vipassana, and she was doing some other meditations on the nature of mind, which she found very beneficial. All of these practices she found beneficial. But the first practice she told me about was she was practicing generosity. So when she was sitting, she just tried to be as generous as she could be. And she found that very joyful. And then she said to me, but I feel kind of dispersed doing all these different practices.


I'm not doing one practice. And I said to her, would you like to do one practice? And she said, yes. I said, well, you could make your one practice generosity. So if you practice vipassana, you can practice vipassana as a gift. If you practice just sitting, you can practice just sitting as a gift. If you do some mindfulness practice, you can practice it as a gift. If you follow your breathing, you can practice it as a gift. If you meditate on the luminous nature of mind and rest in it, you can do that practice as a gift. And everything throughout the day,


all the different practices you do, you can make all of them a gift. And she appreciated that. And then she said, towards the end of our talk, she said that when she practices generosity, she gets this great joy. So practicing generosity, the fruit of it is great joy, great happiness comes to the practitioner. Or you could say, generosity, the fruit of generosity is that joy comes to generosity. But here what's being stressed in the coming up, and then I said to her, and oh, she said to me, she said, is that okay? And I said, well, if you practice generosity and joy comes, and you're practicing generosity compassionately, then you would as soon as the joy came, you would give it away.


And not let the coming of the joy interrupt your giving practice. So I said that to her, and that's coming up in these verses. When we practice generosity, the fruit of the generosity, the happiness, comes to the generosity. But the bodhisattva's compassion gives away the fruits of generosity, and doesn't get interrupted in the practice of giving. So the bodhisattva's giving is not interested in the joy that comes to the giving. They see it, but they're not interested in it. What they're interested in is more giving. And they let go of the joy and go back to work of giving to living beings, suffering living beings. So that was something that came up today. And now I'll look at these karakas with you, these verses.


To beings I give gifts. Compassion says, to beings I give gifts, as well as the fruits of that giving. You see that? I give gifts and I also give them the fruits of the gifts, of the giving. Because there is no distinguishing of their happiness... No, because there is no distinguishing of her happiness from the happiness of others, the bodhisattva, the compassionate one, without that happiness of others, does not desire that happiness, which is her own fruit of generosity. And then compassion goes on to give further instructions. The giver, though he hates wealth, keeps getting wealth, even more abundant and beautiful.


So I'll just stop there. If you practice giving, wealth comes to you. And if you, it says hate here, but anyway, kind of disregard or give away the, what do you call it, the wealth and happiness that comes, that creates more wealth and happiness. The giver, though he disregards, is not interested in wealth, keeps getting wealth even more abundant and beautiful. But I do not think of that as happiness because for me there is just more continuity of giving.


So rather, the real happiness is not the happiness that comes from giving, it's the happiness that comes from continual practice of giving, and ethics, and patience, and so on. That's the greater joy. So this happiness keeps coming, but the bodhisattva just keeps coming. What's really their thing is to keep going back to the giving. And now, again, this is compassion talking to sort of a not fully developed generosity, okay? So compassion is talking to not fully developed student compassion. It says, you, you generosity, always observe me, compassion, letting go of all that I have. So compassion is talking to generosity.


You've seen how I let go of all I have. Take a hint, sweetheart. You always observe me compassionately letting go of what I have. So, can't you recognize that she has no interest in my fruits? My fruits means me generosity. Compassion is not interested in the fruits of me. Compassion is interested in me, but not my fruits. Compassion gives away my fruits. And then again, here comes another kind of interesting way of talking, Karka 57. I will not delight in generosity if I do not relinquish any fruits I get. And then the next part is to remain even an instant without generosity is not to delight in generosity.


So this is zeroing in on the generosity process. Practicing generosity, fruits come. And the fruit is joy. But if you remain in that joy, it's not the real delight Compassion's giving. And if you remain for a moment in the process of giving, if you slip, the discontinuity is not the real joy. The real joy is, the great joy is in steady giving, making everything we do giving. That's what compassion, that's how compassion practice is giving. It practices with everybody, everything, every practice, every event of the day. That's the bodhisattva. That's the instruction that compassion is giving our giving practice.


And then one more. You do not give fruits to one who does not give because you expect a reward. You are not my equal. So now compassion is being a little, what's the kind of, kind of a strict or something. Someone might even say compassion is being kind of harsh to this, to the generosity that is expecting something. So compassion is talking to generosity and say, you expect something and you're not my equal. I give with no expectation. You do not give the fruits to one who does not give because you expect reward. You are not my equal. Do not expect reward. I give your fruits to others voluntarily. Again, compassion is talking to generosity and telling generosity, don't expect anything.


And I give all the rewards that you give me away. So you give me rewards, but I'm telling you, don't expect anything. And all the rewards you give me, I give away and you should too. So that in that way, generosity becomes compassion. In that way, generosity becomes compassion's equal. And then the next, Three karakas are just telling us how great compassion is, and for the moment I'd like to skip over them, if it's okay. If you want to, we can come back, but I'd like to go to Karaka 62, which says, literally it says, compassion for the pitiable, compassion for the violent, compassion for the disturbed,


compassion for the reckless, compassion for those dependent on sense objects, and compassion for those addicted to falsehood. And the part that's in parentheses up above, it says, transcendences are motivated by these six kinds of compassion. And these six kinds of compassion are for beings who are not practicing the six perfections. So, compassion for the pitiable means compassion for the stingy. Compassion for the violent is compassion for those who don't practice the precepts and harm beings. Compassion for the disturbed is compassion for the angry, who aren't practicing patience.


Compassion for the reckless is compassion for the lazy, who are not diligent and enthusiastic in their practice. And compassion for those dependent on sense objects is compassion for those who are disturbed by sense objects. In other words, they're not practicing concentration. And compassion for those who are addicted to falsehood is compassion for those who are not practicing wisdom. So this verse is saying that compassion is applied to to us or each being who's having trouble with any of the six basic practices of bodhisattvas. But it also says that these practices of giving, ethical discipline, patience, enthusiasm, concentration and wisdom, these practices are motivated


by compassion for not doing these practices. Which, if we remember that, then when we're trying to practice these practices, when we're trying to practice giving, or we're trying to practice ethical discipline, when we're trying to practice not being harmful, when we're trying to practice patience and we're not being successful, compassion comes to us, and the compassion that comes to us leads to practicing these practices out of compassion. By practicing compassion towards a lack in these practices, these practices grow through compassion towards them not being fully practiced.


I thought that was a really great change of perspective on these practices. So in other words, when we're having trouble practicing these transcendent bodhisattva practices, these six perfections, if we want to practice them, we need to let compassion come to our current state of practice. And that compassion will motivate us to do these practices fully, appropriately, and beneficially. So that's what I thought I would cover from the text today. And now, open up to the Great Assembly, and please lead me on the path of righteousness. Gail.


Hi, Reb. Hello, Great Assembly. This is a question I was going to ask you last week, but I think it relates to tonight. I recently was, well, I tried to, I tried to, to stay open to requests for assistance when they come to me. And sometimes it does fatigue me. And you have talked about this before. I think when you were talking about the three levels of compassion, it is with sentimental compassion, where one sees oneself as separate from the other, that the the weak point in that can be that you get tired.


And I was feeling... Not just tired, but like discouraged. Ah, yeah. And tempted to give up. Right. For example, tonight, I was tired, but I knew that you would uplift me. I knew that in the way we're working together would support me, even though I'm tired. But you could also have a lot of energy, but if you think you're... Also, before we were talking, an earlier part of this text is talking about seeing the equality of self and other. When we see the equality of self and other, we still might get tired, but we won't be afraid of being tired. It'll be a lovely tired, like I have tonight. It's a lovely, happy, tired. And if I, by any chance, collapse, no problem, you know? because you're all with me. Yeah, okay. Well, and so I'm kind of saying that that that way of seeing this event of me meeting you tonight is kind of like seeing us as equal, we're doing this together.


But if I have to do it all, and I'm tired, then I probably want don't want to come to the meeting tonight. Yeah. So the key is, The drawback of sentimental compassion, which is lovely in many ways, is that because we don't see ourselves as equal to others, we are drained, spiritually drained, and maybe physically and emotionally also. But if you're physically drained, you can still be spiritually uplifted if you see that the beings you're with are equal to you. So you're tired, you know, like I'm tired, but I'm here with you and you're helping me be here. But if I'm supposed to be put on this big show by myself and I'm tired, I don't want to come because I'm not going to do a very good job. Yeah, well, it's interesting that you say that, because in the example I want to share with you, I think I


I did feel like I was there kind of doing it by myself because, well, in the beginning, a friend had reached out to me and wanted to talk and wanted to take a walk. And I was already kind of tired, but I said, yes, I wanted to be there for her. And as we were walking along, I was, I was in it with her, but I was perceiving my fatigue and I I think I was fairly compassionate to myself and to her. And I just said to myself, well, what can I do here? And I thought, oh, I can try to remember silence and stillness. And I kind of leaned into that in the best way I could, kind of intuitively. tried to perceive the silence and stillness in her, in me, in the trees, in the path.


And it actually did help and did relieve the sense of fatigue. And I'm wondering if it's partly, well, I was relatively, I was pretty compassionate to myself and my fatigue and her and her need. And then I'm wondering if trying to remember silence and stillness helped me feel the connection, the equality in everything. It might help you awaken to the equality. And in the equality, you might be able to say to your friend, would you please help me? So she reached out to you for help, but I didn't hear you talking about reaching out to her for help. Correct. Yeah, but if you're, if, yeah, I think she reached out to you for help, you wanted to give yourself to her, that's good.


Then you notice you're getting tired and you took care of yourself, that's good. And the way you took care of yourself, actually, by remembering silence and stillness, you remembered a way to be with your tiredness that, could possibly lead to you realizing what you really need, and that is to see the equality of you and her. And maybe what she needs is for you to complete the picture. What she needs, and you need, is for you to ask her to help you. To help, to do this thing of you helping her together. And to do the thing of her helping you together, because you're equal. And silence and stillness is a good place when you're with what you're going on. It isn't silence and stillness to get away from your tiredness, or to get away from your friend. In the midst of it, where it sounds like you were, you were there with her, you were there with yourself, and then so you've got this gift of remembering silence and stillness.


And right in there is where you will be able to discover the equality. And there you will find a spiritual energy that doesn't get drained. But emotional or physical energy gets drained from our dualistic thinking. But spiritual energy can hold us up when we're physically tired. And also protect us when we're, even when we're not physically tired, spiritual energy, the energy that comes with that, spiritual means the energy that comes from the wisdom, energy that comes from wisdom, that can support us when we have a lot of energy, when we're full of energy, because without that, even though we're full of energy, we can still get drained if we see things dualistically. So whether we have a lot of energy or a little energy, if we have this insight, that will protect us from, you know, abandoning ship.


Yeah, I associate joy with energy, but I understand that, you know, the minute you want to take the energy from joy, then I would imagine you're at risk. Yeah, and also, you can have joy, and you're joyful with your friend, and you think you're not equal to her, and then spiritually you're being drained. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Fran. Good evening, Reb. And great assembly. So I thought I would share a couple of things about


of compassion and generosity and how I was thinking about them, and in particular with my therapy clients. And so I feel like when I'm practicing with them and I'm trying to be compassionate, I think the way that I'm doing that, the way that I'm using generosity there is I'm not, because I, well, I'm not giving a physical object, but I feel like what I'm giving them is my full attention and my openness to them. And that feels like it works for me and it works for them. So, that feels good. And when I, what I was noticing when I'm trying to be compassionate in other circumstances, that somehow I don't feel like always the compassion is coming through, or I don't know how.


I don't always feel like in other situations with friends or acquaintances or people, neighbors, if I try to be compassionate, I sometimes run into not knowing how to do that when there's not a particular thing to give. And so I started looking at giving that I would also give my attention and openness in those circumstances, and that's actually made somewhat of a change. So that's been really helpful. It feels like the generosity part, or maybe any one of the six perfections, but we're focusing on the generosity, and I was, more. It's kind of a medium for the compassion. The compassion needs a medium, is how it feels to me. Compassion uses generosity to guide beings.


Compassion uses generosity to encourage beings. Yeah. Compassion also teaches beings how to do generosity properly. Right. Yeah, so I wanted to share that. And then just one other piece with my clients that comes up and has a very strong feeling with them is every once in a while I'll feel like it's such an honor to be let in to someone's completely total intimate life and share every tiny little crevice of it. And that's something that, you know, I wouldn't have any way to do with that particular person if I wasn't doing the work I'm doing. So I don't know if there's some thoughts about how to build on that feeling.


You didn't say so, but you feel like you're receiving a great gift. Yes. And receiving gifts is also generosity. And feel the joy of receiving gifts. And if they know that you feel grateful for the gift of them and them being honest with you. Sometimes they also might give you some other gifts like being dishonest. But anyway, in both cases, you might feel like gratitude that they're showing themselves in these different ways. And that's a gift back to them, to see your happiness, to receive the gift of them. Okay. And also, you're welcoming them. You're welcoming whatever they're giving you. That also really encourages them.


If they feel you welcome them, even when they're afraid and confused, you give them attention. You give them attention. That's great. That brings joy to the situation. but also you welcome them being the way they are. It's also a part of the city. Yeah, okay, yeah, to let them know that that's how I feel. You don't even have to tell them, they can tell when you're, they can tell when you welcome them, they can feel you welcome them. They can see you're not, they can see that you're not trying to tell them not to be that way. Like, you know, we have this thing, somebody's crying, people say, don't cry, don't be sad, don't be afraid, This is part of our culture. Don't be the way you are. Don't be sad. Don't cry. You're a big girl. Don't cry. Rather than, I'm here. I welcome your tears.


People apologize for crying, right? I want them to feel welcome to cry. And even welcome to be angry. and they can tell if we welcome it or not. You can also say it out loud, I welcome you to be the way you are, but that's fine. And then the question, sometimes I say that to people and they say, well, what if I don't feel it if I say welcome? Just keep saying it until you do mean it. Like if I say, even if I think to myself when somebody comes, welcome, welcome. The first couple of times I might feel, was that sincere? But if I continue, after a while, I really do welcome it. And so you can say welcome, and they can feel like that's not sincere. But you can also welcome them without saying anything, and they feel you're sincerely welcoming them. Okay, thank you.


You give your attention, you give your presence, that's giving. And they appreciate that gift. You also receive them graciously. That's also a gift. Thank you for sharing your life with me. Whether you say it or not, they can feel you're really grateful to be with them. So it's both giving and receiving. Okay, I'll think about that more. Thank you very much. You're welcome. And a lot of people don't think that attention is a really good gift, but you know, The little boy says, look mom, no hands, right? And the mom says, my eyes are on you. I'm here, I'm watching you. And that's just what he wants to hear. I'm watching you, you got my attention. You got it, and that's great, this is it. It's such a great gift. Thank you, Rev.


You're welcome. Hello. It's good to see you. Good to see you. When you said last week, I think you said something along the lines of next week's the last class, and I welcome people who haven't come forth to show their face. And I thought, oh, I'd really like to do that. I hadn't had anything come up. And then something else. I've been sitting here waiting for my turn, thinking, am I going to get through this without crying? And so it's good. It's good to hear you. Welcome, tears. So something difficult is happening in my life right now.


My dog is probably dying. He's a very beloved member of our family and very, very attached to him. And he had a crisis last Friday and it's not looking good. And so I wanted to talk to you about how how I can practice with that and trying to hide myself, but I can't. Okay. Nevermind. I guess I can't see myself. Okay. So he's, he's in bad shape, but I've been, I've been sitting with him and doing a lot of what I considered compassion practices with him. I've been, chanting that and made juku kanonkyo.


And also doing what I conceive of from reading about Tonglen practice and finding that to be really powerful. And yeah, I mean, one thing I could say about that is that I feel I do really feel like compassion in me grows as I'm doing the practice and it starts pouring out of me in a way. I was focusing on him and then suddenly it seems like there's so much. I'm practicing with the whole world and it's been quite lovely. I don't know. I don't have a question. I just wanted to tell you what was going on with me because it's really big. It's really big and it's really wonderful. Yeah.


And I guess that if there is a question there, I'm finding I'm pretty attached to this little guy. I know that I love him and that's... That's fair, but there's also some clinging happening. I just read that karaka number 62. And that attachment is also calling for compassion. So the little guy is calling for compassion. Yes, that's good. You're giving it. That's great. But your attachment is also in the room. Yeah, and compassion comes to your attachment. And that will teach your attachment what to do. It'll help let go of you. And the more you let go of your attachment to him, the more your compassion will help him. The more abundant it will be.


But generosity does not try to get rid of your attachment. It embraces it. is gracious towards your attachment. The attachment is interfering with being gracious. It's an opportunity to be gracious. Attachment isn't saying thank you to the situation. No. No, the attachment isn't saying thank you. But you can say thank you to the attachment. Thank you, attachment. You can be in the room, too, with us. We've got the doggy, we've got the family, we've got the attachment. We're all here together. Everybody gets compassion. Nobody's left out. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Okay, thank you.


And nobody's telling you not to be the way you are? No. We're saying thank you. Thank you to you for being the way you are. Thank you. Thank you for being who you are. And I really appreciate you. Hey, Rob. Welcome, Nick. Thank you. Thank you for this class. My question was about, I think earlier you said that, one of the texts said that for generosity to be compassion's equal, it has to be without expectation of receiving something.


And then you said I thought you mentioned like giving without any expectation of receiving is its own sort of gift. Um, and what came to my mind was sort of like, um, this giving without expectation of receiving is like this gift of being like free from, uh, thinking you need that thing. Or is this a certain, maybe like, I guess my question, like, is that, that, um, the gift that we receive when we give without having expectation of receiving is it sort of like this gift of liberation or this gift of uh freedom from you know the the view of self and other um and and the the thing that kind of came up for me after that was thinking well i've given things away before and also felt very resentful and self neglect self-neglected self-punishing so uh this idea of like, what is this gift of giving without expectation of receiving?


And, you know, like, do we really expect to someday just get over that kind of resentment that we can feel by neglecting ourselves by giving everything? You don't expect that someday you'll be that way. Don't expect that you'll be that way. But you will be that way. But I don't expect you to be that way. The more you Give without expectation, the more you will become a person who is free of expecting things. And you can want things without expecting them. Like you can want lunch without expecting it. And you can give people gifts without expecting them to give you a reward. And if you give them and expect a reward, you'll still get a reward. But if you give without expectation, the reward will be much greater And if you give it without expectation, you'll be more likely not to attach to the greater reward. But if you give with expectation, then when you get the reward, that might encourage you to expect more from giving, which then, you know, that might work again.


But then when you don't get rewards, you might say, I'm retiring from giving. This is no good, this giving thing. And the more we give with expectation and get rewards and attach to them, the more we're undermining our giving practice. However, again, if we are giving and expecting something, compassion comes and teaches us. Compassion doesn't abandon us when we're giving with some expectation. It comes and helps us notice that and be kind to our immature generosity practice. So if you notice that you gave something and you expected something, let compassion come and be kind to you for doing that. And then you can say, that was silly. That's enough. That was silly. Compassion comes to you and you say, you're not my equal. But I'm here for you to tell you that.


All you got to do now if you want to be my equal is try give the same gift or give another gift. And this time, just try to give it flat out purely. And as soon as you give it, go on to another gift rather than looking around to see what you're gonna get for it. And if you'd give that way, you'll get even more gifts, you get even more rewards. And the more you practice without attaching to rewards, the more rewards you get to not attach to. But in the meantime, we'd get tripped up occasionally. And then when we get tripped up in our generosity practice, compassion, goes there and helps us learn how to do it the right way, which is with no expectation. Do you think, should we expect to be in this, ultimately in this state of liberation from, you know, liberation from expecting things or wanting things? Is that the goal of this practice?


I don't, I myself sort of kind of don't, I kind of like don't get into the expectation of that. I get into the wish for it. I give into the commitment to it. I give into questioning that very teaching. Like, if we do generosity, we will have, we will awaken to the equality of self and other, and we will be free. And I want to walk on that path, but I don't expect it. I do not expect it. So if I'm not realizing in a given moment the equality of self and other, I don't get discouraged by that. I just say, oh, I thought I wasn't equal to that person. Oh, I'm awful. And I'm kind to myself. And I want to be that way. I want nonstop compassion and nonstop generosity. And I want to realize equality of self and other.


And then I understand and I'm committed to that understanding will help all beings and also will purify my giving practice and purify the compassion practice. But I don't expect it. So if you're not that way tomorrow, I'm not going to abandon you. And if you are that way, I'll clap. Nice going, Nick. You made it. You got insight into the equality of self and other. Good work. Now let's move on. And if you're not that way, I don't expect you to be that way, so I'm there for you, too. And same for myself. I see people's commitment to the Bodhisattva path. I think it's wonderful. I don't expect them to follow it. However, I believe that's what they want to do. I do believe they want to do that, but I don't believe they're going to do it tomorrow. But I believe they're heading in that direction, and they want to go in that direction.


Like this woman who's had all these practices, and she said, I've kind of discovered, I said, do you want to have one practice? So I gave her one practice. But I don't expect her to do it. Maybe the next time I talk to her, she'll have even more practices and be more distracted and dispersed. That won't turn me off. because I don't expect her to follow my brilliant teaching. And I don't expect you to either, but I pray you do. And I pray I do. Thank you for coming forth, Nick. Welcome, King.


I'm following your brilliant teaching, and I really appreciate it. And I really appreciate your presenting these teachings and illuminating them for us. You know, for me, I find them very difficult, and sometimes even opaque. So much so that, like, over the course of the course of the course, I felt for this, you know. I don't get it. Well, I get a little bit of it, but every once in a while, a little glimmer comes through, and a corner of the room gets illuminated. So, after our last meeting, I'm having these thoughts, and I have this dream that night, after our last meeting. And in the dream, I'm meeting up with this person that I used to know casually, a woman that I, you know, casually meaning maybe she lived in my neighborhood or we worked in the same building or, you know, something like that.


But now things are a little different and I'm starting to notice her more and she's noticing me and we start talking and- Is this in the dream? Yes. At least we started talking, you know, we're hanging out together a little bit more, and I said, gee, I kind of like this woman. This is my 20-year-old self, you understand. Although I'm about to get a gift, a big one here. And I said, I thought you were small. You know what I mean? Like a smaller person. She said, well, you know, things change. Times change and this and that. And so, anyway, things develop and I'm starting to have these feelings like, hmm. Then it transpires that we're in a kind of, it must be a dance hall or something like that. And I'm, I'm given to understand that we're supposed to dance together.


And I thought, oh, this will not go well. I'm really not a very good dancer. I'm clumsy. I haven't danced in a long time. I don't really know her anymore. She appears to be a really good dancer and blah, blah, blah. But nonetheless, we start dancing together. And it's really fun. And obviously she thinks so too. And we're dancing, and the more we're dancing, the more joyful it gets. All of a sudden, it doesn't really matter if I'm a good dancer or not a good dancer. It's just like full of this feeling. And then I thought, you know, there's a word for this feeling. It's called love. Or more explicitly, it's called falling in love. You know that, wow, boom.


And even these words can't convey the feeling. It's very intense, very real, very there, and very wonderful. I thought, wow, that's pretty nice, you know, that I can have that feeling and I can understand what that feeling is. And then the best part happens, the dream ends. But when the dream ends, it's full of lessons. Like lesson number one, without my even having to analyze anything, is that dream is about these teachings. And it's not something I sat down and worked at. It's just like part of the package that comes with it. And then I had to work, what's that about? And it had other very nice teachings along with it. One I'll just mention is that I've been reading Malachirte, that's the sutra. And in that sutra, somebody asks Malachirte, I think it's in Jushri.


If beings are really like clouds or bubbles or mirages, how is a person supposed to have love and compassion? Something along those lines. And for me, this dream just answered that question. It wasn't necessary to go through a lot of intellectual exercise to figure that out. It was just there. I thought, well, that's something. I'll do the intellectual exercise later, but that's really something to work on. The other thing that was wonderful was that when all this ended, a lot of dreams do, I didn't have any regrets. I didn't have any grief or any, Oh, I had this loss. It's just like this and that. It was just like part of the process. It was not something to grieve about. Because she was a she, a dream she, that was like a gift visitation.


But when it was over, it was over. There was an understanding it was over. As I'm saying this now, if I were telling this to somebody else or hearing it from somebody else, I would think, oh, you must be really sad that that's gone. But I wasn't. There was not even a trace of that, which I thought was quite wonderful. So it is about these teachings. I have a lot of work to do. I think I'm headed in that direction. And I thank you so much for all of this. Thank you so much for bringing the teachings into your dream and giving them up. Hello.


Hello, Rev. Hello, Great Assembly. Good evening. First, I want to say how much I appreciate things and this class and hearing everyone in this discussion and question session. And this particular teaching has been really intriguing to me. I have three questions about Karka 32. Okay. The compassionate Bodhisattva understands that everything included in the life cycle is naturally both suffering and also selfless. So neither becomes disgusted nor damaged by any false. And the question is, so suffering exists, but if there is no self, in this Karakasi talks about, as the Bodhisattva knows, it's also selfless.


So if there is no self, then who is it that's suffering? It's a little bit different from, there is no self. It's saying that it's selfless. So things in the world of samsara, the world of birth and death, all the things there are selfless and suffering. They have it in this Tarkhaka. but it's not saying there's no self, it's saying all the things, all the suffering beings are without self. Okay, so then the other question was, what does naturally suffering mean? Because is there an unnatural suffering? But before we get onto that, Did you have no questions about the previous part where it said they're not disgusted or harmed?


Did you understand that part? I did understand that part. And then also, I was wondering if this thing about suffering and selflessness is like, for example, when you when you feel like you've been hurt or there's pain and you've been hurt and suffered from something somebody did. And then you remember that you love them and you love them no matter what. And it's like that pain and hurt and the suffering just disappears. And it's almost as if they never hurt you at all. Sounds good. No, no, but I mean, is this related to this?


Talking about the naturally suffering in samsara and selflessness in samsara, as described in this Karkas 32. Yes. How does that make sense? Well, the first part is when you see suffering, in others or in yourself. If you have compassion, you're not disgusted by it. You don't try to avoid it. You embrace it. That's the first part. Because of compassion, you're not disgusted. You don't run away from it. You don't like it, but you're not disgusted. You're not afraid of it. You engage it. The next part is the bodhisattva also understands the suffering is selfless. So if you embrace suffering, but you don't understand it's selfless, then it can still hurt you, even though you're not disgusted. But if you see, if you have compassion and see that it's selfless, then you not only don't run away from it, but you don't get hurt by it.


So when you see that it's selfless, it's... That's kind of like, excuse me, that's kind of like what you said in your earlier example, you said it's not really suffering at all. So suffering isn't really suffering. It's just suffering because of causes and conditions. It doesn't have a self. Suffering doesn't have a self. Which is different from saying there's no self. It's that the suffering doesn't have a self. The suffering is the whole universe appearing in the form of suffering. And when you see the suffering that way, it doesn't harm you anymore. But if you just had that, and that would be nice, you'd have that, and it wouldn't harm you. You still might be disgusted by it if you didn't have compassion. But with compassion, with bodhisattva compassion, you can engage with the world and not be hurt by it. So just as you may have momentary times, moments,


maybe don't feel like you have a self, then when somebody hurts you, they don't have a self either. When you feel like you don't have a self, that's a delusion. That's a feeling. And you're confusing a feeling with reality. It's not that you don't have a self, it's like you feel like you don't have a self. But the reality is I don't have a self. No, that's not reality. That's an illusion that you don't have a self. Thinking that you have a self is a delusion. Thinking that you don't have a self is a delusion. Those two thoughts, the thought, I do have a self, is selfless. You can't actually find the thought, I do have a self. It's a phantom. Quote, I do have a self. I don't have a self, that's another thought. It's a phantom. Because it's a thought?


Because it's a thought? It's a phantom because it's a thought? Thoughts are phantoms, yeah. Thoughts are just fabrications of causes and conditions. Wonderful fabrications of causes and conditions like, I do have a self, I don't have a self. Those are opinions or thoughts. And they're calling for compassion. They're part of samsara. Samsara is where people believe their thoughts are reality. And compassion goes to the people who believe their thoughts are reality. It's not disgusted with them having these thoughts and then believing that they're true. It's not disgusted with that. It loves all beings like that. And It sees that they're selfless. So these beings who have these, are attached to these delusions, they don't hurt the compassion. The compassion just said, fine, you can believe that. It's not going to hurt me. You're not going to hurt me.


And me, I'm compassionate, not talking. You're not going to hurt compassion. And, you know, the thought isn't going to hurt compassion. The pain of believing the thought isn't going to hurt compassion. Compassion grows on all of it. and it doesn't fall for any of it as being true. If it falls for things being true, then the compassion is going to be harmed. It's going to be undermined. But bodhisattva compassion doesn't get undermined. It grows. It is growing. I can see it growing right now. So thank you for bringing Karika 32. It's a very important one. Do you want to say something about naturally suffering and non-natural suffering? Right now, I would confess to you... Yes, I understand. I confess that I'm not sure what naturally means.


Right now, I'd have to go look at the text for a few minutes to see what they mean by naturally. But right now, and next time we meet, we can talk about natural. Okay. Unnatural suffering. You're welcome. Thank you. Jean in the Dark Cave. Hello, Rob. Good evening, Jean. Hello, everybody. I have two questions. The first is, can one fully embrace another's suffering without understanding it? Yes.


You're already doing it. And someday you can understand that. But you're already embracing my suffering fully. It's just that the way you're doing it is not something you can figure out with your conscious mind. So your conscious mind will never understand how you embrace my suffering fully. Because I'm... Part of you and you are part of me and we're connected. That teaching is how it is that we're embracing each other's suffering. But our conscious mind cannot actually comprehend that. However, that can illuminate our conscious mind and free us from our conscious mind and allow our whole being to open to that truth. which is what we, that's what the Bodhisattva of Compassion wants to help us do, is to really understand that we do fully embrace each other's suffering.


And to be able to then enact that and perform that in daily life, even though the conscious mind can't understand that. It can be illuminated and liberated, so it won't get in the way of us being able to enact that. Okay, so with this limitation, I feel pretty confident that my embrace of you is beneficial. However, can a compassionate, can compassion reinforce bad behavior? reinforce harmful behavior? I would say that this first type of compassion can reinforce the first type of compassion. You mean the sentimental compassion?


Yeah, the sentimental compassion can reinforce sentimental compassion. And sentimental compassion is somewhat harmful, because it sometimes makes us want to give up being compassionate. Because the way we're compassionate is seeing others as separate. And that kind of drains our compassion practice. So it has a drawback. Sometimes mental compassion can hurt our compassion practice and sometimes make us want to stop being compassionate for a while. As if you feel separated and the helper. But what if you don't feel separated but you, the other person, is feeling your compassion and interprets it as an endorsement of their behavior rather than themselves. Or, you know, I don't know how to say that, but... It is possible.


If we have a Buddha here, maybe, and the Buddha has not that sentimental compassion, has real, true, great compassion, and people can interpret that in all kinds of strange and erroneous ways. And the Buddha does not stop them from doing that. Okay, can you talk about that a little bit? Well, like somebody could think the Buddha has a crush on them. Or the Buddha could think that Buddha likes the other person more than you. People could do that. Buddha could be being very kind to your sister, and you might interpret that as, Buddha cares more for my sister than me. It's not true, but Buddha can't stop you from making that mistake. But you could think that. Buddha's not stopping you from having this deluded idea about Buddha, that Buddha has preferences.


So how does that... How does that, like, say, for instance, if someone interprets this great compassion as reinforcing, say, self-righteousness or reinforcing harmful, something that's harmful in some way, what does the great compassion, is there an effort Is there a skillful means to help redirect that? Or is there an effort to do that? Or do you just sit with it? Okay. There isn't so much an effort. The great compassion is not trying to redirect that delusion, the self-righteousness. It doesn't redirect it. It practices generosity towards it. It lets it be self-righteousness. And it brings this great loving, kindness and compassion to the self-righteousness.


And in the presence of that great compassion, not sentimental compassion, but great compassion, this sentimentality, this self-righteousness will melt. But the compassion is not trying to melt it. The compassion is letting it be. Generously letting it be. Self-righteousness. Exactly like it is. lovingly, generously saying, thank you very, very much to the self-righteousness. And when the self-righteousness is treated with such generous love, it will wake up and drop away. And that can happen without understanding it. Like understanding it as self-righteousness. You might not understand it as self-righteousness, and you don't have to understand it as self-righteousness. The main thing is you want to be free of it. But the way you become free of self-righteousness might be not by understanding self-righteousness, but by understanding that self-righteousness is not self-righteousness.


That might be the way you become free of it. So you just go in close. You just go closer. If you are intimate with self-righteousness, you will realize what it really is and be free of it. But somebody needs to show us how to get close if we don't already know how. If we knew how to do it already, we wouldn't be caught by it. And that's what great compassion is teaching. Yes. Okay. It's hard work. Yeah, and great compassion embraces the hard work. Thank you. One more.


Okay, great. Timothy. Thank you so much, Reb, for everything. And thank you, Great Assembly, for being here. Thank you, everybody. I'm so grateful for you introducing me to the being of compassion. I was been deluded for so many years thinking I had to do compassion myself. And such a great burden has been lifted from me. I've been walking in erroneous pathways with everything about Buddhism, not understanding the importance of understanding and allowing compassion to be, and practicing generosity towards my my delusions and allowing them to be.


And I'm just so grateful to you for bringing this teaching and allowing me for a few moments to pull the oar of the boat here for a little bit with you. That's all. And that's plenty. Thank you. Thank you so much. Well, it's getting to the It's the bewitching hour. It's, yeah, it's 8.46. And I just want to say again, I really enjoyed our meetings. And like tonight, I was tired before, but I knew you would all lift me up and make it possible for me to be here wholeheartedly for the whole meeting. And you did. Thank you so much. And please continue to support me and let me support you in your practice of Buddha's compassion for the welfare of all beings, including us.


May our intention equally extend to every being and place. with the true merit of Buddha's way. Beings are numberless. I vow to save them. Afflictions are inexhaustible. I vow to cut through. Dharma gates are boundless. I vow to enter them. Buddha way is unsurpassable. I vow to become it. Thank you, everybody. Good night. Good night, Rob. Good night.