Yoga Room Class - July 13th, 2021

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So I'd like to begin by referring to the ancient text that was sent out to everybody, written by the great Bodhisattva Asanga, probably in the fourth century of the Common Era. As the Roman Empire was struggling in its final century, bodhisattvas over in India were writing teachings for bodhisattvas. And this text is an adornment, this text is written as an adornment of the great teachings, the great scriptures for bodhisattvas. Mahayana Samgraha. And the first verse offers objects of compassion, 10 categories of compassion.

[01:09]

And I sent out a notice to you to please consider how those 10 categories might be within your own mind, in your own body. When I first read them, I thought, you know, they were talking about, you know, bodhisattvas are looking out at all beings, and they see these different types of beings, these ten categories of beings who are ten categories of suffering. But then, now I'm thinking that we can also find these ten categories of suffering within ourselves. at various points in our evolution. And so I welcome you to look inward and see if you can discover some of these forms of suffering within your own consciousness, within your own body.

[02:15]

Also, I wanted to celebrate that last weekend. I mean, last Saturday, we had our first in-person sitting together at Noah Bode. The first time we've been able to be together in person for about 16 months. And so we were together and it was a joyous event. And some of you were there. And I talked about three forms of compassion. last Saturday, and I'd like to bring them up tonight also. I hesitated to bring them up last week, but now I'm kind of warmed up and ready to do it. I hesitated because I thought some of you might be startled to hear about these different types of compassion. And you might be tonight too, I feel ready to cope with any startle responses.

[03:26]

So the three types are, the first type is compassion which has beings as objects of the compassion. The second type is compassion which observes beings sort of in the light of or under the auspices or guided by dharma, guided by the teaching. And the third type of compassion is called great compassion and it doesn't have any objects. It's compassion but there's no objects. So those are the three types. First, compassion which has beings as objects. Second, compassion which sees beings within the teaching.

[04:35]

And the third type, objectless compassion, which is the compassion of great awakening, the Buddha's compassion. And the third type, great compassion of the Buddha, includes the previous two kinds. The third type, which doesn't have any objects, includes the type of compassion which do have objects, but in a non-objective, non-dualistic way. So that's a beginning summary of these three types. And they're not spoken of directly in this particular 34 verses that we have here, but I think we'll find them implied later. I will try to show you how those three kinds of compassion are woven into the text we have. And if you have any questions about how that might be, please bring your questions to the group.

[05:43]

Now going back to the first two verses, 29 and 30, listing these 10 objects. So the first type of compassion looks at these 10 objects. It observes these 10 different kinds of objects. And it observes them as though they substantially exist. It observes them as though they had a self, had an independent existence. And that type of compassion is the kind which most of us are familiar with. So again, the first category is inflamed.

[06:54]

You could say those who are inflamed, we observe those who are inflamed, but also we can say the first category is being inflamed. So either it's to observe, compassionately observe beings who are inflamed, but also compassionately observe being inflamed. In other words, observing that our mind and body are sometimes inflamed. Inflamed how? Well, with greed, hate, and delusion. Inflamed with addiction to sense pleasure. That's how we might be inflamed. But also we see beings who are inflamed, who are addicted to sense pleasure.

[07:59]

And observing these beings is the first type of compassion, and observing them as though they were substantially existing, and observing them as though they were really that way that we see them. It's not that they're not real beings, it's just the way we see them, according to the Dharma, is not the way they appear. But we do see them that way, and if they do appear to be substantially existent, they do appear to be existing on their own. And that's the first way we observe inflamed beings. That's the first way we might observe our own inflamed state. And I just want to briefly mention again that the Buddha way found a middle path between being addicted to sense pleasure and being addicted to denial of sense pleasure.

[09:14]

The Buddha did not It's not an extreme to have sense pleasure. The extreme is to be addicted to it. It's not an extreme to give up sense pleasure on some occasions. But to be addicted to it, that's an extreme. The Buddha found the middle way. But most people do not have this... Well, you know, I don't know. Most people are not so much addicted to not having sense pleasure. more common to be addicted to sense pleasure. And then there's the next categories, and these can all be seen in the world of our friends, in the world of beings, in the world of humans, and in the world of animals. We can see these forms of suffering.

[10:18]

And again, we start by usually seeing them as substantially existent. A substantially existing person who's addicted to greed, hate, or delusion. Or we may see it in ourselves. a substantially existing addiction. It's not that we don't have addictions, it's just that they don't independently exist. So maybe we just go through these categories. So the first one I've just talked about, attachment to pleasure, devoted and addicted to sense pleasure. That's the first one. Second one, under the power of enemies, means that we're, again, that we try to practice virtue, but we're under the power of these addictions.

[11:32]

These addictions, in a way, are our enemies. They're temporarily causing us suffering and... And again, if we see them as substantially existing, they're obstructing great compassion. Oppressed by suffering. There again, some suffering is oppressive. It pushes us down. Enveloped in darkness. When we engage in certain activities, We're not even able to pay attention to our suffering. We're not even able to be compassionate because we're doing certain things which put us in a dark space where we can't even see our suffering. We can't even observe it.

[12:36]

Not to mention notice if it's taken substantially. Traveling a difficult road, That's, and again, this is the fourth century version of it. It's being, how do you call it? We're traveling this life, and it's a difficult road, and especially so if we don't even pay attention to the possibility of practicing the path of freedom. Bound by great change. Again, that would be like to be fundamentalist or to be rigidly, to hold rigidly to what freedom might look like.

[13:47]

So even if we've heard of freedom and wish to realize it, we might have a fixed idea of what freedom was. Wishing for and aspiring to freedom and liberation for oneself and others, that's not suffering. But having a rigid idea about it is this we're bound by the chains of our rigid ideas of what freedom is or might look like. Or even that it would look like something, and we think it will look like something, and holding to that, we are bound. And we see other people too, perhaps, plants, animals, and humans, who are rigidly adhering to what a life of freedom which they desire might be. Not just what it might be, but rigidly holding to what it is. This is bound by chains.

[14:52]

The next one is kind of interesting, not kind of interesting. It resonates maybe with modern day in a way. Greatly fond of food mixed with poison. And the early understanding of this back at the time of writing this text was to be attached and addicted to the pleasures that might come when you're meditating, to be attached to the joys and happiness that comes when you're in a concentrated state, which is a virtuous state. It's a virtuous state. And there's other virtuous states too that are joyful, like generosity and practicing ethics as joyful. But if we're attached to that joy, that sadly poisons this delicious and nourishing practice, for example, of concentration.

[16:08]

This is a very common problem for Zen students, this one, which we see in others and we might find in ourselves. Many people confess to falling into this greatly fond of food and then mixing, you can be fond of it, but mixing it with attachment to the pleasure of the delicious food of practice. So this is a practice which can be very delicious, very nourishing, and which we can poison by attaching to the pleasure and joy that comes with it. Some people might say, well, I don't have that problem because I don't have any joy in practice. OK, you don't, but some other people do. And then it says, remaining on the wrong path That refers to people who... It's a form of suffering that we ignore our bodhisattva nature and ignore that we want to live for the welfare of all beings.

[17:30]

That's another form of suffering. Remaining on the wrong path means remaining on the path of benefit only for ourselves. And the last one, of little strength. So this refers to the suffering of a little strength, which refers to the suffering of beginners, beginner bodhisattvas. And in a way, it's a very, I don't know what, it's a wonderful suffering because it's the beginning bodhisattva suffering, but it's also still suffering because the bodhisattva doesn't yet know how to practice compassion. So that's a quick summary, a quick introduction to what these 10 categories might be. And I do not hear the text saying, this is an exhaustive list and nobody can come up with any other kinds of suffering. I do not hear that.

[18:31]

So you might have some other ones that you could tell us about. And we welcome you to tell us. And again, the first type of meditation is to meditate on these these objects in others and self, and to notice, perhaps, that we think these kinds of suffering, the way they appear to us, are really the way they are. And also that the compassion which is looking at them is what we think it is. This is the beginning kind of compassion, and it's also called sentimental compassion. and it has various problems. The main one being that unless we notice what we're up to and notice that we're seeing things in this substantialistic way, this way of practicing compassion drains us.

[19:37]

It has outflows. And if we don't go beyond this form of meditation, we're at risk If we don't go on from this form of compassion, we're at risk of quitting the practice because it's draining us. The suffering beings aren't draining us. Our attitude towards them, our substantialistic view of them will drain us. And so I don't know if I should stop here and open for discussion or if I should talk about the next one. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. What do you... Let's see now. Let's just stop here and think about whether we should stop and look at this one or move to the next one. Any sense from you? I'm looking at you. I'll just say, should I stop now or should I go on to the next one?

[20:41]

Raise your hands if you want me to stop. I hear a few hands to stop. Do I see some hands to stop? No. So most people want me to go on to the next one that I'm looking at? Okay. So the next one is you're looking at these same many, many beings who are suffering in these different ways, or you could say, you're looking at these many ways of suffering, outwardly and inwardly. But now, the next kind is you look at them in light of the Dharma, which tells you that the way this suffering appears is not really substantially the way it appears. The way it appears is as a dependent co-arising, as a conjured up version of the world, depending on innumerable causes and conditions, and having no independent existence.

[21:49]

But it does appear a certain way. But the way it appears is an illusory version of the suffering. We're not saying that the suffering doesn't exist. We're saying that suffering actually exists in a true way. There's a true, you know, like the first noble truth is the truth, the true way that suffering is. So the true way that it is, is not the way it appears to us at first, as an object. The true way is that it's a dependent co-arising. But we can't see how things are dependently co-arising. It's, it's too vast and and it's inconceivable the way things are dependent co-arising. We see a conceivable illusory version of them. So the second type of compassion looks at all these different types of suffering with the awareness that an illusory bodhisattva is observing illusory suffering with illusory compassion for the sake of illusory

[23:00]

liberation. And this way of seeing the same objects in the light of seeing that they're insubstantial, that protects us from the drawbacks of the first type. That protects us from burnout, bodhisattva burnout. It protects us from being wiped out in our efforts to care for beings. We're caring for them, but we remember that we're caring for an illusion of them. We're caring for, like, I see each of you and I want to take care of you, but I also realize that the way you appear to me is not the way you really are. And I can just go ahead and take care of this illusion of you in order to take care of who you really are. But I don't know who you are. I don't see who you really are.

[24:03]

But I do see an appearance of you, which is not the way you really are. And I wanna train myself to be devoted to people, even though I can't really see right now that they're me. Sometimes I can't see that you are me, but you are. You look like you're not me. Well, I honor that appearance, but that's an illusion that you're not me. It's not true that you're not me. It just looks like you're not. Still, I want to take care of you, you, you, you beautiful illusory you. I want to take care of the illusion of you. I do. Susan, did I say your name at the beginning? And so I might still be hopefully still devoted to you, looking after you, caring for you.

[25:07]

But with kind of a big question in my mind, who are you that I'm taking care of? Who are the people in this assembly that I'm devoted to? And again, that protects me from falling into that you are what I think you are. innervating, discouraging consequences of that kind of compassion, which I might slip back into at some point. Oh, I'm sorry, I confess and repent that I thought you were what I thought you were. I thought you were actually the person I thought you were. I'm sorry. Please, please, Buddhas, forgive me for thinking that way. Not for thinking that way, but for believing that. It's not a problem to see the illusions. It's a problem to think that the illusions are real. The second type of compassion trains at that, and that protects us and liberates us from the first kind without eliminating the first kind, but making the first kind harmless so we can continue to be devoted to beings without the drawbacks of taking them as appearances, taking the appearance of them

[26:28]

as the way they really are. And the third type of compassion in a way is, again, the result of practicing the first two, but it doesn't see any objects. It's just compassion. It's just being with all suffering beings. It's nothing in addition to that. It's the completely being with it. It's not being hindered. Oh, excuse me. I forgot to tell you there's one problem with the second type. The second type is that it is at risk of attaching to non-substantiality. That's the problem with the second type. It's at risk of attaching to the selflessness of all these different forms of suffering. this seeing the selflessness and remembering the selflessness of suffering protects us from it.

[27:29]

But there's a danger there of not just being protected, but holding that view of selflessness and abandoning beings in a different way than running away from them. So the first type of compassion, we're at risk of running away from the beings we're devoted to because our view is a big drain on us. The second type of compassion is at risk of abandoning things. You don't have to run away, because you know you can't run away from an illusion, but there's a possibility of somehow abandoning them, of kind of not caring because they're illusions, because you're holding to that they're illusions. So somehow, I remember Edward Kanzi used to say, the Mahayana miracle is that the bodhisattvas are devoted to beings that fail to exist. And they just go right ahead and love them and devote their life to them, even though they can't find them.

[28:35]

It's kind of a miracle. The third type, again, it's nothing in addition, the Buddha's wisdom is nothing in addition all sentient beings and that nothing in addition is that nothing in addition is complete freedom with all beings and that is the liberation of all beings because they're already they're also nothing other each of us is nothing other than the suffering of all beings that's our great compassion In the previous two types, we have to work with them so that they don't hinder us in this ungraspable, inconceivable, great compassion. And so this text for reading doesn't lay these three out explicitly, but I think we'll find all three are being woven together in this text.

[29:45]

And so now I think, is that enough for now for me to open for discussion of these three kinds of compassion? Does that seem enough? Raise your hands if that's enough or you need more. That's enough, right? The hands raised means enough. How about anybody? So if it's not enough, ask for more. So now I'm ready for you to ask for more if you want more. and bring up any questions and share anything you've learned about finding these types of compassion in yourself and also these forms of suffering in yourself. So I welcome you to tell us about how you have been working with these two or three types of compassion and also how you've discovered these forms of suffering in others and yourself. That's my invitation. Okay. I see Nancy.

[31:04]

Well, everybody here is an elder and We had a talking circle and a memoir group that I participated with. And then I just got to the point where I couldn't take it any longer listening to people talking about their suffering. So I'm familiar with that running away and being drained by it. And then I'm also familiar with the not caring one or the You know, another person here has made up a big story about her suffering, and she brought it up to all the different levels of management, and I was like, eh, I don't really care. And so, when you're talking, I recognize in myself the things you're talking about. And I don't know anything about number three.

[32:07]

Nobody does. Buddha doesn't know. However, number three is Buddha. Okay, well, I'm not there yet. Buddha's job is to be Buddha not to know that she's Buddha. Yeah, so thank you. That's good. So you've observed these two types you feel of compassion in yourself and you've observed kind of some of the sad consequences of them. Yeah. Running away and not caring. Yeah. That's it. That's a lot. Thank you. Thank you, Nancy. So you didn't ask, but what do we do when we notice that we're with somebody and we're feeling drained? What do we do in that case? Now, of course, I have some ideas, but, well, since you're here, Nazni, what might you do when you notice that you're getting drained listening to somebody or observing somebody suffering, or getting drained observing your own suffering?

[33:23]

What might you do? Well, one of the things I've learned from other places is to take care of myself, spend time taking care of myself, and maybe going for a walk or reading a book or doing something so I'm not focused on other people. And often when I'm just focusing on myself, it seems like I'm being selfish, but I have to then work with that. I have to allow myself to be that way, just take care of myself. So that's what I have to work with. And then I also just have to work with not allowing people to come into my space all the time and tell me about their suffering. You know, I have to say I don't have, I can't do that right now. I'm not available right now to you. So I have to set a boundary for people. Okay, can I, may I analyze what you said?

[34:28]

Okay, so you're, let's just say, you're practicing compassion towards somebody. And you're feeling like you need to take a walk. That you're feeling kind of drained and that you've been listening a lot to the suffering enough. And you feel like maybe it would be good to take a walk or have some space. I've got to get out of here. Yeah. So another way to see that would be that Another way to work with that would be, I think the way I'm seeing this is draining me. Yeah, that's a new one. That person is not draining me. The way I'm listening to them is draining. The way I'm looking at them is draining me. So it is, it might. And that's, and that is, that's good to notice that and admit that's called, you know, confession and repentance, or maybe and I'm sorry that I'm seeing it this way.

[35:37]

And at that time, we, since we've been drained, we might need to refresh our energy by taking a walk, taking a break from this draining process is a good idea. Don't just keep being drained by we have to take a break from being drained by the way we see things. And until we feel refreshed, and then we might have the possibility of looking at the suffering again, but this time try to remember that the way we looked at it before was draining. And we might even have a sense of how we were looking at it that was draining. Yeah. And being generous to yourself is another way to take care of the draining. So you practice compassion to the person who, and try to do that towards the person without being so sure who you are.

[36:47]

That would be good. Thank you. Thank you. Another offering. Hi, I just saw you. This is a great topic. I love this topic. And I woke up this morning and I was having a dream about my ex-mother-in-law. This is not a woman who's with us now and a woman I struggled. I had great difficulty with her. And in this dream, It was a loving feeling of loving this woman I'd spent my whole life while she was alive, pushing away, judging, not liking, getting tight. And it was a gift.

[37:50]

It was a gift. You could call it my unconscious. You could call it the gods. I don't know what you want to call it. You could call it a transmission of generosity. And I simultaneously saw how, I'll use the word evil, but how unkind I was to this person. And when I was given the love for her, it was like I simultaneously saw the evil and I received the good. And I had this feeling like my willingness to see my own evil gave the fruit of the gift of a loving, generosity, compassion. And all I'll say about number three is, as I've experienced it a few times, it feels like I can't do it. It has to be given to me. And maybe it's given to me because of things I did, but I never imagined receiving great compassion. I think it's one of those things that's a mirror that you can't see, sort of a jewel mirror that somebody you've been kind to in some life is mirroring back to you, but you just can't see it.

[39:06]

Yeah, and you said, the first time you told your story, I thought that the first gift was love for your former mother-in-law, and then came the gift of your own evil. And then the second time you told it, I thought you said the gift of seeing your evil came, and then the gift of love for the mother-in-law came. They're both gifts, right? And the order could be seeing our evil first being given the view of our evil, and then feeling the love for the person, but it could be the other way around too. In the, yeah, to see, Yeah, to appreciate people and see how good they are and feel love with them often opens the door to see our shortcomings and to see our shortcomings as a gift. But I could see my shortcomings clearly, but I could not see it was a blind love.

[40:11]

I couldn't see, I still don't, I didn't see that I appreciated her. I was receiving love. Yeah. I could only see what I didn't get to feel the love. You felt love being given to you, but you didn't feel love for her? Yeah. It was a little bit like, oh, there is love for this woman, but it was a leap. That's another possibility. You don't feel love for her, but she comes with love. Right. That was it. Right. That sounds like great compassion taken over the program. I did nothing. You did nothing together with everybody. Thank you. Veronica.

[41:11]

Rob, can you hear me? I can hear you. OK. I find these teachings very helpful, especially the part about oppressed by suffering. Because I always have felt that I try to give and then I feel like I can't set the limits of the giving and then I feel oppressed. And I understand from listening to this and taking it in that It's not about, and then I beat myself up about not being able to set my limits on how much I'm willing to give. So it's really my attitude toward it, I think. I'm not oppressed. And if I went and took a walk, or as they say in AA, usually you're hungry or tired, doing that instead.

[42:18]

So I find this very helpful. The other thing that really knocked me for a loop was reading greatly fond of food with poison. And I have experienced that many times in my life. I never thought about having compassion for that. And it's always about restraint. And the idea of compassion is, is really beautiful. Yeah. Yeah, when I first read it, I thought, Oh, that's kind of like modern times, you know. So we, somehow we, we have a, we're very fond of some delicious banquet. But, you know, we poison it. because of our addiction to it. And that also applies to meditation practice. Besides the various commodities we have in our society, which are perfectly good in themselves, but we poison them with our addiction, with our attachment to them, with our, yeah.

[43:27]

Thank you. Thank you. Hi there. Let me know if you cannot hear me or can you hear me? Great. So something you said helped shift my experience of, well, many of these, but the bound with great chains, the idea that that comes from our idea of what is, is really helpful. Because I find, and, please.

[44:28]

It doesn't come from the idea. It depends on the idea and attaching to the idea. Yes. Just the idea by itself is harmless. But if we attach to it, and, but you can't, You can't attach, so it depends on the idea and the attachment. Yeah, that's even more helpful. Thank you. I think for me, the example of inflamed under the power of enemies, the experiencing of other as enemy and then remembering to look at the way in which I may be the enemy, either to the other or to myself in perceiving the other as enemy and kind of that circular game or, or behavior mind behavior and I think really

[45:34]

slowing down. And this was one of the things I got out of sitting all day on Saturday was just slowing everything down. And I found that that that has lasted in that I can stop and look at my behavior more easily than then maybe last week in like Is this what I want to be doing? And what am I thinking about this? In what way am I approaching whatever it happens to be suffering, but you know, you know, modest suffering, not great suffering. And then how do I treat it with compassion, it being that moment, or part of myself? And even physical pain, because I thought that since you had spoken about your knee last week and then my back spasmed and how not to perceive pain as an inflamed enemy, but as a messenger or an opportunity or just pain and how to approach myself when I have pain in a way that's

[46:57]

patient and kind and, and remember that I've had pain before and it went away before. And so here it is again, and likely it will go away. I don't have to believe in the pain. And there again comes the gripping bound with chains. So becoming bound to pain, is very, very habit forming, I think. And so, I don't, I don't think, I don't know if I have a question in there, but those were my thoughts. So this, the statement of you know, oppressed by enemies, okay?

[47:59]

It seems like we're encouraged to look at a situation where we feel or see somebody who's oppressed by enemies, and to bring compassion to that situation. And by bringing compassion to the situation of somebody oppressed by enemies, we get to see that our idea of the enemy, that we think we know what the enemy is, that we really think the enemy is that, and the one who is oppressed is this, and the oppression is this. So rather than not see oppression by enemies, bring compassion to that appearance and notice that that appearance is being taken substantially. Being taken substantially?

[49:03]

Believe, as in believing. We're seeing the oppression, or the oppressor, or the enemy, we're seeing them as substantially existing the way we think they exist. But rather than, yeah, but our attention is being drawn to this situation. So we're trying to bring compassion to this picture of an enemy oppressing me within my own self or somebody, an enemy oppressing somebody else. We're being asked to look at that with compassion and find the place where we actually are fixating on different elements in the picture. When we realize, like for example, in our own mind, where is the enemy in our own mind? Well, the enemy, yeah, the enemy in our own mind is that we are substantially believing the image of an enemy in our own mind.

[50:08]

But by bringing compassion to it, realize, well, actually, again, how about the enemy being me? Or how about the enemy not being the way I think the enemy is? And how about the oppression? So we're being asked to look at these situations where we're highly likely to take the situation substantially. So, the looking the looking at something, not only as what we look as we see it substantially but from multiple possibilities for what we see so for example, pain is Maybe it's pain, and maybe it's a message, and maybe it's the way you're sitting, and maybe you're walking too fast. So the myriad possibilities for what it is, which doesn't mean you don't go to the doctor, or you don't help someone damage their leg.

[51:16]

It doesn't mean any particular thing. It has tremendous possibilities. So these 12 examples, or these 10 examples, are places for us to look. And I'm mentioning that when we first look at these situations, we take them substantially. And then we kind of get into, oh, that's the enemy, and this is the oppressed, and that drains us. We're looking at suffering, but the way we're looking at it undermines us and hurts us. But that's the way we start. But it isn't that we stop looking at that situation, it's just that we learn another way to look at it, which is not draining, which doesn't hurt us. But I guess that takes me to the question then of kind of along the lines of what Linda brought up about the other text, if there's

[52:18]

let's say, the enemy is abusive. And you, I see that abuse, let's say it's someone who's abusive toward me. And I, I know that that feels bad that that's dangerous for my psyche, it's emotionally or physically abusive. Yeah. And so then what How do you describe that dynamic where it's actually abusive and dangerous and harmful? We could add another category or rephrase the one we're just talking about. Instead of saying oppressed by enemies, we could say abused by abusers. Right. That could have been translated abused by abusers. And when we, so we're looking at a, this text is saying, let's look at this situation.

[53:23]

What situation? The situation of being abused by abusers. It's saying, look at that. Okay. And I'm saying the first way you look at it. So this text starts out with objects. And I'm saying the first type of compassion is to look at objects, beings as objects. Now we're looking at beings as objects. Okay. What's the first type of, here's one example of a being which is an object. This is an abuser. An abuser and an abused. We're looking at that being. Or those two beings. Right. Now we're looking at that. The first way we look at it is a substantialist view. The second way we look at it, and the substantialist view has these problems, namely that we, you know, run away from the situation or be wiped out by it or something. We're looking at it, but the way we're looking at it is hurting us.

[54:26]

It's not liberating us. And we usually do look at it that way. The second way we're looking at it, we're saying, but there's a relationship here. And the things do not, this situation is not the way I think it is. It could be otherwise. I'm looking at illusions here. And this way we start to become free of the first problem, the first way. And the way the first way hurts us, we become free of that. And then we have the problem of the second kind. We have then the problems of being free of the first kind, and now we have the problem of this freedom. But also we have the problem of seeing that There's other ways of seeing things and maybe not taking any of them very seriously. That would be a problem. That's also suffering. So we have to get over that one too. So I thank you for your example.

[55:29]

to find the right button to unmute myself. Good evening. As you're talking and as I've been thinking about this, I keep thinking about some things that you've said to me off and on when I've been talking with you about maybe feeling afraid of somebody or feeling angry with somebody or feeling overwhelmed by somebody's need or whatever. And pretty much every time you have said something like, well, your feeling of anger is a being or your feeling of overwhelm is a being, and that needs to be taken care of. And, you know, and then so suddenly there are at least two beings to take care of. There's the thought being of anger or overwhelm. And then there's what I think the situation is that requires some care. And somehow when I look at the two things, it kind of lightens, in a weird way, it lightens things up a little bit.

[57:01]

And I'm not so sure that I know that this is what I should do for this person. You know, I don't... Yeah, does that make sense? You could say you're not so sure that this is what you should do for this person. You're not so fixated. on this is what you should do for this person. But you still might think, this is what I want to do for this person. This is what I want to do for this person. Maybe not even this is what I should do for this person. This is what I want to do for this person, and I think it would be good. However, I'm not fixated on it being true that it's good. This is just what I think is good. And you can do the same thing, but without attachment. And without attachment, it's more effective. Anything good about it will be more effective. Now, if you're gonna do bad, yeah, then I think if you're attached to doing bad, you'll be more successful at doing bad.

[58:07]

But if you wanna do good, not being attached to good will make it better. So being attached to doing bad will not make it good, but being attached to good wouldn't necessarily say makes it bad, but it undermines it. It poisons it. But somehow for me, one of the paths into that is taking my own thoughts also into account, you know, not just pushing them aside, but also responding to, well, this thought came up, this needs to be taken care of, the situation needs to be taken care of. I have multiple And taking your thoughts into account when you look at some other person is to take into account that what you're dealing with is your thought about the person. So you can say, take my thoughts into account. In other words, admit my thoughts.

[59:08]

Admit that what I'm dealing with is my idea of this person. Who knows what they are? I think they're a jerk, or I think they're an oppressor. Now I take that into account means I see that's what I think of them. I wonder what they are. I still think they're a jerk. I still think they're an oppressor. But I also wonder what they are. And I can keep wondering, I can still see them the same way as I did before. But now as you say, it's lighter, there's light coming in. Because the light of awareness that this is your thought about them is now lit up. It isn't just them. It's not just you. It's my thought of you is here too. You're here. Yeah, I know you're here, but also my thought of you is here. And my thought of realizing that my thought of you is here with you helps me open up to who you are. If I have a thought of you, which I'm aware of, and I don't acknowledge that, I close the door on you.

[60:08]

I'm just looking at my thought of you. And you can just be you can just like you might as well leave. And I'll just leave stay here with my idea of you. And you know, you can change completely, but I'm not going to notice because I'm just focused on my thought of you. And if I say, Oh, this is what I think of her, I might notice that a tear is running down your cheek or something. Or you're smiling. Or you're saying thank you. Genevieve. So I feel like I have experienced all of these forms of suffering internally, and I have observed what I perceive of them externally as well.

[61:12]

And investigating and developing compassion for them happening internally made witnessing and extending compassion when I would perceive them externally. I understood how to do that and why to do that and what that was and how that was a good thing to do, a thing I like doing. And then, As I did both of those, I start to realize that having compassion for myself is important and having compassion for other people is important or people I perceive as other people. And then I start to realize that it's actually the same thing. having compassion for me is having compassion for what I perceive as other than me, and having compassion for what I perceive as other than me is having compassion for me.

[62:24]

Yeah, that's great compassion. Okay. There's no object. Yeah, okay. Thank you. Yeah, and that's why I gave this assignment. I thought if you look at these categories of suffering in yourself, that will help you have a different attitude to the way they appear when you see them in others. Thank you. Which you've had that experience. Most definitely. It doesn't necessarily make it easier, but to achieve... That's another form of suffering, wanting it to be easier. Yeah, no, most definitely. Or thinking that it even could be, and that somehow you're missing something by it not being, yeah. It could be easier, but being concerned for it being easier makes it harder.

[63:25]

Yes, yes. But it could be easier. You know, for some people, they're okay with it being hard. They can't stand it being easier. So people can't stand to be easy. We can say, well, it couldn't be harder. It might happen. But first of all, don't try to, don't yearn for it to be harder and be waiting for it to be harder. I shouldn't say don't do that, but realize that's another form of suffering. Some people want it to be harder. Some people want it to be easier. Those are two other categories, which you probably might be able to either fit into the previous 10 or we have 12 now. Well, I would say that as time goes on, every so often, I stop and notice that perhaps it has gotten easier. And then I, you know, and that's nice. Yeah, you maybe haven't heard me tell that one time.

[64:30]

During my first three years of practice, I was having a hard time almost all the time, or most of the time. I was having a hard time with the practice, with the rigors of it. And then it wasn't hard. It stopped being hard. And so I went to Suzuki. I didn't go to Suzuki during the first three years and say, why is it hard? I heard it was hard and it was. I didn't say, how come it's hard? But when it got easy, I went to him, I said, the practice isn't hard, am I missing something? Am I in denial? And he said, sometimes practice will not be hard for you. And then he did this, he took a piece of paper and folded it, explaining that when you do origami, you fold the paper, you know origami?

[65:33]

So you fold the paper, and folding the paper sometimes is quite difficult. You know, it's kind of hard to get it folded just. But after you get the fold, then you don't just go on to the next fold, which also might be difficult. So you press on it. And pressing on it makes the crease or the fold more, you know, complete. And so I thought he was telling me that I had been practicing pretty hard with this first fold, you know? And now I was just sort of sitting on the fold for a while before the next fold. And sitting on the fold is not so difficult as making the fold. It's kind of easy, but that's part of the deal in origami is you did enough folding now, so rest. Rest is part of the practice. And rest in a way is easier sometimes. It's kind of like restful.

[66:36]

And then the next day, the next fold came. The next, you know, I was given the next fold the next day. So I had a few days and practice wasn't difficult. I was kind of worried about it. He said, it's okay. It's all right, if practice is easy for a while. And he gave me the origami thing. And then the next day, the next fold came. And I went back to him and I said, the next fold came. And he said, oh yeah? He didn't know what he was talking about. And the fold was, I was being asked to leave the monastery and go to the city to be the director of the building. The next fold. I was having such an easy time in the monastery. Thank you Genevieve. You're still muted.

[68:07]

Hi, everyone. Hi, Reb. As I listened to the three compassion types, what hit me, what struck me was that the first one and the second one are highly mental exercises. And from my own experience, when I'm stuck in the mental, I'm stuck and the whole situation is stuck. And so the first one sort of allows one to kind of reframe the situation. And the second one invites to kind of lift off the grip of seeing it certain way. But what I found worked for me is not to recognize all those. And gradually I started to fall into just experiencing the situation, just being in that moment.

[69:23]

And sort of like noticing how I'm separating into objects and then noticing how I'm trying to rationalize, and then dropping all that, and just staying in the experience of whatever is coming up. And that led to incredible dissolution of this situation, sort of like incredible shift. Until I did that, playing with words and reframing, rephrasing, It just, it's like a, it's like a band-aid. It doesn't do a lot yet, but to actually sink into the situation without any mental activity, it does something much greater.

[70:29]

Thank you. So, yeah, hi, good evening. Good evening. I wanted to skip the hi, good evening, but then I couldn't. Want to start over without it? No, no, the moment's gone. So, yesterday I went to the Target in Berkeley, small, smallish Target store. And I was going around looking for parking place and not getting it. And then there was this guy sitting on a kind of a wall there. And he was going like this, like this, he's pointing that this one's open, you can get this parking place.

[71:36]

So I went into it. And then I waved at him and said, thanks. And he started talking to me. And then he said, you know, if you have any spare money to spare, I could really use it. So I said, well, I'm gonna go in now and get a bottle of Oatly and maybe I'll come talk to you when I come out. So I went and got a bottle of Oatly and then I came out and I went up to him. And meanwhile, I'd taken out a couple of dollars. So I went up to him and I said, here, here's a little money. Hope it helps. And he was so happy about that. And he said, oh, thank you, bless you. And then he wanted to hug me. He was also drunk. He was clearly drunk, but he was also like witty. So anyway, then he hugged me and I had to make a split second decision. I'm gonna let this guy hug me.

[72:37]

Yes, let him hug me. And then he saw somebody quite receptive to his being. So he started telling me about his life. I just had to stop that, you know, so I said, you know what, I can't really have this conversation with you right now. I'm just really hoping that in this place in this time, you know, you get the support you need. And then I went off to my car and thought to myself, I handled that well. So I was viewing him, I think I was doing him. probably I was just experiencing it the way Basia just said, but more like I was viewing him as a person separate from me that needed some help, and I was going to do my best in that situation, but not, you know, I can't have all these normal thoughts. I've heard from people like you that we vow to save all beings and there are no beings to save, but I didn't have that

[73:46]

clear awareness at that time, I was just trying to be a decent person to help this guy, who I did see as different, separate from myself. But human, in a way, how could I have been more enlightened or more wise in that situation? I saw it as separate from myself. I would say that that's a really nice example. And You have the situation where he's asking you for money, and you feel that you're not ready to give him the money. That's who you are at that moment. And you, at that moment, you were pretty much that person who was not ready to give him the money. And you told him about that, that you weren't. And you told him that you, and you were the person who was gonna go into the store. And you were. And you went in the store when you came out. I don't know if when you came out, you became this new, a new another, a new person.

[74:50]

So not not different, but just, you know, you were one person when you first met him, you were another person when you're in the store. You're another person when you came out and maybe the person when you came out with somebody who was ready to give him some a gift. Okay. And then Yeah, and then furthermore he he said thank you and you were the person who was there receiving his gift to you. And he also gave you gifts before like asking you to give him something and you were there for that. And then he wanted to talk to you more and you were the person who said I think you said I can't do this now. I said, you know, I can't really have this long of a conversation now. You were the person who said, I can't do that. You were the person who said that. And the more enlightened would have been to do exactly what you did, I think, more completely. And if you'd done it more completely, you would have been free

[75:57]

Not changing anything, not changing that. I was me and he was him, not changing that. From the very beginning, I'm me, he's him. I see that. I see it in this way. The way I see him is I don't think he's me. That's what I see. And the way I see me is I'm not him, that's what I see. And if you are able to be completely that person, you will not be fooled by any separation between you and him. So to be more enlightened in that story, you would have needed to be more completely that story. And if Buddha was you, Buddha would have done just like you, or Buddha, not if Buddha was like you, Buddha is you being the way you were more completely.

[77:05]

And you being completely the way you were is freedom from any separation from this person. More completely means Just in that present moment, doing that without a lot of extraneous thoughts, without any... No, no. If you have extraneous thoughts, then that would be... Like I could say, the thought, I can't do this, I gotta do something else, that's kind of an extraneous thought to the Buddha way. It's just, you know, I'm not ready to give you the donation is kind of an extraneous or, you know, adventitious, whatever, you know. These thoughts are coming up. This thought coming up, now this thought's coming up. You don't have to be the slightest bit different from the person you were moment by moment through that whole story to be Buddha. And great compassion is not the least bit separate from the way you were.

[78:07]

But if you were caught at all by being more enlightened, more compassionate. If you're just that completely, you're not caught by that anymore. And you brought this story up for us to look at, and basically, Buddha, in a sense, your assignment as being Buddha is to be more completely the person you were throughout that story. You don't have to fix anything or change any thoughts or any postures. Buddha is not at all different from the way you were. Buddha is not confined to the way you are. You could have been different. You don't have to go back next time. And if somebody asks you for money next time, you don't have to say, wait a minute, until after I come out of the store. You might say something different to them, or you might give money right away.

[79:12]

But it's not that it's better to give money right away. And Buddha is not better than you. Buddha is not better than you. Buddha is you being completely you. Okay, I'll keep that for now. Okay, I'll let go of that for now. Thank you very much. I'll do the other one together. Yeah. One more, maybe. Steven, one more. Okay, well, I don't know if these are that related, but just... It is, don't worry. I'm a fairly careless driver, and yet I get very angry at careless drivers, so...

[80:15]

and I'd really like to lay on the horn and really honk at them and wish them ill. I mean, I can have like fantasies of destruction and thankfully I'm controlled enough in certain ways that I haven't acted on any of them. I'm usually glad that I haven't, but there's- But there's a part of me that would be just like this freaking robocop and really disciplined, undisciplined drivers. And I don't know. And I but the real [...] I think the real question is, is that that You know, I think I've experienced, I think I experienced at a fairly frequent rate at any rate, and I'm not that interested in experiencing it more often than I do this sort of the sense that, and I think it's a fair amount.

[81:29]

I mean, it's not like it's, it's, I never want it to happen and it hasn't happened, but I think I experienced a fair amount of, of this identification with others. and all sorts, you know, I'm you, you're me. That doesn't seem to be a problem of mine. But I don't know if that's the right way to put it. But I do, one thing I've thought about is like the, to me, a very supreme being is, I mean, yes, Buddha, but I mean, I'm intrigued by and enthusiastic about this notion of Gaia by, who is it? It's Lovelock and Margulis. But it has, and Gaia has some,

[82:31]

Some, you know, in some ways Gaia looks like a being or a creature, in some ways Gaia doesn't. But at any rate, it's- I'm starting to feel uncomfortable. Sorry, sorry. I find you're going on too much for me talking about Gaia. Yeah. I'm having trouble. All right. it's a little it's, you know, like, I'm like, the Linda, I want to go into the store now. Okay. May our intention equally extend to every being and place with the true merit of Buddha's way. Beings are numberless. We vow to save them Afflictions are inexhaustible. We vow to cut through.

[83:35]

Dharma gates are boundless. I vow to enter them. Buddha's way is unsurpassable. I vow to become it. Thank you everybody. I'm enjoying practicing this this topic between our classes with my various sufferings. I hope you are enjoying practicing compassion with your various sufferings moment by moment. I fell asleep partway through the gophers. I hope to hear more about them. Good night. Good night, Rob. Thank you. Good night. [...] Thank you, Rob. Thank you.

[84:37]

Take good care. Good night. Good night. Happy birthday. [...] Good night. Leslie, were you here before? I didn't see you. I'm sorry, I was at my electric car. Anyway, hi, Leslie. Bye bye, Leslie. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Good night. Good night.

[85:08]

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