Yoga Room Class - November 16th, 2021

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I think mostly in this series on studying compassion and practicing and also trying to scientifically study or research this great mind of compassion and study and research the ocean of suffering, I would say mostly what we've been talking about is maybe what might be called kind of developing emotions and feelings and commitments, kind of emotional work. And actually, last Saturday, in a talk to the Noah Boad Sangha, I started to open


up to study more. In particular, I started to open up studying the field of karmic consciousness and the suffering and afflictions in that field, to study the patterns, the overall patterns of the field of karmic consciousness, the field of affliction, and also to study the individual afflictions and the smaller patterns within the larger pattern of afflictions. So again, I've been sort of describing a process starting with developing impartiality or equanimity,


and then with this, and that work is somewhat a combination of being aware of emotions and cognitively studying them in such a way as to not hate the emotions or be attached to them. So this is, again, it starts with a kind of somewhat intellectual work in order to develop impartiality and equanimity, and then proceeds to developing a deep and gentle appreciation, a feeling of fondness and appreciation for beings. And starting with oneself, then to a friend, and then to enemies,


to develop a deep cherishing and fondness for all beings, and then going on to practicing loving-kindness towards self, friends, and enemies, and then go on to practicing compassion. And based on that compassion arises the mind of awakening, and based on the mind of awakening, the aspiration to attain awakening, we come to discover Buddhahood. And in a conversation last week with Karen Yuki, I don't know how it came up, but we started to talk about another presentation of practice,


which starts with loving-kindness, goes on to compassion, and then goes to appreciating the wonderful things, the virtues of other beings, and then from there move on to realize equanimity. Both those ways can be practiced, of course, but it's kind of interesting to me that they're kind of the reverse of each other. In one case, you find a way to feel some loving-kindness for somebody, and then you expand it to everybody, and then you go on to practice compassion for everybody, and then you start to see the merits of beings, and all beings, or some beings and then all beings, and then you have equanimity,


and this path leads to personal liberation. The conclusion of that path is personal liberation, loving-kindness, compassion, appreciating the merits of others, and equanimity toward one's own experience and all beings. Personal liberation. The other one puts more emphasis on compassion and Buddhahood. It starts with equanimity, and then moves on to appreciating others, and loving-kindness, and compassion, and the aspiration to realize Buddhahood in order to be a best service to all beings, in order to be optimally able to liberate all beings and help them realize Buddhahood.


So, I hadn't seen that before, that those two practices kind of have the same elements, to some extent, but are reversed. And in the earlier presentation, it concludes in personal liberation. In the later version, it concludes in Buddhahood. So, let's just say that we have been working and we continue to work to create a context of compassion, a womb of compassion, a room of compassion by these meditations we have discussed, which I'm happy to continue to discuss, but I'd like to move on from there and start with the idea


that we have successfully arrived in the room of great compassion, the wonderful room of compassion for all beings. And now, we can study all beings, and we can more deeply study the nature of all things, and discover the true nature of all things, and thereby discover Buddhahood. And the example I used on Saturday was basically a sort of inner practice of studying our consciousness but, again, by consciousness, I use the term synonymously with karmic consciousness. We have other forms of awareness, we living beings, we humans, but I don't call them consciousness.


So, for example, another main or fundamental state of awareness that we have, we sometimes call the unconscious. And the unconscious, our consciousness has heard about it, and has heard teachings about it, but our unconscious is not conscious of the unconscious. And the unconscious is not conscious of the conscious, but it is aware. It is an awareness of a vast realm of cognitive activity, which you could say works very, it doesn't really operate our body, but it intimately works together with our body for us to be able to breathe, for our heart to beat, for our temperature to be modulated, for us to be able to walk, and play the piano, and speak English. All these marvelous things we can do are orchestrated by the body and unconscious processes.


We are only, you know, a tiny bit aware of what goes in to be able to speak English. We can tell we're speaking English, but we do not know consciously how to do it. But we learn consciously how to do it, and our learning transforms our unconscious, so that our unconscious with our body can perform speaking English, and playing the piano, and so on, and running up and down stairs, and ballet dancing, and yoga, and kitchen work, and etc. We also, human beings, we also have another mind, which is the mind of perfect wisdom. We have that mind. However, because of our karmic consciousness, we don't realize it.


So I suggest we have three minds, and a body. A body which is closely related to our unconscious cognitive process, which is most of our personal cognitive activity, and most of our group activity. Then we have individual karmic consciousnesses, where there's a self. And then we have a wisdom consciousness, which until we understand our karmic consciousness, and are liberated from it, we don't realize our wisdom mind, which we have all along. So what I suggest we start doing now is to study karmic consciousness. To study it by observing it, by experimenting with it, by exploring it, by asking questions about it,


by listening to the questions that appear in it about itself, by listening to and observing the questions in karmic consciousness about karmic consciousness, and also to observe and listen to the questions about karmic consciousness in karmic consciousness about other people's karmic consciousness, and listen to other people report to us about their karmic consciousness, and listen to them ask about ours. In this way, we can start to study, and observe, and explore this realm of karmic consciousness, which is relatively small compared to the unconscious processes. In a given moment, I've heard that, I just heard this someplace, I think,


that in a given moment, there are like 11 million cognitive events in our unconscious and 40 in our consciousness. So what's going on in our consciousness is a highly reduced component and version of our entire cognitive activity. And then in relationship to wisdom, our conscious mind is even smaller because wisdom is not just our conscious mind and our unconscious mind, it is also the realization of the relationship between them and the relationship between them and all other consciousnesses. So we have this infinite wisdom, we have this enormous cognitive unconscious, and we have a quite large, but relatively small


and enclosed conscious mind. And in the conscious mind, there is a sense of self. If there's not a sense of self, it's not what we ordinarily, what I ordinarily call consciousness. It's probably without a sense of self, a cognitive process is what I call unconscious. I do not know if certain animals have karmic consciousness. I think they do have, I understand, and I'm accepting the hypothesis that they do have cognitive activity in relationship to their body and the environment. But I'm not sure that all living beings have a consciousness which has a self. I'm happy to discuss this and study this


and inquire about this and experiment about this. And I understand that many other people called cognitive scientists are experimenting to ascertain how far the self-conscious awareness has extended into the living beings. And I also introduced on Saturday that the definition of karma, of action in Buddhism is related to karmic consciousness. So we don't usually use the word karma for what's going on in our unconscious process. We use karma for describing the activities


that are occurring through body, speech, and karmic consciousness, or better to say, in karmic consciousness, which are expressed in speech and postures. All that is what we call karma. And the definition of each karma is the shape, the pattern of all the constituents of consciousness in the present moment. And the relationship, one of the basic relationships between the enclosure of karmic consciousness and the unconscious is that the unconscious is the embodiment, the physical and cognitive embodiment of the results of past moments of karmic consciousness. And this embodiment of the consequences


of past moments of karmic consciousness is the foundation for the arising of our present karmic consciousness. So karmic consciousness has the consequence of transforming the unconscious, and the unconscious supports the consciousness in which there's another now karma, which then again transforms the unconscious. So they're closely related, they evolve together, but the karma lives in the karmic consciousness, the self-consciousness, the egocentric consciousness, and the afflicted consciousness. And I also mentioned on Saturday, I mentioned again, that the sense of self that lives in our karmic consciousness, the sense of I or me or mine,


that sense comes with four afflictions. Until the situation is understood, that idea of self, that sense of self, that feeling of self, that idea of self, it arises with four afflictions, which are basically delusions about the self. And they are, first of all, self-confusion. When there's a sense of self, there arises a phenomena which is confusion about it. Next phenomena is self-view. There arises this phenomena, which is the appearance that the self is viewing what's going on in consciousness. The self is not viewing what's going on,


but there's an idea that it does, and because that idea is an illusion, when we believe it, it's an affliction. The next one is self-pride, which is that the idea that the self in this consciousness is operating the consciousness, that it owns the things in the consciousness, or it doesn't own them. But most people do not have the idea in consciousness that the things in consciousness own the self. So we have the tendency to say, my anger, my delusion, my pain, my fear. We don't have a way to say, fears me, angers me, or angers self, or attachments self. We don't think that our attachment owns the self, or that our anger owns the self,


or that our confusion owns the self, or that our fear owns the self, and it doesn't. But it would be, if we say that the self owns the fear, if we say it's our fear, and I own it, and I make it, it's my anger, and I did it, it would be equally true, and actually equally false to say that the anger owns me, the fear owns me, the karma owns me. But we don't usually have those afflictions. But part of the experiment we can do, which I'm doing right now, is to, in my own consciousness, I'm presenting new ideas, which don't usually appear, which we can experiment with. And now, while I'm talking,


you may have been observing your consciousness, and looking and noticing that you had some of these afflictions I mentioned. And the last affliction is, of the four, is self-esteem or self-love. Even though a lot of people say, I'm getting sick of myself, I hate myself, I wanna get rid of myself, they say that, but then if someone were to say, well, here's a new self for you, they wouldn't take it. Even though they say they hate their self and they wanna get rid of it, they actually do not wanna trade it for anybody else's self. Even somebody who seems to have a really nice one. And that's an affliction that we're not flexible and willing to trade selves with somebody. It is possible for everybody in this assembly to look to, it is possible, now I should, again, it is possible


that each of our consciousnesses can turn around I won't say that you can turn around, but our consciousness can be turned around and look and see these afflictions. Again, I'm not gonna say that you can see, but that there can be a reversal of awareness, a looking back and noticing there is a sense of self here. And looking back and observing that there are these four afflictions. And looking back and seeing that there's a lot of other, a lot of other elements there. Not everything in karmic consciousness is affliction. For example, being concentrated is not an affliction. Having faith is not an affliction. Pleasure is not an affliction.


Pain is not an affliction. Neutral sensation is not an affliction. Greed is an affliction. Hatred is a affliction. Ignorance is an affliction. And believing these illusions are afflictions. And these delusions that I mentioned, these four are naturally believed in. So, you know. So part of the study, that part of what encourages the study is for us to learn how to acknowledge ignorance, to acknowledge that we are ignorant and acknowledge that we have been ignoring things and acknowledge that there's some things it's hard for us to acknowledge. This is part of the observation that leads to discovery,


scientific discovery, which leads to, yeah. When we can acknowledge our ignorance, we can relax with our ignorance. If we do not acknowledge our ignorance, it's hard for us to relax because, partly because, if we were to acknowledge, we might accidentally acknowledge that we don't know what's going on, that we are ignorant, that we are ignoring. But acknowledging our ignorance helps us study better. It helps us relax with the ignorance. This situation of affliction. And to some extent, yeah. Even though I'm talking to you, I also want to continue to acknowledge that I do not see everything completely clearly in my consciousness, and that helps me explore


and experiment with my consciousness and also explore and experiment with yours and also let you explore. You can explore and experiment with my consciousness. And if we admit our ignorance, we can be more relaxed with this field of affliction, this field of ignorance, of self-ignorance, of incomplete understanding of the self. Complete understanding of self is Buddhahood. Complete understanding of this field of affliction, this field of ignorance is Buddhahood. And in order to study it thoroughly, it's good to admit that we are deluded, we are ignorant, and then we can relax with it and experiment with it and play with it and be creative with it. Yeah.


So I think if I, now, if I invite you to explore, experiment, and observe while you're experimenting or observe and then experiment with what you observe, much more things will come out in the conversation. So I'm ready to open up the teaching shop, the study shop. Are you? And opening up the teaching shop, the study shop, includes opening up for questions about the teaching and admission of ignorance of the teaching or admission of doubts, doubts also, if you have doubts about these teachings. When the Buddha was about to die, the Buddha said, if you have any doubts about the teaching, now's the time to ask.


So if you have any doubts about the teaching, now is the time to ask. And also tomorrow's a good time to ask too. Yes. I do have a question and some confusion. When you talk about the self, it doesn't sound like a really good thing. And I think I have the impression sometimes that in spiritual practice, what we're trying to do is get rid of the self or deconstruct it. And I'm wondering if that's really what we're trying to do or if we're really trying to learn how to live with it. In a better way. Well, when you say we, may I speak for the Buddhas? Yeah. Yeah, the Buddhas aren't trying to understand the self.


They have understood the self. And the Buddhas are not trying to get rid of delusion. They have a great understanding of delusion. So that's an understanding which I offer, which is that Buddhas greatly understand delusion and they understand to whatever extent the self is a delusion, they understand that. Could even, another translation of this ancient teaching would be, understanding, great understanding of delusion is Buddhas. Great understanding of the self is Buddha. In a consciousness where there's a self and it's afflicted, it is very common. I've observed, I've talked to quite a few people during the last, during this lifetime.


And many of them have told me they want to get rid of their self. However, the wish to get rid of the self is a, is a, what's it called? It's an affliction. The wish to get rid of the self is an affliction that arises in consciousness in response to affliction. So rather than being compassionate towards our afflictions, which we've been working on, bring our afflictions into the room of compassion and now start studying them. Studying, observing and experimenting rather than trying to get rid of. Because the context is compassion. Not eliminating these beings, but in the field of compassion around this consciousness. Now let's study. And one of the things that you're reporting


is that in your study, you may have noticed that some, you may have got the sense that some people are saying you're supposed to get rid of the self. Now deconstructing is not the same as getting rid of. Like, you know, I had some puzzles, you know, and you deconstruct, they come, I don't know, sometimes they come constructed and then you deconstruct them and then try to put them back together again. So deconstructing may help us understand the self. But deconstructing isn't to eliminate. So the self, like all things, the self is a dependent co-arising. In other words, it arises in dependence on other things than itself. The self is other dependent. It's not self-dependent. It arises in dependence on things other than itself.


And studying that is deconstructing it and understanding it. The same with pleasure and pain and fear and pride and arrogance and confusion. All these phenomena are dependent co-arising. Deconstructing them leads to understanding them, not eliminating them. But still, in this world, the idea of getting rid of the self comes up because the self is surrounded by afflictions. So, you know, we think the afflictions are the bathwater of the baby self. So if we think that we throw out the baby, we get to throw out the bathwater. We want to get rid of the bathwater, which is affliction. So maybe if I throw the baby out, the bathwater will go too. But throwing out the baby or the bathwater is just more bathwater. It's just more affliction.


And that also should be dealt with compassionately and then studied. So again, all these phenomena continue to be compassionate with them, to welcome them, to be careful of them, to be patient with them. And now we're going to start studying them. Now we're going to science these things. So another way I might say what I just understood you to say is that we're studying it in order to learn how to make friends with it. Or to be... You could say study it in order to learn how to make friends with it, that's fine. But you could also say make friends with it as the way to study it. Just like if you're with a person, you know, you want to find out about them,


first of all, be friends with them. How are you today? How are you feeling? How are you thinking? But, you know, you do it in a friendly way so that they're happy to reveal themselves to you because they feel you're their friend. And also that helps them study themselves because then they can be friends. So it's more like being friendly is more the context of our study. The context of our observation is it's a friendly concept. It's a friendly observation and it's a friendly experimentation. That takes the stress out of it when you say that. Yeah, hopefully. And if there's stress, then we are compassionate towards the stress and then be friends with the stress. But the study goes deeper when we've sort of settled our, settled our, what do you call it?


Settled our accounts with stress. We've observed it. We've been kind to it. We've studied it. And maybe finally we made our peace with it. And then that facilitates our study of other things. But stress is one of the things, one of the afflictions that we practice compassion towards and that we investigate. Okay. Again, people may want to get rid of stress. Okay. But how about being friendly with it? Thank you. Thank you. I just have a quick question. Can you hear me? Who's talking? Linda.


Oh, Linda, yeah. Could you say more about what self-confusion is? What do you mean by that? Could you wait for your turn and let me talk to Warren? I'm sorry. I thought it was the only one that had my hand up. No, Warren's- No problem. You'll come up soon, Linda. I'm fine to wait, Warren. Okay, great. Warren, yes. Hello, Rob. Thank you. Welcome. It was a relief that you re-brought this up from Saturday to hear it again. And there was a lot that we went through. But I wanted to bring up that this is helpful to me because I've been working on an experiment, like you asked, for the last three or four weeks


that I came from a teaching when the Buddha taught his son Rahula. He's held up a mirror. He said, what is this for? He said, it's for reflections. And he said, well, this is how you should reflect. And it went through these three times, the present before you make an action, and then the time of as you're making the action or thought or speech, and then in reflection of what you did. And so I've been trying to work with that in a clunky way, and kind of slow when I'm speaking, mostly because it's easier. Like if I'm speaking to another person, I know what I'm going to say. I go through the rubric of, is it going to be harmful or helpful, et cetera.


I'm sure you know all this about this teaching. But my question is when you opened up this pattern of the karmic consciousness, it made me see how fast this stuff all happens. And I'm asking, because I see you do it. I see like when you're talking and listening and teaching that you're reaching in there and dealing with this stuff. And just, it's like coming out very quickly. But for me, it's very slow and laborious. And I tend to grasp this and, oh, now am I doing that? And then I'm speaking to the person or dealing with the person or the thing. And I just wondered if you could like speak about how you get that smoothness, how I could practice to get a smoothness like that where I can see what's going on and also interact with the world in front of me,


but still be there. Did you understand my question? You know, I might, maybe I do. It's possible. I'll just say, yes, I do. Okay. So what I hear you doing, I hear you letting us know something that has been observed in your consciousness. And you may also think that it's something that's manifesting to others in your speech and postures. But what I hear you saying that you notice in your mind is a slowness. And then you said something else. But anyway, a kind of a slowness or a clunkiness in the consciousness. So in your consciousness, and you have your own unique consciousness, you have been aware and know, have observed.


And now you're actually acknowledging some phenomena called clunkiness. Right? Yeah. Yeah. So you've observed the clunkiness. But that clunkiness is basically, it's an idea in your mind. Okay. Isn't it? Well, everything, I could say everything is, but it's... Yeah, but you could say that, that's fine. Yeah. But I'm just saying, if everything is, that is true. Okay. Yeah, so you got this idea in your mind called clunkiness, right? Right. That you told us about. And so there's a number of things. So this is called observing and experiment. So you told me about this clunkiness,


and then I'm experimenting with this report from you about clunkiness. And I'm experimenting by saying to you, pointing out to you that that's an idea. I see. And you responded by saying, well, everything is. And I didn't say yes, but I said, if anyway, if everything is, then it is too, right? So then what you're talking to me about is you told me about an idea. Okay, so number one is, you didn't really say you had the idea of clunkiness. You actually thought there was a clunkiness. Yeah. No, so we have this appearance of a phenomenon called clunkiness, but also we're now experimenting by pointing out that that's an idea. Now, we can experiment further by practicing compassion towards this idea or this appearance of clunkiness.


I also heard you say, I think something like, you kind of wanted to smooth things out. So there's also the idea in your mind of having things smoother in there, in your consciousness, and a kind of attraction to a more smooth situation. Another idea, perfectly good idea. And that too, we can deal with compassionately, friendly. So we can be friendly towards the appearance, the appearance of clunkiness, and we can be compassionate towards the appearance of the idea of smoothness. And there's one more thing. We can be compassionate towards the wish to smooth out the clunkiness and make things smoother. That too should be dealt with compassionately. So I am not trying to get rid of your clunkiness. I'm not trying to get rid of your wish to smooth things out.


I'm not trying to get rid of the smoothness. What I'm trying to do is have you practice compassion towards these things you've reported. Okay. Yes. Now, I will, before I go much further, just also put another thing into your consciousness, which is if you can practice compassion towards the clunkiness, you will become free of clunkiness. If you can practice compassion towards the idea of smoothness, even before it's arrived, you can become free of smoothness. Okay. So, and you might call being free of smoothness and clunkiness, you might call that freedom. And I would say, okay, fine. That's a good name for it. So the first thing I'm suggesting you do with this wonderful consciousness, which you have moment by moment, is that when you notice this idea


or this appearance of clunkiness, that you remember the teaching of being compassionate that you invite compassion to come and embrace this clunkiness. And if by any chance the wish for unclunkiness comes, same with that. And if you can be compassionate towards clunkiness and wish for freedom from clunkiness or getting rid of clunkiness, then you can study the clunkiness and the wish for clunkiness to be gone. And studying those two things, which just happen to be current events in your consciousness, those are perfectly good opportunities for Buddhist compassion and for understanding these delusions. There's not really clunkiness in anybody's mind, but there is ideas of clunkiness in people's minds.


There's no clunkiness. There's just unexamined phenomena which are believed and by which we're hung up on. But all these things, if we thoroughly understand them, none of them are clunky or smooth. They're all, when thoroughly understood, Buddha. So I'm just giving you a little, a little start on how to study this clunkiness. And also, and be kind to wishing to get rid of it. I'm not telling you to be cruel to the wish to get rid of clunkiness. The wish to get rid of clunkiness is a little bit unkind. It's kind of unkind. Now, get out of here, clunkiness. It's not really very friendly. It's kind of an unfriendly, it's kind of a not a very good friend of clunkiness.


But you can be friendly to the unfriendliness to clunkiness and friendly to the clunkiness. And the unfriendliness and the clunkiness can make friends. You can guide them into friendship and freedom. Oh, thank you for clunking. You're clunking. You wanna try that? I will try it. You've got this thing to work with. It's a wonderful new playground for you. Thank you very much. Okay. I think, where did June, is June, let's let June come, I mean, let's let Linda come. Unless she doesn't want to. Yes, we're interrupting. Can you hear me? I can hear you and now I can see you. And I can also see Michelle. This other person here, yep.


Thank you. Through these images, I can see you over in Oakland. Okay, so you had a question about self? I did. And I also am just feeling, so much gratitude. Thank you. Thank you for your teaching just now about clunkiness. Thank you for Saturday, for such clarity. Thank you. And I just had a very short question. And that was when you mentioned the afflictions the other day and today, I kind of missed what self-confusion was. I didn't need to go into it too much, so thank you. You're ready to go into it a little bit? Okay. So we have this teaching, which many of you heard about, which is that, and it's a teaching about karmic consciousness. So all the phenomena that occur


in the karmic consciousness are five varieties. Anything that's going on in karmic consciousness is in these five categories. Form, feelings, we sometimes say perceptions or could be conceptions, mental formations, or consciousness. There's nothing that, whatever you come up with or you tell me about, I can put them in one of these five categories. And the fourth one, the mental formations, there's many, many mental phenomena that go in the fourth one. For example, in the fourth one goes fear, hatred, confusion, attachment, faith, diligence, dishonesty, did I say fear?


Fear, pride, respect, self-respect, a sense of decorum, lack of self-respect, lack of decorum, self-respect meaning that you care about what you do, whether it's worthy of you. And you care about what other people think about what you're doing. And then the other one was, you don't care about what you do. You have no respect for yourself and you don't care about what other people think of you. You're not afraid of that. And other various other mental phenomena which are about how our mental, our cognitive process deal with. And then another one that's in the fourth aggregate, fourth category is called chaitanya which is the, it's a phenomena which is the overall pattern of the consciousness. So in one of the categories of the five categories,


one of them is the overall pattern of all five. Now, anything that happens, one could think that they are the self or they're not. Or one could think that the self is not one of these five categories. Like the self isn't a feeling. It isn't an idea. It isn't a perception. It isn't an emotion. It isn't a color. It isn't a smell. It isn't a taste. It isn't a touch. And it isn't consciousness. It's something in addition to these five. So the teaching is there's only these five and anything you say that's going on, I can put in those five. But there could be this confusion where you think, I think the self is something in addition to those. But then if I ask you, well, what do you mean by the self? Then you start telling me what you're talking about


and it's one of these five. It's a feeling or it's a color. Like we sometimes say, even like we say, that's my smell. That's my taste. Or, yeah. Wait a minute. We have the taste, but there's no dharma called my taste. There's confusion there. Or it's my feelings. Or that's not my feeling. Or this is my idea. But you got the idea, where's the self in addition to the idea? If you look, you find the idea. There it is. You find the pain, there it is. You find the pattern, which is the karma of the moment. You find these things, but you can't find the self. I'd say it's a mental formation for one thing, right? Or you could say, you can find mental formations,


but there's not the self. But we're confused. We think it is a self. We think the self is in addition to all these multiple phenomenal opportunities. We think the self is on top of it. Some of you heard me, seen me draw a picture on the board of a circle with a little bump on it. And the circle is everything in the universe plus this little bump. And that little bump is me. We think that the self is in addition to everything. But, and that's a delusion, but it's a kind of, you can find the confusion in it because if you look, it is not in addition to anything. There's just everything. And the self must be some of that. But if it's some of that, then it's not the self, it's those things. So this is where, this is an affliction. However, this can be studied and you can realize the self is not anything in addition to phenomena.


It's not that it doesn't exist. It's just some of these phenomena, like the self is an idea or it's a feeling. But usually we don't think the self is an idea or a feeling, but it must be a feeling, an idea, an awareness, an emotion, because that's all there is. And by studying, you find out the self is nothing in addition to all that's going on. It's not separate from what's already gone. And if it's what's going on, it's a funny self. It's not what I used to think the self was. So studying this is studying self-confusion. Studying this relationship between the idea of self and all that's going on, we discover the confusion and we'll become free of it. So self-confusion is kind of the belief in a self as apart from everything.


And in a way, could you say that at any given moment, the self is a perception or it's a feeling or it's just a moment? In the moment. Or it's a memory or it's a- In the moment, we do have a sense of me. We always have that. But it's one of these five categories. So it's like an idea. But it doesn't seem like the me is an idea. Seems like it's something that's, it's more like there's me and I have ideas rather than me as an idea. Or there's me and I have feelings rather than me as a feeling. Or there's me and I have emotions, like there's me and hatred. But in a moment where there's hatred, there's just, at that moment, there's just a hatred. There's not me in addition to it. So it's the situation of the self being something in addition to what's going on.


If you study it, you can see it just really, it's a confusion to think that it's separate. It's not that there's no self. It's just that it's not in addition to all that's going on. And we confusedly or we deludedly think it is. That's the affliction of self-confusion that comes with this sense of self, which might be an idea. So you got sense of self, it's an idea. And then there's this confusion which thinks, which kind of thinks the self isn't just an idea, but then look around where, the only place I can find it is an idea. I'm confused. Now I'm confused rather than, oh, there's confusion. When there's an understanding that, oh, there's confusion, it's starting to be a little less confused. It can bring up so many more questions like, where does this confusion arise? Where does this joy arise from? What is that? Yeah, but I'm sure it's...


Well, that question is an experiment. Mm-hmm, yeah, okay. An experiment, you can experiment with that. And then, and that leads to more questions or whatever, or more responses. Our questions are part of our experimentation process in karmic consciousness, in this field of affliction. And again, a compassionate, friendly experimentation, a compassionate, friendly, close observation leads to Buddhahood. And that is Buddhahood, when it goes deep. Thank you so much. You're welcome. Jean, Jean.


Hello, Rob. Hello, Great Assembly. I enjoyed your image of the big circle with the little bump. It made me think of the big circle of everything and my little bump as a pimple. Yeah. I heard you tonight talk about commitment and I'm relating that back to the mental formations idea or the mental formations aspect of karmic consciousness. But my question arose on Saturday and your description of our attachment


to our sense of self and to these karmic patterns. And I was struggling with the word and it may be just the word of responsibility and taking care of someone or something and how to do that without becoming attached or even like as a parent, for instance, exerting some level of control. And I thought you would say to me, well, if you had a commitment or took responsibility and did that as a gift, it would be free of attachment. Free of attachment, but I can't figure that out. The idea of being responsible and being committed


and taking care of something and doing that without attachment or even if you're the adult, how to do that without some control. Did you say how to do it without some idea of control or attempt to control, what'd you say? No, I mostly relate to the idea of being attached. Like if I feel responsible for my child, for instance, I'm not understanding on how to do that without feeling attached to them or because responsibility to me has an aspect of attachment to it. I have to anticipate that other person's needs


and how to care for them. And yeah, so I'm trying to figure that out. Like you use the word commitment tonight, which I put that in a similar, I relate that to responsibility and I'm struggling. And it also relates to me in these formations that you listed like diligence and those qualities or behaviors that I'm confused about how to separate from attachment. Well, this is one of my primary meditations is meditation on responsibility. And for me, responsibility is a word


pretty much equivalent to reality. So we are responsible beings. And because we're responsible beings, we have all kinds of responsibilities. But responsibility for me is not a synonym for control. For example, in reality, I am responsible to you. And I am responsible with you. And you are responsible to me. And you are responsible with me. That's reality for me. However, not everyone is ready to commit to accepting that reality. But I'm saying that part of the process


that we're studying here is learning how to accept and realize reality, which is how to accept and realize responsibility. And part of realizing it usually involves at some point commitment to study it. However, although I'm responsible to you, I am not in control of you. And you are not in control of me. And I am responsible for and to myself. And I am not in control of myself. But I am responsible for myself, to myself. And may I say something?


The pivotal word for me is with. First, you are responsible with me. And I am responsible with you. We are together making... I can, the part, the control for me is not so much. I can process that. I have a harder time with the word responsibility, with the idea of giving up attachment, say to you or to my child, or not that, to, even in anticipation as I am with you, to be present to you


and to feel your presence and be open to that in a way to me becomes somehow an attachment. Like just opening to being present to that person so I can be responsive to them. And I'm feeling confused about that responsiveness and that sensation that perhaps that's an attachment or some, no? Yes? Part of your ability to respond is that you can respond by thinking that there's some attachment in the field. That's possible. And what I'm saying here is that


in reality of responsibility, there is actually no attachment. And this- How do you feel that out? Just like that, you feel it out. By practicing responsibility, you will notice, and I think you have noticed, that as you're practicing responsibility, you stumble upon or come upon attachment. You discovered it, some attachment around the word responsibility. That comes up. But the attachment is something you discovered as you were feeling your way about responsibility. Because there can be no attachment. You can't be attached to me, to my responsibility to you. You can't get ahold of that. But if you think you can, you have just discovered something that is unreal.


So. Because it will always be there. Because of our mutual responsibility, nobody can get ahold of anything. Nobody can own, you know, like possess. You can't possess me or yourself. You can't possess your responsibility. That's the Higgs boson. That's the Higgs boson. In the reality of our mutual responsibility, there is no possibility of attachment. However, as we get into studying responsibility, we will notice certain delusions like attachment and control. And then when control comes up, we have the responsibility to work with that together to realize it's a delusion. What is like when you don't want the responsibility?


Say you get just exhausted, like you've been talking about the great compassion, the great compassion allowing you. That's something that arose and you weren't in control of the arising of it. It just came. You didn't make it come. You're just trying to be responsible. And then suddenly, boom, I don't wanna be responsible came up. Now you and I are responsible for this thing, which we didn't make happen. But it came into your life. You told me now it's in both of our lives. And now we're both responsible for this thing. I don't wanna be this thing. I don't wanna be responsible. Where did that come from? I don't know, but we're still responsible for it. You didn't want it to come. I didn't want it to come. You didn't make it come. We aren't, and now it's here and we're not in control of it. We got this thing. I don't wanna be responsible in our relationship.


And we are responsible for it. We are responsible to understand it, to be kind to it, to investigate it. I am responsible to investigate. I don't wanna be irresponsible, which in other words, we are responsible for investigating childhood or not childhood, but childishness, immaturity. Immature beings sometimes can't cope with the vastness of responsibility. So they say, I don't wanna be responsible or they flip to the other side and say, I'm in complete control. So either way, these are opportunities which we are responsible for, which we can surround with compassion. And now observe. Ah, no, somebody doesn't wanna be responsible. Okay, observe and experiment. Tell me more, you know, experiment.


Tell me more about how you don't wanna be responsible. So would you say, going back to your first statement about responsibility and responsibility being reality, is it also bringing it back to your theme of science? Is it also like science being responsible to the truth? Yeah, together. Together as a whole en masse. Yep. Okay. So I'm not big on control and I'm rather unpopular for that reason. But when you realize, when you give up trying to control, that helps you relax and study better. I can be more responsible if I let go of thinking I'm in control of my children. So I'm devoted to them, but I'm not in control of them


and I'm responsible for them and I commit to realize my responsibility. But I do not commit to get my children under control or the so-called students. I'm not committed to get the students under control and get them all lined up to be Buddhists. I'm not doing that. I'm responsible for their Buddhahood, not in control of their Buddhahood. And they're responsible for my Buddhahood, but you and none of you are in control of my Buddhahood. You're responsible for my Buddhahood. And if you are wanting to be convinced, if you want to convince or help explain, like you're helping me understand or you're guiding me or giving me, is that? I don't wanna convince. I don't wanna convince. I wanna help you, but I don't wanna convince you. I wanna help you be Buddha, not convince you to be Buddha.


But you're convinced that it will help. You've convinced me. Okay. All right. Thank you. You're welcome. Hi, Rev. Good evening. Good evening. I think I have two questions and I think they are related. I think my first question is about, you mentioned that since there's really no fixed self, so the ownership of our emotions is like, it's not my anger, for example. It's not my sadness. I think I can understand that to a certain degree. And in extending from that,


I think that maybe we can also say, it's not my consciousness. It's not your consciousness. I just wanna be clear. I'm hearing you correctly. When the statement is my feelings, that's an illusion. But we do have that, my consciousness. But really it's not my consciousness. But I don't think that way. And thinking that way is an affliction. I think that it's easier for me to accept it. For instance, it's not my anger. It's easier for me to be open to the idea or let go of the attachment to my anger. But somehow it's, hm? The anger. The anger. If there's anger and I just say, oh, here's anger, it's easier for me to be kind to it than if it's my anger. Adding my in just makes it harder to take care of it.


Just like to add in my baby, it makes it harder for me to take care of it. It's better to take care of the baby. And my baby makes it harder. It's normal, but it's harder. My friend. That's probably related to what you were talking about last week about impartial, being impartial. Right? And perhaps also related to the previous person's question about responsibility. Yes. And attachment and trying to control when we are not identifying these things as ours, we might have an easier time. Just take care of the business. Right, right. And if we do say my whatever, be kind to that. Because we're trained to talk that way and think that way. So be kind to that. And then we can gradually understand


how that's making things more difficult. And can you say a little bit more about how we can see consciousness as just consciousness rather than my consciousness? Because I think- So right now, right now there is awareness of the room I'm in, of this room, and of you and everybody else in the group. There is this awareness. And this is also an awareness. There's also this awareness. It comprehends or embraces feelings and sounds and smells. There's an awareness of all of this, that total embrace or the total, yeah, the total embrace of all that's going on. That's consciousness. And there's, we do not, there does not need to be the statement, my consciousness. Even though I'm in it,


I'm like a resident in this consciousness, but it's not mine. Just like I live in the US, but it's not my continent. It's so hard to, intellectually I can understand that, but it's so hard to let that go. Because that feels like, it feels like all of these conscious experiences is considered my being alive. Yeah, right. So it may be, so that's why it's difficult to let go and we don't want to force it. But by studying it, we will see it's an illusion. By observing it and talking about it and being friendly with it, we will see how silly it is without pushing it away or punishing it or denying it. We want to be friends with it. Be friends with this delusion


and also be friendly with how well-established it is. It's gonna be a while. Our experiences like going to sleep or when you faint, are those moments where we can contemplate it out. Well, in those experiences, you're not trying to hold on to or control the consciousness. When you're going to sleep, there is a moment when you relax. And you stop being, for a moment, we stopped being possessive of the going to sleep process. Like, I'm gonna go to sleep. I'm gonna go to sleep. People who do that have a hard time. But even they, sometimes, they let go of it and they just go to sleep. And they didn't do it. They went to sleep, but they didn't make themselves go to sleep.


But the people who are trying to make themselves go to sleep, they have a hard time. Yeah, it's a good example. Thank you. You're welcome. June or Fran? Actually, I think Fran was first. Either way, is that okay with me? I think you were first. Okay, do I need to do anything? Oh, there I am. Okay. Good evening, Rev. Good evening, Fran.


Well, I had a question in mind, but then also a note. Another one came up more in reaction to the last questions and conversation. So I'll present that first. And I'm thinking about, in talking about my and ownership of things in the mind, in our consciousness, where does the body come into play? So if we say, my body, I know that that's in a different realm, so somehow it's still, it is an idea, but there actually is a thing called body that we perceive our consciousness being attached to, or the consciousness that's there being attached to. So what is a good way to think about what we call our body?


How does that come into play? In karmic consciousness, there are, what do you call it, sense data appearing. For example, colors, smells, tastes, tangibles, and sounds. These things are appearing in karmic consciousness. Those are not direct sense experiences. The direct sense experiences are actually affecting your sense organs. Your sense organs, from the Buddhist perspective, your body's really five sense organs, like your skin. It's this huge sense organ.


Our body's actually a sense organ, but you cannot see your sense organ in consciousness. You can't see how your body is responding to, for example, light. But your body is responding to light, and that relationship is your body, is how your, this organ, these sense organs, how they're responding to sense data. And this interaction between your sensuous body and the environment gives rise to consciousness, in which there's appearances of sense data, but they're not the sense data directly. They're sense data in consciousness. Mm-hmm. Okay. So I think I have a little bit of a grasp of that. I'm thinking about the ownership issue.


If I say my body, it's just that it's not anybody else's body. It's not something like consciousness I can see as something that's, I haven't an idea of it, how it can be shared and come from the unconscious and come from our context and the room we're in and everything around us. But body seems to be more the physical things, physical material things seem that they are more separate. So that was more what I was thinking about. Again, the Buddhist tradition presents the body as sense organs, but sense organs aren't, they're non-existent except when they're operating. So a sense organ that's not operating is not a sense organ.


But there's still an ear there with flesh. But if you have this thing here, this thing here, this fleshy thing, that's actually the organ. This is not an organ. Okay, so in Buddhism, then these are the- Just let me finish. The organ here, there's something in this area which responds to sound. But the main way that this thing here responds to sound is by kind of like bouncing it into the hole here. But this isn't actually picking up on the sound too much. There's some sensitivity, some living sensitivity to sound. That's the organ. However, when there's no sound, there's no organ. When you're in a situation, if we were in a situation where there's no sound, then there's no ear organ because it's not operating. The tissue here, like this part here outside


and the cochlea and the eardrum and all that stuff, all that physical stuff's there. But as you know, in some people, that stuff's there, but there's no organ, there's no receptivity to sound. It's not operating. So they don't have a sense of self, a sense of the ear. So in that sense, part of their body is missing. So the sense organs cannot exist without the sense data. It's actually an interaction between them that gives rise to the consciousness of the data. But the consciousness is the interaction. It's not the sense organ. And it's not the sense data. It's the interaction between them. And sense data are not sense data except to sense organs.


Like electromagnetic radiation is not light. I mean, it's not sense data. It's a physical phenomenon. It becomes sense data when it interacts with the sense organ. And that's the foundation of our life is that our body in relationship to the environment. And that relationship gives rise to awareness. And in the awareness, there becomes representations of the physical world that's interacting with our body, which is our sense organs. But that representation is a mental image, a mental construction, a mental arising of this intimate relationship between our sensible body and the whole world. But we're not consciously aware, but our consciousness arises


from this intimate relationship between our sense body, which is the body we have, and the world. Okay, I think I'm getting a kind of an idea. Consciousness arises from this interaction. Okay, and the actual, so the actual material of the body is just as part of the phenomenal world. It's part of the phenomenal world. Yes, it is. And it is sensitive to light, sounds, movement, smells, and so on. It's sensitive to that. And when these two interact, which they do somehow, they meet, they're friends, and this relationship gives rise to awareness. And then in the awareness, there is a representation of what the body touched or what touched the body.


But it's a representation of it. It's not the actual touching. And the body that appears in our mind is a mental construction of our body. What appears in our consciousness is not actually the sensitivity to light or the sensitivity to smell. We just have ideas about that, which is part of our study, is to study our ideas of our body. Okay, that's a lot to take in. It's a lot. I will try. I think I've got the edges of it. I'm sorry if I gave you too much. No, no, that was very good. I don't know, should I go to my original question? Okay, go ahead. That was more simple, but it's number two of the four afflictions was the one that I had the hardest time


trying to make sense out of in some way, the idea that the self views consciousness, it's conscious, what it perceives as its consciousness. Well, the self views consciousness and also the self views all the stuff in consciousness, like the colors and the smells and the sounds and the feelings. So in consciousness is all this stuff. And then there's this idea, which is this stuff is being viewed by the self, but it's not. It's actually being viewed by the whole consciousness, not the self. The self is just another, unless we would say in the one case that the self is consciousness, that's one thing I would say. We could say the self is nothing other than consciousness. Okay, but then I guess you could say the self, yeah.


We don't think the self is consciousness. We also think the self is feelings and so on. What if we take the perspective of mindfulness? So I'm being mindful of my thoughts and feelings. Is the me who's being mindful, not myself? Or what is that? Yeah, so that's an example of mindfulness of, for example, breath, okay? Mindfulness of breath. And then we can add onto this, I'm mindful of breath. But it's actually mindfulness of breath. And then the idea that I'm mindful of breath, that's an affliction that makes mindfulness much more difficult to practice, to think that I'm mindful of my breath rather than mindfulness of breath, mindfulness of breath. Or I'm balancing on this tightrope


rather than balancing on the tightrope. So there is this affliction, which is more like the self-pride that whatever kind of good things are going on here, especially the good things, I'm operating them. So I'm doing the mindfulness. I'm doing the generosity. I'm doing the patience. But really, it's not I'm generous, it's generous. It's being generous in this way. It's not my generosity. My generosity is antithetical, or in any way, certainly makes generosity very cumbersome. Okay, thank you very much. You're welcome. That's helpful. Well, I'm sorry, it's past time, and we try to end on time. Thank you for donating your time, June. And I'll see you this weekend. Write your question down. We can talk about this weekend, okay? Certainly, happy to.


And Charlie, I'm sorry we didn't get to Charlie, to your wonderful question, whatever it might have been. Can you write it down? And bring it up later? Thank you. Thank you, everybody, for another wonderful evening of study, of compassion, of investigation, of experimentation, of observation, of each other, and of our karmic consciousnesses. May we continue this study until everybody realizes the Buddha way, okay? Does that sound good? Sounds wonderful. I feel responsible for the program, but I'm not in control of it. Good night. We know. Good night, Rev. Thank you, Rev. Even though I'm not in control, I'm responsible. Yeah, that's right.


Thank you. Thank you. Good night. Good night. Good night.