Yoga Room Class - October 19th, 2021

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

This talk will not appear in the main Search results:

AI Suggested Keywords:

AI Summary: 



This recording is intended to be shared with class members only


Last week we set an agenda for the series of meetings and I etymologized it. The earliest etymology I found was it comes from agere, which means to agree, and a later etymology is what is to be done. So the agenda that I thought we started with is to continue to practice compassion and now to, along with practicing it, study it, examine it, question it, explore it, and this kind of study, this kind of examination, to do it with observing it,


and experimenting with it. So, and again, I offer this agenda reflecting a definition of science, which is to study phenomena, to study phenomena in an observing and experimenting way, to examine, to explore phenomena, physical phenomena like rocks, and suns, and moons, and trees, and ocean, but also living beings like humans, animals, and so on, and also to study the mind or the minds of living beings. These things can be studied.


So, compassion is a body-mind practice, which can be studied, and we can also study that which compassion embraces, and there's different kinds of compassion, which we've talked about. There's small, medium, and more or less infinite compassion. Some people, almost everyone, has compassion for something or somebody, like some people do not want to practice compassion towards humans, but they are happy to do it with dogs. So, that's good, or some people practice it towards plants. That's good. That's one type of compassion, and then there's other kinds too, which we've talked about,


leading up to the great compassion, which is compassion for all things, all the time. And someone could be practicing compassion. We could see someone practicing compassion, and we could be deeply touched and encouraged by how kind they were to animals, and plants, and even the earth, and how respectful they were of water, like the ancestor Dogan. He encouraged when you have, if you have water, and you're going to pour it back into the river, or into the sink, you pour it towards yourself, rather than away. Can you get that picture? So, you tip the bowl back towards yourself, as you pour it back into the stream, as a more respectful way, rather than the other way, kind of tossing it away, turning it back. So, that's an expression of compassion, and kindness,


and respect for the water that we've used. So, again, you could, and I could, and I have seen many people who are really compassionate, and it's very touching, very encouraging. However, if that person asked me about their compassion practice, I might say it's great, but, you know, I don't think you're examining it. I don't think you're questioning it. I don't, I mean, you're doing a great thing, but I don't see you exploring it. I don't see you investigating it. So, to discover the full and deepest significance of the practice of compassion, I think we are called by the Buddhas, by the awakened ones, patiently called


to practice compassion, but also question it. And the questioning is not just you questioning your compassion, it's also questioning other people's compassion, but most importantly, it is others questioning my compassion. So, I want to practice compassion, but I want to question it. I want to investigate it. I want to explore it. And again, I would say you can explore to some extent, but you can explore more deeply if you question your exploration. You can investigate, but questioning enhances the investigation. And similarly, questioning is enhanced by making the questioning an exploration,


making the question playful and creative. Now, if I'm practicing compassion, if I'm trying to practice compassion, maybe I'm feel somewhat successful, and again, other people might say, you're doing pretty well practicing compassion. But yeah, also, there are certain areas where your compassion is quite limited. There are certain areas where you're not looking. There are certain areas where you could be practicing compassion, but you're ignoring those areas. It doesn't mean you're not practicing compassion, it means that your compassion is being called into question. And someone might even say, call it into question so much that they might be upset with you. And they might say you're not compassionate.


And, yeah, I think I would like to learn to welcome questioning or questioning of my compassion in that very kind of strong, or you could say even angry way, where someone isn't just saying your compassion could be deeper, they just say you're not compassionate, you're cruel, they might say. But that's their way of calling my compassion into question. That's their way of stimulating me to look at my practice. And also, can I be compassionate to them when they angrily tell me I'm not being compassionate? And I would say, I aspire to learn that. So I'm trying to practice compassion, and I aspire to


learn to practice compassion when people tell me that I'm not, to generously receive that negative feedback. With and remember that I need feedback to have a fully developed compassion practice. And sometimes people are pointing out to me what I'm ignoring. I think we all sometimes ignore some opportunities for compassion. There's some people sometimes, when we miss the chance, we ignore. There's a chance there to be kind to this being, this animal, this human animal, this non-human animal, or even, I don't know, the weather. So tonight here in California, it looked like we're going to get some rain.


But when there's fires and the air is bad, you know, we may forget that this bad air is is calling for compassion. Of course, all the people who are suffering in it are too. But anyway, the point is that we all have some ignorance. There's some things we all are ignoring. And generally speaking, it's hard to face what we're ignoring. It's hard to face our ignorance. It's often very uncomfortable. And then again, we have trouble embracing that discomfort of observing our discomfort with noticing our ignorance. Whether we notice it on our own, which is great.


But again, we can't just depend on noticing it on our own. We need others to help us, because they can notice things we're overlooking that we will never notice. So I confess, I confess that I have been ignorant of some, I've been ignorant of some things in my life. For example, I did not, I mean, I grew up in a very fortunate situation where I was not, I was not attacked and belittled because I was white. And I, yeah, let's just stop there. And I had so many privileges and still do. And I didn't even, I was ignorant. I was ignorant, not completely, but greatly ignorant


about other people who did not have my good fortune and the privileges that I had from childhood. And I have been, and to some extent, still am ignorant of my, my privilege, ignorant of the, of the extent of it, and ignorant of the backside of it. Namely, my privilege means somebody else is disadvantaged. If everybody had what I had, then nobody would be disadvantaged, but that's not, everybody doesn't have what I have. And I'm now trying to face that, which I had been ignoring. I want to be compassionate. I do not want to disrespect any beings. I do not want to be a


racist and look down on or judge people based on race. I do not want to, but probably, to some extent, I am, and not only that, but I am probably ignorant of some of the ways that I am. And other people can help me see the ways that I am by pointing it out to me or criticizing me when I miss my, when I miss seeing what I've done. That doesn't mean that I'm not trying to be respectful of all beings. It just means I sometimes fail. And the scientists do sometimes fail. They observe things, and they don't see what they are, and they do experiments, and they fail to, they fail to affirm their observations.


And sometimes they give up, but sometimes they don't. They keep trying. So, yeah, I don't know how many times today, I actually, I confess to you that I did not, nobody told me today about, you know, today about the way I was today. Nobody told me that I missed chances to be compassionate, that there was a chance for me to be compassionate to someone, and I missed it. Nobody told me that today. And I didn't notice some opportunity where I could have been kind to someone, and I wasn't. So, there I went through the whole day. I probably missed, I was probably ignorant of some of my failures today. But I'm not always ignorant, because I do sometimes notice, as I told you, I am looking, and I'm asking for you


and others to help me look at all my privileges, to look at what I'm ignoring around them. And I don't expect that to be pleasant, but I would like to, I would like to do that difficult work. I would like to share the burden of racism in this country with you and with all the people who are harmed by racism, which is in a sense all of us. So, I want to share the risk, the burden. It's a burden. We have racism. It's a burden. And it's a burden which is going to be there until everybody learns to respect everybody


deeply. Everybody is compassionate to everybody. Until that time, we are going to have this burden in this world, and I want to share it with you, and I want you to share it with all beings. And this applies to, again, our relationships with other humans, but also with other animals, with plants, and it also applies to our dealing with our own mind. And so, last week, I gave you an example of what I thought of Buddha as a scientist, Buddha observing his situation, questioning it, and then coming up with an experiment, questioning his situation of being afraid


and wondering if there's some way he could become free of it, and then hypothesizing that if he did a certain experiment, it might pacify and liberate him from his suffering. And then he did the experiment, and the experiment in several cases, many cases, was successful and led him to discover the truth. He discovered the Dharma in this way of studying his suffering, his anxiety, his dread, his fear, by observing it and experimenting with it. This week, I'd like to offer another experiment that Buddha did, but in this particular rendition of it, he'd already done this experiment, I think, on his own, and he was giving this experiment to somebody else. And I think the name of this scripture is the Bahia Sutta,


Bahia, B-A-H-I-Y-A, I think is how you spell it, Bahia. And I think this person's Bahia, I think they called him the bark-robed monk. I think his robe was made of bark, you know, from a tree, sort of stitched bark together to make a robe. So he was a mendicant in India at the time of the Buddha, and he was, like in the last story, he was a well-respected person. In this case, he was a well-respected mendicant and he was a yogi, Bahia was. And a lot of people thought Bahia was a wonderful teacher, but Bahia wasn't super arrogant, so he actually questioned himself.


He wondered to himself, I wonder if I actually have understood the truth, or am I just kidding myself? Am I really arrogant, you know, in a very, what's the word, refined way, so a lot of people think I'm a good teacher. Am I somewhat arrogant? Is there something who knows what's going on better than me? He had that question in his practice. And one night, a deity came to him and said, Bahia, thanks for asking, you do not understand. However, fortunately, there is somebody who does, somebody who studied himself and has found the reality of the self,


the reality of our body and mind, and his name's Gautama, he's a Buddha. And I think right now he's staying in, what was he staying? Oh no, I don't know where he was staying, actually. Anyway, he was staying someplace. And so this incomplete wise person, this wise person whose wisdom was not complete and penetrating completely, he decided to go study with Shakyamuni Buddha. So he headed out, and he found out where the Buddha was and went to where the Buddha was. And he went to the town where the Buddha was supposed to be staying. And the people in the town said, oh, the Buddha's out in such and such a grove. And with his students, you can find him there. So he went out there, but the Buddha wasn't there. And he asked, well, where is the Buddha?


And he said, well, he went to town begging. He's doing his food begging rounds at this time. So then Bahiya went to town and found the Buddha begging. And he went to the Buddha and he said, you know, I've come a long way. I understand that you have realized the truth. Please teach me. And the Buddha, in the midst of his alms round, said, sorry, this is not a good time, Bahiya. He didn't say sorry. He said, this is not a good time, Bahiya. And then Bahiya said, excuse me, sir, but we don't know what's going to happen later today. So please, please give me teaching.


And the Buddha said, sir, this is not a good time. And again, Bahiya said, excuse me, blessed one. This world is very uncertain. We may die this afternoon. Please give me the teaching. And the Buddha said, well, since you've asked three times, I cannot refuse. And he said, okay, train yourself like this. Or you could say, study yourself like this. Explore your mind, explore your body and mind like this. Explore your sense organs and your sense consciousnesses and your sense fields, you know. He didn't say this. I'm just, I'm elaborating that he's sending


him to study the way his sense organs work in relationship to the physical world. He's going to tell him how to do that. He's telling him what to study and now he's going to tell him how. Okay. So all this is me saying that. But the Buddha said, train yourself thus. In the scene, there will be just the scene. In the herd, there will be just the herd. And I think he said, in the sensed, and that's a short, that's the summary of in the smelled,


in the tasted, and in the touched. So in the touched, there will be just the touched. In the tasted, there will be just the tasted. And in the smelled, there will be just the smelled. And then he said, and in the mentally imagined, there will be just the mentally imagined, like pain, pleasure, fear, dread, confusion, ill will, attachment. In these mental phenomena, in those mental phenomena, there were just those mental phenomena. So that's what he wanted. He's trained yourself like that, that in all these realms,


these objects of awareness, there will be just these objects of awareness. That was the experiment, which is also an experiment to observe, to observe if things could be that way for you. So then the Buddha says, when for you, it's like this, for example, when for you, in the scene, there's just a scene, in the heard, there's just a heard, in the touched, there's just a touched, and so on. When that's the way it is,


when that's how it is, then there will be no here or there. Then there will be no identifying with, for example, the scene. There'll be no identifying with the heard. That's what he said. There'll be no identifying with it. But also, I would add that there will be no disidentifying. So you look at, for example, if you looked at a picture, if you looked at yourself in the mirror, you would see the picture, and there would just be the image. You wouldn't identify with it, and you wouldn't disidentify with it. If you look at somebody else, there would just be the image of the person. There would be no disidentification. There would just be the scene, and then there will be no here, or there, or in between.


And this will be the end of suffering. Now, in this story, pretty much by the time the Buddha said that, Bahiya had already arrived at the instruction. By the time the Buddha was done talking, he already was able to, in the scene, have it just be the scene. With no Bahiya in addition to the scene. With no Bahiya wanting to get the scene, or get away from the scene. In the heard, there was just the heard. There was no Bahiya in addition to what was heard. He was able to do that almost instantly.


And later in history, he got the nickname of the fastest learning monk. And the Buddha could see that he realized the non-identification and non-disidentification with everything that he was aware of. And he realized that there's no here, or there, or in between. He realized the end of suffering. And realizing this wisdom, doing this experiment, which the Buddha had already done, and verified that this, if you do this experiment fully, you will realize the end of suffering. Somehow, he indicated that he had understood to the Buddha. The Buddha understood, that he


understood. And he said to the Buddha, I would like now to become one of your students. I would like to join your community. He had not yet entered the Buddhist community. He was a newcomer, an amazing newcomer, a highly evolved, humble newcomer, with great powers of hearing the instruction and applying it. And now he wanted to join the community of this great teacher. And the Buddha said to him, do you have the requisites? So when you get in those days, when you joined at the time of Baha'i anyway, not in the beginning, in the first scripture, there was not yet a community. So people, those first five students, didn't actually follow this procedure. This teaching, this story comes sometime after that.


So by this time, when you join the community, you would bring the Buddha a robe, which they had specified the way the robe should be. And you'd bring the Buddha a bowl, which you'd use to beg with. And those were called the requisites. So the Buddha, he wanted to join the Buddhist community. And at that time, to join, you're supposed to bring the Buddha requisites, and you give them to the Buddha, and the Buddha then gives them to you. And then you receive them, and that's how you join the community. So many of you have asked to join the community of bodhisattvas. And part of the joining is, you gave somebody, maybe me, a robe, and then I gave the robe to you. And that was a way that you formally joined the Sangha, joined the community, following that early example. So the Buddha said to Baha'i, do you have the requisites? In other words, do you have a robe


to give to me? And I'll give back to you, and you will then become a member. And Baha'i said, no, I don't have the requisites. Buddha said, well, get the requisites, come back, and we will, then you can join the community. And then, just like Baha'i said, we might die this afternoon. And then Baha'i got hit, got between a cow and her calf, and the cow killed him. So he did die, but he received the teaching, and he understood the teaching before he died. And when the people in the community heard about that, they were, of course, very shocked and grieved to hear that this wonderful person had been killed by the cow. And the Buddha said, don't worry, he attained wisdom, he's fine.


But again, I offer this to you as an example of Buddha science, of the science of awakening, of the study of the body and mind. And again, this is a body-mind study, because they're studying the body, the sense organs, the skin, the eyes, the ears. This is a physical practice, and it's a mental practice. So this is a body-mind observation and experiment experiment with the hypothesis that if you do this experiment to the extent that I said, you will realize the end of suffering. So there again is my ancient example of Buddha being a scientist and also being a science teacher.


Some scientists maybe aren't science teachers, but he is both practicing and teaching science. And he had a long history of trying to practice science and being criticized by other scientists, which he tells stories about that too. So again, for example, we may be trying to alleviate the suffering of racism in this country, to deconstruct the systems which re-enact it and reinforce it. We may be working on that. And also we need to be called into question in this effort. So it's going to continue. It's been difficult somewhat, and there's more difficulties in our compassion practice coming up. There's


more difficulties in our studying racism in ourselves, in our relationships with others, and in the system of this country. And now I also left you with a number of homework assignments. One of them was, could you find any examples in the Buddhist literature of exemplifying scientific research about life in general, but also specifically about Buddhist practice as a scientific endeavor? Did anybody find anything that they care to share this evening? Or also equally good to have examples in your daily life when you discovered something or you observed something, where you experimented with something in order to understand it.


Did you forget your homework? The dog ate my homework. Hi, Reb. Can you hear me? I can. Okay. I can hear you, and I can see you. I can see you. I had an interesting experience around this, and I found this teaching very helpful. I have had a long discourse with my daughter about vaccinating her daughters against COVID. And we don't agree on that.


So I attended a debate from an organization called Braver Angels. And they debate, and it was on vaccinating. And that happened this last week. And they had people on both sides give their opinion. And it was very helpful. The purpose of this group is to get families talking to one another again. And I heard one thing that kind of struck me, because one of the people that was against vaccinating children talked about the fact that the research was going to take years before they knew the results of vaccinating children, whether it's safe or not. So then I practiced with my daughter.


I called her, and I said, I think I'm understanding where you're coming from. Because she wasn't really telling me. So when I asked her, she said, yes. She said, I'm afraid that the results aren't in yet. And that there could be some harmful results from the vaccine. Now, I don't agree with her, but it got us talking. And it was really helpful. So I felt like I was exploring the other side. And it got us to a point where we could talk. And then when I re-listened to your lecture, I thought, it's exactly that. It's the exploration. Yeah. So you explored her. Did you say you explored her side? Yes. Yeah.


And did you explore your side? Well, I've been exploring my side every day, thinking I'm right, forever, since the pandemic started. So I was pretty familiar with that. But it helped me more deeply explore my other side of my discomfort, my fear, when you talked about fear and dread. And that was helpful. And I don't feel the fear and dread anymore. Thank you for doing your homework. And I also saw an interesting report of a doctor on CNN who was having a conversation with a man who is encouraging people to decide for themselves whether they should get vaccinated


or not. You know, he himself doesn't think he doesn't want to get vaccinated. And also, he got the COVID, but he survived. So for himself, he thinks, I just take care of my health, and that's the way I want to do it. And so he was talking with this doctor who has a different point of view. And after this long conversation, some of the commentators on CNN asked the doctor, they said, do you think you got through to him? And he kind of said, I don't know. I don't know if I did. But when he said that, they didn't say to him, did he get through to you? But in a way, if somebody got through to you, to show you that there's some merit, maybe, in the other side, I think it's not for us to get through to them, but also for


them to get through to us. But getting through to us doesn't mean that necessarily we agree with them. No. It's just that they get through to us. And same, getting through to them doesn't mean that they agree with us. The thing is to get through to each other. That's where the most important thing, that's where the compassion is. Not that we all become Democrats, or all become Republicans, or all become communists. It's that we get through to each other. And we let people get through to us. You know, but that's hard. It's hard to let people get through to us. We might be destroyed if we didn't get through to us. There might be nothing left of us. But you let something to get through to you that didn't get through to you before, right? Yeah, thank you. And if they can get through to you, maybe they'll let you get through to them.


Yes, I hope. Yeah, I hope so too. I hope we get through to each other rather than just us getting through to them. Yeah. Thank you, Ronigan. It's the Michelle and Linda show. Thank you, Michelle. Zoom keeps talking to us here. Oh, unmute myself. We can hear you. Okay. Well, I last week had raised my hand briefly, because I wanted to ask you about, I wanted to hear more examples of, as in addition to the one you gave about the Buddha


and sitting with his dread and fear. And then I took my hand down. And as I thought more and more about it, and the next day, Michelle and I talked, and I thought more, I felt like, wow, that was for me, at least. It's like the perfect, perfect example. Because it seemed to me, I started to see possible experiments everywhere. And it seemed to me that the consistent parts to that were staying, staying in this posture, which is not little me. And then through, like through the one that I thought of a lot when particularly we were talking, and I thought, yes, that was listening through all the way through what someone has to


say. Because in I noticed in my mind, there's often an alternate view that comes forward. And I often think they're, you know, okay, pretty good. And so to, to stay, stay in this posture, and hear all the way through, then answer from there. So that was the one that I said, for myself this week. And I, I forgot sometimes. And especially when I became animated. But yeah, and then there, there are others like, of course, staying with this pain of discomfort. Staying, you mentioned tonight, questioning, do I understand anything? You know, what am I? What is this?


And staying with that maybe discomfort of, of that, of not knowing. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Great. Feel like this is really, this seemed to me a really helpful tack to take with, you know, the idea of an experiment of an exploration, and setting it for yourself. Anyway, for me, it was. And also, thank you for being here with us when there's pain going on. Thank you for taking up the opportunity. Hello. Hello. I hope your knee's okay.


It's, it's okay. So this is very brave, hearing from you and keeping turning things. Um, I have a question. I, the kind of compassion I experienced from you is of a high end, because it's not the way I show compassion, which has to do with, I think what the Buddha is describing of a real facility to see and to hear and to know seeing is seeing and hearing is hearing. And so I perceive you as having a real ability to stick through, um, things that I would run across the room and not even be there. So I sort of aspire to that. And the way I experience working on my whiteness has to do with identifying.


It's actually going the opposite of that, which is identifying with the black experience of the trauma of, you know, like, I was just at the African American Museum in DC, that the Middle Passage was laid out in really horrific, uh, comprehensible, you know, the iron chains that were around two people's chain together in their own excrement, you know, it was really horrific. So I identify and that that's not exactly the same as. So, um, I don't know if there's, you know, and then people talk about like identity, identity, um, like you can't have non duality until you have identity politics or whatever. Anyway, um, so what do you think about, I, is that sentimental compassion?


Um, maybe. But let's just go back to the, the instruction would be in, train yourself thus. In the whiteness, there will be just the whiteness. And when in the whiteness, there's just the whiteness, then you will not identify with the whiteness and you won't disidentify with the whiteness. So it sounds like you've flipped from, instead of identifying with whiteness, you flip to disidentifying, but disidentifying isn't really letting the whiteness just be whiteness. In the blackness, there'll be just the blackness. That's the instruction. The whiteness and blackness are things we can see. The Buddha's instruction is in the whiteness, there will be just whiteness.


Rather than in the whiteness, I identify with it. And I think whiteness is better than blackness or blackness is better than whiteness. Either of those are common, but they're not, neither are realizing this instruction. If we can let in the whiteness there just be whiteness, then there will be no here or there or in between. Between us and other white people, between us and black people. But it takes a lot of compassion to really just let whiteness be whiteness. And also, I might think I'm just letting whiteness be my whiteness, and you might help me see I'm not, I haven't really arrived at that deep place where white is just white. In the story, this person was able to let white just be white. And then he didn't identify with it or disidentify with it.


Then he didn't locate himself in it. When I let white be white, I won't locate myself in white or locate myself outside of being white. But I have to have a conversation with whiteness. When I let the white privilege just be white privilege, then I will not locate myself in it or outside of it. But in the meantime, I might be ignoring the white privilege. So I can't just let the white privilege be white privilege until I accept, you know, really accept it and see it and observe it. And observe it so thoroughly, it's just white privilege. There it is. And it's got a dark side. But there it is. And I'm not in it or outside of it.


And this is very hard. It's very hard to be intimate with white privilege. To really fully acknowledge it and look at it. It's easy to ignore it. But the pain of facing it, the pain of facing that we've been ignoring it is pretty strong. But it's a greater pain to not acknowledge it. So we want to acknowledge white privilege so thoroughly that in the white privilege, there's just white privilege. Or in the black disadvantage, there's just the black disadvantage. And you're totally there for that. And feeling the pain of that. And sharing the burden of that. In my experience in talking about things that come up that reveal privilege that I have,


like a way I relate to the world that's really conditioned. And you describe the just, it's just that. To me, that's kind of like a meditative place. But usually when, I mean, I appeal this white stuff in a group. And so it's more relational. It's not as much just a sensation on my eye or something. It's like, you know, this happened at work. And it was really revealed how much, how I relate to the world, like entitled, whatever. Anyway, it feels, it's not like the quiet moment of sensing. Yeah, you need, the Buddha's asking you to find the quiet moment of sensing a moment of privilege, to fully be there with it and feel that.


Right. And feel the other side of it, which is painful. Yeah. To feel the shame of it. To just be quietly there with the shame of you having something that others don't have. I guess I don't think shame's that helpful at this point. It's, everybody has racism. It's all conditioned. The point is to look at it and, I don't know, shame isn't helpful. Everybody has it. It's all, it's pervading. It's pervading. It's all over the place. Yeah. And so, and white privilege is, goes right along with it. And so we're trying to be quiet with it and be fully there with it. And we need to help each other. We need to talk to each other to be able to be fully present. And that's what we're doing right now. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Hello.


Hello. So I'd like to carry that a little further. Because when I think of white privilege, or when I think of male privilege, there's a lot of stuff that comes up. And I don't think either of them are, you know, really a good idea. But how to be with those thoughts and feelings and let them just be those thoughts and feelings about the topic, I guess, is my question. I find that really difficult. Um, well, it is really difficult to let the thought in the thought, to let the thought just be the thought. That is difficult until you master that exercise. And it's difficult, it's difficult to just let the feel, in the feeling, there will be just the feeling.


Yeah. In the emotion, there will be just the emotion. So that again, we have to be very present and quiet, with maybe something that's very, very vibrant, and dynamic, and painful. So it is, it's like, it's a steep cliff to climb, to be completely there with, and let a feeling be a feeling. Like, like, who was saying it? Like Linda was saying, to really listen to somebody when they're crying out in pain or anger, to like, really let that cry just be that cry. You give yourself to it completely. That is, the Buddha said, train yourself thus. He didn't say, be that way. He said, train yourself because, and, but this person in the story, this guy was able to do it really fast. But most of us, it would take us a long time to let the feeling just be a feeling.


To fully feel it, to let the cry of pain, to listen to it, so that it's all consuming. There's nobody, there's nobody in addition to it. That requires training. And in fact, and the reality is, there is nobody in addition to it. You're not in addition to your feeling, or you're not in addition to other people's feelings. You are totally consumed by that, and they are totally consumed in you. We have to train to get to that realization. That's, so that's, that's the experiment. That's an experiment. There it is. We can do it. We can do that. And I also think of, what's his name? Thomas Edison. He, he wasn't the one that discovered that if you pass a current through certain metals, they, they become bright. He wasn't the one that discovered that.


But he, he, and he would, I don't think he was the one that discovered that you had to have that thing inside of a vacuum in order for it to not to burst into flames. But he did an experiment with many, many, with, I heard thousands and thousands of times, he did different materials until he found a material that would work to perform that thing. He didn't give up. It was extremely, extremely challenging. But I, in a way, I don't think learning this exercise is as hard. I don't think you have to do 10,000 of these. But a lot, you have to do this over and over. I don't agree. I think it's really hard. And even to enter into this conversation, you know, I'm not saying it's not really hard. I'm just saying you might not have to do it 10,000 times. You've, we have, we, we have not done this experiment millions of times. But we might not have to do these, the Buddha's instruction 10,000 times to get the hang of it.


But if we do, okay, then maybe we'll do it 10,000 times. Well, I didn't mean to say it wasn't hard. Help me out a little here, because as this conversation goes on, I feel my level of agitation goes up, and then it subsides, and then it comes up, and then it subsides. And I start myself, and I say, just, just calm yourself. Just breathe, you know. That's going on in the background of this conversation. And I don't know if I'm, I would say bring that into the foreground. Well, that's what I'm trying to do right now. And I don't know if I'm trying to control the agitation, or if I'm trying to be with it. Well, not knowing which, which you're doing is good. That would help you look and see which are you doing? Are you trying to control the agitation? Or are you trying to let in the agitation there just be agitation?


So look and see. The Buddha would say, train yourself thus. In the agitation, there will just be agitation. And you look and you see, hmm, there's not just agitation, there's trying to, there's trying to control it. Okay, in the trying to control the agitation, there will be just trying to control the agitation. I'm trying to be calm with it. Is that contraindicated? I would say, in the trying to become, there will just be trying to become. Okay.


In the nodding of the head, there will be just the nodding of the head. Okay. I think that might be enough. Deborah.


So I've tried the experiment and where I struggle, and where I find most of my prejudice is with quiet entitlement. You know, I live in the town I grew up in and it's very evident. I encounter it a lot with my son's school, not at his school, but other schools that we play, like for soccer or, you know, and I've had incidences where I've seen people hurt and racial slurs. Many things happen. I was hit a couple months ago by a man wearing a Donald Trump shirt. It's another story, but, you know, and so I'm trying to, and I do get angry and I tend to, it seems my pattern is I initially, I feel like I have to say something or I have to approach it and I try in a compassionate way, but I don't know if I'm really compassionate.


I think I may be, maybe I am. I mean, I'm trying, but, you know, I'm trying to feel you know, for me, where I'm coming from is I've always felt on the other side, you know, I wasn't brought up wealthy or, you know, there's a real divide in this community. And I guess I don't know how to work with it in an authentic, helpful way. I feel like I can, I hear what you're saying, just let the privilege be the privilege, let my difficult feelings, they're just, they're feelings. I guess it's painful, very painful when I see these things or encounter it. And I feel like I have to try to do something, but it doesn't really help usually. I guess I don't know how to be generative. And I get stuck when I see when it becomes


there's violence against another person. It's, whether it's me, someone else, I don't, I can put myself, you know, I can think back, okay, why are they acting this way? Why is this happening? It's hard for me to find a lot of empathy. So if you have any suggestion. I guess I don't know how to, I guess I'm having trouble connecting it, the assignment with when it becomes violent. Does that make sense? Yeah, so I'm, the assignment isn't telling you what to do about the violence.


The assignment is saying to be, the assignment is saying be intimate with the violence. And it also, the assignment is, actually that's not the assignment. The assignment is train yourself to be intimate with the violence. That's the assignment. And it's saying if you can be intimate with the violence, then you will not locate yourself in it. Or outside of it. You will not identify with it or not identify with it. There will be not here or there or in between. And in being with the violence in that way, the end of suffering will be discovered. But it says train yourself thus. And I hear you saying, I'm having trouble being intimate with violence. And I think almost all of us


have trouble being intimate with violence. That's what martial arts classes are about. Is people go to the class and they cannot be intimate with the violence. They train and train and train in order to learn how to be intimate with it, how to relax with it. In order to be intimate with violence and to disarm it and free people from the harm of it, we need to be intimate with it. Crushing violence does not end violence. It's just more of the same. Being intimate with violence is non-violence. But it's difficult to be intimate with violence, especially if you're traumatized. If you're traumatized and you see violence, you probably just freeze. The Buddha is saying, okay, this is a teaching for people who are not frozen.


So maybe this teaching isn't for people who are frozen by violence. This is a teaching for those who can, are ready to be there with it completely. And it's a training thing. We don't, most of us cannot do it right away. A nice right away is a vast, what do you call it, underestimation. It takes us a long time to be present with violence. But we can be present with the little violences, you know, the small ones, start with those. See if you can be present with the ones that don't, like, paralyze you. And you can build up from those to be able to be present with more and more violent situations and meet them in a way that disarms the situation, that pacifies it, that makes everybody relax and be at peace.


But somebody has to be intimate with it in order to find the peace. That's where the peace is. And you say you have trouble? So do I. I aspire to learn this, but there's some situations where I confess I fail. I fail at letting the violence just be the violence. I fail at being intimate with it rather than running away from it or trying to control it. Both of which are reasonable. Try to stop it? Okay. Run away from it? Okay. This is an instruction about how to become free of it and bring others along with you. And you're saying, I have trouble with this. And I'm saying, yes, we all do. We all do. It's an aspiration here to find a way to do this. And I feel you have an aspiration, and you're saying,


I'm having trouble realizing my aspiration. Okay. Yeah. You're responding to something really challenging. And so our exercise is, so it's not about action, it's just being open to it. It's not about being intimate, or the action may come, but it's... Action will come. The question is, is the action coming from the intimacy? If it's prior to intimacy, it's like trying to stop it or running away from it. Or again, like in trauma, just like going into a trance, just like going numb. This is getting in with it. And in with it, finding the resolution and the peace. So my sense is going in with it, as long as it's tolerable.


And taking a break. Part of the work is developing your tolerance. That's part of it, is developing. In order to let it be, you have to also be able to tolerate it. That's where the compassion is. In order to let it be, you have to be able to tolerate the pain of it. In order to let the white privilege, the pain of that be, you have to be able to feel the pain of it. And the pain of admitting our white privilege is not as great as the pain of ignoring it. But it's still painful to feel the consequences of our white privilege. And it's painful for other people who don't have it to feel it too. It's painful for those who have it and those who don't. And the ones who don't, they also, you know, might try to ignore it. But in their case, it's maybe impossible to ignore it.


Whereas the privileged person, one of their privileges is they have the privilege to ignore their privilege. Which is really harmful. If we ignore our privilege, that hurts people. Privilege hurts people. Ignoring it hurts people. And we need to have the patience to feel the pain of our privilege. So that's another part of our assignment, is to develop that kind of patience. And to not say, I can't stand to keep paying attention to my ignorance and my harmful privilege. I give up. Okay. Well, let's try again tomorrow. Thank you. Thank you. Hello, Reb.


Hello, Charlie. So I tried to do the homework and I kind of thought to myself, I really got it all messed up. But it was valuable because I've been pondering this for the past week since this experiment. And I was going, I was flying from Seattle down to here and going through the TSA security check. And there was a African-American gentleman in front of me. And he and I were both putting our stuff in the bins to go through the x-ray. And I asked the TSA agent there, like, okay, do we take our shoes off? Take this jacket off? Do I take my belt off? And she says, you can leave your belts on. So the two of us, we went through and we get there.


And then the other agent at the x-ray scanner thing is like, take your belt off. Oh, okay. Next guy, take your belt off. So he tells me to take my belt off. And I say, is that the rule? Or is that just at your discretion? And he says, it's because I said so. And I felt sort of for the well-dressed older gentleman in front of me, I felt, I don't know, I felt some injustice there when the guy told him to take his belt off. So that's why I asked when I got there. And I was conscious of my white privilege in that moment. You mean that you could ask? Well, then I felt, I don't know. And because I'm imagining like, of course, he could have asked too. Yeah, right. And so was it me that I felt like, well, I'm going to ask because I'm not afraid. But I don't know. I feel like I messed it all up there. Because it's like, was that in the white privilege? There's just the white privilege? Or was that me? That definitely could be that because you're white, you dared to do that.


That could be that could be coming from, whether you meant it or not. In fact, you did ask it and you didn't get thrown in jail for it. And to be able to ask a question like that, and to not be thrown in jail. That's a privilege, which you should have. You should be, I think you should be able to ask that question. And I think black people should be able to ask that question too. And so it was a privilege. With, you know, so and since you're white, every all your privileges are white privileges. And and maybe some black people would not dare ask because they think, oh, they're going to think, oh, I'm a I'm a, you know, I'm an angry black man asking. Right. And you could be an angry white man, but they don't think angry white man. They just think angry man. Yeah. So that's a good that's a really good example of where that's and that's kind of painful that you could ask.


But maybe he didn't dare, even though he should be able to ask too, because it's a reasonable question. In the moment, it hurt me that I felt like I could ask. It should. Yeah, it should hurt that you can ask and some other people can't. That that should hurt us. That's part of that's part of facing the ignorance. That's facing what we have ignored in the past. You know, like I could go up to a policeman and I could say, you know, who is just on the street and like, say, is it OK to cross that line? You know, you know. And I don't think he's going to, like, attack me if I ask the question. Yeah. And I thought, you know what? You know, I have a question about traffic rules. So I might just ask him or I might say I might say, you know, how how far over the speed limit on the freeway can you go without getting a ticket? I might ask him, you know, from from person to person. And I'm not afraid to do that in most situations. Because I'm white and that's painful.


It's painful that not everybody can just ask a simple question because they're interested, you know, not because they're trying to break the law. They want to know what does the policeman think the law is? It is painful that you can ask that and I can ask that and some other people can't because of their skin color. Not it's not it's not that they can't. It's they're afraid to because they they know that there's a better chance that they'll get in trouble for asking them than we would. We might get in trouble, too, if the guys have blown a little blood sugar. But we're not as we're not as afraid. That's a great privilege. So is it wrong to use that? I mean, is there a guideline to doing that without going around being that guy? I mean, because at some point you're just using your white privilege constantly and people will just point at you and see, you know, like how annoying you are. I think there's I think there probably is times when white privilege is very helpful


for white people to use to protect people. It's still a privilege to be able to protect people is a privilege and we should sometimes use it. Yes. And it's painful that not everybody could be able to protect people the way we could. That's painful, but we probably still should do it. It's got to keep the light on this privilege, you know, and it's it's painful to keep the light on it. But and that's that's one of the ways we share the burden of racism is to keep eye on or keep our eye on our privilege. So the end of the story is that it really, really bothered me the way this jerk, you know, told me it's what you do, whatever I say. And I got into it with him, right? And I said, no, we follow rules together.


You know, we're harmonizing here. And he says, well, I don't remember what we said, but I kind of I kind of I definitely I didn't get myself thrown in jail, but I was I was not shy in telling him, you know, like how I felt we should do things, you know, which is to have rules that we follow together. And and I got I got worked up and but I made it out of there and I got my stuff and I was sitting down putting my shoes on next to the gentleman in front of me who was putting his shoes on and who had witnessed that interaction. And and he and he kind of just, you know, I was I was heated, but he kind of just said to me, he's like, don't let him get to you. And I felt very touched by somebody who I presume has had to deal with this crap a lot more than I have. Giving me a little advice on. It's touching. He was observing you.


And I was grateful he was aware of you. And yeah. Thank you for the story. Thank you, everybody. And if some people did not get a chance to ask questions that they wanted to ask, I hope you write them down and bring them up next week. So, again, I'd like you to I didn't hear it. Nobody reported any stories from the scriptures. It's okay. But if you want to, you know, do some research in the Buddhist tradition in the ancient Indian tradition or the Chinese or Japanese Zen tradition. There's lots of stories about people doing experiments to verify what's going on. If you can find them, I appreciate you bringing them. I'll bring some more, bring another one next week. And also, I appreciate that you brought ones from your daily life.


They're just as good. Just want to remind you, I'm asking you to do some research and bring your research findings to the next class. And one more thing I wanted to put a seed I'd put out is that on November 2nd, which is the meeting after next, I think I'll be in Houston. And one way to do it is we just do the class at the regular time, which is kind of late for me. Another way to do it, two other ways to do it is postpone that class and have the class go on longer. So the last meeting would be on November 30th rather than November 23rd. Or start later or start at the right same time. So if you have any thoughts like that, please let us know. Is that OK, Gay, if they say what they'd like to do?


Yes, that's great. So I'm OK with going ahead, but it's a little hard on me to stay up that late in Houston and then get up early in the morning for the session I'm in, which I'm going to try to do in two weeks. We'll see what happens. I don't know what's going to happen. And or I can just do it the regular time if that's an inconvenience. So the other option is start earlier again or postpone and make the class end later. So how much earlier, Reb? One hour or two hours earlier? One hour earlier. So it would be start at 6 o'clock in West Coast. It would be starting at 7 o'clock Mountain Time. It would be starting at 8 o'clock Central Time. It would be starting at 9 o'clock.


We're like, well, Deborah, you're starting at 10 o'clock, right? So it'd be easier on some of you and harder on others. So that's the question. Would you like to start an hour earlier or just not have a class that week and then have an additional one at the end? That's basically the things I'm suggesting. And I appreciate your feedback. And after I get your feedback, we'll let you know next week what we're going to do. Okay. May our intention equally extend to every being and place with the true merit of Buddha's way. And may we together with all beings realize freedom from racism. Beings are numberless. We vow to save them. Afflictions are inexhaustible. We vow to cut through. Dharma gates are boundless. We vow to enter them.


Buddha way is unsurpassable. We vow to become it. Thank you, everybody. Good night.