Yoga Room Class - October 26th, 2021

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We don't do it in the yoga room so much, but in other assemblies we start by
doing a verse which includes praising the merits of confession and repentance.
Praising confession and repentance as the pure and simple color of true practice.
The true mind of faith and the true body of faith.
And as you may know, sometimes confession and repentance involves feeling sorrow over our
unskillful actions. But still, even though it's not fun, usually, it is
a really wonderful practice. And so tonight I want to start by saying that I got feedback that
when I brought up Christopher Columbus in the first class, but I did not note and acknowledge
that history reports
his extreme cruelty on his part towards indigenous peoples.
He was even fired from his job by the Spanish government because he was so cruel.
And so, yeah, he is reported as a very cruel person
and yet I noted
something wonderful about his explorations
and how his explorations maybe can encourage us in exploring
and to be kind to everything we discover.
Unlike he was. So please, please listen to my confession and repentance. I'm sorry
if my not noting that was in any way painful or harmful for you.
And also tonight I want to also be careful because I want to bring up some difficult things
and I will try to do so carefully.
So I want to start again with our praise of compassion, praise of great compassion.
In the text that we studied last summer, the name of the chapter that the text is in is called
Worship and Offerings. And part of the worship is to worship loving kindness
and worship and praise compassion. We didn't look at that part of the chapter.
We went straight to the section on compassion.
So I would say, in accord with ancient voices, that compassion is
the main cause of Buddhahood.
And it's also the main effect of Buddhahood. Compassion causes Buddhahood
and Buddhahood is compassion. It's a compassion which protects
all beings who are living in the prison
of cyclic existence of birth and death.
Buddhahood, Buddha's compassion protects all living beings
who are trapped in the prison of karmic consciousness and suffer there.
And the word I want to be careful of is the word prison. It's a very harsh word, terrible word.
It's about a terrible situation. But from certain points of view, we are
entrapped in karmic consciousness. We are imprisoned in our mental constructions,
in our dualistic mind, and we suffer there. And compassion is due to us suffering beings
to help us deal with this prison and every inhabitant of this prison
in such a way as to protect beings and to liberate beings who are in prison.
We are in the prison of mentally constructed phenomena which appear dualistically.
Compassion is the cause of non-dualistic understanding of this dualistic mind we live in.
So, I used the word carefully. I hope I didn't shock you. But I do feel myself
to be kind of in a prison of a mind that has mentally constructed illusions in it,
that has socially constructed race in it, that has socially constructed
hierarchies and caste systems and racial systems in the mind.
I live in a world like that and I wish to practice compassion there
to protect myself and other beings from the pain of this world and to liberate beings
from the afflictions of our mind and the afflictions of our societally created systems.
Some of you have heard this teaching before. It's a rather, I don't know what,
hard to accept teaching, which is the encouragement
to develop a feeling of affection and cherishing towards all beings.
And one of the ways to generate this affection and this cherishing of every living being
is to imagine that they have been our mother, our mothers.
They have been our excellent mothers and even our mother has been our mother
from beginningless time. We have been mothered
in many forms with great compassion and everyone has served as our mother.
So I'll just put that out there as an outrageous first exercise is to imagine this about everybody.
If we can accept this and see this and think about this, then the next step
in developing appreciation and cherishing of all life
is to open to all the kindness that everyone has given to us in our beginningless past.
Great kindness, great sacrifice for our welfare
has been offered to us for inconceivable eons. We have been protected and cared for.
And the mothers have done this for us. Of course, other people have done it too.
People have not only been our mothers, they've been our brothers and our sisters, our aunts and uncles.
But focusing on the great kindness and love of mothers and feeling that kindness and that
great beneficence that has been given to us to bring us to this point where we can remember it
and use it to generate a sincere cherishing of all life.
And then the third point to concentrate on is to discover the wish
to be as kind to others and to appreciate others as much as they have at times appreciated us.
Not mentioning that people have also been cruel to us,
but some people have protected us from cruelty, have given us their life to protect us from cruelty.
We have received so much kindness that we have managed to continue to evolve
towards Buddha's compassion.
And this, this cherishing, this affection for each living being is,
I don't know, it's necessary to really wish all beings to be happy.
So there's loving kindness of really wishing all beings be happy because we really do appreciate them.
We are really grateful to them.
So we really can wish them to be happy. And that then makes possible for us to
feel compassion for them, which is one step beyond wishing them to be happy.
It's wishing them to be liberated from suffering.
Now, in prison, some people, some of the people who are in prison with us are like guards
and prison officials. And some people are sworn enemies of us in prison.
They will tell us, I am your enemy.
And without training, we might not care about their suffering. These people who are cruel to
us and want to be cruel in the future, we might not care about their suffering.
Other people in prison with us aren't cruel to us and don't do anything good for us either.
They don't really care about us.
And so we might not care about them. We might not wish them ill, but we might not really wish
they're happy because they don't seem to wish us to be happy.
And then there's those who do wish us to be happy, who are our friends.
And those people, when they suffer,
we can't bear it. It's horrible. It's the worst. It's like the worst.
The bodhisattva practice of compassion depends on us cherishing all these beings, the enemies,
the neutrals, and the kind ones, to develop somehow equanimity towards them,
not hating the enemies and not being attached.
To the kind ones, to the ones we already really do cherish.
Cherishing without attachment and, of course, cherishing without hatred.
So this is the work I must do in prison with all my fellow prisoners
in this world in order to sincerely want to protect them in any way I can.
Whatever's happening, whatever suffering I have, I want to protect them from it.
And I want to find a way to do an appropriate protective response and also to find a way
to liberate them.
And if now I cannot do this exercise,
maybe I can do it somewhat. Maybe I can
wish some people happiness and want to protect some people. That's good.
And then the question is to explore and experiment with this instruction, to give it a try.
And I personally feel that it's very difficult to do in some cases, but I think it's worth a try.
And I think it's worth a try with everybody.
And if you have resistance to it, I easily understand that.
Also, some new people have shown up. I want to acknowledge that Tracy has come. Welcome, Tracy.
And Jean has come. Welcome, Jean.
So that's the kind of astounding teaching that I wanted to offer you, an astounding opportunity
to experiment. And the hypothesis is that if we do these exercises of equanimity,
of letting go of attachment to those who are kind to us and hatred towards our enemies,
and then we actually do this meditation on mother and on the benefit and on the wish to
return the kindness. The hypothesis is if we do these practices, we will be able to
practice loving kindness towards everyone, and we will be able to practice compassion,
and that this is the cause of Buddhahood and the effect of Buddhahood.
So, the assembly, if you're shocked, please express your shock. If you have questions,
please give them. We need your questions. We need your input. We need the results of
your experimentation.
Jean.
Good evening.
Good evening.
So nice to see you. Thank you. Thank you for your motivation.
I struggle with deep relationships with those who are in all the categories you mentioned.
They are not in a single category. They are in the category, you know, and
I'm not sure about the words to find a way to liberate them.
I feel like is it two ways if I need to be liberated, and I'm wondering if you can help me
to be in my body with this process so that I can be with them when they move, when they move,
you know, when they are my enemy, and then they're my most intimate.
When I'm able to see them as they are.
And these categories shift.
Can you, can you please help me sit with this?
One of the things you said was help me be in my body.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Be in my body.
How is your body now?
I'm, I'm with you. I'm with you, but my body is working hard.
I broke my wrist. And
um, that's just a distraction. I think the others are more primary, you know?
Well, um, your wrist is part of your body.
Yeah. Your knee is part of your body.
My knees part of my body. And I'm, I'm doing a lot of work to, you know, be in my knee.
Yeah.
And I'm so grateful to all of you and, and many other people who are allowing me
to give my knee the attention that it's calling for, to give it the rest,
to give it the ice, to give it the medications, the anti-inflammatory medications,
and sometimes the pain medications to give it the rest, to give it the exercise.
I have been really working on being in my body and particularly in my knee.
And the rest of my body also has been, has been saying, okay, you can, you can give your,
give the knee a lot of, a lot of attention and we'll support you to do that.
Even though you're not giving us as much attention as you might otherwise.
So I think your wrist is,
yeah, I encourage you to be like, be with your wrist.
I have a question. I have a question for you. I,
I understand how to, I mean, I'm,
I don't speak wrist and I don't speak knee, but I am able to
relate to wrist and knee, but I have a sister for instance, who
uses her body to hurt herself. And I,
I love her and I, it hurts me. It hurts me when she hurts herself. And I, I'm, I'm torn,
I'm torn apart by the, the lack of influence. I, I can't share with her, like,
I'm like you, I'm, I'm taking steps to help myself. Like I'm taking the pain.
I'm taking the therapy, you know, I'm doing the exercises and I'm taking the medication.
And instead she uses her body to hurt herself. And,
Do you, are you, do you cherish her life? Yes.
Do you wish her to be happy? Yes.
Do you wish her to be free of suffering? Yes.
Do you, are you attached to her? Deeply, yes.
So that's part of your job, is to be kind to your attachment to her, because your attachment to her
will interfere with these other good things you're doing.
Yes. And when I, I don't mean, I mean,
be kind to your attachment, but realize that that makes it harder for you to be on the job for her.
And I don't, I don't know your sister, so I'm not attached to her.
And if I don't have a positive influence on her, I can just try again.
But if I'm attached to her, and I, and I'm trying to help her, and it doesn't work,
doesn't seem to benefit her, she doesn't listen to me,
I don't have any positive influence on her, if I'm attached to her, I might give up on her.
Oh, I'm not, I don't give up on her. I, I need help with this.
I'm warning you. I need help.
What? I'm saying I'm warning you.
Yes. You get torn apart
by your lack of influence. The being torn apart may tear you away from doing your job.
Can you, can you help me be witness to her self-inflicted pain?
How can I help you?
If I have, if I have no influence, but she is with me inflicting pain, what do I do?
What, is there a way for me to be with her?
Yes, you can be with her, even though she continues to harm herself.
And you can wish her to be happy, and you could wish that you could do something to help her,
even though you can't see anything right now.
But you, you wish to, you wish to help her.
And you can't do her job of, of her stopping hurting herself.
You can't do that.
But you can show her that you're there and that it hurts you.
And she does that, because it does.
And you can tell her that without trying to manipulate her.
You can learn that.
She's trying to manipulate herself.
What you see her harming herself is what she's trying to do for herself.
I, I, I understand.
I understand.
I understand the simple expression of being with her, being with her, letting her know I'm
I'm feeling her pain.
Yeah, you may not have to tell her.
She may be able to sense it that you're there.
If she's suffering, she may be able to tell that you are too.
And, but she's doing the way she's coping with it.
You feel is not skillful.
So can you cope with your pain over her suffering in a skillful way?
That's what you wish to do.
So she can see that.
Somebody has to teach her how to be with her pain.
In a skillful way.
You could be that person.
I, I only think of Dogen and being present.
And I, I'm at a loss beyond that.
You don't have to go beyond that.
Being present, compassionately present with your suffering will protect her.
She will learn that from you.
If you can do that.
So when you, so when you are there, it's so overwhelming.
Yeah, if you can be upright and present with being overwhelmed, she can see that.
Because she's probably overwhelmed too.
But it sounds like she's not being upright.
Sounds like she's trying to manipulate, which makes it more overwhelming.
You can store a place of peace in the middle of overwhelm, if you can find it for yourself.
And she won't necessarily learn in one lesson.
So you may have to be with her over and over for her to learn this.
So if you cherish her as much as I think you do,
you have a chance to do this extremely difficult work.
But since you do cherish her, and she is so precious to you,
and you do want her to be happy, then you can practice compassion for yourself in her presence.
You can be there with your suffering to show her how she can be there with hers.
This is a great teaching, which can be offered.
And there doesn't have to be anything beyond that in the moment.
There isn't anything beyond it in the moment.
So
what I have loved or been attracted to about this teaching for decades now has been
like a plain cat and mouse with this whole idea of not being attached,
letting go of attachment. And I bring it into conversations, and I feel like I'm this little
mini Buddhist person when I talk about not being attached to stuff. And so this has been going on
for decades. And then in general, but then when you say tonight, the job is to let go of attachment
to the people I love. It's like, wait a minute, that's a different story. I'm willing to not be
attached to a lot of stuff, but I just felt like it took my breath away when you said that.
Yeah, it seems excruciating. To me, it would seem easier to let go of my attachment to hating people
than to let go of my attachment to my friends or my family, the people I care about. So
somehow I heard that differently tonight, and it's like ice water in my face, in a good way,
but I'm surprised at my reaction. And though I do remember, I did remember as I was thinking
about saying this to you, was I remember 14 years ago, I came to you crying, weeping, crying
in grief, in grief about Paul's death. And I said to you, you know, how could I ever get over this?
I love him so much. And you said, no, it isn't. The grief isn't a function of love. It's a function
of attachment. And I was like, bowled over the idea that all this grief wasn't because of how
much I love someone, it was because how attached I was. That was a huge teaching for me, which
I continue to benefit from. And watching you over these years, because somewhere in my mind,
I think what kind of person wouldn't be attached to their family? Of course, we're going to be
attached. It's not that you're not attached. It's that you let go of it.
Every time you notice it. Right. Well, I'm just saying.
It's not that you're not attached. It's that you're compassionate to the attachment.
You're not wallowing in it. You're saying, oh, silly, sweet Tracy,
you're attached to that darling little creature. Let go of her. Let go of her. You know,
be devoted to her and let go of her. Let go of her. And now you can be more wholeheartedly devoted.
Attachment to the people we love undermines our love.
Such a big teaching. That's just so not counterintuitive. Counterintuitive.
It's not to not be the person you are. And it's kind of...
We can get attached to anything. It's normal.
You know, people get attached to, I don't know what, the checkout person at the supermarket.
You know, they get transferred to another store and you feel, oh,
you didn't think you were getting attached to them, but you were.
It's just normal that our body does that. So it's to let go of it, not to try to be human,
not to try to not be human, but to be rather a bodhisattva human who lets go of her attachments
and her hatred. And that will make you more loving.
Even though you already were, it makes you more loving. It purifies your love.
Very big teaching. Thank you.
Hi, Rev.
Hi, Gail.
So tonight you said compassion is the cause and effect of Buddha or Buddha nature.
Yeah.
I said buddhahood. It's the cause of buddhahood. And it's the effect of buddhahood. And also,
compassion is the cause of compassion and the effect of compassion.
Compassion. We talked about last time, one of the causes of compassion is compassion.
And also, compassion is an effect of compassion.
Mm-hmm. Yeah. Well, I have a question about that as relates to a practice I've been
engaging in lately, which is more than ever to try to be really within my life in this moment.
In your body.
Yes. Yeah. And I've noticed upon investigation that my body and my mind are often saying,
oh, no, no, not this. Oh, not like that. No, I want to make this different. I want to make
this better. I want to get to the future. And so I've been really concentrating on
being with whatever is. I know it's such a basic practice, but it's very challenging.
And actually, I feel like a dog when I'm doing it. I'm circling and circling and circling until
somehow, magically, sometimes I'm able to actually let go and be with what is,
and myself and my body and everything. And I've noticed that in those moments,
compassion, my perception of compassion arises and a feeling of very gentle, loving kindness.
And maybe you'll say now that I maybe you'll say that the whole act was compassionate,
whether or not I perceived it. But I was going to say that I can I can feel the effect
of my effort. But I can't feel how compassion was the cause because I was concentrating so hard on
it. It didn't feel like it doesn't feel like compassion when I'm trying to let go.
I don't think that trying to let go is necessarily compassion. Letting go is, though.
And I can be compassionate towards myself trying to let go. But trying to let go isn't really the
point. It's letting go. And also, when you were, like you said, when you were circumambulating
this, I thought that was kind of compassionate. You weren't manipulating. You were just there
kind of honoring it. That seemed compassionate. And it also seemed like letting go, just walking
around it. So trying to let go is okay. It's just that it's not the same as letting go.
Yeah, that makes sense.
And you can let go without trying.
Yeah, yeah.
Yeah, that's how you did. Maybe you did.
Maybe on occasion by magic. Well, it's interesting because effort, I get confused on that
issue. I mean, I feel like it takes me a lot of effort to do many of these practices.
It's a lot of work to be present and notice how we feel, to notice that we feel trapped,
to notice that we feel enclosed by our mental constructions.
In prison.
Yeah, it's a lot of work to be aware, to keep being aware of that, to not space out
and to be aware of that. And then also to remember to cherish all life in this situation.
It's a lot of work to be that mindful. And then to remember this kindness and to remember
to check, to see if we are there yet, of wishing this being happiness and wishing this being to
be free. That is a lot of work. However, if we don't do any of that stuff, we'll do some other
hard work, which won't even mention the terrible hard work we'll do. But fighting and hating
everybody in prison is a lot of work too. Trying to hurt the other people who we think are our
enemies, that's a lot of work too. So either way it's a lot of work. Just that one way
it protects beings and liberates beings and the other way misses the chance.
But we are hard-working beings, naturally. We're 98.6. We're cooking, we're warm,
we're working, we're active creatures.
So this path of compassion is really challenging. It really is. And it's good to know that
and then say, do I want, do I wish for it? Do I wish to do this hard thing?
And maybe you answered yes. I did. Yeah.
Okay. Thank you.
Good evening.
Evening.
Do you think it's a skillful means to suggest that everyone was once your mother,
that all beings were once your mother, and to people who had mothers who were cruel,
harsh, or even violent?
I have not done that ever.
But didn't you suggest tonight that we might benefit from thinking that?
For me to tell somebody else that her mother was kind to them is different from me to say,
here's a meditation for you to see if you can do that with your mother. And the person might say,
I can't. Because my, you know, but I'm not telling them, I'm not telling them the situation.
I'm telling them a meditation practice, which they might say, I can't do that.
And then I would hopefully not pressure them to do that.
Okay. So you're just suggesting that every being was once your mother
might be a valuable meditation practice for some people?
Well, it might be valuable meditation practice for some people now.
However, I'm also saying something a little, a little stronger, which is,
it's a meditation practice, which we eventually need to do. Maybe not today.
It just that without being able to see people that way, it undermines our cherishing of them.
So if I see someone and I think they're my enemy, I need something to help me. How am I going to be,
you know, devoted to wishing them well, if I see them as my enemy and I hate them?
I need to get over the hatred. This is part of the way to move from hating them
to wanting to protect them and cherish them.
But I'm not telling them anything about the situation. I'm showing them a way that they can work with their own mind
to free themselves from hatred and to develop the ability to cherish somebody.
So whether you're a mother, so this was not an assumption that mothers are by nature
protecting and kind and nurturing and so on. That was not in your mind.
No. Some mothers, you know, some mothers people feel, for good reason, are their enemies.
So this is an enemy. However, this enemy has been your unbelievably skillful mother
at one point in the history of human evolution.
Now they're not. Now they're a cruel person who actually hates you and is your mother.
And your job is now how to, how can you cherish this life of this person who is your mother
or not your mother, who's being cruel to you and says, yes, I hate you. I want to hurt you.
They'll admit it. And you don't deny that. So what are we going to do with those fellow inhabitants
of prison? How are we going to cherish them? That's the challenge, because we need to cherish
them and appreciate their life in order to wish them well, in order to be devoted to them.
But I'm not saying this person is different from what you see. It's a meditation of, in the
inconceivably complex evolution of our lives, everybody has been everything to us at some point.
I get that. Everybody has been everything. So every being has been my everything, has been
my beloved teacher, has been my protector. Yes. And also everybody, even your beloved teacher,
has also been a bad person. They've been a bad person to you. Yes. Yes. And they should,
and if they're your beloved teachers, they should admit that they've been a bad person to you at
some point, even though we don't know what it is. It's possible. It must be so sometimes.
I have been cruel to you in the past, even if neither of us can remember it. But also,
the evolution of our lives is that we've been very kind to each other
beyond our cognitive reach, even though right now we might not be kind to each other.
And if right now, we already appreciate we're kind to each other, and we already cherish each other,
then for the moment, we don't have to do that practice. We can just go right to work
on helping each other. But if we don't cherish somebody, we have to do this exercise
when we're ready. But it's not for other people to tell us. It's for us to try it on.
This is, again, an experiment. Try it on. See what happens.
I would just say that, from my experience, I wouldn't advise anybody to rush the exercise or
the practice of trying to cherish those who hurt you. Don't rush it. It's a very subtle
evolution to get wisdom about that. I agree. And don't rush it means don't overlook
that you do not cherish them. Right. You don't cherish them. Honor that feeling that you have.
Right. Now, what's it like not to cherish somebody?
Let's look at that. That's a powerful thing.
Yeah. Let's examine that. Let's experiment with that.
Right. Don't rush over that. Honor that.
Good. Good advice. Good question. All right. Thanks.
You're welcome.
I don't know if I can explain this very well, but this is kind of my homework report from last time.
So, because I feel like I was really wandering in the weeds the last time we met in this way,
and I'm kind of embarrassed about it, but I feel like something came out of it that I'd like to
explore. So, you were talking about Bahia, and in the seen, just the seen, and in the cognized,
just the cognized, including thoughts and emotions. And what came up for me was that
emotions are particularly hard to deal with, to just let them be themselves. And
the example that came up for me in that moment was agitation. And quite honestly,
I was hoping that you would say some magic word that would just make the agitation go away.
And you weren't cooperating with that. So, there was additional agitation, you know.
And then I found myself trying to calm myself and wondering if calming myself was a way to
try to control the agitation or not. And you suggested that that would be a good thing
to contemplate. And you didn't answer the question. Yeah. So, I did sit with that for a
bit. And there were a couple of things that came up. And one of them just, the way that I was trying
to calm myself was really, it had to do with kind of extending the exhalation, because physiologically
I find that that kind of reduces the physical feeling of agitation, which is kind of big
sometimes. And that helped. And then as I was sitting, a couple of days later, I remembered
that in your book, Entering the Mind of Buddha, you have this image at the beginning of the
Patience chapter of the Buddha sitting in the midst of flames. And I just started to visualize
that image. And it felt like something opened, there was more space. There was just more space.
And then it seemed like, and then I remembered that you've actually said to me over and over
different times through the years, when I presented that this feeling is difficult for
me or this thought is difficult. You said that thought or that feeling is a being.
And it's a being, you have to take care of it. Generously, ethically, patiently, that being
needs care. And somehow thinking like that, again, it just opens the situation. It's like,
there's not just agitation, there's also, you know, what, what somehow in that process,
it's like what I am becomes bigger than that, that agitation.
So that was where the experiment went. And I also want to acknowledge that I'm
sorry that I was, you know, really wanting you to do something that you didn't do. And feeling
agitation around that. Anyway, I would appreciate any comments you have to make. But that,
that was where the experiment went for me from last week.
Okay.
Train yourself in this. In the agitation, there were just agitation.
There would be no trying to make the agitation greater or lesser.
There would just be exactly that agitation.
And when there's just that agitation, and then just this agitation, and then just this agitation,
each one a little different. And then, and then, and then, and then, and then, and then, and then,
when that's how it is, then you, you won't, you won't be in it. Yeah. Or outside of it.
You won't identify with it or disidentify with it.
They'll just be, that's what it is. And also, that's who you are.
And then, there'll be no here or there in between. But it's, it's a very, for most of us,
a very challenging practice to let the agitation, in the agitation, there'd just be the agitation.
We know how to add universes to it. But to give that up and just really honor the thing,
and let the thing be in the just the thing. This is the training.
And also, wishing, wishing for something, in the wishing, there's just the wishing.
And wish, not wishing something, each of those are beings, and when that being is just that being,
then there's no here or there or in between.
And Bahia learned it fast, because he only had a couple more hours to live.
I get more time.
You probably will get more time, but don't, don't lean on that time. Go to work, please.
Yeah, thank you.
Thank you.
Hello.
Hello.
Good to see you, and everybody in the community.
I wanted to report on some thoughts that I've been having about science and experiments of
compassion, and remembering Gandhi, and how he did experiments with truth,
and he experimented himself on himself.
So this, early this month, I celebrated for the first time, and in a more aware way, Navaratri.
And this is the Indian celebration of the mother, the mother of all.
Without it, it was so complicated for me to understand, and I appreciate how Linda
said about the feminine and the mother, and what if you had a trauma experience with your mother,
because I was really thinking about all those things before.
But this year, I wanted to celebrate Navaratri in the way that we celebrated the Lotus Sutra.
And I thought that is my, that was a real doorway for me to
kind of push back against all the science, all the imposition of the science.
And because the Lotus Sutra is not contained, it just, it's like,
and so then I thought, well, I'm going to do Navaratri like the Lotus Sutra.
I don't have to think about it.
Did the towers go up?
Did the children get the car?
Is it like the father?
You know, it's just a Lotus Sutra.
And so, I enjoyed nature much more, and mother, and feminine, and whatever it is.
Okay, so that's one report.
And then, there was a, there's a movie called Dune that is about science fiction,
right now, became popular.
I've heard some people.
Some remake of something old, which becomes new.
And it made me, again, think about the Lotus Sutra, and how myths are so compelling
when they're like in science fiction, in the secular world.
But if you present a myth like Navaratri, or the Lotus Sutra, all these people,
people that I imagine, they frown, and they ask questions, and it's not scientific.
And they want to know, and they fight.
And this paradox is very, it's challenging for me, because
it's, it's, it makes me spin a little bit.
Like, I get overwhelmed.
Yeah, I think that's the full report.
While you were, just now, while you were talking, I thought,
I would like to discuss and discourse on how the Lotus Sutra is a science experiment,
a bodhisattva science experiment from 2000 years ago.
And the experiments have been continuing up till today,
up till right now.
It's a science experiment.
Yeah.
What would happen if you had people think about these kinds of things?
But think about how they're all going to become Buddhas,
and how they've been bodhisattvas for eons.
It is really kind of science fiction.
Yeah, thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
I wanted to offer something to this discussion during this class.
And I wanted to offer that when earlier in the class, you were speaking about science,
and you were bringing some of the Buddhist teachings to us,
like the fourth entry in the middle length discourses, I began to, and also the story of
I began to look a little bit closer to into the Majjhima Nikaya.
And I wanted to offer my interest in the Satipatthana Sutta,
the 10th entry in the middle length discourses.
And apparently, there's also a Maha Satipatthana Sutta in the Digha Nikaya.
And I thought it was very interesting.
When we're thinking about what is the mind of, what is a scientific mind?
Or what is a mind that sees or looks like a scientist?
And how is, how are the Buddha's teachings scientific?
There certainly seems to be methods involved in this in the Buddha's teachings.
But I was particularly interested in the Satipatthana Sutta, because it seems to offer
that there's a kind of a setting aside of something.
It says, let's see, you know, for those who are sort of like,
putting aside our covetousness, and our grief for the world, kind of making a space for
to be mindful of the body, and mindful of the body as a body, and mindful of our feelings
as feelings, and mindful of our mind as mind, and mindful of mind objects, and signs,
as what they are.
And so in this way, there seems to be this also this kind of
way that it opens to equality and equanimity in regard to objects.
Whether it be, you know, the self-doubt, you know, mindful of doubt, as doubt,
mindful of no doubt, no doubt, it's just simply as it is, I suppose.
It reminded me of the Bahia story in the scene.
And then also, I was, this resonates, this has resonated in various, in Bodhidharma,
I was studying a little bit of Bodhidharma's teaching, and also Dogen, but in Being Upright,
there's a section called Being on Time.
And, you know, what it says here is, you know, when you're early, there is no self who is early.
There's just being early.
And when you're late, there's no self who is late.
It's just being late.
And similarly, when you're on time, just there's no self who is on time.
And in some way, this way of seeing
seems to make room for play, make room for experiments, exploration,
make room for thing, not holding tightly to things,
allowing there to be, you know, what my thoughts maybe are more like hypotheses about things
rather than the truth, you know.
And so, I wanted to share that exploration in light of our topic this class.
Thank you so much.
And I thank you for allowing me that.
Of course, I'm not quite sure, the Satipatthana Sutra is the foundations of mindfulness,
and as I was reading, I'm not really sure what is mindfulness, you know.
I'm not really sure what is, you know, I don't feel particularly like I know what that is.
What did the Sutra say mindfulness was?
Did you hear what the Sutra said?
The Sutra, yeah.
What does it say mindfulness?
How does it describe mindfulness?
You're abiding, you're contemplating the body as the body.
Yes, but how?
So, the body is the body, and then how does it describe the mindfulness
of that's there, letting the body just be the body?
I think I'm not seeing that.
I think it says that you're present.
Okay.
You're in the present with it.
You're ardent, you're wholeheartedly there, and mindful.
These are just different aspects of mindfulness that you remember
to watch the body as just the body.
You're ardent about it.
You're present with it.
You're right there in the present moment, and you're remembering to do this.
So, those different aspects are the mindfulness,
because the body, of course, always is the body in the body.
Now, you're going to be there with that, ardently in the present, and remembering to do that.
So, in a way, when in the body there's just a body, that state is a state of mind.
It's mindfulness, and that state is in the present, and that state is ardent,
and that state remembers the body just the body.
And this is an experiment we can do, moment by moment.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Good evening, Rev, and the community.
Evening, Sonia.
I wanted to say something about the way I've experimented
with attachment, or my understanding over the years, and also
this difficulty of seeing people as the good mother.
It seemed like you were asking us to interject.
It's not the same as seeing them as the good mother.
Okay.
It's seeing them the way they appear, and contemplating that they have been your mother,
that they have been this wonderful mother, maybe infinite times.
They've also been other things, but we're not thinking about those.
So, it's not to see this person as being other than they are,
but to realize that they have been, that they have done great kindness to us.
Just like right now, it may not seem like the world is being kind to you,
but the world has been kind to us.
Not to deny that right now, we don't feel very supported.
Okay, I hear you.
I didn't mean to see this person as something other than how they are right now.
Yeah, I think that was clear with the exchange with Linda and maybe Gail.
I think what I want to say, what I learned in my study of attachment,
was particularly when I was working with the hospice.
And what I felt I saw is that the attachment was
to people or things that reflected or made me feel good.
Mm-hmm.
And that if I was not depending on something outside myself to be okay,
then I could just be with what was.
And so, the attachment was more like attaching to some persona or something
that I was attaching to, wasn't about the other.
And I could kind of let the other go if I could feel okay without the supports.
Does that make sense?
Well, you can let go without the support. You can let go...
Without depending on the support outside.
With the depending part, maybe.
Another way to put it, you can let go if you realize
that you don't actually possess the thing in the first place.
Nor do I need them.
Well, you do kind of need everything.
Right, yeah, right.
Sort of need everything.
A certain kind of need.
But you don't have to possess anything.
Yeah.
So, I need you, but I don't need to be attached to you.
Matter of fact, to be a good friend of yours, I need to notice if I'm attached to you
and let go of it.
And then I'll be a better friend.
And I'll continue to need you.
I'll always need you.
And what's optional is being attached to you.
Mm-hmm.
Maybe between you and me, I'd have to unpack.
I'm really into words.
I'd really have to unpack what need means.
So...
What need means?
It means I depend.
I cannot exist without you in that way.
Yeah.
I depend on you.
Who I am depends on you, moment by moment.
Yeah.
But I don't have to attach to you for that function to...
for that wonderful function.
Mm-hmm.
You're still supporting me no matter what I do.
And attaching to you kind of like says,
you don't support me.
You only support me if I hold on to you.
But actually, you support me whether I hold on to you or not.
However, if I hold on to you, I suffer.
And if I don't, we can have a really good relationship.
Yeah.
Where I depend on you and you depend on me.
We depend on each other.
Yes.
Attaching to each other is an illusion.
We can't attach to each other.
Because since I depend on you, you're not separate from me.
So letting go of my attachment to you helped me wake up
to the truth of our dependent co-arising,
of our mutual co-creation of our life.
The part of me wants to keep turning that,
but I also want to ask you about...
Go ahead. Turn it.
I know, but I want to ask you about the mother thing,
because I've kind of turned it on its head.
Yeah.
And I want to see what you or other people think.
And if I'm having difficult...
No, let me go at a different angle.
If I look at everybody on this screen
and remember that they were once babies,
and when we see babies, we're just like...
It's almost like you just immediately want to like...
Do whatever that is to them.
And that I look at them, and I think somebody,
if it's my mother or whomever, my friend,
and somebody changed their diapers,
or somebody was there when they took their first step,
and I can kind of visualize that part.
I can almost grow into appreciating that.
But for me, it seems like it's easier to come
when I look at all these faces,
and I just think, what a sweet baby they were once.
It kind of turns your story on its head maybe a little bit.
I don't think it does.
I think it's another possible technique
for appreciating the preciousness of every life.
I think for you, that meditation,
I think maybe has the function
of helping you cherish all these people.
You know, cherishing some people who you might not cherish
unless you do that exercise.
So anything that helps you appreciate people,
I say, yes, that's good.
Let's do that one.
And imagining people as babies, I think,
might work really well.
Well, I'll turn the attachment...
I don't think it's turning on its head.
It's the same thing by another means.
I'll take it.
Thank you.
And because of the time, I'm going to let the other thing go
so someone else can take the space.
Thanks for the gift.
Thank you very much.
I sincerely appreciate you calling forth the imagination.
It's just, I just love it.
It feels kind to use my mind in an art
that seems to ask me to have non-differentiation
and non-discursive thinking,
but to use my imagination.
And if I truly am all beings,
imagining that these beings have been
in a tender, loving regard with me,
it kind of all fits into one.
And I think I can do it.
I think it can really help me appreciate all beings
the way you did this.
I already appreciate all beings better
from you giving me this assignment.
Thank you.
You're welcome.
Hi, good evening.
Good evening.
Thank you for the wonderful teaching last week.
You're welcome.
I really needed to hear that.
It had, I've heard that before,
but this time it hit my ears in such a way
that it really landed on the place
where I understood that you're not,
you're neither here or there or in between.
You're not with it or in it.
It really made me realize that the creation of the I
in relationship to any phenomena
is just a futile, suffering-causing exercise.
And it was such a relief.
It changed everything.
And so life is so much lighter and enjoyable.
It's wonderful.
Thank you.
You're welcome.
When you're talking now about our mutual support
and about how we need each other,
what came to mind for me was the question of death.
And in particular, because this evening,
we just heard about someone that is very close to that.
But yeah, if you can say a little more about that.
So we need, we're all together in this soup.
You were particularly talking to Sonia and saying,
I need you and you need me for the whole.
But so then what about,
so then when you're not here anymore,
or I'm not here anymore,
how is that?
Do you understand the question?
I think I do.
It gives me a feeling.
Well, then, yeah.
In no particular order, my father is,
you might say, no longer here anymore.
Suzuki Roshi, in a sense, is not here anymore.
In a sense.
But they're not being here.
Depends on me and depends on you.
The way they aren't here is us right now.
This is the way they aren't here.
And also the way we're here, the way I'm here,
depends on my father and depends on my father not being here.
If he was here, then it would depend on him being here.
But you're bringing up, what about when he's not?
So he's not here.
And who I am totally depends on him not being here.
And who I am totally depends on Suzuki Roshi not being here.
If he was here, that would be great.
There would be Suzuki Roshi and his student, right?
That would be great.
But he's not here and this is what you have.
The person you have here depends on Suzuki Roshi not being here.
Like if he was here, then he should be giving the talk.
He should be the teacher, not me.
I should be listening, like you.
But for me now to play the role of teacher is because he's not here.
And for me to be, you know, the grandfather of the family,
for me to be the elder male of a number of families,
I'm now the elder male of a number of families.
Depends on him not being here.
So, but that's the way he's here, is me being who I am.
And if he was here, I would be a different person.
And he would be too.
So, yeah, when we aren't here anymore,
the whole world will be what it is because we're not here.
And right now the world is what it is because we are.
Because we are.
But no matter what, everybody depends on us.
And everybody's the way they are because the way we are.
And now we changed, and we're a new person,
and now the world depends on this person.
And the whole world changed,
and we're this person because of the new world.
This is the Buddha's teaching of dependent co-arising
as offered tonight.
But I appreciate your question.
Thank you for that.
Yeah.
My father not being here is who I am.
And of course, it's who you are too.
But maybe more simply, you can see
that I'm the oldest member in the family now.
And I wouldn't be if he was around.
Yeah.
And just continuing with that thought,
you said, and you are, and I am too because he's not here,
because you're here with all of us in this way.
Yes, I wouldn't be, yeah.
And then also, it struck me when you mentioned Suzuki Roshi,
that he is here also.
Yeah, he is here.
I was your father.
And the way he is here, and the way my father is here,
is us, we're the way they are here.
And that's what they want.
They want us to be who they are when they're not here.
That's who they are here.
Yeah, it's wonderful.
Yes.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you, everybody.
So I'll be here.
Next week, I won't be here.
I'll be in Houston, but I'll be here the following Tuesday, okay?
So please enjoy your experimenting with compassion.
Get a booster.
May our intention equally extend to every being and place
with the true merit of Buddha's way.
Beings are numberless.
I vow to save them.
Afflictions are inexhaustible.
I vow to cut through.
Dharma gates are boundless.
I vow to enter them.
Buddha way is unsurpassable.
We vow to become it.
Good night, everybody.
Good night, Rob.
Good night, Rob.
Thank you.
Thank you.