Zen Meditation on Karma and Awakening - April 19th, 2022

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


So last week we looked at the case, the ancient Zen story about the great teacher Baizhang and the fox spirit. And we understand now that You could say, in great practice, in great practice, daishyugyo, or you could say, in a person of great practice, there is not ignoring of karmic cause and effect. In great practice, in great practice, there is compassionate attention to karmic consciousness.


All bodhisattvas have a karmic consciousness. And in the great practice of the bodhisattvas, there is compassionate attention kind study of karmic consciousness, and also compassionate receiving of the teachings about karma and the teachings about karmic cause and effect. So I ask you over and over, I invite over and over, to look within and see what is the shape of consciousness now.


Every moment of consciousness there's a shape, and that shape has consequence. The shape of each of our consciousnesses That shape is an activity. It's an activity. Consciousness doesn't do itself, but the consciousness has activity every moment. Consciousness has activity. And the activity of the consciousness each moment is due to many causes and conditions. And of course, one of the main causes and condition is the lineage, the stream of past consciousnesses, past karma. But that's not all that makes our present karmic consciousness. All beings contribute to our present karmic consciousness.


And it's there in great practice to be observed. Again, everybody has karmic consciousness, but not everybody is attending to it. Everybody's karmic consciousness, moment by moment, has consequence. This moment of consciousness has consequence. Now this moment of consciousness has consequences. Now this moment of consciousness has consequences. And same for all of you and all living beings. The encouragement now is to encourage observing this karmic consciousness, because unobserved karmic consciousness has consequences which are not optimally beneficial.


It is possible for karmic consciousness to arise and be wholesome without being attended to. It's possible. But attending to it leads to seeing the dharma in it, the truth in it. And the dharma of karmic consciousness, the way it works, is also called Buddha. Buddha is working with karmic consciousness in such a way as to protect and enlighten all beings. Buddha attends to karmic consciousness. Great practice attends to karmic consciousness. Attending to karmic consciousness is great practice of the Buddhas. And this attending to karmic consciousness is possible in each of our body and mind.


When there is observing of the karmic consciousness, it can be done with the following teaching. Wholesome patterns of consciousness benefit self, this consciousness. Wholesome patterns of consciousness benefit this consciousness and also benefit this unconsciousness and also benefit this body. But also wholesome karmic consciousness benefits others too. And observing the consciousness promotes the consciousness being wholesome. Unwholesome karmic consciousness is not beneficial.


However, observing unwholesome karmic consciousness, there is the possibility of, excuse the expression, extirpation. Or in other words, there is the possibility of confession and repentance. it's possible to practice with wholesome consciousness, unwholesome consciousness, and neutral consciousness. In other words, no matter what mind we have, it is possible to observe it. If we observe it and it seems wholesome, we probably will, we can't be sure that it's wholesome, but if it seems to be wholesome, if it seems like it might be beneficial, it's okay to be happy about that, because it's a happy thing. When consciousness is a good thing, when consciousness is wholesome, when it seems to be heading in the direction of benefit.


Also, consciousness can be indeterminate. Its moral quality can be such that it's difficult even for a Buddha to see that it's positive or negative, that it's beneficial or not beneficial, still observing neutral states, karmically, or you could say morally neutral states of consciousness that don't seem to be necessarily beneficial or harmful. The observation is itself the Buddha work. which is beyond karma. And the observation of wholesome karma is beyond wholesome karma. And the observation of unwholesome karma is beyond unwholesome karma. However,


Different types of karma have different effects and wholesome karma has the effect of promoting the observation of all kinds of karma. So it is still important to see if in the mind there is actually an element of the consciousness which wishes to do all kinds of wholesomeness. So one of the particular things that can be checked on in consciousness is whether there's a wish that consciousness be wholesome, that consciousness be beneficial. And also, even if there is a wish that consciousness be beneficial, there might be other wishes which What do I say? Undermine or even turn the consciousness to being unwholesome.


Even though there's a wish for wholesomeness, the mind can be turned into unwholesome if there's certain other wishes in it. The important thing is to observe the consciousness. And so the training is to somehow become more and more consistent at studying every moment of consciousness, of being mindful of what's there. The Buddha is present with each moment of consciousness and mindful of what's there. And there is delusion in karmic consciousness usually and the buddha studies the delusion with great compassion and is not caught by the delusion with great compassion so what comes to my mind now is one of our


Zen poems called, in English, Precious Mirror Samadhi. In Chinese, it's called Bao Jing Zanmai. In Japanese, it's called Hokkyo Zanmai. And in there, it has many instructions about how to study karmic consciousness. So for example, it says, If you're excited, it becomes a pitfall. If you hesitate, you're lost in retrospective hesitation. So while we're observing karmic consciousness, we also can learn to observe it without getting excited about it. The observation can be calm and not excited, even about an unwholesome state. And also we can be present with it and not hesitate to be with it.


And therefore we won't regret that we didn't practice with it in a way that there can be neither falling into nor avoiding, not being caught, not pushing away. Welcome, Shindo. Thank you. Welcome, Sonia. Thank you. There is a sutra called, it's a Pali scripture, and it's called A Grain of Salt. And in that scripture, the Buddha says that, you know, if you take a grain of salt, and I think they had pretty big grains of salt back in those days, a grain of salt, I think was like a chunk of salt, and you put it in a cup of water, would the water become salt and be undrinkable?


The Buddha asked and the student says, yes, it would be undrinkable. Now, if you took that grain of salt and put it into a lake, would the lake become salt and become undrinkable? And the student says, no, it would not become undrinkable. And then in just this way, the Buddha says, if you take a small a small unskillfulness, and you don't pay attention to it, and you don't confess it, and you don't say you're sorry, then that small unskillfulness can become huge. The mind which notices it and confesses it and is embarrassed by it and sorry about it, it's like a big lake.


And a small chunk of salt is not going to make the lake water undrinkable. Similarly, in a mind that notices what's going on, a big mind that compassionately observes, a big mind that attends to karmic consciousness like the Buddha would, still a small transgression may occur. But it's noticed, it's confessed, and it's apologized for. And that small thing, That's it pretty much, there's nothing more to it. It's just the conclusion of the karma of that small transgression, that small unskillfulness is that we notice it and say we're sorry. But if we don't notice even a small thing, then our mind is small, too small to pay attention, not too small to being paying attention to itself,


and be kind to itself, and confess itself, and say sorry if it's not a good mind, or not a good action, not a good karma. And then, that's the consequence. It's pretty much over. The result is that we feel sorry. We feel sorrow, which the big mind feels sorrow over a small transgression. But again, if we don't pay attention to a small transgression, then our mind is so small that that small transgression can basically be unworkable, cause what we call severe harm. Another story about how to work with karma, Zen story, is of a teacher named Guishan and a student named Yangshan.


And Guishan says to Yangshan, all living beings just have karmic consciousness. boundless and unclear with no fundamental to rely on. How would you test this karmic consciousness? In other words, how would you test whether the sentient being knew how to work with karmic consciousness? And Yangshan said, if I meet somebody, I say, hey you. If they turn their head, I say, what is it? If they hesitate, then I say, all sentient beings just have a karmic consciousness, boundless and unclear with no fundamental to rely on. So in that story, the student tells his teacher how he would test his own karmic consciousness or somebody else's. If something happens and you just respond simply,


attentively, like, hello, turn your head. You don't hesitate. You don't get excited. You just deal with it. You're right there. You're observing your common consciousness. Call, response, call, response, that's it. However, if you hesitate, you get caught. if you try to control what's happening rather than just watch it carefully as an act of deep faith in cause and effect. Deep faith in cause and effect, the head turns. Deep faith in cause and effect,


no hesitation, deal with it. Deep faith in cause and effect, not getting excited about it. But some things are potentially very exciting. But if there's deep faith in cause and effect, we study the very potentially exciting things and in that way of studying these exciting things, or maybe I could say frightening things or horrible things, the consciousness is protected and what we're observing is protected. This practice of Buddha's of deep faith and cause and effect protects beings.


Like right now, I don't see anybody harming anybody in this assembly. I don't see any disrespect or unkindness in this assembly. Still, we're all vulnerable. and can be hurt. So how do we protect these beings, these vulnerable beings who are in this assembly? Practice the Buddha way. And what is practicing the Buddha way of protecting all beings? It's to observe karmic cause and effect, which again, I don't know how many times you will allow me to say this, which again is your present consciousness.


And deep faith in cause and effect studies this consciousness and practices studying this consciousness and practices clarifying what this consciousness is while thinking each moment, while speaking, and while gesturing. I also thought today that the karma of the moment of consciousness is the forest. And all the different mental factors in the consciousness are the trees. So we study the trees, but we also study the overall pattern of all the trees. And both individual trees and the whole pattern can be observed.


I want to also tell you, I think it's too late to bring it up in detail tonight, but I would like to share with you an early Buddhist teaching, which the Buddha said is the direct path to peace, to freedom, which is mindfulness of four different categories, or to practice mindfulness within four frames. And the four frames are body, the body frame, the feeling frame, the consciousness frame, and the mental dharma frame, or the objects of consciousness frame.


So these are four different ways of studying karmic consciousness. And I haven't mentioned that before, but I have been talking to you about it without telling you that. So it may be next week, I could bring up these four and show you how these four are four different frames or four different lens with which we can look into the karmic consciousness. Four different, what do you call them? What's the word? Four different levels of, what do we say? different levels of grain or granularness of the consciousness. All right, so now I'm ready to open up to your offerings about deep faith and cause and effect, how to study


the field of delusion and understand it and realize Buddhahood for the welfare of all beings. Angela, Hello Rev. Hello Great Assembly. I feel my heart pounding. I have been contemplating what is my motivation and it seems that what arises is


to be of service, to be helpful, to be free and help others realize freedom from suffering. I have, I'm with great anxiety, presently, and have been for some time. I've been with it, tenderly observing it. And when I'm when it's fully welcomed, I may have a glimpse of a reality that I don't, that I don't see myself as, if that makes sense.


So, I think of myself one way, which tends to cause suffering, or seemingly. Yet I've been observing when I welcome this fear, the anxiety, the fear, Like I mentioned, I see something different than what my small mind sees. And that's encouraging in my practice. It encourages you to continue to respond to the anxiety in that way?


Yes. You feel encouraged to continue that practice with the anxiety? Yes. And then when you were speaking about the small minds, the grains, the salt, and unskillfulness, I thought, well, maybe by questioning, maybe I'm not saying I'm sorry as often as I could be. So I aspire to confess and repent my unskillfulness so as to be of benefit Yeah, and being kind to the anxiety will promote you being aware of the quality of your consciousness.


And there could be anxiety with the wholesome state or an unwholesome state. And if you take care of them. Sorry, go ahead. There can be anxiety in a wholesome state of consciousness. There can be anxiety in a neutral state of consciousness. And there can be anxiety in an unwholesome state of consciousness. And taking care of the anxiety will help clarify which kind of consciousness you have. That will promote your clarity about the moral quality of your consciousness. Okay. I feel like I want to speak more, but I recognize, I noticed that I seem to reach this place where


I don't have more words. And I've been looking at how am I practicing compassion with that? Am I being present with that? Am I being kind to that? And I have noticed that just practicing the compassion with just with what is now. There's like this struggle. The self wants so badly to not allow Yet, when it arises to just be here now, as things are, there is clarity.


Does that make sense? That will bring clarity to this, this wish that you think is the self-wish, but actually it's just a wish. It'll be clear that that's just a, that's just a delusion. And then you can be kind to, then you can be kind to it as the delusion rather than be caught by it. Okay. And this anxiety and clarity share the same space. Well, if there's clarity, it has no problem being with anxiety.


Yeah. But there probably will not be clarity with the anxiety unless there's compassion towards the anxiety. lack of compassion towards anxiety interferes with clarity about the anxiety. Yeah. Clarity comes with being kind to anything, but in particular, clarity comes with kindness kind accompaniment, kind friendship to anxiety. Anxiety wants a companion. Someone to listen. Yep. Someone to study karma with. Yeah. Thank you.


Good evening John. My motivation is questioning. And I've been very pleased with your teachings on wisdom, as the teachings on compassion as well that, well, teachings you presented with three forms. And the common form in both was the second form, which I took to be questioning. And I've been trying to practice questioning and understanding, as you said, that the questioning doesn't lead to clarity, it leads to confusion. And so I find that When I'm coming to clarity in my questions, I confess and repent because I've fallen into the trap there of believing I've found the answer or found clarity. When you come to clarity without questioning the clarity. Yes. So I'm out of confusion and that's a tip off to me that I'm in trouble now. Um, so I, I see this as sort of a practice for me and non grasping.


Um, and in a sense, learning, as you often say to pivot. When I, when I suddenly think I'm having clarity, I try to pivot and look at it differently. Question it, just question that thought. Oh, I'm clear. Just question it. And if you think I'm in trouble question, oh, I'm in trouble. Yes. So the challenge I'm facing now is I have this arising sense of the witness. And I'm pretty sure this is the tricky self coming alive again. In my mind, as I'm questioning things, there's this witness that's witnessing me doing this. And I'm starting to identify with the witness. And it's a very... slippery slope to feel that, okay, I've got to step back and be the witness. And I don't, I really don't know how to, I don't know how to confess.


I don't know how to always acknowledge that or confess and repent in that moment. I'm, I'm, I sort of feel a little bit removed at times when I go into this witness mode. Yeah, I think it sounds like, although you said you really want to work on questioning, It sounds like in this particular case, you stopped questioning the witness, what the witness is. Yes. And so I think, then you say, oh, I'm sorry, I stopped questioning. I thought I was the witness. I paused in my questioning. So the questioning, the witness is also questionable. Yeah, it's hard for me to reflect there. I mean, there are times when I'm involved in something and I see the karmic sort of consciousness coming up and see the pattern it plays into, and I watch it.


I don't try to stop it. I'm sort of witnessing as I go through it, like, oh, here we go again. Here's the dance. Here's how it's going to turn out. Sure enough, it does turn out that way usually. But then this witness says, oh, wonderful. you're stepping back and observing. And it's just very hard to, I don't know, I'm challenged by that. There's a sense of attainment there that troubles me. And when I wish for people to observe or could say witness, when I say observe, but if I want to encourage people to witness karmic consciousness, because I think that that is what the Buddha does. The Buddha witnesses karmic consciousness, observes karmic consciousness. Okay? But also, the Buddha questions the observation process, questions the witness.


And also, the Buddha really is not identifying with the witness. The Buddha is identifying with cause and effect. The Buddha is identifying with the process, which is questionable, always questionable. If the process ever solidifies, question it. So your suspicion, your almost like uneasiness with the identifications occurring about things in the process, That's a legitimate skepticism or questioning. And if the questioning stops, then you say, oh, I confess the questioning has stopped. I stopped questioning and I don't want to stop questioning. I'm committed to it, which is not to take up a residence in the observing. Because it's not a residential observer, it's observing.


It's not a residential. A resident witness, witnesser is witnessing. But an unquestioned witnessing can turn into an unquestioned witnesser. Definitely. But the self is not doing the witnessing. The self lives in the field of witnessing. The self doesn't own the witnessing. And also, and if there's not witnessing, then the self is living in a field where the witnessing is not functioning. But if there is witnessing going on and the self isn't doing it, but it's happening, and the witnessing is just like, there's a thought here, which is the witnessing is doing well, it's got it, then it would be great if there was a questioning of that. Oh, yeah? Is that so? Huh? Is that so? Wonderful. Not being sarcastic, but really like, is that so?


One other question I wanted to ask you, you may not answer, but this is a wish. I'm hoping that in this class you'll reference the alaya, the storehouse, and how this practice of questioning, in my case, plays into that karmic storehouse coming forward. I'm happy to do that. and I probably need to do it more than once. Okay, so I just said before that every moment of consciousness right now, this moment of consciousness has consequence. And one of the most important consequences of this moment of consciousness and this moment of consciousness is that simultaneously with this karma of this moment, the storehouse consciousness is transformed, which means also that the whole universe is transformed because that consciousness is embraced by all other beings and it embraces all other beings.


So my unconscious embodied awareness, which is not what I call consciousness, it's called the storehouse consciousness, but I think it's really a storehouse mind. It's unconscious, embodied. It's cognitive, embodied mind. And it's transformed by everything I think, say, and gesture. And then that transformed consciousness, or that transformed mind, is the support for the next karmic consciousness. So if I remember deep faith and cause and effect that transforms my unconscious and my body. And that transformed unconscious body tends to promote more remembering of deep faith and cause and effect. And everybody's included in that. So it also stimulates other beings to have that come up in their consciousness.


Partly, like right now, I'm talking about it. So you hear it, and when you hear it, that's your action right at that moment. So you hearing what I'm saying also transforms the storehouse consciousness, alaya. Thank you. That's a teaching I can't hear enough of. Kasia. I start with one question, but then more question rises in my mind. So I'm going to stick with the last piece that I heard you saying about transformation. My question is, is this transformation has a


a built-in intention in it, and is that intention Buddhahood? The intention of this consciousness transforms another mind. But the transformation is not an intention, it's an effect of the intention. So the karma is the intention and the effect of the karma is transforming my body and unconscious mind. And that transformed body and an unconscious mind then support more consciousnesses where there are intentions. So the intentions are the karma and then the consequence of them is that it transforms our unconscious our nervous system, which then gives rise. So it's action, karma, transformation of the body and mind, which supports more karma.


That's why it's good to do good karma, because then it transforms a support for further good karma. But the transformation itself is not an intention. The intention is in the consciousness. So is there an intention in the consciousness for liberation? That's my question. Is there intention in consciousness for liberation that is willing to go through these transformations? I would say that there is an intention in your body and in your unconscious cognitive processes for liberation. And in some consciousnesses, there is the intention for liberation, but not in all consciousnesses. So, like I mentioned last time, this thought in consciousness to realize Buddhahood in order to benefit all beings, that intention is not in all living beings' consciousness.


But fortunately, it's in song. And, and, and that's the seed of Buddhahood that that intention in consciousness. So, so the question that came to my mind is that, is it because I'm just saying maybe maybe because of on awareness, so that we are not aware the one that who does not see deliberate who doesn't have the intention of liberation. Maybe they're not aware of their source of struggling why they're struggling from the first time from the why they're struggling. Okay, so we don't agree. Okay. Some people's karmic consciousness, they're not aware. But some other people, they are aware. And by studying karmic consciousness, we will become more aware of how it's working, and where the struggle is coming from, and where the sticking points are.


Makes sense, makes sense. Thank you. And that study transforms the basis for more study. Okay. Okay. I used to do for a while. I did a practice that was encouraged by you because you love the words confession and repentance. I asked you, this is a good practice. And you said, yeah, so I did it for a while. And that is at the end of the day, I would light a stick of incense. I didn't tell you about the incense, but I would kind of recall the things that were unwholesome or that I regretted and, you know, kind of, you know, I'm sorry.


After a while, I stopped doing that because it involved a process in my mind of judging though that was bad. And it became a kind of laundry list of the bad things I had done and how I was how I ought to improve myself. And I know you wouldn't advise me to think in that way. So yeah, the word repentance, I'm sure many people have brought this up with you, is so laden with kind of stuff that it can be an obstacle rather than a help. But what I've found, and then I'll just say this and you can say whatever you want to say. The only thing that seems to be really helpful in what I was trying to do there is to whatever arises, I think Angela was saying this too, whatever arises, including something like, oh, that's bad,


Whatever it is, is to completely, without judgment, study it, to use a word that I haven't yet found a problem with that you like. To study it, but not the way I studied in academia, but to really Study it by actually experiencing it as it is. And if it includes a thought or a content contraction that says, that was awful, then study that. That's your teaching. So making a list of things that I did bad and repenting them, I haven't found helpful. Doing it in the moment of feeling harm That is helpful. What do you think? Sounds good. Yeah? I mean, what sounds good is that you tried, you did an experiment, and you thought, I don't think this is helpful.


That's good. You did the experiment, and then that's the conclusion. Then you found something else that you currently think is pretty good. And that sounds good to me too. Yeah? You were shaping another word. I was going to say that in the previous example and in this current example, I just pray that you do this practice without trying to get anything. Right. And if you do try to get something, I would pray that you'd say, oh, I had this really nice practice and then I tried to get something from it. And I want to let go of the trying to get part of it and just do it. But that may slip back in, and that's part of studying your consciousness, is to notice, I'm doing a practice, it seems to be going well, I feel encouraged, and also, I think I can get something from this practice. Uh-oh, I'm sorry, and I'm sorry about that. I want to let go of that part.


Thanks for that reminder, yeah. But you have to sort of notice it and say, I'm sorry to let go. Yeah. What do you think about the inherent hazard of the word confession and repentance to try to get something built into them? Yeah, I don't think it's built in, but I think it's what he called it. What's the word? I forgot what the word is. Just anyway, it's often associated with it, but not built in. For me, repentance It is related to a word like penance, right? But it also just basically means sorrow. It means I'm sorry. And it means I'm sorry, like I apologize, or I'm embarrassed. And so I don't need to use the word repentance, but I'm sorry is fine too. But still, if I confess and say, I'm sorry, I watch out to make, you know, to watch them looking at your question myself, did I try to get something out of that?


Because that's the fundamental question. Yeah. And because I believe that this practice is, this practice protects beings. But I want to watch out to think, am I going to try to get the protection of beings? What part? I have to like, watch out for it. That's part. That's why we do a good practice, but we still have to watch ourselves as we do it. Okay. Yeah. Great. Oh, there I am. I read.


Well, as, as you may have guessed, may know from some past me's have been with you, you some past years. And it's in the moment for me, it's... How am I questioning? So I don't quite understand, I'm not sure I'm questioning enough. I mean, that would be my confession, so to speak. May I say something? Sure. I just heard you say, I'm not sure I question enough. Did you say that? I thought so. I said that. Yes. So being sure that you question enough should be questioned. I do not want to believe that I question enough.


I want to question, but I do not want to fall into the trap. I question enough. Okay. Live with the question. Am I questioning the right amount? Is my questioning skillful? And watch out for I'm questioning enough. Okay. I wonder if I'm questioning enough. That's fine. I wonder, well, I wonder is often the way I put anything, like, I wonder what this is, as I feel a breath or I feel a tightness. It's very much a body practice, body breath practice for me. You know this, because I have a long, as long yoga practice as I have a Zen sitting practice, and they both continue. And amazingly, a miracle.


And, and so, in each moment, I feel like, well, you know, where's, you know, but what there's so many, so many teachings that have come to I'm so grateful for, through you, you know, relax with whatever comes the Dharma gate of ease and joy. Am I trying to grab those? They just seem to arrive. That's fine. And when they arrive, question, am I grabbing them? Could I possibly grab this great thing? Well, you know, I mean, what amazes me is that they arrive. things arrive and then they go away, and then they arrive and another one goes away. And for me, it's like being actualized by myriad things is the hugest blessing. It doesn't matter what, it could be the smallest thing, a little piece of dust on the floor that I reached down for, or that I don't, or it doesn't matter.


But just being aware of this moment, oh, this is how this is. How is this? Is this really this way? This is not going to last either, just like the one before didn't. And it's okay, it's all a big flow. I don't know. I just want to let you know I'm so grateful for my long practice through Green Gulch, you, many teachers, and Tassajara. And I'm so grateful Tassajara's opening. I'm going on May 5th. I'm going to attempt to do this weekend with Leslie and Stephen Harper that I've done twice before. Who knows if I'm going to be able to walk a mile, much less six, to the wind caves again.


But I'm taking a friend who's never been. Congratulations. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you, Rob. I'm interested these days in in consciousness in the formation of consciousness. And some of that is because I take care of women in in pregnancy. And And I'm interested in, there's a kind of a Jungian idea of something called a complex, which I sort of understand as a constellation of images and experiences that sort of operate in our unconsciousness and often


operate us outside of our sort of more aware or ego driven consciousness. And I think also as I age, I'm interested in sort of the shadows where I think I know what's motivating me or I have some wish or even a a moral compass, but I'm kind of interested in the parts of me that are not on board or that are sort of outside of what I can see. And I'm thinking about that as you're talking about karmic consciousness and how as we're fetuses and newborn infants, there's so much that's being formed that we may not remember later consciously that affect us and perhaps motivate our behavior.


And I'm still trying to kind of understand what karmic consciousness is and how to have a wide observing presence without too much judgment attached to it yet. Letting the wider lens of what is there show itself without chasing it away with a moral judgment about it or with trying to improve or trying to choose the good path or the moral path or the Sort of interested in every color that's there and kind of trying to see that. But I guess it's all called the shadow for a reason, because it seems so elusive.


And sometimes I notice things show up in myself and in others when people kind of lose their temper, or they sort of lose it, or they behave out of character. They kind of lose control. And I'm so curious, like, okay, what's operating? What is that? What's going on there? So I kind of just wanted to bring that into this conversation. I wonder if you have any thoughts or comments about how to kind of work with those ideas. Well, one thing that struck me was you spoke about Could you say like a broad awareness? Did you say broad? I think so. Yeah, like a broader lens. A large. Wider. And then you said, and then you said without something.


Without judgment. A wide awareness. Because it's like the judgment is like blinders. You asked me to speak. Sorry. A wide awareness without judgment. So I just watch out for the without anything, because that narrows it. The wide judgment, you say without something, you just narrowed it. The wide one doesn't have any without. The wide doesn't have a without. It's big, because there's not outside of that. So if you want that, then watch out for saying that that's supposed to not have something. So if you want to do this work, if you want to have this big mind that can open to the shadow, try to have a mind that doesn't try to not do this or not do that, but includes everything.


If you want to have a narrow mind, then say, not this, not that, can't do this, don't judge that. But that's the same mind. The one who doesn't judge is the judging mind. This one is not judging or not judging. It's open to all the judgments. The shadow is open to all the things that are in the light. But the light can't get the shadow. But the light can open to what is open to the shadow. One of the things that I'm feeling is that I'm starting from a fairly narrow and those ideas about I'm going to, given a choice, I'm going to try to give my energy to what I perceive as good.


And I guess part of what I'm saying is that I feel like that's like a A blinder, like it's kind of a blinder. It can be. And you want to be aware of all that. Include all that, rather than also get rid of the blinder. So I think you're right. It can be a blinder, but let's not try to get rid of the blinder. That's not going to get rid of the blinder. That's going to be another blinder, a super blinder. A new thing, it's a new thing, a super blinder. But this big mind that you want, I think it's good to invite that to come and embrace all these blinders and stuff like that, to embrace all that. Then the blinders will be disarmed. If we try to get rid of blinders, we become more blind. Thank you.


You're welcome. Good evening. Thank you so much for this class. It's just stimulating so much. But right now, I feel some confusion, a bit of confusion about these four concepts. And it kind of came up when you were talking with John about witnessing. And so the four things, and I can explain more about how I'm confusing them, but there's witnessing, there's discriminating consciousness, there's a self, and there's karmic consciousness. And I'm kind of thinking that witnessing and discriminating consciousness are very similar, and that the self either


owns the whole shebang or that karmic consciousness owns the whole shebang. And I'm not sure what the relationship is between self and karmic consciousness. Are they the same or different? So that's a whole lot of confusion. Thank you. You're welcome. So I would say Consciousness doesn't own anything. Self doesn't own anything. Witnessing doesn't own anything. And discriminating consciousness doesn't own anything. None of them own anything. Including they don't own each other. They don't own each other. And karmic consciousness doesn't own any of the stuff in it. And none of the stuff in it own it. So karmic consciousness has a self in it.


The self it has is a kind of mysterious thing that there's a sense of it, there's an idea of it, there's a smell of it or something. But there does see, if there's no sense of self, if it's absent, we don't have karmic consciousness. So karmic consciousness has a self, but it doesn't own it. And the self has the karmic consciousness, but it doesn't own it. There's no selves floating around without a karmic consciousness surrounding them. So they can't, they require each other to exist. Correct. Okay. They co-arise. They dependently co-arise. There's no self arising by itself. It arises with karmic consciousness. It arises with feelings. It arises with body. It arises with perceptions. It arises with a karmic pattern. All that arises together.


They're all actually really good friends that don't necessarily realize it yet. And there's confusion in that space. But the confusion doesn't own the consciousness. And the confusion doesn't own the self. And the self doesn't own the confusion. And the consciousness doesn't own the confusion. And the witnessing doesn't own the things it witnesses. And the things that are witnesses don't own the witnessing. They co-arise. They dependently co-arise. And the pattern of the consciousness is really helpful to study in order to wake up to the dependent co-arising of the whole situation. Okay. But the self doesn't own the consciousness, even though we say my consciousness. Yeah. It's okay, just say, okay, all right, we're just speaking conventionally, my consciousness, but really I don't own the consciousness in which I appear.


I don't own it. it doesn't own me. We dependently co-arise though. The teaching is, and there's a belief in this consciousness, in the teaching that the self and the consciousness arise together, and also the idea, the delusion that the self owns the consciousness also arises with them. And not so many people, and some people maybe have the idea that the consciousness owns the self. That's not so common. Like I'm my consciousness itself. But it's equally true as this is my consciousness. Really everything dependently co-arises together and also dependently goes away. Interdependently comes up, interdependently goes away. However, in consciousness there's delusions like this owns that and that doesn't own this. It's a delusion and that dependently co-arises too. with the situation.


However, by studying this, we can see how silly a lot of the stuff that's going on there is. For example, the self owns the feelings or the self owns the consciousness. He's just a silly little delusion. But Buddha studies that delusion and understands it. That's what Buddha is. is understanding these sillinesses that are going on in karmic consciousness. They seem so embedded, it just, it seems. Yep. And they're available for compassion and insight. And they're available, going back to what John brought up, they're available for questioning. Not, not hating them, Although we can, that can be there too. But if there's hate of this mess, it also can be questioning the hate. What's that about?


Is this really making any sense to hate the way the mind works? Does it help? Does it clarify things? I don't think so. If you look, I don't think so. It's, it sounds to me like I can understand why people say it takes many lifetimes to sort this out. It seems so tangled. Yeah. And it's, it's really, I think it's really important to be enthusiastic about sorting it out so that we, we don't think, well, I haven't sorted it out yet. Darn. I quit. This Buddhism, this enlightenment is just too difficult. I quit. No, no. We need to enjoy this study. Otherwise, we're going to take major breaks. Not forever, but maybe too long. We want to enjoy this study so we can become consistent. Stay with it. This is the deep faith that Dogen has.


That Buddha has. that Baizhang has. They deeply, they love to study this. They enjoy it. They're not in a hurry to get it over with. And matter of fact, they say, I will not finish this until everybody understands this. And it's going to take a while for everybody to understand. So I'm happily here to encourage this study until everybody's doing it. I'm happy to do it. Welcome, June. You're muted. Can you hear me now? Okay. I just so wanted to put my hand down and not do this.


But I'm so confused. What I'm confused about is not particularly the process of what's going on with examining karmic consciousness. Somehow that's clearer than, it's bigger than that. It's like the basic question is, what is Buddha? You just said it at the end of talking to Yuki, something about that's what Buddhists do. And I think it was at Noah Bode, Or maybe it was this class, I can't remember. In the last two times I've seen you, you said there are many people might want to help all beings and, you know, study doing that. And people like in therapy, I think, are basically studying


examining, getting out of the way of knowing more about karmic consciousness, but you said not everybody, even good people, have the intention of becoming a Buddha. And then that got me in this vortex, like becoming a Buddha? What is that? When I thought Forget the A-Buddha part. Just say becoming Buddha. Well, okay. Okay, I'll take that A out. So, becoming Buddha means becoming the deep understanding of confusion. Now, you got me there. Say that again, please. Buddha is the great understanding. of confusion, that's what Buddha is.


Okay, I kind of get it. But you told us you've got some confusion, right? Yes. So the confusion, that's what Buddha is studying. And when the confusion is understood deeply, that's Buddha. Well, I thought kind of everything is Buddha, every dependent co-arising is... You can say everything is deeply understanding confusion, you can say that, that's fine. Let me say again, some people want to help people. That's something in their mind. They actually, in their consciousness, they see a sincere wish to benefit all beings. And some people have a sincere wish to benefit some.


But some people, even the ones who want to benefit all beings, some of them have told me they don't get this thing, this Buddha thing. They just want to help all beings. They don't necessarily want to realize Buddhahood. And part of the reason why they may not want to realize Buddhahood is that they just want to help people. They don't want to have to deal with a lot of confusion. I want to help people. I don't want to have to go into the endless pit of confusion. That's too much. So let me just help people without opening up to the endless oceans of confusion. But Buddhas do that. They open to all the confusion. because they really want to help all beings. And they know that's necessary. But some other people want to help all beings, but they don't want to do these Buddha things too much. So can I just help all beings without like opening to all the confusion about this? Yeah, sure.


But if you really want to help them in the most complete way, and really want to protect them from harm, then you have to open to all the confusion. at your own pace. So wishing to be a Buddha means you wish to open to everybody's confusion, including my own. Okay, that helps. That's an additional difficulty. But it's part of the deal of really being able to help people. So you're not afraid to go into their confusion with them. Buddhas are not afraid. You give them the worst confusion, they just say, okay, I'm here. That's kind of fun. So again, some people have this very sincere wish to help people, but they don't quite want to like open to the full spectrum of confusion. I cannot, I don't know how to.


Okay, June, clear? Yes, I feel temporarily better. Please take care of that confusion. That's the only people I'd like to hang out with, you know. Thank you for coming to hang out with me. Okay. So I think we need to stop now, although I see some other hands. May our intention equally extend to every being and place with the true merit of Buddha's way. Beings are numberless. We vow to save them all. Confusion is inexhaustible. We vow to dive into it and cut through it. Dharma gates are boundless. We vow to enter them. Buddha Way is unsurpassable. We vow to become it.