Zen Meditation on Our Original Nature, Class 1

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In this series of gatherings we will explore and perhaps realize our original nature, and how to apply such a discovery to all of our daily activities. 

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This is the first meeting of the yoga room community, those who come to the yoga room events. This is one of the sanghas that we participate in. Many of you participate in other sanghas. Like the Zen Center near your home, or the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, or the San Francisco City Center, or the Noah Bode community. So we have various assemblies that we participate in. And, oh nice, Timothy has come. Welcome, Timothy. And some of you I have not seen since before the pandemic.


Last time I saw you was before the pandemic. So it's moving for me to see people that I haven't been able to see or talk with for years, since 2019. And I thought I might start by reviewing, which some of you may know, some recent dharma offerings that have been made, let's say during the last year. About a year ago, we started some, in this venue, we started some study and practice sessions focused on. About a year ago, we started some study and practice sessions focused on.


Anybody care to say what we focused on, starting about a year ago? In this venue? The Vows of Samantabhadra. The Vows of Samantabhadra, yeah. The Vows of Samantabhadra, which also, yeah, that's right. And anything else around that same time? Or another way to say what we studied at that time? Great Compassion. Great Compassion. So, Samantabhadra's Ten Vows are the Vows of a Great Compassionate Being. As part of this, as sort of articulating the practice of Great Compassion, the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra offered ten practices and vowed to practice them.


So we talked in some detail about those ten practices as the unfoldment of the Bodhisattva's compassion. And then we did, I think we had two sessions where we looked at those compassion practices. And then in the autumn of last year, sort of in conjunction with the practice period at Green Gulch, this group continued to study Great Compassion under the, sort of, or within the context of Zen ritual forms. To consider the various ritual forms of Zen as opportunities or frames of mindfulness or compassion. For expressing compassion through the traditional forms of Zen.


Of course, there's infinite other forms to use, but we looked at the Zen forms and how they are opportunities to express the great compassion of the Buddhas. And also to consider how those practices are Great Compassion and see if we're practicing the Zen forms, which Zen students practice, are we practicing them mindful of Great Compassion? So, for example, comes to mind, we do these Zen forms, these Zen rituals, but we don't do them to get anything. Practicing compassion, we're not trying to get anything. We're giving our life to all beings. And so, to do these practical exercises, these rituals, we keep being mindful of whether we're doing them wholeheartedly as a gift to the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, and all beings.


So, we talked about that quite a bit at the end of last year. And at the beginning of this year, during the January intensive at Green Gulch, some of you were there, but most of you weren't. And there, we continued to look at the Zen forms, and in particular, the Zen forms of reciting the teachings of the Zen ancestors. And in particular, one of our regular ritual forms here in Green Dragon Temple is to recite the poetic teachings of our ancestors in our particular lineage. And we have two of their poems, which are the main liturgical exercise or ritual we do of reciting these poems, which are also instructions about how to realize our true nature, or how to realize our original nature.


So, these teachings are objects of study to realize our true nature, and opportunities to be devoted to these teachings to realize our true nature. To study it, to explore it, to discuss it, and to realize it in our action of sitting up, walking, standing, and reclining. So, we looked at that during the January intensive, and also we looked at these poems, these Zen poems, or these poems of so-called Zen ancestors. We looked at these poetic expressions, and these two poetic expressions, one is called, in English, it's called the Harmony of Difference and Equality. It could also be called the Harmony of Conventional Truth and Ultimate Truth.


And that was written by our ancestor, our, let's see, our 35th ancestor, Sekito Gisen, wrote that poem. And then the other poem is written by our 37th ancestor, 36, no, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37th ancestor, Tozan Ryokai. And that text is called Song of the Precious Mirror Samadhi. So, it's a song about concentrating on the mirror, the mirror of our original nature, the mirror of our true nature.


So, those are two kind of ingredients in our traditional Zen ritual, our traditional Zen liturgy, which we looked at, and which also bring us to this series of studies, to look at the teachings of those poems as a way to study and realize our true nature, our original nature. And both those poems start out in a very similar way. The Harmony of Difference and Equality starts out, the mind of the great sage of India, intimately transmitted from east to west.


The other poem starts out with the teaching of suchness. And again, we could understand right away, the teaching of suchness is the teaching of our original nature. The teaching of suchness is intimately transmitted, Buddhas and ancestors. So, both those poems start off by highlighting intimate transmission. And again, as I've mentioned many times, the usual way of translating the poem is, the mind of the great sage of India, in other words, the mind of Shakyamuni Buddha, is intimately transmitted. But my interpretation is simpler.


And my interpretation is, the mind of the great sage, intimate transmission. That the mind of the great sage is intimate transmission. And the second one, the teaching of suchness is intimate transmission. I shouldn't say not. It is intimately transmitted, but the intimate transmission that is transmitted is that intimate transmission is the teaching. The teaching is the intimate transmission. And so, right at the beginning, I offer the interpretation that intimate transmission is our original nature. That what we are, what we actually are, is an intimate transmission.


That what we are, and the teaching of what we are, is an intimate communion. And so, during this series, I would like to look at this intimate communion with you. And have an intimate communion about this intimate communion. To realize the intimate communion, which is to realize what we actually are. Which is the mind of the great sage of India. Which is what we really are. What we really are. And one more time, what we really are, we really are the teaching of suchness. We are the truth of the truth. That's what we are. It's getting better.


Fortunately, we have eight more weeks. So, I feel like maybe what I just said was vast and profound and difficult to believe. And difficult to understand. However, by intimately communing with each other, we have an opportunity to understand and realize this teaching. So, I think I maybe will stop now and see what you have to say in response to what's been offered so far. Thank you.


The... The... The... Hi, Rob. The intimate communion is perhaps one of the dimensions of the intimate communion. The intimate communion might be an opening of a space for a sharing of identity. Yes. This intimate communion is often referred to as like space, which allows for everything and doesn't mess with it.


But it allows space for everything to be in this communion. In that way, this mind of suchness, this mind of the Buddha, is like space. Yeah. Thank you. Good evening. Good evening. Thank you for the review. That was really wonderful. To see the whole flow. Sometimes it helps me to understand by looking at the opposite.


So, I wonder how you would articulate our misunderstanding. You're suggesting we understand that the mind of the great sage, and where do you think we miss? It. Well, one way to miss it... One of the main ways to miss it is to have the thought that the mind of the great sage of India is more or less different from your mind. That's one way to kind of miss it. Of course, it's not. It's right there. But if it's important to you and you think it's separate, you might look someplace other than your own mind. So, in that way, you sort of magically miss where you already are, which is not different from the intimate communion, because what you are is the intimate communion as you.


So, you don't really miss it, but there's the thought of you're thinking of something that's separate from it. And that thought, in a sense, has the power to manifest as suffering. So, is it that you're inviting us not to search outside ourselves, but to have an embodiment practice? Like, yeah. Like, Dogen's studying the self. Yeah, I would say, not so much telling you not to do something, but more like study your self, understanding that your self includes all beings. And study each and all beings as including you.


Be devoted to that teaching. That because of your nature, because of your original true nature, you include all beings. You know, stay mindful of that with everyone you meet, and also with every inner experience you have. Now, I just want to say one more thing and see if that's correct. When you say include all beings, if I turn it and say all beings are included in me, that work has a little different emphasis for me. So, all beings are included in me, and what's the other side? When you said include all beings, that one sounded more outside of somehow.


You include all beings, and all beings are included in you, that's the same thing. But the other side is, you're included in all beings. That's the intimate transmission, is all beings are included in you, and you're included in all beings. Including, you include all Buddhas, and you're included in all Buddhas. And you're not the only one that's included in all Buddhas. And you're not the only one that includes all Buddhas. So, the study is to study that intimate transmission, which is to study and focus on and be mindful of our true nature. Thank you. You're welcome. And I just might at this point say again, maybe for the first time, that one of the virtues of this study is that if you are mindful that you include all beings, one of the virtues of that is that you realize that your study includes them, and your study is included in them.


And if you don't study, then they get included and you're not studying. So, there's both a negative to let go of and a positive to embrace by meditating on this teaching. And the negative is if we don't meditate on this teaching, then we might, by karmic background, we might be caught by the idea that we do not include some beings, particularly beings that we think are really evil, or that we're not included in them. And that will cause suffering. Thank you. I just looked at your name this morning, today, Karen.


What, what's that? I looked at your, I'm a name today. Oh, you did. In calligraphy. Both in calligraphy, and in, and in English. Yeah. And one way of translating your name is intimate communion. No, it's beautiful. Or intimate. Oh no, not intimate communion. It's, it's true. Communion. True communion is the second part of your name. Show shin. Communion, or true intimacy. Yeah, I love it. Yeah. Name is about this class. Yeah. And it's been on my mind a lot. That's good. That's what we're here for. Have that on your mind.


Have that on your mind and your mind on that. I think you might have answered my question when you were talking to Sonia but in part of it that I was wondering about the use of the word transmission. Yes. Intimate transmission. Could you say more about transmission I caught that all beings are included in you and you are included in all beings. So, there's one kind of transmission. For example, in a car. There's a transmission of power from the engine to the wheels. Right. And really, really, there's an intimate transmission between the engine and the gasoline being ignited, and the wheels turning. However, people usually don't think of it intimately, they think of it only going in one direction.


If that's the direction they care about, which is the direction of the power of that comes from igniting the gasoline and pushing the pitch, pitch it piston, which turns the crankshaft and makes the wheels turn. They only think of the transmission has taken that energy to the turning of the wheels. It's one directional only looking at one direction is not intimate. So, oftentimes people think that the Buddha transmits the truth to sentient beings. They don't think of the sentient beings transmitting the truth to the Buddhas. But the one directional transmission of the truth from the awakened ones to the diluted ones, that one directional transmission is not intimate. Intimate transmission is in both directions.


And that's our true nature. Our true nature isn't just that the wisdom of the Buddhas is transmitted to us. It's also that we transmit to the Buddhas. Is it along the lines of, how do I put this? Like your name, Zenki, the whole works. It's another way to say it. Yep. Yeah. The whole works. The whole works in the individual and the individual works in the whole. Yeah. That's the intimate transmission or intimate communion. That's our nature. That's our true nature. We call to the Buddhas and they respond to us. But also, we respond to the Buddhas and they call to us. They look at us. We respond to them. We look at them. They respond to us.


Bodhisattvas are calling and listening. Both directions. Just to take one side is not true intimacy. Thank you. Let's see. Hi, Rob. Hello, Kim. Hi, everybody. I'm not exactly sure how this relates, but I did want to speak to you about something that we came up with in our, we read in our book group, Third Turning of the Wheel. And it was something that I was reading aloud to the group and it just struck me as being so beautiful.


And it was something about, like, if I can feel responsible for your actions, that I become devoted to you. And it was just, it was such a beautiful, I think, you know, obviously this has something to do with intimacy and intimate transmission. But it was just a different way of looking at things. So that even if, you know, someone, I guess, is doing an activity that I wouldn't do, rather than judging it, if I also am able to understand that I am partly responsible for that, I can be devoted to that person. And that's just like, I don't know, that's love and intimacy with all that's around me. But I wondered if you'd like to comment on that. Well, my first comment is, I'm so glad that you noticed that, and that you appreciated the beauty of when we see someone acting in the world, and we feel some response, we feel that we share, it's not all our responsibility.


We're not to blame for what they did. But we're responsible for it, just like they are. I could even say equally responsible. When I feel responsible for your action, that promotes me being devoted to you. If you were my daughter, I think I would feel responsible for what you do. Not that I take credit for the good things you do. I do appreciate the good things you do. But I'm not just appreciated, I'm responsible for the good things you do. And if you do things that are unskillful, I'm responsible for those. So in both cases, I'm devoted to you. This particularly applies between parents and children. Because parents are devoted, I think most parents could understand, because they're devoted to the child, they're responsible for what the child does.


I guess it, yeah, it's... And you're saying vice versa. That the people who we don't necessarily think we're devoted to, if we feel responsible for their life, it naturally would follow that we should be devoted to them. Because our devotion then will be our way of being responsible, rather than I'm not responsible for them. So I don't have to be devoted to those people, because I'm not responsible for them. So there's nobody I'm not responsible to. So there's nobody I'm not devoted to. This is the intimate transmission. Our true nature is to be devoted to everybody. And be responsible for everybody. And our true nature is that everybody is devoted to us, even though they don't realize it. It's my true nature that you're devoted to me and Barry. It's my true nature that you're devoted to Barry. It's all the people that you're in intimate transmission with, I'm included in that.


And all the ways you're devoted to everybody is included in me. Because you're included in me, and you bring everything about you with you into me. And being in me doesn't confine you at all. Don't worry. No, it's very expansive. Thank you for bringing that up. That's a really important point. Thank you for writing it. Thank you for making me write it. We wrote it together. We did. When I wrote it, you were included. And so was Barry. Everybody was included in what I wrote in all those books. Thank you. Thank you. Hi, Rob. Thank you.


Good evening, Leslie. By the way, I want you to know that I accept this blurry image of you. I'm accepting it. Hey, that helps. It helps to be clear. But I'm okay with you being blurry. I'll work with that. Thank you. Two questions. I don't know if that's allowed. One is, I think I know what you mean when you say our true nature. But then I thought, I don't know what you mean. And by you, I mean so many of these things about our true nature. Does that mean when we were babies, before we got twisted and turned? Or does that mean... It means when we were babies, yes. Essential self? Well, it's kind of our essential not-self. When we were babies, we had a not-self.


And we still have a not-self. When we were babies, we were included in all beings. And all beings were included in us. And it's always the case that our true nature was the same when we were babies as it is now. Same true nature. So what if... This is a beginner's mind question, but what if we just want to believe that? But what if so many people's true nature is to be at war and conflict? Because that's so often what it feels like. So again, realizing this teaching is the mind of freedom and peace. Realizing our true nature realizes peace and freedom in the world today where there's war.


So we live in a world where there's war and conflict. Yes, we do. And we are responsible for the war and conflict. And all the beings who are in war and conflict actively, they are included in us. Meditating on this intimate... We're in intimate communion with the people who are actively fighting with each other. We're in intimate communion with them. Realizing this intimate communion realizes peace and freedom together with the beings who are fighting. And they have the opportunity to receive this communion. And we have the opportunity to be patient with them not being ready to receive it, but we're still offering it to them by practicing it. And I don't know if war will ever end on this planet between living beings.


I don't know about that. But what I'm trying to do is promote peace and freedom in this world by these meditations. With the understanding that working on these things ourselves is the way we're working on it with the people who have not yet apparently started. And somehow that reaches them. It reaches them right now, yes. And they will eventually start doing this practice. And our job is to be patient with them even before they start. Like being patient with children before they learn something. And if we're trying to teach children patience, then we're patient with them not being patient. We're patient with them being impatient, angry children. We're patient with them being frightened children.


We practice that with them. And because they're included in our practice of compassion and patience with their fear and their anger, because they're included, that's the way that we include them in our practice. And it's also the way we're included in their practice of not being patient right now. And it's also the way I'm responsible to all the impatient children. I'm responsible and devoted to all impatient children. That's my faith. That's my wish to be devoted to all impatient children and adults. And that's an outflow or that's a consequence of intimate transmission. That's a consequence of our true nature. That I would want to be devoted to all beings is a natural consequence of our true nature.


Thank you. You're welcome. Thank you for your questions. Hello, Reb. Good to see you and the Great Assembly. And Athena. My question is around the intimate transmission we're talking about, which I've also heard you call our true nature. And I believe you also said that that is suchness. Is that true? And if I remember correctly, I've heard it said that the practice of Zazen is the contemplation of suchness. So then that would mean that Zazen is essentially the contemplation of this intimate transmission.


Yep. You could say Zazen is the contemplation of it. Yes, that's right. If you're talking about Zazen as contemplation, it's contemplation of our original true nature. Yes. But also Zazen is our original nature. So part of our original nature is to contemplate our original nature with Zazen. So when we're sitting Zazen, we are sitting in that intimate communion in this fact of us being included in everyone and everyone being included in us. Yes. And whatever posture we're in, that is an intimate communion. And contemplating that helps realize that. It's called the precious mirror of mutual inclusion, the precious mirror of true nature.


But it's also called the Samadhi, the precious mirror Samadhi. It's a song about being concentrated on this original nature. Because if we're not concentrated on it, it may seem like our original nature is a little bit different from the way we are right now. So we have to train ourselves to be mindful and undistracted from this original true nature. Otherwise, we can create a little or a lot of separation. And then we don't feel responsible for people and we're not devoted to them because they're a little bit different from us, a little bit separate. All this is called simply also sometimes called Zazen. Thank you for confirming that for me.


And I'm just going out a little bit on a limb and trying to connect things that you said previously. I recall you often talking about stillness and silence and wanting us to remember stillness and silence. And is it appropriate to say that all of this is taking place within stillness and silence? Excuse me for going like this. What you just said is like a quote. He said, he said, literally, all this is going on in stillness and silence. All this what? This inconceivably wonderful mutual transmission that he describes. And then he says, all this actually occurs in unconstructed stillness and silence. So remembering stillness and silence is kind of like remembering the context for this wonderful, inconceivable mutual transmission.


Thank you. You're welcome. You went out on a limb and you didn't get hurt. Thank you. Good to be here again. Thank you. So my question, it has to do with an equanimity practice that I was taught from the Theravada tradition. So when we do this equanimity practice, we repeat certain phrases like, you know, things like, you know, may I see the arising and passing of all things with equanimity and balance. May I be open and balanced and peaceful. And, you know, you sort of bring yourself into that sort of very sort of steady state and, you know, see everything as just a changing stream or a river of life that's flowing.


And you, you know, you're sort of witnessing it all in this sort of a balanced way. Right. One of the phrases that was also included. And it was in relation to, you know, like, say, people who you are close to or you want certain things for certain people and you want them to be happy or you want, you know, you want them to be a particular way. And so the phrase that they use is your happiness and suffering depends on your thoughts, words and actions and not in my wishes for you. So that's sort of the way it's phrased. And I often I found it to be very cold in a way, like I felt like, oh, you know, that's your problem. Like, you know, your suffering is your problem. You know, I mean, like, but it was supposed to evoke equanimity in the sense, you know, it's a way to remind oneself that, oh, you know, that we don't have control over what other people do.


And you might want something for them, but, you know, they could still be suffering, you know, as a result of what's their karmic, you know, whatever's going on. So when you were saying today, I found it really beautiful that the way the way this is, it's kind of like, like you have, like my guru used to say, like unlimited liability for everything, because you are in everything and everything is in you. And in some ways, that can also evoke equanimity in a different sort of way. So it leads to a sort of a more stable equanimity, because, like, I don't know how to express what I'm saying. You don't know how, but you are expressing it. But I find it, I found it really powerful, because it's... Thank you for noticing that. That's very good. So in the early teaching, the early teaching has a function. And what you're talking about, maybe it's sort of more like individual practice.


And there's a place for that. But you noticed that there's some limits to that. And it maybe lacks great compassion sometimes, the way it's understood. So, yeah. And you also said liability, and I would, I recommend you maybe use the word responsibility rather than liability. Liability. Again, these beings who are suffering, yes, they're suffering. Are they responsible? Yes. But to say I'm not, I question that. Maybe we're ready to not say that. And to say, you're suffering, and I share in the responsibility for this. And because I understand that, I am devoted to you. And even if you become free of suffering, I'll still be devoted to you. But between now and when you become a Buddha, I will be devoted to you.


And then after you're a Buddha, I'll continue to be devoted to you. I will be devoted to your, you know, your teaching. And between now and then, I am responsible for you and your suffering. I'm not to be blamed for your suffering, but I'm responsible. I'm not in control of you, but I'm responsible. And this, and this is my nature. My original nature is I'm responsible to everyone. My true nature is I'm responsible to everyone. But also my true nature is everyone is responsible to me. I have this nature, which isn't just me responsible others. It's my nature that others are responsible. Your responsibility for me is my nature. Your devotion to me is my nature. Your devotion doesn't just belong to you. Your devotion to me belongs to me.


You give it to me, but it doesn't just belong to me. It's also yours. This is our true nature that's being proposed here. This is our intimate communion. Yeah. This is what we really are. This is what we are. Yeah. Just in relation to this idea of equanimity and how this can. Oh, yeah. Excuse me. Just let me say, you also made the point that maybe this way of encountering all this messiness. Yes. Become intimate with it leads to a more stable and vast equanimity. It's not just a practice of equanimity for me. It's a equanimity, which is transmitted to all beings and received from all beings. It's a bigger equanimity. It's not just mine. So sometimes you might feel, well, I'm pretty.


I feel pretty calm now, but I don't want to get into those messy situations. That's not me. No, I'm calm. And because I'm calm, I want to embrace these messy situations for a greater calm. For a calm of the mess. Not to suppress the calm, but to open to it and be like space for it. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Good evening. Good evening. Well, my question is kind of the same question as Tyler about meditation.


I'm just sitting. I heard you say, you know, meditate on this teaching. And then I think meditate on it in silence and stillness. But there's something for me that my mind wants to be more active if I think about meditating on a teaching. It wants to actively engage. So, and I know in the third turning, you talk about Vipassana and Samatha meditation. And I've never quite understood what the Vipassana side of that is, the meditation, not the teaching. So I wondered if you could say a little more about that. Sure. The first thing I want to say is that the activity of meditation is an activity. It's an activity.


And there's a certain type of activity which occurs in silence and stillness. So, the meditation where we are mindful of silence and stillness, that is the Buddha activity, occurs in the mindfulness of this silence and stillness, which is part of reality. We don't make the silence and stillness. So the context for both the practice of tranquility and insight or Samatha and Vipassana, those practices, which are natural activities of our original nature, they occur, the full activity, the complete activity occurs in silence and stillness. Does boredom seem contradictory, activity, stillness, they seem contradictory?


Yeah, well, this is not the type of activity, for example, which is to try to stop movement. It's not that kind of activity. It's an activity which stillness allows for movement. Stillness does not try to stop movement. Trying to stop movement is more movement. So when we have stillness and we're mindful of it, we discover, there is a discovery that there's activity going on. But it's not the activity which is to move in such a way as to stop movement or start movement. It is an activity of liberation of all activity. And that occurs in stillness.


Liberation of activity is not manipulative. But liberation is an activity. The activity which liberates motion or liberates activity, it's not tampering at all with any movement. It's allowing whatever. It's allowing. We have to allow things in order for them to be free. But allowing is an activity. I can see that. And where does that activity occur? It occurs in silence and stillness. It occurs in the vast space of the awakened mind. That's where movement is allowed. And when movement is allowed, movement is liberated. And so is stillness. So then when we bring a teaching into that environment, what does that look like?


Well, you said bring the teaching in, but the teaching isn't brought in. Already there. The teaching is discovered. It's right in that environment. In the environment of silence and stillness, the Dharma wheel is turning. And it's going. It's going. The Dharma wheel is turning all inclusively. Everybody is included. This is a big activity. In silence and stillness you'll discover the dharma wheels turning. You'll discover the dharma wheel turning which as it turns liberates all beings. I think that I might find myself asking in that situation, where is intimacy? You know, I'm here, where is intimacy? Can I find it? Can I touch it? Can I


somehow see it? That that would be how I might engage with it. Well, it might be, but before we talk about engaging something, what we've got here is a thought. Yeah. So that thought, what does our true nature do with that thought? It allows it to come. It allows it to come, it allows it to go, it allows it to be, and it also is devoted to it. Our true nature is to be devoted to that thought which you just told us about. And to be responsible for it. And to love it, not like or dislike, but to love it. And by being with it in this way of realizing that I'm included in that thought, in your case, in your thought, but also I heard of it, you told me about it, so I'm included in the thought you


just told me. And the thought you just told me is included in me. Meditating on that is the activity that occurs in silence and stillness. So meditating on how your thought that you just told us about is included, when you tell me how it's included in me, and I'm meditating on how it's included in you, but also you realize that the thought you just had is included in me. That's part of your devotion to me, who you're responsible for while you have various thoughts. So you have thoughts, which is activity, and also you have the activity of being responsible to me while you're talking to me. Sometimes I find myself just sitting there kind of saying, please show yourself, you know.


That's a nice invitation. Yeah. So there could be the invitation arises to invite your true nature to show itself. And your true nature might say, I'm sorry I can't show myself to you, but I appreciate the invitation. I'm not something that can be shown to you, because I'm already here, and I don't want to show you something which will distract you from my presence already. It might say that to you. It might say, the way I'm going to show myself is to tell you that I can't show myself, but I appreciate you asking so I could say that to you. And what I just said sounds like a number of Zen dialogues I've read. Yes, it does. Thank you. Thank you. Hello. Hello.


Yesterday evening, when I went to bed, Stefan said, greet rep, do a greeting for rep. And I said, I don't know if I raised my hand, if I will raise my hand, but now I did. So I want to greet you from Stefan. Thank you so much. Would you please give Stefan my greetings in return? Yes. And you can also tell him if you have time, you can tell him that I'm responsible for him. Okay. And therefore I'm devoted to him. Okay, I will. While you're at it, would you also tell Nicola that? Okay. That's a lot of work for you, but please do it if you can. Okay. Yes, because we were talking about the being responsible. I was wondering,


it's in the context of, in our last meeting, you asked me if I'm holding back something, and I didn't see myself holding something back. But in the meantime, it revealed to me many things that I'm holding back constantly, a lot. And just this whole pot of what is held back, and I just know a little spot of it, I guess, like the peak of an ice mountain in the sea. And mostly what I saw is about negative things, so aggression and animal-like energy that I don't allow to come up just out of various reasons, like education and


whatever, and culture. And I wonder if this is connected to this responsibility for the actions of what we see, what we don't accept in the world. Yeah. So, if I have some negative emotion arising in me, or if I see it appeared, or if you tell me that you have some negative emotion or negative thoughts, if you tell me that, this my original nature feels responsible for your thoughts. And so I'm devoted to your thoughts, whatever they are. But now we're talking about some maybe negative thought. You might tell me that you have, but I'm responsible for that, mutually with you. So, you're responsible for any negative


thoughts that arise in your consciousness. Does that make some sense to you? I don't get it somehow, what you say, because I was thinking in a different way about that. I was thinking like a little bit exaggerated, because I suppress so much, it can appear in the world, something like a belief of this kind of connection. And what you say sounds completely different, so I don't really get what you say right now. So, you're saying that when you suppress some emotion, is that what you're talking about, suppressing an emotion? Yeah. You notice that you're self-suppressing an emotion? Yeah, yes. Negativity, yeah. So, you notice, it appears that there's some impulse in you to suppress a negative emotion.


Have you noticed that? Yes, yes. Okay. So now, when we notice the negative emotion, and we notice also some wish to suppress it, at that time, we might remember that, and if you tell me about that, when I hear it, I probably do not wish to suppress you suppressing. Did you follow that? Yes. So, if you tell me you're trying to suppress something in yourself, or even if you're trying to suppress something in somebody else, like if you're trying to suppress something in Stefan, if you tell me that, my true nature feels responsible, supports me to feel responsible for what you just told me. I'm responsible to you, for you, who's trying to suppress something.


And also, I'm devoted to you, who's trying to suppress something. And also, I might not be trying to stop you from suppressing. And so, you might be able to also be responsible for the suppressing, and be devoted to the suppressing. And by being devoted to the suppressing, and responsible for it, without getting rid of the suppressing, there can be freedom from suppressing, and freedom from what's being suppressed, like the negative emotion. Yes, and so, it seems to me like the, yeah, what's the word? Prerequisite, maybe, is the word. The prerequisite to this liberation is that


I first have detected it, because if it stays in the unconscious, then there's no... Did you say a prerequisite is to what? To have detected it, to be conscious of it. A prerequisite for doing this practice is to be conscious of something. So, for example, you become conscious of some negative emotion. Okay? In yourself, or in someone else. We don't have to even get into the suppression. We can just immediately go to the negative emotion right away, and love it. So, I think what we're holding back is not the negative emotion, and not holding back the suppression. We're holding back loving them. That's true.


It's the love that's being held back, because they're happening. The negative emotion's happening. The suppressing's happening. What's being held back is the love. And our true nature does not hold back the love. It gives love to negative emotions. It doesn't like them, because it knows they're painful. And it doesn't suppress them. It loves them. It's responsible to them. It's devoted to their liberation. We sometimes hold back, because we're not remembering our true nature. There's just so many mechanisms at work. So many mechanisms. And each one, each mechanism, is calling for us to be responsible to them, and to listen to them, and to love them. It's a constant invitation to widen myself.


Exactly. A constant and ever-changing, non-stop, ever-changing request for your love. And it is common for us to hesitate, or, you know, avoid this call. But our true nature doesn't hesitate. It says, hello, I'm here for you. I'm responsible for you. I'm devoted to you. And by the way, you, who just told me about that problem, you're devoted to me. And so is your problem. Your problem's devoted to me, too. All your problems are responsible for me, and devoted to me, and helping me be a Buddha. But I sometimes hold back. And then we have confession and repentance, which is, I'm sorry I held back. I'm sorry I didn't


love this being, this negative emotion that called for my love. I'm sorry, but now I want to try again. Okay, my view has changed a little bit in this conversation. Mine changed, too. We're changing. We're changing together. That's another version of our true nature, is we're changing together. We're evolving together. Oh, Rev. Hello, all. Excuse me. I was distracted. A few conversations.


Sorry. I'm responsible for you being distracted. Yeah. A few conversations ago, a they appeared suddenly. It was in the context of war and violence, and there was a they. Yes. And who are these they? Well, for me, you're one of the they's. In terms of our true nature? Our true nature is that me and you, us and them, those things, okay? Those things include each other. Our true nature is that us and we and they are true.


We and they, okay. We and they, in our true nature, mutually include each other. They are included in me. They who are fighting are included in me. And I who am not fighting, I'm, we who are not fighting are included in them. That's our true nature. And remembering that helps us act out of that understanding, which is we don't blame the others. And we also don't blame ourselves. We're responsible for them. We are responsible for they. They are responsible for us. We're devoted to each other. That's our true nature. And it's all emptiness. That's, that's something that's, that's, that's true. And I was going to bring that up later, but you brought it up now. This true nature is actually emptiness.


So that's why... Excuse me, just wanted to say that this is, this true nature isn't something substantial. It's, it's like space. Okay. We can't get ahold of this true nature. So thank you for bringing that up. This is all emptiness, really. That's why I was struggling with the they bit, was it's empty. Yeah. So they're emptiness, we are emptiness, and the mutual inclusion, which is the, our true nature, isn't just we and they. It's we and they mutually including each other. That's our true nature. And we is empty, they are empty, and our true nature is emptiness. Right. So it's more on the relative level, we can talk about they and we. Yes. But ultimately, it's empty. That's right.


And, and that's... That's right. That's the fundamental. That yes. And this is the fundamental. And even our true nature is emptiness. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So you brought it up. You're, you're a couple of weeks ahead of me, but that's, that's part of what we'll deal with is that meditating on our true nature includes meditating on emptiness. Thank you. Welcome. Thank you. It's okay that you telegraphed future discussions. Good evening, Rev. And good evening, the Great Assembly. Good evening.


I think Jeremy just kind of in a very efficient way, captured what I was trying to share. That was like in awe of the, this vastness of the true nature and the constantly moving, like using his words, the emptiness. And so that was the first part that I was thinking about sharing. And then the second part following that realization is, I'm noticing fear of like embodying my true nature, because that's the dissolving of what I'm very used to. And so, but at the same time, I'm also noticing the longing of my true nature, because that, especially when you're describing the, the being responsible and the other, the other, the world is also responsible for me, that feels so intimate.


And so, so great, just the opposite of loneliness or isolation. So there's longing, there's fear. So I wanted to hear if you have any comments about that and how to practice. Well, first of all, thank you for that. And this, this responsibility for all beings and them being responsible for us, being devoted to all beings and them being devoted to us as our true nature. This could, many people, if they're really open to that, they could be kind of frightened of it. They might feel like that they would evaporate in this intense mutual communion. So that's a kind of, and they, yeah, it's like, yeah, that, that's kind of a consequence is that


any independently existing thing evaporates. You're still here and actually you're free, but you don't get to be independent anymore. You don't get to be, you don't get to be lonely anymore. And that can be frightening. What happened to that woman that used to be lonely? What's going to happen to her? I don't know. We just got a message from Tracy Apple that she lost power. Thank you, Tracy. Thank you, Xiaoying. Thank you. I thought you were going to ask a question, but I don't know if you want to ask a question. I thought I just might say that observing this meeting tonight, I offered you some


kind of vast teachings, almost, you know, overwhelming, overwhelmingly wondrous teachings. But, and I didn't go too much into detail, but, and I think that seems like that was a good thing because then your responses brought out lots of detail. So part of what we're doing here is I'm presenting some big teachings, but not giving you many, many examples. But then when we start talking about them, you, the Great Assembly brings these examples forward for us to bring out all the many implications of a simple presentation of a vast kind of infinite teaching or a teaching of infinity. This is kind of a teaching of infinity. And in a sense, our original nature is infinite because our original nature is that we're


included in infinite beings and infinite beings are included in us, in every little particular aspect of ourselves. Every finite moment includes infinite beings and every finite experience is included in infinite beings. That's very simple and profound teaching. And so as we contemplate it, people bring up all these particulars. So I'm very happy with the way things went tonight. I hope you were. And do we end this session at 8.45, Gay? Is that right? It's getting close to 8.45. If anybody wants to say anything in the next two minutes, you're welcome. The next two minutes. Two minutes. Two minutes. Hi, Reb, and hello, Assembly.


I guess I should say it. I'm reluctant, but I will say it. As I listened to the expressions about the intimate transmission, a word kept coming up for me, which was very right now. I took it as a koan for a while. I was trying to find the meaning of it. And the word is Jesus. Jesus, yeah. I thought. That's a good word for intimate communion. Exactly. This is what you're talking about right now. You just explained the meaning of that. Thank you so much, Jesus. We all are, too. May our intention equally extend to every being and place


with the true merit of Buddha's way. I'm going to change it a little bit. Beings are numberless. We vow to be intimate. Afflictions are inexhaustible. We vow to be intimate. Dharma gates are boundless. We vow to be intimate. Buddha way is unsurpassable. We vow to be intimate. Good night, everyone. I'm very happy to see you all again. I'm glad we have seven more meetings. Good night, man.