Zen Meditation on Our Original Nature, Class 7

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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 recording is intended to be shared with class members only


I'd like to talk about how to meditate in a very, I think, starting out in a simple way. Now, so this is a meditation. You could say on our original nature. You can also say this is a meditation of realizing our original nature. So, the first thing, so our original nature is that we sentient beings are non-dual with perfectly awakened buddhas. Our original nature is that we are in intimate communion with all buddhas.


Intimate non-dual transmission. So, it seems that in order to partake, in order to be present for this conversation, it may be good to start with what we call being present. And towards the end of our session last week, Sarah Spalding asked a question. Do you remember your question, Sarah? I think it had something to do about being present right now. It did.


It was something like, your question was something like, well, is it just a matter of just completely being this person? Or just being how I am right now? Something like that? Do you remember? Yeah, something like that. And so, in some sense, that's the beginning of the practice, usually. So, for example, if you find yourself feeling uncomfortable, feeling depressed, feeling confused, feeling joyful, that's ascension being. That's ascension being. So, you're ascension being, but also depression is ascension being.


Fear is ascension being. Pain is ascension being. Suffering is ascension being. Ignorance is ascension being. So, the practice starts with whatever the thing in the present for you is, to basically take your seat there. Completely embrace your current state. Settle into. Settle the pain on the pain. Settle the confusion on the confusion. Settle the wish to be a better person onto the wish to be a better person. Settle the wish to have a better life, or to improve your situation,


or to improve the situation of other people. Completely settle in that wish. Completely be that wish to improve the world. Not to mention the wish, perhaps, to make somebody's world not so good. Whatever it is, it is ascension being. And so, in some sense, the first step, the price of admission to the meditation, which realizes the non-duality of our ignorant, self-centered, deluded consciousness, and deluded mind and body. The first step is to completely settle there. And so, I said to Sarah last week, she kind of said that in a briefer way.


And I said, but that's not all. It's really important. So, we also call that just sitting and being yourself completely. But we need to say more. Or I need to say more. In order to help us realize the non-duality of this person and perfectly awaken Buddhahood. In order to realize the conversation which realizes that non-duality. So, again, we can talk more later about what it's like to completely settle into this experience. The next thing I want to mention is that this experience also involves our sentient beinghood is addressing someone.


It's addressing someone. It's challenging someone. It's calling to someone. It's asking a question of someone. It's giving a gift to someone. It's relating to someone. Part of our original nature, which is conversation with Buddhas, it is also conversation with all sentient beings. It's without moving or doing anything. What we are right now, with not adding anything right now, not adding anything to it. For example, with me, I don't have to add anything to say something. I'm here and I'm sending you my words. I'm talking to you.


I'm addressing you. This is... And you, even though you may not be talking, you seem to be quiet, you are addressing me. You are calling to me and I am calling to you. I am listening to you right now. And you are listening to me. And you are listening to me. But we don't have to say anything to be calling to each other. Our being is basically a stimulus, a call, a request of all other beings, all sentient beings, particular sentient beings, and all Buddhas.


And now I say, which I've already said, is my addressing you right now, when I'm silent, I'm addressing you, when I'm speaking, I'm addressing to you. And I need to be me to do my addressing you. So I need to keep my feet on the ground or my seat on my seat. And from being here, I'm addressing you. From being completely here, I'm addressing you. I'm calling to you. And you are responding to me. All of you are. And all of you are addressing each other and being responded to by each other.


And this is another... Now, this is another important point in the meditation, which is also another important point in our nature. And that is that the call and the response are at the same time. And they're not the slightest difference between my calling to you right now and you responding to my call. And you are calling to me and I'm listening to you. And there's not the slightest bit difference between your calling me and my listening. And right now, we are also, all of us,


who we are, is addressing complete perfect awakening. And complete perfect awakening is responding to us. And that response is not the least bit difference from our offering, which is what we are as a gift, as a request, as an address. So that this conversation is the heart of the non-duality of the way we are right now and Buddha. And again, we may not think that we're Buddhas. We may think we're different from Buddhas. But that person who thinks she's different from Buddha


is addressing Buddha and being responded to by Buddha and is not the least bit different from Buddha. Or the least bit different from Buddha is paying attention to us. Or the least bit different to Buddha calling to us and we're responding to that call. And one of the main ways we respond to the call is to completely be here. So that our call comes from our complete presence. So you might just try, we might try just a little experiment now. First of all, everybody just like be completely here. Start there. To the best of your ability, be completely this experience.


And now I'm talking. So the sound of my voice is part of this experience. And I'm suggesting to you that wherever you are, completely being who you are, is addressing all of us. And you might check out the different, the way your experience changes when you go from being completely present and then take into account the teaching that your presence is a gesture, a call. Your presence is not alone. And you're expressing that by calling out to everybody else. And Buddha is the same.


Buddha is completely present and calling out to everybody. And listening to everybody. We are already that way. Or I should say, we are already this way. We are thus. And the meditation is the realization of this. Intimate transmission. Now you have it. Original nature. Now you have it.


And this person, whose hands are moving like this, does not have to be any different from the way he is in order to call to all of you. In order to call to the Buddhas. And if I think that I need to be a better person than I am, that person who thinks like that doesn't have to be any different from that. The one who thinks he has to be different doesn't have to be different from the one who thinks he needs to be different in order to meet all of you. And meet the Buddha. So I need to be completely the person who thinks he needs to be better. And realize that this person, this deluded person


who has that funny idea is not dual. Not the slightest bit different from any of you. And there's no other Buddha than me being somebody who thinks he needs to be better. Or worse. Or the same. Or different. So this is the basic meditation that I'm practicing and realizing with you. With you. I'm doing this with you. And you're calling for me to do this practice. And I'm responding. And without me changing at all,


this practice is peace and freedom. This non-duality is peace and freedom. And it includes all bondage and disturbances. And if anybody's trying to get rid of bondage, that's another sentient being. And if anybody's trying to get rid of disturbance and agitation, that's another sentient being who is calling to us and responding to us. And in that conversation, there is freedom for all of us together. Thank you.


So we're already in conversation. But I've been doing audible expression and you've been quiet. Now, if you wish, you can start making some audible contributions. And you can also continue to make silent contributions. But please remember, you are contributing. You are contributing. You cannot not contribute. So please contribute wholeheartedly.


Thank you. Hello, Rob. Hello, Angela. Hello, Great Assembly. Hello, Angela. Did you... Did I hear you say in bondage we are free together? Well, I might have said... I think when we are in bondage... Yes. We are in...


That bondage is calling out to all beings, some of whom are completely buddhas, and all beings are responding to us who feel that we are in bondage, including the buddhas. And our call from expressing our experience of bondage meets our experience as those who are responding to us. And that meeting, that conversation between me, the one who's in bondage, with other beings who also may be in bondage or not, and buddhas, that conversation is freedom while I still may feel in bondage. However, even though I feel I'm in bondage, I might be chuckling quite a bit. And I might...


How ironic it is that I feel completely at peace in the midst of bondage and agitation because they coexist. So a practice that I have been paying attention to this past week since we last met, when I'm feeling that bondage, that separation, we were talking last week about... And you had... I think you were the one who brought up the Avalokiteshvara is a perfect fit with that bondage. It's a perfect fit. And remembering that is very helpful. Remembering it, meditating on it, being devoted to it while you still may feel that you're in bondage. Yes.


Another word I might use is like feeling suffocated or highly constricted. Okay. And when I thought that, that alternative way of speaking of bondage, I thought of like, if our throat feels constricted, like I personally feel like... I sometimes think about if I were drowning, if I were drowning, could I relax with that? And I feel like that would be very challenging. Mm-hmm. Yes. And then I remember a story that I heard from our dear friend Hoitsu Suzuki Roshi, who is Suzuki Roshi's son. So he used to smoke.


And because of his... Because of what we could say, maybe because of his smoking, he became... His breathing became very bound and constricted. Yeah. Bound and constricted. And one time it got so constricted that it seemed like no... There was complete suffocation happening. And he heard a voice. And the voice was... The voice said, Shunchan. No, no. When he was a child, his name was Hoitsu. And I think his nickname,


or his term of endearment in his family was maybe Ichan. So he heard his childhood name Ichan. And the voice that was saying it was his mother's voice. So he's suffocating. His throat is choked. And he hears a voice saying his name. And he listens to it. And the name keeps calling him. And he keeps listening. And the name keeps calling. And he keeps listening. And his voice... He's still suffocated. But a thin, a thin little tube in the suffocation opens up and a little bit of air comes back.


And he... And he breathes again. And he said that voice... That voice was Avalokiteshvara in the form of my mother's voice. And he... I would say he was really there, you know. Yeah. He did his suffocation part. Yeah. And that suffocation called. And there was a response. And he heard the response. The response was a call back to him. This is our nature. And this is always... This is never ending. This voice... This is... It's not just this one story of a one time. This is a... This is a progression.


I don't know. It's not a progression. But this is a... Omnipresent. Yeah. Omnipresent. And we're trying to attune to this omnipresence. By being here and being aware that I'm not just here. I'm giving myself. And I'm being responded to. And if I don't... If I don't believe that I'm being responded to, then I give more. And I'm being more present. And I give that person who doesn't believe. And this morning in... Perfect fit. Sorry. Can you say that again? Perfect fit. Perfect. I feel complete.


Thank you. Good evening. Good evening. Thank you for that beautiful story. You're welcome. Thank you, Hoice, for telling it to us. Yeah. I think as you were offering your voice, the audible conversation, and I was following, and then I noticed an internal conversation. And the word that... One word that captured my imagination was when you said realization. So, substantial being and realization.


And I thought that... I had the impression that actually we're always present and registering. And the gap is the realization part that I don't... Might not notice. Maybe some places they say mindful of wandering somewhere else. Even at the same time, everything's making its impression on me. And that might be the threshold between sentient being and Buddha mind, is whether you're the realization. And even whether it's bondage or joy, actually catching or being present for that moment, the realization is the Buddha way. And I thought when Hoice couldn't breathe,


take another breath, or it was constricted, at that moment, there was not really much choice that I might feel now that I have the space to just think of something else while I'm listening to you. But when there's a lot of pressure, there's less room for a gap. Does that make sense? Yeah, you can say less room for a gap, but you could also say, maybe it makes it a little easier to be completely there. Because you're kind of nailed to the wall. Okay, I am nailed to the wall. I am listening. I am this, and I can't be anything else. Yeah. And now that that's the case, maybe I'll make a gif of myself.


So I'm kind of feeling like paying attention to the gap is the pivot. If there's a gap, there really isn't a gap though, but if you think there's a gap, that gap is a sentient being. Right. Yeah, it's another thing to be, be that gap. But if you had no gap, that would be another sentient being. Really? Yeah, Buddha doesn't have gap or no gap. But the realization seems to be the deal breaker. Is that right? No, the realization is what we are, you know, hoping for and wishing for, but it's already here with us not being realized, with us being ignorant.


So us being ignorant is as much a deal breaker or a deal maker as Buddha is. I'm having a realization right now. And I'm trying to get something. That's what I realized. That's a sentient being. And now I'm letting it go. Yeah, and that's a sentient being too. And there's no difference between that, those two sentient beings and all of us. We're all just like you. Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear. And that's what, and Buddhist feels the same way. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. I'm not sure. Camille?


Yeah. So I'm not sure I have a question or a comment or anything, but I wanted to say hello. So that's why I raised my hand. I, something you said earlier, and again, felt true to me, true to my experience. And it made me wonder, why is it that I can sometimes recognize people's Buddhist nature? It's just very, very clear to me. And sometimes I have difficulty. And I thought about it and I wondered if, I wonder if it's, you know, when I'm practicing, you know, it's like on retreat or intensive or living monastery. And I'm sort of, I guess, if I'm in a, I don't know,


I wonder if it's more possible those times, or maybe when I can recognize my own Buddha nature. Just trying to understand why this happens, why I can sometimes see it and sometimes not. Most times I can, which, but, and I think, I wonder if silence is something to do with it. That when I'm still, it's, these beings can, these beings can communicate with each other. And I guess, but then I also want,


but then I also like to talk. So I don't really like to talk, but I'm realizing that I like to be seen, I think. So I'm working with that thing. I don't like to admit that I do like to be seen. So I think it's possible to talk and also, I forgot the point I was going to make, but I forgot what I was going to say, but I, yeah, sometimes I just have difficulty with seeing the Buddha nature. And I guess I'm trying to figure out what's happening when that happens, but I guess it just gets, I guess the communication just gets noisy. And maybe that's what happens.


Or I start to feel separate. I'm not sure what it is. But then, whenever I'm sitting with a sangha, I can get really sad sometimes. Like when, like at Brooklyn Zen Center, which is where my home sangha is, like Wednesday nights was a sangha nights. And those were always hard for me. Like I would go there, I would sit and do service. But when it was time for the circle, because I would feel people. So when I left, I would feel a little bit sad. I could, it was like, they were with me kind of. And then I, I'm a little bit better at this, but it was something that made me sometimes actually leap before the circle. Because I couldn't stand those five minutes of like feeling that. I don't know. But anyway, so that's what I wanted to say. I guess I'm trying to understand why I sometimes have trouble with the Buddha nature part. Like it's seeing it. I mean, I, most times I can.


So I feel really happy about that. But there are times when I really, really can't. And it's not nice because there's some beings there that are very hungry and dissatisfied. I don't like that. It makes me hate myself. But anyway, so that's what I had to say. Thank you so much. Thank you. Good evening, Rev. And good evening, everybody. Good evening. Good evening. I am wondering if like today you were saying


completely here. You're also saying completely you. And sometimes you change between the two. And I'm chewing on that. And I wonder if completely here is the same thing as completely you. So that's question number one. And I have a follow-up question. Yeah, I think when you say yes, I kind of mean the same thing. In other words, completely you means completely how you feel, what you feel as you. So what you feel if you isn't really all of you because you're not just you, you're also all of us. Mm-hmm. But you might feel like you're a woman, you know, not a man. And so that's what you feel. Some other people might feel like they're a man.


And they might look just like you. Who knows? But how you feel, that's calling you to be there with how you feel, how you think. With your pain, with your ideas. So that's to be present with that, which of course you are. And yet we have to remember that. Otherwise, we miss our seat, our seat of awakening, which is right where we are. But we have to like accept it. Mm-hmm. And then even realize, oh yeah, this is how I feel right now. I feel good. I feel not good. I feel terrible. This is really hard. This is not so hard. I'm a woman. I'm a man. That's what I think.


That's not really true. And that's what I think. Mm-hmm. So just take care of being with this experience, even though it's limited and deluded. This is what I've got. And I want to be here and take good care of it. And then I want to remember that this isn't just my experience. It's also a call. A call. It's a call. It's an address. I'm a public address system. I'm addressing everybody all the time. But I have to be here to appreciate what the address is offering. So you are saying that even though, say, in this moment, if this, whatever I can feel I can be aware of is this much,


and even though I know or I believe there are so much more. Yes. I don't go away from this to there. Yeah. And if you think about going away from this to that, that's another small thing, that when you think like that. When you think about going away, that's another small thing. That's not going away. That's just another idea. So I was thinking about this in the context of helping other people. And so this thing, I don't know where this comes from, but I kind of remember a teacher talking about like a Bodhisattva helping, just like reaching out in the night, reaching out for a pillow. And the way I understand that teaching is that it's natural.


It's intuitive. It's not a lot of effort. It's just... It could be a lot of effort. You know, it could be a lot of effort, but it's also natural. Some people have really heavy arms. And for them to reach out for the pillow is a big effort to move like a 30-pound, a 40-pound arm, you know. It's a lot of effort, but it's also just like, hey, I want the pillow, you know, no problem. I see. I see. They're just being a person who wants a pillow. However, they're also demonstrating great compassion. Mm-hmm, yeah, so I was thinking about... That's an offering. When you reach for your pillow, that's an offering to all beings. Yeah, or could there be a way of being here completely me


that looks like not reaching out the pillow? It can look like anything. Mm-hmm. Our deluded human situation is we see something in particular. Mm-hmm. However, even though that's the case, that is in communication with anything. And therefore, we could also be completely different, and that would be in communication with anything. Mm-hmm. I could look like I'm reaching out, and I would be reaching out. And I could also look like I'm not reaching out, and then I would be reaching out in that form. We're always reaching out, and somebody's always reaching back. And the way we look when we're reaching could be like, or it could be, no. Thank you.


You're welcome. Good evening, Reverend, everybody, and the great assembly. Good evening. Good evening. When I was just first sitting before the welcoming, I wasn't nailed to the wall, but I did hear a voice. And the voice just felt astonished. It made me laugh. The voice said, a pleasant confusion.


And I just laughed because that was a totally unexpected way of, who knows, responding to how I was actually feeling. But it was a pleasant confusion. It was a very unusual kind of new, for me, sort of state. I just felt, oh, this is very interesting. This is fascinating to have it named that way. I asked, is that so? And I just was sitting with it. And then when the conversation came, somewhere in it, somewhere in your speaking to us in your voice, I was hearing the words practice and, like Sonia, realization.


I had this little zing come, a memory, I think, that somewhere in one of the sutras, please let me know if I'm remembering. If this is, I'm imagining this, but there's something about the practice, and there's no difference between practice and realization. And to say more about, it feels like that's what you're saying this evening, and that that's what you've been saying about our original nature, that practicing being with whatever is. But whatever is right here, this changing constantly, noticing or not, but just making a lot of space for just being and listening.


For whatever might come and relaxing with whatever might come. There's just a lot of not knowing, right? I hope, I think there is. Anyway, what would you say, where is it that says practice and realization are like this? It's in a sutra, am I? It's in many scriptures. The chant that we chant, Sonia's nodding. Yeah, and you are. I don't remember which chant it is, but I remember chanting that a lot, all my times. It's a basic teaching, practice and realization are not two. Are not two. And so it just, it just urges practice.


It's like, more practice. There's, you know, we're practicing all the time as our teaching. It urges us to do, yeah. I mean, not just while we're sitting here with each other and listening and questioning. Yeah, and we're chopping our vegetables. Can you say more? Great, thank you so much. Hello, assembly.


Hello, rep. Hello. I'm inquiring the thought that being someone or somebody, is this unique only to humans or is it also a animals who the nature trees, the sky also has that thought of being someone or something? I, I don't know if mountains have a thought like I'm one thing. I don't know about that. But I think, but I do feel that I'm calling to the mountains and the mountains are calling to me.


But they may call to me and respond to me in a different way than I call to them. But I feel like I am, I'm offering myself to the mountains. I'm offering myself to beings who don't necessarily think like I do. So are you saying we as humans are kind of trapped or we are caught in me? So there's always, it's a conversation with me, there's a me always there. I would say that it's not always there. But when we're conscious, what I think of as our normal deluded consciousness is self-consciousness. It's self-centered consciousness.


So humans do have self-centered consciousness. Unless there's some brain damage or something. But then, but then the self-consciousness in some sense has roots in the body. But basically, most of us, our consciousness is self-centered consciousness. And we are, and, and part of us being living beings is we're kind of trapped or enclosed in that deluded consciousness. And it, it's our responsibility to take care of that consciousness and not run away from it as much as possible. And then when we're, when we're here, we can realize this self-consciousness is also offering itself to all other self-consciousnesses and they to me. So my self-consciousness, in which is constricting to me,


is also my conversation piece with you. It's the way that we can realize the Buddha way together. It's for me to put my, my deluded consciousness to you and you to me. Because as I was listening to you, my mind went through entrapment with entrapment with entrapment. Yeah. More than, more than... Yeah. And, and that entrapment, if you can be, you know, basically embrace that fully, then that's what you offer to the conversation with me and others. That conversation without getting rid of your mind will be liberation. Yes, to be within the trap and of the trap and then just be that. Yes, yes. Thank you. With, with us, together with us.


We're always together anyway. Thank you. Hello, Reb. Hello, Green. Um, well, I'm, I'm having some curiosity come up and I'm not sure if I can completely word it into a question, but I'm, I'm, I'm gonna try. Um, thanks for giving us the, the, the, uh, curiosity. Yeah. Thank you for calling on me. Um, well, one of the things that I'm remembering from an earlier class was,


I think I heard you use the words, um, like take into account other people's experience or take into account another person or another being as having another experience. And the thing that came up for me was like, but I can't know what that is. Like I can take into account there's other beings. I don't know what it is. And I can take into account there's like a calling and responding going on. But I, I, I think the first thing that comes up for me is like, a sense of, I don't know, like, I don't know what that is. Okay. That's fine. Okay. And so I was remembering that tonight because, um, listening to you talk, my mind was kind of going through some steps. Like, for example, I can recognize a being like pain in my experience. And then I can also recognize or remember.


Like, um, my, myself or, you know, a being that wants to get rid of that pain or a being that has an idea about that pain. So I've got, so I've got the pain or my experience and then the experience of, of, of like myself responding to that. And I feel like that was, I can stay with those two steps. Like I can remember those steps. Can I say something? Yes, please. You can call them two steps, but the first one is a sentient being. The second one is a sentient being. And calling them steps is a third sentient being. So all of these things are sentient beings that, that you can embrace and sustain. So the pain's a sentient being, and trying to get rid of it is another sentient being, and the pain's not better than the trying to get rid of it or vice versa.


And then, and then observing the two is another sentient being. So these are a sequence of sentient beings, which is the normal situation of sentient beings. So my thought is, okay, remember, remembering or, or bringing to mind, like recognizing these beings, like one or two or three, like that, that feels like something I practice or can practice, or at least seems doable. But beyond those, I, I, like with the thought, take into account that there's other beings or take into account... I think I can address that. Okay. Right now, I'm taking into account that there's another being named Green. I'm taking you into account right now. I'm listening to you. And what I'm saying to you is because I take you into account, I don't know, you know,


I don't know what exactly, like, like when you tell me what you're thinking, I tell you that that's a sentient being. But I don't know what that's like to have that, that pain. I don't know what that pain is. But I take your pain into account, even though I don't know it. I take you into account, even though I don't know you. I do take you into account. Everything I say now is in reference to you. So I'm in reference to you, even though I don't know you. Okay. And you can recognize the sentient beings that you feel yourself to be. You can embrace them and be aware of them. And then you can also be aware, sometimes anyway, like right now, you can be aware that you're referencing me while you're feeling those things.


You're taking me into account. You're nodding your head because you're taking me into account. Yeah. Okay. So that referencing you and taking you into account. And then this, this additional thought that I was going to mention, which was like the call and response that's going on all the time with everything. Even if we leave the call and response with everything aside for the moment, and we just go back to this referencing you while I'm in conversation with you. Okay. If you reference me, when you reference me, you hear my call. That's why you reference me. And also when you reference me, you're addressing me. So you're calling to me. So you can't really set aside the call and response. It's there all the time. Okay.


You are referencing others all the time. And they, you. There's no time when we're not. So we're trying to learn to be attuned to that because it's going on all the time. Right now, I'm talking and I'm taking you into account. I'm calling to you and you're taking me into account. I can see you're taking me into account. I don't know how you're doing it, but I see you seeing me. I don't know what you see and you don't know what I see, but we're seeing each other. I guess part of why I wanted to raise my hand because I'm having some, I feel like I'm noticing that that's really different than the beings that I notice in my own experience or my mind or something like that. I feel like it's pretty different. There's some different quality about recognizing my pain or that I'm being here or whatever,


and then recognizing you. Yes, it is different. However, in recognizing your pain, you're also in conversation with your pain. There's a conversation there, but it is different to talk to me. And it's good to talk to me too. In order to help you understand what you do with yourself, talk to me. Because it's different. There's ways of understanding that you cannot come up with by talking to yourself. But you are talking to yourself. So that's why you need to also talk to me so I can call you into account and ask you questions and disagree with you to help you understand more what this conversation is. But you can do it alone too. With, you know, there's a call and response when nobody else is around. But we also need to have other people.


Which we have, fortunately. Fortunately and difficultly. Yes. Okay. Do you feel complete? Yeah. Okay. What I understand from what's been said here is that this process of intimacy that's happening all the time, whether we're aware of it or not, whether we intend it or not.


But I have this sort of not very well thought out idea that awareness and intention matter in this process. And I'm just wondering what, you know, if you could say something about that. Is it important that we're aware of it? Is it important that we intend to be aware of it? Is that helpful? Is that open? Well, I think you know the story of one of our ancestors was an attendant to another one of our ancestors. And his job was to carry the ancestor's robe. And so one time he was giving, he was the other ancestor's attendant. So he handed the teacher the robe and as he was handing it, the teacher said,


what is the business under this patch robe? And the student who was passing the robe had nothing, couldn't, had no understanding of what actually the business of Buddhism was. He was practicing intimately with his teacher. But when his teacher said, well, what's the practice? He didn't know. So then the teacher said, to be doing the practice and not know what the point of it is, is really painful. And then the teacher said, now you ask me. So then the student asked the teacher, what is the business under the patch robe? And the teacher said, intimacy. So the teacher had to tell him. Intimacy is going on, but somebody had to tell him.


He was practicing it. He was the teacher's, in some sense, most intimate friend. He's carrying his clothes around and passing them back and forth. They were intimate. But when the teacher said, well, what are we doing here? He couldn't, he didn't, he couldn't imagine even. He was silent. So then the teacher told him, intimacy is what we're doing here. Then after he heard that, then he said, oh, okay, well, I guess I should work on that. Because that's really, because if I don't, it's going to be really, really painful. So if we don't understand intimacy, it's really, really a tough situation. Because that means we don't understand what our life is. And not understanding our life is painful. So somebody has to tell us what our life is. It's, you know, it's this conversation. And you have to be you so you can do your part in the conversation.


You have to be you so I can see you and you can see me. But somebody has to tell you so that you want to practice, that you want to pay attention to this mysterious conversation. So that's our job, is to bring our attention to this situation. Yeah, and bring our attention and then like really fully embrace it to the fullest possible way. Be what we are attending to. And we can notice that we're being half-hearted, we're holding back, and then we can embrace that. Like the student could notice that he couldn't answer the question and the teacher could notice that he couldn't answer the question. But then the teacher could give him a gift and say, now you ask me. So then the student could ask.


Now he could say something. He could say, what is the thing under the robe? So we're helping each other be more present. And in that whole dialogue, they're each fully being themselves. They always are. Throughout that whole dialogue. Yeah, throughout. But they both were, but the student didn't understand. Just like we're all bodhisattvas, but some of us do not understand it. But we are anyway. We're doing this intimate conversation whether we know it or not. Thank you. Good evening, Reb.


Good evening. Good evening, Assembly. So I have a whole bunch of thoughts about this topic that you're bringing up. And thank you for this. So as I listen to you listing different sentient beings, different manifestations of moments as calling them sentient beings, I was trying to have a sense. And I remembered that it may appear that these things are random. That these sentient beings somehow, these moments of experience are somehow random, that they just happen.


I wrote the poem. I meant to email. And I called it the drive-in cinema. That life is a drive-in cinema. You park your vehicle and you watch. You experience these creations of every moment, different creations. But then I wonder if that is all. Maybe there's more to it. And maybe there is a more personal relationship with the universe. Not just randomness. Yeah, maybe. That's what I'm wondering. Like when you are talking about, I was trying to somehow relate the sense of me that is, it has a shape. And it has a name. And also the multiple experiences that you call sentient beings.


And so something that comes up to me, comes up for me is the quote from Chief Seattle. Man did not weave the web of life. He's merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. So I'm trying to imagine the reality that maybe we are like a web of strings. And each one of those beings that you call being are somehow connected, manifesting through each one of us. So that's how we are connected. Just like Christmas lights on a string of wire. And they all light up. So that's something that comes up for me.


In effort to somehow illustrate that for myself. But also, recently I was reflecting on that personal and non-personal. That question that keeps coming up for me. And I read this quote from the Bible recently. And reflecting on the nature of the trichia, whether that might be the case. You must be born from above. The wind blows where it wills. And you can hear the sound it makes. But you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the spirit. So the language is different. But somehow it gives me the same sense that all these sentient beings, they come up from somewhere and they go somewhere.


They appear and they don't. And then they disappear. The flickering of the moment. And what is it? Is this something like Sambhogakaya? I don't know. It's possible. Like, you know, when I studied Buddhism for a good while now,


I've been sort of accepted that it's random. It's just things happen. We just need to experience them and move on, not to hold on. But in other sources like Christian, it seems like there is a relationship between God and humans that somehow we are called to do this or that. And that's where I'm sort of, you know, am I interpreting it in my own way? Or, you know what I mean? Like, with the case of... I think all of us are interpreting everything in our own way, all the time. That's part of being a sentient being, is we're interpreting and interpreting. And let's be responsible about our interpretations


and let these interpreting beings be in intimate communion with other interpreting beings. As I mentioned earlier, I quoted a quote, I mean, a translation of Freud. He didn't really speak in English, but I heard he said, human beings are powerful, isolated fantasy machines. And we could also say human beings are powerful, isolated interpreting machines. But I disagree with that. I think we're powerful, interdependent interpreting machines. So we are interpreting all the time.


We are fantasizing all the time. We're making up delusions all the time. And we're doing it together. And I hope you're up for the conversation, ladies and gentlemen. We do like to make those interpretations, don't we? Yeah, so I guess it is an addiction, isn't it, to keep interpreting it? But also it's an entertainment. And something to do. Yes, and the Buddha found a middle way in the midst of all of our addictions. So without getting rid of them, we might be able to find a happy path of peace in the field of endless addictions.


But we need to be aware of addictions in order to find peace. So anybody who doesn't know any addictions, let's help that person become aware. So in this vast assembly, are there no more yellow hands? Well, I can accept that. Can you? I can welcome no yellow hands. Thank you so much. Sentient beings are numberless. May we be intimate.


Afflictions are inexhaustible. May we be intimate. Dharma gates are boundless. May we be intimate. Buddha way is unsurpassable. May we be intimate. And also I wanted to tell you that I got lots of messages from people who expressed their apologies that they weren't going to be here tonight. Thank you to all of them. And maybe next time, infinite beings will attend our next meeting.