October 7th, 2004, Serial No. 00564

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We sort of went over several chapters, and we talked in detail about Merit, and we ended actually getting into the chapter which we thought we would start with this week, number 16, simply because it seems as though there was an interesting concept, some questioning as to really what this meant, why this was here, and so on and so forth. And so We plan to go back over that again. And then to kind of go forward, I think maybe the way I will do this is after we get through with 16, I'll just kind of tiptoe across the sutra as I said before.


talking about what's happening in these later chapters, but I think we want to come back and talk about 17 and 18 in more detail, because there's some things going on there that will be of interest. But before we get started, I wanted to just sort of leave the floor open to anyone who had questions, observations, experiences related to the sutra they'd like to talk about, and so on and so forth. I think it's good to kind of look at the out there, and I do have to say that I apologize, Ron, that I did not delve into the question of why the body is such an important concept here. Well, actually, there was a... I don't know if it's in there in the handout, but in the book, there's a part where he says the word skandha comes from He says the way that we talk to him, he's talking to Bob Long.


He doesn't... He means bodies. He means bodies. Okay. Okay. And, uh... I still don't quite get why he's... Why? So what? You know, what is there about the idea of a body? I do not know much about him. My... my speculation. Is it for him to think about it as a body instead of a mind? Because he's a probably intellectual guy. He's trying to understand this from sort of a rational and analytical point of view. So if he thinks about it in terms of body, it stops being something where he's trying to get an idea. That's his mind. He does find words that are important. Right, and the body of merit is an often repeated phrase in the Sutra, so it kind of raises the question as well. If we're talking about a body of merit, what is the body of Buddha?


Anyway, I think it bears some more examination. Maybe it is very easy to get into head space, but it's very difficult to... He said that he had to spend years and years and years to get to it. Right, right. Just put it away. Well, I had fun. Yes. I don't know how many people were in David's talk on Saturday, but that was pretty relevant. I noticed that you thought so. Can you tell us in what way you thought so? Well, he was talking about love, which we've been pretty close to doing with compassion. You know, he was talking about love. So far, at least in the beginning part of the book, he's really talking about passion.


And what he's talking about is that that's what marks it, is that it's a practice of passion. But David was not wanting to yield so much on talk or mention the non-attachment side of it, which is a conceitual. How many people listen to this talk on Saturday? A few of us. You can keep it also real.


And they're basically love poems and expressions about love. And I think what I got out of his talk, what he was trying to convey, was that we can, as Buddhists, we can be afraid of love or affection because we're so We're kind of following this way of non-attachment, so we become kind of more kind of detached or cool. And he was urging us not to get sucked into them, not to put out the warmth of affection in comparing one another. And that was his point, which I agree. But my feeling was he kind of took the baby with a mouthful of it, and then he went his way over it. He wanted to stress that so much that he didn't want to talk about it inside. Well, what is loving? What is loving where you're handing on to your own satisfaction and your own desires?


What is loving where your own desires aren't so critical? In some way, what I'm hearing you say is that he was talking about it, you know, let's not be so It's not slice and dice love so much. And at the same time, you weren't hearing that even though we were emphasizing warmth and contact, but you didn't find a way to bring in non-attachment with that as a piece, so to speak. You want to talk about non-attachment as, you know, talk about the side of it where, you know, we find ourselves receding. and not so much what to do about non-attachment as an accompaniment to warmth and generosity. Right. And even a basis for it. Yes. Even a basis. Even a basis for it. I would think that the right kind of non-attachment would make you warmer because what separates us is that we want something from the situation.


It's not what's happening. I mean, you know, it's... I think you didn't want to get into that. But I thought that it's a little, if you don't, it's a little, I don't know if you have to divide it, but you have to measure both sides. Right, but also consider them how they are in unity. Again, another difficult topic. So let's go back to chapter 16. And this, let's see, this is a long chapter.


I think we... I mean, you may be trying to figure out whether we should read the last one. Yeah. She says look at that. Okay. Oh, it's 17. 17 starts on the next page somewhere. Yes, it's not that long at all. No. Okay. Okay, here we go. Does everybody have this? Okay. Nevertheless, the good son or daughter who understands, memorizes, recites, and masters such a sutra as this, and contemplates it thoroughly, and explains it in detail to others, will suffer their contempt, their utter contempt. And how could this be subhuti? Subhuti, the bad karma created by these beings in their past lives, should result in an unfortunate rebirth. But now, by suffering such contempt, they've put an end to the bad karma of their past lives and attained the enlightenment of Buddhas. So goody, I recall in the past, during the countless infinite kalpas, before even karma-tattvata, we are on the fully enlightened one.


I've pleased 8400,000 million children of the Buddhas and never displeased them. Nevertheless, devotee, although I please those Buddhas and Bhagavans and never once displease them, in the future, in the final epoch, in the final period, in the final 500 years of the Dharma ending age, the body and merit of the person who understands and memorizes, recites and masters such a sutra as this, and explains it in detail to others, not by a hundredfold or a thousandfold or a hundred thousandfold or a millionfold or a hundred millionfold or a thousand millionfold or a hundred thousand millionfold, but by an amount that cannot be measured, calculated, illustrated, characterized, or even imagined. Sabuddhi, if I were to describe this son and son-in-law as fully married, the full extent of the body of merit that this son and son-in-law would thereby produce and obtain, it would be willful to be used in their minds.


Very hard, Sabuddhi. The inconceivable and incomparable is this Dharma teaching from Bhagavad Gita, and the inconceivable is the result you should expect. Excuse me for having such a thought, but my thought while reading that was, we could skip it. Because basically, not one not 10, not 1,000, not 100,000, not a million, not 10 million, but ever more, Indian texts that consider themselves sacred make statements like this. They make statements like this about how great the sutra is and how it will liberate you forever if you read it once. But I guess you would probably say there's one point to be made by this section, which is that, you know,


Doing things that people praise, even that leaders praise, is not as good as getting across the line. Yeah, I think that is a good point. And I'm starting to actually enjoy the hyperbole. I would let it sort of slide past my mind, because like, oh God, not this again. But then if you really get on it and go with it, It starts to... It's like rolling down a big river. Yeah, I know. Anyway, it goes on, and as the Sutra progresses, it gets greater and greater and greater. You start with something relatively inconceivable, and then it goes... takes you to some place like... I guess there isn't any more Tao here. I have a question. So there's pages and pages of this kind of story where Buddha says, recite this sutra, like teach it to other people, and they can recognize the sutra, and their life will be different.


And yet, it seems like This sutra that he's talking about reciting is all full of just saying, talking about the sutra already. Like, what's the sutra you're supposed to grab? What's the part you're supposed to remember? Well, this is part of the teaching, which is that you don't really know. And in fact, as you get further along here in some of these other chapters, he talks about how, well, let me see here. I have some notes here. In chapter 21, it gets to the point where... Subhuti, what do you think?


Does it occur to you that the Bhagavata teach a dharma? No, indeed, Bhagavan, it does not occur that I teach a dharma. It does not occur to the Bhagavan that I teach a dharma. That there's no such dharma to be found as teaching the dharma. So, you know, then there's the question, well, what does it mean to memorize, recite, explain it to others? So, if the sutra is continually pulling the rug out from under what it is you're thinking about, But the point being made is that as we come across, I guess the point of your question is really what is the teaching? And the teaching is in part things like what occurs in the first chapter, how should I stand, how should I walk, how should I conduct my life by giving birth to this inconceivable thought.


and at the same time recognizing that there is no thought. This thing we call, we can't, no, no, no, that's not it. There's no such thing as that thinking. We'll come across this as we're going through it. It does start to sound repetitive, but there are subtleties which are brought up in the later chapters about some aspect of what the way it was formulated before emphasizes something a little bit different. But what I think is interesting about this chapter is this first part. And I think there's a couple of things to be said about it. One, I have to speculate where it says, someone who understands, memorizes, and recites, masters the sutra will suffer the contempt of others. And in part I read that as the political situation in India at that time where perhaps these people who were believed in and are interested in this way of thinking were not looked upon universally as good people by other Buddhists.


So there was that. Other Buddhists? Oh, you mean from this... Yeah. The suture first came to light, or was first promulgated widely. On the other hand, I think it points to something which is actually quite real in one's experience. This talks about how by suffering that contempt, you expiate the bad karmic results that are due to come to you as a result of your past actions. And I think in a way, to me this actually points to something that's kind of real in my own experience, which is that when I just allow allowing yourself to be looked down upon without complaint.


Even though you know in your heart what you're doing is right, not defending that necessarily. It can be something of a sort of cleansing experience. Another way I was thinking about it was that, you know, we were talking about how In some ways, what this teaching is about is that you don't have to wait to start practicing. You can start practicing now. And it may be that for someone who is living a life with a lot of really heavy karmic results and bad karma, if you want to call it that, that it's actually to do this practice, to turn to Him and take this path, is extremely painful because it means awakening to that, that pain that's produced by actions such as, you know, greed and jealousy or murder or what have you.


But that is, that it, well, you know, either Zen masters or murderers or whoever can actually, you know, I mean, you know, they can, anybody can just do this practice and there's no need to prepare for it. I think it is more painful for those who, as a result of coming to the practice awake to sort of deep suffering in themselves. Not that everybody doesn't have something pretty tough to face, but I think there are, can be, in a lot of cases, those that are pretty, pretty hard. Those are some of the thoughts that I thought about. And not to take the pain that you feel as a sign that you shouldn't be doing in the practice. Right, right. Not to take it as a sign, just to sort of have it. Well, I think it's a good one, but I think it's also a very tricky practice.


It's a tricky practice because one can think, well, I'm I'm being insulted and I'm not responding, and boy am I good. To just have the pain of being insulted and not really rationalize it, I don't know, for a lot of us that's pretty tough. To not trick ourselves into thinking that we're comforting our ego by creating a place to stand within that. So I'd say that's pretty advanced practice. I think I read something that says the two times you can most feel your small self are when you're falling and when you're falsely accused. When you're falling and when you're falsely accused. And like when your self engages most strongly.


That's why, you know, there's a couple of famous public figures, people who don't seem to be defending themselves, they don't seem to be angry because they don't think they can change anything. I wonder, how can a person not be angry because they don't think they can change anything? No, I can't remember. gets pregnant, and she doesn't marry, and she doesn't know what to do, and so she decides to blame it on this priest who's living outside the village, and she says, he did it.


And the villagers get all rocked with them, and they start arching out these things, and they carry them, and he goes, you take care of it! You did this! And destroys it. And then he takes care of the baby. And then she admits the truth, she goes to bed. And then they go back and you're bowed in front of them and they apologize. Because they didn't know what else to do. Is that so? Is that so? Is that so? But it's a very advanced practice. I agree with that. And most of us, we'd be kidding ourselves if we tend to forget that. Because if I'm despised and rejected, like it says in the Messiah, ah, they're blind, Jesus. No, we'd just be looking at it for an opportunity for revenge. One went in in Ireland and she went in in Florida.


The list of things, it's just, it's real. Her, the main thing that's funny for me is that in my analysis of her, what she does is, she's using her potential to, yeah, what she's got, and her actions, and these things that we're talking about. So that's kind of a potential too. Well, I think it's, we do hear stories about people who have had those kinds of lives, you know, and they recognize, they come to a recognition that that, you know, hatred and resentments and all that just sort of gets in the way.


So, you know, it's a problem we don't need. Many of the people who I've gone around with, Because they have a lot of anger about this. Yeah. Yeah. So they understand a lot. Yeah. So it's really difficult for me. I would go down the block and they would trickle down. Yeah. Oh, yeah, of course. Well, I thought I'd kind of just sort of review what goes on next here.


We're going to come back to 17 and 18. The Buddha reminds Subuddhi that there is no such thing as setting forth on the path, and that he did not realize any such thing as perfect enlightenment, and that, this quote, dharmas have no self. There is a dharma that has no self. Chapter 18 goes into, and we'll come back to this because it seems like it's a rather practical chapter. It's about a concept known as the five eyes, physical and divine, prajna, dharma, and buddha eyes, and ends with a phrase which is often referred to by myself and a lot of other people.


And then on 19, Again, back to the body of merit. And the point being made here, as I understand it, is that the greatness of the body of merit which results from understanding the Sutra is great because it's nobody, because it's limitless. And then chapter 20, we're reminded that there is no such thing as a perfect development of the physical body or the possession of attributes. Attributes which sort of mark or denote the Buddha can be recognized as such. And in 21, again as I mentioned just a little while ago, there is no such dharma as teaching dharma.


and 22 repeats this assertion that the target did not realize unexcelled perfect enlightenment. We'll come back to 23 and 24 later. But let's go to 17. Oh, it's a little bit longer, but it's fine if we read this. Again, the venerable Subuddhi asked the Buddha, Bhagavan, if someone sets forth on the Bodhisattva path, how should they dwell? How should they practice? How should they control their thoughts?


The Buddha said, Subuddhi, someone who sets forth on the Bodhisattva path should give rise to the thought, in the realm of complete Nirvana, I shall liberate all beings. And while I thus liberate beings, not a single being is liberated. And why is this? Siguri, a Bodhisattva who forms the idea of a being, cannot be called a Bodhisattva, nor can Sun Tzu, who earlier, in the idea of a life, or even in the idea of a soul, be called a Bodhisattva. And why not? Siddhī, there is no such dharma as setting forth on the Bodhisattva path. What do you think, Siddhī, when the Tathāgata was with Dīpankara Tathāgata, did he realize any such dharma as in himself or his enlightenment? To this the Venerable Siddhī answered, Parabrahman, as I understand the meaning of what the Tathāgata has taught, when the Tathāgata was with Dīpankara Tathāgata, we are not the fully enlightened one.


he did not realize any such dharma as unexcelled perfect enlightenment. And to this the Buddha replied, So it is, Subuddhi, so it is. When the Tathāgata was with Dipankara Tathāgata, the Arhat, the fully enlightened one, he did not realize any such dharma as unexcelled perfect enlightenment. But Subuddhi, if the Tathāgata had realized any dharma, Dipankara Tathāgata would not have prophesied That man in the future is to become the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Fully Enlightened One, named Shakyamuni." So really, it was because of the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Fully Enlightened One, he did not realize any such Dharma as the next step toward enlightenment that the Tathagata prophesied, that man in the future is to become the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Fully Enlightened One, named Shakyamuni. And why? Samhita-sabuddhi is another name for what is truly real.


Tathagata-sabuddhi is another name for the dharma of no beginning. Tathagata-sabuddhi is another name for the end of dharmas. Tathagata-sabuddhi is another name for what never begins. And why? Because no beginning is the highest truth. Sabuddhi, if anyone should claim that the Thakurta Kriyarbhanga, the Fully Enlightened One, realized by himself Perfect Enlightenment, their claim would be untrue. Sabuddhi, they would be making a false statement about me. And why? Sabuddhi, the Thakurta did not realize any such garments by himself Perfect Enlightenment. Furthermore, Siddhuti, the dharma realized and taught by the Tathagata, it is neither true nor false. Thus, the Tathagata says all dharmas are Buddha dharmas, and how so? All dharmas, Siddhuti, are said by the Tathagata to be Buddha dharmas. Thus, all dharmas are called Buddha dharmas.


Siddhuti is displaying a cosmic being with a great and perfect body. The Venerable Siddhuti said, The Bhagavan, this cosmic being, whom the Bhagavat says has a great and perfect body, the Bhagavan, the Bhagavat says, has no body. The rest of it is called the great and perfect body. The Buddha said, so it is the civility. And the Bhagavan, the Bodhisattva says, I shall liberate all beings. It is not called the Bodhisattva. And why not? The civility that there is neither man nor woman is the Bodhisattva. The venerable civility replied, A knowing being of Bhagavan, who is known as the bona fide Bodhisattva, is to be served, and beings to be freed. Beings are said by the Tathāgata to be female beings. Thus they are called beings. And thus does the Tathāgata say, all dharmas have no self, all dharmas have no lack, no individuality, and no soul.


The way in which the Bodhisattva should best claim I shall bring about the transformation of the world. His claim would be untrue. And how so? The transformation of the world, civility, the transformation of the world is said by the Bhagavata to be only transformation. Thus it is called, the transformation of the world. Civility, when the Bodhisattva realizes that dharmas have no self, as a dharma that has no self, that the Bhagavata, the Arhant, the fully enlightened, pronounces that person a fearless bodhisattva. What is the difference between a bodhisattva and a fearless bodhisattva? He translates, you know, frequently you'll hear mahasattvas or a great being, he translates that as fearless. because he feels like Mahasattva refers to a lion.


As you know, the scholars have difficulty with him. So, the point is made. several times that this concept of unexcelled perfect enlightenment cannot be grasped or if realized is, you know, that's kind of going off the mark or cannot be realized because it doesn't, you can't get a hold of it. This chapter kind of takes me to this thing at the end where when a bodhisattva realizes dharma has no self, has a dharma that has no self, it made me think a little bit about, and also this concept actually comes up a little earlier in the sutra,


If the Dharma realized the topic of Buddhism, the truth and force, thus the topic that says all Buddhas, all Dharmas are Buddha-Dharmas. I have these thoughts today about how we keep saying that the nature of our everyday experience, however it is it comes to us, whether it's, you know, little pieces of thoughts and feelings or big concepts, the nature of that is not different from awakening. And that it's the nature of what we grasp and perceive and consider real is sort of illusory. And in that same way is awakening. It's not something you can get a hold of, it's something you can accept.


And so, not getting a hold of our everyday experience, not apprehending it, or trying to make it into something where we can stand, is the path to awakening. It's that these illusory dharmas, the things that have no self, are in fact the means by which we awaken by paying attention to their very nature. It may be obvious, but we haven't heard so much music. Right, well we come to an expression of an absolute or something conceivable and we kind of work with that or it opens up something and then there's this


very human tendency to lodge it someplace in our brain as a reference point. When it's, say, maybe the idea here is that each of these teachings, each of these little things is kind of another piece of the raft, and yet our tendency is to say, OK, the raft's over here now, and remember that one over there. And then it becomes a thing in some way. It depends if you do a sutra, because I think... According to your work, I have seen a lot of people who have really rocked it in their style. So, these sutras are just full. These sutras are very... I mean, the prior ones have been classy.


Well, they're very practical. Very structural. Well, it's also, I think, taking that solid sort of pure teaching, and it's sort of like saying, well, where is this taking me? Let's talk about where this is going. you know, that itself has no reality. But what about the constituents of self? Do they have any reality? What about the ideas we have about the past? Do they have any reality? And so on and so forth. You know, which is sort of kind of the litany of the heart suture as well. Just kind of getting it down.


Yeah. Speaking of the heart suture, what came to me was form and emptiness in that this is I'm wondering, where does the Heart Sutra fit in relationship to this? Okay, that's interesting. Because as we've noted, the word emptiness doesn't appear. Right. Although it's constantly referred to. It's constantly implied that we don't form, that in taking the path, in actualizing the teaching of the Heart Sutra, we do not form an idea of a skanda, of a whatever. Perhaps. Perhaps. There's a whole body, there's a whole tradition that you get a prediction.


from a Buddha that you're, and on some of the sutras, like the Lotus Sutras, full of specific people and their predictions for when they're going to be a Buddha and what their name will be in some part of the mythology. It's a little bit hard to entangle that from one impulse. I mean, I don't know a lot about this, so I'm sort of speculating, but one impulse would be to understand this as a sort of creation of the Buddhists, which is that, you know, you get the prequel after. Another piece of it is probably has to do with India, which is huge. There's a thousand years or more, 3,000 years of prior cultural history in which a lot of these things went on as well. So, and this is just the Buddhist version of it. I don't know if you can say anything about that, but... I can tell you that the Vedic civilization went back a couple of times to about 1,200 B.C.


Oh, I see. And so we're talking about maybe 1,000 B.C. I don't know if it's like the later centuries or early centuries. Well, in terms of Yeah, this is early centuries. So we're talking about 1400 years ago. Vedic civilization. Well, let's move along. Let's see. Chapter 18. Let's see, are we going to read this? No, it's not that long. This is the best chapter she says. That's my current. You can tell us why in a moment. Why don't we just read it? It's not all that long. The Buddha said, Subuddhi, what do you think? Does the Bhagavata possess the physical eye? Subuddhi replied, so he does, Bhagavan.


The Bhagavata possesses the physical eye. Subuddhi said, what do you think? Does the Bhagavata possess the divine eye? Sabuddhi replied, So he does, Bhagavan. The Bhagavata possesses the divine eye. The Buddha said, Sabuddhi, what do you think? Does the Bhagavata possess the prajna eye? The Buddha replied, So he does, Bhagavan. The Bhagavata possesses the prajna eye. The Buddha said, Sabuddhi, what do you think? Does the Bhagavata possess the dharma eye? The Buddha replied, So he does, Bhagavan. The Bhagavata possesses the dharma eye. The Buddha said, Sabuddhi, what do you think? Does the Bhagavata possess the Buddha? Sabuddhi replied, So it does, Bhagavan. The Bhagavata possesses the Buddha. The Buddha said, Sabuddhi, what do you think? As many grains of sand as there are in the great river Ganges, does the Bhagavata not speak of them as grains of sand?


The Buddha said, So it does, Bhagavan. So it does, Sugata. The Tathagata speaks of them as grains of sand. The Tathagata says, What do you think, Subuddhi, if there were as many rivers as there are grains of sand in the great river Ganges, and as many worlds as there are grains of sand in all those rivers, would there be many worlds? Subuddhi replied, So there would, Bhagavan. So there would, Sugata. There would be many worlds. The Buddha said, As many beings as there might be in this world, Subodhi, I wouldn't know their myriad streams of thought, and how so? Oh, no. Something about this thing about the myriad streams of thought just really captures my imagination. I don't have any deeper understanding than just the idea that


that there's these incredible, if you think about all the people, even in this world, and all their thoughts, you know. And they're all based on the same thing, it kind of seems like he's saying something like that, they're all, you know, I would know them because they're all the same or something. Yeah, they're all of the same nature. The way I came at this was trying to work backwards through the chapter. Start with the sort of explanation for something. In what way is this so? is that a past thought cannot be done, a present thought cannot be done, and a future thought cannot be done. Because these things cannot be grasped, you can't get at them, therefore you are not hindered from knowing myriad streams of thought.


And not being hindered from knowing myriad streams of thought, these various eyes can function unimpeded And so let's go back about the eyes though. So the physical eye, you got that chapter open? The physical eye, as I recall, is about being able to see all the worlds and all beings. And I guess I can relate to this is that this is like It's like my imagination is an extension of the physical eye. The physical eye encompasses my imagination of everything, every conceivable thing that I can imagine, visually, so to speak. Go ahead, I think you're doing basically... I think I'm doing okay.


And then the defining eye, Well, here it is. With the physical eye, the Buddha sees as many worlds as there are grains of sand in the rivers, as numberless as the grains of sand in the Ganges. With the divine eye, he sees all the beings in those worlds. With the prashna eye, he sees their thoughts. For being delusions, they're empty of self-nature. With the dharma eye, he sees the same thoughts as means of liberation, as dharmas. And with the Buddha, he combines all four into one eye that illuminates all these worlds. That was to the point of what you were saying. Yeah, that was fine. So... So you were saying the physical eye includes our imagination. Maybe it includes our imagination, and then somehow the divine eye is something a little bit deeper than that in its awareness of beings. And...


The Prajna-I is the awareness of their thoughts. So it's like the sea of the emptiness, I think. The emptiness of their thoughts and the emptiness of that. And then the Dharma-I recognizes that, in fact, those non-substantial thoughts are the means to the liberation of those beings. And the Buddha-I kind of gets it all like that. illuminates all of that. But that is by virtue of non-clinging to a past, a future, or any thought. You know, past, future, or... So that... Anyway, I find it kind of an interesting chapter because it does serve It's one you can come back and forth with about this from, you know, they're talking, you know, there's, you know, it brings up a very particular concept without saying that it doesn't exist.


These eyes, yeah. But then, you know, it takes you to a place where, well, in order to get that, maybe in fact you can't. There's a letting go of any kind of holding on. There's a letting go of holding on in order to realize the potential of those faculties. The physical, divine, prajna, dharma, and buddhahood. Of course in the end, there's the story we all... I've repeated this so many times I don't even want to again, but the story about the future as my future thought not being able to be found comes up in that story about Deshaun who is questioned about this by a cake seller on the side of the road and she asks him about this amidst a bargain that he can have some cakes because he's already told her he's carrying around this huge pack of


I guess it wasn't unusual for people to walk hundreds of miles back in those days with big bags on their shoulders. We could never manage these days ourselves, I'm sure. He was bragging basically about the fact that he was a Diamond Sutra scholar. And it was huge. I mean, he probably carried more than any of us could carry down the block. He was walking all over China with his stuff. So that was, you know, but anyway, so she questions him about this stanza and says, well, how are you going to enjoy these cakes? This is in fact the case. None of these thoughts can be grasped. He had to go to others and masters to help him because he was stumped. Well, this is true. and he went to see, first he goes to see his teacher and he walks in and says something insulting and walks out and then he goes to see his teacher at night and they stay up for a long time to talk


And then, when it's time to leave, the teacher sees him through the door, and they open the door, and Dishan says, it's dark outside. And the teacher says, wait, wait, get you a lantern. And he gets him a lantern, and when he receives the lantern, the teacher blows it out. And that's an important moment. And then the next day, he doesn't burn the sutra, but he burns the commentaries. Or is that, I don't know, that's the way I remember it. And of course that's rather controversial. The blue cliff notes. That's kind of what they're like, isn't it? So I will always come back to that. Somewhere in this book, and I don't know if this is apocryphal or not, but he says that in the Platform Sutra, that it says what was being recited, what part of the Diamond Sutra was being recited when the man experienced awakening.


And according to this, it's the thing in the beginning where you give birth to the thought of liberating all beings, and yet only beings are liberated. But according to the Platform Sutra, that's what he means by hearing. I've been very curious about that for a long time, so it's actually interesting. Oh, we've got another half hour. So, we're just working right through this, aren't we? Yes. Yes, yes. The term that's used in Chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita, which if you've read the Bhagavad Gita, is the great apotheosis, where Krishna reveals his true form as the Cosmic God to Arjuna in Tirumalpita.


And Arjuna, in this Chapter 11, he's finally at the point where he says, now I'm ready to see your true form, oh divine Krishna. And Krishna says, OK. You can't see it with the eyes that you have. I'm going to give you a divine eye. And I'm pretty sure it's probably the same religion. It could be a church. And then he gives him a divine eye. And then he can see this great, you know, the Christian expanse that fills up the university as his great vision. But what struck me as interesting, academically, is that that's the ultimate for the people intense theism that is represented by the Bhagavad Gita, that to have the divine eye, to see the full extent of the cosmic existence of God, who remains a personal God, despite His subservience to the cosmos, is it. You know, the theistic schools wouldn't want the impermanent eye.


They would not want the emptiness eye. They wouldn't want the impermanence eye. The Dharma eye, it goes a step beyond that. Because that would dissolve God for you. That's interesting. They also say in here, which I don't understand, it doesn't seem, it's not indicated to me anywhere in the sutra, but that Sabuddhi kind of had gotten to the Prajna eye. the arhats, the disciples, they have the physical eye, the divine eye, and the prajna eye that could see emptiness, but what this sutra is introducing is actually the dharma eye that is like, these things aren't just empty, they're the means for liberation. And so, he's sort of saying, but I mean, when he says each time, the Buddha says exactly the same thing, you know, There's nothing in the sutra that indicates that it turns after the third eye, or that Sibuti's being introduced to a new eye here, with the fourth and the fifth one.


But he sort of seems to be saying that's what's happening. Well, in other parts of that, in the commentary, he's definitely saying that Sibuti has reached that stage of understanding the implements of all dharmas, but has not sort of formed the compassionate response to that fact, which is to kind of You know, okay, let's liberate all beings since all their arms are empty. Let's just go for it, you know. It's the next step here, you know. Okay. Yes? When they say the past thought cannot be found in the future, or the present thought cannot be found, what... they're just saying the thoughts do not... They cannot be found, why? Because they don't exist? Because they're empty? Because they're insubstantial and you can't... If you look closely at them, which is hard to do in the first place because they move around a little bit, they can't be isolated and, you know,


It can't be frozen as something real. Their existence and their appearance is dependent on the circumstances in which they appear. So they're so interrelated with everything else, past, present, and future, as well as the circumstances in which you're aware of them. It's like you picked up a little piece of net And they just say, oh, the rest of the man's there. What? Right, they can't be isolated. It intrigues me, though, that even though the thoughts cannot be isolated, words can be isolated on a page, in a sense. In a sense. In a sense. Not in another sense. And from words come actions, which, in a sense, can be measured. And in a sense, not. From words, kind of. I'm actually thinking of the current administration.


It's speech-apart. All this is insubstantial, too, and yet can be more substantial in a way. In terms of the suffering in the world. is the clinging to the notion of substantiality. And it's coming from that karma. The karma of thinking that things are just substantial, and then speaking as if they were substantial, and then acting as though they were substantial. And that by all those means, we're kind of making things real. But, in fact, that does create suffering. Because then, the more you think they're real, the more you harp on them.


Now, if you can go ahead and act on all those ways, we're not, you know, boom. But, while giving birth to the thought... Because we speak of right speech, right action. Yeah, yeah. Well, okay. Let's back up here. Well, that's why it makes it... that's what is liberating. Right. Because you're holding two thoughts at one time. Okay. If you're holding two thoughts at one time, or thinking you're a heart or something like that, then... Then you've forgotten that you're a medicine. True. Then, you know, you're not making things so real. But I'm trying to... You're bringing up something which I'm trying to come back to but I don't know quite how to get back to it.


I mean, I think on some level what you're asking about is... Well, yes, and we have our regular normal lives here who are doing things and are having, you know, And we're watching TV and we're seeing people, you know, say things and do things, you know, that are, you know, one thing or another. What are we to do with that? Words are understood because they have a conventional reality. If you don't have that, if you don't have that, you know, somebody says a word and you don't understand it, that's not meaningful. So, what's, what's, I'm not sure if you know what's just conditioned by an understanding, you get that the person's interested in the same word.


You don't feel interested in the same word. that I thought was quite superficial. It was a program started by Julia Roberts. She was in Mongolia. And she didn't speak a word of Mongolian, and the people that she was with didn't speak a word of English. But they communicated in a very deep and loving way. It was real. gesture, and through smiling, and through physical touch. I mean, it was really quite something for me. I never thought much of her as an actress, but this was a tremendous feat of her kind of expression. You know, with these people, and she was writing courses for the cameras, Well, those are situations in which what we call that the conventions we use to facilitate our so-called normal communication about our needs and issues that we consider important.


When we don't have access to that, those conventions in a situation like that. Or, you know, if you go to any foreign country and you don't speak the language, I mean, you come forth in a way that is really quite unexpected and interesting. Because there's no other way to communicate except by some means that you have, you know, you don't, you don't understand, but you just do it anyway because you have to. But I, I, something came up when I was talking to you and you were mentioning something, This concept of conventional reality. You know, we have our conventional reality. And what we forget is that it's conventional. That it's something that we agree upon for our convenience. When, in fact, we forget that. And we start thinking, you know, well that's it. And, in fact, we could just throw it all out the window. put a body sock or throw it out for me.


I might be there to catch it too. I can see the world looks very different than it did in my world. I grew up speaking in Spanish. When I was learning English, I could hear that the world looked very different. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Every day I'm with people that can't even talk and we communicate and like Julia Roberts and a lot of people work with people who can't because they don't know how to speak. You just do it. It's easier than talking to people and educating them. No, it is because you're dealing with the heart and that's it. It's pure. Really. I think in the movie, what the police are doing here, it's an interesting movie, it deals with a lot of depictions, and one part of it is that you're feeling a particular emotion, whatever it is, and certain parts of your body can be light up and detected by, I think it's an MRI, is that right?


And if I walk down the street and I pass you, you will light up in the same places. Even though you're partly conscious that I'm there, but just don't ask me. The same places you are lit up or something? Exactly the same places. And you will have that for somebody, too. Because I know what you're talking about, you know. That we read one another without words in some way. And that gets back to what you were saying to me about the eyes, but if you... It's because we get caught by the ways we think we can, the way that we think things are real, that we can't see all that stuff. Well, yeah. We're not conscious of it. Right, because we're focused on these other things. Yeah. If you're a pirate, you'll register it, but you're not...


Right. It can't just be difficult, can it? Someone was talking about this process that could be translated into English, a Japanese book, that the water molecules change depending on your feelings. And if you have babies, you know that some people, they just kind of move away from another. They'll fall asleep on their chair. But they know something that we don't quite We just sort of feel there's like a field of energy. Yeah. Well, it reminds me again of David's lecture. How much time do we spend? Well, maybe it's something else actually. You know, there's a whole sort of lore and technology about psychic experiences and related trans-states, which we don't cultivate.


We're a pretty rationalistic bunch out there in Central America. I think there are even other places in the world now where that's Those assumptions, the kind of assumptions that we tend to live by and are accustomed to about how the world works, and our currents are taken so seriously. I keep getting glimpses of that when I read novels I read or something about little things in the wild. Magic and the possibility of other amounts of perception is sort of more acceptable. It's the way you work. Did you like it? I like the classical part better than the bio part.


But the thing is that this is a rationalistic society. Since there are no such things as past, present, or future thought, I prefer to remain who I am. The reason for that is because of the idea of empirical science, right? That's what we expect of what we're doing. pointing out that this movie says, guess what? Now the science is telling us. Oh, yeah. Oh, I see. It's across the face. It's turning around to prove it. It's making it possible for us to obtain these understandings of the solidity of all our realities. And just as we can demonstrate the nonlinear MRI, I'm going to avoid investigating fundamental particles of light, nature of energy, and the rise of force as well. But it's interesting to hear that. I mean, I guess we've all been hearing that for a while, that physicists have sort of realized that their means of access affect the experiments they're conducting.


And I guess in some way it reminds me of the thoughts I had. We are going to get all the way through this. We've been doing there at sutures divided into 32 chapters just like the 32 attributes of the perfect being We are moving along here towards 24 You know you stop somewhere in here I know I got tired I got tired I got to a place where and one of the other things that Well, one of the other things about, as we're sort of plotting through this, you know, and we stop and talk about something else for a while, and then we come back to the sutra, we come to a place where, you know, oh, they're just saying the same thing again. Or it's slightly different, or something. But I think the sutra is meant to be experienced as a narrative.


First this happens, then this happens. So, to be able to read the chapter, sort of, in the context of the other chapters, is kind of an important part of it. Oh, I guess I know what I find, I want to come back to, is, and this is something that I've got a little bit of a problem with, is the references to the Dharma ending age. I haven't really been able to appreciate this at all. I always found it kind of stupid, this concept that, you know, the Dharma is going to die after, you know, 2500 years or whatever it is. And, you know, why did anybody ever think of that? But I was starting to realize that maybe, maybe that's a real concern that we have.


That, in fact, the Dharma is not going to survive. Like, if you think about ourselves, just think about ourselves here. You know, we come here every day, we practice, we do a lot of work to kind of sustain this place and, you know, make it possible for, you know, next month when I come back, I'll still be here. And, you know, the longer you do this, the more sort of concern you may develop about, well, what's going to happen in the future? You know, Mel's going to retire and somebody else is going to come. Is it all going to fall apart? and wouldn't that be sad, or maybe it doesn't matter, but there is a sense of, you know, giving yourself to something like this, giving yourself the way giving is described in the Sutra, without reservation, in a way produces, you know, maybe produces a little anxiety and concern about What's going to happen in the future of all of this?


It's a wonderful list, but will the body of merit just disappear? So that's how I'm starting to be able to relate this concept of the Dharma ending in age. And Samudaya keeps bringing this up. In the future, after everything's falling apart, and it's all about to go away, is there anybody who's going to understand the Sutra? And the Buddha says, yes, there is. And in fact, the very fact that they even heard it and didn't reject it, is going to produce this huge body of merit. It's a kind of reassurance. Anyway... Were they still arguing about this in the 12th century? Yeah. Well, I guess they were. I mean, maybe it's a universal concern about what's going to happen to the three treasures. Are they all just going to evaporate and people are going to say, you know, heck with this, I mean, that's after I have my family and, you know, or, you know, learn something else. Well, that's an interesting question. Yeah, what does it mean?


Well, it does mean something, you know, to you. I'm not sure what you're asking. You mean... I guess I'm asking the same thing, the same reason that Peter's wondering why it's even a question. I guess that's what I'm saying is, in some ways, how could they question it? How could they question it? How could it occur to them that it could go away? Because all things are opponent. There is such a thing as a thing. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. They have faith in the emptiness of that. Well, this is, you know, this brings the question back to me again, you know, how could it have occurred to them? if this was ever going to disappear. Didn't the Buddha say in his sutra? Wasn't there an actual thing where he said it'll be like this for 500 years, and it'll be like this for 500 years, and it'll be like this for 500 years? So he asserted that type thing.


Or at least that's what he said. Or at least that's what he said. He said it was skillful means of some kind. Go ahead. You know, human nature being human nature, the universe makes it so it's even longer to go through each and every one of these things. So after, when something is fresh and you exploit it the first time in the first 500 years, enter into it with curiosity and openness and not knowing it, you're overturning the growing sense of familiarity and attachment to it. Well, that's interesting because it's also a metaphor. It reminds me of a question. I think it is mine. of, you know, 500 years, you know, practice the faith, and then, you know, it starts to get a little sour, and then the hand really stinks, you know, and you start, you know, you fall on your face.


But it's also, I guess, the other part of that mythology about, you know, the 500 years, and this, and that, and that, is that then the Buddha's gonna come again? Isn't that part of that? Yeah, the Buddha comes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So that's a, to me, that whole thing about the appearance of the cosmic being, you know, every thousand years, is really a certain thing. And it's a, you know, it's still going on. Well look at Shakespeare. 500 years later, he's just roaring. You can't believe the whole world is in it. Yeah, but if it wasn't for the English language, I'd have forgotten. Well, that's the language they have. Yeah. They all start screaming. Screaming and running out of... Why didn't you do that just to see? I'll go screaming at them.


Why were we going to scream at them? Did I miss something? Just for the fun of it. You know what happened at the Dharma Sutra class? I don't know what happened, but they all came running out screaming. I think you want it on tape. Let's just put a mark on the screamer around the world. Okay. I think that's good. I think that's a good idea. So we're going to actually go through the last eight chapters. This is a very important poem in the last chapter of the book. And so with that, it seems extraordinary to have this thing that we are, but, you know. So we'll read four vows.