2021-06-30-Clear Recognition (3 of 5) Comprehension of Suitability
8:35PM Jun 30, 2021
To continue these thoughts on these talks on sampajāna, clear comprehension or clear recognition. And I love this particular word because of how it overlaps with the simplicity of mindfulness practice, just simple recognize how things are. And richness of contemplative life, a life that's lived reflectively. And both have a role and a place in our lives. There are times where I thought that the way that Buddhist meditation has been taught in the West, specially in in Vipassana, sometimes the Zen world, I have the sense that there's a such a strong emphasis on non discursive awareness. Simply being aware, the simplest possible way, and letting go of thoughts that there's, people get that message that they're not supposed to be thinking at all. And certainly admit it in meditation, it's helpful to quiet the thinking mind and have become really quiet, maybe still. But for a wider life, there is a time for a quiet mind, a still mind. And there's a time for reflection and contemplation. And I think of a reflective life is one that that can be called. When I use the word contemplative. As a life of reflection, deep reflection, I associate very much with Calm, calm reflection, considering thinking about our lives and pondering, in a way that is just intimate, and cozy and nice just to do to be engaged and reflect re contemplation nature of our life, what we're up to. And so is clear comprehension encompasses both these areas of quiet kind of non discursive awareness, and then also this contemplative life in a sense. And so, the first yesterday was, of the four kinds of clear comprehension is clear comprehension of purpose, why are we doing something? And the second is a clear comprehension of, of a suitability of what's appropriate to how to engage in something, what actions, what behavior, what ways of thinking, perhaps, that are suitable for the purpose we have. And it's, you know, there's this analogy that if you try to squeeze oil out of gravel, you won't, you won't work, if you want oil, you have to take, you know, olives, or sesame seeds or something, and really squeeze them to get the oil out. And so in the same way, so we have to kind of know what's suitable for the purposes we have. So if you're trying to become kinder, and you do it through aggressive straining, it's kind of like trying to squeeze oil out of the gravel, we have to kind of find a suitable way to be what is the right approach for something. And I think this is reflection on suitability, what's right for me, what's the way that I can do whatever I have set my mind on, given my weaknesses and my strengths, given my interest giving, given what nourishes me and benefits me. And given what the situation requires and what's needed in this situation, what's suitable, what's the right thing to do? And, and so it's a life of reflection and questioning suitability, as opposed to looking for a policy looking for what is the right way to do something, maybe if I just get the manual and just follow it like, you know, meditation by the numbers or Buddha's and by the numbers, you know, 12345 and just, but, but it's, it's not something road, there's not something there's a fixed way that we should do things, but rather, if we do things as as appropriate for the circumstance, of who we are in the situation. And so being reflective of suitability, what's the right way to do this? So, if the ones purpose is to follow the Buddhist path to greater and greater forms of liberation and freedom to follow the Buddhist path, are we The only kind of clarify and, and and,
and bring it to an end our suffering, we can ask that could that's a great purpose. Now what's suitable for this. If it's if we spend a lot of time watching movies on our computer, and we justify by so I need to relax, I need to relax, so that I can, you know, get on with Buddhist practice. But if we spend inordinate amount of time doing this relaxing, watching, watching movies, it probably is not suitable for the purposes of becoming free of suffering, it might give relief from some of the suffering, but it doesn't really get to the bottom of it and really penetrated. And so what do you do in your daily life? What are the activities you're involved in, which are suitable for the purpose you have and which are not, if you're a purpose you have is no one of many things you're doing and you slide it in here and there. And then the idea of suitability varies. But if your idea of what your purpose of life is, is really like this is what central orientation, the central thing I want my life to be about. Nothing else matters, or say differently. Everything matters. But everything has to matter through the lens of my dedication to living a life of freedom, my dedication to living a life of compassion and care, and that that's the purpose of my life. And so what's suitable is to Oh, you know, what to be sued? What's a suitable way to express that and live that in my life? And do I infuse everything I do with those qualities? Or do I limit what I do, and only do those things are really for that purpose. And, and, and it's possible to live a life that everything we do is organized around the principle of compassion, or care for self and others. Everything's organized around the principle or the purpose of, to becoming free of suffering, and, and to have the flourishing of wholesome states within, not in a selfish way, we did a stick way. But because this is really beneficial for self and other, it's better than the alternative to keep suffering and be contracted and stressed. And, and if we're really clear about having a central purpose like that, then and then what's suitable to support that? What's it what do we what can we how can we live our life then in a way that we clearly see and reflect that this is the way that supports what I'm trying to do in my life, and leads me to further and further along this path like this, and, and, perhaps are things we, in that kind of contemplation, we realize, well, this is not suitable, this is not helping me, this is kind of a waste of time. And this life of ours is quite precious, and we don't have that much time to be alive. And, and time goes by quickly. So I might as well do the things that are most meaningful, most purposeful, including, if we understand the path of liberation, is to enter into like meditation, where we let go, of the preoccupation with meaning their preoccupation with purpose, because we have it and it's there to to really sit and be present for experience in a deep, intimate way. So suitability, what is suitable and, and that also involves in our work life or social life. And there's a way that in Zen practice, sometimes they ask a question that side either relate to the suitability. And it's, I think it's a beautiful question through way to go through one's life. And that is, what's their request here? What are we being asked? So if I mean even in inanimate objects, things, there's a feeling in zen, what is being asked for here? What's the request? So rather than coming from our desires, our wishes are, what we want and asserting ourselves on others and the world. It's rather, what is the what is suitable in this situation? What's the appropriate response in this situation? What is the request of the situation? And so as a member I very tiny little event that happened? You know, 45 years ago or so.
I was kind of a joke. getting interested in Zen. And I went to the Los Angeles Zen center, I was in LA and I just went there for an evening, I think there was maybe some meditation and a Dharma talk. And so there were two sessions of meditation. And then in between, we do the slow Kinney and the slow walking meditation around this small kind of a living room, where everyone was meditating. And people were meditating on these black meditation. futons is called sabotage these mats. And, and the person in front of me, was walking slowly in front of me, you know, is walking slowly behind. And, and I saw the person bend down to a straightened out, one of those black meditation mats was slightly gotten crooked, and, you know, and they're all kind of lined up kind of nicely. And I thought that was bizarre, why would one care enough to, you know, straighten out the math, you know, and, and made a big impression on me that that kind of attention to detail. And, and I imagine that if you'd asked, What's the request here, what's being asked in this situation, what's being asked is to straighten them out slightly. So exactly where the request is coming from, you know, it's probably somewhat from our own inner sensibilities understanding the situation and projected onto the scene over what what how it is to be a human being there, but it's still coming from someplace deeper than just me myself in mind what I want and and so what is being asked of me in this situation, and, and finding a way forward, so suitability, having a sense of purpose and knowing what's suitable for that purpose is part of this clear comprehension, a reflective life. And so, one of the things you might try doing for the next 24 hours is to reflect a little bit about not only your purpose in the things that you do, but also the suitability This is it or appropriateness or the the how supportive it is that things that you do through the day. Are they suitable for your purpose? Are they supportive of some bigger purpose and value that you have? And, and in this kind of reflection, do you benefit as a result? Is it nice for you, is it supportive for you? Is it suitable. So, thank you very much and continue here tomorrow.