Virtual Hangout [#47]
7:35PM Mar 18, 2021
questions into the
yeah yeah we'll do it again that worked for you, okay,
yep, we're fine.
Okay, cool. Here we go.
I will not look at the chat.
Okay, you can look it's nice.
we could go back and forth, it was fine. Hey everybody, how's everybody Joe's back. Joe is here today. Hi everyone.
Give your substitute teacher in today.
Yes. So we're all looking forward to it. Thank you Joe. Yeah, Andrew still traveling so Joe without the introductions not needed. Why don't you just take the floor.
Hi everybody, how are you do our traditional wave if you're on your video there, that's good. That's great. I see, see some old friends, new friends and and new people. So it's my pleasure to join you today. I wanted to, you know Andrew likes to start with a little bit of a riff, as he calls it so the thing that I've been thinking about. And, and very much encountering is the impact on people's mental health of this whole pandemic situation. And of course we have more than just the pandemic we have. It's like a trifecta, it's the climate change in environmental extremes. My wife is in Denver, taking care of some family business and, and, and in Boulder in the foothills where Angeles, they had, they had four feet of snow. I'm, I'm here in Southern California. So, extreme weather for here, here is if it gets into the 30 so, we haven't had that kind of, but we have fires we have droughts, earthquakes, it's, it's pretty good. It's pretty crazy. And then all of the insanely divisive politics tribalism, lack of sympathy or empathy that that hopefully will be changing a little bit but it, it's the Protect to protectionism and nationalism that goes with feeling threatened, we're threatened by the pandemic we're threatened by the climate we're threatened by the politics we're threatened, and, and what's happening now is being threatened by anybody who doesn't look like us. So, it's, it's pretty scary. The end. And then the social isolation that goes with the pandemic. I have a therapist friend who he said all the teenagers are either thinking about killing themselves, or intentionally or doing it unintentionally through OD, because they're trying to escape from this terrible reality, which is something that we can address through our spiritual practice. If you're not spiritually inclined and I know this group has a lot of people doing lucid dreaming, and the but the whole point of that is that the boundary between spiritual non spiritual, spiritual and psychological, we're interested in. Ironically we we dream, and work with lucid dreaming to be awake to be awake in our dreams. From the Buddhist point of view. Awake is what it's all about. In fact, You may not know this but the word Buddha, which is the honorific title given to Siddhartha Gautama 2500 Some years ago. It's a Pali word that has the root is good, which is to awaken to wake up and add a che on the end. And it's one who has awakened. So in some of the more formal translations they call the Buddha, the awakened one because that's what the word Buddha means we're, which means there's a historical Buddha, which is the Buddha, but the principle is we all can be a Buddha, in the sense of one who wakes up. Now, when throughout our lives. Most of the time, it's a very, very short period, when we are able to, and I know Andrew has talked about this before, and it's a traditional expression. The difference between Buddhas and sentient beings are the Buddha's know that they're Buddha's. So, The real point is that whatever we're doing, whether it's religious, spiritual, psychological, the thing that we all have in common that we're here for is to wake up to wake up in our dreams,
to wake up in this so called reality which is more like a dream, and to work with our states of mind so that we can handle what's coming across to us, and help other people handle what's coming across to them. So I like to start these sessions with a little bit of grounding and mindfulness practice to get ourselves settled down. So, if you can take a good comfortable, but upright posture, we'll just do a couple of minutes and then we can do some discussion question and answers. If you'd like you can let your eyes close and do a little body scan from the top of your head all the way down slowly through your head and neck and shoulders your upper body and arms. Your lower torso, hips. Legs lower arms all the way down to your toes just take a breath in and breathe out and sweep out any unnecessary tension any tension you don't need to hold your posture as best you can. Whatever is left is left. And we usually think of our, our minds as behind our foreheads, but that's just because all of our perceptions are right up our eyes, ears, nose, mouth, everything's right up there in front. But in actuality we can let our minds drop, and drop, deeper into our body, let, let your mind fall backward, I'm going to use a couple of metaphors let your mind fall backward from the front of your forehead, down the back of your skull the back of your throat, and you can fall back like you were falling back into a big soft easy chair or sofa. Breathe out and fall back. Let your mind drift down behind your throat. Behind your chest, behind your solar plexus, and here's the other metaphor, like a leaf slowly drifting down to the bottom of a clear pond. Let your mind rest there. A couple of inches below your navel just in front of your spine and the deep core of your torso. It's quiet down there with the subtle movement as the breath goes in and out like gentle currents at the bottom of the pond. And with each out breath let yourself sink deeper sink into your seat, and imagine yourself sinking down and merging with the earth. That's as grounded and settled as you can be feel fully embodied. Now you can open your eyes gently and just be aware of your environment of your body of the breath coming in from your environment and filling your body, and going out from your body and mixing with the environment, whatever thoughts come to mind, notice them as best you can. Let them come and be aware that your experiences, your sense perceptions of external phenomena of sights, sounds, smells, internal phenomena and feelings. Taste is an interesting one, it's sort of both external and becomes internal and thoughts, the internal experience you perceive your thoughts. We talk about sixth sense perceptions. In that way, all that is happening in the present moment. Thank you. In the Zen tradition. There's someone responsible to in the Zen monasteries to ring the temple bell. And whenever they do everything stops. And they're supposed to do it at random time so if I can remember. I'm going to ring that gong. At random times and we'll just stop and take two or three breaths. And then it started again. So we always have the opportunity to come back, get grounded settled and present. So, Andy, what do we have for questions today.
Do you want to check the document and answer that one or nothing, nothing new at the moment that they might start coming in.
Okay, I'll start. This is Peter here from last time he had a question.
I think he may be
okay he can, he can get on and we can discuss it if you'd like, but I'll read his question, if he, if he wants to refine it, that's fine. He said, at the risk of reifying emptiness, which I guess is making emptiness into a solid thing. Is there some validity to thinking, turning a vacuum. So that what before was empty space empty of anything. A vacuum if you will, can one think of churning emptiness to bring about form or the non empty or their spiritual, see the rest of this are there, spiritual parallels that one can make with churning of milk to produce butter. Well there is a traditional expression in the Buddhist tradition that of churning the milk of experience to produce the butter of enlightenment or true nature. I've always felt it was kind of a weird metaphor, but the idea is that, in our ordinary experience. The butter is there in the milk, but we don't. We can't get it unless we put in the work of meditation and practice and accumulating merit and all the other things that are talked about, to produce the butter of enlightenment. So, there, there's the metaphor yes they do that but, but to answer your question to start with, we don't talk about a vacuum so much. The idea of emptiness is not. It's very specific that it's not about dead space. Not like outer space, and, and a vacuum. When we talk about emptiness, we talk about potentiality. The potential, out of which everything can arise. So, I think, a better analogy is potential energy that you can identify something as saying well here's potential energy, and then it transforms into kinetic energy or thermal energy, or some other kind of energy from potential energy, and that's really more of what we're talking about. So, the, the aspects of experience, we talk about whatever is going on its essence is empty. In other words, empty of thing ness of solidity, everything's completely fluid. Its nature is luminous, in other words, that potentiality becomes illuminated by the light of consciousness. And then its manifestation is unobscured or unobstructed. That there's nothing particularly blocking, how that energy manifests. So I think, I think that that's important to understand that it's, it's not a vacuum that suddenly becomes a thing. It is potential reality that then emerges.
Joe Peter has his hand up.
Hey Peter, let's, let's dialogue a little,
yeah, yeah hi Joe,
thank you. Thanks very much for responding to my question. I understand what you're saying about the potentiality, if I can draw another analogy to how I how that question came up in my mind, it's sort of connected a little bit to dreams. Whereas, we're in a dream, to use a kind of silly example but in a dream if I'm in a lucid dream, of course, if I'm, if I'm flapping my arms here, and I do it vigorously enough, like in the dream,
and I'm mixing into that action that, that visualized action and mixing into it and intention and intention to rise from the ground,
and I wasn't able to express it,
but this, this was the sense that I had that you mix intention with whatever it is that you, you're experiencing. And that intention sort of replaces the materiality and actually causes you to rise, or to appear to rise, because it's all happening, I guess through the mind if I'm correct if I'm making sense. I understand what you're saying.
Yes. The intention is what creates that the intention is kind of like the motivation. We talk and creates the atmosphere and the causes and conditions for the appearances to arise. For example, when doing meditation practice what's recommended is always to start with an intention, such as I'm engaging in this practice in order to wake up myself more, so that I can benefit others. And then that shapes the attitude of your practice, that it becomes less self centered, and becomes more it as, as tick not Han said, more like inter being, and recognizes the interrelationship, the interdependent arising of all phenomena, the interrelationship of all beings in that way. So yes, the intention, sets the atmosphere, and then within that, the action appears, or the manifestation arises. Yeah, Thanks, that, that really clear clear set up pretty well but just to summarize the question, the sense of my metaphor involving the churn. Does that have like a kind of validity to it like can you see how one might think of it that way, that if I do some action with intention, that's providing the that's the input into into realizing it or reifying it if you're like, yes, you know, and metaphors are metaphors, they only go so far, right, and the what you were talking about was churning, but was making potentiality into appearance that potential reality doesn't have a form. The difference is milk has a form. And then, and then butter emerges from that form into a more refined form. Yeah, so it's close. It was a good shot. It was a really good shot. And it has that quality of your usual question if I may have. Where does it all come from, how does nothing become something. And, and that is an eternal question, one that the Buddha said, you could kind of leave that for a long time but maybe you should work on yourself, and, and what you're going through right now rather than wondering where it all came from in the so called beginning. But we, we, ameliorate that that question of a first cause. In the Buddhist tradition by, instead of saying once upon a time or in the beginning, we say, since beginningless time. Because no particular beginning or end. Great,
thank you so much,
Tim. In your opinion, what is the best and fastest way to wake up at this time. I've been trying but progress seems to be slow. Well, I'm one of my wife and Andrews favorite quotes from Mila rapper the great Tibetan poet saint, which I actually even used in my golf book. And that is hastened slowly and you will soon arrive. an hour, give you another teaching on that and that is, if you think it's really near. Have patience because it may take a long time. If you think it's far away. Be encouraged because it's as close to you, as the eyelash. An eyelash on your eyeball. So, um, progress seems to be slow. Interestingly, there's another writing that was done by a guy named George Leonard called Mastery. The book called Mastery and he was an aikido expert as well. What he talked about was the path of progress is not one of a smooth line diagonal up, you know, it's not even like following the stock market or something in that direction, but it is a, it's a plateau, and then a sudden breakthrough, and then a plateau, and then a sudden breakthrough. And what happens is, if you have to learn to love what he says is learn to love the plateau. Learn to love the training. And if you do that, and just stay with it, then at a certain point everything gels and there's a moment of immediate progress that you don't feel all the way long, but it's happening behind the scenes. It's jelling, and then suddenly it appears. So I think that that's a better way to look at it as, and if you can do that, then you find yourself with a, with more patients. So that's, that's one, that's one aspect of it. The other aspect is to understand that when you practice meditation for example, with the idea of a goal in mind, that actually interferes with it. So it's rather paradoxical to the ideal way to progress is to not need to progress and say in, you know, the Suzuki Roshi talked about it saying, you know before you attained enlightenment. It's something special when you get there it's nothing special. And he said the, the practice of zazen, isn't or meditation Zen meditation isn't to get you someplace else. The Enlightenment is already there in the practice. And, and, if you understand that, then you're not practicing to be something other than what you are, but you're practicing to discover what you have been all along, that is what you wake up to. And of course, it's important to have a sense of humor rather like my one of my favorite cartoons by a cartoonist named Gail and Wilson wood shows two monks sitting next to each other, an older one and a younger one. And the younger one says, what happens next and the older one says, There's nothing next, this is it. So I hope that I hope that that's helpful. And when you say the best and fastest way. Again, it is to use whatever technique. I'm obviously Buddhist and think that mindfulness and awareness practice is the best technique, but whatever technique that you can use that, that resonates with you, to wake up. And, and I want to caution you against what I would describe as more on techniques. And that's where you're not really digging, you're not really getting into what's behind things you're just adding more on, on top of what's already covering up what's really there.
One of my favorite metaphors for that. I is the signature story and several of my books and that is a gold statue covered in clay. And we need to gently remove the clay and reveal that statue that was there all along, not try to gold plated and cover the clay with gold to produce a goal, a new gold statue. So that's really the, and you don't smash it with a hammer to try to get the clay off you have to gently remove it and appreciate the gold that's there. Oh, and if you look carefully, the clay never covers the whole thing perfectly. There are always cracks where that Gold shines through. And that's wakefulness that's available to you. Anytime we just cover it over because we move so fast. And sometimes when we see it, We don't recognize it. So, that's why. Dream practice is important as well as daytime practice of mindfulness to recognize those moments, those flashes as insight into our true nature, rather than what was that. I hope that's helpful. I think Myra had her hand up, before the next question came in so let's go to her, shall we.
Yeah, so thank you. I always love that meditations that you do and especially that leave and the falling back is such a visual. That is very good, so I have to tell you that I've been using it a lot and teaching it to other people. But basically, going back to the first question regarding the
possibility of the intention of flapping your hands in the dream and the causality that maybe that's what causes the flying or the other causality. I think one of the most difficult things to understand is that one action and the other one, do not have a relationship that one seat opens and the other seats up and they appear to be continuum, but it's not continuum, but it's a kind of effervescent nature of the situation is, am I explaining myself before I asked the question, yes. Okay.
Go ahead. Yes,
I was listening to the front.
Oh yes, I'm trying to disconnect because I'm alone in the office.
So I'm okay, turn it off,
you. So here's what happens. It's very interesting. I wanted to do a little thing about sense perceptions, our sense perceptions are.
more mono than stereo, that we, we go one place at a time. So, my mind was going back and forth. Bell words Bell words Bell words. So I heard every other sentence, and then there was a bell, and then there was another sentence. So,
the universe somebody doesn't want you to answer me, I think, yeah,
I think, I think they're, they, they want you to try again, more briefly. Okay,
to eat up things appear to be in a continuum, and we perceive and dependent on causes and condition, and maybe we perceive him by our predispositions, and can I cry.
Okay, so your question,
yes. So, it is I say it beautifully. But it's one of the most difficult things to understand because our perception of one thing seems to be linear, a consequence of the other.
And that is what a good meditator may be able to one day and begin to perceive the break in the continuum, or maybe the formation of the visual of that feels real and independent in solid. So going back to the universe
for a sec. Yes. Okay. So, you may be creating an artificial distinction there. Okay. Instead, you want to think of one thought to the next. And in fact we even talk about one lifetime to the next if you believe in that kind of continuity of consciousness. As a flame, moving from candle to candle. Is it the same flame, or is it a different flame. Did the flame on the one candle cause the flame on the next candle. Yes and no. And in fact, when, when we try to pin it down to which part is yes and which part is no, then we say, neither yes nor no, we want to cut the conceptual attachment to things being a particular way, so to say, one thought causes the next thought, not true to say one thought doesn't cause the next thought. Not true. There's some combination, and what is said in the Buddhist tradition is that only, only a fully realized Buddha can see all of the causes and conditions that come together to produce any one effect. So we have our best guess of it, and what it appears, and the whole point of view is to have a sense of humor about that and have a sense of humor about that. This is how it appears to me. And as soon as you say, this is how I was talking with somebody, and we were, we were having a bit of a disagreement about who said what. And I said well you said this and they said well, but you said that. And I said no I said this, and he said well I said that. Well I thought you said this, and then I said hey, what if we, if we both said use the word thought before the set shape. I thought you said this. Well, I thought you said that. And I thought you heard me say this, and I thought you heard me say that now we've just relaxed the whole thing and not taken either one of us as right or wrong, and either one of us as serious as solid because this is how what you said appeared to me, but I understand it was just an appearance, and this is how what I said to you, appeared to you, but I understand it was just an appearance. Now let's Let's dance together with that appearance, those appearances.
So one quick
one, when you continue Sorry to interrupt.
No, no, that was perfect and I would rerun everything you said many times that the sea of potentiality and possibility possibilities. How does he relate to causes and conditions.
Okay, so the potential of these let's I had wanted to talk about this as well. The potentiality is the nature of our mind. And mind is the nature of our mind, it's all the same. It is potentiality to know. and potentiality to feel. Those are the two. The metaphor for that is the light of the sun, which has the quality, the potential to provide light. That's the knowing part. The illuminate that mind consciousness illuminates the objects of consciousness, and the rays of the sun also produce warmth, they have the potential to warm. So, we have the potential to feel and generate and experience warmth. When we apply those in a confused way. It leads to confusion and negative emotions. active ignorance, not just ignorance but, but, misunderstandings and, and, and confusions. Negative knowledge and negative emotions. When we purify those and raise them to the highest virtues of humanity. They are what we call wisdom and selfless love. So the capacity for wisdom and the capacity for selfless love are our greatest inherent capacities. Yeah, those are the ultimate, you could say causes, those are the conditions this potentiality. And then the causes, have to do with how what karma we bring what experiences we have, how we relate to those. And to the extent that our, our intention is towards wakefulness rather than towards what we could call the setting sunrise, that the rising, the, the enlightening Sun rather than this heading towards darkness. So I hope that that's helpful.
No, that's perfect. It's beautiful.
Joseph, I'm sure other people. Thank you.
Sure. And you should we go to the next one, Virginia.
Yeah, sounds good.
Okay. I asked Andrew a couple of weeks back about how ironically, even though the focus is on another or others, the most benefit is for the practitioner, it makes sense that this is the case, the irony is there benefit though for that other or those others for whom one is focusing on sending and receiving, if so, how does this benefit reach or impact that other. That's a great question. Okay, so the one thing that we know is an tonglen for people who haven't been doing the meditation group is a Tibetan word that has two parts. I can't remember which part the G goes with it may go with both tongue, and I think its tongue, and then Len, it means sending and taking. And it is the practice of taking on and gathering into ourselves in a certain way that that doesn't pollute ourselves but that we are that we gather in the negativity, and the suffering and unhappiness and illness of others that instantly transforms through our nature of wakefulness, into the opposite positive energy that we then radiate out so it's gathering and radiating gathering negative and radiating positive. And, of course, from the in the Buddhist tradition we talk about it as going against the grain of ego because our habitual pattern is I want to get rid of what's bad and take in only what's good. And so we're reversing that saying I'm going to take in what's bad and transform that and radiate out to others what's good. Now, that's a benefit because we rouse our own compassion, which is beneficial both scientifically they show meditating on compassion actually benefits one, physically and our brain chemistry, but it also generates whatever we have in mind as positive karma as good deeds as virtue. So, yeah, we get the benefit from that. And of course in the Buddhist tradition. Once we finish that practice and gain the benefit. Then we also want to dedicate that benefit to share it with others. So it's always it's this is this lovely cycle of continuing to amplify the benefit share it with others. And it comes back to us which the we then radiate out again, more and more and more. Now, can others receive that. Well, in one sense you could say it depends on our spiritual prowess, but we don't even have to go there. To whatever extent we connect with others, we have to understand that beings are like tuning forks that our energy is picked up by others. I don't know if you know it but a tuning fork, if you if you bang a tuning fork on something and it creates a tone, and you hold another tuning port next to it. The other one starts vibrating. I think at the same frequency, something like that. But strings on a piano, anything like that, when there's a vibration, something that's able to vibrate nearby vibrates at the same frequency. So,
one thing that we were taught about working with people psychologically, that when you're in the presence of somebody who's in psychological stress or turmoil, tune into your own feelings. What are you feeling, and chances are you're picking up that same vibration, and you can check and say, Are you feeling, you know, sometimes I'm talking with somebody and I feel like, well I don't know what to say next. And I go, Oh, okay, I can trust that. And I say, are you feeling like you don't know what to do next. And they go, yeah, yeah, that's exactly it. So, so you can pick up that vibe. And in the same way what you're radiating out, gets picked up by others. I'm sure you've experienced you may have experienced that in a group setting, that if something's going on and one person feels particularly calm and in and says, I think I got this. You calm down. If everybody's freaking out, you freak out. So, so we pick up other people's energy. So when you're doing this practice for someone that you care about, um, especially when you're near them, and we talked about this in the last session someone going to visit his dying grandmother. You need to generate the feeling of I'm okay, so you don't have to worry about me. Ironically, that's the thing that we need to generate when we're with a dying person. I'm okay you can let go. And this energy of being willing to let go of them. And if you can let go of them they pick up the let go pneus of your energy, and they can let go more easily. So the last version of this, which is very very subtle. You know I think there's some, some reference to this I, you know Andrews better with the references I don't know the reference but it's like the butterfly effect that the wings of a butterfly flapping impact everything in the galaxy, something, something like that, that, that there's even at the subtlest level cause and effect. So if you're generating that pot if you're gathering in that negativity and positive and sending out the positive energy. It may have an immeasurably small but existant effect on that person. Hopefully more. That's all we can hope for. So I hope that answers that. Virginia if you're there and you want to follow up.
Don't watching allergy no she. Okay, sounds
good. Next is, is potentiality emptiness, potentially potential once protest reality has expressed as appearance is that form. Yes potentiality and emptiness, you could say, are the same thing. In other words, it's empty of thing Ness, So it's empty of any kind of limitation in the Buddhist tradition there are two schools that developed called ronghong and shentong and the ronghong School is empty of self. And that says, There's nothing there that you can call an individuated unique special independent self. And so it tends toward that sterile emptiness. So the shentong School arose as a contrast to that, and it's called empty of other, but what it means is it's empty of it's empty of self and empty of anything other than Buddha nature, the nature of wakefulness, so it doesn't pause it as it as such a dead emptiness. Now the wrong term, people would say well we didn't mean a dead emptiness. But you are creating this Buddha nature that's like an ego, and the shentong people said, Yeah, but we don't mean it as an ego, it's not a thing. And the idea is that if you're tending towards eternalism and this solidity of making Buddha Nature reifying or making it into a thing, then you need the wrong tongue to say there's nothing there that you can hold as a thing. And if you're attending towards nihilism and saying nothing, you know, there's nothing there, so why bother. Then you need the shentong and say no, but there is there's this this wakefulness that that's not a thing but endowed with all the supreme qualities of potentiality for wakefulness. So that's the emptiness in potentiality part. Now, once the potential reality has expressed in appearance. Well the transition is that the potentiality, out of that arises, energy, which then forms into an appearance, and we talk about it because of our limited language as a sequence. Well, you have the potential reality and then suddenly it forms into this amorphous ephemeral, you know, energy and then that solidifies into a thing doesn't quite happen like that. It's a simultaneous progression. So there is this sense of, up, up, up, up, but it all happens simultaneously, so it's. And that doesn't make sense logically. Were we in like in ordinary logic. If it's simultaneous, it's not a progression, if it's a progression, it's not simultaneous. Fortunately, we're not limited by ordinary logic. Someone says, what makes the potentiality Express.
that's one of those questions that there's no maker behind it that's pushing it. And there's no real answer to that. It's just how things seem to be that potentiality appears, you could go back to say, you know, what made the Big Bang happen. But again, there's no first cause. From that point of view. And if you take the practice as looking at how things arise, you start to tune into, and ultimately can rest in that potentiality, as well as luminosity, as well as the appearance and tune into all three usually all we have is connection with the appearance, which we take to be a thing. Laura said, like the tuning that you like the tuning fork that's good that helps with strong then and and candy added. If you're not looking at the chat mirror neurons, which is interesting, which, which is how people part of how people learn that there are neurons in our brain that pick up what's going on out there. I have an interesting experience with that. Sorry for the golf metaphors, but as far as what happens in life. Someone's gripping their club too tightly, and I'll, I'll, I'll pull on it and pull them over, and I want them to, You know, and this is where Buddhism and golf matches match up. I want you to hold it not too tight and not too loose. And there's an old metaphor in the Buddhist tradition of a musician, who asked the Buddha how to hold his mind. And the Buddha said, like you would tune the strings of your instrument, not too tight, not too loose. Okay, just but just so, so I would hold the club and have them pull it out of my hands and say, This is how I want you to feel well, by the way they pulled it out of my hands. They were able to then hold it the same way so that when I pulled it it came out with just the same amount of friction not too tight and not too loose. How did that happen that's the mirror neuron sets the tuning fork, kind of thing that we pick up from other people. Butterfly Effect Yeah, you can look in the chat per Virginia's comment on that.
Next question. I don't see any more. Do you see any Andy,
no real questions there are a few more comments if you wanted to address. I saw you saw Virginia's comment. Tanya outside a comment,
have a great idea. She wasn't that nice. So, this is what I've tried to practice which I think it'd be helpful. Any kind of interruption any kind of pause where you have to wait for something. That's your signal to do a little mindfulness practice do a little breathing awareness practice. If you come up to red light. Leave your eyes open for sure. Otherwise, your meditation might be interrupted by the car horn behind you. But there's an opportunity instead of thinking about, okay, when is it going to turn what is it going to turn what is it gonna turn I gotta go, I get. Oh, red light, no I'm not gonna do about that. My microwave provides me either a 32nd or one minute, and sometimes a minute and a half meditation. And if you can remember to when the phone rings take one breath. If you hear a text. Take three. You don't have to respond right away it's a text. So any kind and, and if you're on the whole of you're put on hold How irritating is that to be put on hold, flip it, say, Wow, thank you. Can you hold on. Yeah, thanks. And then while you're on hold. I was watching a show on Prime video or something like that, and it gave you gave me the option to watch it free, with commercials or pay six bucks to watch it without commercials, so I said yeah I can. So, what I figured out to do I watch it with commercials. And then it says. It says you'll return to your video in 60 seconds. So I put it on mute. And I lower my gaze, and I count. Oh, about seven or eight breaths. And then I check. And usually there's only, It says, it'll go to video in 5432 Hey, thank you. So, I get to meditate for anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds in between segments of the show I'm watching. You can always flip it that way. Lemons lemonade.
Now you're speaking my language. We got that space gave way for two more questions we have Wendy and then Barbara.
Okay, I want to address Tanya because she was on your ready emptiness in equals in infinite relativity of Robert Thurman. Sure the Infinite is potentiality, the relativity is that, what in the Buddhist tradition we call interdependent arising causes and conditions that bring things up. So when is when the first. Hi Wendy. Hi.
I have a first I want to thank you so much for the meditation class. The tonglen practices come in really handy for me last night for my, for my own clearing. Good. I had unwanted thoughts. And I found I could do that practice with them, to actually welcome them in rather than trying to get rid of them.
Yeah, that's that. Can I make a clarification for everybody else, if you weren't there. One of the things in Tong Len is you can also do it for yourself so that you gather in your unwanted feelings, thoughts, emotions, illness, and into a that place of light, and wisdom in your heart center that represents that potentiality of wisdom and compassion, and then it transforms and radiates out to yourself that cool moonlight of kindness that feel that pacifies the torment of struggle
was amazing work much better than trying to get rid of the stop the thoughts, it was wonderful, but that's not my question. My question is about devotion. I've experienced devotion at times in my life, but I find it very hard to feel devotion towards something abstract, like I could feel devotion towards my teacher, as a human being or another person. But I'm I'm not I don't know how to generate it for even the Buddha, you know that's abstract to me. Can you address that.
I'll do my best. Okay. In Tibetan, the word for devotion, and correct me wrong I'm pretty sure it's MA and goo, it's two syllables per two words put together Magoo. And it's one means appreciation or admiration. And the other means longing. So when you talk about devotion to a teacher, you have admiration for their qualities of embodying enlightenment of wakefulness and you have longing to be like that. So in a certain way, you could say, the simplest saying of devotion is, I want to be like that. That's what you're devoted to. If you're devoted to a cause. You want to be part of that, and you want the fruition of that. So you're not really devoted to the cause you're devoted to the accomplishment that of the cause, you know if your cause is civil rights, you are devoted to a world of equality. You, you, appreciate, and, and, and, and venerate and hold in the highest esteem, the ideal of equality. And so, and then the longing part is I'm moved to try to get that to be. So when we're talking about the spiritual path. We have veneration and hold in high esteem. The expression of that and of enlightenment, and then a longing to be like that, ideally so that we can benefit others. Now, you have that as an embodied being in a teacher, but if you think of the Buddha, and everything you've ever heard about the Buddha, all of those qualities of enlightenment are there, and you admire those and, and, and hold them in high esteem. Otherwise, why would you be on this path. And so because you hold them in high esteem, you are devoted to being like that. I mean, that's what the path is, I want to be like that. That's devotion. And so, you can even have a devotion to a non embodied quality, which is your true nature. That is the essence of wisdom and compassion. And I have devotion to that, which means I have a longing to follow the path that will lead to the full flowering, or full blossoming of those qualities in my being. And ideally, in the being, for all beings to whatever my capacities are. That makes sense.
It makes sense. Thank you, and it brings up another question, go for it is. I had this idea that I wasn't supposed to want to be any different than I am.
No, no, you don't want to be different than you are, you want to be who you truly what you truly are, what you're being now is different than what you are.
so I can have longing for being who I truly am. Yeah,
I don't want I have, you know, okay, are you the gold, or are you the clay,
if you, you are the gold. And so, but, but can you manifest that gold and benefit others as well as you would like. No. So you use desire in the elevated form of desire. And that's what devotion is is the elevated form of desire, as an aspiration to remove the clay so that you can be the gold, which will be of so much more benefit to yourself and to others. You know, and, and one of the, I gotta, I'm gonna add a little humor in that we think oh well eventually, I can be the gold and be of benefit to others. But you see, just stepping on the path, you're already doing that because I did an introductory class on meditation, and they said. They said, well, when will I get the benefits. I said, Oh, the benefits are instantaneous. You see because those 20 minutes that you sit down and just be with your breath and your experiences are 20 minutes that you've taken yourself out of circulation, and you're not causing trouble for yourself or other people during those 20 minutes. So, instant benefit, right there. That's just a little meditation here. Yeah,
thank you so much. Welcome, Barbara.
Hello. Oh, okay. Yes. I'm sorry I came in late I got hung up on a health insurance phone call. So I don't know if this has any relevance to anything that you've been talking about but I have been following a lot of Andrews teachings, especially about death and after death and Bardo and so forth and I recently watched a film called afterlife, which was, I don't know if you're familiar with it and it was, it was a kind of a documentary thing is a lot of people talking about near death experiences, and people who have interviewed people who have near death experiences and their near death experiences were nothing like what we've learned in terms of what happens after death. In Tibetan teachings. And often it involved, Jesus and God, and a lot of light. And so, you know, do you have an afterlife experience that matches your belief system, I mean, it's hard to know then what, what's the deal.
I was watching a movie called sold.
It's an animated feature and they have people on the track to this big white light right, you know, and now I want, I want to be clear that I'm not speaking from direct personal experience because I don't remember. Last time I died. And I haven't had a near death experience. I probably the closest to it is a you know a car accident where time slows down. Right, anytime. Time really changes. Okay, now you can say Well, time doesn't change. Yeah, yeah it does because what is time other than how we're experiencing the progression of our experiences one to another. And, you know, how is it that my actual life was in slow motion like changing a TV screen, you know, movie on TV and watching it in slow motion. How did that happen. Okay, so it's a different kind of experience. Now, what is taught is that there are stages in the after life experience, and one of them involves replaying things in your life, so that you would still have this access to your past experiences, that would then create very very dreamlike situations. And because basically you are a mental existence without you've separated your connection to a physical body. Well what happens when you're dreaming. You're a mental existence, and you're your physical body. It has sleep paralysis down there. Right, and you're out, out and about. Well, it's kind of the same thing. And where do your, where does the content of your dreams come from your life experiences. So it wouldn't surprise me that people going through the near death experience, are they, and I would, I think that they often say they have an out of body experience right, yes. And if they have an out of body experience. It's dreamlike, and it is dreamlike, the content is drawn from their experience. Now, the light part is what is very very common to almost everybody. And that is this bright light that they talk about, that is a reflection of our, our awakened mind, without any trappings without any curtains, And that can be as jarring, or startling. Hang on a second. That can be as jarring as startling, as you being asleep, and someone waking you up and having a high powered light right in front of you like this is like, whoa, what's that, and there's a moment of shock. And traditionally what they say is, if you recognize it, you go, hey that's who I really am, and head for that. And if you don't you try to cover up, and, and, and you and you turn away from it and see dollar lights of different colors that you're attracted to. And then you go to those and that starts the path. Beyond that moment of clear light experience toward a rebirth in some realm of existence. Now, as I said, that's what I've been taught. I don't personally remember that journey. But that, that would account for what you're saying, of some of them having content, as well as like, that makes sense,
kind of, but the content is is always the content is generally Christian based
or the Christians,
probably, I mean, some may be some may not be so that's why they're seeing, or they're talking to they're talking to somebody they know who already had died. Who's telling them something you're saying that's part of the dream experience or the fact that they're, They see it as speaking to Christ or to God, or
right. Yep. Well, who would you want to be, if you're in that situation, who would you want to be talking to.
So after that happens, they go through the, then they go through the Tibetan stages of the Bardo, I mean.
Okay, hang on a second. All right, now the Tibetan stages that they described, don't mean everybody becomes a Tibetan.
No, I know I said they go through those stages of the Bardo I mean, basically it's like at what point is this happening to everyone, or it happens to you according to your belief system or it.
I would be really curious to see if an Orthodox Jew finds himself talking, him or herself talking to Jesus, that
would be a surprise,
that would be interesting. You see, and why would it be surprised because that's not part of their belief fabric. The DNA, and what would we get to when you get into that situation where are you going to go you're going to go to your deepest held beliefs, the ones that you would rely on if everything else fails, you know, if you're, you, you know, the, the people who are in the most horrific life situations. And they say, I just put my faith in the Lord. Well, that's because that to them that's the deepest, most secure place, they can be, it makes sense. And then, and what I'm saying is, everybody goes through. Not everybody, you know, people may get that, that the light, and not go through those stages, but the ones who go through stages of a mental body experiencing things in a dreamlike way. The content will be based on the content that they're bringing to it. Now what I don't know is whether the content includes past life, content, not just the most recent past life but other past lives. You got me on that one. But from the Latin point of view there's a consistency of what beings go through, but it's, it's consistent. But it doesn't mean it's exactly the same for everybody.
Yeah, I'm still trying to, I don't know, I'm still trying to to get my head around all of this because when people, when teachers Tibetan teachers are about trying, teachers are talking about this it's like very definite this is what's going to happen. This is what this happens if you haven't done this, that's what that's going to happen, actually, with all of these teachings I've become actually more worried about death and I had been before, Because I'm not realizing emptiness in this lifetime and I'm not and, and also just I guess again as I was saying, it's like, who I mean they seem very definite that this is what happens. So, what are the people so it's, and yet it also seems like, and yet, you know, it also seems like what happens kind of depends on what you already believe. So,
the content of what happens. Kind of depends. Definitely depends on what you already believe. The process of what happens is similar, but it's not so rigid, and I want you to stick with one of the words you used. It seemed like they were saying. But that's what you were hearing. They might not have been quite as definite as you were hearing them as definite,
the teachers that. Yeah, well ask Andrew and pretty definite.
Yeah He seems really definite a lot of the time, asked him how solid his words are their words, their feelings and it's comes across as definite. You will definitely experience. Okay. But will you experience it exactly this way, impossible, because we're all unique. You'll experience it in your way.
I want to address what you said of you being more worried about death because you haven't had that. Ironically, that's one of the, in the Buddhist tradition, they say that that's the spur that that gets you moving towards, towards practice is,
this doesn't happen in quite that way.
I bet it but I'm saying this traditionally say I, you know, I better get going. Because it comes without warning and I better be more ready than I feel now. At the same time, just understand that nothing you have done is wasted and think, okay, um, yeah death can be a fearful and probably will be a fearful experience. And I'm going to do my best to prepare for it as best I can with a sense of humor that I've done the best I can and let's see where we end up in the wheel.
Good luck and, and I hope, I hope that I hope that it inspires you.
Thank you I appreciate it.
And all you have to do is sit one more minute a day, and you'll be better prepared. Okay, okay,
if nobody else has any questions. Can I ask one other thing
I want to share something that came in the bat. Amen. Marilyn wrote a mathematic mathematician, so a 20 sided figure in math, the most perfect figure. Ah, I guess he believed in, he or she believed in math. Does anybody else want to want to jump in.
If you have another question, you can follow up.
Okay. The other thing has to do with. At one point I was, I had, I took ketamine, which was supposed to be a therapeutic situation but it wasn't terribly therapeutic, I mean it wasn't very much supported.
What does it mean supposed to do, I'm not a doctor.
It's supposed to help with. It's kind of like it's not exactly a hallucinogen hallucinogen but it's what it's the only thing that's approved
drug assisted psychotherapy.
Okay. Okay, good.
And during and but my experience was very dark, and I felt like in pretty fearful and I felt like I kept falling into a hole and deeper and deeper and part of me. What came to mind is like, this is what it's going to be like when I die. And it made me very much more fearful.
well that's, I guess also.
Yeah, only similar experience to that is kind of getting into a downer or bad trip on acid, which I haven't done recently by the way I you know I. This was when I was in my 20s so, over 40 years ago. And, and, yeah, it feels like that. Now, the reason why would you associate that with death.
It just, that's just what entered my mind. Oh I'm sorry it was a rhetorical question. Okay.
But both of you knew I was wanting to ask but if it just, if that's what came up, you. Okay, so another metaphor is how we work with our minds. Okay, and Dilgo can say remember Shay one of the great teachers of the last century. I'm sure it was said, many other times, but he said, do you relate with your mind, like a lion or like a dog. And what he meant was, when a person throws a stick at a dog. The dog chases the stick. When a person throws a stick at a lion. The lion chases the person. So, so, the stick is something that arises in your mind. Your mind is the person, the stick is what arises. If you relate to it like a dog you chase this, the water right, the risings relate to like a lion, you look to the mind. Where did that come from. So you, if you take those, those experiences and say, Oh, I'm afraid that's what that's gonna be like. But if you say, Okay, now why would I associate that with death. What was my mind doing there. What is it about my mind and my experience that would say that that must be what death is like. Let's look back. Okay, fear, what are my fears. Where did the fears come from are the fears this quality of darkness this feeling of being lost. This feeling of no security No, you see and you unpack, you, you, you peel the onion back that way rather than just say, Oh, that's what it felt like I better run from that. That makes sense. Do you understand what it does it does, it may not make sense but do you understand where I'm going with it.
I do understand where you're going, the only part of that that I would say in there is that these drugs are supposed to be designed to help you have insights and
and to help you feel more comfortable with, with death and the dying process.
I would ask for my money back.
I guess from my experience back
know, you can use the experience say okay, I didn't get what I bought, I didn't get what i thought i What i i didn't get what I bargained for, you know that expression, right. I didn't get what I bargained for. I thought I was gonna get this I will I got something else. Okay, again, lemons lemonade. What do I do with that that I can use to learn from. Well, one thing is, don't buy those drugs. Yeah. The other is, what did I learn from my experience about my mind, and where I go, and where, what I'm afraid of. Okay, the more you illuminate that the less you're afraid of it. Am I my favorite thing is a metaphor for that is the. The Wizard of Oz. When in the movie when the big giant green head scares them, silly. You know, I'm, I think that I saw a puddle under the Cowardly Lion on the floor there, but I'm not sure, but he was really scared. Sorry, just, just a joke. Okay, so, so then they saw the little man behind the curtain pulling all the strings and everything, and it was just an appearance it was just lights and sound and smoke. The face on the screen didn't change at all. In fact, it got worse it got bigger and louder and scarier. Were they scared. Not at all. They saw what was behind the appearances. That's the value you can take from that. Look behind those appearances and if I see that those were just arisings in my mind like a dream. Oh, maybe I don't have to be so afraid of them,
or warnings or the red cat,
or don't be afraid of that cat either. Yeah,
she's Yeah, she's wanting my attention. Thank you very much.
You're welcome. Well here we are. So I'm doing my waiting meditation. We're close to closing What time do we usually close nd.
We can close at any time now, these things usually go between an hour and a half depending on how many questions there are so,
so we'll, we'll go just another few breaths. And if anybody has a question you can raise your hand or put it in the into the chat, and if not then we'll say goodbye. And I did want to let people know. I think I'll put this in the chat. If you go to my website.
and I don't have the, I don't know the, I think there's a slash. I'm going to try this, it'll be something like this. You can get information on when I do my own meditation classes which are like for 45 minutes every couple of weeks. So, you're more than welcome. And thank you all so much. I love I love Evelyn kinjo put up his lemonade stand.
Joe Will you post your website.
Yeah, I think I did. I'm gonna double check this just hang on one second, for me. And let me double check that what I just put up, it's a, it's a particular page on my website. Sure,
I could just say really quickly, um, tomorrow we're releasing Andrews interview with Krishna Das. Yeah. Be on the lookout for that musical extravaganza. It was fun. And Saturday we're watching Mulholland Drive for movie night so you're all indicted.
I have to correct mine Hang on one second. I'm going to correct it, I put, I put slashes where they were there should have been hyphens. So let me do it and then I'll post it. There we go. Okay.
Nice, now I see it.
My pleasure, is that it's a thrill for me to be able to be here i i hope that i have clarified some things. I hope I didn't add to your confusion, anything, any mistakes I made were purely mine. Anything that wisdom that I passed on, all came from my teachers through me, to me and through me, and, and one of the things that my teacher said about when I, when I was supposed to teach. They said two things one is always be willing to say I don't know. And the other is, It's okay to lead people a little confused but don't leave them with a misunderstanding. So I truly hope that I have not left you with any misunderstanding, so thank you. Thank you, what, what I traditionally do and you can share with me as much as you'd like. Is dedicate the benefit of the session. So I'm going to recite it the way I do, I'll leave some space it's three phrases, and you can join me if you repeat after me if you'd like, or do it in any way that you would like and you feel comfortable with me the practice, we have just done be of benefit to others, as well as ourselves. And of course if you're feeling particularly generous or want to cultivate generosity, you can say me the practice I've just done be of benefit to others, even more so than myself. So thank you very much. I'll stay on for a little bit if people have something individual that has come up or I'll read the chats, I'm, I'm not in any hurry. I'm hastening slowly.
Do you want to talk to grandpa's iPhone. I think it's John.
Yeah and Kim, I 10 mass, which book has the gold statue image of both Zen golf, and my diet book The Best Diet book ever. They both have that. So, I don't know that anybody answered that. Let me. All right, back to Tim.
Cool. I think John's got the audio now
okay so Tim if you're still here I'm going to write back to you can find all my books on my Amazon page. Okay.
Hi. Can you see me or doesn't matter but, Grandpa. Grandpa. Yeah,
sorry that's John, my phone never got renamed, but I guess I'm getting this a correlation that I just wanted to double check with you if you know illumination and emptiness. I'm kind of associating the. In Taoist tradition that the illumination is, is the male and the number one, and the emptiness is the female. Do you kinda agree with that.
I'm in the Buddhist tradition, emptiness and wisdom. Not so much the luminosity luminosity can be associated with both but the emptiness and wit and
and manifestations, the emptiness is the feminine, the manifestation is the masculine. Just in the same, you know, in the dour sense of the receptive and the active. We talk about wisdom and skillful means the wisdom as the receptive and the skillful means as the active feminine and masculine. I think that it's really important. And I was talking with another teacher about this, it's really important not to get into feminist and masculine, you know, feminism and masculine masculinity whatever the words are, but the political aspect, right, or the physical aspect of this. Right, all of the energies that we we associate these qualities with, but not to generalize and stereotype, it's really important not to stereotype.
Right, right. Yeah. So yeah, I'm gonna look at that when I review this maybe, is this still being recorded, Andy. Yeah, so, um, because I'm not 100% clear on that and I know my mind will keep going back to that and trying to, you know, pigeonhole it, or, you know stereotype it because it's so similar the emptiness, and the feminine and the and the, like that, but yeah so that gets me going in the right direction.
Good, that's good. So, um, the, yeah it's really important not to solidify.
Okay. Yep. Thank you.
You're welcome. And I put in the text Linda asked about a book on the likes of Padma Sun bhava that I can recommend, and one is crazy. Crazy Wisdom by trigram Trumper. So I put that in the general.
Okay everybody, it's been swell. Thank you and see you again soon. Monday Night. I hope to be there Monday night, along with Andrew. Take care.