2021-07-19-Greed (1 of 5) Non-Greed as a Reference
7:57AM Jul 20, 2021
Good morning again, and welcome to the beginning of the week, beginning of a series. And the series for this week, and actually, for the next three weeks, I addresses an issue which is huge for human beings, both personally and socially, terms of an illness that spreads within and without. It has a big bearing on the Buddha, the Buddhist spiritual life. The topic is greed, hatred, and delusion. And I'll say a little bit about why I, you know, there was a time in my life where I would hesitate to spend so much time talking about this. And maybe that'll support some of you for whom it's maybe a little bit, I don't know, not inspiring to hear that that's that this is going to be the topic for the next few weeks. And the plan is to each week to have a same pattern of five talks and related to each one. And now we'll see plans work out. But the idea is to first the first day on Monday, to talk about the opposite the absence of the particular of greed or hatred or delusion, and this wonderfulness, the medicine of non greed, the medicine of non hate, non delusion, the value of it as a reference point for studying this topic, then on Tuesday to talk about particular topic itself. And I've done this recently, and hopefully we can do it in a different way. And, and then on Wednesday, you're talking about the basic be passed into practice in relationship to it, each of these on Thursday to talk about composting, each of the composting, greed, composting, hatred, and delusion, and what composting mean and transforming. And then on Friday to talk about liberation from each of these, and, and living as a living a life that promotes the ending of greed, hate and delusion, and others as well, to support others to in this world of ours, to diminish the, the, the greed and hatred and delusion, which is rampant, you know, some way or there needs to be addressed. And maybe we can be agent of change in this particular focus. So, so for this week, its topic is greed. And, and so I want to start with the idea of non greed. And part of the value of this or importance of it for me personally, is that when I was younger, when I was first kind of encountered tera, vaada Buddhism, and there was all these talks over and over again, and references point to their greed, hate and delusion. And at that time, when I heard it, I saw this as being reductionistic I felt like I was being reduced to this kind of, and felt puritanical and moralistic and kind of like who I was, was being reduced to this very kind of limited, unsavory kind of thing of being someone who has a lot of greed, hate and delusion, you're supposed to uproot it. And it just didn't resonate with me. In fact, it was a little bit off putting for me to have this emphasis. And, but I went along and did the practice of mindfulness and, and, and what I discovered and now in retrospect, I can say I discovered non greed, non hatred, non delusion, I discovered a capacity for inner health and well being. That became a very important reference point, for understanding myself in my life, to understand to have a capacity for a strong capacity, or touching strongly to a non agitated mind, a mind that's peaceful and calm, that seems to be operating in a healthy way and to tap into a capacity for a confident mind a clear mind, a budding mind or heart to discern discovering this wealth of beauty that we have within and that is not reductionistic, which is actually enhancing or falling or further filling.
And there's a nun in the early Buddhist tradition, her name is Puna, which meant For, like the friend, she says she's full, like the full moon. And this idea of becoming full of beautiful things and radiance. And so to start to do the practice and start discovering these wellsprings within of well being. And then to start wrecking this is what happened to me and started recognizing when I had greed, that was what was reductionistic that was, which was diminishing me, when that I add hate, I would Eclipse this beauty, I would lose it, and I would be diminished, I'd be reduced to something that wasn't very pleasant. And if I caught and delusion, that that also limit me and in some ways, I was re alienating, alienating to be in delusion, kind of separate me from myself separating me from the world around me. And so, understanding this non greed helped me to understand the the shortcomings the danger of having greed. And, and they became much more interesting the teachings on greed, hatred and delusion up more interesting to understand greed in a deeper way. It became interesting to practice with greed. Practice to overcome it, to learn how to compost it and learn how to, you know, live a life liberated from it. Because I could recognize how the limitations the suffering, the Dukha, the distress, the, the, the way in which I was shortcoming myself, when I got pulled into greed or hatred and delusion. And that's not an easy thing to see. Because these are these forces are very compelling. And any resistance, any restraint to having them flow through us freely, can that can feel uncomfortable, that can feel like our freedom is limited. And if we're supposed to be free, let these things roll. Let them flow through us, you know, greed, you know, it's, it's so almost valued and much of our society. That seems like it's all good to be greedy, and certain kinds of greed are not recognized as greed. You know, I think the I think that it seems like every 10 years or so the 80s, late 90s, late first decade of this century, and maybe I don't know, but now, but there was this huge economic collapses in this country, that that we discovered that there were these bankers and other people who are putting our tremendous average isness and, and you know, illegally or unethically acquiring huge wealth at the wealth at the expense of other people. But we did we use greed? Did they understand themselves as being greedy, or was just the American way to just kind of get more acquire more and more and more wealth and material things. And, and so, to begin understanding how that unabated, unrestrained kind of giving yourself over to greed, to hatred and to our delusions, is not an expression of real freedom, it's actually an expression of being in bondage, being caught, being enslaved, by forces inside of us, that have taken control and pushing us. And that what we're looking for, is how not to be an automatic pilot not to be compelled by these strong human instinct, instincts or drives, but also not to hold them restrained in a way that can feel they're uncomfortable and a lot of work to do, but to allow them to just to learn how to dissipate them or, or come into the shop, the other end of other side of them, where there is peace and and, you know, the inner beauty begins to shine forth, or we feel full and enhanced. Now, one of the reasons why people might be resistant to the idea of non greed, non hate non delusion is that the drive the compulsion for desires for wanting for pushing away and having a house be hostile,
or there for a reason, try to get what we want. And the idea of not having them Can people can can feel like there's no motivation that we can't take care of ourselves or get what we need or protect us for ourselves from the encroaching masses, which are going to destroy our life or something. But, you know, if we did when we do start discovering this beautiful capacity for peace, for calm for inner well being, what we also start discovering is that we can take care of ourselves, we can act in the world, without greed, and act, beneficially, there can be wholesome desires, there can be, desires to do good, to be generous, there can be said that faith in Buddhism is a kind of desire, because Buddhist Faith is the desire to develop the fullness to develop the freedom that we have. And, and so there are there, there can be tremendous, beautiful motivations, coming from a peaceful heart, coming from a heart of well-being that is not agitated, not pushing, not resisting, not, you know, fighting this world of ours and feeling good to fight and for everything we can get. But there's this kind of movement of Aikido movement of kind of, of not resisting, not fighting, but discovering the wellsprings of a different kind of wisdom, a different kind of a wisdom, a generosity, and love or compassion, a sense of peace, where there's a tremendous capacity for creativity, engagement. But it's not one that so centered on self, me, myself and mine, the idea of personal identity, who I am, what I need, what I have to do, what I have to do to care for myself, protect myself, the excessive focus on AI, excessive focus on one's personal identity and maintaining it that is part of the what complicates greed, hate and delusion and makes it to really mucky and dangerous even. And to discover that our motivations, beautiful motivations within that are not self centric. They're certainly within us. So in that sense, they're part of ourselves, but they're not centered on the egotism or the conceit or the selfishness, that often goes along with greed, hatred, and delusion. And so one of the reasons to not want to give up greed, hate and delusion, it seems like them are giving up self giving up self identity, because people maybe are rooted in some contracted sense of self and self identity. But to discover, the that which is not-self, within, non contracted self, the place of non preoccupation with identity, to discover this beauty inside of the fullness inside, where motivations can well up from this wellspring of goodness within, from the wellsprings of beauty within without this preoccupation with self, this is a fantastic thing. And so, this inner beauty is the reference point for one reference point for becoming interested in studying and understanding greed, and hatred and delusion. Because it because then we really understand how greed and hatred, delusion diminishes us, reduces us, limits us, and how much more wonderful this we are. And, oddly enough, the world is when we live without greed, hatred and delusion. So that's, so we'll continue then tomorrow on this topic of greed. And we'll take our journey, our five day journey through this these three topics. And then hopefully, you'll appreciate why this is such a valuable topic in Buddhism, and, and how the liberation from greed and hate and delusion is one of the most potent and expressions of what liberation is in Buddhism. So thank you very much.