dharma talk, Dance of Emptiness talk 2, The Spirituality of Imperfection

dharma talk, Dance of Emptiness talk 2, The Spirituality of Imperfection


we’re not starting yet We’re waiting for a few more ppl stuck in traffic I hope it’s your camera that’s no good and not my face You’re looking at the picture like .. Last week this one looked like it was coming out of my head Ok so … there’s still some more ple stuck in traffic I’m not sure whether we should wait for them or not I think not I might give myself a bit more bass, and a little less treble Make me sound a bit more like Barry White Ok, so is that better? same same [Thai idiom] Ok, so good. Hello everybody Who was here last week? Can you raise your hand? Ah well, so you came back? Kim here, whose wife owns the Dance Studio He said to me last week, he said “I thought your talk went rather well – nobody fell asleep!” So that’s his criteria! Nobody falls asleep This is the Rains Retreat Talks Every year, while other monks and nuns are not travelling, I put together a series of talks and I do my bit. This is my contribution And I do all the PR, and the website, and the sound equipment, and the chairs and everything else, so it’s quite a lot of work and that’s why I only do it once a year And each year we have a theme, and this year’s theme is the theme of Emptiness And this came from a few conversations that I was having with the owners here and a few other ppl about this idea or concept that in certain arts, certain art forms you have a ‘zone’ that one can attain to and getting ‘into the zone’ is a kind of emptiness and you have to be able to empty out and to be in this zone in order to really perform and this is true for many different lineages it is true of dance, it’s true of acting – the main actors website tells you –You’re just in time, we just started — – we prepared a plinth for you so this idea then that within these art forms, and martial arts and maybe even things like rock climbing … you get into a ‘zone’ and to really perform well, to really do well you’ve got to be in this ‘zone’ of emptiness Now there was some discussion – we were talking last week and I’m very open to opinions, and if there’s no questions afterwards, I might ask you the questions … This idea of ‘is the zone the same in meditation as it is for performing arts’ Like a martial artist – when they are really silent and still and they are really hitting that spot are they in the same … is this also meditation? Is this also what we are doing with meditation? or is there a difference? is it the same zone but a different purpose? That was one proposition that was made Is it the same zone but for the performing arts you are always turning and facing outwards rather than facing inwards? That is you are making the action, rather than just being empty for emptiness sake? So I think it’s an interesting question One explanation that I would furnish is the difference between the conscious and the unconscious mind When you are learning something, you use the conscious mind and the conscious mind is a very slow learner – a very poor learner [mistake] it’s very poor at doing things rather – but it’s, sorry, accelerated learning but it’s very poor at doing things so if you remember back to when you were learning to drive and you were trying to figure out … these days you do automatics . .. when I was younger we had gear shift, stick shift [in American parlance] and to try and coordinate your, your clutch with the gear stick and everything, and your indicator and everything else you’re doing took a lot of effort and it was quite difficult But once you’ve done it for a while, it just becomes automatic you don’t even need to think about it. You just have the vague idea of “change gear”and it happens this is something similar that happens in something like dance you have to learn all the moves first, but once you’ve learnt all the moves to really perform you get into that silent spot it’s the same with martial arts, it’s the same with boxing and many other lineages now the conscious mind is not very good at doing things the unconscious mind is much better at doing things but the unconscious mind can’t learn very fast so a lot of animals like cats – they are not very good learners they may manipulate you emotionally, but they can’t learn new tasks very well. they don’t have this ‘insight’ learning that say monkeys – or higher mammals actually have this insight learning that they can actually ‘get’ something and when they ‘get’ something, they know it for the next time I actually did a whole talk on this last year you had to be there for that one! So if I was to put a plank of wood across the floor and ask you all to walk across this plank of wood – pretty easy, you can do it without thinking about it but if I was to put this plank of wood very high up on a building with a big drop, suddenly it would become very difficult why is it becoming more difficult to do something consciously than unconsciously??? What happens is that the conscious mind starts to get involved and starts to worry and starts to think, and starts to carry all this baggage around with it and then that makes the whole job more difficult so when we’re learning these kind of things, including meditation we have to use the conscious mind to do the best that we can to learn something but then we have to pass that learning into the unconscious, for the unconscious to do it Now I would propose that the same is true of meditation also one of the things that we have to do is the conscious mind is still there – you are still very awake still very aware, still very conscious but you’re not carrying with you all of your concepts all these concepts and ideas and your ‘self’ and your worries, and your aspirations if you start bringing these into the activity with you, then you make it much more difficult if you’re doing a dance performance, or if you’re … even rock climbing … something like that If you’re bringing with you all your thoughts and worries etc. then it’s … you’re not going to be able to perform to the right degree The conscious mind has to stop still and it’s the unconscious mind that carries on with the activity and this is very much the same with meditation we have to unload all of the concepts that we’ve brought with us And concepts … or the God Complex as I was talking about last week which is where you think you know – you think you have it … you think you have the world figured out the truth is you don’t know, you don’t have the world figured out what is life? what is living? what is consciousness? what is memory, what happens when you die? what is rebirth? what is non-duality? what is non-attachment? all these kind of things you can’t figure out if you try to figure them out you’ll probably go crazy or you end up with this working set of constructs and ideas that then you argue with other ppl about Somebody asked the Buddha “why are there wars?” and he said “there are wars because because ppl live in sense desire” and then he added a caveat, he said “but religious ppl fight wars over ideas” So if you carry around this … all of these ideas that you carry around with you you have to unload, you have to offload in order to get to this point of awareness or sharpness or concentration, or mindfulness. Now that doesn’t mean that you become dumb or stupid you always keep your intelligence with you you keep your sense of discernment with you but you’re unloading the … the ideas that you’re carrying around my example is like a dog – a dog has a working understanding of the world around it It knows who feeds it, it knows who it likes when something happens … around in the temple there are certain things that are very important to dogs have you ever noticed in the morning when temples ring the gong? all the dogs start howling this is a tradition – this is a dog tradition or superstition; I’m not sure which So a dog has a working understanding of the world around it but it can’t understand economics, or democracy or traffic or ownership, or all these kind of things that we know about I actually think, just my personal theory, but I think we are in pretty much the same boat when we are trying to figure out consciousness, rebirth, life and death and things like that. I think we are just not equipped to fully understand it certainly if we are going to understand it, it’s not … we’re not going to understand it through concepts we get trapped in concepts, we get trapped in ideas and once you cherish an idea and concept it is very hard to break yourself free from it One example might be – what’s his name – Walter Freeman and he was the guy who did 2500 lobotomies across the States lobotomy is where you put a .. the original form was they insert a knife in the side of the head and swing it around, basically and they want to cut your frontal cortex from the rest of your brain and he had a real belief that all the problems of character were due to too much frontal cortex and if you can just slice, slice it up a bit, you’d be cured 2500 lobotomies later the guy still believed he believed it right to the end of his life he created all these Zombies – these living Zombies by doing this operation later on they used the ‘ice pick’ method and they used to put this ice pick like device in through the eye and wave it around behind the brain hoping that’s going to cure you of mental sickness. He got trapped into this idea, he really believed this idea despite the evidence right in front of him To practise dharma we have to really empty out all of these concepts that you carry around with you and be willing to look afresh, be willing to look completely new according to dhamma, according to truth Now I have one example in the winter time, in England all the mothers are around England will be saying to their kids ‘are you warm enough? Have you had enough breakfast’ ‘have you eaten your Ready Brek, central heating for kids?’ Does anybody remember that? One person … two people it’s a kind of porridge ‘Have you had your porridge?’ ‘Have you got enough jumpers on?’ ‘Do you need your scarf? Button your coat up’ ok – you’re going to be alright and she’ll release you out into the freezing cold where you go and get the bus to school and then you get to school and the teacher says ‘Right, strip off, shorts and a T-shirt, and go and stand out in this field’ and they called it ‘Games’ They called it ‘Sport’ and to my mind it wasn’t … ‘games’ was supposed to be fun and that wasn’t fun!!! all the kids the day before they would churn … you know the real footballers with their studded boots they would churn the field up, and then it would freeze over night and then by the time we got there it would be like jagged rocks and so there I was, out in this field – I was always put in goal because I couldn’t [wouldn’t] run standing out there in goal, in a cold windy field like a frozen horror popsicle standing in front of the goal and then the big hairy kid would come … after a few minutes would come tearing down with the ball and he would take the shot at goal and talking about getting into the ‘zone’ I would .. this one time I entered into the zone right? I didn’t need any conscious thought to carry around with me something about being English – 100ds of years of playing football, we invented the sport it’s in our genes, it’s in our blood something automatic took over and I made the most beautiful dive that any goal keeper could ever imagine OUT of the way of the ball so my teacher – he comes running over to me and he says ‘What are you doing you idiot – you’re supposed to ‘defend’ your goal!!’ and I was like ‘That’s not my way of thinking’ That ball is kicked at me at 40 mph – a cold wet ball coming at me like a leather whip! my way of thinking is not to stand in the way So the teacher, he went crazy and he was shouting at me and I just laughed at him and I just laughed because, there isn’t any punishment that teacher can do to me that would be worse than being hit by the ball. To me the logic was perfectly clear They used to divide us up in games – they used to divide us up into the county team players, and the footballers and the tennis players and the imbeciles – I was one of the imbeciles so I figured out in games there’s no exam – right? So if you never turn up for class on the first day of term the teacher’s never going to know you’re not there so that’s what I did, on the way down to the pitch I’d slope off in another direction, I’d go to the town library and I’d sit there and I’d read, in a nice comfortable warm library I’d read books Which is why I now have the hand to eye coordination of a jellyfish but I know lots of stuff Being able to think anew a lot of the things that you though were good and real and entertaining and nice when you view them through dhamma, you start to see them differently You start to see things as – a lot of the things that you liked to do you you find that you no longer like to do some of the things that you like … that you didn’t like to do you now like to do when you’re willing to look afresh when you’re willing to .. to change to a different way of knowing meditation is something similar in that you have this working set of constructs that you carry around with you and they all come from your mind but when you stop and you look inside the mind what you see – what you say to yourself is stop and watch your breathing for the next 30 minutes That’s the instructions you give yourself – easy right? But your mind has other ideas it’s going to do that for about 15 seconds and then it’s going to go and do something else so when you’re starting to look at it in this light and you’re willing to look afresh you see ‘well, whose mind is that?’ if I’ve told my mind to do something and it does completely .. something completely different – whose mind is that? when you go on a meditation retreat and you want to get very still and beautiful and holy and what you see is more and more chaos the mind goes more and more out of kilter it goes more and more off-centre it starts to see things in a different light maybe this mind that is generating all my ideas and concepts maybe now that I can see it as, as almost madness I know that’s not going to be the solution the ultimate solution so you have to look for a different way of thinking a different way of being and in Buddhism, that is Mindfulness this is the tool that we use – on the hero’s journey which is the path of enlightenment, or the path of development that appears in all cultures, many many cultures on the hero’s journey, the hero always has a weapon Luke Skywalker had his light sabre the weapon is usually something that is not considered valuable by society it’s usually something that isn’t great even the light sabre wasn’t, you know … Han Solo said it can’t replace a blaster and he had his hand blaster Jack and the Beanstalk – he got five magic beans and his parents … his mother thought they were worthless and this is usually the way within these stories the tool, or the weapon that the hero uses to complete the impossible task it’s usually something that’s worthless or worth very little in the eyes of society there’s a reason for this Other examples – Samson and his hair Rapunzel and her hair – that was her .. you know that was her weapon the reason for this is inside your psyche there is one small aspect that gets overlooked and that normal people consider to be fairly worthless or useless. And that is the aspect of mindfulness mindfulness is just being a little bit awake, a little bit aware if you ask yourself a question, usually you have a few moments of mindfulness as you sit there and you wait for the answer to come up when you’re making a decision about something usually you have a little bit of mindfulness as you stop, and you wait for that decision .. of .. do I have that second cappuccino or not? and you stop – just there there’s a little bit of mindfulness a little bit of awareness this quality of mindfulness and awareness isn’t something that’s really noticed or valued in most of society in fact most people don’t even realise it’s there and even to a meditator it can be quite hard to grasp quite when you’re being mindful and when you’re not the tendency of the human mind, human being or as Gil Fronsdal calls them ‘Human Desireling’ is to be absorbed in something this is what we were talking about last week, with Greed Hatred and Delusion we like to be absorbed in something that you like something that you dislike, or something that is neutral anything – just some kind of stimulation, some kind of activity something to lose your awareness and your attention into It’s nice – it’s comfortable and this is why we like watching TV, reading the newspaper chatting to friends etc … we like these nice comfortable pastimes if you give that up and you become mindful the first thing you become mindful of is just this crazy mind that you’re with you become mindful of Dukkha you become mindful of suffering and this now is the key, this mindfulness and the suffering or the ‘Dukkha’ this is the key this is in the spiritual traditions, this is what people are saying is important it comes up in different ways Ramana Maharshi said ‘You ask yourself the question ‘who am I’, when you realise there’s no one there you realise the ‘self” This question of ‘Who Am I’ is the hanging, aware attention I gave you the Koan last week If a man sits on top of a hundred foot pole, how does he proceed Sitting on top of a hundred foot pole is where you take your mind when you take your mind to that point – that point of equipoise and balance there’s nowhere left to go the mind can only be-come self aware and this is as we start the journey back towards your own awareness your own self nature, or your Buddha-nature So, this is the … as you practise the mindfulness you come down to this Dukkha this feeling of the disquiet, the unsatisfactoriness and this is the reality this is the beginning of the Path Religion works in ideologies Now I’m trying to juxtapose the religion of ideology with the spirituality of imperfection a religion starts with an ideology – and clings to ‘this is the Truth’ ‘this is the way things are’ true spirituality starts with imperfection ‘I don’t know how things are, I suffer, there is something that has to change – I have to learn something new’ this is the spirituality of imperfection I can give you an example Before I ordained in fact many of you when you look at ordained people you have all these ideas about what it’s like, what we do who we are, rules that we follow and we actually find it quite amusing because usually you are way off – one or two people have been here … have been monks before so you know what I’m talking about I read a story of a monk which was before I ordained I read a story of a monk and he was walking across India and he’s part of one of these groups when monks won’t touch money and he was begging food in India, and he had his bowl he felt a little strange being a westerner begging food off poor Indians he had his bowl, and every so often somebody would come a long and try and put money in the bowl, and he’s from one of these Buddhist groups, ordained Thai group/systems that won’t touch money. they will still buy things and have things, but somebody else has to carry the money and pay for it and this is actually the tradition that I started in and I thought this was normal, right and so he talked about being in India and every so often people would offer him money now if he accepts the money, he can go and buy something to eat if he doesn’t accept the money he might not get anything to eat and so he was talking about this quandry this thing of ‘well should I accept money or not?’ and I thought to myself ‘what a rubbish monk – worthless’ because if you’ve got an ideal and you’re holding on to an ideaology you should be willing to fight for it you should be willing to die for it I’d read these stories of gurus and people who’d throw themselves off mountainsides in the search for enlightenment The Buddha who’d thrown himself to tigers you’ve got to be willing to sacrifice your life in order to gain something that’s so perfect and so holy as enlightenment and if you’re not willing to give up your life you’re not really, you know, you’re not really worthwhile you’re not a worthwhile monk so then I came to Thailand and I ordained as a monk and I remember very clearly — that bag is very russly!!! — This particular day was a rather nice day and …. I went to see – — I’m going to buy you a cloth bag for next week — I went to see my abbot because I needed my visa renewing now to get my visa renewed I need a car, to go out and drive me around to get all my signatures from all these different monks from different temples I need a car to take me to Bangkok to deposit all my [russle] to deposit all my documents then I need another car to drive me back to Bangkok to pick up my documents to go to the immigration, I need a layman with me to pay for the visa and buy me lunch on the way so I went to the abbot to claim my due … my just desserts and he said ‘here’s 2000 baht, you get the bus’ and I was feeling rather forlorn because now I’m in this quandary do I accept the money? and it was a nice day I didn’t really want to die my ideals said you’ve really got to be willing to die for you’re principles and I’m like … it’s kind of nice outside, I don’t want to die today and you know, It didn’t feel quite so heroic – my sacrificing myself for my ideals didn’t feel quite as heroic as I thought it was going to be so I took the money and I went .. and you know, I got my visa. This is one of the … this is the thing the religion always .. Religion always works in ideology and you always have this great set of beliefs, and I would say ‘fantasies’ The reality of it is always very different the reality of it is your mind’s a mess your concepts are a mess you’re going to have to empty out you’re going to have to change you’re going to have to grow you’re going to have to be willing to work with imperfection with your own imperfection you have to be willing to work with your own shortcomings you have to become willing to work with your own suffering all of these arts that I was talking about earlier – they all require a lot of practise practise – if you practise dance it means you’re going to have bruised toes and sprained ankles if you’re practising aikedo it means you’re going to take knocks on the head before you get good at it hopefully if you’re rock climbing you don’t have too many failings. and the same is true of meditation this is the beginning of the path you start to see, know and understand your own imperfection you feel your own Dukkha you feel your own suffering and this is when you are starting to do your practise now Now if you’re new to Buddhism, the next bit might not make sense but there are teachings in Buddhism that say you’ve got nothing to do, no where to go, you’re already attained … Mahamudra, Dzochen, I was with one Thai teacher he’s .. he’s just so highly attained he’s on another plain altogether and he said to me, he said can you do that thing that you just did with your mind — he can see your mind this guy — and I’m like ‘well, I’ll try’ and he said ‘no no – you can never try – if you are trying, you are not doing it’ This kind of idea that it’s got to be totally effortless there’s nothing you can do to attain it. enlightenment is already there with you and it’s actually wrong this is the wrong teaching. This isn’t the way that the Buddha taught These people may very well know what they’re talking about They may very … usually they may be very highly attained but that wasn’t what the Buddha was talking about Nisagadatta, Krishnamurti – they would all talk from this kind of view point that whatever you’re doing that’s not it whatever you are developing that’s not enlightenment etc The Buddha taught a ‘Path’ it had a beginning and an end and he called it a ‘Magga’ a Path a pathway – a way that you can travel. there are certain things that you can do the are certain perceptions that you can change there are certain qualities that you can develop that may not be enlightenment but they are going to take you enlightenment and this is the difference between the Buddha being a teacher and many of the Arahants and great sages and saints and teachers the Buddha could teach this mechanism whereas many of the enlightened people – they can’t they’re just like ‘Hey man, just be enlightened’ ‘that’s all you need to do – you’re already enlightened, do do anything’ There IS a Path. Now if you take the beginning of the path and the destination of the path the thing that lies in between is called what? I knew nobody would get it It’s called ‘story’ This is what story is That’s why I’m a very big fan of story telling whenever there’s a start – and you always start from imperfection and you always head towards happily ever after so if the story teller would say ‘well you know – all you have to do is live happily ever after’ cut the story and the imperfection out – it doesn’t work this is the same with the spiritual path it starts with the imperfection, but there is a change there is a development there is a learning that takes you towards the goal, and the end this story will include a number of different factors and in a couple of weeks we’re going to go through one of the Faerie Tales which is a very good example of this You need the Hero … he or she needs to have innocence they need to be strong because of the innocence they need a weapon usually they have a sidekick and you put all these factors together and this is the spiritual path this is the path of change and sometimes it’s hard sometimes you really have to learn the hard way Like – like flammable and inflammable – I learnt that one the hard way — because they actually mean the same thing you didn’t get that ?? — so, story – you are starting from this point of your own imperfection your own suffering and you can’t get very far in Buddhism without coming across the word suffering so the word ‘suffering’ [in the Buddhist sense] comes from the word ‘Dukkha’ Dukkha can be translated a number of different ways but one of the ways that isn’t a good translation is ‘suffering’ but that’s the translation we got lumbered with so that’s the word that we kind of use it doesn’t really mean ‘suffering’ there are other words, like Ani here was saying like ‘unsatisfactorines’ which is a very good definition a little bit long, and it’s hard if you are not a native English speaker Thai speakers find problems with this word – sufferING is a lot easier ‘stress’ is another one and this is a word that is used by Thanissaro Bhikkhu who translates a lot of the suttas he uses the word ‘stress’ which I hated … Buddhism doesn’t mean you’re stressed out and you’re getting unstressed – that’s ‘therapy’ it’s not Buddhism and then actually it was Arthur here, he’s our engineer he pointed out to me that if you make a bridge and you have two pillars and between it you have a road and the structure of the bridge has to bear the load and that is ‘stress’ – the bridge is under stress it’s under pressure to change – it’s under a load it’s under … it’s under force that is quite nice concept of suffering, or Dukkha you’re under some kind of force, some kind of pressure that keeps you moving you’re under some kind of load one translation for Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana is Hinayana is the ‘lighter load’ Mahayana is the ‘heavier load’ Mahayana is the heavier load because you have to save all world beings as well as your self so it’s a bigger burden to bear Personally I like the lighter load – that appeals to me Some other words [for Dukkha] the wavering, the unsteady, the uneasy -=I actually like these definitions because the definition of enlightenment is the opposite – the unwavering, the immutable, the unshakable these are all words that the Buddha used for enlightenment the actual meaning of the word Dukkha comes from the idea of something being eccentric not in the .. not like an Englishman but like a wheel that is not quite in balance and if any of you changed your car tyres, one of the things they do when they change the tyre on your car is they’ll charge you, or tell you that you have free balancing not many people know what balancing is even the modern day wheels, when they come from the manufacturer they are not perfectly weighted they’re slightly off-centre so when you’re driving down the road at 70 mph — or 7 mph if you’re in Bangkok — the difference in the weight starts to shake and it will literally shake your vehicle apart if there is a slight difference in the weight so what they do when they balance your wheel is they stick these little tiny weights around your wheel to make it balance out perfectly so that you’re .. you’re not being shaken So that’s the meaning of the word ‘Dukkha’ literally it means ‘off-centre’ it means a wheel that isn’t quite centered properly and is shaking it means this is out motivation going through life we always have this dis-ease that’s pushing us into more and more activity now dis-ease is not suffering we’re not saying that you have to walk around hanging your head and be thoroughly miserable if you want to be a Buddhist we tend to be happy people monks and nuns tend to be happy people but there’s always this dis-ease behind your existence this dis-ease then, this suffering, this dukkha is described as 3 kinds dukkha dukkhata, viparinama dukkhata and sankhara dukkhata — talk about practise – I had to practise that one, to get it out in one go — dukkha dukkhata is the suffering of … suffering of suffering or unpleasant suffering viparinama dukkhata is suffering of change and sankhara dukkhata has a few different translations, but I’m going to present it as the suffering of mind-states in the Tibetan tradition they usually translate it as ‘all pervasive suffering’. The last one but actually I think it means mind states the first one, dukkha dukkhata then, the suffering of suffering there are two kinds – bodily and mental bodily suffering is the pain and the discomfort that you feel in the body and one interesting point – even the Buddha had physical unpleasantness, physical suffering which raises the question, thanks to Marcus,… who may be watching us on the video raises the question didn’t the Buddha go beyond suffering? well how then did he have physical suffering? Because that’s a kind of Dukkha I’ve never actually found a satisfactory answer to that question one of the suttas describes him as coming out of his hut in the morning and he sees a ray of morning sunshine landing on a log and he sits on the log and he warms his old aching back and he says to his attendant ‘this body is getting old, it is getting sick it is getting patched together like and old cart in not too many years it’s going to pass away’ and he warmed his back in the sunlight The commentary to the sutta says the Buddha didn’t get any pleasure from feeling the sunlight he was charging his aura up so that he could use it for the betterment of all world beings a little bravado – Buddhist bravado I actually like the idea that he went out and warmed his back in the morning when he was 76 years old or something like that That’s my kind of Buddha – I like that kind of concept So everybody has physical … everyone has physical suffering the second kind of the dukkha dukkhata, the suffering of suffering is the mental suffering the pain, sorrow, lamentation, grief and despair of the mind is how it’s described it’s also described as the ‘second arrow’ so if you imagine you are shot with an arrow and instead of treating that you were to pick up a second arrow and start stabbing yourself with it – would that be a wise thing to do? Well, so the Buddha said that when you have physical suffering what you do is you create all this mental suffering on top of it and Ani Zamba here – she can talk to you more about this I’ve been blessed with a relatively pain free body but she had to work through .. through her lifetime, a lot of physical suffering and you learn the hard way, to not create all this mental suffering and anxiety on top of things that have happened to you so like, somebody gives you an insult and you repeat the insult to yourself a thousand times you are creating all this mental suffering on top of what originally actually wasn’t that bad some people never forget an insult personally I never forget a lunch invite creating all this mental suffering that you don’t need and when you start to watch this process it becomes very interesting just how much of your own suffering you create for yourself if you can just reduce that much you’ve already done a lot in your lifetime So the mental suffering is like a … I think of it like a big bag of topics that you carry around with you and whenever you have 5 minutes free, you’re stuck in the traffic, you go rummaging around in your bag and you fish something out, and suffer over it something somebody said, or ‘my childhood’ or things that I want to get – remember ‘wanting’ as I explained last .. as we were talking last week focussing on what you want gives you a kind of desire or liking but that’s also a kind of suffering right? When you are wanting, that’s the same as a feeling of lacking something and when you are lacking something you have a disquiet so this also is suffering again – it’s not hanging your head and beating yourself up but it is a kind of.. it’s still a kind of suffering, still a kind of disquiet or dis-ease so you have this big bag of stuff that you carry around with you and you fish something out, and suffer over it at every given opportunity We’re drawn to these topics of suffering things that you want to get things that you want to get rid of things that you want to .. stimulation that you want to entertain yourself with we’re drawn to these topics of suffering like moths to a candle flame this particular kind of dukkha dukkhata is according to the suttas covered by ‘movement’ and if you have enough movement it covers up, or it hides, this kind of suffering So for example, I’m watching you all here, and every so often … you’re sitting pretty still actually, you’re pretty good pretty meditative but every so often you’re going to shuffle what is a ‘shuffle’? what are you doing when you shuffle? does it feel nice? to change position? just now I switched my position; that feels quite nice for a short while are you seeking pleasure or are you hiding the suffering? The truth is if you sit for very long – 5 or 10 minutes, the body starts to suffer, it starts to feel pain My own teacher has Parkinson’s disease, advance Parkinson’s and he can’t shuffle, he can’t move basically we lift him up, we plop him down in a seat and then however he lands, that’s how he stays for the next hour and he doesn’t complain, but, you know, if you ask him and you push him actually he’s … he’s in a lot of pain he can’t move himself around the same goes for mental suffering – if you can keep your mind going fast enough you don’t suffer over stuff. And this is one reason why when people go on meditation retreats they start crying or things start coming up that are difficult to handle because in daily life you’ve got too much going on the mind is moving at too much speed for you to really get too engrossed in ‘what she said to me’ or ‘what he did’ or ‘why I was fired from my job for an unjust reason’ or … whatever it is that you want to suffer over you keep yourself moving The second form of dukkha – these three forms … and that’s the end of the talk so we’re getting close to the end Viparinama Dukkhata – the suffering that comes from change and the suffering that comes from change is a lot harder to see there’s a nice little story in the suttas about the Buddha’s cousin that illustrates this and after the Buddha became enlightened he went back home to teach… you know, he discovers enlightenment – who are you going to tell? you go back to tell, you know, your parents, your former wife, and your son and all the rest of it. So after he went home the clan decided that this king of theirs who was living out in the forest like a hermit needed looking after so they said – alright, well some of us are going to have to disrobe … er, going to have to ordain and go into the forest and live under the trees with him. and some of us to look after him and some of us will have to stay back and be kings of the kingdom and the Buddha’s – I think it was his cousin – Anuruddha said ‘You know chaps – I have this great idea. You guys can go and ordain as monks and live in the forest I’m going to stay here and be King I’m going to stay and look after the land they said ‘ok what are you going to do?’ he said ‘well I’ll get the harvest in’ and they said ‘well what are you going to do then?’ he said ‘well then I’m happy’ they said ‘but, you know, you’ve got to get ready for winter’ ‘yes ok, so I’ll get ready for winter’ and they said ‘Well then what are you going to do?’ He said ‘Well spring comes, I’m happy!’ ‘but you’ve got to plant the crops then’ and he said ‘Well yes, well I’ll plant the crops, and then …’ you can see where this is going right I don’t have to go through the whole .. the whole year Whatever it is that you attain to or you get to there is always more that you have to do, in laylife especially so after a while of contemplating this Anuruddha says ‘you know chaps, I have this great idea YOU guys can stay and look after the fields I’m going to go and become a monk with the Buddha’ And he did – he became one of the great Arahants I actually have the same thing with cleaning my bathroom like, six months ago I gave it the clean to end all cleans and then last month somebody visited me and said I had a filthy bathroom you’ve got to do it again men living on their own – we don’t understand these kind of things The point being that everything changes so there’s never any point you get to where everything stops and everything is alright The Buddha described it like this It’s easy to see it in the body the body will change after 50 years or 100 years the teeth will .. turn yellow and fall out the back will become crooked as a roof rafter — this is using scriptural language — and that is easy to see but to see that the mind is continually changing is very difficult to see the truth is that the mind changes from moment to moment like a monkey swinging through the trees it grabs hold of one branch, and it lets go to grab hold of another branch continually as it swings through the forest in exactly the same way the mind arises as one thing and ceases as another I’m paraphrasing the quote, from the scripture this is as close as we can get to the actual Buddha’s teaching This is the impermanence of the mind and when you see it in this way it starts to see – actually it is – it’s the mind is a rather unpleasant place to be you start to get this desire for stability you start to get the desire for something that lies separate, or independent of the mind and this is where we are starting to really get on the path towards the zone, this emptying out because you start to see the value of it. The Viparinama dukkhata BTW, the suffering of change is covered by something called ‘Santati’ which means continuity I also did a talk about this last year a very interesting topic in psychology it’s called ‘object permanence’ and in the space of a sentence it means we treat things as being real and continuous so my friend Arthur here I treat him as being real and continuous person the truth is when you look at your own experience what you see is mind states arise and they disappear all mind states arise, and they disappear concepts arise and they disappear this is the actual truth but our concepts give us this sense of solidity in the world these concepts are exactly what we have to give up so that’s covered [up] by santati the last one, or ….. object permanence the last one is Sankhara Dukkhata which is the suffering of just having a mind state interesting! just to be – is a kind of suffering Saint John of the Cross – he’s a Spanish mystic, one of my favourites he described it this way he said it’s like a window that is dirty the sunlight can’t get through the window the dirt interferes with the sunlight but if you clean the window until it’s absolutely spotless the sunlight will pass through unhindered and he said in exactly the same way as when you have your ‘self’ there you’re going to be in sin – suffering in Buddhist terminology But if you move yourself out of the way if you polish yourself to absolute – to be absolutely spotless Then God will act through you without interference I actually like this analogy Zen often has the same analogy of the … polishing something so completely spotless completely stainless – the eye of dhamma was considered as ‘stainless’ eye of dhamma now this kind of suffering of just having a mind state usually you just ignore it – so what? You don’t need to be too bothered by that [lobotomy] you have a lobotomy – that’s right! but you can just ignore it and most people do most people are not really that interested in the spiritual path you can just ignore this my friend Jan, who is not here tonight he describes it this way please excuse his French he says it’s like smelling your own fart you don’t care. you can just ignore it this suffering that you carry around with yourself, you can ignore it this suffering of just having a mind state you can ignore it but it still counts, it’s still there and if you can get in touch with that, if you can see that this is what we call in Buddhism samvega or the .. being shaken and stirred – one up on James Bond being shaken and stirred, which means you have a motivation to practise the holy life you have a motivation to find that zone that is absolutely still, pure stainless spotless enter into that zone of complete emptiness now you have the motivation to do it so that is the Sankhara Dukkhata the Buddha said there are two kinds of fool one who shoulders a burden he should not and one who does not shoulder a burden that he should So in Buddhism this is the burden that we should shoulder this is the … this is the kind of dukkha that we want to be looking at to give ourselves the motivation to make clear the direction which direction the spiritual life lies this emptying out, this giving up of all .. of everything of stopping still in this pristine awareness so it’s my contention that all of these teachings are leading towards emptiness they are not meant to be picked up and used as a teachings per se they are not meant to be … figured out take something like non-attachment – you will never figure out non-attachment some people try – they want to get non-attached to my husband – that’s easy get non-attached to my children I’ll get non-attached to my house get non-attached to my computer – I’ll save that one till the end till I’m just about to get enlightened you can’t … non-attachment doesn’t work with knocking things off like some kind of, you know, shotgun that you’re shooting these things down it doesn’t work that way you can’t get non-attachment, you can’t make it happen another example would be … there was a temple that I lived in and some local people figured out that if … some people figured out that when the gong goes all the monks go down to the chanting and that’s the perfect time to steal stuff in the monastery and so this went on for several days and the monks are having this conversation that I find quite incredulous they were having this conversation because all their huts, all their kuties didn’t have locks on the door and they were deciding whether they should put a lock on the door or not and one of them, I think he was German (not that that’s anything to do with it) he said ‘we must not put locks on the door – this is attachment. it means we are attached to the things in our huts. we should leave it open’ This is trying to force non-attachment as some kind of ideology and force fit it on to the world it doesn’t work Thais never fall into that respect – they put a lock on the door and if they catch the thief, they will give him a good .. a good beating in fact this guy [monk] here has a very good story about that non-attachment when you’re trying to .. to figure it out doesn’t work all of these teachings are to be used to empty out, not figure out that’s a good catch-phrase right so it if you take nothing else .. empty out, don’t figure out We are drawn to suffering like moths to a flame is what one of the teachings that the Buddha gave and there’s a very good reason for this the reason moths and some insects will fly into a flame is normally they navigate by the moon and as they are flying if they start to change direction the moon will change in relation to the direction they are flying so they adjust. But the moon stays still – when it sees the candle flame it mistakes it for the moon and it starts to navigate by the candle flame and as it’s moving then, the candle flame changes position in relation to the moth so it adjusts it’s course – in natural navigation. The moth is doing the right thing, but it’s taking the wrong thing as the guiding light so that is what I would like to leave you with that we are in .. as human beings, normally we, we are hanging onto our suffering when we are chasing after pleasure and these are the wrong lights to guide our lives by It doesn’t mean you don’t have pleasure it doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy things but it means that the pleasure or sense seeking is not the guiding light by which to live your life The Buddha put it this way: When people, rushing headlong missing about what’s essential creating one new bond after another like insects into a flame some people are intent only on what is seen and heard So we have some time to empty out … also an important part of the evening to put into practise a little bit

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