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The talk discusses the concept of choices and their impact, emphasizing the significance of how we respond to situations rather than the situations themselves. This theme is explored through various cultural references, personal anecdotes, and philosophical insights.

- **Reference is made to "Choice Theory" by William Glasser,** which posits that we always have choices in every situation.
- **Albert Camus's novella "La Chute" (The Fall)** is used as a literary illustration of life-defining choices.
- **Joseph Campbell's idea of the "whisper"** underscores the importance of being receptive to subtle life calls amid external chaos.
- Excerpts from songs like **"Some Enchanted Evening" from "South Pacific"** by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, along with **Emily Dickinson's poem, "I'm Nobody! Who are you?"**, are used to underline the exploration of identity and personal calling.
- The internal ranking system and its influence on perception and self-awareness are critiqued, using the example of **"The Hidden Lamp,"** edited by Susan Moon and Florence Kaplow.
- The Koan from **"The Book of Equanimity"** is mentioned as a tool for deepening understanding of self beyond societal ranks or statuses.

Ultimately, the talk centers around the choice to embrace or reject the roles and ranks assigned to us by society, advocating for a deeper engagement with our internal values and choices.

AI Suggested Title: "Choosing Values Over Circumstances"


So, good morning. Hosan, in a talk that he gave a few weeks ago, started his talk by greeting us, saying, good morning bodhisattvas. And I can hardly say how happy it made me to hear it because in my first practice center, there was a sensei who began each of his evening talks, greeting us by saying, good evening, bodhisattvas. And it was always a reminder to me, a reflection kind of of our practice and our vow to live into bodhisattvaness. So this morning, as I greet each of us in our jewel boxes,


I greet you all, good morning, bodhisattvas. So, I've been thinking a lot lately about choice, about choosing, how we make choices, both consciously and with a full awareness and how we sometimes make choices a little bit underneath the conscious level. And as well, considering the possible long-term effects of the choices that we make, both on ourselves and in our world. Of course, we're making choices pretty much every minute. I don't know exactly how often we make them, but a lot of times in the day. And we start the morning lying in bed,


the alarm goes off and the first choice may be, do I wanna get up and make coffee and have breakfast? Or would I like to lie here for another half hour? Maybe I'll skip breakfast, have a quick cup of coffee and the way there's that kind of choice. And then there's some obviously, some more significant ones. And as I've been thinking about choice, it seems to me to go to the very heart of how we practice the choices that we are making all along. So the educator and writer, I know he wrote a book and I've forgotten it, something about highly successful people or seven secrets or whatever to highly successful people. But he said this, which I think is useful, between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power


to choose our response. And in those choices lie our growth and our happiness. So there are legion articles and theories about the concept of choice and how it works. When I was before, actually 10 years before I started to study as a therapist, William Glasser, who was a psychologist, wrote a book on what he called choice theory. And basically he said that in every situation, we have a choice. In every situation, we have a choice, even if it doesn't feel like a good one. So right now we're dealing with global warming, we're dealing with climate change accelerating


in a scary and rapid way. We're dealing with the Delta virus and it's dreadful fallouts. So we don't have a choice of the existence of these realities. We do have a choice of how we respond into them. And that I think that our good choices can be decisions that we keep making, that keep leading us in the direction we have made perhaps vows to go in. So many years ago, when I was teaching an honors English class to seventh graders, I taught from this story about choice written by the French writer Albert Camus. And it was called La Chute, The Fall.


Some of you may know it. And in this story, the lead character, Jean-Baptiste Clemence is a Parisian lawyer. And one evening he's taking a stroll across the Seine River on the Pont Royal Bridge and up on a parapet way up, he sees a woman clearly contemplating jumping off the parapet. And he stops for a moment and then he continues walking. And a minute later, he hears a cry and then he hears a splash in the water. And the story continues. And in the last scene of the novella,


Jean-Baptiste is in a dark bar in Amsterdam and he's talking to the man or woman on the next barstool. And he's basically saying that he relives that moment of choice every moment of his life. This morning, I do wanna consider choosing. So one of the practices that I cherish at BCC is the Monday morning way-seeking mind talks. I love to hear each person's story, always different. Always different. Some people stumble into practice. Some people are back up into practice.


Some people leap forward into practice, no matter. But the stories are quite wonderful and idiosyncratic. But the commonness, there is a common thread, I think. To all of them, which is that at some level, there's an impulse or a call, a pull, whatever verb we want to speak of here. Joseph Campbell calls, names this call a whisper. He says, and we have to, at some level, be ready or willing to hear this whisper, this pull, amidst the din and cacophony of world sound. And then, even with perhaps great doubt


or with life circumstances that may temporarily block us, that we find the ways to follow this call to something that's actually beyond our comprehension or understanding fully, but is very powerful within us. So we have made, actually, a choice to respond to the call. When I was first thinking about giving this talk, I was sitting at my desk, writing down some notes and a song kept coming in my head and kept actually interrupting what I was trying to write down. It got very annoying. And finally, I just gave up and I list the words of the song and the song is Some Enchanted Evening from South Pacific,


which was a Broadway musical. And that song was sung by this most wonderful baritone, Isio Binza. And it's a song about a French planter who lives on some South Sea island and he's singing about finding his true love. So I couldn't quite get a hold of why that was interrupting me until I listened to the words sort of from a different way, rather than finding one's true love, maybe finding one's whispered call. So let me say the words to you because I just found this fascinating about this inner longing connection with what we call the absolute, but which goes by many names. Some enchanted evening, you may see a stranger. You may see a stranger across a crowded room and somehow you know, you know even then


that somewhere you'll see her again and again. Some enchanted evening, someone may be laughing. You may hear them laughing across a crowded room and night after night, as strange as it seems, the sound of her laughter will sing in your dreams. Who can explain it? Who can tell you why? Fools give you reasons, wise men never try. Some enchanted evening, when you find your true love, when you feel her call you across a crowded room, then fly to her side and make her your own or all through your life, you may dream all alone.


Once you have found her, never let her go. Once you have found her, never let her go. So that's from Zen Masters, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. So here's this choice to follow this heart call. It's a place that many people choose to ignore and turn away from for how many reasons? A fear of entering an unknown space, a fear of leaving what's comfortable and what's known, laziness, all many, many things. And some people choose to follow this spread to answer this call, so to speak. The poet William Stafford talks about this in another way.


He says, there is a thread you follow. It goes among things that change, but it doesn't change. People wonder about what you are pursuing. You have to explain about the thread, but it is hard for others to see. When you hold it, you can't get lost. Tragedies happen, people get sick or die and you suffer and grow old. Nothing you do can stop times unfolding. You don't ever let go of the thread. Well, of course we do at times let go of the thread. We forget it, we get lazy, we deny it.


Or somebody we dearly love dies or leaves us or we suffer a great life disappointment or someone we love or we ourselves endure great chronic physical pain and turned away in anger or despair or depression or denial from the thread. The thread is always there at some level of our being, I believe once we have found it. And surely the thread never lets go of us. And that's good news, I think. So we're called into practice. We choose to listen to this whisper


and we come into practice. And then as we deepen into practice, we begin to come more face-to-face with the places where we're challenged in our lives by old patterns, by judgmental thoughts, maybe a pervading repeating sense of inadequacy. All of us with pretty much without exception bump into our tendency to cling to whatever it is we cling to thoughts, feelings, even the desire to be enlightened. We hold on to, we all have that pattern. And we have a comparing mind, a ranking mind often. So we are looking at ourselves and out in the world from rank, from hierarchy and lower archy, so to speak.


So I've been working with a koan for a while now which has to do with this. I'm gonna actually read two versions of it because it's an interesting contrast, actually. The first version is from in the book of equanimity, case number 38. Attention, Rinzai addressed the assembly saying, there is a true person of no rank. He is always leaving and entering the gates of your face. You beginners who have not witnessed him, look, look. Thereupon a monk asked, how about this true man of no rank? Rinzai got down from the seat and grabbed him. The monk hesitated and Rinzai pushed him away saying, this true man of no rank, what a shit stick he is.


So that's one version. And this second version is from the hidden lamp which is in stories edited by our own Susan Moon and Florence Kaplow. I'm gonna just read part of this, the essence of this. The lay woman Yu Daopo made donuts for a living. She also studied Chan, Chinese Zen with master Langyi Huizui who told her to contemplate Linji's phrase, the true person of no rank. One day as she was delivering donuts, she met a beggar who was singing happiness in the lotus land. Yu was suddenly enlightened and threw her tray of donuts to the ground. There are a number of stories where these donuts


wind up on the ground. Yu went to see Langyi who immediately verified her awakening. One day after this, Langyi asked the assembly, which one is the true person of no rank? And Yu shouted out this verse. There is a true person of no rank who has six arms and three heads. When she uses her full strength to cut, mantua is split into two. So interesting tonality in these and emphasis really. Linji lived during the Tang Dynasty in China. Linji is Rinzai in Japan. And in a nutshell, he was committed to helping people wake up


and sometimes these stories are quite exciting. Hands get cut off and people are shaken and yelled at and sticked, hopefully with the emphasis to get people to wake up. Thich Nhat Hanh says of Rinzai that, and I'm quoting here, Rinzai invented the word a business-less person. Love this word, a business-less person, one who has nothing to do and nowhere to go. So in Mahayana Buddhism, such a person was the Bodhisattva, a compassionate being who on the path of enlightenment helped others. This person doesn't run after enlightenment or grasp at anything even if that thing is the Buddha. This person has simply stopped.


She is no longer caught by anything, even theories or teaching. The business-less person is the true person of no rank inside each one of us. This is the essential teaching of Master Lin Chi. So Lin Chi or Rinzai asks, who is this true man of no rank? And the monk pulls back, he hesitates. And Rinzai says, this true man of no rank, what a shit stick he is. Yu Tao Po sits with this question given to her by her teacher to contemplate until it ripens in her and she understands and awakens, coming into her full strength as a true person of no rank


so she can, with one blow, cut Mount Hua in two. We all have our places, I think, where we rank. We rank ourselves, we rank and judge other people and we at least project how other people are ranking and judging us. And we make, without necessarily full awareness, subtexts of ranking that we may do when we learn someone's profession or when we see their life activities or their ways of being, their behavior. We may do it by class, we may do it by race. So titles, profession,


professional titles like president, captain, Roshi, the one percenter, a homeless person, a scholar, a mother, a generous person, person of color. And as we are putting these labels on, there's kind of an inherent ranking that can go along with that, a comparative ranking. And these are kind of ways in which we say who we are at some level by the comparing. So Linji's question, Minzai's question, who is the true person of no rank is a powerful one and it really cuts to the heart of this process


of how, in fact, we do rank and compare. And each time we do that, whether consciously or pre-consciously, we are making a choice. And that part of the choice is to continue and strengthen a habit formation, a habit pattern, so that that pattern of ranking gets stronger or we can make a choice, we can make a vow and have an intention toward noticing when we are ranking, when we are comparing and observing that process, keeping it company, Thich Nhat Hanh would say, not clinging to it and using the skillful means that are part of practice, part of what we learn to do


to allow that to be present and to decrease its valence so that each time we make that choice, not to buy into the habit formation, but to learn to notice it and to be present with it without holding it, it weakens that pattern a little bit, potentially each time. And that's the good news. That's good news of our practice, I think. So. So in the relative realm, to be a true person of no rank goes against the whole of our cultural imperative to be somebody.


We learn that one quite early. We learn way before kindergarten, comparative thinking and ranking. In families, we learn it in school, who's the better athlete, who's better at math, who's smarter, who's prettier, who's whatever it is. So we're early trained for ranking. And even at the level of our first meeting, in this culture, particularly, we ask particular questions and it's interesting when you actually listen to what the questions are, because they have some inherent possible ranking underneath them. So when we meet somebody to say, we will ask quite early on, what do you do? Well, that's a harmless enough question, except if somebody says I'm a custodian, or somebody says I'm a CEO,


we may very possibly do a subtle internal ranking about that. Where are you from? Where are you really from is another question. Where did you go to college? How old are you? Where do you live? Are you married? All of these have inherent possible assumptions that go with them and rankings. In these days, we might be saying something like, what do you think about what happened on January 6th at the Capitol, et cetera. But that's loaded, it's already a rank load. And then it becomes really interesting to consider, given this imperative to be somebody in this culture,


who would we be? How would we be? What would we be without any such ranks or labels? Actually, it's an electrifying thought, quite freeing, actually, if we witness you now pose great exhilaration at the freedom. And it can be a frightening one as well, to be without any way of saying who we are at all. And that seems to have been a piece of the monks pullback or hesitation, at least that's how I hear that. Or see that. But it's interesting to imagine, how would our lives be without any such rank at all? We speak in the Dharma, often about non-self,


we speak of the dropping away of body and mind. And many of us have had experiences of this. And we have this really as an aspiration on the one hand, and yet we each have these places that we cling to. So it's really challenging work. This is not, as they say, not work for sissies, to keep choosing to notice the places where we hold on, where we cling to rank, to judgment, to formulations. So, yeah. I invite you for a minute, if you will, to just take a moment here and look into your own life experience, feel into the places in yourself, where you know, where you're aware of rank,


and compare with yourself, judge yourself and or others. Just take a moment for this. Just now, just to really, I have this vow to not compare, and it's easier said than done, but I have this intention to not be ranking or comparing. And one of the ones that I work with, there are many,


but one of the ones that I work with is I have this long-term fear of public speaking. And I really have to work with it. It rises up and I stay with it and I work with it and I'm aware of it. And I keep a company as Thich Nhat Hanh says, and I use all the various skillful means that we've learned in this practice. And I think it's better. Here I am this morning. It's better. And I still have to keep working with it when it rises up and stay with it until that sort of body-mind cloud moves off again. I'm nobody. Who are you? Are you nobody too? Then there's a pair of us.


Don't tell, they'd banish us, you know. How dreary to be somebody. How public like a frog to tell your name the live long day to an admiring bog. That's another Zen master, Emily Dickinson, who gets it all in eight lines. Roshi Tetsuken Bernie Glassman was the Dharma successor of Hakuryu Taisan Maisumi Roshi. And at one point after Maisumi's death, having waited with deference to his teacher's tradition, made the decision to disrobe and famously took to wearing very bright Hawaiian shirts.


And his reason, this would not apply for necessarily at all for other people with robe, but he felt that the robe as a mark of rank of a defined status in a sense would get in the way for him of a heart-mind connection with others, with a person or with other persons. So he chose to de-rank, so to speak in that sense. And another way that I think he lived out this true person of no rank, he came often to the Zen Center in Los Angeles because that was his home temple and would always be giving a Dharma talk when he came. And when he ended his talk and there would be questions,


he would respond to the questions, but he said after every response, that's just my opinion, man. Every time, that's just my opinion, man. He used to smoke cigars, I think, and then probably had to stop for health reasons, but he used to do this sort of Groucho Marx thing with the cigars, it's just my opinion, man. And I heard that as, I received that as an invitation for me to go in and trust my own not knowing or my possible eventual knowing as opposed to necessarily looking out for answers. And another of his great teachings, which I valued, was his, he famously chose to step forward, to say yes. He chose yes all the time. And instead of talking about walking off the 100-foot pole,


he talked about plunging off the 100-foot pole. And that's a nice symbol for me, but for the true person of no rank, this freedom is deeply available. So the teaching story of the ox herder is I think my most cherished story in all of our practice. If there are those that don't know this story, I would encourage you to look it up. It's a beautiful story, often with wonderful illustrations and poetry that go along with it. It's 10 pictures of an ox herder who goes off in search of the ox, which represents enlightenment eventually. And so you see him progressing along and the ox is hidden behind bushes


and you just see his tail and so on and so forth. And eventually he encounters the ox and then they both disappear. So he's awakened and enlightened. And then in the next last picture, I think it is, you see him riding back home on the back of the ox playing his flute. And in the very last picture, which is called Return to the Marketplace, which is interesting, return to everyday life. And he's described as being a little pot-bellied by that point and a little scruffy and dusty. And he enters the quote marketplace of maybe to be your next door neighbor, the guy down the street, whatever. But then there's this interesting phrase, with bliss bestowing hands,


which I think is the most beautiful description I can imagine for a Bodhisattva energy. So he's basically seeing what is needed and he's responding to what is needed. But the essential thing here, I think, is that he is responding from vow with bliss bestowing hands. So we chant vows every day in our practice and each of us may also have in our own personal practice vows that we say or chant every day and reinforce for ourselves as our particular expression of commitment. So when I took Jukai, when I took the precepts, as is always so in Jukai, I was given a dharma name


and I understood that dharma name and as it was explained to me as well, that it represented both my true nature and my practice aspiration. So for me to be, to embody, to be, to be. To live into luminous heartedness and to see and know the luminous heart of all sentient beings, that's my personal vow. And then when the larger, I don't know, larger, other vow is what we chant variously in different traditions. When I was first doing this, we used to say sentient beings are numberless. I vowed to save them all. And later it was changed to sentient beings are numberless. I vowed to serve them all. So this is the undergirding vow in the Mahayana tradition


to choose, not just to respond, but to respond by vow to see what is needed and to be, to embody the vow. We could say maybe the ox herder was envowed and embodying this great freedom of being a person of no rank, true person of no rank. The unweightedness of it, the businesslessness of it, that's Thich Nhat Hanh would say. So we all begin, come into practice, choosing at some level to respond to this call. We have a nice honeymoon period sometimes in practice and then whoops, we come to our stuff that we have to see.


Whoops, again and again, whoops. And we have this vow to keep trucking, to keep working, to keep seeing more clearly. One of the prayers that I say is, may I see that which I don't yet see. May I be open to hear what I don't yet hear. So these are, this is how we live by these vows that we choose so we can sense into potentially more and more the person of, the true person of no rank that's in each one of us. So I think maybe I'll stop here now and so we can talk together. So please bring a question or if you'd like to share what might have risen up for you when I invited you to consider patterns, you may have a ranking. I especially invite those of you who may tend not to speak


to step off the hundred foot pole. We would love to hear your voices and your thoughts. Yeah, thank you. Kerry Ardham, I invite you to unmute yourself. Hi Penelope. Hi Kerry. I'm gonna play. Nice to see you. I'm gonna play devil's advocate. Go on. So Dogen speaks of a pot settles, some pots settle best low on the shelf and some pots settle best high on the shelf. How do you negotiate that kind of ranking of the pots with your person of no rank? I don't know that reference.


I didn't know the reference from Dogen, but so can you say a little more what? Well, he just speaks of in a metaphorical way, he speaks of how certain things settle and I can particularly feel that expression with when Dogen, working with Dogen for so many years as a student, he would, you got positions and it was pretty much clear that it was based on where you were at in your practice, you follow me? So that's kind of a rank. Yes. So I'm just asking you as devil's advocate and Dogen was using pots as an example and I think it was a Tenzo Kyoku where he speaks of that


because there's a lot about kitchen references in it. Okay. That's my question. How do you negotiate this no rank idea with differentiation? So there's the vertical and the horizontal and the vertical, right? Yeah. As I understand it and this is just my opinion, man, here, but as I understand this, at any place we may be placed in rank. If you start a job, you start at the entry level and you have a title at that level. You have a rank assigned to you or if you get to be such and such a position in the Sendoh, that's a position or a rank.


So that's the external. Then the choice elements have to do with how do you be with that? How do you notice that you're comparing or you're feeling envy or you're judging how somebody else rings the bell and does whatever bows and et cetera. You can go in that, that's a choice or you can notice that perhaps you're doing that. Well, that's the horizontal then. And work with it. But it's actually not horizontal. You could say you, in a way you horizontalize it if there's such a verb. In other words, ranking isn't, what we're talking about is an internal process. Not the, there's external ranking everywhere in the world that exists, that's there.


And then how do we be with that? How do we work with how we rank or experience others ranking us? How do we become eventually a two person of no rank? That's how I understand that. Okay, that's good enough. Thank you. Thank you. Kelsey Cherland, please unmute yourself. Morning, Penelope. Hi, Kelsey. Thank you so much. I know. Your talk was awesome. And it really, it really just was the right talk for me right now. I'm thinking about some different ranks in my life right now. I'm pretty pregnant and expecting soon. And just kind of this whole new space


and this whole new identity has been a whole different level of ranking and comparing with other people who are pregnant. And also as I look towards parenthood and there's this kind of almost privilege right now that I receive or that I perceive that I receive. People, when they come across me in the grocery store will be like, oh, whoa, excuse me, and give me lots of room to waddle past them. And then my friends whose babies are earth side, there's kind of this rank all of a sudden that goes down and all of a sudden they'll like postpartum parent or mom is no longer kind of given this space and all this honor and all that stuff. And so there's this piece of me where when we talk about no rank, I'm being encouraged to lean into the beauty


and the strength that it takes to be a parent or a mom and to really see how, I guess, honorable and ranked that is, is that's kind of where it's landing for me. And so there's this encouragement of not being humble and not being, yeah, about that aspect. And I'm not there yet, but there's this kind of tension that I feel often when there's places where you are maybe societally all of a sudden lower rank. And trying to lean into, no, that's not true. So I don't know, that's kind of the stuff that it stirred up for me. Thank you. I have a memory of what you're sharing of that, the privilege, so to speak, of the pregnancy, at least in parts of our culture, that's not everywhere, but in parts of our culture, that is so.


And then delivering the baby and becoming virtually invisible, because then people only see the baby and how beautiful the baby is, and they sort of as a sideline say, oh yeah, hello. In passing, that's a very typical thing. And I don't think I understand, it'd be interesting to hear how you feel, but I don't think I understand being a person of no rank as not being able to see and give deep value to, and the value of good parenting is about as the best job in the whole world, I mean, can be. And so in my view, so it's not a deep, I don't understand no rank as a devaluation. I think I ranked being a person of no rank. I think you just called me out on ranking


a person of being no rank. Yeah. Yeah. Definitely. Yeah. Well, thank you for that. Thank you, it's lovely to see you, Kelsey. Go well in this time. Thank you. Yeah. Sandeep L., I invite you to unmute. Hi. Hi, Sandeep. Thank you so much for your talk. I feel like a lot came up for me. And mainly because I feel like I've had to become a person of no rank from such a young age and hold multiple perspectives. Hold, I can't hear you, and hold what? Multiple points of view at the same time. And so that was based on like me having to survive day to day, like it was that real that need to do that.


I didn't have much of a choice, but it's gotten now as I've gotten older and embraced what I've gone through and developed more agency, I understand the responsibility that comes with power. I feel like I'm climbing a mountain and I can see more and more. And I feel like people who are in positions of power need to use their voices more. And so I'm really like encouraged by the fact that more white folks are talking about uncomfortable things and how we can have multiple points of view and diversity and all get along together. There doesn't have to be a hierarchy. There can be equanimity in no way. Yeah. Yes, to all that you said, thank you, Sandeep.


I just wanna pick up on one piece for a second, which is that there are people who have nominally high rank in some way. We don't have Kings and Queens in our culture, but we do have movie stars and basketball heroes and sometimes the occasional CEO who could be maybe generous, what a concept. So, and can use that rank to act for good, for true good, so long as they don't take themselves heavily. So they keep themselves light and don't buy into the press, so to speak about that. But yes, may it be so that as we... I also think another piece of that is that part of us


as we work developmentally, we say we need to develop a self before we start working in the other direction on letting go of the self. And so that's another component of this for me. And I am also happy that we are beginning to truly open to where our country, how our country even got founded and where we are historically and how we have to take a look at and act from choosing to make changes in the whole process of racism, anti-racism and prejudices across the board. Thank you for using your position, your platform of privilege for naming it now.


Thank you. Thanks. Nice to see you Sandeep. Rondy slash Charlie, please unmute yourself. Charlie, you have to unmute yourself. There you go. Okay. Thank you so much, Penelope. It tremendously varied and rich talk. I appreciate it very much. But I also thinking back to South Pacific, there's a song that Mary Martin sings that I will de-genderize and say, I wanna wash that person right out of my hair and send them on their way.


Have you thought about Mary's singing? No, I pretty much stayed with Ezio Pinza, but I'm not sure that washing somebody out of my hair, so to speak, or one washing somebody out of their hair has to do so much with, it certainly has to do with preference, that sure. Okay, well, I'll frame it in a different way from your talk and mention a person of no business with business, and that would be a tea lady. You're familiar with the various koans about the tea ladies? No, I mean. Oh, all right. Well, the tea ladies have a tea shop and the monks come by and they buy tea from her. And then they start arguing about the dharma.


And then she comes out and gives them a singer and it's all over. So she has a business, and she injects herself into their argument, but she ends the argument. So it's both, and it's big mind and it's small mind, all at the same time, and all of those stories. I kind of, now I didn't understand what you were referring to, but in the koans that I read, especially in the Hidden Lamp, because there's so many tea women and donut ladies in these stories, people of ostensibly less rank, we could say, culturally speaking, and they're the ones with the wisdom each time, and they do this sort of Rinzai shake-up line. I'm not so sure they're washing somebody out of their hair, or hair in general, as they are cutting


with a very sharp sword the way that Rinzai did in the koan. I think you're a shit stick. Wake up, wake up, you're a shit stick. Well, if you use a sharp sword the right way, you get rid of the person. You get rid of the ego, yeah. Yeah, if the point of the sword can find the ego. Yeah, yes, hopefully so. Well, thanks again. You're welcome, thank you. Ross Blum. Thank you. Hi, Ross. Hi, Penelope, good morning to you. In Heart Sutra, we chant, all dharmas are marked with emptiness. So my question is, what choice do we have if things fundamentally are empty? Well, I think, yeah, but I think I'm speaking


more in the relative realm, in the absolute realm, all things are empty, but we're not living from that place completely. That's an aspiration to be in that level of freedom of non-rank, of however you want to describe that. But we don't live there each moment. We have to keep marking the material as it rises up. That's my, that's how I take that. I see, yeah. I see it a little differently that emptiness is always there, that we actually are living in emptiness and the form or the discernments that come up for us and the choices that we make come up in the so-called relative world, but it's all one thing. And so the emptiness is always there, which for me begs the question,


when I have an idea and make a choice, the Bernie's opinion man thing kind of softens the choice because it's my causing conditions that are bringing the choice in focus. Right. And it is easy to forget that we are coursing in the world of emptiness. We are what? We're coursing or living in this world of emptiness. And if we forget that, then it winds up being a ranking thing. And thinking about Gary's question about where does the pot go? Well, if we're stuck on the emptiness side, then the pots are gonna go anywhere and that's not gonna work for our kitchen. So we have to find, what's the appropriate place for things to be and rest and settle? Like where's the appropriate place for me to settle? Am I taking up too much time now as we're talking


and I wanna make room for Kabir. So I'm gonna say goodbye now. That's the choice I'm making. Okay, thank you. Kabir. Hi Penelope. Hi. Hi. Impulse. You know, so that book you mentioned, The Seven Habits of Highly Affective People. Yeah. You said that there's a space. For me, impulse kind of blow torches it. You know, I just go for it. So at times it turns out nice, but a lot of times it doesn't. I mean, so how do you tame the fire of impulse and that shake within like, oh yeah, I'm gonna do it. I'll just say this, I'm gonna do this. At the speed of light.


It is almost at the speed of, that's a colon you just created there, but at any rate, yeah. That's, and he's describing, or in that sentence, he's describing between the stimulus and the response. There is this millisecond. There is this place. And so when you say how to tame that jump impulse, how to tame it is work over time. It's observing it. It's feeling the impulse, learning how to over time, maybe recognize the impulse as it rises to jump and to see how it is to hold the impulse just for a second longer, or in all the skillful ways that we are taught to be with something without necessarily immediately enacting it. But it's a process in the relative realm, I would say.


So whether we're dealing, living in emptiness or not, we're still dealing day to day with these behaviors that hinder us. So how to work with that. Yes, thank you. Just keep trying. It doesn't, not to blame or make excuses, but we're also so tempted. To be faster, to be more fun, to be more romantic, to be more, to be, have this, you know. I mean, we're living in samsara, for God's sake. So, I mean, I just keep getting back up. That's it. Thank you. Eight down and nine up, as they say. Just keep leaping, just keep leaping. Thank you so much. Thank you as always. Thank you, thank you.