The Mind Of A Sentient Being Is Difficult To Change

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good morning bodhisattvas
actually that is a greeting that was ah
the greeting that one of the early said peterson or in the united states know vincent zaki ah how he regularly are greeted his saga her his sanga mostly around a los angeles
cinda and san francisco in the
in the late forties and fifties com
he greeted them that way because
his understanding is that
everyone who comes to practice is on the bodhisattva path comes to in practice
what a follow up little the start by singing you the whole song that then
judy flesh been offered to a fragment of last last week and her i think it sets the tone for
subject that i want to address ah which is a line taken from
dogan ah of password the context after i sing the song that line is the mind of a sentient being is difficult to change
ah to which you could say
you could say that's pretty obvious ah but the way that we
the way that we hold our bodhisattva vows
is how we change our own minds and how we also can to help others work with theirs so let me sing your song
which i have some before
this is
it's taken from chapter twenty of the lotus sutra
and that chapter and it was the song itself was written about hundred more than twenty years ago by greg fame and been gustin ha at tassajara so many of you know this and you can sing the chorus along with me
and you'll pick it up the of for opportunities to sing the chorus
so this tells the story but the buddha is recounting the story of a past age
when ah there was the body for
sarah perry buddha ah which means
the bodhisattva can never disparaging at the bodhisattva have that has never insulted
and he lived at a time when ah was kind of a retrograde age when the monks and nuns live in the bodhisattvas were a somewhat arrogant

there's a book called the lotus sutra that you really ought to know about
holy book that has the power to remove all fear and doubt and this book tells the story of a man
meet the world to me he could just as well had been a woman except for male a gemini so they call him the bodhisattva never disparage the bodhisattva never despise and i'm making in my life's ambition to see the world
through his pure hours
because he says used course i will never disparage you more give you her arms length where you only see your weaknesses i owe the seer strain
i would never despise you a put you down the maybe way because it's clear to me i've been plainly see you'll be buddha some day
i love you too
now the bodhisattva never disparaging the countless calpers in the past in the time the counterfeit dharma he was something of a now guests because the monks and nuns in his time they were noted for their arrogance and vanity
these were the folks who exercised great power and authority but my boy he never concerned himself if they treated him like the freak he just borrow everybody equally and these are the words in
i would never disparage you or keep you at arm's length where you only see you weaknesses i'll the seer strain
i would never despise you are put you down the navy way because it's clear to me i can plainly see you being a with a sunday
he never read or recite in the scriptures much he only like the practice respect but the monks and nuns of his time they didn't feel like you might expect
they reviled and they wish that he would go because they all had self esteem issues like everybody else i know so they beat him and pelted him with clubs and stones he tried to drive him away but he just run off usa
safe distance and then he turned round and say
i would never disparage you or keep at arm's length when you only see a weaknesses
the seer strain
i would never despise you are put down in any way because declared mean i can plainly see he'll be a buddhism day
i love you
and so it went on for years and years he was the target of scorn and abuse
still our hero he shed no tears no did he ever wonder what's the use
till he came to the and natural lifespan he lay down fixing to die any or the whole new lotus sutra been preached the ban this guy and his live was extended for millions of years he's living to this day
yet the pages of the lotus sutra you still can hear him say
i would never disparage you or keep at arm's length
where you only see your weaknesses oh the senior strange
i would ever despise you are putting down in any way because it's clear to me i can play in the see you be coupled with the some day he gets it's clear to me i can plainly see you've been to the some day

so let me take a moment and switch my here

thank you for listening
and i think there's two
core principles there that will come back to as we addressed this question about ah
how we work with our minds and how we work with the minds of those we engaged with
those principles are
first of all not turning away
not turning away from those who insult us those with whom we are in conflict
and we can talk some about how how to do that
and as the ground the fundamental ground for that activity
his respect
he treated everybody equally
can he offered them to respect
and the respect
as we see in in all of the mahayana sutras
the respect is based on
the recognition
of our mutual buddha nature
that everyone is an expression of buddha nature
i can read this passage from
ah one of my my favorite to dogan fascicles jeff
spoken about often and written about caught the bodhisattva for embracing dharmas
a cost on actual translation it's the bodhisattva as for methods of guidance ah
in japanese boat i sought the show bow
and it's a teaching that appears in quite a few of my on a citrus and also ah appears originally in the pali suitors ah and that's translated as ah
the four foundations of social harmony
and let me just say those foundations are giving
kind speech
beneficial action
and what dogan translates as identity action aa meeting action in identity with another you could talk you could also call it ah together action
or simply
cooperation co operation operating together
so in that section in this fast goal on giving towards the it as the mind of the city and being is hard to change
we begin to transform the grant mine ground of sentient beings by offering material things
and so we resolved and continued to transform them until they all attain the way until they all become
the boot is that they are they realize the buddha nature that they actually are
from the beginning we should always practice giving
that is why the first of the six parameters is done a power meta the perfection of giving
a wide or narrow mind cannot be measured
the greatness or smallness of material things cannot be weighed
but there are times when our mind turns things
and then there is giving in which things turn our mind
so really what you could say is
ah in one sense
in these for embracing dharmas giving which is the first
really includes all of the others the others are just are basically ah
other modes of giving
so we could say the mind of a sentient being is hard to change
we should also look at the other side of it which i'm sure all of us experience and ah
many of us experience ah with up
painful consistency in our own lives which is that the find of a cent in been is it may be difficult shader it's very easy to delude
it's very easy to distract
it's very easy to
lead astray into realms of acquisition desire
and so we have this
these two aspects of mind
ah the aspect that aspires to or buddha owed
and the aspect that we're in many ways habituated to
that turns us towards distraction
that arm is always looking for something other than what is right in front of us
and so naturally we also have the unpredictability of our lives
and the unpredictability of our own minds
and even more so the minds of others
we often make the mistake or i often made the mistake
have thinking that
i might know what another person is thinking
am i pasted on their words as their tone of voice or something that they do
and then
no getting a telephone call will just stop ah

we think that
when we know somebody we think that we know their patterns and we expect them to act in a certain way
and so we put them in a box
this is a this is a big problem
in our world and
it's not just that we put others in a box we put ourselves in a box we put ourselves in a box of
i can't do this
or the other side of it is yes i really know this instead of
the space of inquiry
the space of
same i don't know i don't know ah here's a fresh situation and how do i want to respond to it and also looking at another person and seen ah this is a fresh situation let's see how they respond to it
and i will this is where the body sought for her
never disparage method is really good he doesn't turn away
he stays
in relationship to people
and even by just by just putting his energy in that direction
he allows them to change

so today you know now we have
we thought we were moving through the pandemic
have we were making all kinds of plans
for the return of so-called normalcy
and then we have the
upsurge of the dealt of of the delta variant
and all of sudden our plans are set aside and i don't know about you
i found that
it was announced it was destabilizing who was ah it was really a painful turn even though at first i didn't even recognize the pain
ah and i didn't recognize this is really important to recognize that ah
when we are unsettled
so in order to look at
how we might want to change her mind
we have to investigate very carefully how our mind is manifesting
i think this is a lesson that i learned from surgeon
over the years and it was a painful lesson
hum i remember particularly ah
with thinking this week about ah the death of my dharma sister mae lee scott who is a friend and teacher many of us
and so jim and mary most seen and i spent ah
a week
in our cater mostly at bally's bedside as she was dying and she wasn't she was just breathing she was far away she was unconscious on
and i thought that i was functioning pretty well
but what search and read in me was
the turbulence of my anxiety
i did not i do not accept that
when he when he pointed out to me
hum because i didn't want to accept that i wanted to think i can deal with this
i didn't see how court and anxiety i was
and you didn't tell me to do anything
he just pointed alchemy
and in time
i came to see that that he was right
and that i really had to pay close attention to my energy
hey there was something i was feeling to see about myself so in that sense it's like the bodhisattva never disparaging
actually turning towards himself
to see
how he was acting
see how he was feeling and to recognize that within that
there was also
always the potential of the realization of buddha nature
of buddhahood
so this is what we watch and we experience in saas then if we're not
distracted from what's actually happening if we are sitting zazen zazen is just the practice of you flipping the physical posture and the physical manifestation of breathing and
the stream of thoughts perceptions and sensations
ah and in a very broad sense
recognizing once energy
and not turning away from it
but not giving it to power those energies the power to to run or control us

there are various ways to
address is question of
how can change the mind of vicinity and beam and i always include myself in that in that crew of sentient beings hum
particularly in the mahayana tradition
we have
the six power meters
and you will often find an explication of that in in many texts in the lotus sutra
ah in the a diamond sutra in all the pressure part me to literature ah in
shanti davis her way of bodhisattva
so we have i'm not gonna go through all the parameters today but those are those are the way ways that we can respond laurie pointed out to me ah
the she's been reading and studying ah the sutra
of of queens ramallah of the lion's roar which is an early mahayana sutra which is really unusual in that the
the hero of his sutra is green trim allah who's a woman
and manifests as a bodhisattva
and she manifests as a bodhisattva as a woman
in her woman's body which is hub
often not the case
often the case in the my and citrus ah and other such as that ah yes have the women
either in that life or in the next life and ah come to inhabit a man's body
they then manifest their bodies sought for this and i think this is ah
trump is not an acceptable
understanding for us
it's quite clear that
any body is capable man is manifesting as buddha and bodhisattva anyway
that's a whole other discussion harm but in this sutra or grinch ramallah
tops about
how to respond
two people who are suffering in other words how how to address the starkness of their mind
ah where the starkness of their situation and in a in a short chapter she she goes through all of the parameters meters

and he basically says well a rigueur
good sons and daughters who accept the true dharma
give even their bodies and limbs
for those who respond to giving
by protecting these living beings intentions they teach them when they are thus taught and cause to abandon the true dharma this is called the perfection of giving so in other words ah the bodhisattva identifies
what is the power meter that people are likely to respond to
some will respond to giving some of respond to discipline or morality somewhat respond to patients some poor respond to effort some will respond to meditation and some will respond to wisdom
all the bees are aspects of each other but these are the tools
that the body sought for uses to affect change the minds of scented beaks
i had another example of this ah i had an example of this this weekend it's happened several times in my life hum
all of us have had the experience of
somehow being out of touch with somebody that
we care about
and perhaps there is some
some hurt there are some insult their
and all the sudden the lines of communication are broken
and i know when this has happened to me
my first response is is my my program response is a kind of anger
i got i get upset you know and i might think what right did they have to be angry at me what'd i do i didn't do anything you know they are misunderstanding me and this is not fair
ha that's one manifestation of it
hum and there's a great
there a gives a kind of urgency or wish to
pointedly respond or shall we say retaliate
fortunately i have good friends and i talked to them
and they've helped me
contain my reaction
and still
it's hard it's painful it's painful to lose connection with people that you care about
for reasons that you may not understand
one of the things that
in the traditional ah
texts they suggest this is from the vicinity maga which is a which is a ah
sort of an encyclopedia of meditative approaches in in the vada ah

the first dummett the first city maga of enlist this many approaches that may be done to ah
somehow resolve this tension at this conflict said ah that the first is to recognize one's own responsibility for their feelings
i may explore i will i have an important to explore
what's going on with me is there some way even some small way that i have contributed to this
then it moves towards various approaches as a i mentioned are finding the appropriate it's gonna work for a person ah
might be a matter of trial and error
in several cases in my life
i felt such a strong urge to communicate to that person that
to communicate that i feel heard and that i'd like to know what's going on
and i've learned to
i've learned not to do that
and what i've learned to do is
to stay at a safe distance says kind of body suffered never disparage nice is as if he's like the inventor of social distancing
ah but to stay at that distance can just be
be respectful
of the other person and
carefully and intentionally friendly
not overly friendly but respectfully friendly
so if there's any communication just a to ask how they are
and not take it any further day that's that's a bed that i might make and they can answer or not
ah and
the challenge about this is it really means taking the long the long view
the long view
in in the particular case is that i can think of our longview in entails years
years of just very low level
but polite and
comment but not pushing any further than that
and in the several cases than this happened last week to me hum
at a certain point
it's happened that the person asks me to help them with something
and there is that's the opening
when that
as happens
i just i feel yeah of course
and high without any
review or without any looking back over the course of our relationship
i just do it
and there bit by bit
is the mechanism
of changing the mind of sent it be the mind has changed his
in a sense the other person's because it's beginning to rebuild the threads and ties of relationship but it's also my mind
because that request
helps me recognize there's a mutual wish to connect
the recognition of our connection
and we can
we can build from there
so i really i believe in this process ha and i believe in the
as i said those principles of the bodyshop for never disparaging the principle of not turning away
and of respect respect based on
the equality the equal manifestation of buddha nature
and that disrespect the place again
to come back to ground zero
the place that we developed this is
with respect for ourselves
in the act of
zazen in the active taking that posture and that breathing which
helps us see
by taking the buddhist posture that we are the buddha
we're not different from
the buddha
and we have the ability to manifest that we may have our doubts but that's what we're doing in that moment

it gets a lot carter
when we moved to a wider field
and i will not profess to have the answer for
how this is going to play out say in
in burma
which is under a brutal coop
and now is suffering from ah
just covered running wild
or someplace like israel palestine or in ha
the terrible
inequality of
of the tell like racial inequality that manifests in
our cities and places in the united states
can various other kinds of distinction in difference
i think that the fundamental understanding that has to happen is that
whatever spiritual tradition people are acting in
they need to understand
the oneness
of or beans of all people of all beings the one is of our of our being
with the planet
and it's very hard because
we break down into
we retreat into
what we think our self protective
views and actions whether it's protecting myself pretty protecting my family for protecting my tribe or my community of my nation hand
it always is
for every us
in that context there's at them
the bodhisattva never disparaging
i think that he only saw us
there was no them
that's a very difficult practice but i think that's the practice that
we would want to aspire to
is to recognize our fundamental connection
fundamental connection to other beings fundamental connection to
this world that we inhabit
so the mind the mind is that have recently been this hard change but when it changes it can change really quickly
it can just be you know it can be a conversion experience
or an inversion experience that mind just gets turned upside down hand
oneself or the person can see
the reality of our oneness the reality of her connection
i have really deep faith
the that is true
at the same time
i'm not surprised
when there are obstacles or
diversions from that path along the way
but i think that's what that's what i feel we should be dedicated to not turning away
and treating everyone and everything with respect because everyone and everything is not separate from
whatever i call myself
so i think i'm going to stop there and leave time for questions and comments ah i'd like to encourage ah
again encourage people who are who are speak often to to step back a bit and weight and people hope are ha
not such constant questioners due to take a step and come forward and ah also encourage you please try to ask a question ha
so with that have a leave it to is it a to heiko i think would set a director new he will tell you what the processes
thank you rosanne for your talk and thank you everyone for listening closely if you have a question please raise your digital hand or put it into the chatbox i will read your cat to hose on or you can join in your question thank you

don't hold back too much
okay we have a question from daniel pleased a no go right ahead
oh when you talked about it

i've already talked about not being to pointed

is there some

can't hear you
is there some point where it's also important to
i define a
mutual like problem to look at
there might be yeah if that's the agreement if you have an agreement to do that if if both sides want to do that then that's really that's really helpful ah but
what i've learned the hard way is that everything if we difference between myself and someone else ah i'm i'm a great believer in words and language
but actually ah not every ah different or conflict is resolvable in language sometimes that's why you have his for embracing dorm is giving sometimes you give a gift sometimes he used kind words sometime
james use you do an action like know somebody asked me to help them with something more sometimes you actually just work in the garden or in the kitchen together side by side and that is the resolution of conflict but if you agree the there
ah the airing of perspectives and the making of request is is a totally useful and valid thing to do

okay susan oshiro share please go ahead with your question
thank you hey come on am a man tells me for money
a few days ago that the book or parking lot
i was with my granddaughter
i turned and gave him in a dollar
it was not enough
he said i need a miracle
and i said yes
what should i have said or done
what can i do
well saying yes is really good
the knowledge that person's
paul was make these decisions all the time you could have you could have
asked him what miracle he needed
and you know it's painful we're always looking at
where our time and energy are and where we want to
use our time and energy
and arm
we have to make those choices and hand
live with them
i mean you could one could say i imagine
i don't think i'm able to grant a miracle by ah
but i'd like to know what you need
sometimes a person's miracle might be a one place to sleep that night
one of us when we could help with in some way or other

there's always something incomplete
there's always something missing
and that's really it's hard to live with ourselves
so i just say that i said that in compassion

okay we have equation from jericho added please jerry

ah what would you say is the skillful way of dealing with
harmful speech or gossip

one can do that directly or indirectly
indirectly is just too
when if that's going on just to have sent yourself
to leave
more directly
is to say is
perhaps without leaving to say
i'm really not comfortable
with this discussion and i i really want i want you to know that
i don't know
whatever it is i think the essence is not to reinforce it
it's hard you know i mean i just i remember being on tour with band ah and was the first time was on tour with a band of old guys
and there was a constant banter of
sexist jokes and comments hand ha
you know we were literally driving across the country in a motor home
and i just
basically i just removed myself from that and then spoke privately with
a person who i thought was
was a source of that and he was a friend of mine so he you know that was something i could dupe giffords it's a friend than you already have avenues of communication
and how do you have you up monitor yourself
in terms of are moving in moving from for example careful communication or concerns and when that crosses over
well i
i'm pretty a tune to when i get triggered
turn others when something i'm hearing might trigger me and i and site
they tell myself to shut up
that's not that's not the moment when i should respond
when i've done that out of some sense of righteousness ah i cannot think of any time that worked out well
yeah there's always another opportunity
so you're talking about self monitoring really feeling was going on in your in your mind and your body when you're saying it that if got they've been using a for you say if you're innocent
i have a try to catch it before you say the regulate the hell us
hey you
thank you jerry we have a question now from clay we haven't heard from him why i think you can go ahead

please i'm you yourself clay
think i got it
that was on i'm a bot the morning represents her ah
well i want i really appreciate what you're saying and i think you're setting a very high bar which i think is great
and i realize that it it comes from decades over learning
there's thinking on my own experience m
it gives me a lot to reflect on but i also my question is about and situations are like was intimate friends or families are close friends in which could seem so it would be a little bit odd to sort of have this deep
wounded feeling and not to bring it up in some way am i guess i first wanted to save it
i i really like that
we can identify that we're her i'm hurt i'm feeling hurt as opposed to reacting right away with some sort of lashing out at some or criticizing or something like that
but i also am wondering if i'm so it takes a lot of
a biting and patient to to to sit with that and own that feeling
yeah that the times when like and more can closer relationships scarlett it's time to bring something up supposed to sit with it
well what i can see from my own experience
my more extended family and not going to go into any detail ah that
is it it's very much like in in docusign or student teacher relationship
i believe i really wait to see to have a sense of with there's a door that's open
in my family that are very hurtful
and that
i haven't found a skillful way to to address them
and so it's not just but it's not just a perception of my feeling of heard it's also ah a attempt to understand how they may be hurt and some of that really does there are elements that re
reflect on on me although it's it's their hurt ha and scientists wait for i went for a crack of light in the door
and that's that crack of light is a kind of am looking for a little bit of an invitation
and if i don't feel that i'm not gonna of drive a wedge in
but again it's it's it's just like
you may have to take a long view
on the other hand you know i had an experience of my family this is a long time ago ah but i was already a priest and you know the mode in my family is ah
sarcasm and putting people down
it's just like is a there's a there's a mode of cutting people down you know and i felt that from a couple of directions that was constantly coming at me
and finally i did feel an opening i said i said in a at a dinner said just i just want you know that that hurts or
can it never happened again
it's amazing what a few words like that about it can be sometimes i wasn't angry you know ah i wasn't marley judging them i i'm totally understood the mode of communication but just to
to say those kinds of words i find them mirthful
they're actually meant it in some twisted way they're meant to connect yeah
you know maybe you have to be jewish i'm not sure you don't have to be jewish and paper white help but that ever happens everywhere
why thank you
thank you try we have no a question from giant please a giant a new herself and go ahead

thank you goes i'm having a wonderful book again
evening ah yes pudding
yes a ah i have to question ah i think that this kind of dog i have a listen couple of years ago when you deliver leg
so if the conflict in communication
my foster was chinese herb so that people
ah so we cannot
just do it
anymore now lay further maybe within the sangha outside of the sangha
so kinda sorta inputs kind of time how to be managed the the situation people those who are not adjustable
so how do we manage the situation that's really hard ah yeah
but actually
what i would say is
we have to have faith that everybody can change
we don't know how we don't know how that's gonna happen but we it's really important to have faith that that everybody can change and at least it's not that we all agree you know this is one of the principles i think of one of the great principles of democracy is not
that everybody has the same view
it's that they resolve these that that they can that they find a way to live with their differences
and respect each other as individuals or as a group whatever harm and find peaceful way is to
manifest to piece of ways to can communicate your their differences
so sometimes it's the best you can do
you know and i see that happening within tsongas ah you know it it tapping within tsongas year not here so much in berkeley but if it has in a good ah with another tsongas and song as in india as well
thank you thank you very much a result a respect his nonviolent
right right
yeah you're my second one is something hardly to the oneness being oneness
to the there are a social disparity in our community by meters social political or recent slightest
so being oneness maybe to i don't know whether decide the wrong maybe keep a difficult call becoming so the identities are elements like relevant in the in the modern day for your move the identities
so how could it is possible to overcome identities three for you all com guarantees ah how myself could be
right well i mean i think that that's a really good question and oneness is not an idea this is actually
the way things are
since it's not an idea
just to say that things are one
is not enough
when you have
you have to make things one
this is this is our practice is the active side of our practice so in a lot of in a number of conflict and i know in certain conflicts in
i would say in
in india
in burma in israel palestine ah that you can't just declare a oneness when
predominance of resources
of power and wealth
or been tightly held by
one group as opposed to another
so the expression of oneness actually
has a practical dimension of the equitable of equitable access to resources
and that is a political that it's a personal or perhaps spiritual activity just a political activity ah and that's where these realms brought together ah so it's not just you have you could have dialogue
you know from now until the end of the world but if if there's no
change the balance of resources or wealth than the dialogue is worthless it's just worthless ah dear
i think i'll i'll stop there before i rent more ah
maybe one were taught question yes thank you agent and we have one more question was not a from jenny or with your ticket in a go ahead
thank you her son
i'm an com
can also thank you clay that that i would wanna go back to what you started with hassan
about the estrangement maybe a car on a personal level on that's painful and how to work with that and you just said in answering clay you wait for an opening and i'm wondering about turning that around
and i'm thinking of charlotte joko back babylon some center san diego who i work with from many many years
gave a dharma talk on this and she said
when that had occurred for her and she would have a practice of letting the other person know that she was just there and she was open and she will do the sometimes by may be sending a birthday card every year and you know
just all i guess i'll say or or extension of herself they just let them know that she was there and she was open to use whatever and i was wondering what you think about them know that again
if i didn't say that overtly i should have one of the one of the actual ah there's there's a whole series in the vicinity maga ah that talks about how do you work with conflict and and this also
goes to ah what i was when i was talking about or in
the dogan farcical giving
so giving something small it might be a word it might be a card but this is this is conventionally what you do in buddhism you you it's not just
i wasn't advocating just weeding ah that you may you may make a bid also but should be very simple bid not a nice grab it just a bid that says i'm there and that's that's what that's what the bodyshop for never disparaging did he do
just said i'm there i'm not going anyplace and out i think we have to tell it with no expectation of any coming back for anything particular coming back i just that's our hearts expression right but when you observe the situation lily closely and you see
see that there's an opening vendors you know there's some other way that you can respond
but there's yeah there's not an instruction book for this but the after the virtually as an instruction book for this in the facility barca are out trying to find a citation and send it out
thank you okay will thank you