Sesshin Lecture

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Sesshin 2 Day 4

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Mel had a toothache yesterday, which kept him from eating, and our good local dentist made room for him. So Joan took him to town to see what's happening with his tooth, and he asked me to fill in. So I feel somewhat justified in not worrying about what happens, because I didn't have very long to take responsibility for this. So... I always remember a little bit when I did cecine, my first cecine, which was in... Actually, my first and second cecines were in 1974, and I came to Zen Center in 1971, so I did not jump right into cecine. I waited longer, probably, than any of you have had the opportunity to wait. So I was very cautious about what seemed to me


was going to be a pretty major and painful event, and I was right. It was major and it was painful. The first one was probably in February at the city center, and Richard Baker Roshi was leading it, of course, and I think I was ready, as ready as one can be for such a thing, having seen people sit cecine for a long time and done some one-day sittings, which I pretty much didn't like. But I'll just say now, probably everything I'm going to say today, some of you have already heard, so you can either listen or take a nap, whatever seems appropriate. So in that cecine, things were going along pretty well. We were divided. It wasn't like a serving crew that had all day, but rather I was on a crew that did tea and dinner


every day of the cecine, which was wonderful, because that was by far the worst part of the day, the afternoon and the evening. So I got to do tea and stand up and walk around and then serve dinner and then be off the next period. So that got me through the first three days. That's what I thought anyway. And then that third night, Baker Roshi, at the end of the last period, walked around the zendo with the kiyosaku, I believe, and encouraged us to keep sitting, you know, don't move, don't move, don't move, much longer than the regular period. Back in those days, he had the power to do that. He could extend a period if he wanted. He could say to the doan, you know, don't hit the bell. This was a terrible thing. Very, very useful sometimes, but anyway.


It's really nice to know. Now, they could do that, you know, the abbots or Mel, you know, they could, but I think they're a little reluctant to these days. But in those days, we allowed it. We, the populace, allowed it, and it happened that night. And he just walked around saying, you know, sit. I can't even remember what he said. All I remember is it was excruciating. And it went to my mind and body. It went on and on and on and on. I don't think it really went on so long, but, you know, every minute, you know how it can be. So at the end of that period, we went to bed. And up until then, you know, I'd been in pain at night, in the afternoon and night, but then I'd go to bed, and then I'd get up in the morning, and, you know, okay, I know how to do this. You know, you just go, and you sit two periods, and then service, and then breakfast, you know. But the next morning when I got up,


before I even sat down, I was in pain. It didn't go away. It was, you know, there was obviously not going to be any way, you know, you can move from this position to that position and get a little leeway, you know, try putting your other leg up or don't put your legs up or sit in seiza or whatever. Anyway, nothing. So I went to this first period in despair. You know, this was like the morning, the fourth day, right, which is what today is, right? The morning of the fourth day, so there was still like an eon to go, and every minute was obviously going to be terrible. So I sat down and was just without hope. And that made a huge difference, I guess. I don't know. Anyway, somewhere in the middle of the period, the pain disappeared, and it's not like it never came back. It came back many, many, many times, but something miraculous happened, you know,


from lack of hope, lack of moving. I'm not sure. So that seishin comes back to me in seishin. It took me years to realize that that was connected to that squirming doesn't work, because you know what squirming is, right? It's not exactly moving. It's sort of moving, like moving without admitting that you're moving. What it basically is is like tensing up. It doesn't work. You don't feel better afterwards, but that hasn't... I don't know. Actually, I don't know. I haven't done it yet in the seishin, so maybe I'm done. Maybe I'm done squirming. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Anyway, I know now, when I can remember,


it doesn't work. After Mel asked me whether I would lecture today, last night, somebody suggested that I talk about something like, Does life have any meaning? Now, you laugh. I'm not sure whether you laugh because you think that's funny or because it rings a bell. And in fact, it's come up in several of my conversations with people in different ways, some of them quite positive-seeming, like it's spring and there are flowers, and somebody mentioned looking at a violet


and seeing just the fragileness of life and how alive it is, but what does a violet mean? How much like flowers are we? We don't go around thinking of ourselves like flowers. I have decisions to make. I have things to decide here about what I should be doing, either little things or big things, like what I should do with my life. Should I commit to this person or this practice? So that's kind of the mode that we normally walk around in. Let me break in here and say that besides the anniversary of the 4th day of Sashin, all of our Sashins that we've sat, today is also the 6th week anniversary of my father dying.


So it was 6 weeks ago today. I was surprised at how little emotional response I had to his death. I think of myself as very close to my father. My family thinks of me as his favorite child, something they never let me forget, my siblings. And I have a lot of appreciation for who he was, is. I'll just do a little eulogy here. He had Alzheimer's some number of the last years of his life. It was a little hard to tell when he had Alzheimer's and when he didn't because of the kind of person he was. You know how some people with Alzheimer's get quite paranoid,


or in the beginning of having Alzheimer's, when you start realizing you're having Alzheimer's, you maybe start to get worried that your mind is going and that you're not really seeing reality the way other people are seeing reality. But I don't think this was ever a problem for my father. I don't think he really cared. I don't think he knew really that other people had a reality. I'm not sure if this is true. This is just my description of him. It appears to me he went along in his own reality, and if other people disagreed with it, he just thought they were wrong. It wasn't really a problem. He didn't fight with them or anything. He just maintained his reality. For instance, toward the end, in the last year of his life, he told me when I went home to visit him once, he said,


You know, I saw Jesus the other day. He didn't leave the house by this time, but I saw him. I was down on Main Street, and he walked right up to me. He was this short little guy. I was so surprised. I would have expected he would have been taller, but he was a short little guy. He said, Why do you call your wife that mean old woman? Which he did. It's like a term of endearment. You mean old woman. Anyway, Jesus said to him, Why do you call your wife that mean old woman? This is my dad speaking. Usually, if somebody doesn't understand that, it's none of their business. But he was God, so I thought I should answer it. So I told him that we love each other totally. That's just something I say. We totally love each other. And he understood. He said, I understand. You're both going to heaven. Don't worry about it. So I'm happy. He's taking us to heaven. I'm happy.


My mother says he expected me to go with him right at the time. So he says, But I don't know how he's going to get us up there. Is he just going to take us by the hand and fly us up? I said, Well, or maybe you'll sprout wings and fly up by yourself. He said, Maybe. My mom said, While I'm sitting there, she said, Well, some people say there's a long tunnel. And I said, And there's a light at the end of the tunnel. And you walk down the tunnel and then dissolve into the light. By this time, he couldn't walk. And he said, You walk down the tunnel? I don't think so. I think he's just going to take us by the hand and fly us up. So he definitely had Alzheimer's then. But earlier, it was different, but it wasn't a whole lot different. When Keith and I met each other in Chicago, I was brought up Lutheran.


It was back in the early 70s. My parents must have heard of people living together without getting married. And I'm the oldest child. It's not anything they ever envisioned one of their kids doing, I'm sure. But at some point, we came home to visit. We were living together. We were having sex. So we came home. We didn't tell them. I said, I'm bringing a friend home. We came home, and then by the next morning, I felt like I have to tell them. So I told them, We're actually living together. My dad went into a catatonic state is my description of it. Anyway, for several days, he didn't talk to anybody. He kind of wandered around his yard. I suppose he went to work. I would follow him around the yard trying to get him to talk. What's happening? What do you think? Anyway, this went on for several days. And then we all went to visit my grandmother, but my dad stayed at home. Maybe this happened on the telephone, though.


I can't imagine talking to him on the phone. Anyway, he said, It's okay. I understand now. You're married in the sight of God, so it's fine. Somehow, he and God had had this conversation, and he realized it was okay with God, and therefore it was okay with him. So everything was fine for about five years until we decided to get married. Then he was totally flummoxed. Why were we getting married now when we'd been married for all this time? In God's sight, what were we involving the church in this for? What did that have to do with it? Anyway, it was a big kind of thing to get him to feel all right about our wedding. Anyway, that's my dad. And when I went to his funeral, he didn't do anything then.


My mother had arranged. I don't actually know whether she arranged this. She said, This is just the normal kind of funeral that they have at my old church, Lutheran church. But basically, there was almost nothing said about my dad during the funeral. And she told all of us ahead of time. Two of my brothers and I are not Lutheran. I don't know if I'm Lutheran or not, but anyway, we're not practicing Lutherans anymore. The other three siblings are, and my mother is. She told us that it was going to be this kind of service where there wasn't going to be... She didn't like the kind of services where you kind of talk about the person a lot. One of my brothers said, Oh, that was too bad. That's what he really liked. Certainly, that's how I felt. I kind of wanted a time to remember my dad. But it was my mom's thing, and that was great.


We were all very supportive of her doing this. So the minister actually announced to the larger family that although it was our job to grieve him and to remember him, and it was great that we were doing that, the service was going to be a celebration of resurrection. If you weren't brought up Christian, this may not make sense to you, but it probably does, basically. It makes sense to me. I understand what they were saying, basically. Well, anyway. So that's what it was. For me, the singing was nice. I enjoyed the singing. Those of you who saw me before I left probably saw I was not being very emotional, and I haven't yet been very emotional about it. I was kind of hoping that the service would be like a catalyst, and it wasn't at all. It was very Christian and nice, but it wasn't really about my dad in any personal way.


And since then, my mother has told me numerous people have told her how much they like that service. They want a copy of the sermon, and they want to have one just like it. Okay, so I'm adjusting my, okay, this was very meaningful to many people. And then I came back here, and eventually we did the memorial service here. And during that, I thought, oh, it's just the same. It's not about my dad. I mean, my dad's name was said in the echo, but that's it. It wasn't meant to be this big emotional thing about my dad. I don't know what it was meant to be. It's very interesting to just see the conjunction of those two. Myself, I'm doing a service. I just decided, because I was so unemotional, that I wanted to not forget, just come back into the life of Tassajara and go on as if nothing had happened.


So I decided to do a personal service every day for the 49 days. And so I've been doing that and chanting the Dai He Shindirani and then doing a little echo at the end. And it was very interesting. I think I've said this to you already. The Tibetans say that the first 21 days, the spirit of the person is still very present with their previous life, kind of hanging around somewhere. And then after that, somewhere between the 21st day and the 49th day, they go to another rebirth. So on the 21st day, well, before that, pretty much every... I would start chanting the echo. I have offered light incense, flowers, if there were flowers, and the chanting of the Great Compassion and Heart Dharani. And then the first 21 days, it always just came out, essentially, please help my dad, please help him find peace, please, something like that.


The 21st day, it just naturally shifted to dedicate the merit of this ceremony for the benefit of all beings and may my dad please help them. May the spirit of my father's, his love, be of benefit to the world. And it's gone back and forth a little bit, but that's been more the flavor of it since then. So, why am I telling you all this? Besides that, I was given the podium on the six-week anniversary of his death. I think that his dying, obviously, has a lot to do with my feeling of the question and the answer to is there any meaning to life? Does life have any meaning? It's not like his dying was a surprise, by any means. Not like any of our dying is a surprise.


But the reality of it, maybe the limbic connection, some way that... Those of you who were here for Linda Ruth's, not her last practice period, but that one where she talked about the general theory of love, and I think she's maybe talked about it at Green Gulch too, of how we connect with those early people in our life and actually they're organically in us in some way. So, maybe that disruption or permutation of that connection makes us, when that happens to us, question the meaning of life in a different way. But I also think many other things make us question that. Like, for instance, doing a session, doing a Tassajara practice period,


sitting as much as we are makes us being sick, losing a relationship. All of these things make us wonder, and rightly so, I think, what is this about? What are we doing here? One of the early sutras that Norman translated in... No, not translated, he compiled a bunch of old sutras, and this one's called the Katyayana Sutra, and I just copied a quote from it, which I think is very much connected to this. It's called the Katyayana Sutra, and Katyayana asks the Buddha, to what extent is there a right view? Everyone says, right view, right view. To what extent is there a right view? And this is what Buddha answers. He says,


This world, Katyayana, is generally inclined towards two views, existence and non-existence. To one who perceives with right wisdom the uprising of the world as it is, as it has come to be, the notion of non-existence does not occur. Katyayana, to one who perceives with right wisdom the ceasing of the world as it has come to be, the notion of existence does not occur. The world is bound by grasping. A person who does not grasp the view, this is myself, who rather thinks, suffering that is subject to arising arises. Suffering that is subject to ceasing ceases. Such a person does not doubt, is not perplexed. This is right view. So Buddha says the world is inclined towards two views,


existence or non-existence, which is a little bit foreign to me. I can wrap my mind around what he was saying, but I think I am so embedded in existence that I don't really question existence so much. I don't think, do all of you not exist? That's not my normal question, but there may be people who feel that. What rings a bell more with me is to say, and I think it's really the same question, but in more modern terms maybe, does it matter? Do things matter or don't they matter? Does it matter what I do or does it not matter? Does it matter what I decide or does it not matter? And we think that way.


I think that comes up for us over and over and over again, often when we think we have a decision to make, but also just in our ongoing life. Does it matter whether I move now or does it not matter? Does it matter whether I go to the Zen Do? Does it not matter? And so we're sort of constantly, or not constantly, maybe not constantly, but I think that question arises for me and I hear that it arises for some of you. And I think the Buddha is actually answering this question, does it matter, does it not matter? To one who is looking with right wisdom and sees how the world has come to be, actually looks around and sees spring happening and everything, everything happening, whatever's happening,


there really isn't a question of it not mattering. It obviously matters. If you do something and you manage with as much wisdom as you can manage, what happens after you do something, there's no question that it matters. It has an effect. Something happens because I move, because I smile, because I frown. Something happens. On the other hand, to one who sees the world as it's ceasing to be, the question of mattering doesn't exist. You go along and then you die, basically. You go along and you're thinking this relationship is going well, I'm putting in a lot of energy or we're really working on things and then suddenly it's gone for whatever reason. The person says this is enough for me or they get involved with somebody else or they die.


You go along thinking, I'm going to stay at Tassajara for the rest of my life or two years or to the end of the practice period or till tomorrow. And something happens and it changes and it didn't matter at all what your intention was it's just different now. The world as it is ceasing to be has happened and that's the world we're in now. So neither of those extremes actually meet our mysterious everyday life. So what he suggests is that rather than holding on to either of those it matters or it doesn't matter that we think the suffering that is subject to arising arises.


The suffering that is subject to ceasing ceases. And then we will not have doubt or be perplexed. This may seem like a kind of pessimistic way to go around in life. The suffering that is subject to arising arises. The suffering that is subject to ceasing ceases. And I would not want to say that there wouldn't be room for thinking the joy that is subject to arising arises and the joy that is subject to ceasing ceases. That can be thought too. But I do think suffering does call for our attention. It grabs our attention. We notice it. Sometimes we can go around being happy and we hardly even notice. But if we start suffering enough we start wondering, does it matter? Should I do something about this? What should I do? And what Buddha is suggesting in this sutra is


and I'd like to join him in this suggestion is that we find our suffering when suffering is happening and we acknowledge it. We bow to it. That's it. I think that is essentially zazen. I think zazen is physically finding a way to do that. It's finding the stability to respect the kind of life, including the kind of suffering that we're having right now. To just respect it by being there with it. I sometimes think that zazen and patience, the practice of patience, are really the same thing. To sit zazen is to practice patience. Zazen


Zazen [...] Yeah, this world, Katyana, is generally inclined towards two views, existence and non-existence. To one who perceives with right wisdom the uprising of the world as it has come to be, the notion of non-existence does not occur. Katyana, to one who perceives with right wisdom the ceasing of the world as it has come


to be, the notion of existence does not occur. The world is bound by grasping. A person who does not grasp the view, this is myself, who rather thinks suffering that is subject to arising arises. Suffering that is subject to ceasing ceases. Such a person does not doubt, is not perplexed. This is right view. I have a story that I tell myself about the meaning of life. The other title of the story is called The Karma Lady, which is that in this universe,


again, some of you have heard this before, here's the universe swirling full of karma. There's karma. That's what the universe is made up of, karma. And then there are little bundles of karma in the universe, little pieces of this swirling universal karma come together into many things, including people. So here are each of us, a bundle of universal karma that for various reasons, dependent co-arising, these particular bits of universal karma have come together in this body and mind. And then there's other bits of universal karma that have come together in other bodies and minds. And one of the reasons, if we want to call it that, for a particular karmic body and


mind's life is for the potential untangling of that karma. That in our body and mind, the karma is, there are tangles of it. There are things that if somebody speaks to you in a certain way, you go, ah, there's a response that is not pleasant and wants to lash out in some way. It's possible for that universal karma, fear, upset, to be untangled, to be disentangled. And that can happen, actually, in a life, a little bit of universal karma can be disentangled. That's a story that I tell myself. And I tell myself that story because it gives me a little space from feeling like, this is my life, it


has to go right. It has to be a good life. It's the only one I've got. Or there is a life, I know I have a life, you know, my parents told me I was special. They said, you're a wonderful baby, you're such a wonderful baby, you know, and look how smart you are and you'll do wonderful things in the world. So that must mean that I have to do wonderful things in the world, right? Things have to go well. We've never had a divorce in my family. It can't be me, you know. So various things that feel like, that must be my life, you know, my life must be going that way. But now something's happened. It's wrong. A bad thing has happened and it shouldn't be happening in my life. Well, in fact, you know, I live in a universe where divorce happens. And don't worry, we're not thinking about divorce. I don't mean to start any rumors here. That's not, it's just an example. And some of that karma is in me, you know, and could be actualized in my life.


So for me to have some view, like, you know, my life is heading off over here. It's, you know, my life is nowhere, but right here, right here, right here. And where it goes from here is only going to go from here. And it's really not known, you know. It's as unknown as universal karma. And I appreciated Daiki's question yesterday to Greg about, you know, how can we sit here and say, you know, life is beautiful or something like that when we, obviously our life is easier than a lot of people's life. One thing that that question brings up for me is we should have no expectation that our life will stay like this. You know, it's not like our life is wonderful Tassajara Valley, you know, Tassajara Valley is not all that far from Iraq, you know, Tassajara Valley is not all that far from global warming.


There's, and if we think, oh, you know, I'm a Zen student and things will be wonderful as soon as I get enlightened, you know, we don't know how, how we embody universal karma. And we should not be surprised by the erupting of, you know, really surprising things internally and externally. So, if we can, or another thought that I have is that one of the main things that's happening in Zazen over time is an increase in our capacity to be a better person. To meet with patience and love our response to the world.


That the, the hardest thing for us, no matter what happens, you know, no matter if, you know, anyway, many, many terrible, no matter what happens, the hardest thing for us is actually our own response to it. That, you know, if somebody says a mean thing to you, you know, really, it's like nothing. They said some mean words, or maybe they say it with a lot of force and you get a, you know, you get a blast of energy, or maybe they were someone you loved and now they, they seem to hate you and you're, you know, your whole identity is demolished. Still, the hardest thing for us is internally we have some response to that, and that's, that's often, if it's an unpleasant thing that happens, very difficult for us. So, I think that one of the main things that is happening as we sit here, no matter what we think is happening, no matter what we think we should be doing, is that we are, that, not that we are, that our capacity is increasing for being able to stay with those responses in a patient, open way.


I don't know why, I mean, I don't know how, I, I think, actually, and this, but this is just me thinking that physically we, we get some physical stability and also that our energy starts to get more stable. Therefore, you know, when we get rocked around by our emotions or our thoughts or something, actually, we can get rocked around by it without being flipped upside down, you know, but exactly how that happens, I don't know. It just appears to me by looking at myself and also looking at many people who do this practice that that is what happens, that they start to be, we start to be able to be there for our response, which is very important. Because I think our habitual way is something comes up, something comes up, something happens to us, and then we have a response, and we don't like that response, we immediately proceed to try to, you know, do various things to get away from it.


You know, we tell ourselves a story about how terrible the person was, or we, you know, get mad at them, and anyway, we do various things that take us away from our response because it's a painful one. Whereas once we can start to see our response, that's all. That's all. Nothing more has to happen. We don't have to get rid of the person. We don't have to get rid of our response. We just, suffering that is subject to arising arises. Suffering that is subject to ceasing ceases. And we can just let that happen. This does not mean that we don't do anything. That's not an option. We have no option to not do anything. We are constantly in the world of existence and non-existence. If we stand there and, you know, no expression comes over our face, no words come out of our mouth, that's doing something. That has an impact, has an impact on people.


And is that a good impact or bad impact? Who knows? You know, this is the swirling universe of karma, and it has some impact. So to the extent, whatever that mysterious extent is, that we have some ability to determine our action, you know, if we try to do something beneficial. I think, actually, most people are trying to do something beneficial from their perspective all the time, actually. So if we can stand our response, we have a better chance of having a wider perspective, a perspective that includes the person who's standing in front of us. So I don't really know whether we get to decide our responses or not. I think our decision is much less a part of our life than we think it is.


I think a lot of it just happens organically, but to the extent we can decide, we try to do something beneficial. But the capacity for doing that, I think, is based very much on, can I stand to be who I am right now? Can I stand the suffering that is subject to arising arising? And I think that's what we're doing here. You know, we come in, we sit down, and we wait for that to happen. Okay. I think that's enough. Does anyone want to say anything? Somebody over there? Yes, Jackie.


Yes. What was the last thing you said? It starts? Yes. Yes. I understand. Yeah. Do I have any suggestions? She said that she squirms when she sits, not based on physical pain, but on anxiety, and that it usually starts at her hands. She'll start, like, wringing her hands. And do I have any suggestions? Right? And I said, I understand. I have experienced the same thing. Well, I think you can try different things. You know, you can try holding your hands and try to do that calmly.


You know, it's a little more comforting to hold your hand than it is to have them so open to everything. Several people have told me that their experience is similar to mine, which is that when they started doing zazen and they couldn't have their mudra up like this, you know, they had to have it, like, resting on their legs, and that later they actually could, and this was a great relief. To raise it. So, eventually, when you can do that, it releases the tension in your arms, but whether it's time to do that or not, you'd have to, like, try it. So, I would say, don't give up on the mudra, but be patient with yourself.


And I think seeing that it's anxiety is really good, and to try to, anyway, for me it works to try to locate the anxiety physically, and even though it may be manifest in your hand, often for me it's in my abdomen, lower abdomen. And if I can find it, but sometimes it's other places, if I can find it and just make some space for it, let it have its life, that's my suggestion. Anything else? Yes, Trevor. You said that during your first session, you gave up hope. You said something about hope and being hopeless, and that was really liberating for you. I don't know, could you say something more about that? I think I was joking with Jared recently that I'd be so much happier if I could lose all hope.


I don't really understand how you could do that. But I had said that in my first session, I lost hope, and that was liberating. And he's had some feeling like that also, that if he could just give up hope, he'd be a lot happier. But he doesn't really understand that, and he wanted to know if I could say anything about it. Yeah, when it became most, I mean, that was like a moment, that was a minute or a period of hopelessness that had a good effect. How it worked, I don't know. Probably a release of tension or something. But when it was most apparent to me was when, a really turning point in my life, when Keith left me. We'd been together for, I don't know, some number of years. I was totally identified with our relationship, and he left me in Zen Center. And it lasted about six months, but of course we didn't know how long it was going to last, right?


It was just the end, right? And I thought I was going to die. I was at Zen Center, at City Center. It was actually during that time that I sat my first session. And now he says the part of why he left was because, how does he put it? I needed to find out, did I really want to practice? Which I didn't experience it this way at all, but when I look back on it, it was actually true. I was at Zen Center because of Keith. And did I really want to practice? Didn't matter. It was not one of my questions. I was just here. But I had to deal with it when he left. Did I want to be here or not? And what was it for me? And part of the dealing with it was basically being surprised I was alive every morning because I was in so much pain. And in that situation where the pain was so palpable, hope was clearly more pain.


If I started hoping or thinking maybe we'll get back together, it was physically palpable, it increased the pain. And those months of practice with that pain, it's been so useful. Because there was some learning of how to be with pain. Here was a pain that didn't go away, that I really didn't want to be more because it was at the edge of what I could stand as it was, but I couldn't make it go away. So there was some learning of how to, I don't know, it feels like ride the pain. Be there with the suffering that has come to exist. You just go with it. You don't try to get rid of it because that makes it worse.


You don't try to think about it because that makes it worse. You don't try to hope it's not there because that makes it worse. So if you're not quite in that situation, that's what's good about Sashin, actually. Because you can get in that situation at the end of a period, toward the end of a period. You get in that situation where pain is just about, you can barely stand it. You definitely can't get rid of it without getting up and walking out. And you don't want to make it anymore, and hope makes it worse. Not that we can stop it and say, oh, it's at the end of the period, when are they going to ring the bell? But eventually you can recognize, oh, that's like more pain. And we can have that experience right here in this room over and over and over again. All right, we have to stop soon, but Daiki, or no, Greg, excuse me.


Well, what about hope's aspiration? You know, pranidhana paramita. We only have this life right here and now. We don't know where it's going to go next. Although I feel like I can probably rule out a heavyweight class fighter. But we don't really know, right? But we vow to save all sentient beings. It does feel like we kind of set up an idea, an aspiration for practice, an aspiration for being a benefactor. Yes, and certainly we have all kinds of plans, right? It's not like having plans is bad, or having aspirations, having intentions. We have them, so we might as well try to have beneficial ones. And I think they actually even have some effect.


You know, like we make a vow to various things. And I think that it's not just words, it's energy. And it has an impact, just like everything else, on what we do. It's grasping that's the problem. You know, it's like if I think I should help people like this, you know? Problem. Runs into reality. Yeah, so we have hope. It's not a question, really, of should I wipe hope out of my life? No, that's nonexistence. You know, we're trying to stay with what's actually happening without grasping. Okay, enough. Dion. Didn't you do this last time I talked? Something like that.


What is life? Yeah. Um... Why would you ask this? Because it's a waste of time? Okay, that's what I'm asking. Why would you ask it? So... I'm sorry if I sounded, when I said why would you ask this, if I sounded critical. I'm actually asking, trying to figure out what you're asking. So... You're curious about... Could you say the question a little differently? It's kind of like taking for granted that I'm alive and there's life.


I'm wondering what is life really like? What is this? What are you? What are these flowers that are telling me? What is it? And beneficial. You know, for us to remind ourselves. I mean, sometimes we don't need reminding. We just read a newspaper and say, wow. What's going on? What is happening here? Or we look in someone's eyes and we feel amazing. But sometimes we're going along and we think, oh, I got it all under control. I know what I'm doing. I know who I am. And it's a good thing to remind ourselves. What is this?


But I don't think we should expect an answer. Yeah. Okay, well, there you go. All right, now I think it's really time to end. Thank you very much. May our intention...