The Mind Illuminated archive

TCMC 16 September Part II – Spreading the Dharma in the West



Automated transcription

Yes. So Our conversation before we sat search some things up in my mind. I can't example what they words. That's. I mean that I wanted to share with you. And maybe we'll see where that goes if you're interested to get into more of the discussion if if not, then you'll tell me what you're in interested janet and we'll talk about that instead. But it has to do. With the nature of what we're doing. And over the last few years, I have taught you a lot of Buddhist dha and all in the context of meditation practice But, you know, the way that I would like you to look at this is that the meditation practice itself is only one part of a larger practice, and we did that get come up in our earlier discussion the role of virtue or Ce.

And there also... Basically, what you do when you're sitting in Medicaid, is a practice that you want eventually to carry over in different forms in every part of their life. And so when I say it's it's a part of a larger practice. It's a larger practice but that should ultimately be become the way you lived you're like, twenty four hours a day. Now this practice. This is also how i'd to you to think of this. Is what it is, is the way of coming in direct contact with universal truth. And it's also a way of liberating yourself from the tyranny of your alternative animal drives done a wonderful job of getting you to where you are and now.

But which are all a burden then it cause a pain, but that's why out. And I don't find what helps to call it, but good start But there's a problem with calling a good Disturbance because most of the people in the world are like to think that Buddhism is as religion and who the star as the religious teaching. And it really isn't, you know, at least not in in the sense that the return religion is most widely used. It's not new. It's It's a science. It's a a psychology. It's it's a philosophy. Is it's a message for coming in and direct contact with Ultimate or universal truth, that's their universe truth.

Ultimate that true. As universal tree? What you learned through meditation through this practice, if it truly is universal truth. Then it's true. No matter right. It's not going it cannot be in conflict with any other kind of truth. The most that can happen is that one way of stating the truth may superficial seem to be different than other ways of signature. Or it may be that the truth that you hold or to somebody else tolls on one or the other both of them may be an incomplete truth. And the more complete david come than the universal of it emerges and the conflict or the same conflict.

That deep parent differences should disappear. If that doesn't happen, then the truth we're talking about isn't universal truth. Mh. So that's the goal of this practice. The intention, the province, the two twenty five hundred year old violence behind this practice, is it this will be bring you to place the universal through. I as most of you probably are already realized This this dha when it's clearly understood presents no conflicts with modern science. As a matter of fact, line science and this sort of a work very well together, each eliminating the other.

And as you probably heard the Dollar Lam has instituted a series of conferences bringing very the the the top people in the world of science and religion and particularly predictability in terms of Buddhist. The buddhist relation, although There is or that there there a buddhist religion as well. But top police to come together to compare what they've learned what they teach what they've discovered and and to and and to carry out that process of mutual found two ways of no one it's two different ways of seeking through.

And that's what's covered. To us and the west from the east. Is a religion called but we've already got lots of religions. I don't think a West needs a religion. I don't think the world needs The world doesn't need anymore religions. This a matter of if fact... The world needs to do something about resolving. A lot of the conflicts and strife and intolerance that as confident our diversity religions. But what we're talking about earlier, we don't need to bring a new religion into North America. You don't need a whole bunch.

And the religious aspect for Is completely secondary. As a matter of fact, I think I think if we if we can i look back to the original teachings of the Buddha If we were able to somehow speak to original So our collective time not and started this whole thing. We find that he never had any attention, but all they started research. What he was doing was teaching method of path as I say to to the realization of universal truth. And to liberation. We pretty drives and compulsions that are that cause it all about something things.

And so that that is really the way I'd like you to look at it. We I I don't know if way not to call at buddhism or because there has there's a twenty five hundred year history of developing. These ideas and these methods that it's so so rich it's so powerful and we need to delve into that. And of course, it is a a c coherent system, but I guess my point is that although there is a religious buddhism something. What I'm talking about this aspect of Buddhism. Is not in conflict with anybody else's religions anywhere.

And if any Christian or Muslim or Jew or those are... Those are the main ones, but any any other major religious groups. If they were to take up the practice of this, method that we're talking about. This practice the storyline. The first experience they you'll have is that there's snow conflict between this and the practice of their religion. And next experience that they would have is that the concepts the religious concepts that they carry with start to become more refined and would ease fall into something well, it it would evolve in the direction where the apparent between any other belief system would begin to disappear.

This is what, you know, there are amongst the religions, let's say Judaism and Christianity. There are many different reviews of what god is amongst stringent and amongst serious. And some of these are simplest. Some of these are projections of a personality and even a figure that so that resembles in any way beings. But within the same religions, there is also are also much more refined ideas of the meaning of god. But go beyond please simple concepts. And I think this is where any person who follows those religions this is where their concept we go.

The same thing that concept of of Jesus or Mohammed. Or all of these central and important ideas and concepts in these different religions that as a person in their old mind and heart, kind... Becomes more open gains more insight comes closer to that direct experience of universal truth. These ideas become recline and take on a different territory. And as they take on a different character, the apparent it differences disappear. So that So so there is no caught no need for conflict anymore. So that's why I...

The problem I have was the religions of the world is that I see that people instead of seeking truth that they know from direct experience. Are c themselves internally to hold fast and strong to an idea, a concept, a view that has been delivered to them in some form or another percent processor another, but they've adopted it and they're gonna force their cell themselves to regard this as the truth independently of their own experience in their own investigations. And this of course stops on at point and it doesn't allow them to grow intellectually or spiritually or in other ways.

So that's a problem what I have. But if we want if we want to help as many people as we can to experience what this teaching has to offer. What we've got to do is not present it in such a way that triggers that feeling that all of this is in conflict with light beliefs with my received knowledge that I must force myself to hear to you otherwise, I fall away and lose my faith and become the. The vast majority people deal with, or wanting to be closed that they'll be turned off if you if you present it in such a way, but just absolutely no need to.

There's absolutely no need to. The blue stuff this people wanted to know, You know, is is there creator. And he said, so let's not bother with those questions. You know? You don't believe this one you can't. But with those who that... That's one of the. That's one of those questions that there's there's no point and wasting your time thinking about. Just pursue the practice and discovery the truth for you selling. That's where he he was. That's that's the way he responded to the to the situation.

As as you know, what we discover in this teaching is that the idea of self that we think we are and that we hold so tightly to is an illusion that's a cause of a huge part of our problems. And I think the same thing is true if somebody adhere to the idea of in more sold. You don't need to challenge that for them. It's instead. You encourage them in the practice and and in the process of self discovery, because It's interesting in the words we use. There is one whole system of spiritual practice, the with without which basically says we go beyond the small cell and discover the they trace cells, the larger cell.

Which is something that goes completely beyond our sense of ind evaluation. And so semantic, the problem has and solved right there, know. And this is this is where this is where a person... This is a journey that a person once and needs to make if they want to liberate themselves and if they want to open themselves up to truth. So we don't we don't need... This... This teaching doesn't need to kind into conflict with other teachings and project beliefs systems. It needs to be tolerant, but at the same time, encourage a an attitude of openness and to keep coming back to the point.

Well, this is about what you... What you learned for yourself understand for yourself experience directly for yourself. And it's only about truth, you know? And if if if something is true, it can't be in it's it's not going to be in conflict with your beliefs and it's not end if his to people. And that way, that adds that as the understanding of truth grows in there, they will refine the concepts that they held previously. On the basis of that new knowledge and will not find themselves in a position of having to abandon anything that i feel to to be important geared to the because of the other their patch training they're bringing their culture so forth.

So it's a now of discovery. It's a it is... I think the reason that it works so well with science is that is operating on the same principles is a search for the truth that's willing to do everything it can to cut through the delusions that we put in the way of our seeing and understanding to cut through the the observations and the confusion. You know? Science is all about, you know, air. Air aristotle was sure that heavy objects fell faster than light august. Right? And Who knows... What the actual number of people was, but a huge number of people all the way up to the time of Galilee or said, yeah.

That's right. I've see it myself. I know it. This is the way we so. And Science is all about finding ways to examine things, finding ways to pursue truth. That cuts through our soft delusion. It isn't that the same thing that we've been talking about at the whole point of meditation is to develop our mental faculties so that we can penetrate our own delusions. Penetrate our own ignorance and find true. And I think that's why that's why it works so well in combination of the sciences. That it's doing the same kind of thing the science says.

Yeah it's on in its own way in it's own field. The other aspect of this is the is the overcoming of our slate to emotions and drives and compulsions. And to the states basically the states of suffering of various one. States of anger, aggression and things like this. That provides out of those and that are programmed into us somehow by the the way that the Dna the neck dictates that the neurons of our brains will connect up with each other so that we have this previous position. We have a predisposition to see things in a particular way experience in particular way in that react those experiences in in particular way.

And have a kind of subject experience and pleasure or suffering as a result with that. And then to go out and act and do things in the world. And first we can see was really obvious too. As been obvious, I think for thousands of years, and really you do find in every religion and all a major religions there is a recognition that each individual needs to overcome. Some primitive tendencies. They maybe be given all kinds of other labels and maybe be given other kinds of onto status, good and evil demons and devils and so forth.

But this is recognition of the fact that people naturally experience emotions that are harmful to them. And cause them to act in ways their purpose of other people. And then this in turn creates states to suffer. Creates all kinds a needless pain in the world. And so what this what this Dartmouth is really valid is learning to free ourselves from those. And see that's a remarkable thing. That's That's what we have to take on faith temporarily currently all we have to take on base temporarily is it actually is possible to transform ourselves.

And to permanently free ourselves from those drives and comp. With the free crazy, desire or version hatred. And to become transformed in such way that your own brain no longer triggers in itself. Mechanisms that cause you the subject of experience of grief suffering misery pain. It is difficult to hear. Can't really do that, especially when we see it. This is this is something that's present in. All kinds of biological organisms. So we see aggression territory reality, yeah greedy things. And we can understand logically that search kind of purpose in terms of aiding our survival and improving our ability to reproduce and so forth and sick.

Can't that really be overcome and that really be transcend. And that really is that is the that is the one thing that we do have to take on faith because we don't believe that, we don't have a motivation to do to work this necessary. To get to the place for me know. A, hey history true. Yes. You know, i experienced that. Yeah. Yes. Could you describe what we mean by transport? Transform, what I need is that The natural response of your mind, anyone's mind is when he experienced things that are painful you experience aversion to that experience.

When you experience things that are pleasurable, you create that experience you want to to repeat it and you you or you want to pro prolong it. And that these... All of these individual instances of this in your life. Began to coalesce less into patterns of behavior. There is a state of pleasure or happiness that you want to be in to the maximum that you can. As often as you can and for as long as you can. And there are states of pain and misery that you want to avoid. And so your life becomes this process.

Of tried to acquire what you believe to be the causes of your pleasure happiness and trying to avoid and if necessary destroy what you believe to be the causes of your unhappiness and your suffering. The transformation we're talking about is where your blind begins to work in a different way. Can it no longer responds the same way it used to to the experiences and pleasure and experience obtained. So this pretty a major shift in your motivation. And we are we we are a kind of creature that is capable of rationality.

We do not need to have all of our behaviors driven by the the six and carrots at pain and pleasure. We can we can and we often do discern that this is something that is worth doing, and should be done. Even though it may not be necessarily pleasant. In the short run. Right. So we have the we have the rationality. And we it conserved and it does serve when we had undergo this transformation, we continue to act, but we act about... We we're not being steered here in there by pain pleasure, but by rational faculties.

In addition to that, so We also... We are being suits experience compassion. We know the suffering of others. And and instead of being driven by the compulsions of pleasure in pain, and in addition to acting as a body in mind in in a rural on the basis of our rational faculties. We also operate out of a sense of compassion with leads to justice to to care. To the sense of there are things that should be done and those things it should be changed since it should be improved and we act out of that.

So the transformation I'm talking about is a fundamental one that happens at the deepest level of the mine. So that We're liberated for propulsion and the higher side, the higher aspects of our human nature. They have the basis for our behavior and the basis for our experience. What comes along with that transformation, is that when we cease to be... And and let me just verify something. We're not We're not still experienced experiencing greed and hatred, but overriding it. Greed hatred down arise.

Okay. Read major there aren't care. So the other part of this transformation is is very crucial. Is when we come to the place. Where we're no longer experiencing craving desired inversion. In a stronger or lesser form, moment to moment throughout our lives. We find that the happiness that we had been seeking is there and that the suffering no longer arises. Because it is the the craving itself that creates the suffering. Physical pain, may so be present. But the the grief of suffering and reaction to that is need not present.

So this is the transformation but not referring to. Answer your question. That is... And it is a very interesting thing that in this particular da. The way it actually happens is there a series of there's a series of these transformations, each of which builds on the one that proceeds it. And they they happen in in a sequence and each one of which when it occurs diminishes greatly the that enslave went to craving and diminishes at the same time, the degree of suffering that arises as a result of it.

It correspondingly, alters the behavior. Of a person. And what previously was behavior it was dictated through and understanding the virtue and idea of pre research and things like that. Now there becomes a natural behavior that comes out of... It it it's strange from that source was in the mind itself rather than being and in position from from a higher cognitive level on these lower drives. It it it manifests spontaneously. That our behavior change it was we behave on a virtuous way. So that's transformation part of it.

And and that's why when when the buddha, every time, somebody would say, you know, well sir, what exactly is this is this thing that teach certainly needs says I keep suffering and me the suffering. The wisdom part of it, the the experience of universal truth He didn't even stressed nearly as much as those she fallen but footsteps here. He was just it it came as a part of the package. Mh. You can't really... You can't really undergo that transformation except through acquiring the insight and acquiring to wisdom.

So, you know, rather than stressing that we always stressed by teeth suffering in the suffering right. So this is this is really what... I'm teaching is not a religion agenda at he's It is buddhism, but it's not and as religion. Is your religious smooth something. Religion. Got whole lot belief systems. Things that are to logic and experience, but make you behave better ways and get a better person. So in that regard, religious mood isn't and is good. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm not asking you to adopt belief system.

I'm asking you to practice a a a a a technique methodology with their technology and enjoy the fruits and results of that and saw in conflict with any pre, religious beliefs that you might have. You absolutely, you know, you don't the religious buddhism and teachers concepts like as rein. And Karma as absolutely law the returns servicing thing. And I'm not asking you to... I I I've given you a very different understanding based on the the of the buddha thought. You don't need to be religious movies We need to practice the voodoo teaching to discover the universal truth and to achieve liberation from the perimeter of the comp.

That have ruled your life a you suffer are reeling everybody else's lives and causing everybody else to suffer and to like each other's sector. So This kind of brings me the idea. American and Buddhism is. What forms is this teaching of the buddha that's going to take? And the rest. Is it going to be a transplant zen transplant la yada? Transplant with all of its religious tracking or is it going to take on a news newsletter? And the real question in my mind, though I find really fascinating. When buddhism went into these other countries and took on its unique forms in those countries.

It was a a stage in the social and cultural evolution of mankind, that it really couldn't have taken hold in any other form except as a religion. You know what I mean? Do. Do you understand that? Really? Like, this teaching is profound remarkable teaching. Couldn't have gone into any of these areas unless it had been made into a religion it couldn't take hold and survive. But I wonder if that really has to happen in the west. We have the entire world has a level of intellectual sophistication now that didn't exist five hundred eight hundred a thousand or two thousand years ago.

Or for that matter even a hundred years bill. A standard of education, high level of intellectual sophistication, we have developed science as a way not I thinks that he's absolutely completely transformed everything about what it needs to be at him to being on this planet. And that did arise in the list. So the question in mind mind is does this need to be a religion at all? Does it need to carry any of those religious trapping at all? Or can it be a process of spiritual evolution that moves us the next stage beyond biological evolution.

And can be an extension of the pursuit of truth that our science and philosophy has always been. And science of philosophy, by the way did grow out of religion. I know know you're aware of that. But in the west. They were very traumatic historical events that took place when basically when philosophy got divorced religion and on science got divorced spring a leisure. It was painful. Because... Well, maybe divorce isn't the right work. It's more like they grew up old enough to leave home start life on their own you know And mom and dad church didn't really like our approve of the direction of one she was going.

And did and and was really totally ticked off at the direction the science was going and the Nasty science was saying about share stock, you know. So like the the assigned our western science of velocity Offspring, religion. But how they have separated in their on their own tax maturation. So In that context, I just wondered it. We really need religion in order to bring this wisdom persistent tab. Listen teaching to the west. What do you think I was I'm thinking about a tuesday bigger set. Earlier we're talking about how means this teach and sep and to everyone into young people particular we were talking about.

And we're often talking about American buddhism and what impact and he's One of the things that... That I didn't think the not talking about is that we... The mindfulness space kind of teachings are taught technology and as a technique. And what what we've been thinking about recently is And sometimes of the piece that we've mentioned little earlier, the half seventh incoming an extract of mindfulness and being ignore. Right. Yep. So so I'd love to hear what you think about how to balance, the desire to make this technology if accessible and make it without conflict to people's belief systems as they base us now without divorcing it from kind of the bigger picture.

Well, that's a very good question. And that that does touch one of the first things for that. I mentioned is that meditation is a small part of a larger system. And It's it's not too good on its own. You know, it's kind of like having. One tire off car. Yes. It's absolutely an essential part of a whole but by itself it's it is rather than a. And and and by the way, there are forms of buddhism and where there is, no, meditation. All the stress is on. It is on the ethical side. Or all the stress is on practice of compassion and gang merit and things like that.

So there are these other forms of buddhism in the disregard. The role of meditation. But what I see as being essentially this whole thing is if you don't take the whole package, Then you're not you're not gonna get the result. It's just not gonna happen. But meditation is meditation is something that's attractive. So what's already happening as you say is there is the non religious They they yeah my of mindfulness face stress reduction is totally non religion. But it's also isolated. It's it's been isolated from every other part of the overall practice this is the tiny piece of dha.

And I think one of the issues with... We were talking to before about the pre deployment military being trained. Well, part of the concern is that they're being trained in the Car only. Not being exposed to the to that. Yeah. And I think that then I hear here is my opinion I expressed earlier once again. That this mindfulness training will not have very much of the effect that the military leaders desire at unless it goes far enough then it's gonna have the other effect as well. Unless somebody achieves a level of awareness and clarity.

Which will inevitably cause them to penetrate some of the delusion that makes this makes sense. They're also not going to be that much more effective at doing the jobs that they were doing before. Buddy that's just that's just my opinion. That's the other part of your question, Though. How do we introduce this this wonderful and powerful method to people. Without challenging their preexisting existing belief systems. On the on the ethics and morality side of it. I don't think there's a conflict.

I don't think that I I don't think that Christians or Jews and muslims would find any conflict with the late pre of Vi as tape or the expansion of those pre that that I hash people to take who want to go further with this. Of course, There are places that that they will have into contact. And if they've been doing the other aspects of the practice, they will they will have to carry out a refine, but they're are preexisting employees. But, you know, the the pre chefs are not to intentionally What's important is that it be understood correctly.

If it is presented as religious doctor. Thou shalt not. This is the lie. You do this, you're gonna suffer. But if you don't, you're going to be rewarded. That is going to be a problem. You take the first pre up, you know, to endeavor refrain from causing hardware destroying let things. No. If that's what understood is a val shalt, this is conflict right away. Hey. Wait you minute? You know, what about the my medication? What about the what about mosquitoes and cockroaches. And, you know, you mean, I can't keep this below just the under my television just so I can shoot the burglary if they kinda in middle i.

I mean that's a kind of religious belief in this country too. This. But that's not how it's intended. It's a rule attorney. Yes. It's undertake the free. Not to do this. And then every time you come into a situation where it seems to you like he need to do it. Well he bring all of your mindfulness severe. And that doesn't mean that you're not gonna to do it. But it means that you're not gonna do it. In a say of blindness and ignorance. You're going to examine yourself. Okay? Why am I doing this?

Do I really need to do this why do I think I really really need to do that? Alright. I'm I do this. How am I gonna do this. So that one illustrates where some of the challenges would be, but the solution is to go back what the buddha was really saying. He wasn't saying, this is set of rules, You got fall. He taught very explicitly when you reached the first stage of week and then you're gonna realize is that following rules, rules have no power to there at all. A snack. Have enough power there the preset not to cause hiring by game.

That has... That's... you know, that... That's not like that's not like a command for God. That's a tool to be used in your self development. And how successful you are a key will be a reflection of the agree that you have run and developed spiritually. It's not it's not something that came from heights. The ones I think are even easier to accept than that one, know to take the preset to refrain from taking what's size through get. And this is... I had religions universally take this as a where we would run into conflict is many times actually interpreted.

You don't take what's not freely given. Unless it belongs to somebody regard as lesser, know, stranger other race. Then it's alright. So once again, you you you develop beyond that white. But not engaging in the long speech, not engaging in sec from popped deck. These are these are already pre that are quite consistent with other religious systems. So I think I think the answer is once again if they are presented, just the way that the mindfulness training is. Is this is a method. This is a technology for self improvement spiritual growth for personal transformation And also, I'm running at time, so I can't say all the other things that I had on my life.

But social transformation. has been too much for too long and other countries. Something that a small select group of people and bay there. And That'd be nice if the rest of the world starting up, but, you know, hey, That's a problem. Not mine. Now socially engaged with this. I like that. Great. As as as a person's understanding, truth develops. This becomes inevitable. It becomes inevitable as has some degree of understanding and way hers, What happens is that distinguish distinction between self other disappears.

And inevitably, your path does begin to encompass other people and ways to bring about. Transformation of the steps benefit. Larger groups benefit to whole benefit obvious. But yes, it's the whole thing has... Yeah. You'd have to you have to take the thing as a whole because teachers by themselves are limited in what they'll do and we're able to take you. How how you can get with him. But right now, we're state lot people interested in meditation. And it will resolve a lot of your personal problems in like.

And it will improve your work study skills. And it will improve your interpersonal relationship. It does make a good. Therapy iphone based stress reduction. If. That's why it brings people to it. Then that's a good thing. But if they if if they don't have the opportunity to discover how much more there is, that's that's a great tragedy. If it just becomes... It just becomes another way of solving our personal problems. My space stress reduction will disappear in six months after some more really good pharmaceuticals steroids.

Mh. Say to somebody comes up with a drug that, you know, taken twice a day, produces all the same effects within a week that mindful based stress reduction does and months of practice, no interested in my mindfulness based special director. Right? So. So while they're interested, we have to take advantage of that, lot to know that... Yeah. And this is just the beginning. This is the tip of the iceberg. This is this is the the the tiniest piece of puzzle is so much more yeah. Okay. Well, I used that all my time.

Let me actually have you go home little a bit. Thanks shot that stuff. I hope that this... I hope this she back will talk more about this because especially on my mind we're on.

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