The Mind Illuminated archive

Stronghold 21 November 2010

Sunday 11/21/2010

Automated transcription

What's happening in your life? Writing. Right? Oh, oh, they are great talked about the where, you know, you're just riding weights. Writing way. Don't. We're call it surfing the waves. Yeah. Well, it's about the same. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Certainly just like so like keep them trying to keep, yeah, place of community. That with with all of the things that appear. Yeah. And all the thoughts that appear and all but. Emotion instead of appear and all all of the things that you see here and. But I was wondering why we say we just keep these pre on this day.

Once day tonight, like, almost like we can't do it any longer than that. You know, it's like... Yeah. I've always wondered Well, this is this is a very old chant here or ceremony. And in the and buddhist countries, late people take only five pre ups normally. Five pre and and the refugees. Which they try to keep. And then And who who opposed the our day. Once a week. They go to they over the monastery the tent of trying or whatever. And they take additional pre subs. So the assumption behind us is that this say you're keeping more pre for the day in night of a poster than you would normally have committed yourself to.

That's the presumption behind it. But, yeah. I I ideally, you you'd be keeping all of these presets all of the time. But But what we say is just... You were just following the the pattern of the of the who posted our day ceremony as it's normally done. So the assumption is that out here in this asshole there's another, you know, fifty or a hundred villagers who might not necessarily keep all the pre all time. A slight disconnect between our reality and the That's the reason. Where you foundation?

Of everything. I think I mean, I I agree with with that And I wonder, i I think there are a lot of interesting things about that. And I wondered if if you would speak to that a little bit, and, you know, what virtue you what true virtue is. Can I ask something to to add to that about Virtue two? Is... I mean, to simplify... I don't know if you can't simply simplify, but to simplify it down to one or two words. Is it just not harming? That is that's the simplest simplest way to to express the idea behind Virtue is is to avoid causing harm at any time.

A himself is not harming. And then you elaborate on that kind of the first el of not harming means it is that your intention is not to harm. Others or yourself. And so, you know, an aspect of virtue is. It is not just trying not to harm others, but also considering the impact. That your thoughts and your actions have on on cell. And then it just continues to be elaborated in terms to physical actions and and speech and so forth. Yeah. But Vi is the foundation and the point that the Buddha made on many occasions.

And it's an important one. It's easily forgotten. Is it the rest of the path can't it won't work without virtue as foundation. The meditation or mental training. You can train your mind. In meditation, but you won't achieve the results of the path if that's all you do if you don't lose a virtuous for life. As a matter of fact the potential is that you can train your mind to be a really effective evil do in the world. You know, because you train your mind and through stability of attention and and cultivation of mindfulness and things like that.

It can make you better at manipulating other people better are at turning situations to your own office advantage, it can make you better able to exploit to other people. And to avoid the immediate short term consequences of that. So meditation by itself, if it's not found in virtue provides no guarantee that you're going to make any progress at all on spiritual path. And the same thing true of the acquisition of Wisdom through through study and listening to teachings and analysis and and so and so forth if it's not grounded in virtue.

You can end up with a lot of flying sounding ideas and the ability maybe too to you impress other people with your knowledge. But he won't actually, you won't actually it won't contribute to spiritual development. It'll just be a bunch of ideas. And because you haven't made virtue the basis for it those ideas won't penetrate any deeper than most superficial level of your mind and you understand. And why is that? Is that because you're clad, you're you're... You're clad yourself somehow? Well, if you think about it, what we're trying to do is to overcome the ignorance the the the delusion that we live in that is the cause of our suffering.

And it's also very directly connected to all of the un wholesome behaviors that practicing virtue is intended to overcome. Right? And so what is the problem? What is the sickness? The sickness is that as human beings, We lead lives of suffering. And we lead lives of suffering because, you know, the roots of suffering are are lead hatred and ignorance. And the ignorance ignorance, specifically, it isn't. It is an ignorance about doctrines of the dha. It's ignorance about the fact that the cell that is at the basis of all of our attitudes and behaviors is is an illusion and as an illusion, it's also at the base of all of our suffering.

And that there's also the illusion that things are actually from their side the way that they appear to us to be. So that is the ignorance. Ignorance causes the the desire and inversion agreed and hatred and all of the thoughts and speech and action. That flows out of that. But to continue to gauge engage in those thoughts and the speech and as acting is to continue to sustain the compulsions of desire and inversion. And if you do that, you you have absolutely no hope of eliminating the ignorance.

But do... If you if you don't practice Virtue, all three routes of suffering, are going to remain intact. You can get an intellectual superficial understanding through a lot of study. You could become a great teacher of buddhist philosophy and doctrine have a a huge amount of information and be able to explain to people how this is connected to that and so on and so forth. But if as you leave... Live your life, the come they you nourish the compulsions of desire and aversion by thinking and acting and speaking, then they are going to remain strong and even become stronger.

And they are supported by and before the ignorance that you're trying to overcome. So you can be a wonderful theo irritation of the dha. And still be a an indulge self with little regard for others and only really creating the circumstances for your own continued dissatisfaction and suffering. Is that? Yeah. So is said about experience if you're experiencing Virtue as opposed to experiencing all the experiences of non virtue. If you're experiencing Vi, you have more of a a gap or set you have more of a sense of what it feels like to not be attached to not be avert, which eventually will build up into more loan awareness of self.

Yes. And the practice in Virtue, with practice of virtue itself is infect if all you're doing is following rules. You know, if you have this idea that... Well, stealing is a bad thing. I shouldn't do it. And it makes bad karma. And I'm gonna suffer because of that. So therefore I won't steel. And all you do is you go through your life following this rule. It's not gonna have much effect. I mean, it will have a beneficial effect because somebody who doesn't go around taking things from others, will lead more respected and treated better.

So I will have a beneficial result, but it won't have any profound spiritual effect The way to use virtue already use a pre is the successful application of pre isn't by not doing what your what is pros prescribed, like, not doing what you're not supposed to do. If that's all that you do is not do the things that the preset say you're not supposed to. It will only have that minimal effect. It is... Looking at each situation where the inclination to do something arises. And seeing that it is rooted in desired inversion and seeing that the desire version is rooted into the attachment to the idea that things really are the way your mind suggests that they are and that you really are a separate self.

Whose action plan is to try to gather as much pleasant experience and avoid as much as possible. So every exercise of virtue is an opportunity to examine intros, what is happening in my mind? Why would I deem find to do this thing that is prescribed? What what drives me to have the urge to do it? And that that's the practice of mindfulness that weekends the compulsions of desire and inversion and begins to reveal the and delusional nature of our attachment to things and cell. So virtue itself is out of an extremely powerful practice, but it it fits together.

Everything in in in the Buddhist dha fits together with everything else. If you go through any part of it, you know, you find that keeps making little circles back on itself and it keeps connecting one part of the diamond to the other over and over again. So virtue isn't something by itself. To practice virtue is to use to examine what your motivations are. And to discover what the results are of letting go of that motivation. You have the temptation to do something. The desire i could do something.

You see that it is in a conflict with but pre up. The real practice that virtue comes when you confront the fact that, okay, the pre is telling me that there's a problem with this. It's not just a question of me suppressing the desires the question seeing what the relationship was is the the pre is just a pointer. And so what you have to do is to look at what's being pointed at. Behavior. Where is it coming from? Whether it's cons. And and that's the factor so virtue. And we can we... On the surface idea if you're following the rules and so far as you can fool yourself into thinking that you are a good person.

Mh. Because you've done all these things and then that were sometimes self righteousness Right from. And they're not not even based in the buddhist ideas that you had just described. Mh. It's a a purely certain thing. Yes. Well, that is a that's a really important point. Because yes. The practice, the true practice of Virtue leads towards decreasing self attachment. But false practice of virtue leads to self righteous center and a greater attachment to cell. I've also noticed that, you know, I I feel good.

I do something for somebody. Okay. If I'm just, you know, if I'm not looking into the whole thing, it it's it's because then in in that case, I'm I'm attached myself as as a cell. It's that I want to be a good self. No no. I want to be a good cell because it doesn't feel good to feel like a bad cell. Right still feeling like so. So you know, that's part of the subtlety of your thing. Mh. What about that idea of getting attached to, you know, being good? And jacob good case. You know, we I know we having an incredible conversation with Ellen Cha about that.

But, you know, dolls ourselves and that kind of know, that's make people really happy. Mh. You know, we're like, let's knock myself out so someone, you know, fake breakfast. You And then being really attached to... Oh, that's fabulous. Like I can see that. So Yeah. It's well, it's it it's it's like so many things, you you can be doing all the right things. But if if you turn it into a foreign with legal attachment and You know, it it it doesn't destroy everything, but it takes away it it does take away and and what it takes.

Way is extremely important know. But there is... One are the things that we haven't talked about? Very much is what's call... It's a really important practice called the ford design mode. Or defined abiding. And those are loving kindness. The first one compassion is a second. Sympathetic joy is a third, which is what we're talking about here. And the fourth is act. So with the third is though was when we are taking when when we are experiencing joy because we are contributing to the happiness and well of others.

And whenever we see somebody else, who is happy and doing the well, doing well, and we allow our ourselves to share in that joy and happiness access practice of sympathetic joy. It's a very powerful practice. The kind flaw that you're talking about is when you're doing that, and then you take yourself out of the joy that arises because of the well name of others, and you that become self centered and you take credit, you know, Oh I'm so good. Look what i did. But that is a different thing. And if you're doing this practice, then what you have to do is remember that you you are taking the the joy and happiness and well of others as the source of your oh joy.

So if you're taking joy in the sense of, oh, how great I am that you're not doing that, where you stop doing the practice. And you slipped into into self. But the other thing too with all of these things, is that we start where we are. And it would be it would be silly to think that being a self attached being, you can go and start doing things to benefit others without having that thought arise, without saying oh, good for me. Because you're going to. And that's why. What's what's important is that when you do that, you know what you're doing.

If you do it, and you don't know what you're doing. Then both thoughts are reinforcing your your yourself delusion. But to the degree that you have mindfulness and say, oh, there i am. You know, patti myself on the back and taking credit. You know, and you know, then, you you're just practicing mine awareness of. Okay. Yep. That... That's what the buying tends to do. I been dang that all my light. But that's not really what this is about. Let me get back to doing for the sake of others. And then at that.

And then every every time you've catch yourself at it, you're actually doing part of the word to to undo that. And every time every time you do that, and you don't catch yourself that it, well, you know, You haven't been quite as effective as as you could in. Also seems to be one of the ways doing things for other people and in and feeling good about it is one of the ways that we psychologically overcome me the feeling that most people have not being worthy Mh. Not being good not so we like the feeling of being worthy and good enough.

So we do things like that. Then then comes the Eagle catch where... I mean, it's it it's just so wonderful. To... To be see see that how this works is you know, for me, I I just... Moment I feel like and so far down the ladder. Anyway, thank you. That need this really wonderful discussion. I'll just point out to you that whenever you see yourself as being far down the ladder. It means you're higher up on the ladder than you used to be. What if you don't experience that, though? It may have had something to do with the way I was brought up.

I have ego. Mh. My father taught me always to be kind in compassionate loving to people what and if you can help someone to do it. And I never thought about it. I just always did it. I never thought that I was a good person or anything like that. I just... Thought was what I essential for me to do. Mh. I didn't think about it. That's very good. Yeah. Dad was a good man. Mh. We think it's why you're saying here right now. Yeah. I It's one of the reasons we use have appeal to me so much. It's kind of all the concepts and pre i was brought up in it kind of offhand kind way.

I mean, my dad didn't try and teach me this. Mh it was it was by exam. Mh. He taught me always to stand up for people if I could and to hear about the care about people. Yeah. More than about stuff. And my husband was kind of funny because he said the difference between me and him was that... He's for self center. That he what. He's very self centered. Self centric. And he said the difference for you use, you're your other center. Mh. No. I guess it's just never thought about me. K. Well, it sounds like your your father had was born with a lot of wisdom or somewhere along the way he acquired it and passed it along to you.

It's really good. Hope so perhaps. Yeah. And do you have a lot of confidence in in yourself? Call confidence. Let's put it this look at the other side. Really d. One of the problems that a lot of people have is they have this sense of of somehow being in inadequate. Not deserving, not good. No. I've never felt like I was i had to quit him not to surgery. Mh. Right. I think that I think that goes along with being a person who who is capable of of caring for other people and capable of of giving was out a lot of self attachment.

Yeah. I guess, like you said Just my dad was like that. And I love my dad very much. It was very close. What we see very often. If you see somebody else, this is good to keep in mind when we start judging somebody else and say, oh, they're so selfish, you know, just trying to make them feel better about themselves. Gonna ask yourself, why do they have this need to feel better about themselves? What's wrong with the way they've been feeling about themselves. And then you realize that okay. Yeah. This person is this person is suffering because somehow or other and the course of.

They're lie, There's a lack of self esteem. There's a lack of self acceptance. There's a feel. There's an emptiness and it feel like they need to fill that empty assembly. And so then that's where the selfish comes on. They're always trying to to take care... Anything and everything and somehow turn it back to fill that emptiness and to make grab injured sense of self field feel better and more old. So that's what I was getting at asking of the question I do is if you don't have that, then that's a really that's a really good sign that that, you know, the self is an illusion, but there's healthy illusions and there's not so healthy other relationships.

And we we need to have a sense of so. And this as beings, you know, if our mind isn't able to to generate the concept of so and we're not able to function. But a healthy cell is one that that does its job, but doesn't leave us with a lot of sense of unfulfilled need that needs to be taken care of and taking care of and ways it off and really a host. I think a lot of people really, unfortunately if they don't if they don't have a strong, healthy ego. Often, one of the kinds of things they do to try to make themselves feel better about so is to tear other people down, criticize other people.

You know, so that they can look better by comparison, but they amount of damage it does is is annoyed. It's basically if if you're doing it to people who are vulnerable to children, things like that. And you, you know, it's a very destructive thing. Mh. Then they grow up to the people who don't have strong healthy egos and they're very vulnerable to falling into the same. Same chatbot, but same thing that led them to be where they are. That's my life. Is that you're like? It's a lot of people's life.

As a matter of fact, I say it's most people's life, but there's different degrees of, you know, how... How serious it is and how how badly it's effective down, but That's most people's lives. And you even see, you know, right now, there's a lot of concern about bullying and schools. Something's always been around, but why does somebody bully other people? Or or why do a group of children when a new child arrives all gang up and and makes a new child feel in inadequate. It's coming from their own.

Their own sensitive inadequate adequate medical and their own inclination to jump on any opportunity to make themselves feel better. So if they can stand beside the bully while we believe attack somebody else, then they feel better. And it's a really sad reflection on how we raise children if they do that. My ex husband was a bully and he was a bully because he was void. Because he was bullied. Yeah. And also in happy home and so, you know. So he was going pretty severely then he people. But then he felt Guilty had later in life and try to make some reparations.

What they do in prisons same thing, it's tracing. I I think has been around probably forever Mh. Alright. Think what I noticed this you waiting out was recently. I it's gotten worse. And you're taking it to extremes, what you doing to these four children? Yes. I agree. That's it's one of many signs that we see all around us that the on hold aspects of kind of human society I guess, when there's more people putting more densely together in these situations if they just the the severity of the problems I create is gets amplified.

So that negative energy, though, that's all you know, or negativity that's all around everywhere. I mean, the only thing you can do was practice virtue. I mean, what what is the solution? I can't see any other solution don't see any political we see virtue solution. So, you know, one person is competed to get completed against repeated best you we say was, you know, they start to compete. They don't cooperate. So they like, we can cooperate and change things. You know, to be positive virtue around.

And and every time. Each one of us that goes out there with a little bit of wisdom and behaves definitely, it creates some positive energy to counteract some of the negative energy. Just need a whole lot more of that happen. You don't have to preach your prose ties? No. Let your life your. That's right. I had these little creatures I was tutoring last year, these little bird grade girls. Just little but they all had troubles and so forth. You know, they're all... Probably be in the emotionally troubled class or, you know, which is probably why they in my children group.

And they... Well, they all had things. One of them was third grade, she's already anger management classes. And I had been wondering because she would her mood seemed to shift radically. You know, like, she could be very happy and then she was extremely angry and and so forth, but I would just sit with her. You know, I just knew that she was used to someone getting mad at her So she would like, throw the pencils in my face great funny. Really I would just sit it there and I would just look at her and she would actually make me laugh, and I they're life things first finally at her and she's like it would really make her mad and then she'd start laughing and then both over you know.

Just I couldn't get mad she was too funny. She miss this little creature just... People realized someone tv. Should a different hit space you're watching you really. Oh goodness. Funny. Those little girls. Anyway, probably best thing remember me do. I mean, for her... People was, like... It she wasn't used. She wasn't she was used to somebody to get reactive with her. You know, and those few minutes at least i wasn't reactive, You know, i was the just flat How how good it would be for her to be around.

Something like you a whole lot more, it might totally change the way that she reacts. Good the... Yeah. Whatever she's going letting going through or yeah. She can come to the point of laughing then. That's the solution. It's very hard to break on patterns stuff. It is. It's hard. It takes... It does take time. And we should always be aware of hoping for magical solutions. Everything's interconnected and So you've you've gotta give a chance or all those interconnection to to we worked through before you can expect to resolve.

I I think the the idea of magical solutions and the wish we're thinking we have, if you examine it, It's fundamental premise is that there is separate right and interconnectedness. And so if there is something that can be done, which is separate and has so much power that it can alter something else. That is also separate enough that it allows that alteration to take effect. Hello? Staying nick? When we look... The the idea of magic is the simple solution, that anything from a spell to an or behaving in a particular race or the idea that if you wanna get a rich give money to other people, all these magical views, they're all pre suppose all these separated isolated entities, which can interact with each other.

If you think of everything is being interconnected, you realize that that doing one thing or one process or one activity. Is going to interact with everything, but it's not gonna take it's not going to produce some immediate and for profound result in something else at because everything's interconnected and the effects that has have tubes they have to work their way through all the interconnection to produce the kind of results that. You don't get one single result from anything. Yeah. That's right.

You don't get one single result from... That's a very good way to put it. But I wish I thought to say at that daily. But... Yeah. You don't get one single result the from one thing that you do. Like, that simplistic view karma you do this and this happens. Yeah. Right. That idea of karma could only work in a world as completely separate. Thanks. Mh.

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