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Culadasa: [00:00:00] What's on your mind?
Student: I have a place in the Buddhist square. We say in the beginning, that is the four continents mentioned. And I asked several people since so far. I understand that we are living in the south for human wages in the south. It's a privilege, but I have no clue where this worldview comes from.
Culadasa: And what the other three continents. Could you please?
Oh, gee, I don't know if I know the details. And it comes from in Hindu mythology that the century of the world is not Meru and that on before there's a continent on each in each of the directions and yes, you're right. This world is supposedly in the south, but I don't really remember the details of the rest of it.
It is a beautiful kind of yeah. In terms of the way I think of it in terms of that prayer is it's referring to the two, it's all referred to this world with all of its variations, its majesty, its beauty, as
Culadasa: But by extension to the whole universe, to the known universe, which really is what the great mountain done, the four continents refers to, the whole known universe.
So could you turn that loudspeaker on for me? Because that was just an on, off switch. I think it's not a, it's just a flip switches. Oh good. Thanks
Culadasa: Maybe there's somebody else here to say anybody else here, you happened to know the classical Hindu description of the other three continents that surround that neighbor.
One thing you have the Buddhism started from the Buddha himself. No hesitation to borrow all of the existing mythologies and religious paradigms and put them to another use.
So what else does anybody else find anything else on
Culadasa: got empty minds.
Student: I was wondering if there were any images that you think would be useful or needed, not some bespoke how's your
Culadasa: damages that would be not so useful or would be useful?
I'm not sure the context of what you mean,
Student: spontaneously, sometimes I'd have
Student: image of something that will help me stay focused and I'll stay with it for awhile.
And, it could be anything, it could be like light Jenner thing from my heart or something. And sometimes I wonder maybe this is not really a good thing, or I don't know, I've never studied much about Manchester or images or different techniques like that, that you
Culadasa: So the question is about images that arise in meditation spontaneously, and sometimes they can, it seems like they're helpful in helping you to remain focused.
But the question really is is that a good thing to do or not? Are there some images that are good and some that are not good and so forth, or should you stay
Student: with your breath instead? Yeah.
What you want.
Culadasa: To ultimately achieve is the ability to stay with whatever you choose graft or anything else but images that arise.
And if there's strong images and if they draw the attention, there's nothing wrong with deliberately taking that image as an object for a period of time. That's part of our, just the whole general principle that we can apply to thoughts and pain and emotion and all kinds of sayings that if it's not strong enough to draw your attention away from the meditation object, then you can always take that object for a little while as meditation objects.
So in that regard, there's nothing wrong with doing that. When an image comes up, that is [00:05:00] particularly powerful. But it wouldn't be a good idea to allow the mind, to get in the habit of producing an interesting image. Whenever there's a feeling of restlessness or meditation seem to be boring or something, but outside of that would be fine.
Now in terms of, are there some images that are good to dwell on and some that are not so good to draw on?
It was done. I think that goes without saying that there's, there are images that kind of rise in your mind that are not inherently wholesome in terms of the emotions that they elicit or the sources that they came from.
And especially to dwell on those images and such people way exhibit reinforced those emotions or those mental states, what would not be a good idea at all? On the other hand, powerful images can arise that are of a disturbing nature and first draw the attention away from the meditation object. And when that happens, of course often the best thing to do is to contemplate that image for some period of time, but to do it in a very objective way, for most in your mind is the recognition that this is a product of the mind, a rising somehow out of all of the different experiences that you have accumulated, which, includes things.
You've read movies, you've seen, the sources are endless and recognizing also
Culadasa: What kinds of motivations, what kinds of emotions that are listed as what kind of motivations underlying it and so forth. So then you'd pin, you can still, you can examine an image like that might be disturbing might involve violence for an expression of angle
or some something else like that. But you can look at it in an objective way with mindful awareness and in a way that's not really that the resume reinforcing whatever the unwholesome connotations of it are that reinforces the mindful awareness of this has just been more of a permanent result.
I've learned that you don't need to react to her attached to it now. But as far as positive images that arise and and do attract the attention even there,
To maintain that degree of objectivity so that it doesn't become really a distraction, it just becomes a new meditation object and you bring the full the fullness of your mindful awareness to that.
Recognizing that it's nature in the same way as we just described for the impulsive,
there is there's a part of a process when your concentration becomes good that the mind becomes calm, handy. We'll start to have a lot of images. Sometimes sometimes the imagery is associated with memories or past events. Sometimes it's not related to anything that you can ever recall having experience it can be associated with strong emotions or otherwise, and this is best regarded and understood to be a process.
Culadasa: images or thoughts or feelings are actually that type of activity is always going on beneath the surface of your conscious awareness. Subconscious mental processing of experiences is ongoing. And when within this sphere of conscious awareness, you're preoccupied with the vulnerable contents of the minds, and you're not aware of those.
And they remain that need surfaced. They do come out sometimes and drainage or other sorts of situations and often, and the reason is purification is that they're very often reflections of unresolved inner conflicts or past circumstances that they're thing. They're part of the stuff that you became mutilated that hasn't really been resolved unaccepted, and it's still floating around there.
And it's actually still influencing you in ways that you are not aware of in your daily life. And. All of our wider meditation space, then this starter stuff comes up to the surface and whatever it [00:10:00] does keep in mind that for it's arising into awareness to accomplish a purification whatever it is that has kept that thing going in your subconscious for the, for it to be a purification, you have to be willing to look at it and accept it.
And as you say sometimes, and to be quite honest or far coffin, the things that come up will be disturbing, be frightening. They can bring up fear different times they can bring up other negative emotions. That can, they can involve memories of things that actually happened, or you might not know what they read your depth, but you can definitely, you will definitely be aware of their emotional content and the, and of the kinds of reactions that the images themselves elicit in the immediate moment.
And so when that happens, keep in mind that this is an opportunity to just examine something from a place of acronymity and acceptance. And if you can come into that place of acceptance with it, that it can, and that way you can become terrified of it become free of the influences that it does, how.
Do you find yourself meditating and you have violent gory images arising in your mind or sex scenes or sexual debauchery or, whatever else it is just don't get upset and say, what's wrong with NACE? Say, oh good. I know that was hiding in the closet. Now this is the chance. That's a chance to have a look at it, write it down.
Culadasa: although there's stuff you need to become purified, it was also stuff that when it comes up really helps to open you up to a greater appreciation of being a conscious space in this world surrounded by other consciousnesses of the same story. So sometimes the things that kind of not, we'll be we'll be things that bring you into that space of appreciation of beauty or,
Or love or kindness.
And sometimes they can help you to examine and to come to a place of clarity with some of the conflicting things. There's a lot of pass us life and there is a certain pleasure associated with with emotional plane. We the Greeks created the tragic sea at her as an opportunity for Kasasa.
So that I identifying with the characters and the drama and their conflicts and their suffering and their grief and their loss and so forth that the audience and this was very deliberate, that the audience would undergo a cathartic experience and achieve relief. And of course after historical events of trauma, defeats him bored, things like this, then the the rights would, will generate plays that were designed to, to bring about a catharsis of the the emotions that were in gender.
So in a sense, your. Can I play the same role as the, as a pretty plagiarized or really, I think what might be better to say is that the the Greeks recognize, and we continue to recognize the value of emotional catharsis country and Western songs or
heartbreak hotel at all.
But the other thing about it too, is that
Culadasa: by opening ourselves up to both the beautiful and the painful sides of human existence we become a different kind of person and we're able to connect with other people in a way that. We've already been doing, that'd be Ross. So all of these things are very beneficial parts of the meditative process.
It really does purify your psyche has some wonderful lives and helps to bring you to that place where
Student: you can be
Culadasa: a happier, [00:15:00] more loving person, more resilient being in the present and accepting whatever happens to come your way,
And much more easy, much more easily and freely. And that's where we want to come
I think it's
Culadasa: interesting that you mentioned contributing.
He used to like country music,
Still the salmon sometimes as I get into not just country music, love songs or songs. Yes. When I really listened to them now, when I hear the words, they all go to create or reinforce an illusion of what love is, that's a very, I think, unhealthy, disturbed perspective.
That's true. Thank you. Yes, because you know that's the.
We suffer because the illusions that we create and the attachments that we create around those illusions and because of the have, because they are illusions, they can never be sustained. They're there, they're always there. They're impermanence. They're not real. They're, sooner or later they fall apart.
And Reed Springs is suffering. I'm not really interested in listening to broken-hearted love songs, all these sorts of things, because it's hit makes it so obvious how it is that we create are suffering.
And I enjoy saying it's like the Here's there's a lot of variation, but sometimes the music itself can be extremely evocative of the kinds of emotions that are associated with. What's been described in the narrative of the words. And also in some cases, the words themselves can be profoundly the way.
There are some extremely poetic broken-hearted love songs and the country music genre, but then there's also Leonard Cohen, who was an incredible, and it's wonderful to have that experience of listening to the song that is showing you and the most beautiful way, how it is that we human beings clinking as we do to art allusions create our own suffering and.
Yeah, it just makes me feel so much compassion and love and
No desire to put myself in those situations setting apart.
That's why they bothered me. I've done that and gone there and done that.
Student: Yeah. But if you get really wise and experienced and then if you could
Culadasa: still enjoy all that illusion without getting attached, that there's expectations attached to it. So you would
Student: do all that totally passionate. And
Culadasa: then if it goes and the impermanence shows up, you are moving on totally unharmed and not
Okay. That's what.
Culadasa: But as, as of fully enlightened being, you have to have a really good reason to enter into a lot of these kinds of situations
and something. And the reason, the only reason could be that it was somehow a compassionate act for the benefit of others. Because as as being, you're not going to be entering into this situation for the sake of the transient pleasure or Groucho, or for the passion that they may give rise to practice, those are pretty much irrelevant then.
Yeah, that's an interesting topic. That is the different kinds of happiness at different. We I don't know if anybody else in here saw it, but last night on Katie, the PBS station, there was a two hour program on happiness. I think the name of it was[00:20:00] give some emotional life. Is that what it was this emotional
Student: and it's also available.
If you go to this emotional life that, or see all three of the two hour segments online, what I was mentioning, you just can't do with aggregate that you have to sit down and being, in a two hour stretch, watch the episode. You can't seem to
Student: but it's there in its entirety. Pretty wonderful.
Culadasa: I'd say it's an interesting series. I just saw the one last night.
Student: It's the first episode. And the second one is a negative sense of fear, anxiety, anger.
Culadasa: It certainly got me thinking about, I think a lot about what happiness is and anyway, but got me thinking about this. Just how obvious it is, the different kinds of happiness that you see in people that's some of which was portrayed there. There's a sort of a Finch, real brittle kind of happiness that you'll see in somebody when they're Filled with drive and ambition and they have dreams and they're experiencing their own power and success.
And it seems to them, they're really caught up on it. And that's the only way I can describe it is the same, it seems to brittle because, even as I see the person and listen to them, speaking to me, it's this is going to shatter. I don't know when, but this is just going to explode in your face.
This know that it is, add the shrillness, it's the kind of energy that it has to, it's a shrill kind of energy. And if you compare that with that quiet serene sort of give Porter-Cable happiness to that, Somebody has that. And it's, it comes from inside and nothing's going to shake it.
It's it has that solidity. And it just instead of shrill, it just slowly vibrates outwardly and you can feel it counting in front of them and that people around that have that kind of really solid yeah. Entered happiness that other people feel it too. Yeah. Cuffs to relax them.
I don't see that as happiness. I see that as joy. Jewelry being an internal process, as being an external that's an interesting thing. How have you, how you, which words you use to define these things, but yes, there are different what, we're, what we use these different words for.
Is to try to discriminate different different aspects of, so you have identified that there is a kind of natural pleasure that comes from outside and you label that happiness. And there's a kind of natural pleasure that comes from his side. And he was like, sure. There are a lot of other words, ways we might use the word happiness and joy.
But we wouldn't be disagreeing with that because I think everybody, no matter how they use the words would agree that there is a kind of multiple closure that is dependent upon external factors. And then there's a kind of natural pleasure that is the independent external factors. Now that's a very in order to.
Discovered how to be happy people. And especially if we hold the wish for other bigs to be happy, we need to understand those kinds of differences. Because of course, if you have the wish that all beings be happy and that you would like, and your daily life to, and whatever situation you find yourself to be able, and somewhere who knows to contribute to the happiness of other people, you much prefer to be able to direct them towards discovering the true happiness or what you'd call joy that has sourced from within rather than then.
Ultimately furthering their dependence upon external sources of happiness, which isn't to say that you shouldn't still do those external things that make somebody else happy, because there's a place for that. But in the doing of it, if you have, if you can understand it, and if you've learned through exploring your own happiness the difference than the important thing to do is to be able to offer other people more than just that very transitory, superficial [00:25:00] happiness that is dependent on external things.
It's also important to learn and to, for it, to become a part of your normal understanding of experience that in fact, there is nothing outside of you that can give you mental fight. The idea that you can obtain any happiness from outside of yourself. He is in illusion.
Student: Instead. What,
Culadasa: when that seems to be happening is what we're doing.
We have all have the ability, our own minds generate that state of mental pleasure that we call happiness. That is its source. But if we have the habit of only allowing our minds to generate or only knowing that our minds can generate that state, when certain kinds of external things arise, you know them, it's not that those external things are actually causing happiness, but they're not the source that we're playing this gigantic hoax on ourself by convincing ourselves that, if I had.
This money or these new clothes or this, a slice of cheesecake or this new partner or letter that I'm going to be happy. And if if this happens to me or that person doesn't like me or if the boss doesn't assign me to the project that I want, I'm going to be unhappy. But what we're doing is repeating the standard construct, pulling our own strings and not even realizing it saying I'm only going to let myself be happy if these things happen and I'm going to make myself unhappy if these things now.
So underneath, underneath it all at the first level is learning to discriminate between happiness depend on external things and happiness, but the, when you go to the next level, you realize they really all will happiness. The couch.
Learning the rules by which that kind of spouse.
One of the things that was mentioned in that program last night was how much our happiness is dependent upon other
Student: human beings
Culadasa: and on the happiness of people around us. And I was reminded by that something that often comes to my mind, which was that wasn't Buddha was asked what the role of good companions played in the life of the Dharma. He said, good companions is the assets,
Student: Alcohol leeway and.
And it really is
Culadasa: true. And then Shanti Deva said that the because of all the happiness in the world is people trying to make, do people happy and it caused all the suffering as the world. There's people trying to make clear, sell happy.
So now, if you really want to be happy, what do you do? You're trying to make everybody else around you happy and it'll work. It'll work in a lot of different ways they were working and all of the different ways.
Culadasa: Because. As we all know, we can go to so much trouble trying to make ourselves tacky, like always sacrifices in the present for future gratification.
Give it up today so that you can have even more tomorrow or do you put all this time and this energy and this planning into something, and then it actually, you actually get it and it's a down or even if it's not that much of a let down, you get it. And as soon as you get it, it's already going away, but you put the same amount of time and energy and effort.
You have to try and make those around you about happy. And what's going to happen is you are going to feel happy and satisfied. Not only that the happiness and satisfaction you feel isn't going to be. Engaged by some sort of barometer of how well it turned out compared to there's much less attachment when you're trying to do something for somebody else.
If they're [00:30:00] ecstatically, overjoyed, vast grade. But if they're just mildly pleased, it's still, it's good for your point, if you're right. But then the other part of it is as it's like this investment, with a 40% annual return, it's like, what's that guy's maintenance took everybody's money last year.
Bernie Madoff, Bernie maybe. Yeah. It's not the Bernie made off of happiness. You invest your time and energy in making those around you and happy. And that just because they're happier, you're happy, but then they start doing things to help keep you happy. It's it's like a burning bait off.
Yeah. Yeah. Just keep collecting. Yeah.
Culadasa: are putting, we are all interconnected in so many ways. Our happiness is dependent upon each other's happiness
Student: and our
Culadasa: sorrow is always the sorrow of the lovely separate day.
And when we can transcend that, then we are liberated from
Student: that kind of sorrow.
Culadasa: When we realize.
The illusion of separateness. And it's not that easy to see through, is it, this body is not really seven from this universe, this world.
And know where it is at. That's easy enough to see, but it does seem like a locked up here. And there's this separate private.
Yeah. Cause that's a little bit harder to see, but not so much if he's
Student: went about it,
Culadasa: If you have followed me over the last few months and the things that are talked about, you've come to see
Culadasa: You happen to be in any given moment, whatever you happen to experience in any given moment
Culadasa: the result of your accumulated experience and the accumulated conditioning of your mind sees that. That's true.
Culadasa: if you look at where that comes
Student: from, you will
Culadasa: realize that it's not some private isolated process that the conditioning that makes you be what you are any more than that, because it is it's true that we were creating the world we live in our own mind. And we're experiencing it as though we're this separate self.
But if we look at what its origin, sorry. The source of it's conditioning it's coming from all of our interactions with everyone else. We're all mutually interdependent your ideas how, the way things should, and shouldn't be of what's right and wrong of what is real and not real of the nature of sayings.
You didn't create that all yourself from the time that you were born. You have been a joint product of to. Hunter and I have a joint product of all of humanity through our history, because especially nowadays, because we're not free of the influences of of different cultures, where we were influenced by all of them that came relatives, history.
But this was all passed to you in one form or another, as you develop. And as you grew and pass through the stages of your life right up to this Kerry, Melvin, so the self, but you are is just as much an integrated product of all of these other human beings as your body is is a transient collection of parts of this physical universe.
And so the closer we look, no matter how we. The more, we realize that the phenomenon that we are, [00:35:00] what you are in this moment is not a separate thing. You're not separate from anything else, either in the mental or the physical realms, but rather you are answered real part. The psychophysical entity that you are in this present moment, they be a rather circumspect manifestation of that hole, but it doesn't remain separate for a single instant because you're constantly being transformed and you're constantly being transformed in your interaction with something that is far larger than the subpoena.
Separate deem that you imagine that you are, but it's our attachment to the separateness that makes us suffer because it is this self. It is an individual self that suffers.
it is. It
Culadasa: is the psychophysical entity that transcends it's isolated itself. That experiences true happiness.
Student: When you overcome
Culadasa: that separation, now you overcome that mind imposed isolation. Then you open up the way for a much more profound. For your mind to recognize a reality and to generate a much more profound state of happiness that comes from recognizing that you are part a perfect part of a perfect hole, rather than a suffering separate self.
That's been poorly done by part of the world.
Hey Jay, here. We're all the same person.
Culadasa: number one. No. But.
Okay. There's not one of us. You're not even us. There's three of us whose
Culadasa: but this is how we become that person that we want to be. It's probably knowing these facts, recognizing like what
all my attempts to be separate and to become happy by being separate or doomed
Student: to fame.
Culadasa: So therefore I need a whole new action.
Student: And that
Culadasa: can seem pretty problematic, right? Right off the top there's is it obvious to you what the action plan should be
Student: to be
Culadasa: perfect to be to me? Just to be the best way to start,
Student: but then how
Culadasa: do you carry that as a priority in all of your, all of the interactions in your life that have been making you happy or unhappy up to now, or that that you've seen to need to do to make yourself happy?
Have how do you translate just being.
Staying in the presence, I'll say gastrocs. Yeah, that's a really good, that's what I meant by being good things. Things I get stuck in. It makes me unhappy are the things in the past that I regret or that I do L on or that I revisit with that resolution or the things of the future that I want, that I don't have, or that I'm afraid I will have that I don't
Culadasa: when I'm in the, now everything's fine. This moment, there is absolutely nothing wrong. That's that strategy stay and stay in the, now that's been really an important part of it. Yeah.
[00:40:00] Does staying in the now by itself, give you the guidelines for how to behave and react. Somebody else wants to say, so let's see
Student: such a small thing. There are actions. Here you are, you're being nothing's fraud. And like maybe I owned a restaurant and I put my bag on the table that I want to sit back because it sounds really nice cozy booze on the bottom.
I felt my, not my tourist course. I put this right there. I go up to order my food and I come back and there's a couple of who I've actually seen going into the restaurant in front of me. I looked at them and they were going in. I thought, isn't this cute suffer at four 30? Just not usually a timeline.
This is mindset looks like me. And love is question that comes at all. So I jumped back to my table, so then I'm singing it and they're sitting there or they're holding in to sit there and they said, but this is where we're sitting. I say, yeah, I started out by being very separate, I say, yeah, but I've got this here.
And then I just looked up and said, fine, she's sitting here. It's fine. And I felt so happy. I really felt
Student: And they were just writing from ear to ear.
It was simple, but it, in a way, it wasn't, it's letting.
Culadasa: At Ben, it was really good that you could let go, but you see the problem is that we can understand, I said yes, the answer is just to be fully in the present and to be here. But then the situation arises and you have emotions, but you were able to let go.
What about when they can't let go of them? Or how do you get to the place of being able to let go of them?
Student: Yeah. And it's not it's not always bad not
Culadasa: to let go. Sometimes the action you need to cut to something, you cannot
Student: go. You have to move through it.
Culadasa: There's an awful lot of different kinds of situations that we can find ourselves in a lot of different kinds of difficulties.
So yeah, what we, part of re recognizing this is what we are at him.
Student: If we
Culadasa: were an autonomous self. And we had control over our minds and our emotions. Then it might be enough to be given a simple answer. Can Dan aha. Now I, you pay the guy 150 bucks. You sit through the self-help seminar and you walk out with all the answers.
Is your life changed?
It's your life? No, God always nice ideas. And but your mind persists and
Student: seeing things
Culadasa: in particular ways and producing particular kinds of reactions. So you're going to have to do something to value. It's not enough just to say, oh, that's all I have to do. How do I get there from here? Sometimes you say something and I, I get an aha and my light does shift well, that spirit, I, of that half of keeps on happening to keep going back.
But my point is
Culadasa: very often we're in the situation where as I put it, we have to get from here to there that we see where we need to do, but how do we get from here to there? And we do that by recognizing that we, what we are in this moment is a result of our past conditioning has there. What we do in this moment, every single moment is creating the conditions for who and what we are.
Every thought that you have you never be able to guess the future possible ramifications of any thought that you have, but every thought that you have does paragraph notifications and its motion, direct ramifications are going to be on your mind and who you will be. Axon, particular involvement.
When some particular set of circumstances arises, the person who you're going to be in that moment is going to be partly determined by some thoughts that you're having right now, that you may not even appreciate the significance of your thoughts, your actions, and of course, like a rapidly growing [00:45:00] and branching tree, this expands Your thoughts and intentions in this moment, determine the company you'll be at in the circumstances.
You will find yourself now. And the the things that will happen to you. And so there is this flower and this multiplication of the conditioning affects. So we need to recognize that. And we recognize, I said, okay, if I want to be this kind of person, this happy, loving, compassionate, and light B, how do I get from here to there?
You need to look, you need to recognize the nature of your conditioning and say this is really complicated. I don't even know what the consequences of my actions and thoughts are. How do I go? What to do to make myself into this kind of vein. I don't want to be fat. So he needs, you need some simple, easy to follow and guidelines that you can be really confident of.
You've got to be really certain so that you can trust them.
And that's what we need, but we do have those. We do have those. We talked about some of them obviously keeping in mind Shanti Davis, dictum that about happiness being the result of making other people happy is that's a good example of one of those, but that's really. The purchase of the precepts and the practice of the perfections.
Culadasa: the precepts could be, can be summed up very simply by saying practice. Harmlessness elaborate that just a little bit to make it clearer. Cause no harm to others or to
Culadasa: takes more wisdom to elaborate that further. Okay. Exactly. How do I know when I'm causing harm to others and myself? Don't deliberately injure or destroy other living cream, peach pictures. That's a good place to start. Don't take, what's not free.
Don't engage and sexual or any other sort of intimate emotional misconduct, but it caused suffering to others.
Culadasa: use words in a way that misleads others or causes pain to others, or turns one person against another, or entertains you or others at the expense of someone else. So these things are, they're really reliable guidelines and you can use them, you can apply them and they will lead to.
If trying to apply, those will lead you into the right trends of fats and the right kinds of speech and the right kind of action that will produce the right train of conditioning to make you the kind of person that you want to be. And they seem so simple, don't they? Except when you try to do it's truly operating in that is that conditioning because I see that as not being conditioning, I see our greed and our separateness and our avarice and
Student: being a
Culadasa: result of conditioning.
I, I think when we're operating from a true place of love and peace and caring for everything, including ourselves, that's not a function of conditioning, that's a function of something much more profound. It is a result of it is both mark profound and it is quite high. It is page conditioning.
It there is a causal condition and you see all of
Culadasa: desire or avarice or hatred, or, all of these things.
Culadasa: we are conditioned to behave in these ways. They become habitual and that conditioning arises out of ignorance. It arises out of ignorance, fully ignorant belief and our separateness
Student: to change
Culadasa: bad habits.
We need to cultivate good habits. And we also need to [00:50:00] cultivate the the abandonment of the bad habits, which means we have to recognize the bad habit when the bad habit arises. And so this is all a process of conditioning. So we condition ourselves to recognize the unwholesome behaviors so that we can set ourselves on the track of undoing the negative, the bad conditioning you have the whole set conditioning and beginning to establish some wholesome conditioning.
Culadasa: the wholesome conditioning, it is a conditioning, but it, and it's different. And that it is rooted in wisdom or the absence of ignorance rather than an ignorance is really the wisdom that comes
Culadasa: in the process of getting from here to there. At first, it's very difficult for us
Student: to see.
Culadasa: How we need to behave, how we need to change the way we think to get to where we want to be. So that's why we need some simple principles to follow what's. The precepts are rules of training. They're not divined commandments. They're not dictates about what's right and wrong, but they are clear guidelines as to how to alter the conditioning of your behavior.
And in the beginning there are rules, but they have notes, the innate power of their own. They're not like the commandments of God to perform certain rights and rituals or obey certain rules. And if you do that, maybe we'll be rewarded. And if you fail, it could be that you will be punished rather they are.
Rules of conduct that can be used as tools for a transfer for self-transformation. And they started out as rules and we go through this thing
Something happened and we want to tell somebody about it and the question arises is right. Speech or not. Is this right speech right now?
Student: And then you feel terrible and then, you're getting somewhere. Yeah. You dealt father the slipped and we've had this bad food. Yes. Although
Culadasa: The feeling bad is cut either way
over my head with it. Don't hit yourself forever.
Student: Oh, that was not sympathetic that's
Culadasa: yeah, that's right. And then you move on, but this is how you, and this is how you change yourself. This is how you're transforming yourself to begin with by following the rules. But after a while, as wisdom begins to develop, then it's no longer the rules, but rather the obvious truth that becomes your guideline.
So you no longer following a set of rules, you're acting spontaneously because it's the only reasonable way to act and not just reasonable from the intellectual level, but from the heart book, it's the only reasonable way to act. If you have wisdom is is in a way. We'll correspond to the precepts and will correspond to the practice or the perfection, but at that level, it's to a longer conditioning at that level, it's no longer conditioning at that level.
It's no longer conditioning. That's right. But what you are right now? Maybe not here,
Student: like wildfire
Culadasa: is a vast conditioning which has come about with no deliberate intention or guidelines or set direction. You're just this accidental result of all of these causes and conditions, which, you know.
Okay. Okay. You take where you are and now you, you use that truth, that understanding of what you are to say, okay, I may be no more than a bass accidental conditioning, but I can change that into becoming a mass out of purposeful and intentional and wholesome conditioning pod by way to wisdom.
Student: Absolutely. So when you work on this compare from a tired, knowing more
Culadasa: how something like tough luck comes in when it doesn't look like a gentleness, a gentle kindness you do in an
Student: action, it even does make the
Culadasa: other person or the other person's happy in the moment, [00:55:00] but in the long ended.
So how do
Student: you put that in that concept?
Culadasa: That requires skills. That is bad, what we need that is actually exactly what we mean by the term or the phrase of skillful means.
Student: And the more
Culadasa: wisdom you acquire, the easier it is to act for skillful needs, but also the more thoroughly you condition yourself, all of the basis of these positive guidelines, the more spontaneously you're going to be oriented towards skillful mates.
Okay. So yes sometimes the love is tough love,
Culadasa: you have to get to the place where you can recognize. We have tough love is what is needed, right? You have to get to the place where you can offer tough love when that's what's needed. As a matter of fact, a lot of people that was asked what's needed, but they can't bring them to do it. But then it's easy to make mistakes too.
We can't be judgmental. And when we're judgemental, we can fail to truly understand the other person's circumstances. And we can actually deceive ourselves into thinking that we're practicing tough love, where all we're really doing is acting out our judgment.
And so that's why so much skill has required. And so
Culadasa: Keeping the precepts is a practice and it's not like you are presented with a precept and you say, oh, okay. I understand that it's a process of learning over time, what that means and making a lot of mistakes and failing. There'll be a lot of failures, but both kinds of failures, both the failures of keeping the pre-sale.
Because some other habitual way of behaving as predominated, but there are also the cases in which you deceive yourself about whether you're keeping the priest or not, but that's our right there, mistakes that you obviously need to vape. You need to make those mistakes, but it's a learning process.
You keep learning and keep practicing. You bring your understanding to a deeper level. And then the process, how that you'd become transformed generosity is the first of the six perfections
Culadasa: generosity is giving to others, doing for others and all of the different possible ways that we can give and do for others.
And that's really where tough love would. It's under the perfection of generosity. Can I explain that more? Where that comes in?
Student: Yeah, because
Culadasa: I think what you mean by tough love, the way I understand top law is where you don't necessarily give someone what they want or what they think they do, because you recognize that by doing so actually does some more harm. And so tough love is an act of generosity.
Culadasa: you are not willing to make the inner sacrifice that is necessary to act out of Tufts. There you're on generosity will bring you to continue to give the person to be the enabler, to give the person or do for the person that's saying, which only contributes to their ongoing suffering. So that's the kind of generosity.
Student: Yes. Similarly the idea of getting happiness by contributing to others. So is happiness. How does it fit in with enable people?
Culadasa: That's perfect. Yeah. So how does creating your own happiness by making other people happy? How does that fit in with enabling others and and destructive behaviors, are harmful behaviors.
So very good example, because there are a lot of ways that we can make people happy. [01:00:00] And if we look at it, it bottom
Student: line, anything you do
Culadasa: for somebody else that creates the kind of happiness that bill referred to is what comes from outside. That reinforces in them. The idea that the source of their happiness is from outside themselves is enabling.
Student: Okay. But
Culadasa: to set ourselves in the position of saying that
Student: I'm not going to do
Culadasa: anything. It makes anybody else happy. Cause I'm just enabling their delusion. So to all the people, Buddhists are already happy.
So you lost before you start. So you gotta accept the fact that, okay, I live in a world where everybody is trapped in an illusion to some degree and everybody is suffering some kind of addiction to unwholesome attitudes and behaviors.
Culadasa: You have to think larger scale, you can't think, okay. Right here. Now in this moment shift. Do this, your hands will make somebody happy, or should I not do this? Because it's available. You do have to take a bigger picture. Even somebody dealing with, a loved one that has a problem with drugs or alcohol or something like that, who needs tough love.
Sometimes there's a certain amount of enabling that is going to have to go. There's going to have to take place before you have any hope of putting them in a position where they might change it. You can't, otherwise the advice to everybody who has has a friend or a family member with addiction would be to abandon them remedial. And I suppose in theory, that might cause every single one of them to hit their own personal bottom, just that much sooner and get the help they need it. But it's obviously not the right way.
So there is skill and there is judgment involved.
more than that,
Culadasa: To really help somebody with that kind of a problem. The first thing you have to do is to get clear on yourself in yourself because w we enabled because it's easier than doing what's necessary to be done. So we need to overcome our own resistance because our resistance is what causes to keep.
But at the same time, we become angry and impatient and blame, and we want to lash back at the person because it all suffering that they are causing to ourselves and to other people that we care about. And so we can't really be very effective in practicing tough love until we're coming from a place of compassion for them, rather than giving them some of their just desserts for all of the tribal and suffering that they've caused.
So it's a process of working on ourselves and it's a process of applying wisdom and understanding. And that's also, there's also some difficult decisions along the way, by,
Take for example, an 86 year old woman, who's addicted to narcotic painkillers.
How important is it that she should become to
Culadasa: Okay. That's quite different than an intelligent, attractive 22 year old food is wasting their life because they're addicted to narcotic pain killers
Student: or the
Culadasa: parents of three small children who are totally dependent upon them, who is dependent upon our product painkillers. So there's all kinds of decisions there. It's not an easy thing. So not saying that it's easy, but. Spread as much happiness as we can and do it judiciously, sometimes,
You can't expect there not to be conflicts. Often there will be certain, a certain degree of conflict and uncertainty. We talked one time about, somebody who is always and need [01:05:00] being praised and recognized and things like that. What do you do here? You look at that and you say, that's how I developed these.
But do you help that person by depriving them of a praise and recognition that they created so much?
Student: Not really.
Culadasa: Help that person overcome their fundamental lack of self-esteem and their unhealthy mental attitudes by by catering to their need, to be constantly verbally rewarded. Not really, but similar between those two, you make them happy in the short term and you find a way to help them in the term.
So it makes them happy now to whatever degree is reasonable and you're faithful blood, but you also keep in mind the possibility of making them even happier in the long run. Ideally, we want to help guide interview on, we know to discover the source of true happiness that we become happy frame with him when he'd come happy for transforming ourselves acquiring list.
Culadasa: spreading happiness to others. Does that help?
So this is this is of course, one of those installments and the soul creation project.
You can dig in your process of creating yourself by keeping precepts and by practicing the perfections hand and doing it very diligently, striving for compatibility,
Student: don't get overwhelmed.
Culadasa: Don't expect too much of yourself too soon. I slack off either, try to be as, as impeccable as you can.
And you'll see the transformation as that take by some yourself. I know maybe if you have already experienced profound transformation in yourself since becoming acquainted with this Dharma, and since beginning to practice the elements of the Starla on a regular daily basis, you've seen a huge change in yourself.
I'm pretty sure that you would also say too, that you've seen changes in those around you and changes in your world and your circumstances. And sometimes it's hard
Culadasa: can I, those changes exactly to the work you're doing on yourself, but it's pretty obvious that they're growing in the right, this is how we change our work by changing ourselves, because that's the only thing that we can really do.
All right. How did we catch you from your slippers long enough and your families and so forth? I'll let you go tonight. Thank you very much.
See you next Thursday.