The Mind Illuminated archive

Session 7 – What is Enlightenment and Why Should I Care? – Teaching Retreat January 2010


What Is Enlightenment and Why Should I Care? Session 7

The purpose of the Eastern meditation traditions is to bring us to a completely new way of being, known as Enlightenment, Awakening, or Liberation. What exactly does this mean? And how does this relate to us, living as we do in a 21st century technological society confronted with problems that were unheard of even a generation ago.

Master Culadasa leads this weekend teaching where the methods of meditation practice and their immediate benefits are fit into a larger perspective. He then takes participants beyond the meditative practices to examine their ultimate goal, a goal that often seems hidden somewhere beyond the immediate horizon. The Buddha’s definition of Awakening is explored along with how being an Awakened being manifested both in his own life and in the lives of others who have followed this Path to its end.

 

Here we explore the relevance of this 2500 year old Path to Awakening to ourselves, the practical attainability of its goals, and to come to an understanding of how meditation, concentration, awareness, mindfulness, and Insight that we have been cultivating as a part of our daily practices are woven together to make up this Path.

Play the recording below or right click here to save to your computer. (1 hour 41 minutes)

Note: Upasaka Nandaka is using a tool called Descript to create machine-generated transcriptions of some of the talks on the TMI Archive (at a pace of up to 30 hours of audio a month). The following is one such transcript. If you’d like to help edit them for accuracy and readability, please see this Google Doc for detailed instructions: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YxweiCr1N4YXY3Bn1mTzPBp811hTGolKroJS_RCMqo0/edit. Any editing contribution, no matter how small, is appreciated. Please remove this notice when the transcript has been fully edited.

Culadasa: [00:00:00] This is our last session here. So I don't want anybody to miss out on asking their most important questions. Don't be shy. That's about

question short

task.

The

Student: better

there is this

Culadasa: page 1 96,

Student: there was a

Culadasa: a

Student: venerable.

There with with others inspiring faith and confidence, and he was forefinger bread, shorter list. And when you used to wear a robe of the same measurement

Culadasa: as the sublime was Roman, when the elder beak who saw the venerable Monday coming in the distance,

Student: they mistook

Culadasa: him for the blessed one. And so they rose from their seats.

But when he arrived, they found out their mistakes, they

Student: disapproved and they murmured in protest.

Culadasa: And how can the venerable Nanda, where

Student: a row on the same measurements is the supply month's role. They told the blessed one, he

Culadasa: reviewed the mannerable Nanda, and he made the training rule. Any

Student: V code who should wear

Culadasa: a robe of the measurement of the supply month's road, commencing an offense involving

Student: expiation.

As soon as I read that, Reaction was that the elder beak were wrongly adhering

Culadasa: to ritual. And, but I thought there must be a reason

Student: for this or otherwise it wouldn't have

Culadasa: shown up here. And, I've thought about it since then. I just wonder if you could talk about the the proper

Student: role of ritual

Culadasa: the proper role of ritual. Yes. The role that ritual plays once again, taking into account our nature as human beings. And this is something that I think you all know, and certainly we know by reflecting on behavior, people across all cultures is that rituals and ceremonies have powerful effects.

On our current, our present state of consciousness. And so they can be used as tools to cultivate to deliberately cultivate desirable states of consciousness or altered states of consciousness that can be used in a particular, right. So this would be an appropriate use. The process of bowing to Buddha images and battling to teachers, it could be regarded as a ritual, could be regarded and it is by some people, they, like I said, I'd never do that, but the purpose of ballet is not that you

Student: are

Culadasa: worshiping or, th the purpose is not the effect that.

On the booty damage because it's not having any effect on the Buddha and it's not the effect that it has on the teacher, because it's not only effect it's going to have on the teacher is going to depend on to what degree the teacher is still, attached to their ego. Self-image the importance of balance is the effect that has on the person who does the balance.

It is their inner acknowledgment of the teaching expression of respect and and active, submitting themselves to the teaching and to the value of the teaching. And do you see what I'm saying? All of the troubles are like that, Catholic high mass the value of any ritual is in the effects that has on the person who is carrying out their.

And it can be used in that way in very positive ways. But what is being what falls away to the stream mantra is the superstitious beliefs that we have, that the rituals themselves have some sort of power in and of themselves, some kind of power other than what we do with them, because you could go through, you can go through rituals, mechanically.

And if you believed in the other power of the ritual, you might think that it doesn't matter that, I'm not really developing any inner sense of a feeling and commitment to the portions of the ritual. As long as I perform it outwardly[00:05:00]to, to the right degree, then it's going to have the effect it's supposed to.

And that's a belief in the ritual has some power in itself. Our other power that is being invoked by the ritual. But if you recognize. For example, doing doing preliminaries to your meditation practice, if you do it and you're not fully present, you might as well not have bothered doing it. On the other hand, if you're fully present, if helps you to get into the right frame of mind and to cultivate the right attitudes and to, it has an effect on here and doing it once a day before you meditate is going to have a powerful, cumulative effect, but it's not the power of the ritual itself.

And even rituals can be done externally or they can be done internally. The person is the same power that the true power, that original house, which is the effect that it has on the mind that's performing. The ritual can happen internally as well. There's a lot of attachment to externals. External appearances and that particular Sutra

Student: on

Culadasa: what I see in that, is that there's a certain degree of attachment to external science in there and without analyzing it, going into it.

Probably I'll just assume that they, the elder beakers and the Buddha himself saw a certain advantage for some people and the maintenance of these external signs. So

Student: I also,

Culadasa: if it reminds me of something that I read or heard, and I'm not sure whether it was Jack cornfield,

Student: he was served

Culadasa: in a monastery.

Didn't he? He was talking about. The the ritual about bowing and the hierarchy within the monsters, but he also brought up something that, that that I found very useful and meditation

Student: when and not necessarily only

Culadasa: in meditation, but when the endless bombardment of thoughts come pouring

Student: down on the meditation,

Culadasa: he said I am bound before these thoughts that are coming in and not not try to resist them because of the image I got was rear rabbit and the tar bay, the the more you resist them, more engaged, you become a noun.

And

Student: so that I use

Culadasa: that as a, to to try to deal with.

Student: And

Culadasa: the west side resisted, we

Student: engaged them and they have a chance

Culadasa: to go by. Exactly. That's very good. I liked him analogy that works well. Yeah, that is very good. And what you're saying reminded me of another story that I heard. I don't know whether it was from Jack cornfield or one of the other RMS people, but it's about their experience when they first went in to these first took robes and went into the monastery for a prolonged retreat and what they observed as all the monks at the mealtime, all the knocks with wine.

For the opportunity to wash the feet of the master

Student: and

Culadasa: the person telling the story. I don't know if he's Jack or not, but the first time I started saying how disgusting they found that and they said to themselves, I'm never going to do that. And I guess this went on for a week, but over the course of the week basically they started out with also the sort of resistance, to every part of the teaching that I'm going to take this part.

I'm not gonna take that part. I like that. I don't like that. I don't need to do that. But in the course of the week, they underwent a change, such that by the end of the week, there was one more month lining up to wash the feet in the mask. And this was the whole this was very symbolic of the total surrender to the teaching of giving.

That place of being alive, the ones that's going to judge what's appropriate to do. And what's the pornographer period to do right. Surrendering to the teacher. So it's to get the full benefit of it.

Yeah. That's a nice little note on rites and rituals. They have their place, but it's the superstitious belief in the power of other power.[00:10:00]

Student: Going back to what you talked about earlier today, a little bit, but there's a paragraph in here on your handout on page 16,

about functioning in the world. That paragraph says. Is that there never has been either an actual eye or a constructed sense of I behind any volition or intention. Could you talk about that paragraph a little bit?

Culadasa: Yes, their point that I'm trying to make is we have this feeling that I am making decisions and I am deciding to do

Student: actions.

And

Culadasa: that is an error. That is something that you can experience directly in meditation is that the intentions arise as though by themselves, some, from some mysterious place that is not directly accessible to consciousness. And then you can have the tangible experience. You're sensitive.

I saying, oh, I decided that, appropriating it after the fact that the sensitive eye and the constructed ego, both neither one of the why's behind the intention, rather they appropriate the intention after it has arisen. And this is what's confusing when we first are confronted with the idea that the self, we think we are as an illusion, because well, I'm used to being the one that makes the decisions and decides what I'm going to do.

And, it makes one choice over another and it starts to do one thing and then decides to do something else. And that's why it's actually taking place. And what's really interesting is that this has been demonstrated in the laboratory, with some simple experiments where. Looking at the actual timing of brain activity and the timing at which a person becomes aware that decides that I have consciously decided to do this action and they compare those.

And they find that there that the researcher looking at the electroencephalograph knows before the person does what they're going to decide and when they're going to do it. So what happens is it just exactly, as I said, a part of the brain, a part of the mind that is not conscious has processed the information, come up with the conclusion.

I'm going to do this at this time. And then the conscious awareness doesn't get the message until after it's already been decided, but the conscious awareness thinks it's making the decision. Isn't that amazing? It is astounding. And it's this is something that you find in meditation, you in deep state of mindfulness meditation, watching yourself, especially if you're doing something like walking meditation, but it happens in sitting meditation.

We're always generating attentions, but when you start watching really closely, you see the intention comes up and it comes from nowhere and it emerges into consciousness. And now from within consciousness, it gets appropriated to a self that carries out the action. And I just loved it so much when I saw that this had been demonstrated to happen in the laboratory.

That was a good half, second or more before the person thinks they've decided to do something that some unconscious processes already made the decision at this bears on something else. Where does the decision come from? We have all of this accumulated conditioning, and if that happens, a circumstance would rises.

There's some sensory input comes in, it gets processed by these different parts of the brain. It gets analyzed, it gets interpreted. And then based on past conditioning and past experience unconsciously, but brain says, oh, this is how I should feel about this. And this is kind of action. Should I take, I should take.

And that comes into consciousness. And then that part of ourselves, the I'm making part of ourselves says, oh this happened to me. And I felt like that. And I decided to do this, but it's all an illusion. And that's what I didn't mean when I say that there never has been either an actual eye or even a constructed sense of why [00:15:00] behind any volition or intention, because the constructed sense of I this come after the fact.

Student: It's amazing. Yes,

Culadasa: that's right. Neither, any world-leading or any Buddha has ever acted out of volitional mind-state that had an odd

Student: behind it.

Culadasa: And so you're not giving anything up.

Student: And so often teachers talk about intention and then I guess I'm wondering how that relates over on the proceeding cage. He talks about. There is no mystery about the causes and conditions right after is the application of mindful awareness and a cultivation of intention. And then it goes on.

So

Culadasa: that's right. Yes. So what I'm saying there is that the intention that are going to rise if you tomorrow. Are the ones that are cultivated today and how are they cultivated? They are cultivated by putting yourself in a position to hear the kinds of teachings and to have the kinds of thoughts and to, it's not a, you that's creating those intentions, but in the unfolding process, that is your five aggregates as it accumulates the right experiences by putting yourself in the right circumstances then the conditioning takes place and the intentions develop.

Student: And in this whole process,

Culadasa: we need to talk in terms of I do this, my, I associate with noble companions. I listened to Dharma talks. I reflect on the teacher. I practice mindfulness and everything else. But in another sense that what we could look at it is that that this process that is taking place that tells its own story as being an, I

Student: can create

Culadasa: its destiny through the interaction of its parts. And it does, but there's no, I that's behind it. It's it's a collective process of independent mental processes, interacting with each other and acting together. There is a mental process which will formulate an intention and let's see, and hold on to

Student: it.

Culadasa: And then there's other mental processes, which might disagree with that or formulate different intentions or decide to go along with that intention. But there's no I in there.

Student: And

Culadasa: most of the time when there is any sort of conscious decision making process what's happened, are there different mental processes which have taken the current information and arrived at different conclusions as to what's the appropriate decision to make.

And the end result is going to be it's going to be a combination of. Which one the collective goes along with which one is stronger, or which other mental processes with intentions that either reinforce or negate the others that come not. So for example, somebody says, would you like vanilla ice cream or dog food, instant decision, right?

There's the only mental, all of the mental processes that are involved in any part of that intention generation all agree that, veil, ice cream, not dog food. On the other hand, somebody says, would you like super creamy Hoggin dos that hill ice cream, or I have a low calorie, healthy mango sorbet.

Then you find this actual let me see, be better for me, low cholesterol, and sooner or later, one of them will win out. Yeah. Not because there's two struggling with each other. It's also partly because there's a whole collective of processes going on and eventually you're going to come to a consensus agreement and you're going to act,

you see what anything. Yeah.

Student: I find that being able to get in touch with that is

Culadasa: liberating, very liberating.

Student: And the other thing that, that sort of echoed in my mind as we were discussing that I heard a teacher once talking about all the different Buddhists existed and [00:20:00] said that the Buddha of the future is the song.

And I think that resonates with what you've been saying and just said in a lot of ways that it is a collective energy that we are by removing all of the obstacles and things that you were talking about. There were more available to be.

Culadasa: I love that way of putting it. Yes. The Buddha of the future is good.

Yeah.

Student: And

Culadasa: that kind of reminds me of your question yesterday, Brian, which I don't know whether I adequately addressed or not, yesterday he said I've examined and found there's no self, but I didn't see any particular reason why that means that the no self that I am is a part of a whole.

Yeah. But we don't need to think in absolute terms, certainly in relative terms though, don't you see, you all, don't, you all see that it is so much better to regard yourself. This is all a part of seeing yourself and others and stuff like that, and it doesn't have to be an absolutely.

But in terms of a Buddha in the future, in terms of your own enlightenment, in terms of bringing all beings to enlightenment, the more that you can think less of, I am a separate self. Nia is a separate, so I can never bring all sentient beings to awakening. Oh, defeated. Before I begin, I'm not even going to bother thinking about it, but

Student: if we're all

Culadasa: one and if the whole is moving in that direction, inexorably with a force that is just, cannot be resisted.

If the Buddha of the future is us, then all it, then it's so easy for me to work and the service of that process and make the changes that I need right now to live the kind of life that I need to. So it may not be, in, in some perfect alternate analysis, it doesn't need to be true, but if you can choose to go in that direction, if you can choose to let it be in that way it serves the goal that we've taken it, after all, it's all empty, who are all these sentient beings, any rate whereas the heart Stitcher says, no, this, no the house, no, nothing, nobody be awakened

Student: now,

Culadasa: but it doesn't mean that we stop doing what we do and involvement.

And it doesn't mean that we need to weigh our actions against what we can conceive of as the results.

Student: Can I have one more thing. The other thing that now it's conjuring a little bit is you've referred again and again, to the only thing that is real is change. I want to tackle that one a little bit sure about that one. And I don't, it doesn't really matter, but I was curious about it because what some other people have said is that our true self that we're looking for is there.

So we're just removing things. So I think in the world, and even in our development is that process also of just getting out of the way, going with the flow and that the change is a perception that and also the linear asks. I'm not so clear about or convinced about either that it's a progressive change, that in a linear way, but that, that, that is part of ultimate reality.

Culadasa: Actually, where they said about ultimate reality is I would say repeat the question. Thank you very much. Okay. So it's about change. And you've said that the, that I've said the only thing that's real is change. And then you related that to ultimate reality. Let me clarify that a little bit from the perspective of relative reality that we live now, in other words, in terms of what we experience, one of the characteristics of all phenomenal experience is change.

Absolutely. Inevitability of change.

Student: We construct that idea.

Culadasa: That is the nature of phenomenal experience. Yes. Phenomenal experience is a construct of the mind, but the nature of what the mind constructs is [00:25:00] constantly changing. Ultimate reality. What's sad about ultimate reality though, is it is uncreated, unchanging and unceasing.

So that's quite different. Okay. Now let me take this. See if I can pick up the other loosens and you're crushing it and tie it together. You were saying that one of the views is that our true self is something that we need to get out of the. Yeah, that's very similar to saying that we have the Buddha nature and what we need to do is remove all the defilements and the inflections and get the illusory self out of the way for that Buddha nature to be perfectly revealed, to be realized.

And that's very true now as this relates to change and to the timelessness of ultimate reality in Buddhism, the Buddha nature the mind the enlightened mind of the Buddha or the dharmakaya Nirvana emptiness, all of these different words. Referring to the same thing to ultimate truth, the nature of which is timeless and therefore without beginning, without changing without it.

And yes, the Buddha nature as one of our ways of talking about ultimate reality is absolutely changeless it's unconditioned. And it is not subject to change, but all of the stuff that covers it over is made up of the stuff of change. So these things are not in conflict with each other.

Okay. They're in agreement.

Student: Yes. Oh, I'm just, there was one more section. It happening in all linear.

Culadasa: Oh, the linear. Yeah. I'm sorry. I think the reason that I neglected that is I didn't quite get it. Maybe you could speak a little more about

Student: yesterday. Someone in this room mentioned our knowing and our path as being recursive, maybe as opposed to linear.

And I've noticed, and this is totally my duals brain, my brain working and duality here, but I've noticed that the Buddhist traditional teachings are mainly a male lineage. Even though the Buddha was very, open to females and women being involved in it and what you've been guide.

And your teachers for so long is, knowing how this mind works and it's accepting that and working with it, not being resistant to it. And I do find that my mind as a woman and a lot of women, I know we do have a mind that it works in a more recursive way where things are circular, where things are cluster related relationally and not so much a linear progression on the path.

So I don't know if that's what I'm curious. I'm just curious. Cause we did touch a little bit.

Culadasa: It seems to me that men's and women's minds both were very much recursively and in terms of clusters and there's a. Holistic side to that. I think the main difference is in our way of in the emphasis, we put on things that are ways of expressing them because women's mind as much as men recognize even though not necessarily linear leave, that there is a progressive transformation within the dimension of time.

Student: And

Culadasa: you're not sure what that

Student: I should, that, that I'm not sure that a lot of human minds do. And I'm not saying that really critical way. I'm just saying that it's just something to be aware of when we're interacting.

Culadasa: Maybe they're not, but wherever I look, my mind is able to recognize the, that in the dimension of time that there is this there is a, an arrow of time and that there

Student: [00:30:00] are

Culadasa: that over segments of time.

There are what you could call progressive changes that go in the direction of the arrow. Maybe I only see that because my mind is conditioned to see down

Student: dominant paradigm, but I think there are lots of energies and people that are at the margin of that and that quite a bit of the struggle.

With the path, we can be that, and I'm not saying any good, bad right or wrong. I'm just saying that does seem to be how energy is organized in some aspects it's not linear. And that, that can be a source of additional suffering on the path that, that isn't recognized.

Culadasa: I think that's a very reasonable thing.

Maybe a very important thing to, to look at more closely because yes, all of these Dharma teachings that we have are predominantly from him. That's true. And even the minority that are front wetland are from women who are deeply embedded in the male Dharma culture. And so even though they may reflect a lot of linear thinking, maybe that's acquired now.

I do. I. I do think that all mines share the same kind of processes. And, but at the same time I do agree with you that some are on one end of the spectrum, the other end of the spectrum, but yes, to the degree that excessive linearity and the expression of the Dharma is an obstacle to people to any people.

Then that's something that needs to be looked at and addressed. And perhaps within the accumulated literature, spiritual teachings that are already has been, could be drawn upon to do that even more. So if you're somebody that is sensitive to. Then you'd be really good person to put some energy into it or anybody else who was sensitive to that aspect

Student: too.

There's a teacher out there in, of in, in New Mexico. So children are yawning, but I don't know at first inception talks about is exactly the woman's so appealing, but I, in your teaching, I didn't feel that at all. I feel you've come a long way from obvious. It's just new read sometimes these books and it was really that male thing.

And I forget about it. I just pull in what I know and what I hear from teachers like you. And then I don't struggle with it anymore, but they are all women who really address that.

Culadasa: Wow. So I think one and I, and maybe a lot of other people would really appreciate being put in touch with that.

Student: I could get more in touch with,

And I guess where all of this, the, this was brought up was again, wondering about the, even the paradigm that you present for enlightenment is a progressive thing. And that it's not so much the male female, it's not so much all of that that I was questioned about. It was the progressive nature of it.

And there is a change, even though it is being represented as a, as an ultimate view and not from an energy, what we're calling that there is a sort of aggressive in

Culadasa: this too. There's a progression through that, but also the underlying, it is a sort of a different thing, which is what the. The embryonic Buddha nature with NS provides the idea that, we are already the fully online thing.

So in a way, although we still go back to the linearity, when we talk about the removing of the afflictions and the revealing of that, but it is nice the way it brings that, that nonlinear immediacy to it. We are already enlightened. We just don't know it yet. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for bringing that up and giving me at least a new direction to explore more fully.

So

Student: I think the question [00:35:00] about climber. Yeah.

Culadasa: What we were talking about yesterday in terms of reincarnation that you said, yes, that

Student: energy may return,

Culadasa: but it may not return to that individual or that individual in the form of some type of an identifiable personality, but rather be dispersed among

Student: different beings.

Culadasa: And I've been thinking about whether karma works that way when we pass on and that is the karma also read distributed among different people or where we're sending, being Stu do,

Student: does the individual

Culadasa: still bear, let's say that the negative karma that they have, or is that part of this collective that we all share in that in order to burn it off?

Might some of us up to be burning off karma for someone else as part

Student: of benefit to the whole

Culadasa: okay. These are different ways of conceptualizing it that maybe more, it may be to a greater or lesser degree helpful, even the idea of a reincarnated self is a way of conceptualizing and the leads to one specific positive outcome, which is that it provides a moral ground.

If all of your actions are going to be revisited on your head in the future, then it gives you a basis for behaving in a, in an ethical and moral way. And this is the basis of in Buddhism as a religious system, rather than as a as a practice of high-level virtuosos, then this is the role that it plays.

And even giving that up, we can come up with a lot of other conceptualizations to help serve a similar or different purposes. But just to take some fairly straightforward, obvious things that maybe can help us to get a little bit of a handle on the same difference paradox, let's call it that, if the self that I think I am doesn't even exist, then obviously, it can't inherit my karma in a future incarnation.

Okay. So we are, so then who were, what does, and what is the carrier of that karma,

Student: but,

Culadasa: One simple example, not a really good analogy, but it gives us an entry into this is if you watch a wave moving across the ocean, do you know how waves work? Does everybody know how waves work? Not necessarily.

Okay. When you look at a wave like there's waves coming in way on the distance, you can pick one way and you can watch it and it moves and it moves until it disappears on the shore. Or it was out of sight in the other direction or something like that. And it appears that it is one massive water, F1, separate entity.

But if you go and you, if you were to get into the water and see what's actually happening in a way, the water doesn't move or individual water molecules, actually. That started moving all around, actually. But if you took a big chunk of water molecules and you looked at them when the wave passes, they go in a little circle like that and little circle like that, the wave that you see as it moves, every instant it's made up of different water, but water does not move the way.

It was a pattern of energy and there's always different water involved in it, but there is an energy pattern and that's what so that's something of the idea. The other thing, if you've ever watched a rapidly flowing stream and you'll see those having to form a little Whirlpool and stand there and it disappears and then a little further down, it'll re there'll be a Whirlpool and it disappears.

Now the Whirlpool one that's there. And it's just like the wave it's different. It's just a pattern of energy. What's even more interesting though, is that pattern of energy can cease to be in the form of a Whirlpool

Student: and then reemerge somewhere else and

Culadasa: create a new Whirlpool. So you have, in that particular example, you have not only the material, substance being constantly replaced, but you have the same energy taking a particular form, the energy doesn't disappear, but it ceases to hold that form and that pattern.

And then at a later time, it resumed there. And this is I think, a [00:40:00] better analogy for what's happening when beings when beings come into existence as the five aggregates pass through their life disappear. And then another thing. Yeah. It's like it inherits the energy, but more than that, it inherits the energy that has the particular capacity to create once again, a similar pattern to what was there before.

Student: But two, if you've

Culadasa: watched the stream, sometimes the energy of a Whirlpool doesn't reemerge as one Whirlpool, but it's two or three

and sometimes the energy of a Whirlpool could turn into a wave. Or if there's an obstacle, it could turn into a standing wave that doesn't move with a big chip whirling kit. On the other side of the obstacle, it's all the same energy and it's never the same water. It's just taking different forms.

So these are things from the realm of the physical world that might help us a little bit to grasp the mystery

Student: that,

Culadasa: that lies behind the appearance. The appearance of a, an entity, a self, and to recognize that it's only a pattern temporarily sustained. And the substance of it is constantly changing and it doesn't have a substantial existence ever, but the energy and the patterns can reemerge was all part of the whole, it's

Student: and where do

Culadasa: you define the edge of a hole?

Is it this piece of river bank to bank? The whole river and all the water in the world? Maybe the whole. Maybe a whole solar system that allows this kind of planet with water on it to make whirlpools, or where do you draw the line? But

Student: because the

Culadasa: line is drawn by your mind, it doesn't make sense,

Student: but everything

Culadasa: that you do, and I think you can satisfy yourself of this. Everything you do that manifests in terms of material reality is,

Student: has basically endless

Culadasa: consequences, even though it may be difficult to see, but it has endless consequences, unforeseeable consequences. And although we normally see that, if I make a noise, the noise dies.

But

Student: the energy of the

Culadasa: vibrations, I can't know what effect they have in the future. And although it seems it, it dies away to go back to a hackneyed example. But when a butterfly flaps, its wings in Hong Kong can result in a thunderstorm in London, we can't really see the consequences and that's on the physical material level.

Everything is absolutely totally interconnected causally. And then we feel like the mental thing is so confined. My whole mental experience happens inside my head. If we examine that, we can realize that's not true either that your whole perception of what's going on here, isn't just yours.

But as it's shared with everyone else, And what's true on the physical level. I think that if you spend some time where you can satisfy yourself, that it's the same, that just as no action in the material world can ever be separated from the rest of materiality. So there is no thought or intention that arises in your mind that isn't likewise, totally causally interconnected with the totality of whatever it is that we call mentality or mind.

Student: And so when we

Culadasa: talk about karma, which is the way that we, our minds condition themselves of mind conditions itself and that's karma, but if the mind is not. Any more than if the manager is separate, then that conditioning doesn't disappear. When the external components of that [00:45:00] conditioning go their different directions.

It continues in its own special directions. So just as your physical actions have consequences beyond the aggregate of physical components. So do all of your mental actions have the same property of continuity. And as your understanding, as your wisdom through direct experience grows and increases through this process that we've been talking about, This becomes clear and it becomes less out of an intellectual exercise and more of a aha realization of of course,

Student: John, I just want to say just from I going to your Dharma talks now a lot of years and it one of the things that you've said over and over is how difficult it is for us to understand or not. And and dependent origination that I, for me has always been my modeling, but this piece that you put together comes closest and it's just so thank you so much for the time.

And now.

Culadasa: You're welcome.

Student: Thank you

Culadasa: all. Please do. Yeah, we've got another 15 minutes to kill

Student: how to teach and how you make it appliable and more. This is really helpful and wonderful. I have a small question too. When you talked earlier about the part of the unconscious mind who makes, which makes the decision before we consciously make that, how is it?

And if it isn't in any way related to intuition or what is interesting,

Culadasa: it is very much related to. Intuition. Okay. So the question is speaking about the way that decisions and intentions will emerge from unconscious mental processes is this related to intuition and is very much, and that's a really good thing for us to talk about because

Student: as human beings, we have

Culadasa: all of the conscious discursive, analytical intellectual thinking that we do.

And this is a very important part of what we are and how we do things. Another component that we have is the emotional, we're equipped with all of these different emotions and some are very positive and wholesome and some kind of have some are less so when it can have other kinds of results and that what we have is well, what we referred to as intuition.

And it means that to know from inside. And it basically, I think when we say intuition, don't you naturally, this is where this is not something that you intuitive understanding or intuitive movements of the mind are the ones that aren't the result of conscious, analytical, discursive thinking, they from some deeper unconscious level, you have a feeling about somebody or you have a feeling about whether you should do something or not, it's something that comes from inside. You don't quite know whether it's where its origins are, but it provides you some guidance. And let me point out to you that it's very similar, your worldview, the way you automatically see things and the way you automatically respond to things.

This is also has that same flavor of intuition, right? So we can intellectually examine what's presented to us and analyze it and draw conclusions about it. Most of the time we don't, we intuitively interpret what the circumstances were and the way we react to it.

Student: So

Culadasa: what this, what we're calling into it to Do you see that it's the same thing that we're calling, the mental processes that are taking [00:50:00] place outside of the view of conscious awareness.

That's basically what they are. And I would suggest to you that if this is your mind, the part of mental processes that you are actually conscious of is like this tiny little sliver of the time and everything else is beneath the surface of consciousness, and it can rise into consciousness and it can affect what's going on in consciousness.

And it does constantly, if we look at our rational intellectual process, And we see how we can rationally arrive at different conclusions at different times, from the same information or different people have rise at different arrive at different conclusions. We realize that aha, even those rational processes are taking place in consciousness or being influenced by something at this deeper level, where are the intuitive arises?

And in a sense, all of the most important stuff what's going on is at this deeper level. If you really want to change the way that you see the world and see yourself and the way you respond to circumstances the way you react to things, the kind of emotional responses you have to things, all the changes that you're going to have to make are at this deeper.

Student: But

every

Culadasa: experience you have, and every thought you have gets incorporated into that invisible collection down there. And that's where it's generating all the

Student: results yet. All what you have to work with is this little

Culadasa: sliver at the top. And so you got to make the absolute best of that.

Student: Another way to

Culadasa: describe making the absolute best of the little small part of your mind that is available to conscious awareness is called the practice of mindfulness.

It's a cultivation of mindful awareness and the practice of mindful awareness, all of this stuff that's going on at the intuitive. Can't benefit by having the light mindful awareness shown clearly upon the processes that take place and the results that they produce.

Student: And

Culadasa: that's what you need to do the way that you can change your unwholesome patterns of behavior. Now, this is one of the things that Buddha told us about. He said when I was only a bodhisattva, I examined my mind and I found that I had two different kinds of thoughts, some of which were wholesome and beneficial and brought me towards.

And others that were unwholesome and if no benefit to me or to others, in fact, that caused suffering to me and to others. And that did nothing to bring me towards Nirvana. And what were those three kinds of thoughts? Amongst the unwholesome thoughts, I found that there were all of these thoughts that were rooted in and desire and greed and lust.

And I thought I saw that there were another kind of fought that were rooted in a Refersion ill will hatred dislike. And then I saw that there was still another kind of thought that was rooted in the the unconcerned and.

Ability to cause harm and injury to others through

Through the failure to recognize and understand the impacts of the actions that were being taken. On the other hand, I found that there was these wholesome thoughts. They were rooted in generosity and loving kindness. And these were the ones that opposed those that were rooted in and desire and greed and lost.

And then I saw that I had these thoughts that were rooted in pat and patience and understanding and compassion, and that [00:55:00] these were opposed to those thoughts that were rooted in ill will and hatred and aversion. And then I saw that I had these thoughts that. Rooted in mindful awareness of the consequences of my actions and concern for others.

And that these standards stood in opposition of those that were harmful to others. And were the act and lead to actions that were taken with no concern for the consequences and impacts others. And he said, so what I did is I practiced being mindfully aware of unwholesome, thought of the different kinds of unwholesome thoughts when they arose.

And I would practice setting aside those unwholesome thoughts. And then when I had succeeded and setting aside those unwholesome thoughts I would succeed would attempt to cause the arising out of their wholesome counterparts to take your place. So in doing that. You're using that little sliver of conscious capacity that you have to alter the patterns of behavior that arise out of this great unconscious collection of influences that we have the same thing that happens when we're taught the Dharma.

And we looked at these difficult ideas like that. The self we think we are as an illusion and that the world that we think we know it was only a concoction of her mind and it's not what we think it is. And we can up in this conscious realm, we can use our discursive capacity, our analytical capacity, our intellectual capacity to understand that as well as we can.

And that will have some small effect on the worldview that arises out of our mistakes. And oppressions, but even better if we practice mindfulness so that we can see yet all of those occasions where the world, where life presents us, the opportunity to deceit, indeed there is the self that you think you are, is not there.

Indeed. Things are not as you think they are, but they are the way your mind makes sense. If you can practice mindfulness to verify the intellectual conclusions over and over again, all of the experiential validations of your intellectual conclusions will render a much more dramatic change in this unconscious process.

And you'll find your little view changes and the more your world changes, the easier it is to perceive and to. And those sell and the easier it is to make the kind of positive changes that you're eating tonight in doing these things and working on yourself to become the kind of person that you are when you've practiced the perfections of generosity and virtue, patience and have done so diligently.

And when you practice the perfections of a right effort and concentration and the using your analytical capacities, I understand when you do all those things, you alter that big subconscious, massive who and what you are. You make it ready to undergo the transformation that brings you to a state of being and enlightened.

So it's all about art right now as a WorldLink

Student: a person's

Culadasa: intuition is not serving them very well because it is based on some mistaken notions and it is riddled with unwholesome conditioning. And so it is our intuitive level of functioning that we are seeking to transform,

Student: and

Culadasa: we are transforming it where we're literally pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps because

the conscious, yeah. That we are only has that little part that's in the arena and out of conscious awareness to work with Adam. When we look at the problem that's constituted by this massive unconscious and this tiny bit of consciousness, we say, [01:00:00] how most effectively can I utilize this? I need to develop my mindful awareness to the greatest degree possible.

Then I need to apply my mindful awareness in the most effective way

Student: possible.

And if you do

Culadasa: that, you have, your intuition gets so much better. You began to Intuit that those not just people are really not obnoxious people after all they too are. Bodhisattvas in the making. Part still afflicted that

Student: you think we can change the world. We are. Why not? Why not?

Culadasa: We've got nothing to lose, right?

Because you don't have to wait until you become a stream nature or a Buddha to be, to have less suffering in your life and more happiness to you. And you don't need to wait until then until you have more wisdom either. It's all, you can have it right beginning right now. Yeah. With every day that goes by, you can have more.

And the more of us that do that and the the more we're going to make other people say I like that. I'd like some of that too.

So strive diligently for things change so rapidly. Yeah. We don't know how much time we have. I don't mean you don't know how much time you have. The entire human race doesn't know how much time it has. We don't know. So there's not a boldness to spare really.

Ask me another question.

Student: What is

Culadasa: the real question? Can we change the world?

Student: Whereas the real question or would we change it? Since all

Culadasa: there is present. Yes. Yes. We're already changing the world.

Student: yes. It's not really a question, but do you know? I have had several long age. I remember when I first started to meditate, I decided it was so cool. It, it got rid of my headaches and oh, I just thought it was sadness. So I tried to tell everybody about it. It didn't work, it didn't work at all.

I want my brother to start meditating and, he just, he resisted it. It was just everyone I told about it was it's a resistance or an indifference or oh, that's nice. And all that sort of thing. I'm not sure I ever influenced anyone positively to start, but lately I don't talk about it anymore.

People start asking me about it. My brother who, is an active alcoholic several times has said, but don't you meditate? And I don't tell him anything. And it makes him more curious.

So as it was just maybe not a question, but a warning that, it's wonderful, but you can't necessarily tell people about it. You have to wait for them to get. And they will like oddly enough, I just amazed when people show up and say, you've been managing, what do you do?

And what's it about? And I'm glad to tell them, but I don't want initiated.

Culadasa: And thank you so much for saying that. And I don't want to be misunderstood. I'm not saying that you should go out and cross all the time. Cause we Buddhists do not proselytize, but we can sure be great examples and we can sure.

Tantalize people and make them want to know what's going on with us. And that's what we should do. And the best way to do that is just do the work on yourself so that, it's something you can't pretend. That's the other thing about it. You can't say, why don't you go out, pretend to

Student: people that.

People won't be fooled,[01:05:00]

Culadasa: they'll say, oh yeah, pretends that now they've got it together now. And they're enlightened, but I can see that they're not, but if you really are, then they're not fully about that either. And it's not even about whether you're enlightened or not. It's that you've made genuine changes when, and you don't have to say anything.

You don't even have to smile. A lot. People can tell

they don't know that you're doing something, but

Student: that's working. Yeah. I think there, there is a certain fear of people of you even, and evangelize or proselytizing or whatever it is. And I have friends who are definitely a religious. They know I meditate and occasionally I tell them things that have happened just because they're a good friend that I feel in them sort of a fear and a resistance.

Like I'm going to try and put this on them, that they, they're going to feel some pressure that I think they should do it too. And it's really not at all what I'm doing. I'm just, I have certain friends that I want to share experiences with, and I'm just I dunno, it's hard to talk about your experience and I almost think every time I've tried to, I've regretted it unless yeah,

Culadasa: that's a good thing to keep in mind.

Don't try talking to somebody unless you're sure they're really interested. Yeah. That's the time to do it. One thing that I've noticed, and I'm sure you've noticed as well, very often when you come across somebody that really wants to convince you of something, you've really got to try this, have you noticed that it's really, because they're not sure of themselves and if they think they can convince you or some other people, it will support their confidence in it.

So it's an expression of doubt and we know this, and so we tend to be a little bit suspicious when you know, somebody comes in and really wants to convince us of something. So we don't need it. And we're better. We're much better off not doing.

Student: A little bit with, we were talking about this also the time has changed.

The meditation is more mainstream and people want, it's not like a mystical God LATM thing. When I started out, it was like, I'm running away from reality. And now it's like, how do I do this better? In my reality, when I do, maybe when people ask me, so this is about also changing times right now, it's coming up and people want to know that there's a

Culadasa: chance.

Meditation is expanding the awareness of it and practice of it is expanding. It really had an amazing, great, I'm amazed by how many meditation centers that there are in Tucson and it's not just meditation, specifically Buddhist, the different forms of Buddhist tradition. Something very interesting happening.

I

don't know if I have the name, I think it was a historian Arnold Toynbee. There's a quote from him that he said that the arrival of Buddhism in the west was going to be one of the events that I was most memorable events in the history of the future. That I think that's true and I hope it's true because it is, as far as I can tell, it's the antidote we need for the diseases that we're suffering from.

And it, it needs to be, it needs to take on a new form that's appropriate to our society and RJ. It also needs to become, it became easier to come and widespread. We really need to become a society with enlightenment oriented values people who live their life based on the principles that lead to to a much more genuine and lasting happiness than the principles that they operate on now.

That's certainly what I hope to see happening, but for that to happen, the way Buddhism is in most countries there's the popular religion. And then there's the then there's the virtuosos locked away in their monasteries being supported by. People who give them monastery money to create merits so that maybe they can get lucky and come back and knock.

Student: So

Culadasa: what we need is a lot of lay [01:10:00] people who work with other laypeople, it needs to become the mainstream values and the mainstream practice

Student: that oh I deal with all kinds of people and what I do. And some of them tend to be fundamentalist Christians. I don't dare tell them the guy that I was leaving.

I just, I don't know if I'm a Buddhist, but I definitely do practice and I pretty much. I believe everything was said in the Buddhists. I don't deal with people like that besides just never telling them, but I'm unsophisticated enough to still be sensitive to their centers.

And then the whole thing of, that it's the work of the devil and that because I do have a Christian upbringing, it's hard for me to entirely, deep inside of me, let go of all that traffic ideation, all of that is pretty deeply ingrained. Anyway. Maybe you could talk about that.

I'm not quite sure exactly what the question is, but how to feel better about being Buddhist and yet.

Culadasa: As far as that particular part of it, how to feel better about being Buddhist, even though you have Christian background, this is a kind of, this is part of the work that you have to do on yourself by positively reinforcing your confidence. That the Buddhist views that you're learning are valid and are genuine.

And at the same time, you'd have to look at those things that you've brought from your Christian background to say, okay, in what sense are these valid? And in what sense are they not? And by clearly saying. The sense in which they may be distortions. And they may, as the Buddha's advice to the column as well, to the extent that what you've carried with you from your Christian background is not doesn't meet those criteria and is not conducive to the wellbeing of yourself and others.

Seeing that clearly makes it easier to let it go. But it's not a question of abandoning those things altogether. It's trying to see, is there a valid and positive aspect to this? And is there something in this that's worth holding onto? The idea that if you send, you're going to be punished in hell and Satan's out there working in every way to attempt to, to send him, it's hard to see where there's much useful now, but some of the other oppression of doctrines love your neighbor as yourself.

Do you want to others as you would have them do it. And there's many others like that, but they are definitely valid and they are definitely good. You can recognize and accept those. You do the work on yourself to clear your own problems when you are confronted by people who have very strong fundamentalist beliefs, of course to a certain degree you practice what the Buddhist said about right.

Speech is you look at anything you're about to say, and is it true? Is it helpful? And is it necessary? And if it doesn't meet those three criteria, you keep your mouth shut. But the occasion may arise when there's something that you can say that meets those criteria. And then that's the time to speak.

And the best thing to do is, as I say is before. Become an example through the success in your own practice. And we've all got to not be attached to the outcomes too,

Student: it might not work out. That's my right to

Culadasa: what's important is the there's that we do our best. And as an open you're pointed out to you that if you do your best to work for your own liberation,

Student: only good can

Culadasa: come from it, no matter what only good can come from it. But if you work for your own liberation for the sake of all other beings, you're only increase the probability of your success and you increase the amount of good that can.

Yes. So just accept, to learn, to love the fundamentalist who, [01:15:00] thinks that you are the victim of Satan's worst machinations and he has you in his clutches and still be able to love them and accept them for where they are. That's good practice. That's really good.

A lot of, Allegra who lives with us, she's a practicing Buddhists. And my mother is also me here. And my mother is a Christian who tries to be very accepting of my Buddhism. But the other day she gave a lecture, a book open to a page talking. How the Buddhist and the Hindus have the whole thing all along.

That's all right. That's where she's at. She does her best to accept me. And I decided I love her for that, even though it was a part of her camp, quite,

Student: she worries about you

Culadasa: poor. So I'm sure she does. And I'm so thankful for that because I quit worrying about

Student: Yes. Is this related, we're saying, and people saying earlier about you want the mainstream Buddhism happening. And when I started to be trained in yoga two years ago, it was a spiritual practice. And I have seen through those 30 years, how that's fruit to practice has become, it's just an exercise.

And I wonder sometimes where, because it's more mainstream, how, what, how do you see those changes? Counterbalance those changes when you talk about this becomes mainstream, which is great, but how do you protect it from being looted and become just a piece of what?

Culadasa: It's the same answer, the best way to counteract that?

Oh, sorry. The question is that you saw how yoga, which is a spiritual path in its origins, and which came to this country and twenty-three years ago began to take root and if has ceased to be a spiritual path and has become a kind of exercise, which is now a very popular exercise. And how do we keep the same thing from happening to Buddhism?

And the answer is the same thing by those of us who understand that Buddhism is more than a way to improve your ability to cope with stress and your productivity at work, and to lower your blood pressure and to have better relationships and to work through some of our neurosis for those of us to see that it's more than that.

And to practice that

Student: we will

Culadasa: hopefully not just keep the flame alive, but spread it by being an example are the same thing is happening in Buddhism. That happened with yoga. We have some huge and very influential meditation centers and. And this is not faulting them at all because it's wonderful what they have done, but they have turned insight meditation into more of psychotherapy than it is a spiritual path.

It's a way of doing work on yourself and dealing with your neuroses and things like that. And that's good, that's good, but it's more than that. And just as yoga is more than a way to make your body strong and flexible and healthy, and we don't want, we don't want that part to get lost.

There is, there's a good side and a bad side to it because people are drawn to meditation because of the worldly benefits that it has, the immediate world benefits, Young guys take a meditation because they get to go out with the girls that are in the meditation. I'm that happens a lot.

And that's all right, because it gives them the opportunity to discover how much more there, there might be. The bad side is that, it can become like, unfortunately in many cases, yoga has become so much of a worldly thing that I mean there's yoga centers that are careful not to mention anything about to divorce themselves because they are businesses that make money and people depend on their income and they don't want to say anything that's going [01:20:00] to cause the fundamentalist Christians to not to give up their membership in the yoga center.

Right.

Student: It's diagnosed the opposite of what his teachings, in terms of like you have to pay for a weekend. It's ridiculous.

Culadasa: That's true. And that's and I don't know necessarily answers to that, but it's something that, you know as a teacher, leading meditation retreats, it's something that we have to struggle with.

Where do we find a suitable place to do a retreat? If you go to a place that is a retreat center, I, it has to make enough money to support the people that, all that, and make it more worthwhile for them to operate it as a retreat center, then to turn it into something else, and there's some really wonderful retreat chapters, if they're really struggling, and it's like, The cost per day, your day, and your trees gets higher and higher.

Last time I checked, across the board, the average price for a meditation retreat is about 60 to $75 a day. With some high-end fancy places that are more expensive and a few places that are less expensive and the price keeps going up and you look at it and say $60 a day. Wow. That's a lot of money.

If you've got X number of retreat and it's time 69, look at all the money, that's a guarantee. But if you actually talked to the people that are running those places, they're not sure they can continue. They're not making the money they need. I don't know whether this will be available for your retreat next year or not, because we don't know whether we're going to survive.

If it's a problem that is a real problem. And that's a problem. That's way short of a level of where, My meditation retreat center is so successful. I can't afford to do or say anything that will decrease the enrollment because then how am I going to send my daughter to Harvard and buy the new Mercedes that I need?

We're a long ways from now, but it is a problem.

And we need to solve all of those problems if we're going to be able to get together and do retreats. And if we're going to make them open so that people

Student: of

Culadasa: all degrees of financial capability can participate. And part of that is the practice of generosity. So that those of us who find ourselves in a position to Contribute more so that those who have less can still have the opportunity to practice that's what needs to happen.

And if enough of us do that, maybe we can avoid getting into the situation of, some of these big retreat centers I talked about, they're more like, going on retreats more like a luxury resort vacation that involves a certain amount of city.

something necessarily wrong with that, but that is part of the marketing, and I deal with that too. There are some very wealthy people that attend to retreats that we do in California and in order to keep the cost as low as possible, we'll use. A place that's donated by a temple and it's very simple accommodations and crowded quarters.

And people are, and of course, very wealthy people are used to comfortable accommodations and everything being looked after

Student: what's that

Culadasa: they

they get to work through some good stuff.

anyway, I'm getting off topic here. I am. We're getting to the very last few minutes that we have together, so

Student: I better

Culadasa: turn it back over to you and see what questions you have and what things we need to talk about.

Student: You brainstorm.

So you believe in the Buddhist path, but you haven't committed your precepts. How do you decide to commit?

Do you have to commit and do take the precepts or can you just keep meditating if you have a teacher? No, I, as part of me says taking a peace substance part of a religion saying, or Buddhists is part of a religion. [01:25:00] Whereas if it's true, then it will be true whether I say this or not. And so there's that. And then the decision to actually become versus not being a Buddhist, but during the same thing.

Okay.

Culadasa: Very good question. What you're saying is

Student: how

Culadasa: important is it to engage in a formal ritual or ceremony of taking refuge and taking precepts and declaring yourself a Buddhist, because you could use the precepts and follow the precepts in your life, and you could pursue the training and study the Dharma without ever engaging in a formal ceremony.

And you could likewise do the practice without ever formally announcing, I am a Buddhist and this kind of goes back to Bob's question of what is the value of rites and rituals and things like that.

Student: Many people

Culadasa: find it very helpful to do a ritual or ceremony to formally take refuge and take precepts. It consolidate something in their mind to do that. And it's very helpful. It maybe get some off the fence. If they've been on the fence,

Student: I don't feel right about doing that. Does that mean I'm not ready?

Or just let me know? I'll never feel like doing that or

Culadasa: it doesn't necessarily mean any of those things, there's no reason why you need to do that. Maybe you're not ready and maybe someday you will, maybe as time goes by and the more you practice, the more clearly irrelevant some superficial.

Act like that will become, on the other hand, you might come to the point where you feel like that it's going to be very helpful to you and you want to do that and you want to make the formal declaration that, oh I have a Buddhist, the same thing beyond just taking refuge and taking the five basic precepts are that, I said that for a person who those people who are really interested in pursuing this for the safe and enlightenment, they could much greater commitment to it.

They commit their whole lives to it and suddenly. In order to do that, they find it helpful to take a further set of precepts and to make a formal declaration that they are a dedicated lay practitioner. Still others will give up everything and take up ropes. That doesn't mean that any individual person has to do any of that, but it's there for you to be helpful to you and to use now whether you formally take precepts, ceremonial, or not the keeping of the precepts as a practice, as a mental training and as a way of making absolutely essential transformations in your personality and in yourself that will allow you to succeed.

That's something that you do need to do. You cannot you. Whether you do it formally or not. If you think that you can neglect the practice of virtue and the keeping of precepts, not for the sacred precepts, that for the sake that keeping them has on you, then you're mistaken. You will not be able to proceed very far without that, but formally that is up to you.

If you, it doesn't feel right to don't do it when it does feel right to you do it. Oh

Student: I dunno if it's some sort of misplaced arrogance or feeling of independence or something, but I get, it's hard for me to say I'll be part of this. I don't know what it is exactly. Actually. I dunno what it is.

Yeah, but another thing is, as a teacher, if if someone has taken the preschool. Declared themselves a Buddhist. Do you take that more seriously? Do you work with them more or,

Culadasa: no, I take everybody seriously. Okay. So it's not in terms of that. It's not going to make any difference to me as a teacher, whether you formerly taken a refugee and [01:30:00] preception or not, but there is a certain obligation that I feel if you take the more advanced precepts of of of a dedicated lay practitioner, part of that ceremony is a commitment that we make to each other.

And I value that and I respect that and I'll do my best. I will feel like I need to be more available to you and I need to provide more guidance. I have a limited amount of time available, and energy. And if I know that a person has made that kind of commitment, they basically said, I'm making this my life and everything else in my life is going to be secondary to this.

And if I'm the one that carries out the ceremony in which they make that commitment, then I want to support that in every way that I can. So there is that difference,

but I, I, as far as the other part goes, I take everybody as seriously. I do everything that I can to Help them and answer their questions and respect where they're at, I'll help you in any way I can, even if you're just in this for the stress reduction and a little bit of personal psychotherapy, I'm going to help you as much as I can to reduce your stress and solve your problems, okay. Oh, it's one o'clock

I hope you've enjoyed this as much as I have. I really sincerely have. I hope it's been helpful to you. I hope it's been inspirational because you have certainly inspired me. Keep on doing this. I thank you all for the positive feedback that you've given me. And of course I welcome any critical comments that you may have as well.

Thank you very much. Thank you.


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