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We provide access to over 300 transcripts by Sangharakshita!
Viriyalila, Portsmouth, USA
Eric, FBA Team
Kalyanavaca, London, UK
Sravaniya, Boston, USA
Candradasa, FBA Team
Vajratara, Sheffield, UK
Suvarnagarbha, Cambridge, UK
Aileen, Shetland Islands
... heir to. Which this guy had done to some extent, or he wouldn't have
been there talking.
“The human form is easy to lose.”
So, what else was I going to say? So, the other thing is – the strange thing was (this may be
slightly similar to what Vijayamala was saying) but this whole thing about compassion is it
seems so huge – the thing of saving all beings, and there are many beings, I just find that a bit
frightening sometimes, and so I was trying to figure out, what is my experience of it? And it
was difficult because I do things that you might say were, or would be, called compassionate
activity, like going to the jail; or I work for the centre, give blood, whatever… And I've
completely structured my life – I go on retreat – I've completely structured my life around
being able to do these things, but I don't really think of them as being compassionate because
it makes it so that I can have a life that means something to me, that's deeply satisfying. And
I suppose sometimes I think of myself as a servant in a very positive way. I suppose
sometimes I feel like one and it's not so positive, but anyway something of it... It depends on
what I'm asked to do really. [laughter]
And I was thinking about all these sorts of grand ideas that we have – ‘grand’ is a lame word
as it's used to describe them: shunyata, compassion. And, I mean, I don't really know what it
is; and I also think since there is this element of (we all probably realize) having the self not
so there; having the self kind of receding, or not there at all. It just makes things extremely
difficult to talk about – but we talk about them rather a lot don't we... ? Which annoys me.
[laughter] And then I have to work with that. I mean we have to talk about it because
otherwise we'll just be talking about things that are irrelevant. So, we might as well talk about
something that is worth something, even if you can't really describe it in words. Which I don't
think you can. I don't know if you can say what compassion is. You could probably write a
really good poem; or someone could.
It's awfully hot in here, so I think I'm maybe going to wrap it up, as we say. I was on retreat
recently – I've done a lot of retreats recently – but about four retreats ago, which wasn't that
long ago, I was in a room where we go in San Francisco meditating with about six people,
and it was in the afternoon, and there were a lot of mosquitos in the room, and it was warm so
we pretty much had to keep the doors open, and there were no screens or anything. So I was
in this room with about six people. And this particular group of people, they're not what you'd
call people who like meditating. They were sort of, like, [gritting teeth] moving around,
[laughter] and I was sitting there meditating, and I could hear, I was really getting into
listening to the [makes sound of mosquito] – listening to it, and it sounded great. [laughter]
And I was thinking these mosquitos are really bothering these people, and what I'm going to
do is, I'm going to summon them all to me because they are not bothering me at all. So I did
that, and I could have sworn that it worked. Cause they stopped doing that... For a little while
[laughter]. And then I looked round and I was like, ‘Wow, God that worked!’ And then I
thought, “God that was really great of me to think that wasn't it.”[laughter]... And then I
thought, “Aw no, I'm not Enlightened, um...” [laughter]
But the point of that story being just how important it is, I guess, for us to find ways to loosen
up the grip on how we think of ourselves and how we're evaluating our experience, because
it's so violent sometimes; or if not violent, then at least inappropriate, I think, speaking for
So that's something that I indirectly try to work with in meditation. And I think the non-
resistance thing for me, it feels is kind of going in that direction. So maybe I will just end it
there. I'll just end with a sentence, something that Shunryu Suzuki said:
“When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving
no trace of yourself.”