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Sutra Session 35


Section 1
 
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So July 8th at Against the Stream in Hollywood.

This morning is the last time I’m going to be here for a while. I don’t know what the future holds. I’ve been teaching here, in Los Angeles, for the last twenty-five years or so, and for various reasons I’ve decided to take at least a short break, so I’m heading over to Europe for a few months. I’m not sure where it goes after that. I want to finish a book and so forth. First I want to thank Against the Stream, and Noah Levine, and Mary Stankovich and all the staff here for the opportunity for the opportunity to come and be able to meet here on a monthly basis. I don’t know many of your names, but I recognize faces now after a while. And it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed it very much, and I hope it has been to some extent somewhat useful to you.


Section 2
 
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This morning I want to talk actually fairly personally, because I’m quite moved by one thing that I’ve come to observe, and disturbed by another. What I’m moved by, and Matthew is also here—he’s invited me to teach at Against the Stream in Santa Monica a couple of times—and I find that both here and in Santa Monica people who come, such as you, come with an incredible sincerity. And this is what I find very moving. The questions that people ask are very, very much questions about life, and in my role, that’s actually what I live for, real questions about life. When people ask theoretical questions about the dharma and things like that, I fade out very quickly. Actually, I’m worse than that, I just refuse to answer them. And so this is what I’m moved by, and it speaks to me about a—hunger may be the wrong word—but a yearning among you, I think, among all of us. A yearning in our culture, which I think is created to some extent, to a considerable extent, by the steady erosion and disintegration of the traditions which have served for many hundreds if not thousands of years. The real impact of modern culture is something that I think many of us are still getting used to, and finding a way in. And at least particularly in today’s world we see whole institutions just crumbling to pieces. I’m talking about things like newspapers and libraries, even political systems and so forth. And so what started basically in the late sixteenth and seventeenth century is now accelerating and taking on whole new and different dimensions. And there are real challenges and questions about how do you find your way in life in this situation. And at the same time the questions about life remain very, very much the same.

There are those who espouse that humankind is evolving to a new level of consciousness. I have great difficulty in accepting that as a valid thesis, because if I pick up a book written by the early Greek philosophers, or pick up a book written a thousand years ago by a Tibetan teacher, the problems that they were dealing with are exactly the same as the problems we’re dealing with now. We haven’t made much progress, and I have a little scientific evidence on my side now, in that given the distribution of humanity around the world, and the fact that no groups exist in isolation any more, the human species has actually stopped evolving. It’s stopped evolving because in order for evolution to take place there has to be a group which develops a competitive advantage which then everybody has to come to terms with. And any advantage that anybody comes up with through gene mutation or whatever is quickly dispersed in the whole population. So as a species, we’ve stopped evolving. So I’m just putting aside that myth for now.


Section 3
 
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Now the thing that disturbs me is a movement within religious thinking and spiritual thinking, which goes back to about the same era, actually it goes back a bit further. It goes back to about the fourth or fifth century. And that is the evolution or the development of the idea that religion is a matter of belief. I’m not sure when it actually started, but I’m going to say it starts with the Nicean Creed in the fourth century, with Constantine, who brought together a bunch of great Christian scholars and said, ”What’s Christianity about?“ And they had to come up with some idea, and you had this code of beliefs, and that determined whether you were a Christian or not. Well, that notion of religion as belief, historically, is an anomaly. It’s not the case—religion has always been much more a question of practice. And in today’s age what I find very disturbing is this notion of religion as belief is becoming more and more widespread. I’ve seen its incursion—it’s very strong in many of the Abrahamic traditions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. But it leads to extremes. I see it beginning to show up in Buddhism in various guises. And that’s part of what I want to talk about this morning.


Section 4
 
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A few years ago I became increasing unsettled and discontent with being a teacher, in particular a Buddhist teacher. I’d never, ever felt like a Buddhist teacher. I’m not even sure what that is. And that may sound very strange to many of you. Do I teach Buddhism, do I teach the practice of Buddhism? I have for a very long time, but that somehow feels different from being a Buddhist teacher. And I just don’t get along with other Buddhist teachers. [Laughter] Sad but true. Maybe not so sad. This reached a point where I had to take some action on it about 6 years ago. And so I took a sabbatical from teaching because I didn’t know what I was doing anymore, so I felt I would just stop. It was a little bit of a shock to a small number of people who worked with me. They thought, ”You can’t do that, we need you,“ etc., but they discovered that they didn’t, and actually they learned a lot from it about one of the basic aspects of life, which is impermanence and change. I’m going to say a few more words about that.

I came back to teaching somewhat differently a year later, but the discontent hadn’t gone away. And one of the ways that I began to think about this is the problem with the word, teaching. What’s important here isn’t teaching. It’s learning. Learning is far more important, and being with a teacher who is talking about things is simply one way of learning. Because when we engage in spiritual practice we’re learning a way of approaching life, and that’s what we’re looking for. We’re trying to understand, and increasingly the idea that someone else can tell you, ”Oh this is how you do it,“ or whatever, this doesn’t work at all. Each of us has to discover our own way. And this is something I’ve come to feel very deeply. And so for that reason I’ve moved the way I do retreats from being a teacher to creating environments in which people could learn—learn through their own experience, learn with the benefit of my own training and experience, but practicing in the ways that were really fruitful for them, and not adhering to a system which had developed somewhere else for another population in another country and so forth.


Section 5
 
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And that was sort of all right for a couple of years, and then something happened. And describing this to some people I work with in business circles, they said, ”What happened?“ And I said, ”It’s one of those Zen things where everything just drops out of your life and you don’t know where you are.“ That was about 3 or 4 years ago. And my immediate impulse at that point was to stop teaching. There was one small problem. I was teaching two retreats back to back, and this occurred in the break between the two retreats, so I had 18 people flying in from all over the country expecting to learn something or do a retreat with with me, so I just couldn’t stop right then. But I did start to wind down my individual consulting practice as a teacher, and basically gradually just wound down from there. And this kind of the end point of that winding down process.

Now, why? A number of my students really quizzed me on this one quite deeply. And the reason is that I felt that I had nothing to say to anybody. And not just a trivial thing. I really had nothing to say. In fact I would just call friends up and say, ”Just ask me any question about Buddhism.“ And they’d say, ”What are the three jewels?“ ”Well I don’t know, ask me another.“

I even went to a Tibetan teacher and said, ”I don’t know anything anymore. I don’t know what buddha nature is, I don’t know what this is, I don’t know what that is.“ He said, ”It doesn’t matter.“ He gave me some very interesting instruction, he said, ”Just cultivate faith to the point that you can’t think, and rest there. Don’t worry about this, or that.“ And I thought about that instruction for a very long time. What did he mean by that? And I realized that this played straight into my suspicions and discomfort with the notion of belief.

So here’s what I want to say to you today, and I’m reaching back to the twelfth, thirteenth century to an individual in the Tibetan tradition that most of you, very few of you will have heard of, called Kyergongpa. And he was the third Tibetan teacher in a certain line of transmission which I received. And I can’t find this text anymore, but I know because I read it once when I was in retreat. It says that there are only three things that are important in spiritual practice: impermanence and change, compassion and faith.

Now some of you who have trained with Noah and in the Theravadan tradition, you’ll be familiar with something called the three marks of existence: impermanence, suffering and non-self. Now they play straight into these three. And if you’re in the Mahayana tradition then you have the Mahayana equivalents of no characteristics, no hope and emptiness, and they play straight into this as well. And if you’re in the Tibetan, the Vajrayana tradition, then you have mahamudra. Now things get a little practical: no wandering, no control, no work. These are meditation instructions. Don’t be distracted, don’t try to control your experience, don’t work at anything.

Now all these three sets you notice number one they’re not beliefs; they aren’t statements about how things actually are. They’re things that each of us learn about life as we go through life. So they’re things that we come to understand experientially. We know them. They aren’t statements about this is how things are. And this is what I think is very important. Everything that you learn is to help you find a way in your life in which you’re not struggling with what you experience every time you turn around. And that’s what led me into this. I couldn’t turn around without running into another door. How many of you have that experience? Okay. And one of the first things is to accept change. This was brought home to me by my teacher, 1972, just winding up his first visit to the west in Vancouver and I was sitting in his room one day, and he was leaving for the airport for the next day, and he said to me, ”Ken, what they say in the sutras is true.“ And I’m sitting there like, the sutras are hundreds of texts, big texts. They say everything you can think of under the sun. [Laughter] And so I said, ”Rinpoche, what do they say in the sutras?“ ”Old age is a drag.“ [Laughter]

We have to deal with change and part of our struggle with life is learning to deal with change. That’s one. And then there’s this business about suffering. I don’t like the term suffering. It’s the translation of the Sanskrit dukkha. I much prefer the word struggle, because I think that’s what we actually do in life. We don’t suffer all the time, but we struggle.


Section 6
 
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Now one of the learning experiences of life, I think, is that, well that’s what life consists of. There is going to be struggle with life in whatever you do. And if you read the life of Buddha you see that he struggled with life all the way through it. Even after he was enlightened he struggled with kings, he struggled with divisions in his community; he struggled with people trying to assassinate him periodically and so forth.

And so what do we do about that? And the really important piece here is the fact that struggle is part of life is the basis of compassion. And all of you know this. How many of you have children here? Okay. Now when you see your child struggling to learn something, or struggling with something, what do you feel? Your heart just goes out to them. And so compassion is a way that brings us into connection with this aspect of life in a way that we aren’t regarding it as an enemy or something to be destroyed or negated or whatever, but as an aspect of life which we have to learn.


Section 7
 
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And then there’s this business of non-self, and this doesn’t have anything to do with ego. That’s a term that was introduced by the person who translated Freud into English, and as such completely corrupted Freud’s psychoanalytic process, so it’s never been the same, either in England, America, and then going back into Germany and Austria. One of the worst translation errors in history.

How many of you are struggling in your life to be somebody? Nobody wants to admit that. Okay, yeah, a few honest people here, okay. How’s it going? [Laughter] Well you see, the moment that we try to be somebody, we actually step out of the stream of life. And that’s something again that we learn. That life isn’t so much about being somebody as about being right in the stream of it. ”But I want to be appreciated, I want to be understood.“ I, I, I, it goes on and on, right? But every time we use the word I in that way we are separating ourselves from life. And we’re living in a story about ourselves. And this is really what non-self refers to. Again, it’s not a categorical statement about how things are.


Section 8
 
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Now, you may ask, well what’s faith got to do with that? I’m going to advance the idea that we go through, ”I want to be understood, I want to be appreciated, I want this, I wan that, I want to be somebody,“ because we are feeling somewhat alienated from life and we doubt, and there’s doubt in us. Now there’s a wonderful expression in the Zen tradition: Great doubt, great enlightenment; little doubt, little enlightenment; no doubt, no enlightenment, which is basically the antithesis of how doubt is treated in the Tibetan tradition, so I’m going to be a little Zeny.

What happens if you open to that experience of doubt? Well the first thing is total and complete panic, right? It is that panic that fundamentalism seeks to avoid by engaging belief. But what happens if you open to that panic? Well, it’s a little frightening at first. It feels like you’re falling into an abyss. But there’s an extremely important characteristic about this abyss that all of you need to know. There’s no bottom. No there’s a wonderful cartoon drawn in a style which I didn’t like, which is why I didn’t clip it out—that I really regret. It shows two men, a dog and a chicken or a rooster, I’m not sure which, against this black background. And the caption is,Three Seconds After Falling Into a Bottomless Abyss, and each of the men, eyes bulging, tongue out, arms stretched flailing in panic. The dog is completely freaked out, the hair up. And the chicken or the rooster’s just a mess. Then the next caption—it’s only two cells: Six Months After Falling Into a Bottomless Abyss. One of the guys is reading a book, the other is just laying back. The dog’s asleep, and the rooster is just fine. So you might remember this.

Now remembering it might be useful to you, but in the scheme of things, it’s your panic. You have to engage it, and you have to find out that the abyss is bottomless. I can say it’s bottomless, but that’s just my experience. You have to find this out for yourself. Nobody can do it for you. Nobody can do that. This is your job. Sorry, that’s how it is. So that’s where faith comes in. I make a very strong distinction between faith and belief as ways of approaching the world. Belief is the attempt to interpret your experience of the world in a way that conforms to ideas that you hold. Faith is the willingness to open to whatever arises in your experience. And if it happens to be panic in a bottomless abyss, there you are.

So the problem with belief, is you already have these ideas. And there’s one thing I have learned about life. It’s that whatever ideas I have about life, the world is going to prove that they’re wrong sooner or later. And I think that’s what the punk phenomenon was largely about. That any idea you have about how this world is, is wrong. There will be situations in which that idea doesn’t hold or doesn’t work. Why? Because life is so incredibly complex and multifaceted. So yes, there are certain principles we can rely on, and there’s one economist I heard talking on the financial crash of 2008. He said, ”And this was a very good idea, until it wasn’t.“ And that’s how things are. You go, form certain ideas about life, and they work for you, until they don’t. Now, what happens at that point? Most of us try to hold on to those ideas and make them continue to work, and we end up struggling with our lives terribly. And the other possibility is to go in the direction of faith. It says, ”Oh, well, these ideas I had about life aren’t working anymore, so why don’t I just open to what is happening right now and see what to do?“

And again, to stretch another analogy a little bit, it’s as if those ideas you had about life are a kind of anchor, and you’ve been living on a boat in a bay, and you’re anchored. And the wind comes and blows you around a bit, but you just move around that anchor and it’s fine. And that’s fine, and it’s a good environment in which to raise a family, things are relatively stable, a lot of things you don’t have to think about. But at some point for whatever reason, that becomes unworkable and so you lift up the anchor. And as soon as you lift the anchor up you have to deal with a lot of things that you didn’t have to deal with before. Currents, wind coming from all different directions; you have to learn how to sail again. And now you have a very different experience of living in this boat, because now you can actually go anywhere but you’ve got to figure out how to go there using the circumstances in which you’re in. The anchor now is completely useless to you. And that’s where faith comes in. So, these are the three things that I’ve learned through my own experience, which have been helpful. I read that particular passage sometime in the first three year retreat, and it’s just one of those things you read, it just rings a bell and it just goes in and that’s it. You’ve got it. I never could find that passage again, even though I went looking for it.

Life is full of changes, and that’s not a bad thing, in fact it’s actually a very good thing, because if it wasn’t it would be rather boring. And there are always new possibilities emerging for us. And so as we go on in life we become more used to, or we can develop the ability to negotiate change. And for those of you who are relatively young, at this point I urge you to develop that ability because it becomes increasingly more difficult as you grow older. So develop the habit now. It’ll pay off later. Ben Franklin said the same thing about tranquility. He said, ”To enjoy peace in your old age, cultivate tranquility in your youth.“


Section 9
 
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Compassion’s very important for another reason, and this is very important. Compassion brings us in touch with our own struggles in life and with the struggles of others. But it’s also important for another reason. Compassion is the only quality that will allow you to see through the beliefs of your own culture, if you don’t have the opportunity to live outside. And why is that? Because whatever our beliefs are about our culture, they create inequities, sometimes greater, sometimes less, but always problems with them. And we tend to ignore the suffering created by those inequities because those are our values, those are our beliefs. Compassion puts us in touch with pain and suffering and struggle, wherever it is, however it arises. And so it is through compassion that we can step out of our own conditioning, our cultural conditioning in particular, our social conditioning.

And then again, returning to faith. When you are willing to open to whatever life brings you, and you’re no longer concerned with holding a certain idea about who you are or having others reflect that back to you, then you can step into the stream of life. You may not know where you’re going, you may not know what you’re doing. I’ve always wanted to know where I’m going, and what I’m doing, but I don’t. Even at this point. And now I literally don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve got it charted out until the end of October, but after that it’s completely blank. So you may see me, much subdued, coming back here, in November, or I don’t know.


Section 10
 
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There’s another quality about faith, which is a little difficult to put into words. When you think about opening to whatever life brings you, there’s simultaneously a yearning and a fear. I’ve already talked about the fear or the panic. Cultivate that yearning, because that yearning is your direction in life. There’s a phrase that Uchiyama Roshi uses, The direction of the present. And it’s about opening to everything in your life until you see what the next step is. In my own experience, you come to know what the next step is by sensing imbalance. And the imbalance may be in you, it may be in the world around you, or maybe in some combination of them. But that tells you what the next step is, the direction of the present. And that is why I say, don’t be afraid of faith, or that yearning quality, which is often felt as a pain in the heart. Now on my website you’ll find a prayer called, Devotion Pierces Your Heart. And it’s a long prayer written by a great teacher in the nineteenth century. And he’s using traditional vocabulary, but every verse, he’s expressing this yearning, different ways here and there, everywhere. And it’s quite beautiful that way.

If you stay in touch with that yearning, I think it’s fair to say you’ll never go astray in your life. That may be a lot to say, but I’ll stay with it. Everything that I’ve talked about right now is not so much, ”This is what you should do,“ but these are things you may find helpful to navigate your life. There is an extraordinary amount of Buddhist teaching, hundreds and hundreds of original—quotation marks—original scriptures, thousands and thousands of commentaries by teachers over the years, philosophy like you wouldn’t believe—particularly the stuff developed by the medieval Indian philosophers, also many of the Chinese—rituals, moral codes, prayers; it is unbelievably rich. What is important here is the purpose of all of it was to help one individual or another find their direction in life.

And I’ll just say one more thing about faith and belief. There are some who say you can’t be a Buddhist unless you believe in karma. Or you can’t be a Buddhist unless you believe this. This is what I mean about the incursion—or real Buddhists are this. There’s a wonderful story—probably apocryphal, but I prefer to believe it—about the Dalai Lama, on this front. This is before he won the Nobel Peace Prize. He was traveling on a plane somewhere in America. Beside him was a westerner. Meals were served, that was still when they served meals in planes, and the Dalai Lama was eating his, and the westerner who was sitting beside him said, ”Is that meat you’re eating?“ And the Dalai Lama said, ”Yes, it is. Veal, I think, it’s very good.“ And the westerner said, ”I thought Buddhists didn’t eat meat.“ And the Dalai Lama said, ”Only the serious ones.“ [Laughter]

So, if you find the ideas about karma helpful to you in navigating your life, then use them, until they don’t work. If you don’t find them helpful, then don’t use them. There’s a lot of talk these days about atheism and agnosticism. Agnosticism is a little different, but atheism is another form of belief. You believe there isn’t a god, which is a wonderful way of substantiating the idea of god. [Laughter] That’s Buddhist logic, by the way.


Section 11
 
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I had the opportunity to hear the imam of the mosque near the World Trade Center when he was here in Los Angeles last year. A profoundly religious man, unapologetically religious, very, very impressive. And in the question and answer period—when I say profoundly religious and unapologetic, he invoked Allah at the beginning of his talk, made all these kinds of references all the way through it, not making any big deal, this was just speaking totally from his heart. But during the question and answer period, the question came up, ”You’ve talked about Allah and having an experience of god, etc., etc., all through this. What about those of us who are atheists or agnostic?“ And his reply was extraordinary. He said, ”Then we have to talk about religion with a small R. That is, there are certain values which you hold—and principles that you hold—that guide you through your life. And as a religious person there are certain values and principles that I hold that guide me in mine. Let’s talk about those values and principles.“ And in this way, he cut right through the whole thing. This is a person who understands the role of faith and is not stuck in belief.

So, I say the same thing to you. In your practice, it’s about your life. It’s about learning how to navigate your life. Not to be the best you can or anything like that. But to form the deepest relationship with life you can. Trying to be the best you can—that’s about what you can get out of life, rather than being in the experience of life itself. And for that, these three principles; impermanence and change, because that’s just what happens; compassion, because it puts us in touch with the struggles of life in the right way; and faith, because it is what keeps you opening to everything that life brings you. And if you find these three ideas helpful to you, as I have over many, many years, then that’s what I wish to leave with you.


Section 12
 
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Now, we’ve almost finished…wasted this whole hour. So, Joe could you…

Now for some absolutely shameless self-promotion. [Laughter] I very much appreciate the opportunity of being with you over these…I don’t know, year, two years, I don’t know how long it’s been. So this is an audio version of a book which you probably wish you’d never met, but it’s too late for you now, called Wake Up to Your Life. I wrote it about ten years ago now. So I have a hundred of these things here, and so I would like all of you to have one if you wish. And if there’s enough and you want to take an extra one for your friend, that’s fine. So they’re here for you. And with that, I’ll take up any questions. We have a microphone somewhere. Yes?


Section 13
 
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Student: Regarding your practice, what is the most productive question you’ve ever asked yourself?

Ken: Wow. [Pause] That’s a very difficult question. [Pause] I think I’d have to answer, and this is only my answer: ”What am I looking for?“ Yeah, I think that’s what I would say: ”What am I looking for?“ Now, it’s an extremely dangerous question. You take it up at your own risk. And the reason I say it’s a very dangerous question is that if you keep that question close to you, when things…you know we go through periods of life where everything works for a period of time, and then they stop working. If that’s a question you’re asking at that point, it means you have no idea where the direction of your life takes you. So I just want you to…full disclosure.


Section 14
 
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Over here, Patricia, and then the person next to you.

Patricia: Can you talk a little bit about impermanence, compassion and faith with regard to the past? Because I find that the struggle of the present is so intertwined, particularly as I’m moving on in years. I just find that it’s very difficult to not carry the past into those three things. And it’s very easy to say, ”Oh, well you have to get on with it,“ or ”You can’t do anything about that,“ but that doesn’t necessarily work.

Ken: Yes, I think it is difficult. But there’s also opportunity. As time goes on, certain choices we make close down different possibilities in our life. As Yogi Berra said, ”When you come to a fork in the road, take it.“ [Laughter] We have to go down one, the road less traveled and all that. And there’s no indication in that poem…when he says he took the one less traveled by and that’s made all the difference, but how does he know?

Respect the past, but don’t take it as limiting. In particular, it’s very easy to make an enemy out of our past. And when you make an enemy out of it, then we solidify it and we define itself in a way that actually restricts us. We use our enemies to define us, to tell us what we are by saying, ”I am not that.“

You’ll find this in one of the podcasts, I can’t remember which one, [Awakening From Belief 4] but there’s a program I did on karma in Vermont, 2004, I think. And third or fourth day of that program, a gentleman in his 70s—at least 70s, maybe 80s—described how as a young soldier in World War II, his closest friend was killed by the Japanese, horribly. Iwo Jima, I think. And he just went crazy and he killed 22 Japanese soldiers, just went on a rampage. And after the war he just felt so sick that he devoted the rest of his life to anti-war work, and as a pacifist, and poured all of his energies into this. And he was still deeply troubled by the pain of what he’d done. And as I listened to him—we’d just done a whole thing on how do you come to terms with karma—I said to him, ”You might consider, because yes, this young soldier went on this rampage and killed these Japanese people, in horrible ways. But since then you’ve done this and you’ve done that. And you might consider that that young soldier no longer exists.“ And he found that possibility helpful. So yes, the past lives on in us, and it’s also the past. Okay.


Section 15
 
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Student: I wrote my question down. I find that I like to be coddled and lulled to complacency. [Ken laughs] How do I stay focused on this path without compromising? And also faith that I can reach enlightenment, because I get really disillusioned thinking like that’s some unreachable, unattainable thing up in the sky.

Ken: Yeah, okay. That’s a lovely and honest question. It may be helpful, it’s something I find helpful, to talk about myself in the plural. Walt Whitmans, ”I contain multitudes.“ So part of you wants to be coddled into complacency. That’s a wonderful phrase, I love it. Okay. A part of you wants to reach for the stars, is that fair? Okay. Now what happens when you say part of you rather than I?

Student: Cuz it’s an inner conflict, it’s not my whole person…

Ken: Right, so what happens in your body when you say, ”Part of me wants this, part of me wants that.“

Student: Inner turmoil?

Ken: Anything else? I’m reaching here. Are you either of those parts?

Student: No, I’m the person that is conflicted, behind those two different…

Ken: What if you just let those two parts have their own idea about life and you go on with yours? [Laughter] How does that feel?

Student: Sounds good. [Laughter]

Ken: What I’m trying to do is point out possibilities here. When we say, ”I am this,“ and ”I am that,“ that’s when we experience conflict because we can’t be both of those at the same time, but when we say, ”Part of me is this, part of me is that,“ then we find we can hold both of those possibilities, and they become possibilities not facts. You follow? And that’s the essential movement, moving from facts to put possibilities, and so many other things become possible.

Student: So not be so rigid?

Ken: Not be so fixed that those are the only two things going on in you. And as you say, okay, and I speak here very much from my own experience, and I mentioned this here before. In the three year retreat there was a part of me that was reaching for the stars, right? Getting enlightened, doing this. Three years, 8, 10, 12 hours of meditation a day. Serious stuff. Okay. This went on fine for a few months and then I started to get sick. I got really sick. And then my body said something. it said, ”Ken, you can go on to get enlightened if you wish; I’m not coming.” [Laughter] No shit!

Now just to tell you how stubborn I am, it took me twenty years to figure out how to relate to that situation. It was a tough twenty years. You’re probably not as stupid and stubborn as I me.

Student: Thank you.

Ken: Well, we should close here. Thank you again. Please come up. Help yourself to these…


Creative Commons LicenseThis transcript by Ken McLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. This transcript has been edited to make it more readable. There may be minor differences between the audio file and the transcript.