All Episodes

January 3, 2018 37 mins

Steve Hagen is the founder and teacher of the Dharma Field Zen Center in Minneapolis, MN and the author of several books on Buddhism, including Buddhism Plain and Simple which is one of the top five best selling books on Buddhism in the United States. In this episode, Steve teaches us about several Buddhist concepts that are often misunderstood: Wholeness vs Unwholesomeness, Perception vs Conception and Belief vs Knowledge. Knowing the true meaning of these ideas will give you great freedom as you seek the enlightenment that is your true nature.

This episode is sponsored by Health IQ and Casper


Please Support The Show with a Donation


In This Interview, Steve Hagen and I Discuss...

  • The Wolf Parable
  • His book, Buddhism Plain and Simple
  • The Horse and the Farmer parable
  • Wholeness vs Unwholesome
  • Consider the welfare of other beings in all you do
  • Awareness
  • Perception (the immediate, direct experience) vs Conception (our construct of things)
  • Belief vs Knowledge
  • That we can't arrive at truth through conception
  • That enlightenment is with us all of the time, we're just not aware of it
  • That enlightenment is our natural state
  • The idea of "stream" as self, the Buddha said
  • That the way things appear to be is more of a construct than a reality
  • How picking and choosing is the mind's worst disease
  • Noticing how the mind leans a certain way
  • That a Buddha is a person who is awake
  • The power of simply observing something about ourselves rather than trying to put a stop to it or judging it
  • The Story about the 84 Problems

 

Please Support The Show with a Donation

 


See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played
Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
When the buddhas said, do what is wholesome, avoid what

(00:02):
is unwholesome. This wholeness is within every experience. It's just
a matter of us being sensitive to it, open to it,
and aware of it. Welcome to the one you feed
Throughout time, great thinkers have recognized the importance of the
thoughts we have, quotes like garbage in, garbage out, or

(00:26):
you are what you think ring true. And yet for
many of us, our thoughts don't strengthen or empower us.
We tend toward negativity, self pity, jealousy, or fear. We
see what we don't have instead of what we do.
We think things that hold us back and dampen our spirit.
But it's not just about thinking. Our actions matter. It

(00:48):
takes conscious, consistent, and creative effort to make a life
worth living. This podcast is about how other people keep
themselves moving in the right direction, how they feed their
good wolf m Thanks for joining us. Today's guest is

(01:16):
Steve Hoggen, founder and head teacher of the Dharma Field
Zen Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Steve is the author of
several books on Buddhism, among them as The Brilliant Buddhism,
Plain and Simple which was one of the top five
best selling Buddhism books in the United States. In two
thousand twelve, Steve updated and revised his first book, How

(01:38):
the World Can Be the Way It Is, and published
it as Why the World Doesn't Seem to Make Sense,
An Inquiry into science, philosophy, and perception. This episode is
sponsored by health i Q. To see if you qualify
and get your free health quote, go to health i
q dot com. Slash walf Or mentioned the promo code

(01:59):
wolf when you talk to a health i Q agent,
and here's the interview with Steve Hogan. Hi, Steve, Welcome
to the shower. It's a pleasure to have you on.
I read one of your books, Buddhism, Plain and Simple,
years and years ago, I think probably when it first
came out, and I've revisited it a couple of times
over the years. So it's a real pleasure to get

(02:21):
you on and talk with you about it. Well, I'm
pretty happy to be here. Excellent. Well, let's start like
we always do, with the parable. There is a grandfather
who's talking with his grandson. He says, in life, there
are two wolves inside of us that are always at battle.
One is a good wolf, which represents things like kindness
and bravery and love, and the other is a bad wolf,

(02:43):
which represents things like greed and hatred and fear. And
the grandson stops and he thinks about it for a second,
and he looks up at his grandfather and he says, well, grandfather,
which one wins? And the grandfather says, the one you feed.
So I'd like to start off by asking you what
that terrible means to you in your life and in
the work that you do. Yeah, that's an interesting story.

(03:05):
I hadn't heard it, you know, before you contacted me.
But of course we all want to feed the good
wolf inside us. The problem I think that we have
it's kind of hard to determine exactly what is good
and what is bad. You did outline a few things,
they're examples of goodness and what is bad, But this

(03:28):
isn't so easily discerned that. There's a an interesting Dawas
story um of a Chinese farmer, wise Chinese farmer and uh.
One day his horse runs off. Actually this is in
in my book Buddhism, Plan and Simple. His horse runs
off and his neighbor comes to console him that he

(03:49):
lost his horse. But the farmer said, well, who can
say what's good or bad? And the next day the
horse comes back, bringing some other horses with her, And
now the neighbor comes to congratulate the farmer on his
good luck, and the farmer says, who can say what's
good or bad? And it goes on like this. The

(04:10):
next day, the farmer's son breaks his leg trying to
break one of the horses, and uh. The neighbor says, well,
commiserating with with the man, and uh, but the farmer
I just keep saying, who can say what's good or bad?
The next day the army's coming through, conscript conscripting young

(04:32):
men for the for the army, and they pass over
his son because he's got a broken leg. And so
it just goes on like this, who can say what's
good or bad? I've heard this story told by people
saying the farmer just says maybe maybe good, maybe bad.
But I think it's a little bit more powerful, Uh,

(04:54):
when we get down to what he's saying there, who
can say? Who can say what's good or bad? You know?
I always think of the those buildings in New York
back in two thousand one when the planes flew into
the buildings, and of course we would all say that
this is bad. But of course to the people who
flew the planes in, they probably thought they were doing
something good. And we can find all kinds of examples

(05:18):
of of this. Just last year on the during the campaigns,
somebody asked the heads of one of the networks about
giving so much airspace to uh to Donald Trump and uh,
and he said, well, you know, this might not be
good for the nation, but it's good for us, he said.

(05:39):
And uh, you know, so here we are good and
bad and uh, pretty difficult to discern. And I listened
to a couple of your other interviews that you did,
and I noticed, uh, one person, it was Sean Carroll,
very interesting fellow. I really you know, like him what
he had to say. Uh, But he he observed correctly.

(06:01):
I would say that it's hard to be objective in
terms of determining what's good or bad. And I would
agree with that, except there is a way of without
expecting to arrive at some kind of objective view of
good or bad, there is a way of viewing this
that can actually get us out of our confusion, and
rather than casting it in good and bad, if we

(06:24):
just simply look at it in terms of homeless and
and what is unwholesome, and this brings us You know
that there's a teaching in the Dama Pada where the
Buddha said, you just simply put it as do what
is wholesome, avoid what is unwholesome, and he said purify
your own mind. And then he said, this is what

(06:46):
the awaken teach. There. It is in a nutshell. Do
it as a wholesome, avoid what is unwholesome. And then
we have the pure precepts which my teacher used to
express him in this way, it's just we do what
is wholesome, avoid was unwholesome, consider the welfare of everyone
and everything you do. That's a way that helps us

(07:08):
to avoid any kind of one on one confrontation between
good and bad, which I think anyone if you stand
back and look at it and get separate yourself from
your own attached views con sided, well, it's hard to
say that that itself is good to have that duality exactly.
Another thing that you wrote talking about the Buddhist teachings,

(07:30):
one of the things you said was that when Buddhoo
was asked to sum up his teachings. In a single word,
he said, awareness. Yeah, not awareness of something in particular,
but awareness itself. Can you talk to me about that
difference between being aware of, say like the color of
the wall or the sounds that I'm hearing, and being
aware or awareness itself. Yeah. Normally we're so used to

(07:55):
we're highly conceptual beings, and so we immediately conceptualize our
experience and see things in terms of form and color,
and and also for ways in which feeling and thought
get mixed in with all of that. But this is
awareness of objects, awareness of the conceptual, and pure awareness

(08:18):
is just simply that it's not formed in any way whatsoever.
This is what I think the Buddha was speaking of there.
It isn't that you're focused on something else. With that
kind of a focus, you also having a strong sense
of self at the same time, but just simply to
be aware of tune end to settle down with the
actual raw experience of this moment. And uh, that's kind

(08:42):
of a general awareness. And I would refer to this
as perception and it's not conceptual at all. The conceptual
is something where we try to describe what it is
we're experiencing. We feel like we have to say something
about it, but we actually can't describe the actual, immediate
act experience of the moment. It's like tasting orange juice.

(09:04):
You know, we know it immediately, but it's not a concept,
it's not an idea. It's a direct experience, and there's
no way to describe it. If you had never tasted
orange juice, there's no way I could describe it to
you so that you would taste it. This is something
that has to be done directly, and so awareness like that,
just simply aware of what is the immediate, direct, unformed experience.

(09:28):
In a different book, you refer to perception as knowledge
and conception as belief. That's kind of what it boils
down to. And we confuse what we believe with knowledge.
This has been an ancient problem, goes all the way
back to the to the ancient Greeks, and probably before that.

(09:48):
How do we parcel belief from knowledge? And again, the
problem that we have is because we're so caught up
in the conceptual and we're not paying much attention at
all to the perceptual or to a media direct awareness.
Right now, I'm just finishing another book where I get
into this rather heavily and really spell it out in

(10:11):
quite a bit of detail. And so what we're talking
about here when we say perception versus conception is perception
being I am present in the current moment. I'm here now,
As you said, I'm just experiencing the raw sensations that
are coming from my perception, without categorizing them, putting them

(10:34):
into concepts, labeling them, judging them as good or as bad.
I'm just simply aware to them. Is that a way
to sum it up? Well? Actually, uh, what you just
described as still conceptual, and mainly because you referenced everything
in terms of I me and you know, my my perception. Uh,

(10:55):
strictly speaking, with pure awareness, there's no such thing as
my perception. There's perception. Once we get to my perception,
now it's it's conceptualized and and I'm formed, and then
there's something else out there they're formed as well, and
so pure perception it is a very it's a very
subtle thing, but we're always experiencing it. It's impossible not

(11:19):
to experience it. Uh, it's with every waking moment of
well more than that, it's just continuously with us. It's
just that the gap between that and the conceptualizing is
almost non existent for most of us. Right, most of
us were so quick with the conceptualizing that we don't

(11:41):
even realize that there is any distinction here to be made.
You know, and and we and we also uh intensify
that with just the way we talk. Like I'm sitting
here in front of a microphone now, and I might
say something like I perceived the microphone. Uh, well, that's
how we would normally talk. I would never say that, Well,

(12:01):
I just did, but I would never I don't I
realized that the microphone is something conceived by me. It's
it's a conceptual construct, and there's nothing wrong with that.
I also don't mean to set out one against the other,
like perception is good and conception is bad. We need conceptual,
we need the conceptual. But it's just that we can't

(12:23):
arrive at truth that way. The truth doesn't go in
the concept, but we can see it directly, and we
omit that we overlook it simply because we so quickly
wrap everything into a conceptual construct and we missed the
actual media, direct experience that we that we know from
moment to moment all the time. Is that part of

(12:45):
what you would say meditation helps to do is to
allow us to get some gap between that perception and
the conception. Yeah, well, that's what the meditation is. That's
how we start out. We tune into a settled down.
It's quieting the mind, settling down to what the actual

(13:05):
experience of the moment is without adding anything to it.
And at some point we can start to become more
discerning and realize, you know, how much we are adding
to the experience of the moment, how much we're explaining
to ourselves or just assuming in a conceptual way, and
we're constantly acting out of that and and not really

(13:27):
tuned into what the pure experiences. So the meditation is
just simply settling down in the actual perceptual experience. This

(14:01):
episode is sponsored by health i Q. Healthy Q is
an insurance company that uses science and data to help
you get lower rates on life insurance. If you're health conscious,
if you're a runner or a cyclist, if you do
strength training, vegetarian or vegan, HEALTHYKE can help you to
get a lower rate on your life insurance. Healthyke can

(14:24):
save you up to thirty three percent Because physically active
people have a much lower risk of heart disease, cancer,
and diabetes compared to people who are inactive. This is
like saving money on your car insurance for being a
good driver. Healthy ke saves you money on your life
insurance for living a health conscious lifestyle. Seventy of their

(14:45):
clients get approved at the top rate class and they
are the fastest growing life insurance company with over five
billion in coverage. One of the things that you do
when you sign up is to take a quiz about
your knowledge of wellness and that helps can tribute to
your discount. I took it and enjoyed it, and I
am working with these folks right now an agent right

(15:06):
now on my life insurance and they are absolutely lovely
people to work with and have been very friendly and
very fun to work with. So to see if you
qualify and get your free health quote, go to health
i q dot com slash Wolf. You can also mention
the promo code wolf when you talk to a health
i Q agent that's health i q dot com slash

(15:29):
wolf to save money on your life insurance. Before we
get back to the interview, I want to mention that
this episode is sponsored by Casper Mattress and at Casper
Mattresses are perfectly designed for humans, engineered to soothe and
createle your natural geometry. And as they say, you spend
one third of your life sleeping, so you should be comfortable.

(15:50):
And to create that comfort, Casper brand mattresses combine multiple
supportive memory films for a quality sleep surface with just
the right amounts of both sinc and bounce. Now Casper
has three mattress models, the Original Casper, the Wave, and
the Essential, all of which are very affordable. Because Casper
cuts out the MetalMan and sells directly to the consumer,

(16:13):
Casper has no hassle returns if you're not completely satisfied,
and shipping and returns are free in the US and Canada.
So start sleeping ahead of the curve with Casper. Get
fifty dollars toward any mattress purchase by visiting Casper dot
com slash one. You feed and enter the code one
you feed at checkout. Terms and conditions apply again. That's

(16:34):
Casper dot com slash one. You feed and enter the
code one you feed at checkout. And here's the rest
of the interview. You use the word enlightenment. You say
it's nothing more or less than seeing things as they are,
rather than as we wish or believe them to be.
Do you think that enlightenment is something that happens for

(16:57):
people semi regularly? Is it a pretty rare can audition?
What's your thought on that? Oh, it's not rare at all.
I was gonna say, different people have different thoughts on that.
You have to train for so many lifetimes before this
could happen, and yeah, yeah, Well, actually, enlightenment is with
us all the time. It's just that we're never tuned

(17:17):
into it. It's actually our true state. You know, if
if we would just settle down and not play with
so many different things, or at least if we would
start to recognize what we're doing and and so we
don't allow ourselves to get emotionally caught up with too
many things, forming attachments all of that. Uh, the enlightenment

(17:38):
is is right there. But with that, it's really the
perception itself. It's just that with enlightenment we kind of
brought in the element of understanding, knowing, realizing, uh, what
is taking place. And of course people could easily interpret
what I just said as bringing in the conceptual. Now
that wouldn't be enlightenment, because the enlightenment is the actual

(17:59):
perceptual itself. But it is knowing reality and it isn't
something foreign to us because we actually all no reality.
You could not not no reality. It's all we ever experience.
It's just that we, in conceptualizing it, are attempting to
we go with that with all the various things that
we form, including ourselves and uh, and pay virtually no

(18:20):
attention to what is actually taking place, what is actually happening.
So let's go back to that idea of self for
a minute. You're you're talking about the Buddhist conception of
no self, and one of the ways that you describe
it in the book that I think is great. Well,
actually I guess the Buddha described it and you're just
passing on. But what we call a person the Buddha

(18:43):
referred to simply as stream. What does that mean, Well,
it's it's just that the actual momentum experience of the
moment is stream. It is h nothing is holding still,
there's nothing persisting. A self would have to be something
that doesn't change. And if we look carefully at the
experience moment by moment, there isn't anything that doesn't change.

(19:07):
Everything within the experience, all thought, feeling, objects, everything appears
to be coming and going. The Buddha described himself the
term he used to refer to himself. Rather than saying
me or I, he used the term tatagata, which literally
means coming and going. Thus, and what he meant by

(19:29):
that is that the experience is nothing but this coming
and going, just as we find it. And and so
that's what he's referring to their rather than saying I
or me, which is a mistaken view of that. Well,
I am something here that's persisting from moment to moment.
We talked about what when I was five or six

(19:49):
or whatever, but it's still me. We have this idea
that there's something element here that's persisting from moment to moment.
But if if you look carefully at your experience, you
realize you'll never find that thing. That's just a conceptual
construct that we live by. If we're tuned into the
actual perceptual experience, it appears as continuous flux and change,
but there's actually nothing changing there. And describing the idea

(20:12):
of stream a little bit, you give the analogy of
a book, you know, the book that you were writing.
Could you share that analogy, because I think it's a
very helpful way to think of this idea of everything
sort of being in flux, and also it being really
difficult to determine where to draw a line that this
thing begins and this thing ends. That's what the conceptualizing is,

(20:35):
is that where we do draw the lines, and this
could be very functional and useful. Again, as I mentioned earlier,
there's nothing wrong with conceptualizing, and we need we need
to conceptualize. But if we look very carefully at the experience, though,
you'll you'll see that there's actually no line, no border,
no no boundary that we can actually discern beyond the

(20:56):
conceptual So in other ways, the actual perceptual experience does
give us any boundaries like that, And this is something
we can even notice if we really tune in. I
like an experience I once had lying in my tent
at night and listening in the deep wood. There, uh,
in the distance was an owl and in an unpredictable

(21:19):
way I could I never knew when he was gonna
hoot next, But just lying there in the tent and listening,
and Uh, I noticed that either the hoot was hooting
or it wasn't. And it was like, even though it
seems like now there's a hoot. Now there isn't. So
it would seem that there would have to be a
boundary there. And yet just lying there, really tuned into

(21:44):
it and focusing on it, you can't really find that.
And uh, and that's that's getting in with the perceptual experience,
just noting very carefully there. So there's nothing really bounded
at all. Uh, though our experience certainly appears that way.
And we don't deny the appearances, and we don't ignore
the appearances. It's very important that we to ane into

(22:07):
these things, but we do make the mistake of thinking
that the way things appear to be bounded and separated
from other things, Um, that's actually more of a mental
construct than an actual reality, an ultimate reality. It's an
apparent reality. It called it smaller reality or a friend
of mine. Once you use the term scenality is how

(22:28):
things seem to be. And I don't deny that. Yeah,
the analogy that you used about a book was you
you were saying, you know, how how do I tell
this book as a as a distinct thing. I mean,
on one hand, here it is in my hand, but
you know, the paper came from a tree, so as
the tree consider, you know, as the paper part of
the book is the tree. Part of the book is

(22:50):
the water that came down to make the tree. Is
the fact that you were taught by somebody in order
to be able to write that book, you know, and
that person was taught by somebody. And so that all
these things flow into each other in a way. And again,
on one hand, it's easy to say this is the book,
you can hold it in your hand. But at the
same time, it's also not just that. It's everything that

(23:13):
had to happen, all the events that occurred all along
the way until that thing comes. And so and that's
the idea of to some extent, when you don't put
a conception on something, you are able to see that unfolding. Yeah. Yeah,
and and uh, she you can realize that within any

(23:34):
small uh sphere or object or whatever we find ourselves
and or everything is there, everything comes together with it,
totality is there. And this brings us back to wholeness again,
which I talked about at the very beginning, and talking
about the two wolves. And uh, if we look carefully

(23:56):
this wholeness, when the Buddhist said, do it is wholesome,
avoid what is unwholesome. Uh. This wholeness is within every experience.
It's just a matter of us being sensitive to it,
open to it, and aware of it. And we can
also see the divided and fractured and all of that,
the unwholesome, those things that appear to be unwhole, and

(24:17):
we honor that, we respect that. But if we look carefully,
we realize that these are not two different things. This
world ultimately is without such boundaries, but they are apparent.
They are there in the conceptual form, So we have
to honor that. Right. It's sort of part of what
makes life functional in the way that it is is

(24:40):
being able to do that. But it's, as you said,
it's not the only way to see things or necessarily
the bottom line truth of it. And I always think
that's interesting. It's kind of like the the self no
self question because on one hand, when that comes up,
and this was my reaction for a long time, was like, well,
that's ridiculous. Of course, there's a self here, I am yeah,

(25:01):
And so on one hand and a in a relative sense, right,
yes there, you know, I am here and I am
you know, doing these things. But then at a deeper level,
at a different level. It's you know, it's more what
you talked about. It's the stream, it's the everything moves
together as one thing. Yeah, you can't pick out that
individuated thing, you know, myself the way, we actually don't

(25:26):
use the term no self because that's kind of going
to an extreme, just as we would avoid using the
term self in terms of grasping anything or thinking we've
gotten hold of something. By using the term self, we
also avoid grasping at the other extreme, which is that
there's no self. We tend to speak of it more
as that we just simply don't find a self. And again,

(25:47):
a self meaning that thing that doesn't change. This is
what we don't find in our experience. So it's not
that there's no such thing as itself or whatever. It's
just that, you know, what are you gonna point to?
We do talk about big self totality. Yeah, it's always us,
but that's not an object. If you're enjoying this conversation,

(26:34):
I hate to be the bearer of bad news. We
are nearing the end of it. I wish you could
keep listening once the episode ends. Well, I've got some
good news to you can The interview continues over at
one you feed dot net slash Support. There, if you
pledge at the ten dollar level, you'll get access to
this additional exclusive content as well as many other bonus

(26:54):
conversations that have been recorded with our guests. We really
need and appreciate your support, so we hope you'll head
over to one new feed dot net slash support and
pledge to access this additional weekly content. And now back
to the interview. One of the things that you reference
and you say is that picking and choosing is the

(27:15):
mind's worst disease. Talk about what you're getting at their Yeah,
that's that's from the Shin xing Ming early Zen poem
by the third Patriarch of Zen in China. He starts
out by saying, um, the Great Way is not difficult.
There's nothing it prefers. It's often translated is for those
who have no preferences, But he's if you look at

(27:37):
the Chinese, it's closer to saying that the Great Way
itself is without preference. So in our conceptualizing mind, where
we divide things out and now we start evaluating them,
some things that we think are good and some are bad,
and we and some things we want, some things we
don't want, and we start picking and choosing, and since

(28:00):
on the author of that peace singing thing, he says,
uh that this is the mind's worst disease, and it
leaves us. Um, we easily get caught up in a
lot of frustrating and difficult situations or even terrifying and
frightening and painful, whereas if we uh look at the

(28:22):
larger picture, the larger experience of what's what is always
being experienced, we can learn not to get caught up
in these distinctions. We need to honor them with their distinctions,
but we don't need to let them carry us away.
The other thing you talk about, I think, similar to

(28:43):
choosing or preferring this or preferring that, you talk often
about the idea of that our mind leans a certain way,
explain that this is the best way really to get
in touch with the awakened mind, which is right there
with you always. Again we ignore it as we wake up.
Our minds are leaning. And it has to do with

(29:05):
that preference again that I was just talking about, where
the great Way doesn't have any preferences. And to the
extent that we're not picking and choosing, the mind isn't leaning,
so it's a matter of really getting in touch with that,
noticing your own mind. You can feel the poll you
can feel the attachment or the aversion that might be
going on within your mind, rejecting, you know, shunning while

(29:28):
one thing or another or a person or whatever else
and being drawn towards another when you allow yourself to
act out of that rather than out of the hole.
And Buddhism, plain and simple, I talk about this as
really what we can do. It's called the mind that
knows everything. And of course, in terms of the conceptual
we can't know everything. It's just too much, and it's

(29:52):
just just a sheer impossibility. But we can do that
which is equivalent, which is knowing the whole. And and and
this is this matter of being aware in any given moment,
particularly when you're interacting with others. Say, if you can
detect some pull of your mind you're trying to bring

(30:12):
about certain results or certain ends, and this sort of thing.
This is what the Buddha meant by avoid what is unwholesome.
Just see if you can stay away, you know, from
this sort of thing. And to the extent that we
can do this our own mind. Now it doesn't lean
it's not leaning towards this. It isn't this position of
mind isn't constantly shifting like that. And uh, and this

(30:37):
is characteristic of an awakened mind or a mind of
of totality and wholeness and understanding. And so that is
a very easy thing to say, easy to say, right.
So it's a lifetime of practice. Lifetime of practice, yeah, exactly.
But this is what most distinguishes a Buddha or an

(31:00):
awakened person. And Buddha is a person, human being who's awake.
But this is what most distinguishes one who's awake from
from one who's caught up in confusion. Is this matter
of well, this disposition of mind, the leaning of of mine. Uh.
The one who's awake, the mind doesn't lean or their

(31:23):
inclination of mind is you could say zero, it's vertical,
it's you know, it's not leaning. And that's that's characteristic
of an awakened mind. And you would say, I think,
putting words in your mouth that we can't make our
mind go this direction or that direction or not lean
or yankee back up straight or push it back in

(31:44):
that that what we can do is see that our
mind is leaning and and come back to trying to
be awake here and now that is the best way
to get to the point where we have a mind
that doesn't lean. It's simply to see that it's leaning,
vers simply judging it, pushing it, forcing it by the

(32:06):
same token. And we also don't try to make it
not lean. That doesn't work. That's more leaning actually, So
it's just it is simply a matter of seeing. And
and when I when I'm writing that word seeing, this
is when I'll tell us size the word to distinguish
it from our ordinary seeing where we're seeing an object. Here,

(32:27):
what we're seeing is totality or the mind of totality.
And uh, in the way in which things might be
entering into it that you know, the conceptual to constructs,
the inclinations and this sort of thing. We can see
that and uh, and then then we can stop or
we can learn to do that. That that takes some time.

(32:47):
But the way, the way that we learn it too
is is through just acquaintance with this, tuning into it
and becoming aware of what's going on. We start to
realize all the pain and confusion and anger and anxiety,
and you know that that coo along with that, and
you know, the hatred and all of that. The mind

(33:08):
then can become more supple and open and magnanimous and tolerant. Uh.
And that's the that's kind of the promise of learning
to live without being caught by your inclinations. Yeah, so
we're near the end of our time here. I'd love
to have you tell the story about the problems. Oh yes,

(33:33):
sometimes people get a little confused about this, but it's
about a a man who who heard of the buddhas
teachings and heard that he was a wise man and
all of this. And the man thought, well, you know,
I'm gonna go talk with him. I have certain problems
here that maybe he can help me with. And so
the man went to see the Buddha, and the Buddha

(33:54):
patiently sat and listened to him, and and the man
when I turned out, he was a farmer, like the
wise change farmer with this guy. Maybe it wasn't that man,
but he said, you know, I'm a farmer and I
like farming, but sometimes, uh, you know, it range too much,
or it doesn't rain enough, and my crops fail, or
I don't get the yields I want. And you know,

(34:16):
then the Buddhist listening and then says, you know what,
I'm married and I have a wife. She is a
good wife. I love her, but sometimes she nags me
too much, you know. And uh, he says, I have
kids and they're great kids, but sometimes they don't show
me enough respect, you know. Anyway, the guys just going
on like this, like any of us, could you know,

(34:38):
we all have difficulties and problems in our life. And
that's what the Buddha said, I can't help you. And
then said, well, what do you mean. He said, I
thought you were a great teacher. And he he says, well,
we all have problems, the Buddha said, and he says,
as a matter of fact, eighty three problems. We all
have eighty eighty three. Just sometimes people good up on

(35:00):
the number, but it just means a lot of problems.
And and and then the Buddhist said, well, maybe you
can solve one of them, but if you do, there'll
be another one just pops right back in its place.
And no matter what, it's always eighty three or you
always have just going to be problems, is what he's saying.
And the man just kind of kind of blew up

(35:21):
at him. There, what what good is your is your teaching,
he said then, And the Buddhist said, well, maybe it'll
help you with the four problem problem, said the man,
and he said, what's that? And the buddhistaid, well, you
don't want to have any problems and uh, and this
is what we can learn to do. It isn't like,

(35:42):
you know, we go to this heavenly place or whatever
where everything is just hunky dory and wonderful from then
that's just not reality. It's not it's not life. Uh,
it will never be that way. But what we can
learn to do is to not be this. This is
no appealing to this mind of totality. Is this wholesome mind,

(36:03):
the mind of the whole, as opposed to the splintered
mind in the divided mind. We can learn uh, to
to find this. So even in this world of apparent
differences and things coming and going and changing all around us,
we can learn to live in this space without being
tossed about, um, you know. And and so this is

(36:26):
what the Buddha promise, this is what he teaches, This
is what he helps us with. Yeah, I love that
idea that we all have problems and that they're not
going they're not going away and I think that's just
such a great thing to recognize and then realizing that
most of the suffering comes from us one in there

(36:46):
to be no problems. I just think it's such a profound,
profound story. It's a little different than jay Z song
problems and ain't one, but will that'll be for the
more modern listeners unless you're a big jay Z face,
in which I don't think so. I know, I really
don't know what you're talking about here, but I I
know I couldn't really. I think it's a it's a

(37:08):
hip hop star, rap star. So well, Steve, thank you
so much for taking the time to come on the show.
I really appreciated talking with you. I've appreciated your writing
over the years, so it was a real pleasure. Well,
thank you. Eric, was good to be here. Okay, take
care to bite. If what you just heard was helpful

(37:46):
to you, please consider making a donation to The One
You Feed podcast. Head over to one you Feed dot
net slash support. The One You Feed podcast would like
to sincerely thank our sponsors for supporting the show.
Advertise With Us

Popular Podcasts

Dateline NBC
Death, Sex & Money

Death, Sex & Money

Anna Sale explores the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation.

Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.

Connect

© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.