Blue Cliff Record Class

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67th Case: Mahasattva Fu Expounds the Scripture; single-point samadhi.

AI Summary: 



And I often say the same thing every time I introduce a new series on the Blue Cliff Record, so excuse me if you've heard this story before, but this is the story of how I came to be teaching a class on the Blue Cliff Record and basically my method of doing it. I wanted to let you know in the beginning. I, for a number of years, my main Dharma study was either Dogon or other Mahayana and especially old school texts. I was studying a lot of Mahayana Tibetan Buddhist texts and also lots of the Pali Canon, reading teachings of various contemporary Theravada teachers, and I actually felt that that material was more useful for Dharma students, because it actually gave you ways to practice that


were fairly clear. Do this, do that, do this, do that, and teachings that were relatively clear, especially like in the Mahayana side, teachings about benefiting others and all this kind of good stuff, devotional teachings and so on, that I thought were very valuable and necessary and were not provided in Zen school. And so, not only that, but I found that I had problems with the Koan literature, and the problem that I had was mostly that the Koan literature, the style of composition and commentary on the Koan literature was extremely... The effect that it had, I found, on my own mind and on the mind of students was to kind of keep you at arm's length. It was always like disgust in terms of, well, if you realize this, then you really know what's going on, if not, you don't know anything. But we're not telling you what it is.


You have to realize it for yourself. So I thought that actually the effect of this kind of rhetoric was abusive, actually, because then I noticed people were thinking, oh, this is really the deep stuff, and I don't understand it. And then they might or might not have thought, but the teacher understands it. Somebody understands it anyway. I just don't happen to, but somebody does. So I felt that this was, in general, kind of like a drag on the system and was not helpful. And I couldn't really see much redeeming virtue in the literature. So I basically left it alone. Furthermore, I, many years ago, undertook a Koan study in a traditional manner, working with Eiken Roshi and Glassman, at that time, Tetsugan Glassman sensei. And I carried on that study for a number of years. And so, in that study, you could actually grapple with the Koans, sit with them and make responses to them and so on.


And I became, in a sense, a student of that system. And I saw that outside of that system, what else could you do with the Koans? So for those two reasons, I felt like it was pretty useless to deal with the Koans in any way outside of when I went to go to Sashin with Bob Eiken or something like that. But, as time went on, I was supposedly a Zen teacher, getting credit for being a Zen person. And here I was, basically not liking the basic Zen literature. And after a while, I thought, this is probably not a good thing. Probably, if you're Zen, you should probably at least have a tolerance or some degree of respect for the basic Zen literature. And so, I felt that I should study the Zen literature.


And I knew, things being what they are, that I would never study it on my own. The only way that I would ever study it is if I gave a class in it. So I made a personal commitment to myself that I would study all 100 cases of the Buddhist record by presenting them either in class format or Dharma talk format. And I started this, I don't remember when, but I'm up to K67 now. So you're just sort of sitting in on my personal study of the Lukla record and I'm just trying to knock off one case a week and get to the end. It turns out that I'm enjoying it quite a bit. Of course, as these things go, the process of doing it has completely changed my mind. And as I'm going along with it, I'm developing different viewpoints and so forth and finding it actually quite fascinating. And useful, much more than I ever thought it would be. That's how things usually go. Somewhere in the middle of the process, I had some dialogue with Ekin Roshi on this


exchange of letters on this point that I'm doing this. And I always say, at the beginning of every class, that what we're doing here is not the same thing as quote-unquote Koan study as we know it. In all the Zen lineages that I'm aware of, that we know about in the West, Koan study has come to mean responding to Koans in the Doksan room according to a system that was created by Hakuin Zenji in the, I think, 18th century. That's what we all, when we say Koan study, that's what we all mean. And it's presented, a lot of times when you read Zen books and they talk about Koan study, they assume that that is the only method of Koan study. That is what Koan study is. There's no other way to study Koans. That is a good way to study Koans and probably is the best way and the most thorough-going


way, in a sense. Probably it is. But what we're doing is not that. And it's not a substitute for that. If we go through these cases of the Blue Cliff Record, you shouldn't think that, oh, now I understand or know that case and therefore I would be able to answer it in the Doksan room. Not necessarily at all. No. So I want to be very clear on that point. And I'm not qualified to teach the Koan system, although I studied it and had got a couple of steps into it. By no means am I a qualified teacher in that system. And if anybody here in class becomes passionately interested in Koans from this class or for any other reason, karmic reason, and wants to study Koans in that way, you have to go and find a qualified teacher to do that. As far as I am aware, no one at Zen Center is qualified in that system. So, along the course of doing this, I wrote Akin Roshi a letter and I was telling him


what I was doing here and he took exception to it. And he said, well, you really shouldn't do that. He at one point actually had given me permission to teach in a limited way the classical Hakuin style Koan system, which I decided was not a good idea for me to do. But he said to teach it in this kind of a format, in this kind of a way, was a bad idea. You shouldn't do it. Don't do it. Well, I reflected on this and it was very clear to me, actually, in thinking about it, that literature, Koans are literature, right? I mean, there's no way that you can call them anything other than literature and there's a lot of ways of using literature, of course. And some ways are better than others, I'm sure. But to say that there's only one way to read a text and if you don't read it this way,


you shouldn't read it at all, really doesn't make sense to me, probably, or to you. And I figured if he thought about it for a few minutes, it wouldn't make too much sense to Akin Roshi either. And I pointed this out to him. I said, you're an intelligent person. You're a literary person. You're not trying to tell me that it's illegal for us to read this book and talk about it. You know, that would really be kind of a narrow-minded thing to say, wouldn't it? And he sort of said, yes. But it was an interesting exchange of letters back and forth. Sometimes I have begun this class with actually reading the exchange of letters a couple of times. I think I did that at Tassajara. You were there, right? I think I did it then, yeah. I don't know if I could locate the letters at this point, but anyway. Also, I was aided in my view of this whole question by a really good book, which I read very closely, by Stephen Hine. Is that how you say his name, Hine? Yeah, I don't know.


Anyway, I think I pronounced Stephen Hine, who wrote a book called Dogen and the Koan Tradition, which is a very scholarly, careful book, whose main point is that there are different approaches to studying koans. Historically speaking, we don't know. There are not records of all the different ways that people have approached koans, but clearly the Hakuin style of approaching koans is one way, and the idea that it was all leading up to that somehow, or that's the only way, is just patently false. And his argument is that, in fact, Dogen Zenji is a student of koans, and that the Shobogenzo is basically a method of koan study, that all of Dogen's talks are a kind of... In other words, one way of studying koans is to yak about a koan at length, in an incomprehensible way, as Dogen usually does. And another way to talk about koans, to work with koans,


is to present briefly, and often in physical or pantomime fashion, answers in the doxan room. That's another way. So Hine says, yes, there's this way, there's that way, there's many ways. Well, the method that we're pursuing in this class is neither one of those two methods. My interest, as I go along more and more with the koans, is, first of all, kind of by either legitimate or imaginative means, trying to create a context for the stories. These are very pithy stories, very stylized in the way that they're written down and commented on. But if you assume that these were actual people like you and I who were studying the Dharma and actually grappling with issues of, you know, what does it mean to be alive, what does it mean to study the Dharma, what is the truth that the Buddha taught, and how can we realize it,


if you assume that this is what they were after, and they were people like us, and they had a context, what would their lives be like, and how would it feel to read those stories with more of a sense of the actual people involved? So a lot of what I do in the class is try to kind of give it away, in a sense, character sketches or portraits or portrayals of these people and what they might have experienced and gone through. That's one thing. And then also, many of the koans do, in fact, bring up historical or kind of doctrinal points about Buddhism. Some things about the teaching that are not necessarily incomprehensible or impossible to grasp. There are some koans that are clearly designed to, you know, make you loosen your hold on any idea of doctrine or teaching and just be present.


But there are other koans that aren't like that, so they're various in their purpose and in their approach. And then the other thing is that a lot of the koans, there's a lot of sort of language, custom and lore that make the koans seem, to our eye, strange, that aren't at all strange. In other words, if you know the customs and the lore and the lingo, certain things are not that mysterious. They're pretty like, oh, that's just what that is. But since we don't know that stuff, we tend to metaphysicalize even things that are not worthy of being metaphysicalized, and it's confusing to metaphysicalize them. So I try to bring that stuff out. So basically I'm trying to bring these cases down to a more useful, everyday kind of level and draw some benefit from them. And by no means do I think that our study of these cases in this way


is going to exhaust the possibilities, but there's anyway some side that's being brought out. So anyway, that just gives you some background about where I'm coming from in doing this study. And usually I study the case, I read it. If I think of related material, which sometimes does come up, then I bring other related material to bear on the case, and sometimes that helps a lot. For example, if a teacher is mentioned and the character of the teacher is not clear from the particular case, but you can bring in other stories about that teacher to make it clear what the character of that particular teacher is, then sometimes the whole case comes alive when you realize, this is this kind of a person doing this kind of a thing. So I'll often bring in other material. So I usually yak for a certain amount of time, and then after that I run out of steam, and then either during the time I'm talking or after the time I've stopped talking, then we can add to questions and dialogue and all that.


So that's usually how it goes. Maybe some of you... I've done a Cohen, a book-correcting class here before, and maybe some of you took it, and I think it's not too different from the way it was then. So tonight we have case number 67. Yes? Could you give us any idea of the difference between what happens in the Doksan group study and what you're doing? I mean, is it just that... did you say it already, in a sense, that in the Doksan study, Cohen has always been loose in your hold on any doctrines or concepts or anything? Well, that's part of it, but the method is totally different. Here we're reading and thinking about the Cohen, using our intelligence and our knowledge of Buddhism or whatever,


to kind of understand intellectually, but I don't say that in the sense of merely intellectually, because our thinking mind is useful, and also we can think about our practice, right, and that can help us. So it's all about practice here. We're not trying to work only with doctrine, but what does this have to do with our actual practice? But in the Doksan room, when you study, you're doing it usually in the context of a kind of sashin, where you're not reflecting on your practice, you're developing single-pointed concentration, usually on one point of the Cohen, and bringing that into the Doksan room, which then you have to demonstrate, not explain or talk about, but demonstrate, usually by some gesture or pantomime or action, and then there is a right answer, and the teacher accepts your answer, and then you go on to the next Cohen point or the next Cohen, and until you get the right answer, you just keep going back and forth, back and back and back, until you get it. And if you get close, the teacher is kind of sympathetic and gives you hints and everything, and you finally get it.


And then you're very happy when you get it, and then you get the next Cohen, and then you're frustrated again, and pissed off and everything, because you can't get it. Then you get it, and then you go on like that for years. So this is quite a different thing. So, case 67, Mahasattva Fu expounds the scripture. Emperor Wu of Liang requested Mahasattva Fu to expound the Diamond Cutter scripture. The Mahasattva shook the desk once, then got down off the seat. Emperor Wu was astonished. Master Jur asked him, Does your majesty understand? The emperor said, I do not understand. Master Jur said, The Mahasattva Fu has expounded the scripture. Most cases, as you're aware, I'm sure, on the booklet record, have what Cleary calls a pointer, or a little introductory statement. This one doesn't. I have never been able to discover any particular reason why one case, this or that case,


doesn't have a pointer. I don't think there is. It might just be lost or something, I don't know. Anyway, I don't know why this case doesn't have a pointer. The verse to the case says, He does not rest this body by the twin trees. Instead, in the land of Lian, he stirs up dust. At that time, if it weren't for old Master Jur, he too would have been a man hastily leaving the country. So that's, there's two authors, you know, of the Blue Cliff Record. One is Sui Do, who collected 100 of his favorite cases from different texts and wrote a poem by way of comment. And then, about 60 or 70 years later, another monk named Yuan Wu took that material and made a prose comment on the case and on the poem. So this text here is a collaboration


between Sui Do and Yuan Wu. The prose commentary, you know, is by Yuan Wu and the case and the verse are by Sui Do. So anyway, I'm sure you all noticed that this case kind of rhymes with case one of the Blue Cliff Record, which has several of the same protagonists, only instead of Mahasattva Fu expounding the Diamond Sutra, you have Bodhidharma coming and meeting Emperor Wu of Lian. And Master Jur appears in both cases. So, yeah. Which one is that? I forgot already. Buddha ascends the seat? Yeah. Right. Dharma of the Dharma King is thus.


Yes, right. And there's a number of cases like that here and there where, yeah, the teaching is being expounded without words, either by the Buddha... I was last week in Sashin studying a case or two before this, which also involves the Buddha holding silence, and I found out that every time the Buddha appears in the Koan literature, with one exception, he teaches by silence, which is kind of interesting. So yeah, it is similar to that. So anyway, I got into a fit of kind of... I don't know what you call it. Not a scholarship would be too elevated a term, but basically pouring through different books is what I'm trying to say when I looked at this case, because I feel as if


this case is very... has a tremendous kind of historical dimension. I think that in both this case and case one where we have Emperor Wu of Lian meeting... Emperor Wu of Lian is early. His dynasty was quite early. It was basically Bodhidharma's time, which is very, very early Zen. So I think that these two cases are, to a great extent, trying to tell you something, tell us something about the formation of the... the early formation of the Chan school and what it was sort of a foil for, what it was playing against. So I think that in a way this case has more sort of doctrinal and historical dimensions than usual. And you can sort of read between the lines to find that out when you figure out who the characters are and what their background is


and so forth. As you know, in the beginning, the early Chan followed the Lankavatara Sutra. And its early Chan was quite different from... The sixth ancestor made a big change in where the Zen tradition was coming from. And then that change that he made was sort of like built on and developed. And by the time that this text was written in the Sung dynasty, the Book of Record, it was very refined. But the sixth ancestor made a big jump. Because in the beginning, like Bodhidharma and the other early Chan teachers, as I said, they emphasized the Lankavatara Sutra, which was a mind-only sutra, and had a very strong sort of metaphysical flavor to it. It really had the flavor of do meditation practice, look within, understand the nature of mind, and that's what Zen is all about.


It was not emphasizing at all the Prajnaparamita dialectic. The sixth ancestor, if you remember from the Sixth Ancestor Sutra, became awakened when he was a poor woodcutter walking up and down the street. On hearing the Diamond Sutra read out loud, he heard a line from the Diamond Sutra, Give rise to a thought that has no abode, that's not produced and does not dwell anywhere. When he heard that line from the Diamond Sutra, he became awakened and then went to visit the fifth ancestor. So, one of the things that this text is doing is referring to that whole shift and change. Now, anybody who's ambitious and wants to study something, I would recommend there's two really good pieces in this book that go into this in detail. Traditions of


Meditation in Chinese Buddhism, edited by Peter Gregory. And there's two articles in there, most particularly, Bernard Four has an article on the concept of one practice Samadhi in early Chan. And in Bernard Four's article, you find a... I hope this is not too detailed. You find on page 105 of Four's essay a dialogue between Empress Wu, who was about something like 100 years after Emperor Wu, and Hsinchu. Hsinchu is the character in the Six Ancestors Sutra, who is the head monk who writes the poem on the wall that's the wrong poem. He represents the Lankavatara Sutra side.


Huineng represents the Prajnaparamita side, which is much more sort of action-oriented, no fixed teaching-oriented. Whereas the other side is sit and realize the nature of mind. So, there's a dialogue here between Empress Wu and Hsinchu, in which Empress Wu basically validates Hsinchu's understanding of Dharma. So I'm pretty convinced that therefore the Zen school later on, in order to argue against that position, concocted the idea. This pretty clearly is not historically... Many of these cases seem to be historically true. Many of the Zen cases are not, as we know, historically accurate. So I think that the Zen tradition cooked up the encounters between Emperor Wu of Liang and Bodhidharma


and here Mahasattva Fu, in order to counter Empress Wu and Hsinchu to say, here's the real story, here's the real validation coming from this side. I want to share a little bit of this fours essay because the sixth ancestor revolutionized the understanding of the meaning of meditation practice. That was his main contribution. Hitherto, meditation practice was viewed as a means to an end. Concentrate the mind, achieve calmness so that insight could arise. These things were quite


distinct one from another and very concrete. Here was concentration, it looked like this. Here was wisdom, it looked like that. If you concentrate, wisdom will arise. With wisdom will come liberation. Sort of basic Buddhism. But it was the insight of the sixth ancestor to say, no, meditation does not give rise to wisdom and produce wisdom. Meditation and wisdom are identical. It's not sitting practice to get an insight that you can now name and say, oh, there's that insight, I got that on that day and here's what it is. But rather, the activity of sitting and the insight into the nature of reality and all activity in every moment which manifests that is what sitting actually is. It's actually not that different from Dogen's idea. We're so familiar with Dogen's


theory of zazen. It sort of conflates a physical act of sitting which is like, in a way, a spiritual exercise to get some benefit from it. He conflates that with enlightenment itself and the highest metaphysical understanding which is present in each moment. Are you saying something? So, that's what the sixth ancestor kind of like started that idea and it was refined over the centuries. So, in his essay, Bernard gives you the history of the whole notion within Buddhism. Let's see which of it is interesting. The first mention of this idea of one practice samadhi, he cites a sutra called Sutra on the Perfection of Wisdom spoken by Manjushri which is a sutra that we don't have in English, that I'm aware of.


In the sutra it says Manjushri asked World Honored One, what is one practice samadhi? The Buddha answered, the dharmadhatu has only one mark. To take this dharmadhatu as an object is called one practice samadhi. That's the first mention of the idea of one practice samadhi in the literature according to Bernard. So, this is the notion that dharmadhatu is the realm of reality, the ultimate reality. Ultimate reality does not admit of distinctions. If you see into the nature of ultimate reality, that's one practice samadhi. That is meditation, that is wisdom, that is reality itself. Now, I also think


that, so let me tell you who the characters are in the case here. Emperor Wu of Liang was a historical character and he ruled from 502 to 549. As you know, Bodhidharma's dates are very suspect. Nobody really knows exactly whether there was a person named Bodhidharma or if there was when he lived exactly. And one legend has him coming to China around the year 520, which would theoretically be during Emperor Wu of Liang's rule. But other evidence suggests he came quite a bit earlier than that, in the 400s. Mahasattva Fu lived from 497 to 569, and so he could have been encountered with Emperor Wu of Liang. And in fact, according to the commentary, as you might


have read, he was an interesting lay person who sold all his possessions, he was like a farmer, and he sold all his possessions and his family, I guess you could sell your family in those days, and gave all the proceeds to the poor, and sold himself out, sold his labor out, worked as a day laborer, and gave his pay to the poor. So he was an incredible bodhisattva spirit. So he appears in this case, and Master Jur is a man, a very legendary kind of monk named Bao Jur, who lived from probably 421 to 514, so he also could have been during the reign of Emperor Wu. And he was a very interesting, he's a very interesting guy,


and you know, a legendary guy who had various kinds of magical powers, and was maybe black magic. People were dying as a result of his magical powers, and one legend about him is that one time he was imprisoned a number of times, and one time he put on three hats, one on top of the other on his head, and then took them off, and three high officials in the government died in quick succession. In the government that was previous to Emperor Wu of Liang, when those three people died, Emperor Wu of Liang swept to power. He did not come to power by heredity, he came to power by overthrowing the previous dynasty. So he liked Master Jur and let him out of jail because of that. So here you have this situation where you have the Emperor and this magical


monk who has powers, right? And then on the other hand, you have this lay person who's a very virtuous person, but is not a monk and doesn't have powers, just great virtue and a big heart. And as the commentary tells you, when the Emperor Wu of Liang wanted the Diamond Sutra explained, Master Jur said, I'm sorry, I don't understand this sutra, I don't know how to explain this sutra, but Ma Sa Pa Fu can explain it for you. And so he brings in Ma Sa Pa Fu who then explains the sutra by rattling the lectern. So that's significant, right, for the sort of feeling tone and sense of the Zen school. Because the Zen school, there are many other Zen stories that are like that, where the magical Zen sort of downplays Siddhi powers and meditation


accomplishments. And of course, as you know, emphasizes have a cup of tea, clean your bowls, that kind of thing. Dogen has a whole fascicle called Miracles, where he says the greatest miracle of all is to wash your face and wake up in the morning. So here you see then, this ordinary layperson of no rank, no powers, is able to explain the sutra in a way that the magical monk is not. So I think that's one of the main points of the case, in a way, is that, which you wouldn't know necessarily just from the bare bones of the case itself. And also it's significant that the text that's being expounded is the Diamond Sutra and not the Lankavatara Sutra. And the thing about the Diamond Sutra that's so significant is that the Diamond Sutra, and I'll read some quotes to you, selected quotes from the sutra. Diamond Sutra is important because it's sort of the


place in the canon where it says straight out, you know, there isn't any dharma to be learned and taught. There isn't some teaching outside of the nature of reality itself that we should be paying attention to and learning and developing. What do you think, Sabuddhi? Has the Tathagata obtained unsurpassed complete and perfect wayfulness? Does the Tathagata expound the dharma? And Sabuddhi said, as I understand the meaning of the Buddha's teaching, there is no definite dharma called unsurpassed complete and perfect wayfulness. And there is no definite dharma that the Tathagata can expound. Why? Because the dharma the Tathagata expounds cannot be grasped or explained at all. It is neither dharma nor non-dharma. Why is this? All the noble sages are distinguished by means of the unconditioned dharma.


So, therefore, the perfect exposition of this dharma would be to shake the lectern. You'd be wasting your breath explaining that which is not a definite particular thing. Another quotation from the sutra. What do you think, Sabuddhi? When the Tathagata was with Dipankara Buddha, was there any dharma by which he attained unsurpassed complete and perfect wayfulness? And Sabuddhi replied, there was not, World Honored One, there was not any dharma by which he attained unsurpassed. As I understand the meaning of what the Buddha teaches, there was no dharma by which the Buddha attained unsurpassed complete and perfect wayfulness when he was with Dipankara Buddha. So it is, Sabuddhi, so it is. This is the Buddha. And one more, to the same tune. This is Gil Fransdale's translation


of the sutra. Sabuddhi, do not say that it occurs to the Tathagata I should explain the dharma. Do not think thus. Why? Because anyone who says that the Tathagata explains the dharma slanders the Buddha, due to not understanding that which I teach. So, the Bhagavan Sutra is pretty explicit on this point. So there is no such dharma called insider enlightenment. There is no such state that one would enter. This is the whole burden of this long history of this idea of one practice samadhi from the very beginning. Especially in the light of the Prajnaparamita literature, which says that all phenomena are empty and even emptiness itself is empty. It cannot be defined or reified. So that any attempt to


define, point to, objectify, name, say something exists as a condition or state or teaching, is automatically incorrect, because the teaching that's true is not subject to that kind of analysis or description. So therefore, and this is, of course, one of the quintessential points of the Zen school, and so many of these koans and dialogues turn on somebody being caught holding on to a perfectly good idea or doctrine. The only mistake is holding on to it. Yes, it's entirely true, but as soon as you hold on to it, then you've lost it. You've immediately turned something that's pure into something that's completely wrong and impure. So, this is a perfect kind of story to illustrate this essential Zen point. Number one, it's


saying, so here, between the lines, we find several things. Number one, it's the ordinary guy who is able to expound the Dharma, not the magical powers monk. And number two, the Dharma that should be expounded is the Diamond Sutra, which teaches perfect wisdom, not the Sutra about meditation. So it's especially significant because Zen, of course, is the meditation school in all of Buddhism. But when it comes to understanding what meditation is, you're not supposed to understand meditation as meditation, as the Lankavatara Sutra understands it. You're supposed to understand meditation as non-meditation, as life. So therefore, it's not the Lanka Sutra, it's the Diamond Sutra, and therefore, the Diamond Sutra should be expounded by rattling the lectern, not speaking about it, by demonstrating. Which is why, in Hakun's koan system, you demonstrate your understanding of the koan, you don't explain it. You demonstrate it by your activity.


And of course, in our way as well, although we don't have that system of pantomime and so on, clearly, what the Dharma for us is also demonstrated, not so much by our clever Zen shout or whatever, but by our actual life. Right? This is how we confirm and verify someone's understanding of the Dharma, not by their wonderful ability to expound on this and that, or even their wonderful ability to shout and hoop and holler, but how they live, right? How do they actually demonstrate in their life, in their relationships, in the way that they speak, in the way that they comport themselves, and so on and so on. How do they show Dharma? And if they think that they're showing the Dharma and doing any of that, then they're really confused, because they're not. They're just doing what they're doing, right? Today, I was actually... Every now and then, I have a commitment, besides my commitment


to study the Blue Cliff Record, I also have a commitment to studying with other teachers to kind of keep my head on straight, you know. And so today, I went... I'm a little bit gaga from... I was in a retreat all day today with Ajahn Sumedho, who I've always wanted... I've never met before and always wanted to study with him, because I know Ajahn Amara, his disciple, very, very well. He's a very good friend of mine, and so I wanted to go. I went to the retreat today, and they let me come for one day of a longer retreat, so I went, and they always very nicely treat me like a monk. They pretend that I'm a monk, because they have all these special protocols for the monks in that tradition, and it's very lovely. And so, in the goodness of their hearts, even though I'm not, as you know, in our tradition, we're not exactly monks, but they include me, and so they allowed me. I went in and had breakfast with them, and went on their sort of ceremonial alms round,


and had lunch with them also. Anyway, after lunch, one of the Spirit Rock people, her daughter was there, because today is National Take Your Daughter to Work Day. Did you know this? Yeah, I didn't know this either. Yeah, is it? I don't know if it's coincidence or what, but it's... So this woman was there with her daughter, and her daughter was... She worked at Spirit Rock, right? So she brought her daughter to work, and part of the assignment for the daughter, she's in sixth grade, was to interview somebody at work, so she was going to interview Ajahn Sumedho. So she had all these questions. So she asked Ajahn Sumedho, Are you enlightened? It's a good question. It reminds me of the Diamond Sutra. Is there any dharma by which Ajahn Sumedho could say that he was enlightened? Could he say, I now possess this insight, this dharma, so I'm enlightened? Could he say that? What about that?


So I thought that he had a pretty good answer. He said, I'm pleased with how my practice has helped my life. That's pretty good. I'm pleased with how my practice has helped my life. I don't think it's a too good Zen answer, but it's a pretty good answer. These guys would hit with a stick if they gave me that. Well, because I don't know from a Zen point of view, I don't know whether you could even see or know how your life is as a result of your practice. When people ask me, has your practice done you any good? I always say, which is the truth, absolutely. Definitely my life has changed a lot in the time that I've been practicing. And I am a happier person and much more at ease. But it would be stretching the point to attribute that to practice.


It could be. But I got older and a lot of other things changed. The whole world changed. So how can I say that my state of mind or my condition is really as a result of my practice? I can't really say that. What? Yeah, that's what I'm saying. I really don't know. I feel I have a positive feeling about my practice, that I want to practice. You know what I mean? And I believe that practice is a good thing for my life and other people's lives. And I have no problem encouraging people to practice. But I can't really say that it will make an improvement or has made an improvement on my own life. And also, would this be true that focusing on improvement is a bit of a trap in the sense that you might then start practicing in order to make your life better and start practicing? Exactly, yeah. Of course, yeah. Yes, yes. And I was very interested in discussing this kind of a point


with Jon Kabat-Zinn whose entire shtick has to do with improving people's condition, right? Using meditation to improve people's condition. Well, he's a Zen practitioner. His background in meditation is Zen. And he says what you just said. In other words, he says to people if you meditate with the idea that you're going to improve, it will be counterproductive. The only way to have meditation help you is to give away and throw away any idea of improvement. Then it will help you. It's kind of a paradox, but psychologically it's very true. It's not just a joke or a trick. Psychologically, it's really true that the more you're looking for something to happen, the less it happens. What you really have to do. So that's what he teaches even in a hospital setting? Yeah, apparently one of his lines is even in a hospital setting, apparently one of his lines is when people come and do the stress reduction meditation course, he tells them right in the beginning, you know, stress reduction meditation is very, very stressful. And if you come to this


thinking that you're going to relax and kick back and all your problems are going to dissolve because you're now cooled out with meditation, you'll be miserable. It doesn't work that way. He says what you have to do is be aware and be present and mindful with your condition, even though it's unpleasant. And that's the only way that you will find any improvement. Not by taking a drug that's going to make it all go away, but by being aware. That's what he tells people. So before people can go in the course, they interview people and they put all this out to them and see whether they're willing to deal with this. And if they're not, they're not allowed into the course. So they actually have a series of interviews with people before they come to the course so that they understand this. Yeah. So, so that's then Master Jur. So, we talked about Master Jur,


the magical monk, but I got mixed up when I was studying this and I thought that Master Jur referred to the famous Master Jur E. Jur E was the founder in China of the Tiantai school which later became the Tendai school in Japanese Buddhism. And I always thought that in this case as well as in case one, that what was referred to was Master Jur E, which of course is totally historically inaccurate because he lived a lot later. However, so that made me look up all the stuff about Master Jur E, right? And in Chinese Buddhism as well as Japanese Buddhism So, even though this is not Jur E because of historical inaccuracy, I still think that they picked that Master Jur to suggest some relationship and contrast between Jur E and in this case Mahasattva Fu


and in case one, Bodhidharma. And the reason why I think that is because the essential thing about Zen is that it kind of cuts through. Zen is a kind of reformist impulse in Buddhism, right? Buddhism is very complicated and there's a lot of practices that are really good in Buddhism and a lot of teachings that are really helpful. So then the thing really proliferates and you have a whole system, a complicated system of teachings and practices that you can do and then pretty soon you end up kind of codifying that and we first should do this. You know, like in Tibetan Buddhism you do 100,000 mantrams and then you do 100,000 prostrations then you do 100,000 visualizations and then you can start the first sadhana of and so on and so on and so on. And these are all great things and one can imagine the effect of doing 100,000 mantras and 100,000 prostrations


and so on, but then somebody comes along at some point and says, wait a minute, you know, the Buddha just sat under the Bodhi tree, didn't move, and saw through everything. He didn't go through his 100,000 mantras and all that. We don't need all that. The Buddha just did it that way. Let's go back to basics. So Zen is that kind of a thing, that kind of a movement, and that's why the idea of one practice samadhi was so attractive to the Zen school. Now, the historical contrast, I don't know, it's oddly enough, in both China and Japan, I mean, in China it was in the 5th or 6th century and in Japan it was in Dogen's time, 600 years later, but in both cases, Zen developed against the backdrop of Tendai Buddhism, which specialized in numerous, numerous practices. All good, but too numerous, so the Zen guys said, forget that. So I think in both these cases, I believe, although


nobody could, I mean, it's probably my own fake idea, but nobody has said this, none of the scholars I've seen say this, but I really feel that when they could cook these two stories up, they purposely were ambiguous, they used Master Jure to suggest Jure and his teaching as a contrast. And here you see Master Jure saying, oh, Masatsufu is the one who knows, or Bodhidharma is the one who knows, you see, and that sort of giving his seal of approval. So, maybe my last little tidbit for today is to quote you a little bit from this book, Stopping and Seeing, by Master Jure, by Jure. I have read most of this book, and I don't necessarily recommend it. I find especially if you're a Zen student and you have kind of a Zen sensibility,


this stuff is really not that helpful. But I thought it would be interesting for me to just give you an outline of Jure's idea of meditation practice. He basically says there are four practices, four meditation practices that you have to do. The first one is called sitting, constant sitting. The second one is called constant walking, I think. Yeah, constant walking. The third one is called sitting and walking. And the fourth one is called neither sitting nor walking. And I'll just give you a flavor of how it goes. And you see the contrast between this and Bodhidharma just plopping himself down for nine years and facing the wall. Okay.


So, yeah, in general we speak of four practices, constant sitting, constant walking, half walking and half sitting, and neither walking nor sitting. The general term concentration means tuning, aligning and stabilizing. The great treatise says, ability to keep the mind on one point without wavering is called concentration. In the first mode, constant sitting comes from the two sutras on transcendent wisdom called Manjushri Speaks and the Questions of Manjushri. Physically, I'm skipping here, you know, just to summarize. Physically, sitting is what is permitted. Walking, standing and reclining are stopped. So you don't lie down, you don't walk, you don't stand. One may be in a community but being alone is better. One stays in a quiet room or a deserted place apart from all clamor. Only one seat is set up with none


beside it. The period of practice is ninety days. One sits cross-legged with the neck and back straight, not moving, not wavering, not slouching, not leaning. Sitting one vows one's sides will not touch a bed, much less lie like a corpse or fool around. Aside from meditative circumambulation, so even though it's only sitting and no walking, you can walk a little bit. Aside from meditative circumambulation, meals and answering the calls of nature, one sits straight, facing the direction of one Buddha continuously without a break. That which is permitted is only sitting. Do not do what is prohibited and you will not cheat Buddha, betray the mind or fool other people. As for speech in silence, if you are thoroughly overcome by sickness and so on, then you should chant the name of one Buddha, repenting and taking refuge in that Buddha. If you do that,


you will overcome your sickness and your bad conditions. How do you work with your mind? Do not think at random or grab on to appearances. Just focus solely on the realm of reality. That's Dharmadhatu from the sutra that I quoted earlier. Just focus on the Dharmadhatu. It's very much like when Dogen says, take the backward step and turn the mind inwardly to illuminate the self. It's a similar kind of thing. That's the basic Shikantaza idea of just sit and focus not on objects but on the essence of reality itself. I think that kind of stinks as a technique, but as an understanding it's good. But how would you do that? This is the problem. I myself think it's much better to have provisional techniques because otherwise you could sit for a long time and become quite confused. What does that mean? Just focus solely on the realm of reality. What would that mean? With one thought on the realm of reality, focusing is stopped and one thought is seeing. When you believe all phenomena


are the teaching of Buddha, there is no before or after, there are no more boundaries, there is no knower and no speaker. Then he goes on at some length about... So this is what he calls one practice Samadhi, but that's only one of the practices. The second practice is called constant walking. In this method, which comes from he tells you what sutra, you can, in concentration, see the present Buddhas of the ten directions standing right before you. Just like someone with keen eyes sees stars on a clear night, when you see the Buddhas of the ten directions there are many. In terms of the body, what is permitted in this concentration exercise is constant walking. So you don't sit, you just walk all the time. When practicing this method, you should avoid bad associates, ignoramuses,


relatives and acquaintances. So that covers almost everybody but your fellow monks and nuns who might also be bad associates for all we know and probably ignoramuses. So maybe you should not practice by yourself. You should always remain alone and not look for other people or seek for anything. You should beg for your food and not accept special invitations. The period of practice is 90 days during which you only walk around. You need an illumined teacher who is expert in inner and outer discipline and is able to remove obstacles. In the concentration you learn from the teacher, look upon the teacher as upon Buddha without aversion or anger nor not seeing weaknesses or strengths. Practice walking should not stop throughout the three months except to sit for meals, answer the calls of nature and wash. So you don't sleep for three months, you walk. As for speech and silence,


as the body constantly walks without cease for 90 days, the mouth constantly chants the name of Amitabha Buddha for 90 days and the mind constantly thinks of Amitabha Buddha for 90 days. And this practice in China later years Chan practice, Zen practice, all the other practices kind of collapsed into Zen. And they did do this practice in Chinese Chan. I think Master Hua in 10,000 Buddhas, his group does a practice, I don't know if they do it to this extreme but very similar where you endlessly circumambulate. And the practice of circumambulating is very powerful. You know, like when I was in India I did a lot of that. I would circumambulate stupas, you know, for many, many, many hours chanting Om Nyi Padme Hum. And this is a major practice in Tibetan Buddhism. So it's actually a pretty powerful practice. I don't know if I was telling you here the story of when I went to India. I was only there once, for the first time, this December


and through the various mishaps, I was traveling by myself and not quite sure where I was going or what I was doing. so I landed in Nepal and I was really jet-lagged, hungry, tired, disoriented, unhappy. Mind a mess, you know. And that impressed me. I was really impressed, you know. I thought to myself wow, you know, it just goes to show you how weak the mind is. You know the body is weak and the mind is also weak because, you know, like going to fast for about three days and see what kind of mood you're in, you know, whether that affects your mood at all, you know. So in other words, the mind is subject to conditions, you know. You could be big-shot Zen somebody, you know, but then all you have to do is be jet-lagged three days and not have enough food and be in a country where they don't speak the language and then you're confused and not in a good mood, you know. So I was very impressed with that. And I was walking around like trying to


practice with my mind that was not too supple, pliable, bright at all. But here's the part that I want to get to, is that I finally, in the midst of this confusion, managed to get myself to this great stupa at Swayambana. And I started circumambulating the stupa. And immediately, instantly on beginning to circumambulate the stupa, I became peaceful, happy, completely at ease, no problems. Just like that. Because before that I was thinking to myself, basically, what the hell am I doing here? Why am I here? Why did I come here? There's nothing to do here. I mean, I don't want to be here and all these kind of things, you know. But as soon as I started circumambulating the stupa, I mean, really like instantly, I immediately felt completely at ease. And I just strolled around that stupa, you know, for hours and hours. And the funny


little sidebar to the story is that after I circumambulated it for only a little while, I suddenly said to myself, this is not the great stupa of Swayambana. And actually it wasn't. Because I remembered, you know, reading in the guidebook that there's a stupa, you know, nearby the great stupa of Swayambana. Which, they don't know why, they put up a sort of ersatz great stupa of Swayambana nearby. The great stupa of Swayambana is further up the hill and maybe it was, you know, because some old people couldn't make it up the hill or something. So as I was walking, I still had all these great results, you know, from the fake stupa. I was walking a little bit, and suddenly, the thought came to me, like, you know, an enlightened experience. This is not the great stupa of Swayambana. And I mean, I immediately knew, this is not it.


It's up there. So I went up there and there was the real great stupa of Swayambana. And I did walk around that one for quite a while and enjoyed it a lot. And like I say, had that experience. Was it better? Oh yes, it was better. Definitely better, yeah. So anyway, I'm sympathetic to this practice of, although 90 days without laying down sounds... But then again, you know, Buddhists throughout the ages have done ascetic practices that seem impossible. But they actually have done them. Then there's an interesting part that I... in the... in the course of discussing this practice, he says, you should think of Buddha the whole time. How do you think of Buddha? Think of the 32 marks of greatness from the thousand-spoke wheels on the soles of the feet. Think of the marks one after another up to the invisible crown.


So you should, you know, visualize and think about it. Then suppose there's a girl whose very name delights the heart. And at night one dreams of making love with her, he says. After awakening, thinking of her, though she has not come to you, and you have not gone to her, yet the pleasures were manifest. Think of the Buddha in this way. With that degree of ardor. Okay, so that's the second mode. The third mode of concentration is half walking and half sitting. If you want to practice this, the spiritual luminaries are witnesses. First seek the dream kings. If you get to see one, that means your repentance is accepted. So I guess you have a vision. You make repentance. This is a repentance practice. You make repentance and then you're visited by a dream king. Arrange a practice site in a quiet place, paint the ground and inside and outside the room with fragrant paste, set up a round altar and paint it,


hang pennants of five colors, burn sandalwood incense, light lamps and set up a high seat. Set up twenty-four icons or more and set out offerings of food using your utmost attention. You should wear new clothing and footwear. If you don't have new ones, clean old ones. Don't let them get mixed up as you put them on and take them off when going in and out. You do this for seven days, bathing three times a day. On the first day, present offerings to mendicants as much or as little as wished. Ask one who clearly understands the inner and outer disciplines to be the guide. Receive the precepts and the mystic spells and tell the teacher of your faults. The eighth to the fifteenth day of the month should be used. The period of practice is seven days. It definitely should not be shortened. So that's the one. Is that the third one? Yeah, that was the third one. And the last one is neither walking nor sitting.


But in reality, it includes walking, sitting, and all activities. And this is the idea of every moment of consciousness is meditation. So whenever any mentation occurs, one practices concentration. The great wisdom scripture calls it concentration being aware of mentation but clearly conscious of all mental processes. So, in other words, there's no special practice in this one. You just pay attention to the mind and bring the mind back to the nature of mind in all postures throughout all activities. Anyway, that's just to give you, I thought, that kind of interesting history after anthropology of the kinds of practices that were being done in China at that time and the contrast between that and Zen which was very radically saying, forget about all that, you know, just sit. And the story of Bodhidharma facing the wall for nine years is by way of contrast to this kind of a thing which was a


variety of things that are done for this amount of time or that amount of time with all these arrangements and so forth. So, I think, let's see if... I think that's about all I want to say. It's enough. There's the usual, you know, in a lot of the koans, the style of praising by damning, you know, is used. Putting somebody down by way of meeting, you really think they're great. And here, Master Jur is criticized in the commentary and to some extent in the poem for saying that Mahasattva Fu expounded the scripture. His saying that is going too far. Even Mahasattva Fu did expound the scripture, but Master Jur is in the wrong to name it and define it as such.


So, in the poem, he does not rest his body by the twin trees. That refers to Mahasattva Fu. The commentary tells you there was one place where he planted twin trees, which I think Buddha, you know, entered between, they say, the sutra says twin sal trees. So that must be an echo of that. So he did not rest his body. He did not rest. Mahasattva Fu didn't just pass away quietly. He entered the land of Liang and stirred up dust. Just like Bodhidharma did. At that time, if it weren't for old Master Jur, he too would have been a man hastily leaving the country. So Jur pointed out to the emperor that he was, had just done the emperor a big favor. Otherwise the emperor would have maybe kicked him out or he would have left or something, I don't know. So anyway, what do you think of all this? Yes.


Yes. The distinction you were drawing between the Lankavatara and Prajnaparamita was interesting. There's a lot of interesting things to talk about with that. My understanding of the Lankavatara, I mean, you were describing them distinctly different in terms of how they come up in the history of Zen, but it seems like in the Lankavatara, in some of the parts of the psychology, it's definitely pointing towards things that Prajnaparamita sort of expanded on later, and in some way they seem very compatible to me, and not sort of the dust-wiping school versus the Lankavatara. Yes, that's very true. I was making the distinction sharper than it really is. That's very true. And in reality, the so-called dust-wiping school isn't really the dust-wiping school. That school itself and the teachings of Hsinchu are not as far away from the teachings of Huineng as


the Platform Sutra would lead you to believe. So, it seems very likely that the dispute and the whole rationale behind this was more political and about power than it was about doctrine. Or, if it was about doctrine, there were shades rather than real, really big distinctions, because I think that's true. It's true in general. The mind-only school kind of assumes the Prajnaparamita perspective and then kind of talks about psychology and meditation experience sort of with that as an assumption. And in the course of doing that, sometimes does sort of violate the essential insights of the Prajnaparamita literature, and sometimes doesn't. It depends on the sutra and the teaching and the emphasis. I think the Prajnaparamita literature is


earlier, but I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure, but I'm not positive. The Lankavatara Sutra is a very highly suspect sutra. Suspect in what way? Well, when it was written by Hulm, a lot of people don't recognize the validity of it. It has a lot of accretions to it. Yeah, a lot of people don't. I can't remember. Does Dogen speak about the Lanka Sutra in negative terms? That's right. That's right. They say that it's not a valid sutra, right? Yes. Yes, that's right. Yeah, I vaguely remember that. See, you got the wrong sutra.


You came to the class and you got the wrong sutra there. Whoops, wrong sutra. Actually, I think it's probably a very interesting, useful text, you know. It's the whole basis for Zen. That's what we've been saying. So, it will be pretty much on me for all days and all time. Yeah, yeah. And I would really recommend his, there's an article by him in here and also an article by someone else whose name I've forgotten on Juri's meditation practice. So this is a very good book to look at.


Yeah, but we were thinking you might try and get him to speak here at City Center too. He's very entertaining, very smart man, it's worth going to. Yeah, he has a new, is his book just brand new out or the one on Zen and sex or something? The Red Thread? How long has that been out? He'll come and do something on that. Yeah, that's interesting. I haven't read that. Yeah. Big topic. Everybody's interested in that. Anything else? Do you think, is it useful in all I have seen, I guess, speculation or theory, I can't remember where, but in other words you spoke about the contrast between maybe a period of more complicated


and various meditation practices and then Zen as being one practice or technique of reaction to that. And I've seen that sort of, is it useful at all to think of it as tying in with sort of a popularizing of moving away from the wealthy courts to rich people who can spend all the time doing all this complexity and a movement into more average lay people that are not capable of what appropriate for Zen. Do you think that's, or is that just... You're saying that that Zen is popularizing or that many practices are popular? Yeah, Zen is popularizing middle class. Yeah, yeah. Well, there was that argument. That argument, some scholars think that. In other words, it's a lot more available. Just sit is a lot more available than you have to have all these icons


and banners and penance and do all this kind of very elaborate stuff which most people couldn't do. and there are scholars who think that partly it was a reaction to the complexity, but also that it was a very Chinese kind of thing to do to simplify and kind of bring something down to the essence under the influence of Taoism which was all about simplicity, returning to nature and that kind of thing. When you think about it, the Zen method has that same kind of feeling and same kind of flavor. So it was not only a popularization or a democratization, but also a particularly Sinization of Buddhism to kind of come to that approach. And the same popularization has happened in Japan a few generations after Jeppe Dogen. Is there the same sort of thing


after the Platform Sutra? Well, in Japan, as I understand the history, the popularization was in a way in the opposite direction. Because Dogen emphasized pure Zazen, a very lofty, austere kind of pure Zazen. And when Soto became popular in Japan, it was because Soto reintroduced ritual and magic and ceremonies and all this kind of thing. And that was the source of its rise in popularity. But you know, I myself feel that this idea of one practice Samadhi is more like a point of view or an attitude, or let's put it this way, I think it's best, most fruitfully viewed as a point of view or an attitude, rather than taken literally.


And I feel that there's nothing wrong, and it actually can be quite beneficial to do various practices. But if you do various practices with the idea that, well, this is a special practice and it leads to that, and you can't do this, you have to do that, in other words, see the practices mechanistically and not see them as just different expressions of one practice. If you see them as different expressions of one practice, then I think doing various kinds of practice can be quite beneficial. And I do a lot of different, but personally, in my personal practice, I do a lot of different kinds of practice. When I do zazen, I don't always practice in the same way on my cushion. I do various kinds of things, but all of them I understand in the context and the light of the one practice. And I often encourage people when they come to see me in doksan to do this or do that or do the other thing, depending on their conditions of their lives and the condition of their zazen practice. Because I think that to be doctrinaire about one practice can also be counterproductive.


Especially if the one practice, I mean, one practice samadhi as created by the sixth ancestor and developed through Dogon into the present is a very lofty, technique-less practice. It's the ultimate practice, in a way. It's beyond all technique, but the problem with it is that you might sit on your cushion and not have any focus because you're doing the ultimate technique. Ultimately, you're already enlightened. Ultimately, there's no need to practice. But we come to practice because we're not yet in tune with our ultimate nature, right? So maybe we need relative means. And if we understand them in the light of a bigger picture, then I think they can be useful. That's my opinion. Other people don't feel that way, I know, but that's how I feel. Yeah, that's how I feel. Yeah, yeah, right, right.


Well, that's the downside to doing a million things, right. He was saying if your basic practice is solid. Suzuki Roshi said if your basic practice is solid, then you can do anything. Which I think is true. The downside is you run around and do a million things and you're all excited about the flavor of the month. And you never develop anything. But if you're really solid in basic zazen practice, then you can do things and make good use of them. Well, sometimes I say that it takes more or less at least, anyway, five years to find your seat in zazen. To actually feel like when you sit down in zazen you're not somebody who came off the street and is now meditating. You know, it's like this is it. This is my spot. You know, this is my spot.


This is the body that sits zazen. It knows how to do it. It brings me along with it. I don't know if this makes sense to you, but you establish your seat. You're just there. Like Dogen says, like a tiger entering the forest, like a dragon in the water. That feeling of this is where I really know my life. And that takes time and some suffering and struggle usually to develop that. But once you really feel like, you know, zazen is not an external thing that you're doing, but it really is through and through your life. When you sit down and you feel that, then I think you have a solidly established zazen practice. And then, you know, you can do other things to understand your life and the dharma better. It would be helpful. Yeah. Because it is important to concentrate your mind. You know, that you can sit without spinning your mind all the time and being distracted


is really important that you develop that. And that takes effort. Well, I think we're finished for tonight. I'll just share one more thing that I heard in Ajahn Sumedho's dharma talk today that I thought was very helpful to me and something that I had not exactly thought of before in this way. He was talking about taking refuge in the Sangha. And he said, he said, that can't mean taking refuge in the people that you're practicing with as personalities. He said, my God, he said, I can't imagine a worse idea than, he's talking about himself, than taking refuge in the community in Amravati, his community. He said, I can't imagine a worse idea. Such confusion and bitterness and anger. He said, no, no, no, no. But,


you know, each person also has within them a heart for the dharma and a spirit of goodness. So it's not the personality of the person that makes that person a Sangha member. It's that aspect of themselves that they bring, that heart that they bring to the Sangha, that they may not manifest too much, but it's there. And when you say I take refuge in the Sangha, you're taking refuge in that essential goodness of all practitioners and all beings. That potential goodness. So, therefore, don't get disappointed when you find that your dharma brothers and sisters are giving you trouble and you don't like them and they're not very nice and all this sort of thing. That shouldn't surprise you at all. Nor shake your faith in the basic goodness of those very same people that are giving you such a pain in the butt. So this is what he was saying in his dharma talk. I thought I'd like to share that with you for no particular reason. So, anyway, thank you.


And this kind of approach to the koan tonight I think is uncharacteristic of all these books and all this stuff. Usually, the koans, most of the cases are not... I really feel like this particular case has all this dimension and is really about all this. It's sort of like a ringer stuck in there, you know. Most of the cases are much more dynamic and about practice and understanding than this one is. So, don't get discouraged if you're a little bored by all this stuff. Next week, if you're bored, then you can get discouraged. Thank you.