Transcript: Robert Thurman on The Jewel Tree of Tibet | Apr 16, 2005

Robert Thurman stands behind a wooden lectern on a small stage in a stone church. A picture of his book "The jewel tree of Tibet" appears on screen above the U of T Book Store logo.
Robert is in his late fifties, clean-shaven, with side-parted wavy gray hair. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, white shirt, and yellow tie.

[Applause]

Robert says IT'S SO NICE TO SEE
SUCH A HAPPY AND CHEERFUL CROWD
OF CANADIANS, JUST A SHORT
DISTANCE FROM OUR LOONIE
COUNTRY DOWN IN NEW YORK.
IT'S A REAL PLEASURE.
I'M SORRY THERE AREN'T MORE
SEATS FOR YOU IN THIS VERY
MAGNIFICENT HALL.
IT LOOKS LIKE SOME MEDIEVAL
FEAST WE SHOULD BE HAVING HERE.
ANYWAY THIS IS A BOOK TALK.
IT'S NOT JUST MY NORMAL TALK.
AND IT'S ABOUT TEACHINGS, SOME
MEDITATION TEACHINGS OF TIBET.
IT HAS A TITLE CALLED THE
"JEWELLED TREE OF TIBET" SO IN
THE SPIRIT OF THE JEWELLED
TREE, WE SHOULD ALL VISUALIZE
HERE THAT THIS IS NOT THE NIGHT
TIME AND THIS IS NOT JUST A
HALL WITH A ROOF, BUT THERE'S A
VAST OPEN SPACE ABOVE US OF
SUNNY SKY AND THERE'S A GIANT
JACK IN THE BEANSTALK, LIKE A
GIANT CHRISTMAS TREE, IN WHICH
INSTEAD OF CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS,
THERE ARE ENLIGHTENED BEINGS
SITTING IN THE TREE.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Robert Thurman. Author. 'The jewel tree of Tibet: The enlightenment engine of Tibetan Buddhism. U of T Bookstore Reading Series. February 4, 2005."

Robert continues OR ANGELS OR GODS OR
JESUS OR MOHAMMED, WHATEVER
ONE'S THING IS OR BUDDHA, IF
ONE IS A BUDDHIST.
THIS IS A VISUALIZATION THAT
TIBETANS VISUALIZE.
INDIANS BEFORE, WHEN
THEY MEDITATE ON ANY PARTICULAR
THING IN THE PAST, THEY
VISUALIZE THAT THEY'RE IN THIS
EXTRAORDINARY ENVIRONMENT.
I LIKE TO SAY IT'S LIKE IN THE
STAR WARS MOVIES, WHEN LUKE IS
HAVING A HARD TIME AND
WANDERING, AND AFTER OBI WAN
WAS KILLED, REMEMBER THAT, OBI
WAN APPEARS, LOOKING ALL
LUMINOUS LIKE A LIGHT BODY,
TRANSPARENT YOU CAN SEE THROUGH HIM.
AND THEN OBI WAN SAYS, "LUKE,
THE FORCE, REMEMBER THE FORCE."

[Audience chuckling]

Robert continues SO THE BUDDHIST
THINKS THAT ENLIGHTENED BEINGS
ARE NOT DEAD WHEN THEY DIE.
THEY STILL EXIST IN SOME SORT
OF VASTNESS.
AND WHEN THEY NEED TO--WHEN
PEOPLE NEED TO SEE THEM OR NEED
THEIR REINFORCEMENT OR
ENCOURAGEMENT, THEY CAN APPEAR
IN A SORT OF LIGHT BODY, LIKE
IN A LUMINOUS LIGHT BODY.
SO WHEN YOU MEDITATE, WHEN
YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT THE
NATURE OF LIFE AND THE NATURE
OF YOURSELF AND WHAT IS THE
MEANING OF YOUR LIFE AND WHAT
SHOULD YOU BE DOING WITH YOUR
LIFE, WHAT SHOULD BECOME OF YOU
AND WHAT SHOULD BECOME OF THE
WORLD, AND WHATEVER YOU DO WHEN
YOU MEDITATE.
AND ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU WANT TO
GET SOMETHING DEEPER IN YOUR
MIND LIKE THE TEACHING OF
COMPASSION, THE TEACHING OF THE
PRECIOUSNESS OF HUMAN LIFE, AND
YOUR LIFE'S EVOLUTIONARY
MEANING AND MOMENTUM, OR
MEDITATING ON DEATH AND GAIN
INSIGHT INTO DEATH AND TRY TO
BE AWARE OF THE IMMEDIACY OF
DEATH, AND THAT IT'S REALLY NOT
GLOOMY, IT'S NOT RUDE TO
MENTION IT.
IT'S ACTUALLY CONSIDERED VERY
LIBERATING TO BE AWARE THAT WE
WILL DIE.
BECAUSE ONLY BY BEING FULLY
AWARE THAT WE WILL DIE WILL WE
REALLY FULLY COME TO LIFE.
LIVE EACH MOMENT AS IF IT WAS
OUR LAST TYPE OF THING.
SO WHATEVER YOU DO THAT,
INSTEAD OF JUST GOING AND
SITTING DOWN SOMEWHERE AND
BEING YOUR ORDINARY SELF, THIS
SORT OF UNDERLYING MINDSET
THAT, "WELL I'M JUST ME.
I'M JUST LIKE BOB, AND I'VE
ALWAYS BEEN LIKE ME AND I WILL
ALWAYS CONTINUE TO AND WHEN I
SEE MY OLD FRIENDS THEY JUST
EXPECT ME TO BE BOB AND I
ALWAYS WILL."
THERE'S AN UNDERLYING CURRENT
LIKE THAT SO THAT "I'M GOING TO
MEDITATE ON SOMETHING" BUT
THERE'S SOMEHOW A DEFEATIST
ATTITUDE THAT WHEN I'M FINISHED
MEDITATING, I'M GOING TO STILL
BE BOB.

[Audience chuckling]

Robert continues I USED TO JOKE AND
TEASE PEOPLE IN ZEN CENTRES, I
HAD A JOY OF IT.
IN AMERICA, ZEN PEOPLE TEND TO
HAVE AN IDEA THAT SATORI,
ENLIGHTENMENT, IS LIKE A VAST
AND POWERFUL AND MAGNIFICENT
DISAPPEARANCE.

[Chuckles]

Robert continues SO I LOVE TO GO AND
KID THEM LIKE "OH YOU GUYS HAD
A TWO MONTH MACHO RETREAT AND
YOU SAT LIKE THAT AND DIDN'T
MOVE A MUSCLE.
AND OCCASIONALLY YOU TILTED
OVER AND THEY WHACKED YOU ON
THE BACK.
BUT THE BIG BRAIN DOWN WAS THAT
WHEN IT WAS OVER, YOU HAD TO GO
OUT AND PUT A NICKEL IN THE
PARKING METRE."

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues NO SUCCESS, HERE I
AM, I'M STILL HERE.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues SO THEN I GET A KIND
OF GUILTY LAUGH.
THEY KNOW YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED
TO THINK ABOUT IT LIKE THAT.
ORDINARY PUTTING NICKELS IN
PARKING METRE, THERE'S AN
ENLIGHTENED WAY TO PUT A NICKEL
IN THE PARKING METRE.
BUT ACTUALLY THEY'RE ALL
THINKING, "DAMN, I WANT TO JUST
DISAPPEAR."
UNFORTUNATELY THERE'S A NOTION
THAT NIRVANA MEANS THAT YOU
JUST DISAPPEAR.
BECAUSE WE ARE SO USED TO
DIFFICULTIES OF LIFE, STRESS,
TENSION AND SUFFERING, THAT
WHEN WE HEAR SOMEONE TEACHING
SOMETHING ABOUT HOW THERE IS A
SPACE BEYOND SUFFERING, THERE
IS A LIFE BEYOND SUFFERING,
THERE IS A REALITY BEYOND
SUFFERING, WE CAN ONLY IMAGINE
THERE BEING SOME SORT OF
DISAPPEARANCE BECAUSE HOW COULD
WE NOT SUFFER WITH ALL THESE
PEOPLE CROWDING IN ON US!
WITH LIKE NO CHAIRS, WITH NOT
ENOUGH CHAIRS--

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues WITH NOT ENOUGH AIR,
WITHOUT NOT ENOUGH WHATEVER IT
IS.
NATURALLY THERE'S GOING TO BE
SUFFERING SO NIRVANA MUST BE AT
LEAST FREE OF PEOPLE.
OF COURSE EXCEPT FOR ME.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues SO THIS IS
UNFORTUNATE, NOT JUST THEM,
THERE'S A BIG MISUNDERSTANDING
ABOUT BUDDHISM, MISSING OF THE
MEANING OF NON-DUALITY BECAUSE
NON-DUALITY IS MUCH MORE
POWERFUL.
IT'S LIKE BEING ENLIGHTENED AND
BEING BLISSFUL AND BEING
TOTALLY FREE AND YET BEING
TOTALLY ENGAGED IN RELATIONSHIP
WITHOUT THEM BEING TENSE.
SO WHAT WE'RE GOING TO TRY--
IT'S SO EASY PEOPLE TODAY I DID
A BUNCH OF MEDIA THINGS TODAY.
PEOPLE--"WHAT IS IT LIKE?"
PEOPLE ASK ME.
JOURNALISTS HAVE TO GET TO THE
POINT.

[Audience chuckling]

Robert continues IT'S WHAT SEEMED TO
BE DIFFICULT BUT OF COURSE
ENLIGHTENMENT IS INDESCRIBABLE
ULTIMATELY BUT SO IS AN APPLE.
EVERYTHING IS ULTIMATELY
INDESCRIBABLE.
AND JUST BECAUSE IT IS
ULTIMATELY INDESCRIBABLE
DOESN'T MEAN THAT WE CAN'T
RELATIVELY DESCRIBE IT.
SO ENLIGHTENMENT IS REALLY VERY
SIMPLE THOUGH IN ONE WAY, AS
FAR AS DESCRIBING IT GOES.
ENLIGHTENMENT IS
REALLY QUITE SIMPLE.
IGNORANCE IS, THE OPPOSITE OF
ENLIGHTENMENT.
OR BETTER MIS-
KNOWLEDGE OR DELUSION IS
THINKING THAT IS--BELIEVING
THAT YOU YOURSELF ARE THE ONE
REAL THING YOU CAN KNOW IS
REALLY REAL IN THE WORLD AND
THAT THEREFORE, THAT YOU ARE
SORT OF-- YOU USUALLY DON'T LET
ON ABOUT THIS TO OTHERS, THAT
YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE
IN THE WHOLE WORLD.
AND YOU PARTICULARLY DON'T LET
ON TO OTHERS BECAUSE THEN YOU
WOULD GIVE WAY TO TREMENDOUS
FRUSTRATION BECAUSE NOT A
SINGLE OTHER PERSON AGREES WITH
YOU.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues AND NOT ONLY THAT,
BUT THEY THINK THEY'RE THE MOST
IMPORTANT ONE, WHICH YOU DON'T
AGREE WITH AND SO WE'RE AT EACH
OTHER ALL THE TIME.
AND IT ISN'T A MORALISTIC
THING.
WE CAN CONTROL IT BY SAYING
WE'RE GOING TO BE UNSELFISH AND
SELF-EFFACING AND MANY THINGS,
BUT IF WE FEEL THAT WAY REALLY
DEEP DOWN, WE'RE STILL GOING TO
BE LOCKED WITHIN THIS
EGOCENTRIC PERSPECTIVE.
EVEN THOUGH WE'RE TRYING TO BE
ALTRUISTIC OR DOING GOOD THINGS
AND SO ON.
WHEREAS ENLIGHTENMENT IS A
REALIZATION THAT MY PERSPECTIVE
IN THE WORLD IS NOT DIFFERENT
FROM EVERYONE ELSE'S
PERSPECTIVE AND EVEN THEREFORE
THEIR PERSPECTIVE ACTUALLY IS
MORE OF A CONCERN TO ME THEN MY
OWN BECAUSE THERE'S MANY MORE
OF THEM, AND NOT JUST AS A SORT
OF NICE THOUGHT BUT ACTUALLY
FEELING THAT WAY.
THAT'S WHY IT'S INCONCEIVABLE
ENLIGHTENMENT.
IMAGINE IF YOU WERE HERE AND
YOU WERE SIMULTANEOUSLY
PERCEIVING WHATEVER IS
HAPPENING HERE FROM EVERYBODY
ELSE'S PERSPECTIVE
SIMULTANEOUSLY AS YOUR OWN.
YOU WOULD BE LIKE A MULTI-
HEADED, MULTI-EYED, ONE OF
THOSE DEITIES WITH MANY HEADS
AND EYES.
EVERYONE HERE IN THE ROOM YOU'D
BE FEELING, AND NOT ONLY THAT,
BUT PEOPLE--BUDDHA AWARENESS
ENCOMPASSES ALL BEINGS,
WHATEVER "ALL" REALLY MEANS
THEREFORE, THAT MAKES IT
INCONCEIVABLE.
IT'S SIMPLE TO SAY, THEREFORE
ENLIGHTENMENT IS LIVING, NOT
ONLY INTENTIONALLY BUT
PERCEPTUALLY, EXPERIENTIALLY,
IN A WAY WHERE YOU ARE A CLOUD
BEING IN A VAST SPACE OF
AWARENESS THAT INCLUDES
EVERYBODY ELSE'S AWARENESS.
RIGHT, ISN'T THAT SIMPLE?
[Audience laughing]
[Robert cackles]
IT'S OF COURSE,
INCONCEIVABLE TO US, NORMALLY
AND EVEN PEOPLE SAY IN SHANTE
DEMOS GREAT BOOK, PEOPLE FREAK
OUT AND SAY "OH MY GOODNESS,
WHO WOULD WANT TO HAVE SUCH A
WAY OF BEING?
I HAVE A HARD ENOUGH TIME BEING
MYSELF, WHY WOULD I WANT TO BE
EVERYONE ELSE SIMULTANEOUSLY?"

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues MULTIPLYING THE
BURDEN, HAVING EVERYBODY'S
HEADACHE.
ESPECIALLY IF I'VE GOT A SEAT,
I'M SITTING DOWN COMFORTABLY, I
DON'T WANT TO BE ALL THOSE
PEOPLE STANDING UP OR SITTING
ON THE FLOOR.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues SO THERE'S A
COMPLAINT LIKE THAT AND NOBODY
REALLY ANSWERS IT WELL EXCEPT
IT'S A KIND OF MATRIX THING.
NOW THAT WE HAVE SEEN THE
MOVIE, "THE MATRIX" AND IF ANY
OF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT, THAT'S
MY HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues JUST THE FIRST ONE.
THE LATER TWO...BUT THE FIRST
ONE.
THE WAY THAT HE DISCOVERED THAT
HE WAS THE ONE WAS WHEN HE
REALIZED HE WAS THE ENTIRE
MATRIX AND THE WHOLE PROGRAM
AND THE COMPUTER AS WELL AS THE
INDIVIDUAL BEING IN THE ONE
PLACE IN IT.
ONCE YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE IN A
MATRIX, THEN THERE'S AN
ILLUSORY QUALITY TO IT SO YOU
CAN STAND IT.
YOU CAN STAND YOUR OWN
PERSPECTIVE AND YOU CAN STAND
EVERYONE'S PERSPECTIVE AND YOUR
MIND IS FINITELY CAPABLE OF
ENCOMPASSING ENTIRE PROGRAM.
SO THEY SAY.
I JUST WANTED TO SAY THAT.
THAT'S WHAT I MEANT BY SAYING
WHEN YOU PERCEIVE THEM
SIMULTANEOUSLY FROM ALL OTHER
PERSPECTIVES.
[Reading]
"SO, WHAT WE'RE GOING TO TRY TO
DO ON THIS QUEST TOGETHER IS TO
GO FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE
TIBETAN PATH OF ENLIGHTENMENT
TO ITS END.
AND WE'RE GOING TO REHEARSE
VARIOUS SHORT MEDITATIONS THAT
WILL HELP US GET DEEPER ALONG
THE PATH.
AND WE'RE GOING TO LEARN ABOUT
WHAT THAT PATH IS SO THAT WE
UNDERSTAND IT, SO THAT YOU CAN
DO THIS RETREAT YOURSELF AGAIN
AND AGAIN, AND I CAN DO THIS
RETREAT MYSELF AGAIN AND AGAIN,
EACH TIME LEARNING SOMETHING
NEW.
WE'RE AIMING TO DEVELOP A
TOLERANCE FOR COGNITIVE
DISSONANCE, WHICH IS THE
DIRECTION OF ENLIGHTENMENT, A
GREATER SUBTLETY OF
CONSCIOUSNESS.
YOU DON'T WANT TO GET ALL
FASCINATED OR OBSESSED OR
ENTRANCED WITH ONE PARTICULAR
THING THAT YOU EXPERIENCE AS
YOU GO ALONG, BUT KEEP MOVING
AND LEARNING, SEEING THINGS
FRESHLY AGAIN AND AGAIN."

[Ends reading, resumes regular speech]
YOU KNOW, PEOPLE TOO
MUCH THINK BECAUSE WE FIND LIFE
FROM OUR SELF-CENTRED
PERSPECTIVE, I DON'T MEAN THAT
MORALISTICALLY, I MEAN JUST
EXPERIENTIALLY, HABITUALLY,
INSTINCTIVELY EVEN, BECAUSE WE
DO, WE FIND LIFE TO BE A
TERRIBLE STRAIN BECAUSE WE'RE
SORT OF HOLDING OUR OWN SPACE,
OF OUR OWN BEING, SORT OF ALOOF
FROM OR IMMUNE TO THE CROWDING
IN SPACE OF ALL THE OTHER
BEINGS AND ALL THE OTHER
PHENOMENA IN THE WORLD AND THAT
IS STRENUOUS, HOLDING OFF THE
WORLD IN A CERTAIN WAY.
SO WE FEEL THAT
ENLIGHTENMENT IS GOING TO BE
SOME SORT OF RELIEF.
AND SINCE THE ONLY RELIEF WE
HAVE IN OUR NORMAL TIME IS WHEN
WE PASS OUT OR FALL ASLEEP AND
DON'T KNOW WE'RE HERE, ALL
ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE.
RIGHT?
WHEN YOU FALL
ASLEEP, THE GREAT JOY OF IT IS
YOU FORGET ABOUT THE WHOLE
THING.
NOW YOU WOULD SAY WHEN YOU'RE
AWAKE, "I DON'T WANT TO FORGET
ABOUT THE WHOLE THING.
I'M DOING THIS, THAT AND THE
OTHER THING."
BUT BOY AFTER YOU'RE AWAKE 17
HOURS OR AS A STUDENT YOU PULL
FIVE ALL-NIGHTERS, YOU JUST
WANT TO BE UNCONSCIOUS.
[Audience laughing]
BOOM!
SO WE NATURALLY ASSUME THAT
ENLIGHTENMENT IS SOME SORT OF
MAGNIFICENT UNCONSCIOUSNESS.
[Robert cackling]
[Audience laughing]
WHAT A DUMB IDEA!
LIKE BUDDHA-HOOD IS LIKE DUH,
I'M UNCONSCIOUS NOW.
SO HIT YOURSELF ON THE HEAD
WITH A HAMMER AND BE BUDDHA
NOW.
[Audience laughing]
COME ON.
BUDDHA-HOOD IS THIS MEGA
CONSCIOUSNESS.
THE SUM TOTAL OF ALL AWARENESS
OF EVERYTHING.
SO IT'S IMMENSELY CAPABLE WHILE
MAINTAINING THIS SENSE OF TOTAL
FREEDOM OF ENCOMPASSING ALL
COMPLEXITY.
THEREFORE THE TOLERANCE OF
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE, THE
CULTIVATED TOLERANCE OF
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE IS THE
PATHWAY, NOT THE SUPPRESSION OF
ANY KIND OF COMPLEXITY OF
CONSCIOUSNESS.
[Reading]
"EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT
A TIBETAN BUDDHIST OR ANY KIND
OF BUDDHIST, I HOPE YOU WILL BE
ABLE TO FOLLOW ALONG WITH THIS
TEACHING AND GAIN SOMETHING
FROM IT.
I FOLLOW HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI
LAMA.
HE'S MY MAIN TEACHER, MY
MENTOR.
I FOLLOW HIS VIEW THAT, IN THE
WORLD TODAY, WE DON'T WANT
MILLIONS AND MILLIONS AND
MILLIONS OF NEW BUDDHISTS.
WE'RE NOT COMPETING WITH THE
CHRISTIANS, THE JEWS, THE
MUSLIMS, THE HINDUS.
WE'RE NOT COMPETING FOR MARKET
SHARE, FOR A POPULATION
EXPLOSION.
BUT WE ARE LOOKING TO THE
QUALITY OF PEOPLE'S LIVES,
HOPING THAT PEOPLE WILL BECOME
MORE ENLIGHTENED, WHATEVER
THEIR RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION OR
SECULAR HUMANIST BELIEFS.
CONVERSION IS NOT THE GOAL
HERE.
THEREFORE, IN TEACHING A
TEACHING LIKE THIS, WHICH WE
HOPE THE PUBLIC WILL USE
WIDELY, WE WANT TO MAKE IT
ACCESSIBLE TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS
POSSIBLE.
HOWEVER, IF WE TEACH A
SPIRITUAL PRACTICE IN A
COMPLETELY BLAND, WATERED DOWN
WAY, THEN NO ONE WILL REALLY
HAVE MUCH INSPIRATION TO USE
IT.
I CONFESS I LOVE THE BUDDHA,
AND I LOVE THE DHARMA, WHICH IS
THE TEACHING OF THE BUDDHA, AND
I LOVE THE TIBETAN VERSIONS OF
IT.
AND I PARTICULARLY LOVE THE
VERSION THAT WAS PERFECTED BY
TSONG KHAPA, WHO LIVED IN THE
FIFTEENTH CENTURY.
IT IS THE CORE TEACHING THAT
THE DALAI LAMAS HAVE PRACTICED
SINCE THEN, INCLUDING THE
CURRENT DALAI LAMA, THE
FOURTEENTH, HIS HOLINESS TENZIN
GYATSO.
SO, I WANT TO SHARE MY LOVE FOR
THEIR VISION AND WISDOM WITH
YOU THROUGH THE ANCIENT TEXT
THAT INSPIRES THIS RETREAT IN
BOOK FORM.
IN THIS BOOK, I WILL DRAW FROM
THOSE TEACHINGS AND FOCUS ON
THE PARTICULARLY VIVID TEACHING
ABOUT THE WISH-FULFILLING JEWEL
TREE BY THE FOURTH PANCHEN
LAMA, CALLED THE GURU PUJA, OR
THE DEVOTION TO THE MENTOR.
A MENTOR IS NOT CONSIDERED
MERELY A TEACHER BUT IS SEEN
RATHER AS AN EXEMPLAR OF THE
TEACHING, A MODEL TO FOLLOW.
SO, IN EACH LESSON OR SUBJECT
OR VERSE, I WILL VEER AWAY FROM
MY OWN NARROW UNDERSTANDING AND
TIBETAN IMAGES, AND I WILL
ENCOURAGE YOU TO MEDITATE,
WHETHER YOU ARE SUFI,
CHRISTIAN, OR ANOTHER KIND OF
BUDDHIST, AND TO DRAW IN YOUR
OWN IMAGES AND IDEAS TO ENHANCE
YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING.
THIS RETREAT IS DIVIDED INTO
SIX CHAPTERS THAT CAN SERVE AS
RETREATS IN THEMSELVES, WITH
DIFFERENT MEDITATIONS AND A
REGULAR REVIEW OF THE
PRINCIPLES THAT FORM THE STEPS
ON THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT.
I WANT YOU TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO
ENTER A KIND OF JEWEL SPACE OF
AWARENESS, TO POPULATE AND
RETREAT TO THAT JEWEL SPACE IN
YOUR OWN WAY.
THERE YOU WILL BE ENERGIZED TO
DISCOVER YOUR OWN FEELING OF
INSIGHT INTO YOUR OWN SOUL--AND
INTO THE SOUL OF THE ENTIRE
UNIVERSE.
THE WISH-FULFILLING JEWEL TREE
WILL RESTORE YOU TO YOURSELF
AND ILLUMINATE YOUR PATH
THROUGH LIFE...AND ILLUMINATE
YOUR SPIRIT INTO THE NEXT
LIFE."
[Ends reading, resumes regular speech]
SO THAT'S WHERE I
STARTED TO SAY WE HAVE TO
VISUALIZE, IMAGINE WE ARE IN
THE SPACE OF THAT JEWEL TREE
AND ALL OF OUR PERSONAL OBI
WANS ARE THERE IN LUMINOUS
LIGHT FORM WHETHER CURRENTLY
DEAD OR ALIVE, WHETHER
HISTORICAL OR CONTEMPORARY, AND
THEY ARE THERE WITH US, AND
THEY ARE SITTING IN THE TREE
LIKE WISH FULFILLING JEWELS,
SMILING DOWN ON US AND
RADIATING THEIR ENCOURAGING,
INSPIRATION LIGHT RAYS AND
LIFTING US UP OUT OF OUR
HABITUAL SELF IMAGE OF "I'M
JUST BOB AND I NEVER QUITE
REALLY CHANGE MY MIND OR
UNDERSTAND ANYTHING" AND WE
BECOME SUDDENLY BEINGS OF HIGH
POTENTIAL.
WE DON'T KNOW WHETHER WE'RE
GOING TO END UP WHERE WE
STARTED.
WE MIGHT BE MORE OPEN.
WE MIGHT BE MORE ALIVE.
WE MIGHT HAVE EUREKA MOMENTS.
WE MIGHT FIND THIS MOMENT TO BE
AN INFINITE MOMENT FILLED WITH
INSIGHT AND FILLED WITH LOVE
AND COMPASSION AND JOY AND
BLISS.
YOU NEVER KNOW.
OKAY NOW ONTO CHAPTER ONE.
[Reading]
"LET'S BEGIN BY
READING THE VERY FIRST VERSE OF
THIS WORK THAT WE ARE GOING TO
LEARN TO PRACTICE--WHAT THE
TIBETANS WOULD CALL THE ROOT
TEXT, THE BACKBONE OF OUR TIME
TOGETHER, THE MENTOR DEVOTION.
THIS TEACHING INTEGRATES BOTH
EXOTERIC AND ESOTERIC PRACTICES
INTO A METHOD THAT ENERGIZES
AND ACCELERATES YOUR
UNDERSTANDING AND EXPERIENCE.
THE EXTERNAL TEACHER FIGURE IN
TIBETAN BUDDHISM IS CONSIDERED
MORE OF A FRIEND THAN A MENTOR.
BUT YOUR ESOTERIC TEACHER, BY
CONTRAST, IS ONE YOU IMAGINE
AND VISUALIZE TO BE INDIVISIBLE
FROM THE BUDDHA HIMSELF,
SOMEONE WHO IS A LIVING
EXEMPLAR OF ENLIGHTENMENT."
[Ends reading, resumes regular speech]
YOU KNOW THAT THE
LAMA OF YOURS IS NOT
NECESSARILY INDIVISIBLE FROM
SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA IN YOUR
ORDINARY MIND.
SO YOU HAVE TWO MINDS--THIS IS
COMPLEXITY--THIS IS COGNITIVE
DISSONANCE.
YOU KNOW THAT YOU MUSTN'T GET
CONFUSED ABOUT THAT.
BUT, IN YOUR MEDITATION, YOU
ARE MAKING THAT BEING INTO AN
ICON.
JUST LIKE WHEN YOU GO IN A
TEMPLE AND YOU SEE AN IMAGE OF
THE SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA.
YOU KNOW THAT IS NOT
SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA WHO WALKED
THE EARTH IN INDIA THOUSANDS OF
YEARS OF YEARS.
THAT IS AN ICON OF SHAKYAMUNI
BUDDHA, BUT IF YOU VISUALIZE
THAT SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA'S
UNDYING ENERGY AND BSSING AND
ENLIGHTENING LIGHT RAYS ARE
THERE.
THIS ICON REMINDS
YOU OF THAT THEN THE ICON
BECOMES A LENS, A FOCUS FOR YOU
TO SORT OF REMEMBER AND TO FIND
THE LIFE OF SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA
IN YOUR MIND, RIGHT?
SO SIMILARLY, IN THE MENTOR
DEVOTION PRACTICE, YOUR
TEACHER, IN THE ESOTERIC SENSE,
THE INITIATORY TEACHER, YOU'RE
USING AS A LENS LIKE THAT,
YOU'RE MAKING A LIVING BEING
INTO AN ICON.
AND THE FUN THING ABOUT THAT IS
A LIVING BEING WALKS AND TALKS
AND OCCASIONALLY TELLS YOU
YOU'RE BEING A TURKEY OR YOU'RE
CONFUSED OR YOU'RE CRAZY OR
ENCOURAGING YOU.
THEN YOU BEGIN TO HAVE FEELING
FEELINGS THAT BUDDHA IS
ENCOURAGING.
IT HELPS THAT WAY.
THIS IS ONE OF THE GREAT
PSYCHOLOGICAL, POWERFUL
ELEMENTS OF INDIAN BUDDHISM
THAT THE TIBETANS KEPT ALIVE TO
MAKE THE SENSE OF THE PRESENCE
OF THE BUDDHA IMMEDIATE.
SO THERE WERE LIVING BUDDHAS.
YOU HAD THE SENSE THAT BUDDHA
WAS ALIVE, NEAR YOU, AND
THEREFORE YOU HAD THE SENSE
THAT YOU COULD BECOME A BUDDHA.
SOMEBODY DID A THOUSAND YEARS
AGO.
OF COURSE I CAN'T, I'M A
CANADIAN.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues YOU WANT TO GET OVER
THAT ONE.
THE TIBETANS WERE--THIS WAS THE
FANTASTIC SUBTLE PSYCHOLOGY OF
THE TIBETAN BUDDHIST TRADITION.
[Reading]
"YOU USE YOUR MENTAL
POWER OF IMAGINATION TO PROPEL
YOU TOWARD THE ENLIGHTENED
STATE, TO MOBILIZE YOU TO
BECOME LIKE YOUR TEACHER.
THIS ALTERED FOCUS MAKES THE
TEACHING MORE ACCESSIBLE AND
IMMEDIATE.
IT GIVES YOU A PERSONAL GUIDE
FROM THE OUTSET, A COMPANION ON
THE PATH BUT ONE WHO IS ALWAYS
AHEAD OF YOU, MOTIVATING YOU.
THE MENTOR FIGURE EMPOWERS YOU,
NOT JUST TO PLAY AT SELF-
TRANSFORMATION BUT ACTUALLY TO
REALIZE THE TEACHING, TO
EXPERIENCE THE HIGHER GOAL
STATE.
THUS,
MENTOR DEVOTION
IS A PRACTICE OF ACKNOWLEDGING
OR WORSHIPING THE BUDDHA IN A
MODEL FIGURE OF YOUR CHOICE.
YOU ENVISION THE MENTOR AS THE
BUDDHA AND STRIVE TO EMULATE
THAT MODEL UNTIL YOU ARE ABLE
TO UNDERSTAND AND EMBODY THE
TEACHINGS ENTIRELY YOURSELF.
THOUGH THE TEACHING INTEGRATES
THIS ESOTERIC DIMENSION AND
POWER, THIS TEACHING IN THE
TEXT, IT CAN BE PRACTICED EVEN
BY BEGINNERS AND USED BY ANYONE
WHO WANTS TO LEARN ITS STEPS TO
TRAVEL THE MAINSTREAM PATH TO
ENLIGHTENMENT.
AS YOU READ THE FOLLOWING
LINES, GO INTO MOMENTARY
MEDITATIONAL MODE AND READ THIS
VERSE.
THIS IS THE FIRST VERSE WRITTEN
BY THE PENDU LAMA IN THE 17TH
CENTURY."
IT WAS JUST KIND OF A SHOCKING
VERSE ACTUALLY.
I LIKE IT.
"THROUGH THE GREAT BLISS STATE,
I MYSELF BECOME THE MENTOR
DEITY."
WHEN YOU READ IT, THAT MEANS
YOU YOURSELF.
"I MYSELF BECOME THE MENTOR
DEITY,
FROM MY LUMINOUS BODY,
LIGHT RAYS SHINE ALL AROUND,
MASSIVELY BLESSING BEINGS AND
THINGS,
MAKING THE UNIVERSE PURE AND
FABULOUS,
PERFECTION IN ITS EVERY
QUALITY."
[Ends reading, resumes regular speech]
ISN'T THAT FUN?
THAT IS YOU SAY--INSTEAD OF
LIKE "HERE'S ME BOB THURMAN
MAYBE I'LL BECOME A BUDDHA ONE
DAY WHATEVER THAT MEANS, A
PLATYPUS OR SOMETHING, OR MAYBE
I'LL BE ENLIGHTENED ONE DAY OR
SOMETHING, I'LL BE A TEACHER OR
SOMETHING."
IMAGINE THAT YOU ARE ALREADY A
TEACHER.
IT'S LIKE LUKE, INSTEAD OF
WAITING FOR OBI WAN TO SHOW UP
AND SAY "LUKE GO TO THE FORCE,"
LUKE FEELS LIKE HE IS ONE WITH
OBI WAN.
HE IS A BODY OF LUMINOSITY.
YOU ARE A BEING WHO IS MADE OF
LIGHT AND YOU SEND YOUR LIGHT
OF LOVING LIGHT TOWARD ALL THE
BEINGS THAT YOU KNOW AND ALL
THE BEINGS THAT YOU DON'T KNOW
AND ALL THE BEINGS THAT YOU
COULD KNOW AND YOU BECOME AN
ABSOLUTE ENERGY OF BLESSING.
AND THAT IS THE BUDDHA STATE.
WHEN YOU BECOME A BUDDHA, YOU
CAN MANIFEST LIKE THAT, TO
BLESS BEINGS IF THEY NEED THAT.
YOU ACTUALLY HAVE THAT ABILITY
SO HERE IS IMAGINING YOURSELF
HAVING THAT ABILITY AND WHY
IMAGINE THAT?
YOU KNOW YOU'RE IMAGINING IT.
YOU'RE NOT PRETENDING THAT BY
IMAGINING IT YOU'RE GOING TO
BECOME THAT INSTANTLY, BUT BY
IMAGINING IT YOU INSPIRE
YOURSELF BECAUSE IMAGINE, NOW
MEDITATE, IMAGINE THROUGH THE
GREAT BLISS STATE IT SAYS.
WHAT IS THE GREAT BLISS STATE?
WELL BUDDHA, WHEN BUDDHA
ATTAINED ENLIGHTENMENT, HE SAID
"EUREKA!" AND HE MADE A BIG
GRIN AND HE WAS HAPPY.
HE SAID "WOW!"
"I'M FREE."
THE UNIVERSE IS FULL OF
BLISSFUL ENERGY.
EVERY CELL IN MY BODY IS
TINGLING WITH BUDDHA ENERGY.
THE TREE ABOVE ME IS FILLED
WITH BUDDHA ENERGY.
ALL THE OTHER BEINGS I SEE ARE
FILLED WITH THIS BLISS VOID
INDIVISIBLE ENERGY.
HE WAS BLISSFUL.
BUDDHA'S DISCOVERY WAS THE
DISCOVERY OF HAPPINESS AS THE
ACTUAL UNDERLYING FABRIC OF THE
UNIVERSE.
IT'S NOT EVEN UNDERLYING, IT'S
OVERLYING.
IT'S EVERYWHERE...IF
YOU'RE A BUDDHA.
IF WE ARE SO CLEVER, WE CAN
LIVE IN A FIELD OF SWIMMING
BLISSFUL ENERGY AND BE
MISERABLE.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues AND FEEL
DISCONTENTED AND WANT TO HAVE A
MERCEDES OR WANT TO BE THE
PRESIDENT OR WANT TO HAVE A
DIFFERENT FRIEND OR A NEW
RELATIONSHIP OR A BABY OR 10
BABIES OR WHATEVER.
WE CAN BE ALL DISSATISFIED.
WE MANAGE IT ALL THE TIME DON'T
WE?
[Mimicking gloom] "OH, WHAT A
HORRIBLE DAY.
OH I DON'T WANT TO GO TO WORK."
I WAS JUST DOING IT 20 MINUTES
AGO.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues I WAS IN MY HOTEL
ROOM AFTER DOING FOUR OR FIVE
MEDIA INTERVIEWS AND I FELL
SLIGHTLY ASLEEP AND FIVE TO
7:00, I'VE GOT GO.
OH NO...
MAYBE THEY WON'T MISS ME.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues THIS IS OUR
BRILLIANCE AND THE CLEVERNESS
OF OUR STUPIDITY AND OF OUR
DELUSION THAT--UNLESS WE'RE
RIGHT AND BUDDHA'S WRONG, WHICH
IS ALSO POSSIBLE.
BUDDHA DOESN'T SAY--BUDDHA WAS
SO FUNNY--I LOVE BUDDHA.
HE SAYS, EUREKA, I'M A BUDDHA I
KNOW EVERYTHING.
[Laughter]
I KNOW THE WORLD, I KNOW WHAT
IT IS.
BUT DON'T YOU BELIEVE IT.
I'M NOT TELLING YOU TO BELIEVE
THAT I DO.
IF YOU BELIEVE THAT I DO FOR NO
GOOD REASON JUST BECAUSE I'M
MAKING A BIG NOISE, YOU BELIEVE
ANYTHING ANY IDIOT TELLS YOU IF
THEY MAKE A BIG ENOUGH NOISE.
[Audience laughing]
SO I'M OMNISCIENT, I KNOW
EVERYTHING BUT DON'T BELIEVE
IT.
IN FACT, THE FIRST THING I'M
TELLING YOU, HOW TO REALIZE,
NOW I'M TELLING YOU, YOU CAN
UNDERSTAND THAT YOURSELF.
I KNOW YOU CAN.
CAUSE I KNOW EVERYTHING.
[Audience laughing]
BUT THE WAY YOU'RE GOING TO DO
IT IS NOT BY BELIEVING THAT I'M
DOING IT, THAT WON'T HELP YOU
AT ALL.
IT MIGHT GIVE YOU A LITTLE
ENCOURAGEMENT, "I CAN BE LIKE
THAT," BUT THE WAY YOU'RE GOING
TO DO IT IS BY STOPPING
BELIEVING IN ALL THE STUPID
THINGS THAT YOU DO BELIEVE IN.
LIKE YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU'RE
THE REAL YOU.
LIKE YOU BELIEVE THAT THIS IS
NOT QUITE GOOD ENOUGH.
LIKE IF YOU'RE NOT AN ONLY
CHILD, YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU'LL
NEVER GET BACK TO THAT TIME
WHEN BOTH PARENTS WERE
FOCUSSING ON YOU ENTIRELY AND
THEY AGREED THAT YOU WERE THE
CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE.
UNTIL THAT OTHER LITTLE BRAT
CAME ALONG AND THEY BROUGHT HIM
HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues LIKE MY
GRANDDAUGHTER.
OH MOMMY, I REALLY LIKE HIM,
HE'S CUTE, CAN WE TAKE HIM BACK NOW?

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues THAT'S THE--SO YOU
BELIEVE IN THAT SO YOU HAVE TO
QUESTION THAT.
YOU MIGHT BELIEVE THAT I'M A
SEPARATE BEING THAN YOU
BUDDHIST SAYS, SO YOU SHOULD
QUESTION THAT.
QUESTIONING THINGS TO DEVELOP
CRITICAL WISDOM SO TO SEE
THROUGH THE DELUSIONS.
FIGURE OUT THAT YOU'RE NOT THE
ONLY ONE.
TOUCH SOMEONE AND FIGURE OUT
THAT THEY'RE THERE.
THEN YOU REALIZE THAT YOU'RE
NOT THE ONLY ONE.
SO THROUGH THE GREAT BLISS
STATE, I MYSELF BECOME THE
MENTOR, THE DAILY MENTOR MEANS
OF THE BUDDHA.
BUT IN THIS CASE, IT MEANS THE
OBI WAN FIGURE, THE ENLIGHTENED
ONE YOU IMAGINE BLESSING YOU,
BUT YOU START OUT FEELING AS IF
YOU WERE THAT.
YOU GET YOURSELF KIND OF JACKED
UP.
YOU START AT THE GOAL YOU SEE
AND THEN YOU DEAL WITH THE
REALITY THAT YOU'RE NOT AT THE
GOAL, THAT YOU'RE ALL ISOLATED
FROM THE GOAL, BUT THE PRESSURE
OF THE POSSIBILITY OF THE GOAL
GIVES YOU ENERGY.
[Reading]
"FROM MY LUMINOUS
BODY LIGHT RAYS SHINE ALL
AROUND MASSIVELY BLESSING
BEINGS AND THINGS MAKING THE
UNIVERSE PURE AND FABULOUS,
PERFECTION IN ITS EVERY
QUALITY.
TAKE A MINUTE TO BE WITH THIS
IMAGE OF LIGHT AND PERFECTION.
NOW I WILL EXPLAIN.
THE GREAT BLISS STATE IS THE
STATE OF REALITY--WHERE WE
ACTUALLY ARE, RIGHT HERE AND
NOW.
IT IS NOT SOME ELABORATE PLACE
FAR AWAY FROM WHERE WE ARE.
THE WONDERFUL THING ABOUT THE
BUDDHA'S REVELATION, THE
BUDDHA'S INSIGHT, IS THAT THIS
REALITY ITSELF IS THE GREAT
BLISS STATE, THAT WHICH HE
FIRST CALLED NIRVANA,
THE EXTINCTION OF ALL
SUFFERING, WHICH HE CAME TO
DESCRIBE AS
BLISS VOID
INDIVISIBLE.
THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING AND
THE ACHIEVEMENT OF PERFECT
HAPPINESS AND THE REALITY OF
PERFECT HAPPINESS IS THE
REALITY OF OUR WORLD.
THIS WAS THE BUDDHA'S GOOD
NEWS.
THIS IS WHAT HE REALIZED UNDER
THE BODHI TREE, WHERE HE FIRST
BECOME ENLIGHTENED.
THE BODHI TREE WAS THE ORIGINAL
WISH-GRANTING GEM TREE.
TO FIND HAPPINESS OR PEACE OR
ENLIGHTENMENT, WE DO NOT HAVE
TO CREATE SOME ARTIFICIAL
WORLD, A WORLD APART FROM THIS
WORLD.
WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THE
NATURE OF THIS WORLD.
AND THE NATURE OF THIS WORLD,
WHEN WE DO UNDERSTAND IT, IS
REVEALED TO US THROUGH OUR
UNDERSTANDING, NOT FROM SOME
OTHER PERSON JUST SHOWING US
SOMETHING.
OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING REVEALS
THE NATURE OF THE WORLD TO US
AS THE GREAT BLISS STATE OF
EMPTINESS AND OPENNESS.
THE NATURE OF THIS WORLD IS
SUPER BLISS, INTERTWINED AND
INDIVISIBLE.
THIS GREAT BLISS STATE,
THEREFORE, AS THE FIRST LINE
MENTIONS, IS THE REALITY TO
WHICH THE BUDDHA AWOKE 2500
YEARS AGO, AND TO WHICH
MILLIONS AND HUNDREDS OF
MILLIONS OF BUDDHISTS OVER THE
CENTURIES HAVE AWAKENED.
IT IS ALSO, UNDOUBTEDLY, THE
REALITY THAT THE GREAT FOUNDING
TEACHERS OF OTHER WORLD
TRADITIONS EXPERIENCE AND
TASTED IN THEIR OWN WAYS, AND
MADE AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE,
SOMETIMES THROUGH
UNDERSTANDING, SOMETIMES
THROUGH FAITH, OR SOMETIMES
THROUGH OTHER DIFFERENT
EXPERIENCES.
IT IS THE SAME GREAT BLISS
STATE BECAUSE IT IS THE SAME
REALITY.
ALL BEINGS DWELL IN THIS
REALITY.
UNFORTUNATELY, MOST BEINGS ARE
NOT AWARE OF IT.
THEY THINK THEY ARE DWELLING IN
THE REALITY OF INSUFFICIENCY, A
SELF-CENTERED REALITY WHERE
THEY ARE PITTED AGAINST THE
WORLD AND THE WORLD IS PITTED
AGAINST THEM.
TO THEM, THE WORLD IS ALWAYS
SUFFERING AND ALWAYS CAUSES
THEM FRUSTRATION AND ALWAYS
OVERWHELMS THEM.
THE BUDDHA'S GOOD NEWS IS THAT
YOU CAN ACTUALLY TAKE A BREAK
FROM THIS STRUGGLE.
RELAX.
EASE BACK.
HE TAUGHT THAT WHERE YOU ARE IS
ACTUALLY PERFECT.
BUT, OF COURSE, UNFORTUNATELY,
YOU CAN'T KNOW IT JUST BY MY
SAYING IT, OR EVEN YOUR OWN
SAYING IT BECAUSE YOU'RE SO
CAUGHT UP IN YOUR STREAM OF NOT
KNOWING.
SO, THE BUDDHA HAD TO PROVIDE A
METHOD OF EDUCATION.
THE GREAT TEACHERS IN ALL
TRADITIONS PROVIDE YOU WITH
ARTS OF DEVELOPMENT AND
EDUCATION WHEREBY YOU CAN COME
TO AWAKEN FROM THE WORLD OF
DELUSION, IN WHICH YOU FEEL YOU
MUST SUFFER, TO THE WORLD OF
REALITY, IN WHICH YOU ARE
AUTOMATICALLY FREE FROM
SUFFERING."
[Ends reading, resumes regular speech]
THIS IS REALLY THE
KEY THING IN A WAY.
I WAS TALKING EARLIER TODAY TO
SOMEONE--IF YOU THINK ABOUT
YOUR PICTURE OF REALITY, EVEN
YOU MAY BE ATHEIST, YOU MAY
BELIEVE IN GOD OR JESUS OR
KRISHNA AND YOU THINK THEREFORE
THERE IS A DIVINE ENERGY
SOMEWHERE, MOST OF THE WORLD
TRADITIONS KIND OF CONVINCE YOU
WHEREVER IT IS IT'S NOT IN YOU.
TO THINK THAT IT IS IN YOU OR
YOU ARE IT IS PANTHEISTIC
HERESY, FOR EXAMPLE, IN
PROTESTANTISM, THEOLOGY.
YOU'RE A SINNER.
ONLY GOD CAN REACH OUT TO YOU
BUT GOD IS OUTSIDE SOMEWHERE.
BUT THEN YOU BELIEVE THAT--YOU
GET ANOTHER PICTURE WHICH YOU
GET IN WHAT YOU THINK IS
REALITY CLASS, SCIENCE CLASS
THAT IS.
SCIENCE CLASS TEACHES US THAT
THE GROUND OF REALITY, WHEN YOU
BOIL EVERYTHING DOWN, IF YOU
NOW ANALYZE EVERYTHING THAT'S
RIGHT HERE AND NOW IN YOUR
BODY, MIND, ENVIRONMENT, WHAT
IS AT THE BOTTOM OF REALITY
HERE?
ISN'T IT A DARK SPACE OF
NOTHINGNESS?
YOU'RE TAUGHT THAT ATOM IS A
NUCLEUS OF PROTONS AND
ELECTRONICS ZIPPING AROUND BUT
THEY'RE LIKE A MOSQUITO IN
YANKEE IS THE IMAGE THAT THEY
TELL US.
MOSTLY EMPTINESS AND THE
EMPTINESS IS DARK.
WE THINK OF IT AS NOTHING.
WE THINK OF NOTHING AS A DARK
SPACE.
BETWEEN THE PLANETS AND THE
STARS OUT THERE IS LIKE NO
PRESSURE, NO AIR, NOTHING.
AND WE THINK OF THAT AS A DARK
SPACE.
WE THINK OF IT AS DARKNESS.
SO NATURALLY, IF WE ARE
UNFORTUNATE ENOUGH TO NOT KNOW
ABOUT YOUR FUTURE AND PAST
EXISTENCES AND THINK THAT ALL
WE ARE IS WHAT WE ARE IN THIS
LIFE, WE THINK THAT DEATH WILL
AUTOMATICALLY RETURN US TO THIS
GROUND STATE OF NOTHINGNESS.
PEOPLE WHO COMMIT SUICIDE
BECAUSE THEY CAN'T BEAR SOME
PARTICULAR THING, SOME
EMBARRASSMENT, SOME SHAME, SOME
DIGRESS, SOME DEEP SENSE OF
MENTAL DEPRESSION AND AGONY.
THEY THINK THAT BY PULLING THAT
TRIGGER OR SWALLOWING THOSE
PILLS, THEY'RE GOING TO REVERT
TO THIS THING DEEPER THAN DEEP
SLEEP, THIS STATE OF OBLIVION
IN A DARK, BLANK STATE OF
NOTHINGNESS.
SO NATURALLY WE'RE FRANTIC AND
FRENETIC AND NERVOUS AND WE
DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT DEATH
AND WE WANT TO STAY ALIVE AS
LONG AS THEY CAN PUT IN PLASTIC
HEARTS AND PUMPS AND STAINLESS
STEEL LIMBS AND JOINTS AND
KNEES, WHATEVER.
WE'RE HOPING FOR A GENE
INFUSION OF IMMORTALITY, OF
COURSE, AN ELIXIR BECAUSE WE
THINK THE ALTERNATIVE IS
NOTHINGNESS.
AND OF COURSE IF WE'RE RETIRED
WE'RE HAPPY FOR NOTHING, WE
LIKE IT, BUT NORMALLY WE THINK
THAT WOULD BE TERRIBLE,
NOTHING.
MY POINT IS THAT'S OUR PICTURE.
THIS PICTURE IS DIFFERENT.
WHAT BUDDHA DISCOVERED THAT'S
PART OF OUR IGNORANCE.
IT MAKES US ANXIOUS AND NERVOUS
HERE.
THE GROUND IF YOU LET
EVERYTHING GO IS LIKE A DIAMOND
ENERGY, A BRILLIANCE.
THE GERMAN WORD FOR DIAMOND IS
BRILLIANTE.
IT'S A BRILLIANCE.
IT'S LIKE A SEETHING, HUMMING,
INFINITY OF ENERGY.
THAT ENERGY IS NOT AN ENERGY
IT'S A BRILLIANCE.
THE GERMAN WORD FOR DIAMOND IS
BRILLIANTE.
IT'S A BRILLIANCE.
IT'S LIKE A SEETHING, HUMMING,
INFINITY OF ENERGY.
THAT ENERGY IS NOT AN ENERGY
THAT IS BANGING AGAINST
ANYTHING THAT IS CAUSING STRESS
OR HEAT OR FIRE OR FUSION OR
FISSION OR ANY KIND OF NASTY
THING.
IT'S COOL DIAMOND AND YET WARM
BEYOND COOL AND WARMTH, BEYOND
DARK AND LIGHT.
IT'S A DIAMOND ENERGY OF WHAT
THEY CALL BLISS VOID
INDIVISIBLE.
WHEN YOU HAVE A MOMENT OF
BLISS, WHEN YOU CAN SORT OF LET
GO OF EVERYTHING AND YOU CAN
FEEL RELIEF.
YOU'RE ACTUALLY TASTING THAT.
YOU SAY SOMETIMES WHEN YOU YAWN
YOU TOUCH THAT REALITY.
WHEN YOU DISSOLVE IN STATES OF
SENSUALITY YOU TOUCH THAT
REALITY, BUT ALWAYS FLEETING.
BECAUSE YOU'RE THINKING IT'S
SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO GRAB OR
SOMETHING ELSE.
BUT ACTUALLY THAT'S IN THE
FABRIC OF FATE.
THAT'S A DIFFERENT WORLD
PICTURE ISN'T IT?
IF YOU LET IT ALL GOOD, YOU'RE
IN BLISS.
THAT MAKES YOU MORE RELAXED
DOESN'T IT?
[Audience laughing]
IF YOU WERE TO THINK SO.
IF YOU WERE TO VISCERALLY FEEL
THAT.
ACTUALLY THEY SAY WE'VE ALL
EXPERIENCED IT, WE'VE ALL
EXPERIENCED IT ALL THE TIME BUT
WE DON'T NOTICE OURSELVES
EXPERIENCING IT BECAUSE WE'RE
RUSHING FORWARD TO GRASP
SOMETHING THAT WE THINK WE NEED
AND WANT IN OUR STATE OF
NEEDING AND WANTING AND FEELING
INSUFFICIENT.
SO ACTUALLY WHAT'S HERE IS THE
GAP BETWEEN THOSE GRABS, WE
IGNORE, WE DON'T SEE.
WHEN YOU'RE LOOKING THROUGH A
PANE OF GLASS, YOU'RE EAGERLY
GOBBLING UP THE VISION OF THE
SCENE BEYOND, YOU DON'T NOTICE
THE PANE OF GLASS ITSELF.
IN THIS CASE OF COURSE IT'S
JUST A METAPHOR.
EVERYTHING IS IN THE PANE.
IT'S ALL LIKE A PANE OF GLASS.
DIAMOND GLASS.
A STATE OF TRANSPARENCY,
LUMINACY, WHAT THEY CALL CLEAR
LIGHT.
A DIFFERENT VISION OF THE WORLD
AND ONE THAT IS MARVELLOUS
BECAUSE IF YOU'RE AWARE OF THAT
THEN YOU SUDDENLY LOSE YOUR
PARANOIA AND YOU FEEL YOU CAN
DRAW--THAT ENERGY CAN COME
RIGHT OUT OF YOURSELF.
IF YOU NEED HEALING, THE
HEALING IS THERE.
IT'S JUST THERE AND HAS TO COME
THROUGH.
AND FEARS, MYSTIC THEISTS, HAVE
HAD THAT FEELING BECAUSE THEY
FEEL THAT THE GROUND OF THE
UNIVERSE IS GONE.
AND THEY THINK OF GONE AS
GOODNESS AND INFINITE LOVE.
THEY DON'T THINK OF IT AS SOME
GUY WITH A BEARD ASKING FOR
YOUR CREDIT CARD.
THEY THINK OF IT AS A VAST
ENERGY THAT SUSTAINS
EVERYTHING, A CREATIVE ENERGY
THAT SUSTAINS EVERYTHING.
BUT UNFORTUNATELY RELIGIOUS
INSTITUTIONS ALL TOO OFTEN COME
AND AFTER LYNCHING THE MYSTIC
BURNING AND CRUCIFYING THEM,
BURNING THEM AT THE STAKE, THEY
THEN TELL YOU THAT THAT
BEAUTIFUL ENERGY IS ONLY ON THE
OTHER SIDE OF MEMBERSHIP IN
THEIR CLUB.
AFTER DISHING OUT THE PASSPORT
THAT THEY GIVE YOU, YOU CAN GET
TO IT AND WHERE YOU ARE IS
NOTHING AND IT'S NOTHINGNESS.
THEY TEND TO CONVINCE US OF
THAT.
AND THEY SCARE US IN CASE WE
MIGHT FEEL GOOD, THEN IT MUST
BE SATAN.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues TERESA AVILA, SHE
USED TO HAVE VISIONS OF
MARRIAGE WITH CHRIST, A UNION
WITH CHRIST.
SHE WOULD GO TO HER CONFESSOR
AND SHE WOULD HAVE TO WHIP
HERSELF FOR THREE DAYS.
BELIEVE ME IT WAS SERIOUS
BECAUSE DOWN THE STREET THEY
WERE BURNING PEOPLE AT THE
STAKE IN THE
OTTO DE FAIT
INQUISITION .
SO SHE WAS SERIOUSLY WHIPPING,
IN BETWEEN LOVE BOUTS WITH
CHRIST.
[Robert cackling]
VERY GOOD STUFF.
[Audience laughing]
NEVER MIND, OKAY.
SO...SO--
[Reading]
"THE SECOND LINE
SAYS, I MYSELF BECOME THE
MENTOR DEITY.
THIS IS FASCINATING TO PUT AT
THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE
TEACHING, WHEN WE ARE THINKING
OF OURSELVES AS RANK BEGINNERS.
IT CHALLENGES AND EMPOWERS US
AT THE OUT SET.
I MYSELF; ALTHOUGH I'M TELLING
THIS TO YOU, I'M THE VESSEL
THROUGH WHICH THIS TEACHING IS
COMING TO YOU.
I MYSELF DON'T PRETEND TO
UNDERSTAND IT FULLY, BY ANY
MEANS.
I'M ALSO SUFFERING IN THE
WORLD, STILL STRUGGLING WITH
THE WORLD, BECAUSE OF MY
DISTORTED PERSPECTIVE.
HOWEVER, WHEN I SAY, I MYSELF
BECOME THE MENTOR DEITY, WHEN
YOU YOURSELF SAY, I MYSELF
BECOME THE MENTOR DEITY, AT THE
BEGINNING OF OUR PRACTICE, WHAT
WE ARE DOING IS IMAGINING
OURSELVES AS BEING ALREADY AT
THE GOAL OF AWAKENING."
THE VERSE GOES ON.
"YOU'RE IMAGINING THAT YOU
ACTUALLY ARE A BUDDHA, YOU HAVE
BECOME A BUDDHA.
YOU HAVE AWAKENED, AND YOU'RE
IMAGINING WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO
AWAKEN.
YOU'RE IMAGINING WHAT IT FEELS
LIKE TO KNOW THAT YOUR REALITY
IS A GREAT BLISS STATE,
INDIVISIBLE AND UNINTERRUPTIBLE
AND INDESTRUCTIBLE.
AND YOU'RE IMAGINING THAT IN
THAT GREAT BLISS STATE YOU
BECOME FOR OTHERS A MENTOR AND
A DIVINE TEACHER, A MENTOR WHO
IS ALWAYS PRESENT TO ALL OTHERS
IN WHATEVER FORM THEY NEED.
THE VERSE GOES ON, FROM MY
LUMINOUS BODY--YOU IMAGINE YOUR
BODY NO LONGER FEELS LIKE A
BODY OF HEAVY FLESH AND BLOOD
OBSTRUCTED AND FILLED WITH
GRAVITY AND OLD AGE AND
SICKNESS AND LIMITATIONS AND
OBSTACLES.
FROM MY LUMINOUS BODY, LIGHT
RAYS SHINE ALL AROUND--BECAUSE
ONCE YOU BECOME AWARE OF THE
GREAT BLISS STATE THAT IS THE
NATURE OF REALITY, THEN YOUR
BODY ITSELF BECOMES A TEACHING.
ONCE YOU'VE BECOME, OUT OF YOUR
COMPASSIONATE WILL, OR FROM
AUTOMATICALLY WISHING TO
MANIFEST YOURSELF AS A MENTOR
DEITY, A DIVINE EDUCATOR WHO
CAN BE SHININGLY PRESENT TO
EVERYONE WHO NEEDS YOU--ONCE
YOU HAVE DONE THAT, YOUR BODY
BECOMES A LIGHT VEHICLE.
IT BECOMES A LENS THROUGH WHICH
THE LIGHT EMERGES FROM THE
NATURAL STATE TO ALL OTHER
BEINGS AND OPENS THEM AND
BLESSES THEM.
THE FIFTH LINE SAYS, MASSIVELY
BLESSING BEINGS AND THINGS.
YOU ARE BLESSING THEM BY
BRINGING THAT LIGHT, THE LIGHT
OF AWAKENING, TO THEM, CAUSING
THEM TO LOOK UP FROM THEIR
TREADMILL, FROM THE TUNNELS OF
DESIRE AND FRUSTRATION AND
AVERSION AND HATRED AND ANGER
AND CONFUSION THAT THEY ARE
CHARGING DOWN ENDLESSLY, ROUND
AND ROUND IN AN ENDLESS MAZE
AND CIRCLE.
THIS LIGHT OF REALITY, THE
LIGHT OF BLISS, SHINES ON THEM,
AND THEY LOOK UP FROM THEIR
PREOCCUPATION, FROM THEIR
OBSESSION, AND THEY FEEL
BLESSED BY THAT MOMENT OF
FREEDOM, BY A MOMENT OF LOOKING
UP IN WONDER, GLIMPSING THE
UNIVERSE PURE AND FABULOUS,
PERFECTION IN ITS EVERY
QUALITY.
YOU SEE THE UNIVERSE AS HELPING
THE BEINGS.
YOU SEE EVEN THE TUNNELS DOWN
WHICH THEY RUN AS RADIATING TO
THE BEINGS THE LIGHT OF
REALITY, THE LIGHT OF FREEDOM.
ACTUALLY, YOU BEGIN AT THIS
VERY END POINT.
YOU ARE INVITED TO
TASTE THE EXPERIENCE OF ALREADY
HAVING REACHED THE GOAL, JUST
AS THE BUDDHA INVITED EVERYONE
TO BECOME AS LIBERATED,
BLISSFUL, AND POWERFUL AS
HIMSELF.
HE DID NOT HOLD
HIMSELF ABOVE US."
[Ends reading, resumes regular speech]
THIS IS ANOTHER ONE--THE DALI
LAMA IS SO WONDERFUL.
I REMEMBER READING A BOOK OF
INTERVIEWS THAT A NICE LADY IN
CALIFORNIA DID ON VARIOUS WORLD
TEACHERS AND LEADERS.
HER INTERVIEW WITH HIS HOLINESS
ABOUT 20 YEARS AGO WAS ONE OF
THE LEAD INTERVIEWS IN THAT,
AND AT THE VERY END OF THE
INTERVIEW, SHE SAYS TO HIM "SO
HAVE YOU FINISHED THIS AND
THAT" AND--"YOUR HOLINESS, WHO
DO YOU CONSIDER ON THE PLANET
TO BE YOUR SPIRITUAL PEER?"
A LITTLE ELITIST WHEN YOU LEAN
BACK, AREN'T WE SPECIAL KIND OF
QUESTION.
AND THEN SHE SAID HE LOOKED
THOUGHTFUL FOR A WHILE AND
LOOKED DOWN, THOUGHTFUL,
THINKING AND THEN HE LOOKED UP
TO HER AND HE SAYS "EVERY BEING
IS MY PEER."
"EVERY BEING IS MY SPIRITUAL
PEER."
AND YOU FEEL IT, HOW HE REALLY
THOUGHT.
SHE WAS LIKE DIGGING FOR LIKE
THE POPE, THE SUFI SO AND SO,
THE MASSIVE BUGA-BOOGA,
WHATEVER, AND HE LOOKED DOWN
AND HE WENT IN HER DIRECTION,
HE WAS THINKING OF THIS ONE AND
THAT ONE AND THEN HE REALIZED
THAT SHE WAS SITTING THERE AND
THEN HE REALIZED HIS BODY GUARD
WAS OVER THERE AND THE
POLICEMAN OUTSIDE AND THE GUY
BEING THE SECRETARY--THEY ARE
ALL BEINGS.
THEY ALL HAVE LOVE AND
COMPASSION IN THEIR HEART.
THEY ALL SEEK HAPPINESS.
THEY REALLY DON'T WANT TO HURT
OTHER PEOPLE.
EVERY ONE OF THEM IS SPIRITUAL
EQUALLY HIS PEER.
ISN'T THAT GREAT?
HE WAS TOTALLY SINCERE.
[Reading]
"THIS IS ANOTHER ONE
OF THE GREATNESSES OF TIBETAN
[Reading]
"THIS IS ANOTHER ONE
OF THE GREATNESSES OF TIBETAN
BUDDHISM--TIBETAN BUDDHISM IS
NOT A NATIONAL THING, SOMETHING
MADE IN TIBET,
SOMETHING COMBINED WITH SOME
LOCAL TRADITIONS IN TIBET--
TIBETAN BUDDHISM IS BUDDHISM.
WHAT IS BUDDHISM?
IT IS THE RESPONSE OF AWAKENED
BEINGS TO UNAWAKENED BEINGS'
WISH TO BECOME AWAKENED.
THAT IS WHAT BUDDHISM IS.
WHEN YOU BECOME AWAKENED, YOU
REALIZE YOUR ONENESS WITH OTHER
BEINGS.
WHEN YOU REALIZE YOUR ONENESS
WITH THEM, THEIR SUFFERING
BECOMES YOUR SUFFERING, THEIR
DELUSION BECOMES YOUR DELUSION.
YOU FEEL IT, JUST AS THEY DO.
YOU DON'T IMAGINE HOW THEY'RE
FEELING IT, THE WAY WE NORMALLY
DO FROM WITHIN OUR SELF-
ENCLOSURE, YOU ACTUALLY FEEL
IT.
WHEN YOU FEEL IT, THEN, YOU
AUTOMATICALLY RESPOND TO HELP
ALLEVIATE IT."
[Ends reading, resumes regular speech
WHEN YOU PUT YOUR
HAND ON A HOT PLATE, YOU PULL
IT OFF AUTOMATICALLY.
YOU DON'T THINK I'VE GOT TO BE
COMPASSIONATE TO MY HAND AND
TAKE IT OFF THE FIRE.
YOU FEEL IT SO YOU PULL IT OFF.
[Reading]
"YOU RECOGNIZE, OF
COURSE, THAT THERE'S NOTHING
YOU CAN DO BY FORCE.
THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO BY
MAGIC.
THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO
AUTOMATICALLY TO RELIEVE BEINGS
OF THAT SUFFERING.
YOU CAN'T SORT OF BLISS THEM
OUT INSTANTANEOUSLY, OR GIVE
THEM SOME KIND OF BLISS BOMB
EXPLOSION.
NO MATTER HOW INTENSE YOUR OWN
FEELING IS, WITHIN YOURSELF, OF
JOY AND FREEDOM AND RELIEF AND
RELAXATION, YOU CAN'T
AUTOMATICALLY FORCE OTHER
PEOPLE INTO THAT MODE.
IN FACT, IF YOU APPROACH THEM
WITH THE VERY HIGH ENERGY OF
YOUR OWN BLISS, THEY WILL
PERCEIVE THAT AS A LITTLE BIT
OF PRESSURE, AND THEY WILL THE
CONSTRICT MORE, AND THEY WILL
FEEL MORE PRESSURE, AND THEY
WILL SUFFER MORE."
[Ends reading, resumes regular speech]
LIKE THE SMOTHERING
HUG.
"EW, DON'T HUG ME."
UNLESS SOMEBODY'S REALLY
UPTIGHT.
"OH YOU POOR DEAR."
"OH, DON'T COME NEAR ME."
[Reading]
YOU REALIZE THAT THE
ONLY WAY YOU YOURSELF AWAKENED
AND OPENED WAS TO REALIZE YOUR
SELFLESSNESS, TO REALIZE THAT
YOU ARE NOT AN ISOLATED,
SEPARATED, ABSOLUTE BEING, CUT
OFF FROM OTHER BEINGS, BUT THAT
YOU, YOURSELF, ARE NOTHING BUT
A NEXUS OF BLISS.
YOU COME TO REALIZE THAT YOU
ARE EMPTY OF ANY INTRINSIC
REALITY, SEPARATED IDENTITY,
FIXED, STATIC PERSONALITY, AND
BY BEING EMPTY OF THAT, YOU
BECOME COMPLETELY
INTERCONNECTED WITH ALL OTHER
BEINGS.
YOU DON'T BECOME NONEXISTENT,
AS SOME PEOPLE FEAR, BUT YOU
BECOME A NEXUS OF RELATIONALITY
WITH ALL OTHER BEINGS, WITH
NOTHING RESISTING THE DELICATE,
INTIMATE TENDRILS OF
RELATIONALITY.
ONCE YOU REALIZE THAT, YOU
REALIZE THAT THAT INFINITE
REALM AND WEB OF RELATIONALITY
IS BLISS, AND ONCE YOU REALIZE
THAT AS BLISS, YOU HAVE NOTHING
LEFT TO DO IN THE UNIVERSE.
YOUR OLD LIFE IS OVER, IN A
WAY, IF IN THAT LIFE YOU HAD
DEFINED YOURSELF AS ISOLATED
AND SEPARATED FROM THE WORLD,
OR STRUGGLING WITH THE WORLD TO
ACHIEVE A GOOD POSITION, TO
GAIN SOME SORT OF POWER OR
CONTROL OR SECURITY OR SAFETY,
OR EVEN IF YOU WERE TRYING TO
FLEE FROM THAT INTERCONNECTED
UNIVERSE.
INSTEAD OF THAT, YOU NOW BECOME
THE UNIVERSE.
THEN, NOTHING IS ACTUALLY WRONG
IN THAT UNIVERSE.
IT IS PERFECT.
BUT OTHERS DON'T SEE IT IN THAT
WAY.
SO, THE ONE THING THAT IS
LACKING IN THAT PERFECT
UNIVERSE IS THEIR SEEING IT AS
PERFECT, SO THAT EVERYONE WOULD
FEEL PERFECTLY AT EASE WITHIN
IT.
YOU MAY AUTOMATICALLY WISH TO
FREE THEM, WHICH COULD LEAD TO
FRUSTRATION IF, IN YOUR INITIAL
GLIMPSE OF THIS AWAKENING, YOU
LACKED THE COMPASSION, THE
SKILL IN LIBERATIVE TECHNIQUE,
THE ART TO REALLY OPEN TO
OTHERS THE WORLD AS YOU SEE IT,
TO ENABLE THEM TO SEE THEIR OWN
REALITY AS A REALITY OF BLISS."
[Ends reading, resumes regular speech]
IT GOES ON.
OH, A LITTLE MORE--
[Reading]
"ORIGINALLY, THE
BUDDHA FOUND THIS VISION UNDER
A TREE.
HE WENT THERE.
HE MET WITH THE GODS.
HE SPENT SIX--."
]Ends reading, resumes regular speech]
NEVER BELIEVE THAT
BUDDHISM IS ATHEISTIC.
BUDDHISM IS NOT ATHEISTIC.
BUDDHA TALKED TO GOD.
HE HAD A VERY FUNNY
CONVERSATION WITH HIM.
DID I EVER TELL YOU?
[Audience laughing]
I LOVED IT.
BEFORE HE WAS A BUDDHA, HE
THOUGHT--SHORT CUT, GOD CREATED
THE WORLD, HE'S OMNIPOTENT,
OMNISCIENT, THEY SAY.
A LITTLE SHORT CUT TO
ENLIGHTENMENT, GO ASK GOD HOW
IT WORKS.
HE DEVELOPED MEDITATIVE
ABILITY.
HE PROJECTED HIS ASTRAL BODY.
HE WENT UP INTO BRAHMA HEAVEN.
HE SAID HEY BRAHMA, YOU CREATED
THE WORLD, YOU'RE OMNIPOTENT,
OMNISCIENT.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
WHAT WAS EXISTING THERE BEFORE
YOU CREATED EARTH, AIR, FIRE,
WATER, SPACE AND CONSCIOUSNESS?
AND BRAHMA SAID TO HIM--BRAHMA
GOD, DO YOU KNOW HOW BUSY I AM?
I'M GOD.
I'VE GOTTA WORRY ABOUT--I DON'T
HAVE TIME--
HE GAVE A WIZARD OF OZ, LIKE HE
WAS CITING HIS CREDENTIALS--
BRUSHED HIM OFF.
BUT THEN HE WAS--GOD IS VERY
HIP, HE DIDN'T FEEL VERY GOOD.
BUDDHA SAID "EXCUSE ME GOD, I'M
GOING TO SPLIT" AND HE ASTRALLY
RETREATED FROM HEAVEN.
AND JUST LIKE THE WIZARD OF OZ,
GOD CIRCLED ROUND AND CAME TO
THE SORT OF ANTE ROOM DOOR OF
THE FRONT VESTIBULE OF HEAVEN
IF WE CAN MAKE SUCH A METAPHOR.
IT WASN'T TOTO PULLING ASIDE
THE CURTAIN BUT IT WAS GOD
SNEAKING AROUND, AND GOD SAID,
[whispering]
"HEY BUDDHA,
BUDDHA TO ME, GET OVER HERE."
AND HE THINKS GOD'S GOING TO DO
SOMETHING DIABOLICAL, "EXCUSE
ME GOD--."
"NO, NO, IT'S ALL RIGHT, COME
ON.
I CAN'T TELL A TRUTH SEEKER
LIKE YOU, I CAN'T BRUSH YOU OFF
LIKE THAT.
TRUTH TO TELL, I DON'T KNOW."
[Audience laughing]
"FACT IS, I DIDN'T CREATE IT.
I SHOWED UP HERE FIRST AND IT
WAS WONDERING WHAT THE HECK IS
GOING ON, AND I WAS FLOATING
HERE IN HEAVEN ALL ALONE AND
SOME STARS AND PLANETS--I DON'T
KNOW WHAT WAS HAPPENING AND
SUDDENLY, POP, POP, POP, POP,
POP, ALL THESE GODLINGS AND
GODETTES SHOWED UP.
AND WHEN THEY SAW ME THEY WENT
DADA!
SO THEN, I LOOKED
AT THEM AND SAID I'M NOT YOUR
DADA.
WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND HERE?
THEY LOOK FRIGHTENED, NO DADA.
THEN I SAID, OKAY, I'M DADA.
THEN THEY WENT DADA, DADA,
THEY'RE WORSHIPPING ME AND THEY
THINK I KNOW EVERYTHING AND
I'VE GOT EVERYTHING UNDER
CONTROL, AND THEY FEEL SECURE
WITH THAT SO I COULDN'T TELL
YOU IN FRONT OF THEM.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON
BECAUSE IF I DID THEY'D GET ALL
UPSET AND I'D HAVE A NEUROSIS
CLINIC HERE IN HEAVEN."

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues SO THEN HE SAYS TO
BUDDHA, BUT I'M TELLING YOU
BECAUSE YOU'RE A REAL TRUTH
SEEKER AND I KNOW SOONER OR
LATER IN YOUR INFINITE SEQUENCE
OF LIVES, YOU'RE GOING TO
REALIZE HOW THINGS WORK.
YOU'RE GOING TO KNOW
WHAT IT IS SO I WANT YOU TO DO
ME TWO FAVOURS.
ONE, COME HERE, BACK
HERE AND TELL ME HOW IT WORKS
AND TWO, TELL THOSE HUMAN
BEINGS THAT WHEN THINGS GO
WRONG FOR THEM, REALLY WRONG,
LIKE TSUNAMI, LOSS OF CHILD,
LOSS OF LOVED ONE, DEATH,
SICKNESS, IT'S NOT MY FAULT.
I DIDN'T HOIST IT UPON THEM.
WE'RE ALL IN IT TOGETHER, TELL
THEM THAT.
CAUSE I DO LIKE THE WORSHIP
VIBE--
[Audience laughing]
BUT SINCE THEY SUFFER SO MUCH,
THE I'M ANGRY AT GOD VIBE, I
DON'T LIKE THAT MAGNIFIED BY
BILLIONS AND TRILLIONS.
ANYWAYS, BUDDHA LIVED TO TELL
THIS TALE IN A THEISTIC
SOCIETY.
DON'T YOU THINK IT'S FUN?
LIGHT-HEARTED FRIENDLY TO GOD.
GOD BECOMES A MAJOR BACKER OF
BUDDHA ONCE HE'S ENLIGHTENED.
HE ARRANGES LIKE THE ROOM.
HE MAKES SURE THERE'S ENOUGH
CHAIRS.
HE REALLY DOES A JOB.
[Audience laughing]
HE DOES.
BRAHMA SHOWS UP ALL THE TIME SO
BUDDHISTS ARE NOT ATHEISTIC.
THEY JUST DON'T PROJECT THAT
SUPER BOSS, ULTIMATE AUTHORITY,
JOHN ASHCROFT QUALITY TO GOD.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues THEY DON'T.
AND THEREFORE, THEY DON'T
PROJECT IT TO JOHN ASHCROFT-
LIKE PEOPLE.
YOU DON'T HAVE ANY OF THOSE UP
HERE IN CANADA I KNOW.
WE'VE GOT ALL THE BAD GUYS DOWN
THERE IN THE LOWER 48.
[Laughter]
SO, ANYWAYS, HE TALKED TO THE
GODS, YES, YES, YES.
[Reading]" HE ASKED THEM THE
NATURE OF REALITY.
AFTER SOME QUESTIONING, THEY
REVEALED THAT THEY WEREN'T SURE
WHAT IT WAS, QUITE.
THEY ASKED THE BUDDHA TO GO
FIND OUT AND, IF HE FOUND OUT,
TO LET THEM KNOW.
HE INVESTIGATED AND EXPLORED
MORE AND MORE.
FINALLY, AFTER MUCH
INVESTIGATION AND EXPLORING, HE
DISCOVERED THE NATURE OF
REALITY, WHICH HE CALLED
SELFLESSNESS, WHICH HE CALLED
PROFOUND PEACE, WHICH HE CALLED
LUMINOSITY, RADIANCE,
TRANSPARENCY, WHICH HE CALLED
UNCREATED? REALITY AS IT IS IN
ITSELF.
AND WHEN THE BUDDHA DISCOVERED
THAT, HE SAID, LIKE AN ELIXIR
IS THIS REALITY WHICH I HAVE
FOUND, AN ELIXIR OF
IMMORTALITY.
AND HE WAS ECSTATIC AND JOYOUS.
AT FIRST, HE SAID, I DON'T
THINK I WILL SHOW ANYONE THIS
REALITY.
NO NEED TO BOTHER, BECAUSE THEY
WILL NOT UNDERSTAND IT.
SO, INSTEAD, I'M GOING TO STAY
IN THE FOREST AND NOT SPEAK TO
ANYONE.
HOWEVER, IN DOING THAT, HE WAS
ALREADY SPEAKING SOMETHING, AND
HE WAS ALREADY LEAVING A
TEACHING FOR BEINGS."
[Ends reading, resumes regular speech]
ANYWAY, THAT'S
ENOUGH READING I THINK.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?

[Cheers and Applause]

Now a black slate reads "What is suffering?"

Robert says
SUFFERING.
SUFFERING IN THE BUDDHIST VIEW.
WHAT IS SUFFERING IN THE
BUDDHIST VIEW.
THIS IS WHERE BUDDHA IS SO
MISUNDERSTOOD.
BECAUSE THE BUDDHA HAD THAT
AMAZING EXPERIENCE OF THE
REALITY BEING BLISS VOID
DIVISIBLE, THE FIRST THING HE
SAID TO HUMAN BEINGS AROUND HIM
WAS, IF YOU INSIST ON BEING
UNENLIGHTENED OR YOUR
UNENLIGHTENED STATE IS
AUTOMATICALLY SUFFERING.
MEANING, WHICH IS NOT
COMPLICATED OR ABSTRUSE, IT
MEANS THAT IF YOU THINK YOU'RE
IT, AND NOT AS SOME SORT OF
MORALISTICALLY BAD THING, JUST
THE WAY YOU PERCEIVE THE WORLD.
LIKE I DO, I THINK I'M IT.
MY CHILDREN TELL ME DIFFERENT--

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues MY WIFE TELLS ME
DIFFERENT, MY STUDENTS--BUT I
STILL THINK I'M IT.
AS LONG AS I THINK I'M IT AND
THE WHOLE WORLD DOESN'T AGREE
AND LIFE AND TIME AND SPACE AND
DEATH AND IMPERMANENCE DOESN'T
AGREE, THEN I'M GOING TO
SUFFER, THAT'S ALL.
AND EVEN WHEN I THINK
TEMPORARILY I'M HAPPY, THAT'S
GOING TO CHANGE.
THAT'S CALLED "THE SUFFERING OF
CHANGE."
SO REALLY THE FIRST TRUTH THAT
HE TOLD PEOPLE WAS THE
UNENLIGHTENED LIFE IS BOUND TO
BE FRUSTRATING AND SUFFERING.
SO IT'S THE NATURE OF BEING IN
A STRESSED OUT SITUATION OF YOU
VERSUS THE UNIVERSE WITH YOU
ALWAYS LOSING IN THE LONG RUN.
OKAY?
SO THAT'S SUFFERING.
BUT THAT IS THE NATURE OF THE
IGNORANT REALITY, THE
DELUSIONAL REALITY, AND
THEREFORE THAT SUFFERING NATURE
IS LESS REAL THAN THE REALITY
OF BLISS.
THAT'S WHY BUDDHISM IS THE GOOD
NEWS BECAUSE HE THEN SAYS, THE
SECOND NOBLE TRUTH IS THE CAUSE
OF THAT SUFFERING, WHICH I'VE
ALREADY TOLD YOU, THE SELF-
CENTRED PERCEPTION, THE
ABSOLUTISM ABOUT YOURSELF,
THINKING OF YOURSELF AS THE
ABSOLUTE THING, AND BY
ELIMINATING THAT CAUSE WITH
WISDOM, DELUSION BY WISDOM, YOU
ACHIEVE THE THIRD NOBLE TRUTH
WHICH IS BLISS, NIRVANA, WHICH
IS THE REAL ONE.
BUT THEN THAT TAKES TIME, THAT
TAKES A WHOLE EDUCATIONAL
CURRICULUM SO TO DO THAT YOU
HAVE THE EIGHT-FOLD PATH, THE
FOURTH NOBLE TRUTH WHICH IS THE
PATH OF CRITICAL WORLD VIEW,
REALISTIC AND CRITICAL WORLD
VIEW, REALISTIC AND CRITICAL
INTENTION, REALISTIC AND
CRITICAL ETHICS, ETCETERA,
REALISTIC AND CRITICAL MENTAL
CONCENTRATION.
EIGHT THINGS.
USUALLY I CAN GET TO FOUR OR
FIVE BEFORE I FORGET THEM.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues SO SUFFERING WHEN
THEY SAY IT'S ALL SUFFERING,
BUDDHA'S SITTING THERE SMILING.
WHY WOULD HE BE
SAYING IT'S ALL SUFFERING?
HE'S NOT SUFFERING.
THE DALI LAMA WHICH EH LIKES TO
SAY WHICH I FIND VERY
WONDERFUL--
HE SAYS, "IF THE
BUDDHA HADN'T REALIZED THE
BLISS OF NIRVANA AND ALSO
BEINGS HE WAS TALKING TO COULD
ATTAIN THAT THEMSELVES, FOR HIM
TO GO AND TELL THEM THAT THIS
IS SUFFERING HERE WOULD BE LIKE
SOMEONE GOING "NYA NYA" TO
SOMEONE WHO IS LOCKED IN PRISON
AND COULDN'T GET OUT.
IT WOULD JUST BE MEAN.
BUT THE REASON HE'S GOING--OH
LOCKED IN THERE IN YOUR PRISON
OF SELF-CENTREDNESS, YOU'RE
SUFFERING AND ANYTHING THAT YOU
GET IN THAT PRISON OF SELF-
CENTREDNESS RELATIVE TO BEING
ENLIGHTENED IS SUFFERING.
HE'S TELLING THEM THAT TO GIVE
THEM INSPIRATION TO GET OUT OF
THERE, TO OPEN UP THEIR
PERCEPTION AND CONQUER THEIR
SELF-CENTREDNESS AND REALIZE
THEIR ONENESS WITH OTHERS AND
REALIZE THEIR INTERRELATEDNESS
WITH OTHERS AND BECOME TRULY HAPPY.
THAT'S WHAT HE'S TRYING TO DO.

A black slate reads "What is emptiness?"

Robert says EMPTINESS IS NOT NOTHINGNESS.
THAT'S THE KEY POINT.
THIS IS EMPTINESS HERE.
IT'S NOT THAT EMPTINESS IS THE
DARK SPACE UNDERLYING HERE IN
THE MATERIALIST WORLD PICTURE
OF EMPTINESS BEING THE GROUND
OF THINGS, THE GROUND OF THINGS
BEING A VACUUM.
THIS WITH THE THINGS IN IT IS
EMPTINESS.
THIS, THE SERVICES OF ALL OF IT
IS EMPTINESS.
MEANING, WHAT IS IT EMPTY OF?
ALL OF THIS STUFF, OURSELVES,
OUR MINDS, OUR BODIES, OUR
BRAINS, OUR THOUGHTS, THE
BUILDINGS, THE PLANET, THE
UNIVERSE, ALL OF IT IS EMPTY OF
ANY ISOLATED, ABSOLUTE ESSENCE
OF ANY OF IT.
YOU FOLLOW ME?
IN OTHER WORDS, YOU AND I ARE
TOTALLY INTERCONNECTED BECAUSE
THERE IS NO ESSENTIAL YOU THAT
IS DISCONNECTED FROM EVERYTHING
AND THERE'S NO ESSENTIAL ME
THAT'S DISCONNECTED FROM
EVERYTHING.
AND BECAUSE YOU AND I ARE EMPTY
OF THOSE PRESUMED ESSENTIAL
DISCONNECTED SELVES OR
ESSENCES, WE ARE FULLY
INTERCONNECTED AND THAT FULL
INTERCONNECTION IS EMPTINESS.
YOU FOLLOW ME?
AND ALSO, AT FIRST WHEN YOU
THINK OF EMPTINESS, AS IF IT
WERE AN ABSENCE OF SOMETHING.
IT IS A NEGATION, AND IN THAT
SENSE, THE ABSENCE OF THE FALSE
ABSOLUTE SENSE THAT I THINK I
AM.
IT SEEMS LIKE A GAP OR A VOID
TO ME, A NEGATION, BUT THEN
WHEN I LOOK AT EMPTINESS
ITSELF, EMPTINESS IS EMPTY OF
ITSELF.
IF YOU THINK OF EMPTINESS AS A
SEPARATE THING, A STATE, IT'S
EMPTY OF ITSELF.
SO THERE'S NO STATE OF
EMPTINESS.
YOU FOLLOW ME?

[Indistinct female voice asking a question]

Robert continues WHAT?
IS THAT NOT WHAT?

[Indistinct female voice from audience]

Robert continues EMPTINESS—THE BODHI?

[Indistinct other female voice]

Robert continues COULD YOU REPEAT TO
ME, I'M SORRY.
CAN YOU REPEAT IT TO ME?
IT'S NOT WHAT?

[Indistinct female voice]

Robert continues IT'S NOT GROUNDED IN OUR BEING?
BELIEF?
BELIEFS ARE ALL EMPTY.
BELIEFS ARE ALL EMPTY THEREFORE
YOU CAN HOLD THEM.
EMPTINESS SIMPLY MEANS THERE IS
NO NONRELATIONAL ESSENCE TO
ANYTHING, INCLUDING EMPTINESS
ITSELF.
THAT'S WHY EVERYTHING IS
INTERCONNECTED AND TOTALLY
INTERWOVEN.
THAT'S WHAT EMPTINESS MEANS.
EMPTINESS MEANS IN A WAY, YOU
SEE, WE ARE A BINARY TYPE OF
BEINGS.
WE DO EXPERIENCE RELATIVITY AND
RELATIONALITY.
WE RELATE TO THINGS.
AND WE EXPERIENCE THAT BECAUSE
OF OUR SELF-CENTREDNESS AS
STRESSFUL.
AND THEREFORE AS BINARIES, WE
THINK OF A STATE BEYOND
RELATIONALITY AND WE CALL IT
ABSOLUTE.
AND WE MANUFACTURE THIS CONCEPT
OF AN ABSOLUTE.
IF WE'RE SPIRITUAL, WE WANT TO
GET AWAY FROM ALL THIS
STRESSFUL RELATIONS INTO AN
ABSOLUTE.
A SPIRITUAL DUALISM.
EVEN NIRVANA CAN BE CONCEIVED
LIKE THAT.
EMPTINESS CAN BE CONCEIVED LIKE
THAT.
WE'LL GET AWAY FROM ALL THIS
AND WE'LL GET TO EMPTINESS.
BUT WE NEVER WILL GET TO
EMPTINESS BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE
TO TRY TO GET TO EMPTINESS
BECAUSE THIS IS EMPTINESS.
MEANING THIS IS TOTALLY
INTERRELATIONAL.
IT'S THE ABSENCE OF ANY NON-
RELATIONAL ABSOLUTE.
THAT IS THE ABSOLUTE, THEREFORE
THE ABSOLUTE IS THIS RELATIVE.
THEREFORE WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE
OF THAT IS COMPASSIONATE
INTERCONNECTIVENESS TO THE
RELATIVE.
THIS IS WHAT IS CALLED NON-
DUALISM.
THIS IS WHY THEY SAY NIRVANA AND
Samsara ARE THE SAME.
TO A BUDDHA THEY ARE THE SAME.
TO A NON BUDDHA, THEY FEEL LIKE
THEY ARE STUCK IN samsara,
NIRVANA SEEMS LIKE SOME OTHER PLACE.
WHAT THEY DISCOVER
IS THAT WHEN THEY ARE FREE OF
THEIR SELF REIFIED WAY OF BEING
APART FROM EVERYTHING, OF
FEELING ISOLATED AND ALONE FROM
EVERYTHING AND THEY REALIZE
THEY ARE EVERYTHING THEN THEY
REALIZE THAT THAT EVERYTHING
WITH THEM IN IT AS IT IS
NIRVANA, BLISSFUL.
I KNOW IT SOUNDS
INCREDIBLE, BUT BASICALLY,
WHAT'S REALLY INCREDIBLE TO US
IS THAT WE COULD REALLY HAVE
SUCH A THING AS A FULL,
COMPLETE, RELIABLE BLISS AND
THAT WE REALLY ARE SUCH A
THING, THAT IS THE NATURE OF
LIFE, THAT ALL LIFE IS
INDIVISIBLE BLISS.
WE FIND THAT HARD TO IMAGINE
BECAUSE WE ARE CONSTANTLY TOLD
IT ISN'T SO.
WE'RE CONSTANTLY TOLD, YOU
CAN'T KNOW, YOU CAN'T BE HAPPY.
LAST TIME YOU FELT REALLY HAPPY
FOR A MINUTE, DIDN'T YOU FEEL GUILTY?

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues DIDN'T YOU LOOK
OVER YOUR SHOULDER TO SEE WHO
WAS GOING TO SMACK YOU OR STEP
ON YOU OR ARREST YOU?
EVEN IF YOUR FRIEND SHOWS UP AT
WORK SOMETIMES, "LA LA, TRA
LA," THEY'RE REALLY HAPPY, DO
YOU FEEL HAPPY FOR THEM?
YOU SAY, WHAT DID YOU TAKE LAST
NIGHT?
WHY ARE YOU COMING TO WORK LIKE
THIS?
ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE A MANIC
SWING AND FREAK OUT AND JUMP
OUT THE WINDOW?
[Audience laughing]
YOU THINK THERE'S SOMETHING
WRONG WITH THEM BECAUSE WE'RE
CONDITIONED THAT IT CAN'T HAPPEN.
THAT'S WHY BUDDHA WAS CLEVER
WHEN HE FIRST TAUGHT--NIRVANA
FREEDOM FROM SUFFERING.
HE DIDN'T EMPHASIZE THE BLISS
SIDE BECAUSE HE KNEW WE WOULD
ALL BE TOO SUSPICIOUS.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues BUT I DON'T CARE.
[Audience laughing]
BECAUSE I KNOW THAT WE ARE ALL
TOTALLY SUSPICIOUS ANYWAYS.
AND I DON'T CARE BECAUSE WE ARE
ALREADY TRAPPED I MODERN SECTOR
VIEW OF NEALISM.
EVEN WE HAVE A SPIRITUAL CLAIM
ABOUT OURSELVES OR ASPIRATION,
WE HAVE AN UNDERLYING REALITY
VIEW OF NEALISM.
MATERIALISM THAT IS.
NEALISM IS MATERIALISM IN THE
SENSE THAT THERE IS ONLY MATTER
AND ENERGY BUT AT THE BASE OF
THAT IS A VACUUM WHICH YOU
REVERT TO WHEN YOU DIE.
THAT'S NEALISM.
SO WE'RE ALREADY TRAPPED IN THE
WORST POSSIBLE BELIEF SYSTEM
THAT COULD BE.
SECOND ONLY TO THE FANATICAL
BELIEF IN SOME ABSOLUTE
OMNIPOTENT GOD THAT TELLS YOU
TO GO AND KILL SOME INFIDELS.
THOSE ARE EQUALLY DISEASED AND
DESTRUCTIVE.
AND BOTH MUST BE CURED FOR THIS
PLANET TO SURVIVE.

[Audience clapping]

Robert continues AND BUDDHISM IS NOT SUCH A BELIEF.
GOOD I'M GLAD WE AGREE.
BUDDHISM IS NOT SUCH A BELIEF
AND THEREFORE IT DOESN'T OPPOSE THEM.
IT DOESN'T WANT TO SUPPLANT ONE
ABSOLUTE THING OVER ANOTHER.
BUDDHISM WANTS EVERYONE TO BE
RELATIONAL.
BUDDHISM WANTS TO DIALOGUE
WITH--IF YOU WANT TO THINK
BUDDHISM AS A RELIGION THEN
DIALOGUE--BUDDHISM WANTS TO
GIVE ITSELF TO THE OTHER
RELIGIONS.
IT DOESN'T MEAN CHANGING THEM
TO BUDDHISM THOUGH IT DOES MEAN
THE MORE FANATICAL FOLLOWERS TO
GIVE US A BREAK.
AND GIVE THEMSELVES A BREAK AND
ESPECIALLY GIVE THE WOMEN A BREAK.

[Audience cheering and clapping]

A black slate reads "If we all get reborn, why is the earth's population growing?"

Robert says WHAT MAKES YOU THING
THIS IS THE ONLY PLANET WITH
HUMANOIDS ON IT?
AND SECOND OF ALL, WHERE DO YOU
THINK ALL THE BUGS WENT?

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues YOU DON'T ALWAYS
COME AS A HUMAN.
IT'S THE LUCKIEST WHO COME AS A
HUMAN BECAUSE THE HUMAN CAN
THINK ABOUT IT AND THEY CAN
REALIZE HOW WEIRD THEY ARE.
THE OTHER ANIMALS THEY KIND OF
JUST POUNCE AHEAD, JUST MUNCH
AND POUNCE OR BE MUNCHED.
MUNCH AND BE MUNCHED.
MUNCH OR BE MUNCHED.
BUT HUMANS, HEY I'M WEIRD I'M
GOING TO BE VEGETARIAN.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues I'M WEIRD, I'M GOING TO FAST TODAY.
OR I'M WEIRD, I'M GOING TO BE
BUDDHA.
THEY GET ALL THESE WEIRD IDEAS.
HUMANS DO.
SENSITIVE.
WIMPY.
WE'RE NOT HUMANS BECAUSE OF
BEING FIERCE.
THE MYTH OF MILITARISTIC
EVOLUTIONARY THEORY SAYS.
HUMANS, WE'RE KILLERS, FIERCE
HUNTERS.
BULL.
WE WERE HIDING IN THE CAVES
WHILE THE TIGERS WERE DOING--
BECAUSE WE RE HIDING IN THE
CAVE, WHAT DO YOU DO, WE
LEARNED TO TALK TO EACH OTHER.
BECAUSE WE WERE SO BORING
HIDING IN THE CAVE.
WHILE THE SABRE-TOOTH WAS OUT
THERE, WE WERE SCARED WITLESS.
SO WE WERE TALKING TO EACH
OTHER.
AND WE WERE HIDING IN THE CAVE
AND WE LEARNED TO THINK ABOUT
THINGS.
WE DEVELOPED LANGUAGE AND THEN
OF COURSE WE FIGURED OUT A
TIGER KILLING MACHINE,
NATURALLY
IF TALK LONG ENOUGH YOU FIGURE
SOMETHING OUT.
THAT'S NOT A PROBLEM BECAUSE
THERE ARE LIMITLESS BEINGS ON
OTHER PLANTS.
THE MINUTE YOU'RE IN THE
BETWEEN STATE LIKE YOU'RE A
MATRIX BEING, YOU CAN FLY
AROUND LIKE NEO--YOU DIDN'T SEE
THE MOVIE I CAN'T ELL.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues YOU CAN GO FROM
PLANET TO PLANET SPEED OF
THOUGHT, FASTER THAN LIGHT, AND
THERE'S NO BAR TO GOING HITHER
AND THITHER.
BUDDHIST LITERATURE IS SUPER
SCI-FI.
WHEN BUDDHIST TALKS, BEINGS
COME FROM OTHER BEINGS AND HANG
OUT.
THEY FLY ACROSS THE GALAXY IN
THEIR SUBTLE ENERGY BODY.
THAT'S NO PROBLEM, DON'T WORRY
ABOUT THE SIX BILLION, OKAY?
THERE'S PLENTY OF ROOM FOR
THEM.
THERE'LL BE MORE WHERE THEY
CAME FROM.

A black slate reads "Would Buddhists look at genocide as evolutionary?"

Robert says YES OF COURSE IT'S EVOLUTIONARY.
ACTUALLY BUDDHIST--KARMA WHICH
MEANS EVOLUTIONARY CAUSATION IS
OPERATIVE IN ALL RELATIONALITY.
EVERYTHING IS CAUSE AND EFFECT,
EFFECT AND CAUSE, CAUSE AND EFFECT.
ANYTHING BAD THAT HAPPENS TO
ANYONE IS A RESPONSE OF
SOMETHING BAD THAT THEY DID,
THEREFORE BLAMING THE VICTIM IS
THE BEST THING FOR THE VICTIM
TO DO TO CEASE BEING A VICTIM.
THIS IS A VERY SURPRISING
THING.
PEOPLE GET ALL UPSET.
"OH KARMA, OH, BLAMING THE
VICTIM.
THE LITTLE BABY WHO WAS RUN
OVER BY THE TRUCK.
HE MUST HAVE BEEN A TRUCK
DRIVER THAT RUN OVER A BABY
SOMETIME.
YOU SAY THAT HORRIBLE THING YOU
NASTY MAN?"
THAT'S TERRIBLE.
WE DON'T SAY HORRIBLE THINGS
LIKE THAT.
WE JUST SAY THAT GOD DID IT.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues GIVE ME A BREAK.
THE POINT IS THAT THE PERSON
WHO HAS DISASTER HAPPEN TO
THEM, IF THEY SAY OTHER PEOPLE
HAVE DONE BAD THINGS AND
THEY'RE DOING BAD THINGS TO ME
NOW AND THEY'RE GOING TO GET
BAD FROM THEM, I'M SO SORRY FOR
THEM.
I'M GOING TO TAKE THIS BAD
BECAUSE I GOT HERE TO BE HERE
SO I MUST HAVE DISHED IT OUT SO
I'M GOING TO USE THIS BAD TO
EXPIATE.
I'M GOING TO DIE HERE AND
EXPIATE.
I'M GOING TO BE REBORN SO I
DON'T HAVE TO BE KILLED LIKE
THIS AGAIN.
SO BLAMING YOURSELF RATHER THAN
BLAMING OTHERS GIVES YOU POWER
BECAUSE YOU CAN DO SOMETHING
ABOUT YOURSELF.
YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT
THEM.
SO KARMA--BUT ON THE OTHER
HAND, THE ATTITUDE OF THE
COMPASSIONATE BUDDHIST PERSON,
NEVER BLAMES THE OTHER PERSON
AS THE VICTIM.
THEY SAY, THEY DIDN'T DESERVE
IT, I DON'T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN
TO THEM.
MAYBE IT'S THEIR KARMA IN ONE
WAY.
MY KARMA IS I'M GOING TO
INTERFERE WITH THEM HAVING A
BAD TIME.
I'M GOING TO SHARE WHATEVER
GOOD I HAVE IN MY PAST WITH
THEM AND STOP THAT FROM
HAPPENING.
IT DOESN'T DIMINISH--IT DOESN'T
LET YOU SIT BACK AND PASSIVELY
SAY, OH YEAH LET THEM SUFFER
BECAUSE IT'S THEIR KARMA.
ALTHOUGH IT'S GOOD FOR THEM TO
THINK THAT WAY AND FOR YOU TO
THINK THAT WAY WHEN MISERY
HAPPENS TO YOU, IT'S NOT A GOOD
IDEA TO DISMISS THE SUFFERING
OF OTHERS.
IN FACT YOU WANT TO GO TO THE
SUFFERING OF OTHERS BECAUSE YOU
WANT TO PREVENT THE SUFFERING
OF OTHERS.
YOU WANT TO GO TO RWANDA--YOU
CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
OF COURSE THERE'S THIS THING
THE HOLOCAUST--THERE ARE MANY
HOLOCAUSTS OF COURSE.
THAT WAS A PARTICULARLY
HORRIBLE HOLOCAUST, THE ONE
THAT IS CALLED "THE" HOLOCAUST.
BUT EVERYBODY WHO WAS KILLED IN
THAT IS NOT DEAD.
IN THE BUDDHA'S VIEW--I
TRANSLATED A FEW YEARS THE SO-
CALLED TIBETAN BOOK OF THE
DEAD.
IT WAS AMONG THE MOST FUN
THINGS I EVER--I ACTUALLY
DIDN'T WANT TO DO IT BUT I DID
IT.
I WAS SORT OF MANOEUVRED INTO
BY KARMA.
AND WHEN I DID IT I WAS
DELIGHTED ACTUALLY.
WHAT A WONDERFUL THING TO DEAL
WITH DEATH.
BECAUSE FEAR OF DEATH IS WHAT
MAKES LIFE SO DREADFUL AND
THEREFORE FACING DEATH AND
REALIZING THAT IT'S NOTHING TO
BE AFRAID OF, IS WONDERFUL.
IT'S LIBERATING, TOTALLY.
AND THE GREAT THING ABOUT
TIBETANS IN PARTICULAR--OTHER
BUDDHIST CULTURES IN ASIA
DIDN'T QUITE GET TO THIS STAGE
ACTUALLY.
YOU KNOW HOW YOU CAN TELL THE
TIBETANS WERE AND AFTER THEM
THE MONGOLIANS THEMSELVES, THEY
BECAME REALLY BUDDHIFIED.
DO YOU KNOW HOW YOU CAN TELL?
THEY GAVE UP THE PRACTICE OF
ANCESTOR WORSHIP.
WHY WOULD YOU GIVE UP THE
PRACTICE OF ANCESTOR WORSHIP?
FOR EXAMPLE IN CHINA, WHAT IS
ANCESTOR WORSHIP?
WELL ANCESTOR WORSHIP IS, YOU
HAVE A LITTLE TEMPLE.
YOU HAVE A LITTLE TABLET IN IT
WITH GRANDPA'S NAME ON IT OR
GREAT-GRANDPA AND YOU GO IN
EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE AND YOU
GIVE HIM A COOKIE AND CUP OF
TEA.
[Audience laughing]
AND YOU SEND IT UP BY YOUR
RITUAL TO THE HAPPY HUNTING
GROUND WHERE GRANDPA IS UP
THERE IN THE ANCESTOR HUNTING
GROUND AND HE'S NOT HUNTING
BECAUSE HE'S GETTING A CUP OF
TEE FROM YOU, AND A COOKIE.
BUT TIBETANS, AND ALL PEOPLE
AND TRIBES, NATIONS DO THAT IN
THEIR OWN WAY.
IT INTERRELATES TO
THE QUALITY OF THEIR RACISM.
BECAUSE THEY THINK THAT THEY
AND GRANDPA ARE THE ONE TRUE
BEING.
AND THE OTHER PEOPLE, THE
HATFIELD GRANDPA, THAT'S THE
REAL ONE, AND THE McCOY GRANDPA
FORGET ABOUT HIM.
BUT THE TIBETANS
DON'T DO THAT?
WHY?
WHERE IS GRANDPA?
YOUR GRANDPA, HAVE A COOKIE AND
A CUP OF TEA.

[Audience laughing]

Robert continues GRANDPA GOT REBORN.
GRANDPA--I MEAN, I DON'T KNOW,
BUT YOU'RE ALL MY GRANDPAS.
I'VE BEEN YOUR GRANDPA TOO.
ALL OF YOU.
WE'VE HAD INFINITE PAST
ENTANGLEMENTS IN PREVIOUS
LIVES.
SO GRANDPA, GRANDMA, MOM AND
DAD, THEY'RE HERE.
AND LIKE, TO GO AROUND
[Moaning]
"MOM AND DAD GOT KILLED.
I'M GOING TO SIT HERE AND MOAN,
OFFER THEM A COOKIE AND BE
PISSED OF AT YOU."
ACTUALLY YOU ARE MOM AND DAD,
YOU'RE REBORN.
AND I'M LIKE BUG WITH YOU AND
PIOUSLY LOOKING UP AND THERE'S
GRANDPA UP THERE, UP THERE
BEING MY EXTENSION OF MY EGO.
MY ABSOLUTE IDENTITY OF MY
RACE, MY CLAN, MY TRIBE,
WHATEVER MY BLOOD, ALL THIS
NONSENSE OF BLOOD.
THERE'S NO JEWISH GENE, NO
GERMAN GENE, NO AMERICAN GENE.
COUPLE OF GUYS FROM THIS PART
OF SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA HAVE
REALLY DIFFERENT TEAMS.
BUT WE IN THE CHINESE, THE
JEWS, THE INDIANS, OUR TEAMS
ARE INDISTINGUISHABLE.
YOU SEE THE GENE RUNNING AROUND
ON A PLATE, YOU CAN'T SEE THE
DIFFERENCE.
[Audience laughing]
IT'S ALL ONE BLOOD.
BUNCH OF BOLOGNA.
BUNCH OF EGOTISM, RACISM.
SO, ALL THOSE THINGS ARE
DREADFUL AND TERRIBLE AND WE
SHOULD NEVER LET THEM HAPPEN
WHEN WE CAN.
WE SHOULD REMEMBER THEM SO AS
TO PREVENT PEOPLE, EVERYBODY
GOES NEVER AGAIN AND THEN THEY
LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN.
WHAT IS THIS BOMBING COUNTRIES?
DROPPING HUGE BOMBS ON CITIES
BECAUSE THERE'S ONE GUY WITH A
MOUSTACHE WE DON'T LIKE IN THE CITY.
SO WE BOMB THOUSANDS OF WOMEN
AND CHILDREN IN THE CITY.
WHAT IS THAT?
THAT'S A HOLOCAUST.
THAT'S DOING IT RIGHT NOW.
I GUESS SHOULDN'T GET ALL RILED
UP BECAUSE YOU GUYS ARE CANADIANS.
BUT THIS IS HOW I TALK IN AMERICA.

[Audience clapping and cheering]

Robert concludes
AND THEY MAKE ME MAD.

Watch: Robert Thurman on The Jewel Tree of Tibet