16. Thursday, May 31, 1973
Atman, No Problem, Love

KOBUN: This place Atman dwell like small city of Brahman in each people. It's called Hridaya and in this Hridaya there is a little space, Akasha, where the Brahman dwell. If you feel what this word meant, if you lose it, you lose yourself....


To look around is very important thing. Sometimes no problem is problem, like self-satisfaction. Actually surrounding is flood or fire. At that time, when you say, “I have no problem,” the whole thing is problem. In Lotus Sutra children are playing in burning house. That kind of state exist.


STUDENT: It concerns me sometimes; the Christians are always talking about love, Jesus, and love. But the Buddhists never talk about love. You talk about compassion and wisdom... and you talk about emptiness more than you do about compassion or wisdom. I'm a little confused.

KOBUN: That's big topic.... This word, “love,” is very delicate thing. Sometime we use this word instead of desire, “I desire you.” Instead of saying so, you say, “I love you.” This is ordinary, mixed up, usage....

Tonha or Snaha means that kind of love. It's like very strong flood. No discrimination. And compassion, like mitreya , has also the meaning of love. This sense of love is more like appreciation, effort toward equality, most highest sense. That is mitreya .

The most important sense of compassion relates with penetration of wisdom. The sphere wisdom reaches is the sphere where compassion is working. So without wisdom you don't have compassion. Anutara samyaksambodhi is the source of compassion. In this sense, tanha becomes wisdom, because tanha without ignorance is nothing but wisdom.

STUDENT: Usually the word, “love,” is very discriminative. It is a very strong, emotional thing, really tending toward desire. It's very difficult to see it in some realm that isn't a popular TV serial or magazine article. Usually, when I have a discussion, the word, “love,” is used in a rather small way, related to our own strong desires and so it appears to contrast very sharply with emptiness, which seems to have a more close relation to wisdom than to compassion. And, from that point of view, there is a very cold, unloving element, “Nobody cares.”

STUDENT: Another way of seeing this is a sense that we are making the word “love” happen with our senses. I think everyone has the experience of feeling deeply that the “I” is bringing insects to the flowers, and it's our own complex of senses that is bringing the bird songs as a background to this visual event that our “I” makes happen. And so we think that the self makes the experience of love occur. That's one experience.

The other seems more rare, even more profound – an indifference to what is happening. “My eye doesn't bring the bee to the flower, my presence doesn't cause the birds to sing, and whatever happens in the world happens without the agency of myself.” In the first instance, we say, “I am making love; love is happening through the offices of my being.” In the second instance, we are indifferent to how the individual elements in the world are gathered and disperse themselves, it seems to occur without any of the interest of the self or any of the mechanics of the elements of the self.

KOBUN: That's very interesting. I feel more sense of what the love of God is when you speak that way. The “Creator” has that sense. Like creation of the God is just like play, play of the God, and if He doesn't like it, break it, or make it collapse, and again create. All very freely done. It's very, very big.

We nowadays see love without any religious sense. It looks like a very confused concept, the idea of love, but it's all very cosmic. If I do not love and I say “I love,” I, myself, make a problem. And if I love, something or somebody, or some occasion, and I say I do not love, or act against my love, I make a problem. It's a very big thing. In Christian terms, to let things be is nothing but love, love of God. So agape is most important point to see what is the God of Love, or love of God. Like love between man and woman, man and job, individual and society, or individual toward nation. Love of the higher being, lower being, larger being, smaller being. In this sense love, agape , is the law itself. Kind mind has the sense of law. If you keep unkind mind it shows in unkind speech. If you keep kind mind and kind word, naturally it appears. Kind mind is difficult to have, but it is very important thing.

STUDENT: Kind mind would discriminate less...

KOBUN: This word has very interesting faces of what kindness is. No discrimination and very sharp discrimination exist. So it has a very great sense of gathering, and also the function of discrimination. (You say, “sort” or “kind”?)

STUDENT: What do you mean by “no discrimination, yet keen discrimination” of kind mind?

KOBUN: It's exactness, exactness.

STUDENT: You mean it sees things exactly? It's not fooling itself?

KOBUN: Um hmm. At that time kind mind appear. Kind mind has to have exact understanding of what your mind direct, what your energy direct. When you say, “this may be my kind,” that is exact communication. When you speak without kind mind, the word doesn't work as you wish. So kind mind is, in this sense, very keen discrimination.

STUDENT: When you say “love” is “law,” that means the same thing; love is in tune with what's really going on, and leaves room for it to go on.

KOBUN: So creation and destruction are both elements and functions of love.

STUDENT: Now explain about how destruction is the function of love.

KOBUN: Make yourself free from it. That is destruction. It doesn't mean the disappearance of love.

STUDENT: It means it can take different forms.

KOBUN: Um hmm.

STUDENT One of which might be destruction.

STUDENT Often I walk around “in a fog.” It is the opposite of seeing things clearly. It seems like a big border between seeing and communicating with things as they are...

KOBUN: It's like when two men are calling each other in the mountain. It's very misty. One is very strong, knows where he is; one doesn't know where he is. You say, “Here, I'm calling from this side; where are you?” You cannot tell which is straying. but actually this calling is a very important thing. The straying person who doesn't know where he is, is not straying at all. He makes a sound and the other makes a sound. It's the same searching for certainty, the certainty of kindness. So in communication there is effort from both sides....

« back to preview