Happy Memorial Day. Is that one of the "happy" ones? (laughter) Well I was thinking what to speak on today. I was looking at the name of the holiday, it's "Memorial Day," and I immediately started thinking of mindfulness. Some people may actually not see the connection, but we'll get to it. (laughter)
Yesterday we had a wonderful one-day ordination ceremony here and I think there were what, about 18, 20 of us (audience member responds, "Eighteen"), Eighteen? We took eight monastic vows for one day. It's a very traditional practice. It's a wonderful practice to let us bring a little bit of peace and clarity to the mind. I think as the day progressed and we engaged in the different sessions of recitation and meditation practice, everybody was spontaneously going deeper and easier into meditation. It's because we lead such agitated lives that the moment we sit to meditate we spend most of the time undoing the agitation, rather than cultivating peace. So if we set aside some days for a more intense, more intensive practice, we notice immediately the benefits. I think that's what most of the participants yesterday noticed the most, right? The ease of going into meditation — the second and the third session; the evening session at home; this morning's session, so I actually invite you to try that some time. We will be doing more of those one-day ordinations here in the future I trust.
But what, why speak of mindfulness on Memorial Day? Well it's not because it's trendy, although certainly mindfulness has become very trendy. In psychology, everything is mindfulness these days. There's mindful shopping and all sorts of things. But because mindfulness is actually a mistranslation. The term that we translate as mindfulness in English is originally in Sanskrit smrti or in Pali its sati, right? And both of them both in Sanskrit and in Pali, they mean recollection, as in remembering. Right? So we've taken, in our reductionistic approach to Buddhism in the West, which is mostly like a psychology of feeling good. We've turned this very important concept — it's one of the Eightfold Noble Path, Right Recollection — we've turned it into a merely a concept of being aware of the present moment. Actually there are people who have made a career, now, of telling you to, like, chew raisins very slowly. I'm not making this up. Some of you may actually know what I'm talking about. (someone in the crowd asks, "Do what slowly?") Chew raisins very slowly. (participant responds "Oh," in acknowledgement) And although, I mean, I have nothing against chewing very slowly. It can actually be very healthy. But it has very little to do with Buddhism. It has very little to do with the Dharma. It has very little to do with spiritual cultivation.
Being attentive to the present moment certainly is a wonderful thing to do and we should all do it, but smrti, Right Recollection actually means to recollect the instructions, the dharma that we have heard, that we have contemplated, that we have received. Let me give you an example, we were walking, right? We were doing walking meditation before and in some people's reductionistic understanding of mindfulness that would mean you just walk. Don't do anything else, just walk. Well, frankly, even that very limited and very protected environment in which we were doing that, that would not work, right? If you're just walking and you don't remember to turn when you have to turn, you'd walk into a wall, right? If you don't remember to stop before you step on your neighbor in front, that's a little bit of an accident. Right? Or if you're driving — what about if you just drove? Right? You didn't pay attention to the signs, you didn't pay attention to the other drivers, didn't pay attention to anything, didn't remember the laws, didn't remember where you were going? Right? That would not be particularly helpful.
So smrti, the true mindfulness, implies not only awareness of the present moment — that's certainly a component of it — but it implies that we are also aware of our intention of our purpose. In fact, in one of the earliest sutras or teachings — direct teachings — of the Buddha Sakyamuni, he spoke of Ten Recollections. Ten Mindfulnesses and very often we don't hear anything about that these days. And I'm actually going to read what the ten are. The first, which we barely ever hear about is Recollection of the Buddha. The second one is Recollection of the Dharma. The third one is Recollection of the Sangha. The fourth, Recollection of giving. And that — whenever you see that in a Buddhist text — it means the recollection of the Ten Transcendent Perfections, starting with the Perfection of Giving. There are ten Transcendent Perfections. The fifth one is Recollection of Virtue, meaning of morality of the observance of precepts. The sixth is Recollection of Stopping and Resting, which means of stopping the agitation of our lives and resting in the peace and clarity of the luminous mind. The seventh is Recollection of Discipline. It means that we recollect the instructions that we have received from our teachers and actually apply them. The eighth is Recollection of Breathing. That one actually we get to hear about very often. It is very important, but Recollection of Breathing also has a meaning. Breathing is intimately associated with emotion. You for example that if you're scared, what's the first thing that happens? (Breathes in sharply) You catch your breath. Right? If you're angry, your breath becomes fast and strong. Every single emotional change is accompanied by a corresponding change in breathing. Recollection of breathing means that you're attentive to the arising of afflicted emotions that are immediately reflected in your breath. Then there is Recollection of the Body. This is also — it has a particular meaning — what you do with your body. What are your deeds. Where you are. Right? Where you're taking your body. What you're doing with it. And finally, and not least importantly, Recollection of Death. Recollection that we are right now possessors of a precious human birth. And that that human birth is extremely fragile and that — to be very frank — no one gets out of here alive. Right? No one.
So, this recollection or this set of recollections actually are meant to help us cultivate spirituality, cultivate the Dharma constantly. And because in the West we are a little bit allergic to anything that sounds even remotely religious, in fact, let's be honest, how many of you had heard of Mindfulness of the Buddha, Mindfulness of the Dharma, Mindfulness of the Sangha? The first three of the Mindfulnesses. Two people, right? And most of you have heard of mindfulness before, but probably not of these. Because we don't understand certain things, we tend to think that they are sectarian concerns. Mindfulness of the Buddha, Recollection of the Buddha does not refer to remembering the historical Buddha. Does not refer to being — thinking of, "Oh the Buddha was born the Buddha had a mother and his mother was Maya and et cetera, et cetera." That's not what Mindfulness, Recollection of the Buddha means. Recollection of the Buddha means that you constantly remember your own Buddha nature, that you constantly remember your natural perfection. And when you remember that natural perfection, you're also sometimes painfully aware that you're not fully manifesting your Buddha nature. Would we agree that we're not always shining.
So from that recollection of what we truly are but are not manifesting then comes recollection of the Dharma. The Dharma is the path. The Dharma is the skillful means that we utilize to recover and fully manifest our own Buddha nature, our own illumined nature and when we recall, when we are mindful of the Dharma, then we recall the Sangha. The Sangha, the noble assembly, the community of practitioners, because without each other it is very very easy to continue doing what we're doing. Right? Which is going headlong like a moth into the flame. Right? Following our desires. Following our aversions. Following our indifferences, our jealousy, our pride and getting lost in all the drama, right? Daytime drama has nothing on us (laughter), right? All the complications whatever daytime might — I haven't watched a television show in over forty years, but I'm sure that Days of Our Lives is still going strong. (laughter) Hasn't it been around forever? Is it still going? (someone in the crown responds, "I don't know.") Anyhow, you know, "As the sands flows so are the days of our lives," or whatever it was. They have nothing on us, right? We think, "Oh, such convoluted plots." Look at our lives! Can anything be more convoluted than our lives. We have so many preoccupations. We have so many apparent goals and objectives, so many concerns. We are constantly judging other people, we're — not only their actions, we're judging their motivations, which takes some skill, wouldn't you say? (laughs) You know, not only do we judge, "Oh, that was wrong," but we say, "It was done with evil intent!" (laughter) "You did it to hurt me."
We are constantly in the throes of drama. Right? So we need each other, we need the Sangha to help us maintain a certain level of sanity and to help us reflect the craziness, right? We need mirrors. The only way you know when you leave home whether you're looking like a mess or not is if you look in the mirror. Well, the mirror for our spiritual life is the Sangha — the community of practitioners. When we meet them and we see them and particularly if we meet them often, not only do we get inspiration, but we have the opportunity to check ourselves if we think, you know, "Oh, I was meditating and I had a wonderful out of body experience," and then you go and you meet your Sangha sisters and brothers and you rip their heads off, because they didn't greet you with sufficient enthusiasm. Uh, probably your meditation is not so good as you thought. Right? So we need these recollections and we actually need them is this order. The Buddha did not speak randomly. Right?
So then we need — once we have recollected the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, right? - the teacher, the teaching and the community of practitioners, right? — then we actually have to start putting the teachings into practice and this is where the Ten Perfections come in. Beginning with the Perfection of Giving. You've heard of the Ten Perfections. The paramitas? Very often we speak of only of six, because they are the most accessible, but there's actually ten of them. And the one that the Buddha recommended we start by is the Perfection of Giving. Right? By the Perfection of Giving, not only do we help others, but also we help ourselves to become less attached to our bodies, to our desires, to our possessions, to our ideas, to our opinions. And the Perfection of Giving ultimately is not about being very generous, quantitatively. The "perfection" part of the Transcendent Perfections comes when we are of from what is technically called the Three Spheres. What is that? Preoccupation with the giver, preoccupation with the giving and preoccupation with the recipient of the gift. Because some people are very generous if they think the recipient is worthy. Right? Some people are very generous if the giving will be amply publicized. (laughs) Right? Some people are very generous if they feel they have enough. Which is being subjected to the Three Spheres. My teacher used to say, if you give money to a hospital and they put your name on the wall, that's all you get. That's it. That's all the merit you get is your name on the wall. Right? If we give with the intention of solidifying our own self-view or gaining the admiration of others —it's not bad, it's better than being a miser, but that's as far as it goes. You've made a transaction and that's — you paid for something and you got it. It's the same — you could as well, you know, buy a page in the — what's the paper here, the… (someone responds, "Dallas Morning News") the Dallas Morning News, it's basically the same thing — and put your name on it and you got it. It's exactly the same thing.
So we — we need to reach the perfection and of course there are other paramitas. The Paramitas, the Transcendent Perfections include not only giving but giving is always mentioned first, because it's the most accessible for us and actually it is the root of all the other perfections. If you're not willing — if we're not willing to share what we have, then there is no sense in considering the other Transcendent Perfections —Effort, Concentration, Discernment, right? I know then better if I follow our own order (making mudras or hand gestures as he recalls each), Effort, Concentration, Discernment, Generosity, Aspiration, Morality, Wisdom, Patience, Skillful Means and Power are the others. I had to follow my mudras or I lose the words in English. All of these require that we not only get good at the specific activity, but that we do it by beginning to discard preoccupation with ourselves as the doer, with the act itself and with the recipient of the act or the object of the act. Right? That is where perfection comes in.
Then comes the Recollection of Virtue. And virtue and merit means that we are, we become very carefully aware of the consequences of our actions.
All actions, all causes have consequences. And the causes and effects share, at the very least, three particular qualities, right? The cause and effect are of the same quality. The cause and effect are of the same magnitude. And the cause and effect belong to the same being. Let me give you an example. I have a little cup of water here. If I drop some water on the floor, will the floor become wet or will it become drier? (crowd responds, "Wet") The cause and the effect share the same quality, right? The water is wet. I pour the water on the dry floor. The floor becomes wet, not dry. Same quality. I can drop a few drops of water — right? — and it will get slightly wet. And I can throw the whole cup of water on the floor — right? — and it becomes wetter. So there is a question of magnitude also, right? So the stronger the action, the stronger the result. And if I spill the water on the floor — right? — I can't blame, I can't ask Bobbie to take the blame for it. Right? It's my act. I did it. The result is mine. Now let's say there could be a fire starting. I could put it out with my cup. I would get the merit of stopping the fire. But if I do it and somebody falls, it's my fault that somebody slipped and fell.
So these three things are very important and we need to develop very very clear awareness that our acts produce effects of the same quality, of the same magnitude and that they belong to us. We cannot go around blaming other people. We never really go around giving the merit to anybody else. Have you noticed that? Even as children, when you praise a child they never say, "I didn't do it, it was my brother." No, but when you catch them doing something wrong, immediately, "Oh, it wasn't me. It was the other one." (laughter) We love to do that, right? We pass the blame, not the merit. So we need to start taking full responsibility. Taking full responsibility is actually the door of liberation. Unless you take responsibility for your actions - that means both for the act and for the effect — you cannot be free. Think about it. If things happen to you, if you are a victim of others, of random circumstances, then, please forgive me, but find a very tall building and jump now, because nothing good can come from that. I mean you will be at the mercy of others and circumstances all your life. If you take responsibility now, you can start putting good causes in the continuum of your experience and good causes will produce what? Effects of the same quality, the same magnitude and they will be yours. No one can take that away from you.
You can't control what other people do. Believe me, we try, but you can't do it. It doesn't work. But you have a measure of control over what you do and the more peace and clarity you develop, the greater control you have over what you do. Because what stops us from acting as we know we should is only two things — wrong views and afflicted emotions. That's it. You don't have any other problems. Believe me. Don't have any other problems, those are the only two. They're good enough, but there's only two of them. Right? We don't see things as they are and we get carried away by our emotions. Let's be honest here. Have you ever said something that as you heard yourself saying it you knew it was the wrong thing to say. If you knew it was the wrong thing to say and you were saying it, why did you say it? Because your afflicted emotions carried you away and you knew better, but you still did it. And that's not only with speech. I mean, have you caught yourself doing something, maybe just doing it and knowing, "Oh, I shouldn't be doing this. I shouldn't be doing this. I shouldn't be doing this," and there you go.
We allow ourselves to be ruled and actually even overruled by our afflicted emotions all the time. And mindfulness, true mindfulness, smrti, means that we remember our own Buddha Nature, we remember the Dharma, the spiritual cultivation, we remember the noble assembly that is here to support us and we act according to the instruction that we have received and accepted. And we also — just as we need to know how to act and take full responsibility for our karma — we also have to learn, recollect when to stop, when to stop and rest. An agitated mind is incapable of clarity. You probably have seen those snow globes that they sell at souvenir stands, right? If you go to New York it will have the Statue of Liberty inside. You go to Paris it will be the Eiffel Tower. Do you know what I'm talking about? The little snow globes, right? Here they have some with Big Tex, right? And what happens when you shake them? All the this like little flecks of fake snow cover the central image, right? You can't see it clearly. But if you want to see the little Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty, you don't have to go in with pincers and remove the individual little flecks, right? What do you do? You set it down and spontaneously all the snow will go the bottom and you will able to see clearly. That is what meditation is, right?
Meditation is not something to gain experiences, higher experiences. On the contrary, meditation only is done because we need to stop the agitation and from this comes clarity. It's not a different thing. Clarity is not a different thing from peace, clarity is the outcome of peace. Have you ever been looking for something and you were in such a hurry — right? — that you have it in your hand, but you're still looking? Ever have that? I've done that with my glasses. "Where are they?" (laughter) It's not that you've become insensitive or that your senses are not functional. You may actually be staring at the thing and not realize this is what I'm looking for. You're so agitated that your perceptions do not register. If you lack peace, by necessity you lack clarity. So by cultivating peace, tranquility, you immediately increase your clarity. There is a direct relationship. There's nothing that you have to do. The nature of your mind is luminous. It's like the keys in your hand that you're looking for. As long as you're agitated, you know, you're only going to grab harder and not even notice that you have them there. But if you calm down, you'll say, "Oh! Here they are." Right? The answer was there. The nature of the mind is empty and luminous.
A lot of people think meditation means emptying the mind. You don't have to empty the mind, the mind is already empty. That's why you have some many thoughts. If the mind were a solid block, where would the thoughts be? Like I ask people — a lot of people think, "Well, you know, optimists think the glass is half full and pessimists thing the glass is half empty." If it's a glass, it's always empty. That's what makes it a glass. Think about it. Right? If not, it would be a solid cylinder. (laughter) Right? If it's a glass, it's always empty. It may have water in it or it may not have water in it. But it is always empty and that's what makes it a glass. The mind is always empty, that's why it is the mind. Right? Everything can appear in it because it is empty. Why is this room useful for us? If it were a solid block of cement, we couldn't meet in here. Right? We are here, because it's empty. Even when we are here, it is empty, it is — its nature is to be empty. If you had eighty people here, like we did last Sunday, it's still empty. Do you catch what I'm trying to say? It's nature is empty. It doesn't matter what you put inside. Its — its configuration — that's what it is. It's an empty space. All the rooms in your home, they're only useful because they're empty. You can have them stuffed to the gills, but only stuff them to the gills because they are empty. Does that make sense? The same way — your mind is always empty. In fact the more thoughts you have, the more proof you have that your mind is empty and not only is it empty, it is luminous. And you know why we say it's luminous? Because are you or are you not aware of your thoughts? If you have the thoughts, but never realize that you have the thoughts — right? — that's another question. But you are aware of the fact that you have thoughts. In other words, you see them. The nature of your mind is already empty and luminous, you don't have to do anything with it, just like that snow globe - just set it down. Set it down and spontaneously there will be peace and there will be clarity.
So going on with the recollections, that is the Recollection of Stopping and Resting. Right? Resting - Stopping means stopping the agitation, gaining peace. Resting means resting in the luminosity of the mind.
The next one is Mindfulness of Discipline. Discipline has a very specific meaning in Buddhism. It means to observe the precepts and commitments that we undertake. Now in Buddhism everything is voluntary. Everything is voluntary. But once you make a commitment voluntarily, you are responsible to keep that commitment. Now, Buddhism is extremely flexible and you can actually give back your commitments because it's better to give them back than to break them. For example, if I wanted to stop being a monk I only need to say in front of an adult who will understand what I am saying, "I give up my vows." They make it that easy because it's preferable to give up a commitment than to break it. But once we make a commitment, we should keep it. And that is — the Recollection of Discipline means remember the commitment. If you take precepts, remember your precepts — not when it's convenient, not during the holidays —right? — but throughout. We shouldn't take holidays from spiritual cultivation. That makes them "unholy-days," right? (laughter) And it's not — you don't have to be sour, you know. I've never met happier people than my fellow monks and nuns, right? And in our tradition we observe the full Vinaya. That means all monks have two hundred and sixty-five vows and all nuns have three-hundred and some, right? But they're happy. It doesn't mean you have to be sad all the time. In fact, you know, if you're meditating and you're (grimaces, crowd laughs) — you know, not such a good image. Have you seen all the images of the Buddha? He's smiling — or should be. If not, they're not very good. We need to smile, right? Smiling is a natural state of sentient beings — a natural state of sentient beings.
So that is the Recollection of Discipline. Then comes Recollection of Breathing. And I know that there — breathing can be a meditation technique and it is wonderful, but again it means that you are constantly aware that your emotions will be reflected in your breath. And this is the way to catch afflicted emotions. Your breath will change before you notice you notice a change in your mood. If you are mindful of your breath, you will catch afflicted emotions before they take hold because once they take hold, the best thing you can do is interrupt. (laughter) Right? If you catch them at the moment when they are arising, you can actually allow them to self-liberate, you go, like "Oh! Goodbye" (gestures). Right? You don't have to engage with them. But if you don't catch them in time, you just — then you have to work with them, which is never as nice or as easy. So that is the Recollection of the Breath.
Then comes Recollection of the Body. And this does not mean that you do, like, "Oh! This is the hand. I feel the hand now. No I feel the foot." No. Recollection of the Body means that — and I know most people don't like this but — pain is the awareness of the truth of the body. Recollection of the Body, in Buddhist terms, means that you are aware that the body, the form aggregate, is the source and the vehicle of suffering. We don't have anything against the body. The body should be kept as healthy as possible, but we should not have the mistaken idea that "this" (gestures) is me and that this is more important than anything else — right?" - or that "this" body is more important than "this" body or "this" body (gesturing). It's just "a" body. It is a form. It is nothing but a form. It's not "my" body. It's not the center of the universe and it is a vehicle — for what? — for cultivating the Dharma. It is a vehicle for cultivating your spirituality. Like the bumper-sticker says, like, "We're not material beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a material experience." We have to get — that's what Recollection of the Body means, put it in its place. Put it in its place. A lot of people allow their bodies to run their lives. "Oh, but I don't want to. I don't want to get up or I don't want to stop eating or I want stop eating, or I don't want to do this…." The body runs peoples' lives. Right? "And while it needs to look good…," people do incredible things, I mean look at the cosmetic surgery industry. Now, what's the latest one? Because of Michelle Obama, now every — you know, thousands of women are doing cosmetic surgery on their upper arms. (someone in the crowd says, "the wings") Yes, it's become the thing. Right? The thing. Um, really? And, you know, do you think nobody notices, you know, when you have, like, you know — does anyone really think that you're going to turn back the clock? No. Recollection of the Body means know its limitations. Know what it's good for. It's good for certain things. And know what it's not good for. And know that it is not the center of the universe.
And the tenth recollection recommended by the Buddha is Mindfulness of Death or Recollection of Death. If you were going — I often ask people, I was asking the Sangha this morning — if you knew, for example, that you would be in Paris next week, right?, do you think that you'd make sure that you have the proper passport, visa if you need one? That you knew where you're going to stay? What you're going to do there? Perhaps what you're going to visit? Who you're going to visit? Wouldn't you prepare for a trip? Would that be reasonable? I mean it doesn't have to be Paris, it could be going to Arkansas. (laughter) Right? You would prepare. Even for a short trip, you'd prepare. But there's a trip that we're all going to take and nobody wants to even talk about it. Nobody. We have this idea now, you know, I've heard this, "Oh, she's too young to know about death. Don't mention that, you know, that person is…." Like if we hide death for enough time from children, they'll believe that they're immortal? (crowd murmurs in agreement). I'm sorry but the cemeteries are full of children. Everybody who's ever lived in the past is dead. Everybody who's alive now will be dead. Everybody who will be born after today will die. This is a certainty. It's actually much more certain than taxes. (laughter) Some people get to avoid taxes, but nobody has ever avoided death. So why don't we think about it? Why don't we make plans, like we would to go to Oklahoma or Arkansas or even Houston, right? We'd make plans. We'd like to know which way we're going, when we're going, how we're gonna get there, do we need any special preparations, what are wages there? Nobody wants to talk about that. And it is perhaps the only certainty we have. Right?
The Buddha spoke that there are four things that are not avoidable for human beings: birth, disease, old age and death. And of course we use "old age," but the term is "aging." You know, even babies get old, right? Especially to their mothers — they get old really soon — right? — when they start screaming at night. Um, and the only way to avoid really getting old is to die young. Hmm, not a prospect that most of us are looking forward to, right? So this is inevitable. Why are we procrastinating about dealing with it? Why are we not recollecting that this precious human life that we have — and it is indeed precious, because we have the freedom and the leisure and the opportunity and the capacity to cultivate our spirituality — we have the capacity to make this our last spin on the cycle of birth and death. All of us. Don't ever fall for that thing that, "You need to spend eons cultivating spirituality before you can get out of here." You can get out of here in this lifetime. That is the promise of the mantrayana. One life. One body. If you take it seriously, if you really take refuge, if you really practice that's all it takes — one life, one body and you're through with suffering forever. But we can't pretend that this body's going to last forever, because when we do that, what do we do? We postpone our cultivation. "Not now, I'll do that when I'm older." How many people have said that in the past and they never got to be older? I don't want to, you know, bum you out, but do we — any of us — know that this breath that we have inside our lungs is not the last one? I mean, do we know for certain? People keel over all the time. Hey we live in Texas, it's — what? — we're in May, right? (someone responds, "yes") There's already one thousand, one hundred and two deaths on Texas highways. I think we're in for a new record. We broke one last year. We're in for a new one this year. Right? But yet we think that we're not going to die. And when people die, what do we do? "Oh, no! They don't die at home, they die in a hospital or they die in hospice." And after they're dead do we bring them home? No, they go to the funeral parlor and everything is, like, let's pretend it didn't happen. Right? (someone asks, "Is it that way where you grew up?") No. We used do the velorio, the wake, we used to do it in the home. For three days. Um, so you actually got to see dead people, even as a child. I mean that you weren't, you know, sent somewhere else. You were there and it's part of — it's an important part of life. (crowd agrees) A very important part of life. And we were aware — right? — that's what we did too, you would, you know, you would go in and you would bathe your relative who died and you would pick out, you know, their best outfit and you would put it on and you know, whatever their religion was, I remember, you know, we used to put the rosary, because, you know, we were Catholic, we put the rosary in the hand and you actually had to struggle with the fingers. (some laughter and surprise from the crowd) But it made it real. It made it very real. Now we have professionals that do that do the makeup. Actually, I've seen dead people dead that I couldn't recognize. I knew them all my life and then I go to see them and it's like, "Am I in the right place? This is not that person." (laughter) "Look at how rosy." I means some of them I, they even — I don't know how they do it, but, you know, they've been moved and the wrinkles on the… it's like, "What is this? Who's there? Who's here?" (laughter) And you actually get to experience the fulfillment of the relationship, right? A relationship is not only — you know how many people have unfinished business with their dead relatives and loved ones because they did not have that end. The end was completely artificial. Right? It was in somebody else's hands. It never happened and then you never, you never have what they call here closure, right? (murmurs of agreement) You don't because you didn't. The truth is you did not. Somebody else did it. Somebody else took over.
So this is the tenth and a very important of the Recollection of if you want to use the trendy word, the Mindfulnesses that the Buddha recommended. Again: Recollection of the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha, of the Transcendent Perfections, of Virtue, of Stopping and Resting the Mind, of Discipline, of Breathing to be aware of your emotions, of the Body and Recollection of Death. That is the practice of Mindfulness — to be aware that we are here with a particular purpose and that every act —every single act we do — every thought, every word, every deed — brings us either closer or farther away from the goal to manifest perfectly our Buddha nature which is already here. It's already perfect. It's already complete. We just need to remove two little veils: wrong views, afflicted emotions. That's it. It's nothing. (laughter) It really is. Honestly, it's really nothing because they're not part of you. They are incidental. They're adventitious. They are ultimately false. They are unreal. They are mistakes. They are like the snake that we see in the coiled rope. Right? It never existed. You may have gotten very scared. You may have screamed. You may have jumped. You may have run away, but there was never a snake. It was always a rope. So in the same way, you are always what you truly are — Buddha. Full. Complete. Everything else is just a misunderstanding. You don't have anything new to build, anything to recover, it's already there. Just let it be what it truly is.