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So, good evening again. I feel a little embarrassed to be sitting here talking this evening and I'm very grateful to Tia for letting me do it. And, in fact, some of the subject of my talk is part of why I feel a little embarrassed sitting here talking this evening and that is that it's been a long time since I've been here on a Wednesday night and that is a part of why this is my way-seeking mind in reverse talk or how I came to Zen Center, stayed, lived here and I'm now going to live someplace else or five dogs don't fit on Page Street or how I love Zen Center and I'm going to


leave it for a little while. Fifteen years ago, I came to Zen Center for Zazen instruction. My intention was to adore the place and my belief was that I would find salvation here and my visceral reaction was that I didn't like it at all. But the cover story was stronger than the visceral reaction at that time. And so, while it took another couple months to start coming regularly, I did start coming regularly and dove in without a backward glance a couple months later.


I did come with some questions that now I wouldn't ask. Questions like, what is the meaning of life and how can I find happiness and will I ever find the answer to the life problem? Now I suppose my questions are more like, what is the most important thing or what am I doing here or what is motivating me to move or is the motivation honest or have I run out of steam or is what I've done here all these years been as rich as I think it has? When I came, I truly did think that if I just sat quietly, which was in and of itself a


near impossibility, but if I just did that for a little while, maybe all that hurt and suffering and crying and misery and so on would go away. I remember my first one-day sitting, the very idea of it that I would spend an entire day silent, I had made up a couple of workshops that I wanted to offer a year or so before when I was doing movement awareness workshops and other kinds of things like that, but I never actually sold the thing and it was going to be one in which people were to be silent the whole day and I thought it was quite an amazing event. So here I was at Zen Center and I was going to sit silently all day. I was absolutely certain that should I go through that twelve hours or whatever it was,


I think it was a short session, so it was the nine to five one, so it wasn't even twelve hours, that pretty much I'd have it down. Well, I hurt a lot and I wiggled a lot and you know in some ways I've never stopped wiggling. My mind went, I didn't know about caffeine headaches and in those days no caffeine, tea or coffee was put out on the break table. I hurt from head to toe and somehow, was I masochistic, I'm not sure, somehow I kept doing this thing. But I didn't get enlightened that first day.


Pretty soon, Jim and I were living down here in the basement of the guest house and sweeping out the upstairs occasionally and paying wonderfully low rent and coming over here and doing all the things we were to do. My very first volunteering was in the kitchen and the kitchen has remained a big love forevermore. And then I saw an ad on the bulletin board, the Tenzo was looking for a Fukuten and there was kind of a shortage of people right at that time here and so a new person who had some experience working, I guess, was considered possible for such a job.


And she was foolish enough to think she could do it. So I started working present center full-time in the kitchen. I sat to sheens, I sewed a rakusu, I didn't like the forms, I didn't like the rules, I didn't understand how you could be free with all this restriction, I didn't like the fact that people looked sort of like prunes a good deal of the time when they walked around, I didn't like the fact that you weren't allowed to look at people during a sashimi, that you were restrained from being friendly. After all, friendliness is nice. I didn't like the six-month rule, even though it had nothing to do with me. I didn't like that you shouldn't wear shorts in the zendo, I didn't like any of that, none of it.


When I was about to be ordained, so, you know, I've been in this for a while now, I almost didn't get ordained because we had a sashimi or a kind of a teaching sashimi the week before my group was ordained. And it was stated that the reason that one would become a priest was because they wanted to uphold the forms. And that wasn't why I was becoming a priest, I didn't think. And then there was a discussion about the value of celibacy, at which point I almost left entirely. But I think it was like those weddings that people go through with, you know, you committed this far, you might as well do it. And so I did. I think I'm saying all this because for those of you who are having newness problems and who sometimes find it very difficult to follow all this and yet still keep


coming back, you're not the first. Through all of this resistance and rage, I kept coming back. I went to Tassajara for one practice period and then by this time we were living at Green Gulch and then went back to Green Gulch. I was ordained, went to Tassajara and was away from a partner for the longest period of my entire life, all in the same day or so. I hated Tongariro. I hated the cold. I was absolutely convinced that when the Inu opened the doors to air the place out, she was doing it precisely because she wanted to get me. There was nothing that wasn't personal in all this discomfort.


I was endlessly self-involved and yet I kept doing it, you know, I kept doing it. So what was that all about? Some place in me knew without a doubt that getting very, very, very still, that being put in a bamboo tube, that having someone make up a set of rules that weren't the ones I made up, that facing the rage that could come up in me around such silly little things. I remember an early lecture of Leslie's, Leslie James' where she was talking about how at Tassajara she could remember getting so angry because someone asked her to be a server today instead


of tomorrow. And this kind of simplicity, you know, you have to begin to notice, you have to notice that you can react as strongly to something so silly as you were reacting to things that you thought were important in the real world. So I kept looking and looking and looking and resisting and resisting and resisting and doing it and doing it and doing it and in some way with all of the resistance doing it with a great deal of wholeheartedness. It was such a funny mix. I was madly in love with it and madly in hate with it. And after a couple more years we went to Tassajara and stayed for over five years. And somehow in the process of those years the jaggedest edges got sanded off a little bit,


the resistance dropped about 90 percent. So if you think I'm resistant now, boy. And I actually came to the place after a while to begin to have the luxury to question the part of me, not the part of me that was resistant, but the part of me that wanted to be a good girl. So here I was trying to be a good girl in the midst of all that resistance. There was a little bit of pull, a little bit of difficulty. So I sat and I sat and I sat and I sat. And I find myself right now wanting to pay homage to a slew of people. And it's always scary to do that because you're sure to forget somebody that you should have remembered. But I'm going to try to do it chronologically. I want to pay homage to


Vicki Austin, who was the first person who I took a class with and who said that Zen, this was, it was introduction to Zen and she made sure we all understood that this was Zen Buddhism, not just Zen. That was one of my first shocks. To Steve Weintraub, who was my first practice leader and gave me my first name, Fridrikai. To Blanche Hartman, who, well, to Leila Bockhorst, who became my next practice leader. To Blanche, who came right after that, Crane Coach. To Rob Anderson, who ordained me and was my teacher for many years.


To Tia Strozer, who was the director at, well, first you were the tensor when I was guest, but then she was the director. But actually, one of the first useful things that Tia ever said to me was when she wasn't anything, she was on her way back from Africa and came breezing through here. And at that point, David Chadwick was the tensor and I was the fukuten, and it was quite an interesting kitchen. And she stopped and told us that we had to have more protein and more greens. Broccoli! Broccoli! You gotta have broccoli and greens! And then she came out to Green Gulch when I was there and


it was in the midst of a lot of brouhaha that Reb was involved with. And I was waving my political flag and getting terribly intense, and she said to me, Reb, just go sew your robe and sit Zazen. That's your job right now. It isn't your job to take care of what's happening with Reb. And I was a little ticked, but something about it rang true and I took it to heart also. To Paul and to Michael, who were here to begin with and were here when I got back, who I had the joy of working under in two different occasions and was thoroughly thrilled by.


I've quoted many of the ways that you helped me, to you, and I won't do it again. But I appreciate when we sat across the desk from one another. And Michael, your support, your warmth, your being there. And then there's Blanche again, who's my teacher. And then there's my friend Mary, who's been there for a while. And then there's each of you. That's why I'm afraid I've probably forgotten somebody totally important. And there's my husband, who knew how to resist even harder than I did, but in some way who always demands a certain aspect of the practice from me that nobody else


does. And so you say, you know, so what's this story you're telling me? Well, as I began to look at the way that I was being here, being here in the city at City Center the last couple of years, it didn't feel like I was quite focused on community. I was very focused on Zen Center and my job, and I still found it extremely important to sit. And I'm absolutely and thoroughly dedicated to knowing dependent co-arising, to examining this mind that does its thing. But I noticed that I was no longer not only no longer wholeheartedly, but no longer even coming regularly to talks. That's my


embarrassment for sitting up here. And then in many ways I was not participating as a member of the community. There's a lot of you here who probably barely know me, and that's certainly not the way I was in the community before the last couple of years. And then I noticed that I kept dreaming about cottages. And it occurred to me that perhaps I had reached the point when it was time to stop living in community and see what it was like out there again. And it's very subtle because I don't really believe it's all that different, and yet I know that it's completely different. And yet I know it's really not all that different, and yet I know that it's completely different. At any rate, it seemed to be time to look at


it from a new vantage point. I haven't the smallest notion that I'm going to find something out there that's better, specialer, more satisfactory. I had this wonderful thought a number of months ago that there was at least one or two more adventures in me. So part of this all may be connected to having turned 60 this year and having tended in my life on major dates to do something special. I went crazy at 40, and at 50 I went to Tassajara, so at 60 I'm going to Vallejo. I have a couple of quotes. One is from Martha Graham, a great modern dancer.


There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, and quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. So one of the great values of being at Zen Center is learning something about what an expression of myself might be. I learned that it wasn't as a young student did during a rahatsu when Reb was exhorting us to express ourselves, to go back into the zendo with a hat and sit facing out,


which is what she did, though the courage to try it was probably about expressing herself. It seems to be that expressing ourselves is a very subtle matter, and sometimes in order to try to do it, we have to do big things and stumble around. But finally, it seems as though expressing ourselves is just to do whatever it is we do and not be too worried about what everybody thinks, though we may care a great deal that what we do does or doesn't hurt. Suzuki Roshi says in one of the Sandokai lectures, today we may be very happy and tomorrow we do not know what will happen to us. That too seems to be basic to our teaching. Today we may be very happy,


tomorrow we do not know what will happen to us. So you can come and you can go, you can make this plan and that plan, whatever the plan is, it won't happen the way you planned it. Thirteenth-century Japanese memoir. Ceaselessly the river flows, and yet the water is never the same. While in the still pools, the shifting foam gathers and is gone. Never staying for a moment, even so is the human being and human habitation. And finally from Kobinchino, a student asked him, what does gate, gate, paragate, etc. mean? It doesn't mean anything actually, he says. Everything is falling apart, fall apart, fall apart, all together fall apart.


We can't do anything about it. That's what gate, gate means really. There is nothing to hang on to. So maybe you can go home a little early tonight. Thank you. Our intention equally. Our intention equally.