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Remember and accept. I vow to taste the truth of the Tathagata's words. Indeed. Great. Hi.


Are you the father? We think that what we see is solid, real, possessible, hold-on-to-able, we think so. We think we win games, lose friends, have things.


But we don't. We're a bunch of chemical stuff that has feelings, that bubbles up thoughts, that has emotions, and we feel those sensations, we are those sensations, pleasant and unpleasant. And when we hold to any of that, we create what we call a self.


And we have happiness and sadness and so on. We also have happiness and sadness without a self, without naming the fluid, changing, unseparated stuff that we are, a self. So the idea is we have a life and a death anyway. It's really funny. It's really a joke. The joke is, in case you don't get it, doesn't sound like anybody does but me, the joke is that we think we can control the entire universe.


I mean, think about it. What we are is actually all of everything that's going on. We are that. We're not this little separate thing. How come it goes on and off every time I change my head? I'm alive, I'm dead, I'm alive, I'm dead. Would you like it to be this way? I don't care, I just noticed. Now, what are you wearing? Something new which I won't do again. Just don't move. Oh, it's just amazing. When someone is dying...


You know, this thing about... You know, some of you have been to my talks before that I forget sometimes what I say. The joke? What was the joke? I was going to explain the joke. Oh, thank you. Okay. The joke is that we are... We are this whole... Alive, dead, alive, dead. It's okay. Anyway, the joke is that we actually think that we're separate from this whole huge event, this fluid, wonderful, sometimes we think not so wonderful, but just, you know, mysterious, this mystery, this huge thing that in no way can we actually conceptually put into your head. We can't.


It's just too big. That's what we really are. And we think in all, you know, chutzpah, the essence of chutzpah, we think that we can control that. I mean, it's just bizarre. Just totally bizarre. So we think that we can control our emotions and our thoughts and our sensations, how we feel. No, I don't think I'm going to die today. I'll die a week from next Tuesday. I have something to go to. I'm not going to get a cold. I think I won't get a cold. I'll wait. I'm going to be happy all the time. We don't... We can't do that. It doesn't happen that way. We're not in control of any of it, and of course we're not, because what that is, is this enormous, Dogen would say, this total dynamic working. It's huge, just huge. I read something recently about the universe.


If somebody knows this, maybe they could get it right, because right now I don't think I'm going to get it right. But anyway, somebody said that the... Oh, I remember it. They used to think that there was a Big Bang. You know what I mean by Big Bang? You know, the universe began. Already it's, you know... So the universe begins, and then it was moving away from wherever this Big Bang happened. Already it's kind of an odd idea, right? Wherever this Big Bang happened. So it's moving away from wherever the Big Bang happened, and then what they thought was, at some point there would be... the weight of the mass of everything would contract it again, and we would end up in this very condensed something or another. Well, listen, now they don't think that. Now what they think is, it had a Big Bang,


whatever we are, we banged, and now we are expanding, and now they think it's just going to expand forever. Well, talk about big, you know. It's really big! And it's all connected. And we think that we can control this huge thing. Anyway, it's amazing to me, I think it's a very funny thing. The point is, if you let go and stop trying to control it, you actually have a chance of being in your life as it's happening. You can totally actually do the life that is blooming as you, right then, if you just don't try to control everything. That makes sense, doesn't it?


No, I didn't say that. Did I say do your life? Well, you cannot hold on. Try that. Try not holding on. Is that better? I'm asking. Okay. True renunciation, I think, is when you allow the world to come forward, which is your life, which is our life. Like, for example, Ana asked a question, and I got to respond to Ana. That was my life at that moment. That's it. It almost doesn't even matter what we say,


just to meet whatever that is that came forward. So it's not so difficult if we just let go of whatever ideas that kind of exchange ought to have been or anything about it. I'm going to read a poem now. Close to Death


Close to Death [...]


It's a poem by Sharon Olds. When there is death or loss or change, we have a chance, a real chance then, to see what it's like not to hold on to anything. When there is this death around, the death of a pet, a plant, a person, the loss of a job or whatever it is, you can kind of see change. You can see death in front of you. Especially death, it's really good because it's really clear that there really is nothing that you can count on, that you can possess, that you can have.


So you make a date in your calendar. Yes, meet so-and-so at such-and-such a time. Do this and this and this next week. But if you're waiting for that call, you know that at any moment your calendar is just tossed up into the air. But the calendar is tossed up into the air all the time. We just imagine this solid life. We imagine it and we hold on to it and we think it's real. In a week or so, we're going to have, and I think I'm going to participate in, something called an intensive. It's a three-week period where we follow a schedule


that brings us back to the Zen Do four times a day for two periods. And it's kind of an extraordinary opportunity. The day itself is not so hard, but over a period of two weeks and then a session, a deepening and clarifying of where you are happens because in the morning when you get up, you go to the Zen Do and watch who you are. And then you get to do something in your day and then just before lunch for two periods, you go back to the Zen Do. And then you watch what happened that day in the morning. And then you go again and you do some of your life and so on. And then just before service in the evening, you go back to the Zen Do for two periods. And there you are. The afternoon comes up right in front of you and you can see who you are, what you held to,


what self you recreated over and over again for those few hours you weren't in the Zen Do. And then you have some more time and then in the evening again you come back. You spend two periods in the Zen Do. So all day long, over the day, you return again and again and again to the Zen Do. You return again and again and again to look at yourself. And you can see there the fluidity. You can see there the connectedness. You can see yourself as separate and contracted or sometimes as simply awareness, one with this huge event that we actually are. So when you do that over and over and over again, for a period of time, although the day is pretty simple, by the end of the three weeks, you've pretty much settled.


You've pretty settled. And you can take a really nice look. So I invite any of you, people who live here, people who don't live here, it doesn't matter, if you have time during those three weeks when we're going to do that, come to the Zen Do. Come to the Zen Do and sit and watch and see who you are. There are two things that almost everybody mentions when you ask them about their deepest desire. They either say they want to be enlightened or awake, Hi. Or they say they want to be compassionate. They want to be loved. That's pretty much people's deepest request. Please help me wake up.


Help me be awake. Or please help me love. Help me be able to love. Help me be love. So, during the intensive, last year we studied Vasubandhu. That's like a psychological approach to how we hold on to this sense of separation. That was last year. This year we're going to study no separation from the point of view of compassion and from the point of view of wisdom. Because non-separation or non-duality is the key to our life. Feeling separate fundamentally is the cause of our suffering, out of which grasping and hatred come. So we're going to look at non-duality from the point of view of compassion


and from the point of view of wisdom. From the point of view of wisdom, we're going to study the Genjo Koan, Dogen's transcendent prose poem. And from the point of view of compassion, we're going to study three. We're going to study the Brahma-viharas, one of which is metta, or loving-kindness. We'll do that. And then we're going to take a peek at Tonglen, Lojong practice, where Tonglen comes from, sending and receiving. And then for the Zen one, I think we'll do either... Well, maybe... Well, we could either do the precepts or the paramitas or Dogen's four guidances for bodhisattva. But concentration practices... I mean, not concentration... Compassion practices, we think, develop in us an open heart. It doesn't really. Our heart already is open all the time,


but what happens is we have barriers. We make walls in front of it. So what you do when you do compassion practice, the first thing that happens is you see why you can't let down these walls. You see the walls first. So it's kind of difficult. But these three practices, they're very good. It's a very good way to look at non-duality, no separation between self and other. And then, of course, when we study wisdom, that's exactly what we're going to look at directly. This is one of my favorite koans.


When Zen Master Dao Wui of Nanyue first went to meet Huaineng, Huaineng said, Who is it that thus comes? And Nanyue didn't understand the question. It's interesting to me that he didn't just answer, you know, Nanyue or something, but he understood that the teacher was asking him a deeper question. Something like, Who are you? Who is it that thus comes? Who are we? What is life about anyway? So he went away and he thought about it. They say for eight years. Some of us have been thinking about it longer. It only took him eight years. I think that's very good. So he came back at one point. After eight years, he came back to Huaineng and he said,


I understand now. And his teacher said, Well, what do you understand? And then he said, Speaking about it won't hit the mark. This is a very interesting statement. He didn't actually say anything. He said, Speaking about it won't hit the mark. Who am I? Saying something won't hit the mark. Why not? What can you say that hits the mark? Speaking about it won't hit the mark. He tastes non-duality.


He won't separate anything out. The story could have ended right then. But the teacher said, Does it rest on practice and realization? He wanted to kind of poke him a little bit to see whether he was really just this. And Dawei said, It is not that there is no practice and realization. It's just that they can't be defiled. He did it again. He was a very good student. It's just that they can't be defiled.


And defiled in this case means they can't be separated. He didn't go to a dualistic place. He said they can't be separated. And this is the core teaching, I think, of Dogen. That our life is awakening. Complete, thorough oneness with your life, with your activity, is realization. And realization is impossible without activity, complete activity. So then he said, I am like this, you are like this,


and all ancestors were also just like this. And this is what we are all the time. All the time. It's just that we fight with ourselves. We don't give up. We try to control, try to grasp, try to bring to ourselves something pleasant, push away something that's unpleasant. And in doing that, we create separation. Now, the tricky part is, you can actually be one with separation if you're just aware, awake to that, and leave it alone. So even there, there's no duality. Duality. So when death comes,


when we lose something, we're reminded we have a choice at every moment, at every moment on every day. It's not a mystery. We have a choice at that moment to be awake or to be asleep. Every time we feel a sense of separation, every time we blame somebody, every time we hold to the contraction that we feel when we feel a self, we choose death. We choose to kill our life at that moment. And every time when we feel contracted,


you can feel that. It feels painful. Or we hold to a judgment, or we push somebody away, when we don't do that, when we let go of that sense of separation, we choose life. So close your eyes for a minute. And feel in the space around your heart. Feel that area. Allow that area to relax. Allow warmth to spread all around the area of the heart. If you need to,


think of something that you're fond of. A plant. The night sky. The sound of the ocean. A pet. And allow that thought to loosen feelings of tightness around the heart. And let the heart be there in its vast openness. And then say to yourself, may I be happy. May I really be happy. May I be free of suffering.


May I be peaceful. May I be peace. May I be filled with love. May I be happy. And then, may I feel connected with everything. May I find peace. May I be filled with love. And then, without opening your eyes,


just sense the person to your left. And allowing your heart to remain open, filled with warmth, filled with caring for yourself. Say to yourself, may the person sitting to my left be happy. May they be free from suffering. May they find peace. May they be filled with love. And then, allowing yourself to feel everyone in the room. Allow yourself to widen and fill the whole room.


Again, understanding that you yourself want to be happy. And free from suffering. Send out that feeling to everyone in the room. May everyone here be happy, because they want to. May everyone here be free from suffering. May everyone here find peace and joy. May everyone here be filled to overflowing with love. And then, if you can, more open still, as wide as you can possibly be.


To the city of San Francisco, and California, all of the United States, all of North America, and then South America. To the entire world, everywhere. May all beings be happy. May all beings be free of suffering. May all beings find peace. May all beings be filled with love. And then, give yourself a moment to come back to yourself.


And again, again, may I be happy. Please, may I be happy. May I be free of suffering. May I be filled with love. And then, open your eyes. Compassion practice is a concentration practice. You have to really concentrate, because there's a tendency to kind of float away. And also, mostly, if you're honest with yourself, it's really difficult. But anyway, I don't know how people,


what your experience of that was. But for me, when I first started doing these practices, the only thing it brought up in me was fury. So, if anybody had that feeling, I am very sympathetic. I was really mad. I just want to read you one poem and then stop, because it's a favorite of mine, and it's about making objects and a taste of the vastness of our life. This is Rilke. It's the eighth elegy. With all its eyes, the natural world looks out into the open. He means open, you know, the vastness. Only our eyes, human eyes, are turned backward and surround plant, animal, child,


like traps as they emerge into their freedom. We know what is really out there only from the animal's gaze, for we take the very young child and force it around so that it sees objects, not the open, which is so deep in animal's faces, free from death. We only can see death. The free animal has its decline in back of it forever, and God in front, and when it moves, it moves already in eternity like a fountain. Never, not for a single day, do we have before us that pure space into which flowers endlessly open. Always there is world and never nowhere without the know, that pure, unseparated element which one breathes without desire


and endlessly knows. A child may wander there for hours through the timeless stillness, may get lost in it and be shaken back, or someone dies and is it, for nearing death one doesn't see death but stares beyond, perhaps with an animal's vast gaze. Lovers, if the beloved were not there blocking the view, are close to it and marvel as if by some mistake it opens for them behind each other, but neither can move past the other and it changes back to world. Forever turned toward objects, we see in them the mere reflection of the realm of freedom which we have dimmed. Or when some animal mutely, serenely looks us through and through,


that is what fate means, to be opposite, to be opposite and nothing else forever. If the animal moving toward us so securely in a different direction had our kind of consciousness it would wrench us around and drag us along its path, but it feels its life as boundless, unfathomable, and without regard to its own condition, pure, like its outward gaze. And where we see the future it sees all time within all time, forever healed. There's more, but I think that's enough. So, the Genjo Koan, we get a touch of that vastness, that non-duality. And from either side,


whether it's non-dual from the side of wisdom or whether it's non-dual from the side of compassion, that is where we want to live. That is where we find our true life, our true self. The rest of it is stale, burdensome, hurtful, and empty. So, I hope with you we can practice together during the intensive for those of you who are wanting and can without adding too much already to your already filled lives, I understand. But if you want to, come to the Zen Do, because it's there we can see most clearly, we can really look at both of these things. May I


take a moment to thank the