2006.03.05-serial.00043

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EB-00043

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Good morning. Good morning. We're starting today with a so-called, you know, kids talk. Are you ready? I'm not quite ready. You have to give me a minute for, I have a costume change. If you don't mind. So, for my costume change, if you would be kind enough to close your eyes momentarily. While I make my costume change. And then, I will let you know when the costume change is in order. Okay. You can look now. I'm here today to explain to you about something very serious. I'm here to talk about Buddhism.

[01:03]

And to explain to you the teaching of the Buddha. The Lord Buddha, who lived many hundreds of years ago. And showed us all the way to live a sane, happy, peaceful, wonderful life. With one another. With mom and dad and with the kids. And with our parents and our children and our brothers and our sisters. All over the world. It's really amazing we could do that. So, where shall we start? Any ideas? Any ideas? You want me to just make it up? Start here? Oh, hey. That sounds awfully good. Here and now.

[02:11]

And are you here? Are you now? Okay. Well, actually I have a little story for you. And I'm going to tell you the story and then we'll see what you think of the story. And I'll ask you every so often how the story is going and what should happen next. Or what might happen next in the story. Okay? This isn't exactly a Buddhist story, but you'll see. Once upon a time. A lot of stories start like that, right? Once upon a time, there was a kingdom. There was a king. He had three sons. And there was a queen. And the father, the king, became very sick. So what is he going to do?

[03:12]

They had physicians come and they treated him. The doctors. Huh? Right? He still didn't get any better. He was still sick. In fact, the whole country was sick. It was sad. And the three sons were sad that their father was sick. And they didn't know what to do. What would you do? Huh? Oh, it's sad when somebody is sick, isn't it? And we don't know what to do to make them better. So the three sons, one day, were out in the garden. Huh? The palace had a garden and they were sitting there. And they were so sad, they started to cry. I'm sorry, I can't cry.

[04:18]

I should have some tears to go along with my nose. Ah, yes, well. There was an old man in the garden who overheard them talking. And he said, oh, I hear your father is sick. What he needs is the water of life. So you should go search for the water of life and bring it back to give to him. So what is the water of life? Huh? What is it that makes your life happy and nourished and makes you enjoy being here and now? Do you know what makes you happy? Sometimes people say pizza makes me happy. And then there's mom and dad make me happy

[05:19]

when they're not mad at me. And playing makes me happy. This old man said that the king needed the water of life. Something, you know, from deep in the ground that was very nourishing. So the oldest son thought he would go and find the water of life. And he asked his father if he could go look for the water of life. Are you following the story? Okay. He went to look for the water of life. And the king said, no, I don't want you to go because it's very dangerous and something might happen to you if you left home. And the oldest son, he said, I'm old enough to leave home. I'm old enough to find the water of life and I can do this. And to himself, he thought, if I get the water of life, my father will like me the best. And then he'll give me the kingdom. So the time came and he got on his high horse.

[06:23]

He had a great big high horse. He got on his horse and the gates of the palace sprang open in front of him. And he went charging out on his horse, looking for the water of life. And he didn't go very far and just down the road, not very far at all, there was a little dwarf. Do you know what a dwarf is? A very little person. Kind of looks like a child, but is actually a grown up, but the size of a child. And the dwarf called up to him on his horse and said, where are you off to on this bright and sunny day? Where are you off to on this bright and sunny day? And the prince, the oldest son, looked down at the dwarf and said, what's it to you, you little runt, you little good for nothing? Out of my way. Now, do you think the dwarf liked being talked to like that? No. And the prince went riding off and the dwarf fixed him in his mind

[07:30]

and he made it so that the prince on his horse would ride into a canyon that got narrower and narrower. The sides of the canyon got narrower and narrower until finally his horse couldn't go any further forward and it was too narrow to turn around and he couldn't back up. So he was stuck. So we left him there. And the story, he stays there for a while. Okay, so after some time passed by, the father is still sick and the second son thinks he would go looking for the water. So finally his father says, okay, and he thinks, if I can get that water of life, I'm going to get the kingdom. This will be great. I'll own everything. It'll all be mine. And so he got on his horse.

[08:31]

It was a big high horse. And the gates of the palace sprang open and he went charging off to find what it is that's really meaningful and important and dear and precious, the water of life. Guess what? Not so far down the road, there was a dwarf. And the dwarf said, where are you off to today? And the second brother said, you little runt out of my way. I have important things to do. Well, he didn't like being talked to like that and so he put that prince in his mind and the prince was riding along and got into a canyon where the walls of the canyon got narrower and narrower and narrower. And finally his horse couldn't go forward and couldn't back up and couldn't turn around and he was stuck,

[09:33]

just like being in prison. Sad state of affairs. So there was one brother left, the youngest brother. And he went to his father and said, I want to look for the water of life. I'd like to help you. And the king said, if your two older brothers couldn't find the water of life and get back here safely, what makes you think you can? You're the very youngest. You're not going to be able to help with this. And he said, I think I would really like to do this for you and I'd like to give it my best effort and really try to do this. So please let me go. So he got on his horse. It wasn't quite as big as his brother's horses. And the gates of the palace sprang open and he went charging off.

[10:34]

Not so far down the road, there was a dwarf. Do you remember him? And he said, where are you off to today? And the prince, the youngest brother, stopped his horse. He got off. He stood there and he got down and he said to the dwarf, my father is sick and I'm looking for the water of life. And the dwarf said, do you know where to find it? And the prince said, I haven't a clue. And the dwarf said, I can help you with that. So then he told the youngest son where to go to find the water of life and he told him all the things he needed to do.

[11:36]

That's next week's story. But this is kind of a fun story because we often start out with big plans and ideas and we're going to get someplace, but little things stop us. Little things get in the way and they say, where are you going? And we keep thinking, get out of my way. Get out of my way. I'm going someplace. I don't have time for you. And then you can get really stuck after that. So it's good to stop sometimes and ask for directions and some instruction and a little guidance. You know, you can stop and you can ask. And sometimes even people who don't look like they're going to be much help can be all the help in the world. Huh?

[12:39]

Oh, if I take off my nose, I might become a serious person again. So watch out. I think it's important when talking about Buddhism, you know, to be very serious. Because otherwise, when people listen to you, they won't take you seriously. And it's very important to be taken seriously. Don't you think? That was a joke. All right. So I'm going to take off my nose. And thank you all for coming today. And remember, stop and ask for help and directions, instructions. And you're going to have some coming up in just a few minutes as your day goes on and on into your class

[13:47]

and your instruction time. Thank you. Thank you. Wow, you kids have got great clothes on today. Beautiful clothes. Wow. Very well dressed. Hi, Elizabeth. Hi. Now what? Hmm.

[14:52]

Your back. Hmm. I just had dinner with Elizabeth and her parents, but she doesn't recognize me in my new outfit. Who is that man? So this search for the water of life,

[16:15]

pretty important for each of us. There's a Rumi poem or just a part of a Rumi poem that relates to this. Don't go where you think you want to go. Ask the way to the spring. Ask the way to the spring. Don't go where you think you want to go. Ask the way to the spring. So already that asking the way to the spring is, you know, connecting us with the water of life. You know, what would be refreshing, cleansing, renewing. Where is it? This, of course, is also like, you know,

[17:20]

dipping the bucket down inside, inside one's being. Because the water of life isn't anywhere outside. There are perhaps some guides, some teachers or friends, companions, but finally the source, the source for the water of life, the spring, is inside. And like in the story, if you have, if you're busy, if you have places to go, things to accomplish, it's often difficult to heed the signs, the clues, to stop and listen to,

[18:20]

you know, some smaller voice that knows the way to the spring. You know, implicitly, implicitly in our lives, you know, there's, we know the way to the spring, but we don't always stop to listen. And even when we stop to listen, we don't always hear, or hear things in a way that we're, you know, that we can understand in our usual language. We hear something that's, you know, more like, well, you know, in a sense we,

[19:26]

you know, what starts to happen, perhaps, is that we soften. And out of that softening, you know, the water appears. The water comes to the surface. We're often thinking that we need to be strong, masterful, know where we're going, what to do, so that we have something to show for our time. And maybe if we had a good enough things to show, accomplishments and attainments, or whatever, then, you know, others would appreciate us more.

[20:28]

Thank you for providing. But again, what is it we really want? This is so fundamental. Where is the water of life? What would that feel like? Thank you. Zen Master Dogen quotes a poem in one of his writings. He says, with one word, five words, three or seven words, nothing in the universe can be fully grasped. There's nothing that we can get hold of

[21:30]

and keep and have, you know, like a bank account in your back pocket. Nothing. Nothing can be fully grasped. So he says, a night advances, the full moon falls and sinks into the ocean. The black dragon jewel that you've been searching for is everywhere. The black dragon jewel that you've been searching for is everywhere. This black dragon jewel is rather like, you know, the water of life. What is it you've been

[22:31]

always searching for? How will you grasp it? How will you attain it? How will you let it into your life? What small twisted, ugly creature will you have to stop and ask the way? For most of us, that small, twisted, ugly creature is somewhere inside waiting to be asked. And it's very tempting to tell it it it to go away.

[23:34]

We often for that kind of creature don't say even he or she, you know, tell it to go away. We tell it to go away. This is the, you know, the person we meet when oftentimes when we sit and meditate, it's not, of course, all, you know, light and compassion and wondrous clarity. Beneath the surface, there are many beings we encounter. And some of them may be able to help us And our body is like this.

[24:44]

A lot of meditation is, you know, allowing your consciousness that's largely in the head and in thinking and in judgments, in planning, in scheming, in plotting, in formulating, in planning, coming up with an agenda, a diagnosis, a plan, the remedy. Who cares if there are side effects or, you know, collateral damage. So rather than a plan, is there some way to connect and meet and honor, you know, the water of our life and what is true and dear to us? How do we honor it? How do we allow it into our life and let it soften us from inside? And if you practice

[25:49]

meditation over time, one of the things you notice about people who practice meditation is they become softer. And you'll probably also notice that it doesn't mean that they're pushovers. They are both very formidable and, you know, soft. In this, you know,

[26:53]

connection, when we're not so busy, you know, I pause and then there's a gust of wind. And it feels like we're here, we're now. We don't need to rush off any place. We don't have to get somewhere. So it's not easy to listen, to stop and listen to the voice of the dwarf and to say, I'm looking for the water of life. And the dwarf says, I can help you. This is also, you know, very similar in a way

[27:54]

to a poem by Rilke. All of you undisturbed cities, haven't you ever longed for the enemy? I'd love to see you besieged by him for 10 earth-shaking, groundbreaking, blood-soaked years. Until at last, you were broken open. And he says the enemy, you know, go up in your tower, see how far away you can get. But the enemy is out there in the countryside surrounding and the enemy's not going any place and he's more patient than you are. Have you noticed? And he doesn't send anyone into the city to promise or to negotiate. We're not gonna work this out.

[28:55]

And he says, he is the one who breaks down the walls and when he works, he works in silence. So sometimes, you know, when we're lucky, we come to a pause, we stop our busy affairs and we sit, we stop, we're still. And the walls begin to come down, often in silence, sometimes perhaps with a friend or a therapist, a teacher, a mentor. And we begin to acknowledge, you know, the voices inside that know the way and remind us what it is we truly want.

[30:04]

Not so long ago, you know, I was seen as a psychiatrist. I had a Rorschach test and I found out that I, Zen student for, you know, 40 years, I'm a type A person. So some people say, you keep it pretty well hidden. And other people say, could have told you that. But type A, those of us who are type A people, you know, we've got a lot to do. You know, we're busy people. And sometimes, you know, type A people try to shave, go to the toilet and read the paper at the same time. I'm not like that, that's why I'm kind of a closet type A.

[31:20]

And as type A's go, I'm actually kind of a slacker to the type A. The Rorschach test actually quantifies all this. So I'm an extremely resourceful, talented person. And they figure that depending on your, you know, whatever level of resource and talent you have, when you're trying to do roughly twice that, that's about right. And then you're studying, you're working hard, you're challenging yourself, you're growing, you're engaged in things, you know, you're paying attention. When you go above two, that's called type A. This is, so I'm only at three and a half. Trying to do three and a half times what's possible. So you can't do this for one day. You can't do this for three and a half days. Guess what? That's frustrating.

[32:21]

You just want to so much out of the goodness of your heart and you know, your love and devotion and you want to show people and you know. It's frustrating, it's annoying, people get in your way. They're not helping enough. And it's depressing, you know, because you just can't do it and it's sad, you keep wanting to do more. So I've had a lot of experience with a lot of feelings. And you know, every so often people would say to me, you know, you might take a vacation. What? That would be frivolous. I wouldn't be getting anything done. How could I? You might enjoy yourself. How many pieces of chocolate can I have? How many espressos?

[33:26]

That would be enjoyable, up to a point. Right? So do you know why you would be type A? I think it's very fascinating, you know, that, anyway, you know, this started with pigeons, right? There's the A group of pigeons and the B group of pigeons. And the B group, they both have pecking apparatuses and the B group, one peck, one piece of grain. The A group peck, peck, and occasionally there's a payoff of grain, but it's unpredictable. You don't know when it's coming. So the type A pigeons learn to just keep pecking, no matter what, you just keep pecking. And occasionally there's a payoff, but it's not like you stop to eat, you just keep pecking. The B group peck, eat, peck, and when they have enough

[34:32]

to eat, they don't keep pecking. And when at one point they stopped, you know, feeding either of the pigeons, the type B group peck, peck. Screw it, I'm not gonna keep pecking. The B group peck, eat, peck, and when they have enough The type A group, they just peck until they die. And maybe with their last breath, they're thinking, damn, if I could have just pecked one more time, I would have gotten the biggest payoff ever. But it doesn't matter how big the payoff is, you keep pecking, you know. Okay, so when you translate this over to people, which, here we are. They found that people become type A because when you're growing up, nobody's born type A. It's not genetic. When you're growing up and when you do not get,

[35:35]

when you have unpredictable, infrequent and unpredictable rewards, so-called rewards of attention, approval, affection, then you start learning to peck for it. What do I need to do to get it? Attention, approval, affection. It turns out attention is number one. Are you getting the attention that you want? And who is going to give it to you finally? Nobody out there is ever gonna be able to give you enough where, you know, if you want attention, give it to yourself. If you want approval, give it to yourself. If you want affection, you give it to yourself. Of course, then you have the immediate question of, oh, wait a minute.

[36:37]

Don't I need to do something to get it? Huh? Can I, you know, is this just unearned? Do I deserve it? I don't know if you're good enough to give affection to. You're too much like a dwarf. Are you a little bit like maimed or, you know, off in some way? Or are you just like, I mean, cause if you're not maimed or off in some way, I mean, and you're, you know, perfectly, you know, certainly then you could love that kind of a person and give yourself some attention. But maybe some of you are thinking, I don't know if I'm a little bit messed up here. I don't know. I don't think that this would be a person worth paying any attention to. I got, I'm out of here. We call that self-abandonment, you know, in Zen. You abandon yourself, right? So simplest thing is you sit down and, or you don't even need to be sitting.

[37:39]

You can, anytime, you know, give your attention to what's going on. This is water and your affection and your approval. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being in my life. What's happening with you? What's your experience now? What are you thinking? What are you feeling? Oh, is that what you're thinking? Tell me more about that. Oh, you're really anxious? Oh, oh, so you're anxious. And what's that all about? Tell me some more. Well, there's a lot of anxieties. You know, my, I was just in LA and my friend said, she just found out, you know, a couple of days ago at 2.30 in the afternoon, she got a call from her bookkeeper and she said,

[38:40]

and the bookkeeper said, our receipts for the week up to and including Valentine's Day the credit card receipts haven't cleared our bank. And Valentine's Day is the biggest day of the year for a flower shop. And she's going, oh my God, if I don't get those receipts, I'm out of business. This is very upsetting, isn't it? And it doesn't matter, you know, that the processing, the credit card processing company says, you're going to get your money. We always find it. But in the meantime, what's going to happen? Is there some way to be with somebody and to have some soft feeling for somebody who's having difficulty? Instead of, you know, attacking the person who's having difficulty and then telling the person with difficulty to get out of your way and you're the person with difficulty, how do you get out of your own way like that?

[39:42]

This just doesn't work, you know? So, you know, one of the great benefits of sitting is that we honor difficulty. We honor our own difficulty and we sit with it. I don't want to talk too long, but by the way, I'll tell you the three suggestions for type A people in case any of you are also type A. And it's really hard to change because it seems like that's the only way you're ever going to get it in all that approval, attention, and affection that you always wanted, even though the black dragon jewel you've been searching for is everywhere. So the three things to do are work for designated periods of time or on designated projects. That's number one, right?

[40:45]

Because type A people, like, you work and then you work some more and then you keep working. You don't stop just because you finish something. In Zen practice, that's called the end of work, you know, the bell rings, stop. Or you're sitting and you're having a great time in your meditation, the bell rings, get up. We have a lot of type A practices, so it wasn't really until I got out of, you know, stopped being in residence at Zen Center, I found out, you know, became more and more of a type A person. Anyway, so you work for a designated period of time and then you stop. And the second thing is, and it's so hard for some of us, have a, do something that's enjoyable. What would be fun? I've got work to do. I can't stop.

[41:47]

But, you know, have a cup of tea, go for a walk, garden a little bit, you know, call a friend, say hello. Go out to lunch. Go out to lunch with a type B person. Take a type B person to lunch. And one of the things, of course, about type A people is you find things that are enjoyable, like maybe you like to go jogging. So then after a couple weeks, you go like, huh, I think I could be a world-class jogger. Or like me, you know, you enjoyed taking photographs. So now I've got a card business. So that keeps me busy. It keeps me too busy to actually take any photographs. So this is very hard for type A people. You've got to be very careful with the thing that you enjoy,

[42:51]

not to turn it into another type A behavior. Which is also true of the espressos and the chocolate and the, you know, the things that you might have that are enjoyable. Anyway, and then the third is, don't think about what you need to do after midnight tonight. Off limits, just don't go there. Train your awareness. You're only here until midnight, then forget it after that. Just, you know, just think about today. What's happening today? So it's been nice. I see friends a little more and, you know, I have tea and I, you know, visit with people, talk to friends on the phone. I'm getting reconnected with, you know, people. It's interesting. Well, so I wanted to also tell you another poem by Rilke.

[43:57]

The first poem I told you by Rilke, I didn't really tell it to you. I just told you what the poem was about. I didn't have it memorized, really. All of you undisturbed cities, haven't you ever loved an enemy? That's pretty good for the start, but after that, I made it up. Not bad, huh? But this is a poem about, you know, in a way about the water of life. And what do we do? You know, how do we get there? And it's related to what in Buddhism is called trust. A trust is a factor of mind that, you know, if you're looking at the water and it looks muddy or cloudy or bubbly or colored, and when you dive into the water and it becomes with trust, it becomes clear and you can see what you need to see. But you can't from the surface.

[45:00]

From the surface, when you look at things, you can't see. It's not clear. It looks confusing. So there's a quality of trust. Can you trust enough to enter into your experience deeply? Trust in your experience deeply. Trust in it enough that you are willing to meet it more fully and more intimately, more deeply. So here's the way the poem goes. You see, I want a lot. Perhaps I want everything. The darkness of each infinite fall, the shivering blaze of each step up. There are those who want little and are raised to the rank of prince by the slippery ease of their light judgments. They ride those big horses.

[46:02]

They may get stuck eventually. Excuse me, that was an aside. There are those, there are those who want little and are raised to the rank of prince by the slippery ease of their light judgments. But what you love to see are faces that feel thirst and do work. Most of all, you love those who need you like a crowbar or a hoe. It's not too late and you are not too old to dive into the increasing depths of your life where it calmly gives out its secret. It is not too late, you are not too old to dive into the increasing depths of your life where it calmly gives out its secret. I'll do it for you.

[47:05]

With sickness, old age and death. Well, thank you so much for being here today and I wish you well in this dive into the increasing depths. Don't go where you think you want to go. Ask the way to the spring. And then, on the other hand, where did you suppose we are? Splashing around right this minute. Isn't it great? Thank you. Intention, equilibrium, every being.

[48:05]