The Bodhisattva Archetype

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Sunday Lecture

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I'm fortunate in my time at Zen Center to have the opportunity to spend as much time and effort as I've been given to learn and work in the great gardens. Every garden is a great garden. Every garden comes out of the original garden. So for me to have had 12 years to help develop our craft and practice of farming at Zen Center has been a real wonderful opportunity. And I see a lot of people in the audience that I've gardened with. It makes me feel really good. Two of our teachers here, both of them have gone under, or as Sona, she said joined the great majority. They're no longer alive. I definitely want to bring them into the room today with all of us.

[01:00]

There would be Harry Roberts, who was part Yurok Indian, part Irishman. This year's calendar we're dedicating to Harry, so you'll get a good look at him. He was a seminal teacher for me. One of his main teachings was given to him by his teacher, Yurok Shaman, who said to him in the woods one day, show me five flowers that have never been seen before. Now this was to Harry and to other students, other Indians who were with him. And then the teacher watched, and some of the apprentices or explorers fanned out into the woods, into the great woods, to find five flowers that had never been seen before.

[02:00]

And Roberts thought, watched, and noticed who among them would be the ones that would look down at their very feet to find the five flowers. Because right in front of you, there are five flowers that you've never seen before. And trusting that kind of trust is really the basis of Buddha's way, or the garden, or our daily life, however we look at it. Anyway, I'm very grateful to Harry for the teaching of the five flowers. And also to the great pillar, Alan Chadwick, who ranted and raved and stormed up and down this valley, and gave us his teaching as a brilliant, brilliant Shakespearean actor and marvelous horticultural genius. And when I was thinking about Alan today when I went to the garden before coming here to talk with all of you, I remembered him mentioning how important it is to,

[03:12]

when you go into the garden, to recognize that you're going into a different realm. You're going into a different time. You're going into a time that's not your time. And you're going into a realm that's not your realm. And he taught us very thoroughly and dramatically that plants are the great forgivers. They forgive us all of our errors. And they are the great givers, as we know. In every garden that Alan did, at the opening to the garden, he planted two plants, and I brought them here today. On the left-hand side he had lavender. He called her the queen of crops. For the plant, this is lavender.

[04:17]

And you can see in our garden, when you go down, lavender flanks the road. She's the queen of crops. She was a gift, along with rosemary, who's usually represented on the right-hand side of the garden, as the king of fishes. These two plants were a gift to Adam and Eve when they were expelled from the garden. They went along with Adam and Eve to prosper their life in the big world where we're all living now. Lavender, as the queen of crops, is forgiveness, or the feminine, bounty and mercy. And rosemary, or rosmarinus, the king of fishes, the herb that offers you mental clarity, and generally associated with the masculine, with thought. There's rosemary, that's for remembrance, said Shakespeare. Rosemary clears the mind and helps us on our way.

[05:21]

So with rosemary and lavender, I'd like to begin this morning's talk, which relates, believe it or not, it relates to rosemary and lavender. We could say that there are two pillars in Buddha's way, or I think, even broader than that, we can say Buddha's way, but we can fan out and say in the way of the world, there are two pillars that hold up the arch of our life, or the bridge of our life that we traverse. And those two pillars are wisdom, clarity of thought, and compassion, response of the heart. These are traditional pillars in Buddhism, and finding your place between these two, or I should say, supported by these two pillars, is really the work of the follower of the way.

[06:34]

Now I'd like to, this morning, talk to you a little bit about the voyage of the bodhisattva, often represented, there's a bodhisattva of wisdom and a bodhisattva of compassion. And I'd like to really talk about these two personifications of wisdom and compassion this morning. And I'd like to get very specific and bring up their individual qualities and characteristics, but hopefully we can see them meld together this morning, and we can certainly see them meld if we can meld together if we look at the garden. So, that's my hope, to be able to do that. And then at the very end of the talk, I'd like to bring up something that my husband reminded me of, I'm very grateful to him for doing this. He said, it's okay to bring up what's a little bit raw in you and not cooked. So what's a little bit raw in me and not quite cooked is this very big question of what is the responsibility of a follower of the way to social engagement and to social action.

[07:48]

I think it's a question that we have to look at, and it certainly is a question that comes up for me as a gardener, and as a student of Dan Burdick. So what I'm going to do is open up this little book that has a lot of notes in it, and peek at them now and then, don't be dismayed. Have any of you heard of this term Bodhisattva? Anybody want to hazard a definition of a Bodhisattva? Luckily, all definitions of Bodhisattvas immediately erase themselves as soon as you give them. It's a wonderful method, but would anybody like to call out what a Bodhisattva is? One thing we've worked on a lot in the last year, working with Norman as director, has been this big, big work of training Bodhisattvas, which is what we're trying to do at Green Elch.

[08:54]

I thought since probably a lot of you have heard this topic, we should talk about it this morning, and then I got these two big Bodhisattvas to help us. Anybody know what a Bodhisattva is? I'll help you. Not quite a Buddha, but it's not quite me. Someone working for all beings. Good. Someone working for all beings. Not quite a Buddha. I won't put the second part in. That's very good. One who translates and communicates with Buddha, the Buddha. Pretty good, that's right. Lu, don't you have something rough to say about it? Yeah, I met a Bodhisattva once aboard a ship from a planet they had given to Vulcan, who said, David, if I catch you aboard a ship, I'm going to throw you overboard, go back to colony.

[09:56]

I signed off the ship that night, and the next morning it was struck by another vessel, and the only person who died was the bow watch, which would have been my watch, having stayed on the ship. I think that was probably Avalokiteshvara, who spoke to you first. I don't have enough army to do it. Okay, Norman, let's hear one from you. Okay, Norman. You've been talking about praising themselves. What is a Bodhisattva? Okay, I'll try. All right, I think we have enough material. Bodhisattva...

[11:04]

It's actually true that a Bodhisattva is technically not a Buddha. Bodhisattva is an enlightenment being, or one who postpones his or her own enlightenment and entry into final bliss, or nirvana, for the sake of all beings. Bodhisattva dwells nowhere and depends on nothing. Pretty big, hmm? Dwells nowhere and depends on nothing. They abandon the world, but not the beings in the world. The Bodhisattvas, traditionally in Buddha's teaching, are the helpers of Buddha. They are the broadeners out of Buddhism, I think. That's how I look at them. And this morning, one of my good friends suggested to me, make sure you talk about something that's your own in the middle of all this.

[12:08]

So I was thinking, how do I really... I was trying to memorize all these definitions of Bodhisattvas. I didn't decide I was going to make you all do it at the time. Anyway, what came up for me is a feeling that the Bodhisattvas are the great compost makers of the world. You know about compost. Compost is taking what everyone throws away and changing it into soil. And I think that the compost definition holds, especially when we get a little closer and begin to look at the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, who is Manjushri, and the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara, the one Lu referred to as the helper with one thousand arms. Now, both of these Bodhisattvas are great compost makers, and I'd like to talk a little bit about how they work and how we work together with them.

[13:11]

Let me first of all, though, before doing that, talk about the path that a Bodhisattva takes, which is the same path that's used in training a Bodhisattva. There's always two ways of looking at things, at least. Gary Snyder says a Bodhisattva or Wisdom that feels no pain isn't real Wisdom. Now, when we look at, and I'll get back to that in a little bit, the two paths that the Bodhisattvas take, one is the ascending path. You could say it's the path of breathing in, where air comes in and fills your body, goes up through your body. It's the path or the way that's generally associated with Wisdom or stability, not moving. We could say detachment or non-dualism also.

[14:16]

It's a little bit of a negative way, this way. It's going up to nirvana, understanding that this world that we're in the middle of is illusory, deep and going up toward nirvana. Now, that's one way of looking at the ascending path or the path of Wisdom. The other movement that a Bodhisattva makes is to descend, like breathing out, where you settle down. And this is the action of compassion or responding to suffering in the world and acting, moving out toward beings, descending to the world because the world is illusory, you join it, you go into it. And I have a wonderful passage here from the Diamond Sutra that I'll read to you. You have to remember that Buddhism, unlike the politics and philosophy of Aristotle, loves dichotomy and paradoxes. So I think that'll be pretty clear if you listen to this passage taught by the Buddha to Subuddhi.

[15:22]

Here, O Subuddhi, a Bodhisattva should think thus. As many beings as there are in the universe of beings, be they egg-born, or born from a womb, or moisture-born, or miraculously born, be they with form or without, be they with perception, without perception, or with neither perception nor non-perception, as far as any conceivable universe of beings is concerned, all these should be led by me into nirvana, into that realm of nirvana which leaves nothing behind. So everybody should go off to nirvana. And yet, although innumerable beings have thus been led to nirvana, no being at all has been led to nirvana. And why? Within a Bodhisattva, the perception of a being should take place. He would not be called an enlightenment being. So this is understanding that even though you go up to nirvana, you still also descend and remember that there is no such thing as going up to nirvana.

[16:27]

This is what I mentioned about the self-erasing definitions of the Bodhisattva. This particular quotation from the Diamond Sutra, I think, more than anything, stresses emptiness. And I wanted to go a little bit on to the other side, too. And this is from Shantideva. This is a vow of the Bodhisattva. May I be the protector of the helpless. May I be the guide of wayfarers. May I be like a boat, a bridge, a causeway for all who wish to cross. May I be a lamp for all who need a lamp. May I be a slave for all who need a slave. May I be for all creatures a philosopher's stone and a pot of fortune, like an effective rite of worship and a potent medicinal herb. May I be a wish-fulfilling gem, excuse me, may I be a wish-fulfilling tree and a cow yielding all that one desires.

[17:31]

So I think that that's a pretty good introduction to what the Bodhisattva, what the Bodhisattva's vow is. And we need only remember the story of the life of Buddha to actually look at the Bodhisattva at work and in action in the world. After hard and fast sitting still under the enlightenment tree, the Bodhi tree, the fig tree, in the garden, 2,500 years ago, in India, in northeastern India, Buddha thought, should I get up or should I sit here forever? What's the point of getting up and going out into the world? It's not going to make any difference anyway. Or how can I not get up and go out into the world? So on that axis he decided to get up and to teach. And his ministry continued for 30 to 40 years.

[18:37]

And obviously students and followers of the way are still investigating his world, his work, his way today. I think that the example of Shakyamuni Buddha is really an important one for us because he was a social activist too, and a scientist. He didn't just sit still. He went out and responded to the world around him. He planted trees, he preached to children, he worked with women, and he worked with sick people, and he worked with his peers. He developed and trained monks and left a teaching that continues to today. I like very much the sutra of Sigala, a layman, who was very upset because his parents had died. And he asked the Buddha, how should I practice? His father had said to him in the end of his life,

[19:38]

when I die, worship the six directions, which are east, west, south, north, the ether, or the upward direction, or the zenith, and the nether, the bottom, the bottom of the world. And Sigala was very bereft and didn't know how to follow this teaching. And Buddha said, follow it like this. In the east, you can see your ancestors, your... I think that's correct. And in the west, you can see your spouse and your children. And in the north, you can find your friends and your neighbors and your relations. And in the south, you can practice gratitude to your teachers. When you look down, remember all the people that have supported you and helped you. And when you look up, you can remember the countless people who've investigated religious truth and philosophy trying to help you.

[20:40]

And with this advice, Sigala was actually helped and able to continue his own life, whereas before he thought he should die. So, I think on that note, we can begin to talk a little bit about Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri. I'm going to begin with Wisdom, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, who is Manjushri. He's seated in the center of our zendo. Traditionally, in Japanese zendos, he sits still in the very, very center of the soto, or the meditation hall. He's the inside Buddha in the monk's hall. There's a lot of legends about Manjushri.

[21:45]

The most common one refers to him as the Bodhisattva who was born on the Mountain of Five Peaks in China. He went from China into Nepal, where he found a dried-up lake and with his wisdom and steadfastness raised a monastery on that lake and monks in Nepal began to practice. The aspect of Manjushri that I like a lot, and it comes up in the myths and the story of his life, is his decision to go down to the very bottom of the ocean and offer his wisdom and teaching to the snakes, the nagas, the serpent kings, who lived on the bottom of the ocean. I think this is pretty interesting because the serpent kings represent the passion of nature, the natural world, the untamed, uncontrollable, unpredictable universe

[22:51]

that's underneath the known world. And wisdom went down to the world of the snakes, the nagas, and enlightened, I think, 1,000 serpent kings is what they say, 1,000 snakes. And actually, you know, in the life, in the story of the life of Buddha, one of the most mysterious parts of that story is the part where, when accosted by Mara, the god of illusion, the lord of illusion, Buddha was protected by one of the naga serpent kings that came up from the bottom of the sea, twined around the tree where he was sitting, had two heads, and protected him from discouragement or moving, because Mara, the king of illusion, wanted Buddha to move. And with the wisdom of the serpent king, he was able not to move, to sit still. Now this is the position of Manjushri, Bodhisattva of Wisdom.

[23:51]

As I mentioned, he's often in the center of the meditation hall. In Japan, there's a rather lovely tradition of Manju, Shoso Manjushri is his name. Often he sits on a lion's back, and he carries certain emblems, which I'll talk to you a little bit about in a minute. In Japan, they believe that it's not necessary for him to sit on a lion's back, because not all beings can sit on a lion's back. It's enough that he sits in a chair, and he sits still. So you have a priest, you can be sure of that, a priest sitting in the center of the temple, on a chair, in a very solid form. And a very nice thing about this life inside of the zendo, or the soto, is that the monks in the winter, they're very careful to cover him with a special cloth, a blanket, so that he doesn't get cold. And that's called a hi. And so they wrap him up,

[24:55]

and then they unwrap him when the day warms up. And Hashimoto Roshi reminds us that don't think of Manjushri as someone outside of yourself. He sits in the center of the meditation hall, on a throne of mirror wisdom, the chair, ready to respond to that request in all of us, to develop our own wisdom and stability. And he centralizes that quality for everybody in the hall, so that each person who comes and sits in this hall or any other hall, devoted to meditation and to understanding the mind and responding to the cries of the world, develops and sustains Manjushri's wisdom, steadfastness. And we could look a little at the etymology of the word wisdom. Understanding of what is true, right, or lasting. The main route is to see. Wisdom sees. Wisago, in old high German,

[25:57]

it's a seer or a prophet. How about the wise, the wisecracker, comes from that. The irreverent person who sees and tells the truth. Going on in Greek, eidos or weidos, idle, old. And actually there's some possibility that the word Hades comes from the same root, which would be neat, because that would be Manjushri's vow to go down to the bottom of the world and to the unknown, even into the realm of death and enlightenment. Wit, knowledge, vide, videre, to see, to view, to bring into vision. And also Greek, ide or idea, Sanskrit, veda. These are all the roots of Manjushri's work. He's very rooted, I think. And I'm going to go into my compost because

[26:59]

when I think of Manjushri I see an undisturbed field or I also see a forest that hasn't been cut. You know, in the Middle Ages there was an admonition to fallow certain sections of your land in order that the land could regenerate from a time not your time, not human time. And when I think of Manjushri sitting in the center of the Zendo I get very strongly the image of a fallowed field, a field that's waiting and it's not visible what's happening except for this vast regeneration that comes when you leave well enough alone. Last June, Taratulku joined us here and I hope many of you it was dedicated to Manjushri.

[28:02]

He talked about... Manjushri Gosha. This is the Tibetan equivalent of Manjushri Bodhisattva. Manjushri... First of all, we can break that into three parts. Manjushri and Gosha. And I think in the name itself as in the roots of the word wisdom you can get a good sense of what's happening with this particular Bodhisattva. Manju is a clear, smooth, calm, soft mind. And with the invocation of that word Manju your mind smooths out and gets soft. Shri is Lord and actually represents glorious body or a shining body which is another attribute of this particular Bodhisattva. And Gosha means melodious speech in Tibetan. So do you see in this

[29:05]

particular Bodhisattva holder up of one of the pillars of the way there's purity of body, speech and mind. And Manjushri Gosha in Tibet is envisioned as a young boy, 16 year old boy, radiant, with a very calm appearance. And Taratruku told us that from the top of his head he emanates tiny little Buddhas, like a fog of Buddhas that go into your body and enter through your own mind and purify your own mind. If you take his position which is immovable, steadfast sitting position in anything you do, not necessarily this kind of sitting but any kind of sitting, can be the sitting in the Japanese monasteries in a chair. And Manjushri Gosha also from his heart

[30:05]

he emanates tiny little fog of Buddhas that can go into your heart to clarify and purify your body and then your speech from his mouth. He emanates tiny little tiny little, and they go right in through your mouth and clarify and purify your speech. So that's the advantage of perfect wisdom. Manjushri is often as I mentioned riding on a lion into the fearless realm carrying a sword in his right hand that cuts through delusions. It's often called the sword that gives life and takes away life. And in his left hand on his heart he's holding the stem of a blue lotus. The very tip of the blue lotus the stem is in his hand comes up and the very tip of the lotus

[31:06]

rests the Prajnaparamita scriptures or the scriptures of perfect wisdom. So I hope that's an introduction to these pillars. There's a wonderful story about the famous layman Vimalakirti who was a contemporary of Buddha's. He was married an excellent merchant successful in business and quite a marvelous teacher of Buddhism. He was ill one day and Buddha called to his disciples and he said who will go and see about Vimalakirti he's ill. None of them wanted to go because Vimalakirti had a mirror mind that showed them their own illusions and confusions all too clearly. I can't go, I don't feel so well besides he points out things about me

[32:06]

that I'd rather not see so maybe he should go instead or she should go instead. So his thought was who will go and see about Vimalakirti's health and it was Manjushri who decided to go into the well-swept room of the golden grain layman Vimalakirti. The well-swept room it was an empty tiny little room that opened out to include 32,000 I think I don't remember anyway huge numbers of celestial beings that all came in to hear them discuss the Dharma together. And in the Blue Cliff Record there's a neat story about Vimalakirti and Manjushri. They gathered together in his room and Vimalakirti asked Manjushri show me, tell me what you're this is after Manjushri's last of all

[33:07]

first he asked 32 other Bodhisattvas how they understood the Dharma gate of non-duality no right, no wrong no inside, no outside what is this Dharma gate of non-duality he asked them and they all gave very good dualistic answers but very sound doctrinally correct then finally he got around to Manjushri and he said so Manjushri what's the secret what's the Dharma gate to non-duality and Manjushri said to him I don't want to give it to you directly according to what I think in all things no words, no speech no demonstration and no recognition no questions and no answers this is the Dharma gate of non-duality and Manjushri said but wait a minute good sir what about you Vimalakirti what's the Dharma gate of non-duality and his famous answer was

[34:10]

complete silence I like this story because it means that even Manjushri descends to answer that question now we go to the other side of the gate and there's a stalwart post Avalokiteshvara regarder of the cries of the world the Bodhisattva of compassion hearer of the sounds of the world ocean of pity Avalokiteshvara has her origins because the form of this particular Bodhisattva is rather distinctive in the Buddha's iconography for taking a feminine form in many cultures she's seen as feminine with the exception of

[35:11]

India and Tibet there are pretty many feminine forms of Avalokiteshvara her name means regarder of the cries of the world or the great listener in the Buddha's pantheon this particular Bodhisattva emerged from the right eye of Akshobhya the infinite light the Buddha of infinite light came out of his right eye as a beam of light hit the ground and recited the famous mantra OM MANI PADME HUM which is, this may bring in a little bit of Buddhist lore for you that's the mantra that's used to call on compassion or help me respond to the suffering that I feel in every pore of my body all around me so when people felt that need they could call on Avalokiteshvara by reciting that mantra in about 700

[36:20]

in Tibet Avalokiteshvara was pretty dominant, again, always masculine always a masculine form and it wasn't until somewhere between the 7th century and the 12th century in China that the feminine aspect of this particular Bodhisattva began to ascend and nobody can actually pinpoint exactly how that happened some people think it might be because the classic representation of Avalokiteshvara was pretty fearful he often had 11 heads the top one had a little head of Akshobhya in the center of the headdress these heads looked in all directions and 1,000 arms to respond to all the different crying and requests from the world now, I think that this didn't somehow this didn't settle with the Chinese imagination they had a more classical sense of beauty and perfection

[37:22]

so somehow, and John Blofield thinks that it might be from a melting together of Tara who was the Bodhisattva of Compassion in Tibet and Avalokiteshvara together, somehow they got married and formed the rather beautiful Chinese Kuan Yin or the Bodhisattva that responds to the cries of the world that you can see in many statues now, there's a lot of folk history involved with Kuan Yin peasants and knowledgeable erudite people alike in China often seen carrying a basket of fish she arose on an island in the Chinese seas which is a direct connection with the abundance or the fecundity of life fertility of life she gathers fish feeds people and represents that same wisdom that Manjushri tapped into with the Serpent Kings

[38:27]

represents the wisdom of nature or the unpredictability of nature I do want to tell you the folk tale that arose in China associated with Kuan Yin it's a story of a temporal princess Miao Shan she was the daughter of a king I think in the 10th century or so in China and she was very protected she lived in a palace very cloistered by her father and she was very curious because there was a Taoist monastery nearby and she heard chanting and gongs and she always wanted to escape and go and see what was happening in this monastery this is a true story somewhat apocryphal she did finally one day get out of her temple her palace and she snuck at dawn up to this monastery and she was very devout every time she asked people would turn away and she figured it was because

[39:28]

they were so devout that they didn't want to trouble her or bother her or tell her about their practices so she was always very curious and finally she escaped actually it was a hornet's nest a den of iniquity this particular monastery she didn't know so in her innocence her father noticed that she was gone and assumed that she had some kind of clandestine liaison with a no good young man somewhere and heard that she was in this monastery so he burned the monastery to the ground pretty terrible he burned the monastery and she rose with a white dove to the heavens and went to her father and said I forgive you because now I have a sense of how much suffering and cruelty there is in the world both from your action

[40:29]

and from the action of these monks and I'm going to dedicate my life to helping people that need my help including you he said to her father although you'll remain childless the rest of your life I will respond to the cries of the world take care of children in the world do what I can to help alleviate suffering this was her vow and from the time of this legend and there are many other legends that fit into the Kuan Yin image Avalokiteshvara in China and Japan and other parts of both northern and southeastern Asia began to be represented in a feminine form responding to the cries of the world the earth goddess the bringer of crops the protector of the hungry the one who supers children

[41:30]

and helps answer women's requests for healthy happy childbirth and so on and so forth she is the active principal the one who responds to suffering compassion with passion with sympathy with with pity that's what the word means now you could say why do you have to look for suffering why does she have to respond to suffering there's so much suffering if you just sit completely still in the middle of the world that amount of suffering comes up and I think that's true but she represents which I think is very important for us in the Zen world too she represents actively participating in the suffering taking a stand

[42:30]

and moving moving from her steadfast sitting to respond a tiny bit of Tara she was born of a tear shed by Avalokiteshvara the legend looking at the world Avalokiteshvara cried a tear and Tara sprang out of the tear she's 16 years old just like Manjushri often is depicted 16 year old healthy, beautiful feminine form of compassion and she's much much revered in Tibet where her form is the green she takes the form of green and white Tara white Tara sitting cross-legged standing up ready to respond and move to the cries of the world and often Avalokiteshvara is depicted also with one foot up ready to go out into the fray

[43:32]

active position carrying a vase which from which she pours the nectar of understanding or nectar of wisdom and compassion she also carries a willow sprig in the other hand which represents medicine the willow is from willow from willow comes aspirin which relieves headache and pain that's taken from the willow plant and obviously they knew that in the ancient world the blue lotus is her seed the lotus is an interesting very interesting image because a lotus represents absolute purity growing out of the muddy water so you have this jewel of a flower coming out of dirt and it's the lotus that supports the

[44:37]

lotus when I think of Avalokiteshvara a lot comes up particularly this image of the compost maker the one who takes the suffering and transforms it into good soil for me she works just like the heat loving bacteria that begin to break down compost when it starts to work and she's just like all the different fungi that come in and absorb all that heat into their body and mature compost for me she works with decay the dark side of the world what you throw away what you can't stand what you don't want is good soil human root of human human life and in Hebrew which means

[45:50]

earth and man son of the earth Ben is sun and Adam is earth so that to me that's the way that I look at Avalokiteshvara so what can we do as people of the 20th century people of a century where 40 children are starving a minute where we spend in that same minute we spend about $171,000 on nuclear armament on destruction on taking apart the world and what do we do in a world that for every second 16 tons of topsoil the kind of topsoil that Avalokiteshvara spends her whole life trying to make goes out at the mouth of the Mississippi into the ocean

[46:51]

into the Gulf of Mexico so what's our responsibility as bodhisattvas training in the universal army to the request of our time I have a friend who's a clown and she works in she chose to work in children's hospitals where kids are dying of cancer terminally ill kids she works in burn units and also in units where there are kids who are terminally ill with cancer she tells a story of managing to cheer up kids her work was to cheer up kids however she could and one day going through the ward she met a little black boy who'd been in a huge fire and his face was

[47:52]

pretty much obliterated she couldn't tell where his mouth was she had her clown costume on too she couldn't tell where his eyes were exactly he looked like burned toast and frankly she was stopped dead in her tracks her compassion went a little bit she didn't know what to do she tells a story of a little kid skating down the road down the ward with his IV pole attached to him because it's hard for kids to stay still they have their IV poles on little runners so they could move around this one kid came skating down the hall and took a look at the crib this child the burned child was really a three year old baby looked at the crib where the little burned child was looked in and said oh you ugly just like that and my friend described a kind of a gurgling cackle come out of this face

[48:54]

this little mashed face and she said somehow the world came back into line for her and she realized that her kind of compassion had its limits and she had to respond no matter what somehow this little kid with the IV pole had found a way into the heart of the burned child more than she had been able to it helped her a whole lot afterwards she began to practice in a different way in that unit like when she was painting kids who were going through pretty severe chemotherapy she'd be real polite about it she'd paint their whole body like she'd paint the back of their heads too usually the kids were pretty sensitive to the fact that they didn't have any hair but she was able to change realms a little bit and play with that with that world and also once she described doing that on the little kid's head and the little kid said show a movie on my head so she put his head down and she got

[49:55]

a little movie crank and showed it on his head and I like this story because for me it represents a way to respond that is in line with what's needed in our time and for those of you who don't know this book by Ram Dass and Paul Gorman it's a real good book about how can I help it's called here's a little story being a long term patient it gives you a unique perception on the world and I have to laugh although sometimes I must say it's a little bittersweet naturally I'm seen as helpless they have to lift me move me deal with my bowels and all I don't look very nice or smell very nice I suppose what I often see coming in the room is what you might call central casting for a general hospital here comes miss aren't you looking better today which is funny to me since it's pretty clear I'm only barely holding my own interstage left

[50:55]

we have nurse wince it's hard for her to look at me she's afraid for her own mother that she'll end up like me the doctors stride in they should play pomp and circumstance over the PA system they're examining my case they find my case interesting my visitors they usually fall into the soap opera too and so do I I suppose on and on it goes you'd be surprised at the number of people who talk to you and can't look you in the eye even more than we normally can't look each other in the eye it's like a parade of attitudes in here it's funny I laugh I understand I really do I'm not a pretty picture their work is hard but sometimes I just want to cry out hello is anybody there hello hello in the blue click

[51:55]

record there's a story about the the monks that Blanche talked about last week the sweeping monks Yunyan and Daowu weren't sweeping this time this time Yunyan asked his brother Daowu what is this all about responding with a thousand arms and eyes hands and eyes how do you do that and Daowu said look it's like reaching backwards in the night for your pillow looking for your pillow and Yunyan said I understand Daowu said you do what do you understand and Yunyan said well it's like um all over my body there's hands and eyes and Daowu said well that's pretty good but it's only 80% right well then

[52:55]

how do you understand asked Yunyan and Daowu said throughout your body there are hands and eyes a thousand hands and eyes it's a little bit different but I leave it to you to to um ask yourselves you know how do we respond to the cries of the world like so we can ask each other um

[53:55]

how can I be that person what what do I have to do to be engaged and take responsibility for um the world that we're sailing across here's someone sitting on in the center of the meditation hall that doesn't move and there's another that responds

[54:57]

to cries of the world. She's always ready. So is he. I hope that we can find some way to take up this work in our time and place in the 20th century. Outside on the table I put some information about the Great Farth, the Tropical Rainfarth, and I hope when you leave, if you're interested,

[56:00]

you can take a look at this information. And I'd like to stop talking now and like we did last week, work on the, we'll chant together the Four Great Vows. I'm going to give you the revised edition again. Here it comes. I was writing these out and I realized it's Manjushri and Avalokiteshvara speaking to each other. Manjushri says, sentient beings are numberless and she answers, I vow to save them. Afflictions are inexhaustible. I vow defilements are inexhaustible. I vow to cut them. Channels to truth are immeasurable. I vow to enter them. Buddha's way is unsurpassable. I vow to become it. Thank you. Sentient beings

[57:03]

are numberless. I vow to save them.

[57:10]