Breathing In, Breathing Out

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SF-01146
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Sunday Lecture: simplicity; story of Prajnatara in Malawi; the sun comes up, the sun goes down; connections; the four foundations of mindfulness; Navajo rain dance

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today's the drew and got to target those words
whirring
did any of you go to see the blue angels yesterday
try to avoid
actually went on at first i was just gonna go up on the hill hairs and i thought i could see them but i couldn't see anything so i ended up in fort baker
lots of people
and i kept wondering what i was doing the her
and
there were lots of boats bay is a beautiful day
and after while they showed up and i kept feeling very frightened
i was worried that something terrible was going to happen
on
and while i was watching this sailboat when by right where i was sitting and as it passed so you can see the name on the back and it was the nirvana
so i left
the

well today i'm
really wanting to talk about simplicity
but every time i started to think about simplicity my mind and the entire world got extremely complicated
and that's not what i wanted to offer to you today so while i'm talking i'm going to remind myself this is about simplicity
been simple
so i like to start with a story from the book of serenity about a zen master master of simplicity who lived a long time ago
a raza of an east indian country and guided the twenty seventh buddhist ancestor pricing at tara to a feast the raja asked him why don't you read scripture
the ancestors said
this poor wayfaring doesn't dwell in the realms of the body and mind when breathing in
doesn't get involved in myriad circumstances when breathing out
i always reiterate such as scripture hundreds thousands millions of scrolls
miss poor wayfair doesn't dwell in the realms of the body or mind when breathing in
doesn't get involved in myriad circumstances when breathing out i always reiterate this scripture hundreds thousands millions of scrolls
for quite a few years now i've been participating with the marine interfaith council green oaks farm is a member of the council and on the board right now there is a rabbi and there has been a mom
sophie's
lutherans and lots of presbyterians on buddhist and hindu
and i really find the time i spend with the board ah
both
deeply inspiring and spiritually invigorating
so recently one of our members returned from my long trip to the country of malawi
and she said that malawi is perhaps the poorest nation on the planet earth
the average income their per person is twelve dollars a year
and she said that there is no there are no garbage cans in malawi because everything is used so they would have these rappers and things in their hands feeling embarrassed and sweet stuff
at the same at the same time that she was telling us about the financial poverty material poverty
excuse me
she also kept talking about the tremendous wealth
the culture and of the people
the wealth that showed up in the objects that she brought back with her these small bruise and pots toys all the same color and that she said the same color as the land and the same color as the people
there were extremely rich and physical contact with each other's bodies
the older people with the younger people the men with the men and women with the women the teenagers with the babies everybody was hugging and touching and singing and dancing together
she said one of the girls told her that she was quite old before she realized that she only had one woman had given birth to her

so i i met my friend on tuesday morning at a meeting
and it was my turn to share on
and when we share we read something from our traditions so i shared this story about pricing and tara
and afterwards each of the people say something in response some impression
and my friend's name is susan kirsch and she's from the unity church in novato
and susan said on there's a saying in malawi no no matter what happens you know people guy one day a man had drowned who is fishing babies were born and the people say commonly the sun comes up
the sun goes down

so that was tuesday morning and on wednesday morning as i stepped outside of this building it started to rain
very simple
very very good feeling

the remembering the rain reminded me of another story that i had read about a man who was slowly going blind
he wrote a book about his his experience going blind called touching the rock
i have a sister who's blind so i was very interested to hear what that might be like from someone who could perhaps so give me some more of the story of been blind
so he said that out at first he was a teenager when he began losing his sight and at first things were dim and eventually he could no longer remember the faces of his children or of his wife for even his own face for that matter
and this was a very darkest part of his experience
and then what helped him and his recovery is emotional recovery was the the days in which had rained
he said he would stand outside of his house and in the sound of the rain he could see his green lawn and the cars parked on the street and the rooftops of his neighbors' houses
so i think simplicity is like the rain for the blind man
it's a connector that brings together our inhalations to r exhalations
the summer to the fall
birth to our death
the earth to the sky
he when it rains i always feel as though there's plenty of time and plenty of room and not so many choices
babies are are good at it and old people are good at it and trees and buffalo and
alligators are good at it good at
simple living
so when i include in my thoughts the teachings of the buddha it occurs to me that the moment of his awakening was probably just like that very simple
for a simple
how quiet serene
calm under a tree
naturally loving
naturally clear sun comes up sun goes down wonderful how wonderful
so while i sat at my computer
contemplating this talk and these ideas about simplicity i looked around my room and here's what i saw
i made a list
hundreds of books
many unread dozens of little crafty things
ceramic bowls and animals bronze and wooden statues a paper machine mask that my daughter made in the second grade
paintings and weavings and photographs of my teachers of my family and my friends my cat and my daughter sabrina
furniture clothing office supplies electronic equipment bags for carrying things rocks of flute a teapot a jar of honey a baseball a hand puppet and o'clock
and that's not all
the other
at the zen center officers meeting last thursday i heard about a method of testing drinking water to find out if it's safe or not they put some kind of a sticky net into the water so a large volume passes through and all the little creatures that are in there are trapped in the net so
they can see if any of them are the kind that make human beings sick
so i think my room is like that like the nap
i have trapped a tremendous sampling of the world but i really don't know what to make of it all
so it sits there all around me a collection of samples that are speaking to me of who i am where i been
what i longed to be
but like the man who has lost his sight without the rain nothing at all can be seen
inhaling and exhaling standing walking sitting or lying down sun comes up sun goes down
among one of the earliest and simplest scriptures of the buddhist canon is the maha a potential suitor
a for foundations of mindfulness
which i didn't find to my left on the bookshelf while i was looking
very gratefully so
in this suitor the buddha is teaching in a market town called commerce dama to a tribe called the cuz
and he tells the people this there is a way to the purification of beans for overcoming sorrow and distress for the disappearance of pain and sadness and for the gaining of the right path and for the realization of nirvana
the way that the buddha teaches to the cruise is called the four foundations of mindfulness
so i was thinking it might be good for you to hear about the four foundations of mindfulness and i know some of you already have and perhaps many of you have not but either way all of us are fully equipped with the foundations on which mindfulness takes place
ace
those foundations are basically
simple the body is the first foundation
the feelings
the second the third is conscious mind
and the fourth are the objects of the conscious mind
so basically that's each and every one of us and the world that circulates both within and without
mindfulness is very much like the man listening for the sound of the rain
so the first contemplation the contemplation of the body this is from the suitor having gone into the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty room a person sits down cross legged holding their body
erect having established mindfulness before them
mindfully breathing in
mindfully breathing out
bringing in a long breath i know i breathed a long breath
i know i do a short breath
and so i trained myself thinking i will breathe and conscious of the whole body i will breathe out conscious of the whole body and so i trained myself thinking i will breathe in cami the whole bodily process
i o breathe out calming the whole bodily process

following this meditation there is a section called the insight
so during this meditation it's quite possible that the meditator will have an insight
and this is the one that is suggested for mindfulness of the body
it's a simple understanding
which is says said something like this
there is a body
from within this simple understanding the meditator abides independently not clinging to anything in the world
there is a body
so this insight is like the very moment when the blind man sees the green lawn
does not more and it's not worth less than that
there is a body

a body that does not cling to anything in the world body it is not different from the world
so this is a very important experience for a human being it's a moment of recognition a moment of presence and a particular sensation of freedom
however it is possible in fact it is highly probable that at this moment of seeing oneself as both simple and free the human being tries to make that experience into a thing
like a saleable named nirvana
we make we make these insights into things you are into some things or something that we have something that we know something that we are something that we can depend on
so within moments of unhooking from the complexity of imagining ourselves into the simplicity of being ourselves we are re hooked again
in the commentary section of case three it says this old fellow progeny antara partner tires the master and his story is old fellow pricing antara had no signs of greatness either he took a gourd water deeper
a and flipped it over once
the raja bowed in respect of that
what does he know
i say the king of a nation coveted one grain of another's rice
this or fellow crash near tara had no signs of greatness either he took a gourd water deeper and flipped it over once
the russia bowed and respect at that
what does he know i say the king of a nation coveted one grain of another's rice
so even a king surrounded by wealth and by servants and fails to know that there isn't something special that he lacks
personal entire it in his simple gesture of flipping the gourd looks to the king like a great master a great magician
and the king wants to know his secret
why don't you read scriptures
so the master tells him his secret
be ever mindful of your breathing
some gossip
sun goes down
so these are the simple teachings from the buddha ancestors who wish for us every success in our spiritual endeavors and yet like anxious parents they cover their eyes as we heedlessly speed along the path
searching for
don't
speeding along the path reminds me of a joke that my daughter told me yesterday
what does the snail say when he rides on the back of the turtle
anybody know
yeah to know the did you hear

so the ancestors kindly teach us the various pitfalls that may occur as we proceed along the way one of which has called having only one i
having only one i mused that we have come to an understanding for ourselves along
our own personal freedom
but we haven't yet clarified the i have objective reality of everything and everyone else
having only one i can lead to a very narrow and restricted adaptation of a spiritual life
you know clinging to scriptures bound by the tenants of morality
having to eyes is a real job and it's a job that takes every ounce of our courage and every ounce of our integrity and ordered to stand up in the midst of our fellow humans and to sing our song and to dance our dances even
one we really don't know how
i was very moved by this film little miss sunshine
now she redeemed her family by dancing even though she didn't know how wholeheartedly
this vicious competition of little girls are highly trained and dressed like poodles
and i felt redeemed sitting there and the audience to having been kind of worried about her you know nothing to worry about

jellyfish have no eyes in seeking food they must depend on products
when i read the stories from the ancestors i take them as signals to slow down and tube we commit my own daily practice to most basic an elemental
portions of this teaching i will breathe them calming the whole bodily process i will breathe out calming the whole bodily process

the second foundation of mindfulness is mindfulness of feeling
and again from the ceuta here a monk feeling a pleasant feeling knows that as a pleasant feeling feeling a painful feeling knows that as a painful feeling feeling a neutral feeling knows that as a neutral feeling
the insight that comes to the monk from this meditation is similar to the one that arose concerning the body there is a body only this time there is a feeling
once again the monk abides independent and not clinging to anything in the world
the third foundation of mindfulness is the contemplation of the mind here among knows a lustful mind as lustful a mind fruit from lost as free from lost a hateful mind as hateful
our mind free from hate as free from hate a deluded mind as diluted and so on up to a liberated mind as liberated
and and unlimited mind as unabated
to this time the inside arises there is mind
and the monk abides detached not grasping at anything in the world
the last
this is contemplation of the objects of the conscious mind
among the objects that are listed under this contemplation the buddha includes most of the traditional teachings in some great detail the five hindrances the five aggregates the twelve sense bases the seven factors of enlightenment and the four noble truths
following these contemplation the insight arises in the monk there are mind objects

and the monk abides detach not grasping at anything in the world when the lord spoke the monks rejoiced and we're delighted at his words so why is that why were they so happy
well i got pretty happy reading these these teachings myself because they're very simple
they're so simple you know
just like when it rains
there is a body there is a feeling there is a mind
there are objects of mind
that's all
and yet the question still remains what do i do with all of my stuff
i was thinking well eventually it'll all be put into boxes and taken to the goodwill by whatever's left of my friends and my family
and i thought they'll probably wish i'd done some of that work myself
recently my own brothers and my sister and eyes did this very same work for my mother who is still quite lively but we've really reduced her inventory
and she's really really mad
she said i don't understand why you've taken all of my things
and we don't want her to be mad but we couldn't fit it all into a room of my sister's house as it is she can barely get to embed
so we did our best to god as much as we could and news new shelves have been built and
but still what have you done why have you taken off my things
my mother's forgetting most everything but not that

so the next step the buddhist version of object relations is getting our second i
finding our second by
we have to have both eyes open and order to see how deeply we love and how truly we belong
i recently told my therapist that i had gone to borders and shopped for two thousand and seven calendar
the one i really liked was had pictures of wooden sailboats
and am
the feeling inside of me was like kind of soaring as i looked at these pictures of these boats under sail
and then i thought but i don't sale
and sailboats her for rich people or for people who love them so much they spend their lives building them and maintaining them
yeah so i've put the calendar back and instead i got one of vegetables
the vegetables that have been made into little animals
it's called play with your food
so my sometimes kindly therapist said
you don't have to be a dog to become a vet
down while i was trying to figure out what he meant by that
he said the people who know you and care about you will not be surprised at all to see that you have a calendar of wooden sailboats
they won't be surprised at all to see the collection of things your things reflecting who you are where you've been and what you live
how about you
so it's no coincidence that my favorite story from this and traditions about master on who is the founder of soto zen the school i'm sad that we ah
follow i guess here
so towards i lived in china and after many years of study he had only gotten one i fully opened the i of detachment and freedom from the world
but he was still looking he was looking for his other eye
so he went on a pilgrimage to find a teacher in order to help him in his search and as he was crossing the creek he looked into the water and saw his own image reflected there
both eyes were suddenly opened and he said perhaps with a face full of tears just this person just this person
he had found himself the missing piece of the puzzle
he was right where he had always been not dwelling and the realms of the body and mind not getting involved and married circumstances moving freely like the water and thinking freely like the wind
so this is object relations without the subject
there is a body there is feeling there is mind there are mind objects and that's all
there isn't any one missing and there isn't anything here
each moment his whole plain and simple just like a bagel
last summer i went with some families from here to the navajo lands where we camped for a week with several navajo elders and children from little singer community school last august when i spoke here i talked a lot about the
trip and i told stories of our time together for a meaningful trip for me and the people who went i know that the all spoken about it on
and i i know houses in kirsch feels coming back from malawi you know deeply touched by the lives of people the simple lives
of people who are close to the land and close to one another
and when we spoke about our experiences we were struck by the poverty we feel in our own our own community
in the poverty that people speak of and living so far away from each other
out of contact not touching
so my favorite story from the navajo land to place the last day of our trip
i told this in august and until now again we'd spent the morning and a hobby village where we've been invited to watch the contingent dances that were being done by one hundred men and identical masks and in traditional dress and they were going to be dancing all day long pair
these simple steps to interim back and forth big spiral of men
and we watched from the rooftops of the pueblo
and then we said our goodbyes at mid-morning we took off across the desert each in our own family cars
when my family got to flagstaff up in the mountains the sky was quite black
oh i don't know if i mentioned the dance these men were doing with a rain dance
there have been for years of drought on i miss us
so i called on my cellphone i called at a surely the woman from little singer my friend
i set out what's what's happening she said gray matter of factly it's starting to rain
some comes up some those down
so i want to finish with the verse from a case that i read
case three of the book of serenity
a cloud rhino gazes at the moon it's light in golfing radiance
a wooden horse romps and spring swift and unbridled under the eyebrows a pair of cold blue eyes how can the reading of scriptures reached the piercing of oxide
the clear mind produces vast aeons heroic power smashes the double enclosure
the mouth of the pivot turns the spiritual work
hunch on forgot the road by which he came shitty led him back by that
thank you very much
the our intention