Buddhism, Christianity, War and Peace

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

This talk will not appear in the main Search results:

Sunday Lecture: Two types of training: compassion and wisdom (wisdom: the entire universe is the true human body); US history; Christianity (is evil 'outside' or not); Mara compared with Devil; Review of "Passion of the Christ"

Auto-Generated Transcript

good morning

the entire universe in the ten directions is the true human body
the entire universe and the ten directions is the true human body
so i was imagining the all of us are probably pretty upset
by the terrible news that keeps coming into our homes too
televisions and radios newspapers internet's
all the portholes of information
about the entire universe and the ten directions
this true human body
and at the very same moments
birds are singing prague prague game flowers are blooming

no it's a great thing to live
on the coast of california in the spring

so what i've noticed to in this contrast emotional contrast
my heart is splitting
between a conjoined twins of great joy and great sorrow
and the buddha said the hearts don't come in any other way
to have a heart is to love things and what we love when you're gone we terribly suffer

so i would like to sit for just a moment or two a silently with you and ask you to
listen to your own hearts
and perhaps if you're lucky if i'm lucky quiet the incessant chatter have the human mind


i was sitting in a lecture here one day when head brown some
adjusted this silent moment and there was an earthquake at that time

the teachings of the buddha come in basically two types
two categories
one category are the teachings of compassion
like the precepts
don't harm other beings don't lie on steal pretty basic stuff
the nice a kind
and the other type of teaching or the wisdom teachings like the heart sutra no eyes no ears no knows no time
no body no mind

here's to teachings are understood to be like the wings of a bird ah without two wings a bird count fly
or if one wing is a lot stronger than the other than the bird is pretty lopsided are no can't get off the ground
when compassion is too strong it can become a kind of ineffectual and even even harmful sentimentality
and when wisdom is too strong it can become a kind of intellectual exercise to spinning round and round in our in our heads
out of touch with our feelings
so the bird has to have two strong wings in order to fly
i am looking at and listening to the world these days for me mostly on npr
i drive around in my car
it seems that the standards of compassion in the world are pretty much the same all around you know
it's sad
to be polite and kind and to not
how torture people are not blow them up and so on this is pretty much the standard
among human beings
but when we talk about the wisdom teachings i think i start to notice that an appearance of difference in the great spiritual traditions of the world
then i wonder if that's a real difference i i don't think so
but it kind of looks that way so that's what i wanna talk about today
this line from zen master dogan the entire world and the ten directions is the true human body is an example from the buddhist tradition of a wisdom teaching
it's deceptively simple
just a one sentence maybe eight words or so
but embedded in that one sentence are the two major principles of buddhist philosophy
and i
those principles that are call the two principles
the first principle is the ultimate truth
the ultimate truth
the ultimate truth is reality itself
the entire universe in the ten directions is the ultimate truth
kind of hard to play with not much to say whatever we say is incomplete
including the entire world and the ten directions is the true human body just words
so words are a second principle
everything we say everything we do his second principle relative truth just it's partial it's not complete
but we need the relative truth like we need a finger in order to point at
the whole works the entirety
the ineffable truth the ultimate so we we use words to point at the big truth
so words can come in two forms there are words that are useful and beneficial those are comically good words to use and their words that are harmful and destructive and those are comically bad words to use and i think we all know the difference
and the outcomes in our choice of words are usually pretty clear
so although we can't state the ultimate truth in words we can realize it we can awaken to it because in fact it's what we are
we are reality itself
the entire universe and the ten directions is the true human body you know what else could we be
the only alternative is that there is me and the rest of the universe
and i'm left out
well i've i don't think that's fair so i choose not to believe that
and i'm suggesting that you do the same
when the buddha awakened he said i and all things like one word i and all things
i am the truth of reality i and all things together
here's the truth of reality this was his enlightenment is not not much more to it than that
he was sitting under a tree had been struggling for almost a week
grumbling and complaining and why me
so on incessant chatter of the human mind
just like the rest of us and then all of a sudden
he woke up
he was sitting there looking at a star and he became filled with the great love for all things
and as you all know if you've ever been in love and i'm sure you have when you're in love the whole world is a glow
nothing's left out
everything's beautiful
nothing outside nothing inside
true human body complete
it's called love
the opposite is called hate and when we hate when we're afraid then we have enemies and even our friends our enemies
nothing he's okay
so zen training is concerned entirely with trying to help all of us to wake up to the true human body one by one by one there's a great story i heard from them tibetan tantric dancer who
who will be visiting here hopefully june to demonstrate his beautiful craft help you cannot come
ah he told a story that i don't know how many of you have seen the wheel of life for the
the buddhist tomko that has the whole world the whole universe painted in states of mind and hell realms and hungry ghosts and so on big big circle and holding the circle is this angry looking damond
and this and this man this dancer told us that that angry damon was avalokiteshvara is the bodhisattva of compassion of all things and he said what happened was abelow keep this far i knew that he was supposed to waken help people wake up one by one by one but he got kind of
tired of doing it that way so he decided to take the whole universe and wake everybody up at the same time but he got stuck
and it didn't work
so that's why he's so mad he can't put it down
so one by one by one the only way
so when we wake up to non separation to nothing outside and nothing inside no separate self as the buddha did in that morning under the tree then
it's very quiet except for the bees buzzing birds singing and flowers blooming
a very nice place to be
marine county
in the spring
what the buddha discovered ah at the time of his enlightenment was that the problem he'd been having was a problem of the mind problem of thinking
and i often use the example of my daughter ah
i know when she gets older she's gonna tell me to stop doing that all of the kids here do stop talking about me but anyway
hah whenever she's asking for or demanding anything i remind her the problem is not with the cookie sabrina it's in your noodle
and then she says start giving me that buddhist stuff man
i'm getting tired of it
so we have a problem in the problem is how we think this is what the buddha taught and new
but that's the good news because if it's the how we think than we can actually change the way we think we can we already have many times since you were children we can do it again and again and again
we can even stop thinking for a while this is called samanta tranquility put the mind at rest relax take a break
to wonderful the highest form of ecstatic joy sweat mr emerson said
nothing better
and the other way we can think is to think rationally and accurately about the problems of the world
this is called the personal or insight
so first we calm the mind and then we think clearly
what are we going to do
the entire universe and the ten directions is the true human body
so all of us know about the workings of the human mind and the ball been working with a human mind for all of our lives
and we do know that when we're angry when one were upset our mind in our body contract we pull back
and we also know that when we're open and loving the mind and body open and expand welcome welcome the world
so this is from the dhamma potter it's very important hers i i shared it here many times for important to me
very very old cetera
several thousand years ago
he beat me he robbed me they cheated me those who think such thoughts will not be free from hate
he beat me she robbed me they cheated me those who think not such thoughts will be free from hate for hate does not conquer hate
hey does not conquer head
hate is conquered by love this is the eternal law
many do not know that we are here in this world to live in harmony with one another those who know this do not fight against each other
i recently i was invited to join a panel by them written interfaith council
discuss the movie the passion of christ
i'm curious how many of you actually saw this movie anybody
oh when this panel gathered no one but the people on the panel had seen the movie
we can say anything you know

so i've been a little nervous about seeing the film i'd heard how violent it was kind of hard for me to get those images out of my mind so i tend to not
go too far
and but i wanted to be on the panel so
i got some friends to go with be only when
and when i got to the church where the panel was going to take place up there were three of us and on my left was a young nice looking
male catholic priest
and on my right was a young nice looking female rabbi
and i said to the moderator when he showed me where i was gonna be sitting they said am i the referee
and he said kind of soberly we don't like to think like that
the and i kind of
i felt like embarrassed
because i do think like that in all the time
so i want to share some of the ideas that i brought up the panel with you and a few other ideas as well
i'm afraid i have almost the kitchen sink in this talk today so i'm sorry
anyway it's hard to cover the whole history of the world and forty minutes is what i've discovered but i'm gonna try so
so what inspired me to study and look into christianity which is the faith of my parents and grandparents i think although we're not so sure anymore
my grandmother's maiden name was gold
anyway something happened there and
but i grew up in the episcopal church
which i like very much
then i became a teenager
something changed that of the what happened but i was crazy for a while
but i so that was part of it but the other part of it was really taken to heart with the dalai lama said to us after nine eleven i don't know if any of you read his lecture heard him talk but he said don't look for blame look for causes
what are the causes of this terrible suffering and i was i was really touched by that and and so i've i've been doing that i've been reading a lot about american history world history and i'm going to recommend a few books to that probably you've already read
ed but
very important to me what modern scholarship is allowing us to see him deeply into our own past
so these are old conflicts all of them their ancient we've been fighting since you know the first cells of course started to figure out how they can eat each other
and on it's gone on it's goes you know there were the toronto sources that didn't work very well and the mammals and
and as jared diamond describes us in the book the third chimpanzee for a long time we just lived on the earth very like the chimpanzee is due today we traveled around in little groups eating whatever we can find and meet him and i was about it
and then at some point maybe be thirteen thousand years ago we started to form larger bands
and then tribes and then we domesticated plants and animals and we made villages and kingdoms and empires all within thirteen thousand years that's pretty fast
that's pretty fast
and we have been in conflict with each other as our populations grew
and we came in more contact with each other and those conflicts had been over food territory
ideas morality resources
but basically it all comes down to valuing myself my family and my ideas or yours
which is not hard to do
p noticed
so these are the workings of self-centeredness and of hatred
and this is what the buddha has taught us to look at and to come to understand it's the cause and the source of are suffering and will be till the end of time if we don't stop
so along with jared diamond's wonderful book guns germs and steel which talks about these thirteen thousand years a lucid wonderful way i also bought
a the new
oxford annotated bible
elaine pages gnostic gospels and her latest book called beyond belief which gives an remarkable history of christianity and how certain gospels were chosen for the new testament and others were left out and why
i'm very interesting
very interesting very important
this curiosity about the history of christianity which of course has had an obviously enormous impact on the globe as halves islamic faith as has buddhism he's a great traditions of the human species great traditions of ideas and beliefs
so the history of christianity for me while dovetailed very nicely with the studies i did last year around the american revolution it is also very fascinating and you probably know these two books while just throw them out the founding brothers
by joseph ellis and john adams
by david color
hearing fascinating this were real people jefferson was a real guy know not just a picture in my third grade classroom they were real people and they had their weaknesses in their strengths and their beauty in their courage and all kinds of qualities that were remarkable and very human
mr jefferson was an atheist
i didn't know that nobody told me that
he believed in the principles of the french revolution
and of the roman republic he'd read cicero in the latin
and of the greek democracies that was his faith in reason
the european enlightenment
mr adams lovely man brilliant man and his wonderful wife abigail were devout christians
and he didn't understand mr jefferson and even though they worked together for their whole lives making this nation
in an image of you know
liberty and equality and all those values that we've heard since we were children they really believed those things and they welcome now
they embedded them in our constitution as we know
and the most amazing thing that i learned of all the things i learned in reading these books was that mr jefferson and mr adams a very old man
at the end of their lives living hundreds of miles apart from each other no telephones no internet
both died on the same day
you know what day that was
somebody does i'm sure july fourth
eighteen twenty six fifty years the anniversary fiftieth anniversary of the american revolution
huh magazine there's something magical area
hum things sacred
so these ideas liberty and equality fraternity and sorority are very old ideas they've been in human society for centuries for millennia
since the beginning of time perhaps
because they're within the human heart they're alive in us today

the entire universe and the ten directions is the true human body
so i'm planning to continue to study i'm want to learn more about the muslims and the islamic societies another great
ah human formation that i know very little about
and i want to get all the puzzle pieces if i can within my lifetime around me on the floor
and i have this deep wish they'd just just for second someone would let me look at the backstop
just for a little reassurance that the pieces all fit together and that there is a possibility of harmony from this earth
as far as the interfaith panel and our discussion there
the first thing i had to say was that the crucifixion of jesus christ
as far as i knew at that time was a very tiny slice of an enormous and complex
puzzle and it was a slice that i didn't really fully understand
why among all the terrible violence on the earth was that one so important and has become so important in the history of the world i didn't understand so i asked a dear friend one of the men who lives here same as a manual is has taken name
christian name who lived for many years in a monastery
why is this such an important story can we please tell me
and he did and i i was amazed
and i'll give you the short him
so in ancient days in jerusalem there was a temple and in the temple was a stone altar
and the jewish people who were nomadic and hurting and were hurting people they had animals that were precious to them animals with the source of life they were sacred
they would sacrifice animals on the stone altar and that blood of those sacrifices was sprinkled on the people to free them of their sins
so there was a sect of the jewish people
who's young rabbi was named jesus
and he said many lovely things as we all know and was much loved by his disciples
and he got in trouble with the authorities
majorities in those days where an occupying power called the roman empire
and they crucified him and above his cross they put the words king of the jews
so the people who love this man who were jews themselves
we're heartbroken and they believe sincerely that this man had been a child of god and indeed he was as are we all
and that the child of god this blood sacrifice had crumbs the entire world of it's since
miss a beautiful thought and it's a beautiful blessing that we could buy such sacrifice cleanse ourselves of such sam
that we continue
to perpetrate against one another
so i didn't know any of this
and i didn't know that when the jewish people were thrown out of jerusalem several centuries later when a hundred years later
by the romans for defying roman authority
they tore down there temple leaving only a wall a wailing wall for them to cry at
the loss of their country their culture their tradition
and they had to travel
forever on the roads of the world
and among them were the christians the sect of jews called the christians who got in trouble with the main body of people because they kept insisting that their teacher
was the child of god the son of god the one son of god
so they were exiled as well
and they traveled on the roads
hmm perhaps they had good fortune i don't know but they converted the roman empire
which became the holy roman empire
and know the rest
great strong powerful empire
centered in rome to this day
empire of faith

so i didn't know any of this you know any of it i didn't know as a child raised a christian the jesus was jewish
or that he was a rabbi
all i knew is that
you know we celebrated with symbols very special days which i still celebrate christmas easter with easter baskets and christmas trees
and communion holy communion
that's all i knew really and i love those things i still love those things
but this story has had a big impact on my understanding of the great forces of hatred and revenge that have plagued humankind for centuries these are family feuds in every nation not just the christian world every nation of the world
old has engaged in and family feuds throughout our history
and these feuds are fed by long held and unquestioned beliefs
and for some there's a belief in a jealous god
the own children
in the outer fringes of the roman empire long long ago
but i believe that that sounds a lot more like human behavior
that's the way humans are
i don't believe that the great ultimate truth behaves in that way
ultimate truth is the love for all things
without exception
so the second major concern that i raised during the panel concerning this film was the depiction of evil and good as coming from outside
now in the eyes of jesus says he appears in the film
ah who you know mel gibson's sincerely professes to love this this jesus
the devil is shown to be the sinister gender bending creature that lurks at the periphery of the clock of the crowds as jesus has been tortured
hannibal marrying and laughing smirking
if the maggot coming out of his nose every once in awhile
that's the devil out there
and at the end of the film there's an enormous tear that drops out of the sky
as the messiah the young messiah is dying you know from heaven
up in the sky
and i know as children that we think that way you know heaven is up in the sky in the devil is down in their dirt near
but where is devil wears the devil where is where is the sacred
where can we find it
so i want to propose at this depiction of good and evil as external creates a mean spiritedness in a human being
as though we can actually separate out or eliminate from our lives things which offenders which which make us uncomfortable or afraid
micah homosexuals for example
mel gibson goes so far as to depict herod as on a very badly dressed and overly made up homosexual who who's kissing another man and making fun of the messiah and jesus is shown not looking at this man
or talking to him when he speaks to him
not responding he shunned him and i thought that mean
that's me i'm mel
he also shows jesus this saintly man stomping on the head of a snake
the snake is representing evil but he steps on a snake
that's not nice i can't imagine the saintly person doing such a thing it protect the snake
so to my eyes there was something cruel really off about this gentle st harming are shunning anyone
great love connects us to all things
only hatred and fear cause us to turn away
in the story of the buddha's own awakening which is parallel to the time in the garden get emily
there is a very similar depiction of satan or the devil what's called morrow the evil one in the buddhist tradition and mara is also lurking on the edge of the crowd
in this case would is sitting under a tree
ann mara appears and says to the boot i i will destroy you if you don't get up from this place
and buddha doesn't move
and so mara sends an army of of
angry hateful means to attack the buddha
and still the buddha doesn't move
so the army vanishes
it's like that it
and then maher says to the buddha
okay i'm now gonna send my greatest force
lust desire and boredom
so outcome the dancing girls and the dancing boys
mmm smoking cigarettes
and again the buddha doesn't move
and again
they vanish so finally the buddha has faced by mara
herself himself hard to tell just a foggy apparition
and morris's i've i've had it with you i will not destroy you and buddha said no he won't because i know who you are
mara gets a little nervous says no you don't you don't know who i am
in buddha says yes i do know who you are you are myself
and with that moron vanishes
in the buddha is sitting quietly under the tree the birds are singing bees are buzzing
but as basic insight was that violence hatred last theft and lies are the natural consequences of a belief in a separate self
herself with a god-sized whole rather than one whole god's high self super-sized
however just like us
so the last point i want me about the film has to do with the encounter between jesus and pontius pilate it takes place at the top of a long flight of stone steps
pilot is depicted as a very handsome
white heterosexual male
canada younger version of mr gibson
and he appears to be torn by the weight of his responsibilities and his moral uncertainty
so jesus who has already been severely beaten is called to the top of the stone stairs to stand beside brabus a mass murderer
so that the people might choose which of these will be crucified and mob yells out give us brabus save brabus crucify the rabbi
a troublemaker
so pilot makes one last effort to talk to jesus to try to understand who he is and this is the most interesting moment of the film for me anyway
ah bra miss pilot mr pilot invites jesus into his chamber and he faces him if this is like docusign face to face with the teacher
and he says to jesus
you know who are you
and jesus said i teach the truth
and pilot says what is the truth
what is the truth
and right at that moment mel gibson cuts to another scene
so when i left the film i thought mel gibson doesn't know

he doesn't understand the wisdom teachings of his own tradition so he can't teach them
the bird of his impassioned craft is without a wing and perhaps without two wings
there's a parallel story in the zen tradition in a famous encounter between emperor wu the emperor of china and bodhi dharma the indian master who came to china to teach them
would like mel gibson mama said devoutly religious man
but like our political leaders today he also had a lot of power over other people's lives
he'd built many temples ordained lots of monks and one many wars
when bodhidharma arrived in india from the buddhist hometown pamper asked him for a meeting
nampa said to body diamond what is the highest meaning of the holy truth
what is the truth same question
bodhidharma replied vast emptiness nothing holy
vast emptiness nothing
the entire universe and the ten directions is the true human body
this is the first principle
pointing out the ineffable
and then the emperor said who are you facing me
and at that moment perhaps the emperor is the one who was externalizing evil and good
who are you facing me
and bodhi replied don't know
pretty brave
don't know
again pointing at the ineffable
the ungraspable truth of being itself
the word bodhi dharma means the teaching of awakening
of non separation
and actually the emperor was talking to himself
just like the young indian prince in the garden
i know who you are you are myself had he seen that body got dharma would never have left in the first place they could have had a party
a great celebration
so the very last thing i have to say
is that for me personally
a great gift of the experience of reconsidering the spiritual traditions of my family and of my ancestors
has been the realization that i am not a boost
i am soto zen priest trained in the buddha's teaching
but those teachings are not buddhist
they're universal
they belong to all human beings the teachings of wisdom teachings of compassion
and they come from all the spiritual traditions we just have to look for them
very carefully
and when both sides are strong than the bird will fly
but when one side dominates over another
and for all of us it's going to be a very very long walk
of all the articles that i read criticizing the film and mel gibson for making it
only one of them actually surprised me
and it was in the reader's digest
the interviewer asked mel gibson this question what did you hope would be in the headlines of the biggest newspaper in america the day after the passion was released
and mel gibson replied more ends
war ends
i can certainly join him in that intention
and i can only hope that all of us can help him and each other to find the missing pieces of skillful means and universal wisdom in order to make such a dream come true
thank you very much

may or in