December 9th, 2002, Serial No. 00978

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i actually want to start this morning
with a song
it's a song about dropping body and mind and
how about if i think i think at once so first for me this is this is my my jumping off a hundred foot pole
i think at once
you'll see you probably all know what i don't know but with you know it or not
just come on in the second time and would sing it three times together
because like this
a whole no body home no he no drink no money have we done step we will be mad a
no binary on the no dairy no money yeah we still we will be merry
nobody home he really no money have we known stay that way when the matter a
nobody home know the no money have we staff stairway when a man

i have no idea where that song comes from or what it means or when i learned it in my life but a tongue it came up from yesterday sometime yesterday afternoon and in zazen and i noticed it brought tears to my eyes and
i wanted to am i i wanted to share it
yeah i've been feeling how i feel a little bit like can hear me better now
i've been feeling a little bit
a little bit like cinderella in that tongue this time for me as she so
no four days from now at them
need you have still not here said okay
four days from now at the stroke of midnight i
i don't know what i turn into but i know that i i stopped being she so
and i've noticed that i've actually become become kind of attached and mom
i was i'm imagining
going home and i particularly become attached to
ringing the wake up bill and doing the the morning gender
and i was thinking about being at home and starting to bring the wake up bell and do the morning jimdo
i'm and then the next thought i had was that i might have to start going to my local she says anonymous meetings
you know someone
someone asked
after i think after saturday lecture
a few weeks ago i was a question and answer
and the first question that someone asked was they said it seems like
when i come to these these then talks people are always some funny and kind of humorous and self self effacing in some way and i immediately felt my session mind you know and i looked i looked at them and i thought you know how could you not spend
days looking at the wall and feel that it's funny
and i am
and at that time i i immediately made up his joke i turned to this person and said what's the difference between a stand up comedy routine and as a lecture and he he looked at me and i said stand up comedy isn't always funny

here we are in session
and during session we
we create this container for ourselves
in which return up the heat
on our lives and our intention
and i know that i know that i told this story
during my way seeking nine talk but it seems it seems so right during session it was about
when i learn to weld when harry roberts taught me to weld and the in this was
oh almost twenty five years ago at green gulch and he said the secret of welding is to see that that everything is actually liquid and that what we're doing by welding is were applying heat to things that just appear as solid and were up
applying them to our to our natural state

those guys are taking things that look solid and applying them to their natural state
but harry also said that
that this this image this feeling space about welding is also true in our lives that
our lives are are are very fluid that we just we just think that it just looks like things are the way that they are
things just looks still
he said actually
what's real is that we haven't we haven't even been born yet and we've already died that this idea that we have about time and space is on is is no better it's no it's no different an idea know better and idea again
this the reality of our lives which is that
we just don't we just don't know who we are and where we are whether we've been born
whether we've already died
and sixteen session is a chance to
kind of make it make resolve and have this son to put ourselves in this container and i noticed there are many ways when you know putting ourselves into container can can bring up things that we
that we may not expect we do that you know like it's like studying for a test at the last minute or
we're having to write a book having a deadline having something having something in which there's a certain period of time in which to do and sixteen is like that a chance to really go deeply and to
to engage our minds i mean i also think of it's it's also a lot like
we create a crisis for ourselves it's it's were in each period we have a crisis to deal with the crisis of of us and that's like people can do amazing things during times of crisis you know it's like when when your friend is hurt and stuck under some heavy
wait you could suddenly lift a weight far beyond what you could lift if it weren't for that crisis and
sixteen is like that

i've also been feeling this
i've been feeling the container of sixteen and i've also been feeling the the container and space of the upcoming she's so ceremony
as you probably know or may or may or may not know the best machine ends with this she's so ceremony in which each person brings a question
and i was thinking as i was thinking about this
and says shane i realized that don't be
don't need to think so much about what your question is for that she so sort of money but i do suggest that you can use some of this time during sixteen to think about your question to think about what
what is in your heart what what question
comes up for you when you put aside thinking mind when you put aside all of them were his concerns about your your life and the world and
what is your deepest question
and i think of it as this we have this chance to apply heat and it's a little bit like know the the earth's surface this planet that we come from again it it just looks it just looks solid but underneath its bubbly
and that the image i haven't i was thinking about this was that are says she and is a chance to heat to hear that
what looks like that solemn this below the surface and
let the fluidity of our lives for let the those plates that we have let them start to move and see what bubbles up see what question comes up
i've been
as you can tell you know i've been
in some way trying to prepare it seems like an outrageous word for this she's so ceremony it's like preparing for your life
i did go to the library to find the question and answer book and it was already gone so if you have it please return the book
but i
some people have already tipped me off as year
the questions i have no right the a few people and and all of us together and in studying i thought of
three questions that came up for me that seem
really relevant to
this machine and and to our lives
and those those three questions that i came up with our
how do you step from the top of one hundred foot pole
when the bell rings we come to the zendo why
and there's so much suffering in the world
what are we doing here in the zendo
i'm sorry if that was one of your questions but you know it's it's actually it's still good these questions are on
there there are questions that should come from our hearts and it doesn't we can all asked the same question
and actually my answer to all three questions
was the same my answer was yes to offer it
that all three questions are
our about exploring the nature of reality about awakening about ordinary mind
these questions or are questions that come from the hearts of teachers of ancient teachers from long ago
who are sitting and came up with these questions

the first question is how do you step from the top of one hundred foot pole
and this is one where you know suzuki roshi says yes you know just
just give yourself over to being to being here doing what you're doing and realized that
there is no
we're not at the top of one hundred foot pole where we're living our lives we're doing just what we're doing and we are at the top of one hundred foot pole
we're in that place where
we have to do something we have no choice but to do something
in the
you know this is a a famous khan and in the commentary
commentary to this cohen says although you have entered the way it is not yet genuine
take a step
and the worlds of the ten directions or your total body
so i think it's
i see that as pointing to this kind of fluidity that's fluid world that harry roberts was talking about this world this world beyond
birth and death this world where we don't we don't know we're at the top of one hundred foot pole
and we have to do something
one of the
one of the questions i realized i
i spent about a year or year and a half with the question of asking myself what is my life what's what's most important in my life and and so you need to be a little careful about these questions because that's kind of how i ended up here as as she served it over and over again with their quest
and what
what i kept coming back to was that my life was about practice
you know this this column about the hundred foot pole there's a lot of discussion about your enlightenment and we and we talk a lot there's there's a lot of talk about enlightenment and
i think of them
you probably are all familiar with this story
so i think it's in the introduction to zen mind beginner's mind where houston smith is interviewing suzuki roshi and he says to secure see why is it that you and this whole book you will rarely almost never talk about enlightenment and oxon suzuki roshi his wife liens
over to houston smith and and whispers because he's never had it and and suzuki roshi can hits her with this
this mock hits or with a fan but i think it can be a little troubling this some
no enlightenment feels it feels like the sclerosis stagnant ending point and
come over and over again fact i was
reading something from dogan where dogan says that when we've reached complete enlightenment
don't think that this is the ending place this is complete enlightenment means that we become aware of our inefficiencies we become aware of what else we need to work on
i also thought when i was thinking about this this call on about
being at the top of one hundred foot pole
made me think of the
tossa her a bobcat and went on
tf view and paul were at tassajara land is bob cat wandered in and
i was particularly thinking of it during this time because it was at a it was during a choice on ceremony
when we're in the middle of the ceremony i just started shows on is this question and answer with the abbot and this bob cat leapt through the window which was up five or six feet high
into the zendo the middle of the ceremony and it was quite striking and
was incredible energy and as this bob cat leapt and
i've been thinking about this bobcat while i've been sitting because it was so the way that it the way that it felt
it was just so powerful and full of energy and completely aware of everything around them and yet it was some very very calm and and still in the way
i remember one day the buck it seem to it seemed to like hanging out at the baths and i can remember one day i was going to take a bath and when i reached for the little cork little rubber plug to stop the water the bobcat came
over and took it
and it was kind of is pretty playful but i think it also liked i think it was building a nest nesters something it likes these these materials that came over and took this plug and i didn't like that so much because i wasn't able to take a bath so i i started you know kind of calling after it to try and get the plug back and it kept walking away
i i have kept following it and i walked over the bridge onto the other side of the road and it it started to go up to the hill and there i was i didn't have my shoes on i was following the bobcat and suddenly it it turned it turned towards me and
it made it really clear that it was not playing and that this plug was it's plug and i said yes
this is this is your this is your blood
it's also thinking in relation to this some
in relation to this questions at the top of one hundred foot pole and and in some way relation to all these questions
i was reading this early poly ceuta called the meguiar suitor
and it's one of the old on the old teachings when the old records of the words of the buddha and ah
quite unique it's really really really beautiful it's about this this young monk gaia who asked the buddha he says to the buddha that he wants to go off by himself and go sit in meditation
is ready so the buddha says no
and guy asked again and get the buddhist says no in the guy asks a third time and this time
buddhist as fine go ahead so it's wonderful that way even to see that part of the buddha who says no but then and it gives in
and some a guy who goes off by himself into the the mango grove to to go meditate and he's not able to concentrate he's filled with is filled with thoughts of
with greed and hate and lust and and
and he he returns to the buddha and he comes and says i'm is very kind of open childlike way says says to the buddha i wasn't able to concentrate my mind was filled with thoughts of of greed and less
last but it's but it's such a kind of he says that in this various sort of wonderful accepting way which is just curious and i think i think that's also a wonderful lesson for us to approach our to approach what comes up for us in our in our meditation with that kind of appreciation and curiosity
that oh look what's coming up
and the buddha says
the buddhist response
it's also quite beautiful he says
when the hearts release it's immature
there are five things that are conducive to its maturity
again i thought that was really beautiful the hearts release being a true
very different i think
there's nothing wrong with this some enlightenment but there's something stagnant about it hearts maturing the hearts release feels like this
ongoing process that's never ending process
the first thing that the buddha says to me gaia as a way to mature the hearts release
is to develop a lovely intimacy
a lovely friendship
a lovely comradeship
again i was struck by i talked a little about this in our small groups but
i was struck by buddhists recommendation
and that on
to see the to see the power in what we can how we can mature our heart through through our relationships through getting to really touch other people
but to have a lovely relationship all starts here all starts with our with our vote doesn't practice with having a relationship with ourselves with really getting
really getting to know ourselves
i was i was struck in the for me in the week the week before session
i noticed how my body started preparing for says she and i don't know if any have you noticed that also but my my sleeping patterns were different my eating patterns were different and and i felt i felt myself starting to enter into this kind of sixteen mind and and i
actually i had this wonderful experience with a a coworker with a woman who i've been
and business partners with for a few years and we've had this impasse in which
she's been expressing over and over again that for some way in which she
some way that she feels not really appreciated by me and and of course you know when someone says that they that they don't feel appreciated by me and i and my
i of course of course thought well what is it about her that she can feel appreciated must know what is her problem
am i appreciate her and and i'm expressing appreciation and i started to we were sitting she and she came to me it's just a few days before sixteen as she was really concerned and
and i started talking and i said yeah there's that there's some problem here but there's some gap between you're not feeling appreciated and me
feeling that i do appreciate you and then i felt something in the open
i i felt like something came up which i had been kind of holding down which was that there was a way in which i was threatened by her there was a whip there is some way in which
part of me felt that she didn't really appreciate me that she felt that maybe maybe this business maybe this company would be better without me that i was harboring i was harboring that kind of lack
i was hoping those feelings and those thoughts and in no way thought that they could possibly be affecting my relationship with this other person and yet they were completely affecting my relationship with this other person
and it was wonderful that effect she she said to me at the beginning of this meeting she said you know i spoke to my husband and
and you know should i talk to should i talk to my boss i talked to my partner about these feelings and he said know people don't talk about feelings and business and she said but
you've always invited us to boys invited us to talk about your feelings so i thought i was so glad that she pursued it and i was so glad that it happened to be as i was preparing for sixteen
for the second question when the bell rings why do we come to the zendo
i think we come to the zendo as as an expression of our deep result
dogan i wrote down the statement that dogan said about zazen sitting zazen is a direct transcending of the entire world it is the most precious state of the buddhist and the patriarchs know that the world of thousand is far different
from any other
the third question
there's so much suffering in the world
why do we what are we doing sitting here

tick not harm tells the story of being at tassajara
and making peanut butter cookies for the first time
and so like it was the first time that he had ever made cookies and he said he started with this batch of cookie dough and used a spoon and took the
cookie dough out and me and put little gloves onto cook until trees and put them in the oven and he said he immediately felt sorry for the suffering of all of these individual cookies for in the up and they were all you know we're all heating up intensely
in that they were suffering
pretty certain he then he realized you look back and saw that there is a big bow still of cookie dough and you realize
they were just all part of this same cookie jar it was it was just a
kind of temporary moment that they were in this the suffering
i tell that story because that's where we're like were a lot like those cookies were heating up in the oven the oven of session in which we all we all feel are suffering but we're all
we're all part of the same cookie dough we're all we're all connected there's no no separation
we're fortunate to have this time
to be alive
to sit together
to put ourselves in this container of session
we can begin to see the world is not always like it appears and we can trust what is beyond our senses and trust what wells up in us as we apply heat and
the plates and us begin to move
and we can trust in our deepest most heartfelt questions that arise
dogan teaches that buddha nature is not in us that it's a mistake to think that buddha nature is in us rather he teaches that we all are buddha nature
i think this is a huge huge point
he says that all sentient beings are buddha-nature there's no gradual or sudden awakening
of the past and the future
when we touch this place this place of
not knowing
not knowing if
if we've been born or if we've already die
it helps us to appreciate what's right here in front of us and helps us to to really take care of things
by taking good care of things and the people right in front of us
it helps us touch this place
this place beyond earth than deaths
as i was some as i was thinking about these things i
it kept coming up for me that that there's so much a paradox
in zen practice
and i am
and i realized i didn't even know i didn't quite know what paradox meant so i looked it up and a paradox is a seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true
and it comes from a greek word that means to accept and the word is it's also connected to the word disciple
and our practice is filled with paradox like
we're complete just as we are
and we could all use a little improvement
and the secret of sin
is just two words not always so
and dogan saying
when were enlightened we can all see our
and the zen response the zen response over and over again to these paradoxes is bob baba wow wow
this kind of be beyond language before language before
before we attached things
and the zen response to this paradox is
just wash the dishes just take care of others

i want to i'm kind of finish just by reading reading something by suzuki roshi
zojirushi says about since we're spending so much of our time
in sitting zazen doing chicken taza thought it would be good to offer some of his words

complete she can taza may be difficult because of the pain in your legs when you are sitting cross legged
but even though you have pain in your legs you can do it even though your practice is not good enough you can do it
you're breathing will gradually vanish you will gradually vanish fading into emptiness
inhaling without effort you naturally come back to yourself with some color or form exhaling you gradually fade into emptiness empty white paper this is she can taza
the important point is your exhalation
instead of trying to feel yourself as you inhale fade into emptiness as you exhale

and one other thing that i know has been read here before but i think it's
really beautiful
when we practice zazen we are practicing with all the ancestors you should clearly know this point
you cannot waste your time even though years zazen is not so good
you may not even understand what it is but some day some time someone will accept your practice
so just practice without wandering without being involved in sightseeing zazen
then you have a chance to join our practice
good or bad doesn't matter
if you sit with this understanding having conviction in your buddha nature
then sooner or later you will find yourself in the midst of great zen masters

please continue taking good care of yourselves
thank you very much