Dharma As Medicine

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Sunday Lecture, children's talk: good medicine (cabin) anything remarkable, beautiful, unique, like a gift from nature that anyone was able to see or feel; in quiet you are able to see things others are not able to see; up to your armpits in quick mud, must break the suction to get out; root of medicine - medicees - to look, to cure, to heal (to make whole) - same root as meditation; monks and nuns had four requisites required for health: robes, food, lodging and medicine

AI Summary: 



I vow to taste the truth of the Tathagata's words. Good morning. Good morning. Well, I'm very happy to see all the young people this morning. This is our monthly young people's lecture. So the first part of the lecture will be devoted to the children in the front. And are there any children in the back who would like to just come up and can't see very well? If you want to, there's places you can snuggle in. After the talk this morning, you're going to go down to the garden. And Wendy and Matt are going to do a special project with you down there. Could you turn this down a little bit? And you're going to be planting a special house.


How many of you know about this special house? Some of you have worked on it before. And this is a house like no one has ever seen before. This is a house that will be made of flowers, growing flowers. And I wanted to tell you about another special house that two young boys made many years ago in the woods. They called it their good medicine cabin. And these two boys were about eight years old. And one was named Tom and one was named Rick. And this is a true story. And they met each other in the woods when they were both searching for fossils down by the stream bed. They didn't know each other, but they were both looking for fossils. And they found that the other person was looking for fossils too. And they started talking and they talked and talked and talked the whole day.


And by the end of the day, they were best friends and would play in the woods together all the time. And Rick's grandfather was an Apache Native American from the Apache tribe. And his name was Stalking Wolf. And Stalking Wolf became Tom and Rick's teacher. But he was a very interesting kind of teacher because he never told them anything. He never gave them any answers to their questions. And they had so many questions about nature and animals and the weather and the woods. But he never gave them any answers. He would just give them more questions. He would ask them questions and then they'd set off to try to answer it themselves. And that's how they learned from him. And they learned by their own experience. So when they built their cabin, their good medicine cabin, they chose a spot where something very special happened.


They were sitting under a tree one day on a summer day like today. And they heard this enormous flapping sound. And they looked up in the tree and there was a huge eagle that had landed in the branches. Big, giant bird, about 50 pounds, they said, of feathers and life. And they looked up and they just stared at it. And then the bird took off. And he said it was as if he would grab the sun in his talons and fly away with it. And the two of them were, they just were speechless. And they knew that something very special had happened, that they had been able to see this eagle. And Stalking Wolf, the grandfather, called this kind of thing good medicine. Good medicine was anything that was really remarkable and unique and beautiful, like a gift from nature that one was able to see or feel.


And so they decided to build their cabin right there under that tree. And they called that area the Good Medicine Grounds. And that was their good medicine cabin. So this isn't, good medicine isn't just the regular old beauty of nature and beauty of the world. But it's something where if you were to see it or experience it, you would have to make comments about it or say something. Everybody who witnesses it really feels that this was something special. So they built their good medicine cabin there under the tree. And also Stalking Wolf taught them to be very, very quiet in the woods. And to have, to pay very close attention. Because if you did, then you would see the good medicine. And it could be a very small thing. Good medicine was also, it could be very tiny.


It didn't have to be a gigantic bird. It could be very tiny, but something that would open out into more mysteries. Like they called the mice, good medicine mice. Because if you learned all about the mice, they would then teach you all about the other animals in the forest. So to be very quiet in the forest and outside sometimes allows you to see things that other people can't see. I want to tell you one other story about Rick and Tom. They built near their cabin this platform near the stream out of logs. And one day they were sitting on it. They had just taken a swim in the stream and they were lying on their log platform. And they saw a frog. And the frog climbed up onto the log and was looking around. And then all of a sudden the frog leaped. It acted as if it heard something and it leaped into the air.


And right as the frog leaped, a fish called a pickerel leaped up from the water, caught it in mid-air, and swallowed it whole and landed in the water. And Rick and Tom were just, they were just whooping with joy and patting each other on the back and leaping around. They'd never seen such an amazing thing. And then the pickerel leaped out again as if taking a bow and plunged back into the water. And then the boys just whooped again and just were jumping for joy so much that Rick fell off the platform into the mud. And there he was, deep in the mud, up to his armpits. But this mud wasn't just regular old mud. This mud was what you call quick mud, which is very similar to quicksand. You know what quicksand is? Yeah, quicksand is a kind of substance, mud and sand altogether, that sucks you down under.


And you can't get out and you get pulled down. So there was Rick, up to his armpits in quick mud. And Tom tried to pull him out and he wouldn't budge. He was stuck, really stuck. And he had his feet on something. He said, I'm on solid ground so I'm okay. But Tom was afraid he might be on a log or something that would roll and then he'd go off and get sucked under. So Rick made a kind of vine rope and threw it to him and tried to pull him out. Nothing would work. He could not get him out. And it was getting darker. And for three hours he was in there pulling and trying to do it. And finally he remembered about hearing of another boy who had fallen into quick mud up near where they lived and they tried to get him out. And finally someone said, you just have to break the suction. And the fire department came and ran a hose in and sprayed water in next to him


and that broke the suction and this other boy was able to get out. So Tom remembered that. And he decided there was the stream so there was water. What could he do? So he jumped into the stream which was almost over his head and he held on to some branches and began to dig out, dig out, dig out the quick mud between the stream and his friend Rick. And he dug and he dug and he dug and finally he reached and could feel his friend. And at that point the water from the stream flowed in, broke the suction and up came Rick kind of like whoop, [...] like rising like a bubble. Well, the two of them climbed out, rinsed off the mud and lay down on the platform and went to sleep that night both knowing what they had to do in the morning. And they got up early because that's the best time to do certain things. And the two of them looking at each other, they both understood what they had to do


and they both leaped off the platform into the mud, into the quick mud, the two of them. Because Stalking Wolf had taught them that in nature if you are not afraid and don't panic and go with nature it can never hurt you. That's what he taught them. And they believed that, they held this as a very strong faith. They had faith in this but they had to test it. So they jumped back into the quick mud, both of them. And they struggled, they wallowed around in it until they were really stuck. And then they began to work out how to get out. They knew they had to break the suction. How were they going to do it? And they worked at it and worked at it and worked at it until finally they figured it out and they freed themselves. And as Tom said, Tom wrote the book. This book is a very good book. It's called The Tracker by Tom Brown Jr.


And I highly recommend it to everybody in the world. So what they did was they began to move one knee back and forth and back and forth and back and forth until, and while they did that they moved their bottom back and forth until they had gotten a little bit of a room and then they brought their knee up and that broke the suction. Oh, no, then they took their hand and pushed down so some air went in and that broke the suction. And then they tried it again just to make sure until they had it down. So there's lots of adventures of Tom and Rick and Stalking Wolf. So now, but I don't recommend jumping into quicksand or quick mud unless you have somebody, at least the first time, who knows how to get out and can help you. But once you learn, then you can get out.


And Tom said over his life that same technique got him out of quicksand and quick mud many, many times. So I think it's time for you to go with Wendy and Matt down to the garden to make your sunflower house. And I hope that it will be a good medicine house and that you can come and visit it as it grows taller and taller through the summer. Okay, thank you very much for coming. Thank you. Thank you. There's more seats up in front if anyone who's perched on the side board would like to come and sit down.


There's cushions. There's also cookies and tea that they're going to serve too if you want to go with the kids. No? Okay. So good medicine. And I had a good medicine dream last week. And I dreamt that I was introduced to an older woman. She was very tan and very fit-looking.


And she had white hair. And she put out her hand to shake my hand. And I went to shake her hand. And when I reached her hand, I realized she didn't have a thumb and a couple fingers were missing. And so I kind of couldn't get a hold of her hand to shake it. I kind of missed. And I was very, I was sort of embarrassed. But she was completely comfortable and kind of grabbed my hand in the way that she had worked out to shake hands with her disability or lack of fingers and just shook my hand in that way very strongly. And she was so comfortable with being who she was that I became very comfortable, too, meeting her. The word medicine, the root of the word medicine, well, it comes from the word that means doctor in Latin, medicus.


And the root of that is the med part means to look after, to cure, to heal. And also it's the root of meditate. It's the same root. And the word heal means to make whole. And the root of the word heal, or heal means to make whole. It also has, in the root words, the root, the words that are connected with that are hallow, which means blessed, uninjured, holy.


So all these words are connected with the word heal, which is connected with medicine. So the Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha, was often called the supreme physician because he was able to heal or make whole, help people make themselves whole. And so he was called the supreme physician. That which he taught was called medicine, or the Dharma was called medicine. And then the Sangha, these are the triple treasures, the Sangha or the practitioners were like the attendants to the sick, who would help administer the therapeutic remedies and so forth of the Dharma. And in the Buddha's time, he recommended various things for one's health, physical health. The order of monks and nuns had four requisites, which were robes, food, lodging, and medicine.


They had to have those four things. And the Buddha felt that, Shakyamuni Buddha, that is, felt that what you took in, what you ate, was very, very important to eat properly as a preventative medicine and to keep yourself well. And he highly recommended one particular food as having more benefits than anything else, which I thought I'd just mention to you. He recommended rice milk or rice cooked with milk, so it's kind of soupy, congee, with lumps of honey in it. It's like rice pudding. And there were five other substances that were highly recommended for the monks and nuns as medicine. And that was ghee, which is clarified butter, fresh butter, oil, honey, and molasses.


And I think all of these substances taken, they were all elements of someone's diet, but they were taken as medicine, not in giant amounts. So this was all good medicine. Now, the Buddha ministered or had recommendations for physical health and also wants to cure the ills of one's spirit or the inner suffering of people. So he would visit people who were sick, and if they were dying and there was no hope for them to recover, he would recommend that they meditate on or bring to mind impermanence, the truth of impermanence, that nothing is forever.


And if there was some hope that they would live, he would have them meditate on the seven limbs of enlightenment, which are mindfulness, investigating dharmas or phenomena, tranquility, equanimity, samadhi or concentration, stabilization, and I can't remember if that's seven or not. But this kind of meditation or calling to mind this would help someone for whom there was still life, that they would be healing. So taking one's medicine is sometimes, sometimes the medicine is very bitter.


It is not easy to take up a spiritual practice and really look at your life thoroughly and carefully. One sees all sorts of things that are very embarrassing and very hard to look at. Negative states of mind and deeds that we've done in the past that have been harmful, how we've hurt people, we begin to see this kind of thing. And the healing Buddha or the medicine Buddha really encourages us to look at our actions of body, speech and mind, and to see where we need to work and to turn our lives. And this is very, can be very bitter, difficult work. But we have to drink that, we have to drink that medicine. Jung, in psychological terms, Jung says that we have to completely drink the dregs of the complex.


And the complex is when certain conditions arise, one has a habitual response, emotional response that may be very negative, and it just kind of has a life of its own. When these certain conditions arise, it activates a certain kind of response over and over and over. And in Jungian psychology, he says we have to completely drink the dregs of the complex. Dregs are a sediment that forms at the bottom of liquid. If you're making wine or maybe beer, also there's some sediment that's left at the bottom. And this is, you know, you want the clear liquid above, you don't want that sediment, you want to leave it at the bottom, right? But here's this admonition to completely drink the dregs, completely taste the dregs.


Well, we don't want to. The root of the word dreg, dregs means the sediment and also the unwanted. It comes from the root that means darkness and mud, muddy, and it's associated with the word draggle. Draggle is to drag something through the water and the mud, to get dirty by dragging it through the mud. Someone who's bedraggled, you know, comes in bedraggled, they've been dragged through the mud. So the root, and it's associated with dross, the word dross, which is when you're in metallurgy, when you have a liquid metal and on top of the metal when you're doing this process is a kind of scummy foam that forms on the top. It's called dross, and it's something you don't want mixed in with the metal.


And it rises up and you skim it away, I guess. So the word dregs and dross and darkness and muddiness are all connected up. So the admonition from Jung is to completely drink the dregs of the complex, meaning your own habitual, routinized way of and conditioned responses to the world that are not where you feel bound and not free to respond in any way, shape, or form. You kind of have this pattern, old pattern, over and over. So you have to completely understand that, I would say, completely study that thoroughly, completely thoroughly, and drink the dregs. Now usually we don't want to drink the dregs. We want to drink the good stuff and leave the dregs alone, you know.


The Buddha's disciple that he transmitted to, his name was Kshapya. And Kshapya, or Makakasho, the word Kshapya means drinker of light. And when Kshapya was a baby, was born, just born, this golden light pervaded the room where he was born and then that light all came and went right into his mouth. This light from the room went down into his mouth. So he was named Drinker of Light. Well, I think we often want to be the drinker of the light, right? We want to avert from the dregs and drink the light. So once this light is inside, you know, the connotation of having the light inside you, that then can come out through the mouth or come out through your actions. So we may be able to fool ourselves to think that we are the drinkers of light.


And aren't we studying and practicing and going to Dharma talks and drinking in the light? Isn't that what we're doing? There's a koan that we've been studying in the Book of Serenity, in the koan class, and it's called Wang Bo's Slurper of Dregs, is the name of it. And he points to this. Wang Bo was a very marvelous Zen teacher, and he had an assembly filled with many, many students who had come to listen, to drink the light, to get the truth and hear about Buddhism and how to practice and how to be free, and they had assembled to study with him. And one day in the assembly, he tried to drive them out of here.


It would be like, here you all are. Maybe this is similar. Maybe you could ask yourself if this is what's happening right now. An assembly filled with sincere Zen students. And he says, what do you people think you're doing? If you go on like this, you will lose today. He tried to drive them all out, and they all sort of stood there and didn't do anything. And he said, you're all slurpers of dregs. If you go on like this, how will you have today? Do you know that there are no teachers of Chan in all of China? So here's a group of people who have come to study and to teach,


but how is it that he would call them slurpers of dregs? Aren't they drinking in the light? Don't they want the teaching from this wonderful teacher that's acknowledged and known? Why is this dregs? How come he's a slurper of dregs? So in working with this koan, for me, I had to ask myself, how is it when I come to listen to a Dharma talk or go to a class, what's happening with me? Am I trying to get something that's out there, that I think resides in this special person who's sitting out there, and then I'm going to listen, and then I'm going to get some of the light, you know, I'm going to drink it up? I feel like that's very confused. That's kidding myself or fooling myself into believing and seeking for something outside.


And this is not drinking light, even though one might fool themselves into thinking it's light, this is drinking this sediment, this dregs. So over and over and over, we are admonished that, in fact, I'll read what Zen Master Khezan has to say about this. This is dregs, right? He says, Zen study demands that you investigate and awaken on your own. So this seeking for it from somebody else, to get it from somebody else, is completely overlooking this demand that you seek it on your own, that you investigate it and awaken on your own.


And how about this? Although there has never been anything to give to anyone, or anything to receive from anyone, it is necessary to experience this as intimately as feeling the nose on your face. How's that feel? Feeling the nose on your face, to know as thoroughly as that, that there is nothing that anybody can give you, nothing you can get from anybody else, and there never was. So, can we sit in lecture or class with this, rather than the mind of seeking for something outside, trying to fill ourselves? Now, you may think, this is kind of paraphrasing Khezan,


and also other Zen teachers, but I say it because I choose to say it, because I feel it myself. That you may think that there's some special category of people that practice Zen. They have some special capacity, or special, I don't know what, chutzpah, or it's really exotic. They can do it, but I can't do it. I'll come and kind of dabble a little bit, or draggle a little bit, but I'll leave the practice of Zen to those who really have this kind of special quality or something. Now, you know what Khezan says about that kind of thinking? He says, you may think that Buddhist Zen is just for special people, and that you're not fit for it, but such ideas are the worst kind of folly.


And another translation is the stupidest of stupid. And then he goes on, who among the ancients was not a mortal? Whose personality was not influenced by social and material values? Who didn't have a father and mother? Who didn't have friends and pressures, and this, that, and the other? But when they studied Zen, they were able to penetrate through and understand that when dregs are dregs, then they're dregs, and then they're not dregs anymore, and you can drink them. Then it is drinking light. So Wangbo says, you're all slurpers of dregs. He wants people to look at how they have a gaining idea and a mind that's seeking outside, looking out, out, out, all over, instead of turning in.


Everybody has the capacity. This is your good medicine gift. So, don't you know there are no teachers of Zen in all of China? And then this student comes forward and comes up from the crowd, coming from the back of the room up here and says, but what about all these people who have gathered students and have practice centers all over? And Wangbo said, I didn't say there was no Zen. I said there was no teachers of Zen. So to set up a teacher as something outside yourself that's got it, and then going after that, is not the study of Zen.


It's pointing to this. Now there's another story of one of our ancestors, Ananda. Ananda was the Buddha's cousin. And the word Ananda means joy or delight. He was a very beautiful person. And he was born on the night that Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment. And when he grew up, he joined the order and was the Buddha's very, very close attendant. And Ananda was very intellectually, he was brilliant, a brilliant person. And he also, he was very instrumental in seeing that the women's order was established in India. He helped intercede on behalf of women who wanted to take vows and become nuns. He interceded on their behalf.


So he was very beloved by the women's order of nuns. And the Buddha, he was most beloved by the Buddha. And he was his companion for 20 years. But the Buddha did not transmit to Ananda. The Buddha transmitted to Kshapya, drinker of light. But he asked Ananda to help Kshapya, to help transmit it. And so he became, after the Buddha died, he became Kshapya's attendant for another 20 years. And he had memorized all of the Buddha's teachings, everything the Buddha ever said, even things that he wasn't alive for because he was born on the night of the Buddha's enlightenment. So sutras that the Buddha spoke before Ananda was old enough to hear them, and he also was able to enter into a samadhi concentration state and hear those too. So everything the Buddha ever said, Ananda knew by heart.


And after the Buddha died, he was not invited to this convocation of arhats because he had not yet become an arhat. And the night before, he was able to become an arhat, so he was invited to this meeting. And they asked him to speak, and he spoke all of the Buddha's words, starting off with, Thus have I heard. The Buddha was dwelling at the Deer Park or wherever, and then he would speak. And all the people there said, Is this not the Buddha's own words? Is this not a second coming of the Buddha here? He knows everything that the Buddha ever said. But still, the Buddha did not entrust to him the true Dharma-I. And so he stayed with Kshapya for 20 more years. And finally, one day, he asked Kshapya a question, and he said to him, Did the Buddha hand over anything to you or transmit anything to you besides the golden-sleeved robe?


And Kshapya said, Ananda. And Ananda responded, Yes. And Kshapya said, Take down the banner pole in the front of the gate. And at this, Ananda was enlightened. Now, the banner pole refers to a custom when Buddhists and other religious sects would come to a village and they were going to debate and each talk about their teachings. They would each plant a banner pole, set them out, and then they'd have this debate, and people would come to listen. And when one side or another was defeated, they would take down their banner pole. So, here's Ananda asking, What else did the Buddha give to you or hand to you or transmit to you, Kshapya, besides the golden-sleeved robe? And Kshapya felt that Ananda was ripe, and he just called his name, Ananda.


And Ananda just responded, Yes. And at that, he said, Take down the banner pole in the front gate. Take down the banner pole, for me, means there's no use in having two banner poles anymore as if there was Ananda and Kshapya separate from each other. There was complete understanding. And you just need one banner pole, one for the two of them, because there is total communion between them. So, take down yours. So, Ananda, even though he had the Buddha's words that he could give at a moment's note, he knew everything the Buddha ever said and this teaching he could expound, and he was brilliant. This did not necessarily mean that he understood the heart of Zen or his own heart.


So, would we call the Buddha's words in all these sutras, in Ananda's mouth, would those be dregs? Would he be just a dregs-slurper? I don't know. I don't know. Maybe you have to answer that yourself. So, once we understand very thoroughly our own dregs-slurping and what's dregs, once we understand our confusion, then it doesn't matter. Then dregs can be dregs or not dregs. Then we play freely in the mud, just like Tom and Rick. Then we jump back into the quick mud and we wallow in there and get all stuck, and then we find our way to get out again for the benefit of all beings.


We find our way and show other people the way. And just like for Tom and Rick, there was no panic. They knew what they had to do. They were going to leap back into the mud because if they went with nature, nature would never hurt them. That was what they were going to prove. And so they just played in the mud there, the quick mud. And this is like the lotus in muddy water, you know, right in the mud. Okay, thank you very much. Do you want to ask questions or have comments or help each other


and have a discussion about the talk or whatever else is on your mind? So, Deirdre. Did everybody hear the question? Deirdre asked, since there are no teachers of Zen and we're supposed to learn from our own experience, how is it or why is it that we go and talk with the teacher? Was that the last part? Should we close the doors now, do you think? Yeah, why don't we do that. I guess I feel like asking you about going to a teacher. What do you... Is there something that happens for you that helps you to realize


that you have to understand it by yourself? Does that happen for you? Yes. It's essential. So the admonition is to not say, don't talk to any teacher. It's that, don't you know there aren't any teachers? Or how about you might say, don't you know that you yourself are not separate from... or it turns that. But it doesn't mean to not go and talk to somebody. In fact, Zen sometimes is talked about as a three-legged stool. There's Zazen, study, and then talking with somebody.


So if you're just talking with somebody but you never sit, then the stool falls over. If you're sitting a lot and going to lectures and classes but you never talk with anybody one-on-one, you fall over. If you go to lots of lectures and talk to people all the time but you never sit... So you need all three to have that three-legged stool be stable. But to actually investigate how it is you are when you go to see a teacher. Are you seeking? Are you... like that. But don't stop. So how it fits in that there could be someone young and full of life and joy and too young to have slurped? Too young to have... Let's see.


Well, that admonition was from Jung, Carl Jung, and that particular reference was about the complex. It was very amazing to me because here we are, we were working on this koan for the last three or four weeks in class, or three weeks, two weeks, and then we had worked on it previously. And so then to have this other phrase from a whole other discipline come up, you know, the two were very... It was a very... the tension between the two, which got me very interested. So the... You know, I'm not... Young people who are full... I mean, little kids who are full of life and play and fun and... You know, there's a certain time when it... Conditions are such where the complex, let's say,


or the difficulties begin to really arise. Initiatory junctures like leaving home or a death or a... I mean, at certain times, the conditions are such that things will come forth that haven't come forth before. Or difficulties, let's say. And so people, when they come to practice often, people who come and actually stay with practice, often there's some deep pain that's brought them to want to just sit still. But that doesn't negate the fact that they also can be joyous and have fun and, you know, it doesn't completely color someone's life in all aspects. It's not inherent, meaning it's not like this solid, lumpy thing. If conditions are such, sadness arises or pain arises or... So I don't know if the two things are...


You know, often we're able to compartmentalize and actually set things aside and keep them at bay for a while anyway until just for our own health, wholeness, meaning they come up, the light and dark need to be joined again. So this often happens, you know, in the teens, early twenties, are kind of times... And there are younger people who have lots of difficulties too, but just in the life cycle those are times when that begins to really come forward. Does that answer it? Yes. Could you... Oh, I see. Yes. Yes. Well, our human condition includes certain factors


like old age, sickness and death, for example. I mean, some people don't have old age because they get sick and die young, or some people don't get sick but they do get old and die. So it's either a combination of the three or one or the other. And to be ready for one's death or to be ready to meet sickness... You know, this thing about the medicine... Having medicine as one of the requisites for the monks and nuns partially had to do with the fact that they're trying to do these meditation practices. What happens when you get sick sometimes, and some of you know this very thoroughly, you begin to not have the energy to even do your practice anymore. It's like you can't find it anymore. You just have to lie there and your practice goes out the window.


So to have these medicines and preventative medicines like good food and so forth for the benefit of your practice, not to keep yourself fit for its own sake, but in order to continue your practice. So it gets very difficult when these rapid changes in your body and mind happen. It's very hard, even if you've been practicing your whole life, to be there, present, with a flexible mind and so forth, when your body is stopping functioning. So, yes, I think there are some people who have a kind of gift or artistry of living life. I think there are. And due to the wholesome roots they've planted in past lives, or for whatever karmic reasons, and still there's always old-age sickness and death to be ready for.


Okay. Yes. I was so interested in a part of your talk about when the Buddha would go to see people that were sick, he would advise them to meditate in firmness and have others. And I'm in a situation where my father, baby Juan, had heart surgery and his mind slipped from time to time. And he's away in Chile. And when I go to see him, there's no problem. I have pain, but at least I can be with him in his bed. And sometimes I sit and be with him, and I tell him that I'm breathing. So I ask him to breathe, and we've got a relationship. And even though he's sick and in pain, it seems that I help him and I help myself.


But sometimes I just call him. When I call him and I'm here, he tells me that he doesn't want to live anymore and he's in pain. And sometimes I want to give him advice, but I don't feel that I have the right to give him advice because I don't know what it's like to be near death. But I always do something. Like I say, remember that we can breathe or we can do this. If there's nothing you can do, just breathe. That's all I can tell you. And I wonder if you can elaborate a little bit about how to help somebody that is facing the possibility of death, or what really can I do I think it's very hard over the phone, for one, you know,


to not be right there with the person, body to body. I think it's much harder over the phone. And also the fact, you know, the Buddha was the teacher, right? Recognized and would come and the people he met with were ready to hear and open to it. But sometimes with our own parents, the parent children, parent and child, because of all the pattern of our relationship over all those years, it's very hard sometimes for them. Although, you know, this particular book I was looking at called The Healing Buddha, it has these translations of two sutras that had not been translated before about these healing bodhisattvas, two healing bodhisattvas, two brothers


that you can call on to help. And they actually say that the bodhisattva will come in the body of, or they will take the appearance of anyone close to the person, the child or the wife, and then they can do things to help. So in some ways, you know, someone close, child or wife or mother, can say just the right thing sometimes too. So I don't want to discount you as a child being able to help. But often, you know, I haven't done a lot of hospice work or had people close in my family who have died. And there are a number of people, there's a lot of resource here for people who have. But the little that I have done, the most, especially if someone is actively dying,


which it sounds like your dad is not really active. Yes, but he's in a decline. And to, you know, listen and not, you know, for someone to feel that you are willing to be there and not turn away, to be with them exactly how they are without having any designs on them being different, that is one of the most helpful things. So, and even over the phone, you know, to completely be with whatever he's saying, not necessarily agree or disagree, but I hear you, Dad, you know. And I always ask him, Linda, where does it hurt? Yes. You know, where does that hurt? I think that he didn't have problem vocalizing, you know, where is the pain coming from?


And my feeling that if there is some emotional thing that he cannot visualize, but he always says in the heart, you know, that, you know, when they operate on the heart, they cut through the bones and everything, and then, you know, the bones have to get to heal. And I think he always points me to the heart, but I got my feeling that there is some emotional thing that he doesn't want to recognize in permanence. He always, you know, lived in the world of pink and roses, whereby no problem did exist, and he kind of, and I think that he is visualizing, not visualizing, but he is suffering from that point that now the world is not pink. This is it. I'm in this situation now. So sometimes I say, how can I help him? But I have found a way other than asking where the pain is coming from


or telling him to breathe or things like that. Yes. And I was just wondering, you know, if there's more, I will definitely get that book out. I won't give him any prescription about it. I will just listen. You know, my dad's having difficulties, too, and I talked with him the day before yesterday. I said, how's it going? He said, no, I said, what's going on? And he said, not a damn thing. He's very bitter, you know, about being so disabled now. You know, he had a stroke, so there's a lot of anger there. And I don't, you know, anyway, the person has got to do their own work. You know, you can't do it for them, and yet you can. And it's very, maybe some other people can add to this conversation, it's very painful to be around someone who is not doing their work, you know, and is wishing that it could be other and angry and in denial. Then it's much harder for you, but even staying there with that, without trying to get in there and fix it for them or make them look.


Look over here, impermanence, Dad. It's all impermanent. Let go, you know. You can't. You can't. Yes? I wanted to show you what it has to mean. My mother is going to die. And after a rather long year in the hospital, and our father is alone in the country, so I would like to recommend two books that have really helped me prepare and understand more in depth. It's been run by Christine Longato, who is one of the leaders of the hospice movement in this country, the biggest hospice movement. And the book I wrote a couple of months ago is called, Facing Death and Finding Hope. Facing Death and Finding Hope. Can you hear? I said my mother is going to die, and after a long illness in the hospital, and my father is left alone, I'm the only child.


He also lives in a foreign country. He's not ill yet, but I've been going to see him and listening to what our friend here was describing. And I was saying that two books that have really helped me prepare and understand their process and my process and what can be done, and they are both written by Buddhists. One is called Facing Death and Finding Hope by a woman, Christine Longato, who is one of the people who first started the hospice movement in this country. And her journey toward Buddhism and hospice began when her own husband died when she was 24 and had a young child. And so that brought her to Buddhism. So the nightmare of her life that she could not avoid brought a lot of changes. So it's a very fine book. The other book is by the Tibetan Lama, called the Rinpoche, and it's called the Tibetan Book of Being Done. And I also think that this is very helpful. Thank you very much.


Martha and then Anne. No. Did you hear what Martha said? She mentioned that she also has a missing finger and was interested in this dream figure that had the missing fingers that I spoke about and how this woman handled herself and how Martha handles herself in situations. And also the point about after practicing for a while, things beginning to bubble up and the union or reunion of light and dark. So this dream figure, I think for me it was... a very positive, positive... image or figure of how to be in the world completely exposed, just yourself, expressing yourself with all your injuries and disabilities


and failings and limitations. That's who you are, and how do you do? You put the hand out, how do you do? Like that. You just... So I think as a message for me as a place to work more or to put my attention into just being out there, just who I am, like that. So it was very, very encouraging, as I said, good medicine, to meet her. Well, I think wholeness, wholeness is not just the light. Wholeness is understanding your limitations or the shadow, if you want to talk about it in psychological terms. Shadow is all the stuff that you are embarrassed about, you want to get out of here, you don't want anybody to know about it, you keep it back there. Well, it just comes out in other ways


or it gets projected on other people. All the things you hate about yourself you see in others and hate them for it. So to have that stuff come out and be integrated is wholeness. Wholeness is not just being... It's not being perfect. Or I should say perfection is the light and dark integrated. But it includes both. So that's wholeness and also, you know, I love the roots of words of some, you know, to have... I mean, we know there is whole and holy and wholesome and hallowed and hail, hail and hearty, it's all the same root coming from to heal. I mean, heal coming from all that. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Welcome. Yeah. To completely drink the dregs of the complex is to totally accept and study basically all your stuff, right? And it's bitter medicine, so there's that. And then I think I was relating it to this koan where they say you're all dregs slurpers, meaning you think... Because there's some confusion about what... You think you're drinking the light, like a shabja, the drinker of light, and you're just seeking outside yourself to get stuff, and that's dregs slurping. So that was the... Yeah. Well... You know, the pain of being in the grip of the complexes... Because complexes have like... It feels like an autonomous life to them, you know?


They're like, you know, unbidden, there it comes, you know, you didn't set out. But it's like sometimes described as a plant, you know, it's got the conscious part of it, and then underneath are the roots that are fed by the unconscious, you know, that you can't get at consciously. So it's very... One needs help often, you know, very particular help to go through it, and one often can't get at it by themselves. It's... Because it's in the dark, you know, what's... where the roots are going and how it's being nourished. It's like you feel like you're working at it and untangling it. But meanwhile you're over here knitting it back together unbeknownst to yourself, you know? So things like that may be operating, and so, you know, there's a variety of ways to get help,


especially in the Bay Area where we're blessed with, you know, so many different ways, you know, to work with unconscious material or conscious and unconscious material. So... You know, the drinking the drinks is like being thoroughly and utterly sick of it, you know, sick of this thing coming up over and over. I want to be done with it, but you have to thoroughly, thoroughly drink. I mean, you can say that, but basically, as I say, we're getting it going again in ways unbeknownst. It has to be thoroughly ready to be done, you know? And that often takes, you know, a lot of work, a lot of work. So, anyway...


Yes. Oh, I thought you were raising your hand. Yes, Jenny. Yeah. Yes. Yes. Yeah, Zorba the Greek, you know, he combined the joy and pain together. I mean, really, he would feel pain, but passion. That's right. That's right. Yeah. Well, there's, you know, this playing,


the... to, you know, play in the world of samsara, to play with others, is a term that's used for... you know, when you realize, when you have your realization, then you can play in the world of samsara. It doesn't mean that people aren't dying, and there's not old-age sickness and death, but the way you relate to others and help is with this playing. That's worth... So, I think Zorba's... Yeah. Yeah. Yes, dance. Yes. Just came to mind. So, this West African goddess is the goddess of... The ocean is symbolic, and anything else about her?


She accepts, like the ocean accepts everything? Yeah. Healing? Well, you know, I... I don't do dream interpretation, but... What it reminded me of... Actually, what just came up when you said that is this koan where... Let's see. In the koan, it says that you should not... You should live your life... You shouldn't send out a wooden duck or a wooden goose. So, it said, sacrifice the wooden duck? Or don't sacrifice it? Sacrifice. Yeah. And what this referred to in the koan was the practice of when you're in a boat on some of these rivers that you navigate in China, when you get to a place where you don't know the rapids or how the water is in the currents, you send out a wooden... They call it a wooden goose or a wooden duck, like a block of wood,


and you send it out first, and then you watch how it goes down the river so that you can follow that pattern. And what the koan is speaking about is don't live your life in that way, meaning strategizing and say, OK, I'm going to do this and that and that, ahead of time, where you instead... It says don't... Don't send out a wooden goose. To live compassionately, you're not hedging your bets, you know, like that, where you're holding back and kind of watching what the next thing is good to do. You just plunge in, you know, to the ocean, maybe, and meet what is to be met full-on without any pre... You know, prep work, kind of. So anyway, that's what it reminded me of. But it's a wonderful, strong... It sounds like a very strong dream. Yeah. What's the poem about the duck?


Oh, that poem about the duck, yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, let's see. How does that go? There's a duck who's sitting on the water. It was the last lecture I gave. That was the end of it. And she's just riding the waves, and she doesn't know anything about a religion, but she sure has it, and that's one of the parts. She just lets the waves come and go, and she just rides them like that. She's sitting right there in the middle of the ocean, and she doesn't know that she's separate from the ocean. She just is in the ocean. You weren't at that lecture, were you? It was in March. The lecture was after the dream, or the... Uh-huh. Well, that's interesting


because of the ocean and the goddess and the duck. Yeah. To sacrifice the duck. Yes. What do you mean by really? You said, do we ever really kill anything? I think that's a good, very good question. The aim,


if there is an aim, is to thoroughly study whatever is going on. So, if it's the complexes, or if it's bad habits, or if it's your dreams, or the person in front of you, to thoroughly be there for that. Now, it just so happens that if you thoroughly study like a routinized, habitual way of being, it tends to change and weaken, and eventually gets like sort of misty vapor, and it doesn't arise in the same way anymore. But the aim is not to, okay, I'm going to get rid of all these bad things, so then I'm going to be, then I'll be all spanking clean and ready for Buddha or something. But it's more whatever is there, I will study it thoroughly and be present.


And that endeavor or that effort right there is practice, and practice, realization are, it's like one word, practice-realization. It's practice-realization, so one's practice in that way is the culmination of your study as well. But our tendency is to think over and over and over to fall into what you describe as a real pitfall. If I do this, then I'll be a good girl. Or if I get rid of these, then they'll like me. Or if I'm this way, then the teacher will think I'm great. So we fall into that like head over heels, somersault in, over and over and over, which is drag slurping, really, thinking that you can do something


to get something else. So our zazen, just sitting zazen as a thorough expression of self without trying to get anything out of it is one of the pitfalls. That's keeping your zazen pure. The question was, am I using the phrase drinking the dregs and the dreg slurpers as two separate things, which was your question, how those two relate actually.


Let's try it again. I think totally drinking the dregs of the complex is thoroughly studying your stuff completely. And if you do that and not fooling yourself, then you're drag slurping from the koan. But if you totally understand that you're dreg slurping, then that's not dreg slurping anymore. Because you're thoroughly studying. So they transform with your own effort, with your practice. Okay, thanks. Yes? Oops. For each person, their connection with it is the mystery. And so for you, that's your, to turn this dream and to study it yourself and what is it for you


is the most important thing. You just got a take from me and a take from this gentleman. But for you to, you can just inquire about it. Just have that question and there will be a response of some sort if you stay with it. Yes? There's a certain clarity that you need to be able to see that deals with this interpretation. And the clarity has to do with the fact that to kill something means to change. And so if you're not talking about killing the thing, the sacrifice is not. But to kill something or to an animal means to change the habit. To sacrifice that animal. And you can sacrifice another. In other words, you can sacrifice again. And that's why killing is vital. Sacrifice means


to make sacred. And there's various ways that that can happen. Michelle, did you have your hand raised? No. I have a quick question. Yes. Did you say that conflict studies can be equated with animal sacrifice? Yes. Yeah, probably. Mental formations in the Buddhist understanding where complexes fit in. Mental formations. I'm going to look at my watch because we're supposed to end early today because lunch is early. I have just about 12.30. Is there anybody who's really wanting to say something? Go ahead. Well,


ignorance is on the 12-fold chain of causation. And when you go around the chain, it's what, you know, the way you work the chain is if ignorance is present, karma formations, ignorance, karma formations, consciousness, name and form, six sense fields, contact, feeling, craving, grasping, becoming, birth, old age, and death. So you could say that the cause of ignorance is old age and death. I mean, on the chain. That's what comes right before it is just being born, birth, old age, and death, and then becoming again. You know, that's the basic ignorance that they're talking about is believing in self and other. That's the ignorance that's being pointed to.


So, I don't know about the cause of that. It's, you know, historically when our consciousness actually split and was able to see things as self and other, vijnana is consciousness and the VI of vijnana is like vivisection to cut, and at a certain point we, as opposed to animals and plant life, we actually saw it as self and other separate, which is the basic ignorance that's being worked with. So, does that, does that answer your Okay, well, thank you all very much. I haven't heard the umpan yet, but why don't we close down. If everyone could help with the chairs, those rows of chairs, go back in the closet, and then, did the zafus and zabatons get stacked? Yeah, so all these