Eight Awakenings

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Zendo Lecture

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me iron
i'm participating right now in the annual zen yoga workshop led by judith lasater colette with me and where can you hear me okay
we've been now working with some
ah teaching

thx
i'm one of those people with very sensitive years at it
can i start of easily so he how's the yeah mike
so gonna stay like this
hundred as has brought up some teachings how can a foundational teachings in yoga one is ease and the other contentment we were working with contentment which reminded me of
a buddhist teaching then actually is traditionally thought of this last teachings of the buddha the the teachings that he gave on his deathbed
and
these are called the eight awakenings of great beings have you heard of those and if you heard of those some of you eight awakenings of great beings also translated the eight truths of a great human being so i think we're
ah great beings does not exclude as this are the teachings that shakyamuni buddha offered as the last thing you know to m help beings
so i thought we could reflect on these tonight and i
i wanted to
include
there's many things that have come up as have been studying these about tessa her life and everyday life life in general and i
will just bring up examples that have occurred to me around each one of these great awakenings is eight awakenings of great beings
so the first one is
the first awakening is to have few desires to have few desires and i want to continue to go back to this word awakening this is not something that we necessarily understand right away in our lives we
actually
ah
cultivate more desires and more things and let's do this and travel and let's go and haven't
and of course the society urges as urges as always to have more do more buy more
it's etc so this to awaken to this to awaken to having few desires
includes ah
are working with greed
so i've been reading this very interesting book a which is about evolution and biology and so forth in the last chapter they were talking about
primates having an opposable thumb and that that that or the only animals who you know the opposable thumb helped for grabbing and grasping things binds and treason so forth but we also pick up and take inanimate objects answer
of carry him along with us and other animals don't do that they carried things in their mouths
a food or their children but it's really doesn't work to carry things over long distances but
so i was thinking of this
the green thumb you know that without the i mean is that when greece her hoshi i don't know but this fact that we can grasp actually and keep and horde and store up and take from somebody else you know so i think
biologically speaking it's very interesting to think about our thumbs and we do think about what happens in this murderer actually that's another story
so those who have few desires the buddha says are ah
free from the activities of
ah currying favour you know when we currying favor and flattery when we want something from somebody recovered something we sometimes are
actually go against her own
bows or our own sense of what's right and you know do suddenly so that they'll give it to us you know and and if you take this into the broadest in the broadest way
the there's great suffering for beings that's involved in this having desires
so those who have few desires have a serene mind and also long with that is the lessening of worry and anxiety and fear so all these camera come along with having few desires
often when we have desires and we get things than were afraid to go to get taken you know but i just got a new bolster today and it's so creaking and round and perfectly shaped is still as the tags on it and i haven't even thought about bolsters whose i'm using are not enough of a sudden the thought
came up i don't want to lose my bolster i hope nobody takes by bolster all the send i'm worried about my bolster this is a new and new worry
so
this fear
comes along with lots of desires and in our ordination ceremony it says ah
after the or knee takes the precepts they say you are free down from all worldly attachments and are really buddhist child so you you get to sit in the lap of the awakened one freed from attachments
ah so this is this is a very important point to to reflect on and to look at our own desires and are they growing or are we simplifying and what suffering is caused from cultivating more desires
the second awakening is
is a couple translations of this but i like this went to know the second awakening is to know how much is enough
to know how much is enough and i think another translation of this is to no satisfaction or to know contentment
so we have ideas of what's going to satisfy our was gonna make us content or what's enough but actually to drop the ideas and actually feel what is enough and i
one of them main areas this comes up i think is around our practice of eating and food and
ah you know i think a lot of us have difficulty knowing what when his wins enough when is it enough you know
and we
we have a practice a formal practice of eating in the zendo with a special set of balls and clubs it's an eating ceremony and i
have over the years
out for myself and others seen how bree ritual into eating and this is also a document in other places but the communities the cultures that have a lot of ritual around eating have a low incidence of eating disorders in these cultures so
bringing a lot of bringing ritual into eating in a very conscious way helps us in this awakening of how much is enough so
i know those of us who have lived and tessa her in the summer and also in the winter
practicing very hard food becomes
you know there's a lot of distractions that have been dropped away and that are impossible here there's no movies no internet and know
radio and tv and you know just no happened in the current going to the mall and know it just a lot of stuff that's
pretty prevalent
in other situations and tessa harrods pretty
dropped away but we do have meals you know we do eat meals and the meals can take on a kind of numinous quality know
we're having seconds is a trade in her didn't you see here
or i remember who was hearing somebody come rushing out of the kitchen there's pancakes at the back door
hey this is an exciting thing it doesn't hurt old called pancakes in a bowl at the back door the very good he slathered with peanut butter or all about
so the back door of the kitchen root for the guests who you mean i noticed but the back it can go in the back door of the kitchen and there's snack food at the back door and in green gulch in the city there's a snack kitchen or a snack area and the snack area is often the area where we do not know how much is enough you
no do you think i feel like a snack you know when was lunch omg to buy half hour ago but you it's time for
so this is an area where to bring our attention and actually from the inside out feel
what is enough and to bring it up what is enough with ourselves and so that's you know food bag lunches a wonderful to the guess you know this may be your and a backdoor area i see people very calmly walking into the bag lunch area and the doors open and then they see the array and the choice
ice and something happens
after you know what i mean is a kind of frenzy happens
and i've watched the bag lunch makers running around like like wild women or men filling and bringing and oh we ran out of this end up dumping in this and oh and then sometimes even with the huge array so will say you nose do you have more such as such because they get ran
out
so
to know the awakening to awaken to this this is ah
to awaken to how much is enough to know how much is enough not only around food but around
i think this also goes with all these awakenings include each other so they ate each one of the eight you know includes the other
a seven
so also about what is enough things what is enough sleep or just enough
ah you fill in the blank
so this says we already have some things we have things in our life and to use them have some refraining about how we use them and this is an environmentally speaking water gas
electricity you know what is enough
how much is enough and to know it into practice with services
ah i think lisa practices that go on endlessly for our lives
so the buddhist as if you want to be free from suffering you should contemplate how much is enough so this is not just being a good citizen
you know or from some for her
to look like you're bleeding a good upright life or something this is about relieving suffering of self and others
and it says when you're contented or when you know how much is enough you can see
sleep on the ground or get get along with very little and be happy and if you don't know about this you can live in a palace a mansion and be discontented and i think we know about this we know probably we know people who have
many many things in life material goods and yet are unsatisfied not content not happy and are suffering carefully so i often think of when i go camping or backpacking and you get by with you know what you can carry on your back and your little meal you know was very just what you can
kerry and the contentment the satisfaction v m happiness that arises and we thank you i could just live like this forever you know and then we come back into this world of abundance that many of us have relatively speaking i think
ah
probably everyone in this room has lots of
things in their life
so the third awakening is to enjoy
serenity or tranquillity
and the the buddha talks about this as a going away from the crowds
and stay alone in the forest and i think we can think of this not so literally as everybody even he was speaking to the monks who had gathered round him but for each one of his coming to the cushion each day is a kind of going away from the crowds
and sitting alone and you know as cut hero she's to say sit down and shut up you know just go away from the the noise and crowds
the yoga mat every day or to come to tassajara this is a retreat for many many people who come in the summer this is really their personal retreat of the year i think for many people
so staying alone on the cushion or on the mat or walking
so this kind of formal practice supports our entire life supports the lives of everyone we come in contact with and there is a joy their of
tranquility is joy
the some boredom
peace and joy is this these practices cultivate and are conditions for peace and joy
so away from the crowds and stay alone in a quiet place and this ah
you know even in the midst of a crowd i think we can not stay alone they get away from me but we can find a quiet place in the midst of the marketplace to this is a practice not necessarily literally you know stay away from people pay
so so far we have a few desires
knowing how much is enough
and this one is enjoying serenity tranquility
the fourth one is the awakening to diligent effort
ah and it said that the buddha said that diligent effort is to engage ceaselessly in wholesome practices this is devoted effort
so when i say that they all include the other you know i think and they build on each other having few desires supports diligent efforts supports tranquility supports knowing how much is enough you know they all weave together
diligent effort is
kind of unwavering effort in our practice in our life
and
it has said the buddha said if you make diligent effort nothing is too difficult
and it's the images a threat of water hitting a rock a teeny tiny drip over and over and as we know that will wear away where we make a whole it could deep depression and a hole in the rock and we can see the surround us to her you can see where the waters have gone over the right for you know millennia
so to have that practice ourselves this ceaseless diligent
consistency as judith says in our practice and
this is also in all the arts in cooking you know if we cook and can turn off the stove midway
when and when there is that slow what does it slow food movement but you have to keep the fair on you know unless it's raw foods but
the in cooking in arts in sports in any meditation practice martial arts whatever your name
whatever you want to do business in any of the right livelihoods any livelihood
this diligent effort and ceaseless unwavering day after day after day and it it i think is supported by our foul and knowing i think it's very encouraging to know
if you make built-in effort there is nothing nothing is too difficult
quoth the buddha if you make diligent effort it and all too often all too often i think we slacken away you know we kind of turn away and
sometimes resting is also part of our diligent effort relax he and resting is part of the ceaseless effort
so i'm not saying well you'd never rest i'm saying every activity is part of our ceaseless efforts
and
there's some accountability there for are showing up showing up on the cushion showing up at work showing up
for our family and friends and the world you know the world needs us to show up this is sentiment judith brought up last summer that was really really helpful for me about
she and her husband i have made kind of bow as i understood it as about when they are invited to family events they show up
and i took that i've been doing that practice for i'm invited
i show up this is a kind of and it does say you can find where it says the body stuff that there's only for reasons not to come to something that they're invited to one is they're sick the second as they have to teach dharma somewhere else had a previous engagement
and the third is and i think there's just too sick and you've got a previous engagement other than that you go you sign that rsvp card and you show up with friendliness you know whether you if you're invited to as a practice is the kind of ceaseless effort to show up for our life now
and and for our friends and our coworkers and our zazen mates and are you know our fellow practitioners
our presence to be there making are devoted effort
guess matters

so
few desires knowing how much is enough tranquility diligent effort and the fifth one is
the awakening to not the awakening not to neglect mindfulness
to keep right thought or mindfulness
and this is an interesting point they say in this commentary are what this is the buddhist speaking for seeking good teachers or good counsel there is nothing like not neglecting mindfulness so they bring this together with if you want to practice and study with someone and and study with a teacher and
receive good counsel one of the most important things is not to neglect mindfulness so i've been kind of turning that around and i think
you know there's some
mindfulness is the practice of bringing your full attention to that which is before you and being completely therefore it and often people are have a lot of big ideas in a big plans about
enlightenment ten being a teacher and or dating i'm talking about you know ones in practice centers that's a big ideas and then
you know you noticed they've come to talk with you about their practice and and and their shoes are left at the door on a big jumble you know this is true this happens you or
ah you know there's the go on about the person who had this big experience and they came to tell their teacher was raining outside and the teacher said which side of your shoes which side of your clogs did you leave your umbrella
and the guy who was a guy he couldn't say he can be a good remember but he had big plans about you know big experiences so bringing ourselves back to our mindfulness mindfulness of all our actions of body speech and mind and this is the details of everyday life
this is
ah
paying attention and work too
i brought this up in the last talk i gave him in the dining room in the kitchen in the cabins
being present enough to know
all things are placed and i they placed quietly or the disturbing you put something down at somebody jumps or
something got overlooked to forgotten where was your mind where was our mindfulness this is
bringing our attention over and over and over to that which is before us
and in in the zendo you know we have all these forms that help us with mindfulness fullness stepping over the threshold with a particular footballing to annoy certain forms that are created were created to help us with our mindfulness practice and then from there we bring it out into the world
and it shows up in our daily life and it shows up in all parts of our daily life grooming and hygiene and
how we treat one another body language all these things are we aware of this are we mindful and are we asking for help around these things
mindfulness also is thought of as protecting us from desire which is back to the first one you know all these desires arise
wiggins decibels and taste wilson touch boston
mine objects so our mindfulness practice will help us in they call had putting on the armor meaning it not an armor to defend us but to protect us and help us

also mindfulness helps with our fears
when mindfulness is solid
you will not be harmed
buy your own desires which you can't refrain from
and then there is nothing to be afraid of so our mindfulness practice really fierce or would our mind leaps into the future about what's gonna happen and was not going to happen and are the great power of imagination and fantasy
but
fear in the present there is by definition fear is this mind that leaps into the future so our mindfulness helps us to stay in the present to stay grounded to stay
focused and for mind full have remained full of that which is before us resident going off and creating fears
and also another wonderful practice of mindfulness is our posture and
i've been having some difficulty with my back for the last several weeks and months maybe and i see
the the connection of mindfulness of walking and sitting with this painfulness you know so are taking our posture carefully and mindfully is another area where we bring mindfulness you know from the zendo from our mad into everyday life
and this leads us to the sixth awakening which is the awakening to practice meditation
and in this case they are talking about
stability and meditation
gathering the mind and stabilizing calming the mind coming a confused and disturbed mind this to awaken to this this practice in the the need for this in our life

so if you gather your mind it will abide instability so i think coming out of mindfulness practice our stability of meditation
and the to of course go together in are within one within the other
and the buddha says then you will understand
the dharma form of birth and death arising and vanishing of all things in the world this stability will allow us to see
this forms arising and vanishing which is the way the world lists
unstable impermanent

we yeah practice today in restorative poses which was in the afternoon
a particular post where we leaned forward onto a bolster onto a or patio area and touched her forehead to the bolster in judith was saying that this friend tell us muscle when you press it it initiate or support sore
conditions or that the relaxation response to have this pressing on the forehead which
it made me think of our full prostrations which we go down into a full bow and we press her forehead on the ground and when we actually go into a kind of child's pose which is a very young
i've always found it ah
well last of things but the feeling of all this rate with the world i guess that you might say safety or comfort or all at all as well and to i just i talked about this in a lecture several months ago the
this practice of going into our full bows those of you who come to service and practice that way as this giving yourself to this completely relaxing into that as child's pose and now i would just for so happy to hear this about this forehand touching the forehead is
you know is relaxing just in and of itself
so to plunge into the bow and just put her head down
and and we have this wonderful opportunity to practice this many times a day and either in service you can practice it at and this
the and it's a calming stabilizing practices ah
and meditation meditation on bow
and he don't have to say i better be devotional i'd better do this it has nothing to do with the idea of devotion
in fact if you've got some idea that you're adding to it you probably won't completely plunge into the bow and release into that posture and feel what it is because we're thinking up gee maybe i should go down a little bit because i don't look quite devotional now for my doing it right
major just throw yourself in
and get that had downs
for him
so continuing in practicing various forms of meditation when there is stability your mind will not be scattered so this is this is the way we gathered mind and in our longer meditation days and so forth
that's just the gathering of the mind
and this ah
flows into the next awakening which is the awakening to wisdom and in the commentary on the meditation part it says this is a way to build a house with a good roof or affirm embankment or or a dyke is another
translation to hold the water of wisdom in so you need this kind of stability in our life before
or or wisdom or incite just there's no place for it to
ah
reside or abide there's the the ref there's no one
there's too much confusion
so we build this this a stable house
so the seventh is to cultivate wisdom and the cultivating of wisdom comes in three forms to listen to contemplate and to have realization this is the shooter my oppression or to listen or here pretty nice wisdom to
contemplate a reflect kinda my a prisoner and boven and my oppression and or to meditate or to make it your owner to become it or to have realization of it
now this circles back to the first one if you have wisdom you are free from greed so the wisdom is the understanding this there's this three ways that we work with wisdom but part of wisdom has understanding that you there is
nothing to grasp that life is ungraspable so when when there's wisdom where would greed arise because we actually know
we lacked nothing we just allow the arrival of all things we don't have to this doesn't mean that we
never go out and buy a new pair of shoes that's going too far but the greed around it we just take good care of her life if we need new shoes we get your shoes or a new car whatever
but the greed we need those things for our opposable thumb grasping you know drops off through wisdom the wisdom of knowing the non dual nature of self another or the suddenness of mind and objects that there's there's nothing supposedly out there to get em bring in
in this is
this is great wisdom
so we first hear this we hear the teachings then we turn it reflect on and ask about it bring it up steady more steady yourself and then it it did you know becomes us with our ceaseless efforts and are diligent effort
you know that's how they all come together it can't be separated really
wisdom is a sturdy reliable vessel bringing you across the ocean of old age sickness and death
so the buddha is speaking as on his deathbed i find that very you know this is what is this is what he's offering old age sickness and death we all face no one
we may miss out on old age or maybe sickness but nobody misses on death you know so to have the stability this sturdy vessel of wisdom to sail that ocean and help other beings who are in the same boat
i'm literally ah
his sound
his wisdom

and there's more things of chris to say about within the last of the eight
is the eighth awakening is not to be engaged in hello discussions another tray
another translation is not to engage in idle discussion
so it's wonderful to to you got greed and you know mindfulness and wisdom and all these things and then they come down to
the buddha you know the last of the eight do not engage in idle discussion or hollow discussion
the
so often when we also hear about frivolous talk and idle chatter is another way it comes up in the sutras this is a kind of dissipating of our energy it also on

it disturbs the mind actually this kind of hollow discussion know
i i bring this up with a kind of fun
gingerly are not usually but delicately because i think it's very easy to take this oh i'm not supposed to engage in our discussions so i'm going to only sit at the silent table or i'm never going to engage in smalltalk or enlisted some formal ducks on earth i don't talk well that
that goes too far and that's a kind of using the teaching to what what would i say
kind of gratify our our habitual tendencies or averting so the buddha was known for his speech and it was known as delightful pleasing to the ear loving in a loving kindness came from him
dogan the great zen master talks about our
speech kind speeches one of the for important practices of a bodhisattva so we're not talking about know speech or talking about hollow speech or frivolous or idol and there's many precepts around speech as well you know not slandering line now praising self at the expense
of others now
i think just
precept of not killing you can look at speech the power of speech to cut people down in a sarcasm means to bite flesh weren't sarcasm we can use our speech to take what is that given you know i yeah
you know they are people who who are very skillful and
currying favor and flattery rate and getting what they want by using speech so there's all sorts of misuse of speech but one of the eightfold path is right speech so
what you know the mind from this bringing mindfulness into our speech but this does not mean that we don't speak together in fact the practices around speaking with loving kindness with clarity with delight you know
is part of our dharma work part of our how we encourage each other how we express our love for each other and our love for the world so
let us not go too far in this but let us practice together speech sometimes we hold tour our ideas of what the teaching is but you know that teaching is very flexible not
flexible meaning
ah waffling but flexible in that it responds to the situations and there is a place for chitchat there is a place for small talk in fact in this book about the opposable thumbs they were talking about the when speech came in to the
homo sapiens and he uses the term guiness a sapient for the women when speech and why it was developed in there's a whole theory yes but he also goes into how
the way were constructed we have a lot of stored up
energy dripped throughout the day and the importance of the discharging of that energy through talking and we know how it is to call for friend and just tell him what's going on right or people you live with to actually how's your day well how was your day and i think our dinner table conversation at does are around the
family table this is
we have to look with her mindfulness is this hello and idol or frivolous or is this supporting
our friends and family you know supporting our coworkers this is a good question to look at where is the place for small cock small with a big capital s you know
and and to practice pleasing speech you know not pleasing in order to get approval for others but pleasing in order to delight the world you know
not to get something for ourselves but be out of our love
this is the kind of intimacy of speech
so those are the age
awakenings of great beings
and c hammer
well
we've been having the practice in the yoga class of students as out of respect for the teacher you show up on time and out of respect for the students you leave in you in the class on time so i am
i know everyone has many of you all have to get up early but i was wondering if there might be a question or two that someone would like to bring up picking up time for maybe a question or two
gesture yeah on when i talking about on desires trying to
no way from or have desires or oracle disturbed by
there are being different does not want our
buyers are you know
lars come on our spirit which might be
a greater spiritual all that stuff like that and so i'm not aware that or heard a phrase before best not desire
now we have another route is the attachment
ah
the difference between desires for
the mall or know like to have a great relationship
yes
i think i'm you know this particular passage was pointed to
being pulled around by the endless inexhaustible desires of
the visible the taste of course the touch of boston i think the same time and maybe desires a word that it can be used in different ways but to have a deep you know longing or away seeking mind or you know
i agree you know if if the word desire is used in that way than awakening
the desire for all bees to be enlightened you can say is the body surf from wow you know that deep longing for all beings to be happy and protected you could say that a deep desire which would be a wholesome thing and you're rate and if you're attached to that in an unwholesome way like
you're usually the attachment is your understanding of what that means in a rigid way and not being open to
ah
now being
open to hearing more about that are or where you might be stuck you know that that's like were we talking about this today at one hundred foot pole
the top and put and holding on so
so what if someone brings up well that sounds good that damn thing you just said but it looks like you might be a little attached over here why do you think and if you say no no i have the right answer on you know my desire is pure whatever that's like holding on tight so
this not attachment is
what do you see what what's going on and and being willing so
that's kind of a little aside but yeah i think you're right i think there can be wholesome desire that the desire to practice is what brings people to the cushion or the map without that they've never going to walk in the door so i think it has wholesome quality to it as well
to a certain point now

the one mark yes
one once
sean
britain go
reviews crow opponents
in britain go
so
power
the big was
let me see if i understood what you said
because there is a lot of parts to it so somebody lost everything and out of that deep suffering they were exposed to the teaching and they decided to take a practice or city then while sitting or through that practice they felt
everything returned to them where they they were
they
did you say got everything back to performance now
abundance valve
so so to say that in other words through their sitting they felt
they lacked nothing or they felt fully filled with
joy and
roy
something physical
the people
meditate and event as well
so your question is what you say to a person like that we attended a performance
now
hey yeah yeah
yeah
you know
there are chemically speaking when we when we do wholesome activities we have wholesome truce that arise that that they of go together so if we're doing some activity in order to get wholesome fruits bad kenneth
makes it a little bit dumb
and that's a pure maybe you could say but you know for someone to be dealing with how do i deal with on with the abundance of my life right and the suffering around having things that's one of the sufferings is the suffering of pleasure
it's one of the name sufferings there's this be because those things go away or you've gotta deal with them in the warrior so what one might say to a person like that your that person's friend right
so even to just bring it up you know and
he knows i don't know what i would say to that person i think but for a person to reflect on where is the suffering arising and you know their stories of great practitioners who had lots of wealth and lots of stuff that is not the problem
you know vimalakirti was a layman who had great estate and you know he was a match for all the buddhist teachers of the of the era of that time the problem is not in the object out there or
but it's very hard to to understand that because we get very confused by stuff so
so is their attachment to worry anxiety around the stuff and how might he used that stuff for the benefit of beings
the anyway those are just some things that come to me
thank you
okay well let's
and there thank you very much for your attention

me