Eight Characteristics of Suzuki Roshi's Teaching

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understood the
everybody is feeling good this morning
sun's come out it's nice

well as i'm sure everyone
in the room knows
we have had many years of
enjoyment of suzuki roshi his book as and my beginner's mind
which was edited by truly dixon long time ago maybe nineteen seventy one it came out or so
i'm sure you've all read it or know about it at least
but maybe you didn't know that ah
even though send my beginner's mind has never as far as i know appeared
on a best seller list
it is the best selling book on buddhism in the history of the west because every single year it sells thousands and thousands of copies steadily over all these years
that has been translated into i don't know how many languages many many languages and i don't know how many additions of it there have been many many additions
probably like the bible that will never go out of print
and somehow
despite all the many changes that have taken place in the world since the time when suzuki roshi gave those talks and all the different changes in fashion in western dharma
it seems as if as in mind beginner's mind still holds up pretty well
and i think this is because there is something about
suzuki roshi his way something about suzuki roshi zen spirit that strikes many many people as
just true
and also warm
even when we raise the issue rashi's words and don't really understand exactly what he's getting at
we usually feel the truth and sincerity and even in some way the necessity
what he's saying
and yet suki russia's words like his practice and life
are not particularly spectacular
or exciting are brilliant or poetic
they're really his talks as his words are really fairly simple down to earth
and yet they have this appeal somehow they sound somehow right
and it's also interesting that almost all of the buddhist lineages in the west not only the zen lineages but other lineages tibetan buddhist lineages and terrified lineages now that we have in the west almost all of them in one way or another recognize
ah the beauty and truth of the euro she's teaching
and even know it was not a famous eminent master in japan
or even a noteworthy master in any anyway
somehow his practice and is teaching as they met the western mind
created something strong enough to transcend soto's in
japanese in zen even buddhism suzuki roshi doesn't even just belong to buddhism i think
for many years i i thought to myself how come with all these suzuki roshi archives we can't produce more than one little skinny book
the don't think of that why isn't there more than one little book all the talks that he gave recorded over many years
and we often said you know we were going to do a but we never quite got around to it all this time
maybe we're too busy
or maybe we were in little intimidated by success and the beauty of zen mind beginner's mind thinking
the next book might be a dud
everybody will say oh what a dummy that suzuki roshi plus and we were scared of that
or maybe we thought there was something in a wonderful
that the whole life and teachings of this great man could come down to one hundred and twenty four pages and that was it nothing more
then there's something kind of nice about that
but also it would also be nice don't think if there were more of his teachings available to us
so now this is happening now it's starting to happen and many new projects are
out there now you can get tapes of suzuki roshi talks
and pretty soon you'll be able to read his lectures in the sand ah kiah fundamental soto's and text which going to be published
sometime within a year by the university of california press
and just recently
came out
a new book called crooked cucumber which is david chadwick's wonderful biography of suzuki roshi and we're going to get david to come over in the spring i think and give a lecture and present a book to you that book
puts down on paper for the first time so many many stories that we shared just in our little dharma family about suzuki roshi not everyone can
here and appreciate these stories
and best of all we finally found the right person as i mentioned a couple weeks ago in ed brown to do a sequel to is in mind beginner's mind and he's been working on this taking from transcripts a secure oh she's lectures and
it's wonderful wonderful material i think maybe even more wonderful than what you find and send my beginner's mind has been giving me the manuscript and i've been really enjoying it
and david chadwick you know it is wonderful obsessive lunatic
who are and that's what you need some time because we were kind of sitting on all the suzuki roshi material and david in a screaming saying this is all going to rot in the basement and what are you doing and how you got used to so he's kind of single handedly against the the the crushing weight of are you know tremendously benign your
he managed to get us to realize that we have to do something about this and so
we are now happily
raising one hundred and eight thousand dollars
ah that it would be one hundred and eight thousand dollars but one hundred and eight thousand dollars to preserve suzuki roshi is archive
for all time or until the world burns up whichever comes first
so if you if you have any extra money you know exactly what to do with it
anyway the point is that it's all this stuff is going on and
we know are having new teachings from suzuki roshi available for us to study and could contemplate look at cherish and so this is a great thing i think a renaissance in our appreciation of secure russia
of course
for those of us and said center live here and come here
suzuki roshi is teaching is not books or tapes or ideas
it's more a concrete way of life in everyday matter
a kind of a deeply felt deeply held attitude or spirit about life
and i think that for those students
who study with suzuki roshi
this attitude this feeling for life is very very strong
and for them very much connected in a wonderful emotional way with their affection experience of suzuki roshi as a living breathing person
but somehow as with all important teachers it also seems as if this attitude this feeling for life is also being passed on to those of us who have come later and did not know suzuki roshi
and in our own way we are having the chance to meet suzuki roshi face to face
tangling eyebrows together as it says in the old text even know
not in the flesh tangling eyebrows with him face to face in the reality of our own lives in our own practice in in the relationships with our own teachers
so in short know suzuki roshi is alive and well
at zen center and in many places around the world
a buddhism i think is one teaching
and although as everyone knows there are many many forms of buddhism many ways of speaking about the teaching many ways of putting it into practice really all the forms of buddhism are just different ways
i'm getting people to see and to realize personally the basic truths about human life that the buddha himself saw and tried to teach
for each era for each culture
and also for each person
there must be a unique way
of presenting buddhism
because although the truth may always be the same
there is no truth that is independent of a form of expression and because people are always different
there must always be different forms of expression
of the one buddhist truth
in every country that buddhism has visited
there are always people who eventually probably without trying to do it
will find an expression of buddhism that speaks to the particular cultural condition that form those people
create a new buddhism they just find a different way to make clear
what buddhism has been saying all along in japan there's dog and zingy
a great figure ah who created a unique way of understanding soto's in a way that's very deeply japanese deeply profound
as sookie roshi was a straight student of dogan
and he based his understanding on on that a doga
so i was thinking that you know with all this new
material that we're having now about suzuki roshi coming to light in into the world
maybe as time goes on i'm just as in japan we see dog and zingy has been a new source for buddhism maybe people will see suzuki roshi
as the source
for american or western buddhism
his way of zen is in many ways the same and as some ways different from other styles of chinese japanese in
in many ways the same and in many ways different from duggan's style of sin
so i think it's gonna be an interesting discussion on as people begin to think about how what is the nature of suzuki roshi his style is in and maybe scholars will write about this just as over the generations they've written about duggan's mg
so i was thinking this
talking to somebody that's in came into my mind
so what i want to do today although it is definitely contrary exactly to the spirit of zen
and especially contrary to the spirit of suzuki roshi his way
to characterize anything at all
still i thought i would
make a contribution to this great conversation that will probably go on for a while and try to think about what are the basic
points in on the basic character characteristic insights of suzuki roshi his way
now does of you who know me know that i frequently and make great characteristics of this and characteristics of that and five this isn't the eight thats and so on that's one of my favorite things to do because you can think these things so
and sometimes there can be some usefulness to it although in the end definitely not

so you know this is this is what it is to be human is make things up we make our whole lives up in a way and we take that pretty seriously
and then problems come from that so why not
in the spirit of conversation
which is it in an endless give and take over time
i'm going to now launch into
telling you the eight characteristics
of suzuki roshi his way in there are eight they're not seven
there are not nine or five there are eight
characteristics of suzuki roshi way
and i feel sure that since it's taken me all this time to tell you that that's what i'm and talk about that i probably won't be able to talk about all these characteristics
but maybe next time i'll talk about the ones that i don't talk about today so here i know even thinking about this for long time and waiting for this and we're now going to tell you the eight characteristics of secure oh she's way probably i'm going to tell you that in the next sentence
and that
so the first characteristic is
no expectations
that's the first characteristic of secure oceans way no expectations the second one is
faithful daily practice is enlightenment
faithful daily practice is enlightenment the third one is no sticking to any teaching
there's nothing special to do or understand
the fourth one is
zazen meditation is the most important thing in our practice
and real meditation is our whole life
in the fifth
characteristic of superior oh she's teaching his kindness and toughness or not too different things
and the sixth characteristic of suzuki roshi she's teaching is a close and loving relationship with a teacher
the seventh characteristic the circular oh she's teaching is
in all our activities wholeheartedness and all our activities
in the last is characteristic is
pay close attention to the details of form
because that's where you find freedom
so i think know i thought about this i think these are the characteristics of his teaching
so the first one
no expectations
i think that most of us most western people
come to buddhist practice with like dickens said great expectations
somehow we don't go to christianity or judaism or islam with these kinds of expectations and i think that by and large people in asia especially modern forward looking people in asia don't go to buddhism at these kind of great expectations
so what what do we expect after all
i suppose we expect
or peace of mind or some kind of happiness or relief or some kind of profundity in our living
maybe some of us expect some kind of sensational experience
or some serenity of deep wisdom
maybe mostly we don't really know what we expect actually
it's kind of vague
only thing we're sure that we're expecting something
maybe this is the exciting part that we were expecting something that will happen and we don't know what it is
i think the reason we have these expectations is because buddhism especially buddhist meditation is completely completely new to us so it seems like a great possibility
it is a great possibility course every moment is a great possibility except we don't think about that
we've become jaded to every moment so we think zen buddhism or as and is going to somehow be something special
we're getting around here at since then we've been doing this for so long that that we're getting around to being jaded even about zen buddhism
some of the old timers here where this is our practice is not to be jaded to be fresh even that were quite familiar with the practice in the teaching
so these expectations are actually quite good
because they give us an energy and a freshness and i think that suzuki roshi really appreciated that
he called it beginner's mind
a mind full of great expectations but without really any preconceptions or at least preconceptions founded on experience
since we have no idea what we're doing in buddhism were free to expect the impossible
all our preconceptions whatever preconceptions we have our fantastic and imaginary
so this is good is very fresh energetic mind for practice
and i think that this is why suzuki roshi came here because he wanted to meet that kind of fresh energetic
impossible dreaming mind for practice so of course what can you teach no expectations
when you have a mind full of expectations the best teaching is no expectations
so we can use the energy and in the enthusiasm of our expectations for practice and transmute that energy into the power of non expectation
then we can practice in a very strong way
so that as i'm saying the strong point about having so many expectations is that it produces energy and enthusiasm
with a weak point of course is that it leads to grasping attachment this appointment
which are of course quite counterproductive
if we expect something we must be
completely mistaken about the nature of experience
the nature of self
the nature of time
we think if we're expecting something that we need something and that later on we'll get it
are we think that we have a problem now and later on we might be able to get rid of that problem
are we think that buddha lived a long time ago and we live now
but actually none of these things are true
these things are all persuasive no doubt these ideas but they're only projections of our mind
what is actually true
is that this moment
right now arises in our lives
independent of everything
and yet including everything
buddha is here self is here problem is here no problem is here
past present future is all here
if we persist in having expectation that things will change and that somehow our activity is going to cause things to change
then we're really missing the boat on what is activity it also what is change
when we can give ourselves completely to this moment of our lives
and into this moment in this moment in this moment in this moment without any expectation
which is giving ourselves completely then
real happiness as possible
it's not necessary to get mad at ourselves because we have expectations because like i said it's good to have expectations but we have to use expectation to go beyond expectation maybe we can say that having no expectations means that way
we always have a strong expectation but what we're expecting is nothing
one of my favorite sayings of security is something that he once apparently shocked people with in a lecture i think it was in response to a question he said the problems that you have now you will always have
he also said i think it says this is my beginner's mind
i have found it necessary to believe in absolutely nothing
so that's a little bit about
the first characteristic no expectations the second characteristic of secure she's teaching the famous second characteristic
faithful daily practice is enlightenment
maybe you all realize that historically
in china design school was founded based on the experience of a sudden personal insight into buddhist mind
and the reason for this is because in china there had been many many schools of buddhism many many practices that had come into china it was very complicated and religion has a way of becoming refined and complicated
and becomes a very beautiful
jewel of human culture
but sometimes in that process that removes itself from the simple and profound truth that it was based on in the first place so there's something like this happened in china
so the first and ancestors emphasized cutting through complexity
to an actual experience of enlightenment that was transformative
this kind of emphasis is good and bad it's good because it does cut through all scholasticism and ideas and notions and gets us to the heart of the matter which is our life
but it's bad because it tends to make you think that there's a particular kind of experience you're aiming at and you would expect such an experience long for such an experience and should such an experienced come to you you would immediately become arrogant and confused thinking that it was something here
so it makes you think that the purpose of practices to have this particular kind of experience or inside and then you don't need the practice anymore you can forget about it because you've got what you can for
but for dog in and especially for suzuki roshi
the practice itself the daily practice and the experience of enlightenment are one in the same
when we do practice it's because we're expressing
our enlightenment and our face in our enlightenment and when we really find enlightenment then naturally we want to practice and we do practice
suzuki roshi came to san francisco in nineteen fifty nine
to be the priest where the local japanese american community at so koji temple
he did not take san francisco by storm
he showed up one or two people met him at the airport
there were no posters no banners no news articles know high profile retreats or lectures
he just started sitting zazen in the morning and in the evening as so koji temple
and if somebody stumbled in for some reason heard about him and asked about then he would say well i sit here please come join if you want if you like
his practice was essentially the practice of a simple priest
the practice of faithfulness and sincerity
he often spoke about how stupid he was and how poor was his understanding of buddhism
he told the story which david retells in his book that when he was a small boy
he had a very tough teacher and the teachers temple all the other young monks ran away
because the teacher was so impossible
and he said i was the last disciple and then i became the first sight because everybody else ran away
and he said i didn't run away not because i was good or strong are determined but i was the only one who didn't realize that i could run away
he said
so he just went on every day whatever the conditions were
just practicing and that's what he did
until he died
and the emphasized in his teaching that kind of steadfastness constancy faithfulness not faithfulness to an ideal
or belief or a philosophy or even a particular group
but a faithfulness to a simple life of daily practice
he emphasized routine and repetition
he taught that just doing the practice over and over again without any expectation a result
but being as present as you possibly can with the practice
something subtle what happened
unlike other teachers of his time and now he didn't travel all over the place giving sessions and talks he just stayed around temple where he lived taking care of things taking care of his practice
you may think you know he wasn't very ambitious person in a way he wasn't that actually i think you must have been very ambitious he would not have
you know at the age of fifty five started a new life in america if you didn't have a great dream and a great ambition
but i think his ambition was not to do great things himself
but just to have a great hope
in a great faithfulness
to bring their great hope and that great faithfulness to his practice every day
with confidence that whatever needed to happen would unfold naturally
without forcing anything are expecting anything
he once said very famously that practice is like going for a walk
in a slight missed
you might walk and walk and walk for hours and never feel like you're getting wet
but when you arrive at where you are going you will notice that your robe is soaked through
he also said one time
if we walk in the midst together
and you get impatient with me and want to go ahead
that is all right please go ahead
the longer i practice the more it seems to me that are enlightenment are insight our freedom
is in our faithfulness our confidence in our buddha nature which is the real nature of our body and mind beyond the appearance we take on in this fleeting short life
now we are not looking for some experience or some knowledge
but only hoping for a growing face
that life is life
and death is death
always moment after moment in connection with this
the when this is true for us naturally
we're gonna want to do practice we're going to want to bow to buddha we're going to want to make offerings were going to want to chant want to meditate
going to want to be kind to others and to ourselves into everything
without making any big deal out of it just that's what we want to do that's natural
our enlightenment is not a state of mind
it's not an accomplishment
it is just this moment by moment
experience of faithfulness
i am interested in all kinds of buddhism and i'm like a little kid on the store when i saw a new book about tibet this and terrified of that i get all these books and i read and and i'm thrilled you know and i think that it's probably true
that other teachings and other teachers
i'm much better than ours
it's probably true more colorful more wise more deep more beautiful
but you know that's not what matters because we're not trying to be wise deep beautiful wonderful
we're only trying to practice our whole life through
day by day with this faithfulness
and that's all the enlightenment we need
and in a simple daily activity of practice whatever that may be in our lives we find enlightenment everywhere
last month we had our long retreat and at the end of the month we decided to do a
it's something we've never done before here a silent session silent retreat that means no dharma talks know chanting
ah only a few interviews
and if we had anything at all to say practical we would you write it down would use our voice very quiet
so we just sat we eat our meals in silence we cleaned up in silence we took a rest in silence in a night we peacefully slept
instead of watching over the practice of others as we usually do the teachers also turn around and sat facing the wall just taking care of their own practice
and it was a very beautiful retreat says sheen
and we found that we didn't need any teaching in a special
just to be alive
on a moment by moment basis was all the inspiration that we needed
in one afternoon during that session i was walking from the zendo here over to my room
and it was a bit the weather was a bit like right now and
a shaft of sunlight came on my shoulder
it was such wonderful sunlight so worm warned me right up
to the quick of such a tender beautiful
the shaft of light
and it was such a beautiful
a moment of sunlight that it almost made me cry it was so beautiful and so wonderful
and i all of a sudden understood for the first time
a jewish prayer that i used to say as a child it's often said and i forget how exactly what the pierce has been something like this prayer that has said on many occasions of joy where you say something like blessed that are you o lord who creates a whole universe of time that brings me to this one
moment in time that's so precious
so spontaneously that prayer came up in my mind
so this is our enlightenment this is the sucralose this way of enlightenment
and i don't think
it's just about xin or even just about buddhism it's it's really only about life
real life not imaginary life life it actually is a simple way
now we're up to the third characteristic
of securities a teaching which is not sticking to any teaching
now i think sometimes if you read suzuki roshi his words and think about what he's saying
reflect on it you know he might seem a little wishy washy
he often it doesn't take a definite kind of position about things
or if he does usually in the next brats he'll take the opposite position you so the opposite is also true he often used the phrase the other side
and i can remember in my early days of practice my own teacher sojourn roshi always saying that phrase the other side he say he would say something and say while the other side is
which meant well you know this is one way of looking at it and then there's this way of looking at can look at it that way and you can look at it this way
in both ways are true and therefore both ways are also not true
sometimes people refer to this kind of viewpoint
as the non dual viewpoint
but i have never liked this term and non it himself philosophical and dualistic nine do
non dual the term is very dualistic you know because it implies nando was very good and dualistic is very bad
which is very dualistic point of view it's a dualistic is part of non dualistic
so the real non dualistic is dualistic and non dualistic that's why it's non dualistic
these are the kinds of things you think when you have a term like non dualistic which is why i don't like just term so much because this what you get into
but suzuki roshi understood the idea of non dualistic not as a philosophical concept
but as a way of being alive
he understood it as a freedom
not been caught by anything not being limited by one's views even buddhist views even zenmuse even the most correct views
our limiting she caught by them
practice is really beyond all views
includes all views honours all views but doesn't stick to any of them
so he was always interested in pointing out the people they're sticky views when they were sticking to them
and try and and gentle ways to get them unstuck
there is another famous story that i'm sure many of you have heard about one time when suzuki roshi was driving up to the city from tassajara with a student and the student was an ardent a vegetarian
in those days i suppose it's still the case people has a very definite ideas about you know what was ethical and unethical to beat to be eaten what was good for you want was bad for you and so on
so when suzuki roshi in the students stopped at a restaurant for lunch the student was very surprised and challenged by the fact that suzuki roshi ordered a very large hamburger
probably in a rare and dripping with blood
so the student order you know a salad no doubt
he was even more surprised and shocked when the food came suzuki roshi put the hamburger in front of him and took the salad for herself
didn't say a word
switch the plates
now i don't think that this means that suzuki roshi was disapproving of vegetarianism
i don't think it was any particular view that he was against or for
but rather how do you hold
the view that you hold this was question
to practice other way is to be present in each moment
and to be present in each moment you really are beyond time which after all as a concept as can't taught us
suzuki roshi spoke of this over and over and over again
and when you hold on to views any kind of of view you are stopping time and creating a fixed world
a world of a linear time which is a world of suffering and opposition and trouble
not stick interviews is not wishy washy
if you are not sticking to views truly comes from the heart of your practice
when your practice is faithful
when you stand firmly in the middle of your own life which is not separate from all of life and which is fresh each moment
standing in that place
truth is very clear truth is not confusing
but the way to express truth may change according to circumstances
when your practice is faithful in this way you will not get mixed up between the truth
which is clear in the expression of the truth which is always changing you will know the difference
and you will stand for with truth but very flexible with expression
you will know what is important and what is trivial
what is truly helpful and what is not helpful and even if you don't know
you will have the patience and the confidence to go forward in the best way that you can
without getting confused or caught or pushed off center
so this kind of practice is a very subtle thing it's hard to define hard to know how to do it
it's more about a feeling
as i said before a feeling attitude about life than it is
about rules or doctrines
over and over again suzuki roshi talked about rules
he was very meticulous about rules and he said there are no rules there are no definite procedures
and even when there are definite procedures one should understand that these are completely contention
probably my favorite phrase of all time of suzuki roshi is which i'm sure you've heard me quote before is this a three word response to the question what is the essence of zen
he said not necessarily so

well i got through the three characteristics out of the so next week i have five characteristics i have to do better but i want to end with the
ah at the risk of going on too long a passage a long passage from as manuscript
precious words of suzuki roshi and this is a very interesting passages in a way it's a little bit hard to understand it's kind of confused they're confusing sometimes i think so if roshi was confusing are confused himself but even then you know you can get some feeling for what he's saying i want to read this interesting passage
for you and then
we'll all go away
he's this is in the middle of a lecture i'm not beginning at the beginning dog and zingy he says talks about practice not in terms of something special
but something continuous something which is mixed up with everything
as he said
those who fall on the ground should get up by the ground does that make sense
if you fall on the ground you stand up again by using the support of the ground in that place
right but he also says they'll get also says if you fall on the ground you should get up by emptiness by nothing
without discussing why this is so we cannot have a complete understanding our teaching actually we do get up with the help of the ground that's the way to get up but he says we shouldn't get up with the help of the ground what does he mean
if you

always rely on the ground and so don't mind falling you will fall quite easily
you will think it is all right if i fail to the fall to the ground i can get up by the ground
to practice our way with this kind of prejudice or easy idea is wrong
this point is important it is like enlightenment if you rely on enlightenment to practice zazen and you will somebody you will be someone who easily makes mistakes or falls on the ground relying on the help of the ground do you understand it's a very subtle point
of course we have this we have to get up relying on the ground
this is the only way to get up
but if we stick to the idea of the security of the ground all the time we will lose the true meaning of farming
in other words we should not make the same mistake many many times
falling again and again relying on the ground to always save us
reality is not like that
things do not happen in the same way not even twice in the same way
the ground is never the same ground
it can be a stick sometimes or can be a stone
it can even be water sometimes ground is it you know
it is everything not just ground that means that you should practice without imagining you can ever have the same experience twice
like this experience of me
never me is never the same twice
so there is nothing we look nothing to rely on
in our practice
but on the other hand there is always something provided for you always according to the circumstances you will have some aid
even the pain in your legs as an aide
the pain is it
it is everything but at that time it is some definite experience or particular trouble it can be drowsiness it can be hunger it can be hot weather
so hot weather or nice cool weather or hunger or mosquitoes are paid in your legs are all of our human suffering
can be an aid to your practice with which you can stand up and establish your practice so not only buddhist teaching but everything can be an aid to us so we have this term embryo which means it something somebody doing something some discontinuous particular being which has form and
but as though organs and she says zen practice is also something continuous something which is mixed up with everything
if this is so then someone doing zazen
already includes everything
someone cannot be separate from this world some action cannot exist without the background of the whole world and something cannot be apart from other things so someone
doing and something
are all the same thing you know
if they are the same thing then we could just as easily say something something something
then what does that that is complete realization
at that
everything everything happens in this way
so if you stick to the idea of help or enlightenment
that is already a mistake you have already separated yourself from everything
someone may say oh he is such as then he denies the enlightenment experience
it is not so we soto students do not stick to anything we always try to have complete freedom of practice complete freedom of expression our practice is the living expression of our true nature of reality for us it is not possible to stick to anything one moment after another we
have to practice our way and quite a renewed quite a refreshed way
our practice should be independent from past practice and future practice we can sacrifice our present practice for some future attainment
this is the way all the buddhas attain enlightenment and the way all the buddhas in the future will attain enlightenment this way means you know not any particular way
sometimes it may be so to away sometimes i according to circumstances it may be the way of another school
the way people attain enlightenment is always different someone will attain enlightenment when seeing a flower or hearing a sound someone may attain enlightenment when taking a hot bath or going to the restaurant
rich and poor maintain alignment in various ways
but actually there is not a soto way or rinzai way
this discussion maybe abstract but in short but it means is
whatever it is we should accept it
by means of various things moment after moment we practice
this is the only way to attain enlightenment
that's all thank you very much for your attention

now we get to
something never zone your mind hopefully it has to do with the teachers
humans between home
difference between hope and expectation
well it's interesting that you bring that up i
i've been thinking about this a lot lately and my thoughts are still
ah unclear to me so i don't have to really have an answer to your question but i can say give you some idea of what a what i've been thinking about

certainly as i was saying in my talk in meditation practice
the thing is to be present and not to be looking for something in the future
and there's something you can almost say i'm in my view would be that
to be profoundly present in one's life is
the essential religious
activity no matter what the tradition is that it really comes down to that
and being president is like i say it's not about it's not hedonistic present
it's a profound president that takes into account pass president future of birth and deaths all their in on the present so that sounds like the opposite of expectation as i was saying this morning and so it's our meditation teacher is often say you don't give up hope
that's what over the gates of hell in dante's inferno says abandoned hope ye who enter here and i often thought of putting on and meditation hyena
so that's one side of it but then in recent years i'm thinking about this and i'm thinking that
on the other hand so there's all of that can i think all of that is very true but on the other hand

you notice i also says i thought this is a girl she had a great hope which i said that very advisedly enough
because i think there's something about that's important about having a sense of
hope and vision
but ah
not that something would happen see
but just a sense of hope and vision because otherwise you if you accept too much sea conditions as they are you have to accept conditions as they are but if you live if you stop there
then what about injustice know what about
what about this broken world that that i think it's a human thing to to want to feel that week that the world can be repaired and that somehow our activity can be beneficial in riparian
so it actually maybe a weak point of buddhism to emphasize no hope in that way to make almost make it into a doctrine you know so i'm feel as i like i said it had to work this out of my mind but i see that that their that that have hope and i'm also influenced by christian and jewish for
friends who is the whole thing and that those religions it's about the hope right or the messianic era the time when you go to service of jewish service or a catholic service it's all about the days to come the kingdom of heaven and and all this you know now we know that this can be pernicious idea if if
you know understood in in the in the wrong way but also there's something to it so i'm trying to sort of figure that out but i think there is something to the idea of having a great hope but
but not
hoping for something that something should happen and then being disappointed angry and frustrated when it doesn't
so there has to be i remember we were having a retreat during the gulf war
some years ago
couple of people in the retreat actually had relatives in
you know on the ground troops american troops and them
course as it turned out
hardly any american troops were killed but they didn't know that at the time course huge numbers
iraqis were killed which was never mentioned huge numbers anyway that aside in it so there was a lot of grief and and
sorrow in the middle of our retreat and i remember say no to people
you have to accept this just accepted
you can't deny it or or or the angry about you have to accept it and it is absolutely unacceptable
you know that's how i find myself thinking of it so it's like this you know you there's no hope you have to just accept what comes now there's no hope and at the same time yeah to have a great hope but not for something but the spirit and it has to be rising and i think that's a very natural human think i think we need that
feeling so and then if you started at my yoga sutras that are kind of wonderful because they
they envision an endless timeframe
you know we practice lifetime after lifetime after lifetime indefinitely we're all going toward enlightenment and the whole world is going toward peacefulness and perfection
over there when we're all we're definitely going that way even though there's ups and downs it looks to us like know the a deep ups and downs but actually in the big picture it's you know it's a steady going in so that's nice if you look at it in a big time for him and then of course that big timeframe is always right now
so it's a deep issue
and these are not finished thoughts but just mumble a little bit in the direction of your question thank you for the question yes

yeah well i think definitely in and certainly in buddhism in in an old traditions there's there's there is the idea of teaching and whether we need teaching we need teachers we need
input and in zen you know the that ideas not that teaching is something that you need to know that you don't know but more the ideas that teaching is encouragement this is the idea because we will definitely forget
sometimes i once i says that
if you sell yourself i will keep my practice in my mind
from the time that i walk in this door and this end of the room to the time that i walk out the door on the other end of the room
try to do that you won't be able to do it from sunday rock and wonder if you go out the other you'll forget about it like for a second you know that's other mind is
so be left to our own devices even though where buddha we forget that you know so that's why we need teaching of different things religion is full of all sorts of reminders right techniques to remind us what's going on who we are so we need that
what we receive the teachings not not that we're lacking something that we need to get from these teach but rather that with teachings are just reminding us of what we already have and we do need that practically speaking any of us if left her own devices you know become lazy and confused and selfish and everything we need to do something
counteract that tendency because according to you know traditional buddhist thought we have
in past lives you know accumulated so much habit energy in that direction that we really have to do something to counteract it and if if we know that have an energy will come to the for so we have the capacity in the potential to be awakened is fundamentally who we are but we have all this have an energy and the other
direction so we have to make some effort to return to our real nature which we have so deeply be forgotten
yeah so i always find teaching very encouraging and i'd like to study teachings new practices it just encourages me
oh thank you yes
no who can check

that's why
that's why
much else
my ex
right now
yeah the or the castle crag and jacket or something hard is right
yes yes weapons
yeah linear one good way to look at it won't you were saying this makes me think that maybe we could say that expectations are always expectations for something and then we're always disappointed
but maybe hope is not is just a is that is arising feeling in us not attached to some result but just the feeling of hopefulness about life you know and then not expecting something maybe the maybe that we could make that kind of distinction between those two terms anyway we can do that today and tomorrow and there's something else
yeah roger
it feels like something name to questions togethers is a notion of aesthetic permanent yes to me that
that feeling of having a feeling oh they can you can even see it in a positive way is i know that because things are impermanent the universe is going to be continually presenting me with something fresh and new yes i don't want to say that it's going to be something better because my idea was better or worse is my go
yes yes or even are collectively but i but i know it's always going to be impression so there's hope in that you're say that's yeah yeah yeah there's a recognition of impermanence and i was even less to do with them thing about daily practice than that you don't it doesn't become stale as long as you know
know that you're doing a practice in a moment that is unlike the moment it
yes yes and then you have to you have to be constantly have to be so attentive to because if if you think that if you get into a habit then you're not doing in this month ah yes yes yes that's great yeah the connection between impermanence and hope that's very good thank you very much good idea now the other people have come
since we were in kind of into something here every other people have comments on this issue of expectation or hope so i'll just start here will go in all of you can you can
it's like you from

i've been thing
asking myself that
holly sada faith when she was a little confidence or faith way it takes for it
would have been in the data the standing up
different create your own capacity he saw little that's one way of understanding hoe vanity
ships from a simple home to a more
object who have a catchment to a result know but in the same way
right a right intention
it also seems home
whereas a certain point because
not a concrete idea of where you want to know but direction you're aiming the mine was a right or he may be like oh yeah aspiration aspiration in that
like a practice that keeps shifting your idea as your idea the tour
yeah yeah
yeah if you on the other hand few
like in example you're giving a few
even if you expect something particular the different from what you're saying the words if you expect something in particular
and you it happens
what happens is now what you expected even though i mean there was huge because in your mind you're thinking oh i'm going to go to this place it's going to be wonderful than you go there and it's wonderful in a way but it's not what you have in your mind when you have in your mind was the essence of it is that it never was gonna arrive so we're always disappointed even if you if everything works out perfectly
you're still disappointed because expectation there whereas going on the other hand if you're just present with impermanence your never disappointed even rotten things are wow that's amazing
that this just saviour and you want the merchant of our experience of indian yeah everywhere we went and seen what people were hoping for which they have that have moments when they would forget themselves we really yeah we went to this temple when you just years old minor i
down and abilities home mostly rural villages go there every day and when a new prostration incense yeah to remove them with that feeling i'm just like empathy disappear full heartedly and that the the hope to be missing from life american your movements of
people who they wish to hang on a little footnote some yeah
yeah pick hope
it's big expectation
being attached seven try to
i tell you i was going
the well i still get second
and i notice
when i have high expectations at once something
i had some i know right now
i don't get it
i can get press
now here really and i noticed that and i'm aware of it has to answer
yeah i just get off
expectations of my mother was its expectations kill them as is expense
little right now
president moment just sent
i'd explore yeah to hanoi
that's right so people how many millions of people over the generations have devoted themselves to spiritual practice just basically you can say working on that point is a life's work

yes then
yeah it does but you can also with don't have to say that you could just say oh yes i will have a wonderful time
knowing knowing that the whole thing is just a nice way to be with this other person who's wishing you well but has nothing to do with timer will or should or must re-enter you a mystery here not knowing what's going on in time yeah no wonder not right that's right
yes wasn't
well that's just that's just another kind of expectation of expecting fearing that something bad will happen since it's unknown it could be bad and so you know let's not go forward
yeah so all of this when you really appreciate
impermanence and the nature of our experience and recognize that you know what happens in reality is that her whole life arises and then passes away
and there comes another one and self desire everything comes and goes and if you can be patient with that and and
be attentive enough to live it that way then there's never anything to fear there's never anything to accept expect i mean expect never anything to hope for although garages nice formulation that that to live that way is already hope
it's already hopefulness in living that way and i think this is the experience of great practitioners enlightened people who live in that way they have a lot of joy
because no one well well what what will life bring now even even the worst case scenario which is the definite be arriving scenario of are leaving this world can be a beautiful culminating experience and one when hear stories of the deaths of great people that are
that way so
this is the fruits of our practice that we would see things that way and lives that way more and more


say or yeah

yeah yeah

i think the world
well hello
oh yeah no that's very true but i was you were saying that i was thinking to myself the other day
you know jack kornfield was sick you know it you know this he was very sick and he's better don't worry he's better but i was worried he's a good friend of mine and i was worried and so we chanted a service for him
and when we chatted the service i was thinking and in my heart you know hope that the positive energy of this chanting will benefit jack
although you know i don't know what so in other words there is hope in that
gesture and i was glad to be able to do that although i didn't believe in some mechanistic way that we're going to shoot out array of something that was going to like get inside a jack and cure him somehow you know and i and i certainly is jack had had become ill
i certainly would have been sad and upset about it but i also would have accepted it you know because that's what happens to people
so what i'm trying to say is
if i if i had an ideology of non hope i might have said well what's the point of channing like that you know i mean what's going to have us going to happen which is true jack's karma is going to produce checks result in nothing that i do can do about it will change that and there's no use you know
while which is all true which is all true but at the same time i was glad to be able to do that you don't have that kind of so to me that kind of thing is as an example of hoping
and that's why i'm interested in in practicing hope in that way but i see what you're saying it's that's our system
no point
well know
yeah well it sounds like for you language of hope is no good
so yeah i can understand
yeah yeah now because it's true it's true the word hope as you say it has been conditioned in our language to mean hope for something pie in the sky will give pie in the sky later on so i understand you're saying here yes

no not not having attachment here yes

i'm happy
who am i


have you

that actually
have passion

where's that have

oh yeah
well of course this we're bringing up a very important issue that is much discussed we've discussed before and i'm sure we will continue to discuss for a long time and i know many people have thoughts about it but
it seems several things in what you say seem seemed clear one thing that seems clear is that spiritual practice of it's really true practice does involve a strong commitment to benefit others that spiritual practice that just about my comfort my happiness mind my mind
is really limited i mean we all come with those issues so it's not that we should beat ourselves up if we feel that way but we should understand that that
we're going we're trying to go in the direction of benefiting others that that when we can go in that direction than we ourselves find a real a real lasting fulfillment
and therefore if we see injustice suffering trouble in our effort is to try to do something about that and not be self-centered
on the other hand we can also it also seems clear to me that being
enraged to the point of
and what violence or incapacity you know buy something that happens or even brought to despair which is very big problem for people nowadays people who are concerned about the world easily can fall into despair at the overwhelming nature of the kind of problems that we're dealing with so clearly
that is not a workable
a plan either so somehow we have to have a way of having strong energy to benefit others and like you say passion to do so and at the same time a kind of faith that no matter what the results may be in this particular instance the this instance of this instance we will keep going and that that going along with these struggles is the mean is give makes our lives meaningful
no matter how long it takes and we don't even expect in our lifetime to even see so it's changed but we know that this positive action as a positive results so that's the kind of spirit that one needs and i think one finds the spirit in all the different religious traditions you know when you see some of the most some of the toughest people who do this kind of work are
it's the catholics i know more catholic monastics who just it is this unbelievable you know sister bernie over the city and a sister birdie
is this woman about i don't know how will she is she will be like late sixties really skinny none who was the toughest customer i've ever seen she's fighting to get this homeless as not so the housing want to worry housing will be torn down and once i was with a a protest whether you know and
they had this like secret plan you know which i didn't know about so maybe some of the other people in the secret that we were going to go on this nice that will march and everything but really what we were doing why didn't know was we were breaking into this thing building you know so so we're are marching along another seven sister brewery takes off and she's banging on the store and the soul
jurors are trying to you know all this and she's fighting with them at all i mean unbelievable and she's been doing this her whole life all of her life she's been if it were not themselves as go some other city some other cause should we do it at her whole life with total passion and willing to continue it till the day she drops dead you know and i saw in india you know a number of people do
an unbelievable work for lepers for children so on you know living on nothing enough for twenty five years doing this work so there are people out there who do this kind of stuff and very very admirable and quite wonderful and so it can be done it can be done but one has to have a lot of
faith and be an extraordinary person so we start from where we are right and just try our best to go in that direction
you have a sister bernie actually was successful in i never saw it in a million years that it would happen but she did manage to
get them to not tear down the housing now she's starting a hunger strike
she's got out and how many peoples doing a fast
twenty one day fast yeah to because of course as you can imagine they're not turn down the housing but they're also not going to let homeless people live in it either
so she is insisting that
and you know she'll probably be successful
stuff anyway
yes what what other maybe somebody else has some comments on that question yes
a loving relationship
how we can make to be a he had a marriage
the you happy
i'm sure i do
well i'm i'm married myself and even if i wasn't married
i'm committed to you know buddha dharma so how can i be committed how can you you might think you know if levy things a permanent can be committed anything why don't you just like the wind blows this way you're over there you're over here so impermanence means that things change moment after moment
commitment is a that we make that in the midst of things changing moment after moment and we will be true to this vow to this aspiration so for my money the the the you know if i believe that things are permanent the say it takes the example that you gave of a committed relationship if i believe that things are permanent
suppose my wife decides that she's gonna change or even if she doesn't decide suppose she does change she will change she has changed she has changed well suppose i think wait a minute you know i didn't marry this person i married that person over there how come the i get this person will i forget about it
so i think that this is what happens in marriages that don't last as that we have expectations right okay we're getting married we're committed to each other i'm expecting this from you and you're going to be this way and i'm going to be that way and so on and so forth and it's permanent and it's going to last and then all of a sudden it's all different from what we thought well the heck with it whereas if we have a
wow and we understand and permanence then we say well i'm my vow is to be together and for each other and i know that we're going in both change
can i can it can love include that could include my willingness to let you change and to encourage you to change in the way that you want to change and to keep stretching my idea of what this is all about what this marriages to to enable that to happen
and so i think that you know this is a kind of a paradox in a way but in reality there can't really be thou without impermanence and in a permanent world we don't really understand and permanence unless we have wow
so the life of our that they say like buddhism they say basically
they say wow
the mind of vowing is off the charts
in effect like it says in the diamond sutra
to produce a you should give rise to a thought which has not produced by anything all of our thoughts all of our the what happens in our life is produced by causes and effects right cause them and the causes change the results change things are always changing based on cause and effect but the mind of bowing is off the charts it's not true
reduced it's a non produce thought where's it come from that comes from our buddha nature and i think that's true certainly of our commitment to practice but it's also true of the commitment to love someone i feel is really over if it's really true is that same kind of commitment it's off the charts you know if you love someone it means i'm not going to be selfish in this
relationship i'm really going to be for the other person well that's non selfishness doesn't come from ego doesn't come from conditions it comes from our best nature so you see in our best nature is it is acknowledges impermanence so actually although logically they seem quite opposite in rate in reality impermanence and vi
wow actually need each other they're mutually supportive we can't really have one without the other and this is one of the great things and i think that the these kinds of friendships
whether it's a marriage friendship or two people practicing together side-by-side with a deep friendship over a long period time is one of the most wonderful things about human life that possibility and when you don't take into account of permanence it turns sour and then goodness knows there's no suffering worse than that kind
a commitment that doesn't work out because one doesn't allow you know unselfishness to to to take the lead so i assumed that you asked that question for personal reasons good luck with it
yeah this has be
when you mentioned before about expectations vs justice as when it doesn't turn on the ourselves for me i am seeing a therapist and i'm not sure i'm getting why adam who are session and accuracy by
more target
that had a situation how would you know
yeah yeah well i was thinking you know
just come to the sunday lecturer and you can find ten great therapists
ah we have the greatest therapists on earth come to come to the lectures and a spirit rock many good therapist anyway
therapists i don't know
but know your question is really about
yeah or anything anything that you that you're doing something you know going on a practical level to achieve a result and it doesn't work give up with if if it's appropriate you know i mean you have to of course there's one thing one thing is that anything worthwhile takes effort and it doesn't always seem to be work in enemy sometimes like to say
a relationship in a marriage sometimes the marriage is destabilize it doesn't work that well if we give up one hundred every time it doesn't work that well then we get divorced constantly because lot of times it's not working but you stay with it because vows to some extent that operates in that kind of relationship as well but also there's such a thing as a
this i've given this really a good try i search my soul and not just running away from some things and it really isn't the right thing to do they even that's true of sometimes in a marriage to right
so then you say well i'm sticking with it i'm trying i'm trying my best and it really isn't working so we have to change the situation even know of navy painful this is not the right therapist for me this is not the right marriage is not the right job
so i think that that we have some faith that if we do the do our practice and cultivate a minute patients this this can be cultivated things like patients things like accurate vision things like unselfishness these are not things that fall out of the sky and know we can cultivate the
these things through our practice and if we make our best effort to cultivate those things and we have some stability in our lives then we say okay well
i'm practicing patience and practicing clarity and practicing you know energy and all these things and it looks to me like tried my best and this is really not good
then you trust yourself and you make change
definitely you know
and at the same time you also have to be fundamentally i think all healing
of any kind comes from the acceptance of the present condition
so you know our physical or psychological conditions even though we're taking steps to heal them in some way or another we also have to say like suzuki roshi says you know problem that you to have now you will always have and it's an opportunity and i have to look at that way also and that when you look at it that way they give you some com
this you know so well
you know just maybe this isn't the right situation but maybe i should change it but if i do i don't know it's all right from that commonplace it's easier when were calmer you know our mind is more apt to come up with solutions and decisions that we really need to make and and practicing helps us to be calmer
see things clearly
so good luck with that i think is very must be very hard to
honey honey you know
choose a therapist and how do you know whether it's working out or network and i'm not very innocent of these matters that seems to me very tough proposition difficult thing because i'm sure they're good therapists and i'm sure there's plenty of ones that aren't so good
but i guarantee you after question and answer six people that you can talk to you know a lot more practice tonight they'll give you give you their card to


well you know the way i to the stock was i sat down and i made a list
of those eight things and then i started thinking about you know each one and turn i got as far as and i can't have but off the top of my head i say
i would say that suzuki roshi you know had a very
tough teacher i mean like we would call it that his teacher in today's understanding of life and abusive person
you know i mean really pretty bad and believe it or not according to eyewitnesses sookie secure she's son suzuki roshi himself as a father had a little bit of that intern although he wasn't that way with us he was so but he always talked about the compassion of his team