Housekeeping

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Sunday Lecture: Children's Program. The Indian children who used to live here. Indian story about how the world was made. Staying home and accomplishing the way. Gateway into enlightenment. Heart Sutra. The Buddha's enlightenment - Mara. First time sitting in seat to give talk. Separation between self and other. Bodhidharma's 'Don't Know'. Precepts

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just wanted to thank you i vow today's the to the nod to target those words
will be
the morning
and particularly warm welcome to the children who've come and but your parents here today nice to see you all
i knew you were coming today siphons big thing here
and i was thinking about and also i started thinking about other children who used to live here in this valley a long long time ago
in fact for thousands and thousands of years children have lived here in this valley
and those children long ago were from a tribe of indian people you know the name of those people that lived in this valley anybody know
the me walk me walk
actually i thought of them one day when i was up on the ridge and i was walking and i pod me walk
what a perfect name
so i got very interested in the children of long ago and i read something about them and what they ate and how they dressed and what kind of houses i lived in and at that time all of the buildings that are here now this big building and the one where you
you're going to have your class later none of those buildings were here
in fact there were no roads no cars no televisions no supermarkets know mill valley the sandra foul
just a lot of land with lots of animals and plants and the people
so i was wondering if any of you could imagine what the people when their children got hungry gave them to eat
any ideas what do you think
our as a good idea appals
nobody else any moms or dad
fish
sprouts
right sprouts when you think strieber hayes
strawberry
fish more fish
nuts acorns yeah a coins that was the most important food is like they're bred the acorns there were lots of a coins and they can store them and eat them all year round but there's some other things that maybe you didn't think of that i read about hazelnuts and buckeye
miner's lettuce deer rabbits
nettles rather thing a rabbit and nettles and clover and they a crabs and scallops and abalone salmon trout kind of yummy
yummy out there
ah
and honey they had can be made from honey
and they told stories to their children just like i'm gonna tell you a story now and this story is about an elder of the tribe whose name was grandmother
and grandmother would take in all the children for a walk into the woods and into the hills and tell them about the food and what was good to eat and what was poison
she took the kids up into the hill and they got very tired at some points so she sat them down for arrest and she began to tell them the story about creation how the world how all the plants and animals came to be
so here's what she said long ago there was a tiny little hut made of tooley grass and inside the hut where all of the animals and plants the sun and moon and stars all of them living together in this tiny little grass hut
and it was so crowded in there that nobody could move and everyone had to be very very quiet
but one day coyote
had an itch on his nose
and coyote tried very hard to keep that itch where it was but pretty soon his lungs filled with air and you know what he did
he sneezed and when coyote sneezed all the stars and planets in the sun and moon and the animals and trees and everything the people flew out into space
fortunately the earth landed on a great big turtle that happened to be walking along
and then all the plants and animals and people landed on top of the earth and that's why when we look in the sky we see the stars and planets moving slowly along because the earth is riding on the back of the turtle
makes sense doesn't it good spam
however one of the little girls whose name was always asks questions
raise your hand and she said grandmother if the earth is riding on a turtle what is the turtle writing
and grandmother said on a bigger turtle
always ask questions raised her hand again and said but grandmother than what is that turtle riding on and grandmother said an even bigger turtle
but before the little girl could raise your hand again grandmother looked at her rather sternly and said now listen it's just turtles all the way down

so that's it so you are are you children can go outside and i thought it would be great if you could spot any food up here that indian children might eat you might tell the people in your program that you saw something that looks looks good and maybe they'll points and things out
you to yeah vegetables we got some vegetables on the farm
well thank you for coming i hope you don't get too wet out there
please come back
has questions
die
yeah

did any of you managed not to get the cold
no
say there
healing
oh
now
you happy new year to all of you
we've just finished a three week intensive here at green gulch and it's become a kind of template that we use to reassemble and launch our new calendar year
but it's also become an opportunity for many of us for me in particular to look again into the various dark corners
of my household and of my mind
so i used this opportunity
to do some housekeeping
and every day of the practice period i made a little list of
cabinets and shelves and my house that i wanted to get into and rationalize
and then every night i take him off so as of last week the only thing left was the drawer of my desk which has finally also succumb to rationality
so this is what i want to talk about today is housekeeping
housekeeping
interestingly in the my on a buddhist tradition a lay person who receives the bodhisattva precepts
does so in a ceremony that's called staying home and accomplishing away
it's called zajac hey it
and for the priests in our tradition who receive the same sixteen bodhisattva precepts
the ceremony is called ship k torpedo leaving home and accomplishing the way
no
so it seems to me that this relationship to home is deeply embedded in our effort to understand and to live by what the buddha had to say
i actually remember feeling years ago when i left residency at tassajara are zen mountain monastery that this is what it means to be leaving home to be maybe in the home of my heart and of my practice
but what i seem to have discovered in the years in between is that finding my heart and finding my home finding my practice again and again is the actual winding path
over the buddha put away
so the cleansing project in my home began the day after new year when my family got together and decided to take an inventory of the objects that had mysteriously accumulated in my daughter's bedroom
so the sorting
began and what i think in the medical profession is called tree ah aage
know we'd take all the most severely damaged objects and place them over here and then the middling ones are over there and those with any life to them at all go back on the shelves
so this is what we did and finally at the end we had this one giant swollen black bag it was full of outgrown toys and books and ah
ballerina dresses legos hot wheels know all of it just waiting for another coyote sneeze
hopefully these objects will land in the arms of children who at least for a while could use or or nathan
so i found this lightning of objects person object ratio and my daughter's room to be very satisfying and and that's what began my effort in my own side of the house
to relook at the things that i had tucked away into dark corners
at the same time that i was enjoying this exercise of housekeeping i realized that there was some potential danger in revealing some deep hidden rosie's of mine you know for order i don't know how many have you seen this a tv did
effective adrian monk
but you know he finds his anxiety by counting fence posts and wiping invisible germs from his hand and so on so it's always a possibility for us
but actually i turned out i really didn't care because i was having a very good time and as a result of my efforts my well ordered house is a reminder now have some deep inner wish i have to live and think in the simple and orderly way
so i recognized myself that when i'm not confined to my quarters as i was during january practice period and less likely to take the time to care for my things and for myself and
this review is an opportunity to evoke and myself a promise to not let things go whether it's my exercising or my health
my study my housekeeping
and i also wanted to use this time to recommit myself to the other half of this promise of this housekeeping which is to the care of my mind and my thoughts how i see the world
these two halves together mind and the object of mind is really all we have of what we call reality
in the buddhist teaching each and every point of contact between these two house what i call the world and what i call myself is supremely worthy of our attention and of our ability to respond
our responsibility
but it's also profoundly important for us to know
that this point of contact between ourselves and the world between the i
and what's visible between the ear and sound the nose and smell tongue and teeth
all of these points of contact are separated by an imaginary gate
a gateway of our imagination
and this gateway serves both to connect us to the world but also to separate us into isolated selves
so this imaginary gate has been the focal point of buddhist meditators and philosophers for several thousands of years
on the occasion of his enlightenment the young prince shockey mooney announced that the gate had a twin face on one side r bondage when the gate is closed and and the other side our freedom when the gate is open
now you see it now you don't
kind of like that
so that's also what i want to talk about today about this subtle and invisible gateway into the household of enlightenment compassion wisdom
and true human freedom
this is the buddhist house it's the ultimate inheritance so far human life
where a hair's breadth difference as the distance between heaven and earth
i'm hoping that this metaphor of the house would be a useful way of understanding the approaches that meditators have taken over the centuries in attempting to recreate the buddha's enlightened insight within themselves just let's clean the house
some simple
so as a result of the effort that sincere disciples made to understand the buddha's teaching by pouring over his lifelong series of lectures and sorting it into various categories for understanding
the early meditators came up with a map of the mind of reality was rather wonderful math actually and they divided this map into discrete elements are parts that they called dharmas damage with a small d
one chart there are seventy five such dharmas
and you'd be hard-pressed to find something of a that you've experienced in your life that's not on the list
hatred lust sight sound greed boredom it's all there
and then the meditative sort of these dharmas into categories that wholesome categories unwholesome and the neutrals and their effort and practice was as with housekeeping will put the wholesome ones over here the unwholesome over there
and the neutrals not quite sure but basically at the end of the day will download the unwholesome ones in the big black bag
and will be done with it
sounds reasonable
but unfortunately even if i get rid of that overstuffed black bag they're still my noisy neighbors my pesky daughter and my
irritable cat what are we going to do with them for attempting to get rid of them as well
and quieted down
so right there at the very aspiration for enlightenment or for the ultimate good life lies the dilemma for any of us seeking to live a spiritual life
it's the ever present problem of me
whatever notions of accomplishment or of achievement or of perfection
that i might wish to accumulate for myself
at once closes the gate
and when the gate is closed i'm trapped on one side and all of my accomplishments as well as my failures are trapped on the other
and this is due to the persistent fantasy of separation between mind and objects of mind
now fortunately i think many of you have heard the teachings of the heart sutra or heard them recited
there are no eyes no ears no knows no tongue nobody no mind and therefore no gate in fact there is no gate to be opened or closed it doesn't really exist
reality itself cannot be cut into pieces
like the baby fish who asked his mother where is the ocean money
reality is everywhere
throughout
both sides of the gate
self another eyes insights hears and sounds nose and smells tongue and tastes are dependently core isn't and will never be apart one from the other know sites no eyes
no sounds no ears no tongue no tastes
you can't have one without the other
but unfortunately we do create a fantasy
and a fantasy that sees things in the opposite way
and that fantasy is what isolates the imagined inside namely me from all that gives it life
so in the next stage of buddhist practice meditators came to an understanding of non-duality and of non separation between self and others so this was pretty good next step
but unfortunately sometimes in place of an imagined separate self they imagined a separate no self
now you see it now you don't
this tendency to obliterate the person is called nihilism
and it's a great big mistake
and i think many of you might know such people who basically do not consider themselves to be part of the problem
i'm really sorry that you're upset with me
that's your problem
this is particularly rampant in the sub species of humans called teenagers
and as we all know it's quite possible to get stuck in such a fantasy
and in the practice world we call this fantasy the zen sickness
i'm okay and the problem is yours
so this is a very tricky business that we're in to hear you know it's a windy road up the mountain and the mountain is shrouded in fog
and unless we reached the summit
then such fantasies itself another of road and mountain and summits as well we'll continue to block our way
according to the buddha this entire problems surrounding our lives is simply caused and therefore can be resolved by how we think
so i'd tell my daughter quite often the problem is in your noodle
so it's within our thinking that the twin faces of bondage and liberation have come to reside
and as subtle and the femoral as thinking itself may be it's also quite persistent
and quite empowered by its own appearances
step the well
so we keep on talking about it in all these different ways telling stories to each other and looking deeply into the dark corners out of which are imagination is born
while the young prince shock him when the buddha was seated under the bodhi tree on the eve of his enlightenment mara the evil one came and whispered to him suggesting that it would he would be much happier if he would get up from that seat
when the prince remain seated mara in a frenzy sent an army of orcs and goblins to drive him from this valley from this place
but when the military assault began to fail mara brought forth his daughters lust boredom and delight to try and seduce the young man away from his resolve
but still the prince remained at his seat
then mara himself appeared his face of foggy haze at the edge of a clearing
the prince said with a commanding voice i now know who you are deceiver
mara left know you don't you don't know who i am
this time in a gentle voice the prince responded again yes i do know who you are
and with those words mara became visibly frightened liar he hissed
you are myself the prince declared and with that mara vanished
leaving the young buddha alone in the peaceful poorest beneath the tree of his own awakening
the initial step that each of us took in setting up of a household in the first place is what we call birth
taking birth in the human realm
now you see it and we do see it
there does appear to be a multitude of objects in a variety of colors at any given moment in this great household of the human mind
right now for example there appears before my senses a large number of what i take to be people sitting in chairs and on and on cushions and all of you are appearing to be facing me
i remember very well the first time i've sat in his seat
and i faced out on a room full of people
it was an experience very similar to standing at the beach alone on a stormy day
it was rather overwhelming the rising and falling of impression particularly when you laugh
so when the gateway between the imagine self and the other feels quite vulnerable at times such as these we can watch how fearfulness arises quite naturally within us
a fear perhaps that the subtle barrier of separation might give away or even break
and in which case we then imagine that the great mother or the great ocean or the universe when pitted against the small self hands down will win the game
from the point of view of the imagine itself that winning is what we call death
from the buddhist point of view on the other hand the death of the small self
is call a good thing
but it takes us a while to see how that might be so
in the meantime what i do as the imaginary person will focus on rather than once the period before my eyes and my senses in my ears with the sound of the rain right now which i just turn for the first time
what i do is focus on what i'm thinking
and
in fact what i'm thinking doesn't really matter any old thing will do in face of this ungraspable appearance of reality
in my case this morning i have prepared a little lifeboat here of notes and prior thoughts for travelling on this sensory ocean the disappearing before me right now
and we humans put a great deal of effort into such vessels health insurance policies mortgages marriage and employment contracts he's are all familiar techniques and our so-called modern world for binding our anxiety
when caught in the world of appearances we can choose a simple sequence of thoughts or images and the case of freeway traffic there's the five carling distances to focus on or those nice dotted lines between ourselves and the cars that are zooming all around us
we create these signs and concepts in order to feel safe and well adjusted
and as useful as these things may be at the same time they are precisely what makes us into separate and isolated individuals myself my car my daughter my house my rights and my country
so where do we begin to undertake this radical shift in our perceptions of reality
it's not an order to break down these ancient barriers
that we look and we study but rather to see them for what they really are
to disempower the fantasy and the lifestyles that are born from this dream of separation
i know who you are you are myself
this is a dream of love
so we begin by listening to the teachings of the ancient ones to their advice their consultations and their suggestions and other words we opened the gate and we ask for help
in the famous zen story when the emperor of china meets zen master bodhi dharma he asks him what is the highest meaning of the holy truce and the master replies vast emptiness nothing holy
the emperor then says than who is this facing me
bodhi dama response don't know
perhaps you can see in this exchange between the self and the other how the gates both open and close when the emperor asks what is the highest meaning of the holy true's the gate is open
vast emptiness nothing holy the gate opens even wider
who is this facing me the gate starts to close
to which bodhi dharma replies don't know to the emperor of china no less the biggest sense of self that any of us can possibly imagine i am the emperor of china i know who i
but even so fearlessly bodhidharma holds the gate open in welcome
yes we all understand that you are the emperor of china but aren't you don't know too
unfortunately the emperor couldn't respond in the face of don't know he had chosen to close the gate
at least for the time being in every moment we have another chance
little bit like las vegas
so bodhi dharma which simply means the teaching of awakening bodhi dharma
the teaching of awakening sits in a cave facing the wall or closed like a long forgotten book on the shelf until the gateway is tested again and the test must come through the inquiring impulses of a living disciple
to the one who always is asking question
and perhaps you yourselves my consider dropping by or body dharmas house fourteen
in the zen tradition bodhi dharma is not knowing is considered to be nearest to the summit where self and summit both disappear
we as then students and act the teaching of not knowing pretty much as our daily grind through the practice of upright sitting the dharma gaped of repose and bliss
the practice of upright sitting is a kind of doing thing
there is utterly no way to approach the source of creation by simply talking our way into it in fact thinking and talking are highly suspect as the very causes of the gateways closing in the first place
in the beginning was the word and the word separated human life from its creator
or so it seems
and yet i do know how hard it is for people to imagine when i tell them about getting out of bed at four forty in the morning and sitting twice for forty minutes while facing a blank white wall
but that's exactly the point
poor forty in the morning and upright sitting while facing a blank wall is not something that we can imagine
our power to imagine or fantasize can never reach reality
on the other hand being reality or just sitting is not a problem at all
we're always right on time
it's only the words that never make it through the door
although we humans are simply not equipped with the capacity to capture creation through the power of thinking
two words and phrases are perfectly okay
for pointing ourselves in the right direction and the simpler the words the better for us words like upright sitting right straight on don't know or do good avoid evil and say well beans
the buddha by example that a simple life a life of voluntary poverty and an era of relative abundance he dressed modestly refrained from intoxicants he honored his sexuality and that of his students through abstinence he told the truth shared freely a
misunderstanding he renounced violence slander egotism and possessiveness
so that all and all in the house of the buddha life was free-flowing an easy exchange between himself and the others
passing through the gate into the buddhist house has called entering the realm of the precepts
staying home or leaving home and practicing the precepts we accomplish the way
zajac hey tokuda shoe k talked
at first our vows and our promises like my new year's resolutions are in the spirit of self improvement
i promise not to kill you
i promise not to steal from you i promise not to lie to you
at this level of our understanding our practice is still based in the fundamental affliction of ignorance
on imagining the separation between oneself and the other
but we do it anyway
in this new year and in every new year
and then we sit like fools on a ledge by the sea until little by little the thinning wisps of fog break away into sunlight and when that time comes
we know what a glance that it's time to go home
thank you very much
hey
me