March 13th, 1999, Serial No. 04079

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authors her practicing gods before that
first class on for family foundations of my since
and the first time to remember that we will walk in as walk
but actually took me to roof
before i actually was paying enough attention to notice that i was working in southwark
a group of spanish
how lou was here or and sense out of for about fifteen years for asked with the news
you've been in business he now has software
no valley
no
i'm very happy
they are think about something about you
thank you
well thank you very much is this an amplifier makes me bigger and you can you hear me all right everybody witnesses
much smaller room and green gunk so it's not quite so difficult
i think i probably haven't given the lecturing this room for about seventeen years so it's a bit of an old home week for me to come back here are it hasn't hasn't gotten any bigger
back as always when you haven't visited a place for a while everything seems smaller groom seems just just a little bit smaller than it did when i was here maybe we're all shrinking
there's a classic cartoon about a me and i just heard island just at the time when the the great big coke bottles came out this is where cope with doing bottles and it was a kind of a new innovation and should coat bible washes up on shore and he picks it up and looks at him he says my god i'm shrinking
ah i feel slightly odd to have a in this formal surroundings and on this lecture in my own book rather than some text of the buddha but such as my fate i do want to talk about it a little bit actually read from it and then talk about the
the
what's really behind the book the book is so it's called work as a spiritual practice and it is about dharma in the workplace particularly for people who don't know much about dharma it i wrote it partly as a way for people to be introduced to buddhism who otherwise might not be in in fact that seems to be happening about half the p
people that buy the book don't know much about buddhism but i'm making the assumption i hope not erroneously that you do so at least many of you do so i want to talk about more the other side of the book which is really
it's it's it's a book about dharma in a inactivity much is so as blanche mentioned the
the real point of dharma is to apply it in the con in the working out and activities in our wife
those of you who might have been alive when suzuki roshi was alive or who knew him no knew that the thing that was most striking about him was not somehow his powerful meditation practice though it might have been but just his presence as he walked around there was something about that that innately drew people to him and made them
understand without a word being said that he was the real mccoy that there was something
authentic about his presence and that is a life what a lifetime of of dharma practice looks like
so
i want to talk a little bit about the cover because the covers kind of neat you can see it's a green buddha holding strange things i'll tell you what's in there six arms one holds a paint brush one holds a pair of scissors
cake mixer
a tube of something like toothpaste and then brush and then a caulking gun okay
tools so that it's a work buddha and that's the first thing you know this it's said book buddha holding really kind of construction tools or maybe kitchen tools hard to say now this buddha is a modern work of art by an artist named kurt single it's made of urethane rubber green urethane rubber it is undoubtedly
the only buddha in the world made from green urethane rubber
and the publisher pick this this book is this a statue was actually in a book called the buddha book which probably you can get at the bookstore a beautiful book of images of the buddha both ancient and modern so there's a modern gouda and ancient buddha a modern buddha and ancient but and this is one of the images in that book
and i thought well that's nice and it's a it's a work boot is so it works well for the cover but i kept wondering and people do ask what are these things you know that the buddha is holding well i finally figured out these are the tools they were used to make the buddha
these are the tools of a urethane plastic sculptor you mix up the the goop in the in the cake mixer and then you have scissors to cut off the extra pieces and
the buddha is holding the tools to make a buddha that's the that's the joke or the metaphor of the of of the work of art show think is very clever and very profound at the same time
because that is in fact what the dharma teaches us that we're all buddhists already and that we at the same time have within ourselves the tools to make a buddha
as suzuki roshi said in one of his lectures you are all perfect and you all need a little improvement
so this is the essence of buddhism we are all in the sense have the nature of a buddha but it isn't revealed it isn't manifested and we need to
hold up with maybe more than two arms the tools that are within us to make a buddha and the fundamental tool
there really is only one tool that you really need and that's the tool of awareness or the tool of attention or have been awake and the word buddha means awake
and consequently the the real work of practicing buddhism is the work of learning how to be aware and awake all the time
now when i left since hundred and eighty three and went out to work in the corporate world
it was a very different world it was a world and had no emphasis or interest in spiritual matters it was a world that probably all of you spend most of your daytime hours in this is our world and the everything about buddhism that i deeply believe
eve is that it is a practical method which is to say whatever situation you're in that's your circumstance so and there is a teaching in our own tradition lineage in sodo zana really an as a whole that speaks directly to this issue and i'm sure most of you heard the term
joe cole on i'm sure they talked about it here a good deal
i call it in this book the call on of everyday life
the work ngo means essentially what's in front of you the present moment of time the koran begins yo con means to treat whatever is in front of you as your spiritual challenge or your spiritual opportunity to be awake another way of putting it is that
whatever circumstance you're in that is an opportunity to awaken and we don't make distinctions about good opportunities or bad opportunities or that it's better to be here it's and sooner rather than working for general motors he worked for general motors than you work on general motors buddha
if you work for r j reynolds tobacco you work if you continue to work there
i talk about later on and in my chapter on right livelihood about the world now is so materially interconnected
that it's all of us are implicated you know there is no pure work and even somebody who works in a tobacco company you might think well that's fairly evil you know tobacco kills but you know if you've been following the story about how the tobacco companies were brought down the key to it were in loyal
employees career employees who went and took the documents the secret documents and brought them out whistleblowers you know if all the people of conscience every single one of the people of conscience had left r j reynolds in year one there would be no
you see how how interconnected even even that maybe thirty year career in r j reynolds and a sense had a redemptive quality because of what those people were willing to do so it's very hard to say whatever circumstance that one is in can be an opportunity for awakening so i'd like to read you
a passage from the book and then talk about it because it really is the essence of what i'm trying to bring out and accomplish here
i say that with the world is full of spiritual opportunity the trick is to be alert enough to notice it that is the real work and the joy of work and if we catch on to that trick it doesn't matter in the short run what our day job he is
but what kind of it if we are in the end if we are kind to ourselves our efforts will be fruitful but what kind of fruit will it be
a spiritual practices more about questions than answers more about searching and finding more about effort and accomplishment in one school of buddhism guess which those who practice ponder spiritual questions called cohen's there are hundreds of memorable stories usually taken from the wives of ancient buddhist teachers that are used as co
swans some of them have even become part of popular culture for instance the question what is the sound of one hand clapping was featured in an episode of the simpsons television show
and he didn't see this episode where bart goes around the whole show saying what does this sound of one hand clapping when you know we really made it when bart is
buddhism is really penetrated the culture in addition to these prefabricated questions there is another kind of cohen on called the co on of everyday life again joke on human life itself a mystery of being thrust into the world by birth and swept out of it by death is an imponderable puzzle one that we can try to ignore but cannot escape
so much of what passes for ordinary life is when seen through different eyes not ordinary at all but full of potential for spiritual learning to practice the colon on of everyday why means to confront every situation as though it were a profound spiritual question in that sense every co on story is a specific instance
of the on of everyday life that's a direct quote from dogan that's what he said
all the colon stories in the books are just simply specific examples of confrontations of monks or practices with some situation and here's one a monk asked his teacher what is the buddha and the teacher answered the cypress tree in the garden what does it mean what does a cypress tree have to do with buddha that is are awake and sell
so let's imagine this cypress trees spreading over the path and the monastery garden what could be more ordinary are more familiar than the aged tree that each month passed every day for the whole of his life in that sense the cypress tree means the most familiar thing what familiar thing do you pass is that your kitchen table your car
this or children your co-workers the copy machine in the office corner this book is based on the premise that are ordinary routine contains numerous treasures and the details of our workday from the morning commute to the coffee break the lunch hour the afternoon meetings the evening ride home contain within them any number of gifts
for our spirit if only we would allow ourselves to receive them
and then i tell a true story about a customer service manager named julie who was very annoyed by the ringing of the phone in the office and at some point
spontaneously began to adjust the volume knob of the ringing in time with the ringing so there was some
connection between her own activity and awareness and the the ringing and somehow that was a transformative experience for her she felt somehow that rather than than the ringing being outside
in impinging upon her from somewhere else that the ringing with something inside and that's true i think a buddhist insight and
really the whole thrust of my
effort in the past fifteen years has been to figure out ways to somewhat creatively because we live in a new world of take traditional dharma practice and work it into the fabric of ordinary twenty first century life almost
and it does begin with simple things there are a number of physical practices that we do in buddhism
a particularly sitting and walking that we also do at work and
the effort to pay attention to our physical demeanor when we're at work when we're sitting breathing walking is very different than the kind of effort you might make here this is a practice centers so everything here conspires to make awareness easy so it's
quiet and their bells gongs to tell you what's going on in there are sustained periods of time when there's nothing going on but just your own physical mental and emotional existence and that's the essence of traditional buddhist study is to pay attention to our raw existence when nothing else is going on
on
as soon as we enter the world of the outside the world of distraction the world of work everything changes the first of all when you're at work you're supposed to be working so you're being paid to pay attention to the work presumably so whatever attention your pain to your breathing or you're walking or whatever is not specifically
lee what you're being paid to do i mean part of the way the workplace is designed in our culture and defined is really an unaware unawareness center you know it's a place not to be aware and to essentially pour your attention and energy into some kind of work
and in our knowledge economy more and more of that work is mental work you sit in a chair you talk you listen you work at a computer you type you read email you know that kind of work
and that kind of work is even more can spirits conspiratorial against traditional buddhist awareness because the speed of that work is very own physical it's very decent body and you move very quickly into a space that is
ah unrewarded in terms of your you are physical being so one of the first efforts in dharma practice in the workplace is to remember that you have a body
and to do that enough times during the day that your body kind of begins to take on a certain skill to remember itself in various times and remember that you have breath and remember that you have some state of mind so to me the next challenge for dormant in the west
sed is to begin to radiate outward from places like since and or where traditional dharma is practiced into all the other places in our western world where a awareness is not yet attuned and
the effort is rather different the effort to for example when you stand up from your workspace and turn around and began walking to go to the bathroom the effort to
put your attention back into your body and forget for a moment the phone call that you need to make when you get back or whatever it is that's distracting you mentally
and to walk to and from the bathroom with some sense of sustained awareness that's a very difficult thing to do and yet the effort to do it even once a day does change you it does begin to lay down a different mode for your activity in
that space and so we have to become comfortable with and satisfied with discontinuous ways of practicing you practice for a moment here a moment there and then you die back into your workspace in there has to be a real setting aside of judgment to we we can't say to ourselves oh now i'm kind of with myself i am
tom this is a better state of mind and how i'm going to be in five minutes there's no better or worse in and sits all you and
as we go deeper into that kind of work that kind of spiritual effort more and more things open up for us for example an awful lot of what happens in the workplace is about talking is about communication with other people talking and listening there was lots of opportunities for
a dharma practice in that situation to how we speak how we sound when we speak it's even more important very often when we're in the midst of a complicated where conversation it's hard to modulate are actual vocabulary what we say
but so much of communication and so much of ah
i'm aware communication has to do not with the words that we use but our tone of voice our demeanor physically when we say them even deeper than that a kind of underlying attitude of who is this person that's facing me that could be a workplace cool on of great have great potential because
the again the workplace is one of the last bastions
of authoritarianism in our society
we live in a so-called free society but not at work at work people have power over other people and that is an accepted fact of society you can be fired and nobody can stop it as long as it isn't unfair or there isn't some discrimination involve poof it's your problem you know there is a kind of
ruthlessness about the society that we build which presumably is making us richer and better and more materially secure and happier side question is it really but aside from that you know the whole edifice of the modern workplace going back and i studied this i read a lot
of books about how we created the were the workplace that were in and it definitely was created
i didn't get the years ago nobody worked the way we work now work me at work physical work farming the kind of work we do at green gulch or at tassajara and the kind of work that the ancient buddhists who invented buddhism were familiar with you know chopping wood carrying water that kind of traditional art
tipple physical work very definitely is a way in which you can continue the meditative experience but not the kind of work that we do we've created a kind of workplace where was highly institutionalized people have power over other people most of the time that power is not well managed sometimes that power is abuse
shiv often as discriminatory there's a lot of things in that environment which we have all learned to put up with which if we step back and put our spiritual glasses on and look out at that situation we might say this is far from ideal so the
the effort to bring the attitude of dharma into that environment and to begin by transforming our own state of mind in it
and then by extension other people's state of mind i think is the is the next phase of dharma work for our for our lives
in countries where buddhism has been around for centuries the whole society is infused with the taste and experience of dharma and up to now to way that's work has been society is kind of hired you might say a certain group of people called monks
or nuns and said you go live in an ideal environment and build a wall keep us out more or less will support you will give you rice and help you build and so forth and you figure out the ideal way for human beings to be and then let us know about it and will do the best we can to emulate you
that's been the deal it's it was a kind of it was a kind of trade off because keeping line until very recently
workmen survival it meant fourteen hours a day seven days a week hoping that the rains came hoping the rats didn't need your corn hoping that disease didn't kill your family i mean that was work for most people so there wasn't a lot of flexibility in who would have time for sustained spiritual practice those people who were willing to give
give up
the way other people lived and live a special kind of life could then figure out
what is human frame and this human mind and consciousness is all about and then let us know in in a sense that's what buddhism has been up to this point it was so created many many many centuries ago when as far as i can tell there were only five jobs on the planet there was farmer that was almost everybody there
was a soldier sometimes those are the same people when they do you know when the soldiers came into town and said we're going to war you know saddle up get your get your spears and hey forks and get going so soldier
the priest monk whatever religious person
mom and was a job almost all women that was the that was the job for women was to raise children and take care of the house and certain kind of artisanship you know people that built the plows and the swords and the tools that people use that was it that was work there weren't any other kinds of work until fairly recently and now of course there are
thousands of different kinds of of jobs so we're in a very transformative situation where human beings are living today in a way they've never lived before and the traditional teachings that we inherit from the long tradition of buddhism which is primarily been
preserve and developed by monks has to be refashioned it has to be refashioned because very few of us will be lifetime monks and even someone like myself who was essentially lived a monk like wife for a long time i didn't do it for my whole life and i think we'll find it more and more the old division of monks on one
side of the wall and lay people on the other side of the wall
will break down and people will be will have some monk experience for some part of their life and then some non monk experience for some part of their life and that that next year for the first time is creating
a different kind of expectation of how life ought to be and that's a very challenging and exciting state of affairs but it also requires us to take some responsibility and also creativity for our own situation
the workplace is where we spend almost all of our day time hours and consequently it's aside from family one of the main places where we can begin to develop
some dharma experience inside that framework
now
in zero she used to say used to be amazed when he'd look out at audiences like this and say you know you're not exactly monks and you're not exactly lay people here are some special kind of people and he was very excited about this special kind of people but he himself admitted that he didn't know how this special kind of person that we were becoming or wanted to be
would work out what he knew his traditional monastic practice and he as he's a has he had been trained and he said many times you know i'll teach you everything i know and learn it as well as you can and then from that point onwards it's your responsibility to figure it out and i think we're at a stage where for the for
first time in a long long time we have the opportunity not just to inherit buddhism but to create it and that's a big responsibility and one that i never thought or felt i had permission to do when i was here but out there and the big bad world i really had no choice and i think that ah
all of you who are out there whatever it is that you do during the day with your day job i have a lot of opportunity perhaps untapped opportunity to apply some of the traditional awareness and attention practices of buddhism in your own situation
the
the main hurdle to overcome his the a challenge to one's own state of mind and a sense that we are not in charge of our state of mind this is the of defining characteristic of the workplace as the workplace is a place where we don't feel in charge of our
our own state of mind and
the remedy for that the the way to work on that is to essentially start with the conviction that we do
have the ability to form and shape our own state of mind even in very distracted circumstances one of the things that if you read crooked cucumber which is the biography of suzuki roshi would just came out
you will find that wouldn't be the thing that everybody remembered about suzuki roshi
people in japan as well as people here was that regardless of the circumstance he seemed to be in charge of his own state of mind that is he he maintained a calm relaxed demeanor i've often speculated and fantasized how well suzuki roshi would have done in the corporate world
perhaps not very well although japan is one of the places where corporate titans are to also devout buddhists something that's beginning to happen here in this country too although it's much much better kept secret there is quite a lot for those of you think that the workplace particularly the workplace of large corporate environments is the way
last place that buddhism might arrive you're mistaken
it's already there
business people i've developed a kind of more complex appreciation for the world of business since i've been in it and now particularly since i'm a business owner back thirty years ago business was one of the curse words of the counterculture you know it was not a place that anybody wanted to be and there was a time here i can recall
where even to have any sort of full time job was considered quite unusual and courageous than one would actually work you know
yeah i know it's very different and and but a business people in spite of the stereotypical notion that businesses about crossfit and exploitation in pollution with all of which is true
business people
do share a couple of features in common with buddhist practitioners one is a business people tend to be very observant
within their own framework usually but still very observant because that's part of being successful in businesses seeing accurately what's going on so being observant is also a good thing to have if you're a buddhist because that's the essence of buddhism is to be observant the second thing that business people a share with
buddhist is a sense of rational rational conclusion rational thought a sense of approaching the world world rationally
the buddha if you think about it was probably one of the first the world's first teachers and thinkers who observed the world closely enough to notice that things didn't happen randomly the second noble truth of buddhism is that things happen for a reason
this is as in five hundred bc this was an extraordinarily advanced position to take most of the people in that world deeply believed in experienced the world as a random chaotic rather cruel and heartless place storms came you know disease came grasshoppers came bandits would come at all just
happened and there was nothing you can do about it except run to the altar and make sacrifices in pray to whatever god's rule the cosmos to please not do it to me you know that was that was religion up to that time the buddha
grew up in that culture
in sat down under a tree and said i need to figure out deeply what actually is going on and he was the really one of the first people along with some of the pre socratic greeks to conclude that there is order in the world and deep order order that can be counted on and can be learn
learned directly by observation not just and the outside world but the inside world and that's one at one of the great breakthroughs of buddhism and now that science in a sense has become the dominant religion of mankind
the the ancient inside of the buddha that the world is a logical and rational place you know is meshing very nicely with our scientific worldview which begins with the premise that you can learn something useful by watching things closely this is something that the world of science and the world of dharma entirely share
the only difference is the emphasis of until recently of the scientific model has been to observe the outside world whereas the emphasis of buddhism has been to observe the so-called inside world
although actually buddhism understands pretty quickly that if you watch the inside world long enough you discover there's no boundary between the inside world and the outside world the inside world and outside world or continuous
this leads to oh before i get to that i wanted to tell the my favorite zen story about eq
this is a story about paying attention
you do all of you know who he accused some of you may have heard of it nobody knows about it you okay well dq was a was a eccentric monk of his sixteenth century japan something he was the illegitimate son of the emperor which may explain why he was allowed to get away with so much because that made him kind of a god in that culture
oh and would would do things like urinate on altars and stuff like that
but they say some of the emperor you know you can you have a little bit of slack i guess in that culture anyway
later in his life he became more conventional and became the abbot of of a big temple and was very eminent and a
a wealthy parishioner came to visit him and as often was the case wanted it q to make some very nice calligraphy for his home and so if you had the stuff and picked up the brush and he wrote the
character for attention
and the parishioner looked at it and he waited a little while to see what more would come and we're nothing more was coming he very politely send up perhaps the esteem master is not quite finished with his poem because you know he wanted something about cherry blossoms or geezers you know he wanted something impressive and this attack
action thing
he didn't even know what it really meant and so if you picked up the brush and he wrote the same character again attention
so that it was little bit attention in the room because this man had given a lot of money to the temple and so he felt he really at the very least if you can do some more conventional thing so he once again
asked a queue as politely as possible if he would continue his calligraphic efforts and so he accused then picked up the brush and wrote three more times attention attention attention so his then scroll with the guy got to take home and five
you know repetitions at the same character attention now what i like about this story is the first of all it's like a lot of and stories it's very direct there's no bs about it it's just right there in front of you the man wanted to do to scroll he got one not the one he was expecting but one that if you paid attention to it
would really teach him something useful and that is this is the essence of the matter is if you pay attention closely enough and long enough everything opens everything is revealed so i have a little slogan in here which i'm only slightly embarrassed about because i think slogans or one of the ways that we
we teach in our culture and the slogan is you are the boss of your inner life you are the chief executive of your inner life
i think that we need to re empower ourselves in the daily life as americans to understand that paying attention is our birthright and that there is no circumstance that i can imagine in which it would not be possible or not be useful to pay attention
now when it comes to specifically how to pay attention then we need specific practices and i've come up with about forty i think more or less i i keep counting and differently so it's hard to know how many there are but i've come up with about forty in this book and i'm hoping and many of them actually we're not my invention they came from people who
i worked with good workshops and so forth who try various things it became a very experimental process will suppose you were to go back and do our workplace and do such and such
suppose you were to work with anger in a particular way for example anger is a big workplace theme because of
i think a lot because of the power relationships in the workplace but needless needless to say
if you ask people his anger and issue at work most people would say yes at least at some time or another so how do we work with that how do we make that into a spiritually
how potent experience for ourselves as buddhists and if we are serious about practicing the on of everyday life every experience has some positive potential even so-called negative ones like been angry and how do you work with that in the workplace
it's complicated more complicated than a than in most other environments because ah
there are some constraints as to what you can do in the workplace suppose the person you're angry with is your boss who has the power to fire you may not like you very much or maybe competitive with you were a favor somebody else those kinds of situations are quite common
some sort of straightforward mindfulness practice like
sitting down with your boss insane you know i had a mindful experience of being extremely angry with you yesterday
it might not exactly be the right
right strategy
so one has to adapt what may seem to be a traditional approach or traditional attitudes to the realities of what's going on and to also to be somewhat strategic i think that strategic activity is something that we don't read about much in the
sutra and monk tradition but it in my own observation of suzuki roshi over the years i was with him that was something that was always very apparent is that in every situation
he was prepared to be strategic to figure out what was the best way to convey the truth of the situation i can remember one incident
right out here just after i was ordained
for just before i think
and i was out there enjoying the scenery and
he walked out all by himself was just him and me i thought i thought oh great me in the master all alone some time for some face time or something i was really excited about you know there's something might happen so i kind of i didn't actually walked toward him but that thought kind of came up and he was standing run on the stay
epps there and at the men and i had that thought he'd turn right away from me so his back was to me and walked away and turns out he he noticed something that i missed which is there was a woman sitting on a bench over the far corner of the courtyard and i hadn't seen it but she was somebody who came in off the str
eat she was very disturbed and actually she was waiting for somebody to drive her over to the crisis centres so she was a very a person in in real need and suzuki roshi sat down next to her and spent the next half hour talking with her and he made no
acknowledgement that i was anywhere around
and that was kind of a big experience for me because i'm obviously it is because i am thirty years later are still talking about it
what you see that was that was that was
that was strategic you know came into the situation i'm there you know green new monk anxious to do whatever you know forget that and this woman over here you can obviously in need of solace or comfort who who needed his attention more mere her was no brainer you know i didn't need
anything from him i was to student and you know and you know here you're reading the book crooked cucumber ignoring people was one of his strategies he did it frequently and
people that had this tremendous need to kind of get something from him or get the big word or or had him notice them and whatever they would be unnoticed for a long time until they just drop that you know and then he would come up one day and say hi how are you so you know he was always looking for some
something that would open the situation and to me that's the inspiration for how we can bring the dharma forward out into our busy distracted american life and keep in mind
a distraction isn't is an essential component of our society distraction is bought and sold it's one of the main commodities that make our life go you get into an elevator muzak you get into a bus somebody's got a boombox you're driving down the street billboards there is a key
quality of selling stimulation almost like an addiction which is the essence of the society we've created
and we need to have some strategy to confront at its it's part of our ngo call of of american society without saying oh that's bad you know i'd like to go to some place out in the woods where there aren't a billboards ninety distractions that's fine and we should definitely do that when we can but what about when we're right in
the middle of it what about when we're and it's the middle of friday afternoon in the work week has been miserable what do we do
we can certainly
in each situation if are alert enough and paying attention enough come up with some strategy
like suzuki roshi good even if we're not very skillful at it the intention to do so itself is a practice intention is extremely vital and really good isn't begins with a moment of it of intention
and really buddhism distinguishes between two kinds of thinking there's ordinary thinking which is what we usually as buzzing around in our head and then there's intentional thinking intentional thinking another name for which could be a bow
is the essence of what makes dorm ago and just to form the intention i will i will try to see my colleagues at work as buddha's at least for one minute a day
now i have a little visualization in here that we do in my workshops where we actually explicitly sit down and close our eyes and visualize the people we work with and try to see them each one of them as a pure awakened beings of light
they are you know so it's helpful for us to form the intention to see them that way even if in real life some part of our brain is saying you know like that one like him like her jerk idiot you know that's our usual thinking and that's that's okay maybe at some level they are jerks and idiots you know we have that that dismay
missive quality
just as i was coming to work here i i wanted to get into a parking space on the street here but there was somebody behind me that you know was their first i didn't realize it because i was kind of dance and you know she really wanted that space and she you know shook her or whatever it was but you know i i was kind of dance i didn't realize that was what
it was going on and finally i i drove away and she got the space you know that kind of little annoying interchange is so normal in our american life but you know that's the story of to buddha's interacting you know myself and that person and whatever is going on on the surface that's ordinary thought
that's got a guy didn't you turn it took my space i'd like to wring his neck kind of thing and i'm thinking what's this woman want you know oh i get it you know she wants the space whereby been you know at some level we're also buddha's interacting in in the time and space of of of pastry you know
so the intention to ah
to find ourselves to restore ourselves to be creative and strategic in our workplaces both in a general way and in specific ways as we walk as we move as we speak to people as we listen as we run a meeting as we deal with financial realities as we work at the can
pewter how many people work in front of a computer here lots of hands
actually it's a bigger bigger computer crowd here than most
i refer to people like myself who work in front of computers is to people we work in front of the tube
i'll leave you with one very specific little thing to do with the to
which has turned it off you can turn off the power to the tube without turning off the you know the computer doesn't do any harm so this is the practice you sit at your chair you reach out with the forefinger and you push the power button and in the screen goes blank and then for one minute you look at the blank screen
the screen is actually you know vibrating it's refreshing and flashing there's a kind of neurological stimulus to that's just to turn it off and steer into that gray space you can immediately feel if you're sensitive the vibration in your own eyes and neck and everything and then
those of you had some experience with stazon you know ten breaths with the screen off
and there's a posture that you can adapt i call it the workplace meditation posture you know feet flat on the floor this is important because it's the only part of our body that touches the ground so the feet on the floor the hands pound down on the knees with some feeling that you know there's a connection between up here
here the hands the knees the legs the feet a little bit like this the whole point of this kind of of a posture is to bring the the physical body together so that you're on the ground in this posture you've got a lot more points it's the three point landing you know you're on the ground with a city in and check
it's only two points and then
find the breath may be closed the eyes or look at the grey screen and for ten breaths find yourself find who you are find where your physical being is find the buddha that you are and that everyone is around you and then the moment is over the forefinger reaches out and turns on the power and your the tube is back
that kind of interlude practice you may feel gosh nothing happened just works on spun around i didn't feel calm like i do in the in is going on at that moment if the only experience you're measuring advise kind of how you feel of course you're going to feel weird you've been working at a computer all day
vibrating in your face and not thinking or feeling about your body nothing's going to feel great
but just to notice that and be aware of that something very deep is going on in that moment does not end when the computer to goes back on there is a continuation this is the deep meaning of the buddha buddha as understanding of cause and effect part of what it means is nothing disappears in the world
no action that you do disappears no intentional thought no moment of consciousness disappears it all has ripples it all moves and that the image of the jewel net which in the one of the traditional sutures sees the universe as a net of jewels in which every jewel re
reflects the light of every other jewel the point of that image is that you are a jewel and you are a shining jewel and you're also reflective jewel and when you radiate out the other jewels pick it up when those jewels radiate in you pick it up so any effort
to find can
your own awareness and your own
place in a busy situation even for a moment even for a millisecond has an effect without that kind of confidence it's very difficult to really practice
we think somehow that it's a kind of like other activities but it's not there is a kind of them
well the image that comes to mind is like a potty old fashioned potter's wheel not the electric kind of the time you kick
you know what i mean the kick you have a big wheels have been weight and you kick it and then the thing goes you know and even if you don't kick it for a while it turns will think of that potter's wheel is being almost infinite in size in every time a moment of the intentional awareness occurs because you make
it happen because it's your intention to happen it's like kicking that wheel it's a wheel that you in a sense never directly experience but it's a wheel that runs the whole universe and
that brings me back to the what i started with is that you know the meaning of this a buddha image for me is that
we already have this in this case to the publisher put a put the light in the chest that's okay in the heart so glowing thing that's already us but at the same time we have all these tools mental physical emotional tools and if we activate those tools dislike
will grow and when that like rose everyone else's life grows so that's the that's the vision that i have for how to move forward as americans i am
i think that buddhism has already penetrated the culture far more than most of you probably know
the language of dharma the fundamental concepts the approach there is a there is now and new another wave of interest and understanding that is beginning to percolate which is going to go far deeper and i think it's already beginning to transform society and
interesting ways so the notion that i think some of us old timers still linger with it somehow were part of a spiritual counterculture that's obsolete we're now part of a spiritual culture and the whole society really is casting about for the next the next way to understand how
to be human in this world i think for the first time with the end of the cold war and certain other things happening there is a kind of global awakening where rousing ourselves from our survival sleep and our petty concerns in realizing it's just us it's just the planet there ain't no outside we have to take care of this you know and that is the same
starting point that took the buddha out of the palace and into the forest when he realized that even when you're the king it's not enough and that's the same realization that america is haven't you know america is like the buddha in of alice with all of our wealth and material goods are lifting our
head and saying you know
money can't buy happiness what to do now so the institutional phase of places like st center to to
have traditional places for dharma plant practice at that stage as well established now what's happening now is something far more diffuse and widespread and diverse so i hope all of you can contribute something in your own ways to that
deeper and broader penetration and i want to thank all of you for coming today and for since center for their hospitality and having an old timer like me who's gone out banged around in the world a lot
i'm i'm very pleased to be back i guess we'll have some kind of discussion and then if any of you want to have me sign your books or whatever we can do that in the dining room so
thank you very much