No Self

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One-day sitting lecture: Bodhisattva Initiation - dharma names; Buddha's second teaching - "No-self Characteristic Sutta"; shamata - posture instructions; Bodhisattva precepts - the scrimmage line

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the ah go to chase the truth about to target those words
the morning

i was wishing as i was sitting down that we were closer together
maybe some time we can
agree on that that we can sit closer together
against kind of see you back there the time but
you can use it
well i think some of them have to go to the kitchen but if you don't and you'd be willing i would happily wait for you to come closer but it's your choice
no only
in fact never mind
the tonto a night will talk about pace things and
invoking the presence and the compassion of our ancestors and faith that we are buddha we enter buddha's way
he said the opening words of the bodhisattva initiation ceremony
and face that we are buddha we enter this way
and i've been thinking that really that's the only basic requirement for a buddhist life
his face that we are buddha
including the choice you all made to come here today
i think a lot of us have been traveling for a long time to try and find the truest expression of who we are
now that i have a dog i'm kind of jealous you know he can just bark and birds can sing but i think humans are born wondering who we are and where we belong
an order to find out
even if there is an answer to that question we have to spend a great deal of time deeply listening
at the well of our existence
and i was thinking today that having heard that one of our dear friends some of you know hector was quite quite sick close to death that it's the kind of listening that we do when someone who we love is dying
or the kind of listening we do when someone we love is giving birth
the closest to that which we care most deeply about
unusually at such times were pretty quiet
pretty still

and i was thinking that it's at those times that the world itself will come and give you a name will call you a name know a name like
luminous night
or way seeking heart
light of compassion
hummus al
the whole works
these are names that have been taken from
a dictionary of human virtue
and then they were given to human beings by their teachers in the great hope that they would grow into them and become them
against all odds and in the face of great doubt that we are buddha
so tomorrow some new names are going to be added to the lineage chart
there are three people sitting here today who will be asking to receive the bodhisattva precepts right here in this room tomorrow afternoon
and they've been preparing themselves for quite some time
and i've been preparing for them for quite some time
when we don't know what's going to happen not then not later but we have great faith that we are buddha and we will enter put us way
so i've been feeling grateful
well to have a sitting the day before the ceremony
the ceremony is a very tender time and one's practice and
sitting together is an enactment of the teaching itself that we are not independent from one another we are interdependent we desperately need one another support love and companionship

so i wanted to read a little bit from tension roshi my teachers ah understanding of the precept ceremony
the body sought for a precept initiation is the ceremony of sudden awakening
it's like going through a door just as a fish swimming and water may take the water for granted
we moving through life may take life for granted but if we put a door down into our life and walk through it we may suddenly realize oh i am alive
this initiation into a fresh new life is at the same time of coming home
our home is buddha our family is the great earth and all living beings
so in the spirit of this homecoming i wanted to welcome all of you sitting here today to enter fully into the practice the life of practice on this day in this place
because so this is a doorway as well and doorway into a life of practice
and it's another opportunity for us to find out who we are and where we belong
one of the places that we belong
is in a human body
in this body has been framed with a layer of skin it's been stuffed with muscles and organs
and it's been sent aloft through the growing a bonus her
however from the teaching of the buddha we need to know that this body is not ourself and that's what i want to talk about today as this teaching have no self no self nowhere know how
so from the discourse on the not self characteristic which i believe was the second sermon of the buddha he says to the monks if this body where the self
this material form would not lead to affliction
and it could be had of this material form let my body may thus
let my body being not thus
in other words what he saying is that you could boss your body around
but i think we all know that we can't boss her body around and fact we can't really boss anything around and not the plants or the stars or even the elephants even though we try
am trying is our selfishness and our selfishness is the cause of suffering in this world
and then the buddha says to the monks
how do you understand this monks is the body permanent or impermanent
impermanent lord they reply
and then he says but as what is impermanent unpleasant or pleasant
unpleasant lord they replied
so is it fitting to regard what is impermanent unpleasant and subject to change as this is mine
this is what i am this is myself
and again amongst reply no lord
therefore monks any material form whatsoever whether past future or present
in oneself or external coarse or fine inferior or superior far or near should all be regarded as it actually is by right understanding thus
this is not mine this is not what i am this is not myself

so i think sometimes i'm hearing these teachings there is a tendency to ah
want to rid ourselves of the body and the troubles of the body
or to rid ourselves of the trouble of the material world you know
and to indulge in honor of self loathing
if we direct that tendency inward or world loping if we turn
our aversion to the outside
so the buddha know this tendency of the human being
to wanna get rid of that
which causes us difficulty so before this sermon on the not self he gave his first sermon called the turning the wheel of the law and in that sermon his very first sentence directed to us was all monks avoid the ics
a boy the extremes of self mortification of hatred of one's self
lost in the realms of hatred
and avoid the extreme of self love
lost in the realms of desire
follow the middle way discovered by a noble one
which avoids the extremes gives vision gibbs knowledge and leads to peace to direct knowledge to enlightenment and to nirvana
the middle way
so when you turn your awareness towards your body i would like to suggest that you do so the way a kindly parent turned their attention toward a splinter in a child's finger
there is pain there is fear and there is a great burning desire to run away

and in the face of this desire to run away i think what you'll find is that getting out of this body is ah not such an easy thing
not so easy to die
i'm no matter where you run you'll find your body's come along
so the body is the natural limitation of just how far we have to go
so what we do what we ask of ourselves instead is to sit upright
inside the body with the body as the body
as still as we can
as relaxed as we can
and we listen
the deep listening
at the well of our existence
this is taking shape of a buddha
and i swore as i can see from where i'm sitting that's what i appears to be in this room the shape of buddha's
of buddha's
in fact you all look sincere com upright awake and sacred
and that's all i know appeal
at this time
this is taking refuge in your true body in the body of the teaching and in the body of our practice
we're here and buddhists house we eat with buddhists balls were wearing put his robes
it's almost like a child's riddle than who are we
and bathe that we are buddha we enter put us way
seeing thus monks a wise noble disciple becomes dispassionate toward material form and likewise towards feelings perceptions karmic formations and consciousness
becoming dispassionate her lust and aversion fade away
with the fading of lust and aversion her heart is liberated
and when liberated there comes the knowledge it is liberated
birth is exhausted the holy life has been lived out
what was to be done is done there is no more of this to come
that is what the blessed one said and the monks of the group of five were glad and they delighted in the buddha's words and while this discourse was being delivered the hearts of the monks of the group of five were liberated from taints through not key
and then there were six our hearts six accomplished ones in the world

so on
there is a very fine point like an acupuncture needle point to exploring within ourselves the subtleties of this teaching this teaching of not clinging and have no self
ah and this at the same time as teaching is foundational to what the buddha explained as the path of liberation
so it's very important and at the same time we must be very careful
it's easy to shoot pass mark
suffering is caused by ignorant clinging this is the first noble truth and in particular and regard to an isolated sense of self
the end of suffering is caused by release of that self same clinging
who's the third noble truth
cessation of suffering
and the enactment of that release can only take place
at the in every moment at the scrimmage line between what i perceive
as myself and the other
the with rubber meets the road
and at the scrimmage line where you and i meet there are some rules that we
as followers of the good away agree to follow and those rules are called the bodhisattva precepts
and they go like this i promise not to kill you
and then you say i promise not to kill you too okay that's good that's rule number one
i promise not to steal from you i promise not to lie to you
to abuse you sexually
to intoxicate you to slander you
not to praise myself at your expense
to remain angry with you
and so on
so this kind of game
i looks more like a dance know
i was thinking as i was up at home that image of fred astaire came to mind you rather than arnold schwartzenegger
we danced together beautifully
yeah looks easy but we know it takes a lot of rehearsals to dance like that

and i i think we also know that it's very easy to veer off of are intended path
there are grave consequences
to ourselves and others when we do so
we know that too
when i was some reminded of these video games that you sit down at the wheel of a very fast high powered car and tried to drive the road but appears you know
i'm most of the time in i'm holding fast to the wheel and running into the railing sir
oncoming traffic
you know it's kind of like that the middle way
is moving pretty fast
and are clinging ah keeps us ah
pretty much asleep at the wheel
so what what can we do how can we meet the oncoming traffic safely lovingly
i had another car image ah i was reminded of when i was a kid going down to disneyland and taking mister toad's wild ride
don't have any of you taken mr toad's wild ride is anyone taken mr toad's wild ride
two people
oh good maybe six
while mr toad's wild ride you'd get in his car you know his motorcar his eyes spin when he thinks of motorcars and you remembered the story of mr toad but
he was a lover of pleasure and a new gadgetry and when motorcars came along his eyes literally with spin in his head at the possibility of owning such a vehicle so he got a motorcar and terrorized his neighborhood
and in mr toad's wild ride on you get in his motorcar and then you go along the tracks in on its kind of fun at the beginning but then little by little that you get in the dark woods and then there's a train tunnel and big flashing signs and lights are screaming at you go back or back you're going the wrong way
yea but you break through the barriers and right into the tunnel and then this big light is coming out your very fast with the sound of a train stare fine
absolutely terrifying i screamed the top of my lungs
and that was last year
you know and then is somehow it's over you don't even know what happened your eyes open and there you are back at disneyland and on
and i were in on and there's laughter is funny
but ah you know i know that that to have going wrong way in my family life for my community life for on the freeway
ah can have very very bad consequences if i am unconscious and if my unintended actions are not ah
taking care of and reflected on

we need to calm our minds and ordered to discern reality and that's the first step in our practices mata tranquility practice com mean ourselves
turning off the car and getting out starting to walk

so today is a wonderful opportunity for us to practice samanta tranquil they
now you can settle yourselves into your upright posture and allow your breath to comfort you
and little by little perhaps sir
the wildness in your mind will begin to quiet
on the inhalation the world arises and on the exhalation the world descends like a bright green turtle on the open ocean wonderful wonderful

so i think for some of you who are newer to practice on today practicing common would be more than enough to take up and i want to suggest to you that ah
that you look toward the body that's not the self but toward the body and find its qualities that are variable they'll change the location of your discomfort will change we hope ah and the first thing you wanna do is attend to
on your question would find her a comfortable place for yourself and for your legs
and then allow your spine to lengthen
balancing your head
over your shoulders
your nose in line with your navel
and lifting your sternum which lets more fresh air into your lungs
your tongue is behind your upper teeth
i've heard that if you put the tongue still the tongue that it stops some of the chattering and your mind your tongue what kind of move along with your with your mental process so quieting the tongue quieting your visual sense lowering your eyes down
and on and then energizing that posture it's not a sleepy time it's energetic time as his work the work of resting in an upright state
and if you do find that you've become steady and com and you might want to try considering some of these insight teachings in particular to
since i've been mentioning from the but a sermon the teaching of not self
and of not clinging and maybe you can watch for ways in which you attribute ah self self to what's happening to you whether during meal sir
point out to use the restroom
what are the ways that you show up
isolated and ah independent from others
so the studying of the buddha way is studying this self
all the way down
the very tips
and beyond
little by little that we can begin to realize from these teachings
that the very elements of our existence are continuously coming to us ah as gifts
we don't get anything but we receive
an abundance continuous abundance of treasure
and the treasure comes in
variety of forms you've seen any of them the snowflakes
yesterday i got to hold a steel string guitar i was new
electric guitar
my daughter once one
some of these appearances are continuous and their their gifts if we grab ahold of them will start to get bored
but we just care for them then they will free us by there
they're perfect
independence of our notions
to carry the self forward and experience myriad things his delusion that myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening for this is the subtle this subtle point where the whole universe
carrying the self that one we imagine we are forth and experiencing myriad things his grasping his delusion
that myriad things come forth and experienced themselves his awakening
sounds simple

true true freedom will come only when we obey the absolute lot of non separation
between herself that we imagine and that which we imagined to be
the other
and despite how it looks how it feels how we think and how we act
we enter this tunnel of non separation a dark tunnel
and when we do so no trace of a self is left behind
like a butterfly shedding and chrysalis
whole earth whole sky whole spring know
and then like the butterfly we can move from flower to flower
true self busying about its day

so i'm
sitting is a is a as a real trip
and that's a very long water
it's been going on for so i hear thousands and thousands of years
and even though i've only been sitting myself for a few of those thousands of years
know i was thinking i really don't know ah how come
i thought well maybe i know how come but even if i say so that story vanishes you know before it even reaches it's end and then there's another story i don't know which one is true or if there are any stories at all
but i must say i find comfort in the company of others
particularly when my balance is getting off
when the splinter of myself is causing ah pain both to myself and others
so am i am really grateful that you are here yeah making my life
and i am
i really do mean now
please enjoy the rest of your day
may i