October 11th, 2003, Serial No. 00976

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last weekend i was
i ran into an old friend who i knew from tassajara from twenty five twenty eight years ago
who lives in mexico women name rossio and she showed me some of her photographs photographs of these beautifully
scholes that she's been painting full size schools that she's painting out of clay and they're they're really extraordinary and one of the one of the things that i but she's she's painted thousands of them and she showed me she had many many photographs of them and one of the things that i do
in the world as i i create calendars and i immediately started picturing these schools as being a calendar and i could picture the title it was can call impermanence and and then i had to laugh at myself and realized that impermanence just doesn't sell
and rosia then went on to
you she said that she tried to start a business and she showed me her card was called impermanence and it failed
and when i thought of this it reminded me of a a story that some of you might have heard about category roshi teacher who was a very influential teacher here for many years and then started and led the minnesota and center until
he until he died a few years ago and the minnesota's and center was known to be just not very good at raising money and they decided one day that they were they were there were really going to do something quite spectacular and they were going to on a sunday afternoon invite all of their donors and
for the day and and a category the day would start with category rush giving a talk so they they clean the
cleaned up the temple and brought it all these people and
category russia came down it was a sunday beautiful sunday afternoon and in minneapolis and he was dressed in his regalia and he sat he sat down and looked up at everyone there and said you're all going to die
and it was not a successful fundraiser
after the
the theme for this practice period for many of you who are participating in this practice period is
a famous piece by zen teacher dogan called bandar
translated as wholehearted practice and this was a piece written more than eight hundred years ago and it addresses the what's remains the core issue of our human predicament same during duggan's time as as our time impermanence suffering
how we awaken and how we can be present and aware and see that the way that we and all things are connected
and he's addressing how we can transform ourselves and transform the way that we interact with the world and transform the world
and i wanted to take just a few lines from mandela wearing the three lines dogan says if you think practice and awakening are different as ordinary people do then there must be some perception by the zen practitioner of his or her awakening
this is false because there is no discrimination within awakening
although disturbances and illusions flow in and out during zazen they are transformed into awakening and do not disrupt or interfere with anything
how how could this be this there's no difference between practice and awakening when does what does dogan talking about how could it be that these disturbances and illusions that we experience in our meditation and in our lives can be transformed into awakening through meditation
what does this mean that his illusions and disturbances don't disrupt anything certainly not not for are not our usual experience not our usual perception
there's a dialogue a monk asked non-eu what is the mind of an ancient buddha nine he replied a wall and broken tiles
aren't they inanimate objects the monk asked
do they know how to expound the dharma the teachings of the buddha
nanda replied they're always expounding the teachings vigorously and unceasingly
the monk said why why do i not hear it
nanya replied though you do not hear it do not hinder that which here's it
he's saying that even if you don't hear it
don't hinder the part of you don't get in the way of the part of you that does here
this is very much like duggan's there's no difference between practice and awakening
duggan's writing and thinking are are like this we listened to his words
but they're really hard to hear it's easy just to dismiss them and say well what what does he talking about it's easy to get caught
and we're always getting there's so many ways that were always getting caught in our lives through the way we think the way we feel
those those getting caught become part of our bodies the way that we move
non you're saying don't get caught look there's a there's a part of you even if there's just a part of you that here's it that doesn't get caught don't get in the way of that part
there's a a statement from suzuki roshi where he says as much as possible follow your inner voice rejecting useless things moment after moment completely devote yourself and listen to your inner voice
then you will see someone who is great in the true sense

i find that my inner voice continues to get me into trouble
i was thinking about
when i walked in it was about almost thirty years ago when i first walked in this front doors and there was this inner voice that said you should stay here for ten years that was big big trouble and and then ten years later there was his voice for me that said ah
you should go leave and try it and find some way to practice in the world to find some way to practice not only in the world but in in the business world and again really big trouble
one of the
one of the voices that i've been hearing recently which i've been trying not to
has to do with somehow combining the dharma and teaching with humor
pretty funny don't you think
i've been thinking that that the world is is ripe for a a new school of comedy called sit down comedy
stand up comedy is just about being funny just about making people laugh but sit down comedy is teaching the dharma being and being funny at the same time it's comedy as a way of helping us here a part of us part of us that does not here after all isn't
that why we sit why we come to lecture
perhaps what hear something that we don't usually have access to some part of ourselves perhaps someone else's words can help us become just a little less hindered or maybe it's not the words at all maybe it's just something about
not only the person talking but the people the people in the room
again i i can't believe i'm even proposing this sit down comedy again it feels like more trouble
if it was some a few months ago this came up from your few months ago when i was i was asked to speak
i was asked to speak to a group of socially responsible business people and group that that i've been a member of called social venture network and this was a meeting a meeting in new york of about two hundred on business leaders and i was i was surprised but i would i was asked to lead the closing session
and they
i found myself with a a microphone in my hand and this was in the rounds i was surrounded by these i'm this group of people and it came it came up for me that that there is some part of me and i i shared this with the group that that i was really surprised that there was a part of me that's always wanted to be a comedian
and and i said but the problem is i'm just not funny and they just word with his roared with laughter
so dogan dogan nanya with suzuki roshi are all addressing the same thing here how is it that our minds our ideas are conditioning and patterns get in the way how is it that are fears get in the way
and prevent us from loving from finding real intimacy from awakening
to what we really know we know it's we know it's inside of us we know that
real intimacy real acceptance of ourselves and others is possible what what stops us

as some of you know i was
i was recently ordained as a priest here at the city center and several people asked me why i while was ordained and the real answer is that i i don't know
and there's to so there's two stories that i that i tell myself one is that that i heard a voice that said that before i die i wanted to be ordained as a priest and that led to a well i probably shouldn't wait
again that inner voice more more trouble
and another story that i tell myself is that i've always felt like i was a priest and it was just time to do what felt like i was already doing
and two nights before i was i was ordained i was driving in the city and i was in a part of san francisco that i was not particularly familiar with and i was with my my wife and brother and daughter and i stopped at a light
and just as the light changed several cars went barreling by me on the left side and
i realized in that instant that this was a one-way street and i was trying to make a left turn from the middle of the street and i realized that i in that in that instant my life could have been
change dramatically that i would have i turned instead of hesitated for a second i
would have died instantly and i really i thought this being two days before my ordination that i'd better there was a loud voice that said be very careful is next couple of days

dogan says that practice and awakening are no different
naranjo says even if you don't cheer it do not hinder that which here's it even if you don't hear that practice and enlightenment are no different don't hinder the part of you that knows that this is true
and suzuki roshi says
completely devote yourself and listen to your inner voice
what does this mean when a suzuki roshi mean by this inner voice
one thing i was that i was thinking of was when i was a teenager
i was i used as i grew up on golf courses and my father used to drop me off on the golf course
when it was dark are very early in the morning because i wouldn't spend the day working there and i used to make up these i was the only one their golfers wasn't open it was still a little bit dark and i would just make up holes playing from one side of the course to the other and sometimes i would i would do this every day so i got i
got pretty good and i would put a lot of balls on the ground and start envisioning just where i wanted the ball to go i could kind of see it in my mind consider floating up and
curving over and landing on the green and i was i would
stand there for hours and sometimes the ball i'm actually did that
and it made me think of this this study that was done of filming the best golfers in the world someone took a films of the world's best professionals and then broke it down kind of slide by slide so that you can see on what there's
what their swing look like to analyze the golfer's swing and they also the same person filmed beginning and intermediate golfers
their swing and he took he took it may film their swing when they were hitting the ball and he also filmed their swing when there was no ball there and they were just he said just swing you know it just swing i just want to film your swing and he said
here now hit the ball and film that and when he noticed was in it almost every case
when he looked at their at their swing when they were hitting the ball it looked very very different than the professional golfers from the excellent golfers but when there was no ball there when they were just swinging their swing was very different it looked much much like a professional golfers so when they weren't
when they weren't trying for some results when they were just there swinging
they had a a much better much freer swing
and sports practice that i think is an interesting parallel to spiritual practice in this golf example the lesson is not to hinder the wisdom of the body by trying to hit the ball just swing freely
at the same time becoming a good golfer requires tremendous dedication and to tremendous dedication sincerity and practice and yet the practice must be the practice of not hindering that which here's it
how is it that we can combine this resolve to practice this resolved to listen to our inner voice and at the same time stay out of way
you can see that golf is clearly a buddhist practice
i want to address what fun
what we can do with with these words with what with what dogan as saying
and i think that the practice the the waiter enter this is through mindfulness
and the the mindfulness sutra is one of the oldest records of the buddhist talks
and he says there's the most wonderful way to help living beings realized purification overcome grief and sorrow and pain
and realized nirvana this is the way of the for establishments of mindfulness and you could he goes on to say a practitioner remains established in the observation of the body in the body
diligent with clear understanding mindful having abandoned every craving
and he goes on to say a practitioner remains establish in the observation of feelings of the feelings of mind in the mind and of objects of mind in the objects of mind and the reason he was like kind of say well what is that this is a translation but what
what the is trying to say is that it's not it's not about observing ourselves from the inside so his teaching this this mindfulness practice which is about just listening just because it's a kind of careful listening and at the same time a careful letting go
nearly this to some entire talk and although he and the buddha talks about these for this for practices
being mindful of the body
the mind feelings and object of mind most of the talk is about the body
he says go to an empty room and sit with back straight
and establish the practitioner establishes mindfulness in front of him or her
she breathes in aware that she is breathing in she breathes out aware that she is breathing out
when the breath is a long breath she's aware of breathing in a long breath when the breath is a long breath out she's aware that she's breathing a long breath out

when she walks she's aware that she is walking
she meditates on the body from the soles of her feet to the tip of her head
and then of course he
you know it seems like it it always comes back to this idea of impermanence he then spends the book the book of this talk is various ways of picturing picture in your body as a corpse and
the buddha goes into great detail about seeing seeing your body as as dead as not living and then seeing your body with the skin the skin beginning to wither and then see if finally just seeing there's bones and then and then dust
so what is it that had it all these things that i've raised how did they come together well dogan says there's no difference between practice and awakening non-eu says though you do not hear it do not hinder that which here's it
this this may sound very mystical very elusive and sometimes it can be jarring to are thinking
this kind of talking about listening to our inner voice
i think this listing is for inner voices i think it very accessible practice it's more like paying attention paying attention to what are
our deepest intention is
and as listening to our voice that
can't really be measured it's beyond it's beyond weak and strong and beyond measurement it's just are just our inner voice
at the end of i'm at the end of this past summer
i had lunch with my my twenty year old son was working with me and my warehouse i know some of you think that my son abusers me but he'd hit us and he's really he's really sweet i have her
this lunch was that i was having with him was a few days before i was scheduled together a wednesday a talk a green gulch and my son jason looked at me and said do you see yourself as a confident person
and he said that he that's not how he saw me that he saw me as kind of quiet sometimes shy and wanted to know what some guy like me was doing giving his hawks and
then he said after all you've never taught me anything
the and
so i i told them that the lecture series was on the schedule and that it was supposed to start the next day and i expected him to to be there for it
i thought it was a great question and put in and i think very relevant to what i'm trying to talk about hear that
confidence means both believing in your abilities which we should you know we should believe in our abilities we should
certainly believe in our own
our own worth and our own abilities to to do things even that we might think we can do but confidence also means to feel certain
and i thought just imagine what our world might look like if our leaders were less certain if our leaders were less confident
it usually confidence is about some kind of image about appearing in a certain way
whether whether you know whether it's true or not
and when i when i said to my son jason is that
i have confidence that i'm certain of nothing
that that i have no idea where i came from or where i'm going and ah
the practice was to somehow with with this confidence with his confidence in being certain of nothing to find to try and find some kind of congress and some kind of on flexibility some kind of freedom
and i think this is the kind of confidence that we as zen students are constantly cultivating tremendous confidence and trust in our own sincerity in our effort confidence in the possibility and path of not hindering what here's it not getting in our way
there's this there's this expression in zen about that zen practice begins with
i'm a great doubt are feeling this great doubts i think it's really wonderful this kind of confidence in this great doubt
and then to further kind of ground this idea that i'm trying to talk about this this case by dogan i'm talking about mindfulness the practice of remembering the practice of paying attention
this is one of those many paradoxes paying it pay close attention
widening our attention and connecting with what is beyond our usual attention also mindfulness is just a very simple solid practice that that we can all do anywhere anytime some people really struggle with my this idea of mindfulness practice because it's so simple and or
we often think zen buddhism of something something much more it's much more elaborate and elusive and mystical than just paying attention
buddha said that ah
now he ends he ends this discourse on mindfulness by saying if you do these practices diligently for seven years you can expect a you can expect full awakening
then he goes on to say well if you do it for six years and then he says five four three two and then and he says he actually says even if for half a month that's that's as low as they go two weeks
but he says even even after two weeks
he says if you do these pract oh no i'm sorry i missed what he says for one week he says even even for one week you will be if you do these practices if you really practice i'm paying attention to your body your mind your feelings and objects
you will be transformed
that you will your practice will bear these fruits of awakening and real freedom
and dogan says in in in many of his writings he says for one instant he says even if for one instant one breath just to sit zazen and experience that there's no difference between practicing between practicing between meditation and awake
adding that no difference between meditation and wakening
so when we sit when we sit zazen and in all our activities
the challenge i think is to be like the like the golfer
who's practicing swinging freely without without there being any ball as though as though they were no ball to completely
give up everything how is it that we can
find our own confidence in sincerity in our resolve to give up everything
i wanted to i and with a a poem by hafiz so i'm fourteenth fourteenth century persian poet and mystic
he says light will some day split you open
even if your life is now a cage
for a divine seed the crown of destiny is hidden and sewn on an ancient fertile plain you hold title to
love will surely bustier wide open into an unfettered blooming new galaxy
even if you're mine now is a spoiled mule

thank you very much
the or the tender