One-day Sitting Lecture

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

This talk will not appear in the main Search results:
Auto-Generated Transcript

ah ha
in today's that are server to target those words
good morning
i spy just wanted to mention that michael mann who fainted this morning appears to be okay and he did go to the hospital to make sure that things are all right


son asked switch on where do you come from
station said from the south
the towns had how is buddhism in the south these days
so a sean said there is extensive discussion
did songs said how can that compared to me here planting the fields and cooking rice to eat
swisher said what can you do about the world
these songs head
what do you call the world
so today is may thirteenth of the year two thousand
and i'm wondering what it is that we're all doing sitting here of frozen and silent

i think we've all heard about the terrible things that are happening in this world
in the north and in the south
in the eastern in the west
in the past in the present in the future
we've all heard that the air and the water and the ocean are poisoned
that plants animals and humans are brutally die

and even that the sky over our heads has an enormous hole in it
so why are we sitting there doing nothing
i once asked my teacher is and fast enough
and he's smiled that may kindly and said nothing

when i was very young
i wanted to be a holy person and like jesus
and i wanted to live what i imagined was a holy life
and then as i got older
i became more realistic
and i changed my wishes to mundane treasures like a handsome husband and property in the country
but i also became disappointed and even angry when the world
didn't give me everything that i wanted
so it was pretty lucky for me that my dearest friend at the time suggested that i
i sit down
and catch my breath

so i at that time i was living away up in the mountains in wyoming which was as far as i could go from the disappointments of my young adulthood
my friend was a bartender
and she heard that meditation was the way to eternal bliss
when we tried just about everything else
glue ones in green ones and white ones
so i wasn't enough pain at that time to do exactly what i was told so i sat down on the floor
with my hands palms up on my knees
i closed my eyes and i waited

after a long time there was a sound
kind of a scratching sound
and then my friend's dog sheba
came over and placed her big head in my lap
and she fell asleep
and i was at that time as i recall utterly contented

so that was about thirty years ago of what i call the world
just this person
my friend she's still up in the mountains ah studying with the tibetans
now sheba ah passed away a long time ago
when shakyamuni buddha realized enlightenment on seen the morning star he said i and all beings on earth together attain enlightenment at the same time
after that he spent forty nine years helping others by teaching
never staying in seclusion
with just one robe and one bowl he lacked nothing
so it's taken over twenty five hundred years for this story of this man and his simple life and his teaching to rich just about every corner of the globe
i'm indra's net is now on the world wide web
so the word and world at least for the time being are travelling around together
so how is buddhism in the south these days
there is extensive discussion
i don't know if the world was a better place or not when the young prince departed in despair from the palace
i think like the rest of us ah
his pain came from connection to his own senses
the experiences of his own young life that stunned him and darkened his childhood
when he was fourteen he went to a organic farm festival
and he was i
he was repulsed by the carnage that he saw from plowing the fields
all the animals that were killed and exposed
to the predators
and the oxen who were a wild eyed and driven by bullwhips
so this young boy went and sat down under a tree a rose apple tree
and quite by accident he slipped into a meditative trance
this trance was the foundation for
the re-discovery of what he called an ancient trail
that would lead from the darkness of ignorance to the bright light of buddha's wisdom
so i think we all heard that this young man and grew
very skillful and strong
became a young adult he married had a lovely wife name yoshida era and she gave birth to a son rahul who had a face like the moon
so i clearly
when he left this loved family he was not yet a buddha
but i think sometimes when i realized how much pain he was suffering that i feel sympathy for his decision
stress it says that a cry broke from his throat at the gates of his beloved city when he turned his back
declaring that i will not enter the city of couple of us to again until i have seen the other shore of birth and death
he then severed the hair from his head with his sword and entered a life a voluntary poverty

it's possible that the buddhist life story is historical but it's not likely
but what it really is is a model for us who are i seeking
some spiritual
ah life or perhaps a spiritual quest
and i think that we do need to leave home
you know and with whatever way that applies sometimes it's literally and for some of us it's attitudinal way
but as my kind therapist said to me years ago
ships are quite safe in the harbour but that's not what they're built for

so this life in this body is brief
and i believe that we are each called on to respond to the cries of the world
both inside and outside of the imaginal boundaries of what we call our self
just listening that's manjushri
the buddha's wisdom
and just listening with affection is avalokiteshvara the buddhist compassion

some time ago i looked up the word meaning in the dictionary meaning as in what does life me
and what it said was that meaning comes from an old nordic tribal tradition
and originally was the word to moan
what is your meaning
to cry out

this last session on all of us in this room at the time who were here we're celebrating together the birth of some baby birds
there was a nest over by the ducks on roman each day linda ruth would give us a report of this happy event
as the mother bird sat on her eggs and then on her baby birds and we all sat in here and she took her breaks and we took our breaks and who is a very joyous thing
to be joined by this mother
and her young
when says she ended and all the people had gone home
the nest was found empty and upside down long before the babies could possibly have fledged
go the story wasn't complete without its ending
what is the meaning

perfect wisdom is complete wisdom
the whole works
birth is an expression complete this moment death is an expression complete this moment

so after he'd left home the young prince and quite a while wandering around and sleeping alone in the forests where he was quite frightened
harry sound he heard
drove a deep spike of fear into his heart
so he finally headed to town to try and find some help
and when he found there were large assemblies guided by teachers of bliss
he's where john masters
and so the young prince also mastered the jonah's the trances and entered the highest states of bliss
but each time the bliss ended and he returned to mundane states of mind and existence the moaning of his life began again
so he thought this is not the way
he next attempted to crush his mind with his mind
mrs from the old wisdom suitors
as a strong man might seize a weaker by the head or shoulders and beat him down constrain him and crush him so i with my teeth clenched and my tongue pressed against the roof of my mouth i beat down constrained and crushed my mind with my mind
sweat ran from my armpits while i did so
and then i tried suppressing my breath and the need for food
and yet my body was simply overwrought and uncommon because i was exhausted by the painful effort
so having achieved no measure of relief from either the highest states of trance or from extremes of asceticism
he finally remembered the time under the rose apple tree when he was a child
and he returned to a simple devotion to upright sitting
accompanied by thinking and exploring with happiness and pleasure
and then there came the realization that this was the way to enlightenment

so are sitting meditation is not for the purpose of retreat withdrawl escape it's really quite the opposite
if there is a purpose if i can say something of a purpose it's to wake up to the world of birth and death
of our delusions and of our ignorance of our fantasies our longings our disappointments
and to face the face in the mirror from the inside
just like a snail
ahead of us now moving forward with faith and curiosity into all of the nooks and crannies of your senses
i saw an interview i mentioned this once before on tv last winter with stephen hawking who's the physicist that has advanced ai less lou gehrig's disease and he sits in a wheelchair
basically his frozen
the only thing that moves his his eyes and he's able to communicate through very advanced computer technology
so during the interview towards the end the interviewer said to him are you a happy man
and stephen hawking replied through his machine
yes i am
an interviewer who was visibly surprised said how is that so
and stephen hawking typed out because i'm deeply curious

so all of us here in this room are invited to wholeheartedly explore all the parts of ourselves
that this practice of ours is a journey without a destination
who we're kind of like lewis and clark
we just paddle along and wide eyed wonder at all of the vistas of both beauty and horror
and it helps
to sit upright and balanced
to relax
and to allow your breathing like those fine old wooden paddles
to dip in and out of the flowing river as you move along
your eyes are open
watching for movement
and for the passions of change
and your spine like of that tree climbing snake heads upward toward the sky
and a wider view of the long river below
all of your senses are awake and alert
as if balanced on the point of a finally sharpened pencil sitting
have the brink of the known universe
from the general kwan you will see and understand only what your i have practice can reach in order to learn the nature of the myriad things you must
know that although they may look round or square the other features of oceans mountains and rivers are infinite and variety
whole worlds are there it is so not only around you but also directly beneath your feet or in a drop of water
so this journey that were taking together in this room today has no true beginning and no true any
life simply unfolds like the river or like the rose
and that the core he'll find there are new beginnings and new points of departure
planting the fields cooking rice to eat caring for the children world round this has always been the way
a teacher once said that feeding the monks is a waste of food
so i think we can only hope and endeavor to repay our debt of gratitude to this tiny green planet for giving us life unconditionally
and as every mother knows
the requiring of that love comes from finding your children happy alert and awake
this is a poem that
reb read to us some years ago on an obsession that i'd like very much
love bade me welcome yet my soul drew back guilty of dust and sin
but quick i'd love observing me grow slack from my first entrance in drew nearer to me sweetly questioning if i lacked anything
a guest i answered worthy to be here
love said you shall be she
i the unkind the ungrateful
oh my dear i cannot look on the
love took my hand and smiling did reply who made the eyes but i
truth lord but i have marred them let my shame go where it does deserve
you know and know you not says love who bore the blame
my dear than i will serve
you must sit down says love and taste my meat
so i did sit and eat

so as you continue sitting this morning and on into the afternoon are please forget everything you heard
everything you know and everything you've ever wanted
and then just go ahead and proposition the universe
make yourself an offering
your eyes in your ears your nose your tongue your body and your mind
and then follow the sound of your own footsteps as they pass into the garden through the gate and the old stone wall
someone is waiting there to meet you
source and explanation variously are all made up
passing to ear from mouth it comes apart
planting fields making rice ordinary household matters
only those who have investigated to the fall would know
having investigated to the for you clearly know there is nothing to seek