One-day Sitting Lecture

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Lotus Sutra (Heart Sutra), seals our mind with Buddha's mind, basics of the middle way are covered (in the Sutra of Innumerable Meanings), power of joy and compassion, devotion to the welfare of all living beings, Book of Serenity, just this is it, meaning, moaning, suffering, Chapter 2, upaya, skilful means = compassion, not one, not two, Byron Katie: "Is this true?"

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to their words
ah the mine

call forth as much as you can of love
of respect and of faith
remove the obstructing defilements and clear away all of your tents
listen to the perfect wisdom of the gentle buddhas
taught for the wheel of the world for heroic spirits intended

this is the opening verse from the eight thousand line progeny are part of me to sutra
and it's often struck me as a kind of anthem more battle cry
for all of us to surrender
to lay down our arms to cross our legs
open our hearts and our minds
so i want to begin this morning by thanking you and
that you have surrendered this day
that you have entered this quiet darkened room
i'm pretty sure that i wouldn't be here
if it weren't for all of you
in fact i'm very sure
so among them very many good reasons there are for being here at all i think the most important one as the support that we give to each other

and i also want to thank you for your attention
to the word said i have to say
i am not ready to sit on their seat
and i am very grateful that you allow me to do so anyway

this past year as some of you know i have been studying in my way
the lotus sutra
lotus of the wondrous dharma my honor sutra
the name of this ancient text is on the list of the ten names of buddha that we chant i think that you chanted this morning with your meal
and that we chant for both precept lay and priest initiations hadn't in june
and for those of you who aren't familiar with this list of the ten names and buddha there's a calligraphic copy on the altar in cloud hall where the priests store their own cases
two part of our job as students of the buddha way is to listen to the teachings of these gentle buddhas
the buddha's before buddha
shakyamuni buddha
dave my yana sir dharma put the rico sutra the lotus sutra
and the great body first the body surface of great compassion great activity
great wisdom
and last but not least the persian empire meta a great wisdom teachings themselves

a most of you know that the heart sutra that we chan daley
to the beat of the drum
is a one page summary of the eight thousand line persian empire me to sutra

so this morning i want to bring to you a few of the good reasons why the lotus sutra sits in the midst
of the ten names of buddha
and what it's doing in the midst of our hardworking no nonsense
or at times perhaps pure nonsense zen community

it was a great surprise and wonderful discovery for me to find out that suzuki roshi had spent
the entire summer of ninety and sixty eight luxury
on the lotus sutra tassajara
i didn't know that and there's a huge transcription of those lectures said i never knew existed before so some day maybe this work these teams will be more widely known him available to you all as well
so first of all this sutra
for good reason is honored throughout the world as a masterwork of language art
and like the great cathedrals mosques and temples of this world
it's anonymously created
but in this case by multi lingual multicultural and multi generational community
a beans
have sent and beans
and the inspiration for the completion of this task of translation and protection
over great distances and
great stretches of time
was provided by the sutra itself and its enlightened content
on a personal level i was greatly affected by
encountering this text
someone in the way i imagined that those of you have artistic or religious sensibilities might be affected and staring up at the sistine chapel

it was quite unexpected for me to through prolonged to prolonged contact with the sutra to experience
the possibility of a living vision
being ah illustrated in my imagination by the brush strokes of words and language
i was deeply impressed as we say
just as the mudra of the hands in are sitting posture
serves to impress and to seal and to sign
our union with the cosmos
this sutra the lotus sutra seals and signs are union the union of the human mind with the mind of buddha
and what is painted their on the ceiling of the imagination his vision
a vision of a world not beyond
the mind not beyond the grasp of the human hand but rather have their full extension
the as if of who and what and where we are
the as if of this very mind is buddha

i don't want you to ah
believe that perhaps the images from the lotus sutra any different than the images that you see around you and your daily life
you're not
what's different is that you and i simply don't recognize
them to be the same
sometimes after i'd be studying for a few hours i'd go out into my yard
and look out at the plants and i wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the images in my mind and what i saw
my this buddha land this vision of a woodland end my funny life at bring or time

at the beginning of the story and the lotus sutra is a story it has said some ah
a plot and there are a number of heroes and it has a very very happy ending
there is a great gathering of human and other sentient beings who are all sitting around listening to the buddha teach the basics of the middle way
the four noble truths the six parmi toes the twelve for chain of causation
and the wisdom teachings of emptiness non-duality dependent or arising
each of these spoken in accord with the mind of the listener
when the buddha has finished this introductory lecture which has its own name it's called the sutra of innumerable meanings
irrigation having just heard this lecture receives what are called the ten merit powers
it sir it's not hard to notice that my beloved daughter and her very best friends gave and nate are very interested in this idea of powers
they have power rangers and power rings they eat power bars and they were power t shirts
and all of them are very adept at making these sound effects to let one another another know that their superheroes have been
smash to smithereens

lot of times i think this is what they do and lieu of talking to one another
the power that arises from the buddhist teaching of a quite different sort than this
not a different nature but of a different kind
it's the power of joy and of compassion
the power of generosity of ethical conduct
of enthusiasm patience wisdom and concentration
and most of all it's the power of a deep and abiding devotion to the welfare of all living beings
so following the introductory lecture and the empowerment of the congregation
the crafting of the main body of the lotus sutra begins
starting in chapter one this congregation now filled with the joy of the teachings
look up at the buddha with affection and gratitude
at which point he does something that even for him is quite remarkable
from a circle of white hair between his eyebrows comes forth a ray of light
illuminating eighteen thousand worlds in an all inclusive vision

at that time the world honored one surrounded worshipped revered honored and extolled by the four groups preached for the sake of all the body such as the great vehicle sutra called innumerable meanings the law by which bodhisattva
as are instructed and which the buddha's watch over and keep in mind
having preached the sutra the buddha sat cross legged and entered the contemplation termed the station of innumerable meetings in which his body and mind were motionless
at this time the sky rained mondo rava mahamudra rather mangia shocker maha money shock of flowers over the buddha and all the great assembly while the universal buddha world shook in six ways
then in the congregation big shoes be cuny's osaka's super seekers gods dragons yeah shes gone the robbers assurers garou does canarias maharajas human and nonhuman beings as well as minor kings and the holy wheel rolling kings
all of this assembly obtained that which had never been before
with joy and folded hands and with one mind looked up to the buddha
and then the buddha
sent forth from the circle of white hair between his eyebrows a ray of light which illuminated eighteen thousand worlds in the eastern quarter so that there was nowhere it did not reach
downward to the a beachy hell upward to the conscience of heaven in this world were seen in those lands all they're living creatures in the six states of existence likewise were seen the buddha's existing at present in those lands and there could be heard the sutra laws
who's buddha's were preaching there could also be seen their big shoes big shoe new super soccer's and seekers who had practiced and attained the way further were seen the body sought for my son was who walked the body stop away from various causes with various discernment and faith
and with various appearances
likewise were seen the buddha's who had entered final nirvana and there were seen the stupas made of the precious seven things for the relics of the buddha's which were erected after the buddha's entered final nirvana

on a slightly radical and simplified version of this same story appears as case one in the book of serenity
one day the world honored one ascends the seat
manjushri strikes the gavel and says
clearly observe
the dharma of the king of dharma
the dharma of the queen of dharma is thus
the world honored one then got down from the seat

in ours in tradition we might say it even in a more simplified way we might say just this is it
or we might do something like

the point is that this is the point
right here and right now bare naked reality
do you see him
the reality of being itself
at a man teen ineffable first principle
just wow

no on it seems that one might think or hope that it would be enough

present moment only moment
maybe even more than enough
but whether we're fortunate or unfortunate i really don't know but it never seems to be so for us
we are restless and busy
little bipeds
a warm hearted regard for are very human nature is repeatedly woven into the narrative of the lotus sutra
so the very next thing that happens at the side of the book a buddha's illuminated forehead
is a deeply familiar human response when confronted by bare naked reality
with one mind and one voice the congregation cries out
what does it mean

meaning isn't just an interesting
concept for assistance a vital concept press particularly those of us with enough shelter and food
what is the meaning of my life
the word meaning
shares our language route with the word to moan
what is your moaning
what are you suffering
and what is your deepest concern

it was out of kindness compassion and pity
world the buddha responded to this question from the congregation
and taught the sutra of the innumerable meanings
for this teaching of the buddha can take any form
any form at all that will alleviate the suffering of the world
what the buddha replied to the congregation when asked what does it mean as the very title of chapter tube of the lotus sutra
in the sanskrit the word is opr meaning skillful means tax fullness or expedient devices
suzuki roshi explains that chapter one is the first principle
the teachings of wisdom
prajna parramatta
in which the buddha's vision illuminates our big common ground
the ground on which everyone can enjoy each one's own way
and then he says that chapter two is the second principle
tag fullness and skillful means
the emphasis here is placed on mercy and compassion
over wisdom
the way to help people was skillful means is the more most important point
in then there is no first principle
what we have is just skillful means which we practice moment after moment
whole hearted practice itself is first principle is skillfulness is the would away
so what does it mean
it means whatever it takes
whatever is necessary
whatever will work to bring all of us to awakening and peace
all for one and one for all
this is the my on ambition
and this is the ray of light and of clarity that comes from an all inclusive non dual seen
not one
and not too
not separate me
and not a separate you
can you see it

the buddha knew full well from his own experience that this clarity of vision was not easily one
i know that none of you in this room wishes anything less than complete awakening from the horrid dreams of abuse and separation from which you suffer
and yet what a mess we make
i once trapped to raccoons and graces house by mistake
they weren't bad rap continents
but they were desperate and within two hours they had completely torn everything to shreds

so the buddha in the lotus sutra outlined his famous and simple recipe for that complete enlightenment of a human being
step one
put an end to all heretical false upside down inverted and dualistic views
check out thoroughly all of the assumptions projections and imputations with which you decorate the blank canvas of the imagined self and they imagined other
there's a woman that i know you all have heard of from a brown i also heard about her from at brown myself called byron katie
and i don't know her yet i'd like to meet her but i did hear about it a suggestion she makes her a practice that i rather enjoy
what she suggests is that
when those little nasty thoughts occur about other people
instead of holding them down for back let them out
really let them out
write them down illustrate them allow them their fall negative potency
and then ask yourself the simple question is this true
sometimes i think a little snippets of repressed negative thinking are much more dangerous than his big stories
out of which they extrude
is it true

through this and through other method methods we may come to rid ourselves of all confidence in the veracity of our own opinions
and when this stages than complete belief in your small self and in your no self will have come to an end
and you will be at peace
this is the stage of nirvana
the state of rest
conjured by the buddha for those worn out by the effort it takes and crossing the perilous ways of mortality and earthly cares
in the lotus sutra the piece of nirvana is described as a magical city
splendidly adorned with houses surrounded by gardens and groves stream lights and bathing pools massive gates and lofty towers full of both men and women in which all may enter without fear to enjoy themselves at will
sounds just like tassajara
specially when you're living at green gulch
but now the buddha gathers his dear disciples from their resting place and preaches to them what he calls the real aw
and it begins now is the time to move to bring of farm
to exert yourselves with the utmost zeal perfecting boundless knowledge power and fearlessness and forever seeking the good and bringing benefit to all living beings
this is step two of the recipe for complete perfect enlightenment and this is the step that takes you all the way to buddha
if this assignment sounds daunting it is
however the good news also from the lotus sutra
is that your simple and sincere practice here this morning is already sufficient to guarantee each of you a prediction of your future as a buddha
how about that
and in whatever time it takes
this is the kind of time that isn't like money
it can't be earned and there's nowhere to spend it
does this is it

and in the meanwhile
we live as if
caring for our posture our breath our feet in our hands
and caring for one another
such hearted practice is the buddhist teaching alive and flowing freely everywhere
the no separation of means an endless
when the students are ready the teacher appears
that would be killed