One-Day Sitting Lecture

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Deshan and the old woman; the distortions of sexism, racism, others; the bodhisattva grandmother; devotion to zazen; bringing attention and support to the natural states/bodily conditions that are difficult

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good money
long time ago used to have to yell
can you hear me in the back
but now i have this excellent sound system like and just whisper
that okay
now before i continue i want to
i confess my mystique
of calling people need to show
during the food offering the military offering
so that's not the customer here
and so when do we actually i'm bring out our balls
ah there's the food offering and what's the signal for bringing out a boss
up after the second bump bump bump up the second
after the second roll down okay
i was just outside
communing with the
quercus and the foyer
and ramnath californica
ah the narcissus the rosemary
light outside the zendo here
sunlit day
we must have some good reason to be in indoors
of course this room is built of
sunlight and
will the help of water
and atmosphere
this good wooden beams across the ceiling there
put together from the efforts of
pine trees and fruit trees
and the floor that we sit on
comes from douglas fir
again composed of sunlight
the earth
this morning ends as and i said our practice of zazen is ah
to make a complete efforts wholehearted every of body mind and spirit
and i ever it is actually the same as the effort of the oak
and the douglas fir
a practice of chicken taza i'm just sitting you just sitting or nothing but sitting not adding any
ah props
not adding any techniques
not adding any idea of
getting someplace else

it is very similar to the practice of the
oak tree
simply receiving sunlight

of course if we're if we're thinking that we need to get rid of crops and get rid of techniques and that itself
not what we mean by she tarzan
the ever to get rid of something would be actually contrary to our bodies out our awakening with all beings
so given that we have no props and know techniques
we have props and techniques as needed
and chicken taza can include
all the resources that we can bring
as needed

so among our props and texan the techniques we have many
traditions many forms
and down many then stories
ah one of my favorite stories is
the story of
dijon and
the old woman
and many of you have heard the story many of you have probably heard it many times
so see if you can listen with a fresh mind
so this is in ninth century china
deshawn was a scholar monk
he was well versed in the video and well versed in the diamond sutra and wrote commentaries on the diamond sutra
in the north of sichuan and when he heard that the zen teachers in the south were saying that it's possible to realize the buddha's mind in this lifetime
he was upset
and felt some righteous indignation that people were belittling the buddha dharma
so it's a thought that
it was clear to him that even if people would practice many many a coppice millions of years
taking great care to observe all the details of mindfulness throughout the day for millions of years even then they would not
attain the boat away
so he felt that he needed to go
and straighten out these people
and their delusion
and so he traveled with his commentaries and his backpack
and at some point he came to a crossroads and the crossroads there was a little kiosk a little stand for the old woman who was selling them song
and t
so he went and sat down his backpack
said he was interested in having some refreshment
and the old woman looked him over and said
i wonder what you have in that backpack
and he said
well i have commentaries on the diamond sutra
i'm a teacher and scholar of the diamond sutra
and she said all that so
in that case i have a question for you
and if you can answer it correctly i'll give you my dim sum and t free
if you can't answer it correctly then you'll have to go elsewhere
so i said okay that's fine
and she said
in the diamond sutra
it says that past mind
cannot be grasped
future mind cannot be grasped
peasant mind cannot be grasped
so i ask you have scholar monk with which mind will you refresh yourself in my dim sum
and i was speechless

in his hesitation according to some versions of this story she said you know there's a zen teacher and not so far away from here
you might go see if he can help you
and to their sons' credit he
ah but maybe he could use a little guidance
and so he went to visit long time long dan ah
means dragon pond for a dragon marsh
and you can still see by their son's attitude in his approach to long he says when he arrived at the dining hall for a long time he says
the name long time is greatly renowned
but here on arriving
there's no pond
and as i see no dragon
and long time simply says
you now have met long time
so no drag and know pond long time
and ash and stayed for some time we're not sure how long and study
where's long time and then there are various stories from there that i won't go into today
but eventually a dish sincerity
ah led him to become a wonderful dharma teacher
where he wasn't speechless in the face of a surprising question from an old woman
so what do we have here we have and this little story we have many parts we have
of course we are dish on
now we have his attitude his righteousness
his conviction that he knew what was correct
and we have the diamond sutra
and we have the old woman
whose name we don't know
we have her a question
we have dish on speechless
and we have his sincerity and he was willing to
ah open up his questioning mind as mind of inquiry
whereas before he thought he knew the answers
and then we have
dragon pond know drag and know pot
so there are many
points so we could open up in this one story today i want to look a little bit more at the old woman
years ago i gave a talk here in this hall
and i am at the conclusion of the talk i said
then i told the story about my grandmother actually at the conclusion of the talk i said that i felt that it was time at that time for men to stop talking and for women to expound the dharma
i've since then add san francisco zen center we've had ah
two women as abbess
for a while for to women as
the leaders of samsung's presents enter the same time when blanche white men and
linda ruth cut

i don't think that that necessarily means everything is imbalance but that i do feel okay
ah this point and i know it as the elders discussed whether to invite me to be in the role of abbott
pilot deliberation had to do with gender
we have many
say biases in our culture
which distorts our own perceptions from the time were very young my deceptions as we as as we adopt
sons of our culture
fail to see things any other way
just as dijon could only see things one way until he was stopped for the question
i also want to note that it's black history month
we need to have a black history month in this country because of the
ha cultural bias and distortion around racism

it's like a hidden wound that needs to be brought to our attention from time to time
and it's i would say an extreme example of the kind of distortion that
that we call delusion when we say i for valance and live we vow to and delusions ah
moment by moment we may notice some delusions that arise some that are not so obvious or that are so ingrained they may not notice until someone really cause it to our attention
and staff meeting this week we would
i i sat in the staff meeting and listen to some discussion about how to make this place accessible for someone in a wheelchair
though intend to build things and assume that okay this works for people and not realize that we have a bias
until someone cause it to our attention and then how do we respond

so here we industry we have the old woman
we don't know her name because
and the cultural bias
ah in china had the time i think
i regard her though as being a real zen teacher
someone who has taken her practice
can you imagine working in the dim sum shop day after day year after year paying close attention to who comes in the door
most people who come in the door would have no idea what the old woman is capable of
no idea of how alert she is to them she's just the person who takes her order and serves the gibson
if they're paying attention they may notice
ah some aliveness or likeness in her
but she's not making a big deal out of it
only when
someone who is ready for her question
does she reveal her and her deep compassion to
and her alertness
a couple of weeks ago i was at a training for peace
and part of my study was looking at our own ah spiritual path for the question of who contributed to our own sense that there was such a thing as ha
say truth
a sense of deep trust
many people
had a difficult experience with their pants
didn't feel that they could trust their parents and had good reason not to trust their parents ah
many people some people had
ah not really even with their parents growing up
and some people having lived with their parents found it town
painful and actually frightening and
to confusing
it was interesting to me though that most people had some
ah prison in their in their life
who they felt they could trust
someone who actually accepted them as
the truth of their being
so i i thought of that i as the bodhisattva grandmother the bodhisattva grandmother aren't tied because there are a number of grandmother's than people mentioned
and i myself am very fortunate to have a grandmother who i didn't recognize
really until
i've been practicing zen for many years i didn't realize how how wise she was in how she had influence me
i want to tell one story about my grandmother's teaching
which are it always moves me when i tell it to us here if i get through it
a handout
i feel actually little more emotion while being here
after our opening ceremony yesterday was it yesterday day before yesterday when we walked around being dogs made making offerings of various alters
ah when i came from how the office and towards the zendo and i looked over this into roof and the magnificent pine tree right over here that's that we built the roof the in galleries around
just was so vivid and powerful the tears came to my eyes ah
so my grandmother oh god
ah she was
pretty quiet most the time
this was a german germanic
ah patriarchal family
my ancestors came from switzerland
they were anabaptists
persecuted in the sixteenth century and moved around europe and then into russia and then came from russia to kansas
and eighteen seventy three
ah all those years i think that
the the head of the household was understood to be the mail and the woman had to take some lower position
my grandmother inherited that

she even had to take a lower position to her sons
one a was my father
when i was
maybe thirteen or fourteen
we acquired a new riding horse
a mare
named hilarious lady
and she's been
trained as a barrel racing horse
tear the quarter horse thoroughbred
ah mix
and now
i was a relatively inexperienced rider and my father said okay but there's no horse so you can ride around the yard which is between the barns and around around one shed and past the garden
but don't take her out into the pasture
cause she'll probably get away from you
so i wrote around this yard run around the cip around yard
walking and trotting lacking
after all my grandmother came out and she'd sat down
ah on a stump that was there the edge of the guide
and she watched me come by a couple of times
and then she raised her hand and say no for me to stop and said
why are you just riding around here in the yard
i said well dad said not to take her out into the pasture
you want to make it just gotta be too much as or something hand
she said all now i see
so i continued and wrote around round the couple more times and then she raised her hand again and she said
have been wondering
if there's water in the reservoir in the pasture
and i said yeah i guess i'm i'm sure there's water reservoir
tissot why i really would like to have it checked
so when you take the horse out and check see if there's water in reservoir
so i did a little computation and
dan said not take the horse out there but she's dead mother
so if he has a problem with it now you can put it on her
she knows that that's not to do at night so
so i said okay so i took doris out into the pasture
and ah
rode out to the reservoir and sure enough there was water in the reservoir
then i turned the horse
and as i turned her she took off running
she had the bittner teeth does it a writers know that to the point of diverse as a bitten in their teeth the it's there was impossible for me too
get an out of her teeth
she was racing and full tilt and i was yelling law which had absolutely no effect
and then we came to a little creek
the creek that fed into the reservoir
and i thought
what's she gonna do and she lived the creek at that point i almost lost it i was about riding bareback
grabbed a handful of her remains and hang on
and she kept running at full gallop
and then i realized
i was riding
i was flying
i had it a minute maybe maybe thirty seconds
of pure joy
and then we were coming to the end of the pasture and or the fence
i thought
she jumped create what you're going to do it you're going to dump the fencer
and so i i again try to get it to slow down and had no effect
charge right up the fence and i was thinking she's going to jump the fence
but it said she's planted all four feet and skidded to a stop and i slid up over an act and overhead and landed on the ground right in front of her

and i picked myself up and dusted myself off him she was standing there grab the reins found a place where i could get back on and took her in hand this time and road back to grandma
i said
there is water in the reservoir
and she just nodded and said
now you can ride anywhere

there wasn't until years later than i realized that
she understood that i needed to be liberated from my father
who is a very loving person but also as a kind of a tyrant in way

so when i think of on and the old woman
and that poor woman i see my grandmother
so and is then stories
it's helpful some of them seem arcane and distant
and but i it's helpful to find
some not image some person some experience in your own life
they can bring that story alive for you

so this old old woman now i think of as
being a real zen student
someone who is practicing mindfulness
day by day moment by moment
but someone who has not limited to
to some particular form
she was taking her practice
right out into the marketplace
who knows how many people she helped
in myriad ways
to find some balance in their own dharma path which is unique to each person
so i want to support each of you to find your own
ah true place and your own dime a path
a good to ah chant the matter ceuta
sometimes it may be good to chant the heart sutra
to understand that to you actually can't understand you can't realize the truth of our the key test fire
ah seeing through form and emptiness
without a loving heart

today we're emphasizing cezanne
one day sitting
until dinnertime
so please
pour your whole body mind and spirit and two years as an
with that intention you begin to notice so the ways in which you fail to do that
ah you begin to notice because of your deep intention you can notice that there may be some part of you who is not so
willing to be present
that's hesitant to tentative
faced with the question of your life
there may be some part of you that speechless like they're shot

suzuki roshi wants so gave a talk in which he said that any part of your
ha body
that's having some trouble sitting
ah can be recognized
and all the other parts of your body can bring encouragement and support to that part
so if your knee is not so willing to be fully present
and bring some attention to it

if you have some emotional state that distressing
bring some attention to it
but can you do that without being overwhelmed by it without
they say distracted from your intention by

so always have that question and then come back to
ah here stable centered
grounded quality of mine
and only from there can you actually be
very helpful
so i think my grandmother and the old t woman were
ah working from
a grounded and centered
ah pretty clear and loving place
those qualities are are all essential
and other qualities that we all have
but sometimes they are covered up
sometimes we lose data
say access to those qualities and we need to stop
just like dish on was invited to stop

so i think i'll stop
with that
and we have time i think
for some questions
if there are in

yeah starting
oh delrin crable sticky


i'm okay

this is the anniversary of the the edict
of interment ah
what's that
i'm sick

thanks for that now so that was an extreme time but actually i were living in some extreme times

now just speak up i can hear me speak up a little bit everyone can hear

in there what


there are particular question


well i thank you for bringing that forward
i think it's important to acknowledge
that town
quote enlightenment unquote is no excuse for harmful behavior
the great really have to be careful about town say identifying a person
what the term enlightenment as if that somehow ah
remove them from

so we say that for all enlightened
that's not said lightning we're all enlightened and i was in our then
school we tend to emphasize that town
that particular interpretation of as awakening saying all beings as enlightened beings
so that actually puts us on the same level
and then we all have work to do to see how we tend to not really live up to our to nature
my understanding of xanga is that it's an invitation
ah for us to ask each other
what are you doing
we're all making bows as a sanga to live
ah and the best
clearest most compassionate way
and we're all equal and sanga
although at given times like today i'm sitting up in front
it doesn't mean that
my practice is superior to yours

so i went to
and i think i look at
ah errors of the past misdeeds of the past
as an opportunity for us to clarifier a practice or understanding
and that means that we have to acknowledge them
that's the place to begin one of some onto binders ten vows is too
paul is continuously confess miss needs of the past
santa barbara great bodhisattva of activity
is always confessing misdeeds of the past
there are there needs to happen before we can deepen our study i get that i including

any time we codify something you know it's not quite it's not quite true her face the sufi poet
if i can remember it says the great
all the great religions are like
big ships
i like lifeboat
every sane person i know has jumped overboard
that's a good for business isn't that hafiz

so far their role in a poet and it goes to speak the truth
ha ha
poet like profit
speak the truth in the face of whatever is conventional whatever his authority whatever is
listen to the fresh breeze
tell why
and there was someone here to the yeah
let him if he has been putting his hand up a long time i they can then we'll come back to hotel guests and was wondering how you might answer this question in the vendors ha ha

asked me the question
the mind can i flashed past the mind can address the future
mind mips to
therefore with wish mine would master key
but that was in the pass what's the question right now with what mine will i

with which mind be grasped the done
the mind that looks into your eyes right now

a half
the play with that
how did that accurate
i am a
so lovingly
be happening
how found it out
someone saying only our intentions don't yeah
i'm back back back
i understand i understand i don't buy that not only our intentions count
our intentions are important factor
but the actual action
ha your intention may be diluted intention
ah you may think that you're being helpful and the same time you're not being skillful and are actually
causing causing damage and so that's why we need each other
we need to ask you know
ah how do you see what i'm going

one more
devante here

it's a gift
it's a gift

they want more

well as he lays down i say body and mind and spirit
the ways in which we tend to think a body and mind has things
the tend to objectify body ten identify mine even
so i say spirit to go beyond that
spirit is not separate from body and said the for mind as i say it but but spirit is to evoke the say the flow the energy the the quality
i said breath
ah the gift of this moment

it's wonderful to realize that down
we are not just our bodies
we're not just our thought
and that section of the diamond sutra
the talks about past present future mind cannot be grasped
the wood is talking about streams of thought
that the that someone is awake can actually see streams of thought
because their streams of thought there is no thought

because there is no thought there no mind i can be grasped
so this is a sense of how spirit that's something that down
is another way of looking at the reality that we experienced but cannot be grasped

it's not another reality hits the same reality it's another way of perceiving another way of understanding
this inconceivable world that we live in

so words are a little clunky
but we need them
and ah
today i said spirit and other day i may say something else
to the diamond sutra says because there are no streams of thought
we talk about streams or thought

that's the logic of my yana like the genius of maya

maybe that's enough
today okay i hope that you are all encouraged in yeah and you're sitting
you stay right with
your whole being your best
moment by moment