One-day Sitting Lecture

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in today's the truth of the to dieters words
good morning
i wanted to share with you the good news i just heard on my way in which is the tassajara safe
i guess we don't need to worry anymore
there was a big fire in the forest
pay close

return to their natures like a baby taking to it's mother
fire heats wind moves water wet earth is solid iron sights ear and sounds nose and smells tongue and tastes
thus was each and every thing depending on these routes believes spread forth

today september eighteenth nineteen ninety nine we are here together agriculture farms and center
and each of us has a place to sit
and three balls into which we are given food
i was wondering a little bit about how you usually spend your saturdays
and how you go about eating your breakfast and your lunch
our way in this room is to eat together in silence
with undivided attention from the beginning through the middle to the end
we don't have a tv on radio newspaper
no good friend to talk with
nothing to draw us away from the basic facts of our life
eating drinking sitting walking
feeling thinking

the reason that we are sitting here today is an order to learn how to sit here
there is no other reason
and there's no other way
just like learning to swim in the water or learning to write with a pen i need to sit still is a very useful tool for our life
a tool with which we can open ourselves
and begin to explore what's inside
so the part of our common life are common body that i want to talk about today is this part right here are belly
a place where the babies come forth
and also the
deep pit of our longing or desire
our pain
and i'm going to talk about the bell a through this every day activity of receiving food
i recently read an article in the new yorker about cannibalism
and as you know this is taboo
we don't eat the flesh of other human beings
and it's so obvious that i'd have never even mentioned to my daughter had this is something she mustn't do
so this reporter norman lewis brought this taboo to our attention
after traveling to places in the world where cannibalism still occurs
for the most part these are places with some notable exceptions
based in shimano convention
where there is no food
the people in these places according to norman lewis would prefer to eat tofu rice lettuce
or pork
but usually they eat flashy insects and small rodents

when i read this article i realized all the way into myself that i do not appreciate the food that i receive every day of my life
and that's why i wanted to talk about it today
so i want to suggest that we all use this opportunity of undivided attention to look more deeply into our bowls of food
and to r
with hold for a while anyway
our opinions about whether what's in that bowl is something you like to eat or not
whether it's too soft or too crunchy
whether it has enough salt or enough seasoning
i find it very helpful that we have a meal chant to help us with this meditation
and i a structured my thoughts around the five contemplations that we recited this morning
the first contemplation we reflect on the effort that brought us this food
yeah i think it's pretty usual for us a green gulch farm to notice food and where comes from and to feel some appreciation for the handsome young apprentices who were care so
ah diligently
but i was thinking at the same time are we overlooking all of these
ah lesions of old men and old women who spend their entire lives hoeing and waiting in the endless fields around the world
i see some of these people on my way to and from tassajara
there's sun drenched people
how there in the fields of silliness
and i want to remember to appreciate them and admired them and give them my blessing
when i was a lot younger and
a lot stronger i on had a fantasy that i wanted to work and on a farm picking vegetables or fruit
and i never knew that there was such a place like green gosh i'm not sure there was when i was younger
so i wrote to a pineapple company in hawaii because i thought it would be very romantic to be in a away picking fruit
so they sent me back a very nice form letter saying that i should check in the employment office on arrival
and when i got to oahu
on the bus taking me to the mountains where i would be living i saw the people are picking pineapples
they were wearing protective headgear and goggles and padded gloves up to their shoulders leather aprons and heavy boots
and they were walking behind a huge machine with a conveyor belt throwing spiny pineapples happened to this machine as fast as they could
there was nothing romantic about their work in that tropical heat
so then i talked to some of the women who had worked in a pineapple packing plant
where you stand and select for size rings of pineapple and put them in a camp
and they said well it's about eight to ten hours a day at minimum wage and you're covered with pineapple juice and in the company of flies

we reflect on the effort that brought us this food
within a week i took a job waiting tables
how about you
second verse we reflect on our virtue and whether we are worthy of this offering
while the buddha says that we are all worthy
of happiness and a good life
the problem is we don't know that and we don't know that about each other and so we humans often behave in a way that's unworthy of our true nature and are true value
and therein lies all of the suffering of the world
so each month in our community we turn the full moon ceremony together and for those of you who are familiar with it it begins with the same verse that we started service with this morning
all my ancient twisted karma from beginning this greed hate and delusion
born through body speech and mind i now fully avow
out loud
so this is confession and it's the beginning of gratitude
we start
with confession and of course we are not worthy of these offerings not a single bite
let alone three heaping bowl falls three times a day
over overeating were over drinking we are overconsuming we are overworking we're overthinking

so i when you begin with confession often it's kind of teary and heart you know i know because i'm the worst one a walk
that's how i feel maybe that's how you feel
it's just the flip side of our conceit
so i want to read you to poems on this matter of confession one that i wrote a few years back my own confession
but i didn't i kind of light hearted way
and the other is by george herbert
who was confessing way back and sixteen thirty three
so here's me first
ah just for some of you who may not know where quirky who is the disciple bodhidharma began his
beseeching a bodhidharma by this is the story mess anyway by cutting off his arm and standing in the snow to show his sincerity
lacking the courage to cut off my arm i stand at the doorway and quietly knock
who is it he asks buddha comes the reply prove it he says so i start to cry
he hands me a kleenex i wipe off my face how badly i wished to get out of this place
then somehow like magic a softness appears i look in his eyes and admire his ears your buddha i cry my heart filled with song i won't say you're right and i won't say you're wrong
i tell him i'm dying compassion i lack plane rotten no good that my practice is slack he says just stay with it here on the right track
i stand up to leave without going nowhere pull out my zaghawa and fall through the air three times to the floor again and again one thing i'm sure of there's no end to end
so and here's the second i think lovely poem which was brought to us some years back by attention roshi
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 he
i the unkind ungrateful
oh my dear i cannot even look on me
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 with it does deserve
and know you're not says love who bore the blame
my dear than i will serve
you must sit down said love and taste my meat
so i did sit and eat
so i think it takes some courage and bravery to admit to our humanity and at the same time to admit to our longing to conform to some idealized vision of a buddha or a god
have vision that always leaves us standing outside of the door ashamed and fearful
this is the primary concern in the lotus sutra and there's a parable called the parable of the prodigal son same name as the biblical parable that little different story
and i want to propose that this story is the basis for as and training
which i consider to be based in compassion
because we have forgotten who we really are we wander around through the mountains and deserts seeking false comfort
our father in our mother the buddha as us and welcomes us but we run away or afraid and ashamed
so then we are offered a job cleaning the stables washing the dishes which we accept
i can do that
can do it well so we accomplish the task wholeheartedly and little by little we master the accounting office the maintenance department the kitchen
a meditation home
until there are absolutely no possibilities left but to turn and receive the buddha's teaching
which has been our birthright all alone

it seems
sort of strange to me that it's easy for us to see in the young humans and the children that they're worthy and so obvious in olivia lucas sabrina davey and lisa
when enjoy feeding on giving them toys and telling them how wonderful they are
it's just so obvious
but i don't know why we forget that with each other and also why we forget when may look in the mirror
the third contemplation we regarded as essential to keep the mind free from excesses such as greed
so when i was thinking about this verse what came to mind was this on familiar experience of
i standing at the checkout counter it just about any place i go to shop
and they're all these little things that you can grab at the last minute
cigarettes chocolate beef jerky people magazine
our easy reach everything
so yesterday i was standing there and i saw this freezer cabinet full of ice cream and i opened the door and i reached in and i was standing there wayne this ice cream sandwich
and then some great force of will it really was put it down and closed the door because i was slightly hungry and that sandwich look like the most beautiful thing i'd ever seen
and for me this
not eating actually made me feel a lot better
and it stayed with me for a while
as a reminder of what i can do that i can restrain myself from immediate gratification
think when i was younger i used to practice doing that out of vanity
oh god that make me fat
but i'm
yesterday anyway i put it down because of this story i'd read about people who have no food
dad this contemplation of keeping the mind free from excesses such as grade
we are we are by nature greedy and we're kind of a greedy nation so maybe we can try to turn this
no bet

the fourth first is
we regard this food as good medicine to sustain our life
ah my daughter doesn't like food and she never has
she says it doesn't taste good
so i've been telling her for a long time now that it's medicine that you need to eat it it's good for you and hoping that someday it'll matter to her when where the enter
you know you you you need it to grow big and healthy and she told me recently that she's images so i don't have to worry
maybe so
so this is the other side of our greed and which is our hatred our rejection are no i don't want any thank you go away
when the buddha was a young ascetic he tried this method for gaming liberation and fact it was regarded as a valid path to liberation which was to separate the mind from the body
ever thought meditation was for that purpose to get out of here
to escape from this terrible human existence and that was common commonly believed and i i think it sneaks in sometimes nowadays too
maybe we can get outta here
so the young prince tried this he stopped taking nourishment and i found out what happens when you do that and i thought i would read to you a passage that play the ball course read and monday night class last week and i really enjoyed some of you weren't there so
here it is
this is from the poly sutras to does
oldest texts that have been held together and one one bundle
the young prince is speaking here
i thought suppose i take very little food say a handful each time whether it is bean soup or lentil soup or peace hope i did so and as i did so my body reached a state of extreme emaciation my limbs became like the joined segments of vine stem
em's or bamboo stems because of eating so little
my backside became like a camel's hoof
the projections on my spine stood forth like and beads my ribs jutted out as gaunt as the crazy rafters of an old roofless barn
the gleam of my eyes sunk far down in their sockets and looked like the gleam of water sunk far down and a deep well my scalp shriveled and withered as green gourd tribbles and withers in this in the wind and the sun if i touched my belly skin i encountered my backbone to and if i touch
my backbone i encountered my belly skin to for my belly skin cleave to my backbone if i made water or evacuated my bowels i fell over on my face if i tried to ease my body by rubbing my limbs with my hands the hair rotted at his troops fell away from my ba
audi as i rubbed because of eating so little
i thought whatever a monk or brahmin has felt in the past or will feel in the future or feels now painful racking piercing feeling due to striving it can equal this but not exceed it
but by this grueling pennants i have attained no distinction higher than the human state none worthy of the noble ones knowledge and vision might there be another way to enlightenment
i thought of a time when my shock in father was working in the fields him i was sitting in the cool shade of a rose apple tree quite secluded from sensual desires secluded from unprofitable things i had entered upon an abode in the first meditation which is accompanied
by thinking and exploring with happiness and pleasure born of seclusion i thought might that be the way to enlightenment
then following up that memory there came the recognition that this was the way to enlightenment
and then i thought why am i afraid of such pleasure it is pleasure that has nothing to do with sensual desire and unprofitable things and then i thought i am not afraid of such pleasure for it has nothing to do with sensual desire and unprofitable things
i thought
it is not possible to attain that pleasure with a body so excessively emaciated suppose i am from solid foods and boiled rice and bread
now at that time five mendicants we're waiting on me thinking if the monk gautama achieve something he will tell us as soon as i ate the solid food the boiled rice and bread the five mendicants were disgusted and left me the monk gautama has become self indulgent
he has given up the struggle and reverted to luxury
so these are the two extremes the two sides that the buddha understood the night of his enlightenment or to be avoided
the extreme of indulgence in luxury and the extreme of self mortification and any to extremes you can think of like good and bad right and wrong
like and dislike
me and you
these are the extremes to be avoided we are the students of the middle way
a middle way
no longer separating the life of the body from the life of the mind from the life of the entire universe
this is also the meaning of the emptiness of the three wheels
completely filled to overflowing
give her
and the receiver and the gift
there's nothing lacking there's nothing to be longed for and there's nothing to push away
so this contemplations that i've been talking about this morning or like the facets of a jewel and each one of them is the completion of the others
and through these contemplation so we can learn how to hold just for a moment
this offering that is coming to us and through us
through our eyes and our ears her mouse and our minds
turning the black lacquer ball around and around in my hands one side looks just like the other in the middle upon reflecting the face of a friend how very kind of everything to come together in just this way
keep him much