Practice Period

Audio loading...

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


Origins of PP, meaning of 'ango'; Dogen's essay; resistance; hermit Jim; Rumi poems.


Inconsistency of dates between cassette and box - calendar checks out 2006 as the Sunday date

Auto-Generated Transcript

that some simultaneous players

good morning
ten days ago we began the spring practice period a green gulch
we had a fall and spring practice period each year and as tradition of practice period goes back to the time of the buddha twenty five hundred years ago
and varsha is the name for practice plague in sanskrit in the buddhist time the name for the rainy season retreat
rainy season in india's different time but i it's quite natural for people to gather for a practice period jury during the rainy season and the origin story of their practice period ah in the own tax goes like this the blessing
one was drilling at raj gear i had that time the retreat during the rainy season had not yet been instituted by the breast wine for the monks thus the monks went on their travels or like during winter summer and the rainy season i am people were annoyed and murmured
they became angry saying how can the disciples at the glass of wine
go on their travels light during winter summer and the rainy season they crush green herbs they heard vegetable life and they destroy the life of many small living things i don't the practitioners of other traditions retire during the rainy season and arrange places for themselves to live
when don't the birds make their nests on top of the trees and retire during the rainy season and arrange themselves places to live in
now someones heard those people in that they were no a the murmured and have become angry and they told this to the glass of wine and because of that the blessed one said will have a rainy season retreat
so is actually you can say out of compassion that the practice period was introduced to avoid crushing the green things that grow in the rainy season and the newts they come out when it rains so they they didn't wander so far they stayed
they didn't walk around so much because of ah those creatures and and then there was kind of a practical thing to just help small creatures and nana it has his added benefits of gathering together for a period of practice
at that time in the of the brewdog a amongst mercy lived out in the forest often by themselves service this time of the year the rainy season they would gather together and practice community and this was before they were monasteries and temples but there is you could say it's the forerunner runner of
of such communities are starting this time and then after the museum those days it was ah three months and then they would they were disperse again at the and and go wandering around
and i i i think it's interesting that that things like this and originate because ah of the people complaining and at their practice period wasn't just the is like idea out of the blue was
is it was in response to people saying well there seems to be this problem and i and a lot of the buddhist precepts in to be set up around people coming to the bird or the other monks and saying on how why do people do this and then the buddha would say oh yeah i'm good idea where to the timer packed
is period so the brutal you could say the buddha actually is just response to beings right and the practice period is such
and i also is that the yearly practice period like this creates a rhythm in the year of like the seasons are like breathing in and out and there's a time of coming together and practicing more concentrated the in really sitting still and
and the time for more activity when the rains and
quite natural in a way i think even
i'm outside of buddhist circles on people have always gathered when they are in their weather is inclement
and in china and japan is this and this retreat came to be called on and go and they are the on mean something like at rest are at ease are contented are peaceful quiet tranquil and go means
residing are being present so i could be it translated as piece for dwelling or tranquil presence or contented being it's a period for contented being and i even if it doesn't always feel this way it offers this opportunity
and these these two aspects of on and go can be said to be the two aspects of practice that the settling peaceful contentment side
the stillness and then there's the being which is like expressing oneself in the world of existence
on and go
my so so here in this practice period that is twenty four people and everyone in a sentence has left home to during this packers period as in the old days people might have a home and to going back to you but if i left wherever they've been residing and and come here to this praise to
like all of you have today actually left your home's to come here and i and reside here today and this said this place is actually nobody's home this place is created by the intention to dwell peacefully
on tranquil the be and that's right and somehow somehow a building arose out of that intention and time i rode his and so we're here today because it is so it's kind of wonderful and it's
know sometimes we think about it is on it must be the home of somebody but actually that the people just keep changing and it's it's the intention that that creates the place
and ultimately the practice period it's not limited by any time either we do usually begin and end the practice period ritually
it's not bound by time serving a sense we can say that that the packers parent doesn't begin and end and actually everyone who has come today has just joined a practice period but there does seem to be
in return the marking the beginning and end of a practice period even there it sat on it's kind of contrive thing to to divide up boundless inconceivable
ah being that recall a time into delineations of three bronzer in this case fifty five days we haven't practice period
that's kind of contrive for the that quite yet
sometimes when we do that it encourages people to to bring forth their energy more and because it's like or just have these fifty five days in the certain way and i can i can really get myself to it for this time
if it's just like whoa my whole life is the practice period and maybe or our energy kind of goes down so we pray these kind of games are beginning and ending so on
i thought down recurred today begin a practice period so this is a roadblock that can i use as the you know to ritually begin and end of practice period and there's a there's a wouldn't stand behind the altar that that this is struck on and i've heard actually that this is the most ancient
a buddhist instrument older than the bells and hands and maybe it was shaped differently but apparently in india they had something like or wouldn't stand with a block on it you can imagine it it's pretty simple and maybe it was an octagonal like a spray
but sometimes there's a feeling when reopen a practice period spirited close it it feels like something's happened so ah so because i'm the you know i can do this today
the eleven thousand nine hundred seventy fourth morning practice period at green dragon temple is now open
we've all just joined a practice period
because it feel any different
i hope you knew where you're getting in for it
so dogan zheng jie the or founder in japan has as an essay called on-the-go which is about the practice period and begins
dogan says in an informal talk to open the practice period raging my late master chen tongue this is tender neuralgia dire show old buddha presented this poem
piling up bones and an open field gouging out a cave and empty sky break through the barrier of duality and splash in a bucket of pitch black lacquer
before we came here this place was an open field and now it's filled with these stacks of are living bones balanced upright and we take the basic core of our body and we carry it to displays pretty
on a seat and let it be each one of us and our own unique way
and through creating a practice period
we re out an empty cave and empty sky
so it's just an illusory event actually on
just a dream to dwell in for a little while carving up the cave and empty sky to sit in
but even know it's just a dream we can wholeheartedly pile up our bones here
and what's the point of this
well in this problem make it can be said to break through the barrier of duality with the reality that splits it up practice period and not practice period the a right way to beat the drum and the wrong way to beat the drum a free time and
schedule a time and me and everybody else
these kinds of our thoughts that we think or break up the world we can smash through the barrier of all of and splash around in this bucket of pitch black lacquer that were already splashing in but
we want to fairly enjoy our splashing around in it so we can break through these barriers and
you could say that are wearing these black clothes and sitting on black christians and with the lights down low it's kind of
ritual symbolic celebration of swimming a barren and splashing around in this when his bucket of pitch black lacquer
then dogan continues to grab hold of this spirit the train constantly for thirty years eating meals sleeping and stretching your legs this requires unstinting support
the structure of the rainy season practice period provide such support it's the head and face of brewed as and ancestors it has been intimately transmitted as their skin flesh bones and narrow
you turn the buddha ancestors eyes and heads into the days and months of the practice period
regarded the whole of each practice period as the entity of brewed as and ancestors
i must confess that chair as you know when the practice period comes around i actually have some resistance and
i used to have not so much resistance hastert almost completely just look forward to it and
it's somewhere it it can be somewhat disheartening sometimes will for me to feel this like a pack is period again ah it's it's and as they have as a lot to do with this role i think it's my job becomes much more complicated and busy and and i am i see
so called free time when i'm thinking journalistically becomes much more limited
but because of this you know i said the beginning it's it's like it's it's rolling for it again here it comes to practice period
and but then it can see how key here is this thing instead of gotten i'm ah i'm resisting it and the sorry offers this opportunity it's like if i'm not really resisting anything then man
am i even really practicing actually in what's the opportunity there so i do feel this this opportunity and then it starts you know we we set up a day on our way ahead of time she over a year ahead of time the dates for to practice period or on schedule because they have to go into the scheduler events
when these kinds of things and sometimes i had that shearing when it rang it starts approaching it's a who's who set this up and say no one even quite remembers you know is some other staff and if you're a couple years ago
and i think we all feel you know in the staff meetings in seven we all feel this pressure as it starts to communism lot more organization and can on here we go again and somehow we we did this to ourselves and but there's a way in which we love it i think we re on it happens and we do it and we
just start doing it and
i use usually once it starts and everybody gets here and and often at first day when everybody is sitting together i i have this feeling like oh yes there's no i remember it's this and now and there's still resistance bright
but i can really appreciated and and give myself to it
sarah the resistance is just resisting what's happening and the the only relief from it is to continue and to just give myself to it and i think everybody in the practice period feels this and i'm even today if you're here and you may be resisting this
talk and you might think or woods i'm not really in the package periods which we have to do with me and i want to go home now
you have an opportunity
so to just surrender to what's happening that's what actually is is all about and that's what the this smashing through the barrier of duality
that's how we do it is just completely give ourselves to each thing as it comes out and answer it the beginning in the past year we have lots of ceremony is usually to begin at and and and again as like my role is to organize other ceremonies and final the people to children are the instruments
and so on and
i i it sometimes seems overwhelming thinking of a whole bunch of them coming up
but if it's if each one just you know respond to each each event as it arises just a moment you know sometimes people will ask well what about the ceremony the day after tomorrow and like no no no this one it's one affairs just like and then we'll talk my bauen
than practice period each period of zazen it's like is just this period of silence and the beginning of a or one day sitting can think of the whole day and might seem overwhelming but it's you i'm just this period of zazen this period of walking
and of course the packets period is for the forms and ways of doing things particular ways and said this
this is and usually isn't our choice and the way to do things again this thing that no one of us actually chose these forms and this razor doing things are we all do so we all resisted in her own unique way and i know
her heart of they take it up in our unique way
so this the package period provides the
the unstinting support or it requires the unstinting support of a practice period to on the grab hold of his spirit and the train in this way and this this the practice period in this case i would say is each of you each have alibis provides is sub
port so you are the unstinting support and i actually feel that and when when i'm going through around trying to get through these the ceremonies and the scheduling and and on i come in and see everybody sitting there in the zendo it feels like oh yeah this is why this i remember
so you are the structure of the practice period and therefore you are the head and face the buddha ancestors
and it often feels that way seeing everyone sitting so upright and still
a you turn the buddha ancestors eyes and heads into the minutes and days and iran said the practice period
our you're living bones they wouldn't be any practice period
bergen continues from top to bottom the practice period is brewed ancestors it covers everything without an inch of land or speck of are left out the practice period is an anchoring
pig that is neither new nor old that has never arrived and will never leave it's the size of your fist and it takes the form of grabbing you by the nose
when the practice period is opened the empty sky cracks apart and all of space is dissolved and the practice period is closed the earth explodes leaving no place undisturbed
this morning's practice period covers everything covers the whole earth and there's nothing out it's an essence it's not actually bounded by this room
or anything so how could anything actually be left out this is the ultimate dimension of the practice period
and the earth exploding at the end the practice period may be inconceivable that sometimes when i notice something like that i think around
maybe my first pranks period at tassajara where it's very remote in in the wilderness and
more certain green going to say nobody really comes or go and so we don't see anybody else for any three months sometimes hikers will come through and it'll be like seeing somebody from another planet or something like where had these people come from we thought we were the only ones on the other it and then at the end of the three months the the country
painter is broken open and we disperse and i remember riding up towards the city at the end of never practice period and the first kind of impact of the world is that the billboards and the highway and i just felt so
an intrusive in a way these billboard saying i do this by this be this way and drink this and i felt like i hadn't really noticed them before they were just kind of like
i don't know how effective that kind of advertising as if people don't notice it but it's kind of right that they're everywhere as you approach the city brought i'm in a way maybe they're advertising did it's trigger when in that kind of aware stayed after the practice period but it just got like the earth was changed had broken open and now like everything was
saying something

so there's this is some this unstinting support of all of you and the way that it encourages us to practice is is this just giving ourselves to each activity and realize your story of dose
shine were among came and asked
where where is that your how do we am
when he a cold com how can we avoid them so this can be a practice practice period question for many people especially this past mornings it's been very cold in the zendo we're going to heaters on and just you can say about any anything in the schedule how can we get out of this you know when when the han comes and i'm
like in the middle of talking to somebody and it's time to go how can we avoid this next period of zazen and don't machine says or wanna you go to the place where there is no heat or cold it might look like i'll go to the place where there's no zazen just leave the temple there's something so then the more gas or what is the place where there's no
heat or cold on doing sean says when it's cold the cold kills you and when it's hot but he kills you
so with hot and cold we can pack it this way and when it's time for zazen let this as and kill us kill me is me that thinks that as opposed to design
me that things i have to go to his eyes and they are telling me to go and so on this mean getting their way and down
yeah to kill it sounds kind of violent but let it be reddit pass away naturally it's being killed by impermanence every moment so we let that he and the cold and everything killed the separate
on kill contrived on shrunk little me we we let our die so we can be the big
south that covers the holidays

dogan continues saying that some people think that the practice period is about cutting off words and eliminating mental activity
he says if you really understand the meaning of cutting off words speech and mental activity we will see that all social and economic endeavors are essentially already beyond words speech and mental activity
going beyond words speech and mental activity
is actually itself our words and speech i mental activity
during beyond words and speech is just words and speech going on mental activity is just the mental activity
this is classic a don't game pardon
reality is to go into the mud and enter the weeds and expand the dharma for the benefit of others turning the dharma and saving all beings is not something optional
if people who call themselves descendants of the buddha insist on thinking that the buddhist practice period means that words speech and mental activity are transcended they should demand a refund of those fifty five days of practice period sitting
right in the middle of word speech and mental activity in the things being just what they are without judging them or attaching to them or averting from them
he is actually what we mean by going beyond them it's not like they disappear as than being that sounds is actually what we call going beyond them going to on our limited idea of them and their way that they bind us
so practically it's not just silently sitting with nothing to do
it's learning lots of forums or know how to serve meals are lots of work is happening and plenty of speech and mental activity is going on
and so if people think that and now i've sometimes thought that packed this period means no speaking or thinking and these people should ask for a refund and anarchy i'm the treasurer were given to them or not break
and that said said this true spirit of the practice period that's not that's not cutting off speaking and words and mental activity by just being those things completely and splashing about in the bucket of black lacquer and in this way
this friend of mine named hermit gym and i'm hardly reminded of him because i just got a letter from him just the other day as i was didn't about this talk so he's a he's a guy that i don't know if anybody here actually knew him but he was around at tassajara some years ago
go and he used to they're denied in the wilderness nearby tassajara and here is he added kind of a yoga background but no special tradition he just the just was a meditator yogi and he lived for years and years in the wilderness near tassajara but he never came to toss
i e maybe i heard about it but he never came in he just did his own thing and one day he does when are the trail goes through tassajara and so he he ended up there during on their work periods and i he came in and stayed for that time and and then he would stay for the work period than he'd go back
out again into the wilderness and he would do this for some years and ah
and i was always impressed with how he repeated be there for months where he would do is is get a big bag of rice and rentals and take a fishing pole and i type the safe under and he just go into the mountains and he lived out there until his rice and lentils ran out
which you know when he's supplementing it with with fish and and plants and thing was arrested a couple of months and then just when i would run out he'd come back into town and be coming to run into ranchers are living near the wilderness and after to work for them for a couple of weeks and get a little pain by another big sack of rice and lentils
and and go back out until it ran out again and it did this for years and i
there was only after many years of doing this that he ended up because ohio and then he continued but when you come into the word created has a high i here is your think thinking be really kind of antisocial and afraid of people because he'd be totally alone for months at a time didn't see any other humans but he is very introduced on hanging out with people
you'd always be done in the courtyard just talking with people and
i'm very jolly kind of character knowing the work period was over my god it's time to go back out now and he'd be very happy to just go back out and do it for another few months and i and this letter that i just got from him
i was surprised but i thought it it it am but demonstrated this this spirit of the practice period it's it's not beyond words and speech and and doesn't have any particular form he said in his letter your yogi has made his way to new york i'm in the world of business
i'm living in a nice place on the upper east side and
and i work in midtown
i've always really been a city boy
and it's great to be back home
i left san francisco in ninety three to commune with myself not to commune with nature my interest was not to realize but to be in a setting in which realization would most easily appear
so it is rivers are just rivers mountains are just mountains very soon dad this body still lives keys in his fifties or sixties now and he's had a rough life as you can imagine break he loved it living on the wilderness and is so these bodies to lives and lives
ing it works and a working added-value mysteriously appears people pay me money for housing and food and clothing
and the and a desire for more still appears in the living body however this desire appears to me as a dream i kind of child's game on here i am in the dream capital of the earth my sweet manhattan
this is a that letter so i was inspiring to me i felt like he can just go between these worlds flu really
i practice periods also about living together with people
interesting ourselves to the song guys we say in the new york chant it really has that feeling of the song has no one person we all entrust ourselves to each other we give up our personal ways of doing things and and and we just harmonized with the community
dogan says in another essay says having left your home in your birthplace now you depend on clouds and you depend on water
zen monks are sometimes called industry crowds and water meaning they're just carried where the crowds and water takes them that's why this is called cloud hall here
for the the resident cloud people
the support to you and your practice given by this assembly of practitioners surpasses that which was given by your father and mother and father and mother are temporarily close to you and birth and death but this assembly of practitioners is your companion in the way of enlightenment for all time
these are strong words can we really entrust ourselves to these people and if not then who
so there's roomy i wanted my favorite poets who lived that the same time as the and maybe they secretly met we don't have any record of it my job i'd like to think they might have
it really was born to seven years after dogan and he also talks to encourage this kind of entrustment to the community
and again you know this this is not just about the resident community at gringotts this is the saga is all of us you've come here today and come with sunday yeah in the british time they there was this practice of on the lunar quarters which is about once a week our debate
people all around the temple would come and just practice with the resident community for a day and the stairs you these lunar quarters there they practice this way in southeast asia and i know enough that was the intention of how the sunday probiotic green gods came to be but it it seems to be like about the same amount of or weekly
weekly gathering for the larger sanga
again i think a very natural communion so this poem is called of being woven
the way is for genuine sacrifice
the thickets blocking the path or anything that keeps you from that any fear that you may be broken into bits like a glass bottle
this road demands courage and stamina yet it's full of footprints who are these companions
they are rooms in your ladder use them
with company you quicken your ascent
you may be happy enough going alone or with others your you go farther and faster
every prophet sought out companions i was standing alone is useless but put three or four walls together and they'll support a roof and keep the grain dry and safe
when inc joins with a pen than the blank paper can say something
russia's and reads must be woven to be useful as a mad if they weren't interlaced the wind would blow them away
like that god paired up creatures and gave them friendship
this is the spirit of and go practice period sometimes where the ink and sometimes the pen and sometimes the paper and it's wonderful to be willing to be the different there's different instruments at different times just surrendering towards needed in the moment
this is like that
the community is like that like other kitaj trial with the thousand arms like just one organism but has are these arms and their each helpful in their own way
and i in another essay dogan says regarding practicing with others and everyone sits you said when everyone lies down you lie down be one with everyone in both in motion and in stillness
the be conspicuous in the community is not beneficial to contradict the assembly is not appropriate this is the skin flesh bones and narrow of buddha ancestors
durban's there's a lot of things that the skin fresh bruins and marrow but he looked they're actually they're all the same thing
this is dropping off body and mind of the south this being one with everyone in motion and stillness is actually dropping off body and mind thus it is practice realization beyond actualization since before the empty on this is the fundamental point
before the first signs appear
it is not a weight great enlightenment
then there are going immediately goes into the the daily schedule for evenings as and you put on the road when you hear the sound of the high and you're going to the meditation hall and sit a year signed place
so this is how he he often goes back and forth between being worn with the community is dropping off body and mind so now in hungary go sit at your place
what seems like two different worlds right it's the same world
so we're already won with the with everyone that we have to actually be that warning we have to bring forth our energy and express that one can say this is the the go of anger is this the being there
expression of our being
and it's actually the manifestation of enlightenment it's not awaiting a future enlightenment just going along with the assembly in such a way and practice period really has that feeling and i think this sunday gathering has that feeling we're just come in at a certain time nora needs to say anything
we gather here and we just do this together
and we might wonder is this not denying our individuality and creativity
how it seems like we're just becoming a robots in my a mighty fear and i i think suzuki roshi said that when when we have the same haircut and some kind of clothing it actually it in manifest our individuality and uniqueness even more we can
when you've made things kind of the same everybody's doing the same activity then you can see that the more subtle variation like are serving or yolk emails that way that each person receives their food you really feel that ham
even though it is a very specific form how to do it you really feel the uniqueness of each person in in a in a very precise activity where we're trying to do the same thing the differences are wonderful the way they they stand out
an answer there's this there's also his sound this spirit of repetition and then were just doing the same thing over and over
there's one person in this practice period who before the practice period started for years she's been drawing a stone everyday and this very simple smooth stolen a ordinary she she's an artist into just draws a picture of it and the pictures look very similar but everyday as a practice charles that things to horn but
each which time it's like it's a new thing and this is the spirit of during a zazen and service and everything in each day like this
and so i recently saw again the movie groundhog day out how many people are seeing kind hiking and when we got half the people
i recommended it it's it's kind of about this pointing you could say you can see it as it's a it's a movie about practice period
it's for you don't know the story it's it's bill murray is this person who is doing this report on groundhog day and and he's he's resisting he's a he's a reported and is that resisting going to this small town and do this project and and when the days over
he wakes up the next day and it's kind of is this mysterious repeat it's the same day again it's groundhog day and he's trapped in his place that you didn't really want to be and and sorry to say that he needs the same people and at first he's very much resisting it and the point where the
same person says oh hi good morning and it's the same thing as the day before and he hits and and of asia
and sometimes it feels like gives you a wake up bell rings and if that same wasn't as yesterday just like this again they couldn't be and but yet we're on that's how it is and then we have this opportunity each time the rings and emptiness in this film
it's this wonderful transformation of around from once he sees that he's trapped in the same day and it's going to their wake up i was gonna ring the same time every day and he can keep resisting it and be miserable in that same day or he can kind of get creative and and are learning things and actually started being kind of people on how people
and actually
how wonderful he realizes and then they go through various phases back and forth and resisting it again and i'm trying too hard and sarah and on right he had sad
this is i think very much like our or the repetition of our practice period often feels like it's the same day every day and and we have a chance it's like got a fresh chance everyday it's so this is like i can i can go to his eyes and and just keep thinking about like i don't want to be here or i can
go and actually just give myself to it and crew know is what will happen
and there's a there's a go on and move on con or yeah man says the world is so vast and ride why do you put on your formal robot sound of a bell
and this is a koran so you have to answer yourself
right this series this world is inconceivable vast wide the possibilities are limitless we can do everything everything is open to us really and so in practice period why we stay in this little place and and i just keep doing the same thing the bell rings and put on the road and go to the zendo
but it is their way to express ourselves completely in that activity where it is fresh and it's not just like the same thing it's actually not the same thing
for people who sit zazen regularly know that every period of zazen is completely unique even if you get into some repetitive mind thing that keeps coming up it still that the flavor of it is is different every time i think for people who don't see it they think that would be so boring and like the same they just
sit there that it was break your mind would be static but it's not it's actually don't find zones and boring there other difficulties with and maybe by guy it's it's always unique it's it's always something new into tune into that aspect of it is the freshness

sarah and is finish with another roomy poem about practicing community kind of water wheel and so in this on the
the water wheel is the one who is
one with the community who is
expressing themselves completely are
creative individual unique but without standing out seems paradoxical
but is possible and
this water we are is his arm
is wet and turning and flowing and
stay together friends don't scatter and sleep on friendship is made of being awake
the water wheel accepts water and turns and gives it away weeping
that way it stays in the garden
whereas another roundness rolls through a dry riverbed looking for what it thinks it wants
stay here quivering with each moment like a drop of mercury
the eleven thousand nine hundred and seventy fourth morning practice period at green dragon temple is now closed