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Sunday Lecture: zen as a return to Buddha's natural questioning, rather than a religious institution with fancy temples, robes, statues, etc

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i'm equally
good morning

crazy is and tradition who is it comes
well i'm in richmond
i used to prepare
suzuki roshi

do job i have a small software company during a job i have a small
sitting group in the valley
more information about reaches probably

so does that answer your question
entirely that sir
let's try again i'm the person giving a talk
i'm not in high see with my special verbs talking to you
i'm supposed to know something in vhf learn something
no no not completely
let's try again
i'm an addicting the buddhist priest
so what that means is by primary job like my bow it is to help other people practice the diner
hoping that needs
so actually i'm kind of a servant here
and now going we see i see him sitting in a row seat and you're sitting i see
and i'm here to do whatever you want
in a very humble way i hope i can do a good job
so that it
maybe we're getting moving closer i think all of those things are true and seventy cents
the last one is probably the most trick it's getting closer
it's they are read i want to
spring off from today more than i not the boss i'm not here to
deliver something
then i think will be useful in here too
things you enter have you helped me figure out what to do
the problem with all the regions once they get gun
is that they seem like there's something so buddhism seems like accent
hmm it seems hard to imagine that who could know much about buddhism unless when the boost scriptures but here's the deal of the buddha did not really those scriptures
because they hadn't been written at the time that he lived so he didn't have that advantage in fact he didn't know anything about this because it didn't yet exist same is true for jesus jesus didn't study the bible is the bottles about him so
the zen tradition
which was kind of a late arising with this history in china after losing have been going for several centuries and head the beautiful temples with great big beautiful buddha's like this and lots of rituals and ceremonies and fancy so grows like this
it seemed like that what sense what movies and was
and some of the best and brightest of that time people the my mother when nuclear physicists where something knowledge
started asking themselves well let's see when did that to the brooder haven't been tampa like this to bow to gold statues
who am i don't think so i think the buddha was
he was a prince a personal privilege she
who'd left that environment we went out into the forest for himself raise and lived on
almost nothing and sat down under a tree basically
so where we can do that we'll we can do that we don't need to speak temples and all these scriptures and all these home and things why don't why don't we do what want to include again let's try that he's tried that so that was this as an xin as a or chon as
kind of movement started in the seventh century a d was a kind of reactive traditions very roughly like st francis for something like that who
said you know even though st francis also was a wealthy man originally you know it occurred to him at some point that the that jesus didn't wear on in case and all the things that the church had
and so he walked out of his palace and just like
huda he tried to live like jesus might have lived
so what i'm waiting up to
is that authentic or transformed it it
darn as as opposed to the not opposed to right
until the one side of the popular of worshipping during the begins where the question of said
always with a question and it's not a question that is foreign to any of you it's the same question for all the rooms in the case of the buddha gautama time of emphasis campaign
the question was once he actually cut out of his palace and saw how people lived in fifth century c india why do people
have to live this way why people suffer why people fight
what's the fundamental reason why that so
and that was his question and we went to order
religious teachers at the time essentially presented that question
he was sharp enough on trusted his own question who have not to be satisfied with the answers that he got so eventually he went off by himself and sat under a tree
and kingo some conclusions
so that sounds like the beginning of buddhism that's the founding of buddhism who knows whether they ever happened literally that it happens and it's happened actually for the last who knows too many years we've been around
this is the
great perennial drama of
searching for fundamental answers to fundamental questions
just a few other question in question stories
the bodhi dharma was the legendary founder of xi'an china and monk who came to china and the supposedly sat in a cave facing the wall from nine years i love these he had so great
he wondered when he ever went to the bathroom
and his student as we call the second instead ancestor waker came in
and wanted to ask a question of this great will get this great sand again the legend has it things stood outside the cave and the lender and the snow and snow rose higher and higher than
finally bodhidharma
turn to him and said well what are you why
and waco said something like
i've been
what was the nature of my mind or something
and bodhi dharma said well bringing your mind at all explain it to and a signal i've been searching and searching and i can't find it and go to guy said while there i said
and that's a great teaching story in our tradition
another one the sixth ancestor putting on who was the one who popularized in in china was an illiterate woodcutter
who came to agree temple of the fifth ancestor i get his chinese name
fifteen sisters and doesn't make a fifth ancestry
and weren't all these monks wearing robes like this beautiful statues big the temple and the sky kind of was not only will see illiterate and a woodcutter reviews from the south
barbieri in in this part of china people from the south with concealed beneath contempt living so he was real bedraggled person he wandered in and somehow informally happened upon the fifth ancestor and
tiffin sister said well who are you where you from
and when and said i'm from the south and i come here because i want to be a buddha
so that's a kind of question what is happening in spring the question of his hand for a long time
in the fifth and sister said
euro southern barbarians and original how can you be a
can twain and said well people may be from the north and the south but what difference is there was respect to their mood nature
right in the fifth ancestor realize the sky was no ordinary person and the story goes from there
who is a lay person was not approved to was not too long way he was just an ordinary human being who had a question and
in zen world that takes precedence over everything
takes precedence over who's robes over my exalted status as a disciple suzuki roshi or whatever you think with statues this hall this place
all the really matters is the question your question
so what i thought i might do today i'm giving you a little bit of advanced warning we do have a question and answer after the official lecture here after tea
but i thought well
that's fine let's do that but let's also play around with having a little question answer right here
the be in while
so i'll talk for a little while longer and then i'd like to
turn the floor over to my bosses you
and what you do what everybody in busan has always done is asked the question is in your heart
so i'll give you a little time to think about that a little bit of guidance here we have a little over one hundred people so short is the branch were short
also not too personal
maybe in question and answer or private room to deal with personal things the kinds of questions that we are interested in in the dharma in buddhism are not necessarily so personal life like my fighting so much with my boyfriend or something but why did he can be in spite it all that would be more what we're
interesting something more numbers something we are
and maybe something that we think might not just be more question had someone else's question that everybody's questions so the question is not just a private question that not a public question like the questions i mentioned our questions anybody with a heart couldn't as
i'm just those people don't get in the founder of our lineage and pan his question was kind of interesting little different
by that time buddhism was very very well established again
lots and lots of scriptures and literature and so
he wasn't coming you might say with a naked question like why he'd been suffering this question came out of those scriptures the scriptures teach that all beans without exception are endowed with the nature of a buddha
so like any good mood as to didn't take that at face value and just say okay well as in scripture so i'll just go with that he said well wait a minute
i don't see that i don't see that in myself i don't see that another human beings whereas this nature of a buddha that for all supposed to be in endowed with why do we have to work so hard practice so in such difficult ways to realize that so his question came both from a kind of faith
trusted what the scripture said and a kind of down in the sense that maybe it was true but it wasn't true for him so he was a very sincere and also very insightful person
little bit like einstein you know who
the time that einstein was learn physics there was newtonian mechanics was the was the law of the universe but there were certain anomalies in the experiments that couldn't be explained
and so on one level einstein accepted with newtonian mechanics was true but he also handy
intuition to realize that there was something it wasn't quite explained by that so it's very much like job going this kind of a robust einstein he was very smart he read the entire canada buddhism which is about thirty volumes of stuff by the time he was nine years old sofa said so who have smarty pants
he realized later didn't help him at all
and i can
that's for that

what i really like about to youngster during the six nature of the one who was an illiterate woodcutter is it it's also a kind of story about status or role he had no status not only he wasn't a monk now he was illiterate he wasn't even from the
north were civilized people to us from the south so that the story which is concocting probably isn't true and rural sense but it's a wonderful story about
ah the externals of what we see that human beings are oh yeah the person giving a lecture must know something or buddhist priests are more likely even lay people something like that
so the story really magnifies the notion that he was a complete utter nobody in fact it goes further and when it turns out that
there's a kind of first competition with the head monk of this thousand one temple and of the head monk writes a poem and and well known writes a poem and it turns out that way no is the one that's given to transmission from the from the master not the the head of this guess student
we were newly arrived rice pounding nobody
people wanted to kill him
and they chased after him in fact that was a a monk there who used to be
hi general we led the contingent to get this guy this imposter you see that as a wonderful wonderful drama of the story and also the is a general monasteries kind of like you know colin powell is something he's gonna get this guy and then there's this great story where he a catch up with way on and way know it has the the pressure
yes road and ball given to him by his master and the general says give us that road and you and posture or will kill you and so do a story gets kind of magical plano puts the road and born iraq and he says fine take it to wanted so we go to take it me
cycling i could have worked if they can't get it off the rock and seven the general is transform he bows down and he says i'm really not here to kill you on here for the dharma and then he has a question that was a great dialogue that ensues on now
so the notion of
a deep question or a real question have any question is outside of any sense external rolls or who wears the robes for who's got the goods is a real
fundamental theme of articular tradition and i think all of listen to and i think all of invention there are always people like st francis and meister eckhart for
i know people that somehow are so true so deeply true to the essence of their tradition that
people get very suspicious of them during the steak want to kill them common heretics out of that
all of that
so i'm here to tell you that today
nobody's a heretic they won't be any
generals running after you asked them on question that are no wrong questions
the everything that i learned the hard way
when suzuki roshi was alive
and i think we all go through with some i'm just telling you my story i had since he was such an impressive person and so exotic
at that time in his robes and the way he was a real zen master that i was intimidated at least in public for asking the real questions that were in my heart i i am think i was proud to house didn't want to be embarrassed i wanted to be a smart guy who only work you know what i'm talking about it
that kind of
so he died of course when we were all rather young and i think that more and more as i grow older i have a feeling of regret that i was too young and to crowd and too much of a whippersnappers to expose myself because there's so many things i would like to ask him now
can i can
i'm inviting you not to anything like him as i say i am your servant and who knows what i know maybe nothing but i'm inviting you in the end it's not about the answer it's about the question and i can actually answer any of your questions will
something that little bit of the point of on the and quaker said
i can't settle my mind he says well shouldn't be my and it's not like a bodhi dharma actually answered a new thing he just turned the search back on the person themselves and who was able to answer some questions so i don't have any high hopes for new
this is more of a process or ancient and neck and of something that we've been doing the swimming pools since we lived
in caves are not in caves or

what am i supposed to
okay it's a quarter of now
let me see if i have anything more he in too distracted for i opened things up
when you asked and your question if you're sitting in a chair stand up and a loud voice so that anybody can hear and i'm going to repeat the question said with it gets onto the teeth so we'll just say like i was speaking in the outer space about something
and please i don't want to make this at all highfalutin that this very comfortable just
ask anything you want or say anything you are
and let's do something together that's very basic
some of you may be have a city practice some of the down some of you been coming here for years some of you coming for the first time it doesn't matter
we're all here
for some reason can imagine why so nice and voice right now
i talked to a woman just before the lecture who been here for one day and taking kind of retreat from her life and first thing she remarked which we all mark is that what have beautiful
garden is an ocean
and i was here when when i was involved in the leadership from is insulin bought the land was kind of overwhelming
all modesty aside it's probably one if not the most beautiful piece of real estate in california and probably one of the four five most beautiful pieces of movies real estate in the world so we're all very lucky
to be here and the temple itself as a teaching in the land itself is a teaching and i know that every one of the reasons you all come here is to soak some and add up and slide people who live here i lived here for seven years so it's like come down to be here now look along the trees and hobby
and everything the same old points that are used to walk over scratches on the world

i think that's really all i had to say until you have something to say so
what's on your mind today let's just start i'd like to start way in the back because they always can ignore it so u s

oh good

you really start start big i'm sure
oh yeah sorry yeah i keep reminding me because i'm absolutely he said what is the buddha way
what have you come up with so far






i'm not really
well he's talking about a famous case in one of the coin collections
what is that way what is the path ordinary mind is the path and so on it's a very very famous teaching story
yeah well i mean it's replicated it's it's a core teaching not just in san

your question was what is the good away the buddha way is to live in a story like that
until it opens up for the festival for you and
yes i would say i want us to start from the back and move forward so if you're in the back you have an advantage this way back and
know your area here year the one

everybody's interested in the yard
that's one of the things
we start to realize
ah we've been saddam hussein is interested in the diamond or not somehow
oh but you told me we'd be the one tell me every time to the that's your job she said in terms of being a humble servant like i said about a priest maybe i make sure i understand your question right what about people that are interested in the dorm what about them is that your question
and i humble servant of those people to

have some of them
do i consider myself a humble servant of people who have no interest in buddhism
yes i do
see i can do it and answer questions he asked no

hmm good question yeah she said she goes around to various centers and she doesn't seem very many people of color mornings and so forth mostly white people are mostly well off
and so how can we how can we open it on admire more to people of color

yeah me either get suggestions
i bet you do actually
go ahead



i just had a when you said that that you were from the around
guatemala guatemala
well anyway i remember a story about how when i was here as a teacher here
giving talks my regular we used to have a question the answer over in the on the wheel racing and at the time you know it was the iran contra time and is a big war
in central and somebody asked me to some heat cool what the devil with this all what you're talking about have to do what's happening in my country i can remember in providing a living a central america and i really didn't know how to answer the question that would think i answer the question around at all of the guy this stuff
so now's my chance to do better
i think you're right i think that that we're putting the clue it might be said about go there should be more spanish speakers i think that that
when there are more leaders of dharma who are people of color and quite naturally we will attract more people of color
so that's what one practical answer i agree with that to overweight

hundred and then i don't really know i think all the buddhist many of the buddhist centers have developed or put together some kind of diversity communities are diversity outreach and are working on another spirit rock years and i think business i said i have something so i think that we're aware of it and were
we're working on it this is anybody who's involved we can't have anything to explain
through how how's it going on cell


oh okay

well what i'm getting from of thank you all through explaining these things i think that the essential effort is to ask people come actually i think we know central we just ask for regular work
make things better for welcoming happening how can we serve you a more authentic way asked the question in an illicit liquor answers i think is probably the basic what you're saying and that's what i'm saying all the alien
so something else yeah


i'm not sure i can repeat all of that but he started by you heard something on the radio about lucid dreaming and let me see if i got this sense right that you're wondering
what's the point of all these special practices in there are many of the envisaging as a practice that comes out into their intuition if if ordinary mind is that is the is the point as the story that says

well it doesn't translations are always such an important issue with these stories it doesn't exactly say are you in my right
just slipping i'm walking down the street and keep on trucking the feeling is more like basic line or ground mine a fundamental mind or something like that that's the thing the story so which includes shrugging line it's more like a suzuki
oh she used the term big mind because that was not very technical we would get a feel for that they might conclude anything

ah just a second and now yeah coming next

in a pure sense we don't need anything
to resting on big my it's right here
but this was dug his question this is exactly goldman's question is i told you if if if that so
why do we act the way that we do why we so confused why are we so the little boy i didn't kill each other by to reply to each other why do that way clearly that basic mind is not it will be there but it's not good
manifested in the way the
to have faith in the that basic mind is at the root of who we are and have the honesty to admit that were not able to manifest manifesto of live in
it means that we have to do some work and that's where all the special practices can you envisaging is not part of our practice but you could say that says in is a kind of music do it includes it
have you ever done along retreat in the cinema of salesman for those of you who have you the dreaming is part of it
so you know our basic practice is to sit still and rest
in that basic line and way
it worked on itself
but over the centuries
the various traditions of buddhism have come up with lots of
different slants on how to do that so that's what you can read buddhist books there and ten thousand and english and was all these confusing practices and of the myriads of and they can confuse you so in the end
that's the point of the story about the literate woodcutter he didn't know any of that
he had read any of the ten thousand books he just walked in and said basically just what you said to the master
so that's why the question as much more important than the details
i see your smiling so maybe i had done something good
he has seen the back there you have raised hand




a wonderful thing to worry about
and i i laud your sincerity and being willing to expose that i've heard that same questions so many times it's a universal western universal question for people who practice so
see i have special rate are hearing it's a special power i developed i can hear these questions even when none of you can
well as let me see if i can hone it down
a lot of times when he's doing this says in he's focused on the future on planning on how to develop himself be a good person how to help the world and all those things that that we do and every so often who comes to rest by when you're chopping vegetables
in the kitchen you have to leave in even the kitchen
yeah let's say for this yeah your the fear the question or so you're excused from the kitchen
and and you have a concern about whether they are you just going to come to rest in some kind of meditation space where you're not ever going to develop really do anything useful for socially active is that roughly what you said
will it be focused on helping others yeah
well actually goodison historically had a real problem with that
it is the side of buddhism that's meditation oriented this inward looking can easily slip off into being something self indulgent can
so that's an acknowledgement that we we have to be on guard about that have been let me go back to the very beginning of what you said
if i remember what you said it was something like a lot of times the size and you feel like you're focused on the future
but those thoughts the about the future when are those thoughts happening
during their happening at present
so when we say the future it it's it's not like they're really is a future out there is like
it's a it's a certain kind of thought that's happening in the present which are paying attention to
would you agree yeah
so actually all of our thoughts happen in the present because that's the only time that there is and leaving the presidents promotion there's no present the time i've taken to save louis president's only when the pastime
so the key point here is what do we pay attention to where's our attention focus that's the issue not past present or future but what are we paying attention to what are we putting potential to then once the intention
yeah that's the key point and will stand on the practice and
the intention of practice is to find a way to escape
from the intractable suffering an existential confusion that is our will then it's not actually buddhism with something else
what makes it buddhism what makes it the path is that we never stop paying attention to that and we understand that that's all happening now so what's happening now includes plans
there's an appropriate type time for plans there's an appropriate time for paying attention to chopping vegetables and kitchen there's an appropriate time to sit
i appreciate that you're thinking about that don't ever stop thinking about getting will be okay
because the buddha
the is that was the buddhist question that's what impelled him to leave the palace was just to your question
and what made him become the buddha was it never stopped focusing on to at the same time we spent many years sing number two so what's that all now
very powerful i think that we just checked time check here women fine i think we have time for maybe two more the to you're going to get the jackpot so first you andrew

why do we like them
i don't have anything to add that i will remember to repeat the question
and you you help me not if it's i'm doing well and check your head if i get it wrong
wait for it
your question makes me thirsty
what i got from what you said is
well that's what we're all doing
where we have to each find our own way to that dislike the buddha is that pretty much what he said

yeah i agree thank you
we each have to find our own way and in
at the same time
we need to take advantage of and benefit from those who come before he instantly left us never forgetting that those hands are not ask those kids still you're still
probably always will and i can
so much as i'd like to
this is the last one


it's a mystical experience i here

date diseases and mindfulness is an extraordinary experience
we have a saying oh
he asked
i understand it in sodo tradition we don't put a lot of emphasis on mystical experiences do you mean by that like enlightenment or something
casio experience he has can show me to see your nature
and what's my view on matter what would i have to say
well what i said i still stand by
just being right here you know talking is extraordinary
bb as to the sodo approach and what she said that's a common understanding that oh so no and sodo the know emphasize enlightenment enjoy the centurion something some other school of and they do that's not really very accurate
probably to really answer that question well maybe you should come your question and answer and i'll take the time to really go into it but i'll just try to answer very briefly
can show me see our mind the nature of
see me to grasp it in way the changes
and to say that's not important in this basically due to throw out all although buddhism and and trashcan because that's the essence of losing face so it is important
but what we have to guard against is to treat it like something that we can get or something that we want to know the session or something because that actually
is the core problem that the buddha tried to solve so if we start treating spiritual
opening itself like something to get the van
destroy the whole thing
so to put it in the terms that's just my teacher suzuki roshi would say we practice without gaining idea for gaining motivation
but that doesn't mean there's no accomplishment in on transformation
it's a very subtle point worth a lot more than i can say that i think that the notion that oh sodas in we don't care about
i wouldn't call it mystical experiences enlightened was not a mystical experience or can chose i don't like the word enlightenment
a bad word
can show as much more accurate it means something quite precise
that's not a mystical experience it's beyond mystical experiences it's more like


we say don't say
the small miracle is celestial buddha's great enlightening experience and is wonderful
vast fields myriads of buddhism oneself as numerous as the sands of the ganges that's the small
the big miracle is chopping wood carry that's the thing
that's an answer

i saw them
i hung out in the kitchen
spot gonna spy watching things here i saw him carrying water
from the t and cups to that we can have now
yeah so people
most of the people they're pretty
working kitchen on the six ancestor by claiming didn't
came into the bathroom but who knows who's there
i opened the door for them
i felt