Sesshin Lecture

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I couldn't help but notice as I walked from the Abbott's cabin to this angle how completely still the air was, how clear the sky was. I couldn't help but think that the whole valley was entrancing me, my mind was wavering but the day was quieter than ever. I could hear it but very quietly breathing. My mind paying more attention than usual. I always were in the midst of constant conditions. Usually there's confirming and confining of climate formation.


The world according to me is being reinforced and affirmed and elaborated. The next chapter is being written. Often leaves a lot like the last chapter. In practice it's asking us to relate to those very same causes and conditions in a radically different way. This has been the proposition that caused Chuck Ewing to leave the palace. This was the proposition that sent Dogen to China. This was the proposition by Suzuki Roshi to come right here.


So how do we do it? How does each one of us do it? How do we collectively do it? That's signed okay? Is that too low now? Too low or okay? Okay. This inquiry is the activity of Sashi. Is that okay? Yeah. In many ways Sashi is a yogic endeavor. This transformation, this radical shift is a yogic process. Yogic to join with, to discover how to skillfully work with.


And of course it goes beyond a yogic process as Chuck Ewing discovered. Even after his great yogic accomplishments still something in the process of realization was not there. But still this yogic process is extraordinarily helpful. And that's part of what I'd like to talk about. So stilling, quieting, cessation, allowing something to come into contact with here and now. As Pablo Neruda puts it,


if we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt the sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death. So as we enter into Sashi, as we immerse ourselves in this karmic flow of causes and conditions, maybe one of the first challenges for us is to bring all of ourselves here. Sometimes Sashi is called gathering the mind. So Seppo offered an intriguing and I find very useful instruction.


He said the whole world is self. And what this means is that whatever story comes up, oh, this is the arising of self. Whatever story is put on someone or something else, or some place else, Viengawa. That we take ownership of. Oh, just another attribute of self. It's like we cast a wide net in gathering to enter the realm of subjectivity too.


The whole world is self. Present, past, future, here, there. That's good. In order to stay here, we need fear included. And of course as we start to do this, and I hope this makes sense to you, because this can be a very helpful thing. Especially as we start to see the karmic tendencies of mind, starting to see other, create other, have a story about other, objects, life, this kind of thing. To come in here.