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Wednesday Lecture #shuso-talk

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the truth the world order to those words
well it's my great joy

so long
oh sure for
oh sure is
ancient on
japanese folk tradition pine stands for fidelity customs
mauritian the opening
that's my hope that
with support of all along
who's practice good
we go
help urge this

thank you very much good evening everyone
i'm glad that's over with that was very difficult downstairs
elephant show gloves falling all over myself
i'm sorry jeffrey i did or tried
oh yeah
most often i don't really know how come across to people
but i have a suspicion that we start with i feel that i'm rather shy oftentimes i can sort of cover that up
what not well sometimes but i notice that dumb especially in social situations which involves to other people or more for me
i really don't know what to say
by sharing a secret with you
i am one of the most fascinating people i have ever met
and if you're honest can't you say the same thing about you about you
how i mean really what i don't understand is how is that we can sit next to each other at supper and have nothing to say how more fascinating people have never come across before it reminds me of something that wendy lewis said
about when the buddha was born
he took a few steps and said i alone in the world honored one and she said what young kid doesn't feel that way
that's of on to let you know that
and i was trying to say i've done this kind of a thing not quite so high up before a couple times and each time some very different
depending on where my point of view i guess my point of view above my life and being here in san francisco i've never done here well i did it yes i did but to ignore that but as up on the roof and it i remembered that something my mother told me
that in nineteen forty five when the pacific war had just ended
by our surprise gifts to japan
my father came was unregistered none of the striker but a aircraft carrier for four years out in the pacific four years at sea
i came back in nineteen forty five to san francisco and was i've seen pictures are amazing i wouldn't know
you wonder what happens to us you know as we get older but while we're young we're really he was vibrant and exciting looking in
yeah i don't know what happened to that part of him later but at that time he was very exciting and he came here and that the time same time became here there was a woman who had just come and stayed at oakland from bath maine of all places and she just happened to come to town and met him
i'm on market street just down here somewhere and they got married and moved for some reason to indiana
and then she see three years later
she was going to have a baby and her father who was in bath maine i was dying and so they both left for bath and settled there for good and and at that time under the air sign of gemini i was born
which was quite an event for me and so i understand

see i'm too
has anybody ever been to mean here all right well have you ever did you see real main people are to see tourists
main people are very different not like here not like this place california at all where a very like the culture that i can't come from is very reserved culture
for example like expressing emotions well an example of that and so this is this is fear
this is anger
this is this is joy

so along with that kind of emotional training
something went
something went awry and my family i have no idea why but my father now see here is a rather very spiritual person
well i don't believe it's not something you really talk about maybe a couple of times you mentioned some things and i thought oh my goodness it's interesting and unfortunately without a way i think to investigate or nurture that he turned to the spirits
liquor instead i think i think they are great but i think they're connected actually
so alcoholism became the primary mover in my family and if any of you want to know more about that i mean just read the children of alcoholics all the all the all the manuals on and textbooks about it my particular role in my family was the hero i was the firstborn
for as point and brightest
please part me i don't get to the can't chance to talk like this much
and then five years later the other three came along
so my role in the family was the hero and even now even now after all this
ah therapy years and years of therapy years levin years as ends at or even now i can still when i when i when something goes wrong or there's a crisis i can still see out of the corner of my eye that white charger they are waiting for me to jump on him and writing and save the day
which never worked incidentally
so the hero was my role for those of you who know the
union myers-briggs type indicator i'm infp
no enneagram fans a solid five solid five
that's about it i think for being typed
yeah so it ain't right so so when an alcoholic family you get your given three three directives one is don't feel i don't talk and don't trust
so with that some this is this is the background that i come from
also with my family was the strangest thing because my my mother's father died when they came back to mean
keep her great grandfather was german who lived in bath shot himself and had kill himself and that effectively wiped out my family history for some reason nobody ever talked about it that that whole side of the family i knew nothing beyond my grandmother and my father's side his mother died when
he was a five and his father took off same time so here i was abandoned and raised by his grandparents so and i never knew anything about their family there so i never had roots
when when i was growing up we moved thirteen times in the same time bath so i never knew the roots or on and he felt kind of family history and we had no ritual life either you know some family has been the same things over and over every year and make a big
the parties with extended families own never happened so i was kind of
i think of myself as kind of lost during those years not really belonging and not knowing that anything was wrong either mean don't get me wrong it's like efficient water you don't ask a fish how's the water this is stupid question so i didn't particularly know i was suffering
so ways you can mine talk
some of the purpose is to show what what brought us to practice
and as i look back now
well as i was going through it i had no idea i mean i had my own ideas
i mean i have my own goals and purposes and and tried very hard to to make my life go my way which was interesting at most but i can look back now after fifty years and see that it was all fine it was it really was perfect
one of the high points of my life was when i heard blanche give that talk when i was at tassajara how you know suzuki roshi this thing about your perfect just as you are which made no sense to me at all but i was intrigued and so looking back now i can see that it was just fine now massive karma
my far from my father's family for himself from my mother's family from herself from the town massive karma just so pushing me on urging me on and with my mistakes my karma pushing me into that ditch than push me into that ditch bringing me back so it was it was just right and i'm really shy
thankful for
oh and any rate so
for some reason my father and i were at war
continually at war
continuing it was it was amazing we fought and screamed and yelled all the time which was very against my nature as a as a main person who doesn't show anything but at least he could trigger it he could pull it out and we fought tooth and nail
oh nothing it's a rather important is that tongue
you know quasimodo when a picture quasi modo you know that kind of
bent over small person who are is always expecting the next blow
that's who i was inside that's what it was like inside always on the alert and the very beginning and advanced therapy group
most advanced personal growth or something then right and and i'm acting that out how do you feel you feel what's that look like and of all bent over and my father was on my shoulders pushing me down so the only reason i mentioned that is what become obvious in a minute
so then we went to we weren't really a church a too much we went to the congregational church that was a pretty building it was nice it was tall so neo-gothic i like that a whole lot i like being in it i thought the minister talked too much words never quite to me
made it to make them didn't quite i never trusted words too much
but then something happened my cousin came to visit i was nineteen nineteen
eighteen and she just become an episcopalian and so she said you'd take me to church and church
so i did but i did i went with her and that sunday i don't know what i don't remember what it was but it was wonderful there were all these people up their robes and candlelight and the priests had on this white outfit that sparkle and had a big red thing on it
it was wonderful and this big thermal that's the incense job that
it hangs by change
oh that's wonderful actually big long chain this thing at the end that has incensed push for i am now and just wagon all over the place if i had never seen seen anything like that my life but i wanted more of it
in fact i looked at the prettiest moving so graciously
and then it turned out to be kind of kind of creep actually
but but then he would but that point beautiful and the way way can be held his hands and though he did things very deliberately with such dignity not worth and a sense of time presence i saw that i want that that's who are that's what i need unless the medicine i need so
let's say so when to college with the sole purpose of studying to go to seminary that's all i wanted to do
and college was quite an eye opener in a lot of ways so he was a little little tight little tight stooped little boy from best man went to college
that see my the last semester my senior year was a extraordinary event
somebody came up with acid and
masculine once big mistake and grass and i must have been drunk or something but so i didn't acid quite a bit actually quite a few times and it was well i suppose i suspect those of you who have done that no one i'm talking about
those of you who who haven't forget it doesn't matter but for once in my whole life i saw that maybe the way that i see it maybe that's not the case now little doubt was in there maybe it's not maybe the world isn't so rigid and narrowing oppressive and
some makes you want this run for your life
so so that was great
and then i went to seminary oh i also found out that i was gay
that wasn't that there was a terrible shock for somebody from bath mean it just it didn't happen there weren't any others just mean
i found out of course some years later that that wasn't true
so into seminary unexpected all this stuff was it was going to stop all this stuff parties drinking and drugs and sexual experimentation
well actually i mean it wasn't really a big problems i knew it was going to stop once i got seminary
they didn't
but it went on to enrich my life i'll leave it at that
so i saw i i finish seminary when that took about the i took a year off because my bishop still wasn't sure if i was a human being it
also i met him my bishop fred wolf who just died a couple weeks ago here let's see i was twenty six i think he was forty five and he was the first genuinely kind man i had ever met in my life
i'm so grateful to him
he wasn't sure about me at first although i think i reminded him of himself which didn't hurt
in terms of his liking me but he eventually took me under his wing as his protege with of course all the problems that come with that have you ever had a head honcho like you and i and have to live with
people that well for me it was the other clergy
well they didn't they didn't like that too much
so i got to see a side of praise that i never knew existed
that's why i alluded down to my parish priest that's a creep
you turned out to be that way but
so that was very very difficult and i couldn't understand but at any rate so
so i met this this guy and i i talked with him about going off to a monastery becoming a monk which which i've always wanted to do ever since i found out there were such things still
still on the planet
but about that time i met a man my age young man my age and we both fell in love and stay together comically if not literally for about twenty years twenty years
now those are making for a very rich part of my life and i really i must apologize to him when i talk to him next for having put him through so much
because it's i bet it's hard being so partnered with somebody who who wants to be pardoned and also also wants to be a monk mean that must be must be very painful
so anyway so i didn't go off to the monastery instead i went to a little teeny tiny parish in maine at jefferson mean nobody knows where it is
it's near the capital the near the capital of the state augusta maine which is even worse than
awful place so so i was there three years and lo and behold the senior warden who was the one i had to work with mostly parents just like my dad just like my father and so so we met and it was nice and then we were at war
at war v answer he was i think pretty much he was alcoholic and junior warden who was supposed to be my personal support was alcoholic and so it became a control match who will who wasn't trying to this place
because this paris was well we call it low church which means you're very protestant not too much ritual the like ritual or not too not too fancy just keep it keep it like something that happened in your dining room or something
and here i
here i have been trained in the other end high church not broad church or low church but high church and bells and smells to works was just fine with me in fact i insist
so that was an interesting little time we have
but after year and a half
the whole that down these few folks had on the parish and had had for years was an broken i said well let's see how do they go or i go finally now run in the bishop and all and then so i say that for another year and a half and decided to go off to a monastery
later on years later i would find out that whenever i'm burnt out i have this incredibly strong monastic vocation sense
i wish at least now i can say that just why don't i just say get me outta here instead of i think i had to go to a monastery i realized this it has a hero when i felt i have to go to the monastery
it takes a while but you catch on
so but instead of going to a monastery the benedictines the bishop said i wanted to come once you can be my assistant and i said well ah ok when he said well a year while gee
well and then so what i ended up doing was working for the kennebunk kennebunkport wells water district for a year what we did was we went out to the incident in kennebunkport where richard baker is from my as i understand
we would crawl into these some or summer cottages and take out the water meters for the winter and was a dirty it was messy and was
blue collar incredibly blue collar and i loved every minute of it it was wonderful and the guy that i was partners with
he was a wonderful and we
i'm really good conversations we had very very data to the point straight down frank
so that was great so then i worked for for the basement work for the bishop which was really for those few years for a few years like the bishops tissue or chico
in other words i would follow him know i'm going to a play set it all up for him that i'd follow him in and pick up things that fell off him
he was a
last time i went to see him
he was a you'd had a stroke and was really he was he was eating of
and that was really messy and he and i think i was i was helping him learn you clean up some stuff oh just one little thing he said would you would you hand me the kleenex pleased because you to metamask and six said you took any setting know i i never really learned how to use these
because he was from the old school of a handkerchief your one for showing
one for blowing inside
one of things i loved about him most was listening to listening to him talk because they had that old school a couple generations back ways of saying things i'll be so touching them you would say come out with something else and ah what an interesting way to put it he was great that way
where was i
blowing oh he said that you are always
you are always so nice to me
you didn't make fun of me because i was so clumsy and myself friend is you know when you when you put on your robes and were in church you were the most graceful thing i'd ever seen in my life
and he was he couldn't he didn't do well outside a church though one time we'd stopped and this little teeny tiny town and got gas and he he got out of a car to go into the store and he the gas cable thing got wrapped around his his leg and he dragged it for about twenty feet for let go of him
and you've got back in the car and i said no fred it's not that you're clumsy it's just that you require much more space than it's ever available
so i did kit i'm actually on those things
well so at any rate so the other part of it was i was pretty much in charge of his spiritual life and i made sure that we did church continuously and the tear that we talked i sort of became his confessor
and we prayed a lot together praying a lot and at that point i was beginning to wonder what what really is this prayer business and i have begun reading the mistakes the christian mystics
does end for example came across words like from my stack guard who said between god and your own soul there is no between
the eye with which god sees you is the same i that you see god
and i want the hell does this mean what is this because you knew it's true you know it's true you're the kind of stuff that we hear hear you don't know that doesn't make any sense but you know it's true it's hitting something very deep so i wanted more that to greed has been the mainstay of my spiritual life
so so i looked into started going around trying to find what prayer was and it wasn't very helpful going to clergy actually as it turns out usually what they thought prayer was was you know sit down and fold your hands and talk a lot or open the prayer book and start reading
or even worse open the bible and start reading
and none of that none of that wasn't it helped me so i started looking into things like jesus prayer
you know all those those two techniques and kind of there are very verbal which didn't help me too much because member i don't trust words too much so
how's my time incidentally my when somebody let me know if i've gone past ten ten o'clock
what time is interesting a three-time okay
no and a half
the seat
so i started
hearing some things about then a an old friend of mine sent me a copy of send my beginner's mind but it was buddhist so i kind of some through it and who have
pagan haven
i have begun to soften just a bit because i had been at some workshops know where the use guided meditation and i felt real nice and as beginning to soften up a little bit around that and it remind me and she's like this and so like what acid was like kind of opens up opens up doors and windows so let me go we sort of cut to the chase
here i heard about zen teacher in cambridge massachusetts
and so i went down there and it was marine stewart some of you may know or
and i went
sat there and you know this is gonna totally foreign to me i and didn't know anything i didn't know what they were talking about another language they were moving around strange and
no bowing and things
and and she was very foods if you seen her i don't how she was socially she might have been really really pleasant but when she was zen teacher it was
she had the meanest look back
but it but i was so new to it i didn't know enough to even be afraid of her
so i went into a room and here she was sitting
and she looked so formidable but i didn't know so i just started talking with her and the right so i worked a work with her some for a year and the stuff began to sink into me and the
one of the important things of my life has been that i have been so fortunate to live a ceremonial ritual life
from when i first went under the church
i know some people just hate it with a passion
and i'm really sorry cause for me it was something that saved my life do you remember quasimodo well when you're when you're doing ritual you can do don't do that yeah you are straight you're tall
in an area full of grace dignity and whether you believe it or not doesn't matter cuts the body the body never lies ever ever never lies and also to keep doing this enough it becomes you know it becomes you
i call bob
my former partner today asking them how the hell do i get the green gulch
and he didn't remember but
anything i want to know about my life i have to i have to ask him because he remembers everything i remember nothing
so most this type guy comes from him actually
at any rate some somehow i heard about green gulch farm and he said why you just go do it just go do it was a how geez and so far away and i don't know any the people little i do
at any rate i came i came out here walk through came from the airport i guess somehow and gotta walk through this door smell that smell and i said oh my god i'm home
what did i know from japanese incense or japanese anything but i walked through the door i was home and and one of the people i talk to his paul keller and i started do the brakes period here but thought how this isn't hard enough
one of my one of my we'll see maybe character traits or something is a self denial is no problem now i'm the harder it is of course well what do i expect something easy so i said i don't think this is hard enough for me i'm not remember this car
sensation but you said well well gee
once you get a gringo then
so i did go into green gulch
and the first person i met that are we went though it was night i went in a van
left here and we got there dark night and we went on those windy roads and get carsick so i'm going to die before i get there how how fitting but i finally got there
nobody was waiting for me so they they knock on somebody's door and outcomes this
woman plant plant and i didn't have a sleeping so she gave me a sleeping bag
and ah so
important important most important thing that happened for me there now we weren't we're at service and this women priests comes out
does a bow vow and i am astounded at the grace of this woman the presence in incredible dignity and dignity important to me especially body dignity so all i want that that's what i want to be
and so so for the next year's i'll try to hurry on for the next year's it was mainly a conflict between katrina you a christian or buddhist when i first got there i was in i was very arrogant christian and i thought buddhists were kind of cute
and i thought there their words were rather gentle not not does not kill i'm a christian words
and as i know i look at the people a lot news the people and they were kind in fact when i heard that the practice was to become kind of home what planet and market on because there's a christian we're gonna we're trained to be right
and and and above all to and above all dominant
this is check
oh i see
that's i think probably something else happened will for about eight years after when my bishop retired i retired with him and we opened a counseling practice together and we did dumb counseling for people who people were referred to me from a physician who people who are like a wreck or sensing that sort of there's something deeper
in their life and so i would work one on one with folks
because i'm a pimp supported myself that way and then i came out here when i got here i say oh this is where i want to be and so did
okay oh one of the things that i noticed about myself that might be true with you i don't know but dumb if you're if you're suffering least what i did was i knew what medicine would work to help them
no i mean like i gave the medicine i wanted to help others by giving them what i needed what i really needed and some young young some young guy does a horror i told him what he asked me what i'd done with my life and and to i told them he said geez looks like you spend all your life trying to trying to
help other people sleeves like now you're trying to take your own medicine so that's what really happened it's that's what has been for me to be in zen center i'm trying to not finally swallowing my own medicine
do you mean like you aren't we will try to help somebody by giving them what we read what we really need you
okay so tassajara finally went there i don't know why when i was a gringos people were described as a higher no heat no light sit all the time hurt
no thanks i had no doubt about it i never want to go there but then when the time is right
when the time was right barbara
barbara harbor cone came out lousy analogy should i go should i not i don't know if i'm really that wine and but i like to do that it's fun
she said look if you've got the time she got the money doesn't matter who's who's leading and just do it i said okay
so i did and it was
there was perfect it was perfect combination and all the years of therapy i think
it helped me get an ego that could cross the street by itself without getting into trouble and by the time i got to touch hira i was ready to to go in for the real stuff
one of the great things as practice has given me is the what what i call for me is the fundamental buddhist question which is what the hell is this what what's going on what's going on once you get past is their fault it's all their fault which took thirty years then you can start to ask the real the real question what what is
as what's happening what's actually happening so
i really i knew because people have told me that i had been one of these rage people know sort of cold rage all my life it came it leaked out usually and in biting nasty sarcasm
when i think i'm some of the stuff i said to people so there was a real burning fire which i really didn't know was there actually but at the for our first session
the blanche was leading their practice period that's why am i asked me to be my teacher because she was so great during that time
i finally i won't go into what it was exactly but to i finally found out what the problem was you know where the wound was and cried for two days that people from maine i don't cry ever but i cried for two days and i noticed that the fire had gone out and so
like going into a room where there's this big couch the you always fall over
well all the sudden it wasn't there
i missed it but life was so much more pleasant but the fire went out
i also i also knew something had happened when there was a bug crawling on my wall high know like bugs me especially spiders spiders or worse than snakes for me but there was this bug crawling on my wall
and i couldn't kill it i mean i didn't want to kill it
it's not i shouldn't shoot doesn't when you've been anybody says should to me
hell that means his rebellion but this wasn't a should this was a i don't do that anymore
was really no big deal but it was a big deal
so i knew something had happened and my trust in this practice grew and grew
i write so oh lots of other things but i guess we've got time i just wanted to
now we have something with the most important thing and one dimension the most important thing
and what that made me remember was the last time i saw a friend wolf in maine he was leaning he was sitting there over isn't over is mashed potato mess there and he said
you know i'm ninety four years old he's actually seventy six but said
ninety four years old and you know what the most important thing i've learned is
and at that moment
jolly nurse not for me joleon nurse comes in and says mr wolf how's yours how is your lunch you have been a okay you need some milk pail 'em and you know i never found out
thank you
the thanks so
i wanted to not do that to you
the most important thing that i've learned so far is that you can trust your life you can trust the process you can trust it because it's all working with you for me it's all the working with you zazen is the tool that's the tool
they will keep you connected to the truth to what's really happening use it also to this is my my piece of advice
users and to find out what the hell's going on i also use the practice leaders you can trust them took me two years to be able trust the practice leaders not because of them because they were fine
one thing i've learned being on the practice committee is i've never
i'm sorry i tend to exaggerate but this is true i have never run across a bunch of so-called religious people that were so honest and kind and compassionate and smart so for what it's worth can trust him use them because they're good said just like
that's right
i'm so i'm sorry to embarrass you but
but it's fun to embarrassing so
and the thing that has brought you this far i mean you think of all the things you've come through you know what you have suffered a failed the victory as you've experienced the thought hearts of open become bigger interested because it only gets better far as i can tell
and buddha nature will
this carry you along
so i think that's probably enough
shall we say tonight
thank you very much
no intention to