Spring Sesshin

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in tangier
so here we are on third day of shame
getting pretty settled in
wondering what we're doing here
when paul said yesterday something like on
just to settle yourself and decide that you're going to be
doing this for the rest of your life
sort of the same thing that i think deal was pointing out when she said
just give up already
give up whatever struggle you have about whether you want to be here or not
and just be here
and that doesn't apply just to sir shame
or to a period of zazen
it applies to every activity of your life
if you're going to do it
just do it
give up struggling with
ah preferences and ah
in decisions and
arguments and just do what you're doing
if it's not what you want to be doing than don't do it
but don't half heartedly do it meanwhile arguing and discussing and
distracting yourself from actually being where you are

this whole hearted way
applies to every activity of our life

and full sang a dog and zandi says
doing one thing
if you concentrate your efforts single mindedly that in itself is negotiating the way this single mindedly could just as easily be translated wholeheartedly

i'd like to say a little bit about
posture and breath
i noticed yesterday that her books haven't been paying enough attention to my head i let it get out and front
and if i sit for two days with my head out in front
i think can have good deal of pain in my upper back
ah so this instruction in to cancer a eight of areas over shoulders on each one of these instructions is very precise and very important here is over shoulders
it means don't let your head hang off of the whole substantial weight of your head so hang off for those muscles that go down and and start around your shoulder blades their bring it back here so that the weight of your head is actually resting on top of your spine which is
much more able to support its and those muscles back there ah
which get a little tired if you just hang your head on them for hours and hours
another important
instruction is ah
don't lean
forward or back or don't mean right or left when you settle yourself in your posture
settlers sitting bones on of cushion
i would say tuck your tail bone back a little bit
so that you have your lifting from the bottom he respond to begin with and then very carefully notice
check hint forward slightly leaning backwards slightly find the place
where the torso is not having to be tight
in order to hold you up find the place where everything is as up a little bit
so they are not leaving one way or the other and you don't have to tighten up to counteract gravity
so this careful adjusting of your posture is a way of taking care of yourself
as a way of giving full attention to what you need to be able to be here
without reservation
often in the early years of practice i would notice that i was always leaning forward
nakamura senso who taught t and know chanting and green gulch and lived with us for fifteen years out there
scolded me one day when she was washing dishes she could look out the window onto the central area green gulch and she knows me walking past the window there and a number of occasions and she said to me but aren't to sign
you walk like this and she imitated me she said dummy this means that's bad you should walk like this and she walked very directly
and i realized that are everywhere i went i was sort of walking like this i was i was not in my body
standing were outstanding as i walk my mind was already at the destination and i was going like this and my body was always tense and an unbalance
and susan was like that too
i was trying to get somewhere
i don't know where i was trying to get but i was trying to get somewhere
and i had this leaning into it kind of of foster
and i had constant back trouble constant pain in my back

so to find the place where it your weight is actually balanced over your hips and you're not having to hold yourself up with
tension in the in the torso
also if you're leaning forward you're having to push back with your knees so it also makes your legs were tired

if your chin us up
that's usually a very
they dreamy
usually indicates an active mind
so someone adjusting posture may just come and slightly adjust your chin does the old timer had them with this just means bring it you know
bring your head down your chin and a little bit and have it be this alert posture your head on top of your shoulders
and looking straight ahead
and another thing that you may notice is
trying to hold yourself up with your shoulders i don't know if any you do that but i certainly set this way for a long time i asked for
we used to carry the kiyosaki much more than we do now and i asked for the kiyosaki one time at the berkeley zendo
and ed brown was carrying the stick and he stood there and it looked at me they put the stick down on the mail board and i was sitting on the floor they started doing she had suit here on my shoulders where he couldn't see any place to hit me with that team in my ears
ah so if you find yourself holiness of up by your shoulder see if you can just lift your spine from the tailbone right up through the crown of your head and see if you can let the shoulders just hang ah
from that central
so tension and shoulders and upper back is very very common and saw said and often there are two ways that we have been the sandow i tried to help people along about late afternoon when everybody's tired one is to carry a kiyosaki
which you may or may not be from how many of you familiar with kill psycho
okay i it's a flat stick and it sounds like that so it sounds really startling in fact that wakes up the whole xander not just the person who's receiving it
and sometimes has used whether people ask for it or not just have someone look sleepy or someone looks fidgety on the way we use had here in this in the sendo is someone will carry it around the sandow and if you wish to receive it you put your hands and got show
and when they they laid the stick first on your right shoulder
named forward slightly and tilt your head out a way
and they'll hit you on that shoulder
then that shoulder and then you bow together
so i think that to we will beginning now offered the stick once or twice during the day
if we don't get too involved in dogs on or practice discussion
ah another thing that i have sometimes done
which i learned from worrying stewart this to go around the zendo and just stimulate the shoulders a little with my fingers just it's not it's not a feel good massage but it's just to to stimulate circulation and here because when it gets tight circulation gets restricted
so also because some people don't care to be touched or don't feel that it's an intrusion ah if that's happening if you want to have we stimulate your shoulder as you can put your hands and guys show

some of the other some other
details of practice so that when you're completely president what you're doing when your whole heartedly or single mindedly their ah
then practice is occurring and what a whatever activity or in
i notice for example that some people have gotten quite good now and going very quickly now the meal boards and being very silent with their feet as they do that that requires a lot of attention
and so that's kind of an interesting and fun thing to practice with how to move quickly and quietly at the same time
and then serving in general you know
what will try it we are wholeheartedly trying to give our friends just what they want
so we're giving our attention to them and trying to give them as much as they want and no more
so that means when you're when you're serving something in a ladle pretty much fill up the ladle
and even if they've said just a little and then if they said just a little or just a little more porous slowly but start with the full little because your idea of just a little a mirror i am just a little they're just a little might mean not a whole ladle but it might mean almost a whole ladle
and your i live just a little more might mean a tasteful her to so we're attending to each person and trying to give them what they want
and one thing i notice in serving with some with tongs if you hold the tongs this way in sideways the the part that holds the food is wider than the bowl and so it's it's hard it's it's hard to actually accurately
deliver the goods but if you hold it this way so it's going up between your fingers than then when you open and close it you have as have a smaller ah
a smaller opening here and it's right over the bowl and it's much easier to to
aim it when you're serving with a ladle if you if you whole if you hold a little this way
just little details that i've noted over some years of serving and being served
and another nother little detail of chanting
you know we we chant at the end of the the lecture we chant the for vows beings are numberless i vow to save them and and also at term
when we're doing the refuges at night we say i take refuge in buddha both of those times try putting emphasis on vow and refuge rather than on i we tend to sort of draw out the i so beings are numberless
to save them try beings are numberless i have to say no delusions are inexhaustible i vowed to and know and at night
i take russia in the i take refuge in our try that and i for me it has a much better feeling
and i'd like to see if we could develop that that have it here

i'd also one of little detail of had taken care of yourself i noticed quite a few people are sitting back on the pews rather than on the tatami and people who normally sit don't normally sit on chairs in the zendo and i suspect one of the reasons is that slow harder to sit
on the tatami than it is on a
on as zombie time so you could bring a couple of support cushions up with you or can do what i always did for years and years i have one ankle that's presses on the tatami and i would take my little photo handkerchief and tuck and under that ankle
makes all the difference in the world if you have one spotlight said that's a particularly pressing hard you just put a little padding under it and then you'll find it much easier to sit
ah on the tatami
but whether is sitting on the tatami are on the on the pew
continuing your practice of zazen throughout this lecture
is much more important than listening to what i have to say actually just continuing your single minded practice of zazen
throughout this period as well as in the sandal
is i recommend to you

paul brought up last night the question
what is it that brings you to dedicate
this week to this activity
or more broadly what is it that brings you
do this activity of wholehearted sitting
this is a very important
to bring to sitting
it cuts through an awful lot of of a discursive thinking
to face what am i doing here
and what is it that's here these two questions are very ah
very important questions for us to investigate not that we will find some definitive answer so much as we will be open to it opens are hard
it opens our heart to have this
wide question what am i doing here
or what am i
when steve spoke last saturday
he quoted a line of a roommate poem that says i wake up each morning empty and afraid
and when i become very settled and sand
sometimes at the bottom of my breath
i find
i find some
some feeling which some sensation
which as i stay with it i recognize
as fear

and although i know in practice
the most important thing at that moment then is to stay very close
it's an uncomfortable feeling and it's very hard to stay very close
so i need a very stable posture
to stay very close
do this fear
in recent years it has become possible for me to sit for lotus it was not possible for me for many many years
and i find i can stay closest to myself
when i'm in full lotus but i noticed that i don't sit in full lotus every period
sometimes i give myself a vacation
and i noticed when i've been very focused
very close and intimate with myself
through several periods of full lotus
if i give myself a vacation at least yesterday i noticed i had some very focused periods and then
ah i said half lotus and the bell rang the and the period and i don't know where i was the whole time i thought well that was that i was somewhere else but i wasn't here where was i
very interesting
very interesting
it was so clear
the so clear first thought
well i'm gonna kid myself a break here this is this is pretty intense and immediately
i was gone somewhere
and that will happen that will happen that's good to own it is good to notice it it's good to say well i i needed a little break and now get back come back home and take care
of whatever needs taken care of here

it's kind of mysterious how this
sitting and attending
two body and breath
it's mysterious how it
really really brings us home to herself and how it really takes care of our state of mind

and few concerts saying a dog and sanji says the bringing about of enlightenment by the opportunity provided by a finger a banner a needle or a mallet
or the affecting of realization was the aid of a horseshoe of fists er staff or a shout this is all
various kinds of stories of enlightenment stories that are in the various gods
it cannot be fully understood by discriminate with thinking
indeed it cannot be fully known by the practicing are realizing have supernatural powers either
it must be department beyond hearing and seeing
is it not a principle that is prior to launch knowledge and perception

this unifying of body breath and mind that happens
when we settled down
in saas end
is something that happens of itself it's not something that we can do
it's only something that we can aim toward
because it's not something to get or to attain that separate from just this as it is
we're making our best effort to settle on just this as it is
but when are completely settled
there is no one to ah observe and comment on it
we're just here
where we are
it's not something that is
to be known or understood
because that would be separating ourselves from it as an object
is it not a principle that is prior to knowledge and perceptions is it not a principal that's prior to separation between subject and object

when paul said last night all that you are is right here in this room
there's nothing of who you are outside this room and there's nothing of who you are
at some other time in the past or the future
who you are as all right here now sitting on this cushion
but there is nothing that is not included
right here know where you are on this cushion

one way are completely and wholeheartedly unreservedly
this one as it is
there is nothing which has left out
and that
it's experiencing
the wholeness of who we are

overcomes the fear
the fear overcomes is not toward it dissolves the fear
that can only happen if we're willing to be really present
with it
when it arises
not turn away from it

this is how we really take care
of this photo that we have to take care of
a buddha
by giving our full attention
to whatever arises
right here where we are
and are kind attention
our gentle attention
but our whole hearted
and on reserved attention
what i have to say
it's not unusual
is summed up quite nicely in a poem poets have a way of summing things up nicely
this poem by mary oliver called when death comes i'd like to share with you
when death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse to buy me
and snaps the purse shut
when death comes by the mizo pox
when death comes like an iceberg between the shoulder blades
i want to step through the door full of curiosity
what is it going to be like that cottage of darkness
and therefore i look upon everything as a brotherhood
and a sisterhood
and i look upon time
as no more than an idea
and i consider eternity
as another possibility
and i think of each life as a flower
as common as a field daisy
and as singular
and each name uncomfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does
towards silence
and each body a lion of courage
and something precious to the earth
when it's over i want to say all my life
i was a bride married to amazement
i was the bridegroom taking the world and my arms
when it's over i don't want to wonder if i have made of my life something particular and real
i don't want to find myself saying and frightened
are full of argument
i don't want to end up simply
having visited this world

this is about wholehearted practice

yeah are and ten