Sunday Lecture

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good morning
what know

i was trying to remember the last time i
gaber real garlic talk from this see i think it was eighteen years ago
chris it seems so long everything seems pretty much the same
yeah maybe a few more statues here in there
so i'm very happy to be here thank you all for coming
when are they asked me are reminded me that this was my date to come i said well why should someone like me talk about
because i live over the hill and tam galleon i have my life
and they said well today is his cigar aki ceremony this afternoon and maybe you could say something about that
well cigar gawky for those of you who may not know or even for those of you who do is
a japanese ceremony for its part of a memorial service partway something more
and it's unclear to me how buddhist it is certainly as someone who just like many things
i don't know exactly the origins of it i know the origins of in here when i was here laying here
cigar key was something we did every december when we did our memorial service for suzuki roshi and having done a memorial for him we turned around did a memorial for all the other people who had died so that was the genesis and as i understand over time
the date of the ceremony got moved to correspond roughly with halloween so it's a kind of buddhist all saints day and in a exoteric sense and that's okay it's good to have something to do together this time of the year
probably most cultures have some kind of
group or community
activity as the leaves change and the weather becomes colder the sun starts to go away
i'm sure that in ancient times that was a very frightening thing one never knew really the sun would deign to come back it was going like many things it might just keep going you never knew so it was nice to do something for the benefit of the sun make it come back
but also do acknowledge that and this is a time of the time the pens time of the year
when we tend to think about
ah people who have been lost to us or who we remember as a little sadness or melancholy that sets in around this time it's bittersweet there's a quality some people say oh california you don't have any fall we don't like that we like to see the leaves change it my business partner dries
is just to see the leaves and there are i know there are big tourist deals up in northern minnesota just with the league's people go up there it's a quite a big thing to see the leaves you know all different colors and we know that it's the leaves are dying
but they're very beautiful more beautiful than when they're all green they're kind of monochromatic at that time
and

but if we look closely at this a gawky ceremony there are some questions about it that we need to look at if we're really going to be buddhists with it
the only
immediate teaching here in this lineage that
we have from our founders suzuki roshi is when he was dying
and we were all there at that time and watched him i watched him i was quite young and or in my twenties and i never really been with anybody who was dying and i kept waiting for some
change or something that would say oh this is a dying person but he just was the same he started to turn green he became weaker and there were all these dire things that we've been told but as far as he was concerned it was just business as usual
i remember being very distraught i just been ordained then and my teacher was going so i was very distraught and i am
that summer i had taken some wood from the remains of an olive tree
debt grew at tassajara up in the upper level where the zendo now is maybe it's not there anymore but at the time the olive tree had died but there were
saplings coming out of the route so i took one of those saplings and i carved a walking stick for suzuki roshi i was very diligent doing it you know it was a gift to my teacher i thought he would need it as he got weaker and
i gave it to him and he said oh thank you you know and then he i never saw him music
so i keep hearing down the hall his room was not far from my room and i watch him come out and to see if he was using a stick and he wouldn't be using it he must've i must've been obvious is anything to him so finally one day he tapped out and you know he had the stick it has very happy now and then he didn't never used it to get
he didn't he didn't really need it when he could walk he walked and he walked just like he always walked he laughed just like he always laughed he was he was
i mean to all intents and purposes quite outwardly unaffected by the fact that he was his body was rapidly turning into ashes before our eyes
of course that wasn't the whole story this was a big tragedy for us
for him for everybody and
i heard later that to someone privately he said i don't want to die
that was strangely comforting to me that he would say that mean that's the way everybody would feel nobody wants to die
hey
so that was really his teaching to all of us was there was no teaching really he just the teaching was that he didn't change at all
there were some little
unusual things like he arranged to die the morning of the first day of a five day session i don't quite know how he did that but he thought that would be a good time you know for all of us so we woke up that first day and i was sitting in the bells and
and his wife came down and called me and i jumped like a you know i kind of knew that she wouldn't come unless it was big deal
and then we had five days to figure out what had happened
so that was a kindness i thought

there's a lot to buddhism because anything that's been around for twenty five hundred years accumulates a lot of things
but fundamentally it's not that complicated to say it's pretty complicated to do
but one time
i think it was david chadwick who is as if you oh she's biographer david was always the most outspoken and
how shall i say
an intimidating student that we had and one day i don't think i was there but i've heard the story from him a number of times maybe it's in his book
in all these things after so many years and i don't even know whether they're true but they're good anyway
he said he raised his hand after a lecture like this one it says zucker ocean you keep talking about emptiness and and form is emptiness and and all this stuff and sancho chi and dharma and karma i don't i don't understand anything just just say one thing that is what buddhism is about
to something like that i don't know what he said really i'm probably exaggerating and doing injustice to poor david but you understand i and he was very sincere was a very real moment
hmm and
suzuki roshi took it completely seriously he didn't smile i didn't ah
at dismissive or say oh this is a new student you know he's got his problems he just sat there and any quietly said everything changes
and then we went on to the next question that was all
now it may sound flippant to say oh that's buddhism everything changes everything changes is like a bumper sticker you know you can read that on you know somebody's private website everything changes dot com it's it's it seems trivial
but
this is the buddhist first teaching the first thing really that came out of his mouth the first thing he realized and i was realizing as i was thinking about this
we're kind of hostage as westerners to hit vocabulary and terminology of the scholars that first teased out and translated buddhism so for example the word enlightenment who you know that was really d t suzuki s
translation of a japanese word settore which doesn't exactly have
a sanskrit equivalent it's a japanese things so we're stuck with that and we think about that talk about that and in the same way
we hear this word impermanence on nature and nature sanskrit very much like english and ah nature not eternal on each so on each is the first truth of buddhism and
it is usually translated as impermanence
but impermanence the more i think about it is a very much as scholars word it's a very true high word you know it's so it's a latin word really impermanent it doesn't have much at least for me much emotional zap
but if i were to say
everything dies
see that's a lot stronger
and then we're back to sick gawky
the ceremony about dying about those who have died about what it's all about
hmm
everything dies we die
although we love guys
not only that dying is happening all the time
beneath our feet everywhere we look
in guy in two weeks
fish die in two years dogs die and twenty years we die
and sixty or seventy years
impermanence isn't nearly as strong enough we have to say something like radical impermanence or everything dying all the time but that sounds very gloomy and the first thing that anybody noticed when they came to zen center when suzuki roshi was alive is that this little man
was constantly giggling all the time and laughing and it wasn't until years later we learned that he'd had a very tragic life
much more tragic than most and a lot of disappointment a lot of things very bad happened you can read about it in his biography but he
he was kind of a laughing machine in some way see everything was funny to him we were particularly funny thought we were just a gas
do anything for us in fact he died for us i'm sure that coming to america the way he did and living the way did it shorting his life considerably
it was all he thought about was bringing the dharma to americans
i think the second world war was very much in the background of his thinking we were once their enemy and the whole country that was his native land was sworn to destroy us and time heal those wounds somewhat and in nineteen fifty nine he showed up here in the enemy former enemy last
and
we never thought about it much but i think there was something in his thinking about that to bring the best thing as he put it to bring the best thing japan had to offer rather than blood and violence to its enemy is former enemy and show us that
his culture had something very precious that he could share

they say that if you read the newspapers that we're we're at war
better
and the ending of things i think it's very much on people's minds these days we say all you know five thousand people it seems too much to bear
but to be very honest about it
in not let ourselves off the hook it's just that we noticed he was in the newspaper you know seven thousand people a week die on the highway
it doesn't make the headlines so we don't notice that that dying took place to that all of the world everywhere everything is constantly going away leading us
when the buddha was asked directly
about this this passage i'm going to read as from one of my favorite books and i want to give it a plug even though it's out of print the buddha his life retold robert alan mitchell preface by roshi philip camp will
this man robert alan mitchell was an amateur astronomer and in his attic in his spare time apparently he taught himself poly which is the language of the first buddhist scriptures and on his own in secret translated
large portions of the scripture and left at manuscript to be discovered after he died and it was and this is it i think it's the best
book about the actual words of the buddha that you can find his translations quite wonderful
this passage is one of the best known in the scriptures it's often called the fourteen on the answer bulls but that doesn't really do it justice i won't read it all but this is called vaccine go these questions
and once a wanderer by the name of vodka go to i came to the perfect one and greeted him with a friendly salutation and then he said well venerable gao tama is your opinion that the universe is eternal
i am not have the opinion vaccine that the universe is eternal replied buddha and raja immediately thought okay i got him then it seems revered gotama that you believe the universe to be temporal right me if it's not eternal it's gotta be temporal but bhatia i do not hold the opinion that the universe is temporal well as the your opinion the universe is infinite know
ochoa that the universe is finite no vaccine that life is the same as the body no vaccine that life is others in the body no vaccine that in our hot exists after death no bacha and our how does an enlightened person that are how it exists or anybody really that in our how to exist after death no voucher and it goes on
on this there's fourteen and these things
and they banter about it more
and finally bochy says
well as the vineyard gotama any opinion on anything
the term opinion vodka has been this is now it becomes very of scriptural the term opinion budget has been discarded by the to targeted what has been received by the to togheter his body feelings perceptions formations these are the things we chant in the heart sutra really say no eyes no ears no knows no tongue no body nor mind or color else this is it
so they go on and on
finally
the buddha says this dharma vaccine is profound subtle hard to see hard to comprehend beyond the sphere of neurologic to be understood only by the lies and
finally but bunch of go to didn't give up easily he says finally
venerable gautama have you nothing to say about the existence of the soul does the sole exist at these words the perfect one was silent
with simon is in capital letters in this translation so it doesn't like ordinary silence he was silent
how is it venerable gotama is that no such thing as the sole the perfect one was silent
now people think that that zen came up which did come a lot later is kind of different than the original so-called original buddhism but this particular passage gives the lie to that opinion this sub
this dialogue could have come directly out of the majolica school of nick gardener
or in fact there's a a yen coin it's very similar to this although it's a bit more down to earth
master and student were going together to perform a funeral
and to some of you know this story in a student who's obviously working very hard on something very deep
can't contain himself in the middle of this rather sombre ceremony he runs up and he bangs on the coffin he says is it alive or dead
very rude okay very rude it's somebody else's funeral of people are all here they're trying to be in a respectful he says it alive or dead he's totally wrapped up in his own world and the teacher is not dismayed this is what is therefore he says i'm going to say i won't say
and the stories a lot longer than this it goes on for years finally at a certain point the students says if you won't say i'll hit you but this is in a chinese confucian society this is like capital offense you know to hit the superior person and the master says quite calmly i will
let's say and he gets hit
eventually the guy who keeps asking about is yet alive or dead
figure something out and comes to some resolution but as years later

in this a gawky ceremony which they'll do here at green gunk to this afternoon
there is a memorial quality to it
all the names of people who have
the die during the the year are submitted by the attendees of the ceremony and then those names are read out
but there's also a part of the ceremony where there's an evocation or an invocation of the so-called hungry ghosts
and hungry ghosts in buddhism are a type of being that interesting kind of being that has a great deal of hunger but a very narrow throat
so it's a constantly unsatisfied kind of existence
maybe pretty similar to a human being but more exaggerated anyway in the ceremony the hungry ghosts are implored to open their throats and be fulfilled not buy food but by the truth the god
i'ma

well we can just do a ceremony like that because it's very beautiful and comforting makes us feel better about something that's very difficult to face
but if we're truly rigorous as buddhists we have to be like batra go true we have to or the the zen guy who said is it alive or is a tad to do we mean to imply in such a ceremony that after people die they persist in some way that they're so
what does exist that they become hungry ghosts to all the people who die become hungry ghosts some of the people do we invoke all of them just sort of make sure we get everybody like a kind of insurance policy even though
true like the to get and seem to imply that were reincarnated in some other way even the early sutures talk about one of the reasons buddhist don't kill anything is because you never know that moss by might be your mother and they're quite serious about this you know the moth might be your mother or your father because everything ch
changes everything turns into everything else
throughout the world it seems that one of the major elements of most religion is
well
we don't really die
there's a heaven or were reincarnated or we're hungry ghost who can be helped by the ceremony today somehow we go on

in such a thought is
comforting
beyond belief really it helps us and there's no question that
having such a belief eases our pain
i remember when i was quite ill recently i was lying in bed and thinking
gosh it's such a drag to be a buddhist if i believed in god you know that would i could let god take care of me but
i'm a buddhist so i can't you know i have to deal with it myself and it was i felt cheated for a little while that i didn't have some deep faith that i could turn my fate over to some higher power
which is not to say that
there is some higher power or there isn't you know but to go to ask some version of those questions and the buddha was quite radically unresponsive

but are we are we comfortable are we content to leave it this way that oh the ceremony is okay we don't take it literally any way there aren't really hungry ghosts were just kind of pretending that there are because that's the way the ceremony goes and
i or do we take this as an opportunity to really look at what we're doing

one time
during sauce in
suzuki roshi spoke up and said
sometimes as in doesn't help

we think is in students that well least we have zaza we can always return to zaza
i didn't really believe what he said anyway i thought he was just doing some zen master thing
but
a lot of times you continue to learn from your teacher many years after he's gone and i'm no exception i think i can confirm what he said sometimes as and doesn't help
another time he said to a student
who is query near much in the way of a vendre culture about trust what can we trust what can we count on
and he casually remarked as though he were talking about the weather kind of sort of ah ha i don't trust anything
what is the sky suddenly some paranoid geek who doesn't trust anything doesn't doesn't harm
isn't bound by affection to things in this world doesn't harm you know it's very odd thing to say if you take it at face value i don't trust anything
but it's some kind of version of everything dies how can you trust anything if you truly understand that whatever we love in this world whatever we care for his
going to go away not going to go away it's going away now
see the going to go away is one of our ways of putting it off it isn't radical to say well one day you know one day we'll all be gone we know that in our heads yes that's true
but practically speaking we are quite comfortable with the notion of persisting at least for a while
to quote the words of woody allen roshi
no i'm serious about that we take wisdom in our culture where we can get it he says i think some of you may know this
it's not that i'm afraid of dying i just don't want to be there when it happens to me

oh

sometimes as and doesn't help
i really thought for a long time that at least sazon would help my gosh otherwise what's the point
but the zen lore has an answer for everything
there is another's and story that was particularly important to me at a certain time probably you've all read it or heard it
this was a time when the great teacher non tron was young and he was doing zazen very diligently and a hall very much like this one and his teacher monsoon who was probably one of the great figures in san suzuki roshi loved minds it
this was a long before there was any sects in xi'an or so to or redesign or anything this wasn't a very early days and mods who came by and he says hey what are you doing
this was in the days when you know people could talk to his eyes in and teacher would come in and do anything it wasn't quite so formal and nonchalance said oh i'm trying to make a buddha
meaning himself and antoine walked over to the corner and picked up up
stone tile starting to rub it the other story it's very famous started to rub it and although it probably didn't literally say so the story has it that nonchalant said oh what are you doing to and ah he said i'm making a mirror
and they complete the thought which has already implied non choices how can you make a mirror out of a stone tile and months it says how can you make a boot of my city zaza
what is songs in any way it's nothing it's just you on a cushion everything that it is is what you are
so it isn't anything really it's just you it's different for everybody here and if you think sitting there is going to do anything that's already you know now i'm sure insane up i'm on some kind of conveyor belt that will lead from ignorance to awaken
yeah you know i just sit here long enough you know the factory will produce me somehow you know a buddha will fall out
and
and who is is
you know this is not that different than bhatia gotra and gautama the dialogue you know is there life after death or isn't there life after death is it alive or dead
okay
and it's not exactly that we come to the point where we don't care about life or death on the the wooden board that we hit in in san monastery for to keep time there's the verse that begins life and death is a big deal
that's a colloquial translation but it'll do and
it's not like two different things it's one concept life death all it says his life death
and it's not as though there's life and then there's death and they're both big deals the whole thing together as a big deal and it's not as though we get to the point where oh if i don't mind if i die as by you know what are we saying are we saying that we don't understand the preciousness of being here are being
alive which is the same preciousness that every human being in the world feels are we distinct from that have we stepped aside
there was a very interesting quote in david chadwick's new book called to shine one corner of the world have any well seen it it's a collection of quotations of suzuki roshi and he included one i'd never heard before which i thought was very interesting
new person was saying to suzuki roshi well you know if i understand what you're trying to say it sounds as though
you are getting to the point that you've given up the will to live
and suzuki response responded yes but you don't develop the will to die
even he at the extreme moments said i don't want to die
so it's too simple too
two logical to say well the whole point here is to become fearless to become ah
ah com in the face of death
that's a common misunderstanding and i think that the japanese former cia got a little confused with
the patronage of the warrior class they are during the middle ages where they had a professional need ah
to become fearless in the face of death because they fought with very sharp swords
he right up close with those source and their razor sharp and in order to wield them effectively you have to control your emotions
so is very important to them in a practical sense to develop the ability to face an opponent with a weapon like that and not be frightened if you're frightened you don't move properly you slip or something but it's a mistake to think that that's buddha dharma
are we afraid of death or are we not afraid of death i won't say

you know there's a
quality in the buddhist literature which i've always found rather charming
and partly it's propaganda because the buddhists at the time of their origin were
in competition really with the romantic tradition of wise people of which this guy boucher gotra was presumably one he was a yoga and of the have some hindu sect and kinda way it's toll
the buddha
i teach us human beings during the day but at night he teaches the gods
the hindu gods
so of right away you understand who's on top in this scenario the buddhists buddhists are better but that's just a superficial understanding a lot of buddhist sutras are kind of propaganda the whole notion you may have heard this word hinayana hinayana means the small vehicle that was the later buddhists putting down the early buddhist
and so on and so forth there's a lot of that but if you get past that
it's described that the that gods com they congregate in the buddhist hut and harm he teaches them tries to teach them but strangely enough there quite slow very hard for them to get it they try you know indra who's the king of the gods is particularly dense
it doesn't seem to pick up much and and
the understanding is that it's not really so good to be a god
may look pretty good because the gods
the gods don't die at least not for very long time maybe ten billion years it's pretty long time and they don't suffer gods
but it's very hard for them to get anything real they don't understand much because
they don't pick up on the reality that everything comes to an end everything's always coming to an end
so the way the buddhist set it up is that the gods
live a long time until they're karma runs out and then they're really in bad shape because all that time they haven't learned anything
and they're stuck in some other realm all the sudden and gosh they're really sad that they wasted all that time as a god and most of us would say well being a god isn't so bad maybe i'll try it for a couple of million years at least and then maybe all have a job change or something but there's it
a deeper meaning to this i'm sure that i'm always thinking you know trying to cut through the mythology and what was really going on
the india of ancient times was very much like poor countries today only worse they were desperately poor people who have lived desperate lives and didn't live very long and then there were a few very very wealthy people rochus kings who lived for those days
a life of splendor and i'm sure that every so often these people would come by in their palin quinn's and chariots and armed guards and tools and it was like seeing god
sort of like somebody in a very poor part of the world with a little satellite dish watching dallas on t v you know same kind of deal of who were the gods at this world who were the people that the a poor person looks up to and says oh those people their gods they don't suffer you know and they have a combination of
envy
and
hatred really
but also they would like to be god's to their they think well gosh it's very much like you know when we first tried to have some kind of environmental treaty
the developed countries went down to brazil i think it was and tried to get the developing world to buy into this notion and the developing countries all said look you guys have had one hundred and fifty two hundred years to rape the world and use up coal and pollute and all that before you finally gotten wise about ecology can't we have the seen amount of
time before we have to do that because otherwise it's not fair you know you guys got to enjoy all that high standard of living and we did it and now you want to impose your new found religion on us so there was a lot of of of arguments that way and perhaps now it's become quite a bit more serious same kind of argument
you know
ah the buddhists really stress the point that to be a human being with all the difficulties in all of the suffering that we have and to be conscious
to be conscious unlike any other kind of being to know to have self awareness that we and everything we love will pass away is the best place to be far superior to being a god far superior to being a hungry ghost far superior to all the other realms of be
being a day teach about
in fact there's a
a story that is in the sutures somewhere about
a turtle floating in the ocean
not an ordinary eternal it has an eye it's only eyes in its stomach
so it's floating around and the eyes down and it's develop this wish in its mind to see the sun it really wants to see the sun but it can't they mean it's first of all the only i that has is facing down and how's it going out you know turn around and get up there there's no way for a turtle to do that so the idea they say
he is that supposed as a board floating around in the vast ocean with a hole in it insists the right size you know for a turtle to grab up the they're very imaginative about this what they're trying to say is this is this is the the
the great chance to be a human being this is how rare it is this is how wonderful it is to be human it's not that easy it's like being a turtle in the ocean and finding that board finding that birth so to be somewhat hasty and say oh well
you know i've become so spiritually advanced that death doesn't frighten me i'm not afraid if i go away or anybody goes away i'm immune that's not quite enough that's like slipping off and trying to be a god you know part of being human is that
we love
and it's very very painful
to see what we love disappear
how painful it must have been for suzuki roshi to see at the very inception of his lifelong dream to
bring the dharma to the west and he had hundreds thousands of students he had a monastery
and in very beginning of that the middle of it
he had to leave
how painful it was for me and for all of his disciples who had a dream to we had finally found someone that was so great who really understood what we needed
i don't think it was easy for him i don't think it's easy for anyone if you think it's easy that's there's something slippery about that
and at the same time we can't become gloomy
that was what i meant to tell you the story about houses and key role she was he was not gloomy
it was amazing
he laughed at the same silly jokes that he did two years before
and i don't think it was just an act for us to make us feel better it's just that was the way he was
the pain of the situation and the joy of the situation where not to things
and that teaching has been enough to sustain me for over thirty years i've never forgotten
he used to complain when one of his few complaints about a saw he would say to people
mostly in japanese to people who understood japanese americans are so serious aren't they so serious
i think he had a lot more to say than just serious but you know i don't think he wanted to elaborate too much but by serious he meant something
i don't know linear about the way we're going about this like there's a beginning middle and an end
and it's okay he accepted us so wonderfully you know he didn't and those with a hippy days and a network people that came to send center everybody's pretty
in those days my gosh i wasn't just how people looked it was how they smelled sometimes and it was never a problem for him there was one guy
who are
used to come he liked to come during session and he would
noisily bobby and he was very unkempt and he would
sit down he'd never follow the schedule he'd get up in the middle of saws and walk around one time he got up and hit all the bells
yeah
and down never time we were sitting there you know in as in and his voice boomed out if you hit me with that stick i'll kill you with my mind
the
i was always waiting for the master you know to do something
why why wouldn't suzuki roshi do something about this guy he didn't belong here you know but you know he wouldn't ever do anything he would never do anything
in a lecture this was a big deal for me i'm sure it it's not so memorable for other people with this guy was sitting
quite close to zero she like maybe you to me know is we're all kind of crowded in this room and and there was a candle like that and this guy decided that his job and life was to blow out the candle so
he would sit there and while suzuki roshi was trying to talk you would go
you know real clown kind of thing and i started to get really nervous i thought this guy is nuts you know he's going to hurt suzuki roshi and who knows what he can do he's he's an idiot
and secure oh completely ignored him for the whole lecture you know everything and then he got up you know to do is bows like i will do shortly and the world around and went to the candle and blow it out
and then he was just so full of laughter he was like couldn't stand up he was laughing
walked out and he was like staggering
just completely undone
and
i think this is related to his comment about serious you know he had such a good time not just with this guy but with us you know he could feel you know how we were
and i mean to him there was something wonderful about this american hippie you know or whatever
he lived for that you know he lived for that and he died for that
and
ah
it's hard for me to express today you know how i how i feel about it but it was something quite great something that you very rarely see in this world kind of like the turtle
and
a friend of mine who's a buddhist teacher just after the september women's events terror attacks said to me something i hadn't really thought about he said you know i listened to these people on tv religious people they're saying you know what how can we fathom how can we under
or stand this suffering we have to have faith we can understand that he said you know we buddhists may not know much but we certainly know something about suffering that's kind of our thing and that one thing we don't really need to have faith about is suffering because it's very clear in our teachings why we suffer you know so that's the one
thing we're kind of clear about we may be out to lunch about almost everything else but at least we have a clear sense and i thought yeah that's maybe something we can offer at this time this very difficult time is that we suffer
for a reason we suffered because everything is connected
we suffer because everything is always passing away right before our eyes and there's no
woody allen moment where we can kind of weight and you know put it off
ah and try not to be there when it happens ah that's natural that's the reason why that it's funny is because it's so human you know to say that
and i don't think buddha dharma can be anything in the west or anywhere in the world really unless it's human completely human and
i think that that's one way that we can understand a ceremony like cigar key is to understand it as a human being not as a god or as a hungry ghost to the extent that there are hungry ghosts where the hungry ghosts i mean there is no
afterlife that it's in the future the only life there is is the life that happens right now the only cigar key that there is is the cigar key that's happening when is it five o'clock this afternoon that's when it's going to happen any hungry ghosts that are around you're going to be right there at five o'clock they're not going to be floating around
around in some kind of ethereal zone
waiting for us to open their throats they're here and
one way i think that we can more rationally understand how we can continue and why this a gawky ceremony moves us is that
we continue we exist in others and we continue in others
we're not just be no i'm not just me i'm everyone who knows me who has known me and you're all in me to were all mixed up
and on in a very real way when we gather together to evoke the hungry ghosts of the world the
on resolved pain the suddenness the disorientation the complete tragedy of it all it's all happening right there you know and whoever has died were used the past tense
he is dying and living you know at the same time when we say life death we mean two halves of the same thing you know we can't really understand one without the other you can't die unless you're alive in other words so
this ceremony although probably it's about sixty percent japanese ancestor worship or maybe more i don't know there's enough buddhism in it to make it worthwhile i think i haven't done it in a long time i used to think i may have even led one shows you how quickly memory makes things fade but
i think that it's worthwhile because it gives us an opportunity to be like that guy in the story you know is it alive or is it dead if that is a our question as well as his question then there's something a little bit you know we're not really
we're not really
fulfilling what suzuki roshi came here to do wishes is to give us something we didn't already have something fresh he used to say
i love america because there's such a spiritual vacuum here

there wasn't a put down he just was being honest you know he just it was really fresh for him and you know he spent the first fifty five years of his life being a kind of country japanese priest with hardly any students and not much recognition but underneath there was something that was waiting to
to come out and we are the inheritors you all
even though you never knew him are the inheritors of his dharma his tradition his energy which is enormous i come out here
around and see everybody running around most of whom i don't know and they're his descendants you know all of you are and it continues to grow me
my wife and i really am breakfast the other day and we will we were allergic to milk so we drink soy silk soymilk and i turned the box around and there was a quote from suzuki roshi on the no carton
in the beginner's mind there are many possibilities in the experts mind there are few do you remember that comes my there it wasn't the milk carton you know and then underneath was yogi berra you can't think and hit at the same time
and the title was to yogis
i mean if anybody had any doubt whether he made it to america i think that you know that no carton really set that question to rescue he's here and i think we can all be very grateful
so my gosh
i got from the second grade on i got i got a great it down for talking too much
thank you all very much