Sunday Lecture

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that says
the one that is different and distant
the face in the mirror
in the cradle
in the casket
who are reflected in a quiet pond at the end of a long journey
this is the same face that two thousand and five hundred years ago shakyamuni buddha went into the dragon's cave to meet
and like scrooge he was haunted by ghosts of the future and the past
they attacked him like armies of demons and when that failed
they called sweetly as voluptuous maidens
named boredom
and lust
in the buddhist tradition that face has a name
it's called mara the evil one
and mara means
the very thing we fear most it means death murder destruction
as a principle of practice mara symbolizes the passions that overwhelmed the human mind and block our ability to act with respect
we can read about mars rages every day in the morning paper
this is the same face that blocks our view of the one
and sacred life
when buddha first sat down under the bodhi tree to meditate
it was his final act of desperation
the white flag was up
he had abandoned his family and his responsibilities and that didn't work
he had mastered transfers of cosmic unity and great bliss
and that didn't work
he had practiced severe asceticism
two very much to the point of death and that the homework
so in the end the young prince chose life
and when he did it came in the form of a young woman making an offering to watch you mistook for a tree spirit
he ate her food regained his strength
and sat down quietly under a tree

he'd given up his strategies his plans for the future
and he was truly open and willing to learn
at that moment this great spiritual lawyer made a simple gesture
of connection and belonging
with his right hand he reached down to the ground for permission
and support
mother may i
and this gesture was the beginning of a new way of life
like the latter day saint ebenezer scrooge all that followed from that moment of true renunciation came to him as a gift
it had nothing whatsoever to do with something he had earned or that he deserved
he was simply open and willing to receive the gift
if each of us
when the time comes when we're alone
will allow ourselves to open this very same gift is their moment after moment

this is a place of true humility
in the diamond sutra it says that by this humiliation you shall be liberated
by this humiliation you shall be the bread
i think in a a they call it hitting bottom
so this is the ground that we hit the ground of are being the ground of truth
the ground and the soil that sustains our life
in middle english from old french from latin the word humility is hummus
it means the graders
the mother of us all giving birth at midnight
all bodhisattva asthma sufferers please shine your light on me
out of your great compassion please help me i can not do this alone
oh bodhisattva masada
please shine your light on me
and so the earth and all living beings as one voice replied to the humboldt prince
and then they said now pay attention young man
pay attention
and he did
and this is the true secret of our practice doing what you're told
following the instructions completely
the small self
dissolving moment after moment
and what you've been asked to do
like a good fire burning completely and leaving no trace
when i was assigned the job as the guess cook at tassajara
the for summer i was there as a fairly new student
i had absolutely no background or interest in cooking
and i wind to a friend what am i going to do
my friend was a very good cook and she said without sympathy follow the recipes
and of course she was completely right
i did not have to invent cooking
and at the end of the summer thanks to cooking i became a cook
and i wouldn't have believed it if it hadn't happened to me
so it is our great fortune that we also do not have to invent the path of awakening
that's why we bow to the boot ancestors
we are very lucky seekers you and i there are many wonderful guides and teachings all along the way
just follow the recipes
and then there's one other thing
to never forget trust your own nose
i could always smell when something was burning

and like my friend the cook the buddha ancestors also give pretty simple instructions
like this one to the buddha attention young man attention
and look out for the snake
or if you finished eating go wash your balls

so what exactly was it that the young prince was paying attention to as he sat there under the tree
i often say to my daughter when she gets a little cuckoo
especially around her
sense of entitlement to things with sugar in them
honey it's not the cookie that's your problem it's your noodle
to study the buddha way is to study your noodle
and in particular the beliefs that you have concerning yourself and the world around you
the al chemistry of enlightenment as with cooking
has to do with turning silence into liquid
as as hippies used to say go with a flow
and then you leave the pot to simmer for a while
as our young prince was sitting there upright study himself in this way
there were a lot of other seekers in india
during his day
each endeavoring for some spiritual attainment
it's very popular thing to do
just like now
some sought immortality a union with god
long before explosives through personal annihilation
others sought elixirs serves and beauty treatments for eternal youth and health
and still others gathered gold and the harvests of their neighbors fields
in modern philosophical jargon these might be called the near lists the eternal lists and the materialists
and of course then as now there were also the shams and the priests who read the signs in nature and predicted the welfare and misfortune of others

but whatever degree these met with success they set up their own schools and proclaim themselves as teachers
what perhaps makes the teaching of the buddha unique and all the world
was the quiet declaration that arose after his careful study of his own mind
when basically he said i find no evidence whatsoever for or against any view of any kind
in fact he declared holding views in itself is the very cause of your suffering
from the brahma giallo sutra
whatever aesthetics and brahmins who are speculators about the past or the future or both
having fixed views on the matter
and putting forth speculative views about them
these are all trapped in the net of opinions
sixty two varieties in all
and whatever they to and whenever they try to emerge and tried to get out they are caught and held in this net
just as a skilled fishermen or his apprentice might cover a small piece of water with a fine meshed net thinking whatever larger creatures there might be in this water they are all trapped in the net caught and held in the net so it is with all
these they are trapped and caught in this net of opinions
i'm fairly certain that most of you have heard by now about the four noble truths
which the buddha explained by way of how he came to find the path of liberation
this was his teaching to his first disciples
the first truth is called the truth of suffering and it's are common ground
we all suffer
in this way
birth is suffering
aging is suffering
sickness is suffering death is suffering sorrow and lamentation pain grief and despair are suffering
association with the loathed is suffering dissociation from the loved
he's suffering in short not to get what one wants is suffering
and this first truth is not without cause
that cause is named in the second truth
it is this very clinging to opinions
or as it says in the ceuta clinging to views produces renewal of being and is accompanied by relish and lust relishing this and relishing that in other words craving for material riches craving for
for eternal life craving for the end of life
basically wanting things to be any way other than precisely how they are
and these two truths together make a circle
an endless circle
and the name of this circle is called samsara which means endless circle
like a cat chasing it's tail
the second pair of true's are truth number three the good news
there is cessation of suffering
and trees number for the path to the good news
which is none other than the buddha's own way of life
the simple recipe for liberation is as follows
number one
raise the white flag
abandon your strategies and plans and asked the great earth beneath your feet and all living things
to help guide you along your way
and number two
ask your chicken dinner for permission and forgiveness before you eat it
this is the holy life
the whole life
flexible soft gentle upright and harmonious
the complete pronunciation of self concern
the young prince who had become a buddha and awakened one taught what he had learned to a monk named by here in this way
then by here thus must you train yourself
will just be the scene
in the heard just the heard
in the reflected just the reflected
in the cognize just the carbonized this is how by here you must train yourself
now by here
when in the scene there will be to you just the scene
in the heard just the heard
in the reflected
just the reflected
in the cognize just the cognize then by here you will not identify yourself with it
and when you do not identify yourself with it you will not locate yourself therein
when you do not locate yourself therein it follows that you will have no here or beyond or midway in between
and this would be the end of suffering
thank you very much happy new year to all of us