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can you hear me
hi about be a reliable
read on a tight rope on a unicycle and on his shoulders
this is long bar course and under bar as i recall the all photo
creatures i think cats actually happened
a and the caption is something like
high above the arena suddenly roscoe
remembered that he was an old dog and his and this was a new trick
i resonate with that when i see
hurt badly
recently on the past couple three week
i've been no
hosting a staple i think of that word more than teaching a class
and then poetry or then question mark poetry
ah and the question mark
it has
a points out a problem
that we have a somewhat elaborate
epistemological problem that we have a zen student in that
this is a particular
pitching zen teaching that early in it's tradition was pointed out as having one of it's silly pictures being no reliance upon words or phrases
no reliance upon words or phrases
ever since that we have been
julio volume of commentary on what what then is what in practice is
and the conundrum there comes forth in this no reliance on words
is a is a
interesting when i think because poetry
what does east or west or whether it's ecstatic poetry as you find a roommate or whether it's very pared-down poetic expression as you find in asian models particularly in china and japan
whether it's the more
damn for galloping cadences of our own traditions such as whitman is on
poetry language itself
particularly in our post modern world
the seen not only as something that embellish and experience
something that clothes experience and potent words language as an instrument for
describing and explaining phenomena
but is in fact integral or independent or core rising with perception and experience itself it cannot be separated
as such it is particularly important to remember that because language is dependably core reason with her experiences with our perceptions
that within a culture there was a whole way of describing ourselves and within cultures in the greater paradigm there's ways of describing ourselves such as students are buddhists and that within that model there's even they're done our own individual interpretations were feelings about
what a word or sentence means
and this was not lost this particular
stress i'm putting on the the intercom or the
an inseparable nature of language and experienced in all cultures this is not lost them from the poets that we have been
reading nor have has been lost on those poets that
to get caught by what is called concepts or concept designation by being caught by our concepts
the words that we have the described the force of our experienced by reapplying concepts and turning them into things that we grasp onto and become attached to with to the extent that we do that we build a jail for ourselves we imprison ourselves within our views of seen
so there's always this tension between not saying anything
and that not saying anything goes all the way back in buddhist history to the legend of shakyamuni buddha when he's finally pressed to express
the core rising or the interdependence of things is said to have a remember a seen depicted in art and sauna pick the flower held it up and one of the only one of the students smiled
and to their student my schioppa he passed on the the lineage or the true
i have the dharma the treasury of the dharma for you i give this transmission
he came out about silent moment is that realization that were language stops
and we can only finally be silent
in the face of the enormous
mystery and power of our life
that there's an opening
this does not mean however that
there is beyond language necessarily some open space some realization possible
some ground in which we can discover ourselves beyond the pale of language
but at least we point
to the possibility of that intuitive realization when we say that all things are empty and all things finally reach silence that is still a linguistic way of depicting that particular mode of being
i bring this up because what's interesting is that sense
the beginning monks have been trying to describe something called enlightenment a realization
and not only describe it in there
and linguistic forms
haven't but his exemplary of in their own life
so we're really fortunate in this and tradition to have
huge collections are huge literature
over the millennia of
individuals meeting with their teachers and leaving diagrams the dialogues and poems
and i think in particular of those poems that have been included in collections of buddhist jain buddhist literature which are no the blue cliff record one of them is called and the guiltless gate is another one the transmission of light all of which there is this encounter between students and master
in which question and answer
passes for that is it a linguistic encounter a the torque rhetorical encounter in which the student has to demonstrate
his or her freedom
from being caught in conceptual modes
either because
the student may be
enlightened to the extent that all things are dependent decor reason and there's this sense of shunyata or emptiness the on grasp ability of experience ultimately
and try to demonstrate that aspect in the teacher in turn would have to then demonstrate to the student by grabbing him by the beard or the ear that if although that all things are empty who's feeling this whack
and in this encounter language itself became turned up on in another words the usual reference points at language had god has your has culturally speaking in our culture asian no longer had those same was under my language was undermined in somerset
guess one thing i wanted to bring up today and then when we come back you're reading a couple of these poems by
the couple of men
monks who were aware of this
heritage of emptiness silence in the midst of phenomena and how to deal with that as a expression of their understanding of freedom from being restricted to cultural manifestations and modes of be
i bring it up because the questions that are
set forth in these poems or what do we do with the world the way it is right now
it's really screwed up what do we do how do we get free how do we make it better on these questions arising
so the will address these questions but before her was any more on that
i wanna say something about why monastic practice my restarted or mug practice or
motivation for into for liberation in the first place and it seems evident to me
and it must be to you that if one didn't have anything to defend
now a family
our children a business i rooted way of being in the social million structure when didn't have to defend something
maybe one day new to for ultimately defend one's life
and if there was a culture that permitted that permitted that
way of being in the world and other the
the dominant paradigm as he say for example in indiana who could support
those individuals who wanted to drop out from the established way become wandering mendicants without home
without a regular
a means of self sustaining themselves
if there was a form social farmed by which they could happen then it would be possible to leave home can become a home lever to become on bound to the usual traditional ways of being because there was a society at large who could take care you on your big in rounds who would take care you because
it was part of the culture in india
that bay
recognizing the holy one though the one who was looking for the ultimate truth the one who was following
a path toward the like that that person was doing it for all of us
and that person who did that who gave up the world innocence was worthy of being supported in that endeavor and by supporting that person in that endeavor one gain merit big thing in the old tradition to gain merit and married men
to gain spiritual power and what did you need spiritual power for well in the old society you needed it because the world view was that although you're only born once you are born once millions at times
over and over and over again until finally you could transcend
this world is suffering that was the idea and those who pays the one could transcend so there was a way to drop out of the world and
leave the establishment and killed of course you formed up your own establishment which vince we would become the dominant paradigm and if someone had to drop off from that
there's always what i'm trying to suggest that there's always a splitting away from whatever the dominant establishment is so that we can become on encumbered or on trapped by the conceptual modus operandi are under which all society asked operate
so-called conventional world now
in china because monks wandered about from monastery the monastery and because the written word
the realization that the word is enormously powerful and that of the fact that words are enormously powerful was already part of our precepts that is to say the precept of having right speech how we use language in the world is a delicate matter so much as they wandered about for a monastery to
and from teacher to teacher and because it was a highly literate society at least with those classes of people that were literate the literati there was a model of how to express oneself it was not unusual for months to write poems expressing the feeling of the presidency the
impermanence of both their journey and phenomena itself including mental phenomena
and not only in their enlightenment poems were languages turned up on and but just poetry in general so that there are certain dominant themes that got passed on to japan one of them being impermanence became a great
model or
object of poetic expression
and so we're all we're all kind of familiar with a haiku those very short forms in which a certain seasons of the year in their transients the the in springtime for example the cherry blossoms bloom for only
a few days a week or so and and are blown away by the wind became a symbol of
that kind of of of change the maple leaves turning in the fall
everything in nature begin to have a kind of symbolic
and or we could say intensified or even poetic meaning
there were those
poets though there were those monks who not only
where monks but were poets on top of their study who took these forms a little bit further and and conflicted them with buddhist practice with didactic practices
in in the midst of all of these wanderings there was a kind of myth and there was a kind of which are they say not a myth of a kind of legendary figure that grew up and already become part of a
of a particular kind of monk particular kind of holy man or woman
the in china and japan that was different from india because in china and japan the monasteries had to support themselves and couldn't amongst just wander around and baghdad of this self supporting so growing your own crops and
establishing a monastery a place where you settle down to study as a group and
eventually having
you know i'm
sharing num power with the secular forces the government forces powers that be by offering prayers and propitiate in the gods of harvest and war and so on becoming an instrument of the power of government the government would serve the
the establishment of the buddhist monasteries by giving them land tax free lands at in china at least the the
monasteries good
rent out and have indentured people
so the became a kind of a counter response to the established ways the buddhist churches the zen church the xin establishment the buddhist the establishment and both china and japan began to spawn a kind of person who
after having their formal training came to the conclusion that living within the confines of the established monastic way
was corrupt
was binding
that one no longer lived on the edge like eerily indian merchant one needed to go leave and become like
the holy wander the holy fool
one who drifted about depending on the compassion in
understanding and reception of the populace at large the working obvious that supported this whole affair
no once such famous mike and i'm finally going to get to the palm if you think it would be impatient but
when such monk at is revered in japan today and isn't had a huge following in this country and almost anybody has ever come to zen practice has encountered this particular month
whose poems have been translated a number of times in the english ten other many other languages
is a kind of example are of the holy fool the holy wander the one who is somewhat naive in his dealings with the world the one is free from the usual bindings secular and religious
the one who seems not only to teach with words and right wonderfully but who's very life style itself is an example of the
but in this case of the buddhist way
a being free in the midst of experience in that person's name is real con
and real gun was a monk was a man who was born into a wealthy family
in north east north western japan in about seventeen fifty eight fairly recent
and his father was a prominent person he had several brothers and sisters and real car was to inherit his father's post as being a have this particular clan that administers the affairs of the the community in which they grew up in
but for some reason we don't understand that some early age real can decided that the world was not his cup of tea and was sent to a monastery where for a number of years he studied in the sorta set all of the things that we studied today about buddhism about lot of sitting meditation
there's a lot of study of the text particularly the lotus sutra in which the universal buddha and the one teaching of the one mind of all beings being promulgated at that time
from the basis of his study
and even became the shoe so and had student we know and was given a poem by his teacher with a wisteria blanche when he graduated so to speak poorly received transmission from his teacher of understanding
teacher gave the name tiago great fool
and with that name this man began to wander about northeastern japan for the rest of his life settling down in various
places huts little one of the one of the romantic we would call a romantic notions that went along with it with the
wandering mendicant monks was the idea of the grass hut
a place rustic lee situated where one could escape from the trials and cares of ordinary life and contemplate
being and non-being birth and death and liberation and that was already a model in his time even the thousand years old by that time having come through china
so here we find this person who wanders about and is the delight of village children
and other farmers because here instead of being an uptight
where the grumpy looking old zen priest belonging to an establishment with lots of thou shalt thou shalt nots
he never preached zen two people when the farmers offered him a drink of sokka he took it
when the children came up to play with him he played ball all day long with him hide and go seek in fact he was so naive or they call him that such a simpleton that the children's games when they played with him was to go and hide and real kind would stay they just abandon him and he would sometimes stay food a day half a day still hiding his
head waiting to be called visa
probably part of the legend of him whether these were true exactly or not we don't know but what comes across to us is that this man was at once a kind of simple simple simon and a deeply profound student of the way
now here's a poem that
in the thing about we all can that is complex is that although he seemed to be this route this wandering simpleton this great fool
the flow as it were he was always floating between you could say the pride in what he did some sense exalting is kind of life and the shame that he felt having left his station and the world which eventually fell apart his family fell apart his father committed suicide
and we think of it of the liberated person is someone who no longer suffers depression no longer suffers the usual psychological ups and downs a rollercoaster rides that most of us ordinary mortals seem to experience however much we practice and give great
depth of meaning to this this moodiness up and down this
so many people who a well i don't think real con was a liberated person because he suffered this kind of thing and if he was liberated he wouldn't have been suffering depression are dejection as on
here's a paw
trouble now these are pulled from his meditations troubled and confused his life in the three worlds and come back to discuss their troubled and confused his life in the three worlds it's not just the way things are today things have always been
like this
because you fail to realize the truth you spend a lifetime chasing about
reading the buddhist scriptures you become caught up in names and forms and never return
practicing xin you become attached to nirvana and end by becoming mired there
it reminds me of master doing sean's afterwards quote the moment you set foot outside the gate grasses are sprouting everywhere
now who is he talking to you he says you something he's talking to people who are interested in zen are interested in liberation kind of like the people who gather here together but maybe starting to herself we don't know troubled and confused his life in the three world the world
world of form
the world of formlessness the mental formations conceptualisation
and the world of desire with which those two are brought together
in the buddhist model of the three worlds it's the form and the formless and desire
provide the impetus for the will of transmigration from lifetime to lifetime
the world of desire of desiring and grasping on some aspect of existence so the
prolongation of our life or conversely grasping at the desire for extinction of those things are we don't like and want to change or even sometimes or own life when it becomes unbearable
desire for pleasure desire for any sense gratification that we will hold onto and so on becomes the in buddhist
psychology becomes the ground
together with our conceptualizations around those things are ground of suffering or ground of attachment
so he says troubling confused his life in the three worlds form formlessness and desire but he says that's not just to where they are today it's always been like that
at this point of view that this is the way the world is
because you fail to realize that truth he didn't say this truth is is filled to realize the truth you spend a lifetime chasing about what does that truth you might be talking about
we know that in the mahayana teaching the what we call or point to as the ultimate truth
is the truth of the nano arising or the non grasp ability the essential islam have any phenomenal whatsoever
if we don't realize that even the language in which we base our understanding is dependent decor reason and has no final ultimate basis and anything that can be graspable if we fail to realize that truth and were always chasing after something with this on a gross plane or on the subtle plane of religious practices
and he immediately goes through the not the subtle or to the gross plane in the national am but he talks about the more subtle plane
he says he's spent a lifetime chasing about reading the buddhist scriptures you become caught up in names and forms
and you never return never returned to what
it's a good question what did he talking about and never return
this is question and buddha buddhism about our original nature
natsuki conventional designation or sentence of words strung together pointing to something that is always there or is it
what is our original nature you cannot return to
this could be a whole dialectical discussion in and of itself and should be in this day and age because if we think that what buddha experience somebody called buddha experience as enlightenment twenty five hundred years ago is the same thing that was experienced by
the various enlightened beings ever since exactly the same
then what does that do to our idea of all things are dependently car isn't that sounds like that exists over and apart from all the context in which our experience arises
i think
i think we have to return to the place that he say we have to return to their place where we realize that we are contextual beings we arise within the context of our society of our belief systems
and then understanding that and not be the test any aspect of that is where our freedom lies and that alone as i explain it sets up a new context for understanding the context are constantly be enlarged by new information systems
he was not caught up in the names and forms of those established ways of this is what the truth is and this isn't with real can ultimately there was no duality between good and bad right and wrong
he says practicing zen you become attached to nirvana you be you become attached to this sense of being free
you got this idea in your head that you're going to be free that you are free
and you get mired there
he gets stuck
well that's of course what bhutto was what the mahayana teaching degree of vehicle teachers is that in the early teaching the individual who got free to various practices from the usual
destiny of being caught up in the world of form three world's got free of that was not enough
nirvana is not enough
becoming individually happy is not enough
and he said it reminds me of master dose hands afterwards quote the moment you set foot outside the gate grasses are sprouting everywhere
the moment you turn away from your zaful cushion as we all know if sanctuary much but your was put down on the floor regardless of the experience you just had your back in the world the ordinary world of the interaction of sentient beings
and the moment you set your foot outside the gate grasses meaning phenomena in this case are sprouting everywhere those things that are going to grab you in the three worlds and they have been a real fi and make into something and that's something is gonna be your prison watch out
and that goes back to the saying earlier in the chinese
collection cool on collection where it was said go to wear for ten thousand miles not an inch of grasses to be found and you will be liberated go to wear for ten thousand miles not an inch of grass as to be fun
oh where in the world is that
where in the world who can no words finally
no way of being finally
no understanding finally in trap you
troubled and confused his life in the three worlds is not just the way things are today
now today you know it's one thing to talk about you know the passing of cherry blossoms and in very kind and gentle and nothing but to watching the world golf and flames into watching on television nightly scores kept on who's one up on who else and terms of body counts and so far
me how can one just sit back and watch all of that go on and this kind of world of change in this world of communication where the communication itself has become in the mode of understanding would be and understand language food our communication in a new way and brings the world into our front room into our
computers into our
life for a moment to moment in a way unprecedented
you can see the world is always been this way but does he mean that the world of that we can't do anything about it i don't think so
his way was a way of non-duality you did not mean that we should not take some kind of social action
but his way was to wonder about and be play the part of the fool this incidentally is very interesting and i want to forget this when it comes as a footnote
this model of the holy fool the holy wander of course gets mixed up with our own romantic tradition ever since the enlightenment right this business romantic tradition of the
one that goes back to nature and so on it comes down to our time and day with
the likes of jack are whack allen ginsberg the beat generation on the road free from the established ways get out there and open up your life and go with the flow baby
used to call it will call it would ever want to call that big zinn
a kind of romantic idea
of what these guys went through
but i don't think that they had a romantic this particular roommate was a romantic tradition but real can separate was not probably exactly the same thing that jack kerouac went through
so we have to be careful how we interpret these poems because we don't really know what is what he really meant and what that life was like at his time
he says delusion and enlightenment to size of a coin delusion and enlightenment or to size of a coin universal and particular just parts of a whole all day i read the wordless scriptures all day i read the wordless scriptures oh night i practice know practice meditation
on the riverbank a brush warbler sings in the weeping willow
in a sleeping village dog bays at the moon nothing trouble is the free flow of my feelings but how can this mind be passed on now there's a lot of and turns it is for example how can i nothing troubles the free flow of my feelings except
how can this might be passed on will be troublesome right there how do i pass on the ungraspable free flow of being so free then i'd been like a willows and notice also he starts out with delusion enlightenment to size of the coin if you're going to have a god you're going to have a devil
if you're going to have enlightenment this is built into our language is built into our concept structure we're going to go chasing after one and the other and of course the first of those two pairs good enlightenment
up mail at least some the always
you name it plus minus the first of those two in the dialectic is always the positive is we just employers being positive any the other negative
but real can lead a life in which delusion and enlightenment
was one in the say
one in the same place to size of the coin universal and particular just parts of one hole
this is all day i read the witness where description of what are the with the scriptures all gay we read each other i can look around and try to read the expressions on your face to be the text of the room as it were thinking it as this is concurrently going on my getting out crossed
that one looks bored that want to sleep he i that you
listening to a brush warbler than simply expresses itself without any intellectual context particularly to its warbling or to a dog that bays at the moon just base because they're that's what a dog does is at the moon and for moon
when we're being or whether we're warbling where there were crying out or whether we're singing
ultimately what's the difference

well i was gonna talk some more but done
i have a couple of the things i want to say about all this because i don't really know and driving at here
what am i driving i'm driving at the fact that when it in a new ball game in our understanding what language means for one thing we aren't we all ports and we all need to use language in this in a very particular way and not get caught by the languages we use it how do we use language and at the same time see the transparency of language
that's partly the task of all of us in this day and age this day and age of would be huge concepts like democracy or totalitarian and so on limits the way we function in the world how can we best serve the world how can we best step out of the gate into the mini thousand grasses
cause that's where the bodies offer go
in this practice we leave the gate we go out into the world we don't live in some pristine place we go like real we wander all of us in the world and do what we can but we're most effective when those concepts no longer bind us and we see through them which itself is a context i'm presenting to you were always presenting ours
cells into new context and always adapting according to those new ways of being if we don't do that
the condition of being free dies and it is we notice over the years buddhism and zen buddhism is died in different countries because it gets stuck in some idea about what zen buddhism is ultimately
once we do that this place will close down once we do that the idea of buddhist practice in his country in other places will also die so we're constantly feeding new ideas into the hopper
expanding our understanding
now here's a contemporary korean poet who was a monk for many years or abbott for many years dropped out became a political dissidents been many years in prison came here in fact is that the middle this room
one time
he says
try sitting not for just one kalpa
calpers the time it takes for a whole universe to rise and fall i think something like that not just for one kalpa but for ten culpas know enlightenment will come simply play for a while with troubles illusions thin stand up
i think we all go to get it would have gone along with that i think they had the kind of the same mine
simply play for well with troubles illusions than the up but then he says if you sit buddha dies mother dies you know we have that saying in buddhism if you meet the buddha kill him meaning if you're attached to buddhist ideas qatada it's a it's a hanger he been attached to your family in some way they
it's a whole new cut those cut those bonds he says if you said buddha his mother dies don't sit don't stand all five oceans six continents even that cinnamon tree in the bright moonlight here and there are all a boiling cauldron
with nowhere to put your foot down and what's to be done
don't sit don't stand all five ocean six continents even that cinnamon tree and the bright moonlight here and there are all nothing but a boiling cauldron
there's nowhere to put your feet down what's to be done that is in if you open your mouth and say something and real fire thirty blows if you owe us anything thirty below you in a cauldron do something say something act now
so do learn spontaneity to learn immediacy
to learn how to respond immediately to the force of the our experiences without reapplying
those experiences and other was without a big axe to grind
to flow go with the flow
i think that's what this training is about that's what these poets were about
finally they'll leave you with this one who was it that said quote names are the guests of reality
who was it that said names are the guests of reality
maybe we'll even say they who that gate names at the host said reality these words have come down to us from ancient times but even that people know that names aren't real they don't see that reality itself has no root
names reality both are beside the point just naturally find joy in the ever changing flow just now though interesting word is just naturally because that's a kind of when less translated naturally get this kind of romantic flavor again was back to russo and
our own tradition
a lot of us go to tassajara lot of us come to green go to allow has gotten the country to get get away from it all back to nature where we can kind of cool it out it seems easier to kind of cool it out in the country but pretty soon shouldn't have to get in your automobile put gasoline in it
dr around an article i wrote down roads
either to the monastery of from and we know what those roads and tail is no place in other ways that we can look these days particularly i think
where we can not feel that we're in the boiling cauldron
and so what do we do
how'd you find how do you find joy in life when you look at the t v at night
if you when you designate meaning in your life according to how it is presented in the morning paper
oh for that matter do we just run to scripture to poetry and so on as another way of consoling ourselves in the midst of at all
the probably do all of those things
but these poets reports who met their life square on who wandered and depended on the world
and understood that were all depending on one another and we're ready to give up to let it all go and a moment's notice
we're gonna died at the age of
seventy three or four and i think that the detonating thirty one and i think that the the poet cohen korean poetess alive and well today traveling about
and he reaches box like that
he came and sat down and a little in this room has said right here is the edge of the universe
i don't know what he meant but he wasn't winning
who put did he say
is death
when in the edge of the and right in israel
well whatever that's worth that's the dog owner
so maybe it dropped on them and maybe you know we spilled it all over to the big plunge again but that's what we make a big mess of the dharma here
and then we have to clean it up again and make a new definition for a little while and get back on a tightrope just as you go back on your title
okay thank you very much show i think that's it