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Mothers' Day, women in Buddhism, the feminine in spirituality, story of Buddha - loss of mother, women's place in early Buddhist hierarchy, meditating on death, Buddha as a warrior, medieval zen in Japan with samurai, masculine practices, facing death; mahayana begins introducing the feminine: compassion, kindness, Suzuki Roshi, early days of men and women together, birth and death is a great matter, town trips at Tassajara, Vimalakirti, self-power, other power, Lew's recent illness, reborn, body is sky, Dogen, Fukanzazengi, Buddhism is ultimately about feeling, walking in the forest

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me or and i don't know it from they introduce me hyun
my blue richmond i
it seems talk here sometimes now i used to live here for many years
and i'm glad to be here thanks to the people and drink out for inviting me back after all his years the last time i gave a talk was
in late october cigar key day buddhist halloween
granted you hear you remember
well i'm not a complete stranger in
even now here it is mother's day so i seem to be faded to
give talks on various special days and it's interesting that
last time is more or less the subject of my talk was steps because cigar chiesa memorial day for people who died

i was talking to taiyo and it was the gatekeeper this morning
an old friend and we remarked that mother's day is not a quote real holiday you know i think actually it was designed by greeting card companies or something i don't really recall the history but it was a way to make money very american to do that
but since it was mother's day and since i'm coming here you know that was kind of the
the formative thought to figure out what i would like to talk about i don't want to talk about american mothers day at all per se but the thought of mother and motherhood set off a whole chain of thoughts in my own mind about
how women
mothers in buddhism over history women in zen center and during its history which i spend most of
and the larger issue of what we might call that feminine
in spirituality and meditation these are big topics but i do when i thought about it i do find that there is a lot to say a lot to reflect on
in the tradition and also out of the tradition we're in the process here of remaking the tradition so in a sitting in a sense we at the same time embraced the tradition and follow it we also have to examine it and closely understand it and
change it if necessary
when suzuki roshi came here
you very clearly understood and spoke to us his students about the fact that when he was hoping we would remake buddhism here in fact he wanted us not only to remake buddhism here but then take it back to japan and make it right there and that was his ambition
a little bit big but he was a small man but when a very big mind
to be so partly because when i come to send center these days i don't come very often and don't really know people i've gotten into the habit of after i more or less tell you what my direction of my talk is to start with questions on exactly questions but get some it
input from you as to what's on your mind
and so i'd like to do that maybe three or four people if you'd like to contribute something give me a sense of in this area of that i've discussed our presented what might interest you or what questions you have yeah steve
have been thinking about it now that a patient
put a practice in general as well as psychotherapy with other guys
are some way or it fundamentally
family activity
emphasizing receptivity ah rather agitated emphasize big where we are read them doing something to change
yeah i actually plan to talk to you all here and what he said the meditation well he said meditation meditation and buddhism meditation fundamentally is a kind of activity of receptivity being where we are rather than how does you put it
doing something
yes that's really the heart of what i want to talk about his is all of this as it relates to our fundamental practice here which is saucepan
some way in the back


okay democracy in
zen center and the intersection of the traditional hierarchy notion and and democracy
okay well keep in mind that i'm not actively involved in since in whose politics i haven't been for a long time and when i was here i was at the top of the hierarchy so i have certain particular reflections and all of that but i'll try to incorporate that thank you may be one more yes
a very oregon question about
it's awfully hard to be a mother
i have
it seems that way the world of time
one continuous mistake
well i think that's true of parenthood i think fathers have that same experience i certainly appreciate that okay good
well maybe that's that's good that's enough to help me hone in on where we are today
i wanted to start really with
what we might call ancient buddhism or the old style buddhism as we read about in the earliest strand of texts
the buddha
we don't know actually how it really was i begin to realize as i grow older that there is no really was about almost anything
the buddha we have the story of the buddha and in the story
in which i think is a universal story
he's a prince a privileged person
and who had whose mother died at birth
this is probably true i mean they're that sort of fact is seems to me so elemental that it probably is true and i think it's important to understand him as a person which i like to do because one of the things that is special about buddhism i think is that we do in spite of all the celestial stuff basically we understood
stand that siddhartha gautama was a was a person was a human being like us
so he's a person who lost his we never really had a birth mother i'm sure he had surrogate mothers but not a birth mother dogan who is the founder of ireland edge
his pupils his parents died by the time he was nine and he particularly speaks in his writings of watching the incense drift away at his mother's funeral as a young boy you can imagine
in what this is like i lost my mother at the day after my fourth birthday
so this has always been very personal to me
so we have a man
a sensitive very highly intelligent young man siddhartha who
for his time in place had a pretty good life probably actually not as good as our ordinary life but at least he was a part of a you know the top of the heap hierarchical speaking of hierarchy and yet he being very pressure and very innocence modern in his senses
ability he understood that his condition of privilege was rather accidental him when he finally went out into the world and look at how people live we're talking about fifth century bc india i'm sure what he saw him what if the scriptures say he saw it was a tremendous amount of suffering whose was life was pretty miserable
oil and one attitude in the attitude of most aristocrats throughout history is to say let 'em eat cake i mean you know it's not my life not my problem you go back into the palace and slam the door well he was not that kind of a person what makes him a spiritual hero as he said my gosh this is the human cundiff
don't share in a lot of this is an accident and and the current the conquistador culture he lived in where he was the member of a conquering try the aryans who came in in concord north india about a thousand years before his birth
they invented an entire
social structure of cast with them at the top and basically the religious teaching was well if your life circumstances aren't good that's because of karma of previous wives so you know your next life it'll be better so we the aryans happened to be privileged well obviously are if you were our karma from previous life was good so
that's why we're privileged to that's the way it is so at the top year at the bottom we are rich you are poor and a subject that was not
you know the buddha really rejected all of that he went out into the world renounced everything became a mendicant of poor person the poorest of the poor
and eventually found in your religious order which is the beginning of the dharma and twenty five hundred years later you know here we are following the
boom body of teaching that he began
but there's no question in my mind anyway
that there were two things about his stance as a religious teacher
one it was
i'm a male oriented perspective on things
and that was the culture of the time women were not were considered subordinate lesser beings so in the scriptures there's lots of passages which demean women
the monks were urged to meditate on the disgusting qualities of a little body and all of that sort of thing which always strikes me when i read it as the defense mechanisms of of that males young
who are struggling with a natural impulses that they have and so the whole notion of deconstructing a woman's a young woman's beauty to them into a you know the decaying decrepit corks etc etc in fact of the monks were even encouraged to meditate in charnel grounds
maybe some of you who studied these texts have read these passengers they're quite to r sensibility they're quite horrifying i mean you sit out at night around decaying dead bodies and putting course jackals and vultures in all sorts of other creatures come and eat them and ear you're supposed to sit there and meditate on
on this is the destination of human beings
and women were initially excluded from the sanga the buddha was in fortune by date varies but maybe his aunt or some some important woman to please let the women in so he said okay well i'll let them in but it's going to reduce the period of
correct understanding by half to let the man it's going to cause trouble and women were
there's very little status in the early buddhist sangha much less hierarchy actually than there is in the classical period of buddhism that we derived from the only status among the men was the ordination ranks so if you'd been ordinate or day before somebody else you had a higher status but all
all women were below the most junior man so there was that hierarchy which i think is rather stark actually
so anyway
reflecting on this and then remembering that he and his and tradition you know we hit these wooden boards you probably heard them bop bop bop well there's a writing i don't know if they still have the writing
you're supposed to be riding on them and the first phrase of the little verse his birth and death is a great matter
birth and death essentially means the human condition the existential condition of being here at all
and it is a great matter it's the great mystery
it's framed for each of us by two events are birth and our death so birth and death this is essentially
the frame that we live in
and the great mystery is well that's our trained and what's outside the frame what's what happens before birth what happens after death who are we is our soul eternal is not eternal these are the great perennial questions these are the questions the booty himself confronted what's it all about birth and death but as i look
look through my knowledge and study of the early scriptures and even down to the quality of zen practice that i studied yeah it says birth and death but it actually in practice a lot of the orientation is toward death you know there's two ways to understand what we might call the absolute or the uncut
edition one is by contemplating death and the others by contemplating birth birth
can human societies birth is a happy of net death is a sad event so
there are a lot of meditations about passing away about explicitly meditating on death about as i mentioned meditating on the decaying corpse the impermanence of the body cetera et cetera and those to me i think in my own understanding in
i'll be at this is my somewhat my opinion it strikes me that that's a very much the stance of ancient societies where life was extremely uncertain and death was a very frequent occurrence babies would die your children would die your husband's would die in battle at the age of nineteen people would die from diseases concert
nutley famines would sweep through
i mean death was the smell of death a taste of death the experience of death was just
ah permeated everything you can imagine in there are lots of places in the world today where that's still true i mean it's not true in our society and so i think it's understandable that
the religious practice would if it's a choice between trying to confront birth and death through one of the other to focus on death because it's a little more accessible
we don't really remember our birth there are no meditations that i know of on meditating on birth the monks were encouraged to go to the charnel ground but i don't see a passage where they were encouraged to go into the birth room you know and watch your baby coming out
i think in our enlightened i mean i was of the first generation i think where the hospitals allowed the fathers in you know to see that
i was so
i can't remember see
seventy before i was twenty seven
i had a camera and i really was excited about you know being there they allowed me in and i i watched it happen and it's a kind of meditation on birth you know you and anyone who is actually a mother a woman who actually gives birth it's wife you know it's a tremendous mystery the fundamental mystery
of death can also be experienced at that moment to because this being comes out it didn't exist before and now it does you know where did it come from where was it before what is the nature of its consciousness what is the nature of its mind how is it created you know getting my own risk
election from studying all the world's religions as i think that it's not just buddhism that frames the fundamental religious question has birth and death it's all religions really you know
the other aspect of beginning buddhism and also the buddhism that we study japanese yen is our tradition is the buddha was besides being a man in a prince he was also a warrior the aryan culture
was very warlike they were like the mongols are ganga as connor somebody they swept down from central asia and conquered india and
their culture was like the
the norman conquerors or the
you know today we see it in afghanistan were now familiar with that probably the closest modern day analog to the way the aryans were is afghanistan i mean that's a cognate culture to the culture of the buddhist so he was undoubtedly if any part of the story is true a trained warrior he fought in battles
his confrontation with death was as a warrior wielding a sword above lance and so you find that warrior quality at least i do in the story of the buddha his whole spiritual quest is very much a warrior like image of first of all
you can you know he he starves himself practically to death extreme asceticism
in a sense grappling with death as an adversary is an enemy to be overcome
and the meditations that he does are really intensely striving you know he's going to overcome he's going to conquer the the militaristic imagery is very very
a present if you if you have a mind to see it this is a person who attacked spirituality and the quest for understanding of the human condition and the same way that he would have attacked
he overcomes you know he is final foes morrow the great tempter the satan of buddhism and they grapple yeah psychically and mara in the form of various psychic states brings him hailstones and storms and then in a very important moment brings him a vision of beautiful maidens coming to know
excite his lust and distract him from his goal and he has to vanquish all of this as you know the the the temptations of the enemy very similar in its flavor to the forty days in the desert of jesus where he grapples with satan and satan offers him the world and jesus is tempted you know he weren't tempted it wouldn't be a story
wouldn't be real psychically but he turns away from that and so
the boot of finally wins he becomes the buddha and he overcomes the obstacles these are all
these are all framed in the language of a warriors far as i see it you know very much a man's game you know to pick up the sword and to go after the foe to conquer the foe to overcome the weaknesses the temptations the lusts
you know the sensical retains a tremendous amount of that and it was resuscitated in the medieval period in japan because the main patrons of is in school were samurai the warrior class who were like the aryans the rulers of that time and so zen in my view studying the history of that really took off
on a lot of that warrior quality so where is the where his birth where his life where is motherhood whereas sexuality where is intimacy in all of that
there is a quality of
re not renunciation in isolation in that quest which we still see in the architecture and the actual quality of his ando here you know you come in were very quiet we don't look at each other we don't talk we don't get irak we face the wall we face our fundamental alumnus
which in a sense is
ultimately the quality of facing death at the moment of death we are fundamentally alone and we might say that in replicating the spiritual path of the buddha we are rehearsing
the moment of death in our life in order to
vivify and to complete our light and that's an impending the tibetan tradition you know they have lots of very explicit ways in which you practice dying in all of that
but where his birth in this my own sense is that and buddhism in the course of its history from its beginnings as a a ascetic world renouncing religion where sexuality intimacy a family ah were all rejected by decor
or adherents the saga and the lay people that people with families the people who lived ordinary wise were relegated to a very secondary status you see that gradually over the centuries buddhism begins to bring back
in those things that it had previously renounced be so called mahayana which is our tradition begins to emphasize things that in the early stages of buddhism or not so much in the forefront like compassion
and and intimacy and care so in a sense the energy of birth the energy of intimacy and sexuality begins to return
and we start to find in the imagery of buddhism instead of seen statues of the aesthetic buddha with his rib sticking out a man whose confronting the ultimate we started to see statues like that this is i believe at tara know very voluptuous bare breasted woman or like a statue i saw in the garden
one of the bob lucky tissue bar or some goddess you know
this is an image of of
of life energy of sexuality of of eros we might say in a in a more psychological tone this is a this is an image which comes not from the world of the world renowned sea monkey from the world of the world our world the ordinary world where people in or
act they fall in love they have families
to the point where as the tibetans put it there are three turnings of the wheel in history of buddhism the first was the one i talked about the original buddhism and then there was the the great vehicle the my yeah nowhere
the the virtue of compassion becomes all embracing an all encompassing and then and a third turning which is the turning of tantra which is the specialty of the tibetan tradition we fully embrace actually all the passions that were originally rejected by the boot it and we turn those into a vehicles for awakening
so one way of
understanding the the cycle that buddhism has gone through as it began in a sense with a heroic confrontation with death and a way of surpassing or transcending death and gradually worked its way back to embracing birth
you know
so originally all buddhists were part of a song and of course sanga monks and nuns were celibate sexuality was completely renounced
in fact the passages about sexuality and the the making of the rules about sexuality although originally when they were translated they were quite censored you know by the early english scholars who were horrified at the explicitness of all of this they really quite interesting when you look at the the case
studies of the case law that was brought to the buddha
for judgment
i had to do with no lustful monks you know strain nuns beautiful village woman that would come in and cause trouble sometimes the sexual object was an animal like a go to raise sheep it was very very thorough in their and understanding of all the different ways in which the sexuality they were supposed to renounce begins to come back
in and how the buddha deals within each time he says well no that's not appropriate behavior for a monk well no we we can't do it with a sheet know you know if it's if it's one woman if it's two women one of whom is young and one in whose all one of with high caste in one of whom low caste that's no good and then he goes through all this explicit stuff
up if it's like two men know we can't do that to women know and finally he says you know no sexual expression at all just blanket rejection of it all but think he doesn't just start with that he goes through the indians are very thorough in their exposition of all of this like the kama sutra and so what every position every
possibility is explored so in a sense what you have as it is a catalogue of all forms of human intimacy express sexually including know family sexuality but not limited to that the sexuality that produces a child and a rejection of all that and then gradually you see that
and that energy begins to come back and is absorbed and incorporated into the teaching and so here we are today i'm i'm coming back now from the broad historical strokes to the specific situation of zen center since center was brought here was founded by suzuki roshi who was a
san priest from japan married with children
who came here although we have to understand that until the nineteenth century buddhist priests in japan were not officially allowed to have families although
just as we're discovering with the catholic church most of them kind of dig you know they had girlfriends are lovers i mean they had an intimate life but it was secret you know but they were officially allowed to have families
in the nineteenth century after the meiji reformation in japan it's interesting the historical difference
we're discovery now with all of this scandal about the catholic church that
catholic priests weren't celibate until about eleven hundred a d and apparently the main reason why the church made them sell of it is to avoid priests passing along property to their children in other temples and so forth it was not a theological thing at all and is gary wills he's a writer
and catholic points out in all of jesus's disciples were mint family man who had wives and children so if they're supposed to be the model of the shepherd and the sheep you know some of us he isn't quite you know matching that is the opposite would happen in japan that the priests were officially celibate
for exactly the same reasons they didn't want you know priests to develop families and then pass along the property they want to the property to be retained by the the churches but in the nineteenth century they realized that a celibate officially celibate priesthood was a political force and they wanted to
to incorporate the i'm an independent political force that was powerful you know in the twelfth century the big monasteries and japan if the monks didn't like what was going on they would pick up these spears and marched down the mountain by the thousands and threatened the emperor and you know the monk of the monasteries got their way and this happened in tibet too there were wars between a
the to take the fangs out of all of that and as i understand it they allowed the priests to marry and have children and thus be incorporated into the regular society so sticky roshi she came here as a married priest but i think still retained the notion that if you are really serious
as a zen priest you didn't marry that was the still the ideal still the model he talked about it and in fact when the first of
group of us were being ordained and i was the last group in the last group that got ordained by him he saw the difficulties that some of us head with our new marriages and things like fan and he explicitly said look i want my next set of people after you to be celibate
well that scared some people off right away there were several of my
colleagues who are thinking about being ordained who scuttled away on that score and
to tell you something that probably most of you even a cliff your don't know very well i went tassajara was first bot and founded suzuki roshi his first thought is it would only be from him
because he's only experienced was of an male only monastery he had no idea how you do a monastery with men and women because the japanese are a little bit more practical about such things and we are that understanding is if you put men and women together particularly young ones you're going to have low
the lots of trouble if you think of sexuality is trouble that's what you're going to get i mean that's just natural so his idea was men only well i think there was a big argument about that so he let the women in kind of like the buddha the buddha said just for end and reluctantly the women were allowed in
and you know we we young sort of hippie types had our own ideas about things so for example i think there was a point at which this is a little before i came some of the students convinced azuki roshi was an american custom to have mixed new baby
you know we had these we have these bass down there and so suzuki roshi kind of accepted that he said okay you know he was very accepting person so that's the way it was for the first few months and that was great you know
and then he found out from other people that that wasn't an american cousin
that gets a lot more of a japanese customer you know then here because in japan nudity is not synonymous with sexuality or didn't use to be so mixed bathing baby was not considered a a sexual affair was just a practical matter of getting clean so there was a time in japanese history when when mixed bathing men and women i was socially access
sceptical and not took not thought i was anything special well it wasn't that way for us we you know it was very sensual to do that and so we were split off and there was an inside in women's side
and you know in the early days men shave their heads all the men shave their heads because we were thinking of ourselves had this fantasy of being zen monks on our way to means and masters and the women of course didn't i don't think any woman ever shaved her head in zen center until much much later when women began as he actually ordained
and you know the first fifteen or knees of the sixteen people that zucker bushy ordained where men there was one woman in my group and that was the only woman there were then it began to be more equal so the only point i'm trying to make is that even here in this institution the starting point
n't of figuring all this out in america built on a lot of old patterns that are very ancient that go way back into the origins of buddhism celibacy renouncing family in the world renouncing sexuality and intimacy and a a kind of ordinary way etc etc
and i'm including when i talk about birth and reproduction i'm i'm also taught whining that to include i used the term sexuality and intimacy because as we know human sexuality is not any way limited to reproductive sexuality or intimacy there's lots of different kinds i
as catalog in the ancient texts and all of that is set aside interestingly enough so when it says on the on the hon birth and death is a great matter
you know i feel that the historically buddhism has been very skewed toward death is a great matter but birth is well
is a difficult matter complicated so let's set it aside and i think now you know an american culture i'm starting to reflect on your question in the back in this culture which is democratically oriented which is head of feminist revolution which is not at all patient with a notion of ancient notions of a male dominated spiritual tradition
where there's lots of hypocrisy and you know celibacy is the norm but if you actually look at what happens it's not as a friend of mine who's a woman once said in a discussion that some buddhist teachers who were friends why we're having about this she said well as far as meals celibacy is concerned i agree males
can be of it and then she stopped for the comic cause and said for about five minutes
that's probably i mean also true women to she was making a point about men because we were discussing know men teachers who've gotten into a lot of trouble ah in this area and you know zen centres in its own history has a lot of that too
of buddhism historically gradually brought back these energies into the fold and we see that in in later buddhism but even in zen center we and i'm coming back more to steve's question now about how about this relates to our core practice how we are
practice meditation how we understand that birth and death is a great matter how do we confront that
well in a way of illustrating this i'll tell you a story about
one of my colleagues at tassajara in the early days you know he was a big we have this
thing called or yogi which many of you who've come to retreats here know it's a special formalized way of eating which has done in japanese monasteries were you have three balls you all know this or yogi anyway
zero sheep and wanted us to do it this way because that's the way it was done in his monasteries and so we all learn the very elaborate it's kind of like tea ceremony for eating you lay out the bulls on clause and someone and so forth and the diet the food
at tassajara was monastery food which was basically it was you know plain rice and the big ball soup in the second ball and a little vegetable in a third ball
just as you know celibacy as a kind of you know veneer for real behavior which isn't
there was this thing from the very beginning at tassajara new folks who'd been there can tell me if is still as a big deal called town trips
no in all the people who lived there could order things on the town trips like cookies peanut butter you know twinkies whatever and this these stashes of a real american food nourishing food food with fat in it it's very cold down there was kept in the rooms and we went into the zendo and we a
this very you know ascetic diet so the real diet that we all ate was a combination of acetic tie and all this junk food that people kind of bot to supplement you know this really not not very adequate diet
so there's there's still the case at tassajara litres town trips
no everything's all here now and so
there were lots of things that happened like midnight raids on the kitchen for example which of course happens in all monasteries them what happens in monasteries like this is there's mischief business sets in you know if you don't have women around this is i'm just speaking of romance point if you don't have women in a monastery to be mischievous with and its food and it's
other things and it's clothing and it's whatever details you can put your hands on so they were kitchen raise where people would sneak into the kitchen and try to find the you know the butter and impact
graham catchy who is one of the earliest zen center priests to go to japan and actually went to a haiti which is the main japanese monastery he and philip wilson who were there together we're starving practically because they're both big guys fill up is huge you know he's a football player at stanford
and you just a huge guy and grams six foot four and you know very formidable and you know the diet was designed for you know much smaller man cetera and they also didn't have the japanese skill which he they noticed all the other monks he had to shovel rice into their mouth without chewing is just get as much as you could so the average monk would eat three four bowl
goals and get sheer volume you know and graham and philip couldn't do it so
they gotta hold us some butter and they stole it somehow and they had it in there instead of sleeping bags or whatever in there sleeping been room and they were kind of surreptitiously eat it you know and he were caught by as it happens coven chino who became at one of the early priests and center a wonderful man but
at that time was that was an upholder of the strictness of a hazy and he scolded them tremendously know years you're here from america you know you're supposed to set an example and look at you you know your your bad monks you've stolen butter you're secretly eating it you know
the of all of this came through a tassajara we have these raids on the kitchen and then one friend of mine who was a very very serious person and felt very guilty about his raids on the kitchen
decided to do something which i thought was quite wonderful and i i love this story he had all of his town trips stuff you know he's reeses peanut butter cups and chocolate all these things and he just couldn't feel right about secretly eating it at night in his room so he took all the stuff at midnight
got out his or jokey balls went into the zendo and spread it all out and put it all into his balls and did the whole are jokey ceremony and eight his junk food you know in the full monastic situation now to me that is exemplary be exemplary of you might say the know
on jul a union of of the renunciate the deaths side of practice and the burst side of practice which includes all the appetites all the lusts you know that the sweetness of chocolate the that the silky quality on the tongue of peanut butter in a smell
of the flower flower on the altar all of this you know the voluptuous woman who actually is the embodiment of wisdom and prajapati meta who to whom we pay homage every morning when we chant homage to
pride newport me to the perfection of wisdom the lovely the holy the embodiment the visual embodiment of proudly apart media is this beautiful woman the statues of her are some of the most beautiful works of buddhist art and who are the models for these beautiful beautiful statues there
there must be no young
women of marriageable age tremendously attractive and they're they are wisdom is considered a woman or a feminine a quality in in buddhism
there's a famous passage in the bema acuity sutra which is a very unusual work in buddhist history
do you know this be more t v like here t was kind of indian investment banker rich man had concubines slaves many wives etc etc he was a totally worldly man but in the sutra he is presented as the most wise man in the world next to the buddha wiser than all of the buddhist
disciples and yet he's a totally worldly man he's kind of like rupert murdoch or somebody in that context and the sutra is making this point over and over again and in that sutra shari putra who is the embodiment in the ancient buddhist texts of the highest
wisdom is set upon in that suture is a kind of dunce doesn't get transcendental wisdom at all always sticking to the letter of the law
and effect literally there's a point in this sutra where these beautiful flowers rained down from heaven in
celebration of the great telling of his sutra and the flowers fall and email security and they fall off because even lockyer t lives in the world is completely subsumed by all the pleasures and distractions of the world but is not caught or stuck by anything whereas the flowers stick to shari putra row
and and can't get them off because you know there's kind of comic this is one of the few sutures that actually has some comedy and and the struggles to get the flowers on it can't be very upset he sees that they're not sticking to be more security anyway there's a great passage in the sutra later on where to the talk turns to the doctor
and which was well fashioned in buddhism at that time that a woman could not attain enlightenment unless you were first to be reborn as a man
this was the this was the teaching
and so shy putra is there i don't remember that i was looking for my copy of the the mila carotene i couldn't find it i have too many books so heat to organize that but i remembered from emory when i studied it to the goddess comes in contrast shari putra she's a beautiful beautiful woman and they talk about
this and she queried shari putra about how can that be when the nature of mind is formless and ultimately there's no masculine or feminine in the nature of mine and short putra tries to answer at some point the goddess performs magic and makes them switch bodies
so suddenly shari putra has the body of a beautiful woman and she has the body of shari putra can can you picture this this is like you know las vegas of you know comedy show or or like what is it saturn you know i live and monty python this is very bizarre and then she says okay you know show poor
true what do you think now are you any different or not are you the same person he looks at this body and he says he's completely phonics you know because
this whole doctrine that somehow you have to

getting around

the dot
to attain enlightenment will suddenly he's a woman but he's still shari putra you see so he's completely blown away and she then expounds and the sutra very beautifully about how the actual wisdom that were searching for in our practice is not
dependent on the limitation or physical form of body of man and woman or anything

i'm going to run over

there is a doctrine in then i'm skipping around as i always do but believe me it makes sense to me so i hope you
there is a doctrine in zinn
in which there are two kinds of powers of practice one is called majority which means in english something like self power the power of one's self to achieve awakening and the other is tariq he which means the power of the other and typically this is used in a scholarly
since to distinguish between schools like xin where we set out consciously with the notion that the buddha was a human being i'm a human being the buddha attained enlightenment by his own efforts i can attain enlightenment by my own efforts that's contrasted with such schools as the pure land school where
nietzsche wrench you were one gives oneself over to the power of another like the power of the great amida buddha for the power of the lotus sutra to achieve spiritual advancement for us so in a sense we surrender
the minute we sit down in meditation mean steve you pointed out that there is a receptive quality to the meditative experience in the sense that we're not doing anything in particular when we sit
were sitting still
but what happens in our mind is depends on what we do with it in a sense by sitting down we confront
the basic issue of birth and death the quality of being here and then not being here who are we really what are we really
and there are two ways to approach this issue one is too
approach it like a warrior and in fact the patron saint you might say of the zendo traditionally is manjushri a bodhisattva who wields a sword
and this is supposed to be the sword that cuts through delusions so much juicery is a kind of fighter warrior you don't typically see statues of women with swords although sometimes you do a sword is typically the implement a soldier a warrior
so there is a kind of warrior quality to sitting in the zendo and i don't know if you do we still use the stick here at all or is that conaway no not so much it means a little bit
now not here good i used to think i was i used to have fantasies of burning all the sticks or but the stick is that when they get used to hit people you know on the shoulder to wake them up that's supposed to be called the sort of my juicery that's joe ricky joe reiki is you know great after it you know don't waste time five
hire your your head is on fire you know make every possible human effort sacrifice everything to attain enlightenment in this instant don't waste time death is around the corner that whole quality that warrior quality is one side that the tarik he signed his more what steve suggested
sitting is a kind of giving up of all of that of what suzuki roshi called gaining idea looking ahead to something that we're going to be in the future and the whole point of the process is to get there but i like to call the conveyor belt to buddhahood you know you put yourself on the conveyor gotten
that whole notion you give that up and you surrender or sit really in the notion that right now without any further ado we are already complete these are the two sides and
some of you may know i recently recovered from a very a dire illness
didn't i had a brain infection and my brain became quite damaged
and i could barely move in my mind was
not to functional and a whole lot of different ways and
i think it's fair to say that i'm a very much in self powered type person and i approached san practice on that point of view of very much a heroic model of practice where
i felt it on my own steam and my own power by making great efforts i could accomplish my spiritual goal well suddenly just like shari putra suddenly got turned into a woman or came became a woman's body i suddenly found myself in the body and mind of
a four year old because that was about my level of functioning
and i couldn't do anything
i had no self power i could barely lift my hand and lift my head
i couldn't even sit up and needed to you know two people needed to wield me to sit me up which was a very frightening experience my mind was pretty dysfunctional i couldn't even see very well or hear very well
and i had also the emotional
quality of a very young child i felt
totally incapable of doing anything on my own and all i could do was essentially cry out for help for others to come and help me and my wife of thirty two years some of you who are old timers may know her amy
in a sense became my mother
and emotionally i thought of her as my mother i needed her as my mother the whole dynamic of
how i was with my mother is a very young child suddenly psychologically came into play and in order to survive at all i had to embrace a sense of surrender to a feminine other a specific person
just like a young child you know depends and surrenders and loves their mother was quite an extraordinary experience really a great teaching for me and the subject of this book that i wrote about it called healing lazarus
lazarus was raised from the dead as was i and the whole notion in the book is that lazarus has to be reborn as i was and literally reborn and have to re-experience growing up from being a young child to and a dell which in my case took about
two years so a year and a half ago i could barely function
and certainly not talk with reasonable articulates as a articulateness as i hope i'm doing now and
not only do i have to thoroughly understand with great sadness and shock the the quality of other power of yielding to you might say the the deeper effort or rhythms of the universe rather than my own but i had to shift my home
the locus of attention from you might say death to birth because the whole experience was like a birth experience i mean maybe one of the reasons why birth is not used as a spiritual object of meditation and the way the death is is we don't really have much experience consciously of our birth
as adults were really oriented more toward we move forward in time toward are inevitable end but i had the very unusual and rare experience of getting born again not in the christian sense but in a literal physiological sense and emotional sense in having to rebuild in my brain
of my entire personality
so a very tough lesson for a self power guy you might say and one in which i came to appreciate not just the you might say this symbolic or metaphorical quality or power in spirituality of the mother but literally
i had to relive
my whole emotional a relationship to my mother through my wife who very gradually became my wife again as i grew up you know and i got old enough to have a wife and she became a wife but until then she was really my mother she would come to the hospital every day and i would just wait and wait
and weighed like a young child for mother to come so i probably have a unique personal perspective on mothers and motherhood and the quality of the mother in a buddhist practice because of what i went through sometimes the the upper
our meta or a transcendental wisdom is is termed in
buddhist scripture as the mother of all buddhas
what we sometimes call emptiness or formlessness
is is actually conceived of as the matrix or the womb
that produces awakening
and it's interesting i was as i was driving over i remembered something i hadn't remembered for a while is when the chinese translated the heart sutra which we recite every day which among other things says form is emptiness emptiness is form
well that's how it's usually translated
those words don't make it for me they never have so maybe i'll use these last few minutes before my time runs out to re-frame those concepts a little bit more accessibly
a form
means everything that we experience including our body
it means our body in the whole material world that we experience sights sounds touch sensuality sexuality intimacy our physical sensations internally and externally so form really means
you know me as a physical being an emptiness
translations are always so difficult because we think this these words or what it is it doesn't say emptiness is originally it says junior tosh in utah is a sanskrit word
that means swollen
the way a gourd or dried squashes suomen it's it's it has you know how big squash can get there will be big men you rattle them and the dried seeds ravel but if you opened it up there's no pit you know it's all empty inside
so the actual words during a time means something quite untranslatable and the chinese doing the best that they could and with their
a predilection for concrete rather than abstract images use the character for sky
so when we chant this one of the ways it could be translated as is
a body is sky sky his body whatever his body that's sky whatever is sky that's body body and sky
given if you ever just you know had the experience either his children or adults of just lying back on a warm summer's day and just watching the sky
you know
in the tibetans oce and tradition they actually and in also in in hindu yoga they actually heavy elaborate meditation practice and teaching in which you actually just get up on a hillside and you just open your eyes and look at the sky
so part of what this sutra is sane and remember it's been spoken by
you are bulky tasty vara the bodhisattva of compassion
it's not being spoken by her but it's about her and the subject of the sutra is probably a current meta who is embodied as a woman
and it's about the dialectic or the unity or the non duality between ourselves and sky
is so mysterious if we actually look at the sky with an open mind and with the kind of receptivity that steve spoke of what are we looking at when we look at the sky even the night sky the daytime sky
if were spiritually attuned to what we're actually looking at you know the skies and extraordinary dizzy mystery
look up and you're looking up at the entire universe it's actually there you know on this planet we look up in the sky as maybe there are some clouds that come into the sky maybe not but the sky
is a appears to be totally different from this world that we live on this planet that we walk on this body that we live in
but the sky is a part of who we are the sky is in the words of this sutra actually art fundamental nature we come from sky we returned to sky and the sky is the mother the mother of all of us we are in a sense in wound and burst
asked by sky so
in the fundamental text by dogan
now i'm going to come out now about my feelings about dogan after the last thirty years i don't like dogan pretty much
cooking i know this may be heresy for those of you who are studying him but you know gauguin
i don't feel enough garros and don't yeah maybe in his own wife he was more of a human being but you know he's like the ignatius loyola to me of of buddhism you know it so strict and so you know coming anyway
he did write some beautiful things and in one of the core texts called the for some pecans is sandy where he describes what we are to do when we do zazen
he essentially answers the implied question we all have when we sit which is well what am i supposed to do as steve said you know we're not actually doing anything the way he describes it the way it's often translated is think non thinking
think non thinking
this is indeed going to be my final point

well this is not something that can be explained in fact it's one of the things that don't was really good at is using language to destroy language to get you outside of the whole realm of language the
this enterprise of saws and is not about language or thinking or thoughts or ideas at all
in fact it's not about anything that we can conceive of
but it certainly isn't about thinking and even to use the word mind
which implies to our years the thinking part of our being is not quite right
again it's very important to understand the translations of things
when we say mind you know send mind beginner's mind ascension show shin shin is the character
in chinese and japanese for mind and heart had means the same means both
and the when the japanese say the character in japanese they say coca row which is which is here it's not here is here and
you think non thinking is really the mines linguistic way of pointing to the heart the heart doesn't think the heart of it does anything feels
and i've said for many years and i'll say it again that you know buddhism is really not much about thinking or about ideas or about teachings it's about feeling
it's mostly non conceptual in its essence in all the efforts to talk about it all the efforts to say something even my efforts today are really quite beside the point
and when i woke up from my coma and couldn't talk and my mind was
can an extraordinarily altered in damage state
i look back now and i think that what was intact
what was intact besides some fundamental essence of sky that was with me even in the depths of my coma when everybody saw me has been nearly dead
was some feeling they can't i couldn't even describe it today
when he came into the room to sit next to me each morning
and i lay there are unable to talk unable to do anything except maybe you know raise one finger and say this is yes or this is now and she would talk and i would just motion to her just to please talk to me keep talking
i wanted her just i just wanted to hear her voice
i felt in a sense most
deep in my practice at that moment you know i had come back from the dead really and i was barely alive i was alive only in a most only the way a baby is alive you know we look at a baby and were so happy but what can the baby do it can't talk it can't express itself it's totally helpless it can it be
it it can't do anything you know the mother has to do everything but the baby is a human being as a live in its most fundamental essence and
so that baby grows you know up to be all of us and we are still that baby you know and at the moment of are dying we will be that baby so i guess my my effort today is to resuscitate
eight or bring into view and help us you know our our responsibility as americans trying to do this practice is not just to do it and accepted but also to study it to challenge it if necessary to change it
and there's lots of old wood in this tradition we see the catholics going through it and if we think well that's them you know we're immune from all that not so you know that's true of any old tradition it's like a forest if you walk in a forest you're very
struck by two things one is the grandeur of the forest the beautiful trees that rise high up in the sky twinkling at the top which are also struck by the tremendous amount of dead wood that nourishes the forest by decaying and helping the next generation of trees to go and you know that the i tend to ramble so
forgive me but the forest service you know they had an idea for the last forty or fifty years the thing to do would be to clear out all of that junkie underbrush you know and make the forest more pristine so now we have you know
a forest the burn waiver not supposed to you and force the don't that art is used in various things you know we've upset financial with them walking in the forest can be a great meditation for those who are involved in something like an institution like this which already is growing well beyond its roots when i come here as an old
timer and i i walked out just before the lecture to look at the garden that hedge you know that surrounds the center tree down there when you call that area like researcher the herb circle that hedge was this high when i lived here
you know now it's above your head you know it was beautiful to me at mean none of you who live here can be struck by unless year old timers and even then you just lived here while i grew students are struck by but i come here i think that's the little hedge just like you know
the child's a baby you know and he remember that but then suddenly he or she is twenty five and my son's twenty eight you know and you look at the hedge and you know this is human life this is the this is the quality of birth and death and what is trained on either side you know this
guy so i don't know if i've exactly made sense often times when i talk i wonder what i said you know afterwards maybe in question and answer you can help me know what i said but i'm trying to express something that the little beyond what we would i would traditionally have said you know fifteen or twenty
years ago where i would just give some talk about some scripture because i feel very much like a lot cure t i'm a businessman
what i'm trying not to be i'm a musician i'm an author i'm a family person you know i'm not quite don't have concubines
that's not our our social meal year i haven't thought about that for a long time whether it would be nice to have concubines but it's middle of big point of and every molecule the security has all his concubine so
i suppose in great contrast to buddhist monks who don't
the row of gema cure t as in body in our society is embodied in me is to bring together the tradition and the social reality of today and make of it something fresh and new which i feel ultimate
lee was suzuki roshi his purpose in coming here against all advice they thought he was crazy to do that but he did and he hung out with a with the various unwashed bearded long haired people that came to his door without
discrimination and judgment for which i am grateful
and here we all are still coming to the places that he began listening to people like me who knew him well and struggling to figure out how to put it all together i am
i'm just glad to be here and glad to be with all of you and i look forward to talking with someone new later more informally and find out if anything i said made any sense at all
thank you