Sunday Lecture

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First part of lecture children's program. Read story, "Play with Me". Impatient with world situation. Look at causes. Patience. Path of peace. Dog story. MLK Jr

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well welcome everybody lots of you
my name is who and i live here on the farm and i have a daughter who's going to be ten she's kind of big so she's not here he said she had other things to do this morning
so i'm glad you came
and i thought i would tell you a story and then i know you have an activity planned all of you together so you get to go outside pretty quick
this story to any of you know this story it's called play with me you heard it before know
play with me
so in the picture because i know you won't build the see it very well there's a little girl and it's a sunny day and she's walking in the meadow
and she says the sun was up and there was due on the grass and i went to the meadow to play
a grasshopper sat on the leaf of a weed he was eating it up for his breakfast
grasshopper i said will you play with me
and i tried to catch him but he leapt away
grasshopper leapt away
a frog stopped jumping and sat down by the pond i think he was waiting to catch a mosquito
frog i said will you play with me
and i tried to catch him but he leapt away to
a turtle was sitting on the edge of a log he was just sitting still getting warm in the sun turtle i said well you play with me but before i could touch him he plopped into the water
a chipmunk was sitting beneath the oak tree shelling an acorn with his sharp little teeth chipmunk i said will you play with me but when i ran near him he ran up the tree
a blue jay came and sat down on a bow and jabbering and scolded the way blue jays do blue jay i said will you play with me but when i held up my hands he flew away to
a rabbit was sitting behind the oak tree he was wiggling his nose and nibbling a flower rabbit i said will you play with me and i tried to catch him but he ran to the woods
as snake came sneaking through the grass zig zagging and sliding the way that snakes do
snake i said will you play with me but even the snake ran away down his whole
none of them none of them would play with me so i picked up a milkweed and blew off its seeds then i went to the pond and i sat down on iraq
and watched a bug making trails on the water
and as i sat there without making a sound
grasshopper came back and sat down beside me
and then frog came back and sat down in the grass and slow pope turtle crawled back to his log
the chipmunk came and watched me and shattered and blue gem came back to his bow overhead and rabbit came back and hopped all around me and snake came out of his whole
and as i sat there without making a sound and they so they wouldn't get scared and run away
out from the bushes where he had been hiding came a tiny baby fawn
and he looked at me
i held my breath and he came nearer he came so near i could have touched him but i didn't move and i didn't speak
and the faun came up and licked my cheek
oh now i was happy as happy could be for all of them all of them were playing with me
okay would you like to go out and play with each other
okay good please please do enjoy yourselves on the farm
thank you


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well i don't know about all of you but i am growing impatient
i want the patterns of violence and hatred in this world to come to an end
when i was little i wouldn't have said i was impatient i would have said that i was scared and sad
and as i got older i wouldn't have said i was scared and sad i would have said that i was angry
until when i was a young adult i learned to say that i needed some help
and i was very grateful to have been taught some methods of moderation of my anger by the buddhists
the primary method as i was just offering it to the children is to simply sit quietly
by the pond
without sound
and little by little we begin to notice beneath the shield of our anger
the unhealed wounds from having been so little so sad so scared for so long
after many years of looking and listening and feeling what i feel those wounds in me are beginning to heal
so as i have now reached my middle years i'm fifty five someone said i've hit the speed limit
i find myself drawn back to an interest in a curiosity
toward the world from which i fled
the world that's much bigger and much older than me
i had an image in my mind recently of of splashing waves of ice cold water hitting me in the face and of struggling to get my head above the waves in order to see the pattern of waves that preceded those which were hitting me now
and this image reminded me of what the dalai lama had said after nine eleven
he said don't seek for blame seek for causes
so i have been reading and thinking
and talking with others about causes
i've found and rented and purchased some books and some videotapes on the history of the united states of europe the middle east
from asia and africa
of slavery and language and food
philosophy psychology ideology
of insects and viruses
in other words how all of us in this myriad manifestation have been struggling together for a very long time
struggling for our lives
i even heard about a single celled life form
call the luka
do you know about the luka
the luca once swam unmolested in a warm primordial ocean of identical twins
is basically the letters for our last uniform common ancestor
those tiny little mothers that gave birth to us all
so i wanted to tell you a few things that i feel i've come to understand through my studies
that in this universe life is precious and rare
that clean air clean water and nourishing food our primary
compassion is primary
wisdom is primary
the welfare of some cannot be sustained at the expense of others
human beings will die or be killed for ideas
ideas are very powerful
nonviolence is very powerful
there is right and there is wrong and there are consequences for our actions
each of us must understand all of this for ourselves and much much more
we are luka
and yet for all of my reading and pondering and understanding still i know that at the core of my own capacity for anger and violence
there is still
when i think of as a glass shard

it was a really great benefit to me to hear this story from a friend of mine a woman who lives in mill valley
it concerns her neighbors who as she described them are rachel hollis
they yell frequently at one another and that their children and that their large barking dog
and they allow this dog to run free in the neighborhood and it has chosen to defecate in my friend's driveway
so after getting up the courage to speak to her neighbors
she came out the next morning to find that her car had been smeared with dog feces
so i think we can all imagine how hurt disgusted
and furious she became
after cleaning off her car she considered the variety of responses that she might make to her neighbors and which included attorneys the police
and her own secret retaliatory acts of violence
but instead the next day she found herself taking the wrapping off of her morning paper and cleaning up after the dog
and this went on for several weeks and all the while she was filled with resentment fear and anger
and then one morning as she bent down to clean her driveway she was overcome with inexplicable joy
and she thought to herself i have chosen the path of peace
since that time and it's been awhile she cleans her driveway every morning with this deep knowledge and appreciation for herself
for her understanding of right and wrong
and when we asked her if she felt in indifferently about her neighbor she said not particularly but i have become fond of the dog
so this story took me down deeply into my own heart
because i've always known that i am vulnerable
two acts of anger of coercion and of retaliation
but what i haven't always known is that i am completely responsible
for ending violence at this spot of earth
i want to read you again and passage that i'm very fond of from an old buddhist text called adama pada
which speaks to me so clearly about this essential point of the teaching
and what we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday and are present thoughts build our life of tomorrow our life is a creation of our mind
if a man or a woman speaks or acts with an impure mind suffering follows them as the wheel of the cart follows the beast that draws the cart
what we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday and are present thoughts build our life of tomorrow our life is a creation of our mind
if a man or a woman speaks or acts with a pure mind joy follows them as their own shadow
he insulted me she hurt me they built me he robbed me those who think such thoughts will not be free from hate
he insulted me she hurt me they defeated me he robbed me
those who think not such thoughts will be free from hate for hate is not conquered by hate hate is conquered by love this is the eternal law
those who do not know this
fight against each other
we are here in this world to live in harmony
so what is it that makes living in harmony so difficult for we human beings
how is it the time and time again we come to fight against each other
the teacher of our tradition shocking in buddha sat down under a tree with this very same concern
i am strong i am handsome i'm young i'm rich he noticed
but i too am subject to aging illness acts of violence and death
or as a contemporary poet said i think it was mr yates
sick with desire and fastened to a dying animal
so how do we harmonize with that
each of us has been dealt the very same hand
we are the luka

there are three primary strategies that the buddha noticed as he watched his own mind turning in its traces
around this issue of his own survival
he could turn away from life
this he called aversion or hatred
he could appropriate life to his own benefit
this he called greed
or he could sit there in a swirl in this he called ignorance or confusion
and he saw that independence on which of these strategies he chose six
psychological destinations would result without fail
the first of these is called the hellish mind which produces the worst kinds of evil
the second is an animal mind
which sucks into itself all the resources
of food and pleasure
the third is a ghostly mind aroused by desires for fame and praise though utterly lacking in inner virtue
the fourth is a fighting demons mind
steaming itself and disparaging others
the fifth is a human mind
longing for world the comfort and pleasure
and the six
is the mind of god
feeding on pure pleasures and goodness amidst fantasies of eternal life
most importantly for us and for our in enduring hope of peace in this world
it was the very workings of the mind of the clockwork in the tower
these workings are both macaws and the escape
from this patterns these patterns of suffering in our world in ourselves
from the as moolah my jamaica cariocas highly recommend as reading team
whoever sees dependent core rising in other words the workings of the mind whoever sees dependent core rising
see suffering
it's arise him
it's cessation
and as well sees the path
within the illness itself
is the medicine for its cure
i don't know how many of you saw that clint eastwood classic escape from alcatraz
but in it his studies with
great concentration all of the crevices of his island penitentiary for a means to escape
toothbrushes pieces of glass
tiny scraps of leather cloth to be used to make rope
and i suggest that with no less determination as clint eastwood
we have to find in the
a squalid details of our own confinement but luminous same posters signposts posts of integration
and it's tricky business as the buddhist saw when he grew closer to his own realization these forces within his mind grew more rabbit and fierce
just like the neighborhood dog
i'm not many of us in this room are going to have the experience of driving into baghdad in a tank with a gun
nor will we likely strap explosives to our bellies
and blow ourselves and
our neighbors to smithereens
we don't have to go to these extremes in order to encounter the forces of greed hate and delusion
which are right now as we speak as i speak manifesting in the villages of the middle east
his horses are identical in us and in them
we are no luka
we are staring at are twins
through the ocean like mind that we call the buddha
those are our fathers sisters and brothers we are their mothers uncles and aunts
only that thought of difference in separation is as the distance between heaven earth and hell
one of the women in the city group where i heard this story about the dog said to us while i understand how i'm not separate from the citizens of iraq but i see no identity between myself and sodano say
and another lady in the group replied do you see an identity between yourself and george bush
a third lady responded who had once been mayor of our very own town
well my dear friends i do i see the mind
have a leader
i see a mind that wants things to go my way or else
and it was only humor in the end that rescued all of us from the brink of our very own little version of warfare
someone suggested we offer a workshop on finding the inner saddam
so later that week i found in a buddhist meditation manual a description of the mind that seeks control over others which are friend had been confessing tune at our morning meeting
this is from stopping and seen by the chinese buddhists ten thy master jury if the mind continually wants power so that all go along with whatever one does says or thinks this is arousing the mind of the commander
of the realm of desire traveling on the path of the murderer
when a samurai approached a buddhist monk with his sword drawn
and the monk failed to stand for to speak
a samurai said don't you know i'm the one who can kill you
the monk replied don't you know i'm the one who can be killed
choosing the path of peace takes a tremendous amount of courage
on the occasion of the reverend martin luther king jr 's birthday my family and i rented a video about his ministry
i don't think i really knew before ah how extremely important a man he was
in an extremely important time in our own history
when he was invited to join the civil rights movement in the late nineteen fifties he declined
but he said he'd be willing to come to a meeting
the organizers of the movement said well that's good because the meetings going to take place in your church
they already knew that he was a leader and that he was an inspiring teacher and they chose him
at first against his will
from childhood he had been disciplined by a strict and loving father
who would often hit him
and tell him that he must learn to bear the beatings of others
with dignity and nonviolence
and in this way he was training his son to survive as a black man in the white america of his day
later in the film there was footage of dignified and well dressed black gentleman
in the very same suits and hats at my father used to wear to church on easter sunday
walking with the reverend king down the streets of selma alabama
towards the rachel holocaust
and the neighborhood dogs of human hatred
and they were beaten again and again and they were bitten by the dogs
and it was seen on television by us off
and their sacrifice engendered the first of many laws
which continue to shine light on the unkept promises of this promised land
so this is the fourth strategy the one that the buddha discovered under the bodhi tree on the dawn of his enlightenment
to do all good to refrain from all evil and to live for the benefit of others
this strategy won't necessarily make you rich but it may render you harmless and free
so reflecting for a moment back on the story of the little girl that i've talked to the children and one who sat beside the pond
i think it's pretty easy for us to see how
the world either is hidden from us or revealed to us depending upon our own actions
in any given moment the very same world is either running in terror as we approach or it's continuing about its day in harmony with its new neighbor
we may not get to test all of this out in the geo political ocean of multiple causes and generational hatred
but we can certainly try it out on our neighbors and our friends in our own communities right here with each other
from the pali canon
there is an unborn on become unmade unconditioned existence which makes possible escape from the born the made to become and the condition
and this escape takes place at the very moment that we cease running away from those who are chasing us
when we turn and bow to the faces in the mirror
the adult faces which melt into children with smile and wave and scamper on home to their homemade dinners
oh now i was happy as happy could be for all of them all of them were playing with me
thank you very much

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