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World's largest ball of twine, snobbery, insight, calming our minds, shamata - tranquility practce, Dhammapada, monuments to warfare, GGF farm and kids, hate crime and Tam High, Harvey Milk, It's Elementary Sutra (?), sew together, look for causes, willingness to be intimate, testing authority, middle way, vow to save all beings, 16 precepts.

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today's the truth about to target those words
good morning

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
our life is a creation of our mind
a week or so ago i was listening to npr and there was an interview with a a woman in cocker city kansas
and she was the curator of the town's most prized possession
nick can you turn me down just a woman thanks
and that is a
or rather the world's largest ball of sisal twine
when i first started to listen to this story i've felt that my attitude wasn't very respectful
however one of the precepts that i have vowed to uphold is the precept against snobbery
and it's called not praising oneself at the expense of others
so i listened more carefully to this interview and as i did i heard in this woman's voice a very warm kind and clear
i began to actually have a vision of her standing there next to the ball of twine you know with a halo of bluish white hair and
a twinkle in her pale green eyes
and it was the twinkled that actually pulled me back from the transgression of snobbery
so i think the interviewer was just as enchanting as i was by the story so he asked her to please explain how the ball of twine came to be
and what she said was that long ago about fifty years or so there was a young farmer named frank sober and frank was a frugal man
so as he went along
feeding his cattle he would cut the bits of twine off the hay bales tie them together and roll them into a ball
so as the years went by i people heard about what now was old frank and his waist high sphere so they began to come by with her own bits of twine
and little by little it grew and grew and grew
so i checked their website and as of two thousand and four the ball is forty feet in circumference and weighs seventeen thousand five hundred and fifty four pounds which is nearly nine tongues
after frank died in nineteen seventy four the cocker city community club took over care of the ball of twine and this woman is the chairperson of the community club
so they welcome visitors to come and in fact every year since nineteen seventy four they have a twine iphone and people can bring their own contributions and they wind it around the ball of twine which is now housed in his own little shed
there in the middle of town
but to top this story off she said that they're young art teacher at the local high school who was quite a talented young lady in her own right
made some replicas of some very famous masterpieces so they have whistler's mother knitting ball of twine and they have rodin's thinker sitting on the ball of twine
and mona lisa smiling at the ball of twine
and these paintings are all around the town and the pharmacy in the city hall and the school
so again a warm welcome to us all to come any time we're in kansas we can come and join them in their festival and they said as far as directions it's a very small town so you can't miss it because it's a very large ball of twine
so while i was listening to this story i understood that this story was actually about something a lot deeper and wider than the words themselves
you know the world's largest ball of twine doesn't sound like something good
it may not clearly be bad but is a good is it dumb
very good or even is it's supremely good
well that's what i want to talk about today how that might be so

the mountains rivers and earth are born at the same moment with each and every person
all buddhas of the three worlds are practicing together with each and every person
during these last few months most of us here green gulch have been joining together to listen to lectures about teaching such as this one
and one of the things that i think certainly i learned maybe some others as well is that when we try to listen to these teachings with our usual mind or our usual ears we begin to strain in trying to understand and we we begin to long for some expire
science of insight
the ah ha that never seems to come
but i would like to suggest that insight does not come through the front door of our intellectual reasoning of our rational thought and inside arises from within
you know kind of like the shadow on a sundial or a child's shoelaces coming untied there is nothing to long for and there is nothing to dislike
insight is that things are just the way they are it's just a ball of twine
in order for us to experience things the way they truly are it's essential for us to calm our minds
and we must engage in calming practices persistently and continuously kind of like the repetitive shuttle on a complex weaving back and forth back and forth all through the day calming our minds
calming our minds
and it is our good fortune unlike magnolia trees and
rhino viruses who perhaps don't need to calm their minds that we have these rhythmic patterns within our bodies of breath and heartbeat
and if will attend to them
slowly and quietly will begin to quiet down you know my mother used to place a clock in the box with the baby kittens
like a heartbeat
and myself when i'd hold my daughter when she was little on my chest with her ear against my heart you know she would quiet down and go to sleep
so we're like that
this is a natural state a state of peace
as we practice this mindfulness of the body mindfulness of our breath
this practice has called samanta sharma talk which means the practice of tranquility
and tranquility is the foundation for the entirety of the buddhist teaching
as one of the teachers explained in order to live in the buddhist house which is the house of compassion and loving kindness we must wear the buddhist clothing which is the robe of patience and calm abiding
and i once i was kind of irritated i went into my teacher and i said how is this road going to save all sentient beings and he replied well it may save them from you

so practice always begins with this person right here
right here
this very person this
universe in the ten directions is the true human body
but 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 acts with an impure mind suffering follows them as the wheel of the cart follows the beast that draws the cart
if a man or a woman acts with a pure mind joy follows them as their own shadow
he insulted me she heard me they attacked me he robbed me those who think such thoughts will not be free from hate
he insulted me they hurt me he attacked me she 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
and those who know this do not fight against each other we are here in this world to live in harmony
this is a teaching from the first verse of the dhamma pada one of the oldest collections of vs attributed to the buddha
so allowing the had all of us understand that calming the mind is essential it's the essential element to our mastery of human life i can only encourage you all to take up the practices of shah matter of tranquility
and to see for yourselves how those practices might change your own life and the world around you
to see what a difference our attitude makes
you know right now we live in a world that is rife with thoughts of hatred
when the mind is calm we can begin to notice more and more the relationship between ourselves and the objects with with which we inhabit our lives in how you pick up a dish close a door answer the phone
drive your car
but most importantly we can begin to study the critical distance that we imagined to exist between ourselves and one another between our human relationships this is where the fate of the world ah hinges
so i went so far as to send an email to cocker city kansas
because i understand kansas is right in the bright red heart of the continental united states
and i wanted to say something nice to them something that i really meant
i told them that i admired their curator and frank stoiber and the young art teacher and the entire community for creating a monument
two home and hard work and family instead of the usual monuments to warfare
and i often feel this same kind of pride around taking people to show them green gulch that i felt in ah this cocker city presentation you know i'm really proud of this old barn and i particularly like to bring kids
in here when it's empty and there's just rose a little black pillows in on they love to sit on them which is supremely good because that's what they're for
and sometimes i said well you probably don't want to try to sit for a while though it's pretty hard you know i don't want to ask you to do that all yeah please please we want to do that
the briar patch
i was thinking that maybe if anyone had the talent to do so they could help us make a picture of our students sitting on balls of twine that we could send off to conquer city
at least they'd know we're not any more crazy than they are
so i really don't know what else to do about this world of exclusion which seems to be becoming deeper and wider and the fear and hatred that appears to be growing in our country in this world
there was a hate crime and tam high school a couple of weeks ago did you hear about it
a young lesbian girl student one of their best athletes and very bright student so friend of david weintraub who lives here
someone or several someone's wrote very ugly things on her locker and they threw eggs at her and they went to her home
this is not far away this is our hometown
and can you imagine how frightened you'd be if you are a young kid
to be told you don't belong

i have another friend who was born with a face and hands like a porcelain doll is a beautiful beautiful man
and i found out that he has gun but he keeps under his bed because he's afraid that someone's going to kill him or beat him up because he loves other men or because he looks like he might
so i think it's really important that all of us speak out
and speak up
and make sure that we're not contributing in any way to this hatred and ignorance that's infesting our homes our town our hearts
we have considerable power but not of her silent
i wanted to recommend you all that you take the time to look again at the film the life and times of harvey milk
if you haven't seen it pleased to share it with your family i also want to recommend another video called it's elementary to wonderful award winning film that's been shown and schools where they will allow
it's talking about gay issues in school and it's done with wonderful teachers actually talking to students little kids about what two mommies are two daddies might be like and the kids are extraordinary it's only the adults who scare the hell out of you
kids have to be taught hood hey we know this but we have to keep teaching love
nonviolence sending inclusion
so this is a film done by to wonderful women deborah chow's and helen corn and i'll have it with me at question and answer if you'd like to find out where to get hold of it
so the one thing i've been trying to do myself
and why i chose to love the ball of twine
is to try to look for and to find the patterns that that connect us to one another
you know the buddha's teaching themselves are called sutras sutra means to sew together with bits of thread
so suturing is what we do to bind ones and to heal ourselves our fears and the deep terror that comes when others say we don't belong
looking for and finding connecting patterns is the workings of the mind at peace the mind of compassion
when the young buddha to be sat under a tree upright calm and relaxed he was studying the patterns within his own mind within our own minds
breath and heart warmth and chill anger lust boredom fear and pleasure pain and loss
until at last he arrived at a place in himself called the true human body
zen master dogan expresses becoming such a person in this way
being unstained is like meeting a person and not considering what they look like
also it is like not wishing for more color or brightness when viewing flowers or the moon
and following his enlightenment the buddha went forth to teach and he was asked as he went along his way who are you
are you a god he said no
are you a spirit
are you a human being
no are you a demon
well then what are you and he said i am awake
being awake the buddha accepted his assignment of showing others the passage ways to liberation and he began by lecturing on causality
as the dalai lama said after nine eleven don't look for blame look for causes
suffering is caused by ignorance and self centered grasping
liberation from suffering is caused by awakening from ignorance and by renouncing self centered grasping
in other words not wishing for more color or brightness when viewing flowers or the moon
you know it's pretty easy for me to say those words and maybe it's even not so hard for us to see it
doing it is very difficult
we need to spend a lot of time and much hard work and overcoming our long standing habits said body speech and thought
but as we do so there will become more room inside
for good habits to grow
habits like patients and
tranquility generosity morality
effort concentration wisdom these art the parameters the six transcendent practices of the body sought for
this kind of work requires tremendous courage and willingness to be seen to be heard and to be touched
the work of healing our lives can only be done through intimacy with our most vulnerable and tender parts
intimacy with ourselves and with other people the very place where the wounding began
when we begin life of practice at first i think most of us start off trying to be very very good and we call it whole hearted practice
you know we come on time with her homework done our hair neatly combed and our shoes brightly shined but if you are anything like the rest of us that kind of practice starts to thin
i'm pretty soon we find ourselves testing the boundaries between ourselves and in particular the authorities
so whether it's your therapist or years and teacher pretty soon he started to push back
i think we have to find out ourselves whether anyone really cares or as even looking
you know perhaps it is a cold cruel world after all
the two approaches to practice that i just mentioned that trying very very hard or not trying at all or called the two extremes and the buddha very kindly recommended that we avoid them both
do not practice the extremes not to loose not too tight and he called this the middle way
the one side the extreme view of being very very good as called eternal islam with a very good girl is loved by the very good father forever
the other side the view is called nihilism where the very bad girl isn't love by anybody and isn't even sure she wants to stay around
so no matter what your inclinations might be too loose or too tight the buddhist suggests that we practice neither attaching nor and detaching but that we focus our sincere intention on being upright gentle
light hearted and clear
clear with ourselves and clear with all of the things we meet
he called this way this path taking refuge in reality
the buddhist spent his entire lifetime walking together with those who had been terribly wounded and who had come to him for help
and the medicine that he dispensed was a daily dosage of com friendship and wisdom
from within the safety of such a supportive environment his disciples began to peek out from behind the conjuration of their isolated and well defended selves
little by little the light of wisdom illuminates both the sorcerer and the sorcerer spell
until there comes a day when as glenda the good said to the wicked witch of the north
begone you have no power here
once we can see and be relieved from the boundless suffering that has arisen from our own ignorance and our own selfishness their grows in us organically
a wondrous vow to share this relief with everyone
and then this way we add our own bits of twine to the ever growing ball of connection between ourselves and the rest of the world
that wondrous vow goes like this beings are numberless i vow to save them
pretty big beings are numberless i vow to save them
that i in i vow is the i have a buddha
and in the buddha's i the entire universe in the ten directions is the true human body
and the task is not too great
and the buddha's i will never sleep until all beings have awakened from their dream of an isolated lustful and hateful separate self
so i would like to end today with a reading from the sixteen bodhisattva precepts that we recite during wedding ceremonies here at zen center i was imagining most of you had not been to a sense and or wedding and perhaps not to a precept ceremony that either so
so i wanted to offer you on this
recitation from inside the house of our ritual practice
and maybe it can give you some feeling for the kinds of threads that we used to bind this community together
so as the introduction to the bows we recite with a couple
the bride and groom or the bride and bride
for the groom and the group
vowing and precepts are expressions from the great heart of our human life through our words and by our actions we may enter into the goodness at the core of our being in the buddhist tradition the precepts serve as our guide like the north star as we journey through the and
uncharted waters of our existence of course you'll make mistakes we all do but digest the mistakes and never stop trying to take care of each other and all those who depend on you calling forth all you can have courage love and faith this is the true so
spirit with which we undertake these vows in the presence of your family and friends and with the invisible breath of your wedding vow i will now recite with you the three refuges the three pure precepts and the tend clear mind precepts
the three refuges i take refuge in buddha this is the enlightened nature of all being
i take refuge in dharma
this is the truth of all existence i take refuge in sanga this is the community of all beings the three pure precepts
i vow to embrace and sustain right conduct this is the intention always to practice with awareness and restraint
i vow to embrace and sustain all good this is the intention to make every effort to act with kindness and compassion
i vow to embrace and sustain all being this is the intention to act unselfishly and to serve others whenever possible
the ten clear mind precepts not killing knowing how deeply our lives intertwine i vow to cultivate and encourage life
not stealing knowing how deeply our lives intertwine i vow to be generous and respectful of others' property
not abusing sexuality
knowing how deeply our lives intertwine i vowed to remain faithful in our relationship
not lying knowing how deeply our lives intertwine i vow to tell the truth
not intoxicating self or others knowing how deeply our lives intertwine i vow not to harm myself or others with intoxicants and to maintain a clear mind and body
not slandering others knowing how deeply our lives intertwine i vow not to dwell on the faults of others
not praising so at the expense of others knowing how deeply our lives intertwine i vow to speak of the virtues of others and our interdependence with them
anything even the teachings
knowing how deeply our lives intertwine i vowed to be generous and all material and spiritual matters
not to harbor ill will
knowing how deeply our lives intertwine i vowed to practice loving kindness and nonviolence
and finally not to abuse the three treasures
knowing how deeply our lives intertwine i vow to honor respect and protect the tripled treasure the buddha the dharma and sangha
so i want to thank all of you for coming here today for bringing your small bits of twine to our community into our connection to the world into all things
and i hope when cocker city finds out about our get together that they won't mind a little friendly competition
thank you very much
me or into