Sunday Lecture

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To be aware. In Sanskrit it was the root for the word buddha, buddha means the one who wakes up. So, we use this word, this very mind is buddha, the one who wakes up. Now when we think of mind, I think a lot of times we immediately think of everything above that, about right here in the ears. That's a kind of a problem, and it's not a complete understanding of mind.

[01:06]

Mind is actually centered. We could maybe think more correctly, mind heart, mind heart, heart mind. So, this very mind, heart, is the one who wakes up. That helped me as I was pumping gas, I was standing there and I took a deep breath, and I actually, as Zen students, you know, you get into these old habits of eventually you kind of self-correct your posture. You begin by learning how to sit straight, and then people come and they kind of push

[02:13]

you into shape. Your teacher may come by and kind of straighten you up. When I first started sitting, I was sitting about like this. I thought I was straight, right? I'm sitting like this. People come and push me up. I remember going in and meeting Kadagiri Roshi in Doksan. And the first time I had Doksan with Kadagiri Roshi. Other times, people I had met in Doksan, we sat very close to each other, but this was in a big room in San Francisco's Zen Center, and there was a lot of space, so I sat up as straight as I could, and he started laughing, and he imitated me, he said, You know, you're sitting like this. So we all need a little help.

[03:24]

This mind, this mind is the one who wakes up, is not separate from the body that goes like this. Now, the mind that wakes up is not definable exactly, but my own experience is that I have confidence in a practice of listening. The mind that wakes up is a mind that has an attitude of

[04:27]

listening, an orientation of listening, paying close attention. Now, one of the reasons that I wanted to change the gender in the story, and if I tell any other traditional koan stories today I'll try to change the gender, is because I've been finding in my own life that a person who was very important for me was my grandmother. Important to me in the sense of conveying at least a glimpse of wisdom. And I felt that when I was a child I didn't really understand

[05:36]

the dynamics, but in reflecting upon the situation I realized that she had a very narrow space in which to work, because it was such a patriarchal society. My family was a very Germanic patriarchal family, and my grandfather was the head of the family. And I didn't learn any wisdom. I learned many things from grandfather and from my father, but not what I would call wisdom. The listening mind. I think it's characteristic of our culture, by that I mean Western culture,

[06:37]

we put emphasis on knowing and on doing to the extent that we lose the not knowing and the not doing, the being, our own being, which is imminent, and we cut ourselves in two when we do that. So one story about my grandmother and how she taught. And I hope you don't mind, it's a personal story, but maybe you can find yourself in some place in the story. The scene was a little farmyard in Kansas,

[07:44]

and the child, myself, was riding around the yard on a horse, round and round the yard. And it was a pretty new horse, and she was a spirited mare, retired from racing. And my grandmother came out and she was sitting there, watching. She usually didn't say very much. And she watched me, and I rode around. I was pretty content, actually, riding around and being observed by my grandmother, no problem. And then, as I came around, one time she raised her hand, and I stopped the horse, and she said, why are you just riding around and around in the yard? And I said, well, Dad told me I couldn't go out, it was too dangerous. I was about maybe twelve years old,

[09:06]

and the horse was pretty new, so it was understandable that I would be told to stay in the yard. My grandmother nodded and said, okay. I rode around a few more times, and she watched me, and then she held up her hand and stopped me again. And she said, you know, I've been wondering if there's any water in the reservoir out in the pasture. I said, I'm pretty sure there's water in the reservoir. She said, but I don't know. Would you go out there and check? I said, you mean ride out there? She said, yeah, take the horse, it won't take long. Just check, see if there's water in the reservoir. And I thought, well, she knows that Dad said I shouldn't do that.

[10:24]

But she's Dad's mother. If I get into trouble, I have a pretty good argument. So I opened the gate and rode out into the big pasture. Didn't ride very fast, you know, I'm walking and trotting a little bit, and go out to the reservoir, and sure enough, there's water in the reservoir. And I turn the horse around, and she takes off. It's all I can do to hang on to the main. And I grab the reins, and I'm going, whoa, whoa, whoa, things are out of control. We come to a creek across the pasture, and I don't know what's going to happen, and I'm riding bareback. And so all there is to do is hang on to it, balance, and holding on to the main.

[11:37]

And we come to the creek, and the horse leaps the creek. I almost fall off, but get my balance again, and the horse is now running just at full tilt across the pasture. And suddenly, I realize, this is fun. I'm still here. So there's a way of keeping balance, there's a way of riding, where things are moving fast, but it's all in balance. Now, I was still out of control. I should finish the ride. But I gave up trying to stop the horse, for a while, anyway.

[12:43]

We're streaming across the pasture, but there's a fence at the end. There is an end to this pasture. And as we begin to approach the fence, I realize what's going to happen. I don't know, maybe I better stop the horse. I start trying to say, whoa, not a chance. She has the bit in her teeth. And we run right to the fence. I didn't know if she was going to jump the fence, but about five feet from the fence, she puts on her brakes, all four feet go, and I go right up over the neck, over the head, and fall in a heap. So then I take up the reins, and I get back up on the horse, find a stump I can get on, and get back up and get her under control. And by now, she's kind of said her part. She was a little exhausted.

[14:04]

So I go back to the yard, and Grandmother's still there. She probably saw most of this. She says, how'd it go? I said, there's water in the reservoir. And she said, and the ride? It was okay. She said, well, now you can ride anywhere. That was wonderful news. And it was kind of one key moment in which I felt released from the authority and the patriarchal structure of the family that I was raised in.

[15:12]

So having a grandmother who was watching for opportunities to nudge people, children like myself, out of their ruts, very important. And the mind that does that is a mind that is willing to take some risk. How would you have felt if I'd fallen off and broken my neck or something? But a mind that's pretty alert, listening and looking for some opening. Now, in the story of Dame and Matsu, Matsu, earlier on, when she was a young student,

[16:52]

she was sitting zazen. And her teacher, Nanyue, we'll call her Mother Nan, Mother Nan came and said, what are you doing sitting zazen? And Ma said, I want to become a Buddha. And Nanyue said, nothing. But Nanyue picked up a piece of broken tile and started rubbing it. Can you hear that? Something like that, that's what Ma heard. Ma said, what are you doing?

[18:04]

Nanyue said, I'm polishing this tile to make it into a jewel. Ma said, how can you polish a tile and turn it into a jewel? And Nanyue said, how can you become a Buddha sitting zazen? If you think that you can become a Buddha sitting zazen, you're denying Buddha. Buddha is not somewhere else. Buddha is your own mind that wakes up.

[19:10]

Very important. So, when you're going about your daily activity, the mind that wakes up is what counts. And it's right there. You don't have to go someplace else. But how to remember? See, I was kind of busy between the first gas station and the point at which the latch didn't work on the nozzle, on the gas hose. Sometimes something stops us, and that's a clue or a cue for those of us who practice and are looking for wisdom.

[20:37]

If something stops you, consider it an opportunity to really stop. And when something is out of control, like we're riding a horse, even there it's possible to stop. At a full gallop. But you have to be willing to be there. Now we say, we vow to save all beings. And saving all beings has many meanings, but one meaning is that you're willing to be there with whatever comes up.

[21:54]

Now I see people going out the door, so that must mean something. What does it mean? Kitchen? You don't know. The mind that does not know is wonderful. Okay. So maybe I've talked long enough. Okay. Well, that was most of the introduction, I was thinking. But I've come to the lecture here occasionally, and I've heard Tenshin Roshi Abbott sing a song. And so I thought, well, I should take my turn.

[23:04]

A part of, you know, I mentioned in our culture some of what is not recognized, I think, is important. And part of what hasn't, of course, been recognized in our culture is black culture. And for me, it's very important to learn the blues at one time. And the song that I want to sing right now, and actually have you join me, is not really a blues, but it's kind of a folk, bluesy, hoody, Leadbeater. Leadbelly song called Relax Your Mind. And let's see if I can hear it here. Relax your mind. Relax your mind.

[24:16]

Make you live a great long time. Sometime you've got to relax your mind. So you can do that, right? Relax your mind. Relax your mind. Make you live a great long time. Sometime you've got to relax your mind. Again. Relax your mind. Relax your mind. Make you live a great long time.

[25:22]

Sometime you've got to relax your mind. And when the light turns green, put your foot on the gasoline. That's the time you've got to relax your mind. Join me. Relax your mind. Relax your mind. Make you live a great long time. Now's the time you've got to relax your mind. And when the light turns red, put that brake down to the bed.

[26:42]

That's the time you've got to relax your mind. Maybe you can keep that going. Relax your mind. Relax your mind. Make you live, help you live a great long time. That's right. Sometime, now's the time you've got to relax your mind. Relax your mind. Now you know what's important to realize? Uh oh. That there's a difference between singing the song, relax your mind.

[27:50]

Feels pretty good. And actually taking care of your mind. Sometimes taking care of your mind is singing a song. Relax your mind. Sometimes taking care of your mind is doing something very difficult. Sometimes it's not at all clear. When it's not at all clear, then the practice of listening is a good practice. When things are going too fast and out of control, then staying right with it. Staying right with it is a pretty good practice. So thank you for listening and take good care of your mind that wakes up.

[28:59]

I learned it. When would I have learned it? Probably about 65 or something. Something like that. So I've known the song a long time. And he does say, when the light turns green, put your foot on the gasoline, that's the time to relax your mind. And when the light turns red, put the brake down to the bed, that's the time to relax your mind. And there's some other verses as well. He says relax your mind as if relaxing your mind was something voluntary, something that you can do at will. If I could do it at will, I would relax it right now. I would be instantly enlightened forever. I know that trying is not the way to go, because the act of trying is not relaxing.

[30:14]

It's actually letting go of it. That's my theory. I just can't do it. That's a good statement. Anyone else have that experience? I'm getting better at listening to the voices though. I even talk back to them once in a while. That helps too. The voices? Whose voices? What voices? My own voices. No, you can't do that. All right, well, I want to do that. No, you can't do that. That type of thing where I can realize what I'm doing to myself rather than somebody else out there doing it to me. I can say, oh, you really want to do that? Okay, well, if you really want to do that, well, let's do it. And usually I don't want to do that. Not that important as long as you hear me. Mm-hmm.

[31:16]

What's this? Is this being recorded? Evidently. Hello? Yeah, the lights flash when I say something. What are we going to do with all these? Yes. I like that. I like that question. Yeah, just the notion of sometimes you are or sometimes the mind is relaxed, sometimes it's not. And how much do we play in there? How much control do we have if we have any control at all? And if it's not controlled, what is it? And how much is willfulness and how much is aversion and how much is attachment? Maybe we should let some people settle in here a little bit. Okay.

[32:29]

And I think of relaxation as being maybe the opposite of willfulness. Oh, my God. You have a problem? I think that it's also possible to make an act of will in the midst of all the relaxation. So what is this letting go of? It feels to me sometimes that it just comes about, it just hits me. And really, all I can do about it is to mess it up. And I notice that it's happening, then I get in between and mess it up in both ways. It seems to have a life of its own. So this is a question. This is a voice of experience.

[33:45]

In between your experience of going from one kind of irritation to another, when you noticed that you were irritated, did the noticing of the irritation help you go away? Once you noticed it, you were ready to deal with it, you were aware of it, is that what you felt? Maybe I shouldn't have said that. This process of practice is not exactly a linear experience, where you can say, okay, now I'm aware of being irritated, now I'm watching the irritation. What we find is that we have a whole complex of internal formations

[34:56]

of mind, of awareness, of feelings, memories and fantasies. And the events of the day trigger whole clusters of what we are caught by. We can say, well, if you need me, I'm caught by this. The process of practicing, I think, it is helpful. But you almost have to say, you have to give up wanting it to be helpful. If I pay attention to being irritated with the hope that this is going to stop, it's kind of like a little remedy for the irritation.

[35:58]

That's really not the practice that we're advocating. It's not the practice that we're saying is worth doing. The practice we're saying is worth doing is to acknowledge the experience. Of irritation. And simply let that experience be part of your attention, your awareness. If you try to get rid of it immediately, if you even just think, oh, is it going away yet? Then you're beginning to create more division. The irritation arises from some kind of a division, some separation. Maybe many separations. And this is human nature. There's no way to exist. There's no way that we can exist as humans without having some sense of separation.

[37:03]

But in the midst of the separation, we can also find connections. And it's very important not to just be habituated on one side. So if I'm feeling irritation, it's important for me to recognize that. Study it. See how that comes up. There's a kind of a teacher, actually, kind of a guide. What is fundamentally driving my annoyance? What's fundamentally my problem? And we can take that question. Any problem that comes up, it takes some time to study it. And in the process, I don't know that the problem goes away, necessarily.

[38:09]

But the texture of it really changes. And the mind becomes more... Even to say you're aware of the irritation is expanding the consciousness and shifting it slightly. There's a little difference between being aware of your irritation and just being irritated. Blindly. So this is a practice of cultivating awareness. Slightly bringing attention to whatever it is that seems to be the issue at the moment. Now, I say slightly because I think your point is well taken. You can't just say, I want to be free of this problem and I'm going to solve it by studying it.

[39:16]

But the mind is... Even to initiate that, you're saying, I'm going to do this. And there's a reflective aspect in this practice which is then saying, who wants to do it? Who is? Who is? Initiating it. And you sit with that and say, where's it coming from? Where's it coming from in you? It's very important and each of us needs to... Actually, I need to... Because it's already who we are. We're not really adding anything to do this. We're facing what we don't know. Yeah. Yeah, I think I already caused trouble with that.

[40:28]

Someone caught me on the way over here. She said, I'm a grandmother. Yeah. And you created a real problem for me. Because my... What she says, my sister-in-law really resents me having anything to... any interference with the children's adventure. So, you know, I can't just advocate taking risks and barging around doing things. I think the... For me, the central value in the way my grandmother practiced in that story...

[41:33]

...was that she was very observant. She was quiet. She actually did very little. And she was very, very careful to watch what was going on. So... The... I mean, the key there is to cultivate those practices. So, it was observation, communication. Someone had their hand up? Yeah. I'm self-conscious. That's what I like to work for. Working on my values. Self-conscious. But I wanted to ask you about the mind versus the heart.

[42:42]

And when you said that, I was thinking, oh, okay, I have to work on this mind right above the ear. And I was imagining. And I wasn't really getting anything at all. And I wasn't... It seemed weird. And when you mentioned about the heart, I was like, wow, that's very liberating. And I felt like I could go into the past without the pain of the... ...of the trauma. That sounds more true to me to come down to the heart. But I don't want to be in the heart. I don't want to be in the heart. But I feel like I can connect. Dharma practice is a whole body practice.

[43:46]

A whole mind practice. And most of us have some sense of ourselves that is limited in some way. And you may find that if you're patient with yourself, you may find there are certain barriers. It can be, in a way, a pattern of thought. It can be something that's an experience that's kind of crystallized into your psychophysical being in a way that forms a kind of a knot of attention. It can be a way, just something that you've worked out that is a convenient pattern of response or reaction to certain situations.

[44:49]

So this is also a whole life practice. There's no point at which you're finished. So the field in which you work is immense. The reason I say heart is because we tend to think of mind. When we hear these stories, we tend to think of mind in very limited terms. It has nothing to do with intellect or knowledge or some kind of acquisition of information. This practice really doesn't have much to do with that. This practice, I would certainly say, there's no problem with information. You see what's what as clearly as it is. The recognition, though, is that we live in a world, in a universe actually, that is created and dissolving in our consciousness moment after moment.

[46:09]

Something comes up, we put it together in a certain way in our mind, in our emotional field, and we respond. We go off in some direction, maybe based on old habits, a certain kind of idea of who we are, what we can do and what we can't do. We find ourselves out on thin ice, not quite sure where we're coming from, because we're following our own chain of reactions and diminishing ourselves. So whenever we have a word like mind, it's necessary to say, Okay, what's the limitation of the way I'm thinking about mind? And we say, self, who I am, who am I, what's the limitation of the way I'm thinking about myself? And address that. Simply to ask, what is the limitation?

[47:13]

Is expanding. And we have a saying, Dogen, a Japanese Zen teacher in this school said, To practice the Dharma, the Buddha way, is to study the self. And to study the self is to go beyond the self, or to forget the self. And to forget the self is to be awakened with all beings. And to be awakened with all beings is to leave no trace. So there's a whole, this is kind of a phrase, a series of phrases that you might locate yourself. Well, to study the way is to study the self. We need to do a lot of that.

[48:18]

And to study the self is actually to look at what is coming up, what is confusing, what is painful, what is divided in ourselves, what is limiting. And not with the idea of getting rid of it, solving it. The idea actually of appreciating all these aspects. And when you look at the edges of yourself, you find other beings, other people. And these other beings and other people are also included in your study. So actually to take this off is to say, OK, I'm not going to leave anything out. And then the work of the moment is to take care of, OK, what's up now?

[49:22]

And sometimes, you mentioned, OK, relaxing and kind of getting in a certain, you might find a comfort zone. And people do this in their practice. They find, they work through some struggle very hard with some certain things and then break through and find an area of comfort. Like when I'm riding the horse, after almost falling off, there's a point at which, ah, it's fun, right? But that didn't last too long. Sometimes if you're feeling pretty comfortable, it's good if someone can help you by giving you a problem. And also you can invite that. I sometimes ask my daughter or my wife to give me some feedback. What am I not doing? This morning my wife told me that I think I know too much.

[50:27]

I'm going around the house thinking I know too much. OK, well, that's a terrible criticism for someone whose practice is not knowing. The sense of your parameter that I just got when you said more about it was just wonderful. I have one of my children, my oldest son, that's in New York City. To me it looks like he's in a dark hole. And it's been really difficult. But he's a great teacher. And I noticed the last couple of days I'm in a place of annoyance. I wish this would change, I wish this would stop.

[51:31]

Maybe I should just totally let go. But when you talked about your grandmother, I just had a sense of myself instead of being mother. It's like being grandmother. And I think the wonderful thing about grandmother is that grandmother is once in you. That's a really good place to see, to look at. To look at my kids that have grown. In the last 10 or whatever years, I've been trying to let them go. It's been getting better and better. But it sounds just too rude. It's just seen with my heart, seen with my heart. And it's just being there. I just love the story of grandmother sent off on this horse. And she sounded so grounded and wise. And I appreciate that picture. Yeah, the kind of spaciousness you said once removed.

[52:40]

Brings a little more space into the relationship. And it's very difficult as a parent not to be very tightly attached. To the relationship. Of course with good intentions. Sometimes I feel, I have two children. My son is 24 and my daughter is 17. Sometimes I felt I needed to be like an uncle. Rather than father. I think it's partly a problem in our culture. The way we're set up with nuclear families. There's one real limitation. If you look at certain families that have a whole supportive network. An extended family. Or in which friends actually are members of the family.

[53:44]

Some of the weight of the responsibility of being a parent. Is taken up by other members. Uncles, aunts, other friends. Because of the way our industrial society is kind of played out. Many families are left very isolated. And it's really too big of a load on a parent. So as a parent sometimes I found when I'm feeling isolated as a parent. I need to say, I'm going to be an uncle to my children when I'm a parent. Just that little twist sometimes makes a big difference. In how I respond to them in their situations. And I don't feel quite as. What they do doesn't implicate me.

[54:49]

In the same way. If they have a problem it doesn't mean that I screwed up. That's one step. That's helpful. Also. Just to remember that. There are many causes, many factors. That contribute to this moment. This present situation. And who you think you are. And who someone else thinks they are. It's not linear causation. And so if you're trying to help someone. In a way I'm trying to help my grandmother by telling this story. My grandmother is long dead. In a way I'm trying to help my daughter by telling this story. That perhaps we can create.

[55:53]

And not by creating creation. I don't mean by something at arm's length. I think we can create by simply appreciating the value. Of the kind of awareness and attention I'm talking about. And doing that. Can create a field in which children. Who are now teenagers can be wise grandmothers. In their time. So I think telling a story like this can work. In various ways and we need to do this to help. Create a nourishing environment. Can I ask a basic question about Buddhism? Zen Buddhism? Or maybe you're not quite done. I'm not quite done.

[56:56]

That's very good. Go ahead and ask it. And then I'll get to it. Sometimes I get the impression that Zen Buddhism. Is like an extension of social responsibility. Or recognition that there are problems. So when I hear precepts about Buddhism. I don't know too much about Buddhism. But I get the impression. It's a little bit of. Like the conscience. Coming out of a sense of conscience. Which reminds me a little bit of Christianity. Which I have a little problem with in myself. And then sometimes like the story you told about Dogen. How he comes at it. The way you described it. You start with the self. It's an exploration of the self. It starts at a different point.

[57:57]

So I guess I'm asking. It's easier for me to start from there than the other. And yet as I was asking the question to myself. It seemed like my understanding of the basic Buddhist story. Was that he recognized that there was pain and suffering in the world. And then he came up with a way of communicating a way out of the problem. And when it starts there. It's like it starts from a point that I feel really uncomfortable. I think I feel guilt or something. Something that makes it really hard for me to approach it. Do you follow me? So what? No, I think. Where do you start? And what's the fundamental. What's the fundamental beginning point of practice?

[59:03]

And what does it arise out of? Does it arise out of a sense of guilt or a sense of. What does it arise from? Does it arise out of a problem or does it arise out of something else? Yeah. I could say in Buddhism there's no guilt. Easy to say. We say the natural order of mind. Your true nature. Is OK. Is beautiful. So. So part of Buddhism, of course, arises as a response to suffering. And it arises as a very personal. Kind of work.

[60:07]

There wouldn't be any problem with suffering if you didn't feel it. Somewhere, right? Buddha wouldn't have come up with any. Effort. To work with suffering if he. Hadn't felt it impact him personally. I'm talking him. Historical Shakyamuni Buddha. 2500 years ago. When something is not recognized. There's a little. Break. In consciousness. When something is right there and it's not being recognized. There's a little break. It's a little painful. With.

[61:18]

With our relations with each other, if there's some way in which we. Actually can recognize each other. Completely. That's healing. We say it's healing because usually we don't. Usually. We don't really recognize. Ourselves. Completely. We don't recognize each other completely. Now, there's a kind of a dynamic. I think that. You need to be willing to recognize yourself completely. To be willing to recognize someone else completely. Ultimately, see in Buddhism, there's no self and no other. So. When you realize that you're willing to recognize yourself completely.

[62:20]

You're also willing to recognize someone else completely. With parents and children. Often there's. Some division. In my. And with my children, I found. Sometimes it's helpful. If I can do it just for a. An instant. If I can say. I recognize you completely. I don't say that. That would generate a response like. Dad. But when something comes up. And I think it's part of. Being a parent or maybe it's a part of being a person. To receive what comes up. You know, often. You're trying to do something right.

[63:23]

You're trying to. Trying to make dinner. And. Someone comes in the door and they have. Something that they want to talk about. Hey, you're trying to make dinner. You're trying to help this person by making dinner. But here they are saying. Hey. I cut my finger. Or somebody. Somebody. Somebody called me a name. You're saying just. Wait a minute. You know. Cooking dinner. We think we're already fully engaged. But actually only a part of us. Is engaged. Usually we're. We're telling ourselves we're fully engaged. But we're actually kind of lazy. And we. And we think. Oh. I can't do this. I can't hear this. I can't even. It's too much. Sometimes it's too much. But I found. As much as I am able to make it a practice.

[64:26]

If I can. Just turn and say. I'm going to give full attention. For one second. And just say. Okay. What is it? That makes. A huge difference. Sometimes that's all that's needed. Sometimes the little voice that's going. Yeah. Yeah. Sometimes. They're completely taken care of. Simply by being. Completely recognized. For one second. But you can't. Now this comes back to. You can't say. Oh. I'm going to take care of the problem. By giving them one second. You can't do that. You have to actually say. I'm going to give them. My infinite attention. One second. As a way of kind of getting into it. But if you do. Even if you even hold back. Say well. I'm only going to give. Because I'm really. If you do that.

[65:27]

Then. They feel cheated. Just the way we all. Have felt cheated. By someone not giving us. Their full attention. So in this practice. When you sit. First thing you do. Actually. You give yourself. Full attention. Give yourself. Full attention. As you extend this practice. Out to. Out the door. I mean. You can do that. When you're in the zendo. And it's really. A valuable practice. To take. Some time. Make some time. Each day. To stop. And have nothing to do. But. Bring attention. To what comes up. People tell me. They don't have time. To do this. If you think. Well. I have to have. 40 minutes. To sit.

[66:28]

A period of zazen. And I don't have 40 minutes. Try. Four minutes. If you can do. If you can. Find a time. And a place. Each day. To do. Just four minutes. Of full attention. To just what comes up. You don't have to. Solve any problems. You don't have to do anything. But really. Open up your mind. To. What comes up. Settle. Take care of. Your. Body. And let your breath. Lead you. Because the breath. Is always. In the present moment. Right now. Very important. To. Touch. Base. With the breath. Do that. And then. You find. As you walk out the door. And you can give full attention. To.

[67:29]

Someone else. Or the work that you're doing. It. Seems. Like. Such a small thing. And it makes. A complete difference. How your life goes. Yes. If I were in your. Situation. On the gas. And the. Latch wasn't there. I feel pretty strongly. That somewhere. In the back of my mind. As I took that. Deep breath. And said myself. I gotta get back to my practice. I would have said. I would have. Handed. The thought. So that this irritation. Will go away. And. And even if I can. Kind of work it out. To say. Practice. Is just. Something I want to do. All the time.

[68:31]

Regardless. Whether I'm irritated. Or not. That still. Maybe. Is just. Somehow. A surrogate for. Because. I know what I'm not practicing. I'm going to be irritated. If I don't. And so. I just. I wonder. When you were. When you were. When you took that. Deep breath. And you. Return. Was that not. In the back of your head. Somewhere. Or. Or can you. Can you just kind of. Keep practicing long enough. That it. It just really isn't there. Well that's. A trick question. Yeah. Could it. It's nothing to do with. Practicing long enough. It's. of giving up, in a sense, just accepting. And it's so hard to do. And that you may find that

[69:39]

something in your life is enough of a challenge, or enough of a fixed thing that you're pushing against, that you have to just accept the way it is. And, you know, in a sense, giving up in that case is not so good. You know, maybe I should have done... I didn't report back to the service station manager that this thing was broken. That would have been maybe more connected, as I think about it. But what I did in this case was, I thought,

[70:42]

oh, this is interesting. This could be lecture material. I better remember this, right? I'll remember this. Usually, I don't even remember those things. It's hard sometimes for me to come up with examples, because I don't... You know, I do let go of things. And anyway, someone else had their hand up. In a beginner's mind, you should accept things as they are, and people as they are. Mm-hmm.

[71:48]

Yeah, it's like the phrase of Suzuki Roshi's, things are perfect just as they are, and there's room for improvement. You know, my experience is, to work effectively with anything, you first have to accept the situation. You have to acknowledge, you know, just the facts. The facts may be even largely unknown, and you have to accept that, and then respond. And your response may be a mistake, because time moves, you know, and the next breath happens,

[73:12]

and it is time for dinner, and you do have to actually act with a somewhat ragged attention sometimes. The basic recognition is that this actually all is, uh, a field of enlightenment. All this is working perfectly. Within that, there's little waves, little tips of waves that come up with flags of different colors, or people are saying, I hate your guts. And our practice is to recognize that, that's all a part of our life, that's our tendency.

[74:18]

And the question is, do we exaggerate it? In other words, if you're feeling some irritation, do you tend to build something on that irritation, exaggerate it? We have a precept, do not harbor ill will. If you feel some irritation, okay, recognize it, and as long as it's there, it's there, accept it, acknowledge it. But don't build a philosophy on irritation. Don't base your action, your social action, don't base your family rituals, don't base your politics on irritation. I mean, it's terrible, we know. If you look at Bosnia, the three factions there all have a religious argument. There's a Muslim faction,

[75:21]

there's an Eastern Orthodox faction, and there's a Roman Catholic faction. It's terrible to base and justify some kind of killing, even an attitude for a moment, based on some irritation, some actual limit in yourself, some cutting off of someone else. I mean, these great wars grow out of a kind of a diminished view that festers over time, never is acknowledged, never is seen clearly. That's an extreme example, but it's actually not so extreme. It's going on right now, and there's many other examples we could name. Yes, you're first, I think, here.

[76:27]

Looking at irritation again, I sometimes feel a great wave of petulance, and as I happen to really have a strong dislike for that emotion, I do try and examine where it's coming from, but also I realize that because it offends my self-image, there's a certain arrogance in my dislike for finding that petulance in myself. Maybe I do try and examine it and where it's coming from, but perhaps it's just an aspirin on the situation, but I find humor is a great aid for self-importance, so if one can see the ridiculous situation in which you put yourself to feel petulant because someone got ahead of you in a sacred way, it seems to dissolve the situation. So humor does help.

[77:37]

Sure does. Thank you. And as you were saying petulant, you did a wonderful job. It was beautiful the way you said it. Petulant! I can't do it, but I had a sense that you really have an experience of what you're speaking, and there's a very physical, it's kind of a posture, an internal sensation. It's very good to get to know what your experience is, whether it's petulance or some kind of anger. What does it actually feel like? What's the texture? Really get to know it, and where does it begin in your body? Where do you first notice it? I mean, there may be a thought, and then you feel a little twinge right over here. It may be very subtle, but we do these things to ourselves. We have certain patterns,

[78:42]

and we build it kind of into our body. We have a certain feeling, and we may associate then this feeling with a particular experience, or even another person. Every time I see that person, I feel... It's very important to see how we do that, because this all is preventing us from seeing that person. Really, really seeing that person, because we have this certain little bias, certain little preoccupation. Someone had their hand up. When does sometimes the word acceptance, does it truly communicate as much as recognize and acknowledge seems to be closer to it? So often, passivity is associated with acceptance. I was wondering what you thought about the meanings there.

[79:43]

Certainly, one does need to live with certain things for a time. In that sense, there's also acceptance as well as recognizing. But does it convey passivity? I mean, in reality, is that the way to use it? It sounds like it does for you, right? That's reality. So yeah, of course, the words are somewhat clumsy. I find that too, that acceptance tends to have a kind of a very flat, or sometimes a resigned quality. I think you're... Something just happened.

[80:55]

I beg your pardon. It's to do with the tape. There was a concern whether this was your lecture on the other side. And evidently, from what we understand, it wasn't, but perhaps it is. I don't know. Yes. The X-Factor. Many, many unknowns. You didn't want to hear it again anyway. No, I thought... I was... Anyway, thank you. You haven't spoken yet. Yes, you're... Yes, please. I just wanted to thank you for expanding on the limits, the cultural limits of the koans by

[81:57]

refusing to stop the next time. I was going to ask about that. Yeah, how did that... Was anyone offended? Okay. I was getting ready to be offended, because I thought you were going to say, oh, because today is woman's day or something. And I was getting ready to get mad. Okay. You know, one day out of the year, you know, big deal. I was getting irritated and I was getting ready to get irritated. Yeah, that's an interesting point. I think sometimes... Sometimes I've seen people who I felt kind of were ready to get irritated.

[82:59]

Give me any reason at all. Or maybe many of us that walk around that way sometimes. I had a teacher, Harry Roberts, Yurok Indian, who's trained as a shaman in the Yuroks, and for a while he was a consultant here at Green Gulch before he died. One day he was sitting here in this yellow Ford pickup truck right over here on the driveway, and I came walking around the corner and down the road, and he was watching me, waved me over, and he said, why are you walking around like that? I said, like what? He said, like you don't like Mother Earth. Immediately I realized, you know, I'm just got all this stuff going on, and I'm not really paying attention to how I'm walking on the earth. His teaching was, he called it walking in beauty.

[84:04]

He said, I just want you to see how beautiful everything is. And that's still possible. I almost didn't make it to lecture today. I was driving up over the hill and came around the turn and it was just spectacular. The sun lit up the green hillside, freshly washed flowers and grasses. How splendid. I thought, I just have to pull over to the side here. Then I remembered, oh, I have to give a lecture. Yes, you in the back. There's a perfect segue into asking you about your interpretation, the Buddhist interpretation of the big G, of God, of what's beyond our intellect and our ego. I have this eclectic blend of yogi and Hinduism and Buddhism, and I appreciate the Hindu way of

[85:13]

looking at the ego and the heart, the differentiation, and that the heart is God, and that to live out of that is in relationship to living out of the ego. And you spoke about that wonderful seeing of what you saw when you drove to that place, and I immediately clicked into something that has clearly gotten to me. It's just not the intellect or the ego. I don't read of the G in any Buddhist literature, and I'm trying to get a grasp for how you feel and how you live, what's beyond yourself, what's beyond the mind of the ego. You know, when you practice, if you're not practicing the ego, what are you practicing? You're not practicing the mind. Do you drop down into something? Do you drop down into grace or

[86:14]

do you drop down into your heart? Do you experience God? Sure. I don't think I've ever heard anybody here ever say the big G. Big G? How do I say it? Do I say big G word? It's an interesting kind of use of language, historically, I think. You know, the Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha, would not speculate. So if people would ask him about God, he would say, that's not really what I'm here to teach. It's not particularly useful.

[87:17]

What you need to do is practice liberation from the self. Liberation from the self is actually recognizing that the self, as you think of yourself, is not real. And that, so there are, of course, many connections, would say, certain, I mean, there's a whole Hindu pantheon of gods, and some of those gods enter Buddha's stories, but not as the big G. They enter the stories as gods. There are, and I think there's an interesting time now, as this Buddhist culture meets Western monotheistic culture, in which there's a big G. I mean, it says right on our money, right?

[88:23]

In God we trust. So that's very important, if it's right on our money. So I wonder, what is that, that we trust? And the whole lineage of Zen Buddhism has always been able to say, anything you put up as a concept, so we say Buddha. Sometimes we hold up Buddha as a concept. And actually, I didn't get to the next, the corollary story today was, not mind, not Buddha, which is also saying that the mind and the Buddha, as you conceive of it, is inadequate to reality. The reality is beyond your conception. So Buddhism has said, don't get caught in the concept, the big G concept,

[89:33]

the Buddha concept, the self concept. But there's a very interesting point, which I think goes very deep, is related to how we understand causation. I don't really have time to get into it, but the fact that we tend to think of causation originating from a point in the West. The big G created the world. God created the heavens and the earth. The understanding of the Buddha dharma is that there's no single source that can be attributed. Causation is a co-condition. There are multiple causes that are interconnected. So we never go back to saying, okay, pick one, or name one. Sometimes we say, okay, we'll name a

[90:43]

cause, but it's tentative. Name a source. Okay, there's a source, but it's tentative. So we also say, even when something really wonderful happens, like in the Diamond Sutra, the Buddha brings countless beings to enlightenment. At the same time, it said, no beings at all are brought to enlightenment. Why? Why are no beings brought to enlightenment? Because to conceive of a being, to conceive of these beings, is really to make a mistake. These beings have to be understood as no beings. If they're understood as no beings, then we can say the Buddha brings beings to enlightenment. This is recognizing that the causes of this holy experience that we know, whatever we can bring

[91:48]

into our consciousness, these causes are multiple. So it's called Pratyekasamuppada in Sanskrit. Pratyekasamuppada means conditioned co-arising of phenomena. So as the phenomena arise in infinite directions, in all four dimensions, and of course, we can theorize other dimensions as cosmologists are doing, but actually really, we can only really, I think, clearly see four dimensions. This all comes together in one point, which is our moment of consciousness. Okay, this moment of consciousness, then you see, oh, okay, you can see past, present, and future from the point of view of the present. Past, present, and future actually only exist

[92:51]

in the present. Now, some people would say, okay, that's agnostic gospel. So I think there's an ongoing dialogue with that in some circles that will be interesting. I heard in the speech, the Dalai Lama, I didn't hear him talk, but I saw on the paper, somebody reported saying the Dalai Lama said that the West is solidly Christian, and it's going to stay that way, something like that. I don't know if he said just Christian, or he said Christian, Jewish, Muslim. These are the three big religions of monotheism. And I wonder about that. So here I am, I'm a convert to Buddhism. I usually don't think of myself that way, but when I see that kind of statement, I think, okay, I'm,

[93:55]

having recognized some of the limitations of monotheistic culture in my own experience, I'm finding nourishment in Buddhism. Not mine, not Buddha. And this practice, that's very, very real practice. Yeah, that's a long, short answer. Is that, any follow-up to that? It seems like it could be an ongoing conversation. Okay. Yes. I'm back to Harry Robertson, the Native American Shaman. Native Americans see the mind as being located in the heart, instead of in the brain. And it's really interesting to think from that

[95:00]

position, like you're thinking from your heart. It really changes the way you see the world. That's very important. Yeah. How long do we go here? We passed. You're gone. What? You're gone. I'm gone. All right. I'm done.

[95:31]

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