Sunday Lecture

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morning everybody

her first of all i want to apologize for the other worldly light in their own today
that's not a result of my transfiguration at ah sarah
there has to do with the
sir very rarely nice people from
doing a program for national public television it's part of the series
on ethics and religion so
we don't usually film sunday dharma talk but we are doing it today
and as i say i have been at tassajara for long stretch of time about a month
where i'm able to do
peaceful zen practice it's really wonderful
and i came back to attend the last night we had a the first
in a yearlong series of events isn't entitled the buddhism at millenniums edge
and last night we
i began the series with a wonderful enthusiastic
address by professor robert thurman which and it was a tremendous rousing standing ovations and him yelling at us all to go out and vote is it
so if you don't know about the series or have not yet
signed up for it bought some tickets i know that the office here has information and is doing ticket sales
this series is i think
going to mark a very important moment in
presenting buddhism
as an important factor in our reflections on the millennium ahead and also the money from this that the series races will entirely go to building our much needed staff housing here at gringotts so that we can keep going into the next millennium b
because as as there's no the housing will fall around our ears probably fall down at her ears before the end of this millennium unless we do something so please do come to the series tell your friends about it
you'll enjoy it and it really will help us
so since i'm back from does our i thought i would do like
garrison keeler you know who gives reports from lake woebegone
does far is this a kind of lake woebegone and its own way
i thought i'd give a little short report from tsr as shinji monastery
so and i know that we have some youngsters with us today so i went to work
tell you but in case you when you grow up ago
to a hero monastery you'll know what it's like
we've had plenty of rain at us are has you have had here
and when it rains there in that can and it's pretty spectacular
by the way i knew are all very brave to come out today i didn't expect anybody at all
the here except the gringos residents so it's nice does really came bearing the elements today
anyway despite the rain the roads been holding up sometimes the road goes out the slides but so far trees fall down on the road but so far we've been able to get through a pretty consistently we're building renovating the dining room down there is it's kind of a wonderful these projects
that we're doing these then projects where you spend three quarters of million dollars and you end up with exactly the same building you had before
except it won't fall down in an earthquake which is something but it looks the same exactly so that's what's happening with the dining room and the work is going well there on schedule and we were quite worried you know that the noise of the work on the dining room would be disruptive to the practice and it hasn't been disruptive at all it's been
the other way around the the carpenters have been disturbed by the quiet
it was there is particularly the framing the subject that the current subcontractors for the framing were very creeped by the total quiet that pervaded all the time no tv no radio no music they were quite uncomfortable and they are you
can see the way that they were looking at all the students as if you know they were like weirdos from mars they didn't know what this thing
but as time has gone by we've all kind of gotten used to it and they've got used to us and we got used to them and of at all one big happy family quite odd family in a way but
but that's all worked out in in the zendo that tassajara we eat we eat all our meals in the meditation hall
so every meal is a formal meal taken in meditation practice and when we eat the food we first of all dedicate the eating of the food to the well-being and enlightenment of all sentient beings and then we ask ourselves whether or not the effort that we have made today
makes us worthy of eating this food
and so far
we have eaten all the meals
so i guess we're doing all right
and they think so too the headset so thank you for i'm very well of the fact we're well aware of the fact that the support of all of you makes the practice their possible so thank you for that and i really do hope and my idea is
all hail will have a chance to come to tassajara for and ninety day training period some time in your life and experienced this life
in then the idea of mountains
and the idea of monastic practice or one of the same thing
and all monasteries in zen all zen monasteries are actually named after mountains and even when they're in cities they still name them after mountains they call a mountainous and mountain that
and this is because of the old tradition in taoism
in which it was understood that
the way to achieve peace and go deep with one spirituality is to go to the mountains get away from the bustle of the world and enter the deep peacefulness of the mountains
just to hear the sound of the mountain stream
and to see the mountain clouds drifting by
is the only teaching that we need
and so happens that tassajara really is in the mountains deep in the mountains very remote
and we have a very quiet daily schedule
which allows us to to really harmonize with the clouds and the stream
and to really make the clouds and the stream our teachers
and they are wonderful teachers
especially the stream big stream goes by tassajara canyon
and you hear the sound of the stream all the time twenty four hours a day
when it rains as it is raining today we actually can't have any
dharma talks all lectures and classes have to be cancelled because between the sound of the stream going by and the sound of the rain you literally can't hear anyone speak
in the zendo so instead of dharma talk we just sit and listen to the sound of the rain and the sound of the water rushing by
so this is the study in zen monasteries is the study of mountains
in waters
also trees
the word tree you know in english up doing is related to the word trust
if we need trees you know practically speaking
but also i think we need trees because trees or a deep
image for us
how the possibility of trust
and steadiness
so you know what if you take her out i want to tell you something to that she should look at on the altar on the left there's a little colorful jar
and it's called an earth treasure jar right
and it's full of healing stuff and if you take the earth treasure jar and buried in the ground in a place that needs healing on the earth it will help
and so the reason i'm mentioning trees is that windy and some others from green gulch would have been very concerned about what's going on the headwaters and i've gone up there are a number of times and today they're going to go up this afternoon's still even with the weather and bury this jar for the healing so maybe take the chill
karen out and and on the way i take a look maybe we go out that way and take a look on the left and the rest of your to and the lectures over police look and maybe that maybe the children could give that gives the earth jar their blessing as they go by that would really be good if they're young strong energy to the earth jar so we can
give it back to the headwaters

sorry to be so boring

great sox check out those stocks

i would say that one of the main things about
going to the mountains the study waters and trees
is too
gain an appreciation for the preciousness of our life
in zen monasticism unlike a christian monasticism
it's always been the tradition that amongst the nuns travel about they don't take bows of stability to stay in a monastery cloister trip for life
they travel about
usually they do a practice period for part of the year in retreat cloistered but then the rest of the year they may leave the monastery and go home to their temples or they may go wandering somewhere
and this was true even in buddhist time
sometimes in asia after many years of practicing in this way monks or nuns may leave the monastery altogether and go back to their temples and not return to the monastery again
and those of you who are familiar with suzuki roshi his books in mind beginner's mind will remember very moving passage in that book when he writes about ah
returning to aig monastery
many years after he had left there
and hearing the sound of the bell and bursting into tears so moved was he by the sound of the bell
and a monastic life is like that and then touching us very very deeply and emotionally
and partly because i think that's because it's not something that we do our whole lives
and so we know that every day every week every practice period is really precious
we don't take it for granted
and through the experience of living in that way with gratitude and not taking things for granted we come to realize that that's always true
our life is just like that always
i suppose also we go to the monastery
in order to practice the abandonment of everything
in the monastery we are nobody
and fundamentally there's nothing at all going on
all our identities in schemes and plans and accomplishments of the past
in the future we live outside the monastery gate before we go in
and some people find this pretty hard to take in the beginning because you know what's left who am i
but after a while when you enter into the life
you find that it's a tremendous relief
in the monastery we have a full day of perfectly useless activity every single day
in the days role by with a profound sameness is nothing is going on
and after a while it feels as if every activity of the day where an eternal archetype
getting up from the meal bowing for service sitting in zazen lying down to bed at night waking up with the bell in the morning
it seems as if each of these things
persists indefinitely as one activity
as no progress no plan no development nothing whatsoever going on and nobody here to experience than nothing that is going on
once in awhile in practice period that in the evening that you know will announce tomorrow morning they'll be a shows on ceremony and in the show signs ceremony all the students come forward and
ask a dharma question of the abbot that's me in this case and abbott has to respond to all of the questions early in the morning before dawn we do this and that's quite wonderful
and we had one the other day and somebody asked me somebody said i feel i'm just going through the motions whereas the heart
and i said to him it's an emotions
the heart is in emotions of our lives if we really just go through the motions
since one motion after another
unfolding for no reason
like a cloud
just floating along
but the clouds rain as we see today
does come down and makes all of life possible
like the zero that is nothing
but whose nothingness makes all other numbers possible
clouds are never afraid
and zeroes
never worry
so i suppose that the main thing about monastic practice is that we're all learning to deeply internalized this life of going through the motions of clouds and waters
so that all our lives we will not forget about this
and we can have a measure
a fearlessness and no worry
anyway that's my little report from tassajara zen monastery
where the women are strong
the men are good looking
and the meditation practice is above average

but so that's just a little report really what i want to talk to you about today something entirely different
i would like to talk about something that
is probably the most important thing in not only a zen practice but any spiritual practice and probably in anything in your life although it's never mentioned really in zen practice because it's kind of assumed
but i thought today i'm writing about this and i thought i would share some of my thoughts with you on the practice of persistence
most of the send texts talk about zen insight which we all like to hear about it's pretty interesting in elevating but
no insight without persistence right
so let me talk to a little bit about the practice of persistence
and the first thing about it is that in order to
practice persistence
i think it's necessary to have
a long view
a long term view
technical difficulties for them now everybody's fine
it's very equipment intensive business this tv business because i should talk right plenty the driven snow
so persistence yes long term view
if you have a short term view like most of us have and you look at things in terms of a week or month or four years of college or three years of marines so on
then you're gonna be impatient and you're not going to be able to practice persistence because your figured i want to see results right away
since you were expecting results soon
it's easy to get discouraged
and one of the real problems of our time i think is the fact that we're all looking at short term results everything speeding up so in your business if you don't do well this quarter you know everything has to change
even when i was teaching school they had this same idea the hander what they call outcome based education
so they would say such and such a student should be able to do such and such a thing by such and such a time
you know such as that skills will be demonstrable
so if you look at things exclusively in this way i think it's gonna be hard to consider things like inner growth
inner maturity in or ripeness goodness these things will not be able to be considered in those kind of ways of measuring results
and these qualities the inner qualities to me in the long run or the most important for achieving lasting results in this world
so in order to practice persistence i think we have to have the view of the bodhisattva
the being who is working on in or ripeness and whose true goal is to work on his own or her own inner ripeness and share that with others help others also to find that inner rightness and this bodhisattva view is definitely a long term view which
is based on a strict agnosticism
in relation to results
of course one can and must make plans and point toward goals in one's life because there's no other way to be human except in a monastery and not do this
but you have to remember that fundamentally one never knows what's gonna happen and sometimes you achieve your goal and it turns out to be the opposite it's achievement of what you expected it would be looking forward
and the longer your view is the more ambiguity you notice in results in the more clear it is that planning that is exclusively results driven is not going to work out
you have to remember basically you don't know what's gonna happen
and i think that if you consider the traditional buddhist teaching of karma will help to understand this idea of a long range view
in the word karma is a very common word know it's probably in in a webster's new college dictionary i would wager although i had to cut up as probably in there i don't know what it says in there but we all think most people think that the word karma so it has implications of fate somehow and reincarnation and so forth
but in in the buddhist philosophy
in psychology the word karma is fairly complicated and subtle word we've been having a seminar green gulch for advanced students studying buddha's teachings of karma for several years now and we're not even scratching the surface and we read these techs and we can't even understand what they mean this is so subtle it is
but i would say more or less it kind of comes down to something like this
that in any given moment of my life
in years and we are presented with a situation
whose roots have come from the past the situation is a given
and i can't change it
but in the middle of this given situation
i now face a choice
what am i going to do with this given situation
will i thoughtlessly allow the worst to come from it or will i with awareness turn towards the good for myself and others
no matter what my situation is
no matter how apparently dire or fortunate it is
this choice is always present it's always staring me in the face with each moment of my life and it is completely inescapable
and i always do make my choice whether i do it consciously or not
and the choice is always decisive
consequences always flow from my choice
whether i can see them immediately or not there will be always consequences of each choice that i make on each moment of my life
that's basically
what the buddhist teachings of karma are telling us and there are lots of applications to this if you think about it
i am presented with a situation whose roots come from the past
this means that i always have to have a degree of profound acceptance
of my life situation
i need to understand and appreciate the past as effective in my life right now the past is right here all of the past is right here
i need to know and respect my roots in my history
i need to know that what arises now is in effect no one's fault not my fault that someone else's fault
it's just what has arrived here now as a consequence of what has been in the past
but then now i'm faced with a choice what will i do this is the part that is very very empowering that should give us a lot of courage to go on and do things because no matter what my situation is the men or how rotten it is
and how limited it seems it is i have the capacity to react to it with clarity and strength or not
there's no way not to this is the whole realm of human effort and skill and spiritual practice and training
and here's where i can definitely do something and i must really do something about my own life in the world around me
with the absolute certainty that certainty that what i do one way or the other is going to be effective something's gotta compliment definitely
if i make a mess until out of my life it's really going to be a mess and it's going to affect me and others around me and on the other hand if i make an effort to work towards the good and really is gonna be the good and it's going to have an effect on my future life and the lives of those around me
one of the questions that always comes up in different question and answer sessions here and everywhere else is doesn't buddhists believe in reincarnation somebody always as
well i don't know what zen buddhists believe myself i really don't they believe lot of different things but i myself would answer that question do i believe in reincarnation my answer is yes and no
to me reincarnation
is a kind of powerful and perplexing metaphor
that seems to be indicating a serious and important truth about our lives certainly
seems to me manifestly clear that there is no little thing
inside me or anybody else that's going to fly out of me when i die and lodge itself in some other body
which will then secretly be the body that would be housing this little thing that flew out of body number one i don't think so
but that the image energy of our lives goes on
and that what we do in our lifetime moment by moment has wide and essentially unknown implications and this is true for each and every one of us each and every moment this seems really obvious and very clear to me and it makes of my life or something of much greater mystery and power
our and moment
then just this and that that i'm gonna do between the time that i'm born and the time that i die
if you have ever had your eyes open
and been able to see clearly enough to actually be a witness
for the birth of a creature or the passing of a creature especially a human being
it will be obvious to you that you are in the presence not have some mere mechanical alteration
but of an inevitability
that your language and logic and this life vision will not explain
where did the baby come from
where did the living person go all of a sudden
truly i don't know
but i respect the fact that i don't know
and that this not knowing the ultimate basic fact of my own existence
is something that is there in my life all the time every moment although i often forget
so the practice of persistence really depends on this kind of of view it's kind of a long term and deep view of our life
we need to know that there is much in our life that is necessary that we simply accept
we need to know that in any moment we are always empowered to act for the good and that that action will definitely be effective in some way in the long run
and we need to respect that are human mind cannot know the measure of any of this we can only have some faith in it and go on with with a bright hope
from another thing that often arises when we talk about buddha dharma together is this notion of cultivation
you know
our western philosophy and science
completely is based on the notion that all of life can be understood externally
we can examine life as an object
we don't have much of a tradition of focusing on the subject
yeah what we do focus on the mind we focus on the mind as an external so we study the brain you know are we collect case histories of patients
as though all of human experience could be reduced to a laboratory experiment or to a social science survey
of course we are objects and this information is very useful and interesting
but we are also subjects
and we need to appreciate that our subjectivity is a realm in which we can work
in which we can make effective efforts
we all have a kind of external view you know who we think we are we all believe in the kind of cult of personality i am such and such a personality this is the way am i was born this way i'll be this way
that's that's who it is
but if we look inside a meditation practice can be a very big help to let us really look inside
one sees that one is many many contradictory people
not just one person
in the whole point of buddhist practice really is that all these many many people
can be seen accepted tamed
and brought into a kind of seamless harmony
and that their positive and beneficial aspects can be encouraged
in developed
all the way up to the point
of are actually being able to be happy and content without illusions
and out of that happiness to be able to actually be capable of loving others and in a very simple everyday way be helpful
so what does not you know a person who has the quality of persistence or doesn't have the quality of persistence we need to understand that the quality of persistence is essential and that it can be developed
and you know in buddhism there's enormous textbooks
about things like how to develop the quality of persistence and other important virtues
and i recommend you read some of those textbooks they're very interesting and we really useful if you put them into practice but i won't go into all that you know details about it but discovery of i'll give you a little muzzle plan and i'm a spy like little small plants in that easy to carry out i have a little plan three things that you can do to develop persistence okay
just in case you're interested so
the first is
first thing you have to do is i always like to give good practical advice of so here's something in the first thing is
you can
think hard and clearly about the disadvantages
of giving into frustration because you know giving into frustration as the opposite of persistence right
persistence is developed in order to be a person who doesn't so easily give into frustration so first of all think about what it's like to give into frustration and think about how does never helps you never get anywhere i'm giving into frustration and conversely the development of the practice of persistence is really helpful
so when you have to go over there a number of times so you got it straight and then you can remind yourself of it in times of need secondly make a careful study of frustration
so you really understand what frustration is in its detail and you can really appreciate it in number three third step once you get those are the to you begin with little frustrations
and then work your way up to big ones and apply and try to actually give rise to the spirit of persistence when those frustrations arise some tests a little bit more about all those three steps
so the first one is the idea of thinking hard about the disadvantages of giving into frustration and the advantages of cultivating persistence
so if you think about it it doesn't take long to recognize that
being overcome by frustration has very little to recommend it
a certain amount of frustration is a good thing
and then you realized something isn't going well as and quite right
and then you look at the conditions in you'd figure out you know what you can fix or make better and then you just do that with persistence right you apply persistence and you make the situation better
and then once the situation is better the difficult conditions are ameliorated frustration goes away right so that's good that little frustration very helpful

being overcome by frustration
that's a whole other thing
sometimes so we are frustrated when conditions are actually
appropriate is that we don't like them you know
sometimes we are frustrated by conditions that really are quite negative and horrendous but we can't do anything about it
or we can only do something about it at enormous cost and then that's another case where we're often overcome by frustration
things like banning frustrated with another person
you know a family member or co-worker who's behavior you can't change
getting frustrated over and illness that you have that you can't do anything about or a loss in your life that you can prevent or replace
or an emotion that arises they knew that you just can't get rid of it's gonna be there no matter how much you wish it weren't
deep seated underlying frustration over the enormous social and ecological conditions that prevail nowadays that are not so easily changed
all these things are examples of the kind of frustration that can overcome us if we're not careful
and when we are overcome by frustration the in frustration escalates it turns into anger or despair or some other form of shutting down
like habitual daydreaming or withdrawal or even addiction
and this getting us nowhere it's entirely counterproductive
the serenity prayer of alcoholics anonymous that says god grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change the courage to change the things i can and the wisdom to know the difference is very wise i think and this is another in other words echoed by the buddhist sage showed today deva who writes
why be unhappy about something if it can't be remedied
excuse me why be unhappy about something if it can be remedied why be unhappy about something as the caribbean in other words just remedy it why why kvetch and
and what is the use of being unhappy about something if it cannot be remedied
he says
so if we think about this and remind ourselves of it in the midst of our frustrations we will not be overcome with
where if we are we'll have some other good advice to give ourselves now persistence on the other hand is very helpful always nothing bad about persistence persistence is not just grit your teeth and tough it out it's a positive quality of just calmly sticking with a steady kind of good humor too
what you decided that you wanted to do in the first place if you made a good decision in the first place to do something then it's good to keep going with it without getting derailed right away hardly anything that's worthwhile in our lives is accomplished without persistence
so the cultivation of persistence is definitely helpful
and giving into frustration is definitely not helpful
and even if you do decide to give up something that you were pursuing
you're better off decided to give it up with a calm mind of persistence rather than the confused messed up mind of
frustration because then when you decided to give it up your i feel kinda bad about incomplete but if you have a good karma you say okay time to give this up fine
so the second one study frustration carefully so you can really understand and appreciate it
usually what happens to tell me if this is true for you to to for me when frustration arises the first thing we want to do is figure out who to blame
that's the first thing makes sense right this is a rotten situation or i who who caused this mess this up in my life
but as soon as you begin blaming even if the person you blame as we quite often do is our self
me especially the person we blame is herself then frustration begins to increase and snowballs
and the reason why this happens is because we are leaping over the actual experience of being frustrated into some other realm of blaming and the frustration starts piling up
so blaming
it's pretty useless
now i understand if you want to something's broken and you want to fix it it's good to figure out you know where is it broken and then fix it that's good
but this is not the same as blaming repairing something and finding out the cause of its disrepair is one thing to do with persistence and a clear mind but getting onto this blaming train
it really gets a heavy weight and a drags you down and you don't get anywhere where the really you know so noticed this when you start getting frustrated blaming someone notice blaming catch yourself if possible
and instead of focusing on the blaming
take a step back and focus on the actual feeling of frustration
what is frustration due to your breathing
do you feel attention and shoulders
do you feel some pressure in your head
the you clench your teeth or your fist
what kind of thoughts fly into your mind when you're very frustrated
either memories that come up or their visual images that come up
in other words what is the anatomy of frustration and it's an odd thing but it's really the truth i found out from experience of myself and many other people that if you take that step back and study frustration in this way without blame
some how frustration comes down in it's relieved
then you won't be overcome by you'll still be frustrated you'll be experiencing frustration which is not pleasant
but you won't be overcome by the frustration
it will instead if you continue to practice like this dissipate
more quickly
you will digest
the frustration and go on there's there's a story that zen teachers often tell on this point i once upon a time when the ten zone the head cook of the monastery went out to cut some greens for the soup
he accidentally sliced off the head of a snake
and toss it in the basket with the greens
through the process of cooking the soap and serving it up into the zendo seems that no one noticed the snake head in the suit and the snake snakehead ended up and the abbot's bowl
and when the abbot called the tensile and demanding an explanation
the ten xo simply grab the snake head out of the abbot's bowl and swallowed it down
no excuses no blaming you just gobbled up the frustration directly
that's what we have to do gobble up the frustration
so there's a second step right study your frustrations the third step is starting with small frustrate to the big ones
if you can begin actually bringing forth cultivating the positive quality of persistence
so like the formation of any habit a bad habit or a good habits same thing you have to start with takes time to build up some steam behind it and you have to start modestly
and of course in order to cultivate persistence
you have to be persistent
yes it's true cultivating persistence takes persistence
but you already have some persistence right otherwise you'd be dead by now
so you have to take that little persistence that you've actually already have that the persistence that gets you out of bed in the morning
it gets stronger
so at this point you know you have really talk to yourself a lot you've got over this and you know that frustration is useless persistence is far better
and that it is possible to cultivate persistence you have already studied frustration very carefully you understand it's ins and outs you familiar with it and what arises in your mind when it happens and you're not going be fooled by that and you willing to digest your frustration
and so now your frustration feels a little bit more expansive when it arises because it's not just quite this is still there is still frustrated when things happen but it has a little spaciousness in there
and you no longer feel that you have to avoid frustration at all costs your kind of interested in using graph frustration and good let's see we can do now
so when you're gonna get to that stage through the other two practices then when frustration arises very alert and you turned toward the frustration
it just stop everything
and to start really
follow your breath
drop frustration and just follow your breath
you could with follow your breasts maybe do something like smile on purpose
three helpful you might one of my sons used to have this practice in the midst of frustration he would smile on purpose
and it would it would help him to drop the frustration skillful practitioner when this sentiment
or you could just work on on purpose relaxing and the muscles of the face which you will notice are quite tense when you're frustrated really just relax the muscles in your face or in your shoulders to stop and breathe and relax
drop the frustration category roshi once told me that when he was frustrated he would close his eyes
imagine he could visualize and his mind's eye
a beach with waves and at sunset and that when he was very frustrated he would close his eyes and he would be there and he would just drop his frustration
letting the frustration wash through you fall away and feeling calm this arise
and you can work on this is good and little tiny things like you forgot your keys you know you get mad when you forgot your keys frustrating just like little things like that like look out for those things this time this week it's going to be what it's all the times i forget my keys
come next week it's gonna be in own i
miss place something else
and after a while as you can build up to where you can do this with you know
you have this practice and so when major frustration serious frustrations arise this practice is there for you and the more you practice it
the sooner you're able to catch her frustration before it's no walls and turn it into persistence all the way up to the point where
doesn't arise very often and when it does it goes away quickly
and instead there can be a general spirit of persistence that arises fairly consistently with whatever you do in your life so this is little window plants three were three steps you can cultivate the practice of person who ever thinks about things like persistence you don't even think about this is a good a good way to
think about it and cultivated
of course
as i said the beginning it's very important to practice these steps
without expecting results
because ultimately the practice of persistence is not that easy when you really come down to it to have an attitude of persistence with the most fundamental frustrations of our life
the inevitable fact that whatever we set up in our lives will fall down
the inevitable fact that we will lose
our life
we will lose all our friends and loved ones
these kind of restorations are not that easy
to overcome
and zen practice focuses on frustration in the development of persistence at this level
and this is why one of my favorite themes which always makes me cheerful and happy is when i mentioned that basically zen practice is about failure
it's about practicing failure total absolute failure sometimes they give talks is and in the students are in tears
go on about this i'm jolly and they're crying
so the practice total failure you know is the ultimate right in the practice of persistence right
total absolute failure been in zen practice we come back to this point over and over again
the fact that
you know right now just the way we are with all our problems and all our issues
with all these built in frustrations of life that come from loss and impermanence in the final absolute vanity of everything human that we would ever attempt to do with all of that
at the same time everything is great
you know and we are all buddhists in everything's perfect in what we do
and the only thing necessary for us is that we embrace this point in appreciate it
give them of course we can't do that so it's frustrating
we're always fall into one side of the other you know either crying over our problems or in a stupid moment of pseudo transcendence thinking that were beyond all our problems which were not as many of the same stories are turning on this pivot point how to see failure as an absolute total failure
beyond any notion of success or failure and were so stuck in on good and bad and since the success and failure
for instance the old zen master deshone and who used to say to his students were they right or wrong still thirty blows
in an hour practice which i think i hope generally speaking is more a lot more gentle than master dijon
still practitioners i think to go through the psychological impasse with failure
and if the practice group and teacher treat this impasse with kindness and respect
it's difficult but it can be ultimately very useful very strengthening
in one will have over and over again the inner experience because it's not that somebody else is telling you this but you have over and over again the inner experience of being completely off completely wrong a failing to grasp the fundamental point in other words of getting those metaphor
article thirty blows whichever way you turn
but finally you see that gosh you know it is so simple what a boob
i'm just myself that's all
letting go of all ideas and who i'm supposed to be of gaining and losing there aren't any mistakes
even the stakes aren't mistakes
in any way it'll never be perfect nobody's perfect
and that's good
because it wouldn't be human if it were perfect
one of my favorite as and stories is when about master jingjing one time like today when it was raining outside
master changing said
what's that sound outside
and someone answered
it's the sound of raindrops

well the master like all zen masters wasn't exactly asking about outside
and so when the students said it's raindrops he said
oh people today are so upside down
losing themselves and seeking outside
but here's the wonderful part of the students said well what about your teacher
and he said i almost don't lose myself
so this is the practice of persistence and it has all these dimensions from learning how not to freak out when you lose your car keys
which has been a useful right on the job not not like wanting to punch out your co-worker everyday day
practical useful stuff everything from that all the way up to
and clear eyed wisdom about the human predicament
so i recommend
the practice of persistence to all of you
and i think that for me one of the great things about it
a kind of a byproduct of it or we can even say a result of it but if you'd think of it as a result that you might mess you up get frustrated when you don't see it
but i think what does happen with a persistent practice and persistence over some time
is that
what arises in you
is a feeling of warmth and love
that which you are persistently you know dealing with you begin to be affectionate with even if featured on own shortcomings
if you persistently
practice zen
you will love the practice
and you will love the people who do the practice
if you are in a relationship with someone for a long time with a good spirit of persistence and work on your frustrations with the person in the relationship you will have a strong feeling of warmth and love with that person
if you take up a profession or a craft or art and you persistently work at that craft or art or profession over some time
dealing with your frustrations in this way and raising up the spirit of persistence you will come to love
that craft or art or profession
so this very simple thing like be persistent you know as many dimensions and wonderful beautiful results for our human life
so i'm coming from the mountains
to visit and to tell you that
persistence is great please consider
the three step two systems practice or you know what make up your own and only those three steps and five steps or wants them
her the no step persistence practice
so it's great to be
we offer visit all of you and again thank you offer breathing this weather in coming to visit us
and i hope you didn't mind it it really does feel like we're on another planet with this kind of lighting does it mean that's nice
okay please take care of yourselves
the or intention
who would

the them
exhaust on
the to then
the as the bomb

and repeated patterns well the first thing
i want to say is
to plead
this is obviously an important issue that many people have and i'm aware that there's much written and studied and disgust and so on about it
all of which only do enough and i assume that all this discussion in these books and so on must have something to it so
that's probably
as much as you know the best input
so given that than just so that i'm not presenting myself as somebody who ah
knows about these things are has thought about them extensively although goodness knows in our community
we spend
a lot of time on because people get a relationships right and and suffering for the joys of those relationships end up being something that the teachers and leaders to hear about so it's not like
and i'm not a monk so i am i mean i'm been in relationships and i'm married and so i have some appreciation of it but i'm so i'll just say the first thing that comes to my mind and about how how it might relate to buddhist practice in the hope that it will be of some benefit
well first thing is that consider the fact that
in the very beginning buddha basically said in effect relationships too hard
can handle it buddhists it right we're not going to have relationships
because it's too hard to practice in have relationships so and in a buddhist or that than you know right away that this is not an easy proposition when needs a lot of persistence it nor in practice in a relationship
but and then i think the next thing is
that one has to have and this is the hard part is i think this is the problem i would say is that
what has to really be trusting
you really have to trust the kind of relationship that's really
no lasting wholesome positive relationship first of all to me would always be some spiritual basis to it because as long as that the basis of relationship is you give me what i was i give you a you are
how long can it last because what i want is changes what you want changes pretty soon you're not giving me what i want and i'm not giving you what you want and we suffer and we finally part was so a relationship based on earth is gonna bit you just should know in the beginning well okay let's have fun and then suffer
because that's what will happen
so let's not so bad it might be worth it you know as long as you know that the beginning you know the problem is we don't know that and so we are disappointed when we started suffering but it but if we know in the beginning well we're going to have some fun and and will suffer and and will be worth it you know then it's not so bad i guess
but if but if i think the relationship that aspires to be
a lot last longer than that would have to have a spiritual basis in other words
you might not give me what i want i'm not give you what you want and still
we're trying to are being together has a wider and deeper significance than that
so that's the first thing and then there has to be a deep trust basically it's a risk right
you like new in the christian wedding ceremonies as align i plight thee my troth
i plight thee my troth in old english it means i risk my personal truth
in order in this marriage i'm i'm willing to risk my personal truth so that we can be together it may cost me that
and i'm willing to take that risk because i trust you
i trust that you will
ah take care of my
what that that might surrendering to you will be
all that i need for my deepest personal truth and fulfillment
which you know is a risk because suppose it's not so
and yet if one is unwilling to take that kind of risk if you're always waiting to see well now he knows is she or he taking care of we are properly as long as your scrutinizing that then of course you won't draw forth from the other person that kind of trustworthy activity unless you trust so there's that there's a
a big risk involved in a sense in a very deep level the enormous risk and so you have to be willing to say it yourself in a way you know like i mean it's an oddball thing but it's really true i think that that the kind of renunciation
that a religious person makes and say i abandoned the world know
and trust my practice is similar to what a put a couple would make i abandoned the world and i trust you
and i trust what happens to us in this relationship that just like or dislike initiation for a religious person is not a simple thing is really you're constantly reviewing and is working on it and finding how you not renouncing and i'm fine to let go and in seven relationship
so then of course
that way you know requires that one
have some clarity about you know your own life and who you are what you're trying to do which may and that if you find it there are these kind of repeated patterns then you have to address that and look at your life and see where do these parents come from and how can i go them and so on and so on but i think this idea of renunciation in risk and trust
to me yourself
what it's all about and we see how rare it is right how seldom such relationships occur in this world
it's not that different in a way and then from having a relationship to a spiritual teacher that's based on trust and pronunciation and resistance over so these kind of human relations ships we really deeply want them and they are transformative and very very important but but they are rare so we
all struggle with can we
do that their lives
yeah tired so good luck know with it in a definitely
i really feel that having an active a spiritual practice in your life is really helps really helps i mean you see how difficult it is and it's not it doesn't make it simple but i would say that without that g know we just have to be a one at a million lucky person to be a
able to do that without some sense of spirituality and like to go back to go back to the cushion and let go on and and work with it's more than i know that you do have a regular practice so
yeah good luck with it i hope it works out really well

well that was pretty much it that the
yeah me that much more to say that that that that yeah i did you know i think that persistence
bill leads to trust
because like
i often notice that like if you take care of something like say
like here we have practice of taking care the altar and so that somebody's job so be it takes on a job for a while will after a while every day ukrainian since ball every day you just the statue or whatever after a while you begin to feel very tenderly toward the altar in the instance born things that you do
oh with work with and take care of that you that you that you maintain and take care of you feel a sense of affection and trust
in the persistent effort over and over you do something
and so out of persistence trust gross
and trust is the necessary you know
so for me
trees are like them and trees oaks that the practice and persistence like trees
totally body that right there are there through wind and storm and rain and everything you know that tree as there and there's something about the nobility of a tree
that inspires me and i like to
i always feel good around trees and i love to go in the high mountains and hike you know it and with a great forests of jeffrey pine and ponderosa pine and there's a spate of figure there's a feeling there you know that you get
in all kinds of trees and they're all different than with the very different kinds of personalities but they do all trees to me express that feeling of steadfastness and trustworthiness
that i would like to feel that i could manifest in my life and i think that that does come from
a kind of steady persistence in practice and like i say all the juicy or flashy or kinds of things are often what we talk about you know inside and compassion and this net but just this idea of persistence and is going back over and over again you know
the same thing over and over you with a good spirit of you know not looking for results and not worry about it or that comes with a feeling of faith and trust comes and that's you know such an essential quality for our practice so for me trees are that and it's just funny that the word in english truly is related to the word
trust and that's why i think we have a lot of students who are passionately involved in the headwaters one of our students is my personal hero was like one of the women who chained herself to this and and got carted off jailed and pepper spray in the eye and all the stuff and she obviously is passionate
lee concerned about the trees why she's so passionately concerned about treat i think it's because of this because you know the trees
we have to say the trees you know there's a human thing in there you know apart from all the reasons why the to trees are important as and that as an emotional thing in there
especially something like old growth redwood you know these trees
they take them down
t analysts it's not the same as they grow other ones in there's no two thousand a year redwood trees that they will harvest for timber it's not the same thing
you know because those trees are tamed in a while trees that has grow up have their feelings steadfastness and and powerful persistent practice so that's why i think people are so emotional about this because it's like an archetypal
thing that's what i feel
yeah gloria
effort to say
planet so there's some permanent accept that things change yeah
change right that's right
i make that transition you're working percent yet
yeah well that's like i was saying it's that's the cardinal thing about the practice of persistence you can't really look for results the practice of resistance means you keep going
even if results are not coming for a long time or are negative or seem to be negative for now yeah that that wouldn't it doesn't change your your your feeling of the practice of persistence you do it anyway even if you know it's a lost cause you know you still do it and if if you if you win that struggle there's a million other one
you know i mean when do we finish the job of protecting the environment or
try to promote justice where we finish the job and and say oh good you know we didn't know i mean it'll be an endless and they'll be many ups and downs and one never knows you know like i was reading about them
england you know in the early part of the nineteenth century it in the industrial revolution they passed the first forward-looking social laws anywhere in the world problem with we will recall the poor laws and the poor laws were designed to alleviate the plight of the
underclass that had started to develop as a result of industrialization and the reason for passing those laws was a liberal law to help poor people in the result of it was that within twenty years or so twenty five years they had greatly increased the numbers in the destitution of the underclass as a result of the poor laws that was what has
happened because of the way social factors when that was the result of it so
so in other words you don't know what sometimes sometimes sometimes something works really well and it has the opposite effect when the one you intended so you can't really look at it in terms of short term results you just have to have this that absolute certainty and face that doing the right thing has good effects in the long run as
and you don't need to be stupid about it but not to not to get completely discouraged when things don't go the way they ought to keep going clearly you know what has to have a spirit to keep going with practice to keep going with doing good no matter what some
a that this is going to be beneficial in that face in itself has its own reward right because if you're persistent and all these qualities of know love and trust in someone arise out of your persistence inside of you in the few in your immediate circle of friends
it becomes palpable but you know what's gonna happen in the world so yeah i mean they might to cut down those trees and that would be really terrible and i am sure
that if they do
i think it's gonna be in all really shocking thing because i'm sure that there will be people who will give their lives
there will be people killed i think
and i think that's gonna be that happens that's going to really somehow take us to another level of understanding important cities these things if that happens i mean i really pray that it doesn't have but if it happens that they cut down those trees and if it happens this is likely that there's some people who will be killed in the process that's going to
be really something you know where we're going to have a international grief you know over of shock realizing what's going on her
the ideally underhand a year
the by urgent
work about the right choice
fail cause you see
with attachment
when you know
yeah right
even a
well ah
in a way in know persistence completely involves letting go because what we're attached to basically is the results right were attached to i'm attached to you because i feel good when you're around you know
i'm attached to this or that because of what it brings me and my life so i'm i'm not i'm not attachment comes with you know future projection and results with the practice of resistance use the ideas you go forward you make effort regardless of what happens so in effect if you're going to practice persistence you have to practice letting go
the moon after moment like okay and i'm going to i don't know what'll happen here and i don't know what will be tomorrow and i don't know how this will go but i'm gonna keep going with so i think that they're not really in conflict
but i think that there is the either raise an issue that is a real difficulty which is
sony and i were talking before you know what's the difference between persistence and stubbornness because sometimes you know i said of a little bit about this that sometimes you actually do you decide to go to do something and you persist with it you know and you persist with a bit sometimes
you have to stop doing it you know the changes right and you say okay well now no the words
and how do you do that how do you know
and i guess i would say that you that that the practice of persistence itself will lead you to that kind of wisdom what what you don't want to do as i say in the talk is not to let go of something out of frustration there were just too hard and i'm
having a hard time with a miserable so i'm quitting
you know my advice to people is when you find yourself in a situation like that that don't quit
don't quit until the difficulty of your situation you can meet it with the practice of persistence and then you clear your mind and once you clear your mind and once you know you can you know where you're going then with a clear mind that comes out of the practice of persistence then you can stop give it up because it's not rational anymore it's not what you want any more things have changed and that of course
happens we don't pick something up and and persistent it for our entire lives know we change but it's hard to know you know am i know my changing because it's really clear and my changing because it's too hard for me and i'm frustrated you know now that that to me is the hard the hard part
but i think real persistence is i'm discussing it does have to do with letting go entirely of having that you'll having a kind of i don't know what's gonna happen mind all the time and is going ahead and that's that's the mind of letting go
yeah there are you doing

good good point how do you know that what you're working toward and that you're practicing prince persistence with is worthwhile
well of course from my perspective that's not so hard because
if you're doing a spiritual practice you have precepts you have various moral teachings that you have reflected on and you have good friends who
well basically call you on it if you're confused
so yes and and way i suppose you'd never know for sure but you have something to go on it's not just totally like arbitrary
and basically what it comes down to is that which is harmful would harm oneself or others is not a positive thing to pursue that which would promote happiness in life for yourself sir or and especially for others would be a positive thing to do and all the moral precepts of buddhism come from that essential factor
sometimes i'm in i'm in you're right it's a little bit can be subtle you know it's not so obvious well as this helpful or harmful i'm not so sure you know and then i think it's a question of how much you've cultivated your practice and you kind of like trust your gut but then of course your god is lesser or more
educated you know sometimes you trust your gut and whoops you know and that's how you learn a little by little you you can trust your compressed your intuition about what's harmful and not harmful but there are substance of guidelines the substance of teachings and stuff like that and you know in a way it's not only buddhism that has more
an ethical teachings it's all a spiritual tradition does and not only spiritual traditions but there's a sense of you know civility and sort of
you know there's there's a sort of a would call it a societal sense of right and wrong even if you're even if your don't have any spiritual practice at all i think that one has a sense that there's such a thing as decency that anybody can understand yeah i mean to go around beating people up and yelling at people and and in being selfish and grabbing things i mean nobody thinks
this is good in no nobody thinks it's good except somebody who are really misguided and messed up you know someone knows the in a way it's so hard
when it comes to specifics though i guess you know this career that korea this kind of thing can be a little bit dicey but then
so you know you use your intelligence you talk to your friends is sort of like in the end
say yes to this and then when it's a miserable failure and everything goes wrong and your life as a measures and whoops
i had a thought while you are speaking of frustration and talk i haven't had chance to think it through clearly so
i bet you have
and it relates to the he knows it's the relationship of frustration choice occurred to me to copy that
we usually think what prostrate choice but i think we're actually chemistry
every time some way or or american
americans need this practice more this because we appear to have more choices
and if you don't have choice not as frustrate a social laws are such that you could never get divorce you don't feel as frustrated as if you think you could learn if you picked the wrong car to buy or wrong t v or the wrong mushrooms here since this relationship frustration choice in the
the choice really matters in a way
yeah i think that is true of me that there is some place valuable to go in that chance
what's what are the virtues of monastic practices that you live a life and which there's almost no choice
that's about as figure you guys me israel as well yes no question about is very easy living in the monster is really easy you know the bell rings you gotta get up you know they'll drag you out of bed and you don't have to do not choose what you're going to do during the day you just go through the you do the schedule everything is so you know what are going to
have to look for lunch don't think about it what restaurant we go to imagine all the suffering that the out where are we going to eat tonight where restaurant we go to arm and i got the suffering and and people undergo you know this doesn't happen at tassajara users go in there your cruel and that's it
it's just gonna grow that kind of cruel that's where you're gonna get there's no choice
and i think that so i think you're right and i think that it really does so so when you practice in that way which you know even if you don't go to the monastery and if you do like
one period as it that's the case right if you do want pure design with this spirit of persistence and other words do this pre-designed and for twenty minutes long and whether i like it or nine the center for twenty minutes no choice for that twenty minutes or that one day retreat or that one weeks machine or whatever it is so i think it is very important to train yourself in the spirit because of
course really and truly we don't have any choice in our life this life is the way it is you know and we don't have any choice the choices that we make our details right when everything comes down to it there's no choice were born we suffer we die is a little joy in their maybe poof that's it so all the same for all
of us and that's it and on the rest of it is you know
what's the difference you know we put on a blue shirt or a green shirt and what's the difference
so so if we realize that you see
if that's our reference point
then we don't get all that worked up about our choices you know like where we going to eat tonight okay well i want to go there she wants to go there but you know really and truly know
what are we gonna do it this food anyway
chew it up into the some disgusting mass and and poop it out in the toilet so why am i going to worry about this you know
so that's the thing and he directed the to to really have as a reference point of choice this nature of existence is very important and certainly if you practice as a monk for any length of time you will have that as a reference point even just you know like us a retreats give you that sense of life
there was something about your third point them in your three point plan
in a mature of and standard rate
about try to you know first approach a small frustrations puzzle
it feels to me like the small prostrations are really all iraq that the being restoration that this kind of an illusion of the frustrations like the frustration of growing old is really the frustration of dealing with an ache yeah
yeah yeah yeah day yeah and in some way it almost feels like
i had reversed of the third infrastructure sms and worked down to the test tax or
i think i'll think about that that's a good idea a yeah i think test you're you're right i mean there isn't anything but just you know the ache that we have right now although there is a very strongly persistent idea that there is something more than and that's maybe what's frustrating is is the idea that we have like the idea that we're going to die
which is after all just an idea but yet it's a very pervasive underlines a thing in our in our psychology and that's what i meant by big frustration as far as the them fix the their respective you know the real frustration with dying this like not being able to take one breath right that's that's right because nobody dies of course
you know you just hear your life and then the next minute
your your meat right
snowed so there's no such thing as death there's just one that is this in the next minutes that death is a concept and so much else in our lives that the big things that are upsetting to us
our like that but they're fairly persistent concepts and one can't trivializing but you're right i would agree with him
many people
say and i think they really they really mean it that they don't mind death say but they mind is you know falling apart and all the pain and suffering and discomfort and and
no awfulness of losing the body losing the mind and to give it all up may be easy
well i think about changing the plan good idea
i'll say like me i say like
some lanka
in the raja method is
somebody over your yes
a new about me
oh that
as the beginning and has
yeah well i don't know if i understand it either but
certainly in tibetan buddhism
ah there does seem to be a much more literalist sick sense of reincarnation as if the essence of one person flew into another person like i was saying that's a ridiculous idea does sound like they're saying that right
however there's one thing that's definitely clear
and that is that it of all this sort of tenants of formal buddhism
the most
fundamental tenet of all is the non existence of an abiding self
that it's a little bit like what roger was just saying that that there is not an abiding self there is a thought that we might have an abiding self which is a very persistent delusion he thought but there isn't such a thing actually what they're only what there is instead is the coming together
conditions to produce this moment which then falls away and then this moment itself becomes one of a number of conditions that then produce another moment and these moments although they appear to be related and are causally related they call it this is like pearls on a string
which are there's no string it's unrelated pearls but they look like they make a continuous whole
so the fact that in other words this is say all phenomena are empty of any substantial abiding self this teaching of emptiness is clear in all of mahayana buddhism and it's a teaching that the dalai lama has taught himself many many many times
so he's clear there's no doubt that he's clear and the pundits of tibetan buddhism are clear on the fact that there is no substance that travels through different bodies despite the fact that the popular teaching makes it sound like that it's real clear that tibetan buddhist doctors sort of
we don't
see the that so so then you say well then know them then what is rebirth what does it all about well it's just that