Sunday Lecture

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when we have a new in on this week was the first week best everybody members and jordan who used it
did you know he got so good at making announcements step now he's going to be the vice president for fundraising and development
so nina
it's taking over for him
and
today there doesn't seem to be as many people as usual
must be the people heard somehow got the idea that i was going to get a long boring lecture today which is true
i don't know how they knew that because i didn't tell anybody i was going to let you know in the beginning
but somehow and they psychically realized david
how bay to breakers her
when a back
ah how many people here i've never heard me speak before
yeah a lot of people always lot of new people
well so i mentioned that once in awhile i don't
i give a regular dharma talk and instead i
present an essay that i've written which is usually long and boring because this is threaten
to be read it's more dense
so that's what i will do this morning so relax
enjoy yourselves if you miss some it don't worry it's not that important just fallen follow your breath and should a word or to penetrate that's nice
and if not like i say just enjoy being present
so the title of why essay is
do you might do you want to make something out of it
do you want to make something out of it as zen meditation and the aesthetic impulse
so i know that we have some artists in the audience and those people will made me appreciate this but hopefully it will be of benefit to the rest of your little bit too
so do you want to make something out of it
allen ginsberg begins his essay entitled meditation and poetics with this paragraph
it's an old tradition mrs allen talking it's an old tradition in the west among great poets that poetry is rarely thought of as just poetry
real poetry practitioners are practitioners of mind awareness
or practitioners of reality
expressing their fascination with a phenomenal universe
and trying to penetrate to the heart of it
poetics isn't mere picturesque dilettantes islam or egotistical expressionism for crave and motives grasping for sensation and flattery
great center
classical poetry is a process or experiment a probe into the nature of reality and and the nature of the mind
so that's what allen says about poetry and then the poet full well and i says similar thing in a pond where he i didn't look it up but i remember something like he says i don't want to be just another pretty poverty boo
i want to be a world he says
this making a very similar point in another way
so for me this sense of making poetry or i would say it goes for any art
as an heroic and grandiose undertaking
who's cost and goal is everything
sounds just about right
providing that you don't get too excited about it
seeing it as anything more or less than any human being is doing or would do if he or she reflected for a few minutes about what is a worthwhile and reasonable way to spend a human life so number one
art isn't just another job it's an endless exploration
and as with any exploration there are proliferating avenues of pursuit and no final successes
and number two art is a necessity for humans and we all need to find a way to participate in it
the reason we need arts so desperately i would say is that the world and we ourselves persist in being made
exhausting and troublesome in the madness of the world and the madness of ourselves
what is made
always has the quality of limitation or unsatisfactory this
madness captures us into a vicious cycle
of desiring more madness
or better madness
and all the madness we get only wants us makes us want to make improvements or additions so aren't making is an anti making
it's an anti making because art is making what is essentially totally useless
that's what makes it art
that it's useless it doesn't do anything
and that is is something inherently unmade and this is the source of the liveliness of art any piece of art stairs us in the face with the fact of it's being what it is uselessly
it is a record of a person's commitment to the confrontation with the made
a confrontation when is bound to come away from second best
and yet one does it
and reaches a peak of exaltation in the doing of it
in the artwork facing the viewer or here is a phenomenal testament to that useless confrontation
which by virtue of its supreme failure
calls our life into question
if you really look at a piece of art or hear a piece of music or poetry or see advance you walk away wondering about your life
and this is what these art objects are supposed to do
this is why artists makes such enormous sacrifices
in the doing what they do because this doing is the undoing at least temporarily
of what has done them in
in their lives and would do them into the point of death or madness if it weren't undone
once in awhile in the process of making art and all new artists in the audience know what i'm talking about
now one of the qualities of artworks that has impressed me the most over the years is the fact that artworks have it is tremendously unstable nature
the artwork is it's physical presence
the dancer or the paint or the words of the poem notes of the music
and yet at the same time it isn't exactly that
if you are hit in the face by a plank wasn't for instance
you will definitely be hit by the plank and you will feel the effects of it no matter whether you believe in planks or not
no matter whether you are in the mood for this sensation of pain or not you will feel it anyway
but if you make an effort to experience and artwork you may not experience anything at all
you may look at it and it may strike you as meaningless
you know meaningless hunk of this or that hardly worth the effort
or the you know ten dollars and ninety five cents for the ticket
or one day you might look at it might strike you as profoundly moving
and the next day it might look at it and i'd seen like what did i see yesterday it was so important this is ridiculous
imagine
a great painting
which has sent from one gallery to another
for a show
of all the people that will come into contact with that penny
movers curators
technicians who hang the work security guards
and the perhaps thousands and thousands of people who will file by to see it of all these people all these hours of people contact
only a very few
very very few will actually experience this piece of canvas and paint as a work of art
and as i say even those few might come back later and not see it again than when they came the second time or even if they could see it the second time and they could explain what it was they saw they would really be only talking about a memory
the actual experiencing of the painting
as a work of art will occupy only a few seconds or minutes
in the hours and hours and hours and hours of human contact with the work
in other words what i'm saying is that actual experience of art is extremely rare
and it's fleeting and it's an unstable
the poet paul valery said of poetry and the same would be true of art i think that it is completely irregular he says completely irregular inconstant involuntary and fragile and that we lose it as we find it by accident
to me it is a fantastic thing that people play such enormous value on something like this something so evanescent
that we are actually hard pressed to say whether it is actually exists or not
i suppose you could say that we value our to some extent just that have a habit you know centuries everybody thinks are it's important so we agree
when another reason i'm sure we value it is because art has a very strong aspect of non-art which is to say like anything else it can become a bot and sold and we respect things that are worth money
and it's worth as much money as anything probably even more more so because some art
there's even more subject to sudden economic inflation than than a software or gene splicing stock so we really x respect you know well as painting is worth half a million dollars at the auction you know two million homes four point four million dollars so we respect that
but at bottom regardless of all this there remains a mystery
of the supreme uselessness of art of the shifting and unmade quality of it and of the tremendous need that we all have for the unmade and undone
no matter how unstable or accidental our experience of it may be
this is a precious experience and i think we all recognize this even though it's rare maybe some of us have never had that experience or so only for a few moments in our lives
so now i would like to go a little further in considering what this experience of the unmade this of an artwork might be
in ordinary waking life
we do make clear and hard and fast distinctions between different things
and this distinction making his of the essence in perception and thought
all day long we have perception and thought piling up one thing on top of the other until there is a great weight of them
and we define ourselves in the same way among our within our perceptions and thoughts
and we get buried in the process
life is very practical and very weighty
and there's a great deal of the conflict in life that comes from the bumping into each other or the various perceptions and thoughts which cannot occupy the same space at the same time
so there are decisions and considerations
there's a great desire for organization
yeah there's always less organization all the time because as soon as the world is organized along comes another one and then it gets disorganized immediately
and then we have the need to make something else to counteract what has just been made
and i think we all feel the weight of this pulling us down
i have a persistent thought that the problem of being human is always more or less the steam in different historical periods
but it is tempting to imagine
that in our current historical period
all of what i'm saying is more true the seems to have been in the past there seems to be simply more going on more piling up more distinction more differentiation more cry for organization of things that will not be organized
the work of art by contrast is organized and therefore peaceful
there may not be on the surface of it seemingly so much organization
but in are experiencing it in our appreciating it if we are fortunate enough to be in a situation of having such an accident befall us were a few moments
how organized
how radically organized is the artwork
an artistic form
is the expression of this sort of organization that is essentially and and pilot a taking a part of the distinctions that make up our lives
the work on piles things and undoes us
in the in the process
and that's why the question comes up we become undone so we we we wonder you know who are we
what are we doing here
and this is a question that it's essentially and undoing of us question because we can never answer that question
so it keeps us fresh
and it allows our life to fully enter itself
so what do i mean exactly by organization
i suppose i mean organization as a feeling of connection or inclusion or completion
a feeling of that that we get beyond thought
in the light of the experience of the work of art
the world makes sense
because it is no longer made up of weighty and disparate parts
it is a world of nuance in shimmer
and connection and what i would what i would say we call beauty
is that though the word beauty as come to me pretty i don't think it really means pretty it's that
accidental sensation
before we have a chance to think about it and therefore make something out of it
that sensation of connection unmade this uselessness perfection
freedom
again ah valerie says speaking of experience of poetry but again i think it stands for any kind of art
i recognize it in myself by this
that all possible objects of the ordinary world external or internal beings events feelings and actions while keeping their usual appearance
are suddenly placed in an indefinable but wonderfully fitting relationship with the modes of our general sensibility that is to say that these well-known things and beings or rather the ideas that represent them somehow change in value of they attract one another they are connected in ways quite different from the ordinary they become if you will permit the is
depression musical ized this nicer musical eyes resident harmonically related
so what valerie is describing here is a trance-like state almost that is more real to us when we experiencing experience it then the real world that we live in everyday
it is a state that is oddly brought on by formal arrangements of ordinary stuff in such a way as to discrete the ordinary stuff taken apart which is so startling when we actually notice it that we can become literally entranced
the jesuit poet great english poet gerard manley hopkins
once hypnotized the duck
with nothing but a white chalk line drawn on a black table
we held the duck down and stay on the table and put the duck's head so that it could watch the chalk line
and then he lifted his hand and the duck
didn't move
and he wrote about this he said in his journals
they explain
that the bird keeping the abiding off scape of the hand pressing her neck fancies she is still held down and cannot lift her head as long as she looks at the chalk line
which she associates with the power that holds her down
this duck lifted her head once at once when i put it down on the table without chuck
but this explanation seems inadequate it is most likely the fascinating in stress of the straight white stroke the hypnotized the duck hopkins said
in stress is a term that hopkins or coined
to refer to the potentially torqued nature of anything in this world purely perceived without definition and wait
and he considered into interest to be no evidence of the existence of god that you saw in the world around your interest things appeared just as they were and this was absolute proof to him of god
so his idea was that in this case the duck was mesmerized not by becoming habituated to the hold of a hand on her neck
but by virtue of her utter fascination
with the chalk line as such
so for us art is that chocolate
it points to the in stress to use hopkins term of each thing in our perceptual world
i said a moment ago that the experience of art is an experience of connection and i said beyond sought
in the curiosity of this is that the experience as a human experience
can't take place anywhere else but in thought or perception
and this is exactly why it's so hard to pin down
what are not work actually is
and it is in its unputdownable nature which is always the case but lately more appreciated and examined than before that probably accounts for the history of art in the century in our century our awareness of this nature of art
and it's been the job of this century i would think i think in terms of are making and thinking about art to point out directly and bodley that doubt an accident lies at the heart of what art has always been
and then pointing this out and then thinking about this one comes very close to the boundary
between art in life
and the boundary itself becomes very cloudy
the word art the word life these words become quite indistinct quite imprecise
one could substitute for both of them simply the word reality as ginsburg and says or simply being
that the job of all art or living is to appreciate and authenticate what is
our life simply as it appears
to serve as a reminder as instance or exemplar of that and viktor shklovsky the russian literary theorist who wrote at the beginning of this century said very famous in a very famous one liner which is to make a stone stony that is the purpose
s of art
so why don't we appear experience a stone as story anyway
why do we persistently forget
to come alive to the world as it is right in front of our faces all the time
why do we have to go to all this trouble
of making art so that we can return to where we are and have been all along
and i think it's because of the way that thought works in us
to be present in the midst of are being what we are is a pure sensation that we can never exactly apprehend
it is as i was saying about an artwork the sensation of actually being alive now is fleeting and ungraspable
and thought is always coming along a second afterward
telling us something about it singing a song of the past
thought certainly includes the aroma
of are being alive of the feeling of are being alive
but it also includes so much more that is made so much of doing and piling up
that attempts us necessarily away from ourselves
to find within our thought and perception for perception is already thought
i settled free and unmade place where it takes real effort and this is the effort of art again to quote valerie these quotes are from a terrific essay he wrote many years ago called poetry and abstract thought
he says in there there is no other definition of the present
except sensation itself which includes perhaps the impulse to action that could modify that sensation on the other hand whatever is properly thought image cent of it is always in some way a production of absent things
thot thot is in short the activity that causes what does not exist to come alive in us between voice and thought between thought and voice between presence and absence oscillates the poetic pendulum
so i confess that all of that that i've been saying here is i guess a zen perspective on art
although those of you know me know that i have a very strong resistance to the idea of his own perspective on anything
for reasons that probably are obvious anyway from what i said so far
so take these words in perspective with a grain of salt
i didn't understand them as just shorthand for a way of looking at the world that is undefined
because we can't get away with that
one always has to be someplace
and when always will have to be called by some name
so we will always have to use terms somehow
in the hope that we will always remain willing to have our terms deconstructed right before our eyes and to find their deconstruction a minimal
in the practice of zen meditation
we are not trying to do anything
other than to undo everything
and simply be present
as directly as possible with all phenomena that arise
this necessarily involves a moment by moment letting go of definition perception and thought
now don't get me wrong i don't mean that we are trying to attempt to become stupid
in a blank minded and unthinking as if we would try to imitate a stone or a blade of grass this would be of course impossible
it is not what we're trying to do in any case
rather we would try to let the world come and go including thought
as it naturally does
without trying to stop it at some arbitrary point
our on
conscious or unconscious making and say this is the world
which is course is what we do all the time
this is what causes us to make a world up pile it up as i've said very high till it becomes quite shaky and we become the victims
of that shaky pile that will eventually fall on our head
in zen meditation
by contrast we happily enter
a radically simple
even an absurd situation
just sitting there breathing
and we have the possibility of see how this troublesome pile up of a world is made
and although we may not be able to do anything at all with this meditation practice
it does serve as a kind of training in a way helping us by dint of sheer familiarity
to become directly used to the actual situation that prevails more or less all the time within being
meditation practice is a return
over and over again on every moment
do that particularly odd situation
which we can see as time goes on exists in the middle of any situation no matter how simple or complex
zen master dog and wrote a very important texts called ginger call on which i translate as a corn of the present moment
in this text he kindly extends the notion of call on
or as we all know in zen koan is a fundamental kind of meditation object
he extends the notion of coal on to are simply being within the present moment of our lives as corn
a classical zen koan and presents us with an insoluble problem
the only way to extend ourselves into that problem completely is to stop trying to solve it in other words to stop trying to make something out of it
and simply to allow it to be fully what it is
which would that would mean necessarily that we will take it so personally that it would become more entire life
the the system ah
zen coin
in in enjoy jekyll and in his text he points out that we do not need to take on some old saying of the masters in order to confront directly the issue at hand in fact each moment of our lives if we would let go of our definitions and protections and illusions and lean fully into
every moment of our lives each moment begs the question what is to be done what is this moment after all what is our life after all
so here's a passage from ginger colin and i'm sure many of you have heard before very famous passage probably the most quoted saying a zen master dogan to study buddhism is to study the self
to study the self is to forget the self
to forget the self is to be confirmed by all things
this confirmation is the dropping off of body and mind of one's self and of all others
it is enlightenment that dissolves all its own traces
in this tastelessness goes on and on endlessly
so to study buddhism is to study the self
this means that one looks deeply and honestly at all points
at the way in which one's life actually does unfold cannot at the way in which we would think it should on folder project that it's unfolding but actually the way our life really unfolds when one looks is aware of it fully interests it fully allows it to be so
and this is always interesting
and it always provides a path forward in our lives no matter what it is
then our life is presenting
that anything should arise at all is already a tremendous miracle
whether we what we what is arising is something we like or not
so there no judgement or resistance necessary
and even when there is judgment or resistance there is a settling into that with appreciation and ah
to study the self is to forget the self means that once you practice in the way that i've just been seeing your definition definitions and hedges against yourself fall away
and you can be perfectly happy going on with your life simply living
without any need to make anything out of it
to forget the self is to be confirmed by all things
allowing things to be as they are without any protection is to appreciate always materials at hand
in everyday living as in art-making
which might not be so different actually
there's a sense of form and presence always in each and everything that comes forward in the present moment
in the zen tradition you know we have a form for walking and standing and sitting in bali and so forth and this extends to everything is a way
of handling a pot
a way of greeting a friend a way of looking at a cloud
to allow those things to come forward
dropping body and mind of self and others
the sons
there is in and foreboding but i don't think it's as drastic as it sounds
i think it's just expresses the freedom that one would feel
in the renunciation of everything and letting everything go that comes
being willing to accept what comes now and let it go
without any need to hold onto life now or in the future and in living that way to see that everything and everyone
shares in this way of life already
in the last line enlightenment dissolves it's traces and the tastelessness goes on endlessly
this sense of life
as anything distinctive as anything different from anything else
it doesn't look like anything does it feel like anything special
there is the sense that in the useless and unmade space and time of actual living
there is a subtle aimlessness in aimlessness that is delightfully available to everyone all the time
so i take this vision of life that dog and speaking of here to be also descriptive and similar to the process of art-making anyway the idea that i have of art-making which i guess is basically a religious sense of it
it
and i don't want to conflate art and religion and say that the same thing
they're not the same thing and yet i suppose i have to admit that it is inescapable that i am saying
now what we call the aesthetic impulse is that bottom pretty much the same of what i to as what i would call the religious impulse and certainly the history of and the cultural history in a particularly in japan would attest to the close relationship between these two activities that's one reason why i think a lot of people are
interested in because it has that sense of the aesthetic impulse that it's bottom at the bottom of it

in so far as both art and religious practice always have to manifest in the world as we know it
and in particular things
both are practice and religious practice have serious problems
religion
will always solidify into doctrinaire narrow-mindedness
or institutional power brokering are both probably
in art will solidify into money
if it's successful
and despair if not either way a defeat
and i don't think i'm the first person to point out that art in are radically mercantile society is more or less doomed to become
come modified
generally in america and europe
and probably lot of other places artists made for the wealthy
and it becomes for the wealthy a kind of sanitized and enriched currency
i fancy dollar billion
even artists who do not make economically valuable artwork have to create economically classy explanations for the useless artwork
so they can get grants
because the cost of making art is very high and one has to pay for it somehow
even the poor poets
who only need about ten dollars worth of materials to make their artworks also are fighting with one another for these same paltry dollars so they can survive
despite this however i mean this is realistic but nevertheless i don't think the situation is hopeless at all
because i believe that if the artists can be clear
within himself or herself about the nature of what it is that she's doing
and one as to work actively work at being clear about it
for clarity is never a given
it needs to be revised constantly
and there are many forces that would confuse us
but if the art artist is clear about what she's doing just as if the religious practitioner who was any one of us can be clear
about what we are doing
i really do think that it is possible despite the realities to proceed with liveliness and integrity
life well and seriously lived
has never been
without these difficulties
it's part of the fun
and anyway it's a given in the situation
and a certain amount of complaining
is probably normal and healthy
but it would certainly be counterproductive to give oneself over to complaining entirely
as i often do myself
so i will close with the final quote from valerie
he says
the mind is terribly variable
deceptive
and self deceiving
fertile and insoluble problems and illusory solutions
how could a remarkable work emerge from this chaos
if this chaos that contains everything
did not also contain some serious chance to know oneself
and to choose within oneself whatever is worth taking from each moment and using carefully
and then a short poem of dogan
being as it is
what's that
in a waterdrop
shaken from a duck's big
an image of the moon
you been very patient wallace
thank you very much for listening
an intention and equal
the penetrate to the isn't plays the a
the
nice
the i'm in the morning if are any of you who are unfamiliar with this is
discussion dialogue conversation and it doesn't necessarily have to be about what i brought up this morning alone certainly can be
so what would anybody like to bring up this morning yes i you it
good
so i think it does that
not that it's kind of unrelated
that's about mindfulness
you were
trying to practice mindfulness up watching my breath
the sensations of reading
not a in my like china get somewhere
i get some place for i feel calmer
right like time to get to know
ah
axis mindfulness not china like that this feeling
ah so he's asking about the practice of mindfulness and that he notices that
as he tries to practice awareness mindfulness he notices a persistent
feeling of trying to get somewhere get something out of it and that this stands in a way of his practicing lifeless said affair
well
join the club this is not unusual this is what happens you know when you try to practice mindfulness you'd become much more aware of the grasping quality of the mind i want to be a certain way
the system you know this was a problem so
of course it's adding insult to injury to feel that way and then feel like and now i want to get rid of that but
so what you have to do is just pay attention to that and when you see yourself
feeling i'm mindful and i want to get something out of it and i shouldn't be wanted to get anything out of it
and i should be different
just notice that that is
what is arising in your mind and don't believe in it
don't believe that
it should be different believe that when you have a thought that it should be different this is a thought that you're having
but you don't have to
that thought
so you have to kind of train yourself in a way there's a certain amount of i suppose thoughtful yoga involved in practicing mindful of dropping every moment dropping dropping dropping dropping and is being with what arises even no one's own crazy
habits that one can see very clearly are counterproductive
so that's the paradox you know of practice right is is that you wouldn't practice if you didn't want to improve but you didn't find life uncomfortable and you can put it to find it more comfortable that's why mostly why people practice and yet the very finding of life uncomfortable is the problem and why
so that's the paradox you have to be with that feeling and turn yourself to let it and let it go like everything else does all our problems you know are already solved right
everything every every moment is already taken care of because it's gone
so there's no problem except that we persistently cook on every moment and make on a problem fresh the next moment
so with their faith just watch what occurs and be honest it's very important be honest with yourself you know and see what's truly there but then let it go until after a while you just
exactly the same thing that you're experiencing now
that you've talked about exactly that same thing
is a problem if you say oh god awful and it's not a problem if you say what a funny fellow am i
you know
it's true it's just a funny kind of thing and it's all right
and that of course if you'd take that attitude toward it the strength of you're grasping your mindfulness practice diminishes and you can enjoy yourself more than the a little calmer
so little by little that's what isn't always a little by little
little by no yeah

oh
well
when you asked that question a kind of assumes that i know what i'm talking about and i have something behind what i'm say but just not really true so all i can do now is like as if i were you try to interpret you know that right because i didn't really have anything in mind other than what it sounded like it but i would say no to
and interpret that that you something made is something that's put together right it's put together in a particular way it's a you invested with a kind of shape i'm going to make something out of this right i'll make something that you know that feeling difference between saying well this is just there and and feeling going to make something out of this you know if there's a sense of getting
in there and doing something with it so that's what the made in the world is a made world because we make something out of it and that's a title
yeah yeah yeah right
that
yeah no no i what i meant i think it's something like to add something extra to of by our intention by our desire by our our need to add something to it and that's what i meant don't like that
yeah
good bad or worse yes which is part of the same thing the judgment
yeah
yeah right judgment definition discrimination that's too
fixed you know right i meant that to all of that
yeah i mean there was one famous
zen master new bunker who's teaching was he called it the teaching of the unborn you know he kept saying everything is already unborn unmade undone as it is and that's what he repeated this over and over again his whole life and he was famous for that teaching in it was just the opposite of the made was made
although i wasn't thinking of market time now i remember that he thought that
oh
very much
no

yeah yeah
right
i am
i never actually
oh yeah
i was useless yeah
but her
oh that's nice
no
no that's nice
yeah
yeah when you are talking it reminded me there's a great book that i read years ago by henry miller and i can't remember the title of it but
once henry miller went on a journey across america i think maybe it was when he didn't he lived abroad for many many years and then he came back to live in america and i think when it came back he traveled all over the country
and i don't know how he did this but he kept i don't know whether it was by accident or whether he sought these people out
but he kept he would go to a visit all these people who were
artists the various kinds doing various kinds of things but all of them were completely unknown nobody knew what they were doing and they just did it you know in every and a whole book is a series of portraits of all these people who he depicted as tremendous heroes and heroines
when i was always impressed with that you know
really moved me because they're just the idea of that one does something and will continue to do it
for the joy of it it for the nourishment that it gives one and without any for you know just just doing the recognition or anything like that dancing is difficult though because i know several dancers who am
know usually at a certain point you are
can dance anymore because of the demand physical demands but i'm surprised actually that know dancers have figured out how to get around that because i'm sure that one can't get around it like to new sensory awareness is that like that which is probably you could say a way of dancing when the body whatever state the bodies in
we know as sensory awareness teacher who does sensory awareness practice charlotte in silver with ninety seven years old if she were a dancer forget about it you know because you can barely walk but she can move her body and experienced and have a sense of beauty
within the body so
some dancer should figure that out the do they
yeah he just does yeah he does it according to his they'll be interesting to see and i never had
did you really yeah yeah i didn't quite realize that well that would be fascinating to sleep
yeah you just compensate for you don't try to be twenty or something here
yeah so yeah i think that would be a great thing for for the art of dance but
so there's always a way i think to continue the activity for its own sake just for the for nothing for absolutely nothing
and it is a wonderful say i admire all people who will practice and art or craft that doesn't make any difference you going to been in a way because even something that's a useful craft
in so far as it has the on the aspect of art in it it's also useless right
so and one of the things that i think is very good about zen practice is that then practice makes the point as i was making today and tangential way that all activity can be viewed in that way you know walking standing cooking
eating any movement can be understood in that way and that's what's so wonderful any of months and practices that feeling that
we could live like that
yeah
so anyway i'm delighted that and you can have some benefit out of what i said it's great this goes to show us a word what's the word if you were you
so what's it worth so that's great
oh yeah i am
this successfully
no
yes
yeah i know
hi
well
right yeah course
yeah so which is a problem to for the for the artist i mean i would think
but you know once you start getting paid for something
the changes them i would think i never got paid for when i write poetry and i've written for a long time and i never made any money out of it which i've always appreciated and i've been paranoid about the idea of making any money on it
yeah i never really particularly wanted to know and so i can't really speak from the perspective of somebody who has made a lot of money out of their art but i would think that it would create a problem because i'm the one in you get rewarded for something you do what you think ah this is i'm on the right track right and so the good part about that as you'd think oh good i'm getting encourage
judgment and go deeper with this track but the bad side would be i'm getting encouragement to repeat myself over and over and over and over again and i'd better not try anything new because goodness knows if i do this this is not what my name now is my
come as my income source and if i do something that's outside the range or what i'm supposed to do then my income might go down and so that's bad so i better even if you don't think that your the tendency to do a successful of course is very strong at any of us and i think that a lot of artists do naturally
selves into the same thing over and over and that that that can be fine if it's wholehearted and it can it can be a drag if it's loses its life than they think that does have an artist something
so you know there's always a problem i mean if you make a lot of money at your art that's a problem if you don't that's a big problem too
better have a day job that's always been my theory was my day job
yeah
the nevada you are
the

yeah
yeah i said of the beginning the confrontation with the made is always a spectacular failure
yeah they i was talking to someone who's writing a book and struggling you know and i said where you know well don't worry that much because whatever you say is wrong anyway
and that's true you know they mean whatever you say is always not quite right or you're going to say something that's right that's true
not really you know not really it's gonna be true to some extent and wrong to some extent somebody argues and then know they're right in an australian on it so in other words everything that we do is gonna fail to to be the total expression that that we felt in the doing of it so i think it really helps to know that and my friend who was
reading the book when i told her that afterwards she wrote me known she said boy i'm having a much easier time now because it takes the pressure have to me you know so there's a whole different a whole lot of different approaches to art i mean i understand
for me i like to do what i do my art because i find it always enjoyable and uplifting forwards i mean there might be an occasional moment of or gardena but i've avoided doing all the parts of my art that are troublesome
to now i've got it down to like real pure you know like i write poems
most of which i never typer at it and those that i type and edit i almost never send to publications or any of that stuff which is so troublesome annoying and write letters line
i very seldom do any that i just write poems so i get all the goodies and to do all the drudge work
some people view art as a struggle constantly work and difficult than they suffer and i mean that's valid way of doing it but to me
just the joy of the attempt
which one knows at the beginning will fail to me there's something inherently noble and wonderful about that
so
yeah

yeah
hi
no

yes

yeah
right and

oh
right right
ah there's the standard cultural
relationship
oh
yeah yeah know i know to me in here

why
no
exactly i was just what i was going to say here you know she's bringing up the whole issue of she has i know long relationship with communities in alaska that
are pro fairly close to their
indigenous impulse and is pointing out the differences between how it is there and our western idea of art and of course you're right it's quite different i was just writing about this the other day that
that
you know our sort of several hundred years of scientific culture is all about dividing things up in art is different for religion and art religion are different from science and science is different from psychology but these kinds of distinctions in in in a thousand years ago did
apply there was just life you know art is a very phoney can think to make up you know it's just that it's just that there's life and there's a there's an innocent inherently aesthetic
ah approach to life in many cultures which doesn't need to be called aesthetic or distinguished from anything else that's just that's how life is and we'd lost that because we've divided everything up the departments so that it's possible for a western person have nothing to do with art or aesthetics at all you know we live in our society whereas in in other culture
or is everyone was participant in that just and they like you say just in the way of life and i was a
i sort things out yesterday on going down to her but gary and then you go yes to the gary snyder event at at stanford yeah there is a big thing out there and one of the one of the focal points of the discussion which i didn't attend but i got to thing in the mail said that that something like
it was quoting some guy who is that get this right some guy who's like of an activist for the rivers
and he's like really well trained in hydrology and all this stuff and he said that i've gotten really good at making good rational arguments against building dams and trashing rivers on scientific basis he said but until we recognize that arguments for a good ecolodge
legal practices have to be essentially aesthetic arguments until we recognize that the aesthetic argument is the most compelling argument we will never be able to stop doing that stuff because
to argument on scientific terms only go so far
so the whole focus that there was many people there yesterday discussing gary's poor mountains and rivers that without in and the focal point with for the discussion was the
the meeting of the aesthetic point of view and the ecological point of view as really one point of view and but that's just a tiny thing where two disparate fields in western thought can be seen to coalesce for a good purpose but in in a say life every hope things are just one thing is this is to
if there's no such thing as religion either to just life here's how people live this is how people live people have always lived this way this now they live they do this they do this they do this this is it we don't have to carve the world up into different departments but you know if you want to have a university and all that the the different departments and somebody has to have their phd in this
it's not that in know
yeah yeah that's not the basis of that yeah
yeah yeah yeah
yeah yeah

i know i know
no absolutely sure
yeah and they were made to feel can you hear what you heard comments from the back to what you say she was saying that indigenous peoples were told at the height of you know this sort of intoxication that we all had with our western point of view they were told that they were doing it wrong somehow they were privy
it it where they were not and so and so for many generations were taught than they themselves i think many people internalize a sense of not being doing it right or don't have been now that's changing now and i think that indigenous peoples are now seen by most of the world i think we all understand now that there's a lot way of life is a treasure which nevertheless
s is endangered anyway because this is the trick you know what might it might want to my sons is involved in this kind of work and it's very interesting because now it's real obvious that the
ah world the social conditions through allow any people anywhere on the globe to be isolated and beyond their own are gone there's no way anywhere that there's not enormous contact with the whole world so the trick now is how can indigenous people to
take that on rather than the victims of it because they will be victims of it if they don't get up and say okay we're going to take this known here's how we're going to manage our contact with the rest of the world so as to preserve what's best in us know whether or not they can do that i don't know but they're the only ones who can figure that out and i think lot of lot
in nineteen ninety three to the world parliament of religions in chicago i was really impressed there was a lot of native american people there and their lot of young people who all went to law school they also know i think there's actually a government program that enables native peoples to go to law school free summer my law school i don't know but not i think a lot glasgow
a lot of them salaah them were very well educated and were very self-consciously taking on their job
so it'll be interesting a clue what happens yeah carolina
oh you you're all good
yeah
yeah
yeah
right
yeah
yes

yeah
yeah yeah yeah

yeah yeah
yeah yeah so it's always fun yesterday
yeah yeah i promised i would be there and everything and i just kind of like didn't go
yeah i know i plan i mean i got a big fight with my way that wife over it because i can say i'm going i'm not going i'm going i'm not going and it was one of those days you know
yeah
i love their circle manipulating i know i know i really wanted to do that today there their circumambulate a montana you know gary has this like special way of circumambulate lady montana where certain places just stop and you chant this and then somewhere else just stop and you choose that and they go all day long
the ground the mountain and they end up at the muir woods parking lot at some point and i was very regrettable that i couldn't i would have definitely blown off the talk to do it but i have to do memorial service this afternoon that i could not
blow off so
anyway yeah that's happening today thanks
well they started eight the morning is fourteen miles right so it's an all day think yeah it's a big thing here
yeah once we did a thing like that where we we did similar thing from we walked from spirit rock to hear
several years ago and it's surprising how hard it is to walk these mountains because they let up and then i think it i spirit rock to hear i didn't even put on like my hiking boots
that's i would be i got back i had the worst case of blisters i ever had in my entire life
the cause you know you go as much up and down on mt tam as you go anywhere you know i sort of forgot that
yeah jd

there was pretty dense area behavior

oh that's very sweet of you yak yak have the gift of gab
the authentic
authentic
i
yeah
yeah
yeah
oh well
yeah well you know i'll tell you there's there's a i was just visiting my friend and colleague fool you know who is a green gulch here went to her house yesterday because he's the our house so whenever we live in a house we move out and they improve it considerably the is it out but much better don't even
anyway she was in there studying madly away for her class and the heart sutra
so if i were you i would see if you could get them to maybe they make tapes of the class ask the officer call her and you can get the tapes of her food you know if all right yeah so get get the tapes of the class because to study the heart surgery is a detailed kind of thing
one way of looking at it is that
i'm always talking about the heart sutra today i was talking about the heart sutra you could say that when i was talking about today is that the aesthetic impulse is to see the emptiness of all phenomena that's what it means to be unmade is to see the emptiness of thing and that's what the heart sutra is talking about but
to really study the heart sutra properly you know the heart sutra is like a it's like a piece of shorthand our tutor is it isn't as a is a
a list it's basically a list of every major teaching in buddhism
which the heart sutra then denies its executives it's reality so hard to just as here's what it says of buddhism a b c d and just list doesn't explain it just lists at all and then it says this is not real this is not real this this this this denies at all
that's what our surgery is so in order to really study it then you have to go through and understand what all those teachings are
and then understand what the heart sutra is saying when it denies the fundamental reality of all those teachings and existence so it's a big kind of a big study but basically demands to when i was saying that
everything and when i always say there's nothing else to say right that everything is fundamentally
quiet unmade already awakened already liberated we think that it's separate weighty hard and fast distinct different we make ourselves miserable beating ourselves over the head with something that is basically a feather the heart sutra points out this is a feather techno
that's basically the point but but it's very good to study the detail on so maybe even get the tapes and we going to protect and hundred workers actually quite good it's one of the most there's also a number of other books that have detailed explanations of all the words of the hearts and you can look into bookstores a number of other good book
six particular handbook book is a really good kind of general
ah very poetic explanation of the main point of it
yeah so i'm glad you're stay hard to to it's it's good thing to do
let's see let me i want to see if there's somebody who hasn't spoken not back to you yeah the back

the

yeah
yeah

yeah
well
reminds me that bumper sticker that we all know so well you know when that says something like a ask your teenagers question now while he still knows everything
the
so nobody knows that bumper sticker that economy
no i didn't make it up i've seen it doesn't say exactly that but something like that
so i'm a familiar with this
story and
so the art i think it's too
really be clear yourself that that it's true that you don't know you know i mean what happens why relations with young people often go down the drain so fast is that it's very natural for us when somebody tells us constantly like your teenage son or daughter's constantly telling you you're wrong about everything
you immediately assert you know your rightness and then it's all downhill from there
so i think it is important in this case as in all cases to always recognize that one doesn't really know that one what one knows that any given time as dog and says you know you can only see as far as your i have practice can reach so at this time you know you know what you know because of your life if your life
i've i've been a different life you'd know something else and tomorrow your life will be different than it is today and your views change so it's important to know that and have a sense of flexibility and really listening to what anybody says especially you know teenage son or daughter in your in your own house
the trick though is that one has the responsibility
within parameters of being a parent so
you can say well
yes it's true you know i don't know everything my knowledge of the world and of you and i myself only go so far however
in this role that your parent right now i have to my responsible so i have to say no i have to say yes then i think that usually we
we would most of our
nose and our reactions against are you our teenage children are we probably don't need them because muslim countries fear stubbornness you know so well as look very sincerely at one's own currency am i say no to this because i'm stubborn and i say know this because i'm afraid i might say no to this because it's an expectation that i would say no or i should say
no or might say no to work because i'm really touching bottom with who i am and what i think and what i really believe is for the welfare of this person as a person that i love very much and when you come to that place than you kind of like say no that can't do it you know what work and then when they say i'm doing it anyway or i'll beat you up
what are you gonna do i mean you actually can't make somebody somebody who is bigger than you and can can steal the car keys you can't make them do anything you'd better know that you actually it's because frustrating when you think you know they should be doing this i said they should do it and you know they're not doing it you can't make anybody
well somebody who's sixteen seventeen years well you cannot make them do something that they do not want to do
you can only say that you know i'm your parent and this is very important in the and i don't think you can do this and if you do it i'll feel this way or i'll do this or whatever but you can you say and if you know that the beginning you won't kind of get uptight about it so we can all do a lot better you can see as always the other person
forget about it
you can't control how they're going to react whether it's your teenage son your five year old daughter or your husband or wife or the president of the united states you know they're going to do what they do
and you're not going to be able to make them do what they won't do so they're always the issue as what do i do how is my mind how do i react and of course your best shot at having people behave in a good way towards you is if you take care of yourself
and so i think if you treat your children if you do that work yourself and relate to them from that place you have the best chance of having them respect your wishes in your points of view so it's a struggle i mean you know because it's nobody can get you as goodness that son or daughter you know that age
they can get you every time
don't get tricked into thinking that you know you're the parent
don't think that
right
yeah we shouldn't you be
yeah
yeah
the
yeah that's a good thing here
yeah yeah
yeah right
yeah well that's it to listen to really listen means to drop all your
preconceptions yeah that's a good custom course if we did it we would in five minutes find a way to hold our feet and still not listening
that would not take very long
because they you know you can listen to somebody and go like this that's our version of that right and you're not listening and he's going like this
yeah somebody here in the middle ear

wow

me
oh
no
no

oh yeah
yeah i think that probably varies i think there's some probably some artists are in love with their the objects that what they may maybe but i'm kind of more like you i i i understand that way and but that makes sense doesn't it because it's it's what your what what it's about is not the accumulation of objects that you've made but rather the experienced the need for this experience
it's
you know so it is it's an odd kind of thing but
doesn't you can see the sense in that right one wants one needs to have a certain yeah one needs to have a certain kind of experience a certain kind of confrontation with reality and when needs to do that regularly it's like if you meditate once you need to do it again you do it everyday you know what to do it once right so one needs to go back over and over again it's almost
like everyday we go through
the whole the whole story of creation and we have to return everyday back to the beginning of creation and i mean
as the world during the course of the day the world wears out for us you know and then we have to go back to the beginning maybe that's what part is or meditation is going back to the beginning starting life over him crashing in a refreshing
oh
i'm
that's fine repeal it
i bet
yeah i haven't felt when it fell
emigre now i find myself track like like exactly
now
i think that he i mean very eight
on saturday
going back seem like work okay yeah i know why
yeah like not be
don't really know
and i struggle with feeling that sell it may be really patch
that i ebay junkie myself yeah i know i didn't really take care of myself yeah was going to give me that valley
right
and i realized recently that i know
yeah
the process
working with
right now shuttered know if you heard all her words which she was talking about the problem i kind of alluded to it and in my talk of
yeah you're an artist and you're getting grant that you don't get the grid that you do get the grant you get the grant you feel legitimate you don't get the grill you don't feel legitimate and your kind of stuck in that and and that's very difficult and
yes don't get me started about grants hate the whole idea grants you know it's a terrible
terrible thing terrible thing but anyway yeah i think i was talking about this little bit at the end when i said that i pointed out that this whole thing is very difficult it's really difficult no matter which way you turn if you're successful it's difficult if you're a total flop it's difficult that here in between it's difficult if your art is worth a lot of money is difficult of
you're constantly chasing after grants is difficult there's no way to get around that so that's why you have to pay a lot of attention to
working through for yourself over and over and over you
the question what am i doing here and that question then i take on for myself and then i actively work on all the time is what keeps me with go-live you have to know that the rest of it is going to have an influence on you if you have to be really clear that that if that if if if your view of yourself as an artist rises and falls
every grant
you know is not going to you're not going to be able to sustain it and you'll end up being very unhappy even if you are very successful because you'll end up being the person that the grand tours have created
you know and that's not what you sign up for that nobody who dedicate themselves to an art does it
because and they want a social position and there they want to make money even if there's that mixed in with it and there's always some of that mixed in with it but basically the impulse is very pure and one has to work very hard at going back to that impulse and sometimes there is a very tough life choices that you have to face in the process of that and there's no way of getting
round and i'm afraid you know no way of getting around it is so i think you have to view it as a noble struggle that is doomed to failure and that's the beauty of it
that's the only way that's the beauty of it just like those people that henry miller went around interviewing you know they know they just were in this obscure corners doing what they were doing in the and they just you know this continued till you find a way to what is that it in the i validate them how can i how could i know
manifested in my life from today until the day i die and not let them get the best of the you know like william carlos williams the poet you know so i always admired williams and stevens does are always my ideals because both of them in the beginning they may undermine that they'd get a job
in stevens was a physician and williams was the vice president of the hartford life insurance company
one job they had that one shot their whole life in fact when they try to make stevens in the seventies he was already a famous poet plenty of money they tried to like force him to retire as vice president of the hard for life insurance and he did like all these nasty office politics so that he wouldn't be forced out know in his seventies
so they did and he worked at that job for like fifty years or thirty years with everyone's so i always admired that but williams on his deathbed said
don't let the bastards get the best year
so that's good advice you don't you think
and i don't think he said that you know with bitterness because he he had he had he was bitter a lot not be cut because the
the poets didn't like his poetry for a long time you know that the people who are in control of poetry fought bitterly against the people who were in control of poetry but
i think that he in the end was victorious but he had to be tough and you know where he worked at a plant you to plan and the very beginning how it was going to survive and he i think that he was a doctor he was a poet you know in the beginning is when he was he decided to go to become a doctor because he knew that he didn't want to
have to starve as a poet and he thought that being a doctor would be a good way to feed his art
so one has to come up with a plan you know for i live and survive knowing what the costs are
see i was lucky i i looked into this i never worked in on this day in my life
just but but it's very unusual
what yeah just a little while that's a good job i like them
like you retreat
possibly yeah i'm going to retire as avid soon yeah one more year
well or something do something
yeah
oh yeah oh yeah i lie so much fun teaching high school that was the greatest
yeah very hard though the work hard
work night and day that yeah but it's it's a delight
but it's hard to get a job doing that you know because
late middle age white male is not a good
i remember when i was trying to get a job which i'd never got
go into the interviews was tough all these bright young people
i felt like
what good are they obviously i know you don't want to home we've been
a
oh well some over cottage her
i'll become a really call it i worked for a organization that gives grants to artists
huh
at program officer right right program officer now the way that they do at the program officers they say oh are you doing something that works really well good then you're not eligible for the grant
we're looking for someone who is doing something that probably hasn't worked yet
we'll give you money for that
so then you have to constantly think about ways to to explain what you're doing in a way that as if you never did it before and nobody ever did before so you have to explain it that way then they'll say ah very good know now we can be creative or given you this money to do this thing that nobody ever did before even though it's something that we've done thousands of times the cleverness is that you find out a way to say it would explain it that nobody ever
thought of it before some like them
ha
oh hey hey
right now
wow
he

the a
the
the
that

i didn't know
he
you come in
he's a painter but ah
right now
no never
yeah i mean yea
why do you remember right now i said
i have
yeah right

yeah yeah yeah that's right we had to do it
so we did it