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well anyway
nice to see you
it's so nice a such a full room of people
no one is killing one another
no one's even hitting anybody
probably nobody hates the person sitting next to them
everybody's peaceful and quiet it's kind of a shame to ruin it by talking

regrettably i will talk

today i want to her
not really the dharma talk but talk about poetry today
in in a way
there's a strong tension
between poetry
and dharma
the poetry seems to be about self expression
which seems like the opposite in a way of religion which seems to be about self transcendence
looking at a poetry from the standpoint of practice dharma religion poetry can look pretty self indulgent
they can look like poetry is encouraging exactly that which religion wants to leap over our human passions are human confusion
and from the point of view of poetry religion can look like
not only restriction in lifestyle
but also restriction and thinking and feeling
thinking and feeling according to doctrine according to the way you're supposed to think and feel like the buddha taught that we're supposed to think and feel
so you can have these two are extreme caricatures of the on the one handy
dunkel drunken
self willed immoral poet
and on the other hand a straight laced pious puritan religious person
so how do these two guys meet each other and learn how to get along
and it is a problem
it's been my problem for my whole life just about

the trouble with being human and it is a problem being human
the trouble with it is that
what has no choice in a way and no matter how hard you try
you really have no choice but to be yourself
and yet if you look closely enough it will be clear that being yourself is unworkable
the accurate
so therefore
religion has been created to to cope with this problem this is basically what it comes down to write you have no choice but to be yourself being yourself is unworkable
therefore in sit down great deal with it somehow

and the point of
practice dharma practice and practice but i think any kind of spirituality if it's thorough enough the point of it
is that you would leap beyond
being yourself
into the sky or something
but then of course because of gravity you have to land
and where could you land but back on yourself there's no other place to land

so i think that a spiritual practice is inherently idealistic
maybe this is not so up
indigenous religions
but as far as the whatever we would call non local religions are concerned like buddhism christianity
and so on
i think that idealism is always at the heart of them
all religions analyze things like this that
we human beings are somehow in an unacceptable problematic situation depending on the description different religions say you were sick or we need to be healed or we are in sin or were in ignorance or in completion however you put it in whatever tradition some
thing is nice adjustment fixing transcendence
and we need to go beyond it we need to heal unless the journey of spiritual practice
we need to change we need to develop virtues we need to see reality see our true nature we need to become enlightened
and we need to make effort to go in that direction
and so this effort is by definition an idealistic effort straining to go beyond
where we are knowing that where we are is not really
enough or correct or healing
but if we get too much involved in this kind of religious idealism
in other words if we cannot find a way
to affirm ourself the way it is
and see ourself the way it is as already enlightenment
which we would see if only we could
stand with ourselves without hindrance
if we can't have that kind of radical acceptance of ourselves to where we are than the idealism of religion becomes a poison a human poison
and certainly we have plenty of evidence
oh this one doesn't need to study history too long
to find evidence of this and one doesn't even need to look at history one can look the newspaper of today and one doesn't even need to look at the newspaper just look at your own mind
and you can see the poison of idealistic practice
so that's why it seems as if
a spiritual practice needs poetry
ah and and poetry needs spiritual practice
where to put it another way the ideal needs the personal and the personal need the ideal they complete each other
ah about eleven years ago here we had a big
poetry conference call the poetics of emptiness some like that we had a whole bunch of poets in this room
doing various things reading and performing and talking and
we had a one evening and where we are a bunch of parts appeared on the tons performing and we we are one point we
started chanting the and major coup kind of go and we went on an army must have chanted it for maybe half an hour just just chatting with the entire room channing and then we abruptly stopped and
it was the frog time of the year
so when we stop there was silence and then the frog started keeping one or two and then ten thousand
one of the great moments
anyway in the current issue of a tricycle magazine and are shelling the poet has an article in there about asian far east asian
and in the article he mentions that night because he was here that night that weekend
and he he caught me he says at that time i said i didn't say this but
it doesn't really matter some of the best things that you are given credit for you've never said
or did but that's that's history that's life in and that's how it goes so this is not what i said i don't think maybe i did but
he caught me a saying meditation is when you sit down and do nothing
poetry is when you sit down and do something profound right

so then he says
so i could have said that i'm that profound
but then he says
with these sage words

he nearly a known that nearly neatly with these edge words he neatly wiped out centuries of debate
in india china and japan
over whether poetry is a legitimate pursuit for the earnest buddhist in search of realization
so how he figured out that statement that he eliminated centuries and debate i don't know i would be nice to think that that it did but i can see my stuff
as for this
and then he quotes a typical poem and you find many phones like this in in written by buddhists in china and japan this is a poem by beaudry who is one of the great poets of of chinese literature written in the ninth century
it's very typical sort of saying
marjorie rights since earnestly studying the buddhist doctrine of emptiness i've learned to still all the common states of mind
only the devil of poetry i have yet to conquer
let me come on a bit of scenery and i start my idol droning
it's a very typical pong about poetry
in my own practice or
i asked one of my teachers about writing and he said stop writing
later i asked another one of my teachers about writing and he said well you might have to write a poem now and again for a ceremony
but being a bad boy i didn't listen to them i'm sorry to say and have continued in my folly for many years
the question of poetry remains a problem in a difficulty
which used to bother me otherwise i wouldn't ask those teachers about it
but it doesn't bother me that much anymore
there's a famous line of blake
which says i don't know where it's from but it's it's in my head somewhere it says sir
this corporeal worlds of fiction
all it is is contradiction
blake said
and i myself don't see how anyone could put together a life that isn't a life of contradiction as long as we're in this body
someone tells me that her life is not a contradiction
i usually just smile and nod and wait for the other shoe to drop
as it usually does
so our life is a contradiction and there's no escape
but contradiction is only contradiction in her mind
in our thought in our concepts
if we can relax and just let concepts swirl
without being attached by them caught by them then contradictions okay and we don't mind at least most of the time
in the buddhism of the far east in japan and china
you know you could say in a way that the teaching is divided into two parts
the poetry part in the part that you read about in the sandbox
and we often get caught by religious riding religious texts we forget that they are writing there are texts
in texts have their own conventions
it's one way an important way of
looking at our life
in an religious texts there are certain things that are said in certain things that are left out
and if we only study the spiritual texts as possible we may be getting a one sided idea of how people actually practice
in a way you could say that religious texts are not about real practice
thereabout ideal practice
in the buddhist poets in asia put the realism of their lives all the longing and the suffering
love and loss of love loneliness ecstasy confusion
into the poems
studying buddhist texts might make you think that we're supposed to get over all that stuff
but my own opinion is that getting over being human is not our practice is that the point of the practice
i think the main thing is not getting over being human but understanding being human really understanding being human really embracing being human and then that understanding and that embracing the transforming our humanness to real humanness with warmth
and without holding back
so what i want to do this morning as just read some poems for you from three of my favorite
a priest poets of far east
psycho eq and real con all three of them were buddhist priests
i don't see it monks
in all three of them were poets in fact
they are they're all japanese and they are probably
i don't know if they're ten great poets in history of japan these three are certainly among the ten
so i just tell you a little bit about the life of each one and read a few poems and that'll be the rest of my talk
socio is that i will take them in sort of chronological order saga was the earliest of the poets he was ah buddhist monk before the zen school came to
so he was probably a tendai priest tendai monk and he was originally born in a
high class family then he was a courtier probably like a temple guard said like that
in a time of great political turmoil just he died just be for ten years before dogan was born so this was a time when there was a big change in japanese culture
the time that just before the samurai period
of the warlords when they polite
court life of ah kyoto was beginning to fall apart so he abruptly at the age of twenty three
requested permission from the court to leave his post as a courtier and become a monk
and the rest of his life he mostly wandered
traveled back and forth living in small hermitage is sometimes in the capital but mostly away
in his poetry is he was really the first great japanese poet who took up the themes of travel and loneliness
suffering and permanence
and especially the healing beauty of nature
he wrote a lot about the moon it would appear that he had a practice of meditating on the moon staring at the moon for many hours at night
and so he wrote many of his poems and the moon is a subject and also cherry blossoms so the japanese love of the moon and cherry blossoms always comes back to say yes poetry
and the famous a haiku poet car by show who was some centuries later took his inspiration from ceo
sorry you have you have suggests poems he wrote in the tonka form which is for thirty one syllables usually and four five lines five lines

on a mountain stream
a mandarin duck made single by loss of it's mate
no floats quietly over ripples
a frame of mind i know
some mandarin ducks i guess maybe some people who are naturalists but i don't know if it's true but the japanese thought that mandarin ducks made it for life and when one of them died the other one was would would not meet again
and they seem to hang out together just two of them so over and over in in chinese japanese poetry mandarin ducks are an image of
this sort a lifetime partnership
i moved on a mountain stream by a mandarin duck made single by loss of it's mate now floats quietly over ripples a frame of mind i know
at wonderful sense of
in loneliness and accepting that just floating on the ripples loss and loneliness
another one the moon as dawn breaks
glides freely through thick clouds
layer on layer
then strata of the past as well
one by one doesn't open before my mind
the strangeness of memory we take for granted but how could it be that we would remember in the mystery of memory opening like curtains
falling away
how the past is lingering in our minds in the present
and how hard it is that when you really are present
letting go of distraction
layer on layer of the past as there right in front of you
the moon as dawn breaks glides freely through thick clouds layer on layer then strata of the past as well one by one open before my mind

first sprig just breaking into bloom what if i would snap it off
to use it for a memorial
to someone torn away from me
this is the first sprig just breaking into blue what if i would snap it off to use it for a memorial to someone torn away from me
to appreciate this poem you have to realize that in hand court poetry
and maybe everybody knows this that in japan classical japanese poetry and culture nature is quite domesticated
well it's changing but as always peaceful it's never violent which of course is not so in fact nature is often violent wrenching things happened like we just saw
in central america natural event tremendous tragedy
three so it was quite radical procedure to talk about snapping off often cherry branch think it would have been very jarring to the sensibilities
tourism of his japanese readers
it really even though to as it sounds quite tale it's actually quite a violent expression of grief that first cherry blossom to snap off that
first sprig snap it off
and hold it up as a memorial for someone who's torn away from my life probably someone
a murdered in the troubles of those times

another one on detached observer of blossoms finds himself in time intimate with them so when they separate from the branch it's he who falls
deeply into grief
detached observer of blossoms finds himself in time intimate with them so when they separate from the branch it's he who falls deeply
and to grief
so one imagines that sanyo would meditate for many many hours watching
cherry blossoms fall
in feeling a deeply inside his own grief
maybe one more winter has withered everything in this mountain place
dignity is in its desolation now and beauty in the cold clarity of its moon winter has withered everything in this mountain place dignity is in its desolation now and beauty
in the coal clarity of its moon
as much about
the earth and its changes as it is about our own mind
the suffering
that we can feel in our own mind when we feel
it's spaciousness of suffering
when we don't try to escape from suffering we can see dignity in its desolation
in beauty in its clarity
so very different kind of poem poet was eq
equally as well known in japan as much probably for his life and is
things that he did as for his poems
so he was born in the fourteenth century at the end of the fourteenth century thirteen ninety four
in to leave us to be eighty seven years old
and he was probably they they think also from a very high born family but he was an illegitimate son
a courtier so he was she was kicked out of court
and before eq was born and so he was a child and very tough circumstances and as men as it happened many times he was given to a monastery to be raised because his mother couldn't raise him this it was very common in asia so a lot of the
zen monks had very tough upbringings sometimes i'm sure in the monasteries young boys were raised with kindness sweetness but i'm sure also sometimes they weren't
and this probably was the case with eq because he was a very bitter guy actually most of his life fiery personality
angry guy
so he
lived in this monastery
from the age of five and when he got old enough to sort of have any sense of discrimination but what was going on he was very
bitter about what life was like in the monastery he felt he had a real sense of spiritual practice
sincere practice but he felt like the monastery life was just full of false piety and spiritual posturing and everybody was phony
like a lot of vessel adolescent boys you know feel he felt so he got really disgusted and he left at the age of fifteen and he went to he found someone who he had confidence in who was a priest to is teaching in a small hermitage so he went there and he stayed there until that master died
and i i can only imagine that that and he was some
he really found a father figure in that masters so in the master died he really was in despair
and he almost committed suicide
but then he did manage to find another teacher and his enlightenment experience is very famous he was floating along on a lake on a boat and like bua
and doing zazen i guess in he had enlightenment experience
and then it came back and when he reported this to the master the master was very impressed and gave him a certificate of inca you know and an aggregate thought totally mad you know i threw it on the ground and stomped on it and left that's the kind of guy was
he was disgusted with this certification of his awakening
ah after that master died eq was thirty four years old and the rest of his life he just wandered around he spent about half of his time and in remote mountain hermitage is in the other half of his time in city's drinking and going to brothels and hanging around with artists and and things like that
and he was very influential in almost all the japanese arts he probably was the person who created what became the tea ceremony was very influential in the creation of the no drama flower arranging painting calligraphy he practiced all those things and is considered a patron of mm
most of those arts because of his time in the city of tremendous artistic talent
that he would go around he was a real bad boy you know go around and funky robes and would tweak the authorities he had nothing to say whatsoever about the zen establishment when she considered utterly corrupt
what is his chief topic of his poetry was sexuality and he wrote many pornographic poems that i would not read you today
but also many lovely love poems and
toward the end of his life when he was in his seventies he fell in love with a blind ah cotto strumming
courtier named lady mori and many of his poems are addressed to her how happy he is to be with lady mori
ah so i'll read you a few of his poems
one short pause between the leaky road here and the never leaking way there
if it rains let it rain
if storms let it storm
so each moment for our lives you know were suspended exactly between the stupidity of our humanness and the perfection of our buddhahood
that's each moment suspended over that abyss
so he accused advices no use worrying just jump
one short pause between the leaky road here and the never leaking way there
if it rains let it rain if it's storms let it storm
another one
bliss and sorrow love and hate light and shadow hot and cold joy and anger self and other the enjoyment of poet poetic beauty may well lead to hell
but look what we find strewing strewn all along our path
plum blossoms in peach flowers
bliss since our love and hate light and shadow hot and cold joy and anger self and others the enjoyment of poetic beauty may well lead to help but look what we find strewn all along our path plum blossoms and pitch flowers

day and night
in the darkness
on an empty bed the longing deepens
i dream of us joining hands exchanging words of love
but then the dawn bell shattered my reverie and ruins my heart
probably had a good designers

he so
the japanese have always had a flexible attitude toward moral precepts
an eq was supposed to be a celibate monk as all japanese at that time japanese monks were later on the
stricture against
intimate relationships was lifted by the government on purpose to try to destroy the buddhist church that's pretty funny actually think that's why they lifted the ban on probably that's what historians say anyway
both church was getting too troublesome too strong so they want to mess it up so they said okay are you priests must marry that'll fix you
but at the time
this was before that and eq was had taken vows of celibacy but like i say the japanese always understood them in a metaphorical sense
so ah
you know if if
he had been a catholic priest of the same period he would have written the same poem only destroyed it
but since he was a japanese
buddhist celibate priest he wrote this poem and you know kept it
day and night i cannot keep you out of my thoughts in the darkness on an empty bed longing deepens i dream of us joining hands exchanging words of love
but then the dawn bell shutters my reverie and rennes my heart
another one like that says even if i were a god or buddha you'd still be on my mind
i sit beneath the lamp a skinny monk chanting love songs
the fierce autumn wind neat nearly bowls me over and my heart is choked with black clouds
even if i were a god or buddha you'd still be on my mind
i sit beneath the lamp a skinny monk chanting love songs
the fear side of when nearly bowls me over in my heart is choked with black clouds
classical japanese poetry is sung enchanted
so he probably was
singing love songs
this is one many poems as i said were addressed to the blind lady mori
some of them are quite graphic
but ah
this one every night blind mori accompanies me and song
under the covers to mandarin ducks whispered to each other
we promised to be together forever
but right now this old fellow enjoys an eternal spring
every night blind more he accompanies me and song under the covers to mandarin ducks whispered to one another we promised to be together forever but right now this old fellow enjoys an eternal spring
then last one of eq ah this is there are many poems where he complains bitterly about sin temples and so on this is just one tasted at studying texts and stiff meditation can make you lose your original mind
a solitary tune by a fisherman though can be an invaluable treasure dusk rain on the river the moon peaking in and out of the clouds elegant beyond words he chan
it's his song night after night
one of the great ironies of you choose life is that when he was about eighty two or three
the great monastery which still exist i tako je monastery in kyoto was destroyed by fire
an eq by that time was so well known that
they really leaned on him to be abbott become abbott of tokens you because they knew that he would be able to raise the funds to rebuild it
and so out of duty he accepted the post and here he was evident i took g for six or seven last six or seven years of his life which probably were completely miserable i can just imagine you know for eq being avid of die to you but he did actually raise the funds and rebuild the entire monastery
and died in the process
so that's a little about eq
it's always been one of my heroes your role model
so the last one i'll mention is real con was still later how i say ryokan was roughly a contemporary contemporaneous with george washington
he was born in seventeen fifty eight and he's also one of my heroes my my greatest of all heroes he was unlike the others he was actually in our school as soto he was a soto monk
and he's probably probably i don't really know but i think maybe that he's the most beloved figure in japanese culture and when yeah scenery car won the nobel prize and nineteen sixty eight koba was his writing was very sort of
very much coming out of the heart of japanese culture and when kawabata accepted the nobel prize in nineteen sixty eight he felt he was accepting it you know on behalf of classical japanese culture and he mentioned that
the greatest figure an emblem of that culture was the in poet priest ryokan
legendary figure ryokans lived grew up in a small village unlike the others was not from a high born family was from of got a small village family his father was the headman of the village and since he was the oldest son it was expected that he would become the head man but
he didn't have it in him you know it wasn't the headman type and
at the age of seventeen without asking anybody's permission he just abruptly entered the locals and temple
this some people say that the reason that happened is that he was like practicing to be the village headman and he was involved in mediation between two parties angry with each other and he was so honest telling each one with the other thought of the other one that they completely almost were each other's throats
so honesty was one of his characteristics and innocence and those are not good characteristics for a village headman i guess
or a politician any kind
so he went into the monastery
and locally and then he met a teacher from another place and follow that teacher in the ten years of very hard zen training in a small sodo style monastery
and ah
had an awakening experience and got a certification which she did not stop on he put in his drawer or something
then he stayed with that teacher until the teacher died and eq was thirty i mean real kind was thirty three years old and he went wandering he wandered around for five years and during his time at the end of that time he found out that his father committed suicide by hurling himself into the river
in kyoto and so real come and home for the funeral and never left he stayed the rest of his life in little hermitage is around the town where he grew up
and was a familiar figure in the village he didn't have any students are disciples or do any temple work he just lived in his hermitage and begged for his food everyday and more or less wasted his time
he like to play with children
and many of his poems or about playing ball with children playing hide and seek with the children and the children he was seem to be a if you believe that poems and legends more of a child than the children so the children were always teasing him for being such child
and he also like eq had a wonderful friendship when he was last years of his life he met a nun named irritation who became his probably is only student and she was also poet so they had a wonderful
liaison in the last years of his life depending on who you believe they weren't romantically involved or maybe they were burton watson says categorically oh definitely platonic relationship but john stevens who writes about loves to write about all the buddhists sec
said oh no surely they were lovers and who knows
but like actually psycho an eq real can never really published his poems maybe a few here and there and it was after he died adaptation put together the first collection of his poems
and there are many delightful stories about real con which are probably not true but they probably are stories that do come on of his real character i'll tell you a few of my favorite ones maybe you've heard them before maybe you've even heard me tell him before but that's okay
somebody once told him that it's good luck she find money on the road
so he was really impressed with that so when he was out begging and somebody put some coins in his ball he threw them on the road
and then of course he found that right away
and he said well that wasn't so impressive you know you're supposed to be happy when you find money on for great happiness would ensue say found the money and he said well i'm not that happy
so you tried it a couple more times and did it really do much for him
but in the course of doing it he actually lost track of where the money was so he really lost it you know
and so he spent days looking for and he finally found it and then he really was happy
so he said that as a true saying
you will be happy
another time i think a relative of his had a troublesome son and so as as a kindly you know religious local religious person they said will you please come to our house ryokan and can see
so ryoko went over to the house and he had the meal and stayed there and never said a word in the father of the whole time is waiting for the buddhist sermon to start where he's going to rio kinds gonna say to the sun never said a word and he was old by this time and so he when he was
leaving the father asked the sun would you please help him with sandals and the sun
ah helped real con on with his sandals and as he was doing so he felt a warm drop on his cheek
and he looked up and there was real kind of weeping
in the sun know why and after that he changed quite a bit
can a beautiful
story i think
there is another story about playing with children were he he was playing hide and seek
and i he hid in an outhouse
and the children knew where he was what they thought well we'll play a trick on him we will we want you will want for try to find him so they left the game was over they left real kind still in the outhouse crouching the are you know
and he's like attentively waiting
they would find him
and hours go by a still there and in fact the whole night goes back there all night the next morning the farmer comes into the outhouse there's ryokan

so and there are many stories like that be okay but there's one about a thief thief comes through your guns house of course we had very little because a few very few possessions but
the thief took everything you know he's riding brushes and so on probably has one or two books
and thief jumped out the window just as ryokan was coming in the front front door
real con yells out to the thief it's a full moon night yells out to thief as the thief is going you know if i could give you the full moon
you can take that too
a practice that he had that i especially myself living on a farm have always appreciate this practice when he would be in the fields and he would see farmers working he would pull out his brush and he would make a quick sketch of the farmer and he would put it on against iraq
and he would make prostrations and offerings to it
no farmers we don't eat right
he appreciated that we should all appreciate that every day
so his poems he wrote poems in japanese and chinese as was the custom and i'll read you are just a few of his palms
as they're very simple usually here's one for children for the children children shall we be going now to the hill or vehicle to see the violence to see if the violence are blooming children shall we be going now to the hill
a vehicle to see how the violence are blooming
another one those old days i wonder did i dream them
or were they real
in the night i listen to the autumn rain

buddha is in your mind
in the way it goes nowhere
don't look for anything but this
if you point your cart north when you want to go south how are you arrive
buddha is your mind and the way goes nowhere don't look for anything but this if you point your cart north when you want to go south how will you arrive
and this is upon about the feeling of real kinds life to beautiful poem about the freedom and simplicity
of the in life which is really a stripped down life
today while begging for food
a sudden downpour
i waited out the storm in a small shrine
one jug for water
one ball for rice my life is like an old run-down hermitage poor simple quiet
today while begging for food a sudden downpour i waited out the storm in a small shrine laughing one jug for water one bowl for rice my life is like an old run-down hermitage poor simple quiet
and this is a beautiful poem i always loved this one
the long winter night
the long winter night seems endless
when will it be day
no flame in the lamp nor charcoal and the fireplace lying in bed listening to the sounds of freezing rain
to an old man dreams come easily
i let my thoughts drift
the room is empty and both the saki and oil are used up the long winter night
when i was a boy studying in an empty hall over and over i had to fill the lamp with oil even now the task seems disagreeable the long winter night
just suffering in period
just endurance of suffering
something wonderful about it though
and here's upon
about zazen is my favorite poem about zazen and practice
he would often sit for many hours by himself and his little hermitage
in the still night by the vacant window
wrapped in monk's robes i sit in meditation
naval and nostrils lined up straight
ears paired to the slope of shoulders window widens the moon comes up rain's stopped but drops go on dripping wonderful the mood of this moment distant
vast known only to me
in the still night by the vacant window wrapped in monk's robes i sit in meditation naval and nostrils lined up straight years paired to the slope of shoulders window widens the moon comes up
go on dripping wonderful the mode of this moment distant
vast known only to me
so rain's stopped but drops go on dripping
the moon comes up this is a real kinds expression
of awakening
in to practice means to stop
there's a famous story of buddha
who was walking along and the murderer angouleme mala wanted to kill buddha so the murder start running as fast as he could after buddha and it just kept walking in a normal slow pace but angrily mother couldn't catch him
so an ongoing while i made some expression of disbelief and you know how could this be and buddha said it's because i've stopped
why don't you stop to
but when you stop life goes on
drops keep dripping
i thought even though it's embarrassing to do so i thought i would
and today with a palm of my own because this whole thing is because i have a new book about
of poetry which is all about japan
and so i thought i would read one poem from my book and then
i conclude this morning
this poem is comes at the end of the book
and it's for cathy is a title of it cathy's my wife
traveling and bowing record memory
i've been far away lately without you know returning i see nothing
could move me from that place
interior to you
for sake of what we've made condition of trust i hear return again there we go long past bodies into light beyond fear or loss
cause were here is not a place to be away from
so you're very kind to sit still for all these poems i hope you enjoyed it

hey or and teach the planetary to
i think this morning i tripled my lifetime sale of books
i have i have actually a number of books maybe six or seven but they're very obscure and one has to be persistent in order to get them
so i don't know how many i never i never asked how many copies they sold them kind of scared to ask you know and most of the publishers are out of business or something
this point
but i'm sure that today i tripled my lifetime sales so thanks for everybody's generosity and by from cooks
so i didn't realize that i would be signing books
better t i thought we would do it now so i was gonna
read a little bit from the book to encourage people to buy it but no i don't have to do that
so we can do whatever you want you have things that you'd like to bring up yes
i really like them
yeah what a relief for the
it's that
a lot i like your remark about in prison
the vicious i would like to hear more about
the japanese are not necessarily admired for this
taking the precepts and metaphorically and actually
in asian buddhism the japanese are considered by most of the asian buddhists
all over the world chinese vietnamese thai
ah burmese everywhere
chinese buddhists are considered
this is one of the reasons why this end the buddhist
establishments complicity with the militarism of the japanese government in the twentieth century is another reason why
so that's the downside of it and i think that in western buddhism in the last twenty years has been much stronger sense of
i'm really trying to be aware of conduct and be more serious about it
on the other hand
it's very easy for anybody especially westerners with our history of puritanical mind to get into very heavy judgmental right and wrong kind of mentality around any kind of moral rules and this is pretty much counter to the sense of morality and buddhism and buddhism morale
lg is in in the service of liberation
you know and to the christian tradition
right and wrong is ordained by god and it's a it's a harsh and judging god so if you do something wrong you're crossing the big guy
you know that's bad
in dangerous but in buddha dharma ethics and morality is practiced
to end suffering
what we notice that conduct that is not ethical create suffering for oneself and others and creates and has momentum toward more suffering when read realizes this by looking at the mine and so when naturally feels while i want to
behave in such a way that that the there's freedom and happiness for myself in those around me and that's the fountainhead of morality in in bodhidharma but that's a
a very flexible and
non judgmental so to speak approach so that like there's a famous saying of the sixth ancestor that i always think of where he says
i see my own i see but i don't see and they say what do you mean you see what you don't see and he says i see my own mistakes but i don't see the mistakes of others so there's no sense of just judging others conduct but rather making the effort to have good conduct oneself
so there's something to be said for the japanese is in non judgmental style of conduct in relation to morality
it's just like in japan there's no such thing maybe it's changed now but up until recently there was no such thing as alcoholism
in japan there were there were only people who like their saki
you know with all the same consequences that we're familiar with but they just didn't look at look at it as alcoholism
so there's something wonderful about that a way of looking at the world and there's something also
not so great about it
so we have to find our own way
but i think a figure like eq is really important for us because
and they're they're also like the fifth dalai lama of tibet is almost exactly the same kind of a person
ah se que
and his poems are all love poems the prostitutes and stuff like that
there are figures like that i think in western spirituality as well and they remind us to keep
kind of straight and be aware of what's going on and see that
life is complicated and morality is not simple
so kind of the a practice and i mean taking a rousing
why keeping them i'm like
well i think that the see says an interesting thing
in the old buddhism there were many specific vows and in japanese buddhism the vows that people take including and are in america the vase that we take our much broader
and so the idea is that these vows are cones
collins because you'd like the first precept is a very not kill well immediately realize there's no way that to kill you always kill and all the precepts are like that you know how do you understand these precepts how do you practice them their coins and we all have to try to come to another
outstanding and by ourselves so that's how the japanese understood them and so for eq i think eq was genuinely a we don't see it
but he felt that the way that he lived his life was consonant with his inner quest for renunciation in freedom
and there's a tradition and buddhism you know the tantric tradition that that he was more or less following which is the transformation of seemingly
immoral acts
with transformed by one's purpose of by one sincerity into positive actions
i think that was his understanding so he would have thought he would have felt i think
i'm keeping the my vow was about sexuality was not to harm someone sexually and i'm not doing that he would have thought i think you would have said i might my practices in the way i behaved sexually is my own way of trying to understand the enlightened the enlightened
side of central nature
some with them
but who knows what he would have said maybe you would have said well i'm just a failure as a buddhist monk
so it's somebody to think about
kind of be how to practice ethical conduct without shutting yourself down had a practice ethical conduct with a spirit of love instead of narrowness
yeah claire was at your end
time for capturing on

i really don't have much of a conflict
know what i was when i was in my years of most intense years of training
i really wondered about it you know and i wondered see a i had to find a way to poetry that was
consonant with my practice
so ah in the beginning if you think of poetry as i'm writing about something like this happened or i saw this are experienced this and i'm going to write about it that seemed
odd to me anyway after a while practicing it seemed as if
yeah i was my practice was being in the present moment and letting everything go why would i be carrying around all the stuff that happened before so they could write poems about it seem like a ridiculous way to live i can do it anymore and i had that was my idea of writing
and so i began to experiment really with ways to write that were absolutely expressions of the present moment and not about ah stories from the past or anything about myself so i have most of my writing has actually improved improvisational and experimental
and with that kind of went once i hit on that approach to writing than it really wasn't a problem for me anymore
although it's it's in a way you know like i feel very shy about
like promoting books in the sort of thing you know all the thing all the literary things like i never apply for literary prizes or try very hard to get my books published early that i feel kind of like i don't wanna
have a literary career you know because it's not appropriate for me in my life so all everything that i've done in that way has been just by chance or off the cuff in only i think that the poets who the real poets should get the prizes and have careers and and so there's that kind of a conflict but about the
writing itself per se not so much conflict really
especially at this point
yeah i thought a lot about
idea are self expression or artist spiritual
seems to be at over time as my packets are
seem less separate just the rest of my mind that the idea of self expression
so with no different from my everyday of but in looking at self expression yes i'm a person year and my conduct my life is an expression not know and i was just wondering if that something that you've got an ally
i guess you were talking now
that whole idea now
that your your work that fact that it some more expand now
the idea that you are asking questions yeah but that's a good way to put it yeah yeah the and i and i see it like that i see my writing more as like you were saying a spiritual exploration more than as a form of self expression and that's exactly it and also the other point that you mean i rigged
he was also that one of the things that i've found that was problematic about writing a self expression is that riding a self expression as i understood that seem to go along with a sense of the that writing was important and the rest of one's life wasn't right he was privileged or art was privilege so that you saw it you know a million stories especially
the in the west of this you know brilliant artists who were beating up their husbands and wives and drinking too much and having terrible personal lives and that didn't seem possible to me so i really felt like i was doing something quite different
from now that my writing was coming out of my practice which we i was the whole life rather than the writing was an important part and the rest of it wasn't so it's yes and explore all of life as an exploration really write all of one's life is an exploration once approach to to everything to once relationships and once
ethics and one's art as all and exploration yeah
when you have think about how you a published
and the whole idea ah the kind of acknowledgement judgment yeah see that's the part yeah right all the rest of it right right now partner and i think that that have them
that kind of thing about not wanting to chase after that because you can't relate to it
there's something that me my yeah
right you're stuck with it because in order to continue you have to write like i i have never in a way i don't really care about publishing anything but i know that if i don't publish anything i want to go on to write less the end of the work is when you publish it right
that's that's just the way it seems to be so i have to publish psyche china get my books published
i'll try that hard you know but i keep trying because
that's part of the process even though it's like to patent it is but it is
yeah so yeah we can commiserate you and i hundred and artist painter
i as well

i'm right


so much

or an actor were after a guy

i on
a married
i mean that separate
i've been writing here
huge bass mean
i get may be like
it's good to write about it he had a spiritual experience of any kind of better you could write about it
but the relieved of especially important in a spiritual and become the trauma from mouth and i think the
my work possibly up somebody else
i guess i just wanted to a time because i think that you
have you have it i know i
race and
oh right and sometimes you get approach every day
oh so personal
i i'm congratulations
thank you for the time
a get comes from me too because i i recently inherited money i've been living on money while go
have a lot of conflict about that page the other ninety five job not working as a book because
it doesn't know who you are you have a
but year and it's equally feel know i'm really do i know underneath norway security
it was dr i'm going to
it's the right thing you know a write-in candidate
sure yeah
yeah so on we go one step at a time
yeah thank you
hmm they were yesterday i i've heard that a friend of mine and who had a brother who was like a roof and was his john
you know
on the thinking how can i
and continue that one can be scary
and some mine
this hamlet
no no
well you know in dharma
knowledge of impermanence is always primary know we know that each moment is impermanent and that or meeting ends in party all arising ends and passing away our life ends in death and that to pressure doesn't understand this is the deepest
truth and being human
so ah if we can hold us in our hearts and
just be there when someone has a loss and with the sense of knowing that
losses an important part of life not a mistake
you know but just an important part of life and just with that spirit with that attitude that we can accept the loss although we may feel the tremendous sadness about it
yeah we can accept it and understand it in that way then just to be there without saying anything even you know because sometimes you can't say anything
you just are they're trying to hold hand with the person or just be there bring food you know help with something very practical
and just that somebody know that you care and that you're willing to
continue to be there for someone that's all we can do because really in a case like that which is a tragic untimely death it's very painful and in the person has to just feel the pain of it children family you know
actually will never recover from them when integrates perhaps and go but never forgets about it
so if there's someone there who just can accepted and be helpful that's usually a comfort of people but they have to do with the best i can
so i'm sorry that that happened it's awful

yeah i find myself that to be able to practice is a great consolation and you have somewhere when you do zazen and and you have somewhere to take your own feeling a big space to put it into so for me this is a great comfort
at a time of loss i can sit in zazen and and just be with it you know i feel fortunate that i have that practice to contain it is i think when you're done it's very difficult when there's no spirituality to contain death and loss what it's very difficult to to deal with it
and sometimes you know a person who has a spiritual practice and comes into someone's life even though they don't say or do anything like i was just say just be they're bringing their perspective without even speaking about it can be helpful to someone so that's what you have to do with it
oh maybe i will read a couple parts from the book and then we're close
for a few minutes
this is a book has called a narrow roads or japan
and it's actually a
sir there's a book called a narrow road to the north by the haiku poet by show probably the most famous book and japanese literature so this is a can take off on that book
ah and
i'm not very funny part about it is this sort of conceit of the book is then
it's very unjust pennies yeah i don't have a varied and not very knowledgeable about japan nor do i i mean i consider myself to be a western buddhist practitioner so
it's actually a book about how odd japan is and hour and japanese buddhism is
and it's written like bashers book it's written in enough
pros sections and then little burst sections by shows narrow to the north as as a little pros part and then little haiku i don't use haiku i use a a four-line verse form and i don't count syllables it does it's not that you know syllable counting is not translatable across languages it seems to me so i i don't try to of
anyway i thought i'd read your little
few sections of it test for a few minutes

october fifteenth this is on page twenty eight october fifteenth in yazoo which is the noses the town where suzuki roshi was
how does temple and i was in are visiting with his son who's now the year
you know who's now in his mid fifties and is now the abbot of that temple
moving to tommy and screens for tonight's shamisen and storytelling performance being shouted at by japanese people who keep talking louder even though i can understand a word they're saying
can even say sorry i don't speak japanese
they were when i didn't understand what they were saying they would just talk louder like how come this guy doesn't understand and
with headache and feeling woozy this is almost too much
they think that since i am tall i ought to be able to change the lightbulb without a ladder even though it is twelve feet from the floor
water through the pipe and into the carp pond below thirty four abbott's of rienzo in thirty four plaques in the casado thirty four greystones above the pond hearing sound of japanese speech so quick and energetic
so theatrical with other shoe without a shred of any meaning makes me sick
watch today little machines wash on one side spin on the other
in tears to cassandra make it seem very impressive
simple beauty of bear to tommy room screens that open out onto view of steep moss covered rock and single ancient well pruned bush this kind of simplicity costs a lot takes servants to make work
rinse ah in a dusty temple we to says one of the men calls him boson i think one bad boy in the family how it's who says meaning himself wonder what went on out there as i lay in here all night long i got sick triple-a listen
i was in bed during the performance japanese in answering phones say moshi moshi meaning if if which i suppose means a tentative if it's someone important i am ready to be humble
lunch with the storyteller and chemise on player storyteller a young tokyo woman very modern and forthcoming all sorts of food probably some of it makes me sick
washing machine small because the country a small truth by paradox our language creates truth by logic thesis antithesis synthesis assumes progress
the japanese assume the old days where best or at the very least we are our ancestors
thirty four plaques and shingo who is how he to son will take over the temple eventually we sit around drinking tea and laughing all the time getting tired of this habit girls names are narrow me and kyoko mama's name is cheeto say food in baskets and plan
istick bags on the floor chopsticks in a cup on the corner on the counter heroic roof line talking to statues
chinese style is to lacquer the dead body japanese make a statue and put the ashes underneath what connects whose control runs the sentence superstition not holding anything back bamboo brooms for the leaves outside a stone from tassajara in the
little garden upfront photographs of these things wouldn't mean much so many photographs even the good ones all look alike gardener on an iron stepladder a small iron stepladder carp and pond really huge so pond is small
why write these things down for whose pleasure or edification
mine just goes on up to a point
the surrounding people and objects make me what i am like an outline that describes an area inside and i miss my wife and children
certain tendencies seem to crop up sound of tire on gravel people are leaving late and night we anticipated drinking huge cockroaches spiders these mods
then next part is verse carp eat the cabbage i throw them light green bits on dark water
pillow like a beanbag and small also as a brown bear atlas pillow like a beanbag and small also as a beanbag is but not so small
many screens everywhere opened up admit air and lice light and space
chemise an invoice rise in dip and waiver in the trembley air
small bowls for go hon mother's ball father's bold children's balls
calling home at three here it's eleven there in the meat of the night of the previous day
so the front of these verses is that the last line is very long in the first lines of very short so i worked very hard on these getting is exactly precisely how they were they may or may not say too much but that wasn't the point for me
this is one of the many possible ways to write a poem this one way for now
is it connected or disconnected all our language our speech or stuttering which we can't understand
what am i chief themes over and over again and all my books as the impossibility of language that language doesn't really say what you think i'm always writing about that poets are concerned about this problem is it connected or disconnected all our language all speech are stuttering which we can
don't understand is a depth not a physical space but a holding to what it is to be human warm and alive
spent flower petals on to tommy at foot of one of one hundred ceramic vases
sentimental looking everything different unexpected after a long long dark planet
i appreciate thinking withdrawn in words once in awhile hawaii to perform performs many memorial services today
each one is one each decisively occurring justice one way
in the end little to be said to be added to what has been must be again said
in the end little to be said to be added to what has been must be again said
it's a good place to end to think
thank you
phoenix time have a nice
rest of the day

yes i'm happy to we shall i say was matt
ma di
teenage really me and i just want to say that i i seriously pursuing exclude charlottesville thank you package
your traffic
santa ana spring and ice status and friends live in
oh yeah
in collate yes yes yes