Sunday Lecture

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

This talk will not appear in the main Search results:
Auto-Generated Transcript

image is that to the to the rivers was
a group today
the group in this sub
this is the day of the months the sunday of the month
for those of you who don't know that we
are welcome mean the children
children's lecture morning
so will spend a few minutes
ah having a little chat with the children youngsters
and then we'll go on with a in something or other
so i want to play a little game with for kids
and ask you a question
i've been thinking about this question all week when i knew you going to be here to my question is this
what is the most powerful thing in the world
seeing in the world do you think
go ahead take a chance okay
how about
that's hard one to be
hell let somebody else
he bails have an idea
what's this trail is what do you think strongest thing
nobody else
go ahead you are you in the green shirt
being ask a question the strongest thing in the world well we going to tell you what my answer is
i think words
words the strongest thing in the world
at least sometimes i think that
and when i think that words are the strongest thing in the world
i think what do i mean by words
now you have heard all of your kids have heard the saying sticks and stones will break my balls right good that what's the rest of it
but words will never hurt me
true or false
well that's why
hi i'm hearing you call me in letter
it i will get all yet really a with many give me this look that wouldn't hurt me and then he also throws it don't mean that hurt
get up to kill ooh okay
he sounds like words are pretty important though
sticks and stones been certainly break our bonds and hurts to get hit with a stick and stone doesn't it
but words will never hurt me oh i don't think anybody here in the whole room would agree with that i think everybody in this room
has been hurt by words sometimes
so when somebody says something mean to you
when somebody calls you what did you say call you different name like okay deal but
when when you when somebody calls you by those names what do you feel
somebody out
what do you feel come on
when somebody calls you a name that makes you feel kind of what
but it makes me feel kind of bad doesn't it
i feel better i remember whatever is a on the playground as a little kid if you can believe that
and somebody called me a name that that didn't feel very good that can i felt like i was kind of somebody had taken a a needle and stuck it into me at all everything when ornaments
like a balloon you know pop i just would collapse inside it hurt
to be called certain names
at the same time
i bet like some of you i learned how to code names back
there's another thing have you heard this one i'm rubber you're glue
whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you know that one him
that's a good one
he's not giving people interact currently
well what ever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you but sometimes i can remember saying words to two other kids that got stuck to me i would truly feel bad after i said it some some some unkind
thing some mean thing
for some somebody else
and i felt terrible i would go home if you're really bad about it and i want to make it up
so early early early very early when it was not so long after i learned to put some words together i learned how powerful those words were and are and how careful sometimes and most of the time we have to be when we use words with each other
how we speak teacher and not only how we speak
what kind of words we choose to use and how appropriate and how right or wrong they feel but the voice in which we say them
everybody knows it's not so much what you say but how you say it
where it comes from who comes from the your heart or comes from then placing you where you want to hurt somebody else
so the talk today
it's called right speech
and right speech is one of the steps in what we call in buddhism the eightfold path
right speech right means in this case not only something that's just opposite from wrong but right means complete completely thoroughly present
being just a present with what you're saying paying attention
to your words and paying attention to the words that other people are talking her saying when they're talking to you
rather than sitting there listening to somebody talk to you and that and that really listening to them as you listen to that little voice in your head about what you're going to say next worth seeing something that you don't agree with you can feel all this kind of feed this kind of disturbing feeling that you want to
express so you don't really hear them
i can remember
always parents and grandparents correcting me
for saying something that was hurtful
and not sought out
and just because i would want to get some kind of attention from them
they never actually wash my mouth out with soap
but then they threatened to many times
if you say that again a wash your mouth out with so
i learned early how to use words
to manipulate to to handle to control other people that's why i say there are so strong as the words
so today when you go outside and when you
do your thing together maybe you should think about very carefully the way you speak to each other
not going to each other is boys and girls but to your parents into your teachers and how they speak to you
can you do that you think what words today
hmm anybody yes no i don't care

you have any questions you want to ask about words

well i'm using a lot of words right known in your screaming in your seats and i think it's kind of a little bit embarrassing
are you ready go and do something to the nice sunshine know you want stay here with us
thank you very much for being in this way

i always have the feeling
the will look we're preaching we talk to children as if they were adults and adults as if they were children

right speech
when i read you from one of the early the guy is or discourses and the buddhist canon
purportedly was said by shakyamuni buddha about right speech in brief and then i maybe we'll discuss it in some live
some examples what is right speech
abstention from lying slander abuse and gospel
hear someone abandons lying when summoned to a court or to a meeting or to his relative is present presence or to his gilder to the royal family's prisons presence and questioned as a witness thus so good men tell me what you know than not knowing he says
i do not know knowing she says i know not seeing he says i do not see seeing she says i see she does not in full awareness speak false would for her own ends or for another's ends or for some pretty worldly end he
he abandoned slander as one who is neither a repeater elsewhere of what is heard here for the purpose of causing division from there nor a repeater of the of these of what is heard elsewhere for the purpose of causing division from those who is thus a real reunite her of the
divided every night air of the divided a promoter of friendships enjoying concord rejoicing in concord delighting in concord she becomes a speaker of words that promote concord
he abandons abuse he becomes a speaker of such words as our innocent pleasing to the ear and lovable as go to the heart our civil desired of many and dear to many she abandons gossip as one who tells that which is seasonable factual
will good and the law and the discipline he speaks in season speech with recording which is reasoned definite and connected with good
well we've heard all of that many times will not only through buddhist
ha literature course but from one another since as early as we can remember not to spread falsehoods about one another and not to abuse the gossip slander or lie
but really what does right speech mean because there are times obviously when maybe to tell a lie would save somebody's been even worse fate
what is right speech what is complete thorough mindful speech
what is saying the right thing in the right way at the right time in a world of conceptual and linguistic convention the human world really about how do we go about really knowing what write speeches
i knew a woman once who was very very popular with everybody one those people that you normally they just walk into the room and you're like them for some reason and someone asked her before she died how come she seemed to live such a
a life of come
didn't use those words but the life of conquered that's what people would feel with her she said i always tastes the words before they come up
i always tastes the words before they come out of my mouth that's pretty good
trouble is usually the horses out of the barn before you think of closing the door right
and you wish you could pull those words back how many times that we wish we could pull the words back that we have uttered in anger
i'm going to tell your story
i think it has bearing on right speech
your number of years ago i was a
in a residential treatment center for youngsters from twelve to eighteen is twenty five years or so ago
and ah
i was put in a
a home where the my particular group cottage there all girls twelve girls
the dirty dozen we call them
kids from mom and kids from mom
you know black kids hispanic kids why kids kids from almost every walk of life but all of whom had been abused in one way or another
and who had learned
speech patterns
epithets curses that would put a french pirate make him blush
and i was in this cottage with these with these youngsters and i have been there about six weeks in each of the three each of the
times that i went in i would start trembling a little bit before i got there because i had not yet earned my place
it was their turf and i was an outsider coming in the beginning
so one day after listening to this this
this language that these girls used toward each other and towards the counselors language that they had picked up in defense
i came in from my break and i wrote on the blackboard which faced the door from now on there will be no kersey no profanity in this cottage and i say my name
andrew and they have been gone at that time when they came back from school which was on the property
and saw that what was written there in words you cannot imagine the stream of profanity they came
right under my nose
and i would say that one among all of them stood out with her creative ability to put epithets together in such a way as that even a stevedore had never
el color kit just for it wasn't her real name but she was one of these youngsters a girl and her whole her whole vicious looked as if she'd put her tongue into a
light socket as a citizens kind of electrified
a girl was super normal intelligence and as well as street smarts and the grew really knew how to use vituperative language in a way that could destroy anything before
well that night that afternoon that this that they begin to go crazy with their language i simply said the cottage is closed i had that authority together with the other counselor and we decided that they could not go out and cannot receive visitors they couldn't do that had to sit there in fact
because we had these these models based on sent an programs in the like of behavior modification we'd have to have a group sit down and group and discuss what was happening
and it was the hell hero to do this but little by little because we we understood that these youngsters wanted discipline innocence they wanted guidelines they wanted boundary to see
we had to put ourself on the line and make that happen
and by evening
when the cause would come in and so on and could they go over to another cottage i remember one of the girls saying no papa look first i've heard this work says we can't do it i knew at that moment that somehow i had gained a bit of a bit of authority
right speech trained to teach one another how to count of control our language
little by little that girl by the way
became very a kit became very own
hip to win to open her mouth and we're not too because we had a program in which you can advance you see
before you graduated and show that you could hold your mud as we used to say if you could hold your mud and not splattered all over the world every new reactive pattern every time something came into your face so they were learning this discipline and so are we as consonants learning the same way how to deal with one another
but then one night i got a phone call morning we spent three days on on the shift in toward morning i got this phone call and woke me up and i picked up the telephone and i heard this voice which i knew so well gee anaconda husky
janis joplin type of voice to papa
i'm in jail and i thought she's in bed down the hall
you're in jail where i'm in oakland
and i'm in jail
what should i do
now what is right speech here
years later years later i asked myself what was right speech at that moment so i commiserate and pork il should show get angry what should i say
you know you have to talk to the police officers and so on and i think was juvenile are in juvenile hall
some midnight traveler had come over and picked her up she got out the window
so i said actually i don't know what to say to you
but we'll talk tomorrow and we hung up
that was the last ever heard from her
years later a photo in fact that she had taken her life
and i often wondered you know and and that been the moment and that than one of those crucial moments in my life where a single word would have turned samples
if i had where was i coming from what was that space fact there's a loop that i was a little groggy at that moment of course was
not helpful that wasn't totally present totally aware of the of the totality of the situation
but i think all of his head his experiences of when right speech utter a word a single word would have turned to that our life on a on a dime made a big difference
and this happened to us before in most assuredly it's gonna continue to happen

also you know it's interesting the different ah styles of of of speaking some people have a kind of sarcastic way of dealing with the world or a cynical way other people have a rather witty way of dealing with it everything in the world is source and a subject for
for human a joke
a quick rip your like stab to keep things moving and it isn't that right speech should always be this kind of drab pontifical very careful
ah ah pattern in fact in this and tradition you know in our tradition right speech can come in in the most unusual packaging
that we read the stories of the chinese masters and so on they would use insults and sarcasm and so on when the monk that was asking some questions was still hanging on some aspect of his ego her evil
and the master would see that new some words and chop through it sometimes a very very sarcastic bloodwork
but because they were coming from the place and compassionate place that wanted to release this individual from this individual suffering from the entrapment of their egoistic patterns they would use any device possible to break through so write speeches than being conscious and aware of the length of of more than just
just a reactive parents but being aware of all of the sense of what language is about
and what it is is a convention
but we have used and adopted as human beings did you find the world for ourselves and right speech also means to see through the conventions to see what we would call the emptiness of speech the fact that we use words and that words hurt and that we make a word world out of words
to see that we do that as process and that get trapped so much by the words in the language and all of you many of you at least have taken part in communication workshops learning how to communicate with one with one another more effectively
and that's an excuse me that is a part of right speech and to be able to remain silent while the other person is having his or her say
and then speaking back to them what we hear that person saying and developing strategies and methods by which to speak address one of the communicate with one another in a way in which and understanding can emerge commonly rather than from one side of the other
in our practice as monks course classically speaking monks maintain silence as much as possible because they knew the power of words and that monk should only speak when there was really something to be said and not just dribble away all of their energy into idle chatter
yeah but there's limitations in silence and i heard that the monks at get yosemite monastery that was thomas merton's monastery when they were finally allowed to speak to one another found out they didn't know how don't really communicate and then when they did they were
amazed that the feelings i came forth
that they had a really work with language through language through the conventions of language and the power of language to get free
and then silence alone was not the answer
now we by the way you know there's many people sitting with us today
forgot to mention this earlier
who have been here all week volunteers who have come in for this week of what we call work week
and ah i want to take a moment just to say to all of you have joined us this week to build and paint and clear away grounds and do the innumerable tests that keep the monastery they keep this practice place going thank you
person i want to thank you all of you
for doing at work and language
a place like green gulch toss har city centre or maybe any monastic setting is a crucial aspect of how we use language and work and course if you've been here you know that we try to work in silence and only speak when it's necessary for functional purposes
but i notice also that when we start working together that the natural tendency of coming up and finding out each other story and where we're from and who we are begin to build an identity begin to build a story so that we can function and amelia that are stories
provide a ground of understanding it's hard not to fall into that it's hard not to make our stories media the explicit to one another but the least some ground for the mystery of being together to develop out of sight to see
so people i have to keep checking themselves said well i'm just want to if i'm painting or of i'm
cutting vegetables or whatever the my activity is let's just a moment take a little space here and drop drop the conversation just returned to the work itself
were deluged with words now aren't we i mean that we got the internet now for soon will be the intergalactic network dot u or something
and remember when the information i mean this technological explosion was going to free us all from so we have more leisure time to really develop ourselves
and now you can't go home without the facts running arena tell her the your cell phone buzzing a buzzard calling us always back to get more information more speech more more talk more conversation or concepts
the how to deal with all that whereas right speech at all of that
it's a question i think that we have to ask ourselves very clearly what produce concord
and what doesn't how to say the right thing in the right way at the right time
that's the classic go that's the class ago
definition what good writing is by the way

i think lenny bruce lenny bruce
well whether you agreed with with a kind of language you use do not what one of the things that lenny bruce did was try to liberate what we call a socially proscribed language from the terrific power it has over us the invective and and and
the kind of repressed
a side of the the repressed shadow behind language by by repeating it over and over and over and over
using it in in this context endlessly drummond it into you into one
kind of a draining it of its power
so this becomes sounds pretty sure obama mama mama mama
and that was a i think a very useful thing to to break through and now of course the language that was used in back in the fifties that we're through lenny bruce and journey can just plug in the t v put any video almost in in here at now and maybe that's good thing maybe as is bad i don't know we can argue was a point and or discuss that point
but i think sometimes it was a good thing that we have certain people that shock us out of the power that language holds over us so that we can see us emptiness it's essential emptiness that is the that it's all interdependent arises according conditions passes away according to conditions
and take a breath and let it go

oh yes and also you know we have what's called in in in the colon tradition of zen buddhism the capping phrase alpha and teacher would say something to this the master would say something to the student
what are you doing here today for example when student might say something well i'm
i'm doing nothing here and this teacher would come back with a caffeine phrase if you're doing nothing in
slap him
whatever and the student had to come back with another freeze on top of that going from the universal to the particular and or but i noticed in our own speech from day to day in the kind of status games we play we use caffeine phrases with one another we kind of one up one that we kind of put it in to an example i remembered my own knife one more story here
it helps me to tell stories
it helps a time go easy
i was selling newspapers on the street believe or not and it was a good job was it like a humanities course for about three hours in the morning once upon a time for the chronicle
it help pay the rent
well i got to know some street people and i got to understand where they were coming from better and we had a pretty interesting kind of communication and one of these street pupil
was a woman who had i had multiple sclerosis and she limped about and begged and i was constantly and their cups whenever she got money she was drunk
just to come up to me and talk to me and i really enjoyed her because she was very real and who she was
she said to meet one day she said dave
what's gonna happen to me
well at this moment i decided i was going to tell
so i said you know what a cadaver is
in all i don't know a cadaver some day you're going to fall down dead in the street
and you probably you tell me there's no one left in your life so your body's going to be used for medical purposes so picture yourself share stretched out buck naked on the table under bright lights in a room filled with young medical students peering down at you
and above you stands the teacher with the scapular real sharp scalpel or one and
reaches down and leaves you open from your sternum gear crotch reaches in and pulls out your disease liver and says see this is what alcohol does
and she looked at me the way she often did with a smile that was i used to call a half acid and half honey
she said dave you always make my day
the really good caffeine for it
you see we all laugh at that you know it was we like that we like this kind of exchange i think it was very appropriate put me right in my place

g to has gone on to other lands
i heard

in one of the scriptures in the lotus sutra
there's a story of the bodhisattva never despise it was called booty soften never despise or never disparage
according to the the scripture at this time it was a time in which
the buddhist teachings you know in buddhism buddhist teachings is a period with the teaching is still fresh
and then is it is a place where become begins to become you know little more structured and ossified becomes more conceptual find there's a place where it begins to fall apart
degenerate and then it starts up again refreshed as itself well this was a period
in which the monks
which body never despise lived lived among are very proud and arrogant about their understanding of the buddha dharma
and bodhisattva never despise practice was whenever he saw on a monk or nun he would immediately prostrate himself and say i see in you the enlightened future buddha and they would say on this guy this this jerk cannot
look at it what what what does he think he's doing you know who does he think he is to tell us that someday we we are going to be
ah enlightened hood is know and disparage him and throw rocks at him
it said in an year and and human feces and tip gym because of what they consider to be his arrogance and no matter what they did what anybody in any walk of life did a booty never despise he would always bogged down to them and say i see you knew the glowing illuminated future buddha
i guess if somebody eschewed in our life did that all the time to us it will be a little bit annoying that every time we seem to be a bad space
they would throw himself
but on the other hand you know
there is a practice you know way where when you're really in a bad space you throw yourself down and bow and you say to yourself you know but he never despise i see a new the future transcended illuminated fully present buddha and you're saying it to yourself
so right speech could also you have to do with the fact that you know that tai ji hoo the energy's coming toward us we dance with it and we also are bowing down before the power of that phenomenon
have become body never despise the matter you know we consider this practice that the best the best teachings are those that come at us i got like a left hook taken by surprise knock you off your
you're safe secure
place and wake you up
so when we practiced together here you know it is very difficult working in the kitchen for example with you haven't to get three meals out a day in all the heat and attention and are trying to get the work done working with one another constantly sitting together that
we we we feel this quarrelsome this
we feel this lack of concord come up again and again and again and how how we speak teacher when it comes up in the midst of our work you see as monks as practitioners
it becomes a central issue
in the way we address each other and how we handle our words
and the charge that they carry back and for
rather than the silence so much those are the issues and not only that but how we even look at each other you know
we can kill with looks here you can be silent just you know killed with a look
i don't like you don't like this
so writes beach is sometimes just remaining silent and taken it absorb minute letting go through you feeling the emptiness of words
it's just lenny bruce seeing all these words to me boom boom boom boom
you go through me feel that with are moving feel that reverberation that contraction
that's in supporting a away that limbic system fight and flight response
and then all of that space they say and it can be practice a natural appropriate response will arise if you just don't fall into the usual survival mechanism of fighting back or running away
that's what we try to do here and i think all of us are practicing that in our life to some extent
i'm not beyond disagreeing with mark twain who said
the right cuss word at the right moment affords enormous relief
every time i hit my psychological of some in one way or another i noticed a certain expletive foot flies out of my mouth willy nilly
and probably always will
my grandmother used to don't we say merci
there was to have mercy
what i say

good it's time
when write speeches also know when to shut up

thank you very much