Sunday Lecture

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for those of you who don't know me
my name is steve sticking
i used to live here at green gulch
and phones
seventy two to seventy nine
lately i've been living over the hill
in mill valley
so it's always a pleasure for me to come back
kind of like
to my zen grammar school

one of the things i've been working on lately is a meeting with the buddhist peace fellowship chapter of her in county
and we're we planning to do
a day of mindfulness out here at green gulch
in october
dedicated to the idea of
making peace
there are families
barley the notion of
cultivating gratitude towards the families we had as children
and partly with the idea of being creative
about bringing peace to with families we find ourselves in now
or the families were in the process of creating
as parents
on one simple thing is
at mealtime
at my house we
there are simple grace
we chant
like this
we venerate the three treasures and give thanks for our food
the work of many people and the suffering of all forms of life
so my children have gotten used to doing this
one say when someone asked well what are the three treasures
and the three treasures of course referred to
the buddha
the awakening one the awakened one within us
the dharma
which is reality or the teaching of reality
and sanga
the community of
the people who are practicing the way
and in a wider sense sanga is totally inclusive
because our bodhisattva vow
includes all beings are sanga includes
all people and all rocks and trees
the furthest galaxies
even black holes

so wherever you find yourself then consider yourself in the center of the sanga

some friends of mine also with younger children created a they weren't satisfied with this formal verse so they created a little song
this is an experiment and of course
we need to be finding ways to express ourselves and and teach each other and remind each other
of our practice so
i'm might try seeing this with my dry throat
this is larry and louis sheridan's effort
thanks to our teachers family and friends for growing food in the
work and labor brought us this meal to taste and enjoy with a way earn his living with an open mind this is the way harmony with the foliage moment of the day bowing to each other
as buddha's do smile at me i'll smile at you

this is public domain now so
you can do with it was to will if if anyone would like to try this you can see me afterwards maybe think there's is there an operating a xerox machine here we can do are a few copies and
and then you can write your own improve on this or whatever in one hundred years from now we'll see what has lasted
another thing that's happening this weekend as the
conference of women
in buddhist practice
i notice there are a number of women missing here today some of them are over at lone mountain in san francisco
and they've been meeting therefore several days
so this is an interesting moment in
the development of the buddhist experiment
historically that we have a situation where due to the cultures that buddhism has been transmitted within
virtually all the expression of the dharma has been by men
virtually all the articulation
ah there've always been women practitioners and there there are a number of of story is about the practice of women and expressions are women's practice but my enlarge
men have been talking about the dharma and writing it down and passing it on
so it'll be interesting to see how this shift
with the voices of women
it's already been happening
well i think we'll see a great deal more of it and it'll and it will open a new
a new pedal of the lotus
our new branch on the tree
maybe put a slightly different
to the to the lives of the tree
expressing buddhism
and i think what's wonderful about it is that the
american women
have found that there's something really fundamentally workable and and true and helpful and buddhism
in the dharma and in the practices of meditation
have been drawn to that and it's the same time have been frustrated by
not having maybe an expression that really
fits the personalities and psychology of of being a woman
i have a personal bias in this regard because my as i look at my own family
ah i grew up as a swiss mennonite patriarchal household
my father had the authority and my mother had the the inside
so it's very frustrating to me growing up in the household to see my mother understood some things had some inside some wisdom
never could really find a mature expression
and i see that the consequences are that the karma of that being played out in myself and my siblings and
what i want to talk about for the main body the lecture has to do with
fully recognizing the
the situation grin
so from the ninth century this story comes from la
danke schon
in japanese toes on
tung shan means
k of mountain so his name came from the
the mountain named for the cave
probably a cave where people said zazi and
and one day a
a monk student came to danke schon and said
how can i avoid
hot and cold
and he replied why don't you go to a place where there is no hot and cold
and the monk asked again where is such a place where there's no hot and cold
and don't shine said
when it's hot you swelter to death
when it's cold in freeze to death
and of story

so how do you avoid hot and cold
i can't help
suggesting that you moved to california

simplest level you have hot and cold to deal with you have
some uncomfortable
it's experience we have a range of tolerance
as human beings as as part of our makeup
we get to the threshold of pain either too hot to cold and and we began to
resent our life

i don't know whether the monk was just talking about being hot or cold or whether he had the great question of buddha and mind
which would be
extending this to all forms of suffering
how can we be free from all forms of suffering
and how can all beings we free from all forms of suffering

so dumb chance as well go where there's no suffering

when people were cold in the zendo at tassajara suzuki roshi i once said why don't you just adjust your body
so there are yogic practices to
develop some skill actually in taking care of hot and cold and a very very practical physical way
but what about his statement
when you
when it's hot new swelter to death
when it's cold and freeze to death

one commentary
says when you hear the birdsong
you hear the birdsong to death

so we have a tendency to want to avoid
boy avoid the death of hit the death of paul
the death of pleasure
too much it can be too much too intense

so let me go a very simple example
this past week mice my son and i were putting in a redwood header board between an edge of a long and a planting bed
and we're working on so the board has to sits on edge and it staked into the ground
in a trench and then you fill back toward
oh we had a problem that when we pushed down one end of the board the other end would come up
we could pretend that didn't happen rights let's go ahead and take this end of the board into the ground
and then we could even force the other end into the ground
maybe i would hold until the winter rains come and soften the ground and then it would spring back up again
that kind of thing if if we do it in our life is a avoidance
we don't recognize the consequence of what we're doing at one end
we think this is the only in
i just read that united states is producing sixty percent
of the world's garbage
and western europe is
really doing a first share that as well and
there are companies who are setting up contracts to ship garbage to third world countries are just been a big deal to send for a western european and english trash to spanish guinea and the coast of africa
million a lot of it's actually radioactive waste and toxic toxic waste
so we seem to think that we only have to take care of our in
and push the
objectionable hot cold garbage pain to the other end
it's like having were sitting on a on a seesaw
and we only believe there's one end of the seesaw we want to keep it up he bar end up
and are accumulating some baggage down on the other end
this is karma
and it's immediate returned to think of karma is something that happens later
now maybe that way only become aware of it later
and it may be but the karma
is instantaneous

so big becoming fixed on one end of the seesaw
it's also like foreground background if you only are aware of what's in the foreground and you deny what's in the background now a lot of this is happening
at all levels of our life and experience
part of it is what is happening as i mentioned earlier with the with the women's movement or with the were for some
thousands of years
there's been
the the mail and has been up in certain ways
of the seesaw so the the masculine has been representative and we could almost draw like this is the fulcrum here but you can say this is the surface of consciousness
whether social consciousness or family consciousness or your own personal individual consciousness what's up here is recognized seen accepted articulated what's down here stay submerged and whenever things kind of float up to the top over here
it causes some problem we don't want to believe that there's something over there
so what does this happen what does this have to do with
hot and cold
what does it have to do with
how we practice with that which we deny or that which we avoid
when tongue schon
when you're hot swelter to death
one way of understanding that is to say that's what you need to do
you need to be completely hot
when it's hot
don't fight it
learn the experience investigate the experience of being hot
even sitting here in the zendo
i used to be much colder in here
we didn't have a stove we actually had this whole wall was open
is it used to georgetown georgetown's is to bring the hey right through here so when the hey moved out and we started zendo in in this room this was open and the wind would would how throughout this big sliding door and it would be swinging and banging back and forth and and
so some of us had an opportunity to practice with being cold
and i learned that if i if i fought it if i said all this is cold i can't stand it
i really couldn't stand it
and it was miserable
but if i could let go of the of taking it so personally

and actually do a practice of seeing what was the experience itself what was the experience
i realize there's a whole range of experience that i had not even noticed before
there are a little little tingling
there are a little breezes
and it became so interesting that being cold was only a small part of it
so this is one understanding of what don't shine saying freezing to death is you losing yourself
not taking it personally being completely one with the experience
it's much more subtle
you get the texture of it you get the smell and taste of it
in momentary doses
almost manageable doses you know and just moment at a time
and you begin to recognize that this situation is workable
it's not totally in hospitable and forbidding
so you can do this with a physical pain now made it may take some training and may take some time sitting on your cushion before you can bring yourself to investigate that kind of discomfort
but if you don't take that time
then you are running away or making a greater division and pushing things down on the bottom of the of the seesaw
that's called creating karma
and the more karma you create the more work you have to do to keep
your end up
because the more is the is the more you do that the more you create karma karma like that the more you have a kind of a fabricated phony existence

there's a story about mill rapper
great tibet and yogi
who had a tremendous amount of suffering that he had overcome and a tremendous amount of karma that he had to overcome because he had used his training and sorcery to take revenge on people that in
wrong does family
and later he felt remorse
for all that he'd done in this vengeful activity
hard under the tutelage of martha was a very good teacher a wise teacher
after he was
quite to
well trained quite far along in the path and was actually enjoying his life again
one day came back to his cave and found
right around his low little in a cave where he lived and meditated and he had a little campfire cooking pot that was his heart is kitchen
his living room
it came back and they're sitting around on his around a campfire and is cooking pot were
bunch of demons
at that point was able to enter the cave
where there's demons and they recognize that these were his demons
most of us i think would have run out of the cave let the demons have it
i think they were somebody else demons
where did they come from
so he sat down with him and
i'm not sure about the conversation that happened i'm not sure exactly how it went
but from my own experience with demons i think it went something like this
he said hello
and they did their stuff
shrieked at him
i hadn't got right around behind in his mind and started yakking and him
told him he was no good
he named them
and greeted them
one by one
and then said okay
you go any time
and then the demons left
but the demons wouldn't leave until he had greeted them
and name them
and indicated that it didn't really matter to him that they were there are being demons
except that
he really had other things to do now
so it may you know so he didn't get caught with the excitement and fun of keeping the demons around and biting them back the next day

so that's a kind of a maturity
of practice
where are you can
a host of demons
one cautionary note he didn't invite them
so there's really no virtue in conjuring up names
i think if you pay attention you will find that there are demons enough
when you're paying when you're
when you're receptive
sometimes demons will appear generally we say
don't make too big a deal out of it
his continue your cultivation of
the path

now i think the most relevant the most relevant to practice
to the problem of avoidance and denial
whether it be hot or cold or dealing with demons are dealing with the fact that and your work situation or and your family situation
there is
there's some some problem that hasn't been recognized
there's some some child that's being left in the closet
there's some
person who never gets heard or there's some issue that nobody wants to talk about
i think
the first of the seven factors of mindfulness
the first of his fundamental which is a pet is my the the seven factors of enlightenment season
which are really like the stream which cleanses us in our practice seven factors are are mindfulness
investigation of state's investigation of phenomena
for energy
tranquility and equanimity
coming to the present moment bringing some awareness to the present moment
noticing what you experience
not exaggerating it not deny
investigation of states
is i think really the the area that's worthy of cultivation for facing hot and cold
this means that you are the investigator
you are the consciousness that has to find out what's going on
it's not second hand information from somebody else
you have to be calm enough
have your mind stabilized enough that you can actually watch observe
suzuki roshi said of with the give your cow and horse a wide pasture
give him room but don't ignore them
observe carefully
so investigating what's going on is in itself a step on the path to awakening
that means fully experiencing the hot really experiencing the birdsong fully experiencing my dear friend tells you
you're terrific
don't deny it

so we all come to practice with a great deal of suffering
a great deal of karma
and it's only if we stop
listen carefully
oh we can stop that stream of karma
create some new possibility for ourselves
and for
our whole culture our children
so thank you for coming today and please remember to take time
to start