Sunday Lecture

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it's nice to see all do especially the children's ward

last weekend
i was in my early
miami beach it's really warm there
i actually got a sunburn
and i went to a wedding
don't know if interview children have ever been to a huge wedding
a really big one where everybody dresses up in tuxedos and things like that
i went to a wedding like that in my early beach
i will only when they wanted to weddings like that in my life
so it was quite a thrill
and the best part was the i thought anyway was the procession
there's music playing and there must have been about a dozen
ah bridesmaids
and groomsmen all dressed in the same identical the women were dressed in black dresses in the men in tuxedos
and they would what they walk down the island pairs in a one man and one woman
the door would open in one man and one woman would come
walk down the aisle and when they got their door would open again and another to would come
when on and on like this
and they were all really beautiful there are young and good looking there are friends you see of the bride and groom
and they looked like princes and princesses walking down the aisle it was really beautiful
and i imagine how they must feel
walking down the aisle with this beautiful music playing like as if it was music from heaven and are coming from the sky
walking down the aisle with all these people looking at them
so it was that like going off for a stroll you know all these people looking at them all eyes on them
and you could tell by the looks on their faces that
they knew this was a special kind of a walk that they were taking
it looked like they were walking towards the sunrise and they were going to walk right through the sunrise you know into another universe as outlook walking
down the aisle
finally after all this bridesmaids and groomsmen came in
then come came the groom
and he had his mother and father on either side of them as he walked down the aisle
and that was really something to say because
the groom looked a lot like is paris
so it was like he was the new model and they were an old model you know
walking down the aisle
and then after that
the parents of the bride
came in and they walked little ways down the aisle love you i don't know one quarter the way
in the music stopped
and everybody fell silent

then the doors opened up
and there was the bride
and i just took your breath away here
she looked like an angel from heavens are white fluffy things
she had a train on her gown and it looked like the foam of the oceans
following behind her
and she walked out in total silence and she joined her mother and father
and then the music first out again stronger than ever
and the three of them walked down the aisle together
you should have been there is really so
and again it was really beautiful because the the bride really looked like her mother and father and she looked like the new model the special you know brand new with all the
well options

and she looked like she was walking down the aisle to be launched
into the new life somehow a minute was something
so can you imagine that can you picture that have you ever been and have you been to a wedding
like that actually there was a little girl
and i know ah
the me about your age
who was the flower girl
i forgot to mention about her she came down the aisle before the bride and groom
and she was so good she just walked in a measured pace very slowly and she had a little basket of flower petals
and
and she had a sweet smile on her face and she would first where the right-hand ticket handful of flower petals and go plunk
and then a few more steps than are left hand
plunk
plunk
beautiful and then by so by the time that bride and groom came that whole aisle was strewn with flower petals
so they call this one that when they have a bride and groom come with their parents they call this giving them away the giveaway the bride the parents give away
the bride and i give away the groom
so after that the bride and groom are no longer
it really in a way anymore the children of their parents their parents have given away right and now there for each other
so i'm mentioning this because
all of you even know you're very young now
sunday will be given away by your parents even if you don't have a big wedding ceremony like that even if you never get married
one where the other
you'll be given away
by your parents is hard to imagine maybe now
but but it will happen
can you think of that can you imagine it
to be given away when you're grown up by appearance
so in the meantime
as why i've seen this is in the meantime before you're given away
enjoy your parents
because the time of being given away a comes sooner than you think and maybe when you're given away you remember
but i'm telling you this today and you'll think to yourself that seem like so long ago that he said that i would be given away but how short it was
so i hope that the paris will remember this and the children will remember this also in appreciate the time before the time of giving away because it's really special and really precious
think of it
the hope so

so i'm going to keep talking about you guys can leave anytime you want
no
the truth is anybody here can leave anytime
the

you might be better off actually going with the children

few weeks ago and i had my stepping down ceremony
been in the ceremony we have a dharma dialogue you know where people come and ask questions and i supposed to answer the questions so rick
was one of the people who was assigned to ask the question
in japan when they have these ceremonies it's scripted you know the questions and the answers in advance
it's formalized and but here we don't know the questions or answers in advance
so rick asked me a question about family
at custom reckon ever had have a baby boy jacob at the end of november
so when he asked was asking me and the ceremony was family this was not an abstract questions about family this was something that came from his heart
something very immediate and personal for him
no i do a fair number of these have done a fair number of these ceremonies and i can never remember exactly what
it said what i say or what the other person says cause in order to do the ceremony you really have to pay attention to what and listen in on to the question and respond immediately and so
when you pay attention that much it's hard to remember you know what happens
so i can't really remember exactly what our dialogue was but i do remember that i somehow said to rick something like
i
should let go of your family give up your family
and i also remember that in the ceremony he didn't like that answer at all head and he said i won't do it and forget about it i'm not doing that
in the ceremonies etc
so that was
excellent
the conduct of a student right and never believe the teacher give the teacher hard time
ah if it's not true for you
don't believe it
maybe later
it'll be true for you and then you'll appreciate what was said but until then forget about it don't believe it
so usually you you tend to remember or those moments in which you thoroughly disagree with your teacher
in their important moments but you should disagree if you don't if you if it's not true for you so he did that and afterward and the reception and he came up to me with a very sweet and cheerful expression and said
i don't care what you say you and that kinda i'm not giving up my family i know that's that's not right
and this because he really loves his family
with an immense love which is something very very beautiful
from our ordinary perspective as human beings love i like that is when the most unlikely things imaginable
that you would care for another
even more than you care for yourself is very unlikely thing and when you see it it breaks your heart it's beautiful so beautiful
every human being comes from a family of some sort
everybody
has to have a father and mother
as a precondition for entering this world
and this kind of a social unit
is the basis of all human psychology and all human society
no matter how good or how bad our parents were
no matter how supportive and nurturing they may have been or how unsupportive in a nurturing they may have been
they always somehow remain with us
even their absence
is powerful
if we were lucky like jacob
we can he his son
then when we're very little our parents establish a strong bond with us
he was telling me that if she goes away from jacob just for a little while the whole time she's away she's thinking of him every minute and she can't stay were very long she has to return pretty soon
so if we're lucky you know this kind of
ah pond
based on selfless love is established
but the truth is that once this bond is firmly established
the whole of parenting is a long slow process of letting go of the bond
all the way up to the time that you give away
the bride or groom one way or the other even if it's not in a wedding ceremony
ah
doesn't want to be given away
course even after that we're always
bonded with your children
that bond never goes away
but also
you really do let go
and if you don't let go if you can't let go then they're big problems
oops
what's the matter

okay

so that's the hard thing about being a parent is giving that kind of love establishing that kind of bond and then letting it go
it's actually i was talking to a friend last night my wife and i were with a friend who has grown children as we do and we were talking about
how sweet and how difficult that is
i've been i'm thinking about this because sir
i'm working some on my of but book i'm writing about mentoring and parenting and and
i have a chapter about this and although it's very stupid to quote from oneself
i want to this read your little section of what i was working on the other day which
probably will be eliminated from the from the book is everything else has been eliminated on
but i'll read i read it because it's about this
it give away your child they also give away most of the page as you right when you to push
ah
so this points toward the need in families for a new kind of love
to be developed
as the family changes to include a new young adult someone who was a child and then becomes a little by little a young adult
it's a love that includes in it some distance
a wide mutual respect that will allow each person's independent to development
to grow this kind of love takes sensitivity and courage
it requires that each person in the family undertake the subtle task of tending more thoroughly to his or her own business
while not losing sight of or warm concern for the other
such love is not characteristics characteristic of young marriages are young families and it shouldn't be
young marriages and young families are occasions for a wonderful and intimate closeness in the midst of which which it is hard to tell the difference between you and me husband and wife parent and child
this is a wonderful time as magical for the parent as for the child
the time of self transcendence enjoy
but such a time by imperceptible degrees comes to a close over the years and we need to be ready for it
we need to remake relationships
not only between son or daughter and parents but also between husband and wife
the family dynamic changes across the board when when children get ready to come of age as adults
the work of developing this wider more inclusive love is one of life's most rewarding experiences i think
for most of us most of the time there is a great deal of fear
and strongly held desire in our loving
while this is normal it also can become confining eventually it can transmute
no longer love it can become a form of dependency driven by fear and it can even insidiously take on the form of an antipathy
that we persist by habit
in calling love love is dynamic and can never stay the same
it has its stages
and to miss these stages
not to cooperate with them is to watch love die without realizing that you're watching that happen
as love in a family matures one can see that the one we love
can never be possessed can never be held onto
from the standpoint of a dependent love this can seem like a tragedy
but it's only tragic if you don't like it and you don't accept it if you can accept it
you see that it's a good thing that we can't possess or hold onto the object of our love because if we could it would not really be a living being
he would only be our invention
in the end inventions aren't really lovable
the coming of age of a son or daughter is a unique time in a family's life for the development of this new wide love
in any case where the parents choose to undertake it or not it's impossible for them to hold onto their child or protect or shield their child from the world
just as in the story of buddha whose parents try to protect him from the world keep him within the safety of the palace
parents can't
ensure that their children will always be safe and well and that their lives will be successful and free from pain
sometimes pain comes
and although we all try to avoid pain whenever we can
when it comes it's not necessarily something negative sometimes pain and suffering maybe exactly what we need to make our lives more real
and mature love always recognizes this and so contains a measure of letting go and there's always some sadness in that i think
but i also don't think that there's any way around it and it may not be a bad sadness but rather a sweet sadness
in the story of buddhist life
but leaves home
but in the nd comes back and becomes the teachers and for his family
and that can happen also in our families as our children we give them away and they come back
and become our teachers with my friend last night we were discussing all listen
he was saying that
his father
ah has alzheimer's disease and he has to take his father by the hand
and take him for a walk put him to bed at night diaper him give him a shower just as if he were a little baby

most of us who count to and practice come thinking of it as something that we're doing for ourselves as individuals we think of zen practice is being about a person alone
in buddhism the sort of archetypal moment is buddha's leaving home as i said leaving his family in order to seek the way
but in reality whether we see ourselves as zen students or emulator is of the buddha's life
every person regardless does leave his or her family at some time
and i think that this is required of us to be a whole person
we leave our family
even though you might be living
in the midst of your family
because we love as i said has always that sense of distance in it
i don't think it's possible to love truly unless you know what it means to let go and i think that that letting go is the spaciousness that's at the heart of love
when we understand letting go we're embracing life as it really is
rather than life as we wish that it were
because life is not something you can hold onto
the nature of life is to pass by every moment of life is a moment of passing by
so i think our practice is all about learning this kind of loving
which means joining the community of life
the flow of life as it really is
and although it may seem that zen practice is about ourselves as individuals when you think about it the methods and practice it's as simpson in the korean zen master says it's together action
doing everything together sitting together walking together working together eating together joining ourselves hand to hand with every everyone
as each one of us goes ahead with our life
and sitting on our cushion
isn't alone something even though we seem to be all alone
even if we're sitting on a mountaintop far away from any one
we're sitting right in the middle of our family
in our life if we really see it and really are willing to enter it fully as it is is always lived right in the middle of our family
and the family of everything and we are always embraced and held in the bond of life moment after moment
after many many years of sitting with the community every day i now starting to sit sometimes all by myself and i was doing that this morning early in the morning all by myself
and i wasn't lonesome i'm really felt a
tied up in the bonds of life with everyone and everything i i'm sitting by myself hearing the sound of the ocean

this phrase and amusing
tied up in the bonds of life
is actually a phrase from the jewish tradition
and there's a prayer let you say for your parents when they have died
and and ends with this phrase
may day forever be bound up in the bonds of life
and i'm thinking of this phrase particularly now because said
the minutes ago
i went to visit my my parents' grave grebes they're buried side by side in miami
and i don't get to miami too often so whenever i'm there is high priority to go and visit the grave and and it was a little bit of a
funny thinkers
it's very i don't know if you have driven around miami lately
but it's extremely confusing at least to me like where you're going
because there's one hundred and twenty fifth street on and twenty fifth court on twenty fifth avenue hundred twenty fifth place their south one hundred twenty fifth street and north on and you know the numbers don't always make sense and so we were bubbling around getting lost and my aunt said well
you know we better get there because the cemetery closes at six
so we got there at two minutes after six
and there's a big sign that said cemetery opened nine to four so
cemetery was long closed when we got there but
fortunately
it doesn't have a very high fence around it
so
so my son and i scaled the fence and then went into the cemetery which was actually especially nice because it was extremely peaceful nobody else was around because it was closed
and we went and found the graves pretty easily and
it was kind of sweet
i'm one of my sons one of our sons and and i
i stood there for a while and
said prayers

lately i've been studying
a facile of dogan called zingy in japanese which
can be translated into english as the whole works
and this festival is very dear to us here at zen center because the whole works is the name of our senior teacher
tensions enki anderson
the whole works anderson
and it's a very profound pond this phrase the whole works because it's like the whole works
i in the whole works
so it's upon in english and i believe also in japanese dog and intended it as that kind of very profound play on words
anyways is a great it sits in
i guess to the new the new dog and book that we did call enlightenment unfolds and i recommend that you read read this it's really beautiful writing of dogan and the main point of it is what i've been talking about this morning
the fact that we are all always
every moment of our lives and deeply held
right in the middle of the totality of all of life
and that as human beings moment after moment we act something we do every moment and that in the midst of those acts all those acts are decisive powerful inclusive act there's nothing that we do any moment of our lives that isn't
totally important insignificant and isn't a moment and an act that can't bring us completely face to face with all of life with our whole life with all of life
wherever we are
that is the only place to be
at that place
the whole world comes to fruition
that's the place where all of life is created and were all of life passes away
whatever it is that we're doing no matter how trivial or insignificant the act may seem
the whole world depends on it
and the whole universe was created only for us at that moment yesterday
i went to jon kabat-zinn retreat in the morning and i snuck away in the afternoon
i was inspired by his discussion of mindfulness and i went home and i folded laundry yeah
and things like that
you know through away garbage and
and i was doing that knowing that that was the most important thing in the world and that the whole world depended on it
it was very nice very peaceful
so knowing this practicing this way i think is the secret of our practice
to live our lives as if every moment we're really like that as if every moment or our first in our last moment
as if every moment
we were walking down the aisle
toward the sunrise of our lives
and this is not something made up
this is reality this is existence
in our job is simply to wake up to it to know that it so
so this writing of dog sankey opens up like this this this is the opening paragraph it the great way of all buddhists thoroughly practiced
his freedom and realization
freedom means that in the middle of life you are free of life and in the middle of death you are free of death
this is existence itself freedom from life and embracing life
this is how practice is you let go of life and you idolize life
such is the thorough practice of a great way
so this is how dog and begins and we have this idea on the one hand of letting go and on the other hand of embracing and in our minds these seem like quite the opposite notions
one seems to preclude the other
but here dog and say that when when we really appreciate our life
we see that these things are not opposites at all that really living means letting go and embracing simultaneously seeing that there's no such thing as embracing without letting go and there's no such thing as letting go without embracing
you know letting go without embracing his nihilism
and embracing without letting go is attachment
when were born or not really born when we die
we don't really die
this is how our life is on every moment
and when we can appreciate that then we can live completely and we can love completely
later on in the festival he says
the whole world of living and dying is like someone bending and stretching the arm the whole world living and i is just like that
or like someone asleep reaching back for their pillow in the dark
this is making our life real in a vast and wondrous light
the whole world of living and dying is just like someone bending and stretching an arm or like someone in the night reaching back for a pillow
so i think this to me this a marvelous expression life is just like stretching an arm and it comes from and oldest buddhist sutras and certainly in the oldest buddhist sutras they got it from somewhere way in the past and the old suitors it would say it would be used as an expression for immediacy
and speed they would say often ill sutras just as quickly as a strong man would stretch and bend his arm just so quickly a god appeared in the sky in front of the buddha and said and then i would say something
and then there's an old saying in in bodhidharma
the elbow doesn't bend
backwards you know the elbow and knee bends in one direction it can i guess some people maybe there double jointed or something but usually they elbow only bands in one direction
the arm can only be stressed out in this way not in any other way
and then there's an expression
that we have an english
reach up the phone company
very popular richer
to someone reach out and touch someone with richa like that
so i think that's the same you know
all of reality is like mending the arm reaching up and the second expression about reaching back for your pillow in the dark makes it even more clear because this is a reference
to a famous line in a con a con whose subject is a compassion
the cohen says that ah basically the burden of the coin is that compassion isn't some special sort of activity something that we do once in awhile it's just like reaching back for your pillow in the dark something very natural very reflective you don't even think about it
some other words all activity is the activity of reaching out
all activity is the activity of compassion getting up in the morning and putting your feet on the floor and standing up is an act of compassion
a stumbling into the bathroom and brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth is an act of compassion
going for a walk feeding a dog making the coffee
our acts of compassion
life is compassion life is endlessly a process of reaching out
the whole works means that life is embracing and letting go and when we live our like lot life like that then compassion is just said something very natural very easy
and when i was studying this and marveling over this phrase
just like stretching out your arm and made me think of a phrase a biblical phrase that i've always wondered about
every year i go to a friend's house a passover time we have a seder and there's a line and say to that always intrigued me because it seemed so adina and said and god something like a god save the people with a mighty hand an outstretched arm and says and services that that's real
lee weird known as mean outstretched arm
but now i i think i understand
having studied sankey once again now i understand
god is the outstretched arm
that is the whole works in every moment of time when we deeply live it and allow ourselves to drop into that moment of our lives we are the outstretched arm embracing
the family of everything that is
and i and i really feel that we're so lucky ah to have a practice that's so simple
and so easily accessible to can make this feeling about our lives so easily accessible
and i feel myself ah how sweet it is to be able to do zazen
and when i sit in zazen and just breathe in and breathe that i feel that and my life most purely is this truth
then i'm speaking about
every time i breathe in i am vitalizing my life literally vitalizing my life embracing my life completely every time i breathe in
i'm saying yes
to my life and whatever comes
and when i breathe out i really feel like i'm letting go of my life
i'm giving it up
i'm finding freedom from my life with each exhale
and whether i'm doing zazen or not
whether i'm aware of this or not i am practicing this twenty four hours a day every day of my life as long as at last
when i was born when some one was born
conventionally called me
i was born because my parents
loved each other and because they were
good people
i came into the world
and i took one big painful inhale and i let out at to remind us cry like everyone
and when i pass out of this world
i will let out one big exhale one final sigh of my life
but i'm doing the same thing every moment between
every moment between i am accepting my life and letting it go
and the whole works goes along with it
and this is love
and whether you like it or not when the agree with the not
whether you know it or not
you are practicing this
all that is is inevitably practicing this
and this is why we know that
our sanga our community
includes everyone and everything because everyone and everything is practicing this
so i'll close with the a little part of some of you maybe i i don't know if i've done this before but in this a unisa sunday talk but
i've been making my own versions of the songs addenda
i'm really enjoying it so i'll redo a part of my version of some number ninety five

we are here singing to you
erupting with shouting at the place of the rock of our salvation coming gratefully and gracefully before you hear affirming with our words the music of our mods that we are possessed by you yours entirely
for you give us the gift of sovereignty
a power above all others
the majesty of our absolutely being
you whose hands touch the earth's depths
pierce's the mountain peak
the always changing see as yours for it exists because of you
and your hands have formed a firmness of the land
so we come in are offering the earth
and see of ourselves to you bending what we are toward you shaper of us
for you our our beyond and we are you are doing
cheap who graze in your pastures
animated by your hand
if only we could awaken to it
if only
we could awaken to it
so let's do that let's awakened to it
anyway let's make our minds to try
thank you
the into