Sunday Lecture

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good morning

among cast master ching ling
the path de bourges and twists what about sudden enlightenment
kingman said you face away from the black jewel beneath your own feet
toward a sky filled to the moon with anxiety

two weeks ago on a monday or fifty five children came to gringo who the day
they were ages eleven to thirteen
from my daughter's school
so i wanted to put on a good show for them and asked all of my friends here to please help which they did
and some of our teachers gives us an instruction to them and here in this room
daikon and are lean and taiyo
and may vendor taught them about the tea ceremony over the tea house
and when johnson took them to the garden
and i was in the wheelwright center at answering the questions that they had sent to me about zinn
they had come home and my daughter's lunchbox
so i thought today that i would tell you some of the questions and a little bit about the conversation that we had together here at gringotts that day
what are your means of revenue and do you divided up equally
the merch mill valley kids
what would you do if your kid didn't want to be a buddhist
which is interesting because my daughter has told me that she's actually jewish
why would you be a buddhist monk and not a christian monk
where is that line that we draw
wasn't hard to get used to living in selves and do you ever get lonely
and then finally i think this one was to test our sense of humor do you ever order out
think we would but pizza for fifty years kind of hide
so the question that i wanted to talk about today that i thought was
the most evocative for me was this one
after all your years of study is there anything you have learned
you know the answer and that my kid
or advice you would give that applies both to life inside and outside of the center
they say an eleven year old doing pretty good
so i think that's exactly what we do here on sunday mornings is to try and find out if there's anything that were learning hair or studying here that is of interest or use to all of you
or to all of us for that matter
and another reason that i like this question is that
it did make me curious you know it awakened my curiosity about what i'm doing
what am i learning
last christmas i was visiting a friend who was dying and the hospital up in portland and while i was waiting with him i spent some time watching tv and there was a show i saw i've told the people here
or about this
it was an interview with stephen hawking is it hawking or hawkins
hocking so he's the man the physicist to has a l s lou gehrig's disease and he's completely paralyzed except for his eyes and he uses his eyes to activate a site computer
and then the computer talks for him
so in i was kind of interested in the interview he was talking about outer space which i have always rather liked and
solar systems and that kind of thing and then at the end of the interview the men who was asking him questions said do you mind if they ask a personal question
and stephen hawking said
that would be fine and the man said are you a happy man
and the computer printed out yes i am
so the interviewer was also surprised and he said how is that so
and stephen hawking said
because i'm deeply curious
so it seems to me that he has found the secret to life while looking for the secret of the universe
so i became deeply curious about this question what have i learned or what advice could i give
after all my years of study
inside and outside of the center
and so this last this last question inside and outside the centre was where my thinking went first
oh what is the center of zen center
or what is then center the center of
i used to aim is to think it was kind of funny this call it zen know center
when we were having a lot of trouble hearing you know
so when the buddha looked for the center what he found as far as i can understand was himself
just this person
but the difference was that he understood that itself
quite differently
instead of a isolated introverted kind of snail like mean
peering out at the world
what he saw was something more like the intake valve for the universe
or maybe an inversion of the big bang
his dogan says to carry the self this little snail self forward and experienced the myriad things his delusion
that the myriad things come forth
and realize themselves is awakening
so for the buddha inner and outer space conjoined
through a deepening of his curiosity
this is a classic zen question what is it that thus comes what is it that thus comes
now the secret is the question
and we asked this question with her eyes with our ears or nose or tongue our entire body our entire mind
so i think one way of understanding the buddha is that he was a man who came to his senses
he woke up buddha means to wake up
and this isn't the same thing as
seeing is believing you know the old lutheran thing i guess
seeing is believing it's more like believing and seeing
you know and it's so simple even children do it babies to it
you know but we are older children i think we kind of overlook the point
which is looking itself seeing
and this seen this awareness is available to each and every particle of consciousness that sitting right here in this room today
you know so
this is the center
and this is the center and this is the center
center center center centers in that's the center of zen center
your hand on top of your head

so this is from the buddhist admonition to buy year from the old wisdom suitors
then by year thus must you train yourself in the scene there will just be the scene
in the heard just the heard
in the reflected just the reflected in the cognize just the cognize that is how by you must train yourself
now by when the in the scene there will be to you just the scene
in the heard just the heard in the reflected just the reflected and in the cognize just the cognize
then by here you will not identify yourself with it
and when you do not identify yourself with it you will not locate yourself therein
when you do not locate yourself therein it follows that you will have no here
or there or midway between
the end of suffering

so in a way are sitting practice is basically a celebration of our self self-centeredness
with each of us each self as the center
and i was thinking that this is probably what i thought they meant when i was a child when they talked about democracy
you know that all men and women and children and plants and animals are created equal
and that they are endowed with inalienable rights in rights to life and liberation and the cessation of suffering
and to me that sounds very much like our for mothers and fathers understood the buddhist teaching
it's just that we haven't quite realized it yet
there's still a big task for us to do
and that's exactly why we make our vows
i vow to save all beings
to the end of time
i once asked my teacher is then fast enough
he didn't answer he just smiled
so this last april after sitting a seven-day sixteen here in this very room with some of you i'm sure
i went home to the tiny kitchen of my cell
i actually haven't very nice sell by the way
thank you all for that
and i wrote down on a post-it three videos that i felt compelled to rent
and i didn't know why you know i just wrote them down one of them i hadn't seen yet it was called i didn't know the name it was an outer space thing outlook it almost anything about outer space
that was young i told someone you know i can't wait until we get into outer space and my friend said nance he we are in outer space that
kind of scary thought
we are aliens that so
anyway one of them was i'd read the review got a good review and it was called a vision quest na na na na na patient quest galaxy quest
africa somewhere you saw a thing is so good
and the other two were once i had seen one was groundhog day and the third where shadowlands
well this came in very handy when the kids are here because i could talk about movies you know this is their language in fact i heard from one of their teachers yesterday that they were absolutely amazed that i had seen and liked matrix
that so
so anyway i very obedient obediently rented these three films and took them home to my cell where i have a small but adequate sony pcr and i watched them all in two days have my own little film festival
so which reminds me i was thinking well it was telling when i was gonna tell you this stuff that i hope i'm not disturbing your projections of how we live here at green gold
i was talking to my therapist there's another one i was talking to my therapist
and telling them about you know how difficult it is for us farmers when we are killing all these little animals with our tractors you know here we are vegetarians and organic farmers and were ripping up the fields with full of gophers and birds and stuff and i was telling them about the pain of that
and he looked at me he said you know i thought you people plowed with mules
and we kind of look at each other like boy we're really making each other up here
so anyway for all of you who have seen these three films maybe you know what they have in common i didn't know at the time but i do now and what it is it seems to me is that they're all about the transformation of a human being
much like the buddha a transformed human being
and each one is from a little different angle
so each in each of the stories we begin with a human being who is all locked up in himself in their small snail like self
and there are quite feel kind of safe in their right i suppose a snail feels like they're pretty safe in that shell
but i think as we know or suspect that this is not our actual self it's not our true self and as reb called at last week actually it's a decoy of herself that we stick up there you know
see what's gonna happen
so in galaxy quest
they are actually literally actors you know and they are it's twenty years down the line their shows been cancelled and they make a living by going to have kind of star trek like conventions and signing autographs
so what happens at one of these conventions is some very real aliens come and ask them to help them
because their planet is under attack from this really mean guy now that another kind of alien and of
so these aliens think that they're real space rangers and they the space rangers think that they're putting them on and they end up getting beamed up to real outer space
and where there's a real mortal combat with a very real bad guys
so in this process all of them go through a transformation
and they find in their own way courage and intelligence and compassion kind of like dorothy and her friends and the wizard of oz
but also would they find is a tremendous respect and love for one another
and i was thinking you know imagine how it would be for all of us if you know we save the earth from the aliens
imagine how we'd feel
or even if we save the earth from the nra you know
who would be a wonderful thing
so which reminds me that i i recently saw this ad i was kind of shock maybe you all knew this was coming i had hoped for a new honda and a new toyota car bids mostly electric
seventy miles to the gallon
and one of the pictures there's a pine cone on the antenna and the sierra club has given them an award for environmental engineering
you know my little heart skipped a beat for the first time in decades
and i thought okay i promise this is the only car i will ever drive
you know and i thought i think i should ask some of you to be very careful in your suv's because as one of my friend says i bet that's a teeny little car
and i think it probably is if so please drive carefully
when you see the bikers in the electric cars coming by
i thought well i guess if i'm going to die heroic death i'd rather it was at the wheel of a teeny little electric car
then suffocating in the atmosphere with all of you so
now groundhog day was more about what we call in buddhist teaching practicing the way
can she did anybody not see groundhog day
did you hear about it yeah okay that's great you know peace are universal
storage or are kind of fables or fairy tales
so anyway i think this is like this in every morning the wake of bell rings here and or for you the alarm clock goes off and there you are you wake up in your nice warm bed conscious and it's groundhog day again
so i was thinking well it's not so much if i if i look at my own life it's not so much that every day as identical but certain components of every day are identical particularly if i notice them
your teeth there is no creative way that i have found to do that
you can start in the right or you can start in the left know
been there and done that and then i put on my robes i come here and i sit
i walk home uphill
i make coffee
i try to get my daughter into the bathtub
take her to school
and then there's the grass and the wind and the change of seasons
and most of all there's my emotional responses to all of the above

so somewhere in the center of our karmic patterns what's called the circle of birth and death there is a transformation of consciousness
that may occur the can occur
that will bring new life and new color into our daily routine
and for bill murray
this process was a very long one do you remember it looked like he was gone for about ten years there like every day he got another chance to learn something
so he learned things and then he developed skills and then he failed to learn things and so on and so on until finally
finally he dropped his self concern and his concern for the welfare of others was born
no big deal for the first time do remember when he goes up to this cameraman who had been treating like a bug and he says to the guy you take milk in your coffee don't you
there it was
you know it's just this thimble force of kindness and generosity doesn't have to be some grand gesture to bring this kind of regard and affection to the world into being
so the rest of the trilogy's that i watched was shadowlands which once again had me crying my eyeballs out
this one is the cs lewis his story he's the writer of the narnia tales and ah
this man was a man of deep faith he believed in god and in christ
and i was thinking that you know people have deep faith or a spiritual seekers have much in common and basically it's this descent into the deepest layers of themselves that they all share and as far as i can tell from that place there are no differences
so see us nurse was an oxford don and a very learned man he taught
love he taught philosophy
love of knowledge
but what he didn't know was love of human beings
his mother had died when he was a little boy and he closed himself off
from being hurt again
so when there's very lively and beautiful jewish woman arrived at his citadel with her young son she was divorced from new york city you know
kinda blew the windows out of the tower
but he didn't move
he wasn't gonna move he knew that he knew she was there but he remained frozen until he found out she was going to die
and then a cracked the whole tower
collapsed all at once and what he did was so interesting because
all he did was to unsealed his attention for love was already there you know it's already here all the time that's what the buddha saw when he was enlightened and that's what he tried to teach for forty nine years

what have i learned
that would apply to life both inside and outside of the center
and if i say i've learned something that sounds wrong
and if i say i've learned nothing that sounds wrong
and if i tell you what i've learned that sounds completely wrong
so i thought well i'll just give them another zen koan
josh on asked elder d the buddha's true reality body is like space it manifests form and response to beings
the buddhist true reality body is like space it manifests form in response to beings like the moon in the water
how do you explain the principle of response
d said like an ass looking and a well
josh allen said well you said a lot there indeed but it's only eighty per cent
d said or what about your teacher
ciao schon said i say it's like the well looking at the ass

so i want to propose that if there is anything for you to learn in any given moment
or to learn in any given lecture or any given lifetime
it's going to come from your proximity to the well

this is a deep well the well of our experience and
the water from this well flows continuously fresh and unique out of the darkness
this is the same very secret way that all of us came into this world and the first place you know wet naked and crying for our mommy
and she came and he came and they came again and again and again
and then when we were ready they taught us how to cross the street safely
it's probably the most important thing we ever learned how to look and listen
in the tibetan book of the dead it recommends for those of us travelling between the worlds to follow the clear light
not the ones that are flashing bright and full of color
the clear light is visible to us at all times
it's the light that we see through and that we hear by
and it's always on our site
but the path diverges and twists what about sudden enlightenment
you face away from the black jewel beneath your own feet toward a sky filled to the moon with anxiety
i'm so please don't do that please stay here with all of us there is lots of work for us to do
both inside and outside of the center
and don't worry at the end of every forty minutes will ring a bell and then we can do something else
thank you very much
may i