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deserve hi everyone
so nice and quiet in her to shale housing

i'm thinking about
though teachings and writings of as a master dogan the
twelfth century
japanese zen teacher who is the founder of our lineage
because we're working on a new book translations was cast on an ashi
and this is this year the dog was born in year twelve hundred and
pro hunter right yeah trapani
right so it's it's eight hundred years birthday
this year and it's a big so that's a big a big deal and everybody's all over the world commemorating duggan's birth
and there was a really big conference international conferences stand her to the fall and i'm sure that somebody spoke about it here i i did i don't remember but you probably know about it
and it was really good conference
and it it marked a kind of turning point
a moment in which everyone could see
that things are really starting to change
and that all of the people in the conference japanese people and western people as well we're coming to a new understanding of who dog it is
and what dog and stands for why he's important
and to take this one step further i think that
is coming to a point or whether we are followers of dogan are followers of buddhism or not we're all coming to a point i think when it's becoming clear
that a true
an inclusive and really inspired and real a spirituality
is something important and necessary for everybody
even in recent weeks we had them
presidential nominating committees i mean conferences would it really gone on conventions conventions
and everybody was talking about religious beliefs and views and practices and spiritual values and so on
and now this is part of our
a national conversation for the next few months
and i think that this to me with something that i appreciated it seem like a good thing
it would be easy to be cynical about it and probably if you are cynical about it you would probably be right to be cynical about it
and no doubt
people are figuring out that this is a good way to get elected so let's all be that way
but on the other hand i do think that there's a lot of sincerity in it and a lot of real feeling
and in a real feeling of on the part of a lot of people that service
and goodness or our values that that they really believe in and if if it's not true of the top politicians and maybe it is it's certainly true of many many many people
so that's something to be happy of up
for those of us who have been practicing the soto zen style so does any way for many years
and studying and trying to put into practice the ideas and teachings of dogan
there is also a new spirit emerging both in japan in the west
in japanese soto's in the old ideas
the old attitudes about in that dogan is an eternal buddha who never changed and was always right a never wrong
that his teachings are perfectly consistent and clear
the idea that the japanese so does an establishment always knows best
and is a true repository of the holy buddha dharma
that the timeless truth is safely preserved in the schools monasteries in the priesthood
and that what goes on in the world outside is not that important
these are ideas that were
pretty much firmly held in japanese buddhism when i started practicing about thirty years ago but they're no longer held in japanese buddhism
in recent years the japanese soto's and establishment has changed quite a bit
they have actually apologized for their past mistakes
for their racist policies which they often pursued
and even more than just merely apologizing they've actually been engaging in serious internal debates about how they could have done the things they did and how they could have believed things that they believed
changing the to try to change
they have also been in recent years recognizing the validity
zen practice in the west as something deep in original and true maybe even deeper and more true than what they do in japan the japanese themselves now often say this
and they've also begun to take responsibility
in the world at large
not just keep their view in their monasteries but
begun to think about and support important social environmental issues
so this is really terrific actually and fifteen years ago
this none of it would have been imaginable
and in regard to dogan himself i think that we westerners are also beginning to grow up a little bit
it is true i think we can all agree that dog in writings are lofty
difficult profound
and do represent a great treasure of world religious thought
i think that's really true
and yet at the same time now we are can admit you know that dog stop is also once in awhile cranky
narrow-minded and fundamentalist and probably just dead wrong
and we can say that nothing happened i just said it

and you know it's begun become beginning to become clear to everyone the obvious fact
we can say and know that
no human being including
the great dog and mg is perfect
unchanging are always right
and that there is no person and no institution in this world
that will remain unaffected by the social and political conditions that form the context for what happens to any of us
so now you know we can know these things and be clear about them in were not the only ones in the whole world is sort of growing up somehow humanity is maybe finally become about sixteen
which is good we're getting there it's a stormy period in our lives been
we're getting there
a traditionalist or religious viewpoint
is more often than not narrow-minded
authoritarian and rule bound
a traditionalist religious viewpoint is more likely than not to cut off
real and vibrant life
instead of fostering it
oh we had to do is study the record not only of japanese soto's in itself but have any religious establishment anywhere in the world and we can easily confirm that this is so
in the last couple of hundred years there's been a powerful reaction to this
history and this fact
and you know traditionalist religion has been cast in the role of the enemy
and there's been a big time you know of secular psychological scientific
there has been liberating for so many people who have found themselves culturally under the thumb a religious ideology and many generations of people have been liberated
by this view
let's take an religion to be something old fashioned counterproductive counter humane
but now that we're
growing up a little bit and we have some freedom from this traditionalist religion
i think we're seeing that a purely secularists perspective is not really sufficient to answer the deepest questions of our lives
and we're getting ready to find a new way to practice
real religion
serious religion not just television religion
but not a rigid religion either
flexible religion
and that narrow religion but why religion
a way of practice that is loving
and not crabby
an idealistic but in the best sense of that word
idealism that makes us makes it impossible for us to live in this world
but an idealism that encourages the best in us while accepting what is for what it is
now it seems to me that one of the
fundamentals of this kind of religion that where i think all interested in practicing
his actual practice something that we do daily practice
it is in one can really admire and be moved
by people who express the right ideas are the best ideas about our life
the best beliefs you know the belief that goodness is really possible and that it can be cultivated more and more
the belief that compassion and not self centeredness is a more beautiful way to live
the belief that we we can be mindful and not mindless in our activity
so that's great that people would believe these things and speak of them
but these beliefs and ideals and values as wonderful as they are
will definitely not be sufficient
to get us through a day or the week or the month or the year of our lives in these times
we live in a complicated world that
calls for us to
come forward more strongly than we can just standing on our beliefs
i think that everyone needs some form of actual spiritual practice that we have some commitment to some daily practice that will strengthen those good beliefs and those good intentions
and help us to see and actually to be able to work with
our daily conduct
and by spiritual practice i mean something that we actually do
something that we really do
that we have to take time up to do
and my definition of spiritual practices that it's something that is truly and supremely useless
in other words something that one does just for the commitment of the doing of it with dedication to the doing of it to something larger than oneself
in other words it's useless because there's no self interest in it you just do it because it's something outside of the sphere of self interest in and purpose
so i think we all need and you know it doesn't matter what it is
but something like that
and then center and and zen practice of course we have a good practice that we do
and it's called zazen
sitting practice
and this
we're speaking of dogan
you always speak of zazen and when you mentioned dog because dog was very strong on the practice of zazen and wrote about it
and i have always been impressed by and have not yet even begun to exhaust the
dog and sense of what's as in practice is
zazen practice is on the one hand
extremely lofty and difficult maybe the most impossible of all spiritual practices i remember i often say when tara toko rubbish i came here years ago and saw that we were sitting doing zazen you know non dual meditation ordinary you know american schmooze who just showed up
sitting in the non-dual meditation he was flabbergasted by they could not because in his eye eyes it would take twenty thirty years to prepare yourself to begin the first day of such practice
the idea that we were doing it you know
just struck him as he never did get it the whole time that he hung around here he never did understand what we were doing her heart where they were was alibi you're either you is that it was even the most good the greatest thing and the most foolhardy thing you know you could never figure out which the
so that's doesn't is like that you know it's it's own but i guess more or less impossible
practice you can't do it
you know at the same time it really is a practice that is so easy
and so absolutely accessible to everyone
no matter what your commitment to it may be no matter what your belief system may be
that anybody can do it in fact if you think about what dog and says about us and you might come to the conclusion that
nobody can't start nobody can stop doing nobody can not can't not do it know anything
so as a funny thing this seems to be were dog in view how dog use as as in
he says somewhere zazen is a form of meditation that is so basic and so simple that it would be making too much of it even to call it meditation
it's just the practice of being
what we are
i'm taking the time to allow
to permit
ourselves to be just what we are
and in doing that we enter directly the path of are living
the depths of our living
deaths that goes beyond
the individuality of our life to the heart of all of life itself
duggan's as as and really defies description and explanation
that's why as and teachers seldom
i speak about it in any concrete way
seldom offer specific instructions
and when they are asked a direct questions about zazen they tend to answer in paradoxes or in such slippery language that you have to wonder whether or not they are serious or they know what they're talking about
but i don't think this is because of confusion or some trickery
although it may be in some cases i don't know
i think it's because the meditation practice that dog and is advocating is neither devotional nor experiential
it's not a describable technique
it's not a means to an end it's not a form of concentration it's not a relaxation technique
it is simply sitting
freely in the midst of what is
with full participation
which is both the same as an utterly different from what we are doing in every moment of consciousness
why there were sitting on a little black cushion or not
so this morning i thought i would read for you a short
target dog is most terse
description of zazen practice which is in read returned newly we translated for this new book i was mentioning in the beginning
it's just about a page long so i'll read it for you just to give you a dog in his own words on this
crucial subject for all of us
it's called are as i think rules for zazen
practicing in is zazen
for zazen a quiet place is suitable
lay out a thick mat do not let in drafts or smoke rain or dew
protect and maintain the place where you settle your body there are examples from the past of sitting on a diamond seat and sitting on a flat stone covered with a thick layer of grass day or night the place of city should not be dark it should be kept warm in winter and cool in summer
set aside all involvements and let the myriad things rest
zazen is not thinking of good not thinking of bad it is not conscious endeavor
it is not introspection
do not desire to become a buddha
let's sitting or lying down drop away
be moderate in eating and drinking be mindful of the passing of time
and engage yourself in zazen as though your head were on fire and you were trying to put it out
on mount hong mae the fifth ancestor practices into to the exclusion of all other activities
when sitting zazen and wear the robe and use around cushions the cushions should not be placed all the way under the legs but only under the buttocks and this way across legs rest on the mat and the backbone is supported with around cushion this is the method used by all buddha ancestors were zaza
sit either in the half lotus position or in the full lotus position for the full lotus but the right foot on left thigh and left foot on the right thigh
the toes should lie along the thighs not extended beyond for the half lotus position simply put the left foot on the right thigh loosen your robes and arrange them in an orderly fashion place the right hand on the left foot and the left-hand on the right foot lightly touching the ends of the songs together
with the hands and this position placed next to the body so that the join some tips are at the naval straighten your body and sit erect do not lead to the left nor right do not been forward or backward your ears should be in line with your shoulders and your nose in line with your navel rest your tongue against the roof of your mouth
and breathe through your nose
lips and teeth should be closed i should be open neither too wide or too narrow
having adjusted the body and mind in this manner take a breath and exhale fully
sit solidly in samadhi and think not thinking
how do you think not thinking
non thinking
this is the art of zazen
zazen is not learning to do concentration
it is the dharma gate is enjoy it is undefiled practice enlightenment
when it was written in twelve forty three
so it's a wonderful mixture isn't it of lofty
almost ineffable philosophy and very practical down to earth advice
very simple practice
is no way to do it wrong
and there's only one requirement
simply that you do it
just that you do it
that you nurture in your life
the intention and diligence necessary to actually do the practice
and you can see from this text and almost in a way seems funny the attention to physical detail
no one thinks of meditation practice some inner cultivation you know
but doggett speaks only about where your toes should be and how your thumb tip should touch mostly what it's about
in zazen really is a very much a physical practice
you don't usually think of spiritual practice as physical
and yet our life our soul our spirit
is something that only ever exist for us in close association with our body
nobody no consciousness no consciousness not too much else
and organs way of practice
body and line or not too different things in some hierarchy of importance
so to sit to actually sit down paying close attention to the body
not as something
you know an object as or something
the body isn't really a something
the body is an endless ineffable process
and that's what we do when we sit we pay attention to that endless ineffable process that we call the body
and unifying our consciousness and breathing with the process of the body
until we can enter into the body mind wholeheartedly
and without holding anything back
to do this is to return to the ground of are being to what we most fundamentally are
which we are always anyway
whether we try to return to it or not it's always there long as we're alive this process this unified wholeness must be present
but when we choose us and we returned to and we give ourselves to it the rest of the time where the particularly aligned with it or are aware of it are concerned with the in zazen we make the effort to give ourselves back to ourselves holy to embrace this fundamental ground of our being
i guess the most widely quoted in the most widely misunderstood aspect of get duggan's idea zaza in the one that always brings a little laugh in the audience when you recite it is this line about think not thinking how do you think not thinking now i'm thinking this is the artists
thousand people here that and they always think
and i spent many years
pondering this line and only thinking about it but trying to figure out on my cushion what could he mean by this
and it turns out to be something that's not so difficult to understand at all
and not even that difficult to practice either
and i'm sure that nowadays even though it took me many years of you know racking my brain and body to try to figure this out nowadays i think most people who show up pretty much on the first day already know it
because everybody knows more than it did then
to think not thinking doesn't mean to stop thinking
or to try to stop thinking
cause logan says think not thinking so not thinking think not thinking is a way of thinking it's a particular style of thinking
an alternative way to relate to your own thinking
usually in our thinking there's two
i ways we relate to our thinking either were most of the time sleeping you know in the midst of worth thinking in other words our minds are producing all sorts of thoughts that we are pretty much done aware i'm not aware of them
since all kinds of subliminal
or even dimly formed thought
that's one way we relate to our thinking or not relate to our thinking in another way is we have a kind of what i recall propelled thinking thinking under propulsion
to be propelled within our thinking is to be pushing our thinking toward something
and therefore to be pushed around by are thinking
when we do is us if we removed the energy from that kind of propulsion
and we just let the thinking fall
we let every thought that would arise just fall
we let it come
if it comes and then we just let it fall
propelled thinking
basically the energy for the propulsion of the thinking is me my minas my i miss my self centeredness
but in zazen we make a commitment to gently and repeatedly set aside
the meanest the i miss the self-centeredness of our life which is quite natural in our lives
and return instead to a mirror consideration of presence with breathing and posture
so there may still be thinking going on but that's just what it is thinking going on
rather than i am thinking this or that is to simply thinking going on
so this is called non thinking dog cause it's i'm thinking

and this is not any problem to think non thinking just return over and over again to our posture and her breathing let are letting are thinking fall naturally moment by moment
and sometimes
they might not be any thinking at all are very little thinking and this is nice also
but my favorite line in a text is the one that comes at the end because i think it expresses the real secret of duggan's zazen
and i would say of all spiritual practice
at the only says zazen is the dharma gate of great is enjoy it is undefiled practice enlightenment
so what does he mean by this
these words
in my experience the most wonderful fruits of spiritual practice
i believe that you if you do in almost any kind of authentic spiritual practice even forest
one day or one weekend
if you really do the practice thoroughly for one day or one weekend that you will see some powerful effects of for your life even just in such a short time
and i don't think it is at all unrealistic to imagine that someone could have a life transforming experience in one retreat or even go to church
our synagogue
one at once
i think one could have and often it happens people have life-transforming experience is just a short time
but i would say that the real fruits of spiritual practice
grow on you over much longer period of time
as you go back every day day after day to your cushion
through all the times when you like it
and all the times when you don't like it
through the times when it is very difficult to keep it up with you're so busy and so on
through the times when your body aches
are your soul aches so bad
that you can't imagine being able to sit there for even a single moment longer what you do it anyway
the times when your mind is raging
with anger or bitterness
or your mind is so peaceful
so blissful that you can't believe there could ever be another troubled troubled moment again in your life
when you go through all of these colors and changes and day after day week after week month after month year after year even decade after decade
i think you begin to find
a subtle
and much deeper feeling of appreciation and satisfaction and your practice
and this means your whole life
you really begin to feel as if the cushion in mind that is with you all the time even when you're not on the cushion
that that place is your home
your true spot of safety
and when you sit within that spot no matter what it is that is going on everything is all right
if you are a buddhist maybe you'll say
when i sit on my cushion i feel like i'm sitting in the palm of buddha's hand
and i feel that way no matter what shape my mind is in
if you are a christian you might say when i sit on my cushion i feel jesus love floods my whole heart
when however you say
i think that you will feel
that deep sense of satisfaction
in your life
you will know
that you have truly come into contact with what is most basic and most fundamental in the human heart you have come into contact with love
with letting go and was silence
and that no matter what's going on in your life even if you're busy and running around those things are never too far away
and you can touch them anytime you need to
and even when the day comes when you lose everything
all your possessions your friends your body your mind
even then there will be some serenity knowing that the big mind the larger mind will always be present and will carry
whatever you are to become
exactly where it needs to go
my undefiled practice enlightenment
dogan means that our life is always undefiled
our life is always perfect
we are always and have been from the start
enlightened beings this is
it has always been the actual nature of our minds the brightness
the light you know of our cognize in consciousness
but the fact that this is so doesn't get us off the hook
fact that means that we are responsible we have a responsibility
a joyful responsibility for our own living
and dogan uses the word practice enlightenment in english you know they translated as a hyphenated one word practice enlightenment hyphenated
the other words it's not that we practice and therefore we get the good fruit of enlightenment
rather because we are enlightenment itself we have to practice human being i think can't really rest easy
without some form of spiritual practice and activity
because we are enlightenment itself we have to practice
and the practice that way though is the expression of our enlightenment
enlightenment songs you know very lofty
asian concept
but i think the light in person is just someone who actually isn't selfish
not just they think they're not selfish are they
try not to be selfish they're not selfish they actually like they say they don't have a selfish bone in their body
the enlightened person
it's a person who sees things as they are
and therefore loves things
and and always acts out of that love
so with ourselves in practice we will see a world like that a world that is lovely
and that in it's loveliness and calls out to us to participate in it
and we're glad to do that
we find that we can't not do that
now it is a very curious thing we must note at the end here that make it the bullet sociological footnote in is very curious thing that this wonderful practice that i've been speaking of that dogan rights of so wonderfully
in his lifetime even and certainly in centuries that followed him
this practice became identified with a rigid and formalistic style of severe monasticism no doubt about it we have to say that that's really true
and we can breezily you know dismissed us and say well that's a mere degeneration and confusion
diminishment of this wonderful idea
but i think if we did that we would be missing a very salient and important point
we would be missing
i seeing
the power and the importance of the monastic life
monastic life is a very very strong way to live very powerful way to live
and it completely revolves around dedication
and total participation this is the essence of monastic life
in the monastic life as anyone who's ever practiced at green gulch or does our city centre will tell you there's no place to hide makes it difficult
the monastic life there's no place to hide
and no time that is not sacred time
the monastic life has always led according to a rule
and the essence of the rule is this
always think of others
and always act with others in mind because there's no life without others
so when am i pet ideas over the years is that we need to honor
this monastic life and to realize that we all need somehow
to bring this monastic life into our lives even though we don't live necessarily as monastics somehow to bring the spirit of monastic life into our life and find out how to do that i think it's important for us

it seems as if one of the casualties of modern life that i hear people complaining about all the time
is that we've lost a sense of coherence community
and it seems important for everyone to feel that they belong to each other
that in your life when you don't feel you belong in community really there's something missing
in a lot of people tell me that they feel like that nowadays
so many people lonely
isolated needing support so many people know who need support when you just some friendship
and we imagined that in the past or elsewhere
people had such things maybe somewhere else they still have community like this and that we don't have it and we can get it unless we unless we can go back to the past or moved to the country somewhere far away and know one another in another's society
and even though we have so much freedom
i was thinking today i live a little ways from here and i drove here and i was thinking i'm an amazing thing as all these people passing by me in there obviously rented cars
zipping around to muir woods or something and was thinking for the you know it would have been unimaginable few hundred years ago the idea that you can go
you know come from cleveland ohio and spent a week in the bay area and go home go to work in unbelievable you will be a whole your whole life to come to the bay area and have to stake your whole life on as people did so we have so much freedom and so much capacity to do things
our hearts are aching you know for some kind of real sense of belonging
to one another
but i feel that with
real daily spiritual practice as our basis
that we can build on it
and we can find ways
of creating
real community genuine community in our lives they won't be the ways that were looking for the ways that were used to because the world is different now
i think if we open up our minds and do our practice with full commitment and integrity we were going to find ways and we already are finding ways i think
of building true community true a feeling of belonging
then i think that that is the essence of the monastic practice the monastic life that dog and lived and constructed in his lineage with
zaza practice as a centerpiece
so that's my speech or today
i have nothing else to say so
let's chat together thank you