Way Seeking Mind

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The route to becoming a zen monk; growing up Jewish and hanging out with the beats; meeting Suzuki Roshi.

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this is not the perfect and the dharma

okay i'm for too
to the empire strikes back
am now i want to go back a little bit
some things that i wanted to clarify to hear me okay everybody begun
are the changes
i think some people get the impression that my life
i was all very kind of easy going and it worked out well and that's not true
because i said that i'm never worried much about money
then worry about a lot of other things
and i remember when i was going to grammar school and
the for kids approached me
and am i could tell they were christians because there was so right
the gets and it's really true
and make a revolution hey kid
the jewish
i said say like were and those day and she had to make a choice whether to say yes or no
you know the jews killed jesus
i said i did
can we know what does that mean and i was like dude you want to kill me or somebody you know was just like this
i couldn't believe that there were same is to be and escape really scared me but this was the tenor and tone of the times is what the tone of the time
nowadays you see jews jewish man walking down the street with yama curzon little hats
never knew ever saw a jewish person wearing a yarmulke before about nineteen have done the street before about nineteen sixty five or seventy
and tell you know the jewish people would finally god
q and of the closet so the speech and could feel safe on the street
so there was always just trillion of not really really safe in america in long beach california in hollywood california
you know the hollywood moguls who are mostly george didn't they didn't apply and the street
i always felt a little bit out of out of society
so for many reasons i was out of society that was only one of them and so in my life
there was little depression i was depressed a live as a kid and and later as a young man in so both so
so i just want to say that
the in i think in the genes when the jewish genes there is a building in sadness i brought in
ah heaviness
and it no matter what life is like it's always there and jewish people major they recognize us in each other and
ah so it was very sensitive when i see
jewish people in a depressed for no special reason
when it's there and
ah it's just part of life
i was always attracted to
music the soulful music
and now really my favorite cheeses j g minor with three flats
so ah
that was actually kind of seen in my life that of heaviness and brooding
you see me now and kind of like you know hundred and so forth but that's the result of
seventy five years
i was a shadow the other side is that i was lighthearted and zero the same
so i started that one time for me germany shut up and that stop me
how is this being silly
and then added big effect on my life
i was then kind of like i am now

really a thing is that when i was
an artist will do not in in north beach a lot and it's an intermission the we also live in north beach and i knew unlimited opponents and the painters and musicians
because those are the people who hang out with them
ginsburg was there and ganesh tiger was there i was young when k ginsberg read his famous
poem howl and it was at the six gallery and that gary was originally just before that it was called the king robo gallery and i'm eruption a rabbit duncan and just collins they invited me and my deployment penny teachers to have a show their job
running show that you can go gangway which later became the next year became the six gary and that's where they had
that poetry reading my ginsberg way in hell and then somebody came up with an axe and smashed the piano to pieces chuck the piano pieces of an axe and
and opponent philipp lahm and tier of i knew very well for was yesterday that took his obituary out of the paper
ah there is very interesting and then he made the
the person who wrote the obituary and think it losing one of the an art critic
the philippines am ah
most a will desk
surreal poet an inch in the twentieth century and in america
so now these people in no hurry just the people you hang out with later on they become somebody to be famous you know it's very interesting
but team and i just you know container
and mean michael mcclure
we did it at it he pops up in my life every once in awhile and the last time was just a year or two ago when he wanted to do a tape of him reading the heart sutra
and and
we get some people together that the break engender to be the orchestra the band and you there
and i was playing with oh and it kind of jersey way and
i saw these things continue
i am
and then when i was smoking pot for those years as early years
now that made me even more depressed because and the one hand you feel high and then the other hand you feel depressed
so for a long time i felt like i was underwater like the sky was appear and the waterline was here but i could never get above the waterline to breathe the fresh air
that was the feeling i had
so when i'm trying to did bring a fresh air and was like out
most valuable thing in the world is fresh air
you know it's like but it's it's a the most net the most wonderful thing and this is after i started practicing
they're the most wonderful thing is a natural mind without
any modifications
interesting the which i have always felt until i started smoking pot
and then when i after i realized that that was the natural order of mind is just clear mind and was a wonderfully new world is just have a clear mind

okay so those are the things i wanted to say about man's time
but this time i ended up we're talking about that i came to so koji eighteen anyone bush street which is the old synagogue course
my name is the first sinigang in san francisco the oldest one hundred and the japanese congregation
yeah it was a
it was the combination of in of another group
before it was the japanese combination and when they were in concentration camp in america they saved their money and when i got out with a british hated anyone bush tree
and they had a japanese
and practice which called soto zen but it was just a church
it was like just like going to drag a christian church and i think they marveled at somewhere on the american style of christian church
and they have been it all abusing their and smith secure as you started sitting in the pews when people and before they had to send up and so they brought to the gale roshi over to are they needed a priest in a circular she came as a priest and
people just started coming and sitting with him and so
the building at a go club downstairs and that was the most popular part of them
i am
the building was the car club
and in design was upstairs in his wonderful anarchy
and is great
beautiful light and this is are all are silent dramas went on in those days
everybody was trying real hard just to sit down again
so was made his little different feeling
because nobody had such as and before and so that we didn't have all this you know
now these people who could sit well
and am
encourage you know each other anyway we did all that and circular shape i didn't take your suzuki roshi is
i'm sending a written column security we just kind of reverence as a key
and later i think was anyone wanted to shed which economists is a commotion
but anyway that was later
but as i got to know him
i began to really you know like him a lot and i i felt after said two or three times the answer koji i don't know how many times but it was a little while and then i realized one time and i just felt when i was sitting that am i
felt what i could i thought was somebody
and it was a certain kind of feeling that i had
which i can't describe but as a this is somebody
that's just my idea of know sneakers she never talked about somebody
very rarely do they ever talk about some i didn't use the word summary
but anyway
and that's what i thought and i thought i'd i'm gonna keep coming back and doing this
so but you know i found out that every time i did it my legs hurt
the friend i said to my dixon who makes wife judy was the one who edited jimmy mcgill's man and i said mike
there's always hurts
the agent yes it will always hurt
and they might oh
he said in a full lotus
and so little by little i started sit in the full lotus i didn't think i could do it but there was a little integral maybe after a couple of years i started shitting in a full load but
listen sixty four and and so i started coming jars in every day i would come inside it in the morning and i can eyes in the evening and i was very regular and as i realized this was the most important part of my life and i was thirty five
and i said to myself i know that this is exactly what i've been looking for and if i don't do this now and just pass me by a be lost again
so i just really devoted myself to sit in and so she's a hero she said he liked me and he
dem in articulation way of teaching well as very subtle
and he would he always adjusted pasture everyday he wouldn't just posture and he would never let anybody said
and i even adjust your posture
micro managed
ha over and over and over again
and am
he talked about zazen and a lot nicer new people he urges during us and he talk can say here like lows
cooking in the oven and i
we just keep cooking
they couldn't answer incident is a don't chicken out
i remember
well you got the idea that you should not move
don't move
and i went to excruciating painful
doesn't period for a long time
but he was always very encouraging you know the always encouraging our education and never criticizing never criticized and i to the can't judge or then just keep doing your best to do it the best you can
and ah so i'm just in they're just doing the best
and is so elgin was i just don't ever give up and i just put your energy that don't ever you know i realized this is a whole essence of the practice as you put your whole body mind and know what you're doing it in every give up
that's what is all about and then everything comes out of that wherever it is that you gain which is nothing comes it comes out of that
so yeah i realized that i i had gotten his dharma basically
i'm and sure
i was living in san francisco
well i i i got a girlfriend i wasn't a music store and is nice young lady was rebuilt like for music and she just picked me up
and i will do with her and better at berkeley that's so i got to berkeley
i haven't you want now notices
the first before that one bit
there's an app no anti my sanctuary movement my first life and nine
removed for eight years
the as in as girls
we parted amicably amicably you know because i realized you and i know this very well that people especially artists you know
need each other but each one is has their own direction
and ah
they made me stay away stay together for a while and get away but the seeds of your direction sprouting and they're not the same siege so
that when the seeds of every direction sprout and drive you in the direction that you're going there's nothing you can do about that so we were both actually going different directions
and so we ended we understood that and
when we said goodbye she went her direction i wear mine so there was no animosity or bad feeling it just recognizing the fact
so after that was when i met this other lady and simon didn't return berkeley and then but i would every morning i would drive to san francisco good as in and pick up people because to negotiate had a little
a group of people who in berkeley who sat together every monday morning and it was in a different person's house
let everyone was dedicated the practice need more over name
political so he asked me if i would
find a place and take care of it
so i've had this wonderful place on right way
ah open it up for his eyes in and i was the caretaker i was not the teacher i never set myself up as a teacher but i would gives as an instruction to people and we had a schedule but it was morning schedule
and then my girlfriend moved out because it was not her thing
she was a musician she was that she had known since i and so
i'm repaying
hundred and thirty dollars a month for this huge house huge old house
and i started developing the practice their at the same time i was going to san francisco
ah and sometimes you know the taste of for nine days it's it's or koji they've observed for nine days like we do here
so forget that it was a hundred and nine to human show up as
and knock on doors and as you'd like out the window sill i
he would never open up

so then i asked suzuki roshi israel is it okay after a while if it is it okay from we have afternoons as him
and he said yeah you should do whatever you want
so we had afternoons engine and he she would come over every monday just like usual and then we'd have
vase in and talk and breakfast and we have reached wonderful conversations over breakfast but everybody there was a group about ten people eight or ten people
and he did affirm regularly and then nineteen sixty seven
what sixty seven is when actually when we started the up
and it was a shame here that we started we bought us a
there and nineteen sixty nine sixty eight
the regular she couldn't come over much because he was to involved a san francisco and tassajara coming out as arm
so hearing we come over
and then cheeto century we come over and in yoshimura newcomers who had out there is always wonderful japanese teachers who wanted to practice a superior she in bangladesh
so those are in circulation category kind of area came to
zen center nineteen sixty three he and i were he was a betting year older than me and he taught us a lot of thing she was great very nice when i really liked him when he was
for that
that's koji
chino nonsense again
he was supposed children's it was supposed to go to los altos
a little group in los altos ventures negotiate she him and made him states and center
and i've never we did the first
sixteen yr jensen and on the porch it was not covered at that time is no porch
and was middle of the summer who has about one hundred and twenty degrees and everybody just falling over themselves trying to sit them
and i just kept i'm crossing my legs and just an impossible to send mean to kill another and then at the after that was over
and we all this
a little scroll instead
first machine and we'll put our names down here
and she's you know she looked at my handwriting judge we should study calligraphy sometime
i didn't know it good by that but
and he called me into his room and he said
how would like you to join our order
is that birds i would like you to join our or it really mean
he's a known to be ordained a priest
when you think about that measured sounds okay to me or something like that
so i was totally out of the blue because i didn't know anybody that he had ordained
one person who left
i know there is no murky about who he ordained the beginning but
david sheldrick knows about that but the
grand pitching graham was
english he was one of securities first students in and he said in a full load is nishat like a rumor like own piece of iron i couldn't believe the way he would change rather than and everybody was just so am admiring of hermida because it is
says three he was like everybody's model but he shouldn't left and never cheap
when you when he was ordained in
an down brick was ordained i'm not the said
and then never quite understood that mandate should i wasn't at so koji i think it which is in ocean japan nineteen sixty something and is a security should treat media room and he did all his funny little things and throw by me and instead i was ordained
i don't know anything about all that it's pretty funny but he was ordained he never wore robes and
then there was richard baker
cozy japan when they're all that happened and arms
often i've been i for try me was maybe the fifth one was ordained
and there was no model
it would not really nobody else so
i said well where should we be where should we do this if you i'm trying to figure out whether i should do it any tassajara or in berkeley because
berkeley with where were you know most of the time and so he decided that he would do me at berkeley this only bad empty bad gp surgery
he asked me this was

sixty four is when i started so for five years to earn was ordained that was ordained sixteen may nineteen nineteen sixty nine which as good as suzuki roshi his birthday
there was also the day with a my first marriage the the american wedding different christmas
this is interesting but there's something else i can remember when it when it was coincidental like that anyway
so you should try and he said the i said well when do we wanna do that point where do you want to do to the or nations and when you're ready and when i'm ready so it was something that he wanted to do but he was many to do it just wanted you know
two years later and nineteen sixty nine three add your nation in berkeley marina and that was very nice
cause he wanted the people turn and when it broke me to have a priest and deter i was doing on inside so he was kind of bringing me up this way
so i'm sure that you really trusted me
and i i felt that he wanted to see what this would be like to and to do this in america to have an agenda
when an american priest
am in charge of the zendo but i still was not teaching i never called myself a teacher i didn't call myself a teacher from a long time
even do in de facto i was teaching
so i just kept developing the xander and
i had an idea what i wanted to do and i knew i knew what i wanted to do and the feeling i had was i wanted a grassroots linda
locals and a grassroots meaning that careering the that a with the the people that the the members were developed the zendo
and supported and he should dig baker over who was the president
talk to me about support
about about
our relationship between berkeley and in san francisco so because we were i always felt we were an affiliate in san francisco zen center and so richard came over and we talked and the christian a should shame as just can give us any supper
he said i don't think so
because he should i think that if the members don't support the place and it shouldn't be supported
right and i said well that's i agree with that i didn't agree with him that since then it shouldn't give us some support but i agreed with this idea
that's the members should support the place or otherwise what is it
so and that's i've always show correct about that but it would have been nicer him to say well we'll give you a little support you know just camaraderie right
than a rabbit
and we just kept developing a the people that come by branch and lou came by the richmond came by peter already came by and his sister and all these people that we know now is
teachers teaches all came by and they were practicing their
then when
and suzuki roshi
had was ill so i was ordained sixty nine superior she died and seventy one
which seems like enough wrong right than those days when you're younger it's a lot of time
the strip into the earlier yeah pages gonna work
have you want so in those days
she goes to those two years were fairly on and we'd all going to touch her and help develop it in i remember we're rebuilding the kitchen
that kitchen was built from the rocks that are right here and rebuilt it by hand and stone by stone and
paul this go
was the the master builder and you just you know another student but he was really good and he developed himself here because of her before i went to japan and so he was kind of in charge of building the than the kitchen which is a bit a big similar project
don't remember how long it took but people came from all over you know to help build it so many generated a lot of interest
and beautifully built
i'm so now that bad project and had the same time in there are these projects to deal with this place is very run down as a resort you know so we had a put in a lot of time and everybody was working so
a she you know
questions mean
idea about practice with version but virgin and work work was equal to doesn't matter of fact
what one of his much as was
i'm cleaning first zazi and second
cleaning first guys and second
they're not changed after he died but
he really was in the necessity for work so i shouted and adam show rather than something we were in the frontier of doing something and on a really vital and billion thing with their own hands and
and ah
we're putting all our life energy into making it work and it was like from scratch practically so it just felt like a whole really very wholesome kind of way to do things
the take baker was doing a lot of fundraising how much is forty am i never knew how do anything i did you do when i was evident and center they wouldn't let me do fundraising
so a lot of people were getting interested in in government business and a shy growing and big know a lot of students gonna come in went for her them as
in the beginning days of touch to her and
people were coming to page street a lot
and people show up at the door talks to her in start practicing and landed of the mr around for some of them
i'm i'm a move from the one was removed from bush reputation
nineteen sixty nine
removed from bush to to patient
he wrote that yeah which we felt that i really needed to have a
bigger space because the japanese congregation let us have this space preserve him
and there are very nice they said they were just another way in
they just image is like two different
countries or something
and everyone's know we need do something when it was
remember the president and i lived in berkeley and i'm suzuki roshi asked me to visit him so i did and we had a nice talking with very nice guy and we talking about jansen earn went on a mac japanese convention and so that helped wrote it
but i'm such a cute at some point we're just getting too big
and more and more students were coming so there was just need to buy to to have a place of our around and this was excruciating presented from circulation because he felt so obligated to the japanese community but he had to make up his mind to should i really wanna be with my students
so he had to resign but first
silence and and under when a commission to go find a place
and so they found paid the patriot building
whenever jewish
for amazon choose from
then you include the i remember secure as you change something like
at the time that will remain as being given the federal to pay for it than and he'd have to lead a congregation in which is very hard for him to do have to resign and he said he didn't know whether he was
how washing his hands in the toilet or paying in the sink
we bought the pastry place and that made things even more complicated
and and i'm never in our cleaning the place out and penny a day early stuff
about how are we doing
just what form it's life
your continued
canada so
it was with the page street the pastry thing change the whole ambience present center you know because we moved out of psychology psychology was like our home i mean you just you know
as as an assailant dramas in that vendo you know
just feel like leaving something so
bunch of parliament and then we moved into page to cause i didn't because there was a bricklayer that
but my connect there was a new connection for me he can pay such for koji nobody lived at psychology
people lived across the street and you know i've ranted and seven houses across the street but nobody lived there so was not a residential practice at all and
so i was i really you know was
i used to a residential practice and that's what i have been or we'd had a few residents in berkeley that you know nothing to speak out
so the move to to patients were then all those rooms and people moving into them just made it a whole different kind of practice completely never got to practice
which i was not exactly a part of
i was i was a part of it but not in that way
so then nineteen seventy one more nineteen seventy in a personal accuracy when i was she so i was just choose your nineteen sixty nine
nine ninety seven eight now i benched have been ordained and eighteen sixty nine and then i was she so and nineteen seventy
tap the gum hiroshi
the suzuki roshi it was not really well enough to do a practice period at that time
and he wanted
he wrote he didn't feel qualified to set up a monastic practice the way he would i get to be so he wanted somebody to set up the monastic practice who was a monastic
because vicky russia although he had done monastic practice and i was young he was a temple priest
and he had a very strong dedication to lay people
gay people felt that maybe we're really felt that stinking ocean and it was dedicated to their practice
can everybody was a lay person anyway who was practicing
so ensure me
so am
i can't remember where i was that
sister she's a so
and touch the and
a the bigger new by toxic army and in tesco she had been to know and aged for ten years or something and so invited him to come
two to had set up for monastic style at tassajara and nineteen seventy and i was his shoe so and he couldn't speak english and i couldn't speak japanese
and i'll continue tomorrow
have that's okay with you