Wednesday Lecture

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today's the truth of the to target those words
believe me

it's very different to sit up here
on a wednesday evening
usually i
top on sunday and i don't know those people so well most of them
scissor much scarier
no place to hide

so i'm going to start off with a story that i have told before the some of you but i think most of you don't know yet
about two years ago and the winter i went to seattle with so
my friend grace to be with her family while her father was dying
and much of what we did during that time was what we call wait we're waiting
and i think awaiting release and so different from season
so one afternoon i was alone and i went to the waiting room
and
someone had left the tv on
so pretty quickly my attention was captured
always happens to me with tv
a pleasant feeling
anyway there was a science program on
and my like science and it was an interview with astrophysicist i think he's an astrophysicist anyway
stephen hawking
and as long as i've known about stephen hawking
he's been in the most advanced stages of a l s or lou gehrig's disease
and this disease
starts very gradually and little by little your entire body is completely immobile
i've known to other people with who gehrig's disease
one a man about my age who i used to visit and we'd sit zazen together with his family
it was something we could all do that he could join
and the other man i met here and not so long ago just a few months ago he was here
as a guest student and he just found out that this was happening to him
so nowadays because of technology you know people with this illness can get around in wheelchairs
and they have a portable respirators for breathing
and they're able to communicate with i activated computer screens
so this is how stephen hawking was talking about outer space
the interview would ask him a question and then they response would come up on the screen
i've always really been fond of outer space and so i was this name and reading his various sharing of theories about the origins of the universe and ca
comments and meteors and space dust and all that sort of thing
i once said to offend many many years ago i can't wait until we get into outer space and my friend said nancy we are in outer space
hi
first as an com
asked i told sabrina that and she said oh mom
don't be silly not an outer space
so
any way towards the end of this program the
interviewer asked dr hawking if he could ask him a personal question
and
he replied no yes you may
and then the interviewer said are you a happy man
and it was a an amazing shift you know
i went from thinking intense thinking too intense feeling
and i was thinking even though the distance between here and here is not very large
the change in the conversation was like they had shifted to an entirely different universe
this universe of inner galaxies and of our most tender mercies
so in response to this question are you a happy man stephen hawking said yes i am
and i was surprised by his response
and i began to realize that this was because with my own fear and by us
that if such a thing have or to happen to me i don't know how would i be a happy person

i'm i'm really certain that our friend on debbie and i know that my daughter sabrina
and my sister janice who's totally blind are often met by he's projected fears
and by the a version that comes from that
i've seen it many times and i think this is something that we should all be very careful and study very closely and ourselves what we do when we're afraid
and at the same time it was this very witnessing
and this very fear thousands of years ago that drove the handsome young prince
to seek an end suffering
and little by little he came to an end to both of the extremes the addiction to pleasure on one side and a version from suffering on the other
what he called the middle way
turning away and touching are both wrong
so in this final exchange between dr hawking and the interviewer
the man asked him
can you tell us how it how is it that you are a happy man
and stephen hawking said i am a student of the universe and i am deeply curious

so when i arrived at the gathering of people called zen center about twenty three years ago which
by the way with very few exceptions was an entirely different group of people

i was struck by two things well probably many more than that but for tonight i'll say it was to the first one was the familiarity
when we were all more or less the same age
and the same pretty much the same educational and cultural background
same species
and
at the very same time i was struck by the radical difference in
the activities of the people and in the look of the place
i had no frame of reference for a zen buddhist meditation center and i was not prepared i thought i was going to dinner with a friend
and even though i recognized the english they were speaking
there was this spattering of japanese words i think you've all heard by now
dhawan tank and for satori and so on
but even the familiar vocabulary words like the word practice for example seem to have some hidden or esoteric meaning
so that the overall impression of the place that i had was that these people are keeping a secret
huh
so at the very first class that i attended when i was a new student it was taught by the reverend down welsh
i finally had the courage to ask my very first sense hundred question
and i said
practice what
what are you people practicing here you know
i think people kind of gave a little bit like mech tested
and i don't remember the answer that
dan gave particularly shirt was a good one but i do remember the question still practicing what

so i i bring i'm bringing this up because this encounter with the
the gravitational to zen center had the effect on me of activating and heightening
that quality that stephen hawking called
curiosity
the one that he credits as the source of his happiness
what is it who am i where are we what's happening
the other morning my teacher asked of me has it flowing
but they ask you all that too
no no
me
so i i wanted to offer these kind of introductory words in praise of curiosity and questioning
i would suggest that these are the single most important tools for practice period
but not only practice period but perhaps for the balance of your life
has allah said as she ventured into wonderland curiouser and curiouser
i had that thought as i was coming in here cause
first something strange happened with the han and then it was me it wasn't the person hating on and then matt came out giggling
then my
he handed me a half a stick events
so anyway curiouser and curiouser

so the topic that i'm going to bring up a seasoning is actually this word for this notion of practice
hum as in practicing what
in the twenty nine years or so of my life before coming to zen center i had used toward practice innumerable times but mostly
i seem to remember using it in relation to something you did with a tennis ball or a flute
body of water
or bat
practicing met some repetitive movements of various body parts and usually with some kind of object
like with the
tennis ball it's the right arm and
baseball it's two hands and a flute fingers breath
spine
water arms and legs and breath
so i'd done all of these practices
all through school
and it was clear that the intention of practice that was offered to me by my teachers and coaches and that i understood myself was to get better at
the thing you practicing
as in now practice makes perfect
so i am i don't know so much about the perfect but i did experience that the more i practiced when it came time for the tournament for the year contest her the test of any kind whatever he won the concert that
having practiced
made things come out a little better
but
coming to zen center i felt as though this experience in my background didn't help me at all to understand what was meant by practice here
and it certainly didn't help me understand what was intended as the outcome of practice now the trophy
i certainly had heard the word enlightenment buzzing around the halls
but i'd also heard that practice and enlightenment are one
so practicing practicing what

i don't know if you remember your first zazen instruction
why i really do i came to page street on a saturday morning i was really excited member setting the alarm way early and
waiting in the hall and was all very strange and smells were interesting
and
in the tatami room to the right
the only thing in the room where these little round black cushions
and then linda with cuts arrived she was the practice and structure that day
and the basic instructions once she got a stall all properly seated was very simply now don't move
until you hear the little bell rang after forty minutes
curiouser and curiouser
and furthermore as dogan says in the falcons as mg have no designs whatsoever i'm becoming a buddha
so within about forty five minutes serves as an instruction i had utterly no use for any of my notions about practice
when it since that time i've always enjoyed running across this line and they are tool maris mahdi think we've already doing here already
outwardly still while inwardly moving like a tethered cold or a trapped rat the ancient saints pitied them and bestowed upon them the teaching according to their delusions they called black as white
when erroneous imagination cease the acquiescent mind realizes itself
an erroneous imagination cease
the acquiescent mind realizes itself
i think the first clue that i got
for entering my question about practice came from paul disco who was the head carpenter in those days
and he and his crew of
mary carpenters who basically build just about everything here that you see that's beautiful
sep the tea house
but we'll ride center guesthouse is was all
paul and michael scheuer
gary fuller
any other
wonderful people
me where i was i was sitting at the table and i over over her paul say to a guest student it's not what you came here to get it's what you're going to lose
and this was kind of a shock to me because i had come here to get something
and had not occurred to me that i might lose the most precious thing
ha
terrorists to my heart
and that is myself
in particularly particularly all of my various opinions and views
my my truth
according to the buddhist teaching what we're going to lose is precisely the variety of opinions and judgments notions and use that we have been carrying around with us concerning both what we call herself
and what we call the world
in other words what we're going to lose is just about everything
and this is the good news
and the other good news is that what remains when you let go of everything is what suzuki roshi called big mike
or original mind
a mind that is open to everything
and ready for anything
a sensitive and a a tender mind
shall we dance
shall we play the ukulele
shall we sit in the dark can wait for the tiny bells ring

little by little i came to understand
practice
the idea of practice and the idea of zen center also in pretty much the same way
and that is as ideas
kind of like placeholders
the number zero in mathematics
number zeros interesting because no matter what you add to it the result is what you add to it
no
zero plus one is one
zero plus two is too
and zero plus you is you
eh
entering practice and entering ten center means nothing outside of all of us here together right now
there is no other practice
here is the place here the way unfolds the boundary of realization is not distinct for the realization comes forth simultaneously with the mastery of buddha dharma
is a computer term i think it's a computer term that i heard years ago called diego
had a computer to go you know
giggle garbage in garbage out
now
garbage in garbage out so wholehearted practice and wholehearted life is the exact opposite of go
you know whatever you put into it your best shot is just what comes out
and it has no particular form i mean sometimes your practice is an afternoon nap
i told the all of you who and class the other day that
i'd gone to visit charlotte silver who is going to be one hundred years old very soon
and we'd had a wonderful talk i really like her she's
she's funny and she's ah
alert
she has lots of stories
we talked for about an hour and had a little food and little tea and then she said fool would you like to take a nap
and i thought you know normally i would say oh thank you charlotte but i think i'll be going but actually i really did want to take a nap and i said yes i would like to take a nap and so she said you sit in that chair and there was this chair that folded back and they put a little of the her
lieutenant put a little bench under my feet and a blanket on me and the cat jumped up on my lap and within a few minutes i was sound asleep and charlotte was asleep on the couch and her attendance satin chair and he fell asleep and we all slept for about an hour and a half
this is whole hearted practice
when we woke up we were all very happy and i felt like gardening
so i did
so there is no special form of whole hearted practice
however there is a song about wholehearted practice and it's also from the bluebird tradition
and i know i had student knows this song and fact i know you all do

this is the last verse very famous on is the dance that goes with this song to to camp song called the hokey pokey
you do know i needed you put your whole self in you put your whole self out you put your whole self in and you shake it all about
you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around that's what it's all about

and from our japanese ancestry suzuki roshi a scissor
another version of same same idea
our way is not to sit to acquire something it is to express our true nature that is our practice
even swain right and left as you sit down or getting up from sauce and is an expression of yourself it is not preparation for practice or relaxation after practice it is practice
to cook or to work is not preparation it is practice it is an expression of our sincerity
an appreciation of what we're doing
there is no preparation for something else
so when i was thinking about all of this i notice that actually there's been a pretty significant shift in my thinking over these years of my own practice and the shift has been away from the question was
but
and toward the question how
yeah
and how are we going to fit all of the people in the practice period who want to come to grand knowledge and how we gonna get all of the work done that needs to get done
how are we going to stop the destruction of the environment
how are you doing
how am i doing
how is the flow

so i looked these two words up in the dictionary as i find this trick that linden rem to all the time to be really quite wonderful of looking words up there is a lot of to see stuff from the dictionary
and so the word what means
which particular one of many
what practice which particular one of many
no this is this continual and restless seeking
among many many choices is precisely what the buddha called the cause of are suffering
picking and choosing
what to wear what movie to go to what to have for dinner what to do with my life
this is the second noble truth cause of suffering is based in the ceaseless desire and clinging
to carry the self forward is clinging grab self
and experience myriad things is called delusion
that myriad things come forth and experienced themselves
is called awakening
those who have great realization of delusion are buddhists
those who are greatly diluted about realization are sentient beings
so this question how
by definition is concerned with
the manner or the method of doing something
how
so if you ask the question how around here you'll be given all kinds of directions and recipes and instructions and you noticed i go for there and they get that new american
you know sometimes they're contradictory but i hope that doesn't disturb your meditation
so when i was thinking about the word how i i saw it as a kind of doorway that opens between myself and what i think of as the other
and right through that imaginary barrier
ah hold my self separate
and this very doorway is the same one that
dr hawking talked about that opens to the universe
how
how
how do we practice and
how do we save all sentient beings
and
the very doorway called curiosity
and coming in through that doorway is
you know not just the immediate response of whoever you happen to ask the question
but also the entirety of tradition
of wisdom and of good fortune that brought this very moment into being
all the buddhas and ancestors have been just like this just like us
inquisitive energetic patient determined critical foolhardy
and completely him
and then as shock him when he buddha said on the morning of his enlightenment
how wonderful
how wonderful

to have any questions

barbara
hmm hmm hmm

this time the process the word came to me
expression that my mind and seen the possible
time
and
now with
this no responsive
i'm not sure like group
ask me i saw
responsive
blasphemy

asked questions
you working
what can we do and how can we do it

i asked me recently the question now how can i go for it guy
training
exactly
my and
an
the presence of participate and
him in to many
and then all hell with again
this
that say every now and
i'm kelly one really stressing your women hanging
and maybe three three kids that
what is

susan
chad inside out
one solution
i want a solution
the mean i see
the house are asked not answered
so i fall into that hole
one solution hard to stay
in ah
now actively and a pilot myself
to find something concrete
but when advice that
yeah
well
yeah i guess when you were speaking i was thinking that for me the how is his concrete as i know how to be
how do you make soup
hello
it's a question of action and doing
i'm taking action
but i guess i have on
and i'm the opposite
ha
i get relief from how has something i can do
the what question had me kind of like what should i avoid should be put should i be a this what what what what how to help seems more like was how question seems like you know
there must there's a way his way
so the question how how to me suddenly you're agree know
have you get that
must start from that question
i think
well we enjoy yourself mean if the that went on for a long time around that question and then for thirty we did stop
but you know we still made our list and we plan to meet again and we made some decisions and it's like that is like tiny little stitches my carol case of their how did you make that okay so
how can you do how can you do that not by yourself
and we can't take a gringo squares
when i'm very happy want to
you helping how it's wonderful to me
how it's wonderful how wonderful home
me right now look at live
when i was like that i was like that your it's like the here
yeah that's right on time office
good work can contribute to the how are you
okay
this

yeah

yeah
ah
wonderful
yeah
wow
so why
well
that

know

hmm
well it's so far it's always been there when i come back to it
no i don't have to maintain my worry of the world for what's worrisome about the world to be there when i return now you can take a break it can
and come back to the farm
feeling nourished
so
here i'm not anticipating like a happy ending or something from him more more i'm feeling like there isn't going to be a conclusion and any of this
yeah there's no arrival is no
fixing green lodge
just over and over again we come together
talk and share and
play with you
we've got a bed
now

now that's you know every day
is it another chance of

well i said the magic we're going to bed so now i want to
thank you for coming
mary tension