Wednesday Lecture

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dorian johnson
the children wants to asked
hello teacher once asked the children how did the world come to be
and one child replied
once long ago there were butterflies
they had no place to land
and they got mad
he said
let's work together
they made a big swarm
but that did not work
then they made a circle
and they said let's call it the world

so i've been on
thinking and feeling a lot about i take on and his surgery tomorrow
and one thing i noticed was that i find it difficult to fully appreciate
i'm just one remarkable individual
when not in this life we share we are surrounded by
so many human beings have profound intention
the butterflies are swarming
and even though we lived together day by day
and in some cases a year after year
and we relate to the schedule and
to the teachings of the buddha
to each other
to our chores
to our vows
it seems that we don't often mark r relationships to one another and their depths

and i don't know about you but sometimes i wait
until my friends are
close to death before i tell them
how much i care and about that secret place that's held for them in my heart

maybe it's enough just about

i was with my mother she made a special
meal from a for my birthday last month and
my voice had a separate feeling
and at the end of the meal i was thinking her
and she reached up and she bad
i was so deeply touched

i'm not sure if it was the same time last year or maybe even a year before a big
there was another mother a young mother who came to visit me here
on that me she came to talk to somebody because her little boy
i one and a half years old had just died
he had drowned in a little pond in her backyard
and i don't think i've ever experienced and more our grief stricken human being
so she and i spent about two hours together down on the peace garden
and we laughed and cried
and we talked about her little boy and my little girl

i can't really imagine that these wounds ever heal
but they do open as wide and they do reveal to us
ah the nature of our tenderness
our vulnerability and are enormous capacity
for real love
what i learned about myself from this woman and her last child was that joy and sorrow are inseparable
they seem as though they are too
emotional destinations
but they are simply the conjoined twins of the human heart
and you can't find one without finding the other
i think it's this turning of this particular set of opposites that reveals most vividly to us
this experience we humans have of non-duality
not joy not sorrow

i used to think that the practice of zen was going to save me from all suffering
and i used to think that
the buddha was an island unto himself
sheltered and protected from all that would ever scare or
hurt him
and i think i thought that because it is possible to barricade yourself
through various tricks of mental fabrication or through various substances both legal and illegal in to a invisible cocoon

and this cocoon appears to be safe
at least for a while
we can call it me and mike
me and mine my friends and my stuff and my things and my views and my opinions and my way
but the inside these little cocoons that self that vulnerable self
well i slowly and inevitably begin to rot
in order for the butterfly to be truly free it must run the risk of learning how to fly

i once approached sojourn mel weitzman former abbot of this and center
with this question
i said
dreams are sweet i love to sleep what do you have to offer
and he said
pretty sternly
go wash your face
i didn't have a and other response and am i did feel ashamed and i knew why
and now and
as i did them i feel her deep gratitude for this fine teacher for his courage
and his wisdom

so like it or not this is what i came to this end center for this forest of swords
i came looking for a tough love
i wanted people who would be direct
and honest and impeccable
in demanding of me
because that's what i already demanded of myself
the trouble was i couldn't convince anyone else to get into the ring with me
to join me as a witness to all of the
non-compliance and flat out indifference
now but indifference to what
new systems to what

i don't know how many of you saw the fight club i don't recommend it back
it seems that whatever were resisting
ah is ourself
and what we truly believe to be right to be correct to be true
the butterfly his slugging it out with a caterpillar
i will be free
oh no you want

so the ring that i'm talking about is a ring of light of awareness
it's a place of no excuses
where this is so and i know it to be so
and when we are at that very place in that very time
all of our systems are balanced
the mind the heart the passions
in an upright row
completely revealed
when i asked my daughter here the day do you know who you are who you really are
she responded without any artifice or hesitation
and then she said mom do you know who you really are
i wavered and then i lived

sent or to baker oh she wrote in this introduction to a book called the time as spring
open yourself to the power of respect and others' expectations
accept others in that others except you
then you will be in the midst of lineage in the midst of the power of everyone
and what does everyone expect of you
they want you to be buddha
so with some regret at the loss of alternatives
i actually have come to believe that the only safety i will ever have in this life
his when this life is located precisely
right on this platform
sitting right here with my palms sweating
basing all of you
and the funny thing is that on this place doesn't feel so safe
fact it doesn't feel safe at all
feels like i'm falling through air
how about you
are you falling through air with me
how can we make this sworn into a circle and call it the world
i don't know if that's possible or not but that's what i'd like to do
that's what i invite all of us to do
to practice together
it's really the only product that we produce here at gringotts fun and it's the only one it's not for sale
a song of joy

so even though i know this i forget it all the time and i wonder what i'm doing here
and what we're doing here
and why we got all this trouble
and then somebody recommends a book or movie or play or story or poem and i reconnect with how i got here and why stay
i find my roots
the conjoined twins of my heart
so this time it was a woman named ann baker who was here in january who sent me a book
he sent me a book called ender's game
do you know

it's a story about a very young boy who happens to be unimaginably bright
and he's been trained to lead a great battle
for the salvation of the human race against an alien species called the buggers
and the buggers have attacked the earth twice the second time they were barely repelled
so this young boy entered is our only hope
for counter attacking the homeworld of the buggers
i'm saving
but he must be proven to be worthy of your task and so he's tested
to the ends of his limits and beyond
so i don't want to give it away if you haven't read it by
what i got out of reading this book other than a lot of pleasure because it's really fun book was a remembering of myself twenty three years ago
and how i arrived here in the first place
i did want tough love and i wanted great expectations but
there was a reason and that reason was burning me up
when i was a young woman
back in the nineteen sixties you've all heard of the sixteenth
along with many of my peers
i was waging now
war against
united states of america
the buggers
and i it was pretty painful because i'd been taught to love the united states of america i knew all the songs you know god bless america
my country tis of thee
and i had come to hate this country poorer what it was doing
a little war called the vietnam war
that we watched on television
so i know you all know the story of the vietnam war i don't
want to tell it to you all again
but i was thinking about it
i started to up
how not a word a thing women do and a whale cream is a sorry
i could feel that batman
and i remembered that
and the children
so i even know you know it was a long time ago and for many view it's history
me it's the reason i get up at four o'clock in the morning
because there's something terrible happening between people
and the plants and the animals of the earth
we are out of balance
and it's way beyond killing for food
we are out of round
this word out of round is or duca in sanskrit to go it means we translated as suffering
the butterflies are swarming but that doesn't work
this little poem my been quoting was written by a seven year old girl named morgan flannery pusa classmate of sabrina's
to hurt you she wears flowering cats and likes being babies
so it is my tiny hope and i think it's the tiny hope of all parents
that the children are are one last great possibility and like andrew wiggins
for both revealing
who their unveiled suffering
hand showing us the great wound of our collective life
but also for administering to their great wisdom
a medicine
that may save us all
all sentient beings whole beans buddha nature
they just have to go on seeing what they see
insane it
i'm being encouraged
so the new teachers and they need people who love them
because they're bright and loving and they're capable and they're soft and flexible and they swam
i was working very very hard yesterday with a swarm of twenty five high school students who came here to ah
receives as an instruction
they were the urban pioneers
and ah
we began our time together out here in front of the zendo
i was telling them the virtues of silence and stillness
listening to the birds and frogs and as i was talking some of the practice period were quietly rating along was just perfect
they figured it
and then i invited me to take off their shoes which they resisted
they didn't want to walk around this building in their white sox
is there city kids
so finally after a brief
pillow fight with his office which miraculously ended
citizen even more or less desires and posture
and i suggested to them that they count your breaths from one to ten
amazing as all of a sudden all of them all twenty five quieted down
and we're still
just about at the same time and strike

so i was one and have them sit through three or four rounds of counting to ten i thought that would be plenty long
and just as we were beginning this incredible loud motor turned on outside the tour here
so i feigned indifference
and i gotta quietly and walked over there hoping to find a green gulch vehicle that i could silence with a gesture

but unfortunately it was roto rooter
and they were sucking our waste material out with a giant rubber straw
so i knew at a glance it couldn't be stopped
and i returned to my seat and began counting my bras to quiet my mind
and then little by little
i calmed and melted and opened to the affection i was feeling for these young people
and their noble effort
not to move

and i am feeling that same affection for all heal and for myself and even for recovered
our great effort making a circle and calling it the world
i do not want my friend died on her to die
i know he doesn't matter
sweaty said
so i and he and all of us must sit right in the middle of that not wanting
because that's where we are
are not in control we have no plans
and we are facing the unknown together
we are called to this home by the mother of creation herself
to witness
the birth of each moment
kicking and screaming with new life
with no place to land they get mad
so the people made a god and the god was a bird
then god turned into a bird
then the bird was real
sophie redfern age seven
so the people made a god and the god was a bird
then the god turned into a bird
then the bird was real
and then finally from my own genius child
the one who splits open the silence separating
each of us from the other
another version of how the world came to be
the world had no one on it
but then the only person was alive
his name
i was jake
after his mom brought his bike
the and

thank you very much
me or in ten child