Why Become Abbot of Zen Center?

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

This talk will not appear in the main Search results:

Unexpected talk on side B.

Auto-Generated Transcript


i would like first of all
to express my deep gratitude
true being able to be here today
to all of you everyone
six practicing here possible

my mother
it's from a small town in alabama called thomasville
i heard someone say some might say my name
and it's very hot muggy there in the summer time big pine trees
red earth
and her father was a farmer
he went to business school and moved to thomasville which is the county see
and developed it to had a dry goods store cannot hear me
okay sorry i'll speak louder
okay that didn't and better
you're welcome so
i reiterate that much more quickly my mother's from a small town in alabama called thomasville in clark county
i know lots of pine trees there
in her father is from a farm grew up on a farm there and moved to thomasville which was the county seat and that's where my mother grew up
and my father is from a mill town called the net alabama that on the chattahoochee river right across from georgia
they both met at the university of alabama
where he was studying medicine and she was studying education mathematics
and so then they got married in nineteen fifty nine
and my dad was in medical school and he finished that and began his residency in and they decided to move to germany for a few years my dad was he was in the army so they were stationed in bomb berrigan it had had and in that time my sister was born while they were living in alabama before they moved to
and then they came back to the states to alabama and quickly moved to southern california
so and then
several years later i was born
and that's where i grew up there
it sam
filled with orange grove and well used to be knots image anymore lots of earth
an open space
i had a really you know i was very fortunate i had a really wonderful childhood my parents cared greatly about me and my sister was ah
a good bit older than i am she's fourteen years older than i am and she babysat me and

you know things were good
and i know if those had any of the the complaint that anyone has growing up anywhere but
i'm not i don't know anyway

with them my from where they grew up my parents brought a very
strong sense of family
and they deeply love each other and i was very fortunate to have that as a model growing up
i could they never talked about it so much but you can tell just by the way that they interact they show it on in their commitment to each other
so growing up in that environment i was this is what i learned
and also the mild go to college and get married and
and you have kids and by house
and so this is the kind of environment in which i was raised
then i went to high school
and developed the teenage on we
wrote poems about
you know ah ah
and then i proceeded on to college in massachusetts i went to small liberal arts college there for a year and mostly drink ally and partied and now you know studied a little bit
one of the best things i did there though i took a modern dance class now is a lot of on i was going to three guys in the class
was about twenty people together
as and i was really though too busy trying to follow the teacher to have time to focus on anything else though
so i met a friend there who is also really into writing men he would have an a difficult time they had this spell their and the rumor has it that if you ring the bell you're not going to graduate and he was eyes out there in the bell
so we decided to move to seattle this is in ninety five
and so take some time off in summer i went back and worked in redlands
and saved up enough money i make it up to seattle with my parents help
my friend had already got there and he had found a place
a little
efficiency apartment that's probably about
a quarter the size of this room maybe a little less than that fifth and so we lived there slept on a crate matches on the floor in sleeping bags that we roll up during the day
zero is a really really good place and there's she's made one person i forgot to mention aside from my parents now is an elementary school there was a gentleman by the name is jess alter who came to live at my parents' house you have a their houses a california ranch house in their zone
guest house adjacent to the house that used to be the garage that the original owners had converted into a living space and so he lived there and he taught poetry at the elementary school i went to and am
he i think on became somewhat of a role model for me as well rather different than my parents
use a professional musician and writer so
and back to seattle so there i was working at a fish and chips place anna
living there and on
had a great roommate and then he and then okay
so there is a an open mike that happened
there once a week and now
there i used to go and read poetry and play the piano and
have a good time in general it was an interesting place it was run by a guy who is a heroin addict and another guy here is a very organized individual
and they they came they are able to create a space where you can have the landlord in the tenant and the bomb that was sleeping in the landlord step i all have a good time together it was really quite a fascinating example what can happen when people are a
able to
let go of ideas about who they are
so at this particular open mike there is a girl a young woman that came down when night and sour and hung out a little bit and then a few months later i met her again and a coffee shop at the friend of hers and we hung out couple of nights we'd made their and talking
led to another
and we began to date and
ha nam he fell in love
that was really good for about six fix on three year
and so keep in mind i've grown up with this with this model
so he met fell in love and
we're very committed to each other
on and after about a year year and a half from the like and it was only twenty first birthday we went to vancouver cause she was still twenty
and you can drink in vancouver when you may team
so there i proposed that we get married and she accepted and we got on an inexpensive rings and you know with it was a serious commitment
but it didn't work
who broke off the engagement after a while and
ended up going our separate ways
i to as and center and she is still in seattle or as i know
now is along that was you know about eight years ago
but that is essentially
that was the catalyst that led me to want to find out about what is what is love and
how how do i deal with this
and so i thought i sincerely be a good place to explore those questions or after spending after spending a month
i'm in southern california in the mountains
i decided to i went unheard of
roshi psyche jesu roshi speak in mt baldy california and from there went to new mexico to live for eight months and then take four years off and play a abandoned went back to school and then went back there for a blood fall prey
notice periods and then here i am
i'm living in san francisco
add the since center still asking the same questions
but i definitely feel
ah i know things are going well
and i think all of you for your support and support that we give each other every day

am yeah
good morning
ah my name is dawn rupert

i was struck the william stock are being grateful i was sitting downstairs now
very much involved with just how good a job i was gonna do
not being grateful for thing or yourself occupied guide cons are very good place to sit in the morning when you're thinking that you're going through were so i put ten point together and now there's all kinds of people bought them down that stone stairs walking down the hall and so
it's isn't going like this putting herself back together again so it's a very good place to act as i think for me
i can it was a long lives i can add the just wanna hit when i think are important parts of it
i was born in brooklyn them nineteen twenty eight and the on
to a family that was very stressed father who was that family that was depressed when depression wasn't acknowledged as something that was okay or as at least a problem that has to be addressed so as a tense and tight house
not much room for a little boy who was kind of bumptious and
because i still am far away
are not always trying to find out what the rules were but not being able to quite get it during things wrong and knocking things over there are also having a i focused problems are like couldn't really see wear glasses of milk white were on the table so i had a reputation of being a very difficult
kid who was always
doing things okay you're always doing things that would create a for coffee when i was about eight i became aware that i had some very that i started having feelings about boys in my class
and wanting to touch them and so on
and it became kind of obsessive obsessive for me and it was also very upsetting because i knew that it was wrong and there was something very wrong with me retired already as as as people often and one of the notion to people who are gay
is that they may grow up in the family where they feel that there's something wrong with them or they're not right and then when they when the sexuality feelings manifest themselves towards the same sex the idea becomes our that's what it is that's what's wrong with me i'm a fan
i know
like some i'm pretty bright and i hear i did it didn't do very well in school and high school because i was very obsessed again when my crushes and were
kind of padilla
but i came in soon came out of it when i was eighteen
i guess the first and powerful experience i had was being in the army experience of growing up during the second world war and being aware what was going on and the suffering that was around and knowing young people who died in that people older than i am but i knew them i was eighteen i was seven
has over us now and there i joined the army and i had the
opportunity to at the some manipulation to get to germany nineteen forty seven which was an incredible place to be the two years earlier that had been a country or three years you know we just such a which has some are so many bad things and so much evil have taken place i was there are impressionable nineteen v
you aware of all the know the german to were completely occupied and crushed and still am depressed state
in the middle of credible devastation and have been wrought upon them or however it happened
that was a very powerful experience i came out i went to school
i got had a kind of a depression myself with two thousand and three all the time fighting my sexuality and
and then at twenty three results of the depression was that i found that therapist who is gonna kill me and so we proceeded to do that and
you have about different success didn't work out
ah and
i but i majored in a religion in college even i was a secular institution and my you how to program origin of education and fell
always attracted to spirit but it was always ineffable or that i'm from the i couldn't touch or feel and the closest place they found that i could be comfortable with being with quakers ah but again that didn't quite take
i went on i i got married i found a woman i loved i had some responses to her i had a family
i finished a phd ah now i was in higher education and doing student personnel work it went on and on and on and on
my life that sort of speaker has some very interesting jobs and had a very satisfying career in a college
but always very unhappy and very sad and side and always aware of my sexuality which i acknowledge maybe in my late for and saying you are gay but then say i won't do anything about that somewhere for them
i didn't want to start off by saying something else i saw a bid for the vedic astrologer or ten twelve years ago a very wise man i happened to be living in a yoga community at the time this was after i came out
and he had an amazing awareness of my life and the events in it and when they had taken place and it was an astounding experience and i now ask them how did he notice well he says it's caught it's it's your life it's causes he didn't say causes and conditions says that's the way it is
and always think that happened to which i had great drama about you know in my life just i realized then and even more and much more so now that i said that
everything that i i hadn't so some good many good things in my life but also this always suffering going on at the same time but everything that happened to me that was sort of good in my career
presented itself to me in and was given to me i didn't look for it i never worked for a job i hope these things all happened and i have some very interesting positions
in the great society program in new york state library i was state director of by university program in it was very exciting and dynamic and then i happened could be a being a dean of students at one of the top fifty colleges when the student rebellions and nineteen sixty nine seventy took place
so that was a very interesting aspect for me but as a what i really
but but the so there i lived a life in which i was productive
slightly depressed and very good at self control very good at controlling because what was i doing i was controlling a benign something most basic to myself so
the event that i think that led me into the dharma was mice older son developing cancer mike my taking care of him being with him and him dying and it's my my oldest son dying
experiencing his illness his death from cancer at the age of twenty four
and really getting knowing what it was to be what not to be in control there's nothing quite like i suspect well so unique experience i hope it doesn't have i'm sure it may have happened to some people here
now it's just nothing you can do about it and as
although that doesn't mean you don't try and you don't do this don't do that
and that was very devastating and it led me to stephen levine's work and steven levine books i now know i didn't know them are just expressions are buddhist thought and he was you know well well trained us and he has never said this is buddhism it just
but it was and i started meditating because i took a workshop with him and tried to meditate and discover that it was too powerful experience for me i had to get some advice from a
girl from a yoga or yoga master and the because a friend and said you to talk to him because just a friend from your meditation and he told me to take it easy and to ease into it or that i was doing so i did
and then time came when i retired
and i had really reactive at my job and we moved up to the country and had a lovely home
and it just became impossible for me to deny my sexuality and the longer is are sixty five and i came out ah
and it was a very deep experience coming out so i i mean now profound you know the whole consciousness your whole way of being changes so i found myself
you know is trying to find out what it was and having maybe sex with men for the first time
jokingly saying finding out well that's what it was supposed to feel like
so i
i promise i went to a yoga center
lenox massachusetts state and nineteen months they had a lot of turmoil they have to s they go to leave because of his sexual difficulties and when i did come deeply to appreciate the spiritual benefits of yoga and became a yoga teacher
that's pretty stiff many ways but for now
and but before that
how my guy
thank you
i was living upstate and there was a little advertisement in an alternative newspaper which you're like you know meditation classes available on sunday morning ten o'clock can find out or something like that i went and i met a wonderful man
names to find a buyer gato who was a zen teacher in mia from the tradition of missouri roshi and he had just started out of here just been teach you just i want to his second time he ran it and slowly slowly he introduced us to the form at first we just sat in
he had to figure out how to teach us the form ah
and ah
but we got it it ended up and the other powerful thing he did was not only it i sit with him but he also had a socket and a prison and i want to sit in the saga in the present with him hear him by it some of us who wanted to do it so i did it quite regularly probably at this twice
a month often three times ah and that was a very powerful experience where the most powerful dharmic experiences i've probably ever had
there's nothing more dramatic and sitting with a group of men
and having the experience of listening to elect little lecture having a sharing having a little they will often find some kind of cookies for our state maybe just now but to take used to call it you know good but that was there were wanting to
the chef fellowship with those who came to try them and and then have to leave you know separation has never was never more real to me as a concept when you leave
in the course of events i went to an elder hostel the green gulch
i stayed with him i visited and sat with him while i was looking at the yoga center so i kept up the continuity and i want to green dolphin and undecided to come out here and
join this community
and i
i don't even begin to know how to talk about how grateful i feel about the existence the miraculous fact that place even here
and one can live around the corner on can live here and
the incredible miraculous issue that it exists and there are teachers and so many teachers and so much support and
i know it took me a i think fifteen sixteen year when we had that yokai you know your sit by who has been setting the longest you know if they ask you that was sixty eight years for me to finally get around to taking the bows and be taken
it seriously and
acknowledging what it meant to
to were put his row
yeah i've done lot of i can help since i've retired i i have taught yoga i have worked with prisoners
in terms of trying to facilitate their practice
it's important for me to do that i have to always had to be a gay has to have an expression
acon roshi and
the mind of congress says you put down if you to stay in the dark if you to sit and lincoln in practice
it doesn't you don't do anything in the world with this is how i heard it i mean that's what he said but i feel through important for me to to make it active and ah
so i'm not a current my i'm getting older my body is really not well it's just showing the signs of age sir
now lags the lot riders with a little
well funny little things happening in heart which are not terribly seriously say but then disturbing when they first happened them and things like that and cataracts and all kinds of things but basically you know having a pretty good life although i am sitting in the fire now are having difficulties with my son
i find the dharma i find
i'm a mystical and my sense of it i just
i had the feeling i've known this you know i guess i understand it when i hear lectures yes i understand that that makes sense you know i understand it i knew that sort of speakers more like i feel sometimes like it's uncovering stuff right now ah
yeah i know i didn't know it and in many cases it's lead to deep discoveries and deep understandings and the difficult settings and song ah
i guess i covered a lot of stuff on
i still have a friendly relationship a loving relationship with my ex-wife was now but
working with what cancer remains in her life and
those are the pants you know
sometimes i find being old quite interesting and an opportunity him a wonderful chance to
i mean it's kind of nice and i don't have to get up and sit here in the morning i can
i can sit may have the known
can sit and read the paper in the morning which i like to do
it's an opportunity also but sometimes but it's not all what's not all wonderful you know this painful tours much much stuff that much stuff that there
i don't really want to talk a lot about what was going out with my son but my teacher vicki and i agree that i am really city and the fire now in a way that i never have before in my life
i don't know what else to say to you i appreciate looking around seeing many faces that i've seen for a while
are their very first ones i knew susan way back when i did my very first thing a green gulch have been years ago we did the it came out i did the practice period there that practice period here living here living there and
and same as always it's going to be interesting because every time it's a practice period there are people here i don't know you know i see faces that i don't know right well
so it's a chance to see what life is gonna be like
i don't have anybody wants to is a time or questions
good i made it with thank you very much

maybe wisdom we could say primarily clarity but wisdom isn't enough without saying compassion or love because
if you are not willing to actually recognize a connection that you have with your friend or your enemy or your family
or you know the cup of water on the table
or the traffic going by if you're not willing to see that then you're blocking your own a compassionate mine
so so
there's there's so much truth
and all the teachings of the zen teachers
in our tradition but we actually have to find it out ourselves

you know
i feel that coming in to then sent it out
although i've been on the elders council all this time i have been in
living in zandt center and i i have some notions
but mostly what i need to do is listen
and and here i'd be interested to hear what people people in this room thing is what's that what is in to do well how does in center serve you how does in center work for you and what's the sense of so some some way it was then center's not working for you
that i think that center has a complicated mission actually one one aspect of the mission is to actually provide and support each individual's
dharma path
my sense is each each individual and this rome as a path
and so zen center should support you
the practice should support you and should recognize where you are in your path and with some clarity and and say okay so where do you go from where you are right now and your practice
zen center also has a has a public face in which ah
we offer dharma to anyone should be an open door
and so how to make that you know i hear people say sometimes those incentives kind of coal there's incentives and of stodgy present is not where it's at anymore used to be a risk is to be cutting edge what does not work anymore so i think their ways in which may be that's that's something to take a look at
how can you be silent and still and also be friendly
i think sometimes we get caught know away you know we don't quite know how to make that transition but as you mature in your practice you find it you can make the transition is very quickly from being still the being active the big silent
two speaking
we have a complicated
complex and wonderful mission i think and i'm just i'm just beginning to re-enter and explore it and ask questions so ah and this big group you know you may not feel that you can tell me all about it but hopefully we can meet with everyone here from one on one or in small group
oops and over time get a sense of what you actually fields and center does well and what zen center i can work on
there's one thing is last friday i met with the hall and i both as abbott's were invited to join a meeting of the officers and directors
and it was a team building meeting
and people who are the the group officers and directors
said hey this is this is really something good that's good that we can function together as a team and we don't do enough of this zen center
so maybe that's true i think of is good the different different whether you're on a particular work crew whatever role of responsibility you have that you actually feel that you can identify and work with the people that you're working with and see if you can
you know love each other and be clear
it's a appreciate each other limitations and and each other's value
as partly what you need to do to have a sense of team so
that's just one
you know partial response
i know the first question had to do at precepts
it's an interesting question because i remember
probably the first
it probably until i was ordained as a priest
but there was really really didn't talk about precepts that much and my training
there were there but we didn't really
the frame our practice so much in terms of presets
still our whole
our whole image transmission of the dharma is based on preset
and i think that you can't really practices and unless you incorporate the bodhisattva vow and you take the bodhisattva vow ah
and that actually supports your practice it opens up your practice
but i also recognize that people the bodhisattva vows very hard actually
very very difficult to be a bodhisattva
and so i think it's great and people can begin wherever they begin know whatever glimpse you have
just to do the right thing
even have a question you know what's what's the right thing to do
even to take care of myself how do i take care of myself
that's really a fundamental question about precepts
and so precepts are you know how we live
as bodhisattvas
and i think it's good to study them i did i actually just and the dharma is saga he just had a uk ceremony for one person than we had for several months before that we've been studying the presets
ah and reworking them somewhat and how their express so ah the precepts are
what can i say absolutely important

so it's eight thirty
three a thirty four so maybe about time to wrap up
is there anything that is
i really missed
that needs to be addressed

the oil i don't play that have an answer for that question
ah intrigues me now
and i've been on the elders council since since we had an elder council
so i've been in many discussions each time it comes up about
ah the role of abbott
and some and over the years people have asked me if i might be available and i've always said no i wasn't available
ah and this year i said no i'm not available and at a certain point i thought hey
i could be available because i'm finishing up these things i'm doing right now
and if i don't and i have ideas about what i'm going to get involved in next but
that could all wait
so it's so i let people know while there's a way which i can be available
and my feeling
presents santa is that i owe a debt to zen center
i owe a debt to put his practice i owe a debt to suzuki roshi who i never met i owe a debt to
all of my know saga members colleagues dhamma brothers and sisters
of tremendous i feel tremendous gratitude and i can't ever repay it
and so if i'm seriously asked to do something like this i have to
if i possibly can have to say yes
now that's it gratitude

new thing

what we were we might do is you on maybe
most people here and neither leave right now and maybe a few of you on a stick around and ask a few more questions
how would be to do it like that dua
we can bow out officially in and anyone else who wants to come up
after a few more minutes i'm i'm i'm open to that
they wouldn't want to end my night
the me man hurrying arena if a and
moment and reassemble
stephen gonna be giving a talk
saturday in the fall on the more formal top of it actually i like this informal
a discussion for it and the mountains seat ceremony where steve will be
install on announcing in february
february twenty fifth let the last sunday february
thank you thank you thank you are