Zendo Lecture

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SF-03083
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in case the dream as as as not the scorers
good evening

he

i was i'm looking at this book when it came out to shine one corner ah i don't quite understand the title to shine one corner but it's a collection of stories
ah about suzuki roshi the founder of fun
tassajara among other things by his students
and one of the stories
really touched me and i wanted to
say a few words about that done tonight
it goes like this
suzuki roshi his room not long before his death he was in bed extremely weak his skin discolored he bowed and i did the same
then he looked right at me and said not with a loud voice but firmly don't grieve for me don't worry i know who i am
don't grieve for me don't worry i know who i am
isn't that terrific
the presence of mind to be able to say something like that while you're also dying of cancer
astounding
well the other part of that story is that i think no self respecting buddhist would ever say such a thing
ah
whenever whenever we talk about self there's always a be careful be careful and himself the the self i'm speaking of is the one that time in the west we use the latin word ego meaning i for
me and probably for you to
in the west and east the buddha as he always did cut right to the chase and he called the self the no self
the no self he didn't mince his words
and that's what i want to say a few things about so suzuki roshi
and it is life by saying i know who i am
and that reminded me of a a hindu
anecdote and an aphorism or something one of those one of those words but it goes it goes like this the child in the womb sings do not let me forget who i am
but the song after birth becomes oh i have forgotten already
so there's something
about the self which is ah
elusive
and it seems as though we pop out of the womb knowing exactly who we are and how are connected to everything but shortly after we forget
and i think most of us have come here to find to remember to remember
apparently suzuki roshi remembered
he remembered so much that
for him in the midst of his pain
there was no suffering
in the midst of his grief there was no grief
in the midst of his worry there was no worry in the midst of chaos there was only peace
in the midst of dying there was fullness of life
so how did he remember how did he not just forget again
i think it was because he had an ongoing spiritual practice
that seems to help and a practice that's been tried and true for at least a twenty five hundred years it's in fact the same one that we do here
and apparently the biggest thing that this practice gave him was the ability not to be fooled by his own mind

he was free and his own mind
so why is it that we forget who we really are
i think it's because we are looking in the wrong place for it
what we call the sell for what i call i isn't really a thing apparently but only a mental fabrication
that could be good news and bad news
but the good news of it is that we can be free from the thing that gives us the most suffering that that gives us the most mental noise all the time i think we probably all are aware of that part of our of of our my the small mind that keeps chattering chattering chattering chattering and almost seems as
though will never stop
it's the it's the mind that wants to be anywhere but here it's the mind that comes to practice willing to do anything except upset my own applecart
the buddha when he awakened
and saw his true nature and was and saw the end of the and suffering itself he said
i have seen now i have seen you architect this is the mind that builds the self i have seen you architect you shall not build the house again your rafters have been broken down and you're rich poll has been shattered that's in the dhamma panda
one of the more gentler sutras
he saw his he saw the fabrication of himself by his own mind and once he saw it he was freed from it
he also went on to say later or least was said to have said in the diamond sutra that we fall into trouble we fall into that big hole of i'm forgetting who we are whenever we seize upon anything that we call a cell for a soul or being or a person so there's something about putting ourselves in a little tiny
ye well packed probably well decorated box that seems to give us the most suffering
i'm not sure where but ah
and i can't imagine why but i was reading something that mentioned david hume was an english well was he's dead now an eighteenth century english philosopher who have during during what we in the west call the enlightenment
but actually i think a little light shone when he said what he did he said
the self is nothing but a bundle of collections of different perceptions including thoughts which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity and are in a perpetual flux
most complicated language
you say it again the self is nothing but a bundle of collections of different perceptions including thoughts which succeed each other with an inconceivable repetitive rapidity and are in a perpetual flux and other words there's nothing solid there there's nothing we can really grab onto or hold onto
or need to defend for all that
in other words in my mind he was saying that what we call the self is actually a movie
if you are i like movies very much
and when i was out
not too i go saw the new star wars but i'm not going to talk about that
which will surprise i know some people
other than to say that done while that was it was almost too much stuff coming at me all the time
but anyway so movie
you can forget yourself you can lose yourself you forget who you are because what we're actually actually looking at is isn't a twenty four frames per second
something like that in other words it's not real but when we're watching it sure does seem real if we forget who we are
it's also like come
is there is a word pointillist
to meet some method of painting
wait a list yes
i was in
a world traveler that i am in the seventies i was in paris
and in in a building in duluth showed a palm where the the impressionist paintings
work were kept then they've moved since then and i never liked impressionism i thought it was messy
the such a thought vermeer was was the better painter because it made everything look like a photograph
and so i was walking walking through this place and saw
walking suspiciously through this place and saw over there in the corner
monet's
japanese bridge over a lily pond i'm sure you've all travels known it or know of it maybe even seen it and i looked at it from a distance and i fell into it it was the most beautiful thing i've ever seen i stood there a long long time and it was it was
was it was more than a photograph
it had it had the feeling a deep feeling
oh a shot so i looked went to look closer at this thing and of course it went out of focus it was blurry and splotches ah and i think that's that's like ourselves to
well i was going to say i think this was chicago where they had this big
big picture of women with an umbrella standing by a lake you know the one
well i i came upon it turning around the corner and there it was and what what the hell is is it was a bunch of dots just a bunch of data is this far from it
yeah and no oh dear this must be a modern art
but then thankfully i i moved away from it and the same thing happened this is beautiful this said much more than a movie much more than a photograph but up close it was actually a collection of many many many probably thousands of dots
much like what the buddha and david hume call the self just a collection of things
for in terms of our our ego ourself
it's a a collection of memories and a collection of habits
this small mind
the creates the self
if collects things mainly geared towards survival
so that we we remember
not put our hand on the hot stove or we remember not to go near people like that that's what that sort of thing it's the fountain or found prejudice and preconception
based of course on fear and craving
fear that we might be killed and craving for what we think we don't have or what we need that just that thing that will make us whole i had a experience of that this morning
by one of the people who who is a resident here
is staying at james burke that's the that's the the big town you saw just before
ah just before the road in here of the dirt road and chichi is she was a teacher philosophy so whenever i need to know anything i would always ask mako so i called up and said that there's only one thing i need to know on my whole life and it's what it
what are the dates of david hume
and so she told me and then i thought that i hung up and went to my room and came back and thought oh no oh no the current i need to know into cart was and so i went back and said well that wasn't the only things that i needed my whole life so i need to know in the card is and then why is he the father of dualism why was that i forgot
so at any rate down we often need more to survive than just one thing we need many many things sometimes it seems

you know that dumb
part of the self the it comes from the past and lives in the past
prejudice and
ah any conditioning always comes from the past
we learn from the past so to speak but also we get we get the impression of who we are from the past
like if a teacher says
you know you're really stupid
ah that can last a lifetime or you know you're my favorite
norman fischer who is it was a was a former abbot of zen center he said an attack once that he when is when his two boys twins were young he would go at night before they went to sleep and he would whisper in each each of their ears you know you're my favorite
or home marvelous well my mother
i remember actually i don't know how old i was but it was young enough and she said you know you've got your father's bony knees and my nose and my teeth
which pretty much kibosh any career i wanted in surfing or modeling
again again pure fabrication pure fabrication my knees are fine
and my teeth i had fixed
in the nose i don't care
long as it's in the front
so at any rate so we get this impression of who we are from the past and where it looks to fulfillment is in the future now you probably noticed that i am i intend to go after that new job soon in
in the future i will i'll do it i'll do it or i am going to start practicing with this later
we look towards our fulfillment in the future which does hold some promise of fulfillment but it's a double-edged sword the future because it also holds death you know we may when that will also lose
and then there's the added thing that
the there is no past and there is no future no the past is quite gone and the future
it's not there yet
so hope this is this is not much to base
an idea of who you are on
so
so where do we find who we are well there's only there's only one place and it's not what we think
it happens to be in the present moment
i wish it were more interesting than that but it isn't
i think the one place we really really don't like to be most of the time is now is in the present
and why should we have no password has no future
because they don't exist so
hum
so but i want to back up a bit and talk about this this mind that creates a who we think we are it's some has been called the discriminating mind it's a very handy tool
it means that when the benji track is coming towards you you will recognize benji truck me new move out of the way
it's a it seeks difference it craves difference and also hates difference
it is the it is the the function that gives us the ideas of right and wrong up and down front word and backward
them and us
you and me know it separates it finds it seeks it craves difference
in the vicky austin was here and gave a talk here not too long ago and she was commenting that the how the guests find perceive tassajara and pretty much across the board
people said and she asked them and they said peaceful calm restful
spiritual quiet
and then she asked some of us what our perception were tassajara
which were
not so peaceful
lots of work
incredibly noisy
exhausting
and oh there was one one guest who have never been a friend of mine from from new york manhattan who came here and stayed on the creek and one of the pine rooms and the next day he he he i saw him and he said them how do you people sleep period
that's to trying to sleep next to a constantly flushing toilet
which was how he heard the creek so so doing it so but there's only one tassajara but but many many different perceptions of it which ones are right maybe all maybe all of them
so
so perception the way we see things and smell things and hear things sometimes isn't so reliable especially when we make a self out of them
sometimes
so
are discriminating my creates and craves a difference and sometimes that can be really nice it's like a symphony orchestra a harmony doesn't mean that everything's on the same pitch it means that there are different different notes coming together and making beauty or what we judge is beauty
and as symphony doesn't have just one instrument it has as many at what cost probably know this many instruments that don't sound alike at all but for the create exquisite beauty
so so i differentiating mind and difference makes it can be very very positive can also be very negative too
the craving the hating difference
and for us here it can
it can show itself
through what some people call mistakes
if you're the boss and somebody makes a mistake you can get i'm actually get angry at them but why because they did something different than how you thought it should be
is that fair
the natural but maybe not fair
so difference of course you know the other word for differences diversity we talked a lot about diversity at ten center and it's just a long word for a different just different so we we need it for symphonies and for cooperation and harmony and it also has
it's also dangerous because it frightens us
you ever tried to talk to somebody who couldn't understand you
ah ah see
i have i have a big problem trying to talk somebody i can understand where they can understand me happens like it was in japan actually
have you noticed that the most where i would be talking to this marvelous person suzuki roshi son and
am i wanting to share marvellous things with him and it just wasn't coming through he was smiling and say oh yes yes yes yes but but it was really no no no no don't understand i found it very difficult and almost threatening
so ah
a dog and duggan's mg who is the founder of the school that that we are in school as zen buddhism put them put it to rather clearly he said supreme perfect enlightenment is bowing to someone and not thinking whether you like them or not
ah isn't that when therapy nice wouldn't that be nice to be that free to be able to i'm just be open so empty mind and an open heart
that's a supreme perfect enlightenment is somehow when the when you're free of that discrimination whether you like them or not
so back to what suzuki roshi said i know who i am
it comes from the present moment only
and i would guess that he had practiced being in the present moment enough with thousand which is meditation practice that he was able to say that he knew who he was and it wasn't what he thought it was much bigger much more much greater
the i think the i am that he spoke of was was not self consciousness at all
you know do you ever noticed that when you're doing something well i'm just doing it completely and fully and then all of a sudden you see yourself doing it and you might say whoa i am very good
and that that's the point when you drop the book where your trip over the bowing mat or i you so the top and the cayenne pepper falls off into the soup
so it's not self conscious
it's a fully alive and vibrant
you know people i wonder if there're any of you do
ah dangerous sports i say that because i wouldn't think of doing such a thing but like rock climbing for example i understand you have to be pretty much on your toes at least on your fingers to and you cannot stop for a minute you have to be completely present at all times or else your dad
that there is no room for how much doing
there's no room for ah node and i turn off the stove yeah this doesn't have that you have to be completely totally present
there's a
i have i have an example involves a stick
this is the stick you'll notice i have nothing up my sleeve
so stick
ah

sorry to trigger trigger the startle response but to i bet that was a present moment
it was for me
so
anything that brings our attention into the present moment away from ourselves who we think we are to what's actually happening
we here we do it in a rather calm way more difficult i think way we sit and face the wall as most of you know and
we continually one moment after the next try to be present to what's actually happening and when we found and when we find that we can't stand that and we go somewhere else that we come right back to our body and our breath which after all is just about all there is
in the present moment
so whenever we noticed that this little mind starts trying to entertain itself we just stop it if we don't really need to exercise that part of us too much because it's it's pretty well developed in most of us but that that the rest of the mind big mind at all i see so little mind is about this size like
an ice cube and the the rest of the mind is everything else
so that that's the one we lose sight of cause that's who we really are
ah the other property of who i am
is complete acceptance complete acceptance no matter what happens no matter what comes through our head no matter what we hear no matter what we smell while we're sitting we accept it all
we try to rejecting nothing my my teacher
is by nature very accepting
quite beyond me
most of the time
but she has room for everything and everyone mean she has her moments of not that too but most the time she accepts everything and is open and welcome to everything
and i asked her
how do you do that
how do you be so accepting
an inclusive how are you so inclusive and she said
oh but you just don't reject anything
yeah when i was startled to
and of course some that that acceptance and that term
allowing to be what actually is is another another way of saying compassion that's what compassion is it's allowing it's allowing to be what is if you can imagine such a ridiculous thing
we actually think that by not allowing something we make it ceased to exist
in our arrogance the arrogance of the little mind so so we sit there allowing to be whatever arises
and in that many doing that down the whole business is transformed the way we see ourselves the way we see each other the way we see the wall the way we taste the food everything has opened up
the other thing
safely
about the present moment is that there are no problems in the present moment
ah
ah i think you probably have to see this for yourself but like right now for example if you're if you're just looking at me and with your eyes open and you're also aware of your breathing there's nothing wrong
there's nothing wrong there is no future there's nothing that has to be fixed there's really no past nothing to worry about or nothing to feel bad about were guilty about there's only right now right now is clean it's clear pristine ah
and that beneath that clarity as one of our teachers they said is a river of joy
a river of joy
so the idea is that by living in the present moment you begin to tap that joy the joy of just being alive
so ah
suzuki roshi said i don't crave for me and don't worry i know who i am
i hope each one of us one day we'll be able to say the same
thank you very much