Being Bodhisattvas

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it's really it's good to
to see you as sir
phantoms on these on a screen ah but a failure you're all out there today we're doing today we're doing a of were having an online session which is goes from on seven
thirty in the morning until two thirty in the afternoon and then as usual we open a at ten fifteen for a public dharma talk but we're going to continue sitting and i just like to to plug that ah
we have ah if you look on the busy see website we have now are these sushi and or kept a sushi events scheduled through january
and ah
i'm to make sure so may be a better we recording his record happening again ah and we're going to try a three day
ah virtual sashimi in december have a
cause i will hard to see sheen that we're we're scheduling that ah
later in the month so that people who were working people were teachers can attend and you know it's in a certain way not exactly that all bets are off but we're really trying to adapt our schedule so that people can attack
end so people can fit it into their life ah some of us are working some of us are not ah but we're working together to sustain our practice so i'd like to encourage you feel free to write me or mary beth or kicker who's the other session
director ha if you want information about doing this and encourage you to participate in that
so on
today i want to talk about being bodhisattvas
and ah
we're all called to do this
at this moment
yeah this is our life in the
time of pandemic
the covered nineteen virus is spreading
ah and it's actually we've never finished the first wave and it's it's trending upwards ah for a variety of reasons which i want explicate because i don't fully understand it but it is it is too
trending upwards still
ah the virus of racism
his rampant
in this country ah
i think because it was a spirit that has been
unleashed by ah
in many ways by the government ah it's not that racism didn't exist previously ah but it's like the lid has been taken off of it and ah
you know on the one hand ah there's some awful things that are happening in some violent things repressive things and on the other hand the reality is been seen by
people across the country
and good people are trying to figure out
what we want to do in response to that
i would say can i think many have you experienced this personally that hard the the other shoe of the economic crisis is
he's dropping or is about to drop or already as dropped
ah one way or rather we see its shadow over our heads
ah i think you know can i grieve about how this affects many of us personally
just in the last week ah i've been hearing about buddhist centres ah centers that are run by friends and peers and ah
hen ah just about every lineage you're hearing about ah teachers and communities that are having to let go of their centers
ah that they're closing them
ah because particularly in urban places they threw difficult to afford the rent on spaces that are sitting
unused unattended hand ha while there unused an unattended the income streams are significantly down and so they are closing their doors which is
at least for now which is really tragic ah
and this is true for some small places but also true for a couple of larger places that i've been hearing about ah um i think just too
reassure you i think that we are these and center is relatively stable ah financially for the for then certainly for the foreseeable future i'm sitting to the treasurer is right over there stone and look over in her direction but i think we're you know i think we're okay but worked
that's because we've been very fortunate wise and how we marshaled how resources and we have no mortgage and we own this place in our expenses are relatively low but i really feel for my
my friends who are ah
you know who built some beautiful places and they're really thinking about shutting the doors
so given all of that what does it mean to be a bodhisattva
we have these vows which were going to recite at the end of the talk but ah
they're very familiar they're really imprinted on on our minds beings are numberless i vowed to awaken with them
delusions are inexhaustible i vowed in them
dharma gates are boundless i vowed to enter them
buddha's way is unsurpassable have out to become it
ha every one of these vows ah incorporates within it
an impossible conundrum
you know if beings are numberless how can i vow to awaken them all
if delusion to are exhaust inexhaustible well how can i come to the end of them and so on and so forth but this is our vow you know it's like to dream the impossible dream ha that's that's what we're doing
the practice of these vows or brings to mind words that ah
are ascribed to suzuki roshi and i remember for years and i have a notebook where i i keep notes in ah
a kind of diary from time to time and seems like every volume of that have become i get a new book i inscribed this in on the first page ah this these words from suzuki roshi life is like stepping onto a boat
which is about to sail out to sea and sink
life is like stepping onto a boat which is about to set out which is about to sail out to sea and sink
it turns out i was i was researching this arm
there's there's a kind of back story i never i haven't found the place where suzuki roshi actually said this but harm heavenly this is it's kind of a famous ah expression ah that's not easy to track down but ah
this is sir
what happened to many of the monks
who set out from japan who really wanted to learns in ah they would set out in a boat and
in order to travel to china and book would go out to sea and zinc
so it was very difficult to bring the dorm of back to japan
andrey difficult to bring the dharma
from japan to us
and yet these dedicated people dogan did this suzuki roshi did this my zoomy roshi ah cappuccino roshi okamoto roshi we are in great debt to ah all of the teachers who made their way
cross the ocean to bring us the dharma and they brought it with great energy and joy which is part of what i'm going to speak about
so found i came across this wonderful poem by ah
the poet albert psycho
who are i think this poem is is incredible commentary on suzuki roshi words albert tsai psycho was hub
japanese american poet who was associated with the with the beat poets he was very good friends with with philip whalen and windsor kerouac and with the welsh ha and as a young
man he was born than nineteen twenty six as a young man he was interned ah at heart mountain wyoming during world war two
and ah
then when he came of age there he joined via
u s army in the famous four hundred forty second regimen which was a nice a ah second generation japanese or regiment which which for ah for an italy and other places in europe and became quite famous anyway when he came back
he went to usc and he became he was a poet ah and this is a poem of and he was a character he's actually a character of frigging the name ah in a car wax novel big sur ah i'll find it up let you know
ah and this is a poem that he wrote i think you wrote it in the fifties but ah
it was published
particular called house speaks
now just say that in his last year's on last twenty years of his life he moved to hawaii to the big island and ah he was he was friends with robert eighteen roshi
and was a present student of his own stripe highlight i met him briefly at a roaches funeral but i found this poem this week
oh i'm missing fields bodhisattva vow ah bodhisattva how do we build bodhisattvas let me show you

are you seen that
there is our bodhisattva in the in the zendo ah and she's taking the form that is necessary in order to awaken sent your pigs
very ah
the timely act on her part
so i'm gonna read you this poem ah and i woke up see if i can put it up on the screen as well

we close this here we go
this poem is called bodhisattva vows
it's on a screen not on the screen over year i'm lynette sorry i thought it was
that's interesting
okay so hang on stop shares

have about now
yes yes okay good
bodhisattva vows
bodhisattva vows to be the last one off the sinking ship
you sign up and find out it's forever
passenger list endless
chip never empties ship keep sinking but doesn't quite go but doesn't go quite under on board anc's panic and desperation hold sway
turns out bodhisattva hood is a fucking job like any other but different in that there's no weekends holidays vacations no golden years of retirement you're spending all your time and energy getting other people off the sinking ship
ship into lifeboats bound gailey for nirvana while there you are sinking
and of course you had to go and give your lifejacket away
so now let us be cheerful as we sink her spirit ever buoyant as we think
so now let us be cheerful as we think our spirit ever buoyant as we sink
a topic that's true reform to stay for the find of the month relief cough and have one goal and get his other films ah
so i think that word
albert psycho is describing is the spirit of our practice the bodhisattva spirit of our practice
ah this let us be cheerful less we sink her spirit ever buoyant as with as we think so for a bodhisattva for us as bodhisattvas hum
wisdom and compassion
can not enough
there has to be joy
i think about ah
in this i think about ah as we have been i feel we've been experiencing sojourn roshi and in the last month's ah that has he contends with illness and treatment ah
boy and is
really a way that you could describe his spirit haha and joyous and there's always a ah
it's always a laugh that is close by you know not literally a belly laugh put a laugh of just appreciation enjoy
and i think that job
in my experience most of the wonderful teachers that i've met
had this capacity
you know i think about his holiness the dalai lama i think about goes i love her cambodia and i can think of a i think of sharon radha who alex's studying with in
along with their determination
along with their dedicated practice there's a kind of lightness
think of her wheat so i mean all of us can name people that we've encountered in practice like this
i feel like i am
if a report on my
inner life
i feel that bad lightning ah is
flowering in me you may not see it that way but but i feel good at way on and that's surprising but
it's interesting because when i came to practice ah nearly forty years ago
ah there was some quality that the people that i admit and that was here people that i met had a kind of lightness even in the midst of the real difficulties of life and
i didn't know at the time i didn't know
if one had to be born that way if you were born that way and then you will call to zen practice but i had a kind of face that that the practice was as eleven in process it was lightning it he brought air into one's been i
had i had some really ah unverified face said that that was the case and i really hoped that was the case because that had not been
ha i can't say that was a mark of it was a characteristic mark of my ah life up to that point ha ha
i think i've i've been told
and i'm not sure that it's changed that sort of the default expression on my face is ah one of worry
ah and i think back to a conversation i had with my father in
boy nineteen seventies for three or four for probably so let's see i was twenty six years old that was i was alex h and we were driving he was visiting meows living in california at that point he was we were driving along the the beach or free
yea and he said are you happy
and i got really angry at him
you know basically what is there to be happy about look at this world were mired in in the war in vietnam there's the is horrible things going downstairs happiness is not one of my
it it's just not an objective it's not a goal ah i want to
i want to do what is i want to be useful and i don't care about happiness
and on
it was attention between us i don't think he was very happy about my response
and you know it took
i don't know thirty years herself before i realized that
essentially he had asked the right question
you know it wasn't that he wanted me to put on rose colored glasses
ah he wanted me to be aware that there was joy in the world joy just in our lives ah
in many ways he had found that
yeah no he didn't do it through then he just it it came to him
and as very i think about that story often and i i know it actually
it grieves me
that i couldn't answer him
because my answer brought
brought him pain
so it's important for us to realize that
our sense of duty
are not in contradiction for a bodhisattva
and to
encourage you to recognize
there are wellsprings of joy
within you
and this is what albert central is document let us be careful that has be cheerful as we sink our spirit ever buoyant as we sink ah yeah and his whole poem the poem itself if he's talking about his check out some of those see
ah contradictions can circumstances of being a bodhisattva but the spirit of it
is actually that spirit of joy
and arm
and lightness
and i'd like to encourage us to each of us to look around for it in yourself
and to
do the things that that bring you joy i must say that ah
sitting session today
allows at for me it allows a joy to to arise ah that it hum
it's really great to sit
we've just sat three periods of zazen in pretty close proximity and working in sit i think maybe three or four more that's a lot of zazen in a in a in a concentrated time and what i encourage you to do is
after were sitting after we sit
just go outside open the door and go outside and look around
look around your yard look around whatever your view is and see
the world is filled with
this inner light
see how luminous it is
and just you know recognize that
without it without looking for benefit again
ah the
the practice the process of zazen
just removes these veils from in front of our minds eye
and we can see we can we can see we let him
that joyous

i don't know where it comes from
and i think i don't want to
i'm not much even to being a pollyanna has probably most of you know

there is something in
the perception the encounter with buddha-nature that
ah that lifts us that encourages us to share with other people can to help trump through the a very real difficulties not illusory real difficulties and people are experiencing now

i could talk more but i actually feel like this is the place to to end and just take your your comments and year your questions ah mean i suppose we could go more technically into the the practice a bodhisattva
as but arm
ah ticket where you want to take it okay and let married that explain the process
okay selling out it's time for q and a you have about at twenty minutes twenty five minutes for that we want to hear as many voices as possible so we asked the in a brief and have no more than one follow up interchange
there are two ways you can ask your question you can raise your blue hand in the participants and you can also on put your question in the chat and then i will ask the question on or hose on so you've after you've spoken please rover
for your blue hand
k it looks like our first questioner is kika
go ahead and unmute yourself thank you thanks my i think your hose on i like that poem and like where you're coming from with our talk to me and down
it occurred to me like some of the time you're talking from a dualistic point of view and then sometimes you're talking from non dualistic and you know non dualistic meaning
we exit thousand and then we go out into the world and we can see things a little differently but in fact they are always that way i wonder if you could talk a little bit more from the non dualistic side about the same subject
wait which way is dualistic in which will not
well am
ah hard to hard to explain but you know
that where we we enter into zazen and then we arrive at some place where where now we can view the world and a different way and and often you know and so that's coming from and dualistic place
that way it's always the that way of seeing is always available to us
i feel
that i have moments of that all the time not just not just ah you know after his eyes and are not just catalyzed by zazen that than i feel like i'm more attuned
two that ah there is the wrestler the mundane world arm
but you know it
it reminds me of ah
you know
first series a mountain then there is no mountain and there is a mountain ha and ha i don't separate the dualistic and the handle istick particularly ah all i notice is his shift in perception
ah and i don't necessarily name it because when
i also feel that when
when you seen one thing ah then there's something else that you're not seen and vice versa so i don't think is very clear answer ah because i've been partly because it's difficult for me to distinguish
between dual and non to the interpenetrate each other so thoroughly in my not just in my understanding but also in my perception and i've always felt that way you know be beaten before before i had the language ah at as even as a child i remember
ah just the way i put it to myself was that there's a an adidas as as a kid in only ten years i'll just feeling like
there's an open mystery
in the world
i didn't have an aunt i couldn't tell you what it was all i felt was wow
so maybe i'll leave it there
add herzog

hi hassan thank you so much for your talk can you hear me yeah
i find in my life that i'm happiest when i'm engaged in walking the path of body sulfur as you know because we've walked that path together you mean
but my especially today in a time of coed covered my paint my fear of came
i am death and probably the strongest my fears of abandonment
sometimes so strong
that it drowns out everything else in my book begins to sink under under those feelings and i began to gather water and at times i can't get i can't
life raft cora and bill myself out i'd be kind of it becomes so strong and so i'm wondering if you had any
thoughts about that
well first of all
i will not abandon you go at you and i would venture a guess that we will not have been to you
ah which is not necessarily
the remedy for the fact that you may feel abandoned
yes but it's actually the way it is
and yeah
you know today well i just said centers there's a line in this poem that
the right i think it's worth remembering ship keep sinking but doesn't quite go under fire
yes you know i remember that you know site so you can always
climb up on top of the mass
and then jump off a an effort for help yeah right so learn as suggests great right but when when the helicopter comes by get on it
a not cover you're waiting for buddha to save you
added buddha
on but just to say today
ah it's you know it do so many
enraging things going on know on the federal government at trump's direction
has executed three people this week yes
the first three executions frizz-free federal executions in seventeen years
the second one second execution was actually a buddhist
oh ah and
i've been to the
in in exchange with sir
his spiritual advisers of the one of show hawk okamura as priests are named sagan sagan hawk on my her i think and i don't i have not met him but he was there and it is if i settle in that if i let that take over my body
then i'm i'm full of anger and that anger is not inappropriate
it's just
i want to choose how to work with it and not let it run me because it'll run me into the ground
then i will sink then i'll just fall into the hall which is underwater
so we need our friends to take care of us
thank you here
enter your thoughts

thank you very much i think i jumped the line
who's uncensored thank you very much for your talk i'm i'm very touched by the complexity and i wanted to ask you i feel like the sense of happiness and lightness that i can feel has a lot to do with thoroughly accepting the causes of conditions that come together
there and a particular moment of time
however i haven't pretty easy
i'm i'm wondering for you when you're actually face to face with someone who is about to be executed on death row or is panhandling of the corner of alcatraz and ah an mlk
he is every day there how do you bring that sense of what you know as a buddhist practitioner to his well how do you ah how is it that your acceptance or your presence so your understanding can help save that purse
fun in that moment
you fine
properly open
i give him some money and give him a dollar and i tried to
exchange a word of friendliness
that's easy mumtaz he is it yeah alma mater there's something more about presence or say something more about being on the right line did you say yes i said if a said if i'm open you know ah there's a mind that i'm sure we all encounter
i think i know this guy that you're talking about i mean i don't know him personally but i i've you know we see him use they are a lot ah there's the don't bother me now mind right
you know there's a mind that doesn't does it have this guy again you know that wants to turn
a person into an object and that wants to keep my window closed
if i can notice that
i intervene
because it it really
it's that doesn't predict lean it's like i'm trying to protect something and you know i can go wrong
my sense of vulnerability you know and how is that helpful
it that's not helpful and so i you know i work with that ah
as far as
somebody meeting their execution
all i think that
i might be able do and i haven't accompanied anyone
ah that for but hum
i think we walk with that person as far as we can just as you work with somebody who's just as you work with a patient whose dime you you go as far as you can to that edge with them but they have to make that journey
themselves and so you you give them a loving good bye bye also want to say that you know i've spent like put a number of us are you know a fair amount of time in developing countries in you know in in really hard
circumstances and
there's always a joy to be found
the children will look to the mothers our children and
instead of my pages at one thought that came up as you were talking i was flashing my experience
of a long time ago watching a llama give a coin to a beggar who was on the same quarter and there was such a feeling that
no one was known as i couldn't tell who is giving home what right and i think it has to do with the quality of of completely seeing the other person an openness the completely sees who that other person is in a makes that space to me see them well this has done apart meet
a which is the unity of of
of giving giver
receiver and gift
thank you very much yeah
ben has a question okay
hi hassan thank you for your talk thank you
if i may i wanted to share a few lines of a poem that i was reminded of with your poem is that okay yeah
it's a poem called a briefer than offense by jack gilbert and my mind goes back to it after hearing in a couple of years ago whenever the topic of maintaining joy during you know in a world full of suffering comes up so just a i'll try to be brief
i'm sorrow everywhere slaughter everywhere if babies are not starving someplace they are starving somewhere else with flies in their nostrils
but we enjoy our lives because that's what life once otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not be made so fine the bengal tiger would not be fashioned so miraculously well the poor women at the fountain or laughing together between the suffering they have known and the often-used in their future smiling and laughing while somebody in the villages v
three sick there's laughter everyday and the terrible streets of calcutta and the women laugh and the cages of bombay if we deny our happiness resist our satisfaction we lessen the importance of their deprivation we must risk delight we can do without pleasure but not delight not enjoyment we must have
sadness and the ruthless furnace of this world to make injustice the only measure of our intention is to praise the devil
and i'll just stop there goes on for several more lines but i just wanted to share that
thank you
wonderful poem
i wonder if i'd like to invite so roshi to to comment if he is not seen him right here but it did me a moment ago
no still here
so and unmute yourself
but not seen him anymore
thank you other is okay now a true for and welcome you to do this
i think it
he's be glib you know where we're talking about such things and to actually really take it in you know
the understand works with this all means
this some serious thought so i appreciate your groping your way along or a spring appreciate that a lot
we are groping a way are you know what is a bodhisattva
but i like the joy you know

when you're really hurting a lot
well joy enjoy comes in ah it means something like you're not attached to your pain
the not attached to pay period you just a you know
the the joy is really necessary
and a to laugh at yourself is the best
to rebuttal average himself as the best and that lightens everything up and know like grips us and let us let us go and a group session with since go
we got to grow grip you and let your car
at by the practice
oh oh
aka really appreciate year ah
sending lesson and of working with you thank you i'm i didn't get data you can turn this into practice ah you know often when we make a mistake we berate ourselves ah and like we
we we add
we add insult to injury that's a great expression you know on
i think about it just stop it
stop it
laugh at yourself harm you know it's like i think about that
if for some reason i think about or
ronald reagan same there you go again
you know i'm there i go again hah if i made a mistake
the kinds of mistakes that that i make ah fortunately for the most part don't kill people
and a and yet it's so easy to take on the you know to let the whole damned world seep in when you've been you've made a mistake and is just that's really not the point
just laugh at yourself don't get caught there and do the next thing that's one of the things if you add that insult to injury then you've missed the next moment when you're playing music and you make a mistake you know you don't stop
shop you know if you get hung up on the mistake then you've missed next passage completely you know ha and it's also true if that is practice in you you pick
you know playing music ah if there's a passage that i notice if i'm playing a song or or ability and every time i get caught in the same place then actually actually need to stop i need to stop and go over that passage and practice
it and figure out how to do it in a graceful way because if they don't then then i'm just gonna make the mistake over and over and over again and we do this in our lives that's that's really a metaphor for how we for how we act in so sometimes
in the moment so here's okay what it boils down to is to me is
take what you do seriously
and don't take yourself seriously
be able to laugh at yourself be able to be light with yourself and also really intent on palm
on what you're doing because it makes a difference to the world
so i think i'll take one more i see a cold
thank you hosanna a wonderful inspiration and clarity arising here esh when you first started die this talk you mentioned that i we should go outside afterwards and i then clicked in my mind
and with my phrase of the week which i read somewhere which from a famous poet probably as in person i don't know saying pay close attention to the activities of the birds and the insects in your environment and i know if that's familiar to anybody baghdad that barry attention
you know if you're always doing it you can also be experiencing all the emotions and moving on quickly despite reading the fly and then moving on you know and so on and that
so as we
are looking for joy or looking for solutions really we're just looking for go outside and watch the bugs the i can say so thank you
you can you could say so and what i what i will share his i've kind of fall in love with the crows
during and it really during the pandemic it's like ah there's this there's a lot of them around here and when i go out and take walks with lori eight i just stopped and i watch them and i try to communicate with them we haven't worked at all out
yet in hum
but i'm and then in zazen
in the us and i
here i let those sounds penetrate ah mizar's and and i you know i i hear the the voice of the crows and i feel like i've never i i haven't been my a more attuned with what's in my head that's that's kind of my have
default and i'm in a discussing an opportunity to to get out of that and i glass and i'll say it said one the peculiar things i think about this practice you think about the buddha was enlightened under a tree so he's enlightened with all these birds and bugs
lt's and in all this stuff ah what we tend to do know
he is
ah we find a beautiful place like ca sahara
and then we make a building can we go inside
ah and so there really is something to be said to say i think the experience actually and i've done this a lot in southeast asia the experience of sitting outside his
different than the experience of sitting inside and i really encourage it it to me it's like that the top of my head has been lifted off or something ah and yeah so god side