Fire, Flood, Zazen

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thank you
good morning everyone can you hear me okay
good cricket handsome
audio difficulty with my different devices so seems like it's okay so on
we're having a one day sitting a zoom in session this morning news afternoon
i really hope that soon
we can return to the zendo for the sittings or for hybrid sittings whichever however we decide to ah
design them
but for now this is our practice
then i think that many of us have learned how to make the best to get ah
how to appreciate the fact that we can be very widely connected
and ah
you know in a certain way this is it's kind of like go
an extended version navarre lay practice ah we're sitting as i look around ah
each of us in our home ah
straight nice to see you to see you in your setting ah headed it's funny i mean of looking the first person that i see i'm on my screen is ross whose probably about twenty feet away from me
in his own in a certain environment here ah and then i can see if i put you on gallery view which i prefer rather than looking at myself i see all of us here ah
and i see you know there's some people in southern california there is some people in india ah you know we have to see here ah often there while there's somebody in bozeman montana
so we're all over the place
yet we're trying to make oh yeah there's three of you have been probably in northern california ah
hi guys hum
and yet we are
today we're coming together
has one mind
so sashing as you know mean something like to touch the heart or to touch the mind
and while
large tracts of the of the west are burning
while there are floods and
ah louisiana and in new york city
ah while the covered covered virus is a continuing danger
we rely on zazen
ah to use category roche's expression to settle the self on the health
that was ups in kind of obscure
statement me for quite a long time
what i've come to understand it to mean is
that we use the mind to observe the mind
and man we use the mind to observe the mind
then we are not caught
by the wiles of our monkey mind
last night
my son campo gave away seeking mine talk
and he referred to
something that he had heard sojourn roshi say in one of his lectures that ah
basically lived in the context of rage emotions
and are a gimple like many of us
ha somehow we wouldn't have pegged sojourn roshi has a creature of raging emotions
ah which is not to say that he
wasn't or wasn't fully prone to his emotions but i think them through his long training
he was able to use his mind to watch his mind he was able to settle the self on the self and so
he was able to
by the very act of observing
those emotions
to be free in the middle of him
i think in the long run this is what we are
attempting to do
this self of emotions is the unsettled self for habitual self ha and if we can find a way to settle it
even noting that
what we take to be ourself may have a very good reason are very good case to make for being unsettled
then what we can come to his chest
to be grateful for being alive

this is what we're
bringing forth in session i felt perry seen that ingratitude wells up and me
quite emotionally
you might say this is is is a racing enraging emotion that i'm having at the moment
just be grateful to be alive
and this is something we structure our fifteen day
allowed his gratitude to flow with
so what is a sushi and gay look like
we've tried to make it on zoom we've tried to make it is as close to a
fishing in the zendo as it might be but ha obviously we're missing the
if body to body component
but this is pretty good it's pretty good to see you all ah to see all of your faces
and to see all of your places
so the sushi day is in a sense
i'm really highly compressed version of an ordinary day
an ordinary in ordinary some interesting word ah
it's latin root means really thinks in the proper order
and so we have ordinary we also have our
recognition that harm
our religious institutions or religious denominations are often orders
with the soto order or we have the you know a monastic order in that order
also means to set things in the proper sequence to send everything in a way in of inappropriate relationship to each other nuts it
to me that's what ordinary means it's not a hob
it's not something plain in the sense of ah
what can i say it is that something plain in the sense that and not important or important is just it's actually really important it's really important to thinks be in their proper quarter this is
how we try to
work nice or life
i said it i've taught her up as many times it was a
an encounter this is a long time ago was probably had to be at least thirty years ago ah because ah i was already together with with lori
and ah the yeah john master sheng in came and gave a talk in the zendo one evening ha and in the q and a lorry asked him i think something like ah wah
it's the most important practice or what's the most important thing for for a lay practitioners to
to do what to pay attention to him his answer
very quickly was regulate your life
regulate your life beans to put things he didn't the proper order
and that's what we do
in the broad sense in the course of session day
the elements that we cook together into this tasty stew
we have kilian are walking meditation
usually we have
eating and cooking
we've a dharma talk opportunity to meet with teacher
work in rest
this is a full day these are all the things that we need to do
henry cook them together into a schedule that is pretty balanced
how can we go through that day
and particularly can we do a long session
when we do one day one day's hard sometimes because one day is light
our usual weekly schedule that we
the schedule that we have in our have
and re-framing it this way but when we do a multi-day sixteen then after usually like after day to we fall into this rhythm and then it's just it all makes sense and it just all
one false
and when it unfolds than we have an opportunity
to settle the self on the self
we just fall into this has an unfolds we fall into this rhythm and top
the schedule sustains us
structure of our activity sustain us
and we create an ordinary day everything in it's proper relationship to each other
and then if we focus in
every activity
has its
ordinary dimension
ah and not particularly goes for sizes
ah just as we put the events of a day in the proper sequence
in zazen we put our body and mind in the proper order
henri constantly having to
adjust and reset and realign ourselves with
what we have come to feel is the ordinary way which is
to sit upright
to breathe freely
to allow our senses to be
operating receptive
and not get caught on any particular idea or feeling
can we are constantly getting caught and we are constantly sort of falling out of balance

and of course through some part of her mind and wants to ask why are we doing this
what good is it said the other day and resident dinners how we've been at the end of resident dinners here we've been reading brief excerpts from have this new collection of suzuki roshi lectures that
surgeon was working on with the cheer you at green gulch hand a genius continued to work on that minutes it'll be like a third volume ah of suzuki roshi letters or
sort of a successor to send my beginner's mind and not always so ah a lorry was helping your you and so she has this manuscript and with reading phrase short excerpts at the end of our meetings so i want to read you the extra that we
we're looking at to this week
it's from a leg is from of session lecture
ah and it was given
i found it was given on march first nineteen seventy
so student asks
do you get anywhere if you keep sitting every day
and count your breaths
of course
this is a question that we all have
even though we know
we're not supposed to think about getting somewhere
we all
secretly are not so secretly have his question
the human question is understandable so you get anywhere if you just keep sitting every day and do your breath counting will there be will there be progress or can you just get stuck ten
the really couldn't send question
and zookeeper she says
which was also session day for them i said many people change it into stones
after sitting for six days
but why we practice
is not to change into a stone
in other words we don't want a cheap we're not we don't practice in order to get rid of the are human aspect of feelings to be to be as supposedly feeling with as a stone although of course we have no idea of what is don't for feeling
the stones themselves may be full of rage and demotions
ah we'd have to ask a stone but then in order to as custom have to know stone language ha
maybe some of you know
anyway why we practice says and does not to change it to a stone that is something that will happen in our practice i don't say that is bad
that may be good but that's not why we practice zazen
you will have various experiences are in zazen
and then more and more you will experience less the sense of duality
in other words has we practice
we just fall into that
that rhythm
of ordinary
and we see that everything is like not so much just as good this is bad but really this is just the flow of my life and in zazen you get to experience to flow itself
not necessarily
the various elements that are a part of it but just the
the feeling of that flow so you experience less the reality go to bed good experience or bad experience
you will always feel a sort of composure
the same kinds and feeling wherever you go
with that foundation or same feeling of composure you will see things as it is
the composure
that's also an interesting word to me ha
it seems to imply an act of composition
an act of pulling herself
putting all the elements of our life together
and again in a way that is ordinary
in proper order
and then you will see things as it is this is of course the famous expression of suzuki roshi study used a lot
it has a
it has attention hinted ah i don't know if that tension was
i don't know if it was
the contradiction or the tension between things the plural
and as it is the singular
but what it implies to me is a way of seeing what we ordinarily think of as
the separate things of our life has one reality
another words to compose just the way a musician or a painter takes in different colors for different sounds limitless and places them together and creates one thing that
we perceive that one perceives his whole
and that actually each of us perceives hears sees in a way that is unique to us a painting does it say one thing it says something to each person and that thing is not necessarily the same
so with that foundation or same feeling of closure you will see things as it is

when we're sitting in session after we really settle into it then we're just living
all of the things
as one reality the reality of sushi
so that constant feeling will be like emptiness for buddha i or buddha mind
we call it by various names a kind of fundamental openness of mind
this openness is but i often talk about as
me either
the active sauce and is the activate
complete receptivity
what so don't rush it
encouraged us to do was to include everything in thousand
so this calls for and openness of mind which is another form of meditation
it takes some concentration
to be able to have this openness of mind but does not fundamentally an act of concentration it's an active openness it's an act as if somebody
lifted the top of your skull off and so everything could be poured in
hum so you will not feel that you are here or you were there
here or there is just a dualistic mental understanding of things
before that before we developed a dualistic understanding of things we have a more pure experience of things in other words before we identify as
being here for being there
before we invoke the story that we have about any particular thing that we experience or perceive
there is a
quicker and it's very subtle
when we don't know whatever it is that we are perceiving taking into our senses or through her mind ah
there's a moment before we identify it and then very quickly once we identify it we invoke
our past experience and beacon to create story about it can we get to that moment before that
this is what i believe he's talking about before we developed a dualistic understanding of things
we have a more pure experience of things
if you are able to maintain such a state of mind or state of yourself then you will not be bothered by the idea of here or there
maintaining that
is challenging for us
ah the first thing we have to do is to and we have this opportunity and station because it's a sheen allows us to go very
deeply into
this process of the mind seeing the mind
still we may just
have glimpses of the state of mind
and the more glimpses we have is just like building a circuit
once you've created this route for your mind to follow
then more frequently
you know how did you can do that more frequently you you know how you can how you can allow your mind to settle into this place and i think that many of us and one of the great things about this saga in the site look around
there are many of us who have been sitting for very long time
and each in our own way has
has found that route
we may not be able to
live there every moment but one of the things we can do is we can
we find
we have greater flexibility greater ability to reach that ordinary mind we know what it's like and when it rises it's not unfamiliar to us haha and
in time
it becomes very simple
working with our mind this way
means that we know what to do when feelings or
ideas are raging we can work out know it's like as you work piece of clay in your hands and it gets warmer it gets softer and more valuable
that's that's the way i'm heinz can be
did he finally is parker's is ah but can you will not be bothered by the idea of here or there you don't seek for anything because you have a contented feeling
i'm thinking about those and exchange
and some listserv i was on ah
and a few weeks ago ah about
and boredom
ah and
some person was riding in have and a few people chimed in in agreement that
the husband was boring
i man i reflected on it ah
has sometimes it's hard but put up what i reflected that again to return to this this position of being grateful for being alive i used to be bought a lot
maybe that was my raging emotion ah
it was a constant companion
and i asked i feel that since i
started practicing
i've never been bored
i can honestly say that you know it's site
things that we might see as
tremendously boring like
sitting in a
sitting at an airport gate waiting for an airplane that's been delayed
no it's okay
don't feel bored i have
can always two thousand
ah but it's also it's it's not just that i have doesn't to rely on it said
i think that wonder things i've learned in the cultivation of this receptivity of receptive mind his hum
i'm generally very interested in what's going on around me
it doesn't have to be
anything special
i'm quite content to sit on the front steps of my house and just
watch people walk by
so ah that's a new know i do have a that content in feeling i am so grateful for that
because i think before that
an activity flats sort or a non activity of bad sort
who would have
i ever wanted to jump out of my skin
anyway this student
last part of this concert is ah student as and this happens by simply sitting there and doing that for a long time over a period of time ha
and suzuki roshi says first of all you should get accustomed to the bright posture
and the right breathing natural breathing
put things in the proper order put your body and mind in order then you will have this kind of should i say feeling
because it's not exactly even a feeling it's just
that's how you be
can you will have this kind of should i say feeling for us it takes time quite a long time to have this kind of feeling
so either at home or with a group
it is good to see it because it will help your posture and breathing
breathing is an important thing
if your mind is disturbed
you're breathing will be disturbed cute
breathing is both mental and physical activity
so to take care of breathing
is how you take care of yourself
to take care of breathing is how
we can settle ourself on ourself
everything occurs within the space of a breath anyone who counts their breath you know they all count in your breath won
and so forth
but we all know
that between one and two
have a sudden you can take a trip to florida
you know you can be thousands of miles away
and have quite an elaborate
story about what's going on and then come back to
that's fine that's just being human
and one can be grateful for that creative imaginative power
even though it might be a distraction even though you might chide yourself this is not by intended to do it's okay
it's really it's being alive
now if you can hold here
awareness breath good but that's not the gold
the goal is really to accept
whatever comes up to us
and we create a we create this
light latticework of
in order to give ourselves a little stretch in order to get something to to return to pot so we return to that
we return to it
so that we have the opportunity to drift away again and to return
is the essential active thousand
and never saw the reason that we take care of our breath is because the hump press just naturally returns
so long as we're alive
we don't have to do anything particular
to get to the next press the body takes care of that
so that's the way we sit say sheen
gimple was talking last night about ah forget quite how he put it but
he was talking about the impossible things
that we have to do
transocean is maybe one of those impossible things
not in the sense that is
so hard or excruciating although sometimes it can be
it's impossible because we can't get our mind around what it is
and yet
we set that for ourselves has
a wonderful effort
and over time we find our freedom right there in the middle of that impossibility
so even if it's impossible
it's not just that we have to do it
we recognize in time that we can do it
we can do impossible things we can do that horford over again
and we have
can we have this settle this
can we have confidence
can we have we're grateful for our life
so i think that i will stop there and leave time for ah some questions and discussion and ah
i'm not sure whether it's karen or are mary beth who's gonna call on you
it's me okay hi
so if you have a question or a comment that you would like to make please raise your digital hand from the reactions box or you can send a message to me in the chat box and i will relay your question

heiko i see that you have a question please on mute yourself but also please show us your videos so that we can spot you
good morning
thank you goes on
vpn to devices on heiko
yeah you'll have to turn one off in the room
okay better take your guns that pay for your talking and our questions and things are just kind of waging out
but the file one of the concerns that i have is dead
no no question about the ongoing raging emotions i no question at all i'm full of it but doug
when i find a story going on in my mind i'm thinking about oh florida or you know a river trail or different things
it's sometimes a signal that i want to think about i feel like sometimes it's a signal but i want to think about that
and sometimes i think that my trip to florida isn't really guiding the current raging emotion and allowing me to escape from the card i experience that i can you distinguish between those stories that come up that are just distractions from the things as it is
and those that are actually part of things as in it
they're both part of things as it is
i'm sorry i we've got ourselves muted from you now they are both part of things as it is it just different things
one is not real and the other is unreal they are both real and each of us has to decide where to put our attention

good good i say automatically
that my story is coming up with something i should attend to her how would i
decide i say riff which one fits
whether it is surprised that story and listened to the birds and the sounds around me or rather cute you know how to managed my mind a
the by
i think the question is how does one manage one's born in one doesn't manage one's mind by suppressing
any experience
one meets it
whatever that means yet you have to figure out what that means and how to do it ah but it doesn't mean just picking one distraction over another
hey the actually the the classical way
in the context of buddhism
would be the fourth foundation of mindfulness
ah so in the first very foundations of mindfulness you're looking at your feelings you're looking up what's coming up in your body you're looking at what's coming to remind you just meeting them moment by moment right ah the fourth foundation of mindfulness is called mindfulness of the
and that actually is how we change our mind
we don't
we basically we remember the four noble truths the eightfold path the factors of enlightenment the hindrances we remember those as
fundamental dharma teachings and
we were them like lenses
that we look at our experienced through
so in a sense you really are invoking you're not distracting yourself your
you're invoking
or you're bringing to life of lens through which you can look at that experience in a more focused way
but that's not necessarily is awesome
you know sometimes and what i would say what would i do is
when these kinds of emotions arise i i noticed them
i returned to my breathing and i allow them to live whatever lifespan they they will ah and if that is not sufficient
then i
then i will actually try to apply a dorm at teaching
ah but it's not it's not a first resort in the context of our same practice
but it's always there is room notes
with question alan levin and the chatbox if a person is anxious at certain times and cannot set what then
i am wartime homs
take a walk
especially take a walk with a friend
that way you have someone to accompany you
to to travel side by side had also that way you are accompanying them
and so there's a you allow for
a kind of
mitigating residents to take place between you
one of the things whole part of his talk that i wore that i ditched ah was about
zazen and alchemy ah there's a concept in alchemy a market going towards that i'm going to give you the not gonna give you the second talk fear not ah is a constant called the alkahest alkahest was see
in in medieval alchemy as a kind of universal solvent but the interesting thing was that
it was capable of dissolving any substance without altering or destroying its fundamental components with these are physical or or philosophical or psychological so in other words
breaking things down into their basics and ah
sometimes we need something we can't always do that by ourselves
so not take a walk

thank you

all very quiet today
oh and there is ross ross please a new yourself and ask your question
thank you i do that
ah good morning reserve for in
at the beginning to who spoke about a yourself on the self and that it cannot hurt on a one day see her but as the days were long or marketing machines we can maybe have more access to that federal felt
and i'm wondering about
the so-called unsettled self
that become federal
adding that
boy we a one day or multi-day were met many people get more settled the place where their own federal this is it is like out ella just asked about a not be able to fit it reminds me of an extended uranium on umbrella man between steve weintraub in and so
steve asked an mean as steve how unique to i hope wobbly and coach responded wobbly buddha
so could you say a little bit about you know are wobbly nothing all that is
in a sense if we can settle on wobbling is that will be
one way that i that i think about it is home
to find
the middle way
the middle way of looking at these wobbly emotions that ha
sometimes there it is painful and i accept the pain
and sometimes
i know i can see i'm trying to get out out of it or away from it right ah and sometimes
i think the acceptance actually can manifest is just
amusement i think about this or just just interested occurred to me that
this is one of the great
human gifts
ah the gift of comedy if you will
ah that we take what is quite painful
and there's some transformation that we make
that turns it into umer can usually i think that humor is
a kind of recognition of ah
the fullness of our
human emotions
or the they fall fullness where you could take foolishness but they're not foolish like you can you know site this is the way it is
nobody wishes to be wildly generally
but we are hand
to me seeing that is to recognize
and also i think then the challenge is
to make an effort
not too
harm other people
because of my wobbly that that makes sense in site so part of the wobbling for example like a conversation with somebody
this week about anger
and i can think of instances where i have been quite angry
and i've done
something perhaps that i've done something reactive
ah i really regret back
i regret the reactivity i regret
the effect of my anger of allowing my anger to impose on others but i don't really regret getting angry
once wobbly this may be okay
if one can really settle once how fun it
anyhow that's a start yeah thank you thank you

alex please on mute yourself and ask your question
because i'm pam
i feel sometimes that much is made about her staying in the moment poor were being in the president but one of the things you said in your talk is that the essence of our practices returning
and i'm curious why using that so and how we can
best make that return what
what do we do want to be return yeah although me say as i wrote something in a column quite a few years ago when i was working a buddhist social ah staying in the present
and magazine was in turning wheel magazine ah for magazine in about when magazine was published one night i got a call very shortly after was published from our
nelson foster a teacher that i respect a lot ah ring a bone and
he was he's the current funny said you can't stay anywhere
the he got my attention you know he was right you can't stay in the present because the present is always moving
so my idea
it's not a fixed idea also is really important to recognize and in the spirit of not getting stuck on anything
ah not have a fixed idea about even how your perception should be so
perhaps a model that i think of often when i think of a
this kind of
open is can receive receptive zazen is exceeding
one way of looking is by sitting by the side of a stream
you're watching the water flow over a stone
and cause it causes lots of eddie's and ripples and self-worth and a leaf or twig is drifting down the stream
hell it gets your attention and before you know it
you are following it with your eye down the street
inevitable that's not a problem but then you recognize it in and will say oh yeah i was but i was really tried to ah keep my attention
to watch that water flowing over that stone so that's that's one as for the other aspect of it
i think is
not just watching the water flow over the stone
jumping in
so you're not sitting by the side of the stream you're actually jumping into the water
and then your that's a that's another
that's another aspect the meditation
but the returning if what you're doing i think you know we return maybe we'll return until
the poll is just impossible and we take off our clothes be jumping
make me that we have looking i don't know
carol paul but you unmute yourself and ask your question
no thank you for your top posts on
my question is let's say you do all things that
student the thing to do and yet you still have this feeling that something is missing
i'm sorry say again i'm a defense my audience having trouble can maybe opponent or lot better now
so let's say you're doing all the things that are a good student will do
leading size and federal cetera
in earth are still feeling that something is missing something's just not quite right
what do you do with that

goggins first which you know is been dharma fills your party at mind you realize that something is missing
my completion of that
ah line is when gone with those your body and mind you realize that something's missing and let's just fine
all things are incomplete
they are on one level complete this is what suzuki was heavy could talk about this last week or some and or know how
all of the all of the
so-called things of our life or dharmas if you will are is another translation for things are constantly changing because they are impermanent and what at our to zero she says they're constantly changing against a background of
ah that background stillness is
like the screen
chatham let the movie is projected on very common a common analogy ah
we're come the only the permanence
that we might
yearn for is
the reality of impermanence
that's the best we can do you know because we can't meet things permanent and we feel you know we do have this existential feeling that something is missing
can we have existential
inkling or doubt for concern
another way of looking is is that
we worry that we're not exactly you
but whereas you were as real as we can be
and that are doubts and questions are precisely what testifies to that reality

we will never you know we may never get rid of that sensation
you know until i left last breath is left our body
the thing to do is to come to terms with that tend to be okay to feel that's just fine

thank you very much
and i have a maybe a closing comment from cricket she says there's a line i love from a stephen dunn poem that to me fits so well with carols question and hawthorns response to be without some of the things one once a wise man so
sibel part of happiness
read it again please
to be without some of the things one wants a wise man said is an indispensable part of happiness
yeah i'll leave that they're be need to come internet so thank you all and it looks like now the the winter has changed the summer in the course of the last hour and so please those of you who are not decision ha
enjoy the day in the way