Living On A Mountain

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this
good morning everyone
ah originally ah
sojourn roshi was supposed to be the speaker
and since he as a rather large ceremony to ah to take part in this afternoon he's
he's harboring his gathering his energies so that he can study can do that so i'm i'm going to speak maybe not as legs but i'd liked it
say woods what we're going to do i think today and
to some degree whether that means to me and what her and to ask what that means to you
hum

with thinking this morning that
for
almost sixty years i've been playing ah what you might call mountain music
and music from the southern parts of this country ah and ah also that
for the last
long number of years i've been living on a mountain
and we've been practicing on a mountain
ah a temple a zen temple has two names it has its temple name in our temple name is sugar coochie which is deemed after ah it it's based on suzuki roshi storm money
and temple also has a mountain name
and our mountain name is
oh plum mountain
and so all of us have been coming to the mountain day by day
and or climbing it roaming about their
ha or for mountain there used to be in the middle of the courtyard ah amid all plum tree
ah that ha became ill of me had to cut it down it was it was a good death in the family when that happened but ah it was right there ah in the middle of the courtyard between the zendo and the community room ah and every
late winter it flowered ah and then it bore fruit and a poor a lot of fruit ah and left and deposited a these sticky and delicious fruit all over the courtyard in
he made a lot of work for us to clean it up but it was really good work
ah
so we live on all plum mountain
and searching roshi ah in nineteen eighty four
ah he ascended the mountain he had what is called a mountain seat ceremony ah and ah the does a little platform in the zendo and he symbolically climbs up in the mountain and and is installed has
as the abbot ah and some of you were at that ceremony are all those years ago ah
and today
at three o'clock he is going formerly to descend that mountain
ah he's going to step down from from that place ah accepted the fact that
you could say there is no mountain there is no stepping up and there is no stepping down
ha that is a a perspective that i think it helps us to consider
so i put me in mind of a of a song in a call on ha
maybe some of you remember from the sixties if you're that old the the donovan song a first there is a mountain first there is a mountain then there is no mountain then there is ah
the caterpillar sheds it's skin to find a butterfly within ah first year as a mountain and there is no mountain then there is i didn't realize it but but donovan who was actually a buddhist practitioner he was quoting a famous verse from
the ninth century our ninth century tang dynasty zen master
can you on a
you should
genuine asian and genuine road ah to invasion sorry ah thirty years ago before i practiced xin i saw that mountains or mountains and rivers rivers
however after having achieve some intimate knowledge and gotten a little way in i saw that mountains are not mountains and rivers are not rivers
but now that i have found rest
as before i see mountains is mountains and rivers as rivers
but maybe as before or maybe there's a different views that he has
and one wonders spivey we should ask searching directly how it is that he sees mountains has mountains and rivers serve as rivers and how he sees this mountain
how he sees the mountain that he is he has been invited to climb
and where he is so
prowled around for
thirty five thirty six years
and has he symbolically descends from that mountain is there any is there any difference

so what's going to happen this afternoon
ha
which ordinarily would happen with the whole saga gathered in person but we're going together on zoom
is that are
a small procession may be five people are so
it's going to meet search and roshi and go round to the various altars and and offer flowers and respect and bows
and then we're going to come up ordinarily you would come up to the the abbot's room ah but for health reasons we set that up outside in the courtyard and i say all of this is going to be par live streamed and also recorded i really encourage you to
to come because it's a very important moment in in our community life
so how will gather around this the table and sojourn roshi will
and the seal is a temple seal that was car for us out of marble was carved by a hawaii to suzuki suzuki roshi his son and a which will be with us sanga broadcast this afternoon
anyway the seal will be handed to
sojourn roshi and ill examine it and then he will give it back to the board president
and that is related
the important part of that pardon ceremony
in this case what we're also doing is we are inviting sojourn roshi to take a new position
so fall when he heads back ceo who will be given a scroll by the board president and the scroll will take will invite him to take a new position the position of founding dharma teacher
and ah
that is a will be a lifetime position and there's only to be one of them it's only it's only him cause he's really are found in teacher
ah and i i hope i expect that he will ah except that precision ah i think they've added the deal is already been made that ah you never know what can happen ah and then we're going to go into descend on
and
sojourn russia make some offerings there and he'll sit down in his habits see ah for the last time as abbott actually and give it a short cocker statement
and then various short words of appreciation from or a selected number of people and then sojourn roshi in the procession will leave
and that will be the end of ceremonies such a pretty simple ceremony
but it's powerful
because he has been
inhabiting that mountain for so long
and so many of us
oh so much of our lives
to the stability that he is manifest
while living on that mountain
really transmitted and shared too many of us and so even though we may have come a bit
wild and rough around the edges ah he has accepted all of us
each of us and all of us have been accepted
until all plum mountain
can given a place to to live in practice there
there was thinking
over the span of ah
sojourner she'd been
the priest here at berkeley's and center
how much has happened how many how much turmoil their spin in our world you know ah
zen center was present and center was was founded in in the midst of the ah
vietnam war
ah the civil rights movement
ah the psychedelic upheaval ah we've gone through
two wars in in the gulf ah we've gone through a hero know how many presidents ah we have ah
seem turmoil we've seen murders in our neighborhood even in our sanga ah we have lived now with the pandemic for nine months ah
and all of that
has happened
while we were living on this mountain
and while we were taking guidance from sojourn roshi
i'm
originally
in china
then zen monasteries were established in the mountains that's why they add mountain names and they were
they were remote they were removed from the hustle and bustle of
ah the life in the cities and the politics and the are jockeying for power and position
and they were seen as as as kind of
remote and retreat places
but i'm not sure that it was ever really that way
i know when i first went to
tassajara sahara ah
for a short practise period i thought i was very far away from home but events of whole events things happened in my family they reached all the way down that dirt road
and came right to my door there and they had be responded you
so the mountain that we live in
that we live on his
the mountain right in the middle of the world
it is not remote from anything it's right there
this setup is very important to remember and i think that this is this is part of the the essence of our family style and of what sojourn what she had in mind
ah he just wanted this is when he when he moved to dwight way he just had had his teacher's request he just set up place to sit and said i'm just gonna show up there and sit and anybody who wants to sit can join me
and that's what we've been doing for these last for more than fifty years now
ah and
we've done it in the midst of
turmoil in the midst of great loss in the midst of grief in the midst of also have children being born and growing up in the midst of the whole catastrophe
we have been on this mountain and the mountain is not remote in any way
and this was his vision
he didn't see a place that was somehow a cloistered retreat
rather he saw a place where people could find refuge
within their everyday life within our everyday life
and that's that's quite unique i can only think of ah a few places that have
created the the steadiness and intensity and in depth of the program that we have at berkeley's and center ah
while not really being a monastery
ah but really been a lay practice a practice for people who have jobs and families who grow older together with medical problems and so forth
and this is what
sojourners she has transmitted to us ah of all these years
ah we were talking about and i were talking in his office the other day ah
he's working with ron nestor and giga elaine ah on a book of his talks can't ah i think the three of them together a drill really wonderful job ah the wonderful impossible job calling
about three thousand talks literally ah that have been recorded some have been transcribed a lot of them have been transcribed and
they're wonderful and once they ticket refined their their i did very valuable
what we're talking because i was just to write something for this spoken ah
so is by way of introduction there is kind of introduction to the dharma that contained in the talks ah and perhaps his introduction to his life
ah
i mean i have i've attended almost all of the talks in the last thirty thirty five years you know except for one i've been out of town ah and this is very precious to me but the true teaching has just in to hang
out on the mountain
and
watch
how sojourn practices how he interacts with people and the spirit that he tries to ah conveyed to us who sometimes are a bit vacated and resistant ah but he doesn't he doesn't give that
up and so
it's the living
of this dorma that has to me is the most valuable in the most rare opportunity that all of us have to to live with and be with our teacher for all these years ah and to have him ah
be ordinary in the best sense the world
his his dharma name is hardcore you surgeon ah he received the name surgeon from suzuki roshi when he had priestly ordination just that one industries that one two syllable name to character name that mean
nds essence of purity
and then when he was
when he received dharma transmission from hawaii to suzuki roshi ah
a hurry to rush she gave him a
a second name a you which means white dragon
ah so
we've been living
in and around his dragon for all these years ah and
yeah i'm the one hand you gotta be careful with dragons ah but the same time ah the dragon is the protector and creates creates a
reality of safety
and i feel like that
that's what i've been blessed with and that's what what many of us have it it's quite remarkable because it's not certainly isn't an idea that i ever would have had before i came here you know it's not how i could have imagine living or what i thought was
lives in my life or lives near ah
and i'm not sure any of us could have imagined it but
it is what happened
and today even though know she is
stepping down off the mountain
he's are going anywhere
it's true his health is declining his energies declining and it's really important at this stage his life for him to
finished some of the writing projects and some of the other thing said that he's really wanted to do
at the same time
as
he's not becoming a different person use the same person ah and
yeah he'll be continuing
to meet with people as they need him and he'll be continuing hopefully to do his our online group jokes on hand to give talks
ha
so there will be a change
but it's a little hard to to quantify it and certainly impossible to qualify it
we will have to see
i feel like i should say something about how i feel in this
hum
and to be honest with you i i don't exactly know i feel like
for the last number of months like all if you have just been taking things step by step
and more than ever in my life ah
that seems the way to do it not to
i'm not making any plans ah i'm not planning to go anywhere ha i'm just sort of taking it step by step here at home
i think the
the idea is that at some point in
him before the ends of the year ah the board will offer ah
will offer me the opportunity to climb the mountain and probably help do that ah but i don't know what that means i don't know how that's gonna be how will it be different from what i've been practicing ah
harrods it's not that i have
anxiety about that he just i truly don't know and
in the last couple weeks i've just have not given been thinking about day you know i'm really focused on
how gracefully we can manage the transition today you know how deeply we can
honor
surgeon roshi
that we can celebrate him and also feel our own grief
had i think that that's i'm sort of included in that with all of you
on
i just want to see how this again the ceremony did ah we've had a really great working team ah pulling the ceremony together which is ah
the the whole thing as much for technically complicated than anything that we've done before hand ah with we've had a lot of great assistance which will site this afternoon but i want a particularly think ah steve weintraub who agreed to be the director for
rahmani how many of unit may not know steve steve is a is transmitted disciple of surgeon roche's he visit got farm he was a student of superhero she's from about nineteen sixty eight ah and
ah just a very it's just a very even even tempered smart kind steady person and i e as
really
ha communicated a sense of confidence and ease to all of us even in circumstances that are a little chaotic

somewhere close by reading this his words continue on once more
and maybe you have some
reflection on this
thirty years ago before i practice sin i saw that mountains or mountains and rivers rivers
however after having achieved some knowledge and having gotten a little ways in i saw that mountains are not mountains and rivers are not rivers
but now that i have found rest
just as before i see mountains to the mountains and rivers as reverse
so with that i think i'm going to end and ha
open up to questions and comments which l a lead a that lake facilitate if as okay so thank you
thank you goes on
i invite you to raise your virtual hand and ask her brief question and direct question you can also type questions into the chair and please put the word question in front of
bit in the type and i will read it please step forward

see raghav
ah i invite rogoff to
unmute himself and asked a question
the way i was on
if you know it'll be a problem if you don't know to be a problem what are you going to do

don't be stupid
if there's something you can know
then you can deal with that then you have some basis for dealing with their problem ah if you can't know it be careful
but just the to just to say you know we have
there's a lot of teachings about not knowing
and we sort of put it up on a on a pedestal
ah and i've gotten into arguments with ah with some people who are who are particularly you know ah
emphasize that side of not knowing and
i really think that
not knowing doesn't mean knowing nothing
not knowing doesn't mean
not to avail yourself of information that you can
not knowing just means you i don't know how this is going to work out
and even if i have the best information and the best intention
i then have to observe what's happening ah because what what occurs
maybe we'll have some mixture of positive and negative aspects
so maybe that's enough
i get that question
i invite heiko to unmute himself and ask a question
i was on say thank you for being here in the gap at being here in person
i'm
my question is does not knowing thing exactly and i hear you are looking at mountains and anticipating perhaps the flow of rivers or yet
you're saying i'm not sure you know what's gonna have been on thursday or whatever day it is that your mountain seat ascension may be i have a feeling that is pretty certain and i wonder if you could put your foot down on that really how you
with the certain uncertainty ah with a known unknown if there's anything of that going on even for you
i'm oh thank you are

i honestly don't don't know and i feel
you know on money and there's been
ah
i've learned a lot i have a lot of preparation ah but things turn really quickly i mean we thought when you will lot of things about our practice and all of a sudden the pandemic comes in and shows the whole thing on its head ah and so
we really have to recognize that we don't know and i think that to me that's part of what does call on is about that you have to recognize that each of these so-called stages that ching you on outlines is based on wow
one's thoughts and perceptions
so but i would say is that in each stage you have a certain you have a feeling tone or you have a certain broad understanding but you need to recognize his
it's still it's all in your mind if you think mountains and mount mountains are really there and rivers are really they're getting your mind if you think that they're not that's in your mind if you think that they are again and you have a different more complex understanding that's in your mind so whatever ideas i haven't my mind
i'd have to be shaped by what actually happens and that's something that i don't have any
i don't have any of
i don't really have a lot of power over but what i do think about our practice is that our practice is designed to
allow us to to build the capacity
for uncertainty
ha
ah
to build our to build our ability to
meet circumstances that we don't fully understand without kidding
throne
into the mud by them
but standing upright in those circumstances and that's
that's all like that's what i say that's what i intend to do and i feel like that has been the thrust of so general she's teaching for all of us ah and i also know that
some kinds will stand up and sometimes will fall down
but as i said before which really important when you fall down his get up suzuki where she says stand up by the ground if you fall on the ground you use your you use your hands to lift yourself back up onto your feet and that's a much better
solution then rolling around on the ground and saying you know i'm on the ground up on the ground i'm getting dirty and getting full of mud you know like that that doesn't help anything
of course there's always another side
it is there's the story of a lemon pounds daughter ah which is that one of my favorite stories i e they were out walking to market and he tripped and fell down in the on the ground and ha
he was lying there and he looked over his daughter and she threw herself on the ground
and he said what are you doing and she said papa i'm helping
there's always another side
thank you very much roseanne and i am surprised how much i admire the heroism of you're holding position
king where you are and and i was hoping you would anticipate can
thank you so much thank you incl
he has a zico a kurt asks well will you do this song later and perhaps you won't do it today but in the future you can i regale us with your guitar i would love to let me
here's what's going on
and this is part of of the reality of our lives
what i've noticed for
hmm the last five or ten years is that it's harder and harder for me to sing
ah and i i've had this fully examined and it turns out i have a partially paralyzed right vocal cord
and there's nothing really they can do about it i got my speaking voice is fairly normal but if i listen to tapes of my singing know which have a lot or tapes of my chanting in on my voice was very different and
i will say that has been emotionally really difficult really difficult not to sing
because it's one of the greatest
pleasures and it's something that still it's happening in my head
and it's it's something i think it's the experience of that we all have of
having to let go of things as we as we grow older so i don't know i am sure that i will sing again here and also i'm trying to figure out how to sing and basically ah i think what's really good is to ah
not have such high standards
so i'll do my best but not today

see it dick
i invite dick to unmute himself and ask a question
you know
i know
the
it sounds like there's to device is going on in your in your place like a phone in a computer or two computers one of them has to be off yes so you might want to go had in turn the volume that you hear from your computer or okay asked the question
in in there aberrant to perfect can you hear me now now gonna yeah
i'll i'll come back to this i'm gonna figure the rest out i'll be right back okay go to someone else will do the would you your if we can hear you fine if you'd like to ask your question now

megan cop collins thank you for your health and the chads making collins i envy him but you to and meet yourself and ask a question

okay let me move on ah steph stephanie solr
overcoming again with dig or we're ready
is is am i being heard now yes now we have a bunch of people in this is wonderful it's a wonderful ah so a dig at speaking on stephanie is so lars computer could you hold on for a second
ah and then megan collins we can hear you please ask a question i say i'm so a hose on sanga has always been very important to me in my life at berkeley center is an sater and i feel very isolated
it grew during this time have you any suggestion
i think that that structurally this is a very easy moment to feel isolated in ah
you know i think that that
one thing that that you could do where we could do would be to ah to have it a small group that
that meets with you online that's the best that we can do you know ah
and
it's it's hard because
you feel isolated we feel that you are completely part of the saga but that's not necessarily what supportive to you what do you think would work
begin you have to unmute yourself again this is good what we're doing now yeah well i would invite you you know ah i'm having some a tease with people certainly you can come to those and desert
agents are open docusign and you know an opportunity just to to be with people ah you're completely welcome there for sure okay thank you you're welcome
i'm so let me get and vi and vile on
i am dig through stephanie so lars computer please on be yourself and ask a question
now you muted
robert ah yes think the a perfect and now we can hear your children thank you well cravings everyone i was in the process of writing a poem for as sodium and i was
if a man
and i was wondering if it might be appropriate to read it now and see if it's something i should read or in this afternoon ceremony so
hang on hang on let me make a suggestion yeah
first of all people won't be reading the people
this afternoon is there's not going to be kind of open forum but tomorrow night ah if you can come to the open santa meeting tomorrow night you can read your own to everyone good that that's that's the place you know because we had to argue we had to argue with surgeon
in to have even nine or ten people speaking for two minutes of appreciation ah
all of us oh so much appreciation ah that unfortunately he would be sitting there for about ah a year before we got through with all of this sounds familiar but don't but i would suggest you know don't telegraph your palm save
it and read it on the on sunday night done asia that so great thank you
we have time for a few more if they're couple more questions
so
there was a suggestion that we start to vigorously doing friday afternoon teas with senior students so that was out there
ah i'm please raise your hand and i wanna thank you for your patience in there are many people that are don't come often so you can only herself and
ask a question if you don't know how to get to the blue hand because i know there are some people who don't often come through zoom but because of the events for today are here for the first time yeah and there are a lot of people that we don't know and we love to hear from you even briefly

hassan i my name is sean i sean where are you
i'm in berkeley probably about that bought three blocks from the probably pick up
i'm near a just stop on know a wheeler
you know i just wanted to suggest you mentioned something about our vocal cord and there's a guy by the name of rouse kennedy
you do a canker the idol i had lessened with them yeah man and a master vocal cords are no no no he did not met know you didn't he was he was great but ah
yeah i mean it's a complicated discussion but he's of is incredible vocal coach yes yeah that i was just gonna suggest he may know something about the frozen vocal cords shirt off we talked about it yeah okay great thank you get your bags
i invite a beer to unmute himself and ask a question

hi on i career
well thought i thank you so much again was always a great dog i was flipping to something the other day and now
for something about bodhidharma when you told that king and china that all buddha's teachings are empty and does when the king got upset and worried i'm left to japan so what did exactly he meant that all buddha teachings are empty well he was speaking in a purse
articular context ah the context of that conversation was that emperor wu ah basically he said i built all these temples and stupas ah you know what what marriage is there in this you know why not
like okay what do i get back from this and and
but you know i said
basically said nothing
no merit whatsoever that was that was his answer is tough medicine to to a king who wanted to get value for his actions new know but to me it's not a categorical statement
and so in that ah
there's there's a number of different versions of that of that story but they're all pretty much the same ah ah and when emperor wu got mad got irritated that he said you know who is talking to me
and bodhidharma said i oh no
hey third erratic and walked away and are
oh and he turned and food turned to his his
assistant and said basic said who was that masked man
anyways yeah it was every teaching
is a medicine or corrective to something that's out of balance and in this case ah
arm was giving a you know a tough response to a question that he thought was gonna be problematic for the emperor
sorta like his expectation like well as president for me type of attitude in are they gonna like beginning mind that the emperor hadn't in unsorted well yeah but it also
part of the challenges that adds
the emperor was doing what was expected of him ah you're expected
is a tradition of merit making recruit from she okay but when we
it's not that we're not making marriage
it's that when we derek we dedicate that merit we give it away ah know we get away it's not for
so sometimes may is seen as a kind of it's a transaction i make married so i can have a more auspicious rebirth ah but in my yana we make merit and we give it away for the wellbeing of all life
and that's i think that squad bodhidharma was teaching oh
perfect thank you thank you thank you very much perhaps a couple more quiet get tossed a elizabeth horowitz did you have a question somebody indicate that you did i invite you to meet yourself
eddie was elizabeth or
elizabeth h a r are no no i don't i don't have a questions okay does it say elizabeth horowitz's ipads because as work now as en yes ah it it raghav it seemed as maybe they're to alyssa
and there's no we're on different devices hold on let me go and see if no wanted to say something
blake if i may use our elizabeth are all or our she's raising your hand in the screen okay luca different elizabeth let's hear from her yes please
thank you how sign and thank you everyone
where are you by the way i am in los gatos i am a ah
student or
shinshu roberts oh crap and jakku i received the precepts are from shinshu about three years ago and i mean addition to studying with them i've enjoyed so many of your talks your podcasts and such
roche's or podcasts and have become very heartfelt than and close to all eh in its kind of strange since
i this is a first time i've seen you in person but today such an auspicious day i wanted just to express my gratitude and jam now and joy for for being here thank you thank you and just to say that your teachers or
or
my good friends and are they were inspirational to me in actually deciding to become a priest when we practice together at tassajara in nineteen ah eighty eight were and i'm in could always in costa
to them so thank you think you add one more thing i'm i'm very interested in the open a docket fun nights and as well as cheese
could you tell me a little more about that please
yeah i will write you
i tickets on the bcc website ah and
i think that i'll let me just see if there's i'm looking at the chat
ha
ah yes in the chat i've just posted the announcements and you cannot take a look a bit chat and the person to contact to sign up for the docusign his email is in there okay can you put can you put as email to sign up for the ts
oh if somebody else who knows that if somebody could do that while i'm talking that would be great yes we're just an enemy era is the contact for my keys yes or chat me and i will judge everybody so there was one more hand may be yes andrea's thatch on please on meet yourself and ask a question
oh thank you blake and thank you hassan
i actually have the took my hand down but i'll i'll take the opportunity to circle back around and thank you not sing hosannas picture and i would i would like to hear as i exchange with him but i wanna thank you very much for your talk and for are setting the scene for the ceremony this
afternoon i was very moved as you were talking i was surprised i was caught off guard by the emotion as you described a walking around from altered to alter and it evoked for me but the numbers of times over the last decades we've walked around as a
sanga from altered to alter to begin a practice period and to enlarge and smaller groups for uk so many people who were here on this zoom conference for each of the priest or in ordinations and maybe most powerfully for those of us who been shoes
so in preparation for the shoe so ceremonies and as i was thinking about the strength of the emotion there was some grief about this change but i also recognize that this ceremonial the kind of mysterious elements of the ceremonial
space and the ritual that we're about to undergo as a group this afternoon creates the possibility of
something quite extraordinary in that change we think we know what's gonna happen but we really have no idea i'm very much appreciate getting the opportunity to open to that with everyone here in the context of your skillful talk and also to gather
in the ritual this f afternoon that in the power of the ceremony something will happen and we don't exactly know a patterns right i did that
there's something about the next case that that allows and opening you know it allows us to the ritual as part of a ritual
one always has to cross the threshold
ah and i would just encourage all of us to
be aware and be responsive to whatever it is that we feel
ha and i think that that is at the the heart of our practice of sodo practice is actually that every moment is that ritual space that every moment whereas we want to cultivate that openness that receptivity and we learn this by
actually are doing the practice of ritual and then gradually it it's suffuses through our life so just sinks surprising things will come up this afternoon and ah i hope we can all just
really feel them completely
i think that's a really good place to end so thank you all and we'll see you this afternoon online at the same berkeley online zendo link at all