Practicing With Emptiness

00:00
00:00
Audio loading...

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

Auto-Generated Transcript

thank you
did you see everybody
is my voice loud enough
thank you
so many see you
so when i spoke before maybe about a year ago i talked about the heart sutra and i'm still thinking and wanting to talk about the heart sutra
the sutra we chat every day at berkeley's and center every time actually worked together and for we for service we chanted and it's chatted by people at buddhist centers and temples around the world every day
i want to talk about that core meaning of the heart sutra what we call emptiness all things are empty of their own inherent existence because all our subject to are inextricably part of their causes and conditions
and i want to talk about emptiness in relation to the interdependent web of all existence and to our practice of zazen
this requires a leap spiritual emptiness the kind we practice with here is different from scientific emptiness the kind studied by physicists ecologists and others for me they merge because non-scientists
that i am i look at in scientific understanding with the spiritual lens
tactical mistake the though this may be it is what i practice with
emptiness is a confusing term unless we use all those connecting words empty of inherent existence empty of causes and conditions empty usually means empty nothing there
and the heart sutra emptiness means the opposite everything is there
the clear expression is in a new translation of the heart sutra by joan halifax and cause tanahashi using the term boundlessness there's a link to this version in the chat box here are some excerpts using their words i have a low key test vara who helps all
in the deep course of realizing wisdom beyond wisdom sees that all five streams and body heart and mind our without boundary
form is not separate from boundlessness boundlessness is not separate from form boundlessness is the nature of all things
boundless as boundlessness is the nature of all things from the scientific point of view as well as the spiritual
there's a personal history of course to my deep connection to the heart sutra i was immersed in a childhood family were what was true was not well represented my parents were extremely dedicated to making things look good and to silence about things that weren't good so i grew up
determined to find out and represent what really is i was offended and distressed about obfuscation how i love that word obfuscation
i grew up in the nineteen forties and fifties active in liberal protestant churches believing the version of the stories of jesus and god that they taught
in a bible literature course at a liberal arts college i learned about the lack of verifiable historical basis for those stories and found that not just my parents but the congregational church of san mateo couldn't be relied upon for the true story
just step back i was fortunate as a child to live in places where nature was a refuge as a young very young child and rural michigan i was allowed to spend much of my time in a wild field next to our home i made nest in the tall grasses and was enchanted by field mice
who i must have attracted by bringing along snacks to share
when my mother wondered where i was she would find me by looking out an upstairs window
i moved to detroit wrenched me away from that wonder filled place although in detroit where child sustaining features of other kinds
years later i moved to san mateo gave me access to what was then much wild land on my long climb between our neighborhood and crystal springs reservoir something i did for a period of years almost every saturday
and shortly after we moved there i began to have annual trips to my heart's home a girl scout camp in the kit carson pass where i still go and immerse in a red fir forest with wilde lake on one side and granite slabs league leading up to of okay
yannick peak on the other
here too as a child i fall pound ness to be in and felt close to the wild world
in this natural safe place i could find stillness and take in what was around me likens trees squirrels birds
others have spoken here and our zendo about what is called the world wide web the way we now understand that underground is a network of fungi that connect with the roots of trees and other plants this network carries water and nutrients through an egoist throughout an ecosystem not you
uniformly are randomly but in accord with purposes little understood and it sustained by what the trees give us all this is continue to be observed by instruments that see smaller and smaller making clear that as small as it gets the enter depend
odense indoors
and now as a grandma with the camp name of mama there i go up there to that camp and encourage young girls also to immerse in to see up close the wondrous details of an ecosystem typical of this altitude in our sierra nevada mountains i incur
courage them to see like and moss granite tree bark and needles up close at thirty percent magnification with a jeweler's loupe if you've never done this and we get to be together again please ask me to show you something with a jeweler's loupe it's amazing
the thing about doing that with these girls is that you wonder are they really seeing and they really seeing what we want them to see and i know they have because when they get that loop up to their eye and they get very close to the whatever it is there's a sharp intake of breath and they say
ha
ah that oh is a first step to inquiry to understanding to appreciation
philosophy of science and particle physics for which i feel are have long seemed to me a route to take to understand what is true about life
early in college before the concept of ecology reached me i became enamored with alfred north whitehead concept the fallacy of misplaced concreteness the fallacy and the way we humans misuse abstract abstract concepts as if they are accurate descriptions
of reality white had wrote in nineteen twenty nine that a concrete physical object in the universe does not possess the character of simple location without reference to its relations to other objects and to think of a spatial point as being anything other than an abstraction
is a mistake isn't this boundlessness
for years i was in something like a marriage with a g cosmo chemist who analyzed the composition of rocks a meteorite samples of rocks extricated in sweden in a four mile deep drilling into the earth and rocks brought back from the moon
over dinner i wanted to hear his stories
all these rocks meteorites flung down on earth from space those embedded in the moon's surface way out there in our solar system and rocks from deep in the earth representative of the beginnings of planet earth are samples of the formation of the solar system and the processes that if
followed out in space on the moon and on earth
the big bang is a theory of how our universe began about thirteen point eight million billion years ago all matter was compacted into a very small very dense and hot ball over millennia it decompressed interacted and became planets
plants and all of life
learning more by replicating big bangs in tunnels under the ground particle physicists are looking for the smallest unique particle in nature as they keep doing this more and more powerfully they find smaller and smaller particles and small strings
i once was fortunate to accompany my partner to an evening program at argonne national lab
which sits on top of a particle accelerator i had a sense of a sacred quest going on there and ah filled sense of entering a vast cathedral with way stations where you could tear down into the deep accelerator tunnels this is the way it is for me not
scientists confirming a spiritual truth but scientists many of them unaware that there were merges with the spiritual
unitarianism became my first religious solution after my a departure from protestantism
as a person who found comfort solace joy and adventure and wilderness and in calling to mind whitehead's fallacy i was moved by the unitarian principle that we are all part of an interdependent web of all existence a concept i embraced and felt a lack as unitarianism provide
in no way apart from thought to practice with that interdependent web
for me buddhism provided that practice what we do here is that practice and the heart sutra is central to that practice
the heart sutra comes from way back in the first century b c before written records about its history what is thought is that early buddhist monastics attempted carefully to describe reality thinking that to specifically define was to see clearly later boom
dis in the south of india road and studied prussian apart me to sutras as a way of negating that limited specificity of all those descriptions of separate parts of reality instead they articulated that all things are empty of their own inherent existence because they are all realm
native to causes and conditions the early indian buddhist philosopher and a guardian articulated this the short version of those prajna are a major sutras we chant the heart sutra negates all the specifics that early buddhists used to get close to the reality of all existed
there's no knows no town nobody no mind no object of mind to me another way of articulating the fallacy of misplaced concreteness emptiness his fullness everything inextricably connected to every other thing
our practice here is the current result of the revolution and buddhist understanding that the first prajna part of me to suit your broad perhaps the fact that south indian society in which those sutras arose was matrilineal was influenced was was influential i
i wish we could no more not for an lack of trying
those sutras including the first one the sutra and eight thousand lines were brought to china and studied there and someone in china as they talked about before a conflict compose the short version and a young monks epic journey and devotion to translation of buddhist sutras brought our heart sutra to be chanted
worldwide
the heart sutra means the world to this that truth-seeking nature loving girl now woman because it is an amazingly prescient description of what our modern particle physics and scientific ecology also teach it seems to tell the truth as we can at this point know it
not science proving scripture but scientists on a spiritual truth telling quest
chanting the heart sutra our bodies feel the rhythm the sound of words that negate separate specificities and come free into boundlessness avalokiteshvara who helps all to awaken moves in the deep course of realize
zing wisdom beyond wisdom sees that all five streams a body heart and mind or without boundary
and freeze all from anguish boundless is boundlessness is the nature of all things
the heart sutra ends with all mere words can do with boundlessness sounds of got they got de para some god de bodi spa ha sounds that go beyond words that resonate with our spirit
our daily dot zazzle and to goes beyond words and opens us to presence to respect to the possibility of being with all that is
after long sessions we noticed that the world we re-enter is in sharp focus
bright crisp and clear
we sit still and know
feel that we are sitting feel the way of our bodies on cushion or chair here sounds tune into our breathing know thinking
return to our bodies and are breathing in stillness we receive what is around us day after day we enter a body mind way for seconds or for longer away where boundlessness can be approached
these are my experiences with the teachings of the heart sutra often referred to as emptiness teachings i prefer to think of as fullness full of no separation of total interconnection of boundlessness other humans have other ways of tuning into the bay
vastness of boundlessness ancient peoples unencumbered by human created mediations of boundlessness had profound understanding of the night sky
john muir alone an unencumbered by stuff deeply saw the rocks and the living beings in the high sierra
poets quiet see and capture
humans in quiet joined when meditators and particle physicists paying attention and hearing
i like to hear the poet david wagner
inspired by what the white south african laurens van der post learned from the bushmen of the kalahari desert
when laurens van der post one night in the kalahari desert told the bushmen he couldn't hear the stars singing they didn't believe him they looked at him half smiling they examined his face to see whether he was joking or deceiving them
i'm than two of those small man who plant nothing who have almost nothing to hunt who live on almost nothing and with no one but themselves led him away from the crackling thorn scrub fire and stood with him under the night sky and listened
one of them whispered do you not hear them now and band or post listened not wanting to disbelieve but had to answer no they walked him slowly like a sick man to the small dim circle of fire light and told him they were terribly sorry
free
and he felt even sorrier for himself and blamed his ancestors for their strange loss of hearing which was his loss now on some clear night when nearby houses have turned off their visions when the traffic dwindles and went through
streets are between sirens and jets overhead or between crossings when the wind is hanging fire in the fir trees and the long eared owl in the neighboring grove between cause is regarding his own darkness i look at the stars again as i
first did to school myself and the names of constellations and remember my first sense of their terrible distance i can still hear what i thought at the edge of silence where the inside jokes of my heart beat my arterial traffic the see above high sea of my inner
or ear myself to endlessly humming but now i know what they are my fair share of the music of the stairs and clusters of ripening stars of the songs from the throats of the old gods still tending ever tone deaf creature def creatures
through their exiles in the desert
so this is what i think and i'm done talking and i'm so very curious to hear what you think
what is your experience at the heart sutra words of the experience of zazen in of how we practice if we all practice with the interdependent web of all existence
so please do let me know
we invite your question sir please raise your digital hand arm and we'll call you and spotlight you

up
thank you hannah
yeah
and now why be my eyes because i'm enjoying the tears you've delivered to me a thank you and i wanted to say that that to answer your question how i see i will it won't be the same after this
am i really appreciate that door that opening to the gap than the poetic
beauty things that we won't touch together i think in various past and then a little bit about the listening my goodness just thank you and i won't forget it the same way after this
i continue working at it
thank you look forward to keeping on sitting together
like am i calling on people are you ah we can try to go back and forth how about we do this if you see somebody actual hand feel free to call them and i'll call on the digital hands
okay good i did see ben yeah
hi hannah a ban thank you so much for your talk it was wonderful
while their poem is something else
i don't have much to say but i'm thinking about what the heart sutra means to me it is
i love all that you've shared there's one line that sticks with me a lot which is far apart from every perverted view one dwells in nirvana and i don't know if you have anything to say about that if someone else might have something to say thank you know
i think our usual views of separating everything is the perverted view
just not that way
kind of a loaded word perverted view and i'm now i'm curious to rushed to the new translation and see what word they had a check it out as soon as we're done with this i think as have c translation they used uses inverted view you are not mistaken when i like to clarifying
it's also not very poetic so i'm an absolutely
administration had here i guess i really liked that idea that it's only my limited or distorted view that keeps nirvana away there's something i'm
there's a strong trust or faith there that comes out of that that i really appreciate
yeah and to get to the very specific if you take that jeweler's loupe have you ever done it
and you'd go and you see the thing in front of you at thirty percent magnification it is just like all there's the whole world a whole world and of course there's a world beyond that world you know that we
that those particle physicists are trying to see down in those accelerator tunnels you know i'm quite amazing it just goes on and on
play and past you
randy ah rendezvous
his jolly rogers charlie a hata thank you so much
i'm amazed at the correspondence between something i read last sunday and your talk and i just want i give you two sentences from a book review by am
a nobel laureate in a particle physics
okay the number of atoms in the in a single human body is roughly tend to the twenty eighth
that is one followed by twenty eight zeros a million times the number of stars in the visible universe
okay
he had said that her and kissed so much charlie as always
the
but earlier
i and in a long time
you can't hear you lose their i i'm new to now yeah yes you are excellent okay i'm thank you so much your you talk really really really
hit me a deep level and i loved hearing about how you work with children when grandma there and showed them the loops to show how small i mean you know you look at pieces some soil even aura or tree and you can see the life within that it at that
a magnitude they couldn't see before and how you connect that with the spiritual world into it thank you so much and i i hope full of the the children grow up to the adults who understand the interconnectedness of everything which is one of the things that this practice on
does for me it though and hopefully for more people to sarah thank you on a aren't getting all emotional about it now but thank you so much and down
keep it up sometimes i i think my camp naturalist job is the kind of a sneak attack of buddhism on the girl scout camp that yes yes as to be a teacher guess
crit yeah yeah thank you
our lives i would like to thank dan harden and linda has for providing translations of a the heart sutra in the chat so feel free to open those and save those and as like to call next jeff taylor

jeff we need your to unmute
sorry
yeah i or something
the
still can't hear you
topic in wrong with the sound
okay a jeff are calling you one more time maybe it maybe this spirits will fix themselves but first let me call on ed
hi hello i am
you you i really appreciate your talk a lot and us because the
i remember as a new practitioner to send to the center i was so confused by the heart sutra the why are we say no this know that and and i spent so much time trying to understand what that was about and arm
but the idea of boundlessness makes a lot of sense to me and
an emptiness was also a loaded word for me an empty of what so was empty whose you know why isn't it full and
and i guess what i thought was omega it's empty of meaning ah and that seemed to help a little bit but i'm so i really appreciate you
offering your understanding of that i wanted to know if you could see anything to maybe new people to zen center about dealing with the understanding the heart sutra
well oh that's what i was trying to say because i think it's really am
i think the word boundlessness is the much better word for us than emptiness so i would say think boundlessness think think know separations it's a you know i
what other words are kind my kinda sometimes fall back on it's all one big schmear you know that course schmear is
very gross a way of expressing this
it on
i think he knows us and is a big help
when you set and you really sink into being right here and you can get
sometimes we're lucky and get really quiet sitting there and
and are more open to on
to then
ah whole rather than that
how those little bots and all those little details and all those little separate things which are really delusion
don't operate with them is that yeah i also think that the idea of a ballast this feels inclusive to me yeah and it's so looking at it from a point of view of inclusiveness rather than other negative and i think that that's that's it was one of the things
amid understanding the hearts are too hard for me
thank you
i'm jeff let's give it one more try
this is a recurring problem as lindenhurst reminded me of sometimes you just for this meeting either you have to leave the meeting and come back when the mute button or or just not speak but jeff tried began
okay jeff is left ah linda has please and be yourself and ask a question
i thank you and that was really beautiful
and you asked what
heart sutra has meant to earth an honest i would like to say briefly that from the very beginning whether i understood it or not in any way i can explain the heart sutra meant an absolute capture me it meant to wisdom and compassion
oh
emptiness meant some kind of enlightenment about you know beyond our usual but then if that could lead to some deluded rejection of everything and a deluded kind of detachment
form meant you and me and every single thing and so you could never escape every time there was emptiness there was formed every time there was formed there was emptiness marrying those two together completely
gave me an experience of wisdom and compassion that i adored that's probably why i stuck with them so that's one thing but then i have a question is this a little strange into question for somebody else in there in the group ads on thursday evening when we were hearing more show
karen sometimes gives me karen if i'm shocking you by calling you forth like this but she included in her
remembrances that when she first heard the heart sutra she didn't like it
just do like it too many knoll this know that know this know that and she told sojourn she didn't like it and he invited her to a long series of one on one meetings to study it and i just i don't know if it's possible karen or even if it's fair for me to ask you but is there anything you could share with us briefly about
what he changed for you or what that changed for you about your dislike of the heart sutra and a tall it's no no no
am i could share the when i started i thought also that emptiness was a thing it was a place you go to free from suffering that it took a lot of work and that the more
concrete things like intrusive thoughts and feelings that they wouldn't be there in emptiness so i remember when sojourn and i met one to one he insisted emptiness is not a thing
it's the places you don't like
the real question is how you relate to it
whether you get caught in your dislikes or your cravings
so
that that comes to mind
do you mean emptiness you said is what you don't like but do you mean includes what you don't like it includes just like hat was saying it it's boundless but the boundlessness includes everything
thank you
as for your patience peter over ten please on me yourself and ask a question
however
thank you very much for your talk i found a really interesting and it occurred to me this said this analogy to have popped out and family just a minute ago oh
about how zazen is the jeweler's loupe
below that shows us the nature of our existence
if we could just be patient with it enough you can turn things around for something a razor i just wanted to share that i wonder what you think about her
actually and you move me to tears
thank you it's beautiful
picture
jeff taylor would you like to take a third try three times a charm
chatter

suman please send me yourself and ask a question
i have so much beautiful beautiful
but i just wanted to mention that ah when i started sitting many years ago ah
i immediately and to glommed onto the heart surgery without understanding and a doll and and i memorized it right away and i would say to myself all the time wherever i was going and i somehow misses remain true
ah even though i didn't understand that i found it just hugely comforting it was like a prayer or something and
and the best start the starkest line of all no eyes no ears no knows no tongue nobody now mind that was the went when i first heard it that was just well how can you say that here i am sick i'm somehow it comforted me i don't know and i am and i when i'm afraid or interfere
at a bumpy airplane or something like that i'll say the hardship suitor to myself and even this very last night and the middle of the night i woke up am and had a minor attack of insomnia and worrying about one thing and another and which occasionally happens and i lay in bed and said the hard
suit your device app which is maybe if that i don't know if that's kind of
i'm very uncomfortable way to make use of the heart sutra bet it just really helps me and i sat and act i said it out loud as well have to say out loud instead of in my mind and so and in the meantime i've come to understand more thoughts about it and ideas about and and but this boundlessness mean and i
i love red pines commentary on the heart sutra and but i i still there's this basic kind of mystery of it also that allows for everything somehow that i find really really helpful and and the fact that it is all
about interconnection and that i'm not alone somehow for anyway i just i just wanted to honor at for its kind of mysterious
help did also can extend to us
thank you
first time and richie and the hassan said say
giant please submit yourself
i
ah i really liked your talk and i love love love
the heart sutra ah and i guess my
the to comments i wanted to make our
my understanding of the heart sutra was really i could i really got it a lot better when
when i thought of a teacup you know how a teacup has space in the center elena can miles with no matter
and yes there ego and it has that emptiness in the center it's got that that he holds everything and that's how i could understand
an emptiness is it's not nothing it's it's it's everything it's the possibility of all things good things good things and the bad things all the things
and i guess for me
i i am that teacup you why i'm and when i'm sitting in zug then i'm i'm holding space for all the possibly an impact just living i'm holding all the space for all the possible
so i was my experience of the heart sutra is at it's so
it's a visceral the visceral
and then i love laurens van der post my two favorite books in the world our store like the wind and a far off place and he talks about sandwich chance is really good story that i wanna say thank you so much
do i really love this
sitting zazen feeling like the cup
thank you
can i can you remind us of the title of a weird we just gotta again thank you linda has a for dropping the title of the poem in there i have been read the link but it's in their hose on but hannah the other hassan plates and muse often ask a question
make so much elena
was wonderful are so many resonant points hum
i feel that i was very fortunate really soon after i began to practice and we were chatting the heart sutra high went to a session with ah
he student of surgeons from mexico this was a tassajara in the dining and he was doing he did a a couple of afternoon sessions on the heart sutra and the way he explained juniata or emptiness
ah has always stuck with me and completely resonated which was
mt of self empty of independent self which means full of dependence
ah and that that everything in our world including ourself is as tough as as ticknor hands as made up of non self elements ah and so have we
emptiness is repaired and in certain aspects of buddhist philosophy with that data which is such this which is a fullness so ah that really
that resonated with me ah and i was never troubled by the gonna be a negative a of a of the knows i always took it to
no you don't really have the whole view here
and ah and the and would point me back towards it
ah so
that's one one common come into his you guessed about the varo part from a recovered view right in mentioned that but the term that that cousin and roshi joan use his confusion far apart from confusion
i think that the sanskrit word is cheater verona which basically my understanding is it means mind hindrance
ah anne frankly i like that a lot better because that the
did had it doesn't carry a cut of
it does it's not mushy and it doesn't carry a a a pejorative ah implication is just that
the have these hindrances we have these coverings in our mind that madonna's don't allow us to see emptiness
don't allow us to see the full the fact that everything is interconnected
i'm so i think i'll post up there and also just say i am really appreciate this idea of a hum
the fallacy of misplaced concreteness we talked about this little a half from whitehead and there's correspondences between whitehead and a hen buddhist philosophy
that are very clear and there's lots of papers and stuff about this but i think is coming at it from a western perspective which is part of esteem self discovery that are that are buddhist ancestors did so on
keep exploring the way
these philosophical ah concepts are actually useful know ah the come the fallacy of misplaced concreteness to me is like the tendency we have to think that what we're thinking and seeing is real
ah which is not to say that it isn't but we should we should stop a minute and book i think that to the car to trees in just stop fearlessly
and look around
take the loop
take the loop and look really closely or take a telescope
haven't see what's happening at a distance optically they're the same kinds of mechanisms
so thank you

kabir and then jeff
and then jeanette
i don't think it's common for you have beautiful dog hi
what intimate emptiness met meant for me a owner was caught four or five years old and afghanistan i went to sell my friends and i as show me allah
and they said has no form has no gender he can't see it but as everywhere and everything comes from again and it's a creative all
what when i came to america one twenty some years later when i met buddhism and it's start talking about emptiness
i've got my answer
so
and i was still running around and killing you and minds on my muslim friends and relatives and is didn't take a two hour but i could have gone and recently i was listening to alan watts and he named it the unshakable shaker
i'm so that's what the emptiness midst of me as and i went to canada many years ago for tibetan and retreat a mattress muslim pakistani girl that she was taught to there
the festival and she's looked at me she's a career
allies mts tell us what it is and so that was the your confirmation soft
ah the sort of surrendering to the idea of emptiness and letting go of this concrete feeling of things are solid and exists from their own site
emptiness soldiers term pulls the rug under me and
shows me that there's a bigger handed and play and is in a sphere of consciousness so does for emptiness means to me thank you thank you
jeff and for the final round to my own yay
yeah i hate bluetooth
i'll be very brief candidate was a wonderful talk so many paths into reality and to understanding but that you share and and that's that's really what i love rain i mean the idea's that everybody has shared a like a jewel can return how do we understand emptiness now and now and now
and and for me the be in a in dependent on causation independent of existing self is a great operative formula for me but also the presence of everything and boundlessness is a wonderful association thank you would think the thing that i one of the point of very briefly is that and particle
physics as you get into smaller and smaller and smaller spaces non-duality begins to express itself and what we find that the location of any particular particle is both excellent and predicted any one point in time you can talk about where the particle is but it's not correct you can predict where the particle that has and understand that as a prediction who
which is closer to two how how reality really operates and we don't really understand how to reconcile those two concepts which is fine but both things are true with the same time we don't know where it isn't we do thank you so much for a wonderful time
haha and kim
jeanette
pinay the thank you hannah
thank you for boundlessness
for the very moving singing of the stars
i become call my cup is half full of emptiness

he gonna send it to us
thanks
joe us a more clearly
as the final question or for the day just joe wagner please
thanks anna
i am
i'm a pretty negative person so i liked the nose the nose really really caught me and i i enjoyed them ah
and so i wanted to share how
since i am negative or and sort of inversion of your jewelers lens and i live up in the hills and i like to walk up to the are not sciences and space sciences lab and you can see the entire bay
you can see richmond bay bridge golden gate bridge oakland bay bridge than dumb down to towards the south of san francisco and
when i go up there i think
ah
i think of everything that's going down among site these million plus people out in front of me and
someone's overdosing someone's been sexually assaulted in someone's
just got a promotion someone some
ah making a new friend you know on ah someone's crying some just
all of life is going on down there and and yet when i'm up there you can hear a single thing you know there's no cars and nothing you just hear the wind blow and the trees and it's totally calm and totally peaceful and you look out front of you and there's all these cargo boats and cars and everything and
bomb
to me that expresses emptiness is form and form is emptiness just that
instead of taking a closer look through the jewellers length for me it was stepping back and seen this huge wide grand picture and just done a relative glimpse of boundlessness and i you know when astronauts are up in space and looked down at the earth and hell
ah scientists wanted to share my started invert the all of the the jewellers lens effects and you