Precepts Class 2

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So, this is class number two, and I just want to make a little introduction. The Vinaya, or the rules of conduct in Buddhist time, and of course much later, over 2,500 years, is mostly for monks living together in a harmonious Sangha, which, and of course, Buddha did pay attention to lay people, and part of the, one reason for these strict rules, I mean, there are many reasons, but one reason for the strict rules of conduct was the monks, of course, were supported by the lay people. The only way the monks could live was through


their support by the lay people. So, they had to be very careful about their conduct. Otherwise, if people didn't feel that the monks were behaving in the way that they felt they should, it wouldn't support them. So, there's always been this symbiotic relationship between the monks and the lay people throughout Buddhist history. Our situation in America is rather unique, and I think one reason for studying precepts, the history of precepts, is because, in a way, we're neither fish nor fowl, or both. So, we're in the beginning of figuring out, you know, what this animal really is. And so, as we go along on the frontier of American Dharma,


we have to, by necessity, create a Vinaya that works for us without dominating our practice. So, in the monks' Vinaya, both Mahayana and Hinayana, they lived by the rules, basically, and there were consequences when they didn't follow the rules. And, of course, as I said last time, the rules have evolved into fewer and fewer rules. So, what does that mean? The rules are not The rules are the structure of practice, but they're not the heart of practice. There are


guidelines for, you know, how we maintain some order and maintain our posture, so to speak. So, 12 ascetic practices that Buddha allowed. And somebody said, well, what are they? And I said, well, I don't know. I mean, I do know, but I can't tell you. Yes? Before you enter into that, I just have a question about what you just said, which is, how do you measure, how do you understand of the Vinaya that would dominate the practice? Well, because being rule-bound. Yes. So, when we get into comparing, which we haven't really


done yet, we'll see what that means. So, here are the Dutangas, the special practices that Buddha allowed that were kind of ascetic practices. There are 13, actually. And he allowed certain monks to practice these Dutangas. Here it says, well, let's see. Dutanga in the Pali means renunciation, and known in Thai as Dutong, is a group of 13 austerities or ascetic practices most commonly observed by the practitioners of the Thai forest tradition in this day of Theravada Buddhism. While the Buddha did not require these practices, they were recommended for those wanting to


practice greater asceticism. So, all forest monks will observe at least one of the Dutanga austerities. The Dutanga austerities are meant to deepen the practice of meditation and assist in living the holy life. Their aim is to help the practitioner to develop detachment or non-attachment with material things, including the body. So, one, refuse rag wearers practice. This is very ancient. In other words, monks were to go to the carnal ground or someplace, you know, the dump, basically, and pick out their materials, sew them together and wash them and dye them one color. And the dye, you know, Southeast Asian monks often wear saffron-colored robes or yellow,


but they're different colors, black, brown, and so forth. But basically, the color that's accepted by everybody is a gunmetal blue. It's no particular color. It's not, you can't say it's bluish or greenish, grayish color. Black is, you know, it's somehow easier to make robes black. So, they become black. But basically, bluish, greenish, grayish, no special color. So, the refuse rag wearers practice, wearing robes made up from discarded or soiled cloth and not accepting and wearing ready-made robes offered by householders. Often, the householders would just make robes, and then


at a certain time of year, they would give the robes to the monastics in the monastery. So, number two, triple robe wearers practice, having and wearing only three robes and not having additional allowable robes. Alms food eaters practice. Eating only food collected on Pindapata or the alms round, while not accepting food in the vihara, are offered by invitation in a lay person's house. So, just before noon, the monks would go on their begging rounds. That's what that means. And often, lay people would feed the monks periodically, a kind of banquet. Or they would invite the monks to their home and feed them a banquet, vegetarian banquet.


And so, they wouldn't attend the banquet. They just eat the one meal a day at noon. That's it. And then, house-to-house seekers practice, not omitting any house while going for alms, in other words, not picking or choosing. Here's the next house. You go to the next house. Not omitting any house while going for alms and not choosing only to go to rich householders or those selected for some other reason, as relations, you know, like your family house or something like that. There was this joke that I'm trying to remember it. This guy was a kind of recluse like that. And he used to just go from house to house begging for his food. And then, he had a girlfriend. And she said,


oh, I don't want to do that. You know, if we're going to be together, I don't want to go begging my food. He said, well, let's do it just once. Okay? Okay. So, they went begging. And then, at the end, he said, well, that's it. And she said, but just the next house. Just one more house, please. You don't get it. I thought it was really funny. So, number five is one session, one sessioner's practice. Eating one meal a day and refusing other food offered before the midday. Those gone forth may not, unless ill, partake of food for midday until dawn the next day. And then, there's the bowl food eater's practice. Eating food from his bowl in which it is mixed


together, rather than from plates and dishes. In other words, you have one bowl of food, and everything goes in it. It doesn't mean you have to stir it up into mush. Matter of fact, that's called delusion. The delusion type mixed all their food together. You know, in the Vinaya, there are quite a number of rules about how you eat. And in India, you eat with your fingers. And you eat the rice, and you make rice balls, and you add stuff. And it tells you how not to do that, what is not permitted when you do that. I can read you some of that. And then, number seven, later food refusers' practice. Not taking any more food than one has shown that one is satisfied, even though your benefactor would want you to eat more.


Come on, eat more. Eat, eat, you Jewish mother. So, number eight, forest dwellers' practice. Not dwelling in a town or village, but living secluded away from all kinds of distractions. And nine, tree root dwellers' practice. Living under a tree without shelter or a roof. Open air dwellers' practice. Refusing a roof and a tree root, the practice may be undertaken sheltered by a tent of robes. That's interesting, a tent of robes. If you only have three robes, I don't know how you do that. And then there's a carnal ground dwellers' practice. Living in or nearby a carnal field, graveyard, or cremation ground. In ancient India, there would have been abandoned and unmarried corpses, as well as some partially cremated corpses in such places. One of the austerities


was for monks to live in a carnal ground for a while and watch the, contemplate the progression of deterioration. Like, this one is turning blue and all that, you know, and to really go through and identify all of the minute sections. What's that word? I can't recall the word, but... Steps. Steps of deterioration. Yeah, deterioration. Steps of deterioration. So, then there's the any-bed-users' practice.


Any bed is okay. Being satisfied with any dwelling allotted as a sleeping place. And then there's the sitters' practice. Living in the three postures of walking, standing, and sitting, and never laying down. So, they would often... This was a special practice, especially in China. And Master Hua used to do this. He had practitioners who did this in a city of 10,000 Buddhas. They have a box. It looked like a steam box or something, you know, and they're a little... You'd be able to sit down, and I think it covered your body. You sat down, but you never laid down. And this is supposed to have been the practice of the fifth ancestor, Dangman Konin. So, those are the Dutangas, the 13 practices. Now, the other thing that we were going to look at,


you know, I can only do a little bit of each. The bhikkhuni practice. Bhikkhuni is the lady monk... What we call nuns, but I don't know if that's the right word. The lady monks. It's pretty big, but I'm not going to read it all. I'm just going to... It's pretty much the same as the man's practice, bhikkhu's practice. But I'm going to just go to the end with the kind of minor precepts. So, I don't even know if they're really interesting. Let me get this page before this. The one about the robes is not interesting.


The darkness chapter. Should any bhikkhuni stand or converse with a man one-on-one in the darkness of the night without a light, it is to be confessed. Should any bhikkhuni stand or converse with a man one-on-one in a concealed place, it should be confessed. Should any bhikkhuni along a road in a cul-de-sac or a crossroads stand or converse with a man one-on-one or whisper in his ear or dismiss the bhikkhuni who is her companion, it is to be confessed. So, this is just the same as for the men. And it's even worse for the men. Not worse, but more strict. You know, back in some of the rules here are for how you act, how bhikkhunis


act toward each other, what their attitudes and disputes are with each other, and the hierarchical differences and the jealousies and, you know, whatever comes up with people living together in close quarters. It's always a problem. Yeah, it seems like, you know, some of the rules prior to the Japanese monks being able to get married, it sounds like there was sort of an emphasis on celibacy. And do you think if that is helpful for the practice or how did that arise? Is that something that's useful? Well, yes. I mean, the biggest difference between monks and laypeople is celibacy. So, the monks were, the whole idea was to unburden yourself, to not create relationships


that create attachment. Because you're going for nirvana, you're not going for happy aisles in the world, right? You don't want to produce children. You know, you're going the other way. You're going out of no-rebirth. So, you don't want to produce more. But, so that was kind of a goal. It's always been. And in the Meiji period in Japan, around the time of our civil war, the emperor, because the monks, celibate monks, you know, create a society of their own, and they gain power. So, sometimes, there have always been times where the monks have competed with the emperor for power. Also, well, anyway,


competed with the emperor for power. And in China, there were these big purges of Buddhism, and the monks all went to the mountains. The Zen monks benefited the most, because they weren't burdened with the same stuff that the other schools were burdened with. So, they were free, and they could just go to the mountains, and that's where they'd establish their practice places. So, they're called the mountain monks. You know, every Zen temple has a mountain name, even though they're not in the mountains. So, the Taoists and the Confucianists were competing always with the Buddhists,


and they'd whisper in the emperor's ear and get the emperor's favor, and then the emperor would have a purge. And they'd turn everybody out of the monasteries, and, you know, Buddhism had a hard time recovering from a lot of these purges. So, where was I? On the Japanese encouragement. Yes. So, there was a kind of purge in the Meiji period, and the monks were allowed to marry, and they were encouraged to leave the monasteries, and that created the temple system which exists today, which we have inherited. We've actually inherited the temple system that is the result of the monks being turned out and establishing monasteries. All the lay people had to register with the temples as Danka. Danka are the supporters of the temples. That's how the temple


system exists in Japan, with Danka. In America, we don't have Danka. We're the Danka. The practitioners are the Danka. We support our own temple. Now, San Francisco Zen Center is not supported by the Danka, but in a way, it is, because Tassajara and Green Gulch, they collect money through their work. That's one reason why we have a guest season at Tassajara. The guests support the practice, and the monks take care of the guests as their practice, and the guests pay for it. So, it's not exactly the Vinaya, but it works for us, because one of the rules of Vinaya


is that a monk should not preach the Dharma for money. So, it's not exactly preaching the Dharma for money or preaching the Dharma for people, and they're contributing to the support of the temple there. Here, it's just us, folks. Right? So, that's an unusual situation. That's one of our things that we have. What else was your question? Oh, it's just the celibacy. If you said that is useful for practice, you kind of explained it, the lack of attachment, not wanting to get involved, but those can be hindrances, right? Yes. Yeah. I just want to point out, too, that they didn't have birth control. So, if you chose to get


married and have sex, you were going to be, whether you were a man or a woman, you were going to be caught up in an incredibly tight, social, restricted social situation. Well, you couldn't do it. If you did that, you wouldn't be practicing in a monastery. Well, right. So, celibacy, in a way, was a way, it wasn't just the attachment of being in love with somebody or having sex or something. I mean, you stepped out of a really restricted social order that really controlled your life. Very communal, very social, not like we have. I just think we have to be careful not to map our situation onto what they were doing. They had a really, they didn't have birth control, and they had a very communal, social situation that the Buddhists, to me, this is just my own personal opinion, to me, his order was a way to step out of that and, yeah, get enlightened or whatever, but have those


choices, be able to spend time meditating and not raising a family and not earning, you know, like everything that goes with a family life. Yes, that's called being unburdened, except, you know, you carry the burden of your desires. You have to, this is, you know, you choose whatever, whichever. Now that we have birth control, it's not as easy for us to make that choice. No, yes, it's very different. We do have birth control, that makes a difference. But whether that's a reason or not, you can ponder that, you know, because you produce children, you know, but we produce children even though we have birth control. So, you know, Suzuki Roshi, when he came, he didn't tell us what the rules were.


He just observed us, how we are, and opened the, you know, the dharma for us. And he very seldom ever made any judgments. So he wanted to see what our tendencies were and how we really were, how receptive we were to the dharma. And, you know, like at Tassajara, which where men and women are practicing together in the same monastery, which is unheard of, together, he wanted to see how that worked. So he didn't, but it's a little complicated. The congregation at Sokoji, the Japanese, were very critical. They said, oh, they have sex together, and, you know, and Suzuki Roshi was, you know,


he caught in the middle and said, if you're going to be at Tassajara as a couple, you should take each other's name, or take, as if you were married. Even though you're not married, as if you were married. Act like you're married. Yeah, so he wanted to give the appearance of propriety. And we still have this, you know, rule at Tassajara. And then, you know, we created these rules with our own vinaya a little bit, which is not very strict. About the six-month rule, you should not, if you're a practitioner, you should not approach somebody for sex. If they haven't been here for six months, you should, as soon as you interfere with


somebody else's practice, who has, who, you know, even if you're here one day before somebody, they think that you know something. They think, oh, God. So you leave somebody alone. For six months, which is not very long. And then we sit for a year, you know. But actually, unless you're a police person, you can't really monitor that. And so it causes problems. So, you know, well-established practitioners can know what they're getting into. They know each other. And at least they think they know what they're getting into. But you cannot stop that, because we have a co-ed practice. So the co-ed practice has its difficulties.


And we accept those difficulties. The other side is, okay, you don't want those difficulties? Be celibate. And then when you're celibate, you have the difficulties of being celibate. So you just trade, it's a trade-off. Which side do you want to be on? That's my approach. Which side do you want to be on? The celibate side or the entanglement side? Neither one will give you a problem, unless you are asexual. Asexual. So, you know, celibacy works for a lot of people, a number of people. But there are great practitioners who can't be celibate. Or it's not in their nature to be celibate. And then they're struggling all the time without being able to, you know, handle that. So it's a dilemma.


But our practice does not, we don't have, you know, if anybody wants to be celibate, it's okay with us, with me. But it's not our practice. But promiscuity is also not our practice. So promiscuity is one of the problems, right? So if you don't have the rule, then what do you do, right? So the suggestion is, be serious about your relationships. And don't go, because as soon as people have a relationship, which is uneven, and they break up, they leave, or somebody leaves, you know, it ruins their practice. So it's a big deal.


And so our understanding is that if you have a relationship, at least be, know what you're getting into. And it's like having a dog. I always bring in my dog. If you have a dog, you say, oh, what a cute dog, you know, I want that dog. But you don't know that every day you have to feed it twice and walk it once or twice. Every single day. That's what relationships are. It's just like a relationship. Yeah, well, yes, absolutely, every day. Oh, God, do I have to walk him tonight? I see that hand way up there. Yes. In New York, when I was practicing, I wanted to be a priest. And then it came down in the group that was studying to be a priest, that you had to be celibate.


Oh, yes. And so I stepped away from it. I don't want to do that. That doesn't seem right. And then later, I realized that for some people, and one person who stayed in that group, it would probably improve because she was rather promiscuous, and it probably helped keep her in on track, so to speak, perhaps. I don't know. Yes. Mike, I'm thinking about not always so, and that we have, and the question I asked earlier around the dump, you know, that we don't want to have our practice dominated by the vinaya, and that perhaps it's a not always so thing that kind of helps us navigate the middle way between celibacy and relationships, and whether people, whether it's a hetero couple or a homosexual couple, but obviously there's a whole population that we aren't even talking about that get together naturally as we all get together. What was that again? You mentioned that a co-educational, you know, temple.


So obviously there are people that get together. I'm sure there was... Yes. The monks were getting together, the guys or the gals were getting together, and that's something I've talked about. So in the spirit of transparency and just trying to bring it to our day and age, maybe it's not always so. Well, look at the Catholic Church. Yes. I mean, the Catholic Church is a refuge for gay, or something like that. So, and the priests, you know, should be able to get married, at least to the ones that, you know, that would benefit from that. So how do you find the balance? Because each person is different. And so the rules try to put everybody in the same shoes, and the same shoes don't fit everybody.


But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be able to practice. Right? Yeah. I'm making somewhat of an analogy with Catholic, Roman Catholic Church, and Zen practice. So in the Roman Catholic Church, priests can either be religious or secular. Religious priests take three vows, poverty, chastity, and obedience. You're a secular priest, you only take the vow of chastity, you remain celibate. So I'm wondering, in Zen, after the period of love and marriage, would the temple, I assume that the monastery monks would have vows of obedience, obviously, to their habit, and of poverty, obviously, and chastity. In the temple priests, did they have, they didn't have chastity, but did they have obedience? And I would think not poverty. I look at Richard Baker. He's like the Trump of Zen. Were there basically vows of obedience and of poverty with the temple?


Well, it's obedience to the Vinaya. But not to a... Not to a person. Well, you know, I mean... It's up to you. Well, you respect, you know, you respect your teachers. And there are rules about respecting your teachers. And the leadership of the place where you, of the Vinaya, I mean of the Vihara. But it's basically, it's not like somebody's, you're loyal to the Vinaya, you're loyal to the practice. And it's pretty democratic, because it's your peers who are helping you. And you are, it's like being in the army in the sense that your buddies, you protect your


buddies, right? You're devoted to your, those people who you're practicing with. And they all protect each other. And they all are responsive to each other and responsible to each other. That's what keeps it all together. It's not an army practice, but it has that quality of respect for each other and helping each other. So even if a person has like transgresses, and they fail, it's called failure by transgressing. Your peers are helping you to deal with it. They're not just, it looks like on paper that they're saying, you know, you failed, but


they're all helping you to regroup yourself. But one follow up, if a monk wouldn't admit, confess failures, then the group could say you're out of the group. Well, they could say, if you continue to be stubborn, if you can sometimes ask once, you know, and then they do can bring them twice and three times. And then they say, well, you know, you're incorrigible. So goodbye. Yes, that, yeah. But they give you a chance to regroup yourself to, yeah. How about sharing the Dharma? How about what? How about sharing? Sharing the Dharma. Was there like any specific, when I asked around that in terms of like, you know, I


don't do it for money. How much sharing? Yeah, like not sharing the Dharma, teaching the preaching or teaching the Dharma. Yes. Well, because the lay people feed the monks, then the monks provide the Dharma for the lay people. So when, usually they would invite the monks to come for a feast, and then the head monk or the, you know, teacher would give a talk for everybody. Yeah, so kind of like that. So, and then the lay people also come to the monastery to receive a talk. Yeah. So a lot of give and take. So the monks would support the monk, the laity would support the monks, and then the


monks would feed them the Dharma. So that's why in our meal chant, as I said last time, and I say it a lot too, may our virtue and practice deserve this meal. So when we eat with the orioke, at that time, at that particular time, we're monks, and we're eating, you know, the Buddha's head is the main bowl, and we fill it with just enough. The orioke means just enough. Now, the other two bowls are condiments, basically. So when you eat with the orioke, the big bowl is the grain, and that's the most, that's the basic food, and then you have the vegetable, and the fruit or whatever, right, in the smaller


bowls, and you eat some out of the big bowl, and then you eat some out of the middle bowl, and then you go back to the big bowl, and then you go to the third bowl. And when you have done that twice, that's the time for the servers to come for the seconds, because you know how much you want after that. But sometimes the kokyo who is conducting the time eats real fast, and they think it's time for the seconds. Everybody scrambling? But that's the way it works, if you do it right. Anyway, so I'm going to continue a little bit with this, skip around a little bit to get you some feeling about it. So, should any bikuni, having gone to family residences before the meal, before noon, having


sat down on a seat, depart without taking the owner's leave, without saying goodbye, that's to be confessed. That's a kind of rudeness. You know, you come in, and you sit down on the seat, and then you don't, you don't share yourself, you know, you don't say goodbye. We think, so? But that's rudeness. Where did she go? So, these are very minor precepts, you know. It says, you confess this, you acknowledge, confess means acknowledge. So, should any bikuni, having gone to family residences in the wrong time, between sunset and dawn, having spread out bedding, or having had it spread out, sit or lie down there without asking the owner's permission, that's to be understood, confessed.


Is this only for women, or is that also for men? Oh, it's also for men, I mean, it's just, it's not some special, it's like... You're reading us the women's, but there's a similar one in the men's list? Yes, well, I don't know if there's a similar one. This is, you know, the bikuni precepts. Well, I mean, is there a general sense, or was there a general sense that men needed to be, like, controlled more, or something? It's not, yeah, but just let me say something. It's not control, it's like how you be attentive to your surroundings, that's what it's about. Yeah, but if there are different, more exacting rules for women, then there's some supposition there about... Okay, well, let's look at the, let's look at the other one, then. I don't, you know, I'm not, I don't know if that's true, but I mean, if that was the view that they had.


Well, basically, all of the Vinaya is about awareness in relationships. It's about how you, you know, that particular one was about how you don't ignore your guest, your host, you know? So it makes total sense, and also, it's sort of like, do you really need a rule for that, or is it just, you know? Well, I don't know what all the rules are, like, you know, like, they came from all different places, they don't know how to behave, so there's sort of a lesson about how to behave. You know, back in the 60s, there we had a couple who wanted to go to Japan, and the man went to Eheji, and the wife went to a, what's the name of the woman's monastery? Soto, Nisoto, and he did terribly.


She did okay, but her, when she described what goes on in the Nisoto with the women, it was like, like cats, you know, like, you know what I mean? Yeah, you know what I mean? No, but no. They were mean to each other, is that what you mean? They were mean to each other, yeah, I mean, really mean to each other, and you know, whispering behind each other's back, and but she did okay. She came back okay. So, Jim? Yes. It sounds like that this is kind of what you've been saying, is that the precepts are simply rules to live by. Yes. Whether you're, we just have, as Buddhists, we just have this list of them, and then the reason, then you said this before, we have these rules to live by is because when


we're in community, we kind of need to cooperate, and if we all understand that we don't come in playing our radios, then, you know, it's a sort of a, the structure. So it sounds like the precepts are sort of the structure of how to live. Exactly, exactly. Exactly. So here, there are 48 transgressions in this section, in section two. They're different sections, like eight sections, and they, and both of them, vikuni and bhikkhu, binaya, and they get lighter and lighter, right? So these are the 48, the number, and they're all light.


So a bhikkhu is, who is impolite to his initiator, his fellow initiators, or his seniors, commits a transgression. I don't want to repeat that word over and over again. A bhikkhu who drinks alcoholic fluid, spirit, liquor, or anything that produces intoxication commits a transgression. A bhikkhu who eats flesh that comes from animal life. A bhikkhu who eats five forbidden pungent roots, garlic, three kinds of onions, and leek, which give rise to raga, which is desire. Bhikkhu who does not allow his fellow bhikkhus to make a regular confession of their sins, sin is not a Buddhist word, but transgression. A bhikkhu who denies a request for charitable offerings or service to the preacher of the Buddhist dharma. A bhikkhu who neglects to study the Buddha dharma. A bhikkhu who speaks ill of, or is opposed to the Buddhist dharma in the Mahayana doctrine.


A bhikkhu who does not give his assistance to the sick who beg for help. A bhikkhu who has in his possession arms and weapons which may cause the killing of other beings or animals. A bhikkhu who develops himself into a diplomat as an envoy or nuncio in the management of international negotiations. But that's just what we need. Is that somebody that can just confess? Well, you know, this is back in the day, because a bhikkhu who, whether by his own act or by his instructions, deals in human beings or slaves, in slaughtering for meat, and in all immoral dealings which cause suffering to animals, commits a lehukapati transgression. A bhikkhu who causes a decrease, or to decrease the fame of others and increase his own count,


his own. That's one of the ten precepts, actually. A bhikkhu who sets fire to a forest that may develop into an incendiary in a forest that causes a forest fire. A bhikkhu who speaks of cursing in cursing or sarcastic terms. A bhikkhu who speaks in veiled terms for the sake of fortune. A bhikkhu who uses a forcible style to force someone to give him some offerings. So these are, you know, examples. Well, let's talk about robes. Yes. I have a question about that, the one you just said about speaking in veiled terms. Yes. So that's a curious... That's a good one. Because, you know, we talk about this in the Japanese style and sort of, we talk to this person when this person over here needs the, you know, encouragement. And one could infer that that's kind of like veiling or not being direct with the person


who needs the encouragement or help. It's, I don't think that's exactly what is being presented here. But I like the idea of, you know, talking straight or veiled or indirect and how that can affect a person's practice and their sense of subtleties and sangha harmony. Well, I don't know if veiled terms is a translation. I'm not sure. What I think is like whispering. And sinister whispering, actually. That's what it feels like to me. You know, it's like... Excuse me, what was that again? Oh, that's bad. That's a... Yeah, that's really bad.


That's really bad. So this is about... Well, let's see. I'm trying to see what would be comparable to the bhikkhunis. I don't know, there's a whole bunch of stuff here, but I don't know. Anyway. Anyway, the Achievement of Virtue of the Casina, that's a ceremony, that's a ceremony.


I think that means people giving robes to the monks. The Casina, the garments of merit given annually to a devotee or devotees of the Sangha after the practice period of ninety days. The Casina is a ceremony. With regard to the Achievement of Virtue of the Casina, the Lord Buddha declared that the virtue thus achieved is worthy of the highest merit, since it is an alms-offering to the Sangha, without specifying that it should go to any particular individual. So they just give the robes. They don't say, this goes to that one, and I like this one. So in the Daksina Vibhaga Sutra, it's quoted, one day while the Lord Buddha was staying


in Kapilavastu city, Mahaprajapati, his aunt, who had brought him up, presented him with a piece of cloth of her own weaving. The Lord Buddha refused to accept it and told her to present it to the Sangha, as the achievement of the virtue thereof is higher than to present it to him. His aunt implored him again and again to receive the cloth, but he insisted on his advice. Ananda, who was the Lord Buddha's cousin and who acted as his personal attendant, brought him to have, besought him to have mercy on his aunt, as she had a pious devoutness and resolved within herself that her meritorious offering was supposed to ensure happiness for her. But it doesn't say that he accepted it or not. But probably he did, because Ananda, you know, tucked him into it.


So, Jim, if you created a transgression and you have to acknowledge it, are you talking about a private acknowledgement or is there something called a public acknowledgement of what you've done? Public. Twice a month. Okay. The Pasartha ceremony. Twice a month. But also, there are caveats. There are different Vinayas. You know, there were 18 schools of Buddhism. Each had a little different Vinaya. Some of the major precepts were the same, but the minor precepts were a little different, according to, you know, where you were. So, if you confess to one other monk, that might be enough so that you didn't have to do it in the assembly. Or if you confess to, you know, a group, a small group, then you wouldn't necessarily…


you'd already done that, and you wouldn't have to do it before the assembly, the whole assembly. But only certain transgressions actually were before the whole assembly, if they were really serious. But I think the lesser serious ones, you could, you know, make sure that somebody heard you, right, that you… And the monk who listens to you should have confidentiality. But the question is, is that confidentiality okay, or should the person hold you to confessing before everybody? That depends on the transgression, I think. I think it does. Very interesting, because when I was abbot at Zen Center, the treasurer confessed to


me and to Reb, who we were co-abbots, that he had embezzled a lot of money, but that he had returned it. And so, we didn't want to… We said, because he returned it, that it was… We didn't want to say something, because he actually returned it. And where was the crime, you know? It was very interesting. But it turned out that we told him, go talk to the board about it. I don't want the board. I don't want to report this. I want you to report it. But he didn't. But then eventually he did, and people were angry at us, because we didn't say something


to them. Very, very… Dilemma. Judy. Please, you have to speak up. I don't know why you sit way back there, but… Okay. I just wanted to return to something you said early on tonight, as I've heard you. Something about… And I hear you using the word precepts, and I keep hearing that in terms of denial, because it's also… Yes, it is. And our understanding, as you said last class, about coming from the inside as opposed to being… Yeah. I haven't got there yet. Right. And I get that you're not there. And at the same time, as we're listening and as we're revisiting history and so on, there's also the point that I heard Laurie making about how we look at this through our


experience looking back in time at what was the context and so on then. So when you had said, they are what they are, whether we say that that's the structure of how to live and so on, the denial of that time, but not the heart of our practice. Oh, I see. Yes. Yeah. And what comes up for me when I hear you say that is, especially in the story that you just told, is two things. One is bodhisattva vow, and the other is living in the refuge of relationship, relating to the situation, relating to the person. That's the not always so practice. So I'm wondering, what would you say? So my sense is the heart of the practice is the bodhisattva vow and how that expresses itself in the live moment of relating. Yeah. I was wondering how you see, what is the heart of our practice? The heart of our practice is compassion.


And I've heard you talk about how compassion without wisdom or without understanding is not helpful. Well, yeah. Compassion is the child of wisdom. Wisdom is the parent of compassion. Compassion is the practice of wisdom. Yeah. So, but compassion without wisdom is dangerous. So just on that, that's kind of something on the same lines, I want to ask a question today. In the handout that Ron had given out regarding Suzuki Roshi you're talking about, you keep


the precepts when you keep the zazen mind. Yes. And that I'm relating to what you're saying as the wisdom, which is compassion, the wisdom being the parent of compassion. Which is, it's not something I'm actively going after, compassion, compassion, compassion. But it's that zazen mind and out of that arises compassion, natural. And all we have to do is maintain that zazen mind and whatever comes up, comes up. Would you say so? Well, yes, but formulaically that's so. But actually, what does he mean by zazen?


Zazen means selflessness. And selflessness is wisdom. So selflessness naturally brings up compassion. But what is compassion? So if we think about what our activities are, how do we relate to everything with compassion? That's Kenjo Koan. That's our koan of our daily life, how we relate to everything with compassion. And when we realize that it's really hard to do that, we have to remember, keep remembering to come back to compassion, which is to treat everyone as Buddha.


That's compassion, treat everyone as Buddha. So even though we have an argument or a disagreement with people, we try to understand where that person is coming from. And not just reacting to people, reacting to things. That's not wisdom. Wisdom is to be able to understand where they're coming from so that you get to a deeper place with that person, and you make an effort to get to a deeper place with that person to the root of where they're coming from, rather than just the face. And then that wisdom, compassion coming through wisdom, and wisdom coming through compassion. So even though we may hate somebody momentarily,


our effort is not to attach to the hate. It's fine to let it come up, because things come up. Actually, every emotion has a reason, but we don't get stuck with things, and that's compassion as well. Compassion is not to get stuck on anything, not to get stuck emotionally, or mentally, or physically. In the case of the embezzler, and actually any case where somebody comes with a transgression, they say, I want to tell you this. Your compassion may say, well, you really need to tell everybody this, or you really don't need to tell everybody this. And that is kind of the decision you were into, or faced with. Well, actually, the decision I was faced with was,


this should be known, but I appreciate the fact that you told me. And so I'm not going to turn against you for telling me this. I appreciate the fact that you're saying this. So my compassion is to not, I was never angry with this person, but other people were, and I thought, their anger, why are they angry? What's there to be angry about? Rather than angry, how do we help this person? This is the whole thing about prisoners. How do we help the prisoners instead of punishing them and making them more angry and more angry and more angry? So, but I just, I didn't ever feel, I felt compassion for him because he did this thing. He felt remorse. He had intended all the time to put it back, according to what he said, right? I don't know. We don't know that. But I take him at face value.


And so my compassion had two sides. One was, he's confessing it to me, but he has to tell everybody else because I'm not going to tell on him. He did this in confidence, right? So I wasn't going to break his confidence by turning him in. Is there any way to say he would have been better off had he done it? I mean, can you actually say that now? If he'd done what? If after he sat with you and Rev, had gone straight out. Yes, that's what he should have done. That's what we expected him to do. So he would have been, that would have been his taking the compassion and making the most of it. That's right. Yes. Yeah, something like that. Good. We have the Bodhisattva ceremony, which is sort of a generic mass confession of sorts. But I'm wondering if you think that we should have a more of a practice of confession.


No. I mean, I think that what would be good, if you had someone that you could confess to, that would be good. Like, it would be, we would be, that would take over, you know. We don't have a Vinaya. I mean, we don't have a monastic Vinaya where every one of us are together and where, you know, it's easy because that's the practice of that monastic style. But to do that, I remember one time Suzuki, I mean, Chino Sensei said, you know, when you have, maybe a good idea would be you go down to a lake or the ocean or something, you know, and then you talk about your transgressions in a setting where nature kind of absorbs it, you know, in a room.


You know, it's opaque, you know, and you kind of need nature to help you absorb, you know, and the birds are flying around. That's actually part of the premise of the Jewish tradition of Tashdif on Rosh Hashanah. You go to a body of flowing water and you put, traditionally it was bread, but nowadays it's more like birdseed or something, and you take time after the whole Rosh Hashanah service and everything, it's later in the day, to really reflect on what it is that you really don't want to carry forward into the new year, and you put that into a body, it has to be a body of flowing water. Contaminating the water, it's called. No, I'm just kidding. But, you know, this ceremony is called Abbreviated Confession,


which means that this is from beginningless, it's not like momentary. It's like, you know, the whole... We can't remember everything that ever transpired since the beginning of time, right? So we just confess the whole thing without stating anything in particular. I think it's good to talk to somebody, to have a confessor. You know, in the Catholic Church, people complain about that, oh, the confession, you know, I hated that, but actually, that's really good. You know, I think it's great. So, you can have a confessor. I think that's good, because you don't want everybody to know your stuff, do you? I don't think so. Also, do the people want to... do they want to? Yeah, they want to hear all that. Yeah, that's right.


Not everybody is on the same page. Plus, we'd be there all day. You'd be there? Yes. Russ. I like the idea of each of us having a confessor. It's like having a drama friend. Yes, yes. So, my question is, if someone is reticent to come forward, but we've observed some sort of break or inconsistency in a major precept realm, or even a minor precept realm, what do you feel our role is in observing one of our Sangha brothers and sisters in that process? Do you go to them and encourage them to unburden themselves? They appear to be suffering, they're stealing, or they're lying, or they're whispering off the various major, minor expressions of suffering. Yes. Or, leave it to Buddha, and their karma is getting worked out,


and can eventually work itself out. Yes, this is what Dogon has as a confession system, which I can't remember the exact thing. What I've done is taken the section from the Sixth Platform Sutra and made it into a kind of confessional, which it is, because it's a confession before ordination. The Platform Sutra is basically built around an ordination ceremony. That's what the Platform is. And so he talks about the ceremony is offering incense and saying something. And I've done that, and it's very effective.


It's who you want to invite. It's not like a big public ceremony, but it's about who you would like to be there when you do that. That's great for a person to actually recognize that they've made a... Yeah. But for people who are observing this behavior, I'll draw an extreme example, Richard Baker and his service. So people observe that. And then a minor thing is someone, like, eating too loudly with their Oreo. Right, yes, that's minor. That's a minor thing. But the question is when to say something, and to remind a person and encouraging their practice to harmonize. Yes. Whether to eat more quietly or to... Well... I know it's not formulaic. It's a case-by-case basis, but... It's a case-by-case basis. Yeah. So I don't want to be like the tattletale. Right.


So you tell somebody, and the other person, you can say. You can say to the person, you're a confessor, that I would like to keep this confidential. I'm going to tell you something. I want to keep it confidential. And then the person says, okay, or don't tell me. Right? Or you can say, it's okay if you tell other people. And that would be like, I observe so-and-so's behavior, and it doesn't feel... You're talking about somebody else. Yeah. Yeah, well, we already know what to do. You tell me. When you say, so-and-so is doing this, right? And then I say, well, I can be the one that either disciplines or, that's not the right word, but... Reminds. Reminds this person, because they don't necessarily want their peers to remind them.


They want somebody, the liar. Go away. So, yes, then you tell the, you know, depending on the situation, the zendo manager or the sasheen director or Sojin or Alan or, you know, and then I decide how to do that, because they should respect me, but they may not respect their peer in that sense. Thank you for being explicit in reminding all of us about that. Yes. You know, people think, well, I don't want to bother the abbot, but you should always be bothering the abbot all the time. Oh, yeah. I can't see your face, but I see your hair. So, I want to say a few words for confession. I love confession, by the way. But in reading the Abhidharma and some other, and the Platform Sutra,


there really is an encouragement that if you're going to mitigate your karmic effects, that the way to do that is to confess and repent. And that's one way to do that is to confess and repent and to vow to do something different. And that is kind of an accepted way to deal with when you realize you've done something seriously harmful. And it's different than speaking it to the ocean. You're actually telling other Dharma companions. Yes. And that there's something in that ritual of confession and repentance that actually disciplines it. When I was at Tassajara the first time, we studied karma and we practiced confession and repentance. We had ceremonies. And it was quite amazing, actually, the kind of catharsis that happened.


People really were, I mean, we were, in fact, at least for three months, we were a closed community. So, it wasn't just anybody. We were all in this boat. Right. You're on the same boat. We were all in the ark together for that three months. But it was quite, you know, it was quite powerful. And I think people did unburden themselves. What ceremony was that? We actually did a confession and repentance ceremony there. And we did it pretty much for a while. We did it almost every day. And when you say that, you mean not just like Bodhisattva ceremonies? No. We had individual people over. And then you went and you made an offering and then you made a confession. And then, you know, there was some chanting and so forth. So, we actually had these ceremonies. And it was quite powerful. So, I'm not saying we should do that.


But I think that it is in the oldenist teachings that that is the way to handle dealing with your transgressions. Yeah. In a ceremonial way, when you do it with respect and so forth. It's not just random. But, you know, first of all, you have to know what the rules are. And you have to accept the rules. And then, you know what it is that you did wrong. You may know anyway. But that Vinaya kind of thing is based on knowing the rules. Yeah, we were talking about the precepts. Yeah. Not the 240. Yes. 16, yes.


And presumably, all of us who've taken the precepts have promised to follow those precepts. Yeah. So, we do know. We do have rules. Yeah. Jed? Yeah, so, I want to go back to Dick Baker. This what? I wanted to go back to Dick Baker and... Oh, Dick Baker. Yeah. What was the... How did you guys deal with him admitting that he screwed up and had to leave? He never admitted that he screwed up. So, what happened? Well, you can only take it for so long. We didn't kick him out. He just had to leave. I mean, it was just obvious that he had to leave. We didn't say, go away. He can imagine what it was like.


And it takes me a long time to tell you. Right. So, I actually said to him, I said, you know what, we can have a big repentance ceremony. Everybody. Everybody in Zen Center together have a big repentance ceremony. And we, you know, get it, you know, clean it up, clean ourselves up. And people would really, you know, feel good about you then. And instead, he took a walk. Yeah. Because it's not just you, you know, everybody's got contributed to all this. I thought it was a great idea. But... So, what did you do? Well, he left. He said, I'm going to walk down to Tassajara. So, he started walking and he ended up at his friend's house.


That was the end of that. And then you had to clean up the mess. Yes, it took us five years to clean up the mess. It was like a broken, it was like a rudderless ship floating around in the Sargasso Sea. I think our way-seeking mind talks are confessional. The kind of confession, yeah. Because even if you don't say, well, I did this and I did that, it comes through. Yes, I think that's true. That's a good point. There's a reason why we do the Rhyakavasatsa, which means abbreviated.


Because it's not dualistic. It's not comparing good with bad and right with wrong. It's just saying, this is the karma. I acknowledge all the karma, all my ancient tangled karma or twisted karma. I'm not going to name every little thing. Just the whole business, I'm going to throw up. I acknowledge all that. For better or worse. It's not about better or worse. It's simply about what happened. And then we renew our... I'm going to go over that if we have time. Not today, no, no. Not today. Anyway, before I forget, this is for you to copy for us.


Okay. So, I don't have any new material, but I may have some before next Thursday. Because we haven't really got to the material that I gave you the first night. And I want to go over that next time. You want to go over that? Yeah, I want to go over that next time. Okay. Because you get these little sidetracks, but they get bigger than you think they're going to be. But... It's okay. Okay. It's okay.