Buddha Nature and the Ugly Duckling

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Zendo lecture; feeling of not fitting in and not belonging that sends us towards spiritual practice.


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good morning
this morning i want to talk about something that that i've thought about
for several years
while in this training and certainly for many years before that in my other life
we we call it buddha nature
the first want to tell her short version of a short story
once upon a time there was an ugly duckling
but she wasn't always an ugly duckling before that she was an egg
and she was this egg was in the nest with several with many other duck eggs and on top of the eggs was a mother duck chua
love them all even though one of these eggs her egg was on pig
it was much larger than the other eggs
the mother had consult her friends
and they decided that it certainly wasn't
village at a farm so they're only they're only three kinds of bird type
things that came out of eggs one was a chicken certainly wasn't a chicken egg the other was a turkey might be a turkey
what they decided that we were just wait and see and if it took to the water it was a duck
ah so being a mother she she loved them all so she sat on them and the others
the i'm hatched eventually but the big egg took much longer the hatch
which was odd
something different about this egg
but finally did hatch and out popped this scrawny i'll be a very large
i'm so it had to be a duck which wasn't a chicken but it might have been to turkey
but they decide a pretty soon it was a it was a duck but it was so different ah they call it ugly which is which is a word used to describe something really different
agree agree agree agree agree
and for some reason they impressed that upon this poor little duckling
so that down soon to she saw herself as i agree i mean there was no question about it she was just ugly
and nobody liked her
the other ducks and chickens or hector that's what done
birds seem to do with things they don't like a peck them
and try to kill them if they can because not only there's something as agreed it's also presumed week and the week must be destroyed
in most of nature
she had
she was tall that was her first mistake
she had a long neck
gather ducks don't have long necks and they're not tall they're very small one morning i was sitting out by the creek and made summer and a mother duck came by with twelve little ducklings they're like ping pong balls bobbing
after their mother it was the it was beautiful and was really sweet chips and they stayed right with her like glue no matter where she went
a but ah
there are the same size
little ducklings okay so this one to make the short story shorter
we had a terrible terrible time
she knew she was really ugly but not only ugly she them i also shamed so she thought she was also bad not only agree about bad just because she was are different and she had a she was born i guess in the summer and had a very very bad long winter she finally left
her family and as it turned out she wasn't a turkey because she really loved the water
and she she roamed around the countryside and one day she managed to look up and she saw these a flock of giant white birds with long necks and they were so beautiful a gigantic wings and ah she she had no idea what they were but somehow she was dry
onto to them there's something about their beauty in their grace that struck something in her
and so she went about our business and she stayed with a human families for a while and they were no much they were not much better because the the the cat in the family wanted a decoy to be a cat and the
what's the other one
cat something else well as another animal for for another animal wanted the duckling to be like that too so whatever she was she was the wrong thing
so she bought them eventually
and your
slept in the marsh
for that winter and it was called but she survived and then i just wanted to know conclude come to the ending of the story by reading
by reading the the endings for a short
ah spring spring came to the marsh
oh it was so lovely here and all the freshness of spring and straight ahead out of the thicket came three beautiful white swans ruffling their feathers and floating so lightly on the water the duckling recognized the splendid creatures and was overcome with a strange feeling of melancholy
i will fly across to them those royal birds they will pack me to death for daring ugly as i am to go near them never mind better to be killed by them and be nipped by the ducks kept by the hands kicked by the girl who minds the poultry and suffer hardship and winter
and so she flew out onto the water and swam towards the beautiful swans
as they caught sight of her they darted with ruffled feathers to meet her
yes kill me kill me cried the poor creature and bowed her head to the water awaiting death
but what did she see their in the clear stream
it was a reflection of herself that she saw in front of her but no longer a clumsy grayish bird ugly and unattractive know she was herself a swan
it doesn't matter about being born in and dockyard as long as you are hatched from a swan's egg
she felt positively glad at having gone through so much hardship and want it helped her to appreciate all the happiness and beauty that there were to welcome her later
and the three great swans swam round and round and stroked her with their beaks
crusher there is a little moral there isn't there and it was hard to miss that oliver hardship will be rewarded later
but that's not what i that's not where i wanted to go with that
so that they listening to people's way seeking my talks i i suspect it was obvious that so many of us come here ah having felt as we were growing up that there had been some mistake made that perhaps we
got in the wrong nest
that somehow we didn't we were never quite understood or that our values seem to be different but any rate we felt that we didn't belong
there we didn't quite fit that whoever we were
the clear message was don't be you w b be like us
be a duck periodic
ah if the if the books are the people we hang out with were good were really good at it we did become them but later on in life that that doesn't that can last for two wrong i don't think without a lot of suffering
so we can do a place like this
folks that are a great spiritual achievement
all seem to speak out from our true nature
and that's certainly did catch my my attention
when was it maybe in my twenties i guess that there might be there might be something it's a true nature because certainly the the one that i'm experiencing doesn't seem to be true doesn't seem to fit
what they also say is that are true nature usually hidden from us
which doesn't seem like much of a deal
ask you know why why why why is it hidden why can't we see it
well in buddhism it seems that any time we avoid are suffering i try to avoid are suffering we enter the world of delusion
with its our children greed and hatred and misinformation
stories and thoughts like know you're you're not a buddha
the fact that really shouldn't be you you should be like gods
also the five scandals with which we perceive the world
i really really so good there a rather limited and what we can see
so a lot in a large way we're not really equipped so well to to find our true nature and if we have no need to we probably won't probably won't even try
in in christianity and judaism
it's said that down we can't see who we really are because of our dualistic discriminating mind believe it or not
this stupid son appear is mainly in the garden of eden story most people think that it's about it's why why lead to so ugly because we were bad from the beginning
but the story really is about tongue adam and eve being at one with the garden and at one with god until they ate at a certain tree and it wasn't just that it was a naughty tree it was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
so as the tree of duality right wrong this that you me god us so in other words all the relationships were broken and so god santa i think maybe gabriel was gabriel with a flaming sword and kick them out and they could never ever ever ever ever
go back again
does it turns out they didn't really have to
because our a question in these terms is not to go back to the garden of eden took a back to the one is to go what in those terms to the new jerusalem which is a whole new being in other words are true nature our true nature isn't unconscious it's vibrantly conscious
so so that's true nature than if a trip it does exist and i think probably we each of us have had a hint at a taste of our true deep nature or otherwise i don't think we would make the trip
so so where is it
well so then the argument arises well is it inside or outside know when reading the lotus sutra
i think the think the biggest thing that was smacks me in the head is no it's outside it's outside it's like got it's like a jewel is given to you it's like ah the rain that falls on everything equally it's like it's outside the burning house outside
well the other the that's usually that the approach of evangelists people who are trying to convert others you know if i'm a person who doesn't think much about these things but still things are uncomfortable i will probably respond to
something coming to me from the outside because i certainly don't see it on the inside
so that's a special trick with a tv of angeles
if you if you only take on a belief or if you only turn over your life or something like that to something else or someone else and everything will be much better well the the other side of that the inside part is is the mystics so-called mystics
and where they say it's it's all within you attract jesus said that to nose picking them guy who is within you and why why the folks ride the ones and chives like that day i do not understand very dangerous tying common folk that they are god
very dangerous
one of the one of the early saints st augustine and one of his more lucid moments said
what he was talking about the eternal birth of god which is a non rather subtle notion but the lotus sutra speaks for to read
that the buddha is is not only temporal but eternal
and so augusta in talking about this eternal birth that that god is always being born
all the time he said what does it avail me if this birth is always happening if it doesn't happen in me that it should happen in me is what matters
what a cool thing to say what does it to me if it doesn't touch me
and there's another one of the other mistakes i met most eckart much later said between god and your own soul there is no between
so whatever the sun true nature is
it's something very very close
so is it is it is it inside is a downside is at both is neither
is it just unfathomable
and so what occurred to me and thinking about this was well well how how do we determine what's real how do we actually determine how do we find out how do we know what's real what's really happening
and you know i'm i don't think we do i don't think we do know what's real ordinarily speaking
i think i think reality is incredibly difficult to grasp
course it is i mean by its very nature it's ungraspable
but it does show itself
and when i was what i want something came to me was on
of this inside outside this or that visit both or is it something something else is something beyond i was thinking about light light you know that done
hit when we look at light through instruments which enhance our five scandals what we do notice is that it's either a particle or a wave
depends on which instrument you're using and what you're looking for
so the the particle or the wave or like the many that's that's the money that many manifestations of light right to of the many
so but what is the one that many in the one the one is the word light i should thank you know what we see
but what is that right it's with alas just a word a concept an idea that has no no existence in it at all
but then i think you know in dogan says leap beyond the one in the many
i think i think that's where the true nature as found when you leap beyond the one and the many not that we leave ourselves but we allow it to happen
play something about that and second
i to to leap beyond the one and the many is to is to know the reality and reality is unfathomable i was thinking about that too in it you know if you think of your finger when i know what this is is a finger and you know i know a lot about it it
detached the rest of me that's very helpful but were to look at that with a magnifying glass as oh my goodness there's more to this than i thought if i were to look at at it under a microscope
and i'd be surprised good as i know this was here and if i were to stick it under an electron microscope which you can do that sort of thing i don't know know well but if you could i suspect i'd find even more that i was totally unaware of and so point point is the reality whatever it is completely
that's probably the way it should be
otherwise i would get in even more greater sense of control feeling of control
finding out our true nature ah i try to truly who we are or how do you how to do that how do you find that will duncan says them
i at least this is when you find your place right where you are enlightenment unfolds in other words when we find our place right where we are than we'd find out who we are or what we are where we find out our reality on a buddha nature
so an end
and as far as i can see and we find this reality by first discovering our delusions that hide and obscure it from us
you know in there when is it and then
who i sang a well one of those were dog says buddhists know that they are deluded they don't always know that their enlightened that that was really cool because i think what we can know precisely our delusions since we make them up or they've been given to us
the discriminating mind makes up delusions so that we can be protected from from pain
somehow if we find our place right where where we are we will realize that we actually do belong here that we actually do belong in the nest even though our egg is big
and also there's also something about that too it's not as if reality is a thing can i mean it's not it's not really a thing like other things that once once we spotted we can then give it a name and put it in a box
and forever have to be useful to us apparently being enlightened about our true nature isn't an experience
in other words there's no observer you're observing this thing over here you're actually at one with them with what is happening with what is happening ah so you know so in other words if you can't ask somebody of their enlightened the the question doesn't make any sense premix it
it's not as if i am experiencing enlightenment that's not what it is it's annoying
what's real and it's not an experience
i'm so so what does it done even though it's a reality or are buddha nature is an unfathomable inconceivable
it does have attributes
at least we continue on to pinch them on it
one person that i particularly like these days is a psychologist who talks about this is true self and one thing he has said is it contains the compassion it contains the vision and perspective we would call wisdom the confidence we would call faith to live an inner and
external life of harmony and sensitivity no part in the inner an external ah
but our true self apparently as compassionate it's wise
it is has caught it is confident and it is able to live in harmony in insensitivity
share a hubert
homes must have you heard of i suspect
says that that i will i think of as the queen of slogans she has been posted she has a slogan for absolutely every occasion this one particular she says anything other than compassion his ego
other ones i've delude itself
is everything but compassion
filling your so when you are compassion you are acting from your true self
in other words
haku in the us attorney who i think is contemporary i think he's it ruins i i suspect
she says that are buddha nature is unfixed it's devoid of mass beyond individuality personality and imagination it's inconceivable and inscrutable
yet we can always awakened to it because we are it
another buddhist teacher was also a psychologist done david brasier says when a conditioning is abandoned
which is what we do in our practice obviously when we deal with our conditioning trying to abandon it
then the manas relaxes the monitors that consciousness that know bamboo who made up to explain why would why i think i'm the same now as i was a second ago there's something that me that get this solid go through time relatively solid it goes through time the manas relaxes the elia consciousness settles know
why is all that sticky nasty stuff of karma which gives us a appealing over that could something last that could i last so when these two things relax and settle than the mind fills up with radiance from below that would be the buddha than the good and nature in other words
when we do our practices in order to get out of our own way what arises is the radiance of our true nature isn't that nice
yes it is
so how do we how do we let it arise well first of all we have to be therefore it at which i think probably is the hardest thing to run to make a decision to actually stay awake how bizarre who would want to do that but we do we braved the terror of staying awake
and the sort of the things that we use to in this awakening are forms
and i alluded to form at some point i always i was talking to the tongariro students but i ran across in the like this kaleidoscope
ah your the pink book car on the lotus sutra there's an article and thereby japanese guide titled so you know and he's talking about
hello sutra but he mentions
the idea of form or kata in martial arts training and i thought this was the best thing i've ever seen on inform
he says
he says the the training
yeah it's a race as kata or form or mold originated in the mastery of know dance and performance this training involves three stages physical psychological and spiritual on the physical level the mastery of form is the crux of the training a model is demonstrated by
teacher and the burden of learning is on the student who repeatedly observes and emulates the model until the form is completely internalized this is my bowing
reading or a okay
and it acts as in any any of the forms that we use we do it over and over and over and over and over and over and over again until we can't stand it and we do it nor nor nor nor until we become it
this results
in a centered stance ambidextrous movement fluid performance and subtle body and mind
because it's all there are also psychological changes that occur in practicing the forms
it says the monotonous repetition of foreign practice tests the students commitment sincerity willpower emotional stability and inner strength
doesn't it
but most importantly it reduces stubbornness
curves willfulness and eliminate bad habits of body
with the investment of time and effort psycho physical maturity takes place ultimately leading to the complete mastery of form which ensures maximum performance artistry and power
then he goes on to say that the highest achievement however the spiritual
which is the displacement
get this is the displacement of a rigid ego self
god forbid with a fluid integrate itself which can break free of form so that their appear spontaneously spontaneously the unique flowering of talent individual creativity and uncanny resonance with reality
sign me up
so form
will do all this stuff which is which is in a way of like enacting our our true nature those things described by to nature
the precepts
by following the precepts that's behaving as a buddha it's behaving as a real honest to god honest-to-goodness human being
who is undiluted so every time we follow the precepts we are we are actualizing are our buddha nature our true nature
sitting upright is our a buddha said but are good and meets reality reality actually can only be met in an upright posture neither leaning left and right now for know back
you know i think when i think of this i think it will is there anybody who i actually
turned out to be the right egg and right nest
and i came to me was on
the dalai lama whom i never really used shall i say this in public i never really liked so much because i couldn't relate to him somebody that that kind and that are open and forgiving and compassionate what is that
do with me
well now i'm older now and i can you imagine what must be like to be raised as a buddha not we're probably not time i can't
maybe you can but here's here's a guy who since he was a little tiny tyke i don't think he ever got the impression he wasn't a buddha
but he wasn't get that he wasn't the embodiment of compassion and wisdom and not only that it has taught that over and over and over again and treated kindly and respectfully i think that the movies true
what and what that produces is i know this amazing person and the astounding person
thankfully it's never too late to start
so we can jump on the train that train any time
ah so to end all their son
in emmanuel kant
in one of the things that he that i was able to understand
he said he said that we act as if in order to become
and the lotus sutra seventy talks about that you must practice hi to become who you really are
what is that how can i possibly make sense but it does
in christianity there's an expression that the time is coming and now is
the future present is that is that way that speaking of our place in time and space
so so so we act as if by doing our practices our practice we act like a buddha an authentic human being
ah so in other words we are reconditioning i sound to be who we really are because we aren't we all have had that expert conditioning otherwise expert expert and so here we're to recondition so that we can be printed of the whole business you can find out who we really
so that what we actually what we learn here will service for the rest of our lives
excellent this time
when have any questions or comments
on first may ask when it's about time does the kitchen live
can drinking right way
got too much time progression
oh yes

talking about these things it's sort of easier you know you know face to face little room
when you find you who you really are it's not an it and it's not a who
how's that
as i'm just yes tiny
well she said that that it's not done it's not about individuality it's not about personality it's not personal the personal is the ego i am this i'm glad enlightenment isn't about that at all a third like town
because when you act from call you really are your your behavior is always appropriate


ladder leaning left nor right no forward and back

i want bet
i don't want that
i don't think this is good
i think it's very good
as leaning
so we are so a
correct me if i'm wrong we're all very good at that let us go we don't have to call it
i so on
so what we're trying to come and cook cultivators that is the upright stance the upright posture and i'm not necessarily
i don't mean that literally but in terms of practice it definitely literally know it when we said we were practicing that are hopefully that we can take that out of the room with us incidentally you know that the reason why we keep your eyes open is so that tongue when we're out there
we can be upright because our eyes are open
if we only know how to be upright with our eyes close them to be up right outside we have to grow kit and close our time which would be a hazard

oh can i say that i give you an impression this is bad news
yeah yeah well

right right
well that's okay then they're okay because what mean like adam and eve for example
one kicked out just because they are they're awful they were kicked out because that was the next step you know when someone tells you don't eat that
i know it looks good but don't eat it what you gonna do i eat it
so i mean the next step in their development you know they knew the one we know the one in the womb apparently currently ah
who could have told me that doesn't it well whatever
but once we know the one than we have to know the other
how the ego has to develop otherwise we can cross the street currently but for whatever reason that that's the way the a human being developed we develop an ego some of us develop them really functional lens and of us develop
very hurt ones wounded ones but in a way it doesn't really matter what matters is practice
i completely accepting ah
well it's all delusion you know like know that i'm anything anything i say is not quite right
if i say i'm really really terrific and special
got any different from i'm i'm the worst
so in a way that they wanted but brought their ego into development doesn't matter so much but it's it's it's doing the practice you putting the practice onto it i think where where we wake up
what would become who we truly are which is compassionate and rise and confident
that's big

i don't don't you after a while
when you think you think of your parents and what they didn't know what they did
kind of looking back now it's so well geez what like what other choice did they have given given their circumstances and ah
what what choice was there probably not much i were not much plus having come from a different planet also
came into it
don't you find when you look back on the things seem to make sense of logan or even if they don't it's okay because what i find it's it's all right i can let it rest only by truly accept myself now i don't then i want

yeah yeah definitely

yes yeah
same thing yep yeah
by leaning into it without my being aware of it it's just it's just like young being so sound asleep they don't say maha prize
and guy

it out
speaking of your own sarcasm or mine which i hope isn't which was actually

yes yes
oh yes yes because i because her identity is at stake cooper we think we honor is at stake and and that's very dangerous for us
you know put as good as know about their delusion so so buddha away and awakened one when they see themselves when they feel themselves leaning ah raining like awakened can or any anything that death
like judgment or sarcasm now same thing ah judgment sarcasm
the rough compassion right oh you need or your sarcasm perhaps fluctuation
oh yeah please don't get me wrong i'm not against suffering i think it's i think it's the it's the only gate i think it's the only gate into who we really are

well i don't see any difference whether i don't see those penalty either problem
i think if you're no i don't see that as a parameter at all

yeah don't think about it as a problem
and know if you only have one arm this is gosh all which can't do that than this is gotcha
i don't see it the crime of premises

when i know habit i think is i think has a bad rap i mean even even the word habit i mean who wants to be told they have a habit
i was thinking about that too
and what i
i thought about was
so right
i have habits and there are
and they're escalated version of addictions prefer the same
and i have a habit of coming to the zendo so some habits are wholesome i've been happens are unwholesome if i come to the zendo out of habit that's a pretty good thing if i know i'm coming to this end out out of habit that's even better