Living in Accord with Birth and Death

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Sesshin Lecture: confirming Buddha nature; sesshin: gathering of heart/mind; what's the business under the patchwork robe?; story of Patacara

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welcome to green dragon temple
first day of sessions
also bring you greetings from san francisco city centre
home where we had he she saw ceremonies and closing of the practice period in the city on saturday
and yesterday tassajara we had she's so ceremony
and today's closing out of practice period and as a higher so he had been go to we are continuing her practice period
through this week of sessions and
we'll have our she saw ceremony on
on monday a week from today
and then close the practice period here the day after that so ah
it's very rich time and i'm three centers
lots of dime of being expressed
lots of teaching lots of good questions
oh here in fact is period we've been working with the the theme of
developing are establishing
and confirming
confidence in buddha-nature or in your true nature
so we've been looking at this various ways for the past several weeks a couple of months
and i practice of zazen actually is in itself
well i practice of expressing confidence and buddha nature
based upon
our own experience
our own say our own inner request on nature that seeks something that's true
and also
being confirmed by the tradition of may many generations and practitioners
we have sun
various ways of reminding ourselves what's most important
none of establishing and finding and again and again confirming our sense of what is buddha nature
so although those words may be abstract
your experience and particularly during session there is an opportunity to
deepen your experience
of the sense of buddha nature and confirm it and realize it for yourself
the word session
i'll come from two words actually the first part i said to access
i mean something like on
to respectfully bring into alignment
to respectfully say order
for sometimes gather sometimes is translated as gather you gather together
what may be dispersed
and chin means
hype mine
recognizing that height mine or or one sometimes it's translated as mine and sometimes as heart
so it's just a reminder that time what we're doing here in this room for the next seven is
and also as we move around outside this room for the next seven days that it's something essential
what is mind what his height
something know something essential
and the various forms that we use in their practice
lol here and to provide a kind of a laboratory or
playground him
you see if you can make it
so you can freely know dysport yourself in the butterfield have this session
in time and space and that is actually marked by the schedule of the session
so it's you know if you're climbing on and on a jungle gym my three year old daughter has to sometimes reach for the bar
i'm matt
three year old granddaughter said don't
it has to reach for the by not knowing if she's gonna actually be able to to reach it
and sometimes your feet are off the ground
she's swings on the trapeze
finding who she is finding out who she is
it might be
difficult sometimes to realize that to
the schedule and the forms of practice and sachet know very much like our version of that a jungle gym for grown ups
zen practitioners
but you may find yourself some time not knowing if you if you can reach
even survive the next breath
so that's where are you actually have an opportunity to discovered and deepen your confidence and buddha-nature
and your own true nature
earlier this week
now she's so ah
here are
considered a question about what is under the patchwork robe
this robe is also a form reminder of
whether you have all this kind of a formal robe for not
you may have the same kind of question
and the same realization the shakyamuni buddha
when no shaq on a sat under the bodhi tree after touching the earth realizing his complete connection and interconnection with the earth
realizing that he had every right to actually sit right where he was
the whole wholeheartedly present right where he was
and he noticed the morningstar fading
into the dawn light
and had this profound feeling that all beings
every every minute particle of the phenomenal world
was completely connected not separate from him
the he was mutually dependent
an interdependent with every particle than the of the worth the world that surrounded him
and he had a thought ha ha beings all beings
realize the way simultaneously
and over the generations been many many a questions send a lot of steady into them if this is so how do we
feel sometimes so apart so so separate
from our beings
and then looking into that we discover the depth of our own a habitual a mental formations that separate us
from this realization this awakening
but again and again it's been confirmed in our lineage and in our own experience that this ah
is due to our own habits detour on her fears detour own attachments
the cloud our experience and badass for i'm actually ah
i'm feeling the truth of how connected we are
how completely interconnected we are
with the very earth underneath us
the sunlight
the birds sing the birds singing
ah the crickets chirping
the banana slug going across the path
not calling actually can his calling requires feet
and are on a pastime creating a path
a slippery path
so and considering the question of what's under the patchwork rome miss row this particular form
the forty third ancestor of our lineage liang shan
was asked this question by his teacher
tongan anton gunn said what is the business under the patchwork road
so what are you really about underneath the form of your practice
what's really the most important essential and innermost request that you have
and young john could not answer has a young student he could not answer that question
and so then he asked his his teacher
my tongue on
can you tell me and his teacher said asked me the question and so he asked his teacher what is the business under
the patchwork road
and tongue on said
it is within
it is what is most intimate within
reminding him that
what is most essential the essential teaching of buddha nature
has already his on treasure
within himself

surfer for each person here sitting in this room it's a question
my feeling is that everyone here has already made some deep bow
there you wouldn't be here if you hadn't made some deep bow

when i was sad
that ten years old
i told this story before but i was i was concerned about to on
birth and death particularly about death
and down
when i was when i was nine my father bought me some some sheep
so fear the project for you
some use who are pregnant
and i didn't really know much
and i didn't get much health and then when one of the lambs died
i was pretty upset
and i didn't know
but i what i should have done and i didn't know if this was something that could have been prevented if i had known more hum
but i had to accept that this had happened
that's this but have been handed over to me as a project
was a matter of life and death

and somehow that translated to me as i was considering at him and enter having some moment of acceptance
a deep acceptance that down there is some birth and death
and it's not something that i can exactly control i may have some influence but i actually can't control
at that time i felt
well i wanted to live
with some clarity and sell accord
with this reality
but then i forgot about that
it's as if i made a vow and then i forgot about it for us yeah
i'm busy with other things
hum a few years later hormones took over
and it wasn't until maybe fifteen years later when i was at twenty five years old that ah this question really clarified again for me
and i began to recover my sense of some bell
and actually at that time i didn't even make the connection with the
the wow that i made on i was young and was after only after some more
many years of practice that it occurred to me that i had made that thou
the great teachers of our of our lineage and engage in has said it is the mind that looks into the matter of birth and death
that is the mind of awakening and his body bodhicitta
so here we have an opportunity to ah
awaken that mine
to sit fearlessly
and face whatever arises
when birth arises be present with birth
death arises be present with death
when the breath comes in be present with the breath that comes in
on the breath goes out the present with the birthday goes out
when the breath doesn't move
the present with the stillness
when the breath does move
the present with the stillness

so throughout this up
experiment of being a human being home
many people have discovered that sometimes it's incredibly difficult incredibly difficult to
into the nature of farm not birth and death
on our ancestors ah
i was a woman who lived in the time of shakyamuni buddha on a towel little bit of her story many you know night
she became known as pot the chair
which means
as someone who wanders with a cloak
but before she had that name i don't really know we don't have a record of her family name was but we know that she was on
a daughter of wealthy household in the town of sobriety
now her father was so some canada financier or banker
so there was a thriving ah
the economy in selecting in those days
so this young woman had everything that she
needed or
at least what her family thought she could want him
and they were in the process of arranging a marriage for her
when she realized it
she had different ideas she did not want to go through this arranged marriage and she ah was falling in love with one of the servants in the household
and she knew that she could never tell her parents that she was in love with a servant remember this is then caste system in ancient india
so they looked
my not to live in another town
and she became pregnant and when she had a
she was close to are giving birth she felt well maybe she could go back now and it often does happens man now there's some disagreement with parents and and children the children grow up and and back with grandchildren
ah there's an opportunity for some now rapprochement some forgiveness
and but she couldn't convince her her husband to go back and so she had
the child on her on
it was the custom then they go back and now be with your your mother
ah for childbirth so that she could assist him take the role active role of a grandmother
a couple of years later she was pregnant again and this time was more urgent and and then finally convinced her husband that time
they should go back and that she could go back to her family and make amends and have
her baby there and so they set out
and on the way ah
a big storm came up
thunder lightning heavy rain so they scurried about trying to make a camp quickly for some shelter
and when they were looking for now some branches ah
her husband encountered at poisonous snake that bit him
and he collapsed
and as he was dying she went into labor with and had same knights had her a birth to her second child
and so the next morning
she realized all she could do as leave her husband's body there and
take her to babies for to your old and her and her newborn with her
then continue the journey on her on
to her hometown and her parents
and on the way she came to a river that was swollen by the big rains of the of the night
and she felt that she couldn't cross the river holding
two babies so she
instructed the two year old to sit down on the bank and wait for her and she'd go across
come back and tom
so she did that she waded across the river
and placed her newborn on have some leaves
on the other bank and then came back
she kept looking back to check on her little baby there and then and then
was dismayed to see an eagle coming down
in an ego was coming down to snatch up her newborn baby so she started yelling at the eagle and that confuse the two year old and the other bank and he thought his mother was calling him so he jumped in to come to her and was swept away by the river
so in that moment she had lost
her newborn
and or to your home
and her husband lay dead
and so miserable as she was she felt she should still go to her parents
and when she arrived in the town of sivaji she asked the first person she mad about her family
how they were doing she hadn't seen him and several years and and this person said don't ask about them
at such sad news this big storm last night
cause the roof of their house to collapse
amen can collapse on a while they were sleeping and now they're all dead
and the town is is preparing to dig them out and
prepare a funeral
so this was too much
she went mad with her grief
and wandered around tearing off her clothing
sometimes weeping hysterically and sometimes
just in a days

don't know how long this went on at some point she found herself in a jetta grow for shakyamuni buddha was teaching
and his saga had gathered
and when she approached some members of the song i tried to drive her away because she was a mad woman
but others took some now
my compassion
and so on gave her a cloak
to cover her nakedness and when she approached the buddha the buddha said sister recover your presence of mind
and somehow the buddha's words and his presence ah was enough to
miserable disoriented state of mind
and she asked
how can you help me
and he said
i can't help you
you have already shed more tears in there are in the ocean

and you're welcome
to practice the dharma path with us
and so she took up the practice as a member of the saga
after some time ah
she felt
that maybe there was some ripeness to her practice but at the same time she felt like she was like a failure
the practice was not really working for her
and still at that time she dedicated herself again to ah concentrating of mine and following the rules of lasagna
yeah at that time
she had a deep awakening experience
and she wrote upon
which has been reported in the patera gotta
and town has translated
and the book gov
from the target the based on the target their stories of buddhist one and eggless susan the market and they will have consent who who do the translations
and the translation of her palm goes sound like this if i can remember it
when they plow the fields and sow seeds in the earth
when they take care of their wives and children
young rothmans fine riches
but i've
followed the rule of my teacher
i've done things right
i'm not lazy or proud
why haven't i found peace
bathing my feet i watched the bathwater spill down the slope
i concentrated my mind the way you train a good horse
i lit a lamp and went into my hut
i checked the bed and sat down upon
then i took a needle and pushed down the wick of the lamp
when the light went out
my mind was freed

so pata pata child went on to become ah very important teacher from any people
and she's one of the names that return which and the women's
so very interesting of and deliberate cause image in her poem and her ex and her poetic expression of her awakening
beginning with
first feeling like
ah she's failed
a little bit of comparative thinking there is other people that kind of people that she grew up with
the romance
we're having successful lives
they were wealthy man children
all of which she had lost
so she was taken another path and that wasn't seem to be wasn't seeming to be so successful either time
but then again she said i concentrated my mind
i'm following a rule and not lazy i'm not proud
concentrated my mind the way you train a good horse for those of you who are ah
a questions or horse trainers
new man immediately have some sense of of that how the relationship of training a horse on
there is a relationship of training a horse which is somewhat similar to working with your mind and meditation practice
if you are ah
say a subtle and careful trainer you are actually listening to the horse here actually tuning in with the horse
if you're sitting on the horse you
now realize it just shifting your balance affects the horse
there's all method of training horses now at that without rains
how about a bit and horse's mouth
which depends upon having a relationship with the horse a friendly relationship and a relationship that is skillfully tune
to every subtle movement of the horse so that you're actually imbalance
so when we start about alignment and sitting with tongue tied someone and use the word alignment that there's a practice of sitting is actually practice of ah ha kind of tuning in
becoming aware of your body becoming aware of your mind becoming aware of your breath
so i'm potochari says i concentrated my mind away trying to go this visit my feeling
as a sustained
quality of of attention
everyone is capable of this
and she probably had done this for years and years and ah many times found that
all of her old wounds and distresses would come up and take over her mind and she wouldn't be able to stay concentrated
but as as she worked with this practice
she discovered that she had the capacity
the capacity to be fully present
not deterred by her own memories
not deterred by the comparative thinking of her own situation compared with the wealthy romans who had been her say ah in her high school class

and then for her to say
but she washed her feet
she's clearly taking care of herself
in the bath water spilling down the slope this kind of an image of something being released
recognizing those are flow
that your life actually is

and for her to
ah then carefully go in and checked
her bed
good practice
pay attention to where you sit
pay attention to where you lie down through the center that she's maintaining her awareness in this activity of going in and and ah
preparing her bed
and then i imagine it's an oil lamp with a wix better than it comes up through be like a little love a small pitcher will spout for the week coming up and there's there's the lion so then taking the needle and pushing down a wick
is the way of
alpha extinguishing the light but that precision of mind
symbolized by the neil
pushing down the week

and entering the darkness
entering the darkness without fear
for all identity all attachments anything that she may ah hold on to
drops away
at that moment
she says my mind was freed

so at a beautiful allowed instruction
a guide
for now for us
an inspiration
for anyone who's had experienced some loss
whether you lost
your parents when you are young as a dog and did
for the last time a lamb that was it
for each project
whether you lost a child
as potty a child did
her lover
this is part of what to buddhism maoists has addressed the nature of suffering
the aspect of loss

the loss of first a sense of material freedom
as the people in san quentin i go to the san quentin meditation group ah
and actually as the loss of freedom
that brought them home to themselves

so there's actually a quality of fun
so renunciation for doing and entering a seven day session
you may experience some
withdrawal symptoms
things that they are used to doing are having
how an opportunity to express yourself in words

so we're giving up
some of these usual habits
usual environments
for this period of time for seven days
so that we can now
come home to ourselves
as as some of buddha said to potty chair
recover your presence of mind
for just a chance to recover your presence of mine
ah wonderful

so in this way
we have a chance to clearly establish confidence in buddha-nature
your own true nature
that which is not dependent upon ideas concepts and in particular belief
a habits
that you have accumulated

how is it that you are completely ah connected

let's enjoy it this playground
and also take it seriously as a laboratory

our lives are short actually
and you don't know
ah what happens tomorrow

still were preparing for lunch
thank you to the people who are doing that
for the rest of us we can take a moment if they're in a in any questions
i'll stop talking in here a question if there's one

very peaceful very peaceful
ha ha thank you for listening
may i