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I vow to taste the truth of the Tathagata's words. Good morning. There's a story in the Bible about Jonah and the wheel. Jonah gets swallowed by the wheel, and then the wheel goes into the ocean. So this is like Sashin. We get swallowed by Sashin. And then Sashin goes into the great ocean.


So does Sashin protect us from the ocean? And what is it to be consumed by something? What is it to be consumed by anything? To be consumed by the pain in your left buttock after you've been sitting still for 30 minutes. That's what that story's about. And Jonah stayed in the wheel for 40 days and nights. Forty days and nights is way too long to hold your breath and keep waiting for the bell to ring. It's way too long to keep your shoulders tense and your chest tense and just wait. Forty days and nights you've just got to give up


and be in the belly of the wheel. Whether you like it or not, there you are, consumed. Not one, not two. So it's a very Zen story. You know the last time I sat here it was dark and wet. A little cold. Now it's sunny, starting to warm up. Hmm. There's a lot that happens inside the belly of the wheel.


There's this famous Zen story that goes something like this. Not like that. That's another Zen story that's happening all the time. Whether we like it or not. Where question and answer arise together. Is there anybody listening? Okay. This Zen story. Teacher asks his student when the wind blows the chime does the chime move or the wind move? And the student responds the mind moves. And the teacher asks her


say something about the mind. And the student says imperturbability. The capacity to not be disturbed. Yun-Yun asks Dong-Shan a similar question. Although it was a lot simpler. He just sort of said to him, how's it going? And Dong-Shan said, I wouldn't say I'm totally peaceful. And Yun-Yun said, well what would you say? It's like in the middle of a pile of shit there's a bright pearl. Issa, the famous Haku poet said


how lovely through the torn paper screen the Milky Way. So what are they getting at? How does it relate to the very substance the very particularities of your experience? How does it guide your effort? How does it guide your response to being in the belly of the wheel, to being who you are? To being what you are? What does it say about what it is we're trying to do here this week?


What is it to wait for the bell to ring for forty days and nights? What is it to wait for the bell to ring for forty days and nights? Another famous Zen story. A student with great insight asked the teacher how can I avoid all this discomfort? How can I avoid being pushed and pulled by being annoyed and disappointed, by being hurt, by being discouraged and being caught up in elation? And the teacher said,


no, well why don't you go to the place where it doesn't happen? And the student said, well where is that place? Is that imperturbability? The place where the karmic dualism of being what we are ceases. Is there a way around it? Is there a way underneath it, above it? How do we get there? Someone told me recently that they could see absolutely no point for subjecting themselves to all the pain and discomfort that Shashin creates. And they asked me for a good reason why they should do it.


What would they get out of it? What would they accomplish? So we laugh at that question because we know that we've asked it. Maybe not in such bold terms, but in the midst of wearing our cloak of physical pain, we search for that place, that physical position that goes beyond discomfort. Maybe if I just move my back a little bit more like this, or maybe if I breathe in toward a soft, slow breath, it'll melt. Maybe if I hold my mudra a little more like that,


maybe if I can calm my mind, not let those kinds of thoughts come up, those kinds of experiences enter in, I can find that place of imperturbability. So that's what the student's asking about. And that's what we're asking ourselves over and over again as we endeavor in Shashin. Especially in those moments where it just seems way too intense. Whether it's our physical pain


or whether it's the creation of our psychological life, bringing forth, whatever it is it brings forth, whether it's fear, uncertainty, loneliness, yearning, anxiety. How do we find imperturbability? How do we find that steady settledness that allows us to see the milky way through the torn paper screen? What a sweet image. And what a fierce answer the teacher had.


Just let it kill you. Whatever it is that arises. Just imagine you're in the belly of a whale for forty days and nights and it really doesn't help to struggle against it. Just be it. It's a pretty fierce proposition. But something about this proposition


we study, turn over and turn back. We look at it carefully and we see that there's a way in which when we're willing to be here, by this point in Shashin, pre-Shashin, starts to seem like a dream. We start to think that breakfast means going to the Zendo and eating oreo cake. We start to associate noontime with work meeting. Our life has been redefined, restructured.


This great wheel is consuming us with such a potency that we can't resist it. You know, the one thing you learn from doing lots of Shashins is that it's better not even to try to resist it. The most helpful thing you can do for yourself is be consumed. And to let that happen more and more, tell it each activity, each period of Zazen, each meal, each work period,


just be your whole life. To let it draw you in, to let it establish its own grind of here and now. This is very helpful. And as we start to do it, there's a kind of a relief. Not that we're totally happy here, but even so, there's still a relief. Because we've experienced the agitation of trying to be somewhere else, of trying not to be here. We've experienced that right in that struggle,


in that resisting, there is suffering. Just like they say in all those good books. But as Deng Xian says, it doesn't mean we're totally happy here. It doesn't mean we've let go of all the patterns of behavior, of body and mind, of thought. Of emotion. There's still moving around, kicking up the dust, creating a disturbance. But now we have this amazing opportunity


to start to see them, to feel them for what they are. And this is indeed an amazing opportunity Sepo said, the whole world is me. Later, after Deng Xian was leaving Yongen, he made up a poem. And the heart of that poem is a very simple phrase. Everywhere I go, I meet me. Thoughts of the past, me. Thoughts of the future, me.


Judgments about that, me. Feelings about this, me. Pain in my knee, me. Everywhere I go, I meet me. The whole world is me. The whole world is me. So Deng Xian went on with his illustrious Zen career and he played with this idea. And as he played with it, he came up with an image. And the image is something like this. It has to do with host and guest. So yesterday T.O. was quoting the line saying,


if you can achieve continuity, this is called the host within the host. But sometimes it feels for us like it's happening out there. It's being done to us. And it's not very pleasant and it's not what we want. Or it is pleasant and we want more of it. Those sweet moments in Zazen, when for whatever fortuitous blessed reasons we find that imperturbability, when the breath develops an intimate texture and we start to experience its softening. Or where we see the activity of mind.


And we see right through it and we see the Milky Way. How wonderful. Will it always be like that when I'm enlightened? If I just manage to do Shashin right, can I hit that place and just stay there? So those moments are very easy to welcome in. For those moments we throw the doors wide open and say,


please come in, take the best seat. We're a wonderful host. Where have you been? Please stick around. I've got so much to talk to you about. But first, embrace me in your arms. So I never forget. So Deng Xian played with these ideas. The host, the guest. Welcoming in our experience. Rumi writes about this. The guest coming to the door, throwing open the door, setting the table with the finest food and wine for the guest.


Only to discover that the guest is you. And that finally you've arrived home. So Sapo offers a word of instruction. He says, try this on. The whole world is you. Every experience is you. Welcome it in. Meet it, greet it, become it. How would it be to sit as in,


and every experience is here. Every experience is this body and mind. Would this teach us something about imperturbability? The capacity to not be disturbed, to not be thrown into trying to grasp at it or avoid it. Like a host receiving a guest. Once I was taking care of someone who was dying,


and he was a marvelous host. And he had this capacity, even though he was very sick, and was doing nothing but lying in bed dying, to make you feel extremely welcome. I don't know how he did it, but every time I went to visit him, and I sat down beside him, I felt like I was entering a fine home and being treated in a most delightful manner. To please, welcome your own experience home. All of it, not just the juicy parts, those penetrating insights, those sweet moments when the bell rings,


and you move your knees, and this stiff, painful body miraculously transforms into fluid intimacy, warm and soft. How does that happen? Where did the stiff, painful body go? Was it just an illusion? Was it just something we held in our mind so that later we could let it go? Whose permission do we need to let it go? What circumstance can we only let go when the bell rings?


How does that happen? So this is inquiring into imperturbability. This is plunging right into the belly of the wheel that's plunging right into the depth of the ocean. How is this world put together anyway? This body that seems so solid, seems so knowable, so known, can become so mysterious when you hold it still for 30 minutes. And what is this physical pain? That can be held sway by inhale and exhale.


And then consume the whole world. And then be held sway again by the breath. So we're studying the very particulars of what it is to be this body, these very particulars of what it is to be this mind. And sometimes it's mysterious. Have you noticed how sometimes this body is heavy


and sometimes it's light? And sometimes it's dark. Sometimes it feels like it has lost all energy and sometimes it feels strong and powerful. What state of mind does that point to? Each of those feelings. So we open the door and we invite in the guest. All the particulars, all the experiences that we have,


we invite them all in. We make contact with them as intimately as we can. Because we know we're already just this. Because we know that this is our life. Because we know that any thoughts about before Shashin and after Shashin are just that, they're just thoughts. Because we know we have indeed been consumed by the whale. This is life.


We throw open the door, we welcome in our experience. In Zen we call it studying the self. So with the patient, compassionate diligence, we make contact to whatever comes up. Make contact, open to it. Jealousy, this very mind is Buddha. Despair, this very mind is Buddha.


Erotic fantasy, this very mind is Buddha. Great compassionate thoughts, this very mind is Buddha. Deep gratitude, this very mind is Buddha. Powerful fluid body walking across the Zen dome to bring the hot cereal. This is the body of Buddha. What is it? Constricted painful body lost in the last minutes of a period of Zazen. What is it? How is it? Making contact to coming.


Just this. Whose permission do we need to do this? What accomplishment do we need before we can begin this? Under what circumstances and conditions are we willing to engage in this way? Each of us answers that for ourselves. And as we study the self, we discover how to answer it.


Hey Jack, before you go, let me tell you about a dream I had about you. You and I were in a car and the car went careening off a cliff. And about a thousand feet below, there was the ocean. And I turned to you and said, we have about three seconds, but when that's all you've got, it's a lot. So sometimes it constricts and it seems very small. So that's just how it is. And sometimes it feels very spacious and wide.


And that's how it is then too. So imperturbability, the capacity to not be disturbed. Okay, I'm having this experience. Okay, now this. And to let the structure and the forms and the particulars carry you forth. You're not alone. And you're completely alone, because the whole world is you. But you're surrounded by your own world


and you're surrounded by people who are engaging in exactly the same way. Because when the whole world is you, everybody's in your world. Everybody's there with you. And you're in their world. We are in enormous support to each other. To be sitting, knowing, feeling, experiencing everyone else sitting. It's a great support for us. As you walk down the hallway, just feeling your footsteps touch the floor, this supports everybody who passes you.


Already your bodhisattva vow is fully active. Each time we just let the next event happen. We let the reality of just being in the midst of Shashin activate itself. The gong hits. Work meeting. When you sit in a comfortable chair on your break, let it's comfort consume you.


Let it's gentle support to your back soften your whole back. Let the luxury of having your legs uncrossed be sweet and nourishing. This is what it is to invite in the guest. How lovely. Through the torn paper screen. The Milky Way. We are intention.