Sacred Space

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Sunday Lecture

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no intention
oh today is the to the to those words

good morning
and welcome the green gulch
for a hidden whereabouts are unknown
how many people here for the
first time

how many people have been coming a lot of tax
well they saw you will have probably heard me
we'll hear me say the same thing you've heard before
in some you'll probably hear something for the first time for me
i can't help wondering what it's like to come here for the first time
try to remember back
the way it was for me
long time ago
how curious it seems to
what can do a space could be prepared zazi instruction to people have as as destruction today
you step into
doesn't do with a particular foot you step up with another foot you approach your seat a certain where you bought her a certain way you turn clockwise
you flush your question yeah there's a proscribed way for doing everything
i don't know what you were used to wonder what that was all about
the truth is i still do little bit
there is such a thing i will it say i won't say this such a thing but there is in our psyche over an hour
well may need for some space that we cause sacred
could be in our home
it's usually not in a public building
like a municipal building
it's often replace that we called churches
a place set aside for a particular reason for particular ceremony for to glue ritual
who must have said this before but i must go way way way back and who in consciousness
i think the picture i get is have some grotto
wherein then before history human history some grotto some cave we kept the family bones
some relic of
people that part of a culture or civil as our civilization or a culture that
we felt was vital to us
there's some tangible way of getting in touch with those things that pass away in a world of transients
who would sacred has something to do with the words the sacrifice
sakura total
have is to say a function of a an official who mediates
in that space
ritualizes that space perform certain functions in that space that help us to get in touch with
what was once may be considered be out there in outer space the gods the powers over which we had still have forces very little control to propitiate
to ask for favors
then that we come into these spaces into this kind of space have we have set aside and by doing so
few changed her feel and contactor through the need to touch into some place that is and it wherein we honor
maybe i could say the ineffable the untouchable the ungraspable the unfined a ball
course in the old days we sacrificed in such places sacrificed animals blood sacrifices humans
it was up by giving away the power to those forces over which we had no control we would
be spared the disasters that before can be for us
natural disasters disasters of war famine sickness and so on and four horsemen of the apocalypse kind of thing
at some point coming into this space
particularly in the role of wearing these these rows his vestments that we put out for these occasions that has been handed down to us by our teachers and by a tradition
and bowing in front of the altars
into one another it seemed to me at one point that i was expressing gratitude
yeah that it was a place to come and express
not my neediness for consolation or answers but
hope for gratefulness for gratitude
who just being here together
hirsch don't feel like that
even though i can't ball very well anymore and my knees won't hallway so well but dragon still bow enough them when i touch my head to the floor when i go down to mother earth
and feel myself
raising my hands that's the old way actually the bow was the old way that
messengers came as well before potentates and kings they bowed and raise their hands it was the most def an aggressive way maybe we posture we could take is to ourselves a touch your heads are mostly grown and show the emptiness of our hands and lift to the sky
in the tradition were also say we're lifting up suffering from the earth or were lifting buddha or buddhahood
original mine are natural be life itself given it a left
ms cautious interpretation weekend
subscribe ascribe any kind of meaning to it whatsoever that we wish to with
i feel comfortable with those meanings and then of course you walk into a space like this in part of it is but taken a certain step by performing certain functions and so on it helps us consciously mindfully to pay attention
to actually the way we first of all touch the world manipulate the world step into the world around the world
and it has some mom
property of
respect and
attention to the details of our life
and a monastic training a course part of that practice is to help us realize that our whole life as rituals
a whole life can be a right the whole world can be the sacred a sacred place your bedroom your garage your office
we can take but practicing in a special space where the bones are kept
the bones of our history the bones of our ancestors
the heritage is kept we can be mindful that by walking into our offices in our garages in particular even on our automobiles the moving zendo
actually parenthetically a wonderful place to do is awesome when you're in gridlock
the real test of here equanimity
yeah but at any rate hopefully i guess one could hope that these
practices that we do that seems so strange to us and anyway so it imposed as it were from the outside
will awaken us to
the world and ourselves in it has it is as we are and that that very act of whatever doing brushing our teeth
going to bed getting up in the morning and saw on our activities though are not different from the realm of the sacred
the fact is in training the sacred and the ordinary or not too different things
if they were we will be
dealing with the kind of duality in which we are sacred for two hours every sunday and the rest of the week
the world is
a place to exploit and news for our pleasure and benefit
and then till you come into this kind of space and osun is often depicted as a
spare you know cool and spare not not a lot of iconic iconography or statuary in the you walk into this room
this base and you look around and see well with at least four different images in here
one back there and manjushri
that's an all genders manjushri the one that is holding his stick when such a beautiful away i kind of upon a very delicately and uses is called kudzu it so
can like the egyptian arc
the course it's it's an emblem of some sort of title or some sort of
power to like i like talking stick it on that we can hand around but we manjushri holds it back i've never seen quite like that the delicate way in which his fingers or her fingers in chicago
non gender form holes the me
you could see the world and the emblem of a world in his or her hands in such a way as to
who the delicacy of it all and then the half smile on the lips
manjushri is the embodiment of psychological state called wisdom and sir
personification as it were that quality and all of us of course in buddhist wisdom it's quite a different thing from just knowledge buddhist wisdom as to do with
i released from the verification or the clinging to any viewer concept whatsoever
so the kind of a farm that reminds us of what we call in the practice the emptiness of all things by emptiness we mean the lack of any inherent absolute existence that one thing has apart from its relations with other things
a whole world is relational
and interdependent we all know that you just forget it so we have these
ha this personifications is beautifully carved statues and saw to remind us
and sitting below is a
figure buddha shakyamuni buddha usually that's in the buddha hall we have usually the hall that is talk has given in is called the buddha hall and a separate from where we sit but in of our own green gulch we incorporate both this is both a lecture hall and the city hall
so we have these statues these forms brought in together here so that the shock and mourning for sitting back years you know sitting with the goal for him was sitting with one hand like this in one fingers of its new pointing to the earth
which is a replay so to speak frozen replay of that moment in the myth or legend or collar what you will have the story
oh all of our story at that moment when we get in touch with
the fact that we are of the earth and she
mother earth when mara conference buddha says who do you think you are that you can
become free of that you can preach the truth
after tormenting buddha with all sorts of temptations he finally says you know that's a real ego trip you and to think that you know the truth
where's your witness viewpoints the earth as his witness to that his depiction of them
so we have wisdom but you also have the wisdom that is
wisdom of form is emptiness and emptiness is form and you have the the virtue of
pointing to the earth itself the solidity of our life the absoluteness of something
there has given us life
and that is itself a sentient being the earth itself the whole cosmos everything you've seen as sentient being in buddhist of the little cosmology
there is nothing so small in in the put away looking her
that is not worthy of our attention and i love
why so large
and then hear the to war that face disinterestedness when faces and buddhism is true this wisdom but wisdom has to be balanced not only with the kind of down to earth nurse and everyday news but also with compassion this is called gisele personification which isn't
the all of these came from the originally from an indian indian pantheon and were subsumed into the buddhist
did a chair and so on as time went on history and jizo is a kind of figure that dumb
well it's a little bit like st christopher i think in the christian tradition is kind of a patron saint for those who travel travelers but it also has the added dimension of the traveler who is going into the hell realm
into the underworld into those places that we are thrust into when we suffered grievous loss
that jesus was willing to go into the underworld with us in other words even in the underworld there's there's the possibility of compassion
there is the possibility of expression our compassion even in the hell realm psychological state or an actual physical state where we are confined against her will there is the possibility
a both wisdom and compassion
i forget what the fit what its holding in his hand but the course the staff as the staff of knowledge and
in the is interesting however
the person put the halo behind
the era just as we have an christian eastern and middle eastern i took an here we have this and buddhists in the indian as well as our of
a personal power and particularly the personal power that we is derived from compassion
and giving
the ability to venture into uncertainty
which we are faced with all the time and more-so day by day the willingness to step into uncertainty too annoying
day by day or practice is that step into the unknown and unknowable and the willingness to do their to step out of our cocoon a nurse safety net that we have the boyishly built up around ourselves
and then below is tara tibet and figure tibetan buddhism of
female in this case
and she has the one hand up in the mood was coo
i think that is a wisdom and the foot is stepping up step in ready to step down into the world again another figure the willingness to step forward not just sit back and watch but we engage to step into annoy into the unknown to the or knob ineffable
into the hell rell or the heaven well but whatever realm whatever state of mind
i've heard there was a theory by the way that
rather than these being a bit
an outcome or result of our need for sacred space and imagery that actually recreated those sacred spaces and imagery so that we could feel that
so the by walking into
churches that have such
walking into sacred space
we are inspired taken we present the spirit
that that space in those things
represent and
inspire us to attempt to live
huh but you are still a mystery isn't it
finally you know in our precepts in a buddhist precepts in the thinks the fifth
the disciple of the
prohibitory precepts that body suffers and people become unduly ordination of nation take actually swear to
the buddhist precepts and one is that disciple of the buddha does not intoxicate mind or body of self or others
crush we immediately think of things like drugs and alcohol and that sort of but even more than that gross plane on the gross plan level it is not to intoxicate ourselves with all these
religious ideas are sacred ideas of the same time that actually very ordinary and that that is where xin steps and where would we take what is sometimes inflated or exaggerated than make it
a part of everyday market a more direct encounter with our life a simple encounter and not become stuck on our views and our habits
however refined we have made them however we become however mindful however smart however learned you know buddha as super scholar have much we master of the sutras and of the practices the whole thing again as to step into the uncertainty of the next breath you don't know this breath i understand but the
next breath and let go of it all i think that was a great lesson that suzuki roshi time
what's the ability to be ordinary the ability to be so ordinary that we can see that being ordinary is quite extraordinary
and we've all heard this thing about know what is in chopping wooden drawing water or getting up and turning off the alarm clock are making breakfast for the kids

i know that years ago
it was
one of the
ah until i say
when people like a bubble baba ram dass and another westerners had traveled to these that came back with his ideas that at least in your own home even if you aren't a churchgoer per se you don't belong to any religion or any order you can still always set up an older in your own space
a place a quarter of the house in the room i remember years ago
ram dass saying when he came back from india he went into his home and immediately even before he unpacked
his boxes or his trunk went to a corner put down an instance ball at all
put out a little water or something grew up there so that they him the four elements in them
bow to it
you ever since that time i've tried to do that even if we're moving around in a hotel room would have one is little buddha figures you know that dubai in a storm of their big
the you different thailand and so on and a picture of a clown
i'm laughing clown and wherever i go and put that up
catches that's a one space where no matter what happens all of these figures all of this kind of psychology is possible there's to step into uncertainty
without fear

because you know
for moment to moment life changes or as you've heard life jumps
i use that phrase and week or so ago in a talk i gave here for one day sitting and it actually came from the situation
that i heard about oh about an american who was in a american citizen mexico vacation in mexico and he got picked up by the narc squad
the half a little grass on marijuana and was taken into the who's going to one of the local jails and when he came in
i mean he was you know you imagine the shock is one moment you're on the beach enjoying yourself the next year being dragged into jail and to a mexican jail and the guard said to him or know whether in spanish or english he said senior lice jumps doesn't it
he was at that time it is at that moment when everything is ripped off when all of our certitude and uncertainties and our position status etc is ripped off and then for the doctor tells us we suddenly mislead our future or
when someone tells you you're going to be shot at dawn or whatever at that moment when this ripped off

we've not only step into uncertainty but we live at in uncertainty
and that is a time when it is quite natural to sit down fuller arms or of course i guess we can beat our heads on the wall but sooner or later after beating our heads or pacing the sell or whatever we finally do
you just sit down
in your hotel room in your motel room with the wind is blowing in the room that is empty of all
those things that we need to we need to survive
you just look ahead and stare at the wall
and let it be exactly what it is in other words we die and hooker tour the old self
and i think at all practice as we have to die to the old self not once but again and again and again to all of our certainties inserted to to all of a teaching that comes to us i use the term flop dog
using the withdrawal that we become flap dogs and is you become total flaps we just flop down
but we don't quite flop down like we don't sink down in this you can sink into despair but if you sit up straight
and put your hands on your knees or fold them in your lap
just look at the wall the prison wall whatever psychological prison when you have
and don't move and sit with them their they're stepping into uncertainty that is the practice and we don't need all of these things suddenly the whole world is a sacred place to do that
can replace you sit them as yourself will
and not once do we do this but again and again and again and again
because at any moment you know as all the shifts for us as you leave here today as you drive on the highways as you return home what phone call is waiting
some little bug is gonna get you some day that to be a solid fuel hirose may be old timers remember it
we fat all creatures else the fed us and we felt ourselves for maggots of hemp
we are part of a great recycling system
is that recycling system sacred and profane
it is our intention that makes it one of the other
who couple the last time i set up here i told a story about karma
somebody might remember it was just a personal story but it was very interesting because it was if if you had moved this way or if i hadn't got through that door if i had done this thing maybe those things have happened in something else would have better
we're faced with those existential choices are the time right way
i think walking into sacred space is reminding us of that fact
now that we are vulnerable
terribly vulnerable
painfully vulnerable
i don't like to tell war stories but i will tell one
national experience had happened need that made me aware of this many many years ago fifty years ago
fifty two years ago
i was a you know which was called a year
battalion aid station
in korea
battalion aid station is is a medical on
station that each battalion has actually each company has
medical tent but battalion aid station is kind of collecting place on the line before you start sending people back to collecting stations mash hospitals and saw it it's like an emergency room and general hospital
and ah
it was fairly quiet and it was not particularly we were always 'em
fearful of getting overrun and that sort of thing but the stable it is the the war in stabilized on the thirty eighth parallel
and so it be long periods of boredom and so on and then be sudden shillings and waterings and so on and are these sudden rushes of casualties and then there'd be nothing happening maybe days at a time except patrols at night
so things didn't seem so not so bad
one morning a
this officer this lieutenant came into my into a station and he was suffering from me
ah sore throat strep throat
and as and food you can have a shot of penicillin sodium a shot of penicillin in
when he was walking back to the headquarters bunker and is where we lived in log bunkers built into the ground for protection lots of sandbags on top of amazon her to penetrate makes up for direct hit
and i said well sir i was a corporal
has your day was making out of what what's called a morning report sickness in casual isn't everyday you'd have to take the morning report down to headquarters
company headquarters headquarters company headquarters which is right on the line which is on this rich but on the reverse side
so he said okay you do that for me and he picked it up and took it outside in a but twenty seconds later there was incoming hockey team
and somebody yelled from medics to gotten so when they brought the lieutenant back in
and he had been hit in the back in the head with shrapnel and i remember was bleeding from the eyes and tears and in his hand was the morning report
now we say we have this we have the same but for the grace of god right there go i
but of course you know in some sense he did not take the shot for me because
we didn't know this is going to happen but in cincy did
so one is left with a certain sense of guilt
but for the grace of god they're go i wish it had been me
and because of those those would all have that kind of thing i think that we all feel somewhat guilty because someone else has taken the shot for us
recently a very dear friend of mine a close friend of mine realize that she has a cancer
it might not be so bad but she said why not me
instead of why me why not me
i think that stepping into uncertainty
so these rituals and guess the will work do i don't know exactly what i'm driving at but i do that all of these rituals
but we do these mindfulness test but how we step into the sacred space how we treat the world a sacred space and so on remind us of the brevity of are being and of the vulnerability that we have and of the interconnectedness of all of us with everything
and that why not me sooner or later we shall all be gone we shall all be feeding worms or
dust to know others will leave behind a few things that others will remember us by in the nose to those things also will vanish and we will be a zipping ever were
even the memories will vanish
this is a direct experience what we call the emptiness
the fact that we can't hold onto anything however much we want to but while we're here in this changing form
with these practices we can be mindful of this a birth and death
and we can't perform my life is if it is sacred space and as if at any moment either i or you or somebody was going to step up and that's going to be it to me the end of the line for that person and place thing
that's true families is true countries it's true nations it's true tribes show of individuals it's true of practices it's true buddhism
we cannot afford to be attached
because in the end what you get your lose
and we have to be prepared
step into that space
vis-a-vis this
i found a poem somebody actually read a poem can meet by this wonderful polish woman poet who wonder ah nobel prize a few years ago
swallow some brochures you know her poetry this is think it's called could have translation could have
it could have happened it had to happen it happened earlier later nearer farther off it happened but not to you
you were saved because you were the first you are sued because you are the last alone with others on the right the left because it was raining because of the shade because the day was sunny
you are in luck there was a forest you in luck there were no trees you are in luck a rick a hook being a break a jam a turn a quarter inch and instant you are in luck just then a straw and floating by
as a result because although despite what would have happened if a hand or foot within an inch a hair's breadth from an unfortunate coincidence
so your hair still dizzy from another dodge close shave reprieve
one hole in the net and you slip through
i couldn't be more shocked or speechless listen how your heart pounds inside of me
i couldn't be more shocked speechless listen how your heart pounds inside of me that last line those last two lines really tired together

flop dogs
give up attachment to our practice and do the practice without noi
and know that the truth is a matter of a play of infinite
varieties of information
the lieutenant's name was pickled by the way
he was twenty two years old
huh anyway
it's kind of fight to isn't gonna be able to laugh her so are you ready
come on laugh
oh better than that
yeah you've ever laughing club in india you digital that they meet everyday and laugh and they found out that laughing even if it's forced
good for the immune system
the other happened

everyday we should laugh a little bit at ourselves and all of the seriousness to
whereas the english say the situation is impossible but not serious

we'll have questions and answers in a few minutes
i've taught know i've gotten over forty five minutes in none
somehow said something and know your job is to forget it
which i don't worry about
i have sat here twenty years listening to talks and i can tell you i can remember about as much that i can turn on five fingers were people said
so the main thing is not that the talk and will take this post because tissue and dharma talk them but to think about the dharma talk is that what you do is watch your own mind
your reactions you feel it and then suzuki roshi is to blow through you like a wind
let a whole life collector