Sesshin as a Koan for the Body

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Sesshin Lecture: Easter/Buddha's Birthday; enlightenment experiences; dharmakaya; not doing anything; nirmanakaya; this is your life

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the money
welcome to this
seven today
says she
in the last day so it's
already some feeling that on
i'm ending
nope course today's also on april eight
in montana northern countries is as recognized and celebrated as buddha's birthday so
and it's also easter sunday
recognized in christian world is most important day
rising from the dead
the term actually easter easter's biology from
ah origination
from sanskrit
term which which refers to the dawn
as ezra was really refers to dawn or but a kind of a shining quality something that shines and then in
germanic countries there is a goddess and goddess esther
and so
goddess of the dons name noah's bud
ah well
ah the when kristen kristen done took over europe basically adopting various
pre existing pagan festivals
the date was set for mr
i thought should i give a little talk on his birthday but here at gringotts we moved the celebration of buddha's birthday back
for convenience and on calendar few weeks so i think that'll happen in may so a beer big celebration to buddha's birthday
first sunday in may this year may sixth

and then i feel some sadness on this shining
they have awakened i feel some sadness for
vince russo my friend panta
and dharma
damn a practitioner who was really that the inspiration and the leader of the san quentin where the dharma sangha
in losing his wife suddenly unexpectedly chester
and the information i have is this varies very scant at this point just talk to lead the bass on the phone a few minutes ago and he didn't have a more information
but just that she died very suddenly possibly a heart attack on on friday and
so i've had keep having these thoughts imagining what events might feel i really don't know any my feel better
i would imagine some frustration at not being able to
go out from san quentin not take care of any the affairs
rounder death and than they have a thirteen year old son
nam down
don't really know
i'm for that teenage boy very difficult
so birth and death very much are very much in my mind i think as he was in her forties and leave the the best and know her age but i asked him so he thinks in in her forties bed to anda
he was that the to has taken good care of yourself and was in good health so ah
so some of you here will go like mri and astrid i don't know if anyone else going to san quentin this evening and they'll do a memorial service there and we did one here this morning so
when i'm sure they'll come back with more information

so an obsession is
a loss and itself and then this as a no not a cloud
maybe for you it's just you a chance for celebration and accessing and but i actually feel myself i spent a wonderful wonderful session in people ah practicing and with such am sincere dedication
as is an inspiration to me and
in case i might forget and i want to thank all of you for your practice
so this is the first opportunity i've had to to lead a session in here at the green gulch
ma'am town
much much has happened during the session
they've been many enlightenment experiences
then i know about
hum the people have told me about
of course they're gone now
the enlightenment experiences come and go
it's actually very difficult to that
i understand interpret and bring meaning to experiences that we have in zaza and sometimes because i usual mind is inadequate is not adequate to the to ask
and really shouldn't even take it on as a project him
and the mind takes it on as a project to understand the meaning of various experiences you had ah
then of course you know it happens
you get further and further away from
they are
ah awakened the state
we've been some
one description that that i came up was
that term this practice however
sitting says shane is really a con for the body a bodycon
that town
ah the baffled sin battles and bewilders the mind but the body actually understands
and there's something that to
you feel and experience i kind of clarity ah some acceptance some peacefulness that better
you know effects just how you touch each thing that you touch how you ah
work with yearn for aoki practice you may notice it particularly during during meals may notice that when you walk out of the zendo and are suddenly struck by the beauty the day
put your eyes have a fresh receptive quality
so this is all included actually in awe
the experience
and tom
there's a sense in which here actually cultivating another body a body of awareness
that's not your usual it's not just your physical body and it's not your usual mental ah
the organization of how you identify yourself and put things together how you understand and perceive things ah there's a shift in that
you know it we chant the
ah the beginning of a serving at the mayo each at the names of a buddha returned on ah kiah some book okay on your mana kai of buddha
of course there's
matcha mahayana descriptive writing about different bodies of buddha
and ah
ah it's some effort actually to put into words the experiences that we actually have
in i practice
they go beyond what we can conceive hollow we could say we can say intellectually that di matteo a noise inconceivable around there are there is no birth and death named him around on diamond higher
there are no beings there are now being so that cannot come into existence or go out of existence
ah it's a complete ah
ah luminous realm
exemplified by viral china border which is some time by china border sometimes just described as pure luminescence pure luminous quality know which is only a very partial description because it just applies to our visual experience
but of course i visual experiences pure light everything that we actually experience is just like hitting their the receptive cells in the retina of our eyes so scientifically we can understand okay there's this this is just like hitting this
is ah
ah so the everything that we see is simply light itself
and then with are marvelous capacity of interpretation were able to turn it into shapes forms beings ah
seeing other people seeing our own reflection and so shot and in the river and realizing that this is this is me i'm saying but what i'm what is me pure light
nothing but pure
luminous quality so this is away we have of describing our experiences as a dime ah kiah and that you can also say pure sound
when you when you is it that tea tree you know that the absolute taste
it's a pure taste and dime ah kiah buddha
naturally we want to hold onto the absolute
and be completely satisfied ah
that tea tree

and so the body that we actually cultivate in our practice the body which ah
his satisfaction for equality of blissful night's ah
the quality of fire her
nando all completely ah being karma harmoniously engaged in this inner interconnected experience
sometimes we say well this is the breast body the bliss body in a samberg attire
so this is actually the experience of yourself as buddha
as dorgan talks about body and mind dropped off
and so we can take that and put it up as somebody okay ah luciana but and of course all the other than buddha's that identified such as amitabha or amida buddha living in the pure land ah
yes sir
the recognition that we are already completely perfect
we are completely perfect and when we make that
that leap that perception of ourselves as completely perfect than we are actually how living with ah amida buddha and the pure land and as always been in china and japan at a close relationship
between zen chan and and pure land
and from the one for the pure land point of view because we are already perfect it's
really a mistake to do any form of practice at all because ah that would be a kind of an insult as if a denial of here perfection nine
the story of five wherein a gooey who is the pure land ah
a clergyman
in japantown at the same time suzuki roshi was sad
zen teacher at time
za koji temple in japantown meeting meeting in a bookstore
and ago is quite a bit younger than then says if the and he now little conversation and he said no having a hard time i'm feeling in i don't
i really don't have my place here i don't speak english well
and i feel kind of lonely i don't know i don't have any practice which i resent people have a practice suzuki roshi said well you can come and sit zazen i think there be up there would be okay
and there
so they handle a conversation about it in which
i think suzuki roshi communicated that actually doing zaza and it's actually not in practice right and it's actually not doing anything
so if you're not doing anything that it's okay to do that
so then given a good felt that it was okay for him to come in and join and sits as and sometimes ah
and we know that our practice as zazen is
ah a great effort
in the direction of of not doing anything
and during the course of this seminary than are people every refined refine your your practice noticing more and more ways in which you're doing things that you didn't even realize
ah layers of a conscious and unconscious or subconscious ah doing
tiny desires that began to take over and lead the whole train of thoughts
little just a little discomfort
in sitting can lead to way to escape that turns into a whole scenario of your whole future life and you can imagine playing out next year and years beyond and to so you might you may have a whole vision of possibilities and unfolds and in a few men
it's of sitting ah
and then if you if you pay close attention to that you may notice that actually just is it just started with a slight wiggle
just as slightest to a guy actually squirmed and just a little bit in my mind and then took off
mike on a spaceship into the future
time traveling people the time traveling and zaza now
and sometimes traveling back into the past and seeing something very clearly that to
that it's always been confusing and may be bothersome and now you can see it so you may need to do and then you come out a session or you sit there and all i need to do something about that and so then you think about what to do about them and some
and sometimes you do need to do something about it
so we're always working within okay just to do what's absolutely necessary
now if you need to remember to make a phone call to somebody because he suddenly realized in the middle obsession that the last conversation you had with them really ah was had some problem he didn't even notice at the time
the knife nave realize that you feel badly about it and you're gonna pick it up until you want to please contact that person and so you could spend all day thinking about possible conversations
but actually iran me to do is remember
make a note to make their phone call because you don't know what the conversation will be
duchess like sorting out the things that you
ah can actually actually lead go off
until you become very still
and so this is a process of
ah working with that the near my nokia
then the body that you have
which is the buddha body
and at the same time it's the buddha body and a form that separate from the rest of reality and that it is identifiable as one of a myriad things as a phenomenal phenomenal being phenomenon
quite amazing
so long the marriott myriad things ah
we discover again and again that we actually have ah a physical there's a physical body a physical reality of the world of form
and so
and here
the the chant that we just did introducing diamond talk
it talks about this the body
this body being supported by on the other bodies my my buddha bodies but that this body is the same as the body of shakyamuni buddha
same kind of body no different
ah so this is actually i reminded that with this human body
you have the the wonderful and rare capacity to wake up
to actually realize your mother nature

so and and thinking about birth and death and i was reminded of this bomb on from mary oliver's
the the buddha's last instructions
and tom
so she's looking at or how to go forward
and it doesn't upon based on the dawn the light the light is coming up so in this poem she she has an interplay
in her experience of the dawn and of but as dying
dying into the light
make yourself a light said the buddha before he died
i think of this every morning as the yeast begins to tear off its many clouds of darkness to send up the first signal a white fan streaked with pink and violet even green
an old man he lay down between two solid trees and he might have said anything knowing it was his final hour
the light burns upward it thickens and settles over the fields
around him the villagers gathered and stretched forward to listen
even before the sun itself hangs disadvantaged in the blue air i am touched everywhere by its ocean of yellow waves
no doubt he thought of everything that had happened in his difficult life
and then i feel the sun itself as blazes over the hills like a million flowers on fire
clearly i'm not needed yet i feel myself turning into something of inexplicable value
slowly beneath the branches he raised his head
he looked into their faces
have that frightened crowd
and then went to gonna say
various sir
va a ser messages but particularly
be a lamp
recognize that time
then i'm given the dharma i've given the teaching you have it
but it's up to you to do the practice
and now it's up to you to do the practice of ah making
your life into luminous numinous life
so this is that the
a challenge that faces us as with and session and then we're going to n practice period
and ah
we move out from this incubator
this very protective environment
very abominably and tenderly and i still at the tremendous strength and resilience that
when your mind is not ah
and limited on your mind is is open when your height and soft
there are many possibilities and so how do you mean
the complications
i then look at any newspapers this week but then there is this
tradition i know the bed to norman used to do reading some of the clippings from there
the headlines from the weekend i'm sorry that
i don't have newspapers i did however go online for a couple of minutes and surprised to find a headline in the san francisco chronicle
that bedbugs are returning
there's a picture of a beagle dog that they named ladybug
and ladybug has been trained to sniff out bedbugs and there and they're taking ladybug into the hotels of san francisco
to clean up the problem of bedbugs so it's terrible at people tourists come from all over the world the san francisco and discovered that they're picking a bedbugs in san francisco so so this is become
have something of a great local concern
so that actually took second billing to the pope the pope's
mr morning snow service and
which he addressed to the pain and suffering of the war in iraq
ah which continues
and down
it's very strange to me actually the thought that
sending and a surge of more ah
troops and weapons
can bring peace
very strange had kind of thinking to me i mean i i do understand it i understand how people can come to that kind of conclusion but
again and again
ah rip
haven't we proved that that kind of thinking doesn't work
so it's so with some sadness that bedroom step out and them read the paper and are faced with
ah the trouble that human beings cause each other
a feeling that to for a part of being human is to cause some problems
but then in part of being human is to also understand how to simplify your life and minimize the problem that time
holy cause
but his eyes were caught up in our own fear is that was talking about yesterday ah we don't seem to see that
ah there's a way beyond reacting out of fear
so this happens on a national level and it also of course happens on a very personal level came here ah
related to the people and your new everyday life as you go forth from says shaming and from practice food can you relate to them
i'm now knowing as much as you know about your own fear in the tendencies that arise from that ah
can you release that
and ah
be kind
green kindness to year
ha every meeting
every encounter
so it helps
for us to have reminders because we quickly forget
just as you notice then you're sitting that just one selfish that can take you a completely out of here settled state
and then you have to find your way back to it and so then remember the teaching as the teaching
ah the bow to be present the boundary be present with our beings that about to be kind but myself
and and the teaching that that really your life is in the present moment and so how to find that by
reminding ah yes recalling the touchstone of the breath and finding the breath again and them and then settling your yourself on the buddha the buddha nature that is your your deeper capacity and so all that
ah that recollection
the practice or recollection of coming back to yourself
the practice is something that you can you can take with you
and it does help to have a support
it has helped to have a dimer friends and thus helped to have reminders
ah does help to have an altar in your house
and to ah
now let that call you back from time to time
it does help to take some conscious ah moments
that you actually scheduled into your day here of course at to
ah had been gone chance and center him we we build that into the day for the whole community but if you're going out from here and you're on your own you need to in order to define that again
consciously now
set aside some time
to do this practice of recalling your bow
and returning ah to yourself in the present moment
and when you go through transitions in the day
you can actually make a practice of noting the transition and saying ha before i crossed the bridge into this transition kanye
return to myself and straighten up and stand up and find my center and now sometimes it's just entering a new room when you are visiting someone when you knock on the door to a stop and find that you're fully present before you greet them for on the other side of the darwin the bill and the know
bell rings
all these moments are opportunities to recognize ah ha here i'm entering ah the unknown now with an open eye
it's not open okay what can i see what it is that's hindering me and acknowledge that at least
til by working with this over time you
can now
the more of your life
as some hello kitty's for and bodhisattva
as a compassionate one my who can actually hear and see what's right in front of you

so you taken your body with you the practice of digital sunlight the some audio self-fulfilling and receiving
ah enlightenment
and you can't actually hold that in your head but you're actually carrying it ah
in your area session
bliss body
but then you consciously can also do the there
the samadhi practice of it you go some my one act samadhi which is mindfulness practice accessible at any moment is simply bring your mind to what you're doing what you're touching what does this video have no experience
rising in whatever since field is activated ah
so we actually have
can take this practice
how sometimes i've talked about when i was
one of my children were very you were young
and i had been living at gringotts moved on to mill valley and i was ah
face to have doing everything
you in having a cook breakfast
here most people don't have to go back with a few people cook breakfast for everyone i wonder how living there and individual household new have to have have to do that so i'm cooking breakfast i'm trying to make pancakes ran a mixing up some some batter and my daughter hannah runs in and says daddy daddy and is anthony
i'm busy i'm making for i'm trying to make pancakes here and daddy that and also it's sir
there can be confusing and i'm saying i don't have time for you i'm making pancakes for you
so i'm working with that know i discovered that actually i couldn't take a moment to actually turn and give her attention
so i was taking the itchy girls my practice to responding to the cries of the world the cry of my daughter
and that
so i would put down when i was doing and just turn to order and say
amazingly enough
a lot of times she would just do something i say hi daddy and run off
so that's all she needed was was one second of full attention
or sometimes it was like yeah i haven't have i have an hour you i hurt myself and need a band-aid or or or to you would have something to show me i made you this picture
i'm i'm so ah
i just suggest that because sometimes what seems impossible i can't deal with it is impossible i'm already doing something i'm busy
if you can find a little bit of space stop and say
what seemed impossible and seem that as an intrusion actually opens up into your life now this is your life and your life is is expanded
it's more inclusive
and what you thought was important because he planted out and you know this is what you're going to do is actually not as important as your life
so your life is it possible that your life actually emerges from the unknown
your life isn't what you have planned out and think you're going to do
the plans that we make
ah a useful to a certain extent some limited extent and and it does this help us cope with the phenomenal world
and some of the things that we plan actually do happen
but whether they happened in some narrow sense for happen in the sense of a broad open butterfield ah
it is quite different ah you can live a very cramped and now life and accomplish your plan or you can live and expanded
while open life and frolicking in the butterfields
they keep emerging that you can't control but that you can meet

so part of that world is distressing to and that so important to to see that and i wanted to read another poem of mary oliver's hum
brings it home and her feeling of wanting to have a particular kind of world
and to have
and then being confronted with the world that's not quite that world
in singapore in the airport
a darkness was ripped from my eyes
in the women's restroom
one compartments stood open
a woman knelt they're watching something in the white bowl
disgust argued in my stomach and i felt in my pocket for my ticket
upon should always have birds in it
kingfisher say with their bold eyes and gaudy wings
rivers are pleasant and of course trees
a waterfall or if that's not possible of fountain rising and falling a person wants to stand and a happy place in a poem
when the woman turned
i could not answer her face
her beauty and her embarrassment struggled together
and neither could win
she smiled and i smiled what kind of nonsense is this
everybody needs a job
yes a person wants to stand in a happy place and upon but first we must watch her as she stared down at her labor which is dull enough
she is watch washing the tops and the airport ashtrays as big as hubcaps with a blue rag
her small hands turn the metal scrubbing and rinsing
she does not work slowly nor quickly
but like a river
her dark hair is like the wing of a bird
i don't doubt for a moment that she loves her life
and i want her to rise up from the crest and slap and fly down to the river
this probably won't happen
but maybe it will
if the world were only pain and logic who would want it
of course it isn't
neither do i mean anything miraculous but only
the light that can shine out of a life
i mean the way she unfolding and refolding the blue cloth
the way her smile was only for my sake
i mean the way this pot
is filled with trees and birds

so going forth into the world in which ah
now people is people are struggling and suffering
and a world and woodshed
now people have made rules that ah i completely unfair
and so one more poem from
and they'll mean
ah near mean i i read one of her palms
when of those be neat
but this one is
her confrontation with the
this world in which others have made rules
i missed the day on which it was said others should not have certain weapons but we could
not only could that should and do
i miss that day was i sleeping
i might have been digging in the yard doing something small and slow as usual
or maybe i wasn't born yet
what about all the other people who aren't born
who will tell them

so sometimes it comes down to your responsibility to tell others what kind of a world
what kind of a world it is that you live in and what kind of a world ah
that you
ah see that they are living in
and you have this choice of living
and a buddha land
or living in some sigh
but then you don't have the choice right because you have to live in samsara
you have to be a human being
so you have to do some practices
to fully realize what it is to be a human being
if you don't do this these practices is the spiritual practices if you don't have
is have
carefully worked out forms in your life
then you actually don't understand your whole life you can't experience your whole life
the only experience the part of at that
is constructed
and purpose for
you don't experience the river and you don't experience
the luminous by china buddha that's waiting right in your eyes
i wanted to end this talk by some words from your kind ah
maybe a palm and then some admonitions
i have too many poems march here
to find the one that i wanted
this one that is reminiscent of bedbugs right
fleas lice any autumn bug that wants to sing
the breast of my robe is the most actually no more
but be warmed and the sun hang
then he puts him back
very carefully
this is real guns ah same as compassion time
for those small creatures that death that he's supporting
and then
he lives in this little hut guide last night i
yeah even talk about a hat where the roofers came down on the rain's coming in and you can see the moon in the raindrops on the sleeve of the robe have
i thought that was a real con palm i'm not sure but but here's one
where he is also in a slow hut and
break and it's amazing there's so much poverty around and this is in
early nineteen early nineteenth century and japan
my zazen platform my cushion
they made off with both
thieves break into my grass hut who dare stop them
all night i sit alone by the dark window soft rain pattering on the bamboo grove
the the story of your can with a thief who
who came and
and real con gave him his robe
and sat shivering
ah it was really i had left
the robe and he gave it away and then this this person who is the thief when when around and was of course robin other people who had more
ha nam i brought into court and they called real comment and as a witness
against the thief and we kind went to court
and said
that this man never stole anything from me
no i offered him my robe and he took it
he accepted it
so then in some stories and every later that the thief way when he got out of prison came in
spend some time studying dialogue with real calm because he was so impressed and it actually ah
he recognized
this was a transformative turning
the usual way of relating to him
and he can see
that there was some buddha potential and himself
and evidently a ryokan talked a lot
he wrote he wrote quite a few palms
maybe he didn't take a lot but he just thought that he talked a lot because these admonition said if that he wrote for himself this is just a few
but to keep himself you know after he had finished his training in the monastery and he was living along and he wanted to ah
keep reminding himself from how to practice and so here's a series of admonitions
how about speech beware of talking a great deal talking too fast volunteering information when not asked
giving gratuitous advice talking up your own accomplishments
breaking in before others have any speaking
trying to explain to others something you don't understand yourself

insisting on getting the last word
making glib promises
repeating yourself as old people will do
speaking in an effectively offhand manner
reporting in detail on affairs that have nothing to do with anything
reporting on every single thing you'd see or hear
making a point of using chinese words and expressions
learning kyoto speech and using it as though you noted all your life
salary like someone speaking with them anglo-saxons or something
or speaking eight own dialect like a country hick
talk that smacks of the of the a seat
talk that smacks of settore
talk that smacks of the tea master
so all these reminders for a real kind to just keep it simple
and then he noted that there were three things that he really disliked
he disliked poets poetry
calligrapher his calligraphy
and chefs cooking
not an ounce of pretension he did he really wanted to
to when himself from any ounce of pretension
i wanted to leave you with us
thoughtful words not real can
and ah
again thank you for your sitting there are wonderful practice this a shame
are there any other comments anything that needs to be said

what a great joy to see you there thank you for making the trip all the way down the coast from point arena and taking time out from farming
makes last time
he said on
so sweet and time and

in a really lovely way

yeah but oh yes
thank you for the prompt session
i'm think i did that denies they were
free they've really offered themselves
hi here

how may we should saying relax your mind
one last time
on top
many people know that saw this there
and then people can join in okay
relax your mind relax your mind heads you later regret long time so and you got to relax your mind well actually i should i can see that not everyone knows it
i can hear that not everyone knows it and so i say the least tell you that does the song control now hoodie lead better better known as lead belly
ah sweet singer from the deep south swamp land
on the library of congress recordings he introduces the song by saying
he compose this song for safety on the roads of america
and that he himself was a very careful driver and when he drives he said when i drive i looked right through the windshield
if you sit are you talking to me i don't look at you
he said
says he's got this issue goes on my practice run
i looked right through the windshield he said i i've i've driven all over this country and never even hit a chicken

you can picture in that you know and in the thirties or forties the all little during the little towns farm towns and chickens are out in the road
it's my pop up box
and all directions
so anyway that's true that song can use the song comes from relax your mind relax your mind hats you the grand on time sometimes you got to relax your man whoa and the
at turns green put your foot on that gas early that's the time you got to relax your mind relax your mind relax your mind hats you live
the dre long time so time you've got to relax your mind and when the lad turns red and push that break down to the bed that's
a time you got to relax your mind relax your mind relax your mind help you the grid long time so ah you got to read
lax your man had a friend cross the railroad track although he forgot to redact who lost his life he forgot to relax as my and relax your man relax your
hi hats you the the girl long time some time you've got to relax your man pound for pound for pound for pound bomb bomb bomb
thank you for your singing
pay attention