The Teachings of Chao Chou

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Sunday Lecture: the stories of Chao Chou; Hsin Hsin Ming - koan("I alone am the World-Honored One"); mu - cutting through yes and no; not holding to preferences

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today's and

today i'd like to celebrate the life of great master zhao joe
all teams zen master
and talk about it
how he practiced with preferences
picking and choosing
if you were here last week we had the added tell the awakening story of giorgio
with his teacher nine trying
you heard about ordinary mind is the way
and i will be tell that story by a take a little bit about judges life
he as far as we know my spoiling tang dynasty china half a century since we call now the golden age of zen went nowhere ha
near the classic
china is and teachers were in and now he left home when he was eighteen and soon thereafter met his teacher nine shrine
and he packed his with nine trying for forty years
so this in itself is kind of amazing
several from when he was eighteen and twenty tell ha
sixty or sixty two
he just stayed in this one temple practicing with nine choi and then i went on to i died he more and her few years the loss of his teacher and then he set off on pilgrimage
yeah foot traveling they called it
wandering around china are looking for
are their teachers the practice with and clarify has understanding so you might think after forty years ah he wouldn't need to do that anymore and answer he was already over sixty by god this was the kind of guy that it was he an almost like he was beginning his practice fresh
in his sixties
and i and he made his vow to himself
when he said i and and i said if i need a child and seven who understands more than me i will
i will learn from him and if i need that of one hundred who understands less than me i'll teach him
so wonderful spirit of
humility being willing to learn from anyone and i and also compassion and willing to teach anyone
and i can imagine he'd left with this
a spirit of going into the unknown
and he did it and he just wandered around china for ah actually twenty years
he did his foot traveling pilgrimage for another twenty years till he was a eighty
and then he finally decided he would settle down in ah moving to a temple and maybe he just couldn't walk anymore
sarah at age eighty he kind of started teachings in and and then he taught her another forty years
suppose they live to be one hundred and twenty and this was unusual even back then
so here is very seasoned during their his ear is so the record of his dialogues during his teaching years is you really get a sense for the personality of jail he was quite a character
i think he was a pretty rough character ah and he lived in a very ah run down simple small temple and he didn't have so many students and his lineage actually died out after a few generations
it maybe that people didn't want to live charger is way is all to roughing run down

when story just about the kind of the way jojo was is an example is one time he ran into a monk behind the zendo and he asked where have all the monks gone the ones you live there
and this monk said they've all on after work in the fields and joga took a knife out of his sleeve and he handed it to the monk and said my task is as abbott are many i ask you reverend please cut off my head for me and he kind of stuck at its neck like that and the monk ran away
psychosis is kind of here is kind of just ready for whatever it's a like
and there's several stories as many con stories about jojo i think in the in the classic cohen collections there's maybe more about jojo than any other teacher
and there's a kind of series in the blue cliff record on our on this poem i old zen poem from the third ancestor com r the verse on trusting the mind changing mean and this was this kind of
classic zen poem maybe the earliest then pawn teaching porn and it's many sort of the classic in west now wonderful straightforward instruction
and so there is an interaction around his poems so maybe i can just reviewed it the beginning of the poems
he goes the great way is not difficult for those who have no preferences
sometimes it's translated as are
for those who have no picking and choosing the great way is not difficult just don't pick and choose
the ways you difficult
if there's no discrimination
can these are different translations
i kind of like to learn about having no preferences
we're launching an aversion are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised make this smallest distinction however and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart if you wish to see the truth then hold no opinion for or against
the struggle of likes and dislikes is a disease of the mind
and it goes on that way for page or so
so seen that people kind of knew this is kind of classy poem and angelica as time and would refer to it many people were meditating on those instructions and trying to practice with that
so one time a monk came to judge and and courted this poem the first line and said ah
the great way is without difficulty for those you have no preferences what is having no preferences
and java responded by quoting another saying of the buddha when
he was born which you come to your buddha's birthday celebration at green gods and a month or so you can see this enacted the saying that the buddha apparently when he was born took seven steps and said something like in the heavens and on
earth i alone and the world honored one
and so this was also kind of well known saying so the monk asks jojo
the great ways without difficulty for those who have no preferences what is having no preferences and georgia said in the heavens and on earth i alone in the world honored hundred one
and the monk said that's having a preference
and joda said stupid oath where's the preference
to the title of this coin is called georgia is stupid off
and i think oh for is kind of a translation of some kind of chinese colloquial expression that means something like silly fool her bumpkin
and so stupid oh where's the preference and the monk with speechless
and that's the story that's the color
to what is no picking and choosing are no preference
and how is it that to say i alone in the world honored one kind of sounds like picking and choosing on many levels could say what he's bringing up a buddha saying as opposed to a non do the same
and he saying i alone in there were a line when nobody else is it can sound like that
we could also think that that anything we say is actually some kind of discrimination are picking and choosing
no world of words and language and this monk was seems to have been a sharp one and i think he was ready for jojo basically to say anything and he would say there's that's to have a preference
i was like there was no escape for jojo
by todo he could have responded with anything and i i imagined he responded just immediately than saying came to mind and
in a way it's just a kind of definitive statement
georgia is also may be most well known for his story about it among coming in asking does a dog have buddha nature and challenges says no nothing
japanese new
hey system ah one of the main cohen's that people working with colorants start off with
so this there's no in that case it said to be the know that's not
in the realm of yes i know it's not the know as opposed to yes it's their know that cuts through yes i know
and i can say the same thing about this i alone in the world one hundred one
and i think when the buddhist or this also it wasn't it wasn't an arrogant statement
that he alone is the world i don't want and nobody else is it's just he understood
i in a different way
you can see the big i that includes
all beings and ha
the plants and rocks and stars and
even everything outside the universe
that i alone
excluding nothing
it's the world honored one the great buddha

sorry a scene a now way it gives nothing to argue with
it's beyond
and yet at the same time it's it's using words and it can be seen as discrimination
and said the monk says are
well that's still discrimination
and so the as well where is the discrimination
so where is it even in it even in a statement like i prefer this over that really ultimately where is the discrimination where is the picking and choosing

choice or preference
they need to take preference
not a problem in itself this is something everyone has i don't think the this poem or the jojo
or any of these are old ancestors meant that we actually have no preferences at all
we would have to
gouge out our brain or something to have no preferences
these are preferences are a natural arisen conditions
event for living beings
and it doesn't seem to be such a problem know i prefer chocolate over vanilla that's just my taste buds are conditioned that way hander he couldn't be any other way for somebody else they prefer vanilla overture
chocolate and it couldn't be any other way
and no problem
it seems that the problem comes in when somebody says well what would you like the chocolate or vanilla me say the chocolate of these okay well here's the vanilla you say no we we we have some feeling of ah no really i'd actually really rather have a chocolate fees and this is where
the problem comes in
if we can know and we'd prefer the chocolate and the the handle the vanilla and it's really like okay so this was happening then
doesn't seem to be much of a problem so it's it's the holding to the preference
and but leading that it really is our preference and we have to maintain that preference and so on
where another way to put it is
that there's somebody and behind the scenes who is in control of these preferences and that one needs to be maintained and ah
supported somehow bye bye
acting on the preferences
so if we can see preferences as just conditioned or risings given by all things
kind of miraculous wonderful way the fact that that we can have taste buds they prefer chocolate or vanilla is almost a miracle
how wonderful this can be

then we think of ourselves as as a person who prefers chocolate and then we want to keep that going

so dagger as well where is the preference
how can we look for it is find a bunch of conditions
speaking more technically knew you could say preference is one of the five scandals the five aggregates that data
that when we look for a person we find
when could save your preferences is kind of like in the fourth skanda that sometimes called karmic formations to the fact that we prefer chocolate or vanilla is is kind of like a karmic formation that's just coming to be from all things from from birth and from conditioning from our parents and society and
in and all that
inconceivably everything has contributed to it
so part of the buddha's teaching about these five aggregates has the makeup of a person is is that there's nothing more than that there's just
forum feelings perceptions karmic formations and
ever changing so comic formations can kind of look like where there's there's somebody there who in some fixed kind of way by town just it is changing formations
conditioned things
and we consider this way maybe not such problem
without adding anything extra to them
like the the control her behind the screens this
and pulling the strings on know
pressing the the the preference button is they're wired up to the taste buds something like this
so i notice done ha
so yesterday i was i was driving and driving north over over mt tam on the on the winding mountain road and know is contemplating this story of jericho and now is a little bit late for whereas going and it was as
saturday morning the beach goers out looking at the scenery and driving very slowly and and stuck behind a smoker a stream of so cars and i started noticing this preference arising for
the curse to speed up or pull over i mean there's always turn out saying that's what therefore
and i am thinking about the time and and also preferring that on that i hadn't left quite as late and i remember to with saturday and then remembering well actually i'm often late for a lot of things and i kind of prefer that i wasn't the kind of person who is habitually late
and so all these things kind of mix together so much
kind of picking and choosing her preference and discrimination and
but looking at it as is
is conditioned events
ah i started to relax
not completely so i think they can still be it is
maybe some tension or something at the same time seeing what this is actually just the way it's all coming to be right now and am
it's completely fine and it's completely fine if there's some anxiety about been waiting and that they can't go faster and that
that's it's all the whole situation is is just this way and almost there is like thinking that way i started to notice that the color the sky at the window is more and and that actually
and everything actually whisk was coming to be according to conditions in this way and
huh almost like they're not a problem even though there's still this feeling of being late and
maybe even still like the wish to not be later
something like this but seeing how it comes to be seeing how this comes to be
and that there's no other way
in that moment
in this morning

so one time another aunt came to jojo and said
how did the great way is without difficulty
for those you have your preferences
hey is this becoming like a cliche for our times
this poem me when can say well maybe this is now too
you know if we start if we start reciting this degree away ways without difficulty
for those who have no preferences
we can say that in kind of a mindless way without really thinking about it
have he heard over and over to budgets it's kind of like well yeah yeah right have your preferences so
yes he's courted to line and said it is this becoming a cliche for people of our times and address at once somebody else asked me this question and i really i couldn't answer for five years
notes the story of the next column and the collection
so again he lives you nothing to argue with him
are you could say we're just to say that is is kind of making a discrimination but it's just it's own as the commentary says it's flavorless talk it's very bland taser
there's nothing better will get a hold of it's just he's just saying what is
so it's a figure an our is
i can we say a mosquito biting and iron bowl
can't get ahold of him it's so simple to and so straightforward
and see key making another cliche out of his by responding in that way
there's everything a cliche actually and if everything's a cliched and and if that's the way the universe's ah he is creating this situation according the conditions and is a problem or cliches a problem
and then i
another time among conferences the great way as without difficulty for those who have no preferences

as soon as words are spoken there is preference and there's picking and choosing and how do you help people teacher
and judges is why don't you quote that saying fully
and the monk says well i only remembered up to this point
and jagger says it goes like this the great ways without difficulty for those who have no preferences
it's it's are
everything slips off often
and you could say well maybe the monk was really
ah having a preference when he said i only remember to this point he was just expressing how it was and then geology just express back
we could also hear it as when when a jojo as well
why don't you quoted fully we could say well fully in the sense of with his full body and mind expressing that
and so modality repeated it back he just repeated that line back fully
the great way is without difficulty
for those who have no preferences
and either there is you have preferences
if someone has preferences who would be the someone who has them

grace is not too difficult
preferences arising
and ceasing and changing

there's there's something we should do about her preferences
picking and choosing
we can discriminate in ah pick and choose various different ways to deal with them
but it's almost anything we do about them is more of the same
and anything we say about them is more in the same
but we can understand how they come to be

there are even choice if we say picking and choosing what we call choosing is it really i who choose
this or that
her again is it
myriad conditions seen and unseen coming together in such a way that
looks like i just chose something
this type of investigation
can be quite a joyful one

especially when faced with the burden of decision
that i have to make

jojo is with as you consider kind of a a rough character and kind of a bland character and i
i don't think he wrote much poetry but he seemed to write there sir
this one poem anyway
instead of poetic peace
you i called the song of the twenty four hours
and i that is too many hours to on to read today so i kind of edited down a little bit
but seems you get a sense for it and i'm thinking of guy who is working practicing living in this realm of ah not being caught up in picking and choosing discrimination how he's how he's relating to his life cause
i think it's kind of an unusual as and poem because he's kind of complaining alive you know he has this kind of difficult sparse kind of life and in his poem is kind of i complaining about it
and at the same time he is
i have the sense that he is that it's really all okay and his complaining as kind of a light hearted
i'm kind of goes back and forth even between kind of feeling the
the difficulty in sadness of life and yet just going along
so he's not there pretending to be
completely economists with everything in a sensible the way we might think of economists
that like actually i have no preference is it all anything that happens is completely equal he doesn't seem to be that way and yet he seems to be going into his life in her
kind of a wonderful way
for just finished with this poem
part of the song of twenty four hours
the rooster crows in the early morning
feeling down and out yet getting up
there are no warm undertones to were just some tattered pants and something that looks a little like a robe
wishing to practice the way and help people actually this is just being a fool
first light of morning a broken down temple and deserted village there's nothing worth saying about it
in the water he more in-group there's not a grain of rice
only to chattering sparrows his friends sitting alone now and then i hear dry fallen leaves blue eye
who says that to leave home is to cut off likes and dislikes if i think about it before long tears start to fall
sunrise doing anything with a goal in mind is to get buried in the dirt yet the boundless domain has not yet been swept
often the brow is furrowed seldom mr hard content it's hard to put up with the crappy old men of the village donations have never been brought here and untethered donkey eats the weeds in front of the hall
mid morning working the kindle a fire and gays gazing english sciatic
cakes and cookies ran out last year
thinking of them today i swallow my saliva in vain
those who come here just asked to have a cup of tea and not getting any they go off muttering and anger
midday in carrying the ball the collect rice and tea there are no special arrangements house after house on given only excuses some bitter salt stale barley millet paste mixed with old chard
i had the tend to laugh
the way seeking mind of a monk must be solid
mid afternoon turning things around not walking in the realm of light or dark
today my body is just this
not studying zen not discussing principles spreading out some torn reeves and sleeping in the sun
i can imagine to sheet to heaven but it's not as good as his son toasting my back
he caught in preference
sunset except for a deserted wilderness hear what is there to protect the way of a monk is the flow on without any special obligations wandering freely for eternity
words they go beyond fix patterns do not come through the mouth
late evening
sitting alone in the darkness of this one empty room
forever and illumined by the flickering candlelight the space and front of me as pitch black
hearing no temple bell only the sound of scurrying old rats
what more is there than this
every thought is going beyond
bedtime the clear moon in front of the gate to whom is it not giving freely
going back inside my only regret is that it's time to go to sleep
besides the ragged clothes on my back work covers i needed
it really doesn't matter if this old bag is empty who could understand such a thing