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and there's a chinese character which is sometimes translated as
it's pronounced in japanese gone
and in chinese herein
and it also means to wish or desire
or to intend
what to pray
like it when we say i had the end of lots of our
our events in then we say may our intention nor may the merit of this
that character it is that that character
are we pray that the merit of our practice will be turned over to the welfare of all beings
the english word vow however has a
a definition which involves another step which is bombings to solemnly promise
to promise in a deep and dignified way
so he is possible to pray
as a promise
now may we
may we
from this life on throughout countless lives here the true dharma
i pray that we hear the true dharma
i vow may we vow to hear the to dharma
we pray to hear the true dharma
we promised to hear the true dharma
we wish and pray and commit to hear the true dharma
may we
i maintain the true dharma
we wish to maintain the true dharma we promised to maintain the true dharma
and when we maintain the true dharma
we easily give up worldly affairs which means easily give up distractions from maintaining the true dharma and hearing the term
if we give up distractions from hearing a true dharma we will hear the true dharma

and if we do
here the true dharma and give up distractions from hearing it we will maintain
the buddha dharma and in doing so the great earth and all living beings together will attain the boot away so we want all beings to enter and attain the buddha way we wish that they will we pray that they will
we vow that they will we promise
to hear the true dharma
we commit we only want to but we commit
so sometimes people who are not living in zen centres a hock how can the practice continue when i'm on my
are my time away from zen center when i'm just practicing at home said well first of all think about what you want to do how much would you like to practice and how would you like to practice
how much would you how much time do you want to spend studying or
meditating or
how much do you want to in what forms and then how much is practical and then what are you going to commit to are you ready to commit to what you want to do and what is practical
and i usually suggest people make a commitment in a some air with some structure and some formality and
in terms of
how what they're going to be practicing and for how long the commitments gonna be for
so that you can re enlist and reengage in duval
at some time in the future rather than just turn of alanna and just hope it goes keeps going turn it on for a specific time
and then at the end of the time
the hot went and then see what you're ready to read promise recommit to

and so i thought it might propose to you some some elements are some conditions which are involved in making bows in making promises in making commitments
the first condition his one which are
since you're adults you probably already have attained which is actually a awareness of the discrimination or the difference between self and other

and then also part of this first condition is awareness of the illusion of the passage of time and a awareness of the concept of future
and the ability to remember something that you have
committed to do
so these are different dimensions of a level of cognitive development where you can remember
what you vowed
and you can you're aware of time and your where of self and other
the next point is ah
the nice condition
is that you
that you aware
that you're aware that would almost whatever
promise you make
there's at least some conflicting wishes are some conflicting intentions
maybe not a conflicting bow
but a conflicting intention
and because of that
you and others
it's it's
i say he had to you the credibility of your promise is somewhat time
in question because of that
so if you if you do promise something because you're if you're aware that you may have conflicting intentions that will help you understand why others may not be able to credit you believe you and support you in that practice because they're not sure
really how clear you are about your commitment and also you yourself can be also somewhat suspicious of yourself a little bit when you make the ball
knowing that because of some conflict you you may not be able to fulfill it
another criterion another peanut is involved in making bows is that the bomb matters to somebody
it's not unimportant it's a somewhat important to somebody doesn't have to be you can be somebody else
but without that it's difficult to realize the vow realize the promise
the fourth point
that had the devour needs to be witnessed the promise used to be witnessed
needs to be witnessed by
ah great beings realized beings awakened beings beings who have fulfilled vows a wisdom and compassion
or for some people by god
or by a respected person like a teacher
or it needs to be witnessed by your own sense of self respect or honor honorable nuts and goodness
and then also if you look at promising that happened in the ancient past in the heroic heroics myths and epics of human history
there are also often is a
some consequence or some punishment if you do not follow through
on the promise
like the expression i'll be damned
i'll be damned if
now is now the way it often occurs is on an occasion where you're kind of like amazed by something
you know something really amazing happy to i'll be damned
but it's origin is i'll be damned if i don't follow through on this
but there's the the moving of it from that
from a punishment if you don't follow through to being amazed is kind of interesting
because you say it or people say it in the presence of something awesome
something you know amazing
it's like in the presence of this amazing poverty amazing possibilities
that if we don't follow through on what we have somehow find ourselves making a promise about
we know there will be consequences
and i've heard stories about people practice some forms of buddhism and i think ah other religions too but some forms of buddhism where if the practitioner makes certain solemn vows
i bet i'd been told of
i've been told that their teachers tell them the terrible things that will happen to them if they don't follow through on so this is part of the
human psychic have sphere around promises which is part of the reason why some people
i really afraid to make promises because somewhere we know
i think that there is
that if we don't get witnessed it's not as powerful but if we do get witnessed it stirs it there's power he ah powerful consequences every don't follow through

when it comes to the sixteen bodhisattva precepts
love the
we got our practice in soto zen
ah of the lineage of of dogan
it is sixteen bodhisattva precepts
when when soto zen students hear about them i often they often say to me while i feel like i'm already practicing these precepts
so i don't quite see the necessity of the ceremony
to go through the ceremonial the formal initiation into these precepts

and some other people's say i'm practices precepts but i'm afraid of would happen if i committed to practicing these prisms formally
and and i feel that people who had that feeling are
are more developed and wiser than i was when i first received these precepts because i didn't know actually what i was getting into when i promised
but some people are more sophisticated they know that if you do promise and do commit to these precepts
in the in a and be witnessed
it's another world from the one where you're practicing them but without promising

for example to practice not killing which many of you probably are practicing
that's one world and then there's the world or where you commit to practice not killing and then try to practice not killing that's another world to another it's the world of promise that's witnessed
this is why you say okay not only my promising but i welcome i invite witnesses and by human witnesses called practitioners teachers ancestors buddhas bodhisattvas
children parents spouses i invite them to watch and witness this promise

and and you can also
promise things that are unwholesome and to succeed at them they also would require this case same kind of support
but something
these bodyside for wishes these bodhisattva vows
when witnessed
they can be fulfilled without witnessing without be witnessed they cannot be fulfilled
but seems safer just assertive make the vall make the promise with no witnesses
you might think well then nobody will let down by me
but that's not actually what these vows or about because his vows or about
your relationship with everyone

once again as you as you heard this morning and recited this morning the zazen of the buddha ancestors is being whole hearted
it's the sitting of the buddha his whole hearted sitting the walking of the buddha his whole hearted walking the bodhisattvas talking his whole hearted talking it's being whole hearted and being whole hearted is to drop our body and mind
when you're walking wholeheartedly body and mind drop off when you're talking wholeheartedly body and mind drop off
bodhisattva vow his basically promising to be open and responsive to all beings
it's promising to be open a responsive to all unenlightened beings
to all enlightened beings and even to all inanimate beings
it's promising the bodhisattva vows promising to be open and responsive to all beings
buddhism buddhist wholeheartedness
the buddha's sitting the buddha's walking the buddha's life is the actual reality is the reality of being open and responsive it's the way you actually are open and responsive to all beings that buddhist thousand
that's buddha buddha is that actuality the truth of our openness and responsiveness to each other that's actually buddha and as buddhist practice
a bow is to promise basically to be buddha
he's the is your promising to make everything you do
open and responsive to all beings which means to make everything you do beat them performance and enactment of buddha
so our practice in soto zen of sitting upright and a self-fulfilling samadi
is to sit upright in the reality of how the grasses and trees and the wind and the water are giving us life and how we're giving them life
it's to open to that
infinite responsiveness between us and all beings
bodhisattva vows to promise to live there
for the promised to work it's good if you
get it witnessed
do it with witnesses
witnessed by as much of those being that you're opening to as possible but of course has has to be a limited set
but you have a limited set

heard someone say
getting along and civil society is based on the expectation that most people will do what they say they will do
that is essentially living up to their explicit and implicit promises they're mtx vows and so on
i thought him
i would say somewhat differently
not not said i would say different thing i would say getting along really well
in civil society
is based on
giving our own and other people's promises gracious
intimate attention
our to expand to a bit getting along well in in society
is based on
giving promises making promises making bows and then giving those vows gracious intimate thorough attention
the difference between what i said what he said was
he said getting along in civil society depends is based on the expectation that people will
i do what they say they're gonna do
and that
that may be what suicide society is based on but civil society is not going well
and it is always had problems
the ideal society is one work is people are doing more than be more than just simple mulder that would be good
they're really getting along well and i would say that that does not depend it includes the expectations but i think it depends on on going beyond expectations and been gracious towards our own vows our own promises and being gracious with other people's promises
in such a society
we need to give a lot of attention to the promise making to the bows we need to know what people's promises and vows are
we need to clarify that was people
if we're gonna get along with them
have we need to be clear about our home and help them be clear about our own
and then once for clear about what the promises were making her in our life once we're clear for example that we are promising
lived a life of a bodhisattva then to be gracious with ourselves and gracious with each with others
with their vows that they'd made and they can make a variety their their bodies up evolves don't have to be exactly the same they can have some difference in them
there can be difference in the in an infinite vast vows of people
whatever the vows are
whatever they are
but particularly know if the bodhisattva vows if their vows to
if their promised to practice a good away
and help others enter the boot away
then we need to
asked them to express it checked to see if you understand and then be gracious with them
about what they do after you understand a promise and the same with yourself
and if you yourself are not following through on your promises then one of the bodhisattva vows
he is
to help us when we don't follow through on our bows and that his confession and repentance and there too
as a way to develop your graciousness towards your own shortcomings in your own promises he do this in the presence of those who will be gracious with you always
you invite the gracious wants to come and witness now you're sheer shortcomings in your bowels which you previously asked them to witness when you made them
you invite them to come to help you be gracious with your own vows to and then your own by breaking and then you practice that graciousness towards other people whose vows you witnessed

and was vows you promised to
i'll watch them act out and show them graciousness to encourage them to be gracious and this way again with the promise in the witnessing and the clarity around the vows the files can be realized
which is what we wanted
now someone of might have wanted the valves to be realized without the promising
just i wanted i want to practice the boot away
is that enough

just like i often mentioned that people come to me and say i want to receive these bodhisattva precepts these sixteen bodhisattva vows i want to receive them
i want to yeah i want to commit to them
and i say well well whenever you're ready to commit to them
commit to them or whenever you're ready to receive see them asked for them
it's a big step from saying i want them to may i may i receive them
there a witnessing of the desire now there's a witnessing of the request
the request is a little more responsive has more responsiveness in it and just a statement of a desire
but the responsiveness
is what the precepts are about thereabout responsiveness not just desire
desires their you want to practice these precepts
but unresponsive way cause that's what they're about

so again one can wish to sit wholeheartedly
one could wish to sit
and open to all beings
one could wish to sit and opened to the buddhas and let the buddha's come and take over your life and use you
for the boot away okay i'm here i'm sitting
and i'm open to the buddhist i wish to do that
and then no one could promise to do them
with those you're promising to witnessing it
i promise to sit open heartedly wholeheartedly opening to all my responsive relationships opening to the buddhist practice i promise to do that
okay in the presence of your teacher and all the buddhas and bodhisattvas and then go sit and see what happens and maybe notice whoops i promised that it's not happening i am like closing down
i do not want to be open to all people not even the people in this session
i don't want to be responsive to them i want they can go be response it but i like to be like just play
i'd like to just be able to sit still here rather than have to move every time they move
and quiver every time they quiver

the actuality
our openness and responsiveness with all beings is unconstructive stillness
the way we're actually open to each other is not moving
the waiver responded to each other is silent and still
when you move i move
when you smile or frown it changes my chemistry
everything you do i'm totally responsive to and vice versa
i'm actually in reality i'm open to you completely
and new to me
and that openness and responsiveness is not moving as it's as the says what you chatted today all this however does not appear within perception because it is unconstructive anise and stillness
all this resonance between you and all beings between grasses and the tiles and the pebbles this is way of mutually enlightening each other that whole process does not appear within perception is unconstructive nurse and stillness it is immediate realization
it's not moving
and as as great activity of residence and mutually affecting each other that relationship among beings who are changing all the time his unmoving
and it's not permitted either
it arises with the whole world each moment
that's the buddhist thousand

so when we sit here
we sit still as a ceremony
of the actual stillness which is always present
we sit still like a buddha as a ceremony
to realize the buddha who's always sitting still
and silent
the buddha which is our relationship with all beings every moment we sit as a ceremony at path and are sitting does not reach it
and we hear that are sitting does not reach it and we understand that are sitting does not reach it
but are sitting realizes it
even though doesn't reach it if you think it reaches it you'll be distracted from the realization that the sitting realizes
so our consciousness does not reach
this realm of intimacy
it cannot be met with recognition
but it can eliminate all of our consciousnesses
so we sit still
and we're not afraid to move when we're sitting still because we know that the stillness we're doing is actually
a ceremony of sitting still is but actual cities is not the actual stillness
it's a ceremony of stones because of course we were doing the ceremony stillness we're moving repulsing
her heart's beating
nurse neural activity is
brilliantly happening
why we're doing the ceremony of sitting still for not sitting still in that ceremony with the ceremony is about the actual sitting still
which are ceremony doesn't reach which are ceremony realizes and we know the way we know
the actuality of our relationship is by the ceremony
that's all we know it
the way it is is beyond our knowing
and not knowing
the way to realized his in promising
to sit
and then sitting wholeheartedly
and in sitting wholeheartedly you do not hold out
you do not hold on to sitting wholeheartedly when you're sitting wholeheartedly
when sitting still
as a ceremony you do not hold onto the ceremony of city still you give it away it's a gift it's a gift to the buddha's it's not something you are holding onto
but you have to sit still in ordered have to practice sitting still in order to be generous was sitting still in order to give it away
so this is a this is wholeheartedness to wholeheartedly do something that you don't hold on to makes it more perfectly wholehearted
to half heartedly do something that you give away is still pretty good that you're giving it away
but the whole heartedly do something and give it away that's real wholeheartedness
and to whole hardly do something that you're holding onto is not yet wholehearted

so that's why some people practice halfheartedly because they feel the least that can be generous with it
but i'm afraid if i practice wholeheartedly i'd hold onto it and then i'd get in trouble
which is true you would
but you get halt in trouble for being half hearted has an attempt to protect yourself from wholeheartedness

one of our ancestors is called or
when we can't say gang yoshi dire show he was a disciple
of the sixth ancestor sagan yoshi
in chinese the ways in is pronounced to something like
junior on shinzo
the sir or yoshi mean walking thinking
our walking and thinking
and when i when i think of his name walking and thinking i think he's walking and thinking of something and what is he thinking of
i think he's thinking about the buddha
i think he's thinking about
making an offering to buddha
i think he's thinking about paying homage to buddha i think he's thinking about praising buddha
i think he's thinking about his own shortcomings i think he's thinking about him a rejoicing in the merits of others i think he's thinking about the bodhisattva vows
at his name i don't know where i know what point to six and sister gave him that name but
i kind of feel like he realized his name
i think he must have promised to walk and think
after he got the name walking thinking
today during lunch i was eating with you
and i was looking to see when i put my spoon into the food
i look to see was that an offering to bhutto's
was that paying homage to bhutto's was that praising buddha's when i raised a food up the same consideration and when i put it my mouth
is this feeding this person is this making offerings to buddha is is paying homage to brutal is this praising the borders
he's is asking the borders to teach
i was thinking about the bodhisattva vow while i was heeded
and i thought this seems quite appropriate for me to be thinking about the body sought for powers when i'm thinking
when i'm eating
and then again when i was
folding up are unfolding the balls is this paying homage to buddhas
is this praising borders
now i can say when i when i put the spoon into the food i can say homage to all borders
i can say offering to all buddhas
can say that and i can also say is this really am i really doing it i'm saying it but am i really doing it i am thinking about it and my really totally making what i'm doing right now talking to you moving my hand turning my head and my making offerings to buddha am i paying homage
the buddha am i aware of my relationship with all of you while i'm talking to you
and i don't say usually yes
i asked the question i look at i think about it
i think about whether i'm thinking about the ball
and i think i think about the bow and i think about whether i'm really practicing him
and is quite a different world
to be thinking about the bow when i'm talking and eating and walking then not to think about it
not thinking about it is not super terrible most of the time
but sometimes it really is terrible
and usually when i'm thinking about it i feel i feel
yeah i feel pretty good i feel like
i'm walking the bodhisattva path curves i'm doing one body are instructed to do i'm thinking about what they're instructed to do
and and to help me think about and to help me do what they're instructed to do i asked myself if i'm doing what they're instructed to do
when i ask myself if they are
i that's one of the things are supposed to do is ask themselves to bear said and i kind of him but i don't say yesterday i just ask
nimes i'm looking at myself and say yes i think i was
and when i was thinking i was also thinking i wonder if the other people who are eating here are paying homage to boot up why they're eating
making every bite an amish to buddha i wonder if the other people here who are eating are eating as an offering to buddha
like some people brought offerings in to and put them on the altar
two buddha and body surface and to
ancestral zen teacher some people made offerings to there but i wonder if it when they are making your orphans with this where they will wonder if they're thing am i making offerings to buddha am i practicing buddhist i wonder
one can do this one can look at what they're doing and saying is this homage to buddhists
one can think about what ones doing
be mindful of what you're doing and then when you're mindful of what you're doing like walking
when the monk walks she knows she's walking and then why she's walking she thinks about is this walking buddha's walking is this walking
the body sought for walking is this walking
being intimate with the buddhists
is this walking openness and wholeheartedness with all beings

and the diamond sutra says that the boot it's rare that the buddha blesses the fearless bodhisattva as with the greatest blessings and entrust the bodhisattva with the greatest interest months
so how are these bodhisattvas practicing that buddha comes in interest them and blesses them
i think they're practicing as the buddhist says they're thinking that they produce a thought
and then he tells some thoughts that they produce the bodhisattvas who are interested are thinking
i promise
to attain nirvana and from nirvana i promise to save all beings and also i promised to meditate on emptiness
have all the beings i say i promise that this is what the buddha recommends we think
if we want a walk the path of the bodhisattva who the buddha blesses hand interest and again you miss the i i wouldn't want the adjustment of the buddha that would be too hard for me occupied they don't don't don't think this way because if you think this way the budo a common interest you with a big big big responsibility
the gritty with with the greatest entrustment you'll get the greatest entrustment and the greatest blessing if you think this way
and then again smart deposit it tells us to think this way constantly
to learn
to think constantly about the bodhisattva vows about the buddha valves to constantly think how can i contribute to all beings entering the supreme way and all beings realizing good are and how can i contribute to it right
right now
while i'm not gonna be able to contribute to it all by myself as for sure
but i will be able to contribute to it if i accept the great entrustment of the buddha's if i say
please come
i pay homage to you help me do the job you want me to do
help me enter the way which you want me to enter so i can help others entered the way which i and you want me to enter

this is no different then
being silent and still
this is just being silent and still
and being open and responsive this has just been wholeheartedly sam system which is the same as being silenced him

now if i if i'm kind of like
give up this opportunity to talk to you more and give you a chance to sit quietly and he movably movingly
ah before dinner
i would be a chance for you to just check out
whether this sitting his whole hearted
whether the bodhisattva vow is living right near by some place
whether you whether the promise to practice the bodhisattva path is there